Monday, July 25, 2016

MAKING THE MOVE (PT. 2!)

Hey, friends. Thanks for stopping by!
I have some exciting news to share with y'all — I'm moving!





A year ago I made "the big move" after graduating college. I packed up my life into a pickup truck and drove it 20-some hours across the country from the University of Wisconsin campus to Washington, D.C. My first few weeks in the District were full of excitement, uncertainty and a whole lot of sweat (y'all, this is the swampiest city on earth!) But in due time, I settled into my tiny, overpriced, downtown apartment and embraced my new 9-to-5 normal. (If you're curious, take a peek at my first post-move blog post — you're in for a real treat, haha!)

My year in the city has truly been wonderful. I (almost...okay, not quite) met Michelle Obama, enjoyed late-night rosé at the Lincoln Memorial, boarded an astounding 35 flights (yes, I am an expert packer now), had one too many cocktails at PricewaterhouseCooper's extravagant holiday party and of course, Instagrammed brunch. These are the fond memories I will continue to cherish throughout the remainder of my life.

I've met loads of great people. I'm even lucky enough to call a handful of these genuinely remarkable humans my friends. I've gained an entirely new perspective on a few things, and expanded my mindset on just about everything else. When it's all said and done, I like to think I'm leaving the city as a better person than when I got here. And I hope to bring this fresh, new outlook to my next city — Madison, Wisconsin!

I'll be relocating to a new apartment in my home state of Wisconsin in just a few short days. I'm so excited to start a new chapter of my post-grad life in my absolute favorite city in the entire world. I'm getting a puppy later this fall (ahhh!) and maybe I'll finally put those decorating Pinterest boards to use! Once again, I'm packing up my life into a pickup truck, but this time, heading back to my roots. Is this what they mean when they say life comes full circle?

I hope you'll continue to join me in my next adventure. 
You might even see four paws and some fur around here!

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Thank you to my dear friends Lily & Anne for your invaluable support of Keynotes from Kay.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

LATELY - JULY

Hey, friends. I'm glad you're here!
I feel like we have a little catching up to do (#mybad). 
Also, how is it already nearing the end of July? I'm pretty sure like, two seconds go it was March... 
I'm going to take this month's installment of the "Lately" series in a bit of a different direction, so bear with me (and as always, feedback is definitely appreciated!).


WORK 

.... work, work, work, work (Rihanna voice)

Ah, yes. Work. A topic I often shy away from around here. And while that's for good reason (I'm not allowed to disclose much of anything about my workplace), I also think it's important for me to maintain a little privacy. Plus, I think I would bore most of y'all to death with any talk about law and bureaucracy in D.C. But, my "day job" is a place where I spend the majority of my hours during the week, and so logically, it's very influential for me. I'm incredibly lucky to work with great colleagues and for the fact that I enjoy many workplace flexibilities (especially the ability to work from home) which make work/life balance easier. But sometimes, I can't help but feel unsure and confused... I'm having some doubts about the direction that I want to take my life in the future.... Isn't it strange that we spend the first 20-odd years of our lives in school but yet that doesn't really prepare us for life in the "real" world? (Yeah, I'm getting a little "angsty teen" here on y'all.) The ambiguity of life is hard, man. Anyways, I don't really have any departing wisdom to leave you with, I just wanted to let y'all know where my head's at.
#PostGradProbs
And then there's blogging, which if I'm being real, is basically like a full-time job in itself, haha!
I started Keynotes from Kay as a creative outlet and passion project, which is still where it is today. 
I love being able to come to this little corner of the internet to share things with you when I'm feeling inspired or excited. In the future, I hope to post on a more consistent schedule (a continued struggle), but for now, I'll continue doing what I can. (And you can always keep up with me on Instagram where I check in with y'all nearly everyday!)

LIFE


I've always had a thing for spin classes. In college, I used to frequent CYC Fitness, an upbeat cycling studio on the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus. And a while back, I touched on my first SoulCycle experience. Since my first Soul experience a few months back, I've been going to the studio near my apartment occasionally. Truth be told, I would totally be going five times a week if I could. But at $35 per class, it's just not something I can swallow all that often. Sometimes Soul gets a bad rap for its marketing and perceived "cult-like" atmosphere, which I truly disagree with. I'll admit — I was intimidated at first. But now, every time I walk into the studio, I feel like I've found my tribe. (That's kind of a weird thing to say and I don't really know how to explain it. But I promise I'm not losing my marbles!) Near the end of my class last Sunday morning, I was really fighting some tears. And no, not the I-just-got-sweat-in-my-eyes kind of tears. But like, full-blown ugly crying. (So now you're really convinced that I am, in fact, losing my marbles...ugh.) 

SoulCycle is an oddly spiritual experience, folks. It really is. You clip into your bike and spend the next 45 minutes pushing your body to the limit while working through a hot mess of mental garbage. Unlike my last little blurb, I promise I'll end with a point this time... sort of. In in next few weeks, try focusing on your health and happiness. And never feel like you have to apologize or justify for the decisions you make to better yourself.

OTHER MUSINGS

on a lighter note....

I'm moving out of my apartment in two weeks. Let the packing begin.
Over the past five years, I've moved five times (I moved apartments every year in college!).

It's. Getting. Old.

Like, really old.

Packing is really the worst, you guys. It's funny though, because really, I only have one room of stuff to move — my bedroom (with the exception of a few kitchen items and a few other random things). How does essentially one room worth of stuff take up an entire truck?! How do people move when they have an entire home worth?! (I suspect this is where hiring movers becomes necessary.)
Any tips y'all have for do-it-yourself moving are appreciated!

And if you've made it this far — I applaud you.
Thanks for sticking with me through this one.
Y'all are always the best.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

SHOP SMARTER





Hey, friends. Thanks for stopping by today. I'm glad you're here!
I've had a whirlwind of a time these last few weeks (and noticeably absent — for that, I'm sorry!) Between work, travel and life, I've been a little overwhelmed. And as much as I hate to admit it, the blog can fall behind when a work crisis unfold (#DCproblems). So, here I am, and happy to be back! I have some exciting news to share with y'all in the next couple of weeks, so don't worry, I hope to be a little more present here in the future. As always, you can pop on over to Instagram where I try to check in with y'all everyday!

Like all of you, I love a good deal. I mean, don't even get me started with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale — that's live NOW, by the way! (Preview the entire sale here if you're not a cardholder.) I did some major damage last week and I recapped y'all on what good deals are to be had, so check that post out here if you haven't already! Side note: but don't you think that all retailers should embrace a concept like the #Nsale? I really love how the #Nsale give shoppers discounts on brand new fall merchandise rather than inventory from previous seasons that needs to be liquidated. After hearing the hype year after year, I finally opened a Nordstrom card this year to gain early access to the sale. In years past, I had to deal with the constant disappointment when my favorite items were sold out by the time public access to the sale started, and this year, I was not going to let that happen, haha! (Did you know you can also open a Nordstrom DEBIT card if you're hesitant about opening a credit card? More on that here.)


So, when Groupon Coupons reached out to me recently about their service, I knew it would be a great fit (especially given the timing of mid-summer sales!). I've been familiar with Groupon Coupons for a while, but for those of you who don't know, let me break it down: daily deals from retailers like J.Crew Factory and Saks Fifth Avenue. Yeah. We're not just talking a 10% off Target coupon here and there (although, they've got those, too!)

Every once in a while I'll pop on over to the Groupon app I have installed on my iPhone and check out what coupons and promotions they have. It's basically a one-stop shop to see what discounts are available at many major retailers at any given time. Often, the discounts aren't unique to Groupon, but it's a great resource to check out, especially if you want to see a handful of sales and discounts all in one place (rather than checking 25 different websites). I'm especially mindful to check it out if I know I'm in the market for a big-ticket item or will be spending a larger chunk of change. Because, hey. The more you know... the more you will (hopefully) save!

What are your tips for smart shopping?

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE HAUL

Hey, friends. Thanks for stopping by!
I know I've been a little absent lately, and for that, I do apologize.
(But you can always find me on Instagram where I try to check in with y'all everyday!)
I just wanted to pop in & let you know that the best sale of the season is happening NOW.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is officially here! Right now, it's only open for cardholders to shop, but will be going live for all shoppers on July 22. Mark your calendars now! After hearing all of the #Nsale hype year after year, I finally opened a Nordstrom card this year to gain early access to the sale. In years past, I had to deal with constant disappointment when my favorite items were sold out by the time public access to the sale started, and this year, I was not going to let that happen, haha! (Did you know you can also open a Nordstrom DEBIT card if you're hesitant about opening a credit card? More on that here.)

I woke up extra early this morning to scour the site and scoop up some great deals.
 Check out the pieces I scored & shop them below!



1 // 2 // 3
4 // 5 // 6
7 // 8 // 9

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Monday, June 27, 2016

LAID BACK STYLE






Top || Skirt (old, similar) || Sunnies

Hey, y'all — I'm glad you're here!
How are things? I feel like we need to catch up. 
This week I'm headed back home for an extended Fourth of July weekend and have a full itinerary of brunching and boating in the books. If you don't already, be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter where I check in with y'all everyday!

Do you ever have those days where you just want to be comfortable, but your motivation to get dressed is at an all-time low? Do you ever have those days everyday? (Girl, I feel you.)
Don't get me wrong, I love playing dress up. But sometimes things get hectic and exhausting and then it's 6am on Monday morning and you have nothing to wear. #life

I hate to brag, but I think I'm pretty good at the "looking put together for Saturday brunch even when I'm feeling disheveled after one too many cocktails on Friday night" style. One of many talents I picked up in college (insert laughing emoji.) I love this look because it totally qualifies for the aforementioned situation, but is also great for Sunday morning farmer's markets or weekend afternoon errands, don't you think?

I have an exciting announcement coming in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SUMMER STRIPES






Hi, friends. Thanks for stopping by!
The first day of summer has officially come and gone — can you believe it?
It's been hotter than you-know-what the last few weeks in D.C. and it's kind of the worst.
I'm talking full on #swampcity. And it's only mid-June. Ugh. I really shouldn't complain, 
I would've traded all of winter for one day of this weather in January. 
Funny how that works, right?




How adorable is this tie-front dress? I picked it up a few months back from Shopbop 
and have been anxiously awaiting the warm weather to wear it. At first, I hesitated to pull the trigger on this purchase and was devastated when it sold out after a few days. (I'm pretty sure this is what they mean by buyers remorse.) After a few weeks of incessantly stalking the website, I finally snatched it up during a long-awaited restock. Unfortunately, it appears to be sold out again, but keep an eye out — I anticipate another restock!

Even though this tie-front dress is temporarily out of stock, I've linked my favorite striped J.O.A. pieces in the widget below. Scroll through to shop!

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Monday, June 13, 2016

PACKING A PERSONAL ITEM





Hi, friends. I'm glad you're here!
If you've been around awhile, you'll know that I love to travel. 
I try to travel once a month at a minimum, but I'm usually able to get in two trips per month.
Sometimes when I'm really lucky (read: overbooked), I'll even travel as frequently as twice a week.
As a seasoned traveler, I'll admit, even that can be a bit much for me. 
So by now, I've got my airport game plan on lock and travel carry-on only. 

If you told me a year ago that I'd ever fly carry-on only, much less regularly, I wouldn't have believed it for a second. How would I pack two weeks worth of clothes for a four day trip?!
Oh man, how times have changed. Since then I've definitely come a long way! 

I'm usually pretty modest, but I will brag a little here — I'm an excellent packer. 
Between a carry-on and personal item, I can pack for two weeks. 
Today I'm sharing how I typically pack my personal item for trips ranging a week or less in duration. 





Let me start out by discussing what I pack in my personal item and why. 
Everything of value goes in my personal item. This is for several reasons:
  • Damage: The risk of damage is lower for items packed in my personal item over things packed in my carry-on luggage. Have you tried to get a heavy piece of luggage up in those overhead bins? It can be tricky, especially if you're a weakling like me haha. Between flight attendants trying to close overpacked bins, in-flight turbulence other passengers rummaging around, items get smashed around up there. I minimize the risk of damage to my fragile and valuable items by keeping them secured in my personal item underneath the seat.
  • Control: While this generally doesn't happen often on short-haul domestic trips, airline passengers have been increasingly reporting thefts from items stowed in overhead bins. It happens, people! Like most passengers, I try to secure overhead space in the bin directly above my seat. But if you've been on a packed flight lately, you'll know that space is highly-coveted. Often times, the only space for your luggage to be stowed is in a bin away from your seat. By packing my valuables in my personal item stowed at my seat, I never have to worry about what the person rummaging around in the overhead bin is doing. 
  • Access: This is probably the most obvious reason. Ease of access to certain items is key. I typically want to be able to quickly and easily access certain items like my MacBook Pro and DSLR in-flight. Retrieving my laptop that's packed in my carry-on luggage which is stowed in the overhead bin can quickly turn into a mess. Did I mention that I'm a weakling?







Now that I've covered the basics, let's get into how I pack a personal item.
I'll generally use my Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM because it's huge and durable. 
In the past, I've used everything from a large Longchamp Le Pliage, to Northface backpack
to a Vera Bradley Weekender. The options are endless, and yes, you can fudge the size limits a touch. (Although, I wouldn't recommend doing that so much with actual carry-on luggage.)

I start by packing my larger and bulkier items first, in the bottom of my bag. This means that my Vera Bradley toiletry bag and make-up containers go in first. Next, I'll pack my laptop and monogrammed agenda "standing up" vertically alongside one of the walls of my bag. Then, inside a waterproof Vera Bradley cosmetic case,, I'll pack my headphones, phone charger, laptop charger, DSLR charger and a jewelry pouch. I pack my electronic accessories in a waterpoof bag in an effort to keep them safe from any potential spills in my tote. Finally, I'll stow my wallet and keys in a secure spot. So, there you have it! On shorter trips, I try not to overstuff my personal item. 

Occasionally, I travel with delicate shoes, like my Cole Haan pumps. If so, I stow them in a dustbag and place them at the top of my personal item. I do this because the leather is easily susceptible to scuffs and damage, so I don't want to crush them in my carry-on luggage. And sometimes, I'll pack a snack and an empty water bottle to take with me. (Although, I'll often just purchase these items at the airport to help lighten my load.)

Thanks for sticking with me through this heavy post! 
What tricks do you use to pack a personal item?

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