Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Menorah

Okay, don't tell anybody. But, despite what my face says in the picture below, Hanukkah is undoubtedly my favorite holiday in the Jewish Calendar.

I know my love for the festival of lights started at an early age, but it's hard to pinpoint the reason. It might have been because Hanukkah meant Christmas lights decorated the streets, snowflakes covered the ground, and jolly singing filled the air. It also might have been because I grew up receiving eight, pretty bomb and spectacular (in every sense of the word) days of presents, while my friends only lived through one. (I recall opening up three American Girl Dolls one year; three.) 

Or maybe it was the food. Although I grew up well accustomed to sufganiyot, latkes & gelt, I was convinced until ninth grade that all Jewish families kicked off the first night with a festive Hanukkah dinner at McDonald's. Year after year, my mom told us about how the oil used in the french fries and chicken nuggets and reminds us of the story of Hanukkah. (Important article takeaway: My mother is fantastic.)  

There are plenty of reasons why Hanukkah started out as my favorite holiday, however it remains my favorite today for reasons more identified. Hanukkah is a special time for my family to be together and celebrate our love for one another and our Judaism. Lighting the Menorah is such a special time to me. It is a ritual that remains the same each year, but each Shamash you light feels as memorable as your first.

To this day, one of the greatest triumphs in the Donohue household is being selected by my mom to light the Hanukkah candles.  

I have always been proud to be Jewish. After coming to college, I have learned that if I am not and if I don't savor the holidays, nobody else will. Hanukkah is one of those times I can appreciate what it means to be me and share time with the ones I love the most. 

My mom still wraps eight presents for me. This year, one night was a page full of Hanukkah nail decals. By far the coolest nail accessory spotted all year! 

Although I have had my blog since May, I am still getting into the groove of posting on a consistent basis. I would never forgive myself if I did not make an effort to post a Happy Hanukkah (even if it is belated) to all my friends who celebrate! 

Chag Urim Sameach! 

Friday, November 29, 2013

4 Step Guide To Working Through The Holidays

This holiday season I will spend most of my time at Macy's to earn some extra cash for next semester! Although I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority, I know there is still a strong group of money-savvy ladies who could use advice for how to navigate the already stressful holiday season with a job.

Work During The Holidays

And so, for those of you who start working in December, the following are four of my tips and tricks to smooth sailing.

1. One's Company, Two's A Crowd And Three's A Party

Or in our case, one can be a party. 

Best friend and sister mani/pedi date at Modern Nails Salon in Champaign, Illinois

In most seasonal jobs you are serving people 24/7. It can be extremely rewarding to add some holiday cheer to each customer, but doing so throughout the day is also draining. As much as you want to drive straight home without passing go, collecting $200, checking before you back out or acknowledging your neighbor down the street - resist all urges to spend time outside of work in solitude. For some of you that could be a walk in the park, but don't feel alone if it is more difficult. But here is why it is important: if you are working over the holidays, the time you can spend with the ones who matter is already limited so it is imperative that you get the most out of your extra time. Go to the nail salon with your best friend, stay up an extra hour to have a glass of wine while watching Elf and I don't care if you want your afternoon nap -  play Apples to Apples with your cousins. These are small tasks, but they make a huge difference when you return back to work. It reminds you that although it is your job to serve others, there are people waiting for you to come home who really care about you!

2. Break During Break.

Alpha Phi sister Claire Wallace does Black Friday the right way

On the other hand, when you are given a break during your work schedule. TAKE IT. I'm not kidding. This does NOT mean head on over to Forever 21 to buy this week's knick knack no matter how appealing the white rabbit dish might be. Nor does this mean spending next week's entire pay check on buy one get one half off sweaters from Gap (I say this lovingly and from experience.) This means go to the food court. And. Sit. On. Your. Butt. Who cares if it is 10 O'Clock and you are getting an orange chicken bowl from Panda Express? You've been helping on your feet since 5 AM and the wonderful world of retail it's lunchtime.

Another key break time pastime? Reading that book you bought way back in September and  haven't had time to crack open yet! Whether you prefer Jane Austen, E. L. James, or InStyle Mag this is your time to relax! So use it!

3. Make Like Kindergarten & Make Some Friends. 

One of the most unique and my favorite part about retail is the camaraderie between associates.  On an average weekend, there are few people in the world I can be with for 9 hours straight, let alone while suffering through foot pains, customer complaints and high-traffic tsunamis. Your associates are those few people. It's most likely because you suffer together and succeed together, so be open! Connect with coworkers and make some new friends, you will probably get to know people you never would otherwise. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have someone who will cover your department for ten minutes so you can use the bathroom!

4. Caffeinate. 

Need I say more?

Black Friday selfie? Necessary. 

For my fellow, fearless retail mavens feel free to add tips in your comments below!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The School Planner

For my sister and me, finding the perfect planner is as essential to starting fall semester as finding the most flattering Victoria's Secret bathing suit is to the start of pool season. As it should be. In a way, finding the right planner can either make or break your sanity for the next year. You might think it an overstatement, but after years of trial and error I have found that being able to visualize and plan out days, weeks and months is a key strategy for productivity.

This year, I am happy to report that I have found my perfect planner and I would love to share it with all of you incase it can help shorten your search.

Introducing my brand new 2013-2014 Erin Condren planner! (complete with bows & personalization)

Adorable packaging

Fresh out of the box!

That's me! I chose the bow design, but on Erin Condren's website there are a ton more to choose from. You can even personalize the cover with pictures of friends and family!

First page gives space for birthdays/anniversary's so you'll never forget the important ones.

Next page gives the full year layout

The start of each month includes a large monthly layout, with important holidays included. There's also an inspirational quote at the top for those days we need an extra lift and on the side of the month there is a column for notes.

I LOVE this layout! Every week is divided Monday through Sunday and every day is divided up into morning, day and night. This allows you to plan the day out so much easier then traditional planners, it also has the perfect amount of space so that you won't run out of room. On the left-hand side there is a column for your weekly goals so you can pick something to work on each week. There's even a healthy living column at the bottom of each week where you can jot down things like meal plans, exercise plans and other thoughts.

At the back there are three pages of stickers that you can use on birthday's, to remind your of hair/doctor appointments and more!

There's also a pouch, perfect for storing pens, that includes more personalized stickers.

Visit Erin Condren's website to see more at

Do you have any planners you swear by? Fill me in!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Finally, Summertime & Awesome Giveaway!

Happy Summer everyone! 

I have to admit I was a little surprised Friday, to open Yahoo and find out that it was the first day of summer. Not that I'm not completely and totally enthused. I use almost any excuse to turn an ordinary day into a celebration, but my days have been plenty sunny, bright, AND HOT since school got out in May. 

But the announcement of summer's official start  served as a little restart in my brain. It's almost a signal to appreciate the fun things that happen in summer like barbeques, beach days, ice cream, Victoria's Secret swim suit sale  (best time of the year!) and tan lines. I am plenty busy this summer with two summer classes, grad school studying, a job and an internship that sometimes I forget to just slow down and enjoy the little things like the wonderful summer sun. So here's to summer! 

Some of my current, favorite summer items: 

Hello, Summer

Another amazing thing about summer is the freedom to cook whenever and try new recipes.

With that said, one of my favorite bloggers Whitney of Sometimes, Always, Never, is giving away a brand new Calphalon Convection Oven that retails at $199! These ovens are amazing because they preheat within minutes, are so easy to use and (most importantly) are big enough to cook a full cookie sheet!

From now until next Friday, June 28th, for every $5 you donate to her Africa campaign, you'll be entered in a raffle to win! The money also goes to an awesome cause because it helps send her to Africa!

There are a few more ways to enter like mentioning @wbiber when you tweet a link to the giveaway and posting a link on Facebook! 

It's super simple, so click on this link to enter and visit Whitney's blog :) 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Intern Outfit

This is my first summer with an internship! 

Throughout the school year I have been taught how to interview, how to prioritize, how to give presentations to clients and a whole long list of things that lead to success at an internship. The just of all this information, is basically to work your absolute hardest and make great impressions in the company. 

However to me, the key to making a great impression, starts with a stand-out great outfit! 

With that, I have had so much fun putting together the perfect intern outfits this summer. It's been strange going into a store and staying away from impulse swim suits or crop top buys and sticking to office friendly attire instead. Lucky for me, my internship is pretty lenient on what is appropriate and it's allowed me to have had so much fun playing around with patterns, jewelry, skirts and flats

Let me know what you think of the first outfit I wore to the office (my beautiful sister and live-in dress up doll Sarah is modeling *thanks again sis*) 


Monday, June 10, 2013

The Ultimate Friendship Bracelet

Lily and Laura

I used to envy those girls with the one and only, can't live without, been together since diaper, no questions asked, future maid-of-honor, type of best friend. Some of you may know exactly what I'm talking about because you have that friend yourself, and can name her instantly If that's true then that's so awesome and truly special. But since growing up my family moved around every two years up, that role had usually been filled by the time I came around. Although I always had many close friends, sometimes I felt that my relationships weren't as special as the others because of some idyllic picture I had of two best friend babies with bottles, probably goo goo-ing over who knows what because babies can't even talk. 

Summer after 7th grade all that changed. 

I met who is now, my best friend and more. Although we didn't know each other straight outta the womb, I could not be more lucky to have a talk on the phone for six straight hours, teach you how to do laundry, discuss One Tree Hill, bike ridin', late night walkin', partner in crime type of best friend! More importantly then all of that, my best friend and I are unconditionally there for one another.

Summer '11 Leah and me repping our colleges!
Step by step tutorial here!

Although her family moved away summer after Sophomore year of high school to Texas, Leah remains a sense of sanity for me. Periodic phone calls, Skype sessions and letters are common, but last winter break I got to fly and visit her at her Texas A&M Campus. 

When we're together we usually try and get something matching (typical BFF move) and this time we bought Lily and Laura bracelets

These bracelets are amazing, not only because they come in any color imaginable and act as the perfect accessory to any outfit. They also make the best gifts because the money made from these bracelets go to improve the quality of life for woman in Nepal who make them.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Happy Weekend!

Happy Saturday everyone!

Today is my sister's grad party which means finding a fun put together outfit to wear, that won't leave me dying after a couple Volleyball rounds. I realized quick that my dress options weren't going to cut it, so I decided to mix and match an outfit of stripes and lace for the occasion!

Take a look here:

Graduation Party Style

Let me know what you think! What are your weekend plans? 



Friday, June 7, 2013

Hot Summer Reads

Every since I can remember, creating a summer reading list has been among my favorite traditions.

As a kid I tended go a little overboard and even start collecting titles mid-January. While the longest list most of my friends kept were for the big red guy in December, I saved my excitement for when I would have an three-whole long summer months to read whatever I wanted.

Ever since stumbling on a sight called,  compiling a list that has the perfect mixture of pool side chic lit and Austen satisfying descriptions has been made much, much easier.

Good Reads is amazing because it's basically exactly like Facebook, but for books. Each book has its' own profile where you can add it to your already read ("friend"), To-read ("like") of any other bookshelf category you want to create. For book-crazed fans it's like Facebook Stalking, taken to the greatest and best possible level.

Take a look at a few of my to-read books for this summer!

Title: The Group
Author: Mary McCarthy

I've been told it's like Sex and the City, just set in the 1930's! Follows the lives of a clique of friends who went to Vassar College who have to transition into the working world in New York City. Yes, yes & yes! 

Title: One True Thing
Author: Anna Quindlen

I had to get this book for the sole reason that Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite essayists. She has a quote that I have on a sticky note in my room, that says, "The one thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself." This book is based on a mother-daughter relationship. The daughter puts her career on hold in order to care for her mother who was diagnosed with cancer. It reveals that the notions she held about her parents as a child, weren't what they seemed. 

Title: A Total Waste of Makeup
Author: Kim Gruenenfelder

Definitely classified as a pool-read. Charlie has a pretty great life in Los Angeles with an awesome house, job and friends. One thing that isn't so awesome is that she's 30, single and the maid of honor at her younger sister's wedding. Looks like a fun and quick, laugh-out-loud read! 

Title: No Angel
Author: Penny Vincenzi

For those who love tackling a thick novel, this is the book for you! British Housekeeping wrote, "an absorbing page-turner, packed wtih believable characters and satisfyingly extreme villians, eccentrics, and manipulators." 

Title: Where We Belong
Author: Emily Giffin

After falling in love with Giffin's 2008 novel, Love The One You're With I have tried to stay current with her newest books. This one was released last summer and while I haven't gotten the chance to read it yet it's going to be a pool bag necessity!  

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeline L'Engle

Throwback! Who didn't read this as a kid? If you haven't revisited some of your childhood favorites in a while I highly recommend it. Each summer my list has at least one or two, last summer it was The BFG and this summer I decided to travel through the tesseract with Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin O'Keefe! 

What are some of your picks for summer must-reads?