Back in the Saddle

Or: Yeaaaaah, Buddy: Kicking Off My Quarter Life Crisis

So, my dear non-existent readers, the prodigal writer returns. Back, and more full of mid-twenties angst, student loan debt, overpriced lattes, and red wine than ever.


Let’s do this.

Times like this call for a quick life catch up, just so we all get the full effect of what we’re dealing with here, before I jump into a series of what’s likely to be poorly executed recipes, attempts at DIY, and botched travel blogs.

Since last we spoke in March 2015…

  • I took an amazing marketing job at a winery – never has there been a better fit
  • I moved home for a hot minute to save for grad school – suffice it to say, this was an excellent decision, yet not one I intend on repeating
  • I started grad school – more on this, probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made
  • I moved out of the house, and into an apartment with A and Gwen
  • I took a life changing week and a half long trip to Milan for exploring and international business workshops through my MBA program – see grad school notes
  • Que Quarter Life Crisis, introspection and a LOT of wondering what I want out of life (and how to get it, once I figure it out)
  • A & I decided to go our separate ways
  • I bought a lot of self help books and wine, started looking for a very patient therapist, and started my “before I’m 30” list

SO….there’s that.

The ins and outs of my breakup are between A & I, but I will say that he’s a wonderful human being in every way, and I think we both have a lot of room to grow and learn.

How do I even move forward with this? 

Basically, expect no schedule, posts of varying frequency and quality, and a complete hot mess.

But I’m back, you beautiful SOBs.






Accidental Kitty Cat Desk Photoshoot

Or: Hold still, just right there, just one more shot, oh no, wait go back, oh ugh why can’t you understand me?!? MEOW MEOW FREAKING MEOW. 

Getting this camera has really changed the nature of my relationship between my cat and I. 

This past Sunday, I woke up at an ungodly hour (because why not) and took a stab at updating my personal website (full of all sorts of professional/academic nuggets about me) which hadn’t really been updated in a while.

I’ve been told by about every manager I’ve ever had, that keeping an updated resume/personal website, is the best favor that you can do for yourself, so I figured why not! Let’s throw future Shelby a softball. (Don’t worry, I’m getting to the cat tie-in).


Whilst perusing other marketing/social media/copywriting type professional websites, I noticed a running motif that I really loved — some sort of personal design touch. And though, of course, my site is built on the lovely WordPress utilizing an available theme (much like my blog, you lucky readers, you), I still saw a great opportunity to add a little personal touch with a personally crafted pseudo stock photo-esque headline image. Plus, it gave me the chance to practice some of my photography skills, and show them off on my site! (You see where I’m going with this don’t you…). 

I grabbed a favorite mug, cleared off my desk, and placed just my MacBook Air, and my glasses on it — you know, for creativity and such. Then, I started taking a few shots.


Pretty good, so far — getting the keyboard in was key (HA) along with my friendly little hello sunshine mug – brightening up the shot, and giving it that little bit of interesting/young professional element.

You know, lest anyone forget I’m a young professional in marketing. This really hammers it home.

I liked the photo above very much, but thought maybe adjusting the angle would help?


Of course at that exact moment that I felt I may have found the best angle, Gwen promptly sought to discover the mysteries of the coffee mug.


Spoiler alert, little one — it’s empty.

I sent these images to my photographer mother – thinking she might laugh and commiserate about the search for the perfect shot. And she suggested something so brilliant. So amazing. I thought, clearly this is where I get it from.

She said…why don’t you try to include the cat in the final shot?

I told you. Mind. Blown.

So I waited…rather impatiently, until Gwen jumped back up and sat next to my laptop on the desk (you know, for that casual/candid style). And that’s when I made my move!

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 10.22.39 PM

See early comments regarding cat wrangling


I can’t deny that she’s an awfully cute little cat, and I got a little distracted taking pictures of her sweet little face! BUT, in the end, I shot the perfect photo (below), did a little Photoshop magic, and voilà!


The perfect headline photo — shows off my favorite writing companion, location and caffeine container (sold @ Old Navy, in store only – sorry online shoppers!). AND, in the final web edits, I added my personal logo and first/last name right square in the middle of the image. It fit perfectly!

It just goes to show you that your favorite little distractions can be the sweetest little surprise!

And also, that my mother is brilliant — but we already knew that.

Oh! And after many hours of editing, my personal website/portfolio came out great. Thanks for asking…





I’m a Professional I Swear

Or How to Pack like a G.A.W for a Short Business Trip.

darlings. I’ve been on an adventure. a magnificent adventure.

Last week I went on my first business trip, and while on the outside I was like this when I found out:


On the inside I was like this:


Anyways, fairly recently, I started an amazing job at a regional grocery company in their marketing department. I’m so ridiculously excited about everything that I’ve been able to do with them, and having the opportunity to go on my first business trip was AWESOME. The itinerary was travel (day 1), meeting (day 2), travel (day 3). Quick turn around – but I learned a ton (important for a Poli Sci Major with PR experience working in Marketing) and lots of great progress was made, including getting in some great networking time with our partners. That sounded so generically business-y I can’t even – here have a GIF to make up for it…

Given that I was going to take on one first, I decided to pile them on. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m thoroughly afraid of flying and airplanes. I’ve always talked about getting up the nerve to fly in the emergency exit row, but have never been able to work up the courage. Until Now. It went very well (woo for extra leg room!) although admittedly I didn’t go about keeping my brain calm in the best way. PROTIP: reading Under the Dome by the illustrious Stephen King during takeoff bad idea.**

Of course, like any good 20-something in the 21st century, I wasted no time after I found out that I was going, and checked Pinterest for tips and tricks for packing and traveling. And while I did find lots of great “How to pack all of your worldly possessions in one carry-on” posts (my favorites are pinned on my career and travel boards), I didn’t see much of anything about short term trips! So I figured I’d address this deficiency.


For traveling both ways, I chose outfits that were nicer than what I might normally travel in (sweats–let’s be serious), but still comfortable. I wanted to especially make sure that my “Traveling There” pieces would easily transition to a business casual dinner.


Traveling There (Left): Black and White Striped Top (TJ Maxx),  Dark Wash Jeans (Chelsea Boot Cut, Aeropostale), Boots (American Eagle), Geodesic Necklace (Forever 21). Traveling Home (Right): Burgundy Long Sleeved Tee (Old Navy), Black Skinny Jeans (Old Navy), Nude Flats (Target), Leopard Print Scarf (Aeropostale).


Next, for my meeting attire, I knew it was a business casual meeting environment, but I still wanted to present a professional image (especially as I’m building my career at a new company)…here’s what I came up with.


Meeting: Navy Blue Faux Wrap Top and Grey Slacks (The Limited), Camisole (Aeropostale), Boots (American Eagle), Not Shown: Gray Leather Watch (The Limited)

I also packed a back-up blouse just in case…My only explanation for this is that I change my mind…often. DEAL WITH IT.


But seriously, packing a back up is never a bad idea. Anyways, after the necessary stuff, I dropped in an extra cardigan and plain black tank top for potential usage in a casual dinner situation, which proved helpful!

How does she do it?

Okay so enough of the fashion crap – let’s talk strategy. I have a 21″ spinner carry-on style suitcase that I utilized for this trip. AMPLE space for 3 days. AMPLE, dammit.

Evidently there are all sorts of ways people like to pack pants, some lay them across the top of  their clothes, some lay them on the bottom of the suitcase – I am of the IDGAF party, since most hotels have an iron in the room for last minute fix ups, but folding them in half around the knee and placing them at the bottom of my suitcase worked very well. While I was down there, I packed in my extra blouse as well.


Oooohhhh, Aaaaahhhhh

Next, I added in my meeting top and camisole, extra black tank, red cardigan and long sleeved shirt, and leopard print scarf, as well as unmentionables and my flats. I LOVE the shoe pockets in this suitcase – since I was only packing one pair of shoes, they fit with room, but if you wanted to pack multiple pairs of flats and flip flops, you’d definitely be able to fit those in there as well.


Pack ’em in.


So, next I added in all of my toiletries and other essential stuff …including two of my favorite go-to products.


Downey Wrinkle Release (Travel Sized), Smashbox Camera Ready BB Creme (Light).

Both of these products are seriously awesome. Downey’s Wrinkle Release product helps with slight wrinkles and (bonus) makes your clothes smell fantastically laundry fresh. I usually keep this product in my gym bag at work for a post-workout clothing revival. As far as my makeup routine is concerned, I don’t know enough or wear it consistently enough to merit much more than saying, I love Smashbox’s BB Creme. You can use it as a primer, a foundation or a concealer–my favorite is for dark circles/bags under my eyes. DISCLAIMER: Downey Wrinkle Release is not going to iron your crumpled up business attire for you, nor will the Smashbox BB Creme make you look like this:



Anyways, I packed a bunch of boring stuff – face wash, hair brushes, deodorant, etc. PROTIP: don’t forget your 3-1-1 compliant quart-sized bag for liquids under 3 oz if you’re carrying on your luggage. If you have no idea what I’m talking about GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Click here for TSA approved messaging.

Finally, and honestly, nearly most importantly–don’t forget your Batman jammies…..THEY GIVE YOU SUPER POWERS FOR SUPER BUSINESS.


Everything fit just perfectly in my carry-on with plenty of room to spare for my boots on the way home, and kitschy airport souvenirs. (I carried on my black peacoat (Forever 21) as we were traveling to a brisk climate).

Zip it all up and get feline approval…



And you’re ready to flyyyyyyyy.

What are your favorite travel tips or products?? Let me know below!

Travel safely, lovelies,


**Despite the levity of this post, let’s please send positive thoughts and love to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 folks and their loved ones. Check your favorite news site, or click here for regular news updates.