Friday, November 30, 2012

High Five for Friday



This week has felt especially long, yes?

My co-workers and I were saying that surely Thanksgiving wasn't just last week!




1. I loved being reunited with so many of my closest girlfriends.  One lives in LA, and another has been in Thailand for over a year, so all being together was so special.
2. No better way to end a weekend than making s'mores and enjoying a warm fire with your best friends. 
3. Champagne and Cosmo magazine.  My guilty indulgences!
4. I needed this reminder to start my day. So much to be thankful for, always! 
5. One of the perks of being an event planner= leftover food.  Really good food.  Like this amazing cake. So moist.  (Apologies if you hate that word, it was just THAT good!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's OK Thursday

Linking up for the first time with It's OK Thursday!
Hey, it's OK...
To substitute chips & dips and leftover party snacks for dinner once in awhile.
That I pushed the snooze button on my alarm for over an hour this morning. 
To not do laundry for over two weeks.  That's why I have a lot of clothes, right?!
Not to start Christmas shopping until December 1.
That watching Teen Mom 2 makes me feel better about my own life decisions.
What's OK with you this week?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Job Searching and Finding Success in "The Real World"


College goes by really fast. One minute you're a freshman, getting settled, making friends, studying for finals, and the next thing you know, you're thrown into this big scary place called "the real world."

I've only been out of college for two and a half years, so I by no means am an expert on this real world.  But, I cannot even tell you how much I have learned in this short amount of time. I've made great strides, both professionally and personally, and I recently shared the below advice with the ladies who are seniors in my college sorority.  Hopefully it will be helpful for you, or someone in your life, too!  

While job searching:
  • Maintain your network--It is truly about who you know.  Stay in touch with your former employers/intern supervisors.  Even if they cannot hire you, maybe someone they know can. If you've already gotten your foot in the door and proven yourself, they will feel confident in bringing you on as an employee after your graduate.  This I know firsthand-- I am very blessed that my last college internship led to the full-time position I'm still in today. 
  • Spend some time self-reflecting.  What is your dream job? What are the steps it will take to get there, and how can you start achieving that dream with your first position? 
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to fit the position for which you're applying.  If a job posting outlines certain qualifications or ideal characteristics, be sure to show through your experiences how you meet their needs. No two jobs or organizations are exactly the same, so don't submit the exact same cover letter.  
  • Practice interview skills, and do your research.  Be prepared to answer questions about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, why they should choose you over another candidate, etc. Spend time on the organization's website and talk to anyone you know who works for them-- you'll want to have as much knowledge about the company/organization's mission, objectives, and latest developments as possible before going into the interview.  When you have an understanding of what they're trying to accomplish and are serious about wanting to be part of it, a potential employer will see that you've taken the time to prepare and are enthusiastic-- not just adding this to a long list of interviews. 
  • Keep an open mind.  Your first job may not be exactly what you pictured, but you don't have to stay in that position forever.  You have to start somewhere. The more experience you gain, the more opportunities you'll have to ultimately wind up where you truly want to be. 
  • Stay positive.  You will find something. And if you've had a challenging time finding that first job, you'll be even more grateful when you finally land it!
And when you do land your first job:
  • Be a sponge.  Listen and watch those around you, and try to take in as much information as possible. Determine the company/organization's culture, and find your place within it.  Observe how your co-workers and superiors approach their work, and model your own actions based on their successes and failures.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Obviously, don't waste valuable time bringing up things that you can Google or ask a teammate about offline, but your boss will hopefully appreciate that you are trying to see the big picture and understand their goals.  Ask them to clarify their vision, and be ready with ideas about how you can help achieve it. 
  • Realize that you are going to make mistakes.  Everyone does.  Own up to them, and learn from them moving forward. 
  • Remember to maintain balance.  Work hard, but do not ever let your job take over your life.  You have to save plenty of time for faith, family, friends, hobbies, and just time for you.   
One final secret: Learning and growing is a life-long process.  You will never have your entire life all figured out, and unfortunately, things won't always go according to plan.  But, I truly believe that God put each of us on this earth for a purpose and that we can all do something great with our lives. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


After the family festivities of Thanksgiving Thursday were finished, my roommate and I hosted our first big shindig at our new place- Friendsgiving

We had lots of friends in town from all over the world (literally, Los Angeles to Thailand), not to mention all of our fabulous friends here, so we decided it was the perfect time for a party. 

Inviting our friends was a piece of cake thanks to Paperless Post.  

We re-configured our dining room (including raising the light fixture!) for our food and beverage set-up. 

All of the food was simple- no utensils required once your plate was loaded.  Whole Foods has a great choice cheese and cracker tray- yummy, pretty display, no fuss.  We made several simple Longaberger dips (you MUST try the white chocolate amaretto cheeseball and spiced pumpkin dip) and Bagel Bites (so easy, and always disappear fast), and added Lays & spinach dip and some homemade baked goods to give our guests a nice mix of sweet and salty.  

Placards (homemade with index cards and a Sharpie) in my roomie's lovely handwriting let guests know what they were tasting:

Beverages were red and white wine, and beer (in a large bucket of ice on the ground for easy serving). Plenty of soda and water too.   

We found these fun wine glass markers at Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  Funny, even if you {hopefully} don't become any of these things!

And of course, no table is complete without a pretty floral arrangement

We had Pandora pop music playing in the background, and the TV muted with college football on... of course the boys couldn't miss a good game!

Roomie and some of her good friends from high school

High school loves

Best college girlfriends
I have to say, it was a success! Good thing we love being hostesses.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Social: 4

Sunday Social

Linking up for Sunday Social!

1. Name 4 jobs you've had in your life: Babysitter, Copy Editor, Child Care Worker, Special Events Associate

2. Name 4 movies you could watch over and over: Mean Girls, My Best Friend's Wedding, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Legally Blonde
{I promise I like more than just chick flicks-- but for me to watch a movie over and over, it has to be happy!}

3. Name 4 places you have lived: Cedar Hill, Coppell, Fort Worth, Dallas
{haven't ventured too far away, and right now I'm okay with that!}

4. Name 4 of your favorite foods: Sushi, pizza, chips & salsa, chocolate

5. Name 4 things you always carry with you: iPhone, wallet, Chapstick, keys

6. Name 4 places you have been on vacation: London, Paris, New York City, Chicago

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Family, food, and football.  What more can you ask for on Thanksgiving?! 

I am blessed beyond measure with a sweet, fun, and loving family.  We enjoyed a delicious, traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with chocolate pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.  (Yes, just as sinfully delicious as it sounds!)

And, TCU was victorious over UT! Completed my Thanksgiving perfectly. 

Sister and I always have a photoshoot on Thanksgiving.  It's tradition.

A few throwbacks:

2008.... and of course we had to get Jager involved!


And my favorite from this year:

I'm continuing this turkey day break by playing with friends-- more about that on Monday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

High Five for Friday






1) Perfect fall color for my mani/pedi pampering
2) Annual sister photo shoot on Thanksgiving.  So much to be thankful for!
3) Read this from Taylor Swift in my Cosmo magazine (my guilty pleasure), and couldn't agree more. All the success and beautiful things in life mean nothing if you don't have anyone to share them with!
4) TCU beating UT for the first time in Austin since 1967 was the best Thanksgiving present! SO proud to be a Horned Frog!
5) You're never too old to come home for some of mom's cooking. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hello, Thanksgiving Break!

I'm taking a half day at work today and will get the next four and a half days off.  Hallelujah!

It didn't hit me until yesterday how ready I am for a break.  I love my full life, but a lot has happened the past few months, and I realized I haven't taken a single vacation/sick day since going out of town for my Grandpa's funeral in August.  Whew!  

Sometimes you just need a little rest and respite, which is what I have planned for the next few days.  Along with family bonding time, eating turkey and cheering on the Horned Frogs against the Longhorns, and spending time with friends and hosting a "Friendsgiving" party.  And going to see the final Twilight installment with my sister.  Don't judge us!

What are you going to do with your Thanksgiving Break? {I hope you all get some time off!} 

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." -Psalm 100:4-5

Monday, November 19, 2012

Girly Weekend

What a fun weekend. I'm a firm believer that you should work hard, but also play hard. I think as adults, sometimes we forget that we need to have fun!

Friday night was spent at a Mary Kay party at my friend's apartment with her fun mom, who showed us all kinds of tips and tricks. I'm definitely going to be tweaking my make-up routine. Who knew lip liner was so effective?!

Pretty lights at Shops at Legacy!
Since we were all dolled up, we decided to go out.  My friend lives at the Shops at Legacy, so we walked over to Taco Diner for Tex-Mex and Mambo Taxis.  

Hot mamacitas!

I continued the fun with girlfriends on Saturday- shopping and mani/pedis!

Sunday was actually quite productive, as I had hoped it would be.  Church and shopping (more on that later), followed by grocery shopping, baking delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and cleaning the apartment.  What more could I ask out of a weekend?!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin and chocolate in the same cookie? Yes please!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet
  • Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper
*Baking tip: Get out all of your ingredients before you start mixing anything.  Then you won't have to go hunting for specific items, and you'll make sure you don't leave anything out!


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. 
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. 

Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. 

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.
Makes approximately 60 cookies.
Recipe from
Enjoy! : )

Sunday Social: Thanksgiving

Sunday Social

First and foremost, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior.  Without His grace and salvation, I would have none of these other blessings to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my tight-knit family.  My parents are still happily married, and have been a united team in my life from Day 1.  My little sister is a beautiful, smart, talented, sweet young woman, and I am thankful that we continue to grow closer as we get older.

And I can't forget our family pet, Jager.  We love our gentle giant!

I am thankful for an amazing circle of friends across the country, and even around the world.  Whether I met them in high school, at TCU, or even after college, I love them all.

I am thankful for a meaningful job that has taught me so much professionally and personally about what I am meant to do with my life.  I am grateful to further a cause that's much bigger than myself and helps so many... and I've met some incredible people along the way.

I am thankful for an apartment to call my own, and to have the stability to pay for it and everything I truly need-- a car, clothes, food, etc.  So many luxuries that can so easily be taken for granted.

And I'm thankful for the little joys in life- Starbucks, chocolate, good music, movies, etc.

I have SO much to be thankful for!

Happy week of Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful for:
a co-worker who emailed me late last night, after he had seen me leaving our parking lot, to say that my car's headlight looked burned out. He was right, and I would have had no idea otherwise!
the nice man at Auto Zone who then installed my new headlight free of charge this morning.
cooler temperatures that are sticking around. Transition weather is always a wardobe challenge!
a roommate that I can come home to and share about the challenges and happiness of our days.
friends that you can re-connect with no matter how long it's been since you have seen them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stripes & Statement Necklaces, + Dry Bar

I'm having a fashion love affair with stripes these days.  My new striped sweater dress will be worn many times now that it's finally staying chilly in Dallas, and I found the perfect "dual purpose" striped shirt-- great with dress pants and heels for the office, or paired with jeans and flats for the weekend.

And, of course, I spotted this necklace and had to add it to my collection.  I loved it with this top, and plan to put it with a black sweater, too... lots of options with this one!

How fun is this Kate Spade statement necklace, in navy or that pretty pinky/purple? And this striped tee is the perfect fall color, and I wish I were daring enough to pull off this combo of yellow pants and navy striped knit cowl-neck top

And, let's not forget one more thing- if you aren't already familiar with it, I'd like to introduce you to Dry Bar.  I heard all about it when it first opened, but had never experienced it for myself. Until yesterday.

Dry Bar is a blow dry bar.  No hair cuts, no color, just fabulous blowouts from their "look book"-- everything from straight to curly to updos. Did I mention that you can order a cocktail, too?  

I was lucky enough to join other ladies on the Advisory Boards of several young professionals' organizations, including the one that I help coordinate as part of my job, for a Dry Bar party at their new NorthPark Center location! I got a fabulous hairstyle while sipping champagne, watching a movie, and chatting with friends... every girl's dream!

The finished product!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100 Posts!

This is my 100th blog post!

When I started it during my senior year of college, it was mainly to share some of the work from my Creative Writing class and to document my thoughts on the last semester of what I was told were "the best four years of your life."

I've shared ideas and inspiration, posted about my travels and adventures, talked about my faith journey, and  used this to just record my thoughts and hopes for the future.  I love blogging and have been feeling more inspired than ever lately!

A few favorite Just Julie posts:
"Blue": My poetry; I loved my Creative Writing teacher because he truly inspired me to continue writing for fun!
"U.S. Travels": I love to travel and have multiple potential trips in my head.  Time for a little getaway!
"Adult Truths": Not my own writing, but good stuff, and funny!
"The Art of Contentment": On one of the best sermons I have ever heard. I need to always remember "better than I deserve."
"Windblown in the Windy City: Chicago 2012": My adventures in a fun city with a great friend- hopefully the beginning of an annual tradition!
"A Little Spice": Life should never be boring!

Thanks for following along-- here's to much more writing, reading, and sharing! : )

Monday, November 12, 2012

Topknots & Curls

Girly as I am, I have never been good at styling hair.  I blame this partially on the fact that I have difficult hair, but it's probably also that I just don't have a knack for it.

My hair is pretty long these days, so I've recently been experimenting with it and trying to improve my styling skills beyond my daily 'do- straightened and parted on the right side.  And the occasional Snooki-inspired poof or classic low ponytail.

My friend Heather attempted to teach me how to do a topknot.

Her finished product was quite lovely:

The trick, she said, is making it high and tight.  

To create your own:
1. Flip your head over and gather your hair like you're doing a high, '80s style ponytail. It's okay if it's a little messy/there are bumps; you don't want to end up looking too ballerina. 
2. Wrap a hair tie nice and tight, as many times as it will go around.
3. Begin wrapping your hair around the top of your head clockwise, bobby pinning sections as you go. If you have layers, this part might be tricky. You may also need to pin underneath to keep the hair up in the bun.
4. Plenty of hairspray to keep everything in place.

Armed with Heather's lesson, I attempted my own top knot.  I had trouble getting it high enough, so I finally settled for an alternative bun.  I was pleased with the finished product-- there are many variations on this style! I haven't worn it to work yet, but maybe one of these days.

I've also been experimenting with my curling iron.  My hair is naturally straight as a stick and does not like to hold a curl.  If it's a humid day, forget it.  I'd like to achieve both the "loose, soft waves" look, as well as the tight Shirley Temple-style ringlets. I think part of the problem is my long hair weighing down the curls?  I haven't quite mastered it yet, but I'm making progress. 

Do you use a curling iron, straightener, or one of those rods to get your curls? What tips do you have for hair curling, topknot creating, or other fun hair styles? I'd love to hear them!