Remove Carpet from Stairs to Stain

Here’s a quick post recapping my carpet removal adventures before I forget the entire process. Let’s get right to the point, what you are actually after; the before and after.

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Now that that’s over with, more detail. I’ve had my eye on this project for some time. The stairs are the heart of our home. In our little house, you can see the living room and the kitchen from the stairs, all while yelling up them to anyone who may be in the bedrooms. Plus it’s one of the dogs’ absolute favorite hang out spots so we spend a lot of time on them. And you can only imagine the amount of dog hair and dusts these stairs have accrued. I’ve been wanting to rip of the carpet for ages and last Friday evening, I impulsively followed through after spending the ten minute car riding from a restaurant researching what other bloggers have done. One of the pieces of advice given was that if you have rounded caps on your stairs, you may actually have hardwood underneath and from memory, I thought we did. So when I arrived home, staple gun in hand just in case there was only plywood, I peeled back a piece of carpet with a pair of needle nose pliers.

 

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See how the stairs have that rounded little lip on the tread? That’s how I knew there might be some sort of flooring under there instead of just plywood. 955C55D4-F067-4023-8CBE-1F3A9B146155

 

I continued pulling up the carpeting using some combination of the a razor blade to cut the carpet away from the way, the needle nose pliers to tug with to avoid staples, and a back of the hammer to pull the tacking up.

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Some of the tacking was particularly stuck so I wedged a flat head screw driver under it and tapped with the hammer.

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The bottom portion of the stairs were individually done but once I got to the top, it was all one piece so I started from the top and ripped all the way down. In total, it took about 4 hours to pull up all of the carpet from start to finish because I had to be extra specially careful about picking up all of the nails after each step because of the pups. I wasn’t sure how long this would take me so I removed almost all the nails in one fell swoop. 62385570-F355-4F79-AC4F-B9359CC00872

Remus, my trusty night guard and diy partner in crime, manned the project from his usual spot at the top of the stairs well into the night. Looking at the stairs, there is clearly over spray on the baseboard and on the stairs. Knowing I wanted to stain the steps, I picked up this stripper that a colleague at work recommended. It felt less toxic than any stripper I’ve used before and had a great citrus scent. Would absolutely recommend if you have pets or small children because I didn’t feel like I was gagging them with this product especially since Remus insists on sitting so close to the work zones.

20FDD455-FA77-4655-8077-E63E0FB2DB1E I started my way at the bottom painting each stair with a cheap chip brush with a heavy hand and worked my way right to bed. It can be left on for 24 hours so I left it over night. 5A7DF75A-9D6C-4EB9-A1ED-3BAE9589864B

The next morning I scraped it off relatively easily and wipe up the remaining ashy coating with mineral spirits that I had lying around as recommended by the product label. I then started patching up the stairs with wood filler and began painting the backs of the stairs white after it dried.

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I sanded by hand with a 300 and 800 grit. It’s just what I had on hand, there was no particular rhyme or reason. I am really glad though that I sanded by hand because there was a lot of staples that I missed. People aren’t joking when they say it feels like a million staples. Thankfully most of them were against the backs of the stairs and underneath the rounded part of the tread.

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After painting the backs white, I repeated the process of painting my way up to the tops of the step only this time with stain. I used a thin coat and painted my way up around 9pm. It takes at least 6 hours for stain to dry to the touch which was fine because we didn’t come downstairs until around 6 am the next morning. This is the first look of the stain with no rubbing or smudging off.

170BA1EA-9244-4866-9CEA-173CAD69ED79I gave it a second coat, smudging this time and making my way to the top of the stairs for another night. The next morning I pulled out the caulk gun to touch up the edge. See the next two pictures from the difference between before caulk and after.

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See how the edges are all filled in. Also notice how light the stairs are now after the smudging process. I am thinking of giving them another coat and leaving it but I actually quite like the patterns that have settled in here. Plus I am tired of dealing with the stairs. Later on this week I will go in and do more touch ups like to the wall where it meets the stairs but I want to wait to figure out what color I want to paint this hallway. What ever color I paint will wrap around the entire downstairs and the upstairs hallway because there’s no true break in the walls. So I want to choose wisely. In the mean time, I am just going to enjoy this “completed” project.

Nantucket The Roberts Collection

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We stayed at the Roberts Collection earlier this summer for the second week in June. We lucked into staying right before the hustle and bustle really started. Which means we missed both the people and the hydrangeas. We stayed in a sweet little king size room in the Gate House. The room itself was small but with the Roberts Collection being perfect placed in town, we spent very little time in it.

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DD408001-6191-41FB-A55B-A0C310A6B9F6915C6CB3-5C33-47F3-B85E-E29EB51C8BA3C0FB6657-0D24-4F16-9526-878BCB08428E7F7FF8EC-BAAA-4EDE-9621-B0AAA37758D6B8DD35C4-9C9B-400B-A39C-52C804777BC6It really is a shame we missed the hydrangeas. We hear they are gorgeous on this property. Have you stayed at the Roberts Collection? If not, where do you recommend?

Networking When You Have No Network

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Let’s face it; the best way to get a job is by networking. According to a recent ABC report 80% of jobs are landed by networking. Which means that only 20% of jobs are filled by the countless online job applications you have been slaving away at day and night while you eat Ramen noodles that you have been crying into for the last three hours. No? Just me? Fine.

Continue to fill out the online job applications. I know that they are unbearable and I just said that chances are slim but hey, luck favors the prepared. But that can’t be all? Don’t worry it’s not.

People have been telling you to “just get out there and network” since college but what does that honestly even mean? And what are you to do when you discover what it means and realize you have no network or at least not a strong one that you are able to tap into for a job. If you have the privilege of having a strong network and finding a job in the company of a family friend, then congratulations. I am truly very happy for you and this post is not for you. This is for those who are scratching their heads and saying “I don’t know anyone who can give me a job” or for people saying “I want to change industries and have no idea where to even start”. Here are some steps that may help. While I am not the purveyor of all things networking and am a self recognized curmudgeon who doesn’t get out enough, hopefully some of these are a good jumping off point for a lot of you.

  1. Get a LinkedIn. I know, I know you see this advice everywhere. But honestly do it. It’s so much easier to get in the know and have people reach out to you when you already have a completed profile out there in the world. Let me just emphasize for you there. Completed profile. It can be painful to fill these things out to completion but I highly recommend in. In a world where head hunters now scour the internet for talent, it’s important to have a completed profile. Think of it this way, the more accurate information that is there, the more information they can use to find you. Make sure if you choose not to complete the profile or just haven’t gotten the motivation to finish it,  you tailor your headline and include key words in the portions of your profile that you do fill out. While you’re making all of these changes, make sure to turn off your activity broadcasting so that your feed isn’t getting a notification with every single move you make. “Prepfordwife just started a job with….” is a really embarrassing notification when you are in fact searching for a job.
  2. Reach out to a stranger. I mean a real stranger. If you don’t know someone who is hiring, you need to meet some who is hiring and I know that’s hard to do. Especially if you are afraid of inconveniencing people or fear backlash. The trick is to approach it with some semblance of tact and not just approach someone with your hand out. I approached nine people on, you guessed it, LinkedIn, when I was first hunting for a job fresh out of college and eight responded to my query and seven were actually helpful in pushing me forward in my job hunt. The formula I use when reaching out to some one is “Hello Ms. X. My name is Prepfordwife. I saw that you do_____/are looking for ___. I have this particular skill set that lines up with what you need and I would love to get in touch with you further by email or a brief phone call”. Make sure to add a bit of your own personality and only reach out to someone whose needs you can meet. Is someone looking for a graphic designer and you have just completed an amazing internship in graphic design? Awesome, reach out. Is someone looking for a graphic designer but you have absolutely no experience? Less awesome but not the end of the road. Take a day and find some campaigns on the internet. Recreate them with your own vision in mind. Now you at least have a bit of experience to talk to them about. When reaching out to a stranger, the key is to have something to say and not just “Help! I need a job”. Let them know what you can do for them is a much easier way to get your foot in the door.
  3. Find your tribe If there is someone who you know or know of who does what you do, reach out to them. I know it’s hard but I’ve found it’s honestly easier for me to do this with a stranger than it is for me to do this with a friend. I went to this conference and heard this woman speak who had exactly the position that is my end goal in life. I bucked up the courage and sent her an email saying I admire her and what she does and would love to literally be her. I asked if I could take her to lunch and just ask some questions about her life path and trajectory. She said yes and we keep in touch today, four years later. It’s really important to find your folks and then hold on to them. If there is a company in your area that you want to work for, move around their website or LinkedIn and find someone who does what you want to do and invite them for coffee.
  4. Cover letters are magic Cover letters are optional but not really. They are a fantastic opportunity to give someone a taste of who you are without needing to speak with them directly for an hour. Every job that you apply for or every person that you talk to about a job, be sure to have a cover letter ready to send them should the situation arise. Make sure your cover letters are tailored to the job that you are interested in. If you are applying for a law internship, refrain from talking about your retail job unless you are spinning the skills from your retail job in a way that is usable to the law firm. Most importantly, read, reread and reread your cover letter. Step away and reread again. If you have a hard time editing yourself, send it off to a friend who doesn’t mind at least spell checking for you. If the thought of that makes you as nervous as it made me, read it aloud to yourself. It’s much easier to catch mistakes that way. Make sure you are changing things like the name of the company in each letter and the recipients name.
  5. Phone a friend Whenever possible, let your circle know you are interested in a new position. This is particularly useful when you have friends who are in a field that you are (potentially) or even friends who had a similar major to yours in college. I scored my first grown up job through a friend who thought I would be a good fit. That friend often gets a finders fee and you get a job. Win-win. Extend this to people you don’t know just by being yourself, or if yourself is not friendly, being nice. Is there someone on Instagram who does what you want to do (not a blogger, do that work on your own), I mean someone in your field. Have you interacted with this person in a way that shows you are a normal human being who won’t stalk them if they offer you advice? Great. Reach out.
  6. Ask your librarian. I know its 2018 but librarians know everything. They are trained to know everything. If you are looking for help researching a job, go to your public library and ask a librarian.
  7. PROFESSORS! If you were/are in college, ask a professor who knows you well to hook you up with a student who has gone into a field you may be interested in. There is a professor who I was particularly close with in school who has zero problem sending students my way when they need a job. I’ve read so many resumes and edited so many cover letter, its prompted this post. And I do it all without complaints. I love to see the fresh faced little college grads win. If you are close with a particular teacher, professor, lecturer, lab instructor, authority figure, ask them if they may know someone who does *insert blank* here. It’s important that you pick someone who knows you well so they can vouch for your character. If your character has been a little flaky, step it up, my friend. There’s still time to get this thing right. If you are still in school, this is an excellent time to start building a network out of your high school English teacher if you’re in high school, you’re lab instructor if your in college and your once-professor if you’re a college grad.
  8. Twins Choose someone who looks like you. The old saying goes, you can’t be what you don’t see. If you are a woman and you are interested in X career and you see someone doing it? Hit them up. If you want to start a start up and you know it’s hard for women of color, find some who has done it before you and slide into their dms. Sometimes being genuine gets you a long way.
  9. Stay positive I know its hard in a world where rent, medical bills, student loans and everything else are piling up. But you are your most valuable networking tool so whatever it takes for you to mentally stay afloat is what you should do. Step away from the computer, have a snack, give yourself a pep talk and then get back to it. You got this I feel it.

Bachelorette Weekend in Charleston

E33C09BB-8A55-4A51-850A-41C53FE654A6I spent this past weekend hosting a bachlorette party for my main girl, Brooke in Charleston, SC. I’ve gotta say, Charleston’s per capita of brides this weekend was legendary; every fifth girl we met was there for a bridal shower which made it the perfect atmosphere for a girl’s weekend.

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As someone who is a planner and is familiar with how long it takes girls to get ready, I put together a little itinerary for the weekend. I planned to loosely follow it and allow wiggle room for other activities and change of heart. Shockingly (at least for me) we ended up following most of it. We stayed in Mount Pleasant which is adjacent to Charleston. If you want to be closer to the nightlife, a hotel or an airbnb downtown is probably your best bet. But as someone who doesn’t drink who owns an eight seat vehicle, I was happy to play Uber to the girls for the weekend.

Friday

We arrived in Charleston Friday in time for lunch and met up at the restaurant. I made reservations for all things on the agenda three weeks before our trip. I know how the lines get sometimes. We had lunch at Husk and then went back to the hotel to shower for theevening. As one of two maid of honors and a consummate planner, I made this little kits for the girls for the weekend, which we promptly broke into for the bandages and snacks for the night. I also made these little hats (DIY to follow).

We followed our itinerary but excluded Rainbow Row and added a trip to “the pineapple” near the battery before heading to Pawpaw’s for dinner. If you need a recommendation the chicken and the mac and cheese are out of this world! For an after dinner dessert, I recommend Carmella’s which is almost down the street before heading to the Rooftop at the Vendue for drinks. We saved Stars for Saturday.

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Saturday

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We started Saturday with brunch at Old Village Post Inn which was a very intimate affair since I made reservations for opening at 10am. We had the entire dining area to ourselves which was a dream. From there, I packed up my favorite tote (c/o L.l. Bean) and we headed to the beach at Sullivan’s Island for an afternoon on the sand.

C681F02F-74C3-4581-8713-2086204D2068tote // slides // glasses // towel

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We had plans to spend our evening tasseling at Cannonborough Collective with one of the favorite girls in Charleston but first we stopped at Rainbow Row. One of the things we spontaneously ended up doing was that one of the girls brought along a polaroid camera. Because we had a limited number of pictures, we each planned a picture we wanted to take with the bride for a keepsake. I saved my photo for Rainbow Row which turned out perfect because look at that colorful little lady! The camera even cooperated by giving me the Rainbow strip. Because we had such limited photos and a polaroid only gives you one shot at greatness, it made it so special.

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From Rainbow Row, we headed to Cannonborough Collective to make tassel earrings with the hostess with the mostest, Mimi of The Tiny Tassel who set up a private workshop, complete with drinks and swan plates after the store closed. I would highly recommend this class as something a little different to do at a bachelorette. It made for a great trip for my girl who showed up in tassels even though the weekend was a surprise for her. So it was spot on for her interests. What I love about these kinds of activities is that they, give you a chance to support a small maker but also come home with something unique. Aside from just thinking the world of Mimi, who has the patience of a kindergarten teacher and a saint all rolled into one, making four tier earrings really helped me appreciate how affordable these earrings really are for the work that she puts in.

We finished off our evening with dinner at Low Country Bistro and Stars Rooftop bar on King Street. At 11, Stars turns into a nightclub downstairs which makes it a great one stop shop if you want to have dinner there first. When leaving Stars, stop at Callie’s Biscuits. They’re open 10pm-2am on Friday and Saturday.

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Sunday

We polished off the weekend with Poogan’s Porch for Brunch and a walk down King Street to work off some of the food before piling in the car to be homeward bound.

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I had so much fun this weekend with these girls. A sweeter, more kind hearted bunch, I’ve never seen. Let me know if I missed any must dos for a bridal weekend.

Sitting Room Refresh

A65761D6-FEF3-47DE-975A-987E499F07FDYou’ve definitely seen this room before from the post about the sitting room. I spent the majority of the weekend giving this little room a refresh. We’ve been popping in and out of town for the month of June and this is where everything lands between and during trips. So most of the changes are unseen organizational like the complete re-working of the closet which I will space you. Most of the other changes are small especially to people who don’t live here but they made a huge difference to the usability of the room. The major change in this room is that I decided to mount the tv. I put this task off because I wasn’t committed to the room’s layout and I was pretty sure I wanted to pay a professional for this. This weekend, I just decided to go for it and can I tell you it was just one of the simplest task ever. By doing so, I freed up so much desk space.

9F08CDD8-A208-472A-A5D1-A1491221CEA527559060-72BF-48E2-810F-3E8DB72BBF32Mounting the tv meant dangling cords though. I tucked most of the cords behind this paintable cord track. I didn’t run it all the way to the floor because I needed to hide the Apple TV in this drawer. The drawer is directly across from and eye level to the sofa so it’s a great hiding spot. I also brought this Kate Spade lamp from somewhere else in the house because the other one was too tall.

EFF6E9FD-4D27-42D0-AC90-0404565626B2My favorite change is the presence of a new ceiling fan. We tried this room without one for a while and it just doesn’t work. It’s the highest point in our house and gets a ton of light (these photos were taken at like 8pm) so it gets warm and because of its size, it gets stifling. We decided on this low profile, minimally invasive fan and we love it. It does the job with very little noise and a very low profile remote which I mounted to the wall because I can definitely see it growing legs and walking off.

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Other that that, the room got a few simple styling changes, mostly by shuffling things around the house and from the closets. 10BAF294-ECD5-4FA8-9D7A-DE4443AA3DD179256D90-01DE-47D4-84FB-767B8328DA33Very happy with the simple functional changes here. Thanks for following along,

Prepfordwife

Nantucket Guide from First Timers

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This isn’t an exhaustive guide to Nantucket. I wouldn’t even really call it a guide. Mostly this is what we did while we were there on our five day excursion. My favorite part is that we started with an idea of what we wanted to do in mind and then we let our instagram family who is familiar with the island guide our days based on recommendations. It quickly turned into a really fun and interactive trip with you guys and most of your recommendations were FANTASTIC. So here is the run down of what we did in our five days. If this schedule seems light on activities and high on the food, it is. Most of your recommendations revolved around food and we spent a lot of time just walking around the island meandering and chatting with shop keepers and the locals. The remainder of that time was spent with me tele-working. If you saw my last post, you know I couldn’t relax enough to stop. If these pictures look familiar to you, it’s because a lot of them appeared on instastories.

Day One:

  • Check in at the Robert House Collection
  • Lunch at Charlie Nobles- I got the fish tacos. I have zero regrets. That’s a bit of a theme to this post
  • Wander around town- Stopped into Murray’s Toggery Shop, the ultimate purveyor of Nantucket Reds
  • Stop by Town Pool- Wasn’t open while we were in town but they have an adorable mini golf course that looks like fun for a rainy day. We did however meet the shop owner, Sean, who gave us an excellent town tour and added to our list of things to do.
  • Dinner at Rose and Crown- The burgers are fantastic.
  • Juice Bar- Opted for the Pistachio Ice cream but the real dream was the waffle cone which you can smell all the way down the street.
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Day Two:

  • Black Eye Susan’s for Breakfast
  • Wandered around the Wharf- Went into the little shops including Skinny Dip Nantucket which is a favorite of ours. Also stop into Current Vintage which has wine, cheese, and Vintage Lilly. This wasn’t an offering from you guys but it’s truly a preppy dream.
  • Take the Wave to Sconset, the local shuttle which is only $3.
  • Stop at the Sconset Market for cookies and then take said cookies to the Sconset Bluff walk.
  • Continue to walk from the end of the Bluff to the Sankaty Lighthouse.
  • Return to town and have Claudette’s for lunch if it’s not too late in the day.36257AD0-24DA-4209-BB60-771DB4DBE443
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Day Three:

  • Started the day at Fog Island for breakfast
  • Went into a few more shops- Be sure to stop into Res Ipsa for one of a kind tapestry loafers, since it’s right across the street, and U of Nantucket for the classic red Nantucket sweatshirt.
  • Pop into vintage shop on the way to Brant Point lighthouse.
  • Snag a bike and then head to Brant Point Light house. Mosey around the beach.
  • Have lunch at Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant Hotel
  • Bike around the houses on the island
  • Brotherhood of Thieves for Dinner
  • Stop in the bookstore next door
  • We went to Juice bar again cuz ice cream0D974DD0-7C6E-4577-BF8A-3DEF05B286B738DB041D-A49E-4DDC-B647-B6F22BE8CBC8B90DC57D-18E6-47DF-93A1-7DE81C22D5F6

9DB5B942-913B-4C29-B411-987A046BCBCFDay Four:

  • Breakfast- Downy Flakes for a donut- We were really unimpressed but we live near Duck Donuts in North Carolina which is amazing so we didn’t think very much of it.
  • Lola Burger for lunch
  • Down to Madaket beach on the Wave Shuttle from in front of the Whaling museum
  • Millie’s for dinner- I obviously got the fish tacos yet again.
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Day Five

  • Ran errands around souvenirs
  • Threw a penny into the wharf for a returned trip to the island.
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37E98017-A055-4629-A7D6-AB40887E2F3CTell me what we missed, I will add it to the list for next time. Thank you so much again for all your love and recommendations.

 

XO Prepfords

 

 

 

Sail to Sable Dress

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Dress // Thrifted head scarf // older purse (similar)// J. Crew factory denim jacket

 

Sail to Sable makes an out of this world shift dress. I wore this navy and white sun blocked shift dress around town yesterday and loved it. Though it’s shorter and tighter than I would ordinary choose, I’m a sucker for a sharp and flattering neckline and a classic color palette so this will definitely live on in my closet for a years to come. I paired it with some of my favorite J. Crew pieces, a denim jacket and a basket clutch and some nude Talbots sandals for a comfortable, no muss preppy look. Perfect for the island.

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Work Life Balance: Detaching during vacation

 

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We are spending the week on Nantucket, a trip we’ve had planned since January. It’s an amazing trip and once in a lifetime for us because I’m not going to allow us to be one of those gorgeous couples who summer in the same place every year. So hubby you better soak up all the Nantuckety goodness you can.

But I digress. This post is less about vacation and more about the precarious and ever unatainable work-life balance. Because we planned this trip so early, I put it on my calendar incredibly early in the year for the awareness of my counterparts but I am starting a new position this week (literally Friday, eek!) with a promotion and new and more demanding responsibilities. It’s a position that I am incredibly excited about but in the build up, all I can feel is crushing and almost debilitating anxiety.

It’s a type of situationally induced anxiety that I’ve dealt with before. Every time I start something new that requires me to engage in new responsibilities, particularly if it involves strangers. I get this deep seeded panic; this elephant on my chest, heart racing, eye watering, tightness in my body. I haven’t felt it in quite some time, since I first went to college, or started my first retail job or began “grown up” job hunting. But this week it has vehemently reared it’s ugly head at a time when I should be relaxing.

There’s a healthy number of things that I can rattle off that lead to this feeling of pressure -how young I am at work, being childless as though a vacation can only be taken if you have children, the optics of taking a vacation when starting a new role, important deadlines coming this week that I must meet in spite of my absence, etc etc. I know there are a lot of bloggers who have this #girlboss #bossbabe mantra going on but in the interest of full transparency, I don’t got that going on.

I have spent the better part of three days OBSESSIVELY checking and responding to emails every single time I get a notification because God forbid anyone think I’m inaccessible when I am in fact inaccessible right now. So here are some ways that I am forcibly calming myself

 

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Creating work life balance for myself (and possibly yourself if you are anything like me) during vacation:

  1. Set an auto reply message. People now know you are out of office and do not expect a quick response. Leave number where you can be reached in case its urgent. Rarely will people use this number if they are courteous but you can be found should someone genuinely need you.
  2. Relegate email checking to certain times.  I made those times 9am, 12pm and 4pm for myself. That way I am not obsessively checking but will see anything that needs my immediate response.
  3. Put important must do task on the apple calendar with an alarm so they can be followed through. Nothing makes me more anxious than the possibility of missing my responsibilities. If I can just make sure that the important tasks are addressed then, it goes a long way to soothing me.
  4. Spend 15 min at night answering any non-urgent messages and setting next day alarms. I may be checking emails during the day but nine times out of ten, I’m not responding unless it’s urgent. Responding to email quickly before bed allows me to decompress without spending all night doing endless tasks.
  5. Calm down. This is truly the most important one. I have this amazing conversation with a VP of my company sometime ago and he said something that really stuck with me. “This company ran before you and it can exist without you for a week. Enjoy your vacations because when you get back, it will still be standing.” He’s right. The entire company will still be there when I get back.

So what about you? Do you struggle when leaving on vacation on is it very simple for you to detach?

 

Kate Spade Inspired Bridal Shower

ECD0E5C5-0114-43C2-8647-EACA1192D724One of my best gals in the entire world is getting married and I took point on the bridal shower as her joint matron of honor. We had the actual party in a restaurant where I took very few picture both for the privacy of the guests and because I wanted to actually enjoy the shower and not stress about shooting for the blog. So I redressed the party right at home on my deck as a “what to do for a small backyard Kate Spade inspired bridal shower”.

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I went for simple crafts that could travel well. This welcome sign, poster board layered in polka dot wrapping paper, which doubled as table runner at the actual event. I layered it on top of a scalloped pink disposable table cloth and at the end of the party, we just rolled the entire table up in a big ball and threw it away. Not good for the planet but good for timing. Here since my deck table set is pink (hubby’s idea), I just brought out the pink table runner from the house as well as these striped outdoor Serena and Lily pillows, the Kate Spade library pillow from our bed and the polka dot pillows.

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I collected these bottles of varying sizing and dressed them as centerpieces. Removed any labeling and adhesive (shout out to hubby for the tip that vinegar followed by warm soapy water dissolves adhesive) and then styled them. Since the actual party was bigger than my backyard table, I used the polka dot cups here as extra vases. I chose these Gerber daisies because they were simple, whimsical and the bride loves them. Plus you can snag them the morning of at Trader Joe’s. Couldn’t pick up anything before the day of; y’all know my thumb is black.01B38E85-B2DB-4E1B-9936-517752ED3BBA406C3E93-CFD9-48D2-B048-D700E970C35EThese little nail polishes with tags that say “Mani-thanks” were used as party favors. First of all, no one is more excited about a good pun than I am. Initially, I planned on wiping a store out of Sally Hansen’s “Pink Cadillaquer” because my bride sells Mary Kay but I couldn’t find enough of them so these neutral pinks had to do.

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The straws are either Target or Homegoods, who knows after all of the shopping around I did, but the tags are from a word template. There were two options for tags “Soon to Be Mrs B” and “Heeeeeey Mrs Parker” with a Bee on the other side since she’s queen B.

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I think most wedding games are incredibly cheesy. Who cares if the bride said I love you first or if the groom asked her out? Honestly, no one. Instead I corralled games from Pinterest that actually looked fun and would break the ice. “Find the guest” and “what’s in your phone/purse” are some of my favorites because everyone can enjoy them and they don’t  pry too much into the bride and grooms lives if they are a more private couple.

A53DE8B9-19CA-4A86-A0DA-D3175E4E13C7The pom under the umbrella are made from all of the pink/white/gold tissue paper I had lying around the house. This diy is actually one I learned from my mother many moons ago. At the party, my co-matron of honor asked if I used a pom kit for these and I said “THERE’S A KIT?!” Could’ve saved myself some time.3BB3D562-BDDC-4A66-947E-CE098D42157B

For the actual party, I made a large ombré pink cake and placed it on this stand but none of it made its way home to me (for which I am eternally grateful). Because of that you get to see these little trifle beautifies, also a diy courtesy of my mom. You simply layer frosting/whipped cream, fruit and cake. This is funfetti cake with almond cream cheese frosting, a call back to family dinners with Brooke in our undergrad years.3DB484BB-C274-4CA2-B6A9-7EE509DE9878

Last but not least what’s a party without a selfie frame? In 2018 with millennials? Nothing, that’s what it is. So there you have it. A quick and easy Kate Spade party. Sure, I had to vacuum my deck from glitter but it was totally worth it. Hope you guys enjoyed this post and that it sparks some idea for a future something you may be throwing.

XO Prepfordwife

P.S. I may add sources for everything later on today.

Personal Branding

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I’ve been working really hard to guide this space towards matching my “real life”. Simultaneously, I’m rebranding my work life to be a reflection of real life as well. I spend way too many hours of my day at work to spend them being a fake version of me. I’ve got to admit, the adjustment has been a rather grueling process. Not so much on the online front but more IRL.

See, I know who I am here. I’m the Prepford Wife and I have been for a very long time. I’ve also been the Prepford Wife in the real world for just as long; it’s how this blog got its name after all. My husband and I have known each other since our third day of college and you would be hard pressed to find someone who knew us then and didn’t see us as a duo. We do a really good job of presenting a united front with clear cut goals and one view of the world. But the truth of the matter is that in doing that, I am forever part of a whole instead of a single individual. This left me with a gap in how to define myself during the work day when Marcus isn’t there.

Being apart of a pair also left me with this thought that I am forgettable when alone. I constantly reintroduce myself to people I met not long ago, assuming that they forgot my name. What I found out is that while that is courteous and helpful, I’ve sold myself short and assumed that my personal brand wasn’t strong enough to do the work of making me memorable. For someone who prides them self on self awareness, this process has been a headache and I can’t believe I let it go on for so long.

So lately I’ve been doing the work. Doing the hard emotional labor of really finding out who I am and how I want to present myself to world. I always see posts about personal branding and those post are talking strictly about online/social media presence. But this is not just that. I’m a 9-5er hoping to solidify my brand not just here but in my work life.  Hopefully by doing it here, in a safe and transparent space, it frees you to do the work as well. And best of all, it’s never too early or too late for this exercise.

I started with three jumping off points based on conversations I’ve had about branding and worked to fit them authentically to me.

1) Start with what you’re known for and what you’d like to be known for

Known for:

The girl with the nice shoes: Shoes break down barriers. I use to be in sales and it was one of the easiest ways to get people to talk to me. They would look down at my feet and gasp and it would break the ice to start a conversation. As an introvert, this is important to me because shoes are easy. They’re a thing that people like about me and makes people want to talk and relate.

Smile when I talk I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I smile when I talk. Its a way of disarming people and encouraging them to be on my side. Human beings mirror each other, its part of why smiling is infectious. Aside from that, smiling is apart of my personal brand which is warm. Every single person who leaves a conversation with me should feel like it was worth their time and it was like a conversational hug (not a literal one, respect for personal boundaries is also apart of my brand). I even apply this to email where I write almost exactly how I speak. Obviously not every single email I send, especially not to higher ups or strangers. But if you email me here, you can bet on getting the same kind of warmth that you’d get from me in person.

Want to be known for:

Authenticity I tend to be someone who marches to the beat of my own drum. I wear what I want, I say what I mean (within reason) and I yam, who I yam. Part of it is that, I can’t maintain lies for long. I start to trip up and forget the lie but then another part of it is a sense of integrity. Whether you meet me in the grocery store, work, on the blog, I never want you to feel like you are interfacing with a whole new person. Now do I have boundaries? Absolutely. You will never know me as well as my husband and sisters but may you never feel like you are dealing with a whole new person. And I want that to be clear to people.

Get it done We had this feedback fest at work and a friend who knows me from outside of work gave me the feedback that “there will never be a deadline that you won’t meet”. If you give me a task, a date, a deadline. I got you. I am old reliable. You can trust me to do the things. I want that to be something that is visible to others. When you set me to something, I will make sure it gets done, no matter how big or small.

2) What do you offer that is a niche no one else seems to fill

Black Prep In this space, I offer who I am and that is a black prepster. There are a few black prepsters but none that I’ve seen who are go-tos for consistent preppy lifestyle content. (Should you know some, point me in their direction).

Complex problem solver I have the ability to see a problem and solve it without even knowing it. You can spot this in yourself if you find yourself saying “Why haven’t we been doing it X way? Well if we just do Y”. I see a big problem and instantly start thinking of a response to it even if I don’t voice it aloud.

3) What’s your brand statement based on those things?

Formula: My name is X and I do Y by Z

Work: My name is Victoria and I assist teams by solving complex problems through quiet observation and rational yet creative reactions.

Blog: My name is Victoria. I’m the Prepfordwife and I run a preppy lifestyle blog devoted to sharing the consistent and authentic viewpoint of an African American prepster.

So there you have it. Simple branding statements that I will use as my guiding light both here and in my work environment. Like a life thesis statement of sorts. Tell me, do you have a brand statement for yourself and if so, what does it look like? And then what have I overlooked?

XO Prepford Wife