Hello everyone and welcome back to a special Friday edition of Penny Darling.
I want to thank everyone who entered my contest over the weekend! It was truly overwhelming to see everyone engaging and entering and to get so many great questions for the first ever Penny Darling Q&A!
Some of these questions came from the giveaway, some came from the Facebook page, some came from direct messages, comments, or even responses to my insta-story! So today, I want to answer these questions and give some answers, insights, tips, and personal ideas to all of the Penny Darlings!
I want to tackle topics from thigh chafing to building a wardrobe to theatre to my thoughts on confidence and some mushy gushy stuff too!
First – I want to qualify:
Question: Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?
I have one loyalty. I dressed LIKE coffee to pose NEXT to coffee. This is the fifth closest one to my house. It is NOT nearby. I went JUST for the coffee cup.
Does this answer that question? I am a DD girl through and through. I’m an extra large iced coffee with caramel mocha at DD kind of girl.
Do I have any other Dunkin’ exclusive people here? If I desperately need coffee and there is absolutely nothing else nearby – then I GUESS Starbucks is okay. The Java Chip frappe IS good. But otherwise – far inferior.
And DD does NOT pay me to say ANY OF this. Although they should. Because at least a handful of you are sitting there right now saying, “I could go for a cup of DD right now.”.
You’re welcome, Dunkin.
That got a bit heated.
I think we just need to take this moment to look at Harvey.
Is he the cutest or what?
Questions & Answers
What are your closet must haves for a person just starting to build a wardrobe?
Honestly, this is such a great question that it may warrant its own post in the near future. I have a few standard pieces. I always recommend having a pair of pants that are stretchy, black, and versatile. I buy mine here! I like having a go-to long sleeve and short sleeve dress that is modest enough for work but cute enough to go out in. And I am the BIGGEST proponent of if you find something you love – buy it in every damn color.
But a the basic formula is – basic layer, top layer, accessories. I recommend buying some things that are easy to mix and match. A few standard tops in neutrals, a few colorful tops, a pair of black pants, standard black skirt, a pair of gray pants, and a pair of jeans, a winter dress and a summer dress, and a few colorful sweaters are some easy pieces that are great to build off of!
For example – these all feature the same standard black skirt. And I’ve made it VERSATILE AF!
Why don’t you wear shoes/what’s with the flip flops?
Okay, so this is kind of a complicated issue. I don’t wear shoes. For most of my life (even when I was a kid – I’ve had a VERY high in-step and super wide feet. Buying shoes that didn’t make my feet feel like they were dying every moment was tough. Wide width sneakers were NOT cute for a 15 year old. (New Balance was NOT my ninth grade jam.)
So I switched to flip flops. I preferred to be barefoot anyway – this was just the socially acceptable way to make it happen.
I also have a pretty substantial amount of scar tissue on the bottoms of my feet (nothing flashy. I got a skin disease from being on the swim team as a kid and I had to have some low key surgery on my feet and left A LOT of scar tissue.) So my feet don’t feel cold or pain all that much.
For the most part, I am traveling from my car (a short distance) into a building. I do not live in a metropolitan area nor do I have to spend any real amount of time outside every day. If I do, I slip on a pair of boots or Keds or something.
But, I wear flip flops every day because it’s comfortable and makes me happy.
What are your three tips to aspiring bloggers?
1.) Keep writing. Don’t get discouraged. Early numbers are slow. It’s crazy to think you’ll be an overnight success.
2.) Have a voice before you start. You have to know who you are first to get people to be on board.
3.) Have a general direction. Writing about everything and anything is tough to follow and find readers for.
My bloggeversiary post had tons more insights and tips! But keep writing! You can do it!
Do you even own a pair of jeans?
Nope. I have a pair of jeggings just in case and I NEVER wear them.
What is your favorite store to shop on a budget?
The Salvation Army. Truthfully – a LOT of my clothes are thrift finds. They’re cute and the correct brands but I pay between $2-$7 per item and can usually find some pretty great items!
I also think Poshmark & eBay are GREAT resources for those who love brands that are a bit on the pricier side.
And for me, I tend to be a big proponent of when I’m low on money but need some new clothes is hitting the thrift stores. ALL of these looks down here are from different thrift stores!
And nowadays – places like Walmart, Target, Forever21, KMart, etc. all have begun carrying plus size clothes and their price point is almost always less than $20 per item. For examples – this ADORABLE frenchie sweater from Walmart ($8) and that adorable sheep sweater from Target ($12) were total steals and have lasted a few years. Most of those places carry a TERRIBLE in-store selection but have awesome steals online.
And places like Torrid, Modcloth, Lindy Bop, etc. give tons of awesome coupons via e-mail and their social media! I usually just keep my eyes peeled for a great deal! I’ve bought stuff at Torrid for as little as $7 a piece. And if there’s ever something you want you can always sign up for the e-mail list (which usually gives a coupon) or you can even just google ‘Store’ Coupon and usually something will pop up.
What’s your favorite time of year?
Christmas. I think it’s magical. All the lights are twinkly and everything is covered in tinsel. And there’s wreaths on the street lights. Everything is sparkly and quiet. And I have an excuse to get gifts for people. I love the lead up. I love the hustle and the bustle. The music is almost all gentle and happy. I love all of it. I love being with my family, I love our traditions, I love celebrating, I love giving and getting gifts, I love that my brother comes home. It’s all perfect.
What do you and Preston fight about?
REALLY stupid stuff. If Preston and I are ever arguing about something, I swear to God, it is about parking and/or driving. I usually think Preston is too reckless of a driver and sometimes has an AWFUL sense of direction. I am HYPER CAUTIOUS and a terrible backseat driver. So usually from the house until we’re on the highway – we’re bickering.
Also – one time – we got into a HUGE fight about roadside memorials. Like, when people put a cross and flowers if someone passed in a car accident. This was like a twenty minute long, raised voices, TONED, fight….about roadside memorials.
Other than that – we fight about VERY little. We both have the same ideas for the future, the same wants and goals for our lives, we keep different bathroom schedules, we’re really great at communicating our feelings. Neither one of us is particularly jealous or petty. It can be nice to fundamentally agree with your partner and feel very secure in your relationship.
If you’re ever feeling not so sparkly – what helps you regain the sparkly confidence?
A big hug from Preston, a drive in the car, some episodes of TheGabbieShow, ice cream, and getting to hold the little Harvey doodle! Those are some things that make me stop crying and/or having a panic attack.
And having a project or an idea is what makes me feel jazzed up and out of a funk! I like to plan parties, write a blog post, post something on Instagram, do a craft, cook a new dish, or organize something! Doing something productive, creative, and something that makes a product to be proud of always makes me feel all sparkly inside!
What is your favorite fruit? To wear and to eat?
I love to wear cherries, eat green apples, grapes, and blackberries, and behave like a peach.
What are 3 of your favorite things about yourself?
These questions are SO tricky.
So hmm. Physically – I am a big fan of my hair, my figure, and my actual face bone structure.
Emotionally – I’m a good leader, a great public speaker, and generally a good friend. I always listen, I come over if you need it, I answer texts, and am an excellent empathetic listener. I never forget birthdays and don’t mind going out of my way.
What are some of your favorite roles you’ve played on stage?
I loved all three of my plays I did in college: Cirque, Mystery Inc., and The Last Act as well as having really special memories in Carrie & Tommy!
How do you avoid thigh chafing?
Honestly, I don’t.
I have a pair of slip/bloomers. They are just above the knee shorts that are made out of the same material as a slip. They’re super lightweight and I adore them. They are VERY helpful when I’m in shows and have to do a lot of dancing or moving. But they’re a tad long for every day.
You can buy similar shorts on Amazon!
If my outfit can’t accommodate bloomers – I tend towards the deodorant trick of rubbing some smooth solid deodorant on my thighs. It definitely helps with irritation. Maybe I’ll do a review of the ‘chub rub’ solutions in the next few weeks.
And sometimes you can’t predict the thigh chafe – so I always have a tube of Hydrocortisone cream in my make up bag – just in case.
Does anyone want me to try a bunch of chub rub methods and do a comparative review for the summer?
What is a major and minor annoyance?
A major annoyance? Hmm. I HATE when people bail on me. There is nothing that grinds my gears, sends me into irrational tears, or makes me feel like garbage faster than having plans with someone and having them bail shortly before the event. It makes me feel disposable. And since so many of my close friends have moved away in the last year – I feel lonely a lot and that makes me feel twice and lonely.
A minor annoyance. Well I actually wrote a blog post that was a list of minor annoyances, including Preston, people who SnapChat concerts, people who go out to dinner with a partner and they both sit on their phones, etc.
But my most IRRATIONAL annoyance is this: Domino’s Pizza Boxes.
They are immaculately designed by a graphic designer from what is likely a high level marketing firm. It is seriously beautiful and has some stunning graphic design on it. IT IS LITERAL GARBAGE. It is a pizza box that is beautifully designed and they have to pay to print them and had to pay this marketing firm and graphic designer. For most consumers, you have that pizza in your possession for MAYBE an hour or two before the pizza is gone and you throw it away. And for probably half that time the pizza box is open so you can get the pizza out. And the box has a clever little thing to like them on Facebook. It’s 2016 and you’re a national pizza chain. I know you have a Facebook. WHY DID YOU PUT SO MUCH TIME, MONEY, ENERGY, AND MANPOWER INTO DESIGNING LITERAL GARBAGE? Your pizza is delicious, but your box makes me question everything I know.
What did it take for you to become confident?
This is also a tricky question.
Confidence is soooo subjective. There are definitely days that I wake up and hate how my body feels and looks. I feel like all people of all sizes do. Sometimes I even cry because I have a zit or I look so gross that I can’t imagine anyone ever loving me.
But that’s not most days. And it’s usually PMS driving that.
But my confidence?
I just decided that I either had to live my life apologizing for existing and hating my body or just living my life in a way that made me happy. I could apologize every time I thought about eating, lie about my sizes, or only take pictures at certain angles. I could wake up hating my body and never looking down in the shower. I could live my whole life hoping to lose more weight, get rid of stretch marks and wrinkles, be a certain height, get a tan, etc. I might justify every cookie at a work lunch or apologize for every slight to a diet. I might wake up feeling like a constant work in progress.
OR – I could wake up and feel okay. I could look at my body naked in the mirror and just shrug. I could start appreciating my body for walking, standing, breathing, thinking, creating, seeing, talking, writing, etc.
I could wake up and love who I am. I could wake up and appreciate my body as an instrument and not an ornament.
I could wake up and feel content. I could appreciate good hair days, clear skin, my natural eyebrow shape, my awesome lips, my hourglass shape. I could appreciate myself.
Honestly, I just choose the latter. And THAT is my confidence. It’s being content.
What is a painful experience that you’ve had to face?
This is a VERY personal question. And I feel very vulnerable. But we’re all friends, right?
I won’t go into too much detail right now – but my top three worst experiences are as follows:
1.) I got laid off from my first job right out of college after a year and half under some weird circumstances and it damaged my confidence and it has been very hard to financially recover from the loss.
2.) This one is a bit more complicated. My high school boyfriend and I went through a HORRIBLE break up. Like we were breaking up for months and constantly fighting. And he was so mean and I responded with extra crazy and that vicious cycle was never ending. And I cried all the time, I stopped eating to spite him, and never felt like I deserved to feel anything. I was anxious all the time. I felt like I could never breathe or exist. My cell phone going off made my adrenaline kick up. And he left me in the middle of the night and we have never spoken again.
3.) My freshman semester of college was the worst transition of all time. I was certain that because THAT college wasn’t for me that I had no future. I cried every day for three months. I spent every night on the phone with my mom. I went home every weekend (more than an hour away). I was so unhappy. I transferred schools and ended up LOVING college. But those first three months were painful.
These were very hard for me to say. So, I hope that those answers are good!
Is your hair naturally blonde?
I mean…………… mostly.
My hair IS naturally blonde, however, I do get some blonde highlights to enhance and vamp up the blonde curls!
What curly hair products do you use?
I use ALL of the Not Your Mother’s products (basically). But I use all three of these items all day -every day! I also wrote a blog post about ALL my hair products (including shampoo and conditioner) as well as all my techniques to get my curls!
Are you a Type A or a Type B person?
Type A of mind. Type B of organizing. I like to have things planned out, know the schedule, and done ahead of time. But I am really bad at buckling down and organizing actual items. I have a color coded planner but I can’t hang up my clothes to save my life.
Like, ya girl has time to plan an entire wedding but not just shoving receipts into my middle console is a challenge.
I can’t be the only one like that, right?
What is your go-to outfit?
Respectively: Fall, Winter, Spring, & Summer.
What fictional character do you most relate to?
I have three spirit characters. I am Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec (and Preston is SO Ben Wyatt), Joan Harris on Mad Men, and Miss Patty from Gilmore Girls.
I love waffles, projects, planning, way too enthusiastic about projects, and am a huge work dork that fell in love with a huge dork. And I love to low key be running the show and totally owning the room with my curves, like Joan, and I am the sassy theatre teacher that loves to hit on guys.
Anyone who has known me for years…this is the truest thing of all time.
Also, if I had to pick a spirit animal – I think the ghost of Cynthia – the doll from Rugrats – is an accurate representation of me as a person.
What makes you the happiest?
Preston. Is that cheesy? Everything is better when he’s with me. Grocery shopping, coffee, shopping, crafts, driving, sleeping, cooking, etc. It’s ALL better with him right by my side. I even like doing theatre with him way better! We did THREE shows together last year and it was AMAZING!
I mean, like, he’s okay, I guess, or whatever.
That’s just a selection of the variety of questions I’ve been sent in the last week or so! I’m sorry if I didn’t get to answer your question today – perhaps I will in the future!
I appreciate everyone sending me questions! This was a little tougher than I had originally imagined!
Did ya’ll like the Q&A? Should I make another one in the future?
SO HERE’S THE “END OF BLOG” SPIEL!
The next few weeks have some awesome stuff planned! Easter looks with Liz at With Wonder & Whimsy, the LBD, etc, styling my mom Part II, another LulaRoe update.
Do you want me to write a post about chub rub? I’d be happy to buy a few things and review them for everyone?
I definitely want to do more His & Her fashion. Do you guys like seeing Preston more?
If you want to follow my darling, Preston – you can click here!
Follow me on Snapchat for a more ‘day to day’ look at mine & Preston’s life!: @abby_cadabra
I’d really love to do that Barbie post. If anyone can seriously sponsor it – let me know. I think that would just be the coolest and most fun to do.
Subscribe for updates!
Comment for topics you would like to see me cover! Like to help my self esteem! What do you think so far? More fashion? More lifestyle? Do you like the mix?
My next few blog ideas: Do you want to see my new house stock pile? Seasonal transition? Another haul? Maybe one about those ten pieces that make up a wardrobe. But I’m not sure. I want to know what you are interested in hearing about? My Top 10 Embarrassing Stories? 20 Facts from Your Blogger? A team up with another blogger? Haul? A show off of my Barbie lot? Want me to style you? Let me know!
Love all you wonderful ladies (and gents!) out there!