Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Real Life Wednesday


1.Hi, friends! I'm finally back at college - hence the lack of posts recently. Things are always crazy with moving in, getting last minute things, and preparing for classes. I've had the first of all my classes now and can honestly say I'm extremely excited for the semester. I'm taking photojournalism, a screenwriting class, and even ballet.

2. Let's talk leotards. I was terrified out of my mind apprehensive about having to wear a leotard for ballet class...um, something that shows EVERY little bump and line of my body. You know, like a bathing suit. Ugh. I pictured myself looking like a lumpy sausage next to gazelle-like girls with long, thin legs who have done ballet for years. But then I tried one on and was pleasantly surprised to find it more forgiving than I'd thought. And our teacher is so sweet...so I'm actually looking forward to class. Bring on the serious thigh muscles.

3. Speaking of body image, I loved Carrie's post. I've always thought she looks so amazing, so to hear her say that she wears size large and has "a belly to hide" was so unbelievably awesome. Major props to her for being so honest about her body and how comfortable she feels in it!

4. These Burt's Bees pink grapefruit facial cleaning towelettes are the. bomb. But really though, I am in love. I've tried so many make-up wipes and these are by far the best: not only are they insanely soft and don't irritate my skin, but they are enormous so I can usually tear them in half and that's more than enough. Also, they smell like fresh grapefruit. What more could you ask for?

5. I haven't properly Pinned anything in over a week simply because I've been so busy that I keep forgetting about it...and I miss it. It really does relax me at the end of a day. Luckily, I'll have an official excuse to get on as I'll be using it for inspiration for a couple classes. My Moments in Between board is still going strong though...it's one of my top favorite boards to go on a Pinning spree for. All the adventure and cups of tea.

6. My new roommate and I are getting along splendidly - she's a senior and one of the sweetest girls ever. I've known her since freshman year, so it's great fun getting to room with her. We found out the first day in our room together that we're both a) heavy sleepers (so morning alarms of the other person don't wake us up), b) night owls by nature, c) obsessed with/know all the words to Wicked. I think we'll be just fine.

7. Also.....I am now a morning person??? Since classes started, I've woken up at either 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. Who am I? Amanda definitely has it right, though - you get so much more (yes, grammatically incorrect, I know) done in the morning if you're up early!

8. I finished all my homework early last night and decided to celebrate by watching the latest James Bond film Skyfall. So. Good. I love Daniel Craig. Judy Dench is amazing. Javier Bardem is brilliant as a blonde mastermind. And Eve? So sassy + classy at the same time. That's all I can say.


How's your week, friends? My freshman girls out there - how's your first week of college been?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Single + Free


Hello, friends! I hope your Friday finds you well! I'm back at school and busy unpacking and settling in, but you can read my post over at Our Yellow Door about being single + free today! The unbelievably sweet Rachel, who is the brilliant mind behind OYD, graciously allowed me to join the amazing women who are a part of the Singleness Series on her blog. 

Y'all, if you haven't read this series, you need to. It's so chockfull of good advice, real life young women who experienced/are experiencing singleness, and a view centered on Jesus. The single life is a topic I love to talk about, so I'd absolutely love it if you hopped over to join the conversation about living Single and Free


Singleness. It’s a word loaded with heavy - and often negative - connotation in today’s society. Hands up if you've been asked by a pestering aunt, cousin, grandmother, well-meaning family friend, or even your mother whether you've "met someone?"

I graduated high school as a single girl who had never dated. I wasn't going to college to find a husband. 

Even if part of me secretly hoped I would. 

Rather, I tried my hardest to make sure that wasn't what college would be about, despite getting this advice: "Now, you know, Grace, you'll probably meet your future husband in college, so make sure you choose the right one!"

Whoaaaa. Talk about pressure. I dismissed it without a second thought and I'm so glad I did. 

Two years after receiving that advice, I'm still a single girl in college. 

And guess what? I. Love. It. 


Read more here.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Confessions

via

1. I'm currently in the midst of last minute getting things and packing to head back to college for junior year. Things were a little postponed in terms of prep because I was busy all last week with work and all sorts of craziness. So I spent most of last night thinking of everything I have to get before the padre and I take off at an insane a.m. hour tomorrow. So today is totally crazy: I'm wearing a college t-shirt, haven't showered in quite a few days, and the only ounce of makeup on my face is necessary concealer. Ain't nobody want to see those dark circles.

2. This is probably evident but I totally love road trips. I'd like to think I'm pretty fun to road trip with...I'm happy to drive most/all the way, always stop for coffee, and believe driving entails jamming out to an epic playlist. 

Unless we're related and then I occasionally get snappy if you a) criticize my driving, b) change my music (um, no. Driver is in charge of music, thank you very much) or c) there's bad/stupid/aggressive drivers on the road. 

3. I've not had a salad in...weeks? But this blood orange + kale one looks mouthwatering!

4. I am the biggest dork. My friends (and apparently you readers) think I'm funny - I do make people laugh....but my family is a completely different story. They call my bluff. every. time. They just shake their head in a "honey, don't even try" way. My little sisters are 13 and 12 and officially that age where they think I'm a try-hard who's "not cool." So sad...

5. This summer has been practically a "no make-up" one for me...I've dramatically reduced my everyday routine to just concealer, bronzer (I love me some contouring), occasionally light brown eyeshadow, and eyeliner. I haven't worn mascara for months. Gasp. And I haven't even missed it. I'm fortunate to have dark, long eyelashes to begin with, so it's not an obvious difference. I do love this brow tutorial from A Beautiful Mess...even if you do nothing else but eyebrows and concealer, it makes you look put together. 

6. The photographer in me would love to photograph Daniel Radcliffe simply because he knows how to change emotion and facial expression in every shot. Love it.

6.  I am not a country music fan. At ALL. I'm the person who always skips to another station if I happen to land on the country station. But, I am a true-blooded Texan, so country music is as much a part of life in the Lone Star State as tea is in England. I do enjoy line dancing and two stepping, but you won't find me willingly listening to country music on my own. 

I am, also, however the biggest hypocrite when it comes to things I've publicly proclaimed to hate....I was driving the kids somewhere and this Luke Bryan song came on the radio.

And I liked it. 

My defense is that is actually had a really good dance beat (like most pop + hip-hop songs). That's my story and I'm  sticking to it. Either way, I've been playing "That's My Kind of Night" non-stop. 

6. Speaking of music, my little sisters made me listen to a song the other day that they INSISTED was a "Grace song." I found that claim both amusing and highly flattering...you know you know someone well when you can hear a song and know they'd like it. It was this one from the Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. After giving it a listen, I could tell why: it was soft, ballad-like, with a catchy chorus, and perfect for a rainy day. Just these other "Grace songs" that I love

7. After a friend mentioned she went to see The Hundred-Foot Journey, which she said was worth watching just for the food shots alone, I had to watch the trailer. It's a charming film about an Indian family who relocates to France and tries to open an Indian restaurant a hundred feet right across the street from a Michelin star restaurant owned by Helen Mirren's character. I immediately contracted "MUSTSEEITNOW" symptoms and dragged my mother to a late night showing. We both loved it - we laughed through the whole thing, cried numerous times, and left hungry for Indian and French food. Also, the leading actor has these gorgeous, soulful, puppy dog eyes that just make you love him.

Basically.....GO SEE IT. You're welcome.

8. This bad picture of Tom Hiddleston is the only of its kind on the internet. But really....

9. Also, I really want these pjs. But they're toddler-sized by the looks of it. Maybe if I order an XXXXXXL? Maybe.


That's all, friends - I'll be back at school when I post next. How's your week? Any song you can't get enough of? Seen anything good at the movies? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

To All Young People: Why You Should Believe in Daydreams

A letter to new college students heading off in a week, in two weeks, in two days for a new world, for new experiences, and possibly even for new dreams. To those who are freshmen. 
And to those who are not and perhaps might need encouragement that your dream is good. 
You are allowed to dream. 
Just make sure you chase it. 




We all dream.

Not merely at night...but during the day.

When the sun's rays are brightest and sleep is the furthest thing from our mind, our daydreams are the strongest.

We all have our own mountains we want to climb, the sights we want to see, the feelings we want to claim as our own. In daydreams, we leave reality and her pessimistic voice behind, we ignore the naysayers in our head, and shut out the "it-will-never-happens."


When we daydream, we open ourselves up to possibilities. we take a look at ourselves and in an instant know what we are capable of.

Daydreams allow us to see the truth and haunting beauty in the moments in between day-today life.

One real-life inspiration of that is the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty...if you haven't seen it or listened to the soundtrack, please go do so at once. It's one of the most beautiful, inspiring, and invigorating films about the importance of both daydreams AND of taking action in order to make those dreams a reality.


Like Walter Mitty, I've always been a dreamer...a would-be-adventurer, a magic see-er.

There's so much I want to do. I wish I could have four different majors and minors simultaneously...I can't imagine not knowing what I want to do or not wanting to do anything.

I want to capture art through the camera,
design beautiful dresses,
create magazines,
write cookbooks and travel guides,
write children's books,
act onstage,
direct Shakespearean plays,
write screenplays about real, raw people and their emotions.

I want to capture color on the page through an artist's tool,
write young adult fiction,
act in films,
sketch illustrations,
choreograph dances,
stage fashion shoots,
style outfits,
film makeup tutorials,
review films and restaurants,
sing onstage,
voice a Disney princess.

I want to teach photography,
theater,
writing,
and own my own business.


I want to live life. With plenty of laughter, love, and making art. Every day, in the way I live.

I want to go further in and higher up.


Those are my daydreams. And ones, I think, that might even come true - if only in attempting them. Whether or not they actually happen is not the important part.

The important, life-giving part is that I try. 

I've got an entire lifetime. So it's time.



So, dear intrepid, young, would-be explorers....go. 
Dream. 
And do. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Real Can Ya Get? (Wednesday Stuff)



1. I know I mentioned this last week after I got back from the Real Madrid game, but I am in love. Can we just talk about how gorgeous bae #1 is?

 (And yes, I'm completely ignoring the fact that he's in a committed relationship and is a dad...or perhaps that's what makes him so safe. We'll never ever be together!) Anyways. I usually stay calm when it comes to guys - unless we're talking about Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Richard Armitage - but this is the first time I am fangirling hard over an athlete.

2. My younger brother has started re-watching LOST again. From the first season. I'm not sure how I feel about this...I did get sucked into the two episodes leading up to the entire series finale and shocked myself by bawling over the death of major characters who I haven't thought about it years.

SPOILER: I literally could not keep it together during the submarine sinking scene with Sun + Jin....and the bomb explosion with Syaid!!! WAH. It was like Rose and Tennant's Doctor all over again. I hate evil  TV writers who wreck my emotions. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Moffat.

3. My sunglasses collection is becoming quite legit. As of right now, I have 8 (9?) pairs ranging from cat-eye to aviator to John Lennon-esque round ones. These sorts of problems are good ones.


Also, I feel like you can get away with saying anything while wearing sunglasses...Thanks, Kristen. 

4. I discovered the lovely Rachel's blog last month and her series on singleness is truly one of my favorite weekly reads. There is so much truth and real talk in the posts she shares! Read this week's post here.  

5. This post and this one about Robin Williams, who passed away this week. He was a man who brought much laughter to my life and to others'. 

6. I loved reading Sophie's refreshingly different view of the "how to grow your readership" posts...instead, she urges you to be original. It is certainly frustrating to stay true to yourself in the blogsphere when so many bloggers have a huge readership base and are sponsored, thus causing more and more people to start blogs in the hopes of becoming internet famous quickly also.

For me, it's been something I've thought of and struggled with a great deal recently - how much do I blog for myself and how much is for readers? I loved the freedom I felt during my first years of blogging when I felt I could share whatever and whenever I wanted. Now, there seems to be so much pressure to be as specific and professional as possible. It's all about what you can offer the reader. Which, as a blog reader myself, I completely understand that. But guess what? It's your blog...so you should really write for you. If other people like your voice and point of view, that's great. But it doesn't define you as a person or give you more/less "worth" online. Just some thoughts...

7. This 25 ways to feel less alone list reminded me how much I love being alone, despite my extroverted nature. I've a secret introvert side that grows stronger each year.

8. I just discovered Emma Approved (again, lightyears behind the rest of the blog world) and am hooked. I loved the modern day, YouTube series "The Lizzy Bennet Diaries" and think this series based on Austen's Emma is just as good.

 Firstly, Mr. Knightley? Adore.

Secondly, I want all of Emma's clothes. And her hair. And her makeup skills.

And her mod, chic office. Kaythanksbye.

9. Just 10 bajillion more reasons (like these 19) why I love Mindy Kaling. She tells it like it is. Like what every girl thinks when she's arguing with the guy she likes. Or how we FB stalk potential love interests. Or sass it up.

10. And lastly, this is how I've felt all week (and last week too, to be honest). Jack's got it figured out.

How's your week going, friends? Do you have an unrealistic crush? Or a new series you're watching?

Monday, August 11, 2014

What To Do When You've Had a Late Night

yes, I've used this image before but it's even more relevant with this post. deal with it. 

We've all been there before. Maybe we stayed late at a friend's house, maybe we were up studying into the wee hours of the dawn or engrossed in an enthralling book or traveling and got in absurdly late.

Or maybe we got sucked into watching British YouTube vlogs...or innumerable Once Upon a Time episodes. Until the wee hours of the morning.

Do as I say, not as I do, friends.

Whatever the reason, we've all suffered from a late night followed by little sleep and the morning after where not only do you have somewhere to be at an early hour. So here's some of my "morning after" tips for curing a lack-of-sleep hangover.
1. Wash your face immediately. Cold water wakes you up and will help reduce any puffiness under your eyes and around your cheeks.

2. Blast a wake-up song. I usually start my morning Spotify playlist or open up Pandora. You want something upbeat and happy that will get you moving and add a bit of brightness to the all-too-early wake up call. I promise, it makes a world of difference to have a morning soundtrack.

Some of my tried and true favorites are:
Awakening (Switchfoot)
When Will My Life Begin (Tangled)
C'mon, C'mon (One Direction)
Roar (Katy Perry)
Wake Me Up (Avicii)
Kiss You (One Direction)
When Did Your Heart Go Missing (Rooney)
Pompeii (Bastille)
and my latest favorite - Dance Love by the Millennial Youth Pirates featuring Mindy Gledhill and starring Olympian Kate Hansen's mad dance skills.

3. Slather on that concealer. I've said it before and I'll say it again...concealer is a girl's best friend, especially during college and post-college years! I love this Instant Age Rewind roll-on one from Maybelline and used it all through freshman + sophomore year of college.

I've since switched over to Maybelline's FIT line for variety and equally love it. I use both the Sand (shade #20) and Medium (#25) as I need Sand during winter/spring when I'm paler and Medium in the summer. I'm between shades right now, so I layer both under my eyes and blend away!

4. Coffee. Repeat. I can face any challenge, any class, any insane wake-up time, any unbearable thing as long as I have coffee. I also find cold coffee makes me more alert than hot coffee does (coffee is coffee though and I take it whatever temperature I can get it). So I try to keep a carton in the fridge if I don't have the time/money/energy to grab some from a coffeeshop.

The Starbucks Discoveries Vanilla Latte is my favorite...y'all, I'd consider myself a iced coffee carton connoisseur - I have tried a lot of brands - and this is by far one of my favorites. It's so strong there has to be fresh shots of espresso secretly hidden in it somehow! It also comes in Mocha and Caramel, which I also like, so I generally rotate between flavors each trip to the grocery store. International Delight is a less pricey, but also good option. Their Vanilla flavor tends to be too overly sweet for me, so I like the Mocha more.

5. Wear comfy, loose clothes. I don't know about you, but when I'm tired and groggy in the morning, the last thing I feel like is trying to put together a stylish outfit. I know I look tired and puffy, so why even bother? Most of the time you don't have the energy or time to try...instead, I've found having a "uniform" of sorts works best for days like these.

1//2//3
Shift dresses, maxi skirts, leggings/yoga pants, slouchy cardigans, and loose jackets or tunics are your friends - not only are they comfortable and usually soft, but they're casually stylish enough so you don't look like you just rolled out of bed in your pjs or a stained t-shirt. You can't go wrong with a neutral palette: grey, black, sage green, camel, or navy are all great choices that don't require any thought.


4//5

And if you really do want to jazz it up a bit, keep things simple and no-brainer by reaching for a striped shirt or chambray top with dark pants or leggings. Tie that hair in a messy bun or ponytail + you're set!

6//7

6. Last, but not least, reach for sunglasses. Not only do they shield your tired eyes from the sun as you step out into the harshly bright world, but they also cover up any puffiness, under-eye circles, and general signs of exhaustion that still might show.

counterclockwise: 1//2//3//4//5
Also, you get to feel very posh and glamorous in the snootiest sense possible..."Oh look - humans...ugh, you're all far too inferior for me to look upon you, so I shall hide my eyes and pretend to be far more important and put together than I really am." 

I always have a pair in my purse or backpack and have amassed quite a collection. Forever 21 and Target are my favorite stores for finding a variety of cute pairs that also manage not to break the bank. 


So there you go, friends! My top tips for getting your one hot mess of a self together after a late night. Hope you enjoyed - let me know if you have any additional tips. How do you recover from late nights?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why Girls Are an Earthly Paradox

Sometimes I feel like a paradox. Most of us do, I suspect.

But sometimes, I wonder...how I can be so polite and hate confrontation - and yet be fierce and speak my mind when it needs to be said? How I so easily assume the protective/lioness role of an older sister and yet love nothing more than feeling safe and protective. How can I love home and the coziness of belonging, of routine and familiarity and yet be filled with a yearning wanderlust I have known all my life that urges me to travel far and wide, a wanderlust so strong that sometimes I wonder if I will come back once I leave.

I've often felt that I've never quite fit in and struggle with trying to understand where my place is in this world...as an odd twenty-something with an old soul, the behaviorisms and nurturing nature of a mom, the sometimes nagging responsibleness of an oldest child, the optimism of a dreamer, the wide-eyed wonder of a little one, and the grumbling pessimism of a crotchety wizened elder.

What I do know is that I have never struggled with understanding myself and my emotions. MaryBeth's post about her daughter phrased it perfectly: "Happy is really happy with loud, deep laughs. Mad is really mad with temper tantrums and full-on wars. And sad is wailing and cocoons in her favorite green blanket."

 I am - by turns - fiercely jealous, deeply heartbroken, overwhelmingly happy, highly protective, giddy with laughter, seething in anger, and quiet with content. And it makes me wonder sometimes...why we girls grow up thinking we have to fit into boxes and neat labels. Logic and reason will never be my strengths. I'm a girl of heart, who puts people and love above everything else. And yet, I have a good head on my shoulders and plenty of common sense.

So if I feel so very deeply...about everything in life...why should I try to change that? It's who I am, and who I choose to be. Unapologetically.

I have many girlfriends, all of whom are vastly different from me. One dear girlfriend is logical and methodical and brilliant and organized. Another is artistic, quirky, spontaneous, and disorganized. One is concise, succinct, practical, and witty. Yet another is full of dreams, hilarity, creativity, and hates change.

We're all so very different, and I hope we stay that way. I want more than anything to be a mother one day...and I want to look with pride at my little girl who will be like no one else in the world. And before she gets old enough to hear the world's whispers that she 'needs to fit in', she will be her - a person all uniquely herself. A tiny person who pairs a tutu with rainboots and wears orange + purple together and says "pasghetti" and sings at the top of her little lungs.

She will not know any of that makes her different and she will not care.

And oh, how I will want that future little girl of mine to stay that way. To be who she is without apologies and to sashay through life confident in herself and what makes her her. I want her mama to be that way too - for her to grow up seeing me love everything about myself...the silliness, my need for spell check, my constant singing, and my ability to cry at the drop of a hat whether it's because of a book ending or breaking a dish at the end of a long day.

The girls that never quite fit in? They pave the way for other girls...because if we all "fit in," then we're not being ourselves. And as MaryBeth said, it's the girls like those who change the world