Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Real Life Wednesday

1. So many things to share this week! It's been one of great posts around the blogsphere - I've more than definitely had my share on non-make up days already, but most days I try and put some on. This post about how to make your lipstick last all day is great.

2. French pop songs have been my constant pump-up music when I'm walking to class or studying late and need to stay alert + motivated. I've always loved that genre, but American hits just aren't doing it for me, probably because I'm burned out on them. Whatever the reason, I'm especially loving European club music.

3. I've been having fun trying to mix and match outfits while wearing core pieces in my wardrobe how to wear this dress 5 different ways. (You know my stripes addiction, so obviously I want. it.)

4. It's wonderful to be taking a photography class again - after having one each semester since freshman year (except for last semester), it's great to be shooting for "homework." I essentially want to take fashion/portrait/studio pictures for an entire week straight. But alas....I have other things to do.

5, Finally someone understands! What to read next if you've read all of Jane Austen's books.

6. I'm going though babies withdrawal again, but luckily I can drool over Grace's adorable kiddos, Bev's insanely cute Instagram (blonde twins!!), and Taza's precious gang in NY.

7. I love reading friends' posts - Caitlin rounded up some of her Internet favorites (LOTR themed this week), Marisa talked about college life, and Amanda's brilliant + hilarious post about soundtracks of our lives made me go, "Preach!" (not really. Just in my head) I frequently pretend to be a spy, Harry Potter, or a evil queen while walking to class or studying in my room to music.

8. Loving allll these career tips about being strong women - from strong, successful women like Tina Fey, Nora Ephron, etc. PREACH.

9. Off to ballet class in leggings, a long striped shirt, cat-eyeliner, and a bun. Sometimes I'm so chic, I can't stand it. (emphasis on sarcasm)

10. A friend has dubbed today "Wear a Skirt Wednesday" so there's a couple of us joining in. Should be fun!

How's your week, friends?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five Things

I watched Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone with a huge group of college students over the weekend during a study break and it was magical. We knew all the lines, so the room was full of voices shouting, "It's Le-vi-O-sa, not Le-vi-o-SA!'" Then we watched The Chamber of Secrets and I cried like a baby at the end when Hagrid came back.

I woke up to another grey and rainy day: I've been traipsing around with my bright colored umbrella and jazz music playing in my ears. Polkadots and Moonbeams by Chet Baker is my jam. 

I leaned pas de chat in ballet today, which is essentially a leap where you land like a cat. I'm obsessed. And can't stop doing it with my hands curled like paws. 

Speaking of, I really just want to curl up with a cat. Where's the fluffy kitties when you need them?

I walked all the way across campus for a scone. Because. Some days are salad says and some days are just scone days, darn it.

And then they didn't have any. So I had to settle for muffin. Hashtag struggles.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunlight + Shadows // Self Portrait

Sometimes I wonder who I am. How it is that two radically different sides can exist in one fluid and ever-changing and perhaps always mysterious and un-understandable we are.

In dreams you watch yourself, from above or from the side, much like a passerby - you watch as a detached spectator who observes freshly and without bias. Even if it is yourself whom you observe. 

Sweet and nice and girly and cute, that's what people label me. How they see me. Who they think I am. 

And if ever I deviate, they smile - sometimes openly, sometimes not - and think or say, "ah, she's trying to be different."

But I am not.

I have a sunlight + shadows self - the one that loves dark colors and photographs that depict raw, real moods + imagery and withdraws to hide in trees because sometimes life is too much and people are too loud and sometimes I'm the wildest introvert....that self is just as much me as the one people see on a daily basis.

"This isn't the real me, yet it is. 
There's different versions of me, and they're all the real me. 
And you know what? That kills me. 
It's too confusing. I'm not one person. 
I've got a twenty-something body, eight-year old heart,
 eighteen-year old mind, and eighty-year old soul." 
~All Cowboys Need Pretty Girls

We're told not to label people. But we do. And somewhere along the line we take it upon ourselves to decide who truly is multi-faceted and who is simply trying to be "cool." 

Authenticity is not a sin. Neither is change. 

There's something desperate and wild in realizing others have boxed and labeled you - even if they don't realize it. Because people see someone who loves to laugh and see an extrovert - and someone who is shy must be an introvert but never do they consider that a person can be both or neither and so much more. 

It's why artists reinvent themselves so much, I think. Because they can, they can change perspective, change approach, dabble in the grittiness of their art.

I took a self-portrait and it made me want to cry - an image of light and shadows playing across a face that belongs to me. And yet, one friend was startled upon seeing it. She gave that odd, humoring half-smile and I could hear it in her voice when she said, "That' of you." 

A kind, polite ah, she's trying to be different - how sweet.

We speak of arrogance and confession as weapons that hurt and break, but sometimes gentle words from loved ones shatter our protective shields more than anything. I remained silent, stung with surprise and hurt - and sudden, swift doubt. This photo that I had loved, one of the rare few at which I looked and thought I was beautiful, had induced amusement....and my mind whirled through possibilities. What had she seen that I had missed? was my face that made the image comical to her. That somehow, even this old friend had placed me in a box, a box and label out of which I was not allowed to attempt to alter or leave. 

I voiced the thought and there it was again, the loving 'silly girl' look and a polite apology. You just don't look like yourself, she tried. 

To be told you don't look like yourself by someone else, someone who has no idea who you truly are, someone who can never fully read and comprehend the myriad of thoughts in your mind, the deep-seated emotions and fears that form you as the person you are...

It hurts. And I wonder again, wearily, if I really am beautiful. Or if my friend, who tells me constantly without provocation that I am, only finds me beautiful because she cares for me and because she sees the goodness in people - when in reality - my face, my body do not conform to the aesthetic principle of beauty. 

I stumbled upon these drop-dead gorgeous photos of Hannah, a girl whose soul is as beautiful as her photography, and my breath was taken away. Tears leaked from my eyes along with hurt - because I understand how she feels. I understand her disbelief upon seeing those pictures, of her saying in wonder, 'I'm...almost...beautiful.'

She is. I, and all others who see her work and read her words know this. But I know all too well the stifling sense of self-doubt as a photographer in regards to one's own beauty. 

We know how to capture others, become so used to hunting for the expression that makes their face light up with joy, with light. We are masters at making others feel beautiful, at garnering that response from them when they see the final pictures. 

But who photographs the photographer? Who gives the woman behind the camera that same grace, that same gift of showing their beauty and hidden light? I cried at those pictures of the beautiful girl in the red dress, because I see myself in her - I feel the same disbelief towards myself. Understand, I know I am beautiful. It is rare though, that I truly feel it. I try so hard to hide my body. I am not proud of its entirety.

I miss feeling beautiful. I miss feeling like me. I miss actually liking the skin I am in. I miss feeling that for once, I can relax because there will be few "bad" pictures. 

The tears surprise me - they come late at night and without warning, suddenly provoked by breathtaking images of a real, raw girl standing in a dark lake and clad in a crimson dress. She is beautiful - and I understand. And so, I am fiercely, triumphantly happy for her.

I too, once felt that beautiful. In a red dress also, no less. It was many years ago, and my body has changed since then. Perhaps one day, I will feel that way again. I think I am on my way.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

-girls with messy hair
-the smile that comes from reading words from a loved one
-the rain as it kisses the earth
-soft swirls of white blankets
-slow, rich jazz music
-travel journals + blogs of adventurers 
-dark chocolate
-spontaneous handwritten notes
-friends who send me perfect Pins bc they get me
-Dario Marianelli's soundtracks
-hiding on grassy knolls from the world
-flying on airplanes
-the sweet sacred moment in mornings just before waking
-a good love story
-tight hugs that feel like coming home
-striped shirts
-striped anything, really
-coffeeshops on rainy days
-saying no when you really need to
-being alone
-the moments in between
-brightly colored umbrellas
-dancing in ballet shoes
-black eyeliner
-life and all its messiness
-the warm glow of lamplight
-bookshelves filled
-dark hair-words
-you readers

inspired by this

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wed to the Nes to the Day

Salut, friends!

1. Let's talk about how the tiredness of the semester is already setting is it that there is so much to do? Classes all day, work, meetings, more meetings, dates with friends, studying, writing, eating, walking everywhere, MORE poor thighs are feeling it, I'm telling you. I'll have legs of steel at the end of the semester.

2. Today is one of those slight hot haute mess days: I woke up "late" just before 8 a.m. (I usually get up around 6:30-7 now) and I had to be somewhere at 9, got locked out of my room, forgot my id and couldn't swipe into the dining hall, spilled liquid on my shirt twice, and walked into class all sweaty and in tshirt + leggings today because we did Pilates this morning instead of our usual ballet class.

So...for all you who said I make college sound so glamorous and just got real. Yo.

3. I just ordered this planner from the Etsy shop Storybook Journals after seeing Moriah with the Anne of Green Gables one. I die. I am so excited! #plannerfreak #stationarynerdandproudofit

4. Per y'all's feeback, there will be a dorm room post (with pictures!) soon, but probably next week. The rest of this week is crazy and I'm off to staff a retreat this weekend, so life stuff comes first!

5. I'm trying to chug all the water by toting around my water bottle. It's a must since the days are hot and I spend all day running around campus from class to class.

6. I'm in a graphic design class, so of course, I do all of my research on Pinterest + have a board for it. And I've fallen in love with the myriad of possibilities when it comes to that type of art. The lines! The colors! The photos! The fonts! It's magical.

7. Ballet is wonderful as ever  - I'm one of those learners who needs to repeat things 10 billion times on my own before it's cemented in my mind, but I'm already planning to take advanced ballet next semester simply because I want to continue dancing.

8. On a very serious note, this article about how porn isn't just a "guy problem" is incredible. So, so powerful and 100% true. I think most Christians assume that only guys struggle with porn. Rarely, if ever, do I read an article or hear someone speak about the detrimental effects it has upon women also. Porn and masturbation are sins that both  men/boys and women/girls struggle with. 

Apologies if this is a bit too heavy for you, but it's one of the "shame" topics that truly upsets me. Just like the sad fact women and girls are blamed more than men for having extramarital sex if the former become pregnant. Some food for thought on this Wednesday.

How's your week, friends?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Seasons of Life: Why It's Still Summer in September

With the start of September, the excitement of fall is in the air. Pumpkin spice lattes are being sold, friends are Pinning autumn pictures, and the general longing for cool weather and to wear sweaters + boots is palpable among my peers (and especially in the online world). 

And yet...I find myself pulling back. Refraining from joining the excitement. I've come to realize that most personal growth often happens when you are least aware of it...and somehow, this summer, I began to truly enjoy + treasure + drink in moments of the present. 

And in many ways, I feel the whisper of the old soul within me when I hear others around me pipe up energetically and exuberantly about their longing for fall. It's a glimmer of a secret smile, for something in me now knows that it is all right to wait...that all things come in due time. 

With that sense of new patience, of knowing "what's coming will come, and when it does, we'll be ready for it," is an understanding that I feel that way about something much deeper than fall. Somehow, in this perpetual summer of the south, waiting for fall has paralleled the journey of my heart. The waiting and expectation of the future. Of perhaps a special someone who might be a part of my future -  a part of my story.

I think the idea of that future someone is like one's own personal gravity - I can now go all day without consciously thinking of him (whoever "him" is), but the whisper of the future is always there and the slightest reminder wraps its existence around me like the hint of an autumn breeze I can't see. Because for the first time, despite my complete and utter love for autumn, I'm not ready for it. 

I don't want it to come now. I don't want him to come now. 

Because it's not the right season. Because days are still warm and wild and carefree and unquenchably youthful...and free. It's still summer. 

Summertime is rich...a season of bounty, of overflowing, of goodness, of ripening, of coming into what you were meant to be - plant, seed, or person. 

Life is made up of seasons, my mother told me. It was something I grew up with that was a set in stone fact - similar to ones like the sun sets, the sky is blue, don't run with scissors, Sundays are church days.

Life is made up of seasons. 

And sometimes those seasons involve waiting. Ann wrote about pruning during the full seasons of life - why sometimes we have to prune and say no to good things...because pruning things that are blooming allows for a greater crop later on.

That doesn't make much sense, it seems at first. And yet it does. If Spring is young people + teenagers who are thrumming with life and vibrant and growing and shooting up with bright dreams and wide smiles...than Summer is young adults and people growing into their own with a slow deepness and a rich expanding of dreams + desires.

To many, Summer is the best time - the perfect season. And why wouldn't it be, they ask? Full of growth and wonder and why not drink in every moment and say yes to the magic of it all? Why "prune" or step back from certain things?

Ann writes, "there’s a counter-intuitiveness to it, this plucking off certain life activities that will yield good fruit. Some might even think it foolish to pare back, when the bloom and gifting apparent; a good harvest inevitable."

All my life, I've rushed into fall, yearning and over-eager - shooting out of the gate before even the first hint of the season appeared. Similarly, for most of my teenage (and college years thus far). like most girls, I've yearned for a relationship and dreamed about the future. 
And yet as Ann said, "it’s the pruning of seemingly good leaves that can grow a better life. 

To allow later seasons to yield the longed-for abundant crop."

For the first time, I'm beginning to understand...perhaps it is a healthy pruning to cease reaching + stretching towards the future. And instead to settle in the summer sunlight of the present moment, in this stage of life. In this season. 

Because I can sense it in my bones. Autumn's time has not come yet. 
There is still a bit more of summer to come. Still plenty of sun-soaked days to drink in, stirrings of the soul and thoughts to be pondered beneath a blazing blue sky. Autumn has - and always will have - my heart. 

But something has changed in me. Something has slowed. 

So give me these days of sun + youth + wild freedom. I can drink them in, secure in the knowledge that autumn will come - only when it should. No one can rush the changing of the world or in life. So I will not try. 

I think of the future + autumn now and then - frequently, if I am honest. But without the pangs of longing that I once had: "For everything, there is a time and a place." And it is not that time or place. 

But I know he will come - with the cool whisper of wind and the coziness of cups of cocoa on chilly days and the promise of adventure in the air. Perhaps not this year or the next or the next after that. 

But Autumn falls every year. 

So I will wait. For it - and him - to come to me. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekend Things

-if I was truly that chic, older college student, I would break down and buy a strapped shoulder bag/satchel instead of a backpack. But I can't quite let go of my trusty black Swiss Army one that distributes weight evenly on my shoulders. But my head I have the former option. 

-my glasses broke two weeks before school started and since I (and my family) are pros at procrastination, I never got around to ordering new ones. So the only way I can see (I have horrible vision) is contacts. I've never worn them so many days in a row ever in my life. I like it. But I'm looking forward to ordering a snazzy pair of glasses, preferably from Warby Parker. 

-I've officially become a morning owl (not quite by choice) and have settled into a little morning routine: wake up, slide the alarm off on my phone, splash water on my face, get coffee started, pump up the jams + get ready for the day. Most days I get coffee and breakfast, but sometimes I have to run out the door sans bfast. It's a good routine, though, and I like it. 

-living in a suite of girls is so fun. I lived in one last year (four girls) and loved my roommates so much. They all either graduated or moved elsewhere, so I have a brand new suite (all girls I knew previously) and it's just as wonderful in a different way. We've had so many late night talks about life, boys, love and have been there for each so much already. Very blessed to be surrounded by such a supportive little group each day when I wake up.

-my room is finally all set up and with plenty of warm, colorful lamps, it's a very cozy little room indeed. I quite enjoy spending time in there and do most of my studying at my desk. Freshman year was spent entirely in my college library (I practically lived there my first semester), but now that I'm older, I prefer studying in the privacy of my own room. I might even do a dorm room post (with sneak peek pictures) if anyone's interested!

-yesterday was a bright and cloudy day, so my suitemate and I made a coffee run. We were sitting outside enjoying the balmy weather when the heavens literally opened up and poured down on us. I will say, though, there are plenty of worse things in life than being trapped in a quirky coffeeshop during a severe rainstorm. It was an unexpected, albeit lovely, adventure. Today was the first day that really felt like September (a little on the cool side)so I drew my Sunday Mass outfit inspiration from Kendi's outfit. I opted for leopard print, black pencil skirt, eyeliner, and a nude lip instead. Tres chic.