Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Real Life Wednesday


1. Summer is basically stripes season in my book. Just like Autumn is the universal signal to  "Wear alllllllllll the scarves," summer = stripes and everything nautical. I realized it was a full blown obsession when looking at my Pinterest boards that had maybe 347 striped shirts. However, the obsession reached an all-time high on Sunday when  my two brothers and I accidentally all wore stripes to Mass. We're such hipsters.

2. This is essentially my Instagram life. No shame

3. I actually WORKED OUT on Monday. I know, I can't believe it either. As in, legitimately exercised by doing some heavy cardio Zumba videos from my instructor days. I've been walking all summer, and I'm on my feet all the time at work, but this was my first real "workout" that wasn't walking or dancing since.........2013? Isn't that horrible? I went from being an exercise freak in high school to the girl in college who grimaces at even the thought of running. 

4. I think my body's realized it + I are heading back to college (what?) in a few weeks because all I can think about is SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. 

5. I've read so much in the past month,  it's a bit ridiculous. I've gone through piles of books and am loving every page. To me, summer is for reading + catching up on sleep. And Netflix-binging, of course. 

6. Speaking of Netflix, is it sad that I'm still not caught up on any tv show whatsoever? My roommate and I finished BBC's Merlin (which became "our show")  the last week of the semester and sobbed/clung together during the finale. I'm still emotionally scarred. In the best way. 

Now that I'm home for the summer, I finally reached the Neverland episodes from season 3 of Once Upon a Time, am somewhere on season 3-4 of How I Met Your Mother, and haven't seen a new episode of Scandal, Arrow, or even Psych since last semester. I tried to start season two of Downton Abbey (I know, it's shameful how behind I am) and was horrified to discover that Netflix took even the first season down from "Instant Streaming."

I blame all my recent reading. In a way, it's good, I suppose.

7. In other life-changing news, Chick-fil-A will start selling ICED COFFEE in August. Ohhhemmmgee. I was fortunate enough to get to taste a sample, and it is good. Let's just say I won't be making as many Starbucks runs anymore as I'm planning on ordering a couple gallons from Cfa. That's allowed, right?

8. As if I don't love this girl enough, she has the right kind of goals.

9. These 21 reasons it's awesome having a sister for a best friend is 100% accurate. Especially #1.

10.  A bit of blog housekeeping: I've finally made things a bit cohesive online by changing my Blogger username and whatnot. I went by the nome de plume Raewyn for years, but the name doesn't really fit with the blog now and most of you know my name is Grace anyways. So I'm officially Grace K. now - K is my middle initial and it has a nice ring to it.


I've also been "Grace K" on Pinterest for a while, so it only made sense to switch everything else over - and to the same picture! My blog "About Me" has been now been tweaked. My Bloglovin' profile is here, and My Spare Oom's page is here. You can find me on IG under MySpareOom (as my new username was already taken), and on Twitter as @Myspareoom. If you aren't sick of me and enjoy ramblings/pics about British men, shoes, and good coffee, give me a follow on any or all of these. I'm sincerely unoffended if you choose not to though. Really truly, from girl-to-girl.

How's your week going? Read anything good lately? I have a couple book posts coming up, but am always on the lookout for new titles. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Inspiration

Hello, friends! I got off work unexpectedly early today, so I'm sipping some iced coffee before starting on chores and my to-do list, but I thought I'd share some of my favorite pins from my Inspiration board. It's probably my favorite board for everything that is utterly me, new + exciting things I'd like to try, or just bright and colorful images that make me smile and get the creative juices flowing. Let me know in the comments below if you have an inspiration board - I'd love to check it out! 





1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//9//10


Monday, July 21, 2014

Why I'm Not Competing with Any Other Blogger, Girl, or Woman

I hate being competitive.

I think I secretly am. I see someone who's doing a great job or who looks cute that day and think, "Man, she has it so together - I wish I could look like that/have pictures that amazing on my blog/get an internship like that, etc."

But I actually don't like purposefully doing it. I'm a journalism major and the students in my department are extremely competitive. And, I understand that. You have to be cutting edge in today's society, always be on top of things, know the newest and best things about your field, push your abilities and your skills in a highly marketable way.

But I don't like it. I don't like the mental process behind it - the one that says I have to do what it takes to be the absolute best, to stand out so much that I'm okay pushing others aside in order to get the opportunities I want. 

Now, I'm not saying everyone in college - much less my department is like that. But sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes I feel myself getting overwhelmed and thinking I need to be just as amazing as this blogger or that, that I need to have my life together like this girl or nab an amazing internship like this one. Or end up with the amazing, high paying job in a great city like this woman. I need to do what I need to do to be just as good, if not better.

But you know what? I'm tired of it. That is not - and never has been - who I am.

Because Life is not a competition. And I'll be darned if I go through it acting like it is. If I do that, not only will I only exhaust and discourage myself.... but I will become resentful towards other women + girls who are successful and wonderful.

Because guess what?

via // inspiration board 

I once read this great quote by Jennifer Laurence about female scrutiny + body image. It was so powerful, I was struck at once by the truth in what she said: 

"I think girls are just so mean to each other. 
We're just so unsupportive...and judging them. 
Why are we doing this to each other?"

And it's so true - what she said. We go around constantly comparing ourselves...we've all had that moment where we eye a girl in line in front of us or frown while reading a blog post.

That girl in line might be wearing a cute dress that skims perfectly over her flat abdomen, or look adorable in the high quality, almost-magazine shots on her fashion blog post. Or maybe she has over thirty comments on a recent post. Maybe your friend is studying abroad and living the dream you've always had. Maybe a co-worker is confident and capable and got promoted. Maybe this girl is athletic and has no problem staying fit or talking easily with boys. Maybe this girl has amazing cheekbones and can pull off a pixie hair cut that you know would only make you look bad. Maybe this girl has been accepted to a great college or maybe she got her license before you did. Maybe this girl seems to be receiving endless opportunities. 

SO WHAT?

Comparison is such an ugly game...we've heard it said a thousand times before how unhealthy it is and how we're each amazing in our own way. 

But how often do we hear that we need to root for each other? Women still, unfortunately, have it harder than men. We still battle prejudice and sexism: we're statistically paid less in the workforce, still seen as the weaker + softer gender, still put up with insults directed towards males like "you hit like a girl" and so on. 

My point is that the world can be harsh and critical, so why aren't we sticking up for our own? Why are some of the harshest celebrity gossip columns and "Worse Dressed" lists and derogatory Buzzfeed articles and nasty blog comments written by women? 

Instead of dragging each other down because our insecurities and self-doubt, we should support each other as sisters, as women, as friends. Because we're all in the same boat. We're all just trying to figure out life, find happiness, and become a great woman. So why don't we help each other? 

Because some of the most uplifting support and encouragement I have ever received has been from other girls and women. Because they understand. Because deep down, we all have the same desires and dreams and goals - they're only manifested in different ways for each of us. 

I've certainly been more than guilty of hating on my own sex. Of thinking judgmental thoughts of girls who are prettier, more successful, etc. Of thinking, "Why can't I be like that?"

Well, guess what? I can't be like that. Like them. I can only be the best me. 

So I'm not going to compete with anyone else. I can't walk anyone else's path to success and happiness. I can only walk mine, which looks completely different from everyone's. That doesn't mean it's a given that I'll never compare myself though - I am human and will have those thoughts no matter what. But it does mean I will try my hardest to fight again the subconscious message our society sends us about ourselves and remind myself that life is not a competition. 

So when I say I don't like to compete, I really, truthfully, sincerely mean it. 

I want us all to make it. Not just me. 

_________________________

I normally don't make this request but I feel so strongly about the message of women + girls SUPPORTING each other, I would love and be so grateful if you shared this with others on social media. Let's stop being competitive and start rooting for each other as a community, as a sisterhood!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Confessions

via
- I'm still not on the makeup foundation boat and part of me suspects I never will be. I think it works for other people and can attest to its general coverage powers, but I've yet to try one that doesn't make me look/feel caked in makeup. So I'll just stick to my roll-on concealer and power, thank you very much.

- I really like "Talk Dirty To Me" by Jason DeRulo. I know, I know. Sorry, but that's just how it is...I'm a girl who likes to dance and that is an awesome dance party song. I don't plan on living out the lyrics but I want to be honest with y'all.

*pauses as probably every Catholic homeschooler who is reading this gasps and de-follows the blog*

I'm still me! Still crazy about modesty and my Catholic faith! I do like me some Pitbull though. I had an amusing conversation with a pretty conservative Christian friend the other day who expressed extreme concern that I might push my boundaries too far and change into a totally different girl.

I giggled (if you can giggle over text). I think my friend was offended at said text-giggle.

And I had to explain that just because I listen to Nicki Minaja + Pitbull, wear shorts and occasionally dresses that are at or above my knees (THE HORROR) that I wasn't a corrupt, immoral person who was going to sleep around, get drunk, or dress like a Kardashian.

I don't have the budget for that. (I kid, I kid)

- I really, really, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to chop my hair off like this. Or this. This too. And this. No pixie cut for me thank you  - I'd look more Britney Spears than wood fairy at my current weight. But I've got this restless urge for something new.

 I'm resisting like crazy because my hair has. never. ever. been this long before and I know I will want it back as soon as it's gone. I'm so indecisive I could be officially diagnosed with DIFL (detrimentally indecisive for lyfe).

- It's 100% wishful thinking, but I have these moments like visions where I imagine myself with a handful of little kids in the future that are hilarious, crazy mini-me versions of myself and unknown future husband. I picture it all: the dirty diapers, the adorable clothes that will messed up instantly, and the crazy cuddles in bed. Excuse me, I need to check on my ovaries - they're going into overdrive.

- My failsafe activity when I absolutely can't fall asleep and it's 2:35 a.m. is to Pin. Go ahead and judge me hard - I know, I could be journaling, praying, thinking about Big Scary Life Decisions. But see, sometimes none of those work (even praying..sorry, God. You know I always give it a try first.) But sometimes He doesn't talk back. So I take that as a Divine sign that I should get on Pinterest and stare at pretty things I'll probably never own. It does wonders for my mood, y'all.

- I plan on dressing my children in the same high-end clothing brands I like. I'll try + buy them as cheaply as possible, yes. But..I will so be that mother in Hunter boots with a toddler who's wearing matching ones.

- My best friend (who goes to the same college I do) and I were talking about the fact that we graduated high school two years ago. A lot has changed in two years...I'm more relaxed than I used to be. I now wear leggings, shorts, don't  rock a cardi with every outfit (still love them though), and have perfected the duck lip pout. I also wear my hair in top knots, can pull a mean all-nighter if need be, and even have gone on a date or two.

 In high school, I was in bed every night at 9:30, wore long sleeves/cardigans all the time (even in summer), never wore shorts period much less in public, wore glasses 24/7, and in general let my hair do its frizzy thing. Essentially, I was a little old lady. And now I actually feel like a college student. Which means I started out old and am regressing...like Benjamin Button. But presumably I'll age up again in the next 5-7 years. In the meantime, embrace duck lips. They're here to stay.

Granted, I make myself sound like a wild party animal. Let it be known, Internet, that my idea of a wild night is staying up until 4 am + binge-watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix in my dorm room. Craaaaazy.

- I love blogging. Totally, completely, head-over-heels in love with it. And with y'all. You're the best.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On Love: Part II (Your First Love)

via
Continuing some thoughts on love. You can read part I here. 


Love's a funny thing. It turns you inside out and yet, if you look deep enough and sit very, very still while waiting patiently...you find yourself. The you you're meant to be, the one that's been waiting for the right person to come along.

All it takes is one day. One day that changes how you think, how you feel, who you are, what your future is. It's not always a breathless, instantaneous, romantic moment that occurs in the span of a single day. But sooner or later, you realize during one particular, ordinary day, that love is in your life. In your heart.

I don't think you ever forget your first love.  It's such an incredible moment - one imprinted on your memory forever when you realize you love him.

When you finally lift your eyes to the person you pretended didn't exist, when you breathe in and realize it's him that takes your breath away, when you're falling and crashing to the ground but it's somehow all right because he's worth it and life tastes sweet + bitter all at once, and it's craziness and madness, and so utterly right and foolishly wrong at the same time.

But that's love. It's so illogical yet makes perfect sense.

Because that one - the one whom you realize you love...he's part of your story. He is your story, because there's something inside of you that changes forever because of that man. 
And that's just it. Because he may not know and may never know just what he's done, what change he's brought, what moments he's made sweeter...and that's okay, too.

Someone once said we are all someone's unfolding story.

Your first love is the beginning of that story. They awaken a part of your heart you didn't know, a part you didn't realize could feel that deeply. A part that dies and is reborn.

Something changes after your first love. You're no longer quite the same...perhaps because you've stood, solemn and quiet,  close to Love and it's something that takes your breath away, that makes you realize somehow and somewhere that you crossed the line from childhood and teenhood...
Somewhere a step was taken - one small, ordinary step - that took you out of the sunny spring glade of childhood and into the richer, deeper wood of Summer that is touched with a hint of fall and a promise of new things to come.

And you pause on a bank and the wind swirls up around you, cool and new, somewhat disconcerting and yet exhilarating...and you suddenly realize where you are.

And that you and your story are unfolding.

It's page one.

And it's the first page - a special page - of the greatest adventure of all.

Of your story.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekend Links

Happy weekend friends! I just finished work and am kicking back to plan out the next two days. I'm heading to a wedding tomorrow (I just might wear THE DRESS) and in general, looking forward to relaxing. Anyways! These past two weeks have produced some truly fantastic posts around the Web, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites. 

I have a huge style crush on Grace's (of Camp Patton) daughter Julia. Her style + hilarious sayings always make my day. 

I've been itching to get back into a smoothie routine as I love them. Jenni's green one + her recent obsession with them have inspired me. 

Are you studying or traveling abroad? If so, you are one lucky duck. Take me with you. I'm not heading to Europe this summer, unfortunately, but if I was, Kendi's post about packing for a trip abroad is great. 

Amanda's post about making a long distance relationship work is simply beautiful. Go read it. 

Do you wear primer? I've never understood why before and always brushed it off as something I didn't need, but Essie Button has me rethinking that. 

Long hair can be a pain in the summer (I admit that I have it up in a top knot or messy bun 99.99% of the time) but I love these 17 long hairstyles.

Like Emily, I've always loved ring trays but have never shelled out money for one because they're usually so pricy - for just a little dish! But this simple tutorial to make you own looks lovely. Perfect for college girls!

Food for thought: do you hug + kiss your friends? I'm a very touchy person, so I hug + touch (hand on arm, poke, tickle, etc) friends all the time. But I only greet people with a kiss on the cheek when I'm in Texas visiting my mom's family, who are Hispanic. I love the European fashion of this and wish it were more found in America! It's somehow very disarming + turns even the meeting of strangers into something friendly. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Real Life Wednesday: Coffee Talk + Other Life Stuff

Hey, friends - today's my day off, so I caught up on sleep and am relaxing today. Can we pretend we're meeting up for coffee to chat about life + stuff? I'd have an iced coconut coffee and a large glass of water since I love the stuff...so pull up a chair and your favorite drink. 

via

1. I've been thinking a lot about love, romance, relationships, and the beauty of different seasons in our lives - including singleness - hence this post about Love, about realizing it's okay to say yes to it. It was one of those posts that I was almost nervous to hit 'publish.' Loooooooots of vulnerability. I actually wrote it over 6 months ago, so that should tell you something. But it finally felt right to post it. And your positive feedback was so reassuring. 

2. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been taking it easy regarding the internet + social media the past two weeks. Partly because I was recovering from my wisdom teeth surgery, partly because I've been working, and partly because it's nice to feel a little silence and calm. Tsh wrote a great post about how after taking a break from social media while in Tuscany, the Internet seemed so LOUD when she got back to the states. And I realized I'd been coming to the same opinion. 

Now, I'd like to clarify - I love blogging, I love Instagram, (we all know about my Pinterest addiction),I love the strength + joy that can be found in an online community. Some of the most inspiring women I know are women + girls I don't actually know in real life. But the world is so noisy, and unlike the real world, I can actually control how much "noise" I experience online. So instead of rushing around to scramble together a 4th of July style post or posting over the weekend, I just enjoyed the time with my family and read some great books. I breathed. 

3. Side note to #3: I went through my Facebook friend list and simplified it to include only people I actually talk to/like/who are special to me. I'm not a fan of FB anymore...I find it contributes a good bit to my "noise" stress and I rarely felt afterwards that there was any benefit to checking it. It used to be that I'd not check it for a day and then worry, "Oh my goodness, what have I missed??" Now I'm finding I care less. I'd be tempted to delete it, but I do enjoy how I am able to connect to long distance friends or see important life announcements like "I'm engaged! I'm having a baby! I'm moving!" and so on. But it felt good to simplify things...I was "FB friends" with people I don't even talk to anymore, people who have disactivated their accounts, people who do not bring positivity into my life.

4. I'm really, really love being single. These last two months of summer, I think, will be ones of taking time to breathe (when I'm not working), enjoying time by myself, and drawing deeper to Jesus. My best friend's studying abroad, several other friends are taking summer school elsewhere, and my school friends are all back in Texas/their respective states. So I think this summer is a wonderful time + opportunity to live and be single and even on my own. 

Cough. As alone as you can get while living at home with a large family. But I think y'all know what I mean. It's contentment in the little things: walking the dog by myself and enjoying the peace, grabbing coffee solo, diving into a fantastic book, curled up in an armchair writing + pondering. As you get older, life gets louder and busier, so I'm finding myself yearning for quiet alone time more and more with each year. I want to get into a good, productive morning routine, so I can't wait for more of Mary Beth's Steady Days series. 

5. On a lighter note, I painted my nails navy blue with this Julep color for 4th of July weekend and love, love, LOVE how it looked. It's a dark matte color, so it almost looks black at first glance, but then you realize it's not quite black. Plus, it makes my hands look tanner, so I'm a fan. 

6. Despite working last weekend, I did manage to hit up Old Navy's big sale and got some gold rings (surprise, surprise), a Breton striped shift (again, shocker, right?), metallic ballet flats, and a dress. Can we talk about how trying on clothes after a long, stressful, tiring day is not fun? 

But then...then I found THE DRESS. It was one of those dresses that looked simple + ordinary on the hanger and then was MAGIC when you put it on. I went from tired + grumpy to smiling and twirling. One of those dresses...

7. And lastly, I can't wait to try the home recipe for awesome festival hair and this post about orange lipstick has me inspired - I absolutely love the first shade! And Emily's tutorial on a peach bronzer look has me swooning...as if I'm not in love with bronzer enough. 

What's up with you lately? I'd love to know what's on your heart or what you've been up to!