Still Here! (A Real Life Interruption)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hello, everyone!

Just dropping in to say I didn't get swallowed by the earth or kidnapped by the Capitol as Tribute for the Hunger, almost as exciting, but a bit less dangerous:

I started college! I've spent the last three weeks shopping like a crazy person for dorm stuff, packing my life up, moving into my dorm room, and getting settled on campus + in my classes.

It's a grand adventure so far, and every bit as terrifying and thrilling as one can imagine. I plan to post about it soon and give y'all the late Modest Mondays I owe you! I haven't had a laptop or lengthy access to a computer the past three weeks, so that's why thing's have been a bit quiet on the blog.

But anyhoo, my laptop's finally in, so you'll be seeing more of me soon!


(Went for a new look with the bangs..I felt ready for some change! :)

Modest Monday: Day by the Sea

Monday, August 6, 2012

Just joining the Modest Monday party? Here's the original post. Each Monday, I post a modest, stylish outfit that I wear along with some thoughts on modesty. 

Why? Because I believe you don't have to sacrifice fashion for purity. 
 Modesty does not = frumpy. 
These are outfits I really, truly wear in my day-to-day life. I'm a girl determined to live a life of purity, modesty, and plenty of style. :)

All photography credit: Bernadette Marie Photography - check her out on FB and at her blog!
I don't know about you, but summer has definitely slipped by like the cool, delightful little breeze you take for granted on hot August days.  Nevertheless, we still have a few days left...just enough time to soak up as much beach time as possible. So grab your family or your closest girlfriends, some bejeweled sandals, a cute + colorful outfit and find some sand!


This outfit is so bright and cheery it's bound to lift any sort of mood!
(And I was clearly happy in it, as you can tell ;)

Top: OP
Skirt: thrift store
Camisole: Gap
Thin layering sweater: thrift store
Sandals: Payless
Scarf: gift (thrift stores + garage sales are fantastic places to find small, vivid scarves)

Can we stop and talk about this top for a minute, m'kay? It's just...lovely. It's bright iridescent blue, lightweight, has a fabulous pattern, and totally screams California and beachy-ness. And I scored it for about $2. Yup, I'm in love.

And it goes fabulously with yellow!

The buttercup hue of this skirt never fails to brighten my day, whether it's sunny or grey outside. Another thrift store find, it's too large for me now, but I can't bring myself to give it away because I love the color so much. I adore yellow, but it's so hard for me find a shade that doesn't look strange against my skin tone. So I rolled up the top of the skirt and pinned it. Solution? Check!


 It's simply too. much. fun. to twirl in it!

 Scarves are perrrrrrect for beaches! Larger ones make wonderful wraps or thin cover-ups; smaller ones double for headbands, turbans, or cute kerchiefs. One of my best friends (who wears turbans constantly) gave me this one. With so many bright colors, it goes with so many things.

And of course, you can't go to the beach without reading material. That's the highlight of the trip! Tell me I'm not the only one that loves to lounge on the sand with the breeze in my hair, the sun on my brightly-colored toes and be whisked off to solve murders with Hercule Poirot, giggle over Becky Bloomwood's shopaholic escapades, or peruse glossy fashion magazines. Can I get an amen?

(Side note: Um, the Hunger Games? Never read them on  a holiday or "fun" day. It makes Father's Day or the beach far more macabre when you're reading about teenagers dying. Fact.)

P.G. Wodehouse is always, always acceptable. Lovers gone awry? Multiple hijinks and family feuds? Butlers, valets, and "I say"s galore? Yes, please. Mireille's book about French women and their figures manages to both intrigue, delight, and not make one despair over the ice cream cone, five days in a row. And, when in doubt, read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Just do it. It's inanely quirky, utterly adorable, and should be a must-read for everyone. Beach or no beach.

Journals are always good too. I love bringing mine for whatever bits of inspiration or random thoughts pop into mind...I tend to find lots of both at the beach!

I always bring a thin, light sweater/cardigan/cover-up to the beach, because a) modesty (I usually don't rock spaghetti strap shirts or tank tops unless I have my bathing suit underneath b)I hate sunburns and c) when the sun sets, it gets cooler and the breeze a bit stronger. I never regret bringing something to wrap up in. You can find so many different options in varying thickness and sleeve length. I love this black one because it's so thin it's nearly sheer, but you really can't tell.

 At the end of the day, it's all about comfort and kicking back. 

 And a modest, extremely cute outfit, of course.

Your turn! Show me your Modest Monday. Link up your outfit (it can be as casual or gussied up as you want).

Don't have a blog?
 Email (
 Instagram (raewyn83) 
or Tweet (@GracefulEats) 
me a pic of your outfit with hashtag #modestmoday if you'd like to see it featured on the blog!

{Catching up on Modest Monday? Check out all the previous weeks here.}

Embracing Change: Don't Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Sunday, August 5, 2012

{I wrote this post nearly two months ago...and it's even more true right this very moment in my life. God has a funny sense of humor. :) }

I am such a creature of habit.

I love order, routine. A place for everything and everything in that place.

I organized the Chick-fil-A nugget boxes and bagged sandwiches so they faced the same direction when I worked full time at my dad's Chick-fil-A store years ago.

I put things back in the pantry or on the shelf exactly where they were.

I can't just throw dishes or utensils in a drawer. Noooooo. They have to be neatly stacked, placed, and put.

I have a few favorite pews at church that I sit in according to my mood when I go to daily Mass.

I <3 both iced + blended coffee and agonize at coffeeshops over whether I should order a tried-and-true favorite or venture out and try something new. (I usually get the former...heh).

Every time I sit down to read blogs, Jenna's is always the first one I check. Always. Been part of my routine ever since I started reading her blog nearly three years ago (her's was the first "real" food blog I discovered!). Then I methodically work through my list of other blogs that I check in the same order each time. Once in a blue moon I mix it up and do something crazy like read it out of order. (I know - wild child, right?)

I write my novel/stories/bits of inspiration with thick black ink pens. I like a certain type of brand. It's painful to write with any other type! I feel like a mother taking a stranger's baby home and putting it in her child's playpen....

I do the kitchen in order each day: sweep first, empty trash second, wash hands and put dishes away third.

Adrian Monk, I am not. I just happen to have a love for routine.

It's comforting. It's structured.

It's safe.

Of course, like with everything, there are downsides. My nature of habit, my love for routine can make it difficult to step out of my comfort zone. To tackle the unknown. To take on things I don't like. To face conflict and abrupt change head-on.

(Boy, am I in for a rude awakening with motherhood...)

You know the saying they can "talk the talk but not walk the walk"? Hmmhhh. I think it applies both ways. I dream out loud about things like moving to California for a summer, backpacking across Europe, taking up art, sewing a gorgeous formal dress, etcetera, etcetera. You know, carpe diem. Size the day.

But when push comes to shove? thank you. I'll stay here in my beloved, so-worn-becasue-I-won't-break-down-and-get-a-new-pair-yoga pants, and I'll read all my fav blogs in order, do my daily schoolwork in the same sequence, and retrace my steps each day. It's comfy. It's easy. It's simple. It's safe.

But. Life. Is. Not. Safe. Not like that anyways.

A job? You could be fired or hired in a minute. And if you own your own business, every moment's a roller coaster with unknown dips and twists.

Marriage? You share a house, time, and a life with another person. Someone who has separate wants, needs, moods, preferences, habits, and hobbies - they're not a mirror image of you!

Kids? Fagettaboutit. I'm not a parent or even married yet, but being the oldest of six homeschooled kiddos and having a life-long exposure to homeschool families more than enough taught me that children = the definition of unpredictable. And if you try to control things, it never works out well. Nor should you want to!

Katie's mom put it beautifully: "Life is messy. So embrace the mess."

My own mother is a huge inspiration. With all the curve balls, dodgeballs in the face, flying straw balls at restaurant tables launched by mischievous chitlins, and the good, bad, and really ugly that Life has both thrown at her and dropped in her lap....she's always gone with the flow.

Where I'm uptight and freaking about because things aren't going according to plan or I'm waaaaaay out of my comfort zone....she's calm and collected, reminded me to cool down, that "it's okay to make mistakes; Life is full of them."

She's always said you can never be perfect because only God is perfect, so don't try to be. She's always said...try it. If you don't like it, that's okay. Then you'll know.

I grew up with that ringing in my ears throughout my childhood. In some ways, I'm just like my mom. In others, I'm polar opposite. My mom always encouraged me (and my siblings) to step out of the comfort zones I created for myself. Change, she's always told me, happens. Even if I don't like it. The proverbial "when one season ends, another begins..."

I think it's time I embraced that more.

Change, I mean.

Routine, structure, order, habits. All good things. All necessary things for society to function on a basic level and certainly for personal sanity.

But trying new things, stepping out of the circles we draw for ourselves and fill with familiar and comfortable and 'safe' things...allowing ourselves to make mistakes






So why do we treat it like it is?

Habits. They make us who we are. Teach us. Form us. Define us.

But sometimes it's time to try new things.

Make it a NEW habit to explore things beyond what you know. Beyond your comfort zone.

It just takes one step.

And the courage to know that no matter what happens, you're not making a mistake.

You're just trying it. 

Modest Monday: Traveling In Style

Friday, August 3, 2012

Just joining the Modest Monday party? Here's the original post. Each Monday, I post a modest, stylish outfit that I wear along with some thoughts on modesty. 

Why? Because I believe you don't have to sacrifice fashion for purity. 
 Modesty does not = frumpy. 
These are outfits I really, truly wear in my day-to-day life. I'm a girl determined to live a life of purity, modesty, and plenty of style. :)

All photography credit: Bernadette Marie Photography - check her out on FB and at her blog!

I'm finally settling back into routine and catching up on things after being gone in California ( <3). I didn't have access to a laptop while I was there, so I wasn't able to update with a Modest Monday post like I'd hoped. But I'm making up for it now...and today's outfit is very fitting. 

When traveling, it's all about comfort - and cuteness!

Outfit -
Hoodie pullover: American Eagle (thrifted)
Blue jean skirt: thrifted 
Scarf: gift
Shoes: Toms
Purse: Bungalow360 - also thrifted!
Fabulous Canon camera + bag: the sister's

I love traveling, especially flying...I'm a gypsy at heart and inevitably become exceedingly excited at the prospect of travel. I also love putting together travel outfits almost as much. 

Over the years and flights I've taken, I've established a few guidelines for airport/travel outfits.

  1. It has to be comfortable. Bottom line. When you're going to be confined in a small space for an extended period of time with numerous other fellow travelers, you want to wear something that's comfortable, relaxed, and breathable. 
  2.  I usually make sure I can move easily in it. A tight or restrictive skirt/pants hardly allows for comfort. I almost always wear a loose, swingy skirt with or without leggings that allows me to curl up, cross my legs, or run through the airport like a madwoman to catch my flight. 
  3. Comfortable, preferably flat shoes are a must. Being on your feet all day, running through security check points, and trekking through new cities means flats, sneakers, or sandals are your best bet.
  4. Wear a scarf! That is probably the one thing I'm guaranteed to bring wherever I go, simply because airports and airplanes are usually chilly. Once you're actually up in the air, it can get even cooler. Scarves serve as soft, flowing accessories that can morph into wraps, be used as blankets, or even rolled up and doubled as a pillow. (Bonus: they also cover up stains on shirts. ;)

Traveling usually involves a good bit of waiting, which is why I always try to make sure I wear something that will be comfortable for a long period of time.

 One of my favorite scarves...the colors are so soothing. And the varied-hued threads mean I can wear it with almost any other colors.


I love how these shoes look and had been wanting a pair for some time...the only thing stopping me from buying a pair? Just a little price tag of, oh, anywhere from $44-$68. I have difficulty dropping large sums of money on clothing items without careful consideration. I ended up deciding that was a bit more than I was willing to pay. 

 A few weeks ago, my mother, sisters and I went thrift store shopping for my fall school wardrobe at Goodwill. After a lengthy dressing room session, much "How does this color look on me?" and "Is this too snug?", we were checking out when my little sisters waved me over to the glass counter. Lo and behold...these Toms peered up cheerily at me.

 For. only. $10. 

After I recovered consciousness picked my mouth up off the floor, I asked the cashier with bated breath if I could try them on. She handed them over and I squeezed my toes into the slightly-snug 5 1/2 shoes, determined to make them fit ala the wicked stepsisters in "Cinderella." And fit they did! I practically danced out of the store, clutching my new shoes blissfully. Apparently people had attempted to try them on all day - but everyone's feet had been too large! ^This is exactly why I love thrift stores...some days you don't come up with anything - on others, you find hidden treasures!

Last essential wardrobe component for any vacation or trip?  

Your camera! It is, after all, perhaps the best accessory. 



(What I feel like after a long day of lugging around baggage...or when it's hot.)

Your turn! Show me your Modest Monday. Link up your outfit (it can be as casual or gussied up as you want).

Don't have a blog?
 Email (
 Instagram (raewyn83) 
or Tweet (@GracefulEats) 
me a pic of your outfit with hashtag #modestmoday if you'd like to see it featured on the blog!

{Catching up on Modest Monday? Here's Week 1, 234 5, and 6}