Modest Monday: Stripe It Up

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

 Just joining the Modest Monday party? Here's the original post. Each Monday, I post a modest, stylish outfit. 
Why? Because I believe you don't have to sacrifice fashion and style for purity. 
 Modesty does not equal frumpy. This is my way of showing that modesty can be fashionable and pretty. I'm a girl determined to live a life of 
and plenty of style. 

Monday stripes!

Because it was Monday...

Because it was cold...

Just because...

I rocked some serious color and stripes. 

Cold, windy day of classes? Give me a vivid orange trenchcoat, some heels, lipstick - and look out, world. 

London Fog trenchcoat// thrifted
Shirt// Gap

Skirt// Buffalo Exchange
Leggings// thrifted
Wedges// Payless
Makeup// L'Oreal (lipstick) and CoverGirl + Lush (eyes) 
Nail polish// L'Oreal

 I love stripes like mad, so I was so delighted to receive this precious black and white striped shirt from my aunt for my birthday. I especially love the pop of coral orange at the neckline - so fun! I'm loving dark nails during this winter season...the color's actually a deep purple, but I put it on thickly for a darker, almost black hue.

Words cannot express how bright and wonderful this coat is. 

Pleats + bright hues make my heart happy. 
This skirt makes it especially pitter-patter. I stumbled upon this little treasure at a Buffalo Exchange in Austin - for only $7!

Just feeling a little joy de vivre!

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.}

Soul Renewing: The Right Kind of Monday

Monday, February 25, 2013

---written two Mondays ago

Today is Monday.

A simple enough statement, innocent words...and yet, despite my heavy heart on Sunday night - when I thought about the start of another school week - today has been anything but what a 'Monday' is known to be.

Perhaps because it's raining and grey( perhaps because jubilant drops have fallen with steady wetness, chasing students inside to seek shelter in buildings and the welcomed warmth of Starbucks or their dorm...)

Perhaps it's because there were no worrisome assignments due today...

Perhaps because I was wearing red lip stick and a dress covered in roses...

But for whatever reason, today has been one of calm, of not rushing frantically. Of not stressing about tomorrow. Of doing enjoyable things: sitting by Starbucks, editing pictures, indulging in photography, and walking through the rain-soaked streets swirling with cool, winter air.

And now, I'm curled up safe inside, sheltered, surrounded by friends in a room of comfortable chairs + flickering candles. There's soft lamplight, creamy hot chocolate, joy-giving giant cookies from Panera Breads...and music.

Rich, soulful, deep, blanketing and spreading through the air with an easy yawn and good-natured grace. Tumbling into our ears and souls, filling our bones with vibrations of the beat, steady and strong.

There's nothing but silence and soft stirring in our seats as we sit in armchairs, curled on the floor, reclined against sofas...just here, with our souls and ears open, and our minds and mouths quiet.

We listen - some of us with nods, others with eyes gazing off, still those just content to release every conscious tension and just float in the rhythm, in the lyrics weaving around us, in the living, breathing music.

Tomorrow has its own duties, worries, and thoughts.

But today, right now, we are here, present in the moment, allowing the music to wash over us and stir us - nourish and replenish out spirits.

Because today is Monday.

May your Monday be full of peace, friends. 

Sometimes... (When It's Okay to Say No)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sometimes you have to say 'Okay.'

As in, 'okay, this is too much on my plate. Time to put some back.'

And be okay with it.

Sometimes plans and big goals are just that - ideas that you want to bring to reality. But sometimes, it's okay to put them on the shelf for the moment or just realize that right now's not  the best time.

It doesn't mean you failed, or that you couldn't handle it. It doesn't make you less of a person, or inadequate, or one of those people who can barely keep it together.

It means you did the mature thing - that you gave it consideration and recognized that it's not going to fit in with your schedule/other commitments/life at the time.

I planned to run a half marathon at the end of next month: "The Toughest Half in Texas." I was looking forward to telling people I'd done it, that I'd managed along with a heavy work and school load. It sounds quite impressive. I was looking forward to being proud of myself for running (with some walking breaks) 13.1 miles and realizing that I - me, myself - had actually done that. Someone who doesn't consider herself a professional runner.

But here we are in February...and I haven't done a proper run since mid-January. I haven't even made it over 5 miles. I'm not foolish...I realize at this point, I'd have to do some serious mileage and almost daily training to get ready for 13.1 miles of almost all hills. If my situation was different, it might be possible. But with my classes, working 10 hours a week, teaching Zumba twice a week, trying to keep up with the blog, as well as sleep in there....

It's not realistic.

I knew that a few weeks ago, but I told myself I might be able to make it work. But after yesterday, which I spent studying for today's test of the semester, I knew for sure that I needed to let go of that. I have a bad habit of taking on too much. I think I can do it all. Slowly, but surely, I say yes to little things and big things that add up over time. I end up stretched beyond my Bilbo says, "Like butter, scraped over too much bread."

It's not healthy, it's not good, and it's not exactly peaceful. So if saying no to some things means I can give the rest of my commitments my all, I'm okay with that.

I'm at peace with that. If there's one thing I've learned in my 20 years so far, it's that

I. Rush. Too. Much. 

I take on too much.

And when I do that...when I'm so busy running from place to place...I lose myself.

I lose my sense of peace, of recognizing what it feels like to actually be in the moment. We shouldn't wake up hating our lives. Or wanting to cry before the day's even began.

 Life's hard. I'm not denying that. But we don't have to make it harder than it might be.

Sometimes that means saying no. Even when we don't want to.

And that's okay. 

Valentine's Day: The Day of Chocolate and Red

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope your day has been lovely so far and that you have some fun plans for tonight, whether it's getting together with friends, going on a date, or curling up to watch your favorite romantic comedy (my personal favorite). 

 Chocolate, various hues of pink and red, romantic music…all trademarks of one of the most famous holidays. Valentine’s Day. The day of romance, love,sob-inducing chick flicks and the ultimate excuse to indulge unabashedly in chocolate sans guilt.

 February is one of my favorite months, and not simply because it is my birthday month. I love Valentine’s Day. It happens to be one of my favorite holidays, and that’s coming from a girl who’s single. It is a fabulous day to treat yourself and celebrate your relationships with the people who are special to you – not just significant others. Friends, roommates, family members, etc.  I think Valentine’s Day is what you make of it. 

So if you’re single this February and less than ecstatic about it, try looking at the day differently. Think of it as a special day to celebrate all the things that make you happy. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, here are some ideas to make your day noteworthy:

 Celebrating with someone special this year? Make plans to cook dinner together; you’ll skip the crowded restaurants and have a special meal without breaking the bank. If you don’t have plans, get together with some friends for a movie and treat night. Bake cupcakes (le chocolate, of course) or heart-shaped cookies and decorate them with sprinkles and candy hearts.

 Girls, wear something pink or red – dress up! Even though we all have classes or work, it’s still a holiday, so why not wear something fun? 

Guys, don’t be afraid to look snazzy too. You’ll earn points from the girls. 

And when in doubt, go for a bow tie. Always.

Here's two red outfits I spotted out and about campus:

There's red and pink everywhere! 

And since it’s not V-Day without chocolate and sugar…

  Order a Starbucks Mocha frappuchino with a pump of raspberry syrup for a  pink and chocolate drink.
     Or try a White Mocha  hot chocolate.
   Double chocolate chunk muffins. Amen.
If one of CG’s “Sweetheart” drinks: Ring by Spring, Chocolate Covered Strawberry Mocha or -if you’re feeling vindictive -the Flaming Idiot, a delicious concoction that (unlike your ex-boyfriend) you won’t regret.
    Panera Bread’s red velvet crinkle cookies  are amazing.
        Make raspberry and white chocolate scones or a pan of fudgy, gooey brownies drizzled with decadent chocolate syrup.
Chocolate truffles.
Chocolate everything.
  Everything dipped in chocolate.
Repeat all of the above.

I love romantic comedies, so if you're looking for something to watch tonight, here some of my favorite films that will make you laugh, sniff and say“Awwww!”:
  •          Sleepless in Seattle
  •          P.S. I Love You
  •          While You Were Sleeping
  •          Beauty and the Beast
  •          Tangled
  •         Hitch
  •          My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  •          Roman Holiday
  •          Sabrina
  •          Leap Year
  •          Pride and Prejudice

And of course, you can't have Valentine's Day without love songs! 

(Quite possibly my favorite song ever!).

But Jenny and Tyler's "One Eyed Cat" is a close second. They are an adorable husband and wife duo. 

(Couldn't resist!) 

And for those of us who haven't met our special someone yet... 
Michael Buble's "I Just Haven't Met You Yet." :)

No matter your romantic status, Valentine’s Day is just that: a day. But it is a day to celebrate the people and the things that bring us joy. So make a card for someone, bake your favorite recipe, surprise a friend with some flowers, make some party food and eat together with your hall, and treat yourself to your favorite dessert.

If you’re a girl, throw on some red lipstick or a pair of heels.

 And this goes without saying, but eat some chocolate. It is Valentine’s Day, after all. ;)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Modest Monday: Raindrops and Roses & Valentine's Day Style

Monday, February 11, 2013

 Just joining the Modest Monday party? Here's the original post. Each Monday, I post a modest, stylish outfit. 

Why? Because I believe you don't have to sacrifice fashion and style for purity. 
 Modesty does not equal frumpy. This is my way of showing that modesty can be fashionable and pretty. I'm a girl determined to live a life of 
and plenty of style. 

It's quite grey and gloomy over here, so I'm currently at a round little table in Starbucks, happily clicking and typing away. Dean's crooning on Pandora, I'm wearing tall black leather boots, editing pics since I'm finished with classes, and actively choosing to be happy during this delightful moment.

It's a good day.

It's also Monday - but it's somehow all right! And it's the week of Valentine's Day! Which means...

Hello, red! And pink. And burgundy. And mauve. And every rich romantic shade...'tis the week to wear them in all their glory. I've been taking full advantage of wearing pink and red during the month of February so far. And I finally got around to getting some pictures of myself!

And what else says Valentine's Day and love like roses?

Dress: Ross
Leggings: from a friend who cleaned out her closet
Boots: thrifted
Cardigan: Goodwill (thrifted)
Rose veil: gift from friend
Ring: The Icing
Lipstick: L'Oreal

I adore this dress - I found it over winter break and got it for the sole purpose of wearing it for Valentine's Day (although I'll certainly be wearing it more than that). 

Even though it was grey and drizzly, I decided to dress up anyways. I always love wearing bright BOLD colors on rainy days. Adds a bit of pop to the day!

In honor of Valentine's Day, I captured  outfits around campus featuring pink and red here's some pictures of Valentine's Day style!

Red + fuchsia velvet flats in Austin. Zee bows...I die. 

An outfit's not complete without a stylish way to zip around...

Pink dress + pink nails. A definite must!

Stumbled upon this adorable couple at the local coffeeshop - meet Michelle and Caleb! 

She goes to A&M and he's in Dallas, so they meet up halfway for dates. And they both wore red by complete accident. How sweet are they?

Three cheers for true love!

Hope you all had a marvelous Monday! I certainly did. After all, rainy days, cozy chai lattes, and dresses with roses have a way of making the day brighter. And they just happen to be a few of my favorite things... ;)

20 Is The New 16

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This past Friday wasn't just any regular "Friiiiiiiiday." It was also my 20th birthday!

SO overwhelmingly blessed with beautiful people in my life who made it a special day. Cannot wait to see what my 20th year brings!

We Need to Ask What Are We Doing For Others

Thursday, February 7, 2013

One of TWO green tea lattes my beautiful hallmates surprised me with at work during a looong day. 

I think we place too much of an emphasis on ourselves. In our culture, it's all too easy to be egotistical. To be focused on ourselves, on our goals, what we need to accomplish each day.

But when was the last time we asked ourselves what we're doing for others?

Are we praying for our friends and family? Working to help pay for that phone bill or college tuition? Doing the dishes for mom who cooks dinner every night? Writing an old-fashioned note to a long-distant friend? Calling the family member who's hurting right now? Giving up some of your down time to listen to someone who just wants to talk? Being there for someone, even if it means just sitting in companionable, reassuring silence? Grabbing lunch or coffee to-go for a classmate who's too busy studying or at work to leave to eat?

What are we doing,

How are we,

What choices are we making,

To show others that we care?

That we are the living Body of Christ.

It's hard to die to self. To not just look out for ourselves and do only what we want to do. It's not easy, it's not always convenient, and a lot of times, it goes unrewarded and unseen.

But God knows, and He sees.

And when we show love, when we give grace to others, when we do something for OTHERS, we are passing on the same thing He's done for us.

A million times.

Countless times.

So many times, we often don't recognize it and take it for granted.

We're so blessed.

So I ask are you passing on and sharing the blessings we've been given?

A Twist on Modest Monday: Fashion On Campus

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

 Just joining the Modest Monday party? Here's the original post. Each Monday, I post a modest, stylish outfit. 

Why? Because I believe you don't have to sacrifice fashion and style for purity. 
 Modesty does not equal frumpy. This is my way of showing that modesty can be fashionable and pretty. I'm a girl determined to live a life of 
and plenty of style. 

Happy February, all! I'm starting up a new feature on the blog - a sort of twist on Modest Mondays. I'm still planning to continue with my outfits as well, but I'll also be posting pictures of fashion on campus. The outfits of students I see out and about, just as an example of other people's style and not only mine. 
I think it'll be fun. :)

Let the university fashion adventures commence! 

I loved this outfit a dear friend of mine was wearing - so bright but very cozy at the same time. It's an excellent drinking-tea or just curling-up-with-a-book outfit.  

Cheers, friends! Hope you have a wonderful week - Valentine's Day is just around the corner!

Getting Used to Things

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's totally a weird thought.

But I'm okay with typing "2013."

Which is crazy...where did that come from?

But it's true. As cliche as it sounds, it's a new year, and guess what? I actually like it.

2012 was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions, big change, and milestones. It challenged me and knocked me down several times. But it was still a good year. A great year. I learned so much - academically, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

About myself and my weaknesses.

About the beauty of friendship that's only a few months old.

About the hidden strengths within me.

About the deep, enduring love of family that especially rises in times of trial.

About the endless sacrifices parents are willing to make simply because they love their children.

(And the sheer goofiness of brothers.)

That I know NOTHING and God knows ALL.

That Socrates isn't so off his rocker and he actually had some valid points. Even if he never answers a question directly.

That I can write a political essay analyzing presidential candidates based on a Platonic framework. Sheesh. Try saying that five times fast.

That if I feel guilty about taking time to exercise instead of study, there's something wrong. Working out is an enormous de-stresser and helps me feel more like me - and the absence of constant exercise last semester proved that dramatically.

 2012 was a good year. It certainly didn't go according to plan. But the best things never do. After all, that's Life.

So. I'm ready and excited for 2013. See, I have this feeling it's going to. Be. Spectacular.

There'll probably be even more challenges and uncertainties. But I am so, so excited.

Maybe it's because my birthday is in 6 days. I'll be 20. :) Gettin' up there on the young adult ladder. Around this time next year, I'll legally be an adult.


Maybe it's because I'm growing more into myself - taking a photography class that will equip me as a food writer and blogger, teaching more Zumba classes, reading scads of YA books for a young adult lit class that's excellent research for finishing my YA novel, working as an undergraduate assistant, getting back in a running groove to train for a half marathon (!), and entering the semester with more confidence in myself and my abilities.

After all, I made it last semester. I've got it in me.

So again, 2013, I'm ready. I'm dreaming big. Planning to work hard. Treasuring this season in my life. And trying to capture every moment I can.