Best of 2013 {A Year in Review}

Tuesday, December 31, 2013













2013 was, as Frank says, a very, very good year. There were many highs and lows, but overall, it was a huge year for me. 

In January, I said hello to 2013, had a feeling I would like this little year very much indeed, attended a Jane Austen ball, headed back to college for my second semester, and dressed like a Hogwarts student. 


In February, I turned 20 (!), my best friend threw a surprise birthday party for me; I roadtripped to Austin, had a secret Valentine, posted about the red + pink holiday fashion on campus, and wore an orange trench coat. 

March was especially exciting because I headed to New York for spring break! I was blessed to accompany my grandparents on a business trip with my mom and younger sister - while there was still snow! We had a ball and I fell in love with the magic + sophistication of NYC...I cannot wait to go back. I was also in the midst of my photography class and completely shocked by how much I loved it.


April was pretty rough with finals, but I managed to finish my first year of college alive. I shot my first senior session, decided photography was something I needed to keep doing no matter what, and said goodbye to some of my favorite people who graduated. 

May saw me begin my first summer job as a hostess for a 5-star French restaurant. I learned a great deal from it and am very grateful for the experience. I also started summer school which became difficult to juggle with my job. 

June found me exhausted and pushed to my limits from class + work everyday with tests each weekend.I did, however, have a fun weekend off which I spent in Houston with two good friends + co-workers. Working while taking classes taught me so much respect for people who work full-time and attend school - especially if they're single parents! In the end, I turned in my two weeks notice to concentrate better on school. 

July was hot - as always - but I celebrated 4th of July with family + plenty of style. I finished summer school and had a great month, blogging-wise. I wrote about what I've learned at 20, what we're entrusted with, put together this hilarious best friend post, and was featured in the Catholic Apolos online magazine!



In August I returned to college as a sophomore, excited for another year of school. I became a diehard fan of the BBC show Merlin (and thusly, Colin Morgan), and opened up to share very private, real, and raw thoughts about my weight gain. Other highlights: I threw a Great Gatsby party + to my shock, fell in love with One Direction. Craziness.



September! The beginning of fall brought whispers of cool weather, a lovely retreat with my residential college, a fun first His + Hers style post, and lots. of. redlipstick. I also talked about why we're so hard on ourselves and What Makes Us Beautiful as girls.




October was a HUGE month for the blog - I blogged everyday for the 31 Days series, How to Live a Grace-filled Life. It was a huge commitment, but I loved sharing words from my heart with other girls. I also saw a big increase in blog traffic during this month and had tons of friends and classmates who started reading give me lovely feedback about the series. Some of my favorite posts: Living Art, Be a World-Shaker by Being You, The Life I Want to Lead, Finding Yourself, A Letter to Girls. I also dressed up as Peter Pan + Red Riding Hood for Halloween, attended a Switchfoot concert (!), and saw Legally Blonde the musical. Oh, and took midterms. Whew...October was insane. 




I was able to catch a bit of a breath in November: I headed back to Austin with Caitlin again  - this time for a fashion shoot. Love that city! It finally felt like fall. Perhaps most exciting was that the blog got a fresh look, thanks to the lovely Alex! It was hard to let go of the cozy bookish look, but I felt ready for a change. :)




December...oof. I went through finals again, made my first short film/video, wrote about the man I want to marry, sang in a Christmas concert, found out I had been accepted as a CL (community leader or RA) for my dorm, shared why it's okay to cry during the holidays, spent Christmas with my family, became obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, and played around with dramatic color makeup

All in all, a full year. But one of much growth, love + happiness. I love my life + all that God has given me, good and bad. 

Here's to 2014 being even more wonderful. 

I can't wait. 

Today Is the Day A Savior Is Born

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


And boy, do we need Him. ;) So blessed by you dear readers - may you have a lovely, joyous, and Christ-filled day!

Godbless, 
Grace 

It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


It's Christmas Eve! A day of magic and promise...of last minute scurries, of getting ready for Christmas Eve Mass, and of slowing down with awe and silence as twilight falls and the most beautiful day of the year nears. 


A little Michael Buble + some Polar Express for your listening pleasure... Michael's 'Cold December Night' is a new favorite of mine. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and remember to slow down + relax today...



Outfit details: 
skirt//Cato's
shirt//thrifted
vest//thrifted
scarf// friend's
boots//thrifted
ring//Premier Jewelry
earrings//Claire's
lipstick// Rimmel 
nail polish//Julep


I signed up for Julep's Maven's box subscription, which meant after taking a style quiz, I was sent a box of different nail polish each month based on my style "It Girl." The lovely matte grey above was from my November box. 



Love Fair Isle patterns; while this isn't an exact, it's close-looking for only a few dollars. I know I constantly sing the praises of thrift stores, but you really do find cute pieces. I've worn this skirt with almost every color!


The irony of these pictures is that I had straightened my hair before we left the house...it was sleek + smooth.


Until I arrived at the Christmas tree farm. Hooray humidity! 





All of these pictures were shot by my lovely + talented sister, Fey. 


You'd think being a photographer would make me better behaved when it comes to being in front of the camera...not. 


The younger brother (and next oldest) decided to jump in...


All the Christmas cheer and cuteness. As well as swag from the little bro. 




 A very restful + joyous Christmas Eve to you, dear readers. Merry Christmas!

Modest Monday: Cinderella Blues

Monday, December 23, 2013




 Happy Monday! Who's ready for Christmas? 


I'm still in disbelief that Christmas is only two days away....what is this madness? Thankfully I've gotten most of my shopping and wrapping done, so now it's time to start baking and enjoying the holiday movies. I'm planning on getting out for fresh air too, though, after spending so much time either inside studying or in a car to travel back home during these past few weeks. 


Also, Modest Monday returns! I've been drawn to the cool, winter tones lately rather than bright red and other holiday colors (although I love those too). I think it's the lack of snow...I associate sweaters and other cozy wear with freezing cold + snow. In other words, I'm longing for a New England white Christmas. 


I'll take the slightly rainy and windy Christmas here in the South though...the wind would not let up during the shoot for this outfit! 


I started with this comfortable blue shirt and decided to carry the blue accents over into my make-up and accessories.

Outfit details: 
shirt// Cato's
skirt// Wet Seal
necklace// Marshall's 
shoes// thrifted
eye shadow// Elf 
lipstick// Colorburst Revlon Lip Butter #053 "Sorbet"


I went with Cinderella blues + silver for my eyes and a soft, bright pink for the lips. It was a fun change from my usual eye make-up which is normally more neutral. I used Revlon's new lip butter color Sorbet, which I picked up this summer. It's such a bright pink color I didn't really touch it because I was afraid it was too cool a shade for my warm coloring. But I've surprised myself with how much I like it...if you rock something with enough confidence, it works, no? 

It just goes to show that sometimes you just need to think pink!


Yes, those are my real eyelashes. My youngest sister asked me if I was wearing fake ones, but these are 100% mine. We're all blessed with long, thick, dark eyelashes, so wearing mascara is more of a preference rather than a necessity for my sister and I. I love the dramatic look it adds, so I almost always wear it anyways if I have my contacts in. 



This necklace is a style I usually shy away from, as much as I love the short chunky look. I don't have a long neck and these types of necklaces can sometimes accentuate the fact, but I've been wearing this one quite a bit as it's not choker-length short. 


I love how the delicate blue contrasts with the silver almost-chain-metal-feel. I've worn it as a necklace or as a headband and both have gone with outfits nicely. 


I love this dark sage green broomstick skirt (I have more than one, in fact) and wear it on a regular basis. And of course, it's not a winter outfit without boots! These were a lucky find at Goodwill - my mother calls them my "Catwoman" boots. And I have to agree with her.


Y'all. Can we talk about my hair for a minute?


 I stepped outside and BAM. I turned into Merida from Brave instantly...and the wind didn't exactly reduce the volume of my hair either. So. much. hair. It's been getting ridiculously long lately and I absolutely love it. It's naturally wavy and thick, so pulling it into a top knot, a pony tail, or even leaving it down like I usually do is more exciting than it used to be. 

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 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 
purity, 
modesty, 
and plenty of style. 

Also, I'm contemplating putting together a makeup post about what products I've been loving lately. Drop a comment below if you'd be interested in that sort of thing! Or not. No pressure, whatsoever.
 And that's all for now, friends. I'm off to sing along to the Frozen soundtrack for the 7 billionth time and plan the Christmas menu. Hope your Monday's been a lovely one!