Real Life Wednesday

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

1. Y'all. The motivation is ZERO over here. I suddenly have the urge to catch up on all Netflix shows, do laundry, watch countless makeup videos on YouTube, spend time staring at my ceiling and listening to "Best Day of My Life" for the 1650th time. In short, do anything besides study and write papers. Helllllp. Someone come take away my phone/WiFi.

2. My coconut obsession is going strong. Coconut iced coffee, this Coconut Cabana hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works, coconut Greek yogurt frozen bars. Obsessed. I'm going to turn into one, watch me...

3. I wore a bright color for the first time in...2014? We've had some gorgeous sunny days and I finally cracked and wore a orange t-shirt. It feels like summer now.

4. Equally (perhaps even more?) shocking - I WORE SHORTS. That went above my knee.

Out in public.

I feel simultaneously like I need to go to Confession and the exhilarated "bring-on-more!" rush that a junkie must feel. All I know is my legs are finally getting tan, the world didn't end when I walked out the door, and I'm in love. (They weren't inappropriately short...I still have a sense of modest, don't worry!)

5. I have a plethora of ballet flats or tall spiky heels...but nothing in between, like summer wedges or strappy heels. This needs to change. Hopefully I'll be able to pick some up over the summer.

6. Summer! How is it only a few weeks away? I'm still in disbelief that May is this weekend. What the what? On the other hand, I'm excited for summer plans...and weddings! I love weddings. I'm especially excited for all the people I know who are getting married this summer - there's at least three!

7. This orchid color is supposedly the color of the year, and I have to agree that it's perfect.

8. This week is crazy not only with pre-finals papers + quizzes, but I have an awards banquet, a play, and a dance all on the same day. Outfit changes, y'all. It's all about the outfit changes! Also, bring on the party music. This chica needs to dance.

That's my life right now, friends. Have you switched over to warm-weather clothes? Who's ready for finals? Let me know how your week is! 

When in Doubt, Go to Dallas

Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Monday, friends! I'm dragging a bit over here, and already ready for the week to be over even though it just started. Anyone else? Although that does mean finals would be's the last week of school and you can tell around from the antsy mood around campus. We're all itching for summer break.

 So in the meantime, I thought I'd share pictures from my recent trip to Dallas. After all, road trips make everything better! My roommate and I had a weekday off from school a couple weeks back (school holiday) and rather than partaking in campus celebrations, we decided to get some fresh air and head to another city.
Click here to open up some of my favorite Spotify road trip tunes.

We stopped in Fort Worth and enjoyed a leisurely morning at Half-Price Books. 

The best book - and film! 

Our first stop in Dallas was at Mudslingers, a fun Western/almost steampunk-themed coffeeshop in Greenville. Mocha + a chai latte, complete with foam art. Gets me everytime.

Greenville Avenue is a long street of cute shops and restaurants perfect for strolling + window shopping. After getting to meet up with my cousin Jacqui, who'd recommended Mudslingers to us, we headed to lunch at a place that also came highly recommended. Breadwinners!

My gorgeous fellow road tripper + roommate. 

We opted to sit outside as it was a ridiculously beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and strong, summer breezes. A plate of different sweet breads (raspberry pecan + gingerbread) came out for us to munch on while we perused the menu. My roommate decided on a tomato + cheddar grilled cheese and I chose the turkey club - with sweet potato fries on the side for both us, of course. In case it's not clear from past food posts, I am a freak for sweet potatoes. I will always, always choose them over regular fries if offered the option.

So much. good. food. We each could barely finish half of our plate!

We decided to house-gaze and drove up + down Beverly Street, which for non Dallas natives, is where all the $12 million dollar homes are. We had difficulty keeping our mouths closed - it was a beautiful neighborhood. Statues of lions, fountains, arched doors, and gorgeous landscaping in the front yard was a basic for most houses. The entire street looked like an ultra wealthy version of Home & Garden magazine.  

We'd stopped at Trader Joe's in Fort Worth earlier for snacks - but mostly because I screamed  exclaimed loudly when I saw the sign and begged my roommate to stop. These crisps = the chocolate equivalent of Pringles. Otherwise known as crack. 

Next stop - Highland Park Village for even more walking + shopping! The weather was insanely gorgeous and perfect for strolling around + just enjoying the day. Highland is an extremely nice shopping center with high end brand names as well as anything you could need: Starbucks, a gourmet grocery store, and even a movie theater. 

We almost stopped to see The Muppets Movie (read: the film that Tom Hiddleston makes a cameo in) or God's Not Dead, but decided we didn't want to waste time since we had to head back later. 

When I spotted the Anthropologie, I insisted on dragging  my roommate in to show her the wonders of Anthro. If I had the money, I would never leave this store. It makes my color-loving heart happy. 

Isn't this dachshund dish towel just precious? My best friend is a proud dachshund owner + obsessed with all the wiener dogs. For the first six years of our friendship, I never understood the appeal, but I'm a convert now. They're such adorable, little fat dogs that do nothing but love + cuddle with you. All the feels. 

We wandered for a bit more, drove to the Wild Detectives (a tiny coffeeshop/hipster bookstore that's disguised as a house) to sip some green tea + chat with an old childhood friend of mine who's a senior at UD. Then we stopped at Cafe Brazil right down the street for dinner before we headed back to school. Steak quesadilla for the roomie, spinach + feta crepes for me - and coffee for both of us for the drive back!
They had delightful coffee flavors, like Snickers, Gingerbread, etc. I enjoyed a Rocky Road latte, and yes, it was just as good as it sounded. 

And that's our Dallas trip in a nut shell...I loved the clean, urban feel of the city and can't wait to go back. What are your plans for this week, friends? Any new coffee flavors you're loving? Summer's so close!

Life Hopes + Dreams

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I want to live life to the fullest of each breathless and giddy moment.

I want to kiss someone while it's snowing.

I want to go for a road trip, no plans, no aforethought, just spur-of-the-moment 'hey, why not?' 

I want to drink chai lattes in the morning over crisp white paper and pen inking out words from my heart.

I want to eat a Virginia apple in the fall, in a Virginia orchard. 

I want to kiss someone often. 

I want to travel, often and always. The Midwest, the Pacific Coast, the Swiss Alps, the hills of Provence, the countryside of Wales, the rocky hills of Ireland, the beaches of Nantucket, the glorious valleys and breath-snatching views of New Zealand.

I want to photograph weddings + capture love + cry every time I see a bride walk down the isle to her groom - no matter how many weddings I shoot.

I want to have a blue-eyed, dark-haired daughter, as impossible as my chances of passing on blue eyes genes are.

I want to have a stack of rings that I wear, each one with a meaning.

I want to write and be paid for it. Or write anyways, even if I'm not paid for it.

I want to dance to soft jazz with a person who will hold me close.

I want to cut my hair short and love the freedom that will come with it.

I want to hug tightly and fiercely and daily.

I want to build a collection of hats - bowler, fedora, you name it.

I want to bake pies and give them to my favorite people. 

I want to curl up on a window seat and take sun naps.

I want to have cats, several if need be, but one at least. 

I want to paint things striped and polka dotted but not both. 

I want to hold hands on a warm, hot, sticky summer day and smile as we hold hands anyway.

I want to have a suitcase that is regularly used.

I want to treasure silence and the calm of morning entering the house more than I treasure my phone and the sound of technology. 

I want to capture art, wild + lovely.

I want to tickle-fight in the grass and laugh long + loud. 

I want to kiss in the rain, beneath an umbrella, outside a coffeeshop. 

I want to drink deep, not only of coffeecups and life, but of God.

I want to live all different messy + colorful, raw bits of the world. Those are my hopes and dreams. My life plans. 

Being a Creative Soul

Thursday, April 24, 2014

'If you ask me what I came to do in this world, 
I, an artist, will answer: I am here to live out loud.'
Emile Zola

I miss creating + capturing art. This is the first time I haven't taken a photography class in three semesters. And I miss it. I miss the joy + creativity that comes from capturing a smile, a sparkle in someone's eye. From capturing life.

This has been a more academia writing-heavy semester, and while I understand that my studies come first, there's still a quiet ache. A stirring that manifests especially on beautiful days of sun and wind or during sunset when everything in the world is aglow + magical. It's times like these, when I feel such stirrings + aches, that I am reminded that I truly am a creative soul above all else.

I have to create.

I have to, need to make art. Even if someone else somewhere can make similar art that is infinitely more beautiful and distinct, what I make is something different from anyone else's creations in the world. And if I don't create, if I don't let the creativity within my soul + heart bubble up and flow out of me, then I'm not really living the way I know I can. I'm not as happy as I can be.

And there is such happiness that comes from capturing the beauty + mess + lovely imperfections of life...we call it art.

But another word for it, I think, is release.

There's something so breath-snatching and soul-stirring about the knowledge that we ourselves were crafted, were made. We are Art. So if our coming into this world is utterly + inexplicably tied to the process of creation, of making, of capture life + beauty + mess....then our inherent urge to create and make our own art suddenly becomes overwhelmingly clear.

So this hunger in my soul to make, to create, to put forth art - even if the result is not pretty and fulfillment comes only through the act of creating...

Then that's a holy hunger. A sweet desire. A pure stirring. A breath-taking urge.

Being a creative soul is both a blessing and a curse, wrapped together, intertwined so deftly that no distinguishing is possible. We're all blessed with the ability to make art, to find fulfillment creatively someway, no matter who we are or where we are in life. We're all creative souls. Some of us just might recognize it more than others. And our curse - if it can even be called that - is that we will always be filled with the urge, that hunger that presses us to bring forth our own creations of beauty + mess.

We will always yearn to create + capture art. So let us do so.

Real Life Wednesday

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1. Hands up for those who are very happy Lent is over! I'm wearing eyeliner + mascara today and it feels lovely.

2. I headed back to school yesterday with the best friend + her boyfriend, which meant a road trip, coffee + shopping in Houston. Cheers for selfies + ironic pensive faces

3. We stopped at a half-price bookstore tucked away in Houston called Kaboom was one of those old, endless bookshops that you'd see in a movie. So many old books in shelves that towered to the ceiling. I snagged a blue cover copy of The Great Gatsby as well as the Cranford Chronicles. 

5. Unbelievably excited about the Jersey Boys film coming out this summer...I saw the musical on Broadway last year in New York and fell. in. love. I am officially an old person and I don't care. 

6. I changed my lockscreen to an adorable picture of Matt Smith with the caption "I will seduce you with my awkwardness," which then led to me stumbling upon the Buzzfeed article about the 11 things Matt made cool on Doctor Who. Oh, Matt. Let's be best of friends. 

7. Let's talk babies, y'all. Not mine, don't worry - I'm not pregnant - but other people's. I think it's a result of being surrounded by teenagers/20-something year olds for four months, but I really just want to hold + love on a baby. The cuteness and tiny hands kill best friend misses holding her puppy, I miss holding babies. 

8. I got my first wedding invitation the other day that included a "plus-1" option. As in, not only am I invited to the wedding, I'm allowed to bring a date. And so it begins...the adult world of being accompanied to weddings by a SO (significant other). I'm not sure how I feel about this. 

9. The assistant photo editor for National Geographic came and spoke to a small group at my college; she talked about how the photo blog she runs, NG's Tumblr which she helped start, and other wonderful things. It was glorious and I want her life. Except with travel writing + fashion thrown in. 

10. I alternate between wanting to chop my hair off into a ridiculously cute + chic angled bob and recoiling in horror at the thought because it took. so. long. for my hair to get as long as it now. So...there's no way I'm actually going to cut it. But I keep wanting to. Talk me out of it, people!

11. As always, this is inspired by Jessica's RLW posts - also, the winner of the giveaway is Grace H!

Easter, Real + Raw (And Winner of the Giveaway!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I typed this tired and sleepily, with a full, happy heart.

Things weren't perfect about our Easter.  We didn't have an amazing, magazine-picturesque or enormous-family filled celebration planned. 

But it's okay just the way it was. 

I was back home with my family. I was ambushed by hugs after walking through the door. I laughed and watched Jimmy Fallon skit videos with my little sisters until midnight. I slept in. I went to the Good Friday service and pondered our Lord's undying love + sacrifice. Caught up with friends + laughed long. We closed down the local Starbucks and got free pastries. Spent the night at one of my best girls' house, stayed up far too late until five-thirty in the morning talking about God, His faithfulness during times of waiting + the love that He's picked out for us. 

Ate a glorious Southern breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits + strawberries. Had my hair done up hipster-style by my girl. Went thrift store shopping. Met up to study with my adopted big brother + one of the people dearest to me. Laughed + talked about God's plan with him. Napped on a couch (while trying to study). Enjoyed chocolate chip cookies + a virgin piƱa colada (yes, they do go together). Cuddled with my best friend and her dachshund. 

Came home to my family. Made a mango margarita (the real thing). Helped the little sister roll out fondant for the Easter Sunday cake. Took off my shoes. Sighed + breathed deep. Felt God's goodness and the sweetness of rest. Awed by His overwhelming love + gift of grace. 

Happy Resurrection of the Lord, friends - He is Risen! 


Also, the winner of the giveaway - chosen by a random drawing - is Grace Hincapie! Congratulations, Grace! Send me your address to 

Thank you so much to everyone who entered...I wish I could send all of you cookies + coffee! You're the best readers a girl could ask for. I hope you're having a lovely week - I'll see you tomorrow with a Real Life Wednesday post!

Real Life Wednesday

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1. I'm actually really starting to enjoy/look forward to writing these posts every Wednesday. I like to think in general that my blog is me sharing my heart or fashion/life snippets with y'all...but these posts feel like we're grabbing coffee and talking about life + all the recent craziness.

2. Bastille's song Pompeii is everywhere, but I'm stumbled upon 'Things We Lost in the Fire' and am loving it. Newest wake-up + get-up-for-the-day song.

3. I know, I know I sound like a broken record but how is Easter this week? Um, hello, 2014 just started a few weeks ago. Someone needs to fix the calendar. 

3. Speaking of Easter, I'm ready to go home - we have a lovely long weekend off - and I'm looking forward to hugging my mum, sleeping, having girl time with my sisters, and watching Netflix. Since, you know, I clearly don't watch Netflix at college. Of course not. 

4. Easter is this Sunday which means Lent will be over WHICH MEANS I CAN WEAR MAKEUP AGAIN. And yes, caps were necessary. I'm planning to do a post about giving up makeup for Lent and what a good experience it was overall. I would highly recommend it as a Lenten penance if you even wear makeup a little bit.  I am first and foremost excited to celebrate Jesus's resurrection, of course...but being able to wear makeup is just below it. 

5. The weather is absolutely insane and is worse than a female PMS-ing because it can't decide between cold, rainy days in the 60s or warm, sunny days in the 80s. I just want spring...or consistency. 

6. I'm normally a dark raspberry or red type of girl when it comes to lipstick, but I cannot wait to try a bright, gorgeous, glossy pink lip ala Felicity from Arrow

7. This post about your femininity not being defined by body hair or lack of body hair…give it a read. So powerful and so true. 

8. I'm finally getting new glasses and I'm trying to decide between these from Warby Parker or these from BonLook. Either way, I love the dark tortoise frame color. Decisions, decisions. 

9. Ben Rector got it right - Life sucks sometimes. One of the downsides of blogging is that it can present the appearance of a perfect life or a blogger who is always positive and radiating smiles in pictures. Well, guess what? We all have sucky days where we hate the world, other people, and getting our picture taken. Sometimes I get frustrated with blogs that are like the glossy pages of a magazine: perfect, beautiful, posed. 

That is not this blog. That is not me. I have horrible hair days. I don't shower every day. I have dark under-eye circles. I'm late. I ate a cookie today. I'm grumpy because a project didn't pan out the way I hoped or because I constantly am running into PDA couples. So this is a blog where I occasionally talk about how life sucks or how I'm struggling with something. Because I want this blog to be real + raw + honest, and to show both sides of my life: the pretty, photogenic parts and the not-so-pretty, messy parts.

9. I shot a senior session with one of my dearest friends (one of the first girls I got to know my freshman year) and we went out to dinner afterwards for a very late celebration of our respective birthdays (Feb + March). Drinks included. Since the restaurant we chose didn't have those mango margaritas I'd been craving, I opted for a strawberry mimosa. Which tasted exactly like a strawberry limeade from Sonic. Needless to say, I enjoyed it.

10. The picture above is of a Rocky Road latte on the rocks that I had in Dallas. Must. Remake. Asap.

What's your favorite makeup look to try this spring or latest wake-up morning motivation song? 

Also, I'm extending the blog giveaway through Thursday morning - I won't be posting Friday-Saturday as those are days of penance and prayer, so I'll announce the winner after Easter Sunday! So if you haven't entered, hop on over and leave a comment…if you're a coffee, chocolate + cookies fan. ;)

New York: SoHoing through the Square

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

 We started off our second day in NYC with some shopping in the Garment District, located in was an absolutely gorgeous day as the weather had cleared up to be sunny + breezy. 
It was perfect walking weather and we took advantage of it to see allllll the shops. 

I highly recommend the Garment District for sight-seeing. We strolled and just enjoyed looking at all the beautiful architecture + huge name brands: Guess, Hugo Boss, Banana Republic, Converse, Steve Madden, Brandy Melville, Tommy Hilfiger, Prada, Marc Jacobs and more.

My fashion-loving heart was in bliss. My younger sister, who shares my knowledge of and excitement for those brands, was equally on cloud nine.

Spotting the Sephora was a highlight, but our real destination was the M.A.C. beauty store. I've been eyeing MAC products for a while now, but due to the price I'd been biding my time before making any purchases - but when in New York...

If you've been reading for a while, then you know I am a sucker for red lipstick. I'm a fan of any color, but red seems to be a favorite. cough. And I'd actually realized a month ago that I'd somehow lost my beloved Rimmel red lipstick (!!) so I was in need of a new tube of red anyways.

The girls at MAC were extremely helpful; although, the poor salesgirl who assisted me almost had a heart attack when I mentioned I never use lip liner when wearing lipstick. After assuring her I did know that it was an absolute must when wearing red lipstick, she recovered. I ended up choosing the classic MAC Red in Satin as well as the liner. I've worn it on Sundays since getting home, and it's absolutely lovely.

Next up was the enormous Scholastic store! As an avid bookworm and writer, I couldn't not go of my dreams would to have a children's/YA book published by them. Who knows? Crazier things have happened. 

The littlest sister immediately wanted a picture with this poster for the Lego Movie...

The inside was a kid's dream...if only every bookstore was like this, right? Including the floating Harry Potter complete with its own mini section of books + paraphernalia. 

Representing Hogwarts Houses with appropriate facial expressions for each respective House. 
Left to right: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin. 

We headed to Little Italy for lunch and stopped at Pomodoro Ristorante Pizza, a little mom + pop place on the corner of Spring St. By then, we were starving, so no food pictures...but it was uh. maz. ing. 

Garlic cheese bread, fresh - and I mean fresh - mozzarella sticks, spaghetti and meatballs, and an out of this world chicken parmigiana. I'm getting hungry just typing this. Mmm. If you are in the Garment District, I highly recommend walking a couple blocks over to Little Italy as they're right next to each other. 

We did some more walking, just soaking in the city...and found the building that puts everyone in an Empire state of mind. 

Then we found ourselves in Times Square!

 I know I said this in the last NY post, but I love, love Times Square at night. The energy + excitement is something special - it feels like the entire city is awake and buzzing around Broadway. 

We finished off the night with drinks at Cafe Bene in Times Square, which is one of my favorite New York spots. Not only do they have an assortment of bakery items, macarons, and chocolate-covered waffles, but they have a fabulous menu of fun drinks. 

We settled on a Red Velvet latte + a Spicy Mayan hot chocolate. Heaven in cups. The red velvet was sweet, warm, and essentially liquid cake while the hot chocolate was rich + frothy with a deep, spicy chocolate taste. The perfect ending to the day. 

Psss, don't forget to enter the blog giveaway here - I'll randomly pick a winner tomorrow morning!

Hope your Holy Week is going well, friends. Easter is almost here!