#reallife

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Saturday night and the end of a very long week. Nothing exceedingly bad happened, but neither did anything exceedingly wonderful. In many ways it was an ordinary "life" week filled with work, sleep, dinner, blog reading, and running errands. And yet, I'm utterly exhausted and tired. It's one of those weeks that leaves me wanting to crawl under the covers and not have to deal with human beings or the world for a good two years. One of those 'can-everyone-just-leave-me-alone-kaythanksbye?' weeks.

I've worked a bit of overtime recently and have logged onto Facebook to see photos from all my different college friends who are studying abroad - most of them are in England right now. The country that I've loved and wanted to visit ever since I can remember. Due to scholarship application deadlines and other variables, studying abroad this summer wasn't going to work out and I made peace with that; it honestly didn't bother me. But for whatever reason, it really kicked in that I'm not there and these last two weeks have been pretty hard. Just sometimes feeling like I'm in the wrong place, like that could have been me. Throw in being separated from other college friends because we're all back in our respective hometowns, having a sore back, and dealing with the sometimes very blunt rudeness of customers, and I feel just a little worn out.

This isn't a post to complain, but rather a random, honest jumble of what's gong on right now. And from recent posts, if you didn't know any better, it make look like I have deep and profound thoughts and go to cute, hipster coffeeshops every day. But that's not what my life looks like. If I share a picture of a coffeecup, it's from my day off or the weekend. I work Fridays and Saturdays in addition to weekdays, so I like to try to do one "fun" thing each weekend like grab coffee or splurge on a clothes sale to still make the weekend feel special despite the fact that I'm usually working. But outside of that, I'm either working or on my way home or flopping in bed to mentally undwind or grabbing some much needed sleep. It's summer so everyone's busier, it's true, and this week has been no exception. 

I think I'm just honestly mentally, physically, and emotionally tired. Having a job is good practice for real life - sometimes you have to work on a bad day, sometimes you're just not "on" the way you need to, sometimes things go smoothly according to plan, sometimes there's a huge misunderstanding and countless snafus, sometimes people are extremely rude and demanding, sometimes people are overwhelmingly nice and make you laugh every day, and sometimes you have to show up even on days you don't want to. 

Because that's life: we have to show up, even when we're exhausted and need a break. And I am showing up. But I think this is a roundabout way of saying I'm ready to go back to school, to get back in my old routine. There haven't been any outfit posts around here lately because I'm usually too tired and in far too casual/bummy clothes after I get home for work. One more reason why I'm looking forward to school starting again - opportunities to dress cute

 I find when I'm stressed or have worked a long day or have stretched myself too thin in any aspect of life, I need to unwind slowly to feel like myself again. It was that soul-deep exhaustion as well as a headache that set it once I was finally back from work today; I took off my shoes and changed into soft, comfy clothes. I lit a giant candle, put on some quiet Chet Baker jazz music, curled up on my bed, and caught up on blogs.

 I was still so exhausted mentally and emotionally though...and in need of restorative carbs. So I took some Motrin, piled the younger siblings in the car and took them to Panera. The warm colors of the restaurant, the calming ambiance, and hot, delicious macaroni + cheese and French baguette and iced green tea was just what my soul needed. We talked quietly over our food and laughed about silly things as only siblings can do. Of course, chocolate was necessary, so we split a dark chocolate ganache cupcake as well as a cinnamon crumb scone. I came home with a smile + relaxed shoulders to put on some more jazz music and breathe deeply. 

This is very rambling and 100% unedited; I just wanted to be very honest about how I've felt the past two weeks. No one's life is perfect and you can never see all of it, so please know that everyone has rough weeks and good weeks. This is a bit of a brain dump post, which I never do. But it just feels right, so I'm posting this. And I know there are other people out there who have a lot more to be stressed about or tired from than just working at their job. I'm fortunate to be working and I know that, so I'm not ungrateful at all. Just tired and musing over things after a long week. That's all. 

 I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to getting some sleep and just relaxing. Hope your weekend is a good one, friends. 

Why I'm Done with Someday

via

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of worrying what the opposite sex thinks of me or of not liking how I look. I'm tired of struggling with insecure thoughts. I'm tired of trying to impress a guy, or wondering what he thinks about me, or if I look pretty enough.

I'm DONE. 

Done with all that - done with telling myself I'll be good enough someday. That a guy will love me for who I am and how I look someday. That I'll be the person he wants to be with someday.

Do I really want a guy who will fall for me ONLY or AFTER I look more attractive/lose weight/get toner? It's one thing to look a certain way, and then worry when you're middle-aged if your husband thinks you're still beautiful now that you've had kids, gained some weight, look a little different than you did when he first met you...

But I realized I don't want to "get" a guy only after I'm thin, pretty, successful, and rich. Because....what does that mean? What does that say - that I have to become all of those things for him to like me or think I'm beautiful? 

As if who I am right now, this very instant, is something to be embarrassed about? I don't want that. I don't want my man to love my "After." I want him to love my "Before."

So who I am right now - 21, a student, definitely curvier and a bit heavier/softer than I used to be, silly, fiercely compassionate, frequently take-charge and spontaneous - isn't good enough for some guy, then I don't want his love or attention in the first place. 

Because I hate the idea of having to change for someone. Every guy I've ever liked has been someone with quirks that I've loved. I've never thought, "Oh, but he needs to change/lose weight/be tanner/talk more." Nope. Never. Instead, I've found myself thinking, "Mm, maybe I should talk less because he's quiet. Maybe I should lose weight because he seems to go for blonde, skinny girls. Maybe I'm too bossy and mothering for him, so I should let him do all the leading" and so forth. 

But I am tired of that. I am TIRED OF CHASING. Because I sure as heck don't want to have to convince someone to like me. 

I want him to fall for me, all on his own, without any help. I want to BE CHASED.

As one friend put it, I want to be 'a catch. THE catch. The girl who's going to totally turn someone's life around, make his head spin, and make him wonder what in life he was doing to ever keep himself away from me for so long. I want to be the catch that will reel him closer to God and make him doubt whether his life  was so planned out in advance + make him fight back any selfish loves...and even wonder if he could really go around able to love if he knew that I was out there, someone who seems to answer all his prayers. I want to make someone crazy + confused because he won't be able to believe his ears, eyes, or luck.'

That's what I want. But I do NOT want to have that only after I become different. Because if a guy's head doesn't spin and he doesn't fall in love with me, exactly as I am, then...I don't want him to fall in love with me, period. 

I wouldn't want my future love, the man I'll marry, to change. Because I believe he will be good enough for me, the way he is. And I will be good enough for him too. Today. Not someday.

Real Life Wednesday

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


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. 

Summer Inspiration

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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


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

Monday, July 21, 2014

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!

Confessions

Thursday, July 17, 2014

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.

On Love: Part II (Your First Love)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

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.

Weekend Links

Friday, July 11, 2014

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. 

Real Life Wednesday: Coffee Talk + Other Life Stuff

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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!

On Love: Part I (Saying Yes to Love)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hello, friends - how was your holiday weekend? I've been taking things easy around here as I get back in the swing of regular life again, so I've enjoying a bit of quiet on the Internet. 

As it's been a while since my last post, I thought I'd share one close to my heart that's been in my draft folder for a while. I wrote this many months ago after pondering deeply about love and how one can recognize it. Perhaps you too have pondered it. 

_______________________________



Feelings are such tricky things.

Emotions. 

Stirrings of the heart.

There are some things that are so deep, so silent, and so sacred that they cannot even be spoken or thought in solid words.


Some things so sweet and still that they are guarded and held within us, in the quiet and safety of our hearts.

Love. So mysterious and wondrous and strange.  

Sometimes I think how strange it is - that I am so loving towards people, constantly pour love into them and my relationships with them, constantly laugh and smile and embrace them...

And yet when it comes to Love - the kind between a man and woman - I am so hesitant. And so afraid. I am afraid to consider or imagine that I love someone.

Love is so sacred and final and pure and overwhelming, I am automatically distrustful towards any possible inklings of it. 

And that was perhaps the most terrifying thing of all. I am so young...how could I possibly know what love is and what it feels like? It's only a fancy, a girlish feeling, I told myself. It didn't seem like it now, but I know I'll get over it. I have before. 

But that's just it. How would I know? When would I know it's more than just a fancy or temporary feeling? 

In other words, I was scared of my heart. I was terrified of love because I worried I wouldn't know it if I do experience it...I was terrified.

But, these years have taught me something. If we feel things sharply and deeply as young people caught between childhood and adulthood, it is in my twenties that I have come closer to a realization that is as bitter as it is sweet:

Love....is so much more than merely a fancy or a girlish crush. Because Love is so strong and true and different - it just is. Not butterflies and faster heartbeat, but a deep, solemn, almost grand expansion within me, like a song being sung that I have never before heard.

It both beautiful and frightening, safe and dangerous, steady and overwhelming, calm and chaotic, good and strengthening all at once.

It's not a 'tame' feeling.

When does it turn into love? When does it become real - this feeling that makes you smile when you see his face and the look in his eyes that makes you feel like you can do anything in the world and that he could look at anyone, but he chooses to look at you?

When does he become your story, your heart, your man? When does he become your all? 

When is it that you realize that you've been turned inside out, that part of you only comes to life when he smiles that special smile, and that the seasons come and go but there's only one person you want holding your hand through it all? 

When is it you realize how much you would die to self for their good, how much you would sacrifice for their happiness, how far you would follow them, how much a better person you wish to be because of them, and how much your heart is firmly tired to theirs that any distance tightens the string - bringing you closer to them than before? 

When? 

When do you realize you are in love? That you love him? 

When you do realize it is okay to love him?

Even when he doesn't love you back?

There are many possible answers. But one is, I think, when you are able to watch him walk away and fall in love with someone else - if that is what makes him happy. Even if it breaks your heart. Because beyond any feelings you have, you want him to be happy. Because love is sacrifice and doing what's best for the person. Because sometimes, things just aren't meant to be - and sometimes they are. Either way, it is the same. 

Because Love is putting someone else's needs before yours.

And as a wise little snowman once said, because some people are worth melting for. 

That's what I think, at least. Maybe one day I'll find out.

Feeling Americana

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Happy holiday weekend, friends! Since the 4th of July is tomorrow - and I'm just now getting back in the swing of things after having surgery, I thought I'd share an old post of mine from two summers ago. I put together this fun 4th of July outfit the summer before I headed off to college as a freshman. Hope you enjoy these photos of a younger, more exuberant (and tinier, hehe) me. 

_______________________________________________

Hello! Hope everyone's excited for the upcoming holiday. Every 4th of July, I am always so thankful for the country we live in and the beyond brave men and women who have given their lives to defend our freedom.  Since 4th of July is literally a days away - one day, count 'em, one to get your holiday outfits together - I wanted to wear something patriotic-inspired to kick off the week...and the beginning of July.


July...it's the month of watermelon, pool parties, backyard BBQs, summer camps, and celebrating our nation with one's family. And red, white, and blue! 

Y'all, I tore through my wardrobe and my sister's to find pieces in all three colors. I tried on half a dozen possible outfits with no success. At first I wasn't sure I'd have anything, but all I've found with a bit of imagination, a small wardrobe, and some really, really good heels...it all comes together.



Shirt// American Eagle (thrifted)
Skirt//(thrifted)
Belt//Forever 21 
Shoes// Forever 21 
Beanie//ICING 
Bag//(gift)

I loved how this outfit came together - even though it was last minute! This was actually very comfortable and easy to move around in. As most of what I was wearing were gifts acquired from friends + family, my entire outfit was practically free...maybe $5 at the most?
The blue beanie made me feel a bit French - but they have the same flag colors as us, so it all worked out. 


I clearly have a thing for high heels. (What can I say? I'm under 5 feet and love every extra inch I can get.) When it comes to putting together an outfit, if you can find one really good piece, the rest will fall into place. I knew I wanted to use this nautical-inspired belt to start with...and then the outfit practically whisked itself together!


Ginormous canvas bags are perfect for stuffing with beach gear, throwing in the car for a quick meet-up with friends, and they make a great weekend-getaway bag. Or the vehicle for 50 library books....not that I would personally know that's the check out limit.


Shirt pulled out? Casual American t-shirt. 
Shirt tucked into a bubble skirt and belted? Chic, classy American style. 
I felt like an all-American girl getting ready to board the train for vacation...


(Whoops! My train just rushed by!)


This sweet little skirt came from a thrift store and was embroidered with delicate roses and vines. White is one of my favorite colors to wear during the summer, especially when it's hot. It's such a cooling shade and one that is flattering on everyone. It's the summer version of black! Throw on anything white and it instantly slims you + adds a glow to your skin. 

All together: pop of red, sailor belt, embroidered skirt, and killer heels.

I wanted to add a bit more of blue, because the belt by itself wasn't enough. This beanie ft the bill perfectly and tied the whole outfit together. It added some casual fun to what would have otherwise been a more dressy, yacht-style outfit. But now I'm ready to celebrate my country in all my colors!

Anchors aweigh!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone as we celebrate the birth of our nation - may you all have a blessed + restful holiday weekend!

Real Life Wednesday: Notes on Wisdom Teeth + Illness in General

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


1.  As I mentioned on the blog earlier this past week, I had to have my wisdom teeth suddenly removed. Apparently there IS a reason why most people have them out in high school - if you wait any longer, like I did, to get them out when you're, say, 21 - they can grow too deep. My bottom ones had several nerves wrapped around them, which made the surgery a bit more risky than usual. So get them out sooner than later if you haven't yet!

2. I scheduled my surgery for 8:40 a.m. - the sooner, the better. You can't eat after midnight of the night before surgery, so I wanted to get it over with. I'd highly recommend morning surgery if you have the option.

3. Also - very, very important thing that I didn't think about until the night before: what to wear.

I wanted to be comfortable and not too nice because I knew I'd be sprawled there in the dentist chair, sedated and drooling looking extremely graceful. I decided on leggings, a camisole, chambray-like shirt that was loose + soft, and moccasins. So glad I went with that choice. I wouldn't recommend a dress or anything loose like flip-flops - I didn't trust my loopy self not to trip. T-shirts + yoga pants are a good idea too.

4. Thankfully, I don't remember much once the entire procedure was over. I felt like Frankenstein (and looked like it too), but once I was home, I thoroughly enjoyed the recovery process. I was exhausted and sore and swollen in my face, so I took my meds regularly and got tons of sleep. I'd slip on an eye mask, tie ice packs around my face and crash hard after taking my medicine.

5. ICE CREAM. They actually told me no dairy the first 24 hours after surgery, so I had chicken noodle soup + a soy hot chocolate from Starbucks on the first day, since I spent most of it sleeping anyways.

6. I was brilliant and reserved a slew of books at the library two weeks ago, so I had a stack of fiction books to begin with and then my dad walked in the day after the surgery with another stack that had just come in. So I've been alternating between reading a book, watching a movie, sleeping, repeat. It's been lovely.

7. Other favorite treats I've enjoyed: cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic, a hot fudge milkshake, white cheddar macaroni from Panera, tomato soup, etc. And alllll the ice cream. Wisdom teeth surgery calories don't count.....so I've been told, at least. Right?

8. Reality returns later this week when I head back to word, but it's been very nice to just recover and get my energy.

9. But at the end of the day, Ryan makes it worth it. Chipmunk cheeks and all.

What are you up to this Wednesday? Favorite summer treats you've been enjoying?

4th of July Style Inspiration

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hello, lovelies! I'm back - sort of. I'm blogging this from bed where I'm still resting and applying ice packs to my face religiously. Thankfully, my wisdom teeth surgery went well and all four were successfully removed. I'll chat a bit more about that and what I've been doing post-surgery tomorrow, but today I wanted to talk about this week's upcoming holiday...

It's July! Can we pause for a moment in shock? I know I sound like a broken record here, but how is 2014 seriously half-way over? I think my brain is still in March/April since it still feels like the beginning of a new year. I somehow thought July was next week, and nearly fell over in bed when I checked my calendar and realized that the 4th of July, or Independence Day for Americans, is Friday!

(Also, in that last sentence, I misspelled 'calendar' + 'independence' AND had to check my phone to see which day the 4th fell on because neither my math or spellings skills are very sharp at the moment. I'm on pain medication, people. I have a good excuse....really.)

Anyways, as soon as I realized that, I hopped on Pinterest and started pinning to my 4th of July board like a madwoman, and I thought I'd share some of my patriotic style favorites!


all images via Pinterest
I don't know about y'all, but I've fallen in love with the classic American shorts + nice top. It's casual enough for a BBQ or firework watching by the lake, but has just the right touch of holiday spirit. If I had to pick just one outfit to wear for all of summer, the above image on the left would be it. Shorts and a striped shirt? Be still, my stripe-lovin'-heart. 


Another option I love for the 4th is to wear a flowy, breezy dress or skirt! That's what I opted for last year: it's simple, colorful, and you can pile on the accessories.


Or maybe you're looking to keep it extra-minimalistic and comfortable...I don't know who in the South would wear pants on a hot July day, but it's always an option if you're somewhere a bit cooler. Maxi skirts are great for holidays too = comfy, loose, and they always hide food babies. 


If you want to keep it even simpler and aren't really one to make a fuss over your outfit, colored shorts are the way to go. Red, white, blue/denim - any one of those colors and you're ready to go.


Wanting to go a bit nautical? A striped shirt is perfect for that...or if you want to channel the more Americana side of things, you can't go wrong with red nails, a navy t-shirt and high tops.


And of course, we all know stripes and skirts are a classic combination. My stripe obsession only grows stronger during the summer...


I'll be spending my 4th of July in town with my family, but I know lots of friends are heading to the water or camping...I love this blue gingham bathingsuit. And the red boat. Cheers for tanning!



Striped dresses are always classy + casual! I love, love how they can go from simple to dressy. Perfect for this holiday weekend!


And of course, you can't forget the shoes...even if nothing else works in your closet, you can count on shoes to add the perfect patriotic pop.

What are your plans for 4th of July? More importantly - what are you wearing?? Have a great Tuesday, friends!