Autumn Bucket List

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Greetings from a 50-degree Michigan September! I finally feel like I've got my feet back underneath me in this whole college thing, and I'm beginning to find pockets of time to think about blogging again. I've missed creating for this space, and I don't want it to get lost in translation over the next four years.
shoes: DSW // jeans: Banana Republic // the Bourbon Vanilla latte at Rough Draft was beautiful. 

And what better way to re-enter, than to dive into celebrating the coziest months of the year? (How is it already September though.) Have I mentioned yet how excited I am to experience a true Northern autumn? In case you weren't already convinced, here are all the traditional and non-traditional Autumn plans I'm hoping to get up to this season...

11. AND AT LEAST ONE #PSL (yes I'm basic sometimes)
14. RE-WATCH SOME GILMORE GIRLS (my fall mood to a T)

*This one may be harder to accomplish given my current dorm situation. But hey, I'm being idealistic here!

What do you want to do this fall? If you're in college, how are you settling in this semester?

One Last Time | The Chic Sheet, v. 36

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Do you ever get that really weird feeling where time seems to be buzzing past you, and all you can do is just gape and stare at it going by? I've had that so often this week as I finished packing up the remains of my childhood, whether to archive for memories, to bring with me to school, or to pass on to the next somebody who will find joy from it. Friends and family have asked me if I'm ready for college. I don't know? Can you ever be ready for something new? You don't even know what it's really going to be like, until you get there. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be," I've been joking, but it's really as close to the truth as as sentence can get. ;)

So I'm sitting at my computer again, because when everything around is changed, you want to cling to the old, the familiar (that's not just me, right?). My last night at home, for a while at least. This is what I've been loving this week...

The Chic Sheet, v. 36

Oh MAN this song brings back memories! My sister and I used to know all the words to ever Sara Groves song in existence, until I grew up and I guess I thought I was too cool for her music anymore, ha! Well, I remembered it of a sudden this week and it's been on repeat for a couple days now. I love songs like that, that you can go in phases with, and even if you're not listening to it currently, it's always on the back burner for when you may need it again; when you're ready to love it again. (Is that ridiculously cheesy?)

I've been a long-time lover of Marissa Webb's designs, since before her time as head designer at Banana Republic (and the designs from those years are hands down some of the best Banana has made, in my opinion) - and this season's rollout is no exception! Also, can we talk about the fact that it's already almost fashion month?? 

3. Kate Schelter | Watercoloring In Paris
I had won Kate's book Classic Style in a blog giveaway done by Katie, and as I sat down to read it yesterday I very quickly fell in love with her beautiful world of classics - mostly because it felt so much like my own. I love the way Kate approaches style as an exercise in proportion; it just makes so much sense to me. So of course I had to find her website, and stalk some more of her artistic work too! This little video reignited my dream to someday visit Paris in the autumn. If there was ever a dream getaway, for me, this would be it.

4. People Have A Lot of Funny Things To Say About Taylor Swift's New Album Art
I'm admittedly not too impressed the latest T-Swift release, but the internet response has been varied and hilarious. XD

5. Sequins and Stripes
I just stumbled across Liz's blog this evening and spent the last half hour digging through her archives! I just love her aesthetic, and I love that she's in Chicago, a city you don't see as much in the blogosphere! But I think it's her adorable family that won me over. Actual #momgoals.

What are you loving this weekend? Are y'all back in school yet? How do you feel about the new Taylor Swift single?

The Best of Summer 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hello and happy last week of summer, (at least for me!), friends! I'm in full-on packing mode now, and by this time next week will be on campus already, doing Freshman orientation. So as a way to take a break from the Stacks (as I've been calling my college stuff, haha) and also to divert some of this nervous energy, I wanted to synthesize this summer for you all in a post. Especially since I did not blog very consistently this summer, I've wanted to tie up some loose ends - at least for posterity. ;)

Two years ago was the first time I ever did one of these summer sum-up posts, and I still go back and reread it, just to feel like I'm reliving those precious, fleeting days! It's becoming as much a tradition as summer itself, at this point, and I'm very very okay with that. :)

Dive into past summers...
Summer 2015
Summer 2016

Summer 2017

B O O K S--
-I didn't read as much as I usually do, nor certainly as much as I wanted to this summer, but I did read all the same. My favorite material was John Adams by David McCullough - I've been working slowly through it since late May, and I'm still not quite finished, but I've loved it immensely.

-I also read Flannery, The Book Thief, The Magnolia Story, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, The Problem of Pain, and re-read Nicomachean Ethics.

M E D I A--
-This was the summer of podcasts! I got thoroughly hooked on The Conservative Conscience, and dabbled in At Home With..., among others.

I also considered this my summer of throwback shows:
-I finally finished Gilmore Girls (and watched A Year In The Life afterwards, because duh!).
-I also watched You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, Letters to Juliet, and Confessions of a Shopaholic...
-And rewatched some old classics like Sound of Music, and The Princess Diaries,
-As well as a new favorite, Dunkirk. 

F A S H I O N--
-I dabbled more in preppy style (still putting a little twist on things)...
-And rediscovered my love for navy blue. Like seriously, I wore so much navy blue.

F O O D--
We ate all kinds of good food this summer!
-Tried lavender ice cream at Jeni's, and decided it was almost worth $5 a scoop.
-Had my first authentic Cuban coffee (oh my word, I'm a fan!)
-Enjoyed hands-down the best meal of the summer at Carmine's in New York (hint: it was pasta and it was glorious), not to mention ice cream at the Statue of Liberty (because life is short. :)
-Came up with a few recipes of my own that I shared on Instagram!

L I F E--
-Drove a little out of our community to view a total solar eclipse (today!) ; saw the sky like dusk at 1:30 in the afternoon and the sun blocked out completely by the moon (and observed correct safety procedures so I can still see ;).

-Started running more seriously and made a new PR for longest nonstop run (2.12 miles, 6.2 mph, indoors), as well as longer outdoor runs than I've ever attempted, despite the southern August heat! (Longest outdoor run: 2.6 miles, with a few walk breaks in between. ;)

T R A V E L--
 -Kicked off the summer with a few days in New York City: dodging the late May rain and buying a dress at the 5th Avenue J. Crew, watching the Penguins beat the Capitals in our crowded hotel room, eating a pretzel off the street, ferrying to the Statue of Liberty (all the Brooklyn vibes!) and feeling incredibly humbled at the 9/11 Memorial.
-Stayed a few nights in a hotel while our carpets were being replaced around midsummer (that much was *not* so fun, ha), but had a good time despite the circumstances.
-Drove out to The Parthenon in Nashville to shoot my little sister's senior photos, felt emotional and swatted bugs and came home with 500 of some of the best originals I've ever shot.

-And last but not least, a trip to Michigan, yet to happen, with all my stuff packed in the boot of the car, and only the new out ahead of us...

What have been the highlights of your summer, dear friends? 

The Elegance Files, No. 17: On Taking The Next Step (When You Don't Know What It Is)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Just a little series on being elegant, from tips my mother taught me and beyond. Click here to read more from the archives...

"The road gets rougher
Gets lonelier, tougher
...Ever since this world began."
-Judy Garland, "The Man That Got Away" 

Let me just start by saying, this post has been a long time coming. I've even touched a bit on the issue in past posts, but it's something that just doesn't get easier, no matter how many times you do it, and that is taking the next step. 

At every stopping point in life, you reach a sort of plateau: you can either continue going on as you have been, or you can try something new, something harder, something you possibly don't quite understand, something that probably scares you at least a little bit, in order to get to the next level. Sometimes it's a conscious decision to jump in, sometimes you arrive at the step only a second after you realized you were headed that direction, and sometimes you can't see a ladder for several yards ahead of you, and you're groping forward in the dark. And that last type is what I'm talking about today. 

For me, the conscious choice to go to school was exactly that: a conscious decision that I believe will lead to an overall life-improvement. The choice of Journalism as my focus study, that was something I didn't realize I was moving towards for a very long time, perhaps always, until it popped up and it just made sense. But right now, with two weeks between me and the first day of school, full of all sorts of questions that I can't now know, there's a part of me that just wants to crawl back into my safe corner of work, where I already know the ropes like the back of my hand. But I can't go back: that door is closed. I have steps ahead that I can't even fathom, and yes, that's a little bit terrifying. 

Well, they say it's good to do something that scares you every day. 

"When you get to the end of your rope," Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, "tie a knot and hang on."

When you don't know how to step forward, when you're uncertain what you're walking into, walk slower - but keep walking. I know its cliche, but those small choices you make every day are truly the ones that make up the very large choices that seem so impossible right now. Don't stop walking - don't let go of the rope completely - instead, start small, with the things you already know for certain.

I know I need to pack for college.
I know I need to keep writing, even if it seems crazy when there is so much else to do, because it's a discipline. It keeps me sane. It is who I am, before, during, and after college.
I know I need to workout.
I want to blog.
I want to read.

By doing those things that keep you sane, by pecking away at what you know, you strengthen your skill set until it becomes clear what that next step is. And when the next step comes, instead of having wasted your time in waiting, you find you're ready to jump. 

The bad news? It doesn't get easier. You overcome the mountain, in fact you get very good at overcoming mountains, until one day you realize it was only a small hill, and there's a real mountain in front of you now. It doesn't get easier, it does get harder, and there are some terrifying decisions ahead. They told you all of that when you graduated high school, and goodness knows I don't need to regurgitate it.

But there's good news, too, and maybe they didn't tell you this: the good news is that no one is exempt from uncertainty, no one is ever at a point in their life where they "know it all," or even truly "know what's next" - and if they think they do, they're closing their eyes to reality. Even if it feels like you're the only one unsure of where she's going, stay the course. Keep going. 

When you can't see what's ahead of you, when you can't see the mountain, walk. Keep practicing. Hang on to that rope and don't let go. Your feet will hit the base of the cliff eventually, and you'll know how to climb. 

A Lot Of Good Music + Possibly Despacito | The Chic Sheet, v. 35

Monday, August 14, 2017

I didn't have a chance to share what I loved last week over the weekend, so I figured instead I'd start the week off with a few things I'm loving, and a few things I'm looking forward to! I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to tackle this week with strength and grace; I know I certainly am.

The Chic Sheet, v. 35

1. Gilmore Girls Playlist
If you're looking for a good throwback / girlband playlist, this is your one! I've been jamming to Alanis Morissette and ABBA all weekend and it's basically an instant mood booster.

Not to mention it brings on the sentimental Gilmore Girls vibes. Because I finished A Year In The Life last week, which means (after almost a year) I've finally watched all there is to watch, and I'm a little bit sad. I'm not saying anything about the ending, either.

It's fine.
I'm fine.

2. Little Women Broadway Soundtrack
Speaking of soundtracks, I've also been listening to this old favorite again. Anyone else a major fan of the Little Women Broadway show? This was so much of my childhood! I swear my sisters and I are actually the March sisters, plus one. ;)

3. IKEA Strandmon Wing Chair
Our family has been slowly remodeling / redecorating a few rooms in the house this summer, and we're finally almost done! It feels so good to not be entirely in boxes, at least for a few days, hah! Among other new pieces was this goldenrod yellow wing chair from IKEA, a piece I fell in love with instantly. I know this is a little off topic for this blog, but I couldn't not share, because look at how gorgeous it is? I also just love the way wing chairs sit - so good on the back. 🙌🏻 If you happen to be in the market for a statement chair, I'd highly recommend it (also comes in gray and mint blue). Can't wait to curl up in it and enjoy a book...

4. Madeline + Company
Carly mentioned these backpacks in one of her recent posts, and I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness of this small family business! Madeline, the girl behind the brand, started the company as a senior in high school, with a goal of creating a better, more functional backpack for girls, that was simultaneously more stylish than what you usually find on the market. She certainly checks both those boxes! These backpacks are beautiful -- kinda makes me wish I hadn't already bought mine, because I'd love to purchase The Classic! They are pricey, but I think supporting small businesses is really important, and honestly worth it for the quality of the product.

5. Old Navy High Rise Leggings With Pocket
I'll keep this one short and to the point: I finally found a pair of leggings with a pocket that not only fits my phone, but can actually hold it while I run, and doesn't get sweaty. Bless. I'm planning all the outdoor runs now...

6. Despacito
This is potentially embarrassing but...I caved and have been jamming to Despacito. Ha! I'm thinking it's going be an awesome workout jam, and I do love Spanish music. (Subeme La Radio is also one of my faves. ;)

What have you been loving lately? 

Friday Five: 5 Podcasts to Try

Friday, August 11, 2017

I've mentioned a couple times that I love to listen to podcasts while I get ready in the morning...or while I stretch after a workout, or when I go for a longer, low-intensity run (sprints/faster runs need more upbeat music to get me through them, ha!). This lead to a couple of my real-life friends asking "okay, podcasts are a cool idea, but which ones should I listen to?" Great question. So glad you asked. :)

My Top Five Favorite Podcasts
(For those of us, i.e. me, just now getting into podcasts. ;)

1. One to make you think: "The Conservative Conscience" with Daniel Horowitz
I've mentioned this one at least once before, and, not gonna lie: this is definitely my favorite podcast because I feel like it gives me a well rounded, clear-minded update on what's going on in the world each week. Daniel Horowitz is not afraid to step on toes and tell the truth of the matter, but he most notably gives practical-application, knowledgeable solutions to the social, economical, and political issues of the day. There are anywhere from 1 to 4 new episodes in a given week, each around 35 minutes long, but even if I don't have time for more than 2, I still get a lot more out of it than I would 2+ hours of watching the news. Because there ain't nobody on the news being succinct these days, and I don't have time for diluted rambling. ;)

2. One to make you happy: "At Home With..." with Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton
This is such a fun podcast. Lily and Anna have been favorite beauty bloggers/YouTubers of mine for a few years now, so when they announced this podcast, I was pretty excited. The ladies chat about homes, ranging anywhere from the physical decor to the veritable feeling each week's guest's  home may exude. Exactly the sort of thing to listen to while cleaning, organizing, or winding down for the evening; like having some friends over to chat! ...only they can't hear you chiming in from the other side of the Atlantic. ;) 

3. One to make you smile: "That Sounds Fun" with Annie F. Downs
This is actually a new podcast to me - I just listened to my first episode last week, but I thought it was really sweet and worth a share. Annie covers just about anything she's currently loving in the show, from books to music to people - a bit like this blog, actually! She seems like she'd be lovely to chat with over coffee, and that's a little bit what listening to the podcast is like: down to earth, casual, familiar. And I really like that.

4. One to learn: The Classical Conversations Podcast
I haven't had time yet to really get into this one, but every time I listen to parts of episodes, it's always enriching. From what I've gathered, the creators of the podcast (in association with the Classical Conversations education organization) share lectures in the classical education model: lectures on classic books and how to understand them more fully, as well as more general classical-model lessons -- it's brilliant!

5. One to inspire: "The Goal Digger" with Jenna Kutcher
This was the podcast that opened me up to all the others, the first podcast I ever listened to and was genuinely interested in! Jenna is so fun and bubbly, and the people she bring on to the show, to share about entrepreneurship / starting your own small business are all such genuine, intelligent people. I always seem to learn a solid life lesson from each episode of this podcast, or at the very least a good reminder of some important concept I was forgetting. Really good for all creatives.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are some of your favorites?

Dorm Pantry Essentials

Monday, August 07, 2017

A couple of weeks ago when I shared my college dorm room shopping list, sharing all the essentials I'm packing for college this fall, I promised a more specific look into the type of food I'd be bringing to school as well. One of the biggest tips I've gotten from my college-experienced chums is to bring a little stash of non-perishable snacks, for your dorm room. And it makes sense: you obviously have your dining hall swipes for full meals, but when it comes to afternoons studying, mornings when you might wake up late and not have time for breakfast, or nights when you're working late, post-workout munchies, etc - it's good to have some backup. Of course, this is going to be incredibly variable, depending on your tastes, diet, lifestyle, etc - but these are my essentials, in hopes it jogs your memory for things you may need as well!

And as always: any additional recommendations are more than welcome!

What's In My Dorm Pantry?

1. LARABARS (You guys know I have to have my Larabars - best portable snack there is, with most of their products being sugar and dairy free! I can't wait till Fall rolls around and they bring out the seasonal flavors...)
2. HOMEMADE GRANOLA (Recipe here)
3. SUGAR-FREE PEANUT BUTTER (Smuckers makes the best!)
5. COFFEE GROUNDS, BEANS, PLANTS, ALL OF IT. (I found some Illy at T. J. Maxx. SCORE.)
6. QUICK OATS (A.K.A. What I Live Off Of)
7. ALMONDS / NUTS, DATES (For when I need to get snack-a-lackin'.)

(I'm already regretting that pun.)


(Self-explanatory, really. Arnica is a lifesaver, by the way, and if you haven't used it yet on a bruise or injury, get it in ya life!)

1. TRIDENT ORIGINAL GUM (Only the best gum in the entire world.)
2. COCONUT OIL (For cooking, makeup removal, hair masks, and everything in between...)
5.  EMERGENCY HIGH-QUALITY CHOCOLATE (Chocolate Emergencies. They're a real thing.)
6. PEPPERMINTS (for stomach aches, or just better studying. ;)

And that's my dorm pantry list! There are a lot of other things that could be on there, like crackers or cookies or cereal, all things that I would definitely eat if I kept them in stock, but for that very reason I don't intend to keep them around. I'm a serial snacker (ha!), but as long as I only keep relatively nutritious snacks around, I know I'll be set! (Know yourself, you guys. It makes life easier. :)

What did/do/will you keep on hand in your dorm, for snacking? 
And do you like Trident Original gum? Because I think we should be friends if you do. ;)

Mint Iced Coffee // A Friday Cheers

Friday, August 04, 2017

Well. I had a different post planned for today, but when I posted pictures of my mint iced coffee on Instagram stories this afternoon, and got at least 5 different requests for a recipe shortly afterward, I figured that was good enough reason to boot the scheduled post to another day! Haha. But genuinely, this is such a simple little drink, the perfect sweet treat for a Friday afternoon in the summer. It's simple, it's sweet, and it's basically impossible to mess up. (I figure, for someone who talks about coffee so much, I ought to at least show you some fun ways to drink it, right?) 

Today, I'm drinking a sweet coffee concoction in celebrating finishing up one of two jobs this week, and having the first whole, real, work-less weekend I've had (save 1 week vacation in May) since January. My plans? To do absolutely n o t h i n g . Sometimes you just need that, ya know?  :D

Mint Iced Coffee
--Serves 2--
Original idea from somewhere on Pinterest, a couple of years ago. 
Tweaked and pinched to my own peculiar tastebuds. 

-Chilled, or cool coffee. (Whenever I ever have leftover in the pot in the morning, I keep it in a Mason jar in the fridge for my afternoon iced coffee cravings - works like a charm!)
-A handful of fresh mint, chopped very roughly, plus a sprig for garnish (nothing beats fresh-from-the-garden, but most grocery stores should carry a fresh supply if you don't have access to that luxury).
-1 tablespoon of raw sugar
-1/4 cup of water
-1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla / vanilla extract
-4 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk, or creamer of your choice (coconut is divine!)

-Heat sugar, mint, vanilla and water in a saucepan on high heat, until it reaches a low boil / is full of hundreds of tiny bubbles, creating a simple syrup. (I apologize, I can't seem to remember the proper scientific term for this stage in the sugaring process. XD)
-While your syrup boils, fill your glasses with ice cubes, and 2 tablespoons of milk in each.
-Quickly (i.e. before your syrup congeals), evenly split the syrup into the two glasses.
-Top with cold coffee, filling the glass, and stirring to combine.
-Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves.
-Best enjoyed with sunglasses on your head and a book in your hand, outside on a Friday afternoon. A carefree attitude is an absolute must. 

Let me know if you try it, and what you think! And happy Friday, my dear friends. I hope you're making the most of these final summer days - I know I'm trying to. 💙

College Dorm Room Shopping Guide

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Not going to lie: this post is definitely an excuse to make a glorified shopping list!

a salute to all the successful freshman in the past.
this thing is more exhausting than I thought it would be. 
To be fair, however, I know many of you are also shopping for your college dorms, and an exhaustive list might come in handy, if for nothing more than reminding you of one or two things that are easy to forget. Right?;)

I've tried to catch everything that's not mentioned on most standard "Dorm Shopping Lists" you find online -- but (and this part is especially directed at those of you already in school/have finished school) if I've missed anything please let me know your further recommendations in the comments! I'm sure we'd all appreciate any extra advice we can get!

Things That Are Way Too Easy To Forget For College
Or: "College Needs List"
  1. Extra pillowcases  (I switch mine frequently to keep any dirt-related skin problems at bay!)
  2. Extra throw blankets / pillows (college in the north = snow and single-digit-degree nights!)
  3. Extra towels for cleaning (You don't want to have to use one of your bath towels to mop up the floor) 
  4. Flip flops for the shower (Because. ew.)
  5. Under-the-bed storage unit / set of drawers (staying as organized as possible is the goal!)
  6. Swimsuit (my mom taught me to always bring a really never know when you'll need it, and it's pretty miserable being the only one without/having to buy a tacky one last-minute.)
  7. TIDE To-Go Pen (didn't realize what a lifesaver this could be until I started working retail, and couldn't just throw a shirt in the wash if I got something on it at lunch! MAJOR lifesaver here, y'all.)
  8. Backup Phone Battery (because you never know how long you might be out without a chance to charge.)
  9. Portable speaker
  10. Snack Stash (all my currently-in-college friends say this is their biggest tip; having snacks on hand means you don't have to run to the grocery store if you miss dining hall hours or are up late studying and need a snack to keep going! If you're interested, I'll be sharing my Healthy Dorm Pantry Essentials in an upcoming post!
  11. Feminine hygiene products (I would recommend stashing up at the beginning of the semester, because if you're anything like me, you'll forget until the last minute, and depending on where you go to school, a drugstore may or may not be a 20 minute drive away...)
  12. Good backpack (this is the one I bought)
  13. School Supplies (amidst all the dorm room essentials, you'd be surprised how easy it is to forget about the most important things!)
  14. Dirty laundry bags
  15. Laundry detergent
  16. Over-the-door mirror (To make sure that outfit looks as good in real life as it does in my head, ha!)
  17. Baskets / Drawers for additional storage
  18. Posters / Artwork for the walls, and sticky tack for easy removal.
  19. Extension cords (and fairy lights) (of course) 
  20. MUGS. (If you and your 20 friends need one, I've got quite a collection saved up over the years...XD)
  21. Food storage (cardboard boxes attract small creatures - better to use Tupperware for your snacks!)
  22. Flashlight and batteries
  23. First Aide Kit
  24. Tools for building / hanging anything on move in day.
  25. Hard drive for regular computer backups

Fellow Freshmen: 
Are you feeling as overwhelmed with this dorm shopping task as I am? XD

Happy weekend, loves!

Summer Travel Essentials

Friday, July 21, 2017

I don't have any further travel plans for the summer (though I have to say, Nantucket looks pretty dreamy at the moment!), I still wanted to take a moment and spotlight one of my favorite topics, before the season comes to a close. Traveling (especially long weekend trips) is the quintessence of summer to me, and there's little I'd rather scheme about than what to pack for a dream vacation! So here you have it:

My (Admittedly Idealized) Summer Travel Must-Haves
DREAM DESTINATION: Somewhere in the Mediterranean
NOT INCLUDING: knickers and toothpaste, because who wants to talk about that?

The biggest benefit of summertime travel is the simplicity of clothing: a couple of dresses, one pair of shorts and a tee or three are really all you need for week in the sun. I always love a good cotton sundress, but this year I've been especially drawn to the eyelet-fabric trend that's been peeking back through! I feel like a little girl again, in the best possible way. :)

Whether you're wearing a strappy sundress, a loose, drapey tee, or this season's go-to off-the-shoulder look, a strapless bra is a really good summer essential to keep in tow. It's one of those things that are so easy to forget, until you desperately need it - and they're so easy to get wrong too, especially if you have a larger bosom (fuller ladies, you know what I mean!). One I've had my eyes on for quite a while actually is ThirdLove's Classic Strapless Bra: it is more expensive, but all the reviews I've read are really convincing me it's worth the price point. You may be able to fake it with your regular bra, but when it comes to strapless, any off-sizing or discomfort can really become a pain to faff around with, and can make wearing your perfect summer dress something to be dreaded instead of enjoyed. 

ThirdLove has been kind enough to offer an extra 10% off your purchase, with the code TLJLY10! I know I'll definitely be trying one - especially since any bra you don't love within the 30-day trial period can be easily returned, for no cost (save shipping). :)

This needs little explanation: a easy sandal is an absolute must-have for me in the summer! Especially traveling, you can slip them on and off easily, and some can even fit in luggage as small as a handbag. Win-win-win!

I've been back on the signature-fragrance trail, and though I still can't say I've found my "one", I did find a pretty amazing gem, amidst sniffing myself silly at Sephora the other night. Philosophy's Pure Grace is absolute summer-heaven in a bottle. I swear they've made perfume out of sunscreen because that's exactly what it smells like (or at least, the top settles down to something a bit warmer and richer) and it's incredible. 

Last but never least, is it really a summer vacation without a cute straw hat? Packable options are harder to find, but well worth it when you get to your destination (if anything, it looks good in pictures and can hide unwashed hair for a good extra day or two). One that holds it's shape well and doesn't take up too much space is ideal, but if you're stuck for finding one, you can always just wear it on your travel days and bypass the suitcase question altogether. Looking extra chic, too, of course. ;)

What are your travel essentials for summer trips?

An Explanation

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

via tumblr

First: Did you think I'd died?

(I sure hope not.)

Second: I sincerely apologize for dropping off the face of the blogosphere like that, with no explanation. I was at a point with blogging where it was beginning to feel like a chore, and that's never been my desire for this place. When what you love becomes a chore, it may be time to step back and reassess. So that's what I did.

Third: I still want to blog. I just feel the need to make that very clear, since the rest of this is going to be a little bit less so. I still want to blog, but I'm honestly not sure how much time (if any) I will have to do it in college. I always say (a bit tongue-in-cheek) that I don't do anything by halves, and though mostly I'm just poking fun at my own bull-headed-ness, it is partly true. To blog half-heartedly is a foreign idea to me - if I'm going to do it, I want to be all in. But unfortunately, I simply can't be all in blogging at the same time I'm all in school. It's not practical, and likely not possible.

Fourth: I'm going to be completely honest: I did think about quitting entirely. I've been getting a bit uncomfortable with focusing so much attention on myself, and as much as I love blogging, I'm not necessarily looking for a career out of it anymore. I want to reach other people who think the way I do, and uplift other women in this online community. I don't want this to become my alleged modeling portfolio.

Fifth: I realized I'm still egotistical enough to think other people care about what I have to say, and precocious enough to keep saying it. ;)

Sixth: If you're confused by all this, all you really need to know is this - to the question "are you still blogging?" Yeah, I am. I've still got so much to say, and in my small way, I think I always will. The writer in me is ever alive and kicking, Lord love her! On top of that, this blog has become a sort of way of keeping long-distance friends updated on the comings and goings of my life, and I know a handful would be pretty disappointed to see this space go silent entirely (not going to lie, I definitely would be sad too). Because I know if I just "post whenever" it won't happen, and if I promise 4 posts weekly I'll loose sleep for the sake of the schedule, right now I'm sticking with the promise of an easy, breezy, one post a week. If I find my footing quickly and begin to pick up this pace again, wonderful. If not, at least you know it's not for lack of care. I still love this space. I still love writing and sharing and connecting, best of all. I just don't want to loose the joy and allow it to become a task, a laundry-list item.

Seventh: I hope you can bear with me in this new season of life. That is - I understand if you don't. But if you do stick around during the new changes, it means the world to me. Thank you, dear friend.


Currently Craving: Straw Basket Bags

Monday, June 26, 2017

via tumblr

Happy Monday, my friends! After a friend at work showed up with the cutest straw basket bag from Zara (sold out! I'm heartbroken!), I've been on the hunt for one of my own. I've always loved the idea of basket bags, but usually have found them too clunky or awkward, or just generally not secure enough to hold things in, (or at least I *feel* that way, without zippers or proper closures, ha!).

It appears that I haven't looked at basket bags in a while though, because after doing some research, I did come across several beautiful candidates. And though I'm still dreaming about the Zara one (it had a fabric drawstring closure, which solves the security thing for me without compromising style), there are definitely several here I wouldn't mind as an alternative. I wanted to showcase a variety here - there really is something for everyone - from large tote-style to tiny picnic baskets, some embroidered, some with leather handles, striped-colored straw, soft, structured, name it, it probably exists. (Except the Zara one, apparently. That no longer exists. XP) But can we just take a moment for their charm? I don't know when or how this happened, but lately, I've been all about the baskets.

I'm blaming you, Joanna Gaines. 

What are your thoughts on the basket bag? Yay or nay? 
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