27 before 27

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Eeee! I'm so excited to share this year's birthday bucket list with y'all. I started writing down goals for my 27 before 27 sometime in February or March in a note on my phone, and the rest of them fell into place by early May. I think I've got the best balance in goals this year, especially as far as everything being in my reach.

This year I focused on the kind of person I want to be in my 26th year. Sometimes my goals end up keeping me really busy, and this year has more to do with slowing down and making my life a better one. I've realized that I don't need to set so many work-related goals, because that's not really where I could stand to grow. It's the relaxing and appreciating I need and want more of in my life, so I'm excited to have some tangible ways to work towards being a happier, more-centered me.

Without further ado, my 27 before 27 list:

27 before 27

So that's what I'll be up to for the next year! Who's ready to help me start crossing things off the list?

silk scarf and block heels

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

old navy swing tank1 old navy swing tank2 old navy swing tank3 old navy swing tank4 old navy swing tank6 old navy swing tank7 old navy swing tank8
top: Old Navy // jeans: Old Navy // shoes: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // scarf: Curious Threads c/o Curious Prints // purse: vintage Coach via Pieceology Vintage

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Some outfits get worn so many times in the first two weeks you discover them that you have to take a break. I actually lost count how many times I wore this, like, in a row, after bringing all these pieces home in the same weekend. It doesn't get easier than a tank top and jeans, but this outfit? It's better. Let's break it down.

A headscarf is sort of my signature, so I love finding a new one. I've been searching for a black one for seriously years. When I found out that Curious Prints (whose works hangs both in my house and my office) was going to start carrying apparel, I could not get my grabby hands on it fast enough. Sweet shop owner Kate invited me to model for her lookbook, and in return I got this sweet gemstone scarf and a poppy crop top. There's just enough pop of color to make the black scarf fun, and a headscarf is eternally my favorite accessory for masking less-than-great hair days.

I picked up this tank and these jeans both on super sale at, where else, Old Navy. I finally got a pair of distressed jeans -- sorry Mom! Verdict: I love 'em. My favorite part is actually the undone hem, which I sort of expected to hate. I wear jeans to work pretty often, so these feel quintessentially weekend. I could definitely wear these to work, but it's sort of fun having a few weekend-only pieces.

I know it's stupid-wrinkled in these photos (that's what I get for saving this outfit for last on our shooting day aaaaand not hanging it up in my car...), but this top is one of the most flattering* things I've ever worn. I'mma go buy it in another color as soon as I let myself enter an ON again. Am I the only one who has to have off-limits Old Navy periods? When I say they can have all my money, I mean I won't be able to pay rent if I'm not careful.

Last up are these magical Sam Edelman block heel sandals that I pretty much want to wear every day (seen recently here). Have I mentioned that the soles are padded and feel like tiny clouds? And that they go with everything? And that I can actually walk comfortably in them for hours? Yeah, they're worth it.

It's that easy: grab a tank and jeans, add a cool pair of sandals and a statement accessory. Wear it for weekend, wear it for work, wear it three days in a row and feel no shame, my friends!

*Okay, real talk: I wore a strapless bra the day we shot these photos, not realizing that it was such a mistake in this top! I promise that wearing a normal bra (usually rocking this one with this top) doesn't cut my chest off from my shoulders like you see here. *monkey covering its eyes emoji*

26 before 26 | the recap

Monday, May 23, 2016

With another birthday behind me, it's time to recap my birthday bucket list from the last year! I have to say, I get better and better at setting these goals every year, which is good because I have to set more and more goals every year I get older. In year 25, I accomplished more of my birthday bucket list goals than any previous year!

Here's my 26 before 26 list for the last time, now with strike-outs through everything I completed!

26 before 26 check in

01. Road trip to Marfa | Completed 9/17-9/20. Read about my trip here.
02: Go to Pedernales State Falls Park | Completed 6/13.
03: Visit malls in 3 different cities | Completed! Premium Outlets in San Marcos, The Woodlands Mall in The Woodlands, NorthPark Center in Dallas. 
05: Host a blogger event | This ended up looking a little differently than I anticipated. However, I emceed Thrive on 2/27 and hosted styling events for primarily bloggers + creatives at francesca's on 3/15 (recap here) and ModCloth on 5/3 (recap here).
06: Secure a blog sponsor | Completed 7/30. I've loved working with Shopbop to discover and share brands worth investing in.
07: Participate in a link up every month | I have participated in Fran's budgeting bloggers link-up every month for the last year. You can check out those posts here.
09: Journal every day for one month | I journaled every day in November using Grid Diary.
10: Go one whole month without shopping | After failing at this in July, I successfully did not shop during the month of January!
11: Buy a dryer | Completed 7/18.
12: Revamp our guest bathroom | Completed 2/24. (Post coming soon, I promise!)
13: Keep a few plants alive in our apartment | In addition to our snake plant, we've added two more medium-size plants and several smaller pots here and there.
14: Go to the farmers' market | Completed 5/1.
15: Go to the flea market | Completed 10/2.
17: Attend a crafting workshop | I've actually done quite a few crafting workshops in the last year thanks to The Paper + Craft Pantry!
18: Get a massage | Completed 4/17.
21: Bake lemon bars | Completed 8/23.
23: Pose for a confidence shoot | Completed 9/19 in Marfa, TX.
24: Speak to students about blogging & dream jobs | Completed 4/6.
26: Give gifts for no reason | Done throughout the year!
Total: 19 out of 26

Not Completed:
04: Travel to an out-of-state blog friend | This is the goal I'm most disappointed about not achieving. However, I decided on a Capital One Venture Card when choosing a credit card back in December, which earns miles/travel points as I use it. It's a great incentive to get me traveling!
08: Send a letter every month | Nope nope nope. I maybe sent two postcards all year?
16: Go to the dentist | Ugh, I did not overcome my fear of the dentist. Maybe next year?
19: Try acupuncture | I wanted to schedule this sometime after my massage, but I ran out of time and needed to allocate the funds elsewhere.
20: Complete Duolingo's Spanish course | I didn't really factor in how much actual time this was going to take when I made it a goal. While it's true that I could have made the time, I did plenty this year and feel fine leaving this off my plate.
22: Watch 5 Audrey Hepburn movies | I did finally watch Breakfast at Tiffany's, but didn't get around to any more Audrey movies after that.
25: Contribute writing to HelloGiggles | While I did contribute writing elsewhere (like I Was Just Saying That), I decided that HG wasn't the right fit for what I wanted to be writing. Not so much a fail as a changed goal.
Total: 7 out of 26

That's all, folks! Stay tuned for my 27 before 27 list later this week (spoiler alert: it's a good one), and be sure to check out my tips for making your own birthday bucket list!

25 before 25
24 before 24

blue jean birthday girl

Friday, May 20, 2016

birthday dress1 birthday dress6 birthday dress3 birthday dress4 birthday dress7 birthday dress5 birthday dress10 birthday dress8 birthday dress11
dress: Pieceology Vintage (more denim dresses) // shoes: ASOS (very similar) // purse: Old Navy (similar) // scarf: vintage (similar) // rings: Moulton

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

My birthday falls on a Saturday this year, so you get to see my birthday outfit a day early! Tomorrow I'll be 26 and hopefully eating as much pizza and breakfast food as I can stand. I think since your metabolism gets slower as you age, that should technically be less pizza and breakfast food than before, but I'm up for the challenge.

I purchased this '90s denim sack dress from April at her recent pop-up shop, and then I proceeded to wear it three days in a row. Not only is this the most comfortable dang thing I've ever owned, but I feel awfully cool wearing it. After wearing not-so-comfortable dresses on my birthday in years past, I'd say comfy and cool makes for a perfect celebratory outfit. How many pancakes do you think I can fit in this dress? I'd wager quite a few!

Birthdays are a funny thing. I think I started to feel like I was 26 sometime back in March; I just felt like I had more control over my life and I was more comfortable in my skin than ever. Then, Dago got injured and I really had to step up to the plate in a way that I'm not sure 25 year old me would have been able to handle. I know a lot of people claim they don't feel any different when their birthday rolls around, but I so internalize the change and what it means for how I carry myself, interact with others, and, mostly, handle my shit.

When I turned 25, I was nervous that I wouldn't have a good year because Dago's mom was sick and I felt like I didn't have anything to look forward to. 25 ended up being my best year yet. I traveled across the state with a caravan of babes, I came into my own at work, I emceed a blog conference, and accomplished a whole heck of a lot of things I did and didn't set out to achieve. I have no doubt that 26 is going to bring me even more joy, growth, hurdles to overcome, and things to celebrate.

So, uh, happy birthday to me!