blazer & shirt: eternally borrowed from brother // jeans: American Eagle (on sale now!) // boots: Charlotte Russe (similar) // belt: Target
I am a genuinely excitable person one hundred percent of the time. The generally leads to me having good feelings towards nearly everything I surround myself with, including clothes and friends, writers and bloggers, television shows and singers. These good feelings always lead to me having a sort of obsessive relationship with said subject.

For instance, I make a new friend at work and want to spend lots of time with them, during which I tell them how amazing they are and how lucky I am to have met them. I promise these things I'm saying aren't insincere--I am really so stoked to be your friend and to learn all of the wonderful things about you by spending time with you. So when I text you kitten gifs in the middle of the week or send you links to shoes I think you would like, I don't mean to seem #obsessed, I just really like you.

Another example are bloggers I follow. I feel like I learn really intimate things about the lives of the bloggers I follow because they all write about their day-to-day happenings and share personal moments via close-up Instagram photos. It's not that I'm a creep for knowing all of these things about your life--you told them to me and I happened to read it and remember! So when I comment on your blog and talk like we're old girlfriends, I don't mean to seem #obsessed, I just think you're great.

Or maybe you're Taylor Swift or someone from the cast of Pretty Little Liars, Dance Moms, or RuPaul's Drag Race. I know I don't know you...but I feel like I do! And I will defend you to your haters and celebrate your victories by reblogging your photos and retweeting your jokes. Okay, I might be a little #obsessed with you--I do follow you on Instagram and know a lot about your wardrobes and boyfriends and Hollywood beefs and you have no idea who I am--can't argue with that.


skirt: thrifted // top: Old Navy // vest, shoes, & belt: Target (vest from the Girl's section)
I had so much fun doing this little photo shoot with the lovely Whitney Laas. Actually, she may not want me to call her lovely. She's f*cking fierce, y'all, I can't even front.

In fact, Whit is so fierce that I got really camera shy and made her job really hard by being awkward in 87% of these photos. (Did you know that being a fashion blogger and being a model are different? They so are. I can't stress this enough!) Luckily, she's a rock star and made me look awesome anyway. How cool are these photos? I feel so fancy--having my picture taken, wearing fake fur, being downtown at dusk. 

The story behind this vest is that I wanted to try out the fur vest trend without really committing to it financially. I'm generally anti-vest because if I'm cold, why would I not cover my arms? I have my belly and my lady lumps to keep my torso warm already, shouldn't I focus on my poor, shivering wrists? Anyway, I thought a Target fur vest would be an inexpensive way to give the trend a try, but they didn't have one. In the women's section, that is. Fortunately, Target thinks fur vests are perfect for little girls and I totally scored with this find.

So thanks Target, Whit, and fancy little girls for making this post possible.

fur sure

Since graduation, I've been trying on a lot of different hats (not so much literally because my head is oddly small for most hats, but I digress). This transitional time has introduced me to two notable things: how one's personal style can be present in a professional wardrobe and how much I enjoy helping others style themselves. In fact, on my fancy new-but-not-yet-ordered blogger business cards, I've included the title of stylist. I fear I may be getting ahead of myself, but I'm about to explain something that, on the other hand, makes me feel like I'm extremely qualified to claim the name.

For some of us, personal style comes really easily. We're familiar with our bodies, with what trends flatter, and with what attire is appropriate for different occasions. We know where to shop, what staples to search for, and which special items make an outfit effortlessly ours.

And then some of us don't know cognac from chocolate and couldn't pick a smoking slipper out of a line up--and that's okay too. Maybe we're transitioning from one role in our lives to the next and aren't sure what pieces are necessary for the new journey. Maybe our bodies are changing, or we were never comfortable in them to begin with, so we aren't sure what clothes to put on ourselves that will look good or be comfortable. Maybe we struggle with choosing the right trends or with not liking anything at all or even with what other people might think of us "trying" to wear something that isn't really us.

These are all totally valid hesitations to have towards fashion or determining a personal style. Dressing room mirrors and jeans' sizes are truly scary things. Online catalogs and department stores can be overwhelming and intimidating to sort through, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. But never fear, fashion is your friend.

Following style blogs can be one way to learn a little about personal style. I personally follow primarily women who are about my size and dress the way I want to dress. This helps me figure out what pieces look good together, as well as on my body type, and where to find them. I like to let other, more financially ambitious girls try out the trends so I don't have to.

Unfortunately I guess, this isn't a solution for everyone. There isn't necessarily a blogger for every body type or gender identity or mood--that's why they call it personal style. And you're allowed to change your mind on what you want to wear and who you want to be. If you aren't comfortable with your breasts and would rather bind them, but not hide the rest of yourself away, you can play with feminine and masculine fashions to create a look that speaks to who you are, rather than who your gender says you should be. If you are feeling sexy and liberated about the way in which your hips make a heart-shape when you cross your legs in line for the bar, slip into a foxy pencil skirt and feel bold instead of brash for showing off the body you've got. If your favorite accessories came as gifts from your aunt, but can't be found in the September issue of Elle, mix them up with a neutral outfit and call them statement pieces rather than keeping them in your jewelry box.

As frustrating as it can be, the best way to know if something works on you is to try it on. What's even more important than how it looks is how you feel it looks. That hat with those sneakers? You look like a boss. That mini skirt with your ex-boyfriend's plaid button down hanging over your derriere? So demure and so punk rock.

Don't fall into the trap of "I don't like what's in style so I don't have style. You do. You have a voice and you wear clothes (at least sometimes). What you say and what you wear isn't for anyone else's approval.

a note on personal style

Chunky sweaters over skinny jeans and tall boots. Soft sweaters with rolled boyfriend jeans and smoking flats. Fitted sweaters tucked into flouncy skirts. Sweaters layered over dresses. Sweaters and leggings. Sweaters, sweaters, sweaters.

No more are the days of simple, knit, solid colored sweaters and a neat pair of pants. This season is all about spicing things up with your knits; making snuggly statements with your sweaters. Here are a few of my favorite sweater trends this fall.

(clockwise) 1/2/3/4

sweater weather

top: Target (similar) // skirt, leggings, & boots: F21 // headband: Banana Republic
Is there a color combination more classic than navy and gold? I don't think so. 

I realize it only got down to about 78 degrees in Austin today, but the office I work in is cold enough to justify tights and boots. To be honest, wearing leggings with my skirt feels like something my mom would have dressed me in as a toddler, but that doesn't make it any less comfortable or adorable at 22.

So here I am taking outfit photos on a Thursday in Austin wearing leggings and a heavy polyester skirt, sweating in my boots.

navy + gold

It's past time I chimed in about Godga's Body Revolution. Her photos and ultimately statement about body acceptance have sparked tons of great conversations among my female friends, as well as quite a bit of controversy in the Interwebz and media. I deliberately refer to Gaga's revolution as body acceptance rather than body peace. Gaga doesn't pretend to be at peace with her body and I appreciate that so much. There's a huge difference between acceptance and peace. Acceptance is a powerful step in a positive direction, but the language of those who have "accepted" their bodies still sounds more like tolerance than peace. When put in perspective, "I embrace my flaws" and "this is who I am, love me or hate me" are not necessarily the most empowering flaws. Acceptance is often a step necessary to enact change. If Gaga was really at peace with her body, she wouldn't believe she needed to change.

The reason this is so important for me to bring up is because I, too, struggle with food and weight and body acceptance. I've written about this in other capacities before (here and here for instance), but I'm nervous to talk about it on my blog. For some reason, writing about my depression and anxiety and other episodes of vulnerability come really easy to me because I feel like you all get it and support me in such beautiful, helpful ways. When it comes to my body, I'm not sure how to accept support, much less accept myself.

I initially wanted to post photos similar to Gaga's that show off my body for what it is, but I can hardly post outfit photos sometimes because I can't handle the idea of someone else seeing me like I see me. I don't have body acceptance and I definitely don't have body peace.

As I scour the blogosphere for conversations about the Body Revolution, I find the same language over and over. "What weight controversy!? Her body looks incredible!" and "Let's be honest: she looks bangin' in those self-published underwear photos," aren't really helpful or empathetic comments to make, though I understand why they're being made. No, Gaga isn't obese. She doesn't have to worry that people will judge her by her size before she opens her mouth to speak. She may be scrutinized by the media about her weight, but never in the way that someone like Kirstie Alley or Jessica Simpson have. However, for someone who struggles with disordered eating and accepting her or his own body, calling them out for thin privilege can be discouraging and dangerous.

So Gaga posted scantily clad photos of herself online and people told her she looked hot. Not only does this minimize her struggle and dismiss an obvious cry for support, but it may prevent her from reaching out in the future. By telling her how great she looks, you're essentially telling her that she's wrong and she's crazy--two things that are likely to make her mistreat her body and mind even harder.

As someone who has struggled herself with disordered eating and my own negative body perception, I know how much worse I become when I'm made to feel delusional. When you write off my often paralyzing body awareness as being nit-picky or make comments about my eating habits, you disempower me to accept my body or to get the help I need. If you've read this far, you probably fight with your own weight or aspects of your own body or diet. Instead of minimizing what I'm going through by trying to show me "the positives" about my body, address our common struggle and what we can do to someday accept ourselves; to someday be at peace with our bodies.

body revolution?

That's right, I'm bringing the odes back. You see, the very first time I tried Panera Bread, sometime during my sophomore year of college, I was inspired. So inspired, you see, that I wrote a petition to the city of Pflugerville, TX asking that they build a Panera Bread.

For those of you unfamiliar with the eatery options of Pflugerville, let me catch you up. Until my senior year of high school, the town had one Taco Bell, one McDonald's and one Sonic. If you were hungry for something else, you had to leave the city limits. Unfortunately for all, Pflugerville still doesn't have a Panera Bread. Here are some of the things Pflugervillians and others who have not experienced Panera Bread's greatness are missing out on.

You Pick Two: If you know anything about me, you know that I like choice. Just because I always order the same thing doesn't mean I don't want to right to choose something else. Panera understands that and raises the bar by letting me pick--twice. Do I want a bowl of soup? Half a sandwich for dipping? Or maybe a little bit of salad? Thanks to Panera, I don't have to narrow it down to just one. I get to pick two.

Your Weight in Bread: Okay, so I've picked two: half a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. In a bread bowl. With a baguette on the side. Endless amounts of bread.

More Bread. Free Bread.: In case that wasn't enough bread, I will also have a cheese danish. For FREE, thanks to My Panera Card rewards.

The actual Twitter feed of my best friend and myself during our summer internship.

Also Free Wifi: For those of us who need to get stuff done while also consuming things, but don't want to deal with pretentious coffee orderers or electric outlet hoarders, there is Panera Bread. I do not fear eating my meal alone when I am at Panera because I have my Interwebz to keep me company.

A Family-Friendly Atmosphere: I don't really know yet what the criteria are for a family-friendly atmosphere, but there are always families at Panera Bread and I am always friendly to them. Isn't that what it's all about?

So there you have it, dear reader. Panera Bread provides copious amounts of bread and free wifi and friendly--but not too friendly--faces. If you have other needs in your life, I hope that you are able to go forth into the world and fulfill them like Panera Bread has done for me.

an ode to panera bread

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