I know today is Halloween, but I have some exciting news to share!

So, I had a bit of a crazy day yesterday. I can't give away too many details, but I got up-close and personal with Vice President Joe Biden and Law & Order's Mariska Hargitay. It was a totally overwhelming and tense few moments, but there is lots of photo evidence to enjoy in hindsight. Also, a real cute outfit, which I know is what you're really here for! By the way, the whole outfit is thrifted!

*sorry for the poor image quality*

skirt: thrifted J.Crew Factory // shirt: thrifted J.Crew // shoes: thrifted

So exciting, right??

I promise to have some fun Halloween stuff for you tomorrow!

VIP

shirt: Anthropologie (on SUPER sale!) // jeans: Gap // shoes: LuLu*s

 I finally did it! I finally own a pair of BonLook glasses! As a glasses wearer since first grade, I can happily and honestly say that these are my favorite glasses I've ever worn. They're the perfect size; I'm not looking over or under the frames in order to see. They're the perfect color; a flattering tortoise caramel (AKA Havana). They make me feel hip without going over the top. I need these to see, people, so they have to look good every day, with every outfit, and I have to have real lenses in them. Check, check, and check. 

Speaking of real lenses, BonLook was great about making sure my prescription would be correct. First, they recommended an upgrade on lenses because of my special eyes, which I would have had no idea that I needed. Then, I'm a dummy and entered my prescription wrong, so they personally contacted me to make sure it would be corrected. Talk about stellar customer service.

I'd been trying to win a BonLook blogger giveaway for months now, but since October rolled around (the month my prescription expired) and I got a promotion, I decided it was time I treat myself to the prettiest pair of specs I've ever laid my eyes on...or through? It was so nice not having to bother with the disappointing selection at stores like EyeMasters/LensCrafters/Walmart, but knowing I was still going to end up with a pair of quality frames, unlike some of the other online glasses shops out there.

So, what do you think? Are they Simply Fabulous?

PS. This shirt has bunnies on it. I am so, so, so excited about that.
PPS. This post isn't sponsored in any way by BonLook.
All very satisfied opinions are my own!

bunnies & bonlook

jacket: American Eagle // dress: Nordy Rack // shoes: LuLu*s

 Sometimes if you pout really hard, the sun sets into a pretty gold state and your photos come out better. Who knew?

One of my favorite things about fall is wearing summer dresses with tights and scarves. It's a pretty fail-proof recipe for a great outfit. I'm hunting for more whimsical little dresses I can pair with tights through the rest of the season. Upon making this outfit, I realized that I need to completely overhaul my tights collection. So many rips and snags! I really liking sheer and patterned tights this year, where as I've pretty exclusively worn opaque tights the past few years. Where are your favorite places to get them? I usually just go to Target, but I'm sure there are more interesting selections elsewhere. Let me know so I can have awesome legs like the rest of y'all!

bye bye, bare legs

dress, top, & headband: Old Navy // shoes: LuLu*s

 When I bought this chambray dress, I already had this outfit in mind. Layering black and white under chambray looks so crisp, and I wanted to take my own spin on the look. I thought about rocking some stripes, but the cap-sleeves on this dress are really tight on my arms, and I didn't think any of my striped shirts would fit under. I actually considered selling this dress for that reason, but wanted to give it another chance with this thin polka dot top. I really like the look, but I still think I may send the dress off to someone who can love it better than I can.

Speaking of which, I'm thinking about doing a shop my closet again, but this time as an Instagram shop. Do you follow those? Do you ever shop from them? Basically, I would post photos of items I'm selling with a little info and then you could comment with your PayPal email address and I could bill you and send it your way. It would be a mix of new and vintage/thrifted pieces I've bought, but either didn't ever wear or didn't fit me right. No articles of clothing should ever go unloved (except those one-size-fits-all shirts...*shudder*), so let me sell you things I didn't love that could be your new favorite!

I went ahead and made an account called shops like a girl, just in case people are interested in this idea. I haven't posted anything yet, but let me know if this is something you'd be into and I'll get it up and running, so you can get shopping!

denim & dots



This week, your sassy-haired co-hosts take on Halloween, KimYe's engagement, racism, and saying goodbye to the Condé Nast internship program. I got to choose the song of the week, and I do an awesome job of explaining some sports thing. Check it out on SoundCloud (above) or on iTunes!

Don't forget to follow us on TwitterTumblr, and Facebook!

breakfast for dinner // boo-berry muffins

Even though our eyes are seeing tunnel vision for scarves, boots, and sweaters, stores are having major sales right now on summer swimwear that is usually pretty pricey in the hotter months. Think you may want a new suit for summer 2014? Now is the best time to get your shop on. Here are some of my favorite sale pieces from around the web.





Do you ever shop out of season? Is it crazy to buy a swimsuit in the middle of fall?

out of season super sale

8 things

This fill-in-the-blanks style post has been going around for a few weeks now. It began on Thought Catalog, then Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere filled it out, and then my girl Brittany over at Brit Brit Land shared her answers. I've been intrigued by both the things that made the criteria of a (every?) happy woman, and the answers these women have given. Because I love to be a part of larger conversations, I want to give my own answers.

*Before I do, I want to be really clear about something. It does a disservice to the writer's answers, and even more to women everywhere, to say that these are criteria for every happy woman. I honestly think it's pretty problematic to assume that these are things women should want, need, or be able to obtain all of these things in order to be "truly happy." A go-to karaoke song does not a happy woman make. But I digress. Because my job, lifestyle, support system, etc., I am able to access and enjoy these things.

1. A go-to drink. A mojito or a strawberry margarita.

2. A go-to karaoke song. Valerie by Amy Winehouse and Tik Tok by Ke$ha

3. A uniform. Stripes and high-waisted bottoms. Fit and flare dresses with flats.

4. A hairstylist they love. My girl Melanie at Frenchy's Beauty Parlor!

5. An exercise routine. If I haven't found this yet, am I not a happy woman? I like to walk. I didn't hate Nia. I feel pretty happy either way.

6. A hobby. Blogging! I feel so much happier having a space to call my own, where I can write and share anything I want. When I have free time, I enjoy the process of crafting posts, so it isn't a chore or another job for me. And also podcasting!

7. A best friend. Rather than a single best friend, I have a support system of incredible, loving, ambitious, funny, talented, smart, challenging people in my life. Some of them know each other, and some of them don't, but together they make up the awesome team of people that keep me going.

8. A healthy sense of self. I think women, in our nature, will all say that this is a work in progress. For me, it's about being aware of myself: my body's needs, my mind's needs, and the needs of my emotional self. Being in touch with these things helps me not feel ashamed for taking the time to care for myself. In my opinion, shame is the biggest thing that keeps us from having a healthy sense of self.

If I had to recreate this list, I might add something about "a go-to girls-night-in ritual," "a feel-good playlist," and "an eatery/coffee shop where you feel comfortable, or even friendly with the staff." 

Do these 8 things make you a happier woman? What would you add to the list?

8 things every* happy woman should have

blouse: LC for Kohl's (on sale!!) // leggings: Forever 21 // boots: Chinese Laundry (similar) // watch: Anne Klein

I'm so excited about this post! Not only am I sharing an outfit that I love and plan to re-wear all season, but I'm showing off my new haircut for the first time! 

After working a really difficult week last week, I spent Saturday running errands to get things in order. The most important errand I had scheduled was a haircut at Frenchy's Beauty Parlor. I love being in such a cute space with such awesome women, and I love leaving with a really cute haircut! I couldn't have asked for a better experience, honestly. I got my bangs, I went a little drastic with my shape, and Shellie gave me the most incredible head/neck massage. Seriously, if you live in Austin and need a haircut, make an appointment ASAP because they are booking up fast for the holidays!

In addition to my really cute haircut, I wore a really, really cute outfit. I thought it up after my // wish i were wearing post last week when I realized I had similar pieces already in my closet. This blouse is from Lauren Conrad's LC for Kohl's collection that I raved about last month. I love it so much! It's got polka dots, a drapey backside (to cover my backside), and it fits really well. This blouse single-handedly (sleevedly?) made me a blouse believer. Now I can't get enough! Add a pair of thick black leggings for maximum weekend comfort, and my fave pair of cognac boots, and I've got an outfit even Lauren Conrad would want to wear!

Have you stumbled upon your fall uniform yet? Are you going to run out and buy all the LC for Kohl's blouses now? Because ya should!

Stylin’ In St. Louis

T(LC)

tunic: old Aerie // top: old Old Navy // jacket: Gap Outlet // leggings: BP Nordstrom // boots: old Miss Me // bag: Forever 21 // necklace: handmade via First Thursday on SoCo

This is one of those blogger situations where I'm only showing you the good stuff. I loved this outfit when I was putting it together, and felt really comfortable in it all day, and then I saw what it looked like on my iPhone camera and thought "oh god what have I worn??" Really, it wasn't that bad, but it is unflattering from every angle except the ones shown here. Also, my hair was lookin' real bad the last couple of days before I got it cut. So many unused photos of this outfit.

After consideration, here's why I think it didn't work: The tunic really is too short, billowy, and see-through for its own good. I can't belt it to make it less billowy, because it's so short. I have to wear a shirt under it, because it's so see-through. And I can't tuck it into anything, because it's too billowy. Hmph. 

Still, I'm convinced I'll find a way to wear this tunic. I'm thinking maybe with rolled jeans and booties? Or peaking out from under a sweater? If you've got ideas, I'd love to hear them!

PS. Yes, these are the last photos of me before my new haircut! Thank god...

self-selecting



This week, we take on Madonna, women of color in comedy, and Pinktober. You can also tune in on iTunes!

If you're just tuning in, make sure to follow us on TwitterTumblr, and Facebook!

breakfast for dinner // breakfast tacos

** Spoilers ahead!
Dear Liars (of the Pretty and Little variety) and their significant others,

You four lead the best show on current television. Congrats on that! What you don't necessarily lead are healthy relationships on television. Though, come to think of it, you're doing better than most...but there's always room for improvement. I'll address each of you individually for maximum healthy behavior edumacatin'.

Hanna and Caleb,

Y'all are topping the charts for healthiest relationship on the show. You both spend a good amount of time apart, you're really open with one another, you get along with each other's friends and family, and you believe in each other's commitment to the relationship. Good for you! What concerns me is the way Caleb repeatedly goes behind your back to protect you, even after you've expressed that you don't want him in that position. You've handled yourself thus far and his efforts to keep you safe sometimes put you both in more danger. Caleb, be respectful of Hanna's boundaries! I know you want to be the strong man in her life who keeps her safe from all danger, but that isn't necessarily your responsibility, especially if she's asked you not to. And Hanna, don't go behind his back with plans that could get you sent to jail. Less about healthy dating and more about common sense.

xo Nicole

//

Emily and Paige,

Hey Em, remember that time Paige tried to drown you? Yes, but you've forgiven her and you've both moved on? Great! That's how it's done. No, I'm not condoning her past behavior, but this is what it looks like to change and to forgive. Nicely done. What's not so nice is the jealousy you both harbor. You've both experienced so much loss, Emily especially, so it's natural to have jealous feelings. However, it's not healthy to act on them. If you truly trust each other, it shouldn't matter if Shauna had a thing with Paige or if Zoe has a crush on Emily, because each of you is committed not looking for anyone else. You're making big plans for the future, but these aren't going to be realistic if you can't put the jealousy aside.

xo Nicole

//

Spencer and Toby,

My heart is all over this relationship, but I can't let that bias distract me from the truth. The truth is that, after you found Toby was -A, you never fully got over it. Understandable. He legitimately joined the team of people trying to hurt you and your friends, and worse, he didn't tell you. It was a big mistake, but moving forward, the mistake is that you haven't decided whether or not you can trust him anymore. Trust is something that happens within us, not something someone can earn back by achieving a list of requirements. If his word that he's not working with -A anymore isn't enough, it won't ever be. And Toby, you're doing a terrible job of helping her learn to trust you again by going behind her back to avenge your mother's death. You two have got to get your intentions and feelings in the open if you want to stand a chance at making it. I hope you do. #spoby4life

xo Nicole

//

Aria and Ezra,

I know, this is awkward, seeing as you're not together anymore and...well...sorry to spoil it for you, Aria, but he might have been behind all of this -A business all along (though I'm not totally convinced yet!). But I want to talk about your relationship anyway. I know you thought that because you loved each other, it didn't matter that he was your teacher, but it did. As your teacher, he was always in a position of power. Healthy relationships need equality to function, and yours inherently couldn't. You were never able to fully overcome the secrecy, much less the worry of what would happen if anyone found out. We never saw it in the show, but as your teacher, he could have pressured you to do things with grades, college, and your reputation on the line. Even if he never used this power, it still existed, which is a big problem. This is why students and teachers can't date: the dynamics will never be healthy if there isn't equality. Martial Arts Jake is boring and you see yourself intellectually above him, so a long-term relationship isn't in the cards here either. This might be a great time to fly solo and not define yourself by the men who are or aren't in your life.

xo Nicole

an open letter to pretty little liars on healthy relationships


I know that black and white is all the rage this year, but my go-to will always be black and camel. It looks so chic to my eyes and I feel confident in the color scheme. I've been searching high and low for a pair of black jeans, something I haven't owned since my barista days. I can't believe I'll own a pair of black pants that aren't faded or covered in milk, espresso, and simple syrup! 

A flowy blouse on top reminds me of Lauren Conrad, which is pretty much always the end goal of an outfit. 

To dress it up, I've been eyeing these Madewell skimmers for a hot minute, I would be honored to carry this Moorea Seal clutch, and the J.Crew tassel necklace adds the right amount of sparkle.

3 // wish i were wearing

jacket: Gap Outlet (similar) // sweater: Zara (similar) // jeans: Gap // boots: Chinese Laundry // bag: Forever 21

Welp, I'm officially breaking out the boots for the season. I tried to wait as long as I could, but with the constant rain in Austin this week, I gave into my favorite collection of shoes. Besides, October is for boot wearin'! Can't stop me now!

Even though my new job is in the same building and same room as my last job, I've been trying to dress up a little bit more than I did before, just because they're paying me more to be there and I might have to talk to important people or something. I realize this look is still pretty casual, but my workplace is real casual. 

I've been adjusting to my new schedule too, which is harder than I thought. I work from 11 am until 7 pm, so taking outfit photos is that. much. harder. Going in the morning is tough because all the places I usually go at night have cars and people around them, and when I get out of work, the sun has already gone down. My solution for this outfit was to use my lunch break and go to the back of the parking lot for photos. Not too shabby!

breaking out

1/2/3/4
So like...there was this one time months and months where I longed for my bangs to grow out to be the same length as the rest of my hair. I lusted over Lauren Conrad and Amanda Seyfried's lengthy locks and tugged on my bangs in hopes that they'd grow. For a while, it seemed like they never would. And then all of a sudden, they did. And oh man did it look bad. It's okay, I'm not shaming myself or stabbing my esteem in the stomach. I just realized that...I don't like my forehead. I need bangs. I feel like I look really masculine without bangs! I know, I sound like a silly person; Dago has told me again and again that I don't look like a boy. But it's all I can see. No matter how cute the outfit, I feel like a boy wearing it.

I can already hear my mom saying "but you wanted to grow them out for soooo long!?" I tried, and I learned! If I hadn't grown them out, I'd always wonder if I'd feel prettier without bangs. But now I know. I need bangs. So excited to get a chop this week and feel like myself again!

she bangs

skirt: thrifted // top: Forever 21 (old) // sweater: Nordy Rack (similar) // boots: DSW (old/similar) // bag: Forever 21 (similar)
Dago and I were going stir crazy from avoiding ACL Fest over the weekend*, so we went for a little drive. I used to go out to the 360 Bridge lots in college and throughout my childhood, but I hadn't been in a long time. We drove up to the boating dock and were all a-giggles. Since we were next to the water, it was actually pretty chilly outside and I didn't feel so silly wearing my sweater and boots. I know you've seen this skirt a bunch already (here, here, and here) but I can't stop wearing it!

I loved doing something Austin-y that's a little different from our usual haunts. The big rocks of the Wild Basin are so unique and beautiful, both to look at through the car window and to experience closer up and in person. Dago spotted these flowers on a little hill and was like "we have to take photos here!" He's a keeper if there ever was one.

*These were actually taken last weekend, hence the ability to be outside without being totes drenched. 

How was your weekend? Here's a photo of the 360 Bridge for the road!

360

Episode 2 of Breakfast for Dinner is live! This week we talk about Lorde, Kanye, Catfish and more.




To those of you who listened to our first episode, we love you. You rock.
If you're just tuning in, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook!

breakfast for dinner // pancakes


Hey Tay Tay!

Girl, you know I've got mad love for you. What do I listen to when I'm getting ready in the morning? You. What do I listen to when I'm out for a run? You. What do I listen to when I think about healthy relationships? Oh...wait. You know I'm 105% supportive of you dating who you want, when you want, and writing songs about it. That's not my issue. The issue is how you talk about what goes down in those dating situations.

In your song Stay Stay Stay, one of the catchiest you've penned, you sing about an argument that leads you to throw your phone at your guy. What!? That's what we call intimidation, Tay, and it's an abusive behavior. I know that's a big word with scary connotations, but it's the truth. You've got to learn to handle your emotions in healthier ways!

You go on to sing about how he decided to "stay (stay stay)," even though you threw your phone. Again, this is what abuse looks like because you have the upper hand in the relationship. You, however, seem to think that him staying is not only romantic, but means that this whole thing is clearly gonna work itself out in the end. Why? Because "he thinks it's funny when you're mad (mad mad)."

Wait. When you're upset, this guy laughs it off instead of hearing you out? You always deserve to feel heard and respected, Tay. It's never okay for your partner to make you feel judged or that your feelings are less valid than theirs.

Ultimately, it sounds like there are some really unhealthy dynamics in this relationship. If you both decide to stay (stay stay), it's crucial that you both take responsibility for your actions and learn better ways to communicate. There's a tool called the 48 Hour Rule, which basically means that if something is still bothering you after 48 hours, you should bring it up. If the conversation starts to get heated, take a break to cool down. You could each step away and write down three sentences about how you're really feeling, and then come back and read them to each other. This ensures that you both feel heard (without being laughed at), and hopefully keeps you from throwing things.

Young women relate to you and your music because we see you as an illustration of what we're all experiencing in our own lives. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could make a positive change in relationships just by singing about healthier relationship behaviors? What's more romantic than that?!

xo Nicole


This letter is a part of a series in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
See the previous post here.

an open letter to taylor swift on healthy relationships

one // two // three // four // five // six

Staying in line with the holes in my closet for fall, I'm wishing for some really versatile, stylish pieces this month. I've been lusting over the wool J.Crew mini skirt for two years now, so hopefully I can add it to my closet this month. I've been trying to thrift a knee length, navy, polka dot skirt for pretty much my whole life, and I might just give up on the dream now that I've found this skirt from Ruche. My fall wishlist also included a big leather bag and a peter pan collared sweater. I would love to be able to splurge on this scalloped bag from ASOS. It's the perfect big girl bag, am I right? And I'm digging the stripes and lace on the Anthropologie sweater. Finally, I'm all about head scarves right now, and this sweet floral print one will go with so many different looks.

The big wish this month is a new pair of specks. Specifically, the Simply Fabulous frames from BonLook in Havana. I tried them on at TxSC and fell. in. love. I really need a new pair because my prescription needs to be renewed. I've always wanted tortoise shell frames that were a little bigger than my current pair, and these caramel-colored ones fit the bill better than any I've found. I'm trying so hard to win BonLook giveaways across the blogosphere, but since my promotion at work comes with a salary, I might be rewarding myself with a splurge purchase.

What are you wishing for this month?

october wishlist


This is a post I've been putting off writing since...probably July. Announcing things on an Internet platform can be really awesome because a lot of people see it and are excited and supportive of you, but going back on something you announced is gut-wrenchingly awful. I feel like a failure. I feel like I let my readers down. I feel like people are going to say things like "she just didn't try hard enough" or "I don't know why she thought she could do it in the first place" or "geeze, I wonder what she'll attempt and quit next." I don't know who those people are, but the thought of them judging me or saying those things is paralyzing.

I know, this is supposed to be a post about setting goals, not not fulfilling them. I'll get to that, I promise.

I announced, what seems like a bazillion months ago, that I started a business, Here Comes the Brand. I wanted to help wedding professionals in Austin with their branding and social media. Even as I write this, I think "hey, that sounds like an awesome idea and something that lots of people would be into!" Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Well, it was an awesome idea. And, honestly, people were into it. They just weren't hiring me. And I wasn't doing a very good job of selling myself in the first place.

I've mentioned here and there about how going to networking events is really hard for me. Specifically with an industry that's so small, everyone already knows each other and they just hang out and drink like it's happy hour, instead of branching out and actually networking. Also, as a non-vendor, no one really knew why I was there. I had to explain my whole spiel instead of just saying "I'm a florist," like everyone expects. Maybe it sounds like I'm complaining or making excuses, but all of this led me to feel even more broken down and burnt out about my purpose and my abilities. 

In addition to all of that, my anxiety and depression, constantly changing medicines, and looming panic attacks aren't all that helpful. I try so hard to listen to my body's needs and do what's best for me, but this 9 times out of 10 means skipping the networking event for margs with a girlfriend or going on a walk. Networking =/= self-care. As hard as it is to accept, I'm not in a good enough place in my life to be an entrepreneur. What I need right now is stability.

I have so many things I want to do in my life. Turns out, starting my own social media biz isn't really one of them, nor is it a good stepping stone to get me to any of the things I am really passionate about.

So what's next? What's the goal? The reason it's taken me so long to write this post is because I felt like I had to already have another career endeavor in place before publicly abandoning my last one. Well, I don't. I've been applying for full-time work for months and haven't heard back from a single job. It's devastating and so frustrating. I have a degree, a bunch of internships, and valuable work experience. Plus, I write a killer cover letter. So why can't I seem to get a job?

This month's goal is sort of three-fold. Is that a thing? It is now.

1. I need to work to forgive myself for deciding to stop pursuing Here Comes the Brand.
2. I need to remember my worth and not settle for less than what I already have.
3. I need to continue to reach for stability.

I love the two jobs I have right now, but they aren't necessarily stepping stones for what I want to be doing in the future. They also aren't paying my bills, much less the student loans that I've deferred twice this year. I need a job that is better than what I've got now in terms of preparing me for later career goals and pay, as well as meeting the same standards of overall happiness. I'm not saying I think there's a job where I won't have bad days or be challenged with things that aren't fun, but I've had enough bad jobs to know that being entirely miserable isn't worth it. I deserve more than that.

The big goal this month is really number three. In order to pursue my future career endeavors (book writing, non profit program founding, etc.), I have to become more stable. I struggle every month to make ends meet, so financial stability is a big one. I also want some greater personal stability in the form of schedule and routine. Running back and forth between two jobs is sometimes the most stressful part about it. I'd be able to eat healthier and take more time for my personal wellness if I had a more steady schedule. I could plan grocery lists and exercise routines based on this schedule. Maybe this is growing up, but stability sounds so appealing to me.

//

An hour or so after writing this post last week, I got a call about an interview. I interviewed Thursday and was offered a full time position at my current job on Friday. I am so thankful for this opportunity, both professionally and financially. 

I considered scrapping the above post because it's no longer relevant, but it has been relevant for so many months and I feel I owe it to my readers to share that part of my journey. I know a lot of my readers are about to graduate/recently graduated and are going through similar motions. Keep taking care of yourself so that when the right position comes along, you nail the interview and get the job!

grown up goal: october


Fall is probably the most inspiring season for me. Maybe it's because I always associated it with going back to school, but I feel like fall is full of opportunities to look forward to. The weather cools down, so I'm all about outdoor activities like going to the zoo, playing in piles of leaves, and hanging out at a pumpkin patch. I've already been designing an autumn flower crown for a future DIY, and I've got my eye on a few different knit shops on Etsy. 

One of my most favorite things to do in fall is walk down South Congress with a warm cup of hot chocolate or chai from Jo's. I love my city and I love exploring all the little shops we have. Speaking of little shops, I really want to convince Dago to take a day trip with me to Fredricksburg or Kerville for some small town strolling and antiquing. 

What do you want to do this fall?

to do list // fall

skirt: thrifted (originally Talbots/similar) // top: Old Navy (old) // shoes: Steve Madden // scarf: vintage // bag: Forever 21 (similar)

 After a year and a half of documenting outfits on this blog, you'd think I'd recognize a trend in my own outfit building. It wasn't until the lovely receptionist at my doctor commented on my go-to formula that I realized it: I'm addicted to color-blocking. I think I didn't notice it because I'm not very attracted to pieces that have color-blocking on them, but it's a great way to build interesting and cute outfits. The only prints I really wear are stripes and floral, which I usually just pair together or color-block around them. 

How did I not realize how often I do this? Evidence here, here, here, here, here, here...and pretty much everywhere else on my blog.

Anyway, I LOVED this outfit! I put it together to sell things at Buffalo Exchange because I read that they buy more if they like your style. I thrifted this skirt when I was in Houston a couple of weekends ago and have been so excited to wear it. It's from Talbots and is actually petite, which I was worried about because sometimes pleating on petite skirts fits me awkwardly across the hips. I'm already planning another outfit with it using a tomato red color on top.

How would you style this skirt?

PS. #proudbloggermoment when I got that spinning picture on the first try, all by myself!

building blocks

via
Mama,

Today is your birthday, and I'm so lucky to be able to celebrate with you. I don't have any money right now to buy you all the material things I wish I could give to you, so my words will have to be enough. 

I feel closer to you these days than ever before. Some women are reluctant to become like their mothers, but that is all I could ever wish for. You define resilience. You've fought through Hell and back without complaining or giving up. You love so fiercely. You always make an effort to understand the things you don't, and that is what makes a person intelligent. You're so beautiful and if I'm half as pretty as you at your age, my future husband will be a lucky, lucky man.  I love watching you raise the new puppy because I get to relive your awesome nurturing skills as an adult. 

You're so sensible and compassionate. I've always admired your conviction. Standing alongside you this summer supporting our rights as Texas women was one of my favorite life experiences so far, and I know we'll have many, many more. 

When you say that you're proud of me, it means more than anything anyone could ever say. I am so incredibly proud to be your daughter and I can't wait to realize more of you in myself as I grow older. 

Thank you for everything you've done for me and our family. I hope I can return the favor in my adult life.

Have such a wonderful day! I love you!

xo Nicole

happy birthday, mama


As promised, our very first episode is up! There's a little something for everyone: living in Austin, Wendy Davis, Miley, and a totally accurate explanation of a baseball term by me. Check it out!

peas in a pod(cast)


Dear Bruno, 

We don't really know each other very well; you came on the scene singing "Girl, you're amazing just the way you are," and I pretty much wrote you off for telling me what I already know, but your latest album is much more my tune. It's passionate and rockin'--two things you do really well. Locked Out of Heaven, easily your biggest hit off the album, is a great song. That is, until I really listened to your lyrics.

Unfortunately, you're sending a message that's totally off-key, and ultimately misguided. You sing "you're sex takes me to paradise," and I'm all, what a compliment, Bruno! But then you sing, "You make me feel like I've been locked out of heaven for too long." Are you saying that exercising my right to consent is somehow stifling you? Are you questioning my boundaries? While your feelings of wanting something and not having it readily available must be frustrating, there's absolutely a healthier way to express yourself. Ways that don't make me feel guilty for saying no, which is called sexual coercion.

For instance, you could use an I-Statement to help me better understand where you're coming from without making me responsible for your feelings. Something like "I felt rejected when you said you weren't in the mood because I felt unattractive to you," allows us both to talk about our feelings and intentions without stepping on each other's toes.

Instead of having to defend my boundaries, I can address the way you feel and we can come to a healthy, happy, and respectful conclusion. Open communication takes me to paradise, Bruno. You should try singing about that on your next album to really hear the ladies swoon!

xo Nicole

This letter is a part of a series in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

an open letter to bruno mars on healthy relationships

I mentioned earlier this week that I had some big news for y'all. Without further ado...

Dago popped the question. He'd been sort of hinting at it for a while, doing research, and then last weekend we were snuggled up together, and he asked

"Would you co-host a podcast with me?"

Of course, I said yes! He's talked about starting one himself or with various bro-friends ever since I met him, but the stars are all finally aligned and I get to be his partner in crime!

The podcast is called Breakfast for Dinner, inspired by our own lifestyle, obviously. We'll talk about all of our favorite things: pop culture, social justice, television, soccer, fashion, music, and our really funny lives. We have all of these wonderful, deep, intellectual, totally hilarious conversations together in the car, on the couch, and getting ready for bed, so we're going to start recording them for everyone to hear.

We've already got the script outlined for our first episode, which we'll record Friday evening. This is going to be such a fun project for us to work on together, and a really cool side project for the blog too. I haven't quite figured out what it will look like yet, but I'll be posting the pod somewhere on here so you can listen if you're interested.

What kind of stuff would you like to hear us talk about? We wanna know!

Follow Breakfast for Dinner on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Our episodes will be available on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Okay, one more announcement! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), a cause very close to my heart. For new followers, I work as an advocate at a DV helpline. One of the most important parts of my job is educating about healthy relationship behaviors. In honor of DVAM, I'm going to post a handful of open letters to various well-known people who could learn a thing or two about healthy dating. I'll post the first one up tomorrow and a few more throughout the month.

ps. did i totally fool you into thinking dago proposed? 

a n n o u n c e m e n t s

via
After reading about the importance of women being explicitly proud of their accomplishments on both NeonNotebook and the NY Mag, I decided to do a little self-promotion of my own. Thinking about what I'm proud of is such an interesting task: I want to praise myself for things I know I've done well, but I always feel there's a risk that I'll come off sounding conceited. Or worse, what if I'm proud of something that someone else doesn't think is worthy of praise? These are doubts that can be so natural to us as women, and are often biggest obstacle holding us back from accepting greatness. This post is about putting on blinders to the critics and celebrating my accomplishments.


I am proud of my advocacy. Usually when someone has a job, it teaches them skills they can use in future jobs, but not necessarily life. One of the greatest things I've learned in my position as an advocate is the power of validating. I love having the ability to make someone feel heard, and, even more, to empower them to continue to use their voice. All by validating their feelings. I never feel better about myself than when I'm providing awesome advocacy, and I think that's pretty cool. I'm proud of knowing my purpose.

I am proud of my blog. A lot of people seem to think that blogging isn't a valid form of writing. I think those people are wrong. every day, I get to write whatever i want in this space that I've created--and people read it. Exclusively, those are both really great things that I'm proud of, but having crafted something that other people care about (even just enough to click through to) makes me feel so wonderful. I love sharing stories, thoughts, outfits, and more, so single-handedly building a corner of the internet where I can do that whenever I want is a major accomplishment in my life that I'm really proud of.

I am proud of my relationship with Dago. Our relationship is an incredible partnership. We're costars in our often hilarious, sometimes deep, and always insanely-loving lives. I feel perfectly equal to him in the relationship, and yet have so much admiration for him as a person. Our communication skills are so smooth we don't even realize we're "working through" something, and we both strive to hear each other's voices over our own. I'm so excited about our 2+ years together and I love taking on each new day, making plans for the future, and enjoying the tiniest moments with him. I'm so proud of the healthy, happy, and whole relationship we've built.


What are you proud of? Do you ever struggle to identify or announce these accomplishments?

proud

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