I'm super pumped to introduce y'all to Jenn of With Luck today. She's one of the first bloggers I really connected with and I know we're going to have an awesome friendship beyond the blogosphere, even though she lives all the way up in Pennsylvania. She's creative and so supportive, which are two things that I believe make a great blogger.  Without further ado, take it away, Jenn!

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive of that if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
[previous love letters: me // jess // elissa // kristina // danielle // kirsten]
shorts: a rare sighting
To: My Legs I've always been known as a confident person, which is why it usually comes as a surprise when I say that I've always had some body image issues. Like a lot of ladies can probably relate to, my body never quite fit the magazine standards. So why am I writing to you, legs? Because you have probably taken the majority of the heat over the years- and for that I am sorry. You may not fit the mold of a Cosmo cover, but you are the best legs I could ever ask for. I appreciate the fact that:
You are strong & supportive.
You care about my health, so you take me on runs. You want me to feel powerful so you continue to work hard one squat after another during each trip to the gym. You want me to appear more graceful than I am, so you supported me throughout all of my dance classes in my younger days.
You are beautiful & kind.
You want me to see the world, so you walk me places. You want me to be versatile, so you put me at an awesome height to comfortably wear heels or flats whenever I want. You know I hate mornings, so after snoozing my alarm one too many times, you kindly lift me from my bed and take me to the Keurig.
... and we are stuck together.
As hard as I try to wish away the fact that your a tad bit wide and you always touch, we're stuck. So instead of complaining that you rub together when I run, I'll just wear some leggings to keep comfortable. Instead of complaining that you're too big for the pants I'm lusting over, I'll just buy the bigger size and get them tailored. Instead of shying away from shorts, I'll find a length that flatters you both. Or at least I'll try because things like fun summer dresses? Please - we were made for them!
warrior dash
There are worse problems to have than a little thigh touching by two strong legs, right?
With Luck

jenn loves her legs [a love letter]

Kirsten of K&R is precious, but that's obvious. She's also so smart and so ridiculously funny and one of the kindest, friendliest bloggers I've encountered. She's so much fun to engage with every day over posts about spotted pants, crazy Mondays, and sunshine. I never thought I'd say this, but I wish I lived anywhere near Utah so I could hang out with her. Hey Kirsten--come visit us in Austin. It's like 70* here, you'll love it. Anyway, on to the body positivity. Take it away Kirsten!

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive of that if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
[previous love letters: me // jess // elissa // kristina // danielle]

dear skinny baby feet:

you, my skinny baby feet, have always been my favorite. as i have been told many times before they are "my great grandma story's feet," and for that i thank my great grandma. these skinny little feet that i have never fail me. i can jam my foot in any shoe, however if someone with a regular to wide foot has tried on the shoe, it will never fit, for even the slightest stretch will make them too wide. on the plus side i can occasionally slip into some kids shoes, score!

at first glance most people just assume that i have baby feet, they're a size 6, so not too shabby. however during months where socks aren't necessary the real secret is revealed. not only are you baby feet, but freakishly skinny baby feet, making you appear much smaller than you really are. this however is why i love you my skinny baby feet.

skinny baby feet, you always look so much cuter in shoes. there's always room for extra socks in the winter (not only does it keep me warm, but it helps to fill out the shoes). your size is always out on the display, so i can avoiding speaking with sales people.

so thank you skinny baby feet, for being able to hold up my body. being able squeeze into all the small shoes and still lookin' cute. i can always count on you to stay my small skinny baby feet.

kirsten loves her skinny baby feet [a love letter]

Danielle is THE Goodwillisa. She inspires me to stick to a budget and remix what I've got the get the most out of my buck and my wardrobe. She's a Louisiana sweetheart and the savviest thrifter this side of the Mississippi. Like me, Danielle fills out those discounted pencil skirts with a bodacious booty. And like Dago, her fianc√© loves her in a pair of yoga pants. We're basically bum-sisters, so I'm glad she wrote up a little something for y'all to read. Take it away, Danielle!

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive of that if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
[previous love letters: me // jess // elissa // kristina]
Dear Big Butt, 

You and I have a love/hate relationship.
I love that you look amazing in tight pair of jeans. 
I love that my fianc√© loves you. 
Especially in a pair of yoga pants. 
I love to shake you whenever I feel like it. 
I love that you keep me warm while sitting on you for long periods of time. 
I hate that you make me feel self conscious in my pencil skirts. 
Because sometimes I feel like people will think that I’m trying to be too sexy when dressing for work. 
I hate that you and my smaller waist do not get along when shopping for bottoms. 
I hate that you make my already short shorts, shorter. 
I hate that you get the wrong attention from the wrong people. 
Overall butt, I think I like you for the most part. 
I would never change you or trade you for larger breasts. 
I’m hoping that you never change on me. 
Because that just wouldn’t be pretty. 

Love, Danielle

danielle loves her big butt [a love letter]

Kristina of Kristina in Retroworter is one of those bloggers you want to have a slumber party with, where you stay up all night talking and realize that you would have been best friends in kindergarten, fifth grade, eighth grade, junior year, and could have been your college roommate. She has adorable pups and a sweet husband, but that doesn't mean she doesn't struggle with her body too. I'm loving reading all of these body celebrations and I hope you are too. Take it away, Kristina!

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive of that if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
[previous love letters: me // jess // elissa]
When Nicole asked me to be a part of this series, I immediately thought, “what’s my least favorite part of my body?” The answer wasn't too hard to find, and although I've never truly struggled with an eating disorder before, I've had friends, some even very close, that have struggled with it. So, here is my love letter to the least favorite part of my body, my legs.

Dear lovely legs,

We’ve gone through many stages together. Once, you were lanky little kid legs with knobby knees, and I was a tiny little blonde headed girl running around, kicking soccer balls, playing dress-up and pretending to be a pop star, who would one day marry Lance from N’Sync (that’s obviously not possible..), and I had no cares in the world, especially none about my own body. Then came the awkward pre-teen stage, where I was a bit chubby in the cheeks, and you were starting to become an area of concern. Now, I didn’t really notice until junior high that you weren’t like those other girls’, those girls that grew to be five-foot-nine, while I stayed a measly five-four. After years of running, jumping, and kicking you’d become rather muscly and stout, and to me, muscles didn’t feely girly, which is all I wanted to be. I wanted to be perfect, and in my eyes at that time, perfect had nothing to do with short, stout legs and all to do with long and skinny legs. There were times when boys would come up to me and tell me they wish they had calf muscles like mine, I suppose that’s a compliment in boy language, but in girl language, it was an embarrassing blow to an already vulnerable area of my body.  I’d just laugh it off and pretend it didn’t matter, but deep down, all I wanted was for my “squatty little legs” to run off onto someone else, while I stole Emma Watson’s. I couldn’t see what everyone else around me saw, and sometimes you blinded me so much that I didn’t even like my entire body. But then, one day, I realized -- I am beautiful just the way I am. I was perfectly and gracefully made, and no one else would or will ever be me. I may never be able to fit into size 0 jeans because they probably wouldn’t be able to come over my thighs, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I still get frustrated with you, when I look down at my lap while I’m sitting in class and nitpick at every detail of you, but you are beautiful, and I must remind myself of that every single day until it fully sinks in. You are beautiful.

Love always,

kristina loves her legs [a love letter]

I'm so thrilled to introduce you all to Elissa of Style-Wire. She's a Corpus Christi girl living the life in Boston. Every time she posts, I learn something major--whether about better spending, better dressing, or better self-realization. I want so much to grow up to be even a little like Elissa. She's a true badass. Take it away, Elissa!

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive of that if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
[previous love letters: me // jess]

They’re evidence of trees climbed, mosquito laden summers, childhood spills, and so much more. The dark spots plague my legs. Over the years some have faded, new ones have made their mark, but for the most part, these scars are here to stay...

For years I hated you.  Sure, it was my fault I was chasing that kid and ate shit in the school parking lot and busted my knee. And yeah, it was my fault I scratched that horrendous mosquito bite until it was raw and scabbed over, but do you have to be so dark?

Your uneven spots are scattered across my legs, with my bony shins your favorite place to make your home. Each new scrape or fall meant another scar. You’d appear as the scabs gave way to newly healed skin—typically three shades darker than the rest of my skin.

Middle and high school gym class meant shorts.  Oh, how you've caused me to resent such a cute (and cool) summer wardrobe staple. “Why do you have those marks? How come you have so many?” kids would ask. People still ask today.

The beach makes me feel awkward; I get self-conscious every time I encounter a pair of shorts or a miniskirt but you give me character. I’m doing my best to embrace you, to wear you proudly as a badge of honor rather than a source of embarrassment. I hope you can forgive my resentment, while I can love my chicken-thin legs, I’m not quite sure I’m ready to love you yet. But I’m learning and I’m starting to like you.

Just a little bit. 

elissa loves her scars [a love letter]

For today's body love letter, I'm so excited to introduce Jess from Animated Cardigan to y'all. She's one of my newest favorite bloggers and I immediately fell in love with her style as well as her aversion to smiling endlessly. She's fierce and fab and she makes me want to be a better blogger. Take it away, Jess!

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive of that if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
My arms and I have always been at odds. My upper arms are the first area of my body to gain weight, and the last to lose it. (My boobs are the opposite way. UGH.) As a lifelong equestrian, my lower body has always been strong, especially my calves, while my upper body, especially my arms, squandered somewhat. I always compare the top half of my body with the bottom half, the strength of my legs and fullness of my hips versus my smaller chest and squishy arms.

I had to measure my arms once for a riding coat, and they are 18 inches in circumference. They're a foot and a half all the way around. For reference, that's approximately from the ground to your knee, depending on how tall you are. Just contemplate that for a moment.

My closet is a reflection of that extreme measurement. Finding coats that fit is an eternal hassle, because I have to size up to fit my arms. And then the coat is baggy all the way around. Same goes for blazers and button-up shirts. I have some sewing skills, but not nearly enough to tailor a coat or take in a blazer. So for the most part, I avoid those. (I also avoid woven shirts because they make me sweat, but that's a different post entirely.) Finding my yellow pea coat two years ago was a Christmas miracle-- the sleeves are cut large enough for me to not only wear the coat, but also wear it with a SWEATER on underneath. Rara avis, indeed.

But, but.

When I started curling, I learned that my arms are stronger than I thought. They're a little bigger, and that means there's more weight--and ultimately more pressure--on the broom, which makes me a better sweeper. That first day after I curled, my triceps were screaming. Now, it never hurts when I sweep. People have stopped and watched when they see me and my teammate sweep. It's a little intense, I guess.

I love art, and funnily enough, there are some beautiful molescapes on my upper arms. I have an Orion's belt on my left arm, while my right arm bears a line of four, running horizontally. Both of my tattoos are on my arms, and one actually wraps over my shoulder and onto my upper arm. I always swore I'd never get a tattoo on my upper arm, and now I sometimes entertain the idea of a half sleeve. (Probably not gonna happen, but still. Pipe dreams make the world go round.)

And without my upper arms, there would be nothing to attach my forearms to. And I need those, because my hands are attached to those. (I bet you didn't think you'd get an anatomy lesson by reading this post, huh?) My arms are somewhat essential. My upper arms push doors open, they support stacks of DVDs and books, they drag cart after cart after cart at work, they push forty pound granite rocks down sheets of ice, they lift giant hooves and hefty saddles, they hang frames, they fold clothes, they steer wheels and shift gears. They do a lot to keep us going.

So for better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Me and my arms...there's no divorce in sight.

jess loves her arms [a love letter]

In honor of the month of love, Body Revolution 2013, and of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I've contacted a handful of my favorite bloggers to write a love letter to their favorite or least favorite part of their bodies. As bloggers, we write about our trials with our clothes, but we rarely talk about the bodies that we can't just leave on our closet floors when they don't look quite right in the mirror. 

This is my letter. I hope it, and the other letters you read this week, will inspire you to show your body a little love.

Disclaimer: These letters are personal and vulnerable, but important to share. Please be sensitive if you choose to leave a comment. Body shaming will not be tolerated.
Hey hey bootay,

I know you're back there, even if I have to reach my head around to see you. Oh, and I do.

Growing up, no one knew about you because I swam in all my jeans. Upon discovering the sewing machine, I learned to take in my jeans to fit right up against my thighs, but my dark wash Mudd Denim just flattened you out. I remember one time, a girl in my grade lent me a pink mini-skirt that had pleats starting at the top of my thighs. I wore it to school and you got me in trouble for being so bodacious. I think I was supposed to feel ashamed, but I just felt awesome.

Sometimes, I do feel a little guilty for having you though. I get uncomfortable in tight, short dresses because I feel like I look like I'm trying too hard to show you off. I worry that you make pencil skirts look unprofessional. I'm just a little white girl; I don't think I'm allowed to have this much junk in the trunk.

But then I slip you into a pair of leggings and wear a shirt that's short enough to expose you. I feel so hot in my yoga pants that I find excuses to bend over, even when I'm just home alone. After I button up my skinny jeans, I can't help but put my hands in my pockets and remember how fabulous you are. 

You're so strong. You hold me up while I write for hours. You fight off oppressive, unwanted gazes. You are not for them. You don't need anyone's approval and you don't owe anyone anything. You deserve respect and you won't settle for anything less.

I like to think that, like bread, all of my passion goes to my ass. You are so full of experiences and ambitions and you keep me stable when I'm feeling restless. I'm going to try to dress you up in more lace and sit on less hard wooden benches. Maybe we'll go swimming more this summer and maybe you'll even get a little sun.

Thanks for always being there for me and for always having my (lower) back.

xo nic

nicole loves her butt [a love letter]

denim jacket: Nordstrom Rack (love this one) // shirt: Gap // scarf: vintage // skirt: Old Navy // boots: Delia*s (similar)
 In my mind, this look has all of the makings of a pirate outfit. Bandit scarf? Check. Sturdy boots? Check. Nautical stripes? Check. Mustard tights? ...So maybe this outfit doesn't actually make me look like a pirate, but I definitely felt like I was dressed as one all day.

I've actually had this scarf since I was a freshman in college and I've literally never worn it. I mean, I've tried, but I never made it out of the house because I felt like an aviation-obsessed bandit with a secret to hide but a good heart. Then I saw Sara over on Swing the Day Away style a vintage square scarf and look utterly precious, so I was inspired to try again. 

Next time I wear this outfit, I think I'll nix the bright tights. My navy tights are out of commission (see: giant thigh hole) and yellow was the next best option. I think they distract from the look of the top half and the color scheme. Maybe I'll try again later with bare legs under the skirt or with jeans. 

So what do you think? Stylish pirate? Bandit with a secret? Utterly precious?

stylish pirate

i don't usually do these survey-like posts, but this week is kicking my butt and i thought it was a cute one.
thanks for posting bri!


...things you'll find in my purse
1. at least 4 lip colors (usually closer to 7...); mostly revlon lipsticks.
2. my iPhone remote for taking outfit photos.
3. bobby pins (except on the day i really want to wear milk maid braids *sigh*).
4. the teal + orange wallet Dago bought me for our anniversary.

...things you'll find in my bedroom
1. my teddy bear Lionel Rupert.
2. a notebook for middle-of-the-night ideas.
3. Contessa.
4. a magazine (or 4) that i haven't quite finished reading yet.
5. a snack, because i'm a terrible "grown up" and like to eat in bed.

...things I've always wanted to do
1. buy a trip for my parents.
2. chill with a sloth.
3. write a self-help book or book of personal essays.
4. learn to french braid.
5. learn to ride a bike abroad (for some reason i refuse to learn on this continent, but can envision myself riding in Florence or Buenos Aires).

...things I'm currently loving
1. making scrambled egg sandwiches after a long day.
2. my ankle strap flats. seriously, i know you're all sick of them, but i don't care.
3. saying yes to new opportunities.
4. dreaming of a new apartment.
5. my bloggy friends. i'm so happy to have finally found a little community on the interwebz.

...quirks I have
1. if there is a song playing that i know the words to, i can't not sing along.
2. i meow as the greeting in most of my texts/messages/encounters with people.
3. if i put on the wrong outfit in the morning, i will feel uncomfortable all day or until i can go home and change.
4. i'm really self conscious about my ankles.
5. i perpetually worry that people don't like me and that they think i'm weird or obsessed with them.


dress: Luxe Apothetique (local boutique) // vest: Target (little girls' section) // shoes: Lulu's (same
I thought of this outfit a while back, but it got too warm in Austin to wear faux fur, so it got moved down my "to wear" list. When I checked the weather and saw it was in the high 50s, I decided that was good enough. I bought this dress last winter and wore it constantly right around New Years. It's a ridiculously comfortable dress and I love that it buttons all the way up.

I wore this to Quacks Bakery last week to meet up with my new buddy Annie. She's a graphic designer + web developer who's helping me get Here Comes the Brand up and running. I love new friends, especially ladies with skillz.

After our coffee date, I did some last minute Valentine's Day shopping for Dago at the mall and I must have looked like such a fashion blogger because everyone was staring at me. I mean, thanks, but I'm in a time crunch! Anyway, it was the perfect coffee + errands outfit and I'll probably be repeating it until spring.

Oh, and sometimes Dago walks up while I'm taking photos of myself and photo bombs me. Thanks, babe.

style skillz

tee: gifted // skirt + blazer: Nordstrom Rack // necklace: Target
This shirt was my other Valentine's gift from Dago. It's a band tee from one of our favorite musicians Into It. Over It. It's hard to tell, but the shirt has a picture of a cat watching Evan (the only member of II.OI.) pack things into a truck. Cats and acoustic guitars? That's my kind of music.

Anyway, Dago bought this for me to sleep in because it's really soft, but I wanted to wear it in public and on the blog before it takes a place in the comfy sleeping shirt category of my closet. Dago insisted that I dress like a punk rock girl when I wore the shirt. I'm not really sure I did punk rock much justice with this outfit.

The punkest style blogger I know is Alyssa and she rocks out the milk maid braids, so they must be punk rock, right? No?

To get a little listen to Into It. Over It., check out my sampler below.

punk rock milk maid

writes like a girl
sweater: Zara (similar) // jeans: Gap // shoes: Lulu's (same) // headband: Old Navy
This is a pretty average weekend outfit for me. Sometimes leggings replace the jeans and my trusty yellow beanie replaces the headband, but you can find me on any given Sunday in some variation of this outfit. 

This weekend was less relaxing than others, but I enjoyed it just the same. Dago and I both worked really early on Saturday morning and then shared some seafood with a lovely couple at a local catfish parlor. Dago told me to dress "casual," which is a word that has pretty much lost all definition since becoming a style blogger, but I think I nailed it with my chambray and boots. After dinner, we wanted to go home and catch up on Parks & Rec, Community, and Portlandia, but I fell right asleep and he soon followed.

On Sunday I got together with my gal pal over crepes at Crepes Mille to talk about the uncertainty of our futures and the excitement of starting a small business. Speaking of which, Here Comes the Brand Consulting is up and running! I still have a few edits to make here and there, but it's a huge step.

On another career-related note, I so appreciate the heart-felt comments y'all left on my last post. I don't think of my work as being especially noble and I definitely wasn't fishing for sympathy, but it was really nice to feel the support of my bloggy friends about something that has to do with my non-blog life. We're more than outfit posts and shopping habits and I hope non-bloggers get that sense when they read what we've got to say, both in posts and in comments. I feel stronger and more capable of taking on the difficult things after working out my thoughts and feelings in this edit box. I feel so close to my blogger community right now and I can't wait to get to know everyone better. Gosh, this is turning into quite the mushy outfit post, so I'll leave you with that.

Happy Monday--you've got this.

//Thanks to my bb brother Evan for snapping these photos for me. I'm so glad to have you back in Austin for a while!

sunday stripes

dress: Prabal Gurung for Target // shoes: Lulu's (same)
So this is what I wore for Valentine's Day. You can thank Dago for the title.

I want to talk about this dress. Because I'm in love. When I was coveting pieces from the Gurung x Target collection for weeks counting up til the release, I never even noticed this dress. I was so distracted by all of the floral crush print (none of which fit for anything! what was up with that??) that I missed the all stunning color-blocking throughout the collection. I resisted the color-block trend until recently, but I think, with the right color pairings, I can be all about it.

It helps that this dress is universally flattering. I mean seriously. All the girls at work were lusting over it and I was sending them each out to Target to buy their own because it would look gorgeous on everyone. It has the most effortless fit and flare silhouette, the sleeves are so sweet, and I adore the shape of the color-block pattern. I've always been inspired by '60s fashion and this is my dream updated-mod style dress.

I felt so cool when the Awkward Girls posted this dress in their Out + About: Valentine's Day post because I had already decided on wearing it for the big day. I'm also excited to wear it to picnics in spring, to a gal pal's wedding in May, and as something breezy for those hot office days in the summer time. 

PS. Get ready to see these shoes a LOT. I know you can't really see them here, but oh, you will. I've been dreaming of black ankle flats for ages and finally found the perfect pair. The front is suede and the back is pleather and the ankle straps fit perfectly around my cankles--and all for under $30! It's safe to say I'm obsessed, so they'll be showing up in the next several outfit posts.

it was the best of times, it was the valentimes

It's Valentine's Day! In high school and college, I tried to pretend that I didn't love Valentine's Day because I didn't think I was supposed to...but I do love Valentine's Day. For some reason, my family has always done something special for the day and that has stuck with me over the years. My mom would always buy my brother and I a box of candy and a little stuffed animal. Since moving out and eventually being in my own apartment, my mom still goes out of her way to get me a little something for Valentine's Day. Last year she surprised me with sour candies, which was awesome because I prefer them over chocolate. Well, yesterday, I got home really late and totally forgot that she had a key to my place and then, there, on the kitchen table, was the sweetest, most tear-gushing card, a new little friend, and a yummy yummy red velvet cake.

So, in case I haven't convinced you yet that Dago is the greatest boyfriend in the history of the universe, let me tell you a little story.

Dago: I know what I'm getting you for Valentine's Day, but I need to extract some information from you to make it happen.
Nicole: Well, my shoe size is 7 and my dress/pants size is different at every--
Dago: I know your sizes already. This information is something you'd have to give me, but I want to get it without you know what it is.
Nicole: Is there an hint you can give me so that I wouldn't know but could give you the necessary information?
Dago: No. I want to buy your blog domain for you but I don't know how to do it. Leave your computer open around Valentine's Day and I'll figure it out.
Nicole: *Squeeeeeeeeee*

So yeah. Dago bought my domain for me for Valentine's Day. Ain't he the sweetest?
I'm now--officially--www.writeslikeagirlblog.com.

He also sent me this Valentine's card this morning:

Tonight we're going to Chedd's, a grilled cheese shop in Austin, to share soup and gorge ourselves on grilled cheese. I'll show you all his gifts tomorrow (and my outfit!).

How are you spending your Valentine's Day?

the gift of love (and blogging?)

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