~awkward butt pic so you can see the cute back of the top~
shirt: Forever 21 (similar) // jeans: Gap // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW (similar) // watch: Anne Klein
This shirt? I love it. I bought it from Forever 21 after weeks of deciding. You see, I had a store credit. Is it just me that feels like I have to spend gift cards and store credit more wisely than my own, real money? It's like I have to spend it on the right thing, the most worthy thing. This, I think, is a good justification for asking for gift cards for birthdays and Chanukah. You end up buying what you really want, instead of something you want right. that. minute.
These boxy tops are my new fav. Fitted tops make me so uncomfortable--they really always have, but especially since my body has changed. I like that I have room to live in boxy tops, but they're still somehow flattering. I'll take this top in five more prints, please! I've never been a jeans + tee kind of girl, much as I wanted to, but I think this is a look I could get used to. Though, I'm already planning my next outfit: same top + skater skirt + mint purse. I want to really femme it up next time around!
PS. I had an audience of chickens as I took these photos. One of the weirder things that's happened while I've taken my photos. I guess that's Austin for ya.
Nine times out of ten, I wear flats. No matter the season or weather, no matter how formal or casual, I feel the most comfortable and most myself in a kicky pair of flats. Ever since high school, I've been growing my collection. It all started with a pair of gold Steve Madden flats. I wore them until I was walking on the sidewalk instead of the soles, and then replaced them with another gold pair, this time from Payless. They held up for a surprisingly long time, but did eventually give out as well. I bought a purple T-strap pair and a silver pointy pair from Target, both of which I still own and wear. Then there was the patent leather, pointed black pair I wore to speech tournaments.
In college, I gained a nude pair, a floral T-strap pair, a glitter pair, and a pair of coral ballet flats with little bows on the front. I replaced the nude ones with an exact replica, and have since worn those down too. I also have a pair of leopard loafers, a black ankle-strap pair, and my beloved slats that have joined the collection in recent years.
I've been especially hard on my flats as of late, and know I need to replace at least my black, nude, and coral pairs. I can't help but look though, as I shop, at flats in electric blue and animal print, with big bows and d'Orsay shapes. Here are a few pairs I'm lusting over at the moment.
As much as I say I will, I've always done a poor job at keeping in touch with people when our lives aren't intersecting on the regular. From new friends made at Girl Scout camp to old friends moving across the country with their family, I was a terrible pen pal as a kid. I wanted so badly to be good at it, but it just felt like my life was continuing on, and theirs was too, on separate paths as now-strangers. It's definitely sad to think about the friendships I could have kept if only I had written more letters.
Nowadays, with as many social media sites as our smart phones can handle, it's a lot easier to stay up-to-date on each other's lives. However, social media isn't always the most conducive to actually communicating. I know I'm not the only person who gets messages from long lost friends, just as I'm about to leave for work or go to sleep, and quietly closes my laptop instead of responding. And then I forget to respond altogether. (Ugh, I hope I'm not the only person who does this, because now I sound like a total asshat.)
I wish I were better at keeping Skype dates and sending birthday cards, but I'm just not. In spite of all of my lacking keeping-in-touch habits, I've found a few easy and fun ways to stay in contact with your favorite people.
Group Texts | Keeping a group text going with a couple of friends has been, by far, my favorite way to keep in touch with friends. A bunch of my friends moved away recently, which made me worry we would lose touch. Luckily, we've been utilizing group text to send each other little notes of encouragements, funny stories, and general life updates throughout the day. Sometimes we just vent about work and receive a barrage of kitten gifs to help us keep going. Other times we have a group check-in about what each of us are doing for the weekend and how each other's family's are doing. I am currently participating in four different group texts, and hearing from my different friends is one of the highlights of my day.
Post Cards | Last year, one of my resolutions was about buying stationery and getting awesome about sending letters all the time. I was totally unsuccessful in this. A much easier, more cost-effective snail mail option is mailing fun post cards instead. When I see a post card that reminds me of someone, I can just write them a little note and sent it off to them. It's a nice way to surprise someone and let them know I was thinking of them. Plus, who doesn't love to get something in the mail that isn't bills?
Facebook Groups | When trying to keep in touch with a big group of people, like co-workers who don't work together all the time, the team you played soccer with in college, or alumni of a class you really bonded with, Facebook groups are the way to go. I'm in a handful of Facebook groups where people share articles the members might be interested in, get each other's thoughts of different issues or situations, and just bask in the togetherness of knowing some great, like-minded humans on the Internet. This is also a great way to plan upcoming events--like reunions or even first-time meet-ups!
How do you keep in touch these days?
**ETA: Somehow I forgot to mention Snapchat in this post. Which is weird, because I was probably Snapchatting while I wrote it. Snapchat: the communication of the future.
dress & bandana: thrifted // sandals: old American Eagle (similar)
As I write this at 7:58 on Monday evening from my favorite couch in my apartment, I have just arrived from my road trip to (and from?) Amarillo. Well, that's a lie. I came home and immediately got in a bubble bath, but as soon as I finished my bath I came to the couch to write this post. I'm so grateful for the time off, time out of Austin, time spent alone, and time spent in good company once I arrived at my destination. I'm also (mostly) grateful for the things I learned along the way.
A list of things I learned on this road trip:
Food poisoning is the single worst thing that can happen to a person. Especially on vacation.
Small towns think that wearing flower crowns is weird.
Amarillo has a maximum and minimum speed limit.
Librarians are so much cooler than you think they are. Even if you think they're cool already, they're still cooler.
There are like 18 ways to get from Austin to Amarillo, ranging from 7.5 to 10+ hours.
Having food poisoning is a great time to catch up on:
reading blogging sleep dehydration.
Patios at restaurants are a rare luxury in places that are not Austin.
VSCO Cam is the preferred photo editing app of Girl Scouts who are cooler than I will ever be.
Psychic palm readers run out of steam at the end of their shift, too.
The Wild Cupcake. End of story.
I definitely want to be involved in Girl Scouts in some way in the future.
Always take an extra day off from work when you go on vacation, just in case you get food poisoning.
Mindy Kaling should read all audio books, always.
All Girl Scouts know the same songs, but there is always a new song or extra verse to learn.
Group iMessages are the greatest form of communication in my generation.
I probably can't ever eat nachos again. *shudder*
A rocking chair, porch, and good book are really all I need for a vacation.
Toot n Totem is a real place. Well, are real places. So many Toot n Totems, y'all.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and new people can join yours at any time.
Hello from Amarillo! Today I'm a part of a really amazing project with a new blogging friend, Kate of Clear the Way. She's a feminist gal in California and I'm pretty sure she's my long-lost-blogging-sister. Kate has a new series called Feminist Fridays, and today I'm joined by a bunch of fabulous women answering the question How Do You Deal with Men Leering at You? Street harassment is an issue I'm extremely passionate about--well, about ending--so I'm grateful to have the space to talk about it with other women who, by nature, have a shared experience. This is Sisterhood, y'all.
Check out the feature and read the rest of her blog too, because she's brilliant.
|image via Kate Spade|
As you read this, I am embarking (embarked?) on a 10 hour road trip across Texas. I think I've mentioned before that the lovely Briley (whose talented photography skills you used to see around these parts) is a Girl Scout camp counselor in her hometown of Amarillo, so I'm going to visit her for a few days! Being from Austin, I rarely have opportunities to get out of town. Going to my parents' is only 45 minutes away, so I'm really looking forward to a longer drive and some alone time.
At Jennifer's recommendation, I picked up BJ Novak's One More Thing on audio book--my very first audio book! I also spent all of last weekend creating the perfect playlist for my phone. When I take long drives, I like to have plenty of showtunes to keep me occupied, so I filled my little phone up to the brim. Also lots of old Britney Spears songs, some Fall Out Boy and Postal Service for when I'm feeling angsty, and plenty of Beyoncé.
I'm hoping for lots of gabbing, flower crown wearing, hometown exploring, campfire singing, and pool time. I'm so excited to see Briley and also to mark off number 11 on my 25 before 25 list!
vest: thrifted Gap // dress: Forever 21 (similar) // sandals: American Eagle // necklace: Land of Salt
blouse: eBay (find it here) (ps I'm wearing a medium) // shorts: Target // shoes: American Eagle (similar)
The dust seems to have settled over here in my world after last week. I took the day off from work on Thursday and the day off from blogging on Friday, which were both healthy decisions. I am so appreciative of your kind comments and tweets. To those of you who shared in having a terrible week last week, I hope things are better and I vote that last week just be removed from the calendar. What was that even?
In happier news, I received the first of two bird blouses in the mail this weekend! What is a bird blouse, you ask? Well, Adina of Blue Collar Red Lipstick included a very cute bird blouse in her 30x30 last month and introduced me to eBay's selection of ridiculously inexpensive bird blouses that seem to be taking over warehouses in China. Seriously, search "bird blouse" on eBay and you'll come back with quite a few, all cute blouses covered in sweet little birds--all for under ten bucks! There were like 40 retailers selling this particular blouse, so I just picked one that appeared to have a few in stock. Having ordered products on eBay from China before, I didn't expect to receive my package for close to a month, but it came so quickly!
I checked the mail later in the day and had received my second bird blouse--Adina's! All the way from Canada! She mentioned in her 30x30 post that she was planning to get rid of it, so I mentioned in the comments that I would gladly take it off of her hands. Being the sweetheart she is, she wouldn't even let me PayPal her some money for it, plus she included several travel-sized beauty products and a precious thank you note. I swear, bloggers are the kindest people and they are the best at mail (well, except me--I'm the worst at mail). Anyway, you'll be seeing the hand-me-down bird blouse around these parts soon!
How was your weekend? Get anything fun in the mail lately?
Some days you have a really bad day at work, and all you can look forward to is getting ice cream from your favorite local shop on the way home. And then on the way home, you find that the ice cream shop is closed because their air conditioning is broken. And then you feel so disappointed that the one thing you were looking forward to can't happen, and then you feel disappointed for feeling disappointed because there are ice cream shop workers who had to close up shop and move all of their product out so it wouldn't melt. And then you go to take blog photos and everyone and their aunt is walking by giving you the stink eye. And then it doesn't even matter because you're not feeling photogenic anyway (and the camera certainly doesn't feel that you are either). And then you go to Walgreens and buy Nestlé Drumsticks because you really need ice cream, and they aren't great, but they'll do. And then you plan to eat them all in one sitting, but feel guilty and don't, and then the last two melt in their packaging.
And then you go to write a blog post and realize you have nothing nice or funny or entertaining or poignant to say because you're feeling bad for yourself and unphotogenic. But you feel like you need to write a post because, even though you don't get paid, it's your job to do so.
Blech. This week is sucky, kittens. I wasn't even going to bother writing a post, but here we are. I know a lot of people think of bloggers as being perfect, and I like to think that people who come across my blog don't think that anyway, but in case you did, here's evidence to support the idea that we, and I, are not.
If you, too, are having a bad week, you're not alone. If you want to vent in the comments, I 1000% support it.
Who says link posts have to wait til Friday? Not I! This week's been especially rough so far, so I'll let the rest of the Internet entertain you today.
♥ I found this last week and nearly peed myself laughing.
♥ My new blogging bestie Adina of Blue Collar Red Lipstick just finished the 30x30 challenge and she rocked it so hard.
♥ Inner monologues of the Urban Outfitters lookbook.
♥ If you're not familiar with Carol Rosseti's brilliant, revolutionary, feminist work yet, get thee to her Facebook page.
♥ Here's your beautiful for the day: Matt Crump's Instagram feed (also see #candyminimal on insta!).
♥ If you haven't read Taylor Swift's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry, it's worth it.
♥ For all of my Pretty Little Liars out there. How 'bout that 100th episode!?
♥ A little self-compassion reminder.
♥ Things I'm wishlisting: this festive scarf, this candy-colored necklace, both this and this pair of co-ords, and this crochet top (that I'm positive I can't pull off, but want anyway).
What are you loving on the Internet this week?
I love this dress y'all. I mean, probably no one is surprised by that. Navy and white? Check. Stripes? Check. Fit and flare action? Check. Pockets? Check! I also like that it's both linen and lined, which is basically a necessity in the sweaty Texas summer. I love dresses that you can throw on and go and feel put together, but that also lend themselves to being styled. I've actually already worn this dress a couple of times, and I wore it differently both times. So many options!
As I was hanging up my clothes on Sunday, I realized I had a handful of similar dresses on hangers. I walked out into the kitchen where Dago was and asked him "do you think I like blue dresses?" Apparently I have a thing for blue dresses right now, because I have like five all of a sudden. Blue isn't a color I've ever been particularly drawn to (save maybe 2nd grade when it was my favorite color for a week), but I can't say I'm mad about this recent turn of colors in my closet. Blue goes with pretty much everything and it plays nicely with other colors. It's so funny to see how one's person style evolves, especially as their shopping habits change.
Do you ever notice unintentional trends in what you add to your closet?
Okay, that's enough exclamation points for one blog post. Even though I worked on Friday, I ended up having a pretty fun-filled weekend. My mom texted me on Friday around noon inviting Dago and I over for dinner because "it's a holiday, so your dad barbequed everything." After work, Dago and I headed up north to see my fam for chicken, brisket, and--my favorite--banana pudding. Hanging out with my parents is always so much fun because they really are my best friends. Also, Dago and my brother are so funny together and their friendship makes my heart happy. On the way home, we caught our own little fireworks show, which was the perfect way to end the night.
On Saturday, I slept in hard. One of my best friends who works for the Leticia van de Putte campaign was in town for the weekend, and one of my best friends from high school just moved back to town, so I planned to spend the weekend with them. I had brunch, and then post-brunch drinks at a different restaurant, and then watched the Costa Rica-Netherlands game at another different restaurant. After that cah-razy game, we all needed a nap. I napped for a few hours, and then met up with my other BFF for drinks and pizza in East Austin. Patio-sitting in Austin is one of my favorite summer past times.
The rest of the weekend was spent cleaning and setting up Contessa's new cat tree! Dago and I joke that she's in her teenager stage because she sleeps out in her bed in the living room, and I guess now that she has this giant cat tree, she's got her own apartment down the road from Mom and Dad. Our little one just keeps growing up!
Did you do anything fun this weekend? Any plans for the week ahead?
Oh, and in case you didn't get the reference in my blog post title, you need to see this movie ASAP. #cultclassic
Happy 4th, cuties! I hope your day is filled with banana pudding, strawberry jello with blueberries and whipped cream, and lots of pie. What, I rate my holidays based on desserts, okay?
I'm working today, and will probably not partake in any of these things unless someone brings them to the office (I'm looking at you, coworkers!), but I wanted to pop in really quickly to announce the winner of the $25 ASOS giveaway!
and the winner is.....
Congrats Jennifer! I've sent the code in an email to you, so if you haven't seen it, check your spam! I can't wait to see what you get with the gift card!
cardi: Banana Republic Outlet // dress: J.Crew Factory // shoes: thrifted (similar) // bag: Forever 21 // necklace: Bip & Bop
1. go to the pool once a week | it has rained an odd amount for being Austin and being June, which foiled my plans on more than one occasion. i didn't even get to the pool once this month, and for that i am sad.
2. run at the park at least once a week | i decided i wasn't quite ready to get back out and run, but i have been walking a few times a week with co-workers and it's been so lovely!
6. visit Shelby in San Antonio to have wine slushies at The Alamo | so bummed i didn't do this yet.
7. write 2 essays for my memoir | okay. so i really, really meant to. i did a lot of brain-work on what i want to write, and did write some other stuff (poems and an essay for an Elle call for reader submissions) to get back in the swing of things.
8. eat fruit every day | so, i should have known i wouldn't be able to do every day, but i definitely had fruit more days than not this month, which is a
9. make a new flower crown | gah, i forgot i even set out to do this last month. maybe i'll do it in July!
I feel like I average 4 or 5 completed goals a month. I guess that's not too bad when you think about it. As I write this post, Dago pointed out that trying to accomplish 10 small goals a month actually equals 120 goals a year. That's kind of a lot, and since I'm only doing 4 or 5 anyway, maybe it makes more sense to focus on fewer, more valuable goals each month (that way I don't keep forgetting that I even set out to do something). So, here are my five small goals for July.
1. write 2 essays for my memoir | let's do this!
2. visit Briley at camp in Amarillo | i've never driven this far alone, but if anyone is worth it, it's Briley! i'm going to drive all the way across Texas--10 hours--to hang out at Girl Scout camp with B and her girls.
3. read Wild by Cheryl Strayed | i'm eating up books this summer. Strayed's other book, tiny beautiful things, is my all-time favorite, so i'm really looking forward to reading Wild.
4. limit my shopping and work with what i've got | i'm a 30x30 champion now and should be able to make the most of my now-smaller wardrobe since my last shopping trip.
5. play outside in Austin | it's getting hotter, but i've been really enjoying going for walks at night, taking in the lighting bugs and the skyline. i love my city and there is so much to do all the time, so i want to take it all in as much as i can.
What are you going to do in July?
Last week I wrote about spending the day at All-Grrrls Summer Camp, which was so much fun, and definitely pushed my social boundaries a little. This weekend, a few co-workers and dear friends put together a low-key even we lovingly call poetry church. A handful of us at work realized that we a love for poetry in common, and we were excited to share favorite stanzas and poets with each other.
We gathered on a big enclosed porch with couches, wicker chairs, and a big rug; candles, glasses of wine and blueberry tea, and books of poetry covering every surface and lap. Hafiz, Cohen, Neruda, and Oliver all shared the space, as well as a group of both friends and strangers. As one of my friends put it, we were all gathered as parishioners of poetry.
For those of you who don't know, poetry has served an important part in my life, and especially in my writing, for as long as I can remember. Poetry is what comes most naturally to me. I used to write poems rather constantly, but I began taking anti-depressants in 2010, which stunted my writing significantly. Now I write a gem here or there. When the words hit me, I have to write them down. I imagine the feeling I get when a poem flows through me to be the way certain religions describe experiencing tongues.
My anxiety has been pretty heavy the last couple of weeks, so I turned to poetry to help make sense of what I'm feeling without having to articulate the reason I feel the way I do. Depression and anxiety are funny that way. I tried to picture the most relaxing place I could remember, and out came the poetry.
Sitting in the quietness of poetry church, one by one each parishioner read something that struck them in the moment, something they've loved for a long time, or something that flowed with the poems read before and after. A fountain bubbled out in the yard behind us, and two big pups curled up at our feet.
I brought a few books to read from: What the Living Do by Marie Howe, Over the Anvil We Stretch by Anis Mojgani, What Narcissism Means to Me by Tony Hoagland, and a collection of selected works from students in the writing program of my university called Open Ear to the Universe. I started with the title poem from Marie Howe's book, a longtime favorite of mine. My heart was racing as the silence seemed to rise up around me until my ears were ringing. "What the living do," I read. It's nice to read something aloud without stumbling over any words, isn't it?
A few poems later, after turning the pages of Mojgani and Hoagland's books for something that struck me in the moment, I decided I'd take a pass through Open Ear to the Universe to see which poems of mine were published. I landed on a poem called "Tuesdays" I hadn't thought about in a while. It's one of my favorites that I've written, and I decided it couldn't hurt to sneak in one of my own just to see what happened. "Grandma and the HD television watch each other in silence," the poem ends. Poetry-readers tend not to snap as much as you see in movies, but they do exhale and hum emotively to words that resonate. It felt good to have a response, especially since no one knew the poem was my own.
It would be misleading to say that I'm "getting back into writing" these days, because I've written for this blog consistently for such a long time. However, I am getting back into telling stories, marveling over words, and letting myself feel in the written form. It feels good. I feel like my old self again, but with all of my new self there too. It's an exciting time to be a writer and writing is exciting.