blazer: Target (similar) // tee & pants: Old Navy // shoes: Charlotte Russe

photos by Briley Noel

I did a wish i were wearing post a few weeks ago with a fly pair of sweats. Everyone was super supportive about my buying a pair (and I'm a sucker for validation), so I snagged a cute grey pair from Old Navy. After seeing bloggers like Elissa wear their sweats as going out wear, rather than lounge wear, I knew I wanted to put together a little outfit with my comfy orange blazer and my favorite pair of booties.

I got some funny looks in this outfit for sure, but I really liked it. I felt both comfy and stylish, which isn't always a thing. I'd love to wear this out for drinks when someone invites me after 9pm or for a working date at a coffee shop.

What do you think of dressed up sweats? Not for you, or would you be willing to give it a go? 

dressed up sweats

Ready to give your cardigans a break as the weather starts to warm up? You'll love one of the biggest trends this spring: kimonos. Light and airy, kimonos are the perfect completer piece to throw on over a cotton maxi dress for brunch with the girls, a tee and jeans for day of shopping, or your little black dress for a night out. I'm loving this spin on florals for spring, especially because you can keep the rest of your outfit simple and let the kimono make the statement.

Here are a few of my favs:

// see what else is trending | daisy print

on trend | floral kimonos

coat: Old Navy (similar) // sweater: Loft (similar) // skirt: J.Crew Factory // heels: LuLu*s // earrings: Francesca's Collections // necklace: Nordy Rack

Photos by Briley Noel

On this week's episode of America's Next Top Fashion Blogger, Nicole poses in the wind atop a parking garage. 

I've been so excited to wear this skirt (previously worn here) without tights, and the weather in Austin has been phenomenal lately. Lots of bare legs around these parts (sorry folks in cold states)! As soon as I bought the purple heels for my Valentine's outfit, I dreamed up this look. It's one of my favorites that I've worn on the blog, I think.

I bought this coat back in 2012 and I think I've only worn it once (with a yellow sweater and boyfriend jeans). It's so bright and such a tough shape for me to style because it has no collar and the sleeves are so short. It's like a pretend coat! Turns out, the solution is to wear it as an early-spring coat, rather than a true winter coat. It's perfect for brunches before it gets warm outside, and out to drinks after the sun goes down.

I'm hoping to plan a few more outfits with the coat soon. How would you style it?

Also, for good measure, a few model-icious outtakes.

ANTFB

vest: Target (similar) // shirt: Forever 21 // skirt: Forever 21 (similar) // boots: Charlotte Russe (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

It's the link up you've all been waiting for: many days, many ways! One of the best parts about being a style blogger is learning to style and restyle all the items in my closet to get the most use out of everything, and, ya know, make super cute outfits all the time. I work really hard to not wear the same outfit twice, so it's important to me that I can wear pieces multiple ways.

For today's link up (which will hopefully be the first of many!), I let the lady in charge, Danielle of Goodwillista, pick my item to remix. I know she's a sucker for my fur vest (she even bought one of her own), so it's no surprise that's what she chose. At first, I was a little intimidated. I stood in my closet thinking "I've already worn this darn thing a bunch of ways--how the heck else can I wear it?" Luckily, Pinterest had my back. I search "fur vest outfits" and scrolled until I found something I hadn't done yet. Fur and gingham? Be still, my heart!

This is probably my favorite way I've styled the vest yet, which is awesome because I've already worn it so many ways...on so many days...sorry, I had to! Let's take a little trip down memory lane to see what other ways I've worn my fur vest, shall we? 
fur sure // style skillz

ps. it's so funny to see myself pose the same way again and again...
emerald &  fur // cold weather & corduroys
furrocious  // it was the vest of times
fuzzy wuzzy // many days, many ways: fur vest
I'm SO excited to see what item you remixed for the link up! Leave the link to your post below, and make sure to check out everyone else's posts too!

many days, many ways: fur vest



photos by Briley Noel

It's been a while since I shared a Favorite Austin Eats post, but I've got a great one for you today! These photos were taken at the best ice cream shop in Austin: Lick Ice Creams. It appears to be warming up around these parts *crosses fingers* which means there are lots and lots of Lick dates in my future!

The major factor that sets Lick apart from other ice creams is their honesty. All of their ice cream comes from a local dairy, and they stay super aware of the origins of their other ingredients that can't be found locally by ordering from small, independent businesses whenever possible. I never feel like I'm being overly indulgent when I eat Lick because I know that everything that goes into their ice cream is made with pure joy. There's nothing sweeter!

When people ask what my favorite ice cream flavor is, I usually say cookies and cream or something, but the honest answer is goat cheese, thyme, and honey at Lick. I can't even explain the flavor to do it justice, so you'll have to pop in to give it a try. I usually pair it with a scoop of salted caramel, but on this day I tried the seasonal grapefruit with champagne marshmallows and was not disappointed.

Also, you can choose to have your ice cream in a homemade waffle cone or bowl. I swear there's no better waffle ice cream container on the planet!

Coming to Austin soon? Make sure to put Lick at the top of your must-go list while you're in town!

this is not a sponsored post. my love for Lick ice cream is real and needed to be documented.

lick | favorite austin eats

dress: Nordstrom Rack // shoes: LuLu*s // earrings: Francesca's Collections // headband: local grocery store (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

Sorry this post is a little belated--I like to make my holidays last as long as possible. Can we just have Valentimes all the times? I love so many things about Valentine's Day. Sweet treats, pink, getting dressed up, telling people how much I love 'em, and having 'em tell me they love me back!

This year's Valentine's is easily the most memorable I've had yet. Dago asked me a few weeks ago, "Bae, do you want to chaperone a high school dance with me on Valentine's Day?" We stared at each other for a few moments, smiling, and then decided that would be the perfect way to spend the evening. The dance was for a leadership program that Dago's organization does in high schools across the state, and it was actually held in the cafeteria of the high school I graduated from! I went out and bought a dress and snagged the shoes I linked to a couple weeks ago, and then I patiently awaited the big day.

Friday was a gorgeous day in Austin. It was 80+ degrees, and the sunset looked just like an Instagram filter over the whole town. I left work early, got all dressed up, and met Dago at his office. Before we left, we exchanged gifts. I've been struggling to keep Dago's present a surprise, both from him and y'all. I got us tickets to see Aziz Ansari in April! So, so excited about that. The only thing I asked Dago for was a box of assorted chocolates and to spend the evening together and out of the house. I got both! He also made a sweet Valentine card for me with our favorite inside joke, and he discovered my new favorite candy. He's a keeper, ain't he?


We got to the dance and the kiddos started showing up. There were so many weird things occurring to me throughout the night: high school girls look so much older, and the boys all look so young; why does no one dress up for events anymore?; since we do we crowd surf at a high school dance?; I can still do the Cha Cha Slide and the Cupid Shuffle; I'm not a very good chaperone; but I love to dance!

Also, the girls kept complimenting my dress, and I asked Dago if they were sincere or if they were trolling me. His response: "They love it! They think you look like you stepped out of The Carrie Diaries!"

Best. Answer.

Overall, it was a super fun night. I got to get dressed up and dance and laugh and love with my guy, and I couldn't have asked for anything more!

How did you spend the day? I hope it was filled with love, both for yourself and others!

// read about Valentine's 2013 here and here

a little valentine's post

sweater: Target (on clearance in stores) // shirt: thrifted J.Crew (similar) // jeans: Gap // flats: Old Navy

I've totally written on here before about how buying sweaters is hard for me. Not hard necessarily in that I never find a sweater I like (because, let's get real), but hard in the I know I'm only going to style it one way. There just feel like so few opportunities to wear a sweater, especially a special one with a print or design on it, multiple ways. I mean, sweater + jeans...how much more interesting can it get?

I fell in love with this sweater when I saw it at Target, wore it immediately on the blog, and then only ever wore it again in the exact same way every. single. time. The other day I was finally catching up on one of my small goals from last month by hanging all my clothes up in my closet, and this sweater happened to be hanging next to my bright gingham shirt. Having never seen them next to each other before, I hadn't ever considered this layering pair as an outfit option! (note to self: hanging your clothes up does have benefits besides a clean floor!) I've been ignoring this gingham until spring because the color feels too bright, but it's actually the perfect match for this sweater. Add a pop of color on my feet with most comfy pair of flats and we've got ourselves a remix!

Speaking of remixing, don't forget to get your posts ready for the many days, many ways link up on February 19! Can't wait to see what item you all remix a bajillion different ways!

blue collar

dress // vest // necklace // boots
If it weren't so ding darn cold today, I would be wearing this outfit to commemorate Wear Orange Day for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. (Instead, I'm bundled up in layers that include my favorite orange blazer.)

Healthy relationships and dating abuse, specifically in teens and young adults, are things I'm incredibly passionate about. I've written a few posts on this ole blog about media and relationships (here and here), but haven't talked a whole lot about partnerships in themselves.

It's hard to have a healthy relationship without knowing what that even looks like. Healthy relationships are built on equality, respect, trust, and open communication. Of course, there are other things that it takes to make a relationship work, but most everything falls under one of those four categories: setting boundaries, engaging with friends and activities outside of each other, sharing and listening, never violating privacy, encouraging one another, not making the other feel guilty for things that aren't their fault, and taking responsibility for things that are.

It's so crazy to look back on relationships I had in the past and identify how unhealthy they were. I felt like I couldn't take up any space and that my voice didn't matter. I felt insecure, and believed if the other person would only XYZ, then I wouldn't feel so jealous. I didn't love myself enough, and I loved the other people too much to see how things really were.

I had initially written a blog post in the form of a letter to nineteen-year-old self who was in a pretty toxic relationship back then. There were several break ups and getting back togethers. There was a really unhealthy living situation that just kept getting worse. There was a lot of admiration, but not a lot of respect. I know you'd probably love to read that letter, but I ended up deleting it. It was more for me to write and understand, than to put out on the Internet and be judged. We've all been there.

So what can we do this year to make our relationships more healthy? Not just our romantic relationships, but with friends and family, too! I think my intention will be to ask more questions when I communicate. I've worked to become better at using I-statements, and I feel that I'm a good listener, but my communication might be more productive if I create more space to learn about how the other person feels.

What can you do to promote healthy relationships, or make your own relationships healthier?

PS. If you have any questions about healthy, unhealthy, or abusive relationships,
you can visit loveisrespect.org for more support!

PPS. Notice a new little button in my sidebar? It's for a super awesome link-up I'll be doing with a few blog ladies on Feb 19th called Many Days, Many Ways. The point of the link-up is to show how you style an item in your closet as many ways as possible. The goal is to get us thinking about a closets in a new way, and to be inspired by others bloggers who did the same! Be sure to get your post ready by Feb 19th to participate!

5 / wish i were wearing

via
Sometimes having a blog puts me in a weird position. I share so much of my life here, from what I'm wearing and my struggles with body image, to how I spend my weekends and what's going on with my mental health. Am I oversharing? Is this my space, your space, or ours? And how do I decide what's off-limits versus what's important to share? 

One aspect of my life I don't share a lot about is my job, mostly for confidentiality reasons. What I can tell you is that I work for a domestic violence hotline taking chats and providing advocacy, education, resources, and support. I love my job. But that doesn't mean it's not hard. As many of you know, I became a full-time employee in October, doubling the time I was working before. This is something I've worked really hard for and it helped me immensely as far as finding stability in my schedule and financial situation. The other thing it did was make me pretty exhausted. Yeah, it's 40 hours instead of 20, but that's 40 hours of pure domestic violence talk. I love what I do, I'm grateful for my position, and I feel like I'm fulfilling my purpose when I work, but that doesn't mean it's not hard sometimes. 

The first time I ever felt really angry was this summer when I was rallying for reproductive rights at the Texas Capitol. It was an amazing experience, but I felt so vulnerable and scared and pissed off. I was scared for my rights and my body, and the rights and bodies of my fellow Texans. I felt anger at the people who kept shutting us down and not listening to what we had to say. I felt anger that I had so little control over the outcome of the bill. I felt anger for people who go unheard all over, and who don't have control over their own outcome every day. In the middle of it all, I made an appointment with a counselor to talk about my fear and my anger. I realized I was just exhausted. I was using so much energy trying to fight for what I believe in, and leaving nothing left for myself. 

After about a month in my full-time position, I started feeling this same exhaustion again. I was scared and I was angry. Even when I wasn't at work, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Not only the stories I was hearing, but the articles in the news too. Especially when Dago and I started doing the podcast, I was purposefully immersing myself in news sites to gather important stuff to talk about each week. I just wasn't getting a break from bad news, scary circumstances, and anger. 

The last few months I've been doing really well, but, due to some specific incidents in the news and in other aspects of my own life, I've recently started to harbor the anger again. Every time, it seems to take more and more of a toll on my physical self, and especially my ability to form coherent sentences. As a blogger and a chatvocate, this is a big problem. I need my words! It's the one thing I have that makes sense. I've worked so hard to master being able to successfully and productive communicate with people. I bring so much empathy, compassion, and carefulness to everything I say that I am literally running out of words. I don't have enough to go around. You know what that makes me feel? Angry. Scared. Exhausted. 

I know about self-care, as it's part of my job to educate others on it, but it's really hard to motivate myself to do anything but lay on my couch and eat chips lately, y'all. Every once in a while, that's a fine way to take a break, but it doesn't actually care for me or get to the root of the problem. 

So what does all of this mean? I'm not even entirely sure. I've just been feeling a lot of things and decided it was important for me to let you know. It means I might be posting a little less, depending on how I'm feeling. It means I appreciate your constant support. It means I'm going to keep being honest in this space because it feels safe and productive, and maybe it'll even validate something you're going through too. 

How do you deal with being angry? Or scared? Or exhausted? 
 And what do you think of bloggers sharing their not-so-pretty, honest sides? Am I just bumming you out? (I hope not!)

on anger

sweater & tights: Target // dress: old J.Crew // scarf: Francesca's Collections // shoes: old Forever 21 

I was going through my Pinterest last night looking for outfit inspiration. Sometimes this is really helpful, and sometimes it reminds me of all the holes in my closet (I really wanted to wear this, but don't have the right pieces to make it happen). What it can do is make me think about my closet in new ways. What pieces do I have that are similar enough to work? Are there similar shapes, similar colors, or similar styles already sitting in my closet, that I've never thought to pair together? Definitely.

This is the pin that inspired today's outfit. I would have loved to find a printed scarf like hers--I even thought to go to Francesca's on my lunch break to find one--but decided to focus on using what I already had. I also traded the bold orange shoes for a pair of printed floral flats, and topped it off with my favorite green cardi.

Sorry I'm a little short on words today. It's only Wednesday, but work is sucking my dry, and the weather certainly isn't helping either. I keep feeling inspired by random 70 degree days, and then it goes back to the 40s. Not cool, weather. Not cool.

Anyway, I hope you're all having a marvelous week--only a couple more days til the weekend!

// cardigan previously worn here, here, and here.

pin-almost

Okay, I know I said in my last post that I wasn't going to set my Valentine's Day expectations too high, but that doesn't mean I can't get dressed up for one of my favorite holidays. The same way gals buy themselves a brand new NYE dress every year, I love to have a new dress especially for Valentine's. Since we're still not sure what we're doing for the big day yet, I don't want to commit to an outfit. Buuuut that doesn't mean I can't plan ahead, just in case!
 
monochromatic | dress // hair clip // purse // shoes

mod | dress // headband // earrings // shoes

eclectic | skirt // tee // bow // earrings // shoes

Do you have plans--or outfit plans--in mind for Valentine's Day? 

think pink

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