stripes and denim
red stripes, denim jacket
jacket: Nordy Rack (similar) // shirt: old Zumiez // pants: Gap // shoes: LuLu*s (similar) // necklace: J.Crew // glasses: BonLook

Photos by Briley Noel

I love the way these photos came out. It's so weird having photos taken of me this often, especially when I'm going through some really messy, insecure, contradicting issues with my self, and more specifically my body, lately. If I'm being honest with you, I have three posts in my drafts that have to do with recognizing, loathing, and celebrating my body. I'm not ready to share them, and for now anyway, I'm not sure that I'm planning to. I have to remember that even though I have this space to share and empower, I don't owe anyone anything. Maybe I needed to write those posts in order to write this one. Blogging, both the posts I publish and the ones I don't, helps me be more aware. I love having this space to explore those feelings and the changes in myself, both emotionally and physically.

When I look at these pictures, I see a lot of things about my body that I don't like. I see things have have changed drastically in the last six months, from the way I fit in my clothes to the way I carry myself. What I also see is a real human with a good body. Gaining twenty pounds doesn't mean I'm taking up too much space, it means I have more of me to celebrate, to consider, and to explore.

As aware as I've tried to be lately about sucking in and angling my body to make it look smaller, what I see in these photos is forgetting that for a moment and being genuinely happy in an outfit, with my friend, in the park. I can't speak for everyone, but for me, style blogging isn't vain. It's about sharing real pieces from my closet and life.

30x30 | twenty

gingham and polka dots
navy gingham and polka dots
pattern mixing gingham and dots
shirt: Forever 21 (similar) // skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar) // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar)

Photos by Briley Noel

Making: a giant pile of clothes on the floor next to the bed. Is the 30x30 over yet?
Cooking: lots of peanut butter and nutella sandwiches. Does that count?
Drinking : as much water as I can stand!
Reading: this amazing post by Mary Lambert, over and over again.
Wanting: snow cones every day.
Looking: forward to having Friday off from work.
Playing: the new-ish alternative radio station in my car and loving it. My jams: one two three
Wasting: precious sleeping time because I procrastinated writing this post until after midnight.
Wishing: Orphan Black would just put out all of the episodes of season 2 at once so I could binge-watch them.
Enjoying: the sun still being out when I get off work after 7pm.
Waiting: for payday!
Liking: accrued vacation time as a benefit of full-time employment.
Wondering: what this summer has in store.
Loving: the warm weather in Austin.
Hoping: for a good jog after work today.
Needing: my bangs to grow so I can get them trimmed better next time.
Smelling: the new orange ginger sorbet Method hand soap I bought for the kitchen. Thanks Target!
Wearing: overalls as many days of the week as I can get away with.
Noticing: that this year is going by so very quickly!
Knowing: that Dago is the most supportive partner I could ever imagine. #cheesy
Thinking: about how salad can be pizza instead. Even a great salad still isn't pizza, amirite?
Bookmarking: SEO tips for blog photos.
Opening: way too many shopping tabs when I'm super broke.
Feeling: more insecure than usual.
Giggling: at this photo, which is now my lock screen background.

list via The Daybook

When's the last time you took stock? What are you feeling/wishing/playing/noticing?

30x30 | nineteen

leather and flowers
flower crown and leather jacket
music festival outfit
jacket: Charlotte Russe (similar) // dress: ASOS  (similar)// boots: Nordy Rack // flower crown: DIY // glasses: BonLook

Photos by Briley Noel

If I were a gal who went to Coachella, I might wear this outfit to the festival. Breezy dress, sturdy boots, and one of my favorite accessories--my DIY flower crown! I love that this dress transitions from super girly looks to something slightly edgier with just a few accessories.

I bought this faux leather bomber jacket last month to go with an outfit I had in mind that ended up not working. Still, I'm glad I bought it. I searched forever for one with gold hardware, instead of silver, which was the hardest. I also love the little zipper on the collar and the perforated detailing on the shoulders. Plus, I got it at Charlotte Russe on sale, so. Yeah, definitely a good buy.

Unfortunately, this may be the last time I can wear it for a while. When Briley and I went out to take these photos, it was like 90+ degrees and I was sweating so much. Is it too early to dread summer outfit photos? Though, it will be much better when I'm not trying to style a heavy leather jacket for a 30x30 challenge!

Do you ever shop out of season? I keep seeing all of these great coats for incredible sale prices and cute boots and sweaters I could wear in the fall, but I can't bring myself to buy something I won't be able to wear for months! At least the jacket I can throw on over dresses or shorts and tees for inside when the AC is blasting.

30x30 | eighteen

shirt: American Eagle (similar) // pants: Gap // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar) // necklace: Forever 21 (similar) // earrings: vintage (from my mama!)

When Briley and I were shooting these photos, she told me I looked like the leader of a girl gang from the movie The Warriors. I'd never seen this movie, but I had just spent the entire previous day binge-watching my new favorite show Orphan Black which is kind of about a girl gang, if a bunch of clones count as a girl gang. Well, one of those clones gang girls had a Ukranian accent, so I decided that I should too, and I spoke in an exclusively Ukranian accent as the leader of a girl gang for the whole shoot. I'm a lot of fun to work with.

This outfit is one of those that came together because I only had 28 and needed two more. "What else can I put together that doesn't look awful," she asked herself (in a Ukranian accent, of course). Chambray, black pants, booties? Sure....! Since those pieces aren't the most exciting, I relied on accessories and cool hair to do the trick. Vintage earrings from my mama, my chainmail and pearl collar, and my rock bobbies took the look from basic to ballin'.

30x30 | seventeen

tee: old Zumiez (similar) // skirt: thrifted (similar) // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW // necklace: Target // bow: American Apparel // glasses: BonLook

Photos by Briley Noel

Floral and stripes forever, my dears. I realized when I was putting together my many days, many ways post this month that I haven't actually worn this top much on the blog, even though it's easily one of my most worn items in life. When I don't know what to wear, I throw it on with my boyfriend jeans and nude flats and run out the door. I've actually been looking for a replacement, just in case, but I've never found one that fits me as well as this one. And it's from friggen Zumiez! I know, weird.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I came up with all of the outfits for my 30x30 ahead of time. Every week when I go to shoot my outfits with Briley, I do a little editing to my "equations" to see if there's something better that I missed in my initial pairings. This is one of the outfits I almost missed, and I'm so glad I didn't! I was running late (seriously, when am I not?) the other day, and, as I've mentioned, I'm only wearing items from my 30 picks til the challenge is done. I grabbed both of these pieces and put them together and was thrilled with the outfit. I got to work and pulled up my spreadsheet and realized that I hadn't even included it as an official outfit, so I erased something boring and replaced it with this.

I've already worn this outfit twice, once to work and once on the weekend, and gotten lots of compliments both times. Is it just me, or is that so validating? I think it's probably what caused me to start blogging in the first place, like many of us, because I had so many people asking me where things were from and I was always excited to tell them.

What have you worn recently that you got a lot of compliments on? Are you like me and always have to tell people where you bought things (and how much you saved when you bought it)?

// linking up with Spotlight Weekly Link Up

30x30 | sixteen

dress: ASOS (similar) // jacket: Nordy Rack (similar) // shoes: LuLu*s // necklace: Land of Salt

Photos by Briley Noel

This outfit? I'm in love. It was one of the first ones I thought of, and the color combo makes me bananas in the best way possible. I'm almost starting to look for flats in this color since it's just not reasonable for me to wear heels much so that I can wear this color combo all the time.

Also, today is a really important day to me and to the work I do: Denim Day! You can read about Denim Day and see what I wore last year here.

Since I'm at the halfway point, I thought I'd share a little about my process and how I'm feeling so far in the challenge. Cool? Cool.

So I actually decided to do a 30x30 after following Kaylee of Kaylee Daily go all the way through hers. I loved her items and all of the outfits. I think she did a really good job choosing pieces she could mix and match, and as well as items she wears a ton with ones that sit in the back of the closet. I definitely used her picks as an example for choosing mine.

The day I started thinking about doing the challenge, I decided to make a Google spreadsheet to see what 30 items I might use. I got going and chose maybe 15 and thought 'Wow! I still have so many items I can choose!' and I kept adding pieces one by one until I had 30.

I sort of had three categories of clothes in mind: 
-things I wear a ton // e.g. chambray, red striped shirt, navy polka dot skirt 
-things I have trouble wearing // e.g. polka dot pants, purple pleated blouse, black polka dot skirt
-standout pieces I want to be able to use more // e.g. orange smock dress, overalls, purple heels

I felt pretty proud of myself, so I made another column and starting coming up with outfits. This is something I do anyway; I keep a notepad on my desktop called Outfit Puzzles where I list out different outfit pieces like _______ + _______ + _______. So, now you know how I come up with outfits for the blog, haha! Anyway, I was on a roll making outfits and suddenly I had 30. It seemed like the hard part was over, so I may as well do it!

Honestly, I think I did a pretty good job choosing pieces because I haven't been jonesing to wear many things that aren't in the challenge. I thrifted a couple of skirts recently (bad Nicole, I know) that I've been wanting to wear, and I've wondered if I should have thrown in a pair of shorts as it starts getting warmer, but overall I'm content with my pile to choose from. Plus, coming up with outfits ahead of time really helped. If I have an unanticipated event to go to or can't decide what to wear the next day, I just pull up my spreadsheet and see what I haven't worn yet.

The one big drawback seems to be that 30 days is a lot, especially since I'm not posting outfits on weekends. As of now, the challenge will still be going on in mid-May, which feels exhausting to me. I might start combining outfits into posts together to get it over more quickly, or give myself the weekends to wear whatever I want since I'm not posting those days anyway. If I decide to do a remix challenge again, it will almost definitely be a 7x7 or 10x10. 30 is just too many days, too many ways.

I hope that was some helpful insight! I'll be sharing more about what I learned and a full recap of the outfits at the end of the challenge!

30x30 | fifteen + midway check-in

dress: Target // shirt: American Eagle (similar) // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar)

Photos by Briley Noel

Jenn and her guy Dean came to visit over the weekend and it was the best. I ended up taking vacation time from Thursday-Monday so I could show them around and go to all of my favorite places. Brilliant staycation idea, if you ask me. We burgered, breakfast tacoed, BBQed, and brunched. We saw the sights: Mount Bonnell, Mayfield Park, St. Edward's campus, Red Bud Isle, 360 Bridge, and South Congress. Oh, and we saw all the puppies. Jenn and Dean were missing Allegra like crazy and they stopped to say hello to all the pups we passed.

Honestly, having them here was the bees knees. Jenn was one of my very first blog friends. We were still figuring out what our content was going to be like, what a blog design was supposed to be, and how every little bit of the blogging world worked. She helped me so many times when I couldn't get a coding thing to work or had a question about her experience with sponsors. When I walked up to Jenn at her hotel, it was just like we were hanging out for the 100th time. 

photo via Jenn
Still, there was so much I didn't know about her from her blog! We connected so hard over our experience in the helping field. She, Dean and I had an awesome impromptu hour+ conversation in my parked car about supporting people, meeting them where they are, and taking care of ourselves so we can do the best work we can. Dean is a personal trainer, and it was so interesting to me to hear about how he uses the same skills I use in my advocacy in his work helping people lead healthier physical and emotional lives. He's also the funniest, kindest, guy. He and Dago were super fast friends, which of course makes me the happiest.

photo via Jenn
Hanging out with Jenn in person (and of course Dean too) was amazing. It makes me wish she were here all the time! It also makes me want to meet some of my other blogging besties! Everybody come to Texas, and I'll show you a real good time.

30x30 | fourteen

sweater: Target // tee: American Eagle // skirt: J.Crew Factory // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW (similar) // necklace: Target

Photos by Briley Noel

It's time for another many days, many ways link up with the loveliest Danielle of Goodwillista! I had a hard time choosing which item to use this month because I'm about halfway through my 30x30 and will use all the pieces a few more times, so I didn't want to use them for this and then miss out on a bunch of great outfits. Mostly, I just know I have a bunch more polka dot skirt outfits coming up, so I want to save that for next month's link up.

My green cardigan is something I searched for for a really long time after seeing other bloggers like Delightfully Tacky and Animated Cardigan wear theirs in a bazillion different ways. I found mine at Target and was so excited to bring her home and wear her with everything. I'm definitely a cardigan girl, rather than a blazer girl, so I wear this one a lot, both on and off the blog. Here are many ways over many days that I've styled my green cardigan so far.

30x30 | thirteen // 30x30 | three

Moral of the story: green cardi? You need one.

Don't forget to show off your many days, many ways looks in our link up! Be sure to follow Danielle, add our button to your post, and check out the other links!


30x30 | thirteen + many days, many ways: green cardigan

chambray: American Eagle (similar) // pants: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s

Photos by Briley Noel

The pants are back! And this time, I'm loving them. I think I finally figured them out. They are too exciting on their own. They don't need more patterns or complicated fabrics. When I first bought them, I refused to wear them with my chambray because I thought it would be too easy, too obvious. My chambray goes with literally everything I own, so I wanted to challenge myself. Well, as I learned on Monday, sometimes the obvious outfits are the best ones.

As I'll explain more in a couple of posts, I do actually wear the outfits from my 30x30 every day, even though Briley and I take the photos ahead of time (we shoot a week's worth of outfits during the previous weekend, for time's sake). However, I think that for today's adventuring with Jenn, I'll swap my challenge clothes for my tennis shoes and a pair of running shorts to enjoy a day of nature walking and hopefully peacock sightings! Don't worry, I'll make sure to change back into a 30x30 approved outfit for my Valentine's gift for Dago to see Aziz Ansari perform in Austin!

Do you have big weekend plans? Share in the comments!

30x30 | twelve

© Writes Like a Girl | Austin Style Blog | Body Positive Fashion Blogger. Design by Fearne.