I first discovered I was depressed at the end of summer in 2010. I was still licking my wounds from the deterioration of a relationship I couldn't fathom ending, even though it had been on and off for a while by that point. Ultimately, the relationship ended because I didn't love myself, though you couldn't have told me that was the reason why then. Or you could have, but I wouldn't have listened.

The day I found out I was depressed I also found out I had anxiety. I was at my gynecologist's office. I undressed alone in the room, the sun peeking through the blinds. It was so warm outside, Austin in August, but I had goosebumps across my arms, legs, and back. I fumbled with the paper gown. I couldn't figure out if the opening should go in the front or the back, and which way was up? Shouldn't robes have sleeves? And what am I supposed to do with this plastic ribbon? I felt like I had too many pieces and they all went to different puzzles and I was a frantic, hyperventilating mess by the time my doctor courtesy-knocked on the door and came inside.

She asked if I had ever experienced this kind of feeling before, the kind where I couldn't make sense or calm down or even breathe. I told her I had, but I knew this one felt like something more. This was my first real, full-blown panic attack. I guess I couldn't have been in a better place, at the doctor's office, with a doctor I really liked and trusted. After my exam, she sent me down to the lab to have my blood taken--another first--to find out if I had an issue with my thyroid, anemia, or something else that might be causing what she called Depression-with-a-capital-D and Anxiety-with-a-capital-A.

The tests didn't bring anything back, but by that point I had gone to see my general practitioner to find out what people who are Depressed-with-a-capital-D and Anxious-with-a-capital-A do to be...less those things. If that's even a thing people with those things can be. Medicine, apparently, is the most common answer. At least when you're dealing with capital D and A, and not just feeling depressed or anxious.

At this point in my college career, I was basically a poetry major. I was writing and reading poetry; breathing more poems than air and eating more poems than food. Medicine, from my understanding, was like a poetry vacuum. It just sucks it all up, doesn't it? Looking back, going on medicine was one of the hardest decisions I've made because I knew it would affect my writing. Writing was all I had, all I was good at, and all that made sense. But maybe with medicine, I wouldn't need to make sense of so much, so I went on it.

I would be lying if I told you the medicine didn't affect my writing. It was a long time before I was able to write anything I was happy with again. I don't believe in the concept of writer's block, but I have experienced a severe creative block directly caused by my medicine. It's like experiencing things in a Ziploc bag sometimes. I can see what's outside of the bag: full, deep feeling, and it's just barely out of my reach. I also know now that ripping the bag--skipping a dose-- in order to touch what I can't isn't an option. It's such a fast spiral down, and with the physical effects of being off the medicine, it's truly unbearable.

My meds help me feel more stable, capable, confident every single day. But I know that, realistically, they also keep me from something. I'm so aware of what I'm unable to experience, through emotion or writing. It's been such a struggle inside of me to know what I'm giving up in order to get through the day. I used to be so painfully passionate it was contagious. I looked ahead with dreams in my eyes and wishes overflowing out of my pockets. I don't feel that way now. I can hardly imagine what the end of the week is going to look like, most days. I look back on that part of myself with nostalgia and longing.

I've come quite a ways in the last four years. I've practiced. I've come to terms. I've even started to feel things more authentically again. But there are still nights, certain songs or poems, or life experiences where I can see the emotion I'm supposed to be feeling just out of my reach, so I'm left feeling something else, something lesser, instead.

on writing and depression

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jacket: Gap Outlet (love this one!) // dress: Vero Moda for ASOS (now on sale!) // belt: Gap Outlet // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW (similar) // necklace: Bip&Bop

When I came out of the room wearing this outfit the other day, I asked Dago what he thought, and he said I looked like I was going on the cutest safari ever. Leopard belt, giraffe necklace, and the most perfect sarafi-ing jacket you ever saw. Okay, so maybe people don't really go on safari in little white dresses.

Speaking of little white dresses, I feel like I'm doing that thing with this dress where I just love it so much I want to save it for special occasions instead of wearing the heck out of it. I want to be wearing the heck out of it! Wearing it can make it a special occasion, right? I didn't end up being as in love with this ~wild~ styling as I thought, so I'mma turn it over to you: how would you style this dreamy eyelet number? For reference, this is how I wore it last time.

P.S. Thanks for all of the sweet comments on my post yesterday! Y'all are awesome. Like Beyoncé levels of awesome.

safari cutie

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dress: via lexycmb's Instagram shop (similar) // shoes: Old Navy // bow: American Apparel

photos by Kirsten

So, per usual, I'm a few days late celebrating a very important holiday. What holiday falls in the middle of August, you ask? Why the bloggiversary of writes like a girl! This space has been around for three whole years as of August 21.

I would be lying--big time--if I said I weren't really, really proud of this blog. Yes, I've got more readers than I did this time last year (hello out there!), and my general stats are probably better, but that's not what fills my heard with pride. I've explored some deep issues, become a better writer, worn super cute clothes, been totally myself, and made so, so, so many incredible friends. I'm a better version of myself through this blog. writes like a girl gives me the space to use my voice and to do my best to inspire others to use theirs too. That's always been the goal, and I feel like it becomes truer and truer every day. I hope writes like a girl feels like a place you can come to hang out with a sister, a safe space, a place you can feel inspired or maybe even learn something, a space that makes you feel the most you. Those are my hopes for this blog, and I work every day, even the days I don't have a new post, to reach that goal.

As much as I believe blogging should be something that fulfills you on a personal level, I wouldn't be here without you! I write for you; strive to come up with better outfits and more engaging content for you. I've loved getting to connect more in the comments with you since I installed Disqus. Y'all commenting seriously keeps me going sometimes. They say to never read the comments on the Internet, but y'all always have such delightful, thought-provoking, positive, and loving things to say. You feeling like you can give feedback and be a part of the conversation is really important to me. You following along means the world to me.

Here are some of my favorite posts from the last year:
that time I made a big announcement (and tricked a bunch of ya!)
that time I wrote letters to the Pretty Little Liars
that time I wore a fur vest...a lot
that time I shared my favorite ice cream spot
that time I came up with my own mantra
that time I lost someone really special
that time I started and finished a 30x30 remix challenge
that time I started and finished a 7x7 remix challenge
that time I recapped my 24 before 24 and shared my 25 before 25

Three years, y'all! I can't wait to see what becomes of the ole blog in the future! I hope you'll stick around to grow alongside me. xo


year three

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blouse: c/o Apricot Lane Boutique // shorts: c/o Apricot Lane Boutique // necklace: Apricot Lane Boutique // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW (similar) // scarf: vintage

photos by Kirsten

I love new school supplies as much as the next girl, but what I really love about back-to-school time is picking out my first day outfit. The key word there is outfit. I have spent hours of my life leading up to first days putting together the perfect, most cohesive outfit that expresses who I am and what I'm there to do. There's just something special about the way first day outfits come together. It's like the pieces were predestined to be worn for this exact occasion.

This is exactly what happened when I visited Apricot Lane Boutique to shop their back-to-school selection. I'm not going back to school this year (or probably any other year--fingers crossed!), but that doesn't mean I have to give up shopping for a fresh, new look. I fell in love with these pleated shorts--a trend I wasn't too sure about--and picked up this adorable blouse with the bow details on the sleeves to go with it. Along with about ten other random items, I headed into the dressing room. To my surprise, the shorts look totally fab, and the outfit looked like it was meant to be worn the way I was wearing it. I fell in love with a few other pieces (because, come on, Apricot Lane is so cute), but nothing compared to the giddiness I felt in the outfit I first tried on. I topped it off with the loveliest Texas necklace (which I actually bought three of, two to give to my besties as friendship necklaces). It was the total package.

Austin gals--did you know we have an Apricot Lane here? I didn't! I've seen Utah bloggers and Danielle of Goodwillista mention it, and patiently awaited a store of our own. Well, apparently it's been in the Hill Country Galleria, which is basically a southwest version of The Domain with more affordable stores and less crowds, since 2011. As a south Austinite, it can be kind of a drag driving all the way up north to The Domain, so I'm excited about having cute shops like Apricot Lane without having to sit in traffic to get there.

Apricot Lane receives new shipments several times a week, rather than just once or twice a season like other retailers. Every time I've been in over the last couple of weeks, I've fallen in love with items that had just arrived earlier that day. They were stocking some really cute fall and cold-weather (since we know those aren't mutually exclusive in Austin) pieces that I can't wait to get my hands on!

For those of you going back to school this semester, do you have your outfit picked out yet? For those who aren't, do you still partake in back-to-school traditions?

Disclosure: Items worn in this post were gifted to me in exchange for review, but all opinions are--as always--my own!

back to school with apricot lane

After almost a whole summer or trying to get there, Briley and I finally took a little trip to San Antonio to see our girl Shelby. Before we got on the road, we stopped by Craft Riot, where I ran into cutie blogger friends Taylor and Becky, and we saw some of the prettiest artisan creations the city has to offer. Then we hit the road for the hour-long trek down to SA.

We met Shelby for sangria at a neat outdoor bar called Luxury that reminded me of my favorite neighborhood bar in Austin. Her sweet coworkers helped us pick a place for dinner, and we ended up at Pearl, which is such a cool area of town with a brewery, little coffee shops and eateries, and, most importantly, a brand new location of Lick Ice Cream (which you know I love so much)! I don't know what it's like when other people visit friends or new places, but I like to eat my way through a city.

After ice cream, we did what you do when you go to San Antonio: visit The Alamo. I've been a bunch of times on various field trips and family vacations in my life, but I never get tired of it. This time was extra special because Briley introduced us to the wine slushie place outside of the mall which is about a block away from the state's most famous mission. So, yeah, The Alamo is even better with Pinot Colada (get it!?) slushie in hand. My phone had of course died by this point in the night (too much Snapchatting, obvi), so I didn't get any Alamo-selfies. Luckily Briley brought along her delightful Instax camera and got some cute, tiny polaroids of us.

all photos in this set by Briley
Shelby kept telling us we were going to see a light show at another mission near the Riverwalk, but I wasn't really sure what that would entail. Like, fireworks? A laser show? Y'all. It was way better and cooler than anything you're imagining. A french artist designed this incredible 7,000 square-foot projection that appears across the front the San Fernando Cathedral. It's called The Saga, and it tells thestory of the history and culture or San Antonio in multimedia fashion. My phone was unfortunately dead, but here's an article about the show and here's a video snippet I found of part of it. If you're ever in San Antonio, definitely put this on your list of must-sees! To end out the night, we stopped by the oldest VFW bar in Texas and happened upon the best Journey cover band maybe ever.

We awoke Sunday morning with dreams of brunch in our eyes, and decided on a little diner near Shelby's apartment called The Pig Stand. It was hilarious and precious inside, absolutely filled from floor to ceiling with pig paraphernalia. I had high hopes for The Pig Stand, but it became clear that the restaurant was not going to live up to its novelty. The food wasn't necessarily offensive, but the maple syrup was served to us with live ants crawling in it. I have never been so grossed out at a restaurant before. We told the waitress, and she didn't really seem shocked, and certainly didn't pick up on our repulsion. She brought over another syrup pitcher, even though we had all finished our French toast, and we quickly paid the bill and left. With the same fervor that I think you should see The Saga while you're in San Antonio, I think you should not go to The Pig Stand.

Shelby had to go into work, so Briley and I headed back to Austin in what was the fastest drive I've ever made between the two cities. Thank goodness, too, because I came home and promptly napped for five hours.

How was your weekend? I hope it was more like The Alamo, and less like ants in your maple syrup!

girls weekend

photos by Kirsten Sorensen

Just because I like to see the outfits all next to each other (and definitely not because I like to see seven of myself at once--it's always weird!), here's a quick recap of remix challenge. In case you missed any part of the challenge, here are parts one, two, and three. This was such a fun challenge to get me thinking about even this small part of my closet in a bigger way. I really love six out of seven of these outfits, and the one I don't love is probably just because I love the way I wore it first more.

Here are a few tips to take away from my challenge:
> Scarves are your friend. I'm not much of a jewelry girl, but I love how a patterned scarf can take an outfit to a totally different place. Seeing how different the two scarves are in looks 1 & 2, and how they both work with the same solid blue dress, gives me a lot of confidence to continue to wear scarves in a professional setting as well as a casual one. (For scarf inspiration, check out this post.)
> Interesting belts pull outfits together. More times than not, if I have an outfit that doesn't feel cohesive, adding an interesting belt takes it from being some pieces worn together to being a complete outfit. I don't even own a plain black belt because I've never had a reason to. My leopard belt usually serves the same purpose, while being more interesting and fun. I get a ton of wear out of my glitter belt too, weather it's over a dress or cardigan, or even looped through my jeans for a little bit of sparkle.
> Don't be afraid to layer! I never would have known my black skirt fit over my blue dress if I didn't try it. Now that I know, I plan to wear this all time. Basically, it doesn't hurt to try!
> You don't have to say yes to blazers. At first, I felt weird about not including a blazer in a workwear remix, but I really only wear my navy blazer and it didn't go with the aesthetic I was looking for in these outfits. As I've mentioned before, I'm just not a blazer girl, and cardigans make me look so much more put together because they just fit better.

So now that you've followed along with this remix challenge, how can you translate the same process into your own closet?
> Make a closet inventory. Create a spreadsheet of all your workwear pieces (i.e. tops, dresses, pants, outerwear, etc). As you enter each item, be sure to try them on to ensure that they fit, and that they fit correctly. Remember, if you don't love the way you look in it, you won't wear it, so you may as well make room for something else. (Adina and Fran posted great examples of closet inventories you can check out!)
> Put puzzles together. Lay out a few pieces together on your bed to see how different tops look with different bottoms. Sometimes all you have to do is see something near something else to feel inspired to make it into a look. Don't forget to get your accessories out to pull the whole thing together or take it to the next level.
> Actually use the Pinterest boards you make! If you're one of those people who pins lots of outfits you like, but never look at them again, it's time to put all that work to good use. Go into your Pinterest and find outfits that include items you already have (which you're super aware of now that you've made a closet inventory!).
> Identify holes in your closet. When you're putting together an outfit, whether it's one you came up with on your own or one you were inspired by on Pinterest/a blog, and you notice you don't have certain pieces that make it work, start a list on your phone of those things! Having a list of these missing links helps you be a more focused shopper next time you're out.

Would you ever try a 7x7 remix challenge? Which outfit is your favorite?

7x7 | remix recap

We made it to the final part of my 7x7 workwear remix challenge! If you missed them, be sure to check out part one and part two to see the other looks I put together.

For part three, the staple item is my yellow-green Banana Republic Outlet blouse.

six // seven
I have worn this outfit so many times in the last several months. It's like a quintessential business casual look, with dark denim, a sassy blouse, and a conservative-yet-fun cardigan. 
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seven // seven
For being a girl who rarely wear black and even less frequently dresses up this much for work, I'm obsessed with this outfit as much as I was with my 2/7 look. I don't recall the first time I saw lime and leopard paired together, but it's one of my favorite combinations. It just feels so luxe. I have to go to New York for an event in a couple of months, and I really want to wear this, but I think it will be too cold there by then. Somebody invite me to a fancy business dinner so I can wear this out, okay?
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Which do you like better here: business casual or business luxe?

7x7 | part three

I kept my promise, and I'm back with part two of my 7x7 workwear remix challenge! If you missed part one, be sure to go see the seven pieces being remixed and the first three looks I shared.

The staple item in today's part of the challenge is the J.Crew navy striped dress.

four // seven
I'm a sucker for gold details, and I love how the gold turns the volume on this magenta + navy pairing up to 11. Also, this dress has pockets, y'all. Classy and fun. Side note: when shopping for dresses in the summer to wear to work, keep an eye out for lined linen dresses. I was a sweaty mess by this point in our photographing, but you couldn't tell a bit in this dress! It's cool and breezy, and it doesn't show sweat spots. #stylebloggerrealtalk
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five // seven
I actually wore this outfit to Indiana's going away shindig at Langford Market a few weeks back, but didn't have a chance to photograph it at the time. I wish I remembered to add my fluffy flower brooch to more outfits because I love it. Orange and navy will always be one of my favorite color combos, and I like how the flower detail adds just enough orange without beating you over the head with a reminder of your 5th grade art class lesson about complementary colors. Outfit bonus: clogs!
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Which color combo do you prefer: navy and magenta or navy and orange?

7x7 | part two

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