insta-tess-pod
Contessa wanted to podcast with us last night. Listen to our latest episode here!

L'shana tova, darlings! I think it's going to be a sweet year, and not just because I ate all the apples and honey last night. I so, so appreciate all of your support on the announcement I made about leaving my old job and starting something new. I'm filled with so much excitement about what's to come!

I'm also excited, though, obviously, less so, about these lovely links!

♥ UM....TxSC is being held at my childhood Girl Scout camp next March. Save these dates!
♥ Love Adina. Love what she has to say about body image.
♥ Speaking of bodies, you are enough. (Warning: You're going to need so much kleenex.)
♥ Really into Chelsea's simple style for fall.
♥ For True Detective fans, I give you Tiny Detectives.
♥ These brides met and bonded over a BeyoncĂ© song, and then had the prettiest wedding ever.
♥ I cannot recommend the film Short Term 12 enough. It needs to move to the top of you Netflix queue.
♥ Can I just steal Brooke White's hair, closet, home?
♥ I've been especially needing this message lately.
♥ I just got an iPhone 5s! Which case should I get: one, two, three, fourfive, or six?

What links did you love this week? What are your plans for the weekend?

link love

I'm one of those people who finds a new album once or twice a year and then listens to it for the next five. I just know what I like! However, the fall season always makes me hungry for new music. Listening to music while the rain patters on my window pane, with the cat curled up at my hip, is one of my favorite fall pastimes. 

Since I'll be doing a lot more writing this fall, I wanted to make a playlist conducive to getting shit done. Here are a few songs that help me stay focused while I sip my chai and knock out blog posts.
fall-focus-playlist
listen here
What's on your playlist this season?

fall focus playlist

wish i were wearing
similar sweater // dress // clogs // necklace // purse

Somehow I haven't done a wish I were wearing post in months. It's those transitional seasons that make me post them a lot, so I guess it was about time for another one. No matter how many pumpkin spice drinks I order, it doesn't really feel like fall here yet. However, that's not going to stop me from dressing like it!

My legs might be bare, but I'm still all about fall prints, pretty neutrals, and cozy layers. I love that this dress is navy and cognac, rather than the ever-popular black and cognac. Navy is one of my favorite colors to wear and it doesn't get enough attention. I really want one of these long, chunky cardigans this fall, but hadn't considered navy. Boden may have changed my mind on that one!

As for the clogs, I know I seem suddenly obsessed. It's because I am. I'm constantly searching for clogs other than Swedish Hasbeens (specifically options less than $100)! I found these Fine Life Co clogs on Pinterest and fell in love. They carry some really cute pairs, and for a much better price than Hasbeens. I love the idea of a closed-toe option for fall, and it doesn't get better than a smooth cognac.

Has anyone else noticed that bucket bags are back? These little totes were my jam when I was a kid in the '90s. Of course, today's version is updated and chic. This ASOS bag is right up my alley with its tassels and gold detailing. Speaking of tassels, I'm into Bauble Bar's delicate take on the tassel necklace, with a longer chain and more charms to love. 

8 // wish i were wearing


ch-ch-changes

Yes, it's true that fall is a new season, but I'm also embarking on a new season of my life here in the coming weeks. To be more specific, in two weeks. I had initially planned to wait the full two weeks before filling y'all in about my news, but I've always been terrible at keeping my own secrets, so here we are! Have you guessed the big news yet?

I'm starting a new job! I'm so excited to start a new adventure writing full-time for Junebug Weddings. The website and the team are both a perfect fit for me, and this feels like a career move I need (and want!) to make at this point in my life.

If you've been following me for a while, you know that I've worked in the domestic violence field for just short of three and a half years. I'm passionate about the work I've done, and I'm good at my job. Loving it, unfortunately, doesn't mean it isn't hard. Working in any kind of helping field comes with its own hardships. I've written here before about adjusting to going full-time a year ago, and how difficult it was for me. I started to feel angry and I haven't really been able to cope with that. 

Ultimately, when a certain video of a certain football player was leaked a couple of weeks ago, I realized that this work isn't something I can continue. I've been absolutely inundated with domestic violence in a way I hadn't been before. It was on my social media, on blogs and podcasts, on the news, in conversations with friends or at dinner parties with strangers, on top of the 40 hours I put in at work talking about it non-stop. I'm glad people are talking. I'm glad that people are reaching out. If you somehow haven't seen the #WhyIStayed stories yet, please go check it out. It's important. It just got to be too much for me. 

I feel ashamed saying that. I want to be endlessly strong and involved. I'm an advocate, officially at work, but also in life. I used to thrive on these conversations. Now I completely shut down when faced with them. I've hit a wall. In the social work field, this is called compassion fatigue. I am exhausted from how much empathy I give and give and give. I feel like I don't have anymore to give, and that's both really scary and really painful. It hurts to not be able to do what you love. It's like an athlete finding out that they have a physical injury that will affect them in a long-term capacity and keep them off the field for a long time, if not forever.

The big question I keep asking myself is "who am I without my job?" I have defined myself so much by my work as an advocate. I educate friends and family on a regular basis about healthy relationships and how to support those in unhealthy and abusive ones. I frequently ruin dinner conversations with heavy stories about my job. I feel good about myself after a day of work because I know I helped people. I feel fulfilled. I have a purpose. Do I lose that sense of security in myself as a good person if I leave this work? Am I no longer an advocate?

One of the things I said in my interviews with Junebug is that I've given three and a half years of passion to this job, and I could do that for them knowing it wouldn't affect me--hurt me--in the ways my current job does. I don't think I become less passionate about what I do just because the work isn't heavy. I don't think I have to (or could) stop being an advocate for things I believe in just because I don't get paid to do it. Empathy is part of who I am, and leaving my domestic violence job means I can heal and be able to provide empathy in a different capacity. Maybe one that's healthier for me, at least at this time in my life.

So what does this mean for the blog? Probably not much, but I don't know yet! My schedule will be more normal, which will probably make it easier to get posts done in general (especially outfit posts on the actual days I wear them!). I'm definitely not going anywhere, and I'm excited to see what I'm able to do with this space when I'm not feeling totally burnt out from my job. 

You're all amazing and I'm so thankful to have you following along and supporting me during this big change!

a new season

insta-coffee

It's Friday again! Funny how that works. I wanted to say thanks for all of y'all's good vibes--they paid off! I'll be announcing some big news here soon. Fall is a season of change, isn't it?

Since I've been busy with preparations leading up to said change, here are some lovely links from around the web:

♥ Cannot stop looking at these gorgeous images. Anybody know how to make a cinemagraph/want to make one for me?
♥ New favorite style blogger alert!
♥ This cover letter feels rather familiar, and yet so hilarious.
♥ These color collection posts Kelsey put together with her little one are precious.
♥ If the women of Sex and the City were on OkCupid.
♥ New books from Lena, Amy, and more on my wishlist for October.
♥ A much-needed reminder for me this week.
♥ Searching for leopard flats? Look no further.
♥ Wonuts. I need them.
♥ Other things I need (okay, want)? These clogsthis babydoll top, this blouse, this cardigan, and this plaid bandana.

What did you love on the Internet this week? Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

link love

As the weather starts to cool down, I start to crave sparkles. Maybe in my mind the jewels are little pretty little icicles or something, but I can't help feeling extra attracted to all things glittery. 

If you've followed this blog for a while, then you know I don't wear a lot of jewelry. I only own a few pieces and I mostly forget to wear them. In general, I have a hard time shopping for jewelry because I find it challenging to picture it in my existing closet. This is pretty weird, seeing as how I spend most of my time thinking about building outfits and what new pieces I can add to my closet. 

Lately, I've been feeling more and more drawn to statement necklaces because they feel like a bigger part of an outfit, rather than just a shiny afterthought. It's like a pair of leopard flats--they just make the outfit.

Since my jewelry closet is seriously lacking, I think it's time to stock up on something sparkly.
something sparkly
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine

How would you style these statement necklaces?

making a statement

smock dress and skinny jeans how to wear your smock dress this fall black floral smock dress cute fall outfit monochromatic fall outfit Bonlook frames and a floral dress floral smock dress, black skinnies, and booties
dress (worn as top): Target (similar) // pants: Forever 21 // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar) // necklace: Land of Salt

Photos by Briley Noel 

Counting this post, this dress has been worn 4 times on the blog (here, here, and here). That number seems absurd to me, because I've worn this dress like once a week since I bought it. And you know what happens when you wear the same dress every week for ten months? It shrinks

I thought I was going to have to give up my favorite article of clothing, but found inspiration from Brandi of Run Style Run, who frequently layers short smock dresses over pants--and makes it look so cute (see examples: one, two, and three). I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear this outfit just as often as I've been wearing the dress itself. Seeing it worn with pants here, I can't even imagine wearing it as a dress again because it's just gotten to be so short! 

As I mentioned in my fall style inspiration post, I'm really into monochromatic dressing this season. It's something new for me, seeing as I'm usually the queen of color-blocking. I like that it's something I can play with in levels without having to commit to wearing all-black-every-day. This is more of a subtly monochromatic look, but I plan to experiment with more outfits on the color spectrum soon! 

Have you ever salvaged a too-short dress by wearing it with pants? How do you feel about monochromatic outfits?

where black meets color

grey tee over eyelet dress knotted tee over dress vintage headscarf and Bonlook frames how to wear white after Labor Day minimalist fall outfit Bonlook frames and a vintage headscarf grey and white for fall
dress: Vero Moda for ASOS (similar) // tee: Old Navy // shoes: old (similar) // scarf: vintage

Photos by Briley Noel

I've never been one of those people who cheers for a grey day. The rain, clouds, and cooler temps just don't do it for me the way sunshine and bright blue skies do. However, this weekend's storm brought in some really pretty weather and I didn't mind it one bit. I even went out twice for pumpkin spice drinks. Dago and I queued up the Netflix, snuggled into our respective couches, and stayed inside for as long as possible. Even Contessa seemed to enjoy the weather, snoring away as the rain poured outside the window.

I can't seem to stop styling this white dress now that we're past Labor Day. I have so many fall and winter outfit ideas using it. If you are kicking yourself for not buying a white dress this summer, it's not too late because you can totally wear it all year round. Plus, most of them are on super sale now!

Are you a fan of grey days? What's your take on white after Labor Day?

grey day

Over the weekend, the weather dropped down into the sixties in Austin. It only lasted for a couple of days, but that didn't stop me from taking in a little fall style inspiration. Looking back through my Pinterest, I think I pin more fall outfits than anything else, just because there's so much you can do. Stripes and knits, coats and boots, tights and hats. 

This fall, I'm really loving girly elements paired with traditionally fall pieces like chunky sweaters and and sturdy boots. I'm also into more minimalist color schemes, relying on neutrals with sweet pops of color like teal and berry.

Here are a few outfits I'm especially loving (and keeping in mind as I build my fall wishlist!):

fall outfit ideas
clockwise from the top left: one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight

What are you inspired by this season?

fall style inspiration

instagram-toast
unrelated image of the most delicious french toast from Elizabeth St. Cafe

I am so thankful for Friday. I am so thankful for all of you. I am so thankful for my home, my supportive loved ones, my cat, this space, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and bright pink lipstick. This week has been one of the hardest for me in recent history, so I'm going to be grateful for what I have so I can keep truckin' along.

I'm also thankful, sometimes, for the Internet. It does a lot of harm and perpetuates a lot of negativity, but it's also a place where people can come together and spread joy. So I'm thankful for that part of it today.

♥ This video may have made my whole darn week. Watch it and tell me you didn't smile.
♥ Don't mind me, I'm just going to sit here and drool over the Michael Kors Spring 2015 collection.
♥ Blair Waldorf is all grown up--and she's got pipes!
♥ I loved (and needed) this piece about self-love and exercise.
♥ If you've ever thought about starting a capsule wardrobe, you need to be following Un-Fancy.
♥ An "ooh, fall is coming" wishlist: this sweet flannel dress, this darling top, this perfect work bag, and a berry cute shoe.

Send me your favorite links from around the web (and also some good vibes! I'm awaiting some big news!).

link love

The one item I knew I wanted Adina and I to showcase in our fall favorites series was an autumnal accessory. Specifically, I wanted to show of my favorite fall scarf. I could throw this baby on over pretty much any outfit, and it would be improved. It's kind of like the avocado of clothes: it makes everything better.

now
how to wear a white dress in fall
how to wear white after labor day
dress: ASOS (similar) // scarf: Target (similar) // shoes: Charlotte Russe (similar)

Photos by Briley Noel

While Briley was taking these photos, she said this was the quintessential Texas fall outfit. It's really true. Not only do we wear white after Labor Day, but sundresses are a staple all year 'round. All you gotta do is add boots--and in this case--a cozy accessory that says "hey, this is a fall outfit, can't you tell?"

later
chambray and denim for fall
denim on denim with scarf and booties
shirt: Old Navy // jeans: Gap Outlet // scarf: Target (similar) // shoes: Charlotte Russe (similar)

Photos by Briley Noel

As much as the sundress is a staple for Texans, chambray and denim is a staple for me. The pairing doesn't show up on the blog that much because I almost always wear it when I'm running late (always) and need to grab something quick. I know it always looks good and I always look good in it. Everybody needs an outfit like that, no matter the season. For fall, I like to throw on an easy scarf and a pair of boots. I can guarantee you I'll wear this once a week this season!

What accessory spices up your outfit when the temperatures start to drop? Like me, Adina grabs a scarf; hers is a gorgeous jade color, which is stunning with her hair and complexion! See how she wears it for work and for play.

fall favorites: the cool-weather accessory

For the second item in the fall favorites series, Adina and I each chose a transitional piece. I've been trying to work my green midi skirt into my wardrobe more, and I figure this was the perfect challenge for it. The length lends itself to cooler temperatures, while the color is bright and versatile.

now
transition a midi skirt from summer to fall
end of summer midi skirt outfit
skirt: thrifted Talbots (extremely similar) // tee: American Eagle // scarf: thrifted // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW (similar)

Photos by Briley Noel

For my now look, I focused on something light. Such a bold skirt doesn't need a lot going on around it, so I opted for a cool grey v-neck. Rather than wearing this scarf in my hair like I usually do, I realized that, duh, I can wear it around my neck too. I love the pink paired with the green without looking like a watermelon. 

later
gingham and green
fall midi skirt outfit
shirt: Forever 21 // skirt: thrifted Talbots (extremely similar) // shoes: Charlotte Russe (similar) // necklace: Target

Photos by Briley Noel

For later, I relied on one of my favorite fall color combos: navy and green. I learned to love this color pairing last year when I first bought my green cardi and wore it with the same gingham. Really, this is the same outfit, but with a skirt instead of a cardigan. Oh, and did I mention that this skirt has pockets? I know it's got pleats, a perfect color, and a super flattering length, but the pockets are definitely the best part. I can't wait to add tights and see how else I can style this skirt in the cooler weather!

What piece in your closet transitions the best from summer to fall? Pop over to Blue Collar Red Lipstick to see how Adina styled her shirt dress! Check out how she wears it to the office and on the weekend.

fall favorites: the transitional piece

According to Starbucks and J.Crew, it's officially fall. No, no, don't argue that it's still in the high 90°s here in Austin. Pumpkin spice and booties are upon us! In the blogging world, this means it's time for all of the lists pushing fall "essentials" that you must buy if you're going to call yourself stylish. Rather than bog you down with more of the same, my role model and blogging bestie Adina of Blue Collar Red Lipstick and I have decided to just share a few of our personal favorite fall pieces. In this favorites series, we'll each show you two different ways we style three different items that we find ourselves wearing again and again during the season: the lightweight jacket, the transitional piece, and the cool-weather accessory.

One of the reasons Adina and I thought it would be cool to do this series together is because of how different our lives are, even though we have really similar taste in clothes. Adina lives in Canada (what? I know, so cool), and is the mother of two little cuties. She's also a career woman who just returned to her 9-5 grind in a buttoned-up office. This woman seriously does it all, and her gorgeous red locks are never even out of place. Looking through her archives, I fell in love with her ability to layer (I hear it's cold in Canada or something?), her affinity for prints and colors, and her shoe collection. I loved working on this collab with her, and I know you're going to love her too.

For the first favorite fall item, the lightweight jacket, I, of course, chose to style my utility jacket. For this series, I'm styling a look for now and a look for later. Be sure to check out how Adina styles one casual look and one look for the office!

now
jacket: Gap Outlet (similar) // top: old Nordy Rack // skirt: Forever 21 (similar) // shoes: Steve Madden via DSW (similar)

Photos by Briley Noel

I initially wanted to use this corduroy skater skirt for my "later" outfit, but couldn't bear to wear tights yet. Luckily, the length of the skirt lends itself to being worn now, while the fabric just screams "fall." Because the air conditioning blasts here all summer long, I actually get a lot of wear out of my utility jacket throughout the whole year. 

later
lightweight-jacket2 lightweight-jacket1
jacket: Gap Outlet (similar) // shirt: Gap Outlet (similar) // jeans: Gap Outlet // shoes: old Steve Madden

Photos by Briley Noel

For my later look, I chose a pretty, colorful button down to keep the look from being too rough-n-tough. This is something I would put together for a rainy fall day where I didn't want to have to worry about any fussy details or clingy fabrics. The shirt is really light, which makes it easy to layer under the jacket for a little extra warmth. Come on, fall breeze--I'm ready for you!

What lightweight jacket to do reach for in the cooler months? Don't forget to check out how Adina styled her tweed blazer (which is now at the top of my wishlist!).

fall favorites: the lightweight jacket


We made it to Friday! I know most of you probably had a four-day week, but I worked Monday and this week felt long. To celebrate the end of the week, here are some lovely links from around the Interwebz.

New-to-Austin Courtney of Those Graces shared thoughts on being female and silenced online.
HelloGiggles is the best for putting together this list of 15 female poets you should know.
Sasheer Zamata gave some great answers to Rookie for their Ask a Grown Up series.
Cannot stop looking at this DIY wedding--which was held at one of my most favorite venues in Austin!
Have y'all seen the New Potato interview series on Refinery29? Loved the Kiernan Shipka and Uzo Aduba features.
Speaking of food, can you guess what dessert your state is known for?
A little NYFW prep: little girls pronouncing designer names.

How was your week? Feel free to share any links you loved in the comments!

link love

september-small-goals
August was a weird month, no? It was one of the most difficult news months we as a society have had in a while, and I definitely got wrapped up in following updates and stories around tragic events, especially Ferguson. I tried to up my self-care to make up for the media I was taking in, but I still felt really exhausted most of the time. As much as I wanted to, I wasn't able to complete all of my August goals--but it wasn't for lack of trying! One of the things I really like about only doing five goals is that I can stay on top of them throughout the month. I enjoy being self-aware and having positive goals to focus on for myself. I mean, duh, why would I post goals every month if I didn't like that?

Here's what I did, and didn't, do this month:

1. finish The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison | I have like two essays left. I really wanted to love this book, and I've loved some of the essays a lot, but some of them have been so difficult to get through. if you've read it or want to talk about it, comment and I'll share more! 
2. complete a 7x7 remix challenge | done!
3. focus on eating healthier | yes! I ate salad twice a week, every week, and focused on making my other meals a little healthier too. 
4. give therapy a real shot | so glad I decided to do this! I've decided to keep my therapy more personal this time around, but know it's going well and I'm feeling good.
5. write more poetry | nope. in fact, thinking about not being able to write poetry caused me to pen this.

I actually started thinking about my goals for September throughout the last week of August. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I guess, I just started accomplishing them left and right. I wanted to deep clean our kitchen, I wanted to start moving my fall clothes back into my closet, and I wanted to give the blog a makeover. Done, done, and done--all before September 1. With those things out of the way, here's what I hope to accomplish in September:

1. collaborate with another blogger on a project | I have an upcoming collaboration I'm working on with the lovely Adina of Blue Collar Red Lipstick that I'm so excited to share with y'all soon!
2. identify holes in my closet for fall | in order to shop smart, I know I need to make a list. so far: black denim and a tweed or wool skirt. 
3. get a new phone | iPhone done phased out my poor 4 phone, so I'm hoping to use my upgrade to get a 5s for cheap when that 6 drops! my phone won't even Snapchat anymore. :(
4. take Dago out to the remodeled Alamo Drafthouse | the best movie theatre in town finally re-opened a couple of weeks ago, so I want to take Dago to go see it (and a flick, of course).
5. read I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell | every time I ask friends for book recommendations, everyone raves over this book. after a couple of kind of tough reads, I'm looking for something really captivating that I can't put down. from what I've heard, this fits the bill!

What are your goals for September?

september | small goals

body-not-public-space

Unless you spent Labor Day weekend hibernating (which, hey, I wish I were you!), then you've heard about the massive hacking incident that has resulted in several women's private, personal photographs being leaked to the Internet. I've been extremely unsettled by not only the leaked photos, but also by the disgusting and damaging responses of others. What this hacker, or hackers, did is illegal and completely inappropriate, yet they are being celebrated for bringing these explicitly sexual images to the public eye. All the while, the victims of the hack are being harassed, blamed, and spoken about as if they did something wrong. To clarify, these women did not do anything wrong by having personal, private, sexually explicit photographs of themselves.

Whether these women took the photos for themselves or for someone of their consensual choosing, the Internet has no business spreading the images around. What's happened to these celebrities may not damage their career, but it must be so traumatic for them as humans. On a larger scale, this incident tells women of any age that they are not allowed to celebrate their own bodies and sexuality--even in private--without risking someone coming along and exploiting them. Women are already shamed for sending photos to recipients of their trusting and choosing, and now they're shamed for having the photos at all. Women everywhere from music videos to school hallways are called whores just for existing, so, you know, why would this be any different? It should all be different.

Women's bodies are not property. They cannot be sold. They cannot be owned. They cannot be traded, exchanged, or bought. Women's bodies cannot be controlled. Women have agency. We are more than sexual beings and explicit photographs, and yet we have the right to enjoy sex and sexy photographs for ourselves and/or for the people we trust and choose to share them with. Women do not owe anyone sex, or explicit photos, or even our attention.

Being a woman often feels like a balancing act of harm reduction. I'm a woman outside of my house, so I better have pepper spray and roofie-recognizing nail polish on to protect myself. I better never have a drink, wear clothing that could be considered provocative, or even make eye contact. If something happens to me, it's because I didn't take the necessary steps to prevent it. One of the women whose photos were leaked told the press that the images had been deleted a long time ago, meaning that the hacker went out of his way to them track down. She took the necessary steps, and this still happened. This is not her fault, nor is it the fault of any of the celebrities whose photos were leaked or any other woman who has ever had a private image used to exploit her. If anyone thinks this hacking incident isn't directly related to rape culture, they are truly misguided.

So what's the positive that can come out of this? I don't want an app that traces hackers so we can figure out who takes private photos and posts them for the world to see. I want the exploitation to stop. I want men to know that we do not exist for them, and that they cannot continue to profit from their exploitation of us. I want women to stop dragging each other across the coals for something a man did. Where's the Sisterhood at, y'all? Situations like this make me feel so helpless. How can we come together to make sure that men don't think this incident makes it okay to spread photos of a girl who told him no? Having conversations about incidents like these is a start. Calling out misogyny and rape culture when we see it and hear it is important. Supporting one another is powerful.

This isn't an isolated incident. A few leaked photos of celebrities does matter to us as a whole. We can't let this happening in the media make it okay for it to happen to each other.

linking up with the F-Word

why leaked photos of female celebrities matter

makeover
In case you didn't notice, writes like a girl got a makeover! It was about time I simplified things around these parts. I've always done my own layout elements, but I really wanted to add a fixed nav bar, and that was just out of my technical abilities (and, really, time). Did you know that you can find really beautiful Blogger templates on Etsy? I had no idea! These certainly weren't around when I started blogging, otherwise I would probably have done it sooner.

My lovely new template was designed by the super-talented and extremely sweet Lorelai Sebastian. She was so kind in answering all of my random questions and helping me make the blog look its very best. (Also, she's from Greece and she's incredibly precious.) Definitely check out her designs if you're looking for a little something for your corner of the Internet!

Also, if you happen upon any weird bugs or hang ups with the new layout, please let me know so I can get them all fixed! Enjoy poking around the updated space!

a new look

Latest Instagrams

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