thanks
Happy Thanksgiving, kittens! In years past, I have written up a fun little list of things I'm thankful for (2013, 2012). Today, I want to focus on two main things I'm thankful for this year in particular. 2014 has been a monumental year for me in a lot of ways, and I'm so grateful for the experiences I've had and the people I've had along my side.

First and most of all, I'm thankful for my friends. Friendship can be a weird thing, especially when looked at in a long-term kind of way. People come and go, you realize some people aren't who you thought they were, or you just grow out of each other. I feel like life is a game of curating a collection of the friends you'll have for the rest of your life. Right now, today, I feel like my friendships are stronger than they've ever been. This includes friends I've had for years and friends I've made only recently. It includes my blog friends. It includes both of my parents and my brother. It includes my Girl Gang. It absolutely includes Dago.

I'm so thankful to be surrounded by people who support me, who give me space to grow and become the person I am. I'm thankful for their forgiveness, for their loyalty, for their art, for leading significant lives and for being truly influential on my life. My friends are amazing, y'all. I know everyone says that about their friends, but mine are movers and shakers. They're feelers and makers. They change lives and pave ways. I love my friends and I'm so, so humbled to be witness to their greatness. And, on top of all of that, they make me feel like I am valuable too. I'm awfully lucky to have them.

The other thing I am exceedingly thankful for this year is my job. For three and a half years, I gave myself to a job that I loved. This was a life-changing experience in every sense of the word. Leaving that job was difficult for a lot of reasons I've already discussed, but ended up being one of the best decisions I've ever made. Working at Junebug is totally a dream job. Not just a recent dream job, but as my parents would tell you, it's really what I've always wanted to do. Because it's a small company, my voice is really valued. I get to see everything I create come to fruition. I get to form these relationships based in the appreciation of art and love. I work with an awesome team and everything we do is towards the greater goal of being better than the day before. 

There are, of course, tons of other things I'm thankful for. My friendships and my job have made a lot of other things in my life easier, more attainable, and better, so that's why I wanted to focus on them.

What are you thankful for this year? Whether you're staying home or traveling, have a safe holiday!

thankful

blanket-scarf1 blanket-scarf2banket-scarf3 blanket-scarf4
scarf: Marshall's (similar) // dress: Forever 21 // blouse: Forever 21 // boots: Chinese Laundry

photos by Briley Noel

Are three trends too many for one outfit? I'm wearing three of my favorites here: over-the-knee boots, a blouse layered under my dress, and a blanket scarf.

The Zara blanket scarf was last year's blogger's hot cakes. Everyone had one, and they took selfies drinking from red Starbucks cups at wreath-making get-togethers with their Best Bloggy Friends (BBFs). Little did I know, these blanket scarves are actually incredibly practical and mine has become my most favorite item to wear this season.

First, it's warm as heck. I use mine as an actual blanket at work, which means I really bought one item that serves my two favorite purposes: comfort and cuteness. Second, it's way easier to style than I initially expected. The way I wore it here has been my favorite so far, but it's also cute with anything from a cable knit sweater, boyfriend jeans, and cute flats to chambray, skinny jeans, and ankle boots.

I know, non-bloggers, it looks too big for real life. But I swear to you, you can wear a blanket scarf and look totally normal (and even cute). There are lots of ways to tie it so it's not so bulky. Here are some of my favs: one, two, three, four.

the blanket scarf

Friday was my half birthday! As promised in my November goals, I wanted to take a look back at my 25 before 25 bucket list to check in with my progress. I've done a pretty good job overlapping my bucket list goals with my monthly small goals to help me complete them, which has been really helpful in staying on track.

I should have posted this on Friday, but forgot about it, and then decided to wait because I knew I would be accomplishing one of the list items over the weekend. Check out my full list below, and then what I've completed so far, what I expect to complete by May, and what I truthfully don't think I'll get done in the next six months.
25
Completed //
01. Take an anniversary trip with Dago - Completed on June 14. We went to Fredricksburg! It was the most fun and you can read about it here.
05. Reach 52 episodes of Breakfast for Dinner - Completed on October 29.
08. Do another blogging challenge - Completed on September 10. I teamed up with Adina for our Fall Favorites challenge, which you can view here.
10. Lead a workshop - Completed on June 22. I led a workshop on blogging at the All Grrls Summer Camp with Vagina :: The Zine. You can read about it here.
11. Travel across the state - Completed on July 17. I drove to Amarillo (a nine hour drive) to visit Briley. You can read about my travels (and subsequent food poisoning) here.
13. Finish 5 books - Completed on September 28. I read How Did You Get This Number, The Opposite of Loneliness, One More Thing: Stories & Other Stories, Wild, and I Am Not Myself These Days.
15. Apply for a job at a fashion publication - Completed September 15. A huge part of my job at Junebug Weddings is to write about bridal style, so I'm going to give myself this one. Read more about this my huge career transition here.
17. Vote for Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte - Completed on October 21. See my excited Early Voting selfie here.
21. Hike up Enchanted Rock - Completed November 23. Dago and I went yesterday! Will share more later, but you can see our selfies here.
23. Meet another blog friend - Completed October 13. I had a lovely pizza date with Grace of Musings from Grace. So excited to meet a bunch more of you ASAP and at TxSC15!
24. Buy the perfect black blazer - Completed September 24. I snagged the most perfect black blazer for my body to wear to my final interview with the Junebug crew. You can see what I wore to the interview here.
Total // 11 out of 25

Things I Expect to Complete by May 21, 2015 //
02. Make fresh lemonade - I'm a dummy for having not done this over the summer, especially because Briley bought me the cutest pitcher and lemon-printed glasses for my fresh lemonade. 
06. Get another tattoo - I would really like to do this, especially after the amazing, beautifully articulated, exceedingly helpful feedback I received on this post.
09. Pay off my credit cards - I will do this. I will do this. I will do this.
12. Dye my hair a fun color - I resisted dying my hair over the summer just in case I was going to spend lots of time in the pool, but now I have no excuse! Pick a color, dear readers
14. Do an art project for our home - I intend to do something over Christmas break, since I'll have some down time and will have that festive feeling.
18. Attend a yoga class - As hesitant as I am to do this, people invite me all the time, so I should just go.
19. Submit a piece of writing to a zine - I really want to take care of this in early 2015. It's been on my mind, so I just need to look through my writing or write something and send it off.
20. Send out family photo holiday cards - Briley has agreed to photograph Dago and I (oh, and Dago agreed too!) for holiday cards. Hoping to get this done in the next couple of weekends!
22. Meet a feminist icon - One of my personal feminist icons Sophia Rossi is a keynote speaker during TxSC15. She's a major advocate for Sisterhood. I am beyond excited.
25. Make a chapbook of my poetry - Hey, someone remind me to do this in the spring, kay?

Stuff I Probably Won't Do //
03. Love the way I look in a swimsuit - Ugh. So, I want to be able to cross this off the list because at the beginning of Summer 2014, I did love the way I looked. But by the end of the summer, I hated my body and completely avoided pools and my swimsuit. I'm hoping to get back in a healthy state of body and mind by May, but I also know that this may not be realistic.
04. Run a whole mile without stopping - Since my fall last May, I've only gone running once, and it wasn't even close to a mile. Maybe in the spring I'll start running again, and magically go a whole mile, and even more miraculously do it without stopping, but also probably not. 
07. Write half my memoir - Late this summer, I decided to forgo this goal until another chapter in my life.
16. Purchase a real  camera & tripod - It's just not in the financial cards, unfortunately.

So, if I complete all the things on my "I think I can" list, I will complete 21 out of my 25 goals. I don't think that's bad at all! I'm totally on track to do at least 10 more things by May.

Have you set any goals for yourself this year? How are those New Years' Resolutions coming along? Have you ever done a X number of things before X age bucket list before?

Also, if you're curious, here's my 24 before 24 recap and midpoint check-in. (This time last year, I had only done 5 of my goals!)

25 before 25 | half way there

There are a few items in my closet that I feel deserve to be a part of a collection. The two main articles of clothing I view this way are boots and coats. Every year, I get to add a new item to the collection, to fill a previously unfilled role. I have over-the-knee cognac boots, black ankle boots, brown riding boots, tan slouchy boots, slate heeled booties, etc. I've been pretty consistent about my boot buying habit. 

Unfortunately, my coat collection has been lacking the last few years. I've had my long black peacoat since high school, and it shows. I usually rely on my avocado green Old Navy peacoat as an every day coat, but this season I'm looking for something more classic.

Last year I wanted to add a tan coat to my collection, but it didn't happen. This year, I'm torn between sleek black and white or classic red. Care to help a girl out?

coat-love

I've been eyeing the rust coat for a year, and it's really my dream coat. Unfortunately, it's not my dream price, and it always sells out before it ever goes on sale. The burgundy version is a better price, but I feel like it's too twee for my style? The bow, the peplum, the length, the collar--it just feels like too much.

Black and white was a color combo I avoided last year because it was too stark, too cater-waiter, but I really like it used in prints. Both of these black and white coats would fit seamlessly into my current closet, but I'm having trouble deciding which one looks more chic. I want a grown up, classic look that fits nicely and keeps me warm. Is that too much to ask?

Which coat do you love? Which should I buy? Do you have another coat in mind for me? Does anyone else shop in the sense of building a collection? Am I crazy?

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Productivity Giveaway!

coat love

floral-gold1 floral-gold2 floral-gold3 floral-gold4
shirt: Forever 21 // skirt: Forever 21 // boots: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

I put together this outfit with day-to-night intentions. I wore it to work, and then to an alumni event at our favorite near-campus bar. Because I'm me, I wanted my outfit to match my fancy new work business cards, which are black and gold. I mean, it's a great color combo anyway, but I wanted there to be that ~brand recognition~ when I handed out my cards. This probably would have been more effective if it hadn't been like 32° and I hadn't worn my coat all night.

In case you missed it, I wore this shirt over here last time. It's pretty much the best (though I guess not as good as the shirt from yesterday's post!).

In other very fancy and exciting news, one of my dearest blogger friends is celebrating her 4th bloggiversary! Kate is a badass and I was so honored when she asked me to be a part of her bloggiversary celebration. She's running a seriously amazing giveaway to one lucky winner of the one year subscription to Photoshop, Lightroom, and CoSchedule. Here's what Kate has to say about the giveaway, along with some v important deets:

Clear the Way is turning four this month and I've teamed up with a bunch of bloggers to celebrate by giving away a one year subscription to Adobe Photography Plan (which includes both Photoshop and Lightroom) as well as a year subscription to CoSchedule editorial calendar. You have from now until midnight of December 3rd to enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget provided. There are no mandatory entries. The contest is open internationally and one winner will be chosen at the end of the two weeks. Make sure you check out all the bloggers co-hosting this giveaway and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a list of the participating bloggers so you can follow them too!

black & gold + giveaway

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coat: Old Navy (similar) // tee: Loft // jeans: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

Alternative titles for this post:
Tee: The Next Generation
To Infini-Tee and Beyond
Tee: Now With More Awesome!
Superiori-Tee
The New FronTEEr

But really, this shirt is ah-mazing. It's a thicker ponte-like material that holds its shape, it has perfectly flattering sleeves, oh, and it's striped, so duh I bought it. It's on sale. Go buy it too.

the next level tee

download

In case you hadn't heard, it's official: TxSC15 is on! (Oh, and I'm on staff as the Volunteer Coordinator!) This year, the conference is about getting back to basics, so the theme is CAMP. Camp means a few different things. First, the conference is being held at a Girl Scout camp just outside of Austin (my childhood camp!). Second, CAMP stands for Create A Meaningful Presence.

Whether you blog or not, you've probably been hearing about blogger burnt out, for bloggers and readers alike. The general feeling seems to be a resounding "why am I still doing this?" Do I have anything left to say? Do I have anything left to wear? On top of that, the blogging world has become so saturated that it's hard to find and come up with new, original content.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling it, especially recently. I may not have the follow many bloggers do, but I have been blogging for over three years now. Styles and trends have changed, but so has the blogging community. When I went to TxSC last year (read more about it here and here), I was disappointed in my fellow bloggers' focus on monetizing and gaining more followers. It was all about the numbers, and not at all about the content or creativity that so drew me into blogging in the first place.

The mastermind behind TxSC, Indiana Adams of Indiana/Elsewhere and previously Adored Austin, didn't want to put on another conference that would be more of the same. After TxSC13, she asked how the conference could be the most useful. The themes thrown around were storytelling, content creation, and inspiration discovery. This was so exciting to me, because this is what I'm most interested in as both a blogger and a reader.

CAMP is about finding a renewed sense of purpose in blogging. It's about really saying something, making connections, and using blogging as an act of creativity instead of an act of revenue building. Personally, I'm thinking of CAMP as a sort of blogging rehab, rather than a traditional conference (I really like what Indiana has to say about that here). We're attending as a group of women who are tired and need a little support to get back on track. That's why the tagline for CAMP is "a weekend away for female bloggers and business owners to reconnect with their creative spirit and their community."

I could not be more excited about leaving the baubles and blogger envy at home as we all head to CAMP. I hope you'll join us! The conference is half the size it's been in past years, so tickets are going fast. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Oh, and I'm staying in Standard+ Sleepers. If you're registered already, where are you staying? Can't wait to see you there!

TxSC15: CAMP

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shirt: Forever 21 (there's also a dress in the same print!) // jeans: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s // bag: Forever 21 (similar)

photos by Briley Noel

Rather than easing into fall with shades of mustard, olive, or rust, I dove in wearing all black as often as possible. This blouse, my new favorite, has helped me keep my all-black look light and feminine. I'm obsessed with the fit of this top, and I wish Forever 21 sold it in 5 colors so I could buy it and wear it every single day. I've already planned a handful of outfits using it! I love when that happens.

How was your weekend? It was Fun Fun Fun Fest here in Austin, which is definitely the best festival Austin has to offer. I didn't go, but Dago did. My longtime BFF came up with her boyfriend for the fest, and she and I had a lovely Girls' Night on Friday, full of pizza and gossip. I love being able to pick right up where we left off. Houston, stop stealing all of my friends away!

Speaking of female friendships, I finally started the book Truth & Beauty by Ann Pachett, which another dear friend gave to me back in college. She raved about it being such a beautifully feminist book about sisterhood, but the cover and title turned me off for such a long time because they seemed heavy-handed. I really wanted to start a new book on Saturday night, so I took it off the shelf. One or two sentences in and I was hooked on Anne's voice. I'm only a few chapters in, but I already recommend it.

Have you read anything good recently? Has anyone picked up Amy Poehler's new book yet?

almost all black

the best thing i ever ate - nicole final

So excited to be a guest contributor over at Langford Market's blog, talking about the best thing I ever ate. This is such a fun series and I plan to try all of the foods other bloggers share. Don't forget to check out Langford Market, which has cute looks for pretty cute prices. A little wishlist: this necklace, this scarf, and this sweater.

So, go! See what the best thing I ever ate was!

featured | the best thing i ever ate

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shirt: Target // pants: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s

photos by Briley Noel

I've already lost count how many times I've worn this outfit. Even though the thermometer read close to 90 degrees for most of October, I was faking fall in my new favorite gingham, black jeans, and berry flats. I think I'm going to become a collector of gingham. It's a good print, no? It's a nice balance to my stripes and my floral.

When Briley and I were taking these photos, we found one fall tree where the leaves had changed colors, and a shallow layer of golden brown leaves in the grass. I immediately scooped them up and yelped "leaves!" just as Briley started taking my picture. It may not look like it everywhere, but right here, in this outfit, it was fall.

Oh, and it's hard to tell in these photos (and in life), but the color of this shirt is "Stuffed Olive."

faking fall

ink-inspiration
images via here, here, here, and here

A couple of weeks back, I accompanied Briley (whose stellar photography you've seen all over this blog) to get her tenth tattoo. She's a collector, you could say, of meaningful pieces of ink scattered around her body. Watching the artist move the ink around her arm into something so beautiful and permanent, my itch for a new tattoo became greater and greater.

For those of you who don't know, I have a tattoo on my back already; a vintage typewriter in a frame with keys that spell out SISTERHOOD. I love my tattoo. Having a tattoo is pretty taboo (no pun intended) because I'm actually Jewish (or, more like, Jew-ish). Getting this first one was a really big decision, and something I was sure to included my parents on so they felt like I wasn't just running off and getting inked to rebel against them and their religion. They helped me pick the shop and the placement on my body, as well as narrow down what I wanted.

After meeting my artist and seeing her take on my vision, the tattoo got about five times bigger than originally planned. However, it also became at least 10 times more beautiful and personal. For those of you without tattoos, I guess this is a good time for me to say that getting to know your artist and letting them do what they do best is a super important part of the process. I knew I wanted a feminist tattoo that had to do with writing, but I'm not an artist, and I could have never envisioned what she created. I love my tattoo, and I'm so glad I got it.

They say that once you get one, you immediately want another. I got my first in 2010, but I've been stewing over what to get next since then. I have two ideas for what I want next: one I came up with a few years back, and one I came up with about a year ago. They sort of go together, and could even become a sort of sleeve, depending on what the artist thinks.

The first idea is a fork, which is representative of my relation with food, as well as body image. I want it on the inside of my left bicep. I have spent a significant amount of time looking at images of forks online to get an idea of what I want. Ultimately, I want to put the actual design elements in the hand of a tattoo artist. However, I get worried that a fork might be harder to get right. What if the prongs end up different widths? What if the shading looks too harsh or unrealistic? Y'all, there are a lot of bad fork tattoos out there! It's scary! The fork, while a smaller tattoo compared to the second idea, feels like a bigger commitment in some ways.

fork-tattoos
images via here and here

The second idea is the one I'm really fired up about right now. I want the mantra 'all bodies are good bodies' on the outside of my left bicep, and I want it framed by different flowers. I've been really inspired by vintage botanical drawings, which I think could be a cool way to show flowers of different shapes and sizes and colors. In my mind, the flowers could wrap around my arm a little to eventually frame the fork as well.

vintage-botanical-prints
images via here and here

After watching Briley get her tattoo, I went home and started researching tattoo shops with female artists. The shop where I got my first tattoo used to be all women, but now the only women is the owner, who only does large portrait pieces, and the rest of the artists are male. It's really important to me to be tattooed by a woman, and by a shop that supports female artists. I found a shop that's actually right down the street from where I live that has four female artists, beautiful artwork, and amazing reviews. I think I've even picked which artist I want to do my ink!

So what's stopping me? I feel weird admitting this, but I worry about having a tattoo that's so visible. 99% of me is like, yes, you're getting this incredible artwork to show off to people, of course you would get it in a visible place! I often think about how I wish more people could see my back tattoo on a regular basis because I don't wear a lot of strappy tops, and I want to show it off! On the other hand, the 1% of me gets hung up on the fact that I'll have this forever, and while I want it visible now, I don't know if I'll want it in 30 years. I want to want it! I try to picture my mom or someone my mom's age with a similar tattoo. Obviously most of my generation will have similar, visible tattoos 30 years from now because it's become such a normal thing for us to do, where as it wasn't when our moms were our age. If my mom had a visible tattoo on her bicep now, I imagine there would be a level of shame she would experience in her daily life, from the workplace to the grocery store. By time I'm her age, I hope it will be more widely accepted. Also, let's be honest, I hope to never have a job where I couldn't have visible tattoos.

Do any of you who have visible tattoos ever experience shaming, whether from people in our generation or older folks? I know it's more common for women to experience the criticism, which is a whole, huge problem in and of itself. Did you have similar hesitations before taking the plunge? Should I reconsider the placement of the all bodies piece to somewhere like the front of my thigh, where I have more control over showing versus not showing it? Am I overthinking this and should just do what I want and not care what anyone else thinks?

to tattoo or not tattoo

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dress: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s // tights: Target

photos by Briley Noel

While I'm not going full-force with a capsule wardrobe this season, I have been shopping with a color palette in mind. One of the fall shades I've been especially drawn to is burgundy. I feel like every fall this color has a new name: burgundy, oxblood, wine, maroon, etc. This year I've seen berry, which I'm definitely into. It reminds me of the color of your fingers and lips after eating lots of blue and blackberries.

When I spotted this dress, I knew it was coming home with me. I had told myself not to even look at dresses when I went to Forever 21, but when it's love you just know. I even had to do the hanger trick to get the dress off a really high hook (why do they do that!?) because I had to have it. I mean, it's got a collar!

I feel like Taylor Swift when I wear it, which is a wonderful way to feel. Speaking of Taylor Swift, I went back and forth about wanting to post a ranking of the songs on 1989, but this feels like a good time to do it.

01. Blank Space
02. I Know Places
03. How You Get The Girl
04. Shake It Off
05. Out Of The Woods
06. Style
07. Bad Blood
08. Wildest Dreams
09. All You Had To Do Was Stay
10. I Wish You Would
11. Welcome To New York
12. Clean
13. This Love

Tell me your own ranking in the comments, fellow Swifties! What colors are you digging this season? What name do you call the color of this dress?

ALSO: GO VOTE. IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO, AND YOU DON'T, I AM DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. SO GO VOTE.

burgundy and berry

small-goals-november
Well hello there, November! I am in complete denial that it's the next to the last month of 2014. Wasn't it just 2013? 2012 even? When they say life moves faster the older you get--whomever they are--they're right. October was a great month for me, but wasn't necessarily very productive I guess? Funny how that happens.

Here's what I set out to do in October:

1. dive headfirst into the new job | yes, yes, yes! 
2. meet local bloggers in person | I had the loveliest blogger date with Grace from Musings of Grace at my favorite pizza joint Frank & Angie's. 
3. reach 52 episodes of Breakfast for Dinner Podcast | done! listen here! 
4. put together a Halloween costume with items from my closet | done!
5. read Women in Clothes | holy cow this book is GIANT! turns out this is less of a book of essays, and more of a coffee table book with pictures and stuff. is it bad that that makes me less excited to read it?

I think because I made my first goal job-related, most of my attention went there, and the other goals weren't too hard to see through. I'm actually surprised I got 4/5 done! And for November? I've got some pretty big goals:

1. work towards some work-blog balance | obviously I'm not going to find total balance in a month, but I want to focus on adjusting my schedule and mindset around the new gig.
2. complete a photo project | Briley, the talent behind my outfit photos and one member of my girl gang, sent out 35mm film and tiny notebooks to some of her favorite creatives. The mission: to create some art, which she'll use towards a bigger TBD project like a zine or blog. I've been holding onto my camera, not wanting to waste a shot, but I think I'm ready to start photographing!
3. do my TxSC: CAMP duties | i'll have a longer post about this soon, but I'm the Volunteer Coordinator for 2015 TxSC: CAMP! I could not be more excited about my role, or about the conference. If you haven't registered, do so ASAP, because the bunks are filling up fast! Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
4. learn to make cornbread | I don't remember where I got this idea, but I really want to take cornbread to Thanksgiving, and I want to make it myself!
5. check in with my 25 before 25 list | November 21 marks my half-birthday, so I always like to check in with my goals for the year. Without looking, I think I've done really well so far!

I'm really hoping I can get everything done this month. My plate is feeling a little full, but that's usually how I like it. What are your small goals for November?

november | small goals

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