top pop 2015

Every year, I like to celebrate something that brings me a ton of enjoyment through the months: pop music. I'm a big advocate for getting down to Top 40 anthems all year long, so it only makes sense that I would share my 10 favorite pop songs at the end of each year. From the music I danced to alone in my car to the songs I couldn't seem to get out of my head (and didn't want to!), it's so much fun for me to look back on the music that defined my year.

A few qualifiers for this list: every song came out in 2015, meaning that songs that were technically released in 2014 (like Bad Blood, Thinking Out Loud, and Uptown Funk) didn't make the cut. Also, all songs must be of the pop genre to be considered, rather than just being popular songs from the year. Sorry, Fetty Wap, CHVRCHES, Kenrick Lamar, and Kacey Musgraves! P.S. If you listen to my podcast (what? you didn't know I had a podcast??), then this list has already been spoiled for you!

This was definitely one of the hardest years to narrow down, especially with some of my favorite artists dropping albums with several singles (I'm looking at you, Demi and Selena!) and making me choose a favorite. Alright, without further adieu, my top pop songs of 2015!

1. First of all, who knew it would take the better part of his career for me to become a Belieber! Justin Bieber's latest album, Purpose, is surprisingly full of bangers. Though, none made me dance in restaurants and grocery store aisles quite like Sorry, making it my number one song of the year.

2. As far as pro-lady anthems go, Hailee Steinfeld's Love Myself is one of the best. A not-so-subtle ode to solo sexytime, Hailee belted out lyrics perfect for anyone needing a little extra self-care (of any kind!) in 2015. I foresee myself including this song on playlists for years to come.

3. After a year of killer memes based around him, Drake's Hotline Bling basically broke the Internet in late 2015. Any man who borrows my dance moves and wears cozy sweaters at the same time gets an A+ in my book.

4. While I'm known to fangirl mostly over female pop stars, Shawn Mendes is one of my favorite artists to come out of 2015 and I'm so excited to hear more of his pretty voice. Stitches was the earworm I loved to have stuck in my head for the majority of the year. Also, just so you know, every time I listen to this song, I dance like a boy band member in an early 2000s music video.

5 & 6. Oh, Demi and Selena. I've been a huge fan of both ladies since they were rocking it out on the Disney Channel. I was so pleased that both of their new albums, Confident and Revival, respectively, came complete with fierce lyrics and fabulous jams. While I had a tough time choosing between Cool for the Summer and Confident, as well as Good For You and Same Old Love, I ultimately went with the first single off each album. Now, some might come at me with controversy as neither song aligns with my feminism (Cool for the Summer seems to suggest that girl-on-girl intimacy is just a phase, while Good For You is one of the more male-gazey songs of the year), but sometimes we love and consume media that we don't 100% agree with. I recognize (and acknowledge at length on our podcast) the problematic issues with both songs, and I think that's what's most important as a pop culture loving feminist.

7. Alessia Cara was 2015's singer to watch after the release of Here, an introvert's guide to house parties. Like Steinfeld's Love Myself, Here is a message I can get behind with a melody I can't stop singing.

8. After deciding to follow my heart instead of the Twitter poll I put out, Tove Lo's Talking Body made the number 8 spot on my list (narrowly beating out Ellie Goulding's On My Mind as the sexiest song of 2015). I think one of the reasons this song won is because Dago actually loves it as much as I do, which might be the biggest surprise of the whole year.

9. I am, as they say, a Day One fan of Fifth Harmony. I watched them become a group on the second season of X Factor U.S., and vehemently voted for the ensemble throughout the competition. They ended up placing 3rd, but I can pretty much guarantee that you've never heard of the top two placeholders. Worth It is so quintessentially Fifth Harmony: pro-female, dance-worthy, and a brilliant balance between stellar vocals and hip hop-infused lyrics.

10. If you haven't listened to Carly Rae Jepsen's new album, Emotion, you need to get on that as soon as you finish this playlist. It's without a doubt my favorite pop album of the year*, which is why I had to include Run Away With Me on this list. It may not have gotten as much radio play as the other songs, but Spotify tells me it was my most-played song of the year.

*In an unexpected turn of events, my favorite album of the year is actually a country album: Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves.

So there you have it, my favorite pop songs of 2015! I'm always curious to know: what songs top your pop (and music in general) list for the year?

remembering 2015 | top pop

anti-bucket list

Can you believe it will be 2016 in just a couple of short days? I've spent that last week or so reflecting on 2015 and feeling really proud of everything I accomplished. I went into the year feeling depressed and especially pessimistic, not feeling like I had anything to look forward to. I couldn't have been more wrong.

2015 was far from perfect, but it has been by far my most successful year, by my own terms, of my whole life. From personal growth to achievements I can tangibly cross off a list, I did more good for myself in 2015 than ever before.

This post began as a review in all of the small goals I accomplished in 2015, but I realized that wasn't going to be particularly interesting for you or for me. I was catching up on blog posts over the weekend when I found Olivia's anti-bucket list (inspired by Emma's, inspired by an article in the Glamour). This seemed like such a better way to look at the accomplishments of the year. I don't see nothin' wrong with a little horn tootin', especially when reflecting on the past year and preparing for another successful year ahead.

That said, here's my anti-bucket list for 2015:

♥ Completed 42 out of 60 monthly small goals from January through December and started a link-up for other bloggers to participate in with me

♥ Turned 25 and made a lot of headway on my 26 before 26 goals

♥ Published 183 blog posts on writes like a girl and recorded 46 episodes of Breakfast for Dinner

♥ Guested on 7 podcasts and engaged with the amazing podcast community online and in person

♥ Filmed a studio session with Lady ATX Mag and was featured in Austin Woman Magazine

♥ Promoted to Executive Editor at work

♥ Invited to be a guest storyteller at The New Movement theater's Megaphone Show and fell in love with the Austin comedy scene

♥ Cooked 3 new things: roasted potatoeslemon barspeanut butter chews

♥ Started eating intuitively

♥ Journaled for a whole month using Grid Diary

 Bought a dryer!

♥ Met Sophia Rossi and moderated her keynote at TxSC

♥ Read 4 books: Yes Please (review here), Not That Kind of Girl (review here), A Tale of Two Besties, and You Feel So Mortal

♥ Borrowed a Chevy Tahoe to take a girls trip to Marfa and visited West Texas for the first time

♥ Visited to Pedernales Falls with Dago for our anniversary

♥ Went to Round Top for the antique fair

♥ Attended Fun Fun Fun Fest for the first time

♥ Binge-watched too many shows to name here (Mr. Robot, Jessica Jones, and Bojack Horseman are a few favs)

♥ Went on lots of movie dates with Dago

♥ Figured out my gosh darn bra size and became a total #bravangelist

♥ Started going to a weekly coworking group for badass creative women in Austin

♥ Consistently used an agenda for the first time in my life

♥ Created my first media kit and began working with brands I believe in

Got a little plant-obsessed and bought 4 houseplants, all of which are still alive!

♥ Started making some changes in our apartment and fell in love with it all over again

♥ Made significant progress in therapy and made positive adjustments to my anti-depressants and anxiety meds

♥ Fostered friendships with amazing women and supported their creative pursuits

♥ Learned so much about myself and fell in love with the girl beneath the pretty clothes and behind the blog

A busy year? I'd say so! Looking back on all of this, I'm already excited to start 2016 because I've got such big things ahead! What do you think of an anti-bucket list? I'd love to hear a few of your top accomplishments from the year, even if you don't publish your own!

remembering 2015 | anti-bucket list

best outfits 2015
all photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

This was an interesting year in style for me. I moved away from a pretty strict capsule concept and instead let myself remix using my whole closet. However, I also pared my closet down quite a bit and focused on purchasing staple pieces and statement pieces, rather than lots of pretty things that fall somewhere in between. I realized that minimalism is too bland for my taste, and defined my personal style as playfully classic. I had a lot of fun with my clothes this year, and I think it shows here.

As far as my blog, I started sharing fewer outfits in lieu of writing more. I've been thinking about this a lot, and I miss sharing more than one outfit a week, so I want to try to make that happen. There are a lot of things I've worn this year, especially lately, that never made it to the blog. Obviously no one is like "omg I wonder what Nicole wears the other six days of the week," but I spend so much energy putting together outfits I love that it seems a shame not to show them to you.

One thing that I love about these ten outfits is that I feel like they really showcase my personal style. All of my favorite things are present: midi skirts, printed skirts, chambray, and stripes; lots of playing with layers and proportions. I even added a lot more jewelry into the mix, and it always felt like me instead of trying to emulate someone else. Nothing here is groundbreaking; I never claim to be the best dressed in the room, but everything here is comfortable, practical, and just creative enough.

Do you have a favorite outfit I wore in 2015? What's your favorite thing you wore in the last year? P.S. Check out my favorite outfits from 2014 and 2013.

Aaaand since I have you here, would you mind filling out a super quick reader survey?

remembering 2015 | favorite outfits (+ a reader survey!)

I can't believe this is the last budgeting bloggers link-up of 2015! Today's post is a little longer than usual because I'm going to squeeze in my December purchases with a round up of May-now and some thoughts on budgeting in 2016. That said, here's what I picked up this month:
what i bought in december

Pocket Blouse - $26.92
Vintage Coach Purse via Pieceology Vintage - $54.40

Total: $314.77

Every single thing I bought in December, with the exception of the Zella leggings, were on sale. The two J.Crew Factory sweaters and gingham shirt were bought between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (I got paid on that Monday, so I put in a second order). After I got the Madewell parka and Coach purse, I decided I was done shopping for the month. I even praised myself to Dago for only buying a few things!

That is, until the weather changed. Since we sort of skipped fall here in Austin, my options for 70° weather are sort of lacking. None of my blouses from last year fit anymore (womp womp), so I've got either tank tops or full-on sweaters. Since Loft was having great sales leading up to Christmas, and since they're my favorite place to get quality blouses, I decided to pick up a couple and call it good.

Now that I have a few blouses and sweaters, a very nice coat (review coming soon!), and jeans and boots from previous months, I'm done shopping for the rest of winter. Yep, I'm going to do a shopping freeze in January! The last thing I need to pick up is a pair of gray flats, and the ones I want have been back-ordered until January, so I'll get those as soon as I can and then won't shop at all in January. If my plans go correctly, February will only include Valentine's-related purchases, which I'm already planning, and I'm already SO excited about. (For new readers: Valentine's is like my Christmas. I go all out and have no shame.)

Okay....I've stalled long enough. It's time to rip off the band-aid and see how much I spent between May (when I started tracking my spending) and December. (You can see all those posts here!)

7 Month Total: 1,884.55 

My current average spending a month is $235. If I had tracked all 12 months, I'd have a better idea, but assuming it's pretty close, that means I spent about 2,820 in 2015. I guess I didn't really know what to expect, but when I put that number in context of what it could buy (a really nice couch, a wedding dress, you know -- the usual), it's a little painful to swallow. Though I wouldn't expect myself to not ever buy clothes, I can definitely make an effort to spend less on clothes in 2016.

I've always loved that Fran does her budget quarterly instead of monthly. I tend to be a seasonal shopper whose downfall is getting distracted throughout the season and buying either more than I need or buying things I don't need instead of things I do. I think with a budget and better planning through each season, I can spend less, need less, and wear what I have more.

Math is really hard for me, so in the middle of this blog post I've started two different spreadsheets, used the calculator on my phone more than I have in months, and complained to Dago at least twice. However, I think I've settled on $500 as a quarterly budget. That puts me at 2,000 for the year, which is about $800 less than I spent this year. I think it will make me shop $800-worth smarter, without making me miserable. Also, both Kimi and Fran use a $500 quarterly budget (which I actually didn't realize until after I decided on mine), so that makes me feel like it's a good idea. Here's to spending smarter and remixing more in 2016!

Will you use a shopping budget in 2016? What did you buy in December that you're super excited about?

P.S. I'm linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers! Be sure to check everyone out!
P.P.S. Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin' to see how I style these pieces and read my reviews over the coming weeks!

*Shopbop is a sponsor of writes like a girl, and through this sponsorship I receive a monthly credit to spend on the site. However, all opinions are, as always, my own!

what i bought in december


Merry Christmas and happy general wintertime (sort of) joy! It may be a warm Christmas, but it's definitely no less merry. Dago and I are in Houston this weekend celebrating with his mom, who by the way made the best gift for Contessa! I hadn't planned on doing a link love this week, but kept finding Christmassy links I wanted to share. So here we are!

A Christmas song from Chrystina.

The tale of Lisa's DIY holiday cards comes with helpful tips for your own next year!

An easy and festive wreath from Kaity.

A few of Kimi's Christmas favorites.

Love these thoughts on the holiday season and how we treat each other from Jen.

Adina's end-of-year reflection and themes for 2016 have given me a lot to think about!

A very merry and sparkly wishlist: these brilliant gold sneakers, a pair of shimmery tights, these glitter-filled earrings, this bedazzled collared sweater, this dreamy wallet, and this perfect sequin skirt.

As Jen said, happy everything, lovelies! I hope your weekend is filled with light, love, and lots of egg nog!

link love (christmas edition!)

People complain about getting socks for Christmas, but I never get them and my sock drawer is seriously lacking! Regardless of the warmer temps so far this winter, it's definitely boot season, and I've been wishing I had some cute socks to tuck into my favorite boots.

Here are a few I'm hoping to collect over the course of the season (because you can't just have one!):
  on my list cute printed socks
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten

Polka dots! Scallops! Stripes! Fair Isle! Apples! These socks are basically like the Lucky Charms theme song. A little bit of everything good. Which print will peek out from under your cuffed jeans?

on my list | fun printed socks

andrea montgomery necklace3 andrea montgomery necklace4 andrea montgomery necklace2 andrea montgomery necklace7 andrea montgomery necklace9 andrea montgomery necklace1
dress: Forever 21 (same dressvery similar) // boots: Chinese Laundry // necklace: c/o Andrea Montgomery

I love when pieces I've owned from previous seasons can be put together to make a totally on trend outfit. For instance, I bought these Chinese Laundry over-the-knee boots in 2012. When paired with this printed dress I bought last year (seen here and here), I've got a perfectly modern take on the '70s style looks that seem to be everywhere right now.

You know what else I love? Pretty jewelry that goes with anything and everything, no matter the trend. Houston jewelry designer Andrea Montgomery reached out to me to style one of her pieces, and I had a tough time narrowing down a favorite because every piece is extremely versatile. I chose this beautiful Peruvian opal necklace and have been wearing it non-stop. I was excited to see how well it paired with this teal dress, but I've also worn it with winter white, an amber-colored blouse, and my favorite LBD.

andrea montgomery necklace8

I know we're all shopped out for the holidays, but a new year means new birthdays to shop for. Whether it's your bestie's January birthday or your mom's in October, Andrea Montgomery designs jewelry for every kind of woman. Whether you're looking for something simple and delicate, a little colorful, trending now, on the preppy side, or personalized, Andrea Montgomery actually does carry it all! Next on my wishlist are these moonstone earrings and this white agate slice necklace.

One thing I really wanted to mention about my experience with Andrea Montgomery is the truly amazing customer service she provides. When I first received my necklace, I realized that the chain was much shorter than I anticipated. I shot her and email and, without question, she asked me to ship it back so she could change it out for a longer chain. She provides custom designs and options on any piece you fall in love with, and she's so excited to send off something you're going to wear again and again.

Because Andrea's the best, you can use the code WritesLikeAGirl to receive 20% off your order! Can't wait to see what you pick!

on trend


This week, I am, as they say, under the weather. What began as a painfully sore throat has progressed into runny faucet nose and it doesn't appear to be stopping soon. Regardless of my sneezing face, I've got a busy weekend ahead: sweater decorating and Elf on Friday, one of my besties visiting and Star Wars on Saturday, and a little birdy's birthday on Sunday. My body better get its act together, and fast! While I'm downing orange juice and popping RediTabs, you can enjoy the following links!

♥ Speaking of Star Wars, I love these facts! Thanks Katie for the link rec!

♥ My favorite feel-good video of the week.

♥ Ooooh this outfit has me excited for layers!

♥ Y'all, I love selfies. I'm of the mind that they're about self-love and self-celebration, and, especially for women, we need more of that. These pro-selfie tips from fav Tess Holliday are clutch.

♥ I'm having major guest room envy.

♥ Wishing I had this scarf (and a party to go to) to celebrate Christmas!

♥ Ummmm my Spice Girls dreams just came true. (Also have you seen this selfie?)

♥ Things I wanna buy (and just might!): this hi-low sweater, these fancy loafers, this olive leather jacket, one of these scalloped wallets, and this adorbs charger that matches my phone case.

link love

I don't know yet if I have New Year's Eve plans this year, but I do know that a pretty dress is a great excuse to make some. Classic, funky, and plenty of sparkle, I'm loving these picks for New Year's Eve.

on my list new years eve dresses

one // two // three // four // five // six

If you haven't noticed by now, I love a good fit and flare frock -- the fuller the skirt, the better. When I started looking for NYE dresses, I was disappointed to find most are still of the body con variety. What I love most about all six of these dresses is that I would feel comfortable, in addition to fabulous, during my celebrating. I don't know about you, but I don't want to ring in the new year feeling self-conscious!

I've had my eye on this J.Crew Factory dress for a bit, but after seeing it on Jess earlier this month, I'm confident it would get a lot of wear in my life. I recently fell in love with Alfred Sung through work (they make the prettiest bridesmaids dresses!), and I couldn't help but include this Audrey-esque dress to my wishlist. Again, this is a dress I feel like I could grab for any formal event and know I'd look great without a lot of effort. The navy skater dress is a little more out of my typical style, but the embellished bodice was just too apropos for the event!

The pink sequined dress from ASOS is like a twirly embodiment of, which is a special kind of perfect. I feel like this dress requires a dance party, so somebody find me one! The Ann Taylor lace dress is obviously a more subdued option, but I'm obsessed with the styling here and I think it would be a smart investment, much like the Alfred Sung dress. Finally, and way out of my price range, is this uh-dor-a-ble two-piece sequin dress. The top part is removable, the whole thing is my best shape, and HOW COOL are these colors!? Gimme.

What are you doing/wearing on New Year's Eve?

on my list | new year's eve dresses

mini pleat floral skirt4 mini pleat floral skirt5 mini pleat floral skirt3 mini pleat floral skirt1 mini pleat floral skirt6 mini pleat floral skirt7 mini pleat floral skirt8 mini pleat floral skirt9
top: Forever 21 (similar) // skirt: Forever 21 (sold out online, save similarspend similar) // boots: Madden Girl // long necklace: The Land of Salt // short necklace: gift (similar)

Two outfits posts in one week? A punny fashion title? WHO AM I?! I'm just a girl with a blog who has something to say but hasn't found the words yet, so here's another pretty outfit instead. We cool?

As I might have mentioned (things have been a little nut-so and my memory is escaping me), I'm working on an update about my intuitive eating for the last few months. I was supposed to post it today. I even made an outline (a thing I haven't done since college) to help me write it and say everything I wanted to say. Well, then I had a total breakdown over the weekend after a whole week of terrible, non-intuitive eating. To make a longish story short, intuitive eating was going really well and then I worked from home for two weeks and it led to a burst of binge-eating for a week and then subsequently underfeeding myself for a week. Intuitively, I knew what my body needed (fresh veggies and fruit! chicken! fewer chips and pecan spinwheels, please!), but I didn't plan well enough to make it happen.

The post will come and have some helpful info and be a positive, yet realistic, review of my experience so far. But today I'm working on grace. We cool?

Speaking of cool, since there are some outfit photos here, let's chat clothes. I actually ended up with this skirt on accident. I wanted to try on this crop top (previously worn here) with a skirt to see if it would fit alright with the faux leather midi skirt. I grabbed this off the rack at Forever 21 and took it to the dressing room, where I immediately fell in love and had to have it. 

I'm super happy about this purchase because: A. a darker floral transcends seasons B. midi skirts are my jam C. turns out mini pleats are super effing flattering! (P.S. I know that "flattering" is supposed to be a no-no word in the body positive community, but it's a word I use a lot and still like. Possible post incoming?)

Also, just in case you didn't notice, this is literally the same outfit as this one, just with a different skirt. Get a black crop top and black heeled boots, and then a bevy of skirts (preferably of the midi variety) and just swap them out! No one will notice and you'll always look fine, girl!

Okay, but back to intuitive eating for a sec. I really want to do this in a Q&A-ish format, so pleasepleaseplease ask me any questions you have about my experience so far! Or anything you want to know regarding eating at all! It would help me a lot with writing the post!

just pleat it

asymmetrical sweater leather jacket1 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket3 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket8 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket2 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket4 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket5 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket7 asymmetrical sweater leather jacket6
jacket: Charlotte Russe (similar) // sweater: Soft Joie c/o Shopbop // jeans: Old Navy // boots: Madden Girl // necklace: The Land of Salt // pin: Word For Word Factory (gift from Chelsea!)

Does anyone else feel like their to-do list is just out of control this season? It seems like every list item has an A, B, and C attached to it, and all of them are number one priorities. Whew, am I looking forward to a day or two off in a couple of weeks!

Speaking of my to-do list, Chelsea got me this badass pin for my birthday and somehow it hasn't made it to the blog yet even though I wear it all the time!

I'm also super excited to finally share an outfit with this asymmetrical sweater that I picked up in October. It was the perfect weight to wear in the cool-ish weather we had here in early November, before things got weird and it became freezing and then back to the 80s. I will say that I've been surprised with how well it layers, in spite of its unique shape. Wearing it with this faux leather jacket has probably been my favorite way to style it, especially because it helps the sweater be a little more fitted. I probably should have sized down (I'm wearing a medium here), but I can't say it isn't cozy at this size!

Now let's talk about jeans. I bought two pairs in November: these Rockstar skinnies from Old Navy and a pair of AG Farrah jeans. I wanted to do a quick little review of these, with a review of the AG jeans coming in a few weeks. Both pairs are high-rise, which is definitely my preference these days. The Rockstar jeans fit extremely well in the waist/hips, and the top of the jeans come up higher than my previous pair of Banana Republic "high-rise" jeans (which were really more mid-rise). The BR jeans sort of cut me right in the middle of my tummy, making for not such a cute look and definitely not as comfortable. The Old Navy jeans fit just above my "love handles" rising a couple of inches above my belly button and providing plenty of coverage across my back. This makes for a smooth look across my torso under shirts and sweaters, while also being high enough to tuck shirts into.

My only significant issue with the jeans is how they fit around my ankles. This is an issue I have with most jeans, but I would say it's significantly worse with these jeans than most. The ankles fit much wider than a skinny jean typically does/should, which becomes extra weird when I cuff them. I'm abnormally self-conscious about the way jeans fit with boots, and these baggy ankles definitely aren't ideal. However, I don't know if this is an issue other people would have with these jeans or if it's just a me problem.

A quick spoiler alert: I thought I had a solid rating scale for jeans, but then the AG jeans came into my life and showed me a level of greatness I didn't know was attainable in a pair of denim. That said, I rate these Rockstar jeans a 7 out of 10. That's still a great score, especially for the price. In fact, because of the price, I'm considering getting the ankles tailored to fit better. We'll see, but still, I would 100% buy these jeans again.

Have you tried the Rockstar skinny jeans? How do they rate compared to other denim in your life? Are you into the asymmetrical sweater look? Tell me all the things!

to-do list


Happy Friday! Does anyone else feel like they're in crunch mode before the holidays? I definitely do! That said, I'm going to keep it short this morning and get onto the links!

♥ You've probably seen this video by now, but I shared it on my Facebook last weekend after it totally put me in tears -- the happiest tears!

♥ How do you feel about end-of-year lists? I make a Top 10 Pop Songs list every year (which I'm currently working on!), but Dago does a full 20 best albums of the year and his picks/posts are always fantastic. If for no other reason than reading his hilarious writing, check out his favorite albums of 2016.

♥ Speaking of Dago, he may have to put up with my own Instagram antics, but I definitely wouldn't say he's an #InstagramHusband.

♥ Here, copy this outfit on Monday and everything's gonna be okay.

♥ After falling in love with their bras, I'm hoping to stock up on these comfy undies in the new year. Does anyone else underwear shop as self-care?

♥ Speaking of self-care, love these 15 things you can do to feel better when you feel like shit.

♥ Two more great posts about self-care, because apparently I'm feeling like I need some: one from Laura and one from Anna.

♥ And finally, as always, a wishlist for the weekend: these cozy PJ sets, this winter white party dress, this festive wrapping paper, these shimmery flats, these uh-mazing coats, and these chocolate brown fringed beauties.

How are you taking care of yourself this weekend?

link love

Happy Chanukah, loves! I know it's a few days into the holiday already, but I wanted to post my "wishlist" anyway. Dago has pointed out that I just buy myself everything I want, making me difficult to shop for. While Dago may have figured out my gift on his own already and I confirmed with my parents that they're getting me this steamer, here are a few things I've had my eye on that I wouldn't mind unwrapping for Chanukah (or Christmas!) this year.

chanukah - to wear copy

J.Crew Factory Amelia Flats in Pewter - So, to be honest, I almost bought these over Black Friday weekend. The only reason I didn't is because they're backordered until January and I didn't want to risk the money being taken out of my account when they were ready to ship. However, at a $49.99 price point, they would make a great, practical gift. I've been wearing a lot more gray lately and my silver flats have officially bit the dust. Needless to say, I'll end up with these one way or another!

Zella Live-In High-Waist Leggings - After seeing these recommended by every blogger under the sun, I definitely want a pair. Again, this is something practical and something I could buy myself. For whatever reason I've been putting off purchasing them, making them a great gift for someone wanting to buy me something I know I'll use constantly. (If you're not seeing a theme here, Dago's really into practical gifts.)

Free People Luella Crossbody - Less on the practical side and heavy on beauty, I am in love with this crossbody bag! I've been looking for a purse for more formal occasions forever, but can't seem to every pull the trigger on anything. Most clutch bags seem like they'll only go with a certain number of outfits, so I'm having trouble choosing a truly versatile one. Also, clutch bags can honestly be a pain because of the lack of strap. This bag is pretty enough that I think I could wear it with almost anything and it would be enough of a statement to garner compliments, but not distract from the outfit like something more colorful might.

chanukah - to live copy

Let's Stay Home Banner Flag - Because apparently I'm an adult now, I really want some new pretty things for my home, instead of my closet! This Let's Stay Home flag is sort of our house mantra, and I'd love to add it to our living room.

Double Triangle Statement Shelf - Now that I have a clear vision of want I want our guest bathroom to look like, I'm eager to fill it! First on my list are these shelves, but in Ash. We have this funny wall that requires some sort of hanging accessory on it, and I figure some cute storage makes more sense than something like a print. I love the idea of wooden accents throughout the small bathroom!

Wooden Bathtub Caddy/Mat - How cool is this? I've wanted a bath tray or caddy for a long time, but haven't ever really done the search to find "the one." I love that this one doubles as a bathmat, which is a great option for us because of the cat litter that tends to be...everywhere. Plus, it's awesome when gifts promote relaxation!

chanukah - beauty copy
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment - This is another highly recommended product from the bloggers of the world. I've been wanting to try this Sugar lip balm, but haven't ever spent $22 on any lip product. It feels a little frivolous for me to spend money on, but makes a fabulous gift!

Happ & Stahns Rose Alba Fragrance - Yes, this is the same perfume I fell in love with and bought in October. But this one is bigger! Turns out that tear dropper goes pretty quickly, so a bigger bottle should get me through the rest of the winter for sure.

Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer - Lastly, and by far most expensively, is this amazing blow dryer. I borrowed Katie's Buttercup blow dryer during our Marfa trip and was SO impressed by how fast it dried my hair and how soft and settled my hair was after drying it. Since I don't have $200 lying around to drop on a blow dryer, I really wish I had gotten my family to go in on this together. Maybe next year!

What are you hoping to unwrap for Chanukah or find under your Christmas tree this year?

my chanukah list

Pieceology VTG low res-84 small Pieceology VTG low res-78 small Pieceology VTG low res-1 small Pieceology VTG low res-4 small Pieceology VTG low res-112 small Pieceology VTG low res-114 small
all pieces except black booties and hat via Pieceology Vintage
photos by Chelsea Laine Francis, backdrop courtesy of Oh Happy Day Photobooth

A few weekends ago, I was invited by April to come and model for the Pieceology Vintage Fall/Winter '15 lookbook. I've had a blast peeking in on this growing collection, so getting to try on a few pieces put me over the moon.

One of the things I think is so fun about this collection, and specifically in these photos, is that it's a vintage collection that appeals on a lot of levels. Each outfit here has something I would totally wear and something that's just a little out of my comfort zone. What's great about April as the shop owner is that she knows how to style these pieces together (and separately!) to help shoppers introduce more beautiful and funky vintage into their current wardrobe.

Another awesome thing? April sources a ton of her items straight from Italy, including both quality vintage and some of the most beautiful handcrafted jewelry I've ever seen! Even if vintage isn't your thing, you've seriously got to see the jewelry -- trust.

Pieceology's official debut will be on December 13 from 12:00 - 4:00 at The Paper + Craft Pantry in Austin. You can (and should!) RSVP here to shop the collection in person. Also, be sure to follow the Instagram for early peeks and shopping opportunities!

pieceology vintage

small goals december

Goodness, I can't believe I'm making goals for the last month of 2015. This has been a weird and wonderful year, and even though it had its really tough moments, I wouldn't do any of it differently. I'll be reflecting on the year a bunch in the coming weeks and getting my goals in order for 2016 soon, but first let's take a look at how I did in November and what's on deck for December:

1. journal every day for a month | done! I've used Grid Diary every night for about a month-and-a-half now and I can't recommend it enough (no really, I'm telling everyone about it!). It's so easy and it really has made me feel better, so I'm going to keep using it until further notice.
2. go for a run (or two!) | done! I went for a run at the beginning of the month on a chilly night and it was wonderful. It didn't really clear my head the way people say it does for them, but it was nice to be outside (even in the dark), and get away from screens for a little bit.
3. keep my fingernails painted for a month | done! This is one of those goals that I decided I kinda hated halfway through the month, but finished it anyway. Having my nails painted for photos is nice, but it's a pain to keep up with and, as it turns out, I really just like being able to bite my nails. No shame!
4. make a dessert or side dish for Thanksgiving | done! I made this cornbread (again, same as last year) for my family's Thanksgiving and these peanut butter chews for Friendsgiving at Chelsea's home. The cornbread didn't come out so great, in my opinion, but the chews are delicious!
5. don't overbook myself | done! This was incredibly hard, but I managed to protect any free time I had this month, and it's a good thing I did. Even though I was still exceedingly overwhelmed in November, I was able to spend some quality time with my guy, my cat, and my couch.

5/5!!!!! This is the second time this year I've gotten all five goals done! For as challenging as November was, it's really gratifying to look back and see that I actually did some stuff. It's also great that so many of the goals were essentially self-care related, because I needed that more than usual. Way to plan ahead, self! Let's see if I can recreate this magic again for December!

1. list my gently-used clothes on Poshmark | I mentioned in my closet purge post that I have a bunch of clothes to sell, so now it's time to take photos and get everything listed on the app! I know it'll be slow selling, but I'm actually kind of excited about this!
2. watch all of Star Wars, and then see the new movie | did you hear that a really big movie is coming out this month? Like, a really big movie. I watched Star Wars movies 4-6 (the originals) with Dago last year, and I saw the The Phantom Menace on my 10th birthday, but I've never seen 2 and 3, and I've never seen them all together! So, I'mma do it and it's gonna be awesome.
3. figure out my blogging goals for 2016 | I've been thinking a lot lately about how writes like a girl has grown in 2015 and where I want it to go in 2016. I need to make deliberate time to sit down and come up with a plan for what's next and what I need to do to get it there. Vision board, anyone?
4. work on a budget for the 2016 | after linking up for seven months with the budgeting bloggers with no budget, I'm excited to actually set a budget for 2016. I need to do a little math and see what I spent this year, plan out my bills and expenses for next year, as well as consider what and how I want to start saving seriously for the first time. 
5. support small businesses with my holiday shopping | no holiday goals list is complete without gift giving! I'm so excited to introduce my loved ones to some of my favorite artists and business owners while also supporting small shops in the process!

Did you set some goals for December? Link up below!

december | small goals


Goodness, it's Friday! This week flew by for me! We're between offices at work, so I had the very great pleasure of working from home with my kitten all week. It was a devastating news week --which, since I was home, I sat plastered in front of the television keeping up with -- and I've felt really hopeless about the state of things. But, I had a good therapy appointment and I just finished watching The Wiz Live, so I'm in surprisingly high spirits to round out the week. Text somebody you love and let them know, and then get all up in these lovely links!

♥ I know, you're sick of gift guides. BUT! This is one you have to check out (the only one!). Chelsea put together the most amazing guide for simultaneous gifting and giving back, showcasing goods from small businesses, artisan makers, and ethically conscious brands. You may have heard of some of these brands, but there are so many gems you're going to want to bookmark and follow after Chels shows you the light!

♥ Y'all know I'm all about goal making, so it's no wonder I loved this 16 Before 2016 list! I'm considering a similar format for New Year's Resolutions!

♥ It's far from traditional, but this might be my favorite Christmas tree style I've seen. Who wants to make these ornaments with me?

♥ Valery's recent LBD story had me cackling on the couch -- you've got to see this!

♥ The downside of purging all your things and starting a minimalist life.

♥ Hillary shows us how to wear pastels all winter long.

♥ It's been downright cold in Austin this week, so I'm wishing for winter accessories like these furry earmuffs, these cozy beanies, these unbearably cute mittens, these plaid and checkered scarves, these sparkly tights, and these fun patterned socks.

P.S. I'm posting the December goals linkup on Monday, so get your posts ready to link!!

link love

Today's wishlist is a prime example of my rabbit hole shopping habits. I mentioned on Monday that I have a pretty hefty store credit to Forever 21. I spent a lot of time this weekend browsing the site, looking primarily at sweaters and blouses. I was mostly unimpressed with the selection, when I decided to check out their coats, which have been great in years' past. That's when I stumbled upon the hooded parka that I didn't know I needed, that is now at the top of my wishlist. Because I had to see what else was out there, I now have a handful of front-runners in my hooded parka search.
  on my list hooded parkas
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine

First off, we've got the Forever 21 coat, or catalyst, that sparked my search. I've owned several Forever 21 coats and they tend to be great quality at a great price, especially for someone living in Texas who definitely needs a coat in the winter, but not like, a coat, if you know what I mean. It's currently sold out in my preferred color (olive) and size (medium), but I have an alert on in case it comes back!

Along the same lines, I love the traditional olive shade of the Madewell, J.Crew Factory, and Brave Soul parkas. The navy Vince Camuto parka is the most expensive one on my list, but also the one that looks highest quality to me. If I lived somewhere with a harsher winter, it would definitely be my pick.

In more color fun, I like the true khaki color of the Dorothy Perkins parka and the darker version from DKNY (on crazy sale!). If I hadn't gotten a red coat just last year (thanks, mom!), I'd definitely look into getting this berry parka from ASOS or the dark wine one from Johnston and Murphy.

Since I buy myself one coat a year, and last year's was super feminine, I want to switch things up with a sportier look to go with outfits that my red coat doesn't really match. Plus, if the rest of this year is any indication, it's going to be a very wet winter. That said, which of these would you get?

on my list | hooded parka

olive leather skirt crop top1 olive leather skirt crop top2 olive leather skirt crop top3 olive leather skirt crop top4 olive leather skirt crop top5 olive leather skirt crop top6 olive leather skirt crop top7 olive leather skirt crop top8 olive leather skirt crop top9
crop top: Forever 21 (similar) // skirt: Luxe Apothetique (extremely similar) // booties: Madden Girl (similar) // long necklace: Old Navy (very similar) // short necklace: gift (similar) // ring: c/o Limbo Jewelry

I feel like I get one cool girl outfit a season, and this is definitely it for fall. In fact, it's pretty darn similar to last winter's cool girl outfit, especially the color palette! I picked up this skirt during the same trip to Luxe Apothetique as my Thanksgiving shirtdress. Funny enough, I was planning on buying the Forever 21 version that day in order to put together this exact outfit, but when I found one at Luxe, I knew it was meant to be.

Luxe Apothetique is one of those local boutiques I'm always excited to shop in. There's one in The Domain, aka my favorite place to be during the holidays because I'm a merry consumer if there ever was one, and I make sure to hit up the store every time I visit. On this particular trip, I decided to save my Luxe shopping for after my stops at Banana Republic, Anthropologie, and J.Crew. I happened to not buy anything in any of those stores because the sales weren't good enough and the prices were still too high, so I was sure to note that I paid the same for two incredible, quality items at Luxe as I would have one piece at one of the aforementioned stores. Not to mention, it's pretty unlikely that I'm going to run into someone at a party wearing the same thing, which may not be as lucky with a pretty, yet popular, dress from Anthro or Banana. Double win!

Also, if you've been wondering how to make a crop top work for you, I hope this look gives you a little inspiration! I've been really into the way this ribbed crop top fits with high-waisted midi skirts. The proportions are demure and my tummy doesn't get cold, but there's still something a little daring about rocking a top that's, you know, cropped.

Are you into leather midi skirts or crop tops? What do you wear when you want to feel like a cool girl?

(P.S. This post isn't sponsored by Luxe Apothetique -- I just love my local boutique and hope a few Austinites pop in for their holiday shopping!)

cool in a crop top and leather

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