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Happy Friday! Being that I am determined to not let this series die after only one post, I'm back at it again with another self-care Friday! Here are a few suggestions for taking care of yourself this weekend (and beyond!).

To Shop


Buy yourself something you can be excited to use every day. Instead of a shirt or skirt that you can reasonably only wear once-ish a week, pick a new tinted lip balm with pretty packaging, a pair of cute shoes or a fun bag that you can wear multiple days in a row, or a water bottle with a pretty print or catchy phrase. Every time you use it, you'll smile, and, seeing as you can use it every day, you'll have so many opportunities to smile!


To Listen


I kept hoping Lorde's new album would come out before I wrote this next edition of self-care Friday, but since it hasn't, I have something just as good. My favorite feel-good artist lately is an eighteen-year-old El Paso native named Khalid. His album, American Teen, gives me the same nostalgia I get when I listen to Lorde's first record, likely because they were both teenagers when they wrote them. The songs feel like the freedom of springtime. Plug your phone into your car and go for a drive with the windows down while Khalid tells you about being a kid from West Texas. In particular, the single Location is a total bop.


To Read


My dear friend Mia wrote a really awesome article for Femsplain's self-care blog, Aloe, about practicing self-care at your work desk. Over the last couple of years, she transitioned from working at home to working in an office full-time. As her friend, I've loved seeing her transform her workplace into a calm, inspiring, and productive zone, so it's extra cool to see her share with the world how to recreate that magic!


To Watch


I've got two Netflix recommendations for you. First up is a little British show called Crazyhead. I hoped by now that more people would have watched it, but I seem to constantly be telling people about it for the first time, so here's your official notice. Crazyhead is a six-episode series taking notes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The gist is that two twenty-somethings discover that they can see demons and become unlikely besties as they try to destroy what's trying to destroy them first. It gets an A+ in the Bechdel test, mental health awareness, and being hilariously British. Also, if you've watched Netflix's Chewing Gum, Crazyhead stars the sister from that show (who is a friggin' delight). Dago and I actually watched all of Crazyhead during our Nashville trip during New Year's and I can't believe it's not more popular!

The other rec is a movie called Sing Street. (Watch the trailer here.) I haven't been so happy watching anything in a long time. The movie follows an Dublin teen as he's inspired by different '80s bands to find his own voice (and maybe to win the heart of a sassy young model while he's at it). If you love a great soundtrack of both '80s jams and original music, plus a really cute coming of age story, Sing Street will be your new favorite movie.


To Follow


Colleen (@sincerelycolleen_) is one of the sweetest and most talented women I know. Every time I read an Instagram caption of hers, I feel like I'm watching the ocean. You know that feeling? She just writes like that, exists like that. She's been doing a 100-day embroidery hoop art challenge and is totally crushing it. I can't even believe some of the cool things she's come up with! (I mean, JUST LOOK AT THIS!) Follow her for heartfelt words, little moments worth noticing, and a beautiful English mastiff.

self-care friday

austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack16 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack14 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack3 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack18 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack4 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack11 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack9 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack8 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack5 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack2 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack12 austin style blogger writes like a girl esperos backpack17
shirt: Madewell // jeans: American Eagle // shoes: J.Crew Factory (on sale!) // backpack: c/o ESPEROS // earrings: Larissa Loden


By the time I was a junior in high school, I had pretty much decided I was going to be a writer. For the first time, I felt like I finally found what I was good at, and it was time for me to show everyone else. I took that confidence into my AP English course taught by Mrs. Bradley, who was renowned throughout the school for being a bit of a hard-ass when it came to grading. On the first day of class, Mrs. Bradley explained that she simply did not give a grade of 100%. That is, unless, as she put it, she "heard angels sing." Challenge accepted, Mrs. Bradley.

Our first assignment was to write about ourselves. I guess you could say I was pretty good at it, because guess who was the only student to receive 100%? I will never forget the big red score at the top of those two stapled pages. For the remainder of the year, I was flying on a high that made me work harder and push myself to write better. I shared class with the future valedictorian and salutatorian of my year, whose presence I took as extra encouragement to score as high as possible on each assignment. I may not have been in the top 10% of students in my grade, but I was one of the best writers, and that was enough for me.

It's fun to think back on where Writes Like a Girl began as a flicker in me throughout my education. It sounds silly or exaggerated, but my college experience as an English major and my career as a writer may not have been possible without those moments in high school with educators who saw a light in me. Before I found my "thing," I didn't think I was any good at school. It took a few teachers believing in me and showing me my worth to ignite that fire within.

ESPEROS, the makers of this little backpack (that I'm totally obsessed with), recognizes the importance of lighting that flame early in a child's education. Through the sales of their stylish and high-quality bags, ESPEROS is dedicated to making education available to children experiencing a cycle of poverty. Cute-as-heck bags and a mission to promote education? That's something worth investing in.

If you've seen me around Austin in the month of April, then you've seen me toting around ESPEROS' Petite Pack, AKA the best bag I've ever owned. I realized recently that my crossbody bags were causing me to slouch, so I extra love that my little backpack lets me stand up straight and not have to adjust a clunky purse while I'm out and about. Get ready to see this bag all spring and summer long because it goes with everything and is way too comfortable to stop taking everywhere I go!

Do you have all the heart eyes for ESPEROS? Use code WRITESLIKEAGIRL for 15% off your order through May 31!

Tell me about your favorite teacher growing up whose influence had a little something to do with who or where you are now!

*While I did receive an ESPEROS backpack in exchange for this post, all opinions (and high school stories) are my own!

bell sleeves and backpacks

Oh hey, I guess I haven't posted a budget update in a while! The main reason is because these posts are extremely time consuming and I decided I'd rather put that energy towards the Feel Good, Dress Better workbook (which I am SO SO SO close to being done with!!!). The other reason? Not so cute. 2017 has been hard on me and my family, y'all. And when things are hard, I shop and I spend. I've been to two funerals already in 2017 and have spent way too many hours visiting my loved ones in the hospital. Some weeks, having a package coming in the mail felt like the only thing I had to look forward to.

I love that sharing these budget updates keep me accountable, but they can also suck for that same reason. I didn't need extra guilt for my overspending during the last few months on top of the other bad feelings. Do you forgive me? Okay cool, because I bought some real cute stuff this month and one of my monthly small goals helped keep me from going (too) overboard!


What I Bought



what i bought april
Madewell Side Button Midi Skirt - $98
Madewell Striped Bell-Sleeve Top - $69.50
J.Crew Factory Leather Mule Slides - $41.50
ASOS Denim Smock Dress - $37

Total Spent: $246

Total Earned on Poshmark: $142.57

Budget Spent: $103.43 (out of monthly $250) = $146.57 under budget


Since you haven't seen any of these things on the blog yet (literally coming this week!), I'll go more into depth here about each item.

The Midi Skirt - When 2017 started, I was like, "Nicole. Stop buying midi skirts. You have so many and don't wear them very often." Well. I saw this one online, and then it was right there in Nordstrom when I was trying on the bell-sleeve shirt (what I actually went in for), so I grabbed it just to try on for fun. Y'all. It was perfect. You may have seen that I Insta-storied that shopping trip, and the DMs came rolling in from so many people who loved it as much as I did! I would blame this all on peer pressure, but it really came down to the skirt. One of the issues I've noticed in my closet is a pattern overload. So many of my midi skirts are too loud for me to reach for on a regular basis. This is somehow the only solid-colored midi skirt I own, which seems to have solved all my skirt-wearing woes because I just want to wear this every day with every top I've got. Now I just have to convince myself not to buy the chambray and gingham print versions of the same skirt! For reference, I got a size 12.

The Bell-Sleeve Top - As I mentioned, this top was the reason for my only in-store shopping trip this month. The shopping bug bit me on a lovely Friday afternoon, so I decided to go to the mall after work. I've been searching for the perfect bell-sleeve top for a few months and thought this Madewell one might be The One after seeing it online. I was right! It fits exactly how I wanted and I've already worn it three times since buying it. For reference, I bought a medium.

The Leather Slides - I have had my eye on this particular pair of shoes since...January? They looked like the perfect shoes for running to the mailbox or taking the trash out (because apparently real flats with backs are too hard to put on??). I kept hoping they'd go on sale (which, of course they are now...), but finally pulled the trigger when I was in Houston for Dago's mom's surgery earlier this month. I'm glad I did because I've been wearing them a lot and they make me really happy. What more can you ask for in a pair of shoes? For reference, I sized up to an 8 in these because I notice in slides and mules that my heel hangs off the back when wearing my usual 7.

The Denim Dress - Did I need another denim dress? Absolutely. Nine times out of ten when I'm getting dressed, I want to put this dress on. Because that isn't really a reasonable ratio, I decided to add another denim dress with a slightly different fit (see: not so oversized) to my closet. **This dress is actually arriving in the mail today, so we'll see if it actually fits/if I end up keeping it. I usually wouldn't include it in my budget yet, but being as next month is my birthday(!!!), I wanted to save as much of May's budget to be spent in the actual month.


What I Received


what i received april


As always, I want to be transparent about the items I receive as part of sponsorship or collaboration for the blog. I had been saving up credits as a part of my Shopbop partnership to be able to shop this month's great sale and I'm so happy about what I got! I actually tried on the Madewell pom pom top during my Nordstrom trip, but realized that Shopbop had it in stock so I waited to buy it. I think it'll be such a fun top to wear with cutoffs this summer! The clogs have been on love list for a while, so I was glad they didn't sell out in my size before the sale! They are crazy comfy -- like maybe my most comfortable pair of clogs yet. The English Factory blouse was a last minute addition to my cart, but probably my favorite item I got during the sale because it's so versatile! I wore it under this dress the other day, which is now my favorite way to wear it. Outfit coming to the blog soon!

I'm so excited to be partnering with ESPEROS this month. I've lusted after their chic leather goods for a while, and now I can't stop wearing their Petite Pack! I'll save my gushing over this bag for the upcoming blog post, but definitely browse their selection and follow their Insta because everything is to die for.

So that's what I bought in April! I'm glad to be back to linking up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers (and the have my budget/life hopefully back on track!). What did you buy in April?

what i bought in april

mules and slides for spring
This week in "trends I never thought would come back, much less shop if they did," I'm lusting after all the cute pairs of mules I'm seeing all over the place! While you'll still never catch me in a stretchy black pair (ironic clothing isn't my style), I am pretty smitten with the slip-on-and-go style of the season.

I actually bought these a couple of weeks ago after having them on my wishlist for over a month. I was waiting for them to go on a little better sale, but was worried they'd sell out (that happens to me ALL the time). Since they were exactly what I was looking for, I went ahead and bought them, and now of course they're on sale. So, you should go buy them on sale!

I'd really like to have a fun-colored heeled pair as a summer alternative to my blush block heels, but I'm having trouble picking a pair! Obvi I'm leaning towards a pretty blush or punchy coral color because, duh it's me. How fun is the H&M pair with those scallops? And the low heel? I may need to put in an online order ASAP...

Anyway, which pair is your favorite? How are you feeling about this comeback trend?

on my list | mules & slides

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dress: vintage via Reverie Vintage // jacket: BB Dakota c/o Shopbop // shoes: Madewell c/o Shopbop // purse: vintage


Being the editor of a wedding blog by day, you'd think I'd be sick of weddings by the weekend. If you know me at all, you know that is the furthest thing from the truth! I could (and sometimes do) talk and think weddings all day, every day. Having three beautiful weddings to attend this spring has been a total dream. I'll never tire of being a wedding guest, especially when it's some of my dearest friends saying "I do" to spending the rest of their lives with their soulmates. And yes, I cry every single time.

Does it surprise you to know that I've had my wedding guest outfits picked out since the beginning of 2017? It probably shouldn't! In year's past, I've worn by Valentine's dress to weddings for the rest of the year. I did recreate this outfit for a wedding in February, but there was a major overlap in guest list for another wedding in March, so I decided to switch things up.

This look has everything I love in a wedding guest outfit. As excited as you are to see your gal pal in her wedding gown, she's stoked to see you get all dressed up for her day too! Unless there's a color-coordinated dress code (someone invite me to one of these please!), I typically like to wear a pop of color. Looking at wedding photos all day as I do, I love seeing a little color in the crowd! Plus, I find that I don't have a lot of excuses throughout the year to wear my fancier dresses, so I take full advantage of the opportunity and rock my favorite frock. This vintage dress is one of my most-loved buys from the last couple of years and I was so excited to take it out for a spin!

Because weddings are typically a pretty big time commitment, I choose my accessories carefully. I always bring some sort of sweater or jacket. On a spring evening in March or April, it's likely to get pretty cool, and this leather jacket was the perfect thing to throw on for chitchat outside and walking back to the car. You'll never catch me in a steep heel at a wedding (or ever, if we're being honest) because I want to dance the night away with the newlyweds in comfort! My block heel obsession is justified again! Throw in a matching vintage clutch that's big enough to hold my phone and a few tissues for my inevitable tears, and the look is wedding ready.

Do you have a go-to wedding guest outfit? What are you wearing to weddings this spring?

my spring wedding outfit

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shirt: Old Navy // skirt: ModCloth (also comes in mauve now!) // clogs: Lotta from Stockholm via Poshmark // purse: Frye c/o Shopbop (exact) //earrings: c/o Beaded by W


It has come to my attention that I am a danger to my boyfriend. No, not in the way you might think! Since I was little, I have been a pile person. I was constantly grounded by my mom for leaving piles around the house -- piles of paper, piles of clothes, piles of schoolbooks, etc. I think I assumed I would break my habit when I got my own place, or certainly when I moved in with my partner...but here we are, still makin' piles everywhere I go.

Since Dago's injury around this time last year (can you believe it's almost been a year since he ruptured his Achilles?), the piles really got out of control. He is certainly the more domestic of the two of us, so housework took a backseat without his usual Sunday cleaning routine and all of my attention on caring for him. Even after he started walking again, we didn't quite get our home back on track. In fact, he started creating his own piles because he couldn't get to the closet past my piles without potentially injuring himself. Y'all, it was a mess, in every sense of the word.

A few weeks ago, Dago went to see a movie on a Friday night with a friend. Since his injury, he's really settled into that gamer life and doesn't get out of the house as much as he used to. I didn't have plans of my own, and with the house empty, I decided it was finally time to tackle the overgrown pile of clothes. I turned on the new JoJo album (who I'm seeing in concert tonight!) and got to hanging, folding, and sorting.

Dago was shocked to find me cleaning when he returned home. I told him that maybe he should leave the house more often so I can get some work done! Does anyone else feel that way about living with their partner? When he's home, I just want to hang with him. He realized that he usually cleans when I'm out for a photo shoot or with friends, so maybe he should make some plans, even for the sake of me eliminating a few piles around the house!

Are you a pile person? Are there enough of us to start a Pile-Makers Anonymous? What's your worst tidiness habit?

spring cleaning

shopbop brands
I've been known to browser window shop in all of my free time from time to time, and one of my favorite retailers to stalk is Shopbop. My number one favorite thing about Shopbop is being able to favorite designers and see their new arrivals daily. I've got a growing list of new favorites, but there are a few brands I specifically look for and shop from on a regular basis. These are also the brands I tend to stock up on during major sales -- one of which happens to be going on right now!

From now until Friday at 11:59 PM PT, get 20% off orders under $500 and 25% off orders over $500 using code EVENT17! The sale includes both full-price and sale items, which is like hundreds and hundreds of pieces to sort through, so I thought I'd get you started with a few of my favorites.

Madewell

If you don't know that Madewell is on Shopbop...now you do! I appreciate having Madewell in just one more spot because sometimes I find something (or something on sale) that's sold out on the actual retailer site and on Nordstrom. They tend to have a slightly different selection, with a great focus on bags and shoes, which is awesome when it comes to Shopbop sales. This week's sale is a great excuse to get one of their famous totes!

madewell


Steven

Steven is my go-to for trendy shoes. This shouldn't be a surprise seeing as it's the upscale sister brand of Steve Madden! With a consistent price point at right around $100 (usually between $89-$109), I know I'm getting a pair of shoes I can stand to walk in longer than a Forever 21 pair that still isn't a zillion dollars for something I may only wear a couple of seasons.

steven shoes

Bonus: If you love my ankle strap block heels, Steven makes a similar pair!


Shashi

The majority of jewelry I've bought in the last couple of years has been by Shashi. You can find all the trendy tassel and fan earrings your heart desires, but I love that they also nail unique delicate gold pieces. If you've been looking for a go-to jewelry brand to keep up with, Shashi has consistently great designs for a really good price (all under $80, most under $50!).

My picks: Lilu Earrings, Open Wing Ear Jacket, Abigail Earrings
shashi


SunnyLife 

Living in Austin means I get to enjoy summer pretty much all year 'round. I take that as an excuse to stock up on as many SunnyLife items as my heart desires. In case you've never heard of SunnyLife, here's a quick summary of their products: a cactus-shaped ice cube trays, a striped ukulele, a swan-shaped floating drink holder, a cocktail kit, beach towels in every color, and all the watermelon and pineapple-themed things you didn't know you needed. Summer is coming. Will you be ready? ;)

My Picks: Large Flamingo Neon Light, Inflatable Watermelon, Beach Sounds Speaker & Radiosunnylife


BB Dakota

I think I own close to 10 BB Dakota items by now, and once you see the adorable tops, dresses, and jackets they carry, you'll understand why. You may have seen BB Dakota sold elsewhere, but there are a few exclusive items (like the one-shoulder top below) that you can only find on Shopbop. I love BB Dakota for its feminine details (think lace, crochet, and floral print) and high-quality pieces at a reasonable price point. I always feel like I'm wearing fancy designer duds when I wear BB Dakota, and I'm not mad about that!


bb dakota

Bonus: This floral wrap dress featured in my post from last week is BB Dakota, which means you can pick it up in this week's sale!

Don't forget, the sale ends Friday April 14 at 11:59 PM PT, so get shopping before things sell out!

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What are your favorite brands to keep up with on Shopbop? I love adding new ones to my designer index!

my 5 favorite shopbop brands + a hella good sale

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shirt: Nordstrom Rack (similar) // jeans: Gap // shoes: Loft (very similar) // purse: STRUT (exact) // earrings: Gudbling (exact)

By now, you know how I feel about Pantone's choice of Greenery for Color of the Year. In my own act of rebellion, I've been acting as if the reign of Rose Quartz and Serenity never ended. Case in point, this outfit, which features the two colors I can't stop, won't stop wearing.

Have you seen think pieces popping up in your news feed about "millennial pink"? (I just googled the term and ten different articles published in the last month came up!) The hue has become ubiquitous for women of a certain age. I've heard from a handful of friends recently, who wouldn't call themselves pink lovers, that all of their recent purchases share the same pale shade of pink. I, on the other hand, have been a pink-loving girl since birth. Growing up, my parents joked that I was their "pank" girl, emphasizing the Texan twang in my voice when I babbled on about my favorite color.

These days, millennial pink is basically a neutral in my closet. How many outfits have I worn with this exact shoe-earring-purse pairing? Four, and that's only counting the outfits shown here on the blog. It's way, way more in real life, which furthers my point that I can wear it with anything and everything I own.

Looking to add a few millennial pink pieces to your closet? No sweat, I picked out a few favorites for you:

baby blue and tickle me pink

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