I've written about my love for tartan before so I'll try not to sound too repetitive with this post. I received this tartan blazer for Christmas. Santa remembered me liking it in Brooks Brothers so went back to get it when they had a holiday sale. Sadly, it's no longer available online but here is a similar one from J.Crew. I paired with my navy, lace J.Crew skirt and gray cotton J.Crew tee. I picked up these over the knee black suede Tory Burch boots on sale in January at Monkees of Charlotte and love them. I always thought of over the knee black boots as more lady of the evening and less Duchess Kate Middleton, but I've taken to them surprisingly well.
As much as I've enjoyed the winter wardrobe, this girl is ready for Spring.
For some reason, I've always really enjoyed Lent. Growing up, we always had a big celebration and parade on Fat Tuesday where we put the "Alleluia!" in a box until Easter and I am sure at some point I was allowed to carry the box or read during mass so its always been meaningful for me and has remained one of those school traditions imprinted in my memory like Field Day. Maybe its the challenge of remembering to fast and give up meat on Fridays or the challenge of actually committing to giving something up for forty days. I also enjoy the simplicity of Lent. It's a meaningful season in the church and it's not surrounded by all of the hustle of gift buying associated with Christmas.
Every year, I try to practice giving up something but also in return dedicating myself to deepening my faith in some way. I've given up fried food, cookies, cake, chocolate (numerous times), eating out, and meat but every year I cheat myself out of what I know would be the hardest sacrifice... sweets. I am convinced my body needs more sugar than the average person and I am seriously concerned about my health and ability to survive over the upcoming 40 days. I am sure Easter Sunday will result in me in a sugar coma similar to that time I gave up meat and then overindulged in the all you can eat buffet on Easter Sunday at the Madren Center.
I've done different things to deepen myself as well. I've spent time praying for people I don't like - this one is actually difficult. Its easy to pray for family and friends, but more challenging to pray for those who you don't necessarily like. I've dedicated more time to reading the Bible. I've been complimentary. I've prayed for different family and friends on each day (you know how you always tell people you will pray for them, well this way, you are reminded to seek out what you need to be mindful of with your intentions.) I am working on something again this year, but that one is going to be more personal so I can really challenge myself with my good intentions.
I hope you have a way to make your Lenten season meaningful to you. Wish me luck with my sweets!
In anticipation of not having plans this Valentine's Day, I planned a brunch for a few of my favorite girls in Charlotte. Hosting a brunch was actually on my "26 by 26 To Do List" and I sadly, never got around to hosting one. I was always worried about the size of my apartment and how my table only seats four, but by borrowing a few bar stools, I was able to host seven. For the decor, I went on a bit of a pinning spree for my Playing Hostess board on Pinterest and have the Target sale section to thank. I loved hosting the girls and Henry was exhausted from all of the cuteness he displayed.
Mimosa bar with orange juice & pomegranate juice and strawberries & raspberries.
How adorable were these heart plates from Target? They were technically salad plates, so a bit small, but good thing we went back for seconds and thirds.
My friend Caitlin brought this delicious fruit salad and I made my favorite bananas foster french toast recipe.
Cake batter chocolate chip cookies. I loved decorating these. I gave away all of the extras but they were so delicious!
Sausage, egg, & cheese casserole and my friend Alexis brought the most delicious bacon, ever!
Hashbrown casserole. Always more addicting than expected.
We forgot to take actual people pictures - guess that's a good thing - but I went a little overboard on the pink-ness with my outfit!
If you have been following along, hopefully you haven't noticed that I have been blogging a bit less recently. I've had a difficult time posting in 2015. Not with content or what to write about, but more about the unintended effects my blogging could have on others.
I enjoy reading blogs and felt so connected to so many woman through their blogs, that I decided to start one myself. However, as with any form of social media, it can be difficult to not play the comparison game. I find myself looking at other blogs and thinking my apartment doesn't look like that. Why isn't my closet that large? I would love to be able to afford a constant flow of Le Mer face cream. That Caribbean vacation looks fun, why don't I go on spontaneous mid-week trips to the Caribbean? Ohh, I love that top! Wait, it cost more than $300, never mind. And when you are like me, and constantly surround your self with only a piece of other's lives (their personal blogs and Instagram accounts) there is more to their story that I am not taking into consideration. It's not fair to compare their blog to mine. My blog is not my full time job and while I would love to post a professionally photographed outfit of myself everyday, that is not feasible.
As I was beginning to feel down on myself from reading other's blogs, I started to think about what if I was having the same effect on someone else. What if I was coming across as look at these overly priced shoes I bought and this trip to Africa I just took and these dresses I am currently craving that are all over $500. While, I do spend too much on shoes and I love a good trip, it has never been my intention to make others feel lesser of themselves by comparing their lives to mine.
I leave out the details about how hard I worked to afford those shoes and how many times I had visited the store and thought about the shoes and tried them on before actually purchasing. I don't share much on how I saved for months for Africa but still have debt on my credit card from all of the unexpected shots and allergic reactions to said shots in preparation of my trip. I will occasionally purchase an expensive outfit, but its not without much thought and consideration to my purchases.
When I think of my life and this blog and what I want it to be, I never want to portray myself in a way so that others could perceive it as inauthentic. While I've never had younger siblings nor wanted them (aside from bossing Krista around our entire lives - love you) I've always wanted to be a positive role model to others. I want to be someone who others feel that they can look up to. Someone who challenges others to be the best possible version of themselves which is what I pray to do each day with my life.
As I attempted a few blog posts on what I was currently craving shopping wise, I stopped myself realizing that yes, I would like those obnoxiously priced articles of clothing, but no, I was not willing to spend an insane amount of money on them and didn't want to appear as if that was my life.
I'm not sure I've done the best at articulating myself on this post, but my point is to say that recently, I have found blogging difficult. I was comparing myself to others and seeing the effect it had on me which lead me to wonder if I was writing in a way that let others feel the same way about themselves. We all play the comparison game and social media (as lovely as it is) has only intensified the effect on us all. You used to have to run into the Joneses to play keep up, but now, with social media, you can try to keep up with Joneses from the comfort of your very own home.
I have nothing against the bloggers who post their professional quality photos of themselves in their expensive outfits before returning to their perfectly decorated home from their mid week vacation to the most desirable locations. Yes, I will continue to read. However, I realize that is not my life, nor will it be anytime in my foreseeable future. (Or probably, ever.) So, in recognition of this, I hope to return to regular postings around here and do my very best for true authenticity. Please feel free to remind me of this if my head goes back into the clouds a bit.
I've written about my love for the little black dress before but seeing as I had my eye on this Kate Spade Peplum LBD for quite some time, I thought I would share it here. In other good news, Kate Spade is currently having a Surprise Sale until Thursday at midnight! Happy shopping!
I can't remember when I started following Humans of New York on social media, but it has been for quite some time. I admire his ability to capture people in their most authentic form and share stories that would otherwise go untold. The power he holds to unleash the human potential and expose them to millions and millions of followers around the globe is inspiring and something I am slightly envious of.
If you follow along, you know that a few weeks ago, he photographed a young boy, Vidal, who said that his principal was the most influential person in his life. In the two weeks since then, he has told the untold story of a charter school in Brooklyn and raised over $1.2 M for what was supposed to be a trip for upcoming sixth grades to visit Harvard and now has grown into a scholarship fund for students of Mott Hall Bridges Academy. Over 40,000 individuals have mobilized these funds for deserving students.
I read the posts daily and have loved following along in what has become an incredible journey to include appearances on The Ellen Show and a trip to the White House. In full honesty, each time I read one of the posts, I tear up. It's a reality that many students from underserved communities are not able to envision themselves in college because it is something so intangible to them. A place like Harvard, one of the best educational institutions in the world, is somewhere they don't envision themselves ever visiting let alone attending at a student.
This past fall, I had the great pleasure of taking one of my students on a trip to visit Harvard, Yale, and Brown (read more here.) While we had discussed the possibility of applying to these schools in great length, they were so far out of reach from her reality. As we traveled to Boston, Providence, and New Haven to visit each school I was bursting with happiness for her as she exclaimed excitement over every piece of information, falling leaf, ivy covered building, passing student, chiming clock tower, and crosswalk with more enthusiasm than a young girl meeting Elsa at Disney World. This place, which she had only read about was suddenly real and she had the opportunity to envision herself as a student on those campuses. While we are still hoping and praying for acceptances, the experience alone opened her mind to a world outside of the one she had always known. There were students from all walks of life who she had the opportunity to meet and interact with and that excitement is what challenged her to be even more authentic and diligent with her application process this past fall.
I remember the first time I visited Vanderbilt, Clemson, and Florida and the effect it had on me as someone who had only dreamed about this world hoping that I too would one day belong. There is so much more that I wish I could do to empower first generation college students and make this idea of college a tangible reality. I however, do not have millions of followers on social media and the ability to fundraise through mass social media campaigns. I am thankful for individuals like HUNY who is using their popularity to bring opportunity to the most underserved communities and awareness to people around the world.
Through a recent Instagram round, (you know the ones, tap this photo, click on the account tagged, like their same photo, tap, look who's tagged, and then continue through until you've liked 30 of the same photo and followed 30 new accounts for a chance at a gift card with thousands of other participants) I discovered Shop Compliment. I don't typically participate in the rounds but Charm and Gumption did one and I thought since I love her products so much, I wanted to see who she collaborated with. As I was clicking through, I landed on @shopcompliment 's account and read the description "5% of purchases fund scholarships for underserved girls who dare to dream big." Considering how much I love education, scholarships, and my girls, it was a match made in Instagram heaven.
Not only do I love the account (constant positivity on my newsfeed is definitely a good thing) the jewelry is lovely and I am trying to decide which piece I should treat myself with. I posted a few of my favorites below for myself but I am thinking how perfect these would be for my go to gift in 2015. Also, if you follow along on insta, she's always posting sale opportunities.
I've been in a bit of a funk recently where I've felt discouraged by things I've heard people saying or discussing about me when I'm not around. Personally, I am not much of a gossiper. Theres not much that I would say about you that I wouldn't say to your face. While this isn't always my best quality (sometimes, people don't like to hear that you don't like their outfit, language, tattoo, hair, professionalism, etc.) I do appreciate that I have enough confidence in myself to articulate how I am feeling to someone. Not matter how uncomfortable it may be, if I have an issue with someone, am upset by something they said, or disappointed in their behavior, I am going to let them know. Thankfully, I have gotten better about waiting a few days to address an issue as opposed to confronting things head on when I may be a bit more heated.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable addressing problems and so when they have issues they turn to gossip. I try not to let things bother me but the last few weeks, I have really let a few things get me down. Mid last week, when I was feeling particularly low, I was reminded by something my mom always told me growing up. "If they are talking about you, they are leaving someone else alone." I know I was raised to be confident enough to not let what others say about me bring me down. I know I have this strength and this reminder was just what I needed to bring me out of my funk. As Taylor Swift likes to sing, "haters gonna hate" and I am just going to let them do it. Hate on me all you want. It just means you are leaving someone else alone and I am more than capable of handling it!