December 26, 2018

looking back: 2018

2018 has been a year to remember. I got to travel a lot more, made some life changes, and I feel like I grew a lot a a person. As much as I’m looking forward to the fresh start that January brings, I want to acknowledge this year and the adventures it brought with it.

Just like last year, our annual “big trip” took place right around May. Andrew and I had so much fun exploring The DC area. We haven’t had crab legs since because “they just won’t compare to Baltimore.” And I take every opportunity to tell people I’ve seen the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird in person. This was also the first trip I took with my camera which allowed me to really able to absorb everything, and where my phone and social media took a major backseat in favor of experiencing as much as possible. As a bonus, we got to visit multiple cities and hang out with some of our good friends on this trip. You can check out my DC photo diaries here and here.

Around the middle of the year, we knew a major shift was around the corner. We were both incredibly unhappy with where we worked, and soon, Andrew got a job offer. This allowed me to leave my job as well, and I later found one where I’m much more comfortable. It allows me the energy and security to make plans for finishing my degree and moving myself forward with what I really wanna do.

2018 was also filled with day and weekend trips to see friends or simply for a change of scenery. I love that we both love traveling and don’t mind spending hours on the road together. Get yourself stuck in a car with someone for 20 hours and you’ll find out if you’re compatible after all. 10 hours to the DC Metro? That’s nothing compared to some of the road trips we’ve been on.

I’ve been shopping second-hand for years now, but this was really the year that I became dedicated to buying the majority of my wardrobe and home decor from thrift stores. I found a lot of great pieces, and most importantly, really started feeling like myself. I remember the day I realized how unhappy I was with my wardrobe. I had been wearing gym clothes for every occasion, and while I was comfortable, it was done out of necessity- not preference. The anxiety I’d get when getting dressed was taking a toll on me. I know it sounds silly that getting dressed stressed me out like it did. I donated the majority of what was in my closet and started over. Thrifting is a pastime that saves me a ton of money, gets me what I’m looking for, and it’s so much better for the environment.

As the holidays approached, an odd turn of events allowed me to visit home for several days around Thanksgiving. I wasn’t able to spend the actual holiday with my family in Texas, but we celebrated early and Thanksgiving was spent partially in the air, and partially with Andrew’s family. This trip was a big deal to me because it was the first time Andrew and I had been apart in the almost two years that we’ve been together. I learned so much about myself during that trip. And most importantly, got non-stop cuddles from all the dogs.

As we wrap up this year, I like to think about the things I want to accomplish in 2019. More travel and exploration is always on the docket. But this coming year, I really want to focus on finishing up my degree and checking that off my life’s to-do list. I’ve always really loved learning and going to school, and I hate that something so important to me has been derailed for so long.

Finally, I want to thank you guys for reading this. I never thought I’d ever put something out there that people actually read. There’s a certain charm in knowing that someone somewhere is reading my little blog. I love having my own space to talk about what I wanna talk about and sharing some of my favorite things, adventures, places, books, and- of course- the photos I take. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart, and I sincerely hope you all are enjoying your holiday season.

November 15, 2018

Current Favorites: Autumn 2018

Hey everyone! It's been a minute since I've last posted. Life's been a bit crazy with all of the changes that have happened in the last few months. I started my new job, and with that came a whole new routine, one which required me actually waking up at a decent hour. I'm just now getting the hang of it all, and I'm excited to share my updated favorites list with you guys!

It always feels awkward writing about the new beauty products I'm loving because for the most part, I hang around my favorite color schemes (let's all say it together: warm neutrals), it's what I'm comfortable with. I'm not a person who is actively collecting new products to test out and even if I do, they're all fairly similar. Recently, though, I've started branching out and I'm already more comfortable working with colors previously out of my comfort zone.

The palette I've been playing with lately is the Grandiose Palette from Ace Beauté. I received it in this month's Boxycharm, and I was really hesitant to play with it. But I've really only been dipping into the colors that scare me(!!!) It's those berry shades that made me nervous, yet excited me right out of the box. It wasn't until I saw YouTubers play with the palette that I decided to try it out for myself. I've been wearing Poppy, Rose, and Primrose to work all week; I never imagined that I'd love wearing shades like this! It excites me to branch out even more! As for the quality, this palette is top notch. I've worn it for full, busy days and haven't found it to crease or begin to fade on me. Even the deepest shades blend out really well, and it's cohesive and versatile enough to create several complete looks (even if you're not willing to use every color). I love having the ability to get creative and a little colorful, without having to reach for multiple palettes. The only thing it's missing, in my opinion, is a mirror. 

The next product I'm excited about is a product that I received in last month's Boxycharm (they've been killin' it in the eye makeup dept. lately). This is the It Cosmetics Superhero mascara. I know I talk about mascaras a lot on here, but I like to think it's pretty difficult to impress me. I'm gonna be honest: I didn't love this one right away. It came off a little heavy at first and it was really easy to get messy. But by my third use, it hit that sweet spot and I've completely stopped reaching for anything else. It's so nice to have something that lengthens without having to sacrifice volume and vice versa.

To round out my new eye favorites, we have a product that's already been touted about a lot, but I've just recently gotten around to trying it out. It's the Milani Supreme Kohl Kajal eyeliner. This is a retractable eyeliner that's able to line my water line better than many traditional pencil liners. I haven't found it to bleed on the corners of my eyes, and it stays on the water line on the longest of days. I'm so glad to have this in my arsenal.

Moving right along out of eye makeup, let's talk hair. I hardly change up products that I've found that work for me. When I ran out of my most recent bottle of the OGX Argan Hair Oil, I decided to try the bottle of Verb Ghost Oil that I've had for a while. I'd initially bought this to use on dry hair, which didn't really impress me. But when I began using it in damp hair, the results were incredible. This works just as well, if not better than OGX. I'm able to extend my washed hair a whole extra day on top of what I was previously able to do, something I never even thought was possible. Even though it's a bit pricier than what I'm used to paying, the results are worth it. 

Several months ago, I received a trial size of the Dr. Brandt microdermabrasion exfoliator and I absolutely loved its formula. I went through a full size bottle after finishing the trial. But then one day I found the Bliss Micro Magic scrub, which has the same super-fine formula and works just as well for a fraction of the price. I love using this a couple of times a week, and especially love it on mornings when I'm struggling to wake up because it's minty enough to give me the boost I need. 

And finally, the cherry on top of this is a nail color that checks so many of my boxes, especially for this time of year. This is the OPI nail color in Como Se Llama. It's red, it's dark, it's a little vampy, a little brick-y, and it has the creamy consistency I love in polishes-- especially darker ones. This is one of the colors I'll be repeat-wearing for sure.

I hope you guys found some good stuff in my little list. I'm really excited to have found a new daily routine which allows for me to continue blogging. I'm also incredibly excited to tell you guys that I'll be flying home at the end of the week for several days. I get to see my family for about 4 or 5 days a year, so I'm super excited to be home with all the dogs, my family, and the friends I have down there for whatever short time I have. Be on the lookout for my hometown photo diary, something I haven't done on here yet! ❤️ 

September 8, 2018

handbags of the moment

I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with my handbag obsession. I either switch bags frequently, or use the same one for a month straight (that’s a long time for me!). It’s hard for me to find the perfect bag that’s both stylish, functional, and sturdy enough to keep up with me. Lately, I seem to have struck a perfect chord and have been frequenting the same few bags that check all of my boxes.

I’m sure you guys have seen my black Michael Kors backpack on quite a few occasions since finding it when I was in Denver last year. I never thought I’d find any other backpack I’d love as much as that one... Then I found this gem at a local thrift store (is anyone surprised?). It’s a simple black backpack but is SO roomy, is extremely organized, and it’s a great size. It looks small, but holds so much more than you think. I’ve used this bag to tote around everything my regular purse contains, plus my DSLR, a hardcover book, and a reusable bag and I still have room to spare. These are perfect for exploring a new city, shopping, or any time you want your hands free.

I saw the woven/ straw bag trend coming from a mile away. I found so many that piqued my interest, but never the *perfect* one. Enter: this vintage Fossil bag. I haven’t seen a Fossil bag that wasn’t leather or waxed canvas in a long time, so this one made for a really happy surprise. It’s structured, but has really boho-vacation-y vibes. I’m absolutely smitten with its rounded handles. I’m working on finding it a suitable strap so it’s not limited to being a handbag. The south still has a little bit more summer left, so I’m hoping to use this a lot more in the coming weeks.

I did an actual happy dance when I found this bag. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have to know that vintage styles from so many major labels are having a big comeback right now. I’ve mentioned before that stores like Urban Outfitters and Pacsun are cycling back to many of the styles that are very much still available at thrift stores— where you’re likely to find items that are not only authentically vintage and less expensive, but much better quality. This bag perfectly embodies everything I’ve been looking for in an everyday bag: it looks amazing, has ample room and organization, and is versatile enough to seamlessly transition from outfit to outfit. If I’d found this bag in every color, I would have bought them all.

It’s a familiar dilemma: we’re on a trip, and I’m trying to capture and experience as much as I can. I have my purse and camera with me, but don’t want to carry separate bags for each. When I found the vintage Fossil bag above, I also found this black leather shoulder bag. It’s a small messenger-style bag that can act as both a camera bag (without screaming 'I AM A CAMERA BAG!’) and my purse. It’s made of super soft black leather with gold hardware that’ll go with any outfit. What got this bag on the list, though, is that it’s versatile enough to get used even when we’re not on an out-of-town trip. I’ll carry my camera, a notebook for writing, and whatever book I’m reading and I’m set for the day ahead.

These all-weather leather Dooney & Bourke bags are kind of my "safety net" bags. I’ve coveted them for so long for their timeless style and structure, their craftsmanship, and the weatherproofing that goes into them. No matter what trip I’m on, whether a full length vacation or short weekend trip, I bring one of these bags along just in case. They’ve saved me so many times when the weather has taken a turn for the stormy, even being able to squeeze in my DSLR (though it’s a pretty tight squeeze). I never have to worry about keeping my things dry or my bag being damaged. I can’t sing enough praises for these bags. 


With fall [technically] approaching, I’m happy to see that most of these bags will make the transition into cooler weather and pumpkin spice season. What are you guys most looking forward to in the Autumn? Me? I’m looking forward to all the books I’ll be reading while I get dragged into the football festivities I’m not invested in. (Though my tuition money says otherwise.) 

August 29, 2018

mobile photo diary

Last weekend Andrew and I headed down to Mobile for our friends’ wedding reception. And although we were only down there for a short weekend, we took in as much of the city as possible. I’d been to Mobile once before, but never really got to look around. Exploring is my favorite part of any trip— long or short. 

We got in Friday night after hitting multiple rounds of traffic, making what was supposed to be a 3.5 hour trip, closer to 6. We had minimal energy, but were deadset on a German place Andrew had found earlier in the week. We checked into our hotel then headed to Loda Bier Garten in downtown Mobile for a giant pretzel, fish & chips, and schnitzel. 

Electronics in tow

I loved the tunnels

I was living for the window dressings

Saturday morning, we woke up early for breakfast (I may be an over-sleeper, but I will never pass up a waffle maker and fresh fruit) and then headed to the Mobile Museum of Art. This is one of the smaller museums we’ve been to, but I found several pieces that really stood out to me. The location itself was beautiful, and had we more time, we would have relaxed on the patio with a cup of coffee and our current reads.

My travel companion

After doing some shopping, we headed over to Serda Brewing, which was conveniently located downtown. You guys know I’m not too much of a beer drinker, so I took the time to soak up the local sights and just spend some time with Andrew. While there, we looked up places for lunch and settled on Pizzeria Delphina, also in the downtown area. 

Real classy, babe.

We parked a few blocks away which let us do some exploring on our way to lunch. I borrowed a book from Andrew’s grandparents, “An Ornament to the City: Old Mobile Ironwork” by John S. Sledge with photography by Sheila Hagler. If it weren’t for flipping through their coffee table book, I never would have kept an eye out for the ironwork that’s such an integral part of the city. We took a quick stroll through Bienville Square, where I got to see some of the book’s photographs in person.

Two of my favorite words: free & books

Too hungry to take a before picture
After our quick lunch, we headed to the hotel to get ready for our friends’ reception that night. It easily was the most fun I’ve had with a group in friends in sooo long, and the location was GORGEOUS.

No filter necessary

We got a slow start on Sunday. We thought we’d be able to do a little more shopping before heading home, but we found that most places were either closed or didn’t provide their hours of operation. We were a little bummed, but got to drive through some stunning areas that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen. There was no way we could have been mad at that. Andrew really took a liking to Loda, so we headed into downtown once again for a #brunchbeer. We had lunch with friends shortly after at Blue Gill, where I had the best mahi mahi I’ve ever had. We hung around a while longer, but had to get on the road soon. 

Our drive north was much like our drive down, complete with MFM podcasts, music, and naps (but without the traffic jams). We had such a fun time, especially because we hadn’t done a weekend trip in so long. Seeing our friends made leaving so so hard (the fact they have a precious dog has nothing to do with it), but with a list of things we still want to do and see, something tells me we’ll be back. ❤️