Friday, August 26, 2016


This is a completely new kind of post for me, but today I'm sharing a short story that I wrote. It's included in the latest edition of my school's literary magazine, and it's dear to my heart. I hope you enjoy!

The waves always repeated; they always came back to reach for her toes. Throughout the entire day the waves hadn’t paused their repetitive motion for even one second. By now, her feet had sunk into the sand, and the waves brushed new layers of it and broken shells over her feet with each ceaseless cycle of the foamy, white tendrils reaching for the shore before retreating back to the safety of the Pacific. It would always clean off the top of her feet for a brief moment, but then it washed more back on her.

She had been standing, overlooking the water, for almost the entirety of this day christened “the most beautiful day of the year” by the town’s weatherman that morning. You don’t ever picture your first heartbreak, but if you did, then it would most definitely not be on a day where the sky declares its vastness by removing all clouds and the weather warms your skin without the intensity of making your clothes stick. You may picture grey skies and thunderclouds on the day your heart breaks, but not “the most beautiful day of the year.”

She hadn’t been expecting it, of course. All she could do was stare now, fixated on the ocean’s repeating waves, struggling to decipher what had been genuine about their time together. The body of water seemed to be a fresh tint that desired to be turquoise but was forced to be much more clear.

They hadn’t been together for long, but their lives had been consumed by each other since the April day a mutual friend introduced them. Due to her mother’s tendencies to let sad records blare in the house and engage in broken, toxic relationships, she had allowed her heart to grow heavily guarded. Maybe, probably definitely, he wasn’t the solution she needed, but the timing was right. He appeared right when she was ready to be vulnerable.

Everything he was embodied a calmness her soul thirsted for; her life had always been an unpredictable cycle of chaos, and he was something solid to cling to. He spoke with gentle kindness and careful attention.

She first believed she loved him the Sunday they met for breakfast at a coffee shop and stayed the whole day discussing favorite bands, plans to escape their small California town, and the dogs they had owned. Whenever he grabbed her hand and she would tilt her head up to his magnetic green eyes. Him playing his favorite song and her closing her eyes as they drove down the highway. So many moments building to this conviction.

She even loved him while she watched him smoke, a habit she had previously detested; her father had smoked, and many of their armchairs served as reminders of when he was too lazy to use an ashtray. They would sit in his car, and she would watch him exhale the ribbon of cigarette smoke, tainting the clean coastal air. This simple ritual caused her heart to beat faster. He was so calm and careful about it, qualities she had never seen as synonymous with the habit before.

He hadn’t loved her for one minute, though he may have thought he did. He had loved the way she looked at him when he spoke about his passions, and he had loved the poems she would sometimes leave neatly folded in the passenger seat. He was used to admiration and got caught up in any new form of it. But he hadn’t loved her, and now her heart was shattered on “the most beautiful day of the year.”

People aren’t like the ocean, she considered. They don’t have an obligation to clean you or return to you. By now the sky had shifted from the pure blue it had been all day to a rosy pink to a magnificent blend of blue and purple, reflecting into the water and destroying the consistency her day had revolved around. She turned and made her way through the sand.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

right now

This summer sped by, and I was at a 6 week program without computers so I didn't make any blog progress, but I'm full of ideas now. I'm planning on committing to the changes I announced in my last post and only posting content that feels completely authentic. Additionally, I'm not using @outfitsandobservations on Instagram anymore, so if you want blog updates or to see what's going on in my life, follow @coffee.claire !

I want to put a spotlight on some of the little things I'm loving at the moment. Here are some items that make my world seem more special. I hope you enjoy them and comment some of your favorites. Also, no books on here because I'm planning a separate, books-only post for soon!
Eliza Starting
This podcast is done by a 17 year old girl named Eliza who lives on the Upper East Side. She's the cutest and talks about all of the things she loves, her favorite parts of the city, and what it's like to be a teenager today-- how it's more complicated than older generations give us credit for-- in ten minute weekly episodes. She's extremely articulate and smart without seeming pretentious. It's cool to listen to her talk about things I can directly relate to, like the college process and how much she loves BORNS.

Gossip Girl
Not to be on an Upper East Side streak, but this is another one of my loves lately. I watched it all freshman year and was completely obsessed, and now I'm rewatching it and loving it all the same. I'm not typically a dramatic tv girl, but all of the characters and the craziness they create are impossible to look away from. I'm currently on season 5 and fully immersed in the lives of Serena and Blair.

Depression Cherry
Beach House's 2015 album has been getting me lately. Listening to it feels like some combination of a dream and a low budget movie. It's the perfect album to write or read or drive to, and it flows together perfectly.

It's my favorite Fleetwood Mac album and has been on my record player consistently for the past year. "Storms" is one of the most beautiful and emotionally strong and dear-to-my-heart songs of all time. Tusk is potentially the purest example of the band's stunningly crafted lyrics. It also houses "Sara," "What Makes You Think You're The One," "Angel," and all the rest. Listen to it all the way through!

Tarte's Liquid Eyeliner
I've been using the "lights, camera, lashes" precision longwear liquid eyeliner, and I'm so impressed by it. The felt tip pen allows for such a smooth line, and it stays the entire day. My favorite makeup is winged liner, so this has been a huge help with that.
21c's Pop Stars Exhibit
When I visited 21c in early June I was completely unprepared for this exhibit. There's a piece that took Britney's "Baby One More Time" and gave light to how elegant, how emotional, how raw those lyrics are. There's focus on the beauty of a pop song and how it can be a catalyst to fame. There's a mirror with Paris Hilton carved/ marked into it via thousands of words said and written about her by friends, tabloids, herself. There's an image of Lady Gaga as a Renaissance-esque beauty. The whole collection is fabulous, and I'm not sure how much longer it will be on display.

much love,

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Lately I've been going through the archives of style rookie, and Tavi's feelings and aesthetic obsessions are so present in those posts, they're leaking out of her. It's truly her diary, and it's incredible and pure. There are so many mood boards of stills from Sophia Coppola films, references to favorite albums, couture pieces that floor her, this whole stream of consciousness that's so unique to this time in adolescence.

I've also been devouring Kate Zambreno's Heroine, in which she draws a stunning portrait of the wives of modernism and other influential women writers who are so often used as muses and dismissed as real artists. She examines the female writer and the way she's perceived-- as emotional and impulsive and of less literary merit in most cases. She empowers this feminine experience, screams for young girls to begin sharing their voice in whatever way they choose, however raw, it has value.

"A diary as a way for girls to be kept safe, to feel free to write her emotions and nascent ideas without being disciplined. This is often the mode that allows her to come to writing-- perhaps this is why it's so widely decided as not literary or seen as raw material. Yet the diary is part of the girl's process-- a way to do the work." Kate Zambreno in Heroines

That being said, I've been embracing this diary style of writing. It's not new for me; in a way I'm reclaiming my preferred method of writing-- expressive, rambling, the unashamed portrayal of self. I feel most comfortable with this style and like it's the best work I produce. But often it's been things I'm afraid to share so they remain in my journal-- or worse, as bits of inspiration or repeated in my head until they're forgotten.

Even though I've made a conscious effort to portray myself, I feel like the me on this blog is so suppressed, so contrived, even though I'm the one in charge of it. I do love the things I write about, but I feel like I'm more concerned with displaying these things rather than depicting their importance with my writing. I'm not displaying my authentic self, my authentic passion. I'm not satisfied with a lot of my words on this blog because I feel like so much of it doesn't actually mean anything. And also, I've changed and evolved a lot as a person even in the past 18 months of this blog, but I feel trapped by the structure that I began with.

I'm going to start sharing these things that I was scared to post before. I don't have to be polished because I'm not polished. I've been so afraid this past year because I used to think I had this crystal-clear idea of where I was going, and then I realized I have no idea. That ambiguous fear has distracted me from exploring all of these things that I'm truly passionate about. There's so much potential if I explore these things, so that's going to be a main part of this blog. Expect things to be more personal, to have that diary-esque feel, more mood boards!

I want to sort of redesign the way I view and treat the whole blogging process this summer. It's probably going to be messy, but that's the point. I'm seventeen, and I've had a fashion blog since I was fourteen, and now I want things to be different.

much love as always,

Monday, May 9, 2016

may playlist

Today marks the middle of the AP testing craze, and everything seems to be happening at once. Recently there's been AP testing, the end of the school year approaching, the state track meet, two proms, Dallas for my cousin's wedding, the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association Conference, and a million other things.
I've felt my best in months because of spring taking over and all of this going on, but I'm so ready for summer and unstructured days. Here are some songs for anticipating those times:

Juicy by Radiation City (the band I saw in Portland! check them out!)
10,000 Emerald Pools by Borns (ready to see them with the Lumineers in October!)
Space Song by Beach House (if you want to feel like you're in a dream)
Turn to Sand by Musique Le Pop (for dancing in the car on a bright day)
Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles) by Arcade Fire
Flesh Without Blood by Grimes (completely obsessed with this song as of late)
Cool Party by Mal Blum (really digging this song, sometimes it makes me cry a lil tho)
No Love Like Yours by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes (their new album is so dynamic & cool)
Lovers in the Parking Lot by Solange (a true anthem)
Swingin Party by the Replacements (so summery, I love Lorde's cover as well)

it's not legible due to my excitement, but I won runner up for Newspaper Writer of the Year at Arkansas' High School Journalism convention!
current inspiration via the pages of Teen Vogue and Nylon
when in Dallas, I got to meet up with the lovely Jen of Modern Ensemble. she was so sweet & gave me a ton of tips on blogging
prom #1 with my pretty cell group girls
Braums means so much to me
this book has been taking over my life lately; it's about the wives of modernism & their genius that was so often dismissed 
sunny days call for iced lattes at the new Arsagas
the best parts of track meets are taking pictures of it
Fayetteville is so magical!
prom #2 (to see more)

much love,
@outfitsandobservations on instagram

Monday, May 2, 2016

prom 2016

Nordstrom dress, choker and booties via Masons

Prom includes spending hours getting glam, dancing like crazy in a dream dress, and staying up until 3 am laughing with friends, so I’m a definite fan. The concept of prom as a whole is pretty overhyped, but getting down to Gold Digger with my friends in pretty clothes is never going to get old. 

Here’s a photo diary that begins with our bare faces and pajamas and ends with Beautiful Young Ladies, all captured by the lovely Ana Estrada.

We spent Saturday afternoon alternating between doing each others hair and makeup and having dance parties to Britney Spears’ Greatest Hits (when I was in charge of the music). It rained in the morning, but by noon the sun was shining. Helen’s solarium gave us the most perfect natural lighting and the illusion that we were spending time outdoors.

For my makeup look, I did dramatic liner and emphasized my brows. Laurel gifted us all with access to her makeup collection and did my contour. Ana helped take my sloppy daily hairstyle to a more glam level with loose curls and a more structured mini bun.

I found my dress at the Nordstrom in Portland over Spring Break and had been daydreaming about wearing it ever since. It’s simple but has just the right amount of detail to add some edge. The slit and the low neckline were pretty daring for me, and I felt so good in that dress! I wore my absolute favorite little black booties for some height and left my Birth of Venus art socks peeking out. Since there’s all the neckline drama going on, I kept jewelry simple with a gold choker that I’ll probably be wearing all summer. 

Everybody’s look ended up flawless! It makes me smile so big to see everyone so pretty, especially since we’re all in school uniforms half the time. 

matched most with Gaby <3

stunning, floral Ana
Laurel is a real life princess
I want to be Helen when I grow up

my very best pal Georgia and her dress from Ireland

beautiful best friends!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

angels and denim

Topshop tee, Abercrombie belt (similar), thrifted hat, mom's old Seven For All Mankind skirt, socksDr. Martens Mary Janes

Spring in Fayetteville is the most beautiful time, and I have been soaking it up. Georgia took these photos of me on the town square today while we're enjoying a nice four day weekend. School has been really busy lately with AP tests approaching and all of that mess, so it's been nice to have a few days to just chill out and watch Gossip Girl in bed. 

These shoes had been on my wish list for almost a year, and I finally caved in when I was in Portland. I've been wearing them out, especially with all of my art socks and skirts. A couple weeks ago I was going through the closet where my family keeps old clothes, and I found this skirt. It's absolutely perfect and makes plain tees about ten times cooler. I'm sure it will be stuck on me all summer, so fair warning to you guys!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Portland part two

In my last post, I wrote about the first half of my Spring Break trip to Portland, so I couldn't leave you guys hanging on the second half! It was equally wonderful and full of distinctly Portland-y adventures.

On Saturday morning we ventured out to the Portland Saturday Market, a sprawling group of vendors selling various handmade items. We also stopped for the famous Voodoo Donuts because that seemed to be everybody's number one recommendation for the trip. I certainly wasn't disappointed, though I was shocked when a homeless man mooned us during our breakfast. I was informed that's not a typical part of the experience. The sun was shining that day so we soaked it in and walked down the river front.
Sunday was my favorite day by far! It began with a visit to the Portland Art Museum, which had a captivating modern art showcase and a few Monets and Van Goghs, which you guys know I'm a fan of. There was also an incredible exhibit called Ride, focusing on Paige Powell's photography and life/ culture in the Andy Warhol era. Then I met up with Allison and Marian (my fantastic cowriter at ZCM) and they took me on a full day of surprise adventures! I got to try out an authentic Mexican food truck, play around at a nickel arcade, and eat at their favorite diner with the BEST milkshakes. We ended the night with watching Stuck in Love, one of my all time favorite movies, projected onto Allison's wall.

Now that I'm writing about Monday, I'm not sure which day was my actual favorite. After we woke up we headed downtown to have breakfast and coffee at Case Study. I finally got a taste of "real" Portland weather (drizzly rain). We decided to see Radiation City's show at Skype Live Lounge, and I fell in love with them during their quick set. Please check them out because they have wonderful music and phenomenal passion. It was only two and all of this had happened, but then we went to a MAGAZINE STORE! There were rows and rows of titles I'd never even seen before, pure bliss. Because of the rain, we finished off the day with some shopping, and I found my prom dress at Nordstrom! I mentioned last post that the first day of the trip was one of my best "first days of vacation," and this was also one of my best last days of vacation.
We had to fly out early Tuesday morning, but I had a perfect vacation to reminisce on and edit pictures from. In that short time I fell in love with Portland, and I can absolutely see myself there in the future.

much love,