Saturday, December 19, 2015

Best of 2015

By far, this has been the best year of my life! I got to explore Italy and France over Spring Break, spent July in New York City for FIT Precollege, got a job at my favorite boutique, started this blog, and solidified my sense of self. Luckily, this was all with supportive, wonderful friends and family by my side!

In June, I did an all-time favorites post, but my goal for this one is to share the things I have especially loved in 2015. I love reading posts about what other bloggers enjoy and trying out their recommendations, and I hope you guys are just as inspired by this list!

Obviously, Europe was a huge favorite! This trip was my first time out of the country, and everywhere we went was absolutely stunning. Italian espresso changed me for good. (full post here)

FIT Precollege was by far the best month of my entire life. I was living my dream in my favorite city, and I couldn't have asked for more. I miss it so much, but I can't wait until it's my life for real in a few years. (posts on that hereherehere, and here)

I wanted to make separate albums and songs their own points, but then this post would never end, so I'm going to try to keep it brief. Though just released, Coldplay's A Head Full of Dreams is up on my list because they just never disappoint, and this album sounds like heaven and makes my heart feel so good. I've discussed my love for Halsey here, but I just want to reiterate my love for her as a human and a musician. Bleachers' Strange Desire was on repeat this year and resonated with a lot of what I felt. I also got really into Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel, and I think they'll be permanent favorites. And of course, Kanye is always there when I need some power.

My top 10 favorite songs from the year are:
1. Fall Into Place by Apartment
2. Colors by Halsey
3. Weight of Love by the Black Keys
4. Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl by Broken Social Scene
5. Still Sane by Lorde
6. Holocene by Bon Iver
7. I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers
8. Violet Hill by Coldplay
9. The Truth by Foster the People
10. Always in My Head by Coldplay

For the past few years, even though I love reading, I just didn't take the time for books besides required school reading. This year I made up for lost time. All of the books from this post had a large impact on me. Besides those, I adored This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, and The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides. Those are all ones I would read over and over, and I recommend them to you all.

In 2015 I finished Infinite Jest, my favorite book of all time, and became obsessed with David Foster Wallace. I could go on and on about IJ because it's a piece of art/ it made me feel so understood/ it's just so worth the time and effort. DFW's writing style is my favorite, and reading his work has helped me improve so much as a writer. I've been really into his essays lately, especially the ones in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Reading D.T. Max's Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace gave me an incredible amount of insight to DFW's life and how what he dealt with contributed to his work. 

Beverage-wise, I diverged from my traditional vanilla latte and consumed a lot of London Fogs and lavender lattes this year, via Arsaga's, Onyx, and Puritan. 

I watched considerably less on Netflix this year than last year, but I still watched way more than I should have, which just gives me more to share. Parenthood is SO good. I always try to watch American Horror Story in as short of a timespan as possible to get the most out of the story, and Freak Show didn't make that difficult. Wet Hot American Summer, Moonrise Kingdom, Jurassic World, Almost Famous, and Trainwreck were my top movies of the year.

My blog post that I liked the most was becoming, a personal essay in which I talk about how everything I've gone through has contributed to who I am now. That includes anxiety and all of the other crappy stuff that has made me work to be better.

In terms of fashion, I wore my Brandy Melville t-shirt dresses way more than I probably should have, but they're just the best. My Birkenstocks were part of nearly every one of my summer outfits, and my Docs have covered the rest of the seasons. I've been leaning more towards the boho/ free flowing side of fashion than last year, when I loved edgier pieces the most.

What were some of your favorite things this year?

much love,

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Night at Crystal Bridges

Last Friday night when Abby and I visited Crystal Bridges for her human spotlight post, she also snapped some pictures of me and my outfit of the night. Of course, I had to capture some of my current favorite pieces as well. What's your favorite piece(s) at Crystal Bridges?

We mainly explored the museum's permanent collection so we would have time to eat and get coffee after. I've seen most of the pieces countless times, but new details continue to stick out each time I visit. Seeing and discussing pieces with Abby changed some of my perspectives on things as well; she also pointed out paintings I'd somehow skimmed over in the past.

I've been wearing these high waisted jeans a lot in order to continue with my crop top habit in the colder weather. They're amazingly comfortable and flattering, which is saying a lot from me, because jeans are typically my last resort. I'm a fan of the whole 70s aesthetic that's so trendy this season, particularly the lace front tops. I'm obsessed with this coat and the immediate celebrity quality it produces. Adding it transformed a black top and jeans outfit to a full-on glam look.

(always a fan of Impressionist art-- see my post about the Met)

(reminded me of the Virgin Suicides book cover)


Saturday, December 5, 2015

human spotlight: Abigail

I'm starting a new series called human spotlight where I feature my friends who have not only an envious sense of style but wonderful personalities and tastes in general.

Abigail is my first human spotlight, and deservingly so! She is one of my best friends, and she embodies sunshine. It's not just because she wears a lot of yellow, but because she's always thinking of others' happiness, worshipping Jesus, and smiling. Together we can appreciate Van Gogh, lavender-vanilla lattes, Coldplay, and lots of other parts of life. 

(photos of this outfit taken by me; others contributed by Abby)

On Friday night we spent some serious time at Crystal Bridges admiring the art and chatting about fashion, life, and literature. Learn more about Abigail through this interview and love her as much as I do!

What are your five essentials/ most worn pieces?
My most worn pieces are my maroon oversized sweater, my black floral dress, different colored scrunchies, plain white sweater, and maroon Doc Martens.
What inspires you?
Literature never fails to inspire me because it is a wonderful form of expression. Also, when others continue to love is inspiring because it can be hard to do so. When people do what they love and embrace it, it's always inspiring because it encourages me to do what I love to do regardless of what others think!
Favorite Instagrams or blogs?
Obviously outfits and observations! I really like syd.taylor, isabellaspud, humansofny, orionvanessa, and aspynovard on Instagram!

What are your favorite stores?
Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, Gap, and Forever 21.
What's your sartorial signature?
A floral dress (with tights if it's cold), a scrunchy, Doc Martens or Converse, and a simple necklace.
Currently reading? Listening to? Watching?
Currently reading “This Side of Paradise” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Listening to Death Cab for Cutie's newest album Kintsugi. Watching Sherlock and always The Office
What do you want to do/ where do you want to be?
I am not 100% on what I want to do, but a couple of things that really interest me are music, such as preforming and composing, and film making.
Favorite city/ place?
i really like Chicago and Kansas City.
Anything you’re saving up for or looking to purchase soon?
A record player!

much love,

Sunday, November 15, 2015

a fall look

TJ Maxx dress, Free People jacket (similar), Fringe Fayetteville choker, Doc Martens

My wonderful pal Georgia and I recently spent a Saturday morning enjoying fall in Fayetteville. Our small college town is always stunning, but fall is like nothing else. The leaves change, the air is just crisp enough, and the sun seems to be especially blue. We walked up and down Dickson to shoot some of our favorite spots then got tea lattes from Arsagas and drove around town jamming out to old Justin Bieber.

Lately I've been obsessed with pairing my more boho pieces with my Docs and my leather jacket. I'm not all the way edgy or boho, so a combination of my favorite pieces is necessary to be a representation of my style. Also, flowy, printed dresses like this are the best because they're simultaneously comfy and stylish!  


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

my love note to young Taylor Swift

Like countless teenage girls, I have a longstanding relationship with Taylor Swift. I fell in love with her music immediately, memorizing her self-titled album when I was in third grade and seeing her live for the first time in 2008. Her impact on me, through her music and her person, has been profound. A lot of critics discredit Taylor's music, classifying it as substance-less pop, but I think it’s so much more than that label.

I was originally planning on discussing Taylor's overall influence on me, but the post was long enough only talking about her first two albums. I appreciate and have been thoroughly impacted by everything she's produced, so I might end up doing another post for Speak Now through 1989.

I've had Taylor's albums on repeat for the past nine years, as she's evolved into a multi-platinum artist and I've evolved into a 17 year old girl. Luckily, my own coming-of-age experience has largely overlapped with the development of her career, and I’ve been able to grow as she does with the unique era of each album, spending longer absorbed by some than others. Her songs have always been a sense of security and truth for me. Not only does she play a strong female protagonist in her lyrics, but she's always been remarkably vulnerable in her music. Since the start, she's validated my angsty teen feelings and crushes on various boys. The way the media has responded to her dating habits helped me realize the unfair differences in how male and female musicians are treated. She has always been so graceful and unapologetic about doing things her way.

Listening to Taylor's first album is insane because she wrote those songs when she was 14/15, and they center around first loves, high school drama, and finding your way and identity. "Tim McGraw" was my first favorite song by Taylor, and listening to it brings back an overwhelming amount of nostalgia. I didn't appreciate "A Place in This World" when I was younger, but it became an anthem in junior high; "Cold As You" is dark and strong and so mature; I've listened to "Invisible" a ridiculous amount of times thinking about a boy who didn't ever notice me. If you're emotionally stable enough to not tear up if you hear "Teardrops on my Guitar” when you're alone, I applaud and question your strength.

I think Fearless may be one of the best albums of all time-- you can see Taylor discovering that she is a brave, beautiful, influential force. She takes charge and shares her life lyrically. When describing the title, she said something that has never left me. By the way, this was when she was seventeen: 

"For me, fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."

That statement really encompasses the album as a whole. I remember the excitement of turning fifteen so I could have a Taylor song for my age-- a guide to the year, one that I still follow. "You Belong With Me" was such an anthem. I still think about my fourth grade crush when I hear it. "Tell Me Why" and "You're Not Sorry" are about bad-love, being with boys who lie and don't care the way you're supposed to in a relationship. There are some about that on the first album, but her view on Fearless is much more mature and healthy. They're songs about realizing you're better than the way teenage boys are likely to treat you, a message I luckily absorbed and came to understand over the years. "Forever and Always" was supposedly about Joe Jonas, my favorite Jonas Brother, so that made it even better. This album is art and a guide to high school for any teenage girl. I've sobbed to these songs, but I've also scringed (screaming + singing) to them with friends or driving in my car.

Right when it's perfect on its own, a platinum edition was released a year later with six more songs that deserve a pedestal of their own. "Jump Then Fall" is about how easy it is to fall in love, and it gives me butterflies each time I hear it. "Untouchable" is a sort of darker, mysterious ballad about somebody who is far away and stunning, and people are drawn to them but too scared to get close enough to touch. "The Other Side of the Door" was my favorite song when the platinum edition was first released, definitely a scringer. 

Basically, Taylor feels sort of like my older sister in the way she's held my hand and assisted me through the coming-of-age process with her music. I was able to watch her mature and discover who she was gracefully amidst a life in the spotlight.  Though Taylor has established herself professionally and gained an enormous influence, she still started out as a confused teenager, and that gives me hope for my own life.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

what I'm loving

If you know me at all, you know I love laughing and rambling about the things I love. Over the summer, I made an all time favorites post and talked about my favorite books, but I want to start sharing the things I'm obsessing over on a regular basis. Hopefully some of you guys will take my word and listen to/ watch/ read/ try my favorites. Be sure to tell me yours as well!

Halsey- Badlands has been on repeat since it came out in late August, and I was playing Room 93 all summer. Halsey is one of the best people alive; she's crazy intelligent, but she also isn't afraid to be completely vulnerable and honest about sex in her music. I highly recommend you read this essay (on page 41 of the link) she wrote for Local Wolves about her goals and what she thinks of feminism. Also, do yourself a favor and listen to "Coming Down," "Hurricane," "Young God," and the rest of her music.
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald- I recently read this classic and adored it! Fitzgerald's style is enough on its own, but the story and characters were also so powerful. When I read Catcher in the Rye, I didn't relate to it the way so many people do; I think This Side of Paradise is my favorite coming-of-age via angst tale. I related to the angst and Amory's struggle to figure out who he is and what his flaws are. Please, please, please read this book!
30 Rock- I'm almost finished watching all seven seasons of Tina Fey's masterpiece for the second time. This is quite possibly the funniest show ever produced; the characters are phenomenal, the jokes vary to satisfy both my seven-year-old boy humor and my (semi) intelligent humor, and it's set in New York City. Sometimes I relate way too much to Liz Lemon, but that's okay.
Leather Jacket- I've been breaking out my moto jacket from Free People a lot recently because it makes everything I wear look five times cooler. Mainly, I've been pairing it with my various black dresses and ankle boots/ Docs, but I also love it with the simple jeans and a plain tee look.
Almost Famous- There are way too many good things about this movie. The story line is a dream; a shy teenage boy, passionate about rock music and journalism, accompanies a band on tour to write a story for Rolling Stones. In the process, he gets close to the band and falls in love with one of their groupies, a stunning young Kate Hudson. On this journey, he's also forced to acknowledge the flaws of his heroes and grows immensely. It's set in the early 70s, with the flowing fashion and growing rock scene .

Do yourself a favor and check out these wonderful things!!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

fall/ winter wishlist 2015

Lately I've been so excited about dressing and shopping for the colder months, even though I favor spring and summer weather-wise. There are so many possibilities for layering by piling on cuddly cardigans or tall boots.
This post is going to be a mini compilation of the items I hope to purchase in the near future. I'm obviously drawing a lot of influence from 70s style, autumnal colors, and boho prints.
Also, I have an exciting announcement! I'm a new contributor for Zine Club Mag, an awesome Rookie-esque site for teen girls by teen girls. Each day there are new posts-- playlists, short fiction, photo essays, DIYS, diary entries, personal essays, and more. Check it out, and soon some of my own work will be up on the site!

(all photos from store's websites and are not mine)
(skirt / sweater / dress )
Forever 21 is always a good spot for affordable basics and trendy items. I've been loving these button front skirts, but I'm not sure how much I want to invest in one. The dress is a nice looking faux-suede and is much closer to my price range than the authentic material. Also, there's never a shortage in demand for black sweaters.

Maude is one of my favorite local boutiques and although they carry a wide variety of styles, both items I'm in love with from their site happen to be army green. The dress would look great with black tights and my cranberry Docs, and the cardigan is so cozy I would have to wear it with everything.
dress / skirt )
Savoir-Faire is another one of my favorite local boutiques and another place where I fell for fall-colored items. Both of these could be layered and worn all throughout the holiday season.

There are some Topshop basics I adore, but I really appreciate the exquisite details their clothes often have. All three of these tops are so pretty that they could be worn with dark jeans and boots and be considered a complete outfit.

NY tee / rock tee / sweater )
I couldn't do a wishlist without Brandy Melville. Their clothes are my favorite because they're incredibly soft and can be worn with anything. This cardigan from Brandy is definitely the most worn item in my closet.

What fall trends are you looking forward to participating in? Where are you buying clothes this season?