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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More downtown

Travelling is expensive. Travelling twenty minutes from your home and marveling at things that are right in your city, that's cheap and wonderful.

Las Vegas is becoming a place that supports local artists, vendors, and shops. I love finding places that are family owned, one-of-a-kind, and completely unique.

The day started with a lavender latte and ended with me writing this post in a coffee shop and I've got nothing but a happy heart and jittery hands.

Here are some pictures from the day, Happy New Year's Eve everyone! xoxo

lavender latte from Makers and Finders
 
 
 
Shots below are from The Western Gypsy and area surrounding the cute shop.
 




 
Two shots below are from JJC Clocks & Antiques




 
All shots below are from antique shop, Patina
 



 
 
These two sweet sisters came with me to explore, Ashley (left) blogs at www.ashleyobscura.com, and Carly (right) blogs at http://inspiredbythemundane.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 29, 2014

Life Is with Taylor DuVall

I met Taylor Duvall in an English class. Being an English major, I've learned that a lot of aspiring writers are so into preserving their art and hoarding their creativity instead of sharing it, that sometimes they comes off as rude or pretentious.
This is definitely not Taylor. In fact, the definition above is probably the antonym of what Taylor is. She is one of those people you want to be friends with because she is so open and lovely and wonderful. She speaks her mind and still listens intently to others. She's got a great perspective on life, love, and adventures. The first time I read her Life Is answers, I was reminded why I began interviewing people for my blog. I was reminded that there are so many more beautiful people in the world than there are bad ones.
We've all got something to learn, something we need to really hear, and Taylor's responses have me listening.


Life is… interview questions


1. What do you think are the three most important parts of living a meaningful life?


Compassion – I have been through some very hard times in my life.  I’m certainly not alone in this!  Human beings across generations and nations are unified in the same experience: difficulty.  A meaningful life realizes this fact and shows compassion, extends grace, and offers a little extra love.  


Adventure – I don’t want to live a lifetime without actually experiencing all life has to offer: meeting new people, trying new things, going to new places, eating new food, loving fiercely and chasing wild dreams.  


Honesty – A meaningful life demands honesty in all things, of course.  But it also requires honesty with myself.  Who am I?  What do I like and dislike?  What makes me excited and what makes me uncomfortable? It’s important to live an authentic life by answering these questions honestly.


2. Who do you look up to?


My parents and Jesus of Nazareth.  Also, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Gilbert, and other feisty women doing what they love to do.


3. What are three non-essential things that get you through the day? Ex. chocolate, coffee,...


  1. Sugar – This may or may not belong on the list, because basically I see sugar as a daily essential.  Most people tell me it’s non-essential.  Agree to disagree.  
  2. Text Messaging – An introvert’s favorite way to communicate!
  3. Lip Crayons – Half lipstick/half liner – great for lazy people great for all the dark colors happening this season!


4. What does the world need more of?


Celebrations!  Celebrating each other, celebrating achievements, or celebrating just making it through another day.  From parties and dinners out to kitchen dance parties and sharing a bottle of wine. Life is hard, laughter is healing, and celebrations are fun.  


Glennon Doyle Melton wrote: “If our goal is to be tolerant of people who are different than we are…then we really are aiming quite low. Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated.”  I happen to agree.


5. What is your personal mission?


“Feel the fear. Do it anyway”


I used to live my life in complete fear of everything.  I think “Play It Safe” used to be my personal mission.  That or “Hide.”  But fear is a vicious leader.  When fear leads, you do not live – you only pretend to live. That being said, I don’t have to wait for the fear to go away completely before doing the things I want to do- like going back to college, going out on a blind date, or canceling a summer class in order to fly to Puerto Rico. These things all scared me, and these things ended up being some of my favorite, most cherished experiences this year.


It’s not that I’ve lost my fear.  We haven’t broken up.  I feel fear…a lot.  The difference is I’ve learned to do all the good things anyway. (Sidenote: sometimes I still fail miserably at this and allow fear to win out, but then I try to do better the next time).


6. Tell about a moment in your life that has shaped your belief system. A single moment that your heart holds onto forever.


There have been so many.  The first that comes to mind is reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller as a teenager and realizing for the first time that God was a lot bigger than the box I had put Him in.  I had thought until then that God was on the side of Republicans and heterosexuals.  That is true.  He is just also on the side of everyone else as well.  God is on the side of human beings. It was the first moment that opened my eyes to the fact that loving people is way more important than a set of overbearing moral codes.   


7. What is your favorite quote?


When it’s over, I want to say all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world
- Mary Oliver

8. Fill in the blank. Life is...

a story.  Full of varied chapters and plot twists.  Heroes and Villains and Sidekicks.  Comedy, drama, romance, and horror.  Page-turning suspense and some boring exposition.  All of these things combine into a chaotically beautiful story.  

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Friday, December 26, 2014

oh, Calico.

Written on Christmas Eve

_________________________________________


Lizzie and I woke up early today and went to Calico Basin.


 
 

When my Dad was a healthy and an active part of our lives, we would hike the trails of Calico Basin nearly every weekend. My dad would pack a lunch and we would always rise early, always the youngest on the trails. I remember always pushing myself harder and playing it off like it was nothing. Trying to talk through quickening breaths, Lizzie and I would watch our Dad glide up the mountain sides so gracefully, effortlessly. Until he was just a small dot. Unrecognizable, out of reach.

It’s been nearly ten years since we’ve hiked with our dad. Lizzie called me the day before we left to go home for Christmas asking if I’d be up for the trail again. I was certain that a decade would be enough time for memories to fade, that there would be no way memories would be left along those mountains. I was sure that time, weather, the simple breath of change would alter what we had left up there. The moments we shared together.

Going to Calico Basin was like going home.
 
 
 

I knew the scents, I knew the air. I remember dancing along the open land when we were younger, racing to the car. I remember being so overwhelmed with the beauty. I remember my dad, and thinking that we would do this till he was old and gray. That this trail would be our forever place.

Lizzie and I brought doughnuts, something our dad would reward us with after a long hike.

He would typically get us hot chocolate too, but now we are older. Now we drink coffee and I think of how he wouldn’t know that. If we take sugar or cream. If we wait for it to cool, or drink it while its hot.
 
 

Lizzie and I walked that trail and would just stop at random points. Like we were paying respect to these part of our lives.

We looked up at the mountain side together, “Remember when Dad would hike so high, and we would watch from down here?”

At 20, I stare up and feel 10 again. Remembering my dad, a big cheesy grin as went higher and higher, further and further away. I don’t know what he does now, or if he visits the trail by himself. I don’t know if he remembers like I do.

But this season of life is like those mountains, he went further and further, until he was a blur. Completely unrecognizable.

My heart is so heavy as I write this, it what is now just my mom’s bed.

But I am just thinking of how blessed I am.

Christmas for us used to mean endless presents, indispensable income for whatever us four kids asked for.

And while it was always fun to tear through the wrapping and share what we found, there were major cracks in our family’s foundation.

There was little honesty, and lots of band-aids over wounds that never healed quite right. We spent years thinking if you wrapped lies up neatly enough, no one would recognize them.

I am so grateful. To be in a home and not just a house. To be with my mom, sister, and brother, and be able to share what is on our mind. To be completely true and authentic to who we all are. To know there is nothing but an abundance of love. It’s my favorite gift of all.

Calico Basin will  be a spot I treasure, always. Lizzie and I drove from the trail to our mom’s house and talked about how it will be a new tradition. But I couldn’t possibly appreciate the new without recognizing that the old traditions are still special. Still alive.

I am so grateful for everything this life has given me. For every person, for every place, for every memory.

Lizzie and I made it home safely today and laughed and hugged and danced. Our kitchen counters still have sprinkles of flour, there are scraps of wrapping paper, and dishes need washing. Nothing is perfect and yet everything is.
 

I am happy to be here. I am happy to be home.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is excited for the new adventures and opportunities the New Year will bring. Wishing everyone a blessed day. xoxo

Monday, December 22, 2014

Embracing the cold ring finger


Sharing a post today from a November journal entry.

___________________________________


On Thanksgiving, we held hands and said a prayer.


I stared at my mom’s hands. Lined with veins and freckled, sun-loved skin. I looked at her left ring finger, and remembered how as a little girl, I would spot her wedding ring.

My eyes would gleam like the diamond fixed into place. I would ask to try it on, and it was always too big. Even for my thumb. It looked misplaced, unbalanced, like a young boy trying to wear his father’s suit jacket.

It fit my mom perfectly when I was little. Her beautifully curled blonde hair, rouge lipstick, bright smile. Perfumed skin, poised walk. My mom fit her ring.

I, on the other hand was seven. My hair was tangled and knotted due to the hands of the wind. My skin smelled of sunshine and laundry detergent. The ring did not fit me.

I stared at my mom’s cold ring finger during our Thanksgiving dinner and thought of how for 15 years of my life, her finger was comforted by that ring.

She began to talk about how at my age, 20, she was married, had a seven month old, and was celebrating Thanksgiving at her in-laws.

At 20, I am home. I am in college, wildly independent, I have a list of things I want to do before I share a life with someone. A million things to do before my finger is comforted by a forever promise.  

But still, when I look around and I have friends getting married, their left ringer finger decorate with a diamond ring, I really think about the season of my life.

After dinner, I went into my mom’s room and found the ring my dad once proposed to her with. I tried it on, hesitantly. Letting it slowly pass my knuckle, and then letting it settle into place.

It fits perfect this year. But it doesn’t.

Because I am no longer the seven year old girl that thought the only way to a life well-lived meant a life with a diamond ring on my left hand. I realize now, that one day I want that commitment, but first, I want to commit to years of adventure. Of self-discovery, and self-love, and years to wander.

I want to create a life I am proud of, and then share it. But first, I want to embrace my cold ring finger. I want to wake up early, and travel near and far, I want to read about topics I have never taken the time to understand. I want to enjoy my solitude, appreciate my silence, and appreciate myself. I want to be entirely proud of every part of my past, present, and celebrate the possibilities of my future.

The ring fits me, but not this season of my life. 

And even though I dreamed of the day that this ring could look like something that belonged to me, I find myself feeling grateful that today, it fits, but it doesn’t.






Share what you are grateful for today on Emily's blog, Ember Grey.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Life Is... with Mrs. Measom




During the summer months  I came across the blog, Xo, Mrs. Measom. Sweet, funny, and full of charm, this mama loves her life with all she has.



The thing that really got me was her Instagram posts. As a college student and a young woman that's frequently surrounded by people who often post something negative, self-defeating, or inappropriate, Mrs. Measom's posts are a breath of fresh air. Every caption makes you love life a little harder. Or laugh out loud as she recounts parts of her motherhood experiences. Or totally swoon over how precious family is and her killer style.



Her Life Is interview is short and sweet, so I am also sharing a blog post of hers that really hit home for me. And has me rooting for her, whatever creative path she chooses. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us today, Kirstin.






Going After Your Dreams, by Mrs. Measom


"As a young girl, I always had big dreams. (don't we all?) I wanted to be a ballerina.  The kind who just floated across the stage, traveling the world, doing something I loved more than anything else, but reality had to set in. It was just the three musketeers. My mom, my brother, and I, and there certainly wasn't enough money for me to take any kind of lessons, and even more so the expensive kind. (hey, being a well versed ballerina at the age of five ain't cheap.) 

Even when we are still young, and full of hope, dreams had to come face to face with reality. There is something so beautiful about a child's outlook on life. You know, anything is possible, and you're not scared one bit. Where that goes, and what happens to those feelings I'm not sure, but I do know that somewhere between childhood, the teenage years, and adulthood we all start to lose faith in ourselves. Some people call it "being a realist," other's call it "being a pessimist," I think it's just us adapting. Could this loss of fearlessness and faith in ourselves be a way of protecting us from the overbearing feeling of failure? I could just as easily agree with that idea, as I could that we also adapt to survive.

If we remained totally fearless, most of us would probably be dead. I mean let's face it, some people jump out of planes for fun, but a lot of us would also maybe keep dreaming of things that wouldn't provide for our worldly needs, like buying food. Is that sad that we sellout for money? Maybe, but I have to say that a lot of the things I "gave up," to be more realistic, or to protect myself from the feeling of being a failure brought me to the very place I find myself now. Happy with a husband of my dreams, and a baby I just can't stop watching.

I think where I am going with all of this is that over time we change, and just as we adapt so do our needs, our wants, and our desires. It isn't always a bad thing, and sometimes it is necessary, but we need to be careful that we don't sellout of our dreams because of fear. We need to have faith in ourselves and our passions because if we don't learn to embrace the beauty within us we might as well just sign up to work in a cubical call center for the rest of our lives. There is safety in that. You can't fail at that, & if you're thinking no way in hell would you ever do that job, then just tell yourself no way in hell would you ever stop believing in your dreams next time that crosses your mind. You are valuable. You have talents. You can do anything, if you just work your tail off. Don't sell out. I have faith in you even if you don't. We are all inspirational in our own way, so let's make a dent in the universe.

I know I ain't leaving without leaving my dent. So help me. I am going for my dreams. Failure may come, sure, but at least I can say I believed in myself. Which is more than I could say just a week ago. Hey, that's some kind of progress right?

Live out loud. Live your dreams. Dream big."






Life Is...



1. What do you think the three most important parts of living a meaningful life are?
 

There is one part I know connects all the rest and it is loving yourself. Without that you are just wandering through life like a zombie. Going through the motions, but not living intentionally. So love yourself, and if you don't work at it everyday until you get there. 


2. Who do you look up to?

Two words- Carrie Bradshaw, & of course my momma. 


3. What are three non-essential things that get you through the day?

Diapers. Dr. Pepper. Netflix. 


4. What does the world need more of?

Organic produce. Free range chickens. Non-GMO everything. 

 
5. What is your personal mission?


Loving hard. 

 
6. Tell about a moment in your life that has shaped your belief system. A single moment that your heart holds onto forever.


The day I held my son, I knew I was part of something a lot bigger than me. 

 
7. What is your favorite quote?


Que sera sera (what will be will be).
 

8. Fill in the blank. Life is...
 
Grand, unless you're a complainer then it's just crap.


__________________________________________________________




If you want to follow Mrs. Measom's beautiful life:


Blog // Instagram // Twitter // Bloglovin

 Wishing everyone a happy Friday & a great weekend! xo

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cake Batter Cookies

December is going by so quickly, and I have not been staying on top of gift-shopping like I should.

I am constantly looking for presents that show my appreciation and love for those in my life. And then I thought, what says I love you better than cake batter and cookies morphed into one?! Answer: nothing.



This recipe is so easy, and these cookies are SO good. I am delivering them today to our apartment managers and neighbors.

My sister and I live in an apartment in a complex that is for those who are 55 and older. How were we able to live here? Besides being old souls, all senior complexes typically have to have a small ratio of young people, and we are the lucky two out of five that got accepted.

Most of the residents are probably 75 and older, and we seriously have the sweetest, kindest neighbors. We are showered with compliments and care. And even though they sometimes ask a lot of question or complain when we come home "too late" (9:30 p.m.), we love them. These cookies show the love, and are so soft they could probably eat them without their dentures in. Win, win.

The recipe is below. Happy Monday! xoxo


Confetti Cake Batter Cookies (taken from Sally's Baking Addiction Confection- such an adorable recipe blog!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (18.25 oz) vanilla/white cake mix, such as Duncan Hines
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone. Gently mix in the sprinkles - you do not want to dye the cookie dough by overstirring the sprinkles.
Drop rounded 1-inch balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes - do not let the cookies get brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops will settle down so you will not have to press the cookies down yourself. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, for up to one week. Cookies freeze well, up to 2-3 months.


For bloggers and non-bloggers, stop by Ember Grey today and share what you are grateful for!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Downtown Las Vegas

Finals are finally over. After stu(dying) for nearly two months, I'm free as a bird!

I'm also broke as a college student, and the travel jar I have on my desk is just filled with change and lonely buttons.

So, I'm taking winter break to fall in love with my city and figure out great little places that decorate Las Vegas.

I so often have wanderlust and I've been lucky to go to some amazing places, but these past few days of driving across town to just try coffee somewhere new, see Christmas tree farms, visit locals shops, and become familiar with streets I never even drove down, has been really eye-opening. We can be inspired every day. There is endless beauty in our surroundings, we just have to be willing to look.

Yesterday, my friend Carly and I spent all afternoon exploring downtown Las Vegas. I like to say it's a little bit gritty, but a lotta bit unique and budding. One of my friends describes Vegas as a prepubescent teen. He says it's got a lot of potential, "But it's covered in acne, and it's kinda awkward, and it's trying really hard to be cool." But downtown Vegas is like that prepubescent teen that hit a growth spurt before the others kids, and frankly, it's awesome.

We started the day at The Beat Coffeehouse. I love The Beat. I love the old sofas, and the bistro tables, the giant windows, and the vinyl room in the back. I love the people walking in with rainbow hair, and the ones who talk to anyone that will listen.

After getting green tea for me, chai for Carly, we set out and wandered. (Not before getting hit on by a fifty year old who asked to edit our photos.)


 We went to Container Park, which is like a hybrid of an artsy local market and a modern shopping center. There's great shops, food, and more coffee. I didn't snap a single picture here, so you'll just have to believe me, it's so cute and worth visiting.

We found a really bright mural on the side wall of The Market. People watched as we took pictures.

 
 
We found a great local apothecary shop with floral galore called Bud and Vine. It's so charming. I love the look of exposed architecture, and cool colors and this shop has the best of both those worlds.


 
 
Next we ate at Eat. It was so packed everywhere we went, but we snuck into this tiny place, and got seated right away. Also, I think I saw a guy from the Food Network there, and I stared at him for a really long until I could see he was visibly uncomfortable, and then I realized he wasn't famous, just a doppelgänger of a food network star. What should be famous is the roasted chicken sandwich at Eat. and there house chips. Yummmm.
 

 
You know when you have friends that make you feel the need to get a salad and not bring up dessert? Carly is not ones of those friends. So after our carb-y lunches, we got doughnuts. And not just any doughnuts, O-Face Doughnuts. The kind employee  with electric blue hair, and about seven facial piercings described every single doughnut to us, (there's one with bacon), and I still got classic vanilla with sprinkles. I also didn't get a good picture because I just wanted to eat it, oops.
 
After walking around some more, we spotted a local shop, Co-ter-ie, which means a small group of individuals with similar interests and beliefs. The shop reminded me of this scene in the Sweetest Thing when they two best friends sneak off to a unique local boutique and everything is so eclectic and one-of-a-kind. It was just completely something of it's own and I had so much fun looking at all the beautiful clothes. They also had a wall where people could leave a message, and I was happy to see so many kind, encouraging words. Of course, the picture I got shows some type of frazzled monster and some terrifying doodles.

 
 
Small Findings: Carly and I both love taking photos of walls, chairs, and anything outdoors. Here are some of the shots.
Behind O-Face Donuts


 

It was beautiful and sunny. How lucky are we?!


 
Once I saw this wall, I thought, who was the first person to put up a sticker? And the second and the third, and what gave them the idea? What did the very first sticker look like? I am a writer, so I obviously look for a sign in everything, and to me, there is an immense beauty in this wall. Someone had the courage to take a plain black door, and place a sticker, giving several others to follow the courage to do the same. And now, it's not just a plain black door, it's art. People didn't place the same stickers, or put them in the same spot or even direction. And that's what I think creating, sharing, and living a meaningful life is about. You try something that feels right to you, even if it breaks a norm, and in return, you get to watch people express themselves in a similar way. You get to be apart of something more than just your own life. 
And, it's not that your one piece was enough, it's that people come together and fill in the puzzle. This sticker wall would be hideous or dirty to some. But it shows unity, creativity, and it's ours. It belongs to Las Vegas and there is nothing else like it.
 
 
I want to thank my sweet Carly friend for searching and discovering with me all afternoon.
Carly blogs over at http://inspiredbythemundane.blogspot.com/ and makes adorable DIY crafts.
 
 
Wishing everyone a blessed Sunday! xo.
 
Places listed in this post:
 
The Beat Coffeehouse: 520 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
 
Container Park:707 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
 
Bud and Vine: 124 South 6th Street, 170, Las Vegas, NV 89101
 
Eat.:707 Carson Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101
 
O-Face Doughnuts: 124 South 6th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
 
Co-te-rie: 515 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101
 



Monday, December 8, 2014

My heart to this life

I am supposed to be running.
That's what I woke up to do this morning.

But other things are on my mind, and even though I had a plan and an exact amount of time I was hoping to spend getting fresh air and exercise, my clouded thoughts have a way of distracting me.



I've ran this trail more times than I can count. My feet know the path: the cracks, the bumps, where the sidewalk finishes and the dirt trail begins. I know what I typically see: birds chirping and hiding in trees. Couples walking hand in hand. Children being pushed in strollers, laughs coming from their seats.

I know it all too well.

The trail begins at a park, makes it way under a flood channel and up a small hill, where gold leaves are now decorating the ground, fall's offering.
I slow down to a walk, and continue on my path.
My favorite part of the trail has a sloppy grass hill and trees decorating the whole thing. I've read books with my first college boyfriend on this hill. I've had picnics. I've laid still catching my breath after a long run. I've journaled, wondered, marveled, and appreciated.

Beneath every tree on the hill is a memorial stone to someone who has passed.
I've looked but never really seen these stones. Today I stop at each one. Each one reading a variation of the words: In memory of, our friend, our son, our daughter. With love. You will be missed.

I don't know these people or their families. I don't know how they passed. But in a way as I sit on this hill, I feel connected to them. I feel like we are sharing this place, this moment.
I think about all the people who have passed, and the people that are missing them. And I think about those I miss and how sometimes I wonder if they would be proud.

And as I am looking at these stones and reading the years they lived, a set beginning and end, I think about all the things we tell ourselves we must do in our lifetimes. All the things we eagerly wait to cross of a bucket list.
And I realize one thing: whether you see the world or you see only your hometown, whether you sky dive, bungee jump, learn to speak 5 languages, or move into a big house, and buy your dream car, all that begins to matter in the end is if you have someone to share your life with.


I am always saying that I am more than happy being independent. I always tell my friends that try to set me up with a guy that I am okay being alone right now. I pride myself on being someone who is focusing on herself, by herself right now.

But I realize know, on this hill, that that isn't true. I have never been truly alone, I always have an abundance of love and wonderful people in my life. I always have someone to confide in, someone to share with, celebrate with, mourn with. I never feel alone. That's a giant blessing.

And that's what life is. It's sharing and loving, and knowing that the special moments are made even more special when shared. Life is those people that you call the moment you get good or even bad news. The people who celebrate with you, cry with you, the people that always answer. Without those people these stones wouldn't be beneath these trees.

In our last moments, I like to think we want to know we made ourselves proud, but also those closest to us.

I like to think we would all like something left in our memory, something that shows we shared memories, just like these stones beneath the trees. And when our time comes, I like to think we don't feel so alone. We feel connected.

Like the sun to the trees.
My feet to this trail.
My heart to this life.


Stop by Emily's blog this week and share what you are grateful for.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fall Style

Every single year, I fall in love with fall. I know exactly what the season entails, what change the landscape will bring, and I still find myself in amazement. Our world is so beautiful. Fall shows off just how beautiful it really is.

Fall is like that awesome mascara that takes you from zero to hero. Or that really great blouse that automatically makes you feel great.

Fall is the ultimate enhancer.

Besides that leaves changing, Starbucks holiday cups, and crisp, cool weather, fall clothes are THE BEST. (I never use all caps, so you know how major this is.)

Today, I'm going to talk about my favorite fall styles and great places to shop.

Firstly, scarves.
If there was ever an accessory that makes everything look instantly more polished, it's a scarf. In this photo, I am wearing one from Old Navy, and it was $9. I also love getting scarves from Nordstrom Rack, Dillard's, and Target. There are also so many ways to tie scarves to mix up your look. I attached this awesome chart via Pinterest for more inspiration.
 
How to tie a scarf bow (#2) // Wrap the scarf around your neck and make sure both ends are even. Then, tie the scarf just as you would tie any bow. You need a longer scarf for this one.  == How to tie the half-bow cinch (#7) // With
 Secondly, Boots.

I love wearing boots because they are so comfortable and versatile. My newest obsession is wearing them with tights and rompers, skirts, or dresses. In this photo, the romper I have on was $10 from Aeropostale. My boots are DSW, $60, and my tights are from Target. The most important part when pairing with boots is making sure you are adding length to your legs and not making them look stumpy.
I do this by making sure the tights are dark, to create more of an illusion that I have longer legs. Also, if you have bigger thighs and hips and you want to wear short boots, like combats or booties, make sure they are loose around your ankle. If they are too tight, it looks unbalanced. You can loosen that shoe laces on combats, and opt for booties that have a roomier ankle. (See pic below.) It's a bad idea to pair really light jeans with dark boots.
Candies, $30.

I have also learned that splurging on boots is well worth it. I mean, you're wearing that for multiple months out of the year.
That being said, you can still find really great boots at a discounted price. Steve Madden's "last season" boots are always at Ross for nearly half the price. Also, Kohl's carries some great new brands like Lauren Conrad's collection, Simply Vera, and Candies.
 


Thirdly, Hats.
Most people will laugh at this, and I hope you do, because honestly it's ridiculously silly but also a dark secret of mine:  I have a giant head. I can never find hats that fit just right, I embarrass myself in stores all the time because hats just balance on the top of my head without actually ever going on. So, I typically order gender-neutral or I daydream about having a normal-sized head. (which for most women is 7 inches, mine is 7 3/8, lots of extra brain room, I suppose.)
My struggle is in finding floppy hats. And I found one! This one is from Macy's and is $30. For most this would fit just fine.
 If you do have a big head like me, (comment below, I want to know who you are), lightly wet the inside brim of any felt hat with a rag and wear it on your head for an hour. Felt is pretty stretchable, and it's conform to your head size. Sure, your head will hurt while you try to stretch something that wasn't made for you. Beauty is pain, people. It's why we jump while putting on our skinny jeans.
 
Lastly, Utilitarian jackets.
 
These jackets are so versatile and olive green is a color that compliments nearly all skin tones. For school and running errands, I'll pair my jacket with boyfriend jeans and a graphic tee. For work, I'll put a cream blouse on underneath, or a statement necklace and do dark skinny jeans and heels. I bought this one from Marshall's last season, for $40.
 
I hope you are all loving fall as much as I am. Happy Friday, loves! xoxo
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