Saturday, February 14

A Single Girl's Guide to Valentine's Day

Long time no blog!!!! Life has been so crazy hectic (especially my studies with AP Exams slowly approaching) and I have not had the time or energy to throw together an awesome post, but nonetheless, here I am on February 14th to share my (an extremely single girl) guide to Valentine's Day! Valentine's Day isn't just a day to obsess over your short-term boyfriend or post overrated #RelationshipGoals, but to love on one another and to love yourself!

1. GALentine's Day
What better way to express your love then to spend Vday with your best gal pals? Your girls are the ones who have your back, make you laugh, make you cry, and support you no matter what, so celebrate friendship this Valentine's Day! Go on a picnic, grab some froyo, or just simply spend the day together; it will remind you of the best love you have in your life - from your girs! Here I'm lovin on my amazing friend, London! She is the sunflower in my life and I am so blessed by her friendship! This pic is from a super fun Josh Abbott Band concert last spring.

2. Chick Flick
Nothing screams "I'm single" on Valentine's Day more than a good ole chick flick. Try and stray away from super sappy gross lovey dovey cinemas like The Notebook, Titanic, or anything else by Nicholas Sparks. Red flag. Watch a movie that is self-empowering to women like Legally Blonde (current obsession), 10 Things I Hate About You or She's the Man. As single women, we cannot wallow in the sorrows of being single (which don't even exist because being single rocks), but we must celebrate ourselves as strong, capable females! Let's avoid 50 Shades of Grey this time around.

3. Mani-Pedi
Primp and (literally) polish yourself today with a mani-pedi at home or at the salon! I prefer at home because it's not $50 and I feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I do a good job! My favorite Valentine's Day red is OPI's "Big Apple Red which you can get here.

4. Heart-Shaped Pizza
This Valentine's classic is something my family and I love to prepare! For a low-key Vday, grab a heart-shaped pizza from your favorite pizza place to symbolize your love for pizza. My favorite thing to do is to get one from Papa Murphy's - a "take and bake" pizza joint where they prepare the pizza and you take it home uncooked to place in your oven; that way you get the pizza at it's prime - straight out of the oven.

Buy some tulips! Do some online shopping! Do something for yourself that you usually wouldn't do! Earlier this week I stopped by my local Kroger and picked up a pretty pink bunch, and I also ordered this adorable romper I've been eyeing recently from Necessary Clothing!

6. Be a Little Nerdy
Time spent with a good book is time well spent! Take a second to relax and pop open the book you've been putting on hold. My current read is The Opposite of Lonliness by Marina Keegan. I actually spent my Valentine's Day at a UIL Academic meet with some of my peers competing in Ready Writing, Science, and Mathematics. In this photo, I'm in the bottom row, third from the right. Tons of hard work, making ourselves think "why did we voluntarily sign up for this?" (partly to be Gabriella Montez from High School Musical), but tons of laughter occurred to balance out the work.

7. Date with Dad
If you're just dying to go on a s'cute Valentine's date, take one with the number one man in your life - your dad. My dad and I have been going to the "Daddy Daughter Dance" every year starting at age 4 and ending last year at 16. Along with the dance, my dad lets me pick any restaurant for dinner or dessert allowing the opportunity for fancy attire and getting the door held open for me, which is super nice. I am no longer young enough to attend the dance, but tomorrow night we are going to P.F. Changs for dinner. Here's last years picture, a little throwback to my first dance along side my last one sporting a dress & clutch from Forever 21, necklace from New York & Co, and heels from Madden Girl.

Valentine's Day is a day filled with love, and being single doesn't mean you have to be bitter and pop all the heart shaped balloons. Take this opportunity to express the love you have for the important people in your life, such as your family, gal pals, and most importantly, yourself. XOXO
Yours truly, Sara

Sunday, January 18

Festival Fashion - Wearing Our Best for the ACL Fest

Happy Sunday, readers! I often feel nostalgic towards quite possibly the best weekend of my life: Austin City Limits Weekend 1! My amazing mother spontaneously won two 3-day passes on the radio over the summer (what???) valued at $300 each, setting the stage for the most magical trip down to Austin, Texas, the live music capital of the world! One of my very best friends, Selin, and I made the drive to possibly our future home (University of Texas?) ready to hear some of the most popular artists of 2014. If you are unfamiliar with Austin City Limits, it's basically the same thing as Coachella spread out over 3 days in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. They have several stages where there's continuous live music, some of Austin's best food, and 350 acres of pure bliss. Catch the 2014 lineup HERE.

Day 1

Selin and I arrived just in time to catch Sam Smith perform, and basked in the glory of his angelic voice. We then saw Childish Gambino after pushing through crowds, dancing to some of our favorite songs, and hanging out with 75,000 other people who shared a love for music. It started to sink in how amazing the weekend was about to be. Above, Selin and I are waiting in line to grab food after Gambino; this is where I purchased the infamous $6 lemonade.

After catching our breaths and getting some grub, Selin and I ended the night with the performance of Outkast (Hey Ya, anybody?) and exploring Zilker Park. I distinctly remember just taking a moment to lay on the field and take everything in; we were finally here! In the picture above, you can see what Selin and I sported on Day 1. She opted for a dark gray crop top, white high-waisted shorts, and some combat boots. My original outfit didn't go as planned, so I ended up borrowing blue cotton shorts from Forever 21 and long-sleeve black crop top from Selin. To top it off, I pulled on a beaded headband from Francesca's and my white Converse.

Not wanting the night to be over, Selin and I went downtown to a trendy coffee/dessert place, Halcyon, where we got our own personal s'mores with a little fire and everything (cutest thing ever)!

Day 2

Today is the day we see Lana! Pre-concert jitters are setting in as we take a vain mirror selfie showing off our outfits for the day, Selin sporting a thrifted crop top and studded shorts, while I'm wearing a romper from a boutique in New Mexico. We planned to see Lana Del Rey front row, which meant standing at the same stage for hours, forcing Selin to lug around a backpack with our snuck-in food. We were not about to lose our spot.

After successfully sneaking in the food, we made our way to the Samsung Stage, where we would be standing for 7 hours. Here you can see the bag I used this weekend; a pink circle crossbody I picked up at Nordstrom from the brand Cesca. We arrived to hear the closing of Spanish Gold, followed by waiting for an hour and trying to figure out how we were gonna get to the very front by 6:30. We next heard Rebelution, a band Selin really enjoyed, then later The Head and the Heart, which turned out to be one of my current favorite bands. Check them out on Soundcloud HERE.

We ended up getting THIS CLOSE to the stage and could not be more excited! After squeezing, making friends, and begging, we got as close as we were gonna get to the queen. The sunnies from Francesca's I'm wearing literally saved my life during the wait because it was so hot! When Lana came out, there were screams, tears, and the most excitement I have ever felt. Lana is Selin's favorite artist of all time and I knew that this was one of the best moments of her life. 

This is my favorite photo from the concert. I swear on my life that she looked at me and Selin because we were screaming so loud. She is even more beautiful in person. After Lana's performance, came the worst part of ACL. Most of the people at the front had been waiting for Eminem who was to perform an hour later, and all Selin and I wanted to do was get out because we had already seen who we came to see and honestly didn't care for Eminem. After shoving with literally every ounce of my strength, almost losing Selin, getting cursed at, breaking the strap on my romper, and losing my monogrammed Camelbak water bottle, Selin and I made it out of the insane crowd and still laugh about it to this day. To end the day, we ended up staying for Skrillex, an unexpectedly fun experience. We made some friends in the crowd and danced along to flashing lights and loud mixes.

Day 3

Our final day has arrived and the feelings could not be more mixed. Excited for our third and final day, but definitely not ready to leave. We also were fortunate enough to mini-tour The University of Texas with help from our friend Alaina who is a student there. 

Today Selin and I opted for similar looks - black tops with distressed shorts(mine from Forever 21), but I added a kimono borrowed from my friend Sydney. Today we had no act we wanted to see in particular, so we spent the day exploring and doing a bit of shopping around the markets. 

We couldn't leave without another classic ACL picture in the frame, where you can see the beautiful Ausitn skyline in the back. 

I'm so thankful to have shared this experience with one of my best friends in the entire world. Through the music, the laughter, the squeals, the tears, she's been through it all and I'm blessed by a forever friend. I can't wait to see where our futures take us; if it's in different directions, I'm confident in our ability to conquer the world even if we're miles apart, but if it's to UT, let's keep Austin weird, together.
Yours truly, Sara

Tuesday, January 13

"To Bean, or Not to Bean"

An intro for the beans: A classic New England boot has not only swept the East Coast, but has become a southern staple for young prepsters all around. The L.L. Bean duck boots have been around for many years and are now taking a comeback in this generation. They range in gender specificity, color, height, and thermal protection. These boots are made for tackling rough climates such as snow, rain, and ice! I've seen these boots all over Pinterest for maybe two years now and have yet to purchase them because of the $100+ price tag AND the extreme wait it takes to get them! With some Christmas cash on hand I found myself browsing on the L.L. Bean site and these boots are on back order until APRIL 20TH! *screams internally* So as I'm debating to myself whether to purchase a pair of beans, I figured I would take you along my thought process: "To bean, or not to bean--that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer until April 20th and the slings and arrows of $109 (but free shipping) or to take arms against a waitlisted, overpriced boot and by opposing suffer frozen feet." Pretty sure those were Hamlet's exact words. 

As any rational person would, I have decided to make a pros and cons list to determine whether these boots are worth the expense of time and money!

Diverse in the sense that they can be worn with different types of outfits (sweatshirt & leggings, jeans & vest, oxford & skirt etc.)
Practical for cold/harsh weather
Rare in my hometown/original
L.L Bean
Neutral/can easily go with many different outfits

Take forever to come in the mail/won't be here til spring
Not the most fashionable shoes ever
Do I really need another pair of shoes?
How much wear will I get out of them?

After long hours of staring at my bank account and pondering my shopoholic virtues, I decided to order the 8" Women's L.L Bean Boots in Tan/Navy which you can purchase HERE! I am super excited to receive them in April, and the nice thing is that L.L. Bean doesn't charge you for them until your specific boots are in production. If you didn't know, each boot is made individually in Maine to provide the highest of quality to consumers. I am happy with my choice to make this investment in my footwear and I hope if you are in the mentality of "To Bean, or Not to Bean", this post helped you further your decision. Beans for all!
Yours truly, Sara

Saturday, January 10

Some People Are Worth Melting For

Hello friends! Today I got to live out every girl's dream: I was a princess! But not just any princess, Princess Anna from the Disney movie, Frozen. My AP Chemistry teacher's 4-year-old daughter is the ultimate Frozen fangirl and has the coolest mom ever who got Queen Elsa and Princess Anna to attend her birthday party (aka my friend Lindsey and I). We spent the afternoon playing in "snow", constructing crafts, taking photos, and creating memories. I'd like to share my journey of going from plain to princess in case your royal opportunity ever arrives and my tips on how to create any type of costume inexpensively and in a timely manner!

At first glance, one would think there is no way to re-create this outfit without going to Party City and spending $50+ on an adult princess dress, but this is where creativity and resourcefulness come into play!

I was initially inspired by this picture I found while browsing on the University of Texas Kappa Delta Instagram page and thought thought this was totally achievable! This look exemplified basic, easy to find pieces similar to the actual outfit, allowing you to effortlessly achieve this look. I thought to myself,"I only need a blue skirt, long-sleeve mint top, black tank, and a cape (which would be the tricky part)".

The final look accompanied by a star-struck little girl. Lindsey's dress is actually her prom dress from the pervious year, which made a perfect gown for Queen Elsa. Knowing that I was looking for very specific pieces to wear only once, I didn't opt for the mall, not wanting to spend a lot of cash. I actually found the mint collared blouse (originally from Forever 21) and black velvet tank (originally from Target) at Goodwill! The blouse ended up looking more like the actual Anna top than if I would've gone to Target and spent $15 on a t-shirt. It is important to put your money into more unique pieces that are more important to you. For example, you don't have to spend $75 on a Ralph Lauren sweater, when you can one at a very similar style, giving off the same look at Forever 21. That way, you can put your money into something like Tory Burch Miller sandals - an item making you feel like a million bucks and not found anywhere else. I already owned the blue skirt (from Macy's, I believe) and I borrowed my mom's Michel Kors black boots for my fabulous footwear. As for the cape, I felt as if I was frantically running out of options, until my mom brought up a long, mauve skirt from the back of her closet and most likely the 1980's. With a few snips, pins, and a clip-on earring for embellishment, the skirt had become a cape! I'm not sure if Elsa's powers had anything to do with it, but it was magical.

To amplify my regal appearance, I packed on the blush for overly rosy cheeks and added some freckles for a more animated, Anna look. No princess is complete without her crown, so for the finishing touch I sported this sovereign jewel on top of my head.

Family photo op! Here my friend Lindsey and I are joined by our awesome teacher, Mrs. Mitchell, her husband, and her little princesses.

Today I am reminded of my role as an adolescent to younger girls. As a child, I remember thinking "wow I can't wait to dress like a teenager and drive like a teenager and talk like a teenager". It is not until this age that we understand the significance of our actions and how they may affect the 4-year-old girl saying "I can't wait to be a teenager". I had such a fun afternoon seeing many little princesses excited just to see the real Princess Anna. It's easy as a high school student to get caught up in being selfish and doing things that will benefit ourselves, like school work, a sport, or a job. While those things are important, character growth is found by serving others, even if it's something as simple (and fun) as being a princess for a day. Some people are worth melting for.
Yours truly, Sara

Sunday, January 4

Saturday in the City

After a savory dinner at La Madeleine, I feel it is appropriate to say bonjour! Yesterday I spent the day visiting my Nana in Dallas and exploring her side of the city! We started our day with driving around her old college campus, Southern Methodist University, giving me an impromptu tour! The architecture and layout of the campus was incredibly beautiful and I was very impressed! We even took a trip down Sorority Row and I learned all about my Nana's ΔΓ roots (totally making me a legacy)! SMU seems like a wonderful university, but it is much too close to home for me to consider attending. Our next stop was La Madeleine - my favorite French bistro. I ordered a cup of tomato basil soup, a caesar salad, half of a French dip sandwich, and a sacher torte parfait to top off dessert. Delicious.

My outfit for the day consisted of a black and white striped dress from Forever 21 and a barbour jacket from Marshalls. I am currently obsessed with this kind of jacket-it is so versatile and on point with the military trend. I paired the ensemble with some leopard print flats from Target I've owned for ages. Also continuing the middle part in a low pony. Kinda diggin it.

To accessorize this look, I wore my favorite necklace: a J. Crew inspired rose necklace from Esty which you can purchase HERE. I wear this piece all the time and find myself wearing it casually and on dressier occasions. I also sported my stud pearl earrings that you will pretty much never catch me without! I went a little arm candy crazy with this beautiful watch from Nordstrom, David Yurman inspired turquoise cable bracelet I found in New Mexico, Alex and Ani inspired "S" bracelet that my friend Macy actually got for me as a gift from ACE HARDWARE (literally, who would've guessed?), and a BCBG bangle with a charm reading "You are my sunshine". Sorry y'all can't see the charms on the bangles, but I'm sure they'll make another appearance. I carried a crossbody bag my aunt got for me in New York with a Tory Burch emblem (the kind that you literally get on the street) (my aunt rocks).

As this post and winter break wraps up, I am valuing the importance of spending time with my family. Approaching my senior year, I am constantly reminded that I don't have that much longer of living at home and seeing my family on a regular basis. I have had a wonderful holiday season surrounded by my loved ones and some fabulous clothing to go with it.
Yours truly, Sara

Saturday, January 3

Cheers to the New Year!

Happy new year everyone! I hope each of you had a safe and celebratory NYE! Oh the possibility that 2015 brings each and every one of us! I am very excited for what this new year has in store for me: applying to college, turning 18, traveling, senior year, another summer of lifeguarding, Taylor Swift concert, and countless more things to anticipate! I am also excited to really throw myself into this blog and have a tangible representation of my life through words and pictures; I hope you stick along for the ride. To be honest, I was planning on having a super fierce NYE post for you all with a picture of me slaying downtown Dallas in my sequin miniskirt, but being seventeen and slightly unfabulous, plans fell through. Not all of us can be thirty and flirty and thriving (2004 reference anyone?). To kick off my new year, I spent it snuggling in bed (and avoiding the drunk drivers) reading a new novel I received for Christmas titled "The Opposite of Loneliness" which is slightly ironic because I was very much lonely besides the occasional appearance of my dog. On the more exciting contrary, I thought I wouldn't leave y'all hanging so here is an outfit I was considering wearing the night of December 31st, not downtown appropriate in my opinion, but maybe for something a little more casual like hanging out with some friends.

Here I would've been sporting a navy sweater from Target embellished with a cream J. Crew necklace (shout out to Cranny). The big New Years statement is in the sequin skirt - from Forever 21 which, fun fact, I've owned since the 7th grade. Gosh I was such a trendy tween. I would've paired this ensemble with some some patterned black tights and perhaps some L.L. Bean Boots (if I actually owned them...I am waitlisted and do not want to talk about it) or maybe my new red Hunter rainboots, since the Dallas area has been experiencing some rain this past week. Heels weren't really an option here because I wanted to keep it more casual since I would've just been hanging out with friends.

A note of reflection:
On a more personal note, I am really expecting a lot out of 2015. 2014 is the year I got a sense of who I am. I got rid of the toxic people and boys and circumstances in my life and cleared my plate besides what truly makes me happy. The beginning was tough, I'm not going to lie, but sitting here, a more profound and confident young woman, I am able to reflect on the past and feel at peace with myself for what and whom I have left behind. Around summertime is when 2014 really turned around for me. I began lifeguarding at a local waterpark and met so many new types of people and even my best friend (and even a slight crush I can just look back and laugh at now, let's leave it at that). My horizons were really widened beyond my high school bubble and I found pure joy in breakroom laughter and working hard with genuine people. This being my first job, I thrived being able to take my personal abilities and bring them to a place where I could succeed as an individual, and I discovered a lot about myself through this aspect. I am ecstatic for this coming summer. Junior year rolled around and there is definitely truth behind the saying "your junior year is your toughest", but I am genuinely the happiest I have ever been. While taking 6 AP classes, I have found hilarious library moments with fellow scholarly students that keep me going. I feel a sense of togetherness with my peers that is quite exquisite. I also began my first football season as a varsity cheerleader which I have been waiting for since I was a freshman. I take pride in knowing my hard work has brought me to this spot. Lastly, I started my own community service organization in 2014 called "Cuticle Cuties" where teen girls visit a nursing home on Saturday mornings and give manicures for the residents. My grandmother passed away in March of this past year, living in a nursing home in Chicago. Her favorite part of living there was the beauty shop where she adored being primped with perms and manicures, so I began this organization in her honor with roughly 50 members. Below you can view the t-shirts I designed and really enjoyed making. I really hope to grow and expand this organization in 2015.

Resolutions Aspirations:
I am usually one to set resolutions for the new year, but every year it's the same, mundane "lose weight, get better grades, get more sleep etc." leaving me feeling unaccomplished and frustrated. So this year, I am deciding to set some aspirations, bringing a more positive connotation in which you can view below.

Explore new friendships
Continue my blog
Grow in my faith
Lead a healthier lifestyle
Study hard for SAT/ACT/AP Exams
Travel somewhere new
Serve others
Apply to colleges confidently
Love myself

With complete sincerity, I wish the best for you in 2015 and I want to challenge you to try something new and unexpected. Don't settle for mediocracy, but strive for excellence. Thank you for allowing me to share part of my story with you and I hope you have a blessed and fruitful new year.
Yours truly, Sara