Monday Inspiration, 22.05.17

Monday, May 22, 2017


via tumblr, (as are all the images in this post. :)

Happy Monday, friends! 
By the time you read this post, I'll be en route to a to-be-disclosed location for our family summer road trip! If you want to keep up on our adventures this week, I'll no doubt be sharing lots of food + travel tidbits on Instagram, so be sure to follow along for current updates! 
Now: to the pre-scheduled posts. :)

Because I haven't shared a Monday Inspiration post in a long time, and I've been feeling the need for some fresh inspiration myself lately, today is a handful of photographs that make me want to improve my craft, dress better, and live (even if just the tiniest bit) more beautifully. In a world full of deteriorating values, let's be women and men who uphold that elegant standard. 











aaaand now I want pancakes.

I hope your Monday is fresh, your work excellent, your time well-spent and your words full of grace and intelligence. Have patience with yourself. Our God is so much bigger than all the tiny stuff.

CHEERS. 
0

I'm 67% Mom | The Chic Sheet, v. 31

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hello and happy Saturday! I want to start off today's post with a thank you. I'm not sure why it hit me especially hard this week, but I've been thinking a lot about what an amazing blessing it is to be able to blog. This outlet to share my thoughts and opinions (frivolous as they often are, ha!) with such a warm, friendly and loving group of women is truly rare and wonderful, and I want you to know that I don't take that for granted. We've got a really cosy little community here, and I just wanted to thank you guys for sticking around, for whatever reason you might have, because it means the world to me. I wish I could hug you all in person!!

(from my Instagram story earlier this week)

The Chic Sheet, v. 31

1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Oh my word you guys, this is the find of the week. When we read "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" in American Lit, I enjoyed it, but it was also very sad.  I added it to the ambiguous mental tic-list of movies I want to watch eventually, but kind of forgot about it shortly afterwards. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we watched it this week and wow. It's in the same category as Brooklyn and The Giver for me: one of those sweet, beautiful movies that just make you happy when you watch them. As much as it is contrary to me to say this, I actually liked it much better than the short story. The cinematography is gorgeous, too.

2. Try Living With Lucie | How To Bullet Journal
I've always heard of bullet journalling and sort of ignored it because it sounded too complex, and I liked the system I used. But when I watched this video on a whim yesterday, I realized it's very nearly what I've already been doing, just a bit more organized! I really like the idea of an index, and will definitely be implementing it, once I've finished the journal/planner I'm currently using!

3. "Be Thou My Vision" Audrey Assad Music Video
This music video is just so beautifully shot, I had to share it. Definitely a source of inspiration for me this week.

4. Women's Embroidered Pump | DSW
My obsession with all things fringe and embroidery continues, you guys...this week I've been eyeing up these gorgeous pumps from DSW! Can you picture them with a pair of high waisted skinny jeans and a classic white button down?! (And a neck scarf, of course! ;)

5. One Thing We All Need To Get Better At | College Prepster
Maxie's guest post at The College Prepster this week is spot-on.

6. What Percentage "Mom" Are You (Based On Your TV Preferences)?
Because the breakfast food quiz was too. much. fun. a couple of weeks ago, here's one I found on BuzzFeed that had me lol-ing! (did I just say "lol-ing" oh my word.) Spoiler alert: I'm 67% mom. Once an older sister, always an older sister! (If you thought there was ever an older sister who wasn't bossy from time to time, allow me to belie that hope. XD)

What are your weekend plans?
1

How To Have A Perfect Picnic (featuring Advice Emily Didn't Know She Was Giving)

Friday, May 19, 2017

It's summertime, which is basically synonymic in my head for let's do literally everything outside. Especially food. There's little better to me than summer sun, food, games, friends, laughter: dining plein air is always, always my preferred method. 

However, I don't know if it's just me, but every picnic I've attempted ended up kind of failing. Maybe I didn't plan enough, maybe I didn't pick the right people, maybe I just have Bad Picnic Luck, if that's a thing (lol) -- but either way, all my past picnics have been sticky, sweaty situations with lots of bugs and food all the same temperature, temperamental siblings/friends and yeah, I'll admit, a little bit of boredom once the food is gone.


Recently, however, Emily and I had a picnic and - no joke, you guys - it was straight dreamy. We were relaxed, the weather was great, the food was good and honestly it ended far too soon.

We talked about why our past picnics had failed, and why this one was so phenomenally better, and we came up with a couple tidbits that I'm sharing today, so that you too can have success in your picnics (because you know you want a good picnic in your life).





  1. PLAN AHEAD
The reason behind most of my picnic failures has been a lack of planning...no time to get good food prepared, or to find the perfect, out-of-the-way spot. As much as I love impromptu adventures, I know myself and my tendencies, and I'm just much more prone to enjoy said adventure if I've had time to make it what I want it to be (or as close to that perfect picture in my head as possible, haha!). 24 hour notice, for me, please! XD
  • PICK THE RIGHT SEASON
Too late in the summer, and the bugs come out and (if you live down south, at least) it tends to get quite humid and muggy. Too early in the spring, and the chilly weather that is pleasant while you're moving around can get pretty cold when you're sitting still! May is really the best month for having picnics, at least in my opinion, so I'd definitely suggest planning one soon!
  • SHADE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
If you do decide to do your picnic later in the season (which is still doable, just requires a bit more prep) I'd recommend sitting in the shade. Not only is the temperature more consistent, but you avoid getting burned from long hours in direct sunshine. Plus, your food will last (and taste) better if it's not been baking in the afternoon sun. 
  • NOT EVERYONE IS A PICNIC PERSON
(Especial props to Emily for pointing this one out.) Some people just aren't picnic people. And that's OKAY. (They're probably library people, and those types of people are really great when you want to go to the library.) But today, find a friend who isn't bothered by bugs, or heat, or picky about food, or put off by cold pizza and get outdoors. It'll be better for your friendship - and your picnic - to choose the outdoorsy one. XD
  • BRING BOOKS/MAGAZINES/ENOS
The best picnic places are away from wifi...so instead, bring some books, magazines, or music to listen to while you chill! Also if you have an eno, this is definitely the recommended form of sitting (after eating, of course...lol). If anything, it provides hours of entertainment trying to get gracefully into it, ha! But honestly: if you've never sat with a friend in an eno and just watched a summer afternoon sky, sharing your favorite music or just talking...you need to go do that ASAP. I promise your life will be blessed by that experience. 



picnic blankets (similar, similar) / watch

Are you a picnic person? What do you find makes the difference between a good picnic and a failed one?
10

Soft Mint Oxford + Rambling | #OOTD

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tapping into something a bit preppier for today's outfit post. Because why not? ;)





I actually shot these photos pretty early in the morning, which I usually don't get the chance to do, and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I need to shoot at the early golden hour more frequently! There's really nothing to rival morning light (and these photos don't nearly do it justice, of course).




I have a confession: I'm doing that mean blogger thing today, where I wear an item that isn't sold anymore, and I'm sorry. I did try to avoid sharing this one, since I knew I couldn't find one exactly the same anywhere, but I'm just too obsessed with that soft mint shade to not share. I found it hidden in the back of the sale rack at Banana Republic, and unfortunately it's no longer available...I did link the same style of shirt, which comes in a handful of other gorgeous pastel shades, but the mint is, lamentably, gone. I also linked a couple other similar options for you, so hopefully you don't hate me too much now. ;D





^When you're just so dang excited that vacation is less than a week away. #so #close

Outfit Details:
Banana Republic Dillon Blouse (mint color no longer available): exact, similar, mint gingham
Leather Loafers: Crown Vintage via DSW
Knock-off Dior earrings: old, similar
Sunglasses: Old Navy
Leather Double-Strap Watch: Merona

Random Question du jour: what are your blogger pet-peeves? (I can't stand seeing other bloggers talk down to their readers. Ick.)
4

Summer Reading List 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's that time of year again, you guys! I'm so excited to share this post, and hopefully accomplish most of these books before I leave for school in September... There are so many titles I've been itching to read, and though unlike past years, my schedule won't be getting any lighter this summer...I like to think I can still make it happen.

After all, it doesn't feel like a real summer if you haven't spent at least a couple days just lying around for hours reading, (preferably by the pool or in an eno), in my opinion.


Summer Reading List, 2017

1. Flannery: A Biography by Brad Gooch
I started this one last week and have really been enjoying it! I do love a good biography, and learning about Flannery O'Connor's [brief] life has been really eye-opening about myself actually...I didn't realize how much we had in common! I would've loved to have met her. 

I'm hoping to finish it before I go out of town in a week, so that I can bring some new books with me while I travel!

2. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Instagram friends might remember my little rant a couple weeks ago about capitulating to the Fixer Upper craze. Since then, not only have I watched reruns of the show, but I got the latest magazine and now I want to read the book...I'm obsessed! But in all seriousness, I think Chip and Joanna are so cute, and The Magnolia Story looks like a great, light, summer read.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
I had this in my master-list of Books I Want To Read in 2017, so here's to actually accomplishing that small goal! I actually purposefully saved The Book Thief for the summer, because I always like to have a few fast-paced fiction books to read on vacation/weekend trips!

4. Beyond The Call by Lee Trimble and Jeremy Dronfield
My other fast-fiction book of choice! I've heard pretty good reviews for this based-on-a-true-story WWII novel, and reading the synopsis, it sounds like just the kind of thing I love. :)

5. The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis
Another I've been planning on reading for a long time, this is one book on this list that is non-negotiable. I'm only hoping I can finish it before school starts...*wipes brow* (but seriously reading challenges are my favorite type of challenges let's DO THIS.)

6. John Adams by David McCullough
I loved 1776 when I read it back in the fall, and ever since then I've been meaning to pick up David McCullough's other key historical work. I got it from the library a week or so ago, so that's a step in the right direction, right?

7. East Of Eden by John Steinbeck
I'm being so ambitious by throwing this one on the list, but hey: optimism, right? XD

8. Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab 
I always throw in one "odd" book, in a style or an author that I literally know nothing about, just to stretch my literary horizons! Last year's was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, written entirely in letter-form, and I ended up really enjoying that one. Science Fiction isn't a genre I've really read much at all of...I'll let you know how Vicious is!

See my past reading lists here

What are you hoping to read this summer??
9

Hooked On A Feeling | The Chic Sheet, v. 30

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I've been in the best mood the past two days and I'm not completely sure why, but I am rolling with it! Life is speeding up, and the summer plans that seemed so impossibly far away during the cold February months are now here and about to go down, you guys. I'm so excited and also a little breathless at how fast these last two months have gone! Life is a messy, beautiful whirlwind and I'm so grateful for grace, as always. (Also weekends, sleeping in, and the fact that it's light at 5:30AM now when I'm going to work because heck yes that makes everything better!)

Grab a cuppa coffee, and welcome, my friend, to:

The Chic Sheet, v. 30

1. Hannah Everly Orange Skirt
Ever since I first discovered Hannah Everly's skirts a couple years ago, I've known I wanted one...it was just a matter of waiting for the *right* one. They are expensive (as they should be: they're beautiful, made-to-fit skirts!), and I really shouldn't get one right now because #budgets and all that but...gah. This orange print is just too. dang. adorable. Holy moly. *all the heart eyes*

2. At Home With... Podcast
Have I mentioned I've been into podcasts lately? I like to listen to one while I warm up + run my first mile! By the second mile I need something a bit more upbeat, but it's a great way to add in more self-education to my daily routine, and you know I'm all about that. My two favorite YouTubers, Lily + Anna just started their own podcast, and I couldn't be more thrilled!! I love both these ladies' channels, but haven't had much time lately to keep up with their videos, so I'm super excited to get to multitask and still enjoy a little Lily and Anna #realtalk in ma life. The topic of the podcast is exploring each weekly guest's home decor/lifestyle. Um, yes please!

3. Karlie Kloss + Derek Blasberg Explain The Midwestern Diet
I'm not from the Midwest, but I still cracked up watching this very informative, very scientific, exposé into the Midwestern diet. ;)

4. Guardians of the Galaxy Complete Playlist
The girls and I are hoping to go see Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 this weekend, and in preparation, I watched the first one (for the first time...I'm so behind, oops!) last night! So naturally this is my get-ready soundtrack this morning. XD I do love throwback music.

5. Bauble Bar Earrings
Bauble Bar is killing it with the earring game at the moment! I'm in love with these adorable KiKi drop earrings (they look like lemons and that is a major selling point for me, you guys), as well as these gorgeous Catalina tassel earrings. Makes me want to take off to Cancun with a straw bag, leather sandals and a white cotton dress...which probably makes me a walking Blogger-cliché, but ah, c'est la vie. XD

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!
2

What's In My Gym Bag?

Friday, May 12, 2017


Ever since I started working out, I've been wanting to write this post. At first I waited, because I wasn't sure what I was doing yet, and what I packed for my first couple weeks might not be the best and most edited version of what I'd actually need. Over the months, however, I've become more and more streamlined with it - adding what I need and getting rid of what I thought I needed (but actually didn't) and especially since increasing my workouts to 4 per week recently (I'm getting a little obsessed...someone stop me before I become a gym rat, ha!), my routine has become pretty set. Not to say I'm a pro at it, of course, and depending on what you're doing at the gym, where you're going afterwards, etc, the different necessaries will vary. But these are the bits that always come with me: anything I add from there could be different any day of the week. ;)

What's In My Gym Bag

1. HEADPHONES
First on the list is always, always music. I can't workout without music. Maybe that makes me weaker, but just listening to my own and others' heavy breathing, and the squeaking of the other machines around me just makes the whole experience so much less enjoyable. When I have a great soundtrack, it feels a lot more like an epic transformation-montage in a superhero movie, rather than a huffing-and-puffing little girl on a treadmill. And I can't do that without headphones. ;)

2. WORKOUT JOURNAL
I've recently been trying to be good about recording all my workouts, so I can track my progress more closely. I use this journal to plan workouts in the morning before I get out on the floor, and then again afterwards to mark my stats from my run. (It's pretty fun, actually, if you're nerdy about this kinda thing like I am. XD)

3. GUM
I don't know why, but I always like to have some minty gum in my bag for post-workout, or to chew on while I train (if I'm not doing abs...choking hazard, and all that, ya know. ;). My all-time favorite is Trident Original: I swear it's the best gum there is. :)

4. DEODORANT
For obvious reasons. (Arm + Hammer isn't a very glamorous brand, but their deodorant is totally natural and works really well. It's honestly the only brand I'll use.)

5. FRAGRANCED LOTION
Instead of carrying around a small perfume bottle, which could leak or break in my bag, I like to bring a squeeze-tube of lotion, in my favorite fragrance du jour. Clinique "Happy" is a nice light scent to massage into my hands/neck after a workout, just to freshen up, even if I'm just going straight home to shower.

6. SUNGLASSES
In case I decide to run or walk outside for my warmup. I've been without these too many times, and squinting through a run is not conducive to a good workout! They also can act as a cover for any sliding eyeliner or limp hair (sunglasses fix everything! haha) if I'm running errands after my session.

7. BOBBY PINS + HAIR TIES
You never know when one is going to break, and this is not something you can really get away with skipping...unless your hair is much much shorter than mine, at least!

8. CLEAN SHIRT
Because sometimes, especially as we're getting into the hotter months, a workout can be really sweaty and you just don't want to wear your shirt for a moment longer (I'm looking at you, hot yoga class!). I always keep a clean tee in my bag, even if I don't always use it, because not having the option to change is a lot worse to me than the little added weight in my gym bag!

9. WATER BOTTLE (not pictured)
I don't think I go anywhere without my Camelbak, at this point, but especially when I'm going to workout, this is a necessity. I know it sounds like such a no-brainer, but after working at a gym for 2.5 years, you'd be surprised just how many people don't bring their own water on a regular basis! Not only is this a cheaper alternative, but you also save time by not having to rely on someone else for your source of hydration, and (depending on what water bottle you end up using) also can last a lot longer without running out. In general, I try to finish one 750ml bottle during a 1-hour workout. Just enough to stay hydrated (and not pass out!), not so much that I get cramps, or nauseous, or need a bathroom break in the middle of a circuit. XD

And that's it! I try to keep it pretty simple, because I usually walk to and from the gym, and I don't want to carry a ton. Also, my bag is from Kate Spade about a year ago, and it's the perfect size to carry what I need, and not too much more - though I does have a lot more space than it looks like it might! I also chose this one because it's a backpack, and when you're walking often, carrying a weighted bag on one shoulder, it can really start to mess with your neck/shoulders/spine-alignment: not fun! Backpacks are much more ergonomical (also: they v cute).

What do you bring with you to a workout/dance class/run?
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave
0

Shopping For Your First Pair of Heels | Tips + Recommendations

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


I was asked by a sweet friend this weekend what my suggestions were for buying your first pair of heels - and as it wasn't the first time I'd been asked, I thought it might be easier just to create a post with all I have to share, so it's a bit easier for anyone who may be wondering the same! 

I was one of those precocious middle schoolers who wanted to wear heels to school in 6th grade - and actually did wear one pair of stacked-heel cowgirl boots at least 50% of my 8th grade school year. After that, I transitioned into the more classic pump, still taking every opportunity to rock a pair I'd found at the thrift store that was my first "real" pair of heels. I don't own them anymore, but it was the start of a beautiful friendship. ;)

I honestly don't wear heels very frequently anymore: long hours at work make heels impossible, so only on Sundays to church do I have the opportunity. Still, there's nothing quite like pumps to dress up an outfit, and though I don't wear them all the time, I still keep a few pairs in my wardrobe as an absolute essential for formalwear. I think every woman should own at least one black and one nude pair, as you never know when you'll need them.


Tips For Shopping for / Wearing Heels:

1. My favorite brands of heels I've ever owned (and still own, because they're still going strong) are definitely more unorthodox brand choices, but they're honestly the most comfortable heels I've ever owned. One is from Seychelles, and the other from Old Navy. I can wear either of their heels for a good 5 hours with no problem.

2. If you're unsure about heels because you're afraid you're going to trip in a stiletto, try a block-heeled shoe. They're super easy to walk in, and actually very on trend at the moment. And though it's true that most block-heels tend to be more casual/beachy, you can definitely find some that still look classy and dressy. (See above links) Another option would be a wedge - again, you might have a to search a little harder for something more formal, but it's not impossible.

-Another way to ease into wearing heels is to start with a shorter height. Generally, I aim for under 5" heel height anyway, (just because I could trip over literally anything), but especially if you've not worn heels long/at all before, that's a much more manageable height!

-I know a lot of people are worried about walking right out of their heels, and though that is a lot less of a hazard than it seems like it would be, if you do want that extra support, look for a heel with an ankle- or arch-strap. It will definitely add more stability to (and therefore give you more confidence in) your stride. :)

-For your first pair of heels, I can't recommend more a pair of nude heels. Everyone says classic black heels are a must, but personally I've gotten much more use out of my nude pair. Leg-elongating with a dress or skirt in warmer weather, just as endlessly classy as a black pair with your jeans and trousers on cooler days. And you can wear nude with brown and navy, unlike black. ;) 

-Practice, practice, practice. That's the only way to become comfortable walking in your heels. Wear them around the house, wear them to a long work shift (but bring a pair of flats to switch into when your feet get too sore!), wear them to shorter occasions until they've softened to your foot a bit more. Before you know it, you'll be a pro. 💃


What are your tips for walking in + wearing heels?

2

Parisienne Again | #OOTD

Monday, May 08, 2017

Through all my style morphings over the years (and I've definitely come a long way/changed a lot from the hot-pink-zebra-stripe-rocker-chic I embodied in 5th grade), there is one style that is forever my inspiration, and that is parisienne. (Betcha didn't see that one coming.)

They say when everything around you is changing, you tend to hang onto the things you can control, the safe things, like familiar foods, and music, and people. For me, French-inspired style is exactly like that. If I'm having a day where nothing seems to be working, or even when I don't feel like wearing anything in my closet: stripes, black, and neutral classics always make me feel good in my skin again. 









I recently picked up this trench coat (super affordable at Old Navy!), and let me tell you: it's a game changer. I've always known I'd need a trench coat in my life, but especially since we've plunged back into cooler temperatures this past week, I didn't realize how much I was lacking some sort of light, spring jacket! I know everyone talks about having a staple denim jacket, but if you're like me and wear jeans all the time, (and don't fancy looking like Britney and Justin circa 2001), it's not really that practical. But a trench coat? Now that's something you can pair with anything.







Outfit Details:
Striped turtleneck: old, similar
Lightweight Trench Coat: Old Navy
Cropped black trousers: Old Navy "The Harper" Pant
Embroidered block heels: Chinese Laundry via DSW
Double-strap watch: Target
Sunglasses: Old Navy

What are your "comfort food" closet items? What pieces do you wear when nothing else works? 
4

Brighter Days | The Chic Sheet, v. 29

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Helloooo weekend! It's crazy how fast time has flown, and I'm still not sure how it's May already (the weather the past two days sure hasn't felt it, ha!) but here we are, and all the busy-ness of Spring upon us. It's a good kind of busy, though: fun projects for work and graduation parties and recitals on the weekends, and trying to squeeze in some much needed down time with dear friends in between (I haven't forgotten you, Em!). It's the best time of the year - and also the most stressful - and it's here. Soli Deo Gloria. :)


The Chic Sheet, v. 29
Get Gorgeous
Carly Rowena's 12-Week fitness guidebook finally released this week! As you may have noticed, I'm a bit of a fan of her Youtube videos and Instagram workouts, but because they're scattered all over the internet, sometimes it's hard to get a clear plan for yourself and what you want your routine to be. Her new guide, however, looks like the perfect solution to that problem! From complete visual diagramming of every workout in every routine, shopping guides and fitness tips, it seems to have everything you could want to get your health routine kickstarted, or add a refresh into your routine! I would love to get a copy of this...
(Not sponsored or anything, I just think it's really neat + wanted to share. :)

Hidden Braid Hairstyle Tutorial | Wendy's Lookbook
This tutorial popped up in my subscription box a few days ago, and I immediately pinned it to one of my private pinterest boards of fashion/hair inspiration. It's one of those casual, cool styles, with just enough different to it to make a bit of a statement. And since my hair is so long right now, I'm always looking for ways to wear it down differently! Can't wait to try this one out. :)

Precious Baby Curls
This adorable picture just made me smile this morning. *cue all the heart eyes*

#relateable
I have no words for this one. XD

Rachel Coker on Instagram
I mean, Rachel always has a gorgeous Instagram, but lately I've been darn near obsessed with all her bright colors and spring vibes and wedding details. And yeah, okay, mostly wedding details. What can I say? I'm a sucker for cute couples and she + Tim are adorable. I low key cannot wait to see photos from their wedding (not long now...!) 

Old Navy Sale Rack + Peppermint Tea + Momma
(not in that order, necessarily)
Because all three of them need appreciating and definitely got me through the end of this week. Sometimes, you just need a little bit of retail therapy (finally got shorts to replace the ones that are too big now!), with a warm beverage on a cold, rainy May day - and there's no one with whom I'd rather do it than my very own Momma. 
Here's to the little moments.
6

Girls-Night-In Essentials

Friday, May 05, 2017

I don't know about you, but my idea of a good weekend is usually some variation on a 2-day chill out session. Whether that pans out in a picnic in the park, when the weather is nice and friends are in town, or just simply crashing on the couch with the girls and watching a sappy movie together, we like to keep things low-key and relaxed around here. There's enough time to be uptight during the week: the weekend, to me, is to decompress and just rest!

(That being said, I usually don't have 2-day weekends...#thatovertimeworklyfe...still. Saturday evenings and Sunday are my "me" time, and I don't usually schedule anything, and I've found it's the best that way.

That doesn't mean it has to be a boring weekend, of course! Especially when the men of the house are out of town, we love to make a thing out of it and have a fun night of sappy movies, junk food and the type of heart-to-heart conversations you can only really have at late hours of the night. I know I've shared my movie night essentials here before, but this guy's a little bit different...

How To Have The Best Girls Night In

1. DON'T PLAN TOO MUCH
The best nights are the spontaneous ones. Get a couple movie or TV show options ready, and go with what you feel like watching at the moment! At the same time, however...

2. DO PLAN AHEAD
Otherwise you'll be driving up to the library to grab movies, in the pouring rain, while the rest of the squad gets started on dinner (true story). Which is just not as fun. If you know a couple days in advanced that you'll all be home for a movie night, get as much as you can done beforehand, so so can relax and enjoy your free time, instead of running around!

3. DO HAVE SNACKS
Like, lots of them. Maybe not Gilmore-Girls-level amounts of junk food, but it definitely can't hurt to have options on hand. This is half the fun of the movie night! My sisters and I love Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn, sour patch kids, and vanilla oreos (with peanut butter, if you're feeling decadent...). A homemade pizza may seem cliche, but nobody does margherita pizza like we do at home, so that's our go-to. Breakfast for dinner is also a favorite option. Get messy + food prep together to maximize your time, (and dance around to Chicago + Van Halen if you're anything like us!). 

4. CLEAN UP BEFORE YOU START (or call an intermission to tidy up halfway through)
Otherwise you'll end up passed out on the couch at 1 AM, with a stack of dishes in the sink needing cleaning. Not fun. (And also a true story...oops. XD)

5. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE
Nothing spoils a good movie night like being that one person constantly texting / scrolling through Instagram. Even if the movie wasn't your choice, I promise you'll have more fun watching it with your girls than scrolling through your phone by yourself during the movie. At the risk of sounding like your mom: Instagram isn't going anywhere, but time together is precious. 

6. FLOP MOVIE DOES NOT EQUAL FLOP NIGHT
My sisters and I watched The Notebook a couple nights ago, and quite frankly, weren't too impressed. But because we watched it (and critiqued it, ha!) together, it was still a pretty fun night. (We also followed it up with Brooklyn, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite chick flicks ever, so that doesn't hurt.) Which is proof that it's not about what you're watching, but who you're watching it with. Sappy? Ridiculously so. True? Yeah, that too. 

What's your favorite way to do a girl's night in? 
6

Things I Wish I Knew When I Graduated

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

via tumblr

I'm doing things just a little different today...a few of my friends/acquaintances are graduating this year, in a couple weeks or less, actually, and it's been making me think back to my own graduation last year. It's amazing how much can change in one year's time - and yet, how much of me is still the same, despite constantly evolving circumstances. It seems like so long ago, but at the same time only a second? I don't know, but I definitely feel very different than I did this time last year...

And it got me thinking about what I've learned during this past year, and what I would tell myself now, if I was graduating again. And I came up with a few things I would like to share, in case you or anyone you know is graduating this year, and you feel like passing this along. I still have so much to learn, but there are a couple things I wish I had known those 12 months ago, and that's what I'd like to share today!

1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the pressure of college and careers, and that big looming thing called "Future" - but remember that you'll never make in there if you don't take care of yourself in the now. 

2. IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL
Friendships, gossip, social grievances and faux pas' that seemed like such a big deal seem, quite frankly, ridiculous now. And I know that's not something you can ever really distance yourself from without physical, chronological space...but still: the sooner you realize that all these little worries are small things in the big picture, the sooner you can breeze past them and more fully enjoy these fleeting moments.

3. FRIENDS ARE (NOT) FOREVER (and it's okay)
It sounds sad, but as I've gone to work full-time and my friends to school full-time, we've not really kept in touch as much as we all promised we would - and it's not because there's a rift between us, or because we ignore each other, or forgot about each other, or anything like that: it's just quite simply that we're in different walks of life. We have friends that are in the same walk that "get" it more readily, and so naturally we start to draw closer to them. People grow apart, especially as you grow up - that's life. The weirdest part? You're going to be really, really okay with it. 

4. ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS
Especially if you're planning to take a year off, or go straight into the workforce, by all means don't become too big for your boots too early on. Take full advantage of these last "childhood" moments, stay up late, do what scares you, speak boldly, go out for breakfast at 1 AM (true story + possibly one of the best nights of my high school life) and get up early to do it all again. You can sleep when you're old. That being said, however...

5. SLEEP IS COOL
I'm not sure if it's just me, but I always felt in high school that it was almost a constant competition to see who had gotten the least sleep, or had the most stressful week, or the hardest homework...etc. We took so much pride in stretching ourselves so thin, it was ridiculous. Listen: sleep is a wonderful thing, and you'll be a much better person when you have it (I sure as heck am). Forget social stigmas about going to bed early, own your early-bird tendencies with pride (and likewise to you, night owls!). Forget being a legend of stamina among your friend group, and instead be a legend of energy - because coffee, as wonderful as it is, can never replace a good night's sleep and a peaceful spirit. And no one's going to care in the long run if you did it on less sleep if the bottom line of your actual work is subpar. 

What would you tell your high-school-senior-self, if you could meet her again today? 

And to anyone graduating in the upcoming weeks, I wish you all the best, whatever you have planned!
8
Design by Bethany. All images and text displayed here (C) Carmel Elizabeth 2010-16, unless otherwise stated. Please do not steal.