There is no better excuse to get together with friends for a BBQ than the 4th of July, which is exactly what I got to do this year. When we get lucky with weather like we did on Tuesday, some of my best friends gather at Spencer's to watch fireworks and cool off in the water. With the gorgeous view of Mt Rainier, the lake has been one of my favorite places since we were sophomores in high school. I have so many wonderful memories of our days at Spencer's house, like the fact that a lawn chair gets broken almost everytime, or that something always goes wrong when we use the paddle boat.
This year was no exception to either rule, since Brandon leaned too far back in his chair after placing it on an incline, and I once again let Spencer convince me that watching the fireworks from the boat was a good idea. Our trip to the middle of the lake was cut short when he accidentally dropped a lit smoke bomb, staining the back of my dress a bright orange and leaving some unfortunate scorch marks on me and my seat. Luckily I was fine, but it's safe to say I won't be getting into any boats with him any time soon.
Before the Great Paddle Boat Fiasco of 2017, we had a nearly perfect day of board games and good food. Forever terrible at making decisions especially about what to eat, we ended up with hotdogs, hamburgers, and 2 different types of fish in addition to a ton of snacks. I also "made" a cheesecake for dessert, which in this case means I purchased a cheesecake from the store and put strawberries on top. Despite my lack of baking-from-scratch skills the cheesecake was a hit and didn't last long into our game of Risk.
Once the sun started to go down we brought out the sparklers (I'm glad I got a few pics before the smoke bomb incident) and started the campfire for s'mores. Sitting around the fire and bringing back old inside jokes always makes me so happy, and in moments like those there is no place I would rather be. I'm grateful for my lifelong friends, for our traditions, and all of the shenanigans we accidentally let ourselves get into. While I'm going to pass on the smoke bombs next year, I'lll never turn down a chance to spend a night exactly the way I spent this 4th.
Dress: Forever 21 (sold out, but a similar romper available here)
Shoes: Steve Madden
I have to start by saying that things have been hectic the past few weeks (hence my slight absence from my blog and Instagram), so I figured I should give a general life update. Luckily all of the things that have made life so busy were good things, and I've been genuinely very happy with how things are going.
After trapping myself in the library for a few nights to finish my last ever research paper, I completed the coursework for my Art History Minor. Then, despite a pretty nasty cold, I helped make the UW Design senior show a reality while all 60 of us printed, cropped, and displayed the pieces we were most proud of from the past four years. The show was a juried exhibition, and I was lucky enough to have two of my favorite designs featured, my Pure Heroine lyric booklet and my senior capstone. My capstone was a book that I wrote, designed, and illustrated as an exploration of my interest in watercolor painting. I had only ever painted for fun and relaxation in the past, so having the chance to see what I could do with it was super fun and a great way to end my last quarter in the program. I was so glad to see tons of friends and family at the show opening, and even sold a few prints of my paintings!
Saturday I walked in two graduations, one for the School of Art, and then the full UW commencement at Husky Stadium. It was a long day that brought a very long week (and 4 years) to a satisfying close. After all the festivities I hopped into bed early and slept for 13 hours.
Since graduation I have switched from an intern at my company to a full time designer, and have been working from home several days per week. This is when I test the wifi and matcha lattes at the local cafes, and drag Tyler along for company. After work I relish in the lack of homework while I watch Netflix, knit, and update the never-ending-moodboard that is my Tumblr.
I've also spent a lot of time browsing Pinterest and Ikea for ideas, since Tyler and I get the keys to our first apartment on Saturday! I will be photographing a wedding all day, so unfortunately for him he will have to move in my several bins of clothing... But Sunday we are taking the day to pick out furniture to make our first place feel like home. After arguing with his roommates about not leaving 6-month-old moldy lunch meat in the fridge, we are pretty relieved to have our little apartment all to ourselves. Plus we will be living in one of my favorite neighborhoods of Seattle, with some of the best restaurants and shops just down the street!
Top: Forever 21
Shorts: American Eagle
Shoes: Forever 21 (bought second-hand at Buffalo Exchange)
Sunglasses: Forever 21
When the weather feels like summer but finals start in a week, sometimes you just have to avoid reality and pretend like your pile of homework isn't caving in on you. That's exactly what me and Brittany decided to do earlier this month, when we made our way downtown with her mom Susan for a nice break. I haven't been able to blog about it, thanks to said pile of homework, but now that I am done with my last week of college I figured it was a good time to catch up.
Ever since we skipped the line into a concert at the ShowBox Market in favor of a ginger beer float at Rachel's Ginger Beer earlier this year, Brittany and I have been talking about making a return trip. Our schedules are both crazy busy so we don't get to meet up often, but since it was a long weekend we decided to procrastinate a bit. Susan and Brittany met me at Nordstrom to start the day shopping the semi-annual sale, where I got some new shoes and the perfect dress for graduation. Then Susan treated us to a delicious seafood lunch and dessert before we headed to the market. After walking around a bit we made our way to RGB for floats, and both got the white peach flavor. I usually stick to the original ginger beer but the sample they gave me convinced me to venture out, and I may have a new favorite.
Now graduation is tomorrow, and in a few months Brittany will be moving to California to get her Phd. Hopefully we can make time for ginger beer before then, but I have no doubt that we will be able to find a new go-to spot in LA.
Last Saturday was the start of the annual Folk Life festival at Seattle Center, a 3 day event that takes place every memorial day weekend. For those who haven't been before, it's like a weird middle ground between Hemp Fest and Bite of Seattle (two of the city's other major festivals). I definitely prefer the Bite of Seattle side of things, since food trucks are my main motivator for attending these events. Lucky for me I was still able to get my piroshki, as well as some roasted corn, curly fries and ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. Definitely not a day for people on a diet.
After walking around and grabbing some snacks we decided to lounge around in the shade to cool off and relax. Besides eating and resting between food trucks we didn't stay long. This year was the most packed I have seen the festival, probably because it was nice out. Before we left we did stop at a couple booths, and Sarah and I both bought some crystals. I already have more than I know what to do with, but I couldn't resist the rose quartz once I saw it.
Since the weather was really hot, I didn't want to wear anything bulky because the festival is completely outdoors. These pants that I picked up from TJ Maxx were perfect for the weather, the setting, and for sitting in the grass to eat all the food I bought. They are so comfortable, and the tassel tie on the waist elevates them from feeling too much like pajamas. As the weather heats up I am definitely going to have them on repeat (in fact I'm wearing this exact outfit right now, since tonight calls for a comfy night in, doing homework - or putting off homework).
Top: Forever 21
Bottoms: TJ Maxx
This past weekend I got to do another collaboration with fellow Sigma Kappa and blogger Jennifer Lo (lovingly dubbed JLo by our chapter) from JenAdore. You may remember our trip to The London Plane back in February, when we ate expensive Nutella toast and felt fancy for a sec. This time we decided to visit a more familiar Seattle hotspot, and made the short walk to University Village on a quiet Sunday morning. I used to work in UVille for about two years, so I've spent a lot of time down there, but it's always much better as a customer than an employee.
Some of my favorite shops in the village are Madewell, Anthropologie, Paint the Town, and Molly Moon's, but the ultimate destination to me is definitely Ravenna Gardens, the locally owned plant store. Whether you want to give a cute gift to a friend or fill your home with succulents (I am frequently here for both), Ravenna has it all. Since their remodel they've also started selling crystals, which I love to use for decorating my little room at SK. If you're even in the area I recommend you stop by, the staff is super helpful and the store itself is adorable.
When it comes to shopping in U Ville, I always like to be a little bit dressed up without being too over the top. The stores themselves tend to be a bit more high end than at other malls in the area, and I just feel a little better in a cute sun dress than in my grocery shopping go-to of a tee and leggings. I find that when I am confident in what I am wearing while shopping, I also feel more confident in the dressing room. It always seems easier to like how you look in clothes your try on when your hair and makeup look good too. This might just be a me thing, but I definitely treat shopping like something to get excited about.
Since the weather was nice, I pulled out this super light weight dress from Old Navy, which I got on clearance earlier this winter. I think I paid less than $12 for it, which I couldn't pass up even though it was out of season at the time. The fit is loose and flowy, which is perfect for hotter days, and when shopping is easy to take on and off to try other things on. Tighter outfits tend to mess up my hair when I pull them over my head, but I don't have that problem with dresses like these. Plus the little bow at the collar adds such a cute twist to an otherwise simple dress.
Wearing a thinner jacket like this denim one can also be a good idea, because it wasn't too hot outside but keeps me from getting too cold in the air conditioned shops. At U Ville having a temperature balanced look like this is especially important since none of the stores are connected in the interior and you have to go outside frequently.
Usually when I shop I bring a more medium sized bag than this yellow one, but I couldn't resist the fun pop of color. Yellow has been my go to color lately, in everything from my designs at work to my clothes and accessories. I'm also loving that tassels are in right now, so this purse is really the best of both worlds for me.
Shoutout to J Lo for taking these pics - it's always so fun catching up during our blog trips!
Jacket: D Jeans (purchased from Marshalls)
Dress: Old Navy
Purse: Forever 21
Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless
Those who know me know that I love plants. I have a pretty unhealthy obsession with filling my room up with succulents (because I have a harder time killing those), and I am always looking for an excuse to get more. Luckily my stepmom Alexis gave me that excuse on Thursday when we attended a Jenny Cookies terrarium building workshop together. I was unfamiliar with Jenny Cookies, but Alexis had her recipe book and attended crafting workshops in the past. Once we got to the workshop I quickly fell in love with the decorations and Jenny's adorable cookies, which taste as delicious as they look - especially the chocolate covered peanut butter ones! Everything was set up in the cutest way, and Jenny gave step by step directions for the terrarium building, which I thought I would share here since I took tons of pics. I gained a new respect for how expensive terrariums are when you find them premade in stores - it's not as easy at it looks! Especially if you're a perfectionist like me and Alexis were.
Things you will need:
1. Fill the base with small rocks and a little bit of charcoal.
The rocks allow for excess water to collect to prevent killing your succulent, since they aren't found of being wet. If you aren't able to get access to the charcoal that's okay. However it does help kill off bacteria and extend the lifespan of your plants.
2. Cover the rocks with dirt.
Don't add too much dirt however, since the plants will add some as well. If you put in too much dirt the terrarium will feel too full and won't have as much room for the decorative elements later on.
3. Add your plants.
Make sure to pack them in fairly well. Mine kept flopping over so it took awhile to get it right, especially since the hole isn't super big. With how much I had to touch the plants, I would recommend succulents over prickly cacti, but if you're braver than me it's worth trying!
4. Cover the dirt with sand.
The steps from here on out are technically optional, but I personally think the decorative touches are what make a terrarium special. My favorite part of using the glass globe rather than just a pot or planter is that you are able to see the layers that go into it! For my terrarium I used two different colors of sand, one that was slightly coppery and one that was white.
5. Add the decorative touches.
This is the funnest part for sure, but I kept getting frustrated by how difficult it was to place them where I wanted. I kept saying that I wish I had tweezers so that I could be more precise.
6. Mist the plants.
Don't overdo this step. Like I said before, succulents don't love water, and the biggest mistake that I see people make is giving them too much. Succulents will rot pretty easily if you do this, and it's nearly impossible to get them to recover. I mist mine no more than once a month, and only water them if the leaves start to shrivel or go limp. Cacti need it even less, and I usually don't water mine more than a few times a year.
7. You're Done!
I was super happy with how my terrarium turned out. The workshop was great, and gave me so many ideas that I wouldn't have thought of, like the pebbles for drainage or using cloth instead of twin for hanging. Jenny was so sweet and helpful, and I made sure to add a visit to her bake shop to my to do list!
Every year, around Greek Preview and Formal Fall Recruitment, conversations about rush begin and the hashtag #whyiwentgreek starts popping up on Instagram. I have always felt like this was a great way to connect with girls interested in going through recruitment, but at the same time there is a topic that I feel would be a much better representation of the importance of sorority in my life. For me, the reasons why I stayed greek are vastly different, and so much more impactful.
I briefly touched on some of my "expectations" of a sorority in a previous post, and honestly these superficial requirements of a chapter were not too far off from my original intentions of rushing. When I thought of sororities, I thought of some of my favorite college focused chick flicks, excuses to dress up all the time, and pretty houses with lots of things to do. I thought of taking cute pictures and doings crafts with my future big. And while joining my chapter gave me the copious amounts of tshirts and social events that I desired, it gave me so much more. Deep down I think that the things I found in Sigma Kappa are really what I was looking for to begin with, but regardless, they are definitely the reason that I stayed.
When I lived in the dorms my freshman year with my best friend Brittany and our roommate Lucy, I definitely wasn't ever unhappy. We stayed up late goofing around and buying everything the vending machines had to offer, and I loved spending time with our friends from high school that also came to UW. But as our dorm renewal came up I realized that I felt like I was missing something. I hadn't branched outside of my preexisting circle of friends, joined any clubs, or done much to get involved with my campus community. I had wanted to rush freshman year, but talked myself out of it. Telling myself that this was possibly my only chance to have something I thought I wanted, I ended up registering for FFR.
Finding my home in Sigma Kappa changed everything. I found myself getting busier and busier, both in my chapter and on campus, and was enjoying every minute of it. Sigma Kappa brought out a side of me that I didn't expect, and I quickly became involved in leadership as the merchandise chair and assistant head of recruitment. Later I became the head of recruitment, and discovered my ability to lead workshops and plan events. I never liked to engage in this type of public speaking before, so I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it so much. Holding these leadership roles within the chapter definitely allowed me to grow as a person, and I even saw an impact in my confidence speaking in classes.
With the commitment to these leadership roles, social events, and my education, Sigma Kappa also helped me grow in my ability to manage my time. It didn't take long for me to discover the importance of a planner, or taking a couple hours to work on homework with friends. I learned that with more to do, I needed to quit procrastinating (as much) in order to buckle down and focus on what was important to me. This allowed me to continue getting involved as often as possible while still finding time to spend on myself, or hang out with friends.
The friends that I have made in Sigma Kappa are irreplaceable, and I cherish every memory I have made with them. Whether we are watching the Bachelor in our pajamas after chapter on a Monday night, or getting dressed up for a Grab-A-Date, I am constantly finding myself smiling and laughing with women that I expect to have in my life for a long time. Some people say that joining a sorority is like buying your friends, but the relationships I have built with women in my chapter have never felt forced. In fact, it surprised me how quickly genuine friendships were formed. Sarah, who is one of my closest friends from SK, and I met during the recruitment process and have been inseparable since bid day. It's pretty amazing how chapters are able to bring similar personalities together in order to introduce you to people who will become some of your best friends. Not to mention the family that joining a sorority provides. Having my greek fam has been such an important part of my college experience, and being a role model to my little and grand littles has made me feel confident as a role model.
Another important part of my Sigma Kappa experience is philanthropy. Giving back to the community is something I feel strongly about, although it was never hard for me to find an excuse as to why it wasn't the right time, or why I couldn't make a difference. Joining a sorority has changed that, and I am constantly presented with opportunities to volunteer or give back. With an all greek philanthropy, fraternity events, and our own personal organization there is never a shortage of programs available to help you strive for change. I am lucky to have a chapter that supports a cause that I care strong about, since Sigma Kappa nationally raises money for the Alzheimer's Association. My great grandmother, who has always been an important role model in my life, has dementia, and to be in a chapter that understands what I am going through has made all the difference. Knowing that we are raising money and donating time in ways that helps women like my grandmother allows me to find comfort, and feel hopeful that future generations will not face the same uncertainty. I was even able to meet the national president of the Alzheimer's Association, and talk to him about how grateful I was for the work they were doing to fund research and find a cure. Women in my chapter donate time and money to advance the cause by visiting senior care facilities, managing fundraisers, and spreading awareness on campus and in the community. Having others who care in this way provides the support and encouragement that I need to not feel alone.
These women inspire me everyday, through their intelligence and commitment to education, their love of giving back to the community, and their passion and love for the world around them. I cannot imagine how different my life would have been had I not rushed my sophomore year, or if I had not chosen Sigma Kappa during the recruitment process. I have never regretted my decision to join my sorority, and I know that it has made my college experience better than I could have ever expected. My hope is that other women find their home the way that I did, whether that be in Sigma Kappa or in another chapter that is perfect for them. I hope that everyone finds their reason to go greek, but more importantly, I hope that they find their reason to stay.
With graduation getting closer everyday, I've started keeping an eye out for trends I can wear in the office. I'm lucky to have a job with a lot of freedom in what I wear, so for me business apparel is often a nice pair of jeans or a fun dress. Ruffles are a current fave since they are dressy enough for client meetings, without feeling like too much for our more casual office.
Since ruffles are becoming much more common, I have been trying to figure out how I wanted to incorporate them into my wardrobe. The larger ruffles looked great on the runway, but seemed intimidating for a first time testing the style and some of the tops looked unflattering once I tried them on. I fell in love with this one in particular because the sleeves were just enough to get the look without feeling like I jumped in too quickly. I also thought the color would look great with denim, whether that be jeans, shorts, or a skirt. Unfortunately I had a bit of a faux pas in these pics, since my sleeve got flipped inside out (a bummer since the ruffles are the key part of the look) and it wasn't until I got home and starting going through the photos that I realized the mistake.
When it comes to accessories I knew that I wanted to incorporate some more subtle color. I grabbed a fun statement necklace, which I felt accented the rusty shade nicely, and looked good next to the fun sleeves. However, the cute details on the front worked with a long chain necklace as well! I don't think you can go wrong with a nice watch, or dainty rings, especially when you use a fun complimentary shade of nail polish like this teal!
Since I wanted to focus on styling for work, I left my backpack at home and opted for one of my favorite vintage Coach purses instead. This rectangular bag is great for commuting to the office by bus, because it's just the right shape to fit most paperback books and the cross body strap keeps me from worrying about leaving it behind. As for my cup, I can't go a day at work without filling this stainless steel tumbler at the water cooler multiple times. I think every woman needs a water bottle that matches their outfit, and it's even better if it can hold a venti pink drink!
Top: Forever 21
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Saltwater Sandals
Necklace: Forever 21
Earrings: Forever 21
Cold Cup: Starbucks
Watch: Nanette Lepore for Pop Sugar Must Have
Yesterday Tyler and I made our way up north to Mount Vernon for a double date with our friends Sarah and Dustin. Every year in the Skagit Valley, thousands of tulip and daffodils bloom for the annual Tulip Festival and people come from all around for a colorful photo op and a fresh bouquet. When we saw the weather report for this weekend we were super bummed about the predicted rain, but the forecast ended up providing the ideal conditions for our visit.
Last year when Ty and I visited the gardens on our own we went on one of the hottest Saturdays of the festival, and had to fight enormous crowds and hours of traffic. We lucked out this year not only because there were far less people this time around, but because we also narrowly avoided the rain all together. It rained on the drive there and back, but the only challenge we faced was strong wind. So much for curling my hair! The overcast sky ended up giving us the perfect lighting for our pics too, which is something I am always super excited about.
Even though it didn't end up raining while we were there, I am glad that I wore my new yellow raincoat. I had been looking for the perfect pop of color in a jacket for years, and I've been pretty biased toward yellow lately. With how often it rains in Seattle I've been getting tired of my black trench, and this French Connection coat was the perfect replacement. There is something about wearing a bright color on a rainy day that keeps my spirits up as I am stomping through puddles on my commute to work or class. I've also been pretty surprised by how much of my closet I've been able to pair it with, and have worn it with anything from this black and white babydoll dress to the colorful embroidered top I wore in Animal Kingdom.
If you're planning on visiting the fields yourself, I highly recommend that you grab your own raincoat and a cute outfit and head out on a day with a lousy forecast. You won't regret it, the colorful tulips are beautiful even on a grey sky day! Unfortunately this is a seasonal event and the tulips won't be around much longer so if you want to fill your home with $5 bunches or your garden with bulbs then plan your trip ASAP.
Raincoat: French Connection (purchased from Nordstrom)
Dress: Forever 21
P.S. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @alhblog!
Once I grew out of the wear-my-one-Hollister-logo-tshirt-as-often-as-possible-to-fit-in phase of 9th grade, I quickly developed the polar opposite mindset that I COULD NOT be seen as an outfit repeater. If I wasn't going to sport the high school cool girl uniform of yoga pants and and PINK hoodie everyday, then I would need to stand out by wearing a different outfit as frequently as possible. My motto became "Lizzie McGuire, you are an outfit repeater" (from the Lizzie McGuire movie, obviously. Talk about iconic) and I thought it everytime someone in my classes wore the same shirt twice. At one point I had more dresses than I could wear to school in a month and a half, and I secretly tracked how long I could go. Senior year I went from the first day of school until the end of March before rewearing something I didn't consider a staple - aka my jeans, shoes, or various solid colored cardigans. I was obsessed. And while I scored the spot of Best Dressed in the yearbook by following these strict guidelines for myself and painting my nails a different color everyday, I admit it was overwhelming and at least a little bit ridiculous.
To an extent, I've mellowed out. I definitely still worry about whether people will notice that I am wearing the same thing I wore a month ago, but I put less stress on making sure my clothes are constantly new. I've gotten myself to a place where I emphasize buying pieces I really love and can mix up, rather than loading up my closet as much as possible. I like to think that it's a sign I'm growing up but it could also be a side affect of bills and rent.
This outfit is the direct result of the change. I've been working on brainstorming ways that I could mix and match to make it less obvious that I'm now a repeat offender and my jacket is a perfect example. My leather jacket has been around for what seems like forever, and can probably be traced back at least to sophomore year of highschool. I've worn it with everything from formal to casual, and love that it can tie a look together. I admit to wearing it not once, but twice in the past week, and I considered wearing it a third until I saw a weather report calling for rain. Since I split my days evenly between work and classes, I chalk it up to the fact that it's gotten really easy to grab the same outfit multiple times, telling myself I won't see the same crowd. In fact, I have apparently come to repeating it so many times that after taking my photos, Tyler pointed out that the vinyl on the back was wearing away and now I'm in the market for another jacket to hopefully last the next 7 years.
These shoes are also quickly making their way onto the list of things I am shamelessly wearing all the time, and I am super shocked at how comfortable they are. I wore them to work, including the long walk to and from the bus, and never once felt the urge to go barefoot. The elastic straps are probably my favorite feature in a shoe like this because they slide on easily, stretch to your heel for comfort, and create clean zipper-free lines. If your local TJ Maxx has a pair left in stock, I recommend you grab some while you can. I plan to wear them frequently while the weather is nice, so whether I am touring apartments or meeting with clients, it's probably safe to say I'm enjoying my added height.
Jacket: JJ Winters for Macy's
Top: Merona for Target
Jeans: American Eagle
Shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction (found at TJ Maxx)
Pin: Molly Moon's