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
23 | Seattle, Wa