So I have this obsession right now with putting outfits together that should maybe not go together, specifically because they consist of pairing fancy pieces with casual accessories. I'm pretty sure this started after I saw Emma Roberts' sparkly green dress and Adidas sneakers in 2017's Nerve. It was a show-stopping moment, believe me.
The idea that it feels like I can't be both feminine and powerful probably comes from my constant self-doubt. There's always going to be parts of me that feel like I'm not as strong or deep as the women I look up to because I love glitter and pop music and cappuccinos. And pearls and Instagram and romcoms....
Well LISTEN UP LADIES because that's not true. We get to defy ALL the stereotypes when it comes to what we want to do in our own lives. If that means you love to watch slasher movies while you paint your nails, or listen to rap music while wearing your best dress (like me, hehe), we can do whatever we want. 99.9% of the time that I think I need to be a certain way, I'm feeling the constraints of a box that I literally put myself in. (They do say you're your own worst enemy).
My original title for this piece -- the placeholder, if you will -- was "pink vs. power" and I think that perfectly encompasses everything that I'm trying to say. There seems to be a constant tension between being girly, where you're catty/materialistic/innocent, or you're a powerhouse, in which case you're too caught up in saving the world to care about your appearance. You can either be Cinderella or Mulan. Katniss Everdeen or Elle Woods.
Okay, so, I'm grossly generalizing women here (exaggerating is like my thing. It's such a bad habit) but you can't deny that society has set us up to think that a woman can't be resilient, or protective, or muscular if it means her favorite color is pink.
This topic was mentioned today in my gender and identity class of all places, when my professor was talking about Eve being created as Adam's ezer, or in (horribly translated) English, his 'help-mate'. I know as soon as you see 'help-mate' you're thinking about June Cleaver, but hold on one second there pal. While an ezer is mentioned in the Bible many times, it is usually only referring to two things: woman, and God coming to the aid of His people.
That means that when we're called to be girlfriends or wives or sisters or even friends, then we are called to join our boys in BATTLE. I need to write a whole other post on this topic because WOW do I get fired up about it. So we're called to be radiant and kickbutt and lovely and warriors all in one.
Get ready, because you better believe I'm showing up to fight in some Givenchy heels.
There's a reason my tagline is "lightning and daisies." I want every woman to feel like she can be powerful and delicate, and that they don't cancel each other out.
Every January, instead of a resolution, my mom picks a word that she wants to focus on for the year. I like this very much, and this year, mine will be two-fold. Maybe "glow" and "strong," or "sparkle" and "conquer". We'll just have to see.
Day trips have been a lovely way of seeing the country while paying a refreshingly low price. I've taken two trips so far so let's break this post into two parts.
Oxford -- January 20, 2019
I literally thought that I was inside Mary Poppins the entire day. The old buildings, the stone everything, the smoking chimneys. It was all very picturesque. There were even some birds flying around the towers.
We started the day watching the sunrise on the train, and seeing all the fog, hillsides, sheep, and homes. We got to Oxford at 8am on a Sunday, so it was both quiet and freezing, and we walked through the empty campus and town streets. We went to an Anglican mass in a beautiful cathedral, and then headed to lunch at The Eagle and Child, where C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their friends used to meet for lunch while they were students at Oxford. Every article I read when I googled "C.S. Lewis Oxford" had this door as a real-world version of the entrance to Narnia, with its decoration, fauns, and a lion. There's even a lamppost mere feet away.
Rachael and I ended up taking a tour of Christ Church while we were there, and saw a bunch of Harry Potter filming locations, as well as a crazy beautiful campus. I still can't believe that people go to school somewhere that looks like that, it's insane!
We ended the night at a pub (I got a smoothie from another place lol) before walking back to our train and riding back through the countryside to get to London. It was magical!
Stratford-Upon-Avon -- January 25, 2019
I was not sure what to expect from Stratford honestly. I was like, 'ok sounds fun' but it blew my expectations out of the water.
After missing a change and spending an extra 15 pounds and 60 minutes on another train, we finally made it. The only way I can think to describe it was the perfect mix between city and country, because the town streets had countless shops (we had THE BEST coffee I've ever had no joke) and then after we crossed the river, there was a large park with lots of dogs and lots of families.
We found an old bookstore (with a 1966 copy of Anne of Green Gables!) and a market with a vegan bakery (I got a savory nut role and it was ridiculously good). It was just such a cute town and so relaxing and peaceful to walk around in!
More adventures to come!
It is 9:51pm here in London as I write this. I'm laying bed having eaten 7 Jiffy Cakes while watching the series finale of Once Upon a Time. Today was the end of my first week at King's, as well as my first week at my internship. Life is going pretty well.
London has been a whirlwind of many new things happening all at once. I arrived to an empty apartment bedroom, and had to buy everything from bed sheets to toilet paper. I've been adjusting to living in a major city, and I'm going to be paying close attention to how I function here because I've wanted to live in a city for years, so it will be interesting to see how this works out!
I've learned my way around public transportation and grocery stores and campus, but my favorite thing has definitely been all of the exploring. From Notting Hill to the plethora of free (!) museums and galleries, every day is a new adventure!
I can already tell that the best way to see London is on foot, and I keep finding small markets and shopping centers full of beautiful lights and old architecture. I walked 6 miles today thrift store hopping, and I will probably do some more tomorrow! I am in search of a thick, classic, English sweater to go with the penny loafers I just ordered (Nancy Drew, who?).
One of the best parts of this whole experience has been getting to know everyone who came to England from UNC -- there's at least 21 of us! I only knew one person before flying out, so this has been a great way to form new friendships. Especially since (almost) all of us will still be on the same campus next year!
There are also some adventures coming up! Tomorrow I am exploring the British Library, and Sunday, a bunch of us are headed up to Oxford for the day -- which I am SO EXCITED FOR!
Go make someone smile
So, I love Sadie Robertson. A lot. I've been following her career since maybe 2013, when Duck Dynasty was in full swing. I watched her dance on Dancing with the Stars, I bought her book and her school supplies, and I even drove seven hours to meet her at a book signing in Charlotte.
Needless to say, when I heard that the Live Original Tour (basically an event with rappers, worship music, and Sadie speaking) was coming to Raleigh, I knew that I had to go. The theme of the whole tour was "United We Stand, Divided We Fall," which is from a Bible story about four oxen. A lion was stalking the four oxen, so to protect themselves, they all stood with their tails together and their horns out. When they argued and went their separate ways, the lion killed off each of them.
I'm glad I went because it was AMAZING. There were three things that night that really stuck out to me.
1. Sadie was talking about God-sized dreams a lot throughout the night, and the story that she focused on was Nehemiah, who was the king's cup bearer, and who was tasked by God to lead the people of Israel to rebuild the wall of the temple. The only problem? He had no money. So, The Lord provided Nehemiah with the opportunity to ask the king for help. Long story short, the king sent Nehemiah to build the wall with an army behind him.
Sadie shared about her God-given desire to speak, and said when people hear what she wants to do with her life, they say, "What makes you think you can accomplish all of this? It's impossible."
"Yeah, exactly," she continued. "That's how big my God is." It gave me goosebumps.
I was involved with an event here at UNC last semester called "Carry the Love," and without me even telling her about them, a staff member asked me if I had any God-sized dreams, and then prayed over them. Y'all -- I have no idea how I'm going to do the things God has placed in my heart (LOLLLL) but I am 100% confident that if He wants them to happen, they'll happen.
2. So one of the worship leaders at the Tour was Hollyn (big fan, big fan. You guys have to check her out.) She was talking during one of the songs to people who, as she described, "feel like they are anxiety."
"Nothing has you," she said. And then, all of a sudden, she shifted to speaking to people who live in such a constant state of feeling anxious that they don't even realize it anymore. Then she had all of us raise our hands and the band sang over us. Hollyn wasn't necessarily talking about a chemical imbalance kind of anxiety because that can't be cured by simply thinking your way out of it or having someone say nice things to you, but she was definitely speaking to me, and I swear she was looking right at me.
I get so anxious about stupid things that my hands shake. There are times where I've worked myself up to such a state about something insignificant that I feel like I can't breathe. I know that many of you probably also experience these feelings, but just know that there is a God who is in control of every aspect of your life. What an awesome reminder.
3. The last part of the evening that really stuck with me still gives me such a sense of peace and contentment. First off, I love, love, LOVE watching people worship. Near the end of the night, the band was singing "Spirit Break Out" and I looked over to the side and recognized one of the other speakers.
That's when I noticed that behind him, Sadie was worshiping, dancing, and jumping with the rest of us, her hands in the air. No one else realized it was happening, and it was one of the most at-peace I have felt because in that moment, it didn't matter that she was famous, or rich, or had this huge brand behind her. We were both young adults worshiping our God because of HIM and because of HIS character. The focus was on HIM.
It didn't matter how old everyone in the room was, our socioeconomic status, or what our home lives looked like. We were worshiping Jesus for everything that He is. It was so beautiful that it made me cry, and that is a memory that I will treasure for the rest of eternity.
Do you like Sadie Robertson? Who are your favorite celebrities?
My family recently took a very relaxing trip to the mountains. We hiked, we watched Netflix, we played board games, and it was amazing. I thought I could show you, better than tell you, about the experience! Take a peek below.
I ended up going to the fair twice this year (my heart was happy, my wallet was not). I wore two comfy and cute outfits that I thought I'd share! *Disclaimer: I'm not quite sure how to do posts like this so I guess we're figuring it out together.*
This is one of my new favorites! I paired a yellow turtleneck with my cargo jacket from New York and Company and jeans. I added black Converse and hoop earring to finish it off and I thought it looked pretty good!
According to Sarah, this was just quirky enough that you could tell I paired everything on purpose, and not like I didn't know how to dress myself. So that's something. I put a denim jacket from H&M over top of a thin sweatshirt from Wet Seal and donned my Converse and jeans again. I also thought that my glasses added some personality, as well as my trusty pastel green purse.
What kind of outfit do you wear over and over again? Do you like decade-inspired things? Are you classy? Quirky? Trendy? Let me know!!
I love to cook. There's something about cutting vegetables and figuring out sauces and spices that is very, very therapeutic -- right? Below, I've included the recipes of two really good meals I fixed recently. Let me know what you think!
Chocolate Chip Waffles with Cinnamon Apples
Teriyaki Chicken with Maple Sriracha Vegetables
Do you like to cook? What's your favorite recipe? Tag me in your recipes!
I've been struggling a lot lately. (real talk: aren't we all?) I've been feeling inadequate, and unlovable, and just an overall sucky person. Wow. That got deep fast. The most annoying part of feeling that way is that it always comes right after feeling like I am on top of the world and nothing can stop me. If there is one thing that I have learned since coming to college, it is that Jesus is consistent when my emotions are not. (AKA all the time).
Lauren Daigle recently released a track from her new album, Look Up Child, that is exactly what I needed to hear. It's called 'You Say' and it is now one of my favorite songs of all time. The reason I like it so much is that each line in it sounds like it's specifically talking about me and things I'm constantly dealing with. Below, I want to spend a little bit of time digging into some of the lyrics, hopefully in a way that encourages you.
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
If you really think about it, it's very interesting that the devil always targets us in a way that makes us feel unworthy. That really shows how scared he is that we'll realize everything The Lord has for us to do for the Kingdom. Even though the devil can't get inside our heads, there are so many other ways he gets to us. Magazine cover models with perfect skin, the blogger who has 10,000 subscribers, the girl who's never had to worry about paying for school. He targets things that are important to us because he gets the way the human mind works.
You say I am loved, when I can't feel a thing
If you've dealt with spiritual apathy (which is where no matter how much you read the Bible or pray or stay in Christian community, you feel ~zilch~ spiritually) you know how frustrating it can be. It makes me so ANGRY because I feel like should be able to snap out of it. That's the catch ladies and gents, what the Bible says about us always trumps how we feel. The Bible says we are loved, no matter how much we feel like we shouldn't be. We need to live like it.
You say I am strong, when I think I am weak
I always want to be strong, courageous, and determined. And so often, I feel like I am failing miserably. However, in all of my failings, that is the space where the Holy Spirit propels me to be brave in situations that terrify me, or to keep persevering in situations where all I want to do is lay in bed and cry. That is when I can point to my actions and tell others that it wasn't me, but The Lord in me. How crazy, gracious, and beautiful is that?!
You say I am held, when I am falling short
It's pretty competitive to be a college student these days. It seems like everyone around me is doing amazing things -- getting great internships and careers, leading clubs, traveling across the world. Inadequacy definitely comes into focus in this part of my life, when I feel like I'm at a standstill. This is my favorite part about our faith. Our God is the only one who came down from Heaven to be with us, live in our world, and go through the same things we go through, instead of us having to try and scrape our way out of our messy lives and make our way to Him. He doesn't move on to the next person every time we fail to meet His standards, because He knows (as we all should) that it's impossible for us to meet His standards. THAT'S WHY HE DIED FOR US PEOPLE! So we can stop our striving and perfectionism and stress. Know that He's holding you, and He loves you better than any earthly father can even imagine. You can rest. Who wouldn't want that?
When I don't belong, You say I am yours
These are the things I have placed my identity in throughout my life: student, daughter, writer, FCA staff kid, beauty and fashion. All of these, without a doubt, either have failed me or will fail me. Constantly trying to live up to what you think you need to live up to is exhausting because we'll always think there's someone more intelligent, attractive, confident or likable than we are. When we feel awkward, out of place, or unwanted, that is when we have to make the conscious decision to believe that we are conquerors, we have purpose, we are beautiful, and that we are working towards something much greater than what is here on earth. That's what Jesus gave us when He died for us: an identity as a new creation. Stop living like you're still your old self. It's tough, but it's not impossible.
Summer is halfway over. I can't believe it! I leave for school in under a month.
On today's post, I am including some things I am hoping to do as Summer wraps up, as well as a list of summery things I'm thankful for. The latter is something that my discipler at school and I talked about this past semester. She talked to me about how when she finds herself complaining or facing anxiety, she makes random lists of things she's thankful for. I have done it and it immediately lifts my mood! Try it sometime.
SUMMER BUCKET LIST IDEAS:
1. Make some homemade lemonade. It's so yummy and so easy. I made a pitcher last summer, and wouldn't let my family have any because it was so good.
2. Orchestrate a staycation in your town. I love being on the beach, running around my island, and perusing shops.
3. Just relax. I work so hard during the school year that I am just happy to be home. Catch me on my couch, y'all.
4. Enjoy where you live. I am eight minutes from the ocean and I love it! Although, I got a sunburn in May on half my body, and I'm still four different colors...Do you live near the mountains? Go hiking. Live near a creek? Go sit and read. Spend an early morning with birds in the forest or watch the stars in a meadow.
5. Hang out with your family. I love being with my parents and my sister, and when my cousins and grandma come down and spend some time with us! My cousin Savannah got married this summer and it was so fun to see everyone -- I love when we're all together.
7. Drink a glass bottle coke with the windows down. Nuff said.
THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR:
1. Clear skies
2. Vivid colors
3. Denim shorts
5. Books and Netflix
6. Friends and family
7. A cold drink on a hot day
8. Staying up extra late
9. Sleeping in
What are you thankful for?
I've always preferred natural makeup, and usually I change up my lipstick for a fancy evening. While I do enjoy playing with makeup, I don't think that it's the end all be all for feeling beautiful. Everyone should feel as good without makeup as they do with it, which is a lot easier said than done, and I am no exception. Nevertheless, maybe this look will inspire you!
1. First I start fresh faced and fancy free. I've already washed my face and put on toner, moisturizer, and spot treatment.
2. Next I apply primer and foundation. The green e.l.f. primer helps tone down my acne scars and hyper-pigmentation, while the NYX helps with my oily t-zone. This e.l.f. foundation is the best one I have ever used! It's super cheap and has great coverage. I definitely recommend it.
3. I do my eye makeup with this Beach Goddess palette from Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale. It was definitely a good purchase because I've been using it for probably 2.5 years. It also includes blush, highlight, and contour! The picture on the right shows which products in the palette I use.
This is the final eye look -- I start with a light color, or gold, on the lid, the medium color from the bottom left of the palette in the crease, and the dark color from the top right of the palette to give an illusion of depth.
4. I finish with powder, contour, highlight, and blush, then I swipe on some mascara and lipstick!
Bonus: here's my OOTD, one of my favorite outfits! I'll link all the pieces and products below!
e.l.f. foundation in Porcelain
Face powder in Fair
Eye shadow palette in Beach Goddess
My favorite lipstick in Pastel Petal
I just picked up my beauty blender from TJ Maxx
Top -- from a thrift store in Florida
Necklace -- a graduation gift
Earrings -- a Christmas gift
Sneakers in Green
Do you like to do your makeup? What looks do you like? Let me know below!
I am a September baby, which may be the root of my love for fall. I love dark chocolate, popcorn, and I do actually like brussel sprouts. I'm the kind of person that listens to a Christmas song in September. (But only one. I don't want to ruin the ~magic~).