Sunday, October 9, 2016

What I Read: A Belated Summer Recap


Hey Guys! I know I said I was going to post this at the end of the summer, and originally, my plan was to post this the second weekend of school, but then life got crazy. I realized fashion school is exponentially harder than I initially believed it would be. I spent the entire first month staying late  after school every day, trying to learn all the things I was expected to already know, trying to improve and practice SO MUCH! You can say that my life has been a bit chaotic. And then when I do have a spare moment, you can catch me frantically traipsing around the city, trying to take in all the fun things to do around the city with my friends! With that said, I haven't had much time to write, or read for that matter but now we're a month and a half in and I'm finally settling into a routine and I've learned to carve a little extra time for reading at the end of the day. This past week I started Just Kids by Patti Smith and I'm about halfway through it. It's a fantastic memoir and I'm in love with her nostalgic style of writing. It's such an experience to read about the places I frequent, but from several decades ago. I'm sure it will go on to be one of my favorite books. Anyway, this past summer I selected twelve books off of my list of books I want to read and I challenged myself to read one book per week and I wanted to share some thoughts I had about the ones I chose. Surprisingly, I was able to follow through with my goal for the most part, only taking an extra week to finish two of the books.

// Is It Evil Not To Be Sure? - Lena Dunham (not pictured) //
This was the first book I chose to read! This was before I had even decided I would start this challenge and it was definitely a bit of an impulse buy. I saw Lena Dunham's post on instagram about the surprise book released and I jumped at the opportunity since I loved her first book so much. This little pink book is fantastic. It starts off with an essay about journaling, which was a fun one to read since journaling is such a huge part of my life. Anyway, the rest of the book is a series of tweet-like fragments from her personal journal when she was 19. It's all these little feelings and moments captured and a lot of them really resonated with me and what I'm going through currently as a 20 year old. I cried!

// Me Before You - JoJo Moyes //
I had such high expectations for this book. I remember when it first came out and all the bloggers were writing about it and it felt like the whole world was simultaneously reading it and I was probably the lone person who didn't start reading it right away. So I just put it at the top of my list and never quite got around to it, until this past June. Now, it's not to say I didn't enjoy the book, because I did. It was sort of like reading Nicholas Sparks. Good light hearted sappiness and loooooove. Except I was expecting to cry and that NEVER happened, and I wasn't particularly moved either. It made me ask myself, am I becoming a cynic or did I hype it up too much?

// Epilogue - Anne Roiphe //
I remember being so excited about choosing this one. and then reading it during my breaks at work, and I had to stop myself from laughing so much and so hard. I picked it because I had read the loveliest review of it on Cup of Jo. Anyway, I loved this book. I love Anne Roiphe's voice and her sense of humor. It was a very poignant retelling of her experience after the loss of her husband, H, and how she was able to move forward with her life and meet new men. It's interesting because it's all about things I have never experienced personally, since I'm just a 20 year old who is definitely still in the "just casually dating" point of my life, but I was really able to feel connected to Anne. I felt like I understood her. It was heartfelt and sad, but not too serious. I highly recommend this one.

// Perfectly Imperfect - Baron Baptiste //
This one is sort of like a self help book, but also not. I started reading it around the time I got a job at Vivint, probably the most stressful job I've ever had, and I was having a rough time getting adjusted. It was very grounding to have this book that I could reference. It really made me consider the things I was getting stressed out about, whether they were in my control and if they were, how I could adjust my reaction to them. It made me consider my attitude. It was good, but I don't know if I would place it in my favorites.

// My Name is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout //
This book is fantastic! It's about a woman, Lucy, who is in the hospital for an extended period of time, so she reflects on her life - where she is now and where she's been in the past. Her mother pays her a visit, it being their first time seeing each other in a long time, and they talk about the people she grew up with. I read the entire book in less than a day because I couldn't put it down.

// The Bed Moved - Rebecca Schiff //
I have to admit, I was originally attracted to this book because of the aesthetically appealing cover., which is sort of a horrible thing to admit since I don't usually do that. Maybe I should have read more than just one review about it, because this ended up being the first of the books that took me over a week to finish. I almost had to force myself to finish it because I really just wasn't enjoying the stories. I found them pretty boring. So much so that I don't remember any of them now.

// The Lonely City - Olivia Laing //
This was a fun one to read. It's about a woman who is new to New York City and is experiencing loneliness, so in an attempt to understand and process these feelings, she spends a lot of time looking at art and learning about artists who represented feelings of loneliness in their art or simply experienced it themselves. So it consists of several little biographies of various artists. I loved the chapter on Andy Warhol, particularly. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you love art history. I really enjoyed having my phone with me while I read this, so that I could pull up pictures of the specific works she was referencing as she referenced them.

// Sweetbitter - Stephanie Danler //
oh my god, this book was a masterpiece. This one was life-changing. It's about a girl who moves to New York City and she gets a job at a restaurant. It's about Tess, the main character's, exploration of herself, her feelings as she adjusts to life there in the city as well as the restaurant, and all the different relationships she forms there. I listened to Florist's The Birds Outside Sang album on a loop the entire time I was reading this book because its also about moving to the city and figuring yourself out, so it was a perfect soundtrack for it. I spent an extra week reading this book because I was trying to stretch it out for as long as I could. I fell in love with these characters, especially Simone, and the last thing I wanted to do was leave them.

// The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood //
This novel had been on my list for years. I don't even remember how I first heard about it, but I knew it was often listed as a recommended feminist text. I wasn't sure if I would find it interesting since I didn't know much about it. I was fascinated by this book, however. It was very thought-provoking and relevant.

// Art and Madness - Anne Roiphe //
While this was definitely still an enjoyable book, I didn't like it as much as the other Anne Roiphe book I read this summer, Epilogue. This one was less nostalgic and colorful, and more straightforward. It was still lovely, regardless. It's always so interesting to read about the past and consider how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

// Modern Lovers - Emma Straub //
This one was the last book I read this summer. It's about some college friends and former bandmates who moved to the same neighborhood after school and "grew up" together and raised their kids together. It was a very fun one to read, very interesting. It felt like what it feels like to help a friend, but it was also very light. I remember curling up on the couch and reading it in two afternoons, just a couple days before I moved. It was one of those books where you just never know what to expect. It's very involved, but it's not going to break your heart. I think if I had to pick a favorite character it would be Elizabeth.

Those were all the ones I read! You might be wondering, why I only listed eleven books when I said I ordered twelve, but it's because there was one book I never got around to reading and that was The Year of The Runaways by Sunjeet Sahota. I tried to read it on the plane, when I was flying into New York City, but I didn't get any sleep the night before, so my efforts failed and I settled on watching a movie instead. I do still have the book with me here, but I also just bought a stack of books for the season, so I can't guarantee it'll be the next one I chose to read. Regardless, I'll eventually read it!

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The City Starts To Feel Like Home


It didn’t take too long for New York, and Chelsea in particular, to start to feel like home. That’s not to say I’ve abandoned Utah, my home state. Besides, no matter how long I live here and how immune I become to the meanness of New Yorkers and the smell of hot garbage, I still feel like I’m never going to stop being a girl from Orem, Utah. It’s who I am, it’s who I’ve always been. My values are shaped by my experiences, by my surroundings, by my upbringing.. and I would be lying if I said I even could leave Utah behind, or that I'd want to. I still do miss my friends and my mom and my family and above all, my cat Daisy. But, I also feel like I am where I’m supposed to be, like everything is falling into place and I’m heading in the right direction. There are so many opportunities ahead of me and for once, I can be who I want to be, I can make the choices and decisions I want to make without having to explain myself and I never have to really think about the opinions of others if I don’t want to. I’m here, I’m an adult! With that said, I wanted to tell you guys about my first week here. It’s been quite the adventure.

my neighborhood, Chelsea *heart eyes emoji*

I was expecting my first night in town to feel like magic. I had read a blog post about a girl who moved here, who went exploring on her first night in the city and felt a sense of immense possibility and hope. I was expecting the same for myself. It was definitely my own fault, but my first day in the city was very, very exhausting. I hadn’t slept at all the night before or on the plane, so by the time I arrived I was ready to pass out, but I went grocery shopping with my roommate, Caitlin, instead and then I decorated my side of the room and I put things away. I wanted to be able to settle into my room as quickly as possible. It wasn’t exciting though, I mean it was a little but I was sad, in all honesty. That night, I was introduced to the 99 cent pizza shop across the street. THE LOVE OF MY LIFE! So cheap, so delicious. With that, my day wasn't so bad. It could have been better, but it wasn't the worst day of my life.


My second day was more exciting because I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my friend Amber, to see Manus x Machina and we also went to Central Park. I’ve been meeting internet friends in real life since I was 13 years old, so you’d think I was used to it at this point, but it’s always so weird because you never know what they’ll be like, if they’re anything like they are online. It makes me wonder how my internet persona is as compared to my in person person. Everyone's is a little different, for some more than others. Anyway, Amber is the cutest little bean. I love her. She’s so knowledgeable too, and she walks around wearing her little Adidas Superstars and her grey Känken. I love her. Anyway, that day feels like it was so long ago, and not just a week ago. That was also the first time I got on the subway this time. I don’t know why I was so nervous about it, considering I've been on the Subway before, several times. Up until that point, it also didn't really feel real that I was in the city.


Speaking of the city, everything in this city is so beautiful, especially the architecture and the sunsets. I feel so inspired. On Sunday, my roommate Caitlin and I got matcha drinks at Cha Cha over by Little Italy. I loved the walk over there. I love the streets and the street art and all the little signs they put out in front of the stores and watching the people walking in for brunch. I love feeling purposeful. I don’t know how to explain it. I never quite felt so purposeful in Utah. I don’t think I’d go back for the matcha, but I’d definitely go back to try other places. When we got back, I went on a thrifting tour with the school. I made some friends there and we went to Chelsea Market right after, which was so fun! 


Then it was Monday and I didn’t have class until 2pm, but I went school supply shopping in the morning and the whole experience was frustrating. The entire supply shopping experience has been a nightmare in general, because the lists are all incomplete and inaccurate and I find myself spending so much extra time returning things and exchanging things and trying to find obscure brands that nobody seems to have ever heard of. And it’s all soo expensive. Anyway, class was interesting and I regained a bit of hope. My next class was interesting too, fascinating. Although I don’t particularly love sitting in/standing in four hour long classes and I don’t particularly love how intimidating the professors are. Well, some of them. I do love my classmates. They’re all the same people in all my classes, which is nice because it reminds me of how I used to see my friends in high school like that every day, and because they’re all so inspiring and I love learning from them. I love seeing their personal styles too. It makes me want to be like them and take inspiration from them. I’ve also met some of the sweetest girls. I know I just met them, but I sincerely hope they’ll stick around even after we all graduate. 


That Tuesday, we went to Central Park again, but this time with my roommates. We were trying to think of what to do, but we couldn’t think of a single thing. It’s funny how that happens when there’s too much to do. So we headed to Central Park and we walked and walked and walked until we found the castle and then we headed back home. Then, on Wednesday and Thursday I had class all day from 9am until the late hours of the evening. It was too much, so I tweaked my scheduled a bit for the remainder of the semester. Now I’m only going to have two classes on Wednesdays and two on Tuesdays as opposed to just the one. Anyway, we went to get pumpkin spice lattes during my break from class on Thursday afternoon and then we went to a club on Thursday, which was fun for a while. I’m not really a clubbing sort of gal. As for Friday, I had class until 6pm, like most days. We went to 99 cent pizza after class! Then we met some friends and went to the Met again to see Manus x Machina again because they all hadn’t seen it and I figured if I could see it one last time, I needed to. We met Amber there too and the time we spent there was perfect. I love how the Met is by donation, to be honest.



Today, it’s the end of my first week here in the city. With all the stuff that’s happened over the course of the week, all the work and time spent running errands, running up and down several flights of stairs and down streets, completing tasks and with all the sightseeing we’ve done when we’re not all in class, it feels like it’s been a lifetime since my first day here. It's almost like time is going faster than it should, but it also feels like I’ve never led a more exciting life. And if you were wondering, I did end up having my moment of realization, as we were walking through the streets of Chelsea around 11pm on Thursday night, when it dawned on me that I’m here, in the city, and that I plan on staying here even after school. All the hope in the world washed over me and the sense of immense possibility, too. 

during my moment of realization!

I’ll keep you all updated and I’ll be posting again about my experiences here as well as my usual content!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Feeling Feelings + An August Playlist


I wonder how my mother felt when she booked that one-way flight to America in 1999, or maybe it was in the early months of the year 2000. I wonder if it was sort of reminiscent of what I felt when I booked my one-way flight to New York City, or maybe I’m just being melodramatic. After all, I am the girl who keeps a note on my phone that I only ever open around 2am, when all I want to do is write about my feelings and anxieties. Regardless, I feel like it wasn't until this week, that it hit me that I'm moving across the country. It wasn't quite real to me until now and suddenly I can't even sleep anymore because I'm excited and nervous and scared and everything in between. It just became more and more real every day, and along with that, the days started feeling longer and longer. And in one day, I’m going to wake up and get on that plane and I have no idea how that will go. And I have no idea what will happen after. For all I know, I'll completely unaffected and only once I’m standing on my street in Chelsea, luggage in hand, I’ll come to realize where I am and what I’ve done and what is happening. And then I’ll be washed over with a sense of reality, with emotions and longing and intense joy and every major feeling that I haven’t quite felt yet. But that's not likely, since I started missing my loved ones months ago, long before I ever knew I was definitely moving to New York. And besides, if I cried getting on a plane home after visiting my best friend in California for a couple days, I'm 100% sure I'll cry getting on a plane to my new city and leaving behind my childhood home and loved ones. I'm an emotional being, after all. BUT, It's not like I won't ever come home either. I mean I'm going to be back for a month between December and January. Still though, the feelings are real and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel.

Sometimes, I too get caught up pretending my life is perfect on social media, or at the very least on facebook, instagram, and blogger. Tumblr and Twitter get to see the inner workings of my mind a little bit more, but still it’s not the same as the raw emotions I release into my journal. Even on those social media platforms where I feel like I can be more candid, I'm still pretending a little bit. One thing I failed to emphasize when I wrote about the last time I went to New York City, is that I spent a big part of the trip crying. I guess that was my mistake, for deciding to show up to the city entirely on my own, to spend the first half of the trip wandering about by myself. The city was magic and grand and interesting, sure, but it was also lonely and frantic. I was constantly lost and trying to find help. I was constantly feeling incompetent and small. I mean, the first thing I did when I reached the apartment on St. Marks Place was have a panic attack. I wanted to just curl up on the ground and cry and breathe and do my best at attempting to calm down because I couldn't even will myself to look out the window, let alone leave the apartment building and venture out. Once I finally did, it took me hours to find the MoMA, and I don't mean a couple hours. I mean several. I mean the entire morning. Only once I found it did I feel at peace. That night, I called my mom, a mess of tears. Between sobs, I told her I wanted to go home, that I couldn’t stand the city with all of it’s rude people, with all of the busy streets, with all of that isolation I felt being there. I told everyone on social media that I was in love with the city, and I wasn’t. That not how the story ended, of course, or I wouldn't be moving there. I grew to appreciate the city when my friends arrived and we spent the next three days having a good time. By the end of the trip I was dead set on coming back, this time to live there. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now! See, things do get better. It doesn't mean I'm not scared this time, but I know that even if things aren't easy at first, I'll settle into the city. I'll start to love it. I'll be fully living before I know it!

But this isn’t just about New York either. I mean, Utah has been my home for the better part of my life. I remember my first few weeks in Utah, when I was four years old. I remember all the houses we’ve lived in. This is where I got my first cat (my dear Minnie,) it’s where I learned to ride my bike, this is where I graduated from high school, where I first started college, where I learned to sew, where I formed my ideas and values, where I met my oldest friends. Orem is my hometown and my roots will always be here, surrounded by these massive mountains that I once took for granted, but my mom always marveled at. I hated this town when I was in junior high and during my early high school years. I used say that I would never belong because I wasn’t of the same religion, because I didn’t have a religion, because I didn’t have as many friends, because there was never anything fun to do and most musicians I adore wouldn’t even tour here, because I thought I wouldn't ever love this place, etc. I grew to love it, eventually. It’s never going to be a perfect fit for me, but that’s beyond my control. Still, I’m going to miss my friends - the new and the old- and I’m going to miss sitting in my room with my Daisy Máire curled up on my lap, and I’m going to miss those late afternoon grocery shopping trips with my mom, and I'll miss my sister and my dad too. I’m going to miss my childhood bedroom with my collection of Taylor Swift merchandise from my fangirl days. I’m going to miss my little tan car with my Bernie Sanders sticker still on it. I’m going to miss the local concert venues where I first fell in love with live music. I’m going to miss the mountains and all my favorite trails to hike, especially in the Fall. I’m going to miss my Utah, my home.


With that said, I put together a little playlist of old and new songs to listen to when you’re feeling feelings and thinking about life around 2am, probably. 


Tracklist:

  1. Robotic - Hannah Georgas
  2. Night 52 - Christine and the Queens
  3. I Admit I'm Scared - Eskimeaux
  4. What If - Maggie Eckford
  5. Four Walls - Broods
  6. Hold Your Own Hand - Mothers
  7. Best Times - Sales
  8. Only A Prayer Nothing More - Florist
  9. Sodom, South Georgia - Iron & Wine
  10. Be Your Own 3am - Adult Mom
  11. Gone - AdriAnne Lenker
  12. Class of 2013 - Mitski
  13. How Are You?? - Soko
  14. Before The World Was Big - Girlpool

and you can listen to the playlist right over on THIS link!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dorm Haul: What I'm Bringing to College

As some of you may know, this isn't my first time starting college. My first time around was two years ago, when I was starting as a freshman at Utah Valley University, not quite sure of what the future held for me. I didn't particularly want to go to UVU, but I knew I wanted to attend college and eventually get a degree, and so I agreed to go there until I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to go about it. One thing I had clear is that I wanted to go to school out of state eventually. I had my heart set on Nashville for the longest time, as that's the city I fell in love with in 2014, and the city I hold nearest to my heart even now. But back to the point. I debated getting an apartment with my friend Sarah somewhere between UVU and BYU that first Fall, but eventually I decided to just stay at my parents' house and redecorate my room, so as to save up but also get a sense of change. It was also a great way to save money, so I don't really regret staying home and doing my first year and half of college at UVU, since now I'll be able to finish my associate's degree at FIT in one year, rather than the usual two. With that said, I'm really excited to finally move out!

So, in just a week and half I'm going to moving into an apartment style dorm in Alumni Hall at FIT, with my three roommates - Caitlin, Natalie, and Sophie. Caitlin's the one I'm going to share a room with though, and you can check out her blog right here. Anyway, so these last couple of weeks, I've been scouring the internet and local shops looking for cute things to decorate my dorm room and I wanted to show you guys some of the cute things I'll be taking with me!

Decor:



For Decor, I wanted most of the accents to be gold. So I got this pencil holder from Target, this jewelry rack from Anthropologie, and this little terrarium (which I will use to store my crystals + rings) from Urban Outfitters. I'm also bringing my extensive candle collection, even though candles technically aren't allowed. As for lighting, I'm bring my fairy lights from IKEA, which I absolutely adore because they bring a sort of coziness to the room. I'm also going to hanging up some art prints that I've acquired throughout the last year, and I'll probably be buying some more in the near future. I'm going to have a post up about where I get my prints pretty soon! As for curtains, I'm bringing my lace ones from IKEA, but since we only have one window (probably) I'm not sure we're going to use them. My throw pillow is white with grey designs on it and mustard flowers, and it was a gift so I'm not sure where it's from. Finally, so.. I used to have three cactuses in my room and they were thriving, until one day I overwatered them and two of them died literally overnight. So, to prevent that from happening in NYC haha, I got a fake cactus and I painted the planter gold so as to match the rest of the accents. 

Bedding:



For my bedding, I'm going to bring my white duvet cover from home. I'm leaving my white sheets behind though ( :'( ), and opting for some grey floral ones I got a couple years ago that will fit the twin XL mattress (the ones pictured are similar and from the same store). It's okay though because the grey will go with my white / grey / mustard color scheme perfectly! As for accent pillows, my main statement one will be the same one Taylor Swift gave me in 2014 with the California flag on it since it fits well with the aesthetic of my room. For the rest of the pillows, I got this mustard one from Pier 1 and this white sherpa bed rest from Target, which is a nice knock-off of this Urban Outfitters one for less. I'm also going to order this shaggy one from H&M as well as this faux sheepskin to cover my chair from IKEA.

Organization:

As far as storage/ organization goes, I ordered a few of those foldable storage boxes from both Bed, Bath, and Beyond and IKEA in grey and white. For my underbed storage, I got this to store off-season clothing. I'm also ordering a clothing rack, which I plan on using to hang all my winter coats / jackets. I have some non-slip hangers from Costco that I really love, but I haven't gotten that far with packing yet, so I'm not sure I'll be able to fit them in my luggage. In any case, I could order these white ones from IKEA.

I hope this guide was in any way helpful!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pretty Little Things: Backpacks!


It's back to school season! This is particularly exciting for me, not just because I'm moving to New York City next week, but also because I'm obsessed with organization (stationary, planners, office supplies, you name it)! Getting a new backpack is always a really fun activity because it's not really as simple as just picking a cute one at the first place you look. You have to really consider a lot of factors, like whether it will fit all your things (and for most of us college students, if it's big enough for your laptop), whether it'll look nice with every outfit you wear, whether the material is durable and/or waterproof, etc. Earlier this year, I got this lovely Fjällräven Känken in Frost Green/Pink Peach. I wanted to be able to use it for school, to take it when I go hiking - especially on longer hikes, and to bring to music festivals. Therefore, I needed my backpack to: have space for two water bottles,  fit my 13" Macbook Pro, be waterproof, and it needed to be big enough that I could fit up to 6 notebooks in it - since I am an avid handwritten notetaker, but more on that on another post! I'm also in love with the pink and green color combo. That used to be my favorite color combination when I was in elementary school and green is still my favorite color now, so it was a nice little throwback.

Anyway, I put together a nice little selection of my favorite backpacks this season, all under $100, because I know how important it is to find an affordable backpack.

From left to right, top to bottom: Ribstop from Baggu // Vegan Leather Backpack // Baggu Grid Backpack // Target Pink Polka Dot // Fjällräven Känken in Ochre // Herschel Dawson // Lola Perforated White // Kane Backpack (this one reminds me of a spaceship) // Sole Society Faux Leather

And finally: a floral one, an army green one, and a simple pink one that didn't fit on the picture.

I have a couple more Back To School posts I'll be sharing in the next week. Have a lovely day!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lyric Embroidery Hoops


I'm one of those people who likes to have everything perfectly organized at all times, or else I get excessively stressed out. So, recently I've been spending a lot of time planning how I will decorate my room in New York City, down to the last detail. I want it to be a lot like my room here in Utah, with my white bedding and my gallery wall of assorted art prints and paintings. However, I'm not trying to make it an exact replica and I'm trying to follow a slightly different color scheme - but more on that will be on another post. The point is, I made these cute little embroidery hoops with some of my favorite lyrics lately to hang up on my wall along with my Daisy portrait and some of the art I've been collecting over the last year and a half. The one above is my favorite, it's from a song by the Brooklyn band Florist. It's the last song on their record and it's called Only A Prayer Nothing More. Their lyrics have been pretty comforting to me lately. Unintentionally, loneliness has been a common theme in the last four books I've read this summer. It's funny how life has a way of highlighting the most relevant things when you need them most. I feel like I've been so hyper aware of my feelings lately, which is probably why I've also been taking my sketchbook everywhere. Anyway, the lyric on the embroidery hoop is the following:

 "slow down watch the sky, you'll be young forever"


This one was the most spontaneous of the two. Originally, when I was planning these out, I made a list of like 10 different song lyrics that I liked or that I thought would be good to hang on my wall, some were too long and some were just a couple words long, so I narrowed it down to my top 4 contenders and this one was actually one of the first lyrics I had eliminated from my list. I was going to go for a lyric in Holly Miranda's song, Pelican Rapids, "There's nothing wrong with the way you feel and everything will be alright," which was a sort of mantra to me last Fall when I was going through a rough moment.  But then at the last minute, I started stitching this Angel Olsen lyric instead:

"I started dancing just to be around you,"

and it wasn't the least bit centered, so I had to reposition my fabric and basically, I came up with the whole design of it as I was making it. I like how it turned out though. I got a lot of nice messages about it on twitter and tumblr, more so than about the other one.

The other exciting thing, that is sort of related to this post, is that I'm going to see both Angel Olsen and Florist in concert this fall, separately of course haha. And I'm going to have to venture out to the venues alone because, tragically, none of my New York friends listen to indie music. I'm excited though!

Alright, well thank you for reading!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Albion Community Events + Fitness Fashion


I fell in love with Albion Fit in 2014, when I got a membership at Xtend Barre in Provo, and during one of my very first classes I had an instructor who wore their petal pants. I remember asking her where she got them and soon after making my first trip to the little Albion store, tucked away by the Kneaders at City Creek. I didn't end up getting those pretty pants though, instead I walked out with a new tank, one that I still wear today, so that'll tell you something about the quality of their products. I later ended up getting a sports bra and THE MOST FLATTERING swimsuit I have ever worn in my life. I always, without fail, get compliments on it when I wear it. It's black with little flamingos on it and it's out of stock right now, since it was from last summer's collection, but this one is a very similar cut.

Besides their quality materials and cute styles, there's another reason I adore Albion Fit, and that's because of... the community events! They have a sort of little tradition of hosting free community fitness classes on most Saturday mornings (and sometimes nights) throughout the summer. I love these because 1) it feels really cool to feel like a part of something and that feeling is definitely there at these events, 2) there's free healthy food afterwards, 3) It gives me a reason to wake up at 7am on Saturday mornings and 4) it's the reason I've tried so many fitness classes I would have otherwise probably never tried out. I try to make it to every single one, although sometimes if they fall on the same day, I might go to the free Athleta classes or the 9th and 9th Pilates summer events as well, though those are very rarely free. Regardless, you'll never find me at my local gym on Saturday mornings haha.

Alright, so last week, Albion held a class with the lovely Witney Carson from Dancing With The Stars, which was particularly exciting. As you know, I loooooove dancing. However, I'm not the most skilled at it (as in, I'm always 1 step behind everyone else, but I try!) I headed over the class and it was such a blast. Afterwards, they had delicious little açai bowls for us from The Protein Foundry (pictured above!), another local business. I'm definitely going to be hitting up their restaurant before I move to New York! And, the highlight of the morning was when I ended up winning a $50 gift card during the giveaway. I compiled some of my favorite things from Albion right now and I'm going to head over the store later this week to pick one out!


Clockwise from Top Left: Santiago Love Racer Top // Go Capri in Antigua Slate // Crop Swim Top in Izabal (looove this one as both a regular top and a swim top) // Go Capri in Antigua

Which one do you think I should pick?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Portrait of Daisy


This summer has been the busiest one for me, that's for sure. It's funny because last summer I was working on my portfolio for my FIT application 24/7 and I thought that would probably be the busiest summer. I guess I didn't anticipate all these things I'd have come up right before moving. I'm trying to do all the things I procrastinated doing over the last few months all at once so I won't have so much to stress about in the Fall, and most of it is boring like filling out paperwork for my allergist and getting a new prescription for my glasses, or hemming pants for my mom's friend. Another thing I've been working on is finishing projects that I started and then left half-way done. I feel like that's a problem literally every artist has to face, but for me it got so excessive that my desk was literally covered by stacks of canvases and other sh*t for months and I FINALLY, mostly, got it organized and I really only have 2 paintings I need to finish and 3 sewing projects. The rest can wait, or just be left how it is haha. It doesn't help that my sketchbook has recently become my best friend. I'm always working on my sketchbook. My new favorite thing is drawing my friends and mixing different mediums. Maybe one day I'll show you guys a little sneak peek of my sketchbook, but that probably won't be for a long time. Honestly, it would be the equivalent of showing you my journal, with all my personal little thoughts and feelings interspersed through its pages.

Anyway, one thing I really wanted to paint before leaving (so as to incorporate it in my apartment decor), is a portrait of my little Daisy Máire! So yesterday, I put on my favorite podcast, NPR's Invisibilia (these three episodes), and I painted my heart away. I'm sure some of you remember, but when I was in high school I exclusively painted cats, so this was a fun little throwback experience for me. It's mostly acrylic, but I also used nail polish both to make the background a little bit more golden and to add some sparkle. It's something I started doing with some of paintings in April, but I haven't posted those portraits yet! Oh and the whiskers were drawn in with a white Polychromos pencil. As I said before, I've been making a lot of mixed-media projects.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

An Ode to Short Hair

the above drawing is by tumblr user mayasinfinity

I had a short little bob when I was about 10 years old, back when my hair was so untamable, so frizzy. It was arguably the worst haircut of my life, tied with the time I got grungy, choppy layers in the 7th grade. Both haircuts are practically the reason I hadn't been too adventurous with my haircuts in the last 7 years, before I cut my hair into a bob again in January 2014. And even then, it was a last minute decision, something that I decided the night before the haircut and kept to myself, mostly. I only told my best friend, Arlette.  It wasn't that I didn't admire short hair on other girls, in fact I've always thought there's something so incredibly feminine, youthful, and downright flirty about short hair. And every time I'm scrolling on tumblr, I always see these girls with the cutest little short haircuts. Honestly, I miss my little bob. I miss putting it in two tiny ponytails or three tiny little coils at the base of my neck, I miss how easy it was so wash it and how it never fell out of my hairdo when I was working out. I miss how all I had to do was brush through it a few time and mess it up with my fingers to have it look beautiful, and how when I did want to curl it it only took a fraction of the time it would take now. I'm seriously considering cutting it again, maybe right before my move to New York, so as to have a fresh start, complete with a new look. Anyway, here are some of my favorite pictures of women with short hair:

a vintage picture of Henri Mattise's assistant in 1953

this lovely picture by Abby Beatrice Quick

lovely shot by Roza

this gif by Lumi Tuomi

Alexa Chung, of course.



Just for the hell of it, do you think I should cut my hair short again?

Have a lovely sunday!
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June Playlist: Workout Mix


June is always a rough month for me. I'm not entirely sure why, but for as long as I can remember it's always when all the exciting things come to a screeching halt and everything becomes a challenge. Maybe it has something to do with it being the middle of the year. Regardless, I've been too busy, too exhausted, too anxious to come up with post ideas. I actually started a new job, four weeks ago and it's been a huge challenge for me, mostly because I've been beating myself up for not being a fast enough learner, not being loud enough, not being smart enough, etc. I also started meditating again, after reading a book by Deepak Chopra. It's been helping, but reading has been helping too, and so has the time I spend working out. All of that is cathartic. I managed to get back into a good workout schedule, and I've been better about eating healthy lately. What I usually do is I do BBG and I go on a 30 minute run on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Then on the in between days I go to yoga or spin class. I was originally going to make this post about my relationship with fitness and food and the challenges I've faced with that and where I am today, but I just don't feel like it would be right right now, not after the sort of day I've had (a pretty perfect, mindful one). So, I'm going to post about that another time. The point is, I really love having loud, upbeat music playing when I work out, whether I'm doing Kayla Itsines BBG at home or going on a run, and I really can't stand fitness classes where all they play Adele and the music isn't upbeat haha. I always just need the music to be PERFECT and I'm usually pretty good about making a new playlist every month, so I wanted to share it with you guys this month. It's about an hour long and it's pretty dang crazy - think lots of Sleigh Bells and Chairlift. I hope you love it.

Tracklist:

  1. Romeo - Chairlift
  2. Swords - M.I.A.
  3. All We Ever Knew - The Head and The Heart
  4. Kill V. Maim - Grimes
  5. Crown On The Ground - Sleigh Bells
  6. MCs Can Kiss - Uffie
  7. Bullet - Chelsea Lankes
  8. Born Again Teen - Lucius
  9. Turn You - Rocky Rivera
  10. Class Historian - Broncho
  11. Can't Get Enough of Myself - Santigold
  12. Moth To The Flame - Chairlift
  13. Best I Can Do - Misterwives
  14. Venus Fly - Grimes
  15. What's It Gonna Be - Shura
  16. Riot Rhythm - Sleigh Bells
And, you can listen to the playlist right over HERE.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pink Agendas + More Pink Agendas

from top to bottom: Rifle Paper Co. // Ban.do // Rifle Paper Co. // Lilly Pulitzer // Ban.do

It's the most wonderful time of the year... PLANNER PRE-ORDER SEASON !!!!!! Just kidding, it's not that exciting. It still is one of my favorite things to do come every June. Last year I ordered a really cute floral one from May Designs. I was considering monogramming it, but then at the last minute I decided it would be better if it just had "Agenda" written on the front. That was literally fate because then my best friend sent me an agenda for my birthday and I ended up gifting my May Designs agenda to another close friend who was in dire need of a planner for the Spring semester.

Anyway, I've had planners I've loved and planners I've been indifferent about and the main difference is that when I have a cute agenda I feel really motivated to use it, therefore I end up being more productive. Whereas when I've had planners I'm indifferent about, I'm prone to just setting it aside and forgetting it even exists until weeks later.. yikes! The best agenda I've had so far was a Lilly Pulitzer Large Agenda, so this year I was originally going to just get another but before I settled on the perfect one, I decided to check out Rifle Paper Co and Ban.do since I had heard lovely reviews of their planners as well. Well, it looks like this year I'm really digging pink agendas!


one of the important things you have to consider when you're selecting an agenda is the aesthetic. With Rifle Paper Co. agendas, the pages are very clean and elegant. You won't find spreads with quotes in bubble letters, as you might in a Ban.Do agenda, and you definitely wouldn't find tropical watercolor paintings as with Lilly planners. One thing I will mention is that the stickers that come with Lilly agendas are a lot more practical than those that come with Ban.Do agendas. Of the three, I would consider Lilly ones to be the most traditionally youthful. I mean the main reason I got one of those in the first place was because I associated Lilly with retro Jackie Kennedy-esque dresses as well as sororities, which I associated with college and I was just starting college. It just made sense. As for Ban.do planners, they're a little bit retro, a little bit cheeky. They're really feminine and very beautiful. They're also very similar to Lilly planners but without the timelessness.

Another thing I should mention is that these are all roughly the same size - about 6.5" x 8", and most are spiral bound, except for the little pink Rifle Paper Co. one, which is what sort of convinces me against that one. I tend to carry my agendas everywhere I go, so I need them to be durable and easy to use. I'm not sure a traditionally bound book is going to be the best choice for me, although I do love how adorably vintage it looks.


Another thing I always look it is how the weekly spreads are laid out. I  use my planners to write all the tasks I have to complete in a day, including homework, errands, and meetings. So I always need my planner to have plenty of space. I'm still not sure if I prefer lines or not, to be honest. They keep the sections tidy, but they also limit how many things I can fit in a section. I really like how with the Rifle agendas there's a checklist and all the sections have two columns. That would be so ideal for someone like me. Although I guess I could do that with the ban.do ones too. I'd just have to manually draw in little check boxes. One thing I love about the Ban.do and Rifle agendas is that they have little weekly quotes. I find that sort of thing to be really motivating.

I'm still not entirely sure which agenda I'll chose, although I'm leaning more towards the Ban.Do ones. Which one would you pick? I'll let you know when I decide for sure!

Alright, have a lovely Thursday!

x / Ceci

Friday, May 27, 2016

On Being A Nanny:

a picture of the cake we made on my last day

Had you talked to me year and a half ago you would have noticed that I had no idea what I was doing with my life or in what direction I was heading, but I was trying to figure it all out so I could start anew. It was around the time I applied for Teen Vogue Fashion University (which is what led me to solidify my career goals). It was also when I was interviewing for several nanny positions - mostly because I knew they paid well and I figured I would enjoy it since as a preteen I had had fun babysitting for family friends. I knew there would be moments when things would get frustrating and that it wasn't going to be an easy job, per se, but the way I imagined it was entirely different than it actually was.

pre-first day selfie aka what I wore on my first day // on a walk with A in October 2015

I must have gone to 30 interviews before I interviewed with A's mom. I remember they used to live in this tiny little blue house about 20 minutes away, and the interview took place in her living room while A was playing right in front of us. I remember the outfit I wore - a pink blouse with lace on the sleeves and brown corduroys - and the details of our conversation. I had brought a folder with references and sample lesson plans that I had made for my Girl Scouts troop meetings. I also had a binder with CPR/First Aid info, several information worksheets I had made on photoshop, and ideas for fun activities we could do that would be age appropriate. (If you're thinking of applying for a nanny position, I highly recommend you do this. I would even be more than happy to send you the documents I put in the binder.) She told me she had never hired and nanny and I told her I had never been a nanny. I remember thinking it was fate and that I would get hired. A few days later, on a Wednesday she told me I was hired and that I would start the following week.

A playing on the swings circa Summer 2015

At first, being A's nanny was a bit of a chore. She was only 16 months old and the fact that a random stranger (me) was arriving at her house and spending several hours there terrified her. They also had a dog named Archie who was very protective and would growl at me all the time and eat my crayons so as to bug me to the point where I wouldn't come back, probably. I must have tried a dozen Pinterest tricks to try to get A to nap during my first few weeks, but she would just scream and scream until she fell asleep every time. It was frustrating and I felt awful and like I wasn't trying hard enough. As time wore on she got used to me and things started getting better. I would bring little pompoms and she would  enthusiastically stick them in a jar and sometimes I would fill the jar with water and bring construction paper and a brush so she could "paint" with water, so as not to create a mess. She always LOVED painting, even now. And for a while, we had these little dance parties in her bedroom every single day because she always wanted to listen to Shake It Off, probably because I played it so much at first that she took a liking to it. That summer, we took daily walks to the park every morning and it was always my favorite part of the day, even though she always cried when we left the park. Then in the Fall, they moved to Orem for a few months and the atmosphere was different.  It's funny how location changes everything, even when all the same people are there. Rather than taking long walks to the park, we ended up mostly just going to the backyard to play on the swings everyday and the job felt more relaxed and less structured than it had been at their old house. I'm not sure why.  It was a particularly fun time though because A had grown up a bit and we could have better conversations. She went through this phase where she wanted to talk about monkeys all day. So what we would do is look at pictures of monkeys making silly faces and then we would face each other and try to imitate them, the sillier the better, until we were in stitches, laughing. It was the cutest thing! And she would zealously show me what she did in her tumbling or dance classes every day.

the early days with A, sorting tiny pom poms and "painting" with water

I ended up taking a month off in December. When I came back a month and a half later, A was so grown up! She went from being a bald baby to a little girl with a short blonde bob. Shortly after, they moved to their new home in Vineyard and I continued being her nanny. These last months were the best of my entire experience. A was particularly chatty and at this point we were very close. She would talk about princesses every day, particularly Rapunzel or as she called her, 'Punzel. And she was always trying to convince me to give her fruit snacks or cookies, depending on whatever was visible to her on the snack shelf in the pantry that day. She was vibrant and always wanting to do something fun. We spent a lot of time playing tag in the living room and having picnics on the balcony, so as to make lunchtime more exciting. One thing I always tried to do was encourage her to learn. As a nanny, I feel like that's the most important thing you can do. When she was obsessed with a particular picture book - her Sophie book and another time, The Little Prince- and she begged me to read it over and over and over again, I did just that (because she was passionate about it and encouraging that is SO important). And when she wanted to paint every day, I made it a point to tell her that her paintings were beautiful or impressive or clever because of X, Y, or Z. She liked a painting by Van Gogh that she saw in one of my books, so the next day I brought more examples and I taught her some basic facts. And when she wanted to do yoga, I taught her more poses she didn't know yet. She was such a smart little girl, so very eager to learn. I'm sure one day she'll make an extraordinary student.


Going on my very last walk with her the day before my last day was a very melancholic experience. It reminded me last summer, three houses ago, when we would go on our daily walks to the park with the dog in tow. Except this time we were having a conversation about My Little Pony while we walked, something that never would have happened last year when nothing she ever said was comprehensible. Now,  I'm not naive enough to say that everyone should be a nanny. I firmly believe that not everyone has the right personality to take care of and nurture a child, but I will say that being a nanny is an extraordinary, life-changing, and perspective-changing experience. It feels odd to call it a job, but  in all honesty, it was the best job I've ever had thus far. I was blessed with the opportunity to get to know this little girl, to gain her trust and affection, to watch her grow up a little bit, and to get the opportunity to teach her and influence her. When I would walk in the door she would run up to me, shouting my name with the hugest grin on her little face, asking me if I wanted to play and I'll never forget that. And sometimes, her mom would always tell me that A was asking her if I was coming all day because she was so eager.  She was just a little child, but she genuinely appreciated my company and it felt so special to have that.

these selfies !!!!! They showcase what our relationship was like haha

On my last day, we made cake together, an idea that was prompted by a conversation we had had before when she was talking nonstop about birthdays and I asked her if she preferred cake or presents and she exclaimed, "CAKE!!!!!" so excitedly. I had written A's mom a letter about how lovely A had been the last year and a half. Leaving was definitely the hardest part, harder than dealing with those early days when she wouldn't stop crying before her nap time, harder than all those times she threw a tantrum over leaving the park, harder than the time she lost her shoes on a walk and we spent an hour looking for them, harder than the time she wet her pants and the time she fell playing outside. I have to admit, I cried when I drove away even though I know I'll see her again a couple times this summer when I do some evening babysitting for them. But babysitting is not like being a nanny, it's easier and the kids are usually asleep. It's not the same. A's mom is a school teacher so that's why she won't be needing me in the day over the Summer, and then in the Fall I'll have moved to NYC.


snapshots from my last two days being A's nanny

I'll miss that sweet girl. If I could've been her nanny forever, I would have done it in a heartbeat. x.

Have a beautiful Friday!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What I'm Making: Archer Blouse


Technically, the title should have been "What I Made," because I actually finished this blouse several months ago in January during a really productive 3 week period when I decisively worked on several of the half-finished projects I had set aside throughout the last year. This blouse was almost a year in the making, as embarrassing as it is to admit that. It's not even a shirt I would actually select if I had to pick just ten shirts out of my closet. I've only worn it twice, and I knew when I was working on finishing it that it wasn't really my style, but I guess I felt like I needed to finish it just because I didn't want it to lay around useless and unwearable. It was also really fun to make! Then, we took pictures of me wearing it circa February, but I couldn't bring myself to post them because I didn't feel confident. This past winter was very rough and particularly stressful, so I inevitably reached highest weight and since the pictures weren't exactly to my liking there was no real rush, I decided to wait and take better ones. I'll go into more detail about that in my next playlist post - which is coming up next week or the week after. Anyway, I did eventually want to show you guys and so last Thursday I put on my bell bottoms and we went to take pictures by a cute little hedge on the side of the road.




Blouse: self-made, pattern HERE // Bell-bottoms: Free People // necklace / chain belt: American Eagle Outfitters // Shoes: Target (from 2015)

Fashion Industry Studies: Retail Marketing

Guys !!!! I'm almost done with my Fashion Industry Studies course! This time, my assignment was to go to the mall and take note of different store layouts and item placement and then to take a picture of a particularly interesting display at a store. This was harder than I thought it would be because it's actually really awkward to be standing there taking pictures of a store while people walk around you lmao. Anyway, so I ended up taking this picture of Francesca's jewelry display on my way out of the mall:


Their store layout works really well because 1) the first thing you see is the eye-catching jewelry, which is usually more affordable (and in this case even more so because it was 50% off). It's a smart way to ensure that people will be more likely to buy things. Another thing that works about their store layout is that they tend to categorize clothing by color schemes, rather than types of clothing. It's visually appealing!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fashion Industry Studies: Production Standards

Alright friends, this is gonna be a short little tiny post. Basically, if you ever go shopping and whatever you're trying on fits a little snug or a little loose, before you try on the next size up or down, you should try on another of the same pair in the same size because manufacturers allow up to a 1/2" variation. It's just a nice little tip they mentioned in my Fashion Industry Studies course and it's also something my mom always told me growing up! To illustrate this, I tried on a few pairs of the same pants in the exact same size:


those two pants were literally the exact same size, but the one on top was about a 1/2" larger around the waist.


Fashion Industry Studies: My Audience

Hey guys! For my Teen Vogue / Parsons class I'm supposed to research  statistics for all my social media channels, including this here blog. The truth is I've always made it a point to be at least a little aware of how well my accounts were doing. It's hard not to care in this day and age. I remember in 2013, when one of my friends told me she had 8k followers on tumblr and I immediately decided that needed to be my next goal because at the time, I only had 2k. Or when I started this blog and I made it my everything. I used to spend 4+ every morning working on content just so that I could have at the very least one post up every day because I had a clear goal in mind and it was fantastic. Of course, I eventually had to stop because of other obligations, i.e. working two jobs to save up for NYC + when I got my kitten and I needed to constantly be watching over her. Still, it was actually very interesting. and I still love learning about the statistics of my social media. I'm hopefully going to be spending more time focusing on better curating my social media + blog in the next few months!

Here are a few of my stats with explanations:



let's start with Twitter, right now I have 850. Last week I had 856, the week before 859 and I know this because 1) I keep track of it, and 2) I'm well aware I started losing followers when I stopped talking about Taylor Swift so much and when I started talking about other, more relevant topics in my life currently. But along with that, I'm also aware that the only reason I gained so many followers so quickly was because Taylor Swift noticed me on tumblr and the whole thing with meeting her in Denver happened. That night was when I gained 200+ followers.

As for tumblr, I currently have two blogs (one for aesthetic + art + personal posts and my older blog, an ex-person blog, for Taylor Swift posts) We'll start with the older blog:


With this tumblr blog, I actually accumulated the followers over time. I've had the blog for a little over 5 years, in 2013 I had 2k followers, but by mid 2014 I had around 4k, then after Taylor Swift joined tumblr and an influx of new fans joined the blogging platform, I gained an additional 8k. In 2015, I stopped using this blog for personal posts and I lost around 2k followers, but I've been steadily regaining them probably since my blog is strictly a fan blog now and not a personal blog. Some people prefer that. I'm simply catering to a different audience.


My second tumblr blog is my personal account, which I only created around 7 months ago. I only have 81 followers so far, but I've found that I gain more followers by posting original content, i.e. personal artwork and scans from my sketchbook and when I message other bloggers and start a conversation. It's a lot like how I started out when I created my first tumblr blog.This one more closely reflects who I am as a person and what my personal aesthetic is like. It's more similar to what my old tumblr blog was before I decided to turn it into a fan blog.


As for this Simply Ceci blog, I always get more views immediately after posting. That's why it's better to actually post just one or two posts a day, several days in a row rather than posting several posts at once on one day. That was the views are more spread out and people can keep coming back to check if there is a new post.  I've also found that advertising posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram helps get more views because then my readers are aware that there's new content up. As you can tell, my most recent posts have been getting between 20-30 views, which is actually more than older posts were getting, but also less than my posts were getting last Spring, when I was consistently posting every day. This is something I really need to work on.

Now, for Instagram I have the most information thanks to iconosquare (Teen Vogue/Parsons actually suggested I use Hootsuite, but it was too confusing for me, so I decided to find what worked for me)



With Instagram, I've been steadily increasing followers over the last few years. One thing I've noticed is that I tend to gain more followers as I increase my use of hashtags. This is something my friends with large followings have told me worked for them as well.


It's also a good idea to post only one picture a day, every day. As you can see from the graphs above, my pictures tend to keep getting likes/comments up until 16 hours after I post the picture, for this reason is better to just post one picture a day. That way people are more likely to like/comment on both, rather than just picking one. For even more notes it's better if I post at night, especially on Mondays around 9pm.


As for content, above I'm showing you my most liked and most commented posts ever. It seems that big events tend to get more likes than regular every day scenes. For example, the time I met Taylor Swift, the time I cut 12" off my hair, the time I got accepted to FIT, and my birthday are all in my most commented. As for my more recent posts,


Since Instagram's update where pictures are no longer in chronological order I've been getting significantly less likes, my average is now around 60-70 as opposed to the 100+ used to get. However, my picture from Coachella (another big event) has more likes than the rest of my pictures.

As a side note, oe thing I personally love doing is keeping with a color scheme or theme every season. For example, last Winter my posts included lots of washed out shades of blue as well as burgundy and white. Last Spring, my colors were pastel tones with lots of grey and white. the Summer after that my posts were very focused around the color green (mint, olive, jade, etc.) as well as bright, neon pink. Lately, my posts have been centered around darker colors and I'm hoping to lighten up my aesthetic for summer.

I hope you enjoyed this post!