May 19, 2015

Introducing Blowfish Malibu










Dress- Forever 21 | Vest- J. Crew | Barbro Sandalsc/o Blowfish Malibu | Necklace- Forever 21 | Sunglasses- American Eagle | Belt- Target | Bracelet- c/o Torn to Pieces
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I'm very excited to share with you my first post in a month-long series of Blowfish stylings! After winning the Duff Movie sweepstakes, and getting $500 worth of Blowfish shoes (!!!), I am all stocked up for summer.  

They are especially great because how comfortable they are. It's hard to find "cute" and "comfy" in the same shoe, but Blowfish nails it. I got three pair of block sandals like this style, Barbro, and I've taken one of them with me to EUROPE - where I've just arrived today! Proof they're comfortable...I'm going to be walking all over the place in my Blowfish Shoes - I'm in Europe for an entire month!!

What else am I wearing? Not much variety, to be honest. I've never packed so lightly in my life. For a month of traveling abroad, all I've brought with me is a black suitcase that's small enough to be a CARRY ON! I'll be mixing and matching lots of black and hoping for the best. One of the trends I've noticed lately is plus-size models and brands becoming somewhat of a movement in Europe. I'll be interested to see if I notice plus size style more in the UK/France than I do back home. That's just something I've read about lately - I'll be interested to see if Europe affects my own personal style choices too! My suitcase is small, but I'm tryin to bring back some Eurochic clothing, that's for sure! Wish me luck :)

May 04, 2015

Soul-Searching













Dress- H&M | Vest- J. Crew | Shoes- Marco Santi @ Sole Society | Necklace- c/o Amelia Rose | Watch- c/o Daniel Wellington | Belt- Ralph Lauren | Sunglasses- c/o Giant Vintage | Earrings- c/o By Boe
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Just under 9 months later, I'm 1/4 of the way done with my time at the University of Virginia. To me, it feels like there is so much time left. But I look at my friends who are only one year older - hear them talk about how they're already halfway done - and I know it's going to fly. 

How do I even begin to put all of that time in one blog post? I've found my passions in extracurriculars, a community in the major I'll be applying into, friends in my scholarship program & sorority & dorm & beyond. I've taken a variety of interesting classes and learned more than I ever thought I could from some of the best professors in the game. And although my GPA is nowhere near as perfect as it was in high school, I'm a whole lot happier now than I ever was then.

I've recently been inspired by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, who writes on a variety of topics and events in his weekly column. One of the topics he covers is the soul-searching, so to speak, that happens in many college students. In an article he wrote a few months ago about Anne Hall, an English professor at the University of Pennsylvania, he argued that college isn't only a place to go looking for a multi-million dollar job. As Anne Hall says, "It is for developing the muscle of thoughtfulness." She echoed this sentiment when I emailed her to provoke a conversation, writing to me that "The hard part in life is staying away from the nonsense...figuring out... one's own self is the real point of college." 

I couldn't agree more. In high school, I ran myself into the ground taking courses I hated and memorizing extravagant equations so that I would do well in math (a subject that is of no interest to me). In contrast, this semester, I got a "B" on a piece of writing - the first non-A an essay that I've ever received. And y'all, English is my thing. A year ago, I would have seen that grade and protested, because, surely, since I was so good at English, I should automatically be given an A. But I was strangely happy with that B, because for the first time in my writing career, someone was telling me that I could be better. The course, Shakespeare, used some of the same plays as a similar class that I'd taken in my senior year. A few days ago, upon looking back at my essays from last year's class, I laughed at how bad they seemed to me now. Getting straight As is great, and it looks lovely on a transcript, but do you really learn from it? A less-than-perfect grade on a paper this semester put things in perspective for me, and I embraced it.

Finally, I want to return to another NYT article that my mom sent me yesterday, by the very same author of the column I noted before. In it, some of the things I've discovered in this first year at UVa were made crystal clear and articulated wonderfully. I've listed them for you here.

  1. "Stop making the focus of your kids' education a job," said Joel Benenson in this second Bruni article. I'm lucky in that I have wonderful parents who haven't pushed me to major in something 'practical', or something that will 'guarantee me a job'. When I graduate in 3 years, I'll be graduating with a degree in poetry writing. Many people ask me, what do you want to do with that? I don't know. I want that to be an acceptable answer, for my major and for all of the other obscure majors like it. Further, there is a lot of pressure from high-achieving communities to not just get a job after college, but to ensure that it's a high-paying one. To quote from Anne Hall's email to me once more, "Both of my daughters are school teachers. They have to live fairly simple lives because they can’t afford complex ones.  But when I hear them talk about their students, I know that they love their jobs." 

    My dream is to find a job that I love, regardless of money. I know that if I'm surrounded by people I care about, doing something I'm passionate about, the money won't matter so much - because I'll be happy.

  2. Don't "put too much faith in plotting (and) too little in serendipity." In finding my passion in an atypical organization, one that really has nothing to do with my major, I have learned that sometimes you just have to go out on a whim. In the summer before my first year, I spent hours researching clubs and extracurriculars that I wanted to participate in solely because I knew how good it would look on a resume. 

    Instead, in my first week here, I wandered through the doors of an organizaiton called HackCville at a friend's suggestion, and became a member on a whim. Now, I'm invested in the creative, entrepreneurial mission of the place, and hope I'll be a part of HackCville for as long as I'm at UVa. I have found another home there, in an unconventional place, serendipitously. 

  3. "It's important to scribble. To wander, too. Discover yourself." This summer, I will be both scribbling and wandering. In May and June, I'll be traveling to Iceland & France & London to 'wander' and learn more about the world. In July, I'll be writing poetry about the Jersey Shore, a place very near to my heart: 'scribbling'. 

    And I hope I'll be discovering, too. In this final week at UVa, as I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my first year of college, this last command made me think the most. Discover yourself. I've looked back at all that made my time here thus far so wonderful - and  realized that I'm on my way to 'discovering myself' (an important first step in actually doing so). 

    This summer, I want to take the next step. One thing that's been holding me back is, truly, technology. I'm losing my real sense of self in Instagram, in Facebook, in Snapchat. I've found myself doing things 'just to take a picture', or at a table in a restaurant with my best friends, on Snapchat. I don't want this to be my reality. 

    So in three days, I'll be kissing all of these social networks goodbye. And I can't wait to experience Europe, the Jersey Shore, my friends & family, and more, through eyes (crazy idea, right??) instead of through the screen of my iPhone. Benenson said, "Think about what you want to do next." I don't know what I'm doing with my life, or my degree, or myself. But I'm starting to get a grip on that last one, 'myself', arguably the most important of them all. I can't wait to take the next step in discovery this summer.
Thank you for the most wonderful first year, Virginia. I'll be back, and I'll be better prepared to make the most of you. Here's to summer!



references: 

April 22, 2015

Blowfish Party!








Party, pictures, and fun times- c/o Blowfish Shoes 
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A month ago, I entered a contest on a whim. I was home for spring break, I was on Facebook, I was bored. I don't remember how exactly it happened--I'm pretty sure it was in an ad on my sidebar--but I entered my email address into a Blowfish Shoes sweepstakes. A few days later, I got an email telling me I had won!!

The $500 in Blowfish Shoes prize was what originally caught my eye,  fashion obsessor that I am. I had been interested in Blowfish shoes ever since I won a pair 3 years ago through another fashion blogger's giveaway. But the prize included more! I was pleasantly surprised by the second half of it; a screening of The Duff Movie for 50 of my closest friends and me. After much coordination and cooperation on the part of CBS Films and Blowfish in accommodating my hectic college schedule, we set the date. Two weekends ago, I brought a bunch of girls in my sorority (Kappa Delta) for a Saturday afternoon showing and left happier than I could have imagined!!

Why was it so awesome? First of all, it wasn't just a movie screening. The morning of the screening, two taxis picked up my first-year friends and I, since we don't have cars on campus. Then, when we got there, the lovely Nikol of Blowfish Shoes showed us to our own private theater, and passed out popcorn and free shoe tickets to every single one of my friends!! My friends thought I was a celebrity. It was AWESOME

The movie was funny and cute--a good time for a group of college girls. I imagine that my high school self would have loved it even more! When the movie ended, my KD sisters and I clapped wholeheartedly. And then came our next surprise--a party, complete with food, a photobooth, and POLAROID PICTURES! As a girl who loves a good photograph, having polaroid pictures was the best thing ever. The party was a great time. It was like the fancy movie theater birthday party that I never had as a kid! 

To sum up, Kappa Delta at UVa is now obsessed with Blowfish Shoes. I've received snapchats and texts from happy sisters receiving their free shoes in the mail, and am so excited to go home in two weeks to find 10+ pairs of new shoes waiting for me!!

And here's what I'm most excited for: this summer, to express my thanks and love for Blowfish Shoes, I'll be spending an entire month wearing and blogging in only Blowfish. I may even be taking over the Blowfish Instagram for a week! Stay tuned...I can't wait to show you all how I style my new shoes. Winning a sweepstakes is certainly something I'll remember for the rest of my life, and I couldn't be happier that the sponsor was Blowfish Shoes. Thank you, Nikol, for one of the most fun Saturday afternoons I've had at college! KD loves you!