Today Is the Day A Savior Is Born

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


And boy, do we need Him. ;) So blessed by you dear readers - may you have a lovely, joyous, and Christ-filled day!

Godbless, 
Grace 

It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


It's Christmas Eve! A day of magic and promise...of last minute scurries, of getting ready for Christmas Eve Mass, and of slowing down with awe and silence as twilight falls and the most beautiful day of the year nears. 


A little Michael Buble + some Polar Express for your listening pleasure... Michael's 'Cold December Night' is a new favorite of mine. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and remember to slow down + relax today...



Outfit details: 
skirt//Cato's
shirt//thrifted
vest//thrifted
scarf// friend's
boots//thrifted
ring//Premier Jewelry
earrings//Claire's
lipstick// Rimmel 
nail polish//Julep


I signed up for Julep's Maven's box subscription, which meant after taking a style quiz, I was sent a box of different nail polish each month based on my style "It Girl." The lovely matte grey above was from my November box. 



Love Fair Isle patterns; while this isn't an exact, it's close-looking for only a few dollars. I know I constantly sing the praises of thrift stores, but you really do find cute pieces. I've worn this skirt with almost every color!


The irony of these pictures is that I had straightened my hair before we left the house...it was sleek + smooth.


Until I arrived at the Christmas tree farm. Hooray humidity! 





All of these pictures were shot by my lovely + talented sister, Fey. 


You'd think being a photographer would make me better behaved when it comes to being in front of the camera...not. 


The younger brother (and next oldest) decided to jump in...


All the Christmas cheer and cuteness. As well as swag from the little bro. 




 A very restful + joyous Christmas Eve to you, dear readers. Merry Christmas!

Guy Style

Sunday, December 22, 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, there haven't been many outfit posts on here lately, and there's been an even greater scarcity of guy style...so I thought I'd share some shots I snapped of one of the stylish guys I know on campus. 


Meet Jorge. 



I think having good style, even if you're a guy (especially if you're a guy), is very important. So many people mistakenly think dressing up as a guy involves wearing full suits and similar formal wear. But Jorge is a great example of how you can be stylish while still retaining a casual, laid-back air. He looks sharp, but not over the top; casual, yet classy. Always good combinations! Appropriately enough for today, I took these pictures on a Sunday a few weeks ago, after we'd gotten back from Mass and lunch. 



I think my favorite part of his outfit was his tortoise glasses from Warby Parker. I love, love their frames (and am even considering getting a pair myself). They definitely add a nice edge of sophistication as well as a touch of quirkiness, which if you know Jorge, suits him well. Another plus I'm fond of is that nice glasses instantly dress up your look, no matter how casual you're dressed. 


  Do you know any guys with great style? Hope you're having a lovely Sunday!

Swirls of Burgandy

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy holidays! I disappeared into the fog that is known as finals and finally resurfaced earlier this week. So I'm typing this from home and enjoying my Christmas break despite its late start. I've slept in, nibbled on cookies, started my Christmas shopping, and have even watched a few episodes of Psych. Shawn + Gus = classic comedy forever. 

And for the first time in what feels like months, I have an outfit post to share with you! Being back home means I'm able to utilize my younger sister's photography skills...I appreciate her all the more for graciously stepping behind the camera. Self portraits - especially outfit ones - can be so tricky. 


Today was all about swirls! I loved this outfit because it was stylish and low-key while ridiculously comfortable. This has become my main fallback outfit when I don't want to put too much effort into getting dressed, but don't want to look like I just rolled out of bed either. 

Enter:the long swingy skirt, which I started wearing as a strapless dress this semester. I add a camisole underneath, throw a loose cardigan over it, and add a necklace or scarf for fun. It takes five minutes to pull together and the possibilities are endless with mixing + matching. 


I also love wearing skirts as dresses because they're loose and swirl so well!


Outfit details: 
skirt/Ire (thrifted)
 cardigan/thrifted
camisole/thrifted, 
infinity scarf/Patton's
purse/Ross's
 shoes/Payless



I love pairing navy with neutrals and then adding bright accent colors for a pop, like this mustard shoulder sling purse and the burgundy scarf. 


Side note - this scarf is actually the little sister's, but like most things of hers, it ends up sneaking into my outfits. She has great style, so I enjoy getting to borrow pieces from her closet. She's a good sport about it.


Below: my photography assistants for the day...lovely and graceful as always. The one in the back is the true owner of the scarf and as well as the photographer for this shoot. 


Ah, siblings. Have to love them, craziness and all. 

What are you wearing right now? Is it cold and snowy where you are or somewhat warm? 

It's Ok to Cry a Little Cry: When the Holidays are Hard

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


                                                                                                       

 I paused in the midst of an early Christmas celebration...I had no reason to be upset.

But for whatever reason that December evening, a well of tumultuous emotions rose up - the aftermath of a long week, dealing with hurdles, stress, tests, and hurting for others going through rough patches. Suddenly it was all too much and I needed to get away from the Christmas cheer and smiling faces...away from all the happiness and joy. It had been a long day, the kind that reminds you of all the things you haven't done or are behind in or simply all your inadequacies.

I drew positivity from my friends around me, but eventually realized I needed to slip away and seek refuge, to seek rest in quiet and solitude. Where I could cry a little cry in peace, despite not knowing why the tears came. And the moment caused me to pause once more...this time to ponder. The good, quiet, honest sort that comes after a cry, however brief or long the cry may be...

What is about tears and pain and hurt that seems so shameful and heavy? Why do we feel the need to hide it...to hide the hurt...the ache...the overwhelming sense of not being good enough?

It steals in quietly, settles down in our heart, drawing dull, aching pain and a steady chill...leaving us feeling like we're standing outside in the cold, alone. Hands in pockets, heart empty and unloved, eyes wet.

No one wants to feel like an outsider. Alone. Unloved, unchased. Especially during the holidays.

Perhaps that's what makes such emotions during the festive season all the more ironic. After all, it's a time of good will + cheer + smiles + Christmas songs. A time for family + friends. For Love and for gathering. For community.

                                                               
Sometimes, it's in a crowd that you feel the most alone though.

So many people, so many faces laughing and smiling and knowing each other and being. And all you can feel is fake because for whatever reason, there's no bells ringing in your heart, no cheer on your lips, and no holiday sparkle in your eye. Then the sense of failure and loneliness rise hard + fast within you, almost choking, and suddenly, it's so hard. It's hard to smile, to look composed, to feel all right and not cause anyone to worry and ask what's wrong because then they'll make a scene and that's the last thing you want.

Because no one wants to bring everyone else down, be the party-killer, make a fuss, cause unwanted attention, or be comforted + mollified simply for the reason that others feel guilty you're upset.

Sometimes it's a struggle to keep your composure, to keep your chin up, to smile politely when all you want to do is fall to pieces and cry.

Because it hurts so much. 


Maybe it's a horribly-timed break-up, maybe it's stress from work or school, maybe the loss of a loved one, maybe it's personal dissatisfaction or self-loathing; maybe it's guilt from all the things we haven't done, but should be doing. Maybe it's the ache to love and be loved. To care for and be cared for in return. Maybe it's a soul-deep hunger for another soul - for a kindred spirit, the one that will make your spirit soar. Maybe it's one of these or none of these that prompt such tremulous emotions...and the overwhelming desire to cry.

We like to be brave and strong. But oh, how we are not.

It's times like these, moments like these that we remember just how fragile we are...how little it takes to make our heart overflow with happiness or to break with despair + heartache.

And all it takes is the tiniest spark, the softest whisper to begin a litany that resounds in our head, echos in our ears, and forms in our own mouths.

'You didn't make it today...'

'That outfit looks bad on you...'

'People are laughing, but not with you...'

'She's so much better than me...'

'I'm not a part of the inside joke because I don't belong, because I'm not liked as much as him...'

'He's never looked my way and he never will...'

'You're not that good...the others are more talented...'

'Look at your face/weight/height/skin color...people think it's funny...'

and even worse

'you don't matter'

'how can you live with yourself'

'always the one saying something that no one hears'

'you're too small/stupid/heavy/tall/quiet/loud'

'you keep failing'

'there's no special someone'

'you're. not. good. enough.'

It's funny that we're the ones who can hurt ourselves the most...we're the ones whose words cut more raw and deep than anyone else's...we're the ones who refuse to offer a new chance to ourselves when others would offer one with a smile + love.

We're so determined to prove why exactly we are unworthy...why every thought in our head should be and is true.

Why?

Why especially during the most beautiful season of all - the season of Hope and perfect Love?

Maybe it's because during Advent we're reminded of how much we trip and stumble, of the dust + profanities that dirty our days + our souls...of the many ways we have failed. Of the many ways we are and can not ever be worthy of the Gift we receive...why would anyone love us? What is there to love?

But then...beneath the tears and the cold and the loneliness that swirls up...there's a faint light and a gentle, pure note.



Of Hope.

Of promise.

Because the Child didn't come for the "better" ones, the more talented ones...because they don't exist. Because everyone feels alone and defeated and like a failure at some point.

Because maybe that's the whole point of Advent...to realize how unworthy we are of the Great Gift we receive...and to be completely knocked over and overwhelmed by the unbelievable Love through which the Gift is given.

Because sometimes we get caught up in the world, in our lives, in our feelings, in things that ruin our peace and whisper discouragement in our ears. Advent is a time of darkness. But the good kind. It's the hushed, dark stillness of a private room, of a calm church, of the innermost part in our hearts. Because darkness isn't always a bad thing.

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Because sometimes the darkness is a sacred, silent place for us to rest and unfold and let everything messy and wrong and weak about us show...we turn off the lights and fall asleep in darkness because the good kind of darkness wraps around us like a blanket and hides us from the world.

In the darkness, we rest and dream.

After all, light cannot come without darkness.

And Advent is the season of a light flickering in the darkness. In the hushed stillness, a steady candle glows...casting light + warm. Casting hope. Casting peace.

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And somehow, in the candle's circle of lovely light, the darkness grows even more hushed and sacred as it gathers around the Flame that gives depth and meaning to it.

The Flame reminds us we are not alone...that light is always present. That Hope is always with us. Even when tears trickle, loneliness swells, and life is just hard.

So cry a little cry. It doesn't make you weak or more of a failure. Those tears will dry, I promise you.

You only have to light a candle.

Linking up with Chatting at the Sky as we unwrap each Tuesday during Advent. 

Girl + Boy: A Story Old as Time

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's an age-old sight...a universal truth...found in any country, city, or continent, no matter what the language, skin color, age, or religion is.

A girl and a boy.

I glance up at them from over my laptop periodically, a smile stretching across my mouth of its own accord. Despite the fact that I should be studying or editing pictures (the reason I went seeking the coffeeshop's warmth + rich scents on this chilly December day), I find myself itching to capture this moment.


He is gesturing and talking animatedly, a blond boy of the youthful, skater-type, confident with just a touch of cockiness and an air of 'I-can-take-on-the-world.' He has plenty to say.

She is dark-haired and curled up on the end of the couch, gazing at him while he pantomimes and articulates - gazing with eyes that look at him and only him. She moves her foot rhythmically, and one senses that there is nowhere else she would rather be. She is content to listen + smile.

Occasionally, his voice rises dramatically to punctuate his words with importance and she bursts into a smile that lights up her entire face.

She listens to this boy she loves - listens as he pours out, as he talks through his confusion, as he  recounts his life as of late.

She listens, laughs, and pipes in. But never does that look leave her face which reveals that nothing in the world is as important right now as him, as this moment, as their conversation on the couch in a coffeeshop on a cold day.

Girl + boy...it's a story as old as time.

And one, I think to myself as I type this, that will go on until the end of time. 

For the Love of a Soul

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I'm joining the lovely Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky for "Tuesdays Unwrapped" - a simple reminder to slow down + notice the beauty of Advent...of unwrapping this season before Christmas.



Sometimes, I think about the future. 

I think of the world and all the pettiness and vanity and lies and lust and anger and cursing...and it makes me tired. 

It makes me long for another world. One where goodness is present and clear, friendship is strong and lasting through the years, where you can completely trust the person standing next to you, and where your beauty is not defined value. 

And then I remember. All those things can be found in this world. They may be perfect in the next, but that does not mean they are not here too. After all, "a light can be found even in the darkest of times...if one only remembers to turn it on."

Sometimes the world hurts. Sometimes we are reminded of the stain and ache that comes from being human, from falling, from failing. Or sometimes we feel it from others. 

Sometimes I feel that there is too much bitterness and jadedness. Too much value of physical beauty - too few who actually will stop to see and recognize the true beauty of a soul, rather than a body. 

It makes me tired, and when I am tired in my soul, I do not reach for make-up or bright, stylish clothes. I reach for soft, flowing clothes that emphasize me, rather than my curves. 

I stand there, no make-up, no hairstyle, no high heels, or purse. It is just me, with my hair tumbling down my shoulders, and completely natural. 


Not because of how high my cheekbones are or aren't, how round my lips are or aren't, how large my eyes are or aren't, how how thin my wrists are or aren't, or how tiny my waist is or isn't.

No.

 I am beautiful because I am here - here as me. A girl who laughs. Who dreams. Who loves. Who lives. 

That is why I am beautiful. Because of my soul. 

Because a beautiful body means nothing without a beautiful soul. And a beautiful soul can make a non-conventionally attractive person absolutely beautiful. 

It takes a special person to realize and recognize that - to love someone not simply because of his or her appearance, but because of his or her soul.  

That is what I want - what I hope for. What I know I will find. There is something to be said for looks and a handsome man...but that means nothing to me if he is not gentle and good and honorable and compassionate. I know there are such people out there. I have met them. And I will meet him one day. When I do, I will love my man for his soul, not for his looks.

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And if he is the one, he will feel the same towards me. 

And that - that is enough for me. It pushes back the bitterness and messiness and hurt of the world...because I don't have to wait for another world to find such a person.

He's here in this one.