Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thrift Challenge #4: Bargain Boho


Castaways - Rockport, Texas



Besides coming out THREE dollars under budget in this current Thrift Challenge, it's been an exciting and eventful week. 

First, I accepted a job as an event coordinator! I then went apartment hunting and put down a deposit on a new apartment. My roommates (otherwise known as my parents) are as happy about that as I am.
Move-in date: TOMORROW! Woo!

I'm keeping this short and sweet for now. However, I have much more to say about the entire job hunting experience. Another day, another post. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Poetess

Yesterday I attended a creative writing class, led by the brilliant poetess Rebecah Hall. I wanted to share some of the key points she went over with us, because it was just so good. 

What is Creative Writing?

"Creative writing is the waltz between the mind and the soul. If they are able to dance together without stepping on each others' toes, then you have something.

What is Poetry?

"Poetry is a marriage of words to create something beautiful and powerful. Beauty and power can go hand-in-hand, and do, in poetry.

Elements of Great Writing:

1. Author uses universal truths (what is unchanging).
2. Universal themes. (e.g. human v. God, human v. nature, human v. human, good v. evil)
3. Use active voice! Stay away from passive. "Because we speak in passive voice, we tend to write in passive voice."
4. Imagery. Show me, don’t tell me. Can the reader SEE the images you're trying to convey?
5.  Originality of presentation. It’s taking an idea, twisting it on its ear, and allowing the reader to understand what you’re really saying without clich├ęs, tired phrases, and worn-out metaphors. "Is there such a thing as creative thought? Yes. Original thought comes in your creative perspective of your worldview."
6. Continuity

Amazing Insights and Tips from Rebecah:

Fall in love with your writing. The heart cannot lie, but the mind can.
- The secret to great writing is rewriting. Restructure – rewrite – rewrite again!
Great writing doesn’t happen by chance. It can only happen through the continual evolution of the writer. Writers must continue writing.
Never write about what you don’t know. Ever.
Write for 10 minutes every morning and get the “garbage” out of your head. Nine times out of 10, it's this junk that causes writer's block.
Look at the world with fresh eyes and capture the wonder of it. Do that by becoming a child.

Following a short lecture, we did an exercise where Becah handed each of us a bag containing 100 words -- words taken from several great poems, jumbled up, and divided among us. Our task was to create a poem of 6-8 lines using only these words. I must preface this by stating that I have never written poetry before; never really have had a strong urge to read it, either, quite honestly. I gave it two tries and this is what I came up with:

Poem 1: 

Like a flower,
ever surrounded in darkness.
The night,
a vast, vacant thing.
Thither a being,
isolated in itself.
A moth,
 with dead, noiseless wings.

 Poem 2:

A promontory of vacant design,
Where the spider and moth stood,
 Vast, noiseless night.

Out of the darkness I launched,
A paper kite,
Casting forth wings to measureless height.

My first poem took on a rather dark tone. I tried to balance it out by creating a more hopeful message in the second -- one of transcendence. It was such an interesting exercise, though, because I often find that I get "tongue-tied," so to speak, when trying to communicate my thoughts and feelings...especially orally, but oftentimes in writing, too (one of my reasons for starting this blog). I can't always find the words I'm looking for to express myself. With this project, there was freedom in the limitations. I just found it so much easier to create when a bit of the pressure was off. I often limit myself to a specific set of language. Yet, what is truly incredible about language is how boundless it is. There are infinite ways to convey your ideas; you just have to find them. Like a puzzle. Which is rather how this assignment felt. 

As Becah reminded us, "With poetry, not everyone will like it. Some will get it, some will be lost, some will 'shoot daggers.' Their loss."  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Balinese Summer


Dress: Forever 21, Steal | Splurge
Necklace: Bought in India, Inspired
Sunnies: Big Lots (no joke.), Steal | Splurge

I have a weird story about ikat. 

It all started in Bali... I had taken a trip there -- my first solo voyage, actually. Oh man, that was a good trip. Scuba diving, massages, batik-making, naps, yoga, monkeys, jamming out with happy locals, stuffing my face with delicious gado-gado -- what ever I wanted, when ever I wanted it... I didn't have to talk to any humans if I didn't feel like it. And if I did -- well there were plenty of other friendly solo travelers to go and chat up. Best spontaneous trip EVER! Go there. You must.

So ikat fabrics -- they originate in Indonesia. And these prints are everywhere! I should've stocked up on more while I had the chance...fkdsflsjdkfl. Anyway, one evening, while reading in bed at the Praety Guesthouse (shout-out to the best breakfast in my entire life!), I noticed the throw covering my icy toes was a woven ikat print. And I realized I had never actually said the word aloud before, ikat. Is it "eye-cat?" "E-kaht?" I had no clue. 

So the phone came out, and I opened my app to look it up...only to find that "ikat" was the WORD OF THE DAY right there on the home screen! Say whaaaaat!? Such a bizarre coincidence! Of all the words in the English (and Balinese) language, IKAT WAS THE WORD OF THE DAY ON DICTIONARY.COM!!! So neat.

Oh, and I learned that it is, in fact, pronounced "E-kaht." :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

8 Breathtaking Places to Mentally Escape to on a Monday Morning...

You're not sitting in a cubicle right now. 
You're in a natural rock pool in Turkey, of course!
Take a quick break and a deep breath and enjoy the sights below.

Rustic landscapes of Iceland.

       Tea Time in Pushkar Rajasthan, India.

Backyard swimming pools are overrated anyway -- Pamukkale, Turkey.

Explore the Glowworm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand.

Colorful homes in Sichuan, China.

I think we could all use a trip to Telemark, Norway.

While Crimea, Ukraine has recently been in the news for other reasons, 
let's acknowledge it for it's beauty, as well.

Riomaggiore, Italy. Enough said.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gimme that 'Choke

Real talk: I didn't even know what an artichoke looked like this time last year. I'd only ever eaten their hearts out, either in a sandwich or a salad. 

Two wonderful months ago, I not only saw one for the very first time -- but I ATE it! I've since had an artichoke a week (at least). Some might think me obsessed. I like to say: "passionate." 

Now. Cooking and eating an artichoke might seem rather daunting. But never fear! It's not hard at all! Allow me to share with you my newfound method to get the most out of an artichoke. And how to make the most incredible dip to go with it! But first, let's look at the anatomy of an artichoke:

The heart and stem, as well as the base of the inner and outer leaves are full of scrumptious artichoke "meat." In order to consume this wonder-meat, follow these steps:


1. Cut off the excess stem. You can also slice 3/4" off the top of the artichoke, and use scissors to trim off the thorns at the tip of each leaf. This is mostly for aesthetics, however, and I actually never do it, cause ain't nobody got time for dat.

2. Rinse the artichoke well under cold water.

3. Fill a pot a couple inches high with water, add artichoke and cover.  Bring water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes. 

Basil Pesto
Olive Oil

While waiting on the artichoke, stir up this amazing dip by mixing together 2 parts pesto and olive oil to 1 part butter. Add a pinch of salt


1. I recommend eating it while it's still hot. Simply pull off a leaf. Dip the base of it in sauce. Then scrape the meat and sauce off the base of the leaf with your teeth.

2. Continue eating the meat off the leaves until you get to the choke. Scrape the fuzzy bits of choke out with a spoon. This will leave you with the heart!

3. Artichokes truly leave the best for last -- the heart is AMAZING. Just dip and eat! The entire thing is edible.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Blouses + Sparkly Jewels

Top: Thrifted, Steal | Splurge
Pants: Ross, Steal | Splurge
Necklace: Charlotte Russe, Similar
Bag: Steve Madden (Ross)Similar

Sometimes it's just a light, funky blouse and jeans kind of day. Nothing too fancy. Other than a few sparkly jewels, that is. Gotta have the sparkly jewels.

So I finally jumped on the bandwagon and got started on an "Orange is the New Black" marathon this past weekend. It's funny, but what drew me in immediately was the connection I felt with Piper, a good girl sent to prison for a stupid mistake made when she was younger. You see, I had a similar experience in high school, but on a much smaller scale, you could say. I got thrown in the high school "slammer" housed across the street inside a barbed-wire perimeter, for stealing a cookie from a vending machine -- the one thing I ever stole. Yep. It was actually as stupid as it sounds, but that's what happens in a zero-tolerance school, apparently. 

Thirty days locked up. No makeup. A uniform consisting of a white, button-down shirt and a black tie. We got searched every morning before school. And attendance was taken on the blacktop between each class, to ensure no one had escaped. 

The things Piper encounters in her first few days...I know the feeling exactly! The stares, because you're clearly out-of-place...the "prison" lunch...the first major brawl you witness (mine was during math class -- a girl threw a desk at a guy who was making fun of her!)

Consequently, the prison food made me a lot healthier. The 'no makeup' rule made my skin clear up and look great. I became good friends with the teachers and counselors, and they all really encouraged me; became my mentors. I garnered a whole new level of compassion for kids who come from "troubled" backgrounds, as I spent a TON of time getting to know them. In the end, the experience changed me for the better. I became more grounded, I gained new understanding. 

As scary as it was, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.