Friday, August 28, 2015

10 years later

Hurricane Katrina did not hit New Orleans. It hit Mississippi, and anyone who tells you different is wrong. The damage done to the city of New Orleans was caused by an outdated levee system and a failure of the government. The damage done to Mississippi was caused by a natural disaster. New Orleans was destroyed by the fault of man. Mississippi's gulf coast was destroyed by an act of God.

I just had to get that off my chest to start. 10 years ago my life drastically changed because of Hurricane Katrina. I've only mentioned it a couple of times here, and honestly there are probably a good many people I consider friends who don't know this about me. "Hi, I'm Hillary and I lost my hometown to a hurricane when I was 14" isn't exactly the best conversation starter if you want to make friends. Honestly I really struggled with if I was even going to acknowledge the 10 year anniversary here, but in the end I decided I had to in some way because it truly is my defining moment.

Trying to figure out what to write was really difficult because I feel like it's impossible to put my feelings about this event into words. I don't feel sadness as much as I feel numbness about it. It's as if I know thinking about Katrina will make me upset so I subconsciously just don't let myself do it. My family evacuated so I don't have a horrific story about riding out the storm, but I'll never forget the exact moment I realized I would never be returning to the only home I had any memory of. I vividly remember returning 5 months later to the slab and 3 partial brick pilings that were all that was left of what I had once called home and the uncontrollable rush of emotions I felt as I saw the destruction for myself. I can still picture the look of pity on everyone's face when they realized we were the family from the CNN story. But 10 years later I don't want this to be my Katrina story. Just as the cities destroyed have come back and are once again prospering, so am I.

What I want to share is a message of hope. Even though you might never face a natural disaster we all face some hardship. That hardship is only temporary. You will get through it. You will survive. Life will go on. Make the best of the situation and you'll be just fine. You can not change the past, but you can control your future.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Summer Prints

I know summer is quickly coming to a close, but with temps still in the high 90s I just can't bring myself to start thinking about fall. Plus if I'm being totally honest I'm just not ready to say goodbye to summer prints. I might be biased because summer is my favorite season, but I just think summer clothes is the most fun because of all the cute prints. Fall and winter I feel like usually stick to solid colors because you're layering and a print could be over powering, but with the lighter fabrics a bold summer print isn't overwhelming.

If you're like me and still loving these fun summer prints I've rounded up a few of my favorite pieces still in stores. And bonus most are now on sale as stores are rolling out their fall collections!

The nautical look is usually really popular in summer, but I was surprised that I really didn't see too much of it this year. I feel like everything was dominated by flamingos, pineapples, and palm trees. I was absolutely thrilled to see flamingos be so popular because they're my 3rd favorite animal!

What summer prints are you still loving? Want more summer shopping? Check out these posts!

This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on one of these links I will receive a small payment in exchange for sending you to a website where the product can be purchased. If you prefer not to click on a link for this reason and still want to know more about a product please feel free to email me. All opinions are my own. 

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Monday, August 24, 2015


It is no secret that I do not love my job. While I've had a change of heart and now realize that what I do matters, it still is not fulfilling. I came to the realization about a month ago that I have now been looking for a job for over a year. And honestly that sucks. Let's be real here, there is nothing as humbling as knowing you've gone a year with nobody wanting to take a chance on you, nobody believing in you, nobody seeing your worth. As August is coming to a quick close I'm stuck with the realization that 2015 is almost over as well. This was the year that was supposed to be all about me and living my life with me as the number one priority. I was supposed to be happy, and honestly I'm just not.

I've finally decided to change that. I briefly mentioned it last week and a couple of weeks back on twitter, but I am now writing freelance. It's actually for the company that offered me a job last month that I ultimately turned down because it didn't pay enough. It's not a ton, just a couple of posts a month on the company blog, but it is being paid to write again. One of the main reasons I don't love my job is because I don't get to write, like not even an email, and this allows me to do that. Hopefully I can use this experience to get more free lance writing positions to either add some additional income and experience until I find a full time job I'll love in a fun new city or maybe I'll be able to get enough of these that I can free lance full time.

So while this new venture doesn't totally solve my problem, it is a step in the right direction. And sometimes a step in the right direction is all you need.

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Friday, August 21, 2015


Planning .... the first of my free lance writing projects! I'm really excited about this new venture and where it will hopefully take me professionally

Enjoying .... that I now don't work on Fridays, although I do still work Saturday and Sunday

Reading .... Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as part of my 50 in 500 challenge

Wishing .... I was getting ready to go on vacation next week like I had planned, but plans change and now fingers crossed I'll be going on a better trip in October

Missing .... college. This was sorority work week at Ole Miss, a time I always especially miss my 4 years in Oxford

Listening to .... this was in my Spotify recommend playlist and I'm obsessed

What's happening in your life currently?

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Woman Crush Wednesday: Snow White

I realize most WCW are real people, but this is my blog so I make the rules and I say a fictional character is an acceptable choice. Snow White has always been my favorite Disney princess; I'd even go so far as to say she's my favorite fictional character of all time. When I was little this was solely due to the fact that she looks the most like me and I had a serious obsession with Hi Ho Hi Ho. But now that I'm older I'm drawn to her other characteristics too.

Snow White, despite having the most evil of all princess movie villains, is so good. Her evil step mother wants her heart in a box, yet she's concerned about what she thinks are children living in the woods without a mother. It would be so easy to lounge around and whine and cry about how she was being hated for her beauty, something she can't help, but instead she immediately starts to pitch in and help the dwarfs. Her one wish is to find true love; she doesn't ask for a beautiful new horse, or a closet full of beautiful clothes, or any other frivolous thing I probably would have wished in the well for. So let's all try to be more like Snow White and let our goodness and kindness shine even in the worst of circumstances. We can all be the fairest of them all when we let our hearts be filled with good.

Like this post? Here are the first and second instillations of the series.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

two truths and a lie

Has anyone ever played this game? I have to say it's one of my favorite ice breaker activities I've ever been subjected to, although not my favorite because that spot belongs to this or that. I'm really bad at this game in person because I have zero poker face. None. But today I thought it might be fun to play it here. The rules are very simple, I'll give you 3 statements. Two of these will be truths and one will be the lie. Try to guess which is which and I'll reveal the answer at the end of the post.

1. Matthew McConaughey was my neighbor one summer. It was the summer of 2005 and he was filming a couple of movies in area and bought a house; I guess that's what movie stars do when they're filming on location. I lived in a tiny "resort community" inhabited mostly by retirees who wouldn't bother him because they'd have no idea who he was. I never saw him, except for in his Hummer, but plenty of other people did, including my mom. She met him in the grocery store, he helped her get a buggy unjammed from the stack, and had no idea who he was until she got home.

2. I was an elementary education major my freshman year of college. My mom taught kindergarten, first, and second grade, and well I wanted to be just like her. I loved the idea of spending all day singing songs and playing with sweet babes, but I did not love the idea of walking all the way across campus to the education building for 4 years. I switched majors two days before registering for my fall of sophomore year classes. I text my mom, with no warning, that I was switching as she was going through the TSA line as the chaperone for my sister's 5th grade trip to DC. She didn't have her glasses on and thought it was my older sister who was set to graduate the next month. Needless to say the people in line behind her were not her biggest fans after that.

3. My favorite family vacation was a Caribbean cruise. I have lived at the beach practically my entire life so when my parents decided we were going on a cruise I really thought that it was a dumb idea, but I was so wrong. Because of our wild age span it's usually really difficult to find one vacation that we'll all enjoy, but the variety of activities offered ensure nobody was ever bored. And the food. Y'all the food was seriously so good.

Okay so which is which?

This video doesn't have anything to do with this post, but I needed something to take up space and I'm pretty sure this song was written with me in mind

If you guessed #1 was a lie, you're wrong! Because number 3 is false. I've never been on a cruise, or even out of the country for that matter. There are tons of places outside the US that I'd love to visit that rank way higher on my list than anywhere in the Caribbean; I wouldn't rule it out but I doubt I'd want to do more than a 3 night cruise. Unless it was an Alaskan cruise because I'd freaking love that!

Did you guess correctly? If you don't think I'm totally lame for playing this game write your own post and leave me a link so I can play along too!

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Statement Jewelry

Okay so maybe today's post really should be titled "I am absolutely obsessed with Bauble Bar and everything they sell" but I just didn't think the SEO results for that would be very strong so I decided to go with something a little bit more generic.

I'm really excited about today's post, which is the final in my fashion week posts, because I'm talking about one of my legitimate favorite stores, Bauble Bar. Unless you've been living under a rock I'm sure you've heard of Bauble Bar, and that's because they really are the best. I love their loyalty program, free shipping and returns (key to online shopping!), and really helpful sales staff. I really can't even explain how awesome the swat stylists are; when I bought my monogram necklace I couldn't decide which size to go with and a girl from the swat team found me a picture of each size next to a coin to help me visualize how each size would look on me. They're helped me pick between two pieces when I couldn't make up my mind and sent me weird measurements like weight. Seriously these girls are rock stars!

Today I've rounded up a few fun pieces that I think are perfect for summer. I love using jewelry to make my fashion statement in the summer because its helps make your favorite staple pieces (jean shorts and a white tee or that simple little sundress) into outfits that you can wear all season without people thinking every single picture you take all summer comes from the same night. Plus jewelry, especially Bauble Bar jewelry, is one of the most inexpensive fashion choices you can make.

Also I want to take a poll about the way I do these shopping type posts. You might have noticed that each post this week featured the products in a different way. Was there a specific layout that you liked best, or worst? Or maybe you like the old way I've been doing it? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

summer hats

I guess I've kinda decided to make this fashion week on the blog. If you hate fashion posts well then I'm sorry not sorry, but maybe you should just check back next week.

I really love hats. I don't look really good in hats, but I love them. I secretly dream of living back in time when no lady's outfit was complete without her beautiful hat. Sometimes I'll watch old movies (think Doris Day) just for the outfits, specifically the elegant hats. I really think that's why The Kentucky Derby is so popular, forget the horse races, everyone just wants a hat! Even though sunglasses are my #1 summer accessory I really love to break out a hat during this season. Wether it's a floppy sun hat that has me channeling my inner beach goddess or a good old baseball cap for the days my pool hair is more wet dog than beach waves I just think these are the perfect way to finish your outfit. Plus if you're wearing a hat you don't have to spend as much time fixing your hair which means more sun time or hitting the snooze button a few extra times if that's more your thing.

So have I convinced you to take the plunge and embrace hats this season? Good! Here are few that I think are totally adorable and affordable enough to not break the bank if you decide this accessory isn't for you.

Which is your favorite? I think I'm a little partial to that pineapple cap!

What's your favorite summer accessory?

This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on one of these links I will receive a small payment in exchange for sending you to a website where the product can be purchased. If you prefer not to click on a link for this reason and still want to know more about a product please feel free to email me. All opinions are my own. 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

end of summer fashion under $100

Let's be real for a second, I am so 1000% over people talking about fall fashion. Hello it's about a million degrees outside the last thing I want to buy is a pair of riding boots. Now maybe if you're living in a research center in Antartica you're all about reading posts telling you how to style an oversized cardigan with a fleece lined leggings and a scarf, if so this post is not for you. But if you're like me and even just the thought of wearing a jacket makes you sweat this one's for you. Stores might be rolling out their fall collections, but that just means this is the perfect time to score some major deals on summer wear. So head to the sale rack and pick up that way overpriced sun dress you've loved for months but couldn't justify the price before.

Plus the great thing about buying new summer clothes now is you can wear it now, pack it away once the temperature finally does drop, and then pull it out again next summer and it's still going to be in great shape because you haven't worn it to death all season. Here are a few items I'm currently lusting over all under $100. So if you didn't just buy a brand new computer that cost about as much as a vacation go treat yourself to something fun and summery for your closet that you can actually wear in real life right now.
What summer items are you currently lusting after?

This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on one of these links I will receive a small payment in exchange for sending you to a website where the product can be purchased. If you prefer not to click on a link for this reason and still want to know more about a product please feel free to email me. All opinions are my own. 

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

a letter to my old computer

Dear sweet old Macbook,

I think it's time we part ways. It's nothing personal, and we had a really good thing while it lasted, but this is the end. I'm letting you retire as any great should be given the opportunity to. Nobody wants to go out as a failure, waiting till the last minute to call it quits.

You were there for every single scholarship application and essay I wrote in high school. Dutifully playing my favorite songs in the background as I spent late nights working through AP Chemistry problems and defining vocabulary words. You were there for every single paper, report, and project through my college years. Creating a sound track for that horrible music class I took my first semester and the paper that crazy English professor gave me an F on and then couldn't point out a single flaw it had. There were also lots of really good assignments you saw me through like the first article I wrote for the campus paper that ended up on the front page. You were my accomplice for every late night study session and inappropriately timed Hulu marathon. You're where I created this blog and rediscovered my passion for writing. We've been to DC and Arizona and back and forth across this state more times than I can count. You got me through crushes and broken hearts and obsessive Facebook stalking of exs new girlfriends. I would go days, maybe even weeks, not talking to family or friends but a day never went by that I didn't need you.

Don't think of this as being replaced by a younger, stronger, newer model, even though that is what you're being replaced by. You taught me what it was like to own something trendy and beautiful; at one point you were the most expensive thing I owned. You taught me it was okay to spend money on something of high quality, and that's what I'm doing. So while I'll now use my new Macbook Pro with all it's memory and speed and high quality graphics, I'll always love you. You were the first expensive splurge item I ever owned and you taught me it's okay for you not to be my last.

So here's to you and the great 7 years we spent together. I love you. I appreciate you. I'll never forget you.

PS: Any guidance about what to do with you now other than let you live under my bed would be greatly appreciated.

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