2011: A Reflection

While my little corner of the internet has only been around for a mere 11 months, I can assure you I've experienced a rather full 19 years of life. 2011 has been a trying year, but more than that it's been exceptionally gracious. While certain memories will undoubtedly hold strong for years to come, this blog has helped to document those which may be forgotten. As the final day of 2011 comes to a close, I've found there's no better time than now to reflect on all of the wonderful things I've experienced this year:

Many late nights were spent at some amazing concerts...
I even shot my first concert!
Spent the day at the beautiful Cherry Blossom Festival in Fairmount Park...
Frolicking through Rittenhouse Square in the spring...
A lot of dessert sessions at Max Brenners...
Exploring the Parkway when my friends payed me a visit...
A midnight movie premiere...that made sleep through class the next day!
A gorgeous, sunny Memorial Day weekend at home...
Finals week was riddled with projects (and a trip to the emergency room)...
Photo shoots in the park...
And tons out outfit blogging!
Our family vacation to Mexico...
Another concert!
I moved back to Philadelphia for school in September...
Did I mention I like to go to concerts?
And a wonderful, albeit jam-packed winter break at home.

I don't like to limit myself to a single revolution at the start of each new year. Certain goals and challenges present themselves as time goes on, and I can only do my best to overcome them. Perhaps one of my goals this year will be to not limit myself to preconceived notions of success. I feel like I broken out of my anxious shell and taken more chances than I ever have before. I can't wait to see where I'll go in 2012, and I wish you all the best of luck as well!


Appropriately Festive

lace dress $30 - ASOS /  green bag $20 - Urban Outfitters / chain ankle strap flats - Gap / leggings, scarf $6 - H&M

Minutes before I left for work I pulled on my black opaque tights to find not one, but two holes. How did they get there? Why did I only pack one pair of black tights? Where did I leave my travel mug full of coffee? I had a lot of questions. In my moment of desperation I put on my black leggings instead and was plagued all evening by a case of chilly ankles. After I took these photos I decided that maybe wearing footless leggings along with ankle strap shoes also didn't do much for my legs. But hey, life is one big learning experience, isn't it? But don't worry, I bought new tights today and won't be making this mistake again.

This is also the only time of year when I can wear this dress and carry this bag and not feel inappropriately festive. I carry this satchel as my everyday bag, and the couple of times I wore this dress it wasn't until I received some questioning looks from some fellow Starbucks patrons that I realized I was sporting the traditional colors of Christmas decorations. I'm milking this week for all it's worth. 


You Don't Know Until You Try

Silk button down $4 - thrifted / high waisted jeans $20, gold necklace $11 - Forever21 / green satchel - Urban Outfitters / black suede wedges - Bamboo

Hello to all! I hope everyone found some way to enjoy this past holiday weekend, whether you had something to celebrate or not. Hopefully yours was more relaxing than mine (oh, the joys of working in retail!) but it was amiable nonetheless. I've found that I like giving gifts just as much as I do receiving them, and that shopping for everyone else is half the fun. It wasn't until last Wednesday that I was able to check everyone off of my list, but at that point I still had boxes to wrap and cards to make. I'm always putting things off until the last minute.

Wearing pants never fails to induce some sense of bewilderment. "Wait, is Courtney wearing pants?" Yes, yes I am. I know a lot of people are quick to put Forever21 down for mass-producing cheap fads, but the truth is that when I'm looking to try something new and am not willing to invest in a better product, Forever21 is my first stop. I didn't know how I would feel about high-rise jeans but decided they were worth a shot. It's like that old saying, you don't for sure until you try, so I tried and I liked. 

I'm currently recuperating from copious amounts of sugary desserts and the early stages of a cold. Luckily, now that the holiday shopping rush has subsided I have some more downtime this week to rest, recover, do tons of DIY projects, and possibly build up a backlog of posts. I'm looking forward to a productive week!


Friday DIY: Handmade Cards

For the past couple of years I've been handing out handmade, personalized Christmas cards along with each gift I've given. Most of all it's fun, but making cards can also be more cost-efficient (and they look better than those template cards you can print out from Publisher!)

I can never formulate a clever enough phrase or witty saying like the cards you find in Hallmark. Instead I like to use one of my favorite elements, typography, and spell out the recipient's name on the front of the card. I also prefer writing my own messages rather than just tagging a "Best wishes!" onto some filler copy.
 This card is my favorite so far! Bonus points to anyone who gets my "CARDIS" joke. 

Most of the letter I used are based off of fonts I found on DaFont, the most useful website ever. Once in a while I'll drip some paint or smudge something by accident, being my clumsy self, in which case I'll try to cleverly incorporate it into the card's design.

What I used:
- colored cardstock
- pencil and ruler (always sketch first!)
- acrylic paint
- metallic paint pens
- Elmer's glue
- glitter
- ribbons, twine, and bows


Like a Sunset

Sheer blouse $10 - Tramp via Burlington Coat Factory / yellow skirt $14, gold necklace $11 - Forever21 / Bamboo Carmela wedge $25

This is what I wore last Friday on my day off from work. Perhaps it was a bit fancy for a day spent running errands. One of my stops was at the hardware store to pick up hex nuts for a DIY project and every single employee I passed by asked if I needed help. It surely wasn't my first time in the store, and I didn't think I looked helpless or lost...maybe just like I didn't belong? But thank you, 12 Lowe's employees, for each directing me to the hex nuts.

These shoes, despite being much taller than any other pair I own, are incredibly easy to walk in. I'm still easing my way into wearing heels and wedges on a regular basis; I like them so much and not being able to walk in tall shoes is a pit of a pathetic excuse, no? I also wear this necklace at least every other day because I love how it dresses up my outfits. I've worn it over sweaters, with dresses, and tucked under collars. But I'm still hunting for the perfect pair of black flats, for when I decide to give my poor feet a little rest. I think we have some contenders


Chambray and Gray Days

Chambray shirt $20- Gap / gray knit skirt $10 - Express / gold collar necklace $11 - Forever21 / black leggings $6, wedge boots - H&M

I'm not going to bore you all with how crazy work has been (you probably hear enough about it on my twitter), so I'll leave you with this one, concise statement: work is madness! 

My days on winter break have mostly been spent at the store, and this is a pretty typical work outfit. While most of my clothing is up at school I'll be remixing the living daylights out of what I could fit within my tiny rolling suitcase. Like I've said before, this chambray shirt is my favorite piece because of it's boundless versatility. I didn't want to bother with tucking it in and dealing with a potentially lumpy skirt so I just knotted it in the front instead. I was running a bit late and threw my hair into a bun so that I would have time to grab a bite to eat, which is something I used to never do (put my hair up, that is). Perhaps my hair was a sort of security blanket behind which I could hide. I had been telling myself that I was growing it out, but it had been the same length for about four years. Chopping off my dead ends was a rather liberating experience. My only issue with my packing choices is that I left my favorite flat lace-up boots at school, thinking I could just get by with my wedges, but when you're on your feet for a little over 8 hours you find yourself wishing for nothing but a chair to sit in for a little bit and a pair of flat shoes. 

I've made serious progress with gift shopping, hopefully I'll be able to finish by the end of today. Fingers crossed!


Christmas Lights

I returned to school after Thanksgiving break to find our tiny living room adorned with strings of festive lights. Our miniature tree has admittedly been sitting in the corner all year long, since last Christmas, but now that it's seasonably appropriate we've let it do what it does best: twinkle.