Backward Glance

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Well,'s almost time for the New Year.

So much happened this year: I graduated from college, jumped headfirst into the real world with my first postgraduate job, started writing for a magazine, visited Italy for the first time, visited tons of places from my childhood with dear friends of mine, among other grand adventures. And, last but not least, I started this blog. :) I truly feel blessed.

Many wonderful things happened in 2014, and I will look back on this year fondly, but I am honestly so excited for 2015. New years mean new beginnings, and new beginnings mean that opportunity is just around the corner. Will everything be cupcakes and daisies? No. But will I share the year's experiences with people I love? Absolutely, positively yes.

I have adventures to look forward to already - at least three of them being in the next three months - but new years also have a way of surprising you. I'm planning on enjoying the year as it comes, and I know and trust that God has a plan for my 2015, and His story for my life is greater than any I can create for myself. :)

So, instead of dwelling on the past too much, I intend to just take a backward glance to see how God has blessed me and how I have grown. At the stroke of adventures await. :)

Happy New Year! :) I hope the start of your year is as amazing as you all are.


The Top Five Books I Loved in 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

all cover photos are from

This year was a good year for books for me. I discovered some new favorites and some new series that I'm looking forward to continuing in 2015. Lots of these are hidden gems, too, which are always nice to find. :)

So, let's get into what books I absolutely loved this year!

5. A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia Gray

This book got me interested into the world of inter-dimensional travel. I love time travel anyway - see any post I've ever done on Doctor Who ever - but the inclusion of parallel dimensions in this novel was excellent. Also, there's a lot of time spent in Romanov-era Russia AND a futuristic London, which is very cool. I can't wait to see where Marguerite - the fabulous homeschooled artsy protagonist - goes next!

For my full review, click here.

4. Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch

This book made me so happy, and I can't believe I almost put it down over a particularly frustrating character. It's a fabulous high fantasy YA novel with one of the best female teen protagonists I've ever seen on a page. The romance is epic, the battles are epic, and the magic is epic. Basically, the entire thing is epic, and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel when it comes out.

For my full review, click here.

3. Jackaby - William Ritter

Oh, this book. This book claimed to be "Doctor Who meets Sherlock", and it absolutely didn't disappoint. The fact that it's going to get a sequel is icing on the cake.

For my full review, click here.

2. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I haven't read anything quite like Ready Player One since I finished it last summer. It's funny, witty, and full of amazing adventure, all set in the landscape of an amazing video game.

(Also, I found out that Ernest Cline is RELEASING A NEW BOOK THIS JULY! And the plot is kinda similar to Ready Player One! YAY!)

For my full review, click here.

1. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

This list would absolutely not be complete without a Neil Gaiman story. I read three this year, and Neverwhere was my favorite. This tale was a joy to read from start to finish. :)

For my full review, click here.

Well, that was my Top 5 list! I can't wait to read and review more books in the new year. :) What books did you love this year? What are you looking forward to reading in 2015? 

On Doctor Who's Christmas Special This Year

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Day was incredibly busy in my household. Amidst all the joy,  we totally forgot about the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Thank goodness for iTunes.

I bought the episode the very next day and set up my laptop so my Mom, my Grandmother, and I could watch the special without those pesky commercial interruptions.

Oh my goodness, it did not disappoint.

From a frosted version of the intro/theme song to the inclusion of Santa himself, this special just made me so, so happy. It has the adventure and suspense every Doctor Who episode is required to have, but it has the warm and fuzzy feeling a Christmas special should definitely have. The fact that it's well-written doesn't hurt, either.

Peter Capaldi also really shines here. His portrayal of the Doctor has been really interesting to watch over the past season, and I thought it was the best during this episode in particular.

Clara Oswald (played by Jenna Coleman)'s plot arc was very nicely written, too. (But I can't give anything away because...spoilers. ;] )

Honestly, if this special is a preview of how next season will be, I'm all in.

Did y'all watch this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special? What did you think?

Merry Christmas! ♥

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
- Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV

Merry Christmas! I hope your day is blessed, merry, and bright. :)


An Instagram Roundup of Pre-Christmas Joys!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Because Christmas is happening tomorrow - GET EXCITED - I want to share some of what's been going on lately through my iPhone camera lens! December has been incredibly busy, but I've absolutely loved this time of year and the blessings this season brings. So, without further ado, here are the photos! :)

1. This is what it looks like when you order a small coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. The small coffee cups are tiny and adorable, and perfect for if I want an extra cup on a road trip.

2. My friends and I had brunch at Noshville when they came down to see me. This place is one of our favorites in the city. :)

3. I went to a Nashville Predators hockey game for the first time in years. I used to go to Preds games a lot when I was little, so the nostalgia was pretty strong that night. (I still have a hard time with the actual rules of hockey, though...ha!)

4. It's tradition that I get Rainbow Ice Dippin' Dots at Preds games. The really cool thing about this snap was that Dippin' Dots actually regrammed my image on their account! To say I was excited was an understatement.

5. Nashville is awesome. Need I say more?

6. This polish by Essie is GORGEOUS. I usually wear it around Christmastime. It's called "On a Silver Platter", and it's gold with blue/holographic glitter.

7. This is a Pantone mug. It's wonderful, it's lavender, and it's fabulous for my morning coffee.

8. My family and I tried a new place for Sunday brunch. It's called The Egg and I. My recommendations are the Eggs Benedict and their Hazelnut coffee. :)

9. Last, but certainly not least, I put my hair up into a Gibson Roll for a Christmas party I attended this week. I love how it turned out! I used a combination of this tutorial and this tutorial, plus some improvisation and a TON of bobby pins.

Favorite Parts of the Holiday Season

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I love December. Red and green are everywhere, people are excited and cheery, and anticipation is building for this coming Wednesday.

The Christmas season is special to me for so many reasons. If I listed them all, this post would probably wind up being a novel. So, here's my Top Five Christmas Favorites. Or, my favorite parts of the most wonderful time of the year.

5. ALL the Holiday Drinks

I've loved ordering Holiday drinks from Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, or just using holiday coffee for my Keurig at home. Favorites: Starbucks' PSL and Chestnut Praline lattes, and Dunkin' Donuts' Salted Caramel hot chocolate.

4. Decorations

Whether I'm in my hometown or at the mall, I love seeing the red and green ribbons, Christmas lights, and everything else that's festive covering the interior or exterior of buildings and shops. And, of course, I love the decorations inside and outside my home. (Not to mention houses near mine do an excellent job at decorating their porches and yards with lights.) :)

3. Parties & Festivals

This season is the season for festivities. From Dirty Santa gift exchanges to family gatherings, I always get so excited for the parties this season. Also, I love the Christmas Carol-themed festival that my hometown puts on every year. My friends and I went this year, and I documented our adventure in this post. Speaking of friends...

2. Seeing Friends and Loved Ones

I usually get to see so many people during the season. Whether friends come up from school, or my family and I go down to see relatives, I love seeing everyone.

I also like to partake in traditions with folks I love, whether it's amazing cinnamon red-hot cider or watching the same Christmas movies we love every year.

1. Giving

Most of all, I love the joy that comes from giving gifts to family and friends this season. I believe giving is better than receiving, and there's nothing quite like sharing happiness with others. Also, I find even more joy in giving others my time. Spending time with people you love - making memories, enjoying the season - is the best.

However, the greatest joy of all comes from celebrating Jesus' birth. I'm so thankful that God sent His Son to us here on Earth to give the gift of salvation to every one of us. Maybe that's why I love giving gifts so much; it's because I'm so thankful for the gift He gave me.

What's your favorite part of this season? :)

Thoughts on Pages #12: Snow Like Ashes

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I. love. this. book.

And in today's review, I'm about to tell you why.


"Game of Thrones meets Graceling in this striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self.  Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast story of loyalty, love, and controlling one’s destiny.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own."


Snow Like Ashes has some of the most complex, interesting characters I've seen in a YA Fantasy. Meira - the heroine of this story - is absolutely no exception. She surprised me again and again with every page, because not only did she go through the most extensive development, but she also kept me invested in her thoughts. The first-person narrative really let me in on why Meira felt a certain way, or why she wants to be a valuable soldier so badly.

The supporting cast - the refugees, mainly - are excellently written. Some characters frustrated me with confusing motives (I'm looking at you, Sir), but their development throughout the story added to the plot and even drove it in some instances. The villains are also fabulously dastardly and well-written.

There is a love triangle, but it's one of the best ones I've ever seen. Both guys are interesting characters. Both characters' romantic subplots were also very well-written, and their romantic scenes had this epic quality that I loved. While I do have a favorite, I will be happy with whoever Meira ends up with. 


Besides Meira as a character, the setting is one of the high points of this novel.

The entire story takes place within kingdoms based on seasons (called Seasons), and in surrounding kingdoms called Rhythms. Some of the cities within each season even fit the weather they experience (Jannuari in Winter and Abril in Spring). Each kingdom has specific characteristics (white hair for Winterians and blonde hair in Spring, for example), and each kingdom's season perpetually experiences their respective climate. 

The setting is beautifully simple, and it's easy to grasp once you get into the story. I felt that the kingdoms were an excellent backdrop for the epic plot to unfold. The magic in the story also really cool and makes sense with the plot, and I'm intrigued to see how it's used in the rest of the series.

My Thoughts

Did I mention that I love this book?

The plot of the story was GORGEOUS, and the narrative was only made better through an incredible protagonist, solid romance subplots, and a plot twist that made me want to literally applaud the book as I was reading it. To say that I'm excited for the next books in the series is an understatement. :)

So, I give Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch five Conduits out of five. This is easily one of my Top 5 books I've read this year, and I can't wait to see where this series goes.

Hey! :) Want to see what I'm reading now and what I'm into? Check out and follow me on my Goodreads!

A Dickens of a Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two dear friends of mine from college came up to Franklin for the weekend to visit. At the same time, there was a festival going on titled "Dickens of a Christmas". What did we do? We checked it out, of course! :)

"Dickens of a Christmas" is Franklin's huge winter festival that takes place downtown. There are plenty of vendors who sell all kinds of wares, from crafts to really, really good food. The fun part about "Dickens of a Christmas" is that it's what would happen if Main Street time-traveled to Victorian England. Not to mention the fact that characters from "A Christmas Carol" walk the streets, including the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, and Scrooge himself.

This year, the festival was a lot more crowded (see image above...Marley's Ghost was in that crowd somewhere), so re-enactors and street performers were more spread out amongst the festival attendants. Nevertheless, it's always so much fun to bring my friends back to my hometown to see it in such a unique way. :)

Top 7 Christmas Tracks

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I love Christmas music. It's the icing on the cake that is the holiday season, and listening to it brings back memories from my childhood and just gets me excited for Christmas in general.

So, from a dubstep remix to acapella to sweet winter ballads (and one that gives me chills every time I hear it [read: track two]), here are the Christmas tracks I've been loving this season. If you have Spotify, just click Play on any of these tracks to listen. :)

1. Carol of the Bells - Capital Kings

2. How Many Kings - Downhere

3. I'll Be Home - Megan Trainor

4. Winter Song - Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

5. The First Noel - Tobymac feat. Owl City

6. Last Christmas - Jimmy Eat World

7. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - Pentatonix

What songs have been your favorite this Christmas season?

The Wanderlust Tag

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I discovered a tag circulating around called "The Wanderlust Tag" (To whomever made this're awesome!). Since I've been traveling quite a bit lately (and have a really cool trip coming up soon!), I thought this tag would be fun to adapt to the blog. :) Plus, I thought it'd bring back some memories.

Ready? Let's get into it!

Where was your first plane to?
Atlanta, I think. :)

Where have you travelled to that you would love to visit again?
London, England; Venice, Italy; Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy; Paris (in the winter); Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Vancouver, BC, Canada.

You’re leaving tomorrow, and money is no object. Where are you going?

Preferred method of travel: planes, trains, or car?
It's a tie between planes and trains. We don't really have trains near where I live, so it's nice to ride them when I can.

Favorite travel website?
The travel blogs I've absolutely been loving lately are History in High Heels, Team Wiking, and Hitha on the Go. They have amazing travel tips, many of which I've pinned to my travel board on Pinterest.

Where would you travel just to eat the food?
Anywhere in France. There was a place in Saint Malo where I had the best toffee-flavored sundae. (Although I wouldn't mind having a curry in London again.)

Is there a place you would never go again?
Pompeii. It's too touristy for my tastes. However, I wouldn't mind hiking Mount Vesuvius.

Do you prefer Window, Aisle, or Middle Seat on planes?
Depends on the plane. On domestic flights, I like the window seat, but on international flights, I love anywhere in the middle row.

How do you pass the time on an airplane?
Oh, lots of ways. I enjoy reading, listening to music, watching a TV episode/movie, or playing some sort of game to pass the time. However, I can't sleep on the plane, so coffee is pretty much required after a long flight.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's safe to say that I absolutely love the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015.

But wait! you ask. What's Pantone?

Pantone - according to Wikipedia - is a company known for matching colors in their Pantone Matching System used in industries such as printing, paint, fabric, and plastics. Pantone's "Color of the Year" is also a huge deal, and you'll likely see it pop up in next year's fashion and makeup (Sephora has done a couple collections with the Color of the Year in previous years; I have their Radiant Orchid lipstick from last season and I love it).

Here's why I like Marsala so much:
  • It's a neutral. It's a neutral with a hint of red in it, so it adds interest to other neutrals paired with it.
  • It's versatile. A warm neutral works well as a clothing item, cosmetic, or home decor.
  • I just love the color. It reminds me of raspberry coffee.
And here are some Marsala things I found:

Marsala Favorites

A lot of the Marsala things I came across on Polyvore (as of writing this post) have more of a red or orange tint to them. I personally like the shade that leans towards red/berry, but however you wear Marsala is up to you and what you like!

What do you think of Marsala as the color of the year? Would you wear it? If so, how?

Thoughts on Pages #11: Atlantia

Monday, December 8, 2014

This is a tale NOT about mermaids (as I found out literally in the first five pages) that I met with skepticism, but surprised me at the end.


"Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the corrupted system constructed to govern the Divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths."


I liked Rio - the main protagonist - a lot more than I thought I would. Her character is believable; she wants to go Above (like Ariel from "The Little Mermaid") but is bound by her promise to her sister Bay, who may or may not have tricked her into staying Below. Plus, she has her own abilities as a siren to contend with...and hide. The majority of the story is her figuring out answers to a bunch of different questions: Why did her sister leave her behind? Who killed her mother? Why is her mysterious aunt trying to get into contact with her? And, most importantly, how can she get above?

That final question is what drives Rio's story, and it's how she meets True Beck. She forms a friendship with him which starts to develop into something more. (By the way, the romance was my favorite part of the story. It's written very well, and it doesn't obscure the quest Rio eventually undertakes, but I wanted to see more of True and Rio in the story.)

The side characters feel somewhat inconsequential. If characters mentioned more than a few scenes, then they're important. Otherwise, some side characters may only see three scenes before the first half of the novel is over. 

The villains were interesting, and acted in a way I didn't expect. They fit the story well, and their development was just as believable as our heroes' (read: their intentions were made clearer as the book went on).

Highlight for spoiler: I wish the sirens had more power than just speaking. I think more magic could have helped the ending feel more climactic than it felt.


Atlantia is beautiful. I always loved reading the descriptions of this underwater city peppered throughout the book, because it was kind of what you'd expect an underwater city to be, only with more color. It felt believable, especially at night, when the light was "grainy" and the dark was more absolute (because they were quite literally at the bottom of the ocean).

I had a hard time figuring out where the Above was. I knew that Atlantia was right below that (as it's called the Below), but judging by the description I as a reader got from it (which I can't reveal too much about because spoilers), it almost reminded me of Sorrento or the Tuscany region of Italy. I liked the Above, but as a setting, it felt underdeveloped and kind of threadbare in comparison to Atlantia.

My Thoughts

I was curious to read this book, mainly because I bought a signed copy of it at a Books-A-Million. I'd read Matched, so I was interested to see how this particular book played out...especially since it's a stand-alone.

I loved the setting, and the genuine nature of Rio's character was pleasant on the page. I even liked the romance, as short and minor as it was.

However, this book didn't completely blow me away. The plot felt very muddy at times and was slow in parts, and the climax didn't wow me like I expected it to. I wanted more resolution with what was happening Above. However, I'm satisfied with the ending, and I'm satisfied with how the characters developed and how the settings were portrayed.

I give Atlantia by Ally Condie 4 shells out of 5.

Hey! :) Want to see what I'm reading next and what books I'm into lately? Check out my Goodreads page and follow me there if you want!

An Instagram Roundup of Art, Adventures, and At Least Two Hot Beverages

Friday, December 5, 2014

1. I went to the cutest meat n' three last week in Georgia. It's family owned AND has the best chicken fried steak I've ever had (It was battered with pastry batter! Yum!).

2. Fun fact: I draw! I've drawn as an occasional hobby since high school, and I spontaneously decided to draw a self-portrait one day using an ink outline and colored pencils. I really like how it turned out. (I may do a post about my artwork in the future! Stay tuned!)

3. One family tradition that we have around the Holiday season is our cinnamon red hot apple cider. This stuff is AMAZING. It's basically regular apple cider boiled with red hot candies, then served. It reminds me of so many holiday seasons from my childhood and I love it.

4. I always get excited seeing the Finn and Jake balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Another fun fact: I watched Adventure Time for the first time on a plane flying back from Germany to the USA a few summers ago. Good times.

5. I went Black Friday Shopping in Atlanta with my aunt and cousin. I got to visit ZARA and C. Wonder, two stores we don't have in Nashville, among many amazing places to do my Christmas shopping (including Madewell, one of my new favorites!).

6. Speaking of new favorites, I love this candle from Anthropologie. It's Coconut Milk Mango. :)

7. I dove into a new book this week, armed with tea. Books-a-Million had signed copies of Atlantia by Allie on the lookout for a Thoughts on Pages review of it soon!

8. This is actually my grandparents' front yard. It just looked pretty in the sunshine and I had to snap and edit a picture of it for Instagram.

9. Remember when I talked about golf carts? High schoolers park their golf carts during school hours and line them up - and there was a ton of them when I drove by in a golf cart this week. This would have been so easy back when I was in high school!

Thoughts on Pages #10: A Thousand Pieces of You

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How amazing is this cover?!

When a book keeps you guessing, then leaves you breathless at the very end...that's when you know it's a good one.


The synopsis for the first book in the Firebird trilogy is as follows:

"Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.
A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all."

Let me summarize dimension travel before we go any further:

The firebird - a fancy, high-tech locket - gives the wearer the ability to travel between parallel dimensions to their bodies within those dimensions. If the wearer is without their Firebird for a long period of time, they forget themselves and lie dormant within their bodies in the dimension they traveled to. Sound complicated? Not to's explained well in the novel.


I adore the characters in this book. Especially the protagonist, Marguerite.

Here's why I absolutely love Marguerite as a character:

  • How relatable she is. When dressed to the nines as the daughter of a Russian Tzar in one dimension, she wishes that she could take selfies and use at least one of the pictures as a profile picture for the rest of forever. At first I rolled my eyes, but then I thought, Wouldn't I want to do the same thing? This vein continues throughout the novel, sometimes on more serious tones. She's a believable 18-year-old, and I love that.
  • She's homeschooled. She not only mentions that she's homeschooled, but also debunks the audience's perceived misconceptions of homeschooling, namely, social interactions and quality of the courses she was taught. For someone like me who was homeschooled for a good portion of her life (Kindergarten through 8th Grade), reading this was huge.
I can't go too much into the supporting cast, because spoilers, but I absolutely adore the supporting cast and villains as well. Everyone keeps you guessing as to their intentions right until the very last page. This got annoying at times, but at the end, it was exhilarating.

The only other annoying thing I found was how fast the romantic relationship progressed. It almost went too fast for Marguerite - and myself as a reader -  to process what was going on, but she grows as a character because of it, so it's only a minor blemish on an otherwise great story.


Setting? More like settings.

Marguerite travels to many parallel dimensions in different cities, like futuristic London and 1900's Russia, just to name a couple. The settings are very well-written and the world-building is believable for each respective place. How Marguerite interacts with each dimension is also believable, from her conversations with characters to having to learn languages to adapt to a foreign culture.

My Thoughts


It reminded me of Doctor Who, but also Inception. Like I mentioned earlier, it's an exhilarating ride from start to finish. I already can't wait for the next two books in the trilogy, and am so curious to see how the plot unfolds from here.

I give A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray five Firebirds out of five.

Hey, y'all! :) Want to see what I'm reading next and what books I've been loving lately? Check out my Goodreads!

My Top 10 Uses for a Sequined Dress

Monday, December 1, 2014

Once upon a time, I was in Forever 21 with some of my best friends. We were wandering the store when suddenly, I saw a dress on one of the mannequins up front:

FOREVER 21 Sequined Skater Dress

Because it was sequined, blush pink, and amazing, I wanted to see if I could find it. Sure wasn't there. Bummer.

I decided to browse online (which, in my opinion, is the best way to shop Forever 21's clothing selections...the stores can get overwhelming), and they did have it. Fast-forward a week later, and a package arrived at my doorstep containing the sequined dress I ordered.

Some of you may be thinking, Savannah, where could you possibly wear this? Others of you may be thinking, Why not wear this literally everywhere?

So, let's talk about where you could wear a sequined dress.

1. Holiday Parties - This is probably the most obvious choice, given this time of year. I intend to wear my dress to my family's Christmas party this year for sure.

2. New Year's Eve - Again, another fairly obvious situation, but a dress like this that has sleeves will help you out if you're going to be outside in colder weather for any amount of time.

3. Concerts - You know how some genres kind of have specific clothes associated to them - leather for Rock, and cowboy boots for Country, for example? A sequined dress covers all those bases; just change the accessories depending on the concert and your mood. Speaking of shows...

4. Broadway Shows - In the times I've been to New York, I've loved dressing up for broadway shows, including matinees (I'm looking at you, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" starring Daniel Radcliffe back a few years ago <3). A sequined dress would be a fun piece to wear to musical theatre, whether you're on Broadway, West End, or at your city's performing arts center.

5. Graduations - I wore a shiny dress with rose gold embroidery to my college graduation, and this would work well if you're wanting to stand out beyond the same regalia that everyone else is wearing. Just make sure that this dress works with your school's guidelines; my high school graduation robes were white, for example, so this particular dress wouldn't work.

6. Halloween - When all else fails, this is an INSTANT Princess Peach costume. And speaking of costumes...

7. Themed Costumed Parties - Lately, I've been seeing Great Gatsby-inspired dresses amidst the usual sparkly sequined ones. To get more uses out of a dress like this beyond the holidays, wear it to a costume party and add decade or theme-appropriate accessories, like a sparkly headband for a Gatsby party.

8. Weddings - Depending on what kind of wedding you're attending and how much your particular dress is sequined, you could wear a dress like this to either the rehearsal dinner or the ceremony itself. Just make sure it's understated enough that you're not outshining the bride.

9. Travel/Other special occasions that only come around once in a while - Going to a live taping of a show in NYC? Going to a fancy dinner abroad? Take this dress along on your travels. You never know when the occasion may arise to wear it. And speaking of occasions...

10. Whenever you want. :) - Fashion is so subjective, and even with trends that come and go, you should stay true to your personal style. If you want to wear a sequined dress, wear it, and wear it with confidence. :)

I hope y'all enjoyed this little Top Ten list! :)

The Best Shopping Apps

Friday, November 28, 2014

"Pop" print by Lilly Pulitzer

Today is Black Friday. Those words often evoke a sense of excitement or anxiety...or a combination of both. Either way, Black Friday involves amazing deals in shops across the country. Whatever you're looking for, it's probably on sale today and the rest of this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, I've loved the inclusion of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This has given other businesses - especially locally-run ones - the chance to join in the fun.

Let's talk online shopping for a second. It's super-convenient these days to open your laptop and blaze through your Christmas shopping list with a click of a mouse - and the sales are often more abundant online as well. But let's say you're not on a laptop. Instead, you're braving the Black Friday crowds, standing in line with a cart full of goodies. There's something from another store you could be ordering while you wait.

That's where apps come in.

These apps I'm about to show you can be used beyond Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but I figured these would come in handy this weekend. ;) So, without further ado, here are my favorite shopping apps for iOS! (You may be able to find these apps on Google Play or Android Market.)

This is often the first place I go when I'm ordering things. Retail Me Not has so many coupons for so many stores, and I've often been able to get free shipping on many purchases. Just browse to see what coupons are available!


photo credit

I love Amazon so much as it is for their great deals on books, but they sell many other items, so it makes one-stop shopping so, so easy. It's even easier to shop on my phone; I ordered my Halloween costume this year through this app. :)

photo credit

I haven't bought anything on this app, but I installed my Sephora VIB rewards card into my Passbook. It's super nice to pull your phone out when you're shopping there, and the card on Passbook keeps track of your Beauty Insider reward points. Since I installed the app, I've gotten quite a few notifications of sales, which is also nice.

Casetify (formerly Casetagram)

photo credit

I've talked about Casetify before, but I love this store and the wide variety of cases they have. You can buy a case from any of the artist collections OR make your own, all with just a few swipes on the app. You can find coupons and sales - some are exclusive to the app - and you can even track your order once you place it. Yay! (Also, their social media department is super, super nice!)

BONUS: Deliveries

photo credit

This is lifesaver for package tracking. All you have to do is plug in a tracking number and carrier, and the app will track the shipment and give you a countdown of when it arrives, with notifications for every stop on the way. This is super handy for this time of year and beyond. :)

Have you ever shopped via an app? If so, how do you like it?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pattern by Rifle Paper Co.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! :) Today, I'm celebrating the holiday with my family by eating amazing food and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. More adventures will probably ensue throughout the day as well.

I hope that you and your families all have a wonderful Thanksgiving too, stay safe if you're traveling today, and God bless!

Have Faith

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

You can find blessings in unexpected places.

Let me explain.

Yesterday, my grandfather and I were grabbing some food from Chikfila. While grabbing said food, I noticed that in the back, Luke 17:6 was written on the back of a whiteboard. I love Chikfila for the values they uphold so - naturally, this piqued my interest.

It was the moment that I picked up a cup of lemonade that I noticed the same verse written on the side of the cup. Huh.

I really think that verse was there for us - in that moment - for a reason.

In my personal experience, God has always found a way to find and help me out in ways that I never thought I'd need. Something simple as scribbling a verse on a lemonade cup actually made such an impact that I'm sure the waitress helping us didn't see right away. It's moments like these that help my faith and make it even stronger.

So, what I'm trying to say is that if you find a verse you love, share it. If you even have some insight that you discovered while living daily life, share it. You never know who - and how many - you'll help and support by doing so.

A Golf-Carting Adventure in Peachtree City

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This Thanksgiving week, I've been visiting family in Georgia. It's been great to catch up with and see friends and family down here. :) Plus, Thanksgiving is in just a few days! Yay!

The other day, my cousin took me on a golf cart ride through the entirety of Peachtree City. Then, yesterday, I took it for a spin myself.

It's basically one giant circle of pine trees, with various shops and a huge park and golf course in between. Residents can literally drive to school, work, or even Walgreens', just so long as they stay on designated paths or very, very specific subdivision roads. It's amazing, and I wish they had golf cart accessibility in Franklin.

We had a great time on the cart. :) My cousin gave me a tour of the town in a way I hadn't seen before. Through each and every winding path that our cart traveled, we got to see both the town and the nature that surrounds it. The great Fall weather didn't hurt, either.

When I drove yesterday, I was amazed at how easy it was. If you can drive a car, driving a golf cart is cake. I told my grandfather (who rode with me that day) that it was dangerous that I was able to access a Target so easily. ;) Ha!

For now, here are some of the the snaps I took while riding with my cousin...and they are gorgeous. :)

My favorite thing that we saw by far was this "Leave a Book, Take a Book" mini library in one of the yards in the subdivision. My cousin told me that she enjoyed seeing what books were in there. These neighbors were thoughtful and sweet to give so many people access to books if they want to read, and I absolutely love that.

Red-Eye Flight Tips

Monday, November 24, 2014

I've said it before, but this week is a huge week of travel for many folks, especially leading right up to Thanksgiving (or any other holiday coming up). What if your schedule won't allow you to pop into town until the day before (or morning of) a holiday, meeting, or any special event? This where the red-eye flight comes in.

The earliest I've ever left my home for a flight was probably around 3 or 4:00 AM. I'm pretty sure I've hopped on planes at 6 AM, but I guarantee that there are flights that will arrive at your destination by then. Since they depart during the night and arrive in the morning, red-eye flights give you the entire day at your destination once you arrive, but flights that early require special preparation.

So, here are my tips if you just so happen to be traveling by a red-eye (or extremely early-morning) flight. :) (Some of these can even apply to international flights, as they depart in the evening and arrive in the morning...just not quite as early.)

  • Err on the side of comfort. Actually, camp out on the side of comfort. Even if you've got a day planned, chances are, you'll be able to take a quick nap or at least change clothes for any event you have when you land. I'd do something like what I wrote in my "What to Wear On Planes" post, but I'd swap out jeans for sweatpants or leggings. Any layers I'd have would be a lot warmer, too, socks included.
  • If you can sleep on the plane, sleep on the plane. Otherwise, get a lot of sleep beforehand. I personally can't sleep on planes, so I rely on great sleep the night before and a great cup of coffee (or two...or three ;] )
  • Bring chapstick (and any other moisturizers you want). Airplane air is notorious for drying out skin, so items like these are lifesavers. Also, on that note...
  • Drink water at some point during your flight. Staying hydrated is always important for any flight; not to mention it will help you feel better while you sit still on a plane that early in the morning.
  • If you do decide to stay awake, here's what I recommend for such an early flight:
    • Preloading an episode or two of your favorite TV show on your iPad/tablet/phone.
    • Really, really great music.
    • Coffee. Or tea.
    • A really, really great novel.
    • Or, if all else fails, bring a pair of headphones. Noise canceling or not, these will help you relax on a flight this early.
If you're taking a red-eye flight this Holiday season, I hope this helps you out! :) I know I'll be referring back to this when I hop a red-eye flight one of these days.


Friday, November 21, 2014

If y'all have been reading my blog for awhile (or know me in real life), you'll know that I'm kind of obsessed with Disney movies. I adore the Disney Princess movies, not just for their gorgeous animation (especially in the older ones), but also for how genuinely good the storytelling is and how good the characters are.

So, when I found out about the new Cinderella movie coming out, I was excited. Then the trailer came out...and I'm actually still excited.

It's interesting when a trailer pretty much goes through the entire story right up until nearly the very end, but I guess Cinderella is such a classic story that most people are going to know what comes next. However, this movie looks gorgeous

One thing I'm curious about, though: is this a musical? I'm cool with it either way, but it'll be interesting if it is, especially following "Into the Woods" coming out this Christmas (which I'm also extremely excited for :] ).

What do you think of the new Cinderella movie? Do you like the trailer? Are you planning on seeing it when it comes out?

What to Pack for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's officially one week before Thanksgiving! :)

It's also around this time that folks are starting to travel for the Holiday season, whether that's across a state, the country, or the globe. Because of this, lots of us will be packing for the road or plane trips ahead.

So, here's my recommendations for your Thanksgiving packing list! :)

(Note: This list is designed for a cooler-weather Thanksgiving. Please tailor this to your destination if you're going somewhere warmer or even colder. When in doubt, check the weather before you pack.)

What to Pack for Thanksgiving

  • Plaid/Flannel Shirts - These are SO comfy and work well with your favorite pair of jeans. They're also great for a casual Thanksgiving day of chilling and eating.
  • Dresses - I like to pack at least a couple of dresses for Thanksgiving for two reasons: church and Thanksgiving day (if I'm feeling dressy).
  • A Multitude of Sweaters - From chunky to embellished, sweaters are just a great idea for this season in general. Pair these with your favorite scarves and coats for extra warmth.
  • Jeans, Leggings, and Tights - These items in basic, neutral colors will carry you through the entire Thanksgiving week. Want to add color? I recommend darker colors like burgundy and hunter green.
  • Comfy walking shoes & flats - Again, these in neutral colors are great, versatile options for your entire week.
  • Beauty Essentials - As far as beauty goes, I recommend a great lip balm or Chapstick and an eyeshadow palette with neutral colors to wear throughout your week, day or night. Then, just add products from your normal beauty & skincare routine, and you're set. :)