At First Blush

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she who has lost the art of blushing has lost the most powerful charm of beauty.”

I am a blusher. Like…big time. There is no point in me even trying to hide it. In most cases, I can only pray that the eyes of others fail to notice the burning red on my cheeks, though the heat radiating around my face is overwhelmingly evident to me. Sometimes I think that this natural reddening is a sort of Karma that straight-up yells, “yeah you can try to hide your emotions and pretend to be all strong, but your efforts are useless!” {insert nature’s evil laugh}. NOT. FUNNY. I’m looking at you…:

  • a particular barista at my local coffee shop
  • a wink from a stranger
  • that black stunner of a dress hanging in my closet {reserved for only  special occasions}
  • a compliment or a simple word of acknowledgment from a role model
  • the common social situation where everyone in the room understands the joke, and I’m sitting there completely flummoxed by what just happened, thus becoming another part of the joke myself.

Here is just another part of life that I cannot control, but I’ve come to accept its inevitability. Heck, if it’s true that blushing is, in fact, a powerful charm of beauty, it should be something I embrace, right?

That all being said, it should come as no surprise that “blush” is actually one of my favorite colors to don on a normal basis. Thought it really doesn’t do anything for my skin tone or hair color, it matches my cheeks, right?

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Just Call Me Edgar

22-oconnor-quoteThis is a long one…ready? 

Dear Flannery O’Connor, thank you for understanding me.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in those interrogation-like social situations in which, when asked a direct question,  you know exactly how to answer the question but instead end up rambling on and on, finding it quite impossible to say what you are really thinking? Is that just nerves? Fear of saying the wrong thing? Simple inability to pinpoint the correct dictionary word? Straight-up social awkwardness? Whatever it is, I suffer from it. It’s a realization that I came to recently, an awareness of how hard I often find it to speak what I know and feel. For some unfounded reason, my brain and heart say one thing, but my mouth ends up blurting out “I mean…it wasn’t bad,” when asked how a date went…on the night of the date…by the guy who asked you out {PALM TO FOREHEAD}.

Why is conversation, specifically the “important” kind (e.g. interviews, DTRs, general tough-but-need-to-be-had chats), super difficult? When such situations come about, I feel completely and utterly stupid (in the most literal sense of the word). All of the knowledge that I know and have seems stuck inside, unable to escape the bounds of my body. Unable to escape, that is, until I put a pen to paper. Vladamir Nabokov put it like this: “I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.

Like many novelists and writers, I seem smarter in print than in person. Scratch that. I don’t just “seem to be,” I definitely am. When I write, I express opinions that I have never {and maybe will never} utter in conversation and that, if I was not writing, maybe would never have come to mind.

Fortunately (and I say fortunately because now I don’t feel as seriously crazy), Edgar Allen Poe completely summarizes my condition.

People talk about thinking, but for my part, I never think except when I sit down to write.

Writing doesn’t simply aid in the organization of my thoughts – though it does do just that – but it actually creates thoughts.

I once took an English Composition class from a professor that taught me the art of the “shitty first draft.” Essentially, her working theory was that if you start writing with just the topic in mind, no set form or outline, or even thesis statement, and just lay (aka word vomit) all of your ideas and random thoughts onto paper (or type it if you must), eventually that “AH-HA” moment comes along as soon as you write  that one genius statement that pinpoints the idea you could not form aloud.

Needless to say, the “shitty first draft” is my catalyst for every paper, blog post, letter, or draft of a hard conversation.

Something clicks when I simply start to jot down my thoughts, something that will eventually occur on a typed word doc and (hopefully) one day in conversation. Everything from the flow of ideas to the exact (may I suggest perfect?) wording of a phrase comes together in harmony, harmony that rarely occurs in face-to-face conversation or speech. I wonder if there is a scientific basis for this. Some scientist somewhere must have researched why brilliant writers are terrible speakers and storytellers. Those same scientists may then be able to explain why eloquent orators can barely manage to put words onto a page.

Remember in middle school when we learned about different sides/cortices of the brain? I would bet money that somewhere in the anatomy of the brain lays the answer. I would guess that, when I write, different neurons are at work that charmingly translates my thoughts into words. But if forced to speak, a totally separate set of neurons and brain functions make different connections which, in my opinion, are far inferior to those made with a pen in my hand, ultimately resulting in me stumbling over my words, pausing to search the dictionary stored in my brain that always fails me when put on the conversationalist spot. Crap. Maybe I should just walk around with a pen in my hand in order to trick my brain into thinking that it’s about to write (or a paper clip to act as a lightning rod for thoughts…Maid in Manhattan reference anyone??).

 So is there a remedy for this conversational awkwardness that plagues my everyday life? Is there some sort of step-by-step process that will help me take the clarity that comes out when I write and have that same fluidity when I speak? Most likely, the answer is probably just practice. Either that, or people are just going to have to get used to my introverted, awkward self continually struggling to put words into a sentence out loud. Well, I’m not ok with the latter, so I guess it comes down to practice. Do I have any takers willing to sit with me for hours and just talk? Don’t all jump up at once…I’ll give you until my next blog post to respond.

A Cup of Joe

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It’s no secret that I am a coffee shop junkie. I mean, they probably should have just stuck a cot in Two Story for me last year since I was practically a resident. There is something about the smell, the people (and the people-watching), and the overall calm atmosphere of the oasis that is a coffee shop that makes me feel right at home.

Want to know a secret though? Half the time I am at these shops, I’m drinking tea, not coffee. I am one of the sad few that gets seriously affected by caffeine, and if I have it after about noon, I’ll be jittery and awake all night. However, if I make it to a shop in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll see me gulping down a large vanilla latte.

Today, as I hunkered down in a nearby coffee shop {this seems to be the start of most of my stories…}, I paused my cover-letter-writing to use the lou and read the contents below on a poster as they filled the walls.  GENIUS. Mostly, I was just so impressed with the continual play on coffee-related words, but then again I pretty much love any sort of saying involving coffee. See for yourself, and enjoy!

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All I need to know about life, I learned from drinking coffee.

We all have to do the daily grind.
If the spoon doesn’t dissolve, it ain’t coffee.
Better Latte than never.
A day without coffee is like night… you sleep through it.
I am productive! I am productive! I am productive!
Automatic drip defines most people’s personalities.
Stand your grounds.
Espresso yourself.
I love the caffeine, it’s the rich taste I could do without.
Decaf is if Sissies.
Take two cups and call me in the middle of the night.
Don’t stop till you are shaking.
Who needs sleep when you’ve got coffee?
There’s no rest for the caffeinated.
Impatience is a virtue.
Man cannot live by coffee alone – donuts are pretty essential too.
There is no such thing as a free refill.
It’s OK to be full of beans sometimes.
And remember as you grind your way through life, you are never alone when you’ve got Joe.

 

Happy Weekend!

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It wasn’t until I entered the “real world” (for a short time…explanation later) that I really began to value weekends. In school, weekends boasted  a balanced mix of work and play: an assignment was always due on Monday, a project was always looming in the background, and nights lasted until early mornings as I gathered with old and new friends. Weekends now serve their intended purpose: rest and separation from work and from stress. Therefore, God bless weekends.

In recent news, I finished up my fellowship on Friday! It was undoubtedly one of the best 9 weeks of my life – 9 weeks spent learning, engaging, working my butt off, and finally leaving with an even greater sense of what I want to pursue in terms of a career. That being said – now my full-time job has become to find a full-time job (ugh? yay? a little bit of both?). I’m more than excited for the future ahead, I am just antsy to get everything set in stone and finally have some stability.

Meanwhile, I have decided to plan a mini-vacation to congratulate myself for working all summer!  My original thought was a trip in Destin, but now I can’t seem to stop my brain from dreaming of NYC. I guess these are the times when following NYC-based bloggers is so troublesome since I can’t read their posts without wishing I could stand where they do. So what to do? Stay safe, head to Destin where I know the destination like the back of my hand, and simply relax by the ocean? Head to the always bustling NYC to see the sights, brunch like a Queen,  and shop til I drop? Well I’m torn! Oh decisions. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Enjoy your weekend. You’ll find my poolside … weather permitting.

xo

Creature of…

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You guessed it. I am a serious creature of habit. A couple ways that this manifests itself:

  • I am the most brand loyal consumer you can find.
  • I stick to and really like my routines, hence the whole world flips upside down when they break down.
  • I can no longer sleep past 8am as my body has one impeccable inner alarm clock after eight straight years of waking up at 7am (or earlier).
  • Employees of coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, boutiques, and gyms get to know my life story after about a week of me frequenting their establishment.
  • On that note, stop offering  me something new, because my coffee order and beer of choice will never change.
  • For someone who is constantly on the move and hates being inactive and bored, I oddly see no problem in eating the same thing for breakfast everyday and the same thing for dinner 5 out of 7 nights a week.

Now, this could be seen one of two ways. The negative view says: Oh, Sarah, you are dull and un-adventurous. Ouch. Try again. The positive view puts it like this: That girl knows exactly what she wants and likes. I, of course, choose to view my habits in the second way. I know exactly what I like and what I don’t, and I avoid those that I don’t like at all costs. All that to say, I came to the conclusion recently that as much as I’d like to think otherwise, I am simply afraid of change.

Ironic story though:

Last week, after chatting up one of the trainers at my gym, I decided to take him up on an offering of a discount on PT. Not only did I accept because he is super easy on the eyes {can’t help it…sue me}, but also because I know that I have had the same workout routine for, oh, at least a year. I’d say it’s about time my muscles got a challenge. Y’ALL. After the first session, I was sore for 3 days. I can already feel my legs turning to jello after this morning’s butt kicking! I love, maybe even thrive on, the feeling of being sore. It is one of the few times that I see (and feel) change as a positive because I know I accomplished something.

If I thrive on that sort of change, why can’t I change / explore  options in other parts of my life? This particularly pertains to my choices of food as I have been said to be a pretty picky eater. Can’t quite argue with that. I know it’s only August, so I can’t quite make a “new year’s resolution,” but am I allowed to make a “starting a new chapter of my life” resolution? I mean, moving from a student to a working/postgrad life is one of the greatest transitions of anyone’s life, so why not set some resolutions during this time of “starting over.”

With that said, I am going to start a list of ways I want to be a little more adventurous, maybe break my habits a little just to challenge myself to, sorry for the cliché, “keep calm and carry on.” {smooth, right? You’re welcome}. As soon as this list is compiled, I will of course share it!

Happy Thursday to you all. One more day til the weekend!

Happy Weekend!

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Happy Weekend, lovely! This weekend is a little crazy, and Saturday falls right in the middle of two day-trips for me: one to Atlanta and another to Nashville. You can bet, then, that I will be spending this Saturday -off – day in my pjs for the greater part of the morning, maybe squeezing in a yoga or Pilates class if I get the energy, and catching up on #SUITS tonight. {If you don’t watch Suits, well…shame on you.}

Does anyone else feel like summer is slowly slipping away? I can’t say that I’m complaining, because fall is just my favorite time of the year. But I will miss the slowed-down pace of the summer months as soon as September hits. For now, I’ll sit here and relax and daydream of the vacation I plan on taking come August.

Of course, here’s some links to keep you busy if you are currently laying in bed and refusing to be productive…like me.

+Just another reason why I love the WSJ: the Opinion section. This article on the evolution of #menswear is just genius

+ If you’re reading this and you went to my high school, please add “wanting to crawl under your chair every time Fernando Llama made an appearance” to this list of things we will always remember from Spanish Class

+In honor of Harry Potter weekend, I give you signs that you are Hermione Granger {LOL…but so true}

+ More Harry Potter madness…but I can’t help it. Bless you, Buzzfeed, for keeping me entertained with the 50 hottest dudes from Harry Potter

+When Athens is featured in any newspaper or TV channel, my bulldog heart leaps for joy

In a Runner’s World

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I have not always been an avid runner. In fact, I literally despised running until I got to college and realized that walking back and forth between classes would not quite keep me in the shape I was used to being in high school as a year-round competitive swimmer. Out of obligation, then, I started running 1-2 miles…a week, hating every 10-20 minutes and wishing will all my might that I had time in the day to be a mermaid again, to continually smell like chlorine,  and to spend my hours and my workouts in the water.

Fast forward 4 years: I still run out of obligation to staying in shape, but I enjoy every.single.second of it. I have found myself anticipating the times when I get to stick my headphones in, jump on a trail, and zone out, tuning the entire world out as I get lost in the beat of my feet and the beat in my ears. Sure, I have those days that running is just painful, and the enjoyment factor disappears as soon as I cramp up, the humidity starts to wear me out, or I just straight up am not “feeling it” that day. But then come the amazing runs in which I feel like I could run forever, like my feet and legs will never tire. Those runs far outweigh and overshadow the few and far between “bad” runs.

I still find it crazy that I have the ability to run and swim and to push my body to limits I never knew existed. A while back, I read a biography of Eric Liddell, the runner/missionary whose life is depicted in the popular film Chariots of Fire. 1) I highly recommend both the book and the movie. 2) I’ll close with this thought. I think Liddell’s point below explains so much of why I, and athletes in general, find such immense joy in their respective sports:

“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

{Eight} Things

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*sigh* God bless Fridays. Unlike last weekend, tomorrow and Sunday are looking like prime days to lounge by the pool, read, and just unwind from one hectic and buuuusssssyyyyy week. As I wait for my 2 cups of coffee to kick in, I give you all the creativity I could muster this morning with my favorite 8 things for the week. Enjoy!

1/ Because you know I have an odd obsession with dressing men {My poor brother}. Get some expert tips from the stylists from Domaine on “Dude Dressing”

2/ Books and Coffee. Well that pretty much sums up my life. (and FYI: an entire tumblr dedicated to coffee shops. Hello bliss)

3/NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE. I’m dying for early access and might actually cave and get a Nordstrom card)

4/ hahaha. Anne Hathaway’s facial expressions kill me. I just got a laugh from this. Princess Diaries still sits at the top of my “Favorite Movies” list

5/Stripes are just everywhere right now. After seeing Molly style this Saint James tee, I am thinking that it is the perfect staple to transition from summer to fall

6/ Oh look. Another coffee post. Can anyone tell what’s on my mind this morning? I would just love to vacation to this cabin the in woods for a week…or a month…

7/Distressed Jeans are having a moment. And I’ll join the bandwagon and snag some up as soon as the temperature drops a tad {Oh hey Shopbop, thanks for reading my mind and putting the “Denim Boutique” as the front page today}

8/ Alright guys, seriously. If you have yet to listen to Green River Ordinance…GO DO IT NOW! I’m not joking, they are incredible. The perfect folky-country-rock tunes to spice up your playlist.

Happy Weekend, y’all! I hope yours is as relaxing as I plan on making mine!

 

Travel Talk

2654492177_46e59d8ba5_bHere is the back-story behind the random post and photos below. Two words: South Dakota

When I was 17, I got the unique chance to take a biking/hiking/backpacking/camping trip to the great state of South Dakota with a select group from my senior class. Ask me about that trip now, and you better block off an entire day to listen to stories. Out of every road trip or vacation that I have taken, this one far and away tops the list as my favorite. Please let me go roam with the buffalo again. Please let me bike 130+ miles – to the brink of exhaustion – through the Badlands and the Black Hills. Take me back to a state that is all to often forgotten, a state whose beauty only some venture to see.

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Am I the only one who has yet to travel outside of the United States? Wait…second question: Am I the only one that doesn’t even have a passport?

Here’s my beef with traveling abroad: I really don’t think you should do it until you have a greater appreciation for what’s in your own backyard. The U.S. boasts landscapes that match if not outshine those in other countries. Now, before I continue, I admit that I am probably being both biased and incredibly naive. You’re right in thinking, “how can she talk? She hasn’t even BEEN ABROAD!” Yep, that’s right. But I have been across my own nation. You know where you haven’t been? Where I have. I know one too many people who have spent more time on planes traveling across oceans than in the backseat of vans taking in the beauty that is the Garden of the Gods, The Great Sand Dunes, Glacier National Park, the Great Plains, Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Yosemite. {ok fine, maybe this is turning into a pitch for the northwest.}

Maybe my dad spoiled me by not allowing our family to fly anywhere until I was 18 years old, until we had driven the expanse (or what felt like the expanse) of the United States. He is the reason that I am so passionate about the beauty of my own country.  I feel utterly more privileged to say that I have stayed in 48 out of the 50 states than I would if I could say that I have been to 48 different countries.

I don’t ever want to lose my appreciation for nature, for the natural processes such as fire and thunderstorms that help to carve and shape the Earth. There is something so incredibly rich about going to the untouched places of such a civilized and industrialized nation, something so captivating about the “hidden” and seldom visited gems of North America.

My one charge to you is this: Don’t grow up thinking that you have to go somewhere else to experience greatness, to experience an ego check that makes you (and me) feel so insignificant when at the foot or in view of something so grand and intricate that man could never hope to carve or construct.

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Photo Credit: Andrew Goebel, Whitney Calvin, Warren Smith, Craig Dunham