back to school bucket list

It's almost time to go back to Portland!  Here are a few things I want to do this year...

  • Make more friends.
  • Bake more treats (this will probably help with the friend-making).
  • Force my friends to have holiday parties with me (even if it's just me feeding them baked treats in my decorated room).
  • Save money & budget.
  • Go on fun & cheap dates with Ted.
  • Have more girls nights.
  • Write for the school newspaper.
  • Get more involved.
  • Speak up more in classes.
  • Eat healthier so I have more energy.
  • Go hiking and enjoy the beautiful nature around me.
  • Go on an outdoors trip.
  • Exercise. (You guys, I have never set foot into a gym... Embarrassing.)
  • Write more.
  • Sketch more.
  • Be more confident in my work.
  • Call my family and friends more (not that I didn't last year, but you can never have too much love in your life).
  • Become more direction-savvy.  Please.
That's all I can think of at the moment.  Next time I post I'll probably be in Portland! xoxo

I'm currently taking September sponsors!  If you are interested, check out the sponsor page for more information.

a wholesome meal

The other day Dahlya had me over for a lovely lunch of homemade vegan veggie burgers and sorbet.  Everything was delicious!  Here are some pictures...

Rice tortilla "bun," avocado, fake bacon, spinach, homemade veggie burger, cheese.  Carrot and sweet potato fries. 

Sorbet made from a juicer with frozen strawberries and bananas, topped with white chocolate and chocolate-covered acai berries. When Dahlya surprised me with this beauty, I was absolutely smitten! Such a pure and wholesome treat.

I'm already missing Dahlya and her awesome cooking skills...  Sadface.

something to remember

This quote is very important for me to remember.  My biggest fault is that I am very prone to comparison.  Since high school I have caught myself comparing myself to my good friends, which isn't a good idea.  If you knew my friends personally, you would understand.  Who could blame me?  My friends are hilarious, creative, awesome geniuses.

How could I ever be a better writer, baker, student, crafter, etc....?

The answer isn't relevant.  There's no way I could match someone else's (usually natural) talent simply because I want to be just as good, or better.  If it were that simple, what would be the point of anything?  Life isn't about simply being good at the things you wish to excel at.  That would be way too easy, and certainly not as fulfilling as striving for success in something that you have plenty of room for improvement.

The more you think about the concept of comparing yourself to someone else, the more absurd it seems.  Every individual has their own set of experiences, successes, failures, talents, and dreams.  To compare yourself belittles how special, unique, and complex human beings are.  It's human nature to compare yourself to others, but that doesn't mean it's a pastime worthy of consuming your time.  That time would be much better spent working on the things you want to get better at.

However, comparison is something that inevitably comes up as you're trying to come to terms with who you are, what you want to become, and how others will perceive you for this.

Through these revelations, I've realized the things that make me ME, even if they are by no means "perfected"...  I'm more of a "handmade" person, for lack of a better word.  Very rarely do I see perfection as the ultimate goal.  In fact, I try to avoid the word "perfect" completely, because it's such a bizarre concept to begin with.  My goals usually consist of making myself and others happy, even if the cookies aren't perfectly frosted, or the dress isn't immaculate down to every stitch.  I think that this makes me Kaylie, and I'm okay with this.  Or at least, I am realizing that I should be okay with this.

I'm definitely not the best writer, baker, student, or crafter, but these are things I strive to improve in, and more importantly--they are the things that make me happy (yes, even school).  I think that the desire to improve in a certain field speaks more about your character than simply being good at something.

Is comparison something you struggle with?  What do you do to knock some sense into yourself?


The other afternoon I went to a new restaurant with my grandparents called Petite Maison.  True to its name, it was a cozy country house with wood everywhere and tiny chandeliers.  It was very charming and delicious.  I tried the Cassoulet Pissaladière (pizza), Poutine, Escargot de Bourgogne, the soup du jour (can't remember the name of it), and the Nutella Crème Brûlée.  My favorites were the Cassoulet pizza, the escargot, and the crème brûlée.  It was a lovely time, and we spent the rest of the afternoon browsing Fashion Square.  I even found boots that fit me/are age appropriate!  Score.

Lately:  writing in the traveling journal, sewing a dress (I'm farther now, but trying to be mysterious), sending off a care package for Ted, hanging out with Izzy every night in my room.

This week:  Knitting, reading Me Talk Pretty One Day, watching Downton Abbey, rewatching Gossip Girl, lunch & shopping date with my grandma Mimi (I got a dress that will go perfectly with my new boots), and catching up with friends before they go back to school (sadface).

Summer is winding down, and a pile of stuff in forming in the corner of my room (okay, so maybe this part isn't that unusual) of things to bring back to school.  

fall in love

Dresses: 1, 2, 3

Accessories: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I LOVE FALL.  I can not emphasize this enough.  Once it's August, it's all I can think about.

Ever since I can remember, Fall has been the epitome of prime Kaylie time--after all, it's the beginning of the holiday season.  I feel like everything good starts happening in Fall:

A new school year (yes, I'm a nerd), Ted and my anniversary/his birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, my birthday, Easter...

I realize this all spans over six months.  But you guys.  Those six months are the best.  Holidays are my greatest joy.  Decorating, making homemade gifts, baking, hosting parties.....


This summer I have already been making birthday gifts for the remaining birthdays of this year, planning out Christmas gifts, working on my Halloween costume, and using my Pinterest as an arsenal for seasonal treats and fashion inspiration.

I have a problem.  I recognize this.  Call me crazy, insane, Mrs. Claus.....  It's probably all true.

Holidays aside, one of my favorite things about the Fall is the change in weather.  In Arizona, Fall means cooler weather, even if it still means pumpkin ice cream is more suitable than a hot pumpkin spice latte.  See my ways for embracing a desert Fall here and here.

Since moving to Portland, I have come to see Fall in its full potential.  It's magical, and I can't wait to spend another Fall there.  Until then... I will be knitting, making mix CDs, and dreaming up layered outfits.  (Right now I am wearing my new boots... It's one in the morning.)

Are you crazy about Fall?

take back the past: victorian era

As a lover of fashion and history, I decided to start a new series about looking to the past for fashion inspiration.  See the first post here.  

Today it's the Victorian Era (1837-1901).  I never really thought about it until now, but Victorian-inspired fashion is EVERYWHERE.  It's such an accessible "look" that you can embody any day, even if it's just through a lacy top, cameo necklace, jeans, and lace up boots.

The Victorian era lasted under Queen Victoria's rule.  The fashions went through the following trends:
  • 1840's/50's - Full skirts supported by petticoats made of horse hair, off the shoulder bodices, skirts full of flounces (frills), 
  • 1850's/60's -Hoop skirts (eek!), jacket bodices,  gored skirts.  Less flounces during Civil War due to decline in fabrics.
  • 1870's - Hoop skirts replaced by the "bustle" (more fullness in the back), bell shaped sleeves for daytime, small decorated sleeves for evening, polonaise (bodice and overskirt in one piece) bodices.
  • 1870's/80's - Bustles were abandoned for a more natural silhouette, more conservative necklines, slim skirts, asymmetrical details.
  • 1880's - The bustle is back-this time with the slim skirt front, draping became more complicated, high necklines.
Accessories:  Bonnets, cameos, fans, heeled boots.

Sources: Truly Victorian
Pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (my favorite!)

I'm really enjoying this series... I hope it interests someone other than myself.  Either way--It's been a fun way to learn more about fashion history.  Next up, the Edwardian era!  I just started watching Downton Abbey, so that should be exciting.

just my type: colorful quotes

I am obsessed with clean and colorful design.  The first is my favorite--such a wonderful quote.

low maintenance glamour

Ted, being the sweetheart he is, sent me a box of Ladurée macarons from Paris the other day.  When I opened that package and realized what it was, I felt incredibly glamourous.  Since this summer has been mostly about being as thrifty as possible, this luxury reminded me of the ways that I try to embrace glamour in my everyday life.  

Yesterday I wore my macaron romper with a rosy skirt, plenty of pearls, the Ladurée ribbon in my hair, and put on some lip color and eye make-up (and a tiny flower sticker because I'm silly like that).  For someone who usually gets ready in less than five minutes, this was more effort than I'm typically used to.  See, although I do own some makeup, I very, very  rarely use it.  It wasn't until a year or two ago that I started wearing foundation.  Other than that, it's usually chapstick and a smile.  My main reason for this is that I get ready in five minutes in the morning.  I'd much rather sleep in than get up early to put make up on or do anything with my hair.  It's just never been a priority of mine--I'd much rather spend time putting together an outfit.  I'd love to say that it was for strictly feminist reasons that I don't put effort into what I look like, but this is only part of it--mostly I am just too lazy and feel comfortable enough in the bare minimum.  The most glamourous part of my daily routine is putting on my Chanel or Macaron perfume.  

Besides, in my opinion, it's the wardrobe that makes the woman--not the makeup.

Even though I'm low maintenance in my physical appearance, I LOVE surrounding myself with old-fashioned glamour.  I have vintage tea cups scattered around my room, gilded frames (see above), and a record player.  I own over 40 dresses, a dozen hats, and probably more brooches than your grandma.  

Here is a short list of more things I find glamourous:  pastries, hosting parties, writing letters, foamy coffee, new fabric, French silk ribbon, reading outside, watching foreign films on Netflix, listening to records when it's raining, socks, bows, pretty packaging, naps for no reason, reading a magazine cover to cover.  The list goes on.

So thank you, Ted for making me feel glamourous this week.  Although, you tend to make me feel just as glamourous whatever you do for me--even if this entails a late night run to Little Big Burger after a disagreement.  (Yes, you heard it here first--I forgive very easily if tiny burgers with goat cheese are involved.)

What makes you feel glamourous?

in which i attempt to bestow my (questionable) knowledge of college

For the prosperity of those who have not yet started college, I have rounded up a few ideas for unsolicited advice.  I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert (not even close), but I did learn quite a bit about the whole crazy college business when I began last fall.  

Some background information:  I go to a small (we're talking 2,000 students small) liberal arts college in Portland, OR.  I am currently on the track to become a Theatre major with a concentration in Design (Costume, specifically).  I am starting my sophomore year this fall.  For posts about my time in college so far, go here.

Okay.  I am going to try to be as concise as possible, but I will admit this is not one of my strongest qualities...

Finding Your New Home for the Next Four Years
There are a number of ways to approach finding the college for you. For instance, some people are completely set in their career path going into college--these people should find the college that has the best program for their goals.  Other people are concerned with the price tag (as you rightly should be), and opt for the most affordable option.  Finally, people (like me) decide based on location.  After visiting Portland for a yearbook convention my junior year of high school (see here and here), I decided it was the place I would most like to study and explore.  Some people want to try out a new place for four years because they know they will end up starting their careers back home, and some people (like me) can envision themselves living there after college.  

Take all of these factors into account when researching colleges, and decide which one is most important to you and which will make you happiest overall.

P.S. Your School's Class of ____ Facebook Page is Lame
Don't let your college's groups get get you down!  Last summer people added me as a friend and come school time we would awkwardly try to strike up conversation or pass each other (multiple times a day because my school is small) and not even acknowledge one another. Your real friends will be the ones you make in person; not the ones that happen to love the same band as you. My advice is to not accept any friend requests because if you don't hit it off in person, it will be hard to see their frequent posts in your feed once school starts if they seem to be having a better time than you/making more friends than you/just seem cooler than you. I say this from experience!

That Person Sleeping a Couple of Yards Away From You
Roommates.  Can't live with them, can't live without them (unless you want to pay a bunch of extra money).  I was very lucky to not have any problems with my roommate this past year.  We were very different and had different things going on, so we never really got in each other's way (for the most part, at least).  You might end up with someone who has absolutely nothing in common with you, and that's okay.  Sometimes it's even for the best.

Just like any relationship, the most important thing is communication.  Be very upfront about your habits, and address things that you think might be annoying to your roommate.  They may not be comfortable bringing it up themselves, so make sure you ask them is something bothers them.  If something they do annoys you, try to be laid-back about it unless they are distracting you from your work or sleep.

Sharing your Struggles, Triumphs, and Hopeless Crushes With Those You Love

If you decide to go out of state or out of town, or have friends who do, it's important to remember that whatever struggles you encounter, you have friends and family who love you and want to hear from you, even if all you want to do is complain sometimes.  Skype, FaceTime, iChat, call, text, email, or write to those you care about so that they know how much you appreciate their love and support. I had a rough first month friend-wise, so keeping in touch with my friends and family back home and elsewhere was vital to my sanity.  If not for them, I would have had an even tougher time.

Before you leave for school, stock up on some stationary and stamps so you can send some snail mail once in a while.  Getting mail is fun.  Simple as that.  Care packages are even more fun--if your family does this for you once in a while, don't forget to tell them how much it brightens your day, week, even month.  I am lucky enough to have very generous family members--my grandma sends me packages for every holiday, big or small!  

As lame as it sounds, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  The distance from my friends and family has made me appreciate them more than ever.  I feel closer to friends who I haven't seen in months than I did when I saw them every day.

Making Friends That Don't Suck
I'm going to get real with you here, not because I want sympathy or pity, but because I want you to know that if this happens to you, you are not alone.  Making friends was hard for me.  I left behind a group of people that were the best possible friends you could ask for--sweet, fun, crafty, hilarious, intelligent, talented, stylish, all-around awesome people.  This very concrete vision of friendship obscured the reality of making new friends.

After many awkward meals alone or with strangers, I finally started to latch onto whatever group was around at the time.  I spent random nights with groups of people, until finally settling into one.  I thought I had found a steady group of friends, but what I really had found was a group of people that tolerated my presence at meals.  When I would text them to see what they were doing during the weekend, they never invited me to join them or didn't answer at all.  I spent these weekends crying and watching my Glee DVDs.  Despite this, I still tried to be friends with these people, only sometimes being included when they hung out.  Even when things felt like they were getting better, I never felt the connection I have with my friends back home.  Not even close.

It wasn't until late September that I got to know some people that I finally felt that I could relate to, one of which was Ted.  We talked about Harry Potter and watched Glee and New Girl each week.  These were my kind of people.  When October Break came around, a bunch of us had a Disney movie marathon, some of us went downtown together to see 50/50 and get bubble tea, and Ted and I had our first date, and we all went to dinner for his birthday.  YEP.  LIFE TURNED AROUND THAT QUICKLY.

However, even though I now have a boyfriend (that is one of the best friends I've ever had) and a couple of good girl friends (that I can count on to watch Pretty Little Liars with and humor my extreme love of Christmas), I still have a lot of work to do in the friend department.  For now, I am just thankful to have a couple of people I can go to when I am homesick or feeling discouraged.  That's important to have.

Although it seemed miserable at the time, all of my bad experiences led me to Ted and a better group of friends.  I will never forget one of the first Fridays I spent with that first failed group--We went to Shabbat.  Mostly because there was free ice cream, but also because we had nothing better to do.  It was there that I saw Ted for the first time.  When the rabbi asked us what beautiful things we had seen in nature that week, Ted raised his hand and said, "Well, this wasn't in nature, but I saw this really attractive picture of Emma Watson the other day."  That killed me.  Who was this kid?  I didn't even know he went to our school until after it was over and he came up to us to introduce himself.  He said, "Hi, I'm Ted.  I live upstairs."  (The service was in a dorm lounge.)  I remember this so clearly.  So thank you, failed group, for that.

Be patient, but also be persistent when it comes to making new friends.

Finding that Special Bearded Person 
I was so annoyed when couples started popping up after just a couple of weeks of school. I was like, Seriously?  I whined about it pretty consistently for about a month until I met Ted, started seriously crushing on him, and promptly made him my boyfriend in about a two week span.  Not only is this completely crazy, I never expected such a thing to happen to me of all people.

I realize that Ted and I are not the norm (for many, many reasons), and I do not encourage you to think this is going to happen to you just because it happened to some nerdy short girl like me.  College dating is bizarre, and at times should not even be given the name dating because that seems too wholesome a word.  

There will be girls who you see dancing (if you can even call it that) with a different guy every time you look away and girls that flirt with everyone.  Whatever.  Just look away and tune it out.

There will be girls who would rather be independent than worry about dating.  Awesome.

There will be girls who worry very much about dating.  Tell them to chill out.  If you are one of them--chill out.

There will be girls who just kind of go with the flow, but secretly (or not so secretly) want to find that special someone.  I'm like this.  I think a healthy dose of fangirling on tumblr (Darren Criss, anyone?) helps alleviate your need to love/obsess.

Whatever kind of girl you are, don't let your dating habits get in the way of what you're really at college to do--to have a fun, enlightening experience.  Don't spend too much time whining about being single. This not only makes you feel bad about yourself, it also doesn't do anything to improve on the matter.  Get out there.  Go to Friday night Shabbat.  

Okay, maybe don't go to Shabbat.  Unless you want to.  What I mean to say is, go out of your comfort zone to meet new people.  This way, you can't blame yourself for being single--you can blame all the idiots you are meeting who don't realize how awesome you are.

Having a Social Life Vs. Having a Netflix Account
Let's be honest here. Sometimes the most appealing option on a Friday night is to curl up into a ball on your bed and watch 30 Rock.  I've done it, and I can say that it was all I dreamt of and more.  But don't do this every time you have the urge to. Come on, it's Friday night!  Netflix is for weeknights when you need a distraction from your constant paper-writing.

I have been known to work on projects on Friday nights.  So sue me.  Sometimes it just feels good to get things done before the fun.  Even so, you must remember that although studying is important, so is your sanity.  Don't become a hermit.  Get out there and do stuff.  I am lucky enough to be a 15 minute shuttle away from downtown Portland, so I try to go every weekend, even if it's just to hang out in my favorite tea place and do homework or browse shops with friends.  If you don't get away once in a while, you'll go a little stir-crazy.

However, if money is an issue, going out every weekend may not sound doable to you.  I personally have a lot of "college student guilt." I don't feel like I deserve to be spending any money, because I am already going to my dream school in my favorite city ever. Even if you feel this way, remember that you DO deserve to have fun. Money doesn't equal fun. Remember that college is meant to be an experience. Preferably, a FUN experience. Do yourself good by getting out once in a while, even if it just means a coffee, cupcake, or movie. 

Finding a Job So You Feel Okay About Spending Money on Just a Coffee, Cupcake, or Movie
Getting an on-campus job is a good idea if you qualify for work study.  I was surprised to find that finding a job is not as hard as you may think.  I was fortunate to get a job working in the costume shop at my school's theatre department right away.  Not only did I learn a lot (mostly from my many mistakes), it gave me a look into how my chosen career path will look.  Whether your job ends up being relevant or not, it is a good way to gain some job experience in a forgiving school environment. 

Oh Wait, I'm Here to Actually Go to Classes...
Wait, what?  Classes?  Studying?  Papers?  

Yep, that's what this whole college is actually meant for.  Who knew?

A few things to remember...

If you don't know what you want to study, start taking general requirements and as many classes as possible in the subjects that you are interested in pursuing as a major.

If you do know what you want to study, dive in, but don't forget about general requirements (I will cry if I have to take a lab my senior year... just cry) and take a variety of electives that challenge your mind in different ways. 

Have confidence in your thoughts, and share them.  My biggest struggle was accepting that I deserved to be at my school.  In class, it's so easy to assume everyone else is smarter than you.  Sometimes someone says something completely off the wall so confidently that you think to yourself, They must know what they are talking about...  If you ever feel this way, remember--you got into this school.  You can handle the work, and you have more than enough to offer.

Pick a night or two to watch your favorite shows live with friends in a dorm lounge.  It is such a great way to take a mental break from your workload and it's much more fun to squeal over Blaine and Kurt during Glee with fellow Klainers than watch it all alone in your room.  Plus, this is an easy way to meet new people who have similar interests.

Always finish a paper to turn in at its earliest due date.  If I hadn't finished my paper on Greek Tragedy before October break last Fall, I wouldn't have had all that time to watch Disney movies with my future bearded boyfriend.  GET IT DONE SO YOU CAN HAVE GUILT-FREE FUN.  Leave angry notes all over your desk if needed.

Some people need their coffee, others need their Sourpatch Kids.  Find your fuel for late nights.

Take naps if necessary.  Naps are for winners (aka students who would rather stay up super late to finish a paper than wake up early to finish it).

Above all--keep stress levels at a minimum.  You are capable of every task that is handed to you, even if it feels like a stretch at times. It's up to you (and your Sourpatch Kids) how it gets done, how much you will procrastinate, how much time it will take (versus how long you can draw it out), and how many times you can look at it until your eyes start to burn.  Stay calm, and it will usually work out.

One More Thing...
Bake a batch of cookies or cupcakes every once in a while and spread the love.  This past year I made cupcakes a few times to hand out to friends and lucky strangers.  There is nothing that college students love more than free food, especially if it's homemade.  I'm the kind of person who loves bringing a smile to someone's face in a small way.  I made Christmas cookies during one of our reading days before finals and it put everyone in the holiday spirit, despite the looming exams.  Study hard, but remember that college is a once in a lifetime experience--make sweet memories.

Whew!  That was a long one.  If I think of anything else I will add it, but if I don't post this now it will soon become ready to be published as a survival book for freshmen.  Feel free to leave your own advice in the comments--I know there are so many other perspectives and experiences out there. 

Best of luck. xoxo Kaylie