black, polka dots, + rose gold

All I want to wear right now is a comfy uniform of sweaters, jeans, and sneakers.  For people who know me well, this may come as quite a surprise.  After all, I have over 40 dresses hanging in my closet (one of the quirks of having not grown since fifth grade). But hey, I never thought I'd enjoy a Taylor Swift album so much either, so life continues to surprise me (as it should).  I'm going to embrace these peculiar new inclinations with sparkle and polka dots, which will always be a favorite of mine.

sweater // tote // hat // sneakers // watch // barrettes // necklace // pouch // sneakers


I'm looking forward to the new year.  It will be an opportunity to start fresh--that is something I always love, but this year… I need it.  I'm in this weird transitional phase in my life where at the same time I'm as happy and confident as I have ever been, yet I have absolutely no idea what I want in life, much less what I want to wear.  It seems trivial, but for someone who loves clothes/costume so much, it's quite a disorienting feeling not knowing what this new and improved Kaylie should wear.  Have any of you experienced this phenomenon?  I literally stand in front of my closet for minutes and minutes and then end up wearing one of the three outfits I feel comfortable in.  This is not usual Kaylie behavior--I usually spend many minutes devising a fun, slightly weird, but coordinating outfit.  Maybe it's because I spent five months with a limited wardrobe, but I am reaching for much simpler outfits these days (with some spunk--like the number above back in Greenwich, sigh).

A part of me feels sad, like I've lost something, but another part of me is like, Well, you didn't expect to dress the same way your entire life, did you?  I've changed, for the better.  Why shouldn't my taste?  The best part of this is realizing how much I love some of the pieces I already own that I took for granted. Like that pink loose-knit sweater I got on sale at Target a couple of summers ago for a costume (aka it wasn't my "style")? I'm planning on wearing it tomorrow, for the 924278th time this fall.  I just can't stop pairing it with my light blue short-sleeved button-up and black Kate Spade bow necklace, okay?!  It makes me feel like a classy creative professional and I love it…Is that weird?

The clothes are just a small part of it.  What do I want?  Someone just tell me already.  Thanks.

eat here: pink door in seattle, wa

Hidden in an unmarked building, The Pink Door is a wonderland of dimly-lit Italian dishes surrounded by a European-bohemian vibe.  This whimsical restaurant is also home to cabaret, music, tarot, opera, and magic.  As if the food wasn't magic enough!  While Ted and I were visiting Seattle over October break, we went to the Pink Door for our three-year anniversary dinner after having it recommended to us by a couple of people who had never been there but had heard wonderful things about it.  Well, they heard right!  We ordered the Leaning Tower of Eggplant and a tasty ginger cocktail to get us started.  Then, we splurged on two pasta dishes and felt no remorse about it.  The Pumpkin Gnocchi was heavenly and the Linguine Alle Vongole (Linguine with Clams) was so simply perfect.  Ted and I agreed it was definitely one of the best meals we have ever eaten--which is saying a lot, considering how big of foodies we are.  Definitely worth the splurge on our special day.  And hey, it's good to know it's only a couple hours away if we're ever feeling extravagant again.

quote, unquote

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something to keep in mind always.  School is getting overwhelming, but I'm trying to enjoy it as much as possible because this may be my last year of school, ever.  So I might as well embrace it, right?  Even the essays I don't want to write, the readings I don't want to do, the nights I want to stay home but still go out, the mistakes I've made (like the fact that I leave work with a new article of clothing more often than I'd like to admit), the quirks of living and going to school with so many different kinds of people.  I know I'll miss it all, so I must keep living, living, living, reading, writing, stressing, guessing, failing, flailing, succeeding, eating, studying, breathing, working, working, working even if it's hard.

photo taken in hallstatt, austria

born to diy

Making my own beauty products has long been on my list of "I wanna do that!" but for some reason I always stopped short of actually pursuing it.  So when I saw this DIY Vegan Deodorant Kit on Uncommon Goods, I jumped at the chance of finally trying out a home beauty project and giving natural deodorant a whirl (or should I say, a swipe). The kit comes with all of the necessary ingredients and conventional deodorant containers to fill up with your homemade concoction. Each "blend" is well marked as A, B, C, and D and lists the ingredients in smaller print. The instructions are as straight-forward as you can get--"A + B" and so on. Having the clear instructions and all the materials at my disposal took away the intimidation of trying something new. Once I got the wax/butter blend to melt over my make-shift double boiler, the process went very quickly and before I knew it, I was pouring the mixture into the empty containers to be cooled. Everything went as planned, and I was so proud!  I happily decorated each container with a cute sticker.  

But the real question remained: Does it actually work? I tried it out this week and am happy to report that not only does it feel good to apply natural ingredients to my body versus mysterious chemicals found in antiperspirants, it smells good too! The real test came when I went to my dance class on Thursday. Even after working up a sweat, I still felt good and smelled faintly of lavender.  I will definitely be making more deodorant in my future.
This Hedgehog Needle Felting Kit was my first adventure in needle felting!  I chose this beginner kit in hopes that it would become a new favorite craft.  I love working with fibers, so it was nice to try a new way to use wool, but I have to say that I need a lot more practice before I can start making the tiny felted pumpkins of my dreams.

The kit comes with (sometimes vague) directions with corresponding pictures, as well as needles and wool to get you started.  The only items I had to come up with were a sewing needle for the bead eyes and a small piece of foam to use as a working surface.  A sponge also would have worked.  Although my first hedgehog didn't turn out perfectly, the kit comes with enough wool to make 1-2 more lil' hedgehog friends.  I also appreciated the extra felting needle, because I'm always prone to breaking fragile things, even if the instructions specifically says to be gentle.  Whoops.
As a long-time embroiderer, it is embarrassing to admit that I only know a handful of stitches.  That's where this book comes in.  When I spotted the Stitch Encyclopedia of Embroidery, I realized it was time to expand my crafty horizons.  Of course the adorable cover was what initially caught my eye.

The book promises 10 basic stitches and 74 other stitches that I never knew existed but am pleased to learn they do.  The illustrations are the best part.  As a visual learner, I appreciate the step by step pictures!  I haven't even gotten through the basic stitches, but I am anxiously awaiting the day I can master the "Honeycomb Stitch" and the "Varied Fly Stitch." How fun are those names?  I'm already thinking about whether I should invest in the knitting and crochet volumes Check them out here along with some other lovely gifts for ladies!

Any other DIY kits or items I should know about?  I'm always looking for a new crafty adventure!

photo diary: crater lake

At the end of the summer, Ted and I went on a spontaneous road trip to Crater Lake.  Turns out, we were a little too spontaneous and ended up having to drive straight home when there were no campsites left.  Despite that, we managed to have a lovely time, stopping in Bend for some eats at the original Deschutes Brewery, taking a short hike around the rim of the stunningly beautiful blue lake, and just enjoying each other's company.  Fun story:  We stopped on the side of the road in the middle of the Deschutes National Forest around 11PM to look at the stars and our romantic moment turned quickly into a "Dammit!" moment when the car wouldn't start again because the lights drained the battery.  Thankfully AAA came and we were on our merry way back to Portland.  Not quite the adventure we planned, but we still had a lovely time--that's the great part of having a travel buddy like Ted.  I'm looking forward to going back soon for a real night of camping though!

thursday thrills

I'm still in the process of making a fall playlist, so this one from HelloGiggles will do for now.

Itching to try some fall-inspired recipes like this pie and these cupcakes.

Getting pumped for the collection of craft supplies & home goods at A Beautiful Mess.  What can they not do?  I'm convinced they are going to take over the crafty world.  (Can I be an accomplice?)

Ever since living in London, I've gotten more into wearing makeup (probably because I was living in such a posh city and rooming with beauty queen Eva).  I still haven't convinced myself to buy anything new, but Rebecca from The Clothes Horse has a similar makeup routine to mine, so I might need to take some cues from her.

Gilmore Girls is on Netflix.  Enough said.

Happy Fall, y'all. It's time to go buy some tiny pumpkins (FINALLY!).

photo diary: portland with my ladies

Here are just a few moments of one of my favorite weeks ever.  I've known for some time that Portland is a true home to me, but it never felt quite as magical as it did when I had these two beauties by my side.  Every sight, bite (and lemme tell ya--we ate a lot of awesome food), and embarrassing joke was a million times better with them around.  It's my master plan to get them to move here, and they know it.  They'll always have a place on my bedroom floor and in my heart.  I'm a cheeseball, it's okay.

photo diary: san francisco

Okay, so the contents of this post happened nearly two months ago (wait, what?!), but after a FaceTime session with Erin, my sister, and Izzy (Erin got to hang out with my lil' sis and snuggle my dog--I'm jealous), I am missing my best friends from back home.  I was lucky enough to have a girls road trip with Erin and Rylee (and Domenico for a day) on my way to Portland.  We stopped in Berkeley for a couple of nights (to sleep and eat pizza) and spent one day in San Francisco.  We decided to hit the essentials--the pier, the penny arcade, Little Italy, Golden Gate Park, and Haight St.  It was such a beautiful time spent with two of my favorite ladies and brought so much happiness into my heart.  I really could not ask for lovelier friends--they are the special kind that are equally good at chatting over cocktails and crafting in silence to 90's pop music.  Is there a better kind of friend?  

Traveling for the first time since Europe, I experienced a lot of nostalgia and remembering little details or stories. I felt a relief wash over me.  Since getting home, I had this worry that I would forget everything that happened to me the past five months.  I quickly realized that I won't forget--those moments are a part of me now.  I almost cried when I saw the above journal, because it summed up what I was feeling so perfectly.  My suitcase heart will always leave room for more souvenirs.

life lately

Doing: Work, work, theatre, work, theatre, random solo outings around Portland, humoring the idea of my thesis, and crafts (sewing & weaving)

Listening to:  Banks, Lorde, this song, and an embarrassing amount of NPR (okay, I'm secretly very okay with this), rain outside right now (YAY!)

Daydreaming about:  London, the English countryside, my imaginary craft store + cafe, fall, home, cuddling Izzy, Christmas, London, Europe, traveling, Fall Break anniversary trip to Seattle

Eating:  Random thrown-together meals mostly involving pasta which I make myself feel better about by covering half of my plate with salad, a late night Cartopia run with unexpected screening of Pixar shorts, grocery sushi Tuesdays before yoga, delicious enchiladas made by my NE manager, surprise thank you macarons from my SW manager (aka I have the best managers), lots of turkey sandwiches, lovely Saturday morning brunch before work at Petite Provence, yep--this is the longest list

Watching:  The Mindy Project, two...interesting TBA Festival theatre performances for class, What If movie date with Ted, NEW GIRL IS FINALLY BACK

Reading:  Theatre theory essays, people's instagram posts

What I wish I was reading:  My new Thich Nhat Hanh and David Sedaris books, blogs

What I should be doing right now: Homework, bye

let the future unfold

Something weird is happening. 

I'm going into my final year of college tomorrow.

When I was a senior in high school, I wrote a post about "the whole awkward, heartbreaking, completely embarrassing business" of high school.  Now, nearly four years later, I am here to face my final year of school, probably ever (because lord knows my student loans don't need any more friends than they already have). 

And let me just say, it's not just high school that is awkward, heartbreaking, and embarrassing. In fact, the business of life is all of those things, and more. When I moved to Portland three years ago to start this adventure, I didn't know how it would unfold--how it would become a complicated, wrinkled, but ultimately beautiful mess of an experience.  I can say with all my guts that college has been the hardest stage of my young life.  I know that life just gets messier from here on out, but coming to terms with this fact--and my so-called "adulthood"--is tough.  College has brought me to my lowest and highest points.  Yet I'm equally grateful for both, because now I know myself more fully, and the person I wish to become.  Despite the unexpected wrinkles, I know that on this first day of September, I am closer to being that person than I have ever been before.  

I am so incredibly proud of myself for doing everything in my power to come to this point and as I start this last year of school, I want to hold onto this pride of being able to do what's best for me and actively pursue my goals.  College has been a growing experience for me, and I feel lucky everyday that I chose Portland as my damp, fertile ground to do so.  The growing pains hurt, the rain gets muddy, but the lush green always makes it worth it.

european adventures: santorini, greece

Santorini was the ideal place to end our month-long adventure. We were losing steam once we hit Venice, but regained some eventually (with the help of some amazing Italian food). However, after tackling Rome and Athens with full force, we were exhausted and ready to just relax. On the island, we soaked up the sun, the sea air, and the beautiful views spending two nights in Oia, and one night in Perissa.
Thus far, we had been fairly fortunate with our hostel situations. Most of the places we stayed in were much better than anticipated. When we got to our place in Oia, the two owners told us to choose a room. We thought this was a little strange, but Ted went upstairs to choose between two rooms and opted for the one that didn't have a weird smell in its bathroom. The room we settled into was small and had a domed roof, kind of like a hobbit hole. Although it was very modest, it felt very Greek and we were fine with it. Until we flushed the toilet. 

Let me tell you, traveling opens your eyes to the diversity of toilets and bathroom layout possibilities. At this point we were used to minuscule bathrooms with inconveniently-placed showers. Most of the time you have a shower buddy--the toilet. Nothing beats soggy toilet paper! The layout of our Oia bathroom was a small rectangle with the toilet on the right, facing a shower on the left, which was the kind that you had to pick up the shower head and spray yourself with water. The sink was in the middle, with the drain for the toilet and shower beneath it. When I flushed the toilet that fateful afternoon, the bathroom and room filled with the smell of sewage. It was so unbearable that after a night of toughing it out, we left the door shut for the rest of our stay and used the bathroom of a nearby room that they left the key in for us if we wanted to change rooms. We were hoping Santorini would be a relaxing, romantic place to stay, but our hostel had other ideas. Obviously we laughed about it a lot, but it was pretty obnoxious. For our third night on the island, we took a couple of buses to Perissa and stayed the night at a lovely place there. Although the bathroom situation was somewhat similar, the smell was much, much more manageable and there was a fan. We even had our own little porch where we had breakfast. It turned out quite fantastic. 
We made it to the beach both of the two full days we were in Santorini. The beaches have black sand and were pleasantly uncrowded since high season has barely just started (a lot of places haven't even opened up yet on the island because of this). 

The first day we spent some time with our friends from LC, one of which who was on our London program (who we had also met up with in Salzburg). We didn't have our suits on, so we lounged around and talked, and Ted took epic pictures of our friends jumping into the ocean off a cliff. Yep, I will never be THAT adventurous. I should also mention that Ted, Kushi, and Nate had tiny fish eat the dead skin off their feet a few hours before this while I watched rather amused (and unwilling to spend the money to do something so unnecessary and slightly disturbing...). 

Our first stop when we started exploring Oia, was Atlantis Books. I've got to tell you, just stepping into this bookstore made me feel instantly cooler. When I have my own craft store someday, I want people to feel the way Ted and I felt when we started browsing around this tiny bookshop run by a man from Tennessee, with shop employees from London. It was small, but chock full of a deep passion for literature. I stopped in the next evening when the four of us were looking for a place to get cocktails and Ted and I both ended up spending our cocktail budget on new books. And I am 100% okay with this.

Gyros, gyros, and more gyros. Enough said. 

We went to Lucky's Souvlaki (near the Thira bus stop) twice, which was definitely the most incredible gyros of our lives. I think we may have ruined our chance of ever finding true gyro love in the states. Oh well--it was definitely worth a lifetime of disappointment. 

Also, more delicious frozen Greek yogurt. All froyo should taste that good...

We also tried some really nice local specialties, like fava, fried tomato balls, and these doughy little cheesecake pastries. Our favorite starters we tried were served to us the first night we arrived in Oia.  The warm dolmas and red pepper feta dip with bread were so lovely. I would have had three more servings of the starters, but the meatballs and red wine-marinated octopus (Ted likes to try the weird specials) were okay too. 
Fruity cocktails were a must. We had a lovely strawberry daiquiri at a bar in Thira while overlooking the sea and idyllic white-washed buildings studded with blue.  The most perfect 90's alternative playlist played in the background. Blissful. We also went to an outside bar our last night in Perissa and discretely started watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding on Ted's iPhone. Another highlight of the night--the group of girls our age who told Ted they had a bet about how old he was. The lowest guess was 24, the highest, 28! Too funny. They thought I was 20-22. The same girl won both.  

Speaking of making friends, we ran into a guy we met while on our adventure on the shuttle/bus/train to Athens. We had already ran into a guy we talked to briefly on the ferry (who was kind of a bro... We heard him making fun of Doctor Who--not cool, man) at the Archeological museum in Athens and another fellow ferry/shuttle rider in a Blue Star Ferries-affiliated travel agency in the Athens main square. We were so happy to have Gerardo, our travel buddy to Athens, run over to us as we walked to our hostel in Perissa. We were just waiting to run into him at some point! Funny how small the world gets when you're traveling.