Girls ended last week and I’m still in shock that my life with Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna is over. The show started when my time with my girls was coming to a close and I was moving from Michigan to Arkansas—800 miles away from my Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna (yes, like any funny, self-deprecating writer with hips, EVERYONE tells me I am Hannah).

I can understand that not everyone loves Girls as much as I do, but the main reason I hear is that “they’re too annoying” or “no one acts like an adult.” Well, folks, maybe your 20s were all stardust and sunshine and salaries, but I think the girls (and guys) of Girls portray struggling and real— albeit immature—relationships and careers pretty darn well. It may be cringy, but aren’t all of our lives at this time? At least some of the time?

Girls to me is an honest while theatricalized portrayal of women in their 20s. I mean, really, this is my most used GIF:

hannah girls voice of my generation gif

 

Okay, end rant about how much I love the show and how much you should too. Continue to my realization about the show. For a long time always the one thing I didn’t like about the show: the clothes. I was constantly screaming at my TV: HOW COULD YOU WEAR THAT? WHY WOULD YOU WEAR THAT? DOES HBO NOT HAVE WARDROBE MONEY?

But as I started to develop my own personal style, I realized their outfits characterized them just as much as anything they said or did. And not only that, but their wardrobe actually influenced my own.

Hannah’s style says, “I don’t give a damn what you think about my body.”

Jessa’s says, “I will always be your uncouth hippie friend.”

Marnie’s says, “I’m really basic and straight-laced…until I’m not.”

And Shosh’s says, “I’m here to play…and be a straight up boss lady.”

 

Fast forward to the last episode of the season. Actually the last two, which I watched back-to-back after getting these pictures from Christine. And I was like OMG OMG OMG OMG, This outfit is totally Hannah. No, wait. It’s definitely Shosh. I mean the purple, it’s gotta be——wait, no the hat! It’s Jessa! Or is it Marnie on her way to Poughkeepsie?

The answer: it’s all of them.

Jessa

The hat is undoubtedly Jessa. I honestly think the only way I had the courage to wear this hat out in public is because I thought maybe I could look like her (I don’t).

Shoshanna

The lipstick is totally Shosh. Yes, the other Girls wear lipstick too but to me, purple is her color. Also shoutout to the show for letting her roots grow out like a real girl. I have A LOT of roots going on right now (finding time for a hair appointment is hard).

Marnie

And the shirt—Marnie. Her style is classic to a T. In the early days she was pretty professional. But then she had her musician streak and somehow didn’t get grungy! Just more classic. Plus the only way I had the courage to wear this scarf is because Marnie wore one to Poughkeepsie and I was like, yeah Becca, you can do that…barely.

Hannah

Finally, Hannah. As I talked about previously, I have never had a problem wearing clothes made for girls half my size. Crop trops? Yes please. Short shorts? Gimme. This is where I’m most like Hannah: rules be damned, I’m going to be me. A little cellulite isn’t going to stop me from wearing jean bootie shorts.

 

So in short, this outfit inspired this post. BUT I think the girls of Girls influenced my style far beyond this one outfit. In fact, I think they inspired my life beyond my clothes. They made me realize it’s okay to fight with your best friends (you know who you are). It’s okay to not know where your career is going. It’s okay to feel like you’ll never be an adult. And it’s okay to dress like that too.

 

 

Also, please please read this article and this one for a more in-depth look into the Girls wardrobe from the costume designer, Jenn Rogien.

Fine print: I didn’t use any pictures of Girls in my post because copyright laws are real. Hopefully, if you know the characters you get what I’m getting at here 🙂

 

CLOTHES.

Hat. Free Press by Free People via Poshmark (similar)

Scarf. LOFT (exact) *40% off*

Lip. Smashbox Always On in Some Nerve (exact)

Shirt. LOFT (similar)

Shorts. Blank Denim via E.Leigh’s my favorite Arkansas boutique! (similar)

Shoes. Old Navy (Vans version)

 

So better late than never: I’m here to talk about Easter. My family makes a big deal out of every holiday, and Easter usually involves copious amounts of chocolate and Easter egg hunts that my sister always wins (shout out to Kels who excels at literally everything she does, including but definitely not limited to finding Easter eggs). My family lives in Michigan which means holidays with them are not really possible. But I’m so thankful that James’ family lives in San Luis Obispo, just 4 hours away from the city.

SLO is exactly what it sounds like: a place to slow down. We do both so much and so little when we go there. Talk about important (and trivial) things with the important people in our lives. Eat great food. Bike and climb. Drink coffee and wine. And just relax.

This weekend, among other things, we biked to Avila Beach and found a Kraken Coffee Co. It’s an adorable and chic coffee shop, and it had only been open for four days!

kraken coffee co

 

I always say SLO is the California version of my hometown, Traverse City, Michigan. You might not know that I’m a sometimes illustrator along with being a writer, and I created an illustrated homage to my hometown called This is Traverse City. I haven’t updated it in a while, but still worth perusing.

Anyway, somewhere up there I was talking about Easter. I very rarely wear dresses, but Easter just seems like the perfect time for one. I found this Free People dress on Pinterest and knew I had to have it. Turns out, so has every other blogger so I guess I’m kinda basic. Or have good taste. Juries out. It does come in yellow, white, and navy so there’s some wiggle room there. But basically, it’s the comfiest dress and one of the few short dresses that doesn’t hit too high on the thigh. Can I get a “hell yeah” for being able to bend over?!

I paired it with my favorite Free People clogs and some cheapo jewelry.

 

I am also officially collecting my freckles. Hooray for Spring!

Photos by Julia O Test.

A couple readers have asked for some more affordable fashion, and I completely agree. I’m in a Save Dat Money season, so here are a ton of embroidered dresses I found under $100. A ton are even under $50!

CLOTHES.

Dress. Free People (exact)

Shoes. Free People (exact)

Earrings. Francesca’s (similar)

Lip. NYX Liquid Suede in Sandstorm (exact)

It’s festival season! Can I get a big loud WOOP? Not from me, sorry. (Didn’t see me going that way, did you?)

I’m not a festival person. In fact, I’m barely even a concert person. Yes, I’m a chill, music-loving human. But there’s something about the pressure to perform that kills me. My friend recently told me, “you always play the chillest music.” I took this as a compliment because it’s true: I like moody, chill music. And moody, chill environments too.

Loud bars? No thank you, give me a patio. Concerts? How about a coffee shop with a dude on a banjo. True story: when my girlfriends and I went to Vegas years back they went to MTV Spring Break and I stayed at the hotel on the lazy river ALL DAY.

Don’t get me wrong, I dance in my living room for hours with my music blasting. But I was in a dance company with a focus on modern and contemporary dance. So my dancing and my music are a little different from the norm. The pressure to perform at concerts, bars, festivals, big groups of people, etc. kills me. I don’t want to jump up and down or yell out the lyrics (unless it’s screamo or 90s pop, but I prefer doing that in the private of my car on long roadtrips).

So festivals aren’t for me. Camping with good friends (like my recent Zion trip) is my preferred destination. But more likely you’ll find me at a place in San Francisco where it’s always a chilled out version of a festival: Dolares Park.

Dolares Park is easily my favorite place in the city. It’s a place where you can go with a bottle of wine, a blanket, and some friends and people-watch the day away. There’s no expectation of “getting lit” or partying too hard or dancing nonstop. It’s a place to chill.

 

Naturally, being the clothes-obsessed person I am, every year comes with a new go-to Dolo outfit. Last year it was some linen shorts and a crop tank. This year, this Spiritual Gangster swimsuit with jeans has become my park standard. I got it during the last Shopbop sale and thankfully for you, the sale is back on. Note that if you’re shaped like me this suit may give you worse wedgies than your big brother. But if wedgies are ever worth it, this one is.

spiritual gangster swim

I paired it here with my acid wash LOFT jeans and new favorite Jeffrey Campbell mules. I usually don my Birkenstocks at the park but for the blog, I wanted to spruce up the outfit how I would outside of the haven that is Dolares Park.

jeffrey campbell mules

And the most important (and do-good) accessory: this Sand Cloud blanket. Sand Cloud is a new biz on the scene and donates 10% of every purchase to organizations that protect beaches, oceans, and marine life. #savethefishies I’ve recently become an ambassador for this organization — because blankets and beaches are easily my favorite things beyond Dolares Park — and good news is if you use my code BeccaHa25 you’ll get 25% off your purchase.

sand cloud towels

sand cloud towels

So this year while ya’ll are at festivals I’ll be enjoying my staycation in Dolo…and you’ll know why. 😉

Also, shout out to the wonderful photographer (and blogger!!!) Julia O Test. All photos by her.

CLOTHES.

Swimsuit. Spiritual Gangster (exact) {up to 25% off w/ code EVENT17}

Pants. LOFT (same style) {40% off!}

Shoes. Jeffrey Campbell (exact, this color is hard to find!)

Shawl. Sand Cloud (exact) {25% off w/ code BeccaHa25}

Sunglasses. Ray-Ban (exact) {up to 25% off w/ code EVENT17}

SHOP.

Something about the sun makes my wardrobe turn from edgy to boho in two seconds. Seriously, the florals and linen come out, the blacks and maroons get put away on the top shelf. But black deserves its place in the spring outfit lineup, too.

I went through a pretty extreme emo/punk/scene phase in my younger years (no, I’m not showing pictures) and I’ve since integrated it with my current style. As a creative, I feel some weird duty to be unique and I think skulls, black, etc. go in tandem with that. Why? Punk culture, I guess.

My friend just gave me a free trial of Le Tote, which I’ll post a review of this week, and this French Connection sweater is from my first tote. I’m seriously obsessed. I’ve worn it three times this week for different events. It’s so easy to throw on and feel styled. But how do you pull off black and skulls when everyone around you is in wedges and florals?

1. I recommend pairing black with white pants when Spring hits. White pants are instantly springy, and combat the harshness of black (especially when skulls are involved). A note on white pants: everything I own has stains. I am SO clumsy and the meme “This is why you can’t have nice things” totally applies to me. I usually just embrace my stains and get a new pair of white pants every season. LOFT and Target are my go-tos for white pants because they both have reasonable price points for a yearly purchase.

2. Slip-ons are another great way to keep black casual. These gold slip-ons are my favorite shoes, and these are actually my second pair because I wore my first so much I destroyed them (also because I wore them while learning to longboard and falls were frequent). I just feel so ready to play in this outfit!

3. If you’re a Non Basic Blonde frequenter then you know I love top knots. They’re a great second-day hairstyle, and they give a little more volume to my fine hair. They, again, give me the “I’m ready to play” vibe. Yes, I’m really just a 5-year-old.

Bonus: a great pair of sunglasses. I’m really not picky when it comes to sunnies (apparently this is what all the bloggers are calling them now) but I love finding a pair that matches my outfit. This spring, it looks like large cat eyes and circle frames are the most in. But then again, aviators will always be my tried and true.

I also added in this skull-embossed clutch, ’cause punk.

And because I’m talking about punk-inspired outfits, here’s a little taste of what I’m listening to this spring. No, it’s not really punk. It’s a mix of old and new, of singer-songwriter and folk and the occasional rocker. I use Google Play Music, so you can find the playlist there, but I know most of you use Spotify, so here it is there.

 Spring in the city, a playlist.

How do you wear black in spring? Are your outfits ever inspired by the music you’re listening to? Tell me EVERYTHING.

CLOTHES.

Sweater. French Connection, only available on Le Tote (exact)

Pants. LOFT (exact)

Shoes. Old Navy (similar)

Sunglasses. SojoS (exact)

Clutch. Romwe (similar)

Let’s be honest: who can do a 5-minute face? Gods, maybe. Makeup artists, sure. But me — Sephora VIB, trend-obsessed, secretly acne-ridden blogger? No way.

My face takes 15 minutes on a good day. Then 30-40 minutes on a Saturday when I am blessed with time. My getting ready time is an extension of my morning me-time so I take it slow.

Plus, my vanity is my little girly happy place in a house full of guys. Granted, it’s a full-length mirror on top of a thrift store trunk full of my notebooks from 3rd grade to, well, now and a bar cart chock full of everything from self-tanner to curling irons to a billion samples of perfumes and umpteen statement necklaces. Regardless, I love my little corner of our row house and I spend all of the time there I can get.

So what goes into this 15-minute face? Mainly this (minus the flowers, of course):

My 15-minute face.15 minute face blogger

Pictured: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Cream Night, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Foundation, Urban Decay Naked Palette, Benefit Gimme Brow Gel, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter, Butter London Iconoclast Mascara, Benefit The POREfessional Face Primer, E.L.F. Perfect Finish HD Powder, Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer, NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick, and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil. Woof!

 

The face.

MoisturizerNeutrogena Healthy Skin Cream, Night. I have extremely dry skin (Thanks, Differin) so I need night cream all the time. And with between biking to work, walking when I don’t bike, and the occasional lunch yoga, I can’t have sunscreen in my moisturizer. It stings my eyes SO BAD! Does anyone else have this problem? It’s honestly so hard to find one without, hence night cream.

PrimerBenefit The POREfessional Face Primer. I used so many primers before I found this one, and I felt like none of them did ANYTHING! This one is so perfect, I got it in the largest size. It makes my skin feel so velvety and reduces my pores a ton. Pro tip: I don’t put it on my forehead because it’s the only place on my face that does just fine on its own.

FoundationLaura Mercier Silk Creme Moisturizing Foundation in Bamboo Beige. Again, this is perfect for dry skin. But they also have an oil-free version. And did you know that Sephora has a special tool to help you find the perfect foundation color? I seriously wore the wrong foundation color for most of my life, so this experience was life-changing and I haven’t changed my foundation since. Pro tip: I’m a rebel and don’t use a brush or blender for foundation. I’ve found applying it with my hands gives a much more natural finish so my co-workers don’t go WHOA SO MUCH MAKEUP.

ConcealerIt Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer in Medium. This is my longest makeup favorite. I have extremely bad dark circles from allergies, and this is the only concealer I’ve found that can cover them up. I do use a brush for this so I can get in all the wrinkles and smooth out my “problem area” before I finish it.

The face finishers.

Finishing powderE.L.F. Perfect Finish HD Powder. This is the cheapest everyday makeup I own because I really don’t use that much. I use it with a kabuki brush to even out any spots I missed (remember I do this in 15 minutes).

BronzerToo Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer in Chocolate. I’ve gone through every phase of bronzer and blush. I went way too glittery and way too pink. This matte bronzer is perfect. I’ve actually stopped using blush altogether because this gives me all the color I need. I put it on my cheek bones, sides of forehead, and neck.

Side note: The best thing about having a sister is sharing makeup whenever we get to see each other and I owe her for this. She’s a little paler than me, and the milk chocolate color works perfectly for her.

HighlighterBenefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter. I’m very wary of the highlighter trend and especially wary of contouring. I just want a natural-looking face, and this gives me a little shine where I need it. I put it on my nose, middle of my upper lip, chin, and right above my cheek bones. Then I blend it in just a little with the kabuki brush so that, again, my coworkers don’t say WHOA MAKEUP.

The eyes.

EyebrowsBenefit Gimme Brow Gel in Medium. The brow trend is crazy right now, but I honestly haven’t gotten that into it. My brows are light and relatively unshaped, but this gel does a lot to shape and darken them. I also visit the Benefit Brow Bar down the street from my office whenever I have time because I just can’t do it with tweezers. Regardless, this stuff does well by me.

Eyeshadow primerUrban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original. Is eyeshadow primer the biggest hoax in makeup history? Maybe. But my coworker turned me on to this and it actually makes the colors pop more. Look for an update later, because I don’t love the applicator on this one.

EyeshadowUrban Decay Naked Palette. Naked2 and Naked Smokey are too dark. Naked3 is too pinky. I honestly think the original is the best. I use the Naked color the most (as shown in the picture) and then Halfbaked and Smog. I use the others when I’m feeling adventurous, but the gold, light smokey eye I get totally brightens my eyes without looking too made up. Even the glitter isn’t overboard, like a lot of other palettes are. I used Stila Eyes are the Window Palette in Soul for a while too, and loved it but missed the gold of Naked.

Eyeliner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Jet Black. NOT PICTURED because I’m a dumbass and didn’t pull it out, but this is a must. It makes my eyes pop, and gives me a perfect cat eye if I’m feeling myself that day. But it’s thin enough that I can just put it on the edges of my upper lids for a more natural look.

MascaraToo Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and Butter London Iconoclast Mascara. The first is the best mascara I’ve ever used, and I’ve used a lot of mascaras. Sure it flakes a little, as all the reviews will tell you, but the brush alone extends and volumizes my lashes so well. And now I sound like a commercial. The second was honestly just a free sample, but I still use it every day. Pro tip: I only ever buy travel-size mascara because I’ve found it gets clumpy in three months regardless.

The lips.lip makeup

Lip pencilUrban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in Ozone. I’m new to lip liners, so this one is perfect. It keeps any lip color from feathering (even the crowd-favorite-but-still-not-good-quality Colourpop) and makes any lip color last longer. Plus, you don’t have to worry about matching your liner to your color, which is a must for a girl like me that changes lip color more often than clothes.

Lip colorNYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in Sandstorm. Like I just said, I experiment with lip color A LOT. But when I just need to get a natural-looking boost this is my go-to. Just like mascaras, I try not to buy lip color in full size because who actually goes through it all? NYX has a couple nice sets of minis and I have WAY too many of them.

 

So that’s it! That’s my 15-minute face.

Sorry ya’ll if that was long-winded. I clearly have a lot to say about makeup. I actually JUST went to Sephora (shout-out to my awesome bosses who rewarded my extra effort with a Sephora gift card because they know me like that) and picked up some new products to try. Look for those soon!

 

What are your favorites? Anything on my list you have a better version of? Tell me EVERYTHING.

SHOP.

Welp, we made it. It’s finally Spring. I remember the first day of Spring in the Midwest. I – and everyone else – would pull out shorts and tank tops and bike everywhere and lay in the grass, even if it was 50 degrees. I saved up all my absences in my classes for those beautiful Spring days when you couldn’t possibly sit in a classroom. We’d open up the garage door in the ceramics studio and feel the sun for the first time in what seemed like years. I would do anything for a sunburn those days.

The first day of Spring in San Francisco is not the same, but this weekend felt like it. I’ve been to Dolares Park twice already and Golden Gate Park once, doing nothing but sitting on a blanket and enjoying the sun. THIS is why I moved to California.

This week, it’s a little harder. It’s mostly rainy, pretty breezy, and threatening to storm any second. Spring seems to be resisting its return, but I refuse to go back to winter clothes. And the best part of Spring? It’s warm enough to air dry my hair.

This seems silly, I realize. It’s a little thing, but wet hair makes everything cold and drying it is, well, a big pain in the ass. My mom and sister both have extremely curly hair, so I’ve learned not to complain about mine. Thankfully my natural hair, beach waves, has come into style in recent years and in Spring I embrace it like I embrace my stuffed animal every night (true story).

 

So this, this is my natural hair. I love the feeling of blown out, straightened hair, but I always get compliments when I literally DO NOTHING to it. Well, by nothing I mean brush it, put in some curling cream, and scrunch and twirl it ceaselessly during my commute (sorry, 10 Townsend riders).

                                                       Seriously, just this:

And this:

I’m also a diva and leave it down during Lunch Yoga, which makes me feel super prissy, but hey, it lets me take pictures after work during this golden hour we finally get to come home to.

Long story short, my spring outfit is this: tank, scarf, jacket, jeans, my new favorite kickass clogs, and my naturally wavy hair.

 

P.S. If you’re in search of the perfect spring scarf, go straight to your nearest LOFT. I seriously get 2-3 new scarves from them every Spring and wear them ceaselessly. They had a pop of color to any outfit, and I get so many compliments on them.

The scarf I’m wearing:

Anyway, happy Spring everyone. Does your hair routine change with the weather? Tell me about it!

 

CLOTHES.

Tank. LOFT (exact)

Scarf. LOFT (exact)

Jacket. Stitch Fix, Miilla (exact in taupe, similar)

Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Joe’s Jeans (exact)

Shoes. Free People (exact)

Bag. Madewell (exact)

Lip. NYX Liquid Suede Lip in Sandstorm (exact)

SHOP.

As you may know, I have an MFA in Creative Writing. What does that mean? In short, it means for three years I read A LOT and wrote just as much. And learned a lot in the process. After my MFA I kinda sorta took a hiatus from reading. But since 2017, one of my resolutions has been to read more.

In January, I read seven books. Since starting the blog, it’s been harder to find the time (Instagram is a lot of work, ya’ll), but I’ve still read every night before going to sleep.

I try to balance my book list between poetry, fiction, and nonfiction because, well, I’m a writer at heart and need to research. This may mean for you that this reading list is not your typical blogger “books to read this Spring.” But I promise you I am not your usual MFA graduate. I actually mentioned Sarah Dessen in my thesis defense. #ProudNonBasicMoment

Anyway, these are the books I’ve been reading:

SPRING READING LIST.

 
Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell. Okay, so I’m about halfway through this one but it’s everything I hoped it’d be. It uses multiple narrators to tell a story of a group of hipster friends back in 1950s New York. I’m fascinated with the publishing industry at that time (and that place) and so far it paints that scene beautifully. If you like a more mystery bend of the same place and time, I highly recommend The Dollhouse

 

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. I could go on forever about Kundera. You know when someone says “Oh, you’ll LOVE _insert author here_” and you automatically don’t want to read them because you didn’t discover them? Maybe that’s just a non basic thing (read: hipster, read: becca), but I didn’t read him for so long because everyone told me I would love him. I finally broke down and I’m sure glad I did. These books read like memoir meets mystery meets romance meets poetry meets everything raw ever. Just read this: “When we want to give expression to a dramatic situation in our lives, we tend to use metaphors of heaviness. We say that something has become a great burden to us. We either bear the burden or fail and go down with it, we struggle with it, win or lose. And Sabina – what had come over her? Nothing. She had left a man because she felt like leaving him. Had he persecuted her? Had he tried to take revenge on her? No. Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden, but the unbearable lightness of being.”    

 

It starts with food by Dallas & Melissa HartwigSpeaking of lightness, like every good blogger I embarked on Whole30 this January. I actually got halfway through the month of eating like Pinterest told me to before I read this. It at the very least gave me an answer every time James asked, “WHY can’t we eat _insert food here_ again?” Whole30 didn’t clear me of sugar or alcohol cravings forever or make me not want to add blue cheese to every meal, but it certainly made me think about my choices. I make all my own salad dressings now and we try to eat Whole30 during the week and do as we please on the weekends. And let me tell you, after a couple days of takeout and happy hours, I am so glad to come back to this eating style.  

 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsFor all you memoir junkies, this is your next one. My mom mentions this book all the time and I felt like this year I was finally at a place in life to appreciate it. And funny story: I unknowingly decided to read it at the same time my MFA cohort back in Arkansas was reading it. Walls’ writing makes you experience things with her, and genuinely understand how every family has a different way of coping, surviving, and living. It certainly made me thankful for my life. This book, out of all of them, is a MUST READ. 

 

 

The life-changing magic of tidying up and Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. I’m kind of ashamed that I read these. I’d heard a lot about the Kondo method with great skepticism and after it had an appearance in the Gilmore Girls revival, I just had to read about it. The idea is that every object has its place in your closet, cabinets, home, life and they need to return to that place. And if an object doesn’t spark joy in you, then it’s time to throw it away. Honestly, the biggest takeaway was just how she folds clothes. Spark Joy is an illustrated version of the former and I bought this just so I could learn how she folds pants. I’m telling you, my drawers are so functional now and I can fit twice as many pants in them. These books didn’t make me throw away all my once-worn dresses or pitch my book collection, but they did drive to me to a Target binge of organization bins for my miscellany, a reorganization of our bar cart, and an overhaul of my dresser.  

 

 
The Ultimate Bicycle Owner’s Manual by Eben Weiss. This was a Christmas gift from James’ dad to him, and after countless nights of him laughing out loud while reading it, I picked it up right after he was done. Since my recent bike-to-work endeavor, this book was 100% necessary. It taught me how and when to pass, which bikes are for which type of riding (and people), and just general commiserating re: the bike commute. Weiss is dubbed The Bike Snob and I’ve since followed his blog. Highly recommend.

 

 
Florida by Christine SchuttThis book is definitely poetry meets fiction. Her rhythm and tone and nonlinear storytelling is just gorgeous. It’s essentially about daughter whose mother enters a psych ward and her journey with that. But also so much more, because, well, straight up amazing writing right here. It was a National Book Award Finalist and for a good reason. I’m already seeking the next Florida I can find.

I also read these books this Spring, which I’ll write more about at some point. If you’re interested in one, just ask!

 

You can follow my Pinterest board of the books I’m reading here and my GoodReads account, too. What are you reading this Spring?

Clothes.

Cardigan. Old Navy Super Long Cardigan

Tank. LOFT Strappy Cami
 Pants. Lou & Grey Chillout Pants

Necklaces. Old Navy and Flea Market (similar & similar)

Lip. ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Cheap Thrills

Home Decor.

Pillow. World Market Cowhide Pillow

Print. Elephant by Animal Crew
Duvet Cover. DENY Designs (similar)

I heard two things when I told people I was taking a Monday off to fly back from Zion: (1) You’re only going there for two days!? and (2) Isn’t it going to be super cold?

The answer to both of those was YES. As a foursome of 20-somethings with burgeoning careers, PTO is a treasure. A Saturday morning to Monday evening trip is plenty! Especially when it’s cold. Like, really cold. Like, 15 degrees at night cold.

So why now? Well, our friends Garrett and Viv are getting married in Zion next year! And they wanted to see if February would be an okay time to do that. If you’re wondering how two people can be this cool and chill the answer is: I have no idea. Adventure might as well be their new married last name. Their adventure began simultaneously in Indiana and Ohio, then moved to Connecticut. Then, internationally, they lived in Venice, Coventry (in the West Midlands of England), and finally London. We’re just thankful they made their way back to their hometown, San Luis Obispo, so they’re only a day trip away from SF.

Pro tip: Zion in February may be freezing, but it is also free of crowds. I’ve heard that in the summer it can be more like Disneyland than a natural sanctuary. Indeed, there were people there, but I was thankful I didn’t have to Photoshop crowds of tourists out of my pictures.

Anyway, let’s get to how we spent our time.

SATURDAY

Garrett and Viv started their drive from SLO at 5 AM. Did I mention lately that they’re the best? James and I rolled out of bed at 9 after a night of binging Best of Jon Stewart YouTube videos. Flights from SF to Vegas are always super cheap, so we flew to Vegas, where Garrett and Viv picked us up at about 1 PM. Another tip: most backpacking packs are carry-on size. Ours were huge, and they let us through (besides TSA thinking my mess kit was an alarm clock). We gate checked them and were worry-free — and baggage-fee-free.

The drive was half scummy Vegas wasteland and half gorgeous Arizona and Utah landscape. We stopped in Mesquite, Nevada to stock up on fuel, wood, food, and for the guys: unnecessary Walmart sunglasses.

We arrived at our campsite in the Watchman Campground just before dusk. This is car camping, so the packs were unnecessary, but a great way to transport gear. Viv purposefully picked a site near a bathroom, but the bathroom was closed for winter. Thankfully, another one was open just down the loop! But if you’re like me, a couple beers around the fire and you don’t want to walk all that way. I have an off-brand SheWee that I literally cannot stop talking about. It’s easily the best invention of our time. It takes all the camping and festival bathroom worries off the table!

So Saturday night Garrett made barbecue chicken on the fire, James and Viv made gnochhi with red sauce on a camp stove (if you don’t have a PocketRocket you should definitely get one now), and I tossed together a bagged salad. We seriously ate better than we do most Saturday nights in SF. AND we had chicken leftover for future sandwiches and snacking. Cue beers, hotty toddys, and fire for the rest of the night.

It got down to 15 degrees Saturday night, and I did not sleep at all. My feet were so cold I was growling all night and I thought for sure we were crazy to do this. I dreamt of a hotel room and questioned my sanity. But when I woke up and saw the view (and coffee and breakfast)…sacrificing my feet was worth it.

SUNDAY

Garrett and Viv are fire-making geniuses, so they had a fire going by the time we got up. We  They made us eggs, sausage, and toasted corn tortillas for breakfast tacos. These GAVE ME LIFE. Pro tip: bring hot sauce on every camping trip. A little bit of Frank’s goes a long way to making camping feel comfy rather than inhibiting.

We had to make coffee on the fire because our fuel froze overnight. Turns out, Coleman makes their fuel with butane, which freezes. MSR doesn’t, so choose that ALWAYS or else you’ll end up like me: a coffee-depraved mumbling shell of a person. Also, this coffee pot is my favorite camping purchase we’ve made. If you’re addicted like me, it’s worth the pound or two it adds to your pack.

So we ate, changed clothes, packed up sandwiches, and made our way to the Visitor Center.

If you came to this post seeking things to do in Zion, you finally made it to the part of the post where I talk about the park. Sorry for my ramblings on camping!

What to do with one day in Zion National Park.

Take the shuttle to the last stop. Even if you have a car, take the shuttle. We never waited more than three minutes for one, and they tell you nerdy facts about the park along the way. It starts at the Visitor Center, just a minute-long walk from our site in Watchmen Campground. Take it to the last stop, Stop 8: Temple of Sinawava.

Note: the shuttle runs from late March to early October, but because we went the weekend after President’s Day weekend, it was running. How smart are we! (Viv is really the only smart one here, I had no idea a shuttle even existed.)

The Temple of Sinawava is where we spent a good chunk of our day. During the summer, this is where you want to go for The Narrows, a hike IN the water. If you want to rent ridiculously priced (and equally ridiculously looking) gear, you can do The Narrows in February. We got to see enough of the park without taking it on, though a group that did it came back to the campground at the same time as us and didn’t look completely miserable…so it’s definitely doable.

Here, you’ll find snowfalls, a gorgeous river, and great views. There’s a paved path nearly the whole way, and barely any incline. I wouldn’t even call it a hike, really. For our adventures, we were scoping out places for Garrett and Viv to host their wedding ceremony. We found plenty of places for a small group, and one by the river that made us want to forget previously frozen feet and jump in immediately.

 

We stopped on a log for sandwiches — a necessity if you want to see everything in one day.

Then we hopped back on the shuttle for Stop 7: Weeping Rock.

Weeping Rock was so. freaking. cool. Many of the paths were closed, but the Observation Point was not. From the starting point, it looks just like a small waterfall. It’s a relatively steep hike up, but so short and gradual that anyone can do it. What we saw at the top was amazing. The waterfall was made of snow! These are my favorite pictures of the trip. Everything below it was covered in ice and snow where the fall hit, while everything else remained bare. In the summer, I’m sure the view from below is better than above. But in February, the Observation Point was perfect.

 

Next, the normal path to the Emerald Pools was closed for winter, so we opted for Stop 6: The Grotto, for the Kayenta Trail.

The Grotto seemed like the place to be for day hikers. Beautiful people in their carefully curated hiking fashions were abundant — the likes of which we were not a part of, though my three layers of Patagonia tried their hardest. We made it up the first climb of the Kayenta Trail and decided it was a little too much for our already adventurous day. I mean, we have to have something to look forward to for the next Zion trip!

We opted instead to take the short trail to the Lodge, and we found my beloved cacti along the way.

The Lodge is not much compared to the rest of the park, but civilization was fine by us. We perused the gift shop, and I got an adorable glass cactus and prickly pear candy. Yes, I might love cacti too much.

After that, it was nearing dinner time so we took the shuttle back to the campsite and hunkered down. James got me this camp chair for Christmas and I’m obsessed. It’s a Pendleton and evrgn partnership design, and it rocks. AND it folds up into an equally gorgeous messenger bag, so I could take it on the plane. He also got me the matching wool blanket, because he’s just too good to me. This is definitely my camping luxury. I feel like a diva whenever I set it up, but it comfortable and amazing, so whatever IT’S DOPE.

 

Sunday night we everyone but me (again, they are way better campers/contributors/people) cooked burgers and snacked on leftovers and drank hotty toddys. Oh, and we played the game Piccolo on my phone, which is probably what all the college kids are super into nowadays. I was smart Sunday night and put handwarmers in my sleeping bag two hours before I went to bed. THIS WAS GENIOUS. Pro tip: I cannot stress enough that Zion in February = handwarmers. I wore them all day and slept with four of them (two in the bag and two in the socks). Seriously, they are 75 cents for two. Get a million – or at least 6 – and be happy.

Then we woke up, drove onward, and stopped at Black Bear Diner in St. George. It was the diner food to end all diner food, really.

Have I mentioned yet how great it was to be with this group? I get really indimidated by camping, but the last pro tip: go with people you enjoy. It doesn’t matter how cold it is if you’re enjoying your company. And also if they are camping pros 😉

 

And that’s it! I’m linking all my camping gear – including camping fashion, ’cause clothes are my favorite – below so you can be prepared for your next trip, whether or not you decide to embark on Zion in February. Happy camping!

CAMPING CLOTHES.

CAMPING GEAR.

 








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It finally feels like Spring in San Francisco! And while we don’t know how long it’ll last, I certainly enjoyed the sun today.

Transition wear can be hard. Transitioning your wardrobe into Spring is no small task, but SF provides some relief since it’s pretty much the same temperature – 50-65 degrees – all year round. Thanks Bay, and Karl the Fog.

Last summer when I was busy sporting tanks and rompers I kept seeing the more stylish San Franciscans in turtlenecks and I wondered HOW. How can people wear wool when it’s this gorgeous out? Then I realized I spent the whole summer freezing my a$$ off.

So this year I’m tending toward spring shoes with warm and cozy tops.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

– Leo Tolstoy

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been planning vacations (San Diego, Alaska, another Zion, Michigan, and a girls trip we can’t agree on a place for) and planning outfits, as well as some exciting new adventures for this blog. Join me in trading in booties for lace-ups – despite the lack of a much-needed pedicure – and some new sunnies. But keep those sweaters close!

 

CLOTHES.

Top. Banana Republic (exact & similar)

Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Joe’s Jeans (exact)

Shoes. BC Footwear (similar)

Sunglasses. Amazon, SojoS (exact)

Lip. Urban Decay Vice in Stark Naked (exact)

SHOP.


As I wrote about in my bio, I’ve always struggled with being blonde. People have assumed a lot of things about me just because I have blonde hair and smile a lot. I even dyed my hair dark red once when I first started my MFA in Creative Writing because I wanted to finally be the edgy writer of my dreams. It was awful. I didn’t feel like myself and actually felt less happy. Who knew!

My tattoos are my way of publicly expressing my creativity. For me, it combats my hair color and the assumptions that come with it. I can wear a cocktail dress – which BTW will always feel unnatural for me – and still feel like myself.

It’s also my way of closing off chapters of my life. I got my first when I was 18, and my parents actually came with me! Shout out to awesome parenting of a semi-rebellious teen.

I have 5 tattoos now and I got them all at periods in my life that needed a new chapter. The first after high school, the next after college, the third after a life-changing event in grad school, the fourth right before moving to San Francisco, and the most recent after I finished my novel.

Some were more planned than others, but if saving ideas on Pinterest counts, I’ve planned quite a ton. I’d been following Emily North (Em16) for a while and saw she was going to be a guest artist at Black & Blue Tattoo my birthday week! I immediately emailed her about an idea I’d had for a while and she had ONE LAST OPENING the day before my 25th birthday. Done. deal.

I didn’t actually see the art until seconds before I sat down in the chair, but I wasn’t scared. Emily completely captured what I had in mind, and this has quickly become my favorite piece yet.

So why a cactus tattoo?

A couple reasons. I grew up loving cacti and succulents as a symbol of California. I only saw them when I visited my grandma in Santa Barbara, and she had them everywhere. Growing up in Michigan where plants like this can’t thrive, cacti were this far off entity of a life I pictured for myself.

When I moved to Arkansas, a climate that could actually handle some succulents and cacti, I bought a ton. Some of them died off in a freeze, but I kept the same one in every office I’ve worked in and that one remains with me. In fact, it sat in my cupholder during my 2,000 mile drive out to SF. And yes, I did hide it from the border police when they asked if I was transporting any plant or vegetable matter. Total. rebel.

The other reason I got a cactus tattoo is because I had just finished my MFA thesis, a novel. The female character in my novel has a pet cactus named Edward that functions as her only true friend and confidant. So I got this tattoo to celebrate and close that chapter of my life – and also as the beginning of this one in California.

While I spend most of my time on the couch in my living room, my dining room is easily the happiest room in our little row house on the hill. I convinced the guys to put up these bookshelves for me (that I scoured Craigslist for) and reasoned that I would most definitely fill them up. Most of my moving boxes were full of books. As a writer, I consider them research and I just can’t give them up. We even use some of the shelves as a bar, so double win for the house.

I also keep my cacti and succulent collection here. For my birthday, James and I went down to Flowercraft and got an array of cacti and succulents and he got me this adorable – and large – cactus in a cobalt blue pot. I seriously treat them like my pets.

All this to say, on this fashion blog I also want to make sure I capture who I am. I didn’t start this blog to get followers or for people to tell me I’m pretty. I started it to share how I’ve taken my “basic” look and made it my own. My tattoos – and my books and my cacti – are a part of my life as a non basic blonde. But also, yes, rosé. ‘Cause we all gotta be a little bit basic sometimes.

LOOK.

Overalls. H&M (similar)

Top. Forever 21 (similar)

Bookshelves. West Elm (this season’s style)

Succulent candle. Anthropologie (exact)

Chair. Target (exact)

CACTI & SUCCULENT INSPIRED FASHION.