hi friends! we are so excited to kick-off gift guide season with a list of gift ideas for that fashion girl in your life. whether it is your friend or sister or anyone else, these gifts will make that stylish lady smile this holiday season. xx images by felicia lasala
I am nearly two months into my move to London- a move that has been altogether undeniably frustrating, completely shocking, pleasantly surprising, and has affirmed my belief that I am truly meant to be here. I have had good days equally dispersed with bad ones. I am missing my family, the many comforts of my home and culture in Southern California, and the general normalcies of America as I begin, and still try to, settle into my new life in London. And while I look forward to this incredible year of opportunity, I have been reminding myself that it is okay to feel out of place.
Something that peaked my level of unsettledness came after a day when everything was going right. I was having a good hair day, I found my way easily to my university, conquering the tube like a professional Londoner. I was falling in love with my Master’s program, enjoying all the friendships I was making across my department, I was enthralled with my classes and eager to begin to learn again about the world around me in an academic setting. I met people who again inspired the passion I had ignited for the study of journalism and the pursuit of a journalistic career. I had met with my program director who affirmed in the topic of my dissertation which I excitedly began to research. And at the end of the day, although I found myself on cloud nine, I could not shake this ominous feeling that this high, this deep level of satisfaction, this unshakable contentment would, in fact, be shaken. Before the happiness even wore off, I was reluctantly waiting for something to affect it.
Almost as predicted, the next day did not nearly measure up to the previous one. Although little frustrations mounted throughout the day, it was an observed event at the end of the day that hurt my heart and took a blow to my ideality. As I sat in a convenient coffee shop down the street from my flat, I saw a woman begging for money outside the window. Over the course of the few weeks that I had been here, I noticed people approach the windows to restaurants and cafes as the begged for any spare change. While this woman approached the window, she was speaking to two men at a table inside and, unnoticeable to her, she was being mocked by the two men sitting on the other side of the glass. As she shook the change in her hand, with a countenance of desperation and plea, the men were leading her to believe that they would give her change. But, what she did not hear on my side of the glass were the two men laughing. What I knew, that perhaps she did not, was that they never intended to give her any change. And as they laughed and continued to mock her, my heart sank into the pit of my stomach.
“Where am I?”
A question I found myself asking more than once throughout the course of my international move, but a question that became more prominent than ever in the moments of that interaction. I watched these men treat this woman in a way that I would never wish to see a woman being treated. I was appalled that, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender, one human being could treat another with such haughtiness, disrespect, and neglect. But, as I processed what I had just witnessed, I was humbled. I was reminded that I am here for a purpose. I was gently reminded that by the grace of what I have been taught in my interactions with people different than myself, the world still has a lot more to learn about accepting, loving, and showing grace and compassion to people in wherever contexts they may find themselves. I hated what I saw, but I am grateful for open eyes to see the brokenness and the prejudice in that interaction through the window glass. I am grateful to be where I am, learning what I am learning, and fully immersed in an unfair and unjust world so that my compassion can continue to extend further, so that my love can reach deeper, and so that the understanding of the grace and love that I have received in my life can have a greater and more raw impact on the world around me.
So, I find it okay to be unsettled, upset, or uncomfortable, for I know that these temporary feelings play a more prominent role in a much bigger picture. Alternatively, and somewhat unexpectedly, I find myself grateful for these unexpected and utterly frustrating moments for they are the necessary and foundational moments that altogether add to the depth of my experience here in London. I am grateful for each and every moment here- moments that make me mad, uncertainties that make me miss home, and equally those inspiring events of affirmation, for each of these, distinct from one another and equally important, give life to my purpose in this year abroad. So, while I allow myself to remain in a certain space of irregularity or frustration, I do not allow myself to wallow in it. But equally, I remind myself not to constantly look ahead, not to be in expectancy of what I hope is to come, but to allow myself to rest in the ‘now’. Since my move here, I have been compellingly, humbly, and gently reminded to be present in the present. For it is the present, the unexpected, and all the unpredictably frustrating, unsettling, amazing and invigorating moments that allow me to make the endless process of settling into a new home that much sweeter.
Lo and I are constantly talking about certain habits or things that we do in our daily lives to feel our best. From recipes, to yoga, to getting a good night sleep, there are certain things that we swear by in order to feel good & healthy and we are each sharing our top five things with you today. Find them below + get the details for these over-the-knee boots and the rest of the outfit at the bottom // xo
images by felicia lasala
I used to be all about high-intensity works outs, and even though I crave one every once in a while, I recently created a new work out routine that feels best for my body: hiking, practicing yoga, and a weekly pilates session. I have noticed such lengthening in my muscles and a more relaxed body and mind. Stressful days seem to affect me less!
Making a nutrient-packed smoothie in the morning seems to start the day on the right foot. I feel so nourished and energy-filled to take on the day ahead!
Getting a massage every couple of weeks is so important and necessary for my body. I found this place down the street that is extremely affordable, so that helps to fit it into my lifestyle without spending a fortune!
Bath-salt-filled bubble baths are essential for me, especially when the weather cools down. Also, doing consistent face and hair masks bring me life, so I usually incorporate the two at the same time. All of these spa-at-home activities help me relax and wind down from the day.
Good quality time with my man is something I can’t live without. We try to change it up between last minute getaway trips, movie nights at home, sweet and intentional conversations around the table, evening strolls, or a spontaneous date night.
Staying hydrated is key. I have a glass life factory bottle that I carry around everywhere with me and am constantly refilling it.
2. I have seriously not been sick since September 2015 and I truly believe it’s because how much I sweat. I do hot yoga about 3 times a week and do about 30 minutes in an infrared sauna once a week. Ridding the body of toxins and heating up your core is a good way to keep the common cold and viruses going around at-bay.
3. I typically always have a mug of Rishi turmeric ginger tea before bed + am in bed reading and unwinding around 9:15pm every night during the week. I usually sleep 7-8 hours- straight through. I am a major morning person so I am up at 5:30/6 ready to roll.
4. Eating a ton veggies is a must! I get a veggie fix with almost every meal, starting with a romaine, carrot, cucumber ginger smoothie in the morning. That is not my breakfast however, just my post-workout drink! It’s a great way to get veggies in first thing.
5. Worrying is a no no. Worry = stress, which does not make for a happy soul. I used to be a worry-er but spent many months praying about it and reading biblical verses/ listening to sermons about worry and fear. I have made a ton of progress and can truly say that I rarely feel worried now because of my increased faith. Faith and fear cannot coexist! I do believe that less worry makes for a healthier life + a happier soul.
This post was sponsored by Hallmark Signature through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Hallmark Signature, all opinions are my own.
I can hardly believe the holidays are upon us. I came to a big realization this year: fall is my favorite season. I love the cozy holiday feels; the hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream, the warmth of fireplaces, the constant burn of pumpkin or pine candles, evening strolls, game nights with friends, football season, special time with family, classic Christmas movies, baking pies. Oh, I could go on and on!
Ones of the best perks this time of year is finding special gifts and cards for sweet friends and loved ones. It makes it extra fun to start far in advance. Who’s with me? Rushed gifting is obvious and takes the meaningful purpose out of finding personal presents and not so ordinary cards. Wrapped surprises are so special and temporarily exciting, but I remember the words in a card forever (and I keep it forever!). So I must admit, I have a slight obsession with Hallmark Signature holiday cards. They are truly one of a kind for the people in your life who are anything but ordinary.
Can we talk about how adorable this nutcracker card is? I can’t wait to sit down and spend time wording how grateful I am for those closest to me – my family, my precious husband, my twin sister and her husband, my dearest friends. Card writing is such an amazing way to not only bless someone else, but it is a beautiful reminder of why we should never take the relationships in our life for granted.