The Simple Life

11.30.2011

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Never have I ever considered myself to be a minimalist. So, when I arrived at this result for my guide to my perfect perfume fragrance (courtesy of Elle magazine), I was admittedly a little surprised. It suddenly occurred to me that recently, I have indeed been making small attempts to declutter and simplify my life.

I started by unsubscribing to all of the hundreds of junk mail that floods my inbox on a daily basis.
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Like, no Nine West, I did not ask if you were having a sale on booties. Thank you, North Face, but I am not in search of a new parka nor will I ever be as long as I live in Texas. And UT, the fire alarm emails are out of control. Oh, and ASOS, you just really need to chill out.

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I've cleared out a healthy amount of the contacts in my phone. Yes, that means you, random girl I met while stalking the Gossip Girl set in NYC three summers ago--you are no longer in my address book. 'Bout time.

I've learned to say no to commitments that I simply don't have the time and/or the energy for.

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What used to be a trunk at the end of my bed with stacks of papers has now become an organized booklet containing all the letters, birthday cards, and other notes of sentimental value to me.

And the next check on my to-do list is clearing out my overflowing closet which still holds an array of tops from 8th grade Dance Club parties and bottoms that don't fit my style or my waistline. I intend on doing a complete overhaul in my wardrobe over the long Christmas break, ridding it of frivolous trendy garments to make room for timeless pieces.

My small efforts may seem insignificant, but amidst all the parties, presents and presentations that come with the holidays, 'tis not the season for the simple life. So, any small step towards simplicity is helpful in clearing the clutter not only out of my closet and Gmail account, but also my mind. So, Elle, perhaps you do know me better than myself. After all,

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I have slowly learned to tolerate, and dare I say it like, black coffee.

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My favorite go-to outfit consists of a clean-cut white Oxford, a pair of true blue jeans, and a leather belt.

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I prefer an Arial-esque font any day over any fancy schmancy script with curly Qs.
Confession: I fell asleep to the documentary, Helvetica, the other night--a 90-minute film discussing the evolution of this widely popular typeface. Not ashamed in the slightest.

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My favorite purchase to date is still my translucent umbrella. (Thanks, Mace!)

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Artsy Erin was at it again and made me fall in love with the idea of using craft paper for gift wrapping in lieu of a variation of patterns that strain your eyes, taking away from the charm of the ornamented tree.

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And most of the time, a simply pony tail will do for me.

At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, I'd like to think simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. My sister oftentimes claims that European life is much simpler than here in the States, and her claim seems true in many respects (which is one of the many reasons that I can barely wait to study abroad.) I think this era of simplicity in my life was born with my investment in an agenda earlier this year. It may be a brief phase, but I refuse to be that pack rat old lady who stashes my prom dress in the back of my closet and keeps copies of my high school newspaper, so no time better to start pack-rat prevention than the present, right? So, cheers to living the simple life!

Baby Boomers

11.28.2011

Simply put, my sister Erin is one of the--if not the most--creative people I know. It must run in the family with Carolyn's natural finesse for blog designs and Amy's keen eye for interior design, which was showcased by her still-to-come baby boy's new nursery. Following our own family photo shoot for our 2011 Christmas card, Erin mentioned theirs was going to be a cyber-card this year. Amy and I went to get a sister sneak preview, and lo and behold she had a lot more to share than holiday cheer.


If you weren't completely caught up in marveling at her wonderfully-crafted video, you may have noticed the exciting news at the end. In just nine months, I will have doubled my number of nieces and nephews! Congrats to Erin, Jason and Sam, who is perhaps the most excited of us all to have a baby brother or sister come next summer.

Thankful for all of YOU

11.27.2011

To my loyal followers:

My extended absence has been triggered by a multitude of things. Initially, I was just feeling uninspired. During the break I got caught up in the comfort of being home and BOD, sadly, became an afterthought. As I enter the next two weeks full of finals, portfolios, and presentations, I'll do my best to get back on board, but I hesitate to make any promises. Know, however, that I have been thinking of you and have not attempted to make a stealthy exit from my blogging duties!

Yours truly,

Dear Santa,

11.19.2011

As the aroma of fried turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce enhances every day, I hate to jump the gun by fast forwarding to Christmas. However, I deem it necessary as online Christmas shopping is becoming quite the luring temptation to distract me from my schoolwork.

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Way back when, my Christmas list only required a single trip to Toys "R" Us to grab the slew of completely impractical but totally must-have toys of the season. This included American Girl Doll accessories, a Lite Brite, a secret passcode diary, and the unforgettable Furby doll. My early teens saw the onset of a techy-phase as a new electronic seemed to peak my interest every year, which I can blame Apple's brilliance for.

And now, I've become the typical girl who wishes for none else than clothes, handbags and shoes. However, rather than viewing this as an unoriginal quality of myself, I choose to see it as a sure sign of maturity. So play along with me here as I display what's currently on my running Christmas list.

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As I've been on the prowl for a leopard flat and a loafer, my new college budget-oriented self has urged me to consolidate these two desires into one fabulous TopShop leopard penny loafer that is both practical and playful.

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Though I have enough Kappa garb to clothe a small South American country, I've been searching for an accessory that can display my KKG loyalty in a subtle way every day. A fleur de lis or key accessory were the main options, and this key necklace seemed to fit my requirements of being just dainty enough yet still noticeable.

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The most worn item on UT campus is undoubtedly Nike running shorts. And while I'll admit I caved into this trend and have a healthy collection myself, I have discovered a new love in workout wear. BOA shorts (known for their Texas flag shorts) are far more comfortable and flattering.

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Amidst our search for warm winter gear, Merl got turned me onto the puffer vest. It's a delightful alternative for when you don't want to stuff your already tripled layers into a hefty coat. And since my fetish with all things forest green has yet to fade, this J. Crew style caught my eye.

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Rebecca Mikoff's Morning After Clutch, otherwise known as her MAC bag, first came onto my radar when my sister made it her souvenir from her brief visit to NYC this summer. My mom copied her months later with the orange style, and my recent need for a black evening bag for downtown affairs has got me thinkin' I may need to jump on board also.

Here's hoping that Mr. Claus is a follower of Bridget's Own Diary!

Jungle Fever

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I wish "Jungle Fever" could simply be the clever catch phrase entitling my post on SAE Jungle. Alas, I was experiencing true jungle fever as I entered the night with a terribly irritating cough, on and off headaches, and utter exhaustion. Somehow I was able to rally (as any good college student should!) and got to experience the epicness that is Texas SAE Jungle.

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Jules and I rarely end up at the same fraternity parties together, but this weekend was one of those rarities and it was lovely to have her along.

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Merl and I documenting our freshman college experience one photo together at a time

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The highlight of the evening was having some of my favorite "babies" come stay with me. "Babies" is a commonplace UT term for senior girls visiting UT who are looking to become longhorns next year. It seems odd to refer to them as this when it was me only a few months ago.

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Taylor was one of those babies but also one of my besties!

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Caro and Jules outside of my home sweet home, annex

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Jennifer, Caroline and I with our varied jungle attire. Cheetah was definitely the choice costume of the night. I, however, ended up as some sort of hybrid jungle creature as I simply threw on anything that was remotely jungle-esque which included a snakeskin skirt, a fur vest, and all shades of forest green and gold accessories.

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MHS pride was in full bloom in 2A

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Allie the peacock also got to see some of the Mem High babies and Meggie (on the right) who I met at Kappa Cookout. She is already into and committed to UT, so I gladly offered her a place to stay over jungle so she could get a preview of her upcoming college experience.

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We made our way to the main Red House where I met up with my Kappa sisters

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And finally, we made it to where the wild things are with a build that was put together by 40 or so pledges' intense labor and certainly not a small sum of money either.

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After climbing through a maze of bamboo and greenery we found our way to the dance room where the first class performers definitely made the night. I have a faint memory of previewing the SAE Jungle build many years ago when my brother was a pledge here and I was an awkward pre-teen in awe of this college world, only imagining what it would be like. It's both bizarre and funny that now I am the college kid of the family.

I was pleasantly surprised I was able to ignore my illness for the time being to enjoy what may be the last big fraternity party for the fall. But, I think we could all use a frat party hiatus as many of us are counting down the days until we are reunited with our families, high school friends, and comfort of our homes over this brief but much needed and deserved Thanksgiving break.

Up & Down

11.14.2011

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I think we'd all agree that most weeks have their highs and their lows; last week was certainly no exception. One of my definite low points last week (and is now in the running for my most embarrassing moment) was a terrible tumble on the treadmill. Yes, that happened. Luckily, I was in the privacy of Hardin's workout room with Julianne as my only witness. I have the scars and bruises to prove my clumsiness.

An equally rough moment was my realization that I had a flat tire on the way to my sister's to babysit my nephew Sam. Disaster was averted when my brother-in-law Jason came to save the day with his handy man skills. And I got the added bonus of joining them for dinner that evening. Needless to say, I owe them big time!

So while I don't have photos of my flat tire or my bruised knees (and for that you should be extremely thankful, especially the latter), I do have photos for the highlights of my week that neutralized these hating-my-life moments.

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My mom informed me today that I received a $100 gift card courtesy of Tory Burch. There's no catch from what she can tell! So all I gotta say is thanks, TB, and keep those acts of kindness comin' my way.

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Kelsey's birthday called for a celebratory Sunday. (Fun fact: all of our birthdays fall on the thirteenth with Kels in Nov, me in February, and Merl in July.) We surprised her with a roomie night out to Hopdoddy's--a gourmet burger joint that we had been hankering to try for quite some time now.

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Located on charming South Congress, it sells itself to food lovers by flaunting its freshly baked buns, in-house churned ice cream, hand-cut fries and the freshest of ingredients.

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We all came to the consensus that on our first visit, it's best to honor the basic burger, so we all ordered the classic. The rave reviews are spot on. It's well-seasoned, cooked just the way you like it, and the sassy sauce is not only fun to say, but coats the burger perfectly.

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Get a burger and some Amy's ice cream in our bellies, and you can be sure things will go a little haywire in 2A.

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We concluded the evening's festivities by laying out a pallet to watch Gossip Girl as Merl slowly but surely makes her way from first season to the current fifth season by next semester.

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Happy nineteenth, Kels! We love you!

I Really Wanna Go Outside

11.13.2011

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Lately I've stumbled upon new songs featuring my favorite artists collaborating. Maybe this is a result of my music knowledge database expanding on a daily basis as I spend more time in the live music capital of the world. I never thought I'd see the day when T-Pain and Lily Allen would become a duo, but I'm liking the sound of it and I think you will too. So here's the music quietly humming in the background as I write my essays, loudly blaring to get me through uninspiring days, or just the melodies that make traffic jam-filled drives a little less miserable.


"Life Goes On" -Gym Class Heroes feat. Oh Land

"Another One Down" -Asher Roth

"Bumper" -The Cults

"Trials of the Past" -SBTRKT

"What Doesn't Kill You" -Kelly Clarkson

"Hurts Like Heaven" -Coldplay

"Ass Back Home" -Gym Class Heroes feat. Neon Hitch

"5 O'Clock" -T-Pain feat. Lily Allen & Wiz Khalifa

"Midnight City" -M83

"Donald Trump" -Mac Miller

"Jupiter Unison" -Various Artists

"Color on the Walls" -Foster the People

"Second Chance" -Peter Bjorn and John

"Go Outside" -The Cults

"Don't Change" -Tiffany Houghton

As many of us anxiously wait the sounds of Jingle Bells, Let It Snow, Silent Night and the like to congest our radio stations for the next month, I hope these tracks serve as a suitable buffer until then!

Just The Beginning

11.11.2011

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With Thursdays designated as downtown night, the weekend arrives one day earlier in college . In keeping with this tradition, our Kappa Cocktail event (sadly our last event for the semester) was this past Thursday and was, in my and many other's opinions, the best Kappa event this semester.

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A big group of our pledge class (including Mimi and I as pictured) went to dinner at a casual spot in West Campus called Cuatros to start our night. The whole evening was a bit of a throwback to high school formals minus the multitude of primping appointments, the mob of parents with countless requests for awkward stairwell photos.

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Roomies and Kappa sisters Leigh & Lauren

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All the Kappas are encouraged to bring a plus one and the dates range from long time boyfriends to set-up strangers.

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Barbara and I at one of our pledge sister's apartments who kindly offered her space for all of us to gather before the buses carted our chapter downtown

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The lovely Kate Padgitt everyone!

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Our room next year minus two. We never seem to manage to get a photo of everyone, but rest assured that mission will be accomplished by the end of this year in time to blow it up for our living room.

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And finally we got to Coppertank--the bar downtown where the event was held. It was nice and spacious for a change and the band played old classics all night long. Here's Will, Kanada, and Tatum just as we arrived.

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My date Cole and I

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And the night would not be complete without meeting up with my big!

Admittedly, the weekend kickstarting a day in advance makes it difficult to carry that energy through Friday and Saturday, especially since we're still newbies at this routine. Fortunately, this weekend is one of the calmest yet with our game being away and a significant lack in big fraternity parties. I suppose that's best to recharge us for SAE Jungle next weekend with lots of visitors coming in and the brewing excitement of the approaching Thanksgiving Break. So, I'll savor this precious free time by getting ahead with schoolwork, making some extra pocket change babysitting, and preparing for two big upcoming birthdays!