Sense Appeal XV


for the eyes:
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{a photo I took this weekend of Cinderella's lost slipper on campus}
With fifteen plus some hours of school every week, I'm wiped by the time Friday rolls around. But, this weekend, I also squeezed in a five-hour photography seminar so I can finally be a master of the "auto" setting on my SLR. I've found that blogging is essentially a marriage of images and words; and like any marriage, it goes through ups and downs, good days and bad, and is always a learning experience.  Reading and writing fine-tunes the words part, but this weekend I discovered photography is more of a numbers game. I look forward to applying the skills I learned at McKay Photography Academy with some hands-on experience and hopefully my progress will manifest itself on BOD! You can be the judge of that.

for the mind:
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I was borderline livid when I caught word that the new Gatsby film got pushed back from a Christmas release date to early this summer. To appease my impatience, I treated myself to some more Fitzgerald and decided to read The Beautiful and Damned over the break. A certain line resonated with my feelings toward blogging after particularly long days.
"The notion of sitting down and conjuring up, not only words in which to clothe but thoughts worthy of being clothed--the whole thing was absurdly beyond his desires." 
for the ears: 

My music taste--as you've probably gathered--is pretty all over the place. However, one thing remains consistent: my love for duets. I'm not partial to male or female artists but I find when they join forces, the harmony is undeniably infectious. This song, "Marilyn" by G-Eazy featuring Dominique Lejeune, embodies that contagious harmony.

fashion for feel:
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{topJennifer Fisher Mini Disc Ring w/ Pave White Diamonds // Stacking Dots Ring // Geo Drusy Ring in Blush  // bottomMoraley Flower Stackable Bands // Gorjana Alphabet Stackable Ring // Jules Smith See You at the Souk Stackable Rings}
Accessorizing is quite possibly the trickiest art to master when it comes to style. Overdoing it can be a tragedy, which explains why I tend to pretty monogamous when it comes to my love affairs with different kinds of jewelry pieces. Lately, I'm onto rings, especially dainty ones that you can stack and wear even in your sleep.

for taste: 
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I'm already missing the ease and comfort of home-cooked meals (but I did make my cabbage salad yesterday!). My mom and I hosted a BCS championship bowl party for my brothers and threw together this yummy beet salad alongside some grilled red snapper and veggies. I find beets to be as rich in flavor as they are color--especially alongside arugula, walnuts and feta cheese.

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And finally, a birthday shout out to the best twins I know--Tatum & Willa! Besos!

La Ville-Lumière


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If there's anything my sister has taught me, it's that Europe should be thought of as a friendly neighbor with open arms and less of as a far-away land full of foreigners. I often sing high praises of the Big Apple, but lately, I've got Paris fever! This is, without a doubt, a side effect of my enrollment in French class this semester.

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When I had to choose a language track back in the 6th grade, I'm sure my pre-teen mind was drawn to French for the very mature reasons like the Mary Kate & Ashley film, Passport to Paris, my La Madeline computer games, and the fact that that's what all the girls learned at the boarding school in A Little Princess. But, pay no mind to what triggered this love affair with the language, because it's been nearly a decade and I am thrilled with where it has led me.

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{La Sorbonne - the university I will likely be attending}
If all goes according to plan, it will ultimately lead me to studying at La Sorbonne, a highly acclaimed university in Paris, at some point in 2014. I can barely wait for my extended stay in the city where

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cheese is bought in wheels rather than tubs,

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trains are like actually a thing,

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I could totally pull off that bike with a basket,

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the signature scent is a mixture of the Seine River, fresh croissants and Chanel No. 5 perfume,

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cobblestones rest beneath your feet at the sidewalk cafés,

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modern Marie Antoinettes brush by you as you meander down Avenue Montaigne,

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Vespas are the preferred mode of transportation,

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ballet flats take the place of the stand-by American "tennie",

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chocolate is perscribed as a medicine,

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floral shops stand on their own, not tucked behind the checkout stands at your local supermarket,

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{my visit to the cathedral in Chartres--a town right outside of Paris}
churches are museums (with free admission!),

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and carbs are always encouraged.

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I hate stock answers. And I hate that Paris has become that way--the cliché city that every girl dreams of. But, I've fallen under the spell.

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My parents and I made a pit stop in La Ville-Lumiére before visiting Carolyn and Art in Austria, but I am eager to see more, to explore. (I know, I know, awk solo shot.)

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Here's one of the simplest how-to's I've ever read: "in order to lead a fascinating life--one brimming with art, music, intrigue and romance--you must surround yourself with precisely those things."

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Paris epitomizes this and for this reason alone, its iconic status endures.

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I'm excited for Paris to not be solely a recurring image on my Pinterest feed, a destination discussed in French class, or a delightful subject matter for a coffee table book at Anthropologie, but a place I can call my temporary home.

Don't Worry, Be Happy


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Last week goes down in history as one of the worst first weeks of school ever. I spent many walks to and from class simply unhappy. So, in an effort to not let misery become the underlying theme of my spring semester, I made some much needed adjustments. Thanks to an impeccably timed three-day weekend, conquering the UT registration system and the things below, I finally feel like myself again.

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this smiling face from cyber space,

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taking in one of God's greatest works of art--the sunset,

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a fresh paint job,

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a Monday morning coffee shop getaway which crept into lunch time,

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the many members of my family away from home,

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and cocktails coordinating all too perfectly with each Parkside diner's personality.

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I was able to spend quality time with most--if not all--of my greatest friends this weekend. Jules and I treated ourselves to end-of-the-first-week milkshakes; Meghan and I celebrated the idyllic temperatures on Saturday with a walk through Tarrytown; Mollie and I got acquainted with Austin's finest Chef Shawn Cirkiel at Parkside with ceviche, raw fluke and goat cheese custard; Merl, Caro and I had a picnic on the day of rest; all my roomies took in that beautiful sunset view at The Oasis on Lake Travis; Lana introduced me to more of the treasure trove that is East Austin, and Carolyn and I visited with guest appearances by Alex and Elsie.

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All of this got me adequately refreshed for the shortened week that lies ahead. But, I must admit I haven't truly felt in my element without BOD. I'm glad to say the blogger is back in full swing and is excited to announce a very action-packed semester ahead! Happy hump day!

Sense Appeal XIV


for the eyes:
{image c/o}
Looks like the "mirror pic" is withstanding the test of time (even with the ever increasing popularity of the "selfie") as is evident by the modern spin the always fearless Sarah Vickers, bloggess behind Classy Girls Wear Pearls, shows us.

for the mind:
Many blog posts ago, I wrote about The Tents--the documentary covering the evolution of New York Fashion Week. Well, it wasn't until just this winter break that I finally sat down and watched it in full thanks to Netflix's plentiful stock of documentaries (much unlike any other movie genre). Now, it's by no means The September Issue, but it's worth your while if you're into this kinda thing--this, shall we call it, fashion thing.

Several household names in fashion contributed to the film including designers like Carolina Herrera, Zac Posen and Isaac Mizrahi, journalists from world-renowned publications like Women's Wear Daily, W and Elle, and even Neiman Marcus fashion royalty, Mr. Ken Downing. It's no secret that this event takes a village, and every individual--whether it be photographer, a nobody with a high fashion fever or the Anna Wintour herself--has tremendous enthusiasm for this event and an inspiring zeal for American fashion. My desire to one day go to Lincoln Center myself was only further fueled. One part in particular really stuck with me. InStyle's fashion director Hal Rubenstein rationalized fashion as not just an art, but a daily necessity. He says,
"There are certain arts that, I think, you can live without. I mean, the world would be a poorer place without painting and sculpture, but you would survive without it. But everybody gets--everybody--gets up in the morning and asks the same two questions to themselves: "what am I going to eat?" and "what am I going to wear?"

for the ears: 

There are several variations of "Teenage Crime" by Adrian Lux, but I like this short and sweet one best.

fashion for feel:
{Stela 9 Weekender // Deux Lux Luka Weekender // Marc Jacobs Nylon Pearl Weekender}
I'm on the market for a stylish but classic weekender bag. I find myself at a loss when taking short Texas road trips and think I'm due for a durable bag to last me through most of my twenties. Bearing that in mind, I'm trying to steer clear of anything that seems terribly trendy. I'd gladly take opinions and/or suggestions.

for taste: 
For "ladies who lunch", Tiny Boxwoods is the go-to spot for Houstonians. It was a must-see dining destination when Merl came into town. I insisted we polish off our meals with their to-die-for warm chocolate chip cookies; turns out, they now also make "ridiculous" brownies. In typical, Merl/Milly fashion, we made a significant dent in the chocolate decadence.

Second day of class which means day two of French ahead. Souhaite-moi bonne chance!

Redefining Ramen


If there's one food item that epitomizes college cuisine, it's Ramen noodles. It has the three key qualities every college student seeks: cheap, easy-fixin' and non-perishable. But, we live in the age of the foodie. Almost every pinner I know has a board dedicated to food, and whether you lust over a juicy burger or a crunchy kale salad, people love food. I, too, love great food and fresh ingredients. Needless to say, I'd rather not end my busy days with a bland microwave bowl of Ramen.

So, I present to you an alternative! Over the holiday I was reminded of a dish that's easy, healthy, and incorporates those noodles you may have shoved in the back of your pantry. Every Christmas, my aunt makes this Chinese cabbage salad and it's become every female family member's favorite dish. See how easy it is to make!

Toast about a cup of slivered almonds. To do so, place them in the oven on 250 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cut a head of Napa cabbage across the grain; it will shred itself.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients: 1 cup of vegetable oil, 1/2 cup of seasoned rice vinegar and the seasoning packets from the two packages of Ramen noodles.

Mix the cabbage, 4-5 chopped green onions, 4 tablespoons of sesame seeds, the toasted almonds, crunched up Ramen, and salt and paper to taste. Top with grilled chicken and make a meal out of it.

With the help of some fresh ingredients and seasonings, this recipe glamorizes the Ramen noodle. Bon appétit!