What I Loved


A year ago today I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport, stepped onto the streets of Paris and stayed for ten weeks.
The highlights are hashed out here, here, here and here. It'll probably take 1-2 posts to recognize why my experience abroad was one thing I loved about college...among other things like Austin, Camille's, the closeness to home, and the distinctiveness of each year.

Funny thing: when I packed my bags (any many, many boxes) and headed to Austin in August of 2011, I already anticipated loving going abroad. What I developed sooner, though, was a love affair with Austin.

The food scene is phenomenal. To a native Houstonian, opportunities to spend time outdoors seem infinite. Done right, Austin is anybody's dream city. My own were fulfilled as I was able to sustain my creative side while finishing school.

I suppose this is as appropriate a time as any to pay homage to Austin for the chance to work with the Camille Styles team. Coming into college, I planned on putting my wildest dreams to the wayside for the sake of pursuing normality in a nine-to-five.

The farther I got along, I thought, the more far fetched the blog business ambitions would become. Camille and her partner-in-crime Chanel showed me otherwise.

Where it will lead me only time will tell. But, stay tuned for the final post of this series, What's Next, for some idea.

My mom swore I'd be glad I could come home at my leisure if I chose to be a longhorn. She was right. Knowing the drive was doable on any given day was comforting; actually doing it was rare, albeit this last semester ;)

That being said, I can't help but predict that somewhere down the line, I may start to feel a bit trapped in a Texas-sized bubble. I would, in other words, welcome opportunities to explore new places and experience new spaces.

I am, however, happy to be in Houston for now, though, as I had a new home all four years. Moving in and out wasn't my (or my mom's) favorite time of year by any means, but it did make them all stand out.

At Hardin House, I had the longest sleepover with Merl, my first and greatest college friend. Sophomore year saw the likes of a more independent lifestyle and introduced William into my life. Living under the sorority's roof properly punctuated my role as Kappa's Recruitment Chair.

And for the past nine months, Nicole and Olivia were the best people to come home to every day. The love list goes on, but I go to work tomorrow, so that's all for now.

What I Learned


BOD dry spells are usually a result of having too much to say rather than not enough.

I've been thinking about updating my inspiration page (where art thou Camille?) and header, removing "college" and replacing it with an appropriate homage to my young adulthood. I think and I think, rarely making time to actually write. I think it's the gravity of the change that comes with graduation that gets me. There's really no need to swallow it whole, so with the little time left before starting my big girl job, I'm sharing what I've learned and loved the past four years and some of what's in store for me and BOD.

We'll start with what I learned:

Relationships matter most.
I was fortunate enough to maintain friendships from home (hi, Caro) and make new besties (that's you, Merl). The list goes on, but relationships became more a matter of quality over quantity with each successive year. (I advise all freshmen to focus on friends and fun--that's all!) Then, of course, there's William, who helped me recognize the value in several of these lessons, like how...
What may not seem best for you is best for someone else.
College is notoriously a selfish stage of life. Significant others celebrate selflessness and sacrifice, a craving we all (whether we realize it or not) seek to satisfy. Keeping in mind what was best for him and us as well as me, myself and I made me realize that creating others' happiness was the best way to achieve my own. Approaching all relationships with this attitude brings a greater sense of balance into your life, yet ultimately, I've learned it's best to...
 Strive for imbalance.
This was a takeaway from a Family Sociology class. The pursuit of balance--particularly for a perfectionist--can easily have a negative impact on our lives. Instead, we'd do best to deliberately be off balance in order to improve ourselves and to love. Spreading yourself thin in an effort to live a "balanced life" cuts off a deeper connection to self and to others. The path to a purposeful life is one that doesn't make stops for things that don't really matter in the end. With that, keep in mind that...
Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.
Conviction was something I lacked coming into college in the sense that I was always unsure of my decisions. When I chose to do one thing, I wondered if I should be doing the other. My friend Elizabeth made a remark last summer in Spain causing me to realize that my indecisiveness was rooted in a fear of disappointment. This, no doubt, robbed a good amount of the enjoyment from the thing I chose to do. Instead of weighing pros and cons, I now choose the things and people that bring me real joy. Doing so became easy when I realized
Prayer makes anything possible.
Time has proven the power of prayer as blessings have been bestowed upon me far beyond my requests. They have also been answered in different ways and at different times than I expected or imagined. These experiences have inspired a constant intention for a trusting state of mind that puts peace over plans.  
Up next: what I loved...with photos, promise. Keeping it wordy for Wednesday. Love to all!

Timing Is Everything


I have an intimate relationship with time. Countless prayers of mine have been petitioned toward a deep trust in timing, and in this moment, those feel answered. I feel very at peace with the place I am in right now: graduation approaching and work soon to follow. That peace has allowed me to live in the present while maintaining appropriate amounts of excitement and curiosity for what is in store. The first half of this year will certainly look different than the second. I love that. 

Here's to a bright past, a brighter present and the brightest future.

Sense Appeal XXX


for the eyes:
{Vaudeville's curb appeal sets the tone for what's in store inside ::  the basement houses the bistro, the surface level is chocked full of stunning interiors all with a subtle Southern sophistication and up top is the tasteful art gallery}

The Texas hill country stretches through and around Austin. It's an impressive feature of the Texas landscape, something I was reminded of during my day trip to Fredericksburg when the wild flowers were in full bloom.

I met my aunt, uncle and parents there for lunch at Vaudeville, a three-story spot in the heart of town sure to make any designer, foodie and artist swoon. With peach season approaching, I recommend paying this little town a visit with one (or two!) stops at Vaudeville.

for the mind:
I probably wouldn't have been as enchanted with the above spot even a few years back. When I started BOD, I flirted mostly with fashion writing. During college, I made a departure veering more toward food, but now I find myself dabbling more and more in interior decorating.

{my Austin sister's home in South Austin with a renovated dining room with freshly coated navy walls, new sconces (which she appropriately calls the "earrings" adorning the room) and that yellow guy who has an identical twin that not pictured.}
I knew this was inevitable as my mom and sisters have always maintained a keen sense of style when it came to decorating their homes. I hope I follow suit. I, at the very least, know to be choose wisely.

image via
I read and sort through interview responses for our various series on the Camille Styles site. We featured the husband and wife duo behind VeeCaravan, and they said what most other interior designers do:

Love everything that comes into your home. 

They also said,

Do what you love and what feels right and people will respond to that.

for the ears:
'No Words' by Erik Hassle

I like the irony in this song as the artist explains how, despite his acclaimed "way with words," he becomes speechless when trying to express his feelings for whomever this song is devoted to. It also happens to be really catchy.

fashion for feel:
My parents gifted me with a Saint Benedict Medal necklace after my thesis presentation. I like where it rests right on my heart, ideal for its protective purpose and also perfect for layering other trendier pieces like so...

the 'Florence 'bracelet & 'Margaret' necklace
Loren of Tribe + Glory contacted me about her collection of hand-crafted jewelry from artisans in Uganda and was kind enough to share some of the pieces. I am most impressed with Loren's initiative to empower these African artisans and launch this project out of pure passion:
At Tribe + Glory we believe there is beauty and power in recognizing and encouraging individuality among our team. Each woman is different, each is important, and each brings new life and personality not only to our program, but also to each piece of jewelry! 

Shop through this season's selections including my personal favorites -- the Florence bracelet and Allen necklace.

for taste:

My house this year practically backs up to one of Austin's most beloved trails--Shoal Creek. I only recently discovered how that scenic pathway could lead me to the cutest area in town, Clarksville.

A few friends and I recently brunched at the girliest spot historic Clarksville caters to, Josephine House (yet another perfect project put together by the MM Hospitality group). The black rice bowl with poached eggs and seasonal veggies was as delectable as it looks, but go for the granola.

Happy first day of May!