Zen and Polka Dots

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Ten days later, and I’m finally writing my New Year’s post.  I had intentions of doing this long ago (like 10 days ago for instance), but I got busy with family and traveling and now here we are.

Like every other blogger on the internet, I’m here to tell you all about my New Year’s resolutions, or rather, my version of New Year’s resolutions.  Instead of writing out a whole list of things that I’m going to do in order to “improve” myself, I’ve decided to pick out one word that I will focus on, and work toward integrating that word into my life as much as possible.  The word is a goal, but it is also a type of lifestyle that I would like to work toward.

And while my word (at the moment) should *probably* be procrastination, I’m actually choosing the word “zen”.  Zen is thrown around a lot on the internet to the point that it has become slang more than anything.  There are also a million and one definitions for “zen” online, meaning I have a lot to work on.  However, my favorite definition is the Sanskrit version, which means “to see, to observe, to look”.  To me, this means simply living in the moment, observing my surroundings, and not worrying about things that I cannot change.

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I personally could use some zen in my life, for multiple reasons, but mostly for the vast changes that will occur this year—and also because I have anxiety issues that could be worked on.  While I know that I cannot change the inner workings of my brain and make myself not anxious, I know that I can do my very best to manage.  For me, this begins with living in the now, leaving the past in the past, and not worrying about inevitable changes in the future.

To help create more zen in my life, I plan on singing more, playing piano more, drawing, painting, writing down my goals, making more pour overs, and taking time for myself whether that be a day trip to Tahoe with my friends or writing a new song.  So far, my year has included looking for a new job that aligns with my current goals, changing my hair, and listening to Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey on repeat.

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My hope is that by choosing a word to focus on, I will not limit myself to one or five or ten goals, but let myself have limitless goals that will help better myself as a person and make me overall happier.  The method seems more foolproof and affects my life more than specific goals.

If we’re being honest, I’m getting pretty anxious talking about the changes taking place in my life right now, but I’m also very excited for what these changes will bring.  Right now, my goal is to not worry about these changes, but embrace them.  So far this year has been truly amazing; I know that it will get more difficult, that there will be ups and downs, that I will have to adjust and change and grow, but I look forward to what is to come.

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A real candid that actually looks plan-did.
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Fun Fact: I secretly love Willie Nelson.  I was pretty stoked when I found this album for $3!

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Dress: Thrifted (originally Forever 21)  Tights: Old  Shoes: Lucky Brand  Purse:  Taurus

Feel free to tell me your goals, thoughts, words to live by, aspirations…

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Thanks to Zia Records and my brother, Garrett, for the pictures.

*Song of the Day: Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison*

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Fall Emeralds

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I find beauty in nature that most people disregard.  I love seeing red, orange, and yellow leaves all over the ground that most people rake up as soon as the last leaf falls.  In the spring, I love my overgrown rose bushes that most prune, throwing away hundreds of chiffon-like roses.  I like it when the grass is a little shaggy and dark, dark green.  I still like everything trimmed back eventually, but for that week that it is overgrown, it’s so neat to see my backyard as an enchanted forest or secret garden.

Right now my purple wisteria is a mess of dried up, flimsy leaves and my rose bushes are reddish brown and there is a small patch of leftover snow in the shaded corner of my yard.  Fall in Reno is one of my favorite things in the world.  In the morning, it’s a bitter, dry cold.  The sky is a brilliant blue, cloudless, and bright from the sun.  It smells like sagebrush.  The city is covered in reds, oranges, browns, yellows, and greens.  I drive to class in the morning, hands cloaked in leather gloves, coffee clutched, waiting for my car to warm up enough to crank up the heat.  I listen to The National or Bon Iver.  This is how I remember Reno when I used to visit when I was a little girl.  It’s my stereotypical memory of Reno, and I long for it every year.

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I feel like my personality is fall.  My favorite colors, favorite foods, taste in music, etc.  I picked this dress because it is my favorite color.  I can dress it up or dress it down.  It’s perfect for a chilly fall day.

Also, it makes me feel like a badass witch, and all I really want in life is to be Hermione Granger, so I think I’ve accomplished all my goals.  I wore my moon necklace with it, because that’s probably what a witch would do.

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Dress: Thrifted, Bad Apple Vintage, Reno    Shoes: Old    Tights: Target    Necklace: Premier    Rings: Old, various

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*Song of the Day: Lemonworld–The National*

A Mint Green Summer

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It’s warm in Reno!  Officially.  I wore a sundress.  No givsies backsies.

Aside from the fact that I’ve been stuck inside everyday in a 3 week Labor Economics class, I’ve been really enjoying my summer so far with BBQs and bike rides.  I’ve yet to make it to Tahoe (stomach flu is out to get me), but I will be there this weekend no matter what!

Catch ya girl on the beach with an iced tea in her hand.

Or something that sounds a little cooler…?

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Also, I have some very very very veryyyyyyyy exciting news.  I will be studying for a month this summer in London through my university!  I’m so excited to explore the city and post fun little things I do on SSL.

I’m going to get so British guys.

So British.

Anyways, since I’ll probably be busy with my studies and traveling around London, I want to start a weekly post where I list a few cool things I come upon throughout the week.  This could be a piece of art at a museum, a fun outfit I wear, a nice meal, a new song/video I find, a great cup of coffee, or anything else that I love.  Basically my “happy things”, which is something that I actually think about, but have never expressed in writing.  Since I believe that happiness is unlimited, I will not have a set number of happy things that I post about.  If I happen to have 10, then I will write about 10.  If I have 2, then the same.

And of course, I will write a few regular posts when I can (except for recipes, because I won’t have kitchen access).

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If anyone has some recommendations for London or Paris please please please tell me!  I’m looking for some fun, local things to do once I get tired of tourist attractions.  So far, I’m seeing The Strokes and that’s about my whole plan.

Yep.  Really killin it with the planning.

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*Song of the Day: England–The National*

Stripes in Downtown Las Vegas

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Hello hello.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but in many parts of the country, it’s very pretty and springy with warm, breezy weather that makes you crave popsicles and want to wear nothing but flowy, pastel colored dresses.  Unless you’re in Reno.  No, if you’re in Reno, it’s sweater weather with rain and gusts of wind.

While I really appreciate the sweater weather with rain, I do not appreciate the wind whatsoever.  Although the wind makes me very, very sad, the Sierra Nevadas are getting some much needed snow/rain which is really exciting.  Also, it makes it much easier to be inside taking a three week labor economics course.  (However, I really can’t complain because my professor is this cute retired old man that is definitely a feminist, wears oxfords every day, and claims he “gets off on economics”).

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While I was in Vegas over the weekend, the weather was sunny and averaged in the 70s, so my brother and I decided to go downtown in Las Vegas and snap a few pics.  By downtown Las Vegas, I mean old downtown, not The Strip!

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This was our first time being down there.  It’s kind of funny how you can live somewhere your whole life, and never see some of its best parts until you move away.

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This is my little brother in front of a coffee shop sign I fell in love with at The Container Park.  Hi Garrett.

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Pants: RSQ   T-shirt: H&M   Bag: Vintage   Necklace: Old   Belt: Old   Shoes: Audrey Brooke

*Thanks to my brother for taking many of these pictures <3*

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Song of the Day: Peach–Your Friend

Wheat Print Dress, French Fries, and Home Libraries

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Happy happy Friday!

It’s almost 3 and I’m sure half of you can’t wait to get out of work and half of you just finished your last class of the day and are on your way to your unpaid internship.

Either way, I hope that you’re having a wonderful Friday afternoon.  Luckily, I was able to get all of my classes Monday-Thursday this semester and I don’t work Friday so I’ve just been having the most relaxing day.  Yay for Fridays off!  When you work and go to school six days a week, having Fridays off is absolutely the most wonderful thing in the world.

I actually spent the day in bed, eating French fries, watching Sex in the City, and reading random books.  Tonight I’m driving to Tahoe to have dinner with my friend.  *angels randomly begin singing*

I really think that it’s important to relax every once in a while doing exactly what you want to do.  I really love watching TV and eating and relaxing every once in a while.  If you really love going out and dancing, do that.  If you really love spending some free time sewing or bowling or hiking, you do you.  Of course, I love sewing and hiking and playing piano and singing and writing songs and baking, etc. etc.  But sometimes I just want to lay in bed and watch reruns of The Office.  So I did that.  Take a mental health break every once in a while and lay in bed for a day.  Your brain will love you.

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I also taught myself how to use my tripod, which my brother showed me how to use like, 8 times, but I either wasn’t listening or can’t figure out how to do things correctly.  Either way, it happened and now we have pictures.

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*Ignore my messy floor please & thank u*

This is one of my favorite dresses ever.  You can expect to see it in the future.  I have about ten black dresses (it’s getting to be a problem).  After buying a black dress at American Apparel over the summer, I saw this one about two weeks later.  I almost didn’t buy it.  But I had to.

And I wear both dresses all the time.

So it was totally worth it.

This outfit is actually a combination of some of my favorite articles of clothing.  1. The dress  2. The shoes  3. Tights in general, and 4. the cardigan.  I’ll actually wear this outfit in the early fall or late spring with another sweater that’s more flowy and less warm.  But since it’s been chilly around Reno, I decided that this cardigan would be my best option.

Cardigans can substitute for winter jackets in 40 degree weather, right?

Probably.

I will wear this outfit whenever I don’t know what else to wear.  I have about five or six “go-to” outfits, and this is definitely one of them.  I have a cute black pair of heeled ankle boots that look really cute with the dress if I need to dress up a little more.  Simple dress + heeled ankle boots + jacket/cardigan + smoky eye = really great outfit.

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One of my favorite parts is the simplicity of the print.  It looks like wheat to me.  I don’t know if it really is, but I’ve decided they’re little wheat stalks.

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Dress: Forever 21 Cardigan: Inc. Tights: Old Shoes: Tilly’s Necklace: DIY

Do you have favorite books that you reread all the time?  (Mine is Harry Potter!)

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*Song of the Day: Someday–The Strokes

Sweaters and Insecurities

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Hello friends.

Today (tonight) (at midnight) I will be talking to you about bodies!

Mostly your body (or my body in my case) and insecurities and confidence.

But first, about these pictures……

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I decided that I wanted some updated piano pictures of me.  The only ones I have are old, and since playing piano (and music in general) is a huge passion of mine, I wanted some for general uses.

As for my outfit: I decided to stage the pictures to look how I would in every day life.  Generally, if I’m at home, I’m wearing comfortable clothing.  I especially love sweaters, socks, leggings, flannels, etc.  Hence the sweater and socks.  I also decided to keep my piano how it looks like if you walk into my house.  I decorated it a little differently than I normally do, but this is what my life looks like on an average day.

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(I also tried pictures with nothing on my piano, which turned out pretty boring.)

Now on to bodies!  While taking these pictures, I was kind of nervous.  1. My hair was a mess and kind of wavy from having it in a ponytail all night.  2. My makeup was not as perfect as I would normally like for pictures, and 3. I wasn’t sure if the outfit would end up looking like I was trying too hard to be “sexy” (you know, in that way you see girls looking on the Urban Outfitters website like they’re so nonchalantly sitting in a meadow or something wearing a t-shirt and their underwear).  I was worried that having thigh high socks on with really short shorts would seem slutty, or if I would be judged by others based on my looks.  I’m not a model, after all.

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In addition to be worried about my hair/makeup/outfit, I was worried about my body.  Under no circumstances have I ever felt that I am overweight, or thought that I had anything truly wrong with my body.

But like most people, I have wanted to change some things about my body.  I have wanted my legs to be longer and my midsection to be curvier.  My body in general to be curvier.  I have wanted to be taller, bigger boobs, prettier skin, skinnier thighs.  Even though I am small, I have still had insecurities.

Every time I have expressed these, I always get things like, “But you’re so skinny!” “You’re so little!” “You’re like, what, 100 pounds?”

And while all of those things are true (because I am naturally that way), I still have had insecurities about my body.  There seems to be this misunderstanding that being small/skinny/little means we do not have insecurities.  But being small/skinny/little oftentimes means having no boobs/butt/curves.  It oftentimes means that we have bodies similar to that of 13 year old girls.

And listening to somebody complain about their flaws they have for themselves while undermining the flaws I have for myself is a little bit annoying.

And while taking these pictures, all I could think was, “Will these look okay?”  Because I knew that I would not look like those models on the internet, whose legs go on forever.  Who have meticulously applied eyeliner and mascara to look like they aren’t wearing any at all.  Whose hair is perfectly tousled because they “woke up like this”.

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But when I actually took a look at the pictures, I didn’t care at all.

Because I loved how I looked in the photos.  I loved my wavy hair.  I loved that my body looked like mine.  I loved how my legs didn’t go on forever, and my sweater was baggy, and my makeup wasn’t perfect.  Because I’m not a model.

I love how if any of you were to see me in real person, you would still recognize me from these pictures.

For the last year or so, I have become so incredibly confident about my body.  I find myself judging my “flaws” less and less.  Because they are not flaws.  They’re made up problems that I have in my own head.  They’re not real.  They’re only real to me because I let them be that way.

I’m not sure where it came from exactly, but I have some ideas.  For starters, at the beginning of last year, I broke off a couple bad relationships (one in particular that made me feel especially bad about myself).  I formed some new great ones.  I had people in my life who made me feel beautiful and empowered.  They reminded me that I was beautiful and liked me for things I didn’t even like about myself.  They encouraged me.  Out with the negative, in with the positive.  Some of those people aren’t really in my life anymore, even just a year later, but they still had a huge impact on my confidence, and I am so grateful to them for that.

I also just decided that I was fed up with the discouragement I was giving myself.  I was tired of the bullshit that I kept telling myself over and over.  I decided to learn to love myself for who I am.

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So while I’m sure it’s nice to be tall with perfect curves and long legs, I don’t care because I am who I am.  I love being the cute small girl with bangs and oxfords.  I like that I am different.

And I like that these photos came out kind of sexy.

Not lingerie-in-your-face-obvious kind of sexy, but subtly sexy.  Like how girls actually look when we’re hanging around our house (because unlike girls in movies/ads/perfume commercials, we don’t just hang out in lacy underwear all day with a perfect chignon and red lipstick).

Ever since I have started loving my body, I have been so much happier.  Every time I think about something I would like to change, I can so easily ignore the negative thoughts.  Of course, I still have my bad days.  But I always know that I’m still pretty in my own unique way.

I’m fit, I’m healthy, and I like who I am as a person.

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Sweater: Forever 21 Shorts: Old Socks: American Apparel

And I love these pictures, dammit.

The whole point of this is that we cannot change the way we were made.  It’s easier to learn to love your body than to obsess over how much it bothers you.

I ♥♥♥ my body.

I hope you love, or can learn to love yours too.

Because as cliche as this seems, everyone is beautiful.

XO Sara

Song of the Day: “Body”–Karen O (more about relationships than anything, but empowering nonetheless).

Floral Layers

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Good things so far about the new year:

1. I ate ice cream twice today.

2. I learned what ‘fleek’ means.

3. FRIENDS IS ON NETFLIX (goodbye social life. goodbye productivity)

4. I learned the lyrics to “Breezeblocks” by Alt-J.

Things that could use some improving:

1. My grammar is progressively getting worse post by post.  (I promise I know how to use commas and periods and spelling correctly.  I’m just lazy and like to pretend I’m blogging on twitter apparently).

2. I’m housesitting for a friend and while I was getting her mail today I dropped the mail key into the bushes in front of the mail box and the key disappeared into the snow and I still have yet to find it.  Do you know how not fun it is to dig around in the snow on your hands and knees for 15 minutes in the dark before accepting defeat.  DO YOU?!

Anyways, hopefully a good magnet taped to a wooden spoon will help in the morning.

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Anyways, yesterday night my brother and I went to my cousin’s house for dinner.  We arrived about 15 minutes early, so we decided to take some pictures outside before we went in.  (Mostly I just really liked my outfit).

The pictures are way too bright since it was a weird time of day, but I think they do the job.

This dress is one of my favorites, and a perfect example of how to make a summer dress into a winter outfit.  I always wear it with leggings (because it’s really short!) but add a sweater, boots, and a jacket and it becomes a winter outfit!

And it makes me very very happy!

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Dress: Forever 21 Leggings: Forever 21 Sweater: Old Jacket: Burton Shoes: Minnetonka Sunglasses: Ray Ban

Anyways, my brother left this morning so I’ve been a little sad today.  Living alone (or with two roommates in college) gets a little lonely so I always have a little time of mourning after somebody goes home.  But I practiced piano, watched The Help, and had a nice solo dinner so it wasn’t the worst day.  Plus, my brother will be back soon!  Another thing to add to my list of good this year!

What are some good things about your new year so far?

XO Sara

Song of the Day: Breezeblocks–Alt-J