A Very Blog-able Birthday

On May 10th, I turned eighteen! I celebrated the start of a new year in the same way I did last year, with lots of pizza and good company. After dinner, my boyfriend, Greg, handed me an envelope that said "Open on Friday night" and asked that I keep my entire Saturday free. I'm not usually one for surprises, but I knew he had something good up his sleeve so I happily agreed. Come Friday night, I tore into the envelope to find a very formal letter printed in calligraphy font that read, "Today you will partake in a Blog-able Birthday, consisting of great fun documented by a nice camera. Are you up for the day?" followed by a packing list and some instructions. I packed a bag of some "dope outfits" (in Greg's words), and went to bed-- excited for what the day would hold! In this post, I wanted to share not only the photos that Greg took, but also the day's agenda because it was one of the most fun and well thought out days I've ever had!

Greg picked me up at 11, handed me a blindfold to wear in the car, and took me for a "blog-able" coffee run: iced lavender and orange zest lattes.

Practicing his newly aquired photography skills
We then headed downtown for lunch on an adorable outdoor patio. Like any good blogger, Greg pulled the car over when he saw some aesthetically pleasing backgrounds for photos.

outfit details: pantsplatform sandals (3 colors!) | similar shirt
After lunch, my blindfold went back on and Greg drove us to a dog park, where some of my best friends and THEIR DOGS and MY DOG were waiting! We played at the park for a while then sat outside to eat ice cream at Ben and Jerry's (my favorite).

After that, we got back in the car for what Greg told me would be a "20 minute drive." Well, an hour later, we were in Newport, Kentucky. We had matcha lemonades on a balcony that overlooked the river and snapped some photos before heading 10 minutes south into Cincinnati.

outfit details: leather sandals | top | similar skirt
When I took off my blindfold in Cincinnati, I immediately recognized the venue as Washington Park, but I had no idea what was going on or why so many people were gathered. Greg told me it was the annual Asian Food Festival, which got me excited because I love international foods. Little did I know that Greg had schemed with my best friend, Caroline, who goes to Miami University to meet us at the festival. Needless to say, I freaked out a little when I saw her.

This day was the perfect start to my 18th year, and I can't wait to see what other good things are to come during it!

Thank you, Greg, for planning this day and thank you to all of my friends who joined us in the fun!

Stay Sunny,


Pom Pom Pants

I have to say, I thought pom poms had their moment. I assumed that after their popularity last summer, they were on their way to the land of forgotten trends along with chevron and bubble statement necklaces (cringe). That was, until these J.Crew pants proved me wrong. I love the mix of the refined, structured linen pant with the fun yet subtle touch of pom poms. Both of my internships this summer have creative, casual dress codes so I am looking forward to wearing these!

I styled the pants with a tie shoulder tank top, my Cuffed by Nano choker, and white platform sandals. See more colors and sizing information linked at the end of this post!

Huge thank you to Molly Goheen for taking these photos!

So for now, pom poms are here to stay, and I don't see them leaving anytime soon.

shop the post:

top in white and black (I sized up 1 size) | pants in white and black (I sized down 1 size) | sandals (true to size) | necklace

stay sunny,
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Guide to Sleeping Well + Waking Up Better

Last week, I asked my Instagram followers what type of post they wanted to see next on the blog. Overwhelmingly, they chose a post about how I sleep and wake up well. Sleep is often an overlooked part of wellness-- especially for students. No matter how much bulletproof coffee you drink, kale salads you eat, or vitamins you swallow, if you are not sleeping enough you won't feel healthy. If your busy mind and a restless body is keeping you up at night, read my tips on how I calm down for a night of sound sleep. 

About 30 minutes to an hour before bed, I start my essential oil diffuser (I use this one) with lavender oil and dim the lights in my room. By having lower lighting your brain releases melotonin (shoutout to my AP Psych class) which will start to slowly put you to sleep. I've also found that lavender oil is a very effective form of aromatherapy for relaxation, and by using it consistently it will signal your brain and body that it is time for bed.

For the next 15 minutes or so I'll get to a good stopping point in whatever I am doing. I'll pack up my backpack and set out my clothes for the next day. Then I'll take my time going through my skincare routine and brushing my teeth. This step has definitely been a game changer in how I relax at night, by not rushing through getting ready for bed my mind and body calm down, too. Our unconscious mind picks up on all relaxation cues, even things that seem small.

Then I'll get into bed and journal for a little bit if I feel like my mind is cluttered. A good practice if you find yourself drained or sad at the end of your day is to write down some specific things you were grateful for during the day-- however small. Most importantly, I try not to check my phone as it undoes all of the relaxing I have already done by exposing me to blue light and starting my brain's thinking processes back up.

Then I start my Sleep Cycle app. By tracking my sleep, I've been able to be more in tune with my body and notice what makes me sleep better or worse, as well as keep tabs on how much sleep I'm actually getting. The competitiveness within me also really wants to reach 100% for sleep quality, which motivates me to get to bed earlier. It also wakes you up at the point closest to your set alarm when your sleep is at its lightest. I use this as my only alarm clock and I do not have a clock in my room to avoid putting pressure on myself to fall asleep.
An example of what the Sleep Cycle app looks like after a night of sleep
Lastly, I do a breathing exercise or a guided meditation. My breathing tactic goes like this: take a deep breath into your abdomen so that your stomach swells with air. Then, breath into your lungs and puff out your chest with air while still retaining the breath in your stomach. Hold it for a few seconds then release the breath in reverse order: emptying your lungs then your stomach. I like this in particular because it is complicated enough that it distracts your mind, but is simple enough to still be relaxing. The guided meditations I use are from an app called Meditation Studio (it's free and so good). My favorites are the shorter ones (5ish minutes): Finding Stillness, Let Go of Muscle Tension, and Relax Before Bed. I usually fall asleep during the meditation or shortly after, but if I can't fall asleep for over 30 minutes I take half a packet of Emergen-z (a melotonin drink mix).

Then after sleeping it's time to rise & shine!

My best tip for waking up in the morning is making the first thing you do something you enjoy. That will give you the motivation to get out of bed, because no one wants to get up just to have to get dressed or wash their face. For me, I like to go downstairs, get a cup of coffee, and sit down with a blanket and drink it. It could be something as simple as getting out of bed to go watch a little bit Netflix or to pet your dog, but the most important part is getting out of bed.

My second tip is something that I did for Lent but have decided to keep doing-- not checking my phone while I'm in bed. By checking social media right away in the morning, it reinforces the notion that we need to constantly be plugged in-- something that can cause anxiety and stress. Although it can be hard, starting off screen free sets the tone for a peaceful day.

Lastly, if you have a really tough time getting out of bed, I encourage you to trick yourself. This is how I transitioned into being more of a morning person last year, and for me it worked really well. When you wake up, go ahead and hit snooze-- but force yourself to get out of bed. Tell yourself that you only have to stay out of bed for the 8 minutes of "snooze" time. Do something to help yourself wake up, such as drinking a glass of water or stretching. When the 8 minutes are up, you can go ahead and sleep for a little bit longer-- but chances are you won't want to. If you do stay out of bed, reward yourself with a good breakfast or something else fun.

That's all I have! Sleep can be tricky-- the best thing to do is cultivate good sleeping habits, because good sleeps lets you invest in yourself for the next day. Above all, try not to stress out about it. I don't follow these guidelines every night myself, things happen, and you'll be okay!

stay sunny (& sleep tight),

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Well... here we are! It's time for me to graduate high school! I know...it's crazy to me too. I haven't put a ton about my college search on the blog because it's honestly been a crazy and not always fun journey. But ya know what? It was all worth it because I finally get to share with you all that I will be attending...

 The University of South Carolina!

I'm excited to share more in the near future!
But for now...
stay sunny


More Than Just a Pretty Dress

Last week, I was shopping the clearance section at Marshall's. I stumbled upon a $6 pair of loafers in my size. I tried them on, they fit, and I began to carry them towards the checkout line because, well, they were six dollars. I looked down at the shoes and stopped dead in my tracks because I realized didn't even like them that much. If I had bought them, I probably would have worn them once, held onto them for a while, and then gotten rid of them. You see, this is idea of the disposable fashion is all too common in today's world: a world of fast-fashion, low quality material, and unethical labor. Brands are focused on creating more and more, and we are focused on buying more and more-- especially with prices so low. A $3 t-shirt? I'll take 5! It doesn't matter if I ever wear them, they're $3. But here's the catch: in order to have such a rapid, massive, and cheap production of clothing, something has to give. If you aren't suffering the consequences of fast fashion, someone else is. Often times, that "someone" is a laborer who is unsafe and underpaid. Or, perhaps, it is a shared burden of all of us suffering the effects of the world's 2nd most polluting industry.

I challenge you to be more intentional with what you buy. This doesn't mean that you need to research the origins and ethics of every single thing you add to your cart-- I assume none of us have time or resources for this. Before you buy something that is not a necessity, ask yourself a series of questions such as "Will I wear/use this often?" "Does this bring me joy?" "Do I already have something like it?" Practicing this review of products will lead you to "impulse buy" less often-- saving you money, saving the environment resources, and defying our hedonistic culture.

When you can, shop ethically. Research brands that produce clothing in an environmentally-friendly manner that fit your price point. My favorite sustainable company (although I may be biased), is Fame and Partners-- where I will be interning this summer. What makes F&P so unique is that they are "the modern woman's personal atelier," meaning every garment is made to order and made to fit the customer's body. Their dresses are also customizable in many ways, from color to neckline, giving women creativity and freedom with what they buy. Aside from the benefits for the customer, the benefits to the environment are numerous: no mass-production, no waste, and no need for storage in an air-conditioned warehouse. AND, as if they weren't already awesome enough, $5 of each sale goes to 1 of 3 charities (you get to choose) which will empower women in a variety of ways. Fame and Partners really is about more than a pretty dress, which has caused me to fall head over heels for this company in such a short amount of time.

Today I am sharing with you a dress that I recently received from them, which I was able to choose the fabric, have a personalized fit, and raise the neckline. Shop F&P dresses here.

Photos by Rachel Issler

stay sunny


DIY Yarn Wall Hanging + Gallery Wall Update

This is going to sound creepy, but to me it's so fun to get a look inside someone's home. That's why I love seeing the unique apartment tours of bloggers online and on Instagram.  A recent inspiration to me is Lee From America and her breezy, minimal LA loft. It has natural decorations that create a calming atmosphere, such as plants and a yarn wall hanging. I loved the wall hanging so much I decided to make a mini one of my own! It spices up my gallery wall and adds a new medium to the arrangement. I was even able to customize the colors to fit my space. These can be made in any size, and they would be a fun addition to any dorm, home, or bedroom!

To make your own...

What You'll Need
Yarn (I used this one and this one)
Wooden dowel (Here are 10 12 inch ones for $3)

1. Cut a piece of paper to the size and shape of the wall hanging that you want
2. Measure and cut the dowel with scissors or a small saw, then file the end so that it is smooth
3. Double the yarn with a loop at the top to have enough yarn to tie the knot, use the paper template as a guide for length
4. Tie a knot around the dowel in the middle of the piece of yarn
5. Pull apart a piece of yarn and tie each end onto the dowel to use for hanging


Prom Dress Guide

It's almost Prom szn! Although my school doesn't have Prom until May, I know some of you have Prom sooner than that OR you just like to get a head start on dress shopping. Whatever the case, I scoured the internet for 50 of the prettiest dresses out there, paired with a commentary about why I like them. Scroll down for the dress guide and some of my Prom pictures from last year below!

click the right arrow for more!

similar dresses to mine: 1 2 3 4

Happy (almost) Prom Season,
Stay Sunny