A Sunny State of Mind Last-Minute Gift Guide

EEP! There are only EIGHT days until Christmas! At this statement, you're probably in one of two camps: excitement or excitement lined with anxiety because you haven't finished Christmas shopping. If you're in the second, have no fear -- here are my top ideas for yourself, your bff, aunt, sister, mom, girlfriend, or grandma. Happy gifting!

On My Wishlist

1. Bathtub/Bed Reading Tray | Amazon | $39
I'm pretty sure this is the most useful contraption I've ever seen. It's a bath reading tray that can fold into a laptop bed tray! Complete TWO cupholders.

2. L’ange Le Gloss | Ulta | $109
My trusty Bedhead straightener from 2010 is nearing its final days...  it only works with the cord at a certain angle (yikes!). So I'm asking for this Le Gloss straighter to replace it because it has the same wide plates that I love.

3. Eva NYC Healthy Heat Blow Dryer | Anthropologie | $60
My mom has this blow dryer and I figured it's time I stop stealing hers. It makes my hair the silkiest it's ever been -- basically a miracle worker. 

4. FP Slippers | Free People | $60
Upping my WFH uniform with these furry slides.

5. Splits 59 Flare Leggings (order by 12/20) | S59 | $98
I got these in gray earlier in the year and am asking for another pair in navy. I am obsessed with the high waist and the flare is a chic upgrade to normal leggings.

6. Claw Clip Set | Amazon | $13
Just trying to embrace my Gen Z culture with these claw clips.

7. Velvet Headband | Amazon | $9
I love this headband because it's a subtle color and the velvet is perfect for winter. 

8. Nuuly Subscription | $68 (if you use my link for $20 off!)
If you know me, there's a 100% chance I've said "thanks, it's from my Nuuly!" to you. Nuuly is Urban/Anthro/Free People's monthly clothing rental box -- you get to pick 6 pieces per month!

9. Boysmells Votives | Garmentory (small biz!) | $48
I've grown a small collection of Boysmells candles over the past year. I love this votive set because it allows you to try 3 scents and channel SPRING!

10. Just Because Stationery Set | Darling (small biz!) | $25
Living far away from the people I love, it's fun to send snail mail to remind them that I'm not just a person on a FaceTime screen. This set from Darling is so stylish and fun. 

11. Bath Favorites | Honest Bubble Bath $12 and Dr. Teals Epsom Salt $5 | Target
I have a routine of taking a bath every Sunday (aka a sabBATH), so I'm asking for bubble bath and bath salts to add even more luxury to the Sunday-scary-combatting routine. 

Gifts I've Received/Given That Have Stood The Test of Time

1. Madewell Zip Wallet | $20 with code BIGTIME | Order by 12/19
At this point, most of my friends own this zip wallet. I've had mine for 6 years and I am NOT gentle with it (lots of water, scratches, rolling around in the bottom of my bag), and it's still in great shape. It's too late to get it personalized in time for Christmas but you can do it on the spot (for free!) in some Madewell stores. 

2. Glossier Boy Brow | $16 | Order by 12/21
My holy grail beauty product. 

3. Artist Loft Journal | Michael's | $7 
After trying PILES of different journals (even Moleskine), this has to be my favorite. The pages are super smooth and bleed-resistant but my favorite part is that it has TWO ribbon bookmarks. 

4. 13mm Gold Hoops | Amazon | $50
I got these for Christmas last year and have worn them basically every day since! They're perfect for looking put-together but are weightless. These hoops and a swipe of Boy Brow and I'm out the door.
For your best friend, mom, or self -- this is my favorite bible with huge margins for art and journaling. 

Spirit + Style

I have school spirit, I love South Carolina, I'll go to a football game... but that doesn't make me *sporty.* You will not find me in a football jersey and rarely in a USC t-shirt -- but I still want to visibly support my school! Enter: Kyle Cavan X College Vault.

I first got to meet some lovely ladies of the Kyle Cavan/College Vault team at NYFW 2019 (time of my life), and I've loved the brand ever since. They specialize timeless, every-day-wear-worthy jewelry that reps your school or sorority. 

Since summer, I've been collaborating with the team to help them design and launch their newest jewelry line featuring vintage college logos -- so chic. I love how I can represent South Carolina at my internship, while traveling, at home, and with any outfit. Kyle Cavan is the only jewelry brand that can offer this vintage line, making their pieces such a special gift to commemorate your time at school. 

In this post I'm showing two ways how I wear my Kyle Cavan jewelry to show my Carolina love every day. 

For my first look, I went for business casual internship wear with a black silk shell, patterned blazer, jeans, my Vejas, all topped off with a KC Carolina Vintage sunburst necklace and South Carolina Florentine Seal necklace

I'm going to have this outfit on repeat all fall long!

Loving how the gold looks against black. 

For my second look, I went with a casual dress I'd wear out to dinner with friends, my Vejas again, and my go-to duo of KC Carolina Vintage sunburst necklace and South Carolina Florentine Seal necklace.

The necklaces are the perfect accent to a collared shirt/dress!

I had so much fun with this styled shoot and seeing the progression of the beautiful vintage line. Thank you, Kyle Cavan and College Vault, for sponsoring this post. Go Gamecocks!

Stay Sunny,

Photo Diary: Paris

With canceled trips, closed borders, and the danger of COVID, traveling abroad right now is nearly impossible -- not to mention unsafe. That means for many of us, we have an unfulfilled desire to adventure! Looking through old photos of Greg and I's Paris trip has satisfied *some* of my wanderlust, so I'm hoping that scrolling this photo diary will do the same for you. Plus, you can get inspiration for your Parisian getaway when it's safe to travel again. Consider these unshared photos from my time abroad as a sort of virtual vacation! So grab a Whole Foods croissant (it'll do for now) or a glass of French wine, crank La Vie en Rose, and enjoy!

The most excited I have ever been!

Paris was EXACTLY what I pictured

First crepe! (of many)

Feeding my chocolate croissant addiction

The best meal we had -- L'as Du Fallafel

Degas Statue at Musee D'Orsay

The first Laduree -- my 8th-grade self is quaking.

My favorite art we saw -- Monet's Water Lillies at Musee L'Orangerie

So many precious cafes!

At Les Deux Magots -- where Hemingway used to go and write

So ~Parisian~

The Louvre! We went on Valentine's Day night

Sainte Chappelle -- so beautiful!

Valentine's Dinner! You can see the fear in my eyes about eating escargot haha

En route to our picnic at Luxembourg Gardens


I hope these photos brought some wanderlust and joy to your day! If you have questions about specific locations or products pictured above, feel free to DM me on Instagram

Stay Sunny,

Wallet, Keys, Phone, Mask

Today I'm sharing the products have been my go-to's lately. I hope this post brings some lighthearted fun during scary times but also serves as a reminder to WEAR YO MASK!

Here are the things bringing me joy + why:

1. Dr. Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer: I'm tired of the hand sanitizer that smells like tequila -- that's why I keep this lavender hand sanitizer in my purse at all times. *Plus* as an added bonus, the lavender scent will calm your COVID anxiety down when the woman behind you at the grocery store is definitely not 6 feet apart! 

2. Cocokind Chlorophyll Face Mask: I feel like we all have a few stress breakouts lately, or we're at least in need of a good self-care moment. I've been loving using my Cocokind Chlorophyll Face Mask -- it comes as a powder so it lasts for forever and doesn't have any preservatives/chemicals in it! You can mix it with water, rosewater, essential oils, etc. to customize your mask. 

3. A MASK (DUH): The more important type of mask! Wearing a mask has been the *easiest* way to love the people around me lately. So stay strapped with your mask, keep it over your nose and mouth, and opt for reusable when you can!

4. Glossier Boy Brow: When wearing a mask, your brows are the true star of your face. When people can't see your mouth's expression, your brows do the talking of course! This is my absolute favorite brow gel for subtle, daily use. My brows are rowdy and this tames them while keeping their natural shape and size!

5. Diptyque Baies Candle (use code FREESHIP): My friend gifted me a coveted Baies candle last year, and I maybe burned it once for the entirety of 2019. Well, this pandemic has given me a reason to STOP saving things for "special occasions" and USE THE GOOD STUFF because life itself is a special occasion! I love the clean scent of Baies and it always boosts my mood to use. 

Stay sunny,

Get Out of Your League

At the beginning of the semester, I signed up for an intermediate photography class. The twist? I had never picked up a DSLR camera in my life. My school reached out to me because I didn’t submit a portfolio and asked me if I had the skills necessary to take the class. So I fibbed, “yes! of course!” I was up for the challenge and really wanted to take the class, so I wasn’t about to let a pre-req stop me. On the first day of class, I realized how truly out of my league I was. Most of the other kids were photography majors and this was their bread and butter. On top of that, there was a VERBAL skills assessment on the first day which I, by the grace of God and my very kind professor, was able to fumble my way through and pass. It was clear to everyone that I did NOT know what I was doing.

For the rest of the semester, I learned how freeing it is to take yourself out of the running for being the best. I didn’t have to focus on proving myself or looking over my shoulder because I already knew I was the worst one there, so I was able to take photos that expressed my passion and I was very free to fail. And I failed a lot! As an Enneagram 3 and someone who sometimes focuses too much on appearing “competent” (as if that is the highest virtue), I got uncomfortable. But just on the other side of that discomfort was a lot of FUN and joy. 

I turned in my final project, and I’m still the worst photographer in the class. BUT, I put my heart into it, improved immensely, and came out with a new skill. By having very little attention on me I felt the freedom to choose a topic near and dear to my heart. The prompt for our final projects was about Eros and Logos — love and reason. My project is about the thing that sits beautifully right on the tension between love and reason: faith. More specifically, it’s about the pursuit of God out of love when it makes very little reasonable sense — AKA in the middle of a pandemic! Below are a few of my favorites.

SO — what would happen if you got out of your league? If you took yourself out of the running? If instead of focusing on being the best you allowed yourself to fail and therefore experience freedom?

A Letter to The Girl Who Got Sent Home Because of COVID

Dear College / Study Abroad Girl,

So because of Corona, your university and/or study abroad program is shut down and you have to go home. I know it sucks, this was never part of anyone’s plan.

In Christian/Catholic circles we talk a lot about being “sent” by God, even to places we don’t want to go or that don’t look like what we envisioned the future to be. In the past when I would hear this, I’d picture going on mission in a foreign country or making a large/dramatic physical move. 

But what if the place He sends me isn’t dramatic at all? What if He just sends me home?

Well, that’s what’s happening by circumstance and I am leaning in nonetheless. God’s plan takes a lifetime to complete. And this is indeed part of it, He has something to show me here! And He has lots to show you, too.

My dad has encouraged me to think more about the opportunities that this season will present instead of the ones that it has closed. and so I encourage you to do the same! with more free time/time at home, try to rediscover old parts of yourself and make them new again. Were you a kid that read whole series of books in a week? start reading for fun again! 📚 Paint, draw, run, sew. Go on walks, ride your bike, get into nature.

Be with your people. 💕 We have been given the gift of time to spend with our families before we move away from home for good. Use it!

We are called to live our vocations and love those in front of us no matter where we may be. No matter if where we are is different than the plan in our heads. There is joy to be found here! ✨

It breaks my heart to have my study abroad cut short, and I promise I’m not always this positive about it, BUT gratitude turns scarcity into abundance and it’s all we have to get through this.

For now, I’m just grateful to have been where I’ve been (like beautiful Venice pictured above!), to have seen what I’ve seen, and still have my health. Cheers to that! 🥂

Stay sunny (even if it's pretty cloudy right now),

Winter + Spring Capsule Wardrobe

If you follow any style blogger, you've probably heard the term "capsule wardrobe" at least fifty times by now. Simply put, it's a small collection of high-quality clothing that you can mix and match to create outfits and spice up with seasonal/trendy accessories. They have become re-popularized lately as a sustainable alternative to fast fashion and encourage people to put more thought into their shopping.

I decided to create my own capsule wardrobe because of my upcoming semester abroad. As much as I want to, I can't fit my whole closet in my suitcase. So, out of necessity, I'll be wearing my most tried-and-true pieces from February till May! I've never been a minimalist, so this will be a challenge, but I love the idea that every outfit I wear will be a favorite. It's also made me a more intentional shopper because I am considering if each piece will fit with my daily wardrobe and if it's worth the space in my bag.

Here's what's in my capsule wardrobe:

1. Straight leg, high-waisted blue jeans
17. Pom pom hat

There are endless ways to mix up these pieces, but here are 8 of my favorite looks!

Check out my IGTV video for more on my capsule wardrobe!

Stay sunny,