bejeweled romance.

The best gifts in life are the gifts you don't have to request...someone just knows.

Since I was old enough to appreciate the lovely things in life, which I'd peg around age 12, I've wanted an antique cameo necklace, ring or brooch. Don't ask me why--cameos don't really fit my usual style--but there's simply something uber romantic about them. Their age. The wispy portrait of a beautiful woman of yore. The peachy hues and milky complexion. Over the years, I've oogled many a cameo, but never bought one for myself. A cameo felt like an item I would someday get from a super-special guy who understood my silly romantic heart.

And Gabe just knew. Even though I'd not said a word to him, he just knew. (Or maybe a friend or family member tipped him off?) I found this little pretty under the tree when we reunited in December...after 20 hours of travel, loads of delays, thinking we'd not see each other in time for New Years. Yep, I'm finally getting around to telling you about my Christmas gifts. But it felt extra special, given the months we'd spent apart and the hassle we went through to see each other that evening. He even found an extra long chain, so I can wear it tucked into my blouse and close to my heart when I don't want to make it the main event of an outfit.

I adore it. But, I think this cameo may be the jumping point for another 'someday' collection...after I get bored with suitcases and globes. :)

P.S. Thank you for all your nail tips + color recommendations! I'm so intrigued by Shellac. I might have to reward all this paper writing + finals studying with a little Shellac splurge!


nail repertoire

I've fallen in love with painted nails. In my early years of waitressing and such, nail polish was a giant "no"...and after that I stuck strictly to conservative french manicures. Now that I've been in grown-up world for some years, I've opened up to deliciously punchy colored nails. But I'm sooo over fighting the battle with chips.

Are you with me? No matter how careful I am about drying time or daily coats of clear protector...the chips are pervasive and unpreventable. When I heard rave reviews about SH's Polish Strips (the word is they last chipless for up to ten days!), I hauled my lil' rear to the store and picked up "Raise Your Glass", then settled on my couch and tried to make the magic happen.

The magic never came. Giiiirrrrl, I was out $8 and lookin' like a hot mess. It seems I'm destined for coats of polish and daily damage control. So, I've been makin' lemonade and switching my colors every few days. Here's what's in my polish bag:

Kennebunk-port by OPI (seen here)...a deep red + merlot that works with most anything
The Thrill of Brazil by OPI (seen here)...punchy and flirty: think foxy 50's secretary
Eiffel for This Color by OPI (seen here)...dark, dark purple with a hint of shimmer
Vacation Time by Sinful Colors (seen here)...sweet and rosy, a perfect fallback

But, my new favorite overall is The Next CEO by OPI (in the photo above), a really warm glittery gold. This hue isn't disco-ball glittery...it would be grown up enough for the workplace, but still fun to wear out with the girls. And bonus: three days without a chip. Yay!

Do you have a polish fav? Or any time-tested tricks for keeping a manicure fresh for days?



Though my computer is filled to capacity with photos, I'm not so fabulous at keeping personal snapshots around my home, save the old ones stashed away in a box. My wall hangings are mirrors, chalkboards, clocks. This likely means something deep and psychological...but I contribute it to my inability to figure out how to print photos, find the perfect frames and choose spots for them in my home.

This is the only, only photo hanging in my home. Before typing that, I took a quick spin around my place to ensure the truth in that statement...it's true! The only one. My big sister holding a one-week-old me. I see it daily, and it never fails to make me smile. Mostly because my sister used to tell me I was adopted...this is the closest thing I have to proving her wrong. But also because we're pretty cute. :)

Happy 26th birthday, sis. I love you!


stay classy.

(This was a "check my outfit" shot before heading out to a wedding this weekend...hence the lack
of focus + messy living room. Clutch, rug and mirror were all inherited from Naphtali!)

Once upon a time there was this boy. We worked together and I was gaga over him...but he had no idea I existed romantically. After some time passed, I consoled myself by purchasing the book "He's Just Not That Into You". Because, well, I was that girl. The girl who doesn't always get the message in love. So, I read the book, cried over unrequited admiration and decided to stop crushin' on someone who didn't notice me.

But, it was in reading this book that I discovered one of my favorite quotes:

Don't confuse being classy with being a doormat. 

I love those words, since I have a tough time grasping the difference between being a doormat and acting like a lady. Do the two feel synonymous at times?

While lingering over the phrase this week, I ran across a current article that boiled lady-like behavior down to this: a lady should wear a skirt, never think herself higher than a man, remain quiet and submissive and never appear bold. Holy smokes. Frankly, I've a tough time believing that a woman's only purpose is to sit prettily in skirts, ankles crossed, smiling at the world....never forming a free thought. There's certainly a place for beauty and for boldness in a lady's life, for freely expressing her thoughts and beliefs. For standing up to a man when she must. And while I feel the phrase "act like a lady" often comes into play only when referencing when one must be silent, being a lady is deeper than simply hushing up or lacing a social situation with a well-placed compliment...isn't it?

Is "act like a lady" simply a reminder to follow those unwritten etiquette rules...or is it more than meets the eye? Should we redefine the meaning of this phrase for the modern girl, or is this phrase totally timeless?

What does the phrase "act like a lady" mean to you? Do you embrace it or rebel against it?


Can I say I have a collection of something, even if I only currently have one? Mmkay, good. Cause I collect typewriters. And I have exactly one.

A month ago, my sis and I were up later than we should have been trolling the internet, when we realized that we'd both been hankering for a vintage typewriter. This discovery thrust us into one uninterrupted hour of typewriter hunting on Etsy, where we finally came across this beauty, sold by Confetti Garden, a store which specializes in vintage goodies. We caved, and a week later it arrived on my doorstep....and I cannot say enough good about Confetti Garden. Our typewriter was packaged to perfection, cute as a button, bearing a handwritten card and all kinds of extra goodies. I was over the moon, and had so much fun with it that I'm dreaming of getting a little sister for this lil' olive guy.

Unfortunately, the pink typewriters I'm dreaming of bear $300-$500 pricetags. And perhaps that should wait until I live in a place slightly larger than a shoebox, allowing for plenty of room for displaying extravagant purchases. For now, I'm allowing my other collections to grow: vintage suitcases and globes have taken over my living room. And I love it.

Your turn: Do you collect anything...even if it's just in your mind? Did you collect anything as a kiddo?


journey to chic.

When a girl discovers she's going to Paris, what's the first thing she thinks?

I must learn French! (No.)
A sight seeing plan must be made! (No.)
I must drop 15 pounds! (No. Mmkay, a little.)

No, no. The first harrowing thought was this: Fun! But, what will I wear?!?

What I'm saying is this: 
A girl only goes to Paris once, and I'm determined to do it in style. Someday my future kiddos will see these travel photos. And I'd like them to believe there was once a time in their mother's life when she was chic and foxy. (Even if it was only for one week in Paris.

Given my subpar passion for fashion, and inability to refer to myself as chic, I knew I'd have zhuzh it up. Stretch outside my comfort zone. 
 So, I immediately began trolling both web and brick + mortar shops for clothes cute enough to make the trip. Mid-January while in Chicago, I spotted the J.Crew Gabriella dress in Dark Slate, and it was good old-fashioned l...o...v...e, but I wasn't feeling so hot about my bod at the time. I felt shlumpy. I didn't even try it on, for fear I'd leave the store in tears. The frock haunted my thoughts the entire six hour drive home. And the next day. And the next week. Finally, I hunted that sucker down online and plunked down the hefty $50 + shipping. When it arrived, it looked so tiny. Tiered ruffles? What was I THINKING?  It was left untried on, hung with care and intentions to get in shape before summer.

This past weekend, something took over. Guts. Gaul. Whatever it be, I shimmied into it, knowing I could soar or be crushed by what I was about to see. Moments later, I found myself spinning about unabashedly infront of my mirror...loving what I saw. I liked it. I really, really liked it. Wearing it is off-limits, its for Paris only. But I just know it will be perfect for a dressy dinner, or even with flats for a flirty afternoon sight seeing! 

Hooray! Am officially on the journey to becoming a temporarily chic girl.



Thanks so much for all your kind words about my trip to Paris...I adore you guys and can never thank you enough for your kind words + support. A double thank you to those of you who provided resources for me! (Tips for Americans in Paris? Maps to the best flea markets? YES!) I cannot wait to pour over them in a few weeks.

Life has been awkward and busy round here. I'm in the midst of two research papers: One on the medical practices in the time of the Black Death, and another on depressed artists: the connection between sanity and creativity. Cheery, eh? Mixed in there, I'm also juggling two group projects and normal readings and coursework.

Please don't ask what my apartment looks like right now. I'd be embarrassed if even my mother saw it. Although I've resumed use of disposable plates + cup + silverware (let the environmental hatemail commence!)...this place remains disastrous. The only orderly item appears to the the stack of thirteen (!!!) beefy research books on everything from Medicine before Science to Willem de Koooning: The Last Years...all awaiting their cracking.

So, don't mind my silence for a few days. I'm attempting a restraint and focus level not previously seen in my life...

In the meantime, I wish you a lovely, lovely rest of the week, friends! :)


to paris, to paris.

Regardless of budgets, tight timelines and my stance of practicality, Gabriel had made up his mind: I would wake up for Birthday #25 in Paris. No questions, no arguments. It was happening, so I better deal with it.

Ten weeks ago we spent our last day together hunting down hotels. And let me tell you: That was a job for sure. Although we were booking five months in advance, some of our top choices were already booked to capacity. Not easily deterred from our search for perfection: We hunkered down infront of my computer and stalked hotel after hotel, looking for the perfect blend of location, charm, pricepoint and flawless TripAdvisor reviews. As it turns out, finding the ideal hotel for one entire week in Paris is impossible if booking less than six months in advance. So, we've decided to split our time between The Duquesne Eiffel Hotel and Le Burgundy. Both beautiful, and in ideal locations that allow us to experience two different arrondissments. One was much lower than our pricepoint, and one much higher...so we figured it would average out....right? :)

Truth be told...the inexpensive hotel has won my heart. Why? Here's the view from my room, courtesy of a TripAdvisor photo...and I did request this exact room:

We plan to do all the standards: picnic at the Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, balcony breakfasts of chocolate croissants. A Parisian flea market. Testing out my newly-acquired French-speaking skills. (That's still in progress...)

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Sixty days. Sixty days!


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