On Settling. That print you wondered about.

IMG_8748I watched them, you see–watched them give away little pieces of themselves–women I knew well and women I didn’t know well at all. I watched them, my eyes wide and looking up because I was a little girl and still I saw–the settling. I don’t think I would have noticed it, and I only noticed it more as I grew, as I was out in the world, teachers and families I babysat, and all these women, settling. But I don’t think I would have noticed it if there wasn’t a cost. If I didn’t watch these women paying it.

So I made myself a promise. I would never trade away pieces of myself. I would not settle. I would not be that type of girl. I would not live looking backwards or with regrets. I was so young when I made myself that promise.

I want to say this: settling looks different for everyone and it’s also a state of mind. I’m not singling out anyone because settling looks different for everyone. Believing that God created us for a purpose is the first step in not settling. Believing He has a plan for us is the second. Living bravely, I think, is the third step. But figuring out these steps came later.

I just remember being around seven and knowing that I just couldn’t, wouldn’t pay the price of settling. When I read the interview on The Everygirl with Joy Wilson, before the quote was even a print, I saved it. I scratched it in my journal. Because that was what a quiet voice whispered to me when I was a little girl. You are not that kind of girl. 

When it was became a print, about a year ago (?), I knew I needed it. This was the a secret promise between God and I given a voice, suddenly succinctly put. 

Not everyone gets to choose, you know. I’m well aware that I am of a generation in a country where I don’t have to make certain choices or give away certain pieces of myself. The way I see it, those things are privileges I don’t plan on wasting. I’ve also already admitted that there have been moments where I have given parts of myself away, where I have settled, but God has been faithful to me as I’ve tried to walk clumsily alongside Him. IMG_8215

So number one: believe God created you for a purpose. Step two: believe He has a plan for you. Step three: live bravely. And step four is perhaps the hardest of all the steps and that is why I love this quote and love this print. You have to keep doing those steps. Rinse and repeat. Keep not settling. 

You can’t ever stop choosing not to settle because the world makes it easy to settle. It may even seem cozy for a time. But I saw the price of settling, years later, on different women’s faces and the way they carried their shoulders and I just can’t…Not settling can be so hard sometimes. So hard that I in my weaker moments, I consider taking the easier way. But…Someday I want to be a mom and a wife and the choices I make now, the choice to keep not settling, to live without regrets because God is always good, is already determining what kind of wife and mom I’ll be someday. Does that make sense? And when those kids are old and grown and I have to live just with myself, I don’t want anything pulling at me. I don’t want to ask what if. Not settling is an investment in my future. It’s another way of saying that I try to live faithfully, that I fail, but I try.

So for a year I have wanted this print. And now it’s on my wall. And I have to smile, knowing all that’s happened, only imagining all that will happen. And I have to trust too. That may be the most important part of all. 

You’re not that kind of girl either,

 
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Good Vibes Only Weekend.

chicagoweekendMy family received some bad news last week and it also happened to be a tough week at work so it was perfect timing that I had tickets to see a comedy show at the Chicago Theater and so I dub this past weekend: the Good Vibes Only Weekend. (Photos are from my Instagram)

1. I saw Mike Bribiglia on Saturday and he killed it. He is a comedian who is featured on This American Life semi-regularly and I happened to hear he was coming to town so I grabbed my friend who also loves Mike and has every This American Life memorized and he was hilarious. Please tell me some of you know who this guy is? This was his Thank God for Jokes tour and let me just say, thank God for jokes.

2. I cooked clean and ate clean and cleaned cleaned this weekend which seems lame and grown up but I mean…I feel pretty good about it. 

3. I wanted to bury this because, guys…this almost killed the Good Vibes Only weekend…but as you may know, my friend @TerribleTexter and I have been rewatching Dawson’s Creek and been kind of obsessed. We’ve drawn it out because we didn’t want the goodness to end. Let’s be honest. We could have Netflix binged so easily. But we had self-control. And then one day, it’s gone. Dawson’s Creek is no longer on Netflix. This is very upsetting to me. Deeply so. My theory is that in order to get Gilmore Girls (october, people) they had to let Dawson’s go. Which I feel like is selling one kid for another. @TerribleTexter says that is is basically the gift of the magi. Nonetheless, guy! GUYS! So sad. Not a good vibe. #paceyforpresident (still trying to make that hashtag happen).

4. I really love Chicago. I always dreamt of living in this city. I knew I would probably go somewhere and come back but that at some point, I dreamt of this. And now the dream is here. And it’s messy and complicated and dreamy all at once. 

Here’s to good vibes. Cheers!
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Surprise Saturday Giveaway!

Guys, I don’t know if you know but I started contributing to this awesome blog and they are doing a raffle!mcs giveaway (1)

Hello everyone! Happy Saturday. It’s that time again for the My Cooking Spot and contributors giveaway! We want to share our love of cooking by hosting a fabulous giveaway every month. This month we have a fabulous sponsor who has graciously provided the prize! And it’s a prize pack! Not just one, or two, but three different kitchenware items in the prize pack to win!

Here is more information about the products that are being provided:
GreenPan: Maker of the original GreenPan, healthy ceramic non-stick cookware. The perfect gift for the cooks you love, the I LOVE Cooking and I LOVE Baking Collections (photos available upon request). Easy cooking, easy cleanup, perfect results. Some of them even have a 3D surface ideal for the specific types of foods that are meant to be cooked in them.

Fiesta Dinnerware: The colorful iconic American brand recently introduced its new color of the year, Poppy (joining 14 other vivid colors). And for entertaining, consider the new Square Handled Serving Tray.

Tervis: Tervis insulated drinkware makes something for everyone. With more than 8000+ designs to choose from, including license agreements with more than 60 brands, and even an online Customyzer to design your own.

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Below are the contributors who helped put this giveaway together. Check out their fab blogs and see all the amazing recipes these ladies have done.

Be sure to enter to win!!

Enter today in the Rafflecopter entry form below.

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Contributors

Erin: My Cooking Spot – Jana: Life Could Be a Dream BlogErin: The Speckled Palate

Meme: Meme IngeMarcella: Marcella RosesRachel: Oh Simple Thoughts

Alli: An Alli Event - Nina: Wear Flowers in Your HairRebekah:Butcher’s Niche

Natasha: Gather Around Our TableMadison: Wetherill Say I Do

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What I’ve Learned Rewatching Dawson’s Creek.

dawson

I’ve been rewatching Dawson’s Creek with my friend, MK (you can find her @TerribleTexter on twitter…she’s hilarious but I take no responsibility for the things she says.) So here is what I/we have learned so far. You’re welcome.

1. Katie Holmes is kind of gorgeous. And gorgeous in a way where I always knew Katie Holmes was pretty. But this girl is clearly wearing make up and yet it looks like she is not wearing any make up. Gorgeous. TerribleTexter: “I’m considering getting botox on the left side of my face so my muscles will develop her perfect half smile.”

2. Never cry like Dawson. Because if you do I will make an emoji of it and send it to everyone all the time.

3. Capeside is the only place in Massachusetts that does not get snow. Also, Capeside is totally okay with PDA all the time, no matter what your age.

4. TerribleTexter: “A little lesson for the fellas out there” (me: what fellas?) “Buy a girl a wall and you’ll keep her heart forever…Actually you don’t need to even buy it; just lease it.”

5. Pacey Whitter is the ideal man. Wit will get you everywhere with women. You can’t out wit a whitter.

6. Do you want to wait for you life to be over? Do you want to know right now what will it be? Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo.

7. TerribleTexter: “Don’t let a man with crusty hair gel tell you anything about life.”

8.  Nineties fashion wasn’t kind to anyone. Except Katie Holmes’ lipstick which is brown. Which TerribleTexter and I are going to buy. (I’m so sorry, Mom, for making fun of your lipstick choices).

9. Watching the show is humbling. TerribleTexter: “Because even if the show is named after you, that doesn’t mean people want you in it…Like my life is the show of my life,  but also maybe it’s not?”

10. TerribleTexter: “If someone asked you about the point of human existence, and you hadn’t watched Dawson’s Creek in awhile, could you answer? #no” (She read me that real tweet and then asked: do you like how I made no a hashtag?)

dawsonSo there you have it. Follow @TerribleTexter. She’s a riot. But again, I am not responsible for her. :)

You’re welcome, everyone. 

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Frost Yourself.

creamcheesefrostingFall is the time for pumpkin flavored everything, brisk weather that has me clutching my coffee to warm my hands. I used to love fall but I fear I may have spent too long on the west coast. And every one keeps on saying, it’s supposed to be worse than last year. Why? Who started this rumor? Is the Farmer’s Almanac really that credible? I need the answer to be: no. In the meantime, I made these delicious pumpkin cookies. They are my mom’s recipe and you can read more about them here. But I want to share an easy but delicious Cream Cheese Frosting (also my mom’s recipe). 

You with me?

IMG_8075You will need:

3 ounces cream cheese softened

3/4 cup softened butter

1 tablespoon of milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Unfortunately, cream cheese doesn’t typically come in 3 ounce packages so you’ll have to estimate. You know, the exact opposite of what you are supposed to do when baking.

First, beat the cream cheese and butter together.IMG_8079Then, add milk, vanilla, powdered sugar and beat until smooth.IMG_8080It’s delicious on anything. Seriously. I would dip celery in it. But red velvet, chocolate, caramel…I could go on. I put it on pumpkin cookies. And I made them for friends but I may have stolen one for myself or three. Okay, six but another friend ate three and I ate three and they were the ugly ones.IMG_8092

I’m a mess, you guys. No doubt. I think I am supposed to be learning that is okay?
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(Over) Styling Life.

styling

Those photos above are from my instagram feed and I think they are really pretty. But here’s the thing. I think there is a little epidemic going on in the blogosphere and on social media. We get all these peeks into people’s lives, through the blog, through instagram, through facebook statuses and the like. And so we think we have the whole picture.

We don’t.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I agree that it is one way we allow our joy to be stolen. So I picked up my camera and took two quick pics of what life really looked like in this moment, in this life. I didn’t stage it to make it look messier (haha) and often times, you would find it messier (although I have been doing significantly better in this new apartment).  So…IMG_8629Although I love for things to look pretty (especially with this 70% white scheme I have going on here), it’s impossible that my instagram feed is my life. Because I consider instagram to be little corners of my world, little peeks, not the whole picture. Let’s round out the whole picture, at least just a little bit.IMG_8628Yeah that’s my desk when I am writing multiple blog posts and also painting my nails at the same time. P.S. How cute is that lamp? My nonna got it for me. But it’s right next to a present I need to bring to someone and bills I need to pay. You feel me? Real life. It invades. As it should.

Love,
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And I’m not buying it.

IMG_8661the first nice thing I bought myself…after my first big commission check where i had enough for rent and could save in SF…if you want to laugh google SF rents. rose gold watch here

If you go on an adventure –like move across the country (to San Francisco) for a job/career you never considered (high stakes sales)–you don’t return as the same girl, especially after two years.

I think some people expected me to remain unchanged. But not only did I return two years older, two years wiser (for what it’s worth), with two years of objectivity from my life back here in Chicago, I returned after doing a job that taught me so much about humans and how we relate to one another. (One day, I’ll tell you more about what sales taught me exactly. I think everyone should be in sales/take classes at some point. So illuminating.)

It was sink or swim, move back to Chicago or swim, and I swam. I learned I could swim. I learned that if I called a guy in New Jersey and he told to go screw myself (that’s the polite version) and then hung up on me before I could even complete a simple hi, I would pick up the phone and call him back. Politely I’d ask, “I’m the girl you told to go screw herself. Now can we talk?” I could do that when given the choice of bravery, I could choose it and keep choosing it. I could do that because I knew what I was selling would help his business. I could do that because people are just people, with as much power as you believe they have or give them, only scary when you actually fear them, especially when they are a voice on the phone (first I learned with voices and then I learned with real live people in my real live life). I could do that because I was capable; I eventually learned that I was good enough that after an hour that man who told me to go screw myself would be buying what I was selling and trying to set me up with his cousin. What a concept to learn that you are capable. That is a powerful thing.

Was God there when the guys told me things like that? Of course. He was growing me and as my friend says: He was growing me so hard (as in: I grew a lot and quickly too).

I was responsible for a lot of stuff in SF. And I did it. God pulled hidden strength and courage from me. He poured it into me and I drank my medicine, sometimes begrudgingly, a lot of times stressed, but I drank it. So no, I’m sorry I am not at all sorry. I’m not at all the same as I was before.

I’m going to keep “growing so hard,” following God, and trusting Him. And if that’s not okay with some people, if some people need to make me small so they can feel big, I try not to laugh. (That is a hard habit to break when you’re used to selling over the phone and on the computer…laughing silently or while on mute.) Making someone feel small so you can feel big is the ultimate cowardice, a sign of someone deeply anxious over themselves and the rest of the world, and very unhappy.

If God and sales taught me anything, it’s that in all of life’s relationships, power and control are illusions. They are only currencies if you buy into them.

Love,

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How to Make Nonna’s Meatballs.

Today I am introducing a new feature. It’s one that I have been looking forward to upon my return to Chicago because I value it apart from the blog. My nonna is the best cook I know. She is probably the best cook you know too. I’ve longed to make her infamous recipes alongside her and learn her secrets and now I am. What I love about Nonna’s cooking is that when she married at 19, she didn’t have any clue what she was doing. She called her mom after the honeymoon and said, “Okay. So what do I do now?” Her mom was also an incredible cook. And so every day, my nonna, then a young wife, would call her mom and learn a new dish until she learned an arsenal of amazing recipes. Soon she would have two children and grandchildren and she would have tricks just like her mom did and she would feed us from memory, without measurements. Now, she is teaching me. And also you, if you would like. I consider what my nonna does to be art, an art that fills you. When she makes something, it is with love. When she feeds someone, she is loving them. There is beauty in that. If you visit her, she will demand to feed you. While this can be annoying at times, there is also a tenacity in it. She wants to care for you. She wants to cook for you. And if you let her? Magic.meatballs
The first thing I tackled is her famous sauce and meatballs. Today, I’ll let you in on the secret of the Meatballs because they are less complicated than the sauce and I have already spent sometime explaining Nonna and her cooking. Want to know another thing I love about this woman who cooks like a chef? One of the things she says all the time is If you can read, you can cook. So, you can make Nonna’s Meatballs. Trust her. Don’t be intimidated.  IMG_8618The only problem with Nonna’s recipes is the amounts and measurements. You have to make it with her to figure it out. So the amounts and measurements will be listed below. I had to work a bit backwards. Italians, ya know?IMG_7363Add the ground meat and then you have two options. First option: moisten the 3 slices of bread with crusts removed and add to meat. Or add in Italian Bread Crumbs. We did the Bread Crumbs this time. The ratio should look like this:IMG_7364Add the egg.

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1-1 1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of Pepper

1 teaspoon (overflowing of parsley)

which should look like this:IMG_7367Now you get your hands dirty, mixing thoroughly with your hands. No utensil will do other than those hands of yours. Meanwhile remove any large chunks of bread. Shape your meatballs. Be sure to not over do when it comes to the size.IMG_7385This should yield between 6-7 meatballs. Seven and you have created the perfect size meatballs. Add them to a pan, coated thinly with heated olive oil. IMG_7392Now, you will brown them on all four sides. So they look something like this:IMG_7397Next you will add the meatballs and what’t left in the pan to your pot of sauce (which I will teach you very soon) where they will cook with your sauce for about 2 hours.IMG_7401After I teach you nonna’s sauce, you’ll have this as a finished product:IMG_7421I asked Nonna about people who add in pork or other meat to their meatballs. She shrugged and explained that she’s tasted those meatballs and there really isn’t a difference so why not make it easy on yourself. I happen to agree.

What do you think? Are you excited to learn how to make Nonna’s sauce?

P.S. I am linking up with Rachel for the Bread + Wine Project. (Because Meatballs count as a side dish, no?)

Buon Appetito, 

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How to Create a Gallery Wall in Less than 15 Minutes

gallerywall
Confession: I love Gallery walls. My friend, MK, helped me organize my apartment and she kept finding frames. It was laughable. I can’t even tell you the final count. When I find a frame that is inexpensive, unusual, or will work for a gallery wall, I tend to buy it. I can’t completely explain it. Growing up, we didn’t have things on the walls. There was always a sense that getting a frame, finding what to put in it, locating a hammer and nails was just a lot of work. But that’s not the case. In SF, I learned it’s actually really simple.

In my Chicago apartment, it’s a studio, just like SF, except I’ve been able to divide the space, through carpets and colors and other creative dividers. One way I have also divided the spaces is through gallery walls. This one happens to be for my “study.” I want it to be encouraging and the color scheme quickly made itself known.IMG_8215First, lay them out on the floor the way you think you will like them on the floor. This should take at most 30 seconds.IMG_8214After you figure that out, find some paper about the same size as the frames and tape them to the wall. I didn’t do this in SF and I don’t regret it but since this was a smaller space with a vent also on the wall, I wanted to do it right. This should take 10 seconds.IMG_8217Start with the frame that affects the rest. In this case, it was the “Be True” print because it was below the vent. So I got myself a nail and went to town. I hung that frame. And then I did the next one. And the next one. And the next one. It took less than 10 minutes.IMG_8223

Be true | She who is Brave is Free | You’re not the kind of girl who settles | Be brave
I’m really happy with the way it turned out and that it look less than fifteen minutes. Also, it serves to differentiate the space where I write and read which you’ll see in the full reveal. I can also add to it which I probably will when I have the funds. I chose the art here purposefully. When I write, when I am having a quiet time, these are things that I need to remember.IMG_8224I love it. So I guess I want to inspire you to not be intimidated by nails and hammers and those projects you see on Pinterest. You can do it. I can do it.

What do you think?
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Introductions: Your Bouquet for the Day.

So it’s Monday. Which would be lame except I have some awesome ladies to introduce you to. I lovingly refer to them as the Rosies and the Daisies and honestly, they make this job a joy. Getting to work with such great women is fun and encouraging and always inspiring. And though you may skip over some sponsor posts on other blogs, you won’t on this one because of the way they are telling you about themselves. Trust? Okay? Okay.FlowersCollage{ONE} Howdy! I’m Jaelan and I blog over at Making Mrs. M, where I share my life as a newlywed.

{TWO} I’m married to the most amazing man and we have two little furbabies, Teddy and Sami.

{THREE} I really, really, really enjoy beer, so I’m always tasting new ones—like in Maui, on our honeymoon!

{FOUR} Gardening is a passion of mine, but I have to get creative to make it work in our apartment.

{FIVE} In 2013, I went from couch to half marathon.

{SIX} I’m a Fightin’ Texas Aggie, class of 2012–to learn more about me, click here.

{SEVEN} When my husband and I aren’t playing board games, we take it to the grass for some friendly competition using our DIY Homemade Washer Toss Game

{EIGHT} I’m a vet tech by profession, but I really love makeup!

{NINE} Every now and then, I clear a spot in our little apartment and do something crafty, like cross-stitching gifts for family.

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1. My name is Rebecca and I blog over at RebeccaChapman.com where I share the humor in the every day moments of my newlywed life.

2. I’m pretty goofy most of the time and I try not to take myself to seriously when sharing the silly things I tend to do.

3. I grew up in California and I miss it terribly.

4. For 10 years, I sang professionally, and I majored in songwriting in college, but now I work behind the scenes at a record label.

5. I live in Tennessee now, and am a proud fur momma to 2 dogs and one evil cat.

6. I got married almost exactly a year ago to my best friend, who I consider the funniest man in the world, even if he doesn’t realize how funny he is.

7. We have a super-fun Lab named Bella who keeps me up at night with her loud snoring.

8. We also have an adorable Pomeranian named Penguin who likes to take over my blog from time to time.

9. I love blogging about my life and my little family and I hope you will come visit my little corner of the web and say hello!

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NB Rosie 1 // Hey Flowery Friends! I’m Jenni from Frankly My Dear! It’s my goal to foster community & encourage others through my little space in the blogging world. I

2 // Of all my favorite things, these two rank pretty high (let’s be honest, the highest)! That man there is my husband of two and half years. Marriage has been an incredible blessing in our lives & I can’t wait to see what the rest has in store. That dapper dude in the middle there is Axle. 

3 // I am a girly girl with a passion for agriculture. It’s a bit of an oxymoron really – but a fabulous combination that certainly keeps me on my toes! I work with farmers across the Midwest daily & it’s something I truly love to do.

4 // About a year ago I took a leap of faith & started an Etsy Shop. Gingerly Styled began with a totally different vision, but seeing God’s grace through my dream is so incredible! 

5 // I am a bit of a Vino. We have a local wine trail where the husband and I are currently residing & it makes for a weekend full of fun!

6 // If I learned one thing from my mother, it was full belly makes for a happy life. She passed her gift of baking & love of hospitality on to me & I am SO grateful! 

7 // Speaking of baking – Zucchini has to be my favorite food! This is my favorite recipe but it’s good any way really! A few of my other favorite things are crisp Fall evenings, Sweet Tea, the color pink, & playing board games with my family!

8 // Wednesday’s Words is a link-up that seeks to do just that! Martha Kate & I get together every week to share with you! 

9 // Despite the fact I live in Northern Indiana, I am a proud Kentucky girl – born & raised! It’s something that’s in my blood & will probably never let go of – not that I would even consider it! Come visit me or join me on Instagram to follow along on this crazy journey!

Facebook | Twitter Instagram Pinterest | Bloglovin’  PicMonkey Collage One. I’m Bex and I blog over at Butcher’s Niche which I started in 2013 as a way to document our wedding, and it’s evolved itself into a life and style blog.

Two. I got the chance to marry this guy last June, and that has enhanced my life by leaps and bounds so I love getting to celebrate him and have our weekly date night.

Three. Scott and I just bought a house, so there’s lots of decorating, shopping, and tips happening over at the niche.

Four. Just like I like to style my home I like to style myself, almost all of my outfits come entirely from places like old navy or target so I can save up for the important things.

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September Daisy Collage One. My name is Liz and I blog over at Baby Got B.A., where I talk about important issues, like how I am a complete and utter mess 96% of the time (The other 4% of the time I am probably napping).

Two. I just moved to Orlando to go back to school as a Statistics major, so I had to dust off my good ol’ graphing calculator and remember how math works.

Three. When I’m not super busy, I like to stay in bed until all hours and basically live like a hobo.

Four. Even though it is still super hot here, I am SO EXCITED for fall and all the wonderful treats it brings with it (I plan on eating ALL THE PUMPKIN SPICE M&MS)!

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jenn-hellorigby-seattle-fashion-lifestyle-blog One. Hi! I’m Jenn and I blog over at hellorigby! about life, style, and my dog named Rigby. Yes, I named my blog after my dog. ;)

Two. As I said above, I have a pretty cute dog named Rigby. He’s an almost-two-year-old Shiba Inu, and he sometimes guest posts on my blog.

Three. When I said I post about style, I meant that I sometimes post outfit of the days. But, I also like to embarrass myself sometimes for your benefit… like that one time I posted all of my fashion outtakes.

Four. I also don’t mind going bare for you… no, not like that. I mean bare faced, like the time I took off my make up and talked about being “basic”.

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Daisy Sept One. Hey there! I’m Heather and I blog about all things Style related over on Port City Prescription.

Two. It’s college football season, and for this diehard Gamecock, that means styling game day ready looks!

Three. I love the challenge of mixing patterns and textures so this lace + leather outfit is one of my all-time favorites.

Four. Wondering what’s trending for the upcoming fall season?

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I’m not lying when I tell you that each of these ladies’ have great blogs; I follow them all and you should too. Happy Monday!

P.S. If you’re interested in being a Rosie or a Daisy, check out your options here.

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