Wednesday, July 30, 2014

law wife life

After three incredible years in law school, my husband is (right at this very moment) finishing his BAR EXAM today! 
I feel a very strange mixture of emotions and thoughts, not least of which is where did the time go!?
I am incredibly proud of all that he has done. It is the end of this particular journey we've been on, the end of an era.  

It feels so exciting and full of promise. I will still be a law wife in many ways, but it won't be the same.
We are now, finally, for sure, out of the college-y time of our marriage. 

We no longer enjoy all-nighters (or even just late nighters). We get excited about real-life things, like nice candles and amazing salads. We can't pick at our face anymore or eat whatever we want, our bodies are against us. Our metabolism is brought up in friendly conversation. Often. We think about owning a home all the day long. Everyone is having kids. Indulging means staying home and cuddling. I have regular panic attacks at work, looking at the files of school children born in 2009. A true delight would be to get a real massage. My back hurts. We have to look up bizarre internet slang. We don't understand youths. I complain almost every day about how lame kids TV shows are nowadays (because the 90's were awesome). I sit on my bum all day long at work, but when I get home I just need to relax. 

It has been such an honor to live with and grow up with my husband. I adore him. He is funny and sweet and so hard working. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel beside him in law school, letting him push me to make new friends and love a new place. He is the extrovert, the one who invigorates me and challenges me. I couldn't be more proud of him! I feel jittery as I write this, knowing he's sitting there, filling in multiple choice bubbles. His mind is such a wonderful thing. I am privileged to know it. 

I love our life and am thankful every day for the adventure. Tonight we will celebrate the enormous accomplishment of my husband's hard work, graduating law school and finishing the bar exam. It will be the beginning of a new life for him (after he spends a few days sleeping). Up ahead is a lot of mystery and more hard work and new learning and rich experience. I have no doubt in my mind that he's ready and able.

Congratulations Dustin, you magnificent man, you.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I've been contemplating finally starting a book club lately.

I've shared my thoughts and given advice on starting a book club on the blog before, but I think I've been hesitant to actually begin one here because I've been waiting to settle into a routine. Now that I have a full-time job and we're feeling more settled (and my husband takes part 1 of the bar exam TOMORROW -- where has the summer gone!?) I've been thinking a lot more about it.
Where would we meet? Who should I invite? What should we read?

I think quite secretly another reason why I hesitate to start my own is because I miss my book club in Virginia. It was my first and only book club ever, so part of me is pretty nervous to try and replace that presence in my life. It's hard not to compare. I think I'm going to have to just try it out and maybe mix things up a little, try a fresh new take on things. Make it our own, allowing the new group to dictate the growth and change as we go along.

This book necklace always makes me think of book club, because I bought it from a local Lynchburg artisan downtown at a craft market. It's the best book necklace I've come across, made from real leather and paper. Each one is completely unique. I had seen her at several craft markets during our time in Virginia and have been really hoping she would update her Etsy shop and list some items there! To my delight, she has! She even has more book necklaces listed. I absolutely love the variances in style and texture.

Check out her shop, Barefoot Pathways!
I'm thrilled to add that she has provided a special coupon code just for you!
Just enter voguishatbest10 to receive 10% off anything in her shop!

It honestly takes a great deal of self-restraint not to buy a whole library's worth of those tiny book necklaces. She has other handmade jewelry as well, and is so sweet and talented.

Top: gifted, Skirt: Primark in London, Shoes: Marshall's
Necklace: Barefoot Pathways on Etsy

During one of my last book club meetings we had a fantastic discussion about books (imagine that).
One of the girls, Allison, presented us with a list of questions to ponder and I loved hearing everyone's different answers. I'd love to hear yours, too!

1. What book would you choose to have completely memorized?
2. What book would you embody, if you could be a book on a shelf?
3. What book would you recommend to absolutely everyone?
4. What book would you burn/banish to a desert island?

We all went back and forth, and it took us all a very long time to answer with any sort of finality.
I think my answers will change constantly, but while sitting there these were my answers:

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

I obviously love Harry Potter, but that 5th book is a plague (but I won't get into that Sirius stuff again).

I could also put Lord of the Flies or Bridge to Terabithia on that #4...
But instead of contemplating more of my answers, let's hear yours!
Comment below! Let the discussions begin.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

jamberry nails

distant horizon nails

I've been having a blast with nail art this summer. 

There are so many creative women out there that design custom nail art, meticulously painting their masterpieces on their nails every few days. I've always enjoyed painting my nails, but I usually stick to fairly simple paint jobs -- I'm just not that patient!

Having said that, in May my sister-in-law introduced me to Jamberry nails. I decided to try them out as part of my graduation day ensemble, and I absolutely loved the desert-y ombre design I chose! 
They're basically stickers that eliminate all the hard work of nail art, allowing you to have intricately designed nails without all the work and drying time! 

funky cheetah nails
ditsy floral nails

Nail stickers aren't really a new concept, as stores like Sally's and other beauty departments have carried them for a long time. But lately I've been seeing them a lot more often -- even in stores I love like Modcloth!

I like Jamberry because they're not actually just stickers, they're a special heat-activated wrap that really provides a long-lasting design for your nails. They have hundreds of designs and are really fun to mix and match! They're also really easy to use and remove, and don't cause any damage to your nails, like gel manicures and other treatments often do. 
Check out my sister-in-law's Jamberry Facebook page if you wanna see more, and check out all the designs on her website!

If you're ever in the mood to play with your nails, I'd definitely recommend trying out Jamberry! 

sweet citrus nails

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

the best of sirius black

I decided it was about time for me to dedicate a post to one of my first loves, Harry Potter. 
Allow me to geek out a little bit with you. Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite of the Potter books, I think mostly because I love Sirius Black. I get this weird and wonderful nostalgic feeling every time I look at that original book cover (although really, all of the original book art has that effect on me). 

Sometimes a character touches my soul in a way that's truly lasting, and Sirius Black is absolutely one of the most poignant examples of that. I remember quite vividly meeting him for the first time. 
And by "meet" I mean read, because of course I am a book enthusiast, and the books always win. Especially in the case of Harry Potter. I happen to think that Gary Oldman played a fine Sirius Black, but the real Sirius is so much more than that. He is much deeper and more tragic and complex, and his character in the books gets way more (well-deserved) airtime than the scant movie-version-Sirius. 

(Somewhat obvious disclaimer: SPOILERS ABOUND).

My husband and I were re-watching Goblet of Fire last night, and aside from the ridiculousness of super-angry Dumbledore in that film (which I won't even try to get into here), the most upsetting part of that movie is the great lack of Sirius Black. The movies barely skim the surface of his short epic life, and for those of you who have only watched the movies and haven't read the books (aka people I'm judging harshly), here are my top 5 reasons for loving Sirius Black. 

1. He Escaped from Azkaban

In other words, he is legit. 

I just love a good plot twist. Sirius is a blatantly terrible, malnourished, matted criminal for most of Prisoner of Azkaban and it takes a good amount of blood, sweat and tears for us and Harry to realize that he's actually his long-imprisoned and wrongly-accused godfather. 
Not only did he escape from the darkest wizarding prison of all time, but he did so by secretly being a dog as an Animagus. He was so impassioned by the sight of Peter Pettigrew in the newspaper and the thought of him being near Harry that he gained the strength and resolution to slip by the Dementors and swim all the way to Hogwarts. He is one dedicated hound. 

(Side note: he owns a flying motorcycle, he escaped Azkaban as Padfoot, and he escaped imprisonment again by riding a condemned hippogriff named Buckbeak. Gotta give him props for style.)

2. He Keeps His Promises

He is the epitome of a loyal friend. Avenging the death of his best friend James was the driving force that led him to escape from Azkaban. Once he gets to Harry, he immediately claims his right as Harry's godfather, the way James would have wanted it. He invests himself in Harry's life, befriending his friends and teaching him more about his family than he ever would have known otherwise. He is incredibly protective, a man of great conviction and a man of his word.

Even though he couldn't invite Harry to live with him the way he had originally intended (due to a cowardly rat and a wizard world price on his head), he still maintained constant contact and was always intent on being with Harry whenever he could. 
His friendship is the real deal. 

I love Prisoner of Azkaban for many reasons, but these first scenes with Sirius are at the top of my list. There's a lot of what-the-crappery that goes on in that chapter, and a lot of twists and turns. That quote is one of my favorites, and it always gives me chills. 
His loyalty to those he loved always came before himself -- even to death.

3. He is Broken

One of the most resonating aspects of Sirius's character is that he is just as broken as Harry is. He is flawed, but he is also incredibly strong. He becomes a mixture of father and brother to Harry, which occasionally causes him to lose sight of Harry and instead see James - the friend he can't quite let go of, the one he will forever miss. Rip my heart out.

Some might say that Sirius was perhaps too broken and reckless to be a true father figure to Harry...that maybe he was unable to carry that burden of responsibility. In truth he never really had the chance to grow up -- much of his life was stolen by war, grief and Azkaban. He never had a family of his own. His happiest and strongest memories were of boyhood with James. Maybe there was still a lot of immaturity there. He was too ready to risk himself, and less thoughtful of those he could hurt by putting himself in danger.

But because of their blurred relational line, Sirius is much more honest and open with Harry than any of the other adults, much to their frustration. As an outsider I always trusted Sirius more because he never lied to Harry or tried to hide things from him "for his own good". He may have been a little too eager to replace James in his life, but he also knew, or at least believed, that Harry could handle more than anyone else gave him credit for.

4. He is Brave

This title could also be he is reckless, but the bottom line is that he is a man of action. It makes me want to both cheer and cry that he's the type of person who can't sit still while other people are out there doing things. The risk, the danger, the passion, the living. That is Sirius.

Even from the beginning he broke the mold set forth by his ancestors -- the Ancient House of Black, notoriously noble and wicked, was absolutely ashamed by his goodness. He was the first decent Black in centuries, sorted into Gryffindor at age 11 and committed to shaking loose from his family's legacy. As we know from other dark wizards, breaking free from the Slytherin family tradition isn't an easy task.

He was brave and rebellious enough to risk capture in order to be closer to Harry on several occasions. Even before they met, he would sneak to the Gryffindor Quidditch matches to watch Harry fly. When Harry started having dreams related to Voldemort, and Sirius believed him to be in danger, he moved closer to Hogwarts to be nearer to him.
This wasn't just any ordinary danger, either -- if he would have been caught he would have been given over to the Dementors. As Dumbledore said, a Dementor's Kiss is "a fate worse than death."
He was quite literally risking his soul.

5. His Story is Tragic

As much as I hate the ending to Sirius's story, as much as I despise his life being snatched away (in a curtain, no less), his tragic end is part of the reason why I hold him so dear in my heart.
His reckless desire to act and protect was what ultimately killed him -- and I can't even blame him for it. I can blame Kreacher, and Harry a little bit, but that won't help any of us.

UGH, Order of the Phoenix. That whole book made me want to quit reading altogether to be honest, but I think I've come to the point (15 years later) where I can begrudgingly accept and understand.

His death is a part of the devastating intricacies of Harry's life. It's part of what both propels and comforts Harry in the moments before facing his own death, as he confronts Voldemort for the last time. Sirius was another casualty of war -- and it was a war he believed in.

He is my favorite character. He always has been and always will be.
Long live Moony, Padfoot and Prongs.

The End.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

tank top style

I am a sucker for gifts. It's true. I've always been this way. I love to give them, and I love to get them. I think surprises (which gifts should always be) are one of the best parts of life. 
The best of all gifts are the ones that are really thoughtfully put together specifically with you in mind -- themed gifts are my true favorite. 
I've put together some doozies in the past, dedicating far too much time and money into putting together the perfect box of Gatsby or 90's or Glitter themed gifts. 
I'm rarely surprised by other people because I'm obnoxious and usually spoil it before they have the chance, but when I am genuinely surprised by someone or something wonderful it nearly brings me to tears. I love it.

Last night my parents came home from a weekend trip, and as they drove in they grabbed a few packages that were waiting at the mailbox. One of them was a box from Ruche, which you most likely know by now is my favorite online boutique. I shop there more than anywhere else -- it's a company I love because their clothes are beautiful and their customer service is fantastic. They've only been around for 6 years, but their store is constantly growing and they do such a great job of keeping their collection fresh and their features inspirational.
My first thought was that my mom or my husband had bought me something from there as a surprise, but both of them were just as baffled as I was. I opened it, and inside was the most wonderful gift box full of goodies from Ruche! Just because. 
I was so shocked and overwhelmed by it. 

I immediately tried on the clothes and Dusty and I had a mini photo shoot to model them. 

1. Bow Tank (shop!)/Necklace: Ruche
2. Sailor Tank (shop!)/Skirt (shop!)/Shoes: Ruche, Necklace: LOFT

The best part for you people is that the two tanks and the skirt that I'm wearing in these photos are on mega-sale! So if you feel like shopping, today is the day, because they're having an EXTRA 25% off sale items! (ends 7/22 at midnight.)

I couldn't help but laugh while wearing my new sailboat tank top, posing with horses and basking in the setting desert sun. I couldn't be further from the beach life right now. But I certainly felt summery!

Thanks again to Ruche for such an incredible boost to my week and my wardrobe!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

why moving is the worst (but has made me a better human)

Dress: Ruche, Bangles: Kate Spade, Nails: Jamberry

I was born and raised in a small desert town in Arizona.
The kind of town with occasional tumbleweeds and excessive winter visitors. A big sky and a small population. Bright stars and dull shopping.

Despite of or maybe because of its flaws, I loved growing up there. I was a desert girl through and through. I had seen snakes and been stung by a scorpion, the desert was in my blood.
I lived in the same house for 18 years with my parents and my 3 brothers. I had my own room. I was a packrat, and I was proud. Sentimental to a fault, as they say.

After I graduated high school I broke the mold and went all the way to California for college.
Obviously you geography lovers (I do not count myself among that breed) will know that California is right next door to Arizona, but for me it was a lifetime away from home. I still considered Arizona my true home, of course, and returned there every summer, every holiday, and every 3-day weekend. I felt like I "moved" often, dorm to home to apartment to home.

But it wasn't until I turned 22, got married, and moved across the country to Virginia that I truly understood the concept of moving. It was awful. Absolutely terrible! I won't lie to you. Moving is the worst. It also can be the best thing in the world, but I didn't realize that until maybe yesterday.

When people say "nobody likes change" they're not lying. And there's a really good reason for that. People don't like change because they're terrible at it. It literally hurts sometimes. I think we were created to find comfort in things, whether it be people or places or things. We were created to love and have fellowship and be. Big changes throw us for a loop because we're really good at being invested in our lives. It's a flaw of being a selfish being, probably, this inability to easily accept the big shake-ups of life.
I'm probably speaking only to myself right now, but bear with me because I think I just need to talk this out.

I hate moving because it's hard. I hate it because it's exhausting, it's sad, it's frustrating. It costs money and time. It's lonely and overwhelming. It rips you away from things you love and leaves you vulnerable to disappointment and regret.

I love moving because it's hard. I love it because it demands hard work, loyalty, and togetherness. It opens new possibilities and inspires innovation. It rids you of clutter and excess (it lightens a packratty heart) and rouses reflection. It brings you closer to a future unknown, opening up your world to new ideas, new people, and new loves. It shakes you up and makes you look again, look closer, remember better, try harder.

Here is what I learned from that one time we lived in Virginia for 3 years.

I learned that there are kindred spirits everywhere. There are probably millions of people that I could and would be best friends with if I ever had the blessed opportunity to meet them. It makes me want to revive the age of pen pals. It's an absolute thrill to think about all of the strange destinies that led us to Lynchburg, to some of the best friends we will ever have in our lives.
I learned that you get what you give. Do you know how many unhappy couples and families we met while we were in law school? Far too many. It was our choice to love our city, and commit even further to each other by investing time and energy into our home, our marriage, and our friends (and our cats). We made so many incredible memories. Ignore the tears falling down my cheeks right now that you can't even see - I miss law school, that's how much fun it was. I wish it could have been longer. 

I learned that I actually could live somewhere else. My bubble is a little bit bigger now. I thought I would die being away from Arizona, but shockingly enough, I lived. We made a home somewhere new. One that will live in my heart forever. 

I learned how to be a better friend, daughter, wife. I was allowed to experience true love and loyalty from our long-distance loved ones. 
I learned that Fall is breathtaking, snow days are exhilarating, learning is never-ending, good friends are edifying, and first homes are lasting. 

And moving is the worst.