Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Southern Florida, Days 2 and 3: Miami

college travel style florida
Cardi, Burlington Coat Factory | Button-down, thrifted Ralph Lauren | Skirt, H&M | Boots, Marshall's
choices kitchen miami florida
outfits for the beach
outfits for the beach
outfits for the beach
Cardi, Burlington Coat Factory | Swimsuit, Target (separates) | Hat, China
st. bernard de clairvaux monastery

I eagerly grabbed the salad from the fridge, but my heart immediately sank: the greens were drenched in ranch dressing and coated in cheese. 

"I can't eat this, mom and dad. I'm really sorry."

I felt awful. 

Because of my vegan tendencies, I had to resign to a meal of appetizers at the upbeat seafood joint where my family had eaten dinner. After black beans and rice, grilled veggies, and guacamole, I still felt unsatisfied. I remarked that I craved a salad, and thought nothing more of it. 

So when my parents returned from their nightly walk with a salad, I was touched. But that warmth soon pooled into guilt. My parents had gone out of their way to get me more food, and I couldn't even eat it. I felt bad that I was so particular. I felt bad that my preferences diverged so greatly from those of my family. I felt bad that we no longer knew each other as well as before.

The longer I'm away at school, the more home feels like placeholder, a pause on actual life, a layover. It is a transient space in-between, and I am suspended in its ambiguity. 

I am a guest in my own family, an inconsistent mentor to my younger brother, a mere coffee date to old friends, another nomadic soul inhabiting Ohio, a disappearing act. 

I am suspended in ambiguity even away from home--the vague connections trail me, and my family's trip to Florida was no exception. That night, at a hotel in Key Largo, I realized how distant I'd grown to my upbringing. I realized how fleeting and tenuous meaningful relationships could be.

In my reading today for class, I stumbled upon a quotation that couldn't be more pertinent:

"To live as if everything around you were temporary and perhaps trivial is to fall prey to petulant cynicism as well as to querulous lovelessness" (Edward Said, Reflections on Exile).

Nearly everything is transient, but transience doesn't compromise the meaningfulness of the moments, links, processes themselves. I may only have a couple months with my family each year, I may no longer be a part of my friends' immediate lives, I may feel lost in the mélange of divergent experiences, but I am so grateful. I am grateful for my family's flexibility and support (Florida-wise, they tolerated quite a few pretentious meals at vegan eateries and offbeat expeditions). I am grateful to have grown closer to my brother. I am grateful to share a slice, however small, of my friends' experiences. I am grateful for the opportunity to nuture and recreate resonant connections.

Back at school, I am grateful as well. Life is fleeting and challenging regardless of my location, and I will continue to seek vibrant moments.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Southern Florida, Day 1: Key West

summer outfit sun hat maxi dress
summer outfit sun hat maxi dress
date and thyme key west vegan food
sibling photo
beach outfit when it's chilly
Dress, kid's section at Nordstrom Rack | Cardi, Old Navy | Shoes, Steve Madden | Sun hat, China | Gold tattoos, Kohl's
Outfit shots by my brother

The warm, salty breezes. The golden beams of sun. The soft rustle of palm leaves. Ocean waters the purest shade of mint.

All of this feels so distant as I wrestle with problem sets, attempt to decipher befuddling readings, run from class to class, responsibility to responsibility.

Spring semester is in full swing, and another tough few months are ahead. Though I feel most alive when I'm busiest, I'm always happy to savor a few days of empty schedules and spontaneous adventures. 

My family's short getaway to Florida before school was just that. As I tackle the challenges of now, I'll continue to cherish these memories of carefree fun.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Layer up: Variations on an Outfit + Violin Cover

cowlneck long sleeve and dress, wearing dresses in winter
cowlneck long sleeve and dress, wearing dresses in winter
cowlneck long sleeve and dress, wearing dresses in winter
cowlneck long sleeve and dress, wearing dresses in winter
Cowlneck, DKNY | Dress, H&M (dress in video from Target) | Keds, eBay 

For the purposes of continuity between the outfit shots and the violin cover, I meant to wear the same dress. Unfortunately, I took the outfit shots over Thanksgiving break, and didn't bring the dress home for winter break... So, this is now a quasi-remix post. Luckily, it's not too far of a stretch--this cowlneck has been one of my favorite layering pieces lately, whether under dresses or sweaters.

The video has a bit of a story too, so I'll leave you with an excerpt of the description:

I always jump at the chance to cover pop songs fit for the violin, and this was no exception. Beyond the catchy tune and mellow harmony, I was especially drawn to the words. For a college student, friendships and connections can be particularly transient. In pursuit of our individual aspirations, we'll likely find ourselves on divergent paths. So while I may not have a lot of time left with all the vibrant people at my school, particularly if I study abroad, I'm determined to maximize the remaining moments...

Much love,
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Business Casual: Gingham Button-down + White Lace Skirt

business casual outfit college
business casual outfit college
business casual outfit college
business casual outfit college
business casual outfit college
business casual outfit college
brown boots with lace
Blazer, F21 | Button-down, thrifted ASOS | Skirt, thrifted Hollister | Boots, Target | Necklace, Love Nail Tree

As the number of days before spring semester dips into the single digits, I wonder how the promise of rest, creative endeavors, and careful preparation all faded away so quickly. 

I've spent far too long trapped in the future, eyes constantly fixated to some form of backlit screen, countless tabs littering my browser, fingers tapping away furiously. Internship and study abroad planning is important, but so is relishing the time I have at home. It's important to chat with family, catch up with friends, indulge in reading, experiment with cooking, tinker around with pop songs on the violin. It's important to be disciplined, but also to let go.

I have 9 days to seek this equilibrium, and I'm determined to find it.

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