Flower Crowns and Friendly Musings

I finally did it friends. I finally mustered up the courage to wear a flower headband in public. 

It seems like a petty thing, wearing just a few faux blossoms in one's hair, but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to wear them out, not just for photoshoots.

Oh, it matches? I thought sometimes as the pink beadband caught my eye.

I would try it on with the outfit of the day, but no matter how good it looked, I sighed with resignation and left it on my desk.

They'll think I'm strange, I decided.

Top, LC Lauren Conrad ($4)// Skirt, thrifted Hollister ($10)// Belt, Forever 21 ($5)// Shoes, Steve Madden ($4)// Bracelet, Forever 21 ($4)// Flower headband, DIY

But you know what? Who cares what they think! The flowers make me happy. Isn't that enough reason to prance outside with flowers on my head?

It's human nature to care about what other people think of you. Sometimes what others think is crucial. How about that interview, that audition, that application?

But you know what? I think people in general are much less judgmental than we think. We admire people who could care less about how people see them. We admire how they just own that they're their quirky, strange selves.

I almost forgot that I was even wearing a flower headband after a few minutes while I was shopping with my mom! If you feel comfortable and just own it, you can do so much without the slightest judgmental look.

Letting go is a beautiful thing. It's funny, but I've noticed there are different degrees of not caring with people think of you. My best friend always tells me that she admires how I'm not self-conscious. But I in turn tell two of my guy friends frequently how I admire that they just don't give a poop about what other people think.

Yes. I said poop. It's my subsitute for other unsavory words. Instead of expletives, I am frequently heard saying an emphatic "aw, POOP!" when I forget something or something goes wrong, a sassy "poop you" under my breath to people who get on my nerves, or a noncommital "poop that" when I don't feel like doing something.

It's an extremely useful word.

And I suppose another one of my many quirks.

Do you lovelies have a piece of clothing that you haven't brought yourself to wear out yet? Or maybe something you can't muster up the courage to do? Is there a pair of loud, sparkly shorts hanging idly in your closet? Is there something you've wanted to tell someone or ask someone but you've been shying away?

Well I dare you.

I triple-dog three musketeer banana split sundae with a cherry on top dare you. 

And you know what? I dare myself too.

In honor of the upcoming release of my favorite singer's album...

I want to see you be BRAVE.

Introducing...Rank and Style!

Ever get that frustrated feeling when there are so many viable options that it's just overwhelming?

Does it ever happen to you when you're shopping?

Does it ever make you make faces like these?

I'm one of the most indecisive people you'll ever meet (at lunch: Do I want this? Or do I want that? Am I even hungry?), so my answers to those questions are a resounding yes! But lucky for us, I've stumbled upon this shopping site called Rank and Style that creates unbiased lists of the top ten fashion and beauty items in countless categories. 

And concurrently, I get an excuse to take some fun selfies. Who's not all for that?

When I first visited this site, I'll admit that I was immediately suspicious. In today's world, so many things are biased, so how did I know that Rank and Style wasn't simply getting paid for showcasing a brand's product as one of the top ten?

But then I browsed through a few lists and read "How We Rank Style."

Not a single brand dominated the lists, and I was further convinced by the site's promise that "Using our algorithm to crawl the internet (so you don’t have to!) and obsessively, compulsively and, most importantly, objectively, searching for user reviews, bloggers’ tips, best-seller lists, editors’ picks, celebrity favorites, and industry recommendations, Rank & Style collects all the relevant information for your seemingly impossible mission of finding the *best*."

So I kept browsing. The quirky and rather punny titles of each list made me chuckle a bit (hey, you've got to make spending money as entertaining and painless as possible!) and the stylish items really caught my eye.

Now because the "best" products often come with a price, many of these items lean towards high-end. But hey, sometimes you've got to shell out the dough for a quality item that you'll use frequently or swear by forever.

Check out some of my favorite lists and click the image to take you there!

Super hip and practical these days, maxi dresses have taken the fashion world by storm. There's no need to worry about the wind blowing the bottom up, so rest assured that unfavorable circumstances will result in a rather embarrassing situation. (Or you can play it safe like me and wear shorts or spandex under all your skirts and dresses haha.) There's nothing more stylish and sleek than a full-length dress, and though it seems like a lot of material, the movement of the fabric still keeps you cool. Click away, friends!

I have a serious problem with black leggings. As a runner and fashion-enthusiast, there's not a better staple! My current count? Over ten pairs...

I've always been a fan of bandeau bikinis over the string ones. Check out some of the cutest ones of the season!

Okay, a case like this managed to elicit from me that typical "awww!" when you encounter a cute puppy or precious baby. Iphones have really begun to dominate the cell phone world, and these are some of the coolest and most durable cases around.
I smiled when I saw this one. So many of my friends used Burt's Bees--even those of the male variety! I never really understood what all the hype was about, but I decided to give it a go one day, and I instantly fell in love. I'm super picky about chapstick--so many are either too slippery or others too waxy, but this was a happy medium. The mint made my lips tingle a little in a strangely good way and afterwards, my lips didn't feel sticky like after most balms but super smooth and natural!

Rank and Style will seriously make your frustrated shopping faces into happy ones. You may even recognize some of the products because they've been attested to by reviewers, bloggers, celebrities, editors, or maybe even people you know. Go on friends, sign up! The world of stress-free, quality shopping is waiting.

On the Road: University of Pennsylvania

Note: I have not been accepted to any of the schools I blog about. College applications don't really pick up until late fall! These posts are only musings about my visits to the schools.

Whew, I'm on a posting rampage or something. But then again, my blogging rampage also happens to be other bloggers' normal posting frequency...but hey, I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

These here photos were shot on the beautiful campus of UPenn. When I stepped out of the dark parking garage and onto the bustling, bright street, I cringed immediately. We trekked a little less than a mile to reach the actual campus, but it seemed like an eternity as we hurried past several sketchy shops with the word "adult" in their names and the repulsive-looking brown river.

I. Don't. Like. Big. Cities.

Sure, I dream of visiting Paris and New York, but living in a noisy, cigarette smoke scented, hurried, crowded city for four years, maybe more? I absolutely refuse.

Then we turned the corner onto a small but busy paved path. I sighed in relief. The campus was freaking gorgeous!

Once the city was well behind us, the shaded campus with lovely architecture wiped the grimace off my face. But as gorgeous as the campus was, it had an open feel. Busy city streets cut through parts of it, and the buildings were spread out.

UPenn is a fine institution, but it's not for me. Something just didn't click when I visited; for some reason, I couldn't see myself happy there.

Where would I run? By the brown river? No way! 

And last time I stayed in a big city (Hangzhou, China), I had to stop every few minutes for a crosswalk, and it absolutely aggravated me...oh, distance runner probs.

Top, Sears (too old to remember)// Denim shorts, thrifted J.Crew ($8)// Shoes, China ($6)// Bow, Rire (won in TrendyTeal giveaway)// Necklace, c/o eFoxcity// Bag, thrifted ($3)
I've decided that I'm not going to apply, though that's not to say I discourage it. The odds are also against me for many of my top school selections, so I don't want to seem haughty or anything. What really matters is if a school will pick me when I apply--picking the school is only half the battle! I also would rather avoid the small possibility of having an angry or offended Ivy League official chasing after me, so I'll elaborate.

Some people embrace the city.Others just don't click with it. That's me. People in the city just seemed so hurried and it came off as rude--people brush by you without so much a word; if you almost run into someone and manage a genuinely apologetic "sorry!", they continue walking without acknowledging you. That's not to say that all city dwellers are like that, but good old Philly just happened to rub me the wrong way.

I suppose I'm just a suburban girl at heart.
Recognize this building? Students told us it was used in the Addams family!
I promised I'd tell you the story of how I came up with a viable career option, and what better post to do that than one about a college visit? Well, it all began with an argument with my mom about the laundry...and let me tell you before I begin that I love my mom dearly and she is a wonderful person, but when we both get frustrated, petty arguments like these happen. Just so you know, we forgave each other quickly after this argument too.

I sighed heavily when I saw the multicolored, printed shorts in the jumble of dried clothes. “Mo-om,” I whined, “Why did you put these in the dryer?”

“Oh, I just thought of it. Was it that pair of shorts? Will you still be able to fit your butt into those?” She smirked.

The Asian mother-daughter complex about weight and beauty has always tired me.  I huffed, shooting her a dirty look, and continued to mechanically fold the jumble of colorful, wrinkled laundry on the carpet.

I winced when I saw a recently-purchased black bohemian-style top with lace detail. “Aughhh,” I said impatiently,  “Mom, why did you dry this too?! You should look at things before your throw them in the dryer! I’ve only worn this once!”

“Hey,” She snapped back, “I check each time but if there are one or two things I miss, it’s not a big deal.”

“There were only two things that I didn’t want thrown in the dryer!” I retorted, “Next time, I’ll wash the clothes, and you fold them.”

“You should be washing them and folding them yourself!” She retaliated

“Fine!” I answered emphatically.

“We’ll get you your own laundry basket then. You only have a year until college and I’m still washing your clothes!”

“It’s not like I don’t know how to do my own laundry,” I responded bitterly.

“But you have all these problems!”

The few times when I forgot to use laundry detergent flashed in my mind.  I quickly suppressed those memories back into the depths of my mind’s intricate thoughts. “Like what?” I asked, once collected.

She hesitated, searching for an answer. “Like complaining!”

“Hey, when I do the laundry, I always make sure your clothes go to the right place,” I replied, unfazed.

“Then why aren’t you doing your own laundry?!”

“Because you never asked me!”

“Yes I did!”

“No you didn’t!” I paused, “I don’t remember that.”

She was silent for a few moments. “I bought those clothes for you, okay? Those aren’t your clothes. I can do whatever I want with them!” She was yelling now.

She had pulled the parent card. That was it. “Well it doesn’t make any sense for you to ruin the clothes that you buy yourself.” I looked up calmly from placing the clothes into piles.

“See?” She asked my dad forcefully, “Outside, they’re all so nice, and back home, they’re monsters!”

“And who’s the one yelling?” I asked pointedly.

“Stop it! Don’t talk to me!” She grabbed her green watering can and slammed the sliding door shut on her way out.

My sorting was again interrupted by her re-entrance.

“When your grandma was here, you yelled at her about the laundry too!” she emerged from the humid outside, “I didn’t mention that earlier,” She added triumphantly

“That was when she threw my shoes out,” I corrected her, unruffled.

“No, it was with the laundry too!”

“I don’t remember that.”

“Well I do!”

“I thought you didn’t want to talk to me.” I responded calmly, clearly victorious.

“Stop talking!” She fumed.

Now it was my turn to smirk. But my smug look slowly turned into one of awe.

There's always been something strangely satisfying about winning an argument...why have I never seriously considered being a lawyer?!

This is it, I thought. This is that epiphany that some people get when their calling finally dawns on them!

I smiled and began furiously typing the narrative you see above in case I ever needed it for an essay.

This is definitely not a for-sure thing--I've also been considering premed. It's funny because I used to shudder at the thought of being a doctor. But like Sara Bareilles said in a recent interview: "It's ironic -- the thing you think you don't need is the thing you actually need most."

I don't know if I can do it. Enduring at lest seven more years of school. 

Could I enjoy such serious professions when I'm such a lighthearted girl? Could I stand having people's lives and well-being on the line every single day? 

At this point, so much is unclear. But I know what I want, and it's a job where I'll be able to positively influence others. It's field that I'll enjoy studying every day of many years. It's a career that will make me excited to jump out of bed each morning. It's a life that I've always dreamed of living.

God has something beautiful in store for each of us. I can't wait to see what's in His plan for me. Will you come along for the ride?

On the Road: Princeton University

Note: I have not been accepted to Princeton. I haven't even applied yet! This post is just a few musings about my visit.

Well friends, the long-awaited first installment of the college visit post is hereee! I know you've all been waiting on the edge of your seats, unable to sleep at night and everything (;

As soon as you saw the words "Princeton University," many of you must have reacted like such: "Dang girl, you're shooting reeeaally high."

Yes, I am. I have no shortage of ambition. I have no shortage of impossible-sounding goals. But I also happen to have no shortage of determination and dedication.

"What schools have you visited?" My friends ask.

"Well, there's WashU in St. Louis, Princeton, UPenn, and we're going to Vanderbilt soon," I think for a moment and list them off.

The look on some of their faces is a mixture of incredulity and amusement. It's déjà vu--it's still fresh in my mind from when I told them I really, really, really (did I mention really?) wanted to be a National Merit Semi-finalist. No matter how hard you work, no matter how smart people may think you are, things like this are always a long shot.

I still remember subjecting myself to painful, long, countless practice tests every single weekend. I still remember doing a section of a practice SAT every single night. Oh, you can bet I still remember it all.

The days leading up to when our PSAT scores came back were a mess. I poured out all my worries to my friends. I rocked back and forth, breathing heavily and whimpering (mostly out of my characteristic histrionics). 

Then the day came. I flipped open the packet and happy numbers greeted me. I shrieked, jumping up and down, wrapping my friend in a crazed hug. My old English teacher rushed outside to the hallway because he thought I had died or something. 

Top, Target ($6)// Skirt, Target ($5)// Shoes, China ($6)// Necklace, Macy's ($5)// Leather bag, thrifted ($3)

While we don't get the official confirmation letter until the fall, Ohio's average scores would've had to drastically change for me not to make the cut. Nothing is ever guaranteed; something could've gone wrong--anything really can happen. But because I had wanted that so badly, I had worked my my butt off to make my chances as favorable as possible.

Moral of the story? It really all comes down to how much you want something. How much it would mean for you to achieve it. How much you're willing to sweat, labor, and toil to get there.

What I want is for my three years thus far of working my butt off in high school to pay off. What I want is an application that I'm proud to say is mine. What I want is a school that fits me well. What I want is a school where I can be happy. What I want is a school that will prepare me best for the real world.

Is that school Princeton? After a visit on a rainy day, I can heartily say yes. The setting is mostly suburban. They have a variety of strong major programs so ole indecisive me can pick and choose. The campus has that closed feel. The running club competes. The non-major orchestra is fantastic. The study abroad rate is high. The self-initiative is strong. The thesis requirement intrigues me. The school has no shortage of money to give generous scholarships.

The place very well feels like somewhere I could be happy for another four years or more.

The cute little town setting across the street charmed me immediately...and take a look at that sticker on a store window below...am I ever glad haha!

Yes, I'm aiming high. Yes, I could very well miss my shot. The odds are against me, but God has a perfect plan, crafted just for me, and this could be part of it, or it might not. 

This is one of those things when you have to try your very hardest, but can't expect anything. This is one of those things when how much you want it really matters. You put your application together with ginger care, you craft a beautiful essay, you work your butt off to get the grades and test scores, you send it out, and the rest is no longer in your hands. This will be me in a few short months. 

It scares me, but that's how you know that your dream is a good one. 

Do I want it enough? Is it meant to be?

Only time will tell.

This post is much too lengthy for another of my tales, so I'll be sharing the story of how I came up with a possible career path next time!

Oh, and since GFC is soon departing us, it would tickle me pink if you followed Burst of Color on Bloglovin!  There's a lovely little tool on Bloglovin that lets you import your Google Reader blogs (so you don't have to slave away moving all your daily reads one by one!) Click here, my lovelies. And of course, don't fret. If I drop by your blog regularly and/or occasionally shout your name in the beginning of my comments, I've long since given you a place in my "Favorites" group on Bloglovin.

As much as it pains me to leave your comments unanswered, my violin and AP Lit homework have been very lonely today. I'll be out and about the blogosphere tomorrow, visiting all your lovely sites.

A bientôt, mes amis. Until then, keep enjoying the lovely summer days.

Maxnina Lust List


Angel wing necklace

Retro ring

Lace Hot Sale Spliced Sleeveless Korean Fashion Sweet Dress With Belt...

I nearly swooned when I stumbled upon this trendy and affordable online shop called Maxnina.

The first thing that caught my eye? Well, of course their huge selection of lovely dresses in various colors.

Then, I gasped.

The particular bright coral dress with a pretty peter pan collar jumped out at me as soon as I clicked  "Women's Dresses." But for only 16?! Could it really, truly be?

It was too good to be true. But somehow, it was true.

Then the two words in green, all-caps italics caught my attention. FREE SHIPPING too?!

I almost cried the overjoyed tears of a fashion-crazed teenage girl. But you know what I like to say--I'm not addicted to shopping...I'm just a clothes collector (;

So go, my fellow clothes collectors. To this largely undiscovered haven of your wildest fashion dreams. Maxnina is beckoning.

Sundresses and Summer hats

 Dress, c/o eShakti// hat, stolen from Mom// shoes, Target ($5)// necklace, Forever 21 ($2)// bracelet, Macy's ($5)

There's nothing like wearing a dress that's specially made for you. I just couldn't resist putting off this lovely eShakti sundress post any longer, so I keep delaying the college visit post more and more...by the time I actually get to it, I'll probably be on another one! (If you missed my post about my hair, I'd love to know your opinion. Click here to read it, my lovelies.)
         Priorities, priorities.

There's a funny story behind this dress. It's another example of how my silly mistakes always come back to bite me.

When you order any lovely piece from the eShakti website, you can customize it to your fancy. Don't want that V-neck? Then there's surely an option for you to make it a scoop neck. Want your own custom measurements? Girl, you've got it made!
There also happens to be a dress length option. Me, being the ever-silly child that I am, assumed that  "tunic length," meant that my dress would be, well, tunic-length, which is short. When you've got a 5'5" athletic frame like mine, you're not about that long dress life. I didn't happen to notice that "tunic length" was only a generalization for dress length, and not the actual length. So when I happily clicked length "as shown," I was confused to find a longer than knee-length dress on my doorstep a few weeks later.

        I refuse to go out in public in a longer than knee-length dress. This was a problem.
So the poor, chiffon beauty lay idly on my chair for a few days. Then a week. Then another week. Then some more weeks.
        Finally, I mustered up to courage to grab a pair of scissors and snip.
        Snip. Snip. Snip.

I cut the dress to my ever-desired length and hemmed like a madwoman all day. And that was only the top layer, my friends. The bottom red layer is still very raggedy and could use the help of a needle and thread. But I was mildly satisfied.
Like I said, my friends, there's nothing like the feeling of wearing a custom-made dress. When you've got that perfect fit and quality material, you're ready to conquer the world...or maybe just swing around and twirl a little...hehe.

Then, after my seamstress day beau, I dug up this quirky old piece from the haphazard depths of my bursting closet. Remember those good-old fringe vest days?

 I loved this pose so much, I had to do it again with the fringed vest on...hehe
If you look closely, I even accidentally created a subtle high-low hem from my, ahem, extremely straight cutting job. The funny things you can do on accident! But seriously. If I'm not the clumsiest kid who makes the silliest mistakes, I feel quite sorry for whoever is even sillier.
Remember how I wanted to order sunglasses from Firmoo, but ended up with only slightly-tinted glasses?
Or how about this. I haven't shared this one yet, but this fiasco in summer gym explains why I run Cross country and avoid sports that require coordination.

        It was one of those scorching summer days in Ohio. Sweat dripped down my face as I walked up to take my kick in kickball. The purple bouncy ball rolled slowly in my direction. I took a big swing, kicking the rubbery thing up, high in the air. I made a dash for first base. But my fated, high kick caused the ball to fall and land on me in the midst of my run.

I had gotten myself out.

       Really, though. It takes a high level of skill and lack of coordination to get yourself out in kickball. I slunk off the field, mildly embarrassed but laughing as my gym teacher amusedly shouted "out!" It's a funny story, one I never hesitate to share.

There's nothing like a relaxing photoshoot in the quiet woods. Just you and your camera. The subtle wind tickling your skin, the birds chirping cheerfully, the tall grass swaying to the inner rhythms of the earth. 

You are breathing. You are calm. You are alive.

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep."
--Robert Frost.


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