Winter Mint

Sweater, thrifted Target | Skirt, thrifted Express | Tights, Sears | Shoes, Sears | Necklace, sponsored by eFoxCity (old) | Bow, Rire Boutique
This post is dedicated to all the pieces in my wardrobe that never were: 

A gold chiffon dress with a sequined bodice, only $7.99, but too large.
A burgundy and navy striped American Rag skater dress with lace cutouts, only $7.99, but too small.
A mint party dress with a sequined bodice, only $7.99, but too large.
A pair of Betsey Johnson combat boots, only $16.99, but too stiff and an odd shade of tan with hints of army green.

And most of all:
A pair of magenta glitter Sperry's, only $19.99, perfect fit.

To be honest, I was both mad at myself and proud of myself for passing the Sperry's up--I knew I would rarely wear them since magenta really isn't my thing. The Sperry's only enticed me because of the brand name.

It bothers me. Often times, I'll stumble upon a bargain brand-name item and want to snag it right away, regardless of if it's pricier than what I'm usually willing to spend on clothing, or if it's even my style. Now, I've got a little system worked out: I ask myself if I'd purchase the piece without the label. If my answer is no, I return the item to the rack (albeit somewhat reluctantly).
There's a delicate balance to maintain. In some cases, brand names do constitute better quality. Take Uggs, for example. The knockoffs last you a season if you're lucky, but the genuine ones will last you many winters. Hence, the price tag is somewhat justified. Though, I could never bring myself to spend over $200 on a pair of shoes. Besides, if you do the math, given that the fake pair with genuine wool are $40 each, and the real $200, it may be more cost effective to buy multiple pairs of the fake ones as they wear out. You'd have to wear the real ones over 5 years before the price balances out! It's all in the numbers, friends. But that's just the thought process of cheapo ol' me. 

Back to those enticing Sperry's: I think sometimes I do sacrifice personal taste for the label, just as I sometimes sacrifice it for trends or bargain buys. It's occasionally hard to retain your true style in all the glitz and glamour of the fashion world. I'm still learning. And a step of progress was passing the Sperry's up. Those steal of a pair of designer shoes weren't for me after all, and I hope they've found a loving home.
As for all the other pieces in this post, is anyone else stumbling upon bargain, gorgeous pieces that simply don't fit? It's making me quite frustrated. I've considered buying those items and setting up an online shop, just to quench my wistfulness. But that'll be an endeavor for another time. Namely, after stressful senior year.
Besides, gotta count my blessings. Scoring this sequin skirt and tan peacoat in this post wasn't so bad for only $4 and $12, respectively. And finding a stylish $15 coat for the little brother put a smile on my face as well.

I almost went poof! again in one of my signature blog disappearances with all the schoolwork I need to finish, but praise the Lord for the polar vortex, because a snow day is just what I need to catch up. I also stumbled upon this gorgeous song with a meaningful message a few days ago, and I'm obsessed.
It's unnerving to see how much pop culture has brainwashed our idea of beauty. My favorite line, translated, is "I am not their product." 

Let's not be their products. Let's be our perfectly flawed selves.
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Top, c/o Rosegal (sold out, similar here) | Shorts, Kohl's | Tights, Vera Wang at Kohl's | Boots, Sears
This cat top was sponsored by Rosegal. All opinions are my own. I am definitely delighted by the quality and fit of the top and think it's worth your time to check Rosegal out. You can find a wide array of trendy items under $20. Besides, this top has a cat face on it. Can you really resist?
My thoughts have been much too heavy and convoluted lately to accompany an outfit post. I often struggle to delicately balance fashion and writing. I want to begin posting more writing-dominated posts, so I'll see if I can sort my thoughts out well enough for a coherent musings post in the near future. 

My tangible thoughts aren't exactly light either. Have you ever wondered where you would be today if something had happened differently in the past? That's probably why I often struggle to make decisions--if something goes wrong, you only have yourself to blame. Even something as simple as picking a dessert can give me trouble. Should I have the brownie, or the ice cream? What if I go for the ice cream and it's bad? Or what if I eat the ice cream and later decide I actually wanted the brownie?

The obvious solution would be to just eat both. But what if both isn't an option? (And to be honest, I'm pretty stickler about a balanced diet since I run haha). Like, say, taking a risk, speaking the unspoken, pursuing an opportunity. Most of the time in these cases, you can't do both. 
How would my life be different if I hadn't decided to run a charity 5k to help my friend's mother with cancer five years ago? What kind of person would I be without running? What would've happened if I hadn't moved in 5th grade? What would I be doing if I hadn't picked up violin eight years ago? How would I see life differently if I hadn't met specific friends? Where would I ramble if I hadn't begun blogging in middle school?

It's absolutely crazy how one event can mold your life in such a profound way. Maybe that's why college prospects seem so scary. Can where you decide to go to school impact your life forever? My old English teacher doesn't believe so. She says that everyone ends up doing what they're supposed to do in the end. Perhaps we overly romanticize the college search. I'd like to believe so. It's simply one cobblestone on the road of life. And hey, I've taken plenty of detours already--I'll find my way back if I get lost. Besides, I'm laying the stones down myself. There is no "lost."
My greatest fear is that I'll go to an in-state university, get a degree, find a job, meet a nice guy, get married, settle down, have kids. And stay in my hometown forever. That's horrifying. What could I have seen? Who could I have met? What could I have I experienced? There's so much out there past the familiar. I can't be content with simply knowing a small fraction of the vast world. There's nothing wrong with going to an in-state university--sometimes it's the best fit and most cost-effective. There's nothing wrong with my hometown--I take a lot of pride in it. Besides, if I do stay for higher education, there's always study abroad. There's also really nothing wrong with the progression I described above--it might sound perfect to most people. But it's intrinsically wrong for me, a dreamer with unquenchable wanderlust. 

I want to know what's out there. I want to unleash potential I didn't know I had. We don't know what our true boundaries are unless we push past the routine. Sometimes I feel like society compels us to believe that the sole purpose of life is to go to college, get job, get married, and have kids. No. There's so much more than that. But that "more" is relative; it's something uniquely our own, what we discover for ourselves.
So, brownie or ice cream? What haven't you had in awhile? What's new to you? Perhaps we retreat too often to the familiar when faced with uncertainty. But you know what? We learn so much about ourselves when we immerse ourselves in the unfamiliar. What dessert are you missing out on because you're afraid to make a decision? Perhaps those aren't even your only options. Are there more? 

There is always more. We just need to open our eyes, and follow our hearts.
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Photography Adventure

“Class, this is our new student, Lily,” The spunky middle-aged teacher with cropped hair announced to the then-terrifying sea of unfamiliar fifth grade faces.

I remember feeling stiff, unable to meet the expectant gazes of my new classmates. I was frozen. I couldn’t wave. I couldn’t even look at them—I simply preoccupied myself by staring intently with feigned fascination at a spot on the gray wall behind my new teacher's head.

It was painful to moveaway from the only school, the only home, the only friends I had ever known. My usually-boisterous demeanor became unbearably shy the first few months. But during my awkward stage as "the new kid," I met my best friend Gabrielle.
On Gabrielle: Jacket, Abercrombie and Fitch | Top, Tommy Hilfiger | Jeans, Levi | Boots, Franco Sarto | Scarf, gift

Hey there friends! If you noticed a new face around here, I'd like to introduce you to my best friend Gabrielle. Ever since 5th grade, she's always been there to encourage me when I'm feeling down, celebrate milestones with me, comfort me in times of angst, listen to me ramble, embrace my quirky personality, and of course, go on photography adventures. And as always, I do my very best to be just as genuine and heartfelt a friend as she is. 

Style-wise, she's very polished and trendy. I found it funny that we inadvertently matched with our riding boots and infinity scarves, especially since her simple, chic style often contrasts with my quirky, elaborate ensembles. Here's to unintentional, quasi-twinning!
On Lily: Blazer, Kohl's  | Top, Chicnova | Scarf, Target | Pants, Old Navy | Boots, Old Navy | Belt, Forever 21 | Glasses, prescription Ray-Ban

I seized this opportunity to use my new camera remote, and I absolutely loved how the photos with both of us in them turned out. For individual shots, we just switched between posing as a model and snapping shots as a photographer. When I head to college, I'll have to resign to only tripod and remote--the usual photographer, my younger brother, certainly can't tag along, and Gabrielle has already committed to a college! I'm super excited for her and can't wait to follow along with her new adventures. We already haven't had a class together for two years, but we always find a way to catch up at school and over weekends. I'm confident that we'll stay in touch, regardless of where our futures lead us. 

After all, we are best friends.

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Hello there, 2014

Hello friends. Hope 2014 has been treating you well so far.

I realized in the last post that I didn't have a chance to reflect much on 2013, so like many bloggers, I'm recapping my year in favorite photos, outfits, and adventures. 

This was my facebook status on December 31st, 2012 to reference my hopes for 2013:
As usual, my musings are mostly to inspire myself to act. The relentless search for identity characterizes the teenage years. I'm far from exempt, and often times I feel unsettled. I wanted to do something incredible. To take a huge risk. To live.

And so bears the question: did I do it? Did I really live up to my hopes for 2013?

As a perfectionist, I rarely can whole-heartedly agree that I completely fulfilled my goals. It was a  funny year, for sure. I bought my first DSLR. I dropped the phone I had only had for three days down a storm drain only to be rescued by a random act of kindness. I was the only junior in an all-senior class. I visited colleges. I went to prom. I won the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Award with my memoir. I made a violin cover. I played in a quartet at the wedding of my former English teacher and history teacher. I went on photography adventures with my best friend. I got three essays published on I tackled a violin piece that people doubted I could play. I fell for my guy friend and told him so. I ran thirteen nonstop miles at cross country camp. I saw my first shooting star. I went to an eye-opening leadership conference. I took senior pictures. I started my final year of high school. I began performing with my city's youth orchestra. I became a National Merit Semifinalist. I broke 22 minutes for my 5k personal record. I bought a 50mm lens with my first paycheck. I applied to colleges. 

And there was angst. Lots of it. But you know what else? It was all exhilarating, every moment. And I don't regret anything one bit.

I'm officially renaming Burst of Color today. From now on, this blog is Imperfect Idealist. I thought it was only fitting to share some of my earliest outfits. Unfortunately, I found these too embarassing about a year ago and deleted all my posts before high school. I wish I hadn't. It's a piece of the past I won't be able to uncover again. 

But I still have the pictures, saved in an archives folder on the computer. I named my blog Burst of Color in 7th grade because my outfits, were, as you can tell, bursts of color. While I still create my everyday ensembles based on color schemes, garish outfits and fashion alone is no longer my focus. This blog has become an online journal, peppered with my musings, my cringe-inducing moments, my adventures, my achievements, my dreams. 

An imperfect idealist is who I am. I am a juxtaposition; both trendy and hipster, reserved and outgoing, logical and arsty, practical and idealistic. I strive for the best, knowing that I'll inevitably stumble. The art of brushing oneself off gracefully after a fall is mastered through extensive experience, and I gain some every day. 

Imperfect idealist who chases the sun.

My six word memoir, a story I've already told. But there are many more adventures to come. Stay a while, won't you? Let's make 2014 even more fulfilling.


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