Lipstick and Revelations

The best Sephora I’ve ever shopped at was in Nice, France.

Nearing the end of our senior class trip to Europe last spring, my friend Gina and I headed straight toward Avenue Jean Médecin during one of the rare breaks in our jam-packed schedule. Located in the heart of Nice, The Avenue, as it is known by residents, houses the main shops of the city. I was Holly Golightly, staring longingly into the windows of outlets to the likes of Hermès. Down the line we found ourselves in front of Sephora, and well, we just couldn’t resist.

I felt like a child walking into a candy store. I know that’s an awful cliché, but with all the different products, brands and colors, Sephora really is a divine, tempting store to me and FIT-student Gina. We were playing amongst the makeup until we came across the Dior Addict lipstick collection. Brand new at the time, it was advertised on Kate Moss’s perfect pout. Typically I don’t spend too much on makeup; I love it, but with my limited budget, I tend to splurge on clothes and accessories. But I was drawn to Riviera, a gorgeous coral fit for every occasion. Gina and I each walked away with the $30 tube.

As silly as it might sound, I felt powerful and glamorous purchasing the new Dior shade. Yet for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to take it out of its shiny black case.

Fast forward a year to this past Saturday. As I was getting ready to go to a Gainesville Fashion Week event downtown, my friend Jenny assured me that my all black outfit (read more on my blog post) looked chic and Carrie Bradshaw-esque, but it was missing something, even after accessorizing with a chunky citrine necklace. I froze when she suggested I swipe on my prized Dior lipstick. It was just lipstick; what was the big deal?

This made me look at the bigger picture. To me, the lipstick represented the life I always dreamed of. A wonderful, exciting life in the fashion industry where I could express myself artistically with writing in addition to clothes and makeup. To do this, you have to be bold and take risks.

It was time to be honest with myself: I was scared. I was afraid to continue with this blog for fear that it wasn’t relevant or interesting. I was afraid of participating in class for fear of looking stupid. I was afraid to run outside for fear that it would hurt too much. And I became afraid of speaking to new people, especially guys, for fear of rejection.

I don’t know where this crummy attitude came from! It’s just not me. I must have realized this subconsciously because I had already begun making adjustments. Last week I largely contributed to my group discussions. I started running outside a few mornings a week and finished 5k Saturday afternoon. I mingled with other interns throughout the entire Gainesville Fashion Week event and even got up the nerve to invite the attractive bartender to our modeling casting call. And clearly I’ve come back to the blog, deciding that I need to find my voice again. Get excited for pretty spring posts!

If you have big plans, you need to act big. There’s no reason to hide behind the scenes.

As I smoothly applied the Dior lipstick yesterday afternoon, something clicked. I’ll be the first to admit that this connection is strange. How does lipstick make one realize that they’ve been shriveling up? I haven’t a clue, but I’m done questioning it. It’s time to enjoy the rest of the semester – my last of freshman year.

I’m just thrilled that I’m not too much of a cliché and reevaluated my life after Jan. 1.

Photo Jan 27, 4 20 41 PM

How gorgeous is this color? I’m glad I’m finally getting use out of it. Ignore my chubby fingers.

Photo Jan 26, 10 39 41 PM

I don’t know what I would do without Jenny. Doesn’t she look fab? She’s learning the art of fashion – and getting used to playing in a sister’s closet.

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On Saturday I ran in the Gator Run with some amazing friends. This was my first 5k in two years! My mom might not be a fan of the PHanny pack (corny AEPhi joke), but I love it!

Rushing Around

Cross-legged in worn out Victoria’s Secret sweatpants and fuzzy zebra-print socks with a coffee mug by my side, I’ve set up quite the work station in Broward Hall’s fourth floor common room. If I wasn’t so exhausted, this would be a pretty cute scene.

I decided to put aside my cultural anthropology notes for a bit to illustrate my whirlwind of a week. I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. My fans must be going out of their minds. Just kidding. Does anyone even read this?

A week after my last post, I went home for five days where I shopped for rush (my closet is now adorned with fall-approved BCBG dresses galore), went to the dentist, got blood drawn and ran tons of errands. Thrilling, right? I really did enjoy seeing my family and friends in Cooper City, but I couldn’t hide my excitement to return to UF.

When I got to my new room, I barely said two words to my new roomie Rebecca (whom I adore!) when I had to leave for a sorority recruitment orientation. We were all warned about how insane the next week would be, especially the following day, which was from 6 am-10:30 pm. Taking advantage of the fact that the room was empty for the night, Miss OCD over here decided to completely unpack and decorate the room – until 3:30 am. I never heard my alarm (or the millions of missed calls) in the morning, so my hour-long nap turned into a four and a half hours.

I couldn’t believe it. I always set at least two alarms and make sure I’m 15 minutes early everywhere I go. After calling my Pi Chis in hysterics, I was luckily informed I could still rush, but I had to get ready in 5 minutes and already missed the first three houses. Not the best start. The rest of the week wasn’t much better as the 1,400 of us were stressed, tired, hungry, sore and blistered.

*Side note: I did love dressing up every day. I found rush-approved dresses that fit my taste: No Lily Pulitzer here! Except I came to realize I’m the worst blogger in the entire world. We were constantly rushing (no pun intended), so I kept forgetting to take pictures of myself and the people around me. Oops.

But it was all worth it in the end because I’m now a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi! I can’t say much (or anything at all, actually – AEPhi is full of secrets, most of which I don’t know of yet), but after our first meeting today, I think it’s safe to assume that this will be the best semester, four years and overall experience of my life. And the mascot, a giraffe, happens to be my favorite animal. It’s beautiful, graceful and regal, just like my new sisters. I  already love them and can’t wait for all the fun to begin.

I’m so fortunate to call these girls my sisters. I already love them! I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of running into their arms after I ripped open my bid card.

Speaking of meetings, I had four today. Yes, four. A week in and I’ve already stretched myself too thin. High school really never ends, does it?

I’ll quickly explain what’s going on: I am on the marketing, photography and writing team for the Florida Odyssey, a newsletter mostly written for the Greek community but now appeals to the entire school. I’m psyched to have my first assignment, which hopefully will be published this week. Tomorrow I am meeting Fitz Koehler to discuss the details of my internship with Fitzness International, so I’ll let you know my job responsibilities soon enough. Check out LinkedIn and connect with me. I love to keep busy more than I love to sleep – dark circles are a sign of strength in my book! After learning how much involvement is required in a sorority, I have to admit I freaked out a little. While juggling five classes, striving to put my all into the sorority, being an active part of a newspaper and holding an internship might be is insane, I’m actually excited to see how how I’ll handle it all. With more experience comes more opportunities. My dream opportunities. Plus it’s so much fun! On that note, I can’t wait for my first journalism class at 4:05 pm tomorrow. One of it’s requirements: subscribe to The New York Times! Nerd alert, nerd alert.

One grievance: There’s not enough time in the day. I haven’t even been able to exercise in well over a week, leaving me feeling sad and gross, two adjectives I don’t have time to feel. That’s why – after these notes are finished – I plan to hop into bed and wake up early to run and do yoga.

May the stress slowly melt. I hope all of you fellow freshmen are holding up and enjoying your first week.

Namaste!

A Step In The Right Direction

Growing up, I always looked forward to back-to-school shopping. The people closest to me know I have a bizarre obsession with office supplies #journalistproblems, but there was always something special about buying a new set each August. Maybe it was the anticipation of a fresh start in a new grade, knowing that it could be the year something exciting finally happened.

Passing by Target’s back-to-school section the other day, a rush of sadness accompanied my typical excitement when it dawned on me that the end of Summer B was right around the corner. More specifically, six days. My complexion is not any bronzer and I’m currently cutting out notecards to study for finals, but it was a perfect summer nonetheless. It’s been a wild month full of friendship and opportunity.

I decided to take advantage of my summer on campus and get acquainted with a few journalism professors, who I’m eager to begin working with. They seemed pleased with my experience, but, being the overly ambitious perfectionist that I am, I craved more. When one of the professors hinted that INsite Magazine, a local feature and entertainment publication, loved interns, I quickly emailed the editors my resume and clips. While the internship was full, the assistant editor informed me they needed “trustworthy writers” and asked if I would write a restaurant review for Gainesville Restaurant Week.

Five weeks into college and I’ve been published.

This was just the boost of confidence I needed to prove that I can make it at UF and in this industry. This revelation finally closed the nettling wound left by Northwestern University’s rejection. It’s been an unnecessarily dramatic and devastating journey, but I’m finally able to move on. I know my Cherub buddies will thrive there and I couldn’t be more proud of them, but this is where I’m meant to be and I’ve honestly never been happier. That old saying turns out not to be garbage after all: Everything does happen for a reason.

I look forward to writing more for INsite, but for now I’m excited to share my two little reviews with you. It’s a start and gave me the chance to explore my new home of Gainesville while eating two delicious meals, gaining some basic review-writing experience and possibly expanding my resume. Click here and here and be prepared to drool.

They aren’t the best, but Photo Credit: Me!

So while passing that back-to-school sale at Target signaled the end of a wonderful summer, it also brought forth that magical feeling of fall, where the weather is cool enough for boots and blazers, and, most importantly, where the possibilities are endless.

This is only the beginning.

Gator Glory

A naive middle schooler commonly found in a daydream, I couldn’t wait to go to high school, where there was so much spirit that people danced on tables (High School Musical, I’m looking at you). Then I got to Cooper City High, where the students were only truly spirited on the Friday of the homecoming game. I suppose there was an inordinate amount of CCHS apparel seen daily, but that’s only because they came in the form of comfy t-shirts and sweatpants.

Life at the University of Florida is a whole other story. We’re all proud to be Gators; hundreds of students and faculty show their pride daily by donning bright orange and cobalt blue, and it’s not rare to see Albert the Alligator on a t-shirt or two.

I must have moved on from my High School Musical-fantasy days because I only own about three Gator tops, but I choose to show my spirit in other ways. May it be wearing cerulean Banana Republic shorts and accessorizing with an orange-detailed straw cross body or my newest trick: showing some scales.

With an alligator-print belt and blazer in my closet, my collection has just begun. But I’m not the only one paying homage to the alligator. The fall 2012 runways revealed an alligator obsession in both clothing and accessories from Max Mara to Fendi. Even Rachel’s Zoe’s Team has caught on, finding themselves “fixated by alligator” and promoting Mitchel Primrose’s Fall 2012 accessory collection.

Before I fell for Fendi’s exotic patterns and wild use of shag fur, I was enamored and inspired by the Armani Privé Spring 2012 Couture show. While an entire collection of green could easily go wrong, each scheme was used wonderfully and masterfully, fitting the jungle-inspired motif. Structured blazers dominated the line and were paired with equally well-fitted skirts and straight-leg pants. The gator-print and mesh-like fabric worked seamlessly together, making a fierce statement.

I guess our mascot says a lot about the school: While we can be elegant and graceful, we’re also a wild force to be reckoned with.

The Look

Photo Credit: My BFF Lena Wedeen. How pretty is this campus?!

A bit python, a bit gator. I still love it!

The battle between wearing the blazer or the belt ended when I realized just how hot it was outside.

The Inspiration

My obsession, the Armani Privé Spring 2012 Couture collection. It was difficult choosing only four photos, so check out the rest! Photo Credit: fashionologie.com

Max Mara Fall 2012 – Structured, clean and classic. Photo Credit: Style.com

Fendi’s Fall 2012 collection is definitely more on the wild side, but how can you resist those gator leggings? Photo Credit: Style.com

Go Gators!

Wardrobe Malfunction

One of my biggest concerns entering college – don’t judge – was what to wear.

My love of fashion is palpable. I’m always on the hunt for style inspiration and ways to put together Vogue interview-worthy outfits on a babysitting budget. I’m vocal about my passion because it’s such a integral part of who I am.

So imagine my surprise when I entered my first dilapidated and downright filthy frat house to find girls in barely-there shorts and either midriff-bearing or neon, bra-exposed tops. Even more out of my comfort zone was the downtown dress code: skin-tight mini dresses and skirts with sky-high heels.

My closet consists of a rainbow of blazers and jeans and structured shorts. Still one of the most overdressed in class, the wardrobe I created in hopes of interning in New York City stands out in a sea of jean shorts and tank tops. But I’m not complaining. I love it and will never change who I am; I just have to marry the worlds of high-fashion and college. [Nina Garcia and Mom, please forgive me for trying on that tight, scarily short black dress at the mall the other day. I had a momentary lapse in judgment.]

I like to think of myself as a man repeller, a term cleverly coined by one of my favorite bloggers. Wearing black Banana Republic shorts with a lime green blazer and carrying a fuchsia faux-ostrich envelope clutch may have only elicited compliments from girls, but the look was me. Many girls here, like my friends, look adorable and appropriate while still fitting into the scene. While there is a secret dress code we’re all trying to adhere to, we know it’s more important to be ourselves. What’s the fun in going out if you don’t love what you’re wearing?

Though, I did give the bra-under-sheer-top trend a try by adding a couture touch à la Carrie Bradshaw and Rebecca Minkoff. With shorts, this could become even more frat house-approved by my standards. Thoughts?

The Look

Top: Sheer gray chiffon with studded collar – Urban Outfitters, Pants: Burgundy (my favorite color!) skinny jeans – BCBG Generation, Demi Bra: Black lace – Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Black suede wedges – Target

 The Inspiration

Rebecca Minkoff’s Spring 2012 collection has it all – neon, bra-exposed tops and hot pants. The look easily transitions into summer. Photo Credit: http://www.fashionologie.com/

The illustrious Carrie Bradshaw, donning a sequin top over a black bra. – Photo Credit: www.fabsugar.com

I was thrilled to find a top somewhat similar to these sheer, sequin-collared blouses from Jason Wu’s Spring 2012 collection. Photo Credit: http://www.fashionologie.com

As for the midriff-bearing tops, I’ll be seeking inspiration from the best of the best – as long as I continue to work out as hard as I have been.

Adorable summer bra tops and high-waisted skirts. From left to right: Proenza Schouler, Dolce & Gabanna, Donna Karan, Nina Ricci, No21, Emilio Pucci – Photo Credit: http://www.fashionologie.com

THESE are the type of crop tops I would wear. From left to right: Preen, Charlotte Ronson, Rebecca Minkoff, Creatures of the Wind - Photo Credit: http://www.fashionologie.com

*Side note: While my descriptions of the frat houses are completely accurate, they’re actually a lot of fun. As long as I’m with my new friends, I’m happy anywhere, no matter how unsanitary.

School is Cool Again

Sometimes I forget I’m in school. I keep saying how I’m really taking to college life, but with two classes, a free gym and a lot of time on my hands, it’s more like summer camp.

Starting my second week, I took some time to reflect on my first week of UF courses, both of which happen to be instrumental in my journalism studies. As my high school journalism teacher just wrote me in an email, “That’s the beauty of journalism, it’s basically the study of everything. You can find a journalistic angle on any subject if you are so inclined.”

First off, I have American State and Local Government from 11:00 am – 12:15 pm. It is required for the journalism track, but I was nervous signing up. My lackluster teachers in the past had made learning history a tedious waste of time. A week in, my professor changed my mind about government. The first day he mentioned how important this course was for journalists in particular, which immediately sparked an interest. We are learning how the constitution and federalism affect our lives today, especially in the midst of a presidential race. An older man with snowy hair and an earring, he is so invested in the subject and has helped me understand the subject by emailing articles from The Daily Beast (one of my favorite news sources) and some pertaining to our state in particular. Oh, and did I mention our homework is to think?

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy. Although, my professor instilled in us that this is not how it really occurred.

He also loves to bring in guest speakers, so Friday we met Richard Bondi, a Google employee and marketing fiend. He spoke about the importance of branding, from individuals trying to make a name for themselves to the success of presidential candidates’ use of social media. It made me think about The Girl With The Purple Pen and all of the exciting things I have planned.

Go on each candidate’s Facebook page and choose who you think does a better job of captivating voters. Both certainly have their pros and cons.

My online class, Introduction to Communication Studies, has so far proven helpful for my major. Not only is it fascinating, but also I’ve learned how to read people and ensure I’m properly getting my messages across, both verbally and nonverbally. Except now I’m studying all my conversations with people…it’s a bit disconcerting but oh so interesting.

As someone who desires to make a living communicating with people, Intro to Comm is the perfect class for me.

In addition to the classes themselves, dressing for school has been fun. I wear exactly what I wore in high school (sans the wedges – there’s A LOT of walking): blazers, jeans and bright shorts. I’m constantly told I’ll be hot wearing a blazer, but I love them too much to go without.

My plan was to take pictures of my first week outfits, but with no full-length mirror, I was left with awkward pictures that I prefer not to share. But there will be plenty more on college fashion tomorrow.