Saturday, December 20, 2014

At the Core.

Nordic Sweater: c/o OASAP.
Plaid Skirt, Cream Blouse, Cut Out Boots, Necklace: Thrifted.
Beret: AA.

Going to Europe for four months changed me in a lot of ways, but at the core of it all I'm still the same. I suppose I thought that this big life change would weed out all of the parts of myself I didn't like. I really don't know why I thought that, but I did. I thought that if I did this trip which was so outside of my comfort zone, that I would become this outgoing and socially confident person.

I'm still not.

A struggle that I've found since not even being back a week in Ohio, is that I simply can't find the words to talk about my trip. I keep running into people I know around town who saw my trip on Facebook or instagram or my blog and of course, they ask how it was. And I never, ever know what to say. I usually start by saying it was great, but I'm glad to be back, and then I always get the same perplexed stare of: "what the hell is wrong with you?" I stutter and stumble around trying to explain that Italy was nice, but it just wasn't what I expected and that it was hard for me, and that I'm glad to be home because I missed it. But how do you explain to someone in a two minute small talk conversation everything you went though and how it just wasn't what you thought it would be? How do you explain the homesickness, the awful roommates, the not fitting in, the realizations within yourself that you found that maybe you didn't want to find? People don't want to hear all that. They want to hear how great Italy was.

Sometimes I just want to say that. "Yeah it was the greatest semester of my life and I can't wait to go back." It would be so much easier. I probably wouldn't sound like a complete idiot when they try and ask me questions I don't have the right answer to. I probably wouldn't sound like a complete spoiled brat who just spent four months in Italy and didn't completely enjoy it. And I probably wouldn't feel the shame, disappointment, and strangeness when I tell people-- "it was just... okay."

There were times when it was great, times when I was having the time of my life. But as a whole, I didn't. I just didn't. It's not my fault, it's not Italy's fault, it's not anyone's fault. It is what it is. And there's so much I can't explain to all of these people where I feel I can give an answer that satisfies me that they understand what I went through over there. 

I just don't know what to say to anyone.

With much love, Lauren.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Romantics.

Pussy Bow Blouse, Houndstooth Skirt: Thrifted.
Black Heeled Boots: H&M.
Black Wide Brimmed Hat: c/o OASAP.
Lipstick in MAC's Diva.

Hello there! x

Brrr, I was spoilt in Italy weather wise-- it never really got below 55 degrees there. Ohio has snapped me back to reality though with snow and cold to welcome me home! I don't really mind (for now anyways) because like being back in nature, the weather just feels like home. It's all I've ever known, and sometimes the cold and snow can be so refreshing and inspiring. 

I've loved coming back to having a full wardrobe again! Near the end of my semester I was dressing heavily European influenced, but since being back I seem to have reverted to my old ways a bit. I'd like to take the direction of my style into a classic, 1960's inspired feel; a mix of my roots in vintage, my experiences in Europe, and a sophistication of growing older. I went thrifting today for some new key pieces and came away with some I'm pretty pleased with! A black velvet circle skirt, and brown plaid skirt, a pair of funky leather tie boots &....I managed to find a pair of YSL heels! Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the label. Such a lucky find!

Talk to you all soon! x

With much love, Lauren.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Home is Where the ♥ Is.

Nordic Sweater, Green Skirt: c/o OASAP. 
Plaid Scarf: College Store Manhattan.
Tan Hat: Brandy Melville.
Oxfords: Clothing swap, originally Forever21.

Hello, hello from OHIO! 

I arrived back safely to the states Sunday night and was finally reunited with my family. It's been a busy past few days unpacking all my stuff, seeing people I've missed, and trying to recover from jet lag. I'm just so happy to be back. In some ways it really feels like I never left, but rather I was just in a four month long dream and I've finally woke up. Being back in nature especially feels so nice. The peacefulness of it all and just seeing trees, grass, and open land makes me so happy. Perhaps why I didn't care for Italy as much as I thought was the whole living in a city. I just don't think I'm cut out for it. My spirit runs on the rejuvenation I receive through exploring nature and being immersed in it; it's also where I always feel most connected to Christ, as well.

Anyways, I was pleased to shoot some outfit photos today and be back into my favorite little forest. I've missed you! x

With much love, Lauren.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Golden Rose.

Faux Leather Jacket, Checked Dress: H&M.
White Blouse (underneath): Forever21.
Beret: AA.
Black Boots: Random shop here in Florence. 
Lip Color: lip liner in Kiko's #712.

Hi there guys!

I'm nearly done with my time here; just four more days! Can hardly contain my excitement till I see my family...I've been trying to live it up here in Florence while I'm here though. Seeing the sunsets over the Arno, eating gelato every day (cinnamon, mmm!), loading up on cappuccinos...Some things I'll really miss. I know I moaned and groaned about the coffee here all semester, but I've actually grown to really, really love it. I'm pretty sure Starbucks or anything of the sort won't be able to compare ever now. I'll have to try and cappuccino there when I get back and let you know! 

I was in Kiko the other day (an amazing Italian makeup store, kind of like NYX) and was swatching some lip liners on my hand. I've never really understood lip liners, but as I've gotten into a wider range of colors in my lipstick collection over the years & have been pulling out my darker shades for winter.... I realize they are kind of necessary. I went in looking to match one for my MAC's "Rebel" but found this shade I'm wearing on my lips instead actually! I wasn't into Kylie Jenner's overdrawn, pouty lips in the beginning, but now I kind of dig them...this lip pencil reminded me so much of the color she wears, so I picked it up for only 2.50 euro which is super cheap! Even though it's a liner, I love how you can also wear it as a matte sort of lipstick and it stays on so long. My roommate and friend Haley liked it so much that she went and bought one for herself today, too! I really recommend trying it if you have a Kiko by you. x

With much love, Lauren.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ireland Snapshots.

Hello there!

Here are my snapshots from IRELAND. Gorgeous, gorgeous Ireland. I absolutely loved it, and if I had to choose one place to be my favorite all semester...this would probably be it. Everything about it is charming-- whether you're in the cobblestone streets of the city or the fairy tale country side. I stayed in Dublin for a day, visited the Cliffs of Moher, and then went to the little town of Galway for Christmas markets. Each amazing in their own, unique way. I found the people to be so friendly, the rainy weather right up my alley, and the food to be hearty and home-y.

It wasn't long enough to just spend two and a half days there, and my #1 destination to go again someday again is Ireland. There's just so much I didn't feel like I got to see, especially the countryside. I love you, Ireland, hope to see you again soon! x

With much love, Lauren.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Roma.

Plaid Blanket Scarf: College Store Manhatten.
Green Blouse: Forever21.
Red Skirt, Black Hat: c/o OASAP.
Leather Jacket: H&M.
Black Boots: Random store in Florence.
Lipstick in MAC's Russian Red.

Hi there!

For my last trip of the semester I visited Rome yesterday! Truthfully I was kind of putting it off because I knew it was going to be a stressful, crazy day to navigate Rome by myself and try to see everything in one day. I was kinda right-- it was crazy and Rome ate me alive! But, I'm proud of myself. Not just for getting to, around, and from Rome all day, but in general my independence this enture semester.

I was really upset at the beginning of it because I felt limited to only going on trips where my friends were going. I felt like I couldn't go to the places I wanted to just by myself; because it was 1) lame and 2) there was no way I could navigate around Europe by myself.

It is incredible the things you can do that you would never think were possible. I've done this second half of the semester's trips by myself and they were my favorite trips yet. I've gotten around Paris, London, and Rome; the biggest cities in the world, all by myself, using the metro. I've flown by myself for the first time to Ireland. I've learned how to get really good at reading maps, get where I want to go, and problem solve myself out of tricky situations. And most importantly-- I've just explored and found out so much about myself that I don't think I would have ever got to if I'd limited myself to being in a group this entire time. I read this spot on article on facebook today why sometimes it's best to travel by yourself and this person says it perfectly in all the ways I could ever try. 

My favorite thing I've taken away from this experience is the acceptance in myself that it's okay to be alone and independent. I came in having a hard time not fitting in and depending on others...which just resulted in me not having the experiences I wanted to have. Throughout the semester though, I've realized my capabilities of who I am and what I can do. I thought I had a good sense of self before studying abroad. Turns out, that was just the surface of who I am, and in Italy so many new things about myself have been revealed. I know it doesn't stop after this journey either; life is a constant discovery of parts of ourselves. Thank you Italy for being the first part (of hopefully many!) journeys in showing me that! x

With much love, Lauren.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Drawing to a Close.

Polka Dot Top, Skirt: Aeropostale.
Tan Trench: c/o OASAP.
Beret: AA.
Boots: Random shop in Florence.
Backpack: Herschel Supply Co.
Lipstick in Russian Red.

HELLO! 
Long time no see everyone! I can't believe I had such a big blogging break --I'm sure some of you wondered if I was ever coming back! It's been a crazy last month in general and I just had to take a step back from blogging. It was starting to stress me out along with everything else I had on my plate. I've found throughout the years of blogging if it starts becoming a burden, then it's time to take a break because blogging should be fun and something I want to do. I just hated writing travel posts. They seemed so forced and boring to me, and although I love going on the trips themselves, it became such a hassle to constantly have these huge travel posts with two, three, and sometimes four parts that were bleh to write about. By the time I would get one place done, I'd be traveling to the next and it was frustrating always trying to keep up. I love to blog about my outfits--it always has been and always will be my favorite thing to capture on this blog. But between the crazy finals of school work, traveling constantly, and not having a tripod it became just too hard to do. So the combination of writing lack luster travel posts and not having time to post what I really wanted just made blogging and absolute dread for me.

Thankfully, the worst of all of my final tests, final projects, and weekend traveling has now passed and I can breath a sigh of relief. Since I've last posted, I've traveled to Ireland and Austria/Germany and had two of the absolute best trips. In school I've shot and styled editorials and created an layout with a great group of gals to make an entire magazine for my Media class that I'm so excited to share. I also with a group created a brand and a whole collection of flat designs and a line plan. Hopefully I can show you all soon some of the work I've done here this semester that I'm proud of in an upcoming post!

It's hard to believe, but I leave to go back home to the US next weekend; I'll be traveling home the 14th of December! I simply cannot wait. I've been incredibly homesick and just need some time off, but parts of me are sad to leave Italy, as well. Not necessarily Italy itself I think (because I didn't really fancy living here in particular), but I guess that this chapter of my life studying abroad will be closed. It is amazing how much I have learned in the last four months. About myself, about life, about the fashion industry. I feel like I am just bursting with so much newness based on the experiences I've had here being in Europe for the last four months, and I'm excited to take the new me back home to the states and see how she does. 

Hopefully I can fit a few more posts in before I leave back for the states. I still do plan on posting photos from Ireland and Austria, but I think I'm going to skip out on writing a lot because it's just simply...boring. Anyways, see you all soon! Thank you all so much for being with me in this time in my life--love you all!

With much love, Lauren.

P.S. My five year blog anniversary passed last month without me getting to celebrate! :( I plan on doing something to commemorate it when I get back to the US though!