Tuesday, December 29, 2015

She's Going to France


I've been SO elated all break trying to hold myself together. Researching, studying, preparing- all of it only causes me to break out in little episodes of hysteria. I'm not talking about the stressing/crying/hair-pulling hysteria that comes with college studying, either. This is all self-inflicted education.

Why am I putting myself through such seemingly horrible torture, you ask?

It's because I'm going to France.

There. I said it without an exclamation point.

I'M GOING TO FRANCE, PEOPLE!!! And I can't say it without having a shipload of glitter and unicorns popping out either. Maybe I better tell you how this all got started.

You see, for years I've been fascinated by the architecture of the Eiffel Tower. It's just like one day I woke up and thought to myself, "You know, I kinda like that weird tower in France. I think I'll start collecting it." And then I started becoming enraptured by the French language, the little patisseries and caf├ęs, and just about everything else involved in the French way of life.
I became a Parisian wannabe.
Several years and a roomful of Paris-themed decor later, my love for France continued to flourish. A little too much, one might think. Some of you may recall reading the post in which I discovered a macaron shoppe in Florida and was almost in a stupor when I realized the employee was French. (Um, yeah. That was a little awkward.) 
In fact, this whole stinking blog is riddled with little tributes to France! (i.e. the opening of every post, the blog logo to the left of the blog name in the browser tab, etc. etc.) So it would come as no surprise that I have ALWAYS wanted to go to France. 

Enter in a VIP member of the Education program at my U. This was how I first stumbled on the idea of study abroad-ing, though the notion was brought up in an art history class 2 years previously (an offer for Intro to Museology in- where else- Paris, France. At the Louvre. *insert ugly sobbing*). She brought in a flier for a study abroad to Argentina and I started thinking "Hm. This is my last year in college. My last chance for a structured/guided/non-touristy visit to another country. My last chance to visit another country with a generous discount via kind scholarships and student financial aid." My sister had just finished up a study abroad to Italy during the summer, so the opportunity was practically screaming at me. I started doing a little research on the Study Abroad website for my school, and that's when it happened.

Between Ecuador and Hong Kong sat the love of my life.

 France! It was there, waiting for me, calling my name, singing my song. I knew it must be a sign.

I signed my little behind right up for that trip and waited for an answer. Before long, I received the glorious news that 

 Could it be so? Do dreams REALLY come true???
I started going through the paperwork and necessary registrations. France, it seemed would become my reality during the spring of 2016. Everything was falling into place.

On November 13,  I was just about to check my email when I my eye caught one of AOL's trending headlines. Paris was under attack. In a panic I began reading as many updates and articles as I could find before catching onto a live newsfeed from Canada. I watched in devastation as the events unfolded before me and the death toll rose higher and higher, the city of my dreams coming under the siege of heartless terrorism. I was eventually pulled away from my post at my computer to take my sister to her birthday present, a concert on campus. Even there, thoughts of France raced through my mind, molding themselves to the music and creating meaning out of the emotion underlying each melody; before performing the next song, the conductor came off his pedestal to offer a moment of silence for the victims and their families in Paris, and the audience respectfully obliged. Even in America, we became united for the people of France. 

 Throughout this painful period, I felt sadness for the innocent people who were killed that night. On the backburner of my mind, consequently, sat the question: Would I still be going to France? My family were understandably not favorable to the idea. They saw France, particularly Paris, as a place no longer safe for their daughter to travel, and the idea of studying abroad was never a comfortable one. Weeks after tributes were being made and funerals were being held, I knew.

I still wanted to go to France. Maybe even more after seeing the bonds being formed by nations across the world for the hundreds killed and wounded in this peaceful country. The murderers had managed to tear a hole in the fabric of the country, but the world came together to help it mend and offer support. We were united. 

Today, I continue preparations to visit my beloved country. It will be my first time out of America without family (and with complete strangers). It will also be the first country I visit where the primary language is not English. Sometimes the enormity of the language barrier and differences in customs tries to overwhelm me, but I could not be more excited for this new adventure. It's a piece of my life that will change me forever for the better. Most of all, I can't wait to share this part of my life with my fantastique readers. Listen people, don't be afraid to dream a little bigger! Life is only so long, you know? 

You can follow my adventure here or on Insta as I make a dream a reality. <3

 C'est la vie. Make it fabulous.

 xoxo, Sara

(PARIS top: Rue 21) 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Evergreen and Pine


It's hard to believe that Christmas is in just 2 days! Today was a rainy but warm day in the 60s, a RARITY of rarities in Illinois. And I'm a bit disappointed that it won't be a white Christmas this year, but what can you do? Mud is the new white.

I still have some issues with shopping even now, one gift STILL hasn't come in yet and I have no idea what to get distant family. In fact, today was the first day I had even one person's gifts completed! I will end up being one of those people who are shopping up until midnight on Christmas Eve, I am sure of it. Do you start Christmas shopping early in the year, or are you a fellow procrastinator?

Top: Burlington | Skirt: Ann Taylor | Boots: Pick Your Plum | Hat: Dresslink

xoxo, Sara

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blue Fall, Pink Christmas


      It has been a long, long semester, and yet somehow it doesn't seem long enough. Spring is my last chance at making the most of my college adventure! I have had such a fun time student-teaching in a Kindergarten classroom this Fall. All of the kids are the cutest, sweetest things and the teacher is BEYOND amazing. I wish I could have gotten in some OOTDs at least some of the days, but interacting with 5- and 6-year-olds is exhausting work! By the end of the day I am ready to flop with a helping of Hulu. But such is the educator's life. :)
    Next spring will be an exciting time for me in so many ways! I am still (STILL!) holding on to a little secret pertaining to next year which I am having a hard time keeping but which I cannot wait to share with you all! It will be (hands-down) the highlight of the year, and maybe of my life.

Curious yet?

Of course it's that time of the year again, and what is Christmas without a traditional Elfster Gift Exchange??? You can get in on the fun here: https://www.elfster.com/exchange/view/18875754/5c0304/
Sign-up deadline is December 19 and gifts will be exchanged by December 24.
 Hope to see you on Santa's list!

 xoxo, Sara

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gold and Silver Days


I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! Mine included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, soft, buttery rolls... much fabulous food that I wish I could rewind back to again. And, of course, it was nice to see family that I hadn't seen for several months.
I am reminded of many things I have to be thankful for this year, most of which are the usual food, shelter, family, etc., but I am also thankful for opportunities and experiences I have been able to be part of. I am thankful to find success in education, pleasure in hobbies, and freedom in beliefs. There is also an adventure I am thankful to be embarking on in the beginning of the next year, but that is a secret to be revealed at another time. :)
 Tonight I also got out for some early Black Friday deals, and I have to say it is not a particularly pleasing event when there are dozens of people going after the same things you are. Before I had even made it very far into a store, a woman very rudely shouted, "Move out of the way, ____ it!" And I was so shocked that someone would be so outrageous (to me, a stranger who was not really doing anything worthy of that treatment) that I completely forgot what I was standing there for in the first place, and when I finally remembered that I was in line to get an ad, I also realized I would have to get in line right behind that very blatant woman. Now THAT was an exciting experience.
 After I recovered and was able to quickly create some distance between us, I located the luggage I was going after (a nice houndstooth hardcase) and picked up a few extra things along the way. I nearly had a heart attack when I realized that two people were loading up on the very suitcases I had my eye on too, but fortunately they decided not to take the entire pallet's worth of products and I secured mine. It drives me crazy when people stock-pile their carts with sale items only to sell them later on eBay for a higher price. I mean, what about us people who only want one? And have been looking and looking for that one item to go on sale finally?? It almost seems dishonest, the way they are taking advantage of lowered store prices. But hey. That's my own humbled opinion. :)

Are you a deal-seeker or a crowd-avoider? What are your plans for Black Friday?

Gold Blouse: Gifted | Skirt: Romwe | Heels: Candie's | Blazer: Rainbow

xoxo, Sara

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fall Fabulous


I can't believe Thanksgiving is only one week away! So much to do, so little time. I love these fall-themed pieces on Polyvore that capture the sophistication of autumn colors as well as the crisp coolness that leather and plaid add to any ensemble.

Fall Fab

Thanksgiving break is going to be a great time to just chill, catch up on blogging, etc. AND of course, enjoy the holiday. After that, it's only a few weeks left until Christmas! Where is the time going???

What are your go-to fall pieces?

xoxo, Sara

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Morning Has Broken

6 AM
                                        Dream Explore Discover Mug: Shutterfly (personalized)
7 AM
8 AM


Well, the warm temperatures can only last so long. October was generally warm, stunningly beautiful, and pleasantly pumpkins, but now it's time to move on to Thanksgiving. And hooray for the time change! I can get up early and not have to stub my toes trying to navigate in the dark. I actually shot these photos on an early morning of late October and THIS is the one reason I survive 8 AM classes: I am a sap for sunrises. If I could take a picture of every one, I would.
     It's really hard realizing that this is my last Fall in college. I just can't imagine not seeing the beautiful bursts of Autumn color on campus, and considering UIUC is famous for its gorgeous scenery, it's going to be even harder to stay away. I will miss walking down the main quad and feeling the open air, seeing the tall, old-fashioned buildings presiding over the fringes of the quad. I'll miss the sound of the bells chiming in the distance and the taste of long john donuts just picked up from the Law Building. I will miss the peace and tranquility the solitude brought me while sitting in the woods with a book or eating lunch in the ACES library (which, coincidentally, was not actually allowed). So many memories make me regret not living every moment to its fullest in the present, but they also remind me of the many great moments I did have and continue to have. I'll miss the University and its superb seasonal campus, but you know what? I'll be back.

Mint Moto Vest: Forever 21 | Top: Thrifted | Skirt: Romwe

xoxo, Sara

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hold the Phone(Booth)


I decided to do a fun take on the typical Superman costume by having a transformation from Clark (Clara?) Kent to his super alter ego in the same outfit. After having the suit on for quite a while, I decided to open it so that people would stop thinking I was A. a Mormon or B. a salesperson and see that I was clearly supposed to be in costume. And it worked! When my photographer and I stopped for sushi, I received a nice comment from an employee and she had the cashier make a reference to her Supernatural Castiel costume at the checkout.

I think I will have a hard time not having a costume when I am an aging adult. It's just too much fun to give up. :)

Did you dress up for Halloween, and if so, what was your new costumed identity?

Blouse: Borrowed | Skirt: Thrifted | Coat/Superman Top+Cape: Gifted | Shoes: Walmart | Glasses: dresslink

 Candy Awaits!