Wednesday, February 27, 2013

mama said.

it rained almost the entire day yesterday*

Yesterday was just one of those days.

One of those days in which, no matter how many lists I made - in my head, or on paper - I just couldn't bring myself to do, well... anything. 

I find myself at odds with myself [yikes, awkward wording], because at my core, I am two very different people. One of them is a type-A, obsessive compulsive neat freak perfectionist who wants everything to be just so & always in order. The other one enjoys long naps on the couch & procrastinating to the Nth degree. 

How did I end up with these two very different aspects of one personality? Well, if I'm honest, I believe that I've grown to use procrastination as a coping mechanism for the stress that obsessive compulsive thoughts & behaviors cause. If I can't do everything perfectly, maybe I just won't do it at all. That's a thought that drives my day-to-day life at times. And, obviously, that's a problem. I mean, it's not exactly conducive to getting things done that need to be done [like the enormous pile of clean laundry in our guest bedroom that is wrinkling up as we speak].

I realize that neither extreme I turn to is correct, or positive, or productive. It is my hope that eventually I will stumble across an effective method for balance & productivity. Until then, it's back to the drawing board...

Tell me, how do you amp up your productivity, even on days when it feels impossible to do absolutely anything right?

photo: rainy panes \ nikon

*so yeah, there was that, too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

charleston snapshot: washington square.

As Justin & I roamed the streets of Charleston's Historic District, we stumbled upon an area of lush, inviting greenery. This area was Washington Square, & it almost instantly became one of my favorite parts of the city. Seriously, it is a little piece of serene, tucked-away Heaven, in the midst of an already charm-infused area.
see? heavenly.

washington had a lot of visitors that day.

Want to see more of Charleston?

As always, more coming soon. Next, I'll be taking you to Waterfront Park.

photos: washington square, charleston, south carolina \ nikon

Sunday, February 24, 2013

the sunday currently, volume 23.

Have you ever had one of those days, where you just feel cozy in your clothes? Like, somehow, you've just hit the nail on the head with your outfit, really channeled yourself through what you chose to put on?

Well, that happened for me, earlier this week, & you can view a tiny piece of the outfit in that photo to the left, there. The scarf was a gift from my sister, & it's something I love every single time I wear it.

Beyond that, this past week has just been one in which I've felt incredibly happy. Ask Justin: this, coming from a girl who, around a week ago, could barely pry herself out of bed, nor quit sulking about the fact that she had still not found a job in her new city, was a big deal. 

I don't know: I guess I've just felt like I'm finally on the right track; like I've been sent signs from God, that there's a reason for this struggle. And really, nothing can compare to that reassurance.
reading in far too sporadic a manner. Little Women, no doubt, feels abandoned. 
writing via ink-&-paper avenues, as discussed here. If you are a writer, & you don't journal, I highly recommend it. Sometimes I gloss over the thoughts that are bouncing around in my head, when they really deserve to be written down.
listening to my gut. And to God. My career may be on the upswing here. I really think it may be a sign that I haven't found a job yet. The right thing just hasn't come along, & that has paved the way for me to explore other avenues.
thinking that Pawn Stars & Swamp People are two of my favorite shows... ever.
smelling my current favorite shower gel, Honey Sweetheart from Bath & Body Works. I haven't really tried the other Sweetheart scents yet, because I knew which one I'd like best. I may take a trip over to B&BWorks soon to check the others out, though.
wishing it was easier to become a morning person. I've been trying, y'all, & I'm doing better. BUT, it's time to really get in gear. This week's wakeup time? 7 a.m.
hoping for a lovely little trip to Pinehurst this coming up weekend. We'll be heading there for Justin to attend a Gastroenterology conference, & I'll get to explore a new city in North Carolina. I can't wait!
wearing bright colors this spring. Following in the inspired footsteps of ChelseaWears, I've gone through my makeup collection & selected items I'm excited to bring out for Spring. Now, I can't wait to paint my nails bold colors!
loving my decision to buy beautiful notebooks & fill them up with whatever I want. In the past, I've put a lot of pressure on myself to determine a certain & specific function for each notebook, leading to me not really writing anything in any of them. So, from now, on, in any given notebook, you may find sketches, lists, journal entries... you get the picture.
wanting my skin to clear up. I've stopped taking my Biotin supplements, because I've heard that it can break you out, & I'm pretty sure that's the culprit here.
needing to keep the house clean this week - & ultimately, that means DOING LAUNDRY. We have family coming in a couple weekends, which means things need to look extra nice around here.
feeling excited about all the bright nail polish & lipsticks I've found in my collection, that I'm going to be busting out for Spring. I've decided that Spring is going to start on March 1. So, my last dark manicure for the season is currently on my nails. It's Sally Hansen's Grey Area.
clicking this tutorial for making glitter letters in Photoshop Elements. I don't own this software yet, but I am looking to get it sometime in the near future. It's about time I've started learning Photoshop, & since Elements is less expensive, that's where I'm going to start.

photo: weekday me \ instagram

Friday, February 22, 2013

friday's letters, to myself.

this is me. messy hair on top of head. ridiculous facial expression. sunglasses. gaudy pearls.

It's always been a kind of unspoken rule around here on this blog, that I'd focus less on myself, & more on things I find inspiration through, photos of things I'm doing with Justin or my family or my friends. That was my comfort level from the beginning, & while I'd include the occasional amateur outfit post like right here, or some other image of myself, I knew that was something I wanted to shy away from a little bit.

But recently, I've felt my blog is falling a little flat. Lacking in voice. I was having a hard time figuring out why, until I picked up ink-&-paper journaling again... Writing exactly what was on my mind, without being conscious of whether or not it was blog content worthy or what I deemed interesting enough. As I fell back into the routine of really knowing myself & my thoughts, I realized something: this is the kind of stuff I like to read on other blogs. And yesterday, when I found myself reading this post, I knew it was time for me to change things around over here a little bit, for what I think will be the better. 

Don't worry - there will still be what I'm sure you may consider a surplus of wish list [MAKEUP!] compilations, Friday's Fancies posts, & other such content here. But it will be alongside more of my thoughts, more of my daily life... more of me. Yikes - that sounds way self-involved. That's not the way I mean it, promise.

In keeping with this theme, I've deemed today's Friday's Letters to be of the Dear Lauren... variety.

Dear Lauren, Enjoy consuming sweets for the next few days, because come March, you're not eating them, unless it's cheat day, which only happens once per week. Same goes for April. This is a small price to pay for looking your absolute best at Lindsey's wedding in May. Dear Lauren, Good call choosing the Southern Pecan coffee at Harris Teeter. Dear Lauren, Feel free to watch Clueless at least once per week for the foreseeable future. It's just good for the soul, you know? Dear Lauren, Get excited for wearing brights in a few days! Spring is right around the corner. Time to pick out all the bold nail polishes from the back of your bathroom cabinet! Dear Lauren, Thank goodness you haven't been so depressed this week. Good job moving forward more with the business & devising a plan. Let's do even better next week.

Happy weekend! I hope I'll see y'all back here on Sunday for another edition of The Sunday Currently.

photo: christmas day downtown \ nikon

link-up: friday's letters \ the sweet season

Thursday, February 21, 2013

charleston snapshot: glimpses of spring.

While we were traipsing around Charleston for our Valentine's Day trip, we saw little visions of Spring popping up all around us. It was so nice to see the colorful scenery & think of the brightest season of the year being right around the corner.

and now, for the window boxes. oh, how i loved the window boxes.

hey justin...

More from our weekend adventure in The Holy City coming soon.

photos: spring scenes in charleston \ nikon

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

a little wish list: high end beauty products.

a little wish list: high end beauty products.

bronzer | base | highlighter | bioderma | flushed | polish | MSF | lip pencil | basics | multiple | smudge pot | blush | lipstick

Back at the end of the January, I put together the drug store beauty edition of my little wish list series. Today I'm bringing you the high end version. And apparently, I'm really jonesing for some cheek products.

FACE | Ever since its explosion onto the YouTube beauty scene, I have been wishing for Bioderma. Ever on the hunt for ways to improve my skincare regimen, this product is extremely attractive to me. It's true: I have previously owned the Make Up For Ever HD Foundation, & I am really wanting to go back there. The coverage is the perfect mix of wait, you have acne? & wait, you have on foundation? 

CHEEKS | Ok, everyone, here is where I go a little crazy in terms of wishing. I have a grand total of six high end cheek products depicted here. And yes, I really do think my makeup collection would benefit from all of them. Here's why. I currently own Laura Geller's Blush-N-Brighten in Honey Dipped, & I find it to be gorgeous, shimmery, lit-from-within goodness. Obviously, this means I would love the corresponding Bronze-N-Brighten. Plus, Emily suggested it, & Emily is never wrong. Another Emily suggestion? The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer. My recent interest in highlighting products explains that selection, as well as both MAC's MSF in Soft & Gentle & the Nars Multiple in Copacabana. My single blush selection for this list comes by way of Chelsea of ChelseaWears [who, by the way, is hilarious]. She raved about Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed, comparing it to Nars Douceur [which I've always wanted to try]. Rounding out the cheeks category, we have a product that combines the bronzer, blush, & highlight aspects: Urban Decay's Naked Flushed. Not firmly depicted here is my want of more creamy cheek products. So yeah, there's that. There's actually more makeup I want.

NAILS | Speaking of ChelseaWears, in her recent Looking Forward to Spring series, she has been wearing the most beautiful nail polish I've ever seen. And that happens to be China Glaze's Peachy Keen. I want this to be my signature Spring 2013 color. I need to make this happen. Oh, & by the way, Chelsea blogs, too. Check her out here.

EYES | Ever since I really got into makeup in 2010, I've wanted to add Stila's Kitten eye shadow to my collection. Since I love a good cream eye base, I figure, why not try it out in Smudge Pot form? And honestly, people, I own both the Naked & Naked 2 palettes from Urban Decay, so do I really need the Naked Basics palette as well? Probably not, but it would expand my minimal matte shadows collection. And that's important. Right?

LIPS | It just wouldn't be a proper wish list without lip products, so here's what I'm feeling at the moment: MAC's Lip Pencil in Whirl [which is described as dirty rose], paired with MAC's Creme In Your Coffee lipstick. I have been wanting that lipstick for ages, & the good news is that, after I de-pot a few of my eye shadows, I may have enough items to do Back-To-MAC.

Love wish lists? Check out the drug store edition here. And my fashion/miscellaneous edition is coming soon, so be on the lookout! As mentioned in the drug store edition, as I [hopefully] acquire these products, I plan to review them here on this blog, complete with opinions on effectiveness & general loveliness &, of course, what I consider to be gorgeous detail shots of the packaging & product itself.

What high end beauty products do you swear by? Please do share - I'm ever on a search for new items to buy wish for.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

valentine's day snapshot.

In the nearly eight years that Justin & I have been together, we have always acknowledged & celebrated Valentine's Day, but never in a huge, over-the-top way. We prefer to keep this holiday understated & simple, & that is exactly how I like it.
This year, Valentine's Day was a Thursday, & while Justin was at work, I collected the necessary ingredients & cooked up some candied jalapenos. Lessons learned: remove the jalapeno seeds so they're not scorching hot, & prepare the jalapenos a few days in advance so they can really stew & sweeten up in the syrup. Though this treat wasn't perfectly executed, I think Justin really appreciated it, as he has been requesting this confection for... I don't even know how long. I think he was thrilled I finally got around to it, & I'm not going to lie, I definitely benefitted form eating this spicy, sweet, cream cheese, wheat thins goodness. 

That evening, we dined at Dock Street Oyster Bar - a little hole-in-the-wall beloved by the locals around here. Multiply those happy faces you see in the photo above by about twenty, & that's how we felt about our meal. I'm not big on sweet potatoes, but the mashed variety we enjoyed alongside our mahi & shrimp did not disappoint. 

We then retreated back home to watch our two Red Box picks for the night: The Perks of Being a Wallflower & Taken 2. Since my copy of Perks is worn & probably the most highlighted book I own, I was banking on the film version being a success. And it was. As soon as the credits were rolling, Justin turned to me & said, 'That was great.' 

Taken 2... not so much. About three quarters of the way through the film, I found myself scoffing, relating the movie to a video game. Because all it was, was creeping around, trying not to get killed. It had basically no storyline. It just... didn't hold a flame to the original, in my opinion.

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day this year? I will say... I didn't eat nearly enough candy... and no red & pink M&Ms at all, unfortunately.

photos: valentine's day \ instagram

Sunday, February 17, 2013

the sunday currently, volume 22.

reading articles each morning about random things i'm interested in, recently. i'll brew my cuppa joe, pop my toast in the oven to crisp, & go totally random with google. i really have learned a lot this week, in this way, & it's a little morning ritual i plan to continue. 
writing reply comments through disqus now. for quite a little while, there, i really didn't like diqus, to be honest. now, i get what all the fuss is about. it has made it so much less of a headache for me to reply to my comments, & i love that is inspires discussion on my blog - anyone can reply to any comment. i think that's cool. thank you, disqus.
listening to a brand new alarm tone - hedwig's theme. it makes waking up that much sweeter, really. shout out to jenni for this idea. i'm kind of in love with it. harry potter nerds, unite!
thinking that my diet is about to go through an enormous overhaul. justin & i have been working out nearly every single night, but for some reason, this routine has left me craving sweets like a crazy person. up until this weekend, i had been giving in [unfortunately], but with the birth of our crock pot meal planning fascination, i think things are back on the right track. and i may be going on a sweets cleanse... more coming soon on that. i have a very important wedding coming up soon, folks. this is go time.
smelling our new bath & body works hand soaps. i stock both of our bathrooms, as well as our kitchen, with somewhat-seasonal selections from my favorite store, year-round. i have to say, i am already missing the sickly sweet winter scents, but the current trio - cucumber melon, sea island cotton, & warm vanilla sugar - doesn't leave anything to be desired. i think i could spend my entire life in bath & body works. ridiculous? maybe.
wishing for the courage & drive to make my big dreams come true. 
hoping our crock pot meals will be a success - i think they will.
wearing warm clothes. it snowed yesterday! also, i've been wearing my signature scent - burberry brit - lately. i'm telling you, for me, no scent compares.
loving my lenten promises this year. i've promised to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, to become an early riser [the goal is to be waking at six a.m. by easter], to tackle procrastination by making a to-do list each week & completing it - no excuses, & to attend church every sunday. that last one is both mine & justin's combined lent promise - & the one i'm the most excited about.
wanting to get hired this week! i've got plans, people.
needing to go through & edit my photos from our time in the holy city. the whole time we were there last weekend, this song was in my head. 
feeling like february is flying by a lot faster than january did. the goal? make march go by slowly.
clicking sam's beautiful flower photos. also, these reassuring words, that i found through joelle's five things series. also? this DIY instagram photo album - i want to do my own! and also, one of my new favorites.

photo: a wilmington sky \ nikon

Friday, February 15, 2013

friday's fancies #59: red + pink.

valentine's day may have come & gone, but i am still extremely excited about this little red + pink ensemble. when i sat down to pull this look together, i was really feeling the kate spade vibe. in fact, the lipstick, earrings, sunglasses, necklace, shoes, & bag all have this precious brand name in common. i was going to try & make the whole look with kate in mind, but in the end, this lace peplum top & black pencil skirt won out. i chose the cosmetics route to fulfill the pink component of this look - i have always wanted to try out the makeup from topshop... & that ysl blush? yes please.

since justin & i took our valentine's day trip to charleston last weekend, we will enjoy a low-key saturday & sunday this week, hopefully getting some housework, errands, & church attendance accomplished. we are also planning to go grocery shopping, in order to try out some new crock pot recipes next week. here's to the weekend!
friday's fancies #59: red + pink.

liptsick | earrings | sunglasses | pumps | top | skirt | necklace | bag | blush | nail polish

dear nip/tuck, we are drawing to a close with our time together, & while i'll miss you, i have not been very impressed with your final two seasons. dear sopranos, i'm pretty excited to get better acquainted with you when the show mentioned above has been completed. dear smoothie king, oops... i guess i thought that hearty apple smoothie was a little bit lower calorie than it actually is. i looked up the nutritional information online this week, & i think choosing a new favorite is going to have to be in order. dear charleston, i absolutely love you. you & your beautiful architecture, your gorgeous views, your serene street corners, & your wonderful, preppily-dressed inhabitants. and, of course, your delicious food. the love could go on & on, but i'll save that for my charleston posts, which are coming soon. dear T + S, i hope y'all have a fantastic wedding weekend! i wish we could be there. dear daily workouts, you make me happy. dear little women, i'm starting to really like you. dear sweets, my addiction to you is a little out of control. what am i going to have to do? stop eating candy cold turkey? probably... but not yet. that would mean i couldn't eat a king size bag of reese's minis for lunch. yeah, that happened. dear candied jalapenos, thank you for not being as scary to make as i thought you would be. dear valentine's day, you'll always be one of my favorite holidays. even that one year in high school, when you completely sucked, & i dressed improperly for the seasonal chill & rain that happened, & my boyfriend was super mean to me... i still loved you. dear dad, you are a large part of the reason that i have always loved valentine's day. i still remember - & cherish - the days you would come home from work with red hots, chocolate, & a stuffed animal for me. thank you.

friday's fancies \ {long distance loving}
friday's letters \ the sweet season

Thursday, February 14, 2013

because that's what today is about...

happy valentine's day, everyone!

photo: kara, in front of the love wall in downtown wilmington, nc \ nikon

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

our wedding through the focused linz: the reception.

this week i am sharing some of my favorite photos that lindsey snapped during our wedding weekend.

so, we've now made it to the reception! the reception is supposed to be the most relaxing part of a girl's wedding day, but i would be lying if i said i wasn't stressed also about the proceedings during our reception. if you learn anything through my sharing of our wedding festivities, please let it be the following: calm down. relax. enjoy your wedding. throw caution to the wind. be in the moment. don't worry about when are we supposed to be cutting the cake or is this the right song to be playing while we eat. just enjoy your day. this is the party part. so.... party!

we danced to 'heaven,' by bryan adams

laughing over how awkward it is to dance for what feels like an eternity in front of a whole bunch of people

my dad & i danced to 'my girl,' by the temptations

we even made up a little routine

justin & his mom danced to 'have i told you lately,' by rod stewart

he danced with his sister, too

justin's louisiana tech groom's cake was red velvet - & delicious. it came from ambrosia bakery.

i love justin's face here - he is probably reacting to my you-better-not-smash-cake-in-my-face look

i wore the shoes my mom wore on her wedding day

justin's cousin caught the garter

luckily, after all the logistics were taken care of, i could finally relax, cut loose, & cut a rug...

i love this one of lindsey!

justin & i have been together since this little girl was a baby - now she's officially my niece!

i'm so glad people got up & danced!

not only do i love these two, but in the background, you can see my dad chatting with a guy he has been friends with since he was five years old...

i wish i knew which song we were dancing to in this one...

justin teases me for always dancing with my arms in the air... & here is the proof that it's true.

my favorite part of the whole reception was when all the couples got up & danced to elton john's 'tiny dancer.'

i love this one of landon & jennifer


as you may have read in this post, these two are now engaged

with mom & dad before the send-off

before we knew it, it was time for us to make our grand exit, running - me, trying not to trip on my dress - through a tunnel of bubbles & loved ones. it was surreal - our wedding weekend had come to a close - but we were already anticipating the next day, when we would board our flight, bright & early, bound for boston, massachusetts.

i've said it before, but i don't think i could ever really say it enough: thank you so much to all of our family, friends, & loved ones who helped in any way to make our wedding what it was. we are forever grateful & will always hold the memory of our wedding close to our hearts.

all photos by lindsey hudson

today's post wraps up the coverage of our wedding weekend through the our wedding through the focused linz series. thank you so much, lindsey, for providing us with some amazing images from this special time in our lives.

as mentioned in previous posts, i will be sharing more images from our wedding - by our photographer, shana burke - in the coming months. i also plan to cover our honeymoon to boston, massachusetts, & portland, maine, in the near future as well.

the sunday currently, volume 125.

reading a mish-mash of things right now. I don't usually like to read more than one book at a time, but I am in a reading rut... and I...