Monday in Wonderland: December To Do List

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Hellooooooo! Happy Monday!

So I try to keep these Monday in Wonderlands somewhat relatable to the general population, but let’s face it: I am a college student and the central conflict in my life right now is a handful of hard tests. Actually, I feel like high schoolers and even middle schoolers from my hometown are feeling the pressure of finals too. And even if you’re past those “hectic years” (yeah, I know, adulting is way harder) then maybe replace “finals” with “Christmas shopping,” “a visit from the in-laws,” or “white elephant gift exchanges.” (Obviously the bootie-kicking you need to do regarding gift swaps involves getting the most random, awesome gift out there.)

However you spin it though, December has the potential to be simultaneously the most stressful and most wonderful time of the year. (See what I did there?) And with the month starting tomorrow (crazy, right?!) this year I’m hoping to fight this stress with the Christmas spirit! At the end of the day, the holidays are supposed to be a lovely and relaxing time, no matter what Grinch-y professors or TV ads tell you. So here’s to a magical month full of cheer!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few things on my to-do list to attend to. I’m thinking that numbers 1-3 look pretty appealing at this moment. (Or any moment of December really.)

Stay lovely,


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Hope you enjoy this little free download for Turkey Day today! Have  a joyful day of blessings and thanks!

Stay lovely,

DIY Thanksgiving Table Runner

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow! It’s crazy for me because my break started today and when I return I only have a week and a half of class and then finals! The holidays seem more exciting than ever because it means going home to my family and successfully surviving my first semester of college.

So because I am practically bursting at the seams with holiday joy, I wanted to honor tomorrow’s special day the way crafty bloggers do—with a DIY! And also because I am seriously in love with this little idea Sammy and I came up with last night when we surely should have been sleeping. (Teehee)

You will need:

A roll of Kraft paper
Tape measure
Ruler or yardstick
Pencil and eraser
Chisel tip Sharpie or Marks-a-lot
6” paper doilies

Step 1
Measure the length of the table for your feast, in both length and width. Add 2 feet to the table’s length, measure this length of Kraft paper and cut from the roll. You can also cut the strip skinnier to suit your table. (I had a 30” wide roll and cut it in half.)

Step 2
Using the yardstick, mark horizontal lines down the length of the kraft paper every 6” or so. This will keep you horizontal as you write, and can even be used as a spacing guide for the items.

Step 3
Make a long list of all the things you are thankful for! I also added boxes with checkmarks, because I am a very blessed girl :)

Step 4
Cut the paper doilies in half, and tape to the back of the runner so they stick out as shown!

Step 5
Add a vase full of autumn blooms, festive pumpkins, some metallic confetti perhaps, and the million and one dishes you plan on serving up, and you have a lovely Thanksgiving place setting!

And there ya go—a table runner in 30 minutes! I think even the craziest of cooks might be able to squeeze that in, right? I hope your Thanksgiving is full of loved ones, God’s blessings, and amazing food! I for one will be either cooking the day away or in a blissful food coma all of tomorrow!

Stay lovely,

Monday in Wonderland: My Style Philosophy

Happy Monday in Wonderland!

As you know, No Pants November has been up and running, and so this Wonderland will be a little different. I wanted to chat this morning about personal style and about why I bother putting together “cute” outfits at all! To me, it’s an important part of my day and I want to express why that is And let’s start this all with the weekly doodle and quote to keep in mind, because it’s kinda my style philosophy:

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Pretty deep, right? Let me elaborate.

For me, getting ready in the morning is like playing dress up. I mean, only for like 5 minutes (because I like to sleep), but regardless, Kate Spade was pretty en pointe saying, ““Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.” For me, putting together a cute outfit is part of my morning routine. It honestly makes me feel more awake and human at 6:30 in the morning (thanks, 8 AM’s) to start with a little creativity and color mixing.

And that’s exactly what style is for me—an outlet for creativity and personality. I was watching a video with one of my favorite makeup YouTubers JKissa (because I like pretty makeup, okay?!) on personal style and she commented how color is her method to express internal traits because of her shyness. For me, it’s much the same. I’m an introvert by nature—as I’ve seen more and more in my first college semester—and for me, style is my way of opening up to people a little. While I love meeting new people, I prefer one-on-one conversations, and if people in a group are talking, I prefer to listen rather than interject. This means that maybe you won’t “get to know me” very quickly at a large social event, but I think my style reveals a lot about the person I am without words.

At some point in my childhood I turned from a “tom-boy” to a “girly-girl,” hence all the dresses and even a fuzzy sweater or two. But my girly-ness isn’t exclusively part of my appearance. That girly, feminine side reflects my personality, because I am sensitive and tend to be vulnerable and caring, maybe even a little too much. But I love that part of me. I love “momming” people and caring about them.

I also feel like a lot of times I really am a little naive and childish. I won’t always outright act like a kid because I do get shy and fearful of judgement, but a lot of the time I feel like I think like one. I like to look on the bright side and ignore the bad stuff and, for better or worse, that is who I am.
I also love mixing colors and patterns, and for me that’s a portrayal of my desire to be bright and happy. Even if I seem like the girl who doesn’t say much at first, in a way, my style expresses that side of me that has a whole lot to say and be joyful about. I express my fun-loving side through possibly senseless outfits even if I’m not the girl out partying on a Friday night.

Most importantly though, style is a form of courage and self-love for me. Like most teenage girls, I went through a lot of years trying to be like every other girl, and being unhappy when I couldn’t pull it off. It just wasn’t me. And when I stepped out of my comfort zone at first, wearing dresses and vintage accessories and even my naturally curly hair, I was scared. I was worried of judgement until I learned that my friends honestly didn’t care if I experimented a little unconventionally with my clothes. The joy I felt in being myself this way was addicting, and even though some of those 9th and 10th grade outfits were not quite all together, I loved that I got to keep experimenting with clothes until I could find something that was all my own. I was even nominated for the “Miss Teen Vogue” band superlative a few times and it really surprised me. Honestly I was only dressing for myself, as you should, and people liked my weird style anyway!

I think that’s all why now, in a sea of comfy t-shirts and tennis shoes, I decide to wear a dress and heeled booties. Style gives me confidence. I am actually more likely to be comfortable wearing what I want to rather than what’s conventional. I’m not gonna lie, college has been a little challenging at times being an introvert, but wearing what I want and not caring what anyone thinks is my form of bravery. It’s my way of expressing myself even if you’ve never heard me say a word.

Not to say that if you do dress in conventional or comfy ways you are unoriginal! You may have the hilarious personality, some crazy talents, intelligence, kindness, classiness, strange quirks, glorious imperfections, and any number of ways to express those things unique to you! And I think that’s amazing! Self-expression is so powerful, and for me style is so much more than putting on clothes. It’s part of those things that make me individual that I may not tell you right off the bat. It’s my way of saying “this is me” without saying a word, because maybe, sometimes, I’m too shy to do so.

See, you do you, babe. My boy and older sis tell me it all the time, and I think it’s wonderful. It’s honestly some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten when I start worrying about what I “should do” or what people will think. For me, “doing me” starts with how I get up and get dressed every day, and ends with the big (and possibly foolish) future I sometimes daydream about. But I’m happy to be a dress-wearing, pattern-loving, color-coordinating, day-dreaming fool. You should be too. Wear what you want, be crazy if you want to, and let your personality, interests, and bravery shine!

Stay lovely,

No Pants November Week 3

Oh hi there. Doesn't that face say I'm happy to see you? Let’s just get into this, k?

Quinceañeras are fantastic, even if my outfit-photo skills are not.

And ever since my Merida costume, super messy curls and formal hairstyles are synonymous to me. It’s kind of that wild beauty, don’t you think? ;) (Actually just laziness, but you gotta own it. And make it sound cool.)

Dress (as skirt) / discontinued boutique in San Antonio :,( // top/ Charlotte Russe // shoes / not shown because I wasn’t wearing them anymore…

Classic tough girl photo, colorful tights and all

Colored tights are also muy bueno!

Tights / Sam Moon // top and skirt/ H&M //scarf / thrifted // booties / DSW

"It's so fluffy, I'm gonna die!"

I have a love affair with fuzzy sweaters (and apparently scarves).

Sweater and skirt / Target // tights / Gap // scarf (gifted) / J. Jill // boots // Rack Room Shoes

Am I trying to take a cute photo, or does my scarf smell good?

Top / Walmart // cardi / Target // leggings / Costco // boots and scarf / gifts
(I shop at the most expensive, classy places, don’t I?)

And there are all the one-liners that I would’ve give you on Instagram, had I planned enough time to take outfit photos before this morning. (It was like playing dress up. Good stuff!)

So how’s your No Pants November going? Remember to use #NoPantsNovember and #WonderlandCheshireStyle so I can see your stylish style! (I’m not redundantly redundant.) *Kiss emoji*

Stay lovely,

PS: I'm secretly a super hero in my photo outtakes: 

Tips for Hanging String Lights

One décor trend that I’ve been pretty hooked on for a while is string lights! I love how soft and romantic they look lit up, and how they can either fill up a whole wall as the focus of interest or act as a detail to frame other art and décor. I had a strand hung in my bedroom throughout high school, and now, here in my new college home, I have been going a little crazy using them to accent décor everywhere. That also means that I’ve had a good deal of practice hanging them, and I gotta tell you, it’s way easier than you probably think!

I thought it might be handy to share a few of my tips and methods for hanging these babies. Because let’s face it, twinkling lights obviously make the season more magical.

Safety First, Babe

Sorry that I gotta mom you right off the bat, but before you make a purchase make sure that if your lights will be hung outdoors, you buy them for outdoors. Also, if you’re your lights will be near anything flammable, or resting on a wall while lit for long periods of time unattended, go for LED. No matter how pretty your new string lights are, if they start a fire or short circuit your power, you won’t be enjoying them much.

DIY Lighted Floral Garland here

Get the Right Lights for the Space

Also consider the colors you’re going for, and whether white or green wire will better fade into the background, assuming you prefer that look. Look at your space and see if you want a small accent or a big statement. The color of the light—warm white, slightly-blue LED, or even colored bulbs--can totally change to the look of a space.

And in case all that freaked you out, a warm white LED on white wire is neutral enough for just about anywhere. But oh my goodness, fairy lights are so darling too! (Just a little pricier… yay college.)

 Map It Out

Having a good idea of what you want your lights to look like when hung up is a great place to start with design. For a full wall, first decide if you want scallops, a big swag, or a straight upper border, etc, and how evenly-spaced you want the lights to be. For example, in my current room, I have 2 kinds of lights—one in even scallops and the other in a big swag. However, the same lights in my room before were in a row of scallops decreasing in size to give a completely different effect as I worked around a cabinet hung on the wall.

A great way to get a picture of this is to use a piece of yarn the same length as your light strand and tape to map out the spacing and placement of your lights, especially when using a continuous strand of small lights. When working with large bulbs, you can also be a nerd do this mathematically (like third grade math though) by dividing up the number of bulbs into scallops in your head. The strand on the pink wall above has 24 bulbs, so every sixth bulb was hung on a hook to make it even the easy way.

Mini Cinderella Pumpkins and DIY Metallic Ombre Wall Art

Work with What You Have (AKA embrace the lazy)

A while ago, my sister had loft bed, so she hung lights underneath it in her study space by weaving the strands through the rungs on the underside of the bed. Here in C-Stat, there were already 2 hooks attached under the fireplace when we moved in, so we simply draped a strand of lights over those.

Hang Em’ Right (here’s a few methods I’ve used)

Loops of String
Crown molding at my old home made it difficult to hang lights right near the wall, so I had to improvise a little. Simply tie a loop at each end of a very short piece of sting or fishing line. One loop will connect to your light strand, whether hooked on or tied around it, and the other can go over the point of a clear pushpin. Just stick the pin into the ceiling or wall, and your lights will hang down from that. This was perfect for the particular room it was in, and is also a safer option if you have non-LED lights that will be left on for a really long time—less heat transfer to the wall.

Command hooks
This is the only method of used here at the new house because it really is as simple and easy as following the directions on the package. That said, different strengths of hooks do play a big part in how your lights will hang (and not fall on you while you sleep. I recommend larger hooks, like these medium wire hooks, at the corners of your light strands or any place that will have a lot of weight on it. For small sections of lights and to position cords down the wall, decorating clips or mini hooks work well. Just remember to safe rather than sorry, especially when hanging large glass bulbs over hard floors. I also have found it’s easier to anchor the strand with the bigger hooks in the corners, then position the middle of the strand instead of trying to work horizontally across a wall. (I’m not sponsored, I just know that this is what worked for me!)

Cup hooks
This is ideal for spaces that will get more wear or be more permanent, such as anywhere outdoors. Make sure to size your hooks for the size lights you’re going to use, and plan them out well before hanging, because they will leave holes. Sometimes these guys are little finicky to get screwed in, but I’ve found the screwing in regular screw of about the same size a few turns before trying to put the cup hook makes the process a bit easier. This is definitely the most labor intensive and permanent option for hanging, but for outdoor spaces or discreet locations, it is the sturdiest.

Get Creative

Last but not least, have fun putting lights up in an unconventional area, or hang them in different ways! Vary the type of strands you use, and don’t let the seasonal trends confine you! (Kinda like clothes, am I right?)

This has to be the season for string lights, because outdoor summer lights like these are bound to be on sale soon, and more basic holiday ones are filling shelves! (I’m definitely stockpiling those at the moment.) Plus nothing says winter wonderland to me quite like chilly weather, big sweaters, and oodles of glowing lights!

I hope some of these tips were helpful as you add a little lighted fantasy to your life! I’m not sure if this counts as holiday decorating, but it’s sure reminiscent of the holidays if you ask me! How are you sneaking in your stash of holiday décor?

Oh, and comment with any questions you may have!

Stay lovely,

Monday in Wonderland: Make it Joyful

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Happy Monday, once again!

This week’s message may seem a little repetitive, as I think my Monday in Wonderlands can be, but I like to base these on what’s going on in my life. When I stay up late Sunday night writing these, or am rushing to do them amidst my homework on Mondays, I find the most joy and the easiest, most fluid and beautiful writing I can create when I write about things I understand, and things that are happening for me. Additionally, I write these as much for me as you all, because every Monday is like a new start, and it gives me a chance to look back on recent events, see where the holes in my positivity lie, and try to correct for them as I move through life to a happier me. But because I am a human (just makin’ sure ya know), and a college kid, I think maybe things like this will be relatable to other people too. Plus, a little reminder to smile never hurt anybody.

So for this Monday, I am left reflecting on a week where I was a little bit of a grump. My circumstances weren’t the most favorable to a happy mood, between stress, that “really-need-a-break” exhaustion, and feeling a bit under the weather again. And while I can’t fault myself for responding negatively to inherently negative events, I can internally reprimand myself for perpetuating those grumpy feelings!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets in a bad mood and thinks every little thing is bad. Even when my sister made me food, and let me commandeer the TV for an evening to watch the Pixar Shorts collection on Netflix (I do recommend), I remained pretty morose, by equal parts the world bringing me down and ME bringing me down.

I don’t want to look back and think, “gosh, my first semester of college was hard. I was so tired and depressed all the time with school” because that’s not accurate! It’s actually been pretty great. No super hard classes, a handful of new friends, and living with my big sis, which has honestly been really fun. (It’s amazing how you grow up a little and suddenly like your siblings!) However, I know if I keep myself in the grumpies for the next 4 weeks or so (that’s it y’all!), that’s what I’m going to think. It was hard and I was sad.

I honestly have no reason to complain so far. And dancing my butt off at a quinceañera Saturday night, then singing at church this weekend with group of lovely ladies reminded me of that. I will seriously never cease to be astonished by the little reminders of joy God brings me when I start to think that life is the pits.

Guys, time for a challenge for me and you. Next time your world seems to be falling apart and you’re just plain morose, try to look around for the simple and beautiful things. I mean, it’s hard. You’re psychologically inclined not too. (I learn things in my psych class!) But I didn’t have the most fun I could’ve this weekend at home with my family and on the car ride back yesterday with Sammy because a part of me was wallowing in self-pity that only made “I’m not feeling great” feel 100 times worse.

I’ve only got one first semester of freshman year, and as a matter of fact, one life to live. I don’t want to waste it being sad—that’s just not me and it’s just not fun. We got this guys. We have the capacity to fight the grumpies with joy. I mean you’re wherever you are in life anyway right? Might as well try to make the most of it.

Stay lovely,

No Pants November Week 2

Happy Saturday!

I had a lot of fun putting together No Pants November outfits this last week--enough fun that I felt I could give them their own post! Although it's not as chilly as it would like to be yet, (I want to wear all the tights!) the warm weather in Texas made shorts totally acceptable for the week. I do try to compromise with fall by wearing cardigans and other accents, and this really works because it is substantially colder in the morning than in the afternoons. Light layers and fun colors were perfect for me this week!

This outfit was definitely my favorite in terms of color mixing! And I basically lived in slouchy berets like this fall of freshman year in high school, so the mini throwback was nice! Oooh and a leaf matched my outfit!! It's the little things :)

Tank and hat/ Forever 21 // cardigan, necklace, and shorts/thrifted // moccasins/Minnetonka

This was my classy safari guide outfit, as you might have seen on Instagram! A little unconventional, sure, but I seriously loved it. High-waisted shorts and red lipstick forever, babes.

Top, shorts, and scarf/thrifted // boots/Charlotte Russe

Last but not least, here's an outfit with an actual skirt and my favorite elephant scarf! I felt a little fancier in this one (my campus is so casual) but that's okay! It's fun to dress up a little!Top/Forever 21 // skirt and belt/Target // scarf/Charlotte Russe // shoes/Mia's MirrorI hope y'all have an amazing weekend! I'll be attending a quinceanera that my baby sis is on court for, so more pretty dresses! How's your no pants November going? Remember to join me with #NoPantsNovember and #WonderlandCheshireStyle.Stay lovely,