i am still trying to figure out how to share my travels here on the blog but one thing i know for sure is that i share it best with my photos. so this travel blog will mainly be just that.
the short story of this weekend trip from december is this:
i used to live in highlands ranch, co. i lived there from 6th-12th grade and it was wonderful for so many reasons. but SO much of my time while living there was consumed with soccer as i played on club teams through my junior year of high school. while i wouldn’t change that, it did cut into my adventure time while i lived there. so going back for a weekend as a young adult with the freedom to go wherever and not have to tell my mom was quite exhilarating.;)
i was able to visit with my brother who still lives there, cruise through the mountains with the windows down blasting taylor swift and see some friends. it was the perfect getaway and reminded me why i love traveling so much.
since most of my time was spent with friends catching up over good food (i highly recommend avanti food and beverage, little man ice cream, snooze and city o city. AND the whole foods in boulder. i was in awe of that store.) and going on mountain drives, i’ll let the photos do the talking for my weekend in denver.
ps this ^ red rocks amphitheatre is where i graduated from high school! it’s like my favorite fun fact. also one of the coolest things i have ever/will ever do.
i’ll be keeping you in the loop on all my travels in 2017 but i had to polish off 2016 before i started new adventures.
this st. louis weather is so all over the place. last weekend i went on a run at 6 am (i know, miracle from above that that happened) and it was muggy and warm.
then it was ice raining three days later for the whole weekend.
and tomorrow it’s going to be 60 degrees again.
it makes me miss the warm, but crisp, days of fall. i love those months of hot summer that just eaaaaase into fall. as much as i try to convince myself otherwise to be trendy and all about the cold like every other blogger right now, i love the sun. so when i see a day about 50 on the forecast, i instantly google the first day of spring and get so excited for warmth. (ps it’s march 20th, if you were also wondering.)
A N Y W A Y S. yeesh. i can get so off-track when i talk about the weather! what a thrilling life. 23 going on 83, as i say.
i wanted to share some style changes i have been making to deal with the temperature changes. when it’s this weird 45ish degrees and it’s not necessarily cold but you also don’t want to look like spring starts tomorrow, it’s an awkward balancing act. so i thought i could pair some skirts i have that can look a bit more winter-y and voila – style is born!
right as fall was ending, my friend sonya took these gorg shots (the photographs, not me #imnotthatvain) in forest park for this style post and when i realized this weekend that i never posted them, i freaaaaked.
could i still post them, i thought. i mean, fall is OBVIOUSLY done. but then it struck me: this outfit can work for fall into winter (which is what i had planned for) but also on the other end out of winter!
this turtleneck was a steal at the end of last winter at madewell. this time of the year is both the best and the worst for shopping. it’s the best because if you find something you like on sale, it’s most likely ridiculously marked down. buuuuut the new arrivals are kind of all over the place so walking into stores feels super uninspiring. there’s nothing much because they don’t really want more winter apparel with spring on its’ heels.
(how many times will i talk about spring in this post? tbd.)
so if you are feeling it, head to stores like madewell, free people, anthropologie and j crew every so often over the next six weeks and you might score a great gem. even though 70% of the time you’ll stomp out annoyed, the other 30% of the time you’ll find something like this black turtleneck that i wear prooooobably once a week. or a good home item tucked away in anthro like this one panel of a window drape i’ll have to show you all soon. or the floral finials i bought for EIGHT FREAKING DOLLARS that i found on the bottom shelf at anthro. they don’t fit my cheap ikea bar but i kept them because someday when i have nice drapes, they’ll fit and it’ll be glorious and i am already excited for that moment.
at some point soon, there will be a post with my winter go-to’s. a black turtleneck like this one is very high on that list. it’s so versatile. i have tucked it into skirts, worn it with corduroy, slipped it under a jean or leather jacket, tucked it into high waisted jeans, worn it with dressy work pants and basically a trillion other combinations. if you showed me one that fit like this and it was cashmere, i’d probably buy it because of how frequently i wear this one.
also i wear so much black in the winter. SO much.
1. i am not tan and it makes me not look as pale.
2. you will always look classy and put together in all black. literally always. even in workout clothes for pete’s sake.
3. it’s suuuuper flattering to wear a bloutfit (#coinedthat) at the time of the year when i am most likely working out the least.;)
paired with this zara a-line skirt i bought abroad and tights with black booties, it’s simple and does the trick. i can easily transition from work (although this skirt is a touch short for work but i have a couple that are longer that i have swapped out for it!) to dinner or drinks with a friend.
i love wearing skirts and dresses when it’s warm so i am always game to try and get some into my routine during the winter. it’s been on my list to buy 1-2 winter dresses but i haven’t had ANY luck! let me know if you spot something and i’ll be sure to try it out.
as always, thanks for reading! hopefully i inspired you to pair something you can’t wait to wear in spring with a wintery counterpart. we do what we can until those tulips come shooting up!
you guys, i am SO done with winter. i do this every year. i tell myself i can like winter. that i like being cozy and cuddling up on the weekends in my apartment and wearing snuggly sweaters. which, don’t get me wrong, i love all the above.
for like december and a bit of january.
and then january/february i start to get antsy for the sun and warmth. and all i want is to go on a run whenever i want and sip a drink after work on some outdoor patio.
anywayyyyysssss, i have been perusing the new arrivals sections of all my fav stores to keep myself sane as i see more stripes and light, blouse-y tops and sunglasses which means the more of that style clothing, the sooner there will be SUNSHIIIINEEEEE.
so here are some things i have been eyeing. i will do these picks every month as i see new styles and trends come out! i am doing this anyways so might as well share my findings with all of you. 😉
so i found my new favorite thing: $5 movies on wednesday nights. it’s just such a nice hump day treat to yourself. also, fun fact about me: i love movies. and i love cheap thrills. #winning
tonight’s cinematic experience: la la land
i have heard really mixed reviews about the movie so naturally it made me even more curious. some people from work were not impressed yet it’s winning awards and being recognized as a success by many in the media.
now, after seeing it, i understand why people might not like it. society now kind of wants cookie-cutter movie. we don’t really want artsy – we want a hero/heroine, a drug bust, a relationship based on passion. which, i won’t lie, i like too. i like boy meets girl. i like rom coms. i like true stories coming to life. the instant a movie starts to get out of that and into cinematic art, people have mixed reviews.
but i liked it – it was refreshingly unique. it was whimsical. it was modern but old-fashioned and had a simplicity that didn’t feel so flashy hollywood.
first of all, i LOVE musicals. genuinely. i smile the whole time. so that was a huge win for me. they also didn’t sing everythingggggg. it was very candid and soft. not soft like the volume was low; the musical numbers weren’t screaming for your attention. it didn’t feel fake and scripted. the dancing was good but it wasn’t freaking high school musical where people are coming from every angle. this was tasteful. and sweet. it really felt like you were watching an old movie which i found endearing and different.
i studied abroad with a girl who was studying cinema and she told me something that i still think about when i see a movie. she said that there are rarely originals anymore. most movies are now sequels, based on a true story, based on a book or are just a slightly different take on the same plot line. and it’s so true! so what i loved about la la land is that it had this quirky feel to it. it was almost like i was just watching them do life – there were awkward moments and it felt like it was happening real time.
i don’t think it’s the kind of movie i’d go see again or necessarily buy for my home, but i enjoyed it. the colors, the freshness, the music, the ending (which everyone else hated but i liked #ofcourse) and of course, the male lead is never a bad choice.:)
i know that is probably the world’s worst blog post title, but honestly i just wanted to get down here where i can write about what i mean by it. it just needs to come tumbling out!
i have always had a soft spot towards the homeless and those in need. really anyone in need, but in this scenario, those living without a stable home base. i really have a hard time seeing people sleeping on the ground or knowing that they probably live in constant fear for their next meal or even for their life.
but lately, i have been basically beside myself when i see someone shivering outside my window, barely able to make eye contact, waiting for someone to have mercy on them as they stand in wet clothes from the rain. how little they have and how much i have. it is so cold in missouri in the winter. it’s this bitter, wet cold that seeps into your bones and takes me a solid two hours to warm back up after coming in from outside. so to see someone outside in it? it’s devastating.
i have just had this on my heart a lot lately. then last night i was reading ‘rising strong’ by brene brown (great book by the way) and she has a section about exactly what i have been feeling.
she was at an event and the man said the following line,
“when you look away from a homeless person, you diminish their humanity and your own.”
the reason that line is even more profound than just because of what it says is because that is something i have been sitting on for the last 5 years. when i was in high school, a youth group leader once told me that it is not up to me to judge what someone will do with the food, money or clothes i offer them. it is just up to me to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the sick – and god can judge. in fact, He is the only one that can judge.
we talked about how we need to see Jesus in them. they are not worthy of having us avert our eyes just because they are dirty or make us uncomfortable. they are the image of Jesus just as much as any of us are. we deserve them, at the very least, eye contact.
so to read that in brene brown’s book this many years later was so impactful and especially lately i have been even more aware of how i treat people with so little and what i can offer them.
at this point you’re probably like literally where are you going with this, ania?
what i wanted to share is that i think i figured out why it’s been so heavy on me lately. as i have tried this “minimalist” lifestyle of really trying to detach myself from material items, that mindset has spread into so many other areas of my life in such a positive, unexpected way. this story is one example.
i think i am just really seeing them in their need as i have gotten rid of the excess i had lived in and have really honed in on what matters, what i need. yes, i still like to spend money on pleasures and clothes but i am 100000% more intentional. and i want to give just as much as i get.
i just realized reading last night that a big shift in my heart happened somewhere in the last couple of months between all the clothing purges and even in the last week as i have wrestled (in a good way) with my new year’s resolution of rerooting my identity. gosh, i am almost getting emotional thinking about this unexpected grace. who would’ve known that getting rid of garbage bags of clothing would in turn affect you like this?
and i really want to do something about it.
if you are local to the st. louis area, i would love if anyone has any suggestions for places to donate meals, food, clothing or time.
p.s. if you want to read more about ‘the great purge of summer 2016’ as my friend, mom and i fondly call it, you can read the series in part i, part ii and part iii. also read the book seven by jen hatmaker. that’s what really did me in.
it is officially the season where my hands have begun to crack and bleed. yay for winter. #eyerollemoji
as much as i try to convince myself i like winter, i despise when it gets so cold you have to hustle to and fro with your head down in your scarf and your hands shoved deeeeeep into your pockets. i like the coziness and snow falling and christmastime, but can we just see the sun a liiiiiiittle more often?
for this style post, i am focusing on scarves and coats.
well, actually scarves is easy to sum up: zara and on sale at j crew.
when people ask me where i get a scarf, that is always the answer. but since working at free people, i have become obsessed with this one with fringe and this super soft one that makes me think of being swaddled in straight up velvet. they fly out of the store. other good stores to find reasonably priced scarves is the tbd department of nordstrom and urban outfitters! what i look for is something that goes with the color of coats i have and warm. pretty easy criteria.;)
i like to get either huge blanket scarves, which seems to be zara’s specialty or a long one like below that i can wrap around and around so my whole face stays warm.
when i lived in france, i learned to love winter jackets. in america, we tend to value warmth over style in the winter. the french were like “we can do both”. #ofcourseyoucan i have no problem with my big, down eddie bauer jacket (seriously though – if you need a puffy coat, grab this similar one!). i love that big fur hood and the fitted part at the end of the sleeve so that the cold doesn’t creep up in.
but the europeans didn’t wear puffy coats and they looked just fine and toasty. they have a way of looking weather appropriate and warm without looking like they just got outfitted by REI. it’s something i have been challenging myself to do this winter just for fun. my british girlfriends even had these amazing fur coats they found at thrift stores that they would wear out and about – oh my lanta, i was just one big heart eyes emoji. paired with skinny jeans and converse? gosh, they looked so casual freaking cool.
but anyways, back to winter coats in the good old us of a.
i thought this might be a good time to draw your attention to warm clothing since:
it’s freezing outside
it’s freezing outside
refer to 1 & 2
there’s tons of sales going on!
am i funny or nah?;)
things for you to keep in mind when you buy a nice winter coat: this is an investment. yes, it may be expensive. but let’s say winter is four months long and you wear it everyday. that’s 160ish days you’ll wear this jacket AND most likely it’ll last for next winter too. as i have been learning to spend my money on less but higher quality, coats is the very top of the list.
okay, maybe this will help – here is a list of questions i ask myself as i try on coats:
does this color look good on me or just the last girl that tried it on? will this color go with a lot of clothing/scarves i own? will i wear this coat next season? will it last til next season? how thick is the wool? are there pockets? how long is it/how long do i need it to be? will this be on better sale in a month? how long are the sleeves? can i pop the color? is there a hood? could i wear this to work/church? is it dry clean only?
also, you pretty people are in luck because january is a HUGE sale month for europe. so mango and zara, two of my go to’s for coats AND scarves, are having great sales! they run very true to size, in my experience and even though it might not be the j crew coat of my dreams quality, they’ve been lasting me three winters so i think that’s pretty good!
here are some that caught my eye from those two stores and others just to help narrow the search for you:)
i had a couple requests to do this post which made me so happy because ultimately i want to be writing what you would like to be reading so here you go! thanks for reading – i seriously love writing for you all. 🙂
and i will never turn my back on you… #thegirlsgotjokes
i have been thinking a lot about why 2016 was the first year that i really felt growth from my new year’s resolutions. and i think i nailed it down in two pieces:
i focused on parts of myself that i didn’t like and made resolutions to follow. i didn’t like how negativity popped up instead of optimism, so i tried to push myself to see the good first and foremost. i realized that i didn’t want more things but more memories, so i budgeted for some small trips to san diego, carmel and denver. i realized i didn’t like all the jealousy i had in my heart so i stopped thinking that people were perfect or had the lives in their instagrams and really trained myself to know that comparing will rob me of everything. literally everything. joy, contentment, peace, gratitude. i realized that i had lost my love for working out in the midst of some extremists in college and want to love being fit again not because i would lose a pound here or there but because of the rush of endorphins and the guarantee for a healthier tomorrow.
i focused on the intangibles. to be honest, january is not a great time for someone who just spent loads of money on christmas presents and great sales to be like “oh yes, this will be the year i travel abroad.” i save my live list/bucket list/physical i-can-check-that-off list for my birthday in august when i feel refreshed and have more brain space than immediately following basically the busiest time of the year. also, i am always making goals and reading self-development books and stalking brene brown etc. etc. so new year’s goal sheets and planners and financial tips just overwhelm me right after the buzz of the holidays. so i keep it simple and focus my resolutions on things that i want to become part of ania. for 2016, it was choosing joy and seeing people as people, not perfect images on instagram. it was also spending 30 minutes of fitness everyday and choosing to travel instead of have some new shoes or accessories.
and looking back, 2016 has been one of my most joyful years. not because of perfect circumstances because holy smokes, between second semester being one of the most difficult and emotionally draining of my life, moving home, taking care of my mom, the scare with my nephew, feel unstable and undirected in every sense of the word, being rejected from jobs, getting a job, moving back to the city i swore i wouldn’t move back to and everything in-between, there was plentyyyyy of space for whining and griping and enlarging my woes. but i c l u n g to choosing joy like my freaking anchor and lo and behold, it worked. joy to the world.
it was ALL but because of my attitude shift. i just simply chose joy more. and i focused especially on everyday life. i know it’s probably almost annoying to the people around me but i think when you really start to live in gratitude and see tiny flickers of hope and joy in the everyday, it really changes you. at least it changed me. and i like this version of ania a lot more than the moody, “i am always busier, more tired and more broke than anyone ever” version. things like seeing my nephew for 20 minutes after work, cooking a good meal for friends, taking a walk to crunch through the leaves – these are the good things in life, i have come to realize. traveling will always be such a big part of my passion but not truly a big part of my life (at least right now).
SO 2K17 RESOLUTIONS WASSUPPPPPPPP.
things i have been thinking about that i don’t super love about myself… #honestyisthethemeofthispost
something that came to light this summer that was not so bueno was how heavily i have placed my identity in earthly things. particularly where i lived post grad and what my job was if we’re speaking recently. the fact that i might work in a cube K I L L E D me. i mean seriously it did. i had straight up anxiety when i left my job interview FOR THE FREAKING JOB I LOVE AND HAVE NOW. all because of the cubes. truly, i am the worst. but i had placed my identity in some trendy corner of NY so God literally had to wrench it off that and on Him by placing in my hands one of the biggest blessings with my current position. which yes, involves a cube. and i don’t mind at all.
other things include but are not limited to: my blog compared to others’ which are amaze balls, my photography, my wardrobe…the list goes onnnnnn but i don’t really want you all to realize how vain i can be. hehehehe.;)
so my 2017 resolution is to “reroot my identity”.
i want to root my identity firmly in what is worthy of my time and energy. aka i want to root myself in Him. reallllyyyyy spread them out in good, fertile ground.
if i work in a cube or don’t meet the love of my life tomorrow or don’t have my apartment the way i want it to look, it shouldn’t matter. because if i am on solid ground and don’t build a house around me of tiny twigs of vanity, self-love and jealousy, than those things won’t matter. because what does matter is getting to heaven. if we’re really just getting sups real.
so at the end of 2017, i want to look back and see that every time i found myself clinging to earthly temptations, i tore myself away and spent more time with Him. or His kingdom.
this doesn’t mean i am not going to shop, decorate my apartment or travel in 2017. but if none of those things happen, ill be fine. if i don’t in some way become a better version of myself, i think i’d be a leeeetle more disappointed than if i don’t make it to new york.
i also love how choosing a phrase can be applied to multiple aspects of my life. for example, i am going to continue to reroot my identity from some perfect, unattainable body to healthy and fit. i am going to reroot my identity from fast, fast, fast changes to my apartment, wardrobe and travel schedule and remember that patience is a virtue. i am going to reroot my identity from the clothes i wear to the people and places i visit.
i am excited for 2017. i love the feeling of a fresh start. but if this isn’t the best time for you to make resolutions, then don’t. set a goal of making resolutions by valentine’s day or even later. i hate the idea that this time is the only time for goals or resolutions. there is nothing wrong with setting a small goal for winter and then revisiting in spring.
i love my 23 year bucket list and my little new year’s resolutions combo. it’s a good fit for me so hopefully it helps you know that whatever works for you is what works for you and at the end of the day, that’s the best you can do. <3
i am so very lucky to have wonderful people who will let me learn as i take their photos. abby and jimmy are friends of my sister and i’s so doing this specific type of shoot for the first time made me feel more at ease.
abby and jimmy wanted to capture this special time for them as they prepare for their first child and i always am looking for practice so this was a win-win!
we met in forest park in st. louis and laughed through learning how/where jimmy should pose without looking awkward or…awkward. 🙂 it was definitely not his fault because as you’ll see, they’re brilliantly photogenic. it was more so the fact that in her black dress, abby’s baby bump didn’t show in the photos without her hands around it. but then what does jimmy do with his hands?! we couldn’t stop laughing at our failed attempts but i think the successes turned out beautiful.
i am so happy for them and the beginning of this special new life. there is nothing sweeter that seeing a couple grow their love for each other.
congrats abby and jimmy! i am praying for baby hofman and can’t wait to meet him/her!
i missed you all! truthfully. i love blogging and writing and designing these posts. being so crazy busy lately, along with my weekend trip to colorado, completely threw me off my schedule. but i think my new routine will be posts on tuesday and thursday. let’s see how it goes. 🙂
i have been meaning to post this little number for awhile because it’s one of my favorite ways to repurpose something i love so much – candles. oh my goodness, i love candles. i always have at leaaaaast two burning when i am home. there’s something so romantic and cozy about a flickering flame and i love the light it casts in a dark room. but i was always so sad when i would have to throw away the pretty containers.
(and especially pretty candles from anthropologie. oh my word, those candles speak straight to my soul. i have worked for anthropologie and i can say from experience, our candles are some of the best. this one is the literal perfect christmas candle because of it’s ornate case but OH THE SMELL. it makes me weak in the knees. i have no earthly idea why it’s not online but it’s most likely in your store as i just bought another one for a gift the other day!!
now i never look at candles the same because i am already thinking about what it will look like when i clean out the container.
okay i’m getting a leeeeettle ahead of myself.
so here’s what happens.
you fall in love with a candle. you burn it basically all hours you are home and soon enough, it’s down to the tiniest wick and nothing you can do will make the flame hold.
usually, you would throw it away. but NOW, you can use that cutsie little container for jewelry, sugar packets, matches, cotton balls, your keys, flowers, shelf decor…the list goes on!
(can you see my little pieces of scotch tape? hehehe)
here’s what you need:
a butter knife
your two hands
here’s what ya do:
put the candle in the freezer for about 3-4 hours at least (without the lid!)
take the candle out of the freezer.
use the knife to both stab the wax in 1-2 places so it’ll crack and also to pry it from the inside of the container. the wax will begin to crack and then it’s basically just using picking up cracked pieces!
make sure all the wax is out and then take the tip of the knife to pop out the little metal circle wick holders off the bottom of the candle if they’re still there. usually they are just glued down so they’ve always just popped off for me!
fill the container with dish soap and boiling water. let it soak and then pour out the water, scrub the inside a little and dry with paper towel.
so, so easy! honestly. and it’s made shopping for candles even more fun because i am thinking two steps ahead to what i’ll use it for once i’ve burned it through. i have done this with metal, ceramic and glass candles and my little system hasn’t failed me yet.:)
vibed to the sound of fixer upper. is joanna looking for a personal assistant? i volunteer as tribute.
i see you getting to the library early in the am as your roommates sleep off a night of drinks while you fell into bed the night before exhausted after class, work and meetings.
i see you pushing through the last mile of your run because you’re determined to be healthy, to live longer and better than those before you.
i see you teaching yourself new skills because you’re passionate about something no one around you knows anything about.
i see you questioning every starbucks you buy and every grocery receipt, wondering if you should’ve splurged on that fancy box of cereal.
i see you laying awake at night praying for your future spouse, your future children, your future.
i see you staying after class to ask just one more question, get one more review of your paper, learn one more way to solve the problem.
i see you letting yourself be a child in your awe of big christmas trees, shining lights and bright stars.
i see you saving money, getting the least expensive drink at the bar and hoping your friends remember to repay you for the uber.
i see you staying up late and waking up early, the first one to arrive at your final and the last one to leave.
i see you going to mass by yourself at lunch, surrounded by the elderly.
i see you choosing the longer of the two dresses for formal, not drinking so you can get your friends home safe, choosing to not go out at all because you’re nervous that you’re not “wild” enough for the night your friends have planned.
i see you relishing in a night at home, reading a good book and breathing in your new candle.
i see you trying new recipes, trying new running paths, just trying new things.
i see you choosing joy despite another dirty diaper, another afternoon of tears and self-doubt as a new mom.
most of all, i see you choosing all of this when no one at all is looking, especially not instagram.
i may not be able to really see you but i want you to know that there are people our age, the “millennials”, working hard, saving money, trying to be good christians in today’s world.
in this lens of social media, it’s easy to feel unknown even though we’re really as exposed as we’ve ever been. i remember thinking in college that i had to be the only one who stressed about money, relationships, my faith, today’s society, etc because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT THESE THINGS.
but what i realized this summer is that everyone is going through something rough, carrying their own cross, and we all should be kind to each other regardless of whether we know the weight of their cross or not.
it’s not up to someone to tell me their life story or convince me how rough they have it or prove it to me in every instagram post. i should be treating them with kindness before a word comes out of their mouth or proof of their hardship is in front of me.
so here i am. little ania laying in bed typing this because i want you to feel known and seen in this crazy world. there ARE other people working their booties off just like you, who have big dreams for themselves just like you, who feel self-doubt just like you, who choose joy just like you. but you have to know that they might not tell you, maybe not at first, but they’re trying too.
i don’t want you to feel alone in this blur of pretty instagram photos. every so often i want to pop in here and tell you i see you, you have worth just by being who you are and your hard work will pay off.
have courage and be kind.
wrote this quickly in place of a style post (coming at ya live wednesday!) because i just feel like this monday post needed a little more oomph.