Feeling Fine in Graphic Tees

being thrifty, thrifting

Who doesn’t love an awesome, comfortable, graphic T-shirt?

Lately, I have scored some great ones at Ross Dress for Less!๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป I am extremely picky about the T-shirt’s I buy because I don’t want to end up looking like a billboard.๐Ÿ˜‚ A T-shirt has to speak to me on a personal level and I have to agree with it in order to wear it! This “Feeling Fine” shirt was also in my favorite color, so that was a no brainer!

I also got one that says “Original” and a few others that had references to Tokyo on them. If you don’t know this about me, Tokyo has been and is incredibly high on my bucket list! But then again, most of the world is!๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

I paired this shirt with some shorts I made myself, fishnet tights and boots for a cool fall look. I love layering shorts and skirts with tights this time of year!

What are your favorite ways to layer? And what are some of the coolest T-shirt’s you own?

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5 Ways to Make Your Dreams a Reality

how to, Life

If only life were as easy as a Disney movie.๐ŸŽฅ๐Ÿฟ

Well, I take that back. A lot of Disney movies have one or both parents missing or dead and some pretty bad stuff can happen in them, but what I mean is…Disney movies are typically full of characters that are dreamers.

You all should know the plot and formula by now, if you’ve watched any amount of them. The main character has a dream to do something or be something and…they usually end up doing it. Sometimes, they might need a push or something or someone else in the plot pushes them forward, but the point is, they usually achieve whatever their “dream” is.

Now, it isn’t always easy, but I think in our culture today, we associate dreams as being easy. It’s easy to dream and fantasize…but not so easy to take action steps to get us to our dreams.

I’m not saying I’ve lived out every single one of my dreams, but I have gone to Italy, something I’d only dreamed about doing before. The other day, I was watching an Indiana Jones movie that was set in Venice for part of it and I couldn’t believe that I had actually been there! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

So, here are 5 practical tips for how you can take action steps and get closer to making your dreams a reality!

1. Don’t set so lofty a goal.

Dreams are big for a reason, but sometimes–we can dream too big. You should always aspire to something, but start small. For example, I would love to travel the entire world, but I instead made a more realistic goal: to go to Italy for 17 days. And you know what? I did it! Start with smaller goals and work up to your big ones! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

2. Always be working to better yourself and learn things.

No Instagram success was built overnight. No CEO of a Fortune 500 company sat down at that desk after just turning one measly application in. The truth is, it takes hard work.

If you aren’t getting better, you’re usually getting worse or just…staying average.

For example, I’ve wanted to get better at social media lately. This has resulted in me reading up on everything to do with the subject. I’ve also wanted to invest more in my Instagram photography, so I’ve been looking at cameras. Read all the books you can, research and study because nothing happens by accident or overnight.

3. Make a list of things you can do each day or each week.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but if I don’t make lists, I’m prone to forget things! It’s not natural to constantly be working on the same thing or to remember everything you’ve been mentally digesting, so make yourself lists. 5 Action Steps To Start My Own Blog. 5 Things to Do To Improve My Photography. 5 Ways to Save up for My Next Out of Country Trip.

When you write things down, you not only sort of will them into existence, but you make them more concrete. You hold yourself accountable. You make lists for the grocery store and that stuff is all gone by the end of the month! Why not invest in yourself and your personal skills and dreams by making a list to help you achieve those dreams?!

4. Stop looking sideways.

I REPEAT—with a bullhorn and with emphatic tone—–STOP LOOKING AT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING!

Okay, you can. To an extent. But do not get sucked into the trap of comparison. Instead of saying, “I wish I had what she has.” or “She makes doing what I want to do look so easy!” say, “What can I learn from this person?”

I’m going to use Instagram as an example because it has been on my mind lately, but I used to look at other travel bloggers and hate myself. It wasn’t until I realized that these stylized images are just that—stylized. They are literally only a fraction of a second of those people’s days and lives!

Instead of comparing myself to that fraction of a second, I attacked my own battle plan. I looked at what I could do to change my own feed. How could it be better? How could I get better at taking pictures and telling a story? Think of positive things and positive things will come!

5. Never give up.

It’s easy to give up, but dreams aren’t achieved easily. Think how much better your dream will taste and be when you actually GET IT.

So, get out there.

Stop making excuses.

Stop looking at everyone else.

And focus on YOU.

The going will be tough and you will have naysayers. Put in your earplugs and blinders and get to it.

Jonesborough Storytelling Festival

Life, Travel

Jonesborough, Tennessee. It’s a historic little town that is only an hour and a half from Knoxville, and yet I’d never been there until the other day.

Jonesborough is actually the oldest town in Tennessee and also home to the international Storytelling Festival. We had the opportunity to go this year when we were gifted tickets by some sweet friends and we loved the experience!

When you come to the festival, you are given fabric patches, like the ones we’re wearing! They are a lot cooler than nametags!

Photos were prohibited in a lot of the tents where the actual storytelling was going on, but we took a lot of pictures of the town, which is so charming! When you’re walking around, you see a lot of churches, old squares and general stores–it’s easy to picture horses going up and down the streets once upon a time!

The old brick walls of Jonesborough are also peppered with old advertisements, my favorite!๐Ÿ˜ There’s just something about faded paint!

But enough about the actual town! The Storytelling Festival was great! Speakers from all over the world come to weave tales and share anecdotes; it’s a festival that is going on 46 years strong!

It was very cool getting to hear stories from so many different varieties of people. We all have stories to tell and it made me realize that we shouldn’t discount our stories. If we don’t share our stories and what we’ve learned in our lifetimes, our stories die with us.

This is a festival that anyone can enjoy! There are tents scattered around the city, which you can walk to and pick and choose which speakers you listen to!

We laughed, we cried. I didn’t expect to go through so many emotions at this festival, but I did! These speakers share things from their personal lives, using comedy and sometimes even tragedy, to drive their points home.

Storytelling is rooted in every single ancient civilization that has existed here on earth. It also has deep ties to the South, where stories are told as often as sweet tea is made or pecan pies or casseroles are pulled out of an oven.

If you haven’t heard of or been to the Jonesborough Storytelling Festival, you need to check it out! It is held every October and is so fun!

5 Ways To Prioritize Whatโ€™s Important to You

how to, Life

Sometimes with how busy and crazy life can get, it’s easy to give up on the things we actually love doing.

We make excuses, time gets away from us, or sometimes, we just genuinely are exhausted from all the “responsibilities” we have. Ugh!

Lately though, I’ve been noticing some things about prioritizing the things I love. It’s really just a matter of sitting yourself down, making some goals and prioritizing…well, your priorities in life!

Here are some tips for how you can make time for the things you love doing during the day!

1. Look at your calendar and find those empty spots during your day/week.

If we were to really think about it, we have an hour at least each day where we can make time for the things we love. For me, that would be finding time to practice photography and blogging! I don’t know about you, but these times are usually when I’m just watching tv or on my phone anyway! Instead of completely wasting that time, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it instead! Really, it comes down to time management! If you sit down and map out how you can best use your time, you’ll find that you have more times for the things you love than you once thought!

2. Learn to say “NO”.

This is a hard one for me, but I’ve gotten soooooo much better at it! In order to make time for the things you like doing, you’re going to have to say “no” to some things. Sometimes, it might be easy because these are things you kind of didn’t like doing anyway, but occasionally, it means turning down a fun night out with friends. Learn to say “no” so you can say “yes” to the things you want to improve on or have time for in your life!

3. Ignore the critics.

Maybe you don’t have any critics, but chances are you might. Whenever you’re trying to institute a lifestyle change, you will usually experience some pushback from those closest to you. Maybe they think your blogging is silly. Maybe they think you’re ridiculous for taking that bagpipe class! ๐Ÿ˜‚ If it’s what you want to do, than ignore the critics. Some people just don’t like change!

4. Have fun with it!

If you view this priority as “work”, chances are, you are going to drop it within a week. Make whatever you’re doing fun! If you’re trying to exercise more, tell yourself how lucky you are to have two legs that work and allow you to run. If you’re trying to get better at photography like I am, have fun coming up with locations and concepts for a shoot! Don’t take it too seriously!

5. Research, practice and invest in yourself.

Especially when you are learning a new skill! Read up on what it is you’re trying to learn! Practicing your skill naturally will make you better at it! If you look at it as investing in yourself, you will keep at it longer and prioritize these things more naturally!

Is there a skill that you all would love to learn? What steps are you taking this week, right now, to prioritize it?

Rainy Day OOTD

thrifting

When it rains, it pours around here! โ˜”๏ธ

A few weekends ago, I had a fun excursion into Clinton to go antiquing! It was a wet and overcast day, but I did what I always do on days like that—slap some rain boots on and get over it!

These rooster rain boots are some I got as a Christmas present a few years ago from Cracker Barrel and I love them! I love repeating animal prints and maroon, so I had to have these! I’m not easy to shop for, but that year I definitely was! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I told everyone point blank that I wanted those rain boots!

The overall dress is also maroon so it matched! I got it from Shein, an online clothing company, for under $10! I thought it was such a cute piece and transitional–it can be worn in summer and fall!

The green, baggy coat is one I picked up thrifting for $6.99! I took it to Italy with us because I love the hood on it! It is oversized and great to wear on rainy days or with leggings!

Do you all ever associate clothing with adventures you were on while wearing them? I know I do! I tend to think of clothes I wore in Italy, songs I heard over there and foods I tried fondly! Memories are the best! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นโค๏ธ

Stripes Galore OOTDS

thrifting

So, I have a thing for stripes. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

I’m the type of person who buys alooooot of neutrals and has a favorite top in every color in her closet! However, I do like patterns like polka dots and especially stripes!

Stripes can be so great to add interest to an outfit that would otherwise be boring.

I also love the color mustard yellow. It’s hard to find things in this color, unless you just get lucky or are shopping online, it seems, but I love it! It tends to go well with my hair and skin tone.

So, when I found this jumpsuit on a girl’s Poshmark for $29.99, I had to have it! It’s more than what I would normally pay for clothing, but it was a statement piece and I brought it to Italy with me. And it incorporated two of my favorite things: mustard yellow and stripes!

As you can see, it can also be worn different ways! It’s actually strapless, so I will wear a chambray top over it and tie it off! Everyone always thinks it’s just pants for this reason, but I love that it is so versatile!

Do you have a favorite color that you tend to buy when it comes to clothing? And what are your most versatile pieces in your closet?

How To Up Your Instagram Game๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿฆ„

how to

Instagram. It’s a platform full of beautifully curated images and unrealistic ideals.

Buuuutttt—I bet you still want to make your Instagram feed look great, right? Instagram has kind of become a portfolio, of sorts. People can actually get paid or sponsored through some of their gorgeous posts and content! Like all things though, it isn’t as easy as it looks, and even though I don’t have millions of followers by any means, I thought I’d write a post to help anyone out there who wants to up their Instagram game!๐Ÿ“ธ

I’ve spent months and hours of my time pouring over articles, wading through crappy click bait on the subject, watching YouTube videos, listening to webinars and taking influencer classes. So, I thought I would share what I’ve learned. These are just some tips that have made curating my OWN Instagram easier.

1. Treat Instagram like a business.

Now, if you want to use Instagram just for family pictures, blurry iPhone shots and the like, than this article probably isn’t for you. This is an article to help you get the most out of your Instagram. Now, you can always have a more personal account and then a more business like account, only putting your best images forward. Or, like me, you can save your more candid moments for Facebook and treat your Instagram like a business profile.

If you don’t take it seriously, it won’t look professional. Instagram should also be fun though! Don’t take it so seriously that it stresses you out! Just try to plan out you feed, tag big companies for clothing you’re wearing or items you’re using, and always include your location.

2. Using Different Apps to Get the Most out of Instagram

When it comes to Instagram, some people only use the features within Instagram itself, but to get the most out of your feed, here are some apps I like to use!

Preview App: This app is great for planning your feed. It lets you lay out your photos and see what they look like in a grid. I usually try to look at them in groups of 9-12.

Lightroom Mobile: I recently switched from VSCO to Lightroom and it’s been a game changer. I love having a preset that I can apply to all my photos to get the same look.

Snapseed/Retouch Apps: These are great additional editing tools. Snapseed is great for selecting certain parts of a picture and Retouch is awesome for removing unwanted items like a trash can. It also has an amazing “stamp” tool that let’s you clone an area and put it on another part of your photo!

I personally would never use the Instagram filters. Speaking of filters though…

3. Pick a filter and stick to it.

This is a harder aspect of Instagram, but to have your feed look cohesive, pick out a filter or make your own on Lightroom or VSCO and use it on all your pictures. You can adjust certain aspects if a picture looks too dark or light. I actually purchased a $10 Lightroom Preset on Etsy and tweaked it to be more my own look. This is a great “training wheels” kind of option if you know the look you are going for, but can’t figure out how to achieve it.

4. Plan your feed.

I have gotten in the habit of taking pictures whenever I think about it. It’s good to always be looking for photo opportunities because the more pictures you have to choose from, the more you can build your feed.

Here is what my feed looks like currently. I like to do a “criss cross” kind of pattern usually where I have 6 photos of myself, going diagonally, in an “x”. The rest of my pictures are what I call “filler” pictures. Pictures of buildings, food, my pets, books—whatever I think looks cool, because let’s be honest, some days you don’t want your picture taken! Here’s an Instagram Trick though: Take a bunch of pictures when you’re having a great hair day and just change the setting and your outfit!

Something I’ve been doing is trying to just take pictures in bulk instead of “as I go”. This way, I have at least 30 pictures—a whole month’s worth!—-ready to go. It makes it easier on me because, as a fulltime petsitter, I am busy a lot of times. Even so, I will always have at least 1 picture to post a day!

5. Don’t be afraid to use photos from the same shoot!

When you take pictures, you’re going to have multiple images and chances are, you’ll like a few of them! I try to take up close, detail shots and farther away shots. I will use both kinds in my feed, but I try to space them out and not put them right on top of each other.

6. Don’t have a photographer? Use a tripod!

Not everyone can afford to have a photographer trailing them 24/7, like big Instagram influencers. ๐Ÿ™„ It may seem hard to get pictures of yourself in this case, but just use a tripod! After messaging a few mega Instagram Influencers, I discovered that a lot of times, even they have to do this!

It will require a little bit of embarrassment at taking your own picture that you have to get over, but it’s not that big of a deal. Here are some answers you can have ready if people ask you questions๐Ÿ˜‚:

1) I’m doing a photography class; self portraits are part of my next project.

2) I’m being paid to post pictures of the clothes I’m wearing for a brand! (They don’t have to know the truth!)

Just always make sure you’re in a safe area when taking pictures and try not to disrupt businesses or residential areas. Be respectful and be fast.

7. Be yourself and have FUN! ๐ŸŽ‰

At the end of the day, have fun with Instagram.

I like to showcase my thrifting finds, asian restaurants I try and my travels! Let your feed show your passions, what you like and things YOU enjoy.