Wednesday, December 21, 2016
______It was as dark as it could have been along an ice-encrusted highway in Iowa at four in the morning. Wind blasted the windshield. There were heaps of snow at the shoulders of the road from the plows that had shoved them there the night before, and a thick blanket of white covered the fields the airport shuttle whizzed by. Stars speckled the clear, inky sky like lint on a black T-shirt, winking and blinking and probably trying to flirt with each other under the cover of night. I glanced at the dashboard in the shuttle: in lime green, the temperature professed it was a toasty -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
______I made my way through the first airport easily enough; it was rather small and the signs were massive and colorful with writing even giants could read, kind of like Airporting For Beginners. The plane began boarding and I sat next to a kind middle-aged man on the plane who was more than content I switched seats with the woman-and-baby duo previously sitting there. When the plane descended from Iowa into Atlanta an hour and a half later, the man generously offered to show me my way around the airport and to my next gate. I was quite thankful for this as the Atlanta airport is a eclectic smorsgaboard of escalators, subway systems, moot stores, and human beings who shuffled eagerly from one place to the next.
______It was definitely not Airporting For Beginners. It was Airporting: Expert Mode, Gold Collector's Edition.*
______*with voiceovers by special guest Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
______The man and I paced through the airport like two bros on a mission, speedier than any subway system could ever be, and he even implored to carry my bag. My bag was a one-hander opposed to a backpack that distributed weight evenly, and it was weighing me down like a willow tree that sagged one way after a heavy rain shower.
______It was safe to say I did not turn down the offer. We passed a bar filled only with two bored employees who wore white shirts and loosened black ties; both were scrolling through their phones to occupy their slow morning. There was a Sonoma store boasting wireless noise-blocking headphones and a Swarovski store stocked with glistening jewels that dazzled under hot white spotlights. The smells of various fast food joints--hamburgers that sizzled on greasy grills, spicy Thai cuisine, and slimy burritos--all permeated our noses.
______I wondered if people ever went there solely to shop and eat. I would.
______As it turned out, our flights were in the same wing of the airport. We got coffee between our two gates had a jolly conversation pertaining to dogs, Alabama football, the state of the economy, and a strangely similar tradition our families had of going out to watch a movie on Christmas Day. I discovered he had five dogs in his residence, three of which his wife had brought in as shelter dogs. I could only wish my life would be as exhilarating and dog-filled someday. There is no sarcasm whatsoever in that sentence.
______I hopped on the plane, hugged the kind stranger goodbye, and after a second 34-minute flight, was reunited with me mum and pop in the land of Alabama.
Top: Forever 21 (similar)
Skirt: Forever 21 (exact)
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell (similar)
Sparkle tights: TJ Maxx (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21
Bow ring: c/o BornPretty
Bone ring: c/o BornPretty
Rhinestone cuff bracelet: c/o BornPretty
Twist bracelet: c/o BornPretty
Saturday, November 26, 2016
______I haven't purchased jewelry in two years and it's all thanks to BornPretty and their eclectic selection of shimmery accessories. Thankfully their products are always on point and the recent set of items I recieved is no exception; that being said, I've had a wee bit of an obsession with choker necklaces ever since they made their revival from the 90s, and this heart choker brings me back those perplexing days of middle school and the its curious fashion trends. I also received a silver bone ring, rhinestone bowknot ring, and a thin criss-cross bracelet. All sorts of things that mix girly and edgy.
______As always, you can get 10% off your order with code ALT10.
______Somehow we are already three weeks away from winter break even though it feels like the semester has just begun and that I only started making my way around the land of Iowa. Whereas I only used to know where one Walmart is, I now know where both Walmarts are. I know. It's wild. Fight me. I also know of many more local spots that once I may have never discovered were it not for outings with friends. Some of the entrances to these places go underground or up to another floor and have tiny doors squished between two buildings that nearly go missed when one passes by. These places remind me of the scene in that beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where the buildings split apart to reveal a secret building in the middle...
______Nonetheless, I'm already dreaming of baking mountains upon endless mountains of cookies that spill over the countertops of my mother's kitchen (she reads this and dreads such disarray in her domestic space), shopping at home where the bell-filled sounds and piney smells of Christmas permeate the stores, and seeing the glittering lights at night that speckle the homes of my parents' neighborhood. Even driving along what is normally a mundane highway at night is transformed over Christmas, for each of the traffic light poles is accented with a lit-up snowflake, reindeer, or bell marquee.
______The same goes for up here in Iowa: I'll admit to driving around at night just to soak in the delicacy that is the light-wrapped trees and lampposts on and off campus. It really may be the most wonderful time of the year...
Sunday, October 9, 2016
______BornPretty sent me over some glitzy goodies again this month, and thanks to them, I have been upping my collection of silver jewelry. They sent me these trailing silver earrings, diamond netted bracelet, rhinestone cuff bracelet, and a dainty silver ring. I'm embracing all things glittery: jewelry, glitter eyeshadow, and even glitter body gel are in my fashion vocabulary right now. Perhaps it is the thought of being a snow princess in Iowa that fuels these sparkly wants, or perhaps it is simply a result of the appeal of shiny things.
______As usual, you can get 10% off your order at BornPretty at checkout with code ALT10.
______It's a blessing that BornPretty sends me goodies every month, for if they didn't, I'd be more likely to forget about that #bloglife. I haven't completely dropped off the face of the earth, but this past month has beens so busy with grad school critiques, classes, and teaching that I've been running on empty. Plus there's that whole "staying sane" thing that goes in there somewhere... I digress. I hope everyone has been enjoying the cooler weather that's settled in.
______Leaves are starting to fall that crunch like crinkly chips on the ground, trees are yellowing ever so slightly, and the morning begins with crisp prairie air that makes your throat shiver when you suck it in. And everyone is pulling out their boots and cardigans to begin the layering that will last all the way through winter... because here in the Iowa, winter is very real, and winter is always coming. I'm excited for a taste of all four seasons.
______I made a pigeon friend the other week. There's a bridge that I ride my bike beneath in the mornings and this pigeon, who I soon dubbed Carter, would always be waddling around beneath it. He was a solid chap, with feathers of emerald and magenta wrapping 'round his neck like a silky scarf, and a fluffy body that would puff up if one approached him too quickly. Day after day, I would ride by him, say hello, and take some pictures of his fine, flirty self.
______I noticed that Carter had an orange anklet around his foot and after mentioning my pigeon-pal to my dad, he informed me that there were numbers on the band that described from whence the snazzy bird came. I couldn't ever get close enough to grab Carter to look at some of the numbers on his orange band, but I did squint enough to figure out what pigeon organization he was part of. I soon learned that this pigeon was part of the National Pigeon Association, meaning he was someone's domesticated pet pigeon. Also meaning his name probably wasn't Carter. Also meaning he was not a secret mission pigeon sent to take down terrorists with pigeon kung-fu... I can dream, can't I?
______Only trying to help, I suffered through many attempts to clasp his chubby body between my hands, but he'd waddle away or fly to an unreachable fencepost if I got too close. He was kind of a piece of shit, but he was also basically my boyfriend based on how many pictures I took of him and how much I showed him off. #pigeonboyfriend #luv
______Alas, this pigeon-ship didn't last long, because for the past couple of days, I haven't seen Carter in sight. Perhaps he has gained enough energy and was able to continue his journey. Perhaps he simply needed a break from flying. Or worse: perhaps he had found another woman to woo.
Studded jacket: similar
Rhinestone net bracelet: BornPretty
Silver ring: BornPretty
Rhinestone cuff bracelet: BornPretty
Friday, September 9, 2016
______BornPretty sent me a package that is essentially fairy crystal jewelry, for it's complete with gold-plated jewelry that boasts faceted prisms glittering with rainbows. I received an adjustable cube ring, crystal cube open cuff bracelet, and some mint and rainbow rhinestone earrings. I actually own the bracelet in silver, but loved how sturdy and thick the metal was that I had to have it in gold, too. Never one to disappoint, BornPretty s products are of superb quality, especially considering the price one can buy them at. I'm especially fond of the variety of crystal cube items they have!
______As usual, you can get 10% off with the code ALT10.
______Naturally, since I found a comfortable spot in the woods to take blog photos here in the land of Iowa, karma decided I did something terribly wrong to disturb the balance of the universe... what I'm saying is karma decided to drop a tree on the planked bridge I became so accustom to taking photos on. That honestly felt like a painfully relevant metaphor to life--when something falls on a bridge you've come so comfortable crossing, find another way to cross.
Top: TJ Maxx
Skirt: Urban Outfitters (exact)
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Jelly shoes: Juju (similar)
______So recently I did something I would never normally do and wore what's basically a longline bra as a crop top. I'm pretty sure my pale stomach blinded anyone who attempting to judge me for it, rendering their opinion on useless as they stumbled into walls and blundered over thin air. But in all honesty, it was one the comfiest "tops" I've ever worn, especially considering how hot and sticky it is outside in this scorching Alabama heat. That being said, I fully encourage anyone who is someone out there to consider the bralette-as-shirt-when-it's-hotter-than-Alexander-Skarsgard-when-he's-shirtless-at-the-beach look.
______This is a real look. I promise you. Just google it and you will understand.
______Really. I'll google it for you.
______I'm done being a creep on the interweebs now. I hope you all survive the heat, and if you don't have the heat, enjoy it and drool over some ice cream anyway. And tell me your favorite ice cream flavor as well. I'm a big fan of Moose Tracks, mostly because I like to pick the fudge out of it.
Kimono: Alter'd State
Bralette: Alter'd State (exact)
Skirt: Urban Outfitters (exact)
Booties: Chelsea Crew
Necklace: c/o BornPretty
Rings: c/o BornPretty
Friday, August 19, 2016
______BornPretty always sends me the loveliest accessories as I am sure you all know, and this set of items did not disappoint. I opted for some silver jewelry as I have been lacking in that area and picked a few stellar pieces: this silver star ring, twisted silver bracelet, moon and star earrings, and a pointed chain necklace. I'm always impressed with their quality as it's tough and long-lasting; I know that these will be no different, and I'm digging all things star, planet, and galaxy-related right now. And forever. Pluto is still a planet and I believe in it.
______Ahem. As usual, you can get 10% off with code ALT10 at checkout.
______Now that I've roamed around Iowa City enough both on foot and bike, I feel comfortable with my environment and excited about living and teaching here for the next couple of years. Rather than having a downtown littered solely with bars and bar food, it's peppered with delicious eateries, unique shops, and coffee cafes galore. Each place has its own personality: there's a coffee shop with Edison-style lights and knotted rugs on the floors, a bar with candles and wooden accents, a kitchen shop with hand thrown bowls and mugs, and a couple yogurt shops with brightly colored chairs and glass windows for walls.
______I know I haven't seen everything there is to offer here, either, but I look forward to peeling away the layers of this city. I've been biking a lovely, foliaged trail that hugs a river and swoops around a lake, but I know there are more trails out here. Just the the other day, I was driving and noticed a couple of neon helmets pop out from beneath and bridge and then dip down into tall grass that hides a path. As I looked over, I saw a yellow sign designating a bike trail.
______How do you explore new places?
Necklace: c/o BornPretty
Bracelets: c/o BornPretty
Moon and star earrings: c/o BornPretty
Star ring: c/o BornPretty