My Love Letter to Tucson


 Dear Tucson,

You see, there was a time that I truly hated you. I was so ready to leave I secretly applied to Portland
State and was ready to pack my bags. I was ready to go from too much sun to too much rain 
as soon as I possibly could.

But then I went to Italy. 

Studying abroad was just the kick I needed to realize I was exactly where I am supposed to be
and maybe it also had to do with some growing up I did as well. 
It sometimes takes someone or something knocking on your heart and saying, "Don't be
afraid, there is plenty of room to have multiple homes and love many different places."

I am going to miss the crazy people of Tucson, the amazing friends I have made and the 
experiences I have had, the food, the atmosphere, the bars and hole in the wall places,
the celebrations, the Mexican inspired architecture, pastel colored windows,
strange animals, monsoons, and the pretty brick campus that led me here. 

I may not ever live in a desert again, but at least I can say that I lived in the best little
desert town in America.

As much as the 18 year old Allie would hate me for saying this, 
I love you Tucson.
(dirty T)
Thanks for helping me become who I am today.

onward and outward

What I Learned During My Undergrad

So at this point, I've taken my last finals and it is my official last day as an undergrad. I'll hopefully get into some graduate program, but there are no guarantees. There are no guarantees for much in life! Yet we keep on kickin' anyways. I thought I would share some of what I learned through my 3.5 years.

1. Open up. Let people in and see who you really are and don't hide behind false pretenses. There's no point and you won't develop strong relationships that way.

2. Get involved. I found a service fraternity and a church that I love. It took me 2 years and a trip abroad to really understand where I wanted to get involved but it was worth it in the end.

3. STUDY ABROAD! If I could impart any wisdom on anyone, ever, it would be to study abroad. Even if it's for a summer! Do it! You will never regret the fear of being uncomfortable in a new environment and allowing new traditions and ways of life into your mind. You will live like never before.

4. Explore. Just in general, go on walks to new places and if no one will go with you, don't be afraid to go at it alone. Explore that feeling called being alone and having it not scare you. 

5. Make sure you are studying what makes you passionate and not what your parents or anyone else around you says you should study. There's absolute no point in studying something that keeps you lukewarm. 

6. Don't cheat. Just don't. 

7. Get to know the town you're living in. I fully believe the reason I grew to love Tucson was because I allowed myself to explore this strange new city and get to know all its quirks and loveable qualities. I also volunteered a lot and I found that to be the best way to get to know the people in the community and find what makes the city tick.

8. Invest in people and let them know you appreciate them. Everyone can use some affirmation every once in a while.

9. Study. Take time to study and work hard while also having fun. It sounds silly but I know people that really don't study and then get frustrated when they don't receive the results they wanted. If you want to reap the rewards, you better study.

10. Take photos, keep a journal and document every. little. thing. There will only be one time in your life for your undergrad life. These years go by FAST (yes, I know everyone says that but truthfully, they do) and if you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you may miss it all. (Thanks Ferris!) You won't regret keeping a journal and I'm sure there will be some day down the road that you may want to look back and see who you were between the ages of 18-22.

:) 

A Pop of Color

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I was always hesitant to wear yellow and then, suddenly, last winter I acquired two yellow jackets. I thought this one was so girly and bright that I immediately put it on my Christmas list and then the other one was a complete accident. I always thought blondes were supposed to steer away from yellow but I kind of like it! I wore all black to complement it but I say, if you are blonde, don't be afraid to wear yellow!!

Can ya'll believe we are 15 days into December already?? It is blowing my mind! I want everything to slow down so I can enjoy my last few days in Tucson and the holiday season!
I am going to be frantically studying for my last two finals today and tomorrow so there may be some radio silence for the next couple of days. But I'll be back! 

Photos by Heidi at Heidi Elyse Photography

jacket, shoes-similar, sweater and pants (same as the last few outfit posts!)

My Marble Obsession


How amazing are these marble prints from the SS Print Shop? I am absolutely obsessed. You know
how I have been on a marble kick lately, and so when I saw these, I freaked. Wouldn't these be a great Christmas present for a friend who is trying to build up her gallery wall? 

I love how they are so simple yet beautiful. Also, the pop of gold in the lettering? Be still my heart.

Has anything across the internet caught your eye lately? I'd love to know! 
I'm taking my first final this afternoon so things are a little hectic around here. But I hope you have a great Friday and an even better weekend! :)






my bridge

{via}

I have a post that I drafted during the summer that is my love letter to Tucson. It just occurred to me that I will be releasing that post next week. NEXT WEEK! (insert emoji with the face like "The Scream") In a week, all of my finals will be done (thank the lawwwd), my family will be flying into town, and I will be saying goodbye to the life I've known for three years now. I know it all seems a little dramatic and I'm sure looking back, I'll agree. But for now, there is a melancholy ache in my heart and there are so many unknowns out there. I am already experiencing some major FOMO and I haven't even left. 

And there is a part of me that is also excited for it all! I'm excited to head home and have some time to rejuvenate, work, take some extra classes for graduate school, hopefully get into grad school somewhere, and spend time with my family. This next semester feels a lot like a bridge leading me into the next chapter of my life. It's a long and winding bridge and there is an awful lot of fog on it but it is my own bridge and my own journey into wherever God wants me to be. 

I'm also excited to see where this blog is going to go. I would love to give it a facelift (darn you lack of funds!) and I would love to add more creative content! I know my mom and I are going to try and renovate the downstairs bathroom and I have so many cool ideas in mind, so that will be a couple posts in the future for sure.

To end this rambly post, I guess I just wanted to document my current feelings because when it comes down to it, this is my very public journal and it's nice to look back on parts of my life. And this part? This is a pretty big part. 

As always, thanks for reading.

Sweater Weather

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This sweater is one of my favorite layering pieces. It works during the hot summer and fall but also during the winter. Also, it was hand knitted so it's kind of a big deal ;). Black-on-black is also one of my favorite outfit combinations right now. I like to pretend I'm Audrey Hepburn and prance around in my all black outfit and feel stylish.

Also, this is a PSA for women everywhere: black velvet pants are the most versatile piece of clothing you could ever purchase. Also one of the warmest! These pants were my salvation in Italy during those freezing months and have been by my side ever since. Another thing you should note from this outfit is my very hip shoe choice. Socks + Birks is a total thing right? Let's hope so.

Side note: a really cute elderly couple was parked in their car waiting to pass us as we took these photos. Needless to say, it was awkward. I could just hear them saying, " Kids these days! They love taking pictures of themselves wearing weird outfits!" #truth

Thanks again to Heidi! She's the best!
Facebook  Website

sweater- vintage, turtleneck- similar, pants-similar, shoes, bag

Two Feminine Looks

Ulta Feminine



Look #2




My style definitely veers more towards the feminine look and I have no problem with that. I love clean lines, scalloping, floral and anything deemed "classic." If I could magically transport both of these outfits into my closet right now, I definitely would. I think midi skirts are the ultimate feminine look right now and I'm glad they are still "in." (Although I am not a huge fan of only wearing pieces that are in but instead what makes you feel your best)

You could pair any of these outfits with some tights and a coat for a perfect winter outfit as well. :)

This week has been hectic coming back from Thanksgiving and the next two weeks are going to be filled with finals prep, soaking in my last week and a half of the southwest, hanging out with my friends as much as possible, and then, of course, finals. In a week and a half my whole family is flying out to be here for my graduation and I can't be more excited!! I feel infinitely blessed to have family who supports me and loves me unconditionally. Also, my best friend is flying out to be here as well so just call me the luckiest girl alive. :)

Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

My Guide to a New City

 
How to Love a New City
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I don't think it is any secret that it took me a long time to love Tucson. I feel confident saying
it took about 1.5 years until I truly began to love this city. Even though it took me that long this time around, I am more than excited to start my next journey in a new city and try out these tips and tricks I've thought out and applied. I also am a firm believer in the fact that it takes almost 2 years to really feel like a new city is "home." Perhaps that number could go down though if you are living their consistently. (Being in college with breaks made it so I was never here for longer than 5 months at a time until this past year.) So without further adieu, here is my guide to loving a new city.

1. Make friends with a local and a newcomer as soon as you can. The local will help you find
all the best places that others may not be aware of and the newcomer will help calm your nerves
because you are both in the same boat.

2. Have a car (unless you live in a big city like NYC or Chicago). Having my car was a godsent and really changed everything for me. I was able to explore, have some alone time when I needed it, and it gave me the independence and freedom I need with my kind of personality.

3. Eat at unique places and try out cool bars as often as possible. These places show you bits and pieces of the people who call the city their home and you can get to know some fun characters. Plus, trying out new food places is heaven on earth.

4. Volunteer at local events. I am such a big fan of this one. I have loved volunteering in Tucson because I have gotten to know some of the people who make this city tick and keep it running. You also get to see people's hearts when you are both volunteering for a greater good.

5. Mentally and physically prepare for whatever weather lies ahead. Here in Tucson, I was definitely not prepared for the heat. My first two years here were almost primarily spent whining about it instead of realizing this is what it is and adjusting myself. If you can mentally prepare yourself for the weather ahead of time, your whole state of mind improves. (I'm speaking from so much personal experience here, it's insane) And also physically prepare by bringing/investing in appropriate clothing!

6. Open your mind. At first, I was not smitten with the landscape here in the desert. I thought it was dry, dusty and overall, pretty ugly. (It's hard to beat Northern California and I've been spoiled) But once I forced myself to see that every city has its own unique feel and look and that doesn't make one better than the other, I was able to love the cactus and the desert landscape. I'm now so stinkin' obsessed with the mountains and saguaro's here, it isn't even funny. 

7. Have the heart of an explorer. Go out and explore your new city as often as possible! Go take long walks, get lost, meet a stranger, document your adventures for another day and ultimately, enjoy yourself.

8. Check out the local attractions. One thing I can say, without hesitation, was that I have done almost every classic Tucson thing you can possibly do. Biosphere 2? done. Mount Lemmon? done. Hike Tumamoc? done. Kartchner Caverns? done. Bisbee/Tombstone? Done. Gem show? done. Botanical gardens? done. Zoo? done. And the list goes on. Take advantage of all of the wonderful attractions in your own backyard! (Taking visitors with you is the best way!) 

Do you have any tips and tricks to add? 
If you are moving or you just want to bookmark this for when you move someday, 
I hope this helps. :)

Southwest is Best

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(#sopale)

These photos were taken at the top of "A" mountain (or pinnacle peak) and the view is incredible from up there! I often hike Tumamoc Hill (I totally recommend it!) and you get a very similar hike but I never knew you could drive up to the top of "A" mountain and see all of Tucson so easily! I looked totally silly taking these photos but it was still really fun to do. I'm so glad I will have these photos for when I move out of the southwest. 

In all honesty, I have worn this skirt maybe once or twice but I have had it for 2 years now. I got it when I studied abroad but it always seemed too fancy for me. But I pulled it out to take these photos and I love how they came out!! 
Have a great Monday! I'm headed home this afternoon and then it's back to reality and finals time. :/

sweater-similar, skirt-similar, scarf-similar, shoes-similar

Thank you to Heidi for the amazing photos!! Check out her Instagram and Facebook here!
 
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