The best part of summer is undoubtedly the spontaneous day trips to explore new places with friends. Sadly, those trips were more difficult to pull off this summer due to the 9 to 5 job I’ve been working since January. But because I love summer adventures and I’m moving to another county in less than a month (!!!), I knew I had to squeeze in as many small outings with my friends and family as possible.
In my state, there’s a small town on the coast that I adore, and my best friend and I have made a habit of going down there for a day for his past two birthdays. There’s something about strolling through small, locally-owned shops on streets reminiscent of the New Orleans French Quarter that makes my heart flutter. I love the smell of the salt air, the art on the sides of buildings, and creating the perfect playlist to listen to on the ride down. It feels like summer feels – light and yellow with hints of blue, like a fond memory in photograph.
Outdoor adventures in the summer call for simple, fuss-free outfits. The summer months in Alabama are absolutely boiling, so lightweight pieces are essential. On this day, I opted for my American Apparel denim shorts that I scored on Poshmark for half the price and a simple black tank top I’ve had for so long I don’t even remember where I got it. I brought along a red corduroy shirt I picked up from a consignment shop to wear inside chilly shops and restaurants and to add some color to the outfit. Finally, my Sseko Crossover Slides are one of my favorite purchases I’ve made in a while. They’re so comfortable, versatile, and perfect for spring and summer. I’ve worn them to the beach, out and about, to a concert, and to work. I’ve had them for about three months, and I’ve definitely already gotten my money’s worth.
What’s your go-to summer outfit?
Listen to Candy Wrappers by Summer Salt.
Even though winter never really happened in Alabama this year, there’s still something magical about the transition into spring. Warmer weather and longer days yield outdoor adventures (my favorite) and reacquainting myself with my hometown after four years away at school. It’s amazing to see all the new places that have popped up since I’ve been gone, and with only a few months left before the big move, I’m trying to experience all the worthwhile and unique things this place has to offer. Lately, I’ve been really enjoying seeing movies at the independent movie theater and walking across the street to one of the two non-Starbucks coffee shops in town afterwards. The last two movies I saw there were I Am Not Your Negro and Paterson, and I highly recommend both. Now, they’re playing a documentary on Russian avant garde art, and I’m itching to go see it.
I picked up this bodysuit in the American Apparel sale, and since it doesn’t quite fit my office’s business casual dress code, I haven’t had a chance to wear it until now. Paired with an old pair of jeans, my comfiest shoes, and a backpack, it was perfect for walking around downtown, drinking coffee, and snapping photos.
What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?
My favorite time to go to the beach is during non-peak seasons when the weather is cooler and the beaches are empty. No need for a swimsuit and no fighting against a crowd of people. When I was in Savannah a few weeks ago, I took a day trip with my best friend to Tybee Island, one of my favorite beaches, and spent the afternoon walking along the water as the tide receded. There was something magical about having the place to ourselves. I’ve said for a while that after I finish school and work for a while, I want to move to a small coastal town and open a bookstore/cafe in a seafront cottage. Those daydreams are easy to picture on a day like that one, when the beach is empty and a cold wind is coming off of the waves.
But for the time being, I took in the calming solitude and crashing waves and guarded myself against the chill with my new bomber-sweater combo that I picked up at Civvies, the same vintage shop from my last post, and it served me well as we danced around, snapped some photos, and lounged in the sand.
One of my favorite things about my university experience was meeting people from all over the United States who made traveling on a student budget with my friends possible. Throughout my three years as a college student, I’ve travelled across the United States and the United Kingdom, and the vast majority of those travels were made possible by friends opening up their homes to us and saving us hotel expenses.
As I mentioned in my last post, I did some traveling along the east coast in between my graduation and Christmas, and one of the places I ended up was Savannah, Georgia. I’ve been to Savannah several times, and it’s one of my favorite cities because of its moss-covered oak trees, historic buildings, and proximity to the beach. And the best part is that because my roommate’s family is from the area, we had a free place to stay.
Downtown Savannah has tons of cool, independent shops, and one of my favorites is Civvies, a secondhand clothing store that I visit every time I’m in town. I love to visit vintage clothing stores when I visit new cities, not only to supplement the conscious wardrobe I’m trying to build, but also because vintage shops curate their merchandise differently depending on what’s popular in the area and the particular style and aesthetic they are trying to achieve with the store. This time around, I picked up this loose-fitting, greenish-grey, velvet turtleneck that’s perfect for the winter months.
What’s your favorite vintage shop?
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On December 10, 2016, I graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in English, Creative Writing, and Art History. The following Monday, a friend and I packed up my car and drove from Alabama to North Carolina, where we picked up another friend and drove to Maryland, where we picked up another friend and drove to New York. After a week of getting lost in New York and DC and eating way too much pizza, I drove back to Alabama, slept at home for the night, woke up the next morning, and drove to Savannah, Georgia, where I spent a week with my best friend and roommate. I made it back home just in time for Christmas, which I spent at my grandparents’ house, and a few days later, I moved out of my apartment and back in with my parents and spent several days trying to fit an entire apartment’s worth of stuff into my tiny bedroom.
Meanwhile, I was accepted to a graduate school in Paris, and though living in Paris for a year while I complete my master’s degree would be a dream, I’m waiting to hear back from a few other programs before I make my decision. Regardless, I’ve already begun to search for apartments in Montparnasse, rank the paintings I want to see in the Louvre (The Oath of the Horatti is at the top), and consider learning some French.
In the meantime, I’ll be working and saving up my money in preparation for graduate school in the fall. And because I’m not currently in school and my schedule will be much more regular in the coming months, I’ll have more time to blog. I did a good bit of thrift shopping on my recent vacations and was able to get some material for a few upcoming posts that I’m really excited about. Stay tuned!
I’ve lived in Alabama my entire life, which is something I used to complain about a lot when I was growing up. I was bored of small towns and couldn’t wait to leave, and it wasn’t until the past few years that I really started to appreciate the place where I live, its history, and the interesting and worthwhile things it has to offer. Like this furnace built after the Civil War for the production of pig iron that’s been made into a historic landmark and is perfect for an afternoon adventure. It’s hard to explain this change of heart. Maybe it has to do with the traveling I’ve done lately. The more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve realized that every place I go has something to teach and offer me. Or maybe it’s that, after high school, I figured myself out a little more and found meaningful friendships that have tied me here, emotionally if not physically.
My best guess, though, is that I’ve come to understand better the beauty in collecting small moments, the unassuming afternoons in small-town Alabama, that time my best friend and I decided to climb trees on campus and got reprimanded by campus police, taking the cat to get donuts at 1 am. I’m constructing my narrative out of bits and pieces I collect along the way and are small enough to fit in my pocket.
Now, I keep a running list of places in my state that I want to see and day trips I want to take, and one of my favorite things to do these days is check places off of my list with lovely and creative friends, find the best places to get coffee, and write it all down in my journal.
I like the idea of museums, that they are essentially the constructed narratives of human experience, but that they are perpetually incomplete. No matter how many objects are collected, they will never encompass the vastness and breadth of human experience, but curators continue to curate and buyers continue to buy. I think life is like that too. We go along collecting these bite-sized memories, these objects of beauty that construct the narratives of our lives and we discard others. We snap photos and write poems and tell stories and decide how to remember them. I guess what I’m saying is that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my role as curator in a narrative that has the potential to be worthwhile regardless of place. I think the whole idea is pretty perfect.
Like my last post, my entire outfit sans shoes was stolen from my roommate who stole the flannel from her brother and the dress from her cousin. It’s like a nesting doll of ethical fashion. I like it.
I absolutely cannot believe summer break is almost over and that I begin my final semester of my undergraduate degree on Wednesday. I’ve been up to some really exciting things over the past few weeks in terms of working, studying for the GRE, attempting to sort out my post-grad plans (yikes!), and enjoying my summer, all of which has left me with little time to write blog posts or take photos. As usual, I’ve been listening to music nonstop, so I thought I’d write up a quick little post to share the songs, old and new, I’ve been loving recently.
Fountain of Youth | Local Natives
Heart It Races | Dr. Dog
pink skies | LANY
This Empty Northern Hemisphere | Gregory Alan Isakov
Miracle Aligner | The Last Shadow Puppets
Cold | Mating Ritual
Upswing | Prinze George
Wild | Beach House
Garden View | Hales Corner
My Cousin Greg | Houndmouth
What are you listening to?
A word. A picture. A sound.
And it was unbearably hot. The best part of the day was the end, when the sun had just begun to descend but was still lingering. The temperature dropped to 80, and everything was brilliant. Lying on a blanket spread over a grassy spot in a new city, watching the sun dip down behind the Parthenon as the lightning bugs came out more abundantly than I had ever seen before, I felt the quintessence of summer, and it was yellow. Yellow until the very end.
Time of the Blue – The Tallest Man on Earth
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post with some of my tips for shopping ethically on a small budget. Because I had so many tips, I decided to make my ethical shopping tips posts a multi-part series on my blog. That way, I wouldn’t dump a ton of information on you all at once, and also so that I could create an ongoing list of socially-conscious shopping tips that I can add to as I discover new ones. Last week, I went on vacation to Nashville, Tennessee and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some shots for Part 2 of the series. So without further ado, here are some more ways I afford to shop ethical clothing on a student budget.
- Be an outfit repeater. Remember that scene in The Lizzie McGuire Movie where Kate calls Lizzie out for being an outfit repeater? I remember watching that scene when I was 9 years old, seeing Lizzie’s utter humiliation, and not understanding why repeating outfits was so bad. It seems like such a silly thing to never or rarely repeat outfits, especially when considering the amount of water, energy, and manpower it takes to make our clothes. Did you know it takes nearly 3000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans? And it takes about 400 gallons of water to grow the cotton for one t-shirt. That means that one outfit consisting of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt takes at least 3400 gallons of water to produce. Now, if you wear that outfit only once, you’re not only wasting your money but valuable natural resources. Clothes are meant to be worn more than once, and I don’t know about you, but if I have an amazing outfit, I want people to see it, even if that means I wear it multiple times.
- Swap with friends. An alternative to buying a new outfit for every exciting occasion in your life is to raid your friends’ closets. If you need a blazer for an interview or a sundress for a wedding, I’m willing to bet you know someone who’s happy to let you borrow theirs. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about having a roommate: 2 closets to choose from! My roommate has this one white tank top that she can never seem to pry away from me. Another fun alternative to shopping is having a clothing swap party with your friends. All you have to do is have your friends bring to the party all the clothes they don’t wear anymore, and you can trade with each other. You can even order a pizza, watch Pride and Prejudice, and make a whole girls’ night out of it.
- Ethical brands. Though they’re not as visible as many fast fashion brands, there are so many really incredible ethical clothing companies that respect their workers and the planet. When you do decide to buy a new item, make sure it’s an investment piece. Because these companies responsibly source their materials and pay their workers a living wage, their prices are higher, and it may not be possible for you to buy 12 outfits worth of clothes in 1 go. Pick pieces that you know you’ll wear over and over again and can be styled in a variety of ways. That way, even though you’re repeating items of your wardrobe often, you don’t have to wear the exact same shirt + jeans combo every day of your life. Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post, which will be a list of socially- and environmentally-conscious clothing companies.
For this outfit, I’m wearing a romper from the 80s that I picked up at a vintage shop. Although I bought mine in Atlanta, I highly recommend checking out the vintage shops in Nashville if you’re ever in town. My favorite one I visited was Local Honey.
How do you shop ethically on a budget?
Check out Part 1!
*Photos by JFG Photography
A word. A picture. A sound.
I’ve found I like to collect places the same way I would collect seashells on a beach – not unlike this one – on the coast of Florida when I was seven years old. I have this place that once was mine where five o’clock settles in slow, that built much of me out of cricket songs and Dogwood trees, and I didn’t realize it until I left it behind for someone else. I keep coming back, though I’m made of more places now. I’m looking for something worthwhile and always find it in the heart of a saltwater cure.
Upswing – Prinze George