It feels like just yesterday that it was fall. And it looked a little something like this:

Fall in Knoxville - SunsphereFall in KnoxvilleFall on UT Campus

Welcome to the South though — where one day it’s a gorgeous fall day and the next, winter comes rip-roaring in with a bite so cold you don’t know what hit you. For those of you abroad, this is -3 Celsius and it’s only November. I’m guessing it’s going to be a LONG winter.

Weather

 

But, the really cold weather means one thing — sweaters! And I happened to find a pair of tights that matched a sweater I recently purchased and this is the outcome:

This OOTD is all about the blooper reel!

This OOTD is all about the blooper reel!

 

I even coordinated my nail polish (accidentally nonetheless)

I even coordinated my nail polish (accidentally nonetheless)

 

See, blooper reel!

See, blooper reel!

 

Outfit Details

Sweater & Skirt: The Limited

Tights: Jessica Simpson for Macy’s

Pumps: Sam Edleman

Nails: Zoya Nail Polish

Hello winter, hello color coordination! (And yes, I realize it has been way too long since you’ve seen a fashion or beauty post — and I’m sorry! Life sometimes takes over and has been so much easier to write about lately.)

Until next time, XOXO – K

It was your typical Thursday; Alarm goes off then the snooze battle begins; Finally drag myself out of bed and get ready for community service day. It was my fourth day of employment and I was going to spend the day with 120 co-workers cleaning up Atlanta’s third largest park. Luckily, the firm had provided us with T-Shirts so all I had to worry about was jeans and shoes!

I had asked my husband to take me to the park on his way to work because I was told parking was going to be limited. We walk out the door, locked it, and because I’m always paranoid, I actually double checked it was locked. Then, we were on our way.

The park was a fairly large park, albeit if I were driving by I would’ve never known it was a park–At least not before we all got to work! I had signed up for the gardening crew, thinking I would be planting pretty flowers everywhere — but I quickly learned my idea of pretty little flowers were actually trees!

Sun rise peaking through the clouds - Atlanta Memorial Park

Sun rise peaking through the clouds – Atlanta Memorial Park

Atlanta Memorial Park - Early morning

Atlanta Memorial Park – Early morning

 

There was A LOT of digging and swinging a pick-axe to plant my tree and by 11AM I was already exhausted but in just two quick hours the park looked completely transformed! And, we were all having fun helping each other out even though it was a lot of labor.

It took me nearly two hours on the side of a hill to get the hole deep enough to plant this not-so-little guy.

It took me nearly two hours on the side of a hill to get the hole deep enough to plant this not-so-little guy.

 

After the clean-up & planting was completed for the day, we all headed out to Monday Night Brewing for a firm meeting. What a great time — and an opportunity to learn so much about my still new-to-me co-workers! Who would’ve guessed I’d be standing in line for food and chatting with one of the two founding partners? WHOOP!

Monday Night Brewing - Drafty Kilt

Monday Night Brewing – Drafty Kilt

 

I’ll be darned if a few of us didn’t continue the party at a bar after the brewery! Also a good time — but maybe could’ve (erm, should’ve?) done without that Fireball? I finally hang my hat around 8:30 and HAD to get home. I was the old maid! (But we did get to the brewery at 2…) Luckily my husband was nice enough to pick up my not-so-sober self and bring me home on his way from the office.

I alternate talking his head off about my day and my co-workers and singing on the ride home– both things I do quite well with alcohol! We arrive home and he puts the key in the lock and turns. Nothing happens. He looks at me and I shrug. “Honey, I double checked the door this morning, it was locked! Maybe we just didn’t hear it click?”

Door opens and we walk in. At that particular second I didn’t think it was odd that my kitchen lights were on. Blame it on the booze? The next 30 seconds are a bit fuzzy as I shut the door and turn the lock only to notice the entire door frame near the lock plate is splintered. I drop everything I’m holding and turn around. Hubby is standing in the living room looking at the hallway, which is where we had a TV sitting — HAD. Then the reality sets in as I see the bathroom light and fan on and my dressers drawers astray, clothes pulled out randomly, my jewelry box open, and my fire-box rummaged through.

You don’t really know how you’ll react when you realize someone kicked in your door, violated your privacy, not to mention your sense of security — you just don’t. Especially not after a few drinks — but I promise you this is a SOBERING moment.

Burgled

At this exact moment in time we had lived in our apartment one week — ONE. Seven days. Half of the building is still under construction! My first phone call was the cell phone of the apartment manager. Hubby’s was the police. My second call was my mother, and it’s probably better my father answered. I was crying so hard I could barely talk, let alone stand. Then somehow I end up outside, and the security guard is standing there listening to me try to blubber what happened to my father; Then the guard tells me my neighbor across the hall also got burgled; Then the cop arrives (dad, did I hang up on you? I’m sorry!) but the cop lives here; He had JUST introduced himself on Tuesday evening.

He comes in and takes our statement as we survey the items we are missing. You know the hardest part about trying to survey what you no longer own? When you haven’t seen most of said stuff in 19 months. I took very little from my jewelry box to Ireland with me. I knew it had been rummaged through but I had no clue if anything was missing. The important pieces (at least to me, though they are far from valuable on the monetary front) were still there. My closet was untouched, and the only valuable thing I REALLY own was on my finger that day — despite knowing I’d be doing garden work all day… I don’t really believe in coincidences, so let’s just say fate intervened that morning.

After the cop left, it really set in what the thief took and I lost it thinking about my computer. The computer! My life was on that computer! Oh, phew we had it backed up. OH NO. What about the back up external hard drive that every picture from the last 19 months over seas on it? Was it gone? I was inconsolable at this moment and my poor husband…he was trying to help me! He did find the backup in a box in the closet — OH THANK YOU LORD.

[Side note: MULTIPLE BACK UPS PEOPLE. THREE, AT A MINIMUM. We are fortunate the hard drive was nowhere near the computer and was in a box in the guest closet, but… THREE BACKUPS.]

I won’t dwell on the aftermath of the burglary. We were safe, and luckily not home at the time. We didn’t lose anything that wasn’t replaceable, and we learned a valuable lesson on that front. And the silver lining? I wanted a new computer anyway!

It’s not the stuff you need to worry about in your life. It’s you; it’s your memories; and it’s your sense of security. All of these things are priceless. Insurance can pay you for your lost stuff but not your sanity. it’s been a tough two weeks, but the new access locks around the apartment complex, the alarm system, and the support of our friends and family help tremendously.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you — because that’s the exact moment when it will. Never say never.

XOXO – K

 

 

Thank You For Who I Am!

November 7, 2014 — 1 Comment

I’ve been back in the U.S. a little over a month now and I’ve started a new job in this time. This undoubtedly leads to “where are you from?” questions and I’ve lived so many places in the last few years that I’m not even sure where I’m from anymore.

It used to be easy! I was born in Tennessee, then I moved to Arkansas and lived there for thirteen years until I went to college, in Tennessee. Now that I’m dwelling on it, I’ve actually lived in Tennessee longer than Arkansas, if you count the first five years of my life that I simply don’t remember! The tally looks something like this:

Arkansas – 13.5 years
Tennessee – 15.5 years
Ireland – 1.75 years
Georgia – 1 month

I seldom CLAIM to be Arkansan. Simply because over the years I’m over people thinking I’m an “overall wearing (which are back in style, BTW), shoeless, gun-toting heathen” when I respond to the infamous “Where are you from?” question with “Arkansas”. I would actually get bewildered looks in Ireland if I mentioned Arkansas, mostly because they have no idea where it is and if they do know it, all they know is Bill Clinton.

Let me set the record straight. I assure you that just because the media finds the most misrepresentative person to interview 99% of the time that Arkansans are nice, hospitable people who wear clothes & shoes, have teeth, hold jobs, use the Internet, and love football and hunting. If the apocalypse hits, forget Georgia, and give me my duck & deer hunting childhood friends! Are there people who live in the woods and don’t wear shoes? Probably. I’ve never met them. But I’m pretty sure they exist in other states too, from California to Connecticut.

I’m always amazed how certain songs affect me differently at certain points in my life–heck, different days even. A song for every mood & moment right? So let me tie my Arkansas rant together with Cherry Pie (no, not the food, but that does sound delicious!).

I was sitting on my flight from JFK to ATL recently listening to my Eden’s Edge album. The song Cherry Pie came on and it instantly took me back to my past life–my childhood. Listening to this song always makes me happy to have Arkansan roots.

“Cherry Pie”

To my first pony, Cherry Pie,
from the little girl you taught to fly,
to the sun.

To Mrs. Thorton, from third grade,
I remember all the times you’d stay,
till Daddy picked me up.

[CHORUS:]
Oh, did you ever know?
Did I ever tell you so?
I hope you understand,
you have so much to do with who I am.

To my older brother, Wes,
I worshiped everything you did and said.
I hope it didn’t bother you.

To Grandma Melva and Grandpa Lin,
what I’d give just to be five, again,
singin’ in your living room.

[Repeat CHORUS]

Arkansas summer wind,
to feelings that never end,
to anyone who called me “friend”.
All the blessings from above,
to Mama’s kiss and Daddy’s hug,
I didn’t say it near enough-
Thank you for who I am!

[Repeat CHORUS]

To my first pony, Cherry Pie,
from the little girl you taught to fly.

I could only find a live version on YouTube, but it’s still pretty amazing and still gives me chills because i could listen to Hannah for HOURS. Her voice is so unbelievable.

It takes me back to days where I was independent and headstrong but I have an amazing mother who tried to listen and steer me in the right direction and I’m more like her every day. I have an amazing father who taught me the value of a hard-earned dollar and how to change the oil in my car. I have a sister who, despite the stuffed animal wars in the halls throughout the years, loves me unconditionally and, even though I’m older, teaches me more about life each year.

It takes me back to the days of Red Rover and kickball; where the school years were long and summers short; There was love & laughter. There was heartbreak and tears; There was ghosts in the graveyard, sleepovers, gymnastics meets, band practice, and family vacations. I never wanted for anything, but I didn’t have everything handed to me either.

And every single ounce of who I am is shaped by this past–and I don’t think I could capture that any better than this song!

Though it is funny when I actually listen to this song because two of the members of this group grew up in the same town as I did. We went to school together; attended church together. I know the names of (some) of the people sung about in the song. For that reason maybe the song touches me more than most, but it is absolutely a beautiful song and you need to listen to it. Arkansan or not. And no, Eden’s Edge may have parted ways, but I simply don’t care. I absolutely, 100% love their songs and they’ll forever be a part of me.

To my Arkansas roots, THANK YOU FOR WHO I AM!

Arkansas Friends

Arkansas Road

Until next time. XOXO – K

You’d think, being from Tennessee, that moving back to the USA would be a piece of cake. I feel like I should burst that bubble right now, despite having only been back a week. It’s been a nonstop, fully hectic, how much can I possibly cram into a week, kind of week. The insane laundry list of things we had to get done was unreal — and being the type who wants things NOW, presented its own challenges. I miss certain aspects of Irish life daily, and sometimes want to just sit in the floor and cry. Will I be able to fully re-acclimate? Of course. Am I struggling hourly right now? Absofeckinglutely.

I wish moving home had been as simple as stepping off a plane and it being like I’d never left. While all the buildings might look the same, roads might be in the same place, and people might all sound similar to me, I assure you it is NOT that simple..

Let’s start with jet lag. I don’t usually get jet lag when time is gained. For some reason though, jet lag hit me with the force of a ton of bricks and for four solid days I felt like a zombie. The most dull, annoying pain I’ve ever had settled into my head each afternoon about 2 PM and could only be cured by 800 mg of Advil. I’d be ready to fall asleep by 4 PM but had to force myself to stay awake until at least 11 PM. Every morning, like clockwork, I’d be wide awake at 4:01 AM and it would take me about 2 hours to fall back asleep. It wasn’t until copious amounts of alcohol were consumed over the weekend which forced me to stay awake until 3 AM (with a subsequent 8 AM wake-up for football) did my body finally decide to reset. And hey, there was football to watch! So, tip number one: when traveling, drink lots of booze and stay up way past when you think you can!

Blue MoFo

Say hello to the Blue Mo Fo. I have no idea why it’s called that or what’s in it…but, like a LIT, it’s STRONG.

Lemon Drop Shot

Lemon Drop gone wrong — for some reason the bartender thinks a Lemon Drop is simply Citrus Vodka. BLEH.

Twins!

My dear friend, whom I haven’t seen since December. Nope, we didn’t coordinate in advance of the game, but, great fashion minds think alike when it comes to UT football!

UT in Athens - 9.28.14

Panorama of Sanford Stadium in Athens. If you look closely, you can see the TN section in the lower level near the other end zone :)

 

Then there’s the “I have to deal with 8 suitcases, an art tube, and two backpacks in a hotel room for three weeks until our apartment is ready” fiasco. I don’t even want to know what goes through housekeeping’s head every day as they clean the room and see our pile of luggage! Hurry up inspectors, is all I can wish for here.

Moving Day

There was also the issue of buying a car. We were fortunate to have a rental car for a week, and we left my car behind when we moved, but with my husband going back to work on the Wednesday of our arrival, we had only one day to shop around together before I was getting bombarded by sales people on my own. But wouldn’t you know you can’t buy a car in Georgia without a Georgia driver’s license. And, as is the case with Ireland, you cannot get anything converted until you have proof of residency. And, well, since I’m homeless until mid-October, you can see where the problem lies! (Don’t worry, we figured out a solution, because I’m a problem solving genius.)

I swore I'd never own another BMW after the last one... but alas, this was the only car out of about 50 I test drove I actually loved. BMW iDrive X3

I swore I’d never own another BMW after the last one… but alas, this was the only car out of about 50 I test drove I actually loved. BMW iDrive X3

 

Those are just a few of the things you might expect to be a pain from an international move. But what about the day-to-day little things, like grocery shopping and driving?

Well, I won’t say I was overwhelmed by the grocery store, because Ireland did have a few massive stores that I visited every now and again, but I was overwhelmed by the lack of quality food. How can such a MASSIVE store carry so little that is actually healthy & good for you? I’m living in a hotel so making my own food from the fresh items just isn’t an option right now, so I’m having to find alternatives. Oh, you’re telling me to go to the natural aisle? OK, I did that. Have you looked at any labels lately? I assure you that almost everything in that “natural” aisle still has sugar added to it along with preservatives. You don’t get that kind of shelf life without it. Even the all natural smoothies you can buy are still insanely high in sugar & carbs, because apparently the American nation cannot eat or drink something that isn’t loaded with a ridiculous amount of sugars. (i.e. calories) No wonder our nation can’t seem to get their health in check! And it is those preservatives and lack of fresh foods that my body is absolutely rejecting. I can eat beef again, which is great for my anemia, but… we’ll just say I cannot wait for my apartment to be move-in ready so I can actually cook something and get my body back on track!

I won't lie. I did enjoy this donut!

I won’t lie. I did enjoy this doughnut!

 

Driving… I think driving in this city is quite possibly as bad as L.A. I was on the interstate the other day and I counted 9 lanes of traffic. NINE. I haven’t driven in 10 months and I landed myself in a city that has average commute times over an hour while navigating at least 6-8 lanes of traffic on any interstate route. It’s not easy people. Before I got a new phone, I was using a prepaid SIM card, which afforded me no data. And I can promise you I drove in circles on more than one occasion trying to get from point A to point B. I will just count my blessings that I haven’t ended up in a part of town I don’t belong in. But I certainly wanted to pull my hair out!

Pulling Hair Out

What exactly am I trying to drive home here? Moving home: where everything is new, yet unknown. New city, new car, new phone, new job, new apartment (literally, half of the building is still under construction), new life chapter, new, new, new. And while new isn’t bad, it’ll just take a little more of an adjustment than the last week has allowed. Here’s to this new beginning.

Until next time. XOXO – K

 

Last week I was browsing on Pinterest and I came across an absolutely unbelievable look. It was the embodiment of Autumn/Winter. It was absolute perfection. The femininity of the cable-knit jumper contrasted against the leather leggings brought me to my knees; It was love at first sight.

Have a look at the original blog post for yourself and tell me you don’t also fall head-over-heels in love with this look! From the talent over at Could I Have That, “Underestimated” is the title of her post and although it may be from winter 2014, it is such a timeless, classic look that it NEEDS to be a staple in every wardrobe! (Perfect title for a blog too, huh?)

And so today, I set out to create a similar look of my own, both one that every gal could afford, as well as the lavish one that every gal dreams about. (Because hey, it’s nice to have dreams, right?)

I hope you find the look as captivating as I did! And of course, if you fall in love with anything you see, click on the photo and head over to Polyvore to source the site for purchase.

 

Fall Faves - Budget vs High Fashion

How do you plan to style your Autumn/Winter wardrobe? Did you love the look? Shoot me a tweet!

Until next time,
XOXO – K