Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mark & Graham

Mark and Graham
Hello my loves! Just wanted to pop in today to share a new find with you - Mark and Graham. I somehow landed on their Instagram last week and haven't been able to stop buying things and stalking their website since. I've now gotten my mom's gift, boyfriend's gift, and a few other things, and I'm so pleased with all of them!
My favorites for myself are that dreamy bucket bag and the fur vest. Forcing myself not to buy those before Christmas has been a major struggle. #obsessed
They've got a great mix of everything from baby gifts to jewelry to home goods and you can personalize most everything, so I'd really recommend you check it out if you still need Christmas gifts. You even get 15% off your entire first order if you give them your email when you first visit, so what have you got to lose?
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Monday, December 7, 2015

November Favorites

Untitled #18
I hope your Monday is off to a great start! I know we're already very into December and the Christmas season, but I thought I'd share a few of my November favorites with you! I haven't done one of these in a while (#slacker) so it's nice to see what's changed since my last one!
Skin Care:   
St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub 
Y'all know that I have dry, sensitive skin and have to be careful what products I use on it. This scrub exfoliates really well and make my skin feel very soft afterwards, but doesn't dry it out or make it feel raw. Plus, I love the way it smells!  
Korres Greek Yoghurt Cleanser 
I got fussed by the lady at Sephora for not using an oil to take off my makeup and then a cleanser to cleanse my skin and 5 minutes later I was buying this. It's technically a foaming cleanser, which worried me because normally foaming cleansers strip my skin, but holy hell, this stuff is great. If the name "Greek yoghurt" already didn't get me, the packaging, smell, and actual product did. It's incredibly gentle and only foams enough to take off the leftover makeup or dirt on my face, but never leaves my skin feeling stripped, just very clean and refreshed. LOVE.

Old Navy Flannel
I've literally worn this 4 out of  7 days a week for the 2 weeks since I've had it. I love that I can layer it under sweaters or vests when it's colder, or pair it with jeans and booties when the lovely Louisiana weather hits the 80s in November. It's very light and airy, but still warm at the same time and very good for layering, so all around good purchase. My only comment would be that while I normally like longer, slimmer style shirts, this one is a bit boxier, but not too much to stop me from wearing it.
 If I Could Fly - One Direction 
My favorite off the new album for sure. However, I also love "Olivia", "I Want to Write You a Song",  and "History". I'm more of a lyrics person, so the slower ones just get me. Good job, 1D, I can dig it.
Handsome - The Vaccines
The lyrics crack me up and that sound is everything I love about British indie rock. 
Worse Things Than Love - Time Flies 
This is my current dancing in my car song. Just cheers me up every time. 
Wasn't Expecting That - Jamie Lawson 
SO SWEET. This is my current mushy gushy song and I just love the lyrics and the whole idea behind it. You just never know, ya know?
Open Season - High Highs 
Currently cuddled up in my bed writing this post, drinking hot chocolate, and listening to this while it pours rain outside, and it's the perfect song for it. So chill and relaxing and goes well with my Vance Joy/Jack Johnson playlists.

Will Darbyshire (YouTuber)
I AM OBSESSED WITH HIM. He is the cutest little thing and I love that his videos are a nice change from my usual make up tutorial type videos. The cinematography is just amazing and all of the videos make me wish I wan an indie traveler photographer. #goals They're nice to watch when I'm hanging out in my bed before class or just need a chill break for a bit...highly recommend you check him out.  
Boulangerie Candle in Oatmeal Cookie 
I got this candle at anthropologie in the first week of November and haven't stopped burning it since. I really love sweet scents all year round, but especially at Christmas time because it smells like cookies fresh out of the oven 24/7. It's not sickeningly sweet, so it can be burnt quite a bit without being overwhelming, but it does smell up your whole room, which I quite like when I spend a pretty penny, so 5 stars for this one. 
Tomato Basil Soup & Grilled Cheese 
I am a VERY picky eater and it takes a lot for me to try new things, but now that I've tried this combo I'm never going back. The cook in my sorority house makes this when it's a yucky cold weather outside and I finally tried it this fall and YUM. I don't actually eat the soup cause, tomatoes = gross, but I like to dip my warm, toasty grilled cheese in there and soak up all the tomato soupy goodness without having the chunks of tomatoes.
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Monday, November 30, 2015

My Christmas Wishlist

Xmas Wishlist 2015
I'm back! This semester has just beaten me over the head and blogging has fallen to the wayside - especially because I don't think you lot want to hear my bitter ramblings about the ridiculous GenEds that I have to take. Nevertheless, IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME! So without further ado, here are all most of the things I've been lusting after all year long. 
1. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow
The price tag on this one is what makes it something on my Christmas list instead of something I just pop out and pick up on my own, but OMG. I can't stop watching YouTube videos about it. I mean, that contour. I'm obsessed. It's just one of those products that is a bit ridiculous and I know I'm an advertiser's dream, BUT I HAVE TO HAVE IT. #chubbycheekprobs 
2. Tarte Tartelette 2 In Bloom Palette
I stalked both the original tartelette palette and the second one and I think I like the seocnd one better. The colors are gorgeous and it's a bit different than the Lorac Pro which I just got. BEAUTIFUL is all I have to say about that. 
3. Lorac Pro Palette 
Do you see the theme this Christmas? I want to upgrade my makeup collection and branch out from my normal Naked 3 eyeshadow looks, and this palette has a little bit of everything.  (Update: My dad just bought it for me and I can't stop swatching it *insert heart eye emojis here* )
4. J. Crew Tartan Slippers
These slippers are everything I love about life rolled into one. I also have eternally cold feet, which makes these practical...right?I just want to curl up in a big sweater, with a comfy blanket, these, and a hot chocolate and watch Christmas movies all day, is that too much to ask? I think not.(Plus, there are matching pajamas...*excited squeal*)
5. Instax Mini Polaroid Camera
This has been on my Christmas list for a million years, but I still love it. I just love the idea of having a photo the minute you take it, plus in this world of over edited, must-be-perfect photos it's nice to have one that is natural and captures the moment without needing to be brightened and saturated.Printing and hanging photos is my favorite way to decorate, so I think this would be fun to have to bring on trips and things and have photos ready to hang/scrapbook when I get back.
6. Burberry Brit 
This is my favorite perfume and I just ran out, so on the Christmas list it goes. I think it's a scent that can be worn all year 'round and lasts all day on me, so I really like it. Also, the packaging with the Burberry print is perfection. 

7. Monogrammed Signet Ring 
I held off on getting a monogrammed ring in high school because I could never find one I liked, but I have pretty much everything in my life monogrammed. Hell, I'd probably monogram my forehead if it was socially acceptable. So when I saw this one I immediately bookmarked it and sent it to my mom because it is everything I love about jewelry - simple, classic, and personalized with my initials. This is one of those things that if I don't get I might cry, just saying.

8. Nars Steven Klein Palette 
Another day, another makeup palette. This one's all about contour and blush, so obviously very different than the other ones I mentioned and again, BEAUTIFUL. 

9. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Love Liberty 
To round out my upgraded makeup collection I needed a stand out lipstick who's quality matched the price...insert Charlotte Tilbury. I love her matte revolution lipsticks and I've wanted Love Liberty for a while, so I figured why not? 

10. Barbour Beadnell Jacket
DREAM. Ridiculously priced, but totally worth it. I'm not-so-secretly trying to become a British citizen (jk) and I can't do that without a Barbour, so #necessity. Plus they are actually very warm, waxed to be waterproof, and go with everything besides formal gowns, so it's #practical too.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Vulnerability Part II

It's been forever since I've blogged, especially a more talky lifestyle kind of post like this one is going to be, but I'm so ready to be back at it. Recently, I've had a lot going on, both personally and school wise, and I just haven't really felt like I've had much to say. I got a baby bunny named HRH Prince Oliver, I took the LSAT, and I started my senior year of college, so it's been quite a busy few months.
What's really on my mind at the moment though is a whole other set of recent events. Pretty recently, I was involved in a situation where I had to be a lot more vulnerable than I'm used to. Those of you who've read my posts before will laugh at that, because it's an understatement to say that vulnerability is not my strong suit. Give me anything formatted like a competition and I'm all about it, but talking about my feelings? No thanks. 
Anyway, it really pushed me. I had to come out of my "I have no feelings" comfort zone and I learned a lot of things about how I deal with emotional issues and why I sometimes resort to attacking as a defense mechanism. But honestly, even after all that, the whole situation failed. Tanked. And in a lot of ways I made a lot of mistakes and wish I had done things differently. And if I'm honest, I'm in that phase after you're vulnerable and something doesn't work out where you feel really stupid, and naive, and you do that thing where you keep letting the same people kick you when you're down but you still make excuses for them because you just want to be right about who you thought they were. But in the end I felt like I was in one of those dreams where you feel so exhausted, like you've been running for ever and you've gotten no where, and I would sit and cry to my best friend about how I felt like I was trying to hold sand in my hands and it just kept slipping away, and at that point, you just gotta let go. 
I get so tangled up in this mindset of "I have to make everything work" and "failure is the absolute worst thing that could ever happen," but, excuse my french, but that's bullshit. Letting people in and things not working out isn't failing. That's what you're supposed to do in life. And sometimes things just don't work. I know that's a revelation to you if you're like me, but because I need to hear it too, I just thought I'd throw it in there. Not everything works out. Sometimes people suck. IT'S REALLY ALRIGHT and not in any way shape or form the worst thing that can happen.
So, my point is, I've learned some really important things in the past few weeks/days, like the fact that sometimes you care about people and they just don't care back, and that's okay. And you don't have to explain why you feel a certain way or feel the need to rationalize it. You feel however you feel and that's perfectly okay. You are allowed to. And yes, being vulnerable and not having things work out like you planned sucks, and it's embarrassing, and you feel stupid because you should've known better. But it's alright. Because that feeling only lasts for a little bit, and then it's over. And you don't have to have all of those "what if" feelings because at least you know you did what you thought was right, and if it didn't work out, it's not on you. And really if that's the worst feeling you ever feel in your life you are pretty GD lucky.
I think it's always scary to take a step without knowing how it'll turn out. And I think everyone is afraid of putting themselves and how they feel out there for the whole world to see (especially when you then blog about it afterward), but I think it really is worth it.
I saw this quote the other day and I knew I wanted to include it in this blog post because it's exactly how I feel. It's so hard to love people. It's so much easier to be defensive, and cold, and never really let people in, but that never gets you anywhere. It makes you bitter, and cynical, and nothing ever comes from that. But taking chances on people, even when it goes absolutely terribly, is the only thing that ever amounts to something. 
So, I say, even when you're scared, even when it's uncomfortable, take a chance on people, and be proud of yourself whether it works out like you planned or not. Because the worst that can happen is you'll be sad blogging about it from your bed on a Thursday night and hopefully over it by Sunday.  
I've included BrenĂ© Brown's Ted Talk on vulnerability too, because she says so much better what I'm trying to get at. It's complicated, and it's messy, and sometimes things don't go the way you planned and it sucks, but it's really REALLY important. And I think all the good things in life come from it. So watch, and learn. 
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 Apps I'm Loving

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I got an iPhone 6 in July, thank heavens, and because I had absolutely no space left, I got the 64 gig. I know that's a bit much, but because they don't sell the 16 gig anymore it was my only option. I really hope I never fill it up enough to need anymore space than that (#hoarder), but for now I'm enjoying having so much extra room for a few not-totally-necessary-but-I-want-them-anyway apps. Here are the 5 I'm currently loving. 
She Reads Truth
 It's really important to me to keep growing in my faith even on my busiest days, and this app makes that very easy. Well, as easy as it can be I guess. I heard about this in my bible study and originally just got their emails every morning. It was nice to start each day with a lesson/devotional, because then no matter what, I'm starting my day off in a good state of mind. Once I realized they had an app, I found so many more features. The app has devotionals, the entire bible, lessons you can download to get one every day for two weeks, a month, or a year, and inspirational bible verse backgrounds/screensavers. I really love how easy they've made it to look up a verse, read the bible, or just follow along with a lesson plan whenever you want to/can. Everyone's schedules are busy, but SRT makes it easy to put your faith at the top of your priorities. 

Swork It
  I do not like to sweat. I do not like to work out. But I do like to actually fit in the clothes I spend $$ on, so I've gotta do some sort of exercising. I really like swork it because you can basically control everything about the work out and you can do it from the comfort of your home. You choose and area you want to work on, whether you want something a bit tougher or more relaxing, and how long you want the work out to be. I'm a fan of the 10 minute strength workouts but also the yoga ones. It makes working out extremely easy because they show you what moves to do, time you, and talk to you the whole time so you don't have to stare at your phone the whole time. I. Am. In. Love. 

Time Table
 I am OCD about scheduling. I really have no problem saying that. I love inputting exams and events into my planner, syllabus week is my favorite time of year, and nothing is more exciting to me than a color coded calendar.That's where time table comes in. It's basically just a color coded scheduler, but I like that I can see day view and then week view and each different task has it's own color. It's not revolutionizing my life, but it's really nice to input everything on Sunday and then have that with me 24/7 instead of my huge planner. 

Well Spent
I do not manage money very well. I've said it before, but because I'm saving for Europe next summer, I really am trying to do better about saving my money. This app makes it so easy to set a budget for different areas of your life like groceries, gas, fun, etc. and then keep track of each purchase in that area as your budget gets smaller and smaller. I like seeing which areas I spent more on and then adjusting my budgets each month. Seeing so visually how much I'm actually spending on eating out or going out makes me realize how much more careful I need to be, and it's great. 
  Here's your warning - this game is addictive. I make myself feel better about how much I play it by saying it's a brain game, which I really think it is, but honestly it's just calming. It's not timed and the only record you have to beat is your own, so it's more relaxing than other games, but it does make you think because you have to make the blocks fit together to get rid of rows, so there is a bit of a challenge to it. It's super easy once you get the hang of it, and it's really nice for times when you're waiting for class to start or you're awkwardly waiting for the bus in the morning. 
What apps are you loving right now?
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Decorating My College Apartment

I'm having a bit of a moment with Pottery Barn teen right now. I just moved into a new, much larger apartment, and instead of unpacking the things I already have, I'm lusting over all the beautiful things I want from PB teen. Even though most of their stock is incredibly expensive, I just love looking through all of their photos and getting design ideas, so I figured I'd share a few of my favorites for those of you moving into new apartments too!
*insert heart eyed emojis here* 
Can we just talk about how precious this sofa is?! I love navy as a neutral and an alternative to black, because black is just too harsh for me, and those polka dots make it so cute! I feel like it's fun, but still classic and simple.

 I'm obsessed with white. I know, how boring and vanilla, but I really am. In my room at home my furniture is white, my sheets are white, and my comforter is white. Even a good majority of my wall is painted white. I just love how simple and clean it looks and how easily it goes with anything extra you bring in to the room. This mirror is my definition of perfect, because A. It's white and B. I love putting quotes and pictures around my mirror already, and it's so nice to put candles or other things in some of the cubby holes too. #swoon
These pillows are precious. I've wanted the monogrammed comforter from PB forever, but I think these will have to hold me over until I actually have a real degree making real money at a real job. I love that their main color is white, making them look very bright and fresh, but then they're very colorful as well, without looking too childish. I'd monogram my forehead if it was socially acceptable, so these were love at first sight.
 When I saw this vanity, I'm pretty sure I had a mild stroke. It's white. It's perfectly built for an OCD organization junkie. And it looks like something a princess would have in her room to get ready in front of. I really can't say anything else about it except that I'm going to beg my parents for it from now until Christmas.
Since I won't be making any big purchases any time soon, I'll just have to settle for a few accent pillows and a gallery wall, but I'll keep y'all updated on the progress once I'm moved. Have a good week!
For those of you moving into dorms, check out my most popular dorm posts below! 
5 Tips for moving into a dorm | How to: Pack for College | My Dorm Room
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beach Bag Necessities

Hello lovelies! I'm alive, I swear! I know I haven't blogged in ages, and for that reason I'll have some sort of life update up later in the week, but today I just want to blog about beachy things, since I am, in fact on a beach vacation at the moment! Here are all the things I must have with me on a beach trip, with a few brand recommendations based on what I've used and can highly recommend.
Beach Bag Necessities

Beach Bag//
I know it's an extreme cult classic and very cliche to say, but my favorite beach bag is the LL Bean Boat and Tote.  It's got room for everything, has little pockets for the smaller things that can't get lost/smashed in the bottom, and can be personalized o it doesn't get mixed up with anyone else's! However, any canvas or plastic bag that can be easily cleaned to get rid of the sand will do!

Beach Towel//
 I think the flag towel in the graphic above is adorable, but obviously beach towels are sold everywhere and any one will do. I love the Vera Bradley ones if you want something cutesy, but Southern Proper, Lauren James, and Marley Lilly also have cute ones as well! 

 I am obsessed with sunglasses. When I was younger I never wore them, mostly because I couldn't find any to suit my chubby cheeks, but now that I've gotten older, I've grown to love them. I've got lighter eyes which are even more sensitive to the sun than my pale skin and so they've become a necessity, especially on the beach. The ones above are Ray Bans (#swoon). but again, you can find sunglasses anywhere. I recommend polarized ones so that they dim the glare a bit, but as long as you're protecting your eyes, you're good to go! Target has a great, affordable selection, as does Forever 21, if you're looking to pick up a new pair!

Can we just admire that seersucker Southern Proper hat for a minute?! I love wearing baseball caps in general, but especially in the sunny, windy, generally not good for my hair beach climate. My favorite is an old, well worn in cap that was given to me years ago, but no matter where it's from, as long as it protects your face from those evil sun rays, its a good'un. 

Water Bottle//
This has become a "Sarah's favorite brands" post, but I bring my Camelbak with me absolutely everywhere. I've decorated it with tons of stickers that actually made me look sporty and outdoorsy, but it still serves it's purpose to keep me hydrated all day when I'm sweating it out in the sun, so I love it. The straw makes it easy to drink from any angle, which is good cause I'm lazy, and all around it just makes me want to drink more water instead of constant Coca Cola. 

GUYS. I cannot preach this enough. I know everyone wants to be a tan goddess (count me in), but skin cancer down the road isn't worth it. I love Sun Bum brand (smells d-lish-ous), but as long as you've got 30 SPF or above, you're good to go. I use face lotion, body spray, chapstick, and after sun, and I'll never go back to my "red as a lobster" days.

Portable Speaker//
I'm all for reading a book on the beach, but after a while, I just want to chill out/nap for a bit. I love having a good beach playlist ready and just jamming out. Portable speakers, especially waterproof ones, are great all year around, but especially when you're lounging outside. 

Pretty much the same as portable speakers, except no one can listen to your playlists but you. This saves the awkward looks from strangers about your weird music taste or the looks from your mom about your potty mouth rap playlist. Either way, you've got music to occupy you all day. 

Is there anything more classic than tearing through a good book at the beach? I think not. My current favorites are Daring Greatly by BrenĂ© Brown, Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (I'm SO OBSESSED), and Animal Farm by George Orwell. They're all very different, clearly, but all good, easy reads to get lost in while at the beach. 

This one's my favorite cause I'm constantly hangry. I like to pack a few crackers, grapes or strawberries, and water to bring with me. When you're hot and sweaty, the last thing you want is a sugary snack that'll only make you more tired/hungry, so cold fruit and ice cold water are the best things. Don't get me wrong, my body runs on Coke, but even I have to rehydrate every once in a while.

And that's it! Obviously I carry other things like flip flops and a cover up and things like that, but I figured I'd cover the basics and leave the extras to you. Hope you're all enjoying the summer, and I promise I'll be back very soon!
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Favorite Blog Posts

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I've gotten scarily off track with this 'blog everyday in May' thing. I think I've hit about 4? But we'll disregard that and pick up where we left off. Today's prompt is "Link up your favorite posts you've written", so I'm going to sort of summarize them and link them below. Because it's been almost 2 years since I started Sarah Smile, I've amassed quite the little collection of posts, on everything from 50 Shades of Grey to What to Pack for College, but I've narrowed it down quite well I think. My favorites are the posts I was scared to publish but felt very proud of. Posts where I stood up for something I believe in, even when it was awkward or not so mainstream, so without further adieu, here's a little catch-up!
Relationships and Faith | 4/23/15
 This was my second post on relationships in about a week's time, so I actually ended up deleting the first post, because I liked this one better. I was trying to figure out how I felt about a lot of things, and writing about it helped a lot, but I think, especially for twenty somethings, relationships are going to constantly be a struggle, and I'm glad I have this post to look back on to set me straight. 
My Thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey | 2/13/15
This post was really only the second time I talked about my faith and how it effects my daily life on Sarah Smile. It wasn't the most popular opinion at the time, but I still feel the same about it, and I'm glad that I felt brave enough to say it.

My Truth About What It's Like When Someone You Love Dies |11/3/14
This was was rough. I was sitting in my room in England feeling pissed off, guilty for feeling that way, and annoyed that I felt guilty, and also ugly crying because of all the feels. I'm making light of it because I'm awkward about feelings, but it really is one of my most vulnerable posts. I talk about my sisters a lot, but I'm never truly honest about that time in my life or how long it's taken me to readjust, especially with my family, so this was a hard one to publish, but it needed to be done, and it actually encouraged some good talks, so all's well that ends well I guess.

Stop Calling Hillary Clinton a Bitch | 7/31/14  
Sexism is not something I take lightly. Like, I will joke about pretty much anything else, but sexism pushes me over the edge and I can rant and rave about it until I'm blue in the face. I started with one thing to say about sexism in the 2008 campaign and I ended up angrily watching Carl's Jr commercials. CAUSE REALLY THEY HAVE NO POINT.
Lessons The Fault in Our Stars Taught Me | 5/21/14
I read the book and watched the movie like everyone else, but I felt like I got a little something different from them because of my unique experiences. Basically, this post is about those.
The Struggle is Real | 5/7/14
That time I talked about my feelings and felt hella awkward about it. 
Letter to My 16 Year Old Self  | 2/19/14
 High school is rough. It was not my favorite time in my life so far. Here are some of the things I wish I would've known.
Sex, Religion, and Politics |12/19/13
Posting this one was a bit of an accident. I got really wound up about something I don't even remember now and just 'angry typed' for about an hour. I then posted it without really thinking about it and I'm actually glad I did. I don't talk about sex, like ever, with people outside of my friend group, but I think it was important for me to not only talk through what I believed and why, but share it with everyone else. Not many people are open about their views, especially when it relates to their faith, and I don't want to be like that. I want to be a good example for my sister, and my friends, and her friends, and all of you who read this space, and that means being an honest, open book.
That Weird Thing Called Grief |11/19/13
I wrote this after my grandfather died and it's really the first time I ever talked about my struggles with grief, and feelings, and my sister on Sarah Smile. 
White Jeans and Jesus | 4/28/16
  Y'all, I love this post. It makes me so happy because i get to talk about two of my favorite things: my faith and Myles. If you need a pick me up or just need some lovin', this one's for you. 

That's it for my favorites! It was SO fun getting to look back and read over some pretty old posts, and I hope you enjoyed them the second time around!
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Lessons The Fault in Our Stars Taught Me #TFIOS

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Oh, TFIOS. I finally caved (and actually had time to read) and I was not disappointed. For me, TFIOS did not reveal some existential life truth or totally change my views on life, love, death, etc., but it did teach me a lesson or two and I was really impressed with John Green's truthful, realistic yet not cynical, way of writing. 
In my life, I have witnessed a sort of tragic love story very similar to Gus and Hazel's relationship. And no, living it and being on the sideline are not the same thing, but watching people you love love someone who is sick, loving someone who is sick, and then all together with the people that you love having to watch them die is a terrible, awful thing. I could understand Hazel's view of not wanting to hurt those around her and wanting to minimize the damage but I could also "to my core" understand Gus, knowing it was worth anything to be able to experience all the goodness. 
I was worried to read it because I hate books that are overly cynical about death and dying and especially patients with terminal illnesses because I absolutely do not believe that they are always depressed and angry and hopeless. I know that they're not and I hate when they're painted that way, however, I also hate when they're painted as warriors who are so much stronger and more courageous than the average human being, because they're not. They are normal people who are dealing with it the only way they know how (albeit very bravely most times), and painting them in either light puts too much pressure on them to be a certain way when they have so much else to worry about. I would agree that dealing with death in any way, shape, or form is horrible, but there are lessons to be learned from it. There is something strangely beautiful about the way people change when they know their days are numbered, more so than yours or mine, I guess. 
I loved the idea of infinities being different sizes for different people and situations. In my life, my sister Mal met a guy named Aaron less than a year before she died and even though they didn't even get a full year together, that time changed both of them so much. For him, he'll be different for the rest of his life, and if that's not an infinity, an infinite experience, than I don't know what is. For me, I got 17 years with her and her creative, confident, strong, and hopeful presence and that changed me forever, and isn't that infinite? So the idea really clicked for me, and I think it's a much more hopeful, positive way of looking at sucky situations. 
I also loved the way that Gus stuck with Hazel, and Hazel with Gus, in the face of such scary, hard to deal with things. To me, that is so admirable in a person, the commitment no matter what, and I think that that has fallen away some in modern times. I will never forget Aaron telling Mal how proud he was of her in the last few moments and that moment, that gesture, is something I will always equate as the measure of really loving someone, sticking by them even when it doesn't necessarily benefit you or when it gets hard, staying even when you could walk away, and I really respected that in both their characters. 
Lastly, Hazel's view on everyone being obsessed with leaving their mark on the world, even if that mark is a scar, was really amazing to me. So often we do become fixated on making our lives mean something, anything, that all too often we forget to make sure that our mark is a good, albeit smaller one, rather than a large, ugly scar. That is a lesson I learned from Mal without even knowing I was learning it. She affected so many peoples' lives and taught people so many important things about life, and love, and being courageous in the face of adversity, and she did it so humbly and without fanfare, and I really respect that and am proud of that. There will be no monuments in their honor or biographies about her life and death, but the people who knew her were changed and made better by the sheer act of knowing her, and the people who witnessed her and Aaron got to see something really special, got to see what really loving someone looks like and how much it can change a person, and I think that is quite enough. More than most can hope for but something everyone should strive for, I should think. 

So thank you, John Green, for making things clear that I already knew and writing something so complicated and tricky so, so wonderfully. 

Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? What'd you think?
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

10 Things That Make Me Happy | Every Day in May

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Remember that time I said I'd blog every day in May and then completely neglected it for 2 weeks? Yeah, me neither. Today's prompt is : Ten things that make you really happy. So let's get on with it! In no particular order...

1// Music. 
My current happy song is "Sunday Kind of Love" by Etta James. I love lazy Sundays and love the idea of finding a love that makes you feel like Sunday all the time.
2// Sugar. 
Especially Coke, but also fruit loops, Reisens, cookies, cookie dough, cupcakes, etc. I just love sugar.
3// Traveling. 
I absolutely love everything about traveling. I love feeling like it's okay to get lost. I love the excitement of being somewhere new when everything becomes an adventure. There is just so much to see and do in the world and I want to do it all!
4// Crushes. 
I love crushes. I think they're fun and silly and even though my mom thinks they are a waste of time, I think it's fun being fascinated by someone (while it lasts). I love that feeling when you first meet someone and you just think that everything they do is the coolest you've ever seen and they just look adorable no matter what. I think if people remembered that feeling we'd have a lot less divorces.
5// Politics. 
The strategy. The manipulation. The competition. I love it all.
6// Open windows in the middle of summer. 
There is just something about natural light lighting everything up and hearing all the birds and animals all the time that I love.
7// The beach. 
I love the salty air and breeze that always is blowing off the water. My favorite place is Amelia Island, where we go every year, and I love the freedom of having no schedule and just doing whatever we feel like when we wake up! I wish I could wake up and ride my bike to Main Street for ice cream every day of the year.
It sounds silly, but it really is one of my favorite things. I try to surround myself with people that make me laugh, because I just love that feeling when your cheeks and stomach are sore from laughing and smiling so much. I tend to giggle about everything, but I really love when something just makes you belly laugh and you just can't stop. That's my favorite.
It really is the best meal of the day. You get sweet breakfasty foods mixed with salty lunch foods and you can still sleep late and enjoy it. What more could you want?
10// Family days. 
My absolute favorite times are when I have lunch at my grandmother's after church, with all my mom's side of the family, and then go to my dad's for dinner with all my step siblings. We have so much fun just catching up and I feel like I just laugh and laugh, especially at my dad's, and I always want to have that. I love big family get togethers and I hope that my sister and I will keep having them once we're older.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Things That Make Me Uncomfortable

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Day 3: Things that make me uncomfortable...
1. Toes
Specifically boys' toes. I don't know why, they just weird me out. 
2. Feelings
Especially when people are crying hysterically or can't get themselves together, I get really uncomfortable. I'm just so not that way, I don't cry at sad movies, and even when I feel upset I don't react that strongly, so I never know how to handle that. 
3. Smushy foods
It's a texture thing. It just freaks me out and I can't eat anything that looks smushy, like most vegetables, oatmeal, and sometimes noodles.
4. People talking about money 
I think this one is pretty universal, but I just hate it.  Money is a personal thing and I've just never understood why people feel the need to talk about it, because 1. it's not going to impress me, and 2. on the list of things that matter in life, money is pretty low. 
5. Failure
I am not the best at empathizing with people. I hate when I fail at something, especially publicly, so I have no clue how to handle when someone else I care about fails. I feel embarrassed and just get all weird about it, when I probably should just be quiet and supportive. 
And that's it! There are probably more I can't think of, but those are the most prevalent. Have a good Sunday!
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Saturday, May 2, 2015


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So Day 2's prompt is "Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at." I'm going tot take this day as a time to tell you that KATE MIDDLETON HAD A GIRL THIS MORNING! 
I clearly know a lot about the British royal fam and so it obviously fits. The bells at Westminster Abbey will play a special song on Monday at 2 pm, the Tower Bridge will be pink when it lights up tonight, and all mail sent today will have a special commemorative postmark! Ahh, to be in London right now!! I'll be spending my day stalking twitter and watching the "Royal Baby is born" feed on snap chat. Lol @studying. 
Have an awesome day!
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Life Story

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 Today marks the beginning of May, but also the beginning of my newest blog challenge. I've kind of neglected this space lately, both because I'm terribly busy with finals and life, but also because I've been feeling uninspired, and I really don't think Sarah Smile can handle another relationship post. 
This challenge consists of a prompt every day in May, thanks to Story of My Life, and so each day I'll be sharing little snippets about what that prompt means to me - sometimes serious, sometimes funny. Here goes!
Day 1: The story of your life in 250 words or less...
The story of my life is fairly simple. My name is Sarah Ashtyn Simmons, I am 20 years old, and I go to LSU studying poli sci - and loving it! I grew up in a small southern town running around barefoot and playing with all the many animals my sister's and I grew up with! I have two sisters, Mallory, who would be 27 this year, and Hannah, who is 18! Most of you who have been reading for a while know that illness is a big part of my life story, because my older sister had Cystic Fibrosis for her whole life and passed away a year and a half after a double lung transplant, two weeks before I left for LSU, and my little sister Hannah was going through leukemia treatment at St. Jude's at the same time. However, my life is also filled with many wonderful things, like finding what I'm passionate about (politics) at a very young age, being privileged enough to go to a school I love, having wonderful precious friends both in my sorority and out, and most of all, an amazing family who supports me through everything I do! I spend most of my days drinking TONS of coke, laughing about everything, pretending to study when I'm really blogging, and just trying to soak it all up. I'm obsessed with everything British - from boys to food to the Royal Family - and I'm constantly trying to grow in my faith and become a good leader, sister, friend, and daughter.
So that's Day 1 sorted! I'm sure I'll touch on lots of those things later in the month, but there's a condensed version of me for your reading pleasure. Have a great day and see y'all tomorrow!
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Relationships and Faith

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Okay, I know that I have been silent here for the past week, and I know that my last post was quite similar to this one, but this topic has been on my heart for a while now, and I just really wanted to discuss it some more. 
My faith is a very big part of my life. In fact, I'd say my relationship with God colors everything about the way I am, who I am, and how I do everything I do - especially who I do it with. I want that to be present here too, because I love writing tips for graduating seniors or world travelers or just clothing posts, or whatever, but I also want Sarah Smile to be more than that...I want you to know me better than that, and because this has been coming up a lot lately, and we had a really good discussion about it at my Bible Study last night, I wanted to talk through it again, but this time, in reference to my faith. 
When I was younger, I was really thrown off when people would say "my relationship with God." I didn't understand how you could have a relationship with someone you couldn't talk to and it all seemed very cheesy.  Now that I am older and I spend a lot of time growing my faith and learning about God to build that relationship, I understand more what they mean, and what that means for my life. 
In high school, I had no clue what it meant to have a Godly relationship. Not with myself, not with my family, not with friends, and certainly not with guys. I didn't really know there was such a thing outside of the obvious 'no sex before marriage' rule. For the past few weeks in Bible Study though, we've been learning about each of those, and last night was all about romantic relationships. 
We talked first about God's love for us and how we should both acknowledge that and mold our relationships off of that. It was so nice to hear those things and really listen, because I feel like so many times I hear those verses and those words, but I don't really soak it in and feel the love in them, I glaze over it and continue with my day, but I think the real first step in any relationship, platonic or romantic, is first loving yourself that way.  I know it sounds cheesy, but you really do have to love yourself and who you are and be in a healthy relationship with yourself before you can be with anyone else, because self-deprecation and self-loathing will always seep into your relationships with others. 
We also then talked about what Godly qualities were needed in a relationship, like honesty and courage and patience and trust. And those are heavy things. It was interesting to see the guys talk about their struggles and insecurities the same way girls did and hear their side a little more, because really we all feel the same way inside and we all want those quality relationships that make us feel like we're amazing and wonderful and loved, it's not just a girl thing.
But I'd say the main point that we hit was each person's role in the relationship. We talked a lot about how it is and it should be the man's place (and I do say man because if you're going to be in a relationship you need to be a man about it) to step up and make the first move. I know not everyone will agree, but I really think God meant for it to be that way, and I think men were wired to lead the relationship, whereas women are wired to respond. And I think they should, in an honest, graceful way. 
It's a concept I very much struggle with because when I like someone, I just want to shout it at them and control everything myself, and it sucks being able to do nothing but wait and see what they'll do, but as much as it sucks, I think it really is for the best. Girls, don't you want someone who thinks you're worth pursuing, no matter what? Don't you want the man that risks being embarrassed or having his ego bruised to step up and ask you out on a date and tell you, with both his words and actions, that he likes you? And guys, don't you want that girl who will respond kindly and gracefully whether she feels the same or not, and praises you for stepping up either way? I really think that those people are out there for all of us, and they're so worth waiting for.
I think God made us to be different. And I think that makes it hard, whether you think of it in a 'turn the other cheek' sense, or a 'wait until marriage' sense, or any other sense that God calls us to, but I trust that he knows what's best, and as hard as it is to have faith that when it's meant to work out, it will, I think the plan he has for me, and each and every one of you, is greater than we could ever imagine. 
Best advice we got all night? 
Girls - Don't assume he likes you until he verbally says it. Don't assume because he likes your instagram, or he texts you good morning - show him you are worth more and you deserve more, and then when he does step up, be that girl he deserves. 
Guys - be honest and courageous. I cannot stress enough how much in this crazy world of mixed messages and hurt how much girls just want to know what you're thinking so they can quit worrying over it. Also, know that the girl you want will react so kindly and thankfully to that, and if she doesn't, that's a really good indication that she isn't what you want at all. Lead with your words and actions, and 9 times out of 10, it will go very swimmingly for you. 
So often I try to rush things, or force situations that I want instead of trusting God's plan, but it honestly never works out. I don't want to trust because I just want what I want and I think I know who is best for me and I'm so afraid to let things go because it's hard and frustrating to let go of what you think looks and seems so great for something that you don't even know is coming. However, I cannot count the times in my life God has shown me that there was something better just right around the corner, once I let go of the old stuff. And so, even while I wish I could be shouting at the boy that I currently like all the things I feel, I won't. Because he knows where to find me if he should so choose, and until then, I'm just going to go on trusting and knowing that good things are coming, with or without him. 
I don't want this to be a 'dating advice' post, I just want it to be thought provoking and encouraging I guess. I think, especially for those of us in college, we meet tons of people all the time, some we like and some we don't, and it is hard to have Godly relationships with both of those people, but I really think we're called to strive for that, and sometimes it helps to talk through what that looks like, so that's what I'm trying to do. Be the person you'd want to be in a relationship with, and strive to love people the way God loves you...end of story.
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