Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Week Outfits

Last Friday, I celebrated my first full week at my new job.  (If you've been reading for a while, you might remember hearing about my postdoc search success, but if not, you can read about it here.)  I've been excited and anxious to start this new chapter, particularly because there is a new level of independence and distinction that comes with my new initials.  And so far, the job is not disappointing.  A great university, some great coworkers, and most importantly, some really incredible students.  I can't wait to see what the next year holds, as well as the special way my life will be touched by the work that I do.

But enough of the sentimental...on to my outfits :)  Normally, when I start a new job, I have a bit of a "warming up" period in terms of my wardrobe.  I start fairly classic and simple, then slowly start sneaking pits of leopard, bling, and fuchsia into the picture, until I'm in full blown Allison mode.  But this year, I decided to be different.  I decided to be me, right from the get go.  Bright colored blazers, girly skirts, pops of leopard, and layered arm candy.  Instead of being seen as smart then sassy, I decided to show people that you can be smart and sassy.

IMG 0896Blazer: thrifted
Black and white shell: Banana Republic
Ankle pants: LOFT
Necklace: Ann Taylor
Earrings: birthday gift from my parents
Ring: David Yurman 

IMG 0898(from left to right): thrifted bracelet, bracelet from JOE Naperville, Nordstrom watch (in gold; available here)

A quick bit about this watch...I have been thinking about investing in a watch for a while now, but because I'm pretty glued to my phone, I rarely need a watch.  However, I decided to detach from my phone a bit and go old school with my time telling, (though I was only interested in a watch if it was oversized, gold, and easy to layer with other jewelry).  So when I stumbled upon this beauty in the Nordstrom junior's department, I was sold.  Big, gold, and easy to stack with other bracelets.  And the cherry on top?  It was only $18!  

IMG 0899Blouse: thrifted
Pleated chiffon skirt: Nordstrom
Necklace: Ann Taylor

IMG 0902Patterned skirt: thrifted
Sweater: Banana Republic
Belt: Ann Taylor
Necklace: thrifted
Watch: Nordstrom
Ring: David Yurman 

IMG 0907Leopard button-up: Ann Taylor
Pants: Gap (on sale here)
Earrings: gifted from my mom (last seen here)
Bracelet stack: same as day 1

You may notice that I'm one day short on these outfits, and that is because I could not find my keys on day 3, which resulted in me running crazy late and sprinting to catch my bus.  I literally wore the exact same thing as the last outift in this post.  Which yes, that means I was literally sprinting a quarter of a mile in a green pencil skirt, a blazer, and a noisy-while-running vintage brooch.  Oh how I wish you all could have seen me.  No doubt, it would have given you a good laugh :)

So those are my first week outfits!  I tried hard to be authentic with my personality and my style, and overall, I'm pretty pleased.  What do you think?  Do yall ever struggle to balance your style in a new environment?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Before graduation, my brother and I took a mini-roadtrip from Chicago to Texas.  The trip was a combination of a desperate attempt to sneak in a vacation before I started my new job and the necesssity to get to Texas for graduation.  Given that I had time off and my brother was in town for Lollapalooza, the Windy City to Texas roadtrip was a no brainer.  Plus it allowed for some awesome brother/sister bonding time, which is always a treat. Our first stop on the trip...Memphis!

8060911After an early morning wake up call and nine hours in the car, we finally arrived in Memphis!  Downtown Memphis was fairly deserted (eerily so, actually), so we spent some time wandering around, snapping a few photos and getting acquainted with the city.


8060913Love this little guy.  At this point, I'm pretty sure he was talking to my dad, updating him of our status, plans, and safety.  Thankfully, no matter how old we get, our parents still check up on us :)


8060916Shorts: Gap (on sale in yellow here)
Chambray shirt: thrifted
Sandals: Target
Earrings: birthday gift from my parents
Sunnies: Gucci


8060921We made it to The Peabody in time to see the famous Peabody Ducks.  A little overrated but fun to experience a Memphis icon.  And you know what they say, "When in Rome..."

P8060929Drinks at Local.  I went with the Memphis Mule, definitely a good choice.

P8060956Silky O'Sullivan's on Beale Street.  I'm not one for crazy bars and crowds, so it was perfect to experience Beale street on a Monday.  Laid back and cool, minus the crazy.  I should also note that it was outside on Silky's patio where I realized Memphis is home to the most insane mosquitoes.  I left Memphis with some battle bites to prove it!

8060944The best part of our Memphis trip was without a doubt getting to spend time with my friend, Whitney.  Whitney and I met in college and bonded over our nerdy campus involvement and insta-obsession with OU.  She is seriously one of the sassiest, wittiest, and most fabulous people I know.  She was the perfect Memphis host, and Ryan and I both had a blast spending time with her.  We literally could have chatted and laughed all night!

8060938Monday night Beale Steet.

Ryan and I had a blast in Memphis, and it was the perfect start to our roadtrip.  Another huge thanks to Whitney for being such a fabulous host, showing us the sweet spots of Memphis and letting us stay at her oh-so-chic downtown loft.  Next stop on the roadtrip...New Orleans!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Hey, hello, happy Monday!  Today I am excited to be guest posting on one of my favorite blogs, Brunch in April.  Head over, say hello, and wish Alivia a happy moving week!

Screen shot 2012 08 19 at 8 50 35 PM

PS: If you're visiting from Brunch in April, welcome!  So glad you stopped by; feel free to sit and stay a while :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guess Who Chopped Off All Her Hair?

Comfort{via Pinterest}

A little over a month ago, I was sitting at my desk, pondering all the big changes going on in my life.  A new degree, a new job, finally moving back to Chicago full-time...a lot is changing around these parts (and thankfully it's all fun, happy change!)  So I decided to run with the theme, changing up my look.  What started as a slow itch soon became a mini-obsession, and I decided to chop off my hair.  Crazy, right?  I'm working on a full blown hair post, but until then, you can head over to my Facebook page to see sneak peek of my new hair!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Graduation day has come and gone, and I have to be honest, it was every bit as awesome as I dreamed.  Since I started my Ph.D program six years ago, graduation day has been a warm and welcome thought, a day much anticpated.  But for the past three years, as graduate school got signiciantly harder, graduation day has been the thing getting me through the tough moments.  When things got rough, I thought of graduation.  When I doubted whether I could get through this degree, I closed my eyes tight and imagined graduation.  During the emotional and self-doubting moments, I imagined myself surrounded by friends and family, walking across the stage, breathing a huge sigh of relief.  So to have the moment I've dreamed about for so long become a reality...well, it was amazing.

If you follow me on Facebook, you've already seen a sneak peak of the big day, but if not, here are more pictures than you could probably ever want to see :)

8101092Fancy gown, check.  Much coveted hood, check.  Piece of paper proving I really did it, check!

8101046It's pretty impossible to locate me in this picture, but I'm in the second row, near the top.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep it together on graduation day; I was certain I'd be a big bawling mess.  So when we walked out into the arena, with Pomp and Circumstance playing, I let myself get swept up in the moment, waving wildly to my family and friends, and of course, shedding a few tears.  It was that magical moment I've been dreaming of for so long!

DSCN4519Matt snapped this picture from crazy far away, so its a bit hard to see, but this is me being hooded by my chair, Dr. Castillo.  I have been so blessed to have such an amazing advisor.  She embraces "girlpower" in every sense of the word, empowering her students to go out there and kick some major ass!

8101057Blurry but oh so thrilled.  In my best Elle Woods voice, "I did it!"

8101061I finally earned those three little initials I've been working so hard for!

8101074Hooray...I'm DONE!

8101081The only thing better than achieving a life long dream is having your family there to celebrate the moment with you.  I'm so grateful for my incredible support system; I never could have done this alone.

8101080My amazing aunt and uncle flew in from Atlanta for the weekend.  They're crazy fun and always up for a celebration!

IMG 2223My little brother, a constant source of encouragement and inspiration.

IMG 2203Four of my favorite Ph.Ds!  I would not have survived graduate school without these people.  (PS: You can see pictures from Matt and Miguel's graduation last year here.)

8101091Despite crazy busy calendars, my brother and sister drove down from Dallas to watch me cross the stage.  They had to head right back after the ceremony, but it meant so much to share this special day with them.

8101075My best friend Steven and his boyfriend, Jesse, also drove in for the big day.  Steven and I have been friends since high school, and he never fails to recognize the little things in life.  He has definitely been one of my biggest cheerleaders throughout this crazy journey!

8101078Matt's parents also flew in from Arizona to celebrate, reminding me how lucky I am to have such thoughtful in-laws.

8101095My dear friend, Norma, one of the best sounding boards and voices of reason I know.  But not too reasonable that she can't grab a glass of wine and complain about ridiculous graduate school woes :)

8101084My lifetime cheerleaders.  Without these three people, I would never have survived or even dreamed this journey.  They are unfailingly supportive, and I am beyond blessed to have such an amazing family.

8101073My man, my rock.  It is crazy to think that when we started graduate school six years ago, we didn't know each other, and now, as I finish graduate school, I can't imagine my life without him.  He is without a doubt, my greatest graduate school discovery :)

8101086I dont' think words can ever express how much these people mean to me.  I think I said it best in my dissertation dedication, which you can read here.  They are the reason I got this far!

IMG 0847And for a little Instagram action, a quick snap right before the ceremony!

So there you have it, more graduation pictures than you could ever care to see!  After graduation, we headed back to Houston where my parents threw me a rockin' graduation party.  (Read: personalized napkins/cups/plates, yard signs, a full Tex-Mex spread, and a margarita machine!)  One of my parents' neighbors asked me at the party if I felt different.  I think at the time I said "not really," but as I've thought about that question the past few days, I think I do feel a little different.  And its not just the extra initials after my name(though those are pretty cool), but its the realization that I did it.  I pushed through all the obstacles and self-doubt and did something I've dreamed of for a long time.  I put my mind to something crazy hard and did it.  And for that, I'm really proud of myself.  So this week, I'm walking a bit taller, knowing that with the support of friends and family, I endured six tough years to reach my dream.  And that, is pretty cool.

*A special thanks to all my readers who have encouraged me along the way.  From comps, to dissertation drama, to internship stress, yall were cheerleaders each and every step.  Your comments, emails, and Facebook posts mean more than you know.  You rock beyond belief!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Internship Graduation and Celebration

Thank yall so much for your kind words on Tuesday's post.  It's an exciting time around here, and with graduation just a week away, I'm in official party mode.  The last week of internship was pretty laid back, and the four interns did our best to celebrate together.  Here are a few pictures from our last week together...

IMG 0780Last intern coffee date!  And as my friend Christa pointed out, its fitting that the we've got both coffee and Advil on the table, as both were necessary survival tools for internship :)

IMG 0776Tuesday, the four of us played hooky and went for pedicures and cocktails.  Luckily, we found a spot that allowed us to do both at the same time!

IMG 0777Cheers to surviving a crazy year!

IMG 0782I spent the night before my last day camped out at Starbucks, given that I had no food and no furniture left in my house.  I also took advantage of the time to write thank you notes to a few special staff members who made my year on internship particularly memorable.  PS: I snagged this "dream big" stationary at Michaels, and I really love it!  I'm trying to reduce my stationary stash, but I might just have to have seconds of these :)

IMG 0785On our last day, the staff had a mini graduation ceremony for the four of us.  Though each of us will have our own official graduations at our degree granting institutions, it was a fun way to commemorate the year we spent together.  Our training director said sweet things about each of us, assigning each of us a color to match our personalities.  (Any guesses what my color was?)  We also had a huge surprise of being serenaded by the university's acapella group, and they rocked some funky acapella Adele and Florence and the Machine.  Oh my goodness, they were amazing!  It was particuarly sweet to share that experience with students, because as much as I love my coworkers, I truly love what I do because of the students.   

IMG 0786Hooray, we did it!

IMG 0790Matt was able to come down for the celebration, and it was awesome to have him there.  As my grad school journey draws to a close, I can't help but think how blessed we were to have met each other during this crazy experience.

IMG 0795So long Student Services Building; it's been real.  Though I won't miss my insanely long days and eating all three of my daily meals at my desk :)

IMG 0792Later that night, the entire staff celebrated at our training director's house, and we snapped our last picture as interns.  I can't believe we survived, hooray!

Next Friday is my official graduation, and I'm getting the party started early Monday with a sibling roadtrip.  Since I have the next few weeks off, I decided I would drive to Texas, and when my brother told me he was going to be in town this weekend for Lollapalooza, we realized it was the perfect opportunity to make the drive back to Texas a little more fun. We're stretching the trip over three days, making stops in Memphis and New Orleans, both cities I've wanted to visit for a while.  Matt is flying to meet us in Houston, and then from there, friends and family are scheduled to start arriving.  I'm definitely looking forward to sharing this experience with the people nearest and dearest to me, because let's be honest, I never would have made it through without them!

PS: If you have any suggestions for food, drinks, or to do stuff in either Memphis or New Orleans, please let me know!  Yall came through in February with the Vegas recommendations, so I'm eager for your suggestions again.  Cheers to the weekend; I hope it's a fabulous one however you choose to spend it!