Lovin’ You

Hannah

Simply one of my favorite days. Probably my most adored holiday, Valentine’s Day, is a moment away! Valentine’s Day has only recently been made a romantic holiday for yours truly, thanks to the love of my life. But I have long enjoyed the tradition of donning pink, baking and celebrating a day of love. Luckily, Valentine’s Day was made special for me since childhood. Being raised by women (a single momma and her best friend) holidays were magically decorated and celebrated.

My mom and my Jewish momma, Becca, helped to sprinkle my childhood with a whole lotta love. On every holiday at our apartment in Budapest, I would wake up to find the kitchen table fully catered to festivity. Valentine’s Day would come with heart shaped pancakes, handmade cards and treats for everyone wrapped in red ribbon. I would most likely spend the morning enjoying my sweet breakfast curled in someone’s lap. Oh these memories, the sweetest upbringing I could have ever dreamt up. These celebrations have surely contributed to my affection for love & magic.

While I will be spending this Valentine’s Day with my love, February 14th can be special for any heart desiring a marvelous day. Whether single or in love, let me prompt you to make Valentine’s Day a magical one.

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How can we make this Valentine’s Day a special one? I have gathered five of my favorite acts of self love to inspire you this V day, love on sweet birds.

P a m p e r

Book a facial, massage, OR both. Seek out a fancy spa that has lovely facilities where you can linger for a few hours. Bounce from treatment, to sauna, and end the day in the relaxation room. Drink a steaming cup of tea and lay your head back to rest. Your body deserves the utmost care, which does not always entail spin and brunch. 

Treat

I mean, do you really need a reason?? Girl, go shopping. Responsibly. Order that serum, those bangin’ slouchy leather boots or the sunglasses that set you apart from the masses. Stimulate the economy and take care of your style!

Date 

We are in an age of constant social interaction, and the cons sort of outweigh the pros. For some weird reason, most women I know are too intimidated to go out to dinner by themselves. Not everyone, but there is certainly a lot of you out there. Be bold. If dinner for one is too daunting, then how about a coffee date? Wake up early and scoot to your favorite coffee shop. Podcast, playlist or book ready to go. Now a real date, not just a few minutes to down your latte of choice. Really sit with yourself, your thoughts and the beautiful being that you are.

Movie Night

Instead of your average Netflix night, make a plan. Take off your make up and give your skin a nice routine. Hop in cozy pjs. Order in. Have wine and popcorn ready to be devoured.  Place your treats on pretty plates and set up a magical little movie night for yourself. Go wild and rent a movie from amazon or itunes, put your phone on airplane mode and get lost in an amazing story. Curl up, get cozy and enjoy the peace of a movie night with you.

Love You 

You’ll need: a drink, candles, bath salts. Choose a homemade latte or vino. Prance upstairs and get in your coziest robe or fluffy towel while you draw a hot bath. Turn off the bright, loud bathroom lighting and opt for plenty of candles. Pour your bath salts. Hit play on your Norah Jones playlist. Set your phone somewhere you can’t reach it. Step into your loving bath and let the water wash away your worries, your anxiety, your insecurities. Let the water surround you, warm you and feel the soft weight on your body. Breathe.

It is just that easy, and that necessary to care for yourself. Remember that you are greatly and deeply loved. So choose to love yourself this Valentine’s Day. 

Xx H

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photographed in Charleston, SC | | Jesse Volk 

Knit set by the sustainably minded and ever-creative Proud Mary 

No Shortcuts

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Passion & persistence are what matter. Dreams are achievable and you can make your fantasy come true, but there are no shortcuts.

Diane von Furstenberg

This might be a fault of mine, but I have trouble empathizing with those who are displeased with  their lives and yet they do not think to make any changes. It frustrates me to see my loved ones, friends or acquaintances unhappy with their circumstances. It hurts to see those ignore the fire of their passions. I love seeing people pursue their passions.

Passionate people are my favorite. I do not care what your passion is. Just have one. Live it out. I am taking an Introduction to African Civilization course this semester and I love it. My professor, is amazing. She is funny, weird and wildly passionate about Africa. It is evident that her knowledge of Africa, is quite expansive. She spits out facts and then makes a cultural observation. She has clearly spent quite some time in various cities in Africa and has used her experiences to give her a unique perspective of the continent. Listening to her lecture and learning from her is exciting. When passionate people share, they are taking you along their adventure.

Upon reflecting on the current state of my life, I am fairly pleased and extraordinarily grateful. I love the path the Lord is leading me on. I have a ball pursuing my passions. I am not interested in wasting the time I have of being a young woman. I take risks. I explore this fantastic globe. I mess up. I make amazing friends. I seek adventures daily.

I would not want my life any other way. Each and every risk has somehow benefitted me. Whether it has worked out in my favor or taught me a lesson, it has positively contributed to sharpening my character. I love taking advantage of my free time and my schedule. Filling it with laughter and adventure is something I will never regret. A fearful life is not something that interests me; a bold one, however, is appetizing.

Xo H 

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Photographed by Ruut DeMeo RMD Portraits | | Hampden, Baltimore, Maryland

Wearing: Zara hat (similar here), Mango jacket (unavailable, similar here), Viktoria + Woods Riot Crop Tank, Frame Denim Le Skinny de Jeanne Britton, Joie Barlow booties (other colors available here), Linea Pelle purse (quite old and unavailable)

Restless ’til I

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Restless ‘til I Rest

Last week, I began another semester at the College of Charleston. I was elated to be back in Chucktown and reconnect with my darling friends and peers, but stressed nonetheless. I was jet lagged, exhausted, and excited. I also refused to admit defeat. I refused to acknowledge my anxiety. I do not know why we millennials find ourselves denying our mental and emotional states until we are completely broken down by stress. I do not want to participate in that cultural habit and I hope to asses my circumstances whenever they might be out of sorts.

Each semester of my college career feels as if I am starting a temporary job. You have one week to get comfortable with your surroundings, nail down the perfect academic schedule, and maintain mental agility for new schoolwork. I found myself constantly checking my email for academic updates, sprinting to Barnes & Noble on multiple occasions, and organizing my social life in the most frazzled state. I kept telling myself it would feel normal soon enough, upon finding a routine. I settle in a routine, that looks different every few months of my life. The whole process is unnatural. College is like that, you have a consistently abnormal schedule for 4 (or more) years.

Do you know how I felt? Restless. Utterly restless. I was crawling about campus, running on limited hours of sleep and attempting to perfect every inch of my life. It is impossible to perfectly arrange the details of one’s current schedule. Yes, I sort of managed an amazing schedule with a four day weekend every weekend, but I do know that surprises will stir up my days. As I found myself in a quiet moment, spotify found Restless by Audrey Assad, and I quickly realized my personal setback.

And I’m restless, I’m restless

‘Til I rest in You, ’til I rest in You

I am restless, I’m restless

‘Til I rest in You, ’til I rest in You

Oh God, I wanna rest in You

Sometimes my outrageous attempts to be positively combating life simply leads to tears. I began every morning prepared to conquer the day, with an exceptionally enthusiastic attitude and yet I still found myself overwhelmed. I was bubbling with anxiety. Is it so bad to say, “I am effing anxious and every bit of this week sucks?” Why couldn’t I admit it? Was it that all my peers are faking it? They are all so calm. Eerily calm.

Transitions take time. Acknowledging when we need a hot second to rest is crucial to feeling like ourselves and being the best little human we are capable of living as. I am not striving for perfection, and I do not suggest you try that. I would much rather admit to feeling anxious. Then follow the acceptance of my feelings with a hot bath, good book and solid quiet time. We have got to rest, my friends, if we want to understand anything about our surroundings, circumstances and current reality. Resting should be a priority.

I am peeking at my accounting homework now, with a little smile. I can do it. Last week, there was no chance of me understanding content, and now I am ready. We need time, most frequently, in order to get it.

I know that the Lord has called me to so much more than an anxious, academic-fearing heart. I am very excited for this season of my life; the lessons that I will learn, the love I will get to share and adventures that await. Don’t let your restless heart get in the way of life.

Need some rest inspiration? I’ve got your back.

  • Hot tea (opt for herbal)
  • Exercise
  • Hydration
  • A healthy diet 
  • Chill on the sugar, it messes everything up
  • Quiet time
  • To Do Lists (let your brain breathe)
  • Reading  
  • Taking the time for a nap
  • Candles- just don’t fall asleep
  • A hot bath, also don’t fall asleep
  • Navigate a schedule that permits a full night’s sleep
  • Jesus? He is the best, but whatever floats your boat babe!

None of this is helping? No worries, I will redirect you to a brilliantly inspiring article. I know I am not full of all the wisdom in the world, but Goop seemingly has it together (Thanks Gwyneth!)  

Listening to:

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Photographed by the talented Ruut DeMeo, RMD Portraits | | Hampden, Baltimore, Maryland 

Wearing: Adidas graphic sweatshirt, Vintage Men’s Shirt (worn as jacket), Frame Denim Le Skinny de Jeanne Britton, Joie Barlow booties 

Seeking Serendipity

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ser-en-dip-i-ty |ˌserənˈdipitē|

noun

the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities.

 

I have spent a lifetime of holidays in Charleston, with the exception of a few in Maine and Budapest. That being said, Baltimore for Christmas has never come into the light as a possibility  for my mother or myself. Until this year. We switched up our routine, and ventured to our “home” of Baltimore for Christmas.

Christmas has been frankly surreal. I have found myself nostalgic, as I reminisce of my Charleston traditions and yet incredibly content with my Christmas joy. Without having any holiday experience in Baltimore, I found I had no expectations for this Christmas. Christmas 2015 was reinvented by spontaneous activities and a series of unusual events.

I was having a brief holiday catch-up call with one of my best friends when I realized something. It is good to switch it up. For most, holidays are consistently the same. The same people, places and ordeals. I feel that mixing up this tradition is healthy. It is helpful for my mother and myself as I continue to grow into routines of adulthood and she adventures. We can change our plans, like my little family did, but also plans can change on us. Future holidays may be unpredictable. Adapting to these changes while maintaining a good attitude is crucial to keeping up with a positive outlook on life.

There have been spontaneous movies, adventures, drinks and coffee dates. Time spent in my house in Baltimore. Cuddles with my stinky pugs. Lounging with my sweet mom. I’ve been gazing at Baltimore with fresh eyes, attempting to seek out the cool, new and quirky. I have enjoyed holiday traditions with a different set of loved ones and a Baltimore holiday spirit that I’ve yet to participate in the past. It is primarily the people that make this Christmas particularly enchanting, as it should be. The traditions of my past Christmas’ in Charleston could make me sad. They could make me miss people, food and places. Traditions. Dressing up. Endless parties. But what good is focusing on that, when I have all this joy sitting in front of me? Mika my faux baby sister is curled up on the couch, worn out from her wild pursuit of constant adventures. I spent nearly all of my Christmas eve, on the couch. Curled up with my mom, Mika or Lulu and happy as a clam. Sweet moments and new traditions add a bit of sparkle to my memories.

I would not label this Christmas in Baltimore as either “good,” or “bad.” It is honestly neither as it is the first of its kind. I am happy to feel submerged in love. My abs have been sore from laughing  and eyes watery from hours of movies. Christmas in its entirety was peaceful.  Discovering serendipity this week was undoubtedly realizing that putting myself in situations where I must adapt to my current surroundings are benefiting me far more in the long run, even as I soak in the bliss of this holiday adventure.

Xo, Hannah
Happy Holidays!

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Photographed by: Ruut DeMeo, RMD Portraits  | | Hampden, Baltimore, MD

Wearing: Vintage Sweater found at Hunting Ground (Similar here, here & here) H&M scarf (Similar here & here), FRAME Denim Le Skinny de Jeanne Britton, Matt Bernson Tundra boots & Linea Pelle purse (several seasons ago, but it has held up well!) 

Sparkle

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Sparkle.

Last Monday, I was off to an anxious, stressed and emotional start to finals week.

I wandered to a local coffee shop to flip through emails, complete a paper and hopefully relax a bit. After my brief encounter with my almond chai, I hustled home in full stride with music blasting in my earphones. I paused before I entered my home. I have a new neighbor. A new shop by my house. A sweet boutique. A stellar owner. Her face is warm, hugs inviting and smile authentic. Fine, I will walk inside for a hug. I bee lined for her arms, avoiding eye contact entirely. I nestled into the perfect hug, and my glasses quickly steamed by my hot tears. “Is everything okay?” Caroline asked. “I am stressed. Anxious. Emotional.”  Caroline quickly ushered me to a comfortable seat and handed me a candy cane. Armed with motherly solace, she is equipped for anything.

Before we began conversing to discuss my emotional state, she said, “I just want you to know how loved you are.” Caroline met my mother this past weekend, and they adored each other. “I saw the way your mother looked at you Hannah, she loves you unconditionally. You are so loved.” I accepted her sweet words of encouragement but trembled as I recalled school’s harsh reality, “I am genuinely fearful of failing an exam.” I sniffled, holding back tears in fear of damaging a fresh coat of make up. Caroline’s words were perfect. Her comfort continued as she repeatedly told me, “You are more than a grade.”

Why is it that love is reassuring? The power of love never ceases to astound me. As she comforted me, I glanced at my tattoo, mom’s words whispering, “I love you,” in the midst of my anger with temporal frustrations. “Hannah, you are more than a grade,” Caroline did not stop with her encouragement. She continued to build me back up, “You sparkle Hannah. We all know it. We see you and you sparkle.” I do not know if I smiled, teared up or just shut my eyes in acceptance of this genuine love. At some point in the conversation I just laid my head on Caroline’s lap, like a dog begging for a head rub. Caroline carefully patted my back, her kind words flowing, and love filled my heart to the brim. The support of her words and touch, enabled me to forget the possibility of failure.

Throughout the morning, previous to my encounter with Caroline, I prayed for the Lord’s comfort. I asked for peace for the week, but begged him for temporary relief of my anxiety. I have experienced several recent doses of love directly from God. However, I find great comfort in the arms of those around me. Physical touch is crucial to my emotional health. Odd, but it is me. I need hugs, snuggles and head pats. Instead of God soothing me in alone time, He did what He had to get me into the arms of His love. Letting Caroline be a vessel of His compassion, was incredibly kind of Him. I joyfully accepted the love I received. The tangible relief of falling into a hug. Caroline’s motherly love and empathy. The sweet reminder of listening to words I know to be true but struggle to believe during a time like finals. Finals hurt my heart. Finals challenge not only my learning disabilities, as well as my anxiety and emotions.

“You Sparkle,” my heart instantly melted. It was affirming, yet again, that something might be seen in me than more than the identity of being a student. I am in fact more than a grade, I am more than my GPA, and I am more than a student. I am much more than a student and I hope to known for that. I hope to be known for hugs, love and laughter. I hope to known for being my true self and settling for nothing less. Including, restraining from the self-deprecating thought process whilst enduring a difficult course. It was a joy to hear that I might sparkle to someone around me, I am undeserving of such a compliment but whoah did it tickle my heart. Authenticity. Transparency. Human’s like it. It is relatable.

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Sleeveless turtlenecks can be paired with a short or long sleeved tee. Long sleeves create the illusion of a full sweater, while short sleeves allow the turtleneck to hold attention.

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Grandmother’s pug featured in le blog post. Pugs are the best accessories. I love a good prop, especially a silly one.

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Mastering the art of the turtleneck tuck. Slip into your turtleneck, leave your hair inside the sweater and slowly pull front pieces to frame your face.
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Momma’s words always with me. Xo. P.S Did you hear that naked nails are trending this winter? Giving my nails a break from gel, but missing polish.
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Golden hour and natural curls. Only a few products to tame the mane but tough to beat with the current humidity in Charleston!

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Miss new bootie. All about my new thigh highs! Winter must have.

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Photographed by Davy Kesey | | Charleston, SC

Wearing: Madewell turtleneck, Piko Tee w/ lace trim (similar), J Brand coated jeans (last season but similar here ) Stuart Weitzman Lowland Boot in black suede found at Charleston’s Bob Ellis, similar boots here, here and here.

Sweet Things

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This holiday season is uh er hmm exciting? Stressful? Eventful? Yes, yes! Eventful. As a college student, Thanksgiving is no break. Thanksgiving is the time to eat, hang with family, possibly relax and then curl into a bloated ball of emotions when you realize you forgot about your project. This is not an attempt to give you an anxiety attack, I can assure you holidays are full of smiles! However, I am cautiously approaching the activities I choose seeing as my academic obligations cannot be put on hold until CHRISTMAS break. So close, yet so wildly far from reach. I have decided to plan accordingly and am hoping to schedule this week to avoid a procrastination meltdown.

I distract myself from holiday anxiety with my favorite thing; clothes. Put on a good outfit and the world is your damn oyster. A solid ensemble is strangely encouraging. Habitually, I dress up on test days. Not a heels and plunging neckline situation, but simply an average cool look. Clothes have the ability to speed up the process of getting things done. Somehow making an ordeal into just another day. I do not rely on material things to satisfy my stresses but I will not deny the comfort of a good outfit. This holiday inspo look is the perfect motivation to have fun with your style! Be playful. Play with accessories, trends, and the world around you.

Clothes are not the only sweet soothing thing in life, there are lots of little things that make life lovely. I’ve compiled a little list of little things about me. Little things that make me Hannah, and all that it entails. Daily thoughts, routines, and things that make me happy. I encourage you to do the same. Write it, type it, or screech it from your rooftop. I know you may be stressed by the motley crew arriving at your home for this week. Or the test you have as soon as your return to school. Or your crazy sister who has decided to turn on you this holiday season. Don’t forget those good things, never forget those little things. The little things that make your best friend hug you, your mom proud, and your puppy lick your face. We are all of the little things miraculously poured into a tender soul. Here are some little things about me…

Little Things (about me)

  • Always buying a book and planning a trip
  • Never leave the house without a sweater
  • Lunch, coffee or adventures with mom? We are both equipped with an “activity” i.e. notebook or novel
  • I’ll take my popcorn with chocolate chips and sea salt
  • Hot tea > Coffee
  • Utterly obsessed with cheerios. If you haven’t heard, the whole lot of cheerios are now gluten free.
  • Lettering is therapeutic
  • I think that cool air sooths my anxiety
  • The only heat I know to be a comfort- sauna
  • Going to the movies is my bliss
  • To do lists
  • Crossing off completed tasks on said list
  • The best beach days are long. You hit the glow of sunset and the breeze that follows
  • Cozy is my favorite
  • Stupidly extroverted. I love my peeps
  • Don’t know how to help me? Hug me
  • Dream day: A stormy summer day in Maine. Slightly sunburned from days lounging poolside and dipping in the icy ocean. Today is the day when the air is cool, fog dense, and raindrops drizzle. A storm if we are lucky. My family friends and I are are scattered throughout the house snuggled up with our books, puzzles, and movies. I am cozied in the library with Mika. Picture us with our messy, sticky, salty curls. The sleepy satisfaction of sun-kissed faces leave us with few words. A paddywax summer candle is burning. The windows are stuck open with crisp air rippling indoors. We are wrapped in snuggles, comfy in sweatpants and covered in various crumbs. A dream day that I’ve been lucky enough to experience many times.

Remember the good and be grateful for the challenges. You my dear, are growing up.

It is in the little things that we find joy as well as true rest.

 
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Photographed by Abby Tierney | | Charleston, SC

Wearing: Elizabeth & James dress  ℅ Beckett Boutique, Zara booties & vintage clutch

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