The Elspeth Blog
This article will be a casual brainstorm. (that being said, please excuse any dangling modifiers or errors in parallel structure.)
1. Write a Book
I was very inspired by Aimee Song's Capture Your Style. (website) It was a how-to manual and definitely one of the first of its kind. It had many gorgeous photographs. Mainly, it was a creative project where Aimee Song was able to just write about doing what she loves (taking and editing photos for her blog and Instagram) and inspire thousands of other people to do the same. I long to build this blog to the point where it is a very large platform with thousands of people engaged. I don't want this because I want to be famous. I genuinely want to inspire people to get dressed in the morning. To wear that thing they bought a long time ago but are afraid of wearing. To post that picture they think they can't pull off. Because you know what? When you make a bold move by wearing something daring or by sharing something with the world via social media, YOU WILL BECOME MORE CONFIDENT. YOU WILL FEEL GREAT.
When I watch one of Chriselle Lim's (website) YouTube videos and see the funky, creative, glamorous outfit she's wearing, I get this feeling that I can't really describe. It's like a feeling of wonder and amazement and longing at the same time. Maybe. Really, it's indescribable. I want to have the power to give others this same feeling. I want to communicate to other people through my blog and through what I wear on a daily basis that I love fashion because what I wear shows the world that I am a confident, unique individual who commands the respect of others. This is why FASHION MATTERS. I want to write a book that communicates this message.
2. Start a Second-Hand Clothing Sustainability Initiative
For a while now, it's been my dream to work for a company like ASOS or Zara. My personality needs to be around other people I think, and I would really do well in an environment where I get to work with other creative, stylish people who agree with my message from the paragraph above. So, to add in my love for thrifting and my desire to reduce global waste, I want to start a marketing campaign. In theory, people would ship their old clothes back to the company they bought them from in exchange for a discount on new clothes. With these old clothes, we would open up a second hand store where people can shop these clothes at a discount if they have donated. To keep brand loyalty and to build the initiative to donate, only those who have donated would be allowed to shop in the second hand store. Man, I was really excited about this idea when I had it a few weeks ago. I am coining this right now so when I'm applying for internships in college in a few years, I can show that I had this idea in June 2017. I feel like if I started this marketing campaign for a company, I would be staying true to myself by encouraging second-hand shopping, and importantly, I would be doing my part to popularize the idea of reducing global waste.
3. Design My Own Line
Nothing super deep about this. I have always wanted to collaborate with a brand and design my own shoe/jewelry/clothing line.
4. Comment Down Below with ANY of Your Ideas. I Would LOVE to Read Them!
What you need to have THE BEST SNACK EVER:
1. Whole Wheat Bread
2. Sliced Avacados (slice thin to use as a spread)
3. Kosher Salt / Sea Salt (this makes everything you eat taste 100x better. I swear by this.)
4. 3-4 tablespoons Bruschetta (diced tomatoes, olive oil, black pepper, garlic cloves, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar)
FOLLOW @lowSUGARnoDAIRY for more ideas.
Here you have a healthy snack which incorporates a good balance of fiber, carbs, and fat. You're all set, folks.
~LEAVE ME A COMMENT WITH YOUR FAVORITE HEALTHY SNACK~
More Style From Suburbia
Well, here's where it all began....
So my friend Grace recommended Uptown Cafe. She often orders The Uptown Pancake. One wasn't enough for me. So I had two, both filled with walnuts and chocolate chips and DRENCHED in syrup. Oh yes.
As you can see, Uptown's cakes are huge. And they are DELICIOUS. Each time I go to Uptown, I leave wanting more, so I visit pretty frequently.
Here's a pic from another trip.
It was this day that I decided to dedicate my Saturdays--and myself--to the love of pancakes.
The pancakes are great because:
1. They're sizeable. I want something as big as my plate!!!
2. They're pretty rich. (although to be honest, I find it very hard to really get a feel for the pancakes themselves since they're so loaded with walnuts and chocolate chips.)
3. They're reasonably priced. I got two pancakes with two toppings and managed to leave the restaurant having only dropped $10 (generous tip included!!) Although, as I mentioned in another post, some things are just worth spending money on.
4. You get to eat them in a pretty nice restaurant environment, I must say. Although, for all those who like to eat outside, beware the vicious sun, for it follows you, threatening to shine blindingly in your eyes, forcing you to hop from table to table throughout your meal....
Pro pancaker's tips:
You will never have a bad pancaking experience if you fill your cakes with nuts and chocolate chips. (or just fill your cakes with the toppings offered at the restaurant...) Say the place is slammed and the batter wasn't very good in that batch. You wouldn't know because your taste buds are already satisfied by crunchy nuts and sweet chocolate chips and not to mention syrup (and even butter, if you dare).
In order to not have a total sweetness overload (sometimes this isn't as pleasant as it seems, and we always discover this after all the remaining pancakes on our plate are drenched in anticipatory syrup...) make sure you put nuts, or some food of substance, in your pancakes. (Bacon maybe? I'm sure that's a thing...) Or, just get a side of bacon, or sausage, or an egg. You can alternate bites of salty and sweet and your experience will be all the more sensational, I promise.
Be cautious of how much water you're chugging. Water can make you fuller faster, and you know you want to save all the room you have in your over-stimulated belly for the nutty, chocolatey, carby magic you're stuffing it with.
So I haven't been here in a while...BUT my lovely friend Madison happened to be going there and she took these beautiful photos for me!! I was so happy.
I was told that the IHOP experience was pretty memorable....in the best possible way. Madison followed the pro pancaker's tip of complementing the sweetness overload (which our pictures indicate she clearly experienced) with a side of eggs and bacon. That was a solid decision that I'm sure made her breakfast a winner.
Personally, I've never ventured to try strawberries with my pancakes...but I was informed that the fruity syrup did more than just make a beautiful, colorful, artistic photograph. It was pretty good, apparently.
Overall, IHOP was a success. I'll knock it out for myself once I hit up all the local places in town.
3. Jenny's Lunchbox
Well, this was pretty good. Although, I must say, Uptown was better. These pancakes were just too small....so, to account for this discrepancy between the amount of pancakes I had on my plate and the amount my excited stomach and mind demanded, I had to order two separate breakfasts: the large stack (3 cakes) & the short stack (2 cakes).
So the large stack came first. The cakes were slightly cold when they came to me, but man.... I'd been looking forward to this face-stuffing session for two weeks so I definitely didn't care. As I was approaching the third cake, I caught the waitress and ordered another short stack.
Well, the second stack was substantially better than the first. I was getting kind of full at that point, but it was definitely nice to have that time in between finishing the large stack and starting in on the small stack to let my stomach rest. But the small stack definitely was cooked in more butter because the outside of the cakes were crunchy. Oh my lord yes. And these cakes were substantially bigger than the first ones too...
After I had eaten about a half of the second cake in the small stack (3.5 cakes in to the 5 I ate that morning) I was definitely getting full. I contemplated getting a box and taking the rest home. But because the cakes in this stack were so much better than those in the first stack, I just kept going. (In retrospect, someone really should've stopped me at that point...) I was pretty full all day, but I was able to comfortably eat a decent meal that night around 7:30. I was even slightly hungry. The five-mile run I had done before the face-stuffing session at 10:30 am was planned to ensure that I would have some appetite later in the day...
Well, Jenny's was pretty tasty, I must say. Also, with the two breakfasts I ordered and with all the added pancake toppings, I was expecting it to be pretty pricey, not gonna lie. But, the waitress evened it off at $10 for me! So I left her a pretty hefty tip. When we went inside to pay, we saw the chefs cooking in the little kitchen and that was a pretty cool experience. Overall, I would definitely recommend Jenny's Lunchbox. But next time, someone please stop me before I eat two breakfasts.....
STay tuned for more Pancake tour locations
I think the next place I'll be hitting up is Canopy Road Cafe. But, I will never rest until I've visited all of the pancakeries in town. Get pumped for more PANCAKE BLOGS that will be coming to excite your taste buds soon !!!!
More STYLE FROM SUBURBIA
Well…..I’m still in the midst of my minimalism / antimaterialism / I’m just not going to buy myself anything / obsessive cheapskate phase. So, I’ve decided to do a post focusing on how to get (what seems like) brand new clothes without spending any money.
TURN YOUR SKIRTS INTO TOPS
Yes, I understand. This may seem weird. You may feel a bit uncomfortable because you keep thinking, "does everyone else know this is a skirt???"
Well, my friends, this is how we deal with that.
1. Most people aren't paying that much attention, so they won't notice.
2. The people who actually do pay enough attention to notice the CREATIVE and AWESOME thing that you just did will probably be impressed and think something along the lines of...
wow. she is so creative. i love how she has the confidence to pull that off.
And now, for what we have all been waiting for.....
Example 1: Party Time
Here we have a pleather skirt acting as a top. To distract the fact that this is a skirt, I hid the elastic waistband in the second photo.
This could make a really fun party/going out look because of the edgy pleather on top. I added a cool choker (that I'm pretty sure either my mom or one of her siblings made in the 70s) for something funky and different.
I've styled this look with boyfriend jeans here, but you could style it with regular skinnies (something tighter to complement the flowy the top). If you're really feeling edgy, you could pair this with black skinnies, or even.....pleather pants! That would be so cool!!
For shoes, I'd opt for some oxfords for a daytime look with the jeans. But if you're going all edgy, you should definitely go for some platforms.
Skirt/top: H&M (Goodwill $4)
Example 2: Spots & Layers
This layered look is modeled after one of my all-time FAVORITE bloggers, the beautiful @Maria_Bernad.
Maria is always wearing very high-fashion, Vogue-esque types of outfits and that inspires me. We don't always have to wear our clothes in the conventional way they were designed to be worn. Making a bold fashion statement, like turning a skirt into a top, definitely helps us look different than everyone else and show the world that we are unique, creative, and confident individuals. Fashion is powerful.
White top: Goodwill $3
Cheetah Skirt/top: Living Harvest Thrift Store $2
Necklace: Quarter Moon Imports $5
Culottes: LOFT $14
Slides: Urban Outfitters $16
I am a Lead Ambassador for BANGS Shoes........Sooooo what does that mean?
All Lead Ambassadors are connected with the company. BANGS Shoes is a relatively new startup dedicated to investing 20% of its profits in entrepreneurs worldwide. As an ambassador, I actually get to cast MY vote and help select the entrepreneurs BANGS invests in. BANGS uses a program called Kiva.org. Through this program, I am able to read about the entrepreneur, understand his/her business plan, and see exactly what supplies the money will go towards purchasing—all from this website. Then, I vote on entrepreneurs for the company to support. From a juice-stand owner in Atlanta to a clothing maker in the Caribbean, I appreciate the way we always have such a wide range of entrepreneurs to choose from. In addition to being involved in BANGS’ entrepreneur selection, I get to help choose new shoe designs and designs for other types of merchandise, like shirts, hats, socks, etc. BANGS really values an individual’s voice in the company, and this is demonstrated in many ways.
I get frequent text messages from the founder, Hannah Davis, and we can have conversations! I’ve shared some of my ideas for shoe designs with her. It is so important and beneficial that Hannah is so accessible to all people who work with the brand. She clearly wants to connect with her ambassadors and devotes a lot of time to doing so. I admire this very much.
BANGS creates a wonderful network. Each seasonal term, I get put in a group with other regional ambassadors. We connect over social media and in a group message in an app called Slack. Each group is paired with a mentor, whom members chat with over phone. I’ve also enjoyed participating in campaigns the company creates to connect ambassadors who live all over the globe. Last term, I exchanged letters with a pen pal, someone who works in the environmental studies field in California!
Another thing I love about the Ambassador program is that I was able to build my own team of other people interested in BANGS shoes and their mission. These people purchased shoes and participated in Blitz days with me. One day each month, BANGS has a Blitz day, in which all ambassadors post on Instagram a photo involving their shoes. This was so exciting because I love styling an outfit to complement my shoes, AND I love taking a photo of it. This experience was also great because I was able to take a photoshoot with my team members—all of us styling our BANGS!
A few weeks ago, I ran into a girl wearing BANGS in an Anthropologie in Austin. It was so awesome to be able to approach her and chat with her about our experiences in the Ambassador program. BANGS helps you have connections wherever you go. I am eager to see if I will find any other Ambassadors / team members in college.
I wanted to use this post to share the wonderful experience I’ve had with BANGS. I encourage my readers to work with BANGS or a company like it. I really do enjoy the way I am able to play an active role in the decisions made in the company, and I appreciate the way the founder, Hannah, strives to remain so connected to her Ambassadors. Thank you, BANGS Shoes, for the positive impact you have had on my life and on the lives of so many others!
“Let’s go to (insert over-priced restaurant meal here)”
You’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. I doubt I’m the only person who winces slightly when I receive a text message stating the above.
In this article, I’m going to give you some easy tips on how to save a few bucks next time you’re eating out.
First, it bothers me that our society has become so centered around food and eating. In a country that is facing an obesity crisis, we should not be living to eat. Meals at most restaurants are extremely (and often deceptively) high in calories. I believe in this principle of a healthy lifestyle: food should not be such a source of entertainment. We should use it to fuel our bodies to live our lives.
Now, my issue with money comes into play. As all readers of this blog know, I shop at thrift stores. In fact, there is an 87% chance that the cost of an average restaurant meal is the same as (if not more than) what I paid for both my shirt and my pants. For the most part, I would rather spend money on a tangible (and wearable) garment than on a very forgettable sandwich.
But, I have to disagree with myself a bit. Sometimes (once a week or every few weeks) it is nice to treat yourself. This morning I consumed two large chocolate chip, walnut pancakes. It was ten dollars (generous tip included), and it was magical.
All in all, I feel that eating at restaurants should not be habitual; it should be an occasional treat. This article was not intended to be offensive in any way. I simply wanted to share some ways I am able to save money while living in a society obsessed with eating out. Comment down below if you found this helpful or if you think I need to get off my soap-box.
This Christmas break, I decided that I was going to spend my free time doing something meaningful. So, I checked out My Promised Land by Ari Shavit.
I get pretty tired of always seeing headlines in the news concerning global issues, such as the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. I feel guilty because I’m 18 now, a VOTER, and I don’t know much about the global issues that affect our country’s foreign policy. Reading My Promised Land helped me take an important step towards opening my eyes and becoming an informed citizen.
I would recommend this book only to someone who is very VERY dedicated, for several reasons.
All in all, I really enjoyed my time reading this book. A comparison can be made between my feelings after a good run and my feelings after reading about 40 pages of this book. In both instances, I feel extremely productive. Becoming more informed about the underlying reasons behind issues facing our world today made me feel very good about myself.
I mentioned earlier that this book reads somewhat like a history book. This is true, in the sense that it is full of information and has important dates to remember. Yet, Shavit guides readers the history of Zionism in a way that keeps them entertained. I truly admire Shavit because he clearly put countless hours into seeking out people, interviewing them, and using their stories to add life to his history of the Zionist movement.
In this post, I am not just trying to recommend My Promised Land; I am wishing to encourage my readers to immerse themselves in an eye-opening book. Pick an issue that interests you and visit your local library. Even if you do not even finish the book you check out (I still have about 100 pages to go in My Promised Land), you will still learn something that will open your eyes to something you knew little about before. You might be humbled. You might look at someone, or a whole group of people, in a new way. You might develop questions to google for further research. You might have more enlightening commentary to add to conversations. But I do know this: you will definitely be glad you did something to inform yourself about global issues and to broaden your span of thinking on to something way outside yourself.
Meh. That’s the way most teens would describe Christmas. It’s pretty depressing that we no longer find ourselves anxiously and excitedly waking up at 6, yearning to see what Santa brought. It’s depressing that the entire day is pretty mediocre, when just five years ago—still fresh in our minds—IT WAS THE BEST FLIPPING DAY OF THE ENTIRE YEAR!!!!
Well, fellow teens, we could sit here and wallow in the melancholy nature of our current Christmases……..or we could try to look at them differently and make them better. I’ve decided to change my point of view and make Christmas exciting again.
“Giving is better than getting.” My mom, and your mom, and probably all moms worldwide always ALWAYS say that. But it doesn’t really make sense when you’re in fourth grade. Because what the heck could possibly be better than getting that American Girl Doll bed you know Santa’s going to bring?!?!
At different stages in our lives, we all eventually come to realize that giving is, in fact, better than getting. My advice to all teens suffering mediocre Christmases is simple. THINK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE. Figuring out what to get for Dad can actually be fun and not an uncomfortable chore!!! You need to listen attentively and remain vigilant for a few weeks, or even a few days, prior to the big day. You’ll be AMAZED at how easy it can be to think of something that your family members would be happy to receive on Christmas. It definitely doesn’t need to be expensive. If it is useful, funny, sweet, and most importantly, THOUGHTFUL, then the recipient will be pleased. She’ll be flattered because your gift made it obvious that you care about her enough to spend your time thinking of her. Pretty soon you’ll be in the store. You’ll find that thing. You’ll smile, you’ll giggle, and you might even take a picture of it and send it to somebody because both of you know just how much your person is going to LOVE that gift. Then you’ll come home and put on that Peanuts’ Christmas CD in the background and you’ll wrap that gift. And you’ll repeat this process for several different people.
Pretty soon, you’ll start getting excited for Christmas. You don’t really care what Santa brings you, but you CANNOT WAIT to see your family members open the awesome and perfect gifts you got them!!!
This, my fellow teens, is how we fix Christmas. Invest your time and energy in other people’s wants and needs. This way, Christmas will be a nice experience again.
I’ve come to terms with my beliefs on materialism and I am going to articulate my thoughts as best I can.
It started about two years ago. Babysitting was picking up. I finally, FINALLY had the money to finance my growing love for fashion!! Fifty dollars, or an average night’s paycheck, would take me very far at even the most expensive thrift stores, like Goodwill. I never limited myself. I mean, it’s pretty hard to when everything costs $5 or less, and I could make that money back (just about) by selling things I no longer wanted to the consignment shop. (To be honest, I don’t think I have ever bought anything full price in my life…) To this day, my enormous, walk-in closet is still teeming with clothes (and shoes).
Several times per year, with my mother’s strong encouragement, I would have a massive closet clean-out. Each clean-out resulted in 60-70 items to take to the consignment shop. Only it wasn’t really that simple. I could only take twelve items per week on specific days. It doesn’t really sound bad, but I definitely resented going out there every week after school, taking away an extra thirty minutes from my homework time. No matter how often I frequent that place, there is ALWAYS a large pile of clothes/shoes in my room, ready to get out!!!
Recently, I decided to try a new consignment shop. Here, I would take all of my clothing at once (YES!!) and hopefully get more money if the clothing sells! The shop has an option of writing your own price tags to take a higher percent commission. I could totally write those tags over Christmas break!!
After two hours last Saturday, I finally finished the tags. But that wasn’t all. I still needed to go out and buy hangers for everything, make copies of all of the tags, and buy safety pins to pin the copied tags to the garments…… I got really fed up. 84 ITEMS. 84. How was it possible that I STILL have this many clothes?!!?!?!?
This experience taught me something I value. Clothes don’t make you happy. Because, like my mom always says: “Stuff doesn’t make you happy.” My tastes in styles change so so so SO quickly. Something I just HAD TO HAVE in September is something I later think is too boring or too girly or too (insert other adjective not synonymous with my current style). Buying things just creates more work for me—more dang errands to the consignment shop!!!!!
As I was resentfully writing about the 70th tag last week, I realized that I have learned one of life’s most important lessons pretty early on. Material goods (and I can apply that category to much more than clothes and shoes) do not make you happy for very long. So for now, (and for the rest of my life!!!) I am not just going to clutter my life with stuff I bought. (I could really probably make cool outfits by creatively thinking about the infinite amount of clothing I ALREADY HAVE.) It doesn’t matter if you get stuff for $3 at the thrift store, or if you buy expensive stuff and are drowning in credit card debt. Cheap stuff and expensive stuff are equivalent, and it’s all just a bunch of CRAP that you probably won’t want in a few months.
I really feel refreshed. My parents and I are about to take an awesome vacation to Austin, Texas. Instead of getting anxious about trying to find an outlet mall or obnoxiously asking locals where the cheapest thrift store is, I can look forward to relaxing. We’ll go walking through the city. We’ll hit up some art museums. Maybe, we’ll just sit at our bed and breakfast and I’ll read a book that I finally got around to getting from the library, or I’ll color in one of the four coloring books people got me for Christmas, or I’ll read the blogs of some of my favorite instagrammers, or I’ll just sit there and edit some OOTD pictures on Vsco. Honestly, enjoying the moment and relaxing is so nice. Creating memories that I can keep forever is better than buying STUFF that I’m just going to have to lug to the consignment shop.
That’s my experience with materialism. For the most part, my new motto is: I’m done buying crap.
I have always loved fashion. In the past two years, I have developed a love for Instagram, as well. In the past few months, I have become a bit unsettled because I fear that fashion and Instagram are inherently superficial. I feel a bit guilty for spending so much time planning outfits in my head and for enjoying looking at fashion bloggers’ beautiful and creative Instagram feeds.
Recently, I have decided to reject my guilty feelings. Fashion and Instagram may be superficial to some people, but almost everything people take pleasure from can be superficial in other people’s opinions. Planning my outfits, shoe shopping online, taking photoshoots, playing with Vsco filters, and looking through Instagram fashion blogs for outfit inspiration are all things that I enjoy. Because these are things that I enjoy, I am not going to worry about the fact that others might think they are superficial. Each individual has her own set of values, interests, hobbies, and pleasures. Our differences in personal taste should not be used as grounds to belittle others. Our differences in personal taste make the world beautiful and (for lack of a better adjective…) interesting.
I know now that I want fashion to forever play an important role in my life. As time goes on, using Instagram or my personal blog as a means of documenting my outfits may become outdated, and new forms of technology will take over. For now, I will focus on simply enjoying the many things that make me happy in life, and fashion and Instagram will be among them.