July 29, 2014

Guatemala in 4 Minutes.

I've been working on this video since I came home from Guatemala this month! Now, it's finally finished and I think it really captures some of my favorite parts of the trip in a way that I love! 
Happy Tuesday!
Much love, 
Olivia



July 23, 2014

Stylin' in the City!

Tonight, Mom and I headed down to the city to just enjoy the beautiful evening. While St. Louis evenings are usually scorchers, tonight was simply perfect! Sometimes, it's nice just to get a change of scenery and to be able to do a little exploring around your own city! We walked all around and I got a chance to visit the new Lululemon store we have {side note ~ isn't their colorful storefront just adorable?! see pictures below}. I recently have started running on a regular basis, so it's definitely fun to check out cute workout gear! Currently my favorite thing from Lululemon is this pair of running crops.  Aren't they the cutest? Also, I'm just currently so happy for nights like these with my Mamma. This summer is really, really great. 
Much love, Olivia




I'm wearing...
// top ~ Marshall's // shorts ~ last summer The Limited (but they still sell similar shorts here) // necklace ~ Nordstrom // shoes ~ Target //

I am all about statement necklaces like mine from Nordstrom! Whether I'm dressing up a white t-shirt and denim shorts or adding it to an outfit like this, I am just obsessed! Where do you get your favorite statement necklaces? 

July 22, 2014

Favorite Nordstrom Deals!

Good morning, lovelies! 
As I'm sure you know by now, Nordstrom is in the midst of basically their most fabulous sale of the year ~ their anniversary sale! It ends on August 4th, so if I were you, I would head over to the site to check out the deals. ASAP. ***Caution ~ you better have at least an hour of free time on your hands, because these deals are SO good you won't be simply clicking around for a second*** Also a side note is that I'm not getting paid to write this and no one asked me to write this ~ I'm just that excited about the sale, haha! 

Whether you're ready to make a big haul purchase or just buy something for fun, there is definitely something there for you! And, if you happen to want to get me a present for...ummm...my first day of college, or my half birthday or some other non-important holiday, you should grab me this necklace or these wedges! ;) 

Well, now it looks like it's your time to hit the virtual isles and let the fun begin! Happy shopping and let me know what fun things you find! 
Much love,
Olivia 



Favorite Nordstrom Deals!

July 18, 2014

Shopping Ethically While Abroad!

Hello lovelies, 
Today, I am guest posting over at The Fair Trade Fashionistas, the blog my Noonday friend Brandi writes! I am talking about shopping ethically and what that looks like while traveling abroad. When I was in Guatemala, I realized several different things about the way shopping is different than here in the U.S. If you'll be doing any traveling abroad soon, definitely check it out! 
Much love, 
Olivia

July 15, 2014

¡Guate Street Style!

While I was in Guatemala last month, I was busily working on my internship for College Fashionista in between buying the night's worth of tortillas and selling blankets and backpacks in the mercado. I was really impressed with the amount of street fashion I found around Guatemala, specifically in Antigua. I decided to share some of my favorite street style photos of fashion there, but you can click on the link under the photo to read my articles about that specific outfit on College Fashionista! 





It always interests me to see how people represent their personalities through the way they style their outfits. While fashion is one of my biggest passions, I have never had any interest in catwalk fashion. You know what I mean - the models with bright pink and purple eyeshadow and lipstick strutting down the runway in their Alexander McQueen gowns or Christian Louboutin heels. Too unattainable. But street style fashion on the other hand, ahhh, there is just something about walking down the street and being able to admire and appreciate all the amazing styling of real, normal people walking on the sidewalk next to you. So, as I continue my journey as a Style Guru Fashion Intern for College Fashionista, you can join me on my personal site for the company here so you can stay up to date on the latest street style trends coming from all over the world! From Guatemala to the Midwest, I'm covering my favorite outfits I see on a daily basis! 
Much love, 
Olivia

July 14, 2014

Living Where You're At {even when you think it stinks]

One week. I have been home from Guatemala for one week. And in that week, I have cried, laughed and cried some more as I have shared my stories, look at pictures, FaceTimed with my Guatemalan friends and just overall [attempted to] adjust to living in the US once more. 






I would love to tell you how I am just so full of joy to be here once again and that all the friends that I missed while I was in Guatemala have been spending the night so we can bond again and I am just on cloud nine. But, that would be a false statement. I have been an awful daughter. An awful sister. Instead of telling those closest to me [who are also those most interested in my stories] about my adventures, I have chosen to basically sit around feeling sorry for myself that I am not still in Guatemala "living my dream"...























On Tuesday of this past week, I had to attend my orientation at the University I'll be attending in the fall. I can't tell you how many times I considered faking being sick and telling my family I wasn't going to go to the orientation. Then, a couple days later, I planned to bring up the idea of bypassing college altogether, packing up and getting the heck back to Guatemala (where I thought I belonged). The fact I have received several seemingly perfect job offers back in Guatemala seemed so enticing and definitely outweighed the idea of spending four, boring years in college. Then, I read one of my favorite blogs, Hope Engaged and her words just convicted in a way that touched my heart so deeply. Her words just jumped out, grabbing my heart and twisting it around. 


"Sometimes, our calling is boring and there's no confetti." 

What truth. A hard truth, but so much truth nonetheless. For the past two months, I have been living in the mindset of "I can't wait to get out of college as soon as possible so I can get right back on a one-way airplane to Guatemala!" And while this thought process is nice and exciting, there is so much danger living in this mindset. Not only was I not open to the things God could be placing in my life, I almost shut Him and His plans out all together simply so I could do what I wanted. 

I am realizing that college is definitely something that at this point in my life, He is guiding me towards. No matter what things or people in Guatemala seem so much more important to me than a college degree, I will follow where He's leading, because I know He ultimately will work things out for my life so perfectly. 

Now, I just want you to read the article that Katie wrote over at her blog, Hope Engaged. I hope that it encourages, enlightens and convicts you as it did me. 
Much love, 
Olivia



"I'll admit, the last few days I've been viably restless with this season I'm living in right now…mainly, that I'm in grad school. In the last week, a few friends have emailed me some very glamorous job opportunities that literally looked like perfect jobs for Kev and I. One was in Uganda doing really great work with an awesome company, another "required" world travel (as if that isn't the best thing EVER!) doing inspirational work with water all over the globe. I felt a shade depressed that we couldn't just pick up and GO. I tried to reason with God, asking him why I wasn't done with this masters program sooner, because "hello God, this is the perfect job for us, and NOW'S THE TIME!". {cue the Good Lord and his bemusement!}

Not to mention, the world cup is on now and all I want to do is WATCH SOCCER. And then there's the beach, and family reunions, and all my taped "House Hunter International" shows that I still need to watch, and I'm like "why am I in school again??, because everything else looks so much more fun!". And instead, I'm slaving away reading textbooks, discussing in online forums, and punching keys to write papers.  Today I sat sentimental in Kev's lap, and asked him "what am I doing?".

He laughed. And I did too.

Because at the bottom of all of this restlessness, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I'm living into my calling. That I'm fulfilling a dream that God has set deep inside of me. And sometimes our calling requires hard work. Dedication. commitment. And boring days.

I really do believe we were all made for something great. Something full of meaning and purpose that fills our soul with an energy from the one who created LIFE itself. God has given each of us a slice of his Kingdom that we get to bring to earth through our actions and love, kindness and peace.

But sometimes our calling is boring and there's no confetti.

Sweet Jesus was given the greatest calling of them all, to come to this world and love the heck out of us crazy people, die on a cross to bring us ultimate healing and relationship with God, and then reign. He had the most epic of callings,

and yet,

he labored as an obscure carpenter under his father for years. boring. 
he sat at the temples and learned scriptures hours upon hours. boring
he walked around in a desert for 40 days. boring. 

And yet all these boring things prepared him to live his calling. The calling that saved me, saved you. And while these seemingly insignificant tasks were monotonous, yes, and boring, they were life changing for the world, for my very soul.

If you are in a place that you find incredibly boring or routine, take heart! This might be part of the training grounds for some epic calling God may have on your life. I worked a non-profit job for many years that at times was incredibly routine and monotonous (and I may or may not have speculated that my eye balls were going to fall out of my head if I had to look at the computer screen for one more minute!) the experience I gained was the exact skill I was asked to perform over in Nepal for the aftercare home. And that was not boring, but brilliant. But I needed that training before hand to equip and prepare me for something greater.

And so as I labor to gain my masters degree in marriage and family therapy, and become a counselor, I remember that this is my training grounds for something God is stirring deep within my soul. I know that He has something prepared for me that is life altering, that is useful and productive, and that is kingdom building. But for now, my job is to trust him and work hard. To allow Him to pour into me, so that I may pour out love to others.

lean into your calling with hope, expectancy, and faith,
even when it is boring.

Happy day friends!

"set a fire down in my soul, 
that I can't contain, 
and I can't control. 
I need more of you God, 
I need more of you God" 

July 13, 2014

Now is Your Chance!

Good morning, lovelies, 
This past week on Facebook, a friend shared THIS article entitled "The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime". The more I thought about it [and was saddened by the fact I've only been to three of those 50], I realized that now is my chance to see these places. Of course when I'm an old retiree I could decide to embark on a cruise of some sort around some of these places, but it absolutely won't be the same. 

At this point in my life, I am fully capable of hiking volcanoes, speaking foreign languages, zip lining over waterfalls, etc. However when I am an old woman who has the time and the money to travel, I can't exactly see myself doing some of those things. Even though it sometimes seems like it would be a huge risk to travel now [where will I get all the money I need? Will I not graduate college on time if I do the traveling when I want and how I want?], I truly, truly believe that the end result will be far more valuable than the bumps in the road that will occur in the process.

So, without further ado, here is some travel inspiration from some of the top places on my bucket list!

[[via]] Cinque Terre, Italy 


[[via]] Santorini, Greece


[[via]] Madrid, Spain


[[via]] Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


[[via]] Hallstatt, Austria

July 11, 2014

Glam in Global!



Fresh off the plane from my month-long trip to Guatemala, I realized that I had gone on quite the shopping spree in June. Whether I was browsing in the open-air markets or exploring the small pueblos around Lake Atitlan, I feel like I always bought something! Whether it was because I had formed a friendship with the artisan or I just felt like I needed something to remember a special day or location, I was constantly buying jewelry, hair accessories or home decor items. This ended up being a great plan, it just caused quite the problem getting my suitcase closed when it was time to come home! Now, looking back at my purchases, I am so happy I bought so many unique items! Just to be able to wear all my bracelets, rings and headbands together is such a great way for me to be reminded everyday about my friends in Guatemala! My favorite thing about this outfit is that while I can still wear clothing items from trendy stores in the US, I also incorporated my favorites from all over Guatemala into my outfit as well. That is what makes planning outfits fun ~ when there's a personal connection to the items you're wearing. What is your favorite way to remember memories from traveling? Do you like to decorate your house in global goods or wear jewelry from all over the world or something completely different? 
Much love, 
Olivia


// shirt ~ H&M // necklace ~ Maurice's // shorts ~ New York and Company // bracelets ~ Antigua, Guatemala // headband ~ Antigua, Guatemala // shoes ~ Heels Boutique //





June 27, 2014

In EVERY situation??



I opened my journal this morning to write an entry. But before I picked up my pen, I decided to flip through a couple of pages before the one I was currently on. This is what I saw from the past three days…

I have complained to myself about how I have several infections.

I have complained to myself about how I have parasites in my stomach. 

I have complained to myself about how I have two hundred bug bites on my legs alone. 

I have complained to myself about how I can take a shower in the morning and by the time I get off the bus, I smell like body odor because of the seven other smelly people pressed against me in my seat. 

I have complained to myself about how some of my adventures have caused countless scrapes, bruises and cuts all over my body.

I have complained to myself about how the mother next to me on the bus decided to change her baby’s explosive diaper two inches from my nose and mouth. 

Then, I took a step back. Why exactly am I complaining so much? People have told me for years in fact, that I never complain about anything. So why would now be any different? 

Then, it hit me. 

I have never had anything worth complaining about. Sure, my morning coffee has spilled on my shirt or I’ve picked the cart at Target with broken wheels. But, really? Even the most pessimistic people could look at those types of experiences and merely shrug their shoulders and say, “Uhhhh, oh well…”. 

But this, this is the real deal. 

I’m laying on my bed with a severely inflamed stomach from the parasites and have visible bruises from it. And I’m ashamedly reading over my past couple of entries. 

This morning while taking a shower, The Lord really impressed 1 Thessalonians 5:18 on my heart so strongly. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  

‘Seriously, Lord?’ I thought as I rinsed the shampoo out of my hair, ‘Like I can be thankful when my bus is running a couple minutes late or whenever I have to wait for fresh tortillas for a while at the store…but this??!! I stinking feel miserable and I have disgusting things living inside my body!’ 


Now, I haven't studied Thessalonians in a very long time, however, The Lord reminded me that during this time, when Paul wrote this, he was in prison!! He wasn’t livin’ the easy life at this point, either. 

Just that fact alone extremely humbled me. Because, while I’m laying in my bed, having a pity party for myself, Paul is in prison, rejoicing over the sweet name of The Lord. Quite honestly, this is turning into the point of my life where I am growing absolutely so, so much every single day, and I love that…even though it is hard at times. Just to see where He is leading me each and every day is an adventure in itself. 




My day since this morning has been filled with so much of a different outlook. No, I haven’t reached the point yet where I can freely say, “Thank you Jesus for this sickness!", but it definitely has turned my thinking around quite dramatically. 

Even though it's difficult, I am looking to the Lord saying, "Teach me how to thank you in each and every single situation." Thankful for the grace that the Lord continually gives me. 

Much love, 
Olivia 


June 14, 2014

A Note from Guatemala....

I’ve never felt so alive in my life. If I’m telling the truth, it stinks sometimes to be sitting around a table where you have no idea what the heck anyone is saying, because indigenous languages take precedence over Spanish at the dinner table. But then, it’s ok because you start to understand things and it starts to click, and you see the beautiful people and culture that’s right in front of your face and it’s all better. 




I’ve never been in a situation before where I’m the one being laughed at because I don’t understand what’s going on (haha, I’m usually the one doing the laughing…)

I’ve never been in a situation where I feel absolutely useless (trying to understand how to help out at the market? HA! When pigs fly will I understand how they bargain, find that exact bag or headband that they want, close up the shop, etc. 




I’ve never been in a situation where I feel so alive and full of love. Full of love for the incredible people around me and the beautiful culture that I have the privilege of experiencing. 



And finally, I have never been in a situation where I can just tell that everyone around me loves me so well. Everyone. Whether it’s completely going out of their way for me when I’m sick or giving up their time for me, every single person just cares so deeply for me. 

The Lord is teaching and will continue to teach me so much through this experience. First and foremost, He has taught me how to rely solely on Him for everything. First. And by first, I mean that before I go to my friends or other confidantes about anything, I am bringing everything to Him. And I think that that is probably one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned in my entire life. 



Other than having Him teach me things spiritually, He is teaching me so many things about His world He created. For instance, I am just growing so much in my knowledge of Spanish and the culture here in Guatemala. I want to show you part of my journal entry the night before I left for Guatemala. Here it is…


June 4th, 2014 11pm
Be brave. The overarching theme of the Bethel concert last week. Exactly one week ago. Now, when I wake up, I will be flying to Guatemala. Alone. For a month. Not only have I never flown alone before but I have also never been away from my parents for more than a week. This is literally SO nerve-wracking. But at the same time, I am just so completely open to see the opportunities that the Lord has in store for me over the course of this next month. I’m ready to grow, because honestly, I have NO ONE else in the entire world to bring all of my conversations to. When I trip up in my Spanish and have actually no idea what I am saying, or how to get from Point A to Point B, I know that I have an unfailing God who has an unfailing love. Am I scared so much that I don’t even know how to put this into words? Maybe. But is it going to all be ok? Absofrickenlutely. Because I know I’m going into this with a 100% open heart, ready to be taught. Taught in my Spanish skills. Taught culturally. And most importantly, taught by my Father how to trust in Him completely. That’s all. I’m going to bed now because I fly out SUPER early.”






Sometimes, I’ll just look back on this in awe, because what I’ve learned so far is exactly what I was ready for the Lord to teach me. I am so in awe of how every detail, every part of this trip has come together so beautifully, and how clearly the Lord has had His hand on me every step of the way! I just wanted to give you an update on my life, and I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more!

Much love, 

Olivia




 
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