March 26, 2013

Don't forget about me, I'm still down here

dancing at our wedding

I woke to my alarm this morning, and for a blissful and fleeting moment, I'd forgotten everything. That sweet ignorance before you're fully awake and aware, while everything is still warm and safe and OK.  But realization soon washed over me, and I remembered. My grandma passed away yesterday. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. A blood vessel burst in her brain. My grandpa found her collapsed in their home in Oregon on Sunday, and ten or so minutes after my mom arrived at the hospital to join her dad and brother Monday afternoon, my grandma was gone. She'd been waiting for her family to all be there, it seemed.

I tend to deal with grief by getting angry. After Edd passed, one year ago tomorrow, I would get angry when friends or aqcuaintances felt what I thought was an inappropriate level of grief for an "old" person. They'd lived a long life, they'd had what everyone hopes for. Their time wasn't cut short at a too-young age, like Edd's was and like many others younger than even him. We all hope to live to be old, right? And death is a natural part of life. That should provide some solace and peace, I thought. And it does, a little, but I now have more compassion and the understanding that a loss is a loss, no matter how full the life. This loss of my Grandma, my sweet, sweet and wonderful Grandma whom I just saw three weeks ago, has been a kick in the stomach that has left me without breath. With Edd it was horrible and traumatic and I cried a million tears, but there was time to emotionally prepare, in a way. But my Grandma was perfect and healthy one moment, and dying and gone the next.

I had such a wonderful time with her when they visited three weeks ago... she had an extra sweetness about her, and a few times while she was here she wrapped me up in a hug that lingered, and she rocked me back and forth and said "I love you sooooo much." I held her arms and told her how very soft her skin was and that she smelled like Grandma (my favorite smell). She showed me her new Kindle Fire (she always had the latest technology... coolest Grandma ever), and we had Hungarian Beef and Cabbage their last night here, and talked about the past and their memories. The next day I wrote this post, and my mom found it printed out on their kitchen counter when she got there yesterday.

I just can't believe my dear and wonderful Grandma is gone, the kindest woman I've known. A part of my life my whole life. I took her for granted. Never thought she'd go this soon. My sweet, sweet Grandma. My heart breaks for my Grandpa, who will be lost without her after 60 total years together, and for my mom... to suffer this incredible loss at exactly the one year mark since she lost her husband. "I lost my two greatest fans," she said. And it seems so unfair and so random and so mean. It makes me angry. I hope to come away from this place of anger, because I don't like to be here.

I had planned to write a one year memorial post for Edd this week, but I think now I need to just take a little time off from blogging. The rest of the week, at least, and then we'll see.

This song below is beautiful and a huge comfort. Last night I took a bath to calm me and sipped a glass of wine left over from the bottle of my Grandma's Beringer White Zinfandel, her favorite.  There was just enough left for one big glass, and I needed that last night. Thanks for saving it for me, Grandma. And I listened to this song, and my tears were as hot as the bath water and wouldn't stop coming.

In the Holy Kingdom 
angels sing a hymn
For all your good behavior 
they handed you your crown and wings
You don’t feel the sorrow; 
there’s no pain or fear
Don’t forget about me, don’t forget about me
I’m still down here 
in the shadowland, here where there’s doubt
Here where we must learn to live 
with what we live without

PS - thank you all for your incredibly kind comments on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook yesterday. I appreciated them all more than you'll ever know.

March 25, 2013

Only pictures

"Spot the Hot Black and White Polka Dot Dress": c/o Lulu' (discount code STORYOFMYLIFE for 15% off your order through Friday, 3/29), Sweater and Hat: Banana Republic, Boots: Franco Sarto, Necklace and Belt: J.Crew

March 22, 2013

Hope for Spring

What are your wildest dreams? What is your ideal life? What are you doing to get in your own way?

These are questions I'm asking myself this morning. Discontentment and fear have crept their way in lately, and I want to sweep them out and enjoy my life in all its unpredictability as beautiful spring in Texas floods in. In just a few short days it is the one year anniversary of Edd leaving us. That memory has certainly left its mark. But if I learned anything from Edd (which I did... many things), it was that circumstances are just things that happen along a life, and attitude and what you make of it is what shapes your experience. Your attitude is the only thing that no set of circumstances, no person, can ever change (except for you).  Your attitude changes the way you see, feel, and experience life. Can you imagine that? Just changing your thoughts changes your life.

This spring, I want to really write more
ride my yellow bike more
eat one hundred times more fruit and veggies
get really, really busy with my biz
promote more amazing brands I'm proud of on SOML and produce still better content
do things that scare me and that are hard
love the people in my life better.

This spring, as winter drifts away and the new season promises flowers and sunshine and rebirth and beauty, vow to change the way you see and relate in your world, because only then your world will change.

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Featured sponsors! Here we go!

Miss Cortne of Coco in Magnolia is a blogger/mama over in the Houston, Texas area, and one of the first things I noticed about her blog is how important family is to her. I enjoy her "mindful moments" posts and the way her fun personality shines through her words (and I completely agree on the pet cuddling, Cortne!). :) Cortne is a newer blogger (just out of the womb, as she puts it!), so go say hello and welcome her to the (Blog) World. :)


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Emily is the brains behind Tales for Karina Marie, a life and style blog inspired by her best friend who passed away several years ago. Emily has adorable and distinct style (even features her roommate's outfits sometimes, which I think is cute!), great hair, and, um, how can you not love her for posting about Eddie Redmayne today?!  Juuuust sayin. ;)

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Last but not least is pretty Laura, the mastermind behind VivaGlamx3. Laura lives in beautiful Bruges, Belgium, is expecting a baby, and blogs primarily about her fabulous beauty finds. If you love to discover great new beauty products, VivaGlamx3 is the blog to read. Learn a little more about Laura right over here, and get poking around her blog for some great new beauty inspiration!

March 21, 2013

More than 5 things.

facial expression gold.

I'm no Martha Stewart.

No, really.

I don't like cooking all that much. I hate the time it takes to prep and clean. As mealtimes or planning for a trip to the grocery store approaches, I tend to feel a sense of anxiety/desperation because I truly despise the process most of the time. However, I do enjoy eating delicious food. Most especially when someone else made it.

I don't know how to knit. Or sew.

I don't do crafts.

I don't do calligraphy. I can't write straight without lines to save my life.

I don't keep an ultra clean home. I LOVE an ultra clean home. Almost nothing makes me happier. But it's the keeping it clean part where there seems to be a disconnect. I think this point (and the cooking one) have directly to do with my personality type. Everything I've read about ENFPs tells me we have lots of trouble with the trivial drudgery of everyday life. Oh, and apparently we suck at follow through. But we're SUCH nice people. :)   (take the personality test here.)

I have a piano I never play. I quit my lessons around age 12, and I regret that all the time.

I don't have a particularly unique sense of style. Choosing outfits that are "blog worthy" stresses me out.

I'm oh-so-painfully normal.

I chew ice, love rap, don't always keep my fingernails perfectly manicured and painted (see: trivial drudgery), have a real penchant for spilling/splattering/dripping something greasy or permanently staining on new/expensive clothes (often on the very first wear), hate running, and like to leave spiders in the corners because they eat other bugs. That's like built-in pest control, right? And free?


I'm really good at making people feel comfortable and accepted and admired. I'm really good at empathy. Putting myself in others' shoes. I'm really good at communication and diplomacy. I can smooth over a rough situation with relative ease, because I'm good at words. I'm really good at putting my mind to something and getting it done (obviously I just don't put my mind to the points mentioned above).  I work really hard at things I'm passionate about. I'm exceedingly loyal, and I will fight for people I love. I have an excellent sense of humor and positive attitude. I see life in photographs. The glass is always half full. (unless I'm PMSing. Then the glass is stupid and I hate the glass and its contents and also my life and you are probably bothering me.) If someone says something and I'm not sure what they meant by it, I assume they meant the best. I see both sides of every story, to a fault. I have trouble taking a strong position on anything because of it, but I'm OK with that.

And I think it's good.... it's all good. Not sewing, not being perfectly stylish, not loving to cook, being kind, thinking about how others might feel, expecting the best from people. It's all just a part of who I am. Some of the negatives I'll work on. The positives I'll be proud of. We are who we are.

And that's my more than 5 things.

March 20, 2013


The other day I was driving down west 6th street, and I had to do a double take when I saw this crazy cool looking new restaurant to my left, which I never remembered seeing there before. I only saw it for a quick second driving by (and it was dark out already), but the lights on the trees and from the cool modern lanterns lit the whole place up, and it totally looked hopping and awesome. I knew I needed to be there immediately. 

My wonderful sister-in-law, Kelsey, just moved here from San Diego, and I'm so thrilled to have a new partner in crime for experiencing some of these great places around town (but don't worry Mom, you're not replaced!). ;) Enjoy a few photos from Winflo, and if you're in town, GO!

(PS - we had a couple delicious cocktails, a salad, and shared pasta and meatballs and the best brussels sprouts. The cuisine is Italian, but the atmosphere is all Austin). :)

March 19, 2013

Tailor and Stylist Spring Lookbook giveaway

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I'm excited to announce a $50 shop credit giveaway in honor of the new spring Lookbook over at Tailor and Stylist. This company has taken the web by storm with their beautiful, unique, and affordable designs chosen by the owners - a husband and wife tailor/stylist team! Sweet, right? This company has heart, and I have had such a pleasure working with them (see a few pieces I've styled here, here, here, and here!).  Check out their new spring Lookbook below, or click here for a page where you can pin photos from the Lookbook to enter the giveaway. Good luck! :)

A note from T&S: The Tailor & Stylist Spring 2013 Lookbook was shot at a magical English garden, where artists live in an Airstream, bathe in outdoor clawfoot tubs, and create amongst koi ponds and lush foliage.  We were inspired by the Maya Angelou poem "Phenomenal Woman" for this lookbook because there is so much beauty in every single woman - and we hope that our lookbook celebrates every facet of feminine beauty.  The lookbook features the T&S spin on spring's classiest trends, including ruffles, black & white, and nautical inspirations. 

March 18, 2013

Life updates and green pants for St. Patty

This song is soothing and inspiring to me this morning. To be honest with you, my world is a little shaken up right now. I'm feeling uninspired, and a couple things are going on behind the scenes that are scary/exciting/new/different, and the emotion it takes to process them is leaving me depleted in other ways. You know? I wish I could talk more about it now, but I can't just yet. Ooh, suspense! ;)

Matthew is back to the law school grind today after a week of spring break. We both laid pretty low and got work done and finished up the last season of Downton Abbey (three words: what. the. eff.), but now, as this new week kicks off, I plan to pick myself up out of this funk, and that'll be that! Funk, be gone! 

Here's my St. Patty's Day outfit. To put things in perspective, I wore it to this field, and then I cooked dinner in it, and then I changed back into my pajamas. It's an exciting life I lead... :)

{ Shirt: J.Crew, Pants: Gap, Jacket: Loft, Flats: c/o Tailor and Stylist (10% off your purchase with the code storyofmylife10) }

March 15, 2013

Weekend reading

Happy Friday everyone, and thank you all for the wonderful support for my new website yesterday! It was an exciting little step for me, and I was so happy to share it with you. :)

I'm going to get right to my sponsor features this morning, so please stop in and say hello to these fine ladies if you have a moment. Have a great weekend!

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First up is the absolutely lovely miss Jill of a blog called Olive Heart. Jill is a writer, waitress on the side, and single mama to adorable little Jax. Her lifestyle blog is honest and refreshing (see: "the courage to quit")! Jill's post today is a wonderful introduction to her life and blog, so check it out and don't forget to let her know you stopped by.

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Maureen is the mastermind behind She Is Moments, a sweet blog based in Washington D.C. (check out her CUTE apartment here!). Maureen shares recipes and information about eating paleo, cute posts like here "advice to me at 23," or the "if you really knew me" post that was going around there for a while. A great way to get to know her, actually! Maureen, you're a gem. :)

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Last but least is beautiful Jessica of Team Wiking (which rhymes with Viking!).  Jessica is a full time photographer, wife, and mom in the San Francisco Bay area, and her posts and photos have an artistic and ethereal quality to them... you will love browsing her archives! Also, how cute and genius is this DIY chalk circle post? Nice work, Team Wiking! ;) Check it out! 

March 14, 2013

j. noel photography website launch!

I've been a bit of a failure when it comes to blogging this week, partially because Matthew is home on spring break right now (!!!) and partially because I've been working away at my official photography biz website! I am SO excited to finally reveal it. It just feels so much more legit to have an actual dot com and a real portfolio together, you know? This business has been my baby for some time now, and I'm so happy to see it "growing up," if you will. I know I have so much more to learn when it comes to photography, but I am so proud of how far I've come since last summer when I started offering sessions for the first time, and I am so excited to see how far I will still go. Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me and given me opportunities to exercise and hone my passion. :)

Without further ado, I give you...

It's simple, clean, and does what I need it to do: showcase my work. :) I am not too proud to ask for help, so if you or anyone you know is in Austin, San Antonio, or the surrounding areas and wouldn't mind helping me spread the word about my business, I would be eternally grateful. Word-of-mouth advertising is a photographer's number ONE referrer! A Facebook share would be simply fantastic.  And do please let me know if you have any issues viewing the website on your various devices or computers. I am having trouble on the iPad right now, but hopefully that's just me and not everyone. We'll see.  THANK YOU! :)

March 13, 2013

Playing dress-up with Lilly Pulitzer

"Nina Dress" here

Happy Hump Day everyone! I'd like to dedicate one more post to this weekend's Texas Style Council events, then we'll get back to our regularly scheduled programming. :) 

This weekend during the shop-hop, I had the absolute pleasure of working as in-store blog hostess for Lilly Pulitzer, which is basically the girly-girl's dream shop for beautiful, bright dresses that just scream femininity and fun. I can't admit to being too terribly familiar with Lilly Pulitzer before the weekend, but the girls in the store made me feel right at home and I even got to try on a few dresses that had just arrived and weren't even on the floor yet! It was really just so much fun, and I have to thank manager Erin and all the girls at the store for being so sweet. I so thoroughly enjoyed playing dress up, eating cupcakes, and drinking bellinis with you! Let's do it again some day! :)

left: Freja Dress // right: Lacina Dress

I think this dress was my favorite - it had carrots on it!!! Thanks again for having me, Lilly! :)

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