New Years Resolutions + Thoughts on Personal Growth

Image via Tumblr

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is treating you kindly. 

There is something about a new start, even one as arbitrary as a changing year, that makes me feel so optimistic. I am not usually one to write out a list of New Years resolutions, mostly because I am afraid I’ll aim too high or too low and set myself up for failure. For example–if I set a goal to work out every day and I can’t make that happen, then I’ve failed. But if I set a goal to work out once a week, am I selling myself short? Or worse, what if I can’t even manage my “safety” goal and then really feel like a failure? 

Yeah, I’m probably over-thinking it. So I don’t set resolutions. But I am participating in 21 days of prayer and fasting with my church, and I notice that I have been praying for specific things and ways I would like to grow this year. Which I guess are resolutions in their own way, just not ones that you could quantify in a list.

One realization I’ve had during this time of daily prayer and scripture is that I’ve been living my life with a spirit of fear. This isn’t really news to me or anyone who knows me well. I have always been anxious, since I was a child, and it’s something that I struggle with. There are good weeks and bad weeks, but there is always that anxiety lingering just below the surface even on the good weeks. 

BUT God really revealed to me just how much I have been letting fear consume me and determine my decisions in ways that I didn’t even realize. I have been dwelling on my regrets lately, and looking back on decisions I made out of fear and distrust, rather than making the decision that was best for me. I don’t want to live that way, so I’ve been taking small steps to live without unnecessary fear and anxiety–especially over things that don’t matter. This is just the start of a long process, but I already feel great about it and excited to continue to grow.

Do you make resolutions, or do you have a theme for 2017? In what ways are you hoping to improve this year? Leave a comment below and let me know!


– Hannah 

Casual Christmas

My dad’s side of the family has a tradition where we all get together, usually the week before Christmas, and have a nice meal together and open presents from our grandparents. Many of my cousins are now in college and we’re spread out over the country, and I love that most of us are still able to gather together once a year. 

This Christmas party is more on the casual side–cozy sweaters, jeans, t-shirt dresses–and most holiday blog posts I’ve seen are geared toward very dressy events. I thought I would share my laid-back, casual Christmas outfit if you are looking for a way to wear Christmas colors without looking like a Christmas tree. This olive green is more muted than the bright green usually associated with this time of year, and this dress is so comfortable and inexpensive! 

Dress: H&M // Tights: Uniqlo // Shoes: Nasty Gal // Bag: Fossil 

– Hannah

Trends Two Ways: Fishnets

Every year on Black Friday my goal is to get Christmas shopping done and not get caught up in buying things for myself. I did a decent job this year (I actually bought most Christmas gifts online) but I couldn’t resist a new pair of jeans from H&M. And then, on a whim, a pair of fishnet tights. 

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a pair if fishnet socks for some time, but I don’t have the right pair of shoes to wear them with. So then I would have to buy new shoes to go with them. And probably some cropped pants to show off the socks. And by that time it’s a downward spiral like that children’s book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” 

But fishnet tights reminded me a bit too much of the Hot Topic years. They seemed like more of a committment than just the socks. I was a bit intimidated. And I received a lot of questions from frienda and family, because I wore the tights in Pennsylvania over the holiday and not NY, where I could wear a paper mache bird on my head and no one would bat an eye. Are fishnet tights trendy again? Can they be worn on nice occasions or are they still “grungy” and “edgy”?  And, my favorite, “Oh, were you out fishing before you came to this party?” 

So I wore the fishnets with two very different outfits, not with the intention of writing a blog post about it but because I’m obsessed with them. 

Outfit 1: This outfit is one of my all-time favorites. It’s all a little bit baggy, maybe edgy, and very comfortable. I really like the look of patterned tights under ripped jeans, and what seems like an intentional fashion statement doubles as a trick to keep your legs warm. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ve probably picked up that I am all about comfort, or functionality if you will, so I love everything about this outfit. My best friend complimented it but also made fun of it, so the jury is still out on how cool it actually looks. 

Top: Zara / Jeans: H&M / Fishnet tights: H&M / Boots: Nasty Gal / Bag: Fossil

Outfit 2: Same boots and tights, paired with a velvet skirt, black sweater, and my mom’s jacket for a mom of color (but actually because I couldn’t find my own black jacket). This outfit is more festive and less edgy, and I was surprised by how much I liked the tights even when there were no pants covering them. 

It’s safe to say I’m sold on this trend. What do you think about fishnet tights and socks making a come-back? Which outfit is your favorite? Let me know! 


– Hannah 

My go-to brow products

Before I start this post, let’s get one thing straight. By no means do I think I have perfect eyebrows. I have a long history of brow problems, starting when I was thirteen and wanted to “shape” my brows because I had read something about it in Tiger Beat magazine–which, for those of you who don’t know, was the authoritative guide on how to get Zac Efron to fall in love with you–and I wanted to be desirable to the likes of Zac Efron. I decided to use small grooming scissors to “trim” my eyebrows, which I did right in the middle of my arch (???? Baby Hannah what were you thinking ????) on the day I was getting my annual pictures taken probably at Sear’s (School Picture Day for homeschoolers). 

So when I present you with these brow products, I need you to know that I did not just pick these willy-nilly because Glossier packaging is perfect (even though it is) or because Kiss NY Professional so kindly sent me their brow pencil to try* (even though they did). I have agonized over finding the perfect brow products for years and I am finally at a place where I feel pretty darn good about how my eyebrows look. Yes, sometimes mistakes are made and I imagine that I could be Brooke Shields and I draw them on a little too heavy and I look back on pictures and cringe because even though bold eyebrows are trendy I don’t think anything on your face should be a “trend.” But most days my brows frame my face and I get compliments on them and people ask me what brow products I use and how I use them. So without further ado, here we go. 

Here is my baby face without eye makeup. As you can see, my brows are trying their best to frame my eyes, but they need a little bit of help. I fill them in using Top Brow from Kiss New York Professional. I’ve tried several eye pencils from high end and drugstore brands, and this is my favorite because both the pencil and the spoolie (the end that looks like a mascara wand that you use to comb your brows) are very thin, which gives you a lot of control and precision when filling in your brows. The consistency of the pencil is also not too powdery or too waxy. 

Here is what my brows look like after filling them in with the Kiss NY Pro pencil and combing them through. I tried to take a few pictures of how I fill them in, but I look way too intense. Clearly I take eyebrows very seriously. Sometimes I leave them like this, but often I go over them with a coat of Boy Brow from Glossier to darken them. 

I’m not sure if the difference is discernable to you, but to me the addition of Boy Brow makes my brows just a little more defined and a bit darker and closer to my hair color. 

I’m not kidding about how much I love these products. The Kiss NY Pro pencil has gotten so much use that the writing is almost completely smudged off. Let me know if you’ve tried either of these, or your favorite brow products are! 


– Hannah 
* I am not paid to write about any products mentioned in this post. The Kiss NY Pro pencil was provided for me to test. All opinions are my own. 

Breaking the RulesĀ 

Pants: Aeropostale // Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell // Bag: Fossil // Bandana: PacSun 

When I was growing up, I remember there being a lot of rules about what you could and couldn’t wear. No white shoes or pants after Labor Day. Black and brown don’t mix. No socks with sandals. While these aren’t necessarily bad things (Why are you wearing sandals if your feet are cold enough for socks? Why?) I’m glad that the fashion world is evolving and there aren’t so many rules any more. I think that’s due, in part, to bloggers making fashion accessible to everyone. Vogue recently criticized bloggers during Fashion Week, proving that there is still some push-back from the fashion industry, but for years now bloggers and Instagram influencers have been making waves in democritizing fashion and breaking the rules. I’m glad they have paved the way and helped those of us who followed in their footsteps feel fine about mixing black and navy. And hey, sometimes you just want to wear your white pants after Labor Day. 


– Hannah

I don’t know what I’m doing and it’s okay

If you know me in real life or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that last week I turned 22. I posted a picture with the obligatory Taylor Swift caption about feeling “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” 

But if I’m being honest, I’m mostly just confused and lonely. 

Don’t get me wrong. I had a great birthday that I spent with one of my closest friends at some of my favorite places, and my friends who couldn’t be there sent love from all over the world. I received so many heartfelt presents and kind words (and for someone whose love language is words of affirmation, sometimes that is truly the best gift!). 

But overall I’ve felt like I have no direction. I don’t know what I want, and I am paralyzed by fear when anyone asks me about my goals, or my plans now that I’ve graduated, or why I moved back to New York, or if I’ll move to Austraia to be with Josiah–

Honestly, just writing down all of those things freaks me out! I have no idea what I’m doing and I feel like I should. When I look through old journal entries or at pictures from when I was 16, I don’t recognize that person. She knew what she wanted, she was willing to work hard to get there, and she made a plan so it would all come together. And she had a vision for the future. If you had asked 16-year-old Hannah what 22-year-old Hannah was up to, she would’ve said that I’d be married, settled down, working as a photographer, living the NYC dream. 

I am none of those things, but I still cling to that identity that I imagined for myself so long ago, under such different circumstances. Sometimes who you thought you would be feels more real than who you actually are. 

But in the midst of this emotional turmoil, I feel so grateful to have friends who remind me that it’s okay. They don’t know what they’re doing either. Even if they are married or have their dream job or live in the perfect apartment, there are still parts of their lives that are messy and painful and lonely. And, most important, that God is the only source of actual contentment, no matter what stage of life you’re in. 

I am generally a private, guarded person, so it makes me very nervous to post these vulnerable thoughts on a blog that anyone I know (or don’t know) can read. But if it encourages even one person then it’s worth it. I don’t want anyone to look at my Instagram or blog and think I’m living some glamorous New York City dream life. I’m just working hard and doing my best, like you.


– Hannah   

Marc Jacobs Air Blush Review

There’s been a lot of buzz in the beauty world about the new Marc Jacobs air blush. I was lucky enough to receive this product through Influenster to test out, so I thought I would post a quick review for you! 

I am obsessed with Marc Jacobs perfume–Daisy Dream is the perfect scent–but I haven’t tried much of the makeup line, so I was very excited to try out the air blush duo. The shade I received is “kink and kisses” and it’s a beautiful peachy-pink that I find very flattering. The texture of the blush is soft and velvety, and super pigmented. 

This blush is meant to be used for “draping,” which is basically contouring with blush. The idea is that you sculpt with color, rather than creating the illusion of shadows with bronzer or a matte brown contour. I made an attempt at this, but I’m pale and naturally pink, so honestly I just looked sunburnt. My preferred method is to slide my blush brush through the powder to get a stripe of the lighter shade on top and the darker shade on the bottom, rather than blending the two colors together. Then I run that along my cheeka above my bronzer. The result is similar to using a highlight and blush at the same time, and it makes my face appear glowy and fresh. 

This blush is available at Sephora and retails for $42. Let me know if you’ve tried it or have used blush for “draping” and if you have any tips! 


– Hannah