Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! 2014

Food for thought:

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

--G.K. Chesterton


Hope you all had a wondrous holiday, complete with all the beautiful people and delicious food your heart and stomach could hold. 

If you want, please leave one special thing you're thankful for below. I'll go first...

This year I am thankful for YOU-- all twenty-two of my fabulous followers. You bring a spark of happiness to me with each one of your comments. I love doing this blog, and you guys give me motivation to keep going.

xoxo,
Ireland

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Road Not Taken // Outfit Post


Happy Tuesday, everyone! The title of today's post comes from a famous Robert Frost poem about a man who, coming to a fork in the road, must to decide which one to take. Neither road is more worn than the other, but when the man is relating the story later on, he says he took the one less traveled by.



 


 


 Overall, I think it's a lovely, melancholic poem. It makes me want to gently sway back in forth in the fresh, sweet-smelling air of late spring. But I think it's sad that the man feels the need to say he took the road less traveled by-- the road not taken-- when he didn't. Sometimes we make decisions that we aren't 100% sure of, but God's hand is always guiding us. We only need to pause... and listen.


Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

xoxo,

Ireland

Styling Credits: Karen Headrick
 
Outfit Credits:



Monday, November 17, 2014

Halloween 2014 Photoblog


Rusty black gate down the road: perfect photo op for Halloween! As you can see, Jeffrey was a skeleton and I was a pirate (again).

 

Here he is with one of his friends from kindergarten. Oh, to be six years old again! :P



There is no way to properly caption this picture.
 

 I know it's a little late, but here are some pictures from Halloween! After having a mini-photo-session near a spooky-looking gate at the end of our street, we took my brother Jeffrey to a trunk-or-treat at a nearby church. He had a blast, and he and I spent a good four minutes trapped in a hamster wheel together. We also played a game with chocolate- and lemon-cupcakes as prizes and took a hay ride across the Wrightsville Beach area. Jeffrey said it was the best Halloween ever, and hey, I got a cupcake out of it, so I'd say it was a win-win scenario!

Now that Halloween is over, I can't wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas! What kind of plans are you making for the holiday season so far?

xoxo,


Ireland



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday is Girl's Day.











Yesterday my mom and I got to spend several hours doing girly things together, starting with hair and makeup. For some reason, it can start to feel like a chore to do it myself every morning. So, when my mom or a friend decides to make me over, I'm more than happy to oblige. And I'm also reminded me why I put effort into my appearance in the first place...
 
Because it's fun. Because it makes me feel like a teenage girl. Because it helps me see how I am becoming a woman. It's a confidence boost and a pick-me-up, and while it's certainly not the end-all-be-all of life, I love that I get to do it. It's also nice to think that one day, if/when I have a daughter, I'll get to show her how to put on mascara for the first time... how to curl her hair without creasing it... and how to how to shop and have fun without spending a fortune.

But even if that never happens, I'm so thankful that I have shared those experiences with my mom. In a world desperately in need of female role models, she is mine. Not every girl is so lucky, and I'm learning to never take her for granted.

xoxo,
Ireland

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Popular Culture

I find it saddening that so many celebrities today are exploiting their bodies and acting as if it's cool.

These people are at the forefront of popular culture.

They have enormous influence.
 
And they're wasting it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Love Is The Movement // Outfit Post






Bonjour, mes amies! I hope this week is treating you well so far. Today, I got to watch some upper-level drama students at my school perform a parody-play of Little Women. It was very interesting... but if I had to choose, I definitely prefer the book. LW is my all-time favorite work of fiction, so unfortunately, they were hard-pressed to impress me today :) Theatre has been a really cool experience for me this year; I hope to continue with it through high school, and maybe in college, too.

These outfit pictures were taken last weekend, and I liked how most of them turned out. (Just please excuse the squinty eyes... I was looking directly up at the sun, you know how it is.) I think this look has equal measures of cool and professional. As you can see in the pictures, the skirt can be dressed up with a black flyaway cardigan or toned down with a denim jacket. Personally, I like the cardigan better... it adds more class to the look. But that's just me. What do you think?

As always, feel free to leave as many comments as you want. I love reading every one of them.

xoxo,
Ireland

Outfit Credits:
Blue tee: ?, via Marshalls
Flyaway cardi: BCBGMaxAzria via Marshalls
Denim jacket: Old Navy
Skirt: Raefaella, borrowed
Heels: Colin Stuart, secondhand
Earrings: gift

Monday, November 3, 2014

Today Will Soon Be Gone // Outfit Post

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start. I am already knee-deep in homework and AP Theory, but this is one of the weeks where I don't mind that much.


I wore this outfit last weekend, just a few days before the temperature completely dropped and I had to dig out my winter coat. Here's the thing: I live at the beach now. When we lived in Tennessee, I expected cold weather, to a certain extent. But the beach... Doesn't it make sense that the beach would always be 85 degrees and sunny? Why do I still have a need for coats and sweaters and scarves and boots?
 
Not that I mind the coats and sweaters and scarves and boots. I don't. Some of them are quite fun to wear. But the cold...
 
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining; I'm just feeling pensive. Either that or I should have worn thicker socks today.
 
What do you think about fall and winter (I know they have a lot of pluses)? What's your favorite season?
Xoxo,
Ireland


 
Outfit Credits:
Sweater: Hollister
Maxi skirt: Charlotte Russe
Charm bracelet: gift from my great-uncle, from Paris
Headband: ?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween everybody! As you know, I am a big fan of costumes, so I find Halloween a very fun holiday. We have made tentative plans to go to a trunk-or-treat tonight at a church near Jeffrey's school, and I'm looking forward to seeing him experience Halloween like only a six-year-old can. I think I might throw a costume together last minute, or I will be a pirate for the third year in a row. Either way, once I finish my AP Music Theory homework (which is inconveniently due online at 11:59pm tonight), I'll get to start prepping for the festivities.

I know I've been a little MIA this month, but I want you to know I've already got some stuff in the works for November! Hopefully I'll get back into the blogging swing-of-things and we can end 2014 with a bang. Wow, I just realized there are only two more months left in 2014! That is such a crazy thought. So much has happened in the last year, everything is swimming in my brain!

Let's toast to a fun, candy-filled weekend... Love you guys!
xoxo,
Ireland


P.S. The picture above is from last year. From left: me, Jeffrey, my cousins Millie and Everett, and my mom.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fifteen // Music Monday

Well, today is a very special day for me... it's my fifteenth birthday! And because of this, I feel I have no choice but to flashback to 2009 and post Taylor Swift's "Fifteen" video.




There is a sweetness about this song that always makes me feel good inside, even when I'm having a rough day. And while my story is a little different from hers, the song is still so relatable and comforting. I love that. And I hope you do too.

xoxo,
Ireland

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The World Was Young // Outfit Post



It's hard to believe that it is the 11th and this is only my first post of the month! I have been under so many school-related deadlines that I haven't had time to take outfit pictures or blog lately, but I'm going to be more regular in the future. Starting in May.
 
Just kidding.
 
Sort of.

 
Anyway, for my first formal speech this year on Tuesday, I had to dress "professionally", so I channeled my inner businesswoman and matched my dress to my jacket and my belt to my shoes. When I got to school, my hair was clipped up (as you can see in these pictures), but one of the girls in my theatre class French-braided it for a performance, and I left it up for the rest of the day. I LOVE having my hair braided, and I can't do it myself, so whenever someone offers, I'm like YES.

Happy weekend-ing.

xoxo,

Ireland
 
 Outfit Credits:
Dress: Cynthia Rowley
Flyaway sweater: BCBGMaxAzria
Belt: Kenneth Cole Reaction
Shoes: Vince Camuto
Watch: grandmother's jewelry box
 
Title Credit:
"Beautiful" by Ben Rector

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Can Just Be Me // Music Monday

 "I Can Just Be Me" by Laura Story speaks to me on a very personal level. I don't know what was going through her mind when she wrote the song, but I know that when I listen to it, I think about all the areas in my life where I just don't feel enough, and I remember that God is already enough for me. And then I can breathe a little bit more.
 
Laura Story- I Can Just Be Me- Live Video
 
 
 
Laura Story- I Can Just Be Me- Lyric Video
 
 

Watch the videos and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you.
 
 
xoxo,
Ireland

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Coming to you from Wrightsville Beach...




 But not actually the BEACH, of course! These pictures were taken at a cool little spot right past the Wrightsville bridge, which, incidentally, has some of the only free parking around. I loved the pictures and just wanted to share them with you!

xoxo,
Ireland

P.S. I just noticed that this a rather short post. Eh, that's okay. It's mainly about the photography anyway.
 
 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Light In His Smile (All of It)

 

In case you missed the piece I wrote on my brother this week, I have posted both of the links (for Part 1 and 2) below.

Part 1
Part 2

Also, I wanted to thank you guys for your wonderful, warm comments in response to these last two posts. They mean so much to me.

xoxo,
Ireland
 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Light In His Smile: Part 2 (Personal Reflections)



Did you catch Part 1 of the piece I wrote on my little brother? If not, click here before you continue reading.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It hurts me to know that someday, someone will break Jeffrey’s heart. Someday, his life will fall apart, and he won’t know how to put it back together. Someday, I’ll pass him in the hallway between our two bedrooms and notice that the light in his smile has grown dim.

When that happens, I will remember his first day of kindergarten, and I will hug that memory around my soul. I will know that while his light may grow dim from time to time, it will never be extinguished. One day, it will come back in a beautiful, blazing fury, marked by the newfound maturity that comes from knowing great loss. His scars will remind him of what he has been through, but they will never define him. They can’t.

In my fourteen years of life, one of the most important things I have learned is that we are a broken people. We face extreme heartache and make haunting mistakes… but we are not defined by our past. Life is more than a series of meaningless events, and even the most difficult things we face can be used to make us stronger.

I believe that everyone has grand potential within them, and I trust that Jeffrey will make good use of his. Sometimes I look at him, see my younger self, and become afraid for both of us. But then I remember that no matter how hard life gets, we will always have each other.

And for now…

That’s enough.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My brother means the world to me, and I know I would sacrifice for him if I needed to. Is there someone in your life with whom you share that kind of bond? That should be our goal as Christians, anyway, to lay down our lives for our friends. I have a longlonglong way to go, but I think I'm getting closer.

Think about it, and if you wouldn't mind sharing, I would love to hear from you!

xoxo,
Ireland


*Some details (names, etc.) have been changes for privacy purposes.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Light In His Smile: Part 1 (Personal Reflections)



The following is Part 1 of 2 of a piece that I wrote about my little brother. His birthday is this week, so this is in honor of him.

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As I walk into Bellamy Elementary on my brother Jeffrey’s first "real" day of school, I smile, knowing that the next six years of his life will be more special than he knows. The hallways are enchanted with the glittery optimism of first-time students, and for one fleeting moment, I am five years old again. The world is new and exciting and beautiful, and there is nothing anyone can do to break me. Life is uncomplicated, the right thing is obvious, and loving others is easy. I’m not afraid of getting hurt, because I’ve never been hurt before.

When I come back to reality, I turn and see Jeffrey trailing behind me with our dad. I watch as he marvels at a pair of clownfish in a fish tank, and I smile when he finds his name on a bulletin board next to Room 111. Being at Bellamy reminds me how much I love the blatant joy and unaffectedness of little children. Their innocence is sacred, and I never want that to be taken away from my brother.

Jeffrey is my only sibling, and I am nine years older than him. Sometimes we bicker, sometimes we fight, and sometimes he drives me crazy, but I love him. He is an incredibly special, joyous human being, and his outlook on life is so refreshing. Many people fail to appreciate the simple mindsets of little children; if adults handled issues with half as much transparency, I think the world would be much better off for it.

We turn left and end up inside a nicely sized classroom with colorful posters on the wall. I listen to the soft chatter of his new classmates and look around for his new teacher, Mrs. Hooper. She shows us where to find his morning work and he sits down next to a boy named Carlos.

I watch Jeffrey unpack his bag, and staring me in the face is the fact that someday, my little brother won’t be so little anymore. Today he is starting kindergarten, but one day he will be graduating. I am a junior in high school, and when I look back on my life, I see a rollercoaster of ups and downs. It’s scary to think that before long, my little brother is going to be facing the same issues that I do.

As I give Jeffrey a last hug and kiss goodbye, I drink in the innocence and beauty of the children that surround me. I regret not making every second of my childhood count.  I pray that God will take care of my little brother, the brother that means so much to me, and then I slip out of the classroom with my dad.

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Come back Tuesday for the second part of this story! :) As always, I love hearing your thoughts in the comments.

xoxo,
Ireland


Disclaimer: Some details (names, etc.) have been changes for privacy purposes.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Morning Jogs & Mile Markers

 
Since school started a month ago, staying in shape has taken a backseat to the piles of homework that I have accumulated. I'm trying to carve out some time for physical activity, though, because without it I have been feeling kind of sluggish. Anyway, when I woke up this morning, I decided that I just had to go jogging after breakfast, and I'm so glad I stuck to my resolve.
 
There is a trail behind the neighborhood I live in that goes through the woods on one side and comes out on the water. As I alternated between the gravel and paved roads, I realized for the umpteenth time how gorgeous this area is. Check out some of the pictures I took:
 
 
 
 
Once I was out of the woods, I arrived right at the waterfront. These are shots of some private piers.


 
... and this is the sidestreet that took me back home.
 
 
Even though I took these pictures just this morning, it blows my mind to think that they were all captured within a mile of each other. The landscapes are so beautiful and varied here, and I absolutely love it. My dad told me this morning that one of the reasons we moved to NC was so that I could take the beauty around me and do something with it. I'm not sure what means for me yet, but I know God has it all figured out. And that's enough for now.
 
 
xoxo,
Ireland
 
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

You Don't Have to Try // Music Monday


This past week, I have been listening to the Gypsy Heart: Side A album by Colbie Caillat like crazy. It's sort of like an EP, but instead it contains the first five song of her upcoming album, which comes out September 30th.

"Try" is the fourth track on Gypsy Heart, and it's a beautiful song about letting go of insecurity. The video starts off showing made-up and air-brushed women singing along to the song, and slowly they start to strip off the makeup, fake eyelashes, and digital enhancements. 

Let me be the first to admit that I struggle with self-image. What girl doesn't? But sometimes we have to believe things that are hard to believe... like believing that we were created beautiful. And I KNOW how hard it's to accept. I know. But it's the truth.

xoxo,
Ireland

Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.
1 Peter 3:4

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Don't Stop the Madness // Outfit Post

 
 
Hey, everyone! I don't know about you, but I'm coming off of a long day of school, school, and more school right now. We are only three weeks in and I already have about two hours of homework every night. (And if you ask my mom, that's a conservative estimate.)
 
Busy as I may be, I still try to find time every night to pick out an outfit that is both flattering and creative. I wore this one on Monday, even though it was a bit rainy and dreary outside. The plaid shirtdress is super fun, and the shoes are cool and unexpected, balancing the masculine vibe of the dress in a really fresh way. I got several compliments on this look, which is always nice... :)
 
As always, I accessorized simply-- just a charm bracelet to finish off the look.
 
I may wear this dress again in the near future, so I'm trying to think of new ways to style it. What do you think?

xoxo,
 
Ireland
 
 
Outfit Credits:
Shirtdress: Old Navy, borrowed
Wedges: ??
Charm bracelet: Gift, from Paris
 
Title Credit: "Don't Stop the Madness" by Tenth Avenue North, from the album The Struggle

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brave // Music Monday


You know Moriah Peters, right? Such a cool artist-- who is, incidentally, married to Joel from for King and Country.

Anyway, her new single Brave is out, and it's really cool. Check it out and let me know what you think.

xoxo,

Ireland

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Quick Update...

Hey, everyone! It's crazy to think that this is the longest I have ever gone without posting on the blog. I have a good excuse, though!


As of last Saturday (August 30th, 2014) my family and I have officially moved to Wilmington, North Carolina! I took these pictures yesterday at Wrightsville Beach, which is literally biking distance from our house. Is that not awesome or what?

 
I also started my junior year of high school that week (in public school, no less), so I've been swamped with homework and long to-do lists. Fortunately, some of the madness is starting to subside, and I am getting into the swing of things... More on that some other day. :)
 
The short of it is that I am back here with you and am crazy excited about it! More posts are coming your way soon, but in the meantime, I want to know...
 
How is the back-to-school season treating you so far?
 
xoxo,
 
Ireland

P.S. Shout-out to my newest follower, Sofia Nikula! I hope you enjoy what you find here!
 
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lifelong Love Letter // Outfit Post




Good afternoon, my lovelies! I hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start. Today I went on a mini-road trip with my mom to Leland, NC to get some new contacts, and it was so fun... not least of all because the optometrist's name was-- get this-- Dr. Hu.

Anyway, with the first day of school only three days away, I've been spending some time putting new outfits together. This bright, sweet look is one of my favorites so far... I even got little butterflies in my stomach when I finished accessorizing it.

Is that normal? Probably not.

But that's beside the point. I love this look because it is colorful and happy and  fun to wear... and since I'm feeling a bit more optimistic than usual today, it also suits my mood quite nicely.

The start of school prompts me to get a little more creative with my outfits, so I hope to share several more with you over the next few weeks. Here's hoping!

Love you guys.


xoxo,

Ireland

Outfit Credits:
Pink 3/4 length: Hollister via Marshalls
White cropped pants: American Eagle, thrifted
Belt: ?, thrifted
Colorblock wedges: ana via JC Penney
Gold hoops: borrowed
Gold ring: borrowed
 
Title Credit: "I Choose You"by Sara Bareilles
  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thoughts on Strong.

A right sidekick
I have been involved in martial arts on-and-off for the last several years, and so far, it has not transformed me into a supremely disciplined, indefatigable version of my former self. In fact, sometimes I get to class and barely have the willpower to stand and say our pledges. But somehow, there hasn’t been a class yet where I had to bow out. There are times when I think I just can't do it, but I know deep inside (sometimes, I have to dig deeper than others) that I am not as fragile as I feel.
My first time using a bo staff

Sparring with my instructor
 
My New Blue Belt
 
I am strong. Not because I don’t have weaknesses, but because God is alive in me, and I have everything I need to pull from in Him.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who gives up when something bad happens. Because bad things will happen. Anyone can keep going when life is flowing smoothly… but what about when it’s not?
 
I cannot count the times I have failed to put forth my best in difficult situations, but I keep going. I keep trying. I keep seeking, even if I'm only inching my way forward. My progress is slower than I would like it to be, but sometimes I just have to relax and let it go.
 
I am not perfect. But I believe in a God who is. In Him I am strong, and through Him I am getting stronger.
 
Instead of letting my problems overtake me today, I am going to try to lean into God a little more, because He is all the strength that I need.
 
He's all that you need too. And that's a promise.
 
Love,
Ireland