"PAPER BAG"/ TIE-WAIST SHORTS

I've been wearing tie-waist shorts and pants for years. WHY?! Because they look amazing on just about everyone. The tie-waist belt cinches in your waist, and you'll look chic in wide-leg pants or have legs for days in shorts. I'm so excited the "paper bag" style has been a trend this summer! Most styles have been made in light materials like linen so they're perfect so staying cool and breezing throughout the year's hottest months.

In this post, I'm styling a linen pair! I kept these outfits neutral, but I've seen this shorts and pants in so many fabrics and prints, I've especially loved the striped prints.

Outfit #1



Shorts- Charlotte Russe 
T-shirt - TJ maxx
Necklace- Forever 21



 Outfit #2




Hat- Forever 21 (sold out)
Shoes- Target (sold out)






SUMMER BUCKET LIST : VISIT A SUNFLOWER FIELD

Years ago I watched a movie "Elvis and Annabelle" starring Max Minghella and Blake Lively and in it, Blake Lively's character, Annabelle plants this large field of sunflowers. Ever since I saw that amazing field of larger than life flowers, I wanted to see a sunflower field in person! Luckily, sunflowers love sun and bloom throughout the summer. Sunflower fields photos are also popular in the summertime so it was something I definitely wanted to do this summer. And fortunately in you live in Charlotte, NC or close by, there are two sunflower fields relatively close.

Brattonsville, SC/ McConnells, SC/ Draper Wildlife Management Area


About an hour's drive from Charlotte, are fields of sunflowers hidden off a backroad in SC near Historic Brattonsville: Draper Wildlife Management Area. This is where I took my photos. I went on Fourth of July and surprisingly had the whole Sunflower field to myself and there were so many beautiful sunflowers! You can also go fishing and hunting there (if that's your thing), I simply went for the sunflowers only!







Button Front High-Low Dress - Charlotte Russe
Hat- Charming Charlie (old)

Raleigh, NC/ Dorothea Dix Park 


If you saw the Sunflowers along the Neuse River Greenway Trail in Raleigh last year, you'll be disappointed in you go searching for them again in the same location, but no worries, they're blooming in the Dorothea Dix park this 2018! And they are quite popular and currently in peak bloom and expected until July 17, so now's the time to visit!

FAVORITE READS OF 2018










One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2018 was to read more for leisure. I've always been an avid reader since I was little, but during my years of college, textbooks and required reading assignments ate into most of my time for pleasure reading. Now that I'm out and waiting to hear back from medical schools, reading new books has kept me occupied and I didn't realize how much I missed getting lost in a book!

In today's post, I'm sharing a few of the new books I read this year so far! When I was younger, I was really into Young Adult novels (especially paranormal romances... I'm not ashamed to admit I love Twilight when I was 15), but now that I'm older, my tastes have changed (thank goodness) and I've really fallen for the Thriller/Mystery genre, but I still love a good Contemporary Romance for a quick read!

My Favorite Reads of 2018:


The Wife Between Us (2018) - Thriller/ Mystery


Image result for the wife between us

Synopsis: 

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

If you read Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train (or watched the films), and loved a story that keeps you on your toes, this is the book for you! Throughout the book, I was never really sure of the story I thought I knew...this thriller kept me guessing at every page! And it was an NY best-seller and a Major Motion Picture deal is in talks!


The Hate U Give (2017) - Young Adult/Activism

Image result for the hate you give
Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

As a young black woman living in today's world, this book really resonated with me. Like Starr, I grew in a neighborhood where a lot of my friends and neighborhood kids didn't graduate high school, and in elementary school, my parents transferred me from my neighborhood school to a school that was predominately white, so I understood her struggle to balance her two worlds. I was proud to read a book about a black girl written by a black woman, but you don't have to be black to enjoy and understand the message of Starr's story. It is a powerful and honest reflection of what's happening in our Country and a great read for ANY and EVERY one. And the movie, with Amandla Stenberg as Starr, is already shooting, so I expect a 2019 release!

Emergency Contact (2018)- Young Adult/Contemporary Romance


Image result for emergency contact

Synopsis:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a cafĂ© and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him. 

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


It was a slow start for this book, but once I really took the time to get into, boy did I! I fell in love with Sam and Penny, HARD! This isn't your typical young adult romance that lacks substance and depth, which is why I think it was so easy for both the characters to connect and me as the reader to connect as well! This is one of the best YA novels I read in a while, that I was a little sad for Sam and Penny's story to end. 

The Woman in the Window (2018)- Thriller/ Mystery



Image result for the woman in the window

Synopsis:
It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

This book, Whoa! Like I said before I love a thriller/mystery novel and this book was that! It even made my head spin! I will admit, I was able to guess the ending by the time I got to the final chapter but the majority of the story was a mystery. It was also an NY bestseller and Amy Adams has even signed on to play Dr. Anna Fox for the movie!

STRIPES FOR SPRING


If there was another print beside florals that perfectly described spring it would be stripes In classic black and white (like the dress I'm wearing in today's post) red and blue (another classic) or even colorful rainbow stripes, you're bound to see them all this season. Stripes are timeless and like Spring, there's something refreshing about the print!  

In today's post, I wore this simple Black and White Striped button down T-shirt dress from Charlotte Russe and paired with my new straw fedora from Forever 21. It was the perfect outfit for a casual Saturday. That's the best thing about Stripes, classic enough to be casual and classy!




Dress- Charlotte Russe (sold out online, but check stores)
Shoes- Forever 21 (old)
Bag- Thrifted from Goodwill
Hat- Forever 21



PERSEVERANCE AND PASSION: MEDICAL SCHOOL JOURNEY UPDATE



It's April 30th and for many people, it's simply just the last day in April, but for hundreds of Pre-Medical Students, today holds a different significance. Today is what is known as "Traffic Day". According to the rules of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), admission officers and advisors are able to finally see Accepted Applicants and Accepted Applicants that have multiple acceptance should release holds at other schools. For students that have been accepted, the time to finally choose the school they will be attending next fall has arrived. For waitlisted students, like me, the hope that a released spot might become an acceptance is a possibility.

This was a long year for me. The Medical School Application cycle is LONG, and there is a lot of waiting. And after waiting for so long, I was waitlisted at 2 of the schools I interviewed at and told to wait some more... It happens. My first post-interview decision was a waitlist, but I kept hope... and then a rejection (it hurt, but again I stayed positive and optimistic for my final school to decide), and was waitlisted again. I am a glass-half-full kinda girl, but this medical school application process can cause even the most confident person to take a blow to their self-esteem. I told myself  I had 1 day to feel sorry for myself, and I took it... 

Perseverance and Passion, "Ariel, you have to have Perseverance and Passion, and if you have those, you will be a doctor", one of my interviewers told me. And I told him "I have them both". Although I am still waiting, my journey is not over. The day after my sulk day, I got busy! NO DEFEATIST ATTITUDES! I e-mailed my advisors and asked about next steps. Many schools even offer exit interviews for unsuccessful applicants, so if you're like me and you aren't sure where the weaknesses lie in your application, your best bet is the schools that told you "no". This is a unique opportunity...accepted students just get accepted so in truth, they never really know "why" they were chosen, but knowing why you didn't, gives you an opportunity to improve and strengthen.

This is exactly what I did for the one school I was rejected at... and it sucked to know that I was so close, but didn't have an awesome interview, but also helpful because interviewing skills is something that can DEFINITELY be improved (also it was my very first interview at one of my top schools, so I'm sure nerves got the best of me... but something I can work on)

My number one tip you're going into an application cycle is to always be prepared to re-apply. The sounds like you accepting failure before trying but, last year 51,680 applicants applied to medical school and 21,338 matriculated. As optimistic as I try to be, I am a realist so until I have an acceptance e-mail, I will continue strengthening my application and myself with more volunteering, clinical experiences and any opportunities that help will help me grow as a person and hopefully succeed as a medical student and eventually a Doctor!

**My number two tip is to take really take the time to improve your application, it's tempting to get the ball running again, but make sure that you not only discover your weaknesses but correct them!

My interviewer spoke to me of Passion and Perseverance, which I knew I had both, but more importantly, I knew I had Purpose, a true feeling of what I'm meant to do with my life. I know my Purpose (the reason behind it all) is to help and heal others, and my Passion (my drive and desire) for science and medicine fuels it, but my Perseverance (my strengthen and will to carry on in times of adversity) will get me through all!

Thanks for following along with my journey and hope to share good news soon!


GOODWILL SPRING CLOTHING HAUL

diy
1. Black and White Plaid Button Down J.Crew Dress- $4.99



2.Blue and White Striped Button Down






3. Tan and White Striped Sweater



4. Polka Dot Dress





5. Polka Dot Skirt








PINK DUSTER CARDIGAN

I've been living in the South my entire life so I should be used to the idea that we truly only have two seasons of out four. In North Carolina, we have a blazing summer and the mildest of winters. A true fall or spring don't really exist, yet they're my two favorite seasons for fashion... so my weather expectation and reality never align with what I want to wear. Transitional pieces like this duster cardigan are perfect for in between seasons especially on days when it may be 50 degrees in the morning and 70 in the afternoon (you just never know), and they're perfect for layering yet lightweight enough that I don't get overheated!

I found this pink one for less than $12 on Shein.com. I've ordered from Shein a few times and to be honest, it's a hit or miss. I've learned to only buy products that are displayed on models because it's a better chance of receiving the item you expected... This duster cardigan was a HIT! I'm 4'11 but it hits right at my ankle and doesn't drag (or actually dust the floor lol) and the color is the perfect shade of pink for spring! I definitely see myself wearing it throughout the entire season and maybe on some cooler summer days with shorts!







I paired the pink duster with a lace-trimmed cami and my old baggy boyfriend jeans I found at GoodWill a few years ago (btw I have a Spring GoodWill post coming next week!) and my favorite taupe ankle booties (I wear these year-round).






Hope you guys are having a warm start to spring filled with happiness, joy, and gloss,

TARGET'S UNIVERSAL THREAD: MY FAVORITE PIECES

Hey Guys,
I can't believe that February is nearly over and Spring is right around the corner. I thought the end of February would give us some more winter weather but in North Carolina, the temps haven't been below 55 degrees and I've already started packing up my winter coats! But I'll be sure to keep out my sweaters just in case the weather flip flops and plus, I love a sweater and shorts combo when transitioning between seasons. And speaking of sweaters, I spotted my new favorite sweater I'm wearing in today's post from Target's new collection Universal Thread. Along with this comfy Lavender sweater, I'll be sharing a few of favorite pieces from this new line. It's stylish, affordable and has plenty of amazing pieces for spring!

Lavender Tie-Knot Sweater

Sweater- Target


The Lavender color of this sweater is just perfect for spring! The material is also a warm and lightweight enough to transition between seasons. The tie-knot also adds a trendy touch. And the best part is this sweater is $22.99. I love it so much, I've already worn it 4 times!


My white loafers also from Target!


Denim- Marshalls





Wide Leg Cropped Denim Pants (Denim Culottes)




 When Target first started promoting the Universal Thread line, I immediately spotted these pants in all the ads and commercials and knew I was going to snag them when the line finally hit stores. Unfortantauley my local Target didn't have them in yet, but I love Ship-to-Store! I will definitely be wearing these all throughout spring!
Pants-Target

I'm a shortie, so I was a little worried about purchasing wide-leg pants. Typically they make my legs look like little stubs, but I suggest if you're shorter like me to pair them with pointed flats like I did here to elongate the legs and of course pairing them with heels, wedges or heeled booties will give some extra height!

I love the bow detail and there's a zipper in the back so you don' have to worry about undoing it!

The best thing about the jeans from Target's Universal Thread is not only are they affordable but also range in sizes from 00-26 including short, regular and tall inseams!


Other Pieces I Love:

This top gives me '70s vibes and I can't wait to pair it with my Flare Jeans!


This striped shirt is lightweight and will be perfect for a warm casual day!





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