Monday, March 31, 2014

road trip recap: Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee)

Memphis, Tennessee was the first place I stopped to visit. I arrived around six at night after enduring the most horrific polar-vortex induced traffic jams on my way through Arkansas. (Side note: Arkansas was effing nuts! I was stopped at a dead stop on the highway for at least three hours, and the roads were coated with snow and ice inches thick making for terrible driving everywhere I went. When I finally pulled off at a random exit to escape the traffic jam and fuel up, it turned out that the whole town was entirely out of gas and in some kind of apocalyptic state! Seriously, people were running in the streets and there seemed to be a huge congregation of stranded people holing up in the local McDonald's. Super bizzarre stuff, I kid you not it was like I was in the Twilight Zone.) I parked my van on Beale Street and got out to explore. The street, though historically significant, seemed to be kind of a tourist trap of blues, rock n' roll, and jazz themed shops and seafood restaurants. It still was pretty neat to walk up and down the sidewalk to the sound of some local blues bands. I slept in the van right where it was parked on the street. Besides being pretty chilly that night it was AWESOME to be able to just pop down the back bench and make up the bed.

The next morning I headed to Graceland. I am a huge Elvis fan so, needless to say, I was totally stoked. (Another side note: one time I waited on an Elvis impersonator at the bar I worked at and it was pretty much the best thing ever. Before he left he serenaded me with Love Me Tender.) I bought a ticket that included a tour of the mansion, Elvis' car collection, and a tour of his private planes. It was an amazing experience that I would definitely recommend, even if you're not really an Elvis fan. It did make me kind of sad that the tour was conducted through an audio guide with personal headphones for everyone instead of a real tour guide. None of the people working in the mansion talked to us and didn't seem to be offering any extra information. It was like they didn't even appreciate that they were working in Graceland, for goodness sake! It would have been nice to be able to listen to a real person talk about the different rooms and features and be able to ask questions without feeling like I was bothering someone. But, that aside, everything was so freaking awesome. I definitely want to go back sometime, probably during the spring or summer when it's green out. My favorite room was the game room - the one with the pool table.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

wearing: camo jacket and a vintage hat

I have never liked anything camo. Ever. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I was pretty grossed out by anything and everything that even resembled a camouflage design. And yet...here I am, and this secondhand Air Force jacket is, hands down, probably my favorite souvenir from the road trip. On my way out of the Santa Rosa beach area I stopped at a little thrift store, and they had a whole bunch of secondhand Air Force gear, I'm assuming donated from one of the bases nearby (we were pretty close to them). The second I laid eyes on these jackets I knew I wanted one. I DON'T KNOW WHY. I think I was semi influenced by Le-Happy 'cause that girl can rock anything, including camo, and make it look amazing. But I think it might have been because it was something used by actual military personnel that made it a piece I thought I'd be able to wear. You know, not just something trashy printed onto a ton of cheap shirts, pants, and purses? Not to mention the jackets were only $5 a piece. So I looked through the rack and found one sized 'x-small, x-short,' that even had some cool patches on the pockets and the sleeves that not all of them had. I did receive some comments asking about my affiliation with the air force (I have none) and questioning whether or not I was a Staff Sergeant (which I think the patches on the sleeve denote) while I was wearing the jacket, so I'm not sure if I should remove the patches? I'm not trying to be disrespectful or claim to be somebody I'm not (obviously), I just thought the jacket was cool. I wore it constantly on my trip (there's still sand in the pockets!) - I really do like it. I'm glad I broke out of my comfort zone a bit! (Random side note: this thrift store also had a bin full of 'free bread,' which was just bread that had passed the sell by date and had been donated. Let me tell you a thing, when you're on a road trip and you stumble upon free food it's preeeetty much the most excellent thing ever. Snaps for free bread and the amazing sandwiches it helped make!)
 camo air force jacket - thrifted // coat - thrifted // hat - vintage Liz Claiborne // 
skirt - H&M // tights - Charlotte Russe // boots, ring - Target
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

between sense and nonsense

I usually publish inspiration posts like these sans text because I feel like the photos speak for themselves (each one a thousand words, no?) and I think it's important to let the readers take from the photographs what they will without me blathering on about them and potentially influencing their opinions. However today I wanted to share these photos and talk briefly about some of the pieces in them and the inspiration behind them. You may have noticed that this set of photos is pretty similar to some others I've taken in the past (see them here and here). So forgive me if they seem repetitive, but honestly the variations on this mystical theme are something I'll never grow tired of creating. 

So there was a little road trip I took recently (more photos from said trip coming soon!), and one of the stops along the way was in New Orleans. I definitely made sure to visit a few of the gorgeous cemeteries and also managed to squeeze in a visit to a couple of the witchy Voodoo shops in the French Quarter where I purchased this beautiful pendulum and the cowrie shells that are scattered upon the table (from this shop). I am fascinated by the mystical culture surrounding the city and am currently reading up on it from The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook by Kenaz Filan.

If you have seen any of my photos recently on Instagram, you may already know that on my trip I definitely had the most fun finding shells on the beach and learning how to identify them. You can see one of my weathered finds from Myrtle Beach in the bottom right corner of the photos, added to the altar to represent the element of water. Also on my way through a rainy Panama City Beach (aka Crazy Spring Break Land 2014) I stopped one of those kitschy beach themed dollar stores just for fun and ended up finding some pretty awesome shell necklaces, one of which I'm wearing here. And I didn't just fall in love with everything shell related on my trip, I've had this fascination for forever! Take a look at this head piece that I DIY'd a few years back - made out of some gorgeous blue green shell pieces and a couple of tiny cowries. And, of course, this pretty abalone shell that holds my smudge and incense has graced my altar for years. Of course I didn't find those myself, but they still are beautiful.
I am head over heels in love with this effing amazing crystal ball ring from my sponsor Victory Jewelry. I want to wear it with literally everything and I think I might do just that. Notice how it just seems to glow in these photos. Ugh, so awesome.

The last thing I'll touch on is my makeup. A few posts ago when I asked for music recommendations someone suggested I check out Chvurches. And boy, I am now OBSESSED with this band. The lead singer, Lauren Mayberry, is so freaking stylish and her makeup is absolutely amazing. I'm definitely going to be trying to replicate some more of her makeup looks in the future. I actually didn't find a photo of her rocking the wedjat eye specifically, but I decided to add that cause I am forever crushing on anything and everything related to ancient Egypt.

Wow, that's a lot of text! If you're still around, yay! I just thought it might be interesting to give a little background on the shoot and share some of the things that are inspiring me lately. So many ideas and influences culminated to form this small project! I always love finding out what inspires the artists I admire and look up to - people are so interesting! Getting a glimpse inside of their mind is so satisfying and yet it still isn't, sometimes, if that makes sense. Kind of like finding out a clue to a mystery only to have it then become even more mysterious. Ok, now I'm rambling. Enjoy!
 dress - thrifted // headpiece - DIY'd // crystal ball ring - c/o Victory Jewelry // shell necklace - dollar store
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Monday, March 24, 2014

hello from home (Door County, Wisconsin)

After almost three weeks and thousands of miles I'm finally back home in Wisconsin. I arrived home early this morning to a county still filled with snow (aargh!) and, though I'm sad this road trip is over, it is so nice to finally be home with my kitty. I have had the time of my life and have learned so many things over the past weeks, the most important of those things being believe in yourself and live your dreams. Last spring I was just a girl with a daydream. Then I went out and made that daydream a reality. I saved. I bought this amazing van, even though so many people tried to convince me that it was a horrible idea. I saved some more. I fixed her up. I planned a trip. I left. I did it. With the exception of locking both sets of keys inside the van at one point (my bad), everything went smoothly! Even though she's an older gal (a '91!) she ran like a champ and was great to live in. I think I've become addicted to the van life. I'm already starting to think about where I want to go next...
I took sooooooooooooooooo many photos and I'll be sharing them soon! There'll be a post about Graceland, the Florida beaches, some reeeeally cool cemeteries, Colonial Williamsburg, and Washington DC (to specify a few)! (If you want to see some extra photos, check out my Instagram - I was posting throughout the trip!) I think I'll also post about tips for van living and road trips (tips I'd like to have had before I started out, haha), so stay tuned!
map source - Google Maps
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

hello from the road (Williamsburg, VA)

Hello, friends. I'm sad to say that I've left the sunny beach days behind for a frigid and wet Virginia. However, being here in Williamsburg makes the dreariness worth it. This is the first time on the trip I've stayed in a hotel instead of sleeping in the van. The first night I was here I did try to sleep in the van and absolutely froze so I decided on a cheap hotel for the next few nights so I could warm up after visiting Colonial Williamsburg during the day. It's also the first place that I've locked the keys inside the van (thank goodness for AAA!), haha. Ah, well.

Colonial Williamsburg is actually my favorite place in the whole world. No joke. My family took a vacation here in 1997 and I've been dreaming of returning ever since. I am a total history nut and revolutionary America is always my answer when people ask what time I'd like to live in or travel to if I got my hands on a time machine. Currently I'm thinking about trying to get a job somewhere here sometime soon...we'll see.

Less than a week and I'll be home! I don't want this road trip to end, and truly the only reason I want to be home is so that I can see my kitty (I am having major cat withdrawal, people). I'm also looking forward to laying out all of my beach finds and trying to identify them. And blogging all about my adventures, of course.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

hello from the road (Savannah, GA)

Hello, again! This time I'm writing from a restaurant in Savannah, GA. I'm slowly making my way back into cold and chilly territory and leaving beach vacation fun time behind. This final leg of the road trip will be more of an 'American History Fun Time' time.

It's hard thinking about what part of this trip has been my favorite so far because it's all been excellent, but I think definitely Pensacola, Florida has the upper edge right now. The sun, surf, and sand were just so lovely. Not to mention I literally became obsessed with finding seashells and even bought a book so I'll be able to identify my finds once I get to lay them all out. I can't wait to share pictures of all of them! (If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen a few favorites!)

I can definitely say that I'd take this trip all over again exactly the same way (so far.) Van living is so much fun and, really, a lot easier than I thought it would be! I have tons of photos to share once I get back home to Wisconsin, and I'll share some of my van-livin' tips, too. XO

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Monday, March 10, 2014

hello from the road (Pensacola, FL)

Hello! I'm writing this post from a cafe in Pensacola, Florida! Whew, I am having so much fun on this road trip! Every place I've visited so far has just been so unforgettable, and van living is just such a great experience - I love it! So far I've visited Memphis (Graceland! Eeeek!), New Orleans, Biloxi (Mississippi), Alabama (briefly), and now Florida. I wish this post could be longer, but I've got a beach that's calling my name. I am posting lots of photos of my adventure on Instagram and Twittering away, so feel free to check it out there.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the adventure begins tonight

So friends. This is it. Less than five hours and I will be on my way. First stop: Memphis. Graceland. TO SAY THAT I'M EXCITED WOULD BE A GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT. This day I've spent packing and getting the van all ready has just been kind of surreal...like I can't believe I'm actually going on this epic road trip. It hasn't sunk in. I'm pretty stoked on how my van looks (although I've hardly started to fill it yet, so we'll see how I feel at the end). My boyfriend helped me hang the rod for the curtains and a rod at the back to hang hangers (yay!). Everything I've bought for the van, decor wise, has been secondhand (except the tension rods which I purchased at a department store in the bath aisle). I love all the colors and textures! The van got a brand new battery and new wiper blades, too so she's a happy camper (haha) as well!

Between the shows my boyfriend is playing and doing touristy stuff I'm hoping to find time to upload pictures and recount my adventures! However, if you'd like to see what I'm up to between posts you can always follow along on my Twitter and Instagram, which I update frequently. Oh, and if any of you have recommendations for things to do in Memphis or the surrounding area, definitely let me know! Peace!
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