the pomp & the circumstance

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My youngest sister graduated from high school last weekend. Aside from forgetting the real camera at home, I kept it together, for the most part. I remembered the tissues & the waterproof mascara, & beamed along with the rest of my family when she stepped on stage. But there was still that moment when my parents handed over her diploma & suddenly, time seemed to flash forward from toddler Lissy dancing around the family room to teenager Lissy wearing a graduation cap. I had completely accepted that she was a high school senior, but my mind is still melting a little when I try to accept that she'll be a college freshman in three short months. Baby sister! How! More importantly, when?!

As much as I still don't believe that this means I graduated from high school eight (EIGHT!) years ago, I can't help but make this about me imagine the screen going a little bit misty as I think about the last eight years. Jared & I had been dating for about two weeks when we graduated high school, & with our new relationship came a lot of life changes. Dramatic life changes - Great changes, weird changes, changes that I thought were great, only to realize years later were probably careless.

I guess it's just overwhelming to me, realizing the experiences that dwell between her 17 & my 25. It simultaneously makes me want to cry from exhaustion & dance up & down the street because LIFE! Life & all of its terrifying, gritty, painful, joyous, love-filled, raw glory. It's exhilarating, because you just do it. You do life every day, no matter what awful exam, or tough conversation or incredibly comfortable pillow is in front of you. You do every day by God's grace, the occasional call to your mama & the (eventual) glass of pinot grigio. You do, because you must. Go, do, be.

Speaking of accomplishments & mamas, we celebrated my mom at a small, surprise dessert party in my parents' backyard on Monday. Lissy's graduation marked her graduating the last of four kids, the younger three of us having been homeschooled from kindergarten to 12th grade. (My older sister started homeschooling in 2nd grade.) So, as Lissy Pomp-&-Circumstanced, my mom was also "graduating" from 20 years of teaching - Teaching every grade & every subject four times, while also teaching French for the past 10 years at the homeschool co-op we all attended during high school. Most people are surprised, to say the least, when they find out that Jared & I were homeschooled, & it is with great pleasure that we shut down the stereotypes & assumptions about homeschoolers. Our moms (& dads) provided such astounding educational environments for us, & we are forever grateful.

So! Congratulations to Lissy AND Mom! We are proud of you both. Here's to a new season!

**Homeschooling is probably something I should talk about more often, because I understand that it is incredibly unfamiliar to most & misunderstood by many. If you have any (respectful) questions about our homeschooling experiences, please don't hesitate to comment or email.

four good things

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GLASS COFFEE TABLES - The list of things to sell/make keeps growing as our July move-out date approaches, & the trunk that has served as our coffee table is on the sell list. Glass tops are our current replacement obsession. 
SOAP ROCKS - Our trip to the OBX found me in way too many knick-knack stores that sell unnecessary decor like these soap rocks that I can't stop thinking about. At $13 a pop, I held off but they're soooo pretty. Waaant. 
PALETAS - I basically pin recipes for these things all year round & maybe make them twice, but GOAT CHEESE. I even bought some IKEA popsicle molds last month in hopes of furthering my paleta skills this summer. I'm prepared. 
BEACH UMBRELLAS - The last couple of summers have found me in the shade of a floppy hat, even on the beach, so we're investing in our own beach umbrella this summer. These brellas have me inspired to add my own fringe to our future chosen one.
[p.s. see some more good things on my pinterest] 


wearing - 20/50

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top - TJ Maxx // skirt - vintage // sandals - hand-me-downs // sunnies - Urban Outfitters

All hail the mighty crop top. I mean, or something, because these things are everywhere. I usually firmly believe in the power of keeping-that-thing-covered since I let my 6 pack (sarcasm) fade after my soccer years, but who am I to shy away from a solid trend? Especially when it's hanging on the sale rack at TJ Maxx for $7. I've worn this top twice now & been pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I've felt. So, hope springeth eternal!

This is also the part where we all acknowledge that if you keep something (aka the Birks) long enough, it will come back around AND that there's only 32 weeks left in this blessed year AND that I need to do something other than outfit posts. 

Happy Wednesday!


wearing - 19/50

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^^ the making of a "walking" photo ^^
dress - Target // sandals - TJ Maxx //  satchel - Target // bow ring - Charlotte Russe

I may end up living in this dress this summer. It's a breathy terry cloth that has, so far, been perfect for both a wedding rehearsal on a cool evening & a warm, afternoon coffee date. Liiiiiike... what. So run, don't walk. Fetch thyself this heaven dress. (Because, surprise! I bought this last week, not last year!)

Style posts aside (which keep piling up, & I apologize for that)...We have a window propped open to listen to the summer thunderstorm that is rumbling outside. Honeysuckle is in the air, a crisp pinot grigio has been poured & Mike Tyson + Ed Asner are both guest starring on the current SVU rerun. Happy nearly-holiday-weekend!


bethune beach essentials

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BABY POWDER - Mama Essmann tip, ladies & gentlemen. As much as sand in the car means summertime has arrived, it also makes me a little hivey. Baby powder knocks the sand right off!
SUNSCREEN - 5 years of working outdoor events has taken its toll on my skin, so there's actually 6 other types of sunscreen in my bag for all types of days in the sun for both me and Jared (the 1/4 Mexican that I married who doesn't believe he needs sun protection). This Neutrogena screen is my favorite for my face.
TANNING OIL - You know... for that desperate weekend when I need some extra color.
FLOPPY HAT - Because even when I need extra color, the face stays in the shade, thaaaank you.
SPEAKERS - For the afternoons shared with friends.
EAR BUDS - For the afternoons that serve as a reminder that you don't get to pick who sets up camp next to your towel, or what radio stations they like to listen to. Loudly.
HAIR BAND - I usually start with my hair in a top knot when we visit the shore. Keeps my neck cool & starts my hair off with a good wave when we hop in the water to cool off.
CONDITIONER - I know leave-in conditioner exists, but a splash of water & my regular conditioner does all the right things to my tangly beach hair after that first dip in the water.
SEA SALT SPRAY - I can't even contain my love for this product. It seals in that perfect beach day feel &, for my hair, sets that amazing salt water wave.
QUARTERS - For that one day that lands you parking at a meter because your secret free spots are taken.
MAKE UP WIPES - Because no one wants to look like a half-drowned raccoon on the beach.
MASCARA - Our beach has a boardwalk with smoothies & ice-cream & all sorts of fun places, so a touch of waterproof mascara goes a loooong, long way.
LIP SALVE - This one is obvious, right? Lip hydration + the perfect amount of pink.
SUNNIES - There is nothing more crushing than realizing you're at the beach without your sunglasses, so I've taken to keeping a cheap pair (usually a $5.25 pair from Forever21) in my beach bag to avoid this situation. It also keeps me from shedding tears over the inevitable sand grain scratches.
A GOOD BOOK - Always.
JUNE JAR - Hydration Nation! If you don't have one of these mason jars to-go yet, you NEED one for this summer. I'm always amazed at how popular I am when I'm the only person on the quilt with water to drink on a 98 degree day.
A CUTE TOWEL - Beach/pool towels, much like nail polish & soft loungewear, are my annual weakness. This also represents the trusty beach quilt that I couldn't find to take a picture of & will be devastated if I've misplaced it over the winter months.
TRUSTY BEACH BAG - I'll be honest. I have three other bags. The perks to this one are its inside pockets. Another is mesh & thus, the sand falls outs. The other is just a good pattern. But the point is - TRUSTY. All of 'em.
The day we unload the winter coats & scarves from our coat rack is usually the same day I bring out the beach bag to sit by the door, prepared for any day that lands us at the oceanfront... & ohhhh, what a glorious day it is.The beach/pool-side bag is in a constant state of improvement, but with a beautiful Memorial Day weekend ahead of us, I thought I'd share some of the essentials that I keep in our bag. 

If you have any beach/pool essentials in your bag that I missed, PLEASE share in a comment! I'm seeking perfection here, people! Join the cause!


wearing - 18/50

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crop shirt - Loft // dress - Old Navy // sandals - H&M // sunnies - With Lavender & Lace // lips - Revlon's Siren

Having a pretty serious John Lennon moment in these fantastic sunglasses. I finally wised up & got a legitimate hard case to keep them in, which is something I should have done ehhhh, 10 years ago? These precious sunglasses got me through this past weekend's wedding, in which central Virginia's allergens declared war on me, taking my eyeballs hostage. My left eye, yep! Just the left one! didn't stop watering from Friday night to Sunday morning. I played it off (verrry smoothly, I assure you) that I just get really close to my clients. Mary Fiore would have been proud. Or embarrassed.

Otherwise! I skipped town just in time to avoid the intense deluge that fell over our fair city on Friday. The rain ushered in the most perfect weather for an outdoor ceremony in the hills of Waynesboro, Virginia - The kind of perfect weather that you don't even want to talk about until the wedding is over because rain or snow might suddenly swoop in & ruin everything. But it was gorgeous all weekend, the wedding was beautiful & fate even placed both a Starbucks & a drive-thru Panera outside of my hotel. Just to top things off, the little cashier girl at Panera told me I looked like Hayden Panettiere, & in that moment, all was right in the world. Not because I look like Hayden Panettiere (I don't) but because this movie is everything & well, Hayden.

Oh gosh. Lennon, sunglasses, allergies, rain, weddings, Remember the Titans. I might be a little sleep deprived. Pardonnez-moi.


iphone does - obx 2014

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beach essentials + toddler pony adorableness
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local flying fauna + duck donuts too many mornings in a row

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earth + ellie asks nicely to go to the beach
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sunnies + sunset
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corolla houses + corolla light house
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emma travels in the rain + the best hamburger spot in north carolina
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kites + a sampling of the selfies jared endured while hard at work back in virginia
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our one day in the sun together + more sunset
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peaceful evening on the inlet + ellie enjoys our windy monday
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little sweet pea + the walk back from sunset on the shoreline
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serenity + shoreline finds
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one last night + peaceful doodle on the deck

I'm once again in the middle of a wedding week, & while looking for a wedding-related screenshot from a month ago, I stopped in on my beach photos from our Outer Banks trip a few weeks back. It was a wonderful week of toddlers, hot tubbing, donuts, puppies & sunshine (& rain). My hardworking man had to stay back at home for all but 1.5 days, but we were grateful for even the smallest bit of time we got to spend together in the sun during his incredibly teensy vacation. Someday, family vacations will be just that, but we'll take what we can get for now. 

I hope to show my face around these parts at least one more time this week, but that sounds like a lofty promise. Weddingzzzzzz. So, if I don't see you again - Good afternoon, good evening & good night!


wearing - 17/50

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top - H&M // pencil skirt - vintage // sandals - TJ Maxx // lips - Revlon's Fire & Ice // nails - Essie's Turquoise & Caicos

I had an uncommonly late agenda this morning, so I, of course, promised myself that I was going to allow myself to sleep in, enjoy a slow morning, maybe do something crazy like actually style/brush my hair. Instead, my eyes wouldn't stay shut past 7:30am, which was right before the texts from various people started rolling in. 

After nearly dropping my phone on my face at least 6 times while battling with the phone's screen orientation from my horizontal position, I begrudgingly got up, cursed that I randomly gave up caffeine last week (9 days in!), & moseyed to the bathroom for my morning ritual of pressing ice cubes to my under-eyes, since pollen is here to stay & that means I'll be looking like Renee Zellweger circa 2001 from 6:30-8am every morning until July.

But the kicker, ahhhh the kicker, was when halfway through brushing my teeth, I remembered that it was the first Wednesday of the month, & on the first Wednesday of the month, one side of our street gets cleaned. If your car is on the side that's getting cleaned, you get ticketed immediately. I don't know how they do it, but they are sneaky & fast. Can I ever remember which side to not park on? No. Do phone reminders help? Of course not. Did I run out to my car with a toothbrush in my mouth & pajamas tucked into rainboots? Yes, absolutely.  Did I do this for no reason because somehow, I had managed to park on the other side of the street without even trying? You betcha. 

The good news (besides avoiding a $30 ticket) is that I got to wave hello to our landlord looking as crazy as it comes -- wait that's the bad news -- is that Day 9 of no coffee/caffeine was much easier after the half marathon I ran during all of that. Much like sleeping through an alarm, nothing will wake me up faster than the possibility of my spending money going to a parking ticket instead of the jumpsuit I've been eyeing at Francesca's.

& for the record, I actually love Renee Zellweger.


wearing - 16/50

sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
sitting in our tree, norfolk virginia blogger, virginia blogger, hunter boots, umbrella, cotton on, target
umbrella - gifted (similar) // cardigan - Target // skirt - Cotton On // necklace - Edith Marie

Sorry for the silence, & double sorry for the additional outfit post you're going to get tomorrow. I've been having some technical difficulties, but I think we're back on track now. Probably. Maybe. This weekend's events consisted of driving to Richmond/NOVA & back again, praying the whole way for no traffic & still being surprised when I didn't actually find any. Other highlights included strawberry sangria, hosting Saved by the Bell trivia (of which I have never seen an episode, hence "host"), & returning home to discover that the remaining survivor of my houseplants had, indeed, survived a weekend on its own.

These pictures are from last week, when it rained & rained & rained. I will never complain about the rain. Well, that's actually a lie, because after getting trapped on a two lane road in North Carolina during what I imagine was similar to a monsoon 6 years ago, I will always complain about the rain if I'm driving & flooding is a possibility. Also, if it's an outdoor wedding weekend. THOSE SITUATIONS ASIDE, waking up to a rainy day is my favorite. Maybe because I use it as an excuse to wear glasses = make-up time cut in half. Maybe because it took a 4 page essay & a pledge to wear them as often as possible to convince my parents that I needed Hunter boots for my birthday a few years back. Maybe because Norfolk seems to move at a slower pace, which allows me to keep up. For any of these reasons, rainy days are my favorite. 

& so is this umbrella, which I'm proud to say I have owned without losing (obviously) for 5 years. That's like, 50 in umbrella years. Phoebe (sister-in-law) somehow just knew what I look for in rain gear. Now excuse me while I go chain it to my purse for all of time because now I'm totally going to lose it.