Things to remember for 2017

This is kind of more of a "reminders for julia" post than anything else, summing up a lot of the big ideas from my deeper posts throughout the year. But I find that humans are generally more similar (inside our heads) than we believe, so who knows, these might be things you want to remember too.

Without further ado, here are some of my advice greatest-hits:

happy new year from a little antique post-card and a polaroid of me trying to be vintage-y

A self-doubter's guide to being confident

Words I would use to describe myself: Hard working, quiet, weird, likes-to-be-plan-everything, prepared.

Words I would not use to describe myself: Confident, self-assured, risk taker.

You get the idea. I like myself fair enough, but that's not the problem.

The problem is that I sometimes have a hard time trusting myself, taking risks, asserting that "yes I'm sure" or "I can do this myself" or "I deserve this." And this can make a project like blogging kinda hard. It can also make life kinda hard, because you're constantly scared of messing up.

Read this if you ever feel like you've gotten worse

When one year comes to an end and another is about to start, I always get a little bit nostalgic. I feel like a lot of people do.

But when you're recalling old memories and feelings, and looking at old photos, do you ever find yourself feeling kinda down? Like it's not just happy nostalgia... it's swirled with all kinds of feelings of guilt or disappointment or even shame. You might think, "I used to be so much better back then"/ "I used to work harder"/ "I was more creative" / "I looked better."

10 things to know about your first semester of college

As of two hours ago, I have completed my last final exam and am therefore done with my first semester of college.


Anyways, I did "10 things to know about your first week of college" so now I'm doing "10 things to know about your first semester of college." Here's the stuff I've learned.

1. You are still the same person you always were, just with a bunch of new experiences and ideas. 

You're just more complicated now, and that's okay. Complicated is good. Nobody wants to be boring on the inside.

  2. You have time. 

Remember how different it felt to be a freshman in high school versus a senior in high school? Remember how much you changed, and how much you accomplished?  You may feel like you want to do everything now, but don't stress out about it too much because you do have seven more semesters. 

The Genuineness of your Instagram Feed

Just to be clear, I'm writing this post from the perspective of an eighteen-year-old girl who is terrible at social media. Just awful. I always forget to post things, and I'm always super hesitant whenever I do. That being said, I still consider myself to be very pro-social media when other people do it. This is mostly due to the fact that there are a lot of social-media-savvy bloggers and people who I really admire. And despite the common argument about the superficiality of social media, I don't think their picture-perfect instagram feeds are as harmful or dishonest as they are often made out to be.

A few days ago I stumbled across a Huffington Post article called, "Why I Choose to Live a Non-Instagramable Life." It was a lovely, artistically-written article about the problem with perfect Instagram feeds: they aren't real life. Instead, the author says we should live "non-instagramable" lives that include "every bit of doubt, self-pity, adrenaline, hallowness and love we feel; with too much texture for a caged-in space built of digital pixels." She says that we are constantly distracted by trying to take and post perfect pictures so that we can receive validation that we are "doing life right."

A few strategies to stop worrying and "just do it"

Before you clicked on this blog post and started reading, there are a few things that undoubtedly happened:
  1. I wrote it (which you could have guessed).
  2. I read it over and edited it and added photos and read it seven more times (pretty standard). 
  3. I hovered my mouse over the "publish" button and worried about all the things that, if I had more time or was more skilled, I could make better.
  4. I just did it. I pressed "publish," slammed my laptop shut, and I walked away. 

progress is a process // thought of the day

"Progress is a process, not an event!"

This is what one of my dance teachers said (or more accurately, yelled) in the middle of my body conditioning class the other day, while all of us huffed and puffed and crunched during a set of "hundreds" (an ab exercise, for those of you who don't know).

I don't know what she was referring to; getting our bodies in shape, becoming better dancers, better students, better workers, better people. But as someone obsessed with self-improvement and inspirational quotes, I listened.

While my abs burned and my teacher yelled, I started thinking about progress. What is is, and what it isn't.

Dorm DIY round-up: How to make your room suit YOU

A few days ago, one of my friends walked into my dorm room for the first time, looked around and said "I'm guessing the top bunk is yours. It's so Julia."

I love it when people say that. I think it's the most genuine compliment you could ever receive. I know I might be kinda alone in that, because saying "that's so you" is the sort of compliment that isn't really a compliment-- I'm not really sure if she liked my dorm decor or hated it. But what she was saying was, it didn't really matter if she liked it or not. Instead, she appreciated the fact that it was just me being myself.

how to be busy & happy at the same time

 You know when you feel like there are thirty-thousand things to get done, and you constantly have a backlog of tasks, and you're running around to your many responsibilities thinking okay, what do I have to do next?  

Yeah. Me too.

Whenever I'm really busy, I've noticed that there are three ways I tend to deal with my busyness:

Blog update // doing what you like

So this is just a blog update type of post, nothing too interesting. I just wanted to shed some light on the stuff that's been going on around here lately.

An introvert's guide to finding (& enjoying) alone time in college

Do you ever find yourself feeling irritable or annoyed if you don't get enough alone time?

Yeah. Me too.

I've been spending summers away from home for a long time (attend five or six week long ballet camps since age 15). The whole making-friends thing was always sort of hit or miss at these camps, because it was such a short time that you either found friends you didn't like (& tried to cling on to them so you weren't alone), or got lucky and found some people you loved.

The summer of 2015 I found some people I loved. They were my kind of people. We liked to spend our time in the same sort of ways, they were smart and thoughtful, and they made me laugh. But for some weird reason, I found myself getting really annoyed and irritable all the time. When we went out and did fun things (museums, movies, etc.) I always found myself wanting to be back in my room rather than enjoying my time with them. What the heck, right??

Well, here's what I've discovered:

I need alone time. 

life is a mess // thought of the day

To be totally honest, if this blog gets published, it will be a miracle. So if you're reading this, just know that there was some struggle involved in writing it, but yay, because I guess I finally got it done.

The problem here is two-fold. It goes like this:

10 things to know about your first week of college

Hello, I am Julia Bluhm, and I just survived my first week of college.


Now, looking back to a week ago, all the anxious, what-if-I-have-no-friends/what-if-I'm-uncool/what-if-I-get-lost/what-if-I-hate-it??? thoughts just seem kinda funny. So far it's been much better, and above all else, much easier, than I anticipated. Not "easier" in terms of school work or stress (I know, I know, it's coming), but easier in terms of meeting people, getting adjusted, and not crying alone on the top bunk. I didn't expect that.

Here are all the things I didn't quite expect about my first week of college. For context, I go to a medium-small sized private school in the mid-west.

An awkward introvert's guide to making small talk

First of all, disclaimer, I am no small talk queen. In fact making small talk is one if my least favorite things to do in the entire world. Sometimes I avoid it at all costs. Sometimes I'm too tired and give up. Other times though, I do it anyways, and I have gathered my fair share of experience doing so. In fact, over the past week of starting college, I've been fairly proud of my small talk performance.

So without further ado, here is my general small-talk advice for the awkward, the introverted, and the slightly-annoyed:

Look for the good in everyone

As much as I hate the idea, I have definitely judged people prematurely before. I think we all have. I have thought to myself "I don't like this person" because of one thing they said or did, or something I heard about them. But people are more than a single action, so give them a chance. No matter how polar opposite a person may be from you, there is good in everyone. And it will be easier to communicate with them if you find it and appreciate it. 

The importance of building your own (life)style

I just started college. I have spent hours listening to people talk over the past two days, riddled with words of wisdom and encouragement. Throughout it all, I have picked up on a single, quite repetitive piece of advice. Every adult (and student) who speaks to us keeps stressing (really stressing) this one thing: Be authentically yourself. Work on figuring out who you really are, and then be it, and don't change because you feel weird, or you feel like you have to. People love that, they said. People respect that.

For some reason this stuck with me. I know it's probably the #2 most cliche piece of advice of all time, to"be yourself" (just after "follow your dreams"). It sounds too simple and yet too impossible to pin down.  It's so cliche that we don't really think about what it means. But for some reason (probably because everyone kept stressing it so much), I thought about it.

 "Be yourself" sound so stupid and so big, because we don't know what it even is. We don't know who we are yet. We don't know if we're going to change. How can I be something that's so impossible to define?

13 little ways to get a fresh start

One of my favorite feelings in the world is cracking open a fresh notebook and getting ready to write the first journal entry those pages will ever see. For me, a new notebook symbolizes a fresh start.  And I love fresh starts. I love that fidgety feeling of anticipation inside of me, excited for the future, and ready for change.

Most of the time, though, people's fresh starts turn really old and frustrating really fast (think New Years resolutions).  Because here's what we neglect to realize: fresh starts don't have to be revolutionary. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be just as manageable as they are daunting. You can have fresh starts, with all their new outlooks and new opportunities, without the daunting goals, rules, and promises that typically come with big resolutions.

Little ways to get a fresh start. Bite-sized ones. Easy to swallow. Pretty much impossible to choke on.

A few college goals

So, I'm leaving for college in 6 days, (6 DAYS!!!) and naturally being the kind of person that I am, I've been doing some sporadic plan-making. I've already drawn out my schedule three different times, made lists of all the possible course combinations I could ever take, and researched future jobs and internships deep into the night. I don't know why I do these things, but they just sort of happen. So, in addition to all of those lists/ plans, it's only natural that I come up with some college goals, too. Goal-making is always a good idea when starting something new, and this is certainly no exception.


On being recklessly creative

I suffer from a somewhat aggressive case of nostalgia. Like, sometimes a wave of nostalgia just hits me, and I start whipping out my old journals, old stories, and sorting through old videos and photos.

In doing this, I always get struck with the same realization: When I was little, I created stuff constantly. I wrote hundred-paged stories, daily journal entries, and depressing teenager-y poetry. My friend and I would make (what we thought were) the funniest little movies of all time, and I'd prop up my point-and-shoot camera in the backyard and take artsy self portraits. I didn't care about the lighting. I didn't stop and think if my poems were any good. I didn't restrict my journal writing to only the "successful days." I didn't read or edit my stories as I went along-- I just kept writing.

Capturing a moment: Acadia day trip

Yesterday was spent biking (and sweating) a lot, eating popovers, taking photos, and admiring the ocean. I went to Acadia National Park with my dad for the day.

Summer reads: if you like life stories

When it comes to books, I have a very particular taste. I mean, I can make myself read any genre of book, but the ones I really enjoy and can't put down are those that focus on someone's life story. This includes true stories/real people (I love memoirs), but also fictional accounts of lives that could, somewhere at some time, almost be real. People's lives are one of my favorite things to read about; they don't have to be showy or impressive or fast-paced. For me, a good book is one that makes me feel something. And all of the books I've read over the past month or so have done just that.

It's alright to try "too hard"

Since starting this blog, something that has puzzled me about myself (I'm having a typical introspective moment here, bear with me) is my tendency to simultaneously strive for uniqueness all the while being terrified of judgement. I want to be and act and live uniquely, but by default, trying something unique comes with at least one person thinking you're weird. It comes with at least one person quietly chuckling (and feeling a tad superior) because of your tendency to be blissfully and ignorantly uncool. It comes with at least one person thinking to themselves, "she's trying too hard to be something she's not."

8 ways to relax productively

I am a sucker for productivity. I love the idea of it. I love making to-do-lists with little boxes and then checking them off with little checks. But even more than perfect productivity, I love the sentiment of well, that's all finished, now I guess I'll just sit down in a sunny window somewhere and read an intellectual book. Isn't that the life? Isn't that what we all want? To check off everything on our to-do-list each day and still have time to calmly read a book or write in an adorable journal or teach ourselves how to play the ukulele? This is a secret dream of mine. I want to be productive all day long, and when that's done, I want to relax in productive ways. I want to spend my free time doing artistic and beautiful and challenging things.

Outfit: summer and floral

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

top: TJ maxx (similarish here
skirt: up-cycled vintage (with pockets!!) (similarish here
shoes: my mother's (similar here)
socks: here  

 Everyone enjoying summer (and summery clothes)? I know I am.
♡ Julia 

On being girly & unashamed

I am an unabashed pretty-things enthusiast. I love clothes, lace, bows, flowers, and pretty much anything you'd expect to fall out of princess-obsessed, six-year-old girl's dress-up box. I love shopping, makeup (although I'm no expert), "girly" music, "girly" movies, anything pastel-pink, and ballet. Even my personality is stereotypically "girly"; I'm quiet and giggly and insecure and naive. My blog, my Pinterest, even my bedroom-- they're like explosions of femininity so blinding you can see nothing but a kaleidoscope of roses and lace and tiny polka-dots.

Okay, I might be exaggerating. But only slightly.

Worries from a blogging newbie

So, I started this blog not quite three months ago, and it's been pretty wonderful so far! It feels great to create something, and be in control of something that's entirely my own. That being said, there was a whole lot about blogging that sort of freaked me out, too. Like, a whole lot. I was a ball of stress for a while there. Blogging can be pretty intimidating because oftentimes the blogs that we see the most are those with thousands of followers and a perfect aesthetic and flawless photography. Truthfully though, everybody starts with one follower. Everybody starts without really knowing what they're doing. As a blogger who is still trying to figure it all out, I'm trying my hardest to remember this.

Anyways, I thought I'd use this post as an opportunity to share some of my past (and current) blogging worries in hopes of sympathizing any other blogging newbies out there who may have had similar thoughts. We can revel in our anxiety together :)

Will my blog look good/ professional? 

When I was first starting my blog, I knew I wanted it to look like a blog. Like one of those gorgeous, polished looking blogs I'd been following obsessively. So I surfed Etsy for a few days until I found an inexpensive blogger theme and logo, and then I messed with Blogger customization until everything looked moderately okay. This helped me gain a lot of confidence about blogging, because (even though it sounds kind of superficial) my blog posts felt more valid once they looked a bit more professional (than, say, default Blogger themes). Now, three months later, I'm already dying to update my blog, but I'm still happy I started where I did.

7 youtube videos for sad/stressful days

I don't know about you, but when I'm really busy Youtube is my tv replacement. I don't have time to watch a whole show, but I sort of want to zone out mindlessly in front of a screen for a few minutes. And there are hundreds of fashion/beauty/lifestyle Youtubers who provide the same sort of personal-connection and soothing, put-together quality that is beloved in blogging. You know what I mean? Like, there's something so calming about listening to a girl talk about makeup or lifestyle while sitting in a pretty bedroom with strummy guitar music playing in the background.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite Youtube videos that never fail to make me feel calm and a bit more serene on stressful or inexplicably sad days. Yes, some (most) of these videos are (very) old, but the fact that I still watch & remember them should only further prove how good they are.

Outfit: polka dot dress

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

dress: Lauren Conrad (thrifted, but here)
jacket: Nine West (thrifted) 
shoes: (similar here)  
socks: (similar here)  

 (I have a slight polka-dot problem :) )

 ♡ Julia 

The future is actually really exciting

(And really scary)

But truly, honesty, the future is exciting! Sometimes I spend so much time freaking out in my mind about how scary it is that I entirely forget the exciting part. I've always spent an absurd amount of time thinking about the future but, funny enough, it took me a while to realize scary things can be pretty wonderful too.

When I was younger, I was excited for the future because I had a cut-and-dry plan as to what was going to happen to me (including lots of amazing things, of course) and I loved imagining it. "The Future" (i.e. post high school/ "the real world") was far enough away that it felt more like a piece of fiction I was designing just to my liking, rather than a life I would actually be living someday.

As The Future got closer and closer, everything became more unsure. All the plans started dissolving as they came in contact with present-day. The Future became less and less of a pre-determined story I had spent years planning, and more and more of a glaring, black hole of unknowns. And it was staring me right in the face. This is where the scariness set in, because honestly, is there a single seventeen or eighteen year old who isn't terrified of the future?? Actually, is there anyone of any age who isn't, at least a little bit?

This brings me to my latest realization about the future: When the plans start to dissolve and are replaced by nothingness and unknowns (and fear), there's another thing that appears, too. It's something I sort of didn't notice for a while.


When the rigidity of my plans started to wash away and I was able to see past the blinding nothingness that confronted me, I started to notice possibilities everywhere.
That's the great thing about nothingness. There's room for something, a million things, that are completely new.

Also, it's important to note that the future actually isn't some singular, finalized, capital-letter decision. It's just the future; and it's constantly changing and adding and taking-away. Maybe I'll be a ballet dancer and a blogger and a fashion designer and a professional antique-collector, nobody knows!

So if your future seems really blank and terrifying, let yourself be a little bit happy (in addition to your inevitable fear), because there are unlimited things you can try. You don't have to pick just one. And sure, some of them are beyond your control (like getting a certain job, getting into a certain college, etc) but such inevitable disappointments just lead to more unknown-ness, which leads to more possibilities! And there are also plenty of opportunities you can build for yourself, without anyone else's approval (like starting a blog, for example). You may be freaked out, but you sure are free.

The future is here, right now, and it's excited to meet you. You have a lot to be excited about, too. :)

♡ Julia

✩ Wishlist ✩ 1

I've seen several wishlists throughout the blogging-sphere lately (like this one by along came kathy), and since I spend too much time looking at things on the internet that I wish I could buy, I thought I'd do one also.

1.) Rosery Apparel Dress 
I recently discovered this cute-little shop via Janelle's equally cute-little blog a few weeks ago. She makes all the dresses and accessories herself out of recycled fabrics. I am in love with the style of her dresses and I only wish I could be wearing one right now.

2.) Cute kikki.K pens 
Pens. Adorable pens. What more can I say??

3.) Rifle Paper Co. notebooks
This company has the prettiest designs of journals, stationary, planners, notepads, etc. I have a slight obsession with notebooks/journals/books-that-you-write-in, and it's a bonus if they're pretty.

4.) Rose-colored Modcloth Heels 
I have a thing for pink shoes. I have another pair of pink Modcloth heels of a slightly different shade and different style and I absolutely love them.

5.) "Swan Love" skirt 
I really like quirky skirts (although I don't have many... yet...), and as a ballet dancer I have a natural affinity for swans so this seemed only natural.

6.) "A Date with Paris" skirt 
From the same store as above, this skirt is equal parts unusual and adorable and it made me quite excited to find it.

7.) OPI Sunrise to Sunset polish
Just a pretty nail polish from the spring collection. I don't always paint my nails, but when I do, I often steal my mother's OPI nail polish because it's quite nice. 

8.) OPI Half Past Nude polish 

Anyways, those are the things on my wishlist at the moment. I find it unlikely that I will buy any of them anytime soon, but who really knows! The future is full of possibilities. ;)
What's on your current wishlist?

♡ Julia

Tips for clearing your head & letting go

As you can probably tell by now (but my tendency to write silly, profound blog posts culminating in some sort of life lesson) I spend a lot of time thinking. I think a lot about myself and about life, but I also think a lot about every little, annoying thing.

Something frustrating or uncomfortable happens? I do something stupid? I'll probably obsess over it for months, no biggie. It will creep into my mind at the most inconvenient times, leaving me with a slimy, regretful, embarrassed feeling all over.

Summer bucket list

So, summer is basically here. And for the first time ever, I don't have the responsibility of summer homework looming over my head every hour of everyday. Currently, I'm in the.. midwest? south? uh.. Oklahoma. But when I get home, I'll have a month of complete and utter freedom until I go to college. And I intend to use it.
Something you should know about me is that I love to be productive in my periods of relaxation. It doesn't always happen (like, never), but I always dream of vacations in which I do something creative, or pick up a new skill, or read piles of books. So, without further ado, here is today's quick, little post: my summer 2016 bucket list.
Inspiration for this post came from a balancing peach, find her summer to-do list here!!

Read many books 

During high school I only ever had time to read books that were required for English. Done with that. 

Included in those many books, read some classics 

I really want to read Beloved and the Color Purple. 

Buy a camera! 

I've been using my mom's Nikon d3100, but she (understandably) needs it back before I go to college. So I've saved up for my own!

Take lots and lots and lots of photos 

I desperately want to get better at photography. 

Go to pretty outdoors locations (and take more photos) 

I live in a state with many cool places, and now that I'll have a (brief) period of time in which I won't constantly be stuck in a ballet studio, I want to go visit some of them!

Bake something really pretty 

Like any of this. Whenever I come home from ballet summer programs (aka: a month and a half of cafeteria food) I get really inspired to bake things for, like, a week. 

Cook something really healthy 

To balance out the pretty (albeit, unhealthy) baking.

Practice sewing

It is one of my dreams to someday become a person who can sew dresses and skirts for myself. Like I cannot even express how happy I would be if I got to that point with my sewing abilities. Now, though, I'm very much a beginner. 

Go thrift shopping 


Buckle down on social media 

This is by far my biggest challenge when it comes to blogging. I know that in order to move forward with my blog I need to be more active on social media. But as someone with few (okay, very few) followers and what can only be described as social-media-induced anxiety, I've been avoiding it. But hopefully this summer I'll work on it more!

Learn more blogging stuff 

I posted my first blog about a month and a half ago (wow?!?) and while I'm pretty happy with how things have started out, I sure do have a lot to learn! :)

What are your plans for the summer? 
♡ Julia 

Outfit: Polka dot skirt

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

blouse: forever 21 (similar here)
skirt: modcloth 
hat: modcloth (similar here)

♡ Julia