DIY cheap wall decor

My style when it comes to decor (and clothing too, actually) is fairly "grandma-esque." I like floral wallpaper, lace doilies, and antique tea cups. Is that weird? Yeah, okay, it is. But if we're being honest, I'm really proud of myself for developing and practicing my own, defining style. When trying to define a unique style, it takes a long time to accumulate enough clothes and decor to really embody you all the time (unless you're, like, made of money). I feel like now, after many years of hovering on the line between wanting to be stylish and only owning like, three pretty things, I am now (almost) fully immersed in this weird, lace-and-flowers aesthetic that feels entirely my own. I think this is particularly prevalent in the decor of my bedroom, which I am quite proud of.

Over time I've been working towards the complete metamorphosis of my bedroom into being exactly what I wish it would be. This past week, I continued to do so by ripping down the dozens of old ballerina-magazine clippings from the walls, and delving into some mindless crafting to replace them.

This was the result.

Basically, I bought some frames from the dollar store, filled them with collages or pretty magazine photos, and hot glued some flowers on an equally-cheap mirror. If you're interested in doing some lighthearted crafting to embellish your walls, here's some advice from an amateur.  

  • Collect pretty, old wallpaper. My mother made it her mission to remove all the floral wallpaper from our house, but I have a secret stash of it in my closet.
  • Hoard brochures, advertisements, and flyers that have pretty art on them. And magazines, of course. Also greeting cards. I have a bucket of this stuff in my closet.
  • You can get fake flowers at the dollar store, if that's something that interests you (it should. Flowers are great). 

it says: to understand, thoroughly understand her own heart, was the first endeavor
  • You can also get photo frames at the dollar store, and you can paint them or glue on them and not feel bad about it. Check out this post from a balancing peach where she makes a really pretty gallery wall with a bunch of frames and prints. So pretty! 
  • Hot glue is your friend. Just proceed with caution
  • Magazine photos in frames can look pretty legit. Like the Misty Copeland picture I framed, that was from Harper's Bazaar! 
  • Save old clothes to cut up. Cloth is very versatile, and (as long as it's not too thick) you can easily cut it up and glue it, to use in collages/ decor. 
Do you have any crafting tips to share with me? Let me know!

♡ Julia

Capturing a moment: spring ballet

At my ballet school we recently finished our final ballet performance of the year, and for me and the rest of the seniors, the final ballet performance of our high school careers. 


I usually get pretty stressed out during shows. But this time around, I spent less time shaking with anxiety and more time feeling really, really nostalgic, which was nice.
I just kept thinking about how I don't really remember much of life before I started dancing at this ballet school when I was six years old. It feels like I've always been here, and I can't imagine leaving.

But I am.

I could write five paragraphs about how the shows went. I could write about the props that were broken, the blisters that were endured, the stage that was slippery. I could write about the ballets themselves, or the dress rehearsals, and how everything went more smoothly than usual. All that was lovely. Instead, though, I'm going to write about something atrociously sentimental, because I'm feeling atrociously sentimental (sorry in advance). 

What I was really caught up on, while I was standing backstage and watching the little world that was playing out in front of me, was a feeling.

 It's the feeling of realizing you're reaching the end of something. Of realizing in a few days, or a few hours, or a few minutes, this will all be over. 

But it's also a feeling of wonderful, contemplative bliss; because right now, in this moment, it's still happening.

I couldn't stop thinking about all of us: how unbelievably strange we all are, how unbelievably ridiculous we all felt in our wonderfully extravagant costumes, and how we absolutely didn't care. I remember when I was little, like most little people, I spent a whole lot of time feeling really nervous and foolish and stuck on the outside of everyone else. Now, while I'm still unarguably nervous and foolish, I've finally found a spot on the inside. With all of you.
(Those who are pictured, and those who aren't. You know who you are. ☺︎)

While I was standing backstage and overflowing with nostalgia, I kept telling myself not to forget this feeling; This overwhelming rush of love through all of me, for all of you. 

Thank you for being awesome.  

 ♡ Julia 
photography courtesy of the wonderful Felicity Audet :) 

Outfit: cream colored

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

shirt: tj maxx 
skirt: modcloth  
belt: francesca's  (similar here
shoes: old navy (similar here)  
purse: american eagle (similar here)

♡ Julia 

Benefits of keeping a journal

 I'm a person with a lot of thoughts, and sometimes I like to write those thoughts down. This is called journaling. I've been writing in journals pretty regularly since I was little. Partially because I'm obsessed with recording my life, and partially because it's just plain fun.

Here are a few of the reasons why you should start or continue writing in a journal:
  • You'll be able to look back at it in, like, five years and realize how much you've changed.
  • You'll have first-hand records of all the stuff that's happened to you (including quotes of things people have said to you) in case, you know, you ever want to write a memoir. :)
  • It'll help you make sense of crazy, hectic, or terrible days. You can just write everything down and then forget about it and go to sleep. 
  • It'll help you remember how you felt during wonderful, happy moments too. 
  • It'll help put your worries into perspective. Having a collection of worries that clog up your head is one thing, but writing them down may help you look at them in a new light and realize, hey, this isn't actually that big of a deal. 
  •  It'll help you keep track of your goals and your progress (whatever that may mean for you).
  • It'll give you references for future disasters. You can open up your journal and re-read the things you've lived through in the past. If you got through that you can get through this.
  • It'll motivate you to have a productive day that you'll feel proud to write about later. 
  • You can write really angry or sad things, or scribble with a lot of vigor, and no one will ever know. Sometimes you just have to let it out. This is one of the safest methods. ;) 

As I said above, I journal fairly often. But with the craziness of senior year, I certainly haven't been writing everyday. And I miss that.

Therefore, I'm challenging myself: to write in my journal everyday for the next 30 days! 
My entries aren't always going to be super long or super insightful. I just want to get back into the habit of writing daily. It's a really satisfying thing to do. I'll post an update at the end of the 30 days to let you know how successful I was. I don't think it'll be that hard!

If you want to try this with me, comment below! 


Outfit: lots of pastel

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

Coat: Elle from Kohls, similar here and here 
Shirt: H&M, similar here  
Skirt: francesca's, similar here  

♡ Julia 

On feeling tired

I’m very, very tired.

I’m a senior in high school, and the last three weeks have been a culmination of the stress I have been accumulating throughout the entire year. There have just been so many things to do; so many rehearsals, so many test to study for, so many projects, so many responsibilities, and such a lack of sleep. I know, I know, that’s the life of an adult. I know it will probably be worse in college. But in the context of my life right now, I’m just pretty darn tired. And all my friends are tired too. It's becoming an epidemic, really.

my best attempt at a calming photo
My main point here is, in the world of blogger-prettiness of which I am attempting to insert myself, tiredness is represented with pictures of cozy tea mugs sitting in fluffy, white comforters or advice about spa products or calming lists of de-stress techniques. And I think that’s lovely. Blogs aren’t always meant to showcase every nitty-gritty detail of every person’s life; many are meant to be sources of inspiration, to be calming and pleasing to read, to be honest yet artistic snapshots of living beautifully through the good and the bad. And I know for many people, this is the reality. Some people, when they’re stressed, stay impeccably organized and controlled.

Despite what I’d prefer, I’m not one of those people. Perhaps it’s because I’m only eighteen and I’m not independent enough yet, or I haven’t learned how to organize my life yet. Perhaps it’s because I have a somewhat scatter-brained, artistic mind that likes to forget things. But right now, when I’m at peak messiness, (when I used a knitting needle to part my hair for the last five days because I couldn’t find my comb, when I fell asleep on the hard, cold floor of the ballet studio and my friends took photos of me, when I stayed up really late studying for a test that I definitely didn’t ace) I’m not going to pretend my life is perfectly squeaky-clean and lovely.

Actually, never mind. My life right now is lovely, but not clean. It’s lovely in a messy, everything-is-thrown-together kind of way. It’s like a really, really crowded antique shop full of thousands of wonderful things but no room to walk without knocking something over. I’m tired but I’m doing everything I love, and I really like that. Sometimes it just comes with the price of chaos.

Maybe at some point I’ll make my bed every morning and arrange my throw pillows perfectly and sip tea out of antique tea cups and remember to use my planner for more than half the week (these are real goals of mine) but at this moment I’m just too. darn. tired. ☺︎

Anybody else feeling moderately stressed lately, or is it just me?

♡ Julia

Outfit: pretty in beige

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

dress: thrift store
socks: local gift store
shoes: my mom's 
head band: francesca's   

♡ Julia

On being happy right now

I want to preface this blog by saying that I have a really great life, a wonderful family and a whole lot of stuff to be happy about. For that, I'm really, really thankful. And while it may feel like second nature to say we're thankful and happy about the people and things in our lives that we love, there's one thing I've always had trouble feeling fully happy with: myself. 

If you know that I'm a ballet dancer, you can probably guess that I've spent a whole lot of my life wishing, planning, and working to reach a level of ballerina-perfection that is always consistently (and annoyingly) faraway.

Growing up, ballet taught me not to be happy with less than perfection. After all, how could I possibly be happy with myself when I'm so hopelessly flawed? I thought that being satisfied with my less-than-ideal self was the equivalent of giving up. It would mean I didn't have enough ambition to change, or I wasn't willing to work hard enough. I thought that hard work meant slaving away endlessly for a single goal or dream, and never accepting anything less.

This wasn't just in ballet. I always promised myself that I'd be happy when I got in better shape, or stopped procrastinating, or did more creative things, or was more social. But those things never came. Even if I was unusually social, or ate really healthily, or had a productive day of studying, I told myself it didn't count until I was consistently more outgoing, until every meal was impeccably healthy, or every day was productive. I filled my head with I'll be happy when..'s instead of letting myself be happy now. Because although the not-being-happy-with-less-than-perfection mentality can be useful in practicing technical ballet steps, it doesn't apply in every context. Not every person has the ability to do every single thing amazingly well. Does that mean they're a failure? Like come on, I'm never allowed to be happy with myself if I don't measure up to every wish? What if it wasn't meant to happen in exactly that way? I just can't be happy, then? I spent all of high school on the verge of being happy, because that's what I believed. 

I filled my head with I'll be happy when..'s instead of letting myself be happy now.

Well, I'm tired of it, now. I was driving in my car the other day, and I found myself wondering: am I happy right now? Not specifically in ballet, or in school, or with my appearance, but in everything all together-- am I genuinely happy with myself right now? 

And for the first time ever, I decided on what seemed to be the truest and most impossible answer: Yes. No conditions, no explanation, no promises, no wishing; just an over-stressed, moderately sweaty, very tired me realizing that I'm alright, and that life's alright, just as it is right now. 

The funny thing is, I'm a complete mess right now. I've been getting way too little sleep, I've been struggling to keep up with my school work, I've been crying at everything sad or touching, I've been laughing hysterically (and way more than usual). Of course there are still many things I'd like to work on changing in my life (as well as some things I wish had never changed). I'm starting to realize, though, that I can't power my entire life on wishes. I'm never going to stop working as hard as I can, but I'm not only going to do it for the sake of a single wish; I'm going to do it for myself, because hard (smart) work makes me feel good. If I'm being honest, nothing has been going the way I originally planned or "wished." I'm shamelessly insecure, terrified of the future, and awesomely imperfect. But somehow, right now, I'm also remarkably okay. And I'm going to let myself be happy with that.

♡ Julia

Outfit: a favorite floral dress

✤  What I'm wearing  ✤

dress: shopruche
jacket: thrift store 
belt: francesca's 
leggings: old
shoes: tj maxx

♡ Julia