9 things i can’t travel without

I’m heading off on a family trip at the end of this week (hint hint… we go every year) and in honor of that, I thought it would be fun to share my packing necessities. These are items I used for my recent trip to Italy, and I’m excited to share these little life-savers with you today!

SWEATER   leith ribbed shawl cardigan (#NSALE, size down one size, I’m wearing an XXS)   |   TOP   v-neck tee (#NSALE, wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   calson sierra skinny jeans (#NSALE, wearing size 24)   |   EARRINGS   dean davidson hoop earrings (#NSALE)   |   NECKLACE   gold pave circle necklace (#NSALE)   |   LUGGAGE   pink chevron luggage set (#NSALE)   |   BAG   barrington st. anne tote   |   SHOES   pink tassel slides (#NSALE, true to size)

Happy Monday, y’all! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I loved getting some downtime in Dallas, and am feeling ready for the week ahead!

I’m heading off on a family trip at the end of this week (hint hint… we go every year) and in honor of that, I thought it would be fun to share my packing necessities. These are items I used for my recent trip to Italy, and I’m excited to share these little life-savers with you today!

Let me know if you have questions on any of the things I’ve listed below. I hope they help you with your excursions!

And don’t forget… The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale opens to EVERYONE this Thursday! Mark your calendars! Now… let’s get started!

1. Rolling Luggage Set (currently part of the #NSale)

If there’s one aspect concerning luggage sets that I recommend above all others, it’s that the set is able to roll upright! As in, you don’t have to drag it behind you but can push it along with you. This is seriously a game changer. Not only does this make luggage so much easier to lug around, but it also allows you to set your purse/jacket/anything else you may be bringing along right on top. (See the second and third photo in this post to see what I mean.)

For as much traveling as I do, I held off on purchasing a more expensive set of luggage until just last week. There are so many brands out there, and all so expensive, so I kept rebuying rolling bags from Target while I researched and waited to make a decision. When this pink chevron set went live as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I pulled the trigger immediately! It had everything I wanted… the ability to roll upright, the darling pink color, a hard shell and a built-in lock on both the checked and carry-on bag.

I can’t wait to keep y’all updated on how this set wears! It’s currently sold out, but will most likely be restocked in the coming week or two. I’ll notify y’all once it does!

2. Packing Cubes

I’ll be the first to admit that this is one packing accessory I thought was a total gimmick. That is until I went on a pre-Italy Container Store craze and came home with this set. Let me tell you… I will never travel without them again!

Why the change of heart? These cubes simultaneously organize and condense all of your clothing into compact, tidy compartments that make keeping up with (and finding) everything in your suitcase a breeze. I use the large envelope for dresses and blouses (and can fit over 10, folded!), the middle-sized bag for jeans and t-shirts and the smallest for socks and undergarments. Worth every penny!

3. Ostrich Pillow

Ahh, yes. The famous ostrich pillow! I decided to hop on this crazy train in preparation for my flight to Rome, and y’all I loved it. But not for the reasons I expected! Let me explain.

Yes, this pillow is soft, but my favorite thing about it was the light-blocking aspect! Unlike a small eyemask, I found that this pillow blocked out all light, muffled sound and made resting against the wall of the plane or my tray table so much more comfortable. Plus, you can wear it around your neck as you walk through the airport for easy transporting.

Now be warned… you will make friends with the flight attendants if you bring this on a flight. They find it hilarious! I don’t take this on shorter flights, but anytime I want to get some sleep in, this thing comes with me!

4. Bose Headphones

A few years ago, I received a pair of Beats headphones for Christmas. I was so excited about them… until I quickly realized they made my ears sore after about 30 minutes of wear!

Ever since, I’ve been saving and researching for a pair of headphones as a replacement. What were my criteria? Noise canceling. Wireless. Not heinous looking. Most importantly… comfortable.

After a lot of research, I finally landed on this pair of SoundLink II Around-Ear Bluetooth Headphones. Friends, I give them five out of five stars conservatively!

Let me start with the most important thing in my opinion, comfort. These headphones are so comfortable that I actually wore them the entire flight from Dallas to Rome even when I wasn’t listening to music! They canceled out all the noise (apparently there was a crying baby the whole time that my family had to listen to… not me! :) and didn’t hurt my ears at all. I was genuinely shocked at how long I wore them and how comfortable they were!

Next up, the battery lasts incredibly long, and the Bluetooth connection is super easy to set up. And aren’t they so cute? The white/tan color combination is always one I can get on board with.

If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of these babies. Totally changed my flying experience!

5. Makeup Organizer

I’ve tried many over the years, but have found that my favorite makeup organizer for traveling is the classic fold-up, hang-up version you can find almost anywhere! I found this one at Bed, Bath & Beyond a couple of years ago, and it has come with me on every trip since. I put my bigger makeup products (palettes, brushes, bronzers, etc) in the bottom pocket and smaller products (concealer, sponges, eyeliner and mascara, etc) in the middle pouch. The top zippered area is reserved for Q-tips and my razor!

6. Liquids Bag (sold out, similar linked)

Let me start off by saying this. I don’t ever pack liquids in my carry on. I just can’t handle the stress of it… making sure everything is the right size, remembering to pull them out before screening, no thank you. Instead, I just pack my normal-sized liquid and aerosol items in this nifty bag. (Sold out from Container Store, but found a similar here.) It’s remarkable how much I can fit in (my full hairspray, shampoo, dry shampoo and conditioner and more!) and it’s easy to rinse if anything spills. (I had a nasty experience with a sunless tanner bottle once… oops!)

To me, this really is the best way to keep anything that can leak or “explode” in-air isolated and organized. There are more expensive versions of this see-through container out there, but this one has served me so well!

7. Hair Tools

“What hair tools do you take abroad?” has probably been my most-asked question this summer! There are all sorts of converters/adapters out there, but if you want to be safe I recommend only bringing dual-voltage tools. American tools require a different amount of voltage than European outlets offer, so simply using a plug adapter to plug your American tool into a European adapter doesn’t mean it’s working. (I learned this the hard way by ruining a straightener a few years back!)

If you don’t have dual-voltage hair tools, I really recommend purchasing a less expensive dual-voltage appliance just to be safe. (Here’s a dual-voltage hairdryer, straightener and the curling wand I’ve used since college that I still love!)

Once you purchase a dual-voltage American device, make sure you have a plug adapter so you can actually fit it into a non-US plug! (And make sure the adapter you buy is for whichever country you’re going to!)

8. Barrington St. Anne Tote

I don’t think I could count how many times I’ve posted about my all-time favorite tote, the St. Anne from Barrington. It is hands-down the best (in my opinion) and the only tote I bring as my “purse” on plane trips. (Or any kind of trip, really.)

It fits my large laptop, my large agenda, a book, wallet, sunglasses, snacks and so much more. Plus, it is so durable and wears in beautifully with time.

Have I mentioned it’s customizable? Warning – you may spend the rest of your day designing your dream bag here.

9. Sweater

No matter what time of year or destination I’m flying to, I always bring along a sweater for the plane ride. First off, you never know how cold it will get and secondly, I find it makes me feel less germ-y. Haha! This one from the Nordstrom sale is so soft, a fabulous neutral color and on sale for $45! Heads up, I’m wearing an XXS. I’d recommend sizing down one!

Now I’m dying to know… what are some packing tips and tricks you can’t live without?!

Love from Texas,

Kate

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my personal online #nsale buys

I surprised myself by ending up with a lot of great, neutral basics. A new pair of tennis shoes (since mine have gotten so dirty), a great new winter coat (since Dallas was so cold this past winter!), a second of my favorite bra (literally the best), a set of no-show socks for my new booties, etc. I can’t wait to get them in and tuck them away for the cold months ahead!

use links below collage to shop

tennis shoes   |   cozy fall top   |   black jeans   |   leopard crossbody   |   my fave bra   |   no-show socks   |   winter coat   |   leather leggings   |   gold hoop earrings

Well, y’all, the craziness has begun! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, in all of it’s glory, has arrived in full force. Yippee!

I actually pulled an all-nighter on Thursday night to get everything linked and ready for y’all, so I didn’t even end up shopping the full sale online until last night after I had taken a few much-needed naps. :) And when I did, I was shocked to see that so many pieces were already sold and/or selling out.

Since I had already made a huge haul in-store, I focused on finding pieces online that I, personally, would plan on using and wearing all year long.

Y’all know I adore blogging, but one of the downsides is that shopping has, in a way, turned into more of a “job” than a “personal” thing for me. The vast majority of items I purchase these days has a pressure of “Is this piece something everyone would be interested in seeing?” So yesterday, I thought long and hard about what I, personally, wanted to have on-hand this fall/winter and went from there!

I surprised myself by ending up with a lot of great, neutral basics. A new pair of tennis shoes (since mine have gotten so dirty), a great new winter coat (since Dallas was so cold this past winter!), a second of my favorite bra (literally the best), a set of no-show socks for my new booties, etc. I can’t wait to get them in and tuck them away for the cold months ahead!

I’m so excited for (finally!) a weekend here in Dallas. I plan on sleeping in, catching up with a couple of friends and eating at my favorite restaurants. #priorities In the meantime, I’d love to know what type of content you’d like to see next week! More sale guides? Outfit posts? I’m all ears!

Love from Texas,

Kate

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wishing for…

Leopard Booties

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Tory Burch Booties

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nordstrom anniversary sale try on // no. 1

We’ve been counting down for weeks… and the best sale of the year, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, is LIVE! Click here to shop the entire collection. If you have a Nordstrom Card, you can shop starting today! (If not, the sale opens to the public on July 20.)

We’ve been counting down for weeks… and the best sale of the year, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, is LIVE! Click here to shop the entire collection. If you have a Nordstrom Card, you can shop starting today! (If not, the sale opens to the public on July 20.)

I spent yesterday scouring the sale and have to say… it’s good this year, y’all! And today I want to show you just how good by sharing a few of my favorite looks, all currently marked down at a huge discount!

Do keep in mind, the pieces I’m wearing below are my favorites from what was available at my Dallas Nordstrom store! There is so much more online, which you can shop HERE! (That’s exactly what I plan on doing after posting this!)

Simply scroll below for details on each outfit I’m wearing, and don’t forget to check my Instagram Story to see these pieces in motion!

cardigans

SWEATER   Leith Ribbed Shawl Cocoon Sweater (wearing size XXS, size down one)  |   TOP    Calson Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton tee (true to sixe, wearing XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)   |   BAG    Tory Burch Marsden Leather Crossbody Bag

SWEATER   Leith Ribbed Shawl Cocoon Sweater (wearing size XXS, size down one)  |   TOP    Calson Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton tee   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)  |   BAG   Tory Burch Marsden Leather Crossbody Bag

SWEATER   Leith Ribbed Shawl Cocoon Sweater (wearing size XXS, size down one)   |   SCARF   Shiraleah Ripley Scarf   |   TOP    Calson Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton tee   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)   |   BAG   Tory Burch Marsden Leather Crossbody Bag

SWEATER   Leith Ribbed Shawl Cocoon Sweater (wearing size XXS, size down one)   |   TOP    Calson Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton tee   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)

JACKET    BlankNYC Cloud Nine Drape Jacket (wearing size small)     |   TOP    BP Raw Edge V-Neck Tee (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   SHOES   Tory Burch Benton Ballet Flat (true to size, wearing a 7)

sweaters

SWEATER   Gibson Convertible Cozy Fleece Wrap Cardigan (wearing size S)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)

SWEATER   Leith Rib Wrap Sweater  |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)

SWEATER   Leith Rib Wrap Sweater (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)

SWEATER   Leith Rib Wrap Sweater (wearing size XS)    |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)   |   SCARF   Halogen cashmere wrap

SWEATER   Topshop Colorblock Knit Pullover (wearing size US 4)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)

SWEATER   BP Exposed Seam Sweater (wearing size XXS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTIES   Kork-Ease Elfa Bootie

SCARF   Sole Society Mixed Plaid Scarf   |   TOP    Calson Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton tee   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |  BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing 7)  |   BAG   Tory Burch Marsden Leather Crossbody Bag

SWEATER   BP Twist Front Sweater (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTIES   BP Brice Notched Bootie

outerwear

JACKET   Hinge Feminine Leather Moto Jacket (wearing size XS)   |   TOP   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS    Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

JACKET   Hinge Feminine Leather Moto Jacket (wearing size XS)   |   TOP      |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size &

JACKET   Barbour Fairway Quilted Jacket (wearin gsize 8UK)  |   TOP   1901 Long Sleeve Ranger Tee (wearing size S)       |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTIES   BP Brice Notched Bootie

PULLOVER   Thread & Supply Wubby Fleece Pullover (wearing size S)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   BP Brice Notched Bootie

basics

TOP   Free People January Tee (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTIES   BP Brice Notched Bootie

TOP   1901 Long Sleeve Ranger Tee (wearing size S)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTIES   BP Brice Notched Bootie

TOP   BP Raw Edge V-Neck Tee (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   SHOES   Tory Burch Benton Ballet Flat (true to size, wearing a 7)

TOP   Calson Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton tee (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

TOP   Halogen Crewneck Top (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

blouses

TOP   1901 Baloon Sleeve Bow Neck Blouse (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS    Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

TOP   Hinge Ruffle V-Neck Blouse (wearing size XXS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

TOP   CeCe Scallop Edged Top (wearing size XXS, will return for my normal size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   SHOES  Tory Burch Benton Ballet Flat (true to size, wearing a 7)

TOP   Vince Camuto Jacquard Striped Top (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)

TOP   O’Neill Twirl Longline Shirt (wearing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTIES   Kork-Ease Elfa Bootie

TOP   1901 Ruffle Sleeve Top (weraing size XS)   |   JEANS   Calson Sierra Skinny Jeans (true to size, wearing 24)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

dresses

DRESS   Rails Juliette Blouson Dress (true to size, I’m wearing a small because a XS wasn’t in stock)   |   BOOTS   Sam Edelman Caprice Knee-High Boot (fit true to size, wearing size 7)

DRESS   ASTR V-Neck Crepe Shift Dress (wearing size XS)   |   SHOES   Tory Burch Benton Ballet Flat

See… I told ya this year was good! :) What is your favorite outfit from above? Any piece you simply ahve to have?

Now that I’ve made it in-store, I am SO excited to shop online! Let me know if you would want to hear what I ordered tomorrow!

Best,

Kate

coffee date no. 22

It’s been five months. FIVE. MONTHS. since my last coffee date post… friends, welcome back to my long-overdue, favorite series here on the blog. Before we get started, let me explain a little about what coffee date posts are if it’s your first time joining me for one! Posting outfit…

It’s been five months. FIVE. MONTHS. since my last coffee date post… friends, welcome back to my long-overdue, favorite series here on the blog. Before we get started, let me explain a little about what coffee date posts are if it’s your first time joining me for one!

Posting outfit inspiration is so much fun, but what I really love is connecting with and getting real with y’all. So that’s why every once in a while, I take a day to fill you in on all of the updates in my personal life!

You’ll find a roundup of my blog Instagrams, a (usually long winded) update on what I’ve been up to as of late, and a few personal photos. (Although, I have yet to add any photos to this post! Will fill in with a few later this evening.) Needless to say, these posts are always pretty hefty and not for the faint of heart!

Five months is a long, long time to cover and I felt stumped on where to start. So, last night I took to Instagram Stories to see what aspects of my life y’all were curious about! As always, y’all are the very best and came through with so many wonderful, fun suggestions. So let’s get started, shall we?

Love Life

This was by far the most highly requested topic y’all asked to hear about… :) and TWIST MY ARM WHY DON’T YA. I’m such a sap that I’ll tell anyone who will listen!

In a nutshell, y’all, I am happier than I ever have been.

I know that’s a bold statement, especially regarding a pretty personal aspect of my life, but I absolutely mean it. Andrew and I have been dating for about 9 months now, and it has been the best in every single way. (You can read more about the start of our relationship here.) It still surprises me when I think about how unexpectedly we met and how quickly everything fell into place, but I mean it when I say I wouldn’t change a thing.

During these past five months since my last coffee date, Andrew graduated from medical school in San Antonio and moved to Ft. Worth! He’s now just 45 minutes away completing his intern year at a hospital there. Even though he’s 45 minutes away, this feels like the biggest treat to me compared to the 5 hours it used to be!

We made a decision early on in our relationship that we were going to date with purpose and intention and always work towards centering our relationship on Christ. We also decided to focus on enjoying the process of dating and to take it day by day. I think that perspective and mindset is something I’ve most appreciated in a culture that puts a lot of expectations and pressures on dating. These few months have just been so fun in getting to know each other better, spending time with each other’s families and friends, and navigating the eb and flow of life at this stage.

It’s hard to explain, but there’s an ease and effortless fit to our friendship and relationship that I’ve never known before. I could go on and on, but I am filled to the brim with thankfulness over the Lord’s timing in our story and so excited to see where it goes!

Work Life

Work, y’all. The one word that finds a way of making itself into any conversation I seem to have with other friends in their mid-20s. “So, how’s work?” When did we get so old… haha!

absolutely adore getting to run Lonestar Southern full-time. To this day, I still can’t believe I was given the gift of turning my favorite hobby into my full-time job. It’s a huge blessing I will always be thankful for.

But, with all the good, I’ve found myself really struggling with balance over these past five months. It recently hit me I’ve now been working (and living) alone running Lonestar Southern from my apartment for three years now. Like whoa… that’s a relatively long time! And that’s definitely a long time to live and work by oneself.

I’ll be honest… this job can get lonely. And it can get overwhelming. And I share that not as a pity party, but to say hey… I get to do my dream job, and it’s still hard. It still isn’t ultimately fulfilling or satisfying. And I share it to remind myself (and hopefully you, if you’re feeling discouraged with work) that it’s ok that it’s not perfect.

I’ve been struggling with balance in spending my time. Since I love what I do so much, and since I’m my own boss (and we all know we’re our own worst critics), it’s easy for me to work the day away without making it a priority to get out and see friends, rest, and step back from work. Those days turn into nights spent working, which turn into full weeks spent working, and the list goes on.

And here’s the thing. It feels like everyone else in the blogging world is doing that too. I am the first to “preach” against the dangers of comparison, but I’ll be honest. I fall into that trap oh so often when it comes to growing and maintaining Lonestar Southern. The voice in my head (whether it’s true or not, and it probably isn’t) telling me that every other blogger is working weekends, every other blogger is working the hardest during their vacations, every other blogger doesn’t go a day without posting to Instagram, etc. is incessant and as much as I hate to admit it, I have to work really hard to turn that off.

What’s also been so challenging about blogging is I’m pretty much in control of what I earn. The more I post, the more I make. So taking things like a vacation (where I genuinely unplug and just enjoy it) is terrifying. The rest of the blogging world doesn’t slow down if/when I do, and that pressure is pretty hard to deal with. You know in school that pressure of “Well, technically I could be studying for something right now?” That’s a bit what it always feels like. It’s hard to take a break because there’s always something I could be doing for the blog.

I heard a sermon recently where the pastor asked us to consider how prideful it was for us to think that the world will stop turning and God wouldn’t be able to keep everything in our lives togheter if we step back to take a break. Y’all, this struck such a chord with me. I don’t know what the perfect work-life balance looks like as a blogger (is there even one?) but I know it’s something I haven’t been getting right and I want to really work on!

So, in a nutshell, I love my job. And I’m learning there’s a way I can do it even better than I am now… and for the first time, I’m realizing that doesn’t mean working more or doing more, but perhaps re-prioritizing. It’s a scary call to scale back every so often (like I did at the end of my trip to Europe with my family. I decided to not cover it on the blog and instead just enjoy my time there) but then I remind myself… what is the purpose of blogging for me? Am I aiming to be the best, biggest blogger in the world? No. I want to work hard and encourage other girls with lighthearted, fun posts and snapshots of life that hopefully, in some way, shows the love of Jesus.

There’s so much freedom in that perspective!

Faith

I had a few of you reach out and ask about an update on my walk with the Lord. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that that’s something you want to hear about! As always, I love talking your ear off about it.

Currently, I’m studying “Respectable Sins” with my community group. It’s a look at sin in our life we don’t ever really think about or feel the need to change… and yes, it is con-vic-ting. But so good! I also just started a daily devotional called “New Morning Mercies” and highly recommend it. These two books, along with writing in my prayer journal, consist of my current “quiet time” routine, which I try my hardest to do every morning.

I’m still with my group lf middle school girls, who are heading into high school at the end of summer! AHH. I feel like a mom… I can’t believe they’re getting so old! We take the summer off, and I definitely miss them and our Wednesday nights gathering together. Can’t wait to pick back up this fall!

In terms of my walk personally, the past few months have been so sweet. With a constantly changing travel schedule, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to be consistent in spending time in the word every day, but whenever I make that my priority, the Lord blesses it in spades.

One of you reached out asking how to make “quiet time” (spending time alone to read the word and pray) a consistent part of your daily routine. My advice? Make it enjoyable! For me, that means getting a hot cup of coffee, putting on my favorite worship playlist, reading in my old person bible (the text is HUGE for my terrible eyes and I’m obsessed) and journaling with my favorite pen. Instead of viewing it as a “have to,” make it something you look forward to. That way, it quickly becomes a part of your day you look forward to (instead of feeling obligated by) and in turn, a consistent habit!

I’ve been meaning on doing a full post on this for a while, but I don’t think I can say this enough. If you’re looking to grow closer in your walk with God… I want to share a few things.

  1. You are NEVER too far away. Stop listening to the voice that says you’re too far gone because that is a lie. The Lord wants nothing more than for you to come running to him! (Here’s proof!)
  2. Invite others in. Having a group of girls who know you and can consistently push you towards Christ is the biggest blessing and a crucial part of one’s walk. If you have a church, look at getting plugged into a small group there! If you don’t have a church but are looking for one, here’s a great place to start!
  3. This sounds elementary and maybe old school and boring, but I’ve seen it in my own life and countless others. The main way to grow in your faith is to study the word of God daily. Not just a devotional. The actual bible. It is life-giving, transformative, and so much more than a collection of old stories you’ve grown up knowing by heart. The first study I did that truly made the word of God come alive for me was the Esther study by Beth Moore. If you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend that! I also highly recommend She Read’s Truth for a collection of amazing bible studies geared towards us girls.

Fitness Routine

Here’s another topic that was requested by some of you last night. What is my current fitness routine looking like? What am I eating daily?

The past five months since our last coffee date have held so. much. travel. Which has been tremendously fun, but has also jerked me right out of my normal routine!

This time last year, I was taking spin class 3-5 days per week, cooking for myself consistently (I love making salmon with brussel sprouts and stir-fry, in particular) and feeling great. This year, I’ll be honest… I haven’t been as consistent and I have felt so guilty about it. I haven’t seemed to master the “workout while traveling” thing (so much respect for those of you who do) and have felt too busy to even make time for myself to workout.

So that’s where I’m at currently… in a place where I miss the routine I used to have, and longing to kick start it again! I think for me, the whole thing stems from working way too late. When I’m up past midnight working on the blog, I can’t get up as early as I want to get a workout in, and the spiral continues. Would love to hear any tips y’all have on staying motivated, cause ya sista could use some! :)

As far as what I’m eating, nothing has really changed in that regard! I really don’t restrict myself, but rather try to simply stay aware of the portion size. Another helpful thing is that I don’t keep anything particularly unhealthy and delicious in my apartment. I work from home and am the BIGGEST snacker, which I learned early-on makes for a deadly combination when it comes to keeping treats within reach. Ha!

One thing I am proud of myself of is learning to eat… wait for it… EGGS! I used to like them as a child, but for some reason talked myself out of them as I grew up. I noticed I was eating basically a bucket of cereal every morning and wanted to try something healthier… so I’ve been scrambling eggs for myself! It still isn’t my favorite thing ever, but the more I eat them the more I enjoy them. It’s crazy how full they keep you for the rest of the morning!

So days, eating-wise, typically look something like this for me…

  • a cup of coffee (with hazelnut creamer) in the morning
  • two scrambled eggs for breakfast
  • a smoothie or acaii bowl for lunch
  • popcorn for a snack
  • a 3pm cup of coffee (with hazelnut creamer)
  • big dinner (I don’t eat a huge breakfast or lunch, but naturally just love dinnertime)
  • this summer, I’m loving a Steel City Popsicle for desert ;)

I have to brag on my mom a bit. Growing up, she never ever mentioned her weight, complained about her weight/body image, or portrayed a negative body image of any sort to us, and always encouraged my sister and I to eat healthily, yes, but also to enjoy in moderation! She is always the first to point out if I’m obsessing over what I’m eating/not eating too much and I am so thankful for the healthy perspective she instilled in me. I only hope I can be that way with my (hopefully) children someday!

Highs and Lows

In my community group, one thing we cover weekly are personal highs and lows. It’s such a great way to check in and celebrate the good and pray through the hard in each of our lives. I thought it might be fun to share those now! Let’s start with a few lows from the past five months and end on highs, shall we?

Lows

  • Feeling defeated by the Instagram algorithm
    • I feel silly even saying that because it sounds superficial, but since this is such an easily measurable metric of my work I pay a lot of attention to it. Lately, the Instagram algorithm has made it difficult for me to grow on Instagram. Posts just don’t get seen as much (because the algorithm is consistently burying images) and I’ve found myself getting frustrated by how much work I put into it and the drop in engagement that still takes places. It’s not the end of the world by any means, but it’s something I’ve been trying to navigate lately.
  • Consistently being out of town
    • Now, let me clarify. I feel SO lucky to travel! These past few months, in particular, have held so many fun adventures that I feel so lucky to have gone on. But y’all, I miss being home. I miss seeing friends. I miss being at church every Sunday. I miss lazy weekends. I miss just being home. It’s true… there’s no place like it, and as much as I’ve loved this season of travel, I think I’m ready for a break.
  • Working alone
    • I mentioned this earlier, but three years of working alone, at my apartment, by myself has started to kinda catch up with me. In February, I moved into a much bigger apartment. It’s been a HUGE blessing (I finally have space and don’t feel so overwhelmed with work physically taking over my personal life, ha!) but it’s also been a bit more isolating and not as cozy. I’m currently brainstorming ways to help with this. Oddly, putting on music first thing, keeping my apartment super tidy and lighting a favorite candle seems to help. I’d love if you have any other recommendations!

Highs

  • Exciting blog projects
    • While Intagram has posed it’s on set of challenges, the Lord has been so gracious in providing a lot of really fun projects I’ve gotten to work on over these past few months! That lights my fire and gets me so excited whenever I’m feeling “less-than” in the blogging world. Recently, I signed my biggest project to date and can’t wait to start sharing about it soon! Here are a few I’ve particularly loved working on… here, here and here!
  • Andrew
    • Cheesy, I know. But true. :)
  • Friends getting married
    • Y’all… I don’t know what it is about this year, but it’s felt like the year for weddings for so many of my best friends! Three are currently engaged (two getting married in August alone) and one just got married a couple of weeks ago! I love, love, love weddings and engagements and all of the fun that comes with it, so this has been the BEST. Plus, weddings feel like high school and college reunions today… what’s not to love! (Don’t forget, I have a shop page dedicated to wedding guest dresses here.)
  • Travel.
    • Isn’t it funny how something can be both a high and a low? I mentioned above that constantly being out of town has been a low for me, but on the flip side of things, I’ve had the blessing of going on so many fun adventures lately! You can see more about my trip to Rome and Nantucket, as well as a fun weekend trip to San Antonio, by clicking through!
  • Happy Mail.
    • This spring, I started a new project… Happy Mail! It’s my weekly email newsletter, but it’s not a normal email newsletter. It’s a COOL one! (Mean girls, anyone?) I’ve seriously loved this fun way to create new content for y’all, and I’m so excited to hear y’all are enjoying it! It’s broken up the routine of blogging and given me something new and fresh that I’m so excited about! Click HERE to sign up!

Things I’m Loving

A few of you reached out and asked for beauty and skin care favorites I’m currently loving, so I thought it would be fun to walk through some favorites of mine in general as of late!

  • This Instagram account. I think I’ve liked every single photo they’ve posted!
  • This self-tanner. I apply with a mit and use this for my body and this for my face!
  • TV shows I’m currently obsessed with? Grey’s Anatomy and Queer Eye! (I cry like a baby in almost every episode of Queer Eye, y’all. So good!)
  • My Del Brenna ring I purchased in Cortona, Italy.
  • This face mask followed by this oil. My skin has never felt so smooth! I’m legit blown away.
  • The nail color Pre Show Jitters. (I saw it on my friend Emily and fell in love!)
  • The best athletic shorts EVER. And I’m so picky about them. I own two pairs and am planning on purchasing the pink ones soon! They run true to size.
  • The newest Luke Combs album. A few of my favorites? A Long Way, Houston We’ve Got A Problem and Lonely One!
  • The best snack EVER… Live. Love. Pop! THIS stuff is crack.
  • This top that I’ve been wearing like… three times a week!

In a Nutshell

To wrap it all up… the past five months have been a blur. A wonderful, exciting, overwhelming at times (ok, many times) blur. There’s been so much newness and change and travel and I love it all! I’m also craving routine and being mindful of ways to add rest into my life. I think that’s a habit I need to start now, as I know life just keeps getting busier!

A verse that has been on my heart recently…

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16

As I’ve reflected on this verse, it has given me so much comfort to know that not a single day is outside of the Lord’s involvement in and care over my life. And because of that, not a single season in my life is outside of the Lord’s involvement in and care over my life. He’s with me in these highs and the lows that I just shared with you, the crazy and the routine, the fun of a wonderful relationship and the loneliness of working by myself. He’s in the big-picture things, and the little, every-day things. He already knows every detail of every circumstance I’ll ever walk through, and He is sovereign over all of it. Does that not blow your mind?

This verse has also reminded me the importance of taking things day by day. One of my friends in my community group encouraged me to think on the concept of “daily bread” when I’m feeling overwhelmed… asking the Lord for the strength, direction, and provision I need simply for the day right in front of me instead of worrying about all the unknowns ahead. That mindset has helped me be so much more present, and so much more at peace.

So I want to end this post with a question for you… do you believe that our God is a good Father? One who wants you to come running back no matter how far you’ve wandered? One who has written every single day before you were even born and promises to be with you in each? Because as I look back on these past five months, I see how whether or not I’ve held fast to those truths has directly influenced my perspective and my purpose for the day, which turns into my perspective and purose for a week, and then a month, etc. Let me tell you… life is so much more full when He is my focus!

I adore y’all, and can’t thank you enough for reading through what just might be my longest coffee date yet! Tomorrow, I’ll be covering the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so if you’re a cardholder, set your alarms! I’m getting a sneak peek of the sale today and it feels like Christmas morning! You can see my recent post on everything you need to know about it here.

I also wanted to leave y’all with a few items from the catalog I definitely plan on picking up. These items are currently marked as “out of stock,” but you’ll be able to click through and shop away starting tomorrow morning!

I’ll be pulling an all-nighter tonight, and will start posting all things #NSale at around 4am CST. Who’s chugging caffeine and staying up with me?! :)

Love from Texas,

Kate

lights, camera…

travel guide // rome, italy

Today I am thrilled to share with you my travel guide from my three days in Rome, Italy! Click through to see what I ate and what I saw in the city of love!

It’s hard to believe that this time last month, I was finishing up two weeks spent in Italy. Swoon. I had the most unbelievable time, and have been meaning to sit down and write a full re-cap for y’all ever since returning!

I have so much to share and say about the two places we visited… the huge, historic city of Rome and the ancient, Tuscan town of Cortona… so after some thought, I’ve decided to break up this trip recap into two parts. First, we’ll cover the few days I spent in Rome, and I’ll soon follow up with a look at my absolute favorite city in Italy, Cortona!

Today, let’s dive into the three days my family spent in Rome. We stayed in an Airbnb during our entire visit, so below, I’ll be focusing on food and attractions. (The best stuff anyways, right?) At the end of this post, I’ll be sharing all of the photos I took during my time in Rome!

One important thing I’d like to note before we jump in is that since this was my family’s second time in Rome, we spent this trip visiting the more obscure places we didn’t make it to on our first adventure. So that being said, you won’t find “must see” destinations like Coliseum tours, etc. on this post… simply because we’d already done them! But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth doing. Just keep that in mind if you’re planning on visiting Rome for the first time!

 

 DINING

When it comes to dining in Rome, I definitely recommend booking reservations in advance. Simply call the restaurant (you can always find the number online) and when a hostess answers, say “Reservation.” They’ll almost always connect you with someone who speaks English.

  • De Armando al Pantheon
    • Let me start off by saying this. You need to make a reservation a *month* in advance. No, this restaurant isn’t especially ritzy (although you can see the Pantheon literally right outside of the front door) it’s just THAT good. My mom called for reservations two weeks ahead of time, and all they had available was a spot for lunch. This was absolutely the best pasta I had the entire trip. We all ordered different things on the menu, and were all blown away!
  • Nonna Betta
    • We ended up loving this little spot so much that we ate here twice for dinner! The thing you absolutely can’t miss? The Jewish artichoke. We each got one for ourselves and talked about them the entire trip. It’s not especially fancy, but it is delicious.
  • Angelino Ai Fori dal 1947
    • This was one of the few restaurants we didn’t have a reservation for. After touring Palatine Hill, we walked past it and decided to give it a try. The pizza ended up being delicious. Perfect lunch spot!
  • La Casa del Caffe Tazza d Oro
    • When you’re by the Pantheon, you must stop into this spot for coffee! They’re famous for it, and rightly so! I ordered the frozen coffee (I can’t remember the Italian name) and oh my word… it was genuinely a highlight of my trip!

 

 TOURS / ATTRACTIONS

Like I mentioned above, since this was my family’s second time in Rome we chose tours we didn’t get the chance to go on first time around. So don’t forget… this list doesn’t include a few “must see” spots like the Coliseum!

  • Borghese Gallery Tour
    • We spent a full morning at the Borghese Gallery and the Borghese Gardens! The gallery is a must. Be sure you buy tickets in advance! A ticket gives you a two-hour window of time to wander through the gorgeous building. We ended up opting for the tour, and loved it! (P.S. This is where my sister and I ran into Anna Popplewell!)
  • Borghese Gardens
    • After a morning tour through the Borghese Gallery, my family and I decided to… wait for it… rent Segways and ride through the gardens! Y’all… THIS is the way to see the garden. It is absolutely massive, and the Segways allowed us to see a lot of it in a fun, fast way. We rented ours for a full hour and had the best time!
  • Appian Way Electic Bike Tour
    • This bike tour through the Appian Way was one of our absolute favorite things we did! We had an incredible tour guide, Bram, who guided us to the Roman aqueducts, along the Appian Way and to the catacombs. We chose the 6-hour bike ride, and let me tell you… using the electric assist bikes was the way to go. So fun! This really was an amazing way to see so much of Rome that you otherwise wouldn’t. I highly recommend if you have a day for it!
  • Palatine Hill Tour
    • To put it simply, my family and I are Roman Empire nerds. My sister and I studied Latin and Latin culture extensively throughout elementary and middle school and even into high school, so needless to say Palatine Hill holds a ton of interest for us! That’s why we decided to take a 4-hour private tour of Palatine Hill, where we got to see the homes of Emporer Augustus and his wife, Livia. (Both have just been recently opened to the public and are only viewable via tour.) Since we had already toured the Coliseum on our previous trip, we were excited for a more in-depth visit of Palatine Hill. If you’re not incredibly interested in Roman history, this might be more than you’re looking for… but we found it fascinating!

There you have it, friends, the places we loved visiting and eating at during our 3 full days in Rome! I know what you’re thinking… 3 days is entirely too short to soak in Rome, but the little town of Cortona was our final destination, so we really were just making a pit stop!

I can’t wait to share my Cortona travel guide with you next. It’s such an undiscovered jewel of a city, and there’s so much I’m dying to show you! In the meantime, if you have any questions about my Italy trip (from what I packed to… I don’t know… if I saw Paulo and Isabella) leave them in the comments! I think I’m going to do an Italy Q&A!

Now, here are some more of the images (and outfit details) from my time in Italy. Keep scrolling to the very end for a collage of 16 things I packed for the trip!

The Roman Aqueducts

rome italy travel guide

TOP   outdoor voices top   |   LEGGINGS   black leggings   |   SHOES   nike tennis shoes   |   SUNGLASSES   ray ban sunglasses

 

The Pantheon

rome italy travel guide

DRESS   white off the shoulder dress   |   BAG   straw circular bag (old, similar linked)   |   BELT   hermés belt   |   SHOES   ancient greek sandals

 

the tiber river

rome italy travel guide

JUMPSUIT   chambray bow sleeve jump suit   |   BELT   hermés belt   |   SHOES   ancient greek sandals

 

lunch near palatine hill

rome italy travel guide

 

DRESS   white cold shoulder dress   |   EARRINGS   hoop earrings   |   SUNGLASSES   ray ban sunglasses

 

borghese gallery

rome italy travel guide

rome italy travel guide

DRESS   striped dress (available in grey here)   |   SHOES   platform superga sneakers   |   EARRINGS   hoop earrings   |   BAG   circular straw bag (old, similar linked)   |   SUNGLASSES   ray ban sunglasses

Don’t forget to click *here* for a recent post on “16 things I packed for Italy.” You can also click below to shop!

Loved getting to relive this trip with y’all via this post! Don’t forget to leave me any questions you have about it for my Italy Q&A!

Love from Texas,

Kate

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my new blog feature!

Happy Monday evening, y’all! I’ve been hard at work all day (hence the late post) on a new feature I’m so excited to share with y’all…. The Lonestar Southern Shop! No, I’m sadly not opening a physical store, but I am opening up a virtual collection of all of my favorites you…

Happy Monday evening, y’all!

I’ve been hard at work all day (hence the late post) on a new feature I’m so excited to share with y’all…. The Lonestar Southern Shop! No, I’m sadly not opening a physical store, but I am opening up a virtual collection of all of my favorites you can shop from anywhere!

Simply click on the “Shop” button on my homepage. You’ll find it right underneath the big “Lonestar Southern” header! Then, you’ll be able to click through collections and head straight to my favorite boutiques. Here’s a peek at what it looks like!

 

Here’s where the fun part comes in! Comment on this post to let me know if there’s a new collection you’d love to see! I’ve already started putting together some darling wedding dresses, my workout favorites and a few items of summer fun. What else would you like to see?

I’ll be updating this shop regularly, and will post to IG Stories whenever I do!

I’m so excited to get this up in time for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale… that opens to card members THIS THURSDAY! (Ahh!) I’ll be using this new shop page to share my favorites from the sale. Make sure you’re prep’d for the big day by checking out this recent post that shares all the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale details!

Can’t wait to hear what you’re wanting to shop for, I hope y’all love this new feature!

Love from Texas,

Kate