latest & greatest vol. 48

Happy groundhog day friends! Yes, yes it is groundhog day. Yes, I legitimately knew that. And yes, I am legitimately excited about it! I’m sure you know the drill, but brief refresh: The groundhog sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter. The groundhog doesn’t see his shadow? Spring…

Happy groundhog day friends! Yes, yes it is groundhog day. Yes, I legitimately knew that. And yes, I am legitimately excited about it!

I’m sure you know the drill, but brief refresh: The groundhog sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter. The groundhog doesn’t see his shadow? Spring is here!

If you can’t tell from today’s roundup of the cutest new arrivals to hit the web (or the past few I’ve put together as of late) I am ready for spring. Sending up extra prayers for the groundhog!

There were so many cute new arrivals, in fact, that I decided to round the rest up for you below. Simply click through to shop!

Love from Texas,

Kate

what i learned from jury duty

Let me tell you… it was a learning experience to say the very least. I’m sure you’ve heard in general terms what it’s like, what to expect, how to get out of it, etc, but I really had no real grasp on what I was walking into that Tuesday morning. So for today’s post, I’m going to walk you through what I learned while on… drumroll please… jury duty. Read on for my tips on what to expect, how to be best prepared, and a runthrough of my day and experience!

what to expect jury duty

This week, I got called in for that one event everyone loves to hate… jury duty.

No, I’d never been called into jury services before but oh boy I had heard about it. You know what I’m talking about… the grumblings and eye rolls from friends and family members who had received that one, unwelcome letter. Those grumblings and eyerolls that made one stop and think “Wait, is it really that bad?” I knew it was coming eventually, but let me assure you, “jury duty” was a phrase way off of my radar.

Until it was very much on my radar. And, therefore, on my schedule for this past Tuesday.

Let me tell you… it was a learning experience to say the very least. I’m sure you’ve heard in general terms what it’s like, what to expect, how to get out of it, etc, but I really had no real grasp on what I was walking into that Tuesday morning. So for today’s post, I’m going to walk you through what I learned while on… drumroll please… jury duty. Read on for my tips on what to expect, how to be best prepared, and a runthrough of my day and experience!

Before we get started, I want to clarify that I was not selected to serve in an actual trial. Rest assured, I will not be sharing any sensitive information here. I also want to state that I served jury duty at the Dallas Criminal Courthouse, so this experience is tailored to that courthouse in particular and may not be relevant for other courthouses.

1. Make No Plans That Day

For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I would sit around for a couple of hours and then be released. In fact, I had planned a few things for that afternoon thinking I’d have plenty of time to get them done!

While it is true that some people get released early-on, I was not one of those lucky few. I ended up being there until 4:30 in the afternoon. A full day, indeed!

2. Take A Breath

As a life-long rule-follower, I  worried I’d get arrested if I showed up five seconds after being told to. (Doesn’t “jury duty” just have that feel?) But after hitting traffic and arriving 30-45 minutes after I was supposed to get there, I realized that the process is a lot less intimidating than one would think.

Even after showing up late, I ended up waiting for another hour before anything important started happening. The people around me were complaining that they had been waiting forever! So in the end, I was thankful I had a few extra quiet moments to myself that morning. No one cared or even noticed that I was late. (And I survived the incident without ending up in handcuffs.)

3. Be Vocal

Here’s a fact about jury selection I wasn’t aware of: lawyers don’t really “pick” a jury. Rather, both sides are given 10 strikes each, and with those strikes, their goal is to remove individuals they perceive to have a bias against their client. So during the “voire dire” process (the time given to the attorneys to speak with the jury) the attorneys are trying to get to know the jury so they can decide who to “strike.” And you know who they end up striking? The people who speak up and have a bias.

Now, I’m not saying that you should make up a bias to get out of being selected for the jury. Don’t do that. In fact, you take an oath to tell the truth before you go into the courtroom. (Duh!) What I am saying is that you should absolutely speak up and make your opinion known. This allows both sides to get to know you, and if you are vocal and strong about a certain opinion, odds are one side won’t like it and will strike you.

This was absolutely the case in my personal experience. The 12 jurors (and 1 alternate) who ended up being selected out of our whole group were the individuals who had stayed quiet during the voire dire process. It was amazing how true it actually rang.

What To Bring

  • A Sweater // I have never been “that girl.” You know, the one who carries a portable heater around wherever she goes and insists that she’s cold while in a sweater in the middle of July? Yeah, I’ve never been her. But after I announced I was heading to jury duty, one of you so wisely advised that I take a sweater as the courtrooms can sometimes get chilly. Y’all. I wore an undershirt, a sweater and a cardigan over that, and I was still freezing! So thankful I took that advice.
  • A Book // This is a pretty common piece of advice when it comes to jury duty, but I was shocked at how many people I was serving with who didn’t bring anything to do! All in all, I did about 4 hours of sitting and doing absolutely nothing and would have gone crazy without some entertainment.
  • A Phone Charger // Again, this was a kind tip from one of you! Obviously, you cannot use your phone in the courtroom, but I was surprised at how lax it was when I was waiting around. I’d heard cell phones aren’t allowed, but no one made a fuss about it in my experience! So bring a charger, because you genuinely can’t predict how long you’ll be there.
  • A Lunch & Lots of Snacks// After I was selected to be on a jury panel (basically, the group of people they choose a jury from in a specific case), my fellow jurors and I were given an hour and fifteen-minute lunch break. The Dallas Criminal Courthouse is located in a pretty bad part of town, and there weren’t any good lunch options around. Plus, I would have had to pay for parking a second time if I had left! And let me tell you… the cafeteria options were mediocre at best. I’m so glad I had packed a jar of peanut butter, banana, and a few other things to munch on for lunch.
  • A Water Bottle // Especially during flu season, I would not recommend subjecting oneself to the water fountains found in the courthouse. I don’t ever really bring a water bottle around in my day-to-day life, but am so glad I had one on hand for this day!
  • Cash // While this may not be true for every courthouse, the Dallas Criminal Courthouse only accepts cash. For everything. From parking to the cafeteria. Make sure you have about $10 on hand to cover parking and any snack purchases you may want to make. (I spent $3 on parking and $1.75 on a cup of coffee.)

A Runthrough of My Day

If you’ve made it this far, I commend you! Before signing off, I thought I’d share a brief runthrough of my day on the off-chance that it might help one of you know what to expect!

Like I said above, I arrived at the room specified about 45 minutes after the specified time. I had packed one of my Barrington Totes all the way to the brim with books, snacks, water bottles and such and felt like such a soccer mom. Ha!

I was surprised to see a pretty large room filled with seats – and most of them were full! Someone behind me grumbled that they had been waiting around for an hour without anything happening. (Pat on the back for myself for showing up late.) We must have waited around for at least another 30-45 minutes before a woman at the front addressed us with a mic. She gave us a quick overview of what doing jury service entails and went on to inform us that whenever a proceeding upstairs decided to move forward with a jury trial, she would call up a “panel” for them.

Like I said above, a jury panel is a group potential jurors that are assigned to a particular trial. As fate would have it, she called numbers 1-184 first. Want to know what number I was? 183. You just have to laugh, ya know?

Once she called this group of numbers, she instructed us to go upstairs to a specified courtroom. Once there, we spent more time waiting around. (Are you seeing a theme here?) Finally, two women walked out with clipboards and passed out questionnaires. (I learned that each case has a different questionnaire the lawyers on both sides put together.) Our group’s questionnaire contained a lot of questions about how we felt about the police force, if we watched crime shows and if we felt like that gave us a bias towards prosecutors or defendants, etc. It was actually pretty interesting.

Once we completed the questionnaires, the bailiff (the police officer assigned to the courtroom) called us into the courtroom one by one. I have to say, this part was a bit intimidating. I walked into the courtroom to see the lawyers from both sides standing, facing me as I walked in. (They did this the entire time the bailiff was calling in jurors.)

Another thing I wasn’t expecting? The citizen accused was standing with the lawyers, facing us as we walked in, as well.

I was juror #76 out of #77, and the way the seating in the room worked was that I sat up in the actual juror box with the last twelve potential jurors. I ended up being grateful for these – we had really comfortable chairs compared to the benches the other jurors had to sit on!

After everyone had filed in, the bailiff introduced the judge. The judge assigned to our case seemed professional and kind, and made us all feel at ease. She took some time explaining what type of case we were there for, and went on to reveal the incredibly serious accusation being tried. For some reason, I didn’t actually think that I had the chance of being a juror on something so serious. Finding out the opposite shook me up a bit if I’m being honest. Such a surreal moment.

After this general opener, she asked us jurors some general questions, like “Should this trial go on through Friday, do any of you have flights or important items scheduled that you cannot miss?” A few people raised their hands for surgeries, work trips, etc, and I swear to you someone made up that they had a child. MADE UP THAT THEY HAD A CHILD, Y’ALL. I know that sounds harsh, but when the judge followed up to ask how old the man’s son was, he responded (and I kid you not): “Uhhh… about, um… like, twelve months?”

She let us off for a lunch break, and instructed us to be back for “voire dire” in an hour and fifteen minutes. I took my huge bag and myself downstairs to a random bench, and proceeded to make a quick lunch out of the peanut butter and other snacks I had brought along. Surprisingly, the lunch hour flew by and by 1:30 we were all back to the courtroom.

This is when things started to get interesting. We were called back in, and the “voire dire” process began. Like I explained above, this is when the lawyer(s) from both sides get an hour each to talk to the jury, ask us questions, explain things about the law, etc. Oftentimes, they would present us with a hypothetical situation and say “Let’s see… juror #76, Mrs. Ma’am, what do you think about that?” Mrs. Ma’am (name made up) would respond, and the lawyer would turn to another juror and say “Mr. Sir, what do you think about what Mrs. Ma’am said?” and so on and so forth. You got a feel for different personalities pretty quickly.

It was also during this part of the day that I learned I had a very small chance of making it on the actual jury. Like I explained above, the lawyers don’t really get to “pick” who is on their jury. Rather, they can pick 10 people each they don’t want to be on the jury. After they make those cuts and the judge removes anyone who has a legitimate excuse (flights, surgeries, etc.) the remaining 12 individuals left (in order) make up the jury.

After both sides finished their voire dire, we were instructed to wait in the hall for them to make their decisions. Another hour went by, and we were all ushered back into the courtroom. Again, both lawyers and the citizen accused were standing and facing us as we walked in.

It was a pretty nervewracking experience, and you could feel the tension in the room. The judge proceeded, one by one, to name the twelve individuals who would serve on this case. After she called the thirteenth name (the alternate) I was finally able to exhale. Everyone, collectively, took a breath. The worst was behind us. We didn’t get picked.

As I walked out of the courtroom and to the parking lot (it was about 4:30 at this point) I was filled with a somber gratitude for the twelve individuals who had been selected for the jury. It was a serious case with a serious punishment should a verdict of “guilty” be reached, and the weight of that would be substantial.

I also walked away with a sense of sadness as the reality of the evil that’s in the world set in. My day-to-day for as long as I can remember has been safe, secure, and, right or wrong, shielded from so much of the hurt and darkness that exists. It was a strange and eye-opening experience to realize that “shielding” is not the reality for many of the people in my city, let alone country.

I don’t know, friends. I don’t know that I have a huge takeaway or lesson I learned from my day completing jury service other than a deepened sense of gratitude for the people who keep us safe and a deepened sense of compassion for those who fall into harm through no fault of their own.

I’m thankful to have it behind me for now, and thankful for the perspective it brought to my heart and mind.

I know it was a long one, and certainly a different type of post from my day-to-day, but I hope it helps you in some way.. whether jury duty is on your horizon or not. Thanks for reading!

Love from Texas,

Kate

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Gucci Wallet

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Bow'd Heels

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$35 denim ruffle sleeve dress

From time to time, I score bigtime at Forever21. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling when wading/crawling/combing through the craziness results in finding that killer piece for an even better price point?  The best!

denim ruffle sleeve dressdenim ruffle sleeve dressdenim ruffle sleeve dressdenim ruffle sleeve dressdenim ruffle sleeve dressdenim ruffle sleeve dressdenim ruffle sleeve dress

DRESS  $35 denim ruffle sleeve dress ($35, wearing size S)   |   EARRINGS   lisi lerch greta gold statement earrings   |   SHOES   jimmy choo portia wedge (also loving this less expensive pair)   |   PURSE   kelly wynne mingle mingle mini   |   POUCH   kelly wynne privacy pouch   |   RING   turquoise ring

From time to time, I score bigtime at Forever21. You know what I’m talking about. That feeling when wading/crawling/combing through the craziness results in finding that killer piece for an even better price point?  The best!

Nowadays, ever since Forever21 moved out of my neighborhood mall, I’ve kept my shopping there confined to the online space. I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s really the best way to do this store, y’all. Everything is much more organized, well laid-out, and you can see how the items look on a person without guessing from the hanger. Oh, and did I mention you can do it all from the comfort of your pajamas? That’s what we call a win, win.

On my latest virtual visit, I came across this $35 denim ruffle sleeve dress. Needless to say, I feel like I hit the jackpot! Denim is such a trend this season, but I’ve had difficulty finding it in pieces that still make me feel feminine. From the frayed hem to the gorgeous ruffled sleeves, this dress does just that. I can’t wait to wear it out this spring and summer!

I also wanted to introduce a new friend of mine… the Kelly Wynne Mingle Mingle Mini. For all my football fans, it’s the perfect solution for restrictive stadium regulations. That’s actually why I got it! But now that that season is coming to a close, I’ve found myself wearing this to far more than just games. I love that it blends into any outfit while creating a statement all at once. How cute, right?!

I’m typing this out after a long day spent in jury duty service. I (thankfully) wasn’t chosen, and am catching up on work with the fire going, a candle lit, and Gray’s Anatomy on Netflix. I asked on Instagram if y’all would want a post on what I learned from my Jury Duty experience and the vast majority of y’all have responded yes! I know it’s kind of different from my norm, but am more than happy to put it together if it would interest you, just let me know!

Love from Texas,

Kate

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pretty handwriting on instagram stories

Today I’m thrilled to share the trick to getting pretty handwriting on Instagram stories. You may be surprised to find that it’s as easy as clicking “add to cart.”

how to have pretty handwriting on instagram storieshow to have pretty handwriting on instagram storieshow to have pretty handwriting on instagram storieshow to have pretty handwriting on instagram stories

SWEATER   pale pink cardigan   |   SHOES   pink vans   |   JEANS   rag & bone jeans   |   TOP   white tank top (from small boutique, exact similar linked)   |   EARRINGS   pearl studs   |   STYLUS   stylus pen

Funnily enough, one of the questions I get asked most frequently these days is… “How do you have pretty handwriting on your Instagram stories?”

I was definitely not the “it girl” in 8th grade who had that perfectly swirly, coveted handwriting (obviously I’m not over that) so the fact that so many people have taken an interest in it has me incredibly flattered!

Today I’m thrilled to share the trick with you, and you may be surprised to find that it’s as easy as clicking “add to cart.”

If you’re looking for a way to finally get pretty handwriting on Instagram Story, let me introduce you to your new best friend, the stylus! This little tool allows you to write just like you would with a pen on your phone or tablet screen.

When it comes to creating Instagram Stories or Snap Chats, feeling like you’re finger painting is just about the most frustrating thing ever. This little thing fixes that instantly! That’s why I’d recommend these stylus pens to any blogger or social-media conscious soul out there. They’ve changed my life!

There are certainly nicer, more expensive styluses on the market, but this eight dollar pack (for a set of ten) is all I’ve ever used and I don’t plan on switching anytime soon.

So now that the secret’s out, order away! You’ll be shocked at how quickly your Instagram Story game improves with this one little hack. You can get your set here!

Love from Texas,

Kate

P.S. For those of you looking for my weekly recap, I have it posted HERE! Be sure you’re subscribed to my channel so you never miss a post when I don’t feature it on the blog. Click here to whatch my latest video.

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black ruffle dress

As much as I love bringing the figurative rainbow into my wardrobe, there’s something to be said about an easy, perfect, wear-to-anything black dress.

black ruffle dressblack ruffle dressblack ruffle dress

DRESS   black ruffle dress (also available here, wearing size XS)   |   BAG   leatherology monogrammed crossbody   |   SHOES   stuart weitzman the nudist heels   |   EARRINGS   tortoiseshell hoop earrings

If there’s one thing you’ve learned about me by this point, it’s that when given the choice between colors and neutrals, I almost always go for color. Pinks, reds, blues, you name it… the brighter the better! But as much as I love bringing the figurative rainbow into my wardrobe, there’s something to be said about an easy, perfect, wear-to-anything black dress.

A couple things caught my eye with this one in particular… first off? It’s under $100! (That price range always gets five stars in my book.)

Secondly? I loved the ruffle detailing. Even though the color is neutral, that fun flare adds the perfect touch of “flirty” to this otherwise simple black dress.

Which brings me to my third point… simple! This dress is simple. It’s comfortable, practical, and can be dressed down over a swimsuit with sandals or gussied up with heels and a monogrammed crossbody. (How chic is this Leatherology beauty I’m wearing, by the way?!)

And don’t forget… even though I’ve paired this dress with a chic pair of understated tortoiseshell hoops, there’s no limit to the colors you can bring into the ensemble with a fabulous pair of statement earrings!

Love from Texas,

Kate

Photography by Hilary Rattikin

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latest & greatest vol. 47

Let’s jump right into this week’s roundup of the cutest new arrivals to hit the web this week! I’m certainly on a pink kick as of late (when am I not though…) and found so many fun pieces in that hue this week.

Click on the links below to shop.

blush coat   //   gingham dress (also here)   //   sunglass case   //   heart socks   //   bow sandals   //   splurge top   //   pink sweater

Happy, happy Friday friends! I don’t know about you but this week has been a long one… I have felt so drained and energy-less every day. Needless to say, I’m thrilled the weekend is finally here. Let’s jump right into this week’s roundup of the cutest new arrivals to hit the web this week!

I’m certainly on a pink kick as of late (when am I not though…) and found so many fun pieces in that hue this week. Let’s talk about those bow sandals, shall we? Could they be more perfect?

I’m also loving the little gift ideas I’ve found for Valentine’s day. How about this cute sunglasses case that says “shine bright” for just $9? Or these darling heart socks?! And if you’re hosting a party for VDay, be sure you include these too-cute balloons in your decor.

Speaking of Valentine’s day, don’t forget that I wore this scalloped dress from Modcloth in this post. It would be perfect for the occasion!

Circling back to what I said earlier about being tired… I’m starting to think it’s an iron deficiency. I’ve just never, ever felt this way before! That being said, do any of you take iron supplements? I’d love to hear any insight you have! Trying to get this all sorted out so I’m back to being 100% in no time.

I adore y’all, and am wishing you the best weekend ever! My sister is coming into town to celebrate her birthday today, so I couldn’t be happier. See y’all back around here on Monday!

Love from Texas,

Kate

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