My Experience Adjusting To The COVID-19 Developments While In Santa Fe

I feel like the world has completely changed since my last post. COVID-19 has drastically altered my life and my future, as well as the lives of billions of people worldwide. Two weeks ago, this was not even a possibility in my mind. One week ago, I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I would likely never walk the stage for my undergraduate graduation. And now, within the past few days, I’ve had to adjust to the idea that I will never go to an in-person undergraduate course again, never participate in my sorority’s senior ceremonies, and never get to feel recognized and appreciated at my marching band’s end-of-year banquet.

All that to say, my life and the foreseeable future has changed beyond comprehension in the past three days alone. Currently, my university is on spring break, meaning I have been experiencing the latest developments away from home (my friends and I planned a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.)

Disclaimer: The COVID-19 situation has been changing and developing so rapidly that by the time we left (traveling by car) many of the most recent restrictions and warnings had not yet surfaced. While it is not ideal to be traveling anywhere at this point in time, we have done our best to stay socially distant and take all necessary precautions to help preserve our health and the health of those around us. This post is meant to share how COVID-19 affected our trip and the adjustments we made to still have fun while remaining socially distant.

Day One

We left Norman and headed to Santa Fe at the very beginning of our spring break, feeling restless due to all the unknowns we knew were sure to come. Equipped with the disposable gloves Taylor’s dad gave us to protect us at gas pumps, we were on our way. The Norman to Santa Fe drive is about 8 hours long, so we stopped for a lunch break in Amarillo and made a side trip to Cadillac Ranch before heading back on our way.

After arriving at our Airbnb (although not planned, this option made us feel much more secure than if we had been staying in a traditional hotel) we needed food. Partially in anticipation of the possibility of more limitations to come, and partially because we were trying to play it frugal, we stopped by Trader Joe’s to grocery shop for the week. I had expected it to be a lot crazier than it was- maybe it’s because TJ’s customer service is immaculate or maybe it’s because Santa Fe wasn’t losing their minds yet, but we were able to find most of the food options we wanted to make. With both a lactose intolerant friend and a vegan friend (and me just being picky), it can make grocery shopping with limited options difficult. Luckily, we didn’t experience that here.

Day Two

Day 2 was our first full day in Santa Fe. At this point, many places were still open, although it was clear that the town was a little less full of tourists than usual. Armed with hand sanitizer and a desire to keep 6 feet of space between us and those around us, we chose to visit some of the less interactive sites: Loretto Chapel and Cross of the Martyrs.

Day Three

On our 3rd full day (and first weekday of the trip) we decided to head to Old Town Santa Fe and see what was open. We were able to go into some stores (staying cognizant of what we were touching and what other window shoppers may have touched) and even got to eat lunch at The Shed, a restaurant we had been eyeing. Under orders from the governor, all New Mexican restaurants were operating at half capacity starting that morning, but even reduced occupancy didn’t keep us waiting very long. After a successful afternoon of browsing, social distancing, and margarita drinking, we headed back to the Airbnb with full stomachs, slightly lighter wallets and some cute photos (shout-out to my phone tripod for allowing us to take some cute pictures on our own, without the assistance from strangers!)

By that evening, we were starting to realize that hiking was going to be our best bet in terms of socially-distant physical activity. We chose a hike on the edge of town and timed it so we would get a fantastic sunset view of the city- but still have enough time to get down before darkness fully came.

DAY FOUR

Remember when I said we were about to turn into big hiking girls? Our 4th day proved that. We made the hour drive to Bandelier National Monument and spent the afternoon hiking different trails. This was a really fun day because we packed lunch and got to spend a few hours on our own, surrounded by nature. We even saw deer on our last hike of the day, which was amazing. The views here simply cannot be contested.

Day Five

By day 5, restrictions and regulations were really starting to hit Santa Fe and we knew most of our activities would be completely solo from now on. Our activities Wednesday mainly consisted of painting denim jackets (we had picked up paint earlier in the week) and completing a puzzle we bought at Goodwill. It was beginning to look like Airbnb activities or hiking would be our new go-to, although none of us were that upset. It was rainy and we didn’t really want to venture out, anyways, so we happily spent our 5th day peacefully self-isolating in our Airbnb.

Day Six

After a whole day inside on Wednesday, we knew we had to get creative on Thursday. Given that we had nothing but time, we chose to make the 3-hour round-trip to the Rio Grande Gorge and drive through Taos on our way back. I wish there had been things open in Taos for us to see and do, as it looked like a really cute town, but due to recent developments most shops and restaurants were closed. (We settled for just driving through, instead.)

Thursday evening was bittersweet for us, as we had originally had tickets to a concert that night. Because of the new restrictions put in place, our concert was cancelled (not that we would have continued to go, even if Grouplove said “the show must go on!”) Luckily, we will be refunded what we paid for our tickets, so not all is lost.

Day Seven

Today is our last full day here. Although a lot of our plans had to be altered or cancelled (the concert, Meow Wolf, and visiting local museums, just to name a few,) we have still managed to keep a positive outlook and make the most of our trip while staying aware of the changing climate around us. Today we have planned to do a photoshoot in our Airbnb, learn some TikTok dances, and continue composing the musical we started planning- all fun things we can do from the comfort of our (temporary) home.

Overall

While this trip definitely threw some curveballs our way, we were able to make the most of it while keeping our health and the health of others a priority. Getting the email that you won’t be returning to campus for undergraduate courses is hard, but it’s much easier to cope with when you’re surrounded by friends. I’m looking forward to getting back to Norman on Saturday and beginning my self-quarantine: while we took every possible precaution on this trip, you can never be too careful, and I want to ensure I am not a carrier before spending time with my friends or going back home to my family.

If there’s anything you want me to discuss or make a post about during my self-quarantine period, please let me know. I’m sure I’ll have an abundance of time. Stay safe, everyone!

-K

The Ultimate Spring Break Beach Vacation Packing List

It’s March now, which means that spring break is right around the corner. Last year, some of my girlfriends and I took a trip down to St. Augustine, Florida, where we spent a glorious 6 days relaxing on the beach, indulging in great food, and exploring the city.

When it came time to pack last year, I was kind of at a loss. What’s important? What isn’t? And as a chronic overpacker, I stuffed my carry-on-sized suitcase to the brim and hoped for the best.

While I’m not heading back to the sun and the surf this spring break (although stay tuned to see where I will be headed), I wanted to share my tips and tricks on what you need and what you don’t for the ultimate spring break beach vacation.

I’ll be detailing my top 10 items below, and attaching a full packing checklist at the bottom full of everything you’ll need. Let’s dive right in!

1. Swimsuit(s)

If you’re on a beach vacation, this should be a no-brainer. You can probably get away with just one bathing suit if you won’t be swimming every day, but if you will be, pack multiple: because believe me, putting back on a damp or sandy swimsuit is no fun.

2. Sundress

Going out to dinner, walking around town, or even just hanging around the beach house- a flowy sundress is a must! They’re super versatile and can be used for several different outings.

3. Light jacket

Hopefully your trip is sunny and warm, but if mother nature doesn’t favor you and you’re struggling to soak in those rays a light jacket will be your best friend. Beach weather can change on a dime and a light jacket will make sure you don’t get too cold.

4. Sunglasses

The ocean glare can be super bright, so always pack sunglasses to protect your eyes while you’re lounging in the sand. You really only need one pair, but they don’t take up a lot of space, so you can pack multiple if you would like!

5. Multi-purpose sandals

If you’re traveling with a big group or flying with a carry-on, luggage space is limited. Luckily, most beach clothing doesn’t take up a lot of room, but picking pairs of shoes that are super versatile can really help maximize your luggage space. Sandals that you can wear out to grab lunch or to a bar later in the night serve double duty and help you have more space in your luggage for other things!

6. Cover-up

Depending on the area you’re in, you might be privy to restaurants or bars right on the beach. Packing a cover-up ensures you’ll be able to go in and grab a drink or bite to eat during your beach day!

7. Shorts

Probably no explanation necessary, right? Pack a couple pairs of shorts and you’ll be ready for anything you have planned, from a beach day to lunch downtown.

8. Multi-purpose tops

Much like with sandals, packing tops that can go from day to night will really save you space in your luggage. Flowy tank tops and bandeaus are your best bet!

9. Scrunchies/bandanas

Down by the ocean can get pretty windy, so prepare to hold your hair back with scrunchies or bandanas! Anything that helps keep your hair out of your face will be essential.

10. Sneakers

If you’re in a beach town with things to do other than hang out in the sand, you’ll want a cute and comfy pair of sneakers to walk around in! I wore mine out to a local farmer’s market and coffee shop.

And that’s my top 10! Here’s a full list of everything you’ll need:

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments, and have a great time on your vacation!

-K

P.S. Heading to St. Augustine or somewhere similar? Check out my recap posts from spring break 2019 to see what we did on our trip!

Seas the Day | Low Tides, Good Vibes | The Oldest City in America | How We Roll | Girls Just Wanna Have Sun

8 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Blogging

One year ago today I created my blog, and one year ago tomorrow I launched it. I’ve come a long way from my first few posts, taken with a makeshift tripod propped up on my bed in my bedroom. What a year it has been, and I’m thrilled that Selfies & OOTDs has continually given me a platform to create content and share what I love.

If you want a good laugh, go back to February 2019 and see what my first few posts looked like. (Yeah. Pretty amateur.) Luckily, I’ve matured in more ways than one, and I’ve learned a ton about blogging, social media marketing, and content creation in the process. Here’s 8 things I wish someone had told me when I first started blogging:

1. For the best shots, have no shame

When I first started, I took all my #OOTD shots against the door in my bedroom. Aside from the fact that I didn’t have a real tripod, I was also self-conscious about people seeing me pose and wait for the self timer to go off. When I got my tripod this summer, the game completely changed, and after a few outings of taking my pictures in public I was no longer fazed. This let me have way more creativity with my poses (and it meant you could actually see my feet!

2. Even lighting is the best lighting

I thought the wall by my window was giving me good natural light, but it really wasn’t. The best lighting I’ve found is when I’m outside, in the shade. That way no one part of my face is in the shadows and none of the lighting is too harsh. But more on that in a bit…

3. Early bird gets the worm

Remember what I said about even lighting in the shade? That’s why I take almost all my pictures in the morning, preferably before 9 a.m. This gives me optimal choices for locations in terms of where is still shady, as the sun has just barely come up over the horizon. I also like the mornings because it lets me take pictures when my makeup and hair are freshly done.

4. No one can tell how cold it was when they look at the picture

When you’re getting up early in the winter, you know what that means… It’s going to be cold outside. Luckily, no one can tell how much your toes were freezing when you took the shot as long as the end result is cute- and I find that the pictures I took on the coldest days end up being my favs.

5. Hashtags are everything

About 4 months in to my blogging journey and I had only hit 80 followers. What gives? Answer: not using the tools Instagram was handing me in order to reach a larger audience! I used to feel squeamish about hashtags, but once I started using them I never looked back. It’s never been so easy for me to find and engage with like-minded individuals!

6. Engage and be engaging!

Like I just said, the purpose of Instagram is to engage with others. You will see such a difference in what you get out of it if you give it as well! Tell that girl you like her outfit, comment on your favorite brand’s post- there’s tons of people just like you out there waiting to connect!

7. Content planning saves lives (or at least, your feed)

I’ll admit it, I fell off the wagon somewhere between September and December. School caught up to me, and suddenly I was posting less and less just because I wasn’t prepared with a plan. I implemented a content calendar for the start of 2020, and it’s already working wonders. Consistency is key, however frequently that means for you!

8. Don’t be afraid to call yourself what you are

When I first started out, I felt weird calling myself a blogger. I felt like that was just a title reserved for influencers and people with way more followers than me… but I soon realized that it’s not the number of followers you have or the number of likes you get: if you have a blog, you’re a blogger, and you shouldn’t be afraid to call yourself one. (Shout-out to my dad who always tells people I’m a blogger if we’re out doing a restaurant review in public. It’s hella validating!!)

So excited what February 2020 – February 2021 has in store for me. I hope you’ll stick around, because there’s more where that came from!

-K

P.S. Thanks to Nompton Social for letting me come in before opening and take pictures with your murals today- you’re seriously the best!

Wingardium Leviosa: Styling Round Glasses

Round glasses are one of my favorite trends I’ve been seeing lately (no pun intended), and I’ve been having such a fun time figuring out how to style them! If you are like me and were blessed with 20/20 vision, fear not: you can still take part in this cute look by buying round glasses without prescription lenses. I’ll have my favorite blue light blocking pair linked down below.

Since glasses of any kind automatically give off more of a nerdy vibe, I try to lean into it by pairing it with one really conservative item of clothing. (Here, it’s my turtleneck.) Once you have your more classic item picked out, I then like to play around with the rest of the outfit. For contrast, I picked my pair of light wash skinny jeans with unique embroidery on the back. Additionally, I chose to bring my favorite velvet handbag along and gold pendant necklace as accessories to add back in a chic element. Finished off with my suede riding boots, another conservative and classic touch, and this outfit is complete!

You can always go further to either end of the spectrum if your style calls for it, but I aim to keep all elements balanced when I’m styling an element outside of my comfort zone.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Glasses: Blue Light Blocking Round Glasses – Nordstrom
Necklace: Zodiac Pendant Necklace (similar)
Top: Black Turtleneck Sweater (similar)
Bag: Black Velvet Handbag (similar)
Belt: Loop Belt – Target
Jeans: Light-Wash High-Waisted Jeans (similar)
Shoes: Presto Waterproof Knee-High Boot – BLONDO

I’ve only had my round glasses for about 2 weeks and I’m loving them! I’m excited to find more ways to style them, but in the meantime, I would love to see your take. If you wear round glasses (prescription or faux) post your look on Insta and tag me so I can see!

-K

Feeling Frosty: Styling Denim-on-Denim

One of 2020s standout trends is supposed to be denim-on-denim. While I’m not quite ready to dive headfirst into a full-blown navy-on-navy ensemble, I dipped my toe in the water today by pairing my navy denim jacket with my black jeans. Baby steps!

I found this amazing Lauren Ralph Lauren white turtleneck at TJ Maxx the other day, and I am obsessed with it already. I love turtlenecks, sweaters, and especially combinations of the two, so I’m guessing I’ll be wearing this one a lot this season. I think it looks super classic, especially when paired with other neutrals and closet staples.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Jacket: Freeborn Denim Jacket – Target
Sweater: White Turtleneck – Lauren Ralph Lauren
Belt: Loop Belt – Target
Jeans: High-Waisted Rockstar Jeans – Old Navy
Shoes: Grand Court Sneaker – Adidas

What is your winter go-to item? Mine will always be a sweater or turtleneck, but I’m looking for more wardrobe staples to add to my closet. Let me know!

-K

Oh-Em-Gee!

I truly can’t believe it’s already mid-January. Yesterday was the first day of my last undergraduate semester (meaning graduation is coming up faster than I realize) and every day I feel older and older. Nevertheless, I’m excited for this semester and all the fun things it will bring!

I got this cute rhinestone bobby pins for Christmas and I was just dying to try them out. I decided to pair them with slept-in, braided hair since I felt like the quirky bobby pins would compliment it nicely. I also chose one of my favorite chunky sweaters as a juxtaposition against the flowy pleated skirt and heels. I loved this vibe and can’t wait to play around with it more!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Bobby Pins: OMG Rhinestone Bobby Pins
Top: Grey Chunky Sweater – Rubbish
Skirt: Black Pleated Skirt (similar)
Shoes: Carrson Sandal – Steve Madden

Feeling very blessed that the first week hasn’t been offensively cold yet. I know it’s probably coming, but I wish it wouldn’t- I have too many skirts I need to wear!

-K

My 2020 Resolutions (+ A List of Bonus Resolution Ideas!)

2019 has come and gone, and with a new year comes New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions, goals, visions, whatever you want to call them- they’re a great way to refocus and help get your life back on track for the new year.

I’ve always liked writing down my resolutions (usually in a journal of some sort), but this year I decided that I should take the time to post mine here, as well as provide some additional ideas in case you’re struggling to fill your list as well. It’s only January 6, so it’s not too late to get your priorities in order and start making a game plan for 2020!

Here’s my personal goals for 2020, and stick around for even more ideas should you be in need any yourself!

MY 2020 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

1. Continue Making Fitness a Lifestyle

I had this same resolution for 2019, but luckily it still applies despite the massive progress I made last year. I hope to make working out a part of my weekly routine and continue to grow stronger and push my body’s limits (while respecting what it can and can’t do due to my reoccurring lung problems.) Hopefully more barre and pilates classes are in my future!

2. Prioritize Eating Out With Friends Versus Eating Out For Convenience

This is something I did a pretty good job of last year, but I started to fall off the wagon as 2019 came to a close. When I choose to go out to eat, I want it to be in a social setting, not by myself just because I don’t feel like shopping or cooking. If I’m going to be eating alone, I need to be eating at home. This helps save my wallet and my waistline!

3. Learn How to Use a Curling iron

Okay, this is kind of a silly one… But it’s something I’ve never tried but always wanted to master. My hairdresser recently gave me the most gorgeous waves using just a curling iron, and that’s when I decided this was my year to conquer the curling iron. I’ve used wands and straighteners to create curls, but never an iron. The time is now, I need those waves in my life!

4. Post More Consistently

I posted 131 times in 2019… quite a lot for someone who only launched her blog in February! However, the consistency just wasn’t there. I posted almost every day while I was in Austin, but would go weeks without posting once school hit its peak in the fall. Since then, I’ve made myself a content calendar which will help me most on a more regular schedule. I have some really exciting posts lined up already and I can’t wait to share them!

5. Read at Least One New Book a Month (Not for School!)

This is also a resolution I’m taking from 2019. I love self-help books, but sometimes it’s hard to prioritize reading them between school, my sorority, my blog, my resumé business, etc… But reading is so good for you, and once I sit down and actually start reading, I absolutely love it. The goal: at least 12 books this year, ones that aren’t required for a class!

BONUS RESOLUTION IDEAS

If you’re not used to taking a step back and setting goals for your own life, New Year’s resolutions can be daunting. I hope that my list above and my reasoning behind each one helped get your own creative juices flowing. If you’re still stuck, here are 25 ideas that you might want to consider adopting for 2020!

  • Take more weekend trips.
  • Spend more time outside.
  • Get better grades.
  • Practice mindful eating.
  • Set (and stick to!) a budget.
  • Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Don’t hit the snooze button.
  • Start meditating.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Conquer one of your fears.
  • Learn how to play an instrument.
  • Organize your living space.
  • Create a nighttime routine.
  • Spend less time watching TV.
  • Volunteer more.
  • Drink more water.
  • Say thanks for something every day.
  • Learn a new sport or hobby.
  • Stop multitasking.
  • Eat less sugar.
  • Schedule in 1 hour of self care per week.
  • Spend more time with loved ones.
  • Clean out your inbox.
  • Be intentional with your time.
  • Start a blog.

If you’ve already set your New Year’s resolutions, let me know what they are! Anything I didn’t cover?

-K

Hey Macklemore

Happy 2020! That feels so weird to say, since I’ve known that was going to be my undergraduate graduation year for basically forever. That means college degree 1 of 2 is that much closer!

I stayed in pajamas at home all day yesterday, ringing in the new year with cinnamon rolls and bacon, watching copious amounts of college football and taking time to relax with my family. (We believe that New Year’s resolutions like healthier eating don’t come into affect until January 2.) That means that today’s #OOTD is the first of the new year!

As soon as I put my leopard coat on, I could feel myself channeling major Macklemore vibes. This one didn’t come from a thrift shop, but I felt funky just the same. I know this coat is going to be one of my go-tos this winter and early spring!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Sunglasses: Cateye Sunglasses – Target
Coat: Faux Fur Leopard Coat (similar)
Top: Crewneck Long Sleeve T-shirt – Target
Belt: Loop Belt – Target
Jeans: High-Waisted Rockstar Jeans – Old Navy
Shoes: Grand Court Sneaker – Adidas

Also, today I broke out some liquid matte lipstick that was part of a Christmas gift! I had been skeptical about liquid lipstick for a long time, but I’m absolutely obsessed with this set and their matching lip liners. Cheers to more adventurous fashion and beauty choices in 2020!

-K

The Best Champagne on a Budget

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, and for most of us over 21, that means a champagne toast is on the way as well! But bottles of bubbly can be expensive- and if you’re the host of your New Year’s Eve soirée, even just a couple of bottles for your guests can easily take a toll on your wallet.

Luckily, they don’t have to! Between myself and my (very cooperative) family members, we taste-tested and judged 3 budget-friendly bottles: all from Walmart, and all under $10. (Did you hear that? I think it was your credit card breathing a huge sigh of relief.) I also made sure they were all of the extra dry variety, just for consistency.

All 3 champagnes were judged appearance, their “bubbly factor”, their taste, and the overall rating (in case you have one category you’re partial to). Each champagne got very high and very low scores in each categories, but I have averaged all the votes so it’s easy to tell the results. If you’re interested in the voting breakdown, you can find the individual ratings here.

So, without any further ado, let’s get right into the reviews!

BOTTLE #1: Cook’s

Photo via Walmart.com

Price: $7.98/bottle
Appearance: 7.75/10
Bubbly Factor: 8.5/10
Taste: 5.125/10
Overall Rating: 6.625/10

A good portion of the room preferred Cook’s over the other brands. However, it tended to be the parents in the room compared to the Gen-Zs. It received the second highest average score overall. It scored the highest in terms of appearance and how bubbly it was, but scored the lowest for taste.

BOTTLE #2: Barefoot

Photo via Walmart.com

Price: $8.73/bottle
Appearance: 6.625/10
Bubbly Factor: 5.625/10
Taste: 5.25/10
Overall Rating: 5.75/10

No one preferred Barefoot over the other brands, which surprised me because the bottle said it was “most awarded,” and it was also the most expensive (if only by $1.) For being such an iconic brand in terms of cheap wine, I thought it would do better. It scored the lowest in almost every category, but it’s average score never dipped below 5, so it’s still decent.

Bottle #3: André

Photo via Walmart.com

Price: $4.98/bottle
Appearance: 7.375/10
Bubbly Factor: 7.125/10
Taste: 5.875/10
Overall Rating: 7.125/10

André was very polarizing. It had a lot of very high votes and very low votes, but still managed to come out on top for taste and overall. This was also the brand preferred by the Gen-Zs in the room.

OVERALL

While all the bottles were tasty, my personal favorite was André! At $4.98, you just can’t beat the price. If you need affordable champagne for your NYE party (or really any other occasion that calls for it), this is certainly my recommendation!

If you ever want to have your own champagne taste-test, this is the card I handed out to everyone!

Do you have any favorite bottles of affordable champagne? Please don’t hesitate to let me know- I’m always open to trying a new brand!

Happy (early) new year & stay warm-

-K

Christmas OOTD and Recap

Merry Christmas, everyone! Due to my scheduling with Peach Bowl rehearsals, I had an unconventional Christmas experience and celebrated a day early this year. As of yesterday evening, I had completely unwrapped my gifts and mentally started preparing for the bowl trip. Christmas had already come and gone and it wasn’t even December 25!

Opening all your presents on Christmas Eve wasn’t nearly as weird as it sounds. It only vaguely feels like two days were combined into one, and now I’m ready to start getting ready for the bowl trip! I’ll spare you an entire haul, but some of my favorite gifts I got yesterday were:

  • A leopard-print fuzzy jacket
  • A custom calendar with my dog’s faces on it for every month
  • Icelandic chocolate (may or may not have eaten half the bar already)
  • Kate Spade socks
  • A liquid lipstick/liner set
  • An iPhone 11!

I won’t be setting up my iPhone 11 until after I get back from Atlanta, so when I was initially listing my favorite gifts I completely forgot about it. But I’m super excited to get it set up once I have more than a few hours to transfer all my stuff over and make sure it’s all working!

Beyond just opening gifts in the morning, we also went to church in the evening and then proceeded on to our tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family. They even helped me collect data for an upcoming blog post… stay tuned!

SHOP THE LOOK:

Earrings: Star Bar Earrings – Altar’d State
Dress: Black Velvet Skater Dress – Forever 21
Shoes: Carrson Sandal – Steve Madden

Merry Christmas again, and I’ll talk to you all again before the new year. Here comes 2020!

-K

P.S. I actually had my sister take my #OOTD pics last night. It was very refreshing not to have to use a tripod- especially because I knew my neighbors across the street would be able to see us. Thanks, Macy!