Red Thread.

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An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.

 --An ancient Chinese Proverb

This coming April it will be 9 years since we adopted my little sister, Gracie, from China. About 99% of the time, I forget she's actually adopted and the beautiful story that goes behind it. One night when I was home this past weekend though I was up late and suddenly got an urge to look at our big box filled with everything to do with her adoption. I spent time looking through all of it and reliving those precious moments and it just had me in tears to see this incredible little girl who I love so deeply, how much such has grown up and changed. I wanted to just share with you all bits and pieces of her adoption story because it truly means a lot to me.

My little sister was given the name Han Wei Le in China by the doctor. Han being her last name, and Wei Le being her first. They called he 'Le-Le' for short, meaning happy-happy; I couldn't see anything more fitting. She was found at a police gate at what they believe to be two days old. They estimated her birthday to October 13th 2003; we will never know if this is the exact day or not. 

My parents filled out paper work and waited for three years until we were able to travel to China for two weeks. We didn't get to choose her, but she was randomly (fate in my opinion) chosen for us. We traveled when I was ten and a half and Gracie was just 18 months old. She had stayed in an orphanage for a short period of time, and the rest of her life she had a foster mother, which was very rare.

The day we first saw her I will never forget. She wore every single piece of clothing in the above pictures all at once. It wasn't cold in China, but Chinese people are very fearful of babies getting colds, and these were also the only clothes she had. The butt and crotch of all the pants were cut out because in China the children merely squat down on the ground and go to the bathroom. She screamed and cried when my mother and I tried to hold her at first, and for most of the trip she wouldn't let us hold her. She only liked men; we were never quite sure why this was (but obviously she eventually grew out of it). I will never forget the sadness in her eyes the day we first met her--those eyes still haunt me to this day.

She came with two toys; a guitar rattle and a blue telephone. The other was bought by us at a hotel. She came clutching the telephone when we first got her and wouldn't let it go all of the trip. If we tried to take it from her, she would cry. It played music when you pushed the buttons and talked in Chinese; she played it over and over and over again until everyone was sick of hearing it. But it comforted her and although the toy's batteries are dead now, I can still remember every song it played.

We spent two weeks in China exploring and getting to know our new little family member. A few months prior we had just been given two pictures of her and a typed report on her. We waited three years just for those things. Her report had said she was active, outgoing, and happy; ironically everything I would use to describe her today. It's funny, because as I read through the report a few nights ago...everything clicked.  Even as a baby Gracie was Gracie. She still has the same mannerisms, same way to express her emotions as she did when she was a baby. It made me angry to read the document though because I missed out on a year and a half of her life. I wish I could have been there, seen her and taken care of her as a baby.

My mother had a blast buying clothing for my little sister in China. These shoes are called 'squeaky shoes' and are popular among babies in China. They have little squeakers in them so when a child walks, they squeak along.

Right before we left to come back to the United States, all the adoptive families were given these real Barbie dolls by Mattel. They're special Chinese Adoptions ones, with Barbie holding a little Chinese baby.

My mother wanted to bring home special gifts for Gracie so that as she grew up, she would always remember her Chinese heritage. We bought her traditional Chinese dresses in varying sizes for her to wear as she got older...She's so tiny though that she's probably only been through 3 or 4 of the dresses even though she's ten and a half. That girl is tiny! 

As an older sister, no words will ever be able to explain the love I have for her. It's overwhelming, such a pure, self-less love. What I assume the love of a parent to feel like. To realize you would do anything for another person because you just love them so much...is incredible and something I never really felt before she entered my life. I believe in fate, and I believe in miracles. And I certainly believe my little sister is and will be the best one to ever happen to me.

With much love, Lauren.

Polka Dot Pants.


Pink Blouse, Crystal Necklace: Thrifted. 
Tan Coat, Polka Dot Pants: Forever21.
Loafers: c/o Pink and Pepper.
Black Wide Brimmed Hat: c/o OASAP.
Lipstick in MAC's Please Me.

Hello everryone! 

 I absolutely love planning surprises for people. I get so giddy with excitement over my plans and run over and over again in my mind their reaction when they find out the surprise. My roommate's birthday was today and I knew for awhile now I wanted to do something special for her...

So I waited for her to go to bed last night (which ironically enough this was the latest she's gone to bed in awhile) and then snuck out to our adjoining hall area between our two separate bedrooms. I decorated the room with balloons, streamers covering her door & the walls, and a big happy birthday sign. I didn't finish until 4 in the morning, but knew she would be so surprised and it would be a good start off to her day. She loved it and that made me so happy ♥♥♥

She is an awesome roommate and so insanely talented. She's studying fashion design here at Kent and she works her butt off...I got her a mug imprinted with a measuring tape because she loves to drink tea and obviously she's very familiar with a measuring tape :)

I'm looking forward to planning my next surprise--spreading kindness and happiness is addicting. x

With much love, Lauren.
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Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking.

1960's Mint Pencil Skirt: Inherited.
1960's Floral Blouse: Inherited.
Vintage Hat: Antique Mall.
Pink Cardigan, Earrings: Thrifted.
Cream Heels: c/o Yes Walker.
Lipstick in Wet N Wild's Rose Bud.

One of my favorite parts of coming home to visit is definitely going to my church. Saying 'my' church sounds weird because I really haven't even gone to it that long and haven't even really met anyone there. But in a sense it still feels like mine, which is a good feeling. It's very big and modern; not at all like the Catholic church I was raised in. It resembles a warehouse on the outside and then when you go into the worship area, there's seats for about 1,000 people and it's set up somewhat like a concert hall. Although I don't talk to anyone when I go, I never feel unwelcome. There's this unsaid kindness in the smiles of strangers and the offering me of a seat beside them in the dark worship hall (I always am late and service has already started). You can just feel the love of Christ in these people and that's more than a bunch of people who say hello to me and act like they care when they really don't. Not saying it was this way in the Catholic church, but there's just this different feel and vibe in this nondenominational church I go to.

It's been awhile since a verse really 'hit' me. I've kind of been going through a dry period in my emotions with my relationship with Christ, but this morning when I heard this it was beautiful to me. From John Chapter 6:44 Jesus says,

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him."

I never really thought about how we just don't come to Christ on our own. We our hand, specially picked by Him at the exact moment, time, and place He wants us to be. He drew me to Him. Every little piece of the puzzle leading up to becoming a Christian was important to the end result. Every thought I had towards "is this for real?", every Catholic mass I sat through as a child, my confirmation as a young teenager, struggling hard with a break up...all lead me eventually to Him.

With much love, Lauren.
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Deer Me!

Deer Dress: c/o OASAP.
Vintage Basket Purse, T-Strap Heels, Clip Earrings: Thrifted.
Lipstick in Wet N Wild's Rose Bud.

Hi there ♥

 I've been very excited to wear and take photos in this deer dress, and actually did so last week...but the pictures turned out so horrible from the wind and cold that I didn't want to post them. I'm glad I held off a bit and took some again today because these turned out much, much better! It's always such a toss up if an OASAP item will be good quality or not, but I really do recommend this dress. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it was made and how well it fit. If you are considering it though, I had to order an XL and it perfectly fits me; so definitely size up a lot! 

I feel like I've been talking a lot about 'new items I've gotten' (which I really hate to do), but I just want to mention one more! My online friend Fernanda (@fervargasv on instagram--she does the best nail art!) really recommended the new Wet N Wild Lipsticks to me for $1.50 a whack, they were really good. I looked up swatches online for colors I might want and found that the shade 'Rose Bud' was EXACTLY something I'd been looking for forever. About a month ago I went to five different stores around town and came up empty handed every time...Then Fernanda told me that she actually found out they had discontinued the color :( To my surprise though I was just at Wal-Mart yesterday and picked up a random color in the Wet N Wild display to see what it was and...it was Rose Bud! So excited to have the color and I want to wear it every day ♥

Hope you all are well! x

With much love, Lauren.

P.S. Speaking of lipsticks, check out Mermaiden's 'Lipstick Olympics.' SO DARN CUTE.
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Astrological.

Astrology Emroidered 1960's Blouse:Inherited.
White Quilted Crossbody: Thrifted.
Tan Trench: Kohl's (literally the oldest item I have in my wardrobe).
Cream Loafers: Forever21.
Pleated Skirt: c/o Lulu*s.

This blouse must be the most unique, out of the ordinary vintage piece I've ever owned. I got a huge amount of vintage clothing from an elderly woman cleaning out her house last spring, and this blouse was in there. At first, I put it in the donation pile thinking it was just an ordinary white blouse...and then I saw how spectacular it really was. It has embroidery down the placket with little astrological signs in a gorgeous peachy shade. SO ADORABLE. The little edged peter pan collar caught my attention, as well, and I was willing to look past the few rust stains to salvage this one of a kind beauty. Wish there was my own sign, the Leo, on it...but then again, we Leos always think we're the most important *rolls eyes*

I do wish these photos would have turned out better though, but the wind literally just blew me away while I was taking them, thus I look like a mess. Eh, oh well. It was such a lovely day of thrifting with my mother and I was incredibly lucky; but not for myself actually! I happened upon (I know I always say this but I mean it this time) the most decadently beautiful vintage piece I've ever found. A mint condition, baby pink, lace 1960's prom dress. Oh.my.word. She is so beautiful. A gorgeous satin bow ties at the waist and a mirroring one at the bottom, with a shift shape and slightly darted bust. I want her all for myself, but that's selfish since she's a size two and I am 1) definitely not a size two and 2) definitely not going to prom again. I contemplated just keeping it to display on my wall, but that would be awful--she deserves a good home and wearer! I'll be putting it up in the shop, but I'm not really sure when. I will let you all know though!

And the second item I got was another 60's ditty--an adorable little camel colored swing coat with a leopard collar! Oh, it's enough to make Anna Karina go mad. Such a darling coat and it does fit me, but I just don't find it super flattering on my pear shaped body. I want it to find a good home, also!

I hope you all are doing lovely...I just wish I could talk about vintage clothing all day and surround myself with it every second... ♥

With much love, Lauren.
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Extra Whipped Topping.

Orange Lace Dress: Fig Leaf (here in Kent).
White Blouse: Forever21.
Black Bow Belt: Aeropostale.
Boots: Thrifted.
Lipstick in Lime Crime's Cosmopop.

Hi there ♥

It seems God does answer prayers and took into consideration my request for a little bit of spring. It may not look like it, but it was 43 degrees today which was seriously delightful. I was able to wear this outfit with no trouble, and the sun peeking out here and there was such a wonderful gift. 

Money is always such a frightful issue as a college student. It seems like I'm forever applying for scholarships to help out against the pile of bills for books ($450 in just rented used this semester!), necessities, and all the other mishaps that come along the way. I am incredibly lucky that my parents help me out with most of my finances, but that only brings on another burden of guilt in them giving up so much to help me out. Sometimes though money makes you have to sacrifice things that you don't necessarily want to, but you just have to. I've been somewhat bummed that I had to turn down an awesome opportunity where I was invited to speak on a blogger panel in Wisconsin. It's always been a sort of 'dream' of mine to do something like this, and I fantasized right away about the whole opportunity. But when it came down to thinking about flights, taxi rides, hotel, and food...I realized that it just wasn't plausible--especially with me going to Italy in less than a year. I need every dollar I can save.

It is a disappointment not to be able to go, but I know it's a part of a greater plan and I would have felt burdened by the amount of money it would cause me to be set back by. I feel selfish for even wanting such a trip like when as I said, my parents provide so much for me and I just never feel like I could repay them... Another opportunity perhaps will pop up in the future when the time is right ♥

With much love, Lauren.

P.S. Thanks for everything about yesterday, guys. You already know this, but you're the best.
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Same Old, Same Old.

^ This is a parking meter after last night's snow storm. Yikes ^

Red Sweater, Houndstooth Skirt, Earrings: Thrifted.
Flats (which you can't even see): c/o Pink and Pepper.

*EDIT: This post is referring to a few select commenters; not the vast majority of you all. I don't want you to think that I don't want your comments and suggestions--I appreciate them all very much, but it's when people are nasty and all knowing about it I get upset like this*

Like the weather, sometimes I just get tired of blogging I guess. Not blogging in itself, but people, the internet, this whole weird thing that I don't even really know what it is. People are just so unable to empathize now a days and think that they are always right, feeling the need to interject with this unabashed opinion. It's often the very thing that I feel like will make me not blog forever; that one part about blogging that really, really bothers me (and has for four and a half years) Often times it makes me think about starting another random blog so no one can find me.

Unless you live in an incredibly snowy place, you're just not going to understand, and why try to interject your opinion when you don't understand? I live in Northern Ohio. By the lakes, where we get lake effect. Where we're right in the middle of the snow belt that gets the most snow. What people don't get is not only is winter here physically taxing, but so emotionally taxing, as well. It effects the way you think and the way you live your life every day and that's somewhat what I was talking about in my last post. I am mentally exhausted. Yes, physically, but mentally when you do this day in and day out sometimes you can't handle it anymore.

Sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the thought of putting on a nice outfit. Of trying to have some creativity in this wasteland of snow, ice, wind, and cold to brighten my days. It may seem to you that I don't dress warm enough, but if you live in a cold climate you'll know that at a certain point, it doesn't matter how warm you dress. It doesn't matter if you wear your heaviest jacket, your fleece lined tights, your hat and gloves and scarf....you will still be cold. And I've learned this and think, well if I'm going to be cold, why not at least wear something I like and makes me feel good about myself? I wear three pair of tights most days in order to go about wearing dresses and skirts. When I take outfit photos, obviously I'm not wearing JUST these pieces around my 20 minute walk to each of my classes. I wear a winter coat and the appropriate pieces, but guess what? I'm still cold because it's below 0 most days with the stinkin' wind chill. Would you rather I just wore uggs and a northface and sweatpants every day and take outfit pictures? No, because then I'd get ridiculed for that, too. I went through a period a few weeks ago where I was only wearing pants and dressing in complete winter outfits and then I got a lot of crap for those about not looking cute enough. I bit my tongue and didn't say anything at the time, but this sort of thing just keeps happening where people think it's okay all the time to nit pick what I wear and my choices and I'm just sick of it.

Am I supposed to just give up and let winter win and abandon my fashion blog all together? I've tried not to. I push through the cold and the winter because I love this blog. I love taking pictures of my outfits and I love dressing up. But after being positive for so long, not complaining since it's been snowing since November I write a little expressing my exhaustion (mental and physical) and get ridiculed for it? I'm just sick and tired of everyone thinking they have this holier than thou opinion and tell me what to do when they probably have no idea what I go through every day here. Why do people feel the need to just be nasty a-holes and can't they just say instead, "I hope spring comes fast, too?" Why do they feel the need to just constantly bring me down and not say positive, uplifting, things? 

I need to turn off the commenting on my blog for awhile because it's just left a sour taste in my mouth. I don't know, I'll turn it on again when perhaps I can better handle criticism and the opinions of others (which will be the next thing people will rag on me about). I still want to post outfits and blog, but just the comments have gotten a little bit too much for me lately.

With much love, Lauren.
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I'm Just Tired I Guess.

The days when I used to delight in fresh snow falls are long past now. Every time I hear the new mention of another possible snow my heart sinks lower, lower, lower.

 I'm just tired I guess. 

I'm so weary and my body so heavy and full of aches. The novelty of winter has worn off and all that's left is slush and salt stained boots. 

I try to remain positive but it's hard. Day in and day out getting up only to realize that I must trek through campus all day into the bitterness outside. The brutal cold stings still even though my face hasn't see real sunlight in so many months, my fingers haven't been warm in what feels like an eternity. My love of taking outfit photos stripped from me because of the harsh winds that blow me away, the ice I slip on, and the numbness in my fingers by the end. At this point, no amount of warm dressing even helps. Inspiration has run dry and clothes become just a part of you rather than a form of self-expression any more. The cold seems to have made a permanent residence into my body. My thoughts feel so muddy and grey; indistinguishable from one another and just a jumble of emotions. And sometimes even lacking that.

I am weary and longing for spring with every ounce of my being. Please deliver it soon, God.

With much love, Lauren. 
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Life's Snapshots #40.

11 comments
I haven't seen a flower in so long.

This is where I live. An icy cold tundra of Northern Ohio.

Had the best Valentine's Day with my lady friends.

The surprise package from my family. I cried.

Saw these and had to buy them. Dead.

Had a buy one get one free deal for Starbucks and asked a few different friends if they wanted to go, I would treat them. No one could so I went by myself and gave the free drink to a random person. Best feeling ever

 Been missing my home town oh so much.

My vintage baby for only $15.

Italy: 6 months.

The big Kent v. Akron game with one of my favorites. We won in the last four seconds!!

Darn Target $1 section making me buy cute trays.

This mini pie was everything.

Give me everything red.

Donuts for breakfast always.

Should have bought this Valley of the Dolls record.

Instagram will always be my favorite. Capturing these little bits that make me happy just makes the days go by easier and with more inspiration. You can follow along with me with @passingwhimsies!

With much love, Lauren.
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