more life, more everything

(other half of bday photos toward end of blog)

This year was the big one — 21!!! My birthday happened to fall on a Sunday this year, April 22nd, otherwise known as Earth day. I celebrated turning 21 at midnight on Saturday in one of the new local bars in Wichita Falls with all of my best people! It was a night I’m actually glad I remember; I had the whole bar ring in my birthday with a shoutout from the DJ at 12 a.m., I danced on elevated surfaces as well as the dance floor (not typical I swear), and partied like it was my birthday. It was so fun to just cut loose and celebrate! I have felt so much love and warm wishes the past weekend and I am so grateful to see 21 with people who love and care about me! This is only the beginning of a new life with less limitations. The day I’ve so looked forward to for years has come and gone, I survived my 21st — cheers to more life, more everything! (shoutout Drake)

I just knew I wanted to photograph this stunner of a dress from Urban Outfitters for my birthday. It caught my eye around New Years and I still couldn’t get over the teal-blue sequins, so I bought it in early February and have saved it especially for my day! (I tend to do that for events, I can’t be the only one?) It was the perfect b-day dress for me — it’s covered in sequins and the ‘baby-doll’ fit was gorgeous. The jewelry I wore for this shoot, however, was most special to me. That blue topaz rock on my right hand was left for me by my grandmother who passed away my senior year in high school. I usually pull it out to wear on special holidays like Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t think of better earrings or ring for this dress than this blue topaz set and I was happy for a reason to wear them! I’m also wearing my blue tennis bracelet which I swear brings me good luck!! Because the neckline is so high and I didn’t wanna over-due the look by adding a necklace, I went without one. My black block heel shoes are from Target — surprise surprise, always finding the best shoes here. I chose a black heel for this look because the inside slip of the dress is black and can be seen in some areas and because I liked the look of a simple black heel with this show-stopper dress!

I’d like to say 21 is the first time I’ve ever tried alcohol, but lets be real. I grew up in a dry hometown (dry as in, no alcohol was to be sold in stores, no liquor stores) and was still easily able to get it if I wanted to. More on that, my hometown voted against being dry maybe 4 years in a row and within the last year my hometown finally voted to allow the sell of beer and wine (yep, still don’t carry the heavy stuff). This always seemed so funny to me, because who even hears about a town being dry anymore? Truthfully though, I’ve never been one to drink a lot and maybe it’s because of the town I grew up in and the way I was raised. Because I’m a known lightweight by my friends and family, when it comes to drinking I don’t drink often or a lot — rare 21-year-old spotted (yes my friends and family were worried about my well being Saturday). When I do drink though, my preferred drink of choice is a nice glass of wine. It’s easy to drink and keep up with how much I’m drinking, rather than mixing drinks and shots, and definitely easier on my stomach.

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I feel like this company deserves its own drumroll.. you guys I’m so excited to share ONEHOPE Wine with you all! ONEHOPE is an amazing wine company that definitely stands apart from others – not only do some of their bottles come covered in glitter, but more importantly, for each bottle of wine sold a portion of the proceeds goes to a non-profit organization corresponding to that bottle of wine. For example, the silver glittered bottle of sparkling California Brut raises donations for organizations working to end world hunger. Every bottle sold provides 4 meals to a child in need. So far, ONEHOPE has provided 2,032,964 children with meals. The California Cabernet Sauvignon bottles raises money for autism therapy for children. Every 10 cases sold of that specific bottle funds ABA Therapy for 1 child with autism. So far, 3,318 hours of ABA therapy has been provided to children with autism.

I was immediately impressed with ONEHOPE because I believe companies that give back as they earn and become successful are the future of American business. I was thrilled to collaborate with this wine company specifically for my 21st birthday and absolutely did my little happy dance once the collaboration was confirmed! My friends, if we can find a way to help others while purchasing items such as this wine to enjoy ourselves, we are doing something right! Not to mention, the taste is phenomenal. On ONEHOPE’s website you can view the ratings from professional wine tasters plus read up on the taste as well as the best food pairings for a specific wine before you buy. I’m here for perfectly aged, great tasting, glittery wine all the rest of my years — and what a bottle to be cheers-ing with than a bottle fighting world hunger, I’ll drink to that! Definitely a lover of wine that allows you to feel good by doing good, so here’s to doing a lot more good now that I’m officially legal! Raise your glasses — no pour decisions here!

As always,

Ara

 

Birthday dress: Urban Outfitters | Black block heel: Target | Glittery wine: ONEHOPE Wine

 

known

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I’ve been so excited to share my newest Dear Heart Designs necklace with you guys! This piece, called ‘Known,’ has become my favorite to wear daily and is a great conversation starter to talk about Jesus! What I love the most about Dear Heart Designs is the beautiful mission behind each piece of handmade jewelry. Owner, founder and creator, Nichole, started Dear Heart Designs in hopes of creating moments in which we can share our personal stories with others in hopes to spread the light of Jesus. Her own story of finding Jesus through trying circumstances inspired her to help others know Him, thus began the creation of conversation-provoking pieces that spread the joy and light of Jesus!

Though sharing and spreading the light of Jesus with others is their main mission, Dear Heart Designs creates pieces to evoke emotions. Their custom-made jewelry allows you to create pieces in remembrance of loved ones, a special date, inspiring words of wisdom, your dreams, or anything you would like others to know about you! I first came across Dear Heart Designs two years ago at a local event in Wichita Falls, Texas called Christmas Magic. Vendors from all over Texas come together under one roof to allow for the best Christmas shopping, all in one place! I was actually there working at a vendor (Sewn Clothing Gallery) but had some spare time to look around before my shift started. I wondered up to the prettiest little jewelry booth and saw Nichole hand-engraving pieces of jewelry for customers. At the time I didn’t have anything custom engraved for me, I had already fallen in love with a necklace from her signature collection. The metal was gold-filled, it was shaped like a spike, and on it, the word ‘fearless’ was engraved. Written on the packaging were the words, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” I can’t tell you what it was about this necklace, but it gave me confidence like I’d never had before. I set goals, I went after what I wanted, I said what I meant and didn’t hold back, I stood up for myself, I got back into writing – big time, I carried myself better, and overall – I wasn’t afraid to be myself. Truthfully, wearing these words around my neck everyday taught me to be fearless. It was a daily reminder to be myself without being scared of what others may say or think about me. In a way, it set me free.

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This picture is from a week or two after I first got this necklace. I wasn’t even a fashion blogger at the time, just obsessed.

I literally wore my ‘fearless’ necklace everyday for a year straight (and still wear it often). I would think I lost it and be mad at myself for wearing it everywhere, and then I would find it and love it and wear it everyday again (truthfully don’t know how I found it each time I lost that thing). In fact, the event Christmas Magic rolled around again a year later and my mom sent me on a mission to get her a necklace just like mine. I guess you could say she saw it enough to want one herself! She wanted hers to be custom engraved with the words, ‘Thy will be done,’ because she was going through her own trials and tribulations at the time but trusted so much in God’s plan for her. She’s never admitted it to me, but I think her necklace inspired her as well. She had her daily reminder to let go of stress, pain, and hurt and let God.

I knew one day I would get another Dear Heart Designs piece, just didn’t know when. Then I stumbled upon one of Nichole’s newer designs, the ‘Known’ necklace. This piece was made for me. I’m naturally drawn to anything with stars, I’ve always adored them. To think we live in a universe filled with glittering, exploding balls of gas and yet, all the chaos seems so beautiful at our distance. All throughout history we’ve tried to analyze the stars; make some sense out of why and how. Overtime we’ve derived our own meanings and beautiful quotes from them – they’ve inspired us for centuries, they’ve given us direction, they’ve been our light. They paint the night sky with a beauty too divine for earthly words. I can’t help but adore their natural twinkle and shine, despite utter darkness surrounding them. I’ve already decided if I ever get a tattoo (sorry mom and dad) it’s gonna be a star, or two, or three. Heck, maybe a mini galaxy on my body – they do say, shoot for the stars. Until then, I needed this necklace.

I love that this necklace came with the verse from Psalm 147:4, “He counts the stars and calls them all by name,” it’s so beautifully true. Think of how wide and far the galaxy goes, farther than we can even fathom. More stars than we even know exist are out there, and yet, God knows each and every one inside out – just like us. There are billions of people in this world and we are all individually known by Him. The same God that made the galaxy and the stars also made you and I, that’s gotta make you feel pretty dang special. For me, this necklace reminds me in moments of self-doubt and questioning that He loves me, He did make me special, and He knows my heart. It reminds me that I should shoot for the stars and not be afraid of failure. Our freckled skies seem chaotic to us, just as our individual lives do most days of the week, but God mapped out those stars and he has a plan for each one – just like you and I. It’s a special daily reminder that is literally close to my heart. For that, I’ll always adore this necklace.

As always,

Ara

Dear Heart Designs Necklace: ‘Known’

 

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