real (life) talk

guess who's back. back again.

I'm literally always short of breath these days because I'm doing too much and there's no time for anything important (hello, first blog post in ages) and I've been forced to start SPEED WALKING places. I mean, obviously not actually running, but swift is the word, sharp is the motion. (And last name hahahahaahha). I realized you all probably thought I'd died, and that is not, no matter how it feels, the case. Here are a few things that are happening:

 * I just came off a weeklong NPR Next Gen Radio internship, where I learned that Ira Glass has been feeding me honey-voiced lies this whole time, because he makes it sound easy and it is NOT.

* I am seeing Chance the Rapper on Sunday, Kanye next month, and then I can die happy, because my holy trinity of music (Gambino, Chance, and Kanye) will have been witnessed.

* I discovered a new starbucks drink: venti-vanilla-bean-frappuchino-with-three-pumps-of-toffee-nut-syrup. You're welcome.

*I've decided I want to go to D.C. for spring break. Someone tell me what I need to eat.

*I'm trying to learn how to use Photoshop, because I've been using VSCO which is not ~professional~.

*People have started wearing Uggs again and it makes me want to cry.

* I'm going to be Eleven from Stranger Things for Halloween, I've got the calculator watch and all.

* I have SO MANY IDEAS FOR BLOG POSTS and no sunlight to shoot them in. I'll keep you updated.

Today I saw a girl talking to a pumpkin spice latte in the library about her midterms,
and I related far more than I am comfortable with.

x Justina

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if you're reading this, I'm 19

In case you missed me mentioning it at every single opportunity (and sometimes when someone else just took too long a breath), today is my birthday.

Like all good parties, 18 ended while it was still good, and we all wanted it to go on. 19 is here to take its place, tear it up, and take names. 

I still don't really understand taxes though. 

x J (now 19)

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I'm getting up right now

top: forever 21
kimono: forever 21
jeans: h&m
boots: bc footwear

Look who's still alive. I know you had your doubts.

I mean there's a million excuses, and you've heard them all before, but honestly, I was in a slump. One walled in by essays, bad lighting, worse sleep, and crashing head on into school. I went to Denver for the most intense week of work of my life, and loved every minute. I learned how to say a couple words in Finnish. I wrote a lot of words in Italian. I wore cute outfits that no one appreciated and you guys would have loved. My camera battery died. I started listening to Broods and wore my overalls a lot. I realized I gotta get back to basics in order to keep moving forward, and it's weirdly hard. But I've got these jeans, so I can handle anything.

Honestly, these are the best $10 I've ever spent. They look good with everything, fit perfectly, and have big back pockets. What a dream. This whole outfit is a great cross-example of how I'm dressing these days - I'm praying for fall, California's got it's nails dug deep into summer. 97 degree summer, to be exact. But it's okay, I'm nothing if not adaptable. Ankle boots instead of knee highs, kimonos instead of cardigans. Nothing will stop me from layering. Or wearing boots. My BC collection is what my mother describes as "out of hand" and I describe as "a fantastic use of floorspace". It's not my fault that they're so good at making shoes. I can only appreciate their genius.

I turn NINETEEN in a couple of days. (Oct. 2, if you wanna eat some cake for me.) Isn't that weird? I feel weird about it. What do you even do when you're 19? Wait around to turn into dust? It seems so old. I'll have been blogging for 6 years, and what do I have to show for it?

Too many pairs of overalls and a killer Instagram aesthetic, that's what. 

x Justina

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gambino got the game bruh

for best view of the food, watch in 1080p

I like to think of myself as a naturally adventurous person, but sometimes I have to force nature. Like when Jordan surprised me with tickets to Childish Gambino's PHAROS and I had to nod and smile at a 13+ hour drive to Joshua Tree. With a 24 hour turn around. Over Labor day weekend, we were going to drive down, go to the concert, get up the next morning, drive back and not break up. It was insane. 

We did it anyway.

WOOOOOOOOORTH IT. This wasn't just a concert - Gambino really put on for an experience here. I doubt I will ever in my life stand in line for that long for another human, because this one set the bar too high. He's an incredibly talented person, and you can really feel a deep passion in all of his work. This album, and its presentation, were no exception. There's plenty of articles floating around that can give you the technical details of what went down, but honestly, I'd say you had to be there. Sorry.  (But also not, because I stood in the DUST for HOURS and WHAT HAVE YOU EVER DONE TO PROVE YOUR DEDICATION HUH?!)

We can't go back to PHAROS, but we CAN go to Portos, which I most certainly did. Of course. I also saw some dinosaurs, and almost fell off a mountain. You'll just have to watch the vlog, I guess. 

side note: I made eye contact with childish gambino,
and I'm pretty sure I've seen into the mind of a genius.

x Justina

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back to the great mall

Back to school shopping need not end after one has gone back to school, and thankfully the lovely people at Simon Malls understand that just as well as I do. They invited me back for my (now annual) trip to the Great Mall, and absolutely set me loose to find a back-to-school look for under $100. They have over a million square feet of shops, but this time, I knew what I was getting into, and I took Jordan to carry the shopping bags. 

THERE'S SO MANY STORES. AND SO MANY OF THEM ARE OUTLETS. I had an armful in no time. But I was on a mission for a very specific item, and though many people told me they were impossible to find, I was DETERMINED. I figured if they'd be anywhere, they'd be at the Great Mall.

LO AND BEHOLD - H&M HAD BLACK OVERALLS. That was all I really wanted. Pockets and sturdy denim. Overalls that say "I'm a confident adult who can pull off kindergarten trends". I was going to include them in this post but then decided that they're too great to not have their own, so...stay tuned.

Shopping is exhausting, and boys get fidgety when they're hungry (But not me, of course. Never.) so we stopped at Dave & Busters for a snack halfway through our journey. I'd never been before, and was throughly delighted by how sticky everything was in this "frat bros designed a bar-arcade"  establishment.  I thought it was fun. The loaded tater tots were a+.

We then resumed our traipse through the neighborhoods (that's right, this place is so big it separates it's sections into "neighborhoods") and I finally acquired the holy grail of fashion blogger off-duty shoes: the low-top white converse. Yes, I do have high tops, and yes, they are also white, and no, that is not redundant. It's a different LOOK, okay.

It had been six hours, and we were fading quickly, so we slid one more stop into Columbia to pick up a cozy fleece, because I'm determined to go outside at least once this winter. 

Last note: next time,
bring more snacks.

x Justina

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santa cruise

Today is the first day of school, but I'd like to stay in the last days of summer for just ten more minutes.

On Thursday, Jordan went off the map and drove us to Santa Cruz on the end of a back-to-school shopping trip to The Great Mall (next post. next post.). If you've never had the pleasure of visiting this strange little place, I'd highly recommend it for a day trip.  It's the quintessential beach town - one good street, more seagulls than people, and a lot of tourists - but is also home to UC Santa Cruz, so there's a ridiculous amount of hipster college students everywhere. This one-off combination has led to a place that is home to sock shops, a pizza joint whose shirts are collected around the world, and three all-you-can-eat vegetarian Indian buffets. Jordan says there's more to it than that, but honestly, those are the best bits.

The Boardwalk is the crown jewel though, and for good reason - it's the one of the last places around where you're allowed to get on blatantly unsafe rides. All in the name of the kind of sheer terror that is a cornerstone of incredible fun. You may think I'm joking, but most of those things start shaking suspiciously when someone sneezes too hard. It's great. The whole places is covered in a fine layer of sand as well. Tastes incredible on a hotdog or chili cheese fries, and the lightly sanded Bavarian Almonds are a must. Absolute pinnacle of culinary art. 

All jokes aside, the Boardwalk is a cultural icon not because of its creaky boards, or impressive sunsets, or even its typical California beach. It's weathered millions of tourists and gallons of saltwater and remained a place that undeniably feels like summer. The bright, cracking paint, and the top 50 hits piped out of speakers that sound older than the artists performing through them, those are accoutrements of this cotton candy scented time freeze. Even on a cloudy Thursday, at 60 degrees with a cold breeze coming off the Pacific, it felt like the right place to spend the summer with your friends. If you have those.

It was the perfect way to close off what has truly been a whirling and sunburnt summer. But now it's time to pack it in, and pretend that fall has arrived, so that it won't seem so sad to spend the next 16 weeks in a classroom.

Summer '16,
you did good.

x Justina

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#soworthit - bts with jcpenney

all pieces from JCPenney

*Commercial male voice* It’s back to school time!

When it comes to back to school clothes shopping, we talk about the latest styles, looking cute for football games, the most stylish shoes. But we don’t talk about budgets, getting dressed half-asleep at 5:30 in the morning, or running across campus several times a day. You know, the reality of being me/a college student.  Put down the pajamas, I’m not saying we sacrifice real outfits, just that we think about this a little differently. Back to school can be affordable, and still cute, which is what JCPenney sent me out to prove.

I picked up the pieces for this cute lil look at my local store, which, *sadly* is not one hosting one of the groovy Girls Night In events styled by JCPenney, (But yours might be!! check it out). I was looking for a few things. Pockets, easy to pull together, and a solid statement piece I can wear a lot, because unique dressing gets harder and harder the closer and closer you get to midterms. Fact. Clearly, I found what I was looking for in this Arizona cardigan. My hope is that the bright colors and a solid cup of coffee can get me through morning classes. The peasant top underneath is also a win-win- it’s comfy, but looks a little more pulled together than a regular t-shirt, perfect for my schedule, which involves dashing from English Lit to the newsroom. 

Honestly, the hardest part about back to school shopping (other than, you know, wearing it all back to school) is getting it done, and this was easy, breezy, and resulted in a beautiful cardigan. 

x Justina 

ps. JCPenney sent me to explore their store, and paid for the trip, but you guys know the deal: cardigans can’t buy my love. 

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elephant's trumpet


I live in suburban Northern California. I've never seen an elephant in the wild, and I've also never seen an elephant thats not stuffed in a tiny enclosure,  being dragged along by a chain, or made to participate in a group activity. I don't like doing those, and I know the elephants don't either. Unfortunately, thats the only contact most of us have had with them. Their captivity in circuses and tiny zoos is a human manipulation often masked as "conservation', which is basically us putting a band-aid on a problem we created. Elephants are being poached left and right. In some fairly recent numbers, "left and right" meant every 15 minutes.

The Elephant Pant company is working to change those numbers to something nicer, like maybe someone observing an elephant in a positive non-abusive environment every 15 minutes, something you can do at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's a rehabilitation centre whose entire herd is made up of rescued and "retired" elephants, and also one of The Elephant Pants' beneficiaries. Tomorrow, August 12th, for their World Elephant Day Sale, they'll be donating 10% of their profits directly to the park. That'll buy a lot of plantains.

As for the pants themselves: I'd appreciate if everyone stopped making fun of me for wearing them so often. They're REALLY comfortable and have POCKETS okay. You'd do the same thing if you had some. (Which you could.) 

(But get them tomorrow)
(So the elephant park gets toys)

x Justina  

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travel | side piece

all photos taken with a fujifilm instax + iPhone 5

Sallie and I are masters of taking the absolute longest route anywhere we go, sheerly because, like any good improv actors, we'll always say yes. Wanna drive through a tree? Yes. Want to take this side exit into a totally dark corn field to look at the Milky Way? Yes. Want to stop on the side of the road because you see a woodcarving of Bigfoot? Absolutely yes. 

As spectacular as our scheduled programming is, we do our best work, and have the best adventures/sing-a-longs/trademark one-liners when we're places we never planned to be. There's some strange stuff on the side of the road. Especially in California. So here's a short introduction to taking the long way:

1. Pre-load all playlists, and always make sure they're at least three hours longer than you'll need or else you'll end up listening to Rae Sremmurds "Come Get Her" 13 times. 

2. You're wandering, but your signal might not be, so update your family/stalkers/internet friends every once in a while so they know you're alive. 

3. Before any trip, stop at a grocery store, and buy these things: 
  - a loaf of real hardy bread, preferably sourdough
 - things to dip/smear/pile on this bread
 - large bottles of either tejava unsweetened tea (sallies), or orangina (me)
 - a salami
This will keep your nourished and friendly for your entire trip.

4. Take photos of everything, as many times as possible, just in case one of you is in a huge rush to free up space and deletes the only video proof of you squeezing a large truck through the aforementioned hole in a tree.

5. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. Can't stress this enough - going off the beaten path is great as long as you know how to get back to it. Especially when driving, you don't want to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere with only that mysterious "GPRS" signal that is just a actually just a lie.

When it comes down to it, pack some snacks and just say yes...

.. and then what? 

x J

ps. Sallie dropped her phone in a toilet, and can't read this post, so she has no idea what I've said about her. 

pps. she really is an absolute party

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baby's got back

shirt: wild blue denim
pants: element eden
shoes: coolway usa

The back on this shirt is a classic case of something looking extremely challenging, and then being extremely challenging. Like how much back is too much back? I still don't know.

I felt like I needed to at least TRY to use it as something other than a glorified dress-topper, and so, in an effort to make the whole thing simpler, decided to combine it with the only harder-to-wear item in my closet: these pants. They're WHITE and FLORAL and CROPPED and CUFFED ON THE BOTTOM. I've had them a solid two years but have always been way too scared of them and the stains I was sure would immediately destroy them if I dared to wear them in public. But as always, the promise of wiggle room and pockets pulled me in.

THIS OUTFIT WAS SO COMFY. I wore it to wander around the market and pretend I could tell the difference between central valley and northern peaches. (psa: central valley are squishier and generally sweeter. I guess.) Unexpected side effect of being fully covered with an open back? Perfect temperature. Even though it was 103 degrees. That's almost...40 degrees celsius for those of you who live in places with seasons.

I'm currently in Humboldt, which is much too far north of the wall for you to worry about locating on a map. It's foggy, and below 70 degrees, which feels faintly unnatural to me. I can already feel myself losing my healthy tan.

Kidding. (a little)

x J

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