I love the juxtaposition of the graphic black & white against the wild and lushness of the tropics. Counting down the days until I see a palm tree again. I’m dreaming in black & white & sunshine.
1. At least five people in the last month have told me that they like my haircut. They’re so kind. The catch is…
I HAVEN’T CUT MY HAIR IN LIKE 4 MONTHS.
So either it’s all falling out (please NO!) or someone is cutting it in my sIeep. Awesome.
Crazy eyes to underscore my point. (Photo Credit : Erica Baker)
2. I’ve been rocking out to the Elle King iTunes Radio station since last week. Really ❤ it!
3. Can it not be winter anymore? I’ve over the cold.
(Photo Credit : ME)
4. Speaking of being over the cold, I have about 5 million pictures from my trip to Miami last week and I’ll blog them as soon as I figure out how to get them off my phone. What has two thumbs and is technically challenged? THIS GIRL.
5. I really like flamingos. I call this one Ferdinand.
(Photo Credit : Erica Baker)
What a year. Phew! 2014 was quite a year here on the blog AND in real life. According to WordPress, this little old blog had about 23,000 views in 2014. Say whaaaaat?!?! I guess it’s safe to say that more than just my mom is reading this site now. Actually, if the good folks at WordPress aren’t playing a joke on me we’ve had readers from approximately 110 countries. How cool is that??!? If you were one (or 1,000) of those views.
THANK YOU. GRACIAS. MERCI. DANKE. ANKTHAY OUYAY.
I thought I’d take a moment to remember a few of my favorite memories from the last year.
This year included whirlwind travel with one of my besties to one of my favorite cities, London. Truly impactful trips to both the Hague and Bosnia – Herzegovina. I got my first (and most likely only…let’s be honest, it’s a lot of commitment) tattoo. I was in my first (and hopefully only) car accident and subsequently had my first ride in an ambulance. I discovered the music of Sam Smith and have had him on repeat ever since.
I finished my goal of blogging 5x a week for a year in June and detailed that wild ride with this post. I continued some favorite blog series, including StyleLove, #YouSparkle and Girl Talk and even started a few new ones including Doing the Work and Junk in the Trunk. A few of my favorite posts from over the last year are the following…
A big moment this year was the re-launching of the Piccadilly brand and website and the building of the coolest team around. On top of that we hosted our first Happy Hour and met some of the coolest people ever! We’ve spent a lot of time planning and are thrilled for what’s in store in 2015.
Thank you for coming along on this crazy ride with me. Thanks for caring enough to stick around. My hope has always been that this site would be a place where you can daily come for encouragement and a good dose of sparkle.
Here’s to an AWESOME 2015!
I’m a little behind in getting this up this week, but this weekend was just too fun to skip. Mostly because my little isn’t so little after all. She turned 13 this weekend and I think I’m still in shock. It seems like just yesterday she was my real life doll to play with and now she’s grown into a beautiful, kind and amazing young woman.
Give me a moment while I look for a tissue…
She’s quite the planner and undoubtedly will be working with me on the Piccadilly team in no time. She had everything organized down to the minute and a clear vision of how we were going to style the party. We used every bright color imaginable, gold spray painted pineapples and disco balls to decorate because… of course! That combined with a bunch of giggling teenage girls and the party was quite a success. I loved getting to be 13 again for the weekend, even if I couldn’t quite stay up as late as they did.
The other lovely part of being home this weekend was that it really felt like FALL. The cool air, the smell of wood smoke, the crunch of fallen leaves and snuggling up under a warm blanket with a good book all made this an idyllic weekend at home.
This weekend was wonderful. I went to visit family and I spent every moment trying to soak up every last bit of summer possible. This weekend included… lots of family time… early morning tea on the porch… hide & go seek… the county fair… blue ribbon zucchini bread… baby goats… a real life cow auction… little people snuggles… breathtaking views… antique shopping… vintage linens… long walks on country roads… blackberry picking… long chats with my Daddy… Spanish telenovelas… bunnies (need I say more)… Sunday supper… naps in the sunshine…fields of wildflowers…baking…Sally the Salamander… fresh air, cloudless skies and a chance to step back and remember all that is wonderful in the world.
I’m headed to my favorite place for the next week. I’m looking forward to endless hours of sun, sand and blue water. I’m planning on taking lots of deep breaths, jumping in lots of waves and taking a lot of naps. Something about the fresh ocean air and warm sunshine always helps me remember what’s important in life. I’ll be checking in on here periodically but feel free to follow along on my adventures on instagram.
This year has been pretty much amazing for me. In no small part because of this blog. Let me explain before I sound totally full of myself. You see, keeping this blog has provided me with opportunities to connect with people that I might not have had the chance to otherwise. It’s at times forced me to get off the couch and go explore my city. It’s made me think more creatively about my schedule. It’s caused me to slow down at literally smell the roses. It’s also provided an outlet to process some important and at times difficult things I’ve encountered over the year. It’s also helped me make new friends!
I mean really, how awesome is that?
I thought today it would be fun to share a few of my favorite posts and series from the past year.
In thinking about favorites, I’d have to start off with the #StyleLove series. I mean how incredible are these women? Not only have they allowed me to invade their space and highlight their amazing style but they’ve taken the time to share their heart and the lessons on life they’ve learned along the way. I love this bit of advice that Beth shared in her #StyleLove interview, “Be yourself! You have been beautifully, wonderfully, and uniquely made….so be proud of it! Just think, if everyone were the same, what fun would the world be?!” Isn’t that just what it’s all about?
This blog has also given me the opportunity to journal my travels and I’ve been to some pretty cool places over the past year including; Denmark, Puerto Rico, London and Bosnia just to name a few. Looking back over these posts gets me excited to pack my bags again!
Probably one of the only reasons I’ve been able to keep my promise of posting 5x a week is because of the amazing people who have guest posted on the blog over the past year. Here’s just a few of my favorites: “When Your Clothes Become Your Armor“, “Second Chances” and basically every “Girl Talk” post. I guess, if I’m forced to admit it, I also enjoyed when the guy’s took over the blog. Although there was a shocking lack of sparkle that week.
Speaking of sparkle, I love that blogging has provided me the opportunity to work with other creatives on what we’ve termed #YouSparkle projects. Women like Lauren Modny, Mary-Jane of LeRoy French Flowers, Tanya of Birch+Honey and Ella of Start Close In Styling are just a few of the incredibly inspiration people I’ve had the opportunity to work on these projects with.
In fact, Ella has pretty much revolutionized my style over the past year. She helped me survive my “No Shopping Challenge” by helping me “Shop My Closet” and find new favorites in the midst of old castoffs. On top of that she’s helped me tackle the ginormous task of cleaning out my closet and FINALLY defining what my personal style is.
Lastly and I think in my mind, most importantly, this space has allowed me to share my heart with you. It’s allowed me to share the battles I’m fighting, the lessons I’m learning and the hard won truths I’m holding onto in my own life. Here are just a few posts that I feel like I’ve poured my heart into over the past year… “Masterpiece“, “Valleys“, “The Comparison Trap“, “Your Story“, “The Unknown” , “Hope is Dangerous“, “Anchor“, “Letting Go“, “The Power of One“… ok, maybe that’s more than a few… I pour my heart into a lot of what I write around here.
I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it… Thank you!
Thank you for coming along on this adventure with me. I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a favorite moment or post from this past year on Love Always Hannah?
As you may know, I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Bosnia Herzegovina last month. I was enraptured by its majestic mountains; captivated by its warm and generous people; and completely heartbroken over its war-torn history.
If I’m honest, I don’t think I had a really clear understanding of the conflict that took place there in the 1990s. At a time when I was crushing on boys and learning to tease my bangs (don’t hate!); there were children my age struggling for survival. I know this, because I met them last month. I heard their stories of falling asleep in the basement listening to grenades explode outside. I heard their stories of losing loved ones and living in constant fear. One young woman told me,
“When you think you can’t take any more and you simply can’t go on… you just do”
My short visit there provided a graphic illustration to a spotty story line I remember hearing on the news growing up…bombs exploding…genocide…lives lost…hunger…armed forces advancing.
Nothing prepares you to see building after building blown out or riddled with bullet holes. I certainly wasn’t prepared to see an entire graveyard with lines of gravestones as far as you could see, marked with the year 1993.
How could this be reality? It certainly wasn’t mine.
I’ve fought my own battle to not leave the unsettling memories behind as I boarded the plane back to my own comfortable reality. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since I returned home.
I think some of the most dangerous words in the English vocabulary are these…
US and THEM
These words divide. They remove the bonds of friendship. They separate. They put distance.
In some way I think it’s easy, perhaps even human nature, to think that because we speak a different language, live in a different land or look different that we are somehow separate or safe from the atrocities that take place in our world.
Just because it isn’t your reality, doesn’t mean it isn’t reality.
I met people just like me. People full of dreams. People looking for love and acceptance. People who want to provide for their families. People who like to hang out with their friends, enjoy good music, like to make jokes, maybe even watch reality TV. They’re just people… like you and me… and their lives were rocked at their most core level.
I’ve struggled with why God would allow me the opportunity to see first hand the aftermath of war. Why did it make sense that I would find myself plopped down in the middle of this beautiful people with so little to offer in the way of help?
I still don’t clearly have all the answers, but one thing that has consistently resonated within me is this…
They’re not the only ones.
Yes, the conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina has subsided right now, but what about Ukraine? What about South Sudan? What about the victims of human trafficking? What about Syria?
Do we know? Do we care? Do we realize that we are not exempt from the pain experienced?
This last week marked the three-year anniversary for the crisis in Syria. I watched this video that outlines the experience of a child in Syria. It guts me. It tells the story of innocence lost and it’s not just the story of one child.
You can find out more about how you can champion the children of Syria here.
I know this post is a bit more serious than my average post, but I can’t shake this feeling. Whatever little platform or spotlight I might have, I want to use it to shine the light on things that matter. I think we have to be unsettled. I think we have to confront our own comfort.
Ignorance is not bliss.