Pants in the Summertime (It Can Be Done)

If you ask anyone who lives in Arkansas what they most frequently wear in the summertime, we’ll bet you anything that their answer is not “pants.” The blistering heat combined with the unbelievable humidity makes it difficult to wear anything except shorts and sundresses without having heat stroke.

red silk scarfYet, as two people who don’t want to wear shorts and sundresses 24/7, we’ve had to find some tricks to wearing this article of clothing without instantly regretting it as soon as we step out of the house.

round yellow sunglasses

I am the self-proclaimed pants master. When I bought these pants from Goodwill, they were loose and straight-legged, which wasn’t exactly flattering, but because of the high waist and the lovely print, I saw potential in them. The first time I tailored a pair of pants, it took me 9+ hours of watching seamstresses’ tutorials on YouTube and trying out different techniques before I ended up with a pair of pants with which I was satisfied. This time? Maybe an hour.

After tightening the fit and slightly cropping the legs, these pants have become one of my favorites because they look like something I would find at Reformation. I like to mix up my summer pants repertoire with a pair that has a little character, like these, instead of only wearing jeans or black jogger pants. The fabric of these pants isn’t particularly breezy, but I actually felt fine while we were out and about because the cropped length + sandals ensured that my feet and ankles stayed cool.

IMG_4757

I don’t necessarily dislike wearing shorts, but it’s a struggle for me to find shorts that I love because I am very particular about them. I used to love low-rise, super-short cutoffs when I was in college, but I’m over that phase. Now, for me to buy a pair of shorts, they have to be high-waisted, a little bit longer, and be something more than a plain jane pair of Daisy Dukes. Shorts are just not as chic as pants to me, so they have to be really intriguing for me to want to spend money on them.

-S

IMG_4877IMG_4924

To wear jeans or not to wear jeans, that is the question. I am the kind of girl who loves jeans (ask anyone who knows me; they wouldn’t be able to pick my legs out of a lineup because I so rarely wear anything but pants or jeans), but when Arkansas’ humidity is at its peak, trying to squeeze into a pair of denim skinnies is literally impossible. Even I at some point have to retire my jeans in favor of something more breathable and lightweight.

IMG_4727

Instead of trying to survive in denim, I flock to patterned joggers, or sometimes even a pair of wide-leg pants because they are airy, appropriate for a 9-to-5 job, or for even after hours when paired with some stilettos. I don’t mind wearing shorts, but I’d much rather wear a flattering pair of pants, so when I hop from freezing coffee shop to coffee shop I don’t in turn into an icicle. Opting for airy fabrics–cotton, linen, mesh–provides a way to look polished in public while not roasting to death because of your friggin’ pants.

So will I be wearing pants this summer? Hell yeah- no sweat (literally).

-H

 

 

What are some ways you’ve found to comfortably wear pants in the summertime? Let us know in the comments!

IMG_4947

Hannah’s Outfit Details:

Pants: Old Navy

Tank Top: Target–similar here

Shoes: Forever 21

Scarf: Goodwill– similar here

Sunglasses: Rue 21– similar here

Earrings: Earthbound Trading Company– similar here

 

Sabrina’s Outfit Details:

Top: Target– similar here

Pants: Goodwill– similar here

Sandals: Forever 21

Sunglasses: Amazon

Earrings: Amazon

Hat: Kroger– similar here

Advertisements

What to Wear When You Hate Summer Fashion

If you are anything like us, you probably cringe when someone tells you that summer is their favorite season.

Sunburns, scalding car seats, and spiders galore? No friggin’ thank you.

We would prefer to go into hibernation for the three most soul-crushing months of the year (which are only going to get hotter and hotter), but they unfortunately haven’t perfected that process yet. So, until then, we’ve had to make do.

 

IMG_4382I have always been a sweater-obsessed, booties-loving, fall fashion guru, so when the Arkansas summer heat hits, I’m filled with dread when I’m trying to figure out what to wear. (Not to mention, having to shave your legs like everyday is such a pain.) With the humidity in Arkansas, staying fashionable in the summer is nearly impossible. But instead of staying snuggled in my bed watching Netflix and counting down the days until the air turns crisp (which would be my first choice), I’ve turned to mesh tops, backless dresses, and flowy fabrics to get me through the summer fever so I don’t have to stay holed up in my room until September.

 

IMG_4387

Being only about 5’3 and having legs as white as the sandy beaches of Destin, I’ve always found it uncomfortable to wear shorts because it’s difficult to find a pair that is flattering on me. But, I decided it was time to free the thighs and get over my irrational fear of my white legs seeing the sun because how else are my legs going to get any darker if I keep them covered up all the time?IMG_4229

I love these shorts because they are high-waisted, which elongates my torso, and they pair well with my favorite, all-season embroidered booties, which magically make any outfit look chic. The vertical stripes of these shorts slim my waist while giving me the nautical, summery vibe I’m going for, and I love how they contrast with this peachy mesh top (whose main purpose is preventing me from melting like the Wicked Witch of the West). 

I still cannot wait until it’s sweater weather again, but I think I can survive until then with pieces like these in rotation. (But then again, it’s only June and we still have the two hottest months of the year to go, so we’ll see!)

-HIMG_4306

IMG_4411

Summertime is great. I love long breaks from college to travel, work and just slow down for while. However, I have never been a fan of summer fashion. Living in Arkansas, I dread going outside into the sticky heat where sweating is inevitable. Picking out an outfit becomes a game where you have to consider so many factors before you even leave the house. What’s the temp out? Will I freeze in the AC when I go inside? Will this show sweat? Am I going to get a weird sunburn in this? (I say burn rather than tan because I’m only one shade of porcelain all year round). I am probably in the minority of people who would gladly trade scorching sunny days for cooler cloudy ones, and I get by in the summer by wearing light layers both for versatility and as a means to use some of my staple pieces from other seasons. And no one does layers and cloudy days quite like England, from which I draw most of my style inspiration.

In 2015, I spent the best semester of my college career studying abroad in London. For several sweet months, I drank in the culture around me as I fell in love with the accents, the food, the history, the mannerisms, and most of all, the fashion. 

 

IMG_4270

I brought quite a lot home with me after that semester; a few great pieces of clothing, but mostly ideas for my wardrobe. When studying there, I found that balance and stability are themes that permeate almost every facet of British culture, and they definitely extend to fashion. Londoners were not overly done-up nor were they slouchy or frumpy.

This look has infiltrated much of my own wardrobe and the pieces I buy. I strive for that balance between the high-end pieces like you could find in London’s West End shops and vintage finds like you might pick up in the East End.

IMG_4296I aspire to find that androgynous balance for me that looks powerful and bold, yet still chic and soft. I am always seeking that balance that says, “I put in some effort with this look, but not too much.” Because at the end of the day, I want that beautifully unique look too. I don’t want someone to compliment my outfit or my makeup as much as I would like them to compliment how I look. I want my summer wardrobe to be flexible and still me even if it’s not my favorite season of the year and even if I’m suffering through Arkansas weather instead of London’s. And if I can achieve that, I promise you can too.

-S

 

IMG_4341I love the color black.

I wear it year-round, so my fellow Arkansans must think I’ve lost my mind around this time of year.

But, I hate typical summer fashion with its frou-frou ruffles and bright colors, so I had to find a way to stay true to my sense of style without literally having a heat stroke.

IMG_4360

I wore this all-black outfit when it was at least eighty degrees outside, and you know what? I was actually pretty comfortable! If you like dark colors, the key is wearing pieces that allow you to breathe in the summertime. This shirt is mesh, so I could feel that wonderful breeze on my skin all day long, and these flowy, satin wide-leg pants didn’t cling to my skin at all or make me sweat. 

It’s honestly really difficult for me to find the motivation to get dressed up in the summertime because I am very hot-natured and I sweat a lot (ladylike, I know). I don’t want to wear cute clothes or spend time on my hair and makeup because I know as soon as I step outside, I’m instantly going to sweat through whatever I’m wearing and my hair is going to frizz up because of the humidity.

 

Before we started this blog, I essentially only wore various, boring combinations of tank tops and shorts whenever I went out somewhere because I didn’t think it was worth it to put in the energy. Now, I’m a little more obligated to put in some real effort instead of giving summer a pass and being content with looking like a hungover college kid dragging their feet to their 8 am class (messy bun, dark circles and all). It’s a good thing, though, because I feel better about myself when I try, and with breezy fabrics, makeup primer, and plenty of hairspray, I think I can make it until fall.

-S

 

“I figure if I’m gonna be a mess, I might as well be a hot mess.” -Mindy Kaling

IMG_4469Hannah’s Outfit Details:

Mesh Top: Forever 21

Shorts: Forever 21

Embroidered Booties: Target

Earrings: Amazon

Sunglasses: Aldo- similar here

Sarah’s Outfit Details:

Crop Top: Kohl’s- similar here

Satin Top: Goodwill- similar here

Pants: Forever 21

Heels: Forever 21

Sunglasses: Rue 21- similar here

Sabrina’s Outfit Details:

Mesh Top: Zara- similar here

Bralette: Aerie

Satin Pants: Goodwill (revitalized by Awaken Atelier)- similar here 

Velvet Sneakers: Target

Earrings: Amazon

Sunglasses: TJ Maxx- similar here

Watch: Plato’s Closet- similar here

The Fashion Girl’s Guide to Fitness

_MG_6873

For my entire life, I made excuses as to why I couldn’t reach my goals. Being a full time student and having two jobs are definitely good reasons, but they’re still excuses. But in January of 2016, something clicked in my head, and I realized how much control I have over my life. If I really want something, I’m the only person who can keep me from it.

I decided to dedicate my entire life to fitness and health. I began working out for one hour five days a week and eating clean six days a week. My plan was to lose fifteen pounds. I ended up losing thirty pounds.

 

After losing the weight, I kept setting new goals, and I kept reaching them. I suddenly enjoyed shopping for new clothes because I felt good about myself. I was finally able to wear cute outfits and not feel self conscious. I’d never had this much confidence in my life. _MG_6604Not only did I look better, I felt better. I felt strong and healthy. I felt happier and got better sleep. I started to realize it’s not about how you look; it’s about how you feel. Before losing weight, I was called fat. After losing weight, I was called too skinny. My response? “Well, I love myself and that’s all that matters.” And it truly is all that matters.

It doesn’t matter what type of clothes you wear, how skinny you are, or how much makeup you wear. As long as you truly love yourself, you’ll rock any look. It’s not the outfit that makes you look good. It’s your confidence and how you wear that outfit that makes you look good.

Life is too short to try to impress others. Do things that make you happy, things that make you feel your best.

_MG_6799

I now train for at least an hour and a half five days a week and I count my macros. I’m climbing the ladder of the fitness world around me. People are constantly asking me how to look and feel better, and it makes me feel so happy. Everyone deserves to love themselves. This new confidence has not only helped me in the gym, but it has also helped me in front of the camera, with my job, with socializing in general.

People are drawn towards confidence. I think that’s because everyone strives for and wishes to love themselves. At the end of the day, it’s all about being the healthiest version of ourselves. We only have one life, and one body. We’re meant to take care of it and to love it.

-B_MG_6903

_MG_6934

 

Whoever said fashion and fitness had to be mutually exclusive was just plain wrong. Ditch those gray, baggy sweat pants because fashion and fitness have come together and had a baby, and its name is athleisure. From yoga-inspired looks like mine to bold, fresh looks like Sabrina’s, this new take on workout gear is anything but boring.

_MG_6740Last season was filled with bright colors, so I love the fresh take this season has brought with muted monochromatics. A number of traditional ready-to-wear stores have taken on athleisure sections, including H&M, Old Navy, and Free People, and even Beyonce has her own fitness line! Wearing Adidas sneakers instead of a pair of cute flats is the easiest fashion-forward way athleisure can play into your daily life. Yoga pants are no longer restricted to yoga classes, so pair them with a flowy top and hit up brunch with friends._MG_6815_MG_6546

_MG_6950

 

Quite often, people make the mistake of thinking that you have to wear ‘traditional workout clothes’ when you work out, but I think the athleisure trend has definitely disproved that. There are many ways to incorporate fashion-forward trends into your athletic looks, like the strappy back of my sports bra or Sabrina’s velvet sneakers.

 

When it comes to fashion, it’s all about your perspective, so rock those silk joggers and feel free to wear patterned leggings until the end of time.

-H

 

As a full-time student and aspiring entrepreneur, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time (or the energy) to hit the gym. I like to work out in the morning, so if it gets past noon or one o’clock, it’s probably not going to happen that day. Unfortunately, I also do my best work in the morning, so I frequently get caught up writing blog posts or knocking out homework assignments until my ideal ‘workout window’ has passed. So, what’s a morning girl to do then?_MG_7001My solution is to put on my workout clothes as soon as I wake up, even if I don’t know if I’m going to work out that day. Because if I already have my leggings and sports bra on, I’m a lot more likely to make that ten minute drive to the gym.

_MG_6716

Changing into athletic clothes doesn’t seem like that big of a task, but when you’re trying to make the decision of whether or not to work out at like 12:59, already being in those clothes is a huge motivating factor. And there’s actually science to back up this idea. The theory of ‘enclothed cognition’ describes the mental changes we undergo when we wear certain clothing. One researcher from a 2012 study on the topic says, “I think it would make sense that when you wear athletic clothing, you become more active and more likely to go to the gym and work out.”

 

This doesn’t mean that leggings are magical, and as soon as you put them on, you’ll transform into a fitness guru. But, if  you’re already contemplating going for a run, wearing the clothes you subconsciously associate with running can give you the extra push you need to actually go through with it.

Plus, athleisure is as comfortable and cute as it gets, so what other reason do you need to stock up on track pants and funky tennis shoes?

-S

_MG_6861

Britney’s Outfit Details

Top: Express

Sports Bra: Forever 21

Leggings: Forever 21

Tennis Shoes: H&M

Hat: Nike

Sunglasses: Aldo

Hannah’s Outfit Details

Top: Forever 21

Sports Bra: Forever 21

Leggings: Target

Hoodie: Forever 21

Slip On Shoes: ASOS

Sunglasses: TJ Maxx

Sabrina’s Outfit Details

Top: Goodwill (revitalized by Awaken Atelier)

Track Pants: Forever 21

Tennis Shoes: Target

Sunglasses: Rue21

Half the Story

Our mission at Ensemble of Elan is to dress with purpose.

To explore ideas that intrigue us, to celebrate those who inspire us, and discover who we are through fashion.

As part of that, we try to be as authentic and honest as we can, but like anyone, there are still sides of ourselves that we don’t exactly broadcast to the world.

We want to inspire those around us to take on the world with confidence, but we don’t want to give you the idea that this is something that comes to us with ease. Because like anyone, we sometimes doubt ourselves and our abilities.

So, we wanted to share with you our #halfthestory, which is a movement to share the half of yourself that you don’t normally share on social media, and we hope our stories inspire you to do the same.

 

_MG_5364

 

 

Have you ever gone somewhere and felt like you were out of place?

Now, have you felt that way almost every day of your life?

Most people probably haven’t, but I have.

I suffer from what is called impostor syndrome.

Impostor syndrome is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. I graduated as valedictorian from my high school, got accepted into one of the most prestigious honors colleges in the country, graduated summa cum laude with my bachelor’s degree, and I am currently holding a 4.0 GPA in my master’s program.

_MG_5578

People have always regarded me as the “smart girl,” but for a long time, I honestly never felt that way.cI always discounted every accomplishment with something along the lines of “I went to a small school, so there wasn’t as much competition,”or “I got in the Honors College because my sister was already in it, and they liked her,” or “The work wasn’t very hard, so it didn’t take that much effort to get an A.” I never credited myself for a single one of those feats.

I hadn’t heard of imposter syndrome until about a year ago, but when I finally read an article about it, something clicked because it perfectly articulated something I’d felt for years. I was truly afraid to write this because I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging; I’m not that kind of person (rather, quite the opposite). I know there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way, but don’t know how to talk about it without looking like they’re fishing for a compliment. From all of us out there who struggle with this, I promise we aren’t ‘humble bragging’ because outside validation does nothing to help us.

 

I wanted to share this anecdote from Neil Gaiman because it helped me realize that I wasn’t alone:

Some years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realize that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of,

“I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an impostor, maybe everyone did.

Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth;

all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

 

The older I get, the more I realize that nobody actually ever feels like they know what they’re doing.

We look at people who seemingly have it all together and forget that they’re people too.

People just like us.

So, if you do feel way out of your league or completely terrified that people are going to discover that you actually aren’t as intelligent or creative or whatever as people think you are, keep going. Someone (probably a lot of someones) saw something in you, even though you couldn’t see it yourself. Try to give yourself a little credit, and if that’s still difficult for you, remember it’s better to be humble and keep striving to better yourself than to think you are the most amazing person who has ever existed and stay exactly where you are.

-S_MG_5707

_MG_5474

This year, I took on quite the workload with being a full time student, working 20-30 hours a week, starting Ensemble of Elan, and taking the first steps to open our sustainable fashion company, Awaken. I’ve learned that being an aspiring entrepreneur often means accepting stress as part of your life.

Many days last semester consisted of waking up and starting my day in school, doing work for two of my jobs in class (sorry mom), racing to business meetings or blog photoshoots as soon as I got done with class, then in the wee hours of the night I would finally start on some homework. I’m only twenty years old, but I have a lot of dreams, so I knew I needed to find a way for me to take them on without my brain exploding from so much stress.

I noticed the weight of the anxiety and tensions start to creep in, and I continually pushed it to the back of my mind or ignored it until I was on the verge of a meltdown every other day. Rather than sharing my feelings with my friends or family, I employed the “fake it till you make it” method, or as some social psychiatrists put it, “impression management”.

 

Many of the things that make a great entrepreneur- creativity, passion, energy- are also the things that can lead to them feeling worthless and sapped of motivation, especially when things don’t go as planned.

There are almost entire days when I lay in bed, just mentally exhausted from all of the tasks I have to do on regular basis. On those days, the last thing I want to do is to post another social media post or create another graphic. But many times, I don’t really have a choice.

So what are we supposed to do to keep stress from overcoming our lives?

Are we just supposed to give up our dreams altogether because they’re too stressful?

 

What has helped me deal with the stress and burdens of being an aspiring entrepreneur is remembering why we started Awaken in the first place: to help promote sustainable clothing in the fashion industry (and because going into fashion has always been my dream). When I refocus my purpose and intentions of why I am doing all of this, it makes it all worth it.

There are days when I am the most positive, encouraging person and I am ready to take on the day, but there are also days when the doubt and fear crashes down like a thousand ton elephant on my shoulders, and I can barely get a single thing done.

On those days, I like to hit up the gym and let out all of my frustrations.

ANOTHER TIP IS TO JUST TAKE A BATH EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE. IT HELPS.

Many of us worship the ideal of perfection, but letting that go can help us release all stress we compound on a daily basis.

-H

 

Be sure to check out the Half the Story Project for more life unfiltered!_MG_5701Hannah’s Outfit Details

Camisole: Target

Robe: Victoria’s Secret

Earrings: Amazon

Sabrina’s Outfit Details

Slip Dress: Target

Robe: Gift

Earrings: Gift

Less is More, More or Less

What does ‘less is more’ mean to you?

The definition of this phrase is: “the view that a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective,” but people extrapolate and transfer this definition to fit a variety of ideals. Some see ‘less is more’ as a reason to limit the power of various authority figures, like law enforcement or the government. Others use it as grounds to write a one-page Lean Canvas instead of a full-fledged business plan.

Many still see it as a lifestyle choice where they learn to live with fewer possessions or a smaller social circle,so they can fully appreciate the value of each of those possessions or individuals. We can easily say that this last one is something that we aspire to, but also frequently struggle with on a day-to-day basis.

We’ve grown accustomed to the fast-paced life that comes with fashion photography, where we typically select the 8-10 photos for a blog post from about three hundred raw images. It’s time consuming to edit and narrow down all of those photos, but we love it because it gives us more than enough options to choose from.

As we were collaborating on this photo shoot with the Green brothers, we kept thinking to ourselves, “We need more photos than this!” when we noticed that they snapped far fewer than we were used to. We were worried that we would not be able to do our meticulously crafted outfits justice in only a couple photos at each location.

Yet, as we began looking through them, we realized that we really only need one or two killer photos in each spot, and we actually did have enough. (And it was kind of nice to only spend about a quarter of the time as usual editing them!)

_DSC1141-2

 

 

 

I used to feel remorseful for simplifying my circle of friends so significantly when I started attending UCA. I felt an obligation towards people that meant so much to me in the past, but the reality is that if they are not improving your present or your future, they have no business being in your life.

Life is too short to constantly preoccupy yourself with this kind of guilt. People will always come and go; that’s just the way life works! At one point in your life, a friend will be exactly who you need, but as you grow and change as a person, that friend may no longer serve in your best interest (or you in their best interest)._DSC1152-2Simplifying your circle causes less frustration and less stress, more freedom lessens anxiety and lessens worry, and more meaning in your life allows you to focus far less on life’s excess in favor of what’s truly important.

When I started to focus on the people who added more value to my life and inspired me to chase after my passions, I began to become more successful in my aspirations. Now I have professional photographers and videographers as my close friends, and computer scientists and incredible artists. Allowing more time to connect with them truly helped me see the value in having less.

-H

_DSC1187

 

 

 

 

I remember ‘less is more’ as one of my dad’s key phrases when I was growing up. As a teenager, I wholeheartedly opposed this idea, especially when it came to clothing. My dad even used to joke that I could go an entire year without doing a single load of laundry! That was a stretch…but not by much, I’m afraid.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved towards higher-quality, staple pieces, and I’ve (begrudgingly, I’ll admit) begun to see the value in having fewer, better pieces in rotation.

 

 

There’s nothing I love more than giving my wardrobe a refresher every season, but I do find myself turning to many of the same pieces when I’m looking for something to wear. I didn’t used to, but now I do see the value in having less. When I’m limited to only ten or so pieces to create outfits from (like on a vacation), I tend to create better outfits than when I have an entire walk-in closet at my disposal.

An art teacher once told me that creativity is best expressed within limits, and for me, that is inescapably true.

 -S

Like anyone else, we would love to have lots of people, places, and things in our lives, but if we spread ourselves too thin, we won’t be able to see the true value of any of them.

We love the fast-paced world of fashion, but it’s also nice to step away every once in a while and get back to the simple artistry of taking photographs. We’ve seen that minimalism isn’t any better or worse than other styles of living your life, choosing your friends, or partaking in artistic adventures; it’s just different.

And who better than us understands the value of being different?

_DSC1217-2

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

_DSC1225Hannah’s Outfit Details

Top: TJ Maxx
Jeans: Target
Loafers: Forever 21
Hat: Target
Earrings: Earthbound Trading Co.
Sunglasses: Eyeglass Direct
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Top: Impressions Boutique
Jeans: Impressions Boutique
Cardigan: Impressions Boutique
Heeled Sandals: Impressions Boutique
Purse: BCBG
Necklace: Amazon
Earrings: Fred Meyers
Photos by: the Green Brothers

Science Not Silence

Today is Earth Day, and this Earth Day is probably the most important in recent history.

Today, scientists and science enthusiasts march on Washington to declare their support for evidence-based decision-making, scientific research and education, and more. There are entire groups dedicated to putting scientists in office in an effort to ensure that the policies we set as a country align with what would be best for future generations and our planet.

It should not have to come to this, but it has.

Our country’s leaders have made it clear that they rebuff science in favor of alternative facts, so the fate of our planet has been put in the hands of the people.

One of our favorite quotes concerning this rejection of facts is by Neil DeGrasse Tyson:

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

We don’t know if ‘good’ is the word we would use because in this case, the truth is terrifying, but this statement is accurate. You can ignore science and pretend that climate change doesn’t exist and that vaccines cause autism for a little while, but you cannot ignore it for long.

Science is not a belief system, so no matter what you believe, the truth will eventually prevail. _DSC1291

_DSC1297

 

I was fortunate enough to grow up with two scientists for parents who taught me from a young age to think rationally and look to the facts. Not everyone was so fortunate, but in the age of information, there is no excuse for ignorance.

The fashion industry, which is the second-most polluting on the planet, is slowly trying to become more sustainable through ‘eco-friendly’ clothing companies that only use organic materials and the like. Yet, most people do not realize that a single organic cotton t-shirt still requires a staggering 2,700 gallons of water to produce. At least, these companies are not using harmful chemicals that seep into farmland and waterways and are using coal alternatives to fuel their production, but they are still consuming our quickly depleting supply of fresh water.

This is why we are pushing the importance of secondhand clothing. It takes exactly zero gallons of water to revitalize a secondhand t-shirt. And, by keeping that shirt out of a landfill, it is effectively a negative-waste piece of clothing. We are not delusional, so we do not think that just wearing a secondhand t-shirt is going to save the planet. But, if everyone does something small, like forgoing plastic grocery bags, drinking out of reusable water bottles–or yes, wearing secondhand clothing– all of those little deeds will add up to make a big difference.

-S

In the 21st century, technological advances have become a daily regularity. I get in my Prius each day, and I use less than half the amount of gas the average American car does, which would not have been possible even a couple decades ago. A lot of people do not realize the impact that the science of today has on the technology of tomorrow.

Without funding scientific research and thinking about ways to make products better and more energy-efficient, we would never be able to enjoy things like smartphones or hybrid cars.

I am not a scientist, but I understand the importance of science in our society. Without it, we would understand almost nothing about ourselves or the world around us. It is because of science that I am able to use those ideas and discoveries and transform them into artistic expressions.

_DSC1234

One of my favorite quotes is, “Science is the poetry of reality.” Science and art are more intermingled than you might think, with concepts like the Golden Ratio (which is found everywhere in nature) guiding artistry and design aesthetic, and the science of light to making photography a possibility.

Beyond that, science is what keeps us alive. If scientists from the past hadn’t dedicated their entire lives to research, we would still be dying from infections due to minor cuts and scratches and diseases like smallpox because we never would have developed a vaccine. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like being alive and being able to engage in the activities that I love.

Use your dollar to vote for companies that are advancing this type of technology and use your ballot to vote for elect officials who recognize that science is the only way of thinking that will propel us into a better, more sustainable future.

-H

If we ignore the facts for much longer and keep silent on issues that matter, it will be too late for us. Every year is consecutively becoming the hottest year on record, and it’s getting to the point that it is noticeable on a daily basis. This year in Arkansas, we wearing short sleeves in February, and now, the temperature outside in April feels how it used to in June.

This is one of the most irritating consequences of climate change (particularly as aficionados of cold weather fashion), but it’s not even the biggest.  Ocean levels are rising, which will lead to several of our coastal cities slowly drowning under water, conflict and potential terrorism is brewing in countries that are most affected by rising temperatures, and entire species of plants and animals are going extinct because their habitats are becoming uninhabitable.

As humans, we sometimes mistakenly think we are above the ecosystem because we live in air-conditioned houses and drive fancy cars. We cannot forget that the Earth is our home, and it’s the only one we’ve got. Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on our ecosystem to stay alive, and if we continue to ignore the disastrous effect we are having on it, not only will the environment suffer, but the human species will too.

If we do nothing, in the future we will only exist as a chapter in the history book of the Earth. 

“The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.”

-Walter Lippman
_DSC1272
Hannah’s Outfit Details
Dress: Goodwill (refashioned by Awaken Atelier)
Boots: Zara
Necklaces: Amazon
Earrings: Amazon
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Top: TJ Maxx
Pants: Goodwill (refashioned by Awaken Atelier)
Heels: Impressions Boutique
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx
Necklace: Amazon
Watch: Plato’s Closet

Photos by: the Green Brothers

 

In Defense of Social Media

Social media gets blamed for a lot of things nowadays.

Low-self esteem. Violence. Addiction.

Even social media-savvy celebrities like Selena Gomez and Kendall Jenner have popularized the “Instagram Detox” as a way to escape the pressure and potentially harmful side effects that these apps can trigger. It’s true that too much of Instagram or Facebook can definitely have a negative impact on people’s lives, but we’ve forgotten that despite these shortcomings, social media does have the power to do good if it is used in moderation.

A few years ago, I studied abroad in Europe and spent about a month backpacking across the continent. I took a lot of photos, but besides posting them on Instagram, I didn’t do much else with them.

I’m so thankful I used Instagram back then because now when I scroll back through my feed, that section of it is like a travel journal filled with my adventures. I’ve always wanted to put together a scrapbook of my time in Europe, but in the almost four years since I’ve been back (has it seriously been that long?!), I still haven’t done it. (Shocker.)

IMG_1773

If I hadn’t posted those photos on social media, they would have simply gotten lost in my iPhoto library, (almost) never to be looked at again.

Social media gives us a way to not only share our experiences with other people, but it also gives us a way to look back on them and reminisce ourselves. I honestly do not care if two hundred or ten people like my posts because I post them mostly for my future self anyways.

-S

IMG_1895 copy

Social media has given me an incredible opportunity as an artist to share everything I am currently working on, from our daily posts on Ensemble of Elan to art I create in my classes or recent thrift shop transformations. I love that I can immediately share them with my community at the touch of a button. Not only is it great for sharing daily events,it has also given me ample opportunities for jobs and collaborations.

I started H + L Creations to brand myself so it would be easier for future employers to familiarize themselves with my skills and talents. And I’ve already reaped the benefits with not one, but two jobs as Marketing and Social Media Assistant for RaftUp and Social Media Manager for Waterhouse Market.

IMG_1964

I run five social media accounts daily, and to be honest, I can get tired of it too.

There are some days when it is really hard to keep up with everything and it’s mentally exhausting.

So, as much as I love the opportunities these social paths create, I do have to agree that sometimes it’s nice to take some time for yourself and put the phone down.

-H

Social media has brought us closer together and has allowed us to accomplish some pretty amazing things, from creating supportive networks for those living with mental illnesses or pre-existing conditions through the use of hashtags, to raising awareness and sometimes even millions of dollars for social causes around the globe.

Without social media, those feats would have never been possible.

IMG_1929

For better or for worse, social media is here to stay.

It’s ultimately up to you if you want to use it, and we completely understand if it isn’t for you. But before you take to bashing social media (on social media, probably), remember the reason it was created in the first place.

To connect with new friends and family.

To reconnect with old ones.

To share and celebrate your life experiences with the world,

And to voice your opinion on a platform where you will be heard.

How often do you really think you would talk to those who don’t live near you if it wasn’t for Facebook? How many “Happy Birthdays” do you think you would get? How many scrapbooks would you have made of your travels if it wasn’t for Instagram?

Social media has made our world a whole lot smaller, and we’re definitely experiencing some growing pains because of it. But, it’s also made us closer to one another and more aware of the events going on around us.

Connections and knowledge are power, and we can’t imagine our world without them.

IMG_1733 (1)

“Social media are a catalyst for the advancement of everyone’s rights. It’s where we’re reminded that we’re all human and all equal.
It’s where people can find and fight for a cause, global or local, popular or specialized,
even when there are hundreds of miles between them.”
-Queen Raina of Jordan
IMG_1762
Hannah’s Outfit Details
Dress: HipSway (Refashioned by Awaken Atelier)
Ankle Boots: Lulu’s
Clutch: TJ Maxx
Sunglasses: Rue21
Sabrina’s Outfit Details
Button-Down Shirt: Goodwill (Refashioned by Awaken Atelier)
Shorts: Impressions Boutique
Fishnet Socks: Amazon
Heels: Kohl’s
Purse: BCBG
Earrings: H&M