A Blue Jean Skirt in Bandera

As many of you know if you read my “Texas Travel Diary; Week 1” post (read it now here), I recently returned from a two week trip to Texas.  While I was there I spent a few days in a super small town about an hour and a half outside of San Antonio called Bandera, otherwise known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”  I stayed at my grandparents’ house there and they have the most picturesque well on their yellow grassy property, so I had took advantage of that and shoot a quick fashion post for y’all!  Today I’m sharing that outfit, enjoy!

On the way to Bandera after our stay in the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, we stopped at a huge mall called La Cantera and I picked up the perfect denim skirt at Forever 21 for just $12.00, score!  It’s not too short but not awkwardly long, it’s not too tight but not too loose, it’s the perfect medium wash (is that a thing?) denim, and has the cutest bronze buttons down the front!  I styled this fabulous find with a cute white embroidered top from H&M (I bought it last year but I’ve linked a couple similar tops below!), gold Jack Rogers sandals, a fun pair of purple stacked tassel earrings from E. Taylor Designs for a pop of color, and some simple white and gold jewelry.  I hope you love this look as much as I do!

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top (similar here and here) // skirt // sandals // necklace // earrings // beaded bracelets (here and here) // MantraBand // Giving Key bangle // cross bracelet (similar) // watch (similar) // ring

Thanks for reading!

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The earrings from E. Taylor Designs as well as the beaded bracelets from Sashka Co. featured in this post were sent to me in exchange for a feature in my blog.  However, all opinions are honest and my own.  I don’t feature products I don’t truly love!

Texas Travel Diary 2017; Week 2

Today I’m finally getting around to sharing the second of this year’s Texas travel diaries with you!  I decided to split them up since I spent two weeks there this year and I figured that one post would be overwhelmingly long, plus this way I got to make two videos!  If you still haven’t read my “Texas Travel Diary 2017; Week 1” post, be sure to check it out here (the video’s pretty good if I do say so myself).  Our second week in Texas was filled with long car rides to some fun cities and more time with extended family, making it super fun!  In this post I have recapped each day, inserted highlight pictures, and like I said, created a video that you can watch below.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  I also linked some of the locations mentioned so you can check them out for yourself if you’re planning trip to Texas.  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater/beach clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Higher Ground” by ODESZA featuring Naomi Wild.

Monday

Once we moved all of our bags from my paternal grandmother’s car to my maternal grandmother’s car around 2:00 p.m., we rode to a Baskin Robbins to surprise my cousin, Julia, at work!  She was totally shocked and it was super fun.  After we ate our ice cream, my grandmother drove my sister and I to her house.  I adore my grandmother’s house, it’s the one my mother and uncle lived in while they were in high school!  My grandfather passed away three years ago, so returning to that house is always fun but really bittersweet.  We chose our rooms, put a few of our things away, freshened up, and hopped in the car around 6:00 p.m. to head to my all time favorite restaurant in San Antonio; Alamo Cafe!  While Alamo Cafe certainly isn’t the most authentic Mexican food restaurant in San Antonio, it’s absolutely delicious and the freshly made, warm, flour tortillas brought to the table as if they were a basket of rolls will always keep me coming back.  I had my usual there, a basic chicken and cheese quesadilla.  After we finished eating, we drove to downtown where we made a quick stop in a gift shop before exploring the Riverwalk.  I always love going to the Riverwalk, even though I’ve walked it several times over the past ten years.  We rode a riverboat (which is also something I’ve definitely done my fair share of times) and took a few photos before it got pretty dark and we decided it was time to return to our grandmother’s house around 9:00 p.m.  When we got home around 9:30 p.m. we showered and got ready for bed.

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Tuesday

Tuesday morning we slept in until around 10:00 a.m.  When we all woke up, we quickly slipped on some shoes and ran out the door to drive through Taco Cabana to pick up some breakfast tacos (they’re the best!).  We ended up ordering a dozen so we could save some for later in the day.  I chose a few simple egg, cheese, and bacon tacos on flour tortillas, they’ve always been my favorite!  When we got home with our box of tacos we ate a couple then got dressed for the day.  We decided to return to La Cantera (yes, for the third time total in this trip to Texas) and our grandmother gave my sister and I each some money to buy some back to school pieces with.  Once we were shopped out, we ate at the shopping center’s Grimaldi’s, which has some of the best pizza.  We ordered a half pepperoni and half meatball and pepperoni pizza and it was delicious.  After we finished eating, we rode back to our grandmother’s house to pack an overnight bag.  Around 6:45 p.m. we left the house to pick our mother up from the airport before heading to Dallas for my tour of Southern Methodist University the following morning.  The drive is about five hours long, so we finished our box of breakfast tacos, played Uno, caught up with our mother, and took some good naps before arriving at our hotel in Dallas around 1:00 a.m.  Once we checked into our room we quickly got ready for bed and went to sleep.

Wednesday

My mother, grandmother, sister (Channing), and I woke up at 7:45 a.m. to begin getting ready for my tour of Southern Methodist University at 10 a.m.  After getting dressed and getting ready, I went to the hotel lobby with Channing to get a quick bite for breakfast.  After we’d eaten, we went back upstairs and waited until our mother was ready to depart for SMU around 9:45 a.m.  I won’t go to into depth on the tour, but the campus was absolutely beautiful.  The information sessions I attended answered almost all of my questions and made even more excited about SMU as a college option!  We had a little free time between sessions to grab lunch at la Madeleine French Bakery & Café on campus and run into the bookstore to purchase a tee shirt around noon.  After lunch, I had a tour of Meadows School of the Arts, where the Fashion Media baccalaureate program I’m specifically interested in is housed.  After the tour of Meadows, we got back in the car to start the five-hour drive home to San Antonio.  We stopped around 5:00 p.m. for dinner at Luby’s where I had fried chicken, a roll, and some broccoli and we ended up getting home around 9:00 p.m.  When we got home I showered and quickly went to bed because I was absolutely exhausted from all the walking around I did that day.

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Thursday

I accidentally slept in until around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, so when I finally got up I quickly had some cereal then got ready for the day.  My grandmother is a photographer and she knows we share that interest, so she took me with her to tour a local photo lab around 1:00 p.m.  After the tour, my mother and grandmother had to get a few things done at the bank so Channing and I tagged along.  By the time they finished up at the bank, we were all really hungry for a late lunch, so we stopped by Whataburger around 3:30 p.m. before going home.  I just had a plain cheeseburger and shared some fries with my sister.  I know it’s terrible for you but I honestly think Whataburger is much better than any other burger chain.  After “lunch,” we went back to my grandmother’s house to get ready to go to my younger cousin, Cate’s, birthday party (she’s Channing’s age).  I hadn’t seen Cate in a year and I hadn’t seen her on her birthday in several years so it was really neat to spend part of the special day with her.  All of her family that was in town went to a barbecue restaurant in San Antonio called Two Bros. BBQ Market around 7:30 p.m.  That was my second time eating there and I think it’s super good (coming from someone who doesn’t normally like barbecue).  I had a smoked turkey sandwich and the best banana pudding for dessert.  After dinner, Channing and I went back to Cate’s house and spent the night.  Around 10:00 p.m. Cate’s older sister, Julia (about my age) came home from work and I had the chance to hang out with her for a while until we went to bed.  I always love catching up with Julia, we’ve always been super close.

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Friday

Our grandmother picked up Channing and I from our cousins’ house around 8:00 a.m. and we went straight to Taco Cabana.  There we picked up another dozen tacos to eat for breakfast and save for the long car ride to the beach.  We went back to our grandmother’s house to quickly pack for the beach then helped her load the car.  When my older brother, Ricky, arrived (he lives in San Antonio too!) around 12 p.m., we (Channing, Ricky, our mother, and our grandmother) all piled into our grandmother’s car and drove four hours to Rockport.  When we finally got to Rockport around 4 p.m., we settled into our rooms at the Lighthouse Inn.  This was our second year staying at the Lighthouse and we love it!  The location is awesome because it’s not far from the beach and within walking distance of quite a few good restaurants, including the one we went to Friday night, Charlotte Plummers.  My grandmother has been taking my mother and uncle to the Rockport beach since they were kids and Charlotte Plummers was always part of the trip, so it’s still a tradition to eat there every year.  While we waited for our food, Channing and I went outside and took a few pictures on the docks next to the restaurant (be on the lookout for an outfit post from that night soon!).  When we returned to the table, I had the shrimp brochette appetizer as a meal.  After we finished eating, we walked across the street to a Rockport gift shop called TG’s where we looked at tee shirts and souvenirs before hopping back in the car and driving to the beach to take some family pictures.  Once we were satisfied by the quantity and quality of the pictures we’d taken, we drove back to the hotel where we showered and went to bed.

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Saturday

My sister and I woke up around 8:30 a.m. and quickly got dressed in bathing suits and coverups and walked downstairs to eat the hotel breakfast.  I wore my Jadelynn Brooke “Beach Bound” tee with some athletic shorts as a coverup and I loved it.  Get your “Beach Bound” tee here and receive a 15% discount with my code “FLHS”!  I love the Lighthouse Inn’s breakfast like no other, not only is it an awesome buffet but there are Texas shaped waffles.  Yes, you read that right, TEXAS SHAPED WAFFLES!  Two of my favorite things combined that make for one yummy breakfast.  After breakfast, we went back upstairs to our room to pack our beach bags and finish getting ready for the day.  Around 10:00 a.m. my family hopped in my grandma’s car and we went to my favorite boutique in Rockport, The Bay Window!  This boutique is the absolute cutest, girliest store I’ve ever seen and I’ve made sure to make a stop there for the past three years.  I picked out an adorable top that I’ve decided will make for the perfect first day of school outfit!  After we checked out at The Bay Window, we went to a couple shell shops where my sister, mother, and I picked out our traditional anklets.  Once we’d visited two of our long time favorite shell shops, we finally went to the beach!  We got there around 1:30 p.m., so we bought lunch and snow cones from some food trucks in the beach’s parking lot.  I ordered a grilled cheese from a cookout food truck and my usual grape snow cone.  After eating, we finally made our way to the sand and sea.  We stayed at the beach until 4:00 p.m. then drove back to the hotel to start getting ready for dinner.  My mom really wanted seafood, so we asked some people around the hotel lobby for a recommendation and after hearing “Capt. Benny’s” a few times we decided to give it a try.  While the location was conveniently close to the hotel, the food wasn’t really anything too special and we waited over an hour for it despite the fact that the restaurant wasn’t that busy at all.  I wasn’t really in the mood for any of the seafood they had on the menu so I just had a cheeseburger and fries.  After dinner we returned to the hotel and went to sleep.

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Sunday

We woke up at 8:00 a.m. and got dressed to go eat the hotel breakfast.  I had another Texas shaped waffle (big surprise) then went back upstairs to the room to pack my belongings.  As my mother finished packing and getting ready, my sister and I helped our grandmother and brother load the car.  We left for San Antonio around 10:00 a.m. and when we arrived at the airport around 2:00 p.m. we walked her to security and hugged her goodbye.  After leaving my mother, we went to Alamo Cafe for a late lunch around 3:00 p.m.  I had a chicken and cheese quesadilla along with way too many plain tortillas and boy did it hit the spot.  When we finished eating we went back home with my grandmother and took our bags back to our rooms.  A few hours later my brother’s fiancé came over and we all went to the Pearl Brewery.  The Pearl Brewery is really neat because it used to be a brewery but now it’s home to hundreds of apartments, over a dozen restaurants and cafes, and lots of small businesses.  We walked around and just explored for a bit before having ice cream at Lick around 6:00 p.m.  I love Lick because it has the coolest flavors, like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Kale, etc.  I had the Texas Sheet Cake ice cream in a waffle cone and it was delicious!  After ice cream we went back to my grandmother’s house and my brother and girlfriend left.  When we got home I showered and went to bed.

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Monday

I woke up around 9:00 a.m. and had some cereal for breakfast before I began getting ready for the day.  Around 12:00 p.m. my brother came over again and my grandmother took the three of us (my brother, sister, and I) to El Mercado, the authentic Mexican Market Square in San Antonio.  I believe this was my third time going to El Mercado and I always love it, there’s so many beautiful, handmade art and clothing pieces.  Plus, there are a few awesome Mexican restaurants and churro stands (my brother, sister and I each had one and they were awesome)!  My grandmother was so sweet to purchase a beautiful traditional red tunic with embroidered flowers on it, I’m so excited to share how I style it with y’all!  We left the markets around 3:00 p.m. and my grandmother dropped me off at the Baskin Robbins my cousin Julia works at.  Julia finished working at 3:30 p.m. and took me to one of her favorite coffee places, Local Coffee, for a little coffee date.  In all honesty I don’t even like coffee so I just got a hot chocolate but it was super good!  After we finished our drinks, Julia drove me back to my grandmother’s house.  From there, my grandmother took my brother, sister, and I out to dinner Paesanos, an Italian restaurant that my grandfather used to love.  Monday was actually the three year anniversary of my grandfather’s death, so this dinner was very special for us.  Many of the waiters at the restaurant remember my grandfather and were super sweet to us.  I had the ravioli de formaggio con polpette di vitello (cheese ravioli with veal meatballs) and it was amazing.  After dinner my grandmother drove us all home and we said goodbye to our brother one last time.  We finished packing and doing some last minute laundry before going to bed.

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Tuesday

We woke up around 6:00 a.m. to eat my grandmother’s delicious eggs and bacon and quickly get ready to leave for the airport around 7:00 a.m.  We arrived at the airport around 7:30 a.m. and after we’d checked our bags and picked out some souvenirs for our little brother in an airport gift shop, Channing and I sat with our grandmother in a waiting area until 9:00 a.m.  We then hugged our grandmother goodbye and went through security.  Our flight boarded around 9:30 a.m. and we had a pleasant trip home.  I wore one of my favorite Jadelynn Brooke tees and a matching pair of Jadelynn Brooke athletic shorts for the plane ride and it was the perfect comfy ensemble!  Shop my tee here and my shorts here 15% off with my code “FLHS”!

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Thanks for reading!  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith and check my travel hashtag  #farawaywithfaith, to keep up with my future adventures in real time!

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The shirts and shorts from Jadelynn Brooke featured in this post were sent to me in exchange for a feature in my blog.  However, all opinions are honest and my own.  I don’t feature products I don’t truly love!

Texas Travel Diary 2017; Week 1

Each summer, my immediate family travels back to Texas for a week or so to visit the extended family that my we left behind when we made the move to the Carolinas a little over ten years ago.  I absolutely adore the state of Texas and am always thrilled to fly back and explore!  This year my younger sister and I had the privilege of flying independently and spending two weeks in Texas; one mostly in Bandera with my father’s parents and one mostly in San Antonio with my mother’s mom.  Today I’m so excited to be sharing the happenings of our first week in Texas with our father’s side of the family!  I have recapped each day, inserted highlight pictures, and created a video which you can watch below.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  I also linked some of the locations mentioned so you can check them out for yourself if you’re planning trip to Texas.  This week was a blast and I hope you can feel that in today’s post!  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater/pool clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Love on Me” by Galantis & Hook N Sling.

Tuesday

My dad drove my sister (Channing) and I to the Charlotte airport 12:45 p.m. for our 2:54 p.m. flight into San Antonio.  After seeing that Channing and I made it safely through security, my dad waved goodbye and drove home.  Given that we fly at least once a year,  Channing and I are fairly accustomed to airports and flew independently without much stress.  This was actually really fun for us!  When we arrived in San Antonio, our grandparents surprised us at baggage claim by bringing our cousins, Frances and Reagan (both a year or two younger than me) to the airport to pick us up.  Channing and I were super happy to see everyone.  After getting our luggage, our grandparents surprised us again by taking us to the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa instead of straight to Bandera as we’d expected.  After checking in, we went to our rooms.  The four of us, Reagan, Frances, Channing, and I, shared a room with two queen sized beds that connected to our grandparents’.  We had so much fun in this room (lots of girl talk and watching The Office) and found that it (along with the bathroom) was definitely spacious enough for four teenage girls to share.  Once we were settled into our room, we went out to eat at Cibolo Moon.  There we caught up while eating a delicious buffet of classic southern food.  On the way back to our rooms after dinner we had a brief exploration of the resort’s water park.  We found a s’more table and fire pit in an area behind one of the slides and gladly took advantage of the opportunity to make one.  We became super excited for the day ahead then went back to our rooms and showered before going to bed.

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Wednesday

We woke up around 10:00 a.m. to our grandmother bringing in some muffins she bought at a nearby Target for breakfast.  After scarfing down the muffins, we quickly changed into bathing suits and coverups before heading to the resort’s water park around 11:00 a.m.  The water park is home to a few slides, which my cousins and I had a blast riding.  One slide enclosed you in a metal tube before the floor dropped out from under you and you were suddenly riding a plastic slide.  Another slide had a super steep drop.  Another slide allowed you to ride in two person tubes.  When we got hungry around noon, we ordered lunch in our pool chairs.  I then had an amazing grilled chicken sandwich with french fries and a virgin piña colada.  Around 3:00 p.m., after tanning, swimming in the pool, riding all the slides, and taking a trip around the lazy river, my cousins, sister, and I decided to head back to the room to watch some television and get ready for a fairly nice dinner.  The four of us had fun giving each other fashion advice, sharing jewelry, and doing each other’s hair and makeup before heading off to dinner at Cibolo Moon again.  After dinner, my cousins, sister, and I walked onto the golf course to take some pictures as the sun set.  I even shot an outfit post, be on the lookout for that in the near future!  Once we felt we all had adequate pictures together and individually, we headed back to our room to put on comfortable clothes and hang out before going to bed.

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Thursday

Thursday morning we woke up around 8:00 a.m. and quickly packed our bags and got ready before walking over to the Starbucks in the resort with our grandmother.  After we finished enjoying our favorite sugary coffee drinks, we walked back to the room to double check that we hadn’t left anything before loading the car.  From the resort, we went to La Cantera.  La Cantera is a huge outdoor shopping center in San Antonio packed with tons of popular stores including Kendra Scott, Nordstrom, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Forever 21, and more.  We window shopped for a while then satisfied our hunger around noon with pasta at the Cheesecake Factory.  After lunch, we left for our grandparents’ house in Bandera.  We made a couple stops along the way to visit Reagan’s horse at the stables and pick up our grandmother’s dogs from where they were being boarded during our little resort vacation.  When we got to our grandparents’ house, we spent a couple hours settling in, hanging out, and taking pictures (including some for a blog post!) before dinner.  After dinner, my cousins taught my sister and I how to play Uno (I know, it’s crazy I never knew how to play before!) and we played a three hour game (yes, you read that right, a three hour round).  When we finally finished the Uno game, we showered and went to bed.

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Friday

Friday morning my sister and Reagan woke Frances and I up around 10:00 a.m.  We ate some amazing homemade banana bread made by my grandmother for breakfast then played a couple rounds of Uno (both games took small fractions of the time the previous night’s game consumed) before going swimming in our grandparents’ pool.  Around 1:00 p.m. our grandmother brought out some spaghetti and we took a pool break to eat.  We continued to swim until around 4:00 p.m. when we got out to shower and get ready for a casual dinner at our Aunt Megan’s house.  When we got to her house around 6:00 p.m. we reconnected with her sons (our younger boy cousins) Campbell, Keller, and McCrae.  An hour or so after we arrived our Uncle Chip brought our other cousin, Madelyn (about my age), home from cheer camp.  We were all super excited to see her!  We had delicious tacos for dinner then went outside and explored our aunt and uncle’s little ranch.  Around 8:00 p.m. we went back to our grandparents’ house.  When we got home we showered and got ready for bed.

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Saturday

Saturday morning I was the last one awake at 11:00 a.m. (oops) and quickly had some banana bread before we all started tidying up our rooms and packing our suitcases.  Around 1:00 p.m. my cousins, sister, and I loaded into our grandmother’s car and we drove to Dairy Queen where we met Madelyn and Aunt Megan for lunch.  I ate a grilled chicken sandwich and a Reese’s Cup Blizzard.  After lunch, Madelyn joined us in our grandmother’s car and we stopped by the nearest Redbox on the way home to pick out a couple movies.  After deciding on Split and Nerve, we got back in the car and rode back to our grandparents’ house.  There my cousins, sister, and I all piled on the couch and watched Split together.  I’d already seen the movie, so it was funny to see my cousins’ initial reactions to it!  After the movie ended, we gathered our nightly essentials and favorite outfits into duffel bags and headed to Reagan’s family’s renovated old fashioned school house in Hondo.  The school house has been turned into the cutest little guest house and it was so much fun to sleep over in!  When we got to the house we had a pizza dinner with Reagan’s parents, Aunt Brooke and Uncle Miles, and our grandparents before changing into our cutest outfits and hopping on Reagan’s golf cart.  We rode Reagan’s golf cart to a beautiful field on their property where a couple of her older horses roamed.  There we took a few cute pictures as the sun set before getting back on the golf cart and going for a faster ride over the property.  Once we rode back to the old school house, a few of us took quick showers and changed into comfortable clothes before we all sat down to watch Nerve together (side note; I loved this movie).  Shortly after the movie ended we all went to sleep.

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Sunday

Sunday morning my cousins and sister woke me up around 10:45 a.m. to join them in the school house kitchen and eat some cinnamon rolls that Aunt Brooke had come in and made.  After breakfast, we just hung out and watched television then packed up our stuff and rode back to our grandparents’ house.  We spent a couple hours having sandwich lunches, packing up our stuff, and cleaning up our rooms at our grandparents’ house before heading to Aunt Megan’s house for a sleepover.  We swam in the pool for a couple hours before coming in for a taco dinner.  After dinner we showered and watched Hot Pursuit together then went to bed.

Monday

We woke up around 8:00 a.m. to quickly get ready and eat some cinnamon rolls for breakfast before heading to La Cantera.  We got to La Cantera around 10:00 a.m. and looked around until we met up with most of our aunts, uncles, and boy cousins at Whiskey Cake for lunch.  Whiskey Cake honestly has a really odd menu but the chicken sandwich I got was really good!  After lunch we shopped around a little more before we met up with my grandmother on my mother’s side in the parking lot and moved all of Channing and I’s luggage to her car.  This is what I consider the separation of my two weeks in Texas, so I’m going to stop this recap here!

Thanks for reading!  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram, @apocketfuloffaith, and checking my travel hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, to keep up with my travels in real time!  Be on the lookout for my Texas week two travel diary which should be on the blog in the next week or so!

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WJMC Day 6 Recap

I don’t know just how much I believe the phrase “all good things come to an end,” but that’s how it felt on Friday as I had to leave the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) at George Mason University (GMU).  I’ve had the experience of a lifetime at WJMC.  I’m so glad I was able to blog about the whole thing so you could sort of experience it with me and so I will be able to look back on this precious week as time passes.  If you missed any of my last five posts recapping the conference, you can find them here, here, here, here, and here.  Without further adieu, here’s my recap of my last day at WJMC.

I woke up at 6:00AM to guarantee I had enough time to get ready for breakfast and finish packing toiletries and bedding that I wasn’t able to pack the night before.  I took out the trash, packed all of my provided linens into the pillow case the way we were instructed to the night before, shoved my fitted sheet and still damp towel into my suitcase, and threw on a tee shirt, Nike shorts, and Chacos before taking my suitcase downstairs and meeting my friend Abbey for our last breakfast.

I had the timing wrong for my final color group meeting, so I had to eat breakfast in five minutes to be on time.  In this five minutes, I ate a bowl of Cocoa Puffs alongside Abbey and a few of her friends from her color group.  It’s so crazy how nice everyone at WJMC was and I wish I had enough time to build friendships with more people, including Abbey’s friends.

At 7:45AM I left breakfast and met up with my color group outside the dining hall one last time.  We walked to a lounge inside one of the dorm buildings for our final meeting.  Here we discussed travel plans, what we learned at WJMC (about journalism, ourselves, and new friends), and how much we’re all going to miss each other.  After coming close to tears, we were instructed to go back to the Johnson Center for the closing ceremony.

Inside the Johnson Center, we went to Dewberry Hall.  Dewberry Hall is the large room in which we had our first meal together on Sunday evening and heard presentations from Kevin McCarthy, Sonya Gavankar, and more.  At this time, Sam Wolf, a former WJMC correspondent, WJMC Social Media Supervisor, and GMU student, took the stage and summed up all the bittersweet sadness we were feeling as our departure times creeped closer.  He told us how to move forward from this week and let it change us for the better.  Next, Amy Takayama-Perez took the stage again for a congratulations and goodbye.  As Amy Takayama-Perez exited the stage, the slideshow began playing.  It brought so much joy and simultaneous sadness to us all to see the memories we’ve made over just five days.

After the slide show, we came to the courtyard and began saying our goodbyes.  I had the first shuttle to the airport, so I had to leave all my friends at 10:30AM.  I’m not even going to lie, I cried a lot.  What started as my attempt to make a few friends that I could talk to in order to avoid being awkwardly alone became a handful of super close friendships with people from all around the country and I just wasn’t ready to let go.

WJMC, thank you for what was truly one of the best weeks of my life.  Thank you for teaching me more about journalism than I could’ve ever possibly learned in high school. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to hear from and meet lots of amazing speakers.  Thank you for showing me that journalism is a field I want to be in.  Thank you for showing me that I’m more outgoing than I think I am.  Thank you for giving me the best friends, Faculty Advisor, and Junior Faculty Advisor I could’ve ever asked for.  Thank you for giving me something so hard to leave.

Thanks for reading!  If you ever get the opportunity to go to WJMC, I wholeheartedly think that you should go.  It was without a doubt one of the best weeks of my life and I’ll never forget it.  Thank you for reading my posts this week!  Be sure that you’re following me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith here so you never miss a detail of my upcoming travels.

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P.S. – Sorry there’s no pictures in this recap, but I was so busy preparing to leave and giving genuine goodbyes that I didn’t really think to ever pull out my camera.

WJMC Day 5 Recap

Sadly, Thursday was my last full day at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) hosted at George Mason University (GMU).  I’ve had the most incredible experience thus far and I don’t want it to ever end!  Despite its bittersweetness, Thursday was full of fun activities.  As I have been since Monday, today I’m recapping yesterday (Thursday) for you!  If you haven’t read my last four daily WJMC recaps, you can find them here, here, here, and here!  Enjoy!

I overslept a little again and woke up at 6:30AM to get ready for breakfast and the day ahead.  After putting on what was probably my favorite outfit from this week, I met a friend in the courtyard and we went to breakfast at 7:10AM.  I had Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal before we met our color group outside at 7:45AM to load the bus and go to the National Mall.

Upon arrival around 9:15AM, all of the correspondents were arranged in front of the Capitol Building for a group picture.  Once the picture was taken, we were given the opportunity to have a headshot taken by the conference photographer.  The lines were super long, so I opted out on that one.

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I, along with a few of my friends in my color group, chose to go on a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building at 10:15AM.  The tour honestly wasn’t the most fun thing in the world, but I have to admit the building’s interior was absolutely gorgeous.  Tons of beautiful ceilings, marvelous paintings, and marble details could be found throughout the building.  At the end of the tour, I bought a tee shirt and a postcard.

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After we left the Capitol Building, my group was seriously starving, so we ate at Mitsitam Native Foods Café inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.  I had a way overpriced turkey burger and chips.  During lunch, I decided I wanted to go to the National Gallery of Art and found someone in my group to go with me (since we’re supposed to operate on a buddy system).  We left for the gallery immediately after lunch and were able to spend about forty-five minutes there admiring the art.  The art there was all so beautiful and artistically crafted, but I think my favorite pieces were Andy Warhol’s.  I’ve been learning about Warhol in art classes since the eighth grade and this was my first time seeing any of his work in person.  I loved it all just as much as my art teachers did.

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When we left the gallery it was time to meet up with the WJMC group in front of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and load the buses.  When we got back to GMU campus around 4:00PM, we had free time to get ready for the gala until meeting our color groups around 6:15PM to load the buses.

When we got to the Marriot where the gala was being held around 7:00PM, we took a few group pictures outside before going in.  Inside, we had a three course meal of salad, a delicious chicken dish, and the best chocolate cake ever.  Right before dessert was brought out, one of the WJMC staff members went up to the stage to thank everyone who makes WJMC possible each year and congratulate us on a fantastic week.  As soon as that little speech was over,  the lights dimmed, music started playing, and we all devoured our chocolate cake before making our way to the dance floor.  I thought dancing would be a little awkward and middle school-esque, but it was so much fun!  I loved dancing with the friends I’ve been getting to know all week and even new ones I met on the dance floor.  Around 11:00PM, the lights came back on and the gala ended.  It was such a fun night and I won’t ever forget it.

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(The lights continued to dim lower after this picture in case you were wondering.)

When we returned from the gala around 11:30PM, I took another quick shower to rinse all of the dancing sweat off before finishing up my packing and going to bed.

Thanks for reading!  Return tomorrow morning for a recap of my last day at WJMC/returning home and follow me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith here so you can see pictures from my day in real time via posts and my story!

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WJMC Day 4 Recap

Another day at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) here at George Mason University (GMU) means another day of fun, life lessons, and learning about the profession I’m hoping to pursue.  We stayed on campus all day Wednesday, but that sure didn’t take away from any of the fun or learning!  If you haven’t already read my recaps on days one, two, and three of the conference, you can read them here, here, and here!  Without further adieu, let’s get into my Wednesday at GMU for WJMC!

I accidentally overslept and woke up at 7:20AM.  I wasn’t late, I just didn’t have as much time to get ready as I wanted to.  I got ready super quickly, rushed a breakfast of Cheerios in the dining hall, and met my color group at 8:15AM.  At this time our color groups had short meetings so we could each be assigned our news outlet for our simulation.  These outlets included the New York Times, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and CNN (which was mine).  After we were assigned our news outlet, everyone went to the room assigned to their outlet.

Each outlet was made up of approximately twenty-five correspondents, a faculty advisor, and a junior faculty advisor.  We were taught about the formatting of the stories we would be reporting depending on the outlet we were assigned.  For example, I was part of CNN, so I learned how to format and perform a broadcasted report, while someone who was part of the New York Times learned how to write and format a newspaper cover page. We were given five pieces of fake news (as in it isn’t true, but we were supposed to treat it like it was) and were told to pick four to cover.  My partners in this simulation were a couple girls from my color group who I hadn’t really hung out with thus far, so this was an awesome way for me to get to know and connect with them.  This simulation was also a really neat chance to see what working in a news room might actually be like.

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After our time to put together our reports ended at 10:40AM, we returned to our color group meeting rooms to present these reports to our entire color group.  I hate presenting, no matter where I am, so I was really nervous about this, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be!  I was really proud of myself and my color group for how we formulated such professional sounding reports as amateurs with a time constraint.  Once all of the outlet groups within our color group finished presenting, we walked to lunch in the GMU dining hall.

I sat at lunch with a couple friends and ate cheese pizza, quesadillas, and homemade chips (super healthy, well balanced meal, right?).  Once we finished eating, we refilled our water bottles and shared a few laughs before meeting with our color group outside of the dining hall.  From there we walked to the Cinema to hear from our faculty advisor panel and Nicole Livas.  The faculty advisor panel was made up of our color group leaders, who mostly work in journalism education in high school.  The faculty advisors gave us a lot of awesome answers to our questions, especially on how to fight back against unjust censorship of high school publications.  Nicole Livas’ speech was definitely among my favorite presentations so far.  Nicole Livas anchored four weekday evening newscasts on the WAVY and Fox 43 TV in Norfolk.  She emphasized that real drive and love for journalism will lead you to success, you shouldn’t count on making a living in one field, and the importance of networking in the field.  After Nicole Livas’ presentation we returned to our assigned groups for a color group meeting.

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In our color group meeting, we discussed our experiences during the simulation along with our thoughts and questions on the panel and Nicole Livas’ presentation.  After the color group meeting we walked to the dining hall for dinner at 5:00PM.

For dinner, I had some pizza and chips along with a homemade Twix bar.  After dinner we had about half an hour of free time, so I returned to my room and rested for a little.  We met up as a color group outside the dining hall at 6:05PM to walk together to the Johnson Center where we would hear from our next speakers, Amy Takayama-Perez a breakout speaker of choice, and Meghan ATB Reese.

Amy Takayama-Perez is the Dean of Admissions here at George Mason University.  In her speech, she highlighted things that you should look at when applying for college and what colleges will really look at when considering you.  Amy Takayama-Perez also told us that if we apply to George Mason University as WJMC alumni, the $70 application fee will be waived and we will be eligible to apply for a scholarship that’s only offered to students who have attended summer conferences here at GMU.

After Amy Takayama-Perez’s presentation, we went to the rooms assigned to the breakout speaker we chose.  I chose to see Jennifer Keohane.  Dr. Jennifer Keohane is the Assistant Professor, of the Department of Communication at George Mason University and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Rhetoric Society of America.  In her presentation, she explained the extensions of our freedom of press rights as journalists according to many famous Supreme Court cases.  Jennifer Keohane is so sweet and fun to hear from, I loved her presentation!

Finally, we got to hear from Meghan ATB Reese.  Meghan ATB Reese serves as the conference photographer for WJMC, but she does lots of work in the photography, film, and journalism fields including producing and writing for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, History Channel, Smithsonian Channel, A&E, Animal Planet, HGTV, Investigation Discovery, Discovery Family, PBS, Sony/IMAX’s 3Net 3D films, Capital TV Pakistan, the White House, and the Department of State.  Meghan ATB Reese’s presentation was without a doubt one of my favorites thus far.  She explained that she knew from the time she was in elementary school that she wanted to be a journalist, so she majored in journalism, had a long list of internships for well known news outlets, and landed her dream job.  It was then that she realized she was unhappy as a journalist, and ended up taking some jobs in the photography and filmography businesses.   This ultimately led her to becoming the freelance photographer/videographer that she is today.  This showed me that it’s okay to follow your own path and change your mind, which is so reassuring for a rising junior like myself.

After Meghan ATB Reese’s presentation ended around 10:00PM, we returned to our suites.  I then showered, worked on my blog post, and went to bed.

Thanks for reading!  Come back tomorrow morning for my WJMC day five recap and follow me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith here so you can see pictures from my day in real time via posts and my story!

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