Authentic.

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I remember seeing authentic as a hashtag on someones post a while ago and thinking that it was a strange thing to hashtag. I take back my thoughts on that, because the word keeps gaining more and more meaning to me. Maybe it’s because this time in my life is one of growth. After all, that’s what most of your twenties are. So, as I’m growing and changing and strengthening parts of me I’m trying to get down to one thing: Who I really am.

The authentic Anna Katherine Oates.

It’s hard to say that we weren’t authentic at one point, because we’ve always been who we are, at least, we were in that moment. The thing is though, we get influenced so much growing into adulthood. I’ve talked about how I think most childhood traits are actually a big part of who you are and will be as a person. We change a lot as we leave childhood, but our personality really just develops off those traits like building blocks. But aside from key personality traits, we change a lot in those tricky years of middle school, high school, and even college.

Some of those changes are self-induced. But a lot of them are because of friends, pop culture, and simply trying to be relevant in a stage of life where we don’t seem to hold onto value easily. We change the way we dress, we change our groups of friends, we cut and dye our hair, we try some things that maybe we shouldn’t. We stray, partly because everyone is straying, but mostly because we want to be more.

We haven’t always been honest about who we are, and in those stages, we’re mostly lying to ourselves. It’s part of growing up. We shouldn’t dismiss our strange stages. They’ve helped us develop into who we are today- but that’s the question, who are you today?

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How to have a Minimalist Wardrobe without having to Commit to a Capsule Wardrobe:

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Remember this outfit of the day? It was a staple all last fall and I’m excited to wear it again. I’m trying to buy less this fall, and winter, and next spring. Why? Because I want a more minimal wardrobe.

I know capsule wardrobes are all the rage over the blogging world right now, but to be honest, I’m not that committed.  And when I see something I really really want, I don’t think I should have to throw out another shirt I also really want. I don’t think we can set limits on how many articles of clothing we should have, especially these extreme ones that say 10 items per season. They wouldn’t like my sweater drawer at all.

I understand the drive though, to live a simpler life, less materialistic drives, and have a more defined style. It makes sense, but there are ways you can do this without going to capsule wardrobe. Here are my tips to do just that: Continue reading

Feeling Alive on Lake Fontana:

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My amazing neighbor opens his house and boat to us almost every summer on the beautiful mountain lake Fontana. It’s another place that has captured my heart over the years. (Like I needed another reason to love North Carolina so dearly.)

Actually scratch that- I always need more reasons to love North Carolina. It’s my favorite place in the world, it’s the place that will always be my home… and it’s great because though I’m very settled in my little region of North Carolina- if I need something even slightly different, NC has it all. Mountains, lakes, pastures, islands, beaches, country sides, amazing cities. If there is a place for anything and everything, it is here, in my home state.

But more on that after a few more gorgeous lake views. Continue reading

OOTD: The Dress of my Dreams

IMG_4802( Dress: Anthropologie // Sandals: Target // Earrings: Gift)

Do you ever find a item of clothing that you love with everything in you… but then you look at the price and are reminded why you never go into that store to begin with. It happens about every time I walk into Anthropologie. I love, love, love the store, but I can’t really afford it. But I go in anyways, and this time I was in luck, because I was armed with small gift card and graced with a sweet sales lady who let me use my birthday month discount even though it was the month after my birthday month.

It was still more than I should spent, and as I swiped my card I had second thoughts. Yet I brought it home and when I put it on for the first time I realized that I had a great piece that I probably would always be in love with. I wore it to a business meeting and I’ll wear it to go get dinner with the girls. So maybe I didn’t make such a bad choice after all. After all everyone’s all about the slow fashion movement now and making bigger purchases that will last. Maybe it’s time for me to completely get on board with that.

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How have a Better Everyday Attitude: Little Steps towards a Big Goal

009Surround yourself with “ideas, dreams, and dive” people: Positive people are some of the best influences. I’m not talking about the ones who are so peppy they make you tired or people who are always happy. I’m talking about people who try to find the best in people and events. The ones who can make a good conversation out of anything and give good advice. I saw a tweet recently (un-cited) that said that we should surround ourselves with people who talk about ideas, dreams, and dive, not people who talk about other people. It’s just something interesting to think about, because we are all influenced by the people we spend time around.

Read more: We don’t think that reading makes a huge difference in our lives, it’s something we all like to do, but sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the time. However, reading is a great tool to improve your attitude and outlook on life. Whether it’s reading a book geared towards making you think, or a novel,  books make us see things in a different perspective. They change the way we see the world, and in default- our lives.

Are you not a big book person? Try some really good blog posts or magazines instead!

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Book Review: The Defining Decade

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“Our “thirty-is-the-new-twenty” culture tells us the twentysomething years don’t matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood. Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, THE DEFINING DECADEweaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely.”

Good Reads Summery

When I first picked this one up I decided that I probably wouldn’t review it, then as I started reading I decided I should post it with some stupid disclaimer about how I “don’t usually read self-help books.” But now that I’ve finished it, I feel like I should state: If this is what self -help or self-improvement books are all like, then I should read one a week.

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Equine Study:

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If the question is what are my favorite things to photograph, I bet anyone who has even thought about looking at the blog could answer

  1. My horse
  2. Plants

Now that I have kittens they can be included, but to be honest they don’t sit nearly as nice for the camera as D’Artagnan (Dar-tan-yon). In fact, the only time I have problems with this horse and photos is when he is respectively trying to eat the camera. But, I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that?

Sometimes I wonder if my readers get tired of horse pictures, or more importantly, one horse over and over again. Sometimes I think about taking a break from the horse photos, and sometimes I actually do. But these creatures are so stunning that I could study one for years and not get tired of it. I’m not just saying this about my boy, either, though he is the love of my life.

Horses have long been these figures of grace and power. If you own one or spend time with them, you know that’s not always the case. (Hint: My horse has literally been afraid of a butterfly before) But there is something to be said about that statement.

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