Blessings on the Bayou

I mentioned that I was on a hometown mission trip last week, and I'm absolutely bummed that all of the amazing missionaries are back in Baton Rouge. (I've been so caught up in my post-mission funk, that this Monday-post turned into a Wednesday-post. Sorry!)

Telling all of these beautiful souls goodbye had me even more bent out of shape than I was when I said goodbye to my sorority sisters for the summer.

My church started hosting this mission trip five years ago when it wasn't safe for another church group travel to their usual mission-trip country of choice. I think it shows how easy it is to help people - no need to travel across the world, just look in your own backyard (literally!). 

200+ high-school missionaries, both local and from the Baton Rouge area, come together to grow in their faith while helping our community. 

New friends, old friends, and even older friends. Such a blessing. 

I worked along with these fabulous ladies and some of the world's most charming gentlemen as a "mentor". Not-quite-kids, not-quite-adults, we were spread out in different small groups, but grew so close by the end of the week. 

Some of my favorite parts of the mission? 

Seeing my small town through the eyes of a stranger. 

Bonding with my small group when there weren't enough paint brushes to go around… 

… And meeting some colorful native folks in the process.

And, of course, the inside jokes, late-night charades tournaments, and McDonald's and Sonic trips with the other mentors. 

I wish I could replay this week, Groundhog Day-style for the rest of the summer!

Has anyone else gone on or is planning to go on a mission trip soon? 

Hometown Mission Trip

Hi everyone! 

I'm currently blogging from my phone so I apologize if there are typos. 

I'm on a mission trip with my church in our own community. High school "missionaries" from out of town are here sleeping in our school and doing mission-y things. Yesterday we painted elderly people's houses, did yard work, and prayed with the homebound. 

I can't wait to post all the pictures and tell y'all more about this great experience! 

More to come on Monday, so please be patient with me! 

Lana Love

For a really really long time, the only type of music I'd listen to was country. When I started driving, I realized that I was seriously limiting myself. There was only one modern country station on satellite radio, and I had four other presets to decide on. I mentioned last summer in this post that I've got a wider range of musical tastes now.

One of my favorite singers for a really long time was Taylor Swift; she's pretty much goody-two-shoes, girl-next-door, sweet-as-pie, wholesome happy music. There's nothing wrong with that, either, except it's basically the complete opposite of what this post is about.

I started listening to Lana Del Rey at the end of spring semester after some of my friends went see her in concert (around the same time I decided that I needed to become more open minded). 
Originally, I only liked her because she had that song in The Great Gatsby movie and she's really pretty. Her style is absolutely fab and I love the vintage vibe she's got going on; I'm always trying to recreate her hairstyles and makeup. 

I've been listening to her Born to Die and Paradise albums on Spotify a lot and I was really excited for the Ultraviolence release today. At first her music made me feel a little melancholy, but now I like listening to her when I'm getting ready to go out or when I'm driving with the windows down on sunny days (and on long plane rides). Her songs are a little dark (and slightly explicit) at first, but I got over my initial shock.

I can't approve of some of the themes (drug use should not be glamorized; I guess we have to let that one slide), but listening to her just makes me feel sassy.

Will you be listening to Ultraviolence until you learn all the words, too? 

Lucky Number 13

Don't forget, there are only a few more days to enter my Essie nail polish giveaway! 
Now, I know what you're probably thinking… "Friday the 13th isn't the same as Lucky Number 13, Sydney!" 

Well I've discovered that the two can coincide, and I'm here to tell you a story about yesterday that will make you a believer. Let me preface the story by saying that I'm not a superstitious person at all! 

I'll set the scene: 
It's a miserable rainy day, but my mom gets the idea that it would be a perfect day for lunching & shopping. 

I, not usually one to turn down a shopping trip, happily tag along (anything to avoid eating leftovers for lunch, right?). 

After tasty soup, salad, and breadsticks from Olive Garden, we head to West Marine & Academy for Father's day presents and then Kohls, Ulta, and Target for ourselves. 

We're just stepping out of the fitting rooms at Target when my mom gasps, noticing one of her wedding bands is no longer on her finger!

We frantically search the dressing room, the clothing racks, and the parking lot. The ring was no where to be found. We follow the same procedure at all the other stores in reverse order (even searching through the trash in the bathroom at Academy!). 

Mom's pretty much lost all hope by the time we get back to West Marine. She's crying at the thought of losing something with such sentimental (and monetary) value. It was the ring my dad gave her on their eleventh wedding anniversary (Their twenty-eighth is next week). 

The workers recognize us as soon as we walk in, asking, "Y'all back again?"

Mom just sighs and says that she lost her wedding ring. The guy behind the counter smiles and asks, "Is it gold?" Mom replied yes, with diamonds, and he says yep, we found it right there on the counter. It's in the safe in the back. 

I absolutely believe that this shows the power of prayer, as well as faith in the kindness of strangers. That man could've just as easily pocketed the ring and bought himself a nicer present than the Starbucks gift card we gave him after. 

But that's the story of how our unlucky Friday the 13th turned into a lucky day, after all! 

And of course, we managed to do a little shopping damage before the ring fiasco!

Just after I wrote this post about how Friday the 13th isn't so unlucky, I attempted a Pinterest craft. It almost worked… Better than a broken mirror, right? 

How was your Friday the 13th? 

P.S. I bought the nail polish I'll be sending to the winner of my giveaway! It's not to late to enter

Signs of Summer + An Essie Giveaway!

In case you're completely under a rock (or still binging OITNB), summer is in full swing.

I'm keeping busy by checking items off my summer bucket list. If you follow my Instagram, you've probably seen some of these adventures. 

#25: Wash the Jeep

#27: Library trips.  

#1: Dip my toes in the ocean.

#11: Start a garden. 

#7: Read a book.

In my last post I mentioned that I'd been coveting some lovely beauty products… I've already bought a couple, including this fun Essie nail polish pictured above in "Bikini So Teeny"! It's quickly become my absolute favorite color! 

One of the unwritten items on the bucket list was "Host a giveaway" and I'm so excited to be doing that today!  

I love this nail polish so much, that I'm giving a bottle of Essie's "Bikini So Teeny" to one lucky reader! 

Good luck, everyone! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 *This giveaway is sponsored by me and not associated with Essie in any way* 

Beauty Wishlist

I've never been a huge makeup-wearer (my sorority sister did my makeup for formal!), but a new Sephora popped up in the mall near my house. I was just browsing when I started this wish list. Babysitting money tends to burn holes in pockets… 

The Summer's Buzzing

My dad's always been a huge coffee drinker; two sugars, one cream, and into the microwave for 60 seconds if it's a day old.

Freshness doesn't really matter, and neither does the time of day. He'll drink it all day long, and will make a second pot in the late afternoon. I don't think the caffeine affects him anymore. 

He's been this way for as long as I can remember; I learned how to make a pot of coffee around age five. I'm sure most kids have tasted their parents' coffee at some point of childhood. I, like most, was turned off by the bitterness after one sip and never ventured to try it again. 

I was so afraid of trying new things, that I even got Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos without the coffee! 

An actual closed-minded Sydney-tweet. 

Until now. Remember that whole, being-open-minded thing? Well now I'm kind of addicted. 

It started with a chocolate-covered strawberry frappe from McDonalds. I hadn't realized that there was mocha or coffee flavor in it until I tasted it. I didn't not like it, and then I started craving them. I must've had two or three when I decided to try something coffee flavored from Starbucks. 

I decided on a java chip frappuccino and really liked it. Then I saw all the ads for the new Vanilla Macchiato; they were so pretty! The color contrast of the espresso and milk -- I had to try it!

And now I'm obsessed (and craving them on the reg). I've also tried (and loved) iced vanilla lattes (my fuel for finals week)!

My new goal for the summer? 
Learn to make yummy coffee drinks at home! Look out for a recipe soon :)

My Warby Parker Glasses

Fun fact about me: I have the worst vision ever

I started wearing glasses around age 2 when my lazy eye became an issue. (My left eye was completely crossed and I could have gone blind!) I had to wear an eye patch over my right (good) eye to try and fix the weak muscle. 


The late 90s and early 2000s were an era of large, thick glasses. It wasn't until the sixth grade when I finally convinced my parents to let me get contacts, and I've worn them ever since. 

Though I had nothing against my glasses, contacts have just always been easier for me. I still wear my glasses at night and on lazy days. It wasn't until just recently that I started wearing them more often. 

I fell in love with Warby Parker glasses after seeing them on The College Prepster

Unfortunately, there's no WP store in or near New Orleans, so I had to shop online. Luckily, they offer this amazing home-tryon service; you can pick out your favorite frames and they ship try-ons to your house for a week, free of charge! (I know, I was skeptical, too, but it really is absolutely free!) You decide which look best on you, ship them back with the included return label, and then order your own pair. Easy as pie! 

I got these try-on frames in December and ended up doing a second order of try-ons because I didn't absolutely love any of those on me.

I ended up choosing the Ainsworth frames in Walnut Tortoise.
(dirty camera lens = airbrushed finish)

All of their glasses are very reasonably priced ($95 with lenses!) because they create their own designs and sell them directly to you! If affordability alone isn't enough for you, chew on this: they donate a pair of glasses (over half a million and counting!) for every purchase to someone in need. 

I was inspired to write this post after waiting too long to order new contacts (Side note: you should not try to wear the same pair for two months. It's not healthy). Currently on week two of waiting for those silly little lenses.

Where are your favorite stores to shop for glasses?