well said // fall writing inspiration.

via design love fest and created by gabriella sanchez
i am a strong believer in the idea of  to write well is to read well. there are times (aka, most days) that i have no idea what to write about, or what to say quite frankly. yet, these are days that i take that cue to put down my pen and read. and to read abundantly, and often, and deeply. to notice every phrase, not just in a novel, but in  news articles, on blog posts, and on the back of my shampoo bottle. (okay, that last one may be a stretch, but you get the idea.) because, there is a lot we can learn from others and loads of inspiration & those hummm moments to be had. so i say, let's have them!

here are seven pieces of writing i have been inspired by recently. ergo, please stop reading this post and read some of these people's talented work. ah, i love fellow creatives.

one // dear american christians, by abigail green.

two// self care by kelsey marie.

 in relationships via darling magazine 

four // my bedroom studio: a metallic story by jordan stokke

five // a fall feast: friendsgiving via anthropologie blog

six // about a girl: arden wray via urban outfitters blog

seven // hyper island talks to jen gotch via bando blog (a video!)

who or what are you inspired by on a regular basis? and, do you think there is a correlation between reading and writing?

yours truly,

p.s. i used the word "ergo" in a piece of my writing. can you say "winning"? or, maybe just trying too hard.


#10encouragingdaysproject // on stopping the glorification of negativity.

about two months ago (also known as: this post is long overdue), i created a project i decided to call the "ten encouraging days project". each day, for ten days, i posted an encouraging note on social media (instagram: @cate.marg) that was on my heart that day. i tried to also make them somewhat creative and not written just on normal mediums, making it fun to experiment with type on something other than a white sheet of paper. i used the hashtag #10ENCOURAGINGDAYSPROJECT on each post along with a short caption sharing a little more behind the few word phrase. 

i created this project because i have realized in the past year or so that we as a society glorify negativity. we complain just to fill silence and always find a way to pick one dislike out of a situation. "i can't even" and "literally cannot deal right now" surface a majority of the conversations i hear at school, as girls dwell on the one unfortunate aspect of a circumstance at hand. i think that people (myself included) complain for one of two reasons, one) just to hear yourself speak or two) to find a way to relate to those around you. if you find yourself under the first reason, then i'm sorry i cannot help you. learn to be at peace with silence every once in a while, sista friends. but, the latter is more common in our lives, i think. i find myself at times desiring to keep a conversation flowing by giving in to the temptation to talk about a common negative thing both me and my company are undergoing. "can you believe that mrs. so in so assigned us that paper and expects us to get it done by tuesday?! that's ridiculous", "ugh, this weather puts me in the worst mood", or "i wish there was more [fill in the blank] here", the list goes on. these are just a few of the ways i find myself focusing on negativity. yet, let us be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. not that it has to always go into the deep parts of our lives (though there is much beauty in those moments), but that it goes beyond the weather, beyond the gossip, and beyond the present complaints. because, let's be honest with ourselves: it is easy to gossip, complain, or talk about nothing (except for us introverts; small talk is pure pain). yet, what good are we doing (for ourselves, for others) if our words are only devaluing people? it makes our words cheap and undependable. let's challenge ourselves to take genuine interest in others and not default to what is easy to talk about, when we can instead relate to others in love and light and truth.

likewise, i simply wanted to use a platform as self-focused as instagram for something other than glorifying myself and my life. at times, i can get caught up in what my life appears like via the internet (which is so, so silly-- but maybe some of you can relate) instead of what really matters. so, i took an active step to not focus on myself, but others.

i will try to stop rambling here, and let my photos speak for themselves. below each is the instagram caption i added to the photographs when i posted. 

day 1 / September 22:
"often times, it is so easy for us to get bogged down in our inadequacy, failures,  even our mundane routines that we forget how amazing it is to just be alive. so, for the next ten days, i will be sharing a daily note-to-self (equally for you as it is for me) that hopefully renews our lives for life & others & ourselves. i will try to be more meaningful than "you go girl", but no promises. here's to what I'm going to call the #10ENCOURAGINGDAYSPROJECT !! (so, if you hate excessive encouragement, plz unfollow)"

day 2 / September 23 / first day of autumn:
"don't underestimate the beauty of new seasons & changes in life. (and, the literal changing of season-- aka happy FALL, you guys!)"

day 3 / September 24:
"it's true. You really are. (i on the other day, am capable of devouring 3+ cookies in 0.0983 seconds)"

day 4 / September 26 / after i took a day break:
"in the spirit of forgetting to post yesterday...: perfection only steals joy, beauty & creativity. (plus, being perf is SO last year anyways)"

^^ my second favorite of the ten ^^

day 5 / September 27:
"repeat this to yourself daily. (especially when doing statistics homework.)"

^^ my third favorite ^^

day 6 / September 28:
"a lyric from Sara Bareilles' new song, "She Used to Be Mine": "she is messy, but she's kind". thankful for friends to share the messy & authentic stuff with. because, in our flaws we are loved & cared about, and THAT is the most beautiful thing."

day 7 / September 29:
"the three magic words-- treat. yo. self. (you deserve it.)"

day 8 / September 30 / also, the day i got new shoes:
"mid week pick-me-up. (also, pun was definitely fully intended.)"

day 9 / October 1:
"late night encouragement/inspiration from my mag of choice-- Darling. because, while I'm a big advocate for expression through style, we are more than what we clothe ourselves with & overall more than what our "outward-self" deems us to be. and, to me, there's a lot of power in that."

day 10 / October 2 / also, my birthday:
"and to conclude, 10/10: CELEBRATE! celebrate the little victories, big accomplishments, the good days, the bad days, & everything in between. it makes life a lot more fun."

^^ this was my very favorite^^


i know most friends have already seen these photographs and read these captions due to their existence on instagram, but i decided i wanted to share it with more of the world. and honestly, i am quite proud of this project. i have always been impressed with those who can follow through with day-to-day projects, and though 10 days does not even compare to a full year project, got to start somewhere, right? anyways, this project was not only fun for my creative-self, but good for the soul. sometimes it is crucial to refocus our mind on the positive things, even amidst negative circumstances.

so, how have you been encouraged recently? and, who in your life needs encouragement in this season? let's overflow with optimism, friends.

yours truly,


write it down // on the art of journaling.

( side note: my absence on the ole blog has been partially due to what this entire post is about. )

growing up, i always kept a journal or diary writing down the really dire life circumstances: which boy in my class i thought was cute or how i would never wear yellow and red together. the latter was actually so important that it received a full page in my fourth grade journal, followed by the phrase "ugh, mcdonalds!". i am proud to say that i have only broken that vow once, and with the more sophisticated shades of mustard and maroon. yet, as the teenage years rolled around and schedules began to be filled, i rarely sat down to write just for the sake of writing. unless you count the notes app on my phone or a word document (darn you, technology). i blamed its absence on my busy routine or a lack of inspiration. yet, it was those times that i really wish i would have consistently journaled. will there ever be proof that i once wore polos and khakis on a regular basis? or that paper i somehow scored an A on? and, did that time i walked out of the bathroom as a high school freshman with toilet paper on my shoe really occur? who knows, i did not journal about it. though the embarrassment or excitement of these moments is ingrained in my mind, i feel as if there were plenty more where that came from that are forgotten due to not being documented in some way.

as august rolled around this year, i reviewed my new years resolutions and was reminded of my most specific goal-- journal. other goals included deep, vague concepts like "live simply" and "maybe get bangs" (which i've decided is one big heck no). my dear friend, Sophie, gave me a beautiful journal this summer during my time in North Carolina. it is covered with a vintage-esque map print and has what i like to call "proper paper thickness" (this is a priority for yours truly). so, i decided to write again, no matter how sporadic or messy my thoughts were. i reminded myself that this is for me, and me only. (and maybe my children later in life, when i find high school breakups and tripping up the stairs funny.) for just a few minutes a day, i tried to actively pursue the art of journaling-- with a real pen and real paper-- instead of scrolling continually on my computer, only seeing my words in perfect type.

like i said a few posts back, i am a rule-follower at heart. in the past, i have set up guidelines for myself  to form a habit, saying "cate, you will journal every single day." however, the thin margin of creativity left me only seeing my notebook as a chore rather than something to abide in. so my rule was simply this: just write and let it flow naturally. as i go on month four, i now write a few pages almost daily sincerely out of pure desire to document. i am no pro on the art of the journal, but here are a few reasons why i think it is so important for all of us to do so.

one. the therapeutic aspect. somehow getting thoughts from your head to paper, can not only lift a burden from your shoulders, but even help you to figure out situations more clearly after physically seeing your words (especially without a backspace button). plus, it's a big stress reliever. particularly for the person (ahem, me) who cannot get herself to the gym if her life depended on it. 

two. kills the perfectionist. when you begin to journal, you are hesitant at first as to how to go about it. i am pretty sure my first page in this year's journal went along the lines of "hey journal. is that how you journal? anyways...". yet, by page three, you are starting to write as you would think or talk to a friend. you learn that this is your space to fill with your words, no matter how ugly or jumbled they are at times. this is one of the only instances where i would stress to be selfish-- for your only audience is the personalized pages of your journal, so if you need to write about how great your hair looks today without the fear that you are "that girl", i say go for it. 

three. documents time. this is so important and so beautiful. though a photograph can say a thousand words, so can a thousand words! write down the eventful times and the mundane days. looking back in a month, year, or ten years can be so amazing-- you can see the growth that has happened since then and reflect on how the past has shaped present-you.


therefore, i say: hey, you. go pick up a journal from target (pro tip: if you want to appear as a hardcore journal-er, purchase a moleskin) and just write. write your worries, fears, hopes, prayers, and the day-to-day stuff that you think is not noteworthy. remember to get it all out and leave nothing stirring in your mind or heart. journaling is just one way to allow you to learn the wonderful lesson of being still (in a world that tells you to go, go, go) and letting go (as you are surrounded by people who praise gossip and grudges).

but, if you are a regular journal-er, how has getting your thoughts on paper aided to you well being?

yours truly,


postcards // on taking genuine interest in others.

one of my favorite solo-sunday activities is browsing my local antique store. i find comfort there, like i am among lost friends who still know me through and through. there is just something about being surrounded by unknown people's objects-- some deemed special, others collecting dust in a box-- that makes my own heart flutter with curiosity. i am quite nosey deep down, but describing yourself as 'curious' makes people not turn heads as quick as 'nosey' does. there is one corner i always make my feet go somehow: a small wooden box that is filled to the brim with used postcards. letters from friends and loved ones lie in traces on the back between a stamp and quickly written address. what is it about an unknown person's short, often mundane notes that is so dear to me? it is the curiosity of it all? the game-like attitude i encompass as i try to distinguished imperfect mark from imperfect mark? or is it the fact that i am holding a piece of someone's life in my hand? a life no less precious than my own, yet i flip through the outdated remnants like switching gears in the car-- mindless and routine. maybe we hold those we physically encounter with the same attitude we obtain holding a slip of paper. for like a forgotten postcard, we are all crumpled, torn, sometimes ripped in half and mended with tape. yet we are both equally special, worthy and yearning for someone to pick us up from a hidden box among a crowd and read what we have to say. 

i spent a total of $5 that sunday afternoon between four lonely postcards. now they are claimed and posted on my wall secured by golden paperclips and comforted amidst my own traces of life waiting to be found by another curious soul.

i do not think we show enough interest in the lives of what i like to call "our people". meaning family, coworkers, and friends we talk to almost everyday. when people become constant in our lives, it is easy for them to become devalued just as quick. we stop asking questions. we brush over the initial small talk like a pro. we even quit looking them in the eye when we talk to them. it is so easy to pick up the phone and scroll endlessly on social media instead of showing authentic interest in who is right in front of us. it is so easy to forget that sometimes it is those closest to us that need us the most. and, it is so easy to take for granted what has been carefully placed in our lives at the moment. it is easy because it is natural. yet, doing the unnatural is where true love lies. genuine love belongs to those who give without expecting any return, listen without their mind wondering, and sacrifice selflessly for the sake of someone else.

what would our lives look like if we took genuine interest in those we encounter on a regular basis?

yours truly,


ten things.

every so often, i try to take a break from my lengthy posts & intentionally share about myself on this site (i.e., this post about a year ago). so, here is an updated ten facts about yours truly.

one. i am just about 18 years old (next week, my friends!) & live in the beautiful state of arkansas. 

two. i plan on majoring in journalism in college. but, who knows, life is crazy & anything can happen. 

three. as right-brained as my creative pursuits are, i am left-brained at heart: list-maker, time-oriented, and rule-follower. 

four. top three favorite cities-- chicago, washington d.c., & barcelona.

five. though we are all more than our myers-briggs personality types, i am an infj (introvert, intuitive, feelings, judgment). i encourage you to type yourself & those close to you if possible; learning about yourself and others is so healthy and needed for relationships. 

six. i say i am a "cat-person", yet am hardcore allergic to all animals. (okay, maybe i am more of a i-will-buy-anything-with-a-cat-on-it "cat person".)

seven. one-on-one coffee shop dates are my JAM. seriously, give me a cup of tea and a quality friend across the table and i feel invincible. 

eight. i wear b&w on a regular basis varying here and there with pops of grey & cognac. and they say i ain't wild. 

nine. current favorite songs on my september playlist:

"here"  // alessia cara
"all the pretty girls" // kaleo
"101" // walla
"a million years" // johnnyswim
"the men that drive me places" // ben rector

ten. i am a lover of the little things: fresh flowers, washi tape, old photographs, hand-written letters, and expensive cheese (plus much, much more)

now, i want to hear from you! what makes your heart flutter? what are your quirks? share, friends. it's what makes the internet, well, the internet. 

yours truly,


thoughts on: firsts, lasts, and progress.

with the start of senior year, or any year for that matter, at a trot, the essence of "lasts" is in air. from the realization that this is my last year at home (and the realization that it may be more upsetting to me than even my mom) to even mundane "lasts"-- last first day of school, last school functions, last time to have to ask to use the restroom (can i get a hallelujah on that one?!)-- i am reminded that things are beginning to come to a close.

yet, amidst all the "lasts" of this season in life, surprisingly there have been many "firsts". from first dates to first friendships to the first time finishing a sandwich with mayonnaise on it (update: still gross. i was very hungry.)-- it is these "firsts" that make the "lasts" so sweet yet so wistful. because i am a planner at heart, every time i begin a new phase in life, my mind is automatically focused on what the end contains. is it worth it? will it work out? what is the "right" response or step-by-step plan? AND, where is the dang "_____  For Dummies" book on this? my list of thoughts are endless. (note to self: put "stop making lists" on today's to do list.) 

in a season that is so vital and exciting (yet equally scary as ever), i am reminded that life is so special, so fleeting, but most of all, life is so beautiful. it is easy to get caught up in "the big plan". it is easy to assume that with every decision you make, you have to have it "all figured out". it is easy to think that "i know/do not know what i am doing". i put quotation marks around phrases such as these, because honestly, they make me laugh (or at least do that pretentious humph that we all do when someone says they watch The Bachelor, but we secretly do too). how unrealistic to think that every choice we make, despite our better judgement, is the best choice? heck, i still internally debate the pros and cons of using a pencil or pen on a regular basis. how unrealistic to think that every 18-year-old can truly know what he or she should be doing with their life? most days, i still want to be the next Hannah Montana (wait, i take that back. sorry, Miley.). most importantly, how unrealistic to think that we could do it alone? because, i know i sure can't. 

^^^(the college question is definitely directed towards every adult who asks a senior in high school one or more of these questions: what school are you going to? have you applied yet? what is your major? are you sure you want to go there? etc., etc. no, i am not bitter. just confused as to why it is any of your business, lady-i-ran-into-at-the-store-who-hasn't-seen-me-in-3-years. okay, maybe i am bitter.) ^^^

after becoming content with the fact that a) i do not have it all figured out and b) that is perfectly okay, i have learned the beauty in being a person in progress. someone who is humble enough to answer the tough questions with honesty-- even when the answer may be i just don't know. to be the friend who meets someone where they are in life, not pretending to be the psychologist we all want to be or acknowledging that we have been there, done that. yet, most of all, to be the one human on this planet not focused on solely ourselves. because, when we take just one step back outside the realm of our minute problems, we are met with an even bigger question: what is our goal at the end of the day? and does what we choose to do in the small or large decisions reflect and respect that standard?

questions such as these are tough. they just are. it takes a bowl of ice cream and too many late nights to wrap my mind around them, honestly. though tough, just as important. with decisions and "firsts" that are more crucial than deciding what is for dinner (but if you are curious, pancakes. i'm having pancakes.), we must train ourselves to look away from our ideal five-year plan and instead be fully present. "forever" is not created over night; if we have our heart so set on how to perfect our future, we miss what truly establishes our forthcoming: now. it is the new, intimidating "now" that cultivates long-lasting friendships and relationships, the "now" that establishes our priorities, and the "now" that sets the foundation for our mindset on each circumstance that life throws at us.

because sometimes beginning a new relationship, or filling out college applications, or starting a new job or [fill in the blank here] can be scary when you do not know the outcome. yet, despite the confusion and uncertainty at times, let us stop thinking of the "what ifs" in life. instead, let's just start. progression has to begin somewhere, right? it does not mean we will never make a mistake. it does not mean it will work out according to our own plan. it does not mean that you will have all the answers. but, it does mean that you are actively here, and you are intentionally trying.

Charles Eames said it best-- "art resides in the quality of doing, process is not magic."
and, in my opinion, doing life (with love, grace & growth) is an art form in and of itself.

yours truly,


summer travels: north carolina

you know how i promised to cover my d.c. travels next? me too, then i got too nostalgic looking back at the moments captured while i was with my bestie, sophie, in north carolina and, well, here we are. sophie moved to highpoint, north carolina about two and a half years ago, and will soon be moving to london, england. like, what?! she is living the dream (and i am living the dream vicariously through her). my time with her, though short, was nothing short of wonderful. we had some much needed friend-time-- you know when you stay up until 3 a.m. multiple nights in a row talking, laughing, and crying (and many combinations of the three), you have one heck of a friendship.

enjoy a few iphone snaps (whoops, did not whip out the camera once) from my time in the most beautiful state with the most beautiful friend...

left to right, top to bottom:

one. // taken after almost missing my connecting flight (and doing the ugly cry in the charlotte airport). yes, i am "that girl".
two. // my read for the trip. an adventurous book for the adventurous heart.
three. // reunited and it feels so gooooooood. (80+ selfies taken soon after)
four. // my face as i touched down in greensboro. (i love using words such as "touched down". just call me a jet setter.)

one. // spent the next day smoothie making and smoothie breaking. (seriously, we broke the blender.)
two. // 'smoothie bowls with a lovely soul.' this was definitely an inside joke. there was definitely voices to go with it. if anyone who did not know us was around, they would definitely think we are in. sane.
three. // soph gave me these adorb cat socks. the way to my heart, people, the way to my heart.
four. // smiles & sleeping in until 11 a.m. 

one. // best thing about visiting a friend with style is getting to borrow said friends' clothes. 
two. // downtown greensboro-- the cutest street art.
three. // a restaurant solely devoted to crepes? what more could a girl ask for?
four. // from our day in chapel hill. we visited UNC with some friends (hi joe! hi henderson!) and it was the best day. it was also really hot, but we won't get into that (sweat. lots & lots of sweat.).

one. // soph & the great green wall.
two. // me & the great green wall. (thanks boys for the photos!)

as i was thinking about this summer, i wished i would have blogged and written more. yet, i realized that i was too busy living life than blogging it. and i am completely okay with that. with this trip being no exception to the adventures taken and memories made this summer, i am beyond thankful & excited as for what is in store. 

and a big hug goes out to sophie for just being the friend she is. virtual hugs for the win! only good things ahead for you sister friend, even when it means an ocean apart.

yours truly,


thoughts on: social media

this week, i have taken a little break from social media. i try to do this every so often to get refreshed and focus on things outside of a five-inch piece of glass. when i reflected on the last time i fasted from social media, all i could remember is how bad i wanted to tweet about how well it was going. ironic, right? let's just say that i did not fully get the point of why i needed a break. this time, however, i made a goal to not just refrain from using social media, but be present in what was right in front of my eyes-- to not feel the need to look down at my phone as conversation started going stale and to not take a photo of every event of the day (did you know you can still have brunch and not instagram it?!). 

i remember reading a cynical, better-than-you phrase a few weeks ago that said "you are not all that you post to be". after a slight humph, i thought to myself of course i'm not all that i post to be, i'm more. yet, and more notably-- we are all more than what we put on the internet. i think we have this misconception that how we are perceived on social media is an accurate assumption of ourselves. why? because, that is exactly what we think of others. oh, they are always hanging out with friends and eating healthy food AND have a close relationship with their parents (you know what i am talking about, teens-- those three-paragraph long instagram captions to your parent who does not have an instagram on mother's/father's day), or wow, why do they always look so cute? how do they have enough money for a $6 cup of coffee everyday? how do they balance work, family, and fun so well?, or whatever you may think when a follower posts. we are so quick to assume that what we post, and what others' post, is all we are.

i often times get compliments from friends and followers that i "have such a cute instagram" or the even more 'hip' compliment, "you're instagram is so aesthetically pleasing". while flattering, i dislike being recognized for something so minute and unimportant in the long run. when someone says that to me, all that comes to mind is how i will tell my children someday how "cool" i was for posting photos on the internet and multiple people 'liked' them (or clicked a button on their device). i can only imagine the smirks and chuckles as they mumble yeah right under their breath. do not get me wrong, i love social media. i really do. yet, as for me, i use social media (mainly instagram) as a creative outlet-- i try to make my photos artistic, somewhat decent quality, and have a creative caption (you're such a try-hard, cate). i do this not because i want likes and comments, but because i truly enjoy it. yes, i really do love finding a creative way to capture what i am doing. yes, i really do love editing a photograph of mine for way too long than i am willing to admit. and yes, i love to write and love to express just a little of who i am through captions and tweets. note i said "a little" of who i am-- because i am (and you are) more than what i (you) post. i bet you did not know from my social media that in this past week alone i have cleaned out and given away over half of the contents in my closet. or that i frequently walk around the container store by myself (i do not think i should be admitting this one). or that i have an extensive candle collection because i cannot bear to throw away beautiful candle holders after they are out of use. and no matter how authentic i try to be, social media can never capture the true joy i get when i have "real talk" conversations with a friend. it can never speak the thousands of words and emotions i feel about a current event. most of all, it can never tell you how much growth and peace i have gained through trust in Christ. the list goes on. all this to say-- social media cannot tell our whole story. yet, i believe there is beauty in the mystery and the unsaid. it opens the door for curiosity and conversation outside the realm of likes, shares, and comments. 

though social media does not tell the whole story, it can be used effectively and positively. for instance, how cool is it that we can connect with any and everyone? whether that is a friend from high school you haven't seen in 10+ years or someone from another country that shares in your love of [fill in the blank here], the possibilities are endless. sometimes i just think about that, and i'm like DANG, i love living in the 21st century. another one of my favorite aspects of social media is that when meeting people in person or catching up with an old friend, you do not have to go into your whole life spiel (your family, your job, what you do for fun). instead, you can dive into deeper topics since you have the basics covered (or maybe that is just an introvert's comfort). lastly, social media can be used as a marketing space. stores and brands that post quality content frequently draw me in. for example, ban.do has excellent social media handles. fun, colorful, inviting posts on not just items for sale, but behind-the-scenes action around their studio. they even have a social media coordinator whose job is solely to focus on how to market their brand on the internet (talk about dream job!). 

yet, despite the positive effects of social media, i have realized that every time you log onto facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. your focus directs to yourself*. whether comparing what you are doing to your friends or deciding how to make your life attractive and "post-worthy", this can be such a dangerous cycle. the thing is this: we only post what we think others want to see: perfection. when in reality, all we really want to see is that someone else can relate to our situation, whether good or bad. as we log onto our social media accounts, we are faced with images of smiling faces and beautifully written accounts of good news: high test grades, job promotions, vacations, and [insert that annoying person on facebook who brags about his or her child 24/7]. we scroll aimlessly and automatically think that everyone is doing just fine, actually better than fine-- they are at the beach with their perfect family who all gets along while still having the most relaxing time. right?! or is that just what social media tells you? it once again displays only one aspect of the story. we are not shown the messy, un-photo worthy details of life-- the fights between families, the lonely friday nights, or the multiple failed attempts to get one's math grade up (the 'one' i am referring to is me my entire high school career). not that those details and life events should consume every post, but we need to remember that everyone is dealing with something-- whether now or later, small or large. what parades our eyes on the internet is not always the complete truth

as my week of social media-lessness comes to a close, i have learned a few things:

one // i have connected with people more this week even without social media updates.
two // i have found myself forgetting to photograph what is happening. (that, i think, is when you know you are truly enjoying yourself.)
three // i have indulged in activities that i love when i have extra time instead of staring at my phone. (i have written four long letter to friends, finished a book, journaled multiple times, as well as many artistic pursuits. woo to the hoo!)
four // i have been less "self-focused". (*revert to previous rant on how selfish humans are, myself included)
five // i have been way more productive. though this is a given, it reminds me how much of a time-sucker that the internet can be.
six//  people are not waiting hand and foot for an update on your life. i know, it's hard to believe, people. as much as you think that your posts are needed for the internet to stay alive, they aren't. life still goes on without you. let's stay humble, folks.

i hope this post reminds you that you are, in fact, more than what you post, and that sometimes it is healthy to step back from social media for a short time. yet, do not feel pressured to go off the grid for a month or even a week (but more power to you if you do!), but maybe just for an evening or on a rainy day. 

let's consider this: what would change about our lives and the lives of those around us if we unplugged and were truly present?

yours truly,


summer travels: philly

hello, hello, hello.
 let me start off with this: this summer has been one for the books. not even in just a figurative way-- like, i will seriously have a chapter dedicated to the summer of 2015 in my memoir (coming soon to a store near you... in 15+ years). i have had the opportunity to travel quite a few places-- north carolina, d.c., philadelphia, as well as a few day trips here and there. thought i would share with you the story of each of my travels through the photographs that were taken there. though photos can speak a thousand words, they do not tell all of the story. behind each perfect composition and beautifully-edited capture you see on people's social media, there is always more to it. we must remember that. 

as for now, photos will do. here's a little play by play of my time in philadelphia. 

left to right, top to bottom:

i. // neighborhood plants and new shoes.
ii. // steps of cute homes (colorful doors make my heart oh so happy)
iii. // flower petals adorning the streets
iv. // cute philly homes in the neighborhood where we stayed

i. // hershey park! (p.s. i rode my first roller coaster. didn't pee or cry. success.)
ii. // beautiful bridge along the schuylkill river.
iii. // my new vans making another appearance (not pictured: the huge blisters that i had from the smart decision to wear new shoes on a trip. this is where my mom would say "at least you're pretty".)
iv. // some of the youth group hanging out at the park at night.

i. // philly streets in the rain (fun cate fact: big city + rain-- my two favorite things)
ii. // philadelphia museum of art. i may or may not have followed this lady around for a while because i was obsessed with her dress.
iii. // van gogh's sunflowers! ah, what a dream.
iv. // found this cute lil' kitty hanging in a cute lil' bookstore. 

i. // reading terminal market. i had the best burger here (restaurant called 'hunger burger') and not to mention how adorable their space was (subway tile *heart eyes*).
ii. // more park hanging and soccer playing. (no, friends, i did not show my skills this time. had to hold back. couldn't have others feel embarrassed this time around.)

(photos that did not make the cut but equally important: multiple selfies taken, even more photos of my feet [sorry, instagram followers-- you got those], liberty bell & independence hall photos [yay, america!], a photo of some children with tails [oh, the people you see at amusement parks], as well as a multitude of photos at the airport [think: 25 people. 3 flight delays. 3 cancellations. 2 days later, we were all home. see, told you photos do not tell the entire story.])


my time in philly was due to a mission trip with my church youth group. while there, we worked with a local church planter and his family by assisting him in making relationships with the people in the area. from taking surveys about the community to handing out water bottles, what we did was out of the ordinary for the people in the neighborhood. i have learned that with unfamiliarity comes two choices: to reject or to question. we got rejected multiple times, yet we also had the chance to be questioned about why we are doing what we are doing. due to the curiosity of people, we were able to share the reason behind a mundane water bottle and simple questionnaire: Jesus. our love for Christ should compel us to share. (note i said share, not force.) by opening with a mere action of love, we were able to talk about what truly matters.

so very thankful for my time in philadelphia. a city so unknown to me, yet Jesus is working and moving in the lives of his people who he knows and loves fully. now, that is something to shout about! also, crazy grateful for my youth group-- from card-playing to roller coaster riding to late night talks, we grew together and separately.

thanks for reading, whoever you are. stay tuned for my next travel post focusing on one of my favorite cities ever-- washington d.c.!

yours truly,


permission to feel.

this week, i watched the movie "Inside Out", and man, was it so good (and cute, and sweet, and moving, and authentic). seriously, my inner-pixar-loving child was coming out big time. in a nutshell, the movie discussed the emotions and inner feelings of an eleven-year-old girl. from joy to sadness, to fear to anger to disgust, it truly captured it all-- the good, bad, and ugly, as they say. 

what i loved so much about this movie, and what i have learned to be true in my life as of late, is that it is okay to have memories and situations that are not marked as strictly "joyful" or just "sad". you can have a mix, and, to me, it is actually encouraged. beyond the black and white of the world, life is more complex than we want it to be. if we block out emotions like sadness or fear, how do we ever grasp the fullness of joy and freedom? to accurately keep our lives in a healthy state, we must experience genuine feelings-- ones that hurt and make us cry, and ones that come with a grin and that warm feeling in your chest. we must have one to obtain the other. 

so often, i look for permission to "feel something". whether that be permission from a friend, family member, counselor, or book, i constantly ask those around me "is it okay to feel/think ____?". i have always been a rule-follower kind of girl ever since i can remember. i can recall the one and only time i got in trouble in elementary school. it was the one hundredth day of school, so my class was sitting on the rainbow carpet in the middle of the room carefully examining jars filled to the brim, each with one hundred items. my teacher reached for the jar of marbles, eager to twist the cap of to share with us, yet was having trouble. she asks the class "who is strong in here and can help me?". i immediately respond with a loud "i am!" as i reach for the girl's arm that is next to me and twist it so hard it turns red. the teacher gasps, the girl cries, i cry, and the dang jar went unopened. i was mortified and had to have a talk with the teacher between my hyperventilation and excessive tears about what just occurred. sorry, haley (girl whose arm got twisted), i have been beating myself up for this since that day. *whew! talk about guilt!* all this to say, i do not break rules. i go the speed limit, do not pass "do not enter" signs, and rarely eat food past it's expiration date. however, when it comes to more complex situations, with no rule or course to go by, i question how i should act. i used to denounce any anger. disappointment, or sadness in response to a circumstance where that was my natural response. i thought that by allowing myself to feel those emotions, i was weak, vulnerable & not the 'strong, independent woman (who don't need no man)' that is so prized in our society. yet, that is so far from the truth.

i was texting a friend recently about a situation i was quite frustrated about. i tried to "play it cool"-- you know, no exclamation points or all-caps-- to appear that my current dilemma was no big deal. i expected an overly-positive "it is all going to be okay" reply, but was met with feedback that contained validation and permission of my feelings. sometimes, allowing someone to be angry, sad, frustrated or disappointed is needed to get to the next step. not to give them permission to wallow in their own pity for weeks on end, but granting someone the freedom to act on what is emotionally natural in the moment. whether that be to scream, cry, vent, or to scowl and growl (my personal favorite), by giving permission to hurt, you open the door for growth, acceptance, and embrace of the circumstance.

(^thanks, friend! you know who you are.)

phrases such as "spread good vibes" and "positivity only" surface a good portion of  pinterest boards, instagram feeds, and walls of hip coffee shops. while it sounds enjoyable and simple in a water-colored print, is it really doable? can we really only be happy all the time? the answer, my friend, is no. not to be negative-nelly here, but is just unrealistic to think that life is going to be all daisies and roses. the facts are this: hard times have come (and are coming), yet also great experiences have occurred (and will continue to occur), plus every little happening in between. some years, it will be a 50-50 split between the good & bad, and most years it will vary like no other. yet, do not let yourself miss out on the reward of true joy by not admitting an initial emotion. metaphorically, i am saying that it is okay to not immediately turn lemons into lemonade (what? who are you and what have you done with Cate?!). it is okay to miss someone that is no longer in your life, or to wish for a state of life that has come and gone. let yourself taste the bitterness and pain of the situation for a moment so that you can thoroughly enjoy the sweetness that is to come. 

(pro tip: ditch the lemons altogether, and make some brownies.) 

learning to let yourself go through the ups and downs of life, taking each phase at your own speed, is part of being a fully authentic individual. because, occasionally we have to remind others that we also do not have our crap together. but who really does, anyway?

 (read more on this in my post on letting go of perfection here )

give someone permission today to be themselves-- to respond with true gentleness and validation for the sake of emotional progress and a genuine soul. someone out there needs it, 
and it may just be you

yours truly,


thoughts on: creatives

i often times describe myself as a creative person. yes, it was my go-to word when asked in 
elementary school to name an adjective with the same first letter as your first name-- creative cate. so original, right? however, others often describe me as creative too. this compliment is honestly hard for me to take most days as i try to mumble out a "uh, sure, thanks" a few minutes too late. as i have been reflecting on this characteristic of myself and other "creatives", i got to wondering:

what does it mean to be creative?

in my opinion, everyone is creative. dictionary.com describes creativity as such: "the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create 
meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc." i like the way they say 'transcend traditional ideas', as to state that to be creative we must go a step further, work harder, and think differently than the in-the-box kind of people. it requires extra effort and extra work (and extra mistakes-- lots & lots of mistakes). to be creative means to crave the unknown and the to-be-discovered. 

in most's minds', creativity is only associated with artists. whether that be fine artists, photographers, designers or just your artsy ig-ers & bloggers, why are we so quick to assume that these titles are the only ones who can obtain & succeed in creative pursuits? maybe we could blame it on pinterest with those dang diy's or even on it over-use of the term "creative" when describing people who can those do so called "crafts". (i am hesitant to say this because i feel like half of the girl-world will hunt me down, but completing a step-by-step guide to how to paint a flower is just. not. creative. sorry to break it to you to the hard way, i really am.) let us expand our minds to people who are creative outside of traditional art & classic mediums. think about the cook who arranged the food on your plate at dinner last night or the teacher/boss who formed the seating arrangements of your classroom/office away from your friends you could "meet new people" (yeah, thanks for that teach'. sincerely, all introverts). those are crazy creative individuals. also, appreciate the people who you interact with on a regular basis who are creative: your family & friends, who despite busy schedules, make intentional time to spend with you. again, crazy creative individuals. you can also be creative with how you speak-- choosing to be kind and encouraging to others rather than talking about the weather. you can be creative with how you dress- choosing to express yourself in a modest way (yet with mad style, of course) through something as materialistic as clothing. you can be creative with how you act-- choosing to be confident and true to yourself despite circumstances. we are all created to be creative people. take time to slow down and realize how innovative and artistic ordinary people are-- whether that be on your drive to the store or just in your own home. learn to acknowledge the 'creative' in everyone, even yourself.

all this to say, yes, you, are creative. you, the math geek and the basketball player. you, the netflix-enthusiast and video-game player. even you, the party thrower and party goer. all creatives, just in different ways. 
so, heck- let's embrace it!

yours truly,


styling lessons (for the everyday girl)

hey hi hello, friends! 

unrelated note: long time no see. you can say that again, cate. yes, i know. i have taken a little blogging hiatus this past month or so. due to the immense amount of school work, family + friend obligations (well, not all obligations), and honestly a lack of sleep & desire to whip out the ole laptop for a post, this site has been taking a much needed cat nap. but nonetheless, school is out for summer (do not make me break into song) and i am more than eager to blog again. with a mind full of ideas and unlimited creative boundaries-- let's do this whole blog thing once more.

styling. the art of the perfect composition and freedom to make ordinary objects & actions look beautiful. styling is one of my favorite creative outlets to pursue, so i am constantly learning and growing in the process & outcome. whether i do it for the 'gram or just for kicks and giggles, it is something i genuinely crave & thrive in. in an ideal world, i would have a pretty studio (think ban.do or rifle paper co.), a plethora of backdrops, and endless props. but, plot twist: we do not live in that world. surprise, right? through this i have learned how to create the most with my current circumstances and make do with my available resources. 

through just a white desk, a window, and so much washi tape that it makes you think i have a problem (i do)-- let's dive into the creative process of styling for the everyday girl, doing everyday things.

while browsing through the aisles at target (which, as you all know, i do on a semi-regular basis), i came across this funky washi tape and thought well if that doesn't say summer, then i don't know what does. so i bought it. being the girl i am, i have this desire to use/wear whatever i buy immediately. i thought that the pattern would work well as a mini-backdrop for a shot, so i taped about 12 strips of this fun-fetti washi tape to my desk. 

then, i gathered supplies! i had stamped two pieces of art the previous day (they turned out quite wonderfully, too) so thought that they might look appealing on the backdrop. also, i collected this polaroid from the night before of abigail & i at anthro (surprise, surprise). 

i tried out the stamped 'hello's' first. after i took 10-12 shots shifting each of them in and out of the frame, i ended up not loving the way it looked. 

quickly, i tested the poloroid and realized the colors of the photo match the washi tape. can you say match made in heaven? again, i shifted the photo every which way...

...and even did the 'so instagram hip' shot of holding it...

... thought it may have needed another aspect, so i added these pretty pink packaging peanuts...

... and shifted those out...

... then i started from scratch and took the photo from a different angle so the tape lines point diagonally...

and at the end of it, i decided to go with the first shot of poloroid. clean, simple, and just what i wanted to capture. i actually ended up posted it on instagram*, but just used an iphone photograph because i am, well, lazy.

though a posed shot (thank you, self-timer), this is a pretty accurate representation of  what my personal process looks like. i am sure i get a great deal of looks from my neighbors and passing cars, but heck-- i have way too much fun doing this to even care.

i have learned that through styling (and most creative pursuits) sometimes most of the time you do not get your desired look on the first try. it's a process. it takes time. it takes patience. it takes trying and believing in your every idea. and through it all, and an abundance of practice, the process shortens & you actually long for your initial frustration of coming up with the next best idea. the key to success is learning to love the growth and progress-- embracing every mistake, laughing at failing ideas, and mostly realizing the art of "not yet" but "close".


hope you all enjoyed seeing a little peak into one of my passions. and thanks, friends, for sticking around through the lack of posts, but get ready for operation: take over the blogger-world.

 just kidding, i am not that ambitious. pretty ambitious, but not that crazy.

yours truly,

(*p.s. shameless plug: missed me so much? follow me on instagram @cate.marg for almost-daily posts of my un-instagram worthy life.)


the art of the weekend.

weekends are one thing i am particularly pretty darn good at. just ask my alarm clock. 

last weekend, cate succeeded yet again. friday night, my friend, "AB", and i went totally & completely seventeen-year-old-white-girl on ourselves and saw "the longest ride" on it's opening night. at the end of the movie, we were both in tears. AB asks, "are you crying because they are finally together?", to which i say "no, i'm crying because of all the art." then i ask her the same question, and she answers, "no, i'm crying because of the hot guy." nonetheless, it was an A+ movie in our teenage hearts. 

 plus, we went to anthropologie. i got a glance at their new spring stuff and oh my heart. pretty things everywhere, i tell you. forever my favorite place. forever.

saturday was spent with family & good food. my little brother works at a special needs camp on some weekends, and he normally has a break during the weekend for a meal. so graham, my mom and i hard-core brunched. and by "hard-core" i mean i had croissant french toast. did you hear that? i said CROISSANT FRENCH TOAST.  later that day, my mom and i ate at a new pizza place downtown and stopped by my favorite coffee shop for a treat. 'twas a good time. 

real, non-instagram-worthy activities: i did have to spend a few hours of the afternoon doing standardized test prep. i swear it will be the death of me. seriously, if i am ever MIA just check underneath the stack of ACT packets on my bed and maybe you will find me. 

yours truly,


note to self.

via design love fest
here's a little known fact about me: i'm a list maker. i love lists. i love goals. i love crossing things off lists. i love accomplishing goals. annoyed yet? i have learned through the years of becoming a professional list-maker that the most successful way to get things accomplished is to be specific and intentional about a goal. for example, instead of "make an A on a test", you say "cate, you are going to listen in chemistry class. you are not going to cry. you are going to take notes, then study your notes, and study some more. you are going to take the test. and you are then, going to make an A." yeah, it's tough. accomplishing real problems no matter how small or big they may seem is not all flowers and butterflies. it's hard. it's easy to give up. it's easier to not even start. however, the reward is so, so much sweeter.

here are a few of my note-to-self's lately:

1. don't take everything so personally.

aka, everything is not about you. people are often times too wound up in their own mess to even dwell on yours. 

2. people will disappoint you. 

the kicker here is to not let your standard of others be something they are not. my mom would always say "you cannot make a cat bark". and it's true. i've tried it.

3. do not judge a situation by how it looks on the outside and how it feels on the inside.

because feelings are only temporary & not the truth. and someone else's outside may be the opposite on how they feel on the inside.

4. smile, darn ya, smile!

you seriously cannot ever go wrong with smiling. ever. also, there is scientific proof (click here) that even if you fake smile, it will boost your mood and simulates something in your brain that allows you be happier over time of smiling. obviously, i am super scientific.

5. this world is not our home.

yet again, i need to remember that this earth and my time on it is only fugitive. not that it does not matter, but that we should find joy in that fact that we belong in a much more beautiful place-- and that my friends, is with Christ. oh, what a day.

happy friday!

yours truly,