thoughts of africa.

it's been awhile since my last post {i feel like i am always saying that...}, but there's a reason. as always.

i'm currently in harare, zimbabwe, with my best friend and her sweet family. it's strange. my first time out of the country has also coincided with a trip to africa, a place that i never thought i would visit. in all honesty, i'm a bit excited that this was my first experience on my own. i didn't go to london or paris or rome. i didn't take on the beauty of another first-world country, didn't pace the streets of italy or switzerland, but went somewhere that's different. real. i ran straight into the fire {as everyone here keeps saying}. part of me, even now, can't believe i actually did it. i always thought africa was too exotic, too strange and far-fetched. i thought that life was so radically different that there was no way a born and bred california girl would ever be able to relate.

ah, yes. isn't it great when our preconceived notions are smashed to little bits and pieces? today marks my tenth day on an entirely different continent, and i must say.


sorry for the lack of embellishment. putting 'africa' into a string of sentences and jumbled up letters is proving to be one of my most difficult assignments. it's as if the paper is insatiable, it eats up my words with a ravenous, gaping mouth that always waits, ready for more. there aren't enough words to explain the poverty and the pain, the huge smiles and sweet baby faces. food prices that are sky high and yet glean so little, and the strangeness of a country whose government, quite simply, doesn't work.

africa isn't just 'the lion king' or, 'cry, the beloved country.' it's green and huge and the skies stretch for miles. the dirt pathways along the roads are packed with children and businessmen and mothers holding laundry and babies on their backs, wrapped up snug and tight. africa is a sprawling flea market and smells that make me wrinkle my nose and pirated dvd's that make you want to laugh and cry at the same time. handcarved everything, mismatched clothes and checkers games played with a few odd coke bottle tops.

it's strange to come from america and realize how blessed my family is. just because of a life lottery, i was born to parents in one of the most beautiful states in the land of the free. i have always been taught to dream, and to fight. don't have the money? get another job. want to go to college? work hard, get a scholarship. in zim, there is no opportunity in your work. there is no chance. your life is determined by your parents and your place of birth, both of which are extremely stringent. you are either white or black. rich or poor. you take the lot that you're handed and make the most of it. sell fruit in the streets, fake a disability. beg for money that will put food in your children's mouths, if just for one more night.

just this afternoon, i was watching a young girl, maybe five or six, lead her mother along the dangerous meridian of a busy road. the woman was {supposedly} blind, and they were begging for money, next to a man with cell phone airtime stuck in the papery bark of a tree branch. i asked my best friend {shannon} how people could live like this. with no hope for something better, no dream for a life beyond zimbabwe. i felt claustrophobic, almost, and my heart broke for this sweet little one, working when she should be painting pictures and laughing on the playground. shan told me, quietly, 'megs, this is their life. you don't have to hurt over it, because they aren't. this is their life, they work their job, they struggle and overcome, and they're happy. just because it's not your life, or the life that people have in the states, doesn't mean that it's not a good one.'

africa is family, pain, love, anger. it's high fences and no electricity. distrust, hard work, a lack of hope and sense of closeness. africa is abstract and ugly and beautiful and heartbreaking. it's someplace i couldn't create any expectations for, because it simply supercedes them all.

africa is.
africa, isn't that different.

four on friday.

 {early morning light}

yay! it's time for four on friday! i haven't done this in awhile, so i'm kinda psyched. this week, i thought i would regale you with the millions of instagram pictures that take up residence on my super cool new iphone. (i know, i know. i followed the crowd. sue me.)

here are some photos from this week/lastweek/lastmonth. i haven't been on here for awhile, so cut me a break! ;) hope your week was absolutely fantastic, and have a happy weekend. i'll see you all on monday. (ps: i will not say ya'll, i will not say ya'll...)

 {school+converse just go together. right?}
 {freshly painted nails and a new book.}
 {an old photo of mine edited with fun!}

hollywood hills.

if you guys have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that i love my little home in LA. when i first moved down here a couple years ago, though, i was a bit more hesitant to enjoy the smoggy place that's home to movie stars, high taxes, and sunny days galore. honestly? i'll always be a san francisco girl at heart. you can't get past the nostalgia of childhood, and the sweet memories i have there are priceless.


that doesn't mean LA hasn't squeezed it's way into my prejudiced heart. i'm really struggling with the idea of leaving...and it's hard to think that i won't be able to pop down sunset blvd whenever i want to.

i love the hollywood hills and mulholland drive, brentwood and tiny coffee shops and adventures with the crazies on the streets. i love driving down hollywood blvd late at night and looking at the lights and laughing with friends. i've gotten stuck in oscar traffic and visited studios and film sets. i've spent the morning in hollywood, the afternoon on the beach and the night in downtown, run into celebrities and driven a stick shift up hills that rival my city by the bay.

i laugh at tourists (sometimes) and know all the back roads. i've attended book signings by my favorite authors, been stuck on the renowned 405 freeway for hours and can recite hollywood trivia with the best of them. this is my home. yeah, you can criticize california for our ridiculous amount of debt and crazy-daisy politics that keep us bound to high taxes and expensive living.


it's in LA that i've really bolstered my love of writing, where i met people that had a sweet bit of faith, and told me it was possible. newfound friends/professors encouraged me in the smallest ways, and people here work hard.

you come to LA with a dream...mine was to be a writer. to gain experience and find a story to write. in a place that's made up of artists, it's not difficult to find inspiration. i came to LA with a dream (like here and here), and with a couple rejection letters, sturdy criticism and the hardness for heated debate, it's well on it's way. this is a city of dreamers, and you can't get out untouched.

i'm leaving, but maybe you aren't. and all i have to say to you?
welcome to hollywood. what's your dream?

{drivin' the back roads}
{my pretty best friend on our favorite route in the hills}
{hollywood hills}

birthday in the city.

a couple of weeks ago, i celebrated my twenty-first birthday. with a whole lot of family in nashville and friends that are far away, my dad decided to make his way down from northern california to celebrate. to say the least? i was excited. it's nice to drive around los angeles in a bmw instead of my college kid jalopy, and i got to show dad all of my favorite places in the city.

dad treated at the bonaventure, where i had my first drink (a lemon drop martini!) and got to patter around in my favorite sky high heels. the hotel is gorgeous, by the way, and stuck right smack dab in the middle of downtown. i have an old friend who always wanted to go, and they spoke of it highly. when i realized that there was a restaurant, i just couldn't resist. the cocktail lounge slowly revolves, so you can see the whole of the city. it was amazing. sweet and simple, just the way i like it ;)

i'm very thankful my dad decided to take a whole weekend off of work to spend time with his displaced daughter. this california girl is now excited to see the whote family again, when we can all hang out together in that place called nashville. such a sweet daddy, huh? :)
{dad's a big fan of hollywood...}

{we clean up pretty good, hey?}

it's autumn in LA!!

 {there's a storm a'brewin over my pretty city}

los angeles is a very sunny city. It's bright and big and crazy, wacky and hysterical and eclectic...and it also finally welcomed autumn in december. crazy, hey? as you can tell from this post, i was a little frustrated way back when because it was much too hot. well, november just had to die a slow, heated death to give way to the pretty-ness that is: december. 

is it still fall in your neck of the woods? i'm seeing pictures with snow/christmas trees, and i can hardly believe it. time really does fly. i have nine days to soak up some rain, some pretty la sunsets and hollywood crazies, before my life gives way to summer again, all the way over in africa. a bbq for christmas? bring it on.
 {love love loving the dark clouds}
{proof of the rain in the 'ol 90210}

i'm baaack....

oh my heavens. oh wow. i haven't blogged in two weeks...and it feels sad. there's nothing up on this little piece of the internet other than a picture of my hands on a keyboard.

um, not fun.

that's why i've planned a bunch of neat posts for the rest of december. (can you believe it's december?!?!) there's going to be some dreaming, a little DIY, packing heart attacks and an impending trip to africa. christmas is coming and i'm leaving the country for the first time and leaving my pretty little california. needless to say, there's so so much going on in my life. you're going to hear lots, so get ready! ;)

i can't wait to revive my teeny-tiny place that i love.
see you tomorrow!!

A week too late.

oh, everybody. i have been a bad blogger lately. for some strange reason i thought, "well, meg. you're going to night school and work a full time job and serve at church and are in the middle of moving and celebrating your twenty-first, so why don't you start a membership with NaNoWriMo?"

ah, yes. i'm so intelligent sometimes.

long story short? the reason i'm not blogging is because i'm stuck writing 2,000 words a day to beat out 50,000 words of a novel by the end of november. as much as i love each and every one of you {and your comments!}, it's going to be a bit slow here in this end of the woods.

i'm writing a story.

happy {post} election day!

Well. Happy post-election day, everybody! This means there will no longer be election coverage all over the news, big signs in everyone's lawn or picketers on your street corners. That, in itself, is a little exciting. For some, today is joyous, and for others, it is a bit bleak. 

 Yesterday, I did my duty as an American, as well as what I feel is my duty as a Christian, and cast my vote in a tiny LA polling place. With the slew of heated words and the spiteful nature, it made me nervous to share my views while out and about, and especially on social media. I was wondering last night, as I watched the results trickle in, if I should write a blog post on my ideals and concern for this great nation. I respect everyone's views out there, but I was a bit nervous that I would lose followers or become harassed with mean/uncouth comments about my ignorance or stupidity.

But. I am the child of an amazing King, and I feel that in my blog I want to honor him. Which, in fact, is why I'm writing this post today. You may have seen the following post on Facebook, and I think it represents my views perfectly:

How will I vote?

1. I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:17).

2. I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Israel & curses those who don't (Gen.12:3).

3. I will vote for the most pro-marriage candidate, because God is for marriage as defined in Genesis 2:24.

4. I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes government's purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).

5. I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov.22:7).

6. I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man does not work, let him not eat (2 Thess. 3:10). With the exception of those who can't work, whom I desire to take care of in times of need; the disabled, the widow, and the orphan (James 1:27, Isaiah 1:1.)

Finally, I will vote based as close as I can on God's Word (2 Tim.3:16). Knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts all men in authority (Dan.2:21).

I will vote.

** I am thankful for God's sovereign plan, as well as the man who He has planned to be sworn in as president, once again, this January. President Obama has my prayers and my appreciation for the drive to serve our country. I hope he leads in a way that is God honoring, and that represents true American ideals. As always, may God bless America. 

a sweet 'lil award.

as you all probably know (due to my lack of posting), i've been offline for a couple of days. i was moving/getting over a cold/focusing on work, and i missed a few postings :( 

then, i get online today and find the sweetest award from my dear fellow blogger Kayla at My Kind of Yellow. if you're looking for an absolutely darling blog full of sweet anecdotes and beautiful pictures? you don't have to look any longer. and she's just the kindest lady! all her comments are so thoughtful and cute, and it's so obvious so that loves the Lord. what more could you want in a blog? 

just a little background on the 'liebster' award. it's awarded to bloggers who have under 200 followers that make their home in the blogosphere. and here, my friends, are the rules: 

1. Post ELEVEN random facts about yourself
2. Answers the ELEVEN questions from your nominator
3. Pass the award onto ELEVEN other blogs and ask them ELEVEN different questions
4. Don't nominate that sweet 'lil blogger that nominated YOU

Okay. Well. Eleven random facts? Here we go... 

1. i LOVE chocolate chip ice cream. it's my absolute favorite. 
2. once, i was grounded from milk. yep, good ol' 2% because i was...drinking too much of it. 
3. my favorite book is a tie between, "wuthering heights" and "the bell jar."
4. country music = best friend.
5. i love to play make believe. still. my best friend just laughs at me. 
6. i like to listen to other people in coffee shops/restaurants. if they say anything slightly interesting, i usually write it down and stick it somewhere in a story ;)
7. i'm a morning person. i wake up veryvery happy. 
8. i dream about being listed in the "new york times" and published in, "the new yorker"
9. i've studied old hollywood extensively, and it makes me love living in LA
10. i watch "grey's anatomy" religiously and cried when "desperate housewives" ended. (i know, i know. but it's true)
11. my mama and i talk pretty much every day. she's a neat lady. 

now. as if you haven't had ENOUGH of me, here are some questions from asked by the lovely Kayla:

1. If you could only have one fruit the rest of your life, what would it be? Strawberries. Always and forever. 
2. Sweet or salty? Sweet. Cupcakes fix everything.
3. Are you married? If yes, how did you meet your man? Um, nope. Not yet. But you can check out this post and see why ;)
4. Describe yourself in 4 words. Let’s have an adventure.
5. Who do you strive to be like? Probably Joyce Carol Oates. And my mom. If we stuck those two people together, I would want the outcome to = me.
6. What is your passion in life? Writing stories.
7. What is one song you could hear at any point in your life and never get sick of? “Standing Outside the Fire” by Garth Brooks. It reminds me of being a little girl and I love the message. You have to take chances to make your life worth living, no matter what other people think J
8. Hot date night out, or comfy movie night in? It depends on whether or not I’ve exercised in the past week, and if I have new pair of heels…
9. What is one thing you never leave the house without? My new super cool iPhone 5. And my idea book!
10. Are you on twitter? If yes, what name can I follow you under? Well yes I am. My twitter name is @meg1521, {here's the link!} and i'm a bit of a newbie. it confuses me. 
11. Did you do any extracurricular activities in high school? I was in choir and CSF. I definitely would classify my high school self as a "nerd" so I wasa bit buried in the books and my job at the local Starbucks.

Yay!! Thanks so much, Kayla! I am so honored, and I can't wait to put this little button in my sidebar :)

My nominees? Well, I only picked four because I'm still a baby blogger. I chose these sweet ladies because they have become darling fixtures on my blog, and I love all the inspiration that I get from theirs. So, in no particular order: 
1. Darling Rachael at the Sanderson Smith Story...she was one of my first followers, and I love popping over her her place for stunning family photographs and stories that make me smile.
2. Natalie, who is a darling and inspirational fashion blogger from, The Best Things in Life are Free, the Second Best are Very Expensive
3. Rachael from RachECakes, who is a lovely southern belle transplant making fashion waves in Boston.
4. Lizz, from Looking to Find, who I can always count on for beautiful photos and inspirational posts.

i have eleven questions for you girls, but if it doesn't fit in your "posting" schedule, don't worry about it. you all know that you're special to me :)

1. what is your favorite chick flick? 
2. if you could live ONE amazing place no matter the cost, where would it be? 
3. chocolate or vanilla? or sprinkles? 
4. what's your favorite US state to visit? 
5. best childhood memory. go.
6. who is your literary hero? 
7. what college did you go to? or trade school or life school? 
8. what was your first car? 
9. who is your celeb crush?
10. what is your 'dream' job? where do you work now?
11. what tv shows do YOU love? 

alrighty. that's it for the 'me' post, can't wait to hear what you ladies have to say. and if YOU want to answer one of the questions above, i would just love to hear about it in the comment section :)

halloween treats.

you've seen sprinkles cupcakes before on this blog, and for good reason. they're very yummy. and...they just happen to be my favorite treat for any season/holiday. i {love} fall, but am not such a fan of the treats. mainly because they're full of pumpkin. i know, i know. sacrilege. but i just don't like it. instead, i scoured the web for some fun...not so pumpkin-y sweets for the halloween season. as much as you all don't want to say it, there are some of you that stand with me. right?

tasty popcorn balls

molasses spice cookies

an amazing new take on cinnamon rolls

apple crisp - my favorite!

halloween cupcakes that look too cute to eat

candied apples with a twist

mini pretty pastries

okay, okay. enough with all these tasty things. they make we want to go to the store and buy everything in the baking section. hope you've found something fun and new to try...i know i have. happy halloween, everybody!

iconic movie moments.

i simply can't get enough of this movie.

a couple of years ago on halloween, a sweet friend and i curled up after our late starbucks shift to enjoy a bit of the 80's. i seriously think i am in love with this film, and if you haven't seen it, then you reallyreally should. this is the closing scene from, "the breakfast club" one of the iconic films john hughes brought to life oh so many years ago. {a few of the others include, "sixteen candles," "pretty in pink," and "some kind of wonderful."}

*keep in mind that these should have been "r" rated by today's standards. my mama was right in keeping me from them for awhile, but now i finally get to bawl my eyes out every time i see judd nelson raise his fist in victory because he finally got his girl. um, pass the pint of ice cream. i'm a fan.

what about you? i would just love to hear about a girly/funny/sweet movie that i can curl up with when autumn finally gets to LA.

camera nostalgia.

i'm really not much of a photographer. i'm going to be taking classes soon, which is exciting, but for now i'm just a nerd with a camera. not too crazy, hey?

while up in the bay area, i visited with my aunt when she pulled out these two amazing cameras. hers was just oh so neat, a canon from the 70's that had lots of character. pretty much my camera model from quite a few years ago. as much as i loved it, however, i absolutely fell in love with the second camera that came out of storage, from where it was kept high up on a shelf {you can see it to the left below, with the "argus" branding}

it was old, i'm guesstimating a little bit more than fifty years, and it was my great-grandfathers.
as i passed it back and forth, studying the neat metallic intricacies, my aunt sweetly reminded me, "all those photographs of your grandma, as a little girl? were taken with this camera." saturday marked the twelfth year that my grandma hasn't been able to celebrate her birthday with us, which made it just so much more special. this itty-bitty {kinda heavy} camera from the mid-twentieth century left me reflective and nostalgic for the rest of the day.

i know that it's been years and years, but it's still hard. i know that my mama still misses her mama {and rightfully so}, and sometimes i feel cheated. i only get to hear stories about my grandma, how she loved musicals and talking on the phone and cheesecake. how my mama used to make her laugh, and the neat times around the dinner table. i'm sad that i didn't get to know her any farther than the grandma with the pretty smile and open arms.

i can't say, however, that her life hasn't managed to influence my own. i'm in love with musicals. she helped me learn to read {i recently graduated with an english degree} and write {i'm a creative writing grad student}. it's not much, but it's the tiny inkling that i need. i was a little girl, but there's so much to remember. i'm grateful for my family that is filled to the brim with stories, and my sweet mama. i wouldn't have her without grandma, and i'm glad she raised such a neat lady.

this camera gave me a sneak-peek into the past.
it's simply a piece of my family history, and i love it.
oh, so much.

four on friday.

ah, finally. it's friday. time to shut down the work computer, finish up my homework and curl up with "grey's anatomy."

or not.

sadly, it's now the end of my san francisco week on the blog, and friday officially waves good-bye to the rest of my sanity. the best friend and i will be moving out of our sweet little apartment later this week, which is so sad/hard. it was wonderful to have time with just the two of us, and i am going to miss our pizza nights/movie mornings. ah, well. onto the next thing, i suppose.

are you doing anything fun this weekend? i bet it beats goodwill runs and packing boxes... ;)
 {dusky twilight}
 {sneaky mirror photos at this neat restaurant}
{ghirardelli hot cocoa for the chilly ferry ride home}

let them eat... italian pastries.

north beach is a small district in san francisco that is recognized by it's italian heritage, marked by small flags on every light pole. it runs mainly along columbus avenue, which you can see here. this is where you'll find city lights books from this post, the yummy piazza pellegrini, and about a million tiny pastry shops. after running from the crowds of tourists around pier 39 and fisherman's wharf {overrated}, the best friend and i caught sight of oh so many pretty pastries in the window.

after drooling for a {very} short time, we decided both of us were simply ravenous and only a cannoli and scoop of spumoni gelato would do. i wish i could remember the name of this place, because it really was fantastic! if you visit north beach before i do, be sure to let me know! ;)

i might have a teensy bit of a sweet tooth, so italian delicacies really make me nice and happy. especially spumoni. it reminds me of my grandpa, who made his italian roots very clear with consistent trips to his favorite local italian resaurant {which is now closed :( } both he and my grandma were regulars for many, many years. maybe the love for carbs/spumoni rubbed off a bit on me, too.

east bay baby.

i am actually kind of in love with this picture. it's a neat way to view san francisco from the shores of the east bay {this is in alameda}. i've always been a huge fan of city skylines, but this one just takes the cake. it's san francisco, for heavens sake! until i set eyes on nyc, i think this beautiful city by the bay might just win. LA just isn't as excruciatingly beautiful through all the smog. 

the best friend and got some advice from my sweet aunt and uncle, and decided to forgo the BART train for the alameda ferry. it's a quick little trip across the bay, and absolutely gorgeous. it's cheap, easy, and super fast. so, naturally. since i was in the middle of the bay, i had to take a bunch of pictures of the shoreline/city. i might have taken a bit too many, but hey. they're pretty and fun to take.

this area really is stunning, so i hope you enjoy all the crazy/random photos.
makes me proud to be a bay area baby.

the poetry room.

one of my favorite places to go in the city {san francisco} is city lights books. it's an independent bookstore that consists of three stories of eclectic, sometimes downright crazy bits and pieces of the written word. located on columbus avenue in the heart of north beach, you'll be able to grab a yummy cannoli down the street in a hidden italian pastry shop and browse hundreds of books in a creaky, extremely satisfying store.

i first visited when i was eighteen, as my feet will show you.
you can tell by the converse {which i still own/love} that i had just recently graduated high school. this past visit, i thought it was about time to change up the photo. i'm sure you can tell i've changed a bit.

i'll always love this little piece of north beach literary heaven. my eighteen-year-old self, as well as my twenty-year-self, tells you to GO. and take a picture with my favorite poetry room sign. it makes for a neat picture, if i do say so myself ;)