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Happiness In The Details

 Sweater: Target
Jeans: Thrifted + Upcycled 
Jacket: Forever 21 (old)
Purse: Coach (thrifted)
Shoes: Target
Hat: c/o Gamiss
Earrings: c/o Happiness Boutique 

Something about fall has me trying out new styles and this look is definitely one of them! While this look is quite new for me, it's something that I have loved seeing on others, specifically on Olivia who always rocks Beret's with cutoff jeans and simple gold hoop earrings. I decided to try my hand at styling something modernly 70's after receiving these perfect gold dangle hoop earrings from Happiness Boutique and I can't get over how much I love this combo.

Happiness Boutique was created to be "inspiration for positive and authentic women; a place to make women not only look good, but also feel good," and through this they created a business where women could be happy and spread happiness! When they reached out to me I was curious to see their jewelry and the different styles they offered and I absolutely fell in love with everything I saw. The styles of Happiness Boutique blend timeless classics with a charming vintage touch and I love everything about them:)

I often forget about the small details of earrings when it comes to outfits and I know this look wouldn't be complete without these dangle hoop earrings that pulled everything together. You know the phrase that goes something along the lines of "its the little things in life....."? Well I think it is the little details in every outfit that add a pop of excitement and happiness to any ensemble. For me, the happy detail in this look is the earrings and I can't get enough of them! With all the details of this look it's quite french meets modern, meets 1970's artist and I'm obsessed :)

With happiness as their mission, Happiness Boutique is offering 10% off to all my readers with the code minniemuseblog, so I hope you go and find a pair of earrings that makes you just as happy as these make me. Also, stay tuned for another post coming soon, featuring my second favorite pair of earrings from this lovely brand!


My 20 Tips for college success

  1. Be PREPARED but be FLEXIBLE: As much as I would like it to be, life isn't perfect, and as much as I frugaly plan things ahead of time they don't always go according to plan. Being prepared and planning ahead helps me not to be stressed or get anxious, but I also realize that things don't always go according to plan so I have to be flexible when things dont work out or go my way. 
  2. Your Planner is your best friend: Visualizing my daily schedule helps me stay on track and writing out my class schedule and events in my planner help me make mental notes and see what all is happening in my life. With everything you are cramming into your mind in college you barely have room to keep a mental schedule. 
  3. Don't study past 10:00 pm: I think I am the only one who feels this way, but after 9:00pm my mind usually shuts down and no matter what I do I won't be able to focus, study or remember things. I would always try to get my work or studying done earliar in the day, and with this approach I was able to go to be earlier or could spend my evening relaxing or reading a book. 
  4. Manage your time wisely: This goes back to making sure you know what is happening every day and planning extra activities around it. I knew so many people who would immediately agree to hang out with friends or go somewhere forgetting they had to study for a test, or thinking it wouldn't take that long. Studying should be first priority and taking extra time with friends or for outings should be second.....it's already in my nature and personality to say No when I have work to do, but there were times that I had to make a bigger effort. 
  5. Take a break: This is VITAL to your sanity! If you are in the midst of a major study session and feeling totally overwhelmed take a break! This can be as simple as getting up to make a cup of coffee or listen to music, but it's even better to get up and go on a walk, jump up and down, do some yoga, or whatever else will help you refocus and relieve stress.  
  6. Set an alarm and wake up every morning: I knew to many people who would sleep their life away at college. Okay, so yes, college is tiring and yes there will be some late nights, but if you manage your time you should be getting a decent amount of sleep, and I hate waking up late because I feel like I have lost so much of my day. Therefore, the best way to start your day off right is to actually set an alarm for a decent time (no later than 8:30) and faithfully wake up every day. This starts your morning off productive. 
  7. Find what makes you confident and LIVE IT: College is a world full of stress, pressures, and overwhelming lifestyles, so in the midst of the craziness you still need the ability to feel confident. For me, my confidance came through my style, because my style is self expression of my personality. Maybe yours is something different? Whatever it is, find what make you confident and faithfully live it every day! 
  8. Don't let yourself become someone else: I saw to many people change in college. I saw people become different people to fit into a certain friend group, I saw girls compromise their values and beliefs to make it into a group or organization, and I saw people easily let go of living their faith because it wasn't considered cool. 
  9. Find a friend who supports you: Having someone who is there for you, who understands you and supports you is what will help you succeed and get through the hard times. I don't know what I would have done without my college roommate, because we both helped each other when times got tough. 
  10. Get connected: I think this was the hardest part for me in college, but once I got connected with my staff team through being an RA and also joining an amazing small group college definitely felt different. I am definitely not someone who needs a place to belong, but it was great having people around you who understood what you were dealing with and who could support you. The best thing I ever did was start attending Chi Alpha which was a weekly worship night/Bible study that definitely helped me connect with God and other believers more. 
  11. Pick a night each week to have fun: As an introvert I loved staying in my room with a pint of icecream and a good movie, but most nights you are busy studying so make sure to set aside one night each week to have fun. When I say have fun I don't mean go crazy (that was everyone else in my house and on campus) but I mean this in saying that when everyone else goes out dancing or goes to the bar on Thursday nights you stay in and have your own party, invite a friend over for a movie, paint your nails, do a craft, etc.....you need to take personal time for yourself! 
  12. Have something to look forward to every day: for me this was a project, getting done with a test, making a bulletin board, creating door decks, or even just brewing a cup of coffee. 
  13. Set reminders on your phones: YOU WILL THANK ME LATER!!!
  14. Leave extra early for class: It might seem ridiculous, but trust me, if you leave early for class and then get there only to realize you forgot your calculator for the chemistry test you will still have plenty of time to run back to your room and won't be nearly as stressed as you would if you had left five minutes before class:) TRUST ME! 
  15. Always bring a book with you: This is what I call my "Rory Gilmore moment" because she always brought a book with her everywhere and I loved that! In college I would always carry a book with me and read a few chapters as I was waiting for class to start. 
  16. Set a weekly schedule: When I say set a schedule I mean know when your classes are and plan your life around them accordingly. My college bestie and I had a set schedule every week of always meeting on certain days for lunch, going to yoga on Tuesday nights, and attending Bible study on Thursdays.
  17. Find your stress relief....yoga, running, reading, drinking tea, etc. 
  18. Your room is your home, so make it homy! I had banners, an entire gallery wall, Christmas lights, rugs, flowers, you name it in my room and people always commented on how cute and cozy it was! That was my whole purpose in decorating it how I did, was to make it cheery and inviting since I spent so much time there:) 
  19. Never say no to opportunities & believe in yourself! .....because you never know if the person you meet ends up being your best friend, or the job you apply for ends up being the best thing that happened to you or that you are able to accomplish more than you ever thought you would! 
  20. Coffee is your best friend (at least for me and 95% of all other college students)

- Madison 

My favorite NY fashion bloggers

I think my favorite part of the blogging world is all the amazing people you come across! I remember when I first discovered blogging and quickly fell in love with the unique styles of so many bloggers and through them came to know more delightful souls that inspired me daily. One of the best parts about following other bloggers is learning about their lives, seeing their cities, and noticing how they are all so unique and different in their personal style, but how they each have something I LOVE!

The Decision That Changed My College Experience Forever

Shirt: c/o Four:Eight Shop
Skirt: The Skirtery 

Everyone goes into college with ideas of what it will be like. Sometimes those ideas are lofty and far reaching into great achievements, new friend groups, on campus organizations, and a boat load of fun. However, I was never one of those typical college bound girls....my ideas of what college would be like consisted of classes, studies, projects, surviving without my family, traveling home on the weekend, the uncertainty of new friends, and no real desire to get connected with on campus happenings or Thursday night shenanigans. Nevertheless, college proved to be so much more than I had imagines. Not so much in the way of it being to much to handle, but rather that God had another plan of what he wanted me to accomplish in an unfamiliar place and boy is he the craziest!

If you have been around here for awhile you probably can recall me mentioning that I was an RA (Resident Advisor) while at college. I got the job half way into my second semester and kept it up until my last semester of college (this fall) when I moved home for my student teaching. However, while that might not seem like that big of a deal to you, it was a HUGE deal to me because I never could have foreseen getting a job on campus, and much less being in charge of students who lived on campus.....the whole timeline and occurrence was truly ordained and destines by God to grow me in more ways than I could have known and put me in the midst of the biggest opportunity for witness I had ever experienced!

I still remember the day I received the email which said "We are pleased to offer you a Resident Advisor position beginning immediately!" And while getting the job wasn't all that much of a shock it was the process that was CRAZY! You see I randomly decided that I should apply for an RA position on campus (I think I just took a leap of faith and didn't even know what I was doing) which meant submitting an application and going through two rounds of interviews which included a panel interview with 3 people and a group interview for half a day (that in itself was not a typical Madison thing to do...talking to people I didn't know.....WHAT!). If that didn't push me out of my element enough, the fact that I immediately got one of the vacant mid semester openings a week later did.....oh, and did I mention that my RA placement was in a sorority house (insert wide eyed and shocked face emoji here)!

Here is the background on all of this:
1) I was (and still am) the person who didn't understand the need for sororities. I thought they were a waste of money, changed and conformed girls, sometimes put them in bad situations, and thought the idea of hand signs and chants was bit ridiculous. 
2) The RA positions I was interviewing for were for the next spring, but I was offered a position to start IMMEDIATELY which meant skipping all the training that new RA's typically go through to prepare them for the job and just being thrown into the midst of it! 

Now that you know a few facts, you can see how getting the job and then finding out where my job would be were all HUGE surprises and pure humor on God's part. So after completing my paperwork I started the job, which in itself had a lot of responsibilities, but responsibilities that nonetheless helped me grow:

RA Job Responsibilities:
1) Hold daily office hours.
2) Enforce the university rules and policies and make sure all resident follow them. If they fail to do so you are required to document and/or fine them based on the policies broken. 
3) Attend staff meeting ever week and all staff meetings once a month. 
4) Plan events with your staff team for all of the residents in your area. 
5) Complete rounds on your assigned night(s) with another RA. Rounds consist of walking through ever house in your area (our area had 8 houses....4 of them were sorority houses), both upstairs and downstairs. Rounds during your assigned shift were at 9:00pm and 12:00am. 
6) Respond to any calls on the duty phone while you were on call (this means 2:00 am phone calls about broken toilets).
7) While on call you must report any major policy violations (drugs or alcohol) or unsafe situations to the University Police, wait for them to arrive on scene, and stay close by to write a report. 
8) Handle roommate, suite mate, or resident complaints and disagreements. 
9) Complete safety and maintenance checks every month within your house. 
10) Hold floor meetings two times a semester for residents to go over policies and checkout procedures. 
11) Make fun and creative door decks with your residents name every month
12) Design and make a fun and creative bulletin board for your house every month. 
#11 & #12 were my personal favorite parts of being an RA :) 

Maybe you are still curious about how this decision changed my college experience forever? Here's the thing, getting the job as an RA put me in a place where I was daily outside of my comfort zone. I was no longer just the random college girl who lived two doors down, I was the RA of the house and knew all 25 girls who lived under my roof. I had to daily challenge myself to say hi to my resident, talk to my co-workers, and acknowledge the many faces I now knew.

Not only that, but I joined a staff team, surrounded by over 9 people that I didn't know, and for this introvert that was something I never had worked through before. I had to learn to work with new people, get to know them, plan events with them, back them up when they were on call, ask for help when need be, express my opinions, and at the same time be completely different than everyone else around me. I don't think I ever expected to know that many people at college, but after becoming an RA I not only knew people on my staff team, but I got to know other RA's who worked across campus.

I no longer walked to class seeing faces I didn't recognize or know, because I now actually knew people.....by name (I think my mom is still shocked by this). I knew my fellow staff members, my residents, and even my team members residents. I actually hung out with people other than my ONE friend at college because as an RA we would have "staff bonding" days, dinners, all staff events with all the RA's on campus, and random grocery store runs.

With all of that being said, I still today believe that this all happened for ONE reason! God ordained this to do something in me that I never would have allowed him to do otherwise. He ordained it to STRETCH my introvert self beyond my limits, instill the confidence in myself that I really could do hard things, gave me the courage and strength to talk to new people, the wisdom to deal with difficult and hard circumstances, and the boldness to share my faith. I think if anything he allowed me to become an RA to give be a platform to be a positive influence. He took me (Madison), this quiet and old fashioned, high value, strong moral girl and placed her in a Sorority house where I daily had contact with girls who lived much differently than me. He took me (Madison), this quiet and sometimes ridiculously nervous girl and placed me on a staff team of which there was only one person who shared my same faith (until another girl joined us two semesters in) and thus gave me the BIGGEST stage for witness......whether that witness was in sharing my faith with fellow staff members and my boss, praying with a resident, sharing my relationship views with the girls in my house, or even just living a different life in the choices I made and expressing my views on a few occasions. Through being an RA I learned BOLDNESS and I learned how different I was from the world and nearly every other college student on campus, but I also learned that as an Introvert I could still thrive in an environment filled with people.

If my decision to become an RA taught me anything, it taught me about the REAL MADISON. It showed me the courage, strength, and boldness I possessed that I didn't even know I had. It showed me that God can do the unimaginable in your life and grow you exponentially more than you could have ever foreseen. It showed me that by being yourself, people respect that as being a unique part of who you are and that being yourself is the best thing you can ever offer the world (or college for that matter)!

Sure, I was exposed to more "college life" than I had originally expected by becoming an RA (I will forever be able to bust people for smoking marijuana....yes, you read that right), but I also got to do a lot of cool stuff and use my creative skills as part of my job. And sure, there were times that I didn't make the most of the opportunities that I had, but in the midst of it all I know that the opportunities I did take were defining moments in my life that forever changed me and changed my college experience. I could seriously write an entire book on this topic (as you can tell from this long post) but I will end it here, because through it all God taught me to see the open doors of opportunity around me, muster the courage to walk through them, and trust that he would keep them open for more of his crazy plans.

I always believed God has had CRAZY plans for my life and college was just many of those plans rolled up into one that reminded me that when I think I have control over the future, it is never really me, but God who succeeds!

- Madison

A Day At The Corn Maze

Overalls: Forever 21
Sweater: Thrifted
Cardigan: c/o Tobi
Neck Scarf: Vintage
Boots: Thrifted
Socks: Kohls 
Lipstick: Revlon Color Stay Matte

Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner!!! Its CAZY, and what is even crazier is that my birthday is in less than a week!!! This fall has definitely been one of my favorites since being in college, specifically because I have been able to do a lot of things I wasn't able to when I was living on campus. Remember the Fall Bucket List I created, well I have been working my way through it and it has been so much fun! Sadly, Texas once again can't make its mind up about the weather, we have had both record breaking cold weather for October and at the same time record breaking warm weather for November, talk about a bipolar atmosphere. However, even with the lacking crisp air and fall scented breezes I have still been able to enjoy this autumnal season and have gone on many fun outings.

On this particular day, I was finally able to go to my church's corn maze! While the corn wasn't as lush as I am used to seeing in the country, it was still fun to wander through it with one of my good friends. Like pumpkins, corn is another one of those basic fall attributes for which it is known, so spending an evening wandering through the corn maze was such fun:) Afterwards we headed back home to check two more things off of my bucket list: pumpkin carving and roasting pumpkin seeds!

For my evening at the corn maze I decided to go back to my country rooms with a hint of 1940's Land Girl vibes and put together this fun look. I have always loved these overalls, so I decided to pair them with a dark forest green sweater, my favorite fall neck scarf, a jumbo rust colored cardigan, lace up ankle boots, and a pop or red lipstick.......it definitely turned out to be the perfect outfit for exploring a corn maze and carving pumpkins. 

What has been your favorite thing this fall?


Dear Younger Me,

Dear Younger Me,
            You have NO CLUE the crazy path and journey life is about to take you on, so hold tight and get ready for the unimaginable, the unexpected and the sheer hilarity of God's plan for your life! So you just graduated high school, closing one chapter of your life and turning the page to another with untold stories waiting to be explored. So much has already happened in your life and yet so much hasn't happened.....you have no absolutely no clue what the future ahead hold, but just know without God the future is going to be impossible.
             You have dealt with you fare share of trials and test of faith, but nothing thus far can measure up to the journey and utter tests of faith that God will give you in the next four years. College is a whole other world, so remember when you had your own views of what it would be like (based on books and movies, etc.) its about 85% accurate. Sure, you already have the college work load conquered for the most part since you have been taking college classes for the last two years, but juggling a full college load, being away from your family, having no connections and being in a new place is probably something you haven't quite wrapped your head around yet, but just remember "paperclip promises" and trust that God will be with you every step of the way, and you will learn to rely upon him more than you ever have thus far.
              Throughout the next few years you will learn what it means to take sheer leaps of faith....blindly leaping into the unknown, the only thing that keeping you from completely freaking out is the knowledge that God will not let you fall, and with that you will learn that when you take leaps of faith you really can fly! You will learn that nothing happens by accident, because God really does place people in your path for a reason, whether it is to share your faith with them, be a positive influence, or simply be the friend they need (and they become the friend you need also). No neighbor, roommate, coworker, random college students, Bible study member, or professor comes into your life by accident.....they were all ordained centuries ago by God to be there and you were placed on this path in life for such a time as this!
               Attending a college void of any common acquaintances or friends is a leap of faith in itself, but you know that, so just know that God took that into consideration and placed a new bossum friend two doors down the hall from you and both of you will help the other survive college:) However, even with a dear friend to rely upon, at times you will feel alone. Maybe even the most alone you have ever felt in your life, but just know that when you feel alone God shows up and is fully present in your life.....so much so that even though you are alone (and might go an entire week without any real conversations with people) you will always have God to talk to and he will fill you with strength, comfort, and restoration to rely and grow in him for that season.
               Remember when you think that you will never really get to know that many people at college, well think again! Because God will not only place a dear close friend in your life but you will spontaneously apply for a job on campus to be a Resident Advisor, get the job immediately, and join a staff team of strangers who in a few short months turn out to be amazing people you never expected or would have met if you hadn't taken a risk. In that group of coworkers you will meet your small group leader, be invited to a Bible study that helps you grow in God, share your faith, impart different views of life to people from a variety of backgrounds, be a positive influence in the lives of others, talk about God with your boss, give someone a Bible, pray with a resident, be the first to welcome a new member of your staff team with a smiling face, shock people by doing things they didn't expect, and all the while stay true to who you are
               Throughout this journey called "college" you will develop and find yourself....you will find the "true Madison" the girl who can easily laugh and make fun of herself because she knows in here small corner of the world there are not many (if any) girls like her and she is okay with that! You will discover that your differences and "oddities" make you who you are and you will accept that the Madison you see in the mirror every day is exactly the person she was meant to be...with all of her differences, quirks, odd laughs, old soul, party of one, and so much more!
                In some cases, while college might seem every bit as it should, or every bit not what you imagined, in some instances it could let you down. Sure, you aren't going to college to find a new group of friends or get super involved on campus, and while you did meet a number of people you never would have imagined you would meet, you still won't meet "the one" (or at least so far as I know none of the gentlemen you ran across in college have arisen as part of God's plan for your future). Okay, okay, so I know you are not going to college because you are desperate for a boyfriend or husband, but I know you :) and I know that deep within your mind you have thought that "maybe, just maybe I might meet someone at college?" But just know that probably won't happen. Sure, you will come across your fare share of handsome faces, dapper styles, and inspirational + sold out Jesus followers, but none of them will be anything more than that. You will learn that your future (by this I mean a guy) is really in God's hands and you will learn to let go of doubt and thoughts of missed opportunities knowing that the right opportunity hasn't yet presented itself.....but if anything you have simply added more things to your LONG list and know that the future wives of those amazing guys are very lucky:)
                With all this being said, I will close by saying that you will become a dedicated and studious student who tries her best in every class, and because of that your professors will take notice. You will be praised for your dedication, even though you never did it to gain praise or attention. Your professors will see your bright future and because of their strong belief in you, you will be even more determined to do great things.
               The future that awaits you is crazy! If you were to watch the movie trailer to the next few years I'm sure you would be left speechless, laughing, and not believing that you (Madison) would be able to do half the things that you will do.......and that's just it! Your future will be a testament to God's faithfulness and plan for your life and your faith in him will be what sustains you, what carries you through hard time, what comforts you when you feel alone, what allows you to persevere through a test, what gives you the courage to be BOLD and share your faith, to be different than everyone around you, and to daily take leaps of faith into unknown waters knowing God will give you the ability to walk on the waters of a world you never saw yourself succeeding and growing so much in!
             Younger me, you future awaits and with it a sea of endless possibilities and opportunities that will leave you speechless, chuckling, and smiling up at God!!!

Older Me
Madison M.

Friend Fashion: Preppy in Plaid

Shirt: Talbot's (from Nordstrom)
Vest: Talbot's (from Nordstrom)
Shoes: Payless

Meet Elizabeth (but I call her Libby), "Thing 1" of my bestie duo. If you asked us how we became friends we probably couldn't tell you. One day we were just members of the same Square Dance club, and the next we were best friends (more like sisters), so I guess things that are meant to be just happen! We are the same in so many ways (like chocolate, chick flicks, makeup, and doing nothing together) but opposites in every way when it comes to our personality, however, I think that is what makes us such great friends and fun fact....we are taking a trip to NY in January together!
I don't always get to feature my friends on the blog because usually I take most of my own pictures, but this fall Libby has been such a sport and has accompanied me on a couple of my fall outings and humored me when I asked her to take my pictures :) It helps that she is nearly, just as obsessed with fall as me. Of course I had to return the favor and snap some pictures of her fabulous looks also:) 
With that being said, and because I absolutely LOVE this look of hers, I thought it would be fun to share something a bit more "preppy" which is her specialty! Her look for our trip to the corn maze was absolutely so perfect for fall (even though I might have even texted her before to say we should dress like fall...lol), because what other print is more perfect for this season than plaid! Double plaid at that is an even better pairing and I don't think anyone but Libby could pull it off this well:) You can see how she styled the top and vest with a wool skirt in this post from last fall and it looks just as great!
If you are looking for a styling tip when it comes to prints, always go for pairing similar prints with slight variations: large plaid on small plaid, wide stripes with small stripes, jumbo check with small gingham, etc.

Are you a fan of preppy plaid?