I’m trying something new on Belle Meets World. I’m going to write more often on a broader set of topics. Some of these posts will likely be shorter and take less time for me to write – which is a good thing since I pour a little too much into every post and therefore don’t get to write as often as I’d like. The idea is to exercise my writing muscle, but more importantly, to learn more about what my readers want to read about. I just don’t feel like I’m hitting the mark and growing my audience (are my posts too long? boring? vague? distant? fake?). That said, I truly appreciate each and every one of my current readers and at the very least, you’ll get to know even more about me than before, more often. Some of this will be surface-level fun stuff, and some will be deeper personal stuff. I’ll start with a topic that’s been top of mind since arriving in Atlanta – how it feels to move ‘back home.’

Atlanta isn’t where I grew up, but Georgia is – Athens to be exact, a little over an hour away from ATL. When I got the chance to leave the peach state for college, I jumped at it. High school left a traumatically bad taste in my mouth, and I wanted OUT. Off I went to Barnard in New York City, vowing haughtily never to return – what could Georgia possibly have to offer me ever again?! Well, I was wrong.

In November, we gave up our apartment in Chicago and travelled for six months to Charleston and Mexico (odd combination!). When we landed back in the states, the logical place was Georgia since our flights arrived here, we’d left some of our stuff here, and my family had a place for us to stay here while we got our bearings. For a brief moment, I flirted with a few job opportunities in New York, none of which felt quite right for where I’d like to take my career and my personal life. As we faced the question of whether to return to Chicago or to find somewhere new, we ended up liking Atlanta so much that we instead asked ourselves, why not stay? So we did! And I’m so glad we’ve made the choice.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, moving ‘back home’ signaled defeat or failure in some way – as if I couldn’t make it out there in the world so I came running back to a safety net. Again, wrong. Atlanta has changed a lot and is really booming with a youthful and up-and-coming energy that I can’t wait to immerse myself in. The weather is much more favorable to us than those Chicago winters, and the pace is slower. On the surface, those are some easy wins to brag about. But more importantly, I’m near my family. I spend time with my sister almost everyday – she’s the one who has been shooting a lot of my recent photos. I’ve seen my parents more in the last three months than I have in the last three years combined – an activity I’ve come to truly appreciate and cherish now that I’ve gotten over my bratty teenager-ness (which lasted way longer than it should’ve). I’m also reconnecting with some old friends which is really comforting – there’s something about being around someone who’s known you since before you became who you are today; they somehow get you in a way that a stranger you’ve just met won’t. And finally, Evan and I are getting to know a new city and building a new life together, which is an adventure we haven’t tried yet.

So is it defeat? Hell no. Is it exciting? Hell yes. I can’t wait to find our various communities here, to slow down a bit, to spend more weekends in Athens hanging with Mom and Dad, to meet my sis for coffee whenever I’d like, to get dressed up in southern-inspired style, to find a new job, new friends, new restaurants, and on and on and on. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’s been rather lonely at times. But, if I can move to New York City alone at 18 and find my way in the world until now, I can certainly conquer moving ‘back home’ at age 33. Bring it, Atlanta!

And of course let’s talk about the outfit! I picked up this cute little number through my Rent the Runway unlimited subscription and have worn it all over town at least 3 times. I like that it covers my arms with the little caplet and drapes over my hips with the slightly flared skirt. These are my two insecure problem areas, so this was a great dress to mask them. I paired it with a black belt to add some definition around my waist and then grabbed the black shoes, necklace and sunglasses to tie it all together. This necklace brings great memories back to me – Evan bought it for me from a woman we met in Guanajuato named Paola who had been traveling for seven years! She made the necklace and matching earrings herself, and the big stone in the middle is some sort of fossil. I just love it, and it reminds me of the wonderful trip we took there which I hope to write about soon!

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Dress by Slate & Willow (via Rent the Runway Unlimited) // Shoes via DSW // Necklace purchased in Mexico // Sunglasses by Silvano Apparel (c/o) // Handbag by Zac Posen (via Rent the Runway Unlimited) // Lipgloss by PLA Beauty (c/o)