unsolicited thoughts & advice part 2

thoughts and advice part 2

It’s that time of year when I start getting busy with styling for weddings and proms and it’s inevitable that I’m going to be asked: why don’t you work as a stylist full time?

you can read my story and advice on becoming a stylist here but here’s the condensed version: I don’t like being put in a box.

It’s pretty safe to say that the Hamilton clan is a mixed bunch of creatives. I like to say that we’re fantastic at very few things, but pretty great at a lot of things. My dad has a degree in advertising, but he’s a fantastic artist and guitarist, and has the most eclectic taste in music that I’ve ever seen. My mom owns her own interior design company, but she’s also a painter, photographer, singer and owns more power tools than most men.

My sister Courtney has always been interested in fashion, but she’s also an amazing writer and artist in her own right. My brother travels with a praise and worship team playing bass, but he’s also a soccer player and writer himself, and my baby sister is probably the most wide spread of creators in the family, as a writer, artist, photographer, dancer, fashion enthusiast and lord only knows what else.

And then there’s me. I’m a writer. designer. web editor. event planner. dancer. photographer-in-training. fashion enthusiast. office supply addict. and yes, hair stylist. Roll it into one name and I like to call myself a Jill of All Trades. it’s one of the reasons Jared and I understand each other so well, since he fits right in with his own mix of titles: entrepreneur. freaky good musician (seriously, he can play just about any instrument you put in front of him). carpenter. designer. beard grower ;)

All this rambling basically stems from two things: my brother is trying to decide what major to declare in college, and my little sister is trying to decide what college to go to. And those are big decisions, they shape your future and who you want to become. It can be tough, at 16, 20, or even 50, to figure out who you want to be, what you want to do with your life.

I really struggled with that in college because I kept trying to put myself in a box and I let my weaknesses hold me back. I wanted to be a dancer, but I was intimidated by the competitiveness I saw so that was out.  I looked at a business degree, because I’d like to own my own business, but I haaaaate math so that was out. I love reading so I went with English but I didn’t want to teach or be told what to write, so that was out. I looked into a Psychology degree but that seemed to leave zero room for creativity, so that was out.

I looked at so many different jobs and nothing seemed to fit. But I’d always loved hair and I was good at it, so I went to hair school and I thought, “YES ok. Here we go. This is my niche”. But then that didn’t work out exactly as I planned either.

Looking back, I realize that I was trying to fit myself into these different titles when it really boiled down to the fact that they simply didn’t fit me, not that I didn’t fit them.  our society will try to file you away, tag you under some group and tell you that that’s where you need to go because a,b,and c all line up with this certain task. But it doesn’t work that way. People are multifaceted, multi-talented, forever changing and growing and learning. Did I ever see myself working in Ministry? heck no. But I do now. I am blessed to have a job that allows creativity, that doesn’t try to fit me into a mold, that’s perfectly fine with my extensive filing system that’s all coded with hot pink sharpie.

Am I saying  you shouldn’t go to college? absolutely not, I did and while I can’t say I found my Life Calling there, I did find some very dear friends and the love of my life there. And I got the chance to explore, figure out what I liked and what I didn’t. My college experience is  not the typical one, but it was still beneficial and I would tell everyone to at least try it out. But don’t forget your quirks, don’t forget your facets. Put yourself into your career, don’t let your career make you.

I don’t think I’m done, nor will I ever really be done, figuring out “who I am” and what I want to do. It changes as you grow. And yes it can be scary at times. One of my favorite verses, which can seem kind of cheesy and almost every high school senior will quote this as their favorite verse as well, but that doesn’t change it’s power: “for I KNOW the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to help you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

We each have a purpose, a destiny, a calling. Whether that’s to be a parent, a teacher, the president, or just to have a regular 9-5 so you can go home and do what you love in your spare time, it doesn’t matter. YOU will feel fulfilled in your life because it was designed specifically FOR YOU. Make your own path. Create a new job. Forge a new way.

And if you’re trying to pick a college, or pick a degree? HA good luck. I really don’t have any advice, other than think about the things you enjoy and don’t let the things you aren’t the strongest in, or the things that intimidate you, stop you from taking chances.

OH and go to one of the schools that offers Quidditch as a sport, that is freaking awesome. *nerd alert*





A Very Cali Christmas Pt 3

I’m just now getting around to posting the last of our pics from our Christmas in Cali. Whoops! But give me a break, I did take about a bajillion photos. See Parts 1 and 2 here and here!

::Christmas morning::

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^our sweet gammy & poppy flew out and spend a few days with us in SLO!

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^ my name is Inigo Montoya. you killed my father. prepare to die. IMG_7494

^ nope i’m not spoiled in the slightest. drinking water out of a teacup. bless.IMG_7501 IMG_7508 IMG_7552 IMG_7558 IMG_7622 IMG_7568 IMG_7593 IMG_7597 IMG_7610 IMG_7612 IMG_7632 IMG_7584 IMG_7639 IMG_7641 IMG_7642

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::Hearst Ranch & Winery and Sebastian’s Country Store::

One of our last days in CA we spent at Sebastian’s, this cute little lunch place with yummy burgers and a view of Hearst Castle. Definitely worth the wait!

IMG_7663 IMG_7671 IMG_7675 IMG_7685 IMG_7697 IMG_7705 IMG_7708 IMG_7713 IMG_7720 IMG_7723 IMG_7725 IMG_7731Looking through all of these photos makes me miss my sister and her sweet family even more! I think I need another CA trip very soon indeed.

a very cali christmas part 2

Cali part deux! Goodness I took enough pictures to fill a museum. Oh well. Onward!


^ picnic at a winery! the view was amazing

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^one night (my days are all running together) we met up with some of Drew’s family and went to Cambria to their Christmas village. So cute!

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^hiking and the beach, all right next to each other. it was definitely different from OK!

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more to come! ya that’s right, i said more. we haven’t even gotten to christmas yet!


sistersI moved back in with my parents in August of 2012 and since doing so, there have been moments of pure insanity and moments that stopped me in my tracks, squeezed  my heart, clogged my throat and made me wonder…just where exactly would I be if I hadn’t moved home? Literally and figuratively. This time has been a mix of irritating and hysterical and wonderful and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. thanks mom and daddy for letting me be that annoying adult child that leached off of their parents for a year and a half.

My relationship with my baby sister has been one of those hysterical/wonderful aspects of the move. My brother and I are five years apart so my memories of him as a baby are more toddler age memories, when I walked into his room and he was jumping on his bed in 4 layers of socks and 3 sweatshirts and a stack of hats balanced precariously on his humongous head. He’s 19 now, lives in the dorms and has become terrifyingly responsible for an entire floor of guys so our relationship has become more of the texting variety during this crazy busy time of his life.

Garrison and I will always have a special bond, being the two middles of the family and sharing a propensity to live in utter squalor, but Karianne and I are a different story. I’m nine years older than her. I have memories of changing her diapers and rocking her to sleep, singing God Bless America because I couldn’t think of anything else to sing. I’ve always had this inclination to mother her, to protect her, and I think she’s always felt that she could come to me, tell me things, and that I would listen.

But this past year or so has changed that relationship. She’s my friend, one of my best friends, just like our older sister Courtney is our friend. The three of us group text all day long and I know for a fact that there doesn’t exist another person in this world who can make me laugh as hard as those two do when they get going with emojee texts.

Karianne and I are getting close to the same size in tops and dresses and consequently, my closet has begun to service two girls on an almost daily basis. Courtney used to hate when I borrowed (alright, stole) her clothes but I have to admit, it tickles me to no end when Karianne borrows my clothes. She has frequently put together a completely new outfit that I would have never thought of. I love when she comes home in an outfit of mine and tells me how many of her friends said she looked cute. Is it pathetic that I find joy in the approval of a bunch of 16 year old girls? Think what you want, but these girls are MUCH more stylish than I was at 16 so I will take their approval any day.

Your life will never turn out exactly how you thought it would. But those twists and turns will reveal moments and opportunities that will become the sweetest memories of your life. I wouldn’t trade the months that I’ve had with Karianne for anything. I might have lost my house but I found a best friend. And that is far more precious to me.


crown braids and elf costumes

IMG_6721I wore this to a Christmas party the other night and my mom told me I looked like the chick from Elf. Since that chick is Zooey Deschanel and she is adorable, I will take any and all ZD lookalike comments forever and ever, amen.



I also finally figured out how to do crown braids, inspired from this photo,  and it’s now become my go to hair style since deciding to grow out my fringe. I knew I’d regret chopping those little hairs after about, oh, a month, but ah well ce la vie. They are now at that strange, i-dont-know-where-to-live stage and consequently I’ve been wearing lots of hats. Or crown braids.



This week has been very strange weather for December; 60′s and nary a chilly wind in sight! I have to say, I am far from disgruntled by the current state of affairs. A blessed break from the Snow Apocalypse is fine by me. Especially since it’s like getting me ready for our trip coming up. Christmas in California! I’m so excited to see my sister and brother in law and spend some time in their sweet little town. The 21 hour drive to get there with 5 people and a dog in one car? Tylenol PM you are calling my name.


IMG_6727 IMG_6749 Target top, tights, and boots (old)// Forever 21 necklace// ASOS dress

Christmas Miracles

IMG_5079poppy with the youngest of the 14 grandkids 

This past week was a week of terribly low lows and amazingly high highs, so I apologize for the lack of posts. Blogging was pretty far down the list of things I was thinking about!

A week and a half ago my grandpa was placed in a medically induced coma, leaving us with very little knowledge of what was going on and a very real fear that we might lose him.

Like my mom said, you never really expect to be the family that has to deal with Christmas tragedies. Of course, no one really expects it, but when it happens to you it’s like an out of body experience. Especially when it’s your grandpa, who’s probably the healthiest man in his 70′s that I have ever met.

But I live in a world of faith. I’m a part of a family that believes in prayer and miracles, and I have experienced the very real power of a peace that passes all understanding.

So when nurses are saying that there is no sign of response, when doctors are testing for brain damage, when it seems like there is no hope, there is always hope.

During this time of fear and confusion I kept feeling like everything would be ok. I didn’t know how and I didn’t know why but I just kept saying, “everything is going to be ok. I just know it.” My brain would argue with what my heart was telling me but when I started to feel scared I would pause and think to myself : you are not alone. Christ is with you, He’s with Poppy, and He is in control. It’s not always easy to have faith but the reward is oh so worth it.

After almost a week of little response my Poppy woke up. Miraculously. No brain damage, no signs of trauma at all. He’s still in the hospital and they’re still working on figuring out what exactly happened, but he’s alive, smiling and joking and befriending every single person that walks into his room, just like he always does. And three days later I still can’t think about this without grateful tears welling up in my eyes.

You can’t go through a year like my family has without becoming stronger, closer, better. But we couldn’t have made it at all without our Heavenly Father. You will never be able to convince any of us that Christ wasn’t in control, that a miracle didn’t take place this Christmas. And that faith has a lot to do with a man named Elmer Edward Dalton, not just for his recovery, but because of his life. For his constant reminder of God’s love and his faithfulness through his own actions, every day.

I’m so grateful for a family of faith, who brought me up to believe, who gave me the opportunity to give my life to Christ and know that faith myself, so that I would never be alone, never be without hope.

I’m so glad you’re feeling better Poppy. I’m so glad you’re here. I love you. 

Aloha sweet Geordie

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My childhood memories almost all involve a sibling and/or a cousin or two. Specifically my big sister Courtney (left in the lovely picture above) and our cousin Geordan (the dashing cowboy on my right. He had a Cowboys and Indians themed birthday party. Unless I’m getting confused and this was 4th of July and we just decided to dress up as cowboys, which would explain the flag I’m holding. If this was Geordie’s birthday I have no clue why I was so patriotic. Either way, Cowboys was a frequent game we played.)

I can’t even begin to imagine what my childhood would have been like without these two. Probably less tearful. I was forever being picked on when our grandparents would take us on road trips to Branson or Six Flags. Fifteen minutes into the trip and I’m crying in the backseat while Gammy yells from the front, “Alright that is IT we’re turning this car around and ya’ll aren’t getting one BIT of your spending money if you don’t quit picking on Kaka!” Somehow by the time we came back home Geordie would have bought the entire candy section of Cracker Barrel and have already broken at least one of his toys, while Courtney would be the proud owner of a new stuffed animal yet somehow still come home with more money then she left with (I still don’t know how she did that).

If Six Flags was our destination you could bet that Court and Geordie would spend a majority of their time running the gamut of persuasion tactics, trying to get me to ride ANY of the roller coasters. I’m not a fan of heights or jostling and I knew that no matter how many promises they made me, I would end up riding the ride by myself while they sat together and laughed hysterically (maniacally) at my screams. Eventually one of two things would happen: I’d give in if my Poppy would ride the ride next to me so I didn’t have to sit alone, or I’d convince Court and Geordie to ride the kiddie swings with me in exchange for one terrifying ride on the Texas Giant.

But no matter what crazy rides I’d sit and watch Court and Geordie ride, or how many hours it took before I finally gave in to their bullying, all three of us were in agreement on one thing: we HAD to ride the log ride and Gammy and Poppy HAD to ride it with us. Gammy would sigh and pretend to protest but we all knew she had her hotel shower cap in her purse, ready to place over her perfectly coiffed hair right before the big splash at the end so her hair wouldn’t get ruined by the wet. Geordie would sit in the front because he wanted to get the most wet, followed by Courtney because….well just because it was Courtney and she wasn’t about to go behind me. Then I’d sit behind Court with Gammy shouting about the water jets getting her wet right behind me and sweet Poppy bringing up the rear, yelling at Geordan to, “sit DOWN Geordan Scott you can NOT get out of this ride while we are moving!”


Last night I said goodbye to my now grown up cousin Geordie as he follows God’s calling on his life and moves to Hawaii. At this point it is unclear whether this will be a short term move or whether it will become something more permanent, but what is clear is that Geordie has become one of the most driven, passionate, heartfelt men I have ever had the privilege of calling mine. And he is mine; my cousin, almost more like my brother, and my friend. He is incredibly intelligent, ridiculously talented, utterly hilarious, and a modern day David; a man after God’s own heart. I am so fiercely proud of who he has become and who God is shaping him to be. But I’m also utterly heartbroken at losing him. We were like the Three Muskateers growing up, me, Courtney, and Geordie, and when Courtney moved away I felt like I was losing a part of myself but I still had Geordie. We’d joke around and take pictures at holidays with a space in between us for Courtney. At the last couple of family dinners, Courtney would fly back home to visit and it’d be us girls taking a picture with a space for Geordie in the middle, as he was off traveling to different countries, speaking on Christ’s love and leading others to know that love.

But now they have both moved away from our home, Courtney to California and now Geordie to Hawaii. And a part of me aches to be those little kids again sliding around in the back seat using walkie talkies to tell knock knock jokes to truck drivers. I’d probably even ride a couple of those death trap roller coasters, just so I could spend time with those two crazy kids again.

But life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes life calls us in different directions and we leave the ones we love to follow our dreams and the path that God has called us to. And it can hurt and it can be scary but it can also be amazing and an adventure and that’s what I pray for Geordie. That this move will be an adventure, one that brings him joy and enlightenment and memories like no other. That he will know Christ on a deeper level, that he will learn things about himself he never thought possible, and one day he will come home and visit with his two cousins and laugh about all the crazy things we did as kids and look back in wonder and thankful amazement at the unique lives God has given us each to live.

Aloha Geordan Scott. I miss you already. Thank God for skype.

Come Exploring with Me

Hello friends!

Well we are officially back from our quick trip to North Carolina and while I miss my sweet family I have to say I’m so glad to be out of that stinkin’ car! Here are a few thousand photos from a very rainy hiking day in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Mabry Mill is a beautiful tradition of my family’s, dating back to my great granpda and folks let me just tell you: those pancakes are totally worth the feeling that you’re on a roller coaster going up those old mountain roads!

FYI: my OK love tank is courtesy of Riff Raff, you can see their entire line here (currently sold out of the OK tank) and my shorts are from Target and the best purchase of the summer so far! buy here

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I’m doing a giveaway on Oh Sweet Joy this week! Enter here to win a Healthy Sexy Hair trio!


Random Facts: My Dr. Pepper Addiction is Genetic

If you know me, you know that I have a true and deep love for Dr. Pepper. I’m not one of those people who carry around a 4 liter or anything, and I don’t drink it every day, but whenever I have a craving it’s most likely going to be for Dr. Pepper. There’s nothing better than a can (no bottles ick) of cold DP poured over extra ice, crushed if possible, with a straw.

polka dot dressI’d say it was my mom who introduced me to my love for Dr. Pepper. We always joke around and say my mom gave us the addiction while in the womb, since she drank Dr. Pepper like it was goin out of style. She almost always has a Dr. Pepper in the house, and my dad knows to go get a fresh one if he’s been in the dog house lately. When my sister comes into town and we go shopping together, we eventually all need to take a break and get a DP to recuperate.

shoe dazzle wedgesBut our addiction goes back farther than just my mom, in fact it goes back to my great grandpa. Papa Rakes used to hide bottles of Dr. Pepper in his work shed out in Virginia. He’d pull those hot, flat bottles from the saw dust in his shed and drink them like they were the best thing he’d ever tasted. Of course he had to hide them in the sawdust, when you have 7 kids and 22 grand kids, drinks like Dr. Pepper don’t stay around for very long.The RamblerI think my great grandpa would be proud to know we carry on his DP addiction. Whenever I have kids, I’ll make sure and sit them down and tell them all the family Dr. Pepper stories. I’m sure I’ll be adding my own to the family hall of fame.

polkda dot denimshoe dazzle wedges

polkda dot dresswarby parker glasses//target dress (on sale for $13!)//Shoe Dazzle wedges




Christmas with The Rambler

This year Christmas was a little strange but still very sweet. My sister and brother in law stopped in OK on their way to Missouri for Christmas, and Mr. Darcy left right before Christmas to go to England, so we actually celebrated with a big family dinner last week. Christmas Day was spent with just my siblings and parents, watching Christmas movies, grilling steaks in the snowy backyard, and opening our stockings. A very quiet Christmas compared to the past couple of years, but sweet nonetheless. Here’s a few pictures from the past week.

Merry Christmas! xx