Outer Banks Season 2 Moments We’re Still Thinking About

Source: @obx

Just like what happened when the first season of Outer Banks was released, it seemed like everyone stopped what they were doing and settled in for an adventure with a marathon of season two (myself included). We were transported back not only to the Outer Banks but also to the Bahamas and a few places in between.

Season two did not disappoint—it was full of the familiar twists and turns, major cliffhangers, and Pogue chemistry we all know and love. And not to toot my own horn, but I do want to mention that I was right about some of my predictions (good and bad) for season two. 😉

So, after binge-watching the entire season in less than 48 hours, I am now left with so many thoughts, so many questions, an overwhelming desire to watch every single OBX TikTok and cast interview that I can find, and miscellaneous tropical button-ups in carts across the internet. And while I wish I could discuss these thoughts with John B. himself (Chase Stokes, hit me up if you’re reading this), unfortunately, I can not do that. So instead, I will share them with all of you.

Warning: there are MAJOR season two spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t watched yet, come back when you finish the season. It’s available now on Netflix.

Here are 42 (yes, 42) moments from OBX2 that I simply need to talk about:


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1. When JJ, Pope, and Kiara get a text from John B. and Sarah. Tell me why there were literally tears in my eyes as the crew ran out into the courtyard to celebrate their friends still being alive.

2. When John B. breaks into Paradise Island and gets *this close* to getting the gold back. Seems like he should’ve been able to guess Sarah’s birthday, right? And then he gets that close again when they come back with Terrence, Cleo, and their crew. I’m just wondering why they didn’t put a few gold bars in their pockets before being intercepted by the cops, ya know?

3. When Ward commits murder… again. The scene where Ward meets up with (and eventually kills) Gavin—the pilot who flew the gold to the Bahamas and also the only outside witness to Sheriff Peterkin’s murder—really set the mood for how horrible of a character Ward was going to be this season.

4. When Pope gets the entire murder on video, but then breaks the camera and makes the video unusable. Obviously, things can never be easy for the Pogues, but this one hurt.

5. When Kie screams “MURDERER” as they are trying to hide during the Ward-Gavin stakeout and Ward hears her. All I have to say is, why did she do that?

6. When Kie almost dies looking for the gun in the sewer drains. The STRESS during this scene! My anxiety was through the roof watching her gasp for air through the grate, but thankfully Pope and JJ saved the day.



7. When Sarah revealed she was hit by Rafe’s gun in the shootout. While Kie is almost dying in the Outer Banks, Sarah reveals that her life is in danger too, because she was shot by her own brother while they tried to steal back the gold. 

8. When Pope gets a mystery letter with the wheat symbol summoning him to Charleston. I thought that Pope was getting another shot as his scholarship, but when he flipped over the letter to reveal the wheat symbol in the wax seal, I was shook. Also, we find out JJ can’t read cursive, which made me giggle.

9. When Sarah literally DIED after the “doctor” performed surgery on her bullet wound. I was watching this scene with my mouth wide open, because there was just no way that Sarah Cameron died in the beginning of the season. Yet, her heart stopped. By the graces of John B.’s love for her (at least that’s what I think did it), she made a comeback, though. Phew.



10. When Rafe straight-up asks for help from his dad because he’s having such bad thoughts, but Ward just tells him to “man up.” Although Rafe is a terrible person, this scene really broke my heart. Rafe is clearly at a breaking point and will only continue to get worse, but his dad would rather look the other way to keep the image of their family intact than get him the help he needs. 

11. The conversation Kie had with her parents asking to go to Charleston. First of all, JJ was being really funny in this scene as they waited from the truck, but also Kie’s mom is kind of a badass? I know she is being pretty mean to Kie here, but it’s clear she just cares about her daughter. I just want to give major props to this actress, who really came out of the woodwork and stole this scene.

12. When John B. and Sarah get “married” on the boat after they decide to head home. Although this makeshift marriage was far from legal, it was a cute little moment for John B. and Sarah shippers everywhere. And now we know: no ring? A piece of a bandana will do just fine.

13. When Carla Limbrey reveals that she does in fact have evidence that could exonerate John B.—and then turns out to be crazy and tries to kidnap Pope. Hearing the recording of Gavin admitting that he knew it was Rafe that killed Sheriff Peterkin filled me with hope, but that went away quickly when I realized Carla would probably not be handing that over easily.


Source: Netflix


14. When the Pogues are finally reunited. The slow-motion scene of John B. and Sarah running into the rest of the Pogues in Charleston was arguably one of my favorite moments of the season. 

15. The party back at the chateau, and Pope and Kie’s hookup. One of the best parts of Outer Banks is watching the crew just hang out and be besties, and this celebration of them reuniting didn’t disappoint. Plus, Pope and Kie get their romantic moment in the form of a moonlit hookup.

16. When John B. surrenders and is arrested for murder. I know this needed to happen, but I was still shocked to see John B. in an orange jumpsuit. And frustrated that his name was not yet cleared.

17. When Pope finds the Tanney key in his great grandmother’s apartment. Carla Limbrey has been searching for this key for years, but Pope finds it during a quick search of his very own great-grandmother’s apartment. Very OBX of him.


Source: Netflix


18. JJ on a dirt bike, JJ with a toothpick, JJ at the county jail, JJ in general… What can I say? JJ carried this season.

19. When Ward pays a cop to try and have John B. killed in jail. I am still mad at this cop. Where did she even come from? Also, this was a new low for Ward. Fake your daughter’s boyfriend’s suicide so that she will come running back into your arms? I don’t think so.

20. When Sarah almost dies AGAIN, at the hands of Rafe—but Topper saves her life. This was shocking not because of Rafe trying to kill Sarah (been there, done that), but because Topper, of all people, saved her. I told you I was expecting some redemption from him! 

21. When the charges are dropped and John B. is released from jail. ABOUT. TIME. I was so excited to see John B. able to just live his life with his friends again. 

22. When Sarah refuses to tell Topper the truth about her relationship with John B. My heart broke on behalf of John B. during this conversation between the two of them and Topper. I get that Sarah didn’t want to hurt Topper’s feelings by telling him she was “married,” but WHAT ABOUT JOHN B.’S FEELINGS?

23. When Pope’s great-grandmother reveals the truth about their relation to Denmark Tanney. Pope is a descendant of the legendary sole survivor of the Royal Merchant. We love that for him!



24. When Barry sets up Rafe and turns him over to the police. I really didn’t expect Barry to be working with the cops, but I guess this just showed that literally, everyone in Rafe’s life could see how dangerous he was becoming.

25. When Ward admits what he’s done to the police, takes the blame for Rafe, and blows up the “My Druthers” boat while presumably being inside it. This is something that I definitely did not expect. Although Ward is undoubtedly a horrible person, watching Sarah see her dad die proved that in the end, he was still her dad and she still loved him. 

26. When Sarah breaks up with John B. Literally the one thing that I said I did not want to happen, happened. Ouch, Sarah Cameron.

27. When Pope gets Denmark Tanney’s diary and starts to figure out the mystery of the Cross of Santo Domingo. I just loved that the Pogues’ history teacher cared enough to pass on this diary to them. That was cute. Plus, this really allowed them to put all of the pieces together and find their next treasure.



28. The Kooks vs. Pogues brawl at the bonfire. Not gonna lie, this one hurt. Seeing John B. and Sarah on opposing sides of a fight really made me long for the days when Ward was alive (shocking, I know). 

29. When it’s revealed that Carla Limbrey really wants the cross for what’s inside—a “holy garment” she wants to use as a last-ditch effort to save her failing health. In a truly weird turn of events, we learn that Carla believes that there is a miracle cloth inside the cross that is said to be able to cure any illness. 

30. When we find out Denmark Tanney’s true treasure was his wife. It was a real “aw” moment when we realize that when Denmark said that he “buried the true treasure at the foot of an angel,” he was talking about his wife. This realization also leads the Pogues to find the next clue hidden inside the tree, not buried underneath it.


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31. When JJ’s father, Luke, shows up to ruin things once again. I mean, truly, could this guy have worse timing? At least JJ gained some closure when his father apologized, told him he had a good heart, and seemed to leave his life for good. Plus, I loved how Kie had JJ’s back in this scene.

32. When John B. gets attacked by a gator (!!). As if his life couldn’t get any worse. He was just trying to save his beloved “Twinkie”!

33. When Pope finally finds the cross hidden in the beams of the church, and Rafe and his crew steal it. The number one most frustrating thing about this show is how freaking close the Pogues constantly get to actually having their treasure, only for it to slip away. OF COURSE, Pope is allergic to his wasp stings and they have to leave the cross behind, because what else would happen.

34. When Sarah accepts the makeshift wedding “ring” back from John B. PHEW. These two really had me worried for a second. 

35. When Ward isn’t actually dead. Not only did Sarah just get drugged and kidnapped by her own step-mother (again, bad luck for our girl this season), she now finds out that her dad faked his own death just so that they could escape with the gold and the cross. He even lies and tells her that John B. traded her for the cross, which was seriously uncalled for. 



36. When Cleo turns out to be on the cargo ship. Cleo was a break-out star of season two, and I’m so happy they brought her back for the finale. Here’s hoping we get to see more of her in season three. Cleo and Pope, anyone?

37. When Ward realizes Sarah will never be on his side and tries to kill her. Sarah Cameron is really having a tough time this season. First her brother (twice), and now even her father tries to end her life. This is also when I realized that Ward was truly a lost cause.

38. When Ward almost dies the same way he killed John B.’s father. It was really a full-circle moment when Ward fell and hit his head on the side of the boat during his fight with John B. Sarah seemingly gave John B. consent to push Ward over the edge, but I think his decision not to do so really showed how much he cares for Sarah and how much he’s grown.



39. When JJ is thrown overboard, and Kie jumps in after him. I was not doing too well when we weren’t sure if JJ was going to survive or not, but my true takeaway here is that I NEED JJ and Kie together in season three. 

40. When Pope makes the decision to drop the cross into the ocean. Pope said, “If we can’t have it, no one can” and proceeded to try and release a half-a-billion dollar cross into the depths of the ocean. Bold move, Pope, bold move. 

41. When the crew escapes in a lifeboat and makes it to a deserted island. After what felt like an entire season of chasing, the Pogues finally make it to a place where no one is after them and declare it Poguelandia. This really left it open for season three, and I am already dreaming about where their island adventure goes. 

42. When John B.’s dad is revealed to STILL BE ALIVE?! In true OBX fashion, they dropped a bomb on us in the last few minutes of the finale. Big John is alive, and he’s hiding out in Barbados. 1) Why has he not tried to contact John B.? and 2) What the heck is going to happen next?! I can’t wait to find out. 

Why You Need to Stop Waiting for a Relationship to Pursue Your Dreams

An engagement ring

Some of the most beloved storylines end with the hopeful words “happily ever after.” The nostalgic phrase takes me back to childhood and evokes warm memories of bedtime stories, rainy days spent watching fairy tales and daydreams of romantic first dances.

In great literature, the “happily ever after” narrative is characterized by a beautiful and breathtaking ending. It’s usually the kind of ending we’re rooting for—the conclusion that even the greatest of cynics secretly hope to see. The hero saves the day. Goodness triumphs over evil. The protagonist falls wildly and madly in love, and he or she lives happily ever after with a partner.

This classic storyline, though rosy and romantic, carries with it its share of flaws. One of the most obvious red flags connects to this idea that life begins when we fall in love, get married or find “the one.” As we have heard this story for much of our lives, it’s easy to find ourselves living according to this common misconception.  

What if happily ever after, however, didn’t just arrive in the wake of new love, in the midst of a budding relationship or after the “I do’s”? What if, regardless of a person’s relationship status or stage of life, happily ever after looked, felt and sounded like something unique and specific to every human being on earth? What if we didn’t need to wait for the conventional happily ever after to pursue or fulfill our dreams?

What if we didn’t need to wait for the conventional happily ever after to pursue or fulfill our dreams?

We don’t have to look far to see that society tends to elevate marriage above singleness. Throughout the calendar year, our journals are dotted with celebrations from Valentine’s Day to weddings, engagement parties, anniversaries and bridal showers. All of which are beautiful occasions worthy of commemoration. I revel in them all. However, we still have a long way to go when it comes to celebrating singleness in equal measure. 

During these moments, as a single woman, it’s easy to feel left out, inferior or slightly less celebrated. Am I falling behind everyone else? Is there something wrong with me for wanting to be single? Should I be looking for a boyfriend? Am I weird for choosing this path? 

I’ve reached an age where many of my close friends and family are beginning to get married, have children, buy homes (or puppies) and “settle down” with their partners. As I’ve stood beside friends on their wedding days or held their hands through pregnancies, my heart overflows with happiness for them. While marriage isn’t a dream of mine (at least right now), at times, I’ve been left with a small ache in my belly that leads me to believe that I might be missing something.

Despite these fleeting feelings (and are generally found in moments of fragility), I know that I am exactly where I ought to be. Most importantly, I find peace in the knowledge that the things that are meant for me will neither miss me nor pass me by. There’s no need to fret, strive or even compromise by looking for a partner from a place of self-doubt or loneliness. Whenever the time comes, I hope I’ll fall in love from a place where I’m already filled to the brim with contentment—living a life that I’m proud of and grateful for.

I know that I am exactly where I ought to be.

So why don’t we need to be married or in a relationship in order to pursue our dreams? Are we free to pursue our dreams and hearts desires no matter our relationship status? 

The answer is beautifully simple: yes. Your ability to pursue a dream is in no way continent upon which relationship status box you check on your taxes. In fact, singleness provides a unique season of margin to pursue those dreams wholeheartedly. It creates a time for focus, freedom and growth. It can unlock the door to a staggering and breath-taking life. 

Singleness is an invitation to learn more about ourselves—to refine our focus, get to know our strengths and weaknesses better, to develop our characters and to understand our values on a deeper level. Singleness offers us the chance to give our undivided attention to the aspirations, ideas, friends, communities and causes close to our hearts. In a world that is deeply in need of restoration, singleness provides the gift of time to make a difference. The world desperately needs our creativity, vision and passion. What better time to give it than now?

Your ability to pursue a dream is in no way continent upon which relationship status box you check.

Our capacity to live a full and free life is equivalent to anyone who is married or in a relationship. In case you weren’t so sure, your life can be equally as rich, joyful and whole. You do not need a spouse or partner to do something significant. You bring beauty and restoration to the world exactly as you are. So, what are you waiting for?

Has there ever been a time where you pressed pause on a dream because of your relationship status? How have you learned to see singleness as a gift?

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

12 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Single Self

Source: @stephanietrotta

Let me introduce you to a much younger, more fun, and less stable version of me: Single Josie. I always prioritized my life and my friends over boys, no matter what stage of life I was in (good job, single Jo!), but I had my fair share of staying up late to text with boys who weren’t worth my time, keeping up with ex-boyfriends I didn’t even want a future with, and even lusting after the occasional douche here and there (don’t we all fall victim to a douchebag every now and again?).

Five months spent in Paris ended up changing the entire trajectory of my life for more reasons than one (quick personal apology to my coworkers who have to listen to me say this one time when I studied abroad in ~Paris~ about three times a day). It was the first time in my life I really, truly discovered who I was, in the most Carrie-Bradshaw-cliché way possible. Before coming to Paris, I pictured I would start up a love affair with a frenchman who would say romantic things to me in adorable broken english while baking soufflé au chocolat (a girl can dream, right?). Spoiler alert: that is not what happened (though that sounds like a killer rom-com premise).

Instead, I spent every day in French classes and working at ELLE magazine, an internship I had longed for all my life. I spent every evening exploring the city by myself, sitting in cafes and people watching with a glass of wine and a croque monsieur. I traveled every weekend, sometimes on my own. I started to know myself in a way I never had before. And then a funny thing happened: despite my swearing off relationships, a cute baseball player from back home had been reaching out to me. Near the end of my time in Paris, his persistence finally wore me down and I decided to respond.

A Facebook conversation turned into phone calls for hours, and phone calls turned into mailing gifts, and before I knew it, I was head over heels before I even crossed the Atlantic to come back home. I traded in a frenchman for a baseball player, and years later, I swear it’s because of the ways I got to know what I really wanted during my alone time in Paris. The End. Thank you for reading my memoir, I’m hoping it becomes an Eat, Pray, Love kind of best-seller and maybe Julia Roberts will play me in the movie adaptation, but I’m just spit-balling.

While I still have much to learn in my life, looking back at the girl who was drinking a little bit too much punch at frat houses (relatable me) or crying in a Paris métro station because she couldn’t find which train took her to the Champs-Élysées (bougie me), here are the 12 things I wish I could tell my single self, and maybe you’d want to tell your single self too:


1. Your relationship status is the least of your problems.

Not to be such a Debbie Downer, but guess what, single Josie: you’ve got a lot more to worry about than which frat guy you should bring to formal. Your young adult life will bring a lot of major changes that will be bigger than the box you check under “relationship status.” You’ll want to find a career that fulfills you, feel financially stable enough to do so, and move across the country multiple times to find the place you’re meant to be. Enjoy your life, laugh a lot, and have a whole lot of fun, but spend more time figuring out how to create a life that will fulfill you more than you spend swiping through Bumble. You have the rest of your life to be in love. For now, just be in love with your life.


2. When you feel lack of something, give it.

It may sound counterintuitive to give away whatever you feel is lacking from your life, but it’s the secret to filling voids that I wish I had learned sooner. Feeling a lack of something—whether it’s time, money, support, or love—is all mental, no matter what. It’s a glass-half-empty situation: realizing you have enough water (or Pinot Grigio!) to give some away will show you it’s half-full instead. If you’re constantly stressed about not having enough money to buy the expensive skincare treatments you want or go out to the nice restaurants with your friends every week, consider donating $5 a month to a charity that needs your money more than expensive skincare treatments or nice restaurants do. You’ll start to focus on what you do have.

Likewise, during those moments where you leave a bad date feeling hopeless or lay in bed at night feeling lonely, give love instead of wishing you had it. Call your mom and tell her how much you love her, ask a friend that’s struggling how she’s doing, or better yet, stand in front of the mirror and compliment all the things you admire about yourself, knowing self-love is the most worthwhile kind of love to give.


3. Invest your time, don’t just spend it.

Also like money, some people are naturally investors and some are spenders. We often think of time as something to spend: spending the day going to work, spending the night going out with friends, spending an hour taking a nap (because who doesn’t need a nap?). But instead of thinking of spending time between relationships, think of how you can invest your time to become the person you want to be when you do find the right relationship. More importantly, invest your time so that you’re not waiting to find the right relationship. Think of every moment as something you could be doing for your future self, whether it’s learning a new skill or working on building up your friendships. Just like financial investing, you’ll be buying yourself more time to spend later.


Source: Bruce Mars | Pexels


4. Take note of the moments that make you feel unsafe.

We are all strong, confident, capable women (duh). Spending the time alone that you need to spend, whether it’s traveling or being alone in your own city is necessary, but can also put you in situations that give you that uh-oh feeling in your gut. No matter how much you try to protect yourself when you’re alone like your mom and Freshmen Seminar taught you, you’ll still have consistent moments where you’ll be wearing a scarf and jacket and the Uber driver will say something to you that makes you feel like no amount of layers is enough.

You’ll have moments where a stranger on the Paris Métro looks at you in broad daylight in a way that makes you uncomfortable in your own skin. There will be times that someone will not take no for an answer, and something so momentary will feel so scary for the rest of your life. As painful as these moments are, or as normal as they feel, take note of them all. Use them to feel empowered when you’re alone. And when you notice them enough, “gentle” will show up on your list of who you let love you, even above handsome or funny (but don’t worry. You’ll get all three).


5. Cut it off with your ex-boyfriend already!

There’s a lot of reasons we stick around with the people we know are not good for us. Maybe they’re a security blanket, maybe you’re worried you won’t find love again, or maybe you’re subconsciously seeking their approval. For me, it was too much time and history that felt like a lot to give up, even if I knew I’d give it up for something better. It just felt easier to gradually grow apart. As you can imagine, breakups don’t work like that, and it caused a lot more pain in the end. No matter the reason the wrong person is still in your life, as soon as you realize they’re not the one for you, that should be the end of it, not the beginning of the end. Know what you deserve, be honest with yourself and the other person, and don’t settle to avoid pain. Bonus tip: unfollow on social media. Just do it!


6. Let your friends fill the lonely spots.

I’ve always been a girl’s girl. All of the boyfriends and guy friends in the world can’t compare to the connection I have with my female friends. But friends to me have always just been people to have fun with; I’m not good at opening up or depending on them. But my college roommate became my family as she cried with me through things like a breakup and the death of a family member, and more importantly, becoming my inherent plus one and other half to the point where I still want to tell her whenever something’s wrong.

If anything, this flashback is a lesson in depending on people. I wish I had been more vulnerable in non-romantic relationships, because I learned that good female friendships really do fill the lonely spots. Also, Single Josie, you’re currently obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe and job, but when she says “maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates,” take note of that too. Even with as happy as I feel in my relationship now, I do wish I realized then that sometimes happiness is not a whirlwind romance. Sometimes happiness is a trashy show, a whole lot of takeout, and the kind of best friend you make the effort to keep for a lifetime.


7. Dating is about finding out what you want (and it’s supposed to be fun!)

Let’s make one thing clear: single Josie and in-a-relationship Josie has always been good at keeping high standards. But there were times when I got more caught up in being wanted that I didn’t even think about what I wanted out of someone else. Dating is supposed to be about finding what you want, not becoming what someone else wants. Oh yeah, and don’t take it so seriously! Some people will like you and some people won’t. No matter if a second date follows, it should be fun meeting new people. If it’s not, take a break from dating to reflect on what you’re really looking for in your dating life: is it to feed your own ego and heal an insecurity, or are you actually looking for a partner?


8. When you meet the right person, you build the relationship you want, it doesn’t just happen to you.

I’ve learned a lot about what a “soulmate” means since I was last single. To go back to those aforementioned high standards, I truly believed my perfect match would know how to ballroom dance, never get frustrated by me, and love poetry as much as I did (if he’s the one perfect person out there for me, he must!). I only considered seriously dating people with certain and extremely specific characteristics (AKA no one), as if I could create my own soulmate like a computer game (can’t The Sims just be real life!?).

But when you find someone who gets you and loves you more than you even knew to add to your list of high expectations, you realize the other things don’t matter. You trust them and their love for you enough to grow the kind of relationship you’ve always wanted together. So don’t write someone off because they don’t play guitar or have never been to Europe. The right person will support who you are and what you want out of life, so sign up for ballroom lessons and book an Italian vacation together. You both build the relationship you want, but you can’t (and shouldn’t want to!) change the person.


Source: Raw Pixel | Pexels


9. “No” is a complete sentence

Inherently, I’m what some would call a “people-pleaser” and what the honest of us would call a “pushover.” I spent much of my dating life feeling bad about people’s feelings and cradling men’s egos. I came up with excuses like “I have a boyfriend” rather than “I’m not interested” to persistent men at bars, and spent too much time texting back boys I didn’t want to talk to, just so I wouldn’t hurt their feelings. I wish I could tell single Josie that one day, she will find strength, rather than silence, in her dominant empathy. Until then, work on saying no when you mean no.


10. Focus on growing so much that you crave the feeling of trying something new

Change used to be much harder for me. It affected my dating life because I resisted putting myself out of my comfort zone and didn’t try new things if I could help it. Not only did this prevent me from meeting new people, but more importantly, it prevented me from being my best self. No matter what, focus on growing so much that change becomes your comfort zone. The little things every day make a difference: ordering a new drink at the bar, reading a different kind of book than you’re used to, trying a workout class you’ve never done, and talking to people you’ve never met.


11. Eat the damn pastry!

I’ve never considered myself to be insecure, but looking back on my life, there have been a lot of foods I didn’t eat and a lot of unhealthy meals I regretted eating. I want to hug 20-year-old me and tell her she’s perfect just the way she is, like all those American Girl puberty books tried to tell me over a decade ago. I also wish I could tell her the stress about eating is worse for her body than any piece of pizza or cone of ice cream, and her worthiness of love has nothing to do with her weight or what she eats. Enjoy every bite of your life, and eat with mindfulness instead of insecurity. No matter what magazines or lingerie ads tell us, confidence will always be more attractive than however we look.


12. Wait for a love that feels like a fairytale.

When you’re looking for a relationship, it’s tempting to romanticize the people you meet or stick around with someone that has some endearing qualities, hoping that it works out because you don’t want to be alone. But I promise, you’ll be so much happier enjoying alone time than being in the wrong relationship. You’ll learn one day, Single Me, that love will only be worth having when it feels like a fairy tale. Not a Cinderella story, per se (I definitely do not want to lose a good pair of shoes!), but it will feel too good to be true. 

This person truly loves the you that you love; they’ll think it’s hilarious and cute when you’re on your period and crying while watching reality shows, and they’ll do a lot of unromantic things for you every day that make you smile. You’ll get into disagreements, but they’ll care more about how you feel than about being right. They may not have a horse and carriage (à la Prince Charming), but seeing them will feel like coming home after a long day. Doesn’t that sound like a much better fairy tale? Dear Single Josie, for all the wrong you go through, one day there will be a right that makes all the wrongs worth it. Don’t settle for less, and enjoy your life while you’re not settling.


5 Things My Therapist Taught Me About Self-Love



What to Wear With Your Skinny Jeans

you don’t have to give them up

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Source: Aïda Badji Sané

Of all of the surprising things the past year brought, one of the most absolutely shocking things was that skinny jeans became one of the biggest controversies of 2021.

From lovingly being called chuegy to flat-out being deemed unstylish, skinny jeans have been debated, picked apart, and talked about to no end this year. The result? Some are clinging onto theirs for dear life and others have packed them up, waiting for the day that the fashion officials deem them trendy again. If you’re part of the former, today’s your lucky day.

While skinny jeans might not be the hottest or coolest jeans at the moment, they have a time and a place to be pulled out of the closet—and with the right pieces, they can be just as chic as any straight-leg jeans you could dream of. Ready to make the most of your skinny jeans in 2021? Do it with these foolproof looks that put them on center stage.


1. With a tank and oversized blazer

tank / tank (plus-size) / sunglasses / blazer / blazer (plus-size) / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sandals

You can rarely go wrong with an oversized blazer, and the contrast between the larger fit of the blazer on top and fitted pants on bottom will balance each other out and make your outfit work. If you’re wearing it out, pair it with a cropped tank on top; if you’re wearing it to a jeans-appropriate office, pair it with a tucked-in tee.



2. With a white button-up and sneakers

 button-up / button-up (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sneakers

There’s nothing more classic than a white button-up, and paired with a distressed pair of skinny jeans and a cool baguette bag, it’s a uniform-worthy match that’s so classic, there’s no chance it looks dated.



3. With a satin shirt and mules

top / top (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / mules

To cool up your skinny jeans, opt for a silk button-up in a retro pattern that will do all the talking when paired with your skinnies. With mules in a pop of color and neutral accessories, it’s a transitional look of our dreams. Pro tip: To give yourself more shape, unbutton the bottom half of your top and try a half-tuck.



4. With an oversized sweatshirt and sneakers

sweatshirt / sweatshirt (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sneakers

As far as transitional looks go, there’s nothing quite like a sweatshirt-and-jeans combo. To make a sweater work with your skinny jeans, go for an oversized fit or a couple of sizes larger than your usual size (think: hitting right below your butt). To complete the casual look, pair it with sneakers and a belt bag.



5. With a knitted tank and thong sandals

top / sunglasses / necklace / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sandals

Looking to break out your white skinny jeans before it’s too late? Make them into an ideal end-of-summer outfit with a knitted tank, gold accessories, and thong sandals—all in neutral shades.



6. With an eyelet top

top / top (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sandals

One of the most gorgeous trends of the year? Eyelet lace. A voluminous eyelet top is perfect for pairing with understated skinny jeans to balance out a look.


7. With all black

bodysuit / tank (plus-size) / necklace / bag / jeans / top / boots

There’s nothing chicer and more timeless than an all-black moment, which is the perfect way to make your black skinny jeans work this year. To break up the monotony of the black, sandwich it between brown accessories to keep it neutral, but give it some visual interest.



We Tried the Cult-Favorite Madewell Jeans
here are our unfiltered thoughts


Darling Letters: How to Take Up Space

A woman with her hands in her hair as she screams

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

I can’t remember the exact moment I realized something wasn’t right—that the “same old, same old” wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Up until that point in my life, I felt confined. So I took a hard look at myself in the mirror and started the work of asking myself why.

What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me. In a subconscious attempt to protect myself from the disapproval of others, I put my voice and my opinions in a box of limitations. In this metaphorical box, who I was wouldn’t rock the boat and I couldn’t step on any toes.

What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me.

It took me years of self-discovery and growing pains to realize that I was living for the approval and applause of others and that the fear of not receiving it caused me to play the role of a lesser version of myself. For a while, this worked for me.

Yet, as I’ve matured, I’ve grown out of the box of playing small for other people. Now, that box of limitations is not large enough for me to fit in and living inside it is no longer sustainable for the healthier, more whole version of myself that I am today.

So I got out. I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself and say what I think and what I want. I’m learning to take up every bit of space I’ve been given, and it feels good.

I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself.

Let’s step out of the tight spaces where we have confined and limited ourselves. Everything about you—your thoughts and your opinions—is valuable and worthy of being seen and heard. There is room for you to be the most true and authentic version of yourself.

Starla Gatson, the Darling family

Have you ever felt the need to play small for other people? In what practical way, can you start taking up space in your life?

Image via Koury Angelo, Darling Issue No. 11

Portuguese Footwear Brand Unreal Fields Launches Dreamlike Shoe Collection Inspired by Life in Quarantine

A picture of a woman with a pink shoe

Inspired by the quiet moments of introspection and loneliness from the last year and a half of isolation, Lisbon-based footwear brand Unreal Fields is launching a dreamlike universe of shoes for its upcoming SS21 campaign.

“A time to reconnect with our innermost selves, this last year of isolation has brought forth a profound need for self-exploration and self-knowledge that begs the questions, ‘Who am I?” and “Who do I wish to become?’” said Unreal Fields CEO and Founder, Inês Lebre.

When creating their new shoe collection, Inês and her team set out to express their feelings more freely, move more wildly and chase independence in every aspect of their day-to-day lives. When designing the new shoe line, the Unreal Fields was driven by the desire to be bold and inspire others to do so as well.

When designing the new shoe line, the Unreal Fields was driven by the desire to be bold and inspire others to do so as well.

With the creation of SHI, Unreal Fields has once again positioned itself  as a creative premium brand unlike anything in the current European market. Highly connected to its values and personality, with this new line the brand showcases where its inspiration comes from: a celebration of womanhood in all its shapes and forms. Their shoe line is also a call to arms for women around the world to exercise their freedom to choose when and where to be daringly bold.

As a part of the July edition of Darling’s Favorite Things and brands we love, we got to sit down with Inês Lebre about the new campaign and how Unreal Fields is elevating Portuguese fashion.

What was the “why” or the passion that sparked the idea behind Unreal Fields?

The passion was matching the excellent local craftsmanship of the footwear industry with incredible creative/contemporary emerging talent and finding a place for it on the world stage. Portugal has at its disposal several groups of artisans who have mastered the art of building a shoe manually.

However, the approach to this was always very classic and conservative. We thought it could be done with a stronger layer of contemporary and creative imagination behind it. Our purpose is connected with the celebration of heritage, empowerment and fun.

Our purpose is connected with the celebration of heritage, empowerment and fun.

How is Unreal Fields elevating Portuguese fashion to the global market?

Adding to the well-known quality (most big fashion brands are already produced here), we also bring an impressive layer of design, contemporaneity, art and playfulness compared to conventional aesthetics. We bring a sense of freshness to the Portugal fashion industry that was very much needed.

Unreal Fields utilizes handmade shoe models from generations-old family businesses of Portuguese manufacturers. How does this set your brand apart?

Our artisans have been doing this for centuries. This factor gives us a sense of pride and also social responsibility. In a world that’s strongly dominated by fast fashion, choosing to create in local and small productions is a bold choice because it definitely influences our prices, but it also places us higher in the quality offering.

Plus, having smaller productions also allows us much more flexibility regarding quantities, trying new materials and customizations.

We bring a sense of freshness to the Portugal fashion industry that was very much needed.

You also prioritize shining a light on new talent in your newer collections. Tell me about this and the team dynamic behind-the-scenes.

We look for talent (Portuguese and international) that has been exposed to the art world and give them a briefing about the brand positioning. The team researches the materials and then brings us their proposals. Then, together with the factory, we build designs that prioritize comfort without forgetting the edginess that we so love.

A great part of what we do is also engaging our community through social media. Every now and then we touch base with our followers by asking them to vote on colors, materials and shapes they’d like to see in future collections. This dynamic helps guide us throughout the process.

In the end, when the shoe is built, our audience also votes on which models and colors we ultimately produce. We recently did that with the SS21 collection and it worked really well. We can’t wait to show you the results!

How would you say Unreal Fields has evolved since its launch in 2019?

It has evolved tremendously, especially in regards to our communications and community-building. We´ve had the pleasure of connecting with artists and creatives that also enjoy engaging with us and participating in the creative process.

We have also started creating much more dynamic content that allows us to have a stronger voice connected to our values. We keep our tone fun and real, but also cultured with a splash of fearlessness. This gives us the opportunity to touch upon all sorts of topics—from summer trends to discussing burnout, pregnancy and beyond.

We keep our tone fun and real, but also cultured with a splash of fearlessness.

A woman modeling shoes on a rooftopIf you had to pick, what pair of Unreal Fields shoes would you recommend as a go-to for the summer?

Definitely our Madge Fuchsia Orange sandals!

If you had three words to describe the aesthetic of Unreal Fields, what would they be?

Bold, playful and contemporary

Is there anything exciting coming up that customers can look forward to in the rest of 2021?

More human engagement, exciting campaigns and an amazing FW21!

Image via Unreal Fields

How to Sit in the Discomfort of ‘the Middle’

A woman with a fedora and white outfit crouched low outside at the beach

I’ll be honest. It’s hard to write about the middle space when you’re in the white hot center of it. I can’t see the shore I left and the one I’m reaching for is still unknown.

A friend helped me find the name for this the other day. It’s called liminality—the tension between the no longer existent and the not yet existent. That’s it. That’s the tension causing the ache right below my breast bone. It’s a longing to know that I’ll get to the other side of this and that there will be somewhere different than where I am right now.

It’s a longing to know that I’ll get to the other side of this and that there will be somewhere different than where I am right now.

I always want to make it make sense. Like, right now. It’s a clumsy discipline to let the story of my days linger on the page without neat punctuation. I want to rip the pages out of the bind when the narrative grows messy, mundane and uncontrolled.

I stir things up in my mind, asking the same recursive questions: Why? When? How? Where? The answer back is almost always a question: What if the invitation written in the discomfort is to abide here?

Willing my way out of the discomfort of the unknown doesn’t protect me against reality. It only puts me at war with it. I’m tossed around by my unreliable feelings and run ragged with worry and languish. And the result? I’m not one inch closer to the certainty I’m hunting for.

Let me be OK with sitting in the discomfort of the between spaces and taking hold of the joy and meaningfulness threaded throughout life even in the liminality. That’s my prayer. Let me take in, be challenged, heal and enjoy the depths here.

Let me take in, be challenged, heal and enjoy the depths here.

Maybe the shallows near the shore aren’t for me. Maybe I was meant for the deep. Maybe it’s what’s meant for you too? We can be in the middle together, treading in the wonder, mystery and sacredness of it all—learning to trust the gentle sway of the sea as we’re afloat between unknown shores.

I’m believing this for us: The unknown is sacred, tender ground for our becoming. We can reject the inner critic that keeps telling us we’re stuck. This place only becomes stagnant when we do.

Author and priest Richard Rohr explains liminality as the place where all transformation takes place. He wrote, “The threshold is a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible. It’s the realm where God can best get at us because our false certitudes are finally out of the way.”

So I will be. It’s by faith that I can remain right here and hang on hoping that there is something meant for my good, not out there, but here. Here. It’s here in the tension that the simple and the sacramental brush against each other in the most unexpected ways, both refining and softening. What an actual miracle that with an inhale we are steadied and with an exhale we are softened.

The unknown is sacred, tender ground for our becoming.

If the rhythmic question thumping through my body is “What if this is it?” I think the answer is “Yes. Yes, it is.” Right here in the middle, life is happening. It’s hard, intimate work to abide, but I want to be woven into the interior fabric of my life. I want to know how to just be well because I’ll miss it if I’m not careful. I don’t want to wait, rush it away, hoard all my joy for another season and place all my bets on a better one. This is it. These precious, ordinary days.

I just want to be good at relishing the unremarkable and do my best at just being in the beautiful tension. Even though I can’t see where I came from and I don’t know where I’ll land, I don’t think I’m lost. In this threshold, I’m becoming.

Is there an area of your life where you feel like you are “in the middle”? How have you learned how to “just be well” in the middle place?

Image via Janessa Spina Higgins

Affordable Dupes of Hailey Bieber’s Best Dresses

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Marc Piasecki / GC Images

Celebrity style isn’t exactly known for being attainable. More often than not, it consists of designer pieces paired with more designer pieces, making them easy to look at but difficult to replicate. But a celeb with incredible style that is possible to replicate? None other than Hailey Bieber, the current queen of street style.

Yes, Hailey Bieber’s style mostly consists of designer pieces, but that’s not the reason that they’re special; what has made her a name as one to watch in the fashion world is how they’re styled. Most of her pieces can be found at much lower price points, and from there, the key to replicating her most coveted looks is to take a look at how she wore it and put your own spin on it.

After taking a successful stab at this season’s halter neck trend through a dress that took Instagram by storm, we decided to take a deep dive into her best-ever casual dresses—and to no one’s surprise, they didn’t disappoint. Even better? We did the Lord’s work and found affordable options for each and every one of them so you can replicate the looks yourself (without breaking the bank). The best new addition to your wardrobe? One of these Hailey-Bieber-approved dresses.


Her internet-breaking halter dress

Source: Marc Piasecki / GC Images

Wrapped halter tops have been one of the most sought-after trends of the summer, and dare we say this dress is the perfect example of why. In a midi length with knit fabric, it’s a one-and-done look that’s even worthy of meeting foreign leaders in (like Hailey did the day she wore it, no big deal).

So your hair doesn’t compete with the detail of the neckline, toss it up in an easy, slicked-back bun and top it off with your favorite pair of sunglasses. If you’re going somewhere casual, a flat, slide sandal will be your ideal shoe. If you’re dabbling in events like Hailey, opt for something similar to her strappy pair of heels.

Michael Costello X REVOLVE

Adalia Halter Dress

Shop it now

Good American

Twisted Sleeve Midi Dress

2 colors available

Shop it now

Nasty Gal

Knitted Sleeveless Cross Back Midi Dress

2 colors available

Shop it now


Midi Dress

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Simon Miller

Jago Dress

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Rib Knit Dress

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Good American

Rib Knit Tie Waist Midi Dress

3 colors available

Shop it now


Rectangle Sunglasses

3 colors available

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Steve Madden

Ankle Strap Heel

3 colors available

Shop it now


The going out dress of our dreams

Source: Gotham / GC Images

It’s hard to find a going out look that stands the test of time, but a sleek, black midi dress absolutely fits the bill. It’s a sexy, curve-loving look that can change just by pairing it with different accessories every time you leave the house in it.

Where to start? Take inspiration from Hailey’s subtle gold necklaces and black heels, which give the dress a seamless look from top to bottom. Complete the outfit with a statement bag (like Hailey’s) or your go-to black one to keep it simple.


Faux Leather Midi Dress

2 colors available

Shop it now

Fashion to Figure

Sleeveless Midi Dress

7 colors available

Shop it now


Faux Leather Midi Dress

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Midi Cami Slip Dress

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Midi Slip Dress

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Voluminous Bag

3 colors available

Shop it now

Who What Wear

Zebra Crossbody

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An out-of-office blazer dress

Source: Amy Sussman / Getty Images

A blazer is a great closet staple, but a blazer dress? It’s the chic, sexy alternative that commands attention without needing to do any work. While Hailey’s is sparkly and skin-showing, making it perfect for a red carpet, we’re partial to these solid ones that have a bit more versatility. For extra waist-cinching, pair yours with a belt to complete the look.

Good American

The Exec Blazer Dress

3 colors available

plus sizes available

Shop it now


Suit Dress

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Wrap Blazer Dress

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Blazer Dress

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Braided Belt

2 colors available

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Knot Loop Belt

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The perfect black mini dress

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hailey Rhode Baldwin Bieber (@haileybieber)

Everyone needs a good LBD, and this one, with a square neckline and spaghetti straps, is the definition of versatile. Dress it up and wear it to a wedding or throw it on with some sneakers and dress it down for a girl’s night. To rock it like HB, give yourself tousled, effortless hair and layer on a few gold necklaces.


Linen-Blend Dress

4 colors available

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Square Neck Dress

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Tank Minidress

3 colors available

Shop it now

French Connection

Sheath Minidress

6 colors available

Shop it now


Gold Layered Necklace

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7 Hailey Bieber Outfits to Copy Immediately
without breaking the bank


Where I Come From: The Patchwork City, a Mosaic of Texture and Color

A woman's feet leaning against fabric that is tapped to the wall

“Where I Come From” is a Darling series that pays homage to the cities, towns and countries that we call home. Although we are not defined by where we come from, these places are a defining part of our stories.

When I tell people where I’m from,
I never know how they’ll respond. 

That’s somewhere in the middle, right?
Good barbecue. Really good.
Oh, I hear it’s.. dangerous.. there. 

That’s why I call it the Patchwork City.
We’re a mosaic of texture and color,
Many patches, stitched together. 

I grew up in the suburbs by highway 270.
Sometimes, I think I spent more time on that highway
Than anywhere else between the ages of 5 and 15.
My dad lived across town where you could hear
The church bells by day and the train whistles at night. 

In winter, snowmen filled the front yard.
In spring, lilacs adorned the backyard.
In summer, we go to hear Shakespeare in the park.
In fall, leaves fell everywhere. 

My grandmother, God rest her soul, told me once
That she heard the summer opera through her window,
When she lived near the park as a young nanny,
“The wind carried it,” she said. 

Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard? 

After college, I moved to the city. It was glorious.
I discovered her hidden parks, cathedrals, theaters and pubs.
Now, when I return I drive and drive, with no destination in mind.
And I always wind up back on 270, my old friend. 

My Patchwork City, I see you more clearly with time. 

Sometimes, the stitches hold us together,
Sometimes, they feel like dividing lines.
Sometimes, quilts must be taken apart to be put back together again.
Here I am, lending my hands, in the best way I know how.
I’m sorry I can’t be there in this fragile time.
But I’m praying for you and letting the wind carry it.

Image via Erin Foster, Darling Issue No. 24

Darling Letters: How to Celebrate the Little Things

Confetti and balloons on the floor

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

“Celebration” is a word that we often associate with remarkable milestonesbirthdays, weddings, new babies and graduations. Celebration involves planning, sending invites and ordering food. Celebration, with its sense of recognition and rest from routine, is an event.

The problem with this approach to celebration is that this practice comes rarely. When we choose only to observe so-called “big events” as worthy of taking a joyful pause, we may miss out on daily successes and small victories as being worthy of our time, acknowledgment and delight. 

We may miss out on daily successes and small victories as being worthy of our time, acknowledgment and delight. 

Throughout the past few years, I have been learning to celebrate the little things. I no longer only look forward to major life milestones. I have learned to see small successesa new client, an accomplished goal, subtle transitions or even silly holidays like my half birthdayas worthy of celebration. 

As we continue to enjoy the summer season, let’s take advantage of a slower pace of life and more hours of sunshine to practice true celebration. We can continue to observe the rituals of major milestones with planned parties, pretty invitations and gifts, but let’s also devote time and space to the celebration of the “simple things”new friendships, work milestones or transitions into a new season.

Let’s celebrate the little things with a pause in our routines, a moment of gratitude and a slice of cake. 

Let’s also devote time and space to the celebration of the “simple things.”

With joy,
Kelsey Yarnell, the Darling family

Why is it important to celebrate the little moments in life? What’s the most recent “little thing” that you have celebrated?

Image via Prakash Shroff, Darling Issue No. 11