2. "Spark"

The second short story in Cold Tangerines talks about the "spark" that God puts inside of each of us to crave his love and light. I can completely relate to this quote from the story! Shauna compares her re-introduction to a life filled with Christ to learning to walk after an accident. I have never been in any kind of accident but I definitely have like she describes!

I run cross country, do theatre and photography, and on top of everything I decided that it was a good idea for me to take all honors classes (more on that later). It is a lot to handle from day to day and I often get to the weekend without even glancing at my bible! I hate that I let myself do this week after week because it honestly affects my attitude so much. I often don't realize the negative effects that it has on me every day until I finally make time to get back into God's word and actually spend time with him. Lately I have been feeling so busy and like I don't even have a second to think! I have learned that this is my queue that I am (once again) leaving God out of my everyday life. So, starting last week I have been scheduling time into my day to spend with God. Even if it is just fifteen minutes before I go to bed, my time alone with Him has become so important to me!

Reading this story, it surprised me how accurate her description of feeling that craving for God was and it was the perfect reminder that God really is a priority in my life. I want Him to be there, sometimes I just ignore the "spark" too many times and it loses its affect in me. 

This week will be my second week getting back into my youth group and small group bible study and I can already see the difference in my mood throughout the day. I look forward to the weeks to come when I can indulge even further in Christ's word. 

"Set a fire down in my soul
That I can't contain and I can't control
I want more of you God, I want more of You God."
- Jesus Culture With Martin Smith - Set A Fire Lyrics

with love,


I want to...

            thanks to
            thanks to

bf jeans

Indulge: in this.


Do: vintage button statement necklace

Listen: Ingrid Michaelson "Lights Out"


1. "On Waiting"

if you haven't read my introduction to this series please check it out here!

I  like to think of reading Cold Tangerines as a sort of journey, a quest to find a deeper part of myself. That is really why I wanted to read the book- I knew it would challenge me to be more content and take full advantage of the life God has given me.  The first sentence of the book story really stopped me in my tracks. It says, "I have always essentially, been waiting". To some, this sentence may not be profound in any way, but the second I read it I knew this was the perfect place to start my journey. Here's why...

I have a sign in my room that says "Chase your dreams". One night, about two years ago,  I just looked at it and got sort of angry at myself. I had hung it on the wall as a cute little decoration that I found at a thrift store. But I had not been paying attention to the message at all! At the time, I was waking up at 6:45 each morning, scrambling to get out the door, going to school for eight hours, and then coming home and doing homework for three or four more hours. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted and as I said before, I was angry. Angry that I had no time to spend on the things that make me happy. I was angry that I had so much creativity and passion building up inside of me all day, everyday and I didn't know what to do with it! I had so many things that I wanted to pursue- photography, fashion, interior design, writing, baking, reading, dancing, and on and on! I felt so stuck because I never had time for anything! I had meltdowns every other night it felt like because I was so stressed out and upset. In a time where everyone around me was devoted to something, I felt like I had nothing. 

So as I sat there, on my bed that night, staring at the sign, I decided that something needed to change. I was going into high school soon and I was not going to let one more second of my time be wasted or taken for granted. That was the night I decided to start my blog. 

I knew that a lot of my interests were not things that I could directly do (like interior design) but I could still explore them through my blog! Z E S T. became a way for me to roll up all of the things that I love into a neat little ball and throw it out into the world bits at a time, with every post that I published.

So having said all that, I just want to say thank. you. Shauna. for reminding me once again what I vowed to myself that night- not to take my life for granted. To stop waiting for change to come and make it happen! I will try to remind myself on a daily basis not to waste away the amazing gift that God has given me. Life.
with love,


pink and navy

pink and navy
Hey lovelies, just a quick update for now! This was my outfit for the day just thought I would share it with you all! It was a little chilly this morning so I went for some riding boots and a cream-colored long sleeve with navy stripes that I paired with a pink scarf for some additional color! Hope you enjoy!
with love,


a life that sizzles and pops.

taken from here

Back when it was still sunny and I wasn't in school all day, I got together with my friend Riley just to catch up and talk life before we both parted ways to go to different high schools in the fall. She brought a book with her that day, it was called  Cold Tangerines. Riley and I have similar tastes in just about everything and when I saw the title of the book I knew this would be no different. I asked her what it was about and she replied by reading to me one of the fourty-three short stories that make up the book. The one she read to me was called "Puppies". It was about the small group of girls that she had led in a bible-study before she moved and how much they meant to her. The story was so appropriate and touching because Riley and I were about to enter our second year together in a small group led by a high school girl, named Alex, who was soon to move away from us to go to college.

So, there we were sitting in this super chill local juice & tea place, Riley reading aloud to me this book. With every word I fell more and more in love with Cold Tangerines and Shauna's writing. By the end of the story I had decided that I had to get my hands on the book.

I just received the book a few weeks ago as a birthday gift from my mother. My birthday was on a Monday and I was a little bummed that I would have to ride the bus home on my birthday but as I was running out the door I threw the book in my backpack to keep me company on my home. When I got onto the bus that afternoon I opened up the book and read the firs story; easily falling in love with Shauna's words all over again. I have only read a few of the stories so far- I have been trying not to speed through the book, but instead savor it because I know when it is over I will be very sad. So, I thought maybe if I document my thoughts about each story I read here, on the blog, I can look back and enjoy it over and over again, and so can you! So this will be the first post in a large series of my thoughts and reactions to Cold Tangerines. I hope you all will go out and buy it for yourselves so that we can experience it together! If you do decide to decide to try it out please let me know in the comments or by email, I would love to chat! Happy reading!

with love,


Iris Grace

I was recently introduced to something absolutely amazing, inspiring, and incredibly adorable!

Iris Grace.

She is a little girl from the UK that has autism. Her mom writes a blog and runs a website about her and her incredible paintings. On the website (irisgracepainting.com) They sell Iris's paintings to help pay for her therapy and medical expenses. These are no finger paintings or random splatters on paper; they are truly art! For example...


When my friend Bethany told me about this little girl I immediately whipped out my laptop to check it out- a total sucker for warm fuzzy news stories. I looked through the website and marveled at her artwork- amazed that a little girl could do that! 

Later in the day I thought back to Iris' paintings and I decided to look at the blog posts to learn more about her (and how on earth she makes such beautiful paintings!) As I started reading though each post I felt more and more content. I cant explain why this little girl meant so much to me, I just felt happy that she was so pure and was not burdened by her autism. Before I read about Iris I, just like many others, viewed autism as a disorder. When Bethany told me that Iris had autism I felt sorry for her. As I read about Iris, about her violin, her cat Thula, her morning bike rides, and her love of African nursery rhymes I felt ashamed that I had ever pitied such a beautiful life. I kept reading and reading until I ran out of words. Then I sat back and thought about it for a second and I realized why I felt so content reading about her. God was trying to talk to me. He was speaking through Iris to help me understand that he made each and every one of us different for a reason. (That sounds so cliché but I've learned that things become cliché when they are said a lot- they are said a lot because they are true.) Through Iris's story it became clear to me that Iris's autism was not meant as a challenge from God. It was a gift.


a little bit obsessed: laptop accessories

I am going to be receiving a Macbook light from my school in the fall! Eeeek! so pumped! Lately I've been goin' a little crazy on Etsy looking at cases, skins, sleeves, and stickers. Everything is just so darn cute! Here are a few of my favorite laptop accessories!
1., 2., 3., 4., 5., 6.

with love,


I'm pretty weird...

Disclaimer: this tag was created by @LifeWithKolbiTV on YouTube.com

1. what's a nickname only your family calls you
Maddie Grace
2. what's a weird habit of yours
I guess it's not really a habit but sometimes when I sleep I wrap my big toes together without noticing it!
3. do you have any weird phobias
I don't anymore but when I was little I was scared to walk near rain-drains because I thought cougars lived in them. (I was a very imaginative child)
4. a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you're home alone
whatever is stuck in my head (currently "Shake it Off") or I just make everything I say into a song
5. what's one of your biggest pet peeves
people who ask for help without trying very hard themselves
6. whats one of your nervous habits
smiling obnoxiously
7. what side of the bed do you sleep on
well... I have a twin bed so...both I guess?
8. what's the drink you always order at Starbucks
I actually don't go to Starbucks enough to have a favorite drink but I love fruity tea like peach or raspberry!
9. which way do you face in the shower
away from the water
10. what was your first stuffed animal and what was its name
my first stuffed animal was a very generic looking teddy bear except that its "fur" was this rainbow watercolor print. I actually don's know where it is currently to take a picture but I found one on ebay! It's name was (is) "rainbow bear".
11. do you have any weird body skills
Yes! I can pop my shoulder blades out like wings. (haha sorry some people think it's gross)
12. what's your favorite comfort food that is bad but you eat it anyway
oooh! Definitely meatballs in cream of mushroom soup. yum.
13. what's a phrase or exclamation you always say
14. what do you wear when you go to sleep
t-shirt+pajama+pants (and sometimes a sweatshirt too!) 
 15. what did you used to wear that you thought was cool but now you realize it 
In fourth grade I wore dresses over jeans or colored yoga pants with mary janes and socks. Yeah, I was cool
with love,


cherry lemonade.

One of my favorite parts of summer is the local jazz festival. I've grown up listening to jazz. I will always love sitting in the living room in the evening listening to the smooth jazz channel on the TV, talking and laughing with my family. Jazz is so calming and relaxing and just a really comfy place for me. I also love this event because the artists never disappoint! My favorite band tonight was The Elders!

But what I love the most is seeing all the different people coming together to chill and enjoy great music.

It's one of the things that makes my heart so happy. People tapping their feet and sipping cherry lemonades and scatting and belly laughing and dancing and clapping they're hands. Purely enjoying life. That's how life should be all the time. Don't you think?

Tonight I would like to propose a toast to a life full of tapping feet and scatting and belly laughing and dancing and clapping hands. So let's all raise our cherry lemonades and just 
purely. enjoy life.
with love,



I don't know about y'all, but I always have a song stuck in my head! Lately I've been loving the song "Classic" by MKTO. Usually I absolutely hate having things stuck in my head, but I really loving singing this song over and over! It has such a great message-
One of my favorite lines of the song is "One of a kind, in a world gone plastic, Baby you're so classic". I love these lyrics because they are kind of a breath of fresh air in today's "world gone plastic". Being a blogger I greatly rely on media to share my blog with the world, however, I 'm disappointed with how it is so often a bad influence. For example Instagram. I love to share little bits of my life with my followers, but sometimes I wonder if I am deceiving people by only posting the pretty things. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the appearance of things and not their quality. Another line from the song says "Ooh girl you're shining, Like a 5th avenue diamond, And they don't make you like they used to, You're never going out of style". These lyrics are a really great reminder to be classic, don't surrender to the temptations of this fake world, because although it make look pretty it is probably not real.

with love,

simple elegance

This was my #ootd yesterday! I recently bought a similar white peasant style shirt with a gorgeous embellished neckline from Marshalls. I paired it with some dark skinny jeans and nude flats. so simple. so elegant. love it!

p.s.  I just got a Polyvore and now I am obsessed with it! So y'all can be expecting some major collaging  in the future! 
with love,


100 happy days

Hello friendlies! I recently came upon a really cool challenge! It's called 100 Happy Days and it is super simple so I would love it if y'all could join me! I learned about it on one of my favorite blogs. Basically you just post one picture everyday on your favorite social media site of something that makes you happy, with the hashtag #100HAPPYDAYS. Now I bet you're thinking "Oh, that's nice but I just don't have the time." That's the point! The purpose of this challenge is to be more aware of the happy moments that we often miss in our "busy" lives.
So please join me in 100 days of happy! You can register here.
with love,


spring color trends

Although the ground hog claims six more weeks of winter I am feeling optimistic. so this morning I was browsing through some fashion week reports and I noticed some trends. Of course there were the usual and always gorgeous pastels, however there were some unexpected colors on the runways year...
  • Royal hues such as bold blues and radiant orchids
  • fall colors turned to pastels - brown to sand and red to light rust
  • and lastly bright orange

I am so happy with these colors and I am excited to wear them this spring! these are already some of my favorites so I will not have to buy very many new items to stay fashion-forward this spring!

What spring trends are you loving from the runways?Are there any you don't like? Let me know in the comments!
with love,


when life hands you lemons. . .

Hi everyone! I hope you guys are staying safe and warm in this cold weather. Today I decided to make the best of the lemons God gave us (the snow) and get some deep cleaning done to prepare for my bedroom renovation. As you can see in in the bottom picture (above) I cleaned out my desk drawers. I also cleaned out my dresser under my bed, and some shelves on the wall. Tomorrow I am hoping to tackle the closet! It looks fine from afar but once you dig in you realize what hoarder you really are. Anyway, I would love to hear from you guys. What did you do this weekend? What projects are you working on lately? Leave it in the comment section below.
with love,


out with the old in with the new

I am giving my bedroom a much needed update. I have been wanting to renovate my room for a really long time but for whatever reason I never have.Well, I am finally getting around to it and I am so excited! I made an inspiration board (above) full of coral, robin's egg blue, and black. Pink and blue are two of my favorite colors but I decided to add touches of vintage and some black and white patterns throughout the room to keep the it sophisticated & classic. Right now I am just in the demolition  stage (ugh... wallpaper) but I will definitely be updating you guys throughout the process.
with love,