A Natural Hair and fashion lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber serves up inspiration for winery tourism, vegetarian recipes, style, and skincare.

Alma Mater

Holding my college's publication, Campus Chronicle

While my mother was visiting we took a serendipitous trip to my Alma Mater. It had been nearly two years since I had last visited - part of me had wanted to visit, and another part of me was resisting it. I knew that many changes had taken place since I had left, and I was worried that I would feel like a stranger in that was really one of the true places I considered home. 

H&M metallic sweater, F21 belt, DIY skirt, Old Navy flats, Banana Republic silk scarf, Anthropologie purse that I bought while attending this college!

I am so lucky to have attended college in such a beautiful area. Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley, tucked in between mountains and ever changing leaves of the surrounding grape vines, Pacific Union College will always have a (large) piece of my heart. When we arrived all the familiar scents of the trees and fresh air brought me crashing back to all my experiences. I did so much growing up on this campus; and with that came many growing pains. Of course there were fun times too: Christmas caroling (bikinis and Uggs!), voice lessons in Paulin, Marla and our adventures as roommates, being the default "free guest" with Mr. Morphis on class museum trips in the city, taking every history class Dr. Douglas offered ( and only 5 classes short of a major - why? Because she didn't teach those 5 classes), Megan and our live Christmas tree, and of course churning those 10 page Honors midterm papers out 5 hours before they were due ...

When I saw many of the renovations, it actually brought me close to tears: not only did I not recognize any of the students faces, I now no longer recognized many of the once familiar places on campus. When I visited my beloved faculty, it took them a few seconds to remember me (maybe it was the hair?). I could feel a knot in my stomach begin to grow: was it true? Could one never return home? What had once been mine: my dorm room, my spot in the cafeteria, my job of 4 years at the Rassmussen Art Gallery - now belonged to a entirely new generation of students.

I eventually ran into a friend - quite possibly the last familiar thread in the woven tapestry of future and past.  While I don't know the answer to our ability to return home, I will have to hold on to the hope that home rests in memory: the ability to see and remember; to know that perhaps home isn't a physical place, but a space in our hearts.


  1. Oh so beautifully written Amber! Sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake in leaving PUC. Just recently I caught myself looking through their website - even found some images of you and other people I could recognize but whose names escape me now. I was only there a year but PUC will always be a precious place to me too, even if somewhat haunting. It was nice having our slight overlap though! :)

  2. So we're sort of neighbors ;) I actually went to the JC in SR for a few years. I wouldn't be surprised if we know some of the same people.

    I love your outfit and especially your skirt. It's a very dreamy look and it goes along with what you're writing about. Sounds like you had many wonderful memories. It is a little bittersweet to revisit a place when it has changed so much, isn't it?

    Anyway, have a lovely Tuesday!



  3. Omg we are seriously the same person!! I can relate to this post SO MUCH.

    I visited my alma mater a year ago, and was astonished and saddened by how much it had changed. New dorms, new student center, new library, etc. It was depressing, like seeing my college memories vanish before my eyes!

  4. i love the colors of this outfit! you look lovely! ;)

  5. I've not been to any of my alma maters since I graduated, nor looked as lovely as this. Enter my StyleMint Giveaway for 5 shirts!

  6. Amber, I absolutely love this post. I think it's one of my favorites. (1)I literally gasped when I saw your gorgeous skirt, and (2) I could sooo relate to your stories. I felt like I was right there with you reliving those days. I felt the same way when I went to my alma mater but it's been quite some time since I graduated so I didn't see any familiar faces. Plus there were entire new buildings. What a strange feeling to go back home to a place that's changed so much since you left. I mean.. how could they move on without us?? haha. Wonderful post!!!!!

  7. You are so stunning! These shots could all be out of a magazine!


  8. What a beautiful post Amber and well said! We can't always go home again but home is in our hearts!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  9. hey amber! wow, this is sad... i haven't been back to puc for over 5 years, and it would be so scary to go back and not know anybody, not have anybody recognize you. time flies so fast there. the outfit is great and you look beautiful :) -sierra


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