Oh, hello there! My name is Annena. Weird name, I know. We can go ahead and get that out of the way. It’s pronounced Ah-NEE-Nah. I feel the need to include a pronunciation guide because even though it’s a total of 3 different letters, it is RARE when people get it right. And I mean rare. But, it was my mom’s name and my mom was a total badass, so I’m proud to share her name.

Anyway, I’m a relatively normal 24-year-old woman. I have a pretty nice life with my boyfriend, Greer, whom also has a weird name. Match made in heaven. We have a lovable mutt named Umphrey — another weird name. In case you’re wondering, he is named after the reigning kings of jam bands, Umphrey’s McGee. We live in Richmond, VA — the capital of Virginia and mecca of craft beer and really, really good restaurants. Not even kidding —if you’re a foodie, you need to visit RVA. My hobbies include playing tennis on occasion, giving love to my dog, and spending far too much time browsing at Target. All very normal, minus all the weird names.

Even though I seem like your average plain Jane, I have a lot of interests I want to share with people. Sharing hasn’t always been the easiest thing for me. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been a total introvert. But that’s something I always wanted to overcome, or at least make better. So, I decided to make a blog. It wasn’t as easy as the snap of my fingers. I’ve been thinking about this blog for years. I’ve been dying for a place to keep all my thoughts, ideas, and interests — however weird or superficial they may seem.

So, here we are. Welcome to Oak & James — a cozy home for anything and everything I’m interested in. When I described this blog to people prior to starting it, I summed it up as “everything from pizza to mascara.” Pizza to mascara? More weirdness. To clue you in, my first job was at a pizza restaurant and I can make a mean NY-style pizza. Stay tuned for a future post on pizza gloriousness. But what I meant by “from pizza to mascara” was that this blog won’t be limited to any particular niche. It’s a lifestyle blog where you can find goodies related to beauty, food, travel, fashion, and endless other topics.

Where did Oak&James come from? Why didn’t you name is Pizza & Mascara? Good question. I am originally from Raleigh, North Carolina — a city that will always hold a very special place in my heart. It’s where my family is, home of NC State University (Go Wolfpack), and a place I will always call home. But now, I live in Richmond — a city that I have truly fallen in love with. I’m a firm believer that the places you go make up who you are and the experiences you have shape you as a person. So when I was thinking of a name for this blog that encompassed me and my interests, these two cities and the experiences I’ve had in them came to mind. Then, it hit me. Raleigh is known as the City of Oaks. Richmond is known as the City on the James. Combine the two and you get the perfect name — Oak & James.

Now you know who I am and where Oak & James came from, but you should know something very important about me and Oak&James. You can expect loads of realness. I’m never going to pretend to be anything I’m not. I won’t spend loads of money on products and equipment. I won’t edit my photos to be skinnier or blemish-free. I love the skin I’m in and Oak & James reflects that. I’m a twenty-something girl making the most of life — my life. And I’m excited to share it with you. So, thank you to everyone reading this. Oak&James is a new chapter in my life, and I’m honored to be part of yours.


Yours Truly,

Oak & James