Fashion Fridays: Fashion That Makes You Smile

Help!  I’m out of ideas right now.

C’mon girls, what do you want to tackle?  What thorny fashion questions should we explore?  I need some fresh material for the new year!

Truth be told, I’ve just been a little light on the writing altogether this past month.  Hence the fewer posts and the addition of vlogs to December.  But I’ll manage to get back, and in the meantime I need your fashion issues or findings to cover on Friday – send ‘em my way!

Until then, we’re covering a very light topic: how to inject a little joy in your wardrobe.

Do you ever buy an item that just downright makes you happy?  Well, I’ve run across a few recently and I thought I’d feature them here.  Even in professional settings you can incorporate them subtly.

I just bought this seriously happy sweater on sale at Talbot’s over the holidays and it does just make me smile.  All these happy colors.  And if you partner the sweater with a blazer and a pair of slacks, it’s perfectly appropriate for work.  Look how happy this outfit becomes when featured with a yellow blazer!  (They have several fun, whimsical sweaters on sale right now.)

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Half of what ModCloth has featured in its store makes me happy.  Their shoes are sheer joy!  I got adorable purple fox flats (my kids love and I only wear them on the weekends or Fridays) which made me smile, but they have several pair that infuse that kind of happiness into the piece.  From foxes in red polka dots to fuchsia wedges, their shoes will make you smile!

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This scattered steps necklace brings me joy for reasons other than how beautiful and colorful it is – it’s from Noonday Collection!  Noonday does such good – in their words, “Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans.”  If that doesn’t bring you joy when you put it on, what will?

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So how about you?  What makes you happy to wear?  And what are your fashion dilemmas for 2015?

Rise and Shine

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I’m writing this at 5:30 in the morning from my kitchen table.

I do not like 5:30 in the morning.

Here are two facts: (1) I like sleep but don’t fall asleep well, and (2) I’m a night owl married to a morning person.

I am not, nor do I believe I will ever be, a morning person.  Or can that change?

You see several things need to happen this year.  First and foremost, I have to go into work earlier.  Starting less than two weeks from now, I will have a new commute.  A not particularly attractive commute to a job that I adore.  We’re moving offices and I’ll be much further from home.  In order to make sure I’m able to have dinner with my kids every night, I need to leave earlier in the morning to start working earlier so I can leave earlier.  It’s as simple as that.

In addition, I need to lose some weight.  So I’m taking three simple steps from Ann Voskamp as my guide – wake up, Word in, work out.  (I like working out about as much as I do waking up early.  Alas, it’s how I’ll achieve my goals.)

That’s how we get to this fascinating article my darling girlfriend, who knows my current predicament, sent me.  She sent it just yesterday as I was beating myself up for turning OFF my 5:30 alarm resulting in a 6:15 am wake up (which only worked because my kids don’t start back to school until today!).

The author started a self bettering series, I love that, and knew that waking up fresher and more quickly was at the top of his list.  So he conducted some experiments.  He evaluated five different models.  First, he tried a routine.  Now while he didn’t find ultimate success with his more stable routine assisting his waking up, my theory is that it does help.  I go to bed anywhere from 10:15 pm to midnight.  I wake up anywhere from 5 am to 6:20 (the latter is not an option come January 19).  I am confident if I worked a little harder on setting some consistent sleep rhythms for my body, it would help.

Next, he tried a different alarm clock.  Y’all, I am in love with this rise and shine alarm clock that revolutionized his wake up process.  I can NOT bring myself to spend over $100 on an alarm clock when I’ve got alarm clocks my mom used in the ’70s in my house, but oh don’t you know I am stalking eBay for the product.  I’m bidding on two right now in the $60 range.  (Please don’t go outbid me, I need this clock by January 19th!  Just buy it from Amazon like normal people.)

His final three efforts were the R.I.S.E. up method (read more in the whole article, very interesting), drinking caffeine (now he’s speaking my love language), and eating something (ahem, be careful there).  I love drinking coffee but I usually don’t drink it until I begin my commute, so don’t you know I’m sitting here writing you while I have a steaming cup of joe next to me.  I also do love breakfast but this got me thinking I should eat it earlier as well (this week I’m making fruit shakes from Almond milk and frozen fruit).  Finally, he calibrates to see what works and what doesn’t.

If we want to get all the things achieved we have planned for the year ahead, then we have to tackle our sleep issues first.  We need to be rested so we can conquer the world, but we also need to wake up early enough so we don’t miss the battle.

So sound off?  Are you a morning person?  If not, what do you do that helps you wake up early?  I’m all ears (my eyes are still a little bleary).

 

Photo credit 7 Images

Fashion Fridays: The Best of 2014

I didn’t have but a few minutes to write today, so here’s a few of my favorite finds from 2014, many of them discovered through you dear reader so keep the tips and requests coming!

1.  Favorite new face foundation/powder/cover product – changing from MAC Studio Fix to a daily BB cream was revolutionary for me.  I have chronically dry skin so even with moisturizer under my MAC, I still ran dry.  My favorite for really making myself up is Dr. Jart’s Black Label Detox BB Cream (particularly if you are pale like me – it looks so finished without foundation).  If I’m looking for something lighter, I like both Smashbox and Mary Kay’s CC cream (the former runs a little dark in the travel size).

2.  Interesting trend – Creative Camo.  Y’all, I’m a girl surrounded by some camo in my life – a husband and two boys and the lot of them are hunters.  But camo is popping up in some unique female adult products these days.  In everything from these (dare I say) adorable Betsy Johnson pumps to this Chelsey silk and wool scarf.  Alas, I can’t bring myself to purchase it – I’m just too city.

3.  My ultimate timeless designer – Still Kate Space friends.  Would someone slimmer than me please run out and buy this gorgeous A-line bow skirt that is ON SALE at Nordstrom.  Yummy!  And her handbags are always perfect for the polished career woman – this gray number is perfect.

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4.  Best new face cleanserPurity by Philosophy.  Smells every so light and fresh and my face is squeaky clean.  I just got their intense overnight moisturizer but don’t know enough about if I like it yet.

5.  Where I’m late to the party – the Colored Jean!  Thank heavens for Kristen showing me the way.  You can find them everywhere from Macy’s to Anthropologie (depending on your price point).

6.  Lovely color trend- claret or Bordeaux.  You have to hit the shade just right, particularly careful of your skin and hair palate, but when you do it’s just lush and elegant.  The darling Ashley showed us how to use it best.

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So what about you?  What was your favorite fashion discovery, shop or trend of the year?

On Being Brave

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There’s a theme out there in the blogging world about selecting ONE word for the new year ahead.  I’ve never done it.  I’m not doing it this year.  But I love the concept.  If you had to capture all you want out of the year ahead in one word, what would it be?

For me, as I have written earlier, my word for 2015 would be brave.

Brave as dressed in entirely new clothes.

Brave as being rather than doing.

You see I’m a doer.  It turns out being takes far more courage (for me) than doing.

When I wrote a God-sized Dreams link up post last year at this exact same time, I wrote about wonderful stuff but it generally involved doing.  I did not envision just being one year ago.  I envisioned doing.  And so I did.  I thought I was brave this year by working on a second book and taking more significant assignments at work and speaking on bigger and brighter stages in front of hundreds of women and leading an organization with an increasingly national profile.

That was not actually all that brave.  It was good, don’t get me wrong.  God opened those doors and I am grateful for every single one of them.  But what God is teaching me, in these hours we’re spending together, is that brave MUST look different this year.

It takes more bravery for me to offer a dozen neighbors cookies in my front yard that to stand on a stage in front of a thousand women.  It takes more bravery for me to read bedtime stories every single night I’m given with my children this year than to finish writing my next book.  It takes more bravery for me to wake up early every morning and work out so that I can lose weight and be a healthy momma than to attend dinner parties with “the important people.”  It takes more bravery for me to spend less and live “smaller,” than to gain everything but lose my soul (Matt. 16:26).

It will take a mighty act of courage, with significant assistance from my patient Heavenly Father, to focus on my influence within my property lines than my influence within my city or state or anywhere else.

I studied the 40 Day Prayer Circle Challenge by Mark Batterson this fall, and in it he writes about drawing a circle of prayer around the area you most fervently want God to work.  Then he uses this beautiful image of how God draws a circle around us:”Long before we woke up this morning and long after we go to sleep tonight, the Holy Spirit was and is circling us in prayer.  And if that doesn’t infuse us with holy confidence, I don’t know what will.  But it isn’t just the Holy Spirit who is interceding for us; the Son of God is interceding for us as well.  They are interceding for the will of God to be accomplished in our lives.  We are double circled.  They are circling us all the time with songs of deliverance.” (Day 15, Draw the Circle)

He wants His work to be done in you even more than you want it!  I could just visualize that 2015 is the year God is drawing a circle around my family and saying, Here.  Here is where you stand.  You stand in this circle this year.  I have a plan for you.  But it will take you being brave to trust me that I can accomplish it while you stand right here in a circle that might feel a little small at first. 

I wrote for God-sized Dreams, “God sometimes requires us to lay down our dream, even the dream He placed on our heart, in order to know him more.”  I want to be brave enough to do that.

He must increase, but I must decreaseJohn 3:30

The line in a song by Francesca Battistelli resonated in my core, “I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes.  Make no mistake, He knows my name.  I’m not living for applause.  I’m already so adored.  It’s all His stage.  He knows my name.”

You see, it’s all HIS stage.  Thousands of articles have been authored  by media specialists and blogging experts about the size of your platform (aka your stage).  Your reach is supposed to grow and your name found at the top of every search engine.  But it is His stage.  I only need HIM to know my name.

So my God-sized Dream for 2015 is for the size and shape of my stage to just so reflect Him.  The stage may look, from the outside, smaller and less bright, but oh friend it feels so brave and big to me.

 

Linking up with God-sized Dreamers today:

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The Best Yes Study: The Final Yes

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You did it!  You made it through to the very last installment of our walk through Lysa TerKeurst’s The Best Yes!

What was the single most important lesson you learned?

I’m not sure, it’s a hard one for me, but I sure loved Chapter 8 on release and Chapter 5 on every assignment not being MY assignment.  Probably the most important reminder was the power of a small no in Chapter 11.  And then today.  Whoa.

We tackle the final two chapters right here at the close of the year: Chapter 18, When My Best Yes Doesn’t Yield What I Expect, and Chapter 19, We Make Choices Then Our Choices Make Us.

Do not miss Chapter 18 if you have ever walked through disaster, crisis, heartbreak, or failure.  Let this give you hope as we enter the new year:

Let this unexpected happening point to your strength, not your weakness.
Maybe you’ve been entrusted with this.  Not cursed with it.
Chapter 18, p. 221, The Best Yes

Whatever the hard thing is you are facing, do the next right thing right in front of you to do.  No matter how much it hurts to do the right thing.  She quotes President Theodore Roosevelt as saying, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing.  The worst thing you can do is nothing.”  {===>Click To Tweet}

I could not put the message to you any better than Lysa did herself:  Friend, you are strong.  You are persevering, tough, able to bend without breaking, willing to be humbled to the point of humiliation, not blinded, a hunter for wisdom, a praying-through-it woman, a courageous gal, one who wants to learn the deep dependence of following hard after God Himself…From that cracked open-heart place, a God-breathed strength will rise. Rise. Rise. (Chapter 18, p. 225)

In Chapter 19, she closes by commending us to mix together all of the wisdom we have picked up along this journey – day by day, decision by decision.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:4-5

So share your thoughts?  What will you be taking into your new year as you strive to offer respectful nos and best yeses?