Straw for Spring

 

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite accessory trends for spring that will also carry over into summer – straw bags! And what’s not to love about these adorable bags that bring a beachside look to your outfit. They’re versatile, neutral colored so they go with everything, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Personally, I’m loving the circle ones that can be worn crossbody, but the larger ones with pom poms are hard to resist as well!

  

Choose one for yourself that will be durable, can hold everything you need it to hold, and wear it all spring and summer long. Now, if only the weather would cooperate…

 

 

 

 

 

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What To Wear To Work

It’s pretty crazy to think about how much the workplace has evolved over the past few decades. Speaking in general terms, of course, the modern workplace is a much more casual place than it used to be. Gone are the days when women wore dresses and blazers to work – it’s now commonly acceptable to wear jeans and open-toed shoes on the job. My entire career so far has been at companies that have had fairly casual dress codes, meaning that I could wear jeans any day of the week. Currently, however, I work for a company that has taken the concept of a casual work environment to a whole new level in my opinion. Any day of the week I will see ripped jeans, mini skirts, see through shirts, bodycon dresses, and even crop tops – it will be interesting to see what’s acceptable once the weather is actually warm!

My favorite motto for dressing for work is a generic but solid one: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Regardless of where I work, I want my outfit to portray the fact that I’m capable, driven, and aware of the fact that I’m in a professional environment. I also want my outfit to be stylish (always!!), modest, and able to stand out from everyone else’s. Now I’ll admit, all of that is a pretty tall order to fill each day with my outfit! I also like to give myself a little break on Fridays and dress more casually than I would during the week. That being said, having these guidelines has helped to shape my professional wardrobe and created some helpful parameters for dressing in a professional yet ultra casual environment. Dressing for the job I want does not mean showing up to work each day in a pantsuit while everyone else around me is in ripped jeans and leggings. That would make me stand out, for sure – but not in a good way! However, I also don’t want to just blend in and start wearing bodycon dresses to work on a regular basis.

It’s all about striking a balance. And for me, that means that while I dress casually for work, but still professionally.  Jeans? Absolutely, but not ripped. Leggings? Why not, but with a tunic or longer sweater. Sandals? All the time in the summer, but no flip flops. Dressing this way helps me to still feel prepared to put in a full day’s work while also not standing out in an unnecessary way. Do you also work in a casual work environment? Below are a few staple outfits that I turn to time and again for professional yet casual options:

 

  1. Dress Pants with a Casual Top or Sweater

 

2. Jeans with a Button Down Blouse

 

3. Jeans with a Sweater or Cardigan

 

4. Leggings and a Tunic Top

 

5. A Casual Dress

 

 

 

 

 

All images via Pinterest

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Making Time For What You Love

I feel a little bit hypocritical writing this post, because what I’m writing about is not something that I’m really all that great about putting into practice in my own life. However, it is something that I’m working on improving – and I hope that reading this will motivate you to do the same in your life.

One of the (few) upsides of having a career that doesn’t really align with your passions is that it makes you appreciate even more so the opportunities to do things that you are passionate about. For a long time I had a piece of paper taped to my desk, on which I had written, “Do something creative every day.” And I knew that wasn’t something that was going to happen at work- I had to make it happen on my own time. Now, I have failed miserably at making that happen every day, but it has helped to motivate me to be more intentional about my free time when I actually do have it.

There’s something about taking a little time for yourself and doing something that excites you, that challenges you, that uses the skills and talents you have. For me, it is the highest form of self care. I know some people think of self care as being a bubble bath, or a glass of wine, or a massage – and all of those things are great for self care! I would just encourage you not to limit your definition of self care to activities like those. Instead, expand your definition to include doing things that you love, and I think you will find self care even more rewarding.

Here is a question you can ask yourself to get started: What makes me feel alive? Is it gardening? Playing an instrument? Taking photos of your family? Making pottery? Tackling an ambitious house project? It’s different for everyone. My own answer to that question is not just one, but multiple, typically centered on the act of creating something new: designing clothing or fabric patterns, designing anything, sewing, hand lettering, interior decorating, and blogging, of course!

Time spent doing something that I love is never wasted. I never, ever regret spending an hour or two at my sewing machine, or creating a new fabric pattern- even if it means something else doesn’t get done that evening. Instead, I feel more centered in who I am and who I was created to be. So I would encourage you to do the same – identify what you love to do, and make time for it! Even if your schedule is crazy, you won’t regret it. Actually, you’ll love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Spring Trend That Will Sneak Up On You

I find it highly ironic that I’m writing my first spring style post of 2018 while there’s snow on the ground where I live, oh and it’s absolutely freezing outside. Welcome to the Midwest! It’ll be like this off and on for another month. Anyways, I digress. Today I’m going to share one of the biggest trends for spring this year, and that is sneakers. That’s right, this year in footwear is looking to be more on the casual side with sneakers taking the place of traditional flats or even sandals. Now, I will admit that personally I will always be a die hard sandal lover and am not a fan of wearing sneakers on an everyday basis. That being said, there’s a benefit to sneakers over sandals or flats: they offer more support! Really, this is as much of a practical trend as it is a casual trend.

 

I’m loving the more feminine and “softer” look sneakers as opposed to the more athletic styles out there (save those for the gym). And no Converse, anywhere. Ever. Thank you.

 

Here’s a few of my favorites:

 

 

 

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On No Longer Saying Goodbye

**Disclaimer: While this is a fashion blog, this one post has nothing to do with fashion. So there’s that. 

 

Well, in case you didn’t already know, I’m going to have a baby. In late June of this year my husband and I will welcome our firstborn child into the world. And we are so very excited!!

Truth be told, I could write an entire post (or even a series) detailing my fears and anxiety and terror about the entire process and all of that fun stuff, but this is a happier post. And if you’re looking for a place to read all about my pregnancy experience and eventually a birth story, keep looking. You won’t find that here, or anywhere, because that’s not just me. Anyways, I digress. This post is not about the process of having a child. This post is about how God has prepared me to be a mother and raise and love a child. So, let’s start where it all began.

 

When I was twelve years old, my parents announced that my mother was pregnant. Which was great… except for the fact that, like I said, I was twelve and my mom happened to be forty. I remember sheer horror washing over me as my dad all too happily announced the news and the first thought that sprang into my head: My social life is ruined. Which is already a pretty fragile thing when you’re a homeschooled preteen. The next several months saw me as a bitter, embarrassed daughter who could not stop being mortified as her mom became more and more pregnant. I never felt any excitement over having another sibling, I had been quite content with the two that I had already, thank you very much. Then one night in late August my grandparents took me, now a thirteen-year-old, and my brother and sister to the hospital to meet my new little brother. I vaguely remember holding a very red (and already quite large) baby, but I more clearly remember not liking seeing my mom, hours removed from giving birth, all hooked up to devices and being tended to by nurses. The mortification was still there.

 

And then, suddenly it wasn’t. The next day we went back to the hospital and my mom seemed more like herself and less like a hospital patient, and my little brother was a little less red and a little more appealing. Something shifted inside of me that day and all I could feel was joy at having this adorable little baby to play with every single day. And, after we got home, that’s pretty much what I did. I held him, snuggled him, changed his diapers, and helped to feed him and play with him as he got older. It was almost as if I got to pretend that I was also his mom, although I knew I wasn’t. My little brother’s personality turned out to be pretty similar to mine, which made me feel like we had an even stronger bond. I couldn’t imagine my teenage years without him anymore and I couldn’t have loved him any more.

I went off to college the same month that my little brother turned five. Even though it was still in the same state as my parents, I knew the staying at home chapter of my life had ended, and I would never truly be home, at least not permanently, again. This hit me hardest as I realized that my little brother would continue changing rapidly as little boys do, and I wouldn’t be around to help take care of him and watch him grow up. I felt a lump in my throat as I hugged him goodbye in the tiny dorm room. I missed my entire family while I was away at college, but I found that the one I missed the most was my little brother, who would be a little less little each time I saw him.

 

Two years ago I became an aunt for the first time when my brother and sister-in-law welcomed a baby boy into their family. Unlike the time my mom announced her pregnancy with my little brother, I was thrilled from the moment I found out my sister-in-law was expecting. Even with all the excitement I felt at becoming an aunt, I was completely taken aback by how much love I felt for the tiny little baby who was placed in my arms two days after he was born. I hadn’t ever felt a love for a baby like this before and wasn’t expecting to feel this way until it was my own. I even remember feeling alarmed at the intensity of my love for him, it overwhelmed me that much. Now that two years have passed I still feel that same overwhelming love for now both of my nephews, and instead of questioning it, I embrace it. They both live in a separate state from me and I am always counting the weeks until I see either one of them again. They bring a special kind of joy into my life, the likes of which I had never quite experienced previously. I so love being an aunt!

 

   

My love for children and the way they have impacted my life extends beyond my family. I babysat frequently throughout middle school and high school, and I loved doing it. There was one family I became especially close to and babysat for them as they had two, then three little boys. Shortly after my high school graduation they moved quite literally halfway across the world, and it was so hard to say goodbye to the little boys I had come to know and love. Within the past decade I’ve been able to visit them as they’ve lived in two different countries, and the time with their now seven children has been sweet, but always too short.

I was so grateful that there was another family, also with three little boys, that I became especially close to in college. I babysat for them as often as I could and they even trusted their children with me for an entire weekend –  more than once! I knew that my time living down the road from them in a small college town would come to an end after my graduation, but I didn’t realize that it would end with such finality until I learned that they were moving away to a state that was a plane ride away. That was one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever experienced.

The common thread through all these snapshots of how children have played an important role in my life, besides the fact that I love each and every one of them, is that they all have come with goodbyes. Some more permanent than others, but nevertheless, I always have to say goodbye to each of these children and give them back to their parents. My love for children has always been framed with goodbyes, whether it’s a goodbye to little ones who live nearby after an afternoon of babysitting, a goodbye to a nephew for the next couple of months, or a goodbye to little boys who I know I won’t see for years to come. And I think that is one of the many reasons why I’m so excited to become a mom. Finally, I will have a baby who I won’t have to say goodbye to and surrender to his or her real parents. I won’t have to tuck a little one into bed and explain that I won’t be there when they wake up in the morning. I won’t have to hold back tears as I hug three or four little boys goodbye, knowing that the next time I see them, they won’t be little anymore. I will still have to say bye to my nephews (and niece!) as we drive back across the state line after another visit to family, but I can look in the backseat at a car seat holding a little one who will always be going home with us.

I know motherhood will bring its fair share of challenges, difficulties, sacrifices, and even heartache. However, by God’s grace, I know it will be more than worth it, and I also get to have my best friend parent right alongside of me.

 

But mostly, right now? I’m just excited to start saying hello.

 

 

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