Don’t Start Stressing, Read This Instead

Hey.

Thanks for stopping by the blog! There are so many things I had planned to post about today, but I really felt impressed to scrap all of that and write about something else. Take 84 seconds to keep reading…

I started feeling overwhelmed last week, and as I allowed my thoughts to progress it started to come in waves. Work was piling up, the house was a mess, blogs were looming and then the holiday cooking and shopping and list making…Oh {freakin} My!

Then I realized if I don’t get control of this situation I’m not going to enjoy one minute of the holidays. And I’m the type of person to want to savor every second, so I don’t want to spend the next month stressed out, and I’m certain neither do you.

First I started meditating on Hebrews 4:11, “labor to enter into His rest.” Which means CHOOSE to enter into God’s rest. I’ve started making a concerted effort to just be still and quiet. No phone checking, no noise. Just being. Even if it means driving in silence.

This helps keep the noise down in my head (there’s a constant stream of songs going up there) and it helps me to hear and recognize God’s voice.

Next I start to really list out everything I’m stressed about and give it a time frame. Sometimes we have this long list in our minds and it seems like it’s going to take us HOURS AND HOURS. When really it won’t. When I start making sides for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, I’m not going to be slaving over the stove the entire time. Some of that will be spent with the food in the oven.

There will be some free time to get other things done which makes it easier.Earlier in my mind, it was me running around the flour-bombed kitchen with a crazed look in my eye while the pot boiled over on the stove.

The key to enjoying the holidays is to schedule in time to just be (even if it’s the 84 seconds you’re giving me to read this), make a list and be realistic about your time, but most importantly – labor to enter into God’s rest.

He so wants you to enjoy this season. And if you’ll have those moments of quiet time with Him, He’ll lead and guide you to do exactly what you need to do at exactly the right time to do it.

I promise. I see it happen in my own life every time I finally let go and listen.

Thanks for reading. I so appreciate you stopping by the blog. I’m so blessed in that I get to do what I’m passionate about, but it would be me talking to a wall if it weren’t for you.

Let’s make this Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s the most stress free ones yet!

Speaking of which, enjoy my segment from yesterday where I talk about gift ideas for the guys!

Gifts for the Boys

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Um can we talk about how easy boys have it? Their getting ready process is simple, their going to bed process is EVEN SIMPLER, they get to skip the whole child bearing thing and they’ve got a plethora of things to buy when it comes to shopping for us.

Women, on the other hand, we get to pluck. And then we get to stare at the tool shelf for 20 minutes trying to figure out what to buy our boys.

I’m hoping this list will help with that. Not the plucking thing, but the what-to-buy-the-boys thing. Together with these two stores in West Town Mall, shopping for the men on your list won’t be as painful as waxing your underarm (yeah we to do that too).

The Art of Shaving

This store smells so good. It is one cigar smoking, suit wearing man holding a pit bull away from leaking testosterone all over the mall floor.

They’ve got everything when it comes to your man’s grooming ritual – and (most definitely) then some. Eye cream, mustache conditioner, after shave, razors, cologne. Their products are perfectly manly yet highly luxurious, and they work to give him the closest shave possible without irritating his skin.

Pick up this power shave kit for a Black Friday steal of $100 (normally it’s $175). What’s great is that there’s all kinds of gifts at different price points, giving you all kinds of options for the men on your list!

Mori Luggage and Gifts

Whether it’s the table top punching bag or a waterproof speaker, Mori’s has a great selection of both the fun and the practical.

I’ve noticed a lot of boys have a strange fascination with monkeys. You can feed that obsession with this Pocket Monkey that features all kinds of tools…12 to be exact. It’s got a bottle opener, a screwdriver, ruler, straight edge, orange peeler, iphone stand and headphone cord wrap – just to name a few.

Alright I think I’ve given you plenty of ideas even Tim the Tool Man Taylor would be proud to open on Christmas. Time to go shop!

What to Wear When Shopping Black Friday

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(This street though. Thanks Asheville, for letting me pose on it again :)

Every year I’ve got to get me a little dose of Black Friday. One crowd, one line, witnessing one fight or two and I’m happy to go back to the house and be done with it.

Whether I actually score a good deal or not remains to be seen. But I do leave the house fully prepared to find something for others and myself. Which is why I always plan my shopping outfit in advance.

You should do the same, and here’s my formula for a good one…

Start with good shoes. For this outfit especially you want to begin with comfortable shoes. Pick out your most comfortable (and a little bit cute) and go from there. These boots are comfortable and provide a little bit of warmth. Plus they allow me to wear big cozy socks which always makes life easier. These boots are from ModCloth (similar here).

Then I go with comfortable pants. My favorite skinny jeans that make my butt look good aren’t in the running here. I go for pants with good pockets and a loose waist band like these cargo pants I snagged at TJ Maxx a couple years ago (similar here).

For tops I always stick to a basic tank and a waterfall sweater. The sweater keeps me warm as I won’t be lugging around a coat, but it’s not something I’m going to have to keep pulling over my head when trying things on. I stick to a basic tank like a black one because I wear it under most shirts anyways, so when I’m trying them on I don’t have to take it off and can easily see what a sheer shirt will look like.

This waterfall sweater is from Forever21 (here).

Finally, I always ALWAYS go with a messenger bag. I love my Michael Kors, but it is heavy and I love having both arms free. I got this one for $5. You practically trip over them in most stores these days.

Go out with your own version of this outfit, and I promise you you’ll be a cute, happy, comfortable power shopper. Tune into FOX 43 tomorrow between 8:30/8:45am for gift ideas for the guys in your life!

Speaking of power shopping, you’ve got to watch this SNL spoof of a Black Friday commercial. It’s a little bit funny… ;)

Thanks & Giving Part III

This week I’m devoting all of my thankfulness to things found in my closet. It’s fun to take stock of the things you truly appreciate in there. And I’m not talking about the pair of jeans that makes your butt look really good (although I am very thankful for those). I’m talking about the deeper sentimental pieces.

Here’s what I’ve got…

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1. Ring

I wear this ring often. It is my Grandmother’s wedding band. Out of all my grandparents, she was the one I got to know the most. She was a beautiful woman with impeccable style. I think of her every time I put it on, and am so thankful for the woman she was because I believe my love for clothes was passed down through her!

2. Necklace

This Tiffany necklace was a gift from my brother and sister for my college graduation. When you change majors and then move states, your collegiate career suffers greatly. When it was finally time for me to graduate it felt like such a huge accomplishment. I’m so happy to have this gorgeous classic necklace to remember that milestone.

3. Shoes and Skirt

Over the past two years I’ve learned in the deepest way possible to lean on God and trust in Him even when things don’t go as planned. And you know, even in the middle of hard times He’s shown Himself to be strong and faithful. Both of these items were found and purchased during some rough patches and they’ve quickly become two of my favorite pieces. I love them even more for the fact that when I see them it reminds me that God never fails. Plus they make me smile because I believe He led me to them as a way of encouragement right when I needed it.

Giving:

Well, honestly I don’t have a specific example of giving from this week. After starting this series I’ve come to realize how beneficial it can be having a check point like this to evaluate what I’ve given over a week’s span. I plan on checking up on this more often because I want to continually and purposefully bless others!

The Puffy Jacket

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Puffy has a bad rap. You never really hear it in a positive sense…”You look puffy today” No.

How about, “There’s not enough puff!” Never heard it.

Even “the puffy shirt” was a bad thing.

Let’s give puff its dignity back by applying it to a jacket (but just between you and me, we’re going to try and keep the puff to a minimum).  I was searching for a good puffy jacket last month because they’re so warm, and it’s the perfect kind of jacket to wear with everyday clothes. It’s not too dressy, not too casual.

The options right now are pretty vast, so you definitely want to go into the search with some criteria. Mine was as follows…

1. It couldn’t make me look too puffy (case and point).

2. I didn’t want it to cover my bum (I’m all about that bass).

3. I didn’t want to look like I came from the future and/or was getting ready to travel into space.

I did a little internet shopping before hitting the actual store, and found that Dillard’s had the best selection of coats that fit my requirements.
That’s always something I enjoy doing since clicking around to stores uses up no gas and very little energy. It’s a great way to narrow down the field.

Dillard’s seemed to have a lot of options that fit my requirements so I headed over there.

The jacket I’m wearing is made by Columbia. Look how the “puffies” get slimmer right at my waistline…that’s a great touch and makes the jacket seem less bulky overall. The great thing about Dillard’s is even though they didn’t have my size that day, I was able to order it through them and get free shipping directly to my house. That’s awesome.

This coat is SUPER warm (it’s got down feathers in it) and not too puffy plus it’s water proof. To see more of what Dillard’s has to offer click here. For a different price range of puffy jackets click here.

If the temperatures this week are any indication of what this winter’s going to be like (and Lord I hope they are) we’re going to be needing some warm coats! :-D

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Treasure Tromp

The Beauty Product You Needed Yesterday

This Beauty Blender Sponge is a thrill ride. You may not have the words “thrill ride” pop in your head when you look at it, but oh what fun it is to try.

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First, you don’t use it the way it is. You’ve got to get it damp. Once you do that, it expands almost doubling in size!

Then once you’ve patted it dry, the magic continues with the way it makes your concealer smooth out over your face, causing any blemish or spot you’re trying to cover up – disappear! It’s magical!

I’ve used it with my powder foundation as well, touching up spots towards the end of the day and it continues to help my make up melt into my face doing exactly what I want it to do. After a while it does get all dirty with your makeup stains, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop!

Once it gets to that point, you can either wash it with the special wash they sell or just use a gentle face cleanser…and BOOM it’s like new again! WILL THE FUN EVER END!? …Actually you do have to buy a new one after about 3 months or so. But the good news is you only have to pay around $20 for this little bucket of awesome.

There are multiple people on my Christmas list who will be getting one of these – go buy one for yourself and join the party!

3 Ways to Tie Your Scarf

Much like pretzel dough, scarves are having a major moment.

I don’t think I’ve stopped seeing scarves even when the temperatures didn’t call for them. So let’s lean into that fact and wear our scarves well with a few tips on how to wear them…

Below I’ve posted the best scarf tying video I think has ever been made and will ever be made. Ever. The whole video is flawless, but what I like most is how it goes in slow motion when she’s tying the scarf so you can really see how she does it. Every year I pick out the techniques I like the best and keep the video handy on my phone to watch it when I’m getting dressed.

Here are my top three favorites…

The Magic Trick:

All she did was loop the scarf around her neck one time, then she reached inside one of the loops to pull the right (our right not her’s) hanging side up slightly to make a hole. Then she pulled the left side through that little hole.

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The Twist and Pull

For this one, she folded the scarf in half, pulled the one dangler through the loop, twisted the loop then pulled the other dangler through (dangler is the best word I could think of. Does it sound weird? Yes, yes it does.)

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The Braid

This one starts out again with the scarf being halved, but instead of pulling one dangler through, you pull both of them through, twist the loop and pull them both through again.

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For the last two techniques I would suggest using a lighter scarf if you plan on wearing it in doors. If you use the scarf like she’s got (heavier, woolier) you’re going to be very bundled up indoors. That’s why it’s very important to have a good variety of fabrics when it comes to your scarves.

I also like to buy scarves with different fringes because even that plays a role in how it lays when you’re wearing it. Short fringed scarves don’t hang as well in some instances like longer fringed ones do. So try out different tie techniques with a couple scarves to see which one fits the look you’re going for.

Express has a whole lotta short fringe scarves (and right now they’re on sale). And one of my favorite places to snag one is Forever21. They’re so cheap! So even if you literally snag it…you’re only out $10 or so.

Here’s the whole video of 25 ways to tie a scarf…

Christmas Gift Idea: A Little Thing

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If you’re like me and having a hard time figuring out what to put on your Christmas list, two things…

1. We’re so blessed and let’s thank God for it!

2. I’m going to do my best to give you (and in turn give myself) some ideas of what to put on the list.

Hopefully this little series will also inspire you with what to buy someone else!

The first Christmas gift idea? Tiny earrings.

Perfect to give:

They’re easy to buy for someone whose style you’re not quite sure of. You can buy several pairs, giving them plenty of options to choose from. And maybe even go a little crazy and find something that they would like but might be out of their comfort zone. The great thing is, they’re so small so they’re only making a teeny tiny statement :)

Perfect to receive:

Studs are that little detail that really set off your look. And because they’re so small they’re not always something you want to spend your money on. But it’s so nice to have a collection of them around. I love to have different ones because they’re usually what I pair with my statement necklaces for that little bit of glimmer without going overboard.

These earrings were a gift from my brother :)

The Limited has some really gorgeous ones, and right now their jewelry is on sale! So go stock up and add them to your list!!

Thanks & Giving Part II

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I am very against throwing the “b” word around. But this week called for it – it was busy.

There were moments when I felt a little overwhelmed, but as is my policy, I didn’t talk about it. That seems to only make it worse and chances are the person you vent to is or has been busier than you are, so I do my best to suck it up. I just breathe and rest in God and the thought that my life is filled with so many good things to do!

I also cherish moments like this one at Remedy Coffee House. I was in between meetings downtown and got to just take a moment to sit and plan and drink coffee {mostly} internet free (I had my phone but I limited my scrolling).

I think a lot of times what adds to our feeling of being overwhelmed is that we don’t give our brain a quiet moment during the day. When we see one coming, we reach for social medial. I’m forcing myself to limit that. And man does it make a difference.

So that’s the first thing I’m thankful for – a schedule that allows me to take a second and have coffee in a cool place.

Along these lines, I’m thankful for my husband who has quietly pitched in and helped me tremendously around the house this week.

House work is what quickly sends me over the edge on weeks that are jam-packed. Probably because the visual reminder of all that needs to get done follows me around. And when you work from home some days, it’s inescapable. I so appreciate him pitching in and doing things without pointing it out, rubbing in my face or even requiring me to say thank you.

He just does it to help and I love him eternally for that.

Finally, I’m thankful for my straightener (remember that time I said not everything would be deep?).

My big brother got me this straightener over ten years ago and it’s been a beast ever since in spite of the many drops to the floor and that one time I left it on overnight!

Chi is where it’s at, folks, if you’re looking for a new one.

And what I’m giving this week? Well, on Wednesday I gave a little something to a girl who moved here a little while ago. You can tell just by talking to her for a few minutes that she still misses her hometown and that just hits all my weak spots! I know what it’s like to miss your hometown and I also know that it gets better!

What are you thankful for and giving this week!?

Here’s How You Put Together an Important Outfit

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When a close friend asks you to help with something you already love to do, it’s a win/win…win/win/win.

Which is why I was super excited to help my good friend (and former bridesmaid) Carly, put together a very important outfit for a presentation she was giving at UT.

I wanted to share with you how we put together what she wore, because I know (first hand) that when you’ve got an important event to get dressed for, it can sometimes send you into a brain-blocked stupor.

Here are steps you can take to put together an important look…

1. Know your perimeters.

It is so much easier when you have perimeters when putting together an outfit. In Carly’s case, her outfit had to be something business casual and couldn’t include jeans. If yours aren’t as clear cut (Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t usually have a dress code) then start with the weather or what it is you’ll be doing and let those factors narrow down the field.

2. Pick one thing you really want to wear.

Having a starting point is really truly going to help you form an outfit. Carly knew she wanted to wear boots because they’re dressy but comfortable for standing (which is smart), so we started with her favorite boots and built out from there. When you’re stuck dazed and confused in your closet, make a point to pick just one piece that you really want to show off.

It could be shoes, or a necklace, or even a certain comfortable tank. Regardless, it’s going to help your indecision by starting with one piece you’re absolutely sure about.

3. Shop at a store you know.

There is no more hopeful feeling than that of pulling open the doors of a TJMaxx. Because in that moment you don’t know what they have (even if you were there yesterday), but that feeling that they may have exactly what you’re looking for is inescapable. Which is so great, but when you’re in a time crunch you need to go somewhere else.

We started at JCPenney because it’s a place I know has a consistent selection of basics. And sure enough, they came through.

We first picked up a cable knit sweater. It was a color consistent with what Carly typically wears and it was on sale so – win! While there, she found a great deal on some skinny pants that would go perfectly with her boots – win/win!

4. Stop and style.

After we found the basics of what she was going to wear, it was time to stop and look at everything so we could figure out how to style it. The sweater alone was pretty, but over a button down it would pop even more. And I knew we could add a little sparkle with a great necklace at her collar.

Take a moment to stop and figure out what else the outfit could use as it really helps direct the rest of your shopping trip. Without that, you’re just wandering aimlessly not sure of what you’re looking for. This way you have a plan.

If you look at what you have and are still not sure, maybe do a search on Pinterest to get a feel for how to style it.

5. Go to a few more stores.

After roaming the mall for a great button down, we ended up finding the perfect one back at JCP. But I’m really glad we did look in other stores, because it confirmed that this was the perfect outfit. Sometimes I’ll do this just for the peace of mind that there’s nothing “better” out there.

Finally, be sure to consciously ease off the pressure in your mind. I typed that sentence for myself, because I’m so guilty of letting the pressure build. The problem with letting that happen is after a while nothing is good enough.

Focus on what you’re going to feel good in and remember that it’s never as big of a deal as you think.

In the end, Carly looked so beautiful, so her and so perfect for what she was doing. AND she did such an amazing job. I am so proud to call her my friend!

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