How to mix up your blouse and jeans

A good blouse and pair of jeans can be awesomely versatile. From weekend outings to workwear, layers and accessories can really mix up the look so that your favorite blouse and jeans combo can be repeated again and again while still looking fresh. 


tips for going back to normal life when dealing with grief or depression

Today is World Mental Health Day, and I've had this post brewing in my mind for a bit.  A friend on Facebook shared her experience in a post, and it inspired me to get this post out there.

Mental Health is widely not talked about. We don't know how to deal with it in our society and culture. When I've struggled with depression or grief, I know my friends and family are trying their best but I still often find myself frustrated with our lack of skills around it, and not knowing how to cope with it myself. I want to be transparent and honest about mental health to help destroy that concept, and help those who are suffering and those who love someone who's suffering.

Sometimes when dealing with a mental/emotional struggle, we need to sit on the couch and cry and rest for a week. In other times, getting back to regular life is the most helpful thing for getting us to a healthy place again. I've realized some strategies that have helped me return to regular life in those fragile days, and thought I'd share them today.
These tips might be written in a weird tone that is sarcastic, humorous, and wholehearted all at once, but often that's how grief/depression is.

1. Find music that doesn't give you all the feels. I am a very music sensitive person and music that is too feely, sad, or hopeful can really set me off. Finding some music that doesn't make me emotional and just keeps me going throughout the workday is key. My favorites for this need are the Movie Musicals station on Pandora, Taylor Swift's most recent albums, and hits from the 2000's.

2. Let go of restrictions. If you are pretty restrictive in your life over how many Starbucks runs you make per week, how much Netflix you binge, how clean you keep your desk, or how often you yell the F word in your head, try to let that go for a little bit. You are showing great self-control just by going back to normal life. Let the other things slide and let those little things bring you the joy they can. For me, Starbucks runs and retail therapy are aplenty when I'm just trying to get by. Sometimes being fabulous is the best momentary cure for being sad.


Maxi Skirt Tips for Shorties

Maxi skirts are such an elegant and pretty look, and for a long time I thought I couldn't wear them because I'm short (I'm about 5'3"). I've come to find that with some strategic choices and styling, full length skirts can look gorgeous even without a statuesque frame. 


nights like this.

    It's Friday night. We meet a couple we're friends with at a bar. It's a little dive-y, but perfect at the same time. There's definitely a karaoke scene at this bar. You can tell this is what these singers do every Friday, and they are feeling it tonight. We jump up and sing a few rock ballads. The bar applauds.
    Between stories and laughs a few rounds of drinks pass through our table. An IPA. Ginger whiskey. Old Fashioned. Vodka soda. As we squeeze between people at the bar to close our tabs, we have a happy buzz, and we slow dance to the karaoke song just for a moment. 

    We walk down the street in the cool air, the karaoke regulars smoking outside wish us a good night. Somewhere in our wanderings we decide to go to a viewpoint of the river. The stars are shining. We run through the sprinklers in our path, we pass construction workers repairing roads by moonlight. When we make it to the viewpoint we linger and look at what we can of the dark river, buzzing and rattling come from the surrounding mill.

    As we walk back, we decide we want some chicken nuggets. The nearest fast food is closed so we drive a couple miles to the next town, because the 'want' has quickly turned into a 'need'. The dining room is closed so we park and eat our fourth meal together in the car. We drive our friends back to their car parked in front of the bar, and we see the patrons filtering out. It's well past midnight. Twinkling lights are shining in the trees. The night is that temperature where you almost want a jacket, but not quite.

    Most nights I take my vitamin and read in bed and am asleep by 9:15. But now, it is Friday night, and I am young, and alive, and free.


Casual Back to School Teacher Style

Teacher life at back to school time: excited nerves, early alarms, frequent trips to dollar tree for supplies, constantly running through your students names in your brain, trying to get teenagers to detach from their cell phones, and in this teacher's case... major excitement about a reason to wear decent clothes every day! 
My uniform through the summer is usually a swimsuit or workout gear, maybe jean shorts if I'm feeling fancy, and a messy bun that may have been washed in the last four days. I'm nasty, I know, my friends remind me often. So you can see why I get excited to get dressed again! 
The school I work at is quite casual, these are a few of my favorite looks over the last two weeks. 


The Last Sunday of Summer at the Dahlia Festival

Sunlight streaming through endless fields of dahlias. A chance to stop and smell the flowers. A fancy picnic with a wonderful friend. 
On the first Sunday of September, my dear friend Tayleranne and I visited the Canby Dahlia Festival. I never realized how incredibly diverse dahlias are. From fluffy and chaotic to neat and round, from vivid pinks and yellows to soft whites, not to mention all their perfect and hilarious nametags, the dahlias continued to surprise us.  


God knows what he's doing in my life, and always has.

My 28th birthday is in two days, and for the first time I feel I need to look back and really reflect on  27 before I welcome the next year.
27 was really an incredible year for me. I travelled out of the country for the first time, and had three more amazing long-distance domestic trips. I started a new job that I love, and I work with a wonderful team. I had an immeasurable amount of joyful moments with friends and family, and I truly have an amazing network of people in my life. This year has been such a blessing and I've felt so alive.
27 has been especially beautiful because 26 was quite rough. This year was full of healing and newfound joy and hope. I found ways to let go, relax, and trust in ways I had forgotten. In December I recognized a song that so clearly spoke the anthem of my heart for this year:

I feel glorious, glorious
 Got a chance to start again
I was born for this, born for this
It's who I am, how could I forget?
I made it through the darkest part of the night
And now I see the sunrise
Now I feel glorious, glorious
 I feel glorious, glorious

-Glorious by Macklemore ft. Skylar Grey (sidenote: the music video is very sweet and worth a watch)

I was driving the other day reflecting on year 27 and looking at the unknown of year 28 (anyone else have their best epiphanies while driving?) and this thought occurred to me:

God knows what he's doing in my life, and always has. 

As I look back at the hardships I faced in 26, I recognize that in my lowest low his goodness was so clear to me. My faith had nothing to do with him giving me good circumstances, but everything to do with him loving me enough to go to the cross to be with me always. When I look at the joy I faced in 27, I recognize the freedom of redemption and that the Lord rejoices with me. Through all the other highs and lows of my life, it's clear that Jesus is with me and for me. He has a plan for redemption, renewal, and healing for the whole world and for me, and for you, too. When I look back at my life, there is no doubt that God knows what he's up to, and it's something glorious.


August Friday Favorites

Woah, August is gone?! This month went by SO fast. After Disneyland at the end of July we said we wanted to slow down and savor August, but it went by SO fast. Here's my highlights and fave things from the past month. 


Color & Sun

This is probably my last true summer post, and I'm real sad about it. I really, really, love summer and always have a hard time letting it go. Is anyone else like that? 
I wanted to share two of my favorite colorful outfits from summer. 
In my opinion, bright sun + bright colors = summer style perfection. 


Raspberry Topped Lemon Pie

Since getting married, I have noticed my husband has a variety of UK-sounding phrases such as "spot a car",  and traditions like playing cribbage and having corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. We've observed that the new phrases he's heard from me are things like "reckon", I introduced him to biscuits and chocolate gravy, and the song "I'm my own Grandpa".  I've realized that my familial Oklahoma roots show more than I thought!

My mom's side had a family get-together this summer and our desserts were Texas sheet cake and Tenessee pea-pickin' pie. It hit me again that, without a doubt, we have some Southern roots. 

I think one of those ways those roots show is through love of pie. This recipe is a classic in my mom's recipe book, and I remember it from my childhood. It's a quick and easy pie that's perfect dessert for a hot August evening playing banjo on the porch.


Succulent Gardens & Easy Summer Style

My Grandma and her husband Mel have the best yard ever. This succulent and cactus garden is just a small part of it. 


July Friday Favorites

I don't think this July could have been a more fun month that screamed SUMMER! The month was full of adventure, outdoors, family and friends. Here's my once a month Friday Favorites where I share highlights from the month. 


My Soft, Round Tummy

I have had a soft, round tummy my entire life. The closest to flat it has ever been was in sixth grade, when I was living on toaster strudels every morning and ice cream every night (a growth spurt seemed to even it out). I remember learning that during the Renaissance if you were pale and a little bit chubby it meant you lived a fabulous life, and thinking man, that should have been my time!


Simple Watercolored Letterings

I've realized words often speak to me more than images. I have really come to love lettering; marinating in a beautiful quote or scripture and slowly letting it fill up the page. I've developed a simple routine to make gorgeous watercolored letterings pretty easily. Whether or not you are an artist, I promise this is something you can do! 


3 ways to rock linen pants this summer

These pants are a dream. They feel like pajamas, but look stylish and chic. 
Be warned: if you wear them to work and you work with teenage boys, some may comment that you look like you're wearing pajamas. Disregard their comments, they have no sense of style. 
I am all about linen pants this summer. The pair I'm wearing is from Old Navy, you can find them here.