Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Peaches and wine?

Unique color combinations are my favorite.

InStyle magazine (which I used to read regularly, because I also used to live at the beach and had an excuse to read magazines…sigh), always has a feature color which they show paired with some different hues. Three of the paired colors are normal; everyone would think to do those combos. But, then they throw in a “wild card pairing”, and it is always my favorite combination. There are some colors that just DO. NOT. GO. TOGETHER. But, really, I think that list is much smaller than we have been led to believe.
Do you have some unusual color combos you like to wear? Another I think of frequently is orange and blue – thank you, Florida Gators, for making these colors socially acceptable to wear together, because really, in the right shades, they can be quite lovely.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Preds Pride!

I need to learn hockey lingo, because y’all, Nashville is a hockey town, and our Predators are on fire!

I freely admit that I am a bandwagon fan. In my defense, though, I’ve never followed a hockey team before, except the US in the Olympics, and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to jump on the bandwagon of your home-town team.

So, disclaimer out of the way, since my boys are in the final games of the Western Conference Finals – just one or two steps away from the Stanley Cup games! – I figured I should go buy a t-shirt. Since I waited until the Western Conference Finals, though, the choices were a little limited…

After striking out at Target and one Walmart, I headed to a 2nd Walmart and ended up in the kids section. While I don’t normally like how kids’ shirts fit, since I am not, you know, a 14 year old boy…I did like the $12.88 price tag. And, I liked it even better when I got to the checkout counter and it rang up as $1!

I asked twice if that was the correct price, because honestly, even on clearance, how could it be one dollar? But, it was, and so for that, I could make anything work.

And, make it work I did by cutting a v-neck into the shirt to give it a more modern, feminine, less little boy look, and pairing it with striped pants and a jacket because I wanted to show my (newfound) pride at work. I swapped out the jacket and pants for shorts later, when I went to watch the game in the park, surrounded by 1000s of my closest friends. And food trucks, because this is Nashville!

Unfortunately, we lost that game in overtime, but it was a great evening nevertheless, and I’m sure this $1 purchase will be used many times over in the coming days/weeks and future seasons.

And now with the jacket…
Go Preds! Pluck the Ducks! Smashville! (That’s all I’ve got…)

That Time I Forgot to Give My Post a Title

It’s always a weird transition for me after a serious topic to go back to talking about my clothes. But, since that is the primary purpose of this little blog, I suppose we’ll make the awkward transition. At least I have a great outfit to help smooth things over.

I love yellow. I don’t wear it a lot, really, because it’s hard to find cute clothes in a good yellow (read, not highlighter yellow or too green-tinted).

But, when I do find a really great yellow piece, I tend to wear the heck out of it. So, expect to see a lot of this skirt this summer.
I got this top at Target for like $8 or something, and I was so excited about it. I still really love the bokeh pattern and all the bring colors that can be mixed and matched in a million ways – theoretically. The problem is, the cut of the blouse is oddly assymetrical, and the side is sheer from about my waist down. So, unless I wear it tucked in, it is a) not appropriate for work (which is unfortunate, because it’s definitely a work-type blouse), and b) it just hangs weird. Even tucking it in, I have to be careful to pick an appropriate waist style, or it is still quite unflattering.

So, despite the myriad of colors, I think this top may get limited exposure. Too bad, but at least I know I have one strong showing out of it.
Have you ever bought something you were really excited about, only to discover it didn’t work as you’d envisioned, after all? Hopefully, you didn’t spend too much more than the $8 that I did!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Anchor for the Soul

When I first started studying hope, I thought God was encouraging me to be hopeful about a certain situation, and I was pumped. I couldn’t wait for how I thought things would work out, and I was excited to prove the naysayers wrong. But, as my friend had predicted, that situation did not work out how I’d “hoped” at all. Like, not only did the door close, but it was slammed in my face, locked, and the key thrown away – that’s how much it did not work out.

So, then I had to decide if I was going to practice what I preached. It wasn’t hard to be hopeful when it looked like things were going my way; it’s much harder when it actually went opposite of what I wanted, and there was no evidence in sight that things might improve in the future.

But, as we discussed yesterday, we do have evidence of better things in the future because God is good and His promises are that He gives good gifts to His children. His plans are to give us a future and a hope, and He has never let His people be forsaken.

Hope is a choice.

That is the conclusion I’ve come to. Like almost everything else in our lives, we can choose to be hopeful. We can choose to believe that God’s Word is true, that He loves us, that He’s working things out for our benefit, and that “this too shall pass.”

OR

We can choose to stay stuck in self-pity and fear and worry and doubt and all the other things that tend to creep in when we’ve lost our hope.

Since beginning this study, I’ve learned that Romans is a book chock full of hope. The book I’ve always viewed as very theology-heavy and cumbersome to read is actually full of inspirational verses about this confident expectation. Two of those verses are in chapter 5 (verses 3 and 4): “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Hope is a result of strong character.

We’ve all heard cliches about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or, as my best friend in college used to say, “it builds character.” But, cliche or not, that’s what struggles do – they make us stronger, and out of that strength, we can have hope. Hope is not a passive, Pollyanna outlook on the world that ignores real life pain. It’s a choice that looks at pain and decides to take God at His word and remain hopeful, knowing that He is working all things together for good (also in Romans – 8:28).

Continuing in chapter 5, the very next verse says that this hope – the one that rises out of strong character, the one founded on a decision to persevere while maintaining hopefulness – does not disappoint. Why? Because of God’s love. Even if the circumstances are disappointing, our hope was not for nothing.

Hope is an anchor for the soul.

This same hope that buoys us also grounds us. When the peaks and valleys of life threaten to throw off our equilibrium and toss around the proverbial ship of our lives, hope keeps us steady. It keeps our emotions from going all over the map. The highs and lows of unmet expectations do not shake us as much because our hope is grounded in the One who is unshakeable.

And when we choose to have hope, when we choose to be grounded, we can also find true joy. Because knowing that this hope does not disappoint, we can, as Romans 12 says, be patient in troubles and joyful in hope!

I want to have hope.

I want to walk in joy. And, I want to live an exciting life that’s buoyed by the happy expectation of what God’s going to do in me and through me, and grounded in the knowledge that no matter what comes my way, God is working it for my good.

And yes, I want a happy ending “in the land of the living.” But, as Gigi from my favorite movie, He’s Just Not That Into You, says, maybe the happy ending is learning to live in hope, no matter what. Then, can we recognize and enjoy the happy ending that God had in mind all along.

I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait and HOPE for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. – Psalm 27: 13-14 (AMPC, AMP)

(Part 3 of a 3-part series)

Hope Deferred

There are a lot of really great reasons to have hope.
  • By focusing on the possible positive outcomes, you take your mind off the negative possibilities, relieving yourself of that worry and anxiety.
  • The expression “hope floats” demonstrates hope’s ability to keep us “buoyed” – our spirits are high when we are looking forward to something good.
  • Hope motivates us to action. When you’re believing in a positive outcome, you take steps toward making that happen. Just like a pregnant woman prepares her nursery in happy anticipation of her child’s arrival, hope enables us to take measures to prepare ourselves for the good things coming down the pike.

I think the main reason most of us don’t actively hope is fear. When you have been hurt or disappointed so many times, you want to “guard your heart”, as the Bible says. Only, I don’t think “guarding your heart” means exactly what we’ve often interpreted it to mean. I don’t think it means do whatever you can to keep pain out. Rather, it means surrounding yourself with those things that give life to your spirit, with people who encourage you, with Scripture that speaks truth, and with faith, hope, and love. In doing so, you will protect your heart – not from pain ever getting to it, but from being crushed under the weight of that pain.

But, I get that fear.

I have been very disappointed in one particular area over and over again, and that’s the area where I struggle to have hope. When I go shopping, I have no trouble hoping that I will find some cute clothes; my experience has taught me that is likely to happen. I also find it easy to hope that when I go out in downtown Nashville, I will hear good music and talk to interesting people. I’ve learned to have a confident expectation of that result.

But, what about those areas where I haven’t had good results? Where I have been rejected or overlooked or turned away time and again? Those areas that actually really matter to me, deep down? What about those hopes for each of us of getting married, or having a child, or being matched for an adoption, or getting a promotion, or passing the licensure exam, or fill in the blank… How do I have hope when everything seems to indicate I really should keep my expectations low?

Those are the times when hope is absolutely the hardest. But, those are also the times when we must have hope. We must fight for it, for all the reasons mentioned above, and so many more.

If a situation is certain, there is no reason to have hope. At that point, you’re essentially just stating a fact. Yes, I have hope every night that when I go to sleep, my bed won’t collapse; however, that’s never happened, and I know the wood in my bed is sturdy and assembled well. So, I’m really just assured of fact at that point.

I mentioned yesterday that there was one more definition of hope according to Merriam-Webster. Technically, I guess it’s a definition for the expression, “hope against hope”, but it says, “to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment”. Similarly, Romans 8:24-25 says, “…[H]ope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

We can’t wait until things look like they’re going in our favor to have hope. We must have hope now and confidently expect God to move on our behalf.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Many of you are probably familiar with this proverb. I’ve heard it a million times and always thought it meant that hope unfulfilled makes the heart sick. And, I think it does. But, I also think that it refers to putting off hope. By trying to protect ourselves from pain by delaying having hope, we’re doing the exact opposite. We’re depriving ourselves of the peace and joy that comes from anticipating that God will move in our lives. We’re giving room to anxiety and worry and becoming pessimistic. And we are limiting the joy we can experience when something good does happen as a culmination of our hopes and dreams.

I think putting off hope also can create self-fulfilling prophecies. Earlier I mentioned how hope motivates us to action. The converse, though, is that if we don’t have hope, we are motivated to inaction. How many great things never happen because we’re too afraid they might not work out? By failing to act, we create the very scenario we were afraid of in the first place. You’re afraid the boss might find you too forward if you mention taking on more responsibility, so you stay silent; he assumes you aren’t interested in a promotion, and you get passed over. You’re afraid you might not be successful in that career, so you don’t pursue licensure and stay in a dead end job you don’t love. You think long-distance relationships seldom work, so you break up before you have a chance to try.

However, hope actually minimizes disappointments.

To use my earlier scenarios, I don’t lose hope if I shop and find nothing. I’m bummed, of course, because I like new clothes. But, I have the confident and happy expectation that the next time I shop, I’ll find something. If I go downtown and the band sounds terrible and no one talks to me, I might wish I’d stayed home and watched a movie instead, but I don’t assume I’ll never hear good music or meet interesting people again. And I certainly don’t think something is wrong with me. I just assume it was an off night and have hope that the next time I go, it will be better.

Disappointments always come. It’s a part of life, especially since while we know that God’s plans are best, we don’t always know what those best plans are. But, if we have hope, we can bounce back quicker from that disappointment. We can take things in stride, knowing that something else good is around the corner. God’s Word promises that since even human fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, our Heavenly Father does even more. It also says that the righteous have never been forsaken or God’s children had to beg for bread (Ps. 37:25).

So, while we may not have, as M-W says, “any basis for expecting fulfillment” in our particular situation, we do have basis to expect God to do good things in our lives because that’s who He is, and He has before. Just like David knew God could equip him to kill Goliath because he’d killed the lion and the bear, so we can look back on our experiences and see the many ways God has worked in our lives, even in ways we didn’t anticipate or in circumstances that seemed, well, hopeless. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if He came through before, He will come through again – sometimes in the exact ways we’re hoping, sometimes in ways that exceed what we hoped for, and sometimes in ways that are completely different than what we imagined. But, He always comes through.

Where have you been deferring hope in your life? Have you put it off because you’re afraid of the disappointment? Think through the worst case scenario, and imagine what it will be like if you do have hope versus if you don’t. If the end result is going to be the same, won’t it be better to go into it hopeful, and then emerge still hopeful? And maybe, in the process, we will find what we were hoping for all along. But, as the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace said, EVEN IF we do not, we are able to still praise God because He is good, and so are His ways in our lives.

(Thank you to Joyce Meyer and her book, Get Your Hopes Up!, for inspiration on several of these points.)

(Part 2 of a 3-part series)

Get Your Hopes Up!

These three things remain: faith, hope, and love.

A couple months ago, a friend mentioned to me that she didn’t want me to get my hopes up about a particular situation. I knew what she meant – she didn’t want me to be disappointed, and theoretically, if you keep your expectations low, if/when something doesn’t work out, you’re less disappointed because you weren’t expecting much, anyway.

But, at the time, it made me really mad. For one thing, I thought it assumed that things weren’t going to work out. But, regardless, what’s wrong with being hopeful, I thought? Even if I were disappointed, was it better to go through life not hoping? If it didn’t work out, I was going to be disappointed, anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to make the waiting period pleasant by being optimistic?

Thus began my study of hope.

As I started thinking about it, I couldn’t remember having ever heard a sermon preached on hope. Sure, it’s often used as a synonym for faith or trust or belief. But, if the Bible lists it with faith and love as being one of the three most important things, I thought it deserved its own exploration.

Well, what would a Bible study be without a definition of the word? So, according to Merriam-Webster, hope is to cherish a desire with anticipation. It is to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment; to expect with confidence. (There’s one other definition, but I’ll come back to it later.)

These dictionary definitions coincide with an article by J. Hampton Keathley III on Bible.org (I don’t know who he is, but I believe in giving proper credit). According to this article, hope in Scripture is “a strong and confident expectation.” Joyce Meyer calls it the “happy and confident anticipation of good” (from her book, Get Your Hopes Up!).

Bible studies also include statistics. Like, in the King James Version, the word “hope” appears 130 times. That’s a lot for a word that is generally treated as slightly above wishful thinking.

But, what exactly am I supposed to hope for? Or in? Does the Bible only mean we are to hope in Jesus and for salvation and eternal life in heaven?

I don’t think so.

Of course, we are to hope in God; He is the source of all that is good, and the reason we can hope. But, I don’t think God only wants us to have an other-worldly hope. I think hope is very relevant to our daily, earthly lives, and as I began to study, I became more convinced of this.

Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of people who hoped for things on earth – many in the face of impossible odds. Joseph in the Old Testament surely hoped he would get out of prison, even though his best opportunity, when the cupbearer was released, came and went and he was seemingly forgotten. Hannah hoped for a child, despite years of being barren, and her hope led her to beg God so passionately, the priest thought she was drunk. In the New Testament, Simeon hoped that God’s promise that he would see the Messiah before he died would actually happen.

My favorite example of hoping for God’s intervention on earth is Shaddrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Their hope was that God would spare their lives and rescue them – against all odds. But, they go on to say, EVEN IF He does not, we will still praise Him (my paraphrase).

While all of these people based their hope in God, they were also hoping for their current circumstances to turn out in a certain way. Their hope was that they would, as Psalm 27:13 says, see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

So, what are you hoping for in the land of the living? Over the next couple of days, I’m going to talk more about what I’ve learned about hope, but I want to encourage you now to keep your hopes up, after all. Believe that God is working on your behalf. He loves you, He wants the best for you, and He is faithful. Name those things that you are hoping for – those things that you might be afraid to even mention because they are so dear to your heart (I mean, name them to yourself, although I certainly welcome anything you’d like to share). And let’s work together to find hope in our circumstances, because of God’s goodness.

(Part 1 of a 3-part series)

Take Me out to the Ballgame

I was out of town last week which always puts me way behind in my blog writing. But, y’all, I was in Utah for work and it was GORGEOUS! I wouldn’t last living there: cold and outdoorsy. But, it was so pretty!

Also, ALL THE TULIPS!!!!

I wanted to cry every time I stepped outside, it was all so beautiful. Seriously.

Anyway, prior to that trip, I went on a date. It was the Saturday before Easter – you know, the Sunday where I needed to leave my house by 7:15 to be at church for 5 hours – so, I probably shouldn’t have gone out. But, how do you resist an invitation to a baseball game? It’s my favorite kind of date!

Except for the clothes…casual clothes are REALLY hard for me. Well, I should say, casual clothes when you want to impress someone are really hard for me. I don’t like wearing flats on dates; I’m short enough as it is. I also prefer to wear rompers or dresses for warm-weather dates. But, obviously, at a baseball game, I can’t look like I’m trying too hard (although, as I was soon to learn, at Nashville baseball games, no one watches the games. I could have worn a romper with wedges and been quite at home with many of the other girls who just walked around the stadium and hung out at the trendy bar past left field.)

So, I settled on this: casual shorts, a t-shirt (but at least a cute one with a ballet back), and floral flats because it’s too early for straight up sandals. Maybe not my best date outfit, but it worked and got me out the door (I was, naturally, running late. I blame it on the casual clothes).

What would you wear to a baseball game – either, normally, or on a date? I feel like my answers to that question would be different depending on the circumstances; maybe yours are, too. Give me some ideas for next time, please!!

Sunday Best

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter, y’all! I hope everyone had a beautiful Sunday celebrating one of my most favorite holidays.

This Easter weekend was a little rough for me, but what better holiday to have a rough weekend before than Easter? It is so full of joy, and hope, and expectation. And brunch and pretty dresses! No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s pretty hard not to have your spirits lifted on Easter.

And, it DID NOT RAIN in Nashville for Easter. This is remarkable for two reasons: 1) it rains all the time here. 2) Rain was forecasted all day. You never know the miracles that will occur on this blessed day.

I’m posting this picture with my friend Hannah because although it’s a little grainy for some reason, it was taken much earlier in the day and is therefore a much better picture of me than the official outfit picture below. So, keep this one in your mind, and then proceed with caution and a forgiving eye.

I debated off-the-shoulder for church. Is that appropriate? I still don’t know. But, I figured since it wasn’t a LOW off-the-shoulder, I had my hair down, and most of the time I was wearing a choir robe, I could get away with it. Judge if you must. But, I know you can’t/won’t judge me for the florals – or at least, you shouldn’t, because I gave a very clear disclaimer that I am obsessed!

I usually love to look out in the congregation at church on Easter and see all the pretty colors, but I sort of forgot this year. Plus, I did notice a lot of white being represented. Even my own dress is more neutral than the usual bright yellow or coral I tend to be drawn to for Easter.

So, since I didn’t pay attention to people’s outfits at church, show me yours! Did you buy something new specific for the occasion, or recycle an old faithful?

Whatever you wore, I hope it was a beautiful day.

Two-fer Tuesday: Jailhouse Stripes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a twofer Tuesday, but no time like the present!

I really like these jailhouse stripes (or maybe more accurately, train conductor – they’re probably too narrow for jailhouse). Regardless, I think these highwaisted, cropped striped jeans are the best.

However, I wasn’t sure about them when I bought them, because in the artificial light of the dressing room, they really played with your eyes. I mean, in general, I try to wear clothes that don’t make people want to look the other way.

In the natural light, though, they seem to be okay, so I think I’m good. Except the camera doesn’t love them, either…you might have to zoom in pretty close to get an accurate look. Oh well.

In this first look, I’m combining another one of my favorite spring trends – off-the-shoulder – with my cute pants and some flats that actually hurt my feet more than most of the heels I own, but they’re so cute and universally functional, that I keep them. I ran some errands on Saturday in this outfit, then popped on some black heels for dinner with a friend that night.

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention my pink lipstick; as much as I enjoyed the dark berrys and browns this winter, I’m seriously so happy bright is back in season!

Next up is another casual outfit (I did wear it to work, but in hindsight, it might have been TOO casual). Anyway, a simple soft turquoise tee (you’ll have to take my word for it being that color, I guess), with a black scarf (I don’t have a cat; that’s all just my hair…) and some silver accents to complete the look. Easy, but still put together. Scarves are helpful in that way.
So there you have it – the return of Twofer Tuesday, thanks to my new favorite cropped jeans.

Which of these looks would you rather wear? And what’s the verdict on these stripes – delightful or dizzying? Let’s talk!

Spring Forward!

Spring is finally here in Nashville, and there was no rain this weekend – you wouldn’t believe the impact this good weather had on my mood! I’ve never thought I had seasonal depression, but I’m starting to think I might have a little bit of it, because honestly, I felt SO MUCH BETTER in the sun this weekend.

Also, I have a lot of cute new clothes to wear in said sunshine, which definitely doesn’t hurt.

That smile is because of the glare on my face – sunshine!!!

Really, my favorite thing about this outfit is the back of my shirt. Apparently, “ballet backs” are in now, and I like it! I bought this top in 2 colors, because why not?

Cute, right? It’s just enough to take an otherwise standard t-shirt and turn into something unique and fresh.

Springtime also brings bright lipstick again. Hot pink, I’ve missed you so!

What fashion/makeup trends are you most excited about this spring?

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