Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Business Casual (page 1 of 17)

By the Numbers

Previously on Tastefully Trendy…

Hey, y’all, it’s been a minute! Or has it been just a week? Or a year? Or a decade? Covid time is meaningless.

The last time we talked, I teased a very awkward story and even promised to publish the story soon. Well, soon is a relative word and since I was still seeing the guy involved in the story, I felt like I had to wait. I am no longer seeing that guy, but the story is now anticlimactic so I’m going to skip it. But, don’t you worry – I’ve got a doozy for you up ahead.

I recently came off of what I’m calling a dating bender – I met 5 strangers in not that many more days. Honestly, it is not my preference to stack so many dates back to back, but I started a lot of conversations right before I went to Nashville for vacation, so when I returned it was time to pay the piper and actually meet these guys. Fortunately, while I was in Nashville, I bought a lot of new clothes (pictured below, of course), so I was excited to have excuses to wear them.

Dating in DC is hard, y’all. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll keep saying it because while everyone warned me that it would be, I didn’t believe them. I thought, how bad could it possibly be?

It’s bad.

I’ve spent lots of time developing theories about why dating here is so tough – for people in general, but for me specifically. In general, I think DC attracts very smart people – but sometimes those brilliant minds are lacking in other necessities. Like a personality.

For me specifically, it’s starting to become a little more clear post-election why I struggle in this area. DC voted 93% blue. Ninety-three.

I don’t think it’s a surprise to any of you that I’m conservative, and I get that this election was even more controversial than most and probably a lot of people chose to vote for Joe Biden who might otherwise have voted for a Republican candidate.

But still…Ninety-three percent.

So, I did a little math. I watched a Ted Talk once where a lady calculated the number of eligible men who fit her criteria in Philadelphia and realized there were 35. Total. I was curious what would happen if I did the same.

Let me preface this next section with a couple disclaimers. One, I am only considering the population of DC for this exercise. I personally live in Virginia, and the whole DC metro area is enormous – so those numbers in actuality could be very different. But, to calculate stats based on the broader region would involve researching individual county’s voting records, looking up their demographics, etc. So, we’re sticking with DC.

Two, I’m not very good at math.

So, I started with the population of DC – roughly 700,000 people.

Again noting that how people voted in this particular election might not be the most representative of their typical political beliefs, I’m still going with the data available to me which is that 5% voted Republican (the other two percentage points went to third party candidates). Since I’d like to find someone whose politics generally match mine, that narrows the pool down to 35,000 people.

DC’s population skews female at 53% women, which leaves 16,450 men.

Of course, I would like to find someone who also shares my religious faith. In DC, that’s 65% of the population, but making the assumption that the number might be higher among Republicans, I’m going to round up to 75%.

We’re now down to 12,338. But 30% of those males are either under 18 or over 65. So, that leaves 8,636.

The married population of DC is 32% – that leaves 5,873 single men between the ages of 18 and 65.

90% of those men are straight. Now we’re down to 5,285.

Really, though, I’d like to narrow that age range, and 32 percent of DC is within the ages of 30-49. 1,691 left. (I feel like I probably messed up the math here somehow, but we’re going with it).

I also value education and 40% of DC does not have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

We are now down to 1,015 eligible bachelors.

Of course, I’ve not considered any other factors so far but the absolute essentials. Additional limiting criteria include but are not limited to:

  • Gainful employment.
  • I would to think my future spouse is interesting.
  • He can’t have 10 cats because I’m allergic.
  • Preferably, I find him attractive.

Those last things are harder to quantify, as is how many man are not married but are in a committed relationship – no way to know.

All of that to say, there actually are not a lot of fish in the sea…

But, as my mother says all the time…it only takes one.

Which brings me back to this week when I made 5 attempts to find that one. Here is the synopsis:

Two dates were decent enough for a second date (progress! But don’t get excited yet. I don’t until about date 4 or 5).

One was boring but not bad.

One was boring and bad but my fault (I just was so tired of trying that I kind of gave up even pretending to be interested. Sorry, Buddy…)

But the fifth one was a magician.

Yes, you read that right. He did magic tricks as a profession.

You may be thinking that I must not have known beforehand his chosen career. But, oh no – I knew. I was just trying to be open minded (if you’re wondering why, re-read all that math I just did).

However, the date pretty much went as you would expect a date with a magician to go. If you’re a New Girl fan, you might remember the episode when Jess goes out with a magician. It was basically like that – complete with a trick performed at the table.

*Photo from IMDB

In addition to performing magic, though (I will say – his trick was eerily impressive), this guy and I clearly had NOTHING in common (in the words of one of my good friends, “Sarah Beth, I love you, but no one would ever think that a magician would be the right fit for you.”). I asked him his favorite types of books, and he listed one book – Watership Down. Apparently it’s about an army of rabbits or something. I stopped listening at rabbits. I then listed a few books that I had read, and he interrupted me and said that I didn’t have to list all of them.

He also had a background screen on his phone that was all white with just black letters that said, “You’ll Choose Me.” Conveniently, he had to show me something on his phone twice, and I couldn’t help wondering if he were trying to subliminally manipulate me into dating him (spoiler alert: it did not work).

Oh, and he said he was going to be married within the year.

Needless to say, I will not be seeing the magician again, but if he really wants to be married within the year, then I hope he is. Every man deserves to find the woman he will saw in half for the rest of their lives.

So, now you’re all caught up. Dating is hard but at least the stories are good. And at least I had excuses to wear my new clothes!

With that, here are those new clothes:

I’m a little bummed that you can’t tell that the camisole I’m wearing is velvet because that was really my favorite feature of the outfit. But, also worth noting is the booties which are TOMS (I genuinely did not know that TOMS made shoes I didn’t think were ugly) that I got BRAND new at my favorite consignment store in Nashville for $32. And, this jacket. I’ve finally decided to embrace that most sweaters just don’t look that great on me and I’m now making jackets my fall/winter staples.

Having just said that most sweaters don’t look good on me, here is one that I’m obsessed with. It has just the right amount of slouch, and the off-the-shoulder neckline keeps me from looking like I’m being swallowed up by wool. Also, this sweater reminds me of my friend Cam (shout out, Cam, if you happen to read this!) who always has impeccably trendy, pretty clothes. Peep the new boots, too.

In keeping with the jacket theme, here is another find that I love. I think these army green jackets are a season old (I remember seeing them EVERYWHERE on Instagram last year). But, I still really like it – cute but functional. And it’s very soft and comfortable. See again: the burgundy booties.

Um, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think I’ve ever worn a blazer on a date before. But, I love the no-lapel look of this one, so I tried to dress it down as much as possible. I think I’m about to retire both these pants and the shoes, but I’m dragging my feet because they’ve both been favorites for so long.

Also, my dimple looks like a crater in this picture, and I don’t know if that means this was a real smile, or a really, really fake one.

Last but not least, I really liked this outfit. It’s been a while since I’ve worn a long jacket like this (yes, I did have the Cake song in my head all day), and I wasn’t totally sure if I could pull it off. But, I felt very cool and sophisticated, and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. (Also, let’s all mourn that this hair day was wasted on one of the bad dates!)

And the boots…I think I should have edited these pictures a little better for color of the boots (read: I should have edited them at all). But, they’re a rich burgundy that goes with almost anything. Yes, really – almost anything. I mean look at all the different colors I combined them with in just 5 days?

One of my favorite fashion tricks is to take a color and make it a neutral. I’ve done it with greens, blues, and even yellows. Now burgundy. It’s unexpected, and therefore seems daring – and that’s what makes interesting fashion rather than just copy-cat. Try it and let me know what you come up with!

Okay, that’s it for me. Thank you all for reading. I posted a meme on Insta the other day about people dating in their 30s: we don’t trust anyone and we’re tired. I think a few of my friends saw that as a cry for help. While I appreciate the encouragement, it really was just a relatable meme.

However, if you do know someone…please help. Jk. But seriously…

<3,
SB

Major Announcement

If you’re familiar with the Enneagram (i.e., you are immersed in Christian culture and/or you live in Nashville), then my penchant for making big, dramatic announcements should not surprise you since I am a 3 wing 4. If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram but you’ve ever met me, then it probably shouldn’t surprise you, either. I enjoy making a splash.

So, with that as an introduction, allow me to make the biggest announcement I’ve made in about 4 years – since I announced I was moving to Nashville…

I am, once again, moving!

I’ve accepted a position with the Department of Education, Federal Student Aid office, and I’ll be heading to DC in a few weeks.

When I told my current boss about my new job, he said, “well, that sounds boring.” Which made me laugh. But, I agree – if I were packaging individual loans for students, it would be pretty boring (no offense to any student loan officers out there; you’ve got a tough job). But, I’ll be on more of the big picture side, working with the people who are trying to resolve the student loan crisis, provide the public with good information, and affect policy. It’s a really incredible opportunity, and I’m grateful for it.

Most people who I’ve told about my move have had similar reactions and asked the same questions, so I thought I’d go ahead and address them now to save us all some time.

Q: But, I thought you loved Nashville!

A: I do love Nashville. Nashville is the best city I’ve ever lived in, and I will miss it, my friends, my church (especially my church), the music, and so much more. Of all my many moves, this one is the most bittersweet. But, it is time, and this opportunity opens up a whole new avenue for my career. I couldn’t pass it up.

Q: But, I thought you hated DC!

A: Hate is such a strong word… DC has never been my favorite city, that is true. However, I’ve also always thought I’d end up there at some point. I’ve been interested in government work for most of my adult life, and when I first graduated with my master’s, I moved to Virginia Beach with the plan to use it as a launching pad to DC. And I guess I did – just with two states and a lot of years in between.

Q: Why do you move so much, anyway?

A: I’ve wrestled with this one myself. To be fair, the majority of my moves were as a child, and I think growing up that way gave me a bit of a free spirit. I enjoy change and new opportunities and adventures. However, I’m also in my 30s now so I think about change and all its ramifications more seriously. At the end of the day, though, while I sometimes feel old, I’m not actually and life is long. There is plenty of time left to try new things and if I don’t like them, I can try something else. On the other hand, time does go by quickly and I don’t want to waste a moment by being afraid to take risks and seize opportunities.

Q: Are they paying you enough to live there?

A: Yes, and I’m sensitive about this question because I feel like it implies that I’m naive and don’t know that DC is expensive, and/or that I wasn’t smart enough to consider cost of living in my decision. So, if you ask this, and I snap at you, I’m sorry; I know you are just trying to be helpful. But, at least now you know why I’m touchy about it. Also, thank you for paying your taxes so that I can pay my bills.

Q: Can you get my student loans forgiven?

A: No.

Q: Are you excited?

A: Yes, I am excited. Like I said earlier, it’s definitely bittersweet. But, I miss the East Coast. I spent almost all of my 20s along the coast, and many of my close friends are still scattered up and down the shoreline. I have a few friends from different points in my life in DC, too, including my middle school bestie and a friend who I have accidentally followed to college, Nashville, and now DC.

Plus, the beach is closer – a significant factor that can’t be ignored.

But, I realize that my life is about to be dramatically different. Nashville is the biggest city I’ve ever lived in, and DC is literally 4 times its size. I’ll be taking public transportation every day and walking a few blocks from my home to the metro stop and from the metro stop to work – in all kinds of weather. I have to get “walking” shoes. It snows in DC, and I haven’t lived in a place where it snowed regularly in over 12 years. I’m going to have to wear suits. Maybe not every day. But more than the average of two times a year that I currently wear them.

So, yes, I am excited. But, I’m also nervous. I know I’ll adjust, and I think I’ll end up really liking it. I guess it would be a little ridiculous to do it if I didn’t expect to like it. But, I’m realistic enough to realize that the transition might be a little tough.

Q: This seems so sudden!

A: It’s really not. While I’d let my government ambitions subside for a while, a little over a year ago, I began to think about DC seriously. This was a big thing for me, because as we’ve already discussed, I’ve never loved DC and have actually been quite vocal about that in the past… But, the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed, and it stuck with me, too. I get whims all the time, and most go away within a few days. It’s the ones that stick with me that I start to really pray about and pursue.

I applied for a few things last fall but took a little break when those didn’t pan out. Then, this summer, I started putting out feelers again and setting up alerts on USA Jobs. I went up for an interview with FSA in September, and I didn’t receive a final offer until November. So, really, none of it has been sudden at all. But, it all has been remarkably smooth and easy – something I also couldn’t ignore in my decision making process.

In fact, the process was so easy, I can’t help but think of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde getting into Harvard:

via GIPHY

I hesitate to even make that joke because I do know that the typical process of getting a federal job can be very difficult, and I’ve had several friends be incredibly frustrated in their search. So, I don’t want to make light of anyone’s disappointment. However, I can’t help but marvel at the way God has thrown open doors for me, and as Proverbs 3:6 says, “made my paths straight.”

Q: Can we come visit you like we did in Nashville?

A: Of course! The accommodations will likely be a little more snug…and you might have to sleep on an air mattress or the couch. But, I’m always happy to have guests!

And there you have it – the major announcement! I’ve already begun altering my wardrobe to include Ann Taylor, Tommy Hilfiger, and some sensible pumps. But, honestly, I think DC fashion is a little lacking, so even within the confines of my professional wardrobe, I’m excited to bring a little Tastefully Trendy flair to the big city.

And in the meantime, if you have any boxes or newspaper, I will gladly take all of it off of your hands.

To cap off this post, I don’t have any great outfit collages. I do, however, have a picture of me examining a closet at a potential DC apartment (I deemed the closet inadequate, as you might be able to guess from my face). And a couple of my favorite selfies from the magical mirror in my church bathroom. Dear Magic Mirror, I think I’ll miss you most of all.

Thank you for reading, and much love to you all.

<3,
SB

She’s Alive

Hello, everyone. It’s me – Sarah Beth. It’s been a while, so you might not remember me. Fortunately, this blog is full of pictures of just me, so hopefully it’ll all come back soon.

I haven’t written in a while because, well, I just didn’t really have much to say. And, editing these pictures takes so much more time than you would think for as poor quality as they are.

But, I got some new clothes recently that I wanted to show off. And more significantly, I’m still paying $10.95/month to maintain this little website, so I thought I should at least do something with my money.

Also, like the powerful influencer that I am, people keep asking where I’ve been lately. And by people keep asking, I mean one person asked if I still had that blog. But that was all the encouragement I needed.

To that one person, thank you. And, please email me back.

To address what everyone actually cares about: I’m not dating anyone. Actually, I’m not even using the dating apps right now. I still go on dates occasionally – if they happen organically. But, the apps can be exhausting, physically and emotionally. And, I know what I’m looking for, so I’d rather be more selective with my time at this stage of my life.

I have been on some great dates in the past 6 months, though – and some not so great ones (once, my date made me cry at the table and then the waiter thought he was proposing. It was a roller coaster of an evening.). But overall, I’ve had some nice conversations, learned a lot more about the military (naturally), and worn some cute outfits.

Which brings me to my next point:

I recently went hunting for a very specific item – a casual pink skirt. I never found the skirt, but that search led me to buy a ton of stuff from ThredUp, the online consignment/thrift store.

As someone who is not a fan of online shopping anyway, ThredUp was a particularly terrible experience for me. There is just not enough information about the items to know if you’re making a wise purchase or not. Of the 12 things that I bought, I only kept 5 – and a couple of those 5 I would have not kept, but they were unreturnable. (ThredUp doesn’t have a very friendly return policy, either.)

With that said, if you’re looking for something VERY specific (like, you know the brand and size), or something where quality/fit doesn’t really matter, then go for it. The prices are great. But, buyer beware.

The skirt below was one of the 5 things that I kept from that bundle and it’s one that I wouldn’t have picked off the rack. However, once I put it on, I do really like it, so I’m not mad that I couldn’t return it.

This outfit reminded me of Meghan Markle’s character in Suits (my favorite show for fashion, btw). While she would have worn colors and patterns much more suited for a high-powered law office, the silhouette – crew neck sweater, pencil skirt – was a staple of her character’s wardrobe.

The trim down the back is my favorite part.

As opposed to feeling like a well-paid, well-dressed Manhattan attorney, this next outfit made me feel a little like Ronald McDonald. However…I’m obsessed with this skirt (easily my favorite purchase in the ThredUp group), and I’ll be wearing it a lot. I’ll also be wearing these rainbow shoes a lot – I mean, they go with literally everything and remind me of shoes my mom wore when I was a kid.

This next dress was not from ThredUp, but from Charming Charlie (which is going out of business – so, find one soon and buy all the things). Actually, most of this outfit is from CC: the earrings are, as is the barrette. I read somewhere that barrettes are very in right now, and I’m completely here for it.

The dress was $10, and honestly, I think you can tell it’s not a high quality dress. But, for $10, I didn’t really care. It’s a perfect summer date night dress (speaking from experience), and I can throw a sweater on and make it office appropriate.

Finally, here is an outfit I wore to work and probably shouldn’t have – I’m not sure off-the-shoulder is office-appropriate under any circumstances. But, I liked it so much, and my boss was out of the office, so YOLO.

The skirt is a very deep purple and originally from Express, but another ThredUp purchase. For some reason, I don’t usually wear pencil skirts, but thanks to these accidental purchases, I think I’m hooked.

It should be noted that I have other hairstyles than the 1.5 depicted here. But, I took all of these pictures on the same day to try to save time. It did not, in fact, save time.

Well, now you’re all caught up on my life and my wardrobe. I hope all of y’all are doing well, too. What fashion trends are you super into right now? How’s dating going for you? What major life changes have you recently experienced? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for following along and for caring about my little life – it means the world.

<3,

SB

Self-Care: Part 3 – Weight Loss

Well, I’ve been putting this one off, but I guess the time has finally arrived to talk about what we all probably think about first when it comes to self-care: weight and nutrition.

If you didn’t know me in college or grad school, you might not know that I’ve lost about 30 pounds since I graduated in 2007. 30 pounds may not sound like a lot, but I’m only 5’3″ – a couple pounds difference on my frame is noticeable. 30 pounds at the time of my heaviest weight was 15-20% of my total body weight. Now, it’d obviously be an even larger percentage.

I’ve thought about talking about my weight loss for a long time, but I’ve always waited. I wanted to get to my “perfect weight” before I did a big dramatic reveal. But, perfect to me is Carrie Underwood, which will likely never be attainable, unless I suddenly have a job that literally pays me to look beautiful.

So, in the interest of being transparent, and with the hope that my experience can be encouraging or helpful or at least relatable to anyone, here we go. (Warning, this is long – I have a lot to say.)

In 2007, I looked like this:

I wasn’t morbidly obese, obviously. But, I was an unhealthy and uncomfortable weight for my frame. And, I wasn’t really happy with how I looked.

But, I was in school, and I was a good student and kid who did nothing but study and eat ice cream while watching the Bachelor with my best friend and her mom. There were no liquid calories for me all throughout school – it was very real, very permanent food calories.

Once I graduated, though, I had the time and interest to get a little more serious about being where I wanted to be, so I got to work.

Weight loss was not a new topic to me. I think I had my first Slim Fast shake in 8th grade. In high school, I packed my own lunch and took an apple, an orange, and carrots every day. That’s it. It was the early 2000s – I don’t think most of us knew a lot about nutrition then. Fruits and vegetables were healthy, so I thought I was doing great.

Part of my issues with weight at such a young age stemmed from a health class in 9th grade in which we learned about obesity, and the boys selected me to be the lucky girl they called an “obese fat cow.” I knew they were calling me that because I wasn’t fat – they weren’t quite mean enough to call the actual larger girls that. But, still – at 14, a nickname like that leaves a mark.

I can’t blame it all on them, though. Being worried about your body is an almost universal issue among American women, and as a girly girl who was way more into boys and shoes and school than I was running around the soccer field, I was no exception. I also come by it naturally. My grandmother – the mayor’s wife and the best dressed woman in Fort Thomas, Kentucky – was worried about her weight until the day she died, just shy of 92 years old.

Of course, none of my efforts had really been successful prior to this point. I did manage to avoid the Freshman 15 in college, but I made up for it with the Sophomore 20. I would try various fad diets now and then but was never very good at sticking to them. I’m still not.

But, at 22 years old with a master’s degree, I was ready.

The first thing I did when I moved to Virginia Beach was to join a gym. There, I had a few sessions with a personal trainer who helped me learn the importance of weight training, instead of just the cardio I had been doing. Apparently, lifting not only burns calories while you’re doing it, but muscles burn more calories than fat, even when at rest. That sounded very efficient to me.

She also helped me get on board with eating more frequently throughout the day. I’d always been afraid that eating 5 small meals would really end up being 5 large meals (portion control wasn’t one of my strengths), and I’d end up consuming even more calories. But once I started, I found that I actually wasn’t so hungry that I needed to eat that much in each setting.

I lost a few pounds over the next several months, and then I plateaued.

I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be, though, so I decided to change something up. This time, I joined a group training class. I didn’t have the money to continue personal training, but I also knew I didn’t know enough about weight lifting to really be effective on my own. Group training was a cheaper alternative.

I lost a few more pounds, and then I plateaued.

I was getting closer to where I wanted to be, and I was certainly much happier with how I looked and felt. But, every now and then I’d get a wave of motivation and decide to change up something else.

For a while, I was going to the gym two times a day, but that was mainly because I had a crush on a guy working there (shout out, Hot Trainer!), and I really just spent most of my time talking to him. The next weight loss came from me getting a little more serious about what I was eating.

They say abs are made in the kitchen, and while I doubt I will ever have abs…I do think what you eat is far more important than how much you workout, unless maybe you’re a professional athlete (or a “tactical athlete”, as the special ops guys call themselves (insert heart eyes emoji)).

So, I began shopping at Trader Joes and finding ways to incorporate more fresh foods into my diet, while still maintaining the convenience that I value most of all.

At this point, I was down about 20 pounds. It’d also been about 6 years.

I say that to emphasize that this was not an overnight thing for me. Sure, it would have been nice to lose the weight much quicker – to not have so many plateaus.

But, because my weight loss was so slow, I’ve never regained any of it. If I notice that a pound or two has crept back on (which I notice by how my clothes fit; I hardly ever actually weigh myself. It usually makes me feel worse.), I just readjust slightly and it’s gone again. I’ve never yo-yo’ed, which is something trendy diets usually can’t promise.

The next several pounds came off while I lived in Georgia. I had almost no friends, so I ate out a lot less, and worked out a lot more. I also was depressed, and while I can be an emotional eater, that emotion is usually happiness. I don’t advise living somewhere that makes you miserable for two years to lose a little weight, but at least that was one silver lining.

While in Georgia, I also really started focusing on eating more protein. My brother is a power-lifter and big on getting in your macros. I tried it for a while and hated tracking everything. But, it did give me a good idea of how to balance my meals better and the importance of enough protein when it comes to body composition.

And now we arrive to my current weight. The remaining couple of pounds I’ve lost have been since moving to Nashville. I had a personal trainer here for a while, who helped me immensely in working out more effectively. (I also was talking to Bradley Cooper during that time, who was in perfect shape. I was very motivated.)

I’ve become more aware of what my body likes to eat. I saw a naturopath for a while, and we discovered that I don’t do well with night shades (RIP, Chick Fil A waffle fries. I will forever miss you), or gluten. I can handle gluten – I don’t have celiac’s disease, so I don’t want to belittle the experience of those who really suffer. But, I feel MUCH better when I avoid it.

Turns out, eliminating white potatoes and flour from my diet makes a big different in my waist line. Imagine that.

So, tl;dr:

The secret to my weight loss is…diet and exercise.

I wish there were a magic formula we could all apply and immediately be the size we wanted to be. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

I have friends who have found success with strict Paleo or keto or counting calories or macros or whatever. But, for me, it’s really been a process of figuring out how my body works, and tweaking what I’m doing accordingly – while still maintaining balance so I can actually enjoy my life.

Currently, I try to eat mostly clean. I sub sweet potato fries for french fries – I don’t like them as well, but they’re the better overall choice for me. But, I love a burger, and it’s not the same without the bun. So, I usually get the bun – gluten and all. I’m currently drinking a frappucino, but every morning, I eat hard boiled eggs for breakfast. I don’t love them, either, but they’re easy and a good source of protein.

I try to make sure I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Sometimes it’s 1-2. But, it’s a priority for me, and I chose a gym I enjoy going to, to help motivate me.

I still eat several times throughout the day, but I only buy snacks that are good for me – almonds, La Croix, apples, etc. It’s hard to make healthy choices when I eat out, so I make it as easy for myself at home as possible. I can’t choose poorly there.

I eat a lot of REALLY dark chocolate. Like 85% dark, dark.

I intentionally have not used any specific numbers here, other than the 30 pounds that I lost, because I don’t think the numbers are that important. A girl I follow on Instagram lost 20 pounds, but her starting weight was my current weight, and it made me feel bad. I didn’t think I needed to lose 20 pounds, but after seeing her posts, I suddenly thought maybe I did. I don’t want to do that to anyone else.

What’s most important is being healthy and taking care of your body in a way that will sustain it and allow you to enjoy life to its fullest. It’s being comfortable in your clothes and your own skin. It’s not the number on a scale.

So, now, 11 years and 30 pounds later, I look like this:

I’ve never regained any of the weight, and I don’t expect to. I’ve learned so much about my body. Maybe another wave or two of motivation will hit me and I eventually will achieve Carrie Underwood status. But, if not, I’m happy to say that I’m just that – happy. And I hope you are, too.

Thank you for reading my most vulnerable post I’ve ever written. I love you all.

<3,
SB

You’ve Lost that Writing Feeling

Well, it’s been a long time, y’all. Honestly, I’ve just lost my zest for blogging. For so long, writing my blog was one of my favorite parts of the week, but lately every time I’d sit down to write, I had no inspiration, couldn’t put two words together, and spent most of my time failing at editing my photos. My previous joy had turned into a chore, and that’s not what it should be.

So, I’m taking an official break. I am going to keep my blog active in case I get bit by the bug again, because I really did love sharing my life – and my wardrobe – with you all. And because I assume there will be major life changes, or dating disasters, that I just can’t keep in.

But, for the time being, Tastefully Trendy is on hiatus. Sarah Beth the person isn’t, though, so always send me your fashion (or dating??) thoughts, questions, and suggestions. I love hearing from my friends.

For some parting thoughts, I leave you with a summary of my recent dating history:

  • Bradley Cooper and I did start talking again for a long time and even got to hang out in person! It was pretty wonderful, but it didn’t work out, and I’m still sad about it, which I’m mostly just bringing up on the off-chance that he ever reads this.
  • A few weeks ago, I was in Florida for work and the Disney lifeguard asked me out. 14 year old me would have been ECSTATIC about this. 32 year old me was less so. But, I went because like a dummy, I’d already said I didn’t have anything to do when I wasn’t working. He was super sweet, but when he cheersed (is that a word?) to a “magical evening”, I knew Mr. Disney and I were not meant to be.
  • Last week, my bestie was in town, so naturally, we went dancing, and I met this very nice physical therapist. Or, at least I thought he was nice until he put his hand on my spine and told me my back was stiff and I should really see someone about that (insert eye roll emoji). I told him that I did have a chiropractor but I had asked him out and things got real awkward, so…
  • Speaking of my chiropractor, I recently re-downloaded Bumble (almost always a mistake). Well, not more than 4 or 5 swipes in, who do I see but the Hot Doctor himself. Obviously, I swiped right and we matched! Redemption!! (I thought.) Unfortunately, Hot Doctor apparently didn’t realize I was me, because when I messaged him and he finally did realize it, he responded about like he had the first time – an awkward laugh followed by radio silence. Oh well.

So, there you have it – not much has changed since we last spoke. My coworker always worries that I’ll run out of good stories, but the material just keeps on coming. Hope springs eternal, though, that some day soon, I’ll have a good, non-awkward, even permanent story. And when that happens, you better believe you’ll be among the first to know!

With that, here is one last poorly-edited outfit picture for you, and I hope to see you all again sometime soon, both in real life and through my blog.

Much <3, SB

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

In honor of last Friday’s showing of Mean Girls at a local brewery (seriously, if you want to sit outside, eat a delicious pizza, and watch a recent classic movie, come visit me! This happens every Friday. Because, Nashville is the best), here is my best pink outfit.

Pink striped pants, pink sweater, and some silver accents to keep me from looking too much like the girl’s toys aisle. The thing about my office is that there is no predicting whether it will be hot, or cold, or completely seasonally appropriate. So, I just wear whatever I feel like (a sweater when it’s 85 degrees outside. Sure, why not!), and hope for the best.

If you can, zoom in on the pants – they’re pink and white striped, and I love them.

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!

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!

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