If any of you have been with me for the long haul, you know that I originally started Tastefully Trendy as a fashion blog (hence the name, which I explained here if you’re interested).
Over the years, I’ve added to and strayed from my original purpose – in large part because fashion blogs moved to Instagram and I was never good at photography, anyway.
But, I’ve always enjoyed the creative side of fashion – taking trends and making them your own. I love mixing and matching pieces to create entirely new looks, essentially giving me a limitless closet (although I test the actual limits of my closet regularly).
One of the many casualties of Covid, though, has been my creativity. My ambition to wear “real clothes” in quarantine lasted less than a week. But, even as things have reopened and life is largely back to normal (at least here in Tennessee), without the incentive of going to an office and seeing coworkers every day, I find myself in a fashion rut, wearing the same few pieces over and over again. I have so many clothes I’d like to wear, but I forget about them because my brain just goes to what’s most familiar.
So, I’ve started Outfit-A-Day May. For the month of May, I’m challenging myself to wear a unique outfit every single day. The only time I will allow a repeat is if I wore something for less than 6 hours – and even then, I have to wear it to a different occasion (i.e., I wore it to church; next time I have to wear it on a date).
Probably everyone is like this, but I need a fire starter to get my creative juices flowing. Once they are, though, creativity breeds creativity – and I’m excited about what looks future me may come up with.
I plan to post all of my Outfit-a-Day mirror selfies on IG, so if that’s annoying to you…sorry! It’ll be over in June (probably). But, if you’d like to stretch your creative muscles, too, please tag me in your photos so I can see your cute fits!
This also may be a great excuse to wear those things in the back of the closet you swore you would wear again; do it now, and if you love it – awesome! It’s back in the rotation. If you don’t, you can Marie Kondo it and feel good about your decision.
Here are the first two days of May’s lewks:
Looking forward to being inspired by what y’all are doing!
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?
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:
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.
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…
Last week marked 6 months of my living in DC, y’all – can you believe it?! Even more shocking perhaps than how much time has passed is that, global pandemic notwithstanding, I actually really like it here. Some might wonder why I moved to a place I wasn’t sure I’d like, but since I did, let’s all just celebrate that I am happy with my decision.
One of the primary reasons I love living in this area are the friends I’ve already made. With a few notable exceptions, I never really felt like I found my “people” in Nashville. I had a lot of people who cared about me, and I about them. But, having a group of friends where you’re automatically included in weekend plans is harder to find, and something I haven’t had since I left Virginia Beach almost 7 (!!) years ago. To find it so quickly here is an answer to prayer, one I’m not even sure I fully articulated.
Perhaps living in the political capital of the world, though, has made me want to get more political. Or maybe it’s just that everyone else has suddenly decided to get political, so I feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses.
Either way, I have a few thoughts. I took a break from social media (mostly) for the better part of the past month, and it was so refreshing. Everything is heavy right now – every issue is political, from whether or not you like Hamilton, to whether or not you have extra toilet paper in your house. You can’t scroll through any social media platform without being subjected to one-sided arguments shouted at you – from both sides.
I had a really great Fourth of July this year, full of oohs and ahhs over the gorgeous fireworks surrounding the monuments to our national heroes. Imagine my surprise, then, when I came home from the spectacular display to discover that, according to social media, I wasn’t supposed to have celebrated America this year at all. Or at least not without a giant side of vocalized shame.
Imagine my even greater surprise when I learned that Hamilton, a show written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, darling of the liberal artistic community, and whose producers famously refused to cast white actors in its lead roles was now facing criticism for being tone deaf and insensitive because it featured historical figures who had owned slaves. Never mind that a recurring theme with one of the characters was his mission to free the slaves.
Lest there be any confusion, slavery was wrong, and we are still dealing with the repercussions of white America’s horrible treatment of black people 150 years after the slaves were liberated. For more on my thoughts about race, please feel free to read my previous post.
But we can’t just “cancel” every historical figure that did things that were wrong. For one thing, canceling does not accomplish anything. It does not change the past, nor does it promote critical conversations in the present. For another, if you cancel someone altogether, that gets rid of the good they did, as well as the bad.
So, we can cancel Washington because he owned slaves, but then we literally have no country at all, and we drink a lot more tea. (And we still have slaves.) We can cancel Lincoln because he was more concerned with preserving the Union than with ending slavery – but, then slaves still aren’t free. We can cancel Teddy Roosevelt for his racist ideology against Native Americans (and a lot of other non-whites, honestly), but then we have none of our modern environmental protections. We can cancel FDR because of the horrible Japanese internments during WWII, but then we do not have the New Deal and the social programs which became the backbone of the Democratic party. We can cancel LBJ for starting the “War on Drugs” which has unfairly targeted black people, but then we do not have a Civil Rights Act ending segregation and racial discrimination…and I could go on.
We cannot cancel everyone who had inconsistencies with our modern sensibilities because we’ll never be able to stop. Soon, we’ll have nothing left of our history or our nation. A nation which, despite its sins both past and present, has actually done a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people, at home and abroad.
Society is supposed to evolve and grow and become better. Every generation since the beginning of time has thought itself more progressive and enlightened than the one before it, and generations from now will probably look back at us and criticize our attitudes and behaviors, as well. But let’s hope that when they do, they will also see the good that we’ve tried to accomplish and they will have a rational conversation about our positive and negative decisions, rather than a conversation that discards us altogether if we do not achieve moral perfection by their modern standards.
So, take down the Confederate statues – they were also traitors to the country and do not deserve to be honored. But rather than destroying them, let’s put them in a museum so that we can still remember our history, learn from it, and become better. And for everyone else, let’s talk about their contributions both good AND bad instead of just pretending they never existed.
I have more to say, but I’ll save the second half of my history lesson for another post. For now, I’ll just pick back up with where I started this post – with a description of my life in DC, and the part that I think everyone really cares about: my dating life.
Y’all, dating here is not awesome. Everyone said that would be the case, but for a while, I thought they might have been overstating it. All of my dates have had super fascinating jobs and I’ve enjoyed learning about them. But, most of their personalities…have not been as fascinating. And, as I’ve complained before, Nashville is just a prettier town than DC. So far, I know about 2 good looking men in this whole city, and I’ve already dated both of them. But, as has always been the case in my life, hope springs eternal, and maybe now that things are starting to normalize, my fortunes will turn around.
And just so I don’t completely abandon my original purpose for this blog, here is a photo of an outfit that I had posted on Instagram. For the record, I did not, in fact, meet my soul mate that night.
Thanks for reading everyone – much love to you all. And to America; she still deserves it.
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?
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:
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.
God gives everyone different gifts – some people are creative, some have super high metabolisms, some are good with finances, etc.
One of the gifts He’s given to me is the ability to find good bargains. Honestly, it’s a family gift – my mom is this way, too, and probably my sister (my dad doesn’t shop, and my brother is too bougie to care (love you, Pal!)).
The deal I found below is so great that I found myself starting to get cocky and wanting to brag about my skills. But, since I can’t actually take credit for this in anyway – I did nothing except follow a whim – and because I don’t want my bargains to dry up by stealing the credit, please consider this my testimony, rather than bragging.
Several months ago, my dryer broke. While this was inconvenient, it wasn’t a crisis. I could go to the laundromat and for $2.25 and 27 minutes of my time, dry 3 loads of laundry at once. I actually kind of enjoyed it – watching the pretty colors of my clothes spin around was therapeutic. And, I have so many clothes, I really only needed to go about once every 3 weeks.
But then, my washer, which has twice flooded my townhouse but otherwise worked pretty well, broke down about a month ago. This was more of a crisis. I separate my clothes a lot for washing and not just by color – some get delicate cycle, some hot water, some cold, etc.
So, the time had come to bite the bullet and get a new set. But, I’m renting and still feel very transient at this stage of my life, so I wasn’t interested in investing a lot. I went to a used appliance store I’ve bought from before, and they had sets for $400. Not awful, but still more than I was wanting to spend.
As I was leaving the appliance store, I saw a Goodwill across the street. On a whim/nudge from the Holy Spirit, I decided to go look. I almost didn’t – what are the odds that Goodwill would have a washer and dryer that worked? But, I am trying to get better at listening to those promptings, so reluctantly I went in, fully expecting not to find anything. I even almost turned around when I was in the store because it just seemed so absurd.
But, lo and behold, in the housewares section, there was a washer and dryer set (different brands, but they look like they match). As I was looking at them, the manager walked by and I asked if they worked… She said they did and spoke with such authority that I really did believe her. Plus, she told me that if they didn’t, I could bring them back and get store credit. I don’t really NEED store credit at Goodwill, but it was better than nothing.
So, I made a split decision (something that usually causes me anxiety) and snatched them up. I didn’t know how I’d get them to my house, but I thought for the price it was worth the risk.
And that price…drum roll, please…was $50.
$50 total. For both. Combined. With Tennessee’s ridiculously high sales tax. And a donation to charity to round up to the nearest dollar.
I found a friend (with a week-old truck; I was so nervous we’d scratch it) to help me move them, and somehow, the two of us were able to get the old ones out of my house and the new ones in. I say it like it was a miracle, because it was – I’m really not skilled at moving things; my arms are too short or something. I don’t know. But we got them in, and I will forever be grateful.
The dryer had a different cord than fit my outlet, but thanks to a very helpful Home Depot employee and some virtual coaching, I changed it all by myself. So, I’m an electrician now and available for house calls.
And, both machines work! Like a charm. I haven’t even found any idiosyncrasies yet.
I celebrated by washing literally everything I owned. My towels, sheets, every article of clothing – all were clean, all at once. It was the best 24 hours of my life.
So, thank you, Rich People, for getting rid of perfectly good washers and dryers, and thank you, God, for sending me to them. My life is better as a result.
This outfit is brought to you by my clean laundry. Actually, that’s not really true – I took this picture before I got my machines. The clothes were already clean. But, since they ARE clean, it’s still relevant, right?
These shorts were another vacation purchase – i.e, ones I might not have bought in “real life”, but hey, you’re on vacation! It’s not that I don’t like them – I do. But, they aren’t quite the right size. So, I decided to make them work, something I might not have done in my practical, non-vacation mindset.
Tie-front pants/shorts are very in right now, and I really like the look. The paperbag waist is also back – straight out of the Stranger Things’ kids wardrobes. Paperbag refers to the extended, pleated waist you see on these shorts. It’s often elasticized, although these aren’t.
Also, I couldn’t remember what they were called, and I googled “garbage bag shorts”. Hahaha. I’m giggling at myself in Starbucks right now. But, hey, it got me to what I was looking for, so mission accomplished. lol.
Anyway, so that’s my exciting find of the year – maybe the decade. Are any of y’all bargain shoppers? Have you found any particularly good deals lately? If so, let me know – I love those kinds of stories! Or, if God gave you a similar, unique gift – like you get a close parking spot every time, or you’ve never had a cavity, or something – we can talk about that, too. Thanks for reading!
Today’s post is part journal entry, part encouragement for anyone who thinks like me, and part “I feel like I need to say these things ‘out loud’ to really cement them”. But, I also have a cute outfit at the bottom of the page, along with a side-by-side with middle school me, so please join me for whichever part(s) are most beneficial to you. I hope it all will be.
Although I was raised in a Christian home and accepted Jesus at a very young age, there is one aspect of the Christian faith that has always been difficult for me – the actual faith part.
I don’t have trouble believing that God exists, that Jesus died and rose again for our salvation, that one day all who believe in Him will be in Heaven, or any of the other key elements of Christianity. I don’t even have trouble believing that God directs our steps and has a divine plan for each one of us. But, when you start getting into the specifics of what that divine plan might be, or how God relates to us on an individual level, that’s where I’ve struggled more.
But, it is an invaluable lesson, if we can get it, and the way God is teaching me about faith at the moment is by leading me to have faith for something VERY specific. I’ve literally never done this before. Sure, I’ve asked God whether or not I should take a certain job and had faith that He was directing me. Or, I’ve prayed for someone’s health or financial situation and believed that God would intervene. But, those all seemed very manageable and also generic enough that God could do a lot of different things, and I would still believe that He’d answered my prayer. These kinds of prayers did not “stretch” my faith or challenge my theology at all.
But this time is different. This time, there is no way for me to see God’s hand through a variety of solutions. I’m either right in what I believe God has spoken to my heart and He’ll do it, or I’m wrong and He won’t. And if He doesn’t, then I’ll have to wrestle with what that means. But there is no wiggle room. There is no way for a half-answered prayer here.
I’ve never been a “name it/claim it” person; it doesn’t fit with my theology. I don’t think God is a cosmic genie, up in the heavens ready at our beck and call to grant our wishes. However, I do believe that God is a good Father, I believe He answers prayer, and I believe He speaks to us in all kinds of different ways, if only we will listen. I also believe, as one of my mentors used to say, that He wants us to be in His will even more than we do.
So, when I felt that God laid something specific on my heart to pray in faith for/about, I didn’t feel that I was “naming” it and claiming it. Rather, I felt like He gave me the idea in the first place. Yes, it’s an idea that I’m super into, but I wasn’t just sitting around thinking of things I wanted and giving God His marching orders. Instead, I felt like God had invited me to join Him in working to accomplish His will by placing this particular situation on my heart. My responsibility in this task was to pray and to believe that He will do what He has said, which is both an honor and very humbling – but also a little terrifying.
I guess the reason praying for something specific scares me so much, besides the fact that I’ve never done it before, is that I could be wrong. And if I’m wrong, what does that say about my relationship with God – my ability to hear from Him, His willingness to speak to me, who He is in general…
Also, if I’m wrong, not only will I be disappointed, but I’ll feel foolish. I’m not talking to many people about this situation – you know, except all of you – so, there won’t be a lot of other people judging me if I misheard. But I’ll know.
But faith is risky by its very nature.
Everything good in life is: relationships, love, new ventures, investments. If we only made decisions based on very sure things, we’d have a limited pool of options available to us.
I was talking to a wise friend about this a month or two ago, and I expressed to her my fear about having misheard God and what the implications of that might be for my faith overall. She asked a simple question, “But, what is your alternative?”
That question put everything into perspective for me, because she’s right – I have no alternative. If God is not who He says He is, what hope do I have in life at all? A hopeless, godless life is a reality I can’t even fathom. So, then, if I believe God is who He says He is, how does that impact my daily life? Do I also believe that He speaks to me, and if so, what do I do about what He’s said?
As my friend and I were talking, I couldn’t help but think of several Biblical heroes who have faced very specific situations that were likely quite trying on their faith. I think we read these Bible stories as though the characters in them are just innately good, and they didn’t ever struggle to have the right response. But I bet it was just as difficult for them to exercise faith as it is for us. Thankfully, though, we have the benefit of their experiences to inspire us in our own.
For example, when faced with the very real possibility of losing her position – and her life – by going before the king uninvited, Queen Esther said, “If I perish, I perish” – and armed with the prayers of her people, she stepped out in faith and saved an entire nation from annihilation.
Abraham followed God’s word up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, believing all the way that God would provide an alternative sacrifice. But if He didn’t, Abraham was still going to believe God and go through with what He had said. Fortunately, God did provide a ram in the thicket…just in the nick of time.
Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego stood at the edge of the fiery furnace, boldly proclaiming that God would rescue them. But even if He did not, they committed that they would not turn away from Him. In their case, their faith was so tested, they actually went INTO the fire before God saved them. But, save them He did and not even their clothes smelled of smoke.
What is even more encouraging about these stories is that not only did all of these people stand in faith in impossible circumstances, believing in God regardless of the consequences, but in each situation, God did come through and their faith was rewarded.
So, with all of these truths in mind, I’ve decided to press forward in the direction I believe that God has called me. It is a risk. I might be wrong. I might be disappointed. But, I also might grow in the Lord in a way I’ve never yet experienced.
Like Esther, I’m choosing to take a risk in faith, and if I perish, I perish (which, in this particular situation is unlikely to happen, but I can be dramatic, so the phrase seems fitting). And I’m excited to see what/how/when/why God will use my faith and work in my life.
A couple of years ago, I did a series on hope (parts 2 and 3 here and here). Faith is hope’s very close cousin. The other day, Sandi Patty, my childhood musical idol, posted something on Instagram from her husband, who commented that faith is the substance of things hoped for – a verse we all know. But, that means that faith is what allows us to have hope; it’s the basis of our hope. Faith in God’s goodness is what gives us the strength to hope.
First Corinthians says, these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. So, now that I’ve mastered the first two (jk about the mastering…), maybe you can expect a love series sometime in the future. I probably have an awful lot of lessons to learn on the “greatest of these”.
And now, as promised, here is my cute outfit – and a sudden transition.
I’ve wanted to get in on the overalls trend since they first rolled back into style a few years ago, but since I refuse to pay full (over)price for farm clothing, I had to wait until I could find a good deal. So, finally, at the end of summer, I’ve found my white shorts overalls, and I just hope they’ll still be in style next year.
This shirt was a vacation purchase, which is honestly the only reason I own it. It was more than I would normally have paid, but who can do math properly while you’re at the beach? So, I accidentally bought it and now I’m pretty happy that I did. In the close up, you can see more of the shirt detail – as well as the buttons on my overalls.
The last time overalls were in style, I was 12 and I was ALL ABOUT THEM.
So, in celebration of the style’s return, here is a side-by-side of 2019 me and 1997 me…who wore it better?
So, there you have it. What has God taught you about faith recently, or how have you seen him work in your life as you’ve stepped out in faith?
Or, if you’d rather, we can talk about overalls. What do you think of this trend?
As always, thank you all for reading. You’re all just the best.
I’ve had a suspicion for a long time that my fashion posts really weren’t the most interesting to many of you. Although the original purpose of my blog was to talk about clothing and trends, my audience (aka, you guys. My friends.) seemed to prefer the juicier topics. Based on the fact that about 200 people read my post about weight loss, and only 30 read the following week’s post about casual apparel…I’d say my suspicion was right (shout out to you hard core 30!).
So, in the interest of giving the people what they want, let me tell you about the worst date I have ever been on.
One of the conversation topics that often gets brought up on first dates, particularly if you’ve met the person online, is dating horror stories. And I’ve heard some doozies. Men especially seem prone to being catfished, whether in the more innocent form of a girl using older pictures with good angles, or the more absurd cases where a girl flat-out uses someone else’s pictures.
But I’d always felt a little boring when this topic came up. Either because I’m a pretty good judge of character and weed out the weirdos before I meet them, or because I genuinely enjoy talking to strangers, most of my dates have been pleasant. Pleasant, while not “good”, does not make for an interesting story.
Well, at least until a few months ago…
It started out like any normal Bumble date. We agreed on a specific public location (that I picked, because he was from Bowling Green – an hour and 15 minutes away).
Side note: it seems very flattering when a guy is willing to drive any distance more than 30 minutes to meet me for the first time. But I’ve learned that this should be a warning sign when we’ve only talked for a day or two.
Anyway, we met and I could tell immediately that it wasn’t going anywhere, but we were there, so might as well make the best of it. He told me that I was his first Bumble date, which I was totally fine with. I actually am always kinda happy for guys who have me as their first date from an app – I will be nice to them and I pretty much look like my pictures. If nothing else, it’ll at least be a positive first-date experience. (Side note 2: I told this to another date once, and he said I was the Bumble Mother Theresa, so if you guys want to start calling me that, too, I’m cool with it).
The date was fine. He had two Bud Lights with dinner, and we walked around town for a while after (because dinner ended too quickly for me not to feel guilty sending him all the way back to Bowling Green). At some point, he said that he couldn’t really read me, but I didn’t seem NOT interested. I took great pride in this because, while I was definitelynot interested, at least I was nice enough that he didn’t feel like I hated him.
When we finally got back to our cars, he kissed me – and let me assure you guys, hard to read or not, that was NOT the vibe I was giving off. I then got in my car and drove the 15-20 minutes back to my house.
So far, this was a pretty par for the course poor date. Nothing noteworthy, just not good.
And then I got the call.
Literally as I was pulling into my driveway, buddy called me to say that he’d been pulled over and the cop could smell alcohol on his breath.
To save you from scrolling backwards, I’ll remind you of his drink order – two Bud Lights. He was a 34 year old, normal-sized, adult male. Two Bud Lights and somehow the cop could smell them.
Well, spoiler alert, fortunately, he didn’t get a DUI, but the cop wouldn’t let him leave unless someone came to pick him up. But, since he lived in Bowling Green, there weren’t that many people he could call. So, I turned my car back around to get him.
At this point, my niceness was wearing thin, and so was my patience. When I arrived where his truck was parked, he got in my car and said, “I hope you don’t think this was a line.” With no sympathy whatsoever in my voice, I replied, “Of course I don’t think this was a line. It would literally be the worst line in history.”
I wasn’t sure what we could do for an hour while he “sobered up”. He suggested we could just go back to my place, which I FLATLY vetod and suggested instead that we just go walk around some more.
After about an hour of walking, I took him back to his car and he drove back to Kentucky. I drove back to my home and hoped he never texted me again.
But, the next day, he did text me – only to say that while I seemed nice, he just didn’t think it was going to work out.
Y’all – HE dumped ME!
I let him save face, though, because there was no point in making him feel more embarrassed, and I didn’t want to see him again, anyway. So, all’s well that end’s well. And, as the silver lining, I finally have a really good worst-date story to share. Added bonus that it’s at least a safe worst-date story – despite his repeated efforts to kiss me, I really don’t think he was creepy or meant me any harm. He was just really green when it came to dating and had no idea idea what he was doing.
I don’t remember what I wore to meet that guy, but here are a couple outfits I have worn or would wear on dates:
I love this dress for its elegant simplicity. I almost always pair it with gold accessories and makeup and feel like a Greek goddess every time. The perfect summer dinner date outfit.
This one is good for a day date. I actually wore these shorts on one of my favorite dates, but that was in the summer. To make them a little more appropriate for a 90 degree fall day, I swapped my white off the shoulder top for a peach sweater-T (I wish I had had a rust orange top, but you make do with what you’ve got) and my sandals for booties. I think it works.
So there you have it – my worst date story. It’s probably not the craziest story I’ve ever heard, to be honest, but it’s definitely the craziest that has ever happened to me. Do you have any that top that? What’s your worst date – or the worst you’ve heard of? I hope you’ll comment because these stories are my favorites!
First of all, thank you, everyone, for all of your positive feedback on my post last week. I was honestly very nervous about publishing it, but you all were so kind and encouraging, it made me glad that I did. So, thank you.
The original purpose of my blog was to talk about fashion. There’s only so much I can say about my clothes, so I like veering off into other topics. But, today seemed like a good day to go back to my roots.
If you’re a newer reader, you may not know why I call my blog Tastefully Trendy. The long version is here (full disclosure, I changed the picture on that original post, because I have no idea why I thought the outfit I had posted there was a good look). But, the short version is that I believe true style comes from taking a trend and making it your own, rather than being a cookie cutter copy of everyone else. It’s my fashion soap box.
I also believe you can look stylish no matter your lifestyle or time availability. Fashion doesn’t have to be this super complicated thing.
To that end, let’s talk about casual clothes. I’ve always been an advocate for looking put together, even when running errands or taking the kids to the park or a casual lunch with friends, etc.
Here’s what I mean.
I spent about 15 seconds picking out this outfit – I’m literally wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and flats – and LOTS of dry shampoo. However, while my sweatshirt is no less comfortable than one without giant pearls on it, it looks like I put effort into choosing my clothes, more so than if i were wearing my oversized college hoodie. Likewise, my trendy hole-y jeans required no more time commitment than putting on a pair of leggings would have, but they give the impression that I invested time in getting ready. My shoes are just slide-on flats; they require even less effort than a pair of tennis shoes. Yet, the overall look says that I care.
Here’s another example.
Now, this outfit did take a little more effort than my sweatshirt and jeans. But, not much. At the end of the day, I’m still wearing a sweater, pants, and flats. As casual as it gets. But, by choosing trendy, well-fitting pants, and flats that tie the shirt into the whole outfit, I have a complete look, rather than one that says I just threw on whatever was clean.
To be fair, when I wore this outfit, I actually wore heels with it, so here’s that look, too.
*quick disclaimer – in this picture, my sweater is hanging weird where it’s tucked. I tried desperately to edit it to make it look less bunchy/more like it did in real life, but I was unsuccessful. Imagine that it’s perfectly bloused.
A couple additional thoughts about this look. First, to my earlier point about making trends your own: these pants are my version of the camo trend. I like camo – much better now than I did the last time it was in style. But, everyone is wearing military camo. Why not try this jungle take on it? Still the same basic look – greens on greens on greens. However, by putting a slightly different spin on the trend, I’ve made it my own and stand out a little more from the crowd. My personal aversion to looking like everyone else may also be why I find things on sale all the time – the demand is lower for unique things. I only paid $9 for these pants. Added bonus: I’m ready to go off the grid in the Amazon Rainforest, should the need arise.
Second, my leopard print shoes and camo pants. I’ve thought a lot about how to explain why this works. My mom would probably argue that it doesn’t. But, it does, I promise. Animal and camo prints both act as neutrals, much like a thin stripe would, because both patterns are made up of shades of the same colors – leopard with browns and blacks, camo with greens. Additionally, greens and browns pair well with each other, anyway, and the gold in my shirt matches the gold in the leopard and ties everything together.
The biggest reason these work, though, is confidence. If you’re going to rock an unexpected style or combination, you’ve got to own it. People will believe you know what you’re doing if you believe you do. And it’s totally okay to fake it til you make it, because the more you try, the more confident you’ll become. And, the more confident you are, the more people will affirm your decisions, helping to boost your confidence even further.
But, even if they don’t, though, at least you’ve stepped out, worn something brave, and flexed your creative muscles.
So, there’s my take on casual. Of course, when I’m sick I run to Walgreens in sweat pants and a hoodie like every other human being. But, otherwise, if for the same amount of effort I can look put together and classy, even when I’m running errands, I’m going to choose that option. I’ll feel better and be more confident, which will cause other people to respond to me better, and the whole experience will be better for everyone.
What’s your go-to casual look? Do you feel confident and good about yourself when you wear it? If so, great! If not, what are some ways that you can boost your confidence in your style, regardless of whether or not you incorporate my suggestions? I’d love to hear from you, and as always, thank you for reading.
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.
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.
Writing a blog only once a week makes me feel a lot of pressure to actually say something meaningful. Telling you about why I put a certain shirt with a certain pair of pants is fine when I’m producing content several times a week, but if I’m only saying something once every 7 days, shouldn’t it be something worth hearing? Aren’t all the other bloggers saying significant things on important topics, like faith and (successful) relationships and politics? Or even how to ship lap?
But, I suppose that’s the problem – bowing to pressure and comparison. I can only be me. I’ve always only been able to be me, and any attempt to do otherwise has failed miserably (cue awkward memories of high school and college). And you can only be you. Sure, we all want to be the best versions of ourselves, but I actually just read an article about how our culture’s obsession with self-improvement leads to even more depression and anxiety. We’ll never fully arrive – there will always be room to become an even better best, and it can be exhausting trying.
So, I guess that leads me to my second point on the topic of self-care. Self-love. I think you all know me well-enough to know that I’m not what you might call a hippy…. I have a pretty traditional view of Christianity that includes words like “sin” and “righteousness”. I think there are moral absolutes and definite rights and wrongs.
But, I also think there is a lot more room for grace than we give ourselves. I’m not just talking about faith matters – I mean, grace to eat a cupcake if we’ve had a really bad day and just need something to cheer us up. Or grace NOT to eat the cupcake, if we are in a season where prioritizing our health is important. Grace to say no to things that we genuinely don’t want to do, or to put ourselves (our families, our sleep, our health) first, instead of feeling obligated to do what we think society might expect of us.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on self-care, let’s be real. In fact, I’ve never been sick as often as I was the first year I moved to Nashville. I blamed the allergens, but honestly, part of it was learning how 30-something year old me needed to operate. And part of how I need to operate is just to say no. Sometimes, that means saying no to staying out just a little bit later, when I know I’ll be exhausted the next day and more susceptible to getting sick. Sometimes, it means saying no to eating fast food for the 4th time that week, because I know I’m not feeding my body well, for either the short or long-term. Sometimes, saying no is listening to that Still Small Voice who always knows what’s best for me – even when I can’t see what’s up ahead – and making my decisions accordingly.
Do I do this perfectly? Good lord, no. Do I do it well? Even that’s debatable. But I’m trying.
So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, there are a few practical things I regularly try to do to take care of myself. These include:
Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. And sometimes taking a nap in my car at lunch if I need a little extra boost. No shame in my game.
Eating healthy foods. I’ve learned what my body likes and what it doesn’t, and in 2018, I don’t think any of us are really confused about what’s healthy. I try to keep this in mind at least 75% of the time.
Friendships. I’m such an extrovert, if I’m not around people at some point during a 24 hour period, I start to go crazy. But, even for those who are less extremely extroverted than me, fellowship, laughter, and companionship is always good for the soul.
Down time. Because of my extroverted nature, it’s really easy for me to just go, go, go. I’ve learned, though, that a little time to decompress – read, binge TV, do chores, or otherwise just exist – is good for me and gives me the opportunity to be still with my thoughts.
Daily devotional time. Spending time in prayer and reading the Bible (as well as other inspirational books) keeps me centered and focused on the things that truly matter, and it’s the most surefire way to find peace in stressful times. Non-Christians can also benefit from a daily reflective practice, but for those who adhere to a faith, I think this step is crucial.
Those are some of the ways I stay healthy – physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Yours may be different. You may be someone who needs time in nature on a regular basis. Or maybe you’re an introvert who needs to protect your alone time. Maybe a relaxing bath and a glass of wine is all you need.
But whatever it is, be sure you make time for those things. Self-love isn’t selfishness. Even the Bible compares Christ’s love to how we as humans nourish and cherish our bodies (Ephesians 5:29). By being sure that we stay healthy, we’re then much more equipped to do the things that we need to do, and to be a blessing to other people.
Another way that I take care of myself is by fostering my creative side through clothes, so with no further ado…
It’s already that time, y’all. My first sweater of the season, although I paired it with white jeans to help ease the transition from summer to fall – never an easy task for me.
The sweater is actually a sweater dress, I think, and at some point in the season, I may wear it with leggings or tights. But, for now, I just did a half tuck in the front to make it seem like it’s a normal length.
I’m also trying to work on my poses, and this not-looking-directly-at-the-camera thing seems to be the way to go. How am I doing?
What are some of the ways you stay healthy by taking care of yourself first? Let me know in the comments – maybe we’ll all get some other good ideas!