Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Features (page 1 of 8)

EPL, FAQ

Yesterday, I told y’all about the Eat, Pray, Love trip I’m taking in a few weeks, but I thought there might be some questions. Here are a few that people have already asked (or that I’ve asked myself).

What is your itinerary?

While everything is subject to change, the current plan is DC to Asheville, NC. From there, I’ll head to Knoxville, then Nashville (obviously) for a few days. From Nashville, I’ll drive to Little Rock and then to Dallas/Fort Worth area. The next stop is Amarillo (by morning, of course), then Albuquerque/Santa Fe. From New Mexico, I’ll head up to Colorado, and probably bounce around between Pueblo/Colorado Springs/Denver/Fort Collins.

Then, the real adventure begins as I head off to Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota, although not necessarily in that order. I’m going to rely on locals’ advice for those states, and we’ll see where that gets me.

The route on the way back will be determined by Covid openings and how tired of being on the road I am. So, TBD…

How did you come up with that itinerary?

When I first got the idea for this trip, I mapped out the route between here and Denver (or Menver, as my friend who jokingly kicked off this trip calls it). Then, I made a list of friends I know who were loosely along the route and tried to see as many as possible along the way – a safer and more fun way to travel, in my opinion.

But, why the Dakotas?

I’ve always enjoyed the Fly-Over states, to be honest. But, I also really wanted to go to some places I’d never been. As a federal employee, I basically have to stay within the US if I’m teleworking, so that eliminated anywhere truly exotic. And the Plains States seemed to fit better with the Hallmarkian (I just created that word, I think, but I like it. Like, “Dickensian”, only way less sophisticated) vision I had for this trip.

This seems like a LOT of driving.

It is, and I don’t love driving. However, flying was cost prohibitive because I would have to rent a car for the whole time. Besides just getting from state to state, I doubt I will be in a lot of walkable areas, and I’m not sure how prevalent Uber is in Small Town, USA. So, for the sake of needing to eat, and for the sake of taking a lot more with me, I’m going to drive (more below on what I’m taking with me).

I have, though, divided the driving up into 4-5 hour segments, so it should be manageable. On days that I have to work and drive, I may drive an hour on my lunch break (so I have less distance to cover later), and work the rest of the afternoon at Starbucks. We’ll see. Either way, I see myself plowing through some audio books – recommendations are welcome.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until the summer?

Probably. But, I picked this time frame intentionally for several reasons:

  1. Summer is fun around here, and I didn’t want to miss it. I won’t miss much in February or March.
  2. I like snow, and because my itinerary is so flexible, snow won’t derail my plans. If snow is predicted, I’ll just leave where I am sooner or stay longer. However, I am starting my journey by heading south in late February in the hopes that by the time I hit the snowiest regions, I’ll have missed the worst of it.
  3. I needed the trip to be soon enough after my disappointing news that I could actually be excited about planning it, even while I was sad. The more removed from my funk, the less helpful the trip would be in getting me out of it.
  4. Hallmarkian. Magical things happen in small towns in the winter.

Won’t this trip be expensive?

In a word – yes. While teleworking from different locations has become a trend over the past year, a lot of people who do it give UP their apartments and use that money towards Airbnbs. I’m not doing that, so it’ll add up. I’m trying not to do too much math, in all honesty. But, I got those stimulus checks, so here’s to doing my civic duty to stimulate the economy.

What are you going to DO while you’re out there?

Well, I will still be working, so I’m not just going to have 6 weeks of free time. However, I envision a lot of time spent in local coffee shops and restaurants, getting a flavor for the culture of each town. I’m going to see Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands. And, I want to do some outdoor things, but in areas where I have friends. I don’t think hiking the Blue Ridge or Rockies by myself seems like a good idea – due both to my inexperience and gender. But, with friends, I’m game. Maybe I’ll become outdoorsy after all this – who knows.

Where will you be staying?

It really depends on the area, I think, and how long I’ll be there. I really like Airbnbs, but they are not always the most cost-effective option, especially for short stays. So, I think I’ll probably do hotels if I’m only somewhere for a night or two, and Airbnbs with a kitchen (and washer and dryer!) if I’ll be somewhere a little longer. I can’t eat out EVERY meal, so I will need some groceries and a place to prepare them.

Of course, if you’re along my route and want to give me a place to stay for a night, I won’t say no! (See the question about expense above.)

Are you actually going to date while you’re gone?

I don’t really know how this will work out. I mean, I’ve joked about it being a Hallmark movie, but in reality, I need to be safe and smart. Using the apps when you’re not a local can send the wrong impression about your intentions, and I don’t know how many strangers I will actually meet at coffee shops. So, who knows. Either way, don’t worry about me – the same principles of safety apply wherever I am: pick a public place, scope out the restaurant first, share your iPhone location with a friend…

But, seriously – how are YOU going to live out of a suitcase for 6 weeks?!

I am a little concerned about this one, TBH, for several reasons. One, I’m a terrible packer in the best of scenarios, as I never know what I’m going to be in the mood to wear or exactly what I’ll be doing/what the occasion will call for. Plus, I seldom repeat outfits, so I don’t have “go-tos”. Two, I’m going to be in a few different climates along the way. Three – it’s winter. Winter clothes take up a lot more space.

But, I have a plan. I’m going to pack my largest suitcase with the stuff I will wear most often. This is the one I will always take in with me, no matter where I’m staying.

My other suitcase will have some “you never know” stuff in it – like a swimsuit (maybe there will be a hot tub somewhere?), a dressier outfit (for the Hallmarkian ending), and hiking gear (I probably will use this several times, but I don’t need it every where I go). That way, I can just get out what I need, when I need it, and minimize how much I’m lugging in and out of hotels.

I also plan to have some basic kitchen supplies/groceries in a separate bag – again, so I can take it in when I need it and leave it in my car when I don’t. Same with my workout equipment. My goal is to have everything I will absolutely NEED, but not look like I’m moving in anytime I arrive somewhere.

***

So, as you can see, I’ve put a lot of thought into this trip. While the idea itself was spontaneous, I never really do anything actually spontaneous. The lack of a strict routine is stretching enough. But, I am eager to get on the road and to see what adventures await. Now, to download those audio books…

<3,

SB

Eat, Pray, Love

It started with a broken heart, the way all finding yourself journeys begin.

A man I’d been in love with for four years got engaged to someone else, and although I suspected it was coming, the news of its reality hit me very hard.

I took the day off, friends sent cupcakes and flowers, and others called to check on me. It was all very dramatic, but I think that the dramatics are justified the older you get. I read an article once about a Japanese company who gave “heartache leave” for people after a breakup – the number of days increased the older you got. It just gets harder to bounce back from disappointment.

But, bounce back you must, even if, as more than one of my friends has suggested to me, it seems that “the One” for me might not be in DC. I’ve not had any luck here, after all. You may recall that in the entire city of the District of Columbia, there are only 1,000 men who meet my MOST BASIC requirements – and that number is likely to decrease now that there is a Democratic administration.

Teasing me, one of my friends suggested I might need to go somewhere where the ratio of men to women is higher and the population swings more conservative. South Dakota might be the right fit for me, we joked.

But, then I started to think about it. Maybe South Dakota wouldn’t be so bad for a change? Not to find a man necessarily. But, my top bucket list item is to visit all 50 states, and I’ve never been to those Plains States – they’re not really on the way to anything. Plus, I’m teleworking now, anyway, and have no reasons I have to stay in DC.

And so, an idea was born. At first, it was just something fun to distract me from feeling sad; I love a good trip plan. But, the more I thought about it, the more my idea grew, until I decided finally to take about 6 weeks this late winter/early spring and set out across the country.

The only firm itinerary I have is for the first 9 days or so, as I make my way from DC down to Dallas, visiting friends (and Arkansas…might as well get that state out of the way now, too) along the way. From there, I will work my way north, through New Mexico, Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana. Order and length of stay in each area TBD.

In each stop, I’ll ask recommendations for the next place, looking for that hole-in-the-wall Hallmark town to make all of my lumberjack dreams come true (I’d be lying if I said this trip wasn’t slightly Hallmark/Virgin River induced). But, more pragmatically, locals will know the most unique – and safest – places for me to go much better than my ill-experienced googling.

While this trip is hardly hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a la Wild, not having a to-the-minute, strictly-planned itinerary; spending that much time alone and on the road; and not having a routine will definitely be a challenge for me and push me outside of my comfort zone. As will living out of suitcases for a month and a half…! I expect to have lots of time to think, pray, listen to audio books, and sing angsty Taylor Swift songs.

I also recently realized that my trip coincides neatly with Lent – starting a day after and culminating (probably) at Easter. I don’t always observe Lent, but that timing still seemed meaningful to me.

I don’t really have any expectations for what will come of this trip, beyond it just being an adventure to talk about later. Will I “find myself”? I don’t know really what that means. Will I work through the existential crises of faith, professional success, and our political world that I’m currently facing? Or the personal ones that seem to accompany recent birthdays when you’re not quite where you want to be in life?

Will I meet my Hallmark movie co-lead? Will I make interesting new friends? Will I live-blog what’s happening or post about it on social medias, or will I just savor all the experiences for myself – to tell, or not, at a later date?

I have no idea. All I know is that I’m going.

Eventually, I’m going to have a name for this trip that is uniquely mine. It might have to come after the fact, when I see what the trip really is. For now, I’m calling it my Eat, Pray, Love trip, because most people get that reference.

Tomorrow, I’ll address some frequently asked questions – like, why, for example, I’m doing this in winter. Today, though, let’s just celebrate that life is an adventure to be lived, and that’s what I’m going to do.

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

Cancel Culture

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.

<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

Goodbye, my love

Well, the news is still settling in, but I guess there is no denying it now: Tim Tebow is engaged. When I posted about this on facebook, one of my friends said, “Nothing is final until you’re dead.” And while I appreciate that sentiment, I think it’s safe to say that Tebow and I are probably not going to be a thing at this point.

A friend sent me a Babylon Bee article about both Tebow and Chris Pratt being off the market in the same week, and it hit a little too close to home with its satirical interview. “If I couldn’t land a Christian football star or an A-list Hollywood actor,” laments the single Christian girl in question, “then is there really going to be any guy out there for me? I’m just not sure there are many other choices that God would have for me.” Words I may or may not have spoken at some point. The article goes on to say that at time of publication, this girl was “googling ‘single Christian celebrities’ to try to replenish her list of men she suspects God has destined her to be with.” Something I may or may not have done.

While my crush had significantly subsided in recent years (due, in large part, to the realization that he’s not into blondes), at other times in my life I was honestly pretty convinced that some way, somehow, Timmy and I were going to end up together. I intentionally didn’t read his book for a long time so that if I ever did meet him, I wouldn’t know everything about him and could ask him questions like a normal person. Because normal people are definitely convinced they’re going to marry celebrities they’ve never met.

I did TRY to meet him, though. When I lived in Virginia Beach, Tim was doing a football camp in Williamsburg, and I dragged a friend with me to see if we could find him. We could not. Another time, a friend invited me to her church in Knoxville where he was speaking. I went and intentionally wore a bright yellow dress so I’d stand out. Like a highlighter. But that didn’t work, either. Even when I went to India, I had a layover in France, and I thought I’d get to hang out in the lounge (I was wrong), and I imagined that Tebow – who would for sure have lounge access – would come in, we’d strike up a conversation, I’d tell him I was returning from a mission trip, and he’d propose on the spot. Or something like that.

That also did not happen.

But, I was prepared for this disappointment. I had been pretty convinced another time in my life that I was going to marry a celebrity – Prince William. Princess Diana died when I was 12, and like everyone else, I was glued to the coverage – and that’s how I learned that her 15 year old son existed. And like the 12 year old that I was, I fell hard.

I bought every magazine about Diana in print and plastered my 7th grade locker with William pictures. I sent a cassette tape to the princes that I thought would encourage them after their mom’s passing (this was half well-intentioned sweetness, and half because I thought he’d listen to it and just have to know the American girl who sent it – and to know me is to love me). And when one of my friends said she really thought I’d end up with him, I took it as a word from the Lord. This was also middle school, so I took license plates with my crush’s birthday numerals on them as signs from above.

Alas, Wills is 3 kids in at this point, and Tebow bought his fiancée a rock the size of Texas. But, I don’t regret my day dreams. Being a romantic makes life more rosy and interesting. Sure, following Tim across the country wasn’t the most productive use of my time, but I had some fun adventures with friends and got some good stories along the way. And perhaps my friend was a little off in her forecasting about my future royal wedding, but if 7th graders can’t have wild dreams about the future, who can?

So, I wish Timmy the best, and I will continue to live vicariously through Kate and Megan and all those who wear a crown, because, well, my name literally means princess, so I can’t help it. But, I won’t start googling Christian celebrities again, just yet.

I don’t have a good tie-in for this outfit. I just liked it. I actually wore this dress to work last week. I know it’s really too fancy for the office, but I’ve been watching a lot of Suits, and Donna inspires me with her fashion choices, as inappropriate for the workplace as some of them may be. And, I put a sweater over it, so that definitely toned it down.

So, friends, I told you my embarrassing stories – what about you? Have you ever been CONVINCED you were going to marry someone famous? Who was it, and what measures did you take to make this happen? Please share so we can all reminisce about famous loves gone-by. I bet some names might pop up more than once.

<3,
SB

thank u, next

Happy New Year, everyone!

In the spirit of not making resolutions I won’t keep, I’m going to stop promising how often I’ll have a new blog post. I get embarrassed when I don’t live up to my own expectations, so the new rule is, I’ll write when I have something to say. Or a really great outfit to feature.

Also in the spirit of the new year, and of Ariana Grande, I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane. Reflecting on the past can sometimes be a great way to head into the future.

Unless you’ve been trapped in a fallout shelter for the past month or two, you’ve probably heard Ariana’s new song, “thank u, next.” It has spawned countless memes and an epic music video that took the social media world by storm for a full 24-48 hours.

The basic premise of the song is Ariana looking back on all of her past relationships and reflecting on the good they brought her and the lessons she learned. She ends by talking about focusing on herself and being grateful for all the ways she’s grown, even through difficulties.

Of course, in true 2019 pop star fashion, the song is full of profanity and teenage slang (I honestly don’t see how it’s possible that she’s over the age of 15). However, I really like the sentiment – the idea of looking for the good in all of our life circumstances, including the painful ones.

Can I really say “I’m so [edited] grateful for my ex” about every guy I’ve dated? I’d have to think pretty hard about that. But, I can at least highlight a few:

Thank u, next:  To my grad school guy – thank you for being the reason I made a lifelong friend. There’s nothing like common relationship drama and young T. Swift music to bring two early-20s girls together and make them inseparable for life. Also, thank you for shoveling my snow.

Thank u, next: To the guy I went out with a few times when I was 23 – you prompted me (quite unknowingly on your part, I’m very sure) to refocus my life and reprioritize my relationship with God. My twenties may have looked a lot different had I not known you.

Thank u, next: To the guy I went out with a few times when I was 26 – thanks to you, I went on a 10 month Man Fast, and it was the single best spiritual undertaking in my life thus far.

Thank u, next: To Hot Trainer. We never actually dated at all, but you showed me what respect looked like at a time when I’d experienced very little of it. And you set an impossible standard for text response time with which no man has ever been able compete.

Thank u, next: To the guy from Ohio. I freaked out a little on you. Sorry about that. Thank you for being nice and letting me get it out of my system on you, so no one else need experience it.

Thank u, next: To my chiropractor. Whenever I want someone to think I’m funny, I tell our story, and they always do. Also, you fixed my back, so I appreciate that.

Thank u, next: To the lawyer. We’ll always have Whytheville.

Thank u, next: To the Navy SEAL I went out with that one time. Thank you for helping me realize that it was possible for a man of your caliber to be interested in a girl like me. I’m also glad I can someday tell my grandchildren that I dated a SEAL (you’ll forgive me if I embellish the story a little).

Thank u, next: To Bradley Cooper. You raised my standards permanently and helped me realize what I’m really looking for. And it snowed in Chattanooga in March, which was pretty magical, if you think about it.

Thank u, next: To all the military men I’ve ever dated – thank you for teaching me about your jobs and war zones and the insiders’ scoop on international relations, and for answering my questions about the 2nd Amendment and whether or not we should even be in said war zones. Also, thank you for serving and looking so good in that uniform (heart eyes emoji x 10).

Thank u, next: To everyone else – to the first dates who I genuinely enjoyed talking to, thank you for good conversation. To the first dates that were a little painful, thank you for taking the risk, anyway. To the ones who didn’t ghost me, thank you for being honest, even when it’s awkward. To the ones who did ghost me, thank you for helping me strengthen my own skills at having difficult conversations.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring me, but if I can keep looking for the good, perhaps it’ll all turn out just fine, no matter what.

I do know that 2019 will certainly bring me new clothes, even as I’ve been watching Tidying Up and throwing out tons of old ones (to be fair, I read the book a few months before the series came out and had already begun the process).

But here are a couple of 2018 outfits that will remain in my closet, as they definitely spark joy:
I’m not 100% sure that this dress wasn’t intended to be an “Ugly Christmas Dress” – it’s pretty loud and velvety… But, I love it and proudly wear it, unironically.

Poinsettas are a Christmas flower, of course, but I may still wear this dress into January, as it doesn’t have any Santas or trees on it – I think I can get away with it. It’s just a shame to only wear something you like so much during one month of the year. The next dress was my New Year’s Eve dress. My expectations for NYE are always way too high, and I’m usually disappointed. But, I love the hope found in a fresh start – and the sparkles, of course.

Lest you think I skipped my sequins this year in favor of a more subtle sparkle, please look more closely at my shoes. Sequins will forever have my heart.
I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are expectant about the new year. Perhaps you might also take a lesson from Ariana (words I would never have expected to come from my mouth) and reflect on some of the past seasons in your life – good and bad – to see how you’ve grown because of them. And, let’s pledge to ourselves to continue to look for that good in every situation we encounter in the new year.

<3,

SB

SB and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Date

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 definitely not 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!

<3 ,
SB

Long Time, No See!

It’s been a while, y’all. When I went on my blogging break a little over a year ago, I wasn’t sure what the future held for Tastefully Trendy. Would I be back a week later? A month? Would I ever be back? Would anyone care either way?

Well, a few weeks ago, at least 30 of you voted in an Instagram poll that you’d like to see me back, which is way more validation than I needed. So, let’s dive right in. Here’s a look at my life since July 10, 2017 – by the numbers:

414 – approximate number of days I’ve been MIA.

8+ – pairs of shoes I’ve bought in that time period

Innumerable – Target trips

2: low-key celebs I’ve met and tried to slide into their DMs

0: times I’ve been successful


(Bobby Bones and John Crist – it’s not too late to get back to me!)

5: days spent on a beach trip to Pensacola

10: pairs of shoes I packed for said beach trip

Countless: hours it took to pack for same beach trip. Still the worst packer ever, guys.

1: Navy SEALs I’ve gone on a date with

1: Navy SEALs I’ve instantly fallen in love with (spoiler alert: San Diego and Nashville are too far apart.)

2: exes who got engaged this summer

0: chiropractors I’ve hit on

409: days I’ve been grateful to live in Nashville (I subtracted the days I was at the beach, let’s be real.)

So, as you can see – not a lot has changed. I still love clothes and going on dates and my church choir. I still waffle between being hopeful and feeling discouraged about my life trajectory – sometimes even simultaneously. And, I still hope that my little blog is both fun and encouraging to those of you who read it. Thank you so much to all of you – your existence is good for my soul.

I’m still not sure what the future holds for Tastefully Trendy. For now, I’m thinking a weekly post might be both attainable and enjoyable for me. We’ll see. In the meantime, here are my vacation outfits – even more poorly edited than usual because I took them with my phone, in a mirror. But, I left on my Snapchat captions for your reading pleasure.

Honestly, y’all, my stomach is not my greatest feature, so this is as much crop as I dare. On a related note, I’m 33 years old.

This last outfit I did not wear on vacation, but I bought it and took it with me on vacation, and I love it, so it’s a bonus.

Thank you all for reading and encouraging me to come back. Please feel free to leave comments, and let me know if you have anything you’d like me to talk about – fashion or otherwise. Or, just say hey. Have a good week!

<3,
SB

Anchor for the Soul

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

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

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

Hope is a choice.

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

OR

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

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

Hope is a result of strong character.

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

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

Hope is an anchor for the soul.

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

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

I want to have hope.

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

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

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

(Part 3 of a 3-part series)
Older posts

© 2021 Tastefully Trendy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑