Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Professional (page 1 of 8)

Major Announcement

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

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

I am, once again, moving!

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

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

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

Q: But, I thought you loved Nashville!

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

Q: But, I thought you hated DC!

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

Q: Why do you move so much, anyway?

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

Q: Are they paying you enough to live there?

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

Q: Can you get my student loans forgiven?

A: No.

Q: Are you excited?

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

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

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

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

Q: This seems so sudden!

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

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

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

via GIPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<3,
SB

She’s Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to my next point:

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

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

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

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

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

The trim down the back is my favorite part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<3,

SB

Who’s That Girl?

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would without a doubt be Carrie Underwood. Or Kate Middleton. But probably Carrie Underwood.

If I could be any fictional character, though, it would be Jessica Day. If you watch New Girl, you know the greatness that is Jess. Sure, she can can be “quirky”, but she’s also very smart, kind, loyal, and dedicated – and just so gosh darn adorable.

Also, more than one person has said I remind them of her, so that could possibly be swaying my opinion.

I really love Jess’ style. I probably dress more like her than anyone else on TV – she’s one of the few characters that I feel like I could walk into her closet and feel right at home.

So, when I recently wore an outfit that was more Jess than probably anything I’ve ever worn before, I couldn’t help but pop on my glasses (even though I was already wearing my contacts), just to complete the look.


Seriously, have you ever seen a more Jess outfit? Bright colors, cutesy printed dress, a bow, and cardigan. All that’s missing is the bangs.

Do you have any TV characters (or real life people, for that matter) whose style you resemble – or would like to? Let’s talk!

Closet A-Blaze

If you follow me on my Tastefully Trendy instagram account, you know I went through an unfortunate period in January where I had a bad cold that required me not to wear eye makeup for about a week. I felt very exposed. And very young – maybe that part wasn’t so bad.

This is one of the outfits from that period. As I talked about last week, I’ve really been lacking in creativity lately, so I can’t afford to not post a look because I’m a little vain about the #nomakeup thing. So, look through a soft filter…

Yesterday, I went through my closet, in hopes of a giant purge. While I did find some things to get rid of, I also rediscovered all of my cute blazers. When I worked at a law school, I wore blazers all the time. But, working for a non-profit and in music, I kinda fell out of the habit. Now that I’m in a more professional dress environment again, and since I’m in a fashion rut, anyway, I’m going to try to reincorporate these into my wardrobe – hopefully I can breathe new life into some of these old staples.

This camel blazer, though, has not been forgotten at all. As you might notice if you scroll back far enough, it’s been on major repeat this winter.

I’m kinda thinking that I might do more of the blazer with a t-shirt and jeans thing in this new phase of my life. Still on-trend and very Nashville, but incorporating the pieces I already own. We’ll see how the Spirit moves me.

Do you wear blazers often? What’s your favorite way to style them? I definitely need inspiration, so if you have ideas, please throw them my way!

My Favorite Things (rn)

I’m not going to lie, this jacket is on major repeat this winter. It’s just so multi-purpose. It makes casual outfits more professional, professional outfits more wearable, and it’s wool and I’ve been freezing for two weeks straight.

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen it once this week…oh well. Hashtag real life.

dsc_0022There’s just something about a camel blazer that is so universally classic. I dig it. And this skirt, because I’ve also worn it a million times recently – occasionally with less static, but again, #reallife.1-camel-blazer-wool-skirtDo you have pieces you’re basically living in this winter? What’s seen the most play from your wardrobe?

Summer Dayz

Sadly, my days of wearing outfits like the one below are numbered. I can feel the change in the weather encroaching. The South allows us, fortunately, to take liberties with our wardrobes and stretch that summer out a little further. But, since trendy Nashvillians wear boots year-round, I may have to break out the fall color palette sooner than later.

Don’t worry, though. I’ll still wear the floral shirt. I’ll just pair it with black jeans or something. I just bought some of those (Old Navy’s 40% off everything sale gets me every single time!), so I’m excited to see how I can make some of my spring/summer clothes stretch a little further.
1 - floral, turquoise shoesHas fall come where you are yet, or are you still dragging out summer – in spirit, if not in weather?

Chantilly Lace

Sometimes I wear things only because I like them and haven’t worn them in a while. That was the case with this skirt. I tend to overlook it because it’s dressier than my office typically is. But, on this day, I decided to bring it out and toned it down with a pink and white striped button down and wedges. Or so I thought. My boss asked me why I was all dressed up, and I’m not sure she believed me when I said it was just because I hadn’t worn this skirt in a while. But really, that was it. Maybe I should work on not dressing so casually at work so this doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.
1 - pink bouse, lace skirtHave a great weekend, y’all! Wear lace, wear wedges, wear something fun and tell me about it!

Inspiration in Various Forms

On Monday, I promised another creative take on one of my dresses. I love dresses, but I have a hard time hanging on to them for long, because they are what they are – meaning, you can’t mix and match much. So, I tend to get tired of them pretty quickly.

But, the past few weeks, I’ve tried mixing things up a little by adding cardigans and belting them for a new look. Last week, I got even crazier and layered a lace top over one of my dresses – and I LOVED IT!!!! Seriously, it might be my favorite creation in a long time, and judging by the comments I got that day, I’d say others liked it, too.

1 - black and yellowThe trick to layering, of course, is necklines and sleeves. If the neck were too low or high – or a V-neck – it wouldn’t work. Likewise, if this dress had sleeves showing through the lace, it would be weird. But the fashion muses were on my side this time, and everything matched up perfectly.

Usually when I wear this top, I wear a black cami under it, so the uneven lace edge is completely lost. The yellow background really highlighted it and showed off the pretty detailing. My flower shoes added just the right touch to tie everything together.

True story: it was raining when I was picking out my clothes this morning. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I like to wear black when it rains – and pretty much only then. So, I started out my clothes-choosing process I intended to wear black, and this was the best I could do. I just can’t help myself with bright colors!

But, more importantly, way back in 2013 when I first started talking about wearing black in rainy weather, I said it sounded like it should be a song – and my friend Sage wrote one! It was one of the coolest moments for me as a blogger, but even more amazing, her band, Twisted Tapestry, now has an EP out, and you can buy “Only Wear Black” wherever fine music is sold. And you should – support local music!

You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Every time I get discouraged about my blog and wonder if it’s worth me writing – I’m too busy, it’s only about fashion/my unimportant life, not that many people read it, etc. – something random happens to encourage me that I should keep writing. Two such random things happened this week, so here I am.

I do love my little blog, and I so appreciate all of you who read and comment and let me know when something I’ve written has encouraged or inspired you. It means a lot to know that I could positively make a difference in even the smallest way, just by pouring out my thoughts and style and bad dating stories. So, thank you. And if any of you have some really good ideas on how I could make money (or at least get free things to review) through my blog, please send them my way. I don’t mind writing for free; it’s fun. However, a monetary incentive might help bump it up on the priority list a little…

In that spirit, here is a bright and cheerful outfit, just to celebrate style and writing and friendships. I feel a little like Ronald McDonald when I wear red and yellow, but it’s an unexpected color combo that works if you own it. And, the shoes conveniently have both colors (well, close enough) to tie everything together:

1 - red and yellowSo, to you my friends, I can’t promise consistency; that ebbs and flows, depending on how many weddings I’ve been asked to be in and what assignments my students have submitted. But, I can promise that I will keep sharing my delight for fashion and my stories about life and faith and maybe one day love. And, I hope you will do the same – I love hearing from you.

Thanks for being friends.

<3,

SB

First Day of Work

In yesterday’s mea culpa, I talked about how busy I am right now, blah, blah, blah.  Really, though – I’m teaching two online classes of about 45 total students, I have a part-time job on Saturdays, and then my full-time job which requires over 40 hours on a regular basis.  But, I’m not complaining.  I’m grateful for the extra funds to help me get back on track financially, post-unemployment. And I really love my full-time job, so the time goes by quickly and easily.

Working in the “music industry”, there’s obviously a lot of leeway in my fashion choices. We can get away with alot under the guise of being creative. But, on my first day, I wanted to err on the side of professional.

So, I pulled out the pencil skirt (at the not-as-flattering, but very on-trend below the knee length), a cute blouse, and to keep me from being too stiff, polka dot tights. I didn’t fit in at all, but I was comfortable with my first-day choice, and it is a cute professional outfit, should I ever need one again.
1 - burgundy blouse, high waist skirtI’m a little self-conscious about patterned tights, honestly.  I love them in the package, but then I buy them (or, in this case, am given them), and think they look funny.  Like I have the measles all over my legs or something.

How do you feel about patterned tights? Do you wear them or are you self-conscious like me?  Does anyone else think these look a little bit like a skin disorder???

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