Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: animal print

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

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

Greenery

I tend to wear colors in phases. Earlier this year, I couldn’t get enough peach/soft coral. A summer or two ago, I was all about the hot pink. Burgundy/wine is still riding high in my esteem. But, lately, I’ve really been feeling green – particularly, rich greens, like forest or emerald.

Imagine my smugness, then, when I learned that Pantone has declared “Greenery” as the 2017 color of the year. While that spring green shade isn’t my favorite, I felt very ahead of the trend by already deciding I needed more green in my wardrobe. (Please note: this decision might have been influenced by the greens already beginning to creep into stores. I think this is a chicken/egg argument, and I’m maintaining that I was ahead of the curve.)

Here is one of my favorite recent green purchases – an off-the-shoulder top. Of course.

off-the-shoulder-green

I like to call the full outfit, “how many trends can I wear at once?” How many do you see (it’s like one of those games from Highlights magazine when we were kids)?

1-off-the-shoulder-greenAlso, my dad calls these the shoes that every woman owns. I don’t know why he says that. Do you own shoes like these? My dad is not usually on the cutting edge of fashion, but maybe he’s discovered something I haven’t. Please weigh in on the great shoe debate, and have a happy weekend!

Peaches and Cream

That laundry I mentioned on Monday? I really do need to do it, as I think this is shirt is buried in there somewhere, and it’s one of my favorites.

Peach is such a friendly color – and much less obnoxious than most of the brights I usually wear (and of course, I say obnoxious very lovingly). I’m really into blouse-y things right now; so much so that I have to force myself not to buy more when I go shopping because my wardrobe is going to look like I have the exact same piece in every color of the rainbow. 

This one is a bit unique, however, because of the high-low hem – and I love how deep it dips in the back. Pair it with your favorite leopard print cropped pants (everyone has those, right?), some gold wedges, and you’re ready to go!

1 - peach, leopardWe talked a little about your favorite motif a few weeks ago (pineapples!!), but does anyone have  a trend they’re really stuck on – like blouses or cropped pants? I can’t get enough of either! Share your obsessions!

Even So, It is Well

I’ve been reflecting lately on entitlement in our spiritual lives. In recent sermons and readings, I’ve been impressed with the idea that we’re not guaranteed a perfect life – even as Americans, something pretty hard for my western, Millennial mind to grasp. Suffering is a part of life, and those verses that say, “in this world, you will have trouble”, actually  mean it.

I don’t mean this to be a depressing post, but maybe because I’m in my 30s now, I’ve just realized that life isn’t perfect. A lot of people go through a lot of hard things. And that doesn’t mean God isn’t good. It also doesn’t mean that I’m immune.

I’ve always imagined that I would fall in love; have a good marriage with well-behaved, smart children; and live the proverbial happily ever after. And maybe I will. But, God doesn’t owe me that. He doesn’t owe me anything. He gave me life and salvation, and if that’s all He ever did, it would still be an astounding grace.

Of course, that’s not all He’s done for me (see Wednesday’s somewhat silly post about jewelry and clothing). But, He doesn’t owe me anything. Just because I was born in America instead of an Indian slum, I have special privileges. But, they aren’t owed to me. Just because I was born middle-class white, I have a lot of opportunities. But, they aren’t owed to me. Just because I was born a woman who would like to be married and have children, I have a hope that one day, I’ll get what I’ve always wanted. But, it isn’t owed to me.

So, while I work on my attitude and expectations that a Holy God cater to my whims, I continue to pray that He will give me “the desires of my heart.” But, in case that’s not what that verse actually means…or, in case that desire remains unfulfilled until I’m 82, I’m also working on making the words of the old hymn true for me, as well:

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, EVEN SO, it is well with my soul.

Maybe you can relate to a hope deferred. Maybe you can relate to feeling entitled. Maybe you can’t, but you understand what it’s like to go through challenges and still see that God is good. Regardless, I hope that everyone will be able to come to a place where they too can say, “even so, it is well.”

And, I hope that you will wear sequins. Because as my shirt (which, ironically, has no sequins on it) says – life is short. And no matter what our circumstances, we all can look for a reason to celebrate. 1 - sequins and leopard

Twofer Tuesday: Spotted Out and About

How convenient that the one prompt I had two outfits for happened to fall on a Tuesday – let Twofer Tuesday continue!

I’ve never been a big animal print person, so I don’t have a ton of choices for “Spotted Out and About.”  However, my mom recently gave me these pants that I actually really like.  At first, I wasn’t so sure…cropped, tan. cheetah print.  From Belk.  But, after trying them on, I thought they were cute, and with the right combinations, can seem more modern than mom (I really wanted just wanted to use alliteration there).
1 - spotted out and about 2As you can tell from the picture below, I wore this outfit a few weeks ago.  Goodbye, floral wedges.  I’ll be counting the days til I see you again.
1 - spotted out and aboutHow do you feel about animal print?  Chic or cheap (see, there’s that alliteration again!)?  Which of these variations do you like best? (I think my vote is on the yellow top, but I can’t quite decide.)  Any thoughts on mom pants from Belk?  Let’s talk about it!

80 Days of Shoes: Eye of the Tiger

Well, no more denying it, it’s officially fall.  Let the pumpkin overload commence (I’m totally okay with this, btw).

These pretty shoes are from Payless.  I don’t normally shop in Payless, but one of my friends told me they had a new comfort line that actually was – and was also cute!  So, I gave it a shot, and she didn’t lie.  $20 bucks for cute, capped-toe, leopard print, comfy shoes?  Done and done.
DSC_0889And then, to celebrate the season, my pumpkin-colored dress, and my favorite autumnal necklace.  Happy fall, y’all!1 - burnt orange dress, leapord shoes

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