Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: denim (page 1 of 4)

By Faith

Today’s post is part journal entry, part encouragement for anyone who thinks like me, and part “I feel like I need to say these things ‘out loud’ to really cement them”. But, I also have a cute outfit at the bottom of the page, along with a side-by-side with middle school me, so please join me for whichever part(s) are most beneficial to you. I hope it all will be.

Although I was raised in a Christian home and accepted Jesus at a very young age, there is one aspect of the Christian faith that has always been difficult for me – the actual faith part.

I don’t have trouble believing that God exists, that Jesus died and rose again for our salvation, that one day all who believe in Him will be in Heaven, or any of the other key elements of Christianity. I don’t even have trouble believing that God directs our steps and has a divine plan for each one of us. But, when you start getting into the specifics of what that divine plan might be, or how God relates to us on an individual level, that’s where I’ve struggled more.

But, it is an invaluable lesson, if we can get it, and the way God is teaching me about faith at the moment is by leading me to have faith for something VERY specific. I’ve literally never done this before. Sure, I’ve asked God whether or not I should take a certain job and had faith that He was directing me. Or, I’ve prayed for someone’s health or financial situation and believed that God would intervene. But, those all seemed very manageable and also generic enough that God could do a lot of different things, and I would still believe that He’d answered my prayer. These kinds of prayers did not “stretch” my faith or challenge my theology at all.

But this time is different. This time, there is no way for me to see God’s hand through a variety of solutions. I’m either right in what I believe God has spoken to my heart and He’ll do it, or I’m wrong and He won’t. And if He doesn’t, then I’ll have to wrestle with what that means. But there is no wiggle room. There is no way for a half-answered prayer here.

I’ve never been a “name it/claim it” person; it doesn’t fit with my theology. I don’t think God is a cosmic genie, up in the heavens ready at our beck and call to grant our wishes. However, I do believe that God is a good Father, I believe He answers prayer, and I believe He speaks to us in all kinds of different ways, if only we will listen. I also believe, as one of my mentors used to say, that He wants us to be in His will even more than we do.

So, when I felt that God laid something specific on my heart to pray in faith for/about, I didn’t feel that I was “naming” it and claiming it. Rather, I felt like He gave me the idea in the first place. Yes, it’s an idea that I’m super into, but I wasn’t just sitting around thinking of things I wanted and giving God His marching orders. Instead, I felt like God had invited me to join Him in working to accomplish His will by placing this particular situation on my heart. My responsibility in this task was to pray and to believe that He will do what He has said, which is both an honor and very humbling – but also a little terrifying.

I guess the reason praying for something specific scares me so much, besides the fact that I’ve never done it before, is that I could be wrong. And if I’m wrong, what does that say about my relationship with God – my ability to hear from Him, His willingness to speak to me, who He is in general…

Also, if I’m wrong, not only will I be disappointed, but I’ll feel foolish. I’m not talking to many people about this situation – you know, except all of you – so, there won’t be a lot of other people judging me if I misheard. But I’ll know.

But faith is risky by its very nature.

Everything good in life is: relationships, love, new ventures, investments. If we only made decisions based on very sure things, we’d have a limited pool of options available to us.

I was talking to a wise friend about this a month or two ago, and I expressed to her my fear about having misheard God and what the implications of that might be for my faith overall. She asked a simple question, “But, what is your alternative?”

That question put everything into perspective for me, because she’s right – I have no alternative. If God is not who He says He is, what hope do I have in life at all? A hopeless, godless life is a reality I can’t even fathom. So, then, if I believe God is who He says He is, how does that impact my daily life? Do I also believe that He speaks to me, and if so, what do I do about what He’s said?

As my friend and I were talking, I couldn’t help but think of several Biblical heroes who have faced very specific situations that were likely quite trying on their faith. I think we read these Bible stories as though the characters in them are just innately good, and they didn’t ever struggle to have the right response. But I bet it was just as difficult for them to exercise faith as it is for us. Thankfully, though, we have the benefit of their experiences to inspire us in our own.

For example, when faced with the very real possibility of losing her position – and her life – by going before the king uninvited, Queen Esther said, “If I perish, I perish” – and armed with the prayers of her people, she stepped out in faith and saved an entire nation from annihilation.

Abraham followed God’s word up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac, believing all the way that God would provide an alternative sacrifice. But if He didn’t, Abraham was still going to believe God and go through with what He had said. Fortunately, God did provide a ram in the thicket…just in the nick of time.

Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego stood at the edge of the fiery furnace, boldly proclaiming that God would rescue them. But even if He did not, they committed that they would not turn away from Him. In their case, their faith was so tested, they actually went INTO the fire before God saved them. But, save them He did and not even their clothes smelled of smoke.

What is even more encouraging about these stories is that not only did all of these people stand in faith in impossible circumstances, believing in God regardless of the consequences, but in each situation, God did come through and their faith was rewarded.

So, with all of these truths in mind, I’ve decided to press forward in the direction I believe that God has called me. It is a risk. I might be wrong. I might be disappointed. But, I also might grow in the Lord in a way I’ve never yet experienced.

Like Esther, I’m choosing to take a risk in faith, and if I perish, I perish (which, in this particular situation is unlikely to happen, but I can be dramatic, so the phrase seems fitting). And I’m excited to see what/how/when/why God will use my faith and work in my life.

A couple of years ago, I did a series on hope (parts 2 and 3 here and here). Faith is hope’s very close cousin. The other day, Sandi Patty, my childhood musical idol, posted something on Instagram from her husband, who commented that faith is the substance of things hoped for – a verse we all know. But, that means that faith is what allows us to have hope; it’s the basis of our hope. Faith in God’s goodness is what gives us the strength to hope.

First Corinthians says, these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. So, now that I’ve mastered the first two (jk about the mastering…), maybe you can expect a love series sometime in the future. I probably have an awful lot of lessons to learn on the “greatest of these”.

And now, as promised, here is my cute outfit – and a sudden transition.

I’ve wanted to get in on the overalls trend since they first rolled back into style a few years ago, but since I refuse to pay full (over)price for farm clothing, I had to wait until I could find a good deal. So, finally, at the end of summer, I’ve found my white shorts overalls, and I just hope they’ll still be in style next year.

I realize this picture is a little blurry, but I liked my face in it, so I’m embracing the blur.

This shirt was a vacation purchase, which is honestly the only reason I own it. It was more than I would normally have paid, but who can do math properly while you’re at the beach? So, I accidentally bought it and now I’m pretty happy that I did. In the close up, you can see more of the shirt detail – as well as the buttons on my overalls.

The last time overalls were in style, I was 12 and I was ALL ABOUT THEM.

So, in celebration of the style’s return, here is a side-by-side of 2019 me and 1997 me…who wore it better?

I am jealous of 6th grade me’s tan, though. I lived in Florida.

So, there you have it. What has God taught you about faith recently, or how have you seen him work in your life as you’ve stepped out in faith?

Or, if you’d rather, we can talk about overalls. What do you think of this trend?

As always, thank you all for reading. You’re all just the best.

<3,

SB

Self-Care: Part 3 – Weight Loss

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

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

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

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

In 2007, I looked like this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, tl;dr:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<3,
SB

Happy Birthday to Me!

Y’all, it’s my birthday!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not one of those subtle people that hopes everyone forgets about my big day. I like my birthday, and I don’t mind people celebrating with me (even if I’m not excited about the number anymore…)

On my birthday, I always like to wear something really pretty, that makes me feel very girly and fun. Last year, I wore my purple satin skirt with gold shoes (and was very overdressed for an all-day work orientation, but whatever). This year, I’m writing this before my birthday (true confession, I usually write these posts in advance – it’s the only way I can get them done!) I really want to wear one of my sequin skirts, but that’s generally frowned upon in academia. So, I’ll probably wear this pretty skirt again, because I love it, and what’s more feminine than a long tutu (let’s be realistic, that’s essentially what this is).

DSC_0035I’ve talked before about how much I love mixing high and low style – the chambray and the tulle are a perfect juxtaposition to each other. (Side note, does anyone remember that store in the mall? It took me FOREVER to learn how to say that word as a middle schooler. But that didn’t stop me from shopping there!)1 - tulle skirt, chambrayThe lavender-gray of the skirt isn’t something I have a lot of in my closet, but I think it’s a pretty color, and purples are easy to blend, as you can see with my shoes here.

How do you all celebrate your birthday? It may not be with fashion, and that’s okay! But, if you do have something particular you like to wear on your special day, I’d love to hear about it!

Boots and Baubles

I’ve been trying to do this style challenge on Instagram, and y’all, it’s hard! I didn’t realize how much of my outfit choices are completely spontaneous. When I have to fit a certain prompt, I end up trying WAY TOO HARD, and it shows.

I’m still going to try to do it, but only when what I was planning to wear anyway matches up. So, this likely means I’ll be much more sporadic in it. Some people do like 5 challenges in one outfit. This blows my mind. I would probably end up on every worst dressed list in America (which, you know, is pretty hard to do if you’re not famous) if I even attempted that.

Today’s prompt, however, was pretty easy: Boots and Baubles. Now, I don’t wear true baubles often, but I do wear a lot of boots. And, I guess giant round earrings can count as baubles, right?

DSC_0058This was my attempt at an interesting pose. Clearly, I need to work on that.

I almost returned this poncho (or cape – there is some debate about the appropriate term) because it was $20. That’s not a lot, but I was expecting it to be $10, and I was annoyed on principle. But…I’m so glad I kept it because I’m obsessed! Who wouldn’t want to wear a wool blanket when it’s cold? And, it’s reversible!

1 - plaid poncho, white bootsI bought these boots in college for $30, which was a lot for me back then (let’s be honest, it still is – I like a good bargain). But, they were worth the investment, as over 10 years later, they’re still going strong! They may not be the most stylish toe, anymore, but they still work, and a good winter white boot is hard to find!

Do you have any items in your wardrobe that have more than given you your money’s worth? What are some of your favorite buys?

Totally Turtleneck?

If you follow me on my new/additional Instagram account (Tastefully Trendy!), then you probably know I’m doing a style challenge again! I’ve done these in the past, and they’re a great way to stretch my creative muscles, as well as to meet other fashion lovers.

Today’s prompt is Totally Turtleneck, which was tricky for me, since I don’t a) wear turtlenecks, or b)have anything with turtles on it…  So, I’m choosing to focus on the “neck” part, and wear an outfit that has a lot happening around my neck.

dsc_0011I’ve talked a lot (probably ad nauseum, at this point) about my love for chokers. Well, one of my favorite things about the current version of the trend is layering. Whether I combine it with a longer necklace(s), or add a scarf as pictured here, my choker usually has a friend. I’ve never been what you might call a minimalist…so this trend works out great for me. 1-blanket-scarf-and-chokerHow do you feel about layering your chokers? Is too much of a good thing, a good thing, or are you of the less-is-more camp? Also, how would you interpret “Totally Turtleneck”? Am I the only short-necked person not wearing these??

My Tribe

I told y’all last week that I am currently obsessed with chokers. And I did not lie. I only have them in black right now, which is probably a good thing because if I had other colors, I might wear them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I’m not sure that the choker in this outfit adds a whole lot, especially since the rest of my outfit is brown. But, it’s cute, so I went with it.

Not much else to say about this that I haven’t already said – chokers are back, and I love it. Shirts tied at the waist are back, and I love it. Tribal prints are probably about on their way out, but I still love it. And the cold(er) weather is here, bringing with it tights and boots – and I love it!

1-denim-shirt-tribal-skirtAre there any trends that you refuse to let go of, even if you know they’re on their way out? Or, maybe they’ve long passed an you just don’t care – fashion is all open to interpretation, anyway! Share your favorites!

Just Peachy

I know we’re all busy today, shopping, making cookies, decorating for cookies, and obviously watching the Gilmore Girls revival!!

So, in the interest of all of our time, I thought I’d post just a quick thing today with few words. I really liked this outfit – partly because I’m obsessed with my two peach shirts and basically just alternate between them every day (slight exaggeration), and partly because yellow and peach is an unexpected color combination that works so well here because of the other colors in the scarf.
1-yellow-scarf-peach-shirtI hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, and that you find some great deals today, with minimal hassle.  Or just stay home and enjoy a peaceful day with your loved ones. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Fall Flowers

I think Fall might be here now, guys. I’ve started dreaming about all the tights I’m going to wear and I might even be ready for my tall boots. Last weekend, we were in the mid-70s, but with that distinctive fall chill in the air. Like a dummy, I kept dressing for the summer that wouldn’t end – and I was cold. So, I’m going to make the switch.

This jacket is one piece that will probably get a lot more wear in the weeks ahead. I had a couple friends in town this weekend, and we talked about how versatile a good denim jacket is. It can take a work-inappropriate dress and make it office-ready (well, a casual office, anyway); it can dress down a more formal piece, giving your fancier clothes more use; or, as in my case, it can be a great transitional piece, extending some spring/summer clothes into a 3rd season.

1-denim-jacket-floral-dressWhile a coral, floral dress is obviously very summery, the heavier brown belt gives it a little more weight than the flowy fabric would otherwise have, and if I swapped out my nude pumps for some tall brown boots, I might even get away with wearing this one for a few more weeks (in the South; I think I would have been laughed out of New England had I tried that when I lived up North). Regardless, the denim jacket gives it a cool – and warm! – vibe that I’m eager to try on all kinds of clothes. If you get tired of seeing this acid-washed number in my posts, at least you have been warned.

Two-fer Tuesday: Decade Parties

Y’all I’ve been busy, lately! I know I say that alot, but this time it’s been with fun things. Thank you, Nashville!

Two back-to-back weekends, I had decade-themed parties to attend, and if you know anything about me, you know I love dressing up for a theme!

The orderly side of my brain really wants to show these chronologically, but instead, I’m going to buck that instinct and save the better outfit/decade for last. So, first up – the 90s!

Even though I was in middle/high school during the 90s, I really had to do research to know how to dress for this party. As I googled, I realized why I remembered so little about the decade of my youth – fashion was AWFUL. Literally nothing about the 90s – from hair, to makeup, to shoes, to clothing – was flattering. Or even pretty. It’s one thing to look back and laugh at what you used to wear. It’s another to look back and want to immediately re-block everything from your memory.

I went the grunge path for my look. Some others at the party took the Blossom route, and that was cute, but would have required way more investment then I was willing to give.  With butterfly(esque) clips in my hair, dark lipstick, a plaid skirt, and the requisite shirt tied around my waist, I looked almost terrible enough to have stepped straight out of the 1990s. All I was missing were true combat boots. Oh, and a scowl.

1 - 90s plaidNow that’s out of the way, let’s focus on the 80s! This party was much more fun to dress for, as I could use a lot of my real life clothes, and I’m always a fan of bright colors. Also, can we bring back the 80s eye shadow? I literally had turquoise, purple, and pink (I used blush, so it was bright enough) on my eyelids, and it was the most fun ever!

Here is the headshot, complete with teased hair, popped collar, and the appropriate sideways glance:

80s headshotBesides the aforementioned tri-color eye shadow, my makeup for this look included bright pink blush in a streak on my cheek, and hot pink lipstick to match. None of this current tasteful balancing of subtlety and bold statements for the 80s – bright everything!

My favorite parts of this look are the details – all denim, in differing washes, a slap bracelet (an ode to the many taken from me by my kindergarten teachers), and the geometric earrings. Plus, Keds, tight-rolled jeans (hard to do on skinny jeans, btw), and the side pony. So, basically I love everything and would totally dress like this again if I could get away with it. I mean, these were all my regular clothes, anyway – I just don’t usually combine them this way.

1 - 80s neon with makeupOh, and can we talk about that jazzercise leg pop? Even the posing was fun!

So, now that I’ve made it very clear which decade I prefer, let’s talk about your favorite. Are you a grunge chick or a neon babe? What were your favorite childhood trends? How do you feel about bringing back the bright eye shadows…?

Let’s be nostalgic together!

TBT: Yesterday

Surprise!  My green pants are back.  I actually really love these pants, so I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. I was trying to save them for a Two-fer Tuesday, but I decided I needed to clear this photo out of my queue.

So, here you go!  Totally different look – same pants.  I love chambray shirts for their ability to match with ANYTHING, and for the way they can automatically make an outfit look more casual, but still put together at the same time. My boots are super hard to walk in, but equally super cute and I’m really into tan these days as an accent color (as opposed to black, for example).  A few simple accessories, and I was done!
1 - chambray, green pantsDo you have a pair of pants that you just love (besides jeans, because duh)?  What do you love about them – fit, color, comfort, the way they look on your butt?  Let’s swap some pants love!

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