Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: pumps (page 1 of 14)

Dressing to Impress: the Casual Edition

First of all, thank you, everyone, for all of your positive feedback on my post last week. I was honestly very nervous about publishing it, but you all were so kind and encouraging, it made me glad that I did. So, thank you.

The original purpose of my blog was to talk about fashion. There’s only so much I can say about my clothes, so I like veering off into other topics. But, today seemed like a good day to go back to my roots.

If you’re a newer reader, you may not know why I call my blog Tastefully Trendy. The long version is here (full disclosure, I changed the picture on that original post, because I have no idea why I thought the outfit I had posted there was a good look). But, the short version is that I believe true style comes from taking a trend and making it your own, rather than beingĀ  a cookie cutter copy of everyone else. It’s my fashion soap box.

I also believe you can look stylish no matter your lifestyle or time availability. Fashion doesn’t have to be this super complicated thing.

To that end, let’s talk about casual clothes. I’ve always been an advocate for looking put together, even when running errands or taking the kids to the park or a casual lunch with friends, etc.

Here’s what I mean.

I spent about 15 seconds picking out this outfit – I’m literally wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and flats – and LOTS of dry shampoo. However, while my sweatshirt is no less comfortable than one without giant pearls on it, it looks like I put effort into choosing my clothes, more so than if i were wearing my oversized college hoodie. Likewise, my trendy hole-y jeans required no more time commitment than putting on a pair of leggings would have, but they give the impression that I invested time in getting ready. My shoes are just slide-on flats; they require even less effort than a pair of tennis shoes. Yet, the overall look says that I care.

Here’s another example.

Now, this outfit did take a little more effort than my sweatshirt and jeans. But, not much. At the end of the day, I’m still wearing a sweater, pants, and flats. As casual as it gets. But, by choosing trendy, well-fitting pants, and flats that tie the shirt into the whole outfit, I have a complete look, rather than one that says I just threw on whatever was clean.

To be fair, when I wore this outfit, I actually wore heels with it, so here’s that look, too.

*quick disclaimer – in this picture, my sweater is hanging weird where it’s tucked. I tried desperately to edit it to make it look less bunchy/more like it did in real life, but I was unsuccessful. Imagine that it’s perfectly bloused.

A couple additional thoughts about this look. First, to my earlier point about making trends your own: these pants are my version of the camo trend. I like camo – much better now than I did the last time it was in style. But, everyone is wearing military camo. Why not try this jungle take on it? Still the same basic look – greens on greens on greens. However, by putting a slightly different spin on the trend, I’ve made it my own and stand out a little more from the crowd. My personal aversion to looking like everyone else may also be why I find things on sale all the time – the demand is lower for unique things. I only paid $9 for these pants. Added bonus: I’m ready to go off the grid in the Amazon Rainforest, should the need arise.

Second, my leopard print shoes and camo pants. I’ve thought a lot about how to explain why this works. My mom would probably argue that it doesn’t. But, it does, I promise. Animal and camo prints both act as neutrals, much like a thin stripe would, because both patterns are made up of shades of the same colors – leopard with browns and blacks, camo with greens. Additionally, greens and browns pair well with each other, anyway, and the gold in my shirt matches the gold in the leopard and ties everything together.

The biggest reason these work, though, is confidence. If you’re going to rock an unexpected style or combination, you’ve got to own it. People will believe you know what you’re doing if you believe you do. And it’s totally okay to fake it til you make it, because the more you try, the more confident you’ll become. And, the more confident you are, the more people will affirm your decisions, helping to boost your confidence even further.

But, even if they don’t, though, at least you’ve stepped out, worn something brave, and flexed your creative muscles.

So, there’s my take on casual. Of course, when I’m sick I run to Walgreens in sweat pants and a hoodie like every other human being. But, otherwise, if for the same amount of effort I can look put together and classy, even when I’m running errands, I’m going to choose that option. I’ll feel better and be more confident, which will cause other people to respond to me better, and the whole experience will be better for everyone.

What’s your go-to casual look? Do you feel confident and good about yourself when you wear it? If so, great! If not, what are some ways that you can boost your confidence in your style, regardless of whether or not you incorporate my suggestions? I’d love to hear from you, and as always, thank you for reading.

<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

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

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

In honor of last Friday’s showing of Mean Girls at a local brewery (seriously, if you want to sit outside, eat a delicious pizza, and watch a recent classic movie, come visit me! This happens every Friday. Because, Nashville is the best), here is my best pink outfit.

Pink striped pants, pink sweater, and some silver accents to keep me from looking too much like the girl’s toys aisle. The thing about my office is that there is no predicting whether it will be hot, or cold, or completely seasonally appropriate. So, I just wear whatever I feel like (a sweater when it’s 85 degrees outside. Sure, why not!), and hope for the best.

If you can, zoom in on the pants – they’re pink and white striped, and I love them.

Preds Pride!

I need to learn hockey lingo, because y’all, Nashville is a hockey town, and our Predators are on fire!

I freely admit that I am a bandwagon fan. In my defense, though, I’ve never followed a hockey team before, except the US in the Olympics, and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to jump on the bandwagon of your home-town team.

So, disclaimer out of the way, since my boys are in the final games of the Western Conference Finals – just one or two steps away from the Stanley Cup games! – I figured I should go buy a t-shirt. Since I waited until the Western Conference Finals, though, the choices were a little limited…

After striking out at Target and one Walmart, I headed to a 2nd Walmart and ended up in the kids section. While I don’t normally like how kids’ shirts fit, since I am not, you know, a 14 year old boy…I did like the $12.88 price tag. And, I liked it even better when I got to the checkout counter and it rang up as $1!

I asked twice if that was the correct price, because honestly, even on clearance, how could it be one dollar? But, it was, and so for that, I could make anything work.

And, make it work I did by cutting a v-neck into the shirt to give it a more modern, feminine, less little boy look, and pairing it with striped pants and a jacket because I wanted to show my (newfound) pride at work. I swapped out the jacket and pants for shorts later, when I went to watch the game in the park, surrounded by 1000s of my closest friends. And food trucks, because this is Nashville!

Unfortunately, we lost that game in overtime, but it was a great evening nevertheless, and I’m sure this $1 purchase will be used many times over in the coming days/weeks and future seasons.

And now with the jacket…
Go Preds! Pluck the Ducks! Smashville! (That’s all I’ve got…)

Sunday Best

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter, y’all! I hope everyone had a beautiful Sunday celebrating one of my most favorite holidays.

This Easter weekend was a little rough for me, but what better holiday to have a rough weekend before than Easter? It is so full of joy, and hope, and expectation. And brunch and pretty dresses! No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s pretty hard not to have your spirits lifted on Easter.

And, it DID NOT RAIN in Nashville for Easter. This is remarkable for two reasons: 1) it rains all the time here. 2) Rain was forecasted all day. You never know the miracles that will occur on this blessed day.

I’m posting this picture with my friend Hannah because although it’s a little grainy for some reason, it was taken much earlier in the day and is therefore a much better picture of me than the official outfit picture below. So, keep this one in your mind, and then proceed with caution and a forgiving eye.

I debated off-the-shoulder for church. Is that appropriate? I still don’t know. But, I figured since it wasn’t a LOW off-the-shoulder, I had my hair down, and most of the time I was wearing a choir robe, I could get away with it. Judge if you must. But, I know you can’t/won’t judge me for the florals – or at least, you shouldn’t, because I gave a very clear disclaimer that I am obsessed!

I usually love to look out in the congregation at church on Easter and see all the pretty colors, but I sort of forgot this year. Plus, I did notice a lot of white being represented. Even my own dress is more neutral than the usual bright yellow or coral I tend to be drawn to for Easter.

So, since I didn’t pay attention to people’s outfits at church, show me yours! Did you buy something new specific for the occasion, or recycle an old faithful?

Whatever you wore, I hope it was a beautiful day.

Two-fer Tuesday: Jailhouse Stripes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a twofer Tuesday, but no time like the present!

I really like these jailhouse stripes (or maybe more accurately, train conductor – they’re probably too narrow for jailhouse). Regardless, I think these highwaisted, cropped striped jeans are the best.

However, I wasn’t sure about them when I bought them, because in the artificial light of the dressing room, they really played with your eyes. I mean, in general, I try to wear clothes that don’t make people want to look the other way.

In the natural light, though, they seem to be okay, so I think I’m good. Except the camera doesn’t love them, either…you might have to zoom in pretty close to get an accurate look. Oh well.

In this first look, I’m combining another one of my favorite spring trends – off-the-shoulder – with my cute pants and some flats that actually hurt my feet more than most of the heels I own, but they’re so cute and universally functional, that I keep them. I ran some errands on Saturday in this outfit, then popped on some black heels for dinner with a friend that night.

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention my pink lipstick; as much as I enjoyed the dark berrys and browns this winter, I’m seriously so happy bright is back in season!

Next up is another casual outfit (I did wear it to work, but in hindsight, it might have been TOO casual). Anyway, a simple soft turquoise tee (you’ll have to take my word for it being that color, I guess), with a black scarf (I don’t have a cat; that’s all just my hair…) and some silver accents to complete the look. Easy, but still put together. Scarves are helpful in that way.
So there you have it – the return of Twofer Tuesday, thanks to my new favorite cropped jeans.

Which of these looks would you rather wear? And what’s the verdict on these stripes – delightful or dizzying? Let’s talk!

Spring Forward!

Spring is finally here in Nashville, and there was no rain this weekend – you wouldn’t believe the impact this good weather had on my mood! I’ve never thought I had seasonal depression, but I’m starting to think I might have a little bit of it, because honestly, I felt SO MUCH BETTER in the sun this weekend.

Also, I have a lot of cute new clothes to wear in said sunshine, which definitely doesn’t hurt.

That smile is because of the glare on my face – sunshine!!!

Really, my favorite thing about this outfit is the back of my shirt. Apparently, “ballet backs” are in now, and I like it! I bought this top in 2 colors, because why not?

Cute, right? It’s just enough to take an otherwise standard t-shirt and turn into something unique and fresh.

Springtime also brings bright lipstick again. Hot pink, I’ve missed you so!

What fashion/makeup trends are you most excited about this spring?

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags

Have I ever told you how much I hate thrift stores? Like I HATE them. There are several reasons for this:

  1. They smell bad. Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason. All thrift stores smell the same and it’s gross and I feel like I need a shower after.
  2. I’m not much of one for the hunt. When I shop, I head straight to the clearance section – there are either things I like there or not, and I move on. At thrift stores you have to sort through all the trash to MAYBE find one thing you like. It’s too much work. (On a related note, I refuse to eat wings or ribs or fried chicken for the same reason – too much work.)
  3. I don’t think the prices are actually that great. When I can buy new things for the same price or less (as I regularly do), I would rather. Of course, there is that chance you might find a high end label that is new/barely used for a steal – but, for my opinions on that, see #2.

However, because I do have a limited budget, sometimes I just have to hold my nose and go into thrift stores. This happened recently because I’m looking for a specific piece of furniture and just can’t bring myself to pay several hundred dollars for something I have to assemble on my own. And new, already-assembled furniture is out of my price range at this point. So…hey, Good Will!

Naturally, I did not find what I was looking for, but on the way out, I noticed a sequin dress on the mannequin by the front door. So, of course, I got sucked in by something sparkly. I’m glad, though, because $6 for a sequin dress is a good price, even by my standards

Since I was already hooked, I just gave in and started browsing. Most was nothing I’d be interested in, but I did find the pants below, which are destined to become a new favorite.
Light blue, silk, floral pants with multiple colors in the patternĀ  to mix and match, and a super comfortable drawstring waist that’s also not frumpy looking? Sign me up.
These pants are actually not my best thrift store find – one time I got a Louis Vuitton garment bag (which, I’ve never used, but I own!) for $10.25. But, I like them a lot.

What’s your best thrift store/yard sale find? Do you like the thrill of the hunt, or are you more of an efficient shopper like me?

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!

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