October 31, 2013

Taking a Moment

Last heavy post of the week, I promise. But truth be told, this year has been a bit heavy for me. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a heavy way. Lots of changes have taken place - states, jobs, downsizing from a house to an apartment, etc.

Adding one more item to this list is my new status as a Stay At Home Wife. Let me elaborate.

 I graduated with an integrated marketing communications degree in 2009 and held a couple of marketing internships before that. After graduation one of those internships turned into a full time job, which took me down the road of sales. Unemployment took me OFF that road, and back into marketing I went. Three years and another state later, I've found myself feeling really unfulfilled and lacking passion for the financial industry.

I began to dread going to the office every day. I had trouble sleeping and eating (which, is kind of a big deal for me - I'm truly a natural at both of these things). I couldn't "leave work at work".

You see, that's not okay with me.

I struggled with the decision to leave my good on paper, comfortable job with a decent paycheck. I knew that I didn't have it as bad as some people, but I also knew that I didn't LOVE what I was doing with my life. And ultimately, that argument won out.

So I'm taking some time. Time to do some soul searching. Time to really think about the direction of my life. Time to recharge.

(Photo credit to our friend, Stefan Choquette Photography)

And honestly, I'm feeling pretty awesome about it. Obviously, I plan to return to the working world as soon as I have it all "figured out", but for now I'm enjoying having extra free time to do what I want.

So far this has consisted of: going to barre every morning, walking the dogs, networking, sometimes getting in two work outs a day (holla), organizing our apartment, looking for a new place to move next month when our lease is up, blogging, soul searching, catching up with people that I love - I talk to my sister and best friend almost daily, reading, cooking, job searching and more.

The funny thing is that I know of a handful of people who have chosen to do this too this year. Is it an epidemic of non-settlers? Have we decided that won't spend 40 hours a week doing something that we don't love because life's too short?

Whatever it is, I just wanted to share this little (BIG) part of my life with you all this month. Now whatever we're doing, let's have a fabulous November!

October 30, 2013

30 By 30

The other night I was reading in bed, as I often do, and I came across a book review-type article in Shape (or was it SELF?). The book is called The FabYOUList, which sounded pretty cheesy to me, but when I read a little farther into the review I had to admit that I loved the concept. Basically, a married mother of three realized on her 36th birthday that she was much closer to 40 than 30 and that she had not accomplished many of the things she wanted to with her life.

So she set out making a list of things that she wanted to accomplish and ended up with exactly 40 items. Some were big (write a book) and others were small (take an adult ballet class).

This got me thinking about all of the things that I have envisioned for my life when I realized: I have 30 months (including this one) before I turn 30. And so my list began.

Some of the items on this list are really meaningful, others are just things that will make my life easier (one at-home-mani a week saves $780 a year, not to mention hours of time). Some can be accomplished in a month or less, some will take years. I made this list the night I first read the magazine article, jotting down whatever came to my mind and since then I've revised and refined it to make it perfectly authentic to me.

1. Write a book.
2. Own a home - again, and this time, make it one that we really feel a connection to.
3. Learn how to surf.
4. Be a better listener.
 5. Holidays - Find meaningful ways (to us) to celebrate.
6. Develop a healthy diet & exercise lifestyle. (Yep, still giving this one a go.)
7. Try my hand at styling, starting with friends.
8. Learn photography basics.
9. Then learn photoshop basics.
10. Master my mani.
11. Become a better cook, including overcoming my fear of chicken.
12. Develop a clear sense of home decor style & begin creating a home environment that I'm absolutely in love with. Every detail.
13. Practice yoga regularly.
14. Learn about wine & cheese pairing.
15. Blog - Find my niche, even if that niche is just writing to update my friends & family.
16. Be a better dog owner.
17. Pay more attention to men's fashion, for Cory's sake.
18. Think of ways to be a cool aunt.
19. Deepen my knowledge and appreciation for craft beer. (Yes, this is a real goal people.)
 20. Complete a mini-triathalon.
21. Have my writing published in a magazine.
22. Be okay with less.
23. Be on a career path that I love and can see a future in.
24. Find more ways to connect with family.
25. Follow a budget. For reals.
26. Become a better snowboarder.
27. Smile & look strangers in the eye.
28. Create more traditions.
29. Pay down our debt (student loans I've got my eye on you).
30. Finish what I start, or don't start it.

If you feel compelled, I hope you make a list of sorts, no matter what age you are approaching. And if not, I hope you'll follow my pursuit!

October 28, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 28: Blazer a New Trail

Since this is sort of the theme in my life latey anyways...

Life's Not Always Fair

I may have mentioned before, but for the past two years I've been reading a daily devotion by Sarah Young called, "Jesus Calling." A friend that I look up to very much recommended it to me, and since then I've found that many of the women in my life are reading this particular devotional each day. It's that powerful. 

(Haha - I had to.)

I just have to share today's message with you, because I bet that it's been oh-so-relevant for us all at one time or another in our lives. 

Young writes, "Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you, things that you don't deserve. When someone mistreats you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive the one who has wounded you. Don't be concerned with setting the record straight. Instead of obsessing about other people's opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately, it is My view of you that counts."

While I'm not currently going through a situation like this, I can remember many times in my past that I have been. Whether you are a believer or not, I believe this message is so true. We can't control what others say or think of us and, honestly, it is none of our business! What IS our business is to be true to ourselves, and to choose grace. 

Recently I was faced with a choice when exiting a situation. Encouraged by my dad to handle the challenge with grace, I did so, and I feel so great about it. I was able to walk away from a stressful situation with a smile on my face, a clear conscious and a peaceful heart. 

More on this to come...

Have a great Monday and choose grace!

October 22, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 22: So My City

I live in a college town of 150k, so you can probably imagine some of the interesting fashion I see on the streets of my city. Some good, some bad, some...essential. Like these Sorels. 

Last year I roamed the snow packed canvas of Fort Collins in Uggs, Hunters and embarrassingly, heels. None of those worked but eventually my native Colorado friends informed me about these babies. 

While I don't own a pair quite yet, these are the ones I plan to order!

October 20, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 20: Hue On Hue

Admission: I skipped days 16-19. Not because I didn't like the themes, but because life just sort of got in the way and I had an exhaustingly busy week. After a wonderful weekend with my husband and friends, including breakfast at a coffee shop, church and a chat w/my BF this morning, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle life. 

And I'm starting with my #StyleMeOctober Challenge. 

So here you have it...my best version of hue on hue w/denim. 

October 15, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 15: Mixing Patterns

The Perfect Life

Ever feel like you will "be happy" once you attain a certain goal? Whether that be getting married, losing weight, making more money, whatever. I believe that many of us think this way. For me, it was always, "When we move out of Kansas" or "when Cory gets weekends off and we can spend more time together".

Oh, the elusive "perfect life."

Those two things have both happened over the last year and while they have both been extremely fulfilling, our life is still not "perfect." Don't get me wrong, I truly love my life, I've just begun to let go of the illusion of perfection.

What I've been realizing is that no one has a perfect life. Sure, it may look flawless on the outside, but underneath the surface there is stuff that we can't see.

This year has been full of highs and lows for us. It's been rewarding, scary, amazing and confusing. For me, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and asking myself questions like, "What am I here for?" and "What I am meant to do with this life that I've been given?"

I've learned that sometimes the best laid plans don't always fulfill you like you thought they would. And that life is not meant to be planned out meticulously, but it is to be appreciated, savored and lived. There is a lesson in each situation and it's our job to figure out what that is, while keeping ourselves open to unknown opportunities to come.

So the conclusion I've come to? Life is messy and it is beautiful. Most importantly, life is what we make it. We can choose to be joyful and thankful, whether we are in a palace or a prison. Our happiness in life is truly up to each one of us. And life is perfectly imperfect, just the way it is.

October 13, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 13: Makes Me Want To Twirl

Today was the perfect day to be in a skirt that "makes me want to twirl" because it's always fun to get a bit dressed up for church and running errands afterwards. Today's were: dog park, Home Depot for a little project we're working on and the grocery store for some lunch ingredients. 

Scarf - Target
Chambray Shirt - JCrew (this season)
Belt - Abercrombie & Fitch circa 2003
Skirt - purchased from a little boutique in Chelsea last December
Flats - Old Navy (this season)
Sunnies - Michael Kors
Bag - Vintage Coach
Coffee Mug (it's the most durable thing ever) - Bed, Bath & Beyond (for like, $5)

Have a great Sunday!

October 12, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 12: Used to Scare You

Believe it or not, it took me a long time to get into hats. I always felt awkward wearing them, until something just clicked. Now my favorites are: fedoras and baseball caps, though I'm not opposed to trying any & every kind! 

October 11, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 11: All About The Eyes

I've never been that good with makeup. I've picked up a few tricks here and there to get me by, but I'm really pretty simple when it comes to my makeup routine. It takes me less than five minutes to do my makeup each morning. 

One thing that I have improved on in the past year though, is my eye makeup and I have this to thank for that. 

Too-Faced makes it so easy, with the color palettes laid out for you & instructions on how to use each color palette for a different look (a total of three looks). It's a bit pricey ($45 or so, I think) but it lasts for a long time. I've been using it for about a year now and have even branched out to buying single shades and making my own combos with them! 

I'm no pro, but at least now I feel like I have "real" eye makeup on, as opposed to the one shade swipe that used to be my routine. You can find Too-Faced at Sephora.

October 10, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 10: A Classic White Shirt

I got this white tank at Old Navy a month or so ago and it has quickly become a staple. Old Navy has some great items at good prices this fall - check it out!

October 9, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 9: A Steal of a Deal

I spotted this dress in JCrew and felt like it was perfect for fall. It became even more perfect when I got it for less than $25 - originally $74.95. Score!

Happy Hump Day, Friends!

October 8, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 8: Polka Dots + Animal Spots

I got this shirt from Target last month & just LOVE it for fall. It's a little hard to tell in this photo, but the polka dots on it are black. Mix in a black pencil + leopard heels and it's off to work!

Follow me on Instagram to see all of the brands in this look & others from the #StyleMeOctober Challenge!

October 7, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 7: Layered Jewelry

Happy Monday! 

It's not hard to get jazzed up for the week after you've had a really good weekend, which I did. We spent a lot of QT w/my MIL and in between cocktailing, biking, eating, hiking and eating some more I was able to slip this little ensemble on my wrist. 

I'll be the first to admit, I love the layered jewelry look but I'm really don't do it often. I've always said I'm more of a simple jewelry person - too many pieces overwhelm me. Then again, I do really appreciate this style, so I'm looking forward to seeing what all of the other challenge participants Instagram today. Inspiration station! 

October 6, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 6: Bold Kissable Lips

Fact: Today is Sunday. I've spent the day hiking, eating a burger composed of half bacon and hitting up the grocery store. A bold lip was just not in order. So I pulled this unused oldie but goodie from the archives of my iPhone because I just love me a good red lip, especially in the winter - so glam.

Happy Sunday to All!

October 5, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 5: All Black like a Spy

My mother-in-law is visiting us from Florida this weekend and since she loves bluegrass music we took her to Crankenstien last night to see the Mother Pluckers play. While the music wasn't quite what we were expecting, we loved the venue (it's a bike shop/bar/coffee shop) and I had a super interesting tequila soaked cider and an AWESOME milk stout. Fun was had by all. 

For my All Black like a Spy look I paired a long-sleeve black fishnet top with leggings and booties, topping it off with a solid gold chain necklace. Super comfy!

Happy Weekend!

October 4, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 4: Nautical Preppy Stripes

When I think nautical, I think of summer, and I really didn't want to put on any of my preppy striped classics. This may be because the high in Fort Collins today is 41 degrees and there is a 60% chance of snow. 


So this was my compromise: not so in your face nautical stripes mixed with a preppy khaki pencil.

I ended up loving my outfit! Plus, I washed my hair - just for you! Now that deserves a close up.

October 3, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 3: Yellows + Greens

This dress was a staple for me last year and when I saw that today's theme was  Yellows and Greens I knew it would be perfect. Add a mustard cardi and some riding boots and it works for fall. I threw in one of my favorite scarves to add in another pattern too.

PS - One of my fears during this challenge is that you will realize just how many days a week that I DON'T "do" my hair. The topknot is just too hard to pass up some mornings!!

October 2, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 2: Perfectly Parisian

It was fun to see over 250 ladies participating in this challenge on Instagram yesterday. I even got to connect with a few on Twitter - so cool. : )

Today's theme is Perfectly Parisian and last night I had written a nice, solid post on why I went with what I did, but when I woke up this morning that post was missing.  Boo hoo. 

So instead, here is the super short version:

1. Messy, carefree topknot.
2. Fancy jewels with an otherwise casual outfit.
3. Half tucked in, half out chambray shirt
4. Pencil skirt in a beautiful, rich pattern + flats

I've said before that wearing a pencil skirt with flats is a "no-no" in my book, but when I think about Parisian style, I think about breaking the rules. Because they're meant to be broken, right? Especially our own.

Happy Hump Day!

October 1, 2013

#StyleMeOctober Day 1: My Style Icon

One thing that I've been struggling with this year is figuring out how to incorporate my style into this blog. I'm obsessed with several style blogs, including Damsel in Dior, Kendi Everyday and Sequins and Stripes. I follow all of these stylish ladies on Bloglovin, looking forward to their updates every day. And after I'm done reading their posts I think about how I never seem to manage to get my style across half as well as these gorgeous girls. 

So what better way to work on this than to start a challenge. And my challenge of choice is this: #StyleMeOctober. Bow Ties and Bettys is another great style blog (there are just oh-so-many inspirational women out there) from which this challenge comes from, and it looks like this:

The main platform for this challenge will be Instagram, but in order to keep with one of my yearly goals, I will be posting daily on my blog as well. 

My hope is that the end of this month, I will have found it easier to express my style online. 

And now, for Day #1 - My Style Icon

I wouldn't say that I have just one style icon, but like I mentioned earlier in this post, I follow all of my favorite bloggers daily and the one who provides the most inspiration for me right now is probably Jacey Duprie. Her style is fancy, laid back, smart and just so cool. She is ALWAYS, ALWAYS looking good.