My New Favorite Outfit: November 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Gift Giving with Gordmans

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, I know we did. Today we'll be out doing a bit of shopping and my guess is a lot of you will probably be doing the same thing.  Today I'm going to share with you some gift ideas I have for my family that I found on a recent trip to Gordmans. The thing that is great about Gordmans is they carry brands we all recognize, they just are able to offer them at a fraction of the price.  I was really impressed by the things I found!  

Today they also have a bunch of Black Friday deals, so if you're out an about, you should definitely check them out.

One of the first things I saw that I knew would be great for my family were all the great holiday snacks, like these below from Harry and David and Ghirardelli.  These will make awesome stocking stuffers and my Dad is really difficult to buy for, but snacks always put a smile on his face.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks

As we prepare for Thanksgiving I wanted to share with you all a verse that hit home with me recently.  It's 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and it reads, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

It can be so easily to take for granted how blessed we really are. I know I'm guilty of making a mountain out of a mole hill. Take for example the process of doing my morning devotions.  I get the coffee ready and set the delay timer the night before, so not to wake anyone up by clanging around in the kitchen at 5:30. I tip toe into the kitchen, pour my hot cup of deliciousness, then sneak down to basement with my iPad and Bible in hand. I settle down and just begin to read when I hear the jingle of our dogs tags and her nails across our wood floor.  Every morning. I know it's going to happen and I still get frustrated. 

I then have to stop what I'm doing, go let her out, feed her, and pray that the ruckus doesn't wake Grant up.  I sure am not "rejoicing always." 

But, it's all about perspective.  Once the dog has been out and eaten she doesn't go back to bed, she comes and snuggles next to me on the couch.  She just wants to spend time with me.  That's worth rejoicing about.  

Then there's the "pray without ceasing" part.  I think God wants to be on our speed dial.  He wants a relationship with us.  He wants us to "call him up" like we do our best friend, our spouse, our mom. Just to talk. He wants us to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with him.  Let's face it, He already knows, He just wants to hear it from us.  Praying doesn't have to be some big fancy presentation.  

Mathew 6: 7-8 says "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. For your Father knows what you need before you ask him..." God just wants to hear from us.

Then lastly: "give thanks in all circumstances." That, my friends, is a doozy. All circumstances, not just the good ones.  This reminds me of a sermon I heard recently at church in reference to the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  To sum in up, God came to Joseph and told him about the life He'd called him into and also revealed the power he'd later have over Egypt. 

Just because God called him didn't mean he was going to have an easy life. Before ultimately becoming the king of Egypt his jealous brothers wanted to kill him, but decided to sell him into slavery.  He was bought by a wealthy family, but would not sleep with the woman of the house, then ended up in jail because of a he said/she said battle. 

Do you think it would be easy to "give thanks in these circumstances?" I think many would turn and run from God, but Joseph did not.  He remained faithful to God and it says time and time again throughout the story of Joseph's life that God was with him.

I think it can be easy to assume that once you choose to trust God life will be easy, but that's not usually the case.  We should "give thanks in all circumstances," because every step we take when we're in relationship with God takes us one step closer to who he calls us to be.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Wear: A Fur Vest

My favorite purchase this fall has to be this faux fur vest from Target. I've already worn it on the blog three times and am pretty sure it's going to be on constant rotation this fall.

1 / 2 / 3

I found some great inspiration on Pinterest, of course, that I thought I'd share with you all today. Sources are down below:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Monday, November 24, 2014

Speak Life

I shared with you all a while ago that we are doing Passion Projects at school.  Basically, the kids are able to pick any topic they are passionate about and spend one hour a week at school learning about it. Then, at the end of third quarter the kids will share what they learned, create something, etc.  I'm really excited about it and the kids are too.  When I was researching passion projects I came across this video, I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch it, it's one of the most powerful things I've seen in a long time.


The basic premise is that Sulivan was picked on and instead of retaliating he chose to "Speak Life" to others around him who were also being picked on, left out, depressed, etc.  What does it mean to "Speak Life" you might ask?  It's based on this song by Toby Mac.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

Some days, life feels perfect.
Other days it just ain't workin.
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between.

Its crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak life...

Our words have power and Sullivan, the boy in the above video, realized that.  He made it his mission to "Speak Life" to those around him, instead of hate.....and the impact was overwhelming. It's hard for me to explain how moved I am by his actions. It really makes me step back and think about what I do and don't say. As a Christian I am called to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind AND love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27.

But. Do I really do that.  My "neighbor" isn't just literally my next-door neighbor, who would would be easy to love, they are amazing- but my neighbor is everyone.  

It's that co-worker I steer clear off because I don't feel like hearing them complain- But what if I would "speak life" to them, maybe they'd want to complain a little less.

It's that person at the daycare that I'm not sure knows what's best for my son- But what if I chose to "speak life" and encouraged her, maybe she'd like her job more and be able to better help my son too.

It's that student that seems to think they'll disappear if they quick talking- But what if I chose to "speak life," maybe they just don't feel like they're being heard-my ear could be invaluable.

I am humbled and inspired by the boy above.  I want to "speak life" to those around me, and not for me, but for them.  I challenge you today to to re-define your definition of neighbor.  You never know how one kind word could change a person's day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing for Black Friday

Time is just flying everyone!  It's just a few days until Thanksgiving.  Brian and I are keeping it low key this year and just celebrating as a family at home. After a turkey induced coma sleep it'll be Black Friday.  I don't know about you, but I think it's such a great feeling to snag up some good deals on Black Friday.

We always like to look through all the ads in Thursday's paper and Brian likes to hunt down Black Friday deals on the internet.  We don't have a big wish list this year, but we are hoping to score a deal on a flat screen for our bedroom.  I think we'll be in luck because Office Max & Office Depot, who are now one company, have some great Black Friday deals that are actually starting early!  We're also wanting to get Grant his own tablet, as he's always wanting to use mine, and Office Max & Office Depot has some great deals on those too!

Office Max & Office Depot are offering their lowest prices ever, so it's a great time to take advance of the deals! They also put together this great graphic showing ways for you to Strategize, Save, and Survive Black Friday!

       Once you're done with your shopping and you need a break from thinking about Black Friday you should Elf Yourself, elf your friends, elf your boss,  or even elf your dog! Don't forget to download "Elf Yourself" on your Smart Phone today!

      I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

      Thursday, November 20, 2014

      Be Awesome to Somebody

      I'll admit it, I'm guilty.  I can spend the entire day so focused on my own #firstworldproblems that I don't stop to think about what other's are going though. I can take for granted all the blessings I have and focus on my own plans, my own agenda, my own priorities. This attitude keeps me from being my best and it impacts those around me too.

      This makes me think of this great shirt I'm wearing today from Le Motto which reads "Be Awesome to Somebody." It's powerful stuff, and this is what Le Motto is all about: doing good and realizing that words have power.

      What if I walked around each day planning to "Be Awesome to Somebody?" You can guarantee it would not only impact me and my attitude and the people around me too. As I wear this to school today, I'm sure my students will notice it too. As teenagers it's important they let the idea or being awesome to somebody roll around in their minds. Many students are at the receiving end of hurtful words each day and Le Motto recognizes that, and a portion of their sales go to anti-bullying organizations, which is so cool.

      Words have power and I love how Le Motto is choosing to create awesome products that focus on that. Life is short, we should definitely be purposeful in how we spend it and the words we use.

      Have you entered my giveaway to White Plum here yet?

      Wednesday, November 19, 2014

      Family Time with Hanes

      Spending time together as a family is so important, as we all know.  Brian and I only get a few hours a day together with Grant, and it's important we make the most of the time.  As it continues to get colder outside it's important to find ways to have fun inside and bundle up to keep warm too.  Hanes has the perfect fleeces and activewear to keep as cozy while we hang out as a family.

      One of the things we love to do is play games together. Superhero Chutes and Ladders is a big hit at our house, and Grant and I were comfy and cozy Hanes hoodies.  Grant loves his hoodie, and I love the hoodie they sent me too. They also sent me this fleece sweatshirt too, and I love the feminine fit and it's not oversized or bulky, which I like.   The quality is great too. Grant can be pretty hard on his clothes and I feel his hoodie is great quality and will definitely make it though winter.  All the pieces were also tag less, which is great, because Grant is not a fan of tags on his clothes.

      Brian also loves this hoodie they sent, and they also sent him this sweatshirt and this zip up hoodie too. They fit him well and come in a variety of colors, which it perfect too. Although he'll take part in board games with us, he loves to wrestle around with Grant and have Nerf wars, and his sweatshirts from Hanes are perfect for that.

      Grant's just a little bit excited about the game....

      Tuesday, November 18, 2014

      Doing it All

      In the past twenty four hours I have heard multiple women in my life say how overwhelmed they feel.  If they're being a good teacher, then they go home and are exhausted and they don't think they can be a good wife and mom.

      I get this. There are days I come home and I am more than happy to let Grant stay on the iPad for a bit to long while I race furiously around the house doing things that "have" to be done.

      Just one more load of laundry.

      Load and unload the dishwasher.

      What's for dinner?  Ah, man, I forgot to thaw out meat. Tomato soup and grilled cheese it is. 

      I rush and rush and rush. I'm tired, I'm spent. I've already spent eight hours engaging with a herd of 7th graders and I worry that the few hours I have with family I'm not always "present" because I'm tired or trying to get things done around the house.

      I worry I don't play enough with Grant. I worry I don't do enough to make Brian feel special.  I worry that the house isn't picked up and, man, that toothpaste in the sink. Gross.  Even as I write this the list of to-dos keeps going in my head.

      As women we've all got about five-seven balls we're juggling in the air all at one time. We're scared if we let one ball fall, they'll all fall. It's exhausting.  Being perfect isn't possible, so why do we set the bar at perfection then feel like a failure when we can't hit the mark?

      In the midst of trying to do it all, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We can get anxious and overwhelmed.

      But, I'm reminded in Psalm 46:10 to "Be still and know I am God." God's got me covered, he's got you covered too.  

      He put me and you in this very place for a purpose.  For a reason.  He believes in us. "Be still and know I am God." 

      I might not be perfect, I might not be super-mom, I might not be at my best each day, but God still loves me-and you-anyway.

      So when I'm worried about my list of to-do's and my fears that I'm not at my best with my family I'm called to" Cast all my anxiety on him because he cares for me." (1Peter 5:7).

      Our families know we're trying, they know we love them, they know we care.

      Now about my clothes. Let's talk about this outfit for minute, it's probably one of my favorite to date. I can't get enough of this vest and this skirt, saying they were on heavy rotation would be an understatement.

      Monday, November 17, 2014

      White Plum Giveaway

      Life is all about balancing work, play, and family time. White Plum offers amazing pieces at great prices to help me dress for all these moments in my life. Today I'm excited to share some of my favorite pieces with you, keep reading for an awesome giveaway too!

      When I'm at school I want to look as great as I feel, and this blouse from White Plum is the perfect addition to my wardrobe this fall.  I recently wore this outfit to school and the horse shoe design is the cutest! The length is great and the details are perfection!

      Sunday, November 16, 2014

      Campus Books and Operation Smile

      I can't believe it's only a month until Christmas break, seriously time is flying at school.  While I'm still in busy teaching mode, college students are thinking about finals and preparing for new classes starting after Christmas. That being said, Campus Book Rentals has asked me to share with you some great information about how to save money on textbooks as well as a great way to help others with Operation Smile.

      Buying books for college or your master's degree isn't fun and it can be pretty expensive too.  As you all know, I'm teaching myself now and have a master's as well, but many of my co-workers are working on their master's degrees, and I hear them complain about the cost of textbooks.  That's where Campus Book Rentals comes in.  They offer:

      -prices that are 40-90% off of the bookstore price
      -free shipping both ways
      -you can highlight in the textbooks
      -you can chose how long you need the book

      Saturday, November 15, 2014

      KISS InstaWave

       Recently I got to try the KISS InstaWave through Brandbacker.  The KISS InstaWave is a fully automatic tangle-free curler that instantly creates beautiful, long-lasting curls with ease. I'm don't usually curl my hair because it takes forever, but with the KISS InstaWave I was able to beautiful curls with just the touch of a button.

      With a normal curling iron it takes me 20-30 minutes to curl my hair, and with the KISS InstaWave it took me under 10 minutes, now that's something I can get used to.

      Here's what makes the KISS InstaWave different than the average curling iron:

      • The KISS InstaWave is a fully automatic tangle-free curler that instantly creates beautiful curls
      • It's easy for anyone to use, from any angle, with any hand- there was about a ten minute learning curve the first time I tried it, then it was super simple after that
      • It features a curl dial with left/right curl directions
      • It automatically shuts off after 90 minutes
      • It has two heat settings with a low/high switch with maximum temperature of 420
      • It retails for $59.99
      I put together a quick video for you all, so you could see it in action too: 


      As I said in the video,  I was really impressed with the KISS InstaWave and I would definitely recommend it if you're in the market for a new curling iron. Christmas is just around the corner ;)

      The KISS InstaWave was given to me by Brandbacker, but all thoughts are my own.

      Thursday, November 13, 2014

      Fear Not

      Recently Grant came into the bathroom while I was getting ready in the morning.  He had tears rolling down his cheeks and he said he'd had a bad dream.  I asked him what it was about and he said he was dreaming that two of his little friends from school were dying.  This broke my heart. At four he had let fear gobble him up.

      I then began to think about those of you out there who feel like you're living a nightmare.  Fear has gobbled you up.  I imagine the pair you feel, the hurt, the doubt, the burdens.

      It's like you're carrying around a heavy backpack weighted with every nightmare you feel life has thrown your way.  Tears roll from my cheeks as I think about.

      But what if there was someone willing to carry your backpack for you? What if someone wanted to lift the weight off your shoulders and free you from your nightmare?

      I believe there is.  Isaiah 41:10 says:

      So do not fear, for I am with you;
          do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you and help you;
          I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

      God wants to take that backpack off your shoulders; He has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power (2 Timothy 1:7). If you are carrying around this backpack, let it go.  Give it up. Let God carry it.  

      I bet you're wondering how I ended things with Grant after his nightmare.  We talked about it, then prayed to ask God to take away his fear, and to keep his friends safe, see even four year olds have a backpack. God want's to carry theirs too.

      My intention was to end the post here and show you my outfit for today, which I'm crazy about, by the way, but I feel like I need to be honest.

      Wednesday, November 12, 2014

      From the Inside Out

      I'm really excited about the new direction of my blog, and I feel like it's been a long time coming. I think back to the time before Grant was born when it was just Brian and myself, and all the time we had.

      I worked out every day.

      I did devotions every day.

      I was able to focus on Brain every day.

      Then, we had a baby.  I wouldn't change a thing and the love I have for Grant is a love that is unexplainable to someone who isn't a mom yet.

      Life changed, though.  I quit going to the gym; I didn't want Grant at daycare until after five each night.  I also quit doing devotions. At first it was because I was so sleep deprived, then it was out of fear that he'd hear me and wake up early.

      I lost a lot of myself as an individual, not that that is a bad thing, it was just different and I was more than happy to have Grant fill a space in my heart.

      Slowly my focus shifted off my relationship with God onto other things. I started this hobby and although I'm embarrassed to admit it, it became like a god.  My focus on it was too great.

      Throughout this time we were still going to church and taking part, but I just wasn't connected.  This last summer I kept feeling a tug in my heart.  God missed me, and I missed him too.

      I've often heard it said that you should talk to God like he's your best friend, not like 911 that you only call in an emergency.  I'd been using God like 911.

      I had a ton of time while Grant was napping this summer and no excuse, so I picked up my Bible again. I also discovered She Reads Truth. I started praying again, I started reading the Bible again, I started seeing all the blessings around me again.  I also felt myself changing.

      My attitude improved. I suddenly had more patience for everything life threw at me.  School started and I was excited but nervous, because nap time was gone, so when would I do devotions?

      I became that person that gets up at 5:30. On purpose.  If you know me in real life you'll know that I am NOT a morning person. However, starting my day with prayer, and devotionals to God have been the best thing I could do for myself, my family, my students and my God.

      It's like I let out a sigh of relief I'd been holding in for four years.

      Being in relationship with God changes you, and it's always for the better.  I started to feel the tug that my little corner of the internet should change.  Clothes and this blog can't be a priority.

      I still want to show some style inspiration, but I want you each to find the beauty you all have on the inside and out, and I want to be doing the same.  Here begins a new chapter in the life of this blog.

      I wore this outfit out with friends last weekend.  I'm absolutely crazy about this faux fur vest I picked up recently from Target.  I paired it with this great black top with faux leather sleeves from Gordmans.  I also love the pop of color in this fun necklace from Edith Marie Jewelry.

      Tuesday, November 11, 2014

      Where I am Now

      I've got to be honest.  I've been feeling a little vain and shallow lately. I look at my Instagram feed and am a little lot embarrassed to see all the pictures of me in clothes.  I shared in my post on two years of blogging about working to find a balance between this hobby and really considering what truly matters.  Let's face it, clothes don't.

      I think feeling good about yourself does matter, and I know that when I feel good about what I'm wearing my attitude is reflected in that. So, how does that translate into what I share here?

      I want this little space to represent more than just me in clothes.   I want to share things that matter, that are important, and that might just help even one of you out in the process.   I still plan to still share my usual three outfit posts each week, but I want what I have to say to be more than just about clothes. We only get so much time here on earth and I want to make sure I'm really using it well.

      Like the rising sun marking a new day in the photo below, I want this to mark a new life for this little blog.  So it's not a surprise, my faith is something really important to me and I do plan to share some faith related things on here. I don't want to make every post "heavy," I just want to make it more valuable. I hope you find what I have to say has value and that that you can relate and apply it to your life too.

      Monday, November 10, 2014

      The Myth of Perfection

      I wore this outfit to church recently and love it.  I scored the skirt and cardigan a few years back at Goodwill and have worn some combination of this outfit a number of times.  This outfit has also been pinned more than anything else too.  I felt great wearing it and got a number of compliments, but I almost didn't write this post.  Why you might ask?  The pictures....they aren't great.  It was really windy and I snapped a few pictures quick before giving up and going inside.  I can't tell you how many times I've felt great, taken pictures, then trashed them because I just wasn't happy with how they came out.  It's so silly, right?  I'm not a professional or model, I'm a girl with a tripod and a clicker.....and this is a hobby.  

      I feel like I can put unrealistic expectations on myself when it comes to this little hobby.  I don't plan to ever do different locations shoots, even though I know it could increase my audience, because I don't have the time, and this is not my profession.  I put together outfits I feel good in, then I take pictures and post them on the internet. Yeah.  Perfection doesn't exist and it's not fair to myself to make that the goal.  Another little known fact to those of you who only know me from the internet: my hair only looks "good" for about the first ten minutes after I'd done it and by the end of the day my makeup doesn't look so hot either. There you have it.  So, here are four of the seven or so pictures I took, in an outfit I love and felt good in, and that's why I started this blog in the first place. 

      Also, Laura at I do deClaire is sweet enough to be featuring me and a few other bloggers today, go check it out!

      Thursday, November 6, 2014


      Who is your "person?" It might sound like a weird question, but it's one I've been thinking about a lot lately.  Who are you surrounding yourself with?  Do you build each other up, or do spend a lot of time commiserating together?  I feel like my attitude right now is the best it's been in a long time and I think it's a reflection of how I'm spending my time and who I'm surrounding myself with.

      I have great, authentic friends both at and away from work, that I don't feel like I need to impress-they accept me as I am. Time isn't spent gossiping and tearing others down, it's spent building each other up and collaborating with genius educational ideas together.  This wasn't the case in years past.  I shared with you all a while back that I stepped back from some friendships, and it was for the best. I never really felt like I was accepted for who I was.  Was my outfit cute enough? Was I funny enough?  Would they still like me if they really knew (fill in the blank with any number of things)?  It was exhausting.  And sad, so sad.  I thought I had a "person," well "people," but really I didn't.

      I guess my point is, we only get this little bit of time here on earth in comparison to eternity and I don't think it does anyone any good to let someone make us feel like we are less than we really are.  I'm so thankful for the friends I have now, they bless me in so many ways I never imagined.

      Wednesday, November 5, 2014

      Stripes and Dots

       Ok, I'm going to say it.  Forever 21 is really overwhelming to me.  There's just so...much...stuff. I know the prices are great, but the sizing is so random, I guess that comes with the territory.  This keeps me away, even though I see friends who find the cutest things there. However, when I was in Kansas City about a month ago I went in with a friend, because she needed to make an exchange.  I came across this adorable polka dot top and was so excited, because I ruined my own last year and was on the hunt for a replacement. I decided to pair it with my striped blazer and favorite cobalt pants for work.  I'm not going to lie, I really like this outfit.

      Tuesday, November 4, 2014

      Style Board: Herringbone Vest Edition

      When J.Crew came back with their Herringbone vest again this year fashionistas everywhere cheered. I have a similar one I got from Coldwater Creek last year after I missed the boat the first time around.  I've already worn it a few times this season, but have a number of looks pinned for future inspiration I thought I'd share today! Source and similar pieces are listed down below. 

      Monday, November 3, 2014

      Lace and Jewels

      This lace top has to be one of my favorite fall purchases.  I wore this recently with my blazer from Kika and jewels from chloe + isabel.  I'm particularly crazy about this pendant necklace I got recently with hostess reward dollars.  

      I wore this to a charity event at church recently. We have friends who run a nonprofit ministry out of Uganda, called Rising Star Ministries it's similar to a boys and girls club with soccer teams and tutoring.  There was a chili cook off, silent auction and concert.  It was a great time for a great cause. 

      They are right now trying to raise enough funds to get back there full time and are still in need of donations.  If you can help in any way, I know they'd appreciate it! Not all of us are called to up and move to Africa, but I do believe that some of us are called to help financially instead.  If you're so led, click here to help!