Friday, October 17, 2014

fall/winter 2015- the style issue


So listen.

I've been trying to simmer down the "must have" trends of fall/winter 2014 since InStyle's Fall Fashion Issue came out months ago.... and it's just hard because I don't need to re-write the issue and go over EVERY trend out there. If that's what you want, just go get the mag! But I also leave a lot out if I only tell you my favorites. So we are going to play a little game. I'm going to spew out words/trends/must-have items for this fall and winter, and then I'll try to attach a picture to it for those who are visual.

But really it all boils down to this: we are channeling the 1990's, folks. Sure, that means things like overalls, mom jeans, baggy flannel, Birkenstocks, and Doc Martins are back. And if that fits your style, then that's easy! But if it doesn't, you're going to have to work a little harder if you want to embrace the trends while staying true to your own style...which is what I would consider my ultimate goal for myself.

I find my favorite way to incorporate these trends is to mix the torn, worn, and oversized with preppy or uber-feminine. This keeps me from feeling like I need a bath at all times, YET I am able to stay current and wear things in a fresh new way for me since the first time they came around.

So, here is how I have translated that for my closet:

Distressed Denim. (i mean really distressed. think massive holes.)

Black Jeans (rock 'n roll, baby)

Boyfriend-style Pants (pants, cords, etc. because 1990's grunge is most definitely not fitted)

Oversized Chunky Sweaters (all the better for tying around one's waist when you get too hot)

Loose Flannel Shirts (you can still keep a great silhouette if you tuck the front, creating a visual waist)

Fun Baseball Hats (jcrew or forever21 have great versions of these!)

Floppy Hats (great for a red lip with a baggy sweater)

Stacks of Petite Jewelry (doesn't matter the metal. but put a ring on every finger and a stack up your arm)

Chelsea boots (pick black to go with your black jeans! grunge, ya'll.)

Loafers (of ANY kind- laces or penny.)

And your fail-safes: leopard, leather, fringe, and fur. On repeat.

And here is a Fall-Tip-Freebie: when you wear ankle boots, you MUST roll your jeans. Jeans should hit 2" above the top of your ankle boot. You don't want the jeans floating up in the high heavens, nor do you want them to touch the top of your boot!! 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand: GO!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

a game changer

I heard something several years ago.

It changed me.

It changed the way I have since lived, online.

Blogging...facebooking....instagramming.... the content I post to all of these places now goes through the filter of this advice: 

Every post/update/picture you choose to write will determine who your audience is. 

Let me explain.

It was a photographer friend of mine who said those words to me, and we were talking about her photography business- because this applies to businesses as well. And because I was blogging every day, trying to connect it with a season of my life where I was actively styling clients, she applied that concept to my blog. She explained that every post I chose to publish was a choice (and I have applied this to EVERY facebook status I have written since then, as well) that determined who my readers would be.
There isn't necessarily a right or wrong decision about who I wanted my audience to be, but it was worth knowing the effect each word was having. Every post about parenting would make non-parents feel disconnected. Every post about women's fashion would make guys believe they didn't have a reason to check in. Each post about Christ would potentially cause non-Christians to go somewhere else. So since then, before I post things in each of those categories (which is, collectively, juuuuuuust about every post I've ever written), I always stop for a minute and ask myself: "do I want to push ____ away?" It's a good system of checks and balances. It makes sure that what I want to say is THAT important to me. Do I want THOSE people connecting with me? Do I want to make THOSE people unfollow me?

Even on facebook.

I know it doesn't matter to some people. There are many who couldn't care less about what others think of their posts. They are going to say whatever they think because it's their page- and they can. But it matters to ME what others will "hear" from my fingers. Because I believe this is my testimony.

I want to change the way parts of my identity are stereotyped. I don't like the rep Christians get sometimes. I want to love others more than I love me, and I want to love God more than I love the whole lot of us. I don't like the way moms are sometimes portrayed. I can wear good jeans AND hold an intelligent conversation about the current state of global affairs. I want to change the way people think about those who like to get dressed in the morning. I'm not conceited, nor do I carelessly spend my money- nor am I rich and rolling in it. Et cetera. And if I can be those things but live it differently, then maybe people will disassociate some of the negativity toward "those types of people"- and that would be a win.

I filter what I say because I love people. And I want to make days brighter by being in them. And if I could say something funny instead of complaining, wouldn't it be nice to cause a laugh instead? Don't we all have enough to complain about anyway? I believe there is a time to be honest. I do! Sometimes I share "that article" even though I know it could ruffle feathers. But I believe there is a time to discuss controversial ways of thinking. But I don't believe social media is a very effective platform to do that, most times.

I choose what I SAY because it affects what I THINK. And I don't want to dwell on a bad day or a yucky point of view or a hard season of life. And when I talk about it, I stay in it. I don't want to stay there.

And I say certain things (and not others) because I want to inspire. And I like to believe that nuggets of inspiration can come from anywhere. I decided one day to only allow fb statuses/instagrammers/bloggers into my days that would offer me intelligence, love, appreciation, and inspiration. Everything and everyone else, I deleted or "unfollowed." Because I don't have time to spend with people who think they are the only right ones, or who want to spend their time talking about things that aren't working, or putting others down, or being careless with their words. And that decision went a long way to making me a happier person. And if I'm going to be so selective with what and who receive my time, I want to be those things to others in return.

And so I choose. I choose what goes out, and I choose what comes in.

Thank you for letting me in.

And thanks for being my "in."

I like to think we can change the world. 

And this post was ironically supposed to be about something COMPLETELY different when I sat down to write. That concept was supposed to be the intro paragraph...... turns out there was more there to unpack. That's okay. There's always tomorrow.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Okay, so I said it yesterday on facebook but I'll say it again: I LOVE INSTAGRAM. In my life, it's become a faster, more inspirational way to approach fashion and stay updated on the trends. I follow people of all budgets who provide links to the pieces they wear, I see pieces worn by those who have the same style I do, I find new ways to wear the pieces I have, and I get to filter it all: people with my style and my life-stage. Or not! And it's such a fun community. I have made insta-friends with several women around the world and it's always fun supporting each other: drawn by love of fashion or love of our sons or love of food!

I have a whole folder on my phone dedicated to screen shots of outfits I love- and when I'm in a funk and don't know what to wear in the morning, I scroll through those pictures to find something that rings my bell that day. And while I still poured over every page of the fall fashion issue of InStyle, I certainly find more success and more inspiration from those personal photo blogs of stylish PEOPLE.

Here are the girls I cannot get enough of: (you can click on their names for a link directly to their insta-page)

Curated Cool, my favorite Aussie:

shalicenoel, THE most stylish mama I can find on the world wide web:

Damsel in Dior, a style guru in L.A.:

aninebing, a mom slash model slash designer on the west coast:

marissawebb, the new fashion director for Banana Republic:

And last but not least is truelane, a stylist from Minneapolis:

There are others, but these are the handful of women that inspire me most of all.

These aren't the only gals out there, though! Need recommendations?

For those of you with a preppier style, I will send you to kerriemburke, moodygirlinstyle, amcates, and seersuckerandsaddles.

If you consider yourself to be a sleeker, less formal version of preppy, check out couldihavethat and hellofashionblog.

So listen, now that I have told you my favorites, shoot yours my way and help a sistah out! After all, one girl's favorite is another girls.....also favorite??

Lauren, out.

you can read this post AND MORE at my other 
Click on the title to go straight there!

those dang blasted oils

Soooooooo, I'm a little bit crunchy and a little bit not. I live somewhere in between the two often-times-warring schools of thought: embracing vaccines AND holistic/natural healing. I think medicine is necessary and great- but I also think we can do a lot to heal our bodies without it! And around May I made my first purchase of doTerra essential oils.

Since then, I've been testing their worth. I want to see what they're made of and whether they deserve all the hype they're getting. So I started by applying them topically. And every hit from allergies, bug bites and wonky cold bugs received a figurative "fist" of oils as I battled back. And... I'm pretty happy with them! They haven't proven to be miracle cures for anything in my life, but their effects certainly compare to the meds that can be taken for all the things we have tried them out on. So that's a win in my book. Of course the true test, in my opinion, will be this winter. Dear flu bug: please don't come here.

Along with applying the oils topically, they can be ingested (taken internally) or diffused into the air. About two months ago I had the opportunity to test out a diffuser from Sarah, a friend I have made in the online oils community. She is a Registered Nurse and mother of four- soon to be five! On facebook she goes by the name "oilRN" and always gives out helpful tips that I greatly appreciate. And as luck would have it, she was looking for people to try a diffuser at the same time I was looking for a diffuser to try! So I volunteered to give my honest feedback in exchange for the chance to try one of the most-recommended ways to use oils.

Working the diffuser proved to be easy! There are two buttons: the power button and the timer button. I can live with that. You can choose to either have it run continuously, which is what I did in bedrooms when I was addressing some symptoms, or set it to function on a timer that spans 24 hours, which I did in our common living area for a boost for our immune systems. 

I took my time before I reviewed it. I needed to see what I really thought of it. And I always enter this kind of stuff with a skeptic's heart. I expected nothing. But truthfully- I find the diffuser to be one of my favorite ways to use oils. During my trial run, I tested immunity boosts in our main living space: it took the cold that was going around and lasting for several days, and made them less-than-24-hour bugs. I used the Breathe blend and found it provided relief for allergies AND cold stuffiness every time. And when Roman got a fever, I put an antibacterial/fever combo in the diffuser and his fever left sometime during the night. And stayed gone.

So I'm pretty in love with this new black machine in my home. I liked it so much that I will be grabbing diffusers for every bedroom. Healthy family, happy mom.

When I let Sarah know that I felt I had enough experience with the diffuser to let you know what I thought, she offered the chance to get them on sale if you purchase them through her! Go to or email her at to take advantage of the discount. She is offering 20% off with the code "heels20" and that's mighty kind of her. I'm going to have to start adding to my collection now, I think.

Thanks, Sarah, for the chance to keep learning about oils, for your quick replies to my questions via email, and for the chance to find my way in the world of diffusers. I'm beyond thrilled with my discoveries.

Friday, July 11, 2014

For today

You know what? I spend a large part of every day being totally, 100%, wholly and completely overwhelmed with gratitude for my days. 

For my life. 

For the people with whom I spend my days. 

For the things I have which make the days more fun. For my profession. For the house I get to upkeep. For the money to pay bills and a little bit more. For, as cheesy as it sounds, the freedoms and life this country provides. For it all. 

Do you ever find yourself so smothered in gratitude that you think, "if anyone ever heard me try to express this I'd sound like a lunatic- or a liar." 

As I sit here watching a baby sleep and boys play, these are the thoughts that keep me company. 

And sometimes those blessings are so good, I am tempted to think, "It can't possibly stay this sweet forever. What horrible tragedy is going to strike that will squash this sweetness?" 

But then I quiet ugliness that threatens to turn my gratitude to fear. Necessarily. Because those things aren't for me to be concerned with. My "to do" list for the day is simply to be grateful. 

And so I am. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

to the weary mama

I see you sitting there, mama. I know your heart is weary and your body is worn. I know your days are long and you wonder briefly, though for the fifteenth time today, who is going to take care of you after you're done taking care of everyone else. I know you have wiped too many diapers to count and the number of times your name has been yelled through the house is driving you crazy. I know you wish someone would tell you that you look pretty today, or that your workouts are paying off. I know the thought of alone time makes you salivate more than the thought of the chewiest cookie, but the thought of a chewy cookie {now that you mention it} doesn't sound too shabby. I know you wish there was someplace you could curl up and someone would say to you, "Precious one, lay right here. Let's just spend time together. Let me fill your cup. Let me take your burdens and lighten the load. Don't worry about all the things on your list that didn't get done today- that's what tomorrow is for. Just come sit. Be still. Rest."

I know that because that's me, too.

And I know that reading those words makes you cry because writing those words makes me cry. Because that's what we both need right now.

I want you to know that God is saying those things to you. So go lay down your burdens. It's okay if a box of mac and cheese is dinner tonight. You don't have to save the world. You have only to rest. And I know just the One who can hold you.

Sending hugs, friend.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

the answer to "how's it going with three?"

Were you to ask, "How is it, being a mom of three?" I'd tell you it was wonderful. My heart is at peace. Our family feels wonderfully complete. And Henry is a dream. Really, truly, a dream. Having three sons is, for me, the marrow of life. It's one of the best, most valuable part. And I am setting aside every drop of expendable energy to ensure that I thoroughly soak in all of these moments of sweetness. 

For some reason, three makes me pause life with my heart. I'm no longer trying to plan our days, I'm savoring our days. I feel a big like a turtle who, if it were possible, desires to tuck her whole family inside her shell, wanting for nothing to invade.

I'd tell you I'm as exhausted as one IS with a newborn, but when said newborn only wakes twice each night between the hours of 11pm-7am, it could be MUCH worse. And even these sleepy, incoherent twilight hours are spent in quiet appreciation.... savoring. Taking mental pictures so that I can remember it later.

I'd tell you that the logistics of actually mothering THREE children has been....dare I say it??....cake. {picture me now, physically grimacing and waiting for the chaos to strike!! NO ONE is stupid enough to utter that, are they? ARE THEY!??!} But seriously, this is the easy part. It's a newborn. All they do is eat and sleep. Well, that's all this one does. And this is my third time doing this part. I know what the cries mean, we have seamlessly embraced a schedule, and he will sleep anywhere. Aside from the fact that it now takes me yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrsssssssssss to go ANYWHERE, I feel like I've got this part. Now, that being said, ask me again in a year when Henry is now a walker who wants to keep sticking his finger in the electrical socket and won't leave my favorite decorative rhinoceros alone,(yes, that's a real thing) and I'm sure I'll feel differently. But this world we are in right now is beautifully familiar to me. So for this time, it feels simple. I will also point out that we are only 13 days into the journey, only 3 of which I've spent alone. Give it time for the exhaustion to truly kick in and the dirt to accrue in my house. I'm quite confident my answer will be different then, my friend. But had you asked, this would be my answer for the now.

On the practical side, I'd tell you my lower back is killing me and I have a sinus infection that WILL. NOT. go away. I haven't breathed through both nostrils for more than three glorious seconds in over two weeks. And I have a migraine that comes and goes. But aside from that my body is pretty well put back together, so it feels, and I think that's amazing. I will allow it these complaints. It has served me well.

I'd tell you that watching Roman and Liam love on Henry is something that never gets old. They honestly adore him. He is one of them, already. Welcomed instantly. And they tell me, daily, the list of things they can't wait for him to be able to do with them. Important things. Like eating corn on the cob and running and playing monster. 

And the way they love Henry is expressed in their own, personal way. Liam's love is haphazard and hazardous. Just like Liam lives life. Poor Henry James will be lucky to survive this brother's love. But it is even more special, then, that I have had {on more than a handful of occasions} to shoo Liam out of Henry's crib while the smallest babe naps because his big brother wanted to rub his head and watch him sleep. Roman's love is gentle and fiercely protective. And he is already, and rightfully so, the adoration of Henry's entire being. Where Roman's voice is, there Huck's face will be. Searching. Tracking. Bobbing, as if to say, "You're my hero forever, big brother." 

I've been really struck lately by the belief that a sibling is the best thing I can give to my boys. (And no, before you suggest it, they don't need more. haha!) Their brothers are better than any toy they will ever get. They will know them better in certain ways than anyone else ever can, simply because they were raised in the same town and house by the same parents and will have spent the same vacations together. And their brothers will stand beside them to walk life with them when I can be no more. I believe, in my motherly heart of hearts, that I have given them my best. 

I'd tell you I'm emotional.
                       Ha.             Ha.              
I know. I usually have the emotional thing down pretty well on any given day. Pregnancy just exacerbates the fire and childbirth inspires the tears. It's all normal, postpartum. It's not that I'm even sad, per se. It's just that I get these glimpses of the days when Roman is driving, or Liam is too busy with his friends to want my snuggles any more, or Henry has moved out, and darn it all if that isn't just the hardest thing. It's so easy to be in a season of life and assume that the particular season is just "how it's going to be from now on." Except it will never be the always. Life is fluid; it's always changing. And even though those are sad days to think about, it will also be a season filled with more date nights with that man-o-mine, less spit up on my shirt, and much less to do when trying to simply get out the door to go somewhere. I'm looking forward to more face-to-face time with my husband and less side-to-side teamwork. I'm so very grateful that every season has its own sweetness to offer.

And I'd tell you, lastly, that I have hit an all-time low. I am a big, fat liar!! Let it be said that I place 100% of the blame of this moral collapse on the Athens Salted Caramel and Honey Greek yogurt that Target forced me to put in my cart. After the boys ate half the container yesterday, I pushed it to the back of the fridge and moved the leftover ziti to the front, assuming that they would forget it the way most children do. A little "out of sight, out of mind" action. Wrong. Today Roman asked me for some of the caramel yogurt, and out of my mouth I heard the ugly lie uttered. "It's all gone. We ate all of it yesterday." I squeaked, while all the saliva fled my mouth and left my tongue to fend for itself.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, during nap time, that precious time of day when I "should have been sleeping," there I was- feet tucked underneath my body while perched on the couch, knobby fingers clutching the tub to my chest, my own little Gollum peeking out from my loving exterior.

It just goes to show you that motherhood will destroy a girl, no matter how strong she may be. And today I'd tell you I learned one more thing about myself: I may share my uterus with a little person...... but apparently I will not share my yogurt.