Friday, February 28, 2014

rules to wearing color

I've done a few color posts before:

But recently a girlfriend of mine told me she had all of my "closet top ten" items, but was looking to step outside of the basics, and was I so inclined to write a post on that. So, I got to thinking... what are the "top rules of color wearing?" I don't promise to be infallible, and we all have our own feelings on color, but I'll give it a stab. Keep in mind, rules are meant to be broken. And color is SUCH a personal thing, that you may completely disagree with everything I say. The beautiful thing about color/self-expression/style is that it's totally okay!! We all decide for ourselves what we find to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye. 

1. The color wheel is your friend. You know that kaleidoscopic circle from elementary art class? Get to know it!
Everything I've read about mixing color agrees that it's safe to use side-by-side colors or across-from-each -other colors. (artists: insert technical terms for this phenomenon here.) So blue and green or blue and orange are great color combos that you can be sure of.

2. Mixing tones of the same color is as beautiful as it is easy. Vibrant kelly green with a pastel green. Bright, kingly purple with a pale lavender. All good! You've probably played with this using a black and gray or chocolate brown and tan, so now just take it a step further.

3. Look outside. I find God is a pretty good user of color. ;) So if a fish in the ocean can be coral and turquoise, why can't your outfit? If a bird can be a lemony- yellow and lime green, why can't you? If an eggplant can sport the purple and green color combo, it's already been established that those colors are a good pair. So look at the food you eat, the scenery around you, and the creatures that move to get inspiration!

4. Any animal print goes with any color. Pick one of each and let them hang out! And when you're ready to take it further, the next step is to use the animal print as your neutral and pick another two colors to work with it. Or heck, throw a pattern in there, too! Like a blue-and-white striped long sleeved tee with a military-green skinny jean and pointed leopard flats. Yes, and a red lip....and a big statement necklace with clear crystals.... haha. Sorry. I'll come back to you. Look, all of that works, but if a leopard print feels dangerous to you, one color with your leopard flats is still a great plan.

And after having personally experimented with color the past few years, this is what I've started to realize: any color matches any other color. You can pick literally ANY two colors and as long as they each have a partner, you're good.

5. Give each color a partner.  A sure-fire way to make two colors look like they belong together is to invite each color to play- twice. Yellow shoes, purple jeans, and a scarf with both colors in. Or yellow shoes, purple jeans, purple necklace, yellow earrings. When we see it happen twice, we assume it was on purpose. Abuse Use that!!!! **The exception to this rule is a colored pant. In my opinion, you can wear a colored pant and not have to use it again. You obviously didn't accidentally choose that pair of pants, and it's such a large chunk of that color, that you don't need to see it again.

An example is my outfit yesterday:

 Why it works: See what I mean about the pants being enough of a statement to hold down that fort? I don't need more red to make them belong. (Though had I wanted to add it again, a red lip could have been the perfect way to do that. Eye shadow is also another great way to use your makeup to be the second dose of a color.) But if I had worn the blue shoes by themselves, or just the necklace, it wouldn't have been as cohesive. I think it's a more completed combination when the two blues have a partner. (I also love that the Stella and Dot Peacock necklace- haha! shameless plug- also has greens and purples. It made it a little more exciting.)

6. Stick with two or three colors. When wearing color, sticking with two or three colors max will prevent you from looking like a kindergarten classroom on legs. And to me, "colors" are any colors other than your black, white, tan, and chocolate brown. These are commonly-accepted neutrals in my book. **The exception to this rule is when you're wearing a fabric that has more than two or three colors. When that's the case, you'll obviously be sporting more than that. But I would still stick to drawing out only one or two colors from that pattern.

7. Walk like a believer and others will believe with you. That simple truth is THE secret to color mixing. Heck, it's the secret to dressing, period! If you walk around believing that you are wearing is a great decision, others will come along for the ride with you! You know that person in life that you've identified as the "fearless dresser?" That person who seems to be able to rock anything and look grand? You may have even told them, "You can pull off anything! I could never wear that." Well, here's a secret: they are probably just doing whatever the heck they want. But because their choice is flattering to their body, it looks good. And because they walk confidently in it, it works. The lesson: you can be that person, too! :)

Now, get out there! Go and conquer color, my friends! It's really very hard to go wrong.

Monday, February 24, 2014

but i'm not the size i want to stay

It's by this point that I assume the thought has been had, if it's going to be asked: But I don't want to buy new clothes because this isn't the size I want to stay.

Listen, as someone who went through the weight loss of several size changes in college, and who is currently navigating her third time through the whole "pregnancy weight gain then loss" extravaganza, I feel like I have some understanding on the matter. And I understand not wanting to spend money (and the time/energy to shop!) on something you hope not to fit in three months from now. After all, money doesn't grow on trees.

But what if it's worth it in the big picture? If you don't work the way I do, you're on your own here. However, for those who ARE like me, let me tell you what I've learned to be true about Lauren Becker: When I feel good about myself, I'm much more motivated to continue the good eating choices and exercise. A good outfit makes me feel like I can get a lot accomplished that day. But when I feel bad about myself, I want to give up and feel like it's all pointless. For those shouting a mental "Hallelujah! I understand"... keep reading.

It stands to reason, then, that budgeting $100 or so for some new CHEAPER pieces would be a far greater gain in the long run, if you have it. Now, that's assuming you're headed to Forever21, H&M, Charlotte Russe, Target, etc to do your buying. If you're a thrifter, you can set aside much less. Regardless of where you're headed to spend your money or what your budget is, I think we can all agree: now is not the time to be shopping at Barneys. But now IS the time to grab some pieces to change up your wardrobe to make it feel fresh; now IS the time to get some pieces that make you feel good about yourself so that you can get through to the next station.

I'll tell you what I do when I'm walking my way down through sizes. For pregnancy, I have about three different wardrobes: stage 1: "no belly but bloated and my jeans won't close," stage 2: "whoomp there it is" (the bump, that is), and stage 3: "I don't even think I have feet left, it's been that long since I've seen them."
And I have a set or two for post-pregnancy. (It helps here that I was heavier in college. I held on to some of the classics like tees and jeans from those days, and they are what gets me from labor and delivery to regular bod.) Now, before you go assuming the term "wardrobe" means an entire closet of clothes to choose from, let me clarify. One of these sets of clothes contains something like the following for me: one pair of blue skinny jeans, one pair of colored skinny jeans, one pair of non-skinny jeans, a pair of trousers for teaching lessons, two or three tees, a sweatshirt, and two sweaters. Because it's winter. In the summer, this would either be a few more tees or some tanks. But you see the theme. Super basic. Super simple.

Then we add the pieces that span multiple sizes easily. [You know it's good when I can wear the same thing at my non-preggo size AND at 35 weeks pregnant.] These are things like cardigans, blazers, leggings, flowy silk tunics, and long tanks. These are the work horses for now. And you make them look special and feel different with accessories that love you no matter the size. Scarves and statement necklaces don't judge. ;) And hey, cute booties never hurt anyone, either!

[These same lists can be applied to someone who isn't pregnant but isn't the size they hope to be throughout this next year.]

So, be real with me.... how hard are you shaking your head right now? I imagine you to be shaking your fist in outrage and rolling your eyes.  Look, I know money is precious and I am not in the habit of casually throwing it away. But for the few months it usually takes to bump down a size, and the few items it takes to help you feel good as you go, it's usually worth it to me. If for nothing else than for the motivation it creates/continues and how presentable I feel I am. And that way, if it takes you longer than you wish it would to actually go to that next size, you are able to be happy with your closet. Call me a freak, but that means an awful lot to this girl.

In case you are a list person, here is the above information in a different form:
Pieces that are temporary
one or two pairs of blue jeans in different styles
a pair of colored pants
dressy trousers
one sweater
two sweatshirts
two or three tees
a tank or two for layering

Pieces that can span several sizes
flowy tunics
extra-long tanks

Accessories to add spice and variation
statement necklaces
cute shoes
fur/jean/etc vests

Saturday, February 22, 2014

i pinned it, now what?

It was sometime in the fall of 2006. A handsome young lad had asked me to marry him (on stage, right after i finished singing at my senior recital, in front of my college faculty and friends. so dreamy, right?!) and I was happily purchasing every wedding magazine I could get my hands on. Oh, the days before Pinterest..... it's like that is our technological equivalent to "back when I was a kid, I walked to school barefoot, in the snow, uphill both ways...." And I tore out the few gowns that made my heart stop and my mind dream and slipped them into the page protectors of my wedding notebook, saving them for the day I would shop for the one. The gown, not the guy. I find guy-shopping to be a rather unfruitful endeavor. You just can't find good ones off-the-rack. What's this? A fashion joke? Oh, Lauren, you slay me.

[It's at this point I'm beginning to wonder if I don't need to edit my thoughts before they become typed word.]

Anyway, finally the day came and my sister and I walked into the first boutique, right up to the saleswoman. I was a determined woman! "Hello. I'm looking for my wedding gown for next fall and I brought my notebook and I was wondering if you could help me find the perfect gown. Oh, by the way, it has to stay in the three-figures." And so she smiled, entertained by yet another wishful bride full of psychotically-specific hopes and dreams for a gown. And she flipped through my five-or-so pages of gowns. And what came out of her mouth next changed the way I went about understanding my personal style for the rest of my days. "Oh," she said. "I can see you like the mermaid silhouette, lace, and unique details. All of these dresses have those things in common. We'll start there." Or something like that. You should know I can't quote anything to save my life. Paraphrasers of the world, unite! *fist bump*

 ("THE ONE"- both man and gown)

But guys!!!!! That's when I realized it!!!!!!! It's a fairly common problem to not know exactly what our style is- and so our closet ends up being a conglomeration of a million different styles, making it hard to make one cohesive wardrobe that all works together. BUT, I think most of us can easily identify when we like an outfit or when we don't. SO what if we took the pictures of the outfits we liked, printed them, hung them on our closet door, and used that whole big group to identify our specific style!?!? All of a sudden, we realize what silhouettes we are drawn to, what pieces we just like time and time again, and what colors we continue to find beautiful... and we go buy those!? Oh, the things that can change!

So you pinned it/taped it/printed what do you do with it? 1)find out what all of your outfits have in common and 2)make that your shopping list!

And yes, I'm dead serious. Go clothes shopping with a list. I swear by it. All of a sudden, you aren't in a store trying to decide whether you have anything at home that will work with that piece. All of a sudden, the money you are spending is going to pieces that you need. So you can stop thinking "I wish I had ____" only to get to the store and go, "Now what did I need???" I hate that feeling so much.

So print, tape, and analyze those pictures! Make that list! And sound your mighty "Yawp!" [Dead Poet Society fans, anyone?? Bueller?] For today, we plan. But tomorrow, WE SHOP!

P.S.If anyone else immediately noticed that "We shop" 
sounded a whole lot like the previous "Yawp" reference, 
and found joy in me. 
We are clearly soul mates.

Friday, February 21, 2014

finding inspiration

So what to do when you aren't sure exactly what your style is? If we were men, I'd tell you to "go to the mattresses." (Making a reference from The Godfather normally makes a girl irresistibly hip and cool around men... but if you're like me, what you really squeezed in is a reference from You've Got Mail. Thanks for that, Tom Hanks.) But since we aren't, my advice is this: go to the magazines!

I remember trying to figure out my style for the first time in college. It began with my just trying to copy the outfits of an uber-fashionable, gorgeous friend of mine piece-for-piece,(sorry about that, again, Leslie) but fortunately became me trying to figure out my own style, not just copying someone else. And a disclaimer: I went super old-school, but it worked. It's not very techy, it's not very impressive, but listen- you grab a roll of scotch tape and a few magazines, and the closest pair of scissors to you....and you go to work. You dismember those magazines, a page at a time, cutting out pictures that inspire you in ANY way. For some, it may be literal- for some, you pull out a picture of an outfit with every intention of wearing that very thing. Other pictures will be for inspiration only. Maybe you don't want to wear the outfit, but you never thought of mixing those colors together. Or perhaps you spot a great way to wear a scarf that you want to try out. One may even find- egad!- THE way to wear knee-high boots that doesn't make one look like Pirate Harry. Grab that picture, I say! Grab it now! And tape the the back of your closet door?

Told you this was impressive and high-tech.

And what you'll end up with, once those poor, beautiful fashion magazines have been torn to shreds, is something that, on its best day, looks like a history day project gone wrong. But! You will have inspiration and ideas right where you need it- with your clothes, where you get dressed, and somewhat close to a mirror.

But what about all of those Pinterest pictures you have dutifully filed away? Why not print them out and tape those, too? After all, you have them! A word of caution: the danger with Pinterest is that no one is helping to censor. That's great...and not so great. You see, no one was there to tell you that the outfit you loved was a good idea, or is flattering. Or is current. But therein lies the dilemma of fashion-meets-style: there comes a point that it doesn't matter one iota what is in fashion, currently, if it's not first of all flattering to one's body, and second, pleasing to one's personal taste. To say it differently: if it doesn't look great on you and you don't love it, what does it matter whether it's on-trend!? Am I right? AND YET, I think it's worth noting what is in style, currently. Add that factor to the decision. The best outfit is one that combines all three: current trends, that you personally connect to, and look fabulous on your specific body. Ah, the holy grail of fashion.

Okay, I'm getting wordy. Quickly, a few more tips:

IF fashion magazines aren't your cup of tea, that's okay. You can also achieve this same kind of inspiration by selecting some hollywood stars that are your age group and life station. (Google-->images) For me, I love Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Richie, and Rachel Bilson. They are my age-ish, and two of the three are fellow mothers. And since they have the personal stylists and money to be well-dressed, I always pay close attention to the things they choose to wear. My mother loves the style Diane Keaton and Barbara Walters. Who do you relate to? Who inspires you? And use them!!!

And if you're not sure which magazines to grab, because let's face it- they don't leave everyone with the warm fuzzies when you think of fashion magazines- I'll help, before I go.
Lucky: affordable pieces, every day style. slightly cutesy/preppy but realistic suggestions.
InStyle: the most well-rounded magazine, in my opinion. Something for every style, age, and budget. highly recommended.
Glamour: eh. more political and human-interest focused than fashion but some decent fashion tips.
Cosmopolitan: just no. Unless looking like a Victoria's Secret Angel is your goal.
Harper's Bazaar: a literal translation of the runways. all about the art, little about the practical day-to-day wearing. this probably isn't the one to choose unless you're really good at interpreting trends from the runway into the everyday. if fashion is your hobby, this is great! if not, there are better publications for you.
Vogue: see above.

Also worth owning:
Secrets of Style:InStyle's Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day. Click HERE for the link.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

closet top 10

Today I'm giving you the "top 10"- the 10 things that everyone of every age and every style should have some variation of within their closet doors. Tomorrow, I'll talk about how to find your personal style to fill in the rest. :)

I will add that these 10 items are THE ITEMS I would encourage you to buy right, and buy well. Don't settle easily on fit- be picky. And if it costs a little more than you usually spend on a piece, that is okay. Spread out these purchases. But when it's all said and done, you are looking for timeless pieces that are going to be in style and age-appropriate for as long as they last. So if you go ahead and get the "good version," you only have to do it once.

"Do I need all of these items even if I'm a stay-at-home mom or other vocation that allows me to work from home?" Yes.
"Do I need all of these items if I live in a warmer, more casual climate?" Yes.
"Do I need all of these items even if I don't get dressed up often?" Yes.
Because in all of these scenarios, there will eventually BE a reason you need to dress up: church, baby baptism, funeral, wedding, etc and being inappropriately dressed to these events is unacceptable. (she says with love....) Obviously, though, the person who goes to a business for work every day will have more pairs of trousers and the mama who stays home will have more pairs of jeans, due to the nature of the job and quantity of time spent at certain locations. That's why this is a list of 10 items. You need one of each of these. More than one, only when it is necessary to you.

nude heels.
    why? because a pair of heels in the same color as your skin tone elongates your silhouette, creating the illusion of height and long legs. These heels are especially great when paired with skirts,  dresses, ankle-length pants, etc.  that show ankles and leg. Plus they go with every single outfit you could ever put on. Who doesn't want that quality in a pair of shoes??
   what to look for? a color close to your natural skin color, patent or matte, round or pointed toe, in a heel height you are comfortable with.

black blazer/black cardigan.
(a cardigan is listed for those of you in tropical climates who can't hang in a long-sleeved blazer.)
   why? To go over dresses, with jeans, or anything else you can think of. They are timeless and classic and can be as dressy or casual as you want them to be. Good for a grocery run or for work.
   what to look for? hip-length with sleeves that hit right at your wrist, arm holes that aren't too baggy, and a tailored waist. You want some good structural lines so they slim your waist visually and sit right at the top of your hips.  It creates structure for those with curves and can create curves for a boyfriend figure. If you are small-chested, thin lapels and two low buttons are just fine. For a larger bust, look for a more substantial lapel (the fold of fabric along the sides) and at least three buttons that come up to your bust line.

white button-down shirt.
   why? because they work with jeans one day and with a formal satin floor-length skirt the next. They work on every age, every style, every climate, and every outfit. Wear it with the sleeves rolled, a pair of jeans, and a statement necklace to almost any weekly-scheduled outing and you'll be put together and appropriately dressed.
   what to look for? no gaping between buttons, especially at the bust, when you move your arms back behind your body (this is a pipe dream for most of us. the most cost-effective way of dealing with this is to get some cheap beauty tape meant for such things or to use a safety pin and pin it sneakily from the inside.) Also, a fitted waist that hits at your hips, is able to be tucked in but not hanging down further than mid-buttox, and has a lapel width that flatters your build. (small frame, thin lapel. larger frame, larger lapel.) 

good pair of jeans in dark wash.
   why? a dark wash is dressier, therefore making one pair of jeans as versatile as possible. And a well-fitted pair of jeans can lift the bum, slim the leg, elongate the silhouette...are you in love yet?
   what to look for? POCKET PLACEMENT IS EVERYTHING. In an effort to keep this as brief as possible, I'll tell you to google it or shoot me a private message if you need further advice on the matter. Also, try to keep the fading to a minimum. That's generally not flattering on many legs and will put a fashion time limit on your jeans. Also, please see the note at the bottom regarding length. One more thought: bootcut is the most universally flattering cut of jeans. If you are not attempting to be trendy or don't feel confident in the choices you make yet, stick with these and you won't go wrong. Skinny jeans (and a good wide leg) can work on almost any silhouette, for almost any age, but there are lots of "rules" that go with them to successfully pull them off.

statement jewelry.
   why? these take any outfit and "crank it up a notch." It allows you to make  even a pair of jeans and a tee look stylish and fashionable.
   what to look for? I suggest having many of these, since you can get beautiful necklaces for $10 that look just as good as those that were $60+! Ebay and Etsy are great websites for these, and every store in the local mall has options. Grab them in several of your favorite colors and make sure they live up to their names- they should make a statement and be large/bold enough to grab visual attention.  My advice: only one statement is needed, between your ears and neck. Please don't wear large, colorful pieces at both places unless you're on a stage.

good "house clothes."
   why? because we all hang around the house during our "off times." snow days, sick days, weekends, evenings.... it's time to put away your lover's oversized items or old ones that don't match and get some that fit you well and are made to be flattering. Yes, flattering sweats (or yoga pants) exist. But they usually cost $30-40/piece unless you can catch a good sale. I think this is the hardest money to spend. Who wants to spend as much money on a pair of sweats as they do for a good sweater?? Let me ask you this: which will you wear more? I'm willing to bet you wear house clothes at least once a week- some of us, every evening. Can you point to anything else in your closet you wear as often? You know I'm all about cost-per-wear, homeslice.
   what to look for? These days we have sweatpants in a variety of fits, leggings in colors and prints, and yoga pants galore, which means you have many great options! Just find the style that fits your personal one, and is flattering, and pair it with a hoodie/sweatshirt that FITS. (this doesn't mean tight.) To know whether a sweatshirt is the right size for you, look at where the shoulder seam hits your natural shoulder. It should be the same place. Also, pay attention to sleeve length (it should hit right at the wrist just like your other shirts) and the arm holes should be just right. Not too small, not too large. Oversized hoodies are beloved, I know, but they just aren't flattering.

well-cut trousers.
   why? because there are situations that just call for a good pair of dress pants. Date night, church services, and life ceremonies will all take advantage of this item in your closet, even if you don't have to wear them to work in Monday through Friday.
   what to look for? Just like a pair of jeans, pocket placement in the derriere region matters! If your pants don't have back pockets, that's fine, but make sure that's flattering on YOUR body, and please be sure you have the right underwear. There should be NO visible panty-line. That is my biggest tip for any pair of dress pants: the right undies underneath! They should also just hover above the floor when you have shoes on. (read: NOT the top of your shoe, the top of the floor.)

a colored (NON-NEUTRAL) purse.
   why? because technically, one shouldn't wear a black purse with brown shoes, a brown purse with black shoes, etc., and who has time to worry about changing which purse to throw their keys into when you're running out the door?
   what to look for? A purse in a color you love! Easiest item on the list! If you have a colored coat, just make sure the two don't look like a holiday when paired together, and you're good to go.

black shift dress.
   why? because this can be appropriate for any event (holiday party, birthday celebration, dinner out, wedding, etc) when paired with the right accessories. You can even add layers like blazers or cardigans during the cold weather to make it a year-round piece.
   what to look for? I am posting a picture of the most universally-flattering style below. Look for a neckline and sleeve style that flatters your body (either buy a book that helps you figure out your body shape and the way to dress it, become besties with google, or shoot me a private message if you don't know what this means for you!) but most importantly, it's the tailoring of the dress that matters. You should see darts around the bust line in most styles, and ALL should have a tailored waist and hit an inch or two above the knee.


black pumps with a medium heel height.
   why? because your nude pumps are great for every situation that leaves leg or ankle showing, but what do you wear with jeans or dress pants? These!
   what to look for? a medium heel height is the most universally flattering. If you prefer 4" heels, you go, girlfriend!! And if you're a kitten-heel kind of gal, do what you need to do BUT know that those ballet flats and kitten heels come with a set of styling rules, or they can turn into your legs' worst enemies quickly. For the safest move, stick with a medium height (2") heel. Toe shape and heel thickness will change with the times, so stick with something that pleases you and go with it. My favorite will always be the pointed toe with a pencil-thin heel.

-don't give up on your shoes when they have had better days. They can be re-heeled, re-soled, re-tipped, etc. Cobblers are still around and easier to find than you think. I have put heels on shoes 4-5 times until the upper part of the shoe gave out. And it generally costs around the price of a pizza.

-EXPECT TO HAVE PANTS AND BLAZERS ALTERED. To say it nicely, you are a freak if you can buy these items perfectly-fitted "off the rack." In many stores (Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, Seven For All Mankind, etc) they offer free or reasonable in-store tailoring. If they don't, a good seamstress in your town can hem a pair of pants for $10-12. Many can even recreate your original hem!

-in a perfect world, if you can afford it, you will have two perfect pairs of jeans and two perfect pairs of trousers as they are listed above: one hemmed for flats and one hemmed for heels. If you are wearing the same pair of pants for both, it is safe to say they are the incorrect length for at least one of those pairs....maybe both! Eek!

-I also recommend having a classic, tan trench coat for spring/fall/rain. They are classic, timeless, and flattering. Bonus points to those with one in their closets!

Friday, February 14, 2014

section 2- purging the closet

Clothes in your closet making you feel like this, lately?

Well, I hear the cold and snowy Friday of a three-day weekend makes for a good time to clean out your closet. So here we are! Disclaimer: this is not a "here's how to organize your closet" post, but more like a "here is how you know what clothes to toss, to keep, and to give." So grab a notepad and pen and head to your closet with me...

Actually, if you can, bring one more thing with you- a friend. The honest kind. This isn't a job for the faint-hearted people-pleaser. Let it be the friend who can tell you the hard truth, because they're going to need to love you enough to tell you that your favorite linen jumper needs to go back to the late 90s where it came from. It's also much harder to keep an unflattering piece of clothing for sentimental reasons when someone is sitting there shaking their head "no" in the kindest way possible. [Okay, is anyone else automatically picturing the scene from the first Sex and the City Movie where the girls all get together to go through Carrie's closet?? SO FUN. I think they were onto in addition to your girlfriend or two, grab a bottle of something celebratory and crank the tunes! Let's make what could be a challenging or frustrating game into something fun and memorable!]

As you go through your closet, you are making four piles; to keep, to give, to toss, to fix. The notepad is for the pieces of clothing that aren't really flattering but you've kept because you need a white dress shirt in your closet in the meantime. Enter, the notepad. This nifty invention is giving you a BRIEF interim to fix that and replace the ill-fitting item with a well-fitted one. Limit yourself to a timeline reasonable for your budget, but I recommend giving yourself a time limit to replace those pieces with flattering versions. One month is ideal. Try to keep it shorter than 3 months. Remember, in the meantime you continue to wear an ill-fitting piece of clothing! So set a goal for when you will replace it. Then we can put it in the "to give" pile where it belongs.

The Piles:

To toss. Yes, this means you are taking this pile straight to the trash when you've gone through your entire closet. I know, it feels strange. But anything that is stained, torn, etc needs to go to THIS pile. Donating to a thrift store is nice, but we can be honest here- no one wants your used, damaged clothing. That's gross, homeslice.

To Give. These are the items you have tried on and realize they either fit horribly, or are no longer in style. One of my own personal rules is "If you haven't worn it in the last 6-12 months, IT GOES HERE." I don't budge on this one. [this doesn't apply to special-occasion clothing. If you have one sequined dress that you often grab during the winter holidays, keep it! Just rotate it out of your closet, if you can, so you can optimize your space and give your eyes a break from seeing it every day.

To Keep. These are ONLY the items that are current and well-fitted. Kapeesh? Kapeesh.
*Remember: you can slip items into this pile that don't fit well but are necessary to your daily life IF they get written on the notepad to be repurchased in a better version in one to three months. Pleeeeeeeease don't use this as an excuse to hold on to ill-fitting clothing. In addition to making you look less-than-your-best, it just brings you down and makes you feel bad. We want to give you a closet that makes you feel like you have options and look beautiful at the end of this series. This is the first practical step toward making that happen.

To Fix. This piles goes to the seamstress tomorrow morning. It's the pants that are too long, the blazer that needs taken in, the seam that needed mended, or the button that needs put back on.

The Exceptions:
**there may be pieces of clothing that have sentimental value to you, but are either torn/stained or don't fit well. I recommend that you take the VERY special things and find something great to do with them- frame a swatch of the fabric and hang it, make it into a pillow cover, or some other Pinterest-y solution.. How cool would it be to take that "first date with your now-hubby" dress, frame a square of it, and hang it in your bedroom?? That's cute, free, meaningful wall art, guys! [That is also a great thing to do with special pieces of baby clothing.] If you are like me and may not have the time or means to whip up a pillow cover, take it to the seamstress to make into a pillow cover for $20. It's still a cheap pillow. The key is to know yourself. If you'll just add it to the "needs to be done someday when I magically have time" pile, just put it on the passenger seat of your car and take it straight to the seamstress. The goal here is to get things done and finish the task of purging your closet. It's not finished if you have five shirts now sitting on the top of your dresser, waiting for your free time.

**For other pieces that you don't necessarily want to display but have memories attached [such as: this is the dress I wore on my first date with my husband. It doesn't fit me anymore, but how can I just take that to the thrift store?!] I have found it successful to try the "separation technique." Put it in a tub or bag with next season's clothes so that you'll see it again in about 6-12 months- but remove it from your closet. Then, when you open the box/bag months from now, you'll have realized that 1)I have thought about this item several times and I'm still attached to it. Can grandma make me a quilt with this or something? or 2)I haven't given this item any thought and life went on just fine without me seeing it every day. If it's #1, you keep it and do something special with it. And if it's #2, you can put it in your thrift pile and have answered the question of "will I miss this?" I have found this to be equally successful when I need to separate myself from a fashion trend. Not sure? Just set it aside and look at it with fresh eyes in 6-12 months. If you've missed it, it can stay. If not, it is now free to go.

Options for valuable items no longer in style:

1-If you have the space, I recommend keeping quality items that fit you in storage, even if they are out of style for now. Trends come and go, and a Michael Kors handbag is worth saving for round two. Let's face it, it would be a shame to toss anything made of real leather, animal fur, is a designer name, etc. It's also fun to hand them down to your kids when the trends come 'round again. But if it's a $20 sweater from Forever21, it's safe to let go. You can re-buy it anew in a few decades when the trend revisits us.

2- Sell it to a consignment store, or If you need cash more than you need a bag of old purses lying around, or if you feel it's more rewarding to turn your old items into new ones, just sell them! *This option also gives you a realistic ruler to use when determining if an item really IS a quality one, or if you just THINK it is.

Random Tips:
If you live in an area with changing seasons, I strongly recommend you switch out your closet items twice a year: spring/summer and fall/winter. It frees up space in your closet so you can better see what you have and makes choosing outfits easier, since your brain doesn't have to take the time to skip over things you can't wear right now. There is also something to be said for seeing an item with fresh eyes in 6 months. You'll either feel like you just got a new wardrobe OR think "Ew, what was I thinking?!" Both are advantageous to your future closet.

Something fun before you take the "to give" bag to the thrift store is have a get-together with your girlfriends, first! If you can get a few of your girlfriends to go through their closets at the same time, you can use this to motivate each other to purge well, AND you get new clothes when you trade your old pieces for their old pieces. [Just make sure you are only taking home pieces that you would buy in a store. They have to fit you well AND be current.] Plus, sometimes it's easier to let a beloved piece of clothing that doesn't fit go to a friend instead of a stranger. At the end of the girls' night, just take the pieces that weren't flattering on anyone and someone drops it off at the thrift store on their way home.

And don't forget to get a receipt for your donation! Your taxes will thank you next January!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

the beauty series- part 4

Well, well. Greetings from snowy Virginy! Today is part 4 of the beauty series we have been walking through, and I see it as the end to our first section. Tomorrow's post will begin our second section- the practical application! And we are going to start with how to purge our closets of the things that shouldn't be there, so that we can later talk about what to fill it with, and how to pick it out. Sound good? Okay, then. Let's wrap up section 1, shall we? :)

I call today: so how does it all fit together?

Now that we know 1)we are created to BE beautiful, 2)the Bible doesn't define one specific standard for outer beauty, 3)though we ARE inarguably beautiful on the outside, that doesn't matter one iota when determining our worth because 4)God has already determined our value to be can we now turn around and talk about what we wear? "But Lauren, I would think that doesn't matter since I am beautiful no matter what I wear."                  Right????

To that I say, "Yep! Absolutely!" What you have on isn't what will make you beautiful. But whether we like it or not, the truth is that there are certain pants we can put on that are unflattering... this means there must also be pants we can put on that ARE flattering! Why not be informed so that you are aware of both of those options? We have to put pants on anyway, right? Now, I know some of us enjoy getting dressed, and I also know some of us despise the fact that one is required to put on each day. While the thought of a nude colony may be appealing to some, let's hold off on that for a while. I think I can make it easier for the second group of people to get dressed. Stick with me. And I think the first group of people can be inspired to think about whether the choices they are currently making are the best for their body type, and get some new ideas for ways they can mix things up. That's my hope, anyway. So I'm brushing off my "stylist" hat and getting ready to put it on. Tomorrow. :)

Today I want to make sure our perspective is right. Think of getting dressed the same way you think about decorating your house. We all have a house- our physical bodies, as well as the building where we sleep at night. One of those we decorate with couches, and paintings, and televisions, and lamps; the other we decorate with pants, and shirts, and accessories, and shoes. That's all this is. We aren't assigning your worth to those pants, we are learning how to best decorate our body-houses.
(haha, we can take a minute to make fun...I heard how lame that sounded. But I'm not taking it back. So there!)

See you tomorrow, friend. Stay warm! :)

If you are just joining in, click on the titles below to catch up:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

the beauty series- part 3

I was talking to one of my girlfriends on the phone earlier who said that it almost feels like what I'm suggesting about physical beauty is scandalous, because her mom raised her to feel like she wasn't pretty on the outside, but that was okay because she had inner beauty of tremendous worth. Do you feel like it's scandalous, too? Is it bad that I love that? To me it's proof that we need to be having this conversation. I feel like Part 1 was "the good stuff" and Part 2 was "the necessary stuff," though it was admittedly much less fun. ;) So then what is Part 3? I think of this as the "so what do we do with that?" section.

You see, all that we have said is true: it's okay to admit that there is a desire inside you to be beautiful, and not just on the inside, because we were made that way. We women ARE beautiful because we are made to reflect the beauty of God. And we aren't the ones who get to decide whether we are or are not beautiful, because the Creator of the sunsets already said we were. And He would know, because He took his perfect time on each of us and intended us to be just as we are.

But now, hear this: that outer beauty, which you undeniably have, IS NOT WHAT DETERMINES YOUR WORTH.

Sisters, write that on your mirror if you can't yet imbed that into your hearts. YOUR OUTER BEAUTY, WHICH YOU UNDENIABLY HAVE, IS NOT WHAT DETERMINES YOUR WORTH. But yet we had to prove that you are beautiful on the outside before we could get to this point, because far too many of us are imprisoned by the belief that our outer beauty is somehow decreasing our worth!!! Oh, that the chains may fall off of you with a loud clang!!!! You see, to determine your worth, you must go to the One who imparts worth. Listen to me: Our worth is found IN God. Our worth is measured BY God.And there is no invisible test left to pass! He made you. He loves you. He sent His Son to die for you. And that sounds trite because some of us have heard that an awful lot since we were in Sunday school, so let me say that another way: I love people in this world. And the people I love, I love so much I would die for. But I don't know that I love them enough to volunteer Roman or Liam (or Henry!) to die a gruesome death before my very eyes. That is a kind of love that stuns my soul when I take the time to really roll that around and digest it. And yet YOU have that worth to GOD, because that's exactly what He did. Whether you're ready to accept that and all that means yet, or not.

So child of God, STAND UP. It is time you start identifying the voice of He who has spoken life over you versus he who speaks death. It is time you stop placing your self worth in your outward appearance, whether that is a positive or negative experience for you. It is time you stop using others are your measuring stick. It is time you stop trying to find approval in those around you- or in things you do. YOU HAVE GREAT VALUE. YOU HAVE TREMENDOUS WORTH. YOU ARE PERFECTLY MADE. And the chains of doubt, confusion, or self-deprecation must fall. Now. Leave them lying on the floor where you stand. (or sit.)

But I believe there are those of you reading this right now who long to do that- who have tried to surrender that struggle to God. Who have laid it down before, only to pick it back up again. And again. And maybe even again. So we are going to walk through it right now. If this is something you struggle with, it is time you pray this prayer from the depths of your soul: Lord God, precious Daddy, I am done struggling to define myself. I am done listening to the lies that tell me I am not who You created me to be. You define my worth and you have said I am yours. You have claimed me. And I am ready to walk in that. Father, show me the things I believe about myself that aren't true. Warrior God, take them from me and trample them under Your feet. I am done with them, and I am ready to rise up and live as daughter of the King.

And if this kind of talk about being daughter of the King, and calling God "Daddy" makes your heart hurt because you want in but haven't decided to become His daughter before, you can add this to it: And Lord, I surrender my life to you. It is Yours, and You can use me as You will. I claim you as my Savior and believe that Jesus died to remove the sin-stain that kept me covered in dirt. I give you my life and I'm ready to walk in the plans You have for me. Thank you, Lord, for the love You have for me. Amen.

[And if you prayed that second part, shoot me a message privately
and I'll make sure you're set to keep walking in this new identity.]

And then you go to the mirror. No, seriously- get up, and walk over to your mirror. And you say out loud "I am beautiful. I am exactly the way God created me to be. And I will listen to the lies of the contrary no more." And sweet daughter of God, you will entertain those thoughts no more.

Understand that you have prayed, you have placed it in God's hands, and only you can grab it back. He isn't going to chuck it at the back of your head while you walk away. So you now have a choice. And this choice may be hourly- or even more often, for some of you!- at first. Because this is where you take your thoughts captive. You have the control over your thought life to decide what your mind and heart entertain. And so you must now choose to deny entry to your mind any thought which disagrees with what God has said about you. Just like the clothes you put on, you will choose what truths or lies to wear. So when you catch yourself pointing out your physical flaws, feeling like a certain body part isn't attractive, or just feeling completely unattractive in general, you will no longer grant it access. You will catch it, speak (out loud, even!) to it that God has already deemed you of greater worth than rubies and of enough beauty so as to reflect His own, and tell it to leave your mind and heart in Jesus' name. And recognize now, ahead of time, that those days and moments when you just don't care and don't want to fight any more are the days where you need to fight it the most.

Daughter of God, STAND UP. Take your sword and fight. You are meant to be captive to those thoughts and beliefs NO MORE. This is not what God intended for you. And it breaks His heart to see his sweet girl struggle and suffer under the weight of lies He doesn't mean for her to listen to. If you have children, you know what you want for your child's heart. You know they have great purpose, great potential, and you aren't even God. Just imagine the plans HE has for YOU. Yet you are being incapacitated by the belief that you are worthless and incapable, cowering there in a corner.

No more. Now, we fight. Now, we persevere.

Now we remember who we are: daughters of the King, the Most High God.

And now, we stand.

If you are just joining in, click on the titles below to catch up:

Monday, February 10, 2014

the beauty series- part 2

These blog posts are coming from the notes I have used during the two or three times I've had the immense joy and pleasure of speaking to women in a seminar format. And coinciding with part 1 always comes this next part- part 2. It's time to head to the Bible to see what it says. Because that's where we check ourselves, right? That's where we take what we believe God has spoken to us; where we take what we know to be true of God and make sure it lines up with who God has said He is, in the written word. Because there will never be a contradiction between the two if we are believing the truth. 

In scripture, God told us that we can look at nature and see Him/know Him. So that's why we started there yesterday. There are several references where scripture tells us that creation is a testimony and reflection of God, the Psalms especially. I've always liked the way Romans 1:20 spells it out. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..." And so, part 1 talked about what we know to be true based on 1)how God created us and 2)how he created the rest of the world.

But going beyond that, if we are going to talk about beauty, let's find the goods that speak directly to that- to beauty. Let's go to the One who defines beauty and see what He says. Let's begin with the question, "what does God have to say about the beauty of women?" That matters a whole heck of a lot. And let it be noted that we are talking specifically about outer beauty, here. Inner beauty is perhaps the more valuable one, I know many would argue, but I don't think that automatically negates or lessens our outward beauty. Nor our desire for it!! But to clarify, I'm not talking about inner beauty today. I think, ironically, that may be an easier battle to fight?

A scripture that I have often heard misused is 1 Peter 3:3-4. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." [NKJV] Well, shoot, as I type this I have have my hair done in the ombre style and I'm wearing, count them, s-e-v-e-n GOLD rings, a gold bracelet, and a gold watch. Whelp! Darn. My hopes of making it to heaven are squashed!

Juuuuuuuuuuust kidding. That verse isn't saying we can't wear those things. Peter, who most agree to be the writer, was speaking to wives about the way the respect their husbands and demonstrate God's love to them. These verses were NOT written as a correction for the way they were dressing. Purpose/intent of the letter is important! That tells us what we are supposed to do about it. The reason he mentioned the hair and jewelry specifically is because those were the status-markers of the time. The Egyptian women showed their social status by those two things (eh, we still do!) so Peter wanted to say, "Hey, that's not what is going to do it, girlfriend. You can't be Sassy McSmarty Pants as you snap at your husband all other times of the day, and then think your pretty face with that hair you spent an hour on is going to make him hear the angels sing. Your jewelry doesn't soften his heart or make you beautiful in God's sight. Your gentle heart does." 

Now that we know that verse isn't telling us we aren't allowed to wear jewelry or have pretty hair, we can move on. The rest of the New Testament talks about inner beauty and also gives personal (non physical) qualities men and women are to have when they are in positions of leadership, but that's about it on physical beauty.  

In the Old Testament, the book Song of Solomon [also called Song of Songs] has quite a few vivid descriptions of beauty that women possess, written through the eyes of a woman's husband as he delights in her. Hold on to your hat when you read this one! It will make you blush! But shoot, I think that's proof that women are created to be beautiful and to be desirable! I love that God made us to be found beautiful by our husbands. Meow!

Proverbs 31:30 says "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." That verse doesn't say "beauty doesn't matter" either, though. It says "your outward appearance is going to change, [Um, hello. Give birth to children and you'll see this happen! Or age past the year 21 and you'll see this begin. Can I get an amen?!] and the definition of what beauty is will fluctuate. It's the woman who points to the Lord who will forever be admired... who will be ageless." Take that, Maybelline.

And as I mentioned yesterday in Part 1, Psalm 139 talks about the way God made us, intimately involved in our design. You can read the chapter in its entirety by clicking HERE. This speaks to our misunderstanding that we are made imperfectly. On the contrary, God made us exactly the way He meant for us to be- height/hair/looks included! 

Aaaaand, thus ends your scriptural tour about beauty! 

Kudos to you if you stuck with me and didn't bail. I know that can be tough to wade through with your focus intact. But wait! Cool fact: sometimes what is missing from scripture is just as important as what is included! Do you know what we didn't find there? A specific definition or description of beauty. God never said "this height" or "this eye color or "this body shape" is the most attractive. If you go through scripture looking for verses on inner beauty, you'll see He is VERY clear about what was desirable on the inside....yet He isn't clear about what is beautiful on our outsides. Isn't that awesome!?!? I believe that's because there is no single standard of outward beauty. The way He made you is the definition He gave for "beautiful." No. Stop. Read that again. THE WAY HE MADE YOU IS THE DEFINITION HE GAVE FOR "BEAUTIFUL." Get that sucker and pin it on your heart!!!!!!!!!!!

So the way I see it, we can chuck OUR OWN definition of beauty and throw it right out the window! Beautiful isn't a cream, and makeup combination, or a sweater. It's not a size or a scale number or a skin tone. God spent time making our outsides, and we are all different. Dude, I think that is a cool river to dip your feet into! If our outsides didn't matter, if they weren't meant to be beautiful or special, why wouldn't we all look the same on the outside so that we were only focused on the inside? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we are to place our worth on our outward appearance! [a preview of tomorrow's post!] I'm saying our beautiful Creator spent time making us to look just the way He did. And that He found it to be beautiful. YOU are the package He shaped. Every part of you. 

And that's the perfect package to be. :) 

If you're just joining, you can read the previous posts in this series here:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

the beauty series- part 1

SO. Let's get this party started. I've been waiting for this day. :)

I think there is an attitude among Christians sometimes that believes "good Christian women" don't care about outward beauty. As if it's not possible to love Jesus with your entire heart AND also enjoy what you wear. So then, the most spiritual among us, if they are truly a humble and Godly woman, should wear something completely unfashionable- and bypass the makeup altogether!- because we should be spending time sitting by the window, reading our Bible and praying for hours, while the wind blows our freshly-washed curtains, and the birds chirp in the sunshine outside. And if you were born and raised in Pennsylvania, then you now have the image of an Amish woman in your head. Am I right? Don't leave me alone here, guys! [Holy cow, I made joke. I'm not hating on the Amish.]

Except. We were wired to notice beauty. To appreciate beauty. And what if we were even created to BE beautiful, thus explaining why we, as women, want so badly to feel beautiful!!!! That's not a stretch. To believe this, all you need is a 3-yr old little girl. [Although, let's be real- it starts long before age 3.] If you put her in a skirt, you'll see her twirl. If you put her next to her mother's makeup, you will see her put it on- not because she is already fooled into thinking she NEEDS it, but because she sees, with honest eyes, the beauty her mother has, and she already wants in. I think my favorite things about little girls is how they already know they are beautiful. For when you tell a little girl that she is beautiful, she won't give you a lengthy list of bodily shortcomings. She doesn't even say "thank you," for the approval of her mother, expecting good manners. SHE SIMPLY SAYS, "I KNOW."

And somewhere along the way, we lose that. But that is for another day.

If you struggle with accepting your physical body at all, go read John Eldredge's book, "Captivating." Heck, if you are a woman or find yourself raising a woman, or find yourself under the same roof AS a woman, read it. One of the points he makes is that men and women are created to represent different parts of who God is, so that we can better understand Him. And men get to represent things like God's strength and power; women represent God's desire for relationships, His sensitive heart, and His beauty.

"Oh, but women aren't beautiful." Says no man ever. Shoot, take a walk around an art gallery and look at the differences in the ways men and women are depicted. One gender shows power and action; the other shows beauty. Or sit in on a marketing class and learn why businesses use women's beauty to sell things. Look at the advertisements! A woman doesn't usually look directly into the camera lens, especially if the product is geared toward men. She is to look away, so that the viewer of the ad can feel comfortable looking at her. Because she is desirable. FACT: WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Fact: Women have the privilege of representing the beauty of God. And because we are created to do that, we have an innate desire to be beautiful, to feel beautiful. And I am foolish bold enough to suggest that you each agree.... some of you because you believe you are beautiful, some of you believe that because you know that desire hurts your hearts since you don't believe you actually are beautiful, and some of you prove that truth in your very denial of it. Because you feel so far lost from the identity of "beautiful" that you rebel, insisting that you don't need to feel beautiful, nor are you upset that you don't feel beautiful! The hurt looks an awful lot like anger, for you.

So if your heart can't hear that, let's go about this another way. God doesn't make things that aren't beautiful.

Yes, I've seen these two.

 No, I don't know what to tell you....


I've also seen these:

And what impresses this [God's creation being beautiful] upon my heart so much is the fact that God places such incredible beauty where there is no actual need for it. Flowers don't need to be beautiful to be alive. We don't need to enjoy tasting food to be sustained. Sunsets don't need to be vibrant as the earth continues its orbit. God designed all of that beauty because it brings Him pleasure, it brings us pleasure, and because it reflects Him.

Now hear this, sweet friend: you are also God's creation.
He formed you exactly the way He meant for you to be. (Psalm 139)
You are not a mistake.
And you are beautiful, because God made you to be.
And when you stand in front of your mirror, pointing out to yourself (or worse, to your friend or spouse. Or even worse yet, to your child.) the hips that are too big, the complexion that is too speckled, the skin too saggy, the height too short, the toes too stubby, the _____ too _____ you sound as ridiculous as you would if you were telling God that the sunset needed more orange in it tonight.

Yet we would never dream of doing that, would we? We would never presume to correct God on what He has made. We would never criticize that which we can't even pretend to re-create half as well, even on an artist's best day. AND YET that's what we do in front of our mirror each morning. Because when you point out your "shortcomings" what your heart really means is "I could have made me better." And oh, the pride that pours from your soul at the utterance of that thought.

It pains a mother's heart to hear her child speak poorly about themselves. What must it do to God's heart when we berate ourselves? When we criticize and call "ugly" that which He has pronounced perfect?

Girls. We don't get to do that any more. We don't get to stand in front of the mirror believing any part of our physical body to be flawed again. No more. It ends here. Today. Because God made you, He doesn't make mistakes, and we are not in the position to tell the Creator of the Universe that we could have done it better.

Further more, let's call it what it is: A BIG, FAT LIE. Because the One who made you- every hair, nail, freckle, and tooth of you- would not then look at you and say "Oops." He's a thorough God. He doesn't leave things unfished, or get distracted, or become bored and just give up. He creates masterpieces, of which you are one. And YOU ARE PERFECT. You are precisely what He meant to make. So when you hear the words trying to convince you otherwise, you know they certainly aren't coming from Him. And because you are His child, His creation, they have no right to be spoken about you.

So that's when you pray. And you let God smash that thought into smithereens. And there at His feet those ugly, horrible, broken thoughts will stay.

As for you- you will speak them no more. Not over others. Not over yourself.

Are we clear?

Do you promise?

Pinky-promise, though?
Let me hear you.

Friday, February 7, 2014

an introduction.

So let's begin, shall we?

But first, some facts:
-I was made with a fierce desire to contend for women's hearts. I want to tear through chains, obliterate lies we believe about ourselves, unleash power, inspire passion, and equip each woman to live a life worthy of the calling she has received. I have a sword. If you don't know where you have put yours, let me wield mine for you. We'll go pick yours up, together.
-I think all women are CREATED with beauty, strength, grace, determination, dedication, a desire to fiercely protect those near to their hearts, and hearts full of passion.
-I believe the word above that most women struggle hardest to believe about themselves to be true is BEAUTY. Proof: the speed at which most of us could list at least one or two things she would gladly change about her physical appearance. Some of us can list more than 2. Some of us struggle to find one thing we believe to be beautiful about ourselves.
-I believe God made us to be beautiful, and I'm not just talking about our insides. Screw our insides for a minute. He made you beautiful on the outside, too. I'm going to prove to you why that's true.
-I believe there are many (all?) women who struggle with not feeling _____ enough. Fill in your own blank.
-I BELIEVE THE THING IN YOUR BLANK IS A LIE. God made us to be enough. We're going to deal with that sucker later.

A note: I know there are those who read this blog and don't share in my belief of God. That's more than okay! In fact, for about three seconds, I debated writing this series in a way that steps around that, but I can't do that. (I won't do that?) God is the filter through which I see everything, the way I understand everything. And while there will be segments ahead that talk simply about fashion, things to have in your closet, etc, this first segment is dedicated to what God has to say about beauty- to the place beauty can have in a Christian woman's life. Because I think we are hungry for it. I think there is freedom we aren't walking in. And that needs corrected in some hearts. And before we can talk about how to dress your body, you need to understand why your body isn't the thing that needs fixing. Not your thighs, not your hips, not your belly or your chin. So even if you don't share my views, you're welcome to ride along. We won't stay here, but we are going to spend some time here. I just wanted you to know that.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Today looked like:

1)polenta. I've had the kind that is more solid when it's served sliced in dishes, but never the ooey gooey kind. Then I saw my friend Brooke pin this one day and I decided it was time to end the never-haves and move on to the been-trieds. The link is HERE if you find yourself wanting to try it for yourself. :)
It was wonderful and fantastic and splendid and other such words you save to use when describing such things. Go on, try it. :) It passed the taste test of all four folks in this casa.
2)#NYFW. I've been watching as all "my fashion peeps" on instagram that I pretend to know head to NYC for Fashion Week. Yeehaw! Kind of wishing I could slip into my own pair of just-above-the-ankle, pointed toe boots, black skinnies, too-cool-for-school baggy white tee, moto jacket, and fedora. Go ahead and do that for me, ok??
3) ridiculous brothers. While working on a task, I hear Roman burst into tears from the living room. "Liam ate my snack!!!!" he sobbed while in great distress. (This is not new. Liam eats food. Lots of it. Guard your grub with your life if you're serious about ingesting it.) So I said, "Liam Michael, you cannot just take people's snacks without asking! You need to tell Roman you're sorry." "Sah-ee." Liam sputters, as he tries to form words around the none-too-few pieces of Smarties now filling his mouth from esophagus to teeth, snack pieces and spit flying out of his mouth in tandem.
I had to turn my back to hide the burst of laughter that exploded across my face. Say I have no compassion! Say I'm a horrible influence! These events fill my days and I am obligated to find pleasure in these moments so as to not lose my mind!!! And that, Dear Watson, struck my funny bone dead in the center.
4) early hearts. Tonight Jerry handed me a box and said, "It's your early Valentine's Day gift....I think you need it now." Turns out a Microsoft Surface tablet and keyboard with a note on the top that made me feel like I have great big things to do and a strong support right behind me can be pretty touching. Wanna make a girl feel like you believe in her? Show her in a way that is bigger than she was bold enough to dream of for herself. What a man I have.
You see, I feel like you and I, whoever YOU are, have a special date planned for this month. There are some things we need to talk about, some points of view we need to digest, and perhaps some lies keeping you on lockdown that need to be kicked to the curb. And I believe this is the month we are to do that. Yet I was having a hard time finding a way to make that happen, since our only computer is taking Jerr hostage for school work during the evenings and weekends. But that's a problem no more. The blogging window has been opened wide!! So consider this your warning. We'll be chatting, you and I.
Not too bad for a lowly Wednesday, me thinks.