Category Archives: Beauty

Styling a Mustard Yellow LuLaRoe Amelia

There exists an amazing dress.

It stretches.

It’s soft.

It is modest (yes, it hits the knee!).

It.Has.Pockets.

It’s the LuLaRoe Amelia dress!!! I’ve started carrying them in my LuLaRoe boutique, and they’re a hit with the ladies!!

In my last order, I got mustard yellow Amelia in a few sizes – awesome color, right!? But is the color mustard only for Fall?

Nope – and I’m here to prove it! I’ve styled the dress for all seasons!

First up, how do you make a “fall” color look good for Spring? You brighten it with a Cassie skirt-turned-scarf in Spring colors and add a lightweight Lindsay kimono to make the look breezy.

Mustard Amelia Spring

Next, what about summer? Tie on an Irma to make the look more casual, and add a straw hat and gladiator sandals! I also love the monochromatic look going on here!

Mustard Amelia Summer
For Fall, it’s time to start darkening that mustard up and adding warming layers! Adding black also makes this a great date night look. I honestly think my knee high boots would have worked much better here.

And winter! Layer that Irma on, plus a denim jacket, plus a Mimi shawl, plus booties! An easy winter success formula!

My Amelia pockets frequently contain my phone, a snack, keys, and a pacifier. What would be in your pockets??

Styling a Mustard Amelia Dress

What is True Beauty? YouTubesday

Every Tuesday, I’m going to share one of my YouTube videos. I created a channel not only to share videos of spiritual encouragement, but also to share my ideas for daily stewardship.

So far I’ve created videos for recipes, gardening, family management, cloth diapering, encouraging your husband, and discipling your kids! Subscribe to my channel here.

Today, I’m sharing a short video of how beauty came up in a conversation with my daughter. Listen in!

What is the job of a Christian Princess? (And Why are we called princesses?)

Christian Princess

It matters not that I did not encourage my 3-year old daughter to love princesses. She took it upon herself to become quickly obsessed with them!

I could fight it. I could explain to her all of the reasons Disney movies aren’t representative of real life. Her princess bubble could burst in a soapy, tearful, hard-fought battle. She could resent me the rest of her life. Ha.

Instead, I’m looking for any way to find the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ in being a princess!

He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will— (Ephesians 1:5, NET)

For God is king of the whole earth! (Psalm 47:7, NET)

Listen along to one of my #carconversations. We process the fact that we’re princesses, but then we ask a very important question: What is the job of a princess?

You might also like this post:

Discipling Kids in the Car

Clothing Fast Update – Identity Crisis

Hey friends!

Welp, a few have asked how my 5-month clothing fast is going.

So far, so good. In fact, I’m really enjoying it. I have to say that I have had two trials so far:

1) Target Back to School Sale.

I buy many, maybe half, of my clothes at Target. I know just by looking at it on the shelf if it will work for me. Target brands are so predictable for me that I can order clothes online. (Gasp!) So, I went in to get a case for my new phone, and h.a.l.t.e.d. The back to school sales were going on. Everything was buy one, get one 50% off! My newly-discovered favorite tank tops were $7!!!

I walked very slowly past the clothes. Very slowly because I just wanted to dart in and pick some out. Y’all. This sounds ridiculous, but it was hard! I kept thinking, Jesus, you’re better than this sale. Better.

Thankfully, God provided me a way out of the temptation. One of our elders and his wife were there, and I ran into them on the walkway. That conversation pushed the fog of consumerism totally out of my head. Onward we pushed to the phone cases. Yay!

2) Identity.

I wasn’t going to post about this here because the point you’ll see below was to not explain myself. But, it’s been awhile now, and I feel like God has given me rest in this issue, so now I feel comfortable talking about it.

When I posted my original article, people would casually ask me about it, like, “Woah. Really?” And someone else might ask what we were talking about. Most of the time, the response that I got was, “Oh, I don’t have trouble with that.” Or, “Oh, I hate shopping so I don’t need to do that.”

(Thankfully, I also had people say – Wow, that really challenged me. :))

Those initial responses confused me because I don’t have a problem with shopping either. I have a clothing budget and buy clothes on a budget, etc. I do enjoy dressing nicely and comfortably, but I wouldn’t consider myself addicted to shopping or anything like that.

So in the moment, everything in me wanted to explain: No, it’s not like that! I don’t have a problem, I just want to trade something that takes my focus in for focus on Christ instead!

But I didn’t. I felt the Lord leading me to be silent. The whole point of this fast is resting and relying in Him. And I felt these moments were an extension of that. I know my personal integrity, and I don’t need to explain myself all of the time. It’s OK to not have some holy image.

… and I really do think that I did rest in the identity He sees in me through Christ instead of just making sure all of my words and actions were fleshed out. So I’m glad that I had that moment.

So, if you’ve had similar thoughts, like I don’t have a problem shopping so this fast isn’t for me or I don’t have any clothes that fit so I can’t do that (another one I heard), then can I challenge you that this fast may still be for you? Please consider just the change in the mentality that we can get something we need instead of relying on the Lord in those moments of need. Case in point: I’m still wearing my worn out and disheveled nursing bras because that’s all I have and January isn’t that far away people.

And if the Lord isn’t calling you to this, is He calling you to fast in another way?

What do you think?

Thanks for checking in on me with this!! And praying for me – I still need it! It’s easy this week, but that means nothing for next week!

5-Month Clothing Fast {Challenge}

Five-Month Clothing Fast

::Deep Breath::

I have started a fast – from purchasing any clothing, shoes, or accessories for myself – until January 1, 2014.

I know!

It sort of just got into my head this past week, and I’m not sure why. Or, maybe I do. Here’s why I might want to fast from purchasing clothing et al for 5 months:

  • Purchasing clothing is “easy” for me. If it’s in the budget, I just buy it. I do a lot of my ordering online at my favorite shops – Target Daily Deals and Groopdealz. I felt like it was getting too easy – too comfortable – to just click that button to Place Order.
  • To identify with the poor – there are many across the world who have 1 set of clothing. ONE.
  • I have plenty of clothes, and I don’t have a need for more.
  • Spiritual discipline -when I am struggling with this fast, or when I’m tempted to purchase clothes – I remember my God instead who gave everything for me. I replace that ease and comfort with concentration on the Lord. (I hope!)
  • To reject consumerism. Most of the clothes I buy are made by the poor who are not getting a fair wage. For at least 5 months, I can say that I don’t support that through my clothing purchases (buying fair trade makes ALL of our wages go up – please support fair trade!).

Here’s why this fast will be difficult for me:

  • Comfort is my idol, and my clothes wear out quickly. I’m very clumsy, and I have two kiddos. So I at any given moment am staining and ripping and washing and shrinking clothes. Once there’s a stain I can’t get out or the fit isn’t “just-so,” I never want to wear it again. It just picks at me all day.
  • I do enjoy buying clothes and finding that sweet spot of comfort, style, uniqueness, fit, and price.
  • I already have my eye on a friend’s boyfriend jeans, a new pair of black skinnies, and new boots… none of which I will be purchasing.
  • I am almost really good at endurance. I push and push and push until the…very… end. And then I kind of quit early.

Why am I telling you?

  • Support – would you pray with me for the struggles and the joys that will be present during this fast? Ultimately, that I would seek Christ and others more because of this?
  • Accountability.
  • Challenge – I’d love it if you would join me! If you want to fast with me, please let me know! Post a comment, let me know on facebook, or tell me in person. Feel free to grab the image above and use it on your blog!

Image source

Wisdom or Death?

17843828_801f400365

Just as Wisdom is personified as a woman, so is another path – a path that leads to death: the path of the adulteress.

And I have to ask myself:

Am I a woman who personifies Wisdom or Death?

Am I the adulterous woman? A path of death?

Read Proverbs 7 to get the whole picture.

Let’s look at her characteristics:

She’s a smooth talker.

See verses 7, 11, 14-20, and 21.

She knows exactly how to seduce by making a man silent. She’s “loud” – and she efficiently and breathlessly talks the youth into her web of lies.

She provides him all of the safety and excuses he needs to be with her, feeding on his passivity and lust.

She makes him feel like a stud – knowing exactly the words a man needs to hear – words our husbands should hear from us. “I’ve been waiting all day… I’ve prepared for this moment… I’m so glad you’re here… I want you to take me… you’re the real man in my life… we’re safe…”

Questions: Do you talk all day with colleagues or even your bestie but are silent or degrading to your husband? If you’re single, are you using speech as a way to dominate men – perhaps at work or in relationships?

She’s premeditated.

See verses 12, 14-17.

The adulteress has prepared for this moment. She didn’t get caught up in something confusing. She put herself out there. She made it clear that she wants the youth, and that she’s free to be taken.

Questions: Are you sending flirty texts with a “friend”? Do you pass by the lunch room at the same time every day because a friend who gives you butterflies will be there? Do you go to his house just to “drop something by”? If you’re married, these are sure signs that you are caught in infidelity of the heart. As a single, ask yourself if the way you seem available is godly or ungodly.

She’s immodest – physically and verbally.

See verses 10, 11, 13, 17-20.

This lady is quite aware of how she dresses: like a hooker, probably with braided hair and plenty of adornment. Rouge and perfume have been used. The finest garments she can find are on her couch.

Not only that, but her speech leaves nothing to the imagination. She has no restraint, but pulls out all the stops to trap this man in his tracks. She mocks her religion (v. 14), she’s publicly prowling for men (v. 12), and she says, “Let’s have sex all night since my husband is gone” (vv. 19-20, my paraphrase).

Questions: What are you doing physically and verbally that are without restraint? How much of that is to gain ungodly attention?

She’s unhappy at home.

See verses 10, 11, and 19-20.

I see an unwillingness in her to be at home and to be happy at home. She’s “wily” and “wayward”. She can’t even be in her house because it reminds her of her true calling. She is grateful and eager because her husband isn’t there – so she can act like she’s not even married.

Questions: Do you escape your home because you’re escaping your marriage? Or, if you’re single, because you’re so desperate that you’re willing to sacrifice your integrity?

The caveats.

Yeah, this wisdom is written to “sons” against the adulteress. And this man, even though he’s written as a witless fool, he’s no dummy. He’s taking the “road to her house” on purpose. He wants her to seduce him. He wants her to give him no excuses. He’s just as guilty in this; maybe more so since he is called to lead.

And, there are guys that play the adulteress (obviously adulterer, but you get my point) too. Charming, smooth, always dressed nicely. Always seems to be right where you’re heading. Don’t be a fool and walk on the road to his house, ladies. His house is a house of death (v. 27).

It pains me to think about the times I’ve played the adulteress. It’s shameful and empty. I hate it and praise God for the years of redemption he’s given my marriage! My sin is covered by the blood of the only worthy Lamb, Jesus.

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

Photo source

True Beauty – Inside and Out

I am a big fan of TRUE beauty. The Bible says,

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham,calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:3-6, ESV, emphasis mine)

Submitting to our husbands (and thus submitting to God) is Biblical beauty. A gentle and quiet spirit – there’s that teachable heart again!

But God did choose to make people physically attractive! And I also love finding the beauty in people’s appearance. No, no, not what the stupid TV and magazines portray as beautiful: airbrushing, eating disorders, cosmetic enhancements, thousand-dollar hair treatments – honestly, those looks oftentimes disgust me. Instead, I love the beauty that God placed on each woman and man. And when I look at another, I think. Wow, God made you so special!

Then God said, “Let us make man  in our image, after our likeness.” … And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:26,31, ESV)

So please cherish yourself today – as you are! See God’s image on you and give glory to Him for it!

I love Dove’s new campaigns about true beauty. If you haven’t seen this yet – watch it. Thank you, Dove, for making a statement.

(P.S. Dove has no idea who I am. :))

Breastfeeding-friendly Fall Fashion

For those of you who aren’t nursing moms – sorry! This is where I am right now, so this is what I’m sharing. Lucky you!

The great thing about nursing my second child is that I don’t have to deal with the nursing issues – latching issues, long feeding times, self-consciousness. All of that is long gone with baby #2 (yippee!).

And because I also have a 2-year old that must get out of the house for all of our sanity, I’ve nursed in public (with a cover) much more than I did with Samuel.

I figured out with baby #1 that the “nursing” shirts were totally not my thing. Those secret hidden panels were just way too much work to get to, so I just wear shirts that are loose, button-down… which usually translates to boring and frumpy!

So realizing that most of my baby weight is gone ;), I went on a mission last week. I wanted to find some cute fall fashion looks that I could also breastfeed in without taking off half of my clothing. I really wanted some dress/legging combinations, and I think mama did good!

What do you think? (And scroll below the pictures for tips on what to pick!)

1. This one would be great for a mild fall day:

nursing-friendly fall fashion
2. And this one would be great for a chilly fall day (plus, my little beneficiary is shown – how adorable is she!?):nursing-friendly fall fashion

Tips, notes, and why these outfits will work for a nursing mom who wants to rock it this fall:

Buttons or shirt access: With outfit 1, notice how the buttons go halfway down the torso. Undo the buttons under your cover, push the fabric to the side, and you have access to your nursing bra. With outfit 2, I was wearing a camisole underneath this shirt. To nurse, all I had to do was untuck the purple shirt and adjust the top of the cami to get to my nursing bra (or you can just unclip a cami-nursing-bra, whatever your pleasure. I found those didn’t work for me :)). The benefit of the camisole layer is that my post-pregnancy belly and back won’t be exposed to the world.

Loose fit: Fit is really important for an outfit to look good on you, but you just can’t nurse a baby with a fitted style. Outfit 1 is a light denim material and wears loosely, but the belt ties it together. The skirt on outfit 2 is tweed and has pleats (which I would never wear on principle… except that they totally worked!), so it can be worn loosely but still look great at the waist. And can I just say both of these outfits hide my muffin top like nobody’s business?

Cute without a bunch of layering and accessories: Now you know if these outfits were pinned on pinterest, there would be a scarf and necklace and sunglasses and a jacket, etc. But, every nursing mama knows you just can’t get away with all of those layers if you want to feed your baby in a timely fashion. I have to forego necklaces because Emma is often on my chest, and I know earrings will be gone as soon as she starts pulling. So pick something that looks cute without all of the “extras” – notice the boatneck top in outfit 2. This doesn’t leave a lot of bare neck screaming, Where did your necklace go!?

Doable with playtime: Because I also have my 2-year old, I can’t wear something that I can’t get on the ground and play in, but I totally could/would wear these to the park. The leggings are essential for that feeling of comfort and modesty. Now, if you know me for reals, you know I usually show up to the park in gym pants and a T-shirt. I’m hoping to not do that every time now that I have some more options. 🙂

I was so stoked to find some great pieces that will make me feel like a lady and allow me to feed my baby. (Btw, I found almost everything I’m wearing at the Gap Outlet for less than $150 total – including the boots!)

Hey – and if you want to add this to one of your Pinterest boards, just use the Pin It button on the left!

 

Let’s Kick Comparison to the Curb (this might involve Facebook)

After seeing my friend Mel’s cute picture of tapas on Facebook with the caption, “Date night!”, I was a little jealous. Emma was very newly born, and tapas seemed sooo date night: you know, dim lighting, ultra chic people, fancy heals, Sangria or Spanish wine. Tapas.

So when I saw her at church, I asked, “How were the tapas?” (First thing out of my mouth.)

She laughed and said, “Good… It’s funny how Facebook makes everything seem great. You saw my pic and thought, ‘Tapas!’, but really they were good but overpriced.”
Then she proceeded to tell me about how they decided to go somewhere after dinner, and they ended up walking too far (and not enjoying it), etc.

And there I was coveting that date. Because of Facebook.

What you see of others on Facebook only gives you a hint about them.

Even those who are pretty open on Facebook, whether you like it or not, are not revealing everything about themselves.

Yes, part of it is that we all want to be perceived a certain way: maybe wise or funny or athletic or political or perfect. And so we post things that fall in line with our Facebook agenda.

But the other part is this: Comparing yourself or your situation to someone else’s is unbiblical and unproductive. Many people say “Comparison is the thief of all joy,” and I absolutely  agree with that.

You cannot compare yourself to others and also be satisfied in Christ.

God has a unique will for each of our lives, and that will may include being rich. Or poor. Being healthy. Or chronically ill. Being married. Or single. Having children. Or not.

And His will for us is intended to bring glory to Himself – not to make you happy or comfortable.

We don’t get to choose, but we do get to give God the glory for our existence and all that we have.

Not only is comparing ourselves to others absolutely against God’s design, but it’s quite useless because:

1) What we see of others is only a shadow of who they are. You don’t know their deepest fears and regrets. You don’t see the aching of their soul. Only God has that knowledge and in fact is in control of those things, and that’s why He is their comforter.

2) You are not them. (Your spouse is not their spouse, your friend is not their friend, etc.) Even if you did have “that certain something” that you see in them – whether it’s a possession or countenance or externals – you would not have it like they have it. Your soul is different from theirs. Things react differently for you than for them.

3) Comparing wastes a lot of time, energy, and heart that you should be using on the life and ministry that God gave you.

God has a purpose for your life. He designed you perfectly for it.

With whom or with what do you need to cast off comparison? How can you use that time and energy to respect your husband, nurture relationships, share the gospel, and love a hurting friend? What do you need to give up to kick comparison out (Facebook? Work statistics? Your children’s accomplishments?)

Write it down. Tell the one you’re closest to. Pray about it. Thank God that He made you you and put you right where you are.

Three Easy Steps to Date Night Eyes

date night eyesWhen you go on a date with your hubby, do you do anything special? Do you wear a dress? Put on fancy perfume? Actually bathe?

Before we had children, we rarely went on dates. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: stupid! Please go on as many dates as humanly possible before kids. Spend money. Dress up. Stay out late. Don’t wear jeans.

Now, anytime grandparents are in town visiting, we’re like, Uh…. could we go on a date!?

Of course they always say Yes!

We’re already eager just to be together and have uninterrupted conversations, but date night also makes me eager to dress up and get all fancy-schmancy for my husband. Why? So that he is reminded that I am his and he is mine.

 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels. We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver. (Song of Solomon 1:9-10, NIV)

The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon (Song of Solomon 4:11, NIV)

You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. (Song of Solomon 4:9, NIV)

Now, in Song of Solomon, there is lots of gazing and describing of each others’ God-given bodies. And I’m not going to pretend the focus is on the eyes. It’s pretty much everywhere, especially underneath the clothing!

However, the lover (i.e., man) does focus on the eyes at least a couple of times:

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. (Song of Solomon 1:15, NIV)

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. (Song of Solomon 4:1, NIV)

In chapter 1, the lover and the beloved are getting married, and in chapter 4, they are about to consummate the marriage.

How often did you gaze into your husband’s eyes on your wedding day and soon thereafter? And how often do you gaze into them now? Yeah, it’s kind of pathetic to think about, huh?

But he wants your eyes to rest on him. And he wants his eyes to rest on you.

So back to date night – I always, always make sure to enhance my eyes for date night. After all, Brad will be looking at (mostly) them during our entire date.

There are three things that I always do to get date night eyes:

1. Touch up and darken your makeup.

Whatever makeup I put on that morning, I touch it up and darken it. I re-powder, and always put extra blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara. And of course lips! You know those always need work.

Darkening your eyeshadow and eyeliner will enhance your eyes and change your look from daytime to date time. Plus, sometimes it’s DARK on dates! He won’t be able to see your normal makeup anyway!

2. Use a highlighter around your eye.

This one might be new for you, but it’s my absolute favorite accidental-makeup find. I got my Benefit Highlighter pencil (get yours using that link!) as a free gift with purchase quite a while ago. I thought I would never use it, but I always pull it out on date night.

You can use a highlighter pencil in several ways. For example, you can “draw” a line under your cheekbones and smudge it in.

But I use it most often on my eyes. Here’s how:

First, focus on the inner corner of your eye – the corner by your nose. Use the pencil to trace that little corner. Don’t be shy about using too much; it’s subtle (and you can always smudge it in if it freaks you out haha!). Once the corner is nice and focused, just use softer strokes outward above and below the corner to blend the highlighter into your eyelid. You can choose to smudge it, but I never do.

The inner corner of your eye is now bright and a little bit wow!

Secondly, and I got this awesome tip from a makeup artist on an AT&T shoot I did, use your highlighter to outline your eyeliner! You may already have a darker-than-usual eyeliner on for date night. Now, use the highlighter on the edge of that line. If you’re on the bottom of your eye, trace under the eyeliner, and if you’re on the top of your eye, trace above the eyeliner.

This is a subtle hit of WOW for date night. You can choose to just do the corner of your eye, just the corner and bottom line, or all of the tips above. I hope you love it as much as I do. Look closely at the image at the top of this post, and you can see the effects.

3. Darken your eyebrows.

I already have big, bushy, dark eyebrows that I’m constantly trying to tame (case in point, the “morning” pic I took!). But that doesn’t mean they don’t need some extra ooomph.

Using just a hint of brow powder can add drama to your eyes. Plus, it’s something people won’t easily notice. They’re like, “You look great!” But they’re not sure why. 😉

Look at my date night picture to see what a difference brow powder (and wax) makes! It’s a pretty big difference. But I don’t think it looks fake or scary. That’s the goal!

You will need brow powder, brow wax, and an angled brow brush. You can buy all of these separately, but I would opt for a brow kit like this one instead if this is new to you, as long as it has the right color for you.

Speaking of brow powder color, you want a color that is just a smidge lighter than your brow hair. My brow hairs are very dark brown, so I go for a medium brown (not blonde) brow powder. The color I use is Taupe by Smashbox. In fact, I highly recommend the Smashbox brow kits, which are specific to hair color. For these, you have to buy the brush separately.

Now, to apply the powder, dab the angled brush in the powder, then touch it to your brow just past the edge. You’re not trying to outline your brows, just add a little powder in the middle. Without adding more brow powder to the brush, blot the brush on your brow two more ticks up and to the right.

Once both eyebrows have powder, add wax to your brush, then use the brush to “comb down” the brows at the top. The wax should help any wild hairs stick to the ones that are better behaved.

And that’s it! Three easy steps to eyes ready for gazing!

What are your must-dos for date night? Do you have any extra tips for us?