Neither Saucy, Sexy or the Like.

These pictures absolutely crack me up. Who says I have to blog with pictures anyway? I scarcely see how what I’m wearing has any bearing on my content.  Part of the reason I began featuring pictures is because somebody told me I needed to.  And, such is the story of life…some one said you just needed to do it.  Been there?  People, generally, are always eager to give opinions on what may be best for you. Ever notice that?  Lately, I find myself offering less commentary, but instead, a rather provocative question. “How can I help you?”  Of course, never delivered in a “You want cheese on dat?” kind of way.  That would be awkward. Jokes aside, I find myself desiring to understand more about the people I encounter everyday.  Whether it’s work, family, friends, people for whom I subscribe to services, whoever…  How could our interactions become more meaningful? What is my role in that?

As for needs analysis, these pictures indicate to me the only thing of immediate necessity is two inches of extra fabric and good photographer. But now let’s not get crazy.The first frame (although probably mistaken for a serious shot) is deer in the headlights. I didn’t know the camera was firing. The second ( also mistaken perhaps for some sort of J.Crew-eque high fashion pose) is actually me tripping over my own feet while conveniently being blown over by a gust of wind.  The jury is in….sexy, saucy or serious? NOT guilty. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Cheers!

Dress: Judith March (available at Hattie’s Branches), Boots: ZiZi Girl (available at Nordstrom), Shades: Tom Ford

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Peter Piper Picked A Pumpkin…And Monogrammed Her

I have a bad habit of treating inanimate objects like people, especially if they’ve taken on some form of cuteness. Today, it was a pumpkin. She was delightfully adorable dressed in her herringbone ribbon and polka dots. Of course as the newest member of our family, I also felt inclined to properly designate her with our family initial.  Polky Pumpkin Reed  as she is called sits fully monogrammed, on my front porch nestled near a basket of mums. I love fall.

Speaking of the fall, let’s discuss how in L-O-V-E I’ve fallen with Mayzie’s new storefront. The gals have moved uptown (or up a few feet) into a much more spacious new home.  You MUST stop by for a visit. Bring your pumpkin, and they’ll give her a makeover.

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Scarf: Lilly Pulitzer (Mayzie’s), Blouse: Loft, Jewelry: Stella& Dot/J.Crew

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Pumpkins & Paisley

We had a snap of cool air this morning that compelled me to bust out the boots.  And because boots weren’t quite enough to thrust me into a fall full swing, we decided to make a trip to the pumpkin patch.  When I think about things that are so so Lakeland, First United Methodist Church’s annual pumpkin patch, perched hillside overlooking lovely Lake Morton, ranks in my top 10. I love this pumpkin patch. I’ve taken my children every year since they were born.  Likewise in the manner that the kiddos grow, so does their crop selection.  Today, we got big ol’ pumpkins, one of which required his own seat belt on the ride home. Hilarious.

I’m totally in love with my kids.

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Dress: Loft, Boots: Sam Edelman, Sunnies: Tom Ford, Belt: Tar-jhay.

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Pose Workshop for Top Buttons. Oh, Yes I did.

A team of young ladies and I are helping our friend Sarah Powers launch a movement to inspire our youth around modesty and Godly living. Top Buttons, a non-profit organization focused on modesty in fashion, aims to reach a generation of ladies who want to showcase creativity and grace more than skin; young leaders who refuse to be relegated to a culture of less is more when it comes to their dress. Trailblazers in the area of creative style, they are redefining fashion in a way that brings glory to God. I am honored to have been invited as a contributing stylist on this project. Today, a couple of the girls and I conducted a photo shoot for the November 2nd launch of the blog.

The funny thing about the girls is they love to be photographed but feel awkward striking a pose.  I shared a couple of my go to secrets:

1.Wear big sunglasses for added drama and to save yourself eye makeup application.

2.Forget the formality.

3. Relax. Don’t take yourself so seriously…even with those serious look shots.

4. Have fun!

When you see my photo tutorial on striking a pose (pictured below), you will understand why the ladies experienced bellowing laughter. I wish I could share their images. Classified stuff. wink wink. Hop on Facebook and give Top Buttons a like!

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Shorts: Mossimo (Target), Blouse: Kenar (TJ Maxx), Necklace: Stella & Dot, Sunnies: Tom Ford, Watch: Michael Kors, Shoes: Joan&David

Downtown Stroll

Denim/Blouse/Scarf: The Loft, Shoes: Franco Sarto, Sunnies: Tom Ford

 

Tomorrow’s Friday People!!!! Are we happy or what!???

 

Because I Need To Remember.

Blogging, for me, is a bit of an emotional processing tool. It allows me to give breath to thoughts in a very organic way. Most of the time they are quite fresh, frighteningly raw, and almost always unrehearsed. I do not write for the sake of being heard ( I yell to accomplish that). Nor do I write as an effort to assert intellect or to gain applause. I write because I feel so deeply and unashamedly. And to be honest, my audible voice lacks in expression, I want desperately to remember defining moments through my own imagery of words. Some moments, like the ones I experienced this weekend, illustrate beautifully another reason why I journal. I love my friends. When I was growing up, I remember my Dad admonishing me about the risks of such deep loyalty in friendship.You give too much. You don’t listen to reason. You forgive too easily.”  In a sense, he was right. I understood what he meant, but struggled, “You can never give too much.” As a young girl, I eagerly dropped things in a heartbeat to hang with a friend. I would spend hours on the phone sorting boyfriend and parent drama, taking up causes, loaning my stuff, whatever….because that’s just what you do. Right? He saw an optimism and devotion that made him nervous. “2nd and 3rd chances only leave you hurt.”  To this day, I disagree with him about this. Why? Because God didn’t call us to disposable relationships. He called us to love. And guess what? The hope to always discover the goodness of others, the treasure of reciprocal companionship has rewarded me immensely. Today, I have a handful of comrades who rival me in deep devotion, heart connections and genuine friendship. They love me and I love them. They understand me and I understand them. When they weep, so do I. When they celebrate, I dance in public (scary if you’ve never seen it.) They are really more than friends. We are sisters.

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This weekend, I celebrated with one of these. Love you, Ainsley.

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Dress: Romeo & Juliet, Shoes: Christian Louboutin, Jewelry: Stella & Dot

And If You Fall…

Florida’s fall season is casually dragging in. Yes, it’s still warm (the temperature is dropping a little ) but you can smell the change of season.  The shift has provoked a series of early morning walks in my neighborhood.  I love having that time to focus on the day ahead and to set my heart upon what is important.  On Monday, I was thinking about influence.  I pondered the importance of living with conviction whether it be  in commitment to your  job, loving your family and friends, or even seeing the best in others.  It occurred to me that we are always training for greater assignment, and our advancement often depends on our faithfulness with small instructions.   We live in a society where people often assign value and worth to the magnitude of the project….or the number of people….or the amount of resources involved…..or the breadth of influence.  Do size and scope always equate into significance?  I watched a video podcast recently entitled “Stop for the One.”  Summary: would you turn your head to help the one in front of you? Are we so focused on long-term that we neglect today? What if the most important thing you did or significant word you spoke was to a person sitting next to you on the park bench…the office cube…the  checkout line. What if it wasn’t a sermon…what if it was one word? What if it wasn’t a word…but holding a door? Simply acknowledging someone’s need before your own.

As I was walking, I noticed an elderly lady watering her lawn. She was propped up by a walking cane,  holding a leash which was tethered to the most excitable little cocker spaniel.  As I walked and waved, the puppy darted toward the street, taking the woman with him. Losing her balance, she threw the cane and fell hard into the mulch. Alarmed, I turned around to see her struggling. Immediately, I secured the puppy and ran up to the flower bed.  Frail, and covered in wet mulch unable to lift herself up, I was stunned by her response…

“I’m so sorry. Silly me. I’m ok. Sorry to trouble you.”

What? Trouble me? Certainly she doesn’t think that such an unpredictable event would bother me? What about her!? I was moved with compassion, my eyes filled with tears as I stretched forth my hand to bear her up.

In a moment, I realized that we spend so much time apologizing for inconvenience and imperfections, that we don’t even allow ourselves the grace to recover from simple and uninvited mishaps. She continued on acknowledging embarrassment and the things she should have done to prevent the misfortune. I really can’t  recount the details because I was too overwhelmed by the insight I was receiving. Love for her overcame me. And the next thing out of my mouth may have been the most important message to deliver,

“You are no trouble at all. You are wonderful.”

Mary and I walked into her house with her puppy. She was walking well and recovering with each step.  All she needed was a hand to steady her.

Will you stop for the one?

Dress and Sweater: The Loft, Shoes: Target (circa 2007), Necklace Stella &Dot

YEEEE HAW!!!!

Becoming quite fond of western wear as of late, I found myself drawn to this fun little shift which also serves car line activity for the children. Yes, the dress is also a picture search. It is a type of Where’s Waldo, except Waldo was replaced with horses. Horses….AND, as I pointed out to the boutique owner after staring at it for 30 minutes, Swans.  So it’s like Lake Morton meets Denver. And for me, that is perfection!

Oh and one other detail…..we sold our house this weekend.  God is magnificent. Can I get a YEE HAW!?

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“If you’re happy and ya know it, shake your fringe!”

 

 

 

 

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Dress: Judith March (available at Hattie’s Branches), Boots: Nine West, Shades: Tory Burch, Jewelry: Stella & Dot, Susan Shaw, and Heirloom

I Read the Instruction! It Said…Wait!?

I’m always amazed at how people buzz around like bees. Busy bees, so often evaluating success upon how many activities they can juggle and how well they perform.  I was one of those too. Was. Until one day, the person who influences my life the most shared with me that I’m are not rewarded just on the “doing”. I am not strengthened by activities, jobs, or even seemingly selfless philanthropy.

I am strengthened by waiting.

Waiting upon the Lord for instruction, empowerment and grace to go and do is the secret to success.  Then, and only then, our works are full of power and potency. They yield lots of fruit and great reward.  Occasionally, God will give me a glimpse of big picture stuff…my life’s assignment or what He’s called me to do.  He may speak a word of encouragement or confirmation through another to me.  At times like this, my first response is usually “Oh yes! Let’s do it. Let’s make that happen right now.”  Rarely though, during those times, do I actually get to execute on what he’s revealing. More often than not, the sneak peek is the precursor to a period of waiting. I’ve been in the waiting place since May, to be perfectly honest.  My words are few. My creativity seems scarce. I’m just praying, waiting, and following…baby steps.  If it’s difficult to wrap your head around the concept, perhaps this video will help.  I’m just like a big kid with a fat marshmallow! Have a great weekend!