Wednesday, January 30

Floral and Stripes at Last.

Stripes and floral. People either love it or love to hate it. I was ambivalent at first, but the more I see it the more I love it. I finally put together a semi-cheating version of stripes and florals. I say semi-cheating because the skirt isn't truly floral. But I think it has at least one flower on it, plus it's springy colors, so I'm counting it as floral. I really liked this look! Plus I got several compliments from elderly ladies, so clearly I'm doing something right. Right? 
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This is honestly the most snow I've ever seen. And supposedly it only gets worse. Yikes.
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Here are some other striped/floral looks that I think are beautiful.

I found this picture on pinterest. Her hair is perfect! This makes me want to cut my hair even more. Perhaps I shall.
 This look was on pinterest also, which is crazy, because this is one of my blogging friends, Danielle. Clearly she has good style. Plus she's cool, which I think is because she's from Texas (like me!). :) You should go visit her blog.
Outfit Details:

Sweater -- Old Navy via Goodwill $3
Striped shirt -- Salvation Army $2?
Tank top -- Salvation Army $.66
Tights -- old
Boots -- Target $10 (Crazy clearance sale!)

Total Cost: $15.66

Monday, January 28

Barack Obama and a Discussion of Centered Sets

Bounded Set
In a bounded set approach, there is a clear boundary drawn between who is "in" and who is "out." Usually, the boundary is made up of very specific beliefs and behaviors.

Centered Set
In the centered set approach, the center is understood to be Jesus. Those who are “in” are not defined in relation to a boundary, but by facing and moving toward the center.
via
We talked yesterday in church about bounded sets versus centered sets. Many, many churches (including churches I've attended before) believe in the bounded set approach. There are very clear beliefs you must follow to be considered to be inside the circle. Things such as questioning, doubting, believing that homosexuality is not a sin, not believing in eternal damnation, and many more such issues would most certainly put you into the outside of the circle. In some ways it's comforting to be so sure and certain about your beliefs that you think you are justified in telling other people they are not Christians for having a different belief about an issue. It would be great not to have any questions about anything, and I envy the ease with which they lay the boundaries and the battle lines. 

But then I think about grace. And I think about mercy. And I think about how little I know of such a big God, and I realize that there's no way in hell that I could honestly say that I know who is saved and who is not saved. I would never be so presumptuous. 

When Chase and I were going through confirmation classes at the Episcopal church, another member asked the priest if it was okay to not believe the same way as the church on a particular issue. Although his answer bothered my evangelical mind at the time, I now realize how gracious and humble his answer was.

He said that it was absolutely okay to believe differently. As long as we believe the same on the basics, which are the beliefs outlined in the Nicene Creed, then there is freedom to have differing beliefs on the peripheral issues. He is not going to say that other denominations or religions are condemned for believing differently, because that's not our place. Regardless of beliefs, everybody in the church shares in fellowship, in the giving of the peace, in the Eucharist, and we will do that because of and in spite of our differences. 

So, with that being said, the common Evangelical habit of marking other people to hell has frustrated me immensely lately. It makes me so angry to read articles, blog posts, comments, or tweets by an Evangelical, sure-of-himself, person who thinks they know exactly who is and isn't going to heaven. Mark Driscoll, ever the asshole, wrote a tweet on inauguration day that said, "Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know."

The constant facebook posts by people I know and the speculation or outright rejection of Obama's faith is awful. I fully believe that a person's faith is something that is between them and God. Here's an except from on article on Huffington Post:
"If Barack Obama says he is a Christian, if he confesses his faith in Christ, that's where the conversation ends. The same is true for George W. Bush, or Franklin D. Roosevelt, or even Mark Driscoll. 
There is a difference between saying to someone "my understanding of Christian faith is different from yours on this issue" and saying "we don't believe the same thing, so you must not be a Christian." I often disagreed with George W. Bush's actions, and struggled to reconcile them with my understanding of Christian faith, but I refused to speculate on the sincerity of his faith. That's not my place. And I've had it done far too often in my life to turn around and do it to others. 
And it happens far too often. We forget that some Christian right figures believe that Catholics are not "real Christians". We forget that "real Christians" used their firm belief that they were right to rail against the faith of those who wanted to end slavery and later segregation. We forget that on an ongoing basis, gay Christians are told by these "loving" "real Christians" their faith is not real. 
Some of the most faithful, loving, and sacrificing Christians I know would likely not meet Mark Driscoll's definition of a "real Christian". He might tell them, the way he told Obama, that they don't really know God. That makes me frustrated for them, but it makes me sad for Mark Driscoll. How sad must it be to proclaim the love of God with one breath and to feel the need doubt the sincerity of another's love for God with the next?
Mark Driscoll may be concerned that President Obama is not following his particular view of Christianity. But Christian faith has never had much to do with following the opinions of the popular crowd, and a best selling book has never granted the author the power to discern the legitimacy of another's faith. In the end, the only two authorities on Barack Obama's relationship with God are Barack Obama and God. I'm not either of the two. And so that's where the discussion ends." Read the full post

After I posted on this blog about doubts I faced, a person emailed me and said that she was quite sure I didn't know God and didn't read the Bible, because of what I had posted. It sucks when a complete stranger makes assumptions about your spirituality--which is a part of you that is tender and personal and vulnerable (although I'm quite impressed she could decipher 23 years of my spiritual life by reading a few paragraphs, which is something I can't even do. Note: I must talk to her next time I bet on anything). 

So basically, my decision is this: I do not want to be the kind of person who walks around deciding who is in and who is out. I don't want to be so arrogant in my beliefs that I think I am able to clearly distinguish God's plan for not just my life, but everybody's eternal destiny. I want to live in a place where I face the center and seek Christ rather than measuring how far away other people are from the center. Does anybody really the hell know where the magic line is? I'm quite sure they don't. Let's focus on love and on seeking Christ rather than making hateful judgey accusations toward other people. 


Sunday, January 27

French Braid Ponytail

FrenchBraid

Okay, since last week's hair tutorial worked great at making me more adventurous with fixing my hair, I decided it would be a great trend to continue. :) I found the idea for this at The Small Things Blog. Her hair was several inches longer than mine, so I had to adapt it a little bit to adjust for the length. Here are the steps.

Step 1: I started with clean hair with mousse in it. Now that I'm thinking about it, day old hair would probably be great for this style to add more texture.

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Step 2: Blowdry until hair is fully dry.
IMG_2010Step 3: Curl hair with a 1" curling iron. I basically only curled the top part of my hair since it was going in a pony tail anyway. That saved some time. 
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Step 4: On my non-bang side, I sectioned off the front part of my hair and pinned it forward. 
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Step 5: Make a part in your hair down to the base of your neck. French braid that part and put it in a small elastic. I used kind of large pieces while french braiding so it wouldn't be too tight.
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Step 6: Pull all hair back into a ponytail. Take the front part that was sectioned off and gently pin it into the ponytail as well, taking care not to cover the braid. That's it!
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I loved the simplicity of this style. I'm not sure how long it took me since I was taking pictures and sharing the bathroom mirror with Chase this morning. But it was probably around 15 minutes or so from wet hair to done. BUT, that's probably not typical. I have soft, fine, sorta thin hair. Both of my sisters and my mom have at least double the amount of hair I have (not fair), so for the average person it may take longer than that. :)

Friday, January 25

Stripes, Skinnies, and Heels

I haven't done a CopyCat outfit in awhile, but I finally got inspiration and completed one! :) This outfit has some of my favorite components-- skinny jeans and a comfy striped shirt (that I wear all the time). I refashioned the skinny jeans a few months ago, and I heart them so much. 

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To be honest with you, I didn't wear this outfit anywhere... but I still think that discovering new outfit combinations and practicing with them is useful for improving style. So I'm going to make myself feel better by thinking that. I have been trying really hard to actually wear my outfits all day, but let's be honest--I'm probably never going to wear heels to the grocery store. I think it's awesome when people do that, but it's not my style. Maybe someday...

This was also the first time I've worn this black jacket I bought. It's a BCBG jacket that I found at a thrift shop in Texas for three dollars. Insane, right? It also has a super cool circle pattern woven into the fabric. I'm a fan. 


Outfit Details:

Coat -- BCBG via some thrift store $3
Striped Shirt -- Salvation Army $.66
Pants -- Salvation Army $1.25 Refashioned
Heels -- some thrift store $2
Necklace -- Gift

Total Cost: $7ish
Linking up with:
FrillsforThrills CopyCats

Tuesday, January 22

Magnetic Nail Polish

*Disclaimer--if pictures of feet gross you out, you may want to skip this. I happen to think I have unusually cute feet, but some people really, really dislike all feet, even the cute ones. So I wanted to post a fair warning*

Not gonna lie, I thought the magnetic nail polish thing sounded too good to be true and seemed over-priced and dumb. However, I quickly changed my mind when I found it at the grocery store for $.25 per bottle. Suddenly it was awesome, and I couldn't believe I hadn't tried it yet. I can like just about anything when it's on 95% off of full price. :)

So I bought a dollar's worth of nail polish and started experimenting. I painted a base coat on my toe nails and then used the glittery burgundy (I mean, oxblood, what?) color that's second from the right. I held the cap beside my wet toenail and nothing happened. *Sigh*

I tried again immediately after painting my nail, and lo and behold, it created stripes! Or arrows, since that's the design on the cap. I was most impressed. The nail polish doesn't suck, either. It's been several days since I painted them and there's not even a chip. I was very impressed with my twenty-five cent nail polish, and glad I finally gave into the trend.

Sunday, January 20

Pattern Mixing

Sundays. I usually wake up about thirty minutes before I leave for church, because I'm all put together and industrious like that. I just really, really enjoy sleeping in on the weekends, thus the whole getreadyreallyfastforchurch thing. Sometimes I end up with jeans and toms, but other times I actually put together an outfit on the fly that works out. I really liked the way this outfit looked. Oh, and you should totally notice the pattern mixing thing going on. I'm pretty proud of it. :)

Point number two: If hair is newly fixed and has enough product on it, it most definitely works for the next day as well. Is that gross? I don't know. I justify my hair habit by reasoning that washing my hair too much can cause excess dryness, and I definitely don't want that. Therefore, wearing slept-on hair to church is actually a good thing. Right? 
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Outfit Details:

Striped Shirt -- Salvation Army $.66
Plaid Shirt -- Mossimo via Goodwill $2.99
Skirt -- Gap via Goodwill $3
Tights -- Old
Boots -- Target $15
Purse -- Dooney & Bourke via Salvation Army $8

Total Cost: $29.65

Saturday, January 19

Fishtail Braids and Making an Effort

As you've noticed, I got my hair cut recently. I love the new shorter length, but it's more of a challenge to style it, since there aren't as many obvious options for fixing short hair. I usually put a stretchy headband around it, fix my bangs, and put the rest in a rubber band with bobby pins to keep the short hairs up. But that's lame. And I really like it when my hair is fixed. So I googled some new ways to fix hair and find a stellar site filled with videos for fixing short hair.

This is photo journey for fixing my hair in a fishtail braid. :)
Fishtail Braid and Texture
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My hair after a shower and running a brush through it.
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The styling tools
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I started by putting mousse through my hair and blowdrying it upside down. Then, since my hair is baby soft and fine, I put MORE mousse in it after it was dry.
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Then, using the 1" curling iron, I curled tiny sections of my hair, and ran my fingers through it afterward, so it wouldn't be too prom-looking.
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Using the straightener, I curled my bangs under and brushed them to the side.
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I sectioned off some hair from my non-bang side and made a tiny little fishtail braid. I put an elastic on the end and pulled the pieces out a little bit to make it softer and wider. With a bobby pin, I pinned it back, under some of the top hair. I added a few more curls and hairsprayed my hair for more texture. 
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Done!
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And that was it! I think it took me around 12 minutes to fix my hair. Which is ridiculous. When I don't fix my hair, I'm sure I spend at least 12 minutes making it look non-horrible. So it would really just be better for me to make a small effort on my hair each day. I'm going to try to fix my hair in a new way at least once a week to expand my short hair style horizons. I will mos def post pictures when I do to try and keep myself accountable and motivated.


Monday, January 14

The List of Great Truths

I'm not sure how it started, or why it started, but for some reason, I've slowly been collecting Great Truths. After much thought and pondering, I now have a list of two Great Truths, which are basically phrases that I think apply to my life right now and probably will apply for a very long time. I'm not sure why I feel the need to share this with the blogging world, but I'm going to anyway.

Are you ready for this?

1. It's better to do something than to do nothing.
I've been thinking about this fact for a long time. And the more I think about it, the more meaning and dimension it takes on. I used to type out a text message and think, what does it sound like to the other person? Should I add a smiley face? Should I just not text them? Will they think it's weird? Or I would be in the grocery store and notice the cashier's perfume and try to decide if I should compliment it. Or I would be at home and try to decide if I wanted to go to the gym or not.

And finally I got sick of thinking about every part of my life. Just do it. Just freaking do it. Don't think about it forever. Just do it. Type the email and push send. It doesn't have to be perfect and without errors and there may be a small chance it doesn't come out the way you want it to. But send it anyway. Tell the cashier her perfume smells good and where did she get it? She'll probably be flattered rather than creeped out (hopefully). Send the text message when you're thinking about it rather than letting the chance to say something slip away. Tell the person in the grocery store that their children are well-behaved and adorable. Effing do it. Doing something, in my opinion, is exponentially better than not doing something.

2. Never trust a Helen.
This might only make sense if you're seen the movie Bridesmaids. In that movie, one of the bridesmaids is a woman named Helen. She's sweet, beautiful, has a gorgeous house, a great husband, and a great family. She always knows what to say, and everything she does is sensitive, kind, and perfect. And for some reason, other women feel like shit around her. There's no particular, obvious reason. You can't quite pinpoint what it is about her.
I'm absolutely, almost certain that everybody knows a Helen. I went to college with several Helens and had class with them. I went to church with a Helen also. I tried to copy them, I tried to be friends with them. But I always felt inferior. Like I would never be sweet enough or pretty enough or holy enough. And one time I finally told one of my friends how I felt around this Helen, and she said, "me too!"

And that's when I realized, it's not me. It's them.

I am never going to hang out with somebody who always makes me feel crappy. I'm never going to be close friends with somebody who is so disgustingly perfect and flawless. I want to choose friends who are imperfect, and comfortable, and accepting, and friendly, and sometimes rude, and sometimes awkward, and real.

Here are some tips for identifying a Helen.

  • If she constantly has perfect clothing choices
  • If she uses the phrase "richest blessings" on a facebook post
  • If she gives you sad eyes when you tell her something that's going on in your life and her first response is, "I'll pray for you, honey."
  • If she calls you sweetie
  • If she has ever said, "you're so cute."
  • If all the pictures on her facebook are black and white glamorous photos
  • If she's perfect and wonderful and sweet, and you have no reason at all not to like her, but you still feel like crap when you're with her. 

If most of those fit, that person is probably a Helen.

So I finally realized that I should never trust a Helen.

Sunday, January 13

Death and Rebirth

Okay, this blog post is not going to be entertaining or anything. Basically we got a new chair and I'm putting pictures up of it. But this post does illustrate a very important point about thrift stores and my husband, which we will get to in a moment.

But first, here's our broken chair that we clearly had to replace.
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Such a cute, sad little chair.
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The legs were doing some craaaazy things. 
And here's the new chair! 

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Chase and I went to Salvation Army to search for a worthy replacement. As we were walking in, we saw a handwritten note that said the furniture was 25% off. Awesome. We found this guy for $18 and went to pay. Chase was the one paying since I got distracted by looking at the jewelry or scarves or something. The lady rang up the chair and told him the total was twenty-something. Chase looked very nicely at her and told her that no, it shouldn't be twenty-something, because there was a sign that said the furniture was 25% off today, so it should be around fifteen dollars. 

I walked up around this time and we paid and left. In the parking lot, Chase started laughing and said, "I can't believe that I just bargained with the lady at Salvation Army to get this chair cheaper." 

Which, actually is quite significant, because before we started dating, Chase never, ever, ever, not even once!, had been to a thrift store. I quickly remedied the situation by taking him on a date to Goodwill. And now he's thrifting along with the best of them. I'm so proud of him. :)


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And the chair is awesome. 

Saturday, January 12

Neutrals and Tights

So, at work I started the idea of girls' night, since there are so many girls my age and in the exact same stage of life as me. We all hang out once every few weeks to talk, play games, drink, vent, and laugh. It's so. much. fun. We had a girls night last night, and I went to my fallback outfit of shorts and tights, and paired it with neutrals--my other fallback. Basically this outfit epitomizes me. :) Which is probably why I liked it so much. 

I hope you guys all have a wonderful weekend. 
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Outfit Details:

Sweater -- Salvation Army $.96
Scarf -- Express $6?
Shorts -- Salvation Army $1
Boots -- Christmas Gift
Tights -- Goodwill $1.99 (And yes, they were brand new.)

Total Cost: $9.95
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