Transitional Fall Look Book feat. Tobi

I love this time of year; the air is getting cooler and the holiday season is finally here. I love pretending that a high of 65 degrees is an excuse to pull out the sweaters, scarves and jackets!

Transitional pieces are perfect for this time of year, as the temperature changes everyday. I am loving some specific pieces that I have been able to style in a couple different ways. These types of pieces are probably in most of your closets, so you can recreate these outfit ideas at home!

T-shirt DressI am loving mock neck dresses lately. I have been wearing the heck out of this one from Tobi! It has been such a staple in my fall wardrobe and it is one of the comfiest, most versatile dresses I own. This is probably my favorite item that I received from Tobi!

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For an everyday look, I paired it with this maroon jacket from ThredUp, along with my well-loved black ankle booties from Target. For a colder day, I know that I could warm it up with a chunky scarf, riding boots and a warmer jacket!

Twisted-back Sweater: I have seen these types of sweaters everywhere this season, and up until I received this one in the mail, I wasn’t thrilled about the trend! However, now I am hooked.

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I am loving the dusty rose color of the sweater and I think it looks great paired with something that is olive green or navy blue! For this look, I kept it simple by pairing it with a pair of straight jeans with distressing on the bottom from Anthropologie (old) and my go-to pair of mules from Qupid shoes.

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There are so many ways to dress up this sweater! I would add a chunky necklace, throw a jacket on and change the light-wash denim for a darker, skinnier fit, and keep the shoes for a night out.

High-neck Shift Dress: This dress is the perfect go-to dress for a casual holiday party or special event. It looks so flattering on and again, I am obsessed with the mock-neck/high-neck trend this season.

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Also, if you have been following me for a while, you know I am a sucker for a floral print. The colors on this dress are beautiful, too! I added a long cardigan from Target over the dress, to give it a more casual look. I also added my black booties to make it more appropriate for an ordinary winter day in Arizona.

To dress it up, I would pair it with a black moto jacket, black tights and these same ankle boots! DSC_0948.jpg

What are some of your favorite transitional pieces that you wear in both the fall and winter time?

This post was in collaboration with Tobi however all opinions are my own. 

Love,

Jennifer

pursuing contentment in a consumeristic world

The holiday where we show gratitude and express our appreciation for what we have and who we know is quickly overshadowed by a weekend of wanting, shopping and overspending.

It’s ironic to so quickly forget what we said that we are thankful for in our Instagram caption or on our Facebook status and instead search for and buy things that you didn’t even know you wanted.

Sadly, I’m not immune to this. In fact, I am having a hard time with appreciating what I have instead of focusing on what I want.

Fortunately, I am not the first, nor the last, to struggle with this. Pursuing contentment in a wanting world is no easy job, but I would like to think that it can be done. How? By drawing closer to Jesus, the only One who can satisfy our ever-thirsty hearts.

Buying things is not bad. Having a Christmas wish list is not bad. Looking to the future and saving money for something is not bad. But, when is enough enough? When will we have enough? Is there such a thing as having enough?

Even those who “have it all” want more.

This post is not meant to come to any sort of conclusion, but just to recognize and point out the fallacies that are so often mistaken as “truths” in our world.

I am beginning to look deeper into what God says about contentment and satisfaction, so here are a few truths that I came upon in my quiet time.

  • Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
  • Psalm 107:8-9 “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”
  • Haggai 1:6 “You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but never have enough; you drink, but never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm.”
  • Joel 2:26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.”

Dear friends, I pray that we learn to live in a way that pursues peace and contentment rather than living in want. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

Love,

Jennifer

Brighten Your Smile At Home + Giveaway

One of my favorite things to do when I am feeling stressed, overwhelmed or low is to pamper and take care of myself. This doesn’t mean that I go to the spa or even the nail salon; it simply means that I take the time out of my day to do something nice for myself.

I love to paint my nails, put on a face mask, and take a long, hot shower. I had never thought of teeth whitening as a way to “pamper” myself, but after Smile Brilliant reached out to me and I started using their product, I noticed that this is something that has been missing in my self-care routine. After all, nothing like a pearly-white smile to increase your level of confidence!

Having that whiter and brighter smile may seem hard to achieve, but in reality, it really isn’t, especially with companies like Smile Brilliant! They save you the trip to the dentist and the high cost of teeth whitening, as each of their packages are priced under $200!

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The first step in the process is to make the “molds” for your teeth, with the putty included in the package. After sending it off in the pre-paid package, Smile Brilliant mails the custom trays back to your home and they arrive within a couple days. Here comes the fun part: the whitening process!

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To be honest, the process took some getting used to. This is the first whitening product I have ever used, so my teeth and gums were a bit sensitive towards it. However, after shortening the amount of time that I spent whitening my teeth in one sitting and using coconut oil on my gums before and after, I noticed a difference in how my teeth and gums felt after I used the product.

I started using the product nearly every other day, while I was doing chores, working on homework or watching t.v. This process is super user-friendly, as it requires no “extra” time taken out of your day and you can do it all at home! Within a couple uses, I started noticing my teeth looking brighter!

I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a simple, easy-to-use and affordable whitening product. This product not only helped my teeth become whiter, it also boosted my confidence and made me want to smile more!

In addition, the customer service behind the company is incredible. I was in contact with someone who gave me tips on how to adjust the process according to my needs and comfort level. They made sure to update me telling me when my trays were shipped and when they would arrive by. They also emailed me to “check-in” and see how the process was going. I felt very appreciated and respected by the Smile Brilliant team as a blogger and as a customer!

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Some helpful tips for those who are interested in trying out this whitening program:

  • Limit the foods that are prone to stain teeth. These are foods and drinks such as barbecue sauce, berries and coffee. If coffee is something that cannot live without, try drinking it out of a straw while taking a part in this whitening process.
  • Stay consistent. It took me a bit of time to find a set schedule or time of day when I would whiten my teeth, but I found that nighttime was the best time for me. Try to pick a time or several days of the week where you know that you will have time to whiten your teeth!
  • Use coconut oil. Your teeth and gums may not be as sensitive as mine are, but it is important to use coconut oil or vaseline to protect the rest of your mouth during this process.

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See the difference?! This whitening kit will transform your smile, causing you to feel more confident in yourself! Just remember, you are never fully dressed without a smile!

One lucky reader will be able to win their own Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit! All other entries will be given a discount at checkout for their purchase too, so everybody wins!

To enter, fill out this form: https://www.smilebrilliant.com/g/herstyledstory 

For $15 off your purchase, use the code “herstyledstory15” at checkout!

Love,

Jennifer


Teeth Whitening Reviews

Things I’m Loving Lately–Oct. 2017

There’s some things in my life that are my current faves and go-tos in fashion, music, food and other random categories!

  1. Chicken noodle soup: I was sick a couple of days ago, so I ate a lot of chicken noodle soup, but even after feeling better, I’ve been eating it a lot! I think I forgot about how great of a comfort food it is, while being reasonably healthy and affordable. I’ve been adding some frozen veggies in it to get some more nutrients too!
  2. The Daily: This is a podcast on Spotify by The New York Times and I have been listening to it a lot lately. There is a new episode daily, and it basically covers the recent political and social happenings. I have never been one to read the newspaper, watch the news or be involved in politics at all, for that matter, but I feel as if this podcast does a good job at explaining the situation in simple terms and getting educated opinions on the topic. Also, the host’s voice is very soothing to listen to, so that’s a plus.
  3. Vitamin Water: Again, this is something that I was drinking when I was sick, but I really like these! I feel hydrated and energized when I drink these and it adds a bit of variety to my two most favorite drinks: coffee and water. My favorite flavor that I’ve tried (so far) is kiwi-strawberry.
  4. Punny Halloween Costumes: I love a good pun. I’ve been seeing a lot of good ones on the internet lately and now I’m just trying to choose which one to be. Pig in a blanket? Ceiling fan? Taco Belle? So many choices.
  5. Glee: I’ve been re-watching glee on Netflix recently, mainly because I miss musical theatre and being in an a cappella group. It’s so bittersweet to see the actors so young, but they are incredibly talented and so fun to watch! Also, it is a pretty light-hearted show, and at this point in the semester, that’s what I need.
  6. Cozy Cardigans: Even in this not-so-cold “fall” that we are having in Arizona at the moment, I have been reaching for my cardigans recently. I love being cozy and bundled up in the mornings and in lecture, even if it means sweating a bit walking from class to class.
  7. “Seeing Blind” by Niall Horan: Ya’ll, this song is great. It is my absolute fave jam right now and I love the harmony in it! Give it a listen, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
  8. Jumpsuits: An outfit all in one? YES PLEASE. Jumpsuits are probably my favorite clothing item right now, and they can be layered with jackets and sweaters to transition to cooler weather! You will probably be seeing some jumpsuits in outfit posts very soon.

What are your recent faves? Let me know, so I can check them out too!

Love,

Jennifer

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Life Update + Mental Health

In this blog post, I am writing about my personal journey involving mental health. I am writing to shed light and truth on the unfortunate reality that mental illness is real, it is hard, and it is not a reflection of who you are or who you are not.

At the beginning of my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with mild depression. I had gone to see a counselor in the last two years of high school, but my problems, struggles and feelings kept overwhelming me more, until I felt like I couldn’t handle them, even with the love and support of others around me. In the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, I wasn’t myself. I didn’t want to leave my house, didn’t push myself to try new things, and I was terrified of having to leave home and go to college.

After going to see a psychiatrist, I was prescribed an anti-depressant. While things did not get better immediately, I felt different and more like myself than I had in a while. In my sophomore year of college, I was diagnosed with anxiety and I started taking a new medication that helped me have a better handle on both of these illnesses.

These last couple years have been a battle with mental illness. I’ve gone in and out of periods of being completely fine to having tendencies where I feel like I am about to go into that downward spiral that I fear once again. Sadly, these last couple weeks, and maybe even months, I identify with the latter option.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve felt unproductive, restless, exhausted and disconnected, but I’ve attempted to push past it and encourage myself to keep going. I attempted to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” and try to be the person who I wanted to be: fearless, busy, productive, and present. Despite all these efforts, the other day, I broke down. I realized that I wasn’t okay. I realized that I was terrified of being depressed again and of facing my emotions. I also realized that I haven’t been very kind to myself, as I haven’t properly “checked in” with myself in the last month. I also realized that I haven’t been following my own advice, which is to schedule in times of rest.

I realized that something had to change. 

And something already has: I let others in and I told them how I was really feeling. I am proud of myself for doing something in these last few days: reaching out to others and asking for help. A close group of friends comforted and loved on me in my time of need and my mom dropped everything to come into town and stay with me for a night. I’ve scheduled some appointments with doctors and with the help of others around me, I know that things will get better and that this (whatever “this” is) is not my fault and it is not something I can fix by my own efforts. 

I’m writing this post to update you all on my life, while also saying that it is okay to not be okay. To be completely honest, I can’t do everything I normally would like to do right now. I haven’t blogged as frequently as I would like, I haven’t hung out with as many people as I wish, I haven’t been as productive as I desire myself to be, because I don’t have it in me right now. I’m learning how to say no, even if it disappoints others. I’m learning how to say yes to putting myself and my physical and mental health first.

And man, oh man, it is one of the hardest things that I have ever done and I’m absolutely terrible at it, but I am attempting and trying to say no to others and opportunities for the sake of my health and my future.

If you would like to talk to me or read more posts from me about mental health, feel free to reach out to me. Know that you are not alone in this broken world and that you are not defined by mental illness.

Love,

Jennifer

One of my favorite verses, that gives me hope in the midst of pain and uncertainty:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles!” Psalm 103:1-5

 

How to Rest in College

The topic of rest is not often talked about in our world. The majority of people and blog posts will tell you how to move forward, keep pressing on in the stressful times, and how to strive towards a more fruitful and successful life. The world will tell you to do MORE, but I’ve learned that the only way to do more is to let myself rest first.

College is a stressful time, and more often than not, my day is packed from 7 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Friday. With a schedule like this, many of you may ask, is time for rest available, attainable or practical in college?

In this blog post, I will answer these questions while also providing ideas on how to rest while maintaining your full schedule!

  1. Make rest a priority: Just like everything else in life, if something isn’t a priority, it will not be accomplished, especially as a college student when there are always things to do. Save room in your schedule to rest and relax, at least a couple times a week. Plan for the times of rest before your week even begins, and think of them as “non-negotiable” periods in your day.
  2. Define what rest means to you: It could mean taking a nap, getting a cup of coffee with some friends, or watching Netflix. For me, it is being outside, talking with friends, or reading and journaling. Clarify what gives you rest and makes you feel refreshed afterwards, and keep these options in mind.
  3. Take a second look at your schedule: Is there enough margin in your life? Is there enough time every couple days to stop and breathe for at least 30 minutes? If not, find out practical ways to make these times throughout your day and week. Some examples of this would be to wake up earlier to journal or have a quiet time or using meal times as a period of time to stop and relax.
  4. Learn how to say no: A million and one clubs and programs will ask you to join, especially near the start of the semester. Learn how to say no. In one of my college advice posts, (see here) I mentioned the importance of researching and looking into things that interest you, even before you leave for college. It is vital to your success as a student that instead of saying “yes” to everyone and every opportunity, set a list of priorities on what kinds of things you want to accomplish or be a part of in college.
  5.  Give Yourself Grace: If you are in need of rest, restoration and a time to relax, give yourself the freedom to take a break once in a while. Don’t go to that club meeting this week, go to bed at 9 PM and feel free to say no to a hangout with your friends once in a while. Taking a break shouldn’t make you feel guilty or lazy, but instead, reenergized and motivated to keep going.

College is a time of constantly being on the go, but everyone needs time to breathe. In order to succeed, move forward or be productive, rest is absolutely necessary.

I want you to know that this is something I am still trying to figure out. I don’t give myself enough margin, grace or time to rest. However, I have noticed that I am happier, more pleasant to be around, and more successful when I take care of myself and listen to what I need everyday. I notice that I become the best version of myself when I give myself time to relax, which motivates me to prioritize rest.

Rest is something that I will consciously have to choose to do, perhaps for the rest of my life, and I challenge you to do the same.

Love,

Jennifer

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Tank and Shorts: Loft // Sandals: Target // Necklace: Francesca’s

 

Back to the Basics

The last couple weeks, I took a bit of a break from blogging and interacting on social media and I learned a lot. 

I learned that “going off the grid” is necessary at times and my life won’t fall apart if I don’t post a photo on Instagram once a day. I realized that life in the moment is much sweeter than it is behind a phone or on social media. I was reminded that my life didn’t need to be on display for the world.

I also recognized the fact that I missed blogging and the Instagram community that I have grown to know and love. I missed it more than I thought I would.

But, I realized that I had missed the point of blogging for some time now. I started this blog as a creative outlet, not as a business venture. I wasn’t hoping to make money off of it, nor did I have a plan in mind for extreme growth.

Making profit from a blog and focusing on methods of growing your audience is perfectly fine, but it is just not for me. Of course, I would love for this blog to reach a greater audience, but that isn’t the goal, at least not right now.

I’m a full-time student, with a job on the side. I am invested in a club on campus, in my social life, in my studies, and in my health, both physical and mental. I am not invested in making my blog a business.

But, I am invested in creating meaningful content and expressing myself creatively and genuinely. Even if my dad is the only person who reads every post (no lie, he LITERALLY reads and responds to every post :), I am still going to make content.

So, folks, I’m back. And it feels good.

Here’s what you can expect from me in the future:

  • life updates
  • college advice posts
  • productivity/intentional living posts
  • affordable style and fashion posts

Thanks for reading and supporting me through this change!

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

Love,

Jennifer