I Quit.

I do not consider myself a quitter. I have never been one to quit projects I'm working on, stop in the middle of an argument, or give up on something that seems really hard. I will never quit a relationship or stop pursuing a dream just because it gets difficult. I believe in endurance and finishing strong in everything I do, because life can get pretty messy and dare I say, unbearably hard at times. Thus being said... I am quitting my fashion blog.

WHAT?! After everything I've invested in?? The effort, the money, the connections, the time... Why would I choose to throw it all away after an entire year dedicated to this dream? 

You may think that this is my perspective on it, heck, it may be your perspective. But I feel quite the opposite. It came to me within an instant.

If you hadn't noticed, I haven't been posting anything on my blog recently. A couple months ago I started to feel distraught, a loss of direction, an uneasiness in my spirit about it, so I decided to take a break from my fashion blog. After 2 months, I now feel quite differently than I did when I started it all. I went in to this blogging world looking for something. I had always wanted to pursue some sort of fashion hobby, and I knew that blogging would be a great start to that. And it was! For a while I was really pushing myself to break out of my reservations towards self expression, to try things that I would usually be afraid of trying because of what people would think of me. I really did find freedom to become bold and unafraid of what others would perceive of me based on what I wear or write. But, as I continued to learn more about the fashion blogging industry, I learned it was much different than I expected it to be. I had been craving some deep freedom of expression, and though I experienced that for a little, I started to find a lot more boundaries and equations to creativity... which is why I want out. I want out of the realm of Social Media that has created a monster, dressed in boutique-branded clothing. I know, that's a pretty harsh thing to say. But I really mean it. What I thought was going to give me a sense of self expression, actually started making me feel like I had to look and sound like everyone else. And I didn't even notice it was happening! I wanted my blog to be successful, I wanted to be able to reach as many people as I could with my message of freedom. Wouldn't you? Well, I have learned that we cannot look like the thing we are trying to fight against if we have a completely different message than what that thing represents. There are lines you just cannot cross with the world if your message is not of this world.  

I will not speak for every fashion blogger. Through my experience, I truly did find some women and companies that I still look up to today who have changed my perspective of self-expression forever and given me hope in deeply believing in myself. But I also found a lot of sadness through my fashion blogging experience. There are more women these days that struggle with deep rooted insecurity than I have ever experienced in my entire life. And I blame social media. Completely. I love photoshop, it's literally my job to work within Adobe to create awesome stuff. But COME ON PEOPLE! Now, women have been using it to literally lie about what they look like to the people scrolling their Instagram pages and blogs. There is now a completely FALSE expectation to all girls that they should look a certain way. It's not realistic. It's close to impossible without obsession or self-mutilation to reach these body-image goals, and it is corrupting the women we interact with everyday, the women we love. My sisters, my friends, my co-workers, young girls I babysit, moms, all the women you know are susceptible to the lies of social media that tell them to be skinnier, have a teeny waist and a huge butt and big boobs and fat lips. Oh, and at the same time, you can eat large cheeseburgers and "Netflix and chill"  all the time and drink tons of Rose and always be tan and spend all your money on contour kits and shiny new shoes with feathers on them that you can only wear once and then they get destroyed...does this seem realistic to you? I didn't think so. I'm still trying to figure out how these women do it all, it seems so exhausting! 

To get down to it... I realized that I really do not fit into the category of women I was representing. I am not someone who cares about makeup or having all of the latest trendy items or getting a waist trainer or representing brands or anything like that. I AM someone who cares about pure and honest freedom of expression, not fitting to a mold, taking GOOD care of your body and LOVING it. I really care about the women around me, and I don't want to encourage these standards that are unreachable and that do not at all look like the woman that I know God made me to be. I care about adventure, and maintaining a sense of wonder and awe. Life should be filled with new experiences, deeper peace than you knew before, humble friendship that grows old, oceans of unquenchable love felt by our tender Father towards us. I care about injecting magic into eyes of unbelievers and encouraging stale souls to find their wild. 

So with that, I quit. I shed the skin of the old, and I embrace the rawness of the new. I do not think this journey was a failed attempt, I still needed to find out about the tension between the two worlds I was straddling. Now I know what I am NOT. 

So here we are, at the end of the road. The moment I knew it was time. It was a Sunday morning, and I was at church. During worship, I asked God to say whatever was on His mind about me, to tell me what He was thinking. As I listened, this is what He said, "Anna, you are an artist. I am so enthralled by the way you express yourself through things you create. I love that you like to get messy with your hands, making things that are spurred on by your desire for wonder. I love your spontaneity and uniqueness and the way you fill life with color. I love to watch you seek the beauty of the earth with a deep peace in your spirit. You, my daughter, are a dreamer. Your dreams are much too big for you to carry alone, and much too lofty for earth. Your dreams are the beginnings of many stories that are to unfold. And you, Anna, are a story-writer. Your words are your greatest weapon, and your greatest source of marvel. It's time. It is time to give in to this woman, the one I see in you. You have explored the this land for long enough. It is time to move on, to focus your eyes on the bigger story unfolding. The bigger dream. MY dream for you."

In an instant, I knew. I knew it was time to put this journey to rest. I had been feeling it for a little while, the tension. And finally in that moment, I felt deep in my spirit a release. The tension lifted. I now have a new journey in front of me, another discovery to make with Him. What will it be next? Who knows. Maybe all that really mattered anyways was the journey. The process to find truth, to find what He truly says about me. Maybe this whole thing was the crescendo that lead to the moment when I finally asked Him, "what do you think?". I know that He would plan anything to get my attention, just so He could show me how He feels about me. And for me, that is more than enough. It is poetry. It is the greatest kind of story, the kind that humbles the traveler through the masterpiece of the Earth-maker. It really is all about Him in the end...

What is to happen to my blog? I'll leave it running. I'm almost convinced that this blog was created so that whoever is reading it could just watch me go through the cycle of being imperfect, trying all sorts of weird things that may or may not succeed and always ending up getting floored by what God has to say and how it always contradicts the path I choose for myself. I think my stories are meant to bring light to the bigger one He is writing, and I want to share that process with whoever will listen. 

Lo Lo McFlo

It's so funny how God works sometimes. I think about how all that I know now was planned out before I was ever a thought or an idea. He's known me since before time, and He placed me in the exact family that only He could know would produce the person I am today. If I was the ruler of my own life, I would never ever have thought to put myself in the family I ended up in, with the mom and dad and siblings that I have now. But that's why He's so wonderfully better than us. He knows much more about us than we know about ourselves, and He know's what we're gonna need and when. I got blessed with my family, mess and all. And I love showing them off to the world. Below you'll find the transcription of an interview I did with one of the best humans I know, my sister Laura. She let me ask her a bunch of silly questions to get only the most beautiful answers that show the grace and wonder that is held within her. 

ANNA : So Laura, what do you want to tell me about yourself? 

LAURA : Hmm.. I guess I'll start off telling you about the things I love most about life. I aspire to cultivate dreams in people and live my life through dreaming. To have faith in the Lord to accomplish something that's impossible to do on my own. Seeing the impossible become possible is probably one of the most incredible things I think we can experience here on earth. So that's what I love about life, that we get to experience those things. What else about me? Well, I love LOOOVEE to cook! Just because I feel like it's the perfect mixture of creativity and organization. I love it because there is so much balance, you can be so free through expression or you can follow a certain pattern, and I love that. 

ANNA : I love that that's the first thing you think of to tell me. You instantly go deep and tell me what you love about life. Most people would be like, 'well, my favorite color is blue...' but you get right into it!

LAURA : Haha! The only reason why I do that is because I think it is so important to live out of passion. And to inspire passion. Because that is what adds value to life and what adds value to people. I like to ask deeper questions, the questions that require deeper answers.

ANNA : What else do you love? 

LAURA : I love to travel and to see other cultures and how they interact. And I love to see where different foods come from!

ANNA : What is it that you love most about this stage of your life?

LAURA : Well the first thing I think of is spontaneity. I feel like this place and season is just a circus of adventure and exploration and finding yourself, but also having fun relationships and doing whatever you want whenever you want! I just love the developmental years. You really step into who you are during these years, as well as figure out who you mesh with friendship and relationship-wise. What you like in life, what you don't, what you're good at... and I also think your 20's are the height of your health. You can run and not sleep and live on pure adrenaline and fun!

ANNA : That is so true! I really love being in my twenties as well. So why BIOLA?

LAURA : Mmm. That has been such an interesting question to think about... I am coming to learn that I am here at BIOLA for many reasons. For one, the Lord has provided for me in crazy ways to be here because He has a bigger purpose for me being here that I am supposed to continuously tap into. I am also learning the weight and privilege that it is to be taught things out of a biblical perspective. It's literally life changing. I will go from a Marriage and Counseling class to Theology, which describes why marriage is impactful in the Bible and what the Lord thinks about it. Then right after that I go to Psych of Family, and the classes all interlace. Underneath it all there is this predominant theme of Christ above all. It teaches me how we should live in regards to this truth over our profession and money and materialism and such. So those are huge reasons why I have come to know "Why BIOLA".

ANNA : Wow dude that is so crazy. There is such a beautiful story in your life unfolding... So Laura, tell me your friendship values!

LAURA : Ok! Well, this is also something I have come to learn more about this year. It is both so simple and yet so radical. One of my professors put it this way: Our value in communing should be to be interested rather than to be interesting. How profound that is! Our society has lost the importance of being interested in people, and instead they fight to be interesting. Through this mentality you lose the beauty of truly knowing others. In my friendships I hope and aspire to be interested in them and try to ask better questions and require deeper answers. To inspire people to gain knowledge of themselves through being friends with me. I want it to be an experience where they find themselves and the Lord more so through friendship with me. I think the value is being able to do life with people, but do it through their perspective, and we learn from knowing others that way.

ANNA : That perspective really is beautiful. Thinking that way really does change everything. Think about how precious each moment with someone would feel like if we lived like that, instead of rushing through it to prove something about ourselves. 

LAURA : Yes! Or becoming something you are not. It's not about you in the friendship, it's about getting to know THEM. You should already know you.

ANNA : What if you don't already know you?

LAURA : Exactly! I think that's where friendship gets messed up. People don't know themselves well enough and haven't found true confidence yet to know the differences that sit within the other person and the beauty of those differences. 

ANNA : So what makes you a good friend?

LAURA : I think my loyalty is one of my greatest attributes in being a friend. Honestly, if it were to come down to a close friend compared to a concert or a party or something, I would always pick to spend time with that person over everything else. It's funny because I'll be writing a paper or something and one of my friends will come and sit down with me and I'll be like, this is my value, this is more worth it, and I'll just push off my homework and not do it...

ANNA : Haha! Where do you think that stems from in your life?

LAURA : My dad probably. Just because I've seen the way he is so invested in us, but could potentially push off other things. Which, I don't really know if that's good or bad! I also think the Bolivian culture has something to do with it. It's the cultures I've been exposed to that have helped me to realize this: things on this earth fade, but people remain. We might as well take as much time as we can to invest in people, even over a job or work or having a steady income. 

ANNA : think about all the beauty and fascination that we miss out on because we're so self-absorbed and stuck in our own bubbles! 

ANNA : What is your biggest deepest dream? I know you have a lot... but what is the biggest one?

LAURA : On a grand scale, I would say to master the ability to combine my love for cooking and creativity into personhood: into rescuing, healing, and restoration. And that looks like the House. Bella's House. I think the reason why that is my biggest dream is because it is tapping into the spiritual realm, by allowing the Lord to completely ordain the entire dream without me tainting it at all with my humanity. To see that come to life and become a reality would rock my world in seeing who the Lord really is. And also my biggest dream is to know the Lord and all He can do, here on earth. The Lord reveals Himself so much to me through dreams, like the cooking one, and that's why I would want to develop the House so that I could help others to realize their dreams and how the Lord is in all of them. 

ANNA : So tell me, who is Bella and what is Bella's House?

LAURA : Well, that's a long story. 

ANNA : Try to say it in five minutes!

LAURA : Ha! Okay. So Bella is a promise. God's Promise. That's actually what her name means, and I think the promise is how the Lord takes brokenness and transforms and redeems it into wholeness. That comes through knowing who you are, realizing your dreams, then having community come along side and help foster your dreams, and finally sending you out to share with others. This Promise leads me to Bella's House. The House is a dream center for girls rescued from Human Trafficking to come and be a part of a community that is already strong and a leadership that is bonded in the unified vision. Through this house, the girls can be counseled through past trauma, hopefully receive healing through that process, and then be encouraged in their gifts and skills for their futures. God says that we are born into Sonship. And I believe once we accept this gift of Sonship, we are given a whole new life. I want, through the House, to help the girls find their identity and purpose, and then give them to tools to go out into the world and impact others with their talents and passions. And Bella is the reason why all of this started. 

ANNA : Tell me about her.

LAURA : She was a little girl my roommate Ashton and I read about about six years ago that we've been praying for this whole time. She got left in human trafficking after a raid where a group of people went in and tried to rescue as many girls as they could, but she was left behind. Since then we've been praying for her that she would find rescue, and even that the Lord would be near to her in the times we sense she's not out of the trade. She has come in the sense of dreams and visions to Ashton and I, literal and figurative ones. How do I explain it... it's acting upon what hasn't been seen. She is our piece of what has not been seen, but our actions have been spurred on because of her. To me, that is faith. I think through this the Lord took faith and put it into a tangible figure for us to then move based upon that one thing. 

ANNA : What age would she be now?

LAURA : She was 5 when we read about her, so she would be 11 now I think. 

ANNA : Do you think you'll see her someday?

LAURA : I do, yeah. I don't know when or how, it could be after we die for all I know, but I really believe that she is not the end goal of all of this, but she is definitely a reward of this dream if that makes sense.

ANNA : Yeah, it does. Wow Laura, I can't wait to see what comes of all of you and Ashton's dreaming for this House and for Bella. 

ANNA : You're stranded on an island. What three things do you bring with you?

LAURA : Oh man. I hate this question, it's so confining! Ok this is gonna sound cliche but my Bible would be one of them. Um... and a magic lamp that grants me three wishes.

ANNA : Haha niiice. 

LAURA : Hmm.. maybe rope? because rope is so useful. And then probably my family. that would be my third thing.

ANNA : That's cheating! it has to be only one thing...

LAURA : Haha gosh this is hard! OH a water purifier! that's what I would bring for sure.

ANNA : Oh I would for sure bring one of those too... good one. So what are your current views on dating?

LAURA : Okay. I have learned a lot about this subject in the past few years. I have been so sought after, and I have also been such a seeker in the dating realm. But I've come to this place recently, finally, where I am content in being open to having fun and letting the Lord teach me a lot from the opposite gender, but not being anxious in finding what I think I need. Because I think what we think we need usually isn't really what we need. I really think the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves in this department. He knows what kind of person we would do best with, and yet He tests us by making us wait for it. And trust me, I feel like I've waited long enough! Haha. I think it's healthy to not date seriously, but be with people and learn from them and relate to them and commune together, while remaining very honest and open throughout the process. I think that's a game changer. As long as your honest about where you are at and you're communicating that, I don't see how going on dates should be a problem. When it comes to serious dating though... that's a whole other answer that I'll have to get to later because I haven't figured that one out yet...

ANNA : Haha I don't know who really has figured that one out...

LAURA : True! I think that learning from the opposite gender is a truly awesome process. I think it reveals more about yourself than it does about the other person, honestly. But I am in a place where I am allowing myself to release my control and letting God have full control of that area in my life. I can honestly say that now, but I don't think I could a week ago! 

ANNA : What would you say your style is most like, in decorating and in fashion?

LAURA : Super caaash (casual)! Ooh, with decorating I love cool colors that make you feel cozy and warm. Lots of blues, whites, creams. When it comes to dressing, I will always choose comfortable over cute and sexy haha! I really like basic colors, black white and grey. Mayybe some blues thrown in there, but nothing else. I really do like simplicity. I think that our culture has robbed us of the beauty in simplicity, and has gone too complex. It says, change your hair, your face, change your boobs, your size, everything to go bigger and better in what isn't the raw and beautiful form that you were created to look like. Clothes are a distraction from that too, they can pull your attention and lose the beauty behind what you're wearing. 

ANNA : What do you do with your freetime?

LAURA : Freetime... what is that? 

ANNA : Hahaha!

LAURA : Can I tell you what I'd like to do if I had more freetime?

ANNA : Absolutely!

LAURA : I would read, draw, and cook. Those are the three things I WISH I had more time to do! 

ANNA : What would you read?

LAURA : All the Light We Cannot See would be the firs book, because everyone's been talking about how good it is. Gosh, I just have so many books besides that one that people have recommended, I would just go through the list I have. I would also spend more time with people. 

ANNA : What would you draw?

LAURA : Logos, I really like drawing logos! Because it's taking such a complex idea and making it simple. I like saying a lot within a little. Also, I would paint. I love to paint. I would hike, run, go to the beach more. Ugh, I would just sit there and do nothing. Or read. Yeah, that's what I'd do.

ANNA : Who are you most inspired by currently?

LAURA : I am inspired by Walt Disney. Going to Disneyland weekly is seriously therapeutic. I don't know how he did it, but I'm not even kidding, he would a way to bring everyone back to wonder. That is a very, VERY complicated thing to do in such an aggressive and progressive society. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. My professor was talking to me about this, how rare it is to stay in a state of wonder, but how life-changing it is. So he inspires me to do that. Also my professor inspires the CRAP out of me! Because he lives so authentically. He lives based upon himself, who he is, and at the same time values others for who they are, and it's incredible. 

ANNA : What's your go-to snack food? 

LAURA : Dangit. Wel here on campus it is...

ANNA : let me guess, bananas. and peanut butter and salt.

LAURA : YES! haha, it is! And toast. I don't know, with bananas you just feel healthy when you're eating them but they're also really filling... and they're light. And green bananas are the best, yellow bananas are disgusting. Green ones are tangy. So good. Toast, because it's also filling, with peanut butter, salt, and honey. A sweet and salty combination. And you can actually make it here on campus.

ANNA : What dish do you currently want to cook? 

LAURA : I want to cook Indian food really bad. Or Ethiopian. I just want to make a spread of all of the different dishes, like lentils and spicy meat and pitas. 

ANNA : Why do you like cooking? 

LAURA : Come onnn. Honestly there are so many components that make it amazing. You've got color, taste, smell, visuals, you've got the creative side of it where you can do so many things with just a few ingredients, and then you get to share an experience with someone. And the wonderful thing about cooking is that it's purely done for the sake of people experienceing it. So it brings people together. Like, think of any event: people always have food because it's what attracts a community. If you have food, you have people. I love what food does to people. It softens them, it breaks them down, and they're happy and together. 

ANNA : I would say half of my marital problems and fights happen because I get hungry haha.

LAURA : Haha! I could see that. It's so funny though, hunger is something we feel because we need something! Food is one of the most important things we need to survive.

ANNA : What do you like most about yourself?

LAURA : I like how the Lord has granted me the ability to maintain a sense of wonder. I think my innocence has allowed me to see beauty in very normal, not-beautiful things. I still feel like a kid so much of the time... growing up is a tricky game. It's hard because we allow people to trick us into thinking that responsibility is what brings maturity. But I think it's the exact opposite. Okay, not in the sense of responsibility, I just mean that I think growing down is growing up. The people that think you're weird and look at you weird for liking things like Disney, they've lost something. they've lost the ability to wonder why they are the way they are, or why God is the way he is. they've lost that beautiful sense of wonder. They become content with what life has to offer. If we don't want to be content with life, then we have to be able to ask ourselves and seek out more, to be in that state of wonder like a child is. 

ANNA : What's your biggest flaw?

LAURA : Oh man, where do I begin. I am irre-frickin-responsible. I forget things all the tiiime! Daily. Like, daily. Important things. I can isolate myself too. That's probably my number one thing, it's that I think I am the best at taking care of myself. I think I'm the only one who lives up to the standard, but also fails at the high standard I set for myself. So I end up not trusting people, not trusting people to do what needs to be done or to stay with me. I'm the only one I can trust, and that's a huge flaw. I count on myself for everything, but then I so easily fail and let myself down in everything. So it's this vicious cycle. 

ANNA : Who is your biggest fan?

LAURA : You...

ANNA : hahaha! 

LAURA : No I'm serious! I look over my life, and the one person who has consistently believed in me the most has been you. You've always fought for me. You've always prodded me to know who I am, and to figure out who I am if I don't. And then share that with people and be confident in that. I've never received that more from anyone else. And that's crazy that that characteristic is what you want to give to other people, it's why you're doing this blog! I think it's because I've seen it throughout all of life that I can be confident about that. It's just in you, it's who you are. Your confidence overflows, and you want other people to do the same. To know themselves. So you push people to know themselves.

ANNA : Wow. This wasn't supposed to be about me... You're so nice. I love you for that, thank you.

ANNA : Who do you want to be like? 

LAURA : Jesus. Haha! Honestly though. The Man was incredible. But if I had to pick a normal person, I would say... honestly anyone that I've read about who drops everything to pursue their dreams and who the Lord helps to get there. Like, I read about this woman who dropped everything and moved to Africa and adopted 12 boys. She's not married, she's 21, she started a House, it's incredible. 

ANNA : Do you wanna be a mom?

LAURA : Oh that's scary... but yes. Do I feel capable? No. 

ANNA : What are your goals of being a mom, or what kind of mom do you want to be?

LAURA : I think above all else I want to be a selfless mom. I want to be one that puts them before me, but knows the balance between how much I can give and giving it all in those moments, and taking breaks too. You can't just go go go and expect yourself to be %100 all the time. And I've been learning a lot about that... we expect ourselves to give at %100 even when we are running on %50. So to find that kind of balance between giving and resting. And to teach that in my kid. Oh my gosh, I can't even think about that it's so crazy to think about having kids someday! 

ANNA : Ha I know! One of my favorite things over the past however many years, has been watching you nanny the three kids Cooper, Inga and Sydney in Colorado. 

LAURA : Why is that?

ANNA : Because you always have the most creative ideas of how to have fun! Can you share some of those with me? and share what kind of traditions you wanna build? 

LAURA : Mmm. Well I want to have a little thing we do. Like our little secret between the two (or however many) of us. It will depend on what they are like though! Like what they like to do the most, I want to harvest that. If they like to draw, I want to create a whole room where they can draw in. Draw on the walls, and create maps and give them to people.. I don't know, things like that. But I also want to teach my kids about what I love, like the beauty of cooking. So we'll have "Fruit Fridays", where we'll go to the grocery store and I'll let them pick any fruit they want out of the whole store, then take it home and figuring out with them how to create something to eat out of it. Mostly deserts I'm thinking, because kids love sweets. Just so that they can love and see the process! I have been in this Psych of Family class and it talks about raising kids. The European culture heavily teaches their children how to create entertainment with the things around them. So I really do not want a heavy influence of technology in the home.. I'd want basic ingredients of fun in the home. Going on bike-rides, making forts, traveling with them, playing outside. Kids just care about if you are there, so if you're there, anything is fun. And I would want to set that kind of culture in my future home. 

ANNA : Okay, last question. Do you have any pet peeves?

LAURA : Oh, I have so many pet peeves. Living with a roommate has helped me realize what annoys me. And they're like the stupidest things ever! One of them is when I can hear someone flossing. The plucking sound? I HATE that! Also, when people clean their teeth. It's such an intimate area of your face, like just do it in private! 

ANNA : Haha I haaaate that! 

LAURA : I hate when people can't look at me in the eyes when they're talking to me. It just gives off the vibe that they're not interested in what they're saying and they aren't fully engaged. Also when freaking people in LA drive in the rain... they drive as if there was a tornado! all over the road! they go 10 miles an hour when its 80! I hate slow drivers, it's ridiculous. When people chew with their mouths open.. wow I have a lot haha. 

ANNA : Literally can't stand slow drivers... 

LAURA : OH. I HATE PHONES. when people are on their phones and they miss all these beautiful things in the world and god conversations and stuff! 

ANNA : Ok, officially taking that as advice. Less phones! 

 

 

Summer Florals

I'm thinking this summer is gonna be one filled with lots of dresses! I work in an office where we aren't allowed to wear shorts, and I want to still feel like my legs are breathing during the hotter months. I love dresses as an option because they keep things classy while still feeling comfy and free ;) I got this Million Reasons floral dress from 2 Weeks Notice and really love the floral print! It's also a perfect length, not too short and not too long. 

2 Weeks Notice is such an inspiring company. On top of selling really cutes clothes, they have a blog where they share women's stories of becoming who they are today, which is something I am very passionate about doing. I had the opportunity to share my story (along with some photos of this dress) on their blog, and things got really real. I love vulnerability, and I love having the chance to challenge myself in that area. Please go check out the blog post on their site and read some of my story by clicking This link. I love being able to see life through the perspective of telling a story, and I hope you are inspired and encouraged by my humble and unfinished journey. 

Studded Embroidered Leather

Sometimes I try and pinpoint what my fashion style is. I will admit, I love and also strongly believe in consistency. I know how valuable it is to stay cohesive. There are definitely certain styles that I tend to gravitate towards, like grungy clothes, floral patterns, comfy casuals, or texture play. However, I am very much a feelings-wearer. I usually dictate my outfit based on what I am feeling that day, because I view fashion as self-expression. I like to think I can be anyone I want to through the outfit I choose to wear. Sometimes I feel really sweet and mellow, so I'll wear a flowy dress and neutral sandals. Other times I feel daring and full of energy, so I'll wear a bright colored top with sparkly (or light-up) shoes to channel my joyful spirit. Or sometimes I feel really BA, like I could kick down a door or get a really big tattoo, so I wear black booties and a leather embroidered jacket, like the one in this post. I know this means that I don't always have one set style trend I fit into... But who cares?! Every day I wake up and get to emphasis a part of myself that I really like, and I don't have to fit into anyone's boundaries. It brings me peace and confidence when I focus more on expressing myself and less on fitting in. 

I am seriously loving the embroidery fad happening. It makes any piece a statement piece, and they go great with white, black, and grey clothes (which makes up about 75% of my closet...:)). This jacket I found at Forever21 is currently my staple date night jacket! click the links below for more cute embroidered leather. 

UO - As You Wish Moto

ASOS - New Look Biker Jacket

TopShop - Lace Embroidered Jacket (on sale!)

Zara - Embroidered With Frills

SheIn - Rose Applique Biker Jacket

Nasty Gal - Wooster Oversized Moto

If you agree or disagree with me, want to know you're thoughts on this! What styles do you identify with? Do you wear what you feel or do you like to stay more cohesive to one style? It's always fun to see what other people's fashion sense looks like :) comment below! 

Summer Skin Hydration

Who's ready for the LAKE???!!!! I know I am! I'm counting down the days until I can step into the cool, calm water of Lake Michigan and read books on the sand. With summer being just around the corner, I've been on the hunt for all the essentials: new swimwear, good reads, the best beaches, and the right products to keep my skin hydrated and healthy while it gets crispy in the sun! I don't know about you, but I hate the struggle (and the feeling) of dry skin. A few of my friends and I tried out some product from Dr. Jart+ and totally fell in LOVE! I tried out the Micro Gel Cleanser and Tiger Grass Cream, and had to share my excitement about how it made my face feel.

When I go to the lake, I don't put on an entire face of makeup, but I do like to wear a little waterproof mascara. I hate how long it takes to take it off with an oil-based makeup remover though. Thankfully, Dr. Jart's Micro Gel Cleanser is a gel formula that deeply cleanses and eliminates impurities as well as removes long-wear, waterproof makeup. The bonus: it contains a moisturizing capsule that moisturizes your skin as you take off your makeup. All you have to do is apply it with water and massage it over your face while it's damp. Wash it off, and your'e good to go!

After I took off all the makeup, I used the Tiger Grass Creme to keep my skin from getting irritated. GUYS. This creme is life changing. Usually you use this creme after using the toner and serum from Dr. Jart+, but I had to try it out after using the gel cleanser. And believe me, it's gonna be my best friend after long hours in the sun. It's purpose is to soothe skin that is sensitized from external environmental stressors, like too many rays by the water :) I am so happy that I can spend long hours outside this summer without having to sacrifice my skin, thanks to this incredible cream! 

I'll be posting more reviews in the next couple weeks on Dr. Jart+ products, so stay tuned! You can buy all these products and more Here or visit your local Sephora to purchase any of their products.

Cuz It's Sneaker Night

Anyone remember that music video by Vanessa Hudgens for her song "Sneaker Night"?! Yeah well I just got these shoes that make me feel like there needs to be a remake with them... LIGHT UP SNEAKERS PEOPLE. They're a thing and I'm alllll about them! I'm seriously jazzed about this version of the light-up sneaks from Filly Flair. I have big plans for them this summer.... long runs at 12am, wearing them to bed as a night light, wearing them to work to make everyone jealous... it's gonna be LIT. Literally.  

I like to run outside, and I found this lightweight zip-up breathable hoodie from Target for the colder weather. The leggings are from H&M, and my all-time FAV sports bra from Victoria's Secret. I really struggle with my body type to find sports bras that truly give me the support I need when working out, and the best ones I've ever gotten are from VS. If you're bigger in the chest, I know you feel my pain (literally)! It is so uncomfortable to run or do high-movement workouts that don't leave you sore. I am here to tell you that there is HOPE! Shop this link to get a maximum-support sports bra. 

I am always looking for cute workout gear, because there's so many things that I do that call for different types of workout pieces. But I HATE how expensive they tend to be! If you know what I'm talking about, than you'll appreciate the list I made below of all the places I have found to have reaaaallly cute workout gear with great prices! You're welcome. 

H&M : Shop This Link

Old Navy : Shop This Link

Victoria Secret : Shop This Link

Forever 21 : Shop This Link

Boohoo : Shop This Link

Something I want to talk a lot more about here is my passion for living a healthy lifestyle. I have always really valued being a healthy person and staying consistent through healthy behavior. From eating habits, regular exercise, feeding my brain with learning, to counseling and an alive prayer life, I place value in the things that keep us healthy individuals. It is my goal to always be nourishing my body, mind, and soul with good things on a daily basis, for the rest of my life. Wether that be with organic produce, a new book, 25 minutes of cardio or 5 minutes of audible and inner silence with the Lord, I have realized how important it is to just stay consistent with these things and make the act of doing them a habit instead of a phase. It is really tough sometimes to stay consistent, and I go through seasons where my consistency in some of these areas is really lacking. Change in my life or seasons of travel always bring more of a challenge in keeping up with good habits. It is always hard to find time to workout or meal plan, and it can also be expensive. There will ALWAYS be excuses and reasons why I shouldn't. But I will always be dedicated to the process and fighting for consistency. All it takes is a lot of little, daily decisions!

Finest Hour Lace Up

If you didn't already know this, Jon and I just recently moved to Michigan. It's been a crazy adventure! One thing I have been realizing is that I now have no idea where to shop locally for cute clothes! It's definitely going to take some time getting used to the area and getting to know the good places to find stuff. Because of my unfamiliarity to the new town, I have been enjoying shopping online for clothes, specifically at online boutiques! Listen guys, if you like affordable prices for carefully selected styles of clothing pieces, boutiques are really the way to go. I have recently been collaborating with Filly Flair, a super cute online boutique run by Laura Benson. Laura is passionate about finding comfortable, high quality designs that make all women feel pretty throughout any season of life. I really enjoy the collection of clothes Filly Flair has to offer, because there is such a great mixture of styles that I love. From floral prints, cozy sweaters, an assortment of booties, colorful purses, to flowy spring tanks and tunics, there's a ton of cute options to add to your wardrobe without breaking the bank. They even have kids clothes and bridesmaid dresses, plus there's free shipping on orders over $50! 

Ok so I am very excited for spring to get here, and I have been looking for some lightweight sweaters that would keep me warm without having to wear a coat. This one is not only ADORBS but it's so soft and comfy! I love the lace-up front and the length. I also love the way the sleeves fit, they aren't bulky and and don't flare out at the wrist like some sweaters do. And right now it's on sale for less than $30! Shop it Here

I really like this sweater paired with a cute chunky heel. The ones I am wearing are from H&M (as well as my high-waisted black jeans), and you can find a similar style Here. The rancher hat is from Target, most likely bought when I was on a grocery run which instead turned into a shopping spree as per usual because... Target. ;) 

Mama Bird

Anna Asbury has been a great friend and leader to so many women, including myself. Though I do love sharing a first name with her, what I love most about knowing her is being able to see the deep well of love she has for Jesus and the graciousness she has towards others. And how could anyone not be proud to have a friend who looks this gorgeous when being pregnant?! 

A MOOS : Okay so, you're very obviously pregnant! how did you find out, and what's the story?

ANNA A : Well, Cory (husband to Anna) decided we should have more kids. Ha! It freaked me out a little bit because I wasn't sure if I was ready to be pregnant again. But we decided to give it a shot. I thought there was no way that I would get pregnant quick, I thought I'd have a good 8 or 9 months to prepare, because I did with Gabriel and Lily. So it's been like 3 or 4 weeks, and I get in the mail this gift registry from Target. I was like, what?? Cory was out of town and it was so weird but I started to feel sick. And I was like, no way, there's no way. So I took the kids and rushed to the store, got the pregnancy test, took the test, barely even looked at it because I just thought there was no way. A little later I took a look and sure enough, it said I was pregnant! 

A MOOS : Haha I didn't know that, that's so funny! What's your favorite thing to wear when your pregnant?

ANNA A : Well it depends on what time during the pregnancy it is! In the beginning, it needs to be flowy, because you just feel so bloated. Then, second trimester it feels better to wear more tight fitting things, because you want people to know you're pregnant. And then third trimester... leggings and stretchy pants haha! And dresses feel really great too.

A MOOS : Oh yeah that floral floor-length dress you were wearing the other day looked so good on you!

ANNA A : Yeah, dresses really do feel good at this point, or really at any stage. It's also best to wear them in the summer, because you can wear them every day if you want. 

A MOOS : What do you feel is different about yourself when you're pregnant?

ANNA A : I am unafraid to say anything! haha. Usually I have a pretty good filter, but when I'm pregnant and I'm feeling something, I have no apprehension about saying exactly what I'm thinking. Sometimes that can be really awesome because I will say things that I may usually be more afraid to say, like I'll tell people about Jesus and I'll go into situations that I normally would feel more apprehensive about. On the flip side, if someone annoys me, they're gonna know!

A MOOS : Haha! So tell me about Kate! What do you know about her so far?

ANNA A : Well, her name is Kate River, and we felt pretty early on that we were going to name her after my grandmother who was a missionary to Kenya. She was also one of the first woman-pastors in Ohio. And I feel that mantle on Kate. The River part was because we believe she is going to carry a peace like a river or a stream, and that who she is is going to be a really peaceful, restful person. That she would carry a strength about her, but it would come from this place of humility and kindness. And that she would be very much in touch with the delight of the Father. I'm also hoping that she'll be a great sleeper!

A MOOS : I hope that for her too! So Anna, you've told be about Kate. Now tell me about you! Who do you see yourself as? 

ANNA A : The first thing I would say about myself is that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, and I have really made that my first identity. Secondly, I am a mom. I used to not really like that, or I used to be afraid of that. I thought that being a mom meant I had to give up all of my dreams. But what I have realized is that family is the most important and beautiful thing that I could ever give my heart and my life to. My heart really comes alive in ministry, I love to sing and I love to paint and to worship, and there's parts of my heart that really come alive when I do those things. But what I've realized is that Jesus is about family. He spent 30 years of His life, doing things that no one really fully knows about, but we know He was with his family. We know that 3 years of His life was His ministry, and 30 of it was spent with the family He was born into on earth. And I think that's a beautiful picture of what the Kingdom is supposed to really look like. So for me, though it's taken a while, my first callings that I've loved to discover is being a daughter, a mom and a wife, and leading through serving.

A MOOS : See, this is why I love interviewing people. I have a really small and unintelligent and scared view of being a mom, but hearing you talk about it gives me so much insight that I could never have found on my own or known from personal experience.

ANNA A : Totally, I mean it is definitely harder than not having kids. But I think what our generation has lost is the gift to see the beauty of family. And also that there is no greater thing on this side of time, than to be able to love and raise and give yourself to other people. I have now been entrusted with little ones. I used to think that ministry and love looked like giving up me, giving up Anna, being selfless and being a servant and giving up my life. What I have learned is that I was selfish when I wanted to be seen a certain way, to have certain dreams or to give in a certain way. I just didn't know how family could fit within those boundaries. These dreams are still alive, I still do ministry and serve. But my little people are the best gift that was ever given to me, and I get to build a legacy through what I do. What I teach them will go from generation to generation. The gospel of Jesus is all about creating our family. If I can't learn how to do that with my own husband and kids, then how am I going to do that anywhere beyond them? Because the place here I get my strength is within my home, with the Father, with my husband, and with my kids. Everything else needs to be overflow of that. 

A MOOS : That is so beautiful Anna. I know you are talking about the family aspect of the things that create who you are, but tell me what you would like to do through your life to impact the people outside your immediate family? 

ANNA A : I would say that I want to aid others in finding their identity as sons and daughters. I would hope that my life would be an example of that, and that it would inspire people to discover that for themselves. 

A MOOS : What was the first worship song you ever wrote?

ANNA A : "Where I Belong"! Well, it was the first one that was ever recorded. Cory and I were leading a set and I was sitting there as we were singing on of Jason Upton's songs. All of a sudden I got this phrase as we were singing, "I finally found where I belong", and I just started weeping on stage. It was because I had been searching so hard and striving in my heart for where it was that I really fit. I felt like I had all of these gifts and talents, but I didn't know in what direction to go with any of them. I was searching and searching and wanting a place to belong so badly, but I was looking to my talents and looking to people to say, come belong here! But in that moment I felt the Father say, "You belong with Me. In my Presence is where you're going to find fullness and the most belonging." So I started to sing that, and then we wrote a song out of it!  

A MOOS : I can't believe that was your first song... Because it has really stood the test of time. I feel like it's just as good and powerful as it was when you first wrote it. 

ANNA A : Totally.

A MOOS : So when did you first discover your love for worship?

ANNA A : When I was a really little girl. My parents were both worship leaders, and so it's just been such a big part of my life ever since I was small. I was super little, and my parents would pull me onstage, and we'd sing together. In our house there was always worship going on. I think that's what has kept my heart steady and set on the Lord. I didn't really have a huge falling-out with God. I just have loved to worship Jesus ever since I was little. And when there were hard times and I did fall into sin, there was still a cry in my heart to be close to Him and near to Him. Every family has their negative things, but I am so thankful for my parents who taught me how to worship. 

A MOOS : And in return, you guys are teaching your kids how to worship too. I love seeing that. As far as worship leaders go, who would you say is your biggest inspiration?

ANNA A : I have a few, but I would say the biggest influence would have been the Helsers. When I was 13 I went to my first worship camp with them. They taught me how to worship without this religious mask, just to be myself. I loved their worship because it was so raw, so real and hidden. They weren't big back then. 

A MOOS : Yeah, I feel like they still don't feel big even though they are now.

ANNA A : Yeah, it's because they keep it so intimate, even though their song is one of the biggest in all the world right now. I would say they taught me to lead people into worship in such a real way, to know that it's not a show. And then another is Misty Edwards, because her songs got me through some of the toughest times. Just beautiful, intimate songs of love to Jesus. Lastly is Jason Upton. His worship taught me how prophetic worship is so powerful. How worship sets are more than one fast song and one slow song, that there is a real God who is here speaking right now, who is wanting to be heard and to touch us. I fell in love with real worship through those people. And Cory Asbury!

A MOOS : Haha! Speaking of Cory, what does it look like to share a similar profession as your husband? 

ANNA A : Well it didn't start out easy. We were both pretty selfish when we started out at ages 20 and 21, when we got married. But we've grown up together. At first it was hard because we had to figure out the place where we got fueled internally. The reason why is because a lot of the times when you're doing ministry together and doing things together that are so similar, it's so easy to feel like you're connecting or getting full off of the actual ministry. But then you kind of lose sight about what is really important and how to really connect as a couple. So, it was rocky at first because Cory isn't actually fueled from the big events and the the teaching and discipling, but I am. So there was some tension there. But the tension is beautiful. For instance, when you look at a guitar, the strings play beautiful music because there's tension. And that's Cory and I's marriage. There's a tension because I'm an extreme extrovert and he can be extroverted, but he swings more on the introverted side, which means he needs time alone to get fueled. So in the beginning, there was tension and the music didn't sound very good... but we learned how to play really pretty music together in the last 10 years because we figured out where we get fueled, where we connect. Some of the most beautiful times we've ever had have been when we have time alone with the Lord, and then we come together and we share the overflow of what the Father is speaking to us. We now can even say to each other, hey what's going on, maybe you need to go spend some time with the Father, that tension isn't sounding too good right now! So our story now is mostly about how we have learned in our home about the source and where the overflow of our life with God affects our ministry. If ministry takes the place of the overflow that happens within our home, with our kids, in our marriage, it creates that unhealthy tension. We can connect so much now through our ministry because of that overflow within our home.

A MOOS : What's your favorite thing about your husband?

ANNA A : His compassion! And his tender heart. Cory is very discerning of hearts, and he is very tender with hearing, with our children, with me, and I love that about him. A lot of people see this ferocious, courageous, intense and super joyful guy on stage, or if you have a conversation with him sometimes people can think, oh, he's a little intense. But I get to see the tenderness of his heart all the time. How he'll cry at the drop of a hat, you know, over anything, if God is breathing on it. So that's my favorite thing about him.

A MOOS : That's so cool I love that about marriage! It unlocks things about the other person or yourself that most people probably won't see. It's the coolest thing ever, as if you have a bunch of beautiful little secrets.

ANNA A : It's really fun! One of our close friends who was at IHOP with us came up to me once, and he goes, I think I finally figured you guys out! I've been working this out for a long time... I could not figure out how Cory and Anna work together. But I now know that it's because you two are opposites. And I was like oh yeah, how? Then he said,  a lot of people think that I'm the really tender one and Cory is the extremely intense one. We can both operate that way, but maybe deep down I'm the one that is tenacious. And Cory was actually the really tender one deep down. And we both even each other out. And I couldn't agree more with him!

A MOOS : Me too! So, what is your favorite thing to do with your kids?

ANNA A : I love to read to them. 

A MOOS : What do you like to read to them?

ANNA A : Well, at certain stages it's different. With Lily it's usually anything really. I love books for kids because it unlocks so much imagination. I love picture books because I love seeing all the art, and I love watching my kid's eyes when they look at them and seeing these other worlds come alive to them and inspire them. Now, with Gabriel, we can read these chapter books, where in his head he's imagining these stories and picturing himself in these places where he is the warrior or he's conquering far off lands or in the middle of the mystery. I think as a mom it's such a powerful teaching tool, but also it's just so fun to watch their little imaginations come alive with these stories and see these beautiful things erupt in their brains. That's one of my dearest times with my kids. I love seeing Lily as we read these stories of fairies and castles and seeing her imagine herself as a princess. It's so fun to walk into a bookstore and go, Ok Holy Spirit, what is the book for my child that's gonna speak identity and destiny over them? I also love watching my kids with art. I love seeing how it connects to them and watching them have a beautiful reaction to it. 

A MOOS : Do you think they would ever enjoy just walking through an art museum?

ANNA A : Oh yes I think so. I think it's because I have opened up that world to them and it's beautiful in their minds. They watch me paint, and they watch their mommy and daddy sing together. There's just a creative side that we have opened up to them that has caused them to fall in love with beautiful things, and they notice it. You can see God in everything and hear Him in everything, or you can actually miss Him in everything. So I've tried to teach them that, to cause them to have wonder.

A MOOS : As you were talking that was the word I was actually thinking of that I love about you and your family. I have always loved how you and Cory have decided to set that kind of culture of wonder with your lives. Even at such young ages, it's evident that your kids appreciate the beautiful things and that they always are looking for it. (Anna and I were sitting outside, and at this point we saw a few birds in the trees in front of us.) Oh, look at that bird! It's so beautiful.

ANNA A : Oh, it's a cardinal! I love them. Every time I see one, do you know what it makes me feel? 

A MOOS : What?

ANNA A : It makes me feel like God is saying "I love you" to me. The first time I ever saw one, I felt like God said something to me. He said that every time I see one, it's Him reminding me of how much He loves me. So when I've had a hard day, sometimes I'll look outside and see a cardinal out there, and I'll be reminded how loved I am by God.  

A MOOS : So Anna, Tell me a little bit about She Paints Virtue

ANNA A : Okay! Well, I am almost 31. And at 29, you think you've already discovered all of your gifts, and you just have to pick which one you really want to go after at that point. Well... God had a different plan for me. He decided at 29 that it was a perfect time for me to discover a new gift, through painting! It's really funny, I went to this wine and painting event, and the painting I did was so bad! So I left going, I know I can do better than that. And everyone was laughing at me like, sure Anna, if you say so. But I just had this strong feeling that I could definitely do better! So I went home and I started painting this deer. While I'm painting it, I feel the Holy Spirit resting on me in such a tangible way. I was like, ok, I'm paying attention Lord. By the way it was with Gabriel's six-pack water color set...

A MOOS : Haha! I feel like you went to that painting event and didn't do your best because you weren't working with the right medium. You needed watercolors!

ANNA A : Yeah! And I was trying at that place to paint a picture that someone else had vision for, and it just wasn't working. So, I got done with my deer painting and was shocked with the results. I sent it to Cory and he was like, you did not just paint that... and I was like yes, I did! And I felt the Holy Spirit so strongly when I did, I think there's something more to this. So then we go to Israel right afterwards, it will be 2 years ago in August. While we were there, one of the guys on the trip who's a business guy has a word over me. He starts talking about how the Lord is going to use me in the arts, and he says to me, I don't know what you do, but I feel like God is gonna blow up a business that you're going to steward and you didn't even know that this was in your heart, but God sees it and has given it to you as a gift. And I am like woah... I hadn't even told anyone including Cory about some of the things in my heart pertaining to this, but this guy just brought it all up. So in the next few months I continued to paint, and then I felt like the Lord gave me a name one night when I couldn't sleep. I heard Him say it's gonna be called "Virtue", because what you are doing is you are painting these virtues. Even though you aren't painting specific words, people are gonna see and feel the virtue behind it. They'll feel inspired for justice and courage, and love and hope and compassion. Or they will feel like you are prophesying over them. And what I felt most is that I would do this over children. That I would be able to paint something for children that would be in their rooms and in their homes that they would see daily, and it would speak identity over who they are. So, I don't know exactly where it's gonna go, I have big dreams for it, but for now I'm just being obedient and I'm sending paintings out all over the world and praying that they bring hope and prophesy and life to dark places.   

A MOOS : I can speak for myself in saying that this was an obvious Holy Spirit-driven gift. I have been familiar with painting and lots of different kinds of art forms, and I have never seen anyone pick up watercolor as easily as you did.

ANNA A : It is definitely from Him, the Lord has really taught me everything about how to paint. I want to obviously be diligent to learn more, you know, now that I have this gift I want to steward it well. But the gift is really from Him.

Anna sells original paintings and prints on her Etsy site, and you can check it out Here. The process of the paintings is important and precious to her, and she pours herself into creating as well as praying over the right painting and feel for the pieces she creates. It is so evident that the Lord speaks through each one of her paintings, I encourage you to check them out! You can also follow her on Instagram Here for sneak-peeks of upcoming projects she's working on. 

 

The Turtleneck

One of the reasons why I chose to call my blog "Hello Funny Face" was because I LOVE Audrey Hepburn, especially in her movie called Funny Face. I'm a huge fan of classic movies and old Hollywood films, and this one is truly spectacular. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend pouring yourself a glass of wine on a rainy day, snuggling up on the couch in a fuzzy blanket and renting this one on iTunes with your girlfriends! There's a scene where Audrey's character dances in a Parisian club wearing an all black turtleneck outfit, and whenever I wear a turtleneck I think of that scene.  

Though this is a turtleneck, it feels like you're wearing a t-shirt! It's really soft and comfortable. I bought mine in-store at H&M, and I've linked a similar one here. This skirt is a black suede material, also really comfy and a great length for a shorter skirt. 

What I really like about this outfit are the shapes represented. The turtleneck, buttons, pom-pom earrings (how CUTE are they?! Buy them here), pointed shoes and polka-dot ruffled socks. It's like an abstract painting, you kind of just have to do what you feel when you put it together, and let it be interpreted however it wants to be by observers. Dressing up is an art form.  

BTW, really loving the socks and heels trend combo. If you're a fan but can't find any cute socks, fear not, I've linked a bunch of options below! 

FISHNET ANKLE

BLACK BALLERINA LACE-UP

SHEER PINK POLKA DOT

SHEER GLITTER ANKLE

2 STRIPE ANKLE

Beach Babe

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a trip to LA to hangout with my sister and my friend Ashton Strutz. I love these two girls with my whole heart, sometimes it hurts how much I love them! I've seen them go through so many phases of life, and i couldn't be more proud and inspired by who they are both becoming. I lived with Ashton and her family a few years ago, as well as traveled to Africa with her for a missions trip. Both experiences only grew our friendship deeper, and I have come to know Ashton as one of my bestest friends. So when I visited her in LA I knew I had to take some cute photos of her in her element and interview her a little bit about who she is so I could show her off! 

ANNA : So Ash, It's your birthday. The big Two-O! This week we spent some time celebrating your birthday. How do you feel about being 20?!

ASHTON : Eh. I don't know. It's weird because I feel like a lot of my friends freaked out when they turned 20. I know, it's a big deal. It feels like you're no longer a teenager. But because I've seen so many people go through that, I wasn't as freaked out. I think I was more prepared. But then again, I also don't feel like a 20 year old. 

ANNA : Really? How old do you feel?

ASHTON : Haha I have no idea... just younger I guess. 20 sounds big once I say it. But in my head I think I just feel a bit younger. Honestly, I think I just look younger. You know how when you're a kid, and you think of being 16 or 20 and you think to yourself, oh those people are so old! And you paint a picture of what it would look like... now here I am and it's really not like that. So it's not that my personality feels young, it's just weird to think about how I used to think of 20 year olds, and it doesn't feel like that. 

ANNA : Yeah! That's how I feel walking around here (Biola University). When you guys sneak me into the cafeteria, no one second guesses it or looks me over because I literally look like a freshman in college haha! 

ASHTON : Oh my gosh haha so true. But then again, what does a normal 20 year old really look like anyways? 

ANNA : Yeah, good point. Looking back, what things are you proud of in the last year of being 19?

ASHTON : Well, I'm proud of myself for switching my major. And I'm proud of myself for being happy my new classes. I think that I usually like anything I'm learning and find ways to get into it, but there's something about now having psyche and sociology that is so intriguing to me. I feel like I can use those in my life right now, rather than thinking about using what I learn in classes far in the future. And I'm also proud of myself for branching out and doing things that I wouldn't have done before. Like go places with people. I'm also proud of myself for applying for Australia.

ANNA : Of course! How come?

ASHTON : Because it's doing something that is so out of my comfort zone. Going to college was a big deal, but I had some sort of cushion in doing so. Going to Australia, I don't know anyone, I have no idea what it's going to be like. It's really fun to think about, but it's also scary. I just feel like anything that makes me comfortable where I am is being stripped away in doing something like that. 

ANNA : Oh for sure, it is. Tell me more about why you're proud of the relationship-side of the last year of your life?

ASHTON : I think that making lasting friendships is one of the most vulnerable things people can do. Mostly because you're waiting long enough for people to know the true side of you, and they've seen you in a lot of different forms. So in that, you're remaining vulnerable. and then they also recognize when something isn't right with you, and you can't fool them about it anymore. So I think maintaining those friendships has caused me to stretch and grow and change in ways that I otherwise wouldn't have because I have to really keep being vulnerable. And I have to keep hearing what I'm doing wrong, and then I also have to express to people what I need from them and how they've hurt me, which is probably even worse! Only because it's easier to shut down. But good relationships force you to open up and to keep sharing. 

ANNA : Who are you becoming then?

ASHTON : That's a big question! Hmm.. Okay, maybe I'm getting a little cheesy. But there's this C. S. Lewis quote, I can't quote it verbatim but it talks about how we sense that the Lord is building a house. And the house is us. So we're all excited and say 'yay he's building us a house!'. And then he starts tearing down walls. It hurts! And we ask, why are you doing that God, it doesn't make any sense! Then in the end, after all the pain and confusion of the process, we realize that the Lord had in mind a castle instead of a shabby little house that we had imagined. I think that this is what the Lord is doing in my life. I can't really see what He's doing, so in a way that gives me more faith that helps me believe it's much different and better than I could imagine for myself. I don't have as great of an imagination as Him, and it's His plan which makes me really happy because I don't have to control any of that. 

ANNA : Yes! That is so cool. What do you hope for this next year?

ASHTON : I really hope that my eyes will be opened. That I will be able to see different perspectives that I could never imagine. I want to be amazed and I want to be in wonder of the world and the things going on around me. I think I want this next year to be full of awe. I want to see the Lord's imagination more. I think that the world is a much more exciting place than I give it credit for, and I want my eyes to be opened to that. I want moments where I can stand and say, this was really created just to be enjoyed, just for the fun of it. 

ANNA : That seems very present-minded. I don't think you've directly said this yet, so where are you going?

ASHTON : I'm going to Australia! At first, I was debating between there and London. Well, technically I always originally wanted to go to Australia. But then fear kicked in, because all of my friends were going to London to study abroad and it seemed like the logical choice. I thought, maybe I'll just do that. I'll be able to be with people I know, see more countries, it was very logical thinking. Then I thought about it more, and realized Australia has always been my dream. I think I was settling for something that was more comfortable and safe. So I'm choosing the more risky, but bigger dream to go to Australia.

ANNA : But you're also going to London too, right?

ASHTON : Yeah, hopefully! My friend invited me to stay with her for a little at the end of my trip, and I'm hoping to make that a pit stop. 

ANNA : So awesome!!

ASHTON : Okay, this is a side note, but I learned about this thing in my Bible class, and I feel like it's happening! So C. S. Lewis, he's the friggin man by the way, talks about a concept. It goes like this: there's a first thing and a second thing. The first is our number one priority, which should always be God if you're a christian. The other is your second priority, which could sometimes look like getting married or having children. But C. S. Lewis talks about how if you mix up your priorities and you make your second priority your first one, then God isn't your number one. This will mean that your second priority will no longer be God-ordained. So it won't happen the way He would plan it for you. I've been thinking about this, especially along the lines of going to Australia. As soon as I decided to make my biggest dream (which was going there) my reality, I watched as God put everything in order. He has allowed me even more opportunities than just doing my number one priority, like being able to visit Europe as well. 

ANNA : That's incredible. I feel like what I'm hearing you say is that if you do the thing your heart really desires the most instead of what is safe, God will always make a way. He'll also sometimes add extra blessing.

ASHTON : Exactly! It's so crazy.

ANNA : It's so eye opening to me just by hearing your process how good God is and how good He's being to you. I just sense His goodness over this next phase of your life. 

ANNA : So, you're a traveler. What is it about traveling that you love so much? 

ASHTON : I love being able to experience things that I've never seen and see things through different perspectives. That's one of my goals for this next year. I also think traveling teaches me to live in the moment, because the present is just so wonderful and so different than anything I've ever experienced. It also allows me to marvel at the world and the things in it, as well as appreciate what I already have. I end up seeing the beauty of the place that I come from, as well as the beauty of the place I'm visiting. 

ANNA : Wow, that sounds so romantic! How have you been personally marked by a place you've been? 

ASHTON : Well, when I went to Swaziland, I saw so much joy in the people there. They had such a simplistic way of living, and not on purpose. This lead to them not seeking after the aimless things that we as Americans sometimes seek after. They just seemed satisfied with whatever they had. That idea has stuck with me ever since, the idea of trying to be satisfied with what I have. I also love the place! The landscape was so beautiful. I remember that one time we were walking to that older woman's hut with the little girl named Ante... it was so incredible and such a good memory for me.

ANNA : Ahh, Ante! She was so sweet and adorable. I miss that trip.

ASHTON : Me too...

ANNA : How would you describe yourself as a friend?

ASHTON : I like to listen, so I would say I'm a listener. Umm...

ANNA : Don't be modest!

ASHTON : Haha. This is a hard question though! I do like to encourage others. And I like to make connections with things that relate to the both of us. I love when I can relate to someone, because it shows me that we're not alone and it allows me to really appreciate and understand the other person that I'm with. I love to see new things in friendships all the time. I've been friends with Laura and you for a really long time, and I still feel like I'm learning new things about you two all the time. I love that! because there are endless levels to a person, you can never fully know a person, and that's so exiting to me. There are always new things to discover about someone.

ANNA : So who is your best friend and how did you two become friends?

ASHTON : Laura's my best friend! We met when she came to CSCS in the 7th grade. CSCS is a small school, so everyone knew that there was a new girl. We had a class together and sometimes we'd say say hi to each other, or make small talk. But the one time we really bonded was when we were both in the bathroom, and we were washing our hands. Laura went over and grabbed a paper towel and was drying off her hands, and somehow the paper towel got pretty wet. She went to throw it in the trash, but it fell on the floor and made this weird plopping sound. We both looked at each other when it happened, and just busted out laughing, and it was our first moment of friendship together.

ANNA : Haha of course that's how it started, laughing at something insanely stupid ha! What is so great about your friendship, and why has it lasted so long?

ASHTON : Oh man, everything. The one thing that really keeps us going though is communication. We have to talk about everything.

ANNA : You guys could teach a marriage seminar!

ASHTON : Haha! It seriously does sound like that! We just really do have to stay in touch and keep communicating though everything. Also, we both like to listen and have similar humor and we both really appreciate similar things in other people. We also have similar values and like to do the same kinds of things, and we share a common dream.

ANNA : Oh yeah? Speaking of sharing a common theme... tell me about Bella.

ASHTON : Oh my gosh, that is such a big dream!

ANNA : I know it's not a short story, so just do your best.

ASHTON : Yeah. So it started when I read through the book Redeeming Love. It was in 8th grade I think. That was at the beginning of Laura and I's friendship. The book is basically about a prostitute, and I started looking into more stories that pertained to sex-trafficking. I was shocked when I read them, because I didn't even know those kinds of situations existed in the world. I started reading up on the topic more, and I found a story about this girl and her cousin who were kidnapped and then sold into human-trafficking. While in a brothel, they met another girl who was around 8 years old, whom we now call Bella. The two cousins were eventually rescued when their Brothel was raided. However, a few girls weren't able to be rescued because some of the men got away with them, and this little 8 year old girl was one of the girls that got taken. This story just broke my heart. So I decided to start praying for that little girl, and I told Laura about it. I remember we were at Coram Deo, a youth group retreat, and we started praying about it then. As we were praying for her, I started to call her Bella and I didn't know why. It was just the name I gave her so I could call her something as I prayed for her I guess. Laura and I looked up what the name Bella meant, which stems from Isabella, and we found out it means "God's Promise". After that, I just felt so strongly that God was promising that He would redeem her and pull her out. That moment really ignited a fire within Laura and I and we still continue to pray for her and for all victims. This story has led me to really know what I want to do with my life, because of the experiences I have had reading many stories and praying through them.

ANNA : Why do you continue to pray for Bella or others?

ASHTON : Because I don't know where she is or where her life is at. Even if she has been rescued already, she is still a human who needs prayer. She's really been through a lot. I want to pray for her continuously because I know through prayer brings comfort. I think it's the most powerful thing anyone can do for someone. Prayer is giving the situation to God, and that's what I want to do with my life. 

ANNA : Do you think you'll ever meet her?

ASHTON : I do. I know it sounds crazy, but I really do. I believe that the Lord has that in store, and that the Lord will take her out of trafficking someday. And I believe that Laura and I will be a part of that process. 

ANNA : Wow. Ash, I can't wait to see this story unfold. You are so brave.  

ANNA : If you could picture the unfolding of your life, what does it look like 5 years from now?

ASHTON : Well, Laura and I want to open our own "Mission" for human trafficking victims. I don't know if thats going to happen in 5 years, but hopefully I'd be working towards that goal. Hopefully I'll be in a different country, most likely Europe, working towards our House for girls.

ANNA : I hope you are there too! So Ash, what do you believe God says about you? 

ASHTON : I believe He says so much about me. But I think one of the craziest things is that verse that talks about having my name written on His hands. It is just so beautiful and it shows what's important to Him. Also, one of my favorite passages is Isaiah 61. Even though it's talking about Jesus, I feel like the Lord has proclaimed a lot of that passage over my life. The setting of captives free, releasing people from chains. I think the Lord has done so much of that for me and given me so much freedom, that I want now to give that gift to people through my life.   

Interested, Or Interesting?

I've watched the greatest women, my closest friends, historical figures, my sisters, myself, all plunge head first into the pool of comparison, I've watched us drown. We sink all the way down to the dark and lonely bottom, with building pressure and lose sight of the sun. I've seen the hope of a beautiful friendship fade, the promise of a sisterhood bond disappear. Leaders that have become despised, purest intentions become false pretense. Why? Why have we seen such wonderful things become tarnished and destroyed? 

I feel like recently I keep hearing women say, "I'm no good at friendships with girls." I have even said it many times myself. So what do we do? We become lonely. We internalize our feelings and portray individualism, we stuff the truth because we'd rather be alone than tell someone we need them. Why have we made it easier to be apart? Why are we choosing to drown (and watching each other do the same) instead of fighting for air, for sun, for life? 

A huge part of this, I believe, is due to the culture of our time. America has tricked us into believing that self-protection and doing what's best for yourself is the greatest way to live and to think. This mentality has left us to never rely on each other, to lose the most beautiful and precious gift of a strong, caring community. We have decided that it is best to fight for ourselves than to fight for each other. Social Media is the quintessential example of this. SELFIES. I mean I get it. You're like, really pretty. I love taking a good selfie, it makes me feel like I. Am. Awesome. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad to post pictures of yourself. Being a fashion blogger I post tons of pictures of myself. And believe me, I've had to overcome a lot of insecurity to be able to do so, I know it's not always easy. All I'm saying is that a culture has been created that allows women to focus so much on themselves, to make sure the world sees them in a certain kind of light (natural light while you're facing your bedroom window, to be specific). It has become more important to do this than to show off the greatness of someone else. I see women craving so much attention, wanting to be loved and accepted by their peers. I see women forgetting about the beautiful art of friendship and championing each other. The love of encouraging one another has been lost. We now prefer to be interesting to people, instead of being interested in people. 

I don't want this culture. YOU don't want this culture. No one truly wants it to be like this. Unfortunately we all struggle with insecurity that we're not brave enough to open up about, and so we continue building the bad habit of seclusion. LADIES. All it takes is time and courage. It really is as easy as YOU choosing to not accept this kind of mentality in your own life. It takes time to build a healthy habit, and I propose the habit of being interested. Instead of spending all of your time thinking about how to convince everyone to pay attention to you, start thinking of ways you can make your friends feel listened to or appreciated. Instead of buying coffee for yourself on your way to work, buy it for your lovely co-worker who sits across from you. When browsing the sale section in Target, buy the cute floral top for your neighbor who complains of never having money to buy cute clothes. When hanging out with your gal pal, try showing her your interested by listening to her and asking questions about her life instead of talking about yourself. All it takes is small little commitments or gestures to show someone they are worth it.

In light of this, I have decided to focus a lot more on championing the women in my life through this blog. I have a passion for style and fashion, so I still will be focusing on outfits and inspiration and such. But I want to make a difference through what I write and what I promote. I want to share ways for you women who read this blog to find affordable fashion that fits your style perfectly, and I want to help you find the courage to express yourself through it. In addition, I want all my readers to be inspired by all of the incredible women I've met and know, so I'm gonna write about them. I want to take a stand for all women, I want to champion all sorts of personalities and ways of life and body shapes and fashion taste. I want us to believe in each other, to encourage each other, and to love each other well. I want to be interested in YOU. I want all of us to stop focusing so much on trying so hard to be interesting, and start focusing on being interested in the beauty of the women that surround us.  

Little Black Tunic

Is is Spring yet?! I'm so ready for some nicer weather! In light of the warmer season being just around the corner, I give you the For All Who Envy tunic! I feel like you can never have too many tunics, they're the most comfortable kind of dress (in my opinion) that you can mix up with colors, patterns, tassels, embroidery, etc. to add diversity to your closet. I am in love with this one from The Mint Julep Boutique! This dress makes me feel like I could kick some serious butt when I wear it, I love it's grungy style! 

The Mint Julep Boutique has tons of cute new arrivals, this dress being one of them! The best news is, it's super affordable :) If you haven't heard of The Mint Julep Boutique yet, you have to check them out! They're an online boutique, so you never have to leave your couch to shop their adorable collections, plus you get $10 off your first purchase. Visit the site Here or follow them on Instagram Here! I am really passionate about finding awesome boutiques like this one, where you can find a large variety of styles within their pieces and not have to spend a ton of money. I have noticed that a lot middle-class women believe you have to spend a lot to really feel stylish and feel like you're getting high-quality clothes. Boutiques are one of the ways to prove this mentality wrong! The Mint Julep is such a great example of this, they have high quality clothes that are so affordable. Don't get stuck thinking you can't be cute because you don't have a lot of money! It's very possible to fill your wardrobe without having to empty your bank account. 

If you're someone who can't quite figure out how to put together your wardrobe the way you want it to be, especially if you don't want to spend a ton of money, email me! I love to help women put together the perfect collection of clothes for their closets. It's my goal to aid the women around me and who read this blog with tools and inspiration to feel beautiful in their own unique way. Even if you just don't know where to shop or need help finding affordable clothes, email me through the Contact page and we can figure it out together! 

Breakfast Mason Jar

If you're a busy person and don't always have time for breakfast, this recipe is perfect for you! It literally take 5 minutes to make the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is grab a spoon and this from the fridge, pop the top and eat up! The best part: it's filled with lots of nutritional stuff to pump you with energy, especially if you have a busy schedule. I try many different combinations for variety, but this one is my favorite. 

What You'll Need:

- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats 

- 1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt

- 1/4 cup almond milk

- 1 tsp almond extract

- 2 tsp chia seeds

- 1 tsp organic honey (or real maple syrup)

- handful of chopped raw almonds

- 1/4 cup raspberries

This recipe is very easy, and only requires a few steps. First, take the raw almonds and chop into chunky pieces. If you like the texture of sliced almonds better, you can use them instead of chopping your own. I personally like the bigger chunks, which gives the mixture more of a crunch. 

Next step is to lightly mash the raspberries. This is so the raspberries can give extra flavor within the mixture. You can also add in a little raspberry jam if you prefer, which can also make the mixture sweeter.  

Once properly prepared, add all of the ingredients into a clean 16oz mason jar. Shake well, and put in the fridge the night before you plan on consuming. After it sits overnight, take out in the morning and enjoy! 

Furry Feelings

Which type of person are you... the kind that would choose to be cold all the time, or the kind who would be hot all the time? It's funny because Jon and I are the exact opposite in this area, I love to be hot and he loves to be cold. I'm always bundled up and he's always trying to convince me to have a fan on or the window open, even in the middle of winter! We're learning to compromise ;) I really struggle with cold weather and the winter season... it's so dreary! But I will say, I get by with how fun it can be to dress for the cold! Turtlenecks, tall boots, soft sweaters, aaaand FUR! Fur coats are one of my favorite fads currently! They come in many colors and shapes, and can completely transform a simplistic outfit. This white one has a hood and is soft like a blanket! 

Gotta love a good band tee! This one is from Zara, and it's made out of the softest cotton. Everyone's always looking for a good band tee, so I've linked a few of my fav's below! 

Ramones Tee - Zara

Nirvana Tee - Boohoo

Grateful Dead Tee - Pacsun

Pink Floyd Tee - Forever 21

Rolling Stones Tee - Urban Outfitters

Def Leppard Tee - Urban Outfitters

Guns N Roses Tee - Asos

I love a good pair of ripped jeans! I have always wanted to make my own, and these were my first successful pair. There are a lot of ways people say you can do it, a knife, cheese grater, etc. I have tried multiple times before, and can never get the results I want. But with these, I found the trick! It's a lot more time-consuming, but I love how they turned out!

All you will need is a pair of scissors and tweezers. When choosing your jeans, the ones that work best are the jeans that aren't made with spandex. The strings will bunch up when creating your rips, and it doesn't look as good. To make your cuts, first choose the areas you want to have rips. make two horizontal rips that are parallel to each other, with enough space between them to make your holes. If you want, sometimes it is easier if you cut multiple horizontal cuts for a more messy look, plus it's easier to pull out the darker threads (this is the next step). As soon as you have your cuts made, you can take the tweezers and start tweezing out all of the vertical pieces of thread (usually the darker colored ones) that should slide right out of the middle section. That's basically all you need to know. If anyone is interested in a DIY post for ripping your jeans, let me know in the comments below and I'll put one together!  

The Sweater-Dress

One aspect of clothing I am always on the lookout for when shopping is the combination of comfy and cute. I love when I get to dress stylish and pretty, yet stay super comfortable the whole day no matter what I'm wearing. It's the best win-win in fashion, in my opinion. So when I stumbled upon this sweater dress at Zara, I couldn't say no to it! It's seriously a game-changer. I wake up on Sunday am think, dang, I really want to dress up but still wear a sweatshirt. The answer? sweater-dress. Plus, it's shiny :) 

Unfortunately, this dress is no longer being sold online. But no matter! It's an easy fix. To mimic this look, I found this grey flare-sleeved sweatshirt from Zara and this gold accordion skirt from The Oxford Trunk

If this is a little too fancy for you, wear your favorite white slip-ons or converse! It's such a great statement dress, you can really add whatever amount of casual in your shoe game as you'd like without taking away any class from the look. 

My lip color is the BEST soft matte shade of nude I own. The best part, it's under $10! Get it Here

Acai Bowl

One thing I am super passionate about is living a healthy lifestyle. I really believe that God values the way we treat our bodies, they are our holy temples and a gift from Him. I love being able to have control over respecting my health, through building healthy habits like exercising, getting good sleep, reading to fuel my mind, and one of my personal favorite habits: eating well! So today I am talking about BREAKFAST! It's truly the most important meal of the day. I always want to make sure I get the nutrients I need before my day starts, because my body literally always feel a difference. My energy level and engagement is always affected by what I have for breakfast. I am excited to start sharing some of my favorite breakfast meal recipes, since eggs and oatmeal can get a little boring... My first recipe is the delicious Acai Bowl! It's becoming a really popular dish, mostly because it's INSANE. I'm addicted. It's so so yummy and full of goodness for your body. Acai berries are known for their  Read the recipe below and try it out for yourself! 

The Acai Bowl

You'll need:

- 1 tbsp acai powder

- 1 frozen banana

- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries

- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

- 1/2 cup almond milk 

- 1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt

- 1 tsp agave syrup (optional)

For toppings:

- 1/2 cup blueberries & strawberries

- 1 cut kiwi

- handful of granola

- handful of toasted coconut shavings

Take all ingredients for smoothie and blend in a blender. Sometimes the frozen ingredients can overweigh the liquid and can stop the blender from blending well. Feel free to add a splash more of almond milk to help with the consistency. What I love about acai bowls is that you can mix it up with different ingredients or toppings! I sometimes like to add some fresh raspberries or blackberries into the blender when I have them. If you want it to taste a little sweeter, you can add a teaspoon of agave syrup as well.

With toppings, it's really up to you what you want it to taste like! I'm hooked on these toasted coconut chips, and I love the crunchy-ness that granola gives to the bowl, so I throw those on the top. I used to get an acai bowl from Cafe Velo in Colorado Springs, and I always asked for kiwi on it, so I'm carrying on the tradition!  You can also add chia seeds, hemp seeds, or flax seeds depending on what nutrients you're looking for.

There you have it, the Acai Bowl! Super easy, right?! Be looking for future posts of more easy and healthy breakfast meal recipes :) 

The Desert Violet

One of my favorite things to do is show off my awesome friends! Jordyn and I have bonded over many things, including Harry Potter, blogging, fashion, Jesus, and lots of other great stuff. If you know her, you're aware of her incredible sense of style and individuality. If you don't know her... you need to! She's one of the most incredible girl bosses I've ever met, and she'll give you enough inspiration to last your whole life :) 

A : So Jordyn! My first question to you is... what is your favorite superhero?

J : Oh, I don't like superheroes. 

A :  Oh, okay, haha well whats your favorite comic book then?

J : Honestly, my whole family loves comic books and superheroes and I'm the only one that really doesn't. I prefer wizards over superheroes. 

A : You know what, me too! My next question for you is: if you could pick any food to eat for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

J : Chipotle. Chipotle all day everyday! haha

A : Oh yes!! How do you take your Chipotle?

J : I always get a bowl, but then the trick is to get a tortilla on the side. Then you can tear off little pieces and make yourself a little mini burrito. It's the best of both worlds.

A : Ahh, very clever, that's a good option. So Jordyn, What do you like most about yourself?

J : Um, if I could pick two different things, because I'm thinking of two different things right now, it would be that I'm very independent. I like to be alone, I like to do my own thing and make a name for myself on my own. The second thing would be how I like to study for fun. I like to read for fun, I'm obsessed with history. Just my thirst for learning is kind of something I admire about myself.

A : I admire that about you too! It's very rare to find a woman like you. Out of all the things you like to study? which is your favorite?

J : I feel like it's kind of a cross between two subjects, one being History and the other being English. I really love both of them, but I guess if I had to pick it would be History. I just really like learning about things of the past. I feel like we forget about the important things like the foundations of the world and the important historical moments that have taken place. I mean, we as humans basically thrive off of what the people before us have previously built, especially through culture. 

A : Describe your unique and influential voice in three words; what do you want the world to know that you stand for?

J : I would say perseverance. And again, independence. Some people give independence a bad rep, but I view independence as empowering and the freedom to be your own person. And then I would say confidence, for sure. It is so important for all aspects of life. If you don't have confidence, then it's harder to succeed. It's always going to be challenging to find confidence, but always necessary I think. 

A : Absolutely, I totally agree with all of those words, they are what I have always seen in you as your personal strengths for sure. Since you like reading, if you were to write a book you'd want to read, what would it be about?

J : If I could write a book... Maybe this is weird but I've never thought about this question before and it's the first thing I could think of haha... but I think if I were to write a book I would travel to different countries and study different women from different countries. I would then write about their ways of life and how they are treated in comparison to other cultures and places. I would most likely just pick one woman from each place and then tell their story. I think I would make it about how women have a voice and should have the freedom to express that wherever they are. It would be like an encouraging book for all women, and I would build the book around that concept and the stories of the women.

A : Uum, I would totally read that book! It sounds amazing! What's one thing you'd like to try that you're too scared to try right now?

J : Hmm... You know I've always wanted to go hang-gliding but I'm so terrified of heights so I've never done it before.

A : Do you think you ever would?

J : I think I will at some point, I'm just so terrified I would have to build up the courage first to do it! I feel like I'm more of a fast-decision making type of person. So I think in that situation I would have to just feel like I wanted to do it and just do it right then and there.

A : I would probably never be able to do that... I'm so scared of heights. It may make a fun date though haha!

J : Haha yeah it just might!

A : Speaking of, what's your ideal date?

J : That is a good question.. I mean I really like wine, so basically anything that involves wine I'd love. Or maybe a Luau... haha in the middle of December.

A : Oh my gosh haha I'm definitely stealing that idea...

J : But honestly I love sitting across the table from someone just having good conversation, so I feel like my ideal date would be something similar. Where we could just sit, drink wine, and just talk about life.

A : What about like a Napa wine tour?

J : Ooh, that would actually be so cool! I really like experiences, so to share something like that with someone would be a cool, intimate kind of date. I mean even if it was like my favorite bookstore where we could sit and read and talk, that would be my favorite. I'm a simple kind of date person. Don't get me wrong, I do love getting dressed up and stuff, but that would be the ideal date for me.

A : I love that!  

A : So Jordyn, what is a character quality that you love about yourself?

J : I think it's funny that I'm super awkward sometimes. I feel like that is something that I would usually say that I hated about myself, but deep down I really do think it's funny. When I'm super awkward I just create a really awkward atmosphere and its like I'm just entertaining myself haha!

A : I know I feel like I can be like that too, and it's just super embarrassing.

J : Yeah, you have to just learn to accept the things you don't really like about yourself sometimes and learn to laugh at them instead.

A : Which can be quite often haha... Okay so since you have an incredible blog called TheDesertViolet, what is your favorite part of being a blogger and which post is your favorite that you've written?

J : Okay... I wrote this piece in my blog about the fashion industry and the makeup industry that I like the most.

A : You know, that specific article is what really made me want to start my own fashion blog, your perspective was just so fresh and inspiring. 

J : Aw, thank you! I love that. Yeah, I really liked that one. I just felt like it was a perspective that I wanted to bring to the table on my blog, because so often people assume girls that wear makeup and go crazy about it are fake or their insecure. Like they have to cover up their face. That isn't untrue in some cases, but also girls like it to have fun. To me it's a way of art, of expressing yourself. That was my favorite to write, to bring a new perspective to beauty. I think it's just so often that it is the opposite, and I want the different kind of perspective to be known and embraced. 

A : Mhmm, I really think you've embodied that well and it was so apparent through that post.

J : Yeah. And to answer my favorite part of blogging, I just love fashion. So anytime I get to work with a company, wether it's clothing or makeup, I just love being able to support them and be able to speak for them. I also love doing photoshoots and taking pictures, or putting cute outfits together. That is the whole reason I started my blog, to put together outfits I love.

A : What's your favorite part of your body?

J : Okay this is going to sound weird, but I love my wrists! Haha I think arms are really pretty and I have a tattoo on my wrist, which may be why I chose to put it there too. Watches are also my favorite so I love to wear them and pair them with my wrist tattoo! 

A : I love that that question just says so much about you that I never knew! Are watches your favorite accessory?

J : Yeah, most likely. I'm just obsessed with them. Like every time I see one, even if I have one similar, I still will want the other one haha, so I have so many of them.

A : What is a big epic fashion failure that you have had?

J : Oh, where to begin! I feel like I have so many.

A : Ha! Why do you think that is?

J : I feel like you look back on your life, and you remember the ugliest combinations you put together and you're like, oh my gosh why did I ever think that was cute?! Now, I wouldn't even consider going out of the house wearing a lot of what I have before. 

A : But you know one of the reasons why you can say that now and know it's fine is because you've been gutsy and tried new looks. 

J : That's actually true, yeah. I have always been gutsy in what I wear I feel like. Oh, I just remembered the perfect failure. My freshman year of high school, I had this whole vellore outfit, like the jacket and matching pants and they were all soft. And it was hot pink.

A : Did it say Juicy on the butt?

J : haha no it didn't! But I went to school with it on like all the time. It was really bad. 

A : What's been a big epic fashion win, or something you were just really excited to wear? 

J : I was honestly so excited about the birthday photoshoot! With the balloons and the fluffy coat. I call it my muppet coat, cuz it reminds me of what a muppet looks like. It was my favorite.

A : Oh my gosh you're so right! That shoot really turned out great.

J : Yeah it did I loved it.

A : What is your dream job?

J : Oh, it would be working for a magazine for sure. Like a fashion magazine. I don't know what exactly I would do, I mean there's so many different aspects I would love to do. Like I'd like to be a photographer's assistant or something... ultimately I would just want to work for Vogue. That would be the dream. Also just doing some editing would be awesome for fashion columns, women's columns, just something that really matters to me. And I do think fashion is really relevant, so.

A : I know it always will be. Everyone is always going to care about what they wear. And that's another huge piece of a culture's identity.

J : Yeah! I really love the history of fashion, i get so caught up in where certain trends started or where things we wear originated. It's just so fascinating. And it's not just for women! It impacts everyone, when you think about it.

A : Oh yeah, it's so interesting! 

A : Okay, a couple more questions. What's a dream you're hoping to accomplish this year?

J : I hope in 2017 that I can really take my blog to the next level. I love to progress in things I put my mind to. If I come to a standstill in life, I get really overwhelmed. So I would really just like to see that progress into something not only fashion-based, but also grow into a place where women can go to just be encouraged and find confidence. 

A : You have such a strong voice for women! That's something I've always really liked about you and your blog. You have such a strong stance to fight for people's individuality and their rights as a human, and their confidence. I really look up to that.

J : Thank you!!

A : Who is a person you look up to?

J : Someone I actually really look up to, and this is kind of random, but as of lately it would be Emma Watson. 

A : Ugh, dude straight up. I can't even begin.

J : I know! And it's not just because I love Hermione. 

A : Okay, she is Hermione in real life tho.

J : She IS! She so is. Like her personality is SO Hermione. I feel like she just walked onto the set of Harry Potter and was just herself with a wand! She's so amazing. She started her own campaign that was all about women's rights and equality, and all over the world people are paying attention to it. That's just something I really look up to, and she's where I kind of found my courage to start writing about it too. Just to see someone who quit acting, where she was making so much money and was really famous, to go to school and join this huge movement. She essentially took a break from everything she was trained her whole life to do to pursue that. Hearing her speeches and what she has to say is just so inspiring. I just really really like her! Someone who makes you want to speak and write about what they are saying you know is doing something really right. 

Pretty In Pink

I love a great statement piece! I appreciate how wearing certain things can really stretch you to be truly confident in yourself.  That's one of my favorite things about fashion. So much about who you are can be said through what you wear and how you present yourself. I love being an artist, and I always strive to stay creative in every area I can. That's why I love investing in statement pieces so much and trying out new looks! It makes getting dressed feel like a creative adventure ;) 

I'm really loving this blush color these days... It's so sweet and girlie. I wear a lot of dark colors, so white and pink are fun to wear to make me feel really feminine. Plus it's such a good color for Valentine's Day coming up!

I loved the pink of the skirt so much, I put some on my eyes too :) I used blush-toned eyeshadow and a nude lip to compliment the creamy light tones of the rest of the outfit. 

Love Day Under $50

There's a lot of good holidays... and then there's Valentines Day, the one day a year where you're allowed to go anywhere wearing a hot red dress and it's totally acceptable!! So obviously, I love this holiday. Whether you're going out with your hunnie or with your gal-pals, I KNOW you're looking online or in stores for that perfect getup. I put together this list of items all under $50 for whatever you're day/night out will look like this V-Day. Follow the "Buy Me" links below to find your perfect outfit, happy Love Day shopping!!!


Rosine Velvet Strappy Choker Slip Dress

Bring on the romance! This dress is the perfect velvet ensemble for a night with your boo or a girls night out! I love red dresses, but sometimes I struggle with wearing a really bright red, so I love how dark of a shade this is. Boohoo is having a HUGE sale on a ton of their clothes, and this dress is a super affordable option.

Black Ladder Trim Choker Plunge Bodycon Dress

This isn't your classic little black dress... It's the super fierce version! I love the touch of lace and choker to add flare and a unique spin to the LBD. Pair it with the fuzzy mauve clutch to add extra texture to your look.

Lexi Boxy Crop And Midi Skirt Co-Ord

I love me some black and white! For my body type, it always works best to pair a more loose-fitting top with a tighter skirt. How chic is this combo! And the best news is it's on sale at Boohoo for $21! 

Black Embroidered Pointed Pumps

Try something different this V-Day with an embroidered heel. I love trying new things, and shoes are such a fun zone for that! You can completely change an outfit just by upping your shoe game, especially by adding a fun pattern like these floral heels. 

Feather Clutch Bag Mauve

Major trend alert! Fur is so in right now. And how about that shade of mauve, mmm!! Check out the black dress above, and get this bag to add some flare to your little black dress this V-Day.  

BLACK OFF SHOULDER TWO PEICE.jpg

Aria Off The Shoulder And Wide Leg Trouser Co-Ord

This is pure girl-boss attire, and the red takes this look to another level. The off-shoulder flowy-pant combo is really going to make you feel like you can conquer anything this Valentine's Day, date or no date! ;) 

Cupid Shot Through The Heart Necklace In Rose Gold

This necklace is the perfect little number for any neckline that you want to let be the center of attention. Whether you're dressing up or down, it's the perfect romantic yet sweet touch to any outfit.

Pink Strappy Curve Hem Midi Dress

Curves baby, curves! You got em? you need this dress. It will perfectly compliment your body type. A great dress doesn't have to be flashy or covered in lots of frills. Sometimes simple is best, and it's all about the fit.

Reclaimed Vintage Mini Heart Cross Body Bag

This purse is so cute, right?! If you head out on the town with this number hanging from your shoulder, you'll be the talk of the town guaranteed!! Get it before it sells out!   

Black Wrap Bardot Jumpsuit

Okay, helloooo hottie! I'm obsessed with this jumpsuit. I mean, the off shoulder, sweetheart neckline, slender fit.. plus it's black. and black is the best. Let's be honest. Pair this with one of the fur coats below and you'll be the talk of the friggin town. 

Bella Crop Leopard Faux Fur Jacket

As you may know, I stand by my leopard. Don't care if it's in shoe form, shirt form, animal form or coat form (faux of course). Plus these coats are really popular right now. Honestly, I'd wear this baby with any outfit. Get it and go crazy with your options. 

Power Through Faux Fur Coat

Okay, I lied. Unlike all the great deals from this blog post, this coat is not under $50. It's a splurge if you'd be buying it. If you can't, it's great inspiration for you outfit! The plum hues are super flirty for V-Day and would compliment a clean white dress or skirt.

Crispin Drops

Pair these hanging trio bubble gum drops with a white chiffon dress (shown below) and you'll be feeling sweet as a candy heart! They're a super fun way to spruce up a solid colored dress.

Exclusive Shifting Dears Long Sleeve Dress 

I am always looking for a solid colored dress that is super comfy and sexy at the same time. They are always the most versatile for any kind of occasion. My favorite part about this dress from Lulu's is that it comes in 12 colors!!!! Choose from Ivory, Magenta, Blush, Black, Wine, or 6 different floral prints! I think I'll order 4 different shades... ;) 

Quinn Block Heels In Nude Faux Suede

These are not your typical heels. They're lacy, chunky, and sassy with a cute toe peep! There's a lot I love about these shoes because theres quite a lot going on, but they still manage to be simplistic and sweet. Pair with flowy pants or a cute tight dress, they'll look cute either way!

ASOS Valentines Romantic Rose Traditional Pajama Set

Confession: I am a pajama person. Ask my husband. My favorite set that I have are just like these, but they're black with stripes and they're satin. However, I'm getting these because I don't care how many pajama sets I have, and you should too. They're perfect for a girls night in or (if you're married;)) a night in with your babe! 

Pink Satin Tie Waist Cigarette Trousers

Kick up the heat with this baby for your man! You'll be irresistable in this blush nightie after a nice dinner and movie. It's fun to dress up for your husbae, am I right!! 

Shanghai Surprise Cut-Out Dress In Pink

How fun is this dress?! It has lines and cut outs in all the right places. The color is everything and the shape is definitely going to give you the attention you want for Love Day ;) 

Gifted Burgundy Velvet Layered Choker Necklace

Instead of the classic black choker, try this one with a white dress or black one piece to make it flirty.  

Satin Tie Metal Heeled Sandals In Black

Black heels will be your safe zone for any outfit you choose. these cute ones have a sweet bow and a metal heel to give it's simplicity a little twist! 

Pink Satin Tie Waist Cigarette Trousers

These pants are fire, I would buy them not only for V-Day celebrations but also to keep for tons of other events! They are so versatile in how you can dress them up or down. 

Sarah Scallop Double Layer Bodycon Dress

I like this dress for the placement of the scallops. They're in flattering areas and the red is a lovely wine hue.   

Pink Faux Suede Midi Skirt

I had to include a pencil skirt for the ladies that like to look professional. I love a good pencil skirt, and this one is suede!  

Lists Rule

If you're a list freak and proud of it, join the club!! I know I'm always looking for new books to motivate my list-making, so I put together my current top 3 for you to check out.


The Personalized Home Organizer

I was recently gifted this gorgeous monthly planner by a sweet friend here in Kalamazoo, and I. AM. OBSESSED. I has literally every kind of list you could possibly need in it! As you can see, these planners are customizable (eek!), and Ashlee picked out the cutest watercolor front cover with my name at the bottom in a pretty script font. You can customize your own Here through the incredible company Kelligraphy Co. This planner includes:  

  • Emergency Contact List / Family Info
  • Password Log
  • Holidays & Important Dates
  • Tasks & To Do Lists
  • Lined Note Pages
  • Monthly Calendar
  • Meal Plans
  • Shopping Lists
  • Bill Payment Schedule
  • Credit Card Accounts Ledger
  • Monthly Budget
  • Credit Score Tracker
  • Cleaning Schedule

Eat Pretty

I wouldn't necessarily call this one a "list book", only because you can't write in it. However it sure does help me make my grocery lists! This book is chalked full of nutritional facts about all of the food we put into our bodies. It helps me to prioritize what I buy at the grocery store by sharing the best kinds of foods for a healthy diet. I love that this book talks all about finding a different kind of beauty through treating your body right and letting what you put inside of it dictate what that looks like. There's also a bunch of delish recipes to try out that I highly reccomend! I bought my copy Here, and it is currently on sale! 


52 Lists For Happiness

Okay, thank you thank you THANK YOU to Morea Seal for this brilliant project! What she has done is create a book that encouragers the list-maker in finding ways to be happy every day, which in turn helps us to actually live happier lives through putting our lists into practice. This book is such a great way to set the tone for your week. Every Monday I am dedicating a little time in the morning to fill out one of the 52 lists, and then applying my list to the rest of the 7 days that follow. Get your copy Here and follow along with lots of others at #52lists or #52happylists!