Who Says You Can’t Wear Work Socks And Sneakers With Pearls?

IMG_2133Well, probably most people. But in this post I’ll prove that those three can go together quite nicely. Actually, I do it on a really regular basis. I love sneakers. My feet are cold all the time and though, like I’ve said before, all I ever buy is dresses and stilettos, all I ever wear is jeans and tennis shoes. And despite that, sometimes I’m fancy on top.

Let me take a moment to really stress that I’m not condoning mixing clothes genres in any hideous way. It is not and will never be okay to wear a pullover hoodie as outerwear if you are wearing heels!!! If you do that, I love you. You’re probably a great person. But stop it!

Likewise, I’m not saying it’s okay to wear super athletic or chunky shoes with a really formal top. That’s stupid. If your shoes have high tops, air cushions, springs, or 5 different neon colors, they WERE NOT MADE to wear with anything but the most casual of clothing. Preferably they should be worn with other athletic gear. And I know I shouldn’t have to say it, but I probably do. . .that outfit should not be considered as any more than super casual. Don’t wear your spinning outfit to date night. I don’t care how much it cost. It’s still like wearing your pajamas out.

 Now, after that necessary and kind of mean disclaimer, I’d like to show you the right way to get away with dressing up sneakers. (You thought I was gonna say murder, didn’t you? I HAVE to start watching that show-it’s all I hear about.)

First. Let’s talk about the shoes. Something cute, please. Something that doesn’t look like a basketball or marathon running shoe. Like a sketcher or a plain Converse All Star, perhaps. Also, color…Hot pink and neon green ain’t gonna make anything look classy, ladies! Stick with the basics- black, brown, white, or my personal favorite, gray. Ah, gray. Gris. Grau. Gri. Harmaa. (That one’s Finnish. It follows no common language rules.) The point is, get something in a staple color that’ll go with everything.IMG_2141

Second. Pick your pants accordingly. If you have sneakers that are closer to dress shoes than tennis shoes, you can get away with some slacks and trousers. Otherwise, choose a good jean.

Third. Go as glam as you want up top…SO LONG AS IT MATCHES THE LEVEL OF FORMALITY WITH THE REST OF THE OUTFIT! That’s key. You can dress jeans and sneakers up, but only so far. Even I wouldn’t wear my kicks with a really extravagant, formal blouse. People, it just looks funny!

Fourth. Make it a play on the casual. You know that cute black t-shirt you have that, despite its simplicity, makes you feel like a rockstar? Wear it as a foundation shirt. Then vamp up the voltage (See what I did there?) by pairing it with accessories and hair that are a little fancier than normal.IMG_2135Okay, so all that about sneakers and pearls, but what about the work socks? Well, that part’s just because I’m a Hoosier. Plus my husband’s a mechanic. I don’t know about your state-or country-right now, but in Indiana, it’s frickin freezing!!! They delayed school for two hours today just because of the temperature. So I did what any loving wife with cold toes would do. I stole my husband’s warm Snap-On socks! He’s very lucky to have me.IMG_2142IMG_2140This is my “Oh, these pearls? I just had them lying around.” face. It’d be cuter if they were real. They literally have bits of glitter shellacked to them, so I don’t believe they are. Oh well. They’re still pretty.

So, have fun playing and mixing different levels of formal and casual. All I ask is that you do it right. Watch the extremes. And if I catch you in heels and a hoodie, you’ll be looking at the business end of a hissy fit! Or at least a cringe. Cause I’m a red-blooded midwesterner. And we have the decency  to be kind to your face, even when all we can think about is your terrible sense of style! And that’s why we’re the heartland of America, peolple!

Refuel Your Inspiration

IMG_2070What Inspires You? Sure, a killer pair of heels and cutting edge fashion, but I’m talking about beyond that. As a designer, I was taught that finding inspiration was half the job. That’s the part you don’t get paid for, but without it, you have nothing to draw from. So we spend our time searching magazines, museums, nature, cityscapes, all to have our little imaginations filled to the brim with lines, silhouettes, colors, and moods we can paint our own portraits with. That is so vital for designers and any creatives! Still, when I ask what inspires you, I’m asking what has you down deep inside. What churns your soul and makes you willing and able to go on? Because sadly, those things are often the most neglected.

For me, when all is stripped away and I do a personal inventory of who I want to be, I’m reminded that the two things most important to my heart are God and my family. (This recent inventory is thanks to Karan and our newest Sunday School series “Simplify”) I neglect God a lot and I’m working on it. The thing is with Him, He has a way of always pulling me back. My heart is His, and He never forgets me. Although I forget about Him daily. That’s what’s so awesome about Him. It’s soooo obvious that He’s the One who saves me; because I have no ability to even remember Him consistently, yet I’m continually on His mind, despite everything I’ve done to deny Him at different points in my life.

My other priority, family, often takes a back burner to what’s going on in my life. I never realize I’m doing it because it always feels justified, doesn’t it? We have a deadline, or chores, or we’re running late, or we have to get the kids to the game on time. But are we actually spending real time together-where we connect and fill each other up with love and energy that will keep us strong for days ahead? Often, I go without that. My husband and I watch tv together instead of focusing on each other or my kids are playing while I’m doing chores. None of that ever seems too bad, until I’m asked to take the dreaded long hard look at myself and how I spend my time and then I’m forced to understand that I can’t remember the last time I really had a day of laughter with my childeren.

Today I had that. We played with our hair and played dress up and put on mini fashion shows and concluded it with a contest to see who could throw the most crackers up and catch them in our mouths. One at a time, of course. I lost. And hit myself in the face with a lot of crackers! But, Oh My Goodness, was it a blast! And as much as I love writing and it fulfills something in me that nothing else does, I can’t wait to finish this post and get back upstairs with them and keep playing. I set my dreams of designing aside for a steady job when I found out I was pregnant with them. It didn’t bother me. I didn’t resent it. It was wonderful to be able to provide for my children. And when I thought about how much I wanted to fulfill their dreams in life, I was so much more than willing to give up design forever to give them the stability I know is such an important springboard in life.

Then the deeper I thought on the subject, I wondered what I would want for them if they started families before getting established in the career they were passionate about. Would I want them to settle or fight through it and live their dream? I don’t think I have to say which one I would hope for. If you’re a parent, you know. And I thought to myself, how could I ever expect my daughters to live based only on what I say and not on what I do. Aren’t they far more likely to just follow in my footsteps?

That’s why I came back to my third love. That’s why I’m designing-and writing- again. I’m living my passion so that they’ll have the courage to live theirs. They are my inspiration! They are my joy and my fuel. When we’re not close emotionally, my “energy bucket” will never be full. They are exhausting (let’s just be honest!) but they help me recharge. Another one of life’s little paradoxes that shows beauty and love can never be fully understood, yet are meant to be fully lived out.

Here’s to spending time with the people who hold your heart!
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What is Beauty?

What is beauty? It is unique. It is individual. It’s your attractiveness to those around you, and most importantly, to the one you spend the rest of your life with.  That attraction may begin with just the physical glimpses, but as we all well know, that won’t sustain a relationship or a lasting feeling of self-worth. Do you feel beautiful? We all want to be beautiful and feel beautiful. That can be proven by the sheer amount of money spent on beauty and hair products each year. But can beauty come in a jar? Can beauty be tested and measured? I really don’t think it can- at least not without knowing who a person is inside. Personality is what makes beauty come alive- it energizes and animates beauty!

As a twenty-something in the world of photo-shopped models and Victoria’s Secret runway shows, it’s easy to forget about the true meaning of beauty. It’s easy to become superficial. And if I’ve become superficial, it’s impossible to be content with my appearance. I could sit here and name 20 or 30 things about my body, face, hair, and nails that I hate. It would be a stretch to name as many I love. But you know when I do feel beautiful? When I stop comparing myself to movie stars and models, and stop worrying if my husband really thinks my tummy’s too big and is just lying to me to be sweet. When I suck it up and remember that God made me-and the most beautiful part of me is my heart. When we’re comparing ourselves with others, we are using a ranking system in our minds. We all do it…I bet you can tell me who you think is prettier if I named two celebrities. And if I told you to think of 5 friends of yours, you’d be able to tell me where you think are on the rank of pretty. With a culture so geared toward pushing female sexuality and outward beauty, it becomes kind of automatic. We have tv shows, magazines, and web pages that all rank women’s beauty. (Just think about the “who wore it better” columns!)

When we subconciously rank ourselves alongside other women, we’re doing ourselves, the other women, and our Creator a real injustice. It’s not up to us to say who’s more beautiful. We don’t have the right to think we are more attractive or less attractive than anyone else. To think your more attractive is being conceited, obviously, but to think we’re less attractive is equally bad. And this is the side we tend to err on, I think. I’ve heard it said that supermodels have the worst self esteem. And I’m not sure if that’s true, but I bet there’s at least a grain of truth there. Why? Because they live in a world where they compete by their looks. Their beauty is ranked by others all the time. Sadly, the common populace is much the same way. Remember high school? It’s hard to shed old ways of thought, but I want to encourage you to let your beauty shine throughout the Holidays and beyond. Enjoy being who you are! That’s the part that won’t ever go away.

Finally, I realize not all of my readers share my faith, but this post reminds me of a very apt verse of the Bible that I try to remember when I find myself feeling ugly.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

It all comes down to who you’re trying to please? The perfectionistic side of yourself that wants to be perfectly put together at all times, (she can be pretty selfish and vain) or the part of you that wants to give to the world and take care of the ones you love and be a real light? Because those things make a woman truly beautiful. I always tell my daughters they are beautiful, but it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside and they have very beautiful hearts.  And yeah, some people may rank your beauty, but who cares? You’re your strongest critic. At the end of the day, I’d rather people say that I’m a beautiful person that that I’m just beautiful. And when that’s your focus, you’re more beautiful than you can imagine!


***What is beauty to you? Leave it in the comments section.***