Christmas in Leopard

     Merry Christmas!  I hope y’all have had a lovely day with your dearest friends and family celebrating Christ’s birth and the incredible gift of eternal life that His being brought about.  I also hope that you got everything you wanted, but even if you didn’t I hope you remember that the gifts really aren’t what Christmas is all about.  Today I’m posting a somewhat festive outfit that would be perfect for today (in all honesty I didn’t wear it today but I thought it would be a fun look to share!).  Enjoy!

     I think playful patterns are so perfect for the holiday season, which makes the oh so trendy leopard print even more fitting for this Christmas!  My stepmother recently gave me this thin leopard J.Crew Factory sweater and I’ve loved styling it, leopard is so much more versatile than you might think!  I paired the neutral print with a maroon button down skirt from Forever 21 (I’ve had this skirt for a year and a half now and it’s still one of my most worn clothing pieces!).  I dressed up the skirt a bit with my lookalike Gucci belt (it was only $15!  Read my detailed post about the dupe here), a pair of hoop earrings with little crystal drops at the bottom, a crystal choker with a gold ring in the center, my Kate Spade watch, and some gold and white Sashka Co. bracelets.  I finished off the look with my taupe suede booties, which I get a ton of use out of this time of year.

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sweater // skirt (not currently available in maroon) // booties // belt // choker (similar) // earrings (similar) // beaded bracelets (here and here) // cross bracelet (similar) // watch (similar) // rose gold ring // gold stacked rings

Thanks for reading!  Merry Christmas.

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The choker from By Grace Designs as well as the beaded bracelets from Sashka Co. featured in this post were sent to me in exchange for a feature in my blog.  However, all opinions are honest and my own.  I don’t feature products I don’t truly love!  My blog contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn commission from your purchase of the products mentioned.

Scripture Sunday Vol. 24

     Merry Christmas Eve and happy Sunday!  Today’s “Scripture Sunday” post follows a Christmas theme, and I love the message of this verse.  If you are for whatever reason offended by Christianity, please feel free to scroll past this post and find another fashion or lifestyle post that better suits you.  However, if you’re looking for a good Christ-based read before bed on this anticipated night I’d love for you to read this post!  Let’s get on with the post already!

Today’s Verse:

John 12:46; I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

     It’s so ridiculously easy to get caught up in all the gifts, songs, lights, and festivities that surround Christmas without even remembering what we’re celebrating.  When asked what your favorite part of Christmas is, you might think the “right” answer is “giving gifts to my loved ones” and know simply to avoid claiming that receiving is the best part for you.  However, the best part of Christmas would ideally be remembering the birth of Jesus.  Even if you are a Christian and know that Jesus’ birth is the “reason for the season,” it’s probably not at the forefront of your mind between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  I’m definitely guilty of this as well, and I think it’s all to easy to get distracted these days.

     Recently at a Campaigners (YoungLife Bible study) meeting, one of my leaders asked the question “if you didn’t know Christ’s birth the way you do now as a Christian, would the way you celebrate look different?”  This question shook me a bit.  I’d sure hope my celebrations would be completely different without Christ’s presence, because I’d like to think most of what I do around the holidays is in honor of Jesus’ birth.  I thought to myself about what I do to celebrate this time of year.  I pick out a tree with my family, my stepmother decorates our house with garlands and nativity scenes, I go to church with my family each Sunday (as we do all year), before dinner each Sunday my stepmother lights the candles of our Advent wreath, I purchase gifts for my family and friends, I receive gifts from my family and friends, I attend a holiday party or two, and my family attends the Christmas Eve service at church.

     I wouldn’t jump to call any of those things not Christ-based, but they aren’t all centered on the idea of Christ’s birth.  Picking a tree and decorating our house isn’t so much to directly celebrate Christ’s birth as much as it is to “get us in the holiday spirit.”  Going to church and lighting the Advent wreath are both in theory Christ-based activities, but in all honesty I know I tend to zone out at church sometimes in our routine Episcopal services and the lighting of the Advent wreath becomes an afterthought for me after a couple weeks.  Buying gifts for my friends and family becomes more about finding the perfect thing for the lowest price than it is remembering the wisemen’s gifts to Jesus or God’s gift to the world.  Receiving gifts typically brings thoughts of “They know me so well!” and “Yes, just what I wanted!” to my mind instead of “While these gifts are kind and appreciated, they remind me of God’s great gift of eternal life that drastically overcomes any earthly gift.”  Holiday parties should be reminders of how worthy of celebration Christ’s birth is, but instead they are places to hear the latest gossip, gorge on good food, and wear a special outfit.

      John 12:46 truly embodies what we should be celebrating, what Jesus’ birth was all about.  It wasn’t God saying “Look, I made this perfect person!  Love Him and bring Him gifts!”  Instead, Jesus’ birth brought us guidance, love, and eternal life.  The verse reads “I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”  Brighter than the pretty Christmas lights we make fun activities out of viewing, Jesus has lit up our dark world of tragedy and sin.

     Tonight, as you lie awake in anticipation of the gifts you’ll find under the tree tomorrow morning, think about what a truly incredible gift you’ve already been given.  When you consider eternal life in heaven, the little things we receive or get upset about not receiving are pretty ridiculous.  Try to remember the real reason for the season, a reason even better than the smiles on the faces of those you’ve given gifts to or the beautiful tree you’ve decorated.  Tomorrow is the birthday of the greatest presence to ever grace our earth, don’t get distracted by the party.

Thanks for reading!  Have a merry Christmas and blessed week!

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December Playlist 2017

     I can’t believe how close we’re getting to Christmas!  With school, extracurriculars, and work I’ve found it so hard to sit down and write posts for my Christmas series this year, but I’m trying to cram a few more posts in during these last days! Today’s Christmas-themed post is my December playlist.  Personally, as much as I love the Christmas season and its candles-and-twinkle-lights ambiance, I have a hard time listening to Christmas music on repeat all month (I know, I know, super unpopular opinion these days).  However, I’ve recently come across a few Christmas tunes that sound enough like things I typically listen to that I actually want to listen to them.  This year I’ve been listening to Cappa’s rendition of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (it’s so good you won’t believe it), “Christmas This Year” by Tobymac featuring Leigh Nash, Snoop Dogg and Anna Kendrick’s “Winter Wonderland / Here Comes Santa Claus” compilation from Pitch Perfect 2, and Taylor Swift’s 2007 take on “Last Christmas.”  This playlist is also filled with plenty of non-seasonal songs that I’ve been loving recently, especially “Mine” by Bazzi, “Remember That Night (SAINT WKND Remix)” by Grouplove, and “Both Of Us” by Yellow Claw featuring STORi.  I hope you love these songs as much as I do!  Enjoy!

Tap on the name of a song below to listen to it on YouTube!

All I Want For Christmas Is You // Mine // Both Of Us // Christmas This Year // Feels Great // Him & I // Remember That Night (SAINT WKND Remix) // Til I Get Found // Last Christmas // Good Morning (Madison Mars Remix) // Midnight Life // Winter Wonderland / Here Comes Santa Claus // 6pm in New York // Crazy Love // Right To It

(playlist background via Victoria Bilsborough)

Thanks for reading!  Comment your current favorite song below!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017 #2: Gifts for Your Sportiest Friend

     I’m so happy to share another gift guide with y’all today (if you missed my first gift guide post, “Gifts for Your Chicest Friend,” you can check it out here)!  I’m so sorry this post didn’t make it onto the blog earlier this week, but I’ve been overwhelmed with exam reviews and I figured better late than never, right?  I plan on getting at least one more gift guide up this season, so please let me know what other category of friend/loved one you’d like a guide for!  Today’s category is “Gifts for Your Sportiest Friend,” otherwise known as the pal you’re constantly supporting in her games, meets, matches, etc. and tends to miss or show up late to friend gatherings due to practice.  Each item shown and numbered in the graphic below is named, linked, priced, and described under the graphic next to its corresponding number.  Here’s the gift guide, enjoy!

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  1. Patagonia Women’s Organic Cotton Quilt Hoodie in Drifter Grey ($179.00) – Comfy, athletic, and cute pieces like this quilted zip-up Patagonia hoodie have been super in lately thanks to the “athleisure” trend.  This would be the perfect go-to jacket for your fit friend to throw on for her workouts or casual everyday looks!
  2. Nike Women’s Dry Tempo Running Shorts in White/Wolf Grey ($16.87) – This white on white pair of Nike shorts might not be the most practical pair, but you’d be lying if you said they weren’t the most aesthetically pleasing pair you’ve ever seen.  The “all white everything” look has been super in over the past few years so I think this pair of athletic shorts would be so cute to wear with a white sports bra or workout top to the gym/sports practice.  These would also be perfect to throw on under a big tee shirt to a casual hangout with friends.  (These shorts come in tons of other colors!)
  3. Woven Pear SPOT Dalmation Socks ($15.00) – While socks might sound like a boring gift, this fun yet sophisticated pair of Dalmatian-inspired spotted socks are not only absolutely adorable, but they also have extra padding in the toes and heels for extra comfort!  These would be the perfect way for your athletic gal pal to add a fun flair to a dreaded morning workout or keep her feet warm on a winter run! (Woven Pear socks come in tons of other colors, prints, and sock styles!)
  4. adidas NMD_R2 Shoes in Pink ($130.00) – Adidas shoes have definitely made a comeback recently and this blush pink pair has to be my favorite that I’ve seen so far!  The shoes’ trendy color is sure to spice up any athletic outfit but also allows them to be dressed up.  (These also come in a black and blue combo!)
  5. Apple AirPods ($159.00) – As more and more people get the iPhone 7, 8, and X, the issue of bluetooth earbuds is becoming more and more common.  Apple Airpods appear to be the best pair on the market right now, with their charging case and amazing battery life.  These would be perfect for your gym-obsessed friends to wear during workouts!
  6. S’Well Galaxy Collection Milky Way Bottle ($25.00) – S’Well water bottles are supposed to be great at keeping your cold drinks cool and your hot drinks warm, plus they’re super on trend right now, making them the best bottle to take to practices and workouts!  I especially love this white iridescent bottle!  (S’Wells come in a ton of other fun colors and prints that are equally worth checking out.)
  7. Emi-Jay Hair Tie Candy Set of 12 Hair Ties ($24.00) – It’s incredibly rare that girls get through a workout without putting their hair up, and it’s even rarer that they can actually keep track of all the hair ties they use.  Emi-Jays are one of the most popular types of hair ties and this set of black, silver, and gold hair ties comes in the cutest candy-themed wrapping!  (Emi-jays come in lots of other colors and prints as well!)
  8. Fitbit Alta in Black/22k Gold Plated ($149.95) – Fitbits have gained so much popularity over the past few years but if your favorite fitness fanatic still doesn’t have one she definitely needs one!  I’m no Fitbit expert but I believe the Alta is the style that most people have and I love the gold plating on this one!  (The Alta also comes in black/silver and purple/silver combos!)
  9. Amazon Water Resistant Cell Phone Armband in Black ($10.98) – From my days of obsessive running (I ran every morning before school in fifth and sixth grade…man that was a long time ago!), I know the annoyance that holding a phone can be (at the time I was holding an iPod Touch but I assume the struggle’s the same).  I got one of these handy armbands back in the day and using it was so convenient and something I never realized I wanted until I received it!  If you have a friend who loves to run to music I would seriously recommend this as a gift, especially with such a low price point! (This armband also comes in grey, red, black with grey stitching, black with red stitching, navy, hot pink, blue, light pink, and purple!)
  10. lululemon Fly Away Tamer Headband II (Luxtreme) in Antiqued Alpine White Multi ($12.00) – Every workout enthusiast loves lululemon headbands and this neutral yet fun pattern is too cute!  This headband style is perfect to wear to sports practice or the gym and is sure to keep her hair out of her face so she can focus on the activity at hand.  (This also comes in pink and white!)

Thanks for reading!  Check back next week for another gift guide!  Happy shopping!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017 #1: Gifts for Your Chicest Friend

     I absolutely love creating gift guides (check out my gift guides from last year here), so kicking off this year’s gift guide series today is so exciting to me!  As opposed to last year when I posted one gift guide that covered a variety of friend types, this year I’m posting several guides so I can give more gift options for each category!  Now through Christmas I will be posting gift guides weekly (at least), each targeted at a certain recipient category (like your chicest friend, your sportiest friend, your guy friend, etc.).  Today’s category is “Gifts for Your Chicest Friend,” meaning the one who’s clothes your friend group is always drooling over, the first one to jump on a funky trend, and/or the one you often FaceTime for outfit advice (you and I both know you have done that before).  Each item shown and numbered in the graphic below is named, linked, priced, and described under the graphic next to its corresponding number.  I hope this post helps you find the perfect gifts for your most fashionable friend!  Enjoy!

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  1. Anthropologie Gilded Shapes Monogram Mug ($10.00) – This white mug is accented with gorgeous flecks of gold and a simple initial.  Perfect for her favorite morning coffee, evening tea, or fireside hot coca sipping, this mug is simultaneously useful and aesthetically pleasing.
  2. Kendra Scott Elyse Ring in Rose Gold ($70.00) – Sparkly, on trend, and versatile, this ring would be a perfect go to ring for the stylish girl but would also be a great way to dress up a look for special occasions.  (This ring style comes in several other metals and stones!)
  3. She Believed She Could, So She Did MantraBand in Gold ($35.00) – The perfect everyday bracelet, this cuff will match everything and pose as the perfect motivational reminder!  I have this cuff and I wear it every single day, it’s the best!  (This also comes in rose gold, silver, and grey!)
  4. Rebecca Minkoff Molly Metro Wallet in Rose ($75.00) – Little keyring wallets like this one are great for girls on the go to attach to their keys for easy access to their license, cash, coins, and debit or credit card.  This metallic rose gold wallet is sure to add that extra dose of chic to any set of keys. (This also comes in blacksilver, red, black glitter, silver glitteran iridescent opal color!)
  5. S’well Calacatta Gold White & Gold Marble Water Bottle ($25.00) – You’d have to live under a rock to have not seen S’Well bottles everywhere over the past couple of years.  As on trend as they are, I haven’t seen a ton in this cool white and gold marble pattern yet!  I’m sure your fashion-forward friend would appreciate this unique and pretty design. (S’Wells come in a ton of other fun colors and prints that are equally worth checking out.  The plain white marble bottle is here.)
  6. J.Crew Factory Faux-Fur Pom-Pom Key Fob in Rose Ash ($6.00) – Faux fur pompom keychains have been trending for a few years now and this rose color is just too cute!  Her keys, backpack, wallet, etc. will carry the same girly spunk she does with the help of this fun accessory.  (This also comes in bluish-grey and black!)
  7. Anthropologie City-Themed Glasses Case in Paris ($18.00) – Few girls have cases for their beloved sunnies (this would also be perfect for everyday glasses!), but even if they do I’m sure they’d gladly switch out the one they have for this adorable city-themed case with a velvet lining!  (This also comes in New York City, London, Miami, and Los Angeles themes!)
  8. Madewell Tassel Earrings in Champagne ($28.00) – A good set of earrings always makes a great gift, and these are quite possibly the perfect pair to give this year.  The gold studs have pretty cream colored tassels that would match just about anything in the most elegant way.  (These also come in violet and copper tassel colors!)
  9. Anthropologie Pommed Berkshire Gloves in Pink ($32.00) – These precious pastel pink pompom-adorned gloves (whew that’s a mouthful) will keep your gal pal’s hands warm all winter long in the most adorable way.  (These also come in black, white, chartreuse, navy, and red!  I especially recommend these if she drives/will start driving soon.  I never realized how badly I need a nice pair of gloves until I started grasping my steering wheel in 30℉ morning temperatures − let’s just say it’s not so pleasant and my hands are usually blue by the time I get to school.)
  10. Essie “Penny Talk” Metallic Copper Nail Lacquer ($9.00) – Nail polish is such a fun way to add a little extra “pretty” to your overall appearance (this coming from a girl who paints her nails maybe twice a year) and this shimmery rose gold hue would just be so glam!  The best thing about metallics is that while they’re easy to wear all year (whereas lots of other colors go in and out of season), they’re absolutely perfect for the holidays!

Thanks for reading!  Check back soon for another gift guide!  Happy shopping!

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My Christmas Wishlist 2017

     The holiday season is almost upon us, which means this year’s Christmas series is finally in full swing!  Today I’m sharing the first in my 2017 Christmas series; my wishlist.  As always, I must throw out the disclaimer that I do not expect to receive all of the things I’m about to mention, or any of them for that matter.  I am so blessed to receive gifts each year and I’m fully aware of that.  This post is not supposed to be a reminder to my relatives of what I want, but a source of ideas for my readers who are stumped on what to ask for.  This post has already been requested several times and according to my Instagram poll (follow me here so you don’t miss my next poll!), the vast majority of y’all wanted to see this, so here it is!  Enjoy!

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  1. Crosley Coupe in Gray – I’ve been eying record players for a couple years now, I love the vintage aesthetic plus y’all know how much I love listening to music!  I think a record player would add such a neat touch to my room and this gray one would not only match my bedroom now, but it’s likely to match any space I live in for years to come.  The Crosley Coupe not only plays 7″, 10″, and 12″ records, but also has an auxiliary input, headphone jack, and Bluetooth functions!
  2. Urban Outfitters Vinyl Record Storage Shelf – This gold record player shelf would not only hold a record player (like the one I just described), but also a record collection!  My room is blush pink, gray, white, and gold, so I know this shelf would look great.
  3. Records – If I were to receive a record player, records might also be necessary, right?  Fortunately, the Crosley Coupe I have my eye on plays all the modern records sold at Urban Outfitters.  Of Urban Outfitters’ massive selection, my first must have records would probably be 1989 (as well as Taylor Swift’s newest album, reputation, if/when it’s released on vinyl!), LANYWhen It’s Dark Out, and Memories…Do Not Open.
  4. Capri Blue Volcano Candle – Capri Blue candles are the best, and the Volcano candle is definitely the most popular of their line.  I’ve burnt through three of these and I’m dying to get my hands on another one!  The volcano candle smells like citrus but you might better recognize the scent as what’s always burning in Anthropologie!
  5. Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion – I have a Lancôme eyeshadow palette that I love, but the shadow creases on my eyelids so much that I rarely use it.  One of my friends has used this primer on me before and it works wonders, so I think getting it would really allow me to put that palette to use a lot more.
  6. Hunter Original Tall Gloss Rain Boots in Black – I currently have a pair of L.L. Bean boots that serve as my weather boots, but I love these classic, versatile black rain boots!  I think these would be so easy to match with any outfit for a chic rainy day look.  Plus, I’ve had my eye on them since middle school so I don’t think I’d get tired of them very quickly.
  7. New Balance 574 Shattered Pearl Sneakers in Faded Rose with Overcast – My white and gold J.Crew x New Balance sneakers are starting to get a little dirty and having them for over a year has definitely proved to me that I can get a ton of use out of chic sneakers like New Balances.  These sneakers bear the prettiest pale pink color accented with iridescent pearly details.
  8. Quay After Hours Sunglasses in Tort/Brn – These big, designer-looking frames in such a classic tortoise print would be the perfect go-to pair of sunnies for driving, tanning, walking, you name it.  I don’t currently have a nice quality pair of sunglasses so these would be great to have!
  9. Barbour Beadnell Polar Quilted Jacket in Black – This is certainly more of a dream gift, but I can’t help but swoon over this black Barbour jacket with its gorgeous plaid lining and quilted exterior.  I’d keep this timeless coat for years, it’s so classic it’d never go out of style!
  10. Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. Crossbody in Almond – I don’t have a small bag that I see as versatile enough to match any style of clothing and practical enough for day to day use but I know this Rebecca Minkoff crossbody would easily fill that role!  The pretty brown suede is the perfect hue and its gold hardware would match all of my favorite jewelry!  I’ve had my eye on this one for a couple years now and we carry it at the store I work at so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to resist purchasing it myself.
  11. Kendra Scott Gold Elisa Pendant Necklace in Rose Quartz – I’m beyond obsessed with Kendra Scott jewelry and I already have the gold Danielle earrings in rose quartz, so this necklace would pair with them perfectly!  I love the subdued pop of color that rose quartz jewelry adds to an outfit and I know I’d wear this necklace constantly.
  12. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Film Camera in Smokey White – I’ve wanted a Polaroid camera for ages and I still want one just as much as I always have.  I love the vintage feel and the fact that the photos print instantly, how fun!  I’d love to start a string of Polaroid pictures in my room and have the prints to take with me to college in a couple years.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you can use my wishlist for inspiration when making your own.

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