Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Vlog


Finally another Friday vlog! Now, I know that the uninitiated might think this was a first take and that I should re-film it. But the truth of the matter is, this is at least the third take. So here we have it. 

Happy Friday!
What are YOU up to this weekend?
xo
Natalie

Thursday, September 18, 2014

From back when it was summer...

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You guys I just remembered I never posted this outfit! In all it's cute Labor Weekend red-white-and-blue-ness! Shame, shame. 

Here it is...an Anthropologie clearance rack number with a quirky vintage purse, red lipstick and big sunnies. How I roll. 

Anyway, happy almost-Friday!
xo
Natalie 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Let's All Be Brave


Let's All Be Brave. 
by Annie F. Downs
* 1 star
(Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review by BookLookBloggers. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post this review.)

I really wanted to love this book by blogger Annie F. Downs. It's the first book of hers I've read, and I loved the concept and title. I NEED more bravery in my life right now! And I know several good friends who really enjoyed this book.

So I was disappointed when I found this book to be lackluster from the very beginning. It was far too personal, as the entire book was simply "essays" about times in her life (some random examples, I thought) of when Annie tried to be brave, that were confusing, muddy, and convoluted to the uninitiated reader (i.e. anyone who is not very close to the author). I felt that this book tried too hard to be hipster by including the coffee shop where each piece was written. The pieces were not chronological, which made following Annie's travels and stories confusing. The stories were more like mini therapy sessions for the author, in my mind, with a,"So be brave! Like I sorta was!" at the end of each "chapter." Not what I was looking for. The writing style was also far too young for me, very adolescent-oriented and not quite deep enough for the subject matter. The sentence structure was very stylistic. That might suit others just fine, but it just didn't jive for me. I also found it disconcerting that Annie talked about the writing process a lot, making reference to the fact that she was writing a book, and in one or more cases, spending at least a whole page talking about how nervous she was to be writing what we were going to be reading on the next few pages. Bravery? Maybe. Good reading? Not in my book (ha, a book pun, get it?).

Sorry Annie and friends, I really am. But this one only gets 1 star from me.

Happy reading!
xo
Natalie

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Spirit-Filled Life


The Spirit-Filled Life 
Dr. Charles Stanley
***** 5 stars
(Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review by BookLookBloggers. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post this review.)

"Discover the Joy of Surrendering to the Holy Spirit" love that!

This was one of those books that fit into the category of "right book at the right time." I have been recommending this book to everyone! Dr. Charles Stanley was new to me until a few years ago, living in Minnesota and being blizzard-ed in a few times with my grandma, we watched his In Touch Ministries streamed church services. Dr. Stanley is smart, no-nonsense, but still comes across as a Mr. Rodgers type that you want to be your mentor. His sermon on anxiety resulted in 2 pages of notes that I still keep in my Bible to read frequently.

But back to this book. There are so many misconceptions about the role of the Holy Spirit in the church today. Stanley cuts through the confusion with a Biblically-sound, simple, straightforward and yet heartfelt and personal approach that every Christian should read. This will wake you up to the loving power of the Holy Spirit in your life. It's hard for me to tell you how much you'll get out of this book because it's just SO. MUCH. Total game-changer. Here are some of the things they list in the promotional materials:

  • who the Spirit is—and how to develop a relationship with Him
  • who the Spirit isn’t—and how to avoid damaging misconceptions
  • how being “filled” with the Spirit actually works
  • what the Bible really teaches about spiritual “signs” such as speaking in tongues
  • how the Spirit can increase your capacity for faith, hope, love, and personal transformation
  • what it means to “hear” the Spirit’s voice
  • how to make the most of your unique spiritual gifting to build up Christ’s body
  • what happens when the Spirit’s power is unleashed in your workplace, your family life, your friendships, and every other area of your life
Everyone I told I was reading this book (online, friends in person, and strangers who saw me reading it in public) said, "That book changed my life!" because it was originally published years ago and this is an updated re-issue. I can now add my own voice to that chorus! I've got a copy for my boyfriend already...grab your own for sure! I highly recommend it.

Happy weekend reading!
xo
Natalie

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Sound of Music Dress

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I bought this handmade vintage dress at an antique store last summer and wore it to see Garrison Keillor live. Y'know I love me some Prairie Home Companion. And I also desperately love some Sound of Music. Don't you think the shape and color of this dress is reminiscent of that beloved movie? Like something Liesl might wear on a date with Rolf.

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Since it has such a specific look in my mind, I had to change it up a bit. We are teetering into fall, so booties were in order. Then I added my favorite belt and a unique necklace that never fails to make me smile. So many colors! Pom poms! 

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The funny thing is the charm on the last bit of the necklace clanked against the belt buckle as I was ducking into church late, announcing my presence like a cattle bell. So much for being discreet! 

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I think this outfit strikes the transitional tone very well and could even be transitioned farther into fall with some tights, higher boots and a sweater. The dress is made of a lightweight wool, so it will keep me warm! I love handmade vintage...it has even MORE character!

PS> I'd love to share my poem I wrote for September 11th last year for Darling Magazine called, "Blue September." Here's a sneak peek: 



Have a beautiful day my friends! 
xo
Natalie

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Green Trench Coat

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I hate to say it, but it's starting to get a little chilly around the edges of the days now. Really I don't mind one bit, because I'm a layers-girl. Layers give so much additional visual interest to an outfit, especially the opportunity for a texture switch, which I love. 

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This green shortie trench coat (trench. coat. green. short. just making sure you got that) has been in my closet for awhile, but I wasn't sure how to wear it. The cut is odd with jeans and a top and it's a heavy piece that can overwhelm other floaty dresses. Luckily, this thick textured dress from Tibi was the perfect foil. The cinched waist (isn't this such a fun vintage belt?) creates just the right resting spot for the short jacket. 

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This outfit would transition well into fall...can't you see it with my knee-high blue suede boots? But since it's still summer, I'll keep wearing my summer faves: my basket-weave Blowfish Shoes wedges. 

Do you have a piece lingering in your closet that you aren't sure how to wear? 
Let me hear about it and maybe we can come up with some ideas for it!

xo
Natalie

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That

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Loving this combination of oversized gingham and eyelet. 

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Peanut Butter "Buckeye" Bars I made for Big Girls, Small Kitchen

(Edited to add one more thing!) 


If you are a mother of daughters, please check out my friend Dana's magazine, Modern Motherhood Magazine. It's digital, short, and free, perfect for mommas, but it gets into deep subjects of raising Godly daughters and discipling them. Dana blessed me by including Good Girl Style in her August issue about Beauty. Check it out here


and something fun for YOU, too! I'm thrilled to have some free codes to take Sally Hogshead's "How to Fascinate" personality assessment. The test is normally $37 so take advantage of this free code for sure. I love personality assessments, and this one is FANTASTIC. It gives great insight into how the world sees you, rather than how you see the world. You'll find tidbits to help you be the BEST you and to work to your strengths in all areas of life. 

Me? I'm The Connoisseur...always in-the-know, powered by passion, high standards, and a whole lotta something special. 

Wanna give it a shot to see what YOU are? 

1.) Go HERE.
2.) Enter code: BL-goodgirlstyle 
3.) Come back and share your results in the comments! 

I can't wait to hear!
xo
Natalie

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reading Lately

My goal this year has been to read a book a month, and so far I am on track or exceeding that number (I have lost track of a few library books I read, ugh!). I thought I'd share a few thoughts on books I've read recently.



Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from BookLook Bloggers)
by Nabeel Qureshi
4 1/2 stars ****

This was a fascinating account of a devout Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi, finding Jesus and his strenuous path to acceptance. I have had the pleasure of hearing Nabeel speak with Dr. Ravi Zacharias, both great thinkers with great hearts. Nabeel's serious, intellectual struggles are thoroughly explored, a great read for those who have a theology background. I did want the "Wow" moments to stand on their own instead of being bogged down in lengthy explanations sometimes. 

I stayed up waaaaaay past my bedtime to finish this one, though, a good sign. The second I was done with this book a friend nabbed it from me to borrow, another good sign.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone, just beware that it’s a bit intellectual and not light reading for the beach by any means. That doesn’t mean you should shy away—instead, jump right in. Learn how to better pray and make friendships that open doors. Nabeel, while an incredibly smart writer, is also warm and welcoming and won’t leave you hanging as a reader. In the end, Nabeel has to come to grips with what he is studying and what God is laying on his heart…despite the consequences that still haunt him. What a story! 




The Wal-Mart Effect
by Charles Fishman
5 stars *****

This was another fascinating read...an upsetting and thoroughly interesting discussion of our current (ok, in 2006, when the book was written) economic climate and the double-edged sword we've created. I've read Sam Walton's biography (the founder of Wal-mart) and it's interesting to me how the two books paint vastly different pictures of Walmart. I think with Walmart the intentions are good (Save money! If we streamline everything then we save money which saves you money!) but the execution is blind and with little regard for the businesses and people that make Walmart work. This book is well-researched, fair, honest and direct. It really comes down to this: What are you willing to sacrifice to save a bit of money at Walmart? This book might help you realize you aren't willing to sacrifice anything to shop at Walmart. I highly recommend everyone read this book.







A Year Without Made in China
by Sara Bongiorni
2 stars **

I had such high hopes for this--a real journalistic-homey combination of practical knowledge, research and personal experiences. In reality, the book falls quite short indeed. It was far too self-pitying and she didn't follow her own rules for the experiment well at all. It's the same story told a bunch of different ways. It's a story I would have been happy to have read about in the Wall Street Journal for about 20 minutes of my time, tucked in the back of my mind, and carried on with my life, checking labels more often than normal to see where things were made. I skimmed the middle section of this book because it was so dull and poorly written. I learned a few little tidbits: sneakers for little boys and lamps are rarely if ever made in the USA anymore. But this wasn't a "Made in USA" experiment, which would have been a much more interesting experiment in my opinion. Not worth picking up.






L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon
by Leon Gorman
4 1/2 stars ****

Only pick this book up if you're interested in the detailed business workings of L.L. Bean. If not, you'll be bored to tears, at least after the first few chapters that are more personal. But if so, you'll find the tale of modernizing L.L. Bean a fascinating and worthwhile journey. Leon Gorman is L.L. Bean's grandson and he ran the company from his grandfather's death in the 1960s until the new millennium. His staunchly-held beliefs that the business was built on principle and not profits helped keep the L.L. Bean mystique alive, and indeed, to keep it thriving through several economic slumps and losses of identity amidst crises.








Limitless Life: You are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from BookLook Bloggers)
by Derwin L. Gray
3 stars ***

Derwin Gray is a former NFL linebacker-turned-Pastor, which is a great starting point for those coming to this book from a football perspective and realizing it is really a spiritual-life-application book. Pastor Gray talks about how we are more than our labels and that Jesus gives us freedom from labels. I found the writing stilted at first, which made it hard for me to get to the meat of the book. Then I found a few troublesome spots with theology (a more prosperity gospel-centered theme). However, I persevered with the book, picking it up in between other reads. I found some good themes in here, but felt that if you don't know how to separate the chaff from the grain this book might not be an ideal starting point. However, if you are an established Christian struggling with sin and labels in your life (selfish, addict, abused/abuser, etc.) this may be a great book to help you break free from the cycle. I appreciate Pastor Gray's convictions and his belief that pain and suffering show us how big and great our God is. I loved this line: "No matter where we go, who we know, and what possessions we have for show, our souls are still eternally thirsty until we drink living water." And these powerful words: "People may have given up on you, but Jesus has not." If this book speaks to you, pick it up and I will pray it helps you find victory. And if it doesn't speak to you, at least take those words to heart: People may have given up on you, but Jesus has not. Amen!


What have you been reading lately? Did you have any reading goals for the year? I'd love to know!



Happy reading!
xo

Natalie

Monday, July 28, 2014

Classy & Casual

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This is one day, one outfit concept, and two different iterations. One is a wear-to-church outfit, and the other, with the same color threads, makeup and hair, is more casual for whatever fun adventures Sunday afternoon might hold. Or this is a mighty fine outfit to wear to the office, so this could easily be a work-to-weekend post too!

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My boyfriend says Sundays are his favorites with me, because we get to go to church together and we always seem to find some fun, spontaneous adventure for the afternoon. I agree! There is something so wonderful about sitting close and holding hands while we pray, singing from the same hymnal, giving each other little knowing looks, etc. And it's summer so the great outdoors calls after church! 

What has been your favorite summer adventure so far? 
xo
Natalie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Prince George!


It is Prince George's first birthday today!! 

photo by John Stillwell, found here

Happy Birthday handsome prince! 

I love the hint of red in his hair, his chubby cheeks and wide eyes. What a little charmer!

photo by John Stillwell, found here
Such a great family photo!

It is Prince George's First Birthday! Oh it's so very exciting because he's just the most darling little thing ever and Kate with him...I swoon. Couldn't be any cuter. 


Remember last year when we were all still anxiously waiting and I dressed like "off-duty Kate" in honor of the occasion? Here's my outfit. I still love Kate's off-duty/mama duty outfits (and secret footage of her being adorable with George!). I've loved following along with the adorable family their first year.


Here he is at 8 months, our first official look at him, stunning in a little monogrammed sweater with his family and Lupo, in a photo taken by Kate's dad that just doesn't even look real.

So today I will have a special tea in honor of Prince George and, of course, dress in honor of Duchess Kate again (though I really prefer to call her Princess Kate, I know, I know!) and wear my polka-dot Cath Kidston bracelet that my friend got me while she was in England when Prince George was born!


And of course my other friend who was also in England at the time brought me that beautiful Welcome Baby tin! So pretty. While you enjoy your tea in honor of Prince George today, enjoy reading this fantastic Vanity Fair recap of his first year. 

Rose Tulsi tea with local honey and gluten-free ladyfingers. 

Will you be doing anything fun to celebrate today?

Happy Birthday, George! 
Love,
Natalie

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hummingbirds

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There are hummingbirds on my dress! #justsayin

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{trying to show you my makeup}

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I am IN LOVE with my new Lesley Evers "Tilda" dress with the hummingbirds all over it. Yes, Lesley Evers is expensive but I snagged this pattern from last year in their warehouse sale. The quality is fantastic...wearing it just elevates your entire day and positively affects the way you carry yourself. I think the silhouette also has a Princess Kate vibe to it, which is a goal of any outfit of mine!

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It has a full circle skirt which is just fabulous, darling for twirling.
Still getting so much use out of these straw wedges from Blowfish. 
Wedges are ideal for summer dresses because they give height with all-day comfort. 
This light straw is a great summer version of "nude pumps."

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Happy July, my dears!
xo
Natalie

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mango and Plum

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I can't get enough of this mango and deep plum color combination. It's also a delicious flavor combination, so win-win, amiright?

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Then let's talk about these giant pearls I've been wanting forever and finally found at a tag sale last weekend! So much fun and a little Wilma Flinstone-esque as my friend said, but we all know that's never stopped me before!

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Then there's this Holga camera that matches my outfit. I'm pretty sure it ups my cool points but then again maybe not considering it took me FOREVER to learn how to open the back where you put the film in. Either way, I hope to capture some funky summer images with this little plastic camera. 

Sunnies: Burberry//Tee: J.Crew//Pearls: Tag sale snag//Skirt: The Addison Story (Anthro, thrifted)//Wedges: MiuMiu

Happy Weekend!
Natalie
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