Most of the life lessons I’ve gained, I didn’t ask to learn. Today, I do a lot of things afraid, alone and with little direction for the future. As negative as that sounds, it looks a lot like this video! I documented my first month living in D.C., and I’m so excited to share it with you! Along with sharing this beautiful city and the journey of how I made a new place my home, I open up about living alone and taking on adventures solo. During my second week in D.C., I was driving home discouraged when this song came on the radio and the Washington Monument rose over the horizon. And I was swept away in how much good there is, regardless of if we asked for it, if it’s easy, or if it’s safe — it’s SO GOOD. Check out this
FREE PERSONAL SHOPPER POST: Not only am I sharing three of my favorite fashion trends for Fall 2017, but I am providing you direct links to specific pieces you can buy to add the trend to your wardrobe -- FOR FREE! Making your Fall a little more stylish and easy is my goal. There are pieces from so many stores (from Target to Anthropologie), options for every budget, and sizing from "petits" to "plus size" and every where in between!
There are waaay more than three trends that I'm gushing over right now (shout out to my collection of berets!), but these are EASY to work into your everyday style. I also picked three trends that compliment every woman, whether your style is more relaxed or if you've trained your feet to walk in heels all day like I have. This list is for every woman to feel proud of her fashion game this Fall! Let's do this!
01. Japanese floral patterns
The Japanese florals! Florals? In fall? YES! The vintage patterns nod to Fall's love of tradition. Think these are a little too "out there" for you? Absolutely not! (Style tip: try new things in pant or skirt form! Keeping it away from your face will make it less overwhelming while trying a new trend for the first time!) I went super bold (per usual) with my favorite heels to call out the color in the blooms. I did this only because my top was a classic, simple ivory (always have one "supporting" piece so your statement piece can be the focal point!). But black heels or some discrete flats would set the stage for the Japanese florals beautifully!
Also, you may have seen some Japanese floral, satin button downs. This is often referred to the "pyjama trend" (no reference to Asian culture). So many people are against it, but I LOVE it! Bold and oh so comfy! Click through the photos below, they each link you to its product page to buy pieces that fit this trend!
02. sweaters with flair
Guys, this one is EASY! Sweaters with a little (or a lot) of flare is in, in, in for the rest of the year and into early Spring! Ruffles, bows, bell sleeves -- oh, my! Here, I'm wearing some subtly puffed sleeves from Anthropology (got it on sale, sorry!). This trend is so exciting because you can choose how big or small (literally) you want to go! I'm including several examples that you can click through and buy below!
03. Relaxed Business Attire
I just made up the trend name "relaxed business attire" but, regardless of what else it could be called, I'm catching the trend! This could also be described as "masculine fashion for women" -- which is super in right now, too. Call it what you want, but the button downs, striped dress shirts, slacks (or in my case leather pants), and loafer shoes are 10/10 this season! It's a favorite because it's "relaxed" but still put together! (PS - I LOVE CAPES!) There are so many ways to bring this trend to life in your wardrobe, and some pieces are linked in the slideshow below!
I have a few more Fall and Winter fashion blogs lined up, but let me know what YOU would like to see (fashion-related or not) in the comments below or on my Instagram, and I will be happy to cover it!
Hope you are loving everything that comes with this Fall season!
Every time this alluring season comes around, I wonder what it is about this time of year that unites most of us in anticipation and enthusiasm. What makes us gush over leaves? What is it about about autumn vegetables that possesses us to put them on our coffee tables and mantels? How can shortening of days move us inwards to new depths of reflection and creativity?
As we stand at the threshold of a new season, the earth is drawing back into itself, accepting change, surrendering to what needs to be in order to become what it was destined to be. There is a development happening; and though it looks like death and an end, it is actually growth for a new beginning. And even though the earth comes back to this place every year, and it seems to endure the same battering process, each time is an evolution forward. Returning to a similar place does not a hopeless indication.
I wonder what it is about this natural phenomenon that causes us to mimic what creation is doing around us. Turning inward. Developing ourselves. Reaching within. Enduring refinement into order to reveal more of who we truly are.
Fall captures me because it gives me permission to go through that process, to trust the process of life, of human existence, of ups and downs. It reminds me that there is so much beauty in change, so much to behold when you trust, and so much security in believing confidently that more light and new life always, always, always is restored like never before.
That is why I love sweaters, leaves, apple cider, and pumpkin spice everything -- because they're traditional, comforting reminders that even in this season, where everything appears to be ending, the stage is truly being set for life like we've never seen it before.
The earth is filled with signs and reminders and comforts whispering, "What you're going through, it's okay. It is a part of this life. We'll give you proof that hope always comes. Trust that where you are right now is a beautiful part of the process."
This week was pivotal for me, a crucial turn in the story.
I had the honor and privilege to meet with five congressmen and their staff on Capitol Hill as I defended the rights of companies like Trades of Hope and the rights of women who join them to earn a flexible, fun income! In every meeting, I found my self in an out of body experience, watching myself discussing issues so close to my heart with our country's law makers. With each persuasive word from my mouth, I felt pieces of myself falling into place. Founding Trades of Hope was the best gift and caused me to grow up quickly, leading me to feel out of place at times. But moving to D.C. has felt like filling an Elisabeth-shaped hole in the world that has been waiting for me my whole life.
Watch this fun recap video to learn more!
My goals were threefold:
1. Show my support for HR 3409, a bill to end pyramid schemes to protect the work of ethical companies like Trades of Hope.
2. Protect the rights of women who join these companies as independent contractors, so they can keep being their own bosses!
3. Share with congressmen how direct sales is a beautiful opportunity for Americans to easily be entrepreneurs and for our economy to thrive!
Thank you to everyone who has been so thoughtful and supportive as I moved to D.C. and have been able to have unbelievable, new experiences!
This event was organized by the Direct Selling Association (DSA). #DSAhillday2017
There are things in life that, at first, have repulsed me because I didn't know anything about them. But when I familiarized myself with the background and benefits of that thing, I felt so silly for avoiding it for so long!
I have experienced these feelings with trousers and Kylie Jenner.
Confession! It's Saturday, and to procrastinate doing my grad program homework, I watched a new show (which is already odd, because I usually re-watch the same 4 sitcoms or British dramas). To take the abnormality a step further, it was a reality T.V. show, which I don't think I've ever watched voluntarily. I watched Life of Kylie. (Yes, as in Kylie Jenner. Yes, as in the Kardashians.) To convey how foreign of a territory this is for me, I just spelled it "Kardatian." To be honest, I used to shy away from Kylie Jenner. I didn't get her. I don't get anything about her, from how she looks 28 when she's 19 or why people like her so much. So, even though I felt repelled by how much I didn't think her celebrity fit into my life, I watched her new show to follow a trend.
And I don't regret it! Is it my favorite show? No. Is it a guilty pleasure I'll probably revisit? Uh, yes. But I'm not so intimidated by Kylie Jenner now because I've learned more of her history and things that make her relatable to me and my life.
Trousers are like this. Many people shy away from them because they don't know if they can pull them off, don't know if they're too masculine, or don't know what to wear with them. But let me tell you, when you familiarize yourself with trousers, you will thank me. They are comfy, chic, and an instant upgrade in your fashion game. Below, I've got a quick history of trousers (you can love anyone(thing) when you know their story), trousers that you will see this upcoming season, and how to pair a top with those free-flowing, high-waisted pants.
If there's something I like more than fashion, it's fashion magazines. If there's something I love more than magazines, it's fashion history. People often used the terms "trousers" and "pants" interchangeably. However, trousers refer to tailored garments with fitted waistlines. For our Western society, French designer (there is so much to thank the French for) Paul Poiret (1879-1944) was one of the first to design loose-fitting, wide-leg trousers for women to wear in 1913. In the 1930s, multiple photographs of Marlene Dietrichand and Kathrine Hepburn wearing trousers eased fashion-conservatives' worries about how leaving dresses behind might negatively change women (what?). In the 1960s, long trousers for women were introduced as a fashion item, leading to the era of the pantsuit and designer jeans and the gradual erosion of social prohibitions against girls and women wearing trousers in schools, the workplace and in fine restaurants.
Trousers for Fall 2017:
Trousers are popping up everywhere for fall in a myriad of colors, fabrics, and textures. Fall 2017 fashion is leaving its mark on trousers this year with color pops, Japanese floral patterns (which I just bought today and cannot wait to share on an upcoming post!), and short, flared bell bottoms (don't fight the bells, ladies; embrace them!).
"But What Will I Wear?"
Here are some free style tips to help you wear trousers:
You won't regret adding trousers to your fall wardrobe. Take a break from those jeans, and step it up from those sweats. You've totally go this, girl. Any questions? Comment below. I read and reply to every single one! Don't forget to click those social media buttons. I share only a select few on here as there's so much more to be seen on my Instagram and Pinterest. Fall is upon us, people!
Photography of me by Joshua DeSouza
Inspiration Photos from my Pinterest
I've always been a girl with high regard for seasons. In every stage of life, there has always been a reverence deep in my heart for those that have passed and the new season ahead. While leaving a season, there is a sense of reflection, gratitude, sealing in the lessons learned, celebrating what grew, and mourning what is no more. While standing at the brim of a new season, there is expectancy, maybe fear, hope, a sea of unknown that is filled with possibility.
In June, I moved my life to a D.C. flat, quickly to have traveled back to Florida to for work, putting on a conference for 500 women in Nashville and directing the creation of our Spring 2018 fashion catalog. Five weeks later, and I'm going back to D.C. this week. I'm very excited to borough my life into D.C. and all she has to offer me, to grow me, to reveal more of the world to me. But this transition back does have me reflecting. I thought spending time in Florida the last month or so was just a practical decision for work; however, it was so much more. It was like a boot camp for inner growth: forcing me to face some fear, opportunity for loving confrontation, and directing my eyes to larger goals for the future. I love so many people here, and this summer in Florida as been a gift.
As I lift my foot to step into a new season, I have spent time this week reflecting on some of my life’s past seasons of change and transition. I have revisited full journals, skimmed old letters, and reread past blog posts. There are three truths that repetitively resurface, and I’m holding onto them dearly these days:
Making intentional decisions with aspects of life we can control makes it a lot easier to weather seasons when life throws us something out of our control.
For me, this has looked like making a list of things I have always wanted to do (traveling to a specific place, reading a classic book, watching a popular movie I’ve never seen) and doing those things within 3 months (a standard time frame for each of our earth’s seasons). Making that intentional decision of how I will spend my time, money, and awe allowed me to feel a sense of control. Recognizing what parts of my life are still dictated by myself (what I eat, what I wear, what I schedule) has brought me peace when everything around me feels chaotic.
Your experiences are yours to label and no one else’s.
Nothing needs to be justified or summarized. (It can’t be, the experience just is.) And that’s wonderfully okay and enough. Social media makes it easier than ever for people to have an opinion about your life. But your life change and how you decide to handle it is only fully known by you. It is your experience. Trust it. Own it. Claim it.
“Who do I want to be regardless of circumstance?”
I always ask myself this when change is spinning me in circles. The great thing is, because my answer to this question is a list of characteristics, I can start working on those things now. Character is separate from circumstance. I don’t grow in a linear progression – no human does. So I’ll fail sometimes at developing these traits during hard days. But as the saying goes: “calm storms don’t create skilled sailors.”
Some change is brought on by ourselves (just like my transition at hand), some change is brought on by another person (been there), and some change is amazingly circumstantial. Regardless of how you got your new season, there can be peace in the chaos, resilience in the fear, and possibility in the mysterious unknown.
Minimalist's Transitional Style, Summer to Fall 2017
This is one of my favorite summer-to-fall transition outfits. (Your girl doesn't jump from bikinis right into PSL. I need a few transitional steps.) It’s super easy to throw together and wear. The light sweater offers the cozy feel without sweltering outside. And the linen pants (bell bottoms and all) lengthen the legs in true fall fashion, but remains upbeat with the bright white fabric. They’re very comfortable but, as most white offers, still look refined.
Sweater - Thrifted
Pants - Banana Republic Factory
Shoes - Nine West green mules from TJ Max
Accessories - Trades of Hope: Northern Lights Studs and Chelsie Necklace
Photos by the gifted Joshua DeSouza
It's happened again.
Hatred and discrimination against a people group who are not the majority.
In America. In 2017.
This time with open, self-professing KKK, Neo-Nazis present.
In America. In 2017.
There's a computer in my pocket at all times. A satellite gets me everywhere I want to go daily. I can jump through time zones effortlessly in a cylinder of metal in the sky.
But there is still white supremacy.
In America. In freaking 2017.
I hate to shatter the illusion so many Americans are living in, but we are not nearly as advanced as we as a nation take credit for.
As many other Americans, I am still processing the recent, tragic events in Charlottesville. However, I do know 2 things unwaveringly:
This is unacceptable and must end, and I must do something to irradiate this evil, even if the evil does not effect me directly.
But after the "we must show love!" Instagram captions and tweets, this is where so many people stop. And yet, we are surprised when more casualties occur out of hate, discrimination, and inequality. Posting on social media does not make history.
Don't get me wrong, I love seeing people I know and don't know encouraging us to new heights of light and hope. I write those things as well! But we cannot allow ourselves to write those things and then feel we have played our part. That is the crux of social media: it is a gift for the awareness we can bring, and a crutch, giving us permission to not really act on our desire to see a change in society.
That being said, this piece is about action. So, what are tangible efforts we can do to be on the right side of history? These three steps are not EVERYTHING we can do, but it is a meaningful start.
1. Be Loud
There's a reason why I'm vocal about injustices and inequality as if it's labeled across my head. (If I had an anti-rascim hat like my feminist hat, I would wear one. Send me suggestions!)
Sending out love into the world doesn't make history. Did Abraham Lincoln tell people to be loving and then retire to his house? Did Rosa Parks pray for equality in the back of the bus? Did Martin Luther King Jr. keep his thoughts on injustice to himself to remain politically correct, to make sure he didn't offend any one? Hell no. The people who lead, the thousands who followed, the ones who actually made a life or death difference for generations put themselves out there. They stood grounded. They got physically tired. They. Were. Loud. While posting on social media about love and God and light is sweet, it's also stagnant. It's not active. It's easy and not a road block for those who have hatred and lies pumping through their minds.
I'm talking to anyone with a social media account. Yes, social leaders, celebrities, bloggers, pastors -- yes, of course. But just like your one voice matters, if you have 27 Instagram followers, every one of them deserve to be informed and their voice heard as well.
Speak loudly. Speak boldly, Speak specifically. The freedoms and opportunities you have now are results of others speaking up before you.
2. This is my favorite: Text Your Government Representatives!
Did you know you could do that? If you can share your thoughts with your social media followers from your phone, please share them with your representatives as well. It takes 5 minutes, tops! (Faster than trying to figure out what grammar rules to break to fit everything in a 140 character tweet.)
To start, simply test Resist to 50409. When prompted, you give your name, your zip code, and then the list of women and men who represent you in our U.S. government will appear. Upon choosing the recipients, you can then text a message that will be sent to your reps' offices as a fax. (I'm pretty sure my reps put their fax machine in the closet because this Elisabeth girl won't leave them alone.) But, if 2017 has taught me anything, it is that (whether for moral or bribed reasons) our representatives listen to us. Our voices have been loud, and bills have not been passed.
Some government leaders have been known to reply via email if you choose to leave the address. To learn more, check it out here. (Or just start with the text because, come on, too many nightmares have unfolded and your voice needs to be heard by our senators.)
3. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Please donate to support nonprofits who are working in the thick of it all. All three of these productive steps to help don't require you to leave your couch. Continue sitting on your couch and support those who are emotionally, physically, and spiritually tired from being on the front lines. Here is a list of organizations working to make sure what happened in Charlottesville will never happen again.
This has been my go-to outfit the last few months! It's so easy, pretty comfortable, and a fun conversation starter. I got these overalls on clearance a couple years ago, but I've linked below all the pieces I'm wearing (from overalls, undershirt, to lip color) or pieces that are remarkably similar!
Let me know if you have any other questions + what your favorite style or trend is right now!
Thankfully, this photo is a funny, dramatic exaggeration that I found on my recent trip to Nashville (from Amelia Style's East Nashville boutique). I'm pretty sure I have more magazines than issues (because I'm a print publication fanatic).
But I have been learning a lot lately from the less-fun parts of life. More specifically, I've been letting the sad/frustrated/annoying things teach me more about ME, rather than dwelling on the circumstance or other people who I used to think were to blame. Can we just create a safe, open place here? There definitely are issues sometimes. Life circumstances or incidences with people can be really aggravating. Can I tell you something? Feeling that way doesn't make you a bad person. What matters is what you do with those feelings. If you're like me in the sense that you're big into personal development, the exciting thing is that these moments of aggravation can mold you into the most captivating version of yourself, if you choose to use them that way.
How does one use these lame/dumb/so-not-fun moments to make us better rather than just feeling icky? After reading Jen Sincero's book, You are a Badass, I stopped punching pillows while I was mad and started asking myself questions. (Far better on the heart, and the hands too.) I started asking questions like:
What story am I writing in my head when I'm upset? How am I perceiving reality? And am I making any big assumptions along the way? (That almost, usually, always is a "yes".)
While offended or confused, it's so easy to fill holes in our understanding with emotional explanations. "Everything is going to suck from now on." "She totally tried stabbing me in the back." "This is all my fault, and I can't do anything right." (Using definitive words like, "everything," "totally," "anything," "always," etc. is a pretty good sign you are writing a story for your reality.
How is writing that story adding to my life?
The answer is usually: "Well, I feel a lot crappier. I get to feel right, and I get to feel safer, but I feel grumpy and isolated, too." The knee-jerk reaction stories we write about our circumstances and the other people in them usually do not add what we thing they do to our lives. They don't make us right (as if that's even REALLY important). They don't make us safer. They don't make us "prepared" for when (IF) it happens again. And they sure as hell don't make us happier or more grateful or closer to the kind of people we want to be.
What does this say about me?
Gosh. This is the hard one. What or who gets you really upset? Like, really worked up? Now, imagining that feeling, what does that feeling say about you? What is is saying you are insecure about? Worried about? Try to avoid? Does feeling that way point out to you a trait you want to develop? Or does it indicate a trait you are happy to not have but need to be less judgmental about? Does getting so worked up about it reveal that you are too rigged or too relaxed? It's time that we own our ugly, because it is only when we do that, we can turn it into our beauty.
Lastly, I have been trying to finish this sentence in every up-side-down, totally undesirable moment:
"This is good because..."
...it is showing me that I need to work on an area in my life.
...the rain ruined my hair, but it cleaned my car. And my hair was probably TOO good anyway.
...now I realize I kind of have to be nicer to dog people and. (Not really, I love my dog.)
...the project was a disaster this time, but now I can plan for it next time around.
...even though I procrastinated and hated my life 3 nights before the deadline, I'll start earlier next time.
I'm working on owning my ugly so I can love people better and love myself better. Oh, how important the self love is, my friends. You cannot pour from what is empty. Love yourself until you are just so totally grossed out by the gushy love from yourself, and you need to cool down the self-love a little because you are making everyone else in the room uncomfortable. Bad for gross couples, good for your self-love.
PS - I found those AMAZING blush, suede slider loafers at HALF the price on Zappos (sorry, Amelia). You know your girl got a pair. Just a heads up. (;
I'm very open with the few temporary cosmetic things I have enjoyed. They are FUN! And I wish more women realized that there is no reason to feel ashamed for taking hold of how you present yourself to others.
Feeling bomb about yourself so you can focus on changing the world. > Letting your insecurities hold you back from being yourself and ultimately helping other people.
I’m also convinced that there’s no reason to hoard information, connections, or insight -- especially with other women! It's exhausting to view women as competition. I have been on both ends of making silly little things (such as eyelashes) a point of comparison. I'm so over it, guys. Besides, it's way more fun to share in fun, feminine things rather than experience them alone. When I kept getting questions on my Instagram about them, I decided to answer the most frequently asked ones here! So, read all my answered questions about my eyelash extensions experience so that (if you're thinking about them) you can get them too, and we can woo and awe at each other's fab lashes!
Question 01: Do they hurt? Can you get them wet?
No! The process is painless. You will enter some kind of room at a hair/nail/beauty salon, lay on a reclining chair or bed, and simply relax. The cosmetologist uses two pairs of tweezer-like tools to place one eyelash at a time on one of your own lashes. Remember that someone is moving very closely to your eyes, which is not a common occurrence for most people, so the first few minutes take some getting used to. Before the actual eyelash part starts, most cosmetologists will tape your lower lashes down or cover them will gel pads which will cause your eyes to water, but they don't hurt. This is to keep the glue from sticking to your lower lashes and protect your under eye skin. I will say, every once in a while, there will be an accidental tug that will be uncomfortable, but this only happens to me approximately 3 times per visit.
You can get them wet after 24 hours. (So make sure you shower right before!) Mine get wet all the time in the shower and when I wash my face. I have even swam in the ocean with waves crashing on me and they endured.
Questions 02: Where do I go to get them done?
The #1 thing that will make or break your eyelash extensions experience will be who/where you go to get them. While they are offered almost everywhere with beauty services now, I have been to 3 very different places and had very different experiences. There are 3 things you want to ask before you book your appointment. Trust me, it will save you discomfort, time, and dissatisfaction. Learn from my mistakes.
1.) Ask how long your cosmetologist has been doing eyelash extensions. The first place I went to, where I got my whole set done originally, was a professional salon with with very well trained stylists. The experience was so amazing that I fell asleep while most of it was being done (awkwardly sleeping with my mouth open and everything!).
2.) Ask if they use tape or gel pads for your lower lashed. I know the thought doesn't seem enjoyable. But you know what's even less enjoyable? Having an eyelash pulled off your under eye because they didn't use tape and now it's stuck to your face. Yeah. I would know. The second place I went to for a fill was a nail salon and tape/gel pads were not used on me. Suddenly, the eye watering was far more welcomed.
3.) Ask if they use a sanitary bed. The third place I went to for a fill was a small business owner. Rather than laying on a technician type bed that you would see in a dentist's office or salon, I laid on a cot with a big fluffy pink blanket on it. The fluffy pink blanket was cute and fit her brand, but as I was laying there all I could think about was how many people laid (and sweat) there since it was washed. The lack of professionalism added to the not awesome experience.
Question 03: Do you feel fake?
My response? I feel empowered! Do you know how long I would spend putting mascara on everyday (and then taking it off)? A lot! And even after all that wasted time, I wasn't happy with how they looked. Now, I spend zero time working with my eyelashes. And because I like them so much, I have been wearing a lot less make up. (Cue Beyonce: "I woke up like this.") Eliminating the distraction of eyelashes has opened me up to be more productive and focus on things that truly matter. Plus, it feels good to wake up feeling good! And if anyone has ever made you feel ashamed for wanting to feel that feeling, let me tell you how silly that is. Boldly take matters into your own hands, girl! We don't have time to fret about what we don't like about ourselves. You have too many businesses to start or degrees to collect or people to influence! So, if something is bothering you, do something about it. Then spend your energy chasing your dreams, investing in relationships, and bettering the world!
With relentless ambition + passion I live intentionally to take my dreams from plans to reality + empower other women to do the same. I'm a Trades of Hope founder, public speaker, and designer living in Washington, D.C. When I'm not following fashion trends, re-heating thai food left overs, or playing with my matching redhead pup, I'm offering up fashion shortcuts, life lessons I'm learning, and free wallpapers to remind you of how much you've got this.