October 3, 2018

JOY FALL


Fall has come.

I don't know about you, but I usually love watching the leaves change from green to vibrant yellow, orange and red. It's magical and makes my heart sing. But for some reason, I've been really hesitant for the change this year. After sifting through the possible reasons why I feel that way, it hit me.

The past few months were full of many life changes. I graduated residency, left a hospital and patients I knew and loved like family for 7 years, my sister moved away, etc. While I understand that change is good and I can certainly embrace minor changes in life, I'm not a fan of a lot of life changes. So the thought of more change makes me apprehensive. I miss the coziness I felt with the known, the familiar, the expected.

One thing I love about journaling is that it allows me to look back at past seasons and see how God grew me and worked in amazing ways in my life. As I look back, I survived all the past seasons of change and thrived through it. I trust that there is so much more goodness ahead even if I can't see it. God has incredible ways of surprising me and providing in ways I never expected.

And it's when I embrace the change and choose joy instead of worry, that I can truly allow God's good plan to come to fruition. So I'm going to choose joy and let my Fall be joy-filled. I'm calling this season, Joy Fall.

One thing that definitely gives me joy is Fall clothes. I'm loving this perfect Fall frock. Pair it with booties or flats, add some simple jewelry and you're good to go! I even paired it with my new "choose joy" bracelet from 31 Bits as a reminder to choose joy this season (& every season). What is favorite thing about Fall?







SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger (old) {Similar | Similar}
Bag: 31Bits
Bracelets: 31Bits
Rings: 31Bits | 31Bits
Earrings: 31Bits

October 1, 2018

FALL LAYERS


With any season change, I am constantly questioning what to wear outside. The weather is unpredictable. Will it be sunny with a high of 70? Cloudy with a high of 50? Raining? Snowing?? You never know and the weatherman is not always the most reliable.

So my answer is to layer. Always. It makes life easier and more comfortable knowing that you have options to keep you cool or warm. But then, there's the decision of what colors go with what and making sure your layers go together.

This is why I always have solid colors in my closet. But I make sure even the solid color pieces always have something interesting to say. A little ruffle or a little embellishment, it goes a long way to carry an outfit.

I love going to SheIn for my basics. You can't beat the price! I recently got a white top with side ruffles that is so great to pair with jeans or work pants. And I love burgundy in the Fall, so I also got a burgundy waterfall coat that is light and easy to layer.






SHOP MY LOOK:
Top: c/o SheIn
Jacket: c/o SheIn
Jeans: Loft {Similar | Similar}
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger (old ) {Similar | Similar}
Bag: 31Bits
Necklace: 31Bits

September 28, 2018

FALLING FOR ANIMAL PRINT


The animal print trend is taking me back to my junior high days.

I remember a zebra print set that I had and wore all the time. Kind of embarrassing. I would not be able to pull it off nowadays. But I still love touches of animal print. It looks great in a cute pair of flats or pumps. And I love a cute animal print belt to add pizzazz to a basic casual look. Lately I've shied away from the head to toe animal print since it's not my style.

But I found the cutest shirtdress with a subtle leopard print and a gorgeous mix of fall colors! And you will never believe the price! It's a statement dress in itself, so I paired it with my go-to open-toed booties and a simple necklace. A simple outfit for dinner or brunch with the girls on the weekend!

What trend are you loving this Fall?






SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn
Booties: Tommy Hilfiger (old) {Similar | Similar}
Bag: 31Bits
Necklace: 31Bits {Similar | Similar}

August 21, 2018

STILL SUMMER


It's still Summer.

I saw a tree turning yellow a few weeks ago. But it's still Summer!

As long as I can still enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine comfortably, eat ice cream outdoors and wear shorts and sandals, it's still Summer.

When I wrote about Summer sunshine and enjoying my first real week of Summer a month or so ago, life seemed surreal and free. I had survived the grueling years of college, medical school and residency. It was the end of long work weeks, lack of sleep and endless stress. I had reached the light at the end of the tunnel and was "living the life". 

But as Summer went on, it was different than I expected. Life got busier than I had anticipated and my life was still scheduled to the seconds. It was filled with more dark valleys than sunny mountains.  I felt pressure from all directions of life. My future was still up in the air. It was unsettling and it spiraled into an anxiety in a world of feeling like I was not enough.

After struggling with this reality, I decided to set aside pockets of stillness in my nonstop days to allow myself to address the issues. As I look back at my journal this past month, there is a theme of letting go of my fears, trusting God and His good plans for me, and choosing thankfulness in all circumstances. Since embracing these lessons and intentionally applying them to my every day, I've had more sunny days and true joy.

There is still a lot of work to be done before these lessons become ingrained in my life like breathing. But God is so gracious and truly Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. Praying that stillness becomes a habit.

One pocket of stillness was this past weekend. So thankful I got to spend a slow(ish) weekend with my family. (Read this Instagram post for the drama of how it all started.) It forced me to take the time to rest and limit my never-ending to-do lists. And I always cherish time with my family since we are now spread across the country. My sister and I visited a beautiful gardening shop since we love admiring pretty plants and flowers. I wore this beautiful floral maxi wrap dress & fit right in! It was a sweet pocket of stillness I got to share with her!

Here's to a still summer and a still life. How do you fit stillness in your life? 







SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn
Bag: 31Bits
Earrings: BaubleBar (sold out) {Similar}

August 14, 2018

VERSATILITY


Versatility is something many put on a pedestal and desire. Yes, it's great to have many gifts and talents and be useful in many places and positions in life. But it's also not exactly the easiest trait to have.

You might think I'm crazy for saying that. But it's coming from someone who is more of a generalist than a specialist. Please, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining at all about the gifts God has blessed me with, but I wanted to share my perspective in this area as a generalist. I've struggled with feeling lost and out of place a lot over the years; until recently, I haven't been able to pinpoint why I felt that way.

If you're new here, you may not know that blogging is a side hustle that I started during medical school just for fun to stretch my creative muscles. I've been blessed with opportunities that have encouraged me to keep it up during residency to now. And through it, I've discovered a love for creating content, photography and a deeper love for style and adventure. I'm also a classically trained musician and have a degree in violin performance. Life has also taken me to incredible places in the music world and I am so thankful for the opportunities that have exposed me to the world outside of classical music.

Because these areas of life rarely overlap, I often feel pulled in a million directions. This leads to being stretched too thin, overwhelmed and exhausted. But the part that is the hardest is that it can easily cause me to lose sight of my ultimate goals in life.

So now I've been purposely setting aside time at least monthly or whenever I feel off to reset and make sure that my direction is aligned with my goals. Most of all, I want to make sure that every moment of my life is glorifying God, not myself and my pride.

And back to the positives. I'm beyond thankful for all these gifts and the opportunities I've had. The best part of it all is that God has blessed me with incredible friendships in all of these areas of life. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. Every person has touched my life, inspired me, encouraged me and spurred me on to be a better version of myself.

Another area where versatility is extremely helpful is in clothing. When I shop, I look for the different ways I can style each piece. Can the piece of clothing be dressed up or down easily? Can the top be tucked into a skirt without looking frumpy? Can the piece be transitioned throughout every or most Seasons of the year?

I love this fun Shein top . It's a beautiful color that can be worn throughout the year. The waist is fitted so it tucks into a high-waisted skirt easily. And it can be dressed up or down easily to transition from daytime to nighttime. I'm sharing how I wore it 3 ways below! Which is your favorite?

Casual: Pair the top with jean shorts for an easy weekend look



Dinner: Tuck the top into a high-waisted skirt and lose the belt for this dinner date night look



Night out: Pair the top with skinny jeans and heels for a night out grabbing drinks with your girls



SHOP MY LOOK:
Top: c/o SheIn
Skirt: Loft (old) {Similar}
White jeans: Anthropologie (old) {Similar}

July 16, 2018

SWEET SUMMER


Oh, sweet sweet summer. 

After our dreary winters, I love watching the earth spring to life. The rain nourishes the earth, the sun shine longer & life blooms.

Summer brings up childhood memories of gardening with my parents, berry picking, weekend fishing and camping trips with family friends, adventures around the world, summer camp, etc. It is a season of growth. 

So many of those memories were formative and helped me become the woman I am today. Especially when I think back to those trips to developing countries that opened my eyes to injustices around the world, to different cultures, etc. And when I remember those important lessons from church summer camp and how I learned to make my faith in God my own.

Summer is a fruitful season, literally and figuratively. Berry, cherry and peach season are my favorites. During cherry season, I scored rainier cherries at the farmers market. And the farm's cherry trees definitely bore sweet cherries!

My hope is that the fruit I bear is sweet; that in everything I do in my life is filled with love, joy, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness and glorifies the Lord.







Photography: Cranberry Tantrums

SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn
Bag: 31 Bits
Earrings: Ann Taylor (old) {Similar | Similar}

July 12, 2018

SUMMER SUNSHINE


If you've heard that Chicagoans live for the summer, you've heard correctly.

This is the first summer out of my 7 years in Chicago that I've had to truly enjoy Chicago's sunny days and it's been bliss. I went to the farmer's market for the first time, made it to the beach before the end of summer and my balcony garden is thriving because I have time to give it TLC. 

The extra sunshine in my life has given me so much more joy in the everyday. In the past summers of medical school and residency, I didn't know what I was missing. But I hope to never miss these sunny summer days ever again!

I love this sunny yellow dress and it makes me smile. And at its price, it's a steal! I look forward to spending more summer morning walks, brunch and ice cream dates with friends and farmer's market visits in this dress.







PHOTOGRAPHY: Cranberry Tantrums

SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn
Earrings: Ann Taylor
Bag: 31 Bits
Sunglasses: Loft {sold out} {Similar | Similar}

June 19, 2018

SWEETLY BROKEN


Any perfectionists out there?

I will fully admit to it. I've always been a perfectionist, and being one, it's so easy to get bogged down with the smallest imperfect details of myself. Oftentimes, these imperfections also make me feel undesirable and as if I have to prove myself more to deserve to be loved. But I am so thankful that those thoughts and feelings are so far from the truth!

We are all human -- imperfect and broken people. We make mistakes, we say or do the wrong things, we think bad things about others, etc. If we had to earn grace or salvation for all our sins, we would never be good enough to earn it. But there's good news and sweet truth!

The truth is that though we can never be good enough to be saved, God has made a way for us through Jesus. We don't have to earn God's grace. It's there, extended to us, free for the taking. It cost Jesus' life, but God loves us so much that He was willing to make that sacrifice for us.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I love these verses. It's a beautiful picture of God's love for us. He's perfect, mighty and powerful, and yet, He wants us to come to Him in our brokenness and surrender our imperfections to Him. It's not easy and can feel vulnerable. But when we surrender it all to Him, take up our cross and follow Him, we can fully experience His perfect strength, His sweet truth and His extravagant Love for us.

~~~~~~~~~~

Putting together this sweet look was a blast from the past. I thought I'd play on the 50s housewife look with this fun 50s style dress from SheIn. While externally perfectly put together and tied up with a bow, there's a lot of brokenness going on internally. A necessary reminder in the day and age of social media. No one is perfect. We're all in need of a whole lot of love, grace and kindness! I also included some fun details including a chocolate bar clutch to add some sweetness.






SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn
Clutch: Kate Spade (Old) {Similar}
Heels: DSW (Sold Out) {Similar}
Scarf: Ann Taylor {Similar}
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