September 27, 2016



As a musician, I think of life as a series of motifs or themes. Some that recur often and some that occur once in a while.

There are beautiful and melodic motifs that I hope to encounter again and again. And there are motifs that culminate into pinnacles of milestones reached. While there are some that create so much dissonance that they bring us to low points in life.

Like in music, each note, or each moment in life is what shapes the piece, or our stories. They are what makes us who we are and makes us unique. So while some moments are better left in the past, the lessons they teach us act as the exposition, guiding us into the development and then the recapitulation to remind us of those life lessons.

Speaking of motifs, I love Fall motifs and patterns. While everyone loves their Fall plaid, as do I, I'm also a fan of paisley. It sometimes reminds me of a home decorated in the 70s, but when mixed with simple stripes, it's actually refreshing! What are your favorite Fall patterns?

Photography: Peter Ho

Top: Old Navy (old) {Similar}
Clutch: Kate Spade {Similar}
Necklace: c/o 31 Bits 
Earrings: Noonday Collection

September 18, 2016



Probably the second sweetest seasonal transition as Chicagoans are over the humid heat of late Summer and anticipating the cool crisp Fall air. (Second since Winter to Spring is most definitely number one.) Sometimes it's not my favorite seasonal change for fashion. As a color lover, the dark colors of Fall are not my favorite. 

Big changes in life are never my favorite. As someone who finds comfort in the well-known, it's difficult to wrap my heart around and truly embrace a change. However, change is necessary in order to grow and succeed in life. Just because change happens, it doesn't erase what was. As each season passes, we continue to soak in all those good lessons that life showers on us and grow as better people.

Just like life, I've found that taking baby steps is the best way to ease into the next season of fashion and style. Today I'm mixing Summer colors with Fall textures. Suede is everywhere this season and I'm falling in love. 

I found this super affordable scalloped suede skirt and I know I'll be wearing it all season. As the weather cools down, I'll be pairing the skirt with this fitted sweater, this moto jacket {or this one!} and tights like these {or these that are on sale!}.

Top: Boohoo {Similar}
Skirt: Boohoo {Similar}
Bag: c/o Jordana Paige {Similar}
Necklace: c/o 31 Bits

September 4, 2016


Happy Labor Day!

For some reason Labor Day always gives me the sense of starting a crisp new blank page. Maybe it's because in the past it was always around the start of a new school year, or because it marks a new season, or because it's so close to my birthday. Whatever the reason is, I have the same feeling again this year.

This year, the new page includes a new healthier self. As my friends know very well, I despise working out. Our relationship is quite ugly. However, I do feel guilty telling my patients to lead healthy lives by eating healthy and exercising regularly when I don't exercise myself. This is why I've decided to start exercising again. 

Anyone have tips for getting started? I've found that classes help keep me motivated and push me to press on even when I feel like I'm dying. Zumba is my guilty pleasure and probably the only form of exercise I enjoy. But Ballet Burn has also been pretty enjoyable despite being sore for days. Hoping this page will bleed into the rest of my book and lead into a full healthy life!

I love the idea of wearing white on Labor Day to illustrate the idea of a clean white slate. I found this affordable and fun white dress with beautiful blue embroidery. To finish it off, I paired it with red shoes to create a patriotic look.

Hopefully all of you hard-working people are enjoying a day off! You deserve it!

I am working today because the hospital never closes, but wishing you all a safe and healthy holiday! Seriously, please stay out of the ER!

Dress: Boohoo {Similar}
Shoes: Seychelles (Sold Out) {Similar}
Bag: Old Navy (Sold Out) {Similar}
Earrings: T&J Designs {Similar}

August 29, 2016


During the summer, I love watching flowers in our garden soak up the sun to grow and bloom to their fullness and glory. It reminds me of the course of our lives. 

Life is made up of many moments of hardship and joy. In each moment, it's important to embrace its life lesson and let it be a building block as we grow and bloom to be who we are created to be. It's an imperfect journey especially when we are tripped up by the darkness of the world. But thankfully, Light overcomes darkness, pours mercy and grace into our lives, and holds our hands to guide us when the path is difficult to navigate.

This dress was my favorite (& affordable) summer find. I love its beautiful floral embroidery and bell sleeves - like a belle in bloom. 

A belle in bloom - that's me - imperfect, in need of grace, yearning for the Light that overcomes the darkness of this world.

Keep soaking up that Light and bloom gracefully friends!

Dress: Boohoo {Similar}
Purse: Old Navy (sold out) {Similar}
Heels: Seychelles (sold out) {Similar}
Earrings: Noonday Collection
Bracelet: c/o Rocksbox {Sign up for a FREE month of jewelry with code JOANNAXOXO}

August 24, 2016


Inexplicable joy.

Friends, it has been such a long two months. It felt like an endless uphill climb with many moments where I felt like I had to crawl just to keep going. Thankfully, with so much grace and mercy, I have survived the stress, the exhaustion, the long hours and weeks of sickness.

On my first weekend off in two months, I took flight and visited the Big Apple with my family. We saw beautiful sights and ate at incredible restaurants. Summertime in NYC can be humid especially when walking around the city streets. This romper was the perfect choice to a day of adventure.

Hope you all have had a joy-filled summer! In the midst of difficult times, keep your head up and keep going! You are never alone in the struggle.

Romper: Boohoo (on sale!) {Similar}
Purse: Old navy {Similar}
Heels: c/o Hush Puppie Shoes (on sale!) {Similar}
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