April 14, 2019

I HEART SPRING


Love is in the air!

Nope, not a cheeky reference to my love life. But my heart is bursting at the thought of dining al fresco, lounging on rooftops to soak up the sun and the thought of starting my garden soon. It's always fun to see Chicago burst with activity as its residents emerge from hibernation.

In anticipation of Spring, I prepped blog photos before vacation. (I know, who am I? I was very proud of myself!) But that meant waltzing around the city in bare legs and sandals in 30 degree weather. I got many crazy looks and stares from strangers, but Ashlee and I were still able to capture Springtime vibes with these photos!

I'm definitely taking this look for a spin for a night out. Oh, and the best part, the bodysuit and heart-print wrap skirt are only $15 each!!

What are you most looking forward to this Spring?







Photography: Ashlee O'Neil

SHOP MY LOOK:
Bodysuit: c/o SheIn
Skirt: c/o SheIn
Heels: Ann Taylor (old) {Similar | Similar}
Headband: Anthropologie (old) {Similar | Similar}
Earrings: BaubleBar {Similar | Similar}

March 30, 2019

OVER THE RAINBOW


Lately, the weather has been slowly but surely warming up and rain has been falling more and more. It feels like we've been waiting for this for a long time after this brutal frozen Winter. I've been looking forward to these Spring showers to nurture the Spring flowers along with the shining sun. While it's not always fun to drive or walk in the rain (especially if your umbrellas like to go inside-out like mine), I do look forward to the rainbows that adorn the sky afterwards.

The rainbow has long been a symbol of promise since the time of Noah's ark. For me, it is a symbol of God's goodness and grace. As a Christian, I know that for the duration of my life here on earth, I will continue to face the storms of life. The storms in my life are often much like those Winter storms that seem to destroy life as the trees become bare and the flowers and grass wilt from the cold. They tend to bring on the feeling of despair and sometimes loss.

But with Spring, comes the renewal of life. As the rain falls and quenches the thirst of the dry earth, the hope of goodness and beauty springs as the trees bud and the flowers break from the ground and the grass turns green again. Similarly, I can trust that despite the deepest and darkest valleys of life, God is always with me.

As Psalm 23 says, God is always with us. He has gone before us, He stands beside us and guards us from behind. And I know that I can trust Him to provide me with whatever I need to weather the storms. There will eventually be peace, comfort and rest.

I don't need to wish upon a star to wake up where clouds are far behind me or where trouble melts like lemon drops. I know that somewhere over the rainbow exists for you and me. We just have to place our trust in Jesus and that's where we will be found.








PHOTOGRAPHY: Ashlee O'Neil

SHOP MY LOOK:
Dress: c/o SheIn (Use code Q1Graceinstyle15 to get 15% OFF before March 31st! After April 1st, use code Q2Graceinstyle15 to get 15% OFF!) 
Jacket: Forever 21 (old) {Similar | Similar}
Heels: Old Navy
Bag: 31Bits
Rings: 31Bits | 31Bits

January 30, 2019

BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD


Oh, Chiberia! It is in full swing today. I hope many Chicagoans and others in the Midwest dealing with this misery were able to stay indoors and avoid the negative 50 with wind chill weather! If not, I am sending prayers your way for safety!

The winter months overall can be dreary and depressing. It may be the shorter days, the blistering cold, or maybe it's the black "snow" on the roads and sidewalks.

Quick story - I've been showered head-to-toe with this black "snow" in college by a bus speeding past me as I was walking back to my dorm after going on a grocery run. I tried to tell myself that it had to have some exfoliating properties or possibly something good for my hair. But I burst out in tears on that sidewalk, drenched in who-knows-what, carrying heavy bags of groceries, and already super stressed with exam season in that moment. - True story! I laugh now looking back at that moment, but I was a ball of stress in the moment and not joy-filled about the situation.

Because of all of the above, it's easy to overlook reasons to choose joy during this season.

But I often find a fun outfit puts a smile on my face. It's also a physical reminder and act of choosing to put on joy!

So instead of pulling my usual jeans and comfy but joy-less sweater on my days off, I've been more intentional about putting together fun looks! It's definitely made my days brighter and hopefully brings joy and brightness to others around me.

Also fun, my entire look is under $100! While I usually don't wear highlighter yellow, I love how all the colors play together. As always, I choose one piece as the centerpiece and choose every other piece around that one piece. For this look, the centerpiece is a colorful pleated skirt and I decided to pull out the yellow with a cute OTS yellow top. And to stay warm, I chose this pretty coat. I'm obsessed with the bow and fur details!

Here's to brighter days ahead!








PHOTOGRAPHER: Ashlee O'Neil

SHOP MY LOOK:
Top: c/o SheIn (Use code Q1graceinstyle15 to get 15% OFF)
Skirt: c/o SheIn (Use code Q1graceinstyle15to get 15% OFF)
Coat: c/o SheIn (Use code Q1graceinstyle15to get 15% OFF)
Purse: SheIn (Use code Q1graceinstyle15to get 15% OFF)
Heels: Seychelles (OLD) {Similar | Similar}

December 25, 2018

CHRISTMAS HOPE


Christmas is here! And this is the first year in many years that I get time for rest and time with family for Christmas. Honestly, it's the best gift I could ever receive since this time of year is often so crazy with busyness and I don't get to savor the spirit & joy of the season.

I know that this season is not the most joyous time for everyone. There is pain and hardship surrounding me. For the past two Christmases, I spent 80 hour weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit taking care of the sickest patients in the hospital. I remember trying my best to grab for any piece of joy and hope to share with the families and patients despite the exhaustion & stress of 30 hour calls. Honestly, it was really difficult and I sometimes felt like hope was so far out of reach. I can't even put myself in the shoes of the families living through the hills and valleys of the news we would deliver them at different moments of each day. 

One lesson I learned throughout residency was that in order to overcome the sadness and feeling of hopelessness that could've so easily taken hold of me, I had to wake up each day with the decision to choose joy. And my joy is always found in the hope that I have in God.

I am so thankful for the greatest gift of Hope that was given to each of us in the form of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. Through my faith in Jesus, I know that I am loved always despite my failings and mistakes. It doesn't mean that life will be easy and perfect, but I know that even when life seems hopeless, there is always hope when I look to Christ. 

So my plan is to find moments of stillness this season to remind myself of this sweet hope. One place I find stillness is during my quiet times in the Word. Another place is in another good book found on the shelves of a cute bookstore. Where do you find your moments of stillness?

Wishing you a truly joy-filled Christmas! You are so loved & I am so thankful for you!








SHOP MY LOOK:
Jumpsuit: c/o SheIn (Use code Q1graceinstyle15 to get 15% OFF)
Top: c/o SheIn (Use code Q1graceinstyle15to get 15% OFF)
Coat: c/o SheIn (Use codeQ1graceinstyle15 to get 15% OFF)
Headband: Anthropologie {Similar}
Earrings: BaubleBar {Similar | Similar}
Key necklace: The Giving Keys

PS. If you missed the video from yesterday's post, my sister and I created a Christmas mashup & recorded it for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy!

December 23, 2018

COZY WINTER ESSENTIALS


Winter time in Chicago means that you must be prepared and stockpiled with cold weather clothing and accessories.

Sweaters, scarves, mittens, earmuffs, hats, etc. You need it all to survive.

But just because you may be bundled up, that does not mean you have to sacrifice style. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite cold-weather finds that are the definition of cozy and cute! I found everything at my local Loft store and these essentials include leopard prints, pretty plaids, velvet goodness, and some are tied up with a bow!



Scarves are a must! Especially in the Windy City. (Am I right or am I right?) I had a really tough time deciding which scarves to choose. I mean, look at all those options above! I was in scarf heaven at the store! I decided on this plaid scarf. The colors go with so much! But I was torn & loved all of these other scarves:

         

Hats are also a must in the Windy City. I feel like my ears are always the coldest part of my body. (Actually, it's probably tied with my nose.) So I paired the scarf with a matching chenille hat. And to add even more cuteness, I added a faux fur crossbody purse! It's the perfect additional detail to any winter look!

SIMILAR HATS:
         

Just in case you're wondering, I'm also wearing the twisted back cutout sweater above. I've worn the sweater three times in a week. It pairs well with pants and can also be tucked into sweaters. I paired it here with brushed sateen leggings. I'm hoping to get these leggings in every color for Christmas, because while they are called leggings, they're more like comfy pants that are appropriate to wear to work. YES, PLEASE.



I've been loving this pink oversized sweater. Oversized sweaters are everywhere lately. But it's all in the details for finding the right one that stands out. This color is so pretty and perfect for all year round. But my favorite detail are the puffy sleeves and the bow detail on the back! 

I paired the sweater with the comfiest velvet jeans. YES. Velvet. They fit like a glove and I own them in multiple colors because I love them so much.

And these earmuffs are beyond cute! It's perfect if you're like me and like to wear the animal print trend in a subtle way. But if you don't like the leopard print at all, no worries! There are classic black faux fur earmuffs for you!

SIMILAR SWEATERS:
         

Clothing: c/o Loft

PS. My sister and I recorded a fun Christmas song mashup for our family and friends! We hope you enjoy it & maybe get a good laugh if you watch all the way to the end ;-) Wishing you a joyous Christmas!

December 4, 2018

Terlato Kitchen


Christmas is quickly approaching! Buying gifts is not my favorite thing to do and I tend to do my shopping last minute, which can make it even more stressful! For the past few years, I've decided to start purchasing gifts around the same theme. For example, one year I'll shop for clothing, the next accessories, the next books, etc. This year, I'm giving the gift of food!

Food is what brings friends and family around the table together. Because who doesn't love food? Especially delicious food? I recently learned about Terlato Kitchen, a family-owned company that really cares about the quality of their food. They use the finest ingredients to create healthy, all-natural products.

Terlato Kitchen makes gifting super easy by offering gift boxes! I'm planning to get some pancake mixes perfect for brunch lovers and pasta boxes perfect for your noodle lovers. I'm also eyeing the coffee break box for my coffee lovers.

Of course, before I gift, I like to try the products to ensure my gift receivers will find joy in their gifts. And to be honest, the pasta sauces are not good. They're incredible! Out-of-this-world delicious! Terlato Kitchen is known for their Pomodoro sauce, but I could have their Vodka sauce every day.  I feel like I'm being transported to Italy with their authentic family recipes! It's no surprise that these sauces are made with extra love in small batches.

But as a brunch lover, I am always on the search for fluffy pancakes. And the Buttermilk pancake mix definitely delivers that! And topped with their Strawberry preserves and Cashew Banana granola, my day is made. I'm definitely making these pancakes for my family on Christmas morning!







SHOP THIS POST:
Food Products: c/o Terlato Kitchen
Plate: Anthropologie (sold out) {Similar | Similar}
Apron: Anthropologie (old) {Similar}
Faux sheep skin throw: Anthropologie (sold out) {Similar}
Tree skirt: Hearth & Home (old) {Similar}
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