A gift

A gift

je kunt deze foto gebruiken om een telefoonhoesje te ontwerpen op: http://www.gocustomized.com/nl/:

It’s to be expected that the Christmas season comes around, like clockwork, each year. But yet it has managed to take me by surprise this season. Perhaps its the freakishly balmy temperatures in New York City, or the work related hysteria overtaking my calendar? Maybe the lack of traditions in my mid-twenties life, somewhat, but desirably displaced.

The other night, at yoga class, our final breathes were paired with a poem. As I heard the words drift over me, something deep within recognized their phrases. When I got home, I paged through a poetry anthology I had bought in high school, and found the same poem there, dogeared and revered.

So far this season, the only gift that I’ve given as of yet (don’t worry though family and friends!) is one to myself. Sometimes words without explanation and pomp are enough. I hope this resonates with you also.

“You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,

are heading home again

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely

The world offers itself to your imagination

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.”

 

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

 

Blogging Update//Life in progress

Blogging Update//Life in progress

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Hello my dear readers. Life has thrown a bit of a curve ball with a product launch at work, and Steeped in Style has been suffering. What doesn’t help either is the continuous snow/slush/rain that makes outfit photos difficult. Enough with the sad trumpets though!

I promise, things will be back to their regular two or three posts a week shortly. In the mean time, I thought I’d give a bit of a Shopping Cleanse update. For those of you who don’t know, I did a little soul searching and decided to halt on the clothes shopping for a month and a half. Let me tell you, it was great to have a friend or two join in the pledge, because it was an uphill battle. But we made it, and this is a practice I aim to do more regularly. It felt good to use the things I have, and save my money for other financial goals.

Practice takes intentionally even in a time of plenty though. My first post-cleanse purchase arrived today, and I found myself attempting to keep two items that were not a worthy fit to my wardrobe. Sometimes we just want more to want more, which is a ugly truth that I want to battle. It took a second opinion from a friend to convince me to return the items.

I always preach adding things to your closet that make you look great and add value to the items you already own. Sometimes you need to do a little self-preaching though, and that’s what went down today.

Thanks for letting me share; seep on the lookout for more Beauty Counter Spotlights and some other style posts in the works. As always, if you have a topic you’d like to see covered, share below in the comment box.

Take care: A few health changes

Take care: A few health changes

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There is a natural tendency to push ones self until the brink of exhaustion. The shuffle and expectations of this world naturally wear us down. If one life facet slows, another quickens. Maybe it’s work deadlines, or a stressful family relationship, or a imposing decision on the horizon. Whatever excuse we tell ourselves is always replaced with another. I don’t want to bore you all with the personal details, because this phenomenon isn’t about me. It’s about all of us. And despite the fact that our lives will probably continue to escalate, there are things we can do.

I’ve recently been really encouraged by getting back to simple, simple truths. A phrase that you can digest in one breath, but can echo in your head for a while because of it’s profoundness. I like the idea of having a few mantras, or statements that I can whisper as a prayer. A meditation point throughout the day.

Be gentle to yourself. Listen to the rhythms of your body, and tend to the moments that are out of sync. Change. Do something.

“So what?” you may ask. These words may mean something, but how else can I nurture myself?

If you want action items, this book greatly encouraged me. The New Health Rules is a rulebook for wellness choices that will seem small, but will ripple effect into your whole being. Whole health topics from eating to emotions are covered, with beautiful accompanying photos. I like to read a few pages before bed.

A few more open ended suggestions:

Practice a few yoga sun salutations or hip openers in the morning or night.

Take a bath with Epsom salts.

Drink the juice of a whole lemon in warm water each morning to cleanse your digestive track.

Diffuse some essential oils to energize or unwind throughout the day.

Record what you’re grateful for. Trust me, it will help center your thoughts on the positive.

It all comes down to what you need, and what you can give back to yourself. A change can be as simple as a mental decision to act differently. What that looks like depends on you. Hope this post has encouraged you all.

Steeped in thought//Shopping cleanse

Steeped in thought//Shopping cleanse

79153f4adb14fc4f7b60672c72e07871Cleanse: To free from dirt, defilement, or guilt; purge or clean.

I’m going to get a bit more personal in this post, which I hope is okay with you all. I want this space to be more than pleats, instagrams, and #ootds after all. I am admittedly a lover of style, and with that shopping. I like browsing stores or scrolling through my favorite online spots. Above all, I love when a great deal and some dreamy new item coincide into some physical form in my closet. There is nothing wrong with shopping in itself. I’ve just become more aware of how I use shopping as a distraction from a true emotion, rather than addressing it. Plus, I’m owning up to making more financially minded decisions.

To start off 2015, a friend and I decided to agree to a shopping cleanse. No shopping until March 1st, which evened out to about 2 months without any new clothing, shoes, or accessories. This does not sound like a long time, but I have to be honest and say that it has already been a true challenge! The personal gain is based on practice and discipline. I want to focus on developing traits and habits that I can be proud of, and responsible choices that are beneficial in the end.

If you’re thinking about doing a similar challenge, here are a few of my guidelines:

Stop yourself before a credit card comes out. I’m still guilty of browsing websites when I have down time, but to help myself, I unsubscribed from the majority of retailers daily emails which removes the temptation from my mind, and has really slimmed down my inbox! Having a friend to do the challenge with can also help when you need a like-minded companion, or someone to talk you off a ledge.

Ask yourself why. If you’re dreaming about a new bag or shoes, get to the root reason. So often the truth is distorted and our perception of the solution doesn’t reflect the actual cause. For me, the majority of times I’m tempted to shop do not come from a place of need. I do not need another pair of jeans, I have 10 already. Could it be anxiety or stress? Are you lonely, or feeling insecure? Prob deeper and solve your problem without tapping your finances.

Don’t wear all your money. I sometimes abide by the mindset of “liking my money to be wearable,” but I’m also discovering the value of saving. For each time I’m tempted to buy a new item, I plan to save that money for other goals I have. Maybe you want to invest in stocks, put money aside for a trip, or build up a emergency fund. Remember that spreading your funds will provide a fuller life than a closet full of clothes.

I’m excited to complete this challenge and look for other areas in my life to cleanse! Would anyone else want to join in this journey?

Just a note that Steeped in Style will still cover style inspiration, beauty products, and outfit posts in the meantime; creative solutions aren’t based on the amount on money you can spend, but on the intuition you listen to! Thanks for your continued support. xo

A new season (Outfit + my thoughts)

A new season (Outfit + my thoughts)

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[Outfit Details: Coat: H&M; Blouse: Gap Outlet; Skirt: F21; Flats: Calvin Klein; Rings: Etsy, Catbird]

Gravitating towards looks with lots of texture, and layers/loving that I go sans tights!

You may have noticed a break in my posts recently which I could account to many things. I try to keep a separation from my blog and personal life, but every once in a while the two become intertwined. In this past year I’ve started a demanding new job, which is a definite step forward in my career, and I am thankful for that. I’ve also had to say goodbye to my Dad after a long battle with cancer.

All this to say, I haven’t felt the same draw, or desire to share and discuss style. My energy has been taken up by emotion and moving forward through each work week. On Steeped in Style I’ve noticed a theme that I often talk about; seasonal dressing. What works for one season may not work for the next. Whether it’s a color, texture, or silhouette, our reaction to the environment is always in motion.

Without getting too reflective and deep, I feel that this season that I’m walking through is still going to be a good one, even thought I’m still processing the experience. I believe that sometimes you have to walk straight through the valley of sorrow, self-doubt, and pain to come through the other side. I also hold onto the truth that with our greater capacity to experience grief, we also can experience more joy, hope and love. I have faith in God’s direction and hand on my journey. There is a time for all things–

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

I’m still looking to use this space as a place to explore style, and express the things that make my day brighter. I hope you’ll all continue on this ride with me–where we can focus on the good in our days. 

Sincerely,

Grace

To the new year

To the new year

ImageHappy New Year’s Eve! This day always brings a deluge of emotions: thoughts that another year has sailed by without me taking full advantage, and the remaining note of me living another year older. Then there’s always the thoughts of time with family and friends, party dresses, festive munchies and drinks, and so I usually middle out in a contented close to the year.

All that to say, I’m grateful for the closing year (looking at you 2013) even though it held it’s share of sorrows, challenges, and frustrations. I also hold close so many amazing memories of trips taken with friends, achievements I never thought possible, and quiet blessings that remind me I’m not alone in my life.

I have hopeful expectations for 2014, as I hope you all do. Half the joy of living is being open to what’s to come, right? Wishing you all a blessing filled and memorable start to this year, and thanks for going on this Steeped in Style ride with me!

A week in review (fill your heart)

A week in review (fill your heart)

Sometimes life gets hard. I think we all know, and feel that from time to time. I like to remember though, that without the variation and distinct highs and lows of life, we’d lose the appreciation and joy that comes from those solitary moments that leave us with a full and joyful heart. Take some time this weekend, or whenever you can, to remember those moments of full joy if you’re searching for the next, or find peace and gratitude with where you are if you count yourself blessed.

Here are a few articles, posts, and links that have brought me a smile or made me think this week:

A little video that will make all my fellow subway riders smile (and remember the other people riding the train every day like you are).

A reminder to let your soul grow, from a talented and practiced writer.

Be grateful for where you are, despite the challenges along the way (Taylor wrote a great personal post on this!)