Style + Beauty: Wedding Season

Pump the breaks, y’all. This little lady is no where close to getting married. However, as a style and beauty obsessed human from, like, BIRTH (baby Dior is a thing), I often obsess over the perfect pairing for that day, even if that day is 50 years from now. I’m not in any rush ūüėČ Besides, I get to look over the gorgeous wedding dresses at Loverly¬†for longer, so I’m sure I’ll find the perfect one when I need it!

Since wedding season is basically here (or right around the corner depending on your locale), I thought I’d throw out some style + beauty looks for any brides-to-be who may need some inspiration.

Look 1 // Open Back Blues:

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My favorite type of ANY dress is one with an awesome back design, cutout, or no back at all. You won’t be surprised, then, to see that my first pick is an open-backed dress by Lea-Ann Belter. Go to her site to see the delish open back! I thought this lovely dress would be so, so complimented by shades of blue.

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Open Back Blues by ranoel featuring a maybelline mascara
{Click the photo to find links for all products on Polyvore}

Look 2 // Trendy:

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As a woman who will probably only get married in white if EVERYONE is wearing white (yeah, I wanna white-out my wedding, WHAT OF IT?!), this more trendy and updated dress is more in my zone. There were {literally} one, two, three, four, … FIVE¬†others I wanted to pick, but the¬†Temperley London gown won due to its fierceness factor. Due to the sheer¬†force of this dress, I went way, way down with the beauty to the basics.

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Trendy by ranoel featuring an eyebrow kit
{Click the photo to find links to any products on Polyvore}

Look 3 // Classic Beaut:

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This Monique Lhullier dress is simple and chic from top to bottom, and there would be no other way than to pair it with the classics beauty-wise!

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Classic Beaut by ranoel featuring nars cosmetics
{Click the photo to find links for all products on Polyvore}

Thanks to my partner, Loverly, for inspiring this post. For someone who does this for a living on Pinterest all day long, you gave a girl an outlet. All thoughts and opinions on fashion, as usual, are my own… and always will be ūüėČ

Style: Spring Break LBD

Hey ya’ll.

Been a while since I’ve had¬†ANY style posts up, but now that the weather is warming up, so is my fashion inspo. In the meantime, I’m teaming up with the lovely folks at Dailylook.com to bring you some Spring Break fashion, Little Black Dress¬†style!

I’m OBSESSED with black dresses, and my closet overfloweth with them. That didn’t stop me from nabbing a few frocks from Dailylook’s LBD section (A WHOLE SECTION… CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT A DREAM OF ORGANIZATION THIS IS FOR MY OCD?!) because I firmly believe a gal can NEVER have too many black dresses ūüėČ

Spring Break LBD
Spring Break LBD by ranoel featuring Prada
{Click link to board for purchasing links for any products you like!}

This look is a transitional one for those partially cold days we’ll experience off and on ’til May here in the South.

Enjoy your Spring Break, everyone! I’m en route to my destination as you read for a little relaxation after a long winter.

Thanks to Dailylook.com for being an awesome partner. All opinions, especially about little black dresses, are my own.

Closet Makeover

The biggest part of my life is my clothes.

Sure, that may be shallow, but think about it. Every day requires you to dress, at least if you work in a locale that ISN’T a nude beach. Most of us, including myself on a lot of my earlier mornings (aka WORK DAYZ), dress solely for function and comfort.

But mostly, I dress for form. I dress for art, for beauty, for fun. I dress for myself, and I dress to express whatever that self is thinking or feeling on a given day.

So screw family and friends, the biggest part of my life is clothes.

(Just kidding, y’all. You know I’d go nakey before I went without you!)

In the house of a lady whose clothes take precedence over every other chore, however, the closet is KINDA a big deal. It has to be large enough to house all the ammunition, and no matter how big it is, it has to be organized and clean, else you forget you own that fabulous crochet dress next time summer rolls around.

Enter the issue with our current rental: the closet, while a walk-in, is so narrow and horribly designed that neither of us really have room for anything. When we moved in, I just kinda threw everything inside, so it looked like this for a long time:

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I didn’t even edit these because I wanted my emotion about this closet sitch to come through 100%: PURE DARKNESS, AGONIZING CHAOS, CLAUSTROPHOBIC WALLS CLOSING IN, PANIC ATTACK SETTING IN……..

So over the past few months, I’ve tried really hard to do a lot of things: pare down, move things around, buy helpful organization tools, and replace old, crappy hangers with new, slimmer ones I can use forever (that won’t hurt my garments).

While it won’t ever be perfect, lest a wall gets torn down and expansion becomes an option (NOT AN OPTION), here’s what I’m working with now:

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I crated up half of my shoes so they won’t scatter the floor of the already cramped space.

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For the more sturdy, expensive shoes, I installed a shoe rack and utilized the under bar of the (poorly chosen and installed) shelves already existing in the closet.

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I turned a lot of my old crates into viewable storage for more stackable items, like my workout clothes and purses.

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More boxes turned viewable storage. Can we talk about that HORRIFIC florescent lighting? Should never, ever, EVER be an option, let alone in a CLOSET!

This is the best I’m gonna get, I’m not too upset with it, AND I’ve decided to just let it go. We’re moving out in a few months‚ÄďI maintain this closet is one of our top 5 reasons why we’re itching to get the hell out‚Äďso what’s the point? As much as I love organization and home decor, sometimes the best thing one can do is recognize a lost cause when you see one.

And Project Appleberry? The biggest lost cause of all time. You know what, though? That’s okay. The best lesson I’ve learned from this project is that some things are better left undone so you can focus on projects worthy of your time.

Retaliation

Retaliation is not my style, but when someone keeps lobbing bombs on you, eventually you’re going to declare war.

For a long time, there’s been a behind-the-scenes battle¬†against me. And not¬†only¬†me, but other people like me. I‚Äďwe‚Äďshouldn’t care what these people think; after all, that’s what they want. But you know what? It’s time for some pay-back¬†via fact-straightening and blunt truths.

Women are hardwired to apologize. We make a mistake, we say sorry. We accidentally bump someone, we say we’re sorry. We do anything out of norm, no matter how small, and we say we’re sorry. Why? I’ve made it an effort in the past and in the present to say sorry way, way less. It’s a term that should only be used when you’re truly remorseful for something you’ve done that is grossly shameful, not because you didn’t hear someone the first time they said something. These are not equal offenses, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

That being said, I am sorry for some of the things I’ve done, both small and large scale. But as a whole, I’m really, really… not sorry. I’m not sorry for being who I am. I’m not sorry if you take offense to my jokes. I’m really not sorry if you are offended by the truth, which is what I do my best to speak at all times. I’m not sorry if you are misunderstand me and what I’m about, what I’ve experienced. I’m not sorry if I didn’t sugarcoat things.

This doesn’t beget natural, moral order and/or manners; this is just when some action supersedes that basic level of decency, the decency I will 100% of the time extend to you. This is about when we’ve moved beyond that base level of decency into the “should I or shouldn’t I apologize” world. This is the stage when the offenders in question also¬†move into their next and other stage: butthurt.

If you get butthurt-eth by something I say, I would have said sorry in the past. No longer. If you don’t understand hyperbole, sarcasm, and other basic literary devices, get educated. If you don’t get my humor, don’t read it. If you don’t grasp¬†that I’m trying to¬†stay true to myself and help others through BRUTAL honesty, no one is forcing you to stay around and hear it. I’m not going to apologize anymore when you get butthurt by shit that is humorous or true.

The funny thing is, there will be people who will read this and feel that ever-so-permating tingle in¬†their bones and swell up into their cheeks as the butthurt hits. This is where I’d normally apologize, but no. NO! That’s really not fair. I have observed some people say and do and write and be so many worse things than myself. These are the people who have the audacity to demand apology, to point a finger at me, to tell me I am an ass. I let you say and be this way without comment. Prior to today, I let it slide by without judgement, too. But with your actions come retribution, and I say no more. No more leeway for you if there is none for me. No more apologies if you can’t suck it up and be an adult. No more room in my life for people who can’t understand that we’re all human, and we express ourselves in so many different ways; one is not better than the other. I only want people in my life who are understanding and compassionate of that fact.

Yes, I will make off-color jokes.

Indeed, I will say things without filter.

Of course, I will say things that offend some and humor others.

And maybe, sometimes, I will say I’m sorry… but only if the situation really calls for it.

Only if I really mean it.

Only if you really deserve it.

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How many of you have ever felt like you couldn’t be true (to others or to yourself) due to the reactions of those in your life? Let me know!

Mystery (NOT) Solved, Part II

Oy.

Last time, I talked about how I knew what was going on, and how I was hopeful I’d find a good doc. Update: I still know what’s going on, it’s just that now there’s MORE going on, and I have a distinct LACK of control of what symptoms will hit and when. One night, my nausea kept me up all hours, and two days later, I felt like I was totally fine. I have high high’s, low low’s, and a LARGE number of in-between days where I constantly go up, and down, or feel sorta blah without a big “UGH” moment. How do you solve something that changes every day? Oh, and also, NO GOOD DOCTORS YET!

The answer to all of this should easily be go to a doctor and get them to solve your mystery with you, perhaps even for you, right? But the sad truth is, there are just a lot of doctors, especially when you don’t live in a big city, who really don’t know what they’re doing. Worse, they don’t listen to you when you say you have some ideas that you’d at least like to rule out… even if that advice is from a veteran nurse or another doctor. WHAT?!

To boot, when you’re searching for answers on the professional end, there are a LOT of people (personally) who seem to be baffled that you can’t just be better. This was a phenomena I once deemed only applicable to invisible illnesses, like mental health. However, it appears unless your head is falling off or you have a boil the size of a newborn baby on your shoulder, people will still doubt your physical ailments.

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This, I know, shouldn’t matter. But when my bones ache and my fatigue sets in, when my stomach wrenches into knots and my depression is acting up, when I am close-to-vomiting non-stop and I miss a work day or a girls day or {insert whatever else here}, the last thing I and other sufferers of ails need is to feel that doubt. People say things to imply “You could have made yourself better,” “you could have helped this because it’s in your control,” or “you are a burden and I don’t believe you;” sometimes they say it right out! And maybe it’s just my anxiety, but it cuts to the core of me when I genuinely have a out-of-my-hands health issue and I am met with doubtful words. It actually makes me feel worse, and I know I’m not alone in that.

The only thing that gets me through is thinking of the other people in the world who suffer in the same way, knowing that we have each other’s backs. I think of the few people who always understand me, and give me helpful advice instead of dismissing me. I think on a future time when I know I will be better, thanks to these people and one smashing doctor, and the people who doubted me will see what a change there has been. Most of all, I think of a time when I can wake up rested and at peace. And that, even through all the obstacles and doubtful faces, gets me through the most because I can’t wait for the day I can wake up and live again.

What Parks and Rec Taught Me About Life

1. Never let someone dull your sparkle.

The right humans for you will never tell you to be something other than yourself, whether that be your sig other or your bff or your co-worker. They like you for who you are, and tell you to go for your crazy plans when everyone else doubts you.

2. Always put friends first.

LK always put her friends first, and she reaped the benefits of a beautiful life full of love because of her loyalty. (Even if she leaned Saracen #teamriggins)

3. Be nice, and I mean like “ANN, YOU BEAUTIFUL, NAIVE, SOPHISTICATED NEWBORN BABY!” compliment nice.

There is no reason to be mean. You can be passionately angry and lose your temper from time to time, but you should never let anger sit in your skeleton. No one who let anger overcome them on P&R ever got anything done. Their kind circle got things done because of the goodness they expected from each other and everyone else.

4. Embrace your inner Leslie. Or Ben. Or April. Or Ron. Or…

In my case, I am Leslie AND Ben, with April’s cynicism. I like that I’m crazy-passionate, hard-working, anxious, nerdy, and sarcastic. There was a time when I didn’t see this reflection of myself represented in the media, but I think thanks to this show, we can all see a little of ourselves, whether we’re Toms or Donnas or Andys!

5. Who you work with IS as important as what you do.

I have long maintained that co-workers make or break your working world; P&R proves that your life and your workspace will be so. much. better. if you’re a community of people who respect each other.

6. Being happy in what you do is the ONLY way to make a living.

No matter what path the characters took, they always followed their hearts career-wise. If it didn’t make them happy, they¬†moved on. You have to be fulfilled; you can’t sell something you hate or do something that makes you sick. You have got to be happy in the thing you’re doing 8-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. What that is is different for everyone, and you should never hold someone back from trying to find that workplace happiness.

7. Never grow up…

You must always remember your inner Burt Macklin and release him often. No good can come from taking yourself too seriously and never having fun. I will always buy Marvel t-shirts, for example. NEVER SORRY!!!!!!!!

8. … but always work hard.

That being said, you can have fun and do the things you love, so long as you’re working on bettering who you are, what you do, and enriching the world and the lives of the people in it. That means working hard, and there’s nothing wrong with a good day’s work!

9. Always lend a helping hand.

It’s really easy to shake people off, but when someone needs you, just help them. Even if you can’t help in the way they need, bring them coffee and hold them until someone else can. We need each other.

10. Breakfast food is the best and solves everything.

WAFFLES. BACON. EGGS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING! Sad? Eat b. foods. Celebrating? Have a brinner. “There was never a problem that couldn’t be solved by breakfast foods.”

Finally Comfortable

It’s weird. I’ve always been a little ahead, and not in a braggy way… just a “noticable to others” way that’s been commented on since I was, like, 8. I stopped giving in to peer pressure pretty early. I’ve always been independent, able to go places alone without fear. I made my own choices about my education and career. I have landed every job since graduation myself. I have been through every¬†serious, sad¬†adult situation you can think of, all before I turned 22. I’ve just been this way since birth, and I believe I always will.

But I worried constantly, and always have, thanks to those before-my-years moments. Though I know I can’t change the chronic GAD I live with, I try to manage it and know innately that it’s okay to have anxiety. However, I’ve always been incredibly bothered by my back-and-forth of¬†worrisome thoughts about one thing: me. Myself. My body.

I believed, and still believe, it’s a sickness to worry so much about your body, which is why I was always so incredibly focused on deleting that worry from my life. I was DETERMINED to knock it BEFORE 30, because I remembered so many quotes about “Why were we so self-conscious in our 20s? We were at our physical peak!” I took those words to heart because I knew how true they were. And while I¬†KNOW¬†I’m going to keep on rollin’ out the peaks over the next 3 decades, I didn’t want to miss out on this, the 20-something peak.

Honestly, I didn’t worry about my body until I was in college, so I consider myself pretty lucky. Hell, it wasn’t even until LATE college that I really started to see flaws with myself physically. It started with my battle with adult acne, but when I knocked that out, I again was lucky to not see the flaws in myself……………… until after I lost weight, became a new, strong woman. And then I looked back‚Äďsometimes the opposite of wise‚Äďand I thought…. wait. WAIT! That was ME?! I was that confident in myself at THAT weight, with THAT hair?!!? NEVER AGAIN!

And that “never again” spawned this new sort of worry I had never had: never go back to that size, never go back to that hair, never go back to those clothes, never go back. And while it started as a “KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND BE YOUR BEST SELF!”, I quickly realized that it was an obsession. An unhealthy one.

Within that obsession, I never deprived myself of anything or overexercised. I like to think this is because of the highly logical side of my brain I inherited from my dad; if it’s not healthy, I don’t do it. He was very conscious of the fact he was raising two girls, and somehow, he knew never to pick our appearance apart. Maybe it’s because he was the big brother to a great sister, but he just… he never made us feel judged for our bodies, and I believe that’s why I never felt body shame until the opposite kind of men¬†started to come into my life.

Yet, I still knew the obsessive body-based thoughts themselves were not something my supportive parents would find healthy, even if I wasn’t binging or denying or whatever else there is. I’m so glad¬†I HAVE that foundation of support,¬†because I can see how this worry over returning to my “ugly ‘before'” body could have turned into a plague-ish obsession that left me sick, sick, sick. But the fact that I now THOUGHT about my body image all day, even if I wasn’t doing anything “sick” to change it? That was not okay with me, and it wouldn’t be okay with my parents. Though I tried to stop them, the thoughts continued to be pretty intense.

I can’t pinpoint the moment when I realized it was taking up too much thought in my head, but I do know several things that made me start to realize I could be better to myself, could change the way I thought by focusing on these positive and productive things instead: when my friend S started clean-eating and sharing her tips with me; when I started stress eating and didn’t gain the weight back (or freak out when I teetered on gaining it); when I realized that I needed to focus more on my internal health than the external; when I realized that I can weigh 120 pounds with muscle OR fat. They all bungled together to start changing what I would tell myself every day.

I don’t know precisely when it happened. Maybe I just beat the thought into myself for so many days that it finally stuck. I woke up one morning and felt okay. Felt cozy. Felt like giving a giant middle finger to anybody who dare try to question my new mind-set: YOU ARE A HOT 20-SOMETHING, EVEN IF ONLY IN YOUR OWN EYES. CHILL THE SHIT OUT!

And I did. I mean, I still look down and see softness where my abs were, but instead of freaking out, I just think “I’m still hot. I’ll get those abbies back when I feel strong enough to exercise again.” I still don’t like when a pimple appears, but I simply say “Hey, hormones go away. That’ll be gone in two days!” If something doesn’t fit me the way it did before, despite my parking at the same weight for 2 years, I remind myself “It will fit to your liking again soon, but look. It fits now, too!”

So here I am, still not 30, and finally comfortable. I am aware of what I need to be healthy, and what steps I need to take to get there, but I have coping skills to talk myself down from worry’s edge if I backtrack or have a weak moment or feel unworthy. I don’t linger in front of the mirror as long as I did, and when I do, I make sure to find something I like before I leave.

Like, when I took this to prove my abs were gone, I was like "BUT LOOK WHOSE BOOBS ARE BACK!" Then I turned around and checked out my nice rear while I was at it.

Like, when I took this to prove my abs were gone, I was like “BUT LOOK WHOSE BOOBS ARE BACK!” Then I turned around and checked out my nice rear while I was at it.

I’m not perfect, but I am comfortable in my 20-something skin. And after all, that is ALL I ever wanted, and all I still want:¬†to enjoy my 20’s appearance without guilt¬†before I hit another decade, looking back and regretting that I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it.

I found peace and ways to get back to that peace when I lose it. I’d say that’s another point for the ahead-of-the-game’ness I’m so used to, and I hope it helps anyone else who feels stuck. There’s still time. There’s always time.

www. Wednesday

Blogger edition!!¬†I’m suffering from major SAD, which is super quelling my writing. My solution has been a lot of reading, so I can cultivate ideas until the winter blues let up. These articles have also helped. Good luck, blogger fam! ‚̧

+ Chapter Friday’s advice on digging out of a blogging dip // finding motivation again.

+ TSC’s biz plan for those of you who are budding entrepreneurs like myself.

+ Hello Neverland’s recipe for creative productivity.

+ Queen of Jetlags speaks to my heart here with how to be an ORGANIZED blogger, probably the MOST vital key to succeeding. Organize first, then the writing will just come.

+ Couture Girl offers up some great advice about how to grow your audience positively.

+ Another Queen of Jetlags piece about how to invest in your blog without spending too much dough, something I need to learn because I will quickly drop money into this as it’s my passion. Learning to hold back will help.

+ Elle & Co. offers some quick advice on how to find your niche, which frankly, I still struggle with!

My advice? LOTS of french-pressed coffee!

Lust List: For the Bod

Other than a major thirst for beauty products lately, I’ve been on a binge for bettering my body. Of course, I have to up my water intake and shake off the SAD and exercise, but in the mean time, these are the things I’m lusting after to “fake it ’til I make it.”

1. Extreme Waist Trainer by Primadonna

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2. Embrocation cream for bare, yet warm, winter legs!

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3. ALL the bralettes! To feel sexay, YAKNO?!

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4. A Fitbit Charge, mostly to track my sleep, and hopefully up my movement daily until it’s swim time again!

 

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5. Major skin revamp, via Fraxel or something, erry’where. This winter has seriously done some damage, even with constant moisturizing!

6. Commando half-slip for keeping my little puffs hidden ’til they’re gone.

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7. My tried and true Saka Fitness DVD.¬†This will get me back on track faster than any of the above. Let’s dance the winter off!

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1 CoREYONCEians 13

Love is crazy, love is wild.

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It does not judge, it does not bore, it is not perfect.

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It does not involve games (unless they’re on the N64), it is not abusive, it is not one-sided, it keeps no record of anything. Ever.

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Love does not replace your independence but rejoices when two folks hang out from time to time instead of by themselves.

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It always makes you laugh, always brings you hope, always shows support, always is give AND take.

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Love never lies, cheats, or changes. Love is simply… love.

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