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Last January, I shared that my word for 2018 was “roar.” Oh, how little I understood at the time what learning to roar would actually look like. Thankfully, I was open to what it could teach me:

  • Learning to roar does not mean being loud, but rather being very quiet.

  • Learning to roar does not mean making big moves, but rather being very still.

  • Learning to roar is not a strut, but rather a bow of reverence.

  • Learning to roar is not powerful in the usual sense, but rather the giving up of power, of the urge to control the world around me so that I become more in control of myself.

  • Learning to roar does not mean making myself big, but rather making myself small. To roar means total and utter surrender.

Learning to roar meant quiet and stillness, because that is where I broke through the distractions - anxiety, depression, discord with a friend - which are all merely paperwork. Busywork that you will become buried under if you allow yourself. Learning to roar meant confronting and dealing with the latent pain, so that the underlying issues that were causing the distractions could come to light. To roar meant being brave enough to do so.

Learning to roar meant building a firm foundation that can withstand life’s storms. It meant getting my identity straight, learning who I really am, so that I no longer believe the lies when they come. It is actually, I found - the most powerful thing you can be. It is a quiet type of power, a different definition than what typically comes to mind, but “roar” is a great word to describe it.

 

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Almost seven years ago I went through a crisis - or rather, three crisis at the same time - that almost took my life. If you would’ve asked me if those things were still affecting me, if I was “over it,” I would’ve been completely confident that I was. What being brought to my knees in 2018 taught me is that while yes - the worst had passed, and in some ways, I had moved on - I was no longer in crisis mode, I was functioning again and no one would have ever suspected anything was wrong (myself included!). But from time to time, the pain that I had not dealt with came leaking through, in destructive and heartbreaking ways. (If you are reading this and my leakage ever affected you in any way, please know that I am so, so sorry and it had nothing to do with you, it was purely my own pain.)

When I got brave enough to address the trauma from years ago I realized that in some ways, I was still the person who wanted an apology. I was the person who wanted someone else to take responsibility for all the terrible things that happened to me. I was the person who wanted to be left alone. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to be inconvenienced or troubled by doing something for others that I thought could hurt myself in the process.

And a person like that… is not good for much. A person like that certainly will not be helpful or even pleasant to be around, and what you produce will rarely be good if you’re too busy thinking of yourself and how it might be received by others, or how it might affect you.

 

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In last year’s blog post, I defined roar as: “being ‘brave’ and a time in life when I've never been so pumped about possibility, and the willingness to dream really big.”

As we go into 2019, the timing of those words could not be sweeter, as we (Joshua & I) embark on several amazing adventures in the new year. We are opening a new business (a brick & mortar in downtown Orlando), and I am launching a new book/project (not sure what to call it yet!) that I have been excitedly working on the past few months.

It is not lost on me how perfectly aligned all of those activities are with “dreaming really big,” and how much greater “possibility” can be now that I have gone through the fire and come out the other side.

I am so full of gratitude for what this past year taught me. And I am ever-grateful for the annihilation of self, of learning how to “roar.”

xoxo, J.

ps. Thank you for your patience during my hiatus from outfit posts! I have been so grateful for this blogging break. I will be back with business details and more outfits soon. Perhaps one of the greatest take-aways of 2018 is the overwhelming sense of peace that I do not need to “perform” in order to be valuable, and that I am a human being, not a human “doing.” This time off has been a much-needed and much-appreciated exercise of that particular truth!

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No outfit quite says “Merry Christmas” like red + plaid! And today’s look is a mix of both, inspired by a catalog photo (see below). The finishing touches? A pair of brooches to tie in the green from the shirt, and a plaid scarf for a little print mixing. I hope you have such a wonderful holiday!

Blazer: J.Crew Factory, $83 (similar, coat)
Shirt: Forever 21, $20 (similar, similar, similar)
Pants: Express, $24
Shoes: Chinese Laundry/Ross, $23 (similar, similar, similar, similar, similar)
Purse: Michael Kors/Macy's, $220 (similar, similar)
Brooches: Stella & Dot and vintage (similar below)
Approx. dates: Top and brooches are 6-7 years ago. Blazer and purse are 4 years ago. Shoes are 3 years ago. Pants are recent.

 

Inspiration: Zara

Zappos / Bloomingdale’s / BaubleBar / JCPenney / Amazon
Amazon / Banana Republic / Baublebar
Talbots / Bloomingdale’s / Saks Off Fifth / Talbots

 
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Sequins, feathers, and (faux) fur - could there be any better time to wear them than while ringing in the New Year?! Add “the color red” to that list and you’ve got today’s round-up of 15 favorite NYE looks from the past few years. Which one is your favorite?

ps. More new ideas coming on Monday! See you then! - J.

 

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(same top now in rose gold)

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What’s your favorite thing to wear during the holidays: the color red? Sparkly sequins? Or plaid? I couldn’t pick, so I wore all three!!! I put this outfit together for the Holiday Sip 'n Shop I hosted last week at Waterford Lakes Town Center. It was such a fun night, thank you to everyone who came! Happy holidays and here’s to joyfully donning your most festive outfits during the most wonderful time of year!

Top: Express, $35
Skirt: ModCloth, $48 (similar below)
Cardigan: H&M, $18 (similar, similar)
Belt: Nordstrom, $35 (similar, similar, similar)
Shoes: J.Crew Factory, $35 (similar, similar, similar)
Purse: Bloomingdale's, $70 (similar, similar)
Earrings: Stella & Dot, old (similar, similar, similar)
Approx. dates: Cardigan is 6 years ago. Belt is 1 year ago. Purse is recent. Skirt and top are new.

TJ Maxx / Express / Macy’s / Amazon
Yoox / Amazon / Missguided / J.Crew

A couple snaps from the event! Check out my IG Highlight for more pics!

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Colorful sequin stripes are in so many stores right now! You may recall seeing a dress like this on the blog recently (here), and today is a shirt version, paired with jeans and a faux fur vest. In a recent bout of sequin inspiration I ordered not one, but three, sequin tops - thinking I would just keep one. But of course I love all three and am having trouble deciding. Which of these first two are liking best so far? See below!

Top: Express, $35
Vest: Calvin Klein/Ross, $35 (similar, similar, similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom, $78
Shoes: Betsey Johnson/Ross, $32 (samesamesamesame)
Earrings: Nordstrom, $19 (similar, similar, similar, similar)
Approx. dates: Shoes and vest are 3 years ago. Jeans and earrings are 1 year ago. Top is new.

Left outfit

Jumpsuit (petite) / Dress
Top / Purse / Skirt (petite)

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