Sassy and Simple!

Sass and Substance

Good morning loves! Sometimes, you might be a little bit short on time and you have to get dressed in a flash.

Today’s outfits are all about simplicity! I bet you own at least one white t-shirt right? Well, if you don’t I suggest you go grab a few. White tees can be your best friend when you have T minus 5 minutes to get dressed, but you still want to look…say it with me…FABULOUS! Hey, white tees and jeans aren’t just for your boyfriend anymore. When you wear a white tee, make sure that you wear pieces to spice it up like a fierce pump or sandal, a statement necklace, a printed clutch, or a beautiful blazer. Skinny jeans are great, but try it with boyfriend jeans too! Check out the outfit inspirations that I created for you below!

Sassy and Simple: The white tee!

Love and happiness,

Candace Sierra-Louise

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I Have a Confession…

I’m 30 years old.

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Well not quite, but I will be in 2 days. Ugggh, there I said it. Do you know how hard that was for me to do? Some of you might be thinking what in the world are you talking about? But I know a lot of women feel like me, or have felt like me when it was time to cross into the new decade that symbolizes one becoming a “super adult”. Yes, I’m an adult in my 20s, but I’ll be REALLY grown up on Wednesday when I hit 3-0. Stay with me until the end of this post, I promise there’s a point to this…

Seriously, I’ve had the most bipolar feelings about being 30. One minute I’m so excited because most women I know that are in their 30s are confident, beautiful, and comfortable in their own skin! Who doesn’t want that? But on the other hand, there’s a tiny voice in my head that wants to tell me that I’m getting old (THE DEVIL). So to tell you the honest truth, as much as I love to celebrate everything, I’m feeling quite strange. Happy, sad, excited, anxious….all wrapped up into one.

Let me back up and tell you how this blog came about. One day, I was chatting with my fiance about my upcoming birthday, and I told him that when he posted pictures on Facebook from whatever birthday celebration he might be planning for me, DON’T post my age. He agreed that he wouldn’t (because he is such a wonderful man, I can just kiss him on his nose right now…but I digress), but he just can’t understand why revealing our age is such a big deal to women. Then he proceeded to say, “You should write a blog about that”…lol. And you know what? I started to wonder the same thing and it took me 2 weeks to even start writing this because it’s a reality that I wanted to prolong facing. WHY IS IT SUCH A BIG DEAL? I’ve heard so many women say “You shouldn’t ask a woman her age” or even just look at a person crazy if they ask her how old she is. Hmmm… Do men go through this?

Now, because I needed to process this, I went to the one person that I can count on to keep it real with me. None other than my mother! I simply confessed to her my mixed feelings about entering into a new decade, and asked her how she felt when she turned 30. She said she probably felt the same way I felt, but then went on to give me some advice. She said a lot…lol…but I summarized some of her beautiful wisdom here:

She said, “Quickly turn that perception around and thank God for letting you live! It’s a blessing to be another decade older and it’s an opportunity to be an inspiration to other women. You can be an inspiration to let them know that they can be happy and healthy and look good every year that they get older. It’s up to us to take care of our health and hold on to our youth. So you have to keep exercising and eating right. I would understand if you let yourself go, but if you take care of yourself and look good, youth is in the eye of the beholder.”

After talking to her, I realized where these feelings I’ve been having are coming from, and I can finally answer my fiance’s question.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

*Sometimes I don’t feel like a “mature” adult. How can I be 30?

*I wanted to finish my PhD by the age of 30. I still have 2 more years. The sense of accomplishment is huge, and it’s different for everybody.

*Will I be considered the “older” woman in the room when I’m amongst “20 somethings” now?

Even as I type, some of that sounds a little ridiculous to me now, you don’t have to tell me, I know. But everyone has their own personal insecurities, and their own personal journey to peace. I’m leaving the decade of my 20s with the satisfaction in knowing that although I’m not where I want to be at this moment (in some areas of my life), I’m exactly where I need to be. This is just one of many new beginnings.

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So now I can walk confidently into my 30s, knowing that my best days are yet to come. I thank God for another year that He has blessed me to see, and another year that I can be an inspiration to other people. So I’m going to be even more virtuous and fashionable in this next decade, and I thank you for sharing this moment with me.

I know every woman doesn’t go through this, but I also know many that do. And it doesn’t just happen at 30. It can happen at 25 (that quarter life crisis…lawd have mercy), 40, 50, etc. If you’ve been so gracious to have read all the way down to this point, let me know how you are dealing with getting older! Were you like me with mixed emotions? Were you completely happy? Or were you completely down about it?  Did it even matter to you?

So then the fiance said the next blog I write should be about my weight… Sorry brother, that’s not happening…

Peace and blessings,

Candace Sierra-Louise

P.S. I realize that the entertainment industry has a lot to do with women’s perceptions of themselves, and I had to go to the heavenly Father for some advice about that. The word says,’Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2. So don’t base your standard of beauty and youth off of what you see on tv.

And in order to age gracefully, we have to take care of ourselves. “Do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you?…So glorify God in your body”  I Corinthians 6:19-20.

Sassy and Simple!

Good morning loves! Sometimes, you might be a little bit short on time and you have to get dressed in a flash.

Today’s outfits are all about simplicity! I bet you own at least one white t-shirt right? Well, if you don’t I suggest you go grab a few. White tees can be your best friend when you have T minus 5 minutes to get dressed, but you still want to look…say it with me…FABULOUS! Hey, white tees and jeans aren’t just for your boyfriend anymore. When you wear a white tee, make sure that you wear pieces to spice it up like a fierce pump or sandal, a statement necklace, a printed clutch, or a beautiful blazer. Skinny jeans are great, but try it with boyfriend jeans too! Check out the outfit inspirations that I created for you below!

Sassy and Simple: The white tee!

Love and happiness,

Candace Sierra-Louise

Sassy and Simple: The white tee!

Sassy and Simple: The white tee!

Majestic white top
stylebop.com

Oasis Yellow jacket
$62 – oasis-stores.com

Zara jeans
zara.com

Cheap Monday high rise jeans
$76 – thehut.com

Miss Selfridge nude pumps
missselfridge.com

ALDO faux handbag
aldoshoes.com

River Island flower necklace
$54 – riverisland.com

So how did that make you feel???

Hey there beautiful, virtuous ladies!

One thing that I love about being a woman is that there is never a shortage of occasions to dress up. Now that prom season is over and we’re done playing dress up with our daughters, little sisters, and cousins that went to the prom (I thoroughly enjoyed watching my baby sis go to her first prom!), it’s time for….drumroll please…. WEDDING SEASON! Spring marks the beginning of a plethora of nuptials and with that comes the festivities! Yesssss! Some of you may know that I’m getting married in the fall, but before then, I have 4 other weddings to attend. So, even though I have to think about my own wedding and bridal shower, I’m also brainstorming my outfits for other peoples’.

Sooo,  I figured I’m not the only one with weddings and bridal showers and parties (oh my!) to attend, and I thought we’d kick off this conversation with a few ideas on what to wear to a bridal shower. The challenge with bridal shower and wedding guest attire is that you want to look fab without overshadowing the bride. I know that’s hard for some of us to do because we like for our fashion to be on 1000 wherever we go (I’m guilty). Please don’t wear all white, bright red, or black (without a pop of color or adornments like sequins) to somebody’s wedding…lol. But since it’s spring, you still want to wear color and show up looking gorgeous! I’ve put together some ideas here. Whether you’re going for dressy, dressy casual, casual, or classic, you can conquer the bridal shower attire challenge, and still let the bride be the star!

Bridal shower outfit ideas

And now here’s some substance for ya!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~Maya Angelou

One of my favorite quotes, and it’s so true! Now how many times have you seen a thing, seen a person, ate a food, and it immediately makes you FEEL a certain way? That macaroni and cheese just made me feeeel like I’m back home in NC eating my mama and auntie’s cooking. The moment that I see my fiance after a long day of work makes me feel at peace. When I walk up to a roller coaster at Busch Gardens, I feel like I want to pass out before I get on. The point is, everything evokes a FEELING, and people NEVER forget how you made them feel.

 Quick Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I remember the first time I met my fiance. I don’t remember our entire conversation, and yes I feel bad about it…lol. But I do remember how I felt during that conversation. It was a good feeling because he was listening to me. He was attentive to what I was saying and genuinely seemed to want to get to know me. Hey, I wasn’t used to that level of genuineness from a guy, so yes it made me feel good! I also have numerous stories about how I haven’t felt so good after talking to a guy, and yes, I remember them too, but they don’t matter…haha.

What I want to encourage you to do today is to make someone feel good! You can start a revolution of making people feel good, by just starting with one person. Smile at someone and tell them good morning! Tell someone they’re beautiful! If you’re a lady, compliment another lady on her outfit today, and genuinely mean it (I know I have to tell some of you that because I know how us women can be, wink wink). Pay for someone’s food in the cafe at work! There are countless things that you can do to make someone’s day, so start brainstorming.

Often times, women can be guilty of not lifting each other up. Don’t deny it because I know I’m telling the truth…lol. If you’re a woman have you ever thought about why that is? How are you making other women feel when you encounter them? Are you only complimenting the ones that you aren’t “threatened” by? Do you make judgments about another woman and verbalize those judgments before you get to know her? If you do those things, what do you have to gain? And how are you making others feel in the process? Ok, I’m off my soapbox (for now!), but we have to think about the impact that we have on other people and the WORLD!

Challenge 1: #Complimentalady

After conversing with some of you on Facebook on the topic of women lifting each other up, I realized that we need to take action. So, if you’re a woman, I challenge you to compliment another lady, or two, or three, today. Let her know that you appreciate her, you think she’s beautiful, she dresses well, she’s one of the smartest women you know, etc. You can leave a note on her desk, tell her in person or even write on her Facebook wall. Make sure that you use the hashtag  #Complimentalady, after you finish with your compliment on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Ex) Hey____! I think you are so smart and you inspire me to be a better woman too!  #Complimentalady

Challenge 2: OPERATION GRATEFUL

One day, I was thinking about all of my uncles and aunts that have done so much for me over the years, and have supported all of my endeavors. I decided that I would start what I called Operation Grateful,  and I sent every one of the aunts and uncles that have impacted my life a personalized, handwritten thank you card to tell them how grateful I was to have them in my life. It was random, and spur of the moment, but that’s the best kind of gift. I hoped that the words that I wrote to each of them would let them know that although we don’t speak regularly, I love them a lot, and can only hope that I can be there for them, like they have been for me. I didn’t want anything in return, I just wanted them to know that they are loved and appreciated, even from far away. That was my Operation Grateful. Why don’t you start your own Operation Grateful? Or come up with another way to show your love and appreciation to your loved ones? Also, get in the habit of blessing other people with your words and deeds. It doesn’t have to always be about money. Your words and deeds will make people FEEL good, and they will never forget that.

So whenever you encounter a person, think about it and ask yourself, “How did I make them feel?”….

 Peace and Blessings,

 Candace Sierra-Louise

Bridal shower outfit ideas

Bridal shower outfit ideas

White dress
$140 – intl.forevernew.com.au

Phase Eight fit flare dress
$250 – johnlewis.com

Necktie blouse
$74 – 20thcenturyfoxy.com

Sleeveless blouse
sheinside.com

Miss Selfridge zip pants
$70 – johnlewis.com

Brown sandals
windsorstore.com

Look Good and Let it Gooo! Part 2

Hello! Bonjour! Greetings! As I drink my morning tea, red rooibos if you’re wondering, I’m feeling so excited to post today! Are you ready for some sass?

It’s PEPLUM! So feminine and dare I say, so CUTE!

Peplum!

I’ve put together a couple of looks to inspire you to wear peplum this spring/summer. The first outfit is for the casual, laid back day when you want to look cute, but you just don’t want to wear heels. The second outfit is a two in one! You can wear this peplum top to the office with a blazer and take the blazer off to meet up with friends or your honey after work 😉 Peplum accentuates your waist and gives the illusion of that curvy figure that all of us ladies want. Do you own a peplum top, peplum dress, or peplum blazer? We’ve been talking about how to let go of grudges so that you can be happier, and I want you to look good while you heal on the inside! So get some peplum in your closet 🙂

Let’s get to the substance…

Last week we talked about holding on to grudges and I promised you that this week, we would delve a bit deeper and tackle the question of how to let go. Exactly how do we forgive and move forward? If you’re like me, you get advice all the time that you must forgive.

“Okay, I get that. But can you tell me how to do it? Right now, I’m too hurt, too broken, too angry. I don’t know if I will ever be able to get over this.”

Sound familiar? Well it does to me, because I’ve been there. I didn’t think I would be able to get over low self esteem because people said mean things about me. I didn’t think I would be able to erase the hurt of being lied to, manipulated, and rejected. But guess what? I got over those things and you can to! Now before we begin, let me reiterate that I am not a doctor, so I’m not here to diagnose you or anyone else. I’m a real woman with real stories that wants to connect with you on a level that will touch your spirit and hopefully make your life better. Sidenote: If you haven’t read the “About this blog and I” section of this blog yet, please do so. You’ll learn so much more about me there.

Now back to business. Confession: I like to read empirical research articles sometimes (nerd moment so stick with me). The reason I am telling you this is because there is actually a body of research out there that supports the notion that unforgiveness has a negative effect on your physical health. I will spare you the scientific jargon, and tell you that according to research, thinking about your offender in unforgiving ways can affect you not only emotionally, but physically as well.

There are negative health implications that come with holding on to a grudge. According to the Mayo Clinic, unforgiveness can lead to unhealthy future relationships, lack of enjoyment in life, depression, anxiety, and disconnection from other people. Tension and anxiety can affect your muscles, nervous system, etc. Wow.  Just knowing this makes me want to force myself to forgive anyway, but the first step has to be made to get there.

After having great conversations with some folks, doing some self reflection on how I have dealt with letting go, and also doing some research, I’ve compiled some of the best ideas and advice out of those resources to give to you.

Focus, Give, Take, Write, Think….

  1. Focus on helping others and stop thinking about yourself. I remember a time when I felt so broken down, that I didn’t know what else to do to get out of my emotional rut. I felt that God was telling me to stop being selfish (basically stop thinking about yourself, and how you just got hurt by a guy who wasn’t good for you anyway), and focus on helping others. I remember that I was leaving the ChickfilA drive thru when it came to me. I went home and I looked up volunteer opportunities and found a non profit where I could help underprivileged women dress professionally for the workforce and help facilitate workshops on skills needed to work (ex. creative thinking, dealing with rejection, etc.). I started volunteering and before I knew it, my focus was on how I could help instead of how much I was hurt. Once the hurt was gone, it was gone. I was too busy trying to help  less fortunate women become fabulous and successful to worry about that “stuff” that I went through.

2) Give yourself positive affirmations every day! Don’t wait for the person that hurt you to say “I’m sorry” because that day may never come. The first few days it might be hard to speak good things about yourself to yourself (did that make sense?…lol), but day after day, you will start to believe what you are saying. Don’t count on other people to tell you how awesome you are. You have to know it for yourself! Tell yourself “I am beautiful”  “I am unique”  “There’s no one on this earth that can be me”  “I am talented”  “I have ________ to contribute to the world”.  And the list goes on. When you start to feel good about yourself, the offensive things that happened won’t matter much anymore.

3) Take on a new perspective. Realize that the person may be “dumping” their hurt on you. Remember the “Law of the Garbage Truck”? If not, please refer to my previous post called “Power and a Garbage Truck, Eh? Read On..”. Try your best to look at the situation from the perspective that the person that hurt you may be hurt themselves. Maybe they did not have support systems or role models to teach them how to treat people. Or maybe this situation is a teaching moment for you to be a stronger person. In that case, they did not break you, so thank them for helping elevate you to a higher level.

4) Write it down. Ok, this one isn’t for the weak at heart, but I will say it anyway. Write a letter to the person that offended you. You don’t have to give it to them, but writing down your feelings can help you start to release the hurt. In the letter, make sure to let them know that you forgive them. Now if you want, you can give the letter to the person, BUT don’t expect them to respond. If they do, great! But if they don’t, or if they don’t respond the way you want them to (i.e. an apology) then you have to rest in the assurance of knowing that you were able to express how you felt without relying on the other person’s response to make you feel better.

5) If the person offended or hurt you long ago, think about the fact that you have survived! You’re still here on earth, and hopefully you’re looking and feeling fabulous. That means that whatever that person did to you was so small, that it dissipated into the air and your life continued on…

And remember all of this is up to you! YOU have to make a conscious decision to forgive and heal. If you choose to dwell on the offense, you will stay down. You can’t change the past, but you can choose how you will move forward. Think about your physical health and the positive relationships you might be missing out on because you are disconnected. Forgiveness is totally worth it…

Love and blessings,

Candace Sierra-Louise

P.S. If you find that you have offended someone, don’t hesitate to apologize and ask for forgiveness. We can’t expect other people to do things that we aren’t willing to do ourselves. Read Matthew 5:24…

P.S.S  Some of us need to forgive ourselves for something, and we are holding on to that unforgiveness. We’ll have to talk about that in more detail in a later post…

Resources

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692

http://digitalcommons.hope.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2300&context=faculty_publications

Peplum!

Peplum!

Hallhuber black formal shawl
$150 – houseoffraser.co.uk

MICHAEL Michael Kors beige pants
$88 – theoutnet.com

Floral flat
$27 – yoins.com

Coast floral handbag
$44 – coast-stores.com

Beaded jewelry
$18 – yoursclothing.co.uk

The Grudge, Whites, and Nudes

Let’s get some SASS in your life. I’ll keep it short because I’m about to give you an “ear-full” in a moment! Lol.

One of my favorite color combinations to wear is white and nudes. It’s just something about the color white that is so clean and chic that makes me love it so much. Whether you’re going casual or dressing up, I think you’ll turn heads if you wear white. I’ll post more about white in the future because you can do so much with it! It’s literally a beautiful blank canvas that you can add so many splashes of color to, but today, I’m going to keep it simple. So if you have some white pants in your closet, or a white dress that you’ve been dying to wear, take it out and start experimenting. Start with nudes and golds, and try some other colors too! The possibilities seem endless…

Whites and nudes


And now for some substance…

Ever since I can remember I’ve had hurtful encounters. Whew! Where do I begin? I was teased about my physical features in elementary and middle school, blatantly told by people (girls at that) that they didn’t like me in high school before they even got to know me, told by girls that I even hung out with that they disliked me, lied to and rejected by guys in my 20s, wait…  Does this sound familiar? I bet you’ve gone through something similar. If you haven’t, good for you, it’s not fun. But then again, these experiences helped mold me into a better ME.

 Now, if you know me personally, you would know that I’m nonconfrontational. In fact, if I feel an argument coming, I will usually politely stop talking and ask you to talk to me when you have calmed down. I’m also one of those people that can be hurt, and will not talk about it, but holding it in is not always healthy. I gave you the examples above because when I went through all of those things, I was hurt, and I held things in for a loooong time. So long, that it affected my self esteem long after those people left my life. I didn’t like myself, because for some reason, the things that happened to me over the years stayed with me and kept replaying in my mind. I could go into detail about the experiences above, and maybe in later posts I will, but this post would be way too long if I did that now.

File:Sad-face.png

 When people say things to you, or things happen to you and you don’t understand why, it can affect your mood and your thoughts, but if you don’t learn to let it go, you will be held captive (thanks to my wonderful fiance for processing this with me). Seriously, you’ll be a prisoner in your own mind. There are so many people walking around with smiles on their faces, but prisoners in their minds and they are not free! Now, I know that we are always being told to forgive, and we should. How do we go about forgiving though? How can we let go of the grudge that’s keeping us captive in our mind?

I realized that there is a cycle that happens when it comes to forgiveness, but many people get stuck. I’ll call it “The Grudge Cycle”.

1) Someone makes a hurtful comment or does something offensive — 2) You are hurt— 3) The hurt affects your mood and interactions with other people — 4) You realize that your happiness depends on you alone — 5) You FORGIVE and let go of the grudge                                                                                                                                                                    Image result for happy face clip art

 People normally get stuck after number three, and it’s hard to reach the next point in the cycle.

Remember that your happiness depends on you! There will be plenty of hurt in this thing called life, but once you realize that the person that hurt you has no power over your well-being, then you can move forward. Words hurt, yes they do, but when a person says hurtful words to you always remember the famous saying “Hurt people hurt people”. You might even begin to feel sorry for the person instead of being hurt yourself. Maybe you were chosen at that moment to encounter that person so that you could be made stronger and live to tell someone else how valuable they are! One thing I know for sure is that holding grudges keeps you from being the person that you were destined to be. And if you allow those negative things to affect your life, the other person has won. Forgiveness is for you, not them, and I guarantee that once you let it go, you will be more successful in life. Wouldn’t you rather them see you happy, rather than defeated and broken?

So in my Elsa voice… Cue up music from “Frozen”….

 Let it go! Let it goooooo!

 And make sure to check out my post next week on how to let it go.

 Ephesians 4:32, Romans 5:3-5:5, and Matthew 5:44

Thanks for spending a few moments out of your day with little ol’ me… Can’t wait to chat next time!

 Love and blessings,

Candace

Whites and nudes

Whites and nudes

Jane Norman white fitted dress
$43 – janenorman.co.uk

American Vintage long sleeve tee
$66 – the-dressingroom.com

Gianvito Rossi lace-up sandals
$2,110 – neimanmarcus.com

Vegan shoes
$44 – publicdesire.co.uk

Lana gold earrings
$3,080 – neimanmarcus.com