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Honesty

Cherishing Time

1024 683 Lauren Kennedy

I was observing my sweet little niece, baby Kate, as we were in Dallas for Christmas, and she was fully enamored by a leaf at the park and becomes full of joy when she sees the most simple things that the Lord has created. It seems that as we get older, we get more complicated, but we don’t have to. It seems that as we get older, we are tempted to get lost in the hustle and bustle of requirements, to-do lists, and busy schedules. We tend to get wrapped up in the opinions of others and forget that it lies in something that is constant and never-changing – Jesus. We seem to get stunted by new seasons that keep us from what we consider full freedom, and we tend to desire avoiding unnecessary responsibility for as long as possible. I have been reflecting on these thoughts recently as our life has slowed down in the holiday weeks, and I have had time to think and process. I have cherished every moment of having TIME; time to read a book without my check list distracting me, time to go with Jase to work for the day, time to wake up and rest and lay in bed a little longer than usual, time to cook dinner and go to the grocery store without that puncturing my time maintenance, time to rest, have conversations, work out, watch movies.

What a joy it is to slow down during the holidays, but at the same time, going back to the normal schedule seems highly undesirable yet equally exciting. Who’s with me? I am overwhelmingly grateful for my job – this blog and this sweet community that I love so dearly, our dry shampoo company, Stranded, and my charity that is so close to my heart, The Lauren Scruggs Kennedy Foundation; these all are such blessings that the Lord has so graciously put into my life, but they also require a lot of time and energy. I continuously go back to the question – how do I BALANCE? How do I balance career, social life, self care, travel, rest, and seeing my family enough? I am not sure if we ever fully get there, but I am so thankful for and positively challenged by the journey. I am so grateful that I can pray through these things and be reminded of the joy of rest – how important, renewing, and necessary it is. I am grateful to be reminded to cherish the simplicity of life. This month always puts everything into focus – relationships are key and faith is the foundation of everything. Sending so much love to you all and wishing you all the most intentional, purposeful, hope-filled year ahead!

THE LOOK

hat (similar) | top (similar) | skirt| bag (c/o) | boots  (c/o)

images by felicia lasala 

Him First

1024 683 Melissa Mayer

One of my favorite readings in the devotional, Jesus Calling, speaks to the commandment of loving God with all of our heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). It reads as this: “Stay Ever So Close to Me, and you will not deviate from the path I have prepared for you. This is the most efficient way to stay on track; it is also the most enjoyable way.”  These words are such a comfort and blessing in so many ways. Not only are we not alone in this life, but as believers, we have Jesus right by our side in all seasons. Loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and strength and staying close to Him during all of our days is so crucial to our spiritual life. There is truly nothing else that will satisfy or make us happier than putting Jesus first- always. Plus, it pleases Him so much when we do this, that is all that He wants for us- to be glued to His side!

This has been on my mind more than ever this holiday season, because there are a lot of things this time of year that work to pull our attention away from Him. Of course these things are wonderful gifts from Him- special time with friends and family, festive parties, gift giving and receiving, cooking comfort food, giving back in the community, and decorating our homes for Christmas. All of these things are amazing and so joyful, as long as we keep Him before everything else and keep Him in everything that we do, thus giving all glory and praise to Him.

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below + links are below to shop the look + book, xo.

THE OUTFIT:

hat (c/o) | sweater | pants | boots | sunnies + similar

images by Felicia Lasala 

December Thoughts

1024 683 Melissa Mayer

Oh, December. What a magical time of year! From cozy clothes, to comfort cooking, Christmas decor, extra time spent with family, and shorter days and longer nights, this time of year is without a doubt so special and always one that we look forward to each year.

In one way this time of year is so busy between holiday parties, gift shopping, family plans and everything else, but in another way this season is also marked by rest, relaxation, peace, and reflection. We pray that this year we prioritize time to rest in order to focus on the reason for joy this time of year.

Similar to our note about Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we believe that there is a way to exist in the “busy” without getting caught up in it. When we do this, we will have a peace that lifts us up above the chaos. We also hope that we stay close to loved ones this time of year and lean on friends and family, for that is what this time of year is designed for- rejoicing in Him with those that we love!

Sometimes the holidays can be difficult if you are experiencing a challenging season personally, and if that is the case, we are praying diligently for you and know that the Lord is wrapping his arms extra close around you with His great comfort, love, and peace.

There is a song that we are totally obsessed with right now on Hillsong Worship’s holiday album, The Peace Project, called Seasons. It is linked to Spotify there and I highly recommend listening to it. It has been on repeat lately!! It is also on our LSK Worship Playlist that we are constantly adding songs to. Here are lyrics from Seasons that we absolutely love–

I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting

We hope that this month is a wonderful one for you and we look forward to spending it with you here on the blog! With love, xo.

THE OUTFIT (c/o Nordstrom):

dress | top|  booties

 

Embracing Imperfection

682 1024 Lauren Kennedy

I am heavily inclined toward being a perfectionist. It feels like an instinctive internal pressure that I have to train against, and to fight against the fleeting desire, I have to be very aware of when I am falling into the unnecessary personal trap. Another realization: the perfectionist pressure does not come from an outside source. It is completely internal, and what could appear as external is merely comparison, which is completely internal. It’s getting deep, y’all. Who can relate?

The Idea of Emotional Perfection

I moved from Dallas to Los Angeles a little over three years ago, and it was as though I put myself on this subconscious timeline; I expected myself to feel settled in six months, and I was confused why I wasn’t even close. I felt like I should have deep, long-lasting friendships built right away and was discouraged when they were still at the very beginning stages even a year-in. I launched my blog, dry shampoo, and charity in January, and the fight against having every thing in perfect order was a struggle. It is all a battle of control, isn’t it?

Not to mention, accepting my imperfect body with the loss of my left hand and eye is a daily battle.

My mom just launched an amazing podcast called Thriving Beyond Belief, and she always sends me the rough interviews (I love it so much!). In her discussion with Jamie Ivey, Jamie brought up this premise: why don’t we view our stories as God’s redemptiveness and His presence rather than a list of insecurities? He made us so carefully in His image, and our story is a reflection of His beauty and purpose. That hit me so deeply, and I love remembering that in my weakness and insecurities is His strength. My imperfection is a reminder that I need Him because only He is perfect!

A Shift

The key word my husband has so lovingly infused in my brain is RELAX. Incorporating the definition of this word into every aspect of life is a game. changer. It shifts the perspective from viewing things as must-do projects and rigid to-do lists to enjoying the journey that every day brings. It helps you go with the flow without internally panicking. It leads to more laughing, greater appreciation, acceptance, and deeper joy even in the messy moments. I’ll take that over pressure and anxiety at any moment, but it truly takes an intentional awareness, decisions, and shifts to instill this.

Conclusion

I am looking three years of living in California in the eyes, and I kinda, sorta, slightly feel like L.A. is home, and that’s okay. We are rebranding our dry shampoo, Stranded, and it’s so exciting. I sometimes go an entire week without working out or going to the grocery store after a busy travel schedule, and in that, I embrace date nights out and pizza nights in. These all seem so imperfect, but I now view them as lovely.

I was reading a blog post a friend wrote last week discussing thirty things she learned in her thirty years of life. These four statements confirmed the concept of accepting and resting in the idea that we will never be perfect.

Life is imperfect and imbalanced always.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Love is uncomplicated.

Hard work doesn’t always give me what I want.

We all have one life to live. Relax, live confidently in every part of our story, and enjoy life to the fullest capacity.

Do you struggle with imperfection? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below! xo

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series.  Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group: Julien GarmanBrynna WatkinsTutti del MonteJackie ViramontezSarah Shreves

Letting Go

682 1024 Melissa Mayer

I think sometimes we only think of letting go when it comes to BIG specific things, like a dream that didn’t come to life or an opportunity that didn’t turn out as we had wished. However, what if we were to “let go” more than just when we have to? Scroll down to read more!

If we make letting go a daily way of life, it will become habitual and natural to release the tight grip that we have on our own dreams, plans, and thoughts. Doing so will ease our burden and allow us to surrender control of our lives over to the One who is actually in control. “Letting go” can be a constant lifestyle and a forever frame of mind, versus just an act when you are in a situation or circumstance that forces you to let go. A yoga teacher once said during class, “Let go and let God”, and that has forever made an impact on my life. If we choose to live in a “let go” state, we open ourselves up to all that He is capable of doing! A few thoughts on how to actually do this…

Praise Him each morning by praying, giving thanks, reading His Word, and turning on worship music as you get ready for the day;these things put the focus on Him versus ourselves and set our minds in a place that is open to His direction.

-When you start to feel stress over figuring something out, or obsession over an outcome, or worry over what could happen “if”…stop, breathe, and say out loud “Jesus, I give this to you. I lay it down.” Or something like that! It is amazing how the act of saying those words actually changes our mindset and causes peace to settle in.

Keep Moving. This is a funny one because at the same time that we are to “move forward” we are also called to “be still” in waiting for His guidance and direction. Even though they sound opposite, they actually can be and should be lived out simultaneously. Read this previous post for more!

-If you feel like your mind can’t let go of something, journal about it or call a friend or family member to talk it out. I had a great conversation with a friend recently and she made a comment about letting things work themselves out, which is another aspect of letting go. Give things time to happen, but in the meantime, write down your thoughts and seek wise counsel.

We would love to hear your thoughts on letting go in the comments section! Here is a passage of scripture that we find so comforting and encouraging when it comes to letting go, surrendering, and trusting Him:

My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. 

I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. 

When you walk, you won’t be held back; 

when you run, you won’t stumble. 

Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. 

Guard them, for they are the key to life.  

Proverbs 4:10-14 (NLT) 

SHOP THE LOOK + SIMILAR TOPS THAT WE LOVE:

jeans (c/o) | boots | sunnies (similar, similar) | top (c/o…print sold out, sadly!)

10 Questions with Angela Lanter

1024 683 Melissa Mayer

Hey guys! We are so excited to have one of my besties on the blog today, Angela Lanter! Ang and her husband, Matt, are two of my and Jase’s closest friends and we absolutely love doing life with them. Read the Q&A below to get to know Ang as she dishes on all things love, beauty, pregnancy, and blogging. xo

– How did you and your husband meet and when did you know that he was the one?

Matt and I have a mutual friend from church, Courtney, who played matchmaker.  She was convinced that we were perfect for each other…  Turns out she was right!  I knew very early on that Matt was the one for me.  I didn’t have a moment, per se, that it dawned on me.  I could feel that something was different about our relationship than any other relationship I’d ever been in.

-When did you start your blog and what was the journey of becoming a blogger like for you?

I launched Hello Gorgeous in January 2013, just a few months before our wedding.  I didn’t have much time to put into my blog at first because I was planning a wedding and working full-time as a fraud investigator.  After we were married, I quit my job and we moved to New Orleans for Matt’s show, Starcrossed.  I had time to focus on my blog and turned my passion into my career.  I launched my YouTube channel in September 2013 and never looked back.  I’ve always loved beauty, so I knew this was the field I wanted to be in, I just didn’t know how to make that a reality.  Blogging has allowed me to take the things I love and turn them into my own business.

-We love your Instagram so much! What is your approach to managing that social platform and connecting with your followers?

I try my best to keep my posts as real as possible.  Social media has a way of making things look so perfectly perfect…  But that’s not reality.  I love connecting with my followers, my Gorgeous Girls, on real-life issues, so I focus on creating content that’s relevant to what’s currently going on in my life that others can relate to.  I also do my best to respond to as many comments as possible to show my appreciation to those who take the time to follow along and share their lives and thoughts with me.

-Give us a brief description of your personal style. Where are your favorite places to shop? 

I consider my style feminine casual.  I like to be cute but also comfortable…  Especially now that I’m pregnant!  My favorite thing to do is mix highs and lows.

-What is your typical morning beauty routine + a few of your must-have products? 

I’m big in exfoliation, I try to exfoliate 2 times a week to keep my skin looking and feeling soft.  My basic morning products are: cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream and moisturizer with SPF.  I can’t live without a good eye cream!

-How do you stay so healthy & fit!? Share a few tips + a some of your favorite foods.

I would love to say that I have this awesome workout routine and diet that I stick to…  But I don’t, lol.  I try to do yoga whenever possible and I’m constantly on the go, so I tend to walk a lot.  We try to make smart choices when cooking and eating out, but I also really love my desserts…  It’s one of my pregnancy cravings for sure.

-Congrats on your first baby-to-be! What has been the most surprising thing about pregnancy so far? 

The most surprising is the amount of symptoms that I have experienced that I was clueless about.  You would think with as many cousins and girlfriends that I have who have had babies, I would know it all…  But no one does.  Each and every pregnancy is different and I made the mistake of thinking that what I’ve seen others experience would be exactly what I experience.

-Tell us about your and your husband’s podcast, Hello Bump! How did that idea come about? 

I had been throwing around the idea of launching a podcast for over a year, but my husband’s job moved us to Vancouver last summer and we put that idea on the back burner.  When we found out we were pregnant, we thought, this is the perfect time to jump into the podcast world!  We didn’t even know if we would ever release it, but after listening to what we recorded, we decided it was too fun not to share.

-It must be so fun working on the podcast with Matt! Do you feel that sharing the journey with your followers and fans has been a gift for the both of you as expecting parents? 

I think so.  I’ve had so many women reach out to me after listening who relate to me because of my endometriosis journey, or different symptoms I’ve experienced.  I’ve had a lot of women say that the podcast has been such a fun way for them to relive their own pregnancies, even many years ago.  I think it’s just a fun, easy listen and people can relate to what we’re experiencing and feeling.

-What is the one thing that you are looking forward to most about being a Mom? 

Bonding with my baby.  I wanted a girl so badly, so I’m so excited to get to share things like my love of makeup and clothes with her (hopefully she’ll love those things too, lol!)  I can’t wait to dress her and do her hair…  Basically, just be a girl’s mom!

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