The holidays are considered by many to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, it is also considered by many that this time of year is stressful, anxiety-inducing, lonely, and a painful reminder of loved ones who are no longer here.

I've struggled with the holidays for years, but it culminated at the age of 18 when my parents were in the midst of a nasty separation brought about by years of infidelity and lies. I seldom talk about that painful time because I love my parents, and I have compassion for them as flawed as they may be. But because I still carry that pain with me, I find it exceptionally difficult to be happy this time of year. I try to focus on the good, but the sadness always finds a way in. I thought after I got married that my feelings would change, but if anything they've become magnified. My husband's family has welcomed me in with open arms, they've welcomed my mother. But things just aren't the same as they used to be and there's no substitute for having my family together. My mom used to love Christmas (I mean, she did name me Noelle). We hosted my dad's side of the family every year, and she would go all out decorating our home for them. That stopped immediately after their divorce, and I haven't seen many of those family members in over a decade. I see how painful the holidays can be for her, and it breaks my heart too.

Of course, there are so many reasons to feel the holiday blues. If you're having family conflict, if your year wasn't all that you hoped it would be, if you have unresolved issues with a loved one, maybe you lost your job recently - the list goes on and on and on. There's no magic answer to any of it, but I have discovered that there are some fairly simple ways I can beat the blues, and my hope is that they may be helpful to you as well.

 1. Be financially responsible
     We all want to be Santa Claus and make friends and family feel good with lavish gifts, but if you can't afford it then simply don't buy it. This is when saving and buying presents throughout the year rather than all at once comes into play. I know it's easier said than done, but honestly I always feel awful when someone buys me an expensive gift knowing full well that they are struggling financially. Instead, have them over for some drinks, cook them a nice meal, or offer to watch their kids for a night. Giving doesn't have to mean depleting your own bank account in the process.

2. Be social...
    I never realized how bad my social anxiety was until I remembered some painful memories from my childhood where I'd lock myself in my room for hours on end. I was even afraid to talk with my parents. I was 5 years old. That feeling of wanting to be left alone and wanting to shut the whole world out is so strong for me, but I have learned that it doesn't do me any good, it reinforces negative thoughts, and it makes the people in my life question whether or not I even like them. When you're struggling, that's when you need to push yourself to get out there and be around others. It will most likely feel uncomfortable at first, but then you'll be smiling and laughing and having a great time and it'll lift your mood pretty quickly.

3. But also take time for yourself
    Hey, sometimes we all need a little alone time. The holidays can be so chaotic and stressful, and there is such a thing as being a bit too social. Don't neglect yourself just to please everyone around you. Take walks in the evenings, listen to some relaxing music on your way to work, go somewhere delicious for lunch - anything that allows you some breathing room.

4. Stop comparing your holiday
    This is a big one for me. And I'm not just talking about social media, I'm talking about comparing your holiday outlook and traditions against neighbors, friends, even other family members who may do things differently than you do. I may not have an opulent home that's decorated to look like a cover of Better Homes and Gardens. There's no snowy winter wonderland around these parts. I don't wear cute pajamas in full hair and makeup while I'm carefully perched on a pristine white ottoman so Nate can capture it all for the 'gram. We don't buy each other lavish gifts. We don't yet have children to see the magic of Christmas through their eyes. What we do have is unique to us, and that's perfectly okay. If comparison is the thief of joy, then let. it. all. go.

5. Make your own traditions
    When I was growing up, we never had a real tree. Don't get me wrong, artificial trees are beautiful, and less of a mess! But I always wanted one and now that I'm an adult, guess what? I get a real live tree. Things don't have to be the way they are. Change them. Make your own traditions.

6. Own your feelings
    Sometimes, nothing helps. People who have experienced trauma or profound loss, or people who have a mental illness are susceptible to greater levels of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and anger during a time of year when everyone is supposed to be happy and joyful. But what if you just can't be? Maybe you lost a loved one recently, maybe it happened decades ago but the pain of not having that person is still very raw? You don't always need to push yourself to put on a happy face. I personally am quite good at acting like everything's fine when in reality it's not. There are days when the tears flow easily, and when I can't pretend and it's perfectly normal and even cathartic to allow yourself to feel those emotions and let them wash over you. Don't, I repeat, do not feel guilty about having them.

7. Practice gratitude and help others
    I often find that helping others is really one of the only truly important tasks in life. I'm not religious, but I do believe in God and karma and humanity. The times where I think I've felt God's presence is when I have been of service to my fellow human beings, or even to an animal. Donate your time, reach out to someone you know struggles this time of year, give money to a charity instead of buying another gift. For the last couple years, Nate and I donate money to a charity of our choice in each other's name. We have a running list of charities we love to support, and we surprise each other with which one we chose for the year and why. It's a lovely gift idea and one we will continue to do every Christmas.

Although the holiday blues are very real for many people, it doesn't have to define the entire season for us. We can still feel them (and own them) while also experiencing moments of happiness, gratitude, and hope for the new year.

Unfortunately, I must leave this here just in case you or someone you know is truly on the edge:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style


It has been raining off and on for the past week, and I'm really glad I managed to get a few photos in between the wet weather. But before I go into my outfit, did you have a great Thanksgiving and did you shop any of the crazy sales? We got a new large rug for our living room, as well as a television stand that I'm hoping we love. Shopping for furniture online can be difficult, so fingers crossed that it adds a little more appeal to our downstairs. Aside from those purchases, I also got a few gifts for family and I'm quite proud of myself for being more prepared this year! I'm usually one to procrastinate!

I didn't do much shopping for myself, although there are some things on my wishlist that were hard to pass up...but I did. I'm really trying my best to maximize my current Fall and Winter wardrobe and I'm discovering that classic neutral layers are the way to go.

Wearing // Similar moto jacket here & here, Target hooded sweater, Wit & Wisdom jeans, Similar white flats, Sezane bag

I wore this exact outfit (minus the flats and bag) while in New York and I decided to recreate it for a chilly day in Temecula. Will this look, or maybe a slight variation of it, ever go out of style? I don't think so! A crisp pair of jeans, a striped cozy knit, and a camel colored jacket will always be in. Some may argue that the white shoes can look dated, but I'd point out that a streamlined ballet flat in any color or print looks simple and chic. I got so much inspiration when I was walking around the city, and I've made notes on everything I want to try and emulate here. Obviously I can't go all out because our climates are vastly different, but I can put a little twist on certain outfits to make them Cali-appropriate. The one thing I really noticed was the rich but neutral color palette so many women were wearing. I love color, but this Fall I'm gravitating towards neutrals. Especially camel! It's such a warm shade that instantly puts me into a cozy mood and it looks great paired with navy and black. If you don't have anything camel colored in your wardrobe, I recommend adding some this season. 

So back to my original question, How was your Thanksgiving? I ate more pie than I should have!


"All good things come from gratitude"

My November edit is a little late! I planned on getting this up earlier but the week has been so busy that I almost forgot to do this post entirely. I hope you're all doing well and are gearing up for Thanksgiving if you celebrate. 

Nate and I still don't have plans tomorrow because we do Thanksgiving on Sunday each year in order to accommodate family members. We're thinking about going to a movie and getting dinner somewhere because the weather forecast shows rain. Otherwise we'd definitely hit the beach! 

November was a pretty quiet month around here so this recap will be shorter than others. It was still a great month, even if it felt more routine. There were some noteworthy items though:

Decorating our mantle a bit earlier than I normally do! I love simple Christmas decor, although I feel like it still needs something! Just not sure what exactly. My favorite part are the stockings, especially Nettie's. How do you like to decorate for the holidays? We're getting a real tree next weekend and I can't wait to have the gorgeous pine scent fill our home. 

Watching a show on Netflix called Ozark. There are two seasons and we just finished season one. Wow! I find it so fascinating. The basic premise involves a man named Marty Byrd played by Jason Bateman. He's a financial planner that gets tangled up in money laundering, so he and his family move from Chicago to the Ozarks in order to pay back his debt to a Mexican drug cartel. It's so entertaining and really captures your attention in each episode. Highly recommend!

Cooking Greek-style chili for a friend's chili cook off and our recipe won! Miraculously might I add...I really didn't think ours was that great but it was different than the average Texas red so maybe that had something to do with it! I've mentioned before that Nate's side of the family live in Ohio where Cincinatti chili is a big deal. This is the spice packet I used

Shopping for some furniture during the Black Friday deals. I've been wanting to get a new television stand for our living room basically since we moved in. I have a few in mind and will share it next month. It's so hard to stay away from all the sales, but I'm doing my best. My willpower has gotten strong over the last couple years. Are you doing any shopping this weekend?

Cuddling up with Nettie and this throw that my mom already gifted us. She said she couldn't wait! Nettie agrees.

Planning my blog content for the next month. I'm excited to do a holiday edit for you complete with holiday outfits, some gift ideas as well as charity ideas, and maybe a look at our tree once it's all decorated. Sound good? 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'll be back next week. 


Thanksgiving is just a few short days away and before I stuff myself full of turkey and mashed potatoes (my absolute favorite) I wanted to share a post in case you're still trying to figure out what to wear. I always spend Thanksgiving at my in-laws house and for the past couple of years, we celebrate on Sunday. I'm not sure what Nate and I will be doing on the actual holiday, but whatever we do, just trust that it will involve plenty of delicious food! That inevitably means that my outfit will be put together yes, but comfort is the goal.

Whether your Thanksgiving gathering is casual like mine, or whether you and your family have a dressier occasion, I compiled 5 different looks that are sure to get you holiday ready.

1. Denim and long cardigan: I know we still have a month left of Fall, but for me, Fall culminates on Thanksgiving. A gorgeous burnt orange duster cardigan is sure to make a statement at the dinner table! This one is incredibly soft, roomy, and the perfect topper to your favorite lived-in jeans. Put on some printed mules that feel as comfortable as house slippers and you're set for lounging on the couch after the holiday feast.

2. Cozy wrap: This denim outfit is a bit more dressed up, but it's still very comfortable. Just make sure your jeans have some stretch! This wrap is my favorite purchase from Fall, and it's currently on sale. I wear it weekly! Wear it belted upon arriving to your destination, and maybe untie it once the eating begins! This look is so universal, especially if you and your family decide to dine out. It's polished without feeling fussy and really, isn't that the point?

3. Fit and flare dress with a loose knit cardigan: If you're in the mood to wear a dress, I suggest a fit and flare style. It hugs your curves on top and then gently flows away from your lower half which I always find flattering. Cozy up with a chunky knit cardigan and you have a very pretty outfit that also looks effortless.

4. Moto jacket and LBD: a little black dress will always be in style, and if you're attending or hosting a more dressed up Thanksgiving, this look will fit right in. I know a bodycon dress is usually a no-no when lots of food will be consumed, but this dress has so much stretch and is so forgiving that it isn't an issue! The cranberry jacket ties it all together for a fun, sophisticated look that can also take you from day to night.

5. Leggings and tunic: Let's cut to the chase - we all really want to be in sweatpants or athleisure on a day like Thanksgiving, right? However, I personally don't feel comfortable showing up to someone's home looking like I rolled out of bed. The next best thing is obviously a great pair of leggings! These faux leather leggings are my go-to. They even come in petite now too, so I'm thinking of getting a pair because these are a bit too long as you can see. I have to hike them up pretty high! Still, I love them and think they look great with a tunic or long cardigan. In fact, I'm probably going to wear these with my orange duster cardigan I shared in the first look.

I really hope these suggestions are helpful! I'm sure most of these items can already be found in your closet as they're fairly common staples.

If you need more ideas, I've teamed up with my girlfriends from On The Daily Express and Pink Sole. They are also sharing some last minute Thanksgiving outfits, so please stop by their blogs next for even more inspiration.

I'll be back on Wednesday for my monthly edit. See you then!


I'm a big believer that looking your best doesn't have to cost a fortune. Part of the reason why I continue to blog is because I want to share my experiences using products that actually work. There's no "one size fits all" of course - what works for my skin or hair or coloring may not be the best option for you - but I always do my best to give thoughtful, honest reviews. I've used five dollar cleanser for my face and I've also used much more expensive facial cleanser. And you know what? Both equally worked.

I will admit that there's just something so exciting about treating yourself to luxury beauty, especially this time of year. During the Sephora sale a couple weeks ago, I did just that and I wanted to briefly mention what I bought and what luxury beauty brands I'd absolutely recommend. Keep these in mind for your holiday shopping! You don't have to be a beauty junkie in order to appreciate them either.

1. Jo Malone luscious & lively trio: For me, Jo Malone is the ultimate in luxury fragrance. I remember when I bought myself wood sage and sea salt a few years ago for my birthday. I loved it then and although I consider myself a Kai girl (and most recently, a North Bondi by Ouai girl) I didn't want to pass up this lovely trio of perfume, body wash, and cream. This would make the perfect gift! It's also a great way to try the brand and see if it suits you.

2. Sol de Janeiro set: Unfortunately this little gift set is already sold out, but I've been a fan of their bum bum cream for a long time and highly recommend their other gift sets. If you suffer from the winter blues, these products are sure to serve as a mood boost and transport you to a tropical paradise. I plan on giving jars of the cream to friends and family for Christmas.

3. Ouai treatment masque: This is my second tube and my only complaint is that it doesn't come in a giant tub! Even with my lightening and balayage, my hair has never been healthier and I think this masque is part of the reason why. I use it once per week for nourished, silky soft hair. Bonus - like all of the Ouai products, it smells divine.

4. Tatcha the silk canvas primer: How many times have I raved about the silk canvas primer? Too many to count! I was never big on primer until I discovered Tatcha. I'm still not convinced primers are necessary (a daily moisturizer does the trick) but this one is different. I wear it every single day regardless of what I'm doing or where I'm going. Heck, I wear it on days I don't even leave the house. It conceals the appearance of large pores, evens out my skin tone, and moisturizes without feeling greasy. Wear it under makeup or wear it alone. It's amazing.

Other brands and products I wanted to mention:

Charlotte Tilbury is probably my current favorite makeup line. Her products are so wearable, especially her iconic Pillow Talk lip kit. I feel bad for neglecting all of my traditional holiday plums and reds, but honestly Pillow Talk has been IT ever since Summer with no signs of stopping. Her other products like her eyeshadow palettes, bronzer, and Hollywood flawless filter foundation are perfect for getting holiday ready. I wish I could meet Charlotte Tilbury in person and thank her for these gorgeous products!

As for hair, I have three brand favorites: Aveda, the Ouai, and Oribe. This travel kit from Oribe is what I use on vacations, as well as I keep the anti-humidity spray in my handbag for touch-ups. If you want soft, manageable, tousled hair, then Oribe will surely please.

Overall, I think the holidays are the perfect time to try some new beauty. There are so many limited edition sets that are not only great for gifting, but also a relatively easy way to try some things out for yourself.

Have you tried any of these brands or products?

Linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style


Happy Wednesday friends! If you haven't read part one from my Monday style post, you may want to quickly head over and catch up because it's connected to what I'm wearing today. To recap some of those thoughts/tips: petites can definitely wear a long cardigan! There are just a couple simple styling tricks I find helpful for a flattering, elongating look. 1) Stick to loose, drapey knits that skim the body. 2) Also, wearing more slim fitting items underneath the longer layer will help create a streamlined, leg-lengthening appearance.

I love wearing cardigans over dresses, so I decided to see if the proportions would still work with a breezy mini dress. This dress is one of my favorites from Summer, and I wanted to bring it into the Fall season with just a few small changes. I swapped sandals for suede ankle boots, and then added this gorgeous orange duster. I guess it's more bohemian than I usually dress this time of year, but I was surprised at how effortless it felt. I'm all for ease!

I think the length of the dress pairs well and even compliments the length of the duster. Showing a little leg ensures you don't disappear in all the flowing fabric. I liked the effect so much that I plan on trying it with a Leith bodycon dress next. 

Do you ladies enjoy this type of styling post? I know not all of you are petite so I sometimes refrain from posting specifically for petites, but some things can be fairly universal. These days I repeat and rewear everything! Even when I don't mention it on here, I hope you'll notice that I have well-loved and well-worn items. I'd love to create more of these posts if they're helpful. 

How would you style this cardigan? Which outfit do you like more, part 1 or 2? Linking up with On The Daily Express and Straight A Style.