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Finding Beauty In The Gray

Winter in Michigan can be so gray and depressing sometimes. Once all of the twinkly lights from Christmas have been taken down and put away, we are left with gray days that seem to go on forever. In my community group bible study we are going through Looking For Lovely by Annie Downs, which talks a lot about finding the beauty in every day. It can help us persevere through challenging seasons and gives us hope for brighter days ahead. So that’s what I’m doing to help me get through these gray days of winter, even if it’s something as simple as enjoying my morning cup of coffee, reading a good book or putting on a pretty floral dress. Even on the hardest days there is always something beautiful if you look for it and it will help give you the courage to keep pressing on.

Truly,

Tamara

Outfit Details….Dress/from Dallas & Dottie Boutique, Boots/from Target, Choker/from Avenle, Necklace/from The Giving Keys, Earrings/from Noonday Collection (on sale!), Bracelet/from Noonday Collection

Truly, Tamara

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Another New Year

Happy New Year, friends! I realize that it is already the 9th of January, but seeing as this is my first post of 2017 I thought I would share a couple of my goals for the year. Here’s the truth, I’ve never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. I usually make the typical ones; you know like lose weight, save money and those kinds of things. Like so many people, I stick to them for a few weeks and then totally fall off the wagon. Before I know it, the year is over and I’m left reflecting on all of the things I didn’t accomplish. It’s sad really……to see another year pass and still not be the person I want to be, the person I know I could be if I really actually tried. I know that God has a plan for my life and that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, but I also know that He has given me talents and gifts to hopefully make some sort of difference in this one life we get. I am the only one who can control the choices that I make everyday, the only one who can do the work necessary to achieve my dreams. After that it’s in God’s hands, but I don’t want to sit on the sidelines anymore looking at other peoples lives and watching them work towards their dreams. So I decided that this year was going to be different and I’ve started using Lara Casey’s PowerSheets (which are sadly sold out, but you can still find a ton of helpful information here). PowerSheets help you uncover purpose-filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen. It’s just about taking intentional little by little steps everyday towards making your goals happen. The idea is that those little steps add up to big change! In the past when I have gotten off track with my goals I would just say forget it and throw them out the window, but this way of goal setting is filled with so much grace. If you fail, you just hit the reset button and try again. Eventually you will look back and see how far you’ve come.

On to a couple of goals that I have uncovered through this process……I have to be honest, I’m a little nervous to share these. These are things that I would usually just talk with my family or really close friends about, but I wanted to share them to hopefully encourage you to work towards big dreams too. Also, if I put them out there it gives me some accountability to do the work necessary to achieve these dreams.

1). To be in the best shape I’ve ever been in by the time I’m Forty – I know, I know, you must be thinking, “Forty! That’s years and years away!” ;). No friends, it’s time for me to admit my age on here and forty is just two short years away. I turned thirty-eight in December and getting older has been harder for me than I ever thought it would be (that’s something else I’m working on and a conversation for another time). I know that this sounds like any other fitness goal that you make at the beginning of every year, but this time my “why” is different. This isn’t just about losing weight (though I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of it), it’s more about wanting to be strong and healthy. Heart problems run in my family and the older I get, the more I start to think about prevention and strengthening my heart. Two years might seem like a long time, but I want my progress to be slow and steady and something that will actually stick. When I get to forty I truly want my age to just be a number and to feel younger and stronger than I’ve ever felt before. Now here’s the embarrassing truth, it’s January 9th and today is the first day that I have worked out this year! Remember what I said about grace and little by little steps? ;) I’ll get there.

2). I want to own my own clothing boutique  – This one is BIG and crazy! I really don’t have the first clue of how to make this happen, but it’s something God has put on my heart. My love of fashion is no secret and I want to be a source of encouragement and inspiration to other women. Owning a boutique would allow me to interact and create community with other women, while helping them to feel like their best and most confident selves through the outfits they wear. A cute outfit has always been able to transform my mood and help me feel like I can conquer the day and I want to help other women feel that same way. Believe me, I know that what we look like on the outside is not the most important thing, but it’s amazing how clothes can make you feel beautiful inside and out. What are my next steps? I’m not sure exactly, but this year is for researching and planning. Even though it probably won’t happen this year, I want to take the small intentional steps towards making it happen and see what kind of doors God might open. My hands are open, I’m going to do the work and then give it over to God. In the meantime I will continue to try an build an engaged online community through the blog and social media. My hope is to really get to know you and build real relationships so that we can encourage and lift each other up.

So there you have it, two of my biggest and loftiest goals for this year. I feel kind of naked and exposed, but I really wanted to be transparent and authentic. Maybe my vulnerability will help you have the courage to share your big dreams with someone you trust and take the steps toward making them happen. Even if it’s just admitting them to yourself, that’s a step in the right direction. We can do big, hard things if we just do the work (preaching to myself a little here too)! I would love to hear some of your goals for the new year. Let me know in the comments below or connect with me through email or social media. I would be honored to chat with you about your big dreams. Happy New Year! I think 2017 is going to be a good year. :)

Truly,

Tamara

Outfit Details….Dress/from Ruche, Shoes/from Old Navy (sold out) ~ similar here, Earrings/from Noonday Collection, Bracelet/from Noonday Collection

Truly, Tamara

 

Linking with #iwillwearwhatilike & What I Wore Wednesday
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Off The Shoulder Dresses and Sunflower Fields

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Well I finally did it, I gave in and tried the off the shoulder trend that has been running rampant through the fashion world lately. When I first started noticing this trend, I really liked it, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I’m getting to the point in my life where I’m starting to question if I’m getting too old for certain fashion trends and this was one of them. I really hate feeling this way, because I’ve always been someone who has said, “If you like it, wear it!”. Why does it matter how old we are? If we feel comfortable wearing a certain style then we should wear it. As women it is so hard not to conform to what society thinks we should look like or what we should be wearing at a certain age. I hate that I worry about what people think of me and how I look! I never used to be this way, but for some reason the older I get, the more these insecurities have started to pop up. This is such a new and foreign feeling for me and I’ve decided to fight against it. I refuse to let my age become such a part of my identity that I let it hold me back from doing or wearing anything. I have to constantly remind myself that my identity and self worth has nothing to do with what I look like or what I wear. As someone who loves fashion, this is very easy to lose sight of and it’s something I struggle with and pray about every single day. So the best way I know to fight back against these insecurities is to take my own advice and just keep wearing what I like……….And I really like this off the shoulder dress! You better watch out, you’re probably going to be seeing a lot more of my shoulders around here! ;)

Isn’t this sunflower field gorgeous?! It’s kind of sad because it’s so close to my house, but I always forget about it. Thankfully a friend reminded me about it this year and I was able to get these pictures before they stopped blooming. Looking at this field of sunflowers made me think of Matthew 6:26-28: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers in the field grow. They do not labor or spin.” This is such a beautiful reminder to let go of the worry and anxiety that so easily creeps in. God loves you and he’s got this! :)

Truly,

Tamara

Outfit Details….Dress/from Target, Boots/from Target, Jewelry/from Noonday Collection: Paper Dreams Necklace, Firelight Orange, Palace Earrings, Emblem Bracelet

Truly, Tamara

 

Linking with #iwillwearwhatilike & What I Wore Wednesday
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Life Lately

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Hello friends, it’s been awhile! I initially took a break from blogging last summer because we had put our house up for sale and were super busy dealing with everything that comes along with that, but for many reasons it turned out to be a really hard summer for me and I just never started up again. I’ve changed a lot since then and have been feeling called to start blogging again. One of the biggest changes has been my renewed relationship and faith in God. It has completely reshaped who I am and how I approach life now. I grew up in a Christian home, but in my late teens I strayed from my faith and tried to forge my own path. That didn’t go so well! For years as I struggled to control my life, I felt hopeless. God had a plan though (as He always does), and when I reached my breaking point I found my way back Home. One day I’ll share my whole story, but for today I’ll just explain how this big change in my life has slightly shifted the focus of the blog. Truly, Tamara will always be about fashion and personal style, I now understand that it’s a passion God has given me to help women feel good in their own skin and to love the body He has given them. I love styling and encouraging women to step out of their comfort zones and try something new. It’s amazing how clothes can transform your mood and make you feel beautiful inside and out. It’s something I’m still trying to figure out too, but it will be fun to do it together.

I had been looking for a way to combine my love of fashion, while giving back and making a difference in the world, when I first heard about Noonday Collection. After hearing an interview with the founder, Jessica Honegger, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for and became an independant ambassador. Noonday Collection partners with talented artisan entrepreneurs to make a difference in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. By developing artisan businesses through fair trade, they empower them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them. I’m sure you will be seeing a lot of Noonday Collection popping up around here and I’m so excited to style outfits around all of the beautiful handmade pieces. I’m so proud to be a part of a company that’s building a flourishing world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs and we are connected. Email me me if you are interested in finding out more about this amazing company or if you are interested in partnering with me by hosting a trunk show!

Another thing I am so passionate about is empowering women and supporting them through small business. It makes me so happy to see other women taking chances and following their dreams! I hope that by partnering with small businesses through this blog, I can be a small part of helping them succeed and grow. One of my favorite local Michigan boutiques that I recently stumbled upon is Dallas & Dottie Boutique. The owner, Lindsay, is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met and she does such an amazing job curating a beautiful collection of clothing and accessories. When I saw this beautiful fall floral tunic dress I just knew I had to have it! It is totally on trend in this seasons petrol blue color and I just love it’s comfortable flowy fit. I’m so happy to support Lindsay and watch Dallas & Dottie Boutique continue to soar. Make sure you check out Dallas & Dottie on Facebook and Instagram too!

I have so much more to share in the coming weeks, but for now I’m just happy to be back. Happy Monday and I hope you have a lovely week!

Truly,

Tamara

Outfit Details….Dress/from Dallas & Dottie Boutique, Shoes/from Lotta, All jewelry/from Noonday Collection: Elemental Earrings, Horizons Necklace, Treasured Wrap Bracelet, & Angled Brass Cuff

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Hello Again

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Hello, it’s been awhile! I’ve been thinking about how to write this post for a while now and I’ve been a little (ok, a lot) stumped. Should I just jump back into writing blog posts, like I haven’t been MIA for five months, or should I explain why I took the time off? Ultimately, I decided to do the latter. I named this blog Truly, Tamara because I wanted this to be a space where I could share my authentic self and hopefully encourage others to do the same. If I didn’t explain my absence I wouldn’t be living up to that.

Blogging is hard. I don’t mean the actual act of blogging (although that’s not super easy either), I mean the self inflicted pressure it put on me to be perfect (or at least appear perfect). Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I ever did appear perfect. In fact I know I was far from it, and that was the problem. I would constantly look at other blogs and Instagram feeds and I’m ashamed to say, would get caught up in the ugly comparison trap. I didn’t feel like I was ever going to live up to all of those other beautiful blogs I would read and it was really effecting me in a bad way. I was having a hard time being happy for other people’s success, because I was jealous of what they had and what I thought I would never live up to. It’s shameful, I know, but I just couldn’t shake it! I hated feeling that way and it was taking the joy out of blogging and creating away from me. So after seeking advice, I decided to take some time off to get myself together and figure out if this is something that truly makes me happy. And you know what? I missed it. I missed the creative outlet it gives me and the community that it can provide. I just needed to take a step back and figure out what I wanted my focus to be and why I was doing it.

So here I am, basically starting over. The primary focus will still be on personal style, because that’s what I love and what allows me to express myself creatively, but I want it to be about more than that. I’ve come a long way and learned a lot in the last five months, but I still have a long way to go. I don’t have it all figured out yet, I just know that I want this to be a safe space to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. A space to talk about successes and struggles, a place where I can be my true self and be honest when I don’t have it all together. I hope you will be a part of that too. I hope we can create a community to share, support and celebrate each other. And most importantly, love each other in spite of our brokenness.

Truly,

Tamara

Outfit Details….Skirt/from Avenle, Shirt/from Target, Necklace c/o Avenle, Shoes/thrifted, Wristlet/from Forever 21 (old)

*Photos taken by Aaron, edited by me

Truly, Tamara

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Linking with Manic Monday, Style to Inspire, Mix It, Let It Shine, and Turning Heads Tuesday
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Happily Ever After

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I really can’t believe that Aaron and I will have been married for 5 years tomorrow! We were married at the Mary Martha chapel in Greenfield Village and it was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I wish I could go back in time and relive that day all over again. It seriously feels like it was just yesterday when I was planning the wedding and getting ready to walk down the aisle. It’s true what they say—time really does fly when you’re having fun! We have had our share of ups and downs, but I can truly say that we have grown closer because of them. There is no one I would rather share my life with and I’m pretty sure that no one else could deal with all of my craziness! I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a loving, supportive and patient man. I love you, Aaron, and I can’t wait to spend 50 more years together! Happy Anniversary; you are my happily ever after!

Truly,

Tamara

*Photos taken and edited by Elaina Lancaster at Elaina Lancaster Photography

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