Even though Rob and I swore not to buy anything for each other for any occasion (including birthdays), I still gave Rob a Christmas/winter mix CD (a mix of legally free and paid mp3s), and he gave me a heavenly warm monkey face Snuggie that he found on sale. I had been talking about how ingenious Snuggies were for more than a year—even though everybody is still freaked out by those things (have you seen the Weezer parody of the Snuggie commercial?) He is so sweet to recall that! Above, you’ll find the entire playlist of the mix I made. Enjoy! By the way, if you want any of the Sounds Familyre Christmas songs or albums, you can find them here for dirt cheap (and the third album for free).
We drove all the way to VA Beach and stayed at my parent’s new place for Christmas. It was beautiful there, but sadly, a lot of the touristy attractions were all closed. I snapped some photos by the natural lake right next to my parent’s house as well as at their deck overlooking the lake. What a peaceful place to retire! I took these photos with the intention of documenting the next day’s outfit the day before the abominable snow storm of ten or so inches came. Obviously, that opportunity never came. I’m just glad that we were safe in the height of the storm as we drove back home.
I had on a crazy-looking vintage blouse I bought on Christmas eve. It was a bit loose all over, so I tucked it in (which I usually do now with my shirts). It feels magical being next to a lamppost in these pictures, maybe because it reminds me of Narnia. Speaking of, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was great. My favorite line from the movie would have to be from Aslan. He said, “(In the human world) I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name.” That gave me chills. A lot of us want God to speak to us audibly because sometimes we just want verbal assurance apart from just knowing He’s there, and I was moved by that line from the movie because I desire that very thing. Of course, we always want the easy way out of things. It would definitely be so much easier to decide especially because I am so indecisive and cautious, and I want everything to be laid out for me to avoid mistakes. The course of life doesn’t work that way, and God left us His “instructional manual” and the gift of free will to maneuver through our own path. I think I’ve grown up a bit in my faith by pursuing a more proactive life rather than always waiting for vague and ambiguous signs from heaven before proceeding to any action. I believe that if decisions aren’t sinful or unbiblical, there is no right or wrong—especially when it boils down to simply preference (of say, your mate or your college).
I threw on this red-cropped cardigan my mother bought me from her trip to the Philippines. It was good for two reasons—it had a festive color, and it made my puffy blouse fit better. I was also carrying this red H&M purse I got as a present from my dear ol’ friend Vanessa. Thank you all for your gifts and cards! I still think the Snuggie was the best gift I received this year! Gifts with lots of thought put into them regardless of the price tag are always best (homemade comes to mind). That’s why cards are only valuable to keep when they are more than just signed! I know very few people who are good with that kind of thing, so it makes complete sense why I cling to those people who value words of affirmation as an expression of love. Words are beautiful to me, and I would never say that they are of less value than actions when they are accompanied by action.
Here are more pictures taken outside of Nauticus (which was closed that day):
Oh, here are two webcam pictures I took of me with no makeup (hoorah) and with the Snuggie on that Rob gave me. Snuggie is the ultimate modesty cloak!
Christmas is over, and the New Year is here. Want to receive more presents and holiday cheer? Well, you’re at the right place! Sweet Edge is generously giving away a handmade winter set (hat and a scarf) to one lucky winner!
1. VisitSweet Edge’s Etsy page, and leave a comment here telling me what your favorite hat and scarf are. There may be more items added to the shop throughout the duration of this giveaway, so remember to check back from time to time!
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Blog about this giveaway in a new post, and leave a comment here with the link.
Buy something from Sweet Edge until the end of the giveaway, and leave a comment here telling me what you bought and when. (5 entries)
For the bonus entries, I will check to verify if you have done these. If you are already subscribers/followers, indicate that you are in separate entries. Do not forget to leave me your real e-mail address!
This giveaway ends January 14th and is only open to US readers.
This giveaway is based on random drawing. Remember, the more entries you have, the more chances of winning. Good luck!
So I went a little crazy here with the background. I just couldn’t help adding these geometric brushes to the background, which took me less than a minute to do. I was also going to add glitters and sequins, but that would’ve been overkill.This is Monki’s second magazine issue, called “The Wishes and Dreams Issue.” They’ve only had two issues so far, and the next one is coming in February. I am not subscribed to a lot of fashion magazines (or magazines in general), mostly because it’s really hard to find magazines with artistic content or that are leaning more toward unconventional and modest styles. I like Monki’s publication even though it only features their own products. Although technically this would be considered a catalog, I still look at it as a magazine because of the valuable content and visually enticing spreads infused into each issue.
My favorite part would have to be the caricatures that do not make girls desire big bosoms or curvy silhouettes. Although all of the girls drawn here look skinny, I had to giggle at one drawing of a girl with a proportionally large belly (not pictured here), making her look like she had just had a bit too much to eat for lunch!
Like I said in my other post about Monki, we do not have their store in the U.S., but I do like Monki for their surrealistic ideas.Oh, and yes, the photo of me below is screaming, “I can’t wait for Christmas!” This leads me to say that although I never disliked getting clothes as a child (I know some kids hate to get clothes instead of toys), I kind of do now, especially when the clothes given to me aren’t really my style. I like the thought of giving gifts, though, especially with the intention of trying to please. It’s just difficult to appreciate getting clothes that I know I’d never wear. Still, this kind of gift is a lot better than the dreaded picture frame, figurine, or keychain as a gift. People, these gifts are useless, and nobody wants them unless expressed otherwise! Vent ended.
I know not everyone has the gift of gift giving (which is a love language), but I think we should at least try to make an effort to please the person we’re giving gifts to. I know that I am not the best gift giver, and I remember giving gifts to everyone at Christmas parties just because I felt pressured to give. That never results in anything special or worthwhile. I’m going to try to make an effort to give based on what I believe the person would like and not just give from what I have lying in the attic somewhere. I probably will still regift here and there or pick out from what I already have, but that is if I really believe the person I’m giving to would like or use the gift! Yes, gifts really do not have to be expensive, but they need to be thoughtful. There is such a thing as mindless giving, too.
What is on your Christmas wishlist? I think for me gift cards for department or specialty stores (clothing, music, etc.), restaurants, or theaters are the safest to give when you have no other ideas. Everybody likes to eat out or see movies. I also like getting greeting cards ONLY when they have a LOT of writing on them! I really don’t understand people who give cards with just their signature on the bottom—as if I’ll remember Hallmark’s words when I see the person again. Okay, vent really ended.
Also, if you haven’t started listening to Sufjan Steven’s Christmas albums, you should. Here is another Christmas compilation from Sounds Familyre (where Sufjan is from) that just came out which you can download for free. What I Wore: Charlotte Russe blouse – Charter Club plaid skirt – Sans Souci faux fur vest – Koko Fashion shell – Sam’s Beauty gold bangle
Thanks to Independent Fashion Bloggers for liking my post about the potato sack outfit enough to post it up on your links! I honestly thought that entry was hit or miss and would only be really appreciated by people with the modest mindset. Anyway, I was thinking about having my own set of links to put up along with this selection whenever I get chosen or just whenever I get into a lull. That way I get to fulfill IFB’s requirement for reposting the links for the week as well as show you some of the interesting links I personally pick out and approve across the Web. I’m going to start today, so scroll on down to the end of this post!
Nothing like the end of the year to get you thinking. The holiday season is not only a time for giving, it’s a time for reflecting. Whether your giving lavish gifts or wondering if shopping takes away from the spirit of the season, or just plain having fun with all the holiday parties (it’s time to dress up!) this weeks links run the gamut from profound thoughts. Some of my favorites were how fashion has no age limit and just in time for New Year’s Resolutions, will losing weight make you happier? Of course there’s some excellent posts about fashion blogging, questioning reblogging and content ownership along and balancing your blog with your life.
Tumblr- My tumblr account where I post just about everything I visually like that I come across
Snippet from Vice Style’s interview with John Waters about Comme des Garçons:
Rei Kawakubo invented looking like you got ripped off in a thrift shop. She’s an artist and not trying to be funny exactly, but she’s using wit. My father will never get the joke; he says, “You bought that?!” I wear these things to redneck bars and people would never guess I paid a lot of money for them, It makes me chuckle. But I think it’s the youth that make high fashion pretentious. When I was young I just wore what I could get. You look silly in proper fashion when you’re young but once you’re over 40 you need all the help you can get. I basically pay too much money for clothes that poor people would be embarrassed to wear. Wearing Comme des Garçons is wearing high fashion, but without bragging. And that’s the key, that’s old money and the opposite of nouveau riche.
I call this the “potato sack” outfit, because I am wearing an XL-size Alfred Dunner sweater, which I couldn’t resist getting for the gold nautical emblem, and a thick crochet shawl around me with a pair of oxymoronically loose “skinny” jeans! I was worried that this outfit was going to look frumpy (the #1 dreaded word for modesty), but I think the shawl, the belt, and the wedges really helped make everything still look chic. By the way, I don’t always wear sizes that are bigger than me—I just manage to find one-of-a-kind pieces that happen to not be in my size! I was originally going to pair this sweater with tights or leggings, but the sweater wasn’t long enough to look like a dress. Wearing anything tighter than these jeans would’ve been too revealing. Tights under tunics or short (and tight) skirts have been such a fad lately, and I honestly think they should be tossed out the window. Girls are always coming up with crafty ways to show form even in the coldest of seasons, sacrificing themselves and justifying the lack of warmth they are getting from these types of clothes. I must agree, though, that knitted tights really keep the legs as warm if not warmer than wearing pants. I think it’s because the friction that knitted tights give to legs creates warmth all over your legs. That doesn’t mean, though, that you should be wearing knitted tights in place of pants when you have a tunic on! I must say, the title of this entry was inspired by a friend’s comment in an e-mail about how she believes her husband would still get turned on by her presence even if she had a potato sack on! How many women would love to get this reaction from their (future) mate? I think it’s such a beautiful thing to be appreciated for your beauty and personality without having to try too hard to please. When you constantly and intentionally wear something sexy (in the presence of men other than your husband in private), your clothes just make you look desperate for men’s attention. As much as sexual attention is so gratifying to us, you really don’t want to be treated and thought of as an object. It should be enough to draw attention to your pretty smile, your well-groomed hair, and the put-togetherness of your outfit instead of your lady lumps. Placing emphasis on your womanly curves and your skin just causes trouble for yourself and others—is that worth the cloud nine feeling you get when somebody is checking you out (even the guys who shouldn’t be doing so)? To think so is just completely selfish. You know that you can still feel good about yourself by drawing other people’s attention to the cleverness of your outfit instead of the curvature of your body.I was born with the “classic” woman body type, so it’s kind of difficult to conceal some of the areas of my body. I believe I own more dresses and skirts than pants now because dresses and skirts seem to work well toning down my shape without making me look like a tomboy. Just last weekend, I was a bridesmaid at my dear friend’s wedding. They ordered our dresses without getting our correct sizes, so they ended up getting an extra small for me. The extra small dress was so tight on me that it looked like I was wearing a bodysuit where every surface on my body was emphasized more than it should have been. I guess I normally do such a good job concealing my curves that they thought I was an extra small! Although I felt really good and confident in that dress knowing I work out from time to time (note to self: make it a habit!), I just had to switch dresses with someone else with a size higher up—but that was still too tight. Perhaps what too “tight” is is a matter of opinion, because I could still breathe in that dress, but what is too tight for me is anything that clings to your body and shows your silhouette. Overall, I think that our bridesmaid dresses were generally modest—it helped a lot that the wedding was in the fall, too! It was just the cotton and lace material that made the dress cling to the body more than any other material, and the fact that I had to keep stretching my dress down to the actual length every so often was not a good sign. Following most girls’ train of thought, I don’t think that they are just ignorant about how they dress. I really believe that most girls just pretend to be aloof when confronted about it. I confess that I used to play dumb when I wanted to wear whatever the heck I wanted. I wanted to get away with how sexy (apart from beautiful) I looked in my outfits without hearing about modesty so that I didn’t feel guilty. I hope you can see how selfish that kind of thinking is. It should be enough to show your beauty through the parts of your body that aren’t generally sexually tempting to men. It is a true sign of maturity to know that you are beautiful and express your creativity through clothing, accessories, and even makeup without needing to show off your curves to prove that you are a woman.
Speaking of weddings in general, I don’t understand what goes on in people’s minds when even the guests pick out showy outfits around a time when marriage and purity should be celebrated. What makes weddings a time to wear midriff tops for even people who usually don’t wear them? I don’t mean to criticize so harshly, but I just say this out of love because revealing outfits are really distracting to guys. Prior to the wedding, I had been contemplating for weeks whether I should have accepted being a bridesmaid fearing what type of dress they’d pick out for us. Out of love and support (and excitement), I decided to continue being a part of the wedding party, but I compromised by wearing a shirt underneath the area where my cleavage would have been visible. I risked looking like an idiot, but I couldn’t let go of my standard of not showing the area around my cleavage. In the end, it didn’t seem like a lot of people really noticed that I had a shirt on—except up close, but only to the point that they were less distracted due to a lack of flesh being shown, which was the goal, and not to the point that I stuck out like a sore thumb. Plus, I still received loads of compliments on the other elements of the outfit I put together uniquely for myself (DIY belt, shoes, pompadour hair). It’s amazing how God works when you honor Him even in clothing!
I love celebrating the love between two people who both love and fear God, and my friends the groom the bride are no exception! Their wedding had a mix of Victorian and Rockabilly feel. I will have to post photos when I get my hands on them.
Have you ever been so depressed that you just wanted to “go away” because the problem(s) you’re dealing with never go away? I have to admit I’ve had these thoughts on many occasions—this may sound somewhat suicidal. I never came close to acting on them, though, because I know that my life is not my own. Because I have the knowledge that heaven exists, I have on a number of occasions somehow dangerously justified to myself in my mind that taking one’s own life that’s saved by grace is okay. The reality of death to me was and is a beautiful thing, because what’s waiting on the other side is eternally peaceful. Although my idea of accepting death as a beautiful thing is good, it never is anyone’s right to kill oneself.
It’s easy to shriek when hearing someone talking about death and depression as if no one else thinks about these things. I believe what makes these thoughts healthy or dangerous is the frequency of these thoughts occurring, as well as your heart and actions in response to them. I really think the same thing goes for lusting, which has been a prevalent topic throughout this blog as well as the reason why this blog came into existence. It is never okay to lust, nor is it ever okay to commit suicide, but the truth is, everybody has these kinds of thoughts enter their minds every so often. What you do about them is what matters.
Let me tell you why I have had suicidal thoughts in my past—or at least why I have at times been depressed to the point of wanting to vanish. Prior to being married, I had a lot of issues from outside factors I couldn’t control. One of these factors was situational—a hardship I couldn’t get out of. It had to do with my family, who was loving in every way, yet put me in an endless circumstance I couldn’t bear. Although I had substantial reasons to be miserable, I kept my hopes up and prayed for years for God to take me out of that picture, and He so miraculously did. My family is doing well, and God blessed me with my own family to start by leading me to the path of marriage. The story doesn’t end there, and in fact, the story of my singlehood isn’t what I really wanted to share.
After being married, I knew that problems weren’t going to stop coming. Don’t get me wrong—I am loving my marriage, and my husband is a wonderful man! I couldn’t be any happier if I were with someone else or single. When I said after marriage, I was really referring to the current period of my life (today) and not the marriage itself. Thank God! I have a healthy marriage with a loving and committed man. The point that I was making was about the totality of life and problems never going away no matter how much things change. I was often told that marriage would not be the solution to my problems, and I sure did know this deep down in my heart. I was prepared to enter into yet another challenge, knowing that God is present in my life. Everybody has problems, but not everybody takes advantage of the gift of comfort God provides.
Going back, the dark areas in my thoughts come from the hopelessness I feel for the world around me, particularly regarding sexual purity. I don’t just see lust happening outside of my marriage; I also see it happening on the inside. Because I am so strongly against sexual immorality and pornography, it hurts me most to see it happening all around me as well as to know that my dear husband is constantly struggling to keep his mind pure from images in his past and all around him. Although I welcome my husband’s honest and humble confessions to me about his thought life and past sexual experiences, it kills me every time I hear or think about this. Even though this is tormenting me inside, I believe couples still need to share their faults with each other so that they might help each other and be accountable (Galatians 6:2). Both hearing him confess about his struggle and asking him to be prayed for also help me to stop being selfish for attention and to focus on helping him through prayer and accountability (which doesn’t necessarily mean distrustfully monitoring every single Web site he visits with crazy paranoia; although, that can be managed with accountability software, and it’s actually a good idea for couples who have kids or spend a lot of time separate in the house). Married couples deal with lust often, because it’s part of common human greed to keep desiring something that God didn’t intend for one to have. Satan tries to destroy God’s covenant between two people that way, and sadly, lust is probably the biggest issue among married couples.
What does the Bible say about all of this? It says in John 8:44, “(Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In John 10:10, the Bible talks about Satan being the thief who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus came so that we might have life to the fullest.
The thing we need to pay attention to in these verses is what Satan does versus what Jesus did. Suicide is killing and stealing from God, and thinking that is okay even when you’re a Christian is a lie.
I believe that the misery these destructive thoughts come from is mostly created by my mind. My issues I know for a fact do not even come close to the severity of other couples’ or individuals’ problems. I’m thankful that he is honest with me as a husband and is trying his best with God’s help to rid his mind of lustful thoughts when they come up. The reality that sin exists shouldn’t drive me to the wall. Even if your spouse doesn’t even try to live godly or be pure (I thank the Lord that mine does), not deserving of help or forgiveness, we should all still try our best to live a godly and pure life for God, if not for our spouse or ourselves.
I do agree that it’s hard to listen to spiritual counseling or even advice from people who haven’t gone through or aren’t going through the very struggles they talk about. I carry my experiences throughout this blog as I write each entry, and every issue I bring up here was and is being dealt with between my husband and I on a daily basis. We humbly admit that we are sinners and are weak, but God’s grace and power help us to renew our lives to be pure as well as to extend our experiences to you.
Your body doesn’t belong to you: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The solution is not suicide. It’s faith: “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” – Psalms 33:20-22
Christ promises rest in Him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28
If you have suicidal thoughts, it’s best to read what the Bible has to say about the gravity of preserving life and also the importance of carrying out your purpose in living. Find more verses dealing with suicide here. Find a godly person or somebody close to you to talk with about your problems. When I had these negative thoughts spring into my head again last night, I told my husband about it, and he told me to turn to the Word when I told him there was nothing he could do. At some given point in a situation, only God can take control of it. Your spouse is not your god and savior (as lovely and cute as he may be!) We should be glad that our spouses aren’t our gods. It helps give us perspective when we get disappointed, but we must also admit that we ourselves are as imperfect as they are.
Suicide as a solution: The Jim Carroll Band- People Who Died (Ironically, I still love this band and many others, even though they can be lenient towards destructive behavior.)
Faith as a solution: Baptize My Mind – Jon Foreman
These photos are really grainy, and I’m sorry! It was so dark outside when I took these! Earlier this week, I wore this outfit (with plain black tights) to a meeting in Virginia. My testosterone-dominated team and I were just awarded a contract to build an electronic document management system for a county government. I think that this will be my biggest contract yet. I’m quite excited for the reward but also extremely nervous just because I know a lot of my successes have been due to sheer luck and possibly a bit of charm! I think one ruffled-up female in her early 20s draws more attention than a sea of middle-aged Birkenstock-wearing men—which I humbly think might have been why I luckily landed this huge job. I am no expert or even a college graduate (just a year short of graduating). The tech world has been much too generous to me. I get to work at home and be a house wife all at the same time. I really do enjoy what I do despite all the headaches involved! Since middle school, I have been convinced that the computer screen was one of the culprits behind teenagers’ zits. They may not have been directly caused by the computer, but I have this notion somehow that the longer you stayed behind the computer concentrating heavily on something that sucks you right in (like a complex game or programming software), the more you forget about your surroundings, get stressed, and the more your facial pores get oily. The more this happens, the more likely you are to rub your face and stuff your mouth with grab-and-go junk like chocolate. I guess this same scenario could happen with people reading books for an extended period of time during the day, but I feel like something tangible like a book brings you closer to reality than computers. What I learned from experience is to take breaks away from the computer and drink lots of water, so you don’t feel like you’re hungry all the time. Reward yourself with accomplished tasks by taking breaks, because it really does help with your concentration. This could very well mean napping, too! What I wore: Shirt- vintage | Cardigan- George | Necklace- Ebay | Skirt- Talbots | Tights- Soho | Shoes- Delicious
Here are a few screen caps of some of the websites I have designed:
Now, for the best part of my day—I just got two pairs of shoes in the mail today—left shoe is from Qupid, and the right is from Bonnibel, which is what I am wearing with my bridesmaid dress next weekend!
If you haven’t entered the giveaway for a cameo necklace, do so soon! It ends this Monday!