12/11/17

Burgundy Cardigan, OTK Boots + Monday Motivation

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Hello there and I hope you all had a fun, relaxing, or productive weekend. Even better if you accomplished more than one of those things! I have a pretty lengthy Monday Motivation segment today so I'll just jump right into outfit details and save the words for the readers' portion of the post.

This burgundy cardigan is really impressive for the $25 price. It comes in a lot of other colors, but it doesn't come in size XS, so if that's your size, go for the Small. Otherwise I don't think you'll need to size up as it's pretty true to size.

My black cami, white jeans, and over the knee boots are all true to size. I'm wearing the "taupe color" in these boots, although they are a very grey taupe. In fact I ordered a pair of grey boots from Steve Madden and they were so similar to these I had to return them. Aside from that, the lower heel makes these very comfortable and they stay pretty fitted and high up on my legs all day.

Now that I've had these Secret Hair Extensions for about a month I've had a chance to use them a few times so I thought I'd give a little bit more of a review on them.

These extensions were a gift from my hair salon: they didn't come with all of the original packaging (just a satin storage bag) so unfortunately I don't know the exact color name of the set I have. On the plus side, I can be totally honest in my thoughts since I don't think anyone from my salon reads my blog!

Pros: These are very lightweight and easy to wear all day with out the heaviness and discomfort that comes from clip in extensions (for me, anyway). They're pretty easy to put in and the halo band is practically invisible - much easier to hide than clip in extensions.

Cons: The only negative for me is that when I need to brush or comb through these to get the tangles out (and they do tangle, but that's pretty normal for hair...real or fake) a lot of the hair comes out. I am trying to be as gentle as I can, but with the amount of hair that comes out I can't help but think these are going to be threadbare within another month! They aren't too expensive, but I still don't want to be replacing them every couple of months. I do prefer this style to clip-ins by far (as you can tell by how much I've been wearing them), but I might try another brand before purchasing this one again to see if they hold up a little better.

Monday Motivation: Two Bricks in the Holiday Wall
There's no delicate way to say this, so I'll just say it like it is: the holidays are a time of intense sadness for a lot of people. Any of the pre-existing heartache we felt prior to this season -- whether it was the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or some other life situation that's entirely too far from what we'd like it to be -- is magnified by everyone else insisting (or so it seems when you're in that mindset) that it is the MOST wonderful time of the year.

I have my own reasons to be sad this time of year, most specifically that two of my dearest loved ones who passed away not too long ago also happen to have December birthdays. I think even if it weren't the holiday season, this would inevitably be a sad month for me anyway, but it's harder during this season when I feel bombarded by images of "complete" families and knowing that death has robbed me of that "complete" feeling for this lifetime.

All of that backstory brings me to my Monday Motivation. On (most) Mondays I share a little about what I want to work on in a given week to improve myself and stay accountable for my New Year's goals and so forth. It's not intended as advice for anyone else, just sharing with the hope of connecting with any of you who might relate. That said, awhile back I read Opening the Door of Your Heart and Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness (I actually listened to Audio book, which has a separate product listing) and the very first story in that book is applicable here. To paraphrase the story (or find a much better summary here), some Buddhist monks were required to build their own monastery, and Ajahn Brahm had the task of bricklaying, despite his lack of experience. It was a tedious process and he was so relieved and happy when it was done. But when he stepped back to look at his work, he saw that there were two bricks askew in the center of the wall. He was so distraught over these bricks because they ruined the entire wall in his eyes. He even asked the leader of the monastery if he could tear it all down and start over. Permission for that was denied, so the two bad bricks stayed.

People would often tour the monastery, and after one such tour a person commented to Ajahn Brahm how he was particularly impressed by the work on that particular brick wall with the bad bricks. Ajahn was stunned and asked if the tourist was blind or crazy...couldn't he see the two bad bricks? The man said, "I did see those bricks. But I also saw the 998 good ones that surrounded it."

I'm sure you can guess by now where I'm going with this. Yes, there are two bad bricks in my holiday wall. But there are 998 good ones, and I gain nothing by putting all of my focus on those two bricks. It's much easier said than done, but that's really my goal for this week and the rest of the holiday season: to keep my focus on the good bricks. I have good health, a good family, good friends, and a long list of other things that add to my happiness and I'd be a fool to put my entire focus on what I don't have.

Chances are, some of you have a couple of bad bricks in your holiday wall, too. If that's you, I'd love to hear your strategies for re-directing your attention to the good bricks. It seems like a constant mental game this season and I always appreciate good tips and strategies for winning this game!

Before I sign off for today, just a quick reminder that my December book reviews will be up tomorrow so I hope you'll stop by and check them out!


Linking up with:

CONVERSATION

15 comments:

  1. Well said, I'm not always cheery for the Holidays but I've been trying really hard to practice gratitude and be positive. This story is so perfect, I need to listen to this book again.

    xo
    Pinksole

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    1. It really is something that takes practice, isn't it? And thanks again for recommending the book in the first place! It's definitely one worth re-listening to every so often.

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  2. I came to the realization this year that sadness and happiness can coexist and I need to make space for all the feelings. I have my share of tearful, sad moments but I’ve tried not to let them overshadow all the fun, joyful times I’m having as well.

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    1. That's a really great way of looking at things, Kristi! In my head I think I categorize things as one way or another...e.g. "How can I consider myself a happy person if I have all of these sad feelings?" But you're so right - they really can and do co-exist.

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  3. I so feel you, and I love the story of the two bricks. Thanksgiving was really hard this year with the loss of my mom. That was always her favorite meal and her time to do the cooking. It's still a struggle every day, but I try to stay positive and focus on the good things I do have. Harder some days than others. There's a country song about the loss of a loved one that says "sunny days seem to hurt the most" and I find that sooo true. Those are the days we would want to share with them. Thinking of you and sending you peace <3

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Britt. I'm so sorry you're going through the same feelings this holiday season. It really is a lot of constant mental effort to stay on the positive side! Friendships like yours definitely help. :)

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  4. I So needed to read this today! Well, I need to hear it every day. It's a daily battle to focus on the good and not the bad. The holidays can be tough for so many reasons, and there really is no way around that except just faking it if you really have to. Being grateful for the here and now is the best way to move forward. Sending you hugs Gina :)

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Noelle! As much as I don't wish sadness on anyone, it's also nice to know when other people can relate to something I'm going through. So glad you've always been willing to be open and share on this topic.

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  5. It means so much that you are also talking about how hard the holidays are! I have really dealt with a lot of sadness and missing loved ones that have passed away and we just have to be real!

    The Adored Life

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    1. I'm so sorry you are going through your own heartache this season too. I really enjoyed reading your post and thoughts on how you are handling this season!

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  6. I really needed this post today. Yesterday was a really hard day for me for a reason I don't really want to go into, but your point about the 998 other good bricks was such a good one. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I'm sorry you had a rough day, Laura! Glad you could relate to the story - it's one of my favorites from the book.

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  7. This is such a cute outfit! I really love the way your burgundy cardigan looks with the white pants. It makes this look totally perfect for the holidays. Plus, the OTK boots are so cute!

    ~xo Sheree
    PoshClassyMom.com

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  8. Such a nicely written post. And so true about the two bricks. It is very easy to focus on what is "wrong" (I prefer painful) versus what isn't but doing so somehow seems to diminish all that is lovely about life in some way. The pain is real and I feel it every day. But it is also possible to have room for things other than the pain. Love you so much. ❤️

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