Christianity: For the Love

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, expresses so many of my own thoughts as a Christian in a world that seems polarized, quick to judge, and always striving toward elusive perfection. Even though it is challenging to show one another love sometimes  — and I can think of many times when I’ve failed at this command — I do believe love is essential to honoring God. If we as Christians could do a better job at loving God and loving others, the world might not be so cynical toward us.

Tearing each other down is not bringing glory to God. There is a time and a place for showing concern and offering critiques from a place of love — within relationship, one-on-one, when something really needs to be said — but it seems that nowadays some people are ready to pounce upon and dissect any little perceived imperfection of another human being. None of us are perfect. Period. That is why it is the grace of God that saves us through faith in Christ, not our own works. 

Of course, we do our best to gain wisdom. We read the Bible and listen to sound teaching and preaching (biblical exegesis). We can speak the truth, even hard truth, when it needs spoken (in a loving way). We want to do our best for God. Soon as a Christian mentions showing love, I think some people are, unfortunately, immediately ready to pounce and set up their counter-argument (Seriously, you are arguing against love?). Oh, you must be wishy-washy in your faith, they say. I think a person can show love and have strong faith at the same time.

Jesus is the ultimate example of love. He visited people that the religious elite of his time snubbed. He did not get involved in politics because his mission was (gasp) more important than politics. He showed compassion toward the poor and the rejected, and he lovingly taught his followers. No, he didn’t say things that people liked all the time. Yet, when He was asked what the greatest commandment is, He said to LOVE God, and then love others. Our job isn’t to “fix” everyone around us. It isn’t to be perfect all the time. 

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Let that sink in. It’s powerful.

Hatmaker Quote 1

If you’re struggling today to be everything to everyone, here is a quote from Jen about coming up with priorities.

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That’s wisdom, ladies. We can’t balance it all or have it all. We can do what our season in life allows. We can certainly do our best, but give yourself and others some grace.

One more thought: this review is just a taste of the book. It’s a fascinating read. Jen has some hilarious chapters about fashion fails, turning 40, and other cultural observations. She also has some must-read chapters about how the post-modern generation needs its questions and doubts to be addressed (by listening and discussing rather than reacting in an authoritarian or dismissive way), as well as a chapter about short-term mission trips that work for the community that is being served (rather than misguided “poverty tourism,” which sadly happens sometimes). If this book gets into the hands of enough people, hopefully it will change the church for the better — emphasizing unity (in Christ), not uniformity (welcoming differences in personality, appearance, culture, upbringing, etc.) among believers.

P.S. After reading some other reviews of this book, as well as receiving feedback on this post, one common theme was that the gospel should be communicated within the discussion of love. The gospel is love. In Jen’s defense, she wrote her book to a Christian audience — people who have already heard and believed the gospel. Yet, here in this blog post, I do not know who is reading. If you would like to know more about the gospel, here is a link that will tell you what it means. I’m not affiliated with this link in any way, but when I read the page, I felt like it explained the gospel well.

Book Look Bloggers gave me this e-book for free in return for my honest review.

What I’m Into Right Now

What I'm Into Summer 2015

What I’m Watching

The Astronaut Wives Club is so, so good! It reminds me how far women have come in terms of the choices that we can make for our professional and domestic lives. I love that being a full time mom is a choice I’ve been fortunate enough to make (a great choice!), but the women in this show really do not have a choice to work outside the home. Seeing how much one of the women would like to be an astronaut, and then seeing that she did not have the opportunity because she was a woman, is heartbreaking. On the flip side, I love seeing the nurturing strength of the astronauts’ wives. Traditional female roles are not something to look down on; I think everything that a woman has to offer should be valued. To say that homemaking is not valuable is an insult. I know I’ve been looked down on by some people for choosing to be a full time mom for awhile, but I am so happy that I have the opportunity to do it. I’m glad I’ve been able to watch my son’s milestones so closely. I will also be glad to rejoin the work force when that time comes. As women, I think we are judged severely by people, no matter what life path we take — and ultimately you will not be everyone’s cup of tea, no matter what decision you make (cue the Kacey Musgraves song).

I’m also watching Project Runway Season 14 and rooting for the talented Ashley Nell Tipton. She won the very first challenge of the season! Go, girl! Way to add some variety to the show.

What I’m Listening To

Kacey Musgraves: The sound is indie and country, and the lyrics are witty. My favorite songs on the album are “Cup of Tea,” “Biscuits and Gravy,” and “Pageant Material.” I don’t care for the drug references in a few of the songs, but she is very talented, and most of the songs really speak to me.

Driving Tunes: Taylor Swift’s 1989 (yes, I’m still listening to it), Erica Campbell’s Help 2.0 (Christian), She & Him (indie), Rend Collective (Christian), Kelly Clarkson (obviously!), Eric Church (country), Jimmy Buffett (a retro summer favorite), Urban Cowboy Movie Soundtrack (another retro favorite!)

What I’ve Been Reading

I’m in the process of reading Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love. I think of her as the authentic Christian voice for women of my generation. She is genuinely funny and really understands what grace means. I’m going to be posting a review of her book sometime in the near future. I also have a goal of reading through the Bible, so I’m reading a book of the Bible each week. I started with Matthew earlier this year, and I’m now just finishing II Corinthians. For someone who loves reading so much, and as person of faith, I realized that the Bible should obviously be a book that I’ve read from cover to cover.

Over the summer, I’ve also read Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend series and adored it. The first book is the best one, and the third one is a little depressing, but I still love the story and can’t wait to find out what happens in the final book that’s being released in September. I would describe these books as intelligent, truthful, raw, and true to the female characters.

My Workout

Three days a week, I do Mel B’s Totally Fit DVD. It’s not new, but it is so good (you will feel the burn)! I’m definitely seeing a nice difference from it (p.s. it’s not for beginners). I’m always going to be curvy, but I do want to be as healthy as I can be. I’m the type of person who does not lose weight just by working out, so I’m also keeping a food journal. I was resistant at first, but it has helped. I also walk on the local track a couple days a week. If I can get down to my pre-baby weight, I’m going to celebrate. I will still be plus size, obviously, which is fine with me. It will take awhile because I’m going slow and steady.

At Home

thomas bedWe just moved Carson into a toddler bed. We found this little gem, and we were pretty excited because we knew he would love it. Woo hoo, Thomas!

At home, for myself, I’m doing a lot with essential oils. I make myself a body scrub with 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup almond oil, and several drops of peppermint essential oil. You have to use it up fast because it does not have preservatives, so that’s why I make the recipe small. Also, it will make your shower pretty slippery, so be careful . . . but it’s good!

As you may have gathered, I’m eclectic in my tastes, haha.

What are you into right now?

xoxo Teresa

My Latest Summer Outfit

Hi, sweet reader.

This is my latest summer outfit that I really love. I wanted to share it because I think it’s pretty cute, and it has the subtle bohemian, 1970s vibe that I like.

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I’m pretty sure 1970s is going to be big this fall. With a pair of boots and skinny jeans, this look will transition perfectly into autumn.

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The light shirt sleeves have a ribbed texture, so I was playing with textures a little when I combined the shirt and the crochet vest, but they’re both in the same color palette. I bought the shirt and vest from Maurice’s this past week, and the shorts are also from Maurice’s. The sandals are, believe it or not, Crocs. They look like jellies. They’re probably the sexiest Crocs you’ll find (lol!). Love me some Crocs. This post isn’t sponsored in any way, but I just wanted to tell you how to find the clothes.

DSCN2624How’s this pose for some whimsy? ;) I wore this outfit to an outdoor Christian fundraiser yard party at a friend’s house in Northern Virginia this past weekend. There was a DJ, and everyone’s children danced. There were also twinkle lights strung along the backyard, which I think are so pretty on a summer evening.

xoxo Teresa

Linking with Top of the World Fashion, the new A Lovely Little A La Mode Link-up and Garay Treasures Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me.

My Selfie in Words

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This personal essay of mine appears in the current issue of Bella Grace magazine. With the editor’s permission, I am sharing it here with you. Hope you will enjoy it! Consider picking up a copy of the magazine at your local bookstore to see the creativity of many other writers and photographers too.

My Selfie in Words

I have never taken a selfie.

It’s partly on principle, and partly because – well – I don’t have one of the fancy phones that make it easy. I did try one time just for the heck of it, but I kept cutting off part of my face no matter how I angled the phone. I gave up. Honestly, I could just look at myself in the mirror anyway. Even if I could take a good one, I’m still a little old school. I did draw a self-portrait on my Kindle not too long ago with my finger, using a sketchbook app. I thought it turned out cute, especially considering that I drew it with my finger.

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” – Walt Whitman

A selfie is a quick version of self-expression, a way to capture yourself in the moment. Personally, I still prefer the slower versions like an artist’s portrait or a long poem. I would rather write than snap a picture of everything, even though I know there can be magic in photos too. Yet, some of the senses are missing, no matter how hard you look at a selfie.

A picture can’t capture the clean scent of my toddler’s hair after a bath or the softness of his cheek when his mommy kisses him. A picture can’t bring back the smell of spicy cologne that my husband wore when we were first dating or the nervous flip-flop feeling in the pit of my stomach when we went on our first date.

Life unfiltered: a carpet cluttered with Lego blocks and wooden trains that have collided off course, a kitchen sink filled with dishes to be rinsed and nested neatly in the dishwasher, a Sheltie on the floor wearing a red splint because he broke his front leg (long story), our flat screen television resting on a makeshift stand while we wait for the real stand to be delivered, a full time mom and part time master’s degree student in her thirties trying to make it to the gym in her Prius, a husband going to work early in the morning and coming back late at night to scoop up his son and say his favorite greeting of “hi dear” to me.

When I think of these days, “hi dear” will ring in my memory. My son’s chant of “car, car, car” – his favorite word – will ring there too, like a remix.

I have seen some creative selfies. I saw some selfies from a woman who drew elaborate pictures on her bathroom mirror and stepped into them to snap a photo. I admired her creativity. Most of the time when I’m behind a camera, I’m taking photos of my husband and son. I try to get my husband to take a few photos of my son, Carson, and I together so that when he looks back, he will know that, yes, mommy was on the vacation too.

My identity is me, but it is also my family. Right now, a selfie looks more like a family portrait. It looks like diaper changes, the high chair, play dates. It looks like the toy police car that Carson drove up to the manger scene under the Christmas tree so many times last year that it started to seem intentional.

If I could paint a self-portrait, it would look like Russian nesting dolls. Nestled inside of this mom is a young girl who grew up on a farm, raised rabbits for 4-H, took walks in the cow pasture after school, went fishing, read voraciously, and didn’t yet feel self-conscious when she spoke her mind.

The next nesting doll would be a teenager who was on the yearbook staff, who drove to work as a restaurant hostess after school, who had dates to homecoming and the prom, who went to the movies with her best guy friend a lot, who graduated in the Top Ten, who read magazine articles about how to be appealing. I wish I could tell her to ignore those articles and just rest in her own worth.

Another nesting doll would be a newspaper reporter in her early twenties, driving around in her little Jetta with a “News Girl” vanity plate on the front. She was listening to J-Lo or Christina Aguilera and singing along as she drove out to different interviews. It was the first time she could walk down to the coffee shop for a chai latte every day and afford a fancy brand of shampoo. She felt like life was a big adventure, and every day was different. I’m still proud of that person.

Now, as a mom, I feel like I’m experiencing the part of my own life that I can’t remember. I’m experiencing it vicariously through my son. I can’t remember what it was like to be a baby or a toddler, but I see his sense of awe in the world, and I’m sure I had that too. I still have that sense of awe as I watch him. I see the magic of learning, the beauty of life itself. So, this is me. This is my selfie, in words — a work in progress. What does your selfie look like, in words?

Thank you for reading!

P.S. Since the time that I wrote this, I did take a selfie with someone else’s phone once (wink, wink).

xoxo Teresa

Copyright 2015. Printed here with the permission of Bella Grace.

Rockin’ My First Sunless Spray Tan

promo photo

Palm Beach Tan was nice enough to gift me a free sunless spray tanning session to try and write about on my blog. I had a wonderful experience, but rather than just tell you how it turned out, I’d like to take you through the process with me.

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This is my sunless spray tan two days after the treatment. Nice glow with no make-up!

First confession: I have never had a sunless spray tan before.

Second confession: Most sunless tanning lotions turn me a little orange, so the only way I usually look naturally tan is when I have an actual tan.

Third confession: My teenage years were spent sunbathing because I thought it would be fine as long as I didn’t tan too dark. Then, around the time I turned 30, I had some precancerous cells removed from my face. That was a wake up call for me to get serious about putting on sunblock.

Considering these confessions, I often spend my summers teetering between pale and a hint of orange when I use a sunless tanning lotion (perhaps I have not found the right one?).

Anyway, the sunless tanning session that Palm Beach Tan gifted me to try was the VersaSpa Sunless Skin Care System (click on the link to see a video of how it works). One session is $50 at the location I went to, so I knew the results would probably be good.

I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what exactly would happen, and then I also realized that I would need to make sure I prepped myself well before I even entered the booth. That included taking off make-up and jewelry, putting in provided nose plugs, using a special lotion on rough areas of skin such as the hands, wrists, and ankles, putting on a hairnet in a way that would not leave a tan line on my face, and putting on goggles.

After prepping myself, I mentally went through the four poses that I would need to do in the booth before I entered it. I pushed the green button to start (and reminded myself to close my mouth, haha), and the session was fast. I faced forward with my arms out, to the right in an Egyptian style pose, the left in that pose, and backward with my arms out. All of this happened in probably less than two minutes.

I felt a cold gust at one point. Then I thought, is it over already? Yes, it seemed to be.

I exited the booth and looked myself over. No noticeable change. An employee told me that it would take about three hours for the color to develop.

Without yet knowing how my tan would look, my first impression was: wow, that was so fast. A person could easily get a spray tan on a lunch break if the booth wasn’t busy.

Three hours later, I was definitely liking what I saw. I hadn’t had a glow like that on my skin since the days when I used to sunbathe. It was the most natural thing I’d ever seen besides an actual tan on my skin.

To see how I looked the next day, check out this post. A post that shows what my skin looked like before the sunless tan is here.

The final verdict after several days: My skin is still glowing. I have an almost air-brushed, light glow on my face, so I don’t even need to wear make-up foundation. I really like how my sunless spray tan turned out.

Since the session is usually $50, I would probably only use this for special occasions like a wedding, beach vacation, or a splurge to pamper myself. Next time, I would also go for a dark tan instead of medium. The medium looks very natural and is definitely shades darker than my typical skin, but now that I know how the process works, I figure, why not see what a dark tan would look like (especially since I have never had a dark tan in real life)?

Have any questions? Feel free to ask.

xoxo Teresa

Reading with my Toddler (and a book review)

Something most of my blog readers probably do not know is that I wrote a children’s book, Sweet Sallie’s Squirrel Scarf Factory, before I was pregnant with my son. My husband illustrated it, and we had a great time working on it together. The book is about a little squirrel who works at the squirrel scarf factory, but she is so creative that she can’t finish her scarves as fast as her boss wants her to finish them. If you’re a creative person (hello, blog reader!) you will probably relate to Sallie. My book is on Amazon in hardcover or a Kindle version.

Sallie

Naturally, as a “book person,” I want to share my love of reading with my son now that he’s a toddler. Carson and I go to our local bookstore about once a week, a little before nap time, where we look at whatever entertains him (even if it’s the toy cars) until he falls asleep and then gives me my own reading time in the store. I usually buy a drink or something to support the store since we are camping out there for at least an hour or two (wink). Of course, with a toddler, our bookstore outings do not always pan out gracefully, but most of the time the routine goes well.

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Carson in his favorite magazine section — automotive!

Carson is only two, but he adores cars — so his favorite section in the store is the automotive magazines. He will sit down to flip through several car magazines before he gets bored. “Car” was one of his first words, right after “da” and “ma.”

You might not think a toddler flipping through a magazine is too impressive, but, sadly, some children enter kindergarten not knowing which way to hold a book and how to flip through it correctly. At two, because I read to Carson and books are a part of our lives, he knows how to hold a book.

In the education classes I have been taking, I’ve learned that modeling reading for enjoyment is a great way to promote early literacy. Another way is to read to your child based on topics the child enjoys (for my son, that means the book has trucks, trains, and ducks). These tips sound like no-brainers, but the trick is actually incorporating the practice into your busy day.

I like to discover new books for my son, so I decided to go for it when Book Look Bloggers offered The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Little Ones for its bloggers to review. I grew up on the Berenstain Bears myself, so there is an element of bookish country girl nostalgia involved for me, and I also like the idea that I can share spiritual values with my son as I read. As moms, we love to multitask (sharing spiritual values + reading at the same time!). For a Christian family, this type of multitasking is a win-win. When your child hears a lesson taught in Sunday School, the child can think back to the story in the Berenstain Bears book. Learning is about making connections, so the more connections your child can make with spiritual lessons, the more likely your child will be to remember those lessons.

Publisher’s Description: The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Toddlers is perfect for young children. Now toddlers have a padded board book edition designed just for them, with simple text, bright art, and a padded cover. This cute and durable edition provides an overview of the Bible with eight stories from the Old and New Testaments that follow the Bear family as they explore Scripture. The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Toddlers is fun and enlightening for kids and a great resource for parents and educators.

My Overall Review: The book covers major Bible stories in language that is easy to understand. It includes creation, Noah’s ark, David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, the birth of Jesus, the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus in Jerusalem, and the resurrection of Jesus. The lessons in this book are an excellent foundation for teaching Christian faith. Even at a young age, a child can understand that, as the book says, “God made everything!” I thought it was an excellent choice for the writers to use the Berenstain Bears in the story illustrations but not to actually include the bears in the written text itself. That way the child does not have to try to mentally switch back and forth between fictional bears and the Bible truths. Parents could actually show young children the bears and say the bears are cartoon characters, and then say the Bible stories that are being read are true. The book is just the right size for little hands to hold (about 5×7).

If you have a child, hopefully you will consider adding some reading to your routine. Letting your child see you enjoy reading (if you’ve read this far, you enjoy reading!) is a wonderful way to show that you value the written word.

How do you incorporate reading into your child’s routine? Which books do you recommend? Do you have any questions about the children’s book I wrote or about the book I reviewed?

Happy reading!

Teresa

Wear Your Jeans This Friday, August 7!

Fashion bloggers from all over the globe are supporting the Jeans For Genes campaign to help the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) fund critical research for childhood genetic diseases. Allison from Sydney Fashion Hunter blog told me about the campaign, and I am glad to be involved. Here’s my favorite jean outfit, which you’ve probably seen if you’ve been following my blog.

Sydney Fashion Hunter - Fashion Bloggers For Jeans For Genes - Mama Muse Me - USA

Sydney Fashion Hunter - Fashion Bloggers For Jeans For Genes - Sydney Fashion Hunter - Australia

Did you know that globally 1 in 20 kids are born with a birth defect or genetic disease? The CMRI is working hard to find real answers to create a healthier future for all children. The first Friday in August is Jeans for Genes day, the major fundraising campaign for CMRI. Every cent counts, so please donate whatever you can here.

Allison is featuring a lot of great bloggers today, but here are four more bloggers that I thought rocked their jeans well!

Sydney Fashion Hunter - Fashion Bloggers For Jeans For Genes - Fab Ellis - USA

I really hope you enjoyed browsing these lovely ladies’ looks, but don’t go just yet! The research that CMRI does is vital, so please consider giving whatever you can here. Will you wear your jeans for genes on Friday?
xoxo Teresa

Polette Designer Sunglasses Winner

The winner of the Polette Designer Sunglasses Giveaway on my blog is Timeka from Sewloveable.

I am contacting her by email to let her know, and I will forward her email address to my contact person at Polette. To be as fair as possible to all of you wonderful women who entered, I put the valid entries into a free random number generator on Random.org to select her.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Your support means a lot to me!

Even if you didn’t win this time, you might have better luck in the next giveaway that I am working on coordinating with a lovely business woman. So, keep following along.

Thank you again, and congratulations Timeka!

Teresa

Kelly Clarkson Concert Style and a Designer Sunglasses Giveaway

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Here is a fan’s view of Kelly Clarkson singing at her Piece By Piece Tour at Hershey Park on July 11, 2015.

Kelly Clarkson kicked off her Piece by Piece Tour recently — and I was there in row 7, section C, really close! She sounded amazing, mixing a lot of her well-known hits with the songs from her new album (which I have memorized). My favorites from the new album are “Heartbeat Song,” “Dance with Me,” and “Take You High.” I also loved that she performed a song with her opening act, Pentatonix, a really impressive a cappella group that I rooted for on The Sing-Off.

Kelly is a wife, mother to a young child, and around my age, so I find her very relatable even though she is truly famous and incredibly talented. What stood out to me was Kelly’s sense of humor and her quick wit. She made some hilarious, off-the-cuff jokes. She really cracked me up when she was talking passionately about her music as the band played in the background, and she said something like, “I feel like I’m at church right now, and I’m about to lead someone to Jesus!” It’s not an exact quote, and maybe you had to be there . . . but the background music and the timing of it all was just perfect.

She was in her bare feet, which was endearing. She accidentally fell on her butt during “Stronger,” but she kept singing and never missed a beat. That’s when I felt more admiration for her than ever.

Anyway, I figured I would chat a bit about her fashion and show you a lot of photos since my blog focuses on that. First, though, I want say that I love the body positive messages that Kelly has been sending lately. Her concert was so uplifting, even if “Because of You” did bring a little tear to my eye (and I felt cheesy for it, but then I figured, hey, just feel the moment . . . and then pretend it did not happen, haha). On the topic of body positivity and female respect, Kelly welcomed a slam poet to the stage whose message was so vital and powerful for today’s women to hear. Here is the YouTube video of slam poet Miranda Tellis if you need some encouragement right now.

Now, without further ado, fashion discussion! Click the photos to make them bigger.

The vibe of her outfits was bold and F-U-N. She wore bright colors, anchored with black as a neutral. Sequins and embroidery, tulle, floaty fabrics, shiny fabrics, slightly 1980s — she went there! Personally, I loved her style. I even like how she shaved some of her hair, and I’m thinking we will start seeing that hairstyle soon in the general public because of Kelly. I’m not sure if I could pull it off. I keep getting tempted to do a more subtle version of it; then I lose my courage. The woman is fierce in the best way! Even her last outfit, mostly black with leggings underneath, had a fun feel because of different fabric textures. Kelly’s outfits seemed to fit her upbeat personality very well.

Now it’s giveaway time. Polette, a French sunglasses and frames company, has kindly offered for me to pick one reader who will receive a free pair of frames or shades. To win:

1. Follow my blog by email, and

2. Visit http://www.polette.com and then leave a link to your favorite pair of sunglasses or frames in my blog’s comments section. 

Please consider following Polette on your social media as a thanks for the giveaway. I will announce the winner on July 31.

Here’s a photo of me wearing my Polette shades early in the stadium for Kelly’s concert. You can visit my original review of Polette here or see my latest fashion post here.

Me at the stadium

Stadium

P.S. Since my camera phone is old and takes mediocre photos, I want to give a shout out to Tracie from Alabama, who I met at the concert. Her husband had even better seats than us, so he took the photos of Kelly that are in this blog post and very kindly emailed them to me.

Good luck in the giveaway, lovely ladies!

xoxo Teresa

Linking up with Garay Treasures, Top of the World Style, What I Wore, The Wednesday Pants, and A Little Bit of Cheer.

My Elegant Scarf Print Kaftan Top from Qurvii

It feels amazing to have the opportunity to review so many plus size designs lately because I’m an average woman and a full time mom — not a model, not tall, not uber glamorous, not even the traditional shape of a curvy woman that is used in advertisements. I hope my stereotype-breaking blog is inspiring you though. I know a lot of fashion bloggers feel pressured to Photoshop themselves, but I am keeping it REAL here. All the photos are taken by my husband with our home camera. You see the smile and the imperfections, and I’m embracing all of it. Does it take courage? Yes. Oh, yes, sister.

I feel like fashion bloggers, and especially plus size bloggers, have the opportunity to remind other women that magazine images are not real. You see the hair of a busy mom and the smile lines. You see someone who isn’t wearing much make-up and who, honestly, does not do well with make-up tricks. When blogs start to look too much like magazines, well . . . I’m not sure if that is helping anyone. If you’re good at make-up, then let your light shine — but that’s just not my gift. Each time a company sends me something to review, I consider that to be a victory for curvy women and for authenticity. It’s not just about me or about image. Those who know me personally know that I tend to shy away from the spotlight, so believe me, this is not about image! I love reviewing plus size clothes. I love the beauty behind the designs, and I love how confident and at ease the clothes make me feel. I also like challenging stereotypes in my own subtle way.

qurvii top 1 qurvii top 2

Anyway, this beautiful kaftan top Qurvii sent me to review stands out for many reasons. The silk satin material is so soft and light for summer, and I love the colors in the scarf print. The blue, pink, and green are just right together (somehow the colors take my mind to a village in Greece). Since I am short (5’2) and less busty than most curvy women, the top was a little longer on me than it would probably be on most ladies. To compensate for that, I tied one side in a scarf knot to make the top look better on my proportions. I think the scarf knot looks great and even adds to the style. I paired the top with shorts and a necklace from Maurice’s, a Fossil clutch wallet, Nautica flip flops, and vintage gold knot earrings given to me by my mother-in-law. Blue is one of my favorite colors to wear, so I feel elegant and confident in this outfit. A really special touch on this top is that the back is white, with just a blue print around the border, which adds a lot of visual interest. Qurvii specializes in the type of silk tunics, flowing chiffon dresses, georgette, linen, and satin tops that plus size women dream of wearing but often have trouble finding. The price point on this top is also more affordable for the everyday woman than many items I’ve reviewed on my blog.

Soon as this top arrived in the mail, I washed it and wore it the same evening. I thought it was that pretty! I went to Olive Garden with a friend (where I got complimented on the top while sitting in the waiting area), and then we went to see Magic Mike XXL (guilty pleasure, yes). As a side note, I had no idea that Michael Strahan was going to be dancing in the movie — so that was a very pleasant surprise! I whispered to my friend, “Is that Michael Strahan??” but we didn’t know for sure until we saw the credits at the end. Nice moves, Michael Strahan! It was a much-needed, rare mom’s night out. Earlier in the day, I took my son to a petting zoo, where he accidentally fell in a mud puddle (toddler boy, lol), and I had to clean him and all his clothes in an outdoor foot-pump sink to keep from getting mud in the car  . . . so, yeah, I needed to go out!

Hope you enjoyed my review of the Qurvii plus size kaftan top! Even though I was gifted the top, the opinions are all my own and not sponsored by Qurvii.

xoxo Teresa