Friday, June 29, 2018

A Messy Life Update & What I Hope For This Blog

Real and honest here. This year was rough. This blog is meant to be an outlet for me, so I felt I needed to put into words what has been happening. Writing it out is a coping method for me. I'm going to be writing about struggles from this past year that include my faith. I know it is not every person's choice, so I want to make it clear that I am not trying to push this matter on anyone. My faith is a part of my identity, and what I have gone through is now a part of my testimony. I feel it will make things more clear if I explain all my thoughts, including my faith.

 To start from the beginning, I moved out of my parent's house to continue my college career in South Carolina. I've always wanted to be a Gamecock and follow in my grandparent's footsteps; it was all falling into place. Or so I thought. A few months after moving into my grandparent's house we found out my grandfather had pancreatic cancer. By going through this process, I know that more and more people know this pain. It was the second time my grandfather announced he had cancer, so for me it didn't register as a major problem. Given, my faith came into prospective because there is no such this as a major problem when you place your faith in the Lord. I grew up in a household where God's timing is how we thrive. The treatment method we found truly was God's timing because it normally wouldn't have been as quick if we didn't have the Lord move with certain people and their influence. We had hope, but I had to constantly remind myself it was not what I needed to put my whole hope in. Because medicine can only do so much. 

I started at a new school and a job, which both kept me extremely busy. After a few months at the new job I got promoted, which was a major blessing. I was finally feeling like I was moving somewhere in my career path. I thought it was all working out and going great. Halfway through the semester is when we found out he had cancer. My grandfather was one of my heroes. I was one of his princesses, who he sat with in the hospital multiple times each day while I was in the NICU. It was numbing hearing the news. 

I visited my parents in Massachusetts for the holidays, which was something my heart needed. I had to rely heavily on my family during this year. Once I started the 2018 spring semester, things related to the cancer seemed to become positive. But my grandfather was still not 100% willing to go through with chemo. He did it for my family. Halfway through the semester things started to decline. The last month of the semester is when we heard that the cancer was spreading to his lungs. Trying to juggle the rest of my semester without failing my classes, my job, and my emotional and spiritual life just about broke me. I had to finish with an 'A' in the hardest class of the semester, and an acceptance into the University of South Carolina. The first I promised him, and the second I prayed happened. The time I told him I fulfilled my promise of my grade was the last time I heard him speak. We wondered why this pain was dragging out, but I heard the news of my acceptance and knew I needed to tell him once I got home that day. With tears that the prayer was answered with time to tell him in person, I told him I would be by the football field where he used to play as a fellow USC student. Less than 24 hours after that moment my grandfather took his last breath. I knew it was his last act of love for me. I know these situations are all in God's timing, but I like to think he held on a little longer to hear this news. 

There was grace and mercy on my family that we got to share the last few months with him, and it wasn't a sudden death. Throughout the months we were able to grieve step by step. To be honest I am still grieving just as heavily now, which is why I stepped away from everything in South Carolina to try something different for the summer. I needed to grieve on my own and in a place I felt comfortable and away from everything. So I quit my retail job and found a different field of work for the summer. A family from my church on Cape Cod allowed me a chance to get away and are feeding (with fantastic food, might I add) and sheltering me for the summer. 

I'm gonna get real deep for this paragraph, but it's what has been running through mind this whole time. I've never truly thought of death, which I am sad about considering my faith. I should've thought of it on a deeper level. I've always known about Christ and the cross almost my entire life. I had the knowledge but not the depth of the belief. It's hard to think about the fact that when I pray that my grandfather is right by the God that is hearing my prayers. The concept of eternity, death, and spiritual warfare are subjects we will never have full knowledge on, but it's where the power of God comes in. Because He is the one to have that knowledge, that may be too powerful and unnecessary for humans to have. Because through everything, the only thing I need to know, as a Christian, is that in the end nothing else matters after our speck of life then worshiping the power of my God. The Gospel was and is breathing to me in this experience. A loved one of mine was dying, and the fact that it was after the news of my acceptance led me to really ponder on how it related to Jesus and the Lord on how the cross works. That Jesus bared the pain to hear the news that His Father and Himself now have an everlasting relationship with us. Hope. It's the other thing I have learned through this. As a believer I have heard numerous times of people asking why God would let something this bad happen. And I truly don't have an answer for that. Because the answer is the Gospel. The answer is in what the Lord can offer you. Hope and peace. I had put my hope in the medicine, and as it was working I put more and more hope in it. Wrong move. The hope that people always talked about, I realized, was eternity. The hope was Jesus opening that gate to heaven that we believers may see each other again. Hope is not earthly. Which is why we can't expect it to be given to us on this earth. It is divine, and it can be given to us through grace that the Lord provides.

I have felt that maybe this is a turning point in my life for every aspect. My relationship with God, my career, my friends. So coming to the place that this outlet really started was needed. I needed to get my inspiration back. To really think on my own and dig deep on what I want and need as an individual person. I've wanted to stay in fashion because I enjoy it. But doubt has crept in, which is why I needed to step away from this blog. I felt forceful with posts. I wanted to make a career with this blog and money needed to come out of it. It didn't feel natural to sit for hours and pin every look-a-like item I was wearing to affiliate links. So after thinking it through, I will not be posting outfit details unless asked for. I may do it when I feel like adding them, which is normally when there is a great deal I want all of you to know about. But, I don't want this to any longer be a weary thing for me, and finding ways to make money out of it is becoming weary. I may down the road try and pick up the business side of it again. This may not be appealing, especially for you as the reader. But I want this to be a site that is comfortable for you. If you want to know a detail of the outfit or post, please comment. I would love to talk with you. I also want to branch out in subjects that may not be solely fashion related, so I may have some random content that will pop up. 

With all of this said, I want this to be a apart of a community, and not just some place you find outfit details. Which is why I am doing something that you as the reader may not be into. But I want you to come to me and tell me what you are looking for, so I can still give you that. I want to be honest on here, which is why the post is all over the place and completely off topic of normal for LSTF. I also am looking into changing the name, so don't be alarmed if that happens. It's just another way I am thinking of "re-branding" in a sense. 

If you have made it all the way through this, then congrats to you my friend! And thank you. For hearing these words. 


Monday, May 7, 2018

Sweatshirt Style

Top- Banana Republic Factory (also love this & this) // Pants- Loft (same pair here, different color) // Booties- Altar'd State (similar here) // Belt- Banana Republic, similar here // Earrings- Old pairs, similar here & here // Rings- Marley Lilly & Heart of Stone

Hello all! I finished my spring semester of college for 2018 last week, so I am free! I have a few hopes for the summer that I am praying work out. But other than that I hope to get back to this hobby of mine. This has been the hardest semester yet, because of many different things happening in my personal life, but I made it haha! Anyway, I had hoped to get this post live about a month ago. Because these are my favorite pants for the spring. I got them in a petite size, so they look more cropped on me. 

I also need your help because I am in desperate need to color my hair, and I think I need to go back to being a brunette. I need pictures and opinions of what y'all think would look best. I am naturally on the lighter side of a brunette (if we get technical I think I may be around the shade 7). So let me know what y'all think!

xo, Catharine

Monday, March 26, 2018

Burgundy and Black Athleisure

Top- Athleta // Leggings- Marshall's (similar herehere & here) // Shoes- Adidas via Net-A-Porter (similar herehere & here) // Sunglasses- Old, similar here // Earrings- similar here & here // Rings- Heart of Stone & Marley Lilly

On a good day off, or a day filled with classes and studying I do love a good athleisure outfit. But dang y'all. It's expensive! That's why I either invest in something that I know I will wear out/last me a lifetime, or discount stores. I have found that discount stores are your best bet. It's a popular style, but it's not something like denim that everyone will invest in once in their life. 

I am ALMOST over with this semester, woohoo!! It has dragged out for so long, and I am at that point in college where I am ready to dig into my major. That's the one downside about community college is that you are "forced" to only cover the basic classes for two years. But it just makes me that more excited for the fall semester!

Thanks for reading! xo 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pink Peasant Top For Spring

Top- Gap // Denim- Gap // Booties- Nordstrom Rack, similar here & here love these // Tote- H&M, similar here // Earrings- Old, similar here & here // Rings- Heart of Stone & Marley Lilly // Jacket (I forgot to bring for pictures!!)- here & here

I have failed yet again when it comes to the "perfect blogger life". But y'all, it's reality! I forgot the jacket I originally styled with the outfit on shoot day, and you will see in a later post that I forgot to take my hair tie off AND I had a run in my tights. I will still be posting that because 1. I just don't have the patience to retake that outfit, and 2. i'm not trying to make a perfect image for this blog. Because we all wake up and throw on a pair of tights and run out the door realizing there is a hole in them at some point in our lives, ha! 

Anyway, on to the outfit and past my failures of the week. It's even prettier in person! This color is what drew me in, but I was afraid the color was too bright for my very fair skin. But I can report back that it is indeed a color we fair people can pull off! This top with white denim and wedges will be perfect for spring weekends!

Thanks for reading! xo

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Plaid Off The Shoulder Top

Top- Banana Republic, love this (a lot of similar tops linked below!!) // Pants- Banana Republic, pricey (but high quality)affordable // Shoes- Banana Republic, similar here & here // Earrings- Primark, also similar here // Rings- Marley Lilly & Heart of Stone 

Hey y'all! First off, I promise I tried to get this blog post up before this top sold out, but it looks like I was unsuccessful. But I have linked similar styles, and another top I just bought (both are from Banana Republic). Anyway, I've loved the off the shoulder trend in general, but not for me personally. It may have to do with my comfort level, especially for work. Nine hour shifts of running around a store and constantly moving my arms is not very practical for off the shoulder tops. But they sure are cute! This two that I have are thicker cotton material which is really nice considering the majority of off the shoulder is in a polyester or a chiffon material. This makes the tops a lot more breathable and comfortable. Plus the navy one I have linked above is a decent price for the quality!

So I know I am very late to hop on the train, but I just tried a pressed juice for the first time yesterday! I stopped by Southern Squeezed here in Columbia. I got the Pink Punch (I think that was the name), and it was so good! I'll definitely have to go back and try their "chocolate milk".

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tea Tree Natural Shampoo Review

Tea Tree Shampoo // Shop the Hair Care Products: here // Sign up for their Free Samples: here

Today I am coming to you with a post I have always wanted to do, a beauty review! Ever since I changed my hair color I have tried to keep up and introduce new products that would keep my hair strong and healthy. That's why I was so excited to review this shampoo.

 I have heard a lot about tea tree for beauty products and even with essential oils. It is supposed to be a natural source of an antiseptic. There have been skin products for reducing/treating acne, so naturally I was curious on what it would do for my hair. When Maple Holistics sent me their Tea Tree shampoo I was a little hesitant because it was so thick. The first time I used it I didn't see a difference in my hair and scalp until later on in the day and by third day hair. I noticed that my hair felt more fresh and clean, and this may be TMI but my scalp was less itchy. I used this shampoo in the middle of South Carolina figuring out if it wanted to be hot or cold outside, and it kept my scalp hydrated when it needed to be but not oily. It didn't seem to dry my scalp like most shampoos do. The other questionable aspect of it was whether or not it would take away the color in my hair. The first time I used regular shampoo in my hair rather than purple it made my hair look brassy. But this shampoo didn't affect my color at all. Needless to say it passed all my tests!

 I washed my hair numerous times and I still have a ton, so a little goes a long way. I think this is an awesome product because it is an all natural, cruelty free item that is a necessary item for everyone. It's been hard to find those (at least for me) that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I would definitely recommend getting their free samples sent to you that way you can test out all the great products. Then let me know which one is your favorite! 

Thanks for reading, y'all! xo

*Thank you to Maple Holistic for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Floral Puffer Vest & Lace Detail

Top- Gap // Denim- Gap // Vest- Marshall's, floral vests here & here // Shoes- Banana Republic, similar herehere, and here // Earrings- Old, similar here// Rings- Heart of Stone & Marley Lilly

I'm not going to even try to hide the fact that this is a girl's top. But if we're being honest here, sometimes the girls stuff is cuter (and cheaper!!) than the women's. I love the detail of the lace on the sleeve because it's something that in all my time researching clothing and fashion I have never seen. I just wish they came in women's and girl's sizes. *cough Ehem, Gap! *cough

Another piece that I love is this vest, which I believe is still available at Marshall's. It will just depend in your store. It's reversible, so in my book that's like pockets on a dress, i.e. SOLD! So definitely check out the Marshall's or T.J.Maxx near you.

So the time of freedom has arrived! My finals were over last week, so I had a day off yesterday and I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. Now I can truly enjoy the holidays, and y'all will be very proud to know that all of the major gifts I needed to buy have been bought and are waiting to be wrapped! So i'm patting myself on the back since I am the typical procrastinator. But i'm cheering you if you still have your shopping to do, because like I said, this is the first year I am done before Christmas day! If y'all need some more encouragement on gifts go to my favorite gift finder Haley from Sequins and Things.

Thanks for reading! xo