Summer Stripes and Florals

Fashion

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This is my favorite summer outfit for 2015! I love patterns and bright colors. And I especially like florals. It’s the first time I purchase a crop top. And I was brave enough to wear one because I’ve been working on getting in better health and shape for the past 3 months. I’m feeling proud of myself! Pairing this high waisted skirt with a crop top is a modest way to rock a crop top. The best part is that I got this outfit for less than $12. Both items were on SALE at H&M. Definitely “Styld by Grace” approved! ;)


Stripped H&M Crop Top (Similar Style) | High Waisted H&M Circle Skirt (Similar Style)
Fossil Silver Boyfriend Watch | OHM Boutique Arrow Bracelet (SOLD OUT. But, I like this Arrow Charm Necklace too) | Forever 21 Ear Jacket (Similar)


Photography by: Tiffany Roura

Anchored by God-What’s the Connection?

Faith, Relationships

As I started thinking of how we can live a life that’s anchored by God, I was reminded of the time that it took me to understand and actually walk this principle out. Living out my faith in God from ages 14-20 was a complete roller coaster for me. At times, I was devoted, and at other times, I was completely astray. I made connections with the wrong people and decided I wasn’t going to do the “church thing”.

But one night in my dorm room, a few months before turning 21, I told God I was completely exhausted and tired of living on a never ending cycle of devotion and unfaithfulness towards Him. I was at a point where the things I said I’d never do, I did. And the heaviness of being away from God, was getting to me. Well, God spoke to me so clearly that night. I will never forget it. He told me I was standing at a crossroads and I had to choose His way or my way. But I couldn’t be in-between any longer. That night I decided to get off the roller coaster I had been on for 6 years and decided to live a life devoted to God.

My heart was resolved, but I had to put action to my decision. Actions that before I hadn’t taken seriously. I believe the actions I took by faith, are the ones that have helped me stay connected to God. And they are the actions we as believers must take on a daily basis to be anchored by God.

So what are these practical actions that keep us connected and anchored?

1. The Church
1 Corinthians 12:12-28
Yes, going to church will keep us connected to God. The bible teaches us that we should not neglect congregating as believers. I used to say that I didn’t like church because people were judgemental and controlling. The truth of the matter is that churches are comprised of people. And people, including myself, are not perfect. There will be judgemental and controlling people at church, but there are also loving, generous, grace-filled people that help us walk out our faith. The church is not a building, the church is made up of the people that go to the building. It’s our duty to encourage the church to keep fighting the good fight of faith. If you’re alone on this, it’s going to be a lot harder to stay anchored. But if there are people encouraging you and inspiring you to “keep swimming”, it will be easier to walk with God.

2. God’s Word
2 Timothy 3:16 | Psalm 119:11
What does the bible mean to you? Do you take its words as truth or as simple suggestions? I would like to submit that the bible is our guide and ultimate truth. It is literally the words God speaks to us. If we need to know what to do with our lives, or the will of God for our lives, then we need to read His teachings. The bible, because it comes DIRECTLY from God, is our strength. When we are about to throw in the towel, God’s word gives us the strength, the knowledge, the understanding, and the determination, to stay anchored. There are so many verses of encouragement and so many promises for those who are living for God. God’s word is the love story of how God gave it all up, to give us freedom and life. No other story can compare to the one written in the Bible because it is not fiction, it is true and it is true because it comes from the very mouth of God.

Maybe all of this is foreign to you as you’re reading or maybe this is something you’ve heard so many times. If it’s new, don’t be overwhelmed. Take steps every day towards these actions. Take an online bible study, read a Christian book, or read a Psalm every day. And find a church that believes in and teaches from the Bible.  If this is not new to you and you’ve heard it all your life, then be encouraged to not grow weary. Take it up a notch. Make a commitment to dig deeper into God’s word and continue serving at your home church.


What are some practical steps you have taken to stay anchored by God?

Do you have to recommit to making God your anchor? Or do you have to make a decision to follow Him once and for all? 

Anchored by God-Who is God?

Faith

In order to be anchored by God, we should know who He is. There’s a difference between knowing about God and knowing Him personally. Perhaps you’re thinking, “How can I know something or someone I don’t see”? or “How can I know God if I don’t hear from Him”?

In the last post about being anchored by God, my friend Jenny said, “But in order to be anchored in God I need to know who He is and who I am IN Him”. And she’s right. People, culture, government, cannot be the sources of our identity. Our identity is tied to something eternal. Not even a religion or religious activity can mold our identity. Only through knowing God, who is infinite and eternal, can we find ourselves.

So who is He? How do we find out who He is? And how can we hear from Him? Well, we can know about Him through His word, the Bible. He is three in one: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

God the Father

Genesis 1:1 | Genesis 1:26-27 | Romans 8:15 | Colossians 1:2 | Ephesians 1:14

God the father is our creator. He wove us and thought us before the beginning of time. Because He is our father and our creator, we can say with full assurance that we belong and we are accepted. His word says that He adopted us as His children. We are not a mistake, our lives matter, and our place of origin comes from God. Even if we were born into a family or situation that’s not as good as we would like, we can rest in the fact that God made us, created us, and has a purpose for our lives.

God the Son

Hebrews 8:13 | Hebrews 9:15 | John 18:37 | 1 John 3:5

Jesus the Son of God is the reason why I live out my faith. He died on the cross to reconcile us to the Father after sin came into the world. Nothing was sufficient enough to bring us back to the Father, except for Jesus. He established a new covenant, in which we are saved by grace not by what we can do or say to be saved. If we want to know our standard for living, we should look at the life of Jesus. He was man and God, all at the same time, yet never sinned. He embodies all the truth and goodness of God. We may fall short on a daily basis in our walk, but Jesus paid the price and gives us grace to get back up and keep living by faith.

God the Holy Spirit

John 6:63 | Romans 8:16 | Romans 8:26 | 1 John 2:27

Some people think the Holy Spirit is like a scary ghost that does weird stuff. But that’s actually not true. He is the person of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us and gives us wisdom. The Holy Spirit empowers us to believe, have faith, and to take action on what we believe. He is our helper, our counselor, and He teaches us or gives us understanding of God, and His word.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come in a package. You are the Father’s children because of the new covenant Jesus made with his sacrifice on the cross and the Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to believe and be witnesses of this truth.

I will never fully understand all that this means or the depth of significance that all this has. And I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. (Make sure to read the verses in each section to learn more of who God is). But knowing more of who God is, each part of Him, helps me see how much my life matters to Him. He has made himself available as a Father, as a brother, a savior, and as a helper to us. He saves us, He teaches us, and he Fathers us. Be encouraged today by His willingness to be there for you. He cares for you and has a plan for you!

Design Tip Tuesday-Write, Draw, Scribble. 

#TipTuesday, Design

When the inspiration seems to be sucked out of your brain, get back to the basics.

Write
Take time to write your vision and the goals ahead. If your work requires daily updates, it’s good to create a schedule for the month of what needs to be posted or shared. If making a schedule for the month seems overwhelming, start by creating a schedule for the week ahead.

Also, define your project by writing down colors that you’re thinking of using and design styles that will compliment the project. Be sure to write down the audience you’re trying to target and the overall purpose of the project.

Draw
If you’re really stuck, just draw. Draw anything. Pick up a paint brush and some paint and just draw. Or use some charcoal to sketch out ideas. Seeing your ideas in different mediums, textures and paper, will help you navigate through the lack of inspiration. Going old school, getting a bit messy, will help you see things you might not see if you’re behind a computer screen.

Scribble
It doesn’t have to be perfect. As much as I love for my designs and images to look close to perfection, I know that there must be a certain level of quirk in order for it to look authentic.

While jotting down ideas, scribble, write your ideas up and down the paper, write in cursive, or try scribbling your current mood with an illustrated emoji. The less perfect, the better. The idea is to scribble and write ideas in a way you haven’t tried before. You might find something unique and beautiful while letting your imagination flow. And in turn, those illustrations or scribbled ideas can be used for your project and designs.


Thanks for reading today’s Tuesday Tip! Share it with your networks on social media :) ALSO, follow us on Instagram and send us your inspiration and scribbles.

Design Tip Tuesday-Take Great Pictures

#TipTuesday, Design

One way to make a positive impact on your design and brand is by taking great pictures, posting great pictures, and capturing unique images.

Using pixelated and bad quality images can devalue your brand identity and design. I’m not a photographer, but I’ve learned what a great picture looks like by researching great photographers’ work. And I’ve also learned to take good pictures when I don’t have a photographer readily available.

Posting good quality images on your social networks can also increase your audience, which in turn will bring more business. It’s better to take your own pictures than taking something from Google. At some point, if you want to be deemed as a professional, you can’t steal pictures from Google. Using your own photography makes your brand stand out from the rest. Images that are unique to your brand distinguish you from the competition. And by investing in your own photography, you’re creating a voice for your brand.

Aside from taking unique and good quality pictures, it’s good to keep in mind the Rule of Thirds (especially when you have a low budget and need to take your pictures). The Rule of Thirds is a fundamental composition principle both in photography and design.

The Rule of Thirds states that an image is more appealing when it’s objects are composed along imaginary lines (think of the Instagram grid when you’re cropping your picture) which divides the image into thirds, both vertically and horizontally.

Positioning points of interest in the intersecting parts of the lines can create a more appealing and balanced image.

Here are some examples:

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I hope you enjoyed today’s design tip. Is there any specific tip you’d like to read about next? Write to me at info@styldbygrace.com.

Also, I would love to connect with you on Instagram. Tag your pictures with our handle @styldbygrace on Instagram. We might repost your pic ;) Can’t wait to see your amazing pictures!

Special thanks to my friend/photographer Nick Gulla for taking these amazing pictures at Bill Baggs Cape Florida Beach, Key Biscayne.