Wear what you love & dont care what they say!

Meet Jenn

Jenn

Hello & welcome to my fashion & lifestyle blog, Style My Mind! Here I post weekly about affordable fashion trends, but ya know, like real affordable! My favorite products, beauty routines & lifestyle experiences! I'm a girls-girl who loves the outdoors, white tee shirts & Disney World. Join me on my journey!

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"She is clothed in strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future." -Prov 31:25 After mending my broken heart for 8 months, I started to find myself again. There were some really dark days of endless tears, curled up on the bathroom floor in fetal position sobbing my hydration away. I distanced myself from people who brought out the worst in me and filled my days with hot tea and cardio. Work started to get better as I devoted a lot more time into advancing my knowledge on our system and processes.




(this knee scar -- AGH! Was a drunken fall sadly!!)

After mending my broken heart for 8 months, I started to find myself again. There were some really dark days of endless tears, curled up on the bathroom floor in fetal position sobbing my hydration away. I distanced myself from people who brought out the worst in me and filled my days with hot tea and cardio. Work started to get better as I devoted a lot more time into advancing my knowledge on our system and processes.

I moved into a beautiful place with a water view and it truly is tranquil. I never expected to be able to afford a place like this but God works in ways you never expect. Also, in these months He brought someone very special back into my life. Dan and I have been friends for 5 years. We both have dated other people (who weren't good for us) and we always stayed platonic… until we didn't. Now, he's in my life in a different way, a better way, a way I never expected. The fact is, I never saw Dan for who really was and how good of a match we really are because my brain was always focused on the people who weren't good for me. He was always there to pick me up when I was in those dark places, and mentally I wasn't able to see him in the way I do now. He is kind, generous, hysterical, and a person I love being around. It's easy with him and I don't know where it's going to go but for once I don't care. I am taking everything one day at a time because we never know what can happen, everyday has a story of it's own. We just always have to hope for the best. All I know is, I am happier than I have been in a long time. It may be him or it may just be the fact that I found myself, and even though I have this other person in my life (in a different way), I am still me and I am worth so much just as that. I still do the things I love, and put my work and dreams first at this point.

How adorable is this card holder? I live by mine, I never use a real wallet, always a card holder. Shop this one at Crooked Smile Creations!

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Photos by Christina Jones Photo

Beauty always seems to come from pain. Dan and his girlfriend broke up, I can't say how because that is not my story to tell, but I know he was disappointed. But with every ending comes a new beginning. What the new beginning is, well right now we are supportive of each other, like each other's company and like going on adventures together. Say what you will, but sometimes bad things have to happen for something beautiful to come out of it.

"She is clothed in strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future."
-Prov 31:25

However, I feel like one of the problems with society is that everyone wants everything to be so black and white. Sometimes, things are grey… and right now we are in a grey area but darn it I am happy there so mind ya business. Why do I need to do everything that everyone else does? I am not sure if I want kids, why would someone call that selfish of me? I think me saying I am not sure I want them, or I really need to think about it before doing it is better than getting pregnant and not wanting to care for the child. Everyone has a purpose in this world, and I think there is more for me than marriage and children, so why should anyone else care?

Beauty comes in all different forms, don't shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes because my dreams aren't the same as yours. Live your life for God and His plans for you alone.

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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Fast forward to 2018, I moved to Tampa in June 2014 from Jacksonville to be closer to my family. I moved around a lot, like moving into my 6th apartment this year. Haha. What can I say, I like change? Anyway, the last 4 years of "relationships" if you can call them that have been a struggle but it was in those times that I really learned a lot about myself and what I really want and what I am not willing to settle for.





Photos by Christina Jones Photo
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Good morning, happy Monday! I moved to Tampa in June 2014 from Jacksonville to be closer to my family. I moved around a lot, like moving into my 6th apartment this year a lot. Haha. What can I say, I like change? Anyway, the last 4 years of "relationships" if you can call them that have been a struggle but it was in those times that I really learned a lot about myself and what I really want and what I am not willing to settle for.

The end of 2014 I met a man who was unavailable, emotionally and physically. He was unhappy, so being the "fixer" that I am, I tried to make it better for him, I wanted to save him, which in turn led me down a really dark, painful rabbit hole. I became a sounding board for him; he would call me and complain about his relationship meanwhile making me feel like I couldn't live my life without him, even though I didn't really have him to begin with. He didn't know what he was doing... at least that's what I told myself. He didn't know that everyday he took a little piece of my heart and soul from me. But I was getting attention from him which I guess I needed at the time, or thought I did, and this went on for almost two years because I let it. I thought if I was mean and nasty to him that he would go away, he didn't. Day after day I would pray and cry that he would leave his toxic relationship and we would be together ... it never happened, it still hasn't happened four years later. When I finally ended the "friendship" in March 2016, I took one month, I had ONE FREAKING MONTH to be completely unattached to that mess and then someone else quite in the same situation fell into my lap.

This guy was closer to being available physically but definitely not emotionally. I don't want to tell his story for him but he was in a bad marriage and it wasn't really his fault. I mean there are three sides to every story but overall, not him. Enter the "fixer". Yup here I come, "I will make it better, I will put eveything I want aside and give you everything that YOU want to make YOU feel better".

At first I told him I was just getting out of a similar situation and I just wanted to be his friend, that did not last. Two months later we were "dating" I guess you could call it, but it ended after three months when he was going to give his marriage one more shot. "Ok go ahead, I know that's not gonna work but maybe 3rd times the charm." It was not the charm and he filed for divorce a month later. Without getting into too many details, he and I were back and forth three times in two years. We lived long distance, we worked together, he was going through a divorce and had two kids; well he still has two adorable kids! I mean any other person would run from it, and I ran TO it. Everytime I would try to walk away something would bring me back to him. He was easy to talk to and we had a lot of fun together unlike I had with anyone else. I didn't mind the long distance because I am independent so it worked for me. Again, I let someone make me feel like I didn't deserve more than what he could give me. I began to realize this wasn't his fault, it was mine.

The storms of emotion rumled in after every time we ended. It was the same story, he was not emotionally ready for anything more than whatever we were (basically a relationship without the title) and I guess he wanted to be single after 14 years of marriage, I did understand, I did. But in my twisted mind I went right to "I'm not good enough, how come he doesn't love me enough to fight for this?" all the anxiety-ridden thoughts that someone thinks poured into my brain day after day. I was back in the dark hole and the last time we ended, April 2018 I stayed in the hole for a while. This time, I was the one who ended it because I knew I wanted more and deserved more. However, I still didn't want him to date and when he told me he was "dating" on some stupid site, I claimed crazy-girl status and lost my shit. You know the whole "I don't want you but I don't want anyone else to have you," middle school mind-set. I remember the day, I broke down, I cried, I couldn't breathe. The thought of him with someone else killed me, but I still knew I didn't want to go back to that. I started therapy immediately because I knew this was deeper than him.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears -Psalm 34:4

I ended all communication with him and blocked his number about 3 weeks after that. I was seeing a new therapist and within the first 20 minutes she was able to diagnose me with anxiety and panic disorder. UGH. I mean I always knew I had these tendencies, and my sister has been diagnosed for years but hearing it from someone else just made me sick. I cried. And then I dealt with it. But it got worse and worse over the next few weeks. Even though he was out of my life and I was working on bettering myself I felt really alone. My mind would lead me to those dark places and panic would take over, usually when I was lying in bed. It started affecting my work and day to day life and I knew I had to figure out a way to manage this. The final straw was a Sunday with Marissa, we were drinking and having fun at the pool and I got really depressed, went back to my house alone and cried in the bathroom. I kept thinking I am 33 and alone, the guy was gone, I had my friends and if Marissa found someone I would truly be ALONE. It was a bad, bad place. I was being lied to by the devil, I knew what I had to do. I turned to my Bible.

I felt detached for a while from God and knew I needed to rebuild that relationship first, in order to mend the breaks in my soul.

Be anxious in nothing, but in everything by prayer -Philippians 4:6

I prayed and prayed to get better and I was slowly filling the cracks with the words of the Lord but I was still out of whack. So I saw a doctor who put me on Lexapro. I was really against medicine for this but sometimes we just need it. Sometimes it's a chemical imbalance and it is hereditary, which makes a lot of sense. I don't get the up's and down's anymore. I am balanced. For a while I was having difficulty staying by myself or enjoying alone time because my mind would just race. Now it's different.

November 2018 (when I wrote this), I am a total homebody, I read the bible daily, I am legit just friends with that man from my past and I am focusing on me. In these times I learned so much about myself and my worth. I don't believe that a relationship does or should define you. I let people in my life make me feel like I wasn't anyone because I didn't have someone and that was a LIE. I didn't value myself for so long and I realized it was because  I am a perfectionist and so I would just focus on why I was not good enough instead of the factual truth which was God is holding out something better for me.

It's so hard to see and believe that in those times of hurt and pain and utter blackness, but looking back at my life I realize the truth to that statement. I never expected to be living in Florida on the water, doing what I love with the people I have. That was God's plan not mine. And when you stop trying to control the storm and you just sit still, He will equip you with the tools you need to get through the terror and fear for you to come out alive on the other side of the flood. We weren't meant to do this life alone, we were meant to do it with Him and we often times forget that and try to control so much.

You are where you are supposed to be at this very moment so live each day feeling blessed and thankful for what you have. Have faith in God's plan for you and remember you are enough, you are worth it; hold out for God's intentions they are far better than any dream you could imagine.

I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future -Jeremiah 29:11

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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Happy Monday friends; here we are on week 4 of my series, Faith in Fear. I really hope you have been enjoying it. I want to be sure you know that the reason I wrote this series is to show you that God is always there even in the tough times. Life isn't all butterflies and rainbows all the time. We can hide behind social media all we want, but this is the real deal. These are situations that really happened and in the end it all worked out despite my worry and lack of fear.




Photos by Christina Jones Photo

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Happy Monday friends; here we are on week 4 of my series, Faith in Fear. I really hope you have been enjoying it. I want to be sure you know that the reason I wrote this series is to show you that God is always there even in the tough times. Life isn't all butterflies and rainbows all the time. We can hide behind social media all we want, but this is the real deal. These are situations that really happened to me and in the end it all worked out for the best, despite my worry and lack of faith.

Deuteronomy 31:8. Be still, He will fight for you.

 Spring 2013 I was going through some internal storms with people very close to me and that guy my aunt told me to stay away from. I was still not happy and still had a plan to get out of New Jersey. I just needed a financial break. I was going to True North church every weekend and this particular Sunday was a special one. There was a financial speaker. I was like oh boy everything is going to feel personal this week, and it did, way more personal than I expected.

I went by myself and I am glad I did. The speaker talked about his trials and tribulations in him and his wife's financial mess and how every time he thought he was about to strike out God brought him right back to the plate again for another swing.

Ok so you are thinking, that's great but how is this personal? Well the speaker had a significant number that kept appearing every time God would bless him whether it be in his bank account, the date, the time etc. This number kept appearing and the final time it did, he had $4.13 in his bank account the day his book was picked up and bought by a large publishing company and his life was never the same.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me

I had chills, not only because of his story but because my birthday is 4/13. I went home feeling like that message was for me and that amazing things were about to happen. I was right.

It was March which meant tax return time. I went home and found my dad smirking in the kitchen. I asked what his deal was and he had a post-it note and he said "here is your tax return". It was around $3,500 (not $4130 but that would be cool!) but it was enough to pay my credit card off, which is exactly what I did. After that I followed my heart and God's lead. He led me to Jacksonville, Florida where he blessed me with a wonderful work from home job as a recruiter for Metlife, which then led me to a sales role with Metlife in Tampa and now here where I am at The Hartford doing something I really love.

Deuteronomy 31:6 I will never leave you or forsake you

The point of this story is that it took a storm... a tragic hurricane even, to lead me closer to God and to where my purpose was in Tampa, Florida. Who knew!!! Throwing your hands to God when things are going right is easy; it's throwing them up when in the middle of a storm and saying "I trust You" well, that is sometimes the hardest thing to do. But once you do, the blessings are endless. It's not to say He's not going to throw you a lightning bolt here and there but you're never alone.

 

XO, Cheers
Jenn

 

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When I was in high school I wanted to be a writer, I took journalism and loved writing poetry and short stories. In college I still wanted to be a writer, I graduated with a Degree in English with a minor in journalism. I had a dream of writing for Vogue. I knew that was what I wanted and that was what I was going to do, it would be easy right? Wrong. I graduated in October 2008. Can anyone recall what season that was for Wall Street? Yeah, not a good one. But me being a 23 know-it-all decided it was a perfect idea to move to Hoboken and go after my dream. Oh boy, I would not call this a mistake because even though my 3 months of North Jersey living and waitress career was definitely not "fun" but it was a life lesson. When we are young we think things come easy. Well I have a degree, I can produce some pretty good writing samples, what else do you want? Um experience, or  how about a standing economy? I was clueless.




Story 3- Where it all changed

When I was in high school I wanted to be a writer, I took journalism and loved writing poetry and short stories. In college I still wanted to be a writer, I graduated with a degree in english with a minor in journalism. I had a dream of writing for Vogue. I knew that was what I wanted and that was what I was going to do, it would be easy right? Wrong. I graduated in October 2008. Can anyone recall what season that was for the economy? Yeah, not a good one. But me being a 23 know-it-all decided it was a perfect idea to move to Hoboken and go after my dream. Oh boy, I would not call this a mistake because even though my 3 months of north Jersey living and waitress career was definitely not "fun", it was a definite life lesson. When we are young we think things will come easy. "Well I have a degree, I can produce some pretty good writing samples, what else do you want?" Um experience? Or how about a standing economy? I was clueless. Mind you, my cousin who I was living with was working with one of the most well-known celebrity hair stylist in NYC, RIta Hazan, and I still couldn't get the hook up. I decided I missed my friends and family and needed a new dream.

I moved back to south Jersey and got my master's degree in education. This time I knew I would be good, I would be a teacher and all would be perfect. I would get married and have kids and raise them in my quaint little town. (Although in the back of my mind and depths of my soul this was not what I wanted at all). Again, it was really difficult to find a full time teaching job even though I did what everyone told me to, politics won. At this point I was 27 living at my dad's house making $12 an hour at a pre-school. Something had to give. I thought I had control over my life; I thought I knew what I was doing and where I was going. I would work at the pre-school, come home and drink screw-drivers in the corner of the lazy-susan cabinet every night where my dad would find me crying saying how much I hated my job. The thing was, I was so afraid to give up control.

My faith was weak and my relationship with God was mediocre at best, until Sept 14, 2012. It was a Saturday morning and I was getting ready to go to a support walk for Autism. My mom called and said my aunt Nancy passed away. I had two aunt Nancy's I thought she meant my dad's sister, so I asked how my dad was because he was not home. She said no, it was my uncle's wife and she died suddenly in a car accident. I was in shock. My grandmother had died when I was 16, but I never had anyone else close to me die suddenly like that. I wasn't able to cry for some reason I just was numb. I was not very close with my aunt at the time however in high school I was extremely close with her because they lived with us while their house was getting built. I saw her that June at my brother's graduation party and I was telling her about a guy that was messing around with my brain for years and she kept saying he's not for you, he's not for you. That is the last advice I remember her giving to me. After the service was said and done I felt like I wanted to know God more. I wanted to have the kind of faith where I did not have to worry or be upset but to know whatever happened it was in God's plans. I was tired of making my own plans; I was tired of them going wrong. I was exhausted.

I started going to church consistently and getting closer to God. I was still living at home working at a home care company in Delaware making ok money but not enough to live on my own. I had been working for 4 years to pay off a ton of credit card debt. I didn't go out much; I drank cheap wine and spent weekends with my dad. I really wanted to get out of New Jersey. We went to visit my aunt in Clearwater that January and it was like 65-70 but the palm trees and sand made me happier than I had been in months. When I got off the plane back in Philly to 14 degrees I knew I was done. I had a new plan, and this time God was on board.

Proverbs 19:21 you can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

Photos by Christina Jones Photo
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XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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Friday night and the lights are just right. That was the setting of this perfectly weathered evening on February 15th in Channelside, Tampa. Don Me Now & Bubbly Barchique was well lit, fully stocked and ready to welcome guests.
The night started out with a fine variety of champagne and rosé flowing through the crowd of ladies and a few spectacular gentleman who graced our presence. Ladies entered, ordered their love-themed drinks and went straight to shopping! Of course there were many shopping-breaks to pose for the perfect photo in front of the Valentine's backdrop.



Friday night and the lights are just right. That was the setting of this perfectly weathered evening on February 15th in Channelside, Tampa. Don Me Now & Bubbly Barchique was well lit, fully stocked and ready to welcome guests.


The night started out with a fine variety of champagne and ros
é flowing through the crowd of ladies and a few spectacular gentleman who graced our presence. Ladies entered, ordered their love-themed drinks and went straight to shopping! Of course there were many shopping-breaks to pose for the perfect photo in front of the Valentine's backdrop.



Our Stylish Gals Galentine Event hosted by myself and Tamy Lugo of VStylist was to raise money for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in the name of my dear friend Holly Howroyd. Tamy and I have hosted multiple events in the past and we love women gathering to lift other women up to help us all be the best self we can be. This particular even was near and dear to my heart not only because of my amazing friend who was taken way too soon from colon cancer but because I went through a long stretch of stomach issues and Holly helped me get through that and get my digestive system back on track with Isotonix

Colorectal Cancer Alliance


We are the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, formerly the Colon Cancer Alliance. We believe colorectal cancer is a senseless killer that must be stopped. Founded in 1999 by a group of 41 survivors, caregivers, and friends, we are today the nation's leading nonprofit dedicated to colorectal cancer. We empower a nation of allies who work with us to provide genuine support for patients and families, caregivers, and survivors; to raise awareness of preventive measures; and inspire efforts to fund critical research. United in our fierce determination to dramatically impact the way society sees this devastating disease,
we exist to end colorectal cancer in our lifetime -CCAlliance Mission


I believe in this non-profit organization because colon cancer is a senseless killer and can be treated if caught early enough. However, because the medical industry -slash- insurance companies do not feel that way, they only cover colonoscopies when you are 50+. This needs to be changed. We need to be the change. Holly had an undiscovered polyp for over 10 years that grew into cancer because of the silly way the Dr questions patients:

 

"Do you have a history of colon cancer in your family?"
-NO I don't.

The question needs to be:
"Do you have a history of polyps in your family?"

-Yes I do.

 

See the difference? There was a history of polyps in the family but none of them cancerous. This would have been covered, caught and treated early on if the medical industry would change their questioning. I paid $2500 for a colonoscopy at 32 years old. I was furious that I was charged that much. No there is not a large history of polyps in my family but my dad had one or two. But, because I had "symptoms" it was diagnostic, not preventative EVEN THOUGH they found NOTHING during the screening. THIS. IS. A. SCREENING and should be covered as preventative care!



Ok, rant over, this is not about what happened to me but about what happened to Holly. Please don't let it be you. Please get checked.

This was the message last Friday night from Mr. Rick Howroyd, Holly's beloved husband. We raised around $200 online and $250 for the raffle prize that night for donations in Holly's honor and we are so grateful to have so many people that care and want to give back and #DoItForHolly. Thank you, thank you for a beautiful night, to Don Me Now for their gorgeous space and Christina Jones Photo for the professional photos! And another big thank you to all of our donors! We raised $1000 worth of donations for the auction basket and were blown away by the generosity. We love you, I love my followers and appreciate the support.

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

In loving memory of Holly Howroyd
December 16, 1963-January 15, 2019

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The second stormy season of my life came at the age of 7. I don't recall this being as near death or dramatic as the first one but, my parents were divorcing. I remember the night they decided to tell me. They told me to come into their bedroom and my mom was holding a handwritten letter in cursive (I assume it was points to make to me while giving me their speech). I said "are we moving? Did dad get a new job?" which were all normal assumptions coming from a 7 year old. My mom said they they both loved me and my sister very much but that my dad had been sleeping at my grandmoms and they were going to get a divorce, I cried.


Photos by Christina Jones Photo
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Story 2- The Queen of Christmas

The second stormy season of my life came at the age of 7. I don't recall this being as near death or dramatic as the first one but, my parents were divorcing. I remember the night they decided to tell me. They told me to come into their bedroom and my mom was holding a handwritten letter in cursive (I assume it was points to make to me while giving me their speech). I said "are we moving? Did dad get a new job?" which were all normal assumptions coming from a 7 year old. My mom said they they both loved me and my sister very much but that my dad had been sleeping at my grandmom's and they were going to get a divorce, I cried. But the only other thing I can vaguely recall from that night was my dad giving me a teddy bear and telling me if I ever felt sad and he couldn't be there to hold that bear tight and it would make me feel better. It was white with plaid feet and a plaid bow, a Christmas bear, because of course they told me right around Christmas time; which in turn made me hate Christmas as a child. I had that bear until I went to college. The repercussions of the divorce don't seem that bad now; there isn't anything too awful that I remember except hating Christmas because it was always an argument of who would get to keep us overnight on Christmas Eve. I would begin crying in the shower starting around Thanksgiving and for the next month knowingly the arguments would begin anyday. In retrospect at least they both loved us enough to both want to be with us!


My sister was really young so I didn't have a divorce buddy to trudge through the trenches with, so, I went it alone! And guess what, I eventually got through it. As expected, the divorce created a lot of friction in the family but it never tore us apart. I am still very close with both of my parents. My mom is happily remarried to my step-dad, Rob and they have been married for 25 years. They also gave me a brother, Robby. My dad dated a "person" (can you feel my enthusiasm?) for 14 years but he got a clue and they split up in 2006. Now he puts most of his focus on work and a new business venture as well as me and my sister. My dad is a smart man.


Once I was old enough to make my own decisions I started to grow a slow but massive crush on Christmas. I was then able to decide where I went and when I went there, and now fast forward to 2018 I stay in Florida for Christmas because this is my home now. Over the years Christmas has become a safe haven for me. It's like a warm, snuggly hug you don't want to let go of. I spend weekends watching Hallmark Christmas movies from Halloween until Christmas and Michael Buble holiday is rockin' my Alexa once fall hits. I now have a whole closet full of decorations about 5 large plastic bins, two trees and a bush. So as you can see I had zero control of this situation as well, only the way I responded to it. I stayed as calm as I could but looking back I was anxious as hell through it all. I had to trust God that He would yet again, help me through. I survived. And you will too. Whatever storm you are facing today remember you are a warrior and you can get through anything you face.

{Wake up, take a deep breath, and own each day!}

 

Proverbs 31:25 she is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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I took about 2 months off from writing to figure out which way I wanted to go with my blog. I always wrote about fashion however, what I really feel most passionately about is life experiences and lessons learned. I want to share deeper stories and relate to people on another level rather than just sharing fashion details. Don't get me wrong, I most definitely will be sharing those as well but I want to focus more on lifestyle. I am going to share some stories with you from when I was younger, growing up and later in life where God showed Himself in the depths of my fears. Please read along, learn about me and I pray you get some inspiration in my "Faith In Fear" series.

Good Morning my loves <3

I took about 2 months off from writing to figure out which way I wanted to go with my blog. I always wrote about fashion however, what I really feel most passionately about is life experiences and lessons learned. I want to share deeper stories and relate to people on another level rather than just sharing fashion details. Don't get me wrong, I most definitely will be sharing those as well but I want to focus more on lifestyle. I am going to share some stories with you from when I was younger, growing up and later in life where God showed Himself in the depths of my fears. Please read along, learn about me and I pray you get some inspiration in my "Faith In Fear" series. I also want to introduce my new photographer, Christina Jones Photography.

Story 1- Adolescent Believer

The seasons of our lives are not something we can run away from. They happen whether we like it or not. So many times when we are in the depths of a storm we look up and ask why? Why is this happening? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? But one thing that is true, the sun always seems to rise again.

When I was younger I was extremely afraid of thunderstorms. When I was 5 years old I was out fishing with my dad, his friend and her daughter on our boat. My dad had a boat since the day I was born so this was a common activity for us on the weekends. I would have hoped (and still hope) that my dad checked the weather before we went to make sure we would be safe that day. As we know, the weather, not unlike our lives, can sometimes be unpredictable. We can make all the plans we want but if God wants to bring on a storm, it's a-comin'. That was how this "calm" Saturday morning on the bay in southern New Jersey went. We saw it coming in the distance and my dad started vigorously pulling up the anchor and hurrying us to shore. However, we had gone so far out we knew it would hit before we could get back. I like to call this my first "NDE" near death experience. I was a little dramatic at 5. So there we were hiding under life jackets and anything rubber we could find in hopes to make that the lightning would bounce off of us if it decided to strike at that very moment.

The wind was blowing 100 MPH, just kidding but at 5 it sure felt that way. And in my drama queen defense, there was a pretty stiff wind with loud gusts and erratic waves crashing over the boat. I felt like I was literally in hell. I remember being so afraid and feeling like I was going to die. I was also irritated with my dad thinking "how could he let this happen". It now reminds me of Matthew 8 23:27 when Jesus and his disciples were in a storm on the boat and the disciples were yelling for the Lord to save them and Jesus says "you of little faith". That day I had little faith; little faith in my dad and little faith in the Lord.

When we finally made it to shore I remember leaving my dad and everyone else behind, leaving dust trailing my feet to make it safely to the truck. I was white-knucking the tire until my dad got the boat out and we could leave. When I got into the car I just sobbed. I sobbed because I was so grateful that I was alive. It's funny though because my dad was as cool as a cucumber. He knew we would be ok, he knew he wouldn't let anything happen to me. And the Lord also took care of us just he did His disciples. I needed to learn to have faith and this was my first experience of letting God take the reins during a storm, literally. I had no control, zero, I had to have faith in the people who loved me. And just like every other storm in our life we have to have faith, faith in God, faith in others and most of all faith in ourselves.

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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Well, I never thought this would be the first blog I would write in 2019. I had taken a little break but have written some new content that I have not yet posted for February. Definitely did not want to have to be writing this but she deserves for people to know what an earth angel she truly was.

I met Holly about 3 years ago when her step-son passed away at 27 years old from cancer. You may recall a past blog I shared about Ricky, my cousin Geena's boyfriend. He was a great guy and is still thought of everyday. During this tragic time, Rick and Holly were still able to smile and keep their faith, trusting in God that there was some sort of miraculous reasoning behind the death of their son. I admired their faith because mine was not nearly as dedicated and holy as theirs. They later told us, that they felt like Ricky passing brought us into their lives and that was the best thing he could have given to them.

Well, I never thought this would be the first blog I would write in 2019. I had taken a little break but have written some new content that I have not yet posted for February. Definitely did not want to have to be writing this but she deserves for people to know what an earth angel she truly was.

I met Holly about 3 years ago when her step-son passed away at 27 years old from cancer. You may recall a past blog I shared about Ricky, my cousin Geena's boyfriend. He was a great guy and is still thought of everyday. During this tragic time, Rick and Holly were still able to smile and keep their faith, trusting in God that there was some sort of miraculous reasoning behind the death of their son. I admired their faith because mine was not nearly as dedicated and holy as theirs. They later told us, that they felt like Ricky passing brought us into their lives and that was the best thing he could have given to them.


I started attending church with a group of amazing people on a weekly basis, Holly included. We would go, worship, praise Jesus and then have lunch. This continued for many months. Then five of us decided to get baptised in honor of Ricky. All five of us stood there donning our "Rick Strong" tees, waist-deep in a hot-tub looking pool with two pastors on either side praying over us. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I was hot, my heart was thumping out of my chest, I felt blessed. When I looked up and saw Holly's face, she was glowing at the sight of what just took place. Rick just told us this week that in the moment, it was the happiest he had ever seen Holly. I am so glad I was able to share that with her.

Holly and my relationship grew closer as we discussed business, lifestyle, relationships, dreams, goals, struggles; you name it, we talked about it. She helped me get my health in order after a horrible stomach infection and introduced me to some amazing business people. She supported me, my blog, my work and the person I am, she respected me and vice versa. She never tried to change me, but always tried to help me grow mentally, spiritually and professionally. She became a Florida mama to me and my mom approved :)

One time, I had a crazy near-death experience. Not getting into the nitty gritty because this isn't about me, but, I had 5 SWAT team members pointing guns at me in a barricaded street. When I got out of there, I text Holly and asked if I could come there. She said come here right now. I did. Her and Rick helped me calm down and talk me through the feelings I was experiencing. I was in a really bad place mentally at that time with a guy and my current job. I told Holly I wasn't going out that way, I did not want to meet Jesus in my current mental status, I needed to get my ish together! She cheered me on and we talked about what I really wanted out of life and business. A week later I got a new job and cut off the guy. Sometimes it takes these horrible experiences for blessings to come out of them.

When Holly told us she was diagnosed with cancer I felt numb. How? How can this be? How can you do this God? I was mad. I was angry. But Holly, she stayed faithful until the very end. I so badly want her dedication to her faith. She was always such a calm person and never seemed to let the little things get in her way, always believing that it would all work out for good, as it says. During that time I stayed close with her still doing the things we did. Then she started to get more sick and we weren't able to see her anymore. My heart ached. I stayed in contact via text and a rare phone call here and there. Everytime we spoke I asked when I could see her. Holly, the positive person she was always made light of the situation because she always put everyone else before herself. She did not want me to worry or be upset, so she made it seem like she was doing ok and she would miraculously prevail through this. I knew this was not the case, but she wouldn't let anyone see her and I respected her wishes. I kept her in my prayers and used my phone as our source of connection.

The last thing I said to Holly was Sunday December 30. I sent her a selfie of myself and Geena with a text that read "When can we see you? We miss you so much!" Everytime I text her I asked when we could see her. I was persistent at least. Holly replied:

"Awww love you guys <3 Taking a bit longer to get this dialed in and totally
Fatigued in a way I can't explain. Dr says it may take 6 weeks. Visits
Take too much energy and I am not even letting my dad come. Phone calls
Have to be short too. So I will let you know when it works best. Love you both
And miss you more than you know."
 


My guilt of not responding to that text to tell her I love her eats at me everyday. I think she knew, I hope she did. But I wish I would have told her. Thank God Rick called me when he knew the end was near and I was able to go hold her hand, kiss her cheek and whisper how much I love her in her ear. She died that night, on my dads birthday 1/15/19. I had left to let my dog out and she passed at 9pm that night. When I got the news, I went into the corner of my bathroom, laid on the floor and cried for 15 minutes. After, I got up and got myself together and went to the couch with Dan and I laid there in a fog thinking of my beautiful angel, where was she? What was she doing? Was she able to see us? Did she get to see Jesus yet? Is she ok? Is Rick ok? The questions overwhelmed my brain as I laid there still, and numb.

I kept thinking she wouldn't have left if it wasn't beautiful. I am sure Ricky came down, grabber her hand and took her home. After that, I kept asking for a sign to know she was ok and to know heaven was as gorgeous as we always talked about it being. My friend send me the photo below which literally looks just like Holly. I sent it to Rick on Thursday morning. When I went there Thursday night he said let me show you this painting my neighbor Jen across the street sent me. It was the same painting. I said "Rick I sent you that too! So two Jenn's (with different spelling) sent the same picture to you this morning?!" That was my sign! That was her telling me everything about this picture is true and I have felt at peace ever since.

Holly left a huge impact on my life by showing me how to be a strong, independent, successful woman. She taught me to never settle, to always hold out for what I deserve; to never stop growing, learning and smiling. She always smiled. I don't know one time when she wasn't honestly. I still hear her laugh so crisp in my mind. Her scent surrounds me and I feel her next to me at times. I hate that she is gone, but I will always be grateful for this amazing, intelligent, beautiful woman blessing my life the way she did. And now I have the most perfect angel to watch over me, help cheer me on and guide me in the right direction.
 

Life is crazy, we never know what can happen. Live for today and do what you love. Don't say yes to things that don't bring you joy. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and let go of the ones who don't. Life is way too short to be stressed or angry. Let go of anger, forgive people and love them. We are only here for such a short period of time, make it count. I love you all and appreciate you being supportive of my blog.

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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2018 is coming to an end and I have to say it really was a great year. Even though I had a few storms I needed to fight through, I made it and I am glad they happened because they were lessons learned. This was the first year I really started taking blogging seriously with a new website and a professional photographers so today I want to talk about some of the mistakes and lessons I learned in this last year.



2018 is coming to an end and I have to say it really was a great year. Even though I had a few storms I needed to fight through, I made it and I am glad they happened because they were lessons learned. This was the first year I really started taking blogging seriously with a new website and a professional photographers so today I want to talk about some of the mistakes and lessons I learned in this last year.

  1. Do not worry about the number of followers you have. Right now as I write this blog I am almost at 8,000 followers and to be honest I cheated on that a little by hiring a company to help engage for me (more on this below). Companies don't care about your follower count it's more about your engagement and the quality of your content. Engage with the followers you do have, just like anything else word of mouth if one of your best sources of advertising.

  2. Don't hire a 3rd party company. I did this for a little while because I did not have the time to keep up with engaging myself and it got me shadowbanned. I was so upset but it was a blessing in disguise. I took a week off from IG and when I came back I had to work harder because I lost 90% of my engagement and 100 followers. I started to engage more organically with people in my area and others in my niche and made some good friends. I got involved with an awesome giveaway and a meet-up group with some Tampa girls. This is the best way to grow your IG and blog, organic rapport.

  3. Invest in a photographer. I found Audra on IG and reached out to her with a collaboration proposal and it worked out phenomenally. We are good friends and also working on other business ventures together. When you find someone you work well with they learn your best photo angles and know what you are looking for content-wise. Consistency is a major piece of what companies look for on an Instagram page. So I also bought a filter that I loved this year too, it was only $10. All my photos have the same color-scheme and flows very well. I use Lightroom app, it's amazing!

  4. Plan out your blog and IG posts in advance. After every photoshoot I take one Sunday and write all day. I plan out the posts in advance. The only time this does not work is if you are doing outfit posts and linking them because if it's too far out, most the items will be sold out. I have been staying away from these type of blogs because I am going towards a different path with my business. I also use an app called Colorstory and you can put your photos in there and move them around to see how your IG will look. I highly advise on doing this before you post.

  5. Don't run to join the rat race of RewardStyle. I did join this year but I posted once, and there are multiple reasons I do not like it. You have to buy brand new items all the time to keep up with what they have. You can't search for an item you have to know the store, brand etc. I like to give options for outfits and it was hard to work. I do use ShopStyle and have an Amazon affiliate as well as some others, but these not my biggest source of income. This takes a lot of time for small return.

  6. If you are looking to really grow a business you have to think of the bigger picture, not just just making $8 off a sweater you posted. For me, I like collaborating with brands through PR companies to help promote their products or services. Building a long-term relationship this way is how you will really grow in the long run. It does take time and will take longer but I want my blog and business to be a substantial place people come for advice on fashion, beauty and lifestyle.

  7. Be yourself. Be goofy, be you. Use your IG story feature to tell a story, a funny one or some that is going to benefit your followers. Don't constantly be posting trying to sell people things they don't need, I hate that. If it's something that truly has benefited your life share it!

  8. Don't apply for every collaboration that comes your way. For one, not all products are going to fit in your world. For instance, I am not going to apply for a collaboration for baby items because I don't have a baby! Also, it is a lot of time and work to post good quality photos. Even with me scheduling my photoshoots every 6 weeks right now I have so many collaborations that I have to do my own shoots in between and that can be difficult to get the quality I want. Only accept collabs that you believe in!

  9. Listen to podcasts or take some free webinars it will really benefit you and your business. Julie Solomen is amazing I listen to her Podcast and took her course; it really helped me figure out my "want", where Instagram is heading and what I really want to focus on. She has guests on there who have booming businesses and have great tips and tricks!

  10. Lastly, Shop smart. Don't go out and spend a ton of money on clothes. Like I said, doing RewardStyle is good for someone who has a lot of followers but the time is just not worth the return. Wear what you have, take good quality photos and write with substance. No one wants to hear, "I got this top here and these jeans there, wear it in the fall." What?! That does not help me at all especially if your sweater is $200 and your jeans are only made for tall skinny people. Remember to give options for different sizes and ages. I try to focus more on lifestyle blogging with a dash of fashion and beauty. Find your niche!!
    Good luck!

    You can find this amazing shirt at Rox Jewelry Shop and get 15% on this link! A portion of your order will go to a charity of your choice!!!!

    XO CHEERS!
    & HAPPY NEW YEAR BABE
    Jenn

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Hey Y'all (yep still trying this out)!! It's almost Christmas! What are you bringing to your Aunt Edna's? Do you have a go-to dish that you concoct to bring to family parties? For me I bring one of two things, hoagie dip or my famous cinnamon apple sangria. This year it's sangria all the way!

And luckily for you I am sharing my recipe for you to shock and awe your fam with the best Christmasy- most festive cocktail ever!



Hey Y'all (yep still trying this out)!! It's almost Christmas! What are you bringing to your Aunt Edna's? Do you have a go-to dish that you concoct to bring to family parties? For me I bring one of two things, hoagie dip or my famous cinnamon apple sangria. This year it's sangria all the way!

And luckily for you I am sharing my recipe for you to shock and awe your fam with the best Christmasy- most festive cocktail ever!

What you need:
Sangria Pitcher or Jar
4 bottles of red wine (I prefer Cab)
A bag of apples
4 large oranges
A bag of lemons
A bag of limes
Cinnamon
Cinnamon Sticks
Orange or berry flavored seltzer (1 liter) OR White Claw if you want a little more booze

I wish I has an exact recipe but I don't. I just make it until it tastes good. This is why I am a better cook than baker! Basically you pour in the 4 bottles, add the seltzer and as much fruit as you want. Throw in a few cinnamon sticks and as much cinnamon as you like. Let it sit and chill overnight, this part is important. Do not put ice in it, put ice in the cups and pour!

Merry Christmas Babes!
XO, Cheers
Jenn

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