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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If you did not know, I am obsessed with toothbrushes. It's one of my "tell me something people don't know about you" items. I cannot tell you when this obsession took over or why honestly but I believe because teeth are the first thing I notice on a person and my girlfriends can attest to that, we are all on the same page. It is so important to take care of your teeth because poor dental hygiene can lead to other medical issues. Brushing and flossing is so simple to prevent teeth conditions or more.

If you did not know, I am obsessed with toothbrushes. It's one of my "tell me something people don't know about you" items. I cannot tell you when this obsession took over or why honestly but I believe because teeth are the first thing I notice on a person and my girlfriends can attest to that, we are all on the same page. It is so important to take care of your teeth because poor dental hygiene can lead to other medical issues. Brushing and flossing is so simple to prevent teeth conditions or more.

I started using cariPRO™ ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH a few months ago and it has not failed me. Here is what I love about it:

The five settings and personally, the "whitening" one. I have never seen that before so I am loving it. I also love the "Gum care" and "Sensitive" as well. I bleached my teeth for a little too long a few weeks ago and had to use the "Sensitive" setting for a few days, it worked great.


The small, easy charging dock. It's easy to take it on vacation with you if you want. I always say when I go away how I hate using a regular toothbrush because they just don't feel as clean no matter how long you brush and I hate that sweater feeling on the back of my teeth.
 

It charges quickly and stays charged for a while. I can easily take it with me on a long weekend with no issues of having to recharge.

I love the sleek slate and blue color. I am a fashion-gal of course I need to look at the style of the toothbrush haha!
 

Lastly, it's SUPER quiet. I did not think this was something I would even think about until I switched from my old electric toothbrush to this one! It's like riding in a luxury car over a Hyundai.


Photos by Christina Jones Photo

I have also used SmileBrilliant's whitening kit. It's awesome. They send you the mold, you mold your teeth and send it back. Then they send you personal trays with the whitening gel as well as the desensitizing gel. You leave on for 30-60 min and do a few times a week. I will link their website below.

SmileBrilliant

I am also giving one lucky winner a chance to win one of these beauties. You can enter below.

cariPRO Giveaway

I am also offering all my followers 20% with code stylemymind20

Like I have been discussing taking care of yourself, watching what you put in and on your body is super important. Cancer can take up residence anywhere on or in your body so be preventative in all ways possible, including your teeth!

XO, Cheers!
Jenn


electric toothbrush

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Helloooo!! So, today is the 3 year anniversary of Style My Mind. I have to be honest, there was a point in December when I thought I may quit and shut it all down because I had no idea where I wanted to go with my blog. Instead, I sat back and remembered my "why". Why was the reason I started my blog? Because I love writing, I love fashion and I love sharing my life experiences to help motivate others. That is when "Faith in Fear" started. We always share the happy stories but sometimes we need to be vulnerable enough to share the truth.



Shop my bag at Crooked Smile Creations

Helloooo!! So since it's my 3rd year of blogging I have to be honest, there was a point in December when I thought I may quit and shut it all down because I had no idea where I wanted to go with my blog. Instead, I sat back and remembered my "why". Why was the reason I started my blog? Because I love writing, I love fashion and I love sharing my life experiences to help motivate others. That is when "Faith in Fear" started. We always share the happy stories but sometimes we need to be vulnerable enough to share the truth.

That is what today's blog is about. Why it's better to be truthful and honest than sugar coat things. Granted I realize there is a time and place for all things but I have gotten a lot of feedback and majority of my friends love that I am straight forward and say it like it is. But, I expect it back too.

I am the friend who will always tell you when something doesn't fit right. I will always tell you when you're an idiot to keep running back to the same loser over and over again. I am honest about my life, about my faults. If I like you, you'll know it. If I don't you will definitely know it.

I don't play pretend friends with people I don't like or respect. I also don't let anyone disrespect me. If you say something insulting or rude I will let you know it. If you are the best friend ever, I will tell you and show you.

I am as loyal as they come and I won't ever make promises I don't intend to keep. I talk a lot, a lot! But lately I do try to sit back and respond instead of react because here is what I found out. A reaction can sometimes be plain out nasty, "OMG that shirt is hideous". Now I know I can say this with some of my friends, but not all. So if it's someone who's a little more sensitive I may say, "I think you would look really awesome in something like this," and show an example.

I used to be unintentionally hurtful with my brutal honesty so I have tried to spruce it up a little bit. My reactions can be strong and I learned maybe not to say everything that comes to my mind, but instead think about the appropriate way to say it.

Funny story, I met my friend Alyssa in 2005ish at Clancy's Pub where I worked for about 6 years. She had just started and I had to train her. I told my manager time and again that I am not a good trainer, I am rude and don't pay attention. I still got the newbies. Anyway, Alyssa was 5 years younger than me and a little sheltered. Like never saw a clam, or a crab cake. Of course this was something I made fun of her for. (She is allergic to seafood so she gets a pass). But I used to snap at her "ALYSSA", tell her to get my drinks and would say "Me and my friends are going outback to smoke, you can come or not come I don't care." And she of course never came with. TBH I have no idea when it was that Alyssa and I became such good friends. She was so quiet but so hilarious. I told her what to do and she laughed it off. She never took offense to it but looking back, what a bitch I was. She loved it. 11 years later, I was in her wedding, helped get her a big girl job, and am now dating her husband's best friend! How about that?!

Photos by Christina Jones Photo
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Most people appreciate the honesty but the point is, know your audience. Tracy for instance I can say anything to her however I want to say it about anyone in any form and she will die laughing. She never takes offense and knows I have a great big heart I just have a strong, Jersey girl opinion with a loud Italian mouth. Gianna, same thing! Marissa, ditto! All my girls know me, they know I don't say things to be hurtful or rude… it's who I am.

Sunshine mixed with a little bit of hurricane!

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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Well, well another year has come and gone for my baby blog and as per usual, I have learned a ton. Firstly, we aren't really "bloggers" anymore are we? Or are we "influencers"? I am just not sure so I'll be both. Also, has the IG algorithm gotten straightened out yet? No? Ok, let's shoot for year 4.




Well, well another year has come and gone for my baby blog and as per usual, I have learned a ton. Firstly, we aren't really "bloggers" anymore are we? Or are we "influencers"? I am just not sure so I'll be both. Also, has the IG algorithm gotten straightened out yet? No? Ok, let's shoot for year 4. Since everyone loves numbers here we go:

ONE

Do not conform to the blogger/Like To Know It world. I didn't and I am glad I didn't. I see a lot of these bloggers probably do really, really well with it but that's just not my real life.  I don't run out and buy the newest things that hit the racks just to wear and post on my IG to sell you something you don't need. I have had more luck working with brands and building my brand that way. I am going to be transparent: I do not make a lot of money from the brand collaborations. I definitely have some income there and I do charge per post sometimes, really depending on the collab. But I really look at the importance being on the relationship and building your contact list.  There are a few things I learned working with brands and brings me to point 2.

TWO

Do not take every single collab that comes your way just because they are going to pay you. You will get burnt out, and if it doesn't go with your brand or something you would use, why would you promote it? I did that a lot last year and got really overwhelmed. So I took some time to think about it and decided that if it doesn't fit my brand: fashion, faith or beauty I am not going to join it. If I don't believe in the product I will not try to sell you on it just because it makes me a couple bucks.

THREE

Don't forget your why. Don't forget where you started and why you started. I began my blog because I love to write and I love fashion. In the beginning my blog focused mostly on fashion and what I discovered is that you run out of content that has substance writing about clothing over and over again. I took a step back and took off from my blog for two months and decided I wanted to focus more on lifestyle blogging with a side of fashion and beauty. That is what people seem to relate to more and really want to read about.


FOUR

If you have to make a business change to better your business, do it. I changed photographers and not because I did not love my photographer but I needed someone who could travel more and was a little more of a partner in my scheduled shooting like Christina Jones Photo; who specializes in branding and bloggers. I know how to style myself, I know how to pose. I needed someone who would scout locations and travel to fashion week or Disney etc. Because of changing to a lifestyle blogger I needed someone that fit more with my lifestyle.

FIVE

Collab with the locals. No one wants to see constant photos of just you. People want to see you're a real person so show that on your feed and in your stories via blog and IG stories. I love working with local companies and up-and-comers to help lift each other up. I started working with a local bag company because I absolutely love her handmade leather crossbody bags, they are gorgeous and I want to help promote her brand (shop Crooked Smile Creations here).

FINAL THOUGHTS...

Listen to Julie Solomon's "The Influencer PodCast". This really taught me about what to do and what not to do with my blog and helped me regain focus. I have long car rides and this is my go-to PodCast to help better my knowledge on this ever-changing business.

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

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2019 has not started out the way I hoped. I am having trouble holding onto my faith right now and I am mad at myself for it. I do believe as a Christian, there are times we struggle to understand especially us with anxiety and an urge to control everything. Death is one of those things we have zero control over.



Shop my JUST FAB look HERE

2019 has not started out the way I hoped. I am having trouble holding onto my faith right now and I am mad at myself for it. I do believe as a Christian, there are times we struggle to understand especially us with anxiety and an urge to control everything. Death is one of those things we have zero control over. Within a matter of the first two weeks of 2019 a tragic car accident took a family friend as well as two others due to a selfish, troubled young man trying to take his own life. He took three other lives instead.

Photos by Christina Jones Photo

January 15th God called my good friend Holly home to heaven and I have been numb ever since. It's January 21 as I write this, I stare at my laptop still in shock that I am writing it. It was not a shock that Holly passed because she did have stage 4 cancer, but why God took her is shocking to me. Holly's step-son passed in 2015 also from cancer, and now her. To say I am a little angry and bitter is an understatement. I am trying so hard not to feel this way but my inability to understand God's plan is eating me alive. I sit here and analyze why? Even after all these stories I have written, knowing that something great comes out of tragedy and heartache, I am still questioning it.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." -Isaiah 40:31



I met Holly when her step-son passed and remained friends with her ever since. She helped me through heartbreak, through troubled times, and helped strengthen my health after a terrible stomach infection. Holly was that person who was always smiling, always laughing. I don't think I ever saw her without a smile. I can hear her laugh still so crisp in my mind and smell her scent so freshly surrounding me. I guess maybe this is why I am numb, I feel like she is still here. I have felt calm because she was the most devoted Christian I have ever met so the only thing I am not doubting is that her and Ricky are united and happy together with Jesus.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths right." -Prov 3:5-6

I just keep thinking and praying for understanding and for hope of the future. I know that people die, and it doesn't matter if it's suddenly or over time it all hurts the same. What I took from Denny and Holly's passing is this:

Do what you love. Don't do things that don't bring you joy. If you're happy, don't explain yourself. Eat the cake. Drink the wine. Surround yourself only by people who bring out the best in you. Invest in yourself. Enjoy life, but do it responsibly. Travel. Eat good food. Stare at the stars. Read good books and drink good tea. Snuggle your animals everyday. Tell the people you love that you love them. Hug people longer. Value the time we have here together. Work hard. And never, ever settle!

XO, Cheers!
Jenn

 

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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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