It Gets Better

I’ve been sad before. I know, it’s probably a huge surprise. I’m normally super outgoing, happy, and quirky, but I have definitely struggled with feeling alone. Not lonely – alone. I know I refer to my college years a lot, but I seriously learned so much about myself during my time at university.  When I was away at school I dealt with hardcore depression, anxiety, and an undiagnosed eating issue. I hated school. I’ve briefly mentioned this before, but I never wanted to go to college – I had my sights set on a dance career.  I was super sick and in a Crohn’s disease  flare – exactly what I needed when I was trying to have a good college experience. I was in an unhealthy relationship. I was homesick. I never saw my friends. I was on a steroid medication along with a handful of other pills that made my face swell, gave me horrible acne, terrible mood swings, and caused me to gain around 30 pounds. I was terrified to meet new people because of how quickly and drastically my body changed. I secluded myself in my tiny apartment room where I would skip meals upon meals to try to keep the inevitable pounds off my body. I felt like my life had turned against me. I genuinely saw a black hole swallowing my future. God forgot me.

I have only told a few people this story – it’s tough and dark so if you have a tender heart beware.

I distinctly remember sitting in my room one night my freshman year after I had an awful day. I felt disgusting. I looked disgusting. I had hit rock bottom. I did not want to do it anymore. I wanted out. I felt completely alone. Why in the world would God let my life suck that bad? I had lived a perfect life. I had followed every guideline He made for me, yet all my friends who “messed up” were living footloose and fancy free. I told no one about how intensely sad I was. My doctors would ask me if I was depressed and I would laugh it off and say “of course not”. I was too proud to admit that I was broken. Oh, how I wish I would have told someone. I wish, I wish, I wish I would have swallowed my pride. That night I poured a bottle of pills on my desk and stared at those tiny circles for about an hour. I wanted so badly to take them all, for something terrible happen to me, and for the intense sadness I was feeling to end. Those pills had ruined my life and they were going to be my ticket out.

I thought of everything I would miss.

I thought of my parents. My selfless Mama and Daddy.
I thought of my Granny who everyday prayed for my complete healing and was my heart and soul.
I thought of my brother, sister-in-law, and my sweet nephew, James, who I would never see grow up and learn new things.
I thought of the family I would never have.
I thought of the experiences I would never have.
I thought of dance.

I thought of death.

Then, I thought of life.

I put those satan candies back in the bottle and put them away. I’m not going to tell you that I felt the presence of the Lord wash over me and bring me happiness, but I will say I know He was in my room with me that night. He didn’t forget about me. He slowly pushed me in directions that would ultimately bring me peace and happiness. They were tough directions, but I’m so happy with the paths I was sent down. I argued with myself because I didn’t fit in the same box as everyone else and saw my life as a failure. Guys, Jesus didn’t fit in the same box as everyone else and He is the savior of the world! Let that sink in. Don’t base your happiness on the world’s standards of happiness, because you won’t be happy. Fight for your life. It is beyond worth it!

Again, my heart is content and whole. I still feel sad sometimes, but who doesn’t? I’ve learned to cling to God’s promises and not to the world’s frailty and it has made the BIGGEST difference. If you’re fighting sadness, please, please, please tell someone! I promise it gets better!

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5 Ways To Stay Motivated + Cozy Sweater

 

IMG_7897IMG_7895IMG_7889IMG_7883IMG_7882IMG_7880IMG_7873IMG_7871IMG_7872IMG_7869IMG_7867IMG_7866Motivation can be easy to have when you first begin a task, but it can also be easy to lose when you’re far into it. I remember being a kid and getting so excited for back to school season. My favorite item to purchase was a planner – if that doesn’t say something about my personality, then I don’t know what will. I don’t like making quick decisions and I certainly don’t love the unknown. Planners are great because it’s easy to set goals and visually see when you achieve them – it’s kind of like a mini celebration when you can cross something off your to-do list! However, if you’re like me and you set TONS of goals, you can quickly become overwhelmed and start losing motivation to achieve them. Here’s 5 ways to kick that lackadaisical spirit out of your system:

1. Set smaller, daily goals. Those huge goals stare your down and you can lose sight of the smaller things that need to be completed before you move on to the bigger things. Plus, more things to check off your list, I promise you’ll feel like a winner!

2. Only take on tasks that are working towards your goals. I’m such a “yes” girl. It’s actually one of my biggest faults. I always feel like saying “no” means I’m letting someone down, which is a huge fear of mine. I’ve learned to say “no” when I know something is going to cause unwanted distractions or stress. The key is saying “no” with grace. Don’t burn bridges when you decline opportunities.

3. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. For me, sleep is my reset button. I’ve had a bad day? Sleep. I don’t feel great? Sleep. I feel chunky? Sleep. I’m hungry? Sleep. I’m full? Sleep. 🙂 My Granny always told me the cure for anything was a hot shower and good sleep. I believe it. I gain perspective after I’ve rested and it’s easier for me to see the big picture. Plus, when you have energy, you have motivation!

4. Believe in yourself. I know that’s cliché, but the key is actually believing in your goals. There are a few things I’ve started losing passion about over the last few years. I started second guessing my intelligence, worth, and abilities.  Boy, do I have news for you – in the most humble way – I can do anything. It’s all a matter of believing in yourself. You were created to do the extraordinary not settle for the ordinary. Your worth is invaluable and believing you can do something half the battle. God says so.

5.  Surround yourself with motivated people. No one will dampen your motivated heart faster than little Miss Debbie Downer. She loves to throw past failures in your face, remind you of everything you haven’t done, and tell you of all the things you can’t do. Debbie Downer is trash and you shouldn’t listen to her. Realistically, Miss Downer has a some heart issues when it comes to cheering on her friends. You have to separate her harsh words and the reality of the situation. You can do anything, my friend.

This sweater has been on repeat for me. I may or may not have worn it 3 days in a row. Whoops. It’s such a great material and the neckline is so darling. It’s long enough to cover your rump, but short enough to wear it tucked into jeans. I styled it with simple black jeans and my favorite pumps. You can shop these items as well as similar items below. Happy Monday!

Sweater: H&M | Jeans: similar here | Pumps: Jessica Simpson | Purse: similar here |
Belt: similar here
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Today Has Been The Best Day

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I haven’t been too open about some things that have been going on in my life. One of the biggest things includes my mom’s battle with invasive ductal carcinoma – a form of breast cancer. The whole series of events happened so quickly and it took a while to process what was happening. I learned her diagnosis the night of my spring dance recital, which, for dance teachers, is the night that if you don’t die of exhaustion you’re a superhero. I was stressed from the recital production and then to find out my mom was in for tough road was icing on the cake, but in the worst way. I found myself standing backstage staring into space, thinking the worst. I was horrified, scared, and numb. I was ready to do everything in my power to fix her. Thankfully, the particular cancer she was diagnosed with was easily treatable and had a high survival rate. Her wonderful doctors gave her the plan of attack, which included two of the top five worst chemotherapy drugs on the market – yay. We heard horror stories. Hospital stays. Endless nausea and sickness. Sleepless nights. Extreme weight loss. Again, thankfully, while my mom definitely had her tough days, she breezed through with NO complaints or suggestions that she wasn’t feeling well. I can tell you the trick:

Jesus.

From the beginning of this whole process my mom put her trust completely in the Lord. I whole heartedly believe His grace is what has carried her through with ease. I’m saying all this to share my sweet mama finished her last round of chemotherapy today. She gracefully endured 12 rounds of poisin. In a few weeks she will have a minor surgery to remove the chances of this happening again and she will be home free to live her best life! I’m so thankful for my mom. She is the best person I know. She’s brilliant, kind, selfless, hilarious, hardworking, and beautiful! I’m so proud of you mama!

You can shop this outfit below!

Dress: similar here, here, and here | Chambray Shirt: similar here | Shoes: similar here and here

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Suede + Gingham + I’m Excited About Life

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I’m keeping 2 HUGE secrets from y’all – one I’ll reveal in this post and the other is so stinking exciting…but I can’t tell you just yet. I will say I’m working on a HUGE beauty post and that the Lord has proven over the last few weeks that when you honor His plans for your life, He will blow your expectations out of the water. Anyway, I’ve been on a huge kick lately about being daring when it comes to styling my outfits. I’m not talking popping on a bold lip color and heels either. I’m talking layering and pattern mixing. My outfit may seem like an off the shoulder top tucked into a skirt but it’s actually an off the shoulder dress tucked into a skirt – surprise. I fell in love with this trend last fall when I styled this skirt with another dress. I wanted to keep the trend up this season and couldn’t wait to style it with this gingham dress I purchased this summer. Go for the layers! I’ll share some similar styles below for y’all to check out. Also, don’t forget to follow my Instagram @staciesdawson for daily outfit inspo!

Gingham Dress: similar here and here | Skirt: similar here and here | Boots: similar here | Earrings: similar here | Ring: similar here | Lipcolor: Kat Von D 

Congratulations to Ashley Walker for winning the birthday giveaway basket!


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How To Wear An Outfit 3 Ways

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Can it be Friday already orrr? This girl right here is ready for the weekend so I can keep celebrating what’s about to be the best year of my life! I’m sharing this outfit because, 1. It’s super affordable and 2. It’s 3 outfits in one. I paired two different patterns together and LOVE it. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns – I think stripes and plaid scream fall. You can tie the plaid shirt around your waist, knot it over the dress, or simply go without it. It’s an adorable seasonal look anyway you style it. I’m wearing this outfit with my all time favorite Lucky Brand booties which are on a crazy good sale! These are a must have for any season. You can shop the details of this outfit below.

Sweater Dress: similar here | Plaid Shirt: similar here | Booties: Lucky Brand

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It’s My Birthday + Giveaway!

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Well, I’ve made it to 24! This past year has been full of growth – I’ve learned what I want and don’t want in life and I began making some of my dreams a reality. I added a new member to my family, Charlie, my puppy. He was the best decision I have ever made. The Heart and Soul Blog became my second job and has brought me so much happiness. Also, with the help of some wonderful doctors and very “esssspensive” medications have fallen back into remission for Crohn’s disease. While there have been some pretty rough patches this year, it’s far from over and I’m believing that God’s blessings aren’t finished.

I wanted to share a fun giveaway for my H&S fam since y’all have stuck around with my crazy self. This little gift basket has a few of my favorite things inside: Grace Not Perfection, a super cute agenda, Hocus Pocus, a face mask, micellar water, earrings, and an adorable makeup bag. All you have to do to be entered to win is be subscribed to my blog and comment below your favorite thing about birthdays – super easy! The giveaway will close on October 15, 2017 at 11:59 pm and the winner will be announced on the blog Monday October 16, 2017.

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For The Girl That’s Too Much

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If you’ve ever been told that you are “too much” this post is for you. Too loud. Too nice. Too mean. Too passionate. Too extra. I’ve heard it all. The world profits on the “too” that you are. People label you as “too much” to make you think you need to get rid of that extra sauce that makes you an amazing individual. I’m the worlds most gaudy girl. I love lipstick, heels on all occasions, and LOTS of pink. For me, those things are just right, but for some people, it’s obnoxious. It would be silly of me to change something, that for me, is such a staple, just to appease someone’s silly opinion. Let’s take that a bit further and say someone doesn’t like you because of a physical feature, your personality, or even your beliefs. If you wouldn’t alter your lipstick or love for pink why on God’s green earth would you alter such individualistic traits? Moral of the story – the “extra” that so many people see as a stumbling block is actually your stepping stone. Rock what ya got!

What better outfit to feature than one that features my favorite things – pink, heels, and lipstick! These heels are top notch and perfect for the office and the town. I’m also wearing a belt I recently purchased and love! It’s a designer look-a-like I found for $14 – and if anyone wants to make fun of my thriftiness – read the above paragraph 🙂 I don’t have $500 to drop on a belt – plus my blog’s whole purpose is to show you affordable fashion. I’ll link the outfit details below. Happy hump day!

Top: similar here | Jeans: Gap | Heels: Jessica Simpson | Purse: Target | Sunnies: similar here | Belt: MOYOTO | Lipstick: Nars

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