Welcome! I'm Olivia Howard, a 21 year old homeschool graduate, lover of practicality, beauty, and FRESH.
This blog is for your encouragement. I share my outfits+life to that end and I pray you are blessed by your visit.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Follow Up | ThredUP Dresses

Hey! My thredUP package came! As promised, I'm here to share how my purchases turned out. :) 

Here was my final order from How To | Shop For Dresses On ThredUP.

 I thought I'd just go in order of the shopping cart and show y'all how each one fits. It is seriously so much fun to get a package of clothes in the mail!

 First up, this Tiana B. Casual Dress. If you'll remember from the original post, I decided to take a chance with this dress and I am SO glad I did. This may be my favorite of my new dresses. I was concerned that it would be too short, but it's just perfect for summer. It's a tad looser around the waist than I am used to, but not enough to keep me from loving it. I may take it in, but can wear it in the meantime.

I'm still working to figure out what to wear underneath of it... my sister liked the black, but I want to try white or cream, maybe pink. 

Next we have the Dress Barn casual dress I picked up for my mom. It's a little smaller than I was expecting, but still wearable and I think flattering on her. 

Since it's tighter than she's used to wearing, she may end up giving it to my younger sister who would fit it better. 

Anne Klein Casual Dress. So, so, so, comfortable, easy to wear, and fits perfectly. I've been wearing it today around the house and to a farm photoshoot and it's been fabulous. 

I think I may end up wearing this dress to the Remember WWII event in Linden, TN next month. Its detailing kind of reminds me of that era, with some modifications. It would be fun to create some more authentic attire, but that's not on my radar at the moment. :) 

 Next on the list is this Mossimo maxi dress! I LOVE this. It has a full-length slip, racerback, and ties. Perfect for wearing with a Halftee in the hot summer months.

My sister wasn't a huge fan of the colors when she saw it online, but I absolutely love the print and colors of the dress. I love playful patterns in classic styles. 

 This is the tunic top that I bought for my younger sister, Willa. She's the one who does all my photography and she runs Droplette Jewelry. This Express "casual dress" fit her just perfect with a pair of jeans and she's planning on wearing it this fall. It was a little warm on one of the hottest days of the year. ;)

She rocks a lot of tunic tops and it's always good to find another that looks great for a good price!

Second to last, we have this Miss Guided maxi dress. For only $10.49 I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add a potential beautiful formal piece to my wardrobe. It fits great and even though it's strapless I didn't feel like it would fall down at all.

 Obviously my layering needs a little work, but I could see myself wearing this blue dress to a piano recital, formal dance, or maybe even an evening concert in Nashville. I don't have any of those on my schedule right now, but I might someday. :) It is a little long, but works with heels.

Lastly, we have the black dress that I was really hoping would fit.... but it doesn't. I couldn't even zip it- lol. I thought I knew my H&M brand size, but apparently not. Thankfully Willa needs a new black dress and this fits her great, so it's not a total loss. ;) 

6 successes out of 7 dresses? That seems like a pretty good rate to me! 

If you haven't tried ThredUP yet, they're running a special until September 15th that if you sign up using my {Referral Link} you'll get $20 free credit to spend! That's twice as much as it is usually! 

So, whatcha'll think? Which is your favorite dress? I reeeeally need to go through my closet and get rid of some old ones to make room for these newbies! :) 
Friday, August 15, 2014

Review | Lime Ricki Swimwear!

Hey! I know it might seem like summer is coming to an end with all the talk about school starting back up, but at least for those of us in the South we still have another month and a half of swimming weather! Lime Ricki contacted me and asked about doing a swimsuit review and I said yes, of course, because they have adorable suits! 

But, by themselves, they don't fit my modesty standards. I want to show y'all that you can take a more conventional suit and make it modest with just some simple layering! Lime Ricki is awesome in that their suits are more modest than the standard bikini you can find at Walmart and they're a great option for those who can't sew their own suit. :) 

 So, to feel comfortable in this suit, I layered it with a Halftee and some Forever 21 leggings. By putting black under the suit, it makes the layering not such a huge statement and is more slimming and easier to care for than white or some other bright color would be.

I have known of Lime Ricki for several years now and have friends who love their suits, but I had never tried them out until this summer. I am very impressed! They are sooo well made and the spandex is nice and thick. The whole top is lined and has great built-in support. 

I know these pictures were taken in a creek, but I am confident this ensemble would hold up really well and be comfortable for more athletic swimmers, too. I do not feel "weighed down" in it at allll. :)

 I wasn't sure on the website how I would like the chevron/butterfly print/ gold mix that this suit has, but I LOVE it in person. It's adorable and quite chic. 

This tankini top and ruffle skirt are on sale at Lime Ricki! 

Oh, look, and they have a great little "fit guide" to help you find the most flattering top for your body type. Love that!

I hope this post encouraged you that sometimes being modest means being creative and simply finding a way to layer in a classy way. Thank you, Lime Ricki, for the adorable suit. 

Do you layer up at the pool? 
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's Talk | Inspiration VS Imagination

Hey y'all! This summer as I've been re-evaluating Fresh Modesty--the directions to take it and it's place in my life--I've been changing up some of the places I spend time at on the internet and hopefully have been more purposeful about the content I consume. As young women, we are often guided by our emotions and one happy thought or one sad thought can ruin our day and the days of those around us. We try not to let it, but it happens. And with so many blogs, social media pages, and Pinterest boards at our disposal all the time, we can swing from one mood to the next in a matter of seconds.

 I'm sure there's a psychological analysis that says how unhealthy this is somewhere on the WWW, but the aspect of this that I've been contemplating lately is this:

We all have hopes, dreams, aspirations, goals, and "one day" scenarios in our minds. The online world is incredible in that it can inspire us with quotes, provide motivation through watching and learning from others, and give us a huge head-start on our goals by providing simple "how-to" articles. There is so.much.content. online and it can really be a time, emotion, and energy sucker if we don't discern between what is helpful and what is hopeful in our perusing.

I don't know about you, but as a Christian, I'm on a mission. I am inspired, motivated, enthusiastic to help make visible Christ's dominion over all the earth. That's a big task, and I feel daily how precious every moment is, but often don't realize that I am wasting time imagining instead of doing. Don't get me wrong, imagination is wonderful for children and their stuffed animals. It's great for getting in the creative groove and working out a business problem. But I don't want to live in my imagination. It's not reality; it's just hopes that distract from our real, raw, work.

For several years of my life, I was excited about what I wanted to do with adulthood. I was 100% sure my calling was to be a world-renowned interior designer. I spent hoooooours every day designing fake houses, drawing sketches of the rooms and furniture, pulling swatches I collected from Lowes out of my fancy filing cabinet... my point is, I LOVE interior decorating and design. I could spend hours pouring over Pinterest boards of fancy houses, IKEA furniture, the latest Pantone colors, and the exciting developments in floor covering options. I would be inspired to create and implement these things in my family's house and I would be so happy dreaming up ways to make life more beautiful.

Buuuuuuut... when I scroll through those boards or subscribe to those magazines, a spirit of discontent comes over me. Not in a "oh, I wish I had that house!" way, but in a "oh, if only I had time to create that!" way and I put energy into wishing it could happen. Same thing with sewing blogs these days... I love to sew, love creating my own clothes, love working with my hands in that way. But, it's not something I have time for right now and filling my mind with "somedays" is hopeful, not helpful. Do I ever scroll through "home dec" websites? Yes. Do I do it often? No.
In the first "Let's Talk" post, I ruminated on being known by what you are for instead of being known for what you are against. So, in this situation, instead of imagining, I want to be inspired. Inspired to change now. For the purposes of distinction just here as I'm thinking through this, things which cause you to imagine are wishing-encouragers. Things which inspire encourage you to make your wishes happen.

  • Imagination causes thoughts of "One day I'll create cute paper mache lanterns for the mantle."
  • Inspiration causes me to get off the couch and dust the mantle.
  • Imagination causes thoughts of feeding my growing little family Paleo someday.
  • Inspiration has me taking the extra 15 seconds to put coconut oil in my coffee.
  • Imagination causes thoughts of "My closet could look that good if I could just get all the excess out of there!"
  • Inspiration causes me to roll off my bed and throw the dirty clothes in the hamper and sweep the floor.

It's a really odd line I'm trying to draw/explain, but basically, I've been seeking content online that motivates me and weeding out the blogs/pin boards that do not. So, what inspires me? These quotes:

{ I used to avoid motivational quotes like the plague, thinking they were too self-centered and never put the focus on Christ. I'm realizing, however, that dreams can totally be God-given and when I "believe in myself" I'm really believing in Him who made me who I am. But that's a totally different point to be made at a later date. ;) }

How to stay inspired without losing yourself in imagination? Here's some questions to ask yourself about what you are consuming:

Does this motivate me to DO or does it make me wish for better days?
For example, I follow the instagram account of "I'm Kristen". She's a young wife, mother, and awesome photographer. She posts pictures of her daily life and it inspires me to capture the moments around me even when it may not be perfect. Her posts motivate me to DO. In contrast, I unfollowed a beautiful mother of 4 or 5 a few months ago because although she has absolutely amazing pictures and has chickens like us, it was making me feel like I didn't have enough hours in the day because she was doing all this awesome stuff with her kids and I was just happy if I remind my siblings to get dressed before noon, ya know?

Is this a time enhancer (ideas to improve work-flow, cooking tips, etc) or a non-helpful time consumer?
Lately I have been listening to a lot of podcasts, most of which are geared toward entrepreneurs and encouraging small business owners. These give me great ideas to improve my blogging process, further my business, and help me maintain my sanity by giving me action steps for all my ideas. This has been a great way to redeem my time instead of listening to music on car rides or scrolling through Pinterest as I rest mid-day.

Does this cause me to step or to stumble? 
What I'm talking about isn't necessarily just blog post or Pinterest board related. For instance, there's a song called, "Big Love In A Small Town" by High Road that is about working hard and "raising beans and babies". Yes, it's a love song, but it motivates me to make my life happy and healthy now. Unlike other country songs which can cause me to stumble and get impatient for my cowboy to show up, this one instead encourages me. That's probably weird, but it's true. Evaluating which effect something has on you is important.

Does this make me look to myself or to Christ?
I, oddly enough, really love "Mommy" blogs. I love watching and learning from other women (in addition to my mom ;) who save money, feed their kids well, and know their stuff when it comes to homemade cleaning products. But, there are some blogs which make me look to myself and imagine what I would/will do, or in some strange way make me think, "hey, if she can do it, so can I" in a prideful way. But then, there are other blogs, like Angela's Wool and Wanderlust, that make me reflect on simplifying life and living it for Christ exactly where I am today.

Oh, boy, do I have dreams, hopes, plans, and aspirations of spreading the Good News throughout my life! I pray that by surrounding ourselves with "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable..." (Phil 4:8) that we will be be inspired to live out our lives for His glory, in His strength, focusing our emotions on the work that is before us. :)
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sweet Salt Striped Shirt

Hey y'all! I'm adjusting to a new schedule of working on business Monday-Wednesday and around the house Thursday-Saturday, hoping that this will smooth things out a little. I found these outfit pictures on the computer today and it reminded me that we only have a few Sundays left until it's no longer "correct" to wear white! I may wear this outfit again while I still can. ;) 

My top I ordered (courtesy of a gift card!) from Salt Sweet Clothing, a website with wonderful modest clothing for women. I absolutely LOVE the two items I got (this shirt and a maxi skirt!) and I'm seriously thinking of ordering more of the same because they've become such staples in our wardrobes these couple of months and my sisters and I are always fighting over them. ;)

// outfit details //
Shirt: Sweet Salt Clothing: c/o them, $20.99
Shoes: ThredUP
Bracelet: eBay: $2.99
Earrings: Gift

 Okay, need to rant about this shirt for a minute. It's amazing. I have a very definite hourglass shape and have a hard time finding shirts that aren't too tight across the chest and yet don't swallow up my middle. This Striped Half Sleeve fits me peeeeerfectly and I feel confident wearing it. I don't have to keep stretching it out, or alter it, or wear a belt with it. It just has a perfect cut, weight, and styling. Definitely worth $20.99. I've gotten so much use out of it and I'm going to keep wearing it through the winter for sure! Sweet Salt has some other adorable tops that when I get some more closet space I will definitely be buying. ;)

I hope you're having a fantastic week so far! I'm going to work on writing Fresh Modesty's newsletter now... have you signed up for it yet? It's an every-so-often email that highlights some of the exciting happenings of everything that's going on with Fresh Modesty and Fresh Apparel. If you use Gmail, check your "Social" tab for it! Oh look, here's a handy sign-up form for you... ;)

Do you have a favorite brand of shirt that always fits right? Do share! Have a wonderful day!