Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July! I am so thankful for this amazing country that we are blessed to live in that is full of so many freedoms! I’m grateful for all of the men and women, both past and present, who have fought for that freedom and the families that have sacrificed as their loved ones were away fighting. I am thankful for the blessing of living in a country where we are free to worship God and gather together with other believers without fear of persecution. We are so blessed in more ways than we can count, so today let’s not forget to take the time amidst all of the fun and celebrations to thank God for this beautiful country called America.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Firecracker Red

One of my most favorite colors to wear during the week of the Fourth of July is red. It is such a fun pop of colour that is very patriotic. I decided to share a more dressy look for this outfit, but it could just as easily be dressed down with a pair of slides and a denim jacket for a more casual celebration. It is a fun and easy look to recreate that you’re sure to reach for beyond Independence Day.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

White and Red

I’m so excited to be sharing this second look for the Fourth of July. I love the simplicity of the all white with the little pops of red. The fun gingham ruffles on the sleeves keep the Americana vibe going and the red shoes tie the red in perfectly. The basket purse was the perfect accessory to tie this whole outfit together. If you recreate this look for the Fourth, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Shades of Blue

Dress: Gianni Bini | Clear Purse: A New Day | Earrings: Rebecca Minkoff (sold out) similar | Sandals: Gianni Bini (sold out) similar

Happy Fourth of July week! Each day this week I am going to share a different look to give you some patriotic outfit inspiration. I LOVE dresses, so you are definitely going to see a trend in the outfits. Today’s look was inspired by shades of blue, I love the royal blue paired with the lighter blue of my clutch. This dress also comes in red which would be such a fun pop for patriotic holidays! My dress is unfortunately sold out in the royal blue color, but besides the red it also comes in a beautiful shade of navy that is also perfect for the Fourth!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Being There For a Friend Who is Grieving

Hey Friends,

A few weeks ago I gave you guys a list of topics to blog about and asked you guys which one you wanted me to cover first and the most popular one was about being there for a friend who is grieving or going through a hard time. Now I want to be clear, I am not an expert, but if you have been following my blog this past year, you know that my family has walked a long road as my Papa was first diagnosed with cancer and then passed away at the end of March. What I am going to be sharing here is things that good friends of mine have done and how my community has rallied around me that have been helpful. Obviously, everyone handles grief differently and in the end you know your friend, the most important thing you can do is to not let them walk the path alone. That may look differently for different friendships, but what matters is that you are there for them.

Anytime your friend goes through a hard time, it is always going to be preceded by some form of crisis mode. Crisis Mode is generally early on when whatever tragedy your friend is dealing with happens. It generally does not last for long, but I have learned that it can be experienced multiple times as a situation goes from bad to worse. In my case the original crisis mode lasted just a few days, but there were many smaller crisis modes as things continued to fall apart as my grandpa’s cancer began to draw closer to the end.

The first thing I recommend doing when your friend is in crisis mode is be there. All I wanted when we received the diagnosis was someone to give me a big hug. I needed a safe place to cry. However, there are moments when this is not a good idea. I have several friends who live out of town and they all offered to come be with me when we got the diagnosis but I begged them not to come because the thought of having to take care of more people was more than I could handle. If your friend is out of state, the best way to be there is by text and phone call, only come in town if your friend says it is okay or you are willing to get a hotel.

Your friend is going to cry a lot and be struggling as their whole world has been turned upside down, resist the urge to say, “It is going to be okay.” I know that you want it to all turn out good, and maybe it will, but you can’t promise them that and this will do more to alienate you than draw you closer together.

Text and call your friend often checking in to see how they are doing but be okay if they don’t respond. One of the best things one of my good friends did for me that lives out of state is texting me nearly everyday to tell me she was praying for me and checking in to see how I was doing. What made this a blessing and kept it from overwhelming me is that she would always say in the text message to only reply if I felt like it but to know she was always there. This gave me permission to not reply if I didn’t have the energy but let me know that I was thought of and prayed over.

Set an alarm on your phone to go off everyday at a certain time reminding you to pray for your friend and let them know you have done this. A girl I knew but wasn’t very close to did this. Shortly after my grandpa’s diagnosis she texted me to let me know she had set an alarm everyday for 4:00 and she would be praying for me then. Everyday as I got off work and saw the time I knew she was praying for me as I returned home to the battles waiting and it helped give me strength.

Bring food. Whatever you do, don’t ask if your friend needs food, just bring it. Don’t stay long unless they want you to, but trust me, your friend is needing food and having to leave to go get food is the last thing they want to do or is on their mind. I can’t tell you how many times I stayed late at the hospital and by time I left all the restaurants were closed and there was no food at home because we hadn’t been home to cook so I’d just skip dinner. When your loved one is sick or dying you don’t want to leave their side even for food, so be the hero and bring food for your friend. Towards the end my grandma (from the other side of the family) came over and brought food for my family so we wouldn’t have to leave and we were able to keep it in the freezer pulling it out as needed. That was a lifesaver for us and the reason we were able to be there at the end instead of worrying about food.

Listen. Your friend is going to have a lot of emotions ranging from sadness to anger and occasionally just wanting to pretend it isn’t happening. Listen to them. They don’t need you to fix their problems, they just need to know that someone is there and they’re not in this alone. I had one friend in particular that every Sunday at church would come up to me and start out by asking me, “how are you holding up.” She knew I wasn’t doing good, but she needed to know where I was emotionally. If I didn’t want to talk she always respected it, but if I needed to she was always available.

Most importantly, pray for your friend. You can’t change what is happening in their life or even heal their broken heart, but you have access to the one who is in control over everything and the mender of broken hearts.

Don’t forget them after some time has passed. It has been two and a half months and I still have days that I am struggling. Grief comes in waves, one day your friend might be fine and the next falling apart. That is actually what happened to me this past weekend, Saturday I went and watched fireworks with friends and had so much fun laughing and being totally alive. Sunday though found me crying and struggling as if I had just lost Papa that day. Sometimes if your friend is having a really good day you may want to check in on them the next day as the lows are even harder after they have spent some time laughing and feeling “normal” for a few hours. Grief, especially after losing someone, doesn’t have a time period for when it ends, it will look different for each person and your friend needs you to be there and not be left alone.

I hope that this was helpful and now the next time a friend is going through a hard time you won’t feel so helpless not knowing how to help them. Don’t forget, it is always okay to just ask your friend what they need. Most of the time they will be able to tell you if they need to talk or for the moment forget, and if they don’t know be willing to just sit and be quiet until they do know. Remember, you’re their friend and they need you during this time just as much as you want to be there for them. It is messy and hard, but your friendship will come out stronger after walking this together.

Leighton Michele

1 Dress 3 Ways

One of my most favorite things about dresses is all of the options for styling them! This post is the first in a continuous series I’m starting here where I’ll pick a dress and share multiple ways to wear it. With each post I’ll share a casual and a dressy way to wear the dress and sometimes even an in-between! Dresses are my go-to when I am getting dressed in the morning because I know that they can carry me through the whole day no matter what it holds and by changing a few accessories I can completely change the look!

Look 1:

Dress: Rachel Parcell (similar) (similar)| Purse: Steve Madden (similar) | Pumps: Old (similar) (similar) | Earrings: Baublebar (Sugarfix version)

The first look is something I would wear to a nice event like a wedding or church. I love the detail that the belt adds and the ruffles on the shoes go perfectly with the feminine details of the dress. My favorite detail are the statement earrings. I love how bold they are and that they have the blush centers tying all of the other accessories into the outfit.

Look 2:

Dress: Rachel Parcell (similar) (similar) | Sunglasses: Chloe | Earrings: Francesca’s| Cork Heels: Lulu’s (similar) | Basket Bag: Amazon (under $20)

I wore this look to church a few weeks ago, but it would also be perfect for a baby shower or bridal shower. The cork heels and basket purse are less formal than the pumps and statement earrings and I opted for simple gold hoops to go with the more simplistic feel of this outfit.

Look 3:

Dress: Rachel Parcell (similar) (similar) | Basket Bag: Amazon | Earrings: Francesca’s | Slides: Sam Edelman

The final look is how I wear this outfit for an everyday basis. For the earrings I did hoops, although simple diamond studs are also a great option. I kept the basket purse and traded out the heels for simple slides. In the summer this is basically my uniform and is perfect for running errands or grabbing coffee with a friend!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter my sweet friends! I wanted to take a few moments out of this day and share with you some things that have been on my heart and that God has been teaching me this year. While all of our Instagram feeds are filled with sweet family moments and children’s Easter egg hunts, I celebrated it this year in a cemetery alone eating ice cream. If you follow my Instagram , then you know that shortly after the start of this year my Papa was diagnosed with cancer and after two months of bravely battling it, he lost his battle with it here and went home to be with Jesus last month. Early into Papa’s battle my family realized that his birthday fell on Easter this year, and when he passed, I will be honest that I really struggled knowing that a holiday meant for celebrating the resurrected King would be clouded by the knowledge that I should have also been celebrating my Papa’s 91st birthday with him. As I have been walking this road of grief this past month I have come to realize something though, truly, God could not have chosen a more perfect day for Easter to fall this year. You see, my Papa knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior and as a result, I know that he is celebrating Easter and his birthday in Heaven with Jesus! The thing is, aside from Jesus’ work on the cross and the empty tomb, that comfort I have would not exist. Aside from Easter, death would have stolen my beloved Papa from me forever with no hope, but because of Easter death is not the end! Instead of having to tell my Papa goodbye forever, I only had to tell him “until I see you again”!

I am so so thankful that 2000 years ago God saw fit to send Jesus as a baby into the world to live the perfect life that I could not live and to die the perfect death. I am even more thankful that it did not end there on the cross, for you guys, three days later Jesus did the impossible, he defeated death and rose again! Because He lives, I can face today, tomorrow and eternity with hope knowing that I have placed my trust in Him and He will never disappoint me! He is my comfort when I sit at my Papa’s graveside crying because I miss him, but praise God that I know I will see him again! If you don’t have this hope, know that it is available to you! As I shared in my stories on Instagram, God didn’t wait for us to figure it out and get our lives perfectly together before we could have fellowship with Him and be given hope, rather He sent His son Jesus to us while we were yet sinners and died for us! If you have not heard of this hope that we can have before, please feel free to reach out to me, I would love to share more with you! I hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful Easter, but more importantly it is my prayer that each of you are encouraged and filled with hope this Easter because the tomb is empty and Jesus is very much so alive and active!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

An old throwback to my sisters and I with Papa