Reflections and Big Life Changes

4 years ago today. November 11th 2015. I remember so vividly my world completely shattering all around me. My life suddenly like grains of sand through my hands when I saw those text messages. And that was nothing compared to what would follow. The sudden and completely unexpected reality of my partner’s sex addition, that would destroy my life and eventually lead to the loss of my marriage, my home, my hopes, my dreams, and the future I had so fully invested in, left me a complete shell of the person I was. The dearest, most important things in my life, just gone. Looking back, sometimes I marvel that I even survived what happened at all. But in those moments, and years of despair, I refused to give up. Because somehow, from the very deepest places within me, I discovered a strength that I never knew that I had. And that was my faith. It was my faith that persevered when I couldn’t, and it gave me the strength and hope to carry on. And while it’s still incredibly hard sometimes, and days like today still feel tender, looking at myself in the mirror this morning and reflecting on the girl I was 4 years ago, I am in complete awe at the goodness and grace of God. And am grateful beyond measure for how far I’ve come. Even though my life doesn’t look the way I thought it would, and rebuilding has been beyond hard at times, I am still so very thankful for this second chance at a beautiful life for myself. Because the truth is, that for most of us, life doesn’t turn out the way we hope and pray for. And while there is so much joy in this life, there are also copious amounts of heartbreak. And while it sometimes overwhelms me to think about the hurt in this world, I still see and believe in that light in the darkness. And want to BE a light in the darkness. And that’s why I have chosen to share pieces of my story  with you all over the last couple of years. Because I remember a time when I didn’t think I could go on, when I couldn’t even say out loud what had happened in my life, let alone believe that I would be ok. But here I am today, with true joy and gratitude in my heart. And while it’s been a long, hard road, and I am forever changed and forever scarred, I can say that I have found happiness again. So I just want to remind you today that you too can do hard things. You can survive whatever life brings your way. Because YOU are so worth the fight. Whether you realize it or not, and as hopeless as it might seem at times, we each hold the key to our own happiness and it is up to us to be the ones to write beauty from ashes on the pages of our stories.

As my story has unfolded these last few years, and I’ve navigated the many stages of grief and healing, trying to figure out what I wanted my life to look like, something pretty major started shifting in my heart. And so today, it felt fitting to share some big news with you guys that I have been keeping close these last couple of months…I’M MOVING! And wow. It feels pretty surreal to put that out there in writing like that. There is so much of me that is excited for this change, but there is also part of me that is scared to death. And my heart is already aching in anticipation of the goodbyes I am going to have to say. Truly, I have had the best friends and community in Salt Lake that I have ever had in my entire life. And leaving them is going to be one of the hardest things I will ever do. But at the end of the day, I’ve slowly but surely realized that my heart has been calling me home to Montana. My happy place. It’s time for me to have that completely fresh start I’ve been longing for, and most importantly, to be with my family. So Whitefish, here I come! I can’t wait to share more with you all about my move, my new place (it’s on the river!), my redecorating process (it’s a way different space than my current one), and all of the things that will come with this monumental life change. But for now, I am looking forward to every second that I have left in Utah with my people, my framily, who have never wavered in their love, support, and encouragement of me. I’ve been thinking a lot today about the fact that despite losing everything four years ago, that I’m not only still standing, but standing here today with more richness in relationships then I have ever experienced in my life. How LUCKY I am to have such beautiful people around me that will make saying goodbye so hard. So wherever you are right now, whatever your story, don’t give up. I promise you there is goodness and light on the other side. Beauty from ashes.

And thank you, as always, to all of you for your constant encouragement of me over the years.  Your love and support means more than I could ever say and I can’t wait to share this next chapter with all of you.

xoxo

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Holiday Outfit Ideas with Cabi

And just like that, October has come and gone, and the holiday season is officially upon us.  Can you believe it?  I feel like this year has absolutely flown by.  And I know Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be here before we know it.  Which has already got me thinking about holiday outfit ideas.  Anyone else with me?

Cabi officially released their holiday new arrivals to the public today and I couldn’t be more excited to share two of my favorite pieces with you.  I actually styled the same denim, cami, and heels for both looks, but just changed up my Cabi topper and hair.  Crazy how different both outfits turned out, but either would be perfect for Thanksgiving or a Holiday Christmas party.

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Look #1: Holiday Blazer

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Look #2: Dressed Up Shrug

Be sure to stop by the Cabi website, or contact your stylist to see all of the new arrivals.  And I’d love to know, which of these two looks is your favorite?  Drop me a comment below.

xoxo,

Abs

Mad About Plaid

As if the Fall Cabi line couldn’t get any cuter, now they’ve gone and launched new arrivals.  And guys, they are SO good!  When I got to have a sneak peek at what was coming in the new launch a few weeks ago, this plaid jacket was the first thing I knew I needed to have in my wardrobe.  And it’s even cuter in person.  Plus it’s such an easy piece to style now AND take into cooler temps (and the holiday season!).  Today I paired it with my favorite band tee and OTK boots, but it would also look amazing with a dress, or over a cozy sweater with Sorels when the snow starts flying.

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Snow Valley Jacket

Cabi New Arrivals

Full Cabi Fall Collection

Be sure to come say “hi” on my Instagram today (@alldolledupblog)!  I’ll be sharing a few more of my favorites from the new fall collection!

Thank you guys so much for stopping by!  Happy Wednesday!

xoxo,

Abs

Cabi Fall Launch

Well hey there, my beautiful friends!  I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be back on the blog this week.  AND to get to share with you guys that I am teaming up with Cabi clothing to be one of their brand ambassadors for the Fall season!  Eeek!  I feel like someone needs to pinch me! If you’ve been following me at all on the blog, or over on social media, then you know what a huge fan I am of Cabi clothing.  For the past 6 years, it’s been one of my go-to clothing brands.  The fit and the quality of their pieces is impeccable, and each season they do such an amazing job of creating newness, while also allowing you to incorporate pieces from past seasons into the new season!

When I first started wearing Cabi clothing, I initially thought of them as a work-wear resource.  But the more I’ve gotten to know the brand, the more I’ve fallen in love with their casual pieces.  So when I saw this Shetland sweater in the Fall lineup, I knew it had to be mine.  Not only is it gorgeous and cozy, but it’s a piece that I know I will get a ton of wear out of. Even now, when it’s still in the 80’s and 90’s where I live.  So if you live in a climate that stays warm well into the Fall (like I do), and it’s not quite sweater weather, but you are so ready to break out the cozy layers, I wanted to use today’s post to show you guys how to incorporate sweaters into your current wardrobe while the temps are still soaring.

SHOP: my Cabi Shetland sweater

Browse: the entire Cabi Fall Collection 

I spent the holiday weekend at the lake with my family, and even though it was going to be in the upper 80’s all weekend, I brought this sweater with me because I knew it would be a perfect piece to cozy up in on cool mornings with my coffee, and after the sunset when the evenings start to get a little cooler this time of year.  And I was so right! I got a ton of use out of it and I know it’s going to be such a go-to piece for me this season.  In fact, I can’t wait to style it back to dresses, denim, and leggings when the weather gets cooler.  Thank you guys so much for stopping by today!  I’m so excited to be back and sharing content with you all.

Happy Friday!

xoxo,

Abs

 

Letting Hope Rise

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Well hello there! I can’t believe another year has passed and it’s already time again for my annual birthday post.  If you guys have been following along with me for a while, then you know I’ve walked through some pretty challenging trials in the last few years.  I wrote this post on my birthday last year, sharing some lessons I had learned while picking up the pieces of my life, and about being challenged by God to start living and dreaming again.  And so, this past year will be forever be marked as the year that I not only started to allow myself to dream again, but also the year I started to let hope rise.

To be honest, after existing in survival mode for so long, it was definitely a scary thing to step out and push myself to really start living again.  But I wholeheartedly believe that hoping and dreaming are two things essential to finding joy and cultivating a truly beautiful life.  What I’ve also found, is that they too, can open the door for more potential hurt, heartache, and disappointment.  And let me tell you, that has been a pretty major wrestle for me.  So as I’ve been writing this post and thinking about what I wanted to share in this space today, and what I’m taking away from this past year, it would be that despite the hurts and disappointments I’ve encountered, opening myself up again has absolutely been worth it. I’ve grown even stronger in the hard places, learned more about empathy, and maybe most importantly, it’s what has allowed me to push forward, moving closer towards the life I’ve always wanted for myself.

So with that said, in traditional birthday post fashion, here are the lessons I’ve learned that I wanted to share.  And in doing so, my hope would be that something in this post would resonate with someone out there who is needing to read these words today.

  1. Opening your heart is worth the risk. Part of me can’t believe I’m saying this, because if I’m being totally honest, there were a lot of moments this past year where I wished I hadn’t opened myself up again. Wished that I wouldn’t have let romance back in.  Wished that I hadn’t been so trusting of new friendships and people in my life.  Wished that I wouldn’t have made certain changes in my life that I did. Wished that I hadn’t allowed myself to dream for the things that I wanted that didn’t work out. In fact, there were even times I felt angry at myself for doing so.  But as I’ve worked through the hurt that’s come from some of these experiences, I can also look back more objectively and see the incredible lessons and the growth.  And I fully believe we don’t get anywhere in life by playing it safe.  Because all of these moments, the good and the bad, are propelling us forward, ultimately helping to shape us into better more compassionate people if we let them
  2. Things don’t happen to us, they happen FOR us.  I was recently at an event and heard this phrase and it really struck a chord with me.  I think living in grief and trial, it can sometimes feel easy to fall into the role of a victim.  But allowing yourself to process and grow through the pain can really create space for us to realize our full potential, and find strength and purpose within ourselves we didn’t know that we had.  I have grown in ways that I never would have without the pain and loss I’ve encountered.  And I’m proud of that, because it’s made me a much better person.  Even though it’s hard and can sometimes feel impossible, the times that feel like they will break us, can actually refine us if we let them.
  3. Trust your instincts. After walking through so many years of lies and betrayal, getting back in touch with trusting myself has been one of the more challenging journeys for me this past year.   And deciphering my fears from my gut instincts has definitely come with a learning curve.  But I am finding over and over, if something feels off, it probably is.  If we feel like we shouldn’t do something, then we shouldn’t. If someone is giving us a bad vibe, then there is probably a reason. Our bodies have this incredible ability to sense things, especially as women.  So when something in your gut feels off, trust that.
  4. There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. This is my favorite quote by C.S. Lewis. And when I pause to think about it, it really allows the hope to rise up in me.  Because isn’t it beautiful to know there are better days ahead?  Happy memories we’ve yet to make? And incredible people we’ve yet to meet?  Our lives might carry within them a lot of sorrow and hard times, but those will always be beautifully intertwined with so much joy and happiness. I am truly believing the best is yet to come.  For all of us.
  5. Choose JOY. I’ve thought about this so much over the past year, because at the end of the day, our happiness is really up to us.  And having joy in our lives is something we can control, a choice we make daily.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know this can be incredibly challenging, and there are still many days where I fail to choose joy.  But the more aware I’ve become that having joy in my life is a choice I can make, the more intentional I am about pursuing it.  Whether it’s saying something nice to myself, reminding myself how blessed I am, or writing down something I’m grateful for, I’ve found recognizing anything positive helps to create this shift.  Even if it’s just one thing you can find joy in every day, it’s a starting place.
  6. You are enough. If you keep up with me on Instagram, then you know that “enough” is my word for the year.  In the fall out of losing my marriage to my partner’s sex addiction, it made me question every single thing about me, both physically and personally.  The trauma of it all left me feeling completely unworthy, that I was not and am not enough.  And with that also came the burdens of fear and shame.  As I’ve been working to heal from those things, I think one of the hardest parts has been realizing that I am not alone in those feelings.  That we all feel inadequate, or unworthy in some ways.  Whether it’s that we feel we are not doing our part, that we aren’t good enough, or pretty enough, or successful enough, or smart enough. We have been conditioned by society to believe these lies and run ourselves ragged trying to be enough, when in fact we already are.  Because the truth is, there is no one else like us on the planet.  We are all unique with an individual call on our lives.  No one else can do what we can do, or be who we are destined to be. We were each beautiful and wonderfully made.

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Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your unwavering encouragement.  I am so grateful for all of the messages and comments.  I truly think of you all as my friends and am forever grateful.  So with that, here’s to a new year, new adventures, new lessons, and most importantly, continued growth towards becoming the person God intended for me to be.  Cheers to 38!

 

Love you all!  xoxo

Picking Up the Pieces

 

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On my birthday last year, I remember being at home alone, sitting in the dark on my brand new pink couch in my brand new house, and crying. It was not the way I had envisioned starting out the 36th year of my life, alone and grieving the loss of my 10-year marriage that had been ripped apart by my partner’s sex addiction, and crippled by a head injury that I suffered from a horrible head-on collision on my way to the gym 4 months earlier. Nothing in my life was the way I thought or dreamed it would be. In fact, it felt like everything I had worked for, and invested in, and believed in had been taken away from me. And there I was, turning 36, in the middle of starting my life completely over again.

I shared this post with you guys on that day last year, talking about the things I had learned walking through the most difficult season of my life, and how I survived. But as I wrote those words, what I didn’t fully anticipate, was not only how incredibly hard, but how incredibly wonderful the upcoming year was going to be. And as I sit here today looking back, there is so much I am thankful for.  It has been a year full of so much growth, but also one filled with immeasurable sorrow. There were times when I felt like the old me again, and times when I didn’t recognize myself at all. The tears were plenty, but so were laughter and joy. Adventure and travel started to find their ways back into my life, but I often found myself wanting to be alone more than I ever had before. My friendships continued to grow steadfast and deep, but I also learned it was ok to keep my inner circle small. I experienced times where I’ve never felt so loved, and also times where I couldn’t fathom feeling any more alone. There were days it felt too hard to face the world, and days I knew I was going to be ok. I grew braver, and stronger, and more compassionate, but also felt myself turn inward at times, becoming more introverted, quiet and shy. But through it all, as I’ve picked up the pieces and kept moving forward, one thing is and has remained good and constant in my life, and that is God.

And so, in typical birthday blog-post fashion, I wanted to take some time to reflect, and share with you guys the things I’ve learned this past year, as I continue to figure out how to navigate this big, beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking life, and what I’m looking forward to as I embark on year 37:

1. The world will break us all at some point, but how we come out on the other side is our choice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt completely defeated by the events of the last couple of years. It’s definitely felt easier at times to the let the bitterness and sadness win. But I made a choice and a promise to myself early on, that I was going to fight for me and fight for happiness. And while sometimes it’s a lot of work, it’s still a choice I’m making every single day.  The fight for ourselves is worth it.  YOU are worth it.

2. Grief is a process, and it’s different for everyone. We place a lot of expectations in our society around how things “should” be, including grief and loss. But I’ve learned there isn’t a standard way to walk through loss. My brother has a lyric in one of his songs that says: “grief is like a storm; the power comes in waves.” And in my grief, these words often echo in my head. Sometimes I feel so happy, and then before I realize what’s happening, I’m back in the thick of things. And it’s definitely been a process to find patience and grace for myself as I learn to navigate what grief and healing look like for me.

3. Surround yourself with people who will truly do life with you. I am so fortunate to not only have an amazingly supportive family, but also incredible friends who are my “framily”. They aren’t afraid of my grief process, they love me through the hurt, they understand when I need to be alone, they see the good in me when I can’t, they celebrate break through, they fight for me, and they cheer me on every step of the way. I’ve never experienced friendship on this level before, and I am so very grateful for and humbled by the love, and work, and vulnerability we all pour into one another. They have been the game changers in my life these last couple of years and I am forever grateful.

4. If life doesn’t turn out the way you hoped it would, you can still find happiness. This has been one of the most challenging and important lessons for me in all of this. While my life doesn’t look anything like I thought it would right now, it is still filled with so much goodness. From family, to rich friendships, to opportunities and experiences I’ve opened myself up to this year, a successful career, a beautiful home, etc. I am so very fortunate. And truth be told, I wouldn’t have a lot of the amazing things I have in my life right now, if I hadn’t experienced the trials. God will make beauty from ashes, if we let Him. I can promise you that. (Genesis 50:20)

5. Trust in God’s plan for your life. When I look back at the trajectory of my life, the plans that were laid, the timing, the pieces that have fallen into place, I can’t help but to trust what God is doing. And while getting from point A to point B might not be the way I envisioned it to be, I am trusting in God’s purpose, surrendering to His plan for me, and valuing the lessons I am learning along the way. And I can tell you, that makes the day to day a lot easier to get through, resting in that trust. (Isaiah 26:3)

6. Dream BIG. If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that my word for the year is “dream”. When I began the process of rebuilding my life last year, I had been in survival mode for so long, that it felt scary and impossible to hope and dream for anything. But not having hopes and dreams left me feeling such a huge void, because those things have always been such a big part of who I am. So as I kick off this year, I am working on letting myself hope and dream for the future, not being afraid to ask God for the things I want, and being ok if those hopes and dreams don’t necessarily work out the way I want them to. A lot can change and happen in a year, so here’s to 37 and everything that it will bring!! (Jeremiah 29:11)

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I also just wanted to say thank you guys so much for stopping by the blog today. I know it’s been a long time since I shared any content here. As you can probably tell from this post, it’s been a busy year for me. But it feels good to be back in this space, and I am actually planning on relaunching my blog in the near future (it’s all part of that hoping and dreaming thing). So definitely stay tuned for more details. But in the meantime, THANK YOU. TRULY. You all have been such an incredible support to me these last couple of years and I will be forever grateful to each and every single one of you for the continued love and encouragement.

 

xoxo,

Abby

Stars and Stripes

Wow.  It’s been a hot minute since I’ve put up a new blog post.  To be honest, life has been crazy busy the last couple of weeks, and I just needed a bit of a break.  But it feels great to be back today and I am so excited to be bringing you a little outfit inspiration for the 4th of July!!!  Can you believe that the 4th is less than one week away?  I know I can’t.  For me, the 4th of July will always be the official kick off to summer, and I can’t wait to celebrate all weekend long!!

Top (DownEast Outfitters, check in store), also love this, this, this, this, and this | Shorts | Necklace | Hat | Sunnies | Platforms, also love these

Thank you guys so much for stopping by!  Hope you’re having a great week!

xoxo,

Abby

 

Old Faithful

This skirt is something that I’ve had in my closet for a few years now.  And every summer, I get excited to pull it out because even though it isn’t new, it’s still a favorite piece.  I love the high-low silhouette, and pretty gauzy material, the color, and how it moves.  Plus, it’s surprisingly easy to style multiple ways, which makes it not only a favorite, but a great summer staple too.  I linked some really similar options below for you guys below. But I’d love to know, do you have a favorite item in your closet you love to wear over and over again?

Skirt (old) similar, similar, similar, similar, similar | Top | Necklace | Sunnies | Bag | Heels

Hope you guys are having a great week!  Thank you so much for stopping by!

xoxo,

Abby

 

Castaway

I love a good palm print.  So when I saw this dress in the Cabi spring line, I knew it had to be mine.  It’s such an easy fit and a great piece to dress up or down.  In fact, I can’t wait to pair it with some gold sandals and a panama hat when the weather warms up a little!  Also, in case you missed it yesterday, here is a sneak peek at Cabi’s new Fall line.  Everything is SO good, but I am especially obsessing over that long plaid coat!

Dress (cabi c/o) | Jacket | Necklace (old, just ordered this) | Sunnies | Clutch (similar under $50) | Heels (on sale!)

Cheers to the weekend, sweet friends!

xoxo,

Abby