Sep 12, 2015

blog-tember challenge // day 12

 Saturday, Sept. 12: What are you up to currently?

Reading // do blogs count? I'm terrible about finishing books Playing // 'relax & unwind' playlist on Spotify Watching // dvr'ed Beetlejuice last night, pretty stoked to watch it (for the umpteenth time), also considering starting Game of Thrones over again
Cooking // last week I made lemon meringue cheesecake, from scratch! I'm in a total baking mood at the moment Eating // nothing, I must get better at eating more than once a day on the weekends Drinking // Gevalia French roast coffee + vanilla caramel creamer Going //  to get my hair cut, a good 3 or 4 inches gotta come off Loving // that I'm sitting on my porch, wearing a sweatshirt, drinking coffee. Doesn't get much better than this Hating // absolutely nothing, feeling incandescently happy Discovering // God's call + purpose for my life & how it looks nothing like I planned & how awesome & scary that is Thinking // always & too mind never stops Feeling // thankful... for breath in my body, family + friends that support me & love me for ME, a boss who is a mentor + friend, & for Jesus Hoping (for) // a man to go on adventures with #hopelessromantic 
Celebrating //  LIFE, the older I get I realize how finite life is....learning to enjoy every piece & portion I'm given Smelling // Autumn in the air, giving me all the feels Ordering // surprisingly nothing presently, but I do love being my own Santa Clause
Considering // living a life that's a complete 180 of what I've always imagined & being at peace with that Starting // to blog regularly again Finishing // this post :-) 

Brave Love Blog

Sep 9, 2015

blog-tember challenge // day 6

Sept. 6: Share your style. What fashion trends do you love, frequent, or avoid?

So, I'm a few days biggie. In the past year my style has simplified. Most of the new pieces I buy are better quality and for the most part, have been basic staples every woman needs in her closet. I love expressing myself through fashion & definitely have the confidence now to really wear what I want, no matter what I think someone else will think of me. I wouldn't say I have one set style, however I love the simple sexiness of a Parisian chic woman. 


1 // All black is easy + provides instant coolness
2 // I love the mix of different textures, it keeps an all black look interesting
3 // Pair a masculine piece with feminine items, camo is perfect for a little something unexpected
4 // Buffalo plaid tied around the waist to my go-to, always 
5 // I'm so in to ripped jeans lately, but why are they typically more expensive
6 // Sneakers, the way to my heart
7 // Black & white stripes obsessed right now, channeling my inner Parisian
8 // The Courtney bib by Baublebar, recently picked one up for only $20 #score
9 // Black + white + tan/cognac, so simple but works every time

Hair // Can't get enough of sexy bed-head messy curly hair, plus it's pretty easy for me to pull off with my lion's mane
Makeup // All about glowing skin with defined brows + a bold lip #yasssss

*all other photos are not mine & found on Tumblr

Brave Love Blog

Sep 3, 2015

Blog-tember Challenge // Day 3

Blog-tember Challenge Day 3: using pictures/collage, tell us what your blog is about

I'd say my blog is a little about everything but I've narrowed down what I am truly passionate about. 

Makeup/Beauty // makeup just makes me happy, it's relaxing, as odd as that sounds, while I'm going through my routine. I love trying new products & learning different tips + tricks. 

Encouragement // Being a woman is hard, beautiful but hard. I want women to know that yes, you can be an independent bawse & just because you're assertive, no that doesn't mean you're a bitch. I want women to feel confident & beautiful & sexy in their own skin without validation from men or the outside world. 

Jesus // Without him, I am nothing. I've been through tough situations so I can share my testimony with others in the hope that they too can make it through the fire because, Jesus. 

*all photos are from Tumblr

Sep 1, 2015

blog-tember // day 1

I haven't blogged in forever, I was feeling all inspired with a plethora of topics to write about. Until there was just too much to write about & I kinda threw my hands in the air. I started blogging this time last year with this exact Blog-Tember challenge. I didn't really know what direction I wanted to take my blog until I realized there's more to life than giveaways & being a "popular" internet phenom. I want community & fellowship & to encourage. What better way to jump back in to the swing of things than with this challenge! 

I'm Rachel, 27, single and cherishing my current season. I've been saved by a gracious God who treats me way better than I deserve. I'm learning to trust Him in ALL areas of my life, let me tell you....when you give it all to Him, he shows out.

Random tidbits:

-I am a makeup lover, contouring + brows + mascara are probably my favorites
-I own more nail polish than a salon
-Autumn is my favorite season, give me all the sweatshirts
-However, not a fan of pumpkin spice latte (gasp, I know) too sweet for me
-I love to brunch & go antique hunting
-Sometimes I cuss like a sailor but I'm working on it 
-Leopard is my favorite color 
-Weight training is my exercise of choice #gainsssss

I'm excited to see new faces & meet some awesome ladies. Please don't hesitate to say hello!

Jun 13, 2015

have you ever had the feeling that something was coming? no clue exactly when, or in what shape, or location....but in your soul, deep down in your bones, you could feel it?

The older I get, the more I learn to trust my intuition. And the more spiritually mature I become, I realize the Holy Spirit is crazy good.

Hope is a funny character. It can hold us hostage in unruly situations & give us the slightest glimmer that things, may indeed, turn around. Hope also wakes us up in the morning, sun shinning on our face, thankful morning graced us with her presence again.

A few weeks back I was meandering around Hobby Lobby on a Saturday afternoon. A wash of calm, peaceful, hope came over me. In that moment, I smiled because I knew this wouldn't last forever. A giddy happiness children exude when they fly a kite or blow bubbles for the first time. Present, in the moment, joyfulness.

I've felt it, the thing my heart so longs for, was on it's way for the past 6 months...or so. Not that it was close but it was coming around the corner, so keep forging through the mud girl.

But now, now it feels closer than ever. Am I crazy? I swear I feel all the feels, all the time.

And then these bible verse about perseverance show up out of nowhere, and Jesus. He speaks to me through words; the bible, other people's, even my own.

I'm reminded of a verse I've clung to like a life raft; "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-5  

And I'm filled with hope and the promise that my God is good and true and in control. 


Mar 23, 2015

My spiritual journey // part 1

Montego Bay, Jamaica

So many words, thoughts, emotions swirl around my head; it's hard to know where to begin. I've always been an all-or-nothing person & I started this blog to authentically  be myself. I love makeup & fashion & interior design but the purpose of Sophisticated Bliss is to put into the universe what I've always wanted to read. In an attempt to offer reassurance & comfort & encouragement to other women. I've had this nagging feeling lately to finally write what I know I need to write. And then I think "well, if God put this on my heart to share...maybe then he'll reward me with what my heart truly desires" & yet I dug my heels in the dirt & refused to be moved. Because of women like Meg Fee, Laura Jane Williams, & Hannah Brencher I've mustered up the courage to be brave & vulnerable. And see what happens. 

I've been single so long I feel as if it defines me & that's infuriating. Change terrifies me, I have to fully wrap my head around an idea before I'm remotely okay with the plan. It's no surprise my journey the past 2.5 years has been slow & steady. 

My spiritual journey has been just as tough as it has been rewarding. June 2015 will mark 2 years since I threw my hands in the air & decided to try dating God's way. Two years working on myself, graduating college, figuring out what direction my career was headed. Weekends spent on my face before Jesus pouring out my shame, anger, frustration. Two years sorting out my baggage from my own failed relationships as well as my parents divorce. Time spent alone, not to be confused with lonely. Very rarely have I or do I feel lonely. I've been wrecked. And wrecked. And then wrecked some more. I used to get so ugh when reading about someone submitting to God & then meeting their husband a month later. Like whet? I'm here to be living can & most likely will take a little longer. And that's okay.

You know what's crazy, God completely changed certain desires of my heart. I'm very much a realist & when the Holy Spirit starts talking to start to wonder if you're going nuts. It's hard to even put into words how amazing it is when God speaks directly to you.

 Let me also note: it's completely natural & okay to keep God's promises to yourself. Others, especially those closest to you, can be unintentionally critical & pessimistic. No ones opinion about the life you're living matter except the opinion of Jesus. He loves you & is crazy happy about your desire to live closer to him. 

I suppose I should stop least it's a start, double high fives for baby steps. I feel better & lighter already. I'm so stubborn & all I can do is laugh at myself. 

I ran across this verse while googling "wanting but not needing a man". Something those ladies I mentioned earlier write beautifully about. Isn't God always right on time?

James 1:1-8 New International Version (NIV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.


*photo original to Sophisticated Bliss

Mar 19, 2015

celebrating The best man I know :: happy birthday daddy


  The first person I bonded with post emergency c-section, the one who's green eyes match my own. You taught me through frustration how to ride a bike & shoot a layup properly. By example you demonstrated what hard work & ambition looked like. You made sure to reassure me I could do anything a boy could do...heck I could even do it better. You made me feel beautiful; resulting in me never needing validation from another man. You pushed me & made sure I always gave 110% at practice, any job, even yard work. Because of you I'm a relentless just isn't in my vocabulary. You led me to Jesus & I watched how a man leads a household. You always keep it one hundred percent real & honest about your mistakes & stubbornness. You've believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself. Without your support & encouragement I wouldn't be the woman I am. You are my hero & I thank God every day for blessing me with being your daughter. I love your stories, even if I've heard them a few times before. I love your one-liners & how you laugh at your own jokes. I appreciate all the many sacrifices you've made for our family. You are resilient, brave, loving, passionate, & have so much heart. Even though you don't look a day over 37...Happy 50th Birthday Daddy. I'm so proud of who you are & what you've accomplished...but more importantly, I'm proud to call you my dad. We celebrate you because we love you with all our hearts & you deserve nothing but absolute happiness. 

Mar 18, 2015

Loving Lately Vo.1

Loving Lately Vo.1

I've been really enjoying these products lately. I'm such a creature of habit & get a little gun shy about trying new products, especially skin care. I didn't even realize I was using two Avalon Organics products until I went to compile this little list. Anything organic has to be good, right? :-)

Tanwise // I've tried many a self-tanner. Lotion, aerosol spray, mousse...with bronzer, without bronzer. You name it, I've tried it. I used to tan at salons but at some point you realize "so I could, for real, possibly, get skin cancer from this. yeah no thanks". I bought Tanwise after reading the rave reviews from Maskcara. It's inexpensive, found at Sally Beauty, & gives an awesome bronze-streak fee color payoff.

Estee Lauder 'Advanced Night Repair' // I received this as a free gift with purchase a few weeks ago. I have to say, this may replace my Ole Henriksen night serum...I'm loving what it's done to my skin. Bonus, it has zero scent. I can't figure out why brands put scent in anything that's to be applied to the face. Yuck.

Avalon Organics 'Vitamin C Toner' // I picked this up on a whim at Target one day. Usually I research things to death before pulling the trigger but I'm glad I gave this guy a try. Smells amazing, doesn't irritate my skin, & feels refreshing.

Avalon Organics 'Scalp Treatment Shampoo' // I couldn't find a great picture online of the shampoo, so here's the conditioner lol. I also picked this up randomly at Whole Foods because it was on sale. Winter really dried out my scalp & this has helped tremendously. Plus it smells amazing.

MAC 'Speak Louder' Lipstick // This baby came home with me after I turned in my back-to-MAC empties. I was looking for a pinky red that wasn't matte. I wore matte lips pretty much all winter so it was time for a little shine.

MAC 'Get Rich Quick' Dazzleglass // This has been a long time favorite & I always get compliments when I wear it. It looks dark in the tube but I assure you it isn't. Pop over any lipstick for an amazing sparkle or wear alone to give lips a little somethin-somethin.

Stila 'Kitten' // Late to the party on this beauty! This came in the 'in the lights' palette I received for Christmas & I've worn it pretty much every day since. No joke, (that I've worn makeup). It's just that good.

I love reading what someones favorites are & I'm always happy to share mine! Tell me...what are you loving lately?

Mar 15, 2015

sunday thoughts vo.1

It's noon on a Sunday and I'm sitting in front of my porch as the sun warms my leg. Wearing my favorite sweatshirt I picked up from a thrift store, and I feel good. Sipping an iced coffee, listening to Brandi Carlile's new album with my hair in the same messy bun it's been in since Friday morning. And I feel strong.

 Yesterday I worked out my chest and triceps and then spent the day with my dad and his girlfriend. Gratitude filled my heart, I have the freedom to hang out and belly laugh with people who get me, support me, love me and I felt Jesus. I appreciate tough seasons in moments of pure joy, not for any one reason but because I made it out the other side. Bruised and a little beaten up but I made it

Kansas City has been warm and sunny; man oh man did I miss the sun on my face. I had Lamars donuts for breakfast without any trace of guilt because #treatyoself. My muscles are sore and I thank my body for being good to me. I've come to the realization that I love my body just the way she is but I want to be better, faster, stronger (kanye, anyone?). 

I should really clean my kitchen from the bucatini diablo I made Wednesday but that's the glory of living alone. All of a sudden I feel the need to savor my singleness because it won't last forever. I enjoy being silent and in my own company. 

Acne scars are fading and I'm loving minimal, glowy, bronzed makeup. 

Life is happening and it's terrifying and satisfying all at the same time.

*photo original to Sophisticated Bliss

Feb 2, 2015

Brand Spotlight // Ole Henriksen

Untitled #4

I love Ole Henriksen products. It started as most love affairs...we flirted, which made me only want more. Thus turning into a full blown exclusive relationship. I guess I should start at the beginning. My skin decided to freak out right before my 25th birthday. I struggled with mild cystic acne & thanks to benzoyl peroxide, slowly but surely my skin recovered. However, thanks to mean girl acne my skin was scarred with hyper-pigmentation. I've never really heard anyone talk about Ole's products but the bright packaging caught my eye at Sephora. I tried out the 3 Little Wonders mini set & was instantly hooked. I bought that set twice before I decided to fully commit. To get the best bang for your buck I suggest buying the 3 Little Wonders full size set, I got mine before holiday time which came with an extra bonus of African Red Tea Cleanser. I then stared to notice Ole products at TJ Maxx & Marshalls....#score. My skin can be sensitive but none of these products made me break out, cause more oil production, or dried my skin. My skin is radiant, produces less oil, & hyper-pigmentation had faded significantly. In fact, after using these products I started to consistently get more compliments on my makeup application. Ole for the win! 

African Red Tea Cleanser // I use this in the morning, smells amazing & doesn't strip my skin.

Sheer Transformation // Amazing for my oily skin, sinks in beautifully & provides the perfect amount of moisture. I have a backup of this, which I've never done with any product. like ever.

Enlighten Me Skin Tone Corrector // This is a newer one that I found in a set at Marshalls for only $20! So far, I'm loving it under my morning moisturizer.  

Sugar Glow Scrub // I think this may be discontinued. #sadface I found mine once again at TJ Maxx. I use it about 2-3 times a week in the shower as it can be quit messy. Smells & tastes good. 

Invigorating Night Treatment // I use this every night before bed, the fruit acids leave my skin so glowy by morning. 

Power Peel // This was also included in the Enlighten Me set, includes an almond scrub, a peel, & a mask. I've only used it once & it was lovely. 

Truth Serum // I don't use this as much because it causes my makeup primer to pill but other than that it soaks in nicely & has really helped with hyper-pigmentation.

I love that all of his products consist of natural ingredients. On his website he lists all ingredients & their specific purpose. I can't say enough positive things about this brand. No, I'm not being compensated for this post. All products were purchased with my hard earned dinero. Get some samples next time you're at Sephora, your skin with thank you. Trust me. 


Jan 16, 2015

oh hey friday // 5 randoms

Cheers friends, it's Friday! This week doesn't seem to have drug on like last week, praise the Lord. I've put together some random thing's I'm loving this week.

1. I worked out 3 times this week, woo-hoo! I did a leg day, arms + shoulders + abs, & a plyo day. It's truly amazing what our bodies can do, we don't give them enough credit. Super excited for Spring + warmer weather to get moving outside!

2. I've been hunting for an affordable black crossbody but it's been hard to find what I want that's also in a reasonable price range. Annnnd this is why I love Hautelook. Hautelook has flash sales that last only a few days, I typically only buy makeup but I couldn't pass up this Rebecca Minkoff bag & I used Christmas money. Win win! I've also been searching for curtains. Why are curtains so dang expensive? I found these first through Macy's but they were actually less expensive through another site. Another win! 

3. Ginger beer. Some reason I always thought ginger beer was ginger flavored regular beer. I hate the taste of beer so I never tried it. Silly me. I stumbled across a blog post about all different kinds of ginger beer & how it can help with an upset stomach. I tend to get a sour stomach so I'm always looking for a symptom reliever. I got this from Trader Joe's & it's quite tasty. Not too sweet, not too spicy. 

4. Jayhawk basketball. The team is finally starting to mesh & we're looking good. This dunk against Oklahoma State is nasty. 

5. I always love Design Love Fest's wallpapers but this batch is awesome + motivating!

I hope everyone has an amazing, relaxing weekend! 

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup


Jan 12, 2015

Influenster Voxbox

This is my third Influenster VoxBox but the first time I've received one while having a blog. These are always fun to get in the mail because they're always filled with a plethora of goodies. It's quick & easy to sign up for a box of your own on Influenster.

 1. NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugarplum // $1.99

--the formula seems nice but the color is frosty, probably won't wear this too much.

2. Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea // 1 bag

--I love peppermint tea, loved this.

3. EcoTools Hair Brush // $10.99

--When I round-brush my hair, I use a boar bristle round brush. I tried this brush & it worked...don't love it or hate it.

4. McCormick Gourmet Thyme // $4.79

--honestly, I chuckled when I saw random. Haven't used it yet but I can always use seasoning...thinking of making thyme & rosemary red baby potatoes.

5. Fruit Vines Bites // $1.28-$1.79

--sadly I can't eat chewy candies anymore, trouble with fillings that I have yet to get fixed. whoops. However, I do enjoy redvines. 

6. Rimmel Gentle Eyes Makeup Remover // $7.49

--typically I don't need eye makeup remover....this did the job. 

7. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner // $4.49

--I love Rimmel as a brand, they never disappoint. I have enough black eyeliner to last me a lifetime...thanks Ipsy. This was creamy & very black....& absolutely waterproof. 

8. No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum // $22.99

--haven't tried this yet, I've almost mastered my skincare routine & don't want to risk messing it up.

Head over to Influenster & get your own box!

*I received these products complimentary for review purposes

Jan 9, 2015

2015 : goals + vision


One of the most impactful lessons I've learned from my boss/mentor is to set goals with actionable to-dos. I've fought him on it because it requires digging deep, past surface level stuff. You can't say you want to pay off debt & not have specific actions in place to achieve that goal. 

Vision is much broader & possibly abstract. Vision can be what you want you life to look like this year or in 10 years. I've wrestled with vision because I know Jesus has already mapped out my who am I to think I can change that. God put things on our hearts for a reason, he gives us great vision for our lives. In a way, you speak "it" into existence. For example, marriage is one of the biggest desires in my heart. I'm following where Jesus is taking me but I'm also being proactive, which is key. I'm a researcher by nature, so when something peaks my interest I dive in. I've listened to podcasts about what a healthy Christian marriage looks like. I read blogs where couples are vulnerable & honest about challenges marriages face. I'm preparing myself so when the time comes...I have the tools necessary to succeed.

2015 Goals:

:: get in the best physical shape of my life
--exercise 3-4 times a week
--limit fast food/eating out to weekends

:: advance my career to the next level
--deeper & more meaningful conversations with customers
--continue to be a leader by actions/sales
--sell my butt off/make more $$

:: blog
--post 2-3 times a week
--grow readership by being consistent
--impactful & intentional content 

:: faith
--join church I'm attending
--join Grace groups
--build community/fellowship

2015 Vision:

:: by the end of 2015 I'll be an entrepreneur
:: relationship with Christ will be even stronger

Have you written out your goals yet? Link them below so I can check them out!

Jan 5, 2015

here's to looking ahead


I feel like 2014 was challenging for a lot of people. I've never really been one for New Year's resolutions...I mean, who really keeps them anyway? I've also never wanted to see a year end as badly as 2014. Reflection has been heavy on my mind...what good are struggles if we don't have any take-a-ways? I ran across that quote by R.M. Drake on Instagram & it really resonated with me. The toughest times in my life catapulted me into some of the happiest & created the biggest self development. Never in my life have I felt like it's truly my time to win. Now is the time to tap into your full potential; mind, body, spirit. 2015 will be need to be afraid of failure or greatness. We can conquer 2015 & do it well

Keep shining....the world needs your light!

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