Personal Notes STYLE Summer Fashion Virginia

Long Walks on the Beach

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Happy Friday, friends! Have any big plans for the weekend? My parents are in town visiting, so we will be getting in some hiking before it gets too cold and snowy here for the winter. But today I’m excited to share my final look in a series of photos I took at VA Beach this summer with Jennifer Carr (who is an incredible photographer and an even more incredible person if you are ever in need of pictures in the area!).

Today’s post is all about taking long walks on the beach, why they are my fondest memories of summer, and what I learned most about myself from them.
Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

But first let’s talk about this casual beachy outfit. As an avid believer that cute clothing should also be comfortable clothing, I have always loved wearing chambray pieces in the summer. They give a nod to classic denim while remaining completely breathable and lighter weight for the hot and humid times of year. I’m in love with this chambray jumpsuit I wore last year, so when this chambray dress came in the summer, I knew it would be a versatile piece that I could seamlessly incorporate into my wardrobe.

Not only is the dress in a favorite summery material of mine, but it’s also got the best details–like the button-up closure along the front and cute cutout details along the sides, which make it feel extra fun and summery without showing too much skin.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

I’ve styled it here with an easy, open knit cotton sweater for a long evening walk on the beach and a classic pair of tan leather slides for walking to/from the car. It was the perfect little look for a relaxing night along the coast.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Now…it’s no secret that I’m a fan of walks along the beach, so when Jennifer introduced me to this quieter area (aka: hidden gem) in VA Beach, I couldn’t help myself! It seemed like the perfect place and the perfect way to spend one of my last weekends in the area.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

And these are actually some of my fondest memories from this summer…the long quiet moments I spent on the beach. Whether I was sharing them with a new friend I instantly connected with, or experiencing them by myself in silent reflection, those moments are some of my most cherished. They serve as a sweet reminder to slow down, enjoy the moment, and to soak up everything around me…because the moments we have, the places we live, the people we meet are ever changing.

To me, that’s simultaneously the most exciting and scariest part of life–the ability of this journey to quickly change its course and create a whole different experience than we expected…than we planned for.

This summer, I started out believing it was one of the hardest, most trying times in my life (and it was!). And I just couldn’t see how I was going to make to the other side. But slowly over time I’ve come to better understand these challenges as opportunities, and I’ve come to embrace this time as one of the most exciting times in my life. My life can go so many different directions and I have the ability now to shape it and make it into everything I’ve ever imagined. Life isn’t a set sequence of events. It’s a messy labyrinth of decisions that change over time, gently (or sometimes violently) shifted as we gain new perspectives, new experiences, new challenges, new opportunities in life. And it’s because of these new outlooks, new directions, new strengths I’ve gained that I wouldn’t trade the struggles I’ve been through for anything.

That’s the thing about challenges…you can either let them control you and completely ruin the image of life you had planned, or you can decide to tackle these challenges head on and to embrace whatever next season of change is to follow–making the absolute most out of it. And knowing that just as unexpected, unwelcome changes can happen, so too can long awaited, weclome ones.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

I know with certain tragic events happening recently, remembering this some days can be a challenge in and of itself. And at times can seem utterly impossible.

But I think now, more than ever, it’s that much more important to recognize that our time on this Earth is limited and we have to cherish the moments…the life…we are given while we have them. And to make the most of them! To really use our time and our lives to shape the world and those around us into the place we want to exist in.

And while I know positive energy and thoughts are just the beginning of what it takes to create the lives and world we’ve imagined, it’s the foundation of everything that follows.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

So while it can be hard to feel this at times, I urge you to remember that each new day is a gift and we must use our time here wisely. Stay positive, take action to make the changes you wish to see, and attack each new challenge as an opportunity to make this life and this world a better place to live for everyone.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

It’s really quite beautiful what a quiet moment along the beach (or anywhere) can do for your mental health and well-being. If you’ve got a moment today or this weekend, take a few minutes to think about all the blessings in your life and what you can do today to make the world a better place . Take a moment for yourself and give a moment back to someone else. Let’s leave the world a better place than when we found it.

Madewell Chambray Dress on the Beach | www.cupcakesandthecosmos.com

What about you? What’s one of your favorite memories from this summer?

You might also like…My First Weekend in VA Beach and On Choosing To Be Happy.

Photos by Jennifer Carr

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Get the Look…

Dress: Madewell (similar) | Cardigan: Gap (similar here, here) | Shoes: J. Crew (similar) | Necklace: Madewell (similar)

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