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true life stories ~ how to pack for a trip to alaska

alaska vacation outfits 01Please notice I did not title this How To Pack Lightly For Alaska.  I’m pretty sure I will never write a blog post on how to pack lightly.  Just wanted to be clear on that, first.

I booked this trip months ago {gotta get those cheap airfares}, and have since spent a bit of time thinking about what in the world I was going to wear on my trip to our northernmost state.  Pinterest, my favorite source of inspiration, surprisingly did not offer much help when I was trying to mentally plan outfits.  So I thought I’d put together my own post in case these outfits work out well for a trip to Alaska in May. I’ll be sure to report back and let you all know, or you can follow along with my trip on SnapChat {abi.ruth – abi underscore ruth was already taken, which made me sad because that’s my social media handle everywhere else} and Instagram, where I’ll probably be posting the most while I’m gone.

Can you guys tell I am just a little bit excited about this vacation??!!  I mean, I have ideas all the time for blog posts, and much like the ideas I have all the time for all sorts of things in life, I mostly don’t follow through and do a lot of them.  So this is kind of a big deal, even though it’s not really.  I actually took the time to photograph my outfits for this trip before I packed them!  And I was almost completely packed over twenty-four hours before I even leave!

Okay, enough patting myself on the back, let’s talk clothes! :)

When I asked my friend Betsy what the weather is like up there right now, she said it’s been around the fifties during the day and cools down a bit at night.  She said layers are the key to dressing in Alaska.  So I packed things I can layer.

For the outermost layers, I am taking these pieces below.  The big, chunky sweater in the middle is roomy and incredibly cozy and it has pockets!  No matter how many layers I have on, I can throw this over it all.  And it’s a nice long length so it will keep my booty warm, too.  :)  I plan on taking it on the plane to use as a blanket and/or pillow.  The black and white sheer top will add a cool graphic punch to any outfit.  And the little floral jacket is one of my favorite recent pieces – all the colors make it go with almost anything.

I got the striped piece online somewhere a long time ago, maybe from GoJane.  The awesome sweater is one of my favorite thrifted items this year so far.  I found it at Heart and Hand thrift store, and I’ve worn it about a million times since buying it.  I found the perfect floral jacket at Burlington Coat Factory not too long ago.

alaska vacation outfits 02Next up are my long sleeved tops I’m taking.  You might notice I’m not a super casual person, but I tried hard to pack stuff I can wear outside while hiking/sightseeing. I think I did a good job?

The only top here that wasn’t thrifted is the bright orange one.  I’ve had it forever and I can’t even remember where I got it.alaska vacation outfits 03Okay, so I have to mention this about these tank tops I’m taking: every single one of these is Mossimo brand from Target {I think they make some of the best tanks that fit well and don’t wear out quickly}, but I found every single one of these at thrift stores!  Just thought that was kind of funny.  Other than the green/black/white one, these tanks are long enough to pull down over my bottom, thereby adding that essential layer to meet my leggings requirements. :)  Also, I think the blue dip dyed one is probably a guys tank top, but whatev.alaska vacation outfits 04Look, tee shirts!  I can do casual…. haha.  And yes, I know the emerald green top isn’t a tee shirt, but it fell into the short sleeve shirt category {and it’s a cute, flattering top that doesn’t wrinkle – kinda perfect!}.  These shirts were all thrifted except for the sweet Oklahoma tee, which I got at DNA Galleries a couple years ago {#shoplocal!}.alaska vacation outfits 05Finally we have made it to the bottoms {that was a lot of tops, y’all}…. Silver leather-ish looking leggings from Amazon, because why not?!  I think I am going to wear those on my flight to Alaska, because I like to make a statement with my arrival {I’m getting in at 2:23am, but whatev} and because I have a layover in Vegas and I fully plan on spending all of it playing the slot machines in the airport there — and silver leggings seem fitting for that, right? :)

But wait, it gets better.. See these sweet wide leg printed pants?  I got them at CVS for nine ninety-nine.  This is a true story!  I try to act like I’m so cool, like all my clothes come from thrift stores or local shops, but really, when I’m at CVS buying makeup {I have their rewards card and I get allll the coupons, guys!} and I see a cute pair of pants that for some unknown and unexplainable reason are being sold at CVS, I must buy them.  Apparently.  Ain’t no shame in the game.  Okay, maybe a teeny tiny bit of shame.

Anyway.  The grey jeans were a thrifted answer to prayer, as I’ve searched high and low for grey jeans that fit great.  I was at the point where I was willing to pay a lot for them, when just the other day I found these at a thrift store.  Yay!  The bright leggings came from Ross and the black ones from Goodwill.  The blue yoga pants came from TJ Maxx, which has great workout clothes for good prices.  And I thought it would be smart to bring one skirt along {I got it at Burlington Coat Factory a long time ago}.  This stretchy knee length pencil skirt packs great and the charcoal color goes with almost anything.

alaska vacation outfits 06I planned each piece I am taking and was pretty organized about it, otherwise I would have packed soooo much more.  I have specific outfits in mind, but I tried to pack things I could mix and match, since I’m not sure exactly what all we will be doing while I’m there {and because I like to have options}.  Really, I think I could make outfits to last for about a month from these clothes!

To save room, I always roll most of my clothes when packing. alaska vacation outfits 07Some tops with their buttons and pockets and sleeves seem bulkier to me if I roll them, so I just fold them instead. alaska vacation outfits 08I saved the shoes for last because shoes are the best, right??  Obviously I have to take one pair of {thrifted} heels.  I have no idea if I’ll wear them, but if we go to church or a nice dinner, I’ll be happy I have them.  Trust me when I say these are, overall, the most casual shoes I have ever taken on any trip!  I am so proud of myself for packing such practical shoes, y’all.  I mean, at least I think they are practical.  They’re practical for me.

Oh, pro tip: always bring a pair of flip flops when traveling.  I honestly almost never wear flip flops at home, but they’re great “house shoes”, shower shoes, pool shoes, etc when you’re on vacay. alaska vacation outfits 09So that’s what I’m taking to Alaska.  I also threw in a couple of beanies and a scarf, but I forgot to take pix of those.  Here’s hoping this wardrobe will do me well while I’m on my trip!


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Kelly BeaneMay 22, 2015 - 11:31 pm

You were packed 24 hours before a trip!?!?!? That’s a record ;) This is so much more than what I could have imagined for a trip to Alaska. You are quite amazing my friend!

that’s what she wore ~ a comfy monday work outfit

comfy thrifted work outfit 01

{Big thanks to my sis Amanda for taking all the photos in this post.}

In addition to doing my photography, I also work in an office for a construction company.  I’ve worked here for years, and this job has been a huge blessing in my life in several ways.  Not only does it help pay for my shopping addiction my bills, but it also provides some structure in my life.  I am not the best at establishing boundaries, even when it comes to work hours and such, so it helps to have a job in an office with “normal” working hours.  It also helps to have a job where I can edit photos and work on blog posts and such things, as long as I get my other work done.  My bosses are very kind and laid back, and I can wear pretty much anything I want to work, but even with a relaxed attitude and no restrictions at the office, I try to make an effort to look nice.  Even so, on Monday mornings {after often doing photo shoots during the weekend}, I sometimes am pretty not-excited about getting up and being at work at 8am on Monday – just like everyone else in the world, right?  So, this outfit is perfect for days when you want to be comfy and feel like you’re wearing sweats, but still look presentable at work.  Now, maybe your office isn’t as laid back as mine {sorry}, and if that’s the case you could consider this type of outfit for a casual Friday at work or a weekend look {in which case you’d probably want to swap out the heels for some Chucks or something}.

As I think I’ve mentioned before on these outfit posts, my goal isn’t to provide you with links to purchase these items {they are almost always all thrifted, after all}, but more to give you ideas for outfits.  I get comments all the time from people saying they need help with style, and I love to talk about clothes, so for me it’s fun and hopefully helpful to break down my thought process about outfits.  To be honest, it helps me, too.  Usually I don’t really think about why I choose to wear a certain thing, or why I pair items together .  But when I post about it, it helps me analyze and define my style.  For example, looking at these pix, I think: I should have pushed up my sleeves and had them rolled/bunched around my elbows.  It would have added a little bit of the coolness factor {just look at the JCrew site to see what I mean}.

Also, I feel I need to touch on this as briefly and delicately as possible….as I’ve gotten older {I’m thirty-four}, my metabolism has slowed down and my love of food has not, so I’ve gained a bit weight.  I’m not super happy at all with my body right now.  To be honest, it’s mainly because a lot of my clothes don’t fit and that makes me sad.  haha.  I know, I should be more concerned about my health, and I am.  But what can I say, I’m a little vain and sometimes shallow. ;)  However, I think forcing myself to record some outfits now is good {as much as I might want to hide from the camera} because not all women are very thin, but the vast majority of style bloggers are.  I still love looking at fashion blogs, but often I find myself thinking the outfits featured wouldn’t really look very good on me.  So maybe I can provide some style inspiration for women who are closer to my size.

And of course, a big goal of mine with these outfit posts is to show people the type of fun, nice clothing you can find at thrift stores if you are willing to put in some effort.  It’s nice to potentially save money while reducing, reusing, and recycling, and to look good on top of it all. :)comfy thrifted work outfit 02Okay, let’s talk about the outfit {finally, I know}.  The top and skirt were thrifted.  The necklace is from Stella and Dot, and was a gift to me from my awesome friend Angie.  The purse was given to me by my mom, who had someone give it to her when they were tired of it.  I love gifts and hand-me-downs! :)comfy thrifted work outfit 03comfy thrifted work outfit 07Pockets are always, always a welcome addition to any piece of clothing, right?comfy thrifted work outfit 08These shoes came from GoJane a long time ago, and they are super versatile.  Every time I wear them, I get compliments on them.  I think adding the necklace and these heels really elevates this outfit from slouchy-comfy wear to okay-I-can-wear-this-to-work wear.comfy thrifted work outfit 06I almost didn’t post this pic because I think my butt looks not-so-great.  But then I figured, what the heck, let’s just break the internet. ;)  Joking.  Doing leg lifts, lunges, and squats as soon as I finish writing this! :)  {My butt used to be my best feature.  Aging and gravity have not worked in my favor. Dang it! ;-/}comfy thrifted work outfit 05Oh!  I almost forgot to talk about my shades.  Like all my other glasses, they are prescription glasses from ZenniOptical.  I just got them, and I already love them so much!  They cost nineteen dollars, people!  Well, plus a little extra for the tinting to turn them into sunglasses.  I chose the eighty percent tinting on these, if anyone is wondering.  I wasn’t sure if eighty percent would be too dark, but I like it. comfy thrifted work outfit 09Whenever I am shopping {thrifting}, I am constantly drawn to clothing that has a little extra something, some sort of unique detailing.  The little pockets on this top, the studs on the heels, and the slit in the skirt all add visual interest to what otherwise might be a pretty basic outfit.

Plus, thanks to good genes and lots of heel-wearing, my legs are part of my body that I’m actually pretty happy with, so a slit on a long skirt works well for me.  You’ve gotta know what you’re working with, people.  Emphasize the good! :)comfy thrifted work outfit 11comfy thrifted work outfit 10Hope this Monday is the beginning of a lovely week for all of you.  I am freaking out excited because I head to Alaska on Wednesday to visit some lifelong friends.  Can’t wait!!


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AnnaMay 18, 2015 - 10:22 pm

i love the color combo! Blue and grey are my favorites for comfy clothes. You inspire me to go thrifting with every outfit you wear! And your butt looks great ;)

Abi RuthMay 19, 2015 - 9:25 pm

haha! thanks, anna. :)

Kelly BeaneMay 22, 2015 - 11:35 pm

Although I love the color in this outfit, that last b&w image is my favorite of you! Those heels are to die for too!

photo shoot ~ foster’s senior portraits

outdoor male senior portraits 04Very rare late night Saturday blog post here….because I tried to do this earlier today and my computer was being soooo sloooow and I ran out of time.  And I was determined to get this posted on Foster’s graduation day.  So here it is: some of my favorites from his senior portrait session in Oklahoma City, and some nice words about one of the coolest boys I know. :)

Foster is such a great guy.  Really.  He seeks God and reflects His love.  Foster is quick to make others laugh, usually by trying to make a fool of himself.    I jokingly call Foster a politician, because every time I am around him, no matter where we are, he is always seeing people he knows and greeting them by name while offering a sincere handshake. :) He puts others at ease and is extremely considerate of those he loves.  He is strong in his faith and confident in himself, which is very refreshing to see in a young man.  Foster is part of a wonderful family.  He is extremely respectful toward women, which I am sure has been influenced by his awesome older sisters and his amazing parents.  I am so glad I’ve had a chance to get to know Foster and be part of his high school years.  I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him!outdoor male senior portraits 02outdoor male senior portraits 03outdoor male senior portraits 01outdoor male senior portraits 05Oh!  And he can rock a bow tie better than most guys!  Plus he has really nice hair.  That’s a deadly combo. :)outdoor male senior portraits 06outdoor male senior portraits 07outdoor male senior portraits 08outdoor male senior portraits 09outdoor male senior portraits 10outdoor male senior portraits 11outdoor male senior portraits 12outdoor male senior portraits 13outdoor male senior portraits 14outdoor male senior portraits 15Foster~

Congrats on graduating!  I am so proud of you and I so admire the person you are.  Thanks for letting me be a part of your life and for laughing at whatever ridiculous things I must have said during your photo session {sincere smiles are the best!}.  And thanks for treating my girl right. ;)


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for grace

G120A few years ago, after being in my small group at Switch for awhile, Grace Day came to me and asked me to mentor her.  We started meeting on a weekly basis.  We went through some books together, read out of the Bible, prayed, ate, talked, laughed, cried {okay I cried way more than she ever did}, tried to serve others, asked the hard questions, and grew closer to God and closer to each other.

In 2013-2014, Grace went to South Africa for almost a year.  We wrote letters and sent packages and Skyped and emailed.  I missed her a lot, but when she came back, I saw how God had used that time to transform Grace.  She was wiser, stronger in her faith, her heart was more aware of others, her ability to love had expanded, her outlook on life forever changed in really good ways.

Grace’s faith doesn’t come as easily for her as mine does for me.  She questions things, she wrestles with God.  And it’s wonderful.  Because she has learned and is learning that God is always there for her.  The answers aren’t always clear or easy, but she is learning more and more to let go and trust Him.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of.

During her senior year, I’ve watched Grace excel at leading others.  I’ve seen her open herself up and be more vulnerable, which in turn makes her stronger than she’s ever been before.  I’ve watched while she has grown up so much that I’m sitting here crying while I write, like some lame old person.

Tonight Grace graduates from high school and next fall she will head to the University of Arkansas.  And I’ll just be sitting here crying, most likely. ;)  But really, I am very excited to watch her journey from here forward.  I know she is going to change the world, because she has already changed mine.

This post is for anyone who has ever thought about finding a mentor.  I know it’s difficult to approach someone and ask them to invest in your life.  I know, because I went through that process.  And now I have a wonderful lady who gives freely of her time to pour into my life, heart, and soul {shout out to Kathy!!}.  I promise it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Go!  Find a mentor!  Do it.

This post is for anyone who has ever thought about mentoring someone – and maybe for those who haven’t thought about it, but definitely should.  You don’t have to have it all together {trust. me.}!  You don’t have to have all the answers.  I am the perfect example of a broken, flawed individual who God has managed to use.  I promise you will learn more than you will ever teach.  Please consider mentoring someone, or maybe even more than one someone. 

And finally, this post is for Grace.  I am so, so proud of you.  You truly are amazing.  Thank you.  Thank you for asking me to start meeting with you years ago.  Thank you for sharing your life with me.  Thank you for being you, perfect and beautiful just as you are!  I love you so much!  Congrats on your graduation!!


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photo shoot ~ grace & kaylee, seniors

senior best friend pictures 01Grace and Kaylee are both graduating from Bethany High School tomorrow night!  These girls have been friends most of their lives.  They asked me to do some pix of the two of them to use for their grad party this weekend. senior best friend pictures 02senior best friend pictures 03The only time we get get our schedules {and the light} to cooperate was early on a Saturday morning, but Grace and Kaylee showed up without complaint and we had fun taking photos around downtown OKC.senior best friend pictures 04senior best friend pictures 05senior best friend pictures 06senior best friend pictures 07senior best friend pictures 08senior best friend pictures 09senior best friend pictures 10senior best friend pictures 11senior best friend pictures 12Congrats, girls, on your graduation!! :)


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