12.08.2017 // Friday Charades

J Crew Colorblock Coat

Outerwear: J Crew Colorblock Coat // Boots: Joules Evedon Rain Boots {also here}

Scarf: Fringe Striped Scarf // Socks: Grey Cable Knit Thigh High Socks

Eyewear: Le Specs Liar Lair Sunglasses {only $60} // Jewelry: Kate Spade Pearl Earrings {c/o}

Navy White Stripe Fringe ScarfJoules Evedon Rain Boots

Outerwear: J Crew Colorblock Coat // Boots: Joules Evedon Rain Boots {also here}

Scarf: Fringe Striped Scarf // Socks: Grey Cable Knit Thigh High Socks

Eyewear: Le Specs Liar Lair Sunglasses {only $60} // Jewelry: Kate Spade Pearl Earrings {c/o}


Although the beginning of December brings fun traditions like shopping for a tree and decorating for the holidays, it’s incredibly difficult at the same time.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of my mom’s death. She passed away when I was a senior in college, and I received the news on the dance floor of a fraternity formal. Looking back, it still feels like a scene out of a horror movie. Everything seemed perfect – wearing a beautiful gown, dancing with my friends, etc. – and then, WHAM.

Back then (and without dating myself too much), we didn’t take our cell phones with us everywhere. Seems crazy now, right? I had left mine at my college apartment which was located about an hour away from the formal. Thankfully, my dad got ahold of a friend who drove to find me and share the news. I remember the moment like it was yesterday… I immediately lost control of my body and dropped to the floor – shaking uncontrollably with tears streaming down my face. I kept crying until my ducts couldn’t produce any more tears.

So what happened?

My mom and dad were at a friend’s 50th birthday party. They were standing for the champagne toast when she suddenly slumped on my Dad’s shoulder. She’d had a catastrophic stroke and would never wake again. She was braindead a few days later… on my brother’s 24th birthday.

It was the day when all the color disappeared from our worlds. There are still corners of my mind that have not been filled-in since.

Losing a parent is cruel and punishing. No one and nothing prepares you for it – especially the loss of a mother’s unconditional love, spirit, and energy. As an impressionable young woman, there was still so much I needed her to teach me. To tell me. My heart especially aches for my brother. No one should be reminded of a parent’s death on their birthday. Every. Single. Year.

Weeks after her death, my brother and I found journals she had written for us, dating back to our high school years. We have two journals each, and they are lifelines to her heart. It’s nearly impossible for me to get through a single entry without losing it. One look at her handwriting, and I’m transported back to that dance floor watching life’s narrative be transcribed for me and my family.

There are countless moments, even this week, where I wish she was alive to talk through things. Give advice, tell me to sleep more, work less, and be my toughest (but best) critic. I wonder: “Would she be proud of me?”

“Would she challenge me to better than the woman I am today?” The list goes on and on.

I’ll never know, but I have a choice – either be that young girl stranded on the dance floor or to get up and dance through life.

I choose to dance.

Here are the links that made me happy this week:

  • How darling is Kit’s round-up of holiday wreaths on homes throughout Boston?
  • This twist-back sweater looks so comfy.
  • Grace proves that there’s nothing better than having close friends over for comfort food.
  • I have a weakness for a good metallic pleated skirt, and this one is no exception.
  • I absolutely love how Marianne styled her cozy sweater dress.
  • The nude pumps I have been wearing almost non-stop are on sale for under $70!
  • Pretty sure I could stare at Mackenzie’s incredible pics from Giraffe Manor all day.
  • The perfect high waist grey skinny jeans.
  • Dana always finds the best velvet pieces – love!
  • This fit and flare Carolina Herrera dress is an absolute dream.
  • I’m obsessed with this bold print on Hayet.
  • This circle tote had be at “yellow!”
  • So inspired to book a trip to Savannah after seeing Krystin’s amazing post.
  • Pretty sure I need this long pink cardigan in my life (and the other four colors, too).
  • Kat found the coziest pink knit sweater. Obsessed!
  • I finally caved and bought these leggings everyone has been raving about. They definitely live up to the hype (and they’re on sale)
  • Drooling over my friend Megan’s new jewelry.
  • This preppy stripe turtleneck is so cute.
  • No one does a monochromatic grey look better than Amy.
  • These might be the chicest pair of pants I’ve ever seen.
  • Get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor after seeing Allie’s post from Vienna.
  • The perfect weekend sweatshirt.
  • Head over heels for Ashley’s bold green + stripe look.


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View All 17 Comments

  1. B

    Jenn I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mom! I can only imagine how hard that has been. I love how you reference the color because I can really feel how this is a tribute to your mom and keeping her with you! Sending you lots of love, friend!

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      Thank you, Bryn! It’s still so hard, and in many ways I’m still trying to find my way. I miss her every day!

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  2. D
    Dana Mannarino wrote:

    Oh Jenn, I’m so sorry to hear this story about your mom. Truly devastating, but I know she would be SO proud of the woman you’ve become and I hope you know she’s with you every single step of the way. She would be in awe of how much of an inspiration you are to others! Like Bryn mentioned, I love the color reference — it’s like such an amazing tribute to your mom.

    Pink Champagne Problems

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      Through the highs and lows of blogging, I’m thankful for your authentic friendship. Thanks for being so wonderful and supportive! Hope to see you soon!

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  3. S
    SarahLagen wrote:

    Ahh Jenn, I’m so sorry to hear this! I can’t image what it’s like to lose your mother at such a young age. My mom got sick when I was a freshman in college on my birthday, we took her into the hospital and she didn’t come out for 3 months. It was a horrible and hard time.

    I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m sure your mother is looking down and so proud of the woman you’ve become!

    xo, Sarah

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      Sarah – I am SO SO sorry to hear about your mother and your family’s experience. I truly can’t imagine having to see your mom like that for three months. Sending you hugs!

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  4. C
    Caroline wrote:

    Oh Jenn I am so sorry about your mom. I am sure that your mom would be incredibly proud of the woman you are today. You have accomplished so much and you brighten people’s day with your beautiful photos. I know that we don’t know each other in real life but you are a beautiful person inside and out. Maybe some day if you are open to it, we can meet for a coffee. In the mean time I will send you a hug. 🙂

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      I would love grabbing coffee if time permits. Thank you for such a sweet message.

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  5. A

    jenn, i’m in actual tears. i can’t even image going through all of that especially at such a young age. it makes me beyond happy that you chose to dance and in the process, make everyone else smile with your infectious energy and personality. without a doubt your mother would have been so proud of the woman you have become and you continue not only to inspire me as well as all of those around you. thank you for sharing this story! sending so much love today!



    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      Allie, you have such a wonderful heart. My mom would have LOVED you as one of my friends today. Thank you for everything and sending you so many hugs!

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  6. C

    Thank you so much for sharing this Jenn – I can’t imagine what it was like losing your mother, but I can tell you based on everything I know that she would be so proud of you. I lost my grandmother a week an a half ago and wanted you to know that this post really touched me and reminded me that she’ll still be part of my life for those big moments, just like your mom is still with you.

    xx Caroline

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Caroline. Sending you so much love right now as you deal with the loss of your grandmother. You are strong, and I am here for you!

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  7. A
    Amy Benson wrote:

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ There is no doubt in my mind that your mom would be EXTREMELY proud of the woman you have grown to be!!!!! You have accomplished so much!!!

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  8. T

    That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing this moment in your life 🙂

    Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
    • J
      Jenn Lake wrote:

      Thank you for reading and for commenting on this blog post. I really appreciate it!

      Published 12.8.17 · Leave a Reply
  9. M
    Mary Fremeau wrote:

    I was so incredibly sorry to read this post. I am so, so, sorry that you lost your mom so young. No one deserves that. My heart just broke for you. I know that it doesn’t get easier with time, but seriously, your mom would be SO PROUD OF YOU for what you’ve accomplished in your blog and career– you are an inspiration to so many women!! I am just so sorry you went through this (and go through this). Thank you for sharing, and know that you’re in my prayers this holiday season. She’s shining down on your with so much pride!

    Published 12.9.17 · Leave a Reply


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