La Vie en Rose

Jessica Sturdy wearing a Bershka striped ruffled hem cropped top with Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with a "La Vie en Rose" embroidered straw tote created in collaboration with Jessica Sturdy.

So, remember that time I almost got a tattoo?! Here’s the backstory… (And to my parents, if you’re reading this, don’t be alarmed. I’m currently ink-free, but who knows what the future holds, haha. Please also read: I will be 29 this year. #IDoWhatIWant JK, but seriously.)

Chicago fashion blogger Jessica Sturdy wearing pink sunglasses, Bershka candy striped shirt, Cotton On high-rise shorts with Soludos slide sandals and a White Elephant Designs embroidered straw tote with "La Vie en Rose" collaboration with Jessica Sturdy at Lake Michigan in Chicago.

At the end of last summer, I was hell bent on getting a tattoo. I’ve kind of wanted one for years, but I could never really think of something that was meaningful enough to permanently tattoo on my own skin… Ya know?! Heck, most days I can’t even decide which entree I want at dinner. And please never make me commit to just one coffee beverage in the morning. I like a selection, okay?! But like, a whole collection of tattoos really isn’t my thing. I’ve wanted one, but I’ve never really gone out searching for exactly what to get. I figured it would just kind of find me, as pretty much all things in my life normally do.

Jessica Sturdy wearing a Bershka striped ruffled hem cropped top with Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with a "La Vie en Rose" embroidered straw tote created in collaboration with Jessica Sturdy.

Maybe a year or two ago, I decided that I wanted a word or a small phrase on my wrist. Teeny tiny, thin script in French, so the majority of people around me wouldn’t know what it meant. Not like “amour” or something cliche, but something more complex. But every time I would look up a word that was meaningful in my life or spoke to me in some way, the French version just wouldn’t work for a tattoo. Example: rose (my middle name and “spirit sign”) in English is rose in French. Literally everything I would look up would be, like, “NOPE. NEXT.”

Jessica Sturdy wearing a Bershka striped ruffled hem cropped top with Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with a "La Vie en Rose" embroidered straw tote created in collaboration with Jessica Sturdy.

And then somewhere I read a quote by Édith Piaf and it’s translation and everything clicked. Funnily enough, this happened a week before I was going to Paris this past September for a work project. YEP, it’s happening. I’m getting this tattoo in Paris. One of my best friends is super talented when it comes to penmanship, so we went back and forth for a bit … You can see that here and what the final design was here!

“Quand il me prend dans ses bras, qu’il me parle tout bas, je vois la vie en rose.” -Édith Piaf

I read that it meant “When he takes me in his arms and speaks to me softly, I see the world through rose-colored glasses” and a lightbulb went off. Obviously none of the bit about the dude, but the “seeing the world through rose-colored glasses” stuck out to me for a number of reasons.

1. I know I have a pretty sarcastic attitude most of the time here on the blog and on social media, and lord knows I don’t shy away from pointing out any champagne problems that arise. But those that really know me know this to be true, I truly always try to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Finding the silver lining is a daily practice for me, especially during the tough times. I’ve wrote about it a little bit here on the blog, but the last two years have been challenging with a capital fucking C. All caps, actually. Now that it’s finally feeling like some of the clouds are clearing, I really do plan on sharing more both here on the blog and on my (coming soon!) podcast. It’s been hard to be creative, it’s been hard to work, it’s been hard to function like a normal human being a lot of days. And throughout it all, I’m proud of how I’ve handled the hurdles. But we’ll get into that more in the coming months, I promise.

I’m all about a silver lining. I think I have a strange gift where even *when* terrible things are happening, right smack in the middle of all of it, I’m oddly able to see the silver lining, or the good that will come out of a seemingly bad situation. It doesn’t always make it easier, but it does give me some peace along the way.

When I was coming up with podcast names over the last few months, one of my favorites was The Grey Area. It was either already taken or already trademarked for something else, I can’t remember, so it’s not the actual name, which I was bummed about for a while. (I love the real name though, can’t wait to share it with you!) I hope that my podcast will do a good job of helping you navigate the murky waters and talking about the things people don’t really talk about… The Grey Area. We all know I love a play on words, and while The Grey Area can have a neutral or even negative connotation at times, I love how you can easily make a “grey area” a “silver lining” by shifting your perspective and seeing the sparkle. You know?

So to sum it up, to me, “seeing the world through rose-colored glasses” is always looking for the good or the sparkle in any situation.

Jessica Sturdy wearing a Bershka striped ruffled hem cropped top with Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with a "La Vie en Rose" embroidered straw tote created in collaboration with Jessica Sturdy.

2. Like I mentioned above, Rose is my middle name, as well as my mom’s middle name and her grandmother’s name, and will (god-willing) be the middle name of my daughter some day. It’s funny, I really didn’t like my middle name growing up, but I absolutely love it now. I actually had a speech impediment when I was in elementary and middle school and couldn’t say my “R’s” so my name, Jessica Rose Sturdy, was super f*cking fun to say, haha. Kids are absolutely vicious, so I used to shy away from saying pretty much any word with an R, which is why I think I hated my middle name. But after years and years of speech therapy, I can say my R’s and wouldn’t change my middle name for a thing.

3. Roses are my spirit sign, too. I first learned of a “spirit sign” reading Gabby Bernstein’s book, “The Universe Has Your Back.” I’m probably going to totally butcher the explanation, but basically a spirit sign is a little breadcrumb to follow from the Universe. (Read and listen to Gabby talk about it here!) You can rely on signs when you’re conflicted, but I also use them as little pats on the back, as a reminder that I am on the right path and the Universe really does have my back. It’s fun seeing roses or the word “rose” pop up in the most obscure places.

Fashion blogger Jessica Sturdy wearing pink sunglasses, a Bershka candy striped ruffled hem short sleeve cropped top, Cotton On high-rise shorts, and Soludos knotted slides with a White Elephant Designs embroidered tote by Lake Michigan in Chicago.

4. And lastly, my first trip to Paris. Ahh, I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just gotten this pair of Chanel sunglasses and they were one of the few, if not the only pair, I brought on the trip. I kept exclaiming to my friends, “You guys, Paris is just so pink, I love it!” As we all know, I was instantly smitten with Paris… Love at first sight and haven’t looked back since. A day or two into that first trip, I realized that my Chanel sunnies were actually rose-colored goggles, literally. 😂 We discovered that the lenses really did give everything a rosy glow. Thank you, Chanel.

In fact, when I was decorating my bedroom, I searched high and low until I found a print of Paris that had that same pink hue that I so fondly remember the city by.

I’ve always remembered that trip and those sunglasses and the symbolism behind it. It’s easy to fall in love with something when you’re seeing it all with a rosy glow! And that’s something that I’ve tried to incorporate into my life… If you train yourself to look at the situation through a rosy lens, that’s what’s going to be reflected back to you. Looking for the bright side, finding the silver lining, or simply viewing something with a little bit of love… You know?

Chicago fashion blogger Jessica Sturdy wearing pink sunglasses, Bershka candy striped shirt, Cotton On high-rise shorts with Soludos slide sandals and a White Elephant Designs embroidered straw tote with "La Vie en Rose" collaboration with Jessica Sturdy at Lake Michigan in Chicago.

So yeah, there it is! The tattoo that I almost got in Paris. But I guess I should explain the story of how and why it didn’t happen…

I had looked up tattoo shops in Paris and one of them with excellent reviews was right around the corner from where we were having lunch on our last day. (How convenient.) There were closing in about an hour and I was like, “Let’s just f*cking do it. If they’ll take me, it’s a sign. If they don’t have time, I’ll take that as a sign, too.”

They were able to take me as a walk-in since it was such a simple design, but as I was explaining what I wanted and showing her the photos, she told me she wasn’t able to do it. (I had already cut down “je vois la vie en rose” to “la vie en rose” and that was still going to have to be two lines.) She guarantees her work for life (or quite a number of years, I can’t recall) and she told me that such thin script would bleed over time and with the width of my wrist, I’d only be able to get five letters across. Basically, the design was going to take up much more real estate on my wrist than I was wanting, so I walked out ink-free.

It’s funny, I don’t really feel any type of way about not getting it. A lot of times, I wish I had it (how I originally wanted it), but I don’t really mind that I don’t have it either. I would have loved everything that it stood for and would have liked the daily reminder on my left wrist. (That could also be covered with a watch or bracelet if needed…) But I wasn’t going to force it and end up with something that I regretted.

Fashion and lifestyle blogger Bows & Sequins wearing pink sunglasses, a Bershka candy striped short sleeve ruffled hem cropped top and Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with a White Elephant Designs "La Vie en Rose" embroidered straw tote, designed in collaboration with Jessica Sturdy.

So I tattoo’d it on a bag, instead! 😍 I was chatting with the girls at White Elephant Designs not too long after that about creating a straw bag together and when it came to the phrase, this one was a no-brainer. A little reminder to live life with rose-colored glasses this summer!

Shop the La Vie en Rose tote here!

Jessica Sturdy with a La Vie en Rose embroidered straw tote, created in collaboration with White Elephant Designs, and wearing pink sunglasses, a Bershka striped cropped top and Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with Soludos slide sandals at the North Avenue Beach in Chicago.

Get the Look…

Berskha Striped Top (not online; similar here)
Cotton-On High-Rise Shorts
White Elephant Designs Straw Tote c/o
Soludos Knotted Wedge Slide Sandals
Pink Sunglasses (old; similar here & here)

Chicago fashion blogger Jessica Sturdy wearing pink sunglasses, Bershka candy striped shirt, Cotton On high-rise shorts with Soludos slide sandals and a White Elephant Designs embroidered straw tote with "La Vie en Rose" collaboration with Jessica Sturdy at Lake Michigan in Chicago.

I bought this striped top at Bershka when I was in Amsterdam last month and sadly can’t find it online. Here are some similar options, and you can see how I styled it for a dinner date here, too!

Jessica Sturdy with a La Vie en Rose embroidered straw tote, created in collaboration with White Elephant Designs, and wearing pink sunglasses, a Bershka striped cropped top and Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with Soludos slide sandals at the North Avenue Beach in Chicago.

Jessica Sturdy with a La Vie en Rose embroidered straw tote, created in collaboration with White Elephant Designs, and wearing pink sunglasses, a Bershka striped cropped top and Cotton On high-rise flashback shorts with Soludos slide sandals at the North Avenue Beach in Chicago.

Leave a Comment

4 Comments

  1. 6.6.18
    Sydney commented:

    I’ve taken French for four-ish years and it’s such a lovely language, so I love that you wanted a tattoo in French. Plus the meaning behind this one is so lovely! Definitely keep us updated if you ever end up pulling the plug!!
    xo, Sydney
    anchoredinthesouth.com

  2. 6.7.18
    Rena commented:

    Your striped top with the denim shorts is so super cute!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

  3. 6.7.18
    Jherell commented:

    I love the bag even more after hearing the story behind the quote! Definitely adding it to my upcoming shopping list!

  4. 6.7.18
    Meg commented:

    I love this story! I’m really looking forward to your podcast. I have also been struggling with creativity and basically just life in general, for the past year. Hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.