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Feb 22, 2020

From the Archives: The Importance of Self-Care

This post originally appeared on Heavens to Betsy last year, but it's been one of my favorite posts that I've ever written because the topic is one that is both trendy to talk about and yet still so elusive.  It's also one of those posts that comes back to me time and time again and I think it's worth reiterating, because no matter how many times I think I learn this lesson, it doesn't seem to stick.

I'm not 100% sure why the idea of caring for myself is so hard for me; or why it's so hard for so many of us, for that matter.  I think there's a feeling of selfishness associated with taking care of ourselves, or with taking time to do something to get that sought-after "me time".  We carry the banner of being modern superwomen, and we hold it together and make it look so easy, but then when our eyes close at night, we're exhausted in every sense of the word.

We fill our days with work and school and managing our online lives and blogs and shops, and then pile that onto taking care of our marriages and families, and by the end of it all, there's nothing left.  Nothing left in the way of time and nothing left in the way of energy.  There are so many days that I fall into bed at midnight, exhausted from living my energizer-bunny lifestyle since 7:30 that morning, and set my alarm to get up and do it all again the next day.

And yet we get up each day ready to do it all again, drained before the day even begins.

But you know what?  I'm tired.  I'm tired of having so much running through my mind that even my sleep is often plagued with dreams about forgetting things on my to-do list.  I'm tired of watching women stand strong while their souls are weary.

Self care looks differently for each of us.  For some, it's hitting the pavement and going for a run and for others, it's stealing away for a manicure.  Whatever it is for you, it's important, so stop telling yourself that you don't deserve it.  1 Corinthians 3:16 says "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"  If we truly believe that, then why aren't we taking care of ourselves, friends?

Christ didn't sacrifice everything for us to fill our lives with schedules that leave us broken and tired and weary. While He never promised this life would be easy, or safe, I also don't think He intended for us to treat it like a marathon that we have to run at a sprint pace until we collapse from exhaustion.

There's no shame or guilt in saying "It's too much" and taking some time for you. When all that you're living for (and I hope, sister, that it's Christ first and foremost, but beyond that, I'm talking here about your job, kids, creative outlets, marriage, relationship, school, etc.) begins to drain you and pull you under, then it's time to step back.

Let's be women who boldly declare peace and wellness in our own lives.
Let's be women who realize the value of taking care of ourselves so that we can better take care of the people and things that we love.
Let's be women who shrug off the guilt and aren't afraid to say that taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually is important.
And finally, let's be women who leave behind weary in exchange for worth.

Feb 15, 2020

My Hair Story

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Dove Hair, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyHairStory #DovePartner  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsst

My hair and I have been through a lot together.  I've tried countless shampoos and conditioners and dozens of different hairstyles over the years.  From my first perm in sixth grade to various colorings and cuts, it's taken me a long time to feel like I finally found my sweet spot with my locks.  I've written posts in the past talking about the unique texture of my hair...it's thick and pretty coarse and sometimes just has a mind of it's own!  

Over the years, I've gone through a lot of different hairstyles...this particular one below is from a few years ago when I was rocking the bangs.  It's also one that I loved, but I can't say the same for all of my hairstyles!  (Who can?!)  One of my personal faves was what I affectionately refer to as "triangle hair" and was from middle school.  I'll let you imagine what that looked like.  Let's suffice it to say that I've had my fair share of bad hair days/weeks/months, but my and my hair, we're good now.  The different styles and cuts I've had over the years form my own hair story and each moment of that journey, however embarrassing it might be now, is a special one!

I have the kind of hair that responds really well to things like coloring and perms...those types of treatments seem to soften my hair.  Because my hair is very coarse and incredibly dry, it has a tendency to also succumb to the elements.  That means it gets nice and brittle in the winter and gives in to summer humidity.  Add heat styling to that, and my hair definitely needs TLC regularly!

Since my hair loses moisture pretty easily, and it's been damaged over the years by both my terrible hair decisions, the seasons, and styling it, I love knowing that I have the help of fantastic products like Dove Hair.  Dove Hair products have been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember.  My grandmother has always sworn by these classic, gentle, and effective products and I've always loved them!  

I picked up Dove Hair's newest line at Target the other day.  The NEW Dove Hair Regenerative Nourishment Collection might just be the best line yet.  Between the shampoo, shampoo, and Serum in Oil leave my hair beautifully nourished and 100% visibly damage free, no matter what choices I make in terms of cut, color, or style.  I love any product that helps to protect and heal my hair so that I can continue styling it the way I want to without having to worry about damage!

I don't know about you, but I think it's kind of fun to look back over the journey I've been on with my hair.  I can laugh at some of my previous hairstyles now.  No matter what your hair story is, remember that it makes you unique, so don't take yourself too seriously and instead let yourself laugh about the less-than-flattering hairstyles you may have donned in the past, or draw inspiration from those styles that you really loved!  

Next time you are at Target, grab the new Dove Hair Regenerative Nourishment Shampoo, Conditioner and Serum in Oil.  Your hair will thank you!

Feb 11, 2020

The Golden Vlog // February

Hey friends!

It's been two months since I got a chance to join in on The Golden Vlog, but I'm so excited to be back this month!  We're talking all about love, family, and friends this month!  I hope you'll join in with us!

Here's the Rules . . .
1. You must follow your hosts on at least ONE form of social media to linkup w/ us. 
2. We want to see your face! How many times you roll your eyes, and if you talk with your hands! So link up a post featuring your VLOG answering this months questions! Please link up a post not your blog's home page, and be sure there is a VLOG (video blog) featured! This is the Golden Vlog after all ;)
3. Add the button above or a text link to one of the hosts to help us promote this crazy thing!
4. Spread the love! go watch, listen, and comment on other blogs and make some new friends!

Feel free to use #GoldenVlog on twitter let us know you are linking up with us as well. We will be checking the hashtag through the day and retweeting when we can. :) If you have any questions at all or want to be included on our monthly Golden Vlog Letter with next months questions just email [email protected]
*all links not featuring a vlog or this months questions will be removed!

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Feb 8, 2020

Relax and Color! (Plus two free coloring pages)

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Prismacolor, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #relaxandcolor  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I've always loved coloring.  When I was little, give me a box of crayons and a princess coloring book and I was good to go.  Last year, when I was teaching preschool, I loved chatting with my students over the coloring center in the morning.  So when adult coloring books became a thing this year, I was all about it.  I bought myself a Christmas-themed one and AJ and I had a few laid-back coloring nights during the craziness of the holiday season.  I then got not one, not two, but three coloring books as Christmas gifts.

I wish I could tell you that I make a lot of time for things like coloring, but it's just not the case.  Other creative passions and many more practical tasks come first most days.  However, I won't lie...coloring has a way of relaxing me and helping me just chill out.  In fact, the one time that I do make time for coloring is when I get a chance to watch some TV.  Coloring & TV just goes well together, doesn't it?  In the midst of a stressful week, I love nothing more than to grab a cup of warm tea, snuggle into a cozy blanket, and plop myself on the couch to color while I watch 20 girls vie for a certain single guy's heart (you know, ladies!).

One of the things that I've found that I love coloring the most is words.  I can sometimes go cross-eyed looking at all the tiny details that are found in the adult coloring books that are popular in stores, so when I found my Christmas coloring book, I was totally delighted to discover that it had a ton of hand-lettering in it!  So, I created a few hand-lettered coloring pages that you can download and enjoy for yourself.

While coloring with the same colored pencils that you did when you were a kid can seem sentimental, it didn't take me long into my adult coloring journey to discover that they just don't hold up the way I remember.  When I found Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils at my local Michaels, I was not only amazed at how many colors there were to choose from, but also at the quality.  I happily tossed aside my childhood crayons, markers, and colored pencils and upgraded to the beautiful hues and obvious quality of Prismacolor pencils and markers!

So, if you need to chill out and relax, I've created two fun (and frame-able!) coloring pages for you to download for free.  Grab your Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and relax and color!

Download the "Choose Joy" coloring page here

Download the "Let's Be Adventurers" coloring page here

Make sure to check out Michaels coupons for additional savings, in newspapers and online! Need some more coloring pages? Click here and select “free pages” to download your own free Prismacolor coloring pages!

Feb 3, 2020

Loving Well // Date Nights & Quality Time

This post features products given to us from our friends at JORD.  As always, all content, photos, and opinions are mine and I only support brands that I truly love!

Last week, AJ and I celebrated five months of marriage.  It's hard to believe that we have been husband and wife for that long, but at the same time, it's hard to remember what life was like before we shared it so closely.  One of the things that we quickly learned in marriage is that just because you live with someone doesn't mean that you are always creating a quality connection when you're spending time together.

There are plenty of days where I stay at the office too late or AJ stays up working long after I've gone to bed.  There are plenty of times when we sit on the couch signing or writing or editing our own projects and it's easy to say that we're spending time to gather in those moments, but the reality is that those moments are lacking in focus on one another.  And while that time is absolutely necessary, as we both run a freelance business and need to dedicate time to that, it's even more necessary to be sure that we're dedicating time during the week to focusing on one another.

Since my work week is Sunday-Thursday, AJ suggested a few weeks ago that we start making Thursday nights our date nights.  Typically, for us, that means dinner, maybe a movie, but that's not the part that matters.  What matters the most is that we get to spend some time together away from work, away from the computer, and away from our phones.

I've come to love our little Thursday night dates.  They're typically not anything super fancy, but they just set such a good tone to our weekend.  They allow us both to unwind and relax and give me a reason to look cute at the end of my work week.  And they're just such a refreshing and simple way to show the other that we care with undivided attention and time that's not rushed.  I love spending any sort of time with AJ, and these dedicated date nights really allow us to refocus on one another before we spend our weekend checking things off of our to-do list together.  Because time with the one you love is always well spent!

One of the other things that I love about our date nights is getting to plan an outfit and have a reason to dress cute!  Wednesdays are really long days for me and it's easy to roll out of bed on Thursdays and not want to put a whole lot of effort into my hair and makeup, but I realized pretty quickly that I like to feel pretty on our date night.  As silly as that might sound, putting a bit of time and thought into what I'm wearing or how I look on a Thursday gets me even more excited to spend some time out with my husband on Thursday night, even if that time just involves grabbing dinner and then walking around Target (which, let's be real, happens a lot!).

So, this week, I've already thought through my date night outfit, and I'm excited to include this super cute wooden watch from JORD.  I love JORD's wooden watches...they're unique and I get so many compliments and questions when I wear them.  And every girl knows that having cute accessories can help make or break an outfit!

I've partnered with JORD to giveaway a limited quantity of e-gift cards worth $25 each for the Valentine's Day! ! If you've had your eye on one of these lovely wood watches, be sure to enter to redeem your gift code, they'll be good through the end of March! Entering is easy; click here. It will ask you for your email and your favorite JORD watch (so many to choose from) once you hit enter, your code will be emailed directly to you! And if you're still looking for a great Valentine's Day gift for your guy, trust me, AJ LOVES his JORD watch...we can't recommend them enough!


Feb 1, 2020

Plaid for Baltimore

Boots: Matisse  |  Jeans:  Gap  |  Sweater: Old Navy  |  Poncho: Old Navy  

This fall, AJ and I took a quick day trip down to Baltimore to meet Emilie of Burke Does for a photo session (you can check that session out here).  We planned to meet in our favorite section of the city, Fells Point, but when we arrived, we realized that there was a huge fall festival all around Fells and the normally-empty cobblestone streets were packed with people.

Emilie was stuck in some traffic trying to get to us, so AJ and I decided to wander around the waterfront a bit in hopes of finding a less-crowded area that would work for doing Emilie's portraits. As usual, Fells Point did not disappoint and all's well that ended well...we found a few great streets that worked like a charm, got some great shots for Emilie, and AJ even snapped a few of me before we got started.

I meant to blog this outfit back in the fall, but it just never happened.  The poncho was one of those purchases that I was excited about when I found it, because it's not exactly something I would typically buy.  However, it's proven to be a great addition to my wardrobe for days when a jacket was just too much or for days when I just wanted to be a bit cozier.  Also, now that I'm looking at these photos, I've firmly decided that I'm over my bangs and I want my old hair back...oops.  Here's hoping they grow out by summer!

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