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Mar 9, 2020

Spring Wardrobe Checklist

This post is sponsored by my friends at thredUP.  All opinions are my own!

With temps forecasted for the 70s all week, it's hard not to feel like spring is definitely in the air!  Personally, I'm more than excited to dust off those winter blues and get into spring....with cute dresses, rolled up jeans, sandals, and flowy tops! 

Today I'm partnering with my friends at thredUP to talk about my spring wardrobe checklist.  I love updating my wardrobe a little bit each season...getting a few pieces that will become new staples, and refreshing my closet!

A few of my go-to items that I always like to grab come spring are:
some light and airy short-sleeve tops (a print or stripe is a bonus!)
a new dress or two
some lightweight cardigans (perfect for layering)
new skinny jeans
a few long necklaces (since it's time to put away those chunky winter scarves!)

As I transition my wardrobe from season to season, I always try to first go through things and get rid of items that I haven't worn, don't fit well, or are just worn out.  Once I've created space in my closet, I determine what I wear the most and what staples I might need.  I always try to get things similar to the pieces I wear the most...I figure that if I'm loving those items, then I will likely get good use out of similar pieces!  I also try to get some things that are unique and always, only buy clothing that I really feel good about!  There's no use having something in my closet that I only kind of love...I won't get good use out of it and it'll go to waste!

I was excited to browse thredUP's inventory of high-quality, gently used clothing (at amazing prices!) and pick out a few pieces to update my closet for spring.  I've used thredUP in the past when I've cleaned out my closet, so shopping with them was a fun experience that I'll definitely be doing again!

I ended up with five awesome pieces that will definitely be staples in my spring wardrobe and were from some of my favorite stores, including Gap and Anthropologie! 

Two tops from Anthropologie brands Pure & Good and Lilka
Pink Pure & Good top:  I spent $16.49 | Retail $60.00
Blue & White Lilka top:  I spent $11.99 | Retail $36.00

Dress from Anthropologie brand Fei
I spent $23.49 | Retail $95.00

Two pairs of dark-wash skinny jeans
American Eagle Jeans:  I spent $13.49 | Retail $50.00
Gap Jeans:  I spent $14.49 | Retail $60.00

Ready to try thredUP?  You can sign up with my referral link here and get $10 to spend on your first order!

Mar 8, 2020

5 Tips for Staying Fresh Through Busy Seasons

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #instantlytrending #DovePartner #TryDry http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

It seems like ever since we got married, life has been one busy season after another.  I guess that's sort of the way things go when you're adjusting to a new season of life.  You start to learn what you can keep in your schedule and what needs to give to make room for the new.  AJ and I both lead pretty busy lives, between our jobs, our freelance pursuits and building a small business, and just spending time with our families.  

Sometimes I think the business will never end, and we've actually talked a lot recently about how we are both ok really working hard for these next few years in an attempt to get ourselves to a place that we're really comfortable.  We're ok with spending our weekends working hard on our business and watching that grow and flourish if it means that we can put those extra funds toward building our future, paying down debt, and also just getting paid to pursue some of the creative things we love.

But all of that hard work lends itself to business.  And being busy is good, but when you're in the midst of the busy season, it can be difficult to remember to really take care of yourself.  I struggle with that in a non-busy season, and now that we're heading into wedding season (yay!), things are about to get crazy.  I want to head into this year being well prepared and well-equipped to take care of myself and feel great while going about my day!

So today I've partnered with Dove to bring you a list of five things I'm planning on doing in the midst of this busy season to stay fresh and feel great. 

1.  Plan Ahead
Monday through Thursdays are spent in my office at church, and sometimes, those days can be long, or I make plans to meet with a client or go to a meet-up after my work day.  I never want to show up to a meeting and not present myself in the best way I can, so I've learned the importance of planning ahead.  Keeping some snacks on hand in my office or bag can help me feel nourished through long afternoons.  Keeping a change of clothes can help in the event of a spill or other mishap.  I also like to keep a fully stocked gym bag in my trunk so that I never have an excuse to skip a workout!

2.  Stock Your Reserves
Similar to planning ahead, a little trick I like to call "stock your reserves" has come in handy a lot for me!  I have a drawer at work that holds some of those reserves...for me, it's some feminine products, basics of a medicine cabinet, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and my new favorite:  Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant.  I love having a bottle of Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant with me pretty much all day because it is great at keeping me dry and odor free all day, and just takes a second to reapply if necessary.  Even better, it contains moisturizers to help me have softer, smoother underarms, which is perfect for those upcoming summer days when I'll be rocking sleeveless dresses and tanks!  Look for the Original Clean and Soothing Camomile options at your local grocery store or drug store!  Keeping a few of those essentials on hand, whether it's in a desk drawer or a bag, can help you be prepared for anything life throws your way. 

3.  Take a Breath
Sometimes, something as simple as getting up and talking a short, two-minute walk does wonders.  I sit at my computer for most of the day, and so getting up and moving regularly can really make a difference and can help me not turn into a hunched-over zombie all day!  However you need to take a breath, whether it's going for a short walk, making a fresh cup of coffee, or doing a quick exercise, it can definitely make a big difference in your day!

4.  Make Time for You
Similar to number three, making time for you is essential to staying sane through a busy season.  Just like you schedule all of those activities, meetings, and work hours, schedule some time for yourself!  Whether it's a manicure, time to hit the gym, a day trip to the beach, or lunch with your best friend, be sure to write that "me time" down on your calendar! 

5.  Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Keeping things in perspective is key during busy seasons.  At least for me, it's really easy for things to feel super overwhelming and when I get tired, I get emotional.  Don't sweat the small stuff and remind yourself about the big picture often.  This is likely just a season of life or a phase and it will end eventually...you can get through it!  (Plus, Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant literally helps you not sweat the small stuff!)

Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant is the latest beauty trend you don’t want to be the last to try!  It goes on instantly dry with no visible residue while providing 48 hours of odor and wetness protection and Dove ¼ moisturizers for softer, smoother underarms. Go to Dove.com/trydry to learn more. #TryDry

Mar 3, 2020

No, I'm not Pregnant, and Please Stop Asking.

It's incredibly rare that I get on a soap box about anything, and frankly, even more rare that I craft a post with such a blunt, honest title, but enough is enough.

Six months ago, when AJ and I said "I Do," people warned me that the next question we'd start to get would be "so when are you having kids?!"  They were right, of course, and those questions began not long after we arrived home from our week in the Dominican sun.  The first few times, I chuckled and shrugged them off.  And frankly, that question doesn't even really bother me all that much.

What bothers me are the people who blatantly ask me if I'm pregnant, or what we're having, or when we're due, or when they offer up a well-meaning prayer over my womb.  (Yes, it happened, and while sweet and well-intentioned, was just weird.)

If you're a girl, and if you're reading this, you probably are, then you can imagine the flood of insecurity that those questions bring to mind.  Am I fat?  Do I look pregnant?  Maybe my posture is really, really bad...  I try to laugh off those questions too, but let's be honest...those insecurities are tough.  I'm not exactly at my smallest (thanks, newlywed weight), but I also don't think I look pregnant.  As someone who is trying to be confident in who I am and how I look, I frankly just don't like having those insecurities.

Now in my situation, those questions aren't terribly off base, and usually, I can understand the confusion.  I work at a large church.  Almost every other staff member in their twenties either just had a baby or currently has a wife who is expecting.  It's an easy mix-up.

But here's the thing:  when did it become acceptable to flat out ask those questions?  Didn't everyone watch that Bryan Regan clip about never asking a woman when the baby was due?  It's just not ok, and it only puts both you and the person you're asking in a seriously uncomfortable position.

And if being uncomfortable isn't reason enough not to ask, consider this:  you never know someone's story.  You don't know if they're desperately trying to get pregnant and it's just not happening.  You don't know if they just suffered their first, or second, or third miscarriage.  You don't know the state of their marriage and you don't know the state of their finances.  You have no idea if they're ready to be a parent.

AJ and I would love kids someday.  But that day is still a long ways off for us.  There are plenty of couples who do have kids shortly after getting married, and trust me, I am not opposed to that in any way!  It's just not what we want.

We just hit the six-month mark in our marriage and honestly, we're still learning what marriage means.  We're praying and looking for a house and working on saving for our future and trying to climb out from under the six figures of school debt that we have.  And mostly, we're enjoying time together right now.  (Plus, we have a puppy, so that's good for now, thanks.)

Marriage was something I waited for for what seemed like forever.  I watched most of my friends get married while AJ and I were dating, and by the time we got married, many of them already had babies.  And don't get me wrong, I love those littles and I am so excited to get to witness them growing into little people!  But that doesn't mean that I don't want to savor my newlywed time.  It doesn't mean that I don't want to enjoy this time with my husband, just the two of us.

When people ask us when we're having kids, and then say "but didn't you just get married" when I tell them that we're not pregnant yet, it's like saying that just being married isn't good enough.  It makes me sad, because for us, we want to take time to savor this season and to really dig our heels into this marriage thing before adding kids into the mix of our lives.

We're in a season where we're incredibly busy.  We are working our butts off to build a small business, I'm working full time, we're trying to get ourselves healthy, physically and financially, and some days, we are like ships passing in the night.  Right now, I can't imagine adding kids to that mix, and right now, I'm not ready to give up living that lifestyle.  There will come a day when we're ready, but it's not today.  And that's ok.  And it would be ok even if I never wanted kids.

There are plenty of women out there living successful, fulfilling lives who aren't married and who aren't mothers.  That's not everyone's dream and it's not everyone's passion.  Being married doesn't automatically mean that I need to have children just like being a woman doesn't automatically mean I need to be married in order to be a valuable member of society.

There are so many women in my life who have contributed to who I am as an adult and to who I look up to who aren't married or who aren't moms.  They are strong, they are creative, they are successful, and they are loved and valued by Jesus.  Being a mom is an awesome, awe-inspiring accomplishment.  But so is successfully leading a ministry.  So is getting into every law school you applied for.  So is graduating from college and landing a job that you love.  So is having a creative passion that you pursue relentlessly.  Having children is absolutely a fulfilling and amazing thing, but it's not the only thing that can leave you feeling fulfilled.

Being constantly asked if I'm pregnant yet doesn't remind me that pregnancy and starting a family is an amazing gift from God, it instead makes me feel pressured and less-than when people seem disappointed with my answer that we're not ready for that yet.  I don't mind telling people that we're still waiting to start that chapter of our lives, but it's disheartening when people act like I'm lying to them about wanting to wait or that I have other things in my life that I'm passionate about right now.

So, I'm not pregnant. Trust me...when I am, you'll know.  But until then, please stop asking.
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