Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bringing Me Joy · Vol. 2

Soaking up a couple lazy days with G.
Before I returned to Target on Thursday (I was on a 2 week break so I could focus on my other job), I was able to spend some time around the house with my boo. It was just what I needed to recoup from pulling 12 hour shifts the week before.

Bringing home tons of fresh produce.
I can't be the only one that gets happy when they look at the contents of their grocery cart and see that it's filled with fruits and vegetables galore. Well, I would hope I'm not the only one! Knowing that I'm giving my body what it needs brings me joy.

Sharing my first real "fashion" post.
Y'all don't even know how long I've been wanting to do this. I'm so glad I finally worked up the courage to share something that I love with all of you. Hoping to do more posts like this in the future.

Catching up with one of my best friends.
On Wednesday, I was able to spend a good portion of my day hanging out with Jennifer (she's the one that's getting married in October). We went out for coffee and talked about wedding stuff. I'm not a big Starbucks fan anymore, but the vanilla macchiato is awesome! After that, it was to the gym and back to her place to work on abs, watch Netflix + eat veggie subs.

Buying new bedside tables for our bedroom.
On Thursday, our new bedside tables came in. I was a little disappointed at how cheaply made they were, but I didn't mind so much once they were assembled and in place. At least they match now! That's all that matters. I'll just know for next time.

Spring cleaning / purging our posessions.
I despise clutter, so I've been getting rid of things right and left. The other day, I managed to round up 3 huge bags to donate to Goodwill. Out with the old, in with the new! Not having as much makes me a happy camper.

Planning our little anniversary trip.
I wasn't going to plan a trip this year as we've been saving up for a road trip to Tennessee, but I caved. We'll be heading to the East coast this year. The East coast of Florida, that is. We're planning on visiting St. Augustine for a few days. I went when I was 17 and G has never been. It'll be nice to enjoy some beach time and explore all the history the city has to offer.

What's bringing you joy this week?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Eat Good, Feel Good

I wasn't planning on posting so late this evening. Not that I've ever been one to blog at a specific time, but today has been pretty busy. Between working and visiting Target for a sale on jeans that I just couldn't pass up, I didn't have the time to write sooner. Anyway. I'd really like to talk about health. And, no, this won't necessarily pertain to weight loss (though I am trying to drop a few about 15-20 pounds before my best friend's wedding in October). That's another post for another day.

"Eat good, feel good" — seems like a simple concept, right? Well, sadly, I've ignored those four little words for too long. My poor body was giving me warning signs, but I more or less shrugged those off too. I was under the false impression that I had been eating well, that my body was healthy. I guess I should have paid more attention to the headaches, the extreme fatigue, the terrible mood swings and the irregular stomachaches. Maybe then I would've changed the way I ate sooner.

I believe that we eat fairly well. We buy mostly organic meats, fruits and veggies and try our best to stay away from heavily processed foods. We do, however, keep some bad food choices in our household such as microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas and the occasional carton of ice cream or pack of cookies. We also have a bad habit of ordering in or eating out more than we should. I tend to overeat too (emotional eater right here), which only makes matters worse.

A few weeks back, I decided to take a step back and really evaluate everything that I was putting into my body. I quickly became fully aware of the problem. I think it was somewhere between choosing a bacon cheeseburger over a salad and reaching for the ice cream instead of a piece of fruit. It was obvious. I had been in denial. This wasn't real food. These things held little to no nutritional value. It's no wonder I wasn't feeling well. I was eating crap! Eat crap, feel like crap (duh).

carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners & colors, processed foods

After I finally saw the light, I decided it was time to cut the crap. And that's when I began to notice the differences — in the way I felt physically and mentally. It was the wake up call I had needed. Now I have increased mental clarity and tons more energy. My headaches have subsided substantially and I can't even recall the last time I had a stomachache. My mood swings still came around that time of month, but they weren't as severe. I'm also happier (more serotonin production).

Whenever I'm about to make a bad food choice, I'm instantly reminded of how that food made me feel (lethargic, moody, bloated, achy, etc.) and I can't bring myself to eat it. G ordered a cheeseburger this afternoon and I wasn't even tempted to sneak a couple bites. It just isn't worth it anymore. I've been eating lots of vegetables/fruits, lean meats, whole grains and some dairy. My water intake has nearly tripled as well. I know now that I was walking around dehydrated most of the time.

On Wednesday, I went full out vegetarian mode and actually enjoyed it. My taste in produce has been surprising me lately. I used to hate tomatoes, bell peppers and avocados. But now I'm hooked! Though I still can't handle tomatoes unless they're cooked or on a sandwich/wrap. It's a texture thing. Anyway, in closing, I'm choosing real food from here on out. Foods that will actually give my body what it needs to function properly. You can't turn a blind eye to your health. Not now, not ever.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recent Finds No. 10

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

1. Love this unique way to bring in a new season.

2. Simple floral top, cardigan, ripped jeans + booties.

3. Seagrams wine cooler bottles used as vases for a party.

4. Great way to store paint brushes and seems easy to make.

5. I'd love to build a small greenhouse like this in our backyard.

6. Photos of each state visited added to a map = clever and cute.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Threads · Spring Florals

Well, folks, the day has finally arrived. The day that I share a fashion post, that is. Lately I've been doing my best to step out of comfort zone by trying new things and this is definitely one of those things. Like most women, sometimes I struggle with being self-conscious about my body. I used to hate my curves! But, I've learned to embrace them and I've come a long way.

This morning I decided I was going to piece together an outfit, grab my camera and head outside to snap a few bazillion shots. I own a tripod, but I asked my mom to take my photos this time around. I'm used to being behind the camera instead of in front of it, but I found that it's not so bad once you relax and go with the flow. I didn't expect it to be so chilly today. We woke up to temps in the 40's. Florida needs to get it together. Besides that, it was a fun experience!

fedora • Amazon | tank • Wet Seal | kimono, jeans, shoes + watch • Target

I couldn't not share these funny outtakes with y'all. Haha! The last one is my "oh, crap, someone's coming" face ;)

Hope everyone is having an awesome Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Love is a Choice

On the day that we got married, I never knew what love would entail. I never knew the requirements or what it would ask of my husband and I. Like many others, I had unrealistic expectations about the whole thing. Somehow, over the years, my mind had been programmed to view love as a feeling. But I was wrong and I'm glad God opened my eyes sooner than later.

During the course of our first year of marriage, I quickly came to learn that love was undoubtedly a choice. It was a choice that was made up of a million little choices. A choice that went far beyond the vows we made that day. A choice that had the power to make or break our relationship. A choice that I'd be asked to make day in and day out, no matter how I felt.

I was asked to be patient. I was asked to be kind. I was asked not to envy or boast. I was asked to choose humility over pride and to honor at all times. I was asked to be selfless, to be generous. I was asked to be slow to anger and to keep no records of past wrongs. I was asked to delight in all that is righteous and to keep rejoicing in the truth. I was asked to protect and to trust; to hope and to persevere. Furthermore, I was asked to replicate God's heart for my husband for all of my days.

Our marriages should mirror the relationship that exists between Christ and His people. This union was designed to reflect the love, the mercy and the grace that God pours out on us all. His love is unconditional and irrevocable, just as ours should be. It's such a beautiful testimony of forgiveness, redemption and total acceptance. I truly believe that God can use a marriage as a form of ministry since it echos His attributes and ultimately brings Him glory in the process. So awesome!

Learning this has made all the difference in the way my husband and I view our relationship. I know that we're both bound to make mistakes and there will be times that we hurt one another. It's just nice to know that when we do fall short, we'll be met with open arms and an understanding heart instead of making each other feel condemned. I understand that I'll never be the "perfect" wife, but I do want to be a wife who radiates the love of Christ and strives to love fiercely until my dying day.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Bringing Me Joy · Vol. 1

Recommencing our family nights.
I'm not quite sure when our family nights came to a halt, but it had been months since we'd had one. There were other opportunities for us to spend time together, but it wasn't the same as our Monday night hang out sessions!

Differing work schedules falling into place.
I was able to take about 15 days off from Target so that I can pull 12 hour shifts for my other employer starting on Friday. I was really worried that it wouldn't work out. After praying about it all, everything just seemed to fall together.

Finally having a date night with my boo.
This was so very long overdue. Both of our schedules have been a little crazy lately. We were able to go see Robocop together the other night. Good movie, great time with my guy (as always).

Gorgeous weather.
Well, not to brag or anything, the past few days have been absolutely perfect down here in the south (after the rain passed). I know I said that fall was my favorite season, but I totally lied. Spring makes my heart the happiest.

Trying a new restaurant.
Brick House Tavern + Tap is definitely a place I'll be going back to. We went there for lunch and their food was delicious! The only part that kinda stinks is the drive. It's all the way on the other side of town, but I think it's worth it.

Finding out that our avocado tree is producing.
We've had an avocado tree in our backyard for just about 9 years now. Every year we expected it to produce avocados and every year we've been disappointed, until this week! My mama noticed all the blooms. I'm so excited!

Purchasing Catching Fire on DVD.
Of course this would bring me joy. I'm a sucker for this book / film series. We went to see it in theaters, but I had to have it for my collection. Pretty sure I could watch them over and over and over again.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A Realization: We Aren't Struggling


Often times I find myself thinking that we must not be doing well financially since we can't afford some of the things that other people can. And too many times I've even caught myself saying that we are struggling. Because, you know, we must be struggling if I can't buy that new swim dress I've had my eye on. We must be struggling if we don't have the money to sail away on a Carnival cruise this summer. We must be struggling if we can't go out to a fancy schmacny restaurant on date night. We must be struggling if we have to be aware of almost every dollar that leaves our account.

It wasn't until yesterday, when I was poring over our bank account and calculating what we'd need for the month, that I had a profound realization. If we have enough to cover our bills and all of our necessities, we aren't struggling at all. On the contrary, we're actually making it! By the grace of God, we are able to pay what needs to be paid each month.

I need to get out of the habit of looking at the lives of others and thinking we've got it bad since we can't afford this or that. I don't know what other people have to sacrifice for the things they have. I don't know what their work loads look like or how many hours they put in each week. Shoot, I don't even know how many of those people have debt out the wazoo. I guarantee you, they stress over money sometimes too. It's something we all do (or have done at some point).

It's time for me to be more grateful for what we do have and what we actually can afford. We certainly aren't struggling. We aren't struggling, because we have a place to call home instead of living on the streets. We aren't struggling, because we can afford to buy food to nourish our bodies instead of starving. We aren't struggling, because we have gas in our vehicle to get us back and forth. We aren't struggling, because we can go see a movie or grab a bite to eat every so often.

So, no, we aren't struggling. We're doing just fine.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

10 Reasons I Could Never Leave Florida

If you've known me for a while, you'd know that sometimes I complain about living in Florida. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted nothing more than to move north (preferably Georgia or the Carolinas). But, honestly, it's all talk. When it comes down to it, I don't think I could ever leave my home state. I've been here all my life. Sure, it's nice to visit other states. But to actually leave the sunshine state for good? Nope, I just couldn't do it. And here's why —

01. We live where other people vacation. I still find it amusing whenever people from out-of-state post their "vacation" shots of palm trees, sandy beaches and pretty sunsets. Welcome to my life.

02. The beach is our backyard. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration. The closest beach is about a good 20-30 minute drive from our house, but still. There are 663 miles of beaches in our state. So, you get the point.

03. The only things that we "salt" are our margaritas. Salting roads? Ain't nobody got time for that. I couldn't imagine having to do half the things y'all have to do in the winter. No snow, no hassle. I'll drink to that!

04. There are Publix supermarkets. If you've never experienced the pleasure of shopping at one, you're missing out. And don't even get me started on their subs! Exhibit A can be found here.

05. Hurricane parties will always trump snow days. You can keep your snow days. I've heard they aren't that fun after all (since the majority of you complain about being stuck indoors). When hurricanes come around, we get down!

06. Flip-flops are acceptable year-round. Yeah, so I could probably stop right here on this one ... but I won't.

07. Authentic cafe con leche, empañadas and pressed Cubans. The proximity to Cuba means a lot of tasty food choices and all of that Latin influence makes my taste buds (and tummy) super happy.

08. Manatees live here too. Why wouldn't I want to live in a place where giant marine mammals referred to as sea cows live as well? That's a no-brainier. Swimming with them is always fun (or so I've heard).

09. There's just such a variety of things to do here. From pristine beaches to the murky swamps of the Everglades, Florida has something to offer everyone. Orlando. Miami. Key West. There are also tons of historic places to explore. Let's take St. Augustine for instance. It just so happens to be the nation's oldest city.

10. We don't have to pay state income tax. Does this even need elaborating? I'd say it's pretty cut and dry!

And, that's a wrap. As you can see, I have come to my senses. There is no way I'm leaving this place any time soon! The longer I live here, the more I see the beauty that surrounds me day in and day out.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Operation Bridesmaid

Let me start off by saying, I have no idea why I waited over 4 months to share the following news. Some of you may have seen little posts here and there on Twitter or Instagram, but now it's starting to get real. Drum roll, please. My best friend, Jennifer, is engaged! On October 20th, her boyfriend proposed as they sailed the high seas on a Carnival cruise. I couldn't be happier for her and her fiancé, Jose. They're a great couple and I'm honored to be apart of their special day.

I've always had a tight-knit group of friends. And Jennifer has been within that group from the beginning. I seriously can't remember a time when she wasn't in the picture. After we met through our mutual best friend, Amanda, we all just clicked and the rest is pretty much history. As the years have passed, Jen and I have grown much closer. She was a member of our bridal party, so I was over the moon when she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids back in November.

I guess it didn't really start to hit me until yesterday morning, as we went shopping for bridesmaids dresses. We all met up for breakfast at Village Inn and then made our way over to David's Bridal. Jennifer already had a dress in mind and as soon as we all put it on, I knew why. I've been sworn to secrecy when it comes to the details, but let me tell you, it's beautiful. I will say, the style that she picked out fit all of our differing body types well. The price wasn't too bad either!

October is quickly approaching, so I'll be sure to keep you all in the loop with how things are going on the wedding front!