1/24/2016

Color Crush No. 3

Well, yet again I have Pinterest to thank for my inspiration. Whenever I scrolled past this beauty, I knew I had to feature it in my color crush series. I know, I know. Quite a bit of time has passed since I last posted one of these, but it's here now so just enjoy it! Sadly, I wasn't able to track down the original source for this photo. If anyone knows where it's from, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due! I absolutely hate not sourcing things I choose to use here.


1/23/2016

Couple's Q+A

 
How long have you been together?
We've been together for over 7 years now and married for almost 6 (come May 15th).

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
3 weeks if you count the days we conversed back and forth online, but only a few hours in person.

Who asked who out?
Well, I sent him a friends request on MySpace back in the day and then I also suggested that we meet in person on New Years Eve, although he was the one who asked me to be his girlfriend as the night drew to an end.

Did you go to the same school?
Negative. G went to school in South Carolina, while I was down here in Florida.

How many kids do you have / want?
No kids as of yet. Once he gets his AS degree in a couple years, we'll more than likely start trying. We both want to wait until our early 30's (we're both 26 at the moment). Two would be nice, but three is our max!

Who is the most sensitive?
Yeah, that would be me. I was way more sensitive whenever we first got married, but he has toughened me up over the years!

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We really enjoy trying new places, but Chili's tends to get a lot of our business. It seems to be our go-to when we can't decide.

Who drives when you are together?
We split it evenly. If he drives there, I'll drive back and vice-versa. It's only fair.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
I believe that would be our trip to the Poconos with a group of close friends shortly after we got married.

Who has the craziest exes?
Me, hands down. He didn't date much, but I'm sure I'd have him beat on crazies regardless!

Who has the worst temper?
I'm going to say he does. I tend to hold things in whereas he lets his feelings be known from the get-go, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! At least he lets me know from the start + we can communicate better. He's calmed down a lot though.

Who does the cooking?
Unless breakfast foods, pizza or chicken strips are on the menu, it's all me. I don't mind since I love cooking + trying to recipes.

Who is more social?
It's pretty even, actually. I used to be mad shy (I was really unsure of myself), but I really love socializing / talking to people now. He has always been good with conversing with others (or at least since we've known each other).

Who does the laundry?
I do, although he does help out whenever I ask him to.

Who is the neat freak?
He would say himself. Don't get me wrong. I love things nice + tidy as well, but I'm more lax about it than he is.

Who is the most stubborn?
We both are mutually hardheaded sometimes.

Who hogs the bed?
We both stay on our sides for the most part, although I'm sure he'd rat me out and say that I hog it. Ha!

Who wakes up earlier?
Me! His sleep schedules are normally all over the place. Sometimes he isn't able to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. I try to be in bed no later than midnight most nights.

Where was your first date?
We went to a handful of places. He met me at the mall, then we went to the park to walk around / talk, went to see a movie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and ended our night watching fireworks on Clearwater Beach.

How long did it take to get serious?
Two weeks together, that's all it took (did anyone catch that Dear John reference) haha. No, but really. We were serious a couple weeks into chatting with one another online. We said 'I love you' only three days after we started dating, and he proposed to me after four months. It was a whirlwind romance, but we knew we wanted to be together and it's worked for us.

Who eats more?
G. That man has a beastly appetite! But, then again, so do I sometimes. I just don't see where he puts it all.

Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong?
I'll say myself just because I try to keep the peace / move on quickly. We never really keep arguments going for long anyway. And once something has been settled, it's dead. We try not to bring up past failures / faults / arguments into new disputes.

Who eats more sweets?
There's no doubt that he does. I crave salty + spicy things the majority of the time.

1/22/2016

Words to Motivate You


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For the last two days, I've been on a quote kick. My 'statements' board on Pinterest has been flooded with fresh inspiration, so I thought I'd bring back some of what I found over there and share it with y'all here (mostly for those who don't follow me). I don't know about you, but I believe words hold power and I've always (even more so now) been an advocate of positive thinking. Quotes such as the ones above really fire me up! It may sound silly, but sometimes I repeat them to myself + replay them over and over again in my mind until they start to sink in. I've actually found that this helps me tremendously.

1/14/2016

Currently // January

 
READING · I just finished reading The Mind Connection by Joyce Meyer a few hours ago! So now I'm trying to decide which book to dive into next. Over the years I've noticed that I read nonfiction books much faster than fiction, but I love me some dystopia! With that being said, I'm leaning towards The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I've seen the first + second movie, and I began reading it last year. But, as you can probably guess, I didn't finish. I'm pretty sure I only got through the first two chapters. I updated my Goodreads to-read list yesterday so I definitely have options. I'm just not certain which one I will pick!

WATCHING · We have actually been focusing on The X-Files since it will be returning soon (!!!) and Helix (the second season is straight up weird, yo). I was gorging on Grey's until I got all caught up. Then I tried to fill the void with Private Practice, but it's just not the same. G and I started catching up on an unwatched season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but we finished that up quickly.

LISTENING TO · Nothing new, which is kinda sad. I need to take some time to research new music this coming week. I've just been sticking with my instrumentals (the song below has been on repeat for weeks), Needtobreathe, Sleeping at Last + Adele.
 
DISCOVERING · That our thoughts (as well as our words) are very powerful and I really need to focus on the positive rather than allowing negativity to dictate my behavior. That Joyce Meyer book I just finished was basically life changing for me.

PLANNING · A trip to the theater with my mama to see Disney's The Lion King when it starts next week.

CRAVING · I was craving tacos (as usual), but that craving was totally satisfied when G and I made a stop at California Tacos after we took our GED exams this afternoon! If you're ever near Tampa, you have got to give this place a shot. Their amped up carnitas tacos with cheese, sour cream + guacamole are delicious! I'd be in some serious trouble if we lived closer, haha.

A photo posted by Jessica J-Marie (@jmariesharp) on

WISHING · I had won the lottery. Just kidding. I didn't even waste $2 on a ticket. I do wish that it will continue to stay cold around these parts because the weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week! I had to wear a sweater like four times.

FEELING · Physically, I'm tired. We got to bed late last night and had to wake up early this morning to visit the testing center. Mentally, I'm feeling relieved. I wasn't nervous about taking my social studies exam, but the questions were kinda tough. There was a lot of reading material and I kept getting distracted by the noises around me. Since it was timed, I was mentally freaking out every time another minute clicked away. So, basically, I was sure I was going to bomb it. I was so relieved when I got the e-mail with my score! I'm just a tad bit bummed that I was only three points away from passing with honors. Darn it.

PRAYING FOR · Healing for my grandpa. He had a fall the night before last and ended up having to go to the hospital since he hit his head on the way down. Although there was a small amount of bleeding that concerned the doctors at first, they said that he wouldn't be needing surgery and they may be releasing him in the next couple days. They're keeping an eye on him. We're praising Jesus for the good report, but I'm still believing for a complete and quick recovery.

1/13/2016

If I Won the Lottery


At one time or another, winning the lottery has crossed the mind of just about everyone. With this whole Powerball craze going on at the moment (last I heard it was up to 1.5 billion), I found myself pondering what I would do if I ever won that kind of money. Truth be told, I would use most of it to help others. Even if I were to come into a substantial amount of wealth, I would still desire to lead a relatively simple life as I have never been big on luxury or anything of that nature.

Aside from tithing + donating to various organizations that we support (like A21, WWP + Compassion), I'd want to make sure that everyone in my family or circle of friends (at least those I have remained close with over the years) was financially set. Mortgages, student loans, medical bills and car payments would be taken care of right off the bat.

After all debts were terminated, I'd invest a large portion of the remaining money. Why not have my billions make even more billions? Stocks, bonds and mutual funds galore! I would also be sure to invest in a generous amount of land. You already know that I would use a good portion of the land to build my dream house. A farmhouse with a wrap-around porch. Five bedrooms + two bathrooms would be enough for us. I also wouldn't mind having a small stable to house a couple of horses, and you better believe I'd set up an outdoor range area for shooting (like the one Hickok45 has).


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Along with my dream house, I'd love to own two small vacation homes (a seaside cottage residing in a sleepy little town in the cape and a log cabin tucked away in the mountains), as well as a travel trailer or RV. Since money (or the lack thereof) would no longer be holding me back, I would love to travel to as many states / countries and experience as many cultures as I could.

After all that was said and done, I'd probably want to start a family. Even though money wouldn't be an issue, I would still only want three littles (one or two would be adopted). Oh, and cats! I would shelter as many as possible. I'd even go as far as to open up my own little cat sanctuary. I'd love to take in strays + hire people to nurse them back to health and adopt them out.

Besides all of that, there's not much else that I would want. I would buy a nice SUV for myself, a beefy diesel pickup truck for my husband and splurge a little on an old muscle car or an antique pickup truck. I'd probably update my wardrobe, buy a bunch of different guns and try all kinds of different restaurants. However, I'd really like to keep a low-key lifestyle for the most part. I'd want to spend more money on experiences rather than things. They sure last a lot longer and don't take up space!

Even though I highly doubt I'd ever win the lotto, it is always nice to dream!

1/12/2016

This Time Last Year


This morning I was reflecting on just how different this time of year was in 2015 as opposed to how it is this go around and I couldn't help but laugh a little. I had such a contrastive mindset this time last year. I was entertaining worrisome thoughts about the future, I was distraught about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life career-wise, and I even remember sinking into a state of self-pity for a bit. I wasn't in the best place spiritually or mentally. Looking back, I can see just how far I've come.

This time last year, I was in need of a break. Between the three jobs that I was working, I was worn down. When I had gotten word that one of those jobs was about to get even busier, I made a decision to take a 12 week leave of absence from Target. It wasn't just an impending busier-than-usual schedule that made me take a LOA. In all honesty, I just felt like I needed to step back and chill out for a little while. After all was said and done, we weren't as busy as the company had initially thought which meant I had nearly three months off from 2/3 jobs. Being out of work meant not having as much income, but it was worth it.

This time last year, I thought I'd never settle on a career path. I kept bouncing around between different ideas. Did I want to pursue photography again? Did I want to pour myself into blogging? Did I want to be one of those people who made a living by hand-lettering? Or did I want to follow my gut and throw myself back into the world of web design + development? All of these thoughts swirled around my mind day in and day out. It was exhausting. I was afraid to settle on the wrong career. I was afraid I wouldn't have what it took to succeed. Quite frankly, I was a mess at that point. It wasn't until I sat down and made a list of all my potential career choices along with the pros + cons of each that I realized that my heart was in web design. After a couple months of agony and anxiety, I had finally settled on something I felt at peace about. And, boy, did it feel good!

This time last year, I felt as though I was alone. In all reality, I wasn't alone. My husband is great at supporting + encouraging me, but that didn't necessarily stop me from feeling like I was going through things alone. He knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, I didn't. He had made a game plan, I felt I couldn't make one until I was sure of what I wanted to do. As much as he desired to help me, I couldn't accept his encouragement because I felt like he didn't understand what I was going through at the time. Obviously God hadn't left me alone either, but I felt like He was a million miles away from me then.

This time last year, I was so unsure of myself. Although I still struggle with this off and on, I will never be as unsure of myself as I was back then. I can say that the root of my problem was my thought life. I allowed doubt to rule my mind. I know now that I could have saved myself from myself if only I had managed to think positively about myself (now that's a tongue twister). I've got what it takes to do what needs to be done no matter what life throws at me. With the grace + power of God backing me, I can do anything I set my mind to. I just wish I would have realized that this time last year.

This time last year, I felt uneasy. This kind of ties in with the last point I made. I was so passive in my thinking. Any time a troubled thought would pop into my mind, I would entertain it instead of fighting it. I would spend too much time dwelling on these negative thoughts and it would, in turn, make me feel uneasy about everything I was facing during this time last year.

Do you ever take the time to reflect on how you were a week, a month or even a year ago?

1/10/2016

Scripture Drop


Here's a little snippet of encouragement for the start of your week. Whatever you may find yourself facing in the days to come, always remember that God will not forsake you — not even for a moment. I made this graphic a couple years back and I just stumbled onto it while cleaning up some files on my computer. If my schedule allows, I would really like to start creating more of these scripture graphics to share with you guys. I've actually just placed this one as the wallpaper on my phone so that I can be reminded each time I unlock it. Lord knows I pick that thing up enough throughout the day, lol.

1/06/2016

Goals for January

I'd like to think of myself as a goal-oriented person, however making goals + sticking with them has been proving to be more and more difficult for me as I get older. Sometimes I set the bar too high with unrealistic expectations, while other times I start out really strong only to end up losing momentum somewhere along the line. In either case, it's just not going to cut it this year. By sharing my goals for each month with you all here, I'm hoping it will give me the extra motivation I need to actually get junk done. I found that it has worked in the past for others, so I'll give it a whirl! Besides, I've always enjoyed reading the goals that other people set for themselves + following their progress. It's inspiring to see others accomplishing things they set their minds to. With all that being said, my goals for the month of January aren't over-the-top. They're pretty simple / realistic.

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Spend time in prayer every morning.
I've created a bad morning habit. After waking up, I'll make a cup of coffee, sit down on the couch and instantly start scrolling through social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and sometimes even Pinterest. I'll waste the first part of my day checking what everyone else is up to. It has to stop. Before I even click that little white circle on my iPhone, I should be coming to the foot of the throne and speaking with Jesus. I'm sure most of you will agree that days seem to go more smoothly whenever we start them off in prayer. It's like an infusion of grace, strength + patience to get us through whatever we may face that day.

Take my social studies + science GED tests.
Okay, so it's been awhile since I passed (with honors) the language arts portion of my GED. I don't even know why I've waited this long to tackle the other sections. It's really beyond me. Yes, I was busy with work but I did have some opportunities to go in for testing. I'm scheduling my social studies exam next week, but I still need to study more for the science portion.

Finish one book.
You all should know by now that I really struggle with actually finishing books I choose to read. Well, for this month I have chosen to finish up The Mind Connection by Joyce Meyer. I've been reading this book on and off since October, but I'm over 50% of the way done with it and I'm determined to wrap it up before the end of the month. Also, if I have the extra time, I'd love to write up a book review to share here once I complete it. This book has already taught me so much.

Go on one family outing.
Sadly, we only began making this a priority last year. As some of you may know, G and I live with my mama. We made the decision to stay with her after my dad passed away back in 2012. Well, we've been trying our best (when our budget allows) to go out together at least once or twice a month. We were able to do a lot last year and we actually compiled a list of places we'd like to visit or things we'd like to do throughout this year. It would be great to mark at least one thing off that list.

Lose 5 pounds.
So I've lost about 12 pounds over the past 3-4 months. I had been dealing with some health issues (digestion...blah) and I'd been working long shifts / barely eating. I know it wasn't the healthiest way to drop pounds, but it's kinda kick-started a desire to lose more weight. Let me be clear when I say that I'm content with the weight I'm at now as far as how I'm carrying my weight, but I'd like to lose about 20 pounds throughout the year for health reasons (diabetes runs in my family).

Refrain from buying anything for myself.
We're finally making our way out of the holiday haze. In hopes of paying off the small amount of debt that we racked up last month, G and I decided that we wouldn't purchase anything for ourselves this month. Normally we spend between $60-$100 a month on ourselves, so this spending freeze should free up just the right amount to pay off what we put out in December.

Finish redoing our upstairs bathroom.
Let it be known that we completely suck at completing household projects. I swear our upstairs bathroom has been halfway done for about two years now. I know, it's somewhat pitiful. We have the paint + all of the supplies that we need and I have the majority of next week off from Target thanks to a scheduling glitch. So there won't be any excuses this time around.

That about wraps it up! What are your goals for January?

1/04/2016

2016 Vision + Goals

If you haven't realized by now, vision / mood boards are my jam. I started creating them last year and I feel as though my love for them has since expanded. Just as I did in the early days of last year, I decided to piece one together to reflect my overall vision for 2016. My focus for 2015 was simple, really. I wanted to set my sights on doing things I love to do, visiting places I had never been and learning new things. I can say I accomplished some of the goals I set for myself, however I wasn't able to achieve them all. Though I'm content with what I was able to do. 2015 was certainly well spent. I participated in activities that made me feel alive, I explored many destinations that I hadn't previously seen (mostly local gems that we stumbled upon) and I learned a lot (essentially about myself). It was a year of growth and reformation. I can only hope that this year measures up!

I've never been too big on "resolutions", but I am hoping that this year will bring more growth — be it spiritually, mentally or physically. I would say that my two main focal points for the year are balance and overall well-being. I want to find a balance between working + playing, between spending + saving, between healthy eating + splurging, between being gracious + being assertive. I'd also like to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I would absolutely hate to come to a place in my life where I'm comfortable or complacent. I want to continually be transforming into a better version of myself.

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I'd like to focus my efforts towards a handful of goals in each of the following categories instead of forming a very long, rather daunting, list. I'd love to start sharing smaller monthly goals here as well in hopes of keeping myself more accountable.

SPIRITUAL • Have time in prayer before scrolling through social media in the mornings, study the Word of God more out of intent / less out of habit, and get more involved with a group of like-minded believers (church).

MARRIAGE • Learn how to appreciate + embrace all of our differences, have prayer time together more often, work on our communication techniques, and continue discovering new ways to show love to each other.

FINANCIAL • Start budgeting, pay off our credit cards, rebuild our savings account, and put money aside for our schooling.

ORGANIZATION • Keep giving away (or selling) items that we no longer want / need, complete all of our unfinished house projects, and come up with an easy filing system for all of our important documents.

CAREER • Take my last 3 remaining GED tests, attend a meetup at The Iron Yard + take a tour of their Saint Pete campus and do more research about web / application development so I know what I'm getting myself into (ha).

HEALTH • Eat healthy at least 5 days out of the week, stay hydrated (water>coffee), keep active throughout the day (use my Fitbit more often), lose about 5 pounds a month, take my multivitamin daily, and figure out how to cope with stress better.

OTHER • Travel when our budget allows, explore more local hidden gems, start Rosetta Stone Spanish courses, get a concealed carry permit, read one book a month, reconnect + make time for my family, and cross more off my dream list.

1/02/2016

Hello 2016

Happy new year! Things were starting to look a bit dusty around here so I figured I'd take advantage of the new year and dive back into this space. I've really missed blogging. In all honesty, I haven't been writing as much in general and I'm hoping to revive my love for it throughout the year. I felt the need to step back from my blog last year. I was spending too much time focusing on things that didn't amount to much. I'm pretty sure most bloggers know what I'm talking about. I got wrapped up in all the numbers and statistics. It ended up affecting my motives for keeping it running. I just want to get back to the basics — sharing bits of my life + faith (both ups and downs) that'll hopefully inspire and encourage others. That's all it boils down to.

My blog isn't the only thing I took time to reevaluate in 2015. It was definitely a year of growth for me and I feel like I learned a lot about myself. I took time to study my likes + dislikes, what fires me up and what I need to work on. I pushed myself to step outside of my comfort zone time and time again. I feel like I really blossomed last year and opened up to living a bold life. I've finally figured out who I am and I've also realized what I am capable of. Simply put, I'm a strong a** woman! Haha. I still have a long way to go (don't we all), but I'm happy about my progress so far. God has been revealing different areas of my heart that need some major attention, but I'm actually looking forward to working through those areas during this season. It may be painful, but the end result will be worth it. I saw the following quote on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and it couldn't be more true! I'm pretty much adopting it as my motto for this year (especially since I failed to choose a focus word this time around). I long to live my life with a relentless pursuit of bettering myself and different aspects of my journey here.