August 31, 2015

Weekend Getaway

We spent the weekend in Branson and I didn't take a single picture, except the one you see above. #SorryNotSorry

I enjoyed myself, my time with my husband, my time away from our "real life." It was nice not to have to worry about getting up to let the dogs out, did I forget to buy milk for breakfast, how many dishes are in the sink, and the test I have tomorrow in Spanish. We took our time, we didn't bother getting dressed up, we ate when we wanted to, we slept when we wanted to, we took care of each other. No distractions. We didn't even plan any activities! And it was wonderful.

Taking a few days to focus on yourself and your spouse is a big deal. It lets you reconnect in ways you just can't in every day life. For me, vacations and weekend getaways are so necessary to keep my head straight, keep the peace, and remind myself that my life here is worth all the stress and mess.

As we transition from summer to fall, I encourage you to take some time away from the everyday norms and reconnect with someone special. Your spouse, your bestie, your mom, or even yourself. Disconnect from your normal routine and just focus on what you feel, what you see, what hear. You'll be amazed at what you discover.

I am so grateful that we have the means to do this on a semi-regular basis. It's something we plan to keep doing for as long as possible.

What did you do this weekend?

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August 28, 2015

Friday Favs

There are so many fun link-ups regarding favorites for Friday, it's hard to choose! But they all seem to be about picking favorite things, so that's what I'm going to do today.

Favorite Pins

Click image to see pin

waterfall crown braid - click image to see pin

gallery wall - click image to see pin

Favorite Insta Photos

@christian_matthew_cullen  |  @butchersniche  |  @mskellylouise

Favorite Blog Posts

Twelve Months of Bliss - Ember Grey.
Emily always has wonderful posts, sometimes it's hard to pick just one. But this week was the link-up for the #12MofBliss challenge for August. It's kinda close to my heart as I totally participated this month, but I plan to continue this little habit because, well, it's awesome.

You Didn't Know? - Kenji is Here
I LOVE learning new little tid bits about my blog friends. And this list from Kendra just proves why we were meant to be friends. Even the chocolate thing, more for me!

He Said, She Said, on Marriage and Love - Adventures of Bug & Boo via Heavens to Betsy
This guest post from Rebecca on Heavens to Betsy is so sweet. I love these little interview style posts, especially when they pertain to love and marriage.

Reasons I Know I'm a Crazy Dog Lady - The Daily Tay
Proof I'm not the only one.

What are you favorites this week?

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August 26, 2015

Twelve Months of Bliss - August

One special lady from my #tribe developed this awesome challenge: Twelve Months of Bliss. While I wanted to participate the first two months, life sorta got in the way. That's no excuse, really. I should have made the time to work on myself via Emily's challenge. Anyways, I did it this month. I made a space on the wall in my guest room/office to display all the things keeping me going right now.

 I have grown to love this little space, and what's awesome about the placement, is that I can see it from the bathroom when I'm getting ready in the mornings. I was amazed at how much I found strength and peace through such small items as these. And I have to thank Emily for bringing such a wonderful habit into my life.

1. This is the birthday card I got from my mom this year. The message inside reflected a little on the big conversation we had earlier in the month. The words brought me to tears and reminded me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful relationship with my mom now.

2. Priorities. I had written that on this little post-it note during one of our Blogger Pow Wows a few months ago, and it's been on my desk ever since. My priorities have shifted so much since I've moved here and then even more once I got married. Having them set and not wavering on them have brought me great strength and comfort.

3. Think Positive! This has been my mantra this month. You can't go wrong with that!

4. This little tag says "#WoodsGoCruisin, 12-26-15, From Missouri, To the Caribbean"
I am so excited about our cruise and am constantly thinking about what I need to do before we leave and making lists about what to pack. We also are spending a week with my parents before the cruise, and we're looking forward to that as well.

5. I was debating a new look for the blog, which I did implement earlier this month.

6. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes it's hard for me to let go of what I want and the time line I want it in, and trust that God will provide the things I need exactly at the perfect time.

7. My puppy calendar! Who doesn't love adorable pictures of puppies??

8. The 17th was my first day of school. I am loving school, and so enjoy working for my degree. I always look forward to my classes each session because you never know who you'll meet or what you'll learn outside of the set curriculum.

9. This weekend we are going on another weekend getaway to Branson, MO. We had such a wonderful time over the 4th of July, and we wanted to get away just one more time before our big vacation at Christmas.

This should really be a board full of happiness for me. Do you have an inspiration board?

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EG's Twelve Months of Bliss

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August 19, 2015

8 Beauty Must Haves For ANY Girl

We all have have go-to products that we love. It's a girl thing. But these take the cake, at least in my world they do. I use most of these products daily or on a very regular basis. What's great about them is that they are basic, inexpensive products that can do wonders for any beauty routine.

1. Dove Dry Shampoo

Girrlll, I can't tell you how many bad hair days have been saved by this stuff. Plus it lets you be lazy on 2nd (and maybe 3rd) day hair. This product serves a dual purpose for me because it adds some much needed texture and lift to my hair. The struggle of board straight, slick, thick hair.

2. Aussie 3 min Miracle

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been coloring my hair since high school, albeit for totally different reasons at this point. Coloring does some damage, especially to the ends, and this product totally lets me go much longer between trims without crazy breakage and split ends.

3. Mascara

Has anyone ever told you look tired when you're well rested, but just don't have any makeup on? Me too. I've tried all kinds, and quite honestly do not have a favorite. Nonetheless, mascara is so necessary in my life. The simplest thing can make such a difference.

4. Lip Balm

I'm not a super huge fan of lipsticks or lip glosses, but I do like to keep my lips healthy. My favorite brand is Maybeline BabyLips, but EOS and Chapstick come in close second and often frequent my shopping basket.

5. Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion

So much yes to this new product I found at the store about a month ago. Not only do you get to skip the lotion on your arms and legs post shower, but it leaves your skin so smooth without the greasy hands.

6. Cetaphil

I love this moisturizer because it's safe to use on your face as well as your body. It also mixed well with liquid foundation for a DIY tinted moisturizer. It's inexpensive and can last a long time.

7. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes

I don't know about you, but I hate regular liquid makeup remover. The invention of these wipes has been a godsend. The wipes can also double as a cleansing wipe, which makes them perfect part of the pre-bedtime routine.

8. Water

There are so many studies and articles out there (like this one) that emphasize the beauty benefits of simply drinking water every day. So bottoms up ladies!

What are your beauty must haves?

August 17, 2015

Talk Therapy

Last week I called my mom and it started out as just a gossip fest, cause you know we have to keep each other up to date on the goings on of our family. It slowly turned into something deeper.

My relationship with my mom hasn't always been the best. There were times we weren't even on speaking terms with each other. We do much better when we aren't living together, that's for sure, but we've always lived close enough to visit often. That was the hardest part for me when I made the decision to move to Missouri, was leaving my family behind.

As I've gotten older, I've realized that I had a part to play in the relationship issues with my mom as well. It wasn't just her, or the not so great circumstances of my childhood that are to blame. Talking to my mom about these things have been so much help to me, and I'm hoping to her as well. We've been able to explain more in depth about feelings, situations, and intentions that we weren't able to understand when it we were going through it. Hindsight is 20/20 you know.

I am grateful that my mom and I are at a place where we can talk openly about the hard things. I feel like we get closer each time we are able to work things out better. It's not always easy, but in the end we both benefit from these little talks. There's a level of trust and love that we have developed over the past six or so years through talks like these, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What are you grateful for?
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Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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August 11, 2015

I Just Noticed We're Halfway Through August

August completely snuck up on me. Seriously, where has this year gone? I'm more excited for classes to start again on Monday than my birthday this Saturday. This is how you know you're getting old. Don't have any plans so far, but Hubs did already give me my gift: a complete set of the Harry Potter movies on BlueRay! Let's just say there will be a marathon in our near future.

In other news, I can officially apply for my associates degree. I've completed all the necessary courses and have enough credits to go ahead and grab that sucker on my way to my Bachelors. It's kind of a big deal. I won't be walking in a ceremony or anything, but that little piece of paper means I'm halfway done with my undergrad. And I'll be the first person on my Mom's side of the family to have a college level degree of any kind. Woot!

Also, you've probably noticed the changes around these parts. I stayed up all night last night making this happen. It's kinda cool, I guess. There's a new page and everything. I think the new look has inspired me to pay more attention to this little blog of mine and you'll start to see me around a bit more. I missed it. So guess what that means? DISCOUNTS! 

Use the code "BIRTHDAYGIRL" to get 25% off the Mahogany and the Chestnut ad spots through August 31st!

Is your year flying by as fast as mine is?

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August 10, 2015

A Vague Post About Feelings Right Now

I've started, deleted, and restarted this post so many times I can't count. I've debated for a long time about whether or not to share what's going on with me on the blog, and quite honestly I still have reservations about it. So I'm going to that thing we're not supposed to do and write a vague post about it.

Emotions are tricky little devils that can sneak up on you out of no where, no matter how hard you try to keep them locked up and under control. Sometimes logic just flies out the window and leaves you floating up in the clouds with the rainbows and star dust that get your hopes up. Then reality swoops in popping your little bubble of happy hopefulness sending you plummeting back towards the ground.

I know I shouldn't have gotten so worked up over this, but my heart had other plans, secret plans it hid from my brain. And then I feel bad because I did get so emotional because there are others that have it much worse than I do right now. So I went to the store and got some Twizzlers and Chocolates, and now I'm having this writing session to get all of these emotions out. With Hubs keeping a close eye, reassuring me that it's ok that I have these feelings, but that there's still things we can be happy about. I shared my Twizzlers with him.

Wow... that really is kinda vague. But it's an accurate representation of my feelings lately, about more than one thing. As a blogger, my life is mostly laid out here for everyone to read. But Hubs and I feel that there are some things that we want to keep for ourselves. I'm trying to feel bad about being vague, and maybe I shouldn't post this because it's so vague, but my feelings are very real and in order to be as real as I can without revealing too much, sharing these feelings with you is better than radio silence, right?