Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Peace and Patience in the Waiting (CC Day Three)

I am in a waiting season.

Waiting seasons are full of many conflicting emotions including uncertainly, cynicism, doubt, elation, disappointment, excitement, frustration, and more. In general, it is such a confusing season that it's amazing when you manage to keep your head on straight, as your world is pulling you in a hundred different directions.

What's interesting is that I'm finding though conversations with my friends that these feelings are so common to almost every person at a point in their twenties, which can be a much more confusing time than high school! No one prepares us for our twenties. I hope I can change that for future generations, so they aren't as frustrated and scared about their future as I am sometimes!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Surviving Holiday Traveling (CC Day Two)

(we're just going to forget that I've not kept up my bargain of posting twice yesterday, and the fact that I'm posting this four minutes before day "three" is over!  sometimes I have these ideas like taking on a daily blog challenge during the busiest time of the year. eh-there's been worse decisions.)

I’m kicking off part two of this blog series with a post about holiday traveling, which as anyone knows, can be a humungous pain.

I fly to Chicago from Lawrence every year to meet my parents for Christmas, and then the three of us will drive to and from to St. Louis to visit my extended family (phew!), so I like to think I have a semi- diverse experience in holiday travel. I broke these tips up into General Comments, Flying Tips and Driving Tips. Enjoy!

General comments and tips:
1. Wear your heaviest and thickest clothes and shoes
If you have chunky knits like me, you could fit a minimum of 4 shirts in place of that cute sweater! Boots take up more space than slip on shoes, coats take up more room than jackets…you get it. The heavier and thicker clothes you choose to wear on your body, the more you’re able to pack in your luggage.
2. ROLL your clothes
I found this tip on Pinterest and love it for so many reasons-rolling takes half the time as folding, it creates more space in your luggage, it reduces chances of your clothes wrinkling…convert to the roll.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Rehab (CC Day One)

Ack! I missed day one of MY OWN blog challenge!! Whoops. In my defense, yesterday was full of traveling and spending the last day of 2014 I'd get with Justin (now THAT is weird!). I'll make it up with two blog posts today.

I've always seen Christmas Break as a time to escape, relax, spend time with the ones I love. Thinking about this yesterday, I realized this sounds exactly like rehab. You go away for two weeks and come back rejuvenated. I'm TOTALLY down for that!

I know that the Holidays come and everyone is stressed from the new year, from work and school, from family, from friends...you name it, someone's feeling it. So I'm challenging you to retreat from your stress this Christmas Break, whether you have one day or one month free from obligations, and really de-stress. Here are some of my tips:

1. Avoid technology like the plague
I almost left my laptop in Lawrence before remembering that I'm doing the blog challenge! I am, however, traveling with as little technology as I could muster-my laptop and my phone-and I'm intentionally leaving them in my room, out of site, so I'm not constantly checking facebook/instagram/Frozen Freefall.

2. DON'T avoid your family like the plague
These people love you unconditionally, and that is rare to come by. And just a reminder that family comes in many different forms! Don't limit it to your mom and dad.

3. Pick up a calming hobby
Mine is knitting-the ultimate grandma hobby. Movies are kind of a big deal with my family, and especially Christmas movies, so when we are watching in the evenings I'll grab my knitting while we are watching.

I JUST got the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings delivered on Friday and I couldn't be more stoked about it!! Nothing is a better escape than actually diving into another world for a few hours.

5. Meditate and Pray
I try to spend every morning reading and writing in my prayer journal. It seems that when I am focusing on something meaningful in the morning the thoughts I generate are carried with me the entire day. Nothing makes my day better than Jesus on my mind!

6. Treat yourself
I LOVE taking care of my body with beauty treatments and routines. At mom and dad's I keep this wonderful stress-free body scrub that I not only use to exfoliate but will often just open and set out in the shower and let the wonderful scent be drawn out by my shower steam. It feels like a spa day!

Since you're on a break you have a little extra time, seriously take advantage of it to love on yourself. I can't emphasize enough that we MUST make time for ourselves to center our mind with our body again, to love ourselves, and to simply be aware of the presence of God around us. Jesus was a perfect example of this-he would consistently retreat into the mountains, to his friend's houses, and generally out of site after having been swarmed by thousands of people seeking his presence. Even the Son of God needed some rehab!

I hope you find rest this break. Please share with me in the comments below how you like to find rest and solitude in your stressful seasons-I'd love to learn from you!

Love and Hugs,

P.S. Be on the watch for the Christmas Challenge-Part Two post this evening!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Girl Who Cried 'I'm Back'

Hey y'all, I'm back!
I'm claiming this every few months, and I'm so sorry about that. Forgive me, please?

School, as always, kicked my butt this semester. Can I get an "amen" from all the ladies who are ready to be working women?!

Here's some updates on the past few months:
- Justin and I celebrated one year of dating! (this happened October 8th so I'm a bit behind, as I'm constantly writing on this poor blog.)

- After seven months of hunting, I finally scored a DREAM part-time job at DriverDo in Lawrence! I can't brag on this little business enough. Awesome owner, awesome co-workers, awesome schedule, awesome work tasks....it's just plain awesome. God blessed me in so many ways with this job.

Sadly, I'm finding myself stuck right here. I PROMISE I've done more than just this the past four months!! But alas, maybe on paper our lives are more boring than they are in reality :)

Changing tunes quickly-I'm embarking on a two week Christmas Blog Challenge!
This is a personal challenge, but I hope that if you blog you will join me. Any takers? :)

Here's the deal:
From December 20th-January 3rd (the dates I'm "officially" on Christmas Vacation) I challenge myself to blog every. single. day.
For a girl who posts regularly every two months, this is a BIG deal. But it's high time to give this blog some love!

Some topics I'll be covering:
- Traveling (and surviving) over the holidays
- My accutane update (remember that?)
- My respect for small business
- Attempting the great work-life balance
- Peace and Patience in the Waiting
- Why I love Self-Help Books

...and so much more! Because I still have to double this list...yikes!
I can do this.
I can do this.

Anyway, I'm SO excited to begin this journey! Grab your laptop, your beloved journal and favorite warm drink and hop on this joyful blog-train.

Good luck on your finals, dear student friends!
And to everyone else not in school, good luck on your end-of-year tasks!
I hope 2014 has been memorable and blessed, and will be cherished by you as a year of growth, change, and beauty.
But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself! We still have two weeks of coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ, and our blogs! Who ever thought those two things could mesh so well?

Hugs and Love,

P.S. I am SO sorry about the quality of some images on my blog! I get really lazy about capturing life through photos, and when I do it's typically with my phone or Instagram. Whoops. I think I'll get better at this..? :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Redesignd - Living with Clarity

Hey friends, Happy Saturday!

I wanted to bring your attention to something that's in the works, something I'm extremely proud of. It's called Redesignd, and it's a project Justin and I have been talking about for months, and the day has finally come to start telling the world about it!

Check out our website at redesignd.org. Justin is the mastermind behind all the genius ideas, and I make the pretty pictures :)

Please enjoy, and I will be updating on Dwell as more develops with our baby project!

Thanks for all your love,


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

| B L A N K S P A C E |

I just can't get enough of this music video you guys.

I had to share.

Taylor Swift-Blank Space

Happy Wednesday! Jam out to your favorite tunes today :)


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Releasing Self-Inflicted Pressure

HEY Loves!

I hope this blog post finds you well.

This is going to be a short and sweet reminder to you, my sweet blog friends. I do sincerely hope that you can use this little suggestion on a daily basis.

I'm (still) battling the slow struggle that is getting over procrastination (once I figure this out friends, I will share-I know I'm not the only one on the strug with this ever-frustrating problem) and I bought a book called Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George that I have to share a thought from.

This book has allowed me to take off all the pressure I am putting on myself because of me feelings of procrastination, and that exact statement was this:

"God's word is ALWAYS a good use of your time - you NEVER have to worry about wasting your time if it's being spent reading God's good and useful and helpful word."

Do you know how much stress that statement released for me friends? SO MUCH! 

I am here to release you from feeling like you don't have time to read your bible in the morning, or pray to God when you're feeling stressed, or take that 30 minute break with your friend who will build you back up again with God's word. YOU ARE FREE to do that! And in fact, you should do that! 

God loves when you dwell in His word, because that is Him speaking directly to you. And guess what friends? It may seem obvious, but God has ALL the answers! And when you're feeling stressed, diving in to his word will allow God himself to whisper to you, telling you it's going to be ok, and that he loves you forever, and that this 10 page paper does not define who you are. 

So don't be fearful of your God time friends.  Embrace it and cherish it, and allow it to release all your stress and fear.

You will always be stronger than you think you are.
Love and hugs,

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Isaiah 6: How to Beat Procrastination (And Everything Else that Drives you Crazy About Yourself)

Hey, diligent blog friends!

I was reading my bible and praying this morning (at my fav spot in Lawrence, of course) and just felt like I should share what I was reading with you!

As a quick back story, I've been a struggling procrastinator my whole life (if you haven't yet read that about me on my blog, you will learn it soon enough) and honestly friends, it rips me apart to struggle with this.  I can't stand wasting time, and yet it's almost as if I have an addiction to it-I simply can't get myself to stop.

The amount of procrastination I experience comes and goes in phases, and yesterday was, in all honesty, just a huge day of waste when it comes to productivity.  I hate to say that because no day is ever a waste, but I didn't do much at all yesterday.  So this morning, I knew that if I wanted to get anything at all accomplished, I needed to start my day with some serious prayer and help from God.  

I decided to randomly open my bible in Signs of Life this morning and just read.  This is not an ideal solution to daily bible reading; I will rarely promote this as a way to really dig deep into God's word.  However, it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear today (God works in simply amazing ways, sometimes, doesn't he?).

I opened to Isaiah 6.  Isaiah can be a really hard book to read; there's a lot of cryptic wording in this particular book, along with tons and tons of prophesy, which can be sometimes difficult to understand. 

I'm going to provide the whole chapter for those who are interested, but I'm also going to call out verses that resonated with me.

Isaiah 6: 
 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;

    the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
He said, “Go and tell this people:
“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;

    be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”
And he answered:
“Until the cities lie ruined

    and without inhabitant,

until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,
until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.
And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

Awesome, so if you made it through that chapter, then CONGRATS!

Transparency time: the first time reading this chapter I was thinking "wut". 

I decided to just google 'Isaiah 6 meaning' and see what popped up.  Surprisingly, this was incredibly helpful!  If you're ever confused about a bible passage, might as well try googling it to see what comes up! (a word of caution though-take anything you read on the internet with a grain of salt.  The only truth you will ever read is God's Truth!! Can I get an AMEN AMEN AMEN. yup.)

So, what I discovered is this:

Isaiah 6: 5:  I see my sin
Isaiah's eyes were opened to the fact that his lips are unclean, and that he is not worthy to look upon the Lord, who had just shown his self to Isaiah.  This is the truth for all of us, dear friends.  I know that for some of us this is hard to deal with.  But God would not be God if he wasn't ALWAYS higher than us!  And we are creatures of sin, unworthy of God's enduring love.  Guess what though you guys?  God doesn't care-he wants us for LIFE! Thank goodness that God loves me so well.

Isaiah 6: 6-7: That must have been painful!
Hot coals were placed on Isaiah's lips.  I mean, ow.  Seriously, can you imagine that kind of feeling?  I can draw two conclusions about this statement; a. that Isaiah was so in awe of God's majesty that pain did not register in his brain; or b. that the pain of this coal was incomparable to the gratefulness that God was taking away his guilt and sins.

Isaiah 6: 8: God wants us to take action
God wants us to take action!  But don't just go, if you're going to act then be willing to act for God ("Here am I.  Send me!").

Isaiah 6: 11: "Preach" until sin is destroyed
Of course, in the traditional sense this statement does not apply to all of us.  We all aren't going to be preachers.  But what if you replaced preach with pray?  Pray until God destroys the sin that plagues your life and your world.

My god loves me so much that he allows me to see my sin, so that I can begin to correct myself.  Going through these changes might be painful, but God is so glorious that he will take away all my guilt in the process.  I am meant to take action, and diligently pray until ALL sin is destroyed.

Thanks for hanging through this rambling bible dissection this morning, sweet friends!  If this has blessed you in any way, let me know in the comments below :) I love each and every one of you who visit baby blog!  I can' wait to see what God has in store here.

(Quick update: Justin and I celebrated ONE YEAR of dating last night! Thanks Jesus for blessing me with this lovely man)

P.S. huge shoutout to Unsplash - they are a website that posts ten FREE stock photos every week! 
All the photos in this blog post were provided by them.  Thanks for being awesome, Unsplash!  And thanks to Dale Partridge for suggesting this site.  If you guys don't know about Dale, check him out NOW.  RIGHT NOW.  He's a game changer.
[These sites are not sponsoring affiliates :)]

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hi Again, Friends!

Long time, no see Blog World!

I'm realizing I actually suck at blogging.

No worries, because WHO CARES?! I can blog whenever I want and y'all will just deal with it.

In all honesty though, I do wish I was more diligent with my blogging.  I may try to commit to one post a week, but seeing as that's failed in the past I may simply make this a no strings attached relationship (for now).

Any-who, because I know the inter-web is interested in my life, here are some quick updates:

I'm five weeks into my senior year of college. HOLY MOLY.  We are going to let that one marinate for a hot second.  I don't feel old enough, nor mature enough, to be a senior.

Justin and I are coming up on a one year dating anniversary on October 8th! Now THAT year went by fast.

I'm slowly getting through a new book called Deeper Places by Matthew Jacoby.  It's proving to be a very interesting read, and I'm currently using it as a guide for my prayer time which truthfully has been lacking.  (On that note, does anyone ever feel like they are happy with their prayer life?  I feel like that's a common concern for most Christians, an insufficient prayer life. Maybe that could be a good future post...)

I'm also working on my professional documents (i.e. business cards, resumes, portfolios) and I have to be honest, I'm STOKED BOUT IT.  Graphics has never been my jam, up until this point and then I realized that I actually have good taste in graphic design (humble brag alert).

And last but not least, blogging makes me realize how much my inner dialogue uses parenthesis.

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post!  I figured that it was a miracle enough to publish something, we are going to take this one day at a time...

Love and hugs,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Wedding Weekend

Happy Thursday, lovely! Thanks for finding my baby blog!

I hope this post finds you well, and happy, and full of peace. I'm currently at my favorite coffee shop in Lawrence relaxing, pondering my week, and planning for my future. Isn't it fun to just sit and absorb for a moment? I'm so grateful God has placed me into this season of reflection.

[Signs of Life, Lawrence, KS]

Forgive my tardiness with my blog updates! As it always seems to become, life was crazy this past week, and  I just can't wait to share with you how amazing it truly was.

First things first-my BEST FRIEND got married this weekend! I am a happy person, generally speaking, but I haven't felt joy like I did at Taylor and Ethan's wedding in a long time.
I have had the pleasure of watching this couple through their entire relationship since before they started dating, and it is truly an amazing love story full of God's favor.

Check them out below-how beautiful is Taylor? She was simply breathtaking.
I went a little vscocam crazy. Forgive me.

Taylor and Ethan's personal vows were simply beautiful. I have known Taylor for seven years now, and since we were 14 we would have sleepovers and talk for hours snuggling in bed about "our perfect man," and above all else Taylor asked God for a man full strength in and of love for Jesus. When Ethan promised Taylor to be all these things in front of 200 people I cried, because I realized that God answered every prayer she asked for in her young heart. I'm tearing up now just thinking about how much God has favored their relationship! I am truly in awe of God's love for us.

Justin and I had just the most amazing time at the wedding! I was a little nervous because we have never gone dancing together before, and that can be kind of awkward right? WRONG! Holy cow, Justin is a dancing machine. What an amazing surprise, because I love to dance! :)

[Taylor will love this picture, because we are bathed in pink light-Taylor's favorite color, and obviously, the wedding color of choice! :) ]

This was a weekend I will never, ever forget. I'm thankful for every friend I've come to know in my life, past and present, but I know that Taylor will be a friend in Christ who will love me until the end of my days. Our God is so wonderful that he gives us gifts in loving friends, isn't He?

Until next time, friend!

Love and Hugs,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Accutane Week Two

Good morning, friends! It's so good to see you :)

Today I'm doing just a quick update post on my Accuntane journey (Part One here). I'm now officially one week down on my treatment! Hooray, I've survived so far!

Something really important to note about Accutane is that when first starting the medicine, you WILL get worse before you get better. After a bit of internet research, I'm finding most people begin to see results about 4 weeks into treatment. So, if you're just starting Accutane, don't get discouraged when you see your face break out more! It's going to happen, but I promise it will get better.

Week Two photos

You can definitely see a notable increase in inflammation on my face. It's hard to be patient when taking such drastic measures to rid your body of acne, but my skin will be so clear in just a few weeks! Think positive thoughts...think positive thoughts.....


Dry Skin:
I'm just starting to notice the beginnings of dry skin one week into the treatment. I'm washing my face twice a day with CeraVe ultra gentle cleanser, as per my dermatologist's recommendations, and using CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for normal to dry skin. At night, I will use Aquaphor healing ointment on any dry patches, as well as my lips and as an eye cream (the skin around my eyes is the most dry part of my face, pre-Accutane, oddly enough!), after I've put on the CeraVe lotion. Dry skin is most definitely the biggest battle you will face on Accutane.
I'm also chugging water like CRAZY! This is crucial. Your body is being depleted of hydration because of this medicine, so water needs to be your BFF.

I sometimes get a very dull headache in the morning, and I notice it will happen about 20 minutes after I take my medication. Self-diagnosis tells me this is simply dehydration, as the ache will go away after I drink a big glass of water (See above on hydration).

I'm a bridesmaid in my very best friend's wedding this weekend, and I can't wait to update you on that amazing adventure! I'll also be documenting how to keep my face looking clear while needing to be photo-ready. Should be quite the challenge, but I'm up for it! :)

Love and hugs,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Accutane - Part One + Week One

Happy Monday, everyone! Long time, no blog!

It's been quite the week for me! Although I'm currently unemployed, I am still keeping busy. Mr. Justin and I spent the whole weekend planning, and organizing, and cleaning his room, as a recovery from his first week on a new job. I've been building my professional portfolio, reading tons of books, knitting, and loving on this blog more :)

The biggest change that happened for me this week, however, was that I started my first of five months on Accutane, to treat my acne. I've been battling acne for about the past 9 years of my life, and this is actually the second time I've been treated with Accutane. My acne improves and worsens in "phases," however recently my dermatologist and I decided that the medicine I was on was just not doing it's job, and it was time to zap this acne for good (again). If I feel the need for it I'll do another post that is full of information on Accutane itself, however I don't feel comfortable doing so because I'm certainly not a doctor, and I am not qualified to publish thoughts and advice on such a controversial medicine.

(On the note of controversy, I do accept the fact that this is a very serious and potent drug, and am taking it with full awareness of the repercussions I could reap from it. My acne is simply not manageable without some form of medicine, which I have been taking the good part of the past nine years, and Accutane is a solution that could prevent me from needing to continue medicine in the future. Please, please PLEASE talk seriously to your doctor or dermatologist about the pros and cons of this drug).

So, why am I blogging about this you say? Well, when researching tips and advice on how to "deal" with the symptoms of Accutane, I found my internet searches to come up disappointingly low! So, I'll be posting an update every week on the first of the "medicine week" (Wednesdays, which was the day I started the prescription). I'll be showing you how my skin is looking, as well as talking about any symptoms I'm facing and how I'm attempting to battle those symptoms. Makeup tips will be included too, as well as some healthy body, healthy mind advice.

 Hopefully if you're going through treatment we can help each other out! If you see any ways I could be better battling my symptoms, PLEASE leave me a comment. Hang on you guys, because this may be a bumpy ride!

Week One

Here is my face, makeup-free, on the day I started my prescription:


As this is my first week, I don't have any symptoms to report from the medicine itself. However, a month before you begin the prescription you must get a blood test done, as high blood pressure and cholesterol is a concern when on this medicine (I'll be getting 7 blood tests, one a month before I start the medicine, 5 for every month I'm on the medicine, and one the month after I finish the prescription. This is mandatory for Accutane, as well as monthly pregnancy tests if you're a woman).

High Cholesterol:
I have a family history of high cholesterol levels, and so my first blood test, pre-medication, already showed me having higher than normal cholesterol. To combat this, I've started taking fish oil gummies as well as eating more leafy greens and doing more cardio (which is something I should be doing anyway!) I'll let you know after my next blood test how my cholesterol changed.

I'll be posting my Week Two update in just a few days, so stay tuned! Thanks for joining me on this journey.

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Fun Stuff

Hey y'all, today's blog post is all about BUDGETING!!!

Get excited.

I've been using this blog as a way to get my thoughts out of my head, sort of like a diary. But the reason why I'm choosing to make this a "public diary" is so that (hopefully) my thoughts will be of some use to someone who stumbles along this baby blog.

So, as I began to start a budget today on paper I thought, 'hmmm, when was the last time I saw a blog post on budgeting?' I'm hoping this little budget workout will help you, and help me too!

I tried to loosely follow a budget that would be recommended by Dave Ramsey. You guys, this man is a LIFE CHANGER. If you are ever struggling in debt, or want to know more about finances, how to better manage your money, how to be a more devoted tither, anything budget related, he is your guy!

p.s. I tried a new almond butter today, and ohhhh baby. It's SO good. I found it at my local grocery store, I'm unsure if it's carried nationally. Barney Butter. Find it if you can!

(I really love the vscocam app, it produces great quality images, plus I'm a huge fan of their image filters)

OK, here we go!

First off, I want to show off my budget notebook. I purchased this from May Designs, which is a really awesome website that has customizable notebooks for a really great price!

May Designs offer a large range of notebooks, and this one specifically has "budget" formatted pages, which I am showing you below.

This notebook is simply a quick and easy way to write out in one place where all my money is going.
I'm going to do an example budget and include percentages, so you see where I got all these random numbers from!

Here's the easy percentage breakdown:
10% Tithing 
25% Rent
8% Bills
17% Groceries
15% Transportation
15% Savings
10% Personal Finances

And here is the percentage breakdown applied to a $1,500 a month budget (keep in mind that, ideally, $1,500 should be after taxes have been taken from your salary):

I am first a tither. There is no perfect percentage for tithing! Everyone must give what they are called to give. But I'll stick with the traditional 10% in this budget.
So, $150 to tithing leaves me with $1,350.

Rent, according to Mr. Ramsey, should be around 25% of your budget. If that's true, monthly rent should be around $375, excluding bills.

I'm guessing here, as my rent and billing situation is a bit different, but monthly bills, if we are looking at water, electric, trash, and gas, would run at a yearly average of about $120 a month (if you're as frugal with your a/c and heating as I am!) We're going to round that up to about 8% a month.

Food is my next big cost. You guys will know that I'm a foodie, and I also love to cook! I probably spend more on food than the average person. However, I'm going to try to change that! So, I'm going to say that 17% of my income goes to food-that includes groceries, going out to eat, coffee shops, etc. That's about $255 for a monthly budget of $1,500 a month.
Keep in mind that, although I hope this budget layout will help anyone who finds it, I am also catering this to my personal lifestyle. If you think this percentage is outrageous, by all means change it!

I drive a Jeep, so transportation can be quite a hefty part of my budget. I'm going to go with 15%, which gives me about $225 a month for gas. Hopefully you guys can save some wiggle room in your budget with this expense!

Alright, I'm getting to the end! I promise I'm working on getting these blog entries to be more concise.

I'm now left with 25% of my budget, which I'm going to split two ways. This now becomes a personal decision, and I'm sure this could fluctuate often in your budget, as I think it will in mine.
I'm going to choose to put 15% in savings, and use the rest of the 10% in personal finances. So, this means about $225 a month in savings, and $150 a month for shopping, concerts, or any other fun activities I want to do! For a girl on a college budget, that sounds pretty darn good to me.

Now, I beg you to keep in mind that I am not a financial planner. I have no experience whatsoever in professionally or educationally handling money. This is a budget that fits my lifestyle, and I really just hope that it will help those of you who are lost when it comes to starting a budget. This should be a stepping stone, if you will! Please don't take this post as a concrete suggestion, as I'm sure this budget of mine will be tweaked and changed in many ways until I can get it just right.

I hope this has been helpful! Leave a comment below with suggestions for what else you want to see on this new blog! I'm quite fresh at this, so tell me what the people want! :)

Love and Hugs,

*Post Disclaimer* I was not paid to sponsor any of these products; rather, they are a few of my personal favorites!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Goals

Summer is a time of immense growth for my life, and I love that about summers!

I used to say I really hated summer, but really all I hate is the humidity! Curly-haired ladies, back me up on this.

Seriously though, the past few summers have just been full of life, and faith building, and friends, and love. It really doesn't get better than this! I finally have time to slow down and relish in the quiet moments that God invades my heart.

With that being said, my summer needs some goals! As much as I try to pretend that I'm a free spirit, this girl needs structure in her life to feel accomplished (this will be a later blog post).

Soooooooo, here are my summer goals, in no particular order:
This past spring semester has been full of eating out, eating carbs, eating emotional, sitting in front of a computer for 14 hours straight....in general this hasn't been a healthy semester. I'm going back to my roots, which means back to juicing, back to working out 4x a week, back to living an active lifestyle and getting my bum out of this chair! (you know, blogging really isn't good for that last one). I'm SO excited to get my life, and my body, back on track.
I'm still not tired of that happy song you guys....it's just got that beat that's infectious! There is NO reason why life shouldn't be full of happiness, because happiness is a gift from God, and he lives in my heart, and so I have no excuses for being a sour puss. I want to dwell in the beautiful moments of life, spending time with friends, loving on my loved ones, letting God invade my evert moment. I want that.
For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm a Procrastinator with a capital P. It drives my loving parents up the wall and onto the ceiling. It's quite ironic because I love knowing that I've accomplished things, and yet it's extremely difficult to get them started. So, I'll be using this lovely little blog to keep me accomplished, keep me accountable, and overall keep me working,
Y'all know that I'm in architecture school, and something that's immensely important for me to get a job is my portfolio/resume/business cards/takeaways/etc. Basically I need to create a ton of professional documents, which is really exciting, because that means I'll be getting creative this summer! But I don't only want to do architectur-y things. I want to knit, I want to water color, I want to sketch. I always find it's best to unleash all your crazy thoughts through art.
Velocity Church (Lawrence, KS-CHECK IT OUT!!!!) has my heart. It's full of people who love, people who support, people who challenge, people who care. And it's time for me to go above and beyond what I'm already doing there (which is volunteering once a month in the nursery/preschool)! I'm jumping into a pseudo-leadership position as assistant in Velocity Kids to the pastor's wife. Look out kiddos, I'm gonna make you WERK. Just kidding, but we are currently building a structured classroom setting, so y'all better recognize.

That's a lot of goals! Will you, my lovely blog community, help me stay on task?

I know you will.

Love and Hugs,

P.S. here's my happy picture for the day! Rachel, Jus's sweet sister, captured this photo of us a few months ago, and I adore it. Missing him dearly while he's on his business trip in Oklahoma!

Monday, June 9, 2014

(Almost) One Year Later...

Blog world, thanks for being patient with me!

After the school year started last fall I realized that this would be a crazy year, and needed to quickly prioritize my thoughts and schedule. Unfortunately, that led to me neglecting this new baby of a blog, which made my heart sad. This is such therapy for me to sit and pour my soul onto these digital pages, even if no one ever comes across them.

But luckily, I survived the year, and I'm BACK!
I'm so hoping this doesn't just become a "summer" blog, my dream would be that this litle blog would keep running year-long, but we will see.

I have to start with the biggest change in my life, this guy right here:

(Justin, second from left, with his sweet sisters and a random dude on their trip to Scotland. Are they not the most beautiful family you've ever seen?)

He goes by Justin, and he's the most loving, sweet, hilarious, hard-working man I know. My life has been immensely blessed and changed by him, thank you Jesus for opening my heart to a man full of God!

I just finished my junior year of college, which was by far the hardest year I've had yet. I still have two left (I'm in a five year master's of architecture program), but I'm immensely happy to be on a well-deserved break.

This summer is going to be full of bettering myself. I don't expect to magically be a better person come August, however, I do know that I'm laying a foundation of positivity over the next three months, to carry with me for the upcoming year.

To avoid a blog post that's just too long I'll be posting another one shortly of my summer goals.
Don't we all have those? And don't we all struggle with getting those accomplished?
Well NO MORE for this girl! I'm hoping this blog community will keep me accountable, and I'm hoping to get back to loving my entire self, in and out.

More on that soon :)

Love and hugs,

EDIT: I'm also going to be revamping the blog design soon! Pray for me, because I'll be trying this without a professional blog designer....
Blog design by labinastudio.