May 31, 2012

Giving Up on Good...

Bloggers often write about how they "don't do it all." They explain that even though their house looks all glossy and their life always looks fun and pinterest-y on their blog, they really have areas they let slide... their house is actually often messy, they never work out, they don't really cook homemade meals, etc. etc. There is some part of wifedom or momdom that they just don't waste their time on...

Tiny Twig and Jessi, two bloggers that I love and admire, have been talking about "giving up on good" for the past month. The idea is that sometimes we need to give up on good things, in order to spend time on the best things. So, for example, you might give up a great part-time job to spend more time with your kids, or you might give up leading a Bible study to invest more time in another ministry that God has clearly called you to. You give up something perfectly good in order to pour your time and your passion into something better.

And I have been pondering this idea for a while, actually long before other bloggers started talking about it. What good am I giving up on? What is the part of ALL that I don't do?

And here is the sad part.

I couldn't think of a good answer.

I couldn't really think of anything I don't do. I mean my house is not straight off Pinterest or anything. I don't DIY or refinish furniture and we still don't have the right sized bedding on our bed, and it's been like that since we moved in November. So I don't do everything, by any means.

But I do a LOT. I go to school. I work. I workout at least three or four times a week. I make homemade dinners {that involve using recipes} about three times a week. I have a quiet time every morning. My house is usually sparkling clean. I am always caught up on laundry. I blog. I serve at church. I keep up with old friends. We entertain lots of guests.

But before you get jealous, let me tell you the truth.

I can't breathe.


During my most stressful weeks, I gasp for breath and feel like I can never inhale deeply.

At first we thought it might be exercise-induced asthma, but when asthma treatments had no effect on my poor breathing, the next diagnosis was anxiety.

It started a few months after I got married, as I began striving to be the perfect wife. I didn't ever articulate I was trying to be the perfect wife, but when I look at my past behavior and the expectations I was setting for myself, that was clearly what I was trying to do.

I wanted my husband to find no fault in me. I wanted all our new friends in Arizona to think of me as a gracious hostess, a good cook. I needed to be a great student, an active church member, and keep my body in perfect shape.


It's sick.

I lived under the illusion that I can do it all. And my body rebelled. My body, literally, gasped "No, you can't. {Deep labored breath}. Please stop the madness."

So I am giving up on the "perfect wife" illusion. I am going to give myself a little grace.

So yesterday when my grandma arrived and I didn't have time to finish my folding, I shoved three loads of clothes into the dryer and shut the door.

Last night I served spaghetti and bread for dinner. There was no salad. I didn't use a fancy recipe for my spaghetti sauce.

In fact, I've stopped cooking fancy dinners altogether. Unless we have company coming over, we now eat the most simple dinners. If it's a random Tuesday night and it's just Micah and me at home, we now only eat a lean meat and a vegetable. Grill a steak. Bake some broccoli. Dinner is done. And we actually have found we like it better that way.

So that's me. I'm not perfect. And one of my biggest faults is that I still try a little too hard to be sometimes. But I am trying to give up on that. So if you come over, I'll take a deep breath, shove my unfolded laundry in the dryer and give you all my attention while you are there. Because you are so much more important than my laundry, stressing over a new recipe, or sweeping crumbs off the floor.

*Linking up with Jordy Liz*

May 30, 2012

Buttons and Bracelets

I've reached the point in my 30 for 30 challenge where I'm starting to think "wow, these clothes again, huh?" Actually, I had a burst of creativity again today but those pictures aren't edited yet. It was last week I was feeling kind of blah. I think part of this feeling was due to the fact that I am easing into summer mode and wearing anything but a swimsuit or workout clothes sounds absolutely miserable. I know the point of What I Wore Wednesday is to NOT wear workout clothes, but I am the opposite of most people I guess. I dress up about seven days a week for nine months of the year, and when summer comes around I want to look like the biggest scrub in the world.

So if I'm being honest, my 30 for 30 is more like 22 for 22. I still have not used anywhere close to 30 items, but I also gave myself a few days off from dressing up last week. And I loved it.

But I also got dressed plenty of days too.

Here is one of my most bland outfits that I tried to spice up with some accessories. This was the day I was driving to San Diego. I was in the car for six hours, but I wanted to hop right out when I arrived and head to dinner with my friend, so this was a mix of comfortable enough for the car but classy enough for dinner. Solid shirt embellished with big buttons. A stack of bracelets with a gold watch. And British Red lipstick.

And my fedora always goes with me to the beach. It's a rule.

Green tank: Banana Republic // Navy shorts: Ann Taylor Outlet // Fedora: F21 // Watch: DKNY

And a couple other 30F30 outfits from last week...

Tank over maxi dress. Out to a Speak Easy in San Diego.

Gold bracelet: Banana Outlet // Yellow bracelet: Nordstrom Rack

Striped tank with navy shorts and orange sandals.

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy.

May 27, 2012

Sponsor Lovin'

Happy Memorial Day friends!

While I wrap up this holiday weekend reading Real Simple by the pool in my backyard {true story}, I'd love for you to take the time to meet the two lovely ladies below. Check out their fun little profiles and then head over to their blogs to say HI!

Meet Susan. She's a lovely blond, a northerner turned southerner like myself, and an aspiring photographer. She just shot her first wedding, but it looked like it was her 100th wedding, because she is just so dang talented!

Locale: Virginia!
Blog: Suzels Says

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Not looking like a ghost anymore and finally getting my summer tan on. JK (kind of). Growing and learning more about photography. I'm trying to start up my wedding photography business and can't wait to get some more weddings under my belt. Get my website up and running, and maybe even book a wedding or two! 

* * * * *

Meet Traci. She is honest, vibrant and fun. AND she lives in a tiny town in Connecticut, which I like to pretend is Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls in my head... But even if you won't see pictures of Lorelai and Rory on her blog, you WILL see pictures of her adorable little son!

Locale: Northwest Connecticut
Blog: Nonsense Things
Facebook: Nonsense Things

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
    Everything! All the typical summer fun =D Now that my son is almost two, I'm looking forward to doing all the things he was just too little to do last year like swimming, hiking, exploring, learning and beach days. Hopefully a lot of beach days. We are also house hunting so hopefully we will be buying a house too. It's looking like an exciting summer for us!  =)

Hope y'all had an amazing holiday weekend!

P.S. I am going to be taking on a few extra sponsors over the summer. If you are trying to grow your blog, click here for more information.

May 24, 2012

Flowers Fade Friday: #shereadstruth

So if you are a blogger and you've spent any time on social media this week, you may have noticed the hashtags #souldetox and #shereadstruth circulating. Basically, two lovely bloggers decided to go through a Bible reading plan and devotional together and invited many women of the blogging community to join them. The response was explosive.

You can read more about it here and here, but basically there is a devotional based off the book Soul Detox that can be found on the You Version Bible app on your phone. Women around the country are now reading it simultaneously and tweeting and instagram-ing what they are learning. It's quickly evolved into a bigger spiritual sisterhood than anyone probably ever imagined.

And I'm in.

It took me a while to be honest. I started following what was happening on day 2 or 3, and thought "Should I do this?" And then the excuses started... "But I'm late getting started and I hate being behind on things and I am already doing a Bible reading plan so I don't really need to do another one." Blah. Blah. Blah. But the more tweets I read {the newest pipeline of encouragement, obviously}, the more I was intrigued and the more I felt the Spirit tugging on my heart to get over the structure that I all too often let rule my life and join in the game. And I finally obeyed. On day 7. And now I am playing catch up.

And I'm so glad I am.

It's been such a blessing. The biggest burst of encouragement and conviction in my Bible reading for a long time. God's word breathing truth into me daily. Teaching me to take my thoughts captive and seek beauty and excellence in my life instead of dwelling on the sinful, negative thoughts that too often consume me.

I was going to actually expand on what I'm learning in this post... but clearly it got away from me... and all I want to say now is... my soul is refreshed. My mind is being renewed daily. And thank you to you ladies who boarded the #souldetox train and convinced me to jump on too.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, 
and take every thought captive to obey Christ...
II Corinthians 10:5

*Linking up with Casey Leigh*

May 23, 2012

San Diego.

As I mentioned last week, I headed over to San Diego this weekend to spend time with two of my favorite friends. My old roommate, Bekah, relocated to SD for grad school last summer and my best friend {since 4th grade} decided to fly down for her birthday. Since San Diego is a six hour jaunt from Phoenix, I drove over for the weekend as well.

It was glorious. We could have been some place boring and ugly with horrible weather and the weekend still would have been great with these two friends, but we were in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seriously, is there anyone in the world that dislikes San Diego? I'm sure the answer is no.

From hitting up a speak easy on Friday night after Sarah flew in to bike rides around Coronado Island to free coffee at Balboa Park before church on Sunday, the whole weekend was absolutely wonderful.

I love my friends.

I love San Diego.

The end.

{Except for the pictures of course...}

1. Bekah lives right in OB.
2. Listening to Bekah play the piano.
3. Off to the speak easy.
4. Breakfast on the patio
5. Dinner on the patio under the lights.
6. Bekah's roommate is queen of succulents. Obsessed.

Bike ride around Coronado. Best place in United States in my opinion. And we found an awesome lemonade stand. Young, female entrepreneurs.

We went to Balboa Park before church on Sunday. We stopped by a coffee cart and all three of us were treated to free coffee for Bekah's birthday. Thanks for being born, Bekah!

Love you, girls. Love San Diego. Let's plan our next trip ASAP.

*Linking up with Finding Beauty in the Ordinary.

May 22, 2012

30 for 30 {week three!}

It's hard to believe that 30 for 30 is almost over. I didn't add many new things to the mix this week and I am only at 21 items so far. If you want to read about the shopping fast that prompted this little experiment, read here and here.

Here are my thoughts on week three...

It is very easy to pack for a weekend trip when doing 30 for 30. You grab 5-10 of your items for the month and put them in a suitcase and you are done. You don't even have to think about it.

Well, I didn't think about it. But I probably should have given it a little more brain power, because although I brought a dress, my romper, shorts and a couple of tops, I completely forgot any and all accessories other than the hat and bracelets that I was wearing on the day I traveled. When you have worn the same 20ish pieces of clothing for three straight weeks, accessories are essential.... I must remember that next time. And I must remember that California is cold and sweats are a necessity.

On a better note, I have started getting extra creative with my items by layering in unexpected ways. Seriously, if I always put this much creativity into my outfits, I could probably go a whole year without wearing the same outfit twice.

Exhibit A:

Meet my new romper, my giant elephant necklace and my new beach cruiser.

Exhibit B:

Cotton dress rolled down and worn as skirt over romper as blouse with belt. Complicated. Cute.

I taught high school the day I wore this outfit and got a compliment every single class period.

It was very difficult to go to the bathroom.

That is all.

*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and 5 Days, 5 Ways*

May 21, 2012

Ways to Fancy Up Your Coffee...

I first discovered I liked coffee in 8th grade. {Actually, I learned I liked ESPRESSO in 8th grade; I still only tolerate drip coffee with lots of flavored creamer.} I went to the drugstore with my mom one day and they had a little espresso cart inside. I don’t know what possessed me, but I went up and ordered a vanilla latte. And I drank it. And I loved it. I can still remember the specific taste of that drink.

This liking turned into an obsession when I turned sixteen and got my first car… daily stops at the espresso stand became a part of my routine. {Just a note: I grew up in Snohomish county, north of Seattle, which happens to be the home of the world’s best coffee and has little drive-thru coffee stands on almost every corner – not exaggerating here. Think about the explosion of self-serve fro-yo shops in your own city and multiple it by ten.} The summer after my sophomore year, I took my obsession to a whole new level and got myself a job in one of these coffee stands. Free coffee everyday plus tips from customers = win. I worked there until I moved off to college and loved every second of it.

And that’s where the problem began. I moved. To Texas. Texas is a great place. Probably my favorite place on earth, but Texas is not known for its coffee. I adapted to drinking Starbucks {blech!} and somehow survived six years in the Lone Star State with quality caffeine.

Then I moved back to Seattle for a few years and became reacquainted with espresso perfection, and when I found out I would be moving to Arizona after I got married, I knew there was one crucial thing that must be added to my wedding registry… an espresso machine, so I could survive the desert without surrendering myself to Starbucks again.

My sweet roommates pitched in and bought me my espresso machine, and now I make myself a delicious espresso beverage every single morning {sometimes iced, sometimes hot}. Today I thought I would share with you some of the fun ways I change up my coffee each day. So if you are looking to fancy up your caffeine from the comfort of your own home, here are three of my favorite ways to fix my coffee…

{Note: Yes, I make espresso each day on my at-home machine, but you can easily do any of these methods with drip coffee as well!}

The Essentials:

Ghirardelli White Chocolate POWDER… If you live outside of Snohomish County you probably order white chocolate drinks and have no idea what you are missing out on… most coffee shops {including Starbucks} use nasty white chocolate syrup in their drinks. Seriously… it’s disgusting once you’ve discovered the deliciousness that IS white chocolate powder. And what beats Ghirardelli anything? You can buy white chocolate powder in 3 pound canisters and 10 pound boxes at any wholesale store that specializes in coffee supplies {such as Cash and Carry or Smart and Final}. You can also order it off Amazon. One container will last you a long time and you won’t regret buying it one bit! Confession: I go through three 10 lb. boxes a year… J

Condensed milk.  Do you know about this stuff? It’s magical. I think Pioneer Woman puts it in her iced coffee, but it wasn’t until I discovered the Havana Latte at La Grande Orange in Phoenix that I thought about putting it in my own. Just one or two squeezes of this sweet milk will take your drink {iced or hot} to a new level of deliciousness.

Cinnamon. If you are a cinnamon girl like me, then putting a dash of cinnamon in your coffee might be the perfect choice for you. Here’s the secret… use pure ground cinnamon {not cinnamon and sugar} and shake a tiny sprinkle on top of your ground coffee BEFORE you brew it. If you are making espresso, put a tiny bit of cinnamon on top of the espresso before pulling your shot and if you are making drip coffee, just put a little cinnamon with the coffee in the filter and then brew. You will love the hint of spice without all the nasty cinnamon grounds building up in your drink, which is what happens if you pour a spice on the liquid after it is brewed.

And if you are crazy like me, you might combine any of the above options. I’ve been known to make a cinnamon white chocolate latte or a half white chocolate, half condensed milk iced Americano. You could even mix all three together. Been there, done that!

Bonus: My best friend and I did the math on what I spend on milk, coffee and flavorings each year to make my own drinks at home… wanna know the annual amount? $366 folks. That’s right. A dollar a day for a delicious latte, mocha, or Americano every morning. Said friend promptly went out and bought her own espresso machine {you can find a decent one for $150-300 at Macy’s}, and you probably should too! 

*Linking up with 5 Days, 5 Ways, Stonegable, and Tatertots and Jello!*

May 20, 2012

Little Bits of Summer...

The first little bits of summer, according to my iPhone...

We went to our first Diamondbacks game last week. It was so fun. Great stadium, great fans. I think I found my new favorite National League baseball team. I love that baseball has two separate leagues so I can cheer for the Mariners AND the D-backs and not feel guilty.

Oh, and we got free VIP passes to stand on the field for a David Crowder concert after the show. Can I just say that David Crowder is one of my favorite music artists of all time? I remember seeing him at UBC in Waco when I was just a wee little freshman in college. And in case you were worried that there would be no more good music from Crowder after his band broke up this winter, worry no more!
His new music is amazing.

Baby Claudia is here {that's hot mama on the right}. Surprise gender. Surprise name. Adorable newborn.
{P.S. I get giddy when I see Micah hold a baby…}

Pedicure. Yes, please. This is how I like to celebrate the start of summer.

We hosted a big breakfast for dinner at our place last weekend. Waffles, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs and coffee… at 7pm… best meal ever. And, yes, Kim and I are romper twins.

Two big sisters just taking pics on the iPhone…

Red Robin chocolate shake… splurge! So worth it.

Just got my first rolls of washi tape from Etsy. So excited to use them!

Feeding Sadie K. her first strawberry in a weird little net thing that she chewed on to get the juice out. 
I have so much to learn as a mom…

Hope you are having a lovely start to your week!
Also, I am sharing my heart over at Covered in Grace today. I'd love for you to stop by!

*Linking up with Finding Beauty in the Ordinary and Bits of Splendor!*

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