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Monday, March 30, 2015

"Look for the happy in everything you do." 

That's the motto of Jadelynn Brooke, a "Deerly Southern" and happy, preppy brand I absolutely adore! They sent me a box full of fabulous goodies and gear -- I'm literally obsessed with these girls and their brand! I am a born, raised, and bred Southern California gal, but since years ago, I fell in love with Southern style. In college, everyone asked if I was from the South, and said I seemed like a Southern Belle. Someday, I would love to own a home somewhere down South -- the culture, lifestyle, pace, and values are right up my alley -- including the STYLE. My sweet Fiance was born in Arkansas and raised in Oklahoma, and so finally I've got a Southern man in my life ;) Just what I always wanted haha! 

I adore the "Merica" cap, cute stickers, adorable drink cozies, shirt, and tote -- I use the tote all the time to carry around all my wedding notebooks and things. Check out this shop -- you'll love their style! 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A few of my favorites from the past week: 

This chandelier is so dreamy.

The perfect summer shoe.

10 things to make with ripe bananas. 

I love this post on prayer.

These earrings scream "SPRING!" #andtheyalsoscreammyname

I adore this cute Easter tablecloth.

This one is true (but hard.) 

I always spray this on my face when I fly. 

Did you know that Blake Lively stole Rachel Green's baby name

How cute are these free Easter printable

This is the perfect shirt for glamping and my Airstream-dream adventures!

These would be perfect in my soon-to-be apartment.

Signs you're too stressed over your wedding planning.

I have a major crush on these.

The sweetest pouch to bring on a trip to Paris.

What a fun tumbler.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

When I was a teenager, my mom & dad gave me a huge oak "hope chest" that I asked for one birthday. Getting married someday and having a little home of my own was one of my biggest dreams, and something I prayed for. I began buying little things, over time, with money I made working as a secretary for my pastor-dad at the church office & teaching piano and voice lessons to kids at a school. I'd tuck $20 bills away in an envelope, and take trips to Pottery Barn to buy a $10 "Emma" plate here, a sale linen there, hoping to build a collection in preparation for a future home. years passed. Many more years than I anticipated when I untied the pink bow on that cedar-lined chest and dreamily filled it with hope. My seamstress grandma made me linens and quilts, and I continued to fill the box. But my heart wavered at times... 4 years of college, a few stinging, painfully devastating heartbreaks. i moved into & out of 3 dorm rooms and 4 apartments. a friend told me, "Erin, just forget it -- go ahead and use that stuff. You need to furnish your kitchen in your new apartment. Just use the stuff now, it doesn't matter." But I couldn't. Single life was full, fulfilling, big, beautiful, fun, and amazing. but, those things were for something else. A dream, yet unfulfilled. when I watched every friend marry, one by one, and my path led me to move home with Mom and Dad again, I stopped adding things to the chest. It hurt too much, reminded me of the dream yet-unfulfilled. Sometimes, in all honesty, I'd see it sitting across the room and just felt like throwing it all out my bedroom window -- it hurt to see it there, reminding me of the empty dream. I gave it to the Lord but couldn't open it's lid or look at the items now-spilling out of it. And then, a season changed, a dream came true. My much-prayed for man arrived. In 58 days, we'll be married & have that prayed-for home. Today, I opened up the box, laid out the beloved, old (some even now-yellowed) items, and realized: dreams do come true, after all. keep believing in, waiting for, building toward your dreams, beautiful souls, even when it hurts.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The other day, I told you about my favorite DIY hair treatment that I have been using as I prepare to be a bride! Today I want to talk to you about some ways I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle -- in preparation for my wedding and marriage, but also just in general from now on. This isn't a health blog, and I'm no health guru! So, these are just some simple and random tips (from a non-expert) on small but important ways we can be healthier -- by adding things to my lifestyle since the start of this new year, and tweaking other things, I feel healthier and happier than ever before! I could go in depth into all of these "ways to be healthier" but this is just a post sharing a little bit about what I do. 

1. Drink more water. 
We all know how important it is to drink plenty of water every day. But, I - for one - often forget/get too busy/or.... drink other things instead (like coffee!) And so I have to be purposeful about getting water in. I often write it down as a tally in my day planner and calendar, and have been using a huge Mason Jar (like this one!) filling it up and drinking as much as I can all day. This mason jar is darling, and MONOGRAMMED! 

Ah, and look at this mason jar set?? Mr. and Mrs?! Adorbs. My fiancé and I need them! 

Since about a month ago, I have completely cut out all COFFEE in my diet. I know, I know -- it's shocking because I am literally Lorelai Gilmore when it comes to coffee:


But, as I approach my wedding, I want to be as healthy and glowing as possible -- and, because I have struggled with pretty severe acne in the past 2 years, I had to be drastic and try to figure out what is causing it (I think it may be the soy milk and lots of sugar I drank liberally in my coffee.) So I have switched to water and I do drink tea with honey only. More on this to come, but I have seen benefits of eliminating coffee already. It's not something I'll do forever, just for a while.

Adding lemon to water (especially with Meyer Lemons -- my favorite: they are so sweet!) is a wonderful incentive to drink water, too. I haven't gotten into doing much fruit-infused water but I hear it's amazing and want to start doing it!

Water can reduce acne and give us clearer skin, reduce wrinkles, give us healthier hair and scalps, strong nails, clearer and brighter eyes, help us keep at a healthy weight, and so so much more. 

Read more about what dehydration does to the body. 

Here are 29 benefits of drinking lemon water

5 benefits of drinking water in the mornings

I need this cute fruit-infusing water container.

Some of you may love the cute theme of this one -- I like the design of it inside!

Well, this certainly makes water drinking fancy! 

2. Use Essential Oils. 
Essential oils have become all the rage with bloggers, amiright? I don't sell them so this isn't a sales pitch ;) But, I've wanted to try them for about a year now. A few months ago, my sweet PRECIOUS friend Heather (who is one of the first gals I ever connected with through blogging a few years ago -- read her blog here) and her husband gave me and Daniel a starter set of essentials as a pre-wedding gifts (so sweet) and we were so grateful! She is an amazing resource and knows all about essentials -- see her website here, The Oil Diaries. She is my go-to girl for essential oils, learning about them, and joining in with an amazing community of women who love and are learning how to use essentials. 

I am not kidding, essential oils are really remarkable and they do work. Daniel and I have been blown away by them, actually. I love diffusing them (especially citrus fresh + lavender),  using lavender on my pillow to help me sleep. Pan Away is amazing to use for sore muscles -- Daniel loves it after he plays viola for hours or does construction. I am obsessed with Thieves. It's actually gone and I need to order more from Heather haha! I always get several colds and notoriously lose my voice every.single.winter. January-March I have always been battling colds that turn into sinus infections. This year? I got my normal February cold. And then? I used Thieves every day -- on the soles of my feet, diffused in my diffuser, and a took a drop of it in a spoonful of honey every day... and my cold subsided within just a few days and I have been completely healthy since! This has never ever happened to me at this time of year, and really feel that I owe it to the essentials. Yay!

I am still learning how to use essential oils, and I do think that you need to research, take classes from the girls, learn and read as much as you can before using them. Make sure you understand how to use them with a carrier oil -- I didn't at first and with sensitive skin, I developed a bit of a rash. Now that I always use coconut oil to dilute them, I'm fine. 

Check out my "Oils" Pinterest board with lots of info.

3. Keep track of calorie + water intake and exercise on My Fitness Pal app. 
My friend/might as well be sister, Megan, told me about this app and it has helped me so much. I love that it has a lose weight and gain weight option -- most health apps just focus on losing weight, but gaining weight is just as important to many of us at different health seasons and it's often overlooked. I've needed to gain weight in the past few years (after a year of severe stress in my life, I began losing a lot of weight and then just kept losing) and so last fall, I purposed to start eating healthy and My Fitness App has helped me tremendously as it helped me figure out what I needed to gain to "get healthy" again. So sisters, download this free app (and this isn't an ad, I just genuinely love it) to help you as you work toward whatever goal you feel is most healthy for your body, mind, and spirit -- whether that be gaining weight, losing, or maintaining. Here's to feeling fabulous! 

4. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
This one is such a given -- obviously we've heard this from our mamas every day since we were babies, but it's something I so easily forget to do. Fruits and vegetables are so delicious, naturally sweet, and satisfying but I often forget to eat them. So this is just a friendly little reminder. Someday soon I dream of living near enough to a Farmer's Market to weekly pick up these treats and make it more of a ritual. 

Making fruit smoothies is one of my favorite ways to add fruit into my every day.

This smoothie maker is fabulous. 

And this one's a great price! 

Who doesn't want this one

10 Ways to Eat More Fruit

I'd happily eat fruit from this pretty bowl

Oh, and this one's even prettier!

I need this printable seasonality chart to know when fruit is in season.

This blender looks quality but is a low price!

5. Drink tea with honey instead of sugary coffee drinks. 
 Okay, as I said, I've completely cut my favorite think in the world out of my diet: coffee. And have replaced it with tea. Now, I know that water is really the best thing we can drink if we're gonna drink something. But, I'm all about being balanced and for me, that is still having a little caffeine and a hot, comforting morning drink I enjoy and that helps me "get going." In my first two years of college, tea was my go-to. Chai tea lattes from Starbucks, specifically -- you know, the ones that are syrup poured out of a tall box into milk -- and (in my taste) topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a little cinnamon 
and the dorm/homework/sleepless nights of studying and cramming. I don't mean that kind of tea. I'm talking: hot water, a tea bag, and some honey. That's it. And it's actually really delicious and refreshingly "clean" -- meaning, I don't get a sugar crash hangover, and feel truly energized from a cup rather than weighed down from milky sugariness. Tea also can have many health benefits and antioxidants! 

(I'm not tryin' to hate on coffee ;) You all know it's my favorite thing in the world. But as I, personally, am trying to become more balanced in my diet and hormonally, I'm taking a break for a time. I think that coffee is a delicious, magnificent treat :) 
Read this article on 10 Benefits of Drinking Tea Over Coffee. 

15 Herbal teas for every ailment. 

Can we also take a moment for these darling flowery tea pots

I also really enjoy My Beauty Tea. Awesome, quality brand.

Look at these cute Anthropologie jars -- perfect for storing tea.

6. Use Coconut Oil For (Almost) Everything! 
Organic coconut oil (like this one) has been my best friend for the past two years, and I literally use it for so so much. I use it for lotion after I get out of the shower, I make body scrubs with it + sugar, I use it as a hair mask/moisturizer, use it to treat sunburns, brush my teeth and practice "oil pulling", as a mouth wash, as a makeup remover, for cooking, and so much more! Coconut oil has many health benefits and so many uses. Some of the amazing benefits of coconut oil. 

7. Drink Kefir every morning. 
I had never heard of Kefir until my very health-conscious friend Carmen told me about it. When I bought some and tried it, I fell in love! It is not only very nutritious, but it's super yummy. Kefir means "feel good" in Turkish. It is a fermented milk product, similar to yogurt -- and we have all heard how beneficial fermented foods are for our health. There's so much to it, and I am still learning about all this. Fermented foods are full of probiotics, have many nutrients, are easily digestible, help gut health, and help build a stronger immune system. Here are some benefits of fermented foods. Kefir is a great way to start getting fermented benefits in your diet. I have read that Kefir helps improve the immune system, is full of calcium and so is good for your bones, teeth, skin, and hair. It helps purify the body of toxins and helps improve chronic fatigue. I buy it at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and even some regular grocery stores. But, you can make it for much cheaper at home (when I get married and settled, I'm going to try!) Here's a great blog post with much information about Kefir.  I try to drink Kefir almost every morning, and have noticed it gives me energy for the day, and (I believe) is one of the reasons I have not gotten sick this winter. It's wonderful! 

8. Cook meals at home rather than going out.
It can be so easy to swing by a fast food restaurant or eat out somewhere like Chili's for a quicker, easier dinner. It definitely saves time. And while that's a really fun treat, I think it's best for my budget and my health to cook with whole, healthy, fresh ingredients at home. Lots of grains, fruits, and veggies. A wonderful way to do this on a tight and busy schedule is to make crock pot meals. 

77 Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes 

It's always best to eat fresh ingredients rather than frozen, and this is something I am trying to do -- and will do much more when I get married soon and have my own little kitchen! 

I want this crock pot! 

Who knew there's such a thing as a double crock pot?!

And this one automatically stirs? Whew, fancy fancy! #IWantThemAll ;) 

9. Read and Learn About Living A Healthy Lifestyle 
"Going it alone" is not a good plan for me personally. I tend to stick with something and follow through if I have some inspiration -- books I read, role models to look to and learn from, blogs and social media accounts to follow, and just motivation in general through the form of community and reading. I loved reading chef Giada DeLaurentiis' new cookbook, "Feel Good Food" because it's full of recipes that are fresh, unique, and tasty-looking, and also all of her health and natural beauty tips! Get her book here. 

What a fun cookbook all about Mason Jar salads! 

Foods that give you power? This cookbook looks great.

I want to read this book.

I love this Instagram for inspiration and encouragement.

This is my favorite health blog.

10. Drink Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea (see? yay!) and it has many health benefits. It is full of probiotics and so many other benefits (see image I found on Pinterest below.) 

 It's one of those things you either love or hate. My fiancé LOVES it. He genuinely loves the taste of it. I like it too, but he drinks it as a treat, whereas I drink it more as a health necessity ;) My healthy friend Carmen told me about it and let me try hers and I was hooked! Like Kefir, I know you can make it at home (for much cheaper.) It's fizzy like soda, so it can be a healthy alternative to your soda craving! 

7 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Everyday

10 Things to Know About Kombucha 

How to make Kombucha 

The whole Kombucha craze is no joke ;) and I am not really involved in it, BUT I do buy it at my grocery store and drink it once and again. And I can tell it gives me energy and makes me "feel better." 


So there you go, my dear readers. As you can see, this is very much a wanna-be healthy girl's list -- I am no health blogger, and am definitely not a "health nut" or expert by any means! I am trying to become healthier, more balanced, take care of my body as well as I can, and to feel as good as I can! Sometime I will do a post on fitness and what I do for workouts -- this was a post on non-fitness health things that I'm doing, so I'll share that another time soon. Hope it was inspiring and helpful! Love y'all :)
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

What a comforting, good reminder it is that the Lord cares so much to cover us -- His children -- with His feathers, and under His wings give us refuge. When our hearts wonder and wander, are prone to anxiety and fear, we can run under the shelter of His wings and find safety. I need this reminder, daily! So I made a little free printable to encourage you -- just right click to save and print it (it's a JPG file.) 

Hugs + love to you, sisters -- have a beautiful week! 

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

I wish we could have a coffee date and talk all about the things we love lately. Since we cannot, pour yourself a cup and check out some of my favorite things lately: 

I can imagine eating pink macarons off this gorgeous Anthro Eiffel Tower plate

The best bronzing shimmer lotion I've tried! 

What a perfectly designed throw pillow looks like. 

I absolutely LOVE the smell of this lip gloss. It's my #1 favorite.

These shoes are what I would imagine a real, modern-day Cinderella to wear. 

13 things we didn't know about "Gilmore Girls." (one of my all-time favorite shows EVER.) 

When I get married, I am definitely making these homemade Pop Tarts, like every week. 

What a serving size of fruit really looks like (and other diagrams to help you eat healthier.) 

I want this Anthropologie candle just for the pretty watercolor tin.

This scene has always made me laugh. 

Oh, this necklace is perfect for my honeymoon. 

THIS is the kinda love you wait for. I sobbed through the entire video. 

Find Pottery Barn-identical items for way cheaper. 

Can someone please buy me this epic tea cup

This quote makes me wanna stand up and clap.  

I want a huge walk-in closet just to hang this art all over it.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

TOP: Target  
STRIPED CARDIGAN: Neiman Marcus  (mine is from Zara originally but I found it for $10 at a consignment store) 
BOOTS: Guess (similar to mine) Watch: Michael Kors  Pants: Forever 21 
Nail Polish: OPI Lipstick: Maybelline
Sunglasses: JC Penny
(similar. I found mine at a random little boutique in Pasadena the other day) 
Earrings: Amazon  
(similar. found mine at Wal-Mart - of all places! for like $3 in Oklahoma!) 

On Wednesdays we wear pink... and on Tuesday? We got our marriage license! Such a happy day! Getting closer and closer to our wedding day and this was just one step closer. So so happy. We also went apartment hunting!! We will be living in Los Angeles by the sea (but not sharing the exact location, just for privacy's sake ;) and we are praying that the Lord just provides the perfect place for us to start our life together. We are so grateful for these wonderful gifts of love and marriage upcoming, and life together -- after so many years of waiting and praying, the fruition sure is sweet... and the best is yet to come, because He is good! 

So the other day we were in Target (otherwise known as "the Mothership" ;) and I found the cutest tank I just had to have. Y'all have to grab one, so cute -- especially if you've seen "Mean Girls" and love it as much as I do. My sis and I quote it all the time ("Wanna go to Taco Bell?) but this may be our favorite quote.  

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

PARIS PLEASE SWEATSHIRT: Forever 21  ||  BLACK SKINNY JEANS: (similar) Michael Kors || HIGH HEEL: got them a few years ago from Guess! ||  NECKLACE: J.Crew (similar) || LIPSTICK: Clinique (in "Angel Red")  || DANIEL'S SWEATER: J.Crew (similar) 

My man and I just love adventures, exploring and travel. We simply cannot WAIT to be married and start our life together. When we first began dating (almost one full year ago, this month!) we described ourselves -- individually before we met and all the more when we "got together" -- wild and free! And that is who we are. As we're planning our upcoming wedding, focusing on working and preparing (in every way) to get married, the travel for this short season is something we anticipate (starting with our honeymoon.) But, since we live in California and there are oh so many places I know and love that I am longing to show my man, we get to take day trips and just savor it. 

The other day, we set off on a hunt for wedding rings, and the quest led us to the quaintly beautiful town of Pasadena. I've loved it all my life. My grandma, who I'm very close to, led a successful career there for years. Every Christmas, Mom and Dad took us there to shop and see all the cheery holiday decor. The Huntington Library and tea room is one of my family's dearest spots -- we have spent so many sweet summer days there. And then, of course, one of my very favorite and most beloved girlhood movies was set there: "Father of the Bride." The big white house from the film is located on one of Pasadena's cozy streets -- grand yet homey mansions on either side, large maple and oak trees gracing sidewalks, their big limbs and leafy branches shading it all so quaintly. Sister and I often find our way back to that street, "stalking" the movie house -- snapping photos and sometimes even playing the film's soundtrack (yep, we are that sappy and romantic at heart!) Last summer, I took Daniel (or rather, he took me on a date to) The Huntington Library, before our month spent apart in May, as a last date before a long-distance season of our dating. But, he'd never really been in the town. 

I loved leading him down the brick-lined alleys, through vine-covered old walls -- popping our heads into unique shops, cafes, pawn shops, second-hand thrift stores, and dining at an amazing Italian restaurant my parent's recommended to us. We had delicious salmon as our entree and tiramisu as our dessert (one of my man's fav's!) We tried on wedding rings at a jewelry shop and let me tell ya... I absolutely LOVED seeing that ring on his left ring finger. ALL the heart eyes. The jeweler literally laughed at me I was so starry eyed. Can't wait till he is all mine! :) We didn't buy the rings there, because they didn't quite fit but are still looking. 

We ended the evening with a movie at the iPic theater. It's one of those super fancy movie theaters -- we were very impressed! It's like an upscale restaurant/night club/fancy hotel atmosphere. Red plush velvet seats, soft throw blankets, little pillows -- separated from other movie goers in a sort of little seating area. Waiters served us from a pretty extensive menu, and popcorn + candy were complimentary. I felt like we were on a 5 star cruise! We rarely go to movies, so I think that when we do, we'll just go to those theaters. We saw "American Sniper" and y'all... I literally cried the entire movie. Absolutely amazing and moving. I literally sat there in awe of our military, thankful for the individuals who have and continue to lay their lives on the line for our safety. It took my breath away and I believe every single American needs to watch and own that film! Literally such a significant story, and was so so good. Sitting in that comfortable, safe theater, I couldn't help but look around and then compare our situation to the reality of that story on the screen... knowing full-well that the only reason my fiancé and I were able to enjoy such a sweet, safe, luxurious date was due to the men and women who have protected our freedom, and for that I am unendingly grateful. 
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