Thursday, December 31, 2015

Time to turn a new leaf ~

Thursday, December 31, 2015
It's finally here. The last day of 2015. I honestly thought that this year would never end haha. 
This is a day full of reflection and resolution making. A day full of celebrating what has come to an end and that which has yet to begin. Some people will go to parties with friends and others will stay in and spend time with family. 

Since I already did my "reflection of the year" post, I want this post to be all about my favorite things from 2015, and things that I am going to leave behind going into 2016.

:: Having a picnic with my sweet friends before they graduated ::

:: Going to bridal expos with my friends ::

:: Ice skating downtown with my very best friend ::

:: And going to the zoo with her ::
:: Lots and lots of grocery runs and coffee dates ::

Of course, there were many other memories, I just can't find pictures that document them all haha.

I'm not a big fan of resolutions because I'm really bad at following through with them. But there are a few things that I am going to choose to leave in 2015. Things that I feel need to be left behind so that I can better myself in this new year.

1.) Letting my emotions get the better of me :: I tend to do this all the time. No matter the situation or the feeling. Be it good or bad. My emotions almost always take control. This often times leaves me making half minded decisions on a wim just because it "feels right".
2.) Not celebrating tiny victories :: Tiny victories need to be celebrated. Because even the little things are important.
3.) Not telling people how important they are to me :: Something I learned in 2015 is that it is so important to express your love and thankfulness to those around you. To those who take time to be your friend and to be there for you.
4.) Being afraid :: In 2016 I want to be more adventurous without being so afraid of doing so. I want God to lead where my feet have never gone before.
5.) Not encouraging myself :: One of my God given gifts, I believe, is encouraging others. But unfortunately  a lot of the time I forget to encourage myself. In 2016 I want to always be reminded that is okay to cheer yourself on, and it does not make you conceited. 

There are a few more personal things that I am planning on leaving behind in 2015 as well. But all 5 of these are important. Maybe in reflection of your own year you have found a few things that you wish to leave behind as the year changed. I want to encourage you to not be afraid to do so! Change is good. Sometimes scary, yes. But good. 

So here's to a New Year. A fresh start. 365 new chances.
Have fun, and be safe.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Reflection on reflecting -

Sunday, December 27, 2015

First thing's first, MERRY CHRISTMAS. 
I hope that everyone had such an amazing holiday and sweet time spent with family and friends.

I took a little Holiday break from my blog to focus on family and just to soak up this season. But as I was anticipating and planning this post, I went back to my posts from this time last year. Specifically my "new year" post. As I was reading I realized that I hadn't accomplished barely anything I had hoped to accomplish. Not just the petty little things either... but the big and important things as well.
2015 was not at all the year that I thought it was going to be. It brought so many challenges and hardships, and if i can be honest, I let it stomp all over me.
I know the new year is a few days away, but as I sit and reflect on this year and even reflect on the way I approached this year last year, I don't want to look back on 2015 as being a year of regret. Or a year of hurt. Of hardship. Of change that I didn't always like. Rather, I want to look at it as the year that woke me up.
You know how sometimes in life you lose sight of where you're going? That's what happened to me this year. And I think part of me was in denial about that, because I didn't want to believe it myself. The truth is that we are human. Sometimes we lose our footing. Sometimes we stumble.
That was me. Stumbling around, desperately trying to grab hold of what I thought I needed. When in reality, all I really needed was to be still, stop trying to do my own thing, and listen to God.
Have you ever had a realization like that? It's kind of like a slap in the face. But a very necessary, done-in-love, kind of slap in the face.

As the new year quickly approaches, I am going to choose to not look back negatively on this year.

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."

Isaiah 43:18-19

Maybe you find yourself feeling like me, and looking back negatively on your year. I want to encourage you that there are better things ahead. As it says in Isaiah, God is doing a new thing. In you, and in your life. That alone is something to be so grateful and so happy for.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A little bit of this -

Friday, December 4, 2015
I've been really into trying new foods lately. Probably because I went to Whole Foods the other day and was overwhelmed by all the yummy looking healthy, good for you, foods. I don't have any intentions of this being a "review" post, but I just wanted to share my thoughts on someone snacks that I've tried!!

This Vega snack bar was honestly one of the yummiest, most filling, bars I have ever eaten! I only tried the dark chocolate, mixed nuts, and sea salt one but they had several other flavors! And these bars are gluten free and dairy free! Yay!

Never have I ever tried Larabars before, but recently a friend of mine informed me that they are also gluten and dairy free! So of course I had to try it. I only tried this one flavor, and it is so delicious. I could eat these all day.

This on the other hand.......
I couldn't even stomach a whole bowl of it! It was so nasty! haha. Dairy free mac and cheese is always a big risk, and I knew that going into it. But at least now I know to never buy this again :)

Let me just say, I love all of Califia Farms products. They are DELICIOUS. And made with Almondmilk! Yay! I absolutely recommend both of these drinks for your holiday parties this season! They are so so yummy.

I'm loving trying new things and falling in love with brands that make foods that are actually GOOD for you.

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks or brands that you swear by?

*This is not a sponsored post. I did not get paid by any of these companies to talk about their products. My reviews of them are based solely on personal opinion.*

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give Thanks ::

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I am spending today thinking about all that I truly am thankful for. When you take the time to reflect on things, you realize just how much there really is to the be thankful for.

- My Family. The Holidays are always so much fun and I can't imagine spending this time of year surrounded by anybody else but my family.
- My Friends. They say you find your life long friends in college and I think that is absolutely true. I am so glad to have found such amazing friends who care for me and love me just as much as I do them. 
- How God shows up in every season. Sometimes things are hard, and I think 2015 has been the most challenging year I have faced yet. But God is still God. And he shows me each and everyday how His love for me never changes despite how things around me change.

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Holidays Pt. 3 :: A guest post

Monday, November 23, 2015

 Hello! My names Marah and I’m from a blog over on my corner of the internet called The Classy LifestyleToday I’m going to help you achieve the daunting task of preparing for the holidays! :) Because lets be honest, the holidays can be stressful sometimes with all the preparation. So lets talk stocking stuffers, what to put in them? Well boy do I have lots of ideas for you, and they are both cheap and cute!

1.) Hair Accessories
I decided to raid the dollar section in the front of Target, and discovered some great finds! First off, you can never go wrong with cute hair ties like these. I love the different patterns and colors in this pack, and they were only $3! Every girl could always use more hair ties! 

2.) Sweets
You also can’t forget to treat the receiver of your gift! I picked from several of the choices in Target’s holiday section, some Espresso flavored Chocolate Bark. I may or may not have ate it after finishing taking pictures of it for the post.... :)

3.) Christmas Scented Candles
Also, who else doesn’t love Christmas scented candles?I know I do, because I love food and the second best option to food, is a food scented candle. I scored a gingerbread cookie scented candle for $3 and it adds the perfect touch to all of my wintery bedroom decor. Don’t you think? 

4.) Snacks
I would argue that one of the best things about Christmas is the food..and gingerbread flavored food..could you tell? So when in doubt just stuff that stocking with all kinds of delicious christmas snacks! ps. the cliff bar was amazing! I enjoyed it as a snack on break at work!

5.) Cute Little Baking Supplies
 You can always stuff their stocking with baking supplies as a subtle hint that you want them to bake for you…just saying! I found this adorable mini “Santas Little Helper” spatula for a couple dollars, and a small gingerbread man cookie cutter and thought they would look cute tied together with some string.

6.) Makeup
Little makeup essentials are always a great option. Ask the person you’re making a stocking for what small makeup products they need and you might just help save them a bit of cash on things they usually need! Now that my friend is killing two birds with one stone. 

7.) Fuzzy Socks
I firmly believe in owning at least one pair of cute and girly feminine fuzzy socks. Help a girl out and pick up some supper cute ones from Target! 

8.) Pretty Pencils and Pens
Everybody can always use pencils and pens, and with these adorable printed ones you can look trendy even when solving math equations for class. ;) If you have not discovered this yet, Target always has extremely cute Kate Spade looking led pencils in there dollar section that are just dying to be bought!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Holidays Pt. 2 - goody goodies -

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nothing says Holidays like food, am I right?

One of my favorite things about the Holidays is the delicious food and desserts. One of my absolute least favorite things during the holidays, is having food allergies. BUT. There are still some yummy things out there that are allergen friendly! 
I wanted to share some recipes with you today in case you are like me, and already thinking about what delicious goodies you can fatten yourself up with this holiday season.

(All pictures and recipes were found on Pinterest. Click the names under the pictures to visit the sites)

What are your favorite Holiday sweets and treats?!

Monday, November 9, 2015

:: Holidays Pt. 1 ::

Monday, November 9, 2015

It dawned on me today that the Holidays are right around the corner, and I am starting to get SO excited!! I am going to be doing a little Holiday series within my Morning Musings series through-out the next few weeks. 

Everyone has holiday traditions. For my family, I feel like our traditions are remembering funny things that have happened throughout the years. For example.. at my house we have a chalkboard in our kitchen that we always decorate for birthdays, holidays, and other special events. Last year when I came home from school for Thanksgiving break, I noticed that the chalkboard was decorated. After passing it several times I finally noticed that something was off. Turns out, my mom was a little side - tracked while decorating it... and ended up writing "Be Thanksgiving." We laughed about it for months, and still poke fun at her for it :) And this year I'm sure that is what will be written on the board.

Another silly holiday "tradition" that we do in my house is watch this funny Ecard. I know.. that sounds strange and I don't even know if people use Ecards anymore. But a few years ago my mom found a Thanksgiving one to send to her cousin, and we found it to be really funny. I hope you find it as silly as we did, and get a good laugh out of it on this Monday morning :)

I would love to hear some silly things or even meaningful traditions that your family celebrates!

Yay, Holidays! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Life lately -

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Life lately has been a little on the crazy side. I am finding that as I get older there are just not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do, let alone need to do.. sigh.

As a result of feeling stressed and busy, I found myself procrastinating all my time away on social media. As much as I enjoy social media, there are some times when it just brings me down. There's always something negative or mean that I see that will just put me into a bad/sad mood. I can also honestly say.. that I am totally one of those people who will creep on celebrities or people who I think "have it all together", and I will start to regret every item of clothing I ever bought or never bought, and suddenly have this desire to explore the whole world. All this really does is leave me bitter and grumpy that I don't have a certain cool shirt or a bunch of random money lying around to fly myself to Paris. 
Lately, I have been trying to detach myself a bit from social media. As I get older I find myself envying those girls who are out of loop when it comes to the latest meme, or the "funny thing" that's going around on Twitter, or that one couple that just got engaged. Lately I'm finding myself craving authenticity, and I don't mean the hashtag. I am finding that I am admiring pictures I take even when I don't post them on instagram. I'm finding that I can say funny things without having to post them on Twitter.
I found something on Pinterest the other day while pondering these thoughts of ditching social media.  It's called the 7 day smartphone detox. I don't really like what some of the days say on this particular list, but I did like the idea as a whole. 

So this is my challenge to you today. Will you join me? Will you turn off push notifications? Will you delete the Facebook and Twitter app from your smart phone entirely? Will you resist the urge to look at your phone first thing in the morning? Now, I understand that you need your phone for work purposes and to contact people throughout the day.... but remember when that's all you could really use your phone for? Will you treat your phone like a non-smart phone this week? 

Have you been trying to detach from social media too? What are some things that you have tried that you really like, or that have been really beneficial to you? 

You may have noticed we changed our name! I'll touch more on this in an upcoming post ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Owls :: A review

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I have always loved owls. Real ones, and stuffed animal ones that look nothing like real owls but are still super cute!

Owls by Matt Sewell is by far one of the most charming little books I have ever laid eyes on. Not only is it educational in the way that it gives facts about each owl, but the watercolor paintings throughout the book are simply breathtaking. Owls reminds me of a grown up version of a children's book. I will always cherish this sweet book, and will turn to its beautiful pages on the dreary days to cheer me up.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Crash the Chatterbox:: A Review

Monday, October 12, 2015

A few good years ago I came across Elevation Worship, which led me to find Elevation Church.... which then led me to really love the things their pastor, Steven Furtick, had to say. I followed through the sermon series he did titled Crash the Chatterbox and when I found out that he wrote a book about the same thing I knew I had to read it. 
As expected, this book blew me away. It is one of those inspirational books that you find yourself nodding your head to while you're reading, just as if he was standing in front of you preaching out every word. I love how real the book is, and how it is not presented to us as a book that points fingers, but rather a book to encourage us and inspire us as we all try to crash the chatterbox. 
If you or someone you know has a hard time focusing on Gods voice above all the others, this book is absolutely for you/them. 

"My joy is not determined by what happens to me, but what Christ is doing in me and through me." - Steven Furtick, #crashthechatterbox

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Coffee + Friends

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Holy moly, it has been way too long since I have posted! Wow.
Well Good Morning! It is Saturday, and I hope you are all having a lovely slow morning, drinking coffee and eating your favorite breakfast :)

I feel like I have so much to share with you since I have not posted in a long time. I've been pretty busy and have been really taking the time to soak up this beautiful fall season! I do have a lot to share with you, so keep your eyes out for a lot of new posts this coming week :)

For this mornings musings, since it's Saturday.. I just wanted to keep this post short and tell you all about my lovely friend Natalie over at A Tiny Traveler. I met Natalie at school my very first semester there. It didn't take us long to realize that we would be great friends. Natalie got married to the man of her dreams 2 weeks ago (yay!) and I am so blessed and thankful that she let me be a part of the day! 

Natalie was able to take a little trip to Pittsburgh this weekend and I was SO excited that we got to spend some time together. She is my absolute favorite person to have coffee and talk with. She has such a creative mind and I love hearing her heart for new projects and her love for collaborating with people. She really is great. So naturally, we got coffee first :) I took her to one of my favorite places here in the Burgh', Tazza D'Oro. After spending time there catching up and waiting for the rain to stop.. we went to a little nature reserve to appreciate this lovely season and all it has to offer. Today was one of my most favorite days spent with one of my most favorite friends. I appreciate Natalie so so much and am entirely too blessed to have her in my life. 

(Sorry if these pictures are poor quality, they are from my phone.)

I hope that you all have a lovely Saturday. Make time to spend time with the people in your life who make you happy. The people who encourage you, and are there for you when you're in down in the dumps. Let those people know just how important they are to you :)

Happy Saturday! 

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