Friday, April 18, 2014

Every Blogger Needs This Coffee Mug

Today, I am keeping it short and sweet because its 9:30 PM and this week has wiped me out! I had a recruiting event today at work and worked ten hours, and went straight to church for a dinner and little service for the staff members + family.  I have been drooling over this "Eat Blog Love" Coffee Cup for months now, and when I was thinking of things I'd like to win in a giveaway, I realized I am easily pleased and this coffee mug was one thing. So, instead of gifting myself with it, my lovely sponsors and I want to give it, and a $20 gift card to Starbucks away to one of you lovely readers.

Enter away, and say hello to the gorgeous girls who teamed up to give it away. They're all gems, and I was friends with all of them before they decided to sponsor my blog which makes this whole thing REAL easy for me. I am confident you'll love them as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Being A Newlywed: What People Don't Tell You

Hello friends---today, one of my very favorite gals is taking over. Rachel's blog was one of the first blogs I ever read-her blog was inspiring, funny, and I felt like I was her instant BFF. Rachel is a gorgeous, charming southern belle who recently got married and has post full of wisdom and truth about what being a newlywed is actually like. ENJOY! 

Hi y'all! I'm Rachel and I blog over at Rachel Rewritten. 

To say I'm thrilled to be posting here on Brittany's blog is an understatement. I love her and I love everything her blog stands for, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of it! I'm a newlywed who loves Jesus and my husband, so Brittany and I have that in common! I'm here today with a little post about the newlywed life and the things no one tells you.

So, first you get engaged. And then it's all fun and games while you're surrounded by parties, showers, planning, and a big white dress. But what happens after the honeymoon ends? When all the hoopla dies down? Now you're just a wife, living the newlywed life. Here's the dish on what people don't tell you. 

{one} The advice starts pouring in. Everyone around you thinks they're an expert at marriage. Anyone from your hairdresser to your cousin's best friend's dog walker will provide you with unsolicited advice on how to make sure your marriage is successful. Take all these tips with a grain of salt people, because, let's face it, your marriage is YOUR marriage, not theirs. Even in our short 3 months of marriage, I've learned that I have to do what's best for us, regardless of the advice that's been given.

{two} People have no shame in asking about your sex life. You'll get the, "So how was the honeymoon?" question, along with a wink wink. Sorry people, what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. This isn't the Real Housewives, I don't kiss and tell.

{three} The baby questions start before the reception is over. "So are y'all going to have kids soon? You should wait a while and enjoy yourself!" Oh, thank you, random stranger, who asks it as if they just asked something as simple as what I ate for lunch. It's the age old story---when you're dating, they want to know when you're getting engaged. Then engaged to married. And now married to having kids. Sure, we want kids. Just not yet. I want to enjoy this stage of life and the freedom that comes with it. But when it happens, we'll be the happiest couple around.

{four} Balancing friends and husband is more difficult than you'd think. As the days go by, I realize how important it is to spend time with my husband. Not just sitting next to each other on the couch, but real, intentional, involved time with each other. And at the same time, I miss my movie dates and girls nights with my friends. The balance is a very fine line and I'm learning day to day that it's not easy. In the end, I know my husband comes first and everything else, second. Your real friends know that and understand. Even if the girls nights go from once a week to once a month, it makes those nights a little more special! 

{five} Time flies when you're a newlywed. I feel as if our wedding was just yesterday, and yet, almost 3 months have gone by. Cherish each day with your husband. Make time for each other and don't let the days slip away. Before I know it, it's going to be our year anniversary, so I want to make sure we make the most of this year! 

{six} Take time for you. Although spending time with your partner is so important, you've gotta have "you" time, too. Find something that you like to do on your own. Create a quiet space in your house for you to enjoy. Trust me, your husband will thank you when you're refreshed and energized. And he needs to do the same! Your marriage will thank you--when you ARE together, that time will be so much sweeter.

{seven} Despite everyone telling you the first year is the hardest, it'll be the best time yet. Learning to live with someone and figuring out all of their quirks and habits is tough, but I wouldn't trade this time for anything. We've been together for 3+ years, but these first few months of marriage have been special--I feel like we're back in the early stages of dating when everything is new and exciting again. I wait impatiently for him to get home from work. I look at him and get butterflies, because this man is my husband, and I get to be his wife. It's a crazy wonderful feeling.

Well, even after all of that, I'm clearly no marriage expert (hello--3 months in!) but every day I'm growing and learning, and every day I'm growing to love my husband more. I think I like this newlywed stage, y'all. Thanks for having me, Brittany! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What I'm Reading

A few weeks ago, I saw a blogger that I love (Joelle from Something Charming) post a "What I Am Reading" post, and when she described the kinds of books she was into and loved, I knew that we were on the same wave length. I love to read, and I love a book that has a story that sucks me in. A story that makes me not only know the characters as well as I know myself, but gets me inside their heads and feeling what they're feeling. I love a good intense, emotional, dramatic love story. The drama and the pain and the heartbreak in stories kills me but it also sucks me in. I can't do very many of those easy breezy light beach reads- I need the raw, real, emotional stuff---but I also need it to leave me with a happy ending. I need that happy ending. 

Lately, I've read three books that Joelle has recommend. I read Hopeless first, and I was HOOKED, hook, line and sinker. This book drew me in, because it was so much deeper than just girl meets boy, boy pursues her and breaks down her wall, and they live happily ever after. The ways their stories and lives intertwined is what was so heartbreaking but also beautiful and I don't want to say too much but this book was incredible and if you like emotional, intense books about l-o-v-e and family and more, this book is DEFINITELY for you.

Beautiful Disaster was also amazing, and I honestly read this book in 24 hours. I stayed up one night in Seattle while Ronnie slept because I couldn't put it down. Its about a girl who can't help but fall for a guy that she thinks is all wrong for her. The book seriously had me so angry and wanting to yell at the female main character, but thats also why I loved it. She was flawed so it was real and relateable to me. I was wrapped up in their lives much more than I care to admit.

Finally, the Sea of Tranquility was the most recent book I finished, and I lovedddddd it as well. It was different than a lot of books I read and that is why it was so good. I loved the way the author weaved in the past with the present, and the ending had me BAWLING in my car one day during my lunch hour. 

All of these books have some romance, but they have way more deeper underlying issues going on and thats what sucks you in. The story is about much more than girl meets boy and girl falls in love and they live happily ever after. SO MUCH MORE. And I feel like each one of these books have given me a little insight into myself, have caused me to feel more deeply than before. Is that weird? I don't care. I LOVE BOOKS. I especially love books that make me feel and think and cry, and laugh. That was these books. Read them. All.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Getaway : Seattle

What we did in Seattle on our weekend Getaway, in pictures:

1. We drank amazing beer at the local breweries

2. We tried out at least three different local coffee shops and saw the original Starbucks. And of course I instagrammed every latte with foam art because if I didn't instagram it, all those poor baristas hard work would've been in vain.

3. We visited Pikes Place Market and had the most amazing mini donuts EVER

4. We saw the nasty gum wall

5. We went down the the boardwalk
  6. We ate more amazing food and drank more good beer

 8. I made my husband take one million selfies of me

8. We ate dinner at a fancy restaurant on the pier for Ronnie's birthday and saw this view on our way in. At dinner we had a gorgeous view of Puget Sound

Things we did not get to do:

-Meet Mcdreamy and McSteamy from Greys Anatomy
-Visit the Space Needle
-Go to the Unicorn Bar in Capitol Hill (Wahh)
-Have a unblocked view of the water in our "water view room"

View out our window: The scaffolding around our hotel was a nice sight for sore eyes

We had the most amazing time in Seattle, and neither of us were ready to come back! The whole way back I read and my husband the trooper drove the whole eight hours. That weekend was a BLAST and I already am ready to go back-or on another weekend trip. So much fun!

Friday, April 11, 2014

33 Questions to Ask Your Heart

33 Questions is A digital booklet written by my encouraging and inspiring friend, Ashley. It is filled with thirty three power packed questions to empower you to have honest and soul stirring conversation with your own heart. In our hyper-connected culture, there is insane value in learning how to connect with the one person we're with all the time, ourselves.

I started going through this book recently, and really asking myself some of these challenging and thought provoking questions. I have to be honest with you friends. I didn't really know how to answer the "What Sets My Heart on Fire." ...I honestly am still working through that right now, and working through what it means to be that passionate about something.

Another question I am working through is "What gives me life?" And "What takes the life from me?" Because I think its important to know these things about ourselves. Its important to know what fills us up and brings us joy. Peace is such an elusive thing sometimes, I've found that its important to identify what gives me life so I can be sure to care for myself by doing those things.

But I also realized something else going through this book. Somethings, they might be draining me, but that doesn't mean that I get a free pass and don't have to do them, ever. God doesn't always call us to do the easy thing, to be comfortable and pursue our own interests and desires 100% of the time. Sometimes, he calls me to love on my friends or youth students when my introvert tendencies are tempting me to just sit in my own little house all by myself and enjoy my alone time. Sometimes, cooking dinner after work is the most draining thing for me after work, but its a way for me to love my husband well. Sometimes I honestly think that running sounds like the worst thing ever, but I feel refreshed and renewed when I am done.

I am still working through this amazing book-but so far what has stood out to me the most is the importance of B-A-L-A-N-C-E. It is crucial and necessary for me to spend time resting and loving myself by doing things that fill me up. I absolutely need to make that a priority. But I also can't live in my own little world, caring only about my desires and my preferences. Oh, how quick my selfish tendencies want to come out to play. There's no right or wrong here-it is just about finding a balance between resting and loving myself and loving others. Its about staying close to God's loving voice so when he prompts us with a nudge, a whisper, or a thought that can only be from Him, we immediately act.

The author of this book is my friend, Ashley. She writes an incredible blog that leaves me saying "YES! Me too!" and feeling so encouraged daily.  Ashley is so encouraging and genuinely cares for her blog readers. She has randomly reached out to me and offered words that encouraged me and prayers that I desperately needed. This girl is an absolute gem.I had a hard time picking my favorite posts of hers because I LOVE all of them, so if I were you, I'd go check out  her entire blog. Also, You can download her wonderful E-Book for free by signing up to get her weekly newsletter. Trust me, you will want this newsletter if you need some encouragement, truth, wisdom and hope in your life.

My top 3 favorite posts from Bright and Gutsy:

-When Adulthood Isn't What We Thought It Would Be (because its not...)
-25 Ways to Have The Best Day Ever
-3 Truths to Help You Rest Well (I needed this one, like woah.)

Connect with Ashley: