Friday, August 1, 2014

5 Happy Things on Friday


I couldn't be more excited to see this day we all love so much. This week has been incredibly long and busy, but it has also been really great. We've had plans every night this week which has honestly, been as good as it has been hard. I've been consistently trying to focus on positive things instead of complaining about the hard things, especially during a busy busy season. So today, I'm going to share five happy things from this week.

1. When we planned our anniversary moon to Hawaii, we did it as frugally as possible. We used airline miles for free plane tickets and we saved our tax return for our hotel/rental car. When we decided Ronnie would be going back to school, I was worried we wouldn't be able to save for our spending money in Hawaii but then we put our heads together to figure out extra ways to bring in income. I've started babysitting and house sitting and Ronnie has picked up extra shifts and in two weeks, we have saved in an old fashioned cash envelope almost 25% of our goal amount, the amount we want to bring to Hawaii to pay for food/drinks/entertainment.

2. Speaking of reaching that goal, every night as I say my prayers, I just can't help but be thankful for the opportunities God's put in our path. I always seem to have this grand plan of how I think God should provide for us, and even when His plan is much different than the one I dreamed up, He comes through and provides for us abundantly in every area of our life. So so thankful.

3. I spent my lunch hour twice this week writing in a coffee shop and wonder why I don't do this more often. I am writing in one of my favorite coffee shops, the Flying M right now sipping the best coconut iced latte and am loving this little escape from the office to just write and people watch. When I get home at nine or later every night like I did this week, its nice to use my lunch hour to get  some writing done!


4. This weekend, my adorable niece and nephew are coming to have a sleepover with us, and then they're coming to church with us Sunday morning. We haven't had them over for a sleepover so it will be fun-I'm anticipating some ChickFilA for dinner and movies on the couch.

5. I hosted all of my youth group girls over this week for a Ice Cream party. We were going to roast Smores in the fire pit until I remembered it was the end of July and 100 degrees and a fire sounded like the worst possible idea. Last minute, one of the other ladies I lead with suggested we did ice cream instead, and it turned out wonderfully. I had my first ice cream sandwich with graham crackers and then I had another bowl of ice cream and it was heavenly. It was weird though, saying goodbye to our girls as it was our last official Wednesday night meeting. I've been leading those girls since they were freshman, and now they're all getting ready to go to college!



I'm also helping my blogging pal Rachel from Oh Simple Thoughts celebrate her blog birthday, and what is a birthday without some goodies! Here is one awesome birthday giveaway for you all. One year subscription to the lovely printable library of Elle & Co. Design (if you want to learn more check out Rachel's post), motivational coffee mug, and a retro camper headband! Can we all take a minute and talk about how much I NEED this coffee mug in my life? Seriously, I LOVE it and if I wasnt saving all my pennies for Hawaii, I'd have one in my checkout cart right now! You can win one though and the other amazing prizes!



A big thanks to all these lovely ladies for celebrating Rachel's blog's birthday and helping to make this giveaway possible! Make sure and give them some love!



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blogging Is Hard




I realize that I probably don't have a lot of credibility, joining in on this "Blogging Is Hard" prompt because some of the people who are writing about why blogging is hard blogged every day in July. I on the other hand, did not. In fact, the only reason I have a blog post today is because last night I decided to apply self tanner and teeth whitening strips at 10:15 PM at night. 10:15 is approximately 45 minutes PAST my bed time, but then I had to stay up an extra thirty minutes so A. I didn't turn the sheets orange where I am house sitting, and B. To leave these painful but magical whitening strips on to do their magic.

Anyway-can I just get a big collective AMEN when I say YES, blogging is hard. It is HARD to come here day in and day out with new, creative, refreshing, inspirational, funny, and honest content that people want to read. It is REALLY HARD. I think its extra hard because we put all this pressure on ourselves to have "pinterest worthy" posts, posts that people will pin 800 times and share all over their social media feeds. Sometimes, I just want to tell you about my day and the guy I saw in Starbucks studying while his little son quietly sat next to him on an iPhone, but I tell myself its not "pinterest worthy" and therefore, no one will want to read it. LIE. Thats a lie I let myself believe too often.

I also think blogging is hard because we put so much pressure on ourselves to show up when sometimes, life plain gets in the way. I've been out of the house every night this week and all day long, in the middle of meetings and during my evening activities, I stress about when I am going to find time to blog. And not only show up with some thoughts thrown together but a QUALITY post with corresponding graphics and expertly styled photos. Help.

Blogging is hard because it takes so much time to write, edit, take pictures, edit pictures, make graphics, share your posts on social media, reply to comments, engage with friends on social media etc. Lets not get started on how hard sponsors can be and the whole debate about sponsored posts. Lets not, because its exhausting just thinking about it.

All of this stuff is hard work. Its exhausting. Its time consuming and it takes effort. But, doesn't everything good in life take hard work and effort? Relationships and careers and children are hard, but good. The best things in life aren't free....or is that saying the best things in life are free? Well, blogging certainly isn't "free" and I certainly put my hours in here, but I keep showing up because of you. You right here reading, you who comments the thoughtful and sweet comments day in and day out, you who emails me to tell me that post I thought no one read was exactly what you needed to here. I show up for the friendships I've created and the people I wouldn't have the real pleasure of knowing if it wasn't for blogging.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Naked 2 Palette Tutorial

Girrrrrrls I am so excited about this guest post today. I LOVE makeup, and have all three of the Naked Palettes but I always struggle to figure out what colors go best together for the look I am going for. I hope this video by my friend, Brittany helps you out! 


Hi, everyone!!  I'm grateful to be guest posting for the beautiful Brittany today.  Maybe it was her strong faith, open and honest way of writing, or her wide-ranging posts on everything from fitness to finance… But I couldn't get enough of Happy is a Choice!!  I'm sure you, her readers, feel the same. 

My name is Brittany and I am Blogger-in-Chief at Torts and a Tiara.  I began the blog as a creative outlet while I was in law school… A place for me to talk about things I enjoyed after a long day of contracts and torts.  Over the years and through many misadventures, my blog has grown with me.  It's where I share some of my favorite things: life, personal style, beauty, decor, and travel.

I'm currently a bride-to-be and planning our wedding… So watch out for the occasional Wedding Wednesday posts!!

One of my favorite topics is beauty.  I get lots of questions from my own readers about how I do my makeup and hair.  So I created a little eye tutorial especially for Happy is a Choice readers… It's one of my favorite eye looks for Summer and Fall, and the bronzy colors flatter every skin tone!!      


Enjoy!!












Monday, July 28, 2014

Thoughts on Change, Uncertainty, and Contentment



My head is still spinning from this weekend-it was a full one. I got to do a lot of great things, spend time with friends and go on a date with my husband. When we were out at lunch we realized its been over a month since we went on an actual date. Oops! Newlywed fail. Anyway, I mentioned last week that I recently finished the book, Bittersweet and I just wanted to come here and share a few things that it taught me.

This book had me laughing and crying all in one chapter-Shauna Niequest is an exceptionally gifted writer. The way she weaves in practical wisdom and lessons into her life stories makes me want to stop and think more about what God is teaching me in every day moments.

You've heard me talk about contentment over and over in this space-it is one are of my life that I've constantly struggled with. I have a personality that is always striving, pushing, reaching. It served me well in high school when I made a 4.0 GPA and in college when I worked multiple jobs while taking full loads of classes, and its served me well in the real world as I climbed the career ladder and got a job I desperately wanted.

But it doesn't always serve me well, like when I get restless in that job I wanted so bad and start to feel like I need more. More responsibility, more challenge, more money. It doesn't serve me well in my marriage when I am constantly pushing us to do more, more, more. It doesn't serve me well in life when I look at what my neighbor/coworker/friend has and think that whatever that is, it will make me happy.

This season we are in is one that I am confident God is using to make us more like Him. He's revealing some issues in my heart that make me want to squirm and shove back deep down inside instead of face head on. Its one of growth, of changes, and above all, uncertainty. And if you've been around here-you know how well I do with uncertainty. But I'm reminded that certainty was never part of the deal. Jesus didn't promise a life full of certainty, of perfectly wrapped up boxes of where life would take us and road maps of  every possible outcome. Slowly, painfully, I am learning to open my hands and release the grasp on my life, my plans, my security and let Jesus do his work in me.

I still have a long way to go, and do not have this contentment and peace thing figured out but I am learning how to quiet the noise in my heart and in my brain in order to let God speak to my anxious heart. He reminds me of His faithfulness over and over again, day in and day out. This growth thing is painful and its easy for me to want to stomp my feet and whine and complain as if that will get me my way. But sometimes, when I slow down, I remember that Gods ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts.  And He's worth trusting, He's worth surrendering our lives too. Today, I am holding on to the truth that He holds it all together, not me. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Coffe Date + Highs and Lows


Friday is here and I am so so over the moon by this fact. The week has been long and I am thrilled to have a weekend away from the office. So, today I am linking up with Jenna from Dearest Love to share some highs and lows from the week!

Coffee Date Linkup
Highs

Ronnie and I are now officially working out at the same gym and we’ve bene going together in the evenings. Its been really nice to spend that time together and he basically is my personal trainer because I am kind of clueless when it comes to lifting weights. It helps me stay consistent and pushes me to get out of my comfort zone in the gym!

I went back to my 7-4 with a full hour for lunch schedule. The past few weeks I tried working nine hour days in order to take every other Friday off, but I hated it. I love getting off at four because I can actually run errands, workout, etc and not feel like I am getting home at my bed time. And yes, my bed time is about nine PM and I'm not ashamed of it in the slightest.

I’ve lined up quite a few babysitting jobs, which is awesome because not only do I love hanging out with kids we also have been racking our brains to figure out how we can be making that school payment each month and still do things we want to do, like go on our anniversary trip. Luckily we have all of it paid for and are now just saving for our spending money and I couldn't be more excited. We're determined to get through his school debt free, even if that means picking up side jobs and working more hours. Dedication! We're very thankful for the way God is providing for us during this season I definitely had a hard time trusting Him!


Lows

I think I may have overbooked myself this weekend and next week. In the next seven days, I am house sitting, babysitting, going to a concert, going to a bridal shower, babysitting some more, hosting a campfire/s'mores night with some girls from youth group, and doing a fun photo project that I will give you more details about soon. If you know me, you know I value quiet, no-plan time much more than I love busy busy time but all of it is good, fun stuff so I am hoping I can keep my sanity and my blogging schedule up.

Ronnie has also been extra busy and between both of our schedules, I am starting to miss him! I am super bummed he can't come to the concert I am going to this weekend because he is working, but luckily my mom is coming so I know we'll still have fun.

We finished the last season on Netflix of White Collar and we can't find the next season and it makes me want to cry on a daily basis. My name is Brittany and I get too emotionally invested in characters from books and movies.

Thats its for my highs and lows-its been a pretty good week overall and I am ready to take on the next week with energy and enthusiasm. I hope!




PS: Have you met one of my blogging besties, Rachel?



I've been reading Rachel's blog(s) since before I had my own blog. She has always been not only an amazing writer, blogger, DIYer, but she's also turned into an amazing and dear friend of mine. Rachel and I exchange texts almost daily and she is one of the most encouraging and uplifting people I know.  She is a gorgeous new bride with amazing wisdom about marriage and being a wife. She is a labor and delivery nurse and I can't imagine a better job for this girl because she is so gentle, loving and kind. If you are needing some inspiration to blog and write again, check out her post about how to find your passion to blog again. Rachel is also an expert DIYer and these DIY Anthropologie look-a-like coffee mugs have me swooning. I can't get enough of her, her posts and her friendship. Love you mean it friend!!