Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall Must Haves

I spent most of my weekend shopping. Happy for me, sad for my wallet. I stocked up on some pumpkin and fall scented candles, some work essentials, and even a few items for fall. Although I got some great stuff, I didn't get everything I fell in love with because of that dreaded B word: BUDGET. Womp womp. I am desperate for some new black fall riding boots and that gorgeous but backordered J. Crew Vest. 

I am also drooling over the  VS leggings because they are the world's most comfortable leggings and I would live in them if I could, but at sixty dollars a pair, they are slightly out of my price range for pants I only would lounge around home with. I may or may not have come home with that scarf though!

Finally, as someone with perfect 20/20 eyesight, I am feeling really envious of all you gals who get to rock trendy glasses. I am this close to just ordering myself the gorgeous Warby Parker Welty Glasses in Plum Marblewood with just clear lenses because I think they are a fashion must have this fall. If you see a picture of me in them, please just keep the fact that I dont actually need them between us, okay? As I was browsing online for the perfect pair of glasses, I found this infographic helpful in picking out the right size of glasses. For you lucky ones who get to rock glasses, what do you think? Do you use a measuring guide to pick out glasses or do you just try a bunch on until you find your favorite?

Infographic provided by Zenni

Monday, September 15, 2014

Protect Your Marriage

As a new wife, I have found myself hearing about other marriages that are struggling and my heart absolutely breaks for them. Whether it is a close friend or a blog I come across online, it breaks my heart to learn that marriages all around are suffering and people are fighting to just stay married. Before I met my husband, marriage itself kind of terrified me. All I have ever seen around me are marriages that have failed, and I struggled with fear that eventually, everyone would leave. God has done an incredible work in my heart over the past five years, healing some raw, tender areas from my past, and now I am married to a man that is patient, gracious and selfless who I know is in it for the long haul.

I have a confession to make though: When I have heard of certain marriage struggles like adultery for example, I have been extremely prideful thinking to myself "That would NEVER happen in my marriage. Neither of us would ever cheat on each other." And while I believe that is true to a point, I woke up in the middle of the night with a thought repeating over and over in my head. Protect your marriage.

No one, no couple is above any sin. We are humans who are inherently sinful, and I believe that the enemy will make every attempt to hinder a marriage that is bringing honor and glory to God. At any time, we could fall victim to the enemy who will play on our weakest and most vulnerable areas to cause harm to ourselves and our marriage. In the Bible Jesus says about Satan "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." [John 10:10] Because of this, I think as wives, we have an important responsibility to protect our marriages.

P R A Y  F O R  Y O U R   M A R R I A G E

First and foremost, I think the most important thing we can do is pray for protection over our marriage. I pray for my husband daily, and recently, I've started asking God to just protect our marriage as well. I ask God to protect us from our own selfish and sinful ways, for protection against the schemes of the enemy, and for him to break down any strongholds on sin in our life that is keeping us from true intimacy. Rachel wrote an amazing post about how to pray for your husband that is full of wisdom and things to pray for each day.

S E T   A S I D E   T I M E    TO   C O N N E C T

Its very easy for us to fall into the trap of waking up, going to work, going off to our evening plans which are many times separate with me babysitting at night, and then falling asleep to the TV each night. If we let that pattern continue, we would easily go days or weeks without really sitting down and having time to talk and connect with each other. It is important for couples to have consistent time to be together without the distraction of phones, TV, computers, etc and really touch base about whats going on. I've talked here about our Saturday morning checkups which I admit, we have slacked at doing over the past busy months, but its something we are going to implement again. Another idea is to sit at the dinner table with the TV off and phones away, or to shut off the TV before we go to sleep so we can talk instead.

P R A C T I C E   H E A L T H Y   B O U N D A R I E S

Boundaries are something that may feel too much like a rule, but by setting them, you are protecting your marriage and respecting your husband. Each couple is going to have different boundaries and there isn't a right or wrong formula for the perfect boundaries to protect a marriage. An example of a great boundary for us is that when Ronnie gets emails from other females at church, one of them always copies me on it. It is a really respectful and thoughtful act that isn't "required" and its not a rule, it just is one way of being transparent with each other that leaves no room for questions. Andy Stanley did a great series called Love, Sex & Dating which he talked about some other boundaries like never riding in a car alone with another female or going out to restaurants alone with females, even if it was work related. Maybe these seem extreme for your situation and thats okay-the important thing is to figure out what would make your spouse feel uncomfortable and how could you ease that. Is it just a communication thing, like letting them know you who you're with so they are in the loop? Boundaries are going to be different for everyone, but could go a long way in protecting your marriage.

R E S O L V E   C O N F L I C T   W I T H  G R A C E

The most important principle in our marriage is grace. Its forgiving each other even when we are deeply hurt. There is a difference between forgiveness though and brushing off or avoiding conflict. Sometimes in order to avoid conflict we brush things under the rug, thinking that means we are being really forgiving and full of grace. But unresolved conflict can build walls between you and your spouse, and each little imperfection can start to chip away causing us to be bitter and resentful.  I think its important to be able to discuss what ever hurt you with your spouse, and they should feel the same freedom to discuss that with you. Its important to have an attitude of grace and forgiveness and do this in a way that isn't attacking but bringing to their attention how their actions made you feel. If you are on the receiving end of a talk like this, its easy to want to defend yourself or turn it around and focus on what your spouse did that made you act the way you did, but by listening and truly being remorseful that your spouse was hurt, you can break down the barriers that chip away at marriages.

Have you ever thought about the need to protect your marriage? What things do you do to protect it if so?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oh Hey Friday | 5 Things You Should Know

Its one of the best kinds of Fridays-one where I don't have to go to work! I finally was able to use some of my comp time today, and I am SO THRILLED to have a three day weekend. I'm have yet to venture out of my bed even for coffee, which is shocking but I don't want to leave it just yet. Anyway, I slept in this morning and am bringing you a midmorning post-surprise!  I am linking up for Oh Hey Friday because, hey, its FRIDAY! So here are five things you should know about my week.

1. I woke up this morning and tried unsuccessfully to get my computer to turn on for at least 10 minutes. It was plugged in, but not responding at all when I pressed the power button. I had a mini-panic attack and kept trying and eventually, it just turned on. Nothing wrong with it, I guess it was just being a royal pain in the ass and turned on when it was well and ready.

2. I got my first airbrush last night at 9:45 PM. I thought getting basically buck naked in front of someone would be really weird but it wasn't that bad. She asked me if I wanted to be darker and of course I said yes and then I got home and panicked because my face was basically the color of a Mocha and that wasn't going to work for me so I washed some of it off my face. Hopefully I look halfway decent when I get out of the shower today.

3. I've been waiting and waiting for a really important phone call all week and I am basically going to go crazy if I don't get it today. Sorry for the vagueness but you know when you're waiting for an important call and every time your phone rings and its not THE Call you get so angry? Me neither.

4. Last night I had a dance party with the four year old I babysit and it was awesome. We danced over and over to our bestie, Taylor Swift's Shake It Off and then when we had to go get her brother from soccer, we brought the iPad in the car so we could keep dancing. If you want to see a video, which trust me, you do, you should definitely check out my Instagram.

5. I am ready for that cup of coffee now. So-I am going to introduce you to a blogging pal before my withdrawal symptoms get the best of me.

S P O N S O R     S P O T L I G H T

Faith from Life w/ Mrs. G & The Artist is one of the sweetest bloggers I know. She has some of the best posts on marriage, like How To Make Marriage Fun and she even did an entire Marriage Series with other bloggers full of wisdom and practical advice. I love her outlook on life, how positive she is  and how she reminds me to practice gratefulness. Another amazing read from Faith is her post about Our Desires Vs. Gods Plans. I struggle with this a lot, and she really sheds some light on the topic in a unique way. I definitely recommend you check out her blog and say hello to Faith! She's such a light to me in the blogging world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Marriage Changes (& Doesn't) Change Things

Its Tuesday and that means another lovely blogger is taking over my space today! Fellow newlywed Becca from Becoming Adorrable is here to talk about marriage and how though things change, you are still YOU even after you become a wife! 

Hi, Happy is a Choice readers! I'm Becca, and I blog at Becoming Adorrable every day. (Okay, almost every day. Stop by to say hi!) Like Brittany, I'm a newlywed. My husband, Tim, and I just celebrated our first anniversary last month. It's hard to believe that a whole year has flown by since our wedding day, and how much life has changed since then! timbecca031 It might seem like a no-brainer that life changes when you legally (and spiritually, in some cases) bind yourself to another person, but some changes are not so obvious, and some changes that people hope for won't usually happen.

 What did change:
We lived together. Actually, we lived together for a few months before the wedding (you can read why on today's post on my blog), but not everyone does. I'd say this is the biggest change a relationship can go through.

Your very personal space is invaded. And you share a bathroom.

 We're obligated to check in. Your spouse needs to know where you are, or they might report you as a missing person. Tim and I track each other's location via our phones, but we still communicate what's going on and where we are.

 We're obligated to attend family events. And now you have twice the amount of family (which just keeps growing because they keep getting married and having kids). Congrats! You'll feel like there's a wedding, shower, or birthday party every month.

 We argue over stupid things. Like how to load the dishwasher and who actually forgot to put the trash can on the curb Sunday night. At least I found that we argue over silly things more than before we were married. The good thing is: these arguments aren't serious.

 Instead of "How's the weather?" we hear "How's married life?" It's the #1 question asked of us during small talk with anyone we haven't seen in awhile. I'm not sure when this will ever end. Maybe when we have babies and we get "How's the baby?"

 My friendships. No, not all of them. But some. I've definitely noticed that unmarried people sometimes just don't get it... Similar to how new moms feel like their non-mom friends don't get it. "But why do you have to tell him where you're going? He doesn't own you, does he?" <-- I love that question! Also, some of your single friends may feel like a third wheel. Sorry, friend.

 I can't make decisions on my own. When you're married, have to talk about it before you buy an expensive TV, a new car, or a new dog. It's a joint decision. No spontaneity for you.

 The wedding "high" is gone. The center of attention is no longer on you post-wedding (and for that I'm actually thankful), and all those long lost friends who came out of the woodworks in hopes for an invitation will retreat and you might see them in five years. Or not, they're kind of busy.

 I always have someone to eat dinner with. Awwwwwww. Tim is actually on a soylent diet now, but he's nice enough to sit down with me while I eat most of the time.

 What didn't change:

 Money. Guess what? Getting married doesn't make money magically appear into your bank account! I mean, unless your spouse has a lot more than you do! You'll still have to make a budget and decide together what you can and can't afford.

 I didn't suddenly have a bunch of married friends. I think a lot of us have this vision that when we get married, we'll go on double dates with all our married friends and have dinner parties and I'll spend time with other married women who understand me! But the truth is this: married friends that both you and your spouse "click" with are actually really hard to find.

 My feelings. I still love Tim just about the same as I did the day I married him -- maybe a little more, yes, because our love grows and changes with us. But marriage is not a "fix" for a relationship. <--- That's important. Write that down and remember it forever.

 Me. I'm still Becca. Hi. Getting married didn't change my identity. It's just a little add on. Becca Dorr, My Little Pony lover, blogger, pet owner, wife.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Managing an Autoimmune Disease

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Aloha, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyAloha #AlohaMoment http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disease, two years ago. My immune system for some reason has decided each of my joints are foreign, and attacks them and leaves them inflamed, swollen and extremely painful.  When I was first diagnosed, I was in so much pain I couldn't work, wash my own hair, or get dressed without help.  My disease also leaves me extremely fatigued most of the time-in the early months I had to come home and take a nap every day after working to even function. Two years later, with the help of modern medicine, eating clean, and being active, I live a relatively pain free life, and I have the energy to workout, run, hold down two jobs, and enjoy life.

The best thing I've done for myself though is learned how to care for my body besides just with medication. Although I still have to give myself a shot once a week, I have gone from being on three medications including Methotrexate which is a low-dose chemotherapy dose to just one. Because of the changes I've made to my diet and lifestyle, I experience very few flares and have more energy than ever. Here is a few ways I manage my autoimmune disease:

1. Clean Diet
I've completely overhauled my diet. I've discovered some foods that trigger my flares, including gluten and dairy products. I strive to eat a very clean, natural diet with as little perservatives/chemicals as possible. I am not perfect, and still allow myself an occasional Chick FilA meal or a bowl of ice cream, but I try and limit these and stick to food that came from the ground or was living like chicken, turkey, etc. I also limit my red meat intake as too much can also cause me to experience more inflammation than normal.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Did you know that many foods are natural anti-inflammatorys? I try to incorporate foods that are on the anti-inflammatory scale as much as possible. I eat a LOT of broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, pineapples, blueberries and raspberries. All of these foods naturally reduce inflammation, which is crucial for managing my RA. My favorite way to incorporate these foods is in a morning smoothie full of the anti-inflammatory fruits.

Recently, I discovered an all natural powder by Aloha that can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, juices, etc. that has some amazing health benefits. The Aloha Blend Box of Daily Good Greens  is a 100% natural, vegan whole-food product which in turn energizes, hydrates, and cleanses. The blend box packets are each 2 servings of fruits and veggies in a packet with whole-food vitamin D. There are zero artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, animal products, fillers, or chemicals, and I knew that it was the perfect addition to my smoothies.

Aloha has an amazing free trial offer so I signed up and quickly received a package with three different blends - Original, Berry, and Chocolate. I immediately added the berry one to my usual smoothie of spinach, pineapples, blueberries and raspberries and it was AMAZING. I also made a smoothie with almond milk,  coco powder, a banana, and the Chocolate packet and it tasted like a yummy milk shake.

I loved how convenient it was to add a packet full of goodness to my morning routine. You can't go wrong with two additional servings of fruit and veggies, ever! After a few days of using the Daily Greens I was feeling more energetic and clear headed than ever. It is something I am definitely going to continue to use in my journey to manage my auto-immune disease because of how great I felt when I was adding it in to my diet. If you're on a fitness or health journey, you can sign up for a Free Trial that comes with 6 daily green powders in all three flavors to try. The trial is 14 days with the benefits of becoming auto enrolled into the monthly subscription.

3. Regular Exercise
Another important component in managing my auto immune disease and feeling my best is regular exercise. Even though the last thing I want to do when my body is hurting and my joints are inflamed is get up and exercise, it really loosens up the stiffness and helps ease the aches I feel.  Its not uncommon for people with rheumatoid arthritis to wake up in the mornings feeling really stiff and sore, but after getting your body moving, usually is subsides. Not everyone with RA has the ability to workout though, so I thank God daily that I do and I try to remember that when I feel like skipping my workout. Lately my workout routine has shifted from mostly running, to shorter runs and weight lifting. I am feeling better than ever and think its so important for me personally because not only does it make me feel better physically, but it does wonders for me mentally as well.

4. Rest & Relaxation

Rest isn't always easy to come by for me, and I imagine its not for you either. Our to-do list is endless, and for me, between working two jobs, working out, managing a home, and trying to spend time with friends and family, it seems like rest can easily get pushed to the bottom of your priority list. After a few days of non-stop activity, I start to feel the effects and get extremely fatigued. I try to regularly have a day of no plans or commitments so I can rest, relax, and recharge. Its imperative for me to stay healthy and feel my best!