Reading More When Life Gets Busy

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This post is actually inspired by a post written a few weeks ago by Helene at Helene In Between who inspired me with her new approach to reading. It wasn't until after reading her post that I realized that I really do have time to read when I feel like I am too busy.

In high school, I was your average book worm. It wasn't uncommon for me to read two books a week if they were interesting enough. I loved it, and so did my closest friends. We were always recommending books and racing through the latest series together. I read in between classes mostly and even sometimes at home when the book was really capturing. Any free moment that I had during the day, I grabbed a book.

Something changed, however, when I got to college. I think it had something to do with being able to have my phone in between college classes that made me move away from grabbing for the nearest book. I take a full load classes, work part-time, blog, and cook and clean at home. My life looks a little differently than it did when I was in high school, and I have had a hard time keeping up with my reading.

Lately, though, I have read more than I have in the passed year combined. Most of this can be contributed to Audible. Some will argue that it isn't the same to listen to a book as it is to read one, but sometimes, that's all I have time for. I have started listening to audio books when I am cleaning, cooking, and working out (combined, this adds up to many hours per week). Since starting this new habit, I have been able to read more than ever before. I downloaded the Audible app onto my iPhone so it is right there whenever I need it.

I have also been utilizing my Kindle app on my phone. I can easily get it out and read a few pages when I have a minute or two to spare. Using these methods has helped make it possible for me to read while I am also doing more productive things like sweeping, mopping, breaking a sweat at the gym, or even cooking up a warm meal for my husband. I am so thankful to be able to escape reality a little bit without actually neglecting my very real responsibilities. I love reading, and I love that I am getting back to it.

Currently, I am reading Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure which you can buy on Amazon for your Kindle for only $0.99! You can also try Audible for free for one month. I you are having a hard time fitting books in your life, it might be time to try something new. Let me know if this is something you do, or have tried! What do you think about it?


10 Camping Essentials

Monday, September 14, 2015

Camping has become a pretty regular occurrence in our lives these days. It is not uncommon for us to pack up the van and hit the road for the weekend in search of rock climbing adventures and memories. Let me also say that we do not go "glamping" by any means. It is a miracle if I can even convince Gabe to let me drag along a small cooler with ice packed with hot dogs and cold water. Most of the time, I am limited to dehydrated packages of rice and oatmeal for food.

That being said, camping and I have a love/hate relationship. I love getting away from town for a quick weekend. I love waking up early to a misty view of pine trees and bluffs. I love the idea of "roughing it", but it is not all photo worthy and completely enjoyable like your favorite PNW Instagrammers make it out to be. 

Last weekend, we met some friends, my brother-in-law, and his fiance in NW Arkansas for a long weekend spent basking in nature. Most of the trip did not go as anticipated. Most of our time was spent sweating like pigs in the humid southern heat, and the rest of the time was spent swatting at bugs who insisted on carrying us away from our campsite. Needless to say, camping has its obstacles, so I am always sure to bring a few little "happies" for myself to comfort me through the painful parts. 

1. My Camera. I mean what is a camping trip without a few hipster photos for your IG feed? Having a camera with me tends to open my eyes to all of the hidden beauties along the way. It gives me a little something to pass the time when needed, and I get to document our adventures.

2. All natural cleansing wipes. I forgot this for my last trip, but stole one from my sister-in-law, and I can promise I will never forget them again. Getting a chance to wipe off all of the dirt, grime, and bug spray at the end of the day was pretty close to luxurious. Try these or these

3. YL Stress Away essential oil roll-on bottle. I love the Stress Away blend at home, but it is even better in the woods! I normally roll it on in the morning for a fresh start to the day again at night to promote a good night's rest.

4. Melatonin is next on my list of relaxing camping essentials. Sometimes sleeping in a tent with a rock in your back can be challenging to say the least, so I always make sure to pack Melatonin to help get me to sleep.

5. A Hammock is always nice to have on a camping trip. I am personally not a fan of sleeping all night in a hammock, but they are great to have for midday relaxing.

6. Camping chairs are my new favorite accessories! They are light weight, easy to set up, and perfect to pack in your backpack.

7. A book always makes its way into my bag. In between rock climbing and hiking when we are resting at the campsite, it is always nice to have a book nearby.

8. Headbands are perfect for us girls with wild camping hair. I love to be able to pull up my hair and slip a headband on when I am outside. They are perfect when there are no mirrors around.

9. Pullovers are a must have during fall camping. Most of the time, I only need it in the mornings, but they are nice to have just in case. There is nothing worse that being stuck outside without layers.

10. There was one trip that my husband claimed that the throw blanket that I packed saved his life on a cold winter night. While I am sure he was exaggerating a bit, I have always packed one since then just to be on the safe side.

Having these little comforts makes me so much more willing to go camping whenever Gabe wants, but of course Gabe packs the real essentials. He always takes care of all of our sleeping bags, tents, and cooking gear which gives me a little more freedom and time to pack my little "happies". Next time you go camping, make sure you make room for a few little "essentials" that will make your stay in the wilderness even more enjoyable!


Why You Should Have More Than One Best Friend

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A few months after coming to college, I was having lunch with some girls from my high school. We were talking about something high school related, when one of the girls mentioned that she wished she could go back. The other girls quickly affirmed that they would also love to return to their high school glory days. At that moment, I thought I might actually spit out my lunch in surprise. High school? For real? No ma'am, no ham, no turkey!! Not a chance! Not if I was paid. Not if I could stay young forever. Never would I ever go back to high school.... In a million years....

Okay, so maybe I am being a bit dramatic. It wasn't all bad. Memories were made, but most of all, lessons were learned. I learned some hard and hurtful lessons about friendship. The main lesson being the importance of having as many best friends as the Lord will give you.

I started high school with one best friend. We were a dynamic duo. For a while, I loved everything about our friendship. We were so open with each other, that we were like sisters. I put a good amount of my energy, time, and effort into that friendship and that friendship alone. Sure I had other friends, but I clung to this one. There are many times that I don't know what I would have done without that friendship. We encouraged each other, and spent many hours pointing each other to Christ, but that same dedication and devotion is what made it hurt in a very real way when our relationship fell to pieces. I thought she was the only girl I could relate with. It was the only friendship that I had truly invested in through the duration of our relationship. When she wasn't there anymore, I felt so alone. I had lost my best friend, and I honestly felt like I lost a chunk of myself.

Immediately after this friendship was left in shambles, I began grasping frantically for a "best friend". I had this mind set that I had to have a right-hand-man, a partner in crime. Not just your generic, run of the mill friend that you eat lunch with everyday, but the type of friend who knows your secrets and inside jokes. The friend who knows what you are thinking just based off of the smirk on your face. I wanted what I had before, and it seemed like all of my friends already had that with other people.

When I found a new friendship to pour into, it didn't take me long to get back to my old ways, and it didn't take long for that relationship to fail, too. I couldn't understand why my best friends were failing me and leaving me empty handed.

Looking back, the problem was all mine. My heart hurts to think about all of the other wonderful, sweet friendships I missed out on because of my blindness. I was so focused on clinging to one best friend so that I had some one to dress up with on Twinkie Day once a year, that I set myself up for loneliness. I had many great friends in high school, and I just wish I had spent more times making them all my best friends.

The truth is that a good friendship can be so sweet and so full of love, but it is easy to let yourself get so caught up in one of these friendships that you lose sight of all the other amazing women around you. So to the girl who only keeps only one best friend, you are truly missing out.

Not a day goes by lately that either myself or my husband doesn't remind the other that we are each others best friend. Nothing makes my heart happier than looking over at my sweet husband and knowing that he is truly my best friend. We share secrets that no one else knows, talk about our hopes, and dream big for the future. We have a special bond. Although that is definitely my deepest bond (as it should be), I also have multiple girls that I consider best friends. I cherish the time I spend with each one of them, and I thank God that He allowed me to learn from my friend failures in the past. I feel so lucky to not have a best friend, but instead many best friends. Please learn from my lessons. Laugh a lot, make sweet memories, and let brotherly love continue. Open your arms and allow yourself to touch more than one heart at a time.


DIY Chalkboard Tray

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

There is something so comforting about enjoying a lit vanilla scented candle on a lazy, rainy afternoon. I have been wanting to create a pretty piece to display on my coffee table for a good while now, and it wouldn't be complete without a comforting candle, resting on a comforting reminder that "It is well". What a great reminder that I serve a God who can calm any storm, carry me through any hardship, and comfort me through life! He is so good!

I made this chalkboard tray with the help of a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and a few spare dollars. It was an easy afternoon project that brings just a little more comfort and beauty to our living room!

plain wooden tray
chalkboard paint
acrylic paint
paint brush
painter's tape

To begin, paint the edges and handles of the tray with an acrylic paint of your choice. Then, allow the paint to dry and tape around the inside of the tray to prepare to paint the inside with chalkboard paint. Paint the inside of the tray with chalkboard paint, and allow to dry before removing the tape. This was such an easy project, and the result was exactly what I wanted!


DIY After Sun Spray + Weekend Recap

Monday, July 27, 2015

As I write this post, I am currently feeling the effects of too much time spent in the sun. At almost 21 years of age, I have never had a bad sun burn..... ever..... until now. My shoulders, back, and thighs hurt when I stretch, roll over in bed, and even when clothing touches them. Who knew sun burn was so miserable? I now sincerely feel for all of my fair skinned friends who have ever suffered such a thing. 

Despite the current state of my skin, the weekend has been great. I have spent some time with family, and celebrated the engagement of a sweet friend. Now, I am milking my sun burned skin for all it is worth. I even scored an iced coffee hand made by my hubby who makes the best Vietnamese coffee ever! Coffee heals burned skin, right??

Before I even made it home from the lake, I started brainstorming what kind of remedy I would create for myself. I decided on an after sun spray to soothe my skin. Made with fresh aleo vera gel and essential oils, it is the perfect solution!

1 fresh aloe plant leaf (I bought mine in the produce section at Kroger)
Spray bottle
15 drops lavender essential oil
15 drops frankincense essential oil
8 drops peppermint essential oil 
Sharp knife

You will first start by preparing the aloe leaf. I followed these instructions on how to harvest and store the aloe leaf. Once you have harvested your aloe, Cut off about a 3" by 3" portion of the aloe leaf and place inside of a blender. (At this point, your aloe leaf should be only the translucent center.) Add 1/3 cup of water, and the essential oils. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated and the aloe leaf is liquid. Transfer to a small spray bottle, and spray onto affected area. Next, eat ice cream, whine a lot, and stay in pajamas until healed. 

I am loving this recipe for my sun burn, and I hope you enjoy it, too!

Don't forget about our Anthropologie Giveaway! It is not too late to enter!!


5 Signs That You Married a Hippie

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is your van older than both you and your husband? Well... you might have married a hippie. When Gabe takes me on rides in his beloved 1984 Dodge, I feel like I am in a time warp. The music he plays doesn't help. If you see a van that makes you want to lock your kids up in your house for a week at our local community center, have no fear. That is just my husband.

Another red flag that made me wonder about my husband is his taste in clothing. He once found a fringe leather jacket at a flea market that he told me he wanted to buy for his brother. I have no problem with his brother looking like a homeless man, so I made no objections. That is until he immediately wanted to wear his new jacket everywhere... in public... around people.

And no hippie would be complete without vowing to name their child after mother nature. My husband in particular wants to name our first son after a type of tree. I am just warning you guys now so you can be prepared.

His Instagram also looks like he is employed by the National Geographic. Never mind getting pictures of humans when there is a pretty frog nearby.

Last, but not least, you might have married a hippie if you own more camping gear than furniture. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. My bed may not have a headboard, but you can bet that I have the best sleeping bag selection out of all of my friends. I am one lucky lady!

In all seriousness, I love my husband's free spirit! Instead of finding value in material things, he reminds me how to appreciate a crisp autumn night in a tent, and an afternoon spent in a hammock in the trees. Life is so much more fun that way.

7 Ways to Start Your Day

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Many years ago, (okay, so like, three years ago) I was a morning person. I hopped out of bed as soon as my alarm sounded at exactly 6:05 in the morning because 6:00 a.m. was too early, and 6:15 was too late. (Welcome to the mind of a weirdo, you're welcome.) Getting out of bed was easy for me when I knew that I needed to be somewhere. As the years went on, and technology advanced, it became so easy to hit the snooze button on my touchscreen phone. Once I started snoozing, there was no turning back.

Fast forward to my first year of college, and I didn't even set my alarm to go off until 7:15 for my 8:00 class. I said, "Goodbye," to any kind of morning ritual and, "Hello," to sleepy eyes and yesterday's mascara for class. Now I am still trying to break that habit to be productive with my mornings. Here are 10 ways you should be starting your day to promote happiness, health, and productivity throughout your day. 

1. Pray. I like to start every morning in prayer to set my mind straight for the day. I have been using the journal pictured above made by Katie at KATIE MICHELLE DESIGNS to keep track of prayer requests and praises to the Lord. It never hurts to start your day with a little something pretty like a hand lettered journal for your thoughts, and this one is perfect!

2. Drink a glass of lemon water upon waking. Drinking lemon water as soon as you get up in the morning has so many benefits including a kick start to your metabolism and fresh and bright skin! Do yourself a favor, and drink up!

3. Set your alarm for the same time every day. By waking up and actually getting up at the same time everyday, you will train your body to get in the habit of that schedule. You will wake up much easier when you do not hit the snooze button and sleep in every other day.

4. Eat breakfast. I have always been a breakfast eater. I know some people have trouble eating in the morning, but if nothing else, grab a piece of fruit in the morning. Eating in the morning also helps boost your metabolism and give you energy for the day.

5. Make your bed. Something inside me happens when I choose to make my bed. It's like my mind is saying, "Yes, you are productive. You are an adult. Your house is going to be so clean today, and you are going to do great things!" Okay, so maybe I am a bit dramatic, but making my bed really does put me in a much better mood for the day. 

6. Spend some time looking at your planner. Your planner is going to do no good sitting on your side table collecting dust. Open it up, and remind yourself what you need to get done today. It will help refresh your memory and save you from forgetting something important. 

7. Roll on the "Stress Away". I have a roller bottle of Stress Away essential oil by Young Living diluted in grape seed oil that makes the perfect perfume. Not only does it smell great, but it is free of harsh chemicals that many perfumes are laced with and promotes a stress-free attitude for your day!

Learning to get out of bed and make daily habits is a hard thing to do, but it is so worth it! Try waking up a little early this week, and see what it does for you. 

Do you have any morning rituals that you go through everyday? Let me know in the comments below!

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What My Attitude Toward My Husband Says About My Attitude Toward God

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When I was in high school, I can remember the boys in the youth group snickering when the pastor mentioned anything on the topic of a wife's submission. They would glance at the girls next to them and nudge their arms to make sure we were all paying attention. Of course, we all rolled our eyes and quietly stomped on their toes when the pastor wasn't looking. Thank the Lord that we are no longer in high school - for many reasons!

It is time for us to realize that submissive is not a bad thing. Often times, we look at submissiveness as a weakness, but in reality,  it is the exact opposite. Submitting to your husband actually shows a strengthened and thriving relationship with the Lord, not weakness. You might be thinking, "Okay, Tifani, I understand the Bible tells me to submit to my husband, but why?  How is that a reflection of my faith?"

The other day, I was sitting in the living room writing a blog post when Gabe peeked out of the bedroom with a dirty shirt in hand. He proceeded to ask me if I could toss the shirt in the washer. Seeing as how we were both an equal distance from the washer, I blurted out the response, "You can do that, babe." Of course, he didn't mind throwing the shirt in the wash himself and did so without complaining. My point? I failed the test. God handed me a simple way to be obedient and submissive to the husband he has given me, and I chose to disobey.

If I cannot sacrifice a second of my time to do a chore for my husband when he asks, what will I do when the Lord asks me to do something hard? If he asks me to move across and ocean and minister to the lost, will my response be, "You can find someone else who lives closer to do that, Lord." I mean, I can't even walk 15 feet across my house for my husband when he calls, so why on earth would I sell all of my possessions and travel across the world to live in a grass hut when the Lord calls?

As wives, we are to be a picture of the church of Christ. Whether or not we chose to submit to our husbands in all that they ask of us is a direct reflection of how we will react to the Lord. Do you want to do big things for the Lord? Then start by doing the small things for your husband.

What They Forgot to Tell You About Your First Year of Marriage

Monday, July 13, 2015

Prior to our wedding day, Gabe and I had dated for over four years. We pushed through two long years of long distance dating followed by another year of still living and hour away from each other (Many people would also call this long distance, but when you have dated across an ocean, a one hour drive does not qualify as long distance.) We spent hours on the phone calling and texting each other. We Skyped like pros, and when we actually got to see each other in person, we did not take that time for granted. 

Dating long distance will really make you grateful for the time you spend together. When we finally found ourselves on the same college campus, we spent every spare moment together. We knew everything about each other, and there were no surprises (so we thought). When we decided to get married, I did not think many things would change. Needless to say, I was not prepared for all that came along with marriage.

1. You will be very easily annoyed. During the beginning of our marriage, I honestly began to hate the way Gabe chewed his food! It took me weeks to get over this stupid annoyance, but eventually, it did pass. Gabe also got annoyed at me for things like the way I squeezed toothpaste out of the tube. Apparently there is a right and a wrong way to do this!

2. Cooking every night is not as fun as you think. Before getting married, I thought that I loved cooking! I began stock piling recipes in hopes of cooking delicious, five-star meals every night. Little did I know how taxing cooking can be after a long day of classes and work. I am trying my best to learn to love it, but it is definitely not as easy as I thought!

3. The world does not revolve around you. As a single, college student, I would have told you that I did not think that the world revolved around me.... But then I got married. I soon realized how selfish of a person I was. All my life, all I ever had to worry about was myself. Transitioning into a marriage where another person's needs go before your own is a tricky thing to do. 

4. You will pick up a lot of underwear off of the floor. Unfortunately it will be your husband's clothes, not yours. My sweet sweet hubby is still learning where our laundry basket is located!

5. Some of your favorite memories will be lazy nights at home with your husband. My husband is honestly my best friend. Before marriage, couple spend a lot of time going on dates and entertaining each other, but one of the best parts about marriage is learning to have fun together at all times. 

6. Making traditions isn't easy. Trying to make traditions for your new family is a very hard thing to do. I really struggled with making our first holidays special and fun for the two of us. Normally those things are already laid out by your parents, but when you get married, it is all up to you. 

The first year of marriage is a huge adventure! You will laugh, shed tears, and want to break each other's neck yet still come out of it loving each other more than when you started. I have learned so much about how to love my husband this year, and I pray that I will only get better at it with time. 

5 Tips To Make Your Wedding More Fun

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I am not a party-goer. My idea of a party is having girls over for facials and brownies. If I am feeling extra spontaneous, I may get crazy and throw in a little Taylor Swift background music! On your average night, you can find us in our sweats binge watching Grey's Anatomy only to retire to bed at an early hour like the elderly people we truly are. We don't mind the quiet, and we certainly do not dance. Let me repeat that... We do NOT dance!

Being lame and very, very uncoordinated, we quickly learned that a hopping dance party was not the type of wedding reception the best suited us. We would have been like the awkward Jr. High couple that hadn't quite figured out how to bust a move at the school dance. Needless to say, we decided not to hire a DJ for our wedding. Back to the drawing board we went. Over the wedding planning months, I began to learn how to make a wedding fun for us.

The first tip to making a wedding fun is to get your guests involved. Guests will have much more fun if they feel like they are a crucial part of your big day. There are so many creative ways to do this. Creative wedding hashtags are not only a great way to document your wedding on social media, but they are also great for entertaining your guests. We all love a good #WeddingSelfie and it is an easy and inexpensive way to get your guests involved.

It is also important to be a little silly. For us, this came in the form of a photo booth. Photo booths are a wonderful way to let guests know that they can let go and have a little fun. We made a point to hop in our photo booth for some quick pics, and many of our guests did the same! Other ideas to liven up your wedding could be a fun choreographed dance with your bridal party or new hubs. 

Plan for fun food. Let's be honest, food pleases people. A reception full of raging, hungry guests is not the recipe for an enjoyable wedding. it is important to plan some kind of food for your guests, but it is also important to be creative with your food choices. Our S'mores Bar gave guests a fun activity and a delicious snack all in one!

Delegate the responsibilities to many different people. Planning a wedding is hard, but doing all the behind-the-scenes work can be just as hard- if not harder! If all of the responsibilities are given to just one or two people, the wedding will end up being more stress than fun for them. Be sure to split up the jobs between more people to make you wedding go much smoother. 

Go out in style. Picking a creative way to end the night will give guests one last fun experience before the night ends. From sparklers to confetti to floating lanterns, the possibilities are endless! Have fun and be creative!

Make memories, have fun, and if dancing is your thing, then dance the night away! Your wedding is all about celebrating you and your husband, so you get to call the shots.

Shout out to Courtney Yarberry for the great wedding photos!

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Why I Stopped Washing My Face

Monday, July 6, 2015

As a young teenager, I rarely had acne. Each year, however, my skin got worse and worse. Soon, my skin started developing breakouts that were very hard for me to get rid of. By the time I got to college, my skin was breaking out regularly, and I have battled hard against adult acne. I have tried many products through the years to cure those pesky little pimples, but most of them left my skin extremely dry and flaky.

Eventually, I decided to try the Mario Badescu line of products. Finally, I had found natural beauty products that cleaned my skin without over drying. There was only one problem. I was still getting breakouts! Washing my face twice a day was still not helping. So I stopped.

I wear makeup, so obviously I could not go to sleep every night with a full face of makeup, so I decided to give the oil cleansing method a try.

Cleaning your face with oil seems pretty counter productive, but trust me; it works! The mixture of oils that I use leave my skin clean, healthy, and relatively breakout free. I will never spend money on expensive facial cleansing products again.

Olive Oil
Grape Seed Oil (you can also substitute for a different astringent oil like jojoba)
Essential Oils

I used Frankincense, Tea Tree, and Lavender essential oils.

To prepare your oils, you want to start with glass container that is easy to pour from or has a pump. If you have very dry skin, you will want to fill the container about 2/3 full of olive oil. The more oily skin type you have, the less olive oil you will want to use.

Next, fill the container with your astringent oil of choice. Then you can add 10-15 drops of each essential oil. Shake well, and it is ready to use!

When you are ready to begin cleaning your face, you will need a gentle wash cloth. Turn the water faucet on and allow the water to get hot. Pour or pump a quarter sized amount of your oil mixture into your palm and rub your hands together to warm up the oil. Then, rub your oily hands onto your face massaging the oils on your skin. Run the wash cloth under the hot water, ring out excess water, and place the cloth over your face. Allow the hot cloth to sit on your face for 15 seconds before wiping the oil off of your face. The hot water allows your pores to open up for the oil to cleanse. Run the cloth under the hot water again, and allow it to sit on your face one more time before wiping off the last of the oil. All done!!

Cleansing your face with oil is a strange concept, but there is a reason why it works so well. When we use soapy face washes laced with harsh chemicals on our skin, we are stripping the skin of its natural oils. Your skin, in return, begins to overproduce oils which then clog our pores and lead to break outs. The same goes for our hair. Chances are that if you wash your hair everyday, your scalp is overproducing oils and leading to hair that gets oily quicker.

The OCM is a cleansing routine that is easily adjusted for different skin types. Try out different combinations until you find one that works best for your skin. If you have tried the OCM or plan on trying it, let me know how it goes in the comment section below!

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Wedding Recovery

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Weddings are so much fun! Food, friends, family, dancing, laughing, and love (lots of love). Last weekend, one of my best friends got married. It was absolutely beautiful! I had a blast, and it was such a joy to see her so happy. Just look how cute they are. (I apologize for the horrible picture quality.)

Me and the Hubs. 

Despite how wonderful weddings are, they can also be pretty tiring. I spent the entire next day recovering from our exciting weekend. 

There are so many ways to unwind after a busy week, and one of my favorite tools to use is my oil diffuser. My favorite combo lately has been the Sacred Mountain blend with Lavender. Diffusing essential oils sets a mood of relaxation in my home. It is perfect when your mind and body needs a little pick-me-up.

Another thing I love to do is put on a facial mask. These days I have been using a Mario Badescu mask. It helps give my face a fresh, clean, and rejuvenating feeling. It is the perfect reset button.

I also do not cook when I am in recovery mode. Cooking means dirty dishes which means a dirty kitchen which means I have to clean. Any other day this would be acceptable, but after an eventful week, we like to order take out and be lazy. 

Our bodies and minds can only handle so much, and we have to take care of them. I think it is so important to give myself a break when life has been hectic. It helps me keep my sanity.

The Story Behind the Blog

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When I graduated high school, I decided I wanted to start a blog. I think the original decision stemmed from all of the changes that were happening in my life at the time. My friends and I were all venturing off to different colleges, and my only really close friend attending my college at the time was Gabe. Gabe is hands down my best friend, but there are somethings he can't relate to. I didn't have anyone to talk to about girl things. Thus, the blog was born.

In the beginning, the name of the blog was Breakfast At Tifani's. As an unmarried college student, I had a lot of alone time, and most of my blogging was all about me and my thoughts. Over the past year, my life has been in the midst of a major transition. After getting married and moving in with Gabe, I really felt myself out growing my blog. I felt that it didn't fit me any more. I have honestly even struggled with keeping it going a lot over the past year.

Today, the blog is in a season of transition. One major change to my blog is the name. Barefoot Bungalow seems much more fitting for my life now. Gone are the days of rooming with strangers in even stranger dorm rooms. Instead, my life consists of building a life with my little family. Here at Barefoot Bungalow, I hope to give readers a small glimpse of how we live each day. Our home is a place were we can laugh, learn, and live out our days in barefooted (Is that a word?) joy. Each day we learn something new about ourselves and each other, and each day is one to be remembered. I want to thank you for joining us on this journey.

How to Know If You Are A Social Introvert

Thursday, June 4, 2015

You are a great listener.
You may not be the life of the party, but you are a fantastic listener. Friends often feel like they can talk to you, and you will truly understand them.

You will make an appearance at a party. When invited to a party, you will make an appearance and say, "Hello" to your friends, but you will most likely sneak out of there as soon as you get the chance. 

You normally do not initiate hanging out with friends. You may love spending time with certain friends, but you might not always initiate a get together. 

You are not afraid of alone time. If you lean a little more towards the introverted side, you probably do not mind or even enjoy spending some time alone. 

Being social can exhaust you. As an introvert, socializing can be a lot of work. Too much stimulation from others may wear you out and become quite exhausting.

You have awkward moments often. For many social introverts this is true, but even then, you are not completely socially awkward. You can hold a conversation and make eye contact like a pro, but every now and then, something awkward slips off of your tongue.

You are not afraid of silence. So many people are afraid of silent moments, but not you. You don't mind letting quietness drift into your homes or conversations. 

You are not the life of the party. As a social introvert, you participate in discussion, but you hardly ever draw all of the attention to yourself. You are a quiet observer that inserts comments only when necessary. 

As a social introvert, you are content, humble, and thoughtful. Instead of wishing you were undeniably extroverted, embrace your quiet heart and gentle spirit. Life would be too noisy if we were all extroverts. 

How to be the Worst Wife in the History of the World

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I currently have approximately 11 months and 20 days of wifely experience under my belt, which pretty much makes me an expert on this topic. I have burnt meals, had a dirty house, and struggled endlessly with wife life for almost one whole year now. I may not be able to give you a guide on how to be the best wife, but I sure can tell you how to be the worst wife....ever. 

Complain. Like all the time.
I am sure your husband loves might like to hear your opinions about everything, but that doesn't mean we should overwhelm them with endless complaints about everything. If your husband thinks you are unhappy, he might assume that he is failing at his job. 

Belittle your husband every chance you get. 
Heard of the book Love and Respect? Our husbands need us to respect them. We can diminish any chance at that when we belittle everything they say and do. They don't need us to point out every dumb thing they do/say, and trust me, you will both do/say many ignorant things to each other. 

Boss him around.
There is nothing that makes a man feel less manly than a wife that bosses him around. There will be times when you will think that if you do not boss him around that things will never get done. Trust me when I say that we need to let them make their own mistakes. They are still learning, too. 

Say, "I told you so!" when he messes up.
As the leader of your home, your husband has a lot of responsibility. With that responsibility comes a lot of decision making. Let me prepare you for what happens next... He WILL make mistakes. There WILL be bad decisions that might greatly effect your household, but it is our job to respect each decision and meet him with tons of grace. Saying, "I told you so!" will only make the situation much worse. 

Tell him how you think he should lead you.
Please remember that your husband is new at this, too. He has never had to lead a woman before. Give him some room to figure it out, and don't set standards of how you think it should be done. If God wanted me to be the leader of my home, he would have made me a man. God knew what he was doing when he put the man in charge. 

Marriage is easily the hardest challenge I have been given in life, and I have fallen on my face so many times. I am so thankful for a Savior who has and continues to show me grace in all of my failures. I pray that He would continue leading you and I to be the best wives that we can be, and that we would never forget to cling to his amazing grace.

Once You Go Black...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Since I have become a member of the Black family, I have been blessed in ways that I do not deserve. We have all made so many memories together already. This weekend, we were able to witness the promise of a new addition to the Black family.

We packed our bags, got in the van (without the bags, unfortunately), and headed to Oklahoma. Besides the small inconvenience of forgetting all of our clothes, Oklahoma treated us well. I am so excited to gain a new sister!

Congratulations Natalie and Jake! We are so excited for you two.

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