Thursday, February 14, 2019

New Kind of Valentine's Day

I thought of something while driving today.  My very wise, beautiful, hilarious, fun, and successful friend recently posted  her & her husbands’ thoughts about Valentine's Day.  She said “If your significant other is nice to you each day and treats you right on a daily basis, you shouldn't need a box of chocolates or a forced gift to make you feel special once a year. So if you don't get a card...diamond necklace....or over-sized stuffed animal tomorrow, don't feel like you aren't loved.”

Their business is amazing btw (this is not an affiliated ad or anything like that)…you should check it out and follow them: Spruce Homes

That got me thinking (because I love Valentines Day) what is a the best way to show love on Valentine's Day?  

Commitment…that is a better way to show love.
Daily ins and outs of selflessness…that is a better way to show love. 
Doing something that your partner likes (even if you don’t) everyday…that is a better way to show love. 

So, I decided each year I’m going to make a new commitment to Austin.  Something small, something attainable, something that will truly make him happy and make him know that I love him every day…not just on Valentine's Day.

I can easily write, so a post on social media that has me gushing on and on tells my husband I can write well sometimes.  😂  Action that goes with these words is something he can stand on, something he can remember, something he can treasure. 

Don't get me wrong, we still gave gifts...kinda-sorta.   When we were grocery shopping last night at Aldi's, I received my favorite 85% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bars and he received his favorite Carmel Coconut Fudge Cookies. 🍫🍪💕  I wanted to share some older pictures (2011-2016) that I keep on my phone because I seriously love them! Our love story is so amazing, and these pictures just help me remember it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Vaca Style - Part Two

The only good thing about waiting 2 weeks to post is that looking at these pictures warms me up from the chilly winter weather we are currently enduring in the Midwest.  #TakeMeBack to the beach is all up in my brain, but these pictures are so special to me.  Not just the outfits 😉. 

Even though my closet is ¼ the size it was, I am still finding so many ways to wear items I already have!  It’s not a lie that I’ve got more spring/summer clothes than fall/winter but having the right sweater can much such a difference.  I can’t wait to continue to share all the different ways to wear a minimal closet!  So much fun! Let me know if you'd like to see certain outfits or styles!

This sweater was originally the only sweater I kept from our minimalism haul.  It’s from Aerie, and I’ve always loved the open neckline and the natural/oatmeal color that goes with black and jean well.  I was able to purchase some more sweaters at TJMaxx while I was on vacation, and I’m waiting for my Instagram feed to showcase these first before I blog about them @meekandwildbeauty .  I wore a simple white tank since the sweater has such open knits.  Shorts are Levi’s from Amazon which are currently the only jean shorts I own and will probably stay that way.  The cute sandals are from Charming Charlie and were a gift from my Daddy.  Austin isn’t such a huge fan of these sandals, but I love them. 

True story about this sleeveless top is that our friend literally texted Austin about it…they knew I would love it.  At our next trip to Target (which was probably that night) it was in our cart.  I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Austin TX (yet), but I love the name Austin, so I knew this needed to belong in my wardrobe.  This sweater is extra special to me, and I’m sorry to say isn’t available in stores because my Dad purchased this for my mother in 1985.  I have loved this sweater many years and love it even more because it was my mothers.  It’s a treasure of mine for sure!  These cute Converse shoes are from JCPenney, kid sized of course.  They are a complete staple in my closet.  I usually wear them without socks or at least no show socks…but I am notorious for not wearing socks.  Last but not least my favorite jeans from Loft…. you will see much more from Loft in posts to come!

You’ve seen this shirt before on my blog.  Man-O-Man I love this sleeveless shirt.  It’s so soft and feels like those tees that have been worn for 30 years.  Even with the high neckline I still love how it shows the outside of my collar bones.  Of course, the saying is about coffee…which I think is a love language of mine.  The sweater and watch band were Amazon finds.  This sweater was the only item of clothing that I kept that has a snag in it.  It’s on my elbow and an easy fix.  I am always bumping into everything (super clumsy) so it was inevitable.  I am loving Amazon more and more! Beautiful dark jeans from H&M that fit perfectly, and even have a bit of flair at the bottom.  Converse like the picture above are a kid’s size from JCPenney. 

Ryne loved the sand.  This was from the warmest day we were at the beach.  I just keep staring at these pictures hoping I can soak up some of these good vitamins and warmth.  Also, how cool is this starfish!  This was the first time I had seen one alive and well, and although I didn't have the courage to touch it I loved taking in the beauty of it.  Hoping spring is around the corner so we can get more outside time, but until then pictures will do just fine. 💖

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Vacay Style - Part One

I tried to pack lite for vacation, but I still needed a duffel & overnight bag.  I tell you, it was the sweaters fault…you can’t ‘Marie Kondo’ those any smaller than what I had them.  😆  Oh, and I had a bag for shoes…because…duh.  I thought becoming a Minimalist would change me in a negative way toward style, but so far it has helped me become a better-more fashionable-me than before.  I never put outfits together in the past, and my whole vacation was centered around each item going with a specific piece…and I loved it.

While visiting my parents, they were gracious enough to watch our son while my husband Austin had a day-date (It was so fun!).  I am happy to report that I used my T.J.Maxx gift-card in full and only looked at price tags after I had chosen my favorites!  My husband found some items that I had overlooked, and once I tried them on…they were clearly winners.  I can’t wait to show them to you! EEEEEKKKK!  They are amazing! …but you’ll have to hold in suspense until then.

Other news…I’m still looking for the perfect open back sweater.  I got really close to finding one that I liked on Amazon, and then once I was ready to make the purchase, they became unavailable.  So!  It was not meant to be, but if I see them trending, I will be really mad.  So, we shall see. 😂😆

Here are a couple of family pictures. 😍  It was still pretty cool at the beach when we arrived, but we did have one warm day, and while Ryno was taking a nap Austin and I were able to soak up some Vitamin D (responsibly). 😎

Photograph by Iron & Oak

Austin + Rachel = Love 4Ever 

As Always Admire Our Image

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Minimalism & Me

If you know me at all, you would think that I’d never be on the minimalism train…nor getting close to the station.  I am more than a pack rat, always keeping everything for the ‘what-ifs’.  I’ve had two tee shirts & a jacket since Elementary School for goodness sake!  But this past December, before Christmas my husband Austin (Aud) and I were feeling the weight of ‘more stuff’ in our house and where we were going to put it. 

Our cute house was built in the 1930s, was redesigned before we bought it, and we’ve also torn down a wall, put new electrical in, painted about 10 times, and redesigned our kitchen almost 5 times.  We have two closets, one in each bedroom.  We have a cellar, mudroom, kitchen, 2-bedroom, 1 bath, dining room, and living room.  It was a constant battle where to keep bedding and towels.  Before we had our son Ryne (Ryno), Austin kept his clothes in the 2nd bedroom closet…but once we had a child we needed to pare down.  So, I came up with a solution of keeping two seasons in the closet at a time the rest would be stored in our cellar until a major season change.  This lasted a year or so.    The feeling of not having control over our home was a daily battle.

We both had to get to a place where we were comfortable with what we owned, but also a place where we were ready to only keep our favorite things.  Right before the New Year, we were writing on the same page and ready to go.  We attacked one room at a time.  I was surprised with how much freedom we felt with each room.  Only keeping what made sense, and what we loved, getting rid of things we didn’t know we had or ‘why do we have this still?’.  We laughed at things we had that were broken, torn, or maybe once was a pair of something that hadn’t been a pair for years.  We were on a freakin’ roll, and we were really happy.  Living room: check, Dining room: check, Kitchen: check, Bedroom/Clothes….

This was a tough one for me.  I have clothes that I currently can’t fit in because I am holding onto some weight after having Ryno , all the ‘what if we have something fancy to do too’. What if, what if, what if… I had to let go.  So, I started with everything that had a hole or stain (except for one tee shirt I wear when I dye my hair).  If I didn’t love it, I put it in the donation pile.  Then I realized that I didn’t love a lot of what I had, I was just wearing it because I had it. 💡  Light Bulb.  My whole clothes buying life, I always looked at the price tag first, and the clothing item second or not at all.  When I started piling everything I didn’t love, I realized that the most items I kept were either sentimental (like my mother’s sweater & sweatshirt) and a bit more expensive.  Or well…more than $25.00

We went through everything.  Coats, Jackets, Sweaters, PJs, Undergarments, Tops, Button Downs, Tee Shirts, Socks, Tights/Leggings, Shorts, Pants, Jeans, Bathing Suits…and everything in between. We were pretty proud of ourselves.  We were able to fit in one closet, all seasons, and put our other clothes in the dresser.

Then we watched Tidying Up on Netflix…and after the first episode we hit our clothes again!  This time we donated more and learned how to fold our clothes in a way that neatly showcased everything.  Now we had plenty of room in our closet, and my socks, underwear, tights, hose, shorts, pjs (tops & bottoms), undershirts/tanks, and shorts all fit in a bin under the bed.  Our shoes are lined up on one side underneath the bed, and our robes on the back of the bathroom door.  The dresser now holds winter gear, bedding and towels.  We are ecstatic.

The next week is when it all started making sense…

I was able to keep up on household chores.  For the FIRST TIME in my LIFE. 💪 The sink was clean every night because I was able to wash-up the small number of dishes each evening…it took like less than 10 mins even with Ryno asking us questions and wanting more blueberries every second.  We were able to take time and relax together every evening, and really relax because our chores were done.  The laundry bin was full on Saturday.  I was able to fit everything in one load and folded it (my share & Ryne’s share, Aud puts his own up) and put it away. ONE LOAD Y'ALL! 

Getting ready for work has never been easier, but also, I get to be creative and I really love that.  Everything I own is my favorite, so I know how it fits, I know how to wear it and what do pair it with, and I feel confident every day because…they are my favorite, they make me feel good.  I do have a birthday gift card to TJMaxx burning a hole in my pocket because I only kept 1 sweater, so I will be using that to get a couple of things I do not have and making sure I love them (not just a good price tag, but the item itself).  I’ve been wanting an open back sweater for a couple months now, so we will see if I can find one that is perfect for me.

I’ll be posting more on my what I kept, and what outfits I make.  Follow me on Instagram & Facebook to see more!

My Minimalism is holding onto what I love...period.  For example, my favorite sweatshirt is atrocious. I'm serious, it's hideous but it brings me so much joy.  It's an over-sized, lumpy, electric green-blue sweatshirt that has a black & white long-haired CARPET kitten with bright green eyes. 😳  It was my mothers.  Someone in our church, decades ago made it for her...and I adore it.

Also, I love answering questions so fire away!  I'm excited to answer them!

Who knew that all the mediocre mounds of stuff was not adding to my life, but actually taking away?  And not until I gave it up, I started to receive.  That sounds very familiar to me…

Luke 9:24 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will save it.


As Always Admire Our Image

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Another Reason Why: Money

I hate talking about money.  It’s personal.  It’s prideful.  It’s pushy.  It provides.

I don’t want to sell you anything.  I never want to ‘sell’ you on something.  I want to share, it just so happens that what I share I also sell…to make money and to save money.  Sharing is a love of mine.  Share my thoughts, words, dreams, art, photography, life…I want to share it.  Social media was made for people like me…I am an ‘over-sharer’.

Telling you in detail about my family’s money would be completely fine with me, but not to other members of my family…so I’m just going to tell you a little bit of why.

The reason why I originally signed up to sell SeneGence was that I loved the product and wanted to help a friend by joining her team.  It would also save me some money buying products at a discount…win-win.  Then, something changed.  I found a love for self-expression through a business that I never thought I had.  Meek & Wild Beauty was born and has given me a lot of self-confidence as well as a purpose.  My husband and I like to imagine winning the lotto, and last night we had a fun conversation.  I would not stop selling SeneGence if I won the lotto…you better believe me that I’d buy a lot more of it and expand my business any way that I could…but I wouldn’t leave it.  That was the first time I've found something that money wouldn't heart swelled.

There are things in our family’s life right now that we need and things that we want, and they cost money.  Do we need to move...yep.  Can we right now...nope.  Do we want to take a vacation...yes.  Can we right  We’ve lived in such a way that is common to people of the United States and are now strapped by our own pride.  It’s hard.  Money is tight...but I know we are not alone.

Selling SeneGence products solves two issues in my life right now.  First, it gives me passion and purpose.  Second, it will pay down bills.  It’s not difficult, it’s just sharing what I have fallen in love with.  It’s time to share.

You can help me, and possibly help yourself.

If you are looking for better makeup or better skincare…please talk to me…I can help.

Do you need help just like I do…please talk to me…I want to share.

Thank you for letting me share a bit of my story.

Full SeneGence Face

As Always Admire Our Image

Genesis 1:26

Monday, April 9, 2018

When Mondays Suck

When Mondays Suck – God May Send a Spring Snow

I was praying about what to write this morning.  Last night we got snow, I don’t know 2-3 inches maybe…btw it’s April.  I jumped back on the scale this morning and realized that the pounds I lost I had gained back, plus a couple more.  I was 15 mins late to work this morning because it took me over an hour to get ready (Austin already took Ryne to the sitter’s during that time, so it was just me).  Trust me when I said, I could go on…but I really don’t want to. 

On my way to work, I realized that this springtime snow was the most beautiful snow we have had all season.  It stuck to each budding tree limb and flowering bush.  The green new grass barely poking through the billowing soft white.  It was truly a beautiful sight…and God gave me an opportunity to start again.

Spring is about renewal, and for me, it’s a time to re-start whatever in my life I have let go into chaos.  Like my time management, health, and any good goal I tried setting for myself. Haa!  This spring snow felt like Jesus was telling me…it’s still winter, you’ve got another chance to start your spring again.  So, I am taking it, and running with it.

My Monday Mindset turned from anger, frustration, and beating myself up to peace, joy, excitement, and giving myself grace along with a healthy dose of thank you Jesus “let's do this!”.  

What is your current Spring Snow?  Let me tell you a secret…it's beautiful, and it was sent to you for a specific reason.  Your first task is to be open to see the beauty, accept the Hope that Jesus sent to you through it, and live through the Joy that is within it.

Your Monday Mindset could change everything <3 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Miracles & Makeup

No…. this is not a before and after blog post.  Although, I just started using Rodan + Fields Lashboost  so there might be one in the future.  Haa haa!

This is about my son, Ryne Maddox and my husband Austin.  They are both personal miracles to me, and so often I get lost just staring at them in amazement and silent praise to God the Father for blessing me with such a life with them.  This is about the journey that God lead me through to them.  This is how God makes me Meek and Wild.

From the beginning of this business, I wanted to make sure I was not just speaking about business, product, sales, leadership, opportunity but the root of it, the beginning of it to all be about Creator God.  Meek & Wild (Admire Our Image) is not just a play on words but based on the Bible.  Genesis 1:26 talks about our image as human beings coming from the Image of the Trinity making it holy, separated from all other creatures and created things.  1 Peter 3:1-6 talks about being gentle yet fearless.  BUT WAIT!  You say?  1 Peter 3 also talks about how women shouldn’t be about their hair, jewelry, or clothes (what is on the outside) …that is exactly what 'beauty care' is about right?! 
I admit it, for a long time I also struggled with these verses.  I really enjoy fashion, makeup, jewelry…I have a passion for all these ‘outward’ things.  Does that mean that I must give that happiness up?  That I can not see the beauty or artistry of those things?  No, not at all.

The best explanation of these verses I have found so far is a quick less than 10-minute teaching by John Piper on these verses.  The main point of these verses is meant to lead us away from ourselves and what the world can give us to what only God can produce in us.  This is where true Beauty is found. 

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

These verses are about what only God can do, the hidden place of your heart only He can see, the imperishable beauty of a gentle (meek) and quiet (calm) spirit.  It’s imperishable because it’s eternal in other words it is imperishable because it is something that cannot be produced by the world.  And thankfully God also gives us an example of what this beauty looks like, these women hoped in God they put their trust in Him and did not fear anything that is terrifying.  They remained calm/meek & courageous/bold/wild during fearful situations.  Meekness and Wildness that only can be produced by God himself by putting our trust in Who He Was, Is, and Is To Come. 

Now…with that truth being stated.

There came a time in my life that I stopped looking at every potential man that maybe my future husband, and told God that I trusted Him to provide everything.  I had a deep desire for a husband, but my desire for God and for Him to provide me with who He wanted me to be with was much greater.  After that point, I remained calm even though the thought of me being alone and never having the experience of marriage and husband/wife love terrified me.  Within the next year of those moments of me trusting in God and His Way, I was married to a man that God weaved so tightly in my story and heart that His fingerprints are evident throughout.  I was Meek & Wild, and God found that eternally beautiful.

There came a time in our lives that we knew God was showing us it was an appropriate time to start a family.  Jesus granted us the amazing growing new life, and my pregnancy went very well up until the 41st week.  Our son was diagnosed with many things, saw many brilliant doctors, and after one week in the NICU he was released.  Every medical diagnosis came back negative and one by one we crossed them off the list we had been originally given.  He is healthy and reaching appropriate milestones.  I clearly remember the doctor coming to our bedside and telling us the original news.  We both wept uncontrollably, and then in a moment, I put my hope in Christ…a courage and calmness came over me and I was able to speak Gods truth and strength to my husband.  I was Meek & Wild, and God found that eternally beautiful.

I am not always Meek & Wild.  There are many times I am troubled and anxious, and clearly, during those times I am not putting my trust and hope in Jesus.  I would also like to restate what John Piper stated in his teaching “these are not personality traits”.  It means that these are attributes that you decide on and choose to do.  I believe that if your brain chemically is unbalanced and you are struggling with fear and anxiety, that does not mean you aren’t putting your hope in Christ.  You can have depression and still put your trust and hope in Christ and receive His gift of gentleness and fearlessness, I am living confirmation of that. 

The bottom line is that the beauty market in today’s world is just named incorrectly from my point of view, but I understand why it’s been twisted.  It is easy to cover up our image with outward ‘beauty’, then to get down and dirty and deal with our hidden true beauty.

I believe makeup, jewelry, and clothing is artistry.  They are beautiful things, but they do not make one’s heart beautiful. It may enhance the way we look and make us feel good, but it should never be something that we put our whole heart toward.

We shouldn’t confuse the miracles and makeup.

We shouldn't confuse soul with the skin.    

We should be Meek & Wild while we Admire Our Image