Monday, February 17, 2020

Finding & Inspiring

Inspiration is my one motivation in life.  It's about the only thing that drives me to move, create, dream...anything that results in action.  Inspiration is something that can contain something so small, or even something not even tangible...but it connects to something deep inside of me, resulting in a change or even more a charge, a spark, a always causes a reaction that produces some of the most meaningful moments in my life.

If you know me at all, you know where I believe inspiration derives or begins.  "In the beginning, God" is the source of all inspiration we ever see or feel.  So this connection is much more important than a mere moment, it's an opportunity to meet with our Creator, and these moments He is reaching out to us for this, He Himself wants to share in this together.  So that we can know more of Who He Is, and in retrospect know more about ourselves.

I think that is what I love about Beauty.  It gives way to my creativity ever single time.  Beauty is so much more than 'art', it is the magic in the middle that links up from life to soul.  That's why if I'm not writing, I'm not okay.  Do you have those things in your life that when you come face to face with the spark, your next flinch of action is...."that makes me want to _______"?  It could be your own personal connection with God, just waiting to be unleashed, understood, and absorbed.  To me, that is writing.  Now, just like any kind of creativity, there are a gazillion ways to explore writing.  I write for myself, I always have.  To get my crazy deep emotions out of my body because they can easily wreak all sorts of havoc if kept inside.  I almost think that is part of how we are made.  The things that are deep inside need to get out, and if they don't...they turn dark and war explodes inside.  Almost like our own personal "Obscurus" (J.K Rowling fans understand what I just typed). 

If I am not taking time to be quiet and let myself get inspired, then my whole state of being is off the path, and I am not myself.  I am something far less, something on the emptier side.  Your close friends or loved ones will be able to tell.  My husband always can tell, and that is one of the most frustrating things!  haa haa!  He tells me my eyes are dead!  haa haa!  I laugh about it now, but he knows me more than I know myself because he loves me that deeply and that well.  When I am not okay, and he gives me that line about my eyes being devoid of life I get so angry, mainly because it's the reality that I haven't been seeking out my Creator because I haven't been taking him out of my life to pay attention to Him reaching out to me. 

If someone you are close to keeps telling you 'you are not the same as you were'...try to take some time out of your busy life and reflect on why they have come to this conclusion.  Maybe you are having your daily quiet time with God, and yet you are missing those connection moments.  Maybe it is the creativity you need to reconnect to that you use to have more of a handle on.  Search out when your 'best self' was and figure out what was in your life then that now is not.  At least, that is what I did.  It took some time, and I didn't figure it out right away. 

This morning, while reading the latest Magnolia Magazine, it hit me.  Reading such a well-written magazine, sitting on my couch, drinking my coffee, enjoying the quiet, while looking at toy cars on the rug while the rain gently tapped outside our beautiful living room reaction was..."I want to write...I need to write."  And here I am, feeling better than I have felt since the last time I journaled or typed. 

I use to not have anxiety.  I use to be anxiety-free.  You know why...I was constantly journaling and writing...I was constantly being inspired and recreating the beauty that I was moved by.  Bingo.  So, cheers to a day where I listened to God, and grabbed His Almighty Hand that as been reaching for me every moment of every day....the result?  A joy-filled jolt that has my soul singing....anxiety-free.

Today's assignment - take a moment to find the hand of Jesus, and meet Him for a moment or two..or more.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Treadmill Mix Tape

There is no drive or desire without inspiration in my life.  That is how I was created.  Most would label me as a lazy person…and I wouldn’t disagree.  It is harder for me to be driven without a real-deep-desire pushing me.  This real-deep-desire must hit my core fiercely for me to be moved or motivated.  When I come across something that does this, I must make note of it and use it to push me forward most days.

For example …exercise.

I seriously push against it, but I want the results of it.  I’ll do everything possible to get around exercise, even if it’s more difficult…I’ll do it, I dislike it so much.  My excuse list is miles long, and I can come up with new ones every hour.  The real answer is…we as humans need to exercise to be healthy.  God created us this way.  My sin nature really fights it, so I know it’s true.  I don’t like doing things that aren’t easy (lazy remember). 

I knew if I wanted the results I needed to put in the work.  My next task was finding profound inspiration that would motivate me to continue doing this until it was routine and accepted in my mind, body, and emotions. 

I can walk on the treadmill no problem; I plug my earphones in and watch Instagram Stories until my 30 mins goal is complete…but running… 😑😒 U.G.H. 

What can move me?  Visual Art & Audial Art…so I started searching in those mental notes I took of music that affected me, that made me want to run wild.  I have a playlist on Spotify that my workout is a bit different everyday because each song tells my body how to respond…and I wanted to share in case you are needing inspiration.  

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

Fast Pace/Brisk: Getting Ready
What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber
Send My Love – Adele
Water Under the Bridge – Adele

California – Phantom Planet
Geronimo – Sheppard
Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
Where Are U Now – Skrillex, Diplo, Justin Bieber

All Out Run
Wake Up – Arcade Fire

I've only missed one day in the last 13 days.   I have discovered my drive, and also discovered that I needed more than one sports bra, one pair of workout leggings, and one pair of athletic socks.  haa haa!  😆😂  Which is why I'm excited to tell you about my Calvin Klein find at my local T.J. Maxx! First of all...I love Calvin Klein.  So I was thrilled to find this sports bra and leggings!  I was looking at getting another pair of athletic leggings and sports bra so that I wouldn't be doing a load of laundry every day.  During the memorial day sales I was shopping around and found amazing sales at Old Navy, but of course I would need to order my favorite pair because it wasn't in my local store.  The price was phenomenal though! Then I thought I'd look at our local T.J. Maxx just in case.  I found these Calvin Klein pieces for the same price as the SALES at Old Navy!  YAY!  My original tribal print sport bra and leggings are from Target. 

I would love to report that I can see an instant change...but no...not at all.  I hate that exercise takes time and you can't see results instantly.  U.G.H. It reminds me SO MUCH of paying off debt.  I literally feel like exercise/eating-right and debt reduction is the SAME EXACT thing.  It's saying "no" to the now, so that you can really enjoy life rightly in the future.  It's not fun during it, but afterwards its one of the greatest things of your life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Know Thy Addiction

I am an addict…and no, this is not some cute topic that is printed on a fashion tee. (although I do love those fashion tees haa!)  I have an addiction when it comes to sugary treats.  Aaaaand some of you I have just lost because my kind of addiction is not really taken seriously in American culture.  I get it, I ignored and made excuses about my addiction for a very long time.  You know the only time I had any kind off control over it?  It was when I completely abstained from it. 

I think that my addiction is like any other.  To help you understand the severity, replace ‘sugary treat’ with Alcohol.  Do you tell an alcoholic to ‘cut back’, or have it on special occasions…no.  You have things like AA and celebrating how many days or years of sobriety.  It’s also safe to stay not everyone that drinks Alcohol is an alcoholic…same with sugary treats.  For me…I have an addiction.  I know that now.  Does it make me sad that I probably can’t ever have a sugary treat again? If I felt that way, I would just struggle with my addiction for the rest of my life…and that is no way to live…not really.

I knew it was an addiction because I could not control it.  I tried so many ways to combat my over-indulgence and every time I lost.  Every time…for years. 

I knew it was an addiction because I could not control the amount I would eat.  One always turned into more than 5 or more, and then I added other treats to it and there were days when most of my daily food was sugary treats. 

I knew it was an addiction because I hid it from my husband.  My biggest place of gluttony was at work, because my husband doesn’t work with me.  My second biggest red flag was in our home, when I would eat sugary treats and hide the wrappers deep under layers of trash to prevent anyone from seeing them. 

I knew it was an addiction because it changed my mood, and it changed the way I treated myself and the others around me.  Almost every negative emotion I struggled with.  I was distant, short, depressed, lazy, mean, selfish, sensitive, annoyed…the list goes on. I felt real rage when faced with the possibility of a sugary treat and not eating one.

I knew it was an addiction because of how much I thought about when my next treat was.  Multiple times and hour I would think of treats…I would obsess about it.

I am now 12 days without a sugary treat.  I feel victorious!  Because I am a solid “no I can’t have that” it doesn’t bother me when other people around me eat sugary treats.  My family has eaten special ice cream each week, and I’m completely fine feeding my two-year-old treats.  For me, putting a “NO, not at all” has really been a sigh of relief and cornerstone in my addiction.  Sure, there will be people pushing me in the future who have no addiction…and that’s fine.  They just don’t understand it because they haven’t lived it.  My husband and family understand it because they’ve seen firsthand how I can’t control it! 

If you feel like you have a sugary treats addiction, I would love to talk to you about it!  Or if you think that I am off my rocker, give me your feed back and I will answer any questions honestly.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Jack Frost...We Need To Talk

Hey Jack,

It's over.  Flower's are starting to come out of the ground in my front yard.  Give it a rest.  You've got 15 days to get your stuff and move along.

P.S.  Tell the Groundhog I have some words for him.

You know when I absolutely adore winter?  December 1st - December 31st.  Cold, Snow, Coats, Scarves, Hot Cocoa, Salted Streets, Blankets, Triple Clothes Layering...I love all these things during that time.  

Not so much in March. 😂 

 I don't know if you can tell in these pictures, but that frosty glow around the edges is not a filter or edit I had to's because it was was 9 degrees taking these photos...NINE. N.I.N.E.  And all that cold + sun + snow glare caused this beautiful chilly shot.

There is still beauty to be found in winter, so now that I'm done pouting about it I will try and enjoy it.  Here are some ways I do this...

This coat makes me really happy.  It brings me so many memories.  In college I worked at a Banana Republic Petite store in this uber fancy mall.  This black warm trench was a product of my hard work.  It is a beautiful classic piece that I can wear for a long time, even if it's not right off the press.  I bought it knowing that I would wear it when I was more of a 'woman'. 😂😂 Now I can laugh at how silly...but how right I was! Every time I put it on I remember that my younger self bought it for my adult self, and I smile that she knew me well...even back then.

My mother bought this scarf for me at a random store in our local mall.  I always cut the cloth tags off of my scarves, and I don't remember what exact store she got this from.  I love the tribal print (it brings a bit more fun to such a cold classic coat), as well as the colors.  Anything that has the lighter brown and black colors together makes me swoon.  Wearing brown and black makes me happy, I love the two colors side by side.

The sunglasses remind me of one of the fun adventure shopping trips with Austin.  We have a couple places we always go to, and one of these times I found these beautiful J.Crew sunglasses. The iridescent color of the lenses, tortoise shell frames outlined in gold. 😍 They were made with my heart in mind!  We always went to our shopping places in the spring and summer, so the majority of my best clothes are spring and summer wear.  Great things are to come with warmer weather, including some of my FAVORITES! 

I know this weather won't last much longer, and I will try my best not to make snide comments during the heat of summer!  

Tell me about your favorite coats and winter accessories!

As Always Admire Our Image

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Another Brand of Happiness

I do not remember a time when I was not a dreamer.  From my earliest memory, everything I saw had life and noises were full of wonder and mystery.  I was a weird child.  Luckily enough I did have amazing friends that tolerated my strange obsession with fantasy-thinking and loved me for who I was. (Thank you Krystle, Jenny G, Glo, Jenny B, Ashlee, and Kae)

Good thing about weird children is that they grow up to be eccentric adults.  Truth be told, we are just really fun know we are. 😂  There was a magic all around me, and I can still feel it today.  A feeling that starts in your chest and moves's a calm excitement that has phantom tingles as it travels.  I believe the words that have been circulating around recently are..."spark joy".

In my earlier post about our Minimalism transition, I talked about this a little bit.  You can read about it here.  I want to talk about what happens when all you wear, everyday, are things that create this feeling of joy.  An amazing thing happens...

You feel it.

It is another brand of happiness (a more expensive and well made version), and it shares space with confidence.  I believe this happens because you are connecting to artistic reflections of yourself, granted you've got to do a bit of soul searching at the beginning (hardest but most rewarding part).  There is more to this than just connecting to a article of clothing, its the creativity that helped design it, the skills that made it...a creative-designed-skill that connects you to its Beauty.  It's the same force that keeps us silent starting into each sunrise and sunset.  It's the same pull that draws us to stillness on each beach crashing with gentle waves.  I believe with everything that I am, this is an attribute of God that we are uniting to.  It's something that He wants us to remember about Him.  Like a thank you note that was sent to us, or a sign that leads us back to Himself.

With that said...imagine your life putting on something that genuinely sparks joy for you...everyday.  Think about how your days would start and end differently knowing that you would carry this feeling about you...All Day.  Realize that big things would happen from one small act.  That is why creating an environment around you that carries these 'joy-messages' to you actually changes your life because it transcends created things to the One that Created Everything.  💓

Now, enough of this deep speech.  I LOVE THIS SWEATER!  PomPoms spark joy for me, so do natural colors, and the color white.  Leather and blue jeans will always be a staple in my wardrobe.  Also, something you might not notice is that I do not own a top that has a sharp collar on it.  Those bring me the opposite of joy. 😂  I don't know why, I've never liked them. To be fair, I have cut the collar off of this I have on all of my sharp collared shirts.  I make them all mandarin collars.  True story.  Peter Pan collars are fine with me, I just don't own any.

Like I said...Eccentric.  😏

So...what are you waiting for?  Maybe take some time to go through your closet or home and evaluate the items that connect you to something/Someone much greater.  💗

Jeans and white button down are from H&M, sweater is from T.J. Maxx, belt from Banana Republic, watch band from Amazon.  

Tan MakeSense Foundation, Bronze BlushSense, Toasted Rose BlushSense, Copper Rose ShadowSense, Rustic Brown ShadowSense, Onyx ShadowSense, Sandstone Pearl Shimmer ShadowSense, Black LashSense VolumeIntense Mascara, Praline Rose LipSense, Red Glitter Gloss

📷 Iron & Oak

As Always Admire Our Image

Monday, February 25, 2019

Separating Self from Stuff

My husband and I were recently having a long in-depth conversation about life (which I love talking to him 😍 in such ways), and I was asked… "who do you want to be”.  I knew I had more issues when all that came to mind were things I felt I wanted, or maybe what I wanted to look like. I had a mental social media feed of everyone else and what they have. That's a problem.

Being the processor I am, it took a couple of days for me to come up with something real and tangible. 

Then when I wrote down what that looked like, I realized that I didn’t have one-single-physical look, but that these qualities would mirror my style, they would reflect on what I gravitated toward, but they were not a single item or look.  I felt more freed from this exercise, and more able to make style choices knowing these were what I wanted, this is what I wanted to imitate.

  • Lead by Jesus/Submitted to God
  • Natural/Real/Honest/Meek
  • Kind/Encouraging/Happy/Loving
  • Emotional/Artistic/Deep/Creative
  • Wise/Discerning/Understanding/Relatable/Helpful
  • Beautiful/Comfortable/Confident
  • Warm/Full of Light & Life/Reflect Creation/Wild

When I looked at my closet, makeup, bedding, decor, books, and such…it now made since and each piece fit closer to me than it had before.  Style comes from Self…self should not come from your style.  Maybe take time to write down who you want to be, then look at what you love and see how it all makes sense…think about donating the things that do not belong or that don’t make you happy.

I start to lose myself when I focus on style, clothes, makeup, ‘things’, and not start with self.   It looks like this… I am scrolling social media and I see a person or company that captures my attention and appears to have so much going for them, and in such a beautifully documented way!  I attach their style to who I want to be because of the beauty they have displayed.  I start yearning for their beauty-life for myself, instead of seeing the beauty they have reflected, admiring it, and be inspired by it instead of wanting to become it.  Don’t be afraid to produce your own personal beauty through being inspired by someone else’s.  Take courage, work hard, and create your own Beauty through the stimulation of your social media feed.  Can you image how much greater our feed will become if we take in the beauty that we see and create our own personal version?

📷 by Iron & Oak 

Sweater from Simply Southern - Leggings & Glove/s from Target - Hat from C.C. Beanie - Boots are Vintage 1970s Thom McAn - Bag is Vintage Gun Club Sportswear 

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.