1.26.2017

INTERMISSION

Last summer, Emily and I were just getting to know each other.  We thought we were in the big leagues when we would plan to go out of town for the day and drive 25 minutes to Lake City.  Who knew that only half a year later we'd be flying halfway across the world to spend a week in Hawaii together, visiting her sister?!  I love friendships that are just easy...you click and the rest is history.  


Hawaii has been on my Bucket List for years, but I had no idea that I'd be crossing it off so soon!  So, because I love soaking up all my vacation, I'm calling for an Intermission.  It makes me think of old movies, haha.  I don't want to miss anything in Hawaii, so I'll be taking a break from my blog and Facebook! 


However, you'd better believe I'm going to be getting some amazing photos, so head over to Instagram and follow me there for the next 8 days...or forever, your choice!



1.24.2017

CAPSULE WARDROBE: SHOES

It's funny how I began the capsule wardrobe with only my "clothes" in mind.  Over the years, it has developed into something that I practice with my shoes, outerwear, accessories, work out gear and even home decor.  I really love having less items of higher quality in all areas.  My items last longer and are usually more comfortable when I have invested a little more in them.

My dressy shoes!
I've recently added a pair of nude peep toes to the collection.

So, let's talk shoes.  Remember last week I blogged about the 2 top places to invest your money?  Well, in case you missed it, "shoes" is one of them!  It's so funny how a shoe can practically transform an outfit.  Take a plain black dress...you can blend in almost anywhere.  However, if you add a pair of red heels (instead of the typical black), you're going to find yourself getting compliments everywhere you go.

My cold weather boots are my favorites :)

Or if instead of just another pair of normal winter boots, you wear your leopard print Tom's wedges, you'll be shocked at how many people come up to you and comment on your shoes!  I've heard it said that people don't really notice your feet.  Remember in Shawshank Redemption, how the main guy was able to steel the boss' shiny shoes and break out of jail with no one noticing his feet?  I never bought that.  People do notice.  If you are wearing a great outfit and not the right shoes, it's obvious.  Just like if you are wearing a great outfit and a great pair of shoes, it's obvious...you will get compliments left and right because people do notice what's on your feet.

Gotta be practical right?
These are my workout, camping and hiking shoes!

 Let's talk comfort.  This is tricky.  It seems like all the cutest shoes are heels or wedges.  And while those usually look better, they don't feel great.  Wearing heels can affect your joints, grow callouses, hurt your back, aren't always steady to walk on and don't have much cushion for support. Usually I am laid back and wear flats, however last fall I bought myself my favorite leopard print Tom's wedges and have worn them almost everyday since.  Although I love them and get compliments every time I wear them, I have noticed that my achilles tendon throbs!  I know they say "beauty is pain", but I'd like to take good care of my feet so that I can continue to be active.  Because of this, I feel like I need to break away from my wedges and heels fad that I am currently going through.  Sad.

And summer...don't you love the warm days where you
can just live in your flip flops?

Give me some ideas!  I really do love shoes...cute shoes.  But, I like to be comfortable and I'd like to keep my feet in good working order (which means I need more flats in my wardrobe).  Any brands that have cute flats with colors and patterns that I could add to my capsule wardrobe?  Plus, I'm tall (5'8"), so I don't have to wear heels since I am usually taller than everyone anyway.  Shoot me with your favorite brands!






1.19.2017

WHY I DELETED FACEBOOK

Ok, ok, I didn't completely delete it, but let me explain.

I wasn't a big FaceBook user until around 2013 when I started my own small business.  It grew pretty quickly and I found myself on social media nearly all the time.  For about two years, I worked constantly, trying to grow my business through social media.  Although I was successful, I found that I had pretty much become addicted to being on my phone.  It wasn't that I wanted to be on there all of the time (quite the opposite), but I felt like I had to (in case of emergencies or someone needed me).



Fast forward to sometime in the Fall of 2015.  I was at a business event and heard someone talking about the same issue of being constantly "on".  They said something that really stuck with me.  It went along the lines of "We are in the business of essential oils...no one is going to die if we don't respond for 24 hours."  It was as if I had just been given permission to chill out.  So, my New Years resolution that winter was to stop working when Ironman gets home from work and to stop taking my iPhone into my bedroom at night.  

I'm excited to say that I did pretty good during 2016!

I only took my iPhone to my bedroom one night that entire year (and it was because of something important although I can't remember why now!).  I found that I was able to get better sleep.  I would read or talk to Ironman until I fell asleep at night, instead of scroll FaceBook.  And in the morning, instead of wake up and immediately browse FaceBook, I would lay in bed and give myself time to think and have some quiet time.  Plus, no more waking up during the night and mindlessly scrolling when I couldn't sleep.  It was amazing and I'm never again taking my iPhone to bed with me at night.  I know many people use their phones as alarm clocks...just do yourself a favor, buy an alarm clock and keep your bedroom a peaceful place of rest.

As for stopping my work when Ironman got home from work...that was a little harder.  Sometimes I still find myself hopping on FaceBook to quickly answer a message, or replying to that email, or answering that text.  Many times, we even end up having meetings and events online at night that I don't want to miss.  So, although I am still working on this area, I have really improved!  This means that instead of just sitting next to Ironman on the couch and doing my own thing, we are doing more together...talking, eating dinner, watching something on Netflix, going on a bike ride.  It's not perfect, but I'm headed in the right direction.

So, since I loved my 2016 resolutions so much, I decided I wanted to up my game for 2017.



I deleted FaceBook and FaceBook Messenger from my iPhone!  It has been absolutely wonderful.  When I am ready to get to work and catch up on things, I get on FaceBook on my laptop.  I don't miss doing it all on my iPhone at all and have found my that stress levels have really gone down.  Plus, I noticed that I was on FaceBook on my phone way more than I thought.  One day in December, while Ironman and I were shopping together, he kept going in and out of the dressing room to try on clothes.  Every single time he went inside the room and shut the door, I reached down in my purse, pulled out my phone and tried to open FaceBook.  Repeatedly I would remember that I had told him that I would stay off of FaceBook and I would laugh at myself and put my iPhone back down into my purse.  But, after doing that 3 times in a row within about 10 minutes, I knew that I had a problem.  I realized that anytime I had downtime, I went straight for my iPhone.  Standing in line at the post office.  Waiting on someone at Starbucks.  While Ironman was trying on clothes in the dressing room.  It was an addiction...I didn't even know I was doing it.  So, I knew that I had to do something about it.  It's been 19 days without using FaceBook on my iPhone and I haven't missed it a bit.  Also, when I get on my laptop to work, I find that I am much more focused and use my time more wisely.

I know that it can be scary to set boundaries, but I truly believe that boundaries are good for us.  It keeps relationships healthy.  It reduces stress levels.  It improves work flow.  Plus, for me at least, it helps me free up more time for reading and doing other things that I enjoy!

What is an area where you need a boundary?






1.17.2017

2 TOP PLACES TO INVEST YOUR MONEY

You basically spend all your life on your feet or on your back, so you'd better make sure to get the best shoes and mattress that (your) money can buy!  I heard this years ago from my mom, who heard it from a very smart doctor, so I'm totally sure it's fact.

My favorite mattress ever!!!

For years, Ironman and I have used hand-me-down mattresses from friends and family.  It saved us so much money at times when we couldn't afford to go shopping for our own.  When we were first married, we had a comfortable queen mattress found in my mimi's attic.  We eventually moved overseas and gave it away to someone else who needed it.  Then, when we came back to town, someone else was generous enough to give us another queen sized mattress that we used for years.  We eventually moved overseas again and gave it away to someone else who needed a bed.  Then, in 2015, when we moved back to town again and bought a house, Ironman's family gave us a bunch of furniture as they cleaned out his grandaddy's house...so we got another queen mattress!  For some reason, though, we could never get quite comfortable on this one (maybe because it was so old?!) and so we decided to cave, be grown ups and buy ourselves a brand new mattress!!!

We searched for months and even tried some out in stores, but never felt good about taking the plunge...plus the prices were so high.  However, my friend Beth bought a new mattress online and bragged about how comfortable and inexpensive it was.  So, Ironman and I went for it.  We bought the Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam King Sized Mattress and have been so happy with it!  It shipped right to our home and was really easy to set up.  It is the most comfortable and largest mattress that we have ever owned and we have slept better in the past year than we have ever slept before.

I know that in the past, we tried to save money by using old, free mattresses, but after having bought this nice one, I totally agree with the importance of having a great mattress.  Quality sleep affects everything.

So, now that we have that cleared up, let's move on to the shoes!

My favorite shoes ever!!!

Have you ever worn cheap shoes that give you blisters and after one loop around the mall, you're feet are already killing you?  I used to think that more was better.  I wanted cute shoes for each outfit, so that I would have plenty of options.  However, to buy so many, I had to buy lesser quality and my feet truly suffered for it.  I would go to parties or events and all I could think about was that my feet were killing me and I was dying to take off my shoes.  Then, when I would take off my shoes, I felt dumb walking around barefoot and that it was a waste to have cute shoes that hurt too much to enjoy.  So, over the last few years, I have weeded out my shoes to have less, but higher quality.

For winter, I have a pair of super comfortable cowgirl boots and Toms wedges and flats.  A pair of Rainbow flip flops and Birkenstock sandals for summer, plus a pair of wedge sandals from TJMaxx.  For dressing up, I have a few pairs of black and nude colored heels.  Don't forget my gym shoes and pink, unicorn bedroom shoes!  So, as you can see, there aren't many pairs of shoes, but I try to make sure that they are all good quality and are comfortable.  Over the past few months, though, I have been wearing more heels and wedges and have noticed the back of my ankle throbbing, so maybe I need to get back to more flats.  It's probably another great post idea for future blogging!

Needless to say, you spend all your life either awake or asleep...on your feet or on your back.  So, it's important to make sure to invest in good shoes and a quality mattress!  I know that I feel so much better when I am well rested and comfortable in my clothes.  It makes such a difference in my attitude and in turn, affects my everyday life!  Sure, it costs more to buy quality items, but that's why I buy fewer items.  That's why I love the Capsule Wardrobe and believe that it can be a part of the rest of your home, not just your closet.  Living more simply, with higher quality items, is a good idea in every area of your life...home, relationships, schedule and so much more!

What is an area that you use to skimp on that you now spend more money on for higher quality?




1.12.2017

HOW TO RENOVATE A BATHROOM IN 42 WEEKS

I can't tell you how excited I am to be writing this blog post this morning.  When Ironman and I bought this fixer upper in June 2015, we guessed it would take only two years to complete the renovations.  Although we are clearly not on schedule, we really have done a lot of work (and spent a lot of money) already.  For me, having the washer and drier in the garage and having a terrible bathroom were the worst.  Though the laundry room isn't completed, Ironman did at least get the washer and drier inside the house...yay!  But let me say, he did an amazing job on the bathroom and I want to show it off.

The photo on the left was taken on the day that we moved in, June 19th, 2015.  The photo on the right was taken yesterday morning.  I'm shocked that's the same room.


Let me walk you through the process...


42 weeks ago, we decided it was time to get started!

The first thing to go was the vanity...and, of course, we found pink carpet left over underneath the pink tile.


Once the vanity and the toilet were both out, we started to tear the entire room apart.


The pink tub was just too cute, so I had to put it in my yard and use it as a flower bed.  Pinterest told me it was ok.


Ironman took out a bedroom closet in the room next-door (to the left, inside the door) to make more space in the bathroom.  He also took out the huge window and put a smaller one up near the ceiling (for natural light, but no creepers).  We got the walls down to the studs and then Ironman recovered them with plywood to get ready for the tile, wainscoting and sheetrock.


Houston, we have a tub!


We chose white subway tile for the shower.


And a gray tile with a design on the floor.  We decided since the subway tile was horizontal and the wainscoting was going to be vertical, we wanted to have the floor herringbone to break it all up.


Ta-da!


Ironman saved some wainscoting from a job, so that we could save money and add character to the bathroom.  It's so convenient that he works in construction so that we have the opportunity to do things like this!


He got the wainscoting up pretty quickly.  There was a small area behind the door that had space to put a built-in cabinet, so I was excited to have that little extra storage!


We were planning on ordering a custom made vanity, but decided again on the money saving and character building...so Ironman started to build our vanity, in hopes that we find a drop in sink and countertops that we like.


We went to look at countertops and compare them to the floor tile, but just didn't feel good about it or find anything that we loved.  Plus, it costs a fortune!  So, Ironman decided to build the countertop out of old wood.


The painters came to prime.  It looked so fresh and clean when everything in the entire room was white!


 Then, they painted the "gray" that I chose, which turned out to be more of a purple.  But, I happen to LOVE purple, so we kept it!


 The plumber came to install the toilet and hook up the shower head, tub faucet, etc.


At this point, we could use the toilet and shower, but didn't have a sink and vanity in place yet.


Then, we finally found the perfect sink...in my parents backyard (yep, backyard).





 We got the sink refinished.  Ironman painted the vanity he built and stained the countertops he added.  The sink was just the look we were going for and we were so excited!


Ironman found a faucet online that fit perfectly and we were in business!


In the kitchen, we had an enormous old water heater that was taken out and replaced with a tankless water heated and installed on the outside of the house.  We are loving that we don't run out of hot water!  Plus, it's nice to have that little extra space in the kitchen now.



We found the perfect mirror.


So, yesterday when our bathroom was officially complete, I took photos to document the "after"...

This is the completed vanity!  It's so cute.


Here is the built in behind the door.


You can see the built in to the left of the sink and the light fixture we chose to go over the mirror.



A painting that one of my friends did years ago matched the colors perfectly!



And the final product.  


 That entire process took 42 weeks.  Home renovations are no joke.  Especially when you are living in your home, while working on it.  So far, we have our bedroom completed and now this bathroom...only the rest of the house to go.  I'm so happy that I married such a handy man.  Ironman is so creative, talented and a hard worker...this bathroom would not be complete without him and the countless hours that he put into it.

So, one more thing checked off of our home renovations list.  Moving on to the next...kitchen!!!



1.10.2017

DEAR COLLEGE ME,

You've got some adventures ahead of you and I want you to be prepared, so I am writing to you to give you some advice and encouragement as you make it through these next few years.


Be you.  You are different and that's ok.  Don't feel like you have to dress like everyone else, talk like everyone else, have the same hobbies as everyone else and plan the same future as everyone else.  You are you.  Own it.  Enjoy it.  There is no one else like you...the world needs you.

Live below your means.  If you can't afford new clothes, don't buy them.  If you can't afford to go to the movies, don't go.  Learn to have fun with what you can afford.  It's hard to do, but later, as you travel the world and enjoy your freedom, you'll thank me.  Remember that it's more important to make memories than collect stuff.



Work hard.  Your grades really do matter.  How you finish will have an effect on where you can go in the future.  So, treat college like your full time job.  Make good grades, keep your scholarships and do your best to graduate well.  Starting off your life on top of things, as an adult, will really help you with an easier transition.

Find a job that you love and don't be afraid to change jobs over and over until you find the right one.  Just because you decide to study something at 18, doesn't mean that you have to stick with it the rest of your life.  Be willing to try everything until you find what works for you.  Work hard and be patient for things to fall into place at the right time.


Acknowledge your mistakes.  Everyone makes them...the difference is whether you are willing to learn from them.  If you tried something and don't like it, leave it behind.  If you found something you love, stick with it.  If you hurt someone, apologize.  If you wish you hadn't gone down a certain road, turn around and go back.  Be kind to others and to yourself.  Have the courage to be honest and face hard things.

Don't play the "when" game.  "When I'm _______ , I'll be happy."  "When I have ________ , I'll be content." "When I'm __________ I'll do _________. " When.  When.  When.  Don't do that to yourself.  Be here.  Be now.  Be happy with what you have.  Be happy with where you are.


Wait for the right person.  You never know when you will meet Mr. Right, so why worry about it?  Work on your other relationships.  Be a good daughter, a good sister and a good friend.  Just when you least expect it, God will introduce you to The One.

Enjoy college.  Yes, you are studying hard and working hard, but the years will pass quickly and only be a distant memory.  Some of your hardest years and biggest adventures are right around the corner.  So, be present.  Be here.  Now.  Don't multi-task all of the time.  Focus on one thing at a time, enjoying it and doing your best in each thing.


1.06.2017

THE MAN'S GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL OILS

Ironman has been a little run down this week. It started out with a scratchy throat, pounding head and stuffiness after a weekend in the mountains with a bunch of sick nieces and nephews. However, he has been hitting the essential oils hard and now only has stuffiness still hanging around. Watching him use the oils all week got me thinking about how many people think that essential oils are only for women.  That simply isn’t true!  Ironman is proof, because he uses and loves Young Living Essential Oils just as much as I do. Here are 10 reasons why YOU, as a man, need these little bottles of goodness in your life too!  
Ironman's recent favorites...
1. Occasional Stress...Ironman loves to come home to a calming atmosphere, so I always make sure that I am diffusing something that he enjoys when he gets home from work. Lavender is a popular oil that is very calming. We have even found that Lemon relaxes us too. But for on the go, Stress Away Roll On is a great one to throw in your briefcase or slip into your pocket.
2. Soreness and Discomfort...Ironman is really into exercise, but that means that he can get pretty sore and stiff. Peppermint is perfect for tired muscles and aching joints because of the cooling sensation that it leaves behind. For added strength, Ironman layers Copaiba on top of the Peppermint! He even loves the Ortho Sport Massage Oil because it doesn't have to be diluted, but can simply be massaged directly onto the affected area.
Ironman competing in a Triathlon!


3. Good Night's Rest...Ironman is actually a pretty good sleeper, but he loves for us to diffuse something calming in our room each night. Lavender and Cedarwood have been our go to for years and we still love that combo! If we want to kick it up a notch, we even add Frankincense to our wrists and back of neck and it knocks us right out.
4. Tension...Ironman works hard and sometimes brings that stress home with him. Pan Away around the hairline, back of neck and across forehead is great! Peppermint and Copaiba can even be layered on top of that for a stronger result. Taking some time to relax on the couch and diffuse something calming like Stress Away also helps! Plus, if tension affects your digestion, DiGize is a great one to rub into the lower belly to help with unease.
Ironman trying out Barre with me!


5. Healthy Digestion...Talking about digestion, sometimes Ironman has trouble after a meal of spicy foods or if he ate too much and feels uncomfortable. Lemon and Peppermint are great ones for this! Ironman ingests a drop of each and then rubs a drop of Peppermint on his stomach! Citrus Fresh is also one that he enjoys adding to his water to help with digestion and motivate him to stay hydrated.
6. Energy and Focus...Each morning, Ironman adds a drop of Peppermint to his stainless steel water bottle and drinks it throughout the day. He swears that it gives him energy and helps him focus. Plus, it helps him with good breath...win, win! He also takes Ningxia Red (Young Living's antioxidant drink) each morning and says that he can tell he's not at his best on the days that he forgets to take it.
Ironman getting in his Ningxia Red after his Triathlon!


7. Stuffy / Itchy / Sneezy...Ironman has been diffusing Thieves all week to try to beat the crud. Plus, he's been using his Breathe Again Roll On for his throat and under his nose to help with the scratchy throat and stuffy nose. I'm glad to say that he is on the mend!
8. Hair Growth...Young Living Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner is a great place to start. Adding in oils like Cedarwood and Rosemary can benefit, especially if massaged into balding spot vigorously for 2-3 minutes before bed each night. Ironman tried this about 2 years ago and though we saw some improvement, but it was hard for him to remember to do each night and he eventually gave up. Maybe he will try again at some point!
Ironman helps with the planting
at the Young Living Lavender Farm!
9. Fresh Breath...Ironman will swipe a drop of Peppermint on his tongue or add it to his water bottle and drink slowly throughout the day. It really makes such a huge difference! Speaking of fresh breath, keep other things fresh also...diffuse Purification and Lemon in your truck and man cave to keep them smelling fresh. Add a drop to a cotton ball and leave in gym bag to keep that smelling clean too!

10. RoMANce...Ironman smells like a lumberjack when he wear Shutran. It's like a spicy blend of forest in a bottle and I love it! The blend is said to boost feelings of masculinity and confidence and can be worn daily as cologne. Plus, you can go ahead and get your wife a bottle of Joy and she can wear it daily as perfume. Let's just say you'll both be feeling more romantic within no time...wink wink!

Honestly, Ironman uses the oils more diligently than me! So, this is just a small list of his popular go to oils, but there are many more and I didn't even talk about his favorite Young Living products...that will have to be another future blog post. Needless to say, essential oils are not only for women, but for men too! Anyone who is trying to live a healthier, less toxic lifestyle can benefit from these wonderful little bottles. If you're interested in learning more, click HERE or feel free to shoot me an email for additional help.
Also check out, 11 Essential Oils You Need Today!