Friday, February 28, 2014

Things that make a bad day a little better

I thought I'd share with you a list of tried and true things that help me shake one of those "funks" and turn a bad day into a good day.

1. Go for a run.Exercise is the hardest for me on days I am feeling especially "blah" but those are the days I absolutely need it the most.

2. Get out in nature. The other day I was just grumpy, discontent and in one of those funks for no real reason. At lunch, I decided to get away from my desk and just take a little walk to get a diet coke instead of driving. That 15 minutes I spent walking in the fresh air left me feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of my day. This is also why I LOVE running outside. There's something about being in nature that is just good for your soul.

3. Encourage someone else. Sending an encouraging email or text or telling someone how much they're appreciated and cared for is not only mood boosting for you, but it also can make someone else's day so much better as well.

4. Set aside 30 minutes to silence my phone, step away from the computer, and just have some time to read a good book or journal or pray. There is value in disconnecting and taking a few minutes to do whatever it is that recharges you.

5. Laugh. Laughter is good medicine for anyone, and a good out loud laugh sometimes is all I need to shake those funks that come out of nowhere.

6. Organize or clean something. I find some real satisfaction in taking control of an out of control situation (like my closet). But even when I don't have the energy to commit to cleaning my train wreck closet for 5 hours, even just doing the dishes or making my bed helps me feel more accomplished and less anxious.

7. Write a Grateful list. Its very hard to be discontent when you are being thankful. Sometimes, whatever I am frustrated about is what I need to thank God for. For example, if work is stressing me out, I thank God for a really great job, and list all the things I am thankful for about my job. It really helps put things in perspective.

What is on your list? I always tell myself to try just ONE of these things when I am having a bad day. And usually, one leads to another and soon enough, I am not such a crankasaurus.

I also have a special gift for you lovely readers-today only, take 30% off all ad spaces with the code TGIF! Some ads start today, so hurry and snag one before their gone!


Featured Blogger

Have you guys met this gorgeous friend of mine, Hannah? She blogs over at Hannah, Here and she is SUCH an inspiration to me! She is into fitness and eating healthy, and always has really great recipes for juices and healthy meals on her blog. She is currently dating her boyfriend Christian and each month they do a new and fun date night that I love to read about. Hannah's blog is always inspiring, and she definitely has the gift of encouragement. She has encouraged me so much since I met her and I love being her friend! Go say hello to this girl, you will absolutely love her!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Love Is Patient || Always Ashten

I have a long list of bloggers I LOVE and consider "real life friends" too. But my list of blogging friends I text and email/chat with on Google Chat all day is much shorter. Ok, I'll tell you whos on that list. Karissa and Ashten are the only two names. I never claimed to be cool okay? But you know who is cool? My friend Ashten. And she's here with a spot on post about how loved we are by God flaws and all, and also, she's letting us into her love life a little which is a real treat, if you ask me.

So, here she is. Ashten, from Always Ashten. Go stalk her blog after you're done here. I PROMISE you will love her.

I am, admittedly, NOT good at dating. I have a tendency to go for the guy who is 100% unavailable, or the guy who is not into commitment, or the guy who thinks of me as just a friend. I love the chase, I hate dating. I also have a history of dating bad boys. I am a disaster.

I recently have begun “dating” a friend/co-worker of my best friend Tessa’s. I use the term loosely because we’re just getting to know each other, and I’m terrified of commitment. He waited on the sidelines while I dated yet another bad boy, wanting to ask me out for a year, but never got up to guts to pull the trigger. Once I became single, Tessa pounced on the chance to set us up. He is a nice guy and is really funny. He likes sports, goes to Church every Sunday and he loves Jesus. I had the flu back in January and he texted every day to check on me, and asked me if I needed anything. We had been talking for about two weeks at that point.

Are you swooning yet?

Recently he asked me to go to Church with him. The question came naturally to him; like he was asking me if I liked chocolate or vanilla. Like “hey, what are you doing Sunday? You should come to Church with me.” I have never dated someone like this before: a guy who not only wants to help me when I’m sick but wants me to participate in his faith with him. I almost feel as though I’ve discovered that unicorns still exist. Now is where I should pause and tell you that in n addition to being a bad dater, I’m also bad at executing my faith. I believe. I have faith. I love Jesus. But I do not go to Church every Sunday, I’ve been falling asleep before I can read my Bible and I sometimes I forget to say my prayers at night. In fact, most days the most faith I can muster is listening to the Christian radio station in my car while sitting in the ungodly amount of traffic I deal with on a daily basis. I sometimes have trouble understanding what I read in the Bible and I feel intimidated by the people who seem to have such a good grasp on the good word.

When he asked me to go to Church with him I panicked. I did not grow up in Church, and really got serious about my faith when I moved to Atlanta in 2010. No guy has ever asked me to go to Church with him before. I was scared. Thoughts of “is he going to judge me when I don’t know all the worship songs? Will he think I’m a phony because I don’t go every Sunday? What if I don’t know all the verses they discuss during the service?!” went through my head a dozen times.

I’ve always loved this verse, and I think it fits so perfectly: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1Corinthians 13:4-7

I’ve read that verse before and so have you. But reading it in the context of my current situation gives it on a whole new meaning. Am I in love? Absolutely not. But, the love I read in this verse is God’s love for me, and the kind of love we should all strive to have in our lives. God is not mad when I don’t go to Church every Sunday because He knows I believe, I love and I praise Him. God does not judge me on how many Bible verses I read or understand: God loves me unconditionally and His love does not keep record of wrong doings. While I worry about how I will appear to this new church going beau of mine, I know he will be patient, he will be kind and he will not judge. When we aim to love one another the way God loves us, we give each other the best gift possible: the gift of unfaltering, unwavering, confident love. A love that is pure, that does not keep score or judge others. It is a love that accepts, that pushes us to our limits and asks us to delight in hope.

That’s not such a bad thing to have in your faith or your dating life, if you ask me. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finding Contentment

Finding Contentment

I am going to just come out and say that for me, genuine contentment doesn't come easy. Why is there such a sense of shame and embarrassment when we admit things about ourselves that aren't perfect? When we confess the ugly parts of our hearts out loud, I believe it brings healing and allows God room to refine us. I believe it brings freedom as well. I don't know if you're reading this and thinking "me too" but if you are, know, you're not alone. If you are thinking "I don't struggle with contentment" I would love to chat more about how you've found contentment in all of life's seasons.

I've battled true, genuine contentment for as long as I can remember. As a single girl, I longed for marriage. In high school, I longed for freedom and independence of a college student. In college, I counted the days down til when I could finally be a "real adult". I've begged God for a good job in my field and then turned around and wished I didn't have to work and could just stay home and be a wife. I mean, my list goes on and on you guys.

I don't know if its my type A, striving to achieve personality, or the way the world tells us to always be striving for that next best thing. To follow the order of events culture has deemed acceptable. To go to college, get that good job, get married, buy a house, get that promotion, have kids, etc. And what I've found true of myself, and many others is that we reach that milestone, and then we sit and revel in that feeling of accomplishment for about .2 seconds, and then are back on the grind, trying to reach that next milestone. That next step in our career or finally upgrading from an apartment to our own home or starting a family. I've found myself believing once I get to that point in my life, or once we have that, life will be better. I will be happy. I will be fulfilled.

What is your "thing" right now? When I get _____, I will be _______. 

I do believe that God is intentional, and has placed you where you are at right now for a specific purpose. And its hard to wrap our minds around when we have a desire that is just about bursting out of our hearts for something different isn't it? I asked my husband the other day "What if God calls us to do XYZ?" And it was one of those things that was a dream. Like, if God made it clear that was desire for us, I don't know HOW it would ever happen. And so simply and matter of factly, he told me that if that was God's desire for our lives, He will provide the tools and ways for it to happen.

My little obsessive human brain sometimes just can't accept that though. Instead, I want a plan of how we will get from where we are now, to where I want us to be.  I leave God out, and think that if I work hard enough, if I make enough plans, if I take matters into my own hands, then we can claw our way there. But in my discontent, I am basically telling God that what He's blessed me with now isn't quite good enough.

But maybe what God is asking of me, is to be content with where He has me now. To thank him for the abundance of blessings He's given us. To reflect on every way, big and small, He has come through for us and answered big prayers. To remember that He has never made a promise He hasn't kept. To remember that every single one of my days has been written in His book, and that I am never going to find contentment in my job or the size of my house or the vacations we go on or the amount of money in our bank account. That true contentment is found in Christ alone and the joy He offers us so greatly surpasses the joy I could find in the things of this world.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and 
all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Get Fit and Fab Week 8: Running at Lunch

Its Week 8 of this linkup-who is feeling fit and fabulous? I know I've made some great progress the last eight weeks, but I still have a long way to go! How has your journey been? I'd love to hear about the ups and downs and what is working for you!

I read once that everyone has a natural "best" time of day to workout. As much as I've tried, I never could make myself into a morning runner. I ran one summer every morning, but I didn't start class til 10 so I usually woke up between 7:30 and 8:00 and ran. Sadly, the days of being a college student and having zero commitments before 10:00 AM are over and now, I wake up at 5:30 to be at work by 7.  Morning workouts don't happen for me.

Evening workouts don't happen for me either, but only because A) I am beat after work and feel like doing nothing but laying on my couch and B) in the winter it is dark and cold shortly after I get home.

I have always loved working out at lunch. When I was a nanny, I ran with a girlfriend on her lunch everyday and we just bundled the baby up in the strolled and off we went. Lucky for me, there is a trail just behind my office that is perfect for running. I've made working out at lunch a routine and try to do it at a minimum of three or four days a week. Sometimes I really just want to curl up in the Coffee Shop next door with a book, and I do that occasionally.

It is definitely a little strange, changing my clothes at lunch time and walking through our office hallways in my running gear. I get weird looks, but it works for me. I don't have to wake up early and by the time I get off work, I can rest knowing its DONE.

I pack my gym bag with all the essentials. I don't shower after, which is gross sounding, but I towel off, put on deodorant, spray a little perfume, brush my hair, touch up my makeup, and I am good to go. No one seriously knows any different.I also typically run for about 30 minutes. This gives me five minutes to change before, five minutes to warm up/walk to the trail, 30 to run, and then the other 20 to get dressed and eat my lunch real fast.

You don't need a trail to run at work. You can literally put on some running shoes and just start jogging down the street! When it warms up, I am going to drive to the foothills a couple days a week after work because I am craving a good trail run in the hills. If you are new to running and don't know how to start, I recommend the Couch to 5k program! It is a really great beginning running training guide!

This link-up will happen every Monday, but it is absolutely not necessary that you join in every single week (although we'd love to have you!) Get Fit, Feel Confident, Be Healthy is all about ANYTHING having to do with your journey to a more fit, fabulous, and healthy you in 2014!
This can be:
Your goals
A recaps of how you did the week before
Your new favorite workout songs
A salad you made for dinner that was healthy and delicious
Something you struggled with last week
Ways you've been able to successfully relieve stress

Fit + Fab

Will you please join in the fun with us?! Here's what you need to do:

1. Follow us on Bloglovin (Brittany and Sam) or GFC. Leave us a comment letting us know so that we can follow you back!

2. Write your Get Fit, Feel Confident, Be Healthy post on Monday. Link-up at one of our blogs!

3. Grab a button (above) and link back to our blogs in your post.
4. Meet new friends who are on a similar journey as you! One of the best parts of this link-up will be meeting other ladies who are sharing their ideas and stories so make sure you check out the other fit+fab women who are linking up!
Use the hashtag #getfitandfab - tag us on instagram and twitter so we can follow you on your journey!
Instagram: @brittmrasmussen and @samanthamarie_8
Twitter: @brit_rasmussen and @samanthamarie_8

Some housekeeping: This is going to be our last linkup of Get Fit and Fab for a few months. We are thinking that it would be great to come back and check in with everyone in May. I am hoping to be able to come back in May and show you guys how awesome I look in a bikini by then. We love hearing how everyone is doing, and what is working for you, but want to give the linkup a little break and come back with some more long term results! Stay tuned for more info about the next date for the linkup. Thank you to all of you who have participated in it, it has been SO fun and we're so glad to have had you play along!

Good luck to all of you in your goals, and don't give up on them! If you've fallen off the wagon, today is as good of day as any to start back up!

Friday, February 21, 2014

George Washington and Running

Today is a happy day, if you like to laugh. Nicole is absolutely hilarious, she is a runner, and she lives in Chicago which is where Ronnie is from. I am particularly fond of her because she always makes me laugh, but I also feel like she gets me, at least when it comes to running. So, I'll let Nicole do her thing, and make you laugh. Enjoy!

Hello lovely readers of Happy is a Choice!  I’m Nicole, the runner and brunch fanatic over at Not Before my Tea.

I know that we just met so I don’t want to come off too strong, but I just really wanted to wish you all a very happy Day Before George Washington’s Birthday Celebration.  Other than Arbor Day, this is by far my favorite obscure and somewhat irrelevant holiday… and I’m so glad to be sharing it with you!

I wanted to go all out celebrating this year but you know how it goes: you get busy, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, the big day just sneaks right up on you.  That and I couldn’t find 300 miniature white wigs to top the celebratory cupcakes I had planned.  (Apparently Target does have its limits.)

I’m here though and I don’t want to leave without doing at least something to celebrate George’s big day.  So instead of miniature wigged cakes, I have this for you instead: a list of how George Washington and running are kind of the same thing.

1. They both really set things off on the right foot

Whether you’re starting a world superpower or starting your morning, our first president and a good run both get you going in the right direction.  However, I wouldn’t recommend swapping the two (although I guess breakfast with George really wouldn’t be all that bad).

2. They’re both great for the environment.

Last year (my twenty-third year of life), I learned for the first time that my uncle wears a toupee.  My whole life was suddenly a lie.

And just like my uncle’s luscious locks, that story about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree is a myth.

Turns out, little George was actually great for the environment – no tree chopping whatsoever (that we know of, I guess).  And just like our environmentally friendly leader, running is also great for planet Earth.  No smog, no litter, no traffic.  The hardcore ones even do a bit of fertilizing for us!  (Too much?)

3. Both look great on paper…

You can’t deny that George Washington does the dollar bill better than anyone.  Frankly, I think he rocks the "three shades of green look" better than the Jolly Green Giant, and that’s what that guy does for a living.  George knows how to run a country but what he really knows is how to look great on that paper.

And what else looks great on paper?  You guessed it: running.  Why else do you think all your Facebook friends bombard you with their humble-brag running statuses?  Because every runner knows that a mile not documented is a mile wasted.

4. …but both will kick your butt in real life. 

Tree-loving, six-year-old George was evidently a huge softie but American Revolution Washington?  He was having none of that.  I can guarantee more than a handful British soldiers woke up the morning after facing Washington thinking, “That was a mistake.”

And that’s exactly how you feel after a hard workout.  Granted, a few days later when your butt looks awesome or you PR in a race, you’re glad you did it.  But the morning after mile repeats?  Your burning legs are telling you that you just made a huge mistake.

5. They both rule.

Ok, so maybe this one is a cop out.  But it’s true. George Washington and running: both awesome.  America.


And that's that.  I know this wasn't as informative as what Brittany usually has for all of you, but hopefully you were able to pick up a fact or two to impress your guests while they're playing "Pin the Tail on the Revolutionary Steed" at your First President Party tonight.  Just remember: lay off the prohibition beverages and don't do anything George wouldn't do!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Spring is for Maxi Dresses + An Oakleigh Rose Giveaway!

Is anyone else dying for some Spring Sunshine? I am counting down the days. I love my winter wardrobe, but I'm ready for dresses, skirts, shorts and sandals! I am a big fan of a good maxi dress. A good maxi dress is long, super soft, feels like pajamas but looks like you are super fashionable and put together. What is not to love?

My newest addition to my maxi-dress addition is this beauty, the Color Block Maxi from Oakleigh Rose. It seriously is the perfect length for a pair of wedges, it is SO soft, and has a really flattering fit.

This darling online boutique is run by a charming mother/daughter pair who have an eye for style and are just so sweet. Their shop is full of adorable and affordable dresses, sweaters, leggings, accessories and more. I am so happy I found their site, and forsee many more pieces being added to my Spring Wardrobe from Oakleigh Rose!

If you are still waiting on Spring and suffering through snow and other winter conditions you will definitely want to check out their Winter Clearance Sale! I don't know about you, but here in Idaho Spring teases you starting in March, but it takes until at least April or May til we have consistent warm days. If you need a couple of winter pieces to get you through the dreary days for Winter, hurry and snag one of their adorable sweaters or a pair of leggings before they're gone.

Finally, if you sign up for their VIP list e-mail newsletter, you will get a one-time coupon of $15 off of a $30 dollar purchase & free priority shipping! This shop is one you definitely want to check out!

Oakleigh Rose is also sweet enough to be giving away one of your lucky ladies a $25 shop credit! The entry options are limited so it will just take a minute of your time and trust me, once you check out their adorable clothes, you will want to win the credit so you can do some shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dress: c/o Oakleigh Rose
Scarf: Target
Jacket: Buckle
Shoes: Buckle

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Never Outrun Your Joy

"Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running."

I came across this quote on Twitter last night, and it really struck me. It rings true for running, that is for sure. As a runner, to improve, to get faster, to have endurance for longer miles, you need to be consistent, and run often. When people ask me how to start running, or how to get better, the first thing I encourage them to do is run consistently. But if you always run three miles, you will always be able to run three miles. Running long, once a week is a second important aspect to improving as a runner. It teaches your body how to keep moving on that mile past tired. You know, when you run three miles and you're exhausted but you have one more mile to get home? Running long teaches you how to run on tired legs.

Running often, and running long requires diligence. It requires persistence, commitment, and running through good weather and bad weather. It requires lacing up your shoes when all you want to do is curl up on the couch in front of Netflix. It requires sacrificing free time and Saturday morning for long runs.

In 2011, I set out to run 100 miles a month. My friend Sarah and I decided we would commit to running 1200 miles that year, to improve as runners, to get in better shape, to run faster, to run longer. Each month we diligently tracked our miles. I ran through rain and snow, I logged countless hours on the treadmill, and I was determined to meet my goal each month. At the end of the year, we did run 1200 miles. We accomplished what we had set out to do. But running had become a chore. Something I had to do, instead of something I wanted to do. It became an obligation, something to check off a list. In turn, I lost the joy that I previously found in running.

Running is my thing. It is the one thing that allows me to reset, to recharge, to lay my anxieties and stresses of the day on that pavement and then run over top of it, refusing to pick it up again. Running clears my head, it gives me an outlet for the anxiety I cary with me on a day to day. Running allows me time to process, to reflect, to talk to God, to ask Him for strength to carry me through my run and my day.

What I was reminded of yesterday was that I don't have to run. Its not the only means of exercise to stay healthy. My identity isn't in being a runner. I lost running once in my life, when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I lived through it. I run because it gives me great joy. And everyday before I go out for my run, I want to remember that it isn't something I have to do. Its something I get to do for my emotional, mental, and physical well being. I am not going to outrun my joy I find in running because I realize now, running is a true gift I have been blessed with. Against all odds, in despite of a chronic illness that attacks and destroys my joints, running is my joy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Love A Good Coffee Mug (Plus a giveaway!)

Good morning friends! I had an extra long weekend thanks to Presidents Day and it was so wonderful. I had the hardest time getting out of bed this morning, but here I am, 5:30 AM at my computer because I have a special treat for you.

Something you may not know about me is that I completely adore coffee mugs. I love unique coffee mugs, pretty mugs, funny ones, etc. I love a good mug, so if you ever are short of ideas on what to buy me for my birthday, a coffee mug is a safe bet. Last weekend when I was in Salt Lake City, I bought an adorable mug from Anthropologie and found myself wishing I could buy 5 more. If only money grew on trees right? 

Well, I have good news for you fellow Anthropologie lovers.  Whether its mugs you love from there or jewelry or clothes, what we have for you will help you out! The beautiful girls on my sidebar have teamed up with me to give one reader a $75 dollar gift card! 

I've picked out some of my favorite items for either under or really close to $75. 
Starting at the top left, clockwise:
Kebaya Mug,  Mirage Necklace, Monagram Mug, Darcy Swing Tunic,  Orlaya Top

Go check out the fabulous girls on the sidebar and enter below via the rafflecopter. The giveaway ends at midnight next Tuesday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 17, 2014

Get Fit & Fab Week 7: Lets talk about running

This week's Get Fit and Fab Linkup is a special see, my friend Lauren is here to talk about running. Before you groan and think about how much you dislike running, Lauren is going to share with you how to start running, and actually LIKE IT! She is spot on with all of these tips so if you've ever wanted to be a runner but hated actual running, today is the post for you!

Hi friends! My name is Lauren and I write over at The Albrechts Blog. I am so excited to get to share this space with Brittany today. Isn't she the cutest?! She has inspired me so much lately when it comes to working out in these cold winter months. So thanks, girl! Well, I'm hoping to get to share in that inspiration with you all today! Like Brittany, I'm a runner, too. 

But I never in a million years thought I would call myself a runner! Anybody with me?! Well, little did I know… once I started, I loved it. So for those of you cynics like me who think running can't be fun, ever… I have something great for you.

running, start running, like running, girls run, how to run

1.Pick a place you enjoy.
I love running outside because it gives me an excuse to get out there and enjoy the beautiful world around me. It's especially fun for me now that we've moved to a totally new place. Each run is an adventure to see what's around us in our new town! But, if you're just starting… pick a warm day to start, that way you aren't totally miserable. Running outside in the winter is definitely another challenge in itself! And if running outside in the cold doesn't tickle your fancy, try the gym or an indoor track!

2. Find a buddy.
Have another friend who wants to start running? It's helpful to choose a buddy who is close to your level of running experience. When I started running a year ago, I started with my best friend. And neither one of us could make it more than half a mile! But knowing that she was struggling right next to me gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going. It was so helpful to know I had someone next to me who was experiencing the same struggle that I was!! It also helped to hear her urge me on and hear myself encourage her to keep going, even when I wanted to stop. I probably wouldn't love running today if I hadn't started out with her.

3. Be patient with yourself
It's okay that you can't run very far on your first day! Running, like anything worth your attention in life, takes time. You have to build up your endurance and your strength... which is so rewarding, by the way.

4. Set realistic goals
Start out each run with a goal: I want to get ____ far today. The first day, that was half a mile for me. The next day it was at least half a mile, but three-fourths if I could keep going, etc. Listen to your body and know when it's best to stop. Every day (especially in the beginning!) you can run a little farther than the day before.

5. Keep at it, even when it gets hard. 
When you plan to get up in the morning to run... do it. Don't hit the snooze! If you planned to run after dinner, don't opt to sit on the couch and watch TV instead. And if you have started your run, but you're struggling to make it to your goal for the day... push through it! A second wind will come and you will be so proud that you kept going after you've finished, promise.

6. Run a race! 
If nothing else, it will give you motivation to be diligent in running. I promise you, it's actually fun! I didn't think I'd ever want to actually run in a race... but it gave me motivation and I was excited when the day came! Not to mention I felt extremely accomplished afterward.

Now get out there, get running, and tell me how you do! :)

And for those of you who are runners already, what did you do to get yourself started and ENJOY it along the way? Share your wisdom with us!!

Lauren also is super crafty and makes these ADORABLE burlap banners. I wish I would've known her before my wedding because I would've kept her busy with all the burlap banners I used! She is giving away one custom banner to one of you lucky readers. They're perfect for parties, baby/bridal showers, decoration for your mantle, etc!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


This link-up will happen every Monday, but it is absolutely not necessary that you join in every single week (although we'd love to have you!) Get Fit, Feel Confident, Be Healthy is all about ANYTHING having to do with your journey to a more fit, fabulous, and healthy you in 2014!
This can be:
Your goals
A recaps of how you did the week before
Your new favorite workout songs
A salad you made for dinner that was healthy and delicious
Something you struggled with last week
Ways you've been able to successfully relieve stress

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine

When I was single, I used to dream what Valentine’s Day would be like if only I had a boyfriend. I dreamed of sparkly jewelry, of romantic dates, of flowers and chocolate and being swept off my feet. I dreamed of someday getting engaged with some elaborate, romantic, over the top engagement story, of the big 3 carat diamond rings girls pin to their dream wedding boards, I dreamed of that perfect wedding dress and a picture perfect life and man by my side. Oh, how I dreamed.

This year, I will be spending Valentine’s Day with my husband. And this year, he might send me flowers, and maybe some chocolate. I am sure he will make me feel loved because that’s what he does. But what I love most about this Valentine’s Day is I know I am going home to a man who truly, deeply, genuinely loves me for me. We’ll probably order a heart shaped pizza, curl up on the couch in our sweats, and have a Netflix/Hulu night in. We will be 100% ourselves, and 100% happy to be with each other. What I love about this Valentine’s Day is I get to spend it with my husband, who God has abundantly blessed me by allowing me to be his wife.
You see, our love is more than romance and sparkly jewelry and flowers. Our love is a love of grace, of forgiveness,  of sacrifice and joy. Our love is a covenant we made to one another to love each other through the hills and valleys of this life. Oh, our love is an everyday kind of love. The love that perseveres through long days at office, through bills that we stretch to pay, through dark places and chronic illnesses, through burnt dinners and pizza deliveries at the last minute, through disappointment and harsh words and “I’m sorrys”. This love is unrelenting, it is deep, it is real, and it is one to be celebrated. This Valentine’s Day is about celebrating our marriage, which is a true gift from God. This Valentine’s Day for me is reflecting on how much better this deep faithful love is than any kind of romantic, sparkly, worldly “love” I ever could’ve dreamed of.

There is nothing wrong with romance, with gifts, with surprises and flowers and chocolate on Valentine’s Day. I think that if that makes you or your significant other feel loved, shoot for the MOON. Go all out and declare your love. I admit, I love a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a delicious box of chocolate. But those things, those aren’t the mark of love. Real love is a love worth fighting for, even when its not the kind of love you see in the movies. Real love is doing life with someone, through the seasons of joy and the seasons of heartbreak. It’s never giving up on each other, and choosing to love one another out of reverence for Christ. That’s what we’re celebrating this Valentine’s Day.

Today I also am introducing you to this gorgeous girl, Katie from A Beautiful Little Adventure. Katie is a newlywed whos blog I instantly fell in love with when I discovered it. She is an absolute LIGHT to the blogging world and her love story is just so sweet and special, it melts my heart. As a fellow alone-time lover, she reminds me to carve out some me time to fuel my own tank.

Some other favorite posts by Katie:

You guys have to go stop by and check out her lovely little space on the internet. I adore her, and know you will too!

Helene in Between

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Prints For My Office

Today I want to introduce you to my friend Caitlin from Letters and Lattes . I came across her blog about six months ago and when I learned she also worked in Human Resources, I decided she should be my new bestie, whether she liked it or not!

Caitlin is gorgeous, funny, and successful. She is also super talented and runs an adorable Etsy shop, Simply Gifted Prints. Caitlin designed me some adorable new prints for my office and today I want to share them with you! I contacted Caitlin because my cubicle really was needing some sprucing up and I was having a hard time finding prints that worked with my vision.

Caitlin is so talented and she was amazing to work with! I am also going to use these to decorate my home office, which is one of my goals for February. I can't wait to share how I use these prints for a mini gallery wall!

This one is obviously for my house, not my office ;)

Caitlin also wants to give you your own custom print! You can choose one from her Etsy Shop or she will design you your very own! The entry options for her giveaway are simple so go check out her blog, say hello, and also her adorable Etsy Shop! I love this girl and know we will work together in the future!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't Make These Dating Mistakes: Part Two

Its time for another segment of dating mistakes that you might be making. I feel the need to put a disclaimer here: I am not a dating expert, and I also am not trying to point out all the things you're doing wrong. I personally am guilty of each one of these dating mistakes I am going to be sharing, and really my only hope is that you might learn from the lessons I had to learn the hard way!

Raise your hand if you remember the movie "He's Just Not That Into You?" If you don't you should probably watch it because I really do think there's a lot of truth to that movie.

The one thing I have learned about is that if a man is into you, you will know it. You won't be left waiting by your phone, checking it obsessively during spin class and wondering why you haven't heard from the guy for a week.  You can call me old fashioned, and if you think that maybe I have it all wrong, then it won't hurt my feelings if you just disregard this advice.

I think that as women, we don't do a very good job of letting guys pursue us. As women, I think we all have this longing to be romanced. To be pursued, and to be wanted. And God made us with that desire, so its okay to admit that! God also made men to be manly men that desire to chase and to hunt.  Girls, we need to stop doing every guys job FOR them! If they are interested, they will come after you. They will be calling you, they'll be texting you, they'll be asking when they can see you again, they will be opening your doors and paying for your dates.

And I think some guys don't do this because so many girls have done it for them. They've gotten lazy and they've been happily sitting back while girls are doing all the work for them! I feel really strongly about women letting men pursue them. According to my husband "Guys want to be the initiator. They need to chase after something. When they want something they will go after it." Did you hear that? When they want something, they will GO after it. They will come after you, they will pursue you, but you have to let them.  

Ladies: You are WORTH pursuing. You are beautiful, you are loved, you are special. And the only guy worth your time will recognize that and will be honored to pursue you. I'm not saying you should be playing games or pretending to be hard to get. When Ronnie and I were dating, it wasn't a secret that I liked him and wanted to be with him. But the key is I didn't let him off the hook by doing the work of pursuing me for him! Still to this day, he pursues me. He loves me well, he serves me, he surprises me, and I never wonder where his heart is.

Back in my early twenties, I thought I knew what was best for my life. I believed I was in control, that I had my life figured out, I knew what kind of guy I was going to end up with and what kind of life I would lead. I honestly believed I knew what was best for me, and I took my dating life into my own hands. I really didn't know, and I imagine God sitting back just watching me go down a destructive path, thinking "Sweet daughter, I have so much better in store for you, if you'd just trust me." Waiting on the lord and His timing is HARD, especially when you're single and just aching for someone to call your own. But God has nothing but GOOD in store for those of us who wait on Him! My story is proof of that friends!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Build Your Blog Conference 2014

Last weekend, my adorable friend Karissa and I went on a little road trip to Salt Lake City to attend the Build Your Blog Conference hosted by the Six Sisters!

The night before we left, Boise got dumped on with snow, so we were a tad anxious about our drive. But Karissa was a rockstar snow driver and managed to get us to Salt Lake safe and sound. Most of the highway had at least one lane plowed, and so we drove slowly and were in no rush. Of course before heading out we stopped at Starbucks, and jammed out to some Taylor Swift, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson along the way. I think road trips with friends are so fun because it is just a marathon girl talk session!

When we arrived at the Raddison Hotel, we checked into the conference and had quite the adventure driving around downtown Salt Lake trying to find some where to eat. We landed at the outdoor mall, ate some lunch and did a little shopping. The first night of the conference was a nice fancy dinner hosted by one of the BYBC sponsors, and after going to the wrong steakhouse,  we ate a delicious meal of steak, shrimp, mashed potatoes, and cheesecake!

After dinner, we also got to meet with a bunch of businesses who want to sponsor and work with bloggers for Business/Blogger Speed Dating so that was really fun. Ikea, PicMonkey, Rafflecopter, Minted, and a variety of other businesses were there!

After the Sponsor Speed Dating, we conned the hotel employees into taking our pictures, and stopped into the conveniently located lobby bar and had a couple of drinks. I then proceeded to lay in bed and play The Sims and didn't even feel embarrassed about my really lame hobby. Karissa is equally obsessed with her own game, Candy Crush, so there was about 30 minutes of complete silence of us just laying their playing games. Be jealous you don't spend your Friday nights playing games on your electronics.

Saturday morning we woke up early enough for coffee and breakfast in our hotel and settled in for a long day of classes and learning. We seriously learned SO much about blogging and sat next to some really fun and interesting people! I learned that I still have a lot to learn, and thats okay. I took away some great ideas and things I can do to improve my blog. If I am being honest, a lot of it was way over my head because I am still somewhat new to this blogging thing, but all in all, I feel like it was valuable and really helpful!

After a long day of learning, we went and had a delicious dinner at Cheesecake factory, split an amazing piece of White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, and went on an unsuccessful quest for a bottle of wine. Did you know that in Utah, you can't buy wine in a grocery store? Our minds were blown, because here I can travel a quarter mile to the closest Gas Station if I want a bottle of wine! 

When we went to bed Saturday night, we got started talking and laughing SO hard. The last time we got to go to sleep talking and laughing was the night before my wedding and I got a little sentimental, thinking how grateful I was for her! We had some quality girl time and it was just what I needed. If you didn't know, we worked together at our old job, and meeting her was the best thing that came out of it! You should go check out her blog too because its adorable, and so is she!