Jennifer Lawrence at the Golden Globes

January 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

This is basically a late Side Note Saturday post. But omg. The Skimm and Entertainment Weekly shared this photo from Jennifer Lawrence over the weekend and it has me rolling (internally of course – that’s not appropriate at work).

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I think she did it on purpose. Because that’s awesome.

P.S. If you don’t subscribe to The Skimm, you totally should! It’s a service created by two news junky girls. They send you a morning email that skims over the most important news of the last day in an easy, engaging way. It’s aimed at women, so it will definitely give you the scoop on things, like football, that you may or may not be totally up to speed on. I highly recommend it!

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Loving Lately: Ellie Holcomb

January 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Have any of you ever heard of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors? They’ve been featured on tons of television shows and were even the featured song for the 2012 NBA season intro that they played over and over and over that year.

EllieHolcombProfile*source*

Well Drew’s wife, Ellie, who is also part of the band, is branching out on her own and creating her first full-length album this year. No offense to Drew, because I do love his music, but oh Ellie! She’s one of a few different artists that have been an answer to prayer for me and probably several others. We’ve been in need of beautiful singers telling the story of the Gospel through beautiful lyrics. And Ellie does just that.

I have had her two EPs, Magnolia and With You Now, on repeat for the past few weeks and they are filled to the brim with truth and beautiful melodies. Per Wednesday’s post, I have been in serious need of the reminders of God’s faithfulness, love and compassion towards us.  These lyrics have been like salve on a wound for me, and I think they would be to most women going through a difficult time.

The most precious song of hers to me is With You Now. The sweetest line of all is:

When you sing your sad songs, I will learn the words and sing along.

Give it a listen and fall in love with her as much as I have. You can preorder her new album, As Sure As the Sun, on iTunes after your inevitable obsession begins.

Working Lady Mindset

January 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Do you think you’d be healthier if you had less stress in your life? I certainly have always thought that.

Well this TED Talk from psychologist Kelly McGonigal shares some extremely interesting research on the effect of your beliefs about stress on your life. Perhaps stress was really made to help you achieve things, but your mindset about it has been all wrong.

This was extremely fascinating to me and really helps me have a better mindset going into what I would normally consider a stressful day.

One of the most incredible lines to me was: “Your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection.” What a wonderful reminder that we were created to help each other go through difficult things.

It’s so tempting to avoid people when working because you think you just don’t have time to talk. But we’re there to help each other cope. I couldn’t be more thankful for those work friends in my life who bring me encouragement and remind me that I can handle the tough times.

What do you think about all of this? Do you think it’s kind of hokey? Or do you think she’s onto something?

No matter what, I think her benediction was pretty awesome. Take it with you throughout the day and live inspired: “Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”

Looking Back at 2013 and on to 2014

January 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

Does anyone feel like 2013 was a tough year? It seems like most people I talk to give me a “yes” that comes from somewhere deep in their soul, like they’ve never felt like “yes” was a more appropriate answer to a question. While I am not a very superstitious person, I’m going to throw it out there that it was the 13th year. Thank goodness it only comes around once every century!

In all seriousness, 2013 was by far the hardest year I have experienced to date. I did not experience any extreme difficulties like a death of a loved one, loss of a job or a natural disaster, so I have much to be thankful for. My hardships were mostly internal. For most of the year I struggled with the loss of my identity, purpose in life and faith, at times. It was the first time in my life where I felt like I was really wandering and couldn’t find my footing. While normally being able to “figure things out” and “handle situations” through my type-A control freak personality, I really couldn’t control anything. Which just intensified the whole experience ten-fold.

Lewis

Instead of going into all of the reasons this happened, I will share some of the things the Lord has been teaching me through this desert season:

  • to be genuinely joyful for others’ accomplishments/good fortune/life events, even when things aren’t going well for me
  • to not think of myself as the center of the universe (very sad I’m just learning this at 27)
  • to wait (I still don’t have the patience and hopefulness parts down, but I am starting to realize that waiting is a very necessary and beneficial process)
  • that the Lord is with me, even when he seems silent
  • that I do have dreams and I was created with a purpose – but these things don’t happen overnight
  • that his will for me may be more about who I am than what I do – making decisions for myself is not only okay, but a reflection of the Lord and how he created us to function
  • that it is okay if I feel lightyears behind others spiritually speaking – this intense humility (I don’t say this in a “Oh, I’m so humble” way, but the real, “I feel embarrassed” kind of humility) recognizes my weakness and allows the Lord to show up big in my life

Did I want to learn any of these lessons last year? Were these my 2013 New Years resolutions? Absolutely not. And wow, it has been incredibly challenging to learn them. But I am so thankful that the Lord chose to overwrite my resolutions and teach me something of his own.

I remember sitting in church early in the year and praying during communion for the Lord to become real to me. They always say be careful what you ask for. I never would have admitted it as I was in the thick of these struggles because I really wanted to be a victim (truth hurts), but these lessons I was learning have taught me more about the character of God and what dying to self truly looks like than anything I could have read about.

Timothy

All that being said, I am reeeeeeeeeeeally hoping that 2014 doesn’t have quite as many difficult lessons to teach me. Ha! A girl needs a break sometimes.

I’m still praying for the Lord to teach me things that matter. I don’t want to sacrifice meaningfulness for an easy time. But I do pray that there are a few more joys sprinkled throughout.

Just for fun, some of the things I’m really hoping to delve into this year are:

  • I want to learn calligraphy (Joel bought me a calligraphy set for Christmas and a gift certificate to take a class!)
  • I want to learn more about graphic design
  • I am going to practice taking better photos with my new Canon lens and learn to edit them
  • I want to watch what I’m eating, not diet per se, but just have a better knowledge of what I’m putting into my body and say no to things that aren’t really necessary
  • We want to complete P90X 3; it sounds like a New Years weight gain thing, but we really just go in cycles of working out and then dropping off the band wagon every few months… so we’re just back on again
  • I’d like to figure out how to volunteer in a way that is wise considering our busy schedules
  • We want to join the church we’ve been attending for a couple years now
  • Start a Bible study with some people from our church
  • Finish Storyline with my friends
  • And spend lots of time with my little niece Laney!

What were your joys and sorrows in 2013? Do you have any exciting plans for 2014?

Makeup Monday: Naked 3 Palette

January 8, 2014 § 2 Comments

Well hello lovelies! After an unannounced and unanticipated two month hiatus, I am back! Thank you for your patience with me while I was out of commission. I’m not sure that I ever mentioned, but my husband has twin brothers who both had some quite exciting life happenings scheduled for Christmas week. One had a baby due on Dec. 24 and the other was getting married on Dec. 28! Well along with these little life happenings come showers and planning and such. So from November on, I was sucked into the swirling vortex of baby-wedding land. And it was lovely, I must say! We walked away from all the craziness with two new ladies in the family and I couldn’t be more excited about either one!!

But now that life has slowed down enormously, I feel like it’s time to dive back in. And what would be more appropriate than a Makeup Monday post? A Makeup Monday post on Tuesday! You know how I roll.

My husband has figured me out over the past (almost) four years of marriage and confirmed this by turning my Christmas into a massive makeup haul. I cannot tell you how excited I was to unwrap FIVE The Body Shop makeup brushes, a YSL lipstick, a gorgeous palette from Jouer (with an incredible story to boot! more on that later), and the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette!

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Quite honestly, I didn’t even know they had released a third palette (I haven’t caught up on Essie Button in months!). So I was elated at his gift-giving prowess. Turns out, he couldn’t decide between the 2 and the 3 and asked a Sephora saleswoman. They said that the 3 was better for fair skin, and he went for it!

Naked 3 is filled with rosy-hued goodness. From the super light-pink Strange to the dark Blackheart, there’s a little red or pink in every shadow. Candidly, I was a little uncomfortable with rosey colors on my eyes at first. Sometimes those colors can make you look like a 5-year-old got a little carried away in mom’s makeup bag, if you know what I mean. But leave it to the Naked team to give us just the right tints that end up flattering most any face.

IMG_9271As per usual, the pigmentation is fantastic, especially when paired with their Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I even noticed that the glitter option Dust is less flaky than the respective sparkly Sidecar in the original palette.

It also came with a double-sided brush, one for painting it on and the other for blending. While it is a basic brush, the quality is only a couple steps down from two of The Body Shop brushes Joel got me. Not bad, I say.

One note about value. These aren’t cheap palettes. I think all three of them are $50. But, Joel got me the original Naked Palette for Christmas two years ago and I have only hit pan on TWO of the colors!! These two colors happen to be the over-the-whole-lid colors. And I have been using the Palette at least 3/4 of the week for that two year period. All that to say, if you’re asking yourself if it’s worth the investment, I can say 100% that it is.

IMG_9212Overall I am super thrilled with this gem! I haven’t figured out which colors are my go-to just yet, but I’m having a lot of fun experimenting! Did any of you get the Naked 3 Palette? If so, what are your favorite combinations? Do you like Naked, Naked 2 or Naked 3 the best? I guess I’ll just have to get Naked 2 to give you my final vote!

Working Lady Resources

November 13, 2013 § 2 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on the working lady mindset. The bottom line was: there are a lot of things out of our control when it comes to our working lives. But the main things we can control are our attitudes towards others and ourselves, our beliefs about others and ourselves, and our beliefs about what God has to say about our work.Make Ourselves Strong

While I have certainly not done a marvelous job about controlling my attitude and beliefs every day since writing that post, I do believe that mentality is starting to creep in more often and ruffling my feathers during my pity parties. A little voice in my head keeps whispering, “Remember the Gospel applies to your work. Breathe.” So I’m going to keep trying to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to comfort me in these times of weakness.

But in the meantime, I have some resources {!!!} that I think might help you learn to move from a stress-oriented mindset to a calm one, some that might create a working environment that helps stimulate creativity and positivity at work, and some that might just help you start discovering what your life story is going to be about while you continue working hard. As you read through them, keep in mind this might be a good formula for a baby-step-oriented thought process of moving from where you are to where you want to be down the road.

REMAIN CALM: Where you are right now is not only a reality, but it’s a gift. Therefore, try to release stressful thoughts to the Lord and work on being thankful for where you’re at. Give yourself grace to not feel over-the-moon all the time and you might find that the lack of pressure to love it every second might be a welcome relief.

 

STIMULATE CREATIVITY AND POSITIVITY: After you’ve slowed down and let yourself breathe a little, do your best to create a work environment that is positive and gets your creative juices flowing. These dress-your-tech designs have been such a fun addition to my cell and computer. As soon as I open it up, instead of seeing a boring company logo, I’ve got these encouraging phrases and beautiful designs welcoming me into the working day. And the Anthro desk accessories and notebooks are a lovely way to spruce up any desk.

 

THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFE STORY: Finally, after you’ve learned to be thankful for where you’re at and done your best to improve your work environment, start thinking about what you want your life story to be about. The resources below are a mixture of encouragement, how to, and future options. I am starting Storyline with some dear friends on Friday, so I’ll keep you posted on how effective it is.

 

Overall, I hope these tools will be helpful in contributing to a healthy mindset and potential launch into determining what your life story and purpose are going to be about.

Let me know if there are specific resources you’re interested in and I can do some research – I love learning as much as I can about creating positive work environments!

 

Makeup Monday: Lily Collins Smokey Eyes

November 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Lilly Collins*source*

My favorite look lately is this Lily Collins smokey eye. I’ve seen this look creeping back into popularity lately, after a season praising a more fresh-faced look. While I’m all for the natural approach {and often wear it myself}, every now and then, we just need to glam it up! Especially during the holidays.

As you’ll see here and hear repeatedly in the makeup world, when going for a smokey eye, be sure to pair it with a neutral lip and cheeks. For some, that may mean a nude lip. But I prefer more of the natural tone of your lip, as seen above with Lily’s barely coral pout. Check out Yves Saint Laurent’s Volupte Sheer Candy in Dewy Papaya or Marc Jacobs’ Lovemarc in Dizzy Spell in to achieve the same look.

As a blue-eyed blonde, I will probably modify this look by using more of a greyish-purple-toned shadow, as opposed to the full-on black. This will reduce the harsh effect and go for a softer smoke. I’ve seen Ashley Olsen pull off a bronzey-black smokey eye on green eyes and it looks stunning as well. All of these colors can be found and played around with using the Naked palette, if you’re looking for a good place to start.

I highly recommend taking advantage of this trend coming back in style and making it all your own!