June 27, 2014

summer fun

Working full-time often leaves me feeling like I have to miss out on summer. No lazy days at the pool (unless it's on a weekend), no sleeping in, no fun road trips -- why did I sign up for adulthood again?

Much to my surprise, it's not even the end of June and I've already been able to fit in some pretty fun things! Maybe I don't have to skip summer afterall.

I went with my sisters to a Lady Antebellum concert a couple weekends ago - it was so fun! I love their songs and had a blast dancing and singing the night away.

Next? Two words. Medieval Times. Yup, we went. We found a deal for almost 50% off (don't pay full price, it's not worth it). The show is the cheesiest but if you're with fun friends, you'll have a blast.

These gorgeous gals are my close friends from high school. We amazingly have stayed close all these years (mostly thanks to the app "What's App" - we have a group chat that we use almost every day!) We got together to throw a surprise party for Danielle who was getting married that weekend! We had so much fun. After 9 years out of high school, it's pretty awesome that we still are friends and are able to get together when we can.

And here are a few snapshots from Danielle's wedding! It was SO. FUN. That girl knows how to throw a party!

I'm officially counting down the days until my family's vacation in August... it can't come soon enough! I'm so ready for a week of downtime with the family. 

Hope you all are having a great summer as well! Not having a summer break is no excuse to not do some fun, summery things. 

Happy Friday!

June 19, 2014

on community

I don't know about you - but at the age of 26, deep friendships and true community have only gotten harder to come by. Whether it be friends moving away, lifestyles changing, or simply not putting forth the effort to maintain old friendships or develop new ones - the last few years had left me feeling like I knew a lot of people but no longer had close friendships that I was regularly doing life with. My closest friends are people I see irregularly - and while I'm thankful to have maintained those friendships and hope to for the time to come, it's just not the same when they aren't people you're in regular community with.

Lately the Lord has been faithful in answering a need of my heart that honestly, I often forget to actually pray about. He has brought a little tribe of friends that have come to mean so much to me. It's funny how easily you forget how much you need something until it's back in your life.

The thing I've realized in the last few months? Developing friendships - those true connections and life-giving community - the people who don't ask before getting a glass of water at your house, the people who will rejoice with you + mourn with you (Romans 12:15), the people who aren't trying to compete with you or one up you, the people who are kind + know how to make you laugh --- these friendships are not always easy, especially at the beginning. It takes time to learn everyone's quirks, the past hurts that still sting a bit today, the dreams and hopes that are buried deep in another's soul. It takes time to learn how to trust each other, to know that it's safe to be vulnerable. It takes time for those awkward pauses in conversations to become not-so-awkward.

But oh it is completely worth the time it takes and the awkwardness that is so present in the beginning. It is worth it to risk in sharing something before you know for sure that it's safe with that person. It's worth it to ask questions, to listen, to be a little misunderstood at times as you learn more about each other.

I'm not only an introvert but I'm also pretty independent. I live alone (which I love), I don't need a buddy to accompany me everywhere, I don't mind being alone or having a night (or five) off to myself. Most nights I wish I had nothing going on, so I could spend my time however I want to on that particular day: cook, work out, organize + clean, curl up on the couch with a book, watch the Bachelorette --- whatever it may be. But lately? On nights when I'd prefer to stay home and be unsocial? I tell myself, "It's worth it. Go!" Whether we are just meeting up with no plans at all and end up chatting for hours or if we have a destination in mind - rarely do I regret going. I never regret developing these friendships deeper. I never regret putting in the effort to have close community.

If you're where I was a year ago - lonely, feeling like most of your friends had moved on and you were left behind, unsure of where you fit in? Don't give up. Don't believe the lie that you have no one. Don't stop pursuing others. Open up your home. Meet up for dinner with those girls, even if it is a little awkward at times. Ask those questions to learn more about someone. Share the vulnerable parts of your heart and let the walls you've built fall down.

It's worth it.

June 1, 2014

june goals

Happy June! I think we can all collectively agree that June sure did sneak up on all of us, am I right? Here are some of my goals for this month.

1. Finish reading "Love Does" and finish at least one fiction book. I have been trying to prioritize reading more - I am so bad about it! I love to read but I'm really quick to choose Netflix or well, anything else, before I pick up a book. I love the books I'm in the middle of at the moment and I want to make sure to finish them before I pick up new ones! I have a horrible habit of only half-finishing books - particularly non-fiction books. Once I feel I understand the direction the author is going, I lose interest. But reading only half of a book is not nearly as satisfying (or enjoyable) as completing it!

2. Buy zero makeup or unnecessary beauty products. So, here's a little fact about me. I am addicted to Sephora, Ulta, and the makeup aisles of Target. I have way too many products I'm not using and this month I want to go through some of them before I just waste my money and buy more that I don't need. Wish me luck!

3. Plant my new wildflower seeds and finish the "plant" portion of my patio re-do. My patio is so neglected, and I hate that! This past weekend I spent hours clearing out weeds from my planters, picking up leaves, and tidying that little area up. I just bought these wildflower seeds on amazon and the next step is to plant those babies! Can't wait!

4. Fully celebrate my small groups of senior girls. I have a big group of senior girls I've led this year who are graduating this month and I want to celebrate them and give a proper sendoff! I've known most of these girls since they were in 6th grade, so it's a bit weird (yet totally exciting) to see them graduate and move on to college. I'm so proud of them and I want to find a way to show them how much I love them!

5. Intentionally encourage a friend each week. Like I mentioned above, I've been reading "Love Does" by Bob Goff and I'm absolutely loving it. It's been on my shelf for months and months and I finally picked it up a couple weeks ago to read. I love Bob's whimsical approach to loving others and I've been so inspired by his words + life. I want to make sure I'm not just nodding my head in agreement - but actually acting on this desire to love others! I hope to encourage more than one person each week, but I want to intentionally and purposefully love someone in my life each week. 

What are your goals for this month? 

 I'm linking up with Hayley!
The Tiny Twig

May 12, 2014

love does

I've had "Love Does" by Bob Goff sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read for months. I've seen excerpts and heard many awesome reviews and I finally decided it was time to crack this book open. (I was trying to read Divergent, but just can't get into it for some reason! I'll give it another try this summer.)

I'm a third of the way through it, but I can't get the concept of the book out of my mind. You know why? Because I really struggle with loving others well.

I'm not trying to be dramatic or anything - I'm not trying to imply that I never love others or that I have a black heart. But if I really examine my heart, I know this is an area I struggle with and that I struggle to be obedient in.

Want to know what the funny thing is? Many years ago (I think in 2005) the Lord gave me a verse that quickly became my life verse - one that I declared over my life and that I longed to be true of me.

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." -Galatians 5:6b

See the irony there? My life verse is the prayer that my life would display my faith and the greatness of God through the way I love. Realizing that I haven't been walking in that was a harsh reality check.

I can't wait to continue reading this book (Bob Goff - that guy live it well. Such an inspiring person!) and to do many heart checks along the way. I know that loving others well won't earn me more love (from the Lord or others) but I do know that loving others well can draw both myself and others closer to the heart of God. A simple word or act of love has the potential to at most, change someone's life - and at least, bring a smile to their face. I'm willing to set aside my selfishness and agenda to slow down, take a look at who is placed in front of me, and see how I can love that person.

At the end of my life, I can't imagine ever regretting loving too much. But not loving enough?

I refuse to let that be my life's story.

What's your favorite way to love others? Mine is sending snail mail to a friend. I'd love to hear your ideas on how to love others well! 

May 1, 2014

friday favorites / eyes

Here is the second installment of friday favorites. This week I'm sharing my favorite, tried and true eye products. To see my favorite skincare products, click here!

I will start by saying two things. a) Eyes are my makeup jam. If I only could use one makeup product for the rest of my life, it would be mascara. It's my thing. I consider it more essential than concealer or foundation in order to look awake and put together. b) You'll see a theme here - and that is that Loreal is my favorite eye brand in the drugstore. I love many of their mascaras and liners and they can do no wrong in my book.

eye favorites

1 - Loreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara in Blackest Black - this is a newer mascara for me but I really love it. It provides amazing length without getting too clumpy in the process.
2 - Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original - eye shadows crease on me like crazy unless I use a primer and this one is my favorite!
3 - Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Rockstar - I love using this as a liner when I'm going for a softer look. It's an eggplant purple-y shade which is a fun twist on traditional black or brown liners.
4 - Loreal Infallible Eye Shadow in Bronzed Taupe - I love this eyeshadow! It's a pressed shadow in a little pot and I love it! I put it on with my favorite eyeshadow brush: Sigma E25 Blending Brush. What I love about this is it looks darker in the crease so it looks like you've used several products. With my blue eyes I love bronze & taupe shades so this is perfect!
5 - Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black - I don't splurge on this all the time, but it IS an amazing liquid liner. The tip is super tiny which makes it really easy to work with. (Not pictured: my favorite drugstore liners are Loreal Carbon Black Lineur Intense & Loreal Carbon Black Telescopic Liquid Liner. Both amazing!)
6 - Trish McEvoy 24-Hour Eye Shadow & Liner in Smokey Quartz - I love this for the same reasons I love the Loreal Eye shadow - it creates the look of using multiple shadows when you've only used one! This also lasts forever. I put it on messily (it's kind of like a crayon) then blend it in with the Sigma brush I mentioned above to soften the edges.
7 - Loreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara - This is my all-time favorite mascara. I love it. Enough said! I'm always trying out new mascaras but this is my old faithful that I always come back to.
8 - Mac Eyeshadow in Carbon - I use this as a liner with the brush I list next. It's super quick and I have been using this since high school! It's my go-to for everyday makeup.
9 - Mac Small Angled Eye Pencil - This brush is tiny and makes it foolproof to press the black shadow to my lash line. Easy peasy!
10 - Naked Palette & Lorac Pro Palette - I put these together because they have similar shades and I can't decide which I like more. I've had the Naked Palette longer, but I love my new Lorac Pro paletter as well. I don't wear shadows very often, because most mornings I'd rather have a few extra moments of sleep than put on an eyeshadow look, but when I do take the time, I gravitate towards these. Palettes are a great investment because while they seem expensive, you are actually getting a lot of shadow for the price. Not to mention the endless combinations! They also are great for traveling.

What are your must-have eye products? I'd love to know!

April 27, 2014

my sister's wedding

On April 19th my little sister got married! It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I've ever witnessed and I enjoyed every single moment of the wedding day. I'm so proud of my baby sister and have loved seeing their Christ-centered love for one another grow and blossom up until this point. Here are a few snapshots from the day!

Allie's bridesmaids (L to R - Kasey, Daryl-Ann, Angie, Danielle, and myself)

After getting my hair done I went out to quickly work on this sign for outside their venue. Looking at it from this perspective I notice little things I wish I could change, but I loved doing this!

Pretty shot of the reception by our friend Kelly - taken from the #martinwedsallie hashtag :)

 Here's a shot from the rehearsal dinner. Kasey thinks we look like twins here. You can definitely see the sibling similarities, that's for sure!

 the beautiful bride right after getting her dress on

 my non-blood-related brother. love him!

the venue was GORGEOUS - the Villa - I totally recommend it for anyone looking for a small SoCal wedding venue! 

I can't wait to share more pictures when we get the professional ones back. I have absolutely loved watching my 3 siblings meet their best friends, fall in love, and get married. It is one of the greatest joys of my life. And now, you know what that means.... I'm next! :)

April 16, 2014

it's wedding week

Excuse the radio silence this week - - on Saturday my little sister is getting married!

My free time this week is being spent writing my Maid of Honor speech, figuring out how to do my makeup, trying on my dress with my two shoe options deciding which is less likely to make me trip, and pinching myself that my little sister is getting HITCHED! I can't believe it and I'm so happy for her.

I'll be back next week :)