Tuesday, September 12, 2017

10 Ways to Encourage your Best Friends

I have been blessed by some incredible friends in my lifetime. Some have lasted since I was eight, others are new and becoming so special. Something that I've always loved doing throughout my friendships is finding little ways to show them I love them. Sending little gifts in the mail, a quick SnapChat, or hosting a girls night - I get such joy out of it. In honor of today being National Day of Encouragement, I'm sharing some of my favorite ways to encourage my best friends. Check out my top ten below! 


SEND SOMETHING IN THE MAIL.
Whether it's a little note or a care package, getting something in the mail is always so much fun.

PRAY FOR THEM.
Sometimes the best way to encourage someone is to do it in private.

SEND THEM A LITTLE "INSTA" LOVE.
Everyone loves a sweet comment or a like, especially from those you love most.

CREATE SOMETHING.
If you have a creative gift, like calligraphy, knitting, or painting, use it to create something special for a friend.

BRING THEM COFFEE.
A little pick-me-up in the form of caffeine.

REMEMBER THEIR BIRTHDAY.
Send them a little birthday love as they turn another year older.

TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM.
Simply hearing the words from your best friend can make the world of difference.

GIVE A SINCERE COMPLIMENT.
Love their outfit? Love their baking? Tell them!

SEND AN ENCOURAGING BIBLE VERSE.
Encouragement through the Word is as good as it gets.

SHOW UP FOR THEM.
Be there for opening night, watch their pet when they're away, or go over for a movie night. Find a way to show up in their lives.

What are your favorite ways to encourage your besties?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Southern Magnolias: One Year Anniversary

One year ago today, Bethany and I debuted Southern Magnolias - our wedding and event design business. This past year has been incredible. Working with my sister has been the most gratifying experience. We've been able to collaborate, design, and do business together, growing us in both friendship and creativity. Throughout this year, we've coordinated two weddings, styled six photoshoots, been published four times, styled a conference, consulted on an elaborate bridal shower, and now have two more weddings, back to back, later this month. To celebrate these past twelve months, here's a look at the work Southern Magnolias has accomplished in our first year of business.

SEPTEMBER PHOTOSHOOT: SOFT & ROMANTIC
Design + Styling: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Wright Photographs // Florals: Flowers by Kristine // Venue: Willow Creek Farm // Desserts: Sugar by Sarah // Calligraphy: Letters from Lindsey

OCTOBER DAY-OF COORDINATION: NIELAND WEDDING
Day-of Coordination: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Brad Hart Photography // Venue: Lake of the Woods // Florals: Flora Design Studio

OCTOBER PHOTOSHOOT: JEWEL TONES PUBLISHED ON ARTFULLY WED
Design + Styling: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Kaula Marie Photography // Florals + Cake: Pollen & Pastry // Venue: Prairie Glass House // Linens: La Tavola Linen // Rentals: Spruce Rentals // Dress + Tux: Michelle's Bridal // Macarons: Sugar by Sarah

JANUARY DAY-OF COORDINATION: KING WEDDING
Day-of Coordination: Southern Magnolias // Photography: 7nine Photography // Venue: Willow Creek Farm // Cake: Hopscotch Cakes & Confections

FEBRUARY PHOTOSHOOT: CRANBERRY & GOLD PUBLISHED ON THE PERFECT PALETTE
Design + Styling: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Mager Image Photography // Venue: Pear Tree Estate // Florals: Flowers by Kristine // Cake: Cakes by Lori // Calligraphy: Letters from Lindsey // Linens: La Tavola Linen // Dress + Tux: Michelle's Bridal Rentals: Palace Events & I Do Events // Makeup: Sage Ihrke Makeup

APRIL PHOTOSHOOT: BRIGHT PINK BOHO PUBLISHED ON CAKE AND LACE
Design + Styling: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Kristen Winkler Photography // Videography: Hoop House Creative // Florals: Pollen & Pastry // Cake: Hopscotch Cakes & Confections // Dress + Tux: Michelle's Bridal // Hair: Something You Salon // Makeup: Sage Ihrke Makeup // Rentals: Spruce Rentals & Palace Events // Invitations + Calligraphy: Dashwood Shop

APRIL PHOTOSHOOT: SOFT PINK BOHO PUBLISHED ON BORROWED & BLUE
Design + Styling: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Kristen Winkler Photography // Videography: Hoop House Creative // Florals: Pollen & Pastry // Cake: Hopscotch Cakes & Confections // Dress + Tux: Michelle's Bridal // Hair: Something You Salon // Makeup: Sage Ihrke Makeup // Rentals: Spruce Rentals & Palace Events // Invitations + Calligraphy: Dashwood Shop

AUGUST PHOTOSHOOT: INTO THE WOODS
Design + Styling: Southern Magnolias // Photography: Across the Miles Photography & Rebekah Albaugh Photography // Florals: Flowers by Kristine // Venue: Kickapoo Park // Cake: Liberty Girl Bakes Cake // Hair + Makeup: Something You Salon // Dress + Tux: Michelle's Bridal // Invitations + Calligraphy: Letters from Lindsey

Next up: Day of Coordination for two amazing couples!

Here's to another amazing year with Southern Magnolias!
SaveSave

Friday, September 1, 2017

My August Recap & September To Do List

I think I say this every month, but August just flew by! I can't get over how fast this summer went. But let me tell you, I am so excited for the start of fall! This next month is going to be busy, but incredible. Before we get into what's happening in September, here's my August recap.


Continue to go to Bible study and bond with other Christian ladies.
Loving this group so much! Aside from doing our study, we've gone for dinner, been to Top Golf, and went to church together.

Start physical therapy for my shoulder and ankle.
This is something I still need to start. Hopefully I'll get to it next month!

Head back to Urbana for a weekend (and maybe pack up more of my stuff).
It was so nice to spend some time with my sister, as well as my friends, while visiting.

Apply for a full-time HR role at my company.
I applied for an HRBP Specialist role, it got down to the two of us, but sadly, they chose the candidate with more experience. Crossing my fingers for the next one!

Be published twice for two separate photoshoots with Southern Magnolias.
Our Vibrant Cranberry Shoot was published on The Perfect Palette and the second half of our Pink Boho Shoot was published on Borrowed and Blue!

Start Reading a book off of my Christian Growth Book list.
I started Wait and See by Wendy Pope - it's an interactive book which I love.

Update Southern Magnolias' website with our latest weddings and photoshoots.
We'll be blogging our updates this month!

Return to my nighttime routine of reading, journaling, and praying.
It's been so nice getting back into this routine and reconnecting with God.

Buy a light blue bed skirt (and some matching accessories).
Decided against the blue bed skirt, but bought some great blue accessories!

Try out some different hairstyles with my new short 'do.
Tried out three simple styles and this month, I'm going to try curling and straightening it.


Have a Labor Day BBQ.

Celebrate Southern Magnolias' one year anniversary.

See Dan + Shay live in concert.

Hang wall accents in my bedroom.

Successfully coordinate two weddings for Southern Magnolias.

Explore somewhere new in my city.

Watch Game of Thrones for the first time (I'm six episodes in and loving it).

Renew my passport.

Create a fun and adventurous Barcelona itinerary.

Travel to Barcelona with my best friend!


Have a wonderful September everyone!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Reason Why I Wear a Purity Ring

"A purity ring is kind of like baptism in that it's an outward example of an inward commitment."

Four years ago today, I started wearing a purity ring. And yes, if you're doing the math, that made me 21. It's not exactly common to see a 21-year old make that kind of choice. It was bold, but something I felt very called to do. I'm often asked why I chose to wear one at 21 and why I continue to wear it at 25. Today, I've decided to share with you the reasons I wear a purity ring through two prayers I made four years ago.


From the night I made my decision:

August 23, 2013

Dearest Lord,

For a while now, I've been thinking about my physical boundaries within a relationship and what it means to respect and serve you in that way. Last night on my way home from Ian's, I got an overwhelming feeling that I needed something tangible to show my decision to wait for all physical interaction (outside of kissing) and I still feel that way. Lord, I've decided to wear a purity ring in honor of you and that commitment. You've truly shown me your faithfulness, love, and grace, and I want something close to my heart to always remind me of that.

In your honorable name,
Amen

The prayer I made over my ring the night I began wearing it:

August 29, 2013

Dearest Lord,

I bought my purity ring today and I love it!

When I wear this ring, I want it to give me a sense of peace and be a reminder that I'm loved. When I look at it, I'll be reminded of the promise that I'm making to you tonight. I'll feel grounded in Christ and in the grace you have for me.

Tonight, I promise this to you: I will remain pure until I'm married. For me, this purity means anything physical past kissing. All things that I've done in the past are not forgotten, but are a reminder of what I don't want to do in another relationship. This ring will remind me of that, along with the clean slate that begins with this ring. I promise to give all my sexual and impure wants to you so that I can overcome them through you. This is my promise to you, Lord.

Whoever the man is that you've chosen for me, please be with him. Allow him to rely on you through his own struggles and to remember your overwhelming grace and forgiveness.

As Psalms 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew a steadfast spirit within me."

In your name,
Amen

Four years later and I'm still just as sure of my decision. Each day, I look down at my hand and am reminded of the grace Christ has shown me. I know that I'm taken care of and that I'm saving something incredibly special for my husband. I'm proud of my choice.

Happy four years, ring!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

National Rum Day: Piña Colada Punch

When I found out that yesterday was National Rum Day, I knew I had to celebrate (even if it was a day late). I love piña coladas - they just scream vacation - but sometimes I don't want to take the time to blend a drink. My solution? Piña colada punch!


What you'll need:
1/2 can of ginger ale
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1.5 ounces Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
Ice

How to make it:
1. Fill glass a third of the way with ice.
2. Pour in 1.5 ounces (about a shot) of rum.
3. Pour in half a can of ginger ale.
4. Pour in half a cup of pineapple juice (I like Dole).
5. Give it a quick stir.

 

Will you be enjoying a little slice of paradise with a punchy piña colada tonight?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Three Things You Should Do to Get a Better Night's Sleep

Sleeping is one of the best things you can do for your body. It increases your mental health, allows your body to self regulate, and helps with your daily production levels. I am, by nature, a night owl. I tend to get more done when the clock strikes nine, but am slowly realizing the difference it makes when I go to bed before 1AM. Working full time is a whole new ball game for me, so sleep is extra important to my productivity and alertness at work. If you need a little help in the sleep department, too, then you'll definitely want to add the following three things into your nightly routine. 


SPEND SOME ALONE TIME WITH GOD

Whether you're reading, journaling, or praying, you're allowing your body to relax, while also spending time with God. One of my goals this month is to get back into this nighttime routine. What does this look like for me? Reading a chapter in a "Christian Growth Book" and journalling my prayers. Science says that reading and journaling can help you have a better night's sleep, so why not strengthen your spiritual bond at the same time? Two for one benefits. 

LOWER THE TEMPERATURE IN YOUR ROOM

When I go to bed, I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt and have the fan on high. I like it to be cold when I sleep, and, turns out, there are some serious benefits to a sleeping in a cool room. Not only does it help you fall asleep faster, but it allows your body to produce more melatonin, helps with insomnia, and increases your metabolism. 

DO SOME STRESS-RELIEVING EXERCISES

Doing simple stretches before climbing into bed can help alleviate tension that has built up throughout the day. If you need some stretching inspiration, check out these basic stretches by Shape Magazine. Trust me, they will help relax you before falling asleep.

Tell me: how have you been sleeping?

Monday, August 7, 2017

25 Things To Do at 25

Today, I am officially 25 ½, so in honor of my half birthday, I'm sharing my 25 at 25 list. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I'm really into lists! There's something so fun about having a set of goals to complete and, of course, checking them off. Today's list is everything I want to complete before I turn 26. Some things I've already started checking off, others I still have to finish within these next six months. Without further ado, here is my list of 25 Things To Do at 25!


Rent a car (without the added under-25 fee).

Start saving for my retirement.

Take a trip to another country.

Find a form of exercise I actually enjoy.

Practice being charitable.

Live alone for the first time.

Start a career I'm passionate about.

Get my own medical insurance, a part from my parents.

Learn to cook at least three meals that are staples in my diet.

Find a community of women to do lie with.

Spend a week in California visiting my friends.

Drink water everyday.

Learn to play a new game.

Go to a dermatologist to get my moles mapped.

Spend more time outdoors.

Continue to invest in growing Southern Magnolias.

Consolidate my closet to reflect my current style.

Keep a prayer journal.

Decorate a space to truly make it my own.

Check off books from Christian "Must Read" list.

Take a weekend trip to a new city.

Continue to build up my savings.

Curate my Instagram and build up my blog.

Attend a minimum of five concerts.

Visit my endocrinologist and gastroenterologist.

Anything you think should be added to my list?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

My Favorite Bridesmaid Dress Styles

In preparation for today's bridesmaid dress shopping adventure, I decided to do some research. If you didn't know, my sister is getting married and I'm her Maid of Honor! Throughout my research, there were six styles that stood out to me. I love subtle details that add something special to simple dresses, floral patterns, and beautiful necklines. Our bridesmaid's dress scouting trip was a total success! I tried on a couple styles - and I loved them!

Here are all of my favorites:

SUBTLE DETAILS

FLORAL PATTERN

RACER FRONT & BACK

UNIQUE BACKS

FLATTERING V-NECKS

RUFFLE DETAILS

What are some of your favorite bridesmaid styles?
SaveSave

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Weekend Recap: Caitlin's Wedding

This past weekend I took a trip to Southern California for one of my best friends' weddings. I flew in on Friday and left Sunday evening, so it was a short trip, but so worth it! Below is a recap of my weekend.

FRIDAY
As luck would have it, one of my high school girls was visiting family in Irvine while I was there. We were able to meet for lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Irvine Spectrum. One of the best parts was that I finally got to meet her daughter! She is such a little peanut and so smiley. It felt so surreal. I've known Camille since I was 15, was a bridesmaid in her wedding, and now she's a mom. It was so cool to see her love on her daughter and gush about her in person. We had a three hour lunch (my mom joined part way through), just catching up and enjoying quality girl time.

That evening, I met up with my childhood best friends, Shannon, Keiko, and Caitlin (the bride) for dinner with the rest of the bridal party. We had a blast getting to know everyone at Public House in downtown Fullerton!

SATURDAY MORNING
Shannon and I decided to have a morning of pampering before the wedding. We went and had pedicures, Shannon went to a dry bar to have her hair styled, and then I went to the hair salon. I've been toying with the idea of cutting my hair for a while now and for some reason, this weekend seemed like the time to do it. I cut at least twelve inches off and donated it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. And I have to say, I love it!

SATURDAY NIGHT
Our evening was spent celebrating the marriage of Caitlin and Ryan. The Muckenthaler Mansion was the backdrop to their day, with every bit of the wedding outside. The ceremony was held in the Italian Garden, the cocktail hour on the Circle Center Patio, and the reception in the Adella Lawn. It was beautiful!

I've known Caitlin since I was eight years old - we met in Mrs. Matthews' third grade class. Watching her promise forever to her best friend was amazing. The way they look at each other says it all; they are just meant for each other. We spent the evening dancing, taking photos in the photobooth, and sampling different cocktails. After the wedding, a group of us went out to downtown Fullerton and spent time celebrating the newlyweds!

SUNDAY
Sunday was relaxing. We slept in, watched some tv, and hung out by the pool.

I'm so blessed by these three girls that came into my life seventeen years ago and am so excited that Caitlin has found her forever love.