Friday, August 31, 2018

What I'm Loving this Month // August

August has been so fun! I officially moved to Chicago, which has been amazing. It's been such a blast getting settled into my new home. This month, most of what I've been loving has been moving-related - check below for proof. 

My Apartment
I'm loving my apartment. We're still getting settled, but it's really coming along. We have our bookcases set up, pictures hung, and boxes unpacked. Plus, our neighborhood is the cutest!

I bought so much furniture for our apartment at Ikea. Five bookcases, a dresser, dining table and chairs, and kitchen accessories. I love to build furniture, so Ikea is a dream for me.

LC by Lauren Conrad
I went out on a limb and bought a colorful comforter. For the last few years, I've had neutral comforters, but I found this one by Lauren Conrad and fell in love. Bonus - it looks so nice in my room!

Rekindled Friendships
At the beginning of the month, I flew to Portland for a friend's wedding. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was spending time with a high school best friend, Daphne. We hadn't seen each other in a couple of years, but fell right back into our relationship. Absolutely loved catching up with my best friend.

The Sinner
My roommates got me onto this show. We started watching season 2 and I was instantly hooked. Which of course meant I watched season 1 on Netflix almost right away. SO GOOD!

Tell me: what did you love this month?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Bible Verses // God is your Shield

shield (sheeld) noun a person or thing that protects

Back in April, I resumed my Alphabet Word Study where I look into a word in the bible for each letter. Today, I'm continuing with the letter "s" and the word shield.

We are so lucky to have a God that protects us. Regardless of situation, He is there for us to take shelter in. We've all been through something scary or hurtful; the joy is that God protects us. Through each circumstance, we learn to trust God a little more. There are many verses in the Bible that reference God as our shield, particularly in the book of Psalms. Below are some of my favorites.

Deuteronomy 33:29 "Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights."

2 Samuel 22:31 "As for God, his way is perfect: the Lord's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him."

Psalms 3:3 "But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high."

Psalms 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."

Psalms 33:20 "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our hope and our shield."

Psalms 84:11 "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."

Psalms 91:4 "He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

Psalms 119:114 "You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope."

Psalms 144:2 "He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me."

Proverbs 2:7 "He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless."

Proverbs 30:5 "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him."

Ephesians 6:16 "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."

To read letters A-R of my alphabet word study, click here.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Moving Series // Why We Chose Bucktown

This past weekend was my move into the city! I've shared why I chose Chicago and today, I'm sharing why I (along with my roommates) chose the neighborhood of Bucktown.

1. Proximity to work. Although there are three of us, we'll be commuting to five different places. We all set the precedent that we didn't want to drive longer than an hour to each of our locations, which landed us in the Logan Square community.

2. The neighborhood feel. Coming from the suburbs, we didn't want to go for a full downtown-vibe, but still wanted to be close. Bucktown is the perfect place for our transition. It has big trees and a true neighborhood feel, but also has bars around the corner and constant activity.

3. Recommendations. We have two friends who have lived in Bucktown for a year and they love it! When we started talking about western Chicago, they told us all these incredible things about their area and we were sold. Plus, now we're only a short walk away from two amazing ladies!

4. It's popularity. Bucktown is still considered an up-and-coming neighborhood within Chicago. The apartments are nice, but still affordable, and new things are constantly coming. It's trendy, without being overcrowded.

We're a week in and loving it!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Recipe // Any-Fruit Mojito

Mojitos are one of my favorite drinks! I love that they're both sweet and refreshing. Today is National Rum Day, so what better day to make a fruity mojito!? Today's recipe will allow you to make a mojito with whatever fruit you'd like. Create the base and add the fruit - simple as that!

1.5 ounces white rum
your favorite fruit
4-5 mint leaves
juice from ½ lime
club soda or Sprite

1. Muddle mint leaves, fruit, and lime juice.
2. Add in rum and stir.
3. Add ice.
4. Top with club soda or Sprite.
5. Garnish with mint and fruit.

I chose to make my mojito with peaches today - so tasty!

Enjoy National Rum Day (responsibly)!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Looking Back // My Graduation Letter

While I was going through some things at my parents' house, I came across a letter I wrote my senior year of high school. During the last month of school, my English teacher had us write a letter to ourselves that she'd mail us a year later. It's funny how different things can turn out. I was so sure of my life path when I wrote that letter at 18, but almost everything changed. Today, I'm sharing that letter with you, as well as one I'd write to my college self now.


Dear me,

As of this very moment, almost a year ago as a senior, two weeks away from finishing high school forever, you were feeling a mixture of so many things.

On the one hand, you were so excited to begin this new part of your life in a new place with new people. You were ready to become all that you could be and experience completely new things. You were also ready to be put in a situation where you may have had to defend your faith in a different way to strengthen your Christianity even more.

But, you were also so scared. You were scared to move away from your parents for the first time. You were afraid to have to make new friends in such a new and stressful situation. You were afraid to test your relationship with Brian and see how truly strong it was. And you were afraid to fail. Having to learn things by yourself and for your grades to matter so much scared you. You were afraid that you wouldn't love biomed like you thought you would and may have to find something new.

But, you knew that through all of this nervousness would come amazingness. People always say that college is the best experience of their lives and you were so excited to start your life there. It was the beginning of the rest of your life and the first time truly experiencing living on your own and complete independency.

I hope now that you've had to defend your faith and that it's become so strong and that you've found a church or Christian club that helped you grow. I hope that you battled homesickness and being away from Mom, Dad, and Bethany for the first time well. I hope that you made lifelong friends with not only your roommates, but your sorority sisters and people in your classes. I hope that you and Brian are still in a committed relationship and are even more in love with each other now than you were at the end of your senior year. I hope that you handled the stress of your freshman year with maturity and maybe a few late nights. And I hope that you loved biomed like you thought you would because it sounds like the coolest major out there! And I hope you've changed. I hope you've embraced the new atmosphere and that you've challenged yourself academically, socially, and religiously. And I hope that your freshman year was everything that you hoped it would be, filled with lasting memories to share with your family and friends.

I truly hope that everything has gone amazing and that you're excited to come home for the summer, but also a little sad to leave your new home behind.

Congratulations on finishing your first year of college at UC Davis!

Love, You


Dear me,

Everything you thought was going to happen during your first year of college was wrong; and that's okay.

You really struggled during your college career, especially during the first two quarters of freshman year. You experienced homesickness like you never though possible. There were many days where you'd call mom crying about how much you hated being there. You even considered transferring schools to be closer to home. But don't worry - UC Davis became one of the best thing to happen to you.

You ended up hating biomedical engineering. After your first intro to biomed class, you decided to change your major to bio-mechanical engineering. You stuck it out for two years, only to ultimately decide it wasn't the path for you. It was a hard decision, but one you'll be so thankful you made when you first join the world of human resources.

You were really ill during four of the five years you were at Davis. So sick, that you had to take your second quarter off of school and go part-time during your junior year. You'll be confused and depressed, but don't worry - you get diagnosed. Although having a paralyzed stomach is hard, you'll manage it.

It was a lot harder to make friends than you thought. Although you joined Chi Omega, you didn't fully immerse yourself in it until your second year. You've always been picky with friends and this situation was no different. But it paid off. You now have five lifelong friends that, even cross-country, are always there for you.

Unfortunately, you and Brian don't make it. On February 11, your world was forever rocked when Brian decided he no longer wanted to be with you. It was a heartache that killed you for a long time. But it helped you learn what you needed. It forced you to rely on yourself more than you anticipated.

And your faith wasn't challenged in the way you thought it would be. You were sure you were going to have to defend it to people who didn't believe, but instead, God tested your faith in Him. You went through hell for a long time in college, between failing calculus, feeling lonely, finding your path, and learning you have a second chronic illness; but your faith changed. It became more of a need in your life. A need that has continued to grow year after year.

It's funny how things turn out. At 18, you were so sure you had it figured out. You would marry your high school sweetheart, become an engineer, and live your best life at college. But, things have a way of working out differently than you imagined.

Thankfully - you had an amazing five years. You made the best of friends, tried new things, went on vacations, found your true calling, studied abroad in Paris, strengthened your reliance on God, and ultimately made the decision to move across the country after graduation. UC Davis grew you into the person you always hoped you be. One of confidence, resilience, strength, and love.

I hope that you'll always look back on your time at UC Davis as one of the best times of your life; because trust me - it was.


Friday, August 10, 2018

My Morning Worship Playlist

For the past few months, I've been feeling really disconnected from God. There was no big moment that separated me; it was a slow progression. I took a break from reading before bed, rarely went to church, and stopped praying as often. I had a moment during my weekly Bible Study where I realized just how far away I felt from my faith. I knew then that I needed to make a change.

For a long time, I've always felt very connected to Christ through music. It's one of my favorite parts of church and also how I experienced my first overwhelming moment with the Holy Spirit. Because of this, I decided the first step I'd make to regain my relationship with God would be through music. I started gathering some of my favorite worship songs and putting them into a playlist. My goal was to listen to it at least twice a week, on my way to work. For the past two months, I've tried really hard to stick to this goal. There's definitely been some weeks where I've missed the two time mark, but overall, I've done pretty well.

The result: I'm feeling more connected to God. There's been something so nice about starting my day praising Him. Not only that, but I'm being encouraged to pray during my worship time, as well. 

The top five songs on my playlist?

Even If by MercyMe
I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

One Thing by Hillsong Worship
If only to know You
To be where You are
And go where You lead
My God, I will follow

Air I Breathe by Mat Kearney
You are the air I breathe
You are the song I bleed
You are the war that I can't win
This is my white flag in the wind
Every word you speak
Is the air I breathe

Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave
I see the work of Your hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I Am Yours by Lauren Daigle
Let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me
Let the mountains fall
You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

If you're interested in my Morning Worship playlist, follow along on Spotify.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Weekend Recap // Kristina's Wedding

Last month, I flew to Portland for one of my high school best friends' bachelorette parties; this past weekend, I returned to watch her marry her forever love. I had the most amazing weekend, but let me tell you, it was a rough start.

My flight was supposed to leave Chicago at 5:30. Slowly, the flight continually got delayed due to a missing flight attendant. We ended up being delayed two hours, meaning our pilots could no longer fly, leading to the cancellation of my flight. The catch - there were no other flights to Portland that night and no seats left on any flights the next day that would get me there in time for the wedding. A lot of possibilities later, I ended up flying into San Francisco. Sadly, that flight was also delayed. In order to make it to the wedding, I had to leave for Portland from Sacramento. Therefore, when I landed after midnight, I rented a car and drove to Sacramento, not arriving until 2:45am (4:45 in my CST body). I was wiped.

The benefit of my flight woes - I was able to spend some time with one of my best friends, Clara, who lives in Sacramento. It was a short visit, with only a quick breakfast, but was still so nice. My flight to Portland was on time, so I made it there by noon. I spent the rest of the afternoon with another high school best friend, Daphne, and her boyfriend, David. We sat around and talked, catching up on each others' lives. Then, it was wedding time!

Watching Kristina marry Eli was surreal. I've known this girl for 11 years and watched her relationship with Eli blossom into something incredible. As they were saying their vows, you could see all of the joy and love between them. Two of my other high school friends and their wives were also in attendance, which was great. I hadn't seen either of them in a couple of years, so it was fun to spend the evening together. We ate, we danced, and we celebrated the newly married couple.

Sunday was the best! We woke up and headed to brunch in Vancouver, WA, where we were staying. From there, we went antiquing! I'm always on the hunt for Aynsley china to add to my collection, so it was fun searching through all the store had to offer. For lunch, we met up with the same group from the wedding. We had lunch at Daily Cafe and then went for dessert at Salt & Straw. It's amazing how so much time had passed since seeing them, but we just fell right back into our friendship. Still so thankful for my high school group.

Although my trip started out a little rocky, I truly had the best weekend. Watching a best friend get married and spending time with old friends - does it get any better?