Birthday Thoughts

My birthday was almost 2 weeks ago, which means that I’m now 31! While this isn’t a *big* one to celebrate, it does mean that I’m solidly in my 30’s now, and that seems like a big deal. I’ve heard so many people say that their 30’s are their favorite decade to be in, and I already agree! My 20’s were fun, but the last year was just even more fun and fulfilling and full of growth and I just loved it!! With everything that I did and everything that happened, I tried to be really intentional about taking stock of what was going on and using it to become a better version of myself. Here are some of the things I learned (or re-learned) while I was 30 and hope to bring into this next year of my life, too!

Find things that make you happy and then do those things.

For me last year, there were a lot of things that made me happy! One of those things was travel. I swear, it felt like I went all over the place. I spent time in Texas (obvi), Tennessee, Florida, California (twice!), Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and I loved every second of it!

Another thing that made me happy was just being creative in any way shape or form. This looked like baking, crafting, playing music, painting, and more. I may not be the best at everything I try, and that really used to bug me, but now I just see it as practice and am happy that I got to create something just for me while enjoying the process.

Don’t let silly things bring you down.

Sometimes life gets you down and it’s allowed, like when you don’t the job you were interviewing for or you rear-end someone and have to spend a good chunk of your money buying a new car. But sometimes life gets you down and it’s just silly stuff that you don’t need to worry about! A lot of this for me used to come from comparing myself to others, and this year I don’t know what it was exactly but it just didn’t seem to be an issue anymore. And thank goodness – it’s so much nicer to not deal with that!

Invest in the friendships that matter.

This year had a lot of ups and downs when it came to friendships. There were fun trips, great phone calls, a few hard conversations, making up for lost time with some, and letting go of others. But I spent a lot of time trying to be intentional with the friendships in my life that really matter, both new ones and old ones, and I feel like it really showed. I am so blessed to be able to have people in my life that I’ve known for years and years that I can get deep with, and on the flip side I met some incredible women over the last year and have had a blast getting to know them and call them real and true friends. I seriously can’t wait for this year to invest in these friendships even more!

Always find the silver linings.

It’s not easy in the moment, but there’s usually an upside that can be found in every situation. And sometimes you won’t be able to see it for a while, and that’s ok. Just know that it’s there and you’ll find it eventually. A good example of this is back in March of last year, I applied for a new job. And I wanted that job SO BAD. And I told everybody about this job and just how badly I wanted it. And I was qualified! I was SO qualified! I did all the interviews and made it to the final two candidates, and then I didn’t get the job. And I was a little bit devastated. And a little bit embarrassed (mainly because I told so many people about this great opportunity that I now didn’t get to have!) But months later, I heard that the position I was up for turned out to be not what they originally described and the person who got the job was miserable, and I felt so lucky that I didn’t get stuck in that bad position. And even better, the job that I stayed with got even better and I got to do some really great things because of it! Silver linings!

It’s ok to celebrate yourself.

You don’t have to wait for someone else to celebrate you – just go ahead and do it yourself! Did you totally rock a presentation at work? Tell your friends over a celebratory dinner! Did you meet a goal that you worked really hard for? Awesome – take yourself to see a movie! Have to work on your birthday? Blow up a bunch of balloons and get a cupcake and decorate your hotel room just because you want to! It’s ok!

It’s never too late to learn more about yourself.

2018 was the year I became OBSESSED with the Enneagram. It helped me know myself so much better, it’s actually kind of crazy. What I love about the Enneagram is that it’s not just another personality type test and it doesn’t just tell you how you act, but it goes into the root of WHY you do certain things and how to become a healthier version of yourself. I plan on doing a full Enneagram post as some point soon because I’m still obsessed with it, but in the meantime go read up on it if you don’t already know your number! I’m a 2 with a 1 wing which probably sounds a little bit crazy, but just go with it.

I’m actually really really happy being single.

Which is something I never thought I’d say, but here I am saying it! A friend and I made a pact together last year that we’d spend 6 months being intentionally single and really focusing on other important things, mainly our relationship with God and getting involved at church. Those 6 months showed me so much and I really learned to not just tolerate being single, but to ENJOY it! I definitely still want to be married someday, but I tell you what I’m having a whole heck of a lot of fun in the meantime.

Getting involved is a good thing.

Like I just said, I spent the first part of my 30th year being really intentional and jumping into community. I decided to do this in 2 ways: getting really involved in my home church and finding an organization I cared about to volunteer with. I was going to church already, and I was doing things here and there, but actually diving in and REALLY getting involved changed so much and I can’t believe what a difference a year makes. I joined a bible study and met some of the best women from all stages of life that give the best hugs. I started serving at church and love getting to see friendly faces while doing so. I joined a life group and love getting to encourage them and be encouraged by them. I started volunteering with a professional women’s organization and get so much more out of it than what I put in. Find a way to get involved and I promise you won’t regret it!

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Best Gift Guides of 2018

Holiday shopping can be so stressful. I like to think that I do a pretty good job at knowing what someone needs or what they would enjoy, but sometimes it’s just hard and while it feels kind of like cheating to ask someone “what do you want?” it can be a good guarantee to give something that will actually be used and appreciated. Each year I feel like I struggle buying for one person… and every year it changes! Last year, I had NO idea what to get my brother-in-law, but this year I feel like I really knocked it out of the park… whereas last year I knew exactly what to get my mom, and this year it’s just cricket sounds when I try and thing of something. (I finally broke down and asked for ideas… so hi mom please email me back with some!) 🙂

One thing that has helped me narrow down my gift choices in the past is GIFT GUIDES!!! You might be sick of them already (it seems like there are 12 new ones showing up in my feed every day) but man they can be helpful! I love seeing what items show up on multiple lists (aka the hot items of the year) and seeing what items are crazy (like, who would ever buy that?!?!). I also find it… we’ll say entertaining… to see gift guides that are WAAAAAAAAY out of my budget. Like, wow you fancy that you think this $80 thing is a casual stocking stuffer, ok. Good for you, but no.

Every time I have seen a gift guide in my feed that I enjoyed, I added it to a list and I wanted to share the best of the best I’ve seen so far! Don’t waste your time looking all over the internet – no! They’re all right here for you! Hooray!

For the GUYS:

Gifts under $50

Gifts for lots of different types of guys

15 gifts for him

Ultimate gift guide for every man in your life

Ultimate gift guide for men

Gift guide for him

Gift guide for guys

Boyfriend gift guide

 

For the GALS:

Gift ideas for her

Gift guide for her under $50

Gift Guide for her: Mostly under $100

Cozy gift guide for her

 

For the BEAUTY LOVER:

Makeup gift guide

Gifts for beauty lovers

Beauty junkie gift guide

 

For VERY SPECIFIC PEOPLE:

Gift guide for the bibliophile

Adulting gifts

Gifts for the homebody

Gift guide for the best friend

Gifts for chronic illness patients

Gift guide for the jet-setter 

Gifts from Amazon

 

For COWORKERS:

Gifts for co-workers or your boss

Gift guide for your co-worker

 

For BABIES/KIDS:

Gift guide for toys

Gift guide for the snuggle bug

 

For THE STOCKINGS:

Stocking stuffers

Stocking stuffers

(To be honest I think all of these “stocking stuffers” would be excellent normal gifts that go under the tree, but they labeled them as “stocking stuffers” so here they are on my list.)

My Holiday Bucket List

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, it’s now 100% acceptable to be in holiday mode!!! To be honest, I’ve been in holiday mode ever since I got back from Boston. I’ve been putting up decorations, listening to Christmas music, and trying to plan out what I’m going to get all my favorite people for gifts this year. I am usually completely DONE with shopping by this point in the year, and I don’t know what happened, but I’m feeling very behind! Hopefully I can get that wrapped up soon (and then get the gifts wrapped up soon!!)

I love a good list, and so I thought I should make myself a little holiday bucket list this year! Life gets so hectic and busy around the holidays (I do realize that I’m saying this as a single person with no pets and no children and no significant other so how busy can I actually be but I still feel busy!) and in years past I’d get into January and then suddenly realize “OH NO I FORGOT TO DO *insert holiday activity* THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!” I can’t let that happen again!

I love that I can already cross a few things off this list!! I’ve got to make some Christmas cookies this weekend to take to a church holiday party, but I want to make some other cookies, too, and maybe take them to my office! My mom sent me home with approximately 74 Hershey kisses so I’m sure I’ll make the peanut butter blossom cookies (those are one of my favorites!) I’m not sure what my Christmas craft will be – I’ve always wanted to try making my own cinnamon ornaments (like these) so maybe I’ll give those a go!!

Hitting Reset After a Vacation

Vacations are just the best, am I right?!? The fun and the food and the adventures and the food and the relaxation and the food! Clearly you see my priorities when I’m in a new place – I love seeing all the sights and trying ALL the local foods! I really did a good job getting my fill with all things tourist-related while in Boston last week. That city is delicious.

But now that I’m back home and no longer really sick, it’s time to get back in the swing of things and get my life back on track. When I’ve had a particularly indulgent trip (you know, one that includes cannolis and the world’s best frozen margaritas and black and white cookies and coffees and you get where I’m going here), I really like to hit a reset button when I get home and get my body and my mind back to feeling the very best. I do this is a few different ways!

Reset: My Face

It’s all fun and games and vacation treats until you get home and it’s breakout city. I know that when I’m on vacation, I’m not the best about getting my skincare routine done fully each and every night. Shoot, I consider it a good night if I even remember to take my makeup off before passing out from all the fun (or in the case of my most recent trip, passing out from NyQuil. Which happened. In the middle of a conversation. Sorry gals!)

So when I get home and my face is feeling dry and neglected, I really like to make sure that I’m taking the time to get my face back in order. This means that I’m washing my face morning and night (using this cleansing sponge), using this rosehip facial oil, and making sure I use a good moisturizer both day and night.

Since my skin is normally super dehydrated after all the plane rides and hotel rooms and generally not drinking enough water, I always make sure that I do good hydrating face and eye masks when I get home. This face mask is always my favorite and I found some gold eye masks on Amazon that might not even do anything but I like the little pampering feeling that I get from using them!

Reset: My Nutrition

After eating ALL the yummy food with little to no hesitation while on a trip, it’s good to kind of reign it in when I get home and get my body back to a more normal state. I try do get lots of healthy groceries and make the glowing green smoothie for a few mornings as my breakfast. It’s a great way to start your day with greens and fruit and no added sugars and starting my day with all the healthy things really helps me keep that mindset for the rest of the day.

For the rest of my food, I do what I call “Half-30” where I try my best to limit sugar, gluten, grains, alcohol, and processed foods and eat as many wholesome, clean meals as possible where I focus on lean protein and lots and lots of vegetables. (This time was kind of rough since I was so sick and ate nothing but soup for 5 days… but I’m starting back with this now!!)

Reset: My Movement

I feel like you get where I’m going here – it’s time to get moving! Although we did a TON of walking while in Boston (including a 2 mile trek from our apartment to the Boston Tea Party Museum), we also did a lot of sitting and relaxing, too. So now that I’m back, I really want to make sure that my body is getting back to a normal rhythm of movement, but I also don’t want to go too crazy and overdo it! So my plan is to simply walk! I’m making sure that I walk for at least 30 minutes every day so I get back in the habit. It’s crazy cold here in Dallas right now, so I’ve been walking on the treadmill at the gym while listening to an audiobook!

Another thing I make sure to do is STRETCH! Stretch every day! It’s nice to just take 10 minutes at the end of the day and relax while stretching, and it helps to make sure I’m feeling limber and ready to walk the next day, too!

Reset: My Mind

There always seems to be a ton of stuff to catch up on when getting back from a vacation, right? So in order to actually get all the things done, I really try and focus on keeping my mind focused on the important things. Unfortunately, watching TV does not fall into that category… so I try to make sure that I’m not mindlessly wasting my time watching The Office for the 14th time, read a little bit more instead, and make sure that I get a solid night’s sleep each and every night.

 

Desktop Backgrounds for Summer

Hi there! I’m here with another installment of some of my favorite desktop backgrounds! I’m trying to keep my work desktop looking bright and fun during the summer, and these will definitely help me do that.

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Since I change my desktop background every week on Monday (I don’t get people who have had the same one for years – crazy!), I’ve used my fair share of fun images over the past few years. Check out other desktop backgrounds I’ve loved and shared here, here, here, and here!