Love for 2012. Hope for 2013.

1// 2012 was definitely a year of airports. Between visiting Michigan and traveling to Dallas for the ministry, I was in some airport or another at least 1-2 times a month!
2// My roommate in Texas' dog, Chica! I miss that little mexican baby.
3// When Matt proposed to me at the same place we'd had our first Texan date.
4// Texas. The sky is bigger, the meals are bigger, everything is just bigger in Texas. And I miss it.
5// One of our engagement pics from one of our two engagement shoots. I photographed both of them! Each shoot took 3+ hours but saved us a ton of money! :)
6// Me at my bridal shower with my friend Alyse, who threw it for me!
7// Me taking photos when I'd just about reached my goal weight for the wedding this past September. Such an incredible feeling!
8// Me marrying my prince. The most beautiful and perfect day of my entire life.
For some reason, New Years doesn't usually strike me as a special time to start changing myself. Probably because I'm constantly putting changes in my life into motion. Nothing irritates me more than stagnancy or wasting time, so I'm constantly evaluating myself. If anything, I want a new year to be a time where I recognize the good things that happened that past year and applaud myself for my accomplishments. Positive self thoughts are more motivating than negative self thoughts, so I thought I'd start this thing off with:

a few accomplishments of mine from this year...

...completing my first year of ministry school. Looking forward to going back for my second and final year one day, but I'm trusting God's timing!

...successfully living on my own for the first time. In Texas, 1400 miles away from my parents and everything I've ever known. And without ever being late on a bill or going hungry!

...losing 20+ pounds. I've been at least a little overweight for most of my life, my top weight being about 50 pounds heavier than I am right now, but let me say, these 20 pounds this year did not come off without a fight. I worked hard. And I'm proud.

...marrying the man of my dreams. I've only been married about 3 1/2 months but they've honestly been the greatest months of my life. Not because I'm drunk in love (even though I am) but because I can't believe God gave me the gift and privilege of being this man's wife.

...started a blog. Seriously, even if this is a pathetic accomplishment, it's a big accomplishment for me. I've wanted to do this for a couple years but was afraid to. Afraid I didn't have anything worth sharing, afraid the blog would flop or be unsuccessful (I don't even know what a successful blog is!) or that I'd get discouraged. So I let my own fears stop me from doing something I wanted to do. Until this year! With the encouragement of my husband (who believes that every good dream is worth pursuing), I started this blog at the end of November and never looked back! 

and a few goals for 2013...

...continue reaching health and fitness goals. Having experienced what it feels like to be a healthy weight and living a lifestyle of eating well & working out, I only want to press further into it! I still have a few pounds I'd like to trim off, and a ton of toning to work on! Also, I eat very well about 75% of the time, but the 25% that I don't reallllly kicks me in the butt later. I can barely stomach anything greasy, creamy or sugary when I eat just a smidgen too much. So I'd like to gain better balance, and make sure I'm getting enough water! That one is always so hard for me!

...continue learning how to be a good wife. When I married Matt, I swore before him and our family and God that I'd be the best wife I can be, and I by no means believe that I have arrived anywhere close to that yet! Matt is the sweetest, most generous, caring and selfless individual that I've ever met in my life, and to be the kind of wife he deserves is always my goal!

...continue growing my relationship with God. This is a never-ending goal that will never be totally accomplished, because you can never reach the end with knowing God. So this goal is a give-in. :)

...better manage my time. Another seemingly never-ending goal. I feel like I never have enough time in a day! I can be good at time management, but I tend to want 100% of my free time to be spent watching everything on the DVR, and 0% of my free time to be spent cleaning or reading or doing something else productive with my time. I'm sure that within the next few years, I'm going to have a baby or something, and I'm going to miss the days where I only worked 3 days a week, and my only responsibility other than keeping my husband alive was a blog on the Internet. I don't want to waste this time in my life!

...become more positive and optimistic. It's very natural for me to assume the worst, believe that the best-case-scenario is impossible, and that everything is falling apart. I have to fight these feelings daily! And I want to live my life purposely setting out to believe the best case scenario, to have hope, and to not stress out over everything! My husband seems to live in this blissful little world of Nothing Bad Ever Happens. I used to think this was very naive and childish, but living that way is a paradise. My husband is never stressed! It seems like his positive attitude attracts goodness and success. And when the bad does come... it's not that bad!

I know these are just descriptive goals and not action plans, but I do have plans of action for each of these steps! I'm just not, you know, posting them on the Internet for the entire world to see. :)

So I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season and are spending time reflecting on what a fantastic year you've had. Cheers to 2013! 


Is it spring yet?

Blazer: Forever 21, $30
Top: Love Culture, $11
Pants: Gap, $30
Boots: Rue 21, $12
Purse: Target, $9
Necklace: Forever 21, $8
Watch: Rue 21, $10

These photos were taken just before a ton of snow hit Michigan the day before Christmas. And snow has not stopped hitting us since. I had to fight my way through a bit of a blizzard just to get to work today. And I'm looking at these photos with a tear in my eye, remembering the days of grass, and weather above 30 degrees... Oh, how I miss thee.

Is it spring yet? I honestly went shopping the day after Christmas and bought a pair of sandals and a tank top, knowing good and well that Michigan wasn't going to allow me to wear them for another four months. I just want to wear dresses without tights and tops without 3 layers underneath and heels without this happening:

Look forward to my future outfit posts looking like a winter wonderland. I may or may not have tears streaming down my face and sandals stretched over my winter boots...


High Five for Friday!

I skipped last week, but I'm linking back up again with Lauren this week with High Five for Friday!

1. I made Christmas cookies earlier this week with my niece and nephew. So fun!

2. I've totally enjoyed choosing and wrapping gifts this year! This was my first Christmas as a married woman, and I so cherished it.

3. I didn't get any photos of Matt & I with his family on Christmas day, but here's a photo of us making the 2 hour drive up to Grand Rapids. We had a great time.

4. This stuff. Everywhere. I actually honestly hate snow, but this was only the first day we'd gotten it, and there's always a small (very small.. like miniscule.. almost nonexistent..) soft spot in my heart for the first snowfall of the winter.

5. Day-after-Christmas shopping. All I can say is Old Navy and Bath & Body Works: God bless you and your crazy sales. I went to a few other stores as well, and I came home with this loot you see here: retailed for $219, and I paid only $93. Success, ladies. Success.


New Revlon Photoready Primer + Shadow + Sparkle Eyeshadow Palettes Review!

Hello, friends! Hope everyone's had a great holiday season. Since it's snowing buckets outside, I'll be posting about something I can do from the comfort of my heated apartment. ;)

In addition to picking up the new Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation recently, I picked up one of the new eyeshadow palettes from the Revlon Photoready line. I chose the shade Metropolitan because of all the neutrals, and I like neutrals! I found this palette at my local CVS for $9.99.


Merry Christmas Eve!

Isaiah 9:6
 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

No fancy outfit posts or reviews or anything today.. just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! For the next day or two, I will be enjoying this:

And being thankful for this:

I also wanted to reflect on the true reason for the season, and that is the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas is always so busy that it's hard to think about anything other than presents and cooking and so on, but I try to stop and remember the importance of this day, and why I do everything I do. I mean literally, everything, in my day to day life. I do it for Christ, because of what he's done for me.

One last thing I will leave you with:

"In a couple of days another Christmas will be over. Decorations will be taken down and the grind of daily life will resume. We must do something to remember that the message and meaning of Christmas does not cease when the celebration is over. Christmas is not really about a celebration, Christmas trees, and piles of gifts. Christmas, the coming of Christ, is about everyday life. God is with us and we need to do anything we can, to remember that fact the rest of the year."

-Bruce Goettsche 

And.. okay, okay, I'll leave you with this as well:

Merry Christmas, friends. I sincerely hope you all have a great holiday. :)


5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays and Not Gain the Holiday Weight

I know the holidays are kind of almost over, but this may help for what you're going to be eating this upcoming week! I know that towards the beginning of December, I was starting to pack on a couple of holiday pounds (thank you, Starbucks Grande Peppermint Hot Chocolate). About ten days ago, when I really could feel myself caving into every cookie and plate of cheesy potatoes I passed, I re-evaluated my weight and diet and decided I did NOT want to start 2013 with an additional ten pounds on me (ones I worked very hard to get off this year!). So whether or not this post comes a little too late for some, I hope it can still be helpful!

These are a few tips I've lived by for a couple of weeks now, and I really encourage them! I am by no means a licensed trainer or a professional in anything fitness-related, so please don't feel you are reading God-given words on fitness. This is just what I've gathered by research and personal experience!

And now...

5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays 

and Not Gain the Holiday Weight:


Three Ways to Wear an Animal Graphic Sweater!

I've been seeing this darling fox sweater everywhere in the blogosphere, and it's been so sold out on Old Navy's site for FOREVER. I didn't even bother to stop by the store to see if they had any in stock until a couple of days ago, and lo and behold, they had an abundance! God bless you, Old Navy. And your little foxes, too.

So, much like the blue skirt fiasco, I picked this item up because it was a trendy item (and only $15 in stores) without really thinking about how I could wear it. When I got it home, I thought, how else can you wear a sweater fit for a 6 year old other than with blue or black jeans or pants? I was on a quest to find out, lest I let this cute sweater sit in my closet all winter!

FYI: this post is slightly photo heavy!


Life shoes

Jacket: Forever 21, old
Top: H&M, $30
Skirt: Windsor, $16
Shoes: Forever 21, $9
Earrings: Rue 21, $6

This is what happens when the weather approaches "near-death freezing". The leather jacket instead of a blazer, I mean. Not bare legs. Bare legs was not my smartest choice.

 I bought these shoes before leopard print shoes had really become a "thing", I believe. Probably why they were $9 at Forever 21. I was shy about wearing them until a woman at my church saw me in them and gasped and said "GIRL THOSE SHOES ARE GIVIN' ME LIFE RIGHT NOW."

Now I wear them relatively often. I'm all about giving life, my friends. :)


Ipsy (My Glam Bag) December 2012

For those of you who don't know, I am beauty product obsessed and don't subscribe to just one but two monthly beauty subscription services. Some may call it obsessive. I call it keeping my options open. Or something like that.

One perk about this month's bag? Three full size items, and two items that might as well be full size because they're that generous. What? Is this real life?

Click the "read more" link to see what was in my Ipsy bag this month!


Real Estate Fashion

Jacket: H&M, $40
Tweed blazer: H&M, $30
Top: Forever 21, $15
Pants: Forever 21, $22
Heels: Shoedazzle, $11 (reviewed here!)
Purse: Target (bragged about here!)
Necklace: Forever 21, $9
Bracelet: Charlotte Russe, $6

Here is how this outfit started out. Covered in winter coats and gloves. Because IT'S SO COLD IN MICHIGAN. Last year at this time, I was living in Austin, Texas for school and I experienced the greatest thing of my life: 50 and 60 degree winters. Now I'm back in Michigan, and I feel like I don't ever remember 30 degrees being this detrimental to my health and well being! Brrr..

I wore this outfit to work a few days ago (sans Shoedazzle shoes, add nude pumps), and one of the agents at work came up to me and said, "You know, they should hold a class here on how to dress nicely in the work place, and you should teach that class." My little fashion blogger heart soared at this comment, and I vowed to blog about it (obviously), until he followed it up with this: "Because you always look nice. A little over the top most of the time, but still nice."

Over the top? What does that even mean?! I'm a receptionist! I wear nice office clothes! Here are a few things that I would agree are over the top for a desk job:

My prom dress
My wedding dress
Clothes that light up
Skirts more than two inches above the knee

What I believe is not over the top is this:

I wasn't even wearing my crazy yellow shoes to work as I am in this picture, just some safe, nude pumps. Let's all agree that fifty-year-old male real estate agents know nothing about fashion or work appropriateness. Especially ones that wear baseball caps to work on the regular.

Whew. Now that I've gotten that out of my system.. here, have a giggle, on me:

Balancing is not something I'm great at. Cheers. xoxo


Birchbox December 2012

Every day that I come home to a beauty box in my mailbox is my favorite day. Period. This month was no different, especially since I'd peeked online and knew ahead of time which samples I was getting. 

Click below to see what what inside mine this month!


Fishing lures.

Blazer: H&M, $50
Top: Gap, $12
Skirt: Charlotte Russe, $16
Booties: Forever 21, $22
Purse: Target, $9
Necklace: Forever 21, $8

You know sometimes you'll have your eye on a piece of clothing at a store for a while, trying to decide if you want to buy it or not? Sometimes it's because this item is trendy but you're not sure if it'll mix well into the rest of your closet? That was this blue skirt. I eyed it for nearly a year before finally purchasing it about three months ago. And guess how many ways I wear it? One. You are looking at it.

How is a blue skirt so hard to style? How do you do this, guys?

Also, can I say that when I saw this necklace in the store, I had no intention of getting it? But my husband tends to be drawn to flashy jewelry like a fish to a fishing lure: the shinier and more noticeable, the better. For whatever reason, Matt goes gaga over the type of colorful crystal-looking bead that you see in this necklace, so I honestly bought it to appease him (plus he held onto it while we shopped, so I didn't really have a choice ;). And I've honestly never been complimented on a necklace more than this one!

Lesson learned, ladies: Listen to your husband. He's always right about fashion.*

*Don't listen to me, I say crazy things.

High Five for Friday!

It's that time again, people! Linking up with Lauren from From My Grey Desk Blog. Highlights of my week:

1. This past Sunday I was in a Christmas concert at my church. It was a blast! One thing I've not really mentioned on the blog is that I sing on the praise and worship team at my church, and I love it!  

2. By day 4 of not washing my hair, all my hair is willing to do is this: sock bun. I'm getting better 'n better at it daily. I think. At least you can't see the sock this time..

3. 25 calorie hot chocolate and all the mini marshmallows you could dream of?! YES, YES, YES! My favorite way to "indulge" on my FAVORITE holiday treat as of lately! 

4. After giving Rue 21 a little bit of a bad rap in this post recently, I decided to stop by there this week and see if they had anything that drew my eye. Guys, I got a pair of boots, a cowl neck scarf, a necklace, a watch, a bracelet and two pairs of earrings for under $50. Rue 21, you have formed a loyal fan. I cannot stop.

5. In attempts to fight back the typical holiday weight gain, I've been trying to step up my game at the gym. Which means the treadmill. What else were you thinking? I love working out, but timing my miles has never really been my thing. Until tonight. When my first mile was 14 1/2 minutes. And I threatened myself that I was going to post this on the blog, so my next mile better be good. Hence, the next mile: an 11 1/2 minute mile. Nothing keeps you accountable like posting all your biz on the Internetz!

Anyone else trying to fight off the inevitable holiday weight gain? I was starving after my workout today (I burned over 600 calories!), so I came home and my husband cooked this high-protein/low-carb meal for me:

Broccoli with cheese sauce, scrambled eggs & turkey bacon.

Weird dinner? Maybe. Under 400 calories, nutritious and delicious? Yes, yes, and yes.


New Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation Review!

So I was at CVS Pharmacy the other night, just kind of looking around, when I noticed a display of new Revlon foundation called Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation. Have any of you heard of it? I was surprised that I hadn't even heard that a new foundation was in the makings, because Revlon Colorstay foundation is pretty much my holy grail foundation.

I almost passed it up because I'm not really in the market for a new foundation, but what reeled me in was that this display for the foundation had a chart based on skin shade (like light, medium, dark) and undertone (like yellow, pink, etc.) so that you could choose the right foundation shade.

HOLY MOLY, THANK YOU, REVLON. Finally, my perfect maker of foundation finally addressing the fact that pretty much any and all drugstore foundation is too pink for my skin, including Revlon Colorstay. Thinking that maybe this makeup could finally be a perfect match for my skin was too great to pass up.

So here we have it! Click on "Read More" below to see my quick review of the foundation!



Tweed blazer: H&M, $30
Ombré shirt: Rue 21, $22
Jeans: Rue 21, $9
Scarf: Gift from a friend
Shoes: Shoedazzle, $10.52 
Purse: Target, $9 (bragged about here!)
Bracelets: Pink studded one, Charlotte Russe, $6, Pearl bracelets, Forever 21, $1.80

Attempt number one at figuring out how to wear those Shoedazzle shoes

I honestly almost felt kind of lame posting this look. To me, it's kind of boring, and half the things I'm wearing are from Rue 21, a store I generally can't stand. 

One of the main reasons I didn't try my hand at blogging for so long is because some of my favorite bloggers out there are seen prancing across their blog screen wearing J. Crew, Zara, and Madewell on a regular basis. Which is great, and obviously they look beautiful, because those stores carry beautiful clothing. They also happen to be very expensive. And guess who can't generally afford those types of brands right now? Me. So when I see something higher end that I like on a blog, I have to sneak into stores like Rue 21 and Forever 21 to see if they sell a similar item that isn't covered in skulls or made of one-time-use fabric. It's intimidating! Part of me felt like a blog could never be successful unless the author herself owned and wore primarily name brand clothing. Anybody else get that feeling, or felt intimidated when starting a blog? 

One thing is for sure, though: I am a dreamer. I don't like to think I am limited by resources or money or ability, only myself. If you want to do something, the only thing that can really stop you is yourself. So if you want to do something, like start a blog, just do it! Even if your shirt is from Rue 21. And your jeans. And you still don't own anything from J. Crew. DO IT!

And besides, my husband kind of bullied me into starting a blog because I wouldn't stop talking about it for literally months. So there's always that. :)


A review: ShoeDazzle!

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the online shoe boutiques popping up everywhere and having really suggestive commercials on TV: Sole Society, Just Fab, and ShoeDazzle, just to name a few. They all seem to be rather similar in regards to the service they provide: you take some sort of quiz to figure out your "style" and they offer you shoes that they think fit your taste. I've joined all three sites, just because I could, but never purchased anything from them until recently:

Sorry for the poor quality of photos, these were taken at night when I got home from work!



Top: H&M, $30
Skirt: H&M, $30
Shoes: Payless, $25
Bracelet: Charming Charlies, $12
Clutch: Wet Seal, $5
Necklace: Gap, $8

How to know if your skirt is too small:

1. You get lines in the fabric across your thighs (see above)
2. You can't exactly zip the skirt all the way up and continue breathing.
3. The skirt tries to ride up from your hips to the middle of your waist because it's trying to do you a solid by not destroying all the organs beneath your waist.

So as you may have guessed, this skirt doesn't fit incredibly well.

But I kind of like to keep it around as a "Hey. You can't properly wear me until you shave those last five pounds off that you've been meaning to shave off since the wedding."  reminder. We all have one of those, right..? ;)

It really is a cute skirt though! And for anyone interested, I saw it marked down at H&M recently for $15. They also seem to have a ton of great sales going on right now, so try to make it in the store if you're near one!



High Five for Friday!

Another week of High Five for Friday! Linked up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk blog. Here a few of my favorite things from this week :)

1. That hot guy right there is my husband, Matt, and yes, he has my purse draped around his neck and is carrying my clothes as I shop. He is my favorite person ever to shop with because he absolutely insists on carrying my purse and clothes so that I'm free to shop. I don't argue. ;)

2. If you are unable to tell, that is me wearing a cape. When the broker at your office buys you a cape with the company's name on it, you put that cape on and wear it like you're proud. No questions asked.

3. I already talked about this purse earlier this week. I found this beauty for under $9 at Target, and I'm obsessed. It's big, it's structured, and it's leopard print. Three things I can't say no to in a purse!

4. I didn't mention it, but I also got this planner from Target. Isn't it darling, and super Kate Spade-esque? They had white and gold striped ones, red ones with gold polka dots, etc. And only $7.99. If you're like me and can't function in daily life without a planner to refer to, you should pick one of these up!

5. In the months that Matt and I were engaged, we watched wedding shows constantly. To the point where Matt knows way more about dress fittings and flowers than any man should have to know. Now that we're married, we've moved onto a show about buying houses & fixing up houses. Matt is gaining his manhood back by the episode, and I just really enjoy this show. Anyone else addicted to home buying/selling/redecorating shows?!


Why Target is Awesome

I don't have to tell you guys that Target is awesome. You know that Target is awesome. All I can offer you today is another reason as to why.

So I was innocently out at Target today, trying to find something to buy my husband for Christmas, when I noticed a bag I'd been eyeing for the last few months, sitting all by it's lonesome in the purse & jewelry clearance section. I remembered it being at least a $30 bag, which is by no means expensive, but I just don't need another purse right now, as my husband will gladly tell you. :)

But I decided to see what it was marked down to, figuring it couldn't be more than 30% off, because it's suuuuuch a cute bag.. and when I saw the price tag, my eyes nearly fell out of my head.

Was this a joke? A test? Was my husband secretly waiting around the corner, ready to prove that I really can't buy gifts for anyone without also buying gifts for myself? Was there something wrong with the bag? Is this tagged right? Who am I? What's my name? I don't know anything anymore if this bag is marked down to not even $9. LOOK AT THIS BAG.

Am I crazy? Is this not a super cute purse? Am I the only one in the world who thinks it's at least cute enough to pay $9 for? If so, that's fine. I love it and will take care of it and accept it as is, animal print and all.

I guess I shouldn't be so shocked: Target loves to spring little surprises like this every once in a while. Oh that shirt you've been wanting all month? Here, have it in your size, for $6 on the clearance rack. Oh, those shoes you didn't have the money for last month? Hope you have $4.98, because that's all we're charging for them now!

God bless you, Target. And your clearance section.

What about you guys? Any great clearance finds at Target lately? :)


Fog & Airplanes

Blue top: H&M, $19
Sweater: Forever 21, old
Jeans: Love Culture, $20
Shoes: Forever 21, $20
Bracelets: Wet Seal & Forever 21

I swear I do not normally intend to post outfits literally every day as I have in the last few days. I definitely want this blog to be about more than just what I wear but I'm still sort of feeling stuff out. Yanno? In any case. Here is a few photos of me wearing clothes. Exciting, isn't it?

It was an astounding 60 degrees here in Michigan a few days ago. Which for us mid-westerners, means we think it's summer and we roll up the hems of our jeans. YOLO, right?!

I felt like I was walking around naked without my trusty blazer (the uniform, remember?). But I faced my fear with a sweater with little planes all over it. Almost cozy enough to forget about my blazer! :)

And just because I want to be honest, I have to post this picture to let you know that I do not walk to my photo locations wearing the painful-looking shoes you see me photographed in:


Whew. Glad I got that off my chest. ;)

So what about you guys? What was the goal for your blog when you started it and has it been easy to maintain it? Let me know! Blogging is new to me, and I'm still trying to make connections with you guys. :)