What's Up Wednesday: March 2018

You might say goodbye, I say hello!

Goodbye, March.  Hello, April.  

I am linking up with Shay and Sheaffer to share my monthly recap and as usual cannot piece together in my mind where the month went.  God bless it all.  

Hello April.jpg
WUWquestions-edit-969x1024.jpg

What we're eating this week:

This week we’ll be eating simple and healthy meals.  I have some chicken breasts, shrimp, and steaks in the freezer so my goal is to use those with the fresh vegetables I have on hand (green beans, Brussels Sprouts, onions, kale, zucchini, spaghetti squash, potatoes, plus all the fixings to make salad).  Lean, mean, and green.  Well, maybe not too mean but definitely lean and green! 😉

I did make this Whole 30 (adapted to Paleo) pumpkin and apple bake for breakfast last weekend.  Let’s just say the tweaks I made to the original recipe were beyond delightful.  The original recipe is probably great as is, but I had some different ingredients and ideas.  I’ll be sharing the recipe soon! 

Pumpkin apple bake

PS – there’s never a wrong time to enjoy pumpkin year ‘round.

What I'm reminiscing about:

Gosh.  I had to think for a second…my mind was totally blank for once.  But then I started thinking about last year in March and what a tough month is was for me, but how April shed some light and things began to shift.  I went to Tennessee for Easter last year and enjoyed seeing my family so much.  

What I'm loving:

I am totally loving these crispy broccoli florets!  Goodness gracious.  It tastes like how I roast them in the oven until they’re crispy, only these are readily available to munch on like a chip.  The FH and I are loving them.  We found them at Sam's Club.  However, it seems you can find similar ones at Trader Joe's (go figure!) and I will certainly try them the next time I venture to Trader Joe's.  The reviews on Amazon aren't great for the TJ version, but I'll give them a shot.  Meanwhile, we've stocked up on the Little Green Forest brand below that we know is scrumptious!

IMG_4694.JPG
IMG_4695.JPG

What we've been up to:

We’ve been up to a little bit of everything.  Dinners with family and friends, wedding planning stuff for our wedding as well as for friends’ weddings, work work work work work, spring cleaning around the house, and literally trying very hard to have down time alone and together with the FH.

This is from last week's wine night at my friend's house with good wine & cheese and a lot of (always needed) girl chat.

IMG_4722.JPG

Saturday night we had dinner at Marais and it was really good!  The restaurant was super pretty with beautiful chandeliers, too.  We went to an 80's bar afterwards and enjoyed the music so much we stayed much later than intended and danced the night away.

IMG_4754.JPG

What I'm dreading:

Nada, except Houston’s heat, humidity, and mosquitoes. 

spring ecard.JPG

What I'm working on:

I am working on a new schedule, preparing to train someone, wedding stuff, myself, and always my faith.  I am counting down the days to when life slows down soon and I can shift my priorities around, get back into reading the Bible and then evaluate what work needs to be done/time invested into the blog.  I have admittedly been staying afloat for a while as I’ve been in the busiest season of my life yet, but knowing all along it is temporary, to embrace it, and to give myself grace to let things go for now…and its worked!

What I'm excited about:

I’m excited about Orange Theory and working out with the FH.  It always helps to have a gym buddy, but it’s even better for it to be a significant other and to know you’re both working hard at being healthy together.  Plus, it’s nice to have an intense work out that switches things up in between my other works outs or runs.

IMG_4639.JPG

What I'm watching/reading:

I haven’t been watching much of anything since The Bachelor ended.  Arie was/is a disappointment, not the season itself but him specifically and how he handled everything...and that is an understatement.  Any shows that you’d recommend that we watch?  If I ever have time to sit down right now it’s usually not to watch TV but the day will come when our evenings will be a little more relaxed.

I finished the book of James bible study from my church and am currently not reading anything!  I haven't used the treadmill or elliptical recently so I'm delayed on my reading.  I did tap into a book I read a long time ago called Grace Filled Marriage while on the treadmill part of Orange Theory recently to help pass the time and I picked up The Light We Lost in paperback the other day but plan to save it to read on vacation next month.  

What I'm listening to:

I am listening to sermons by Pastor Ron Hindt from Calvary Houston on my drives in to work.  They are played on 100.7 on the radio.  He’s great!  I also still listen to my podcasts Hope City, Joyce Meyer, Breakaway Ministries, Bayou City Fellowship, and Marriage Today.  If you want to feel good, learn about God, love, marriage, and start your day off right then I highly recommend listening to any of those podcasts.  God is so good.  I cannot imagine my life without them.

What I'm wearing:

Don’t even get me started.  I have been shopping online like a crazy woman recently while knowing full well that a lot of what I order will be returned and has been.  Reasons like ordering two different dresses knowing I want one or the other depending on which one fits me best or ordering two sizes.  I am planning for and making pack lists for five trips I have in the coming months and trying to take advantage of sales while I can snag them.  

Some things remain tried and true.  I love my Leith racerback dresses that I've shared a dozen times before.  It is back in stock and currently comes in SEVEN colors.  Shut.the.front.door.  Stock up while you can.  It's perfect for work or play.  It can be dressed up or worn with sandals.  I currently own it in three colors and rotate to wear one per week at work.  It is the most comfortable work outfit I own (and am actually wearing the black one as a type this).

I'm also rotating in weekly one of the four colors I own this BP midi dress in (and it's 40% off right now).  It now comes in five colors.  There is no shame in my game making my work attire comfortable and easy to grab and go in the mornings.

These BlankNYC boyfriend shorts were all the rage last year and I ordered them but returned them.  They're actually very comfortable and look great on everyone I have seen them on.  However, I prefer not to wear shorts and looked at the umpteen pairs I still have (some with tags) and decided to be financially smart and return them.  I'd totally recommend them though!  Great reviews too.

I purchased this gold mesh sweater from Lulu's for $23 final sale.  I love it!  I can't wait to wear it.  It also comes in a rose gold on sale for $39 (not final sale).

Then there's this open back sweater from Lulu's.  It's love.  All love.  It's loose and comfortable, yet hangs nicely so it doesn't make me look wide.  It's thin in material which is perfect for our spring evenings when the temps dip a little bits.  It's runs large so size down.

I think I'll save all of my other fabulous finds for the weeks to come as I'll be wearing and sharing them. =)

What I'm doing this weekend:

It’s Easter weekend and I’m off on Friday for Good Friday.  HOORAY!  I’m not sure what I’ll do on Friday.  Saturday my mom and I will do some wedding stuff and have lunch together.  Then, on Sunday I’ll be celebrating the Lord’s resurrection at church and have our families over for Sunday brunch afterwards.  Pretty much, this will be a very relaxing weekend with a lot of family time.  My favorite.

IMG_4613.JPG

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Next month I’m looking forward to a lot of things. 😉 

What else is new:

I think I've summed it all up already!


How was your month of March?  What were your highlights?  Are you looking forward to April too?  

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the week!

XOXO

Follow

What's Up Wednesday: May 2016

It's happening y'all.  Summer is here.  May is gone.  We're only 25 days away from celebrating the 6 month countdown to CHRISTMAS.  Yes...you read that correctly.  I am already excited about Christmas.  If I wasn't planning to move soon I would seriously be regretting taking down my Christmas tree, and I can honestly proclaim that I live with no regrets so the idea that I am borderline regretting taking down my Christmas tree is a major thing. ;)  That's how fast this year is moving!

Today I am linking up with Shay and Sheaffer to share what I've been up to this past month.  I am grateful for this post so that I myself might also know what I've been doing to make the time fly by.

What I'm eating this week:

I think I've never noticed that the question is for "this week".  Oops!  This week I am eating lobster, crab, scallops, fish, etc.  I have been on the north east coast and definitely took advantage of the fresh seafood!  The rest of this week I will likely resume eating my general Whole 30 and Paleo type of food although I am considering a different approach to incorporate dairy and eliminate fruit for a few weeks, sort of like low carb.  I only have three weeks until Napa and it will be difficult not to eat cheese while wine tasting.   Plus, I think it's time to shock my body with something different after almost 8 full months of Whole 30 eating.  Oh, and I wil no doubt seek out my beloved Tex-Mex.  Even the shortest of trips can make me miss Mexican food!

On Monday I will resume sharing recipes and have a Vegan (Whole 30, Paleo) minestrone soup to share!

What I'm reminiscing about:

Honestly, I'd have to say the month of April and May.  What happened?  Where did it go?  I have to look back through my calendar to remember everything I did.  I'm also reminiscing about trips I took in May in former years.  Both Shutterfly and Facebook remind me now of "on this day" type of stuff.  In the few previous Mays from 2013-2016 I visited Cancun, Napa, Spain, France, Galveston, Fredericksburg, and New Braunsfels, TX.  It's amazing how life changes so much year to year and I can't even remember where I was the years before that!  I think I need to make a list of places I've traveled to.

What I'm loving:

Southwest Airlines.  First of all, this airline flies out of Houston's smaller (and closer to me) airport, allows two free checked bags, and allows you to cancel/change your flights without a fee.  Those right there are something to love.  The prices can be comparable to some of the United Airlines flights, but Southwest does actually have amazing sales that pop up whereas United rarely has a true sale (for places I look to fly to).  However, what I am loving about Southwest this month in addition to these things is that they recently reached out to me from a Twitter post I shared that I didn't even mention them in and gave me reward miles...for doing nothing.  

How cool is that?!?!  I have all of 20-ish followers and thus my new "Twitter" account isn't the most active account (and likely never will be), but somehow Southwest airlines found that post and gifted me miles!   

So, in return I thought I should give Southwest a little shout out in a Twitter post on the 22nd and sure enough they responded to that "Tweet" too and sent me free wi-fi codes to use in flight!  I'm diggin' the love.  

Quite frankly I don't care if they're the only ones to "like" my "Tweet", it makes me feel special. =)

What I've been up to:

I visited with Cyndi when she came to town and when I went out to east Texas to visit with her, her hubby, and my three (of five) God children that I failed to get pictures with on this trip.  The yellow missile looking picture is from the road trip out to east Texas.

IMG_6240.JPG
IMG_6525.JPG

I got to enjoy my friends for Cinco de Mayo festivities.  Hello guacamole and margaritas!

FullSizeRender.jpg

I enjoyed dinner and Casting Crowns with my dear friend, Elizabeth one weekend and another weekend enjoyed visiting with @missy_nessa95 at Carrie Ann's Mother's Day celebration.

In between these things I visited with family, dealt with a health issue and hid a bit, had dinner with other friends, traveled to east Texas as mentioned above and to Boston & Cape Cod.  It's been a fruitful month!

What I'm dreading:

Nothing except the inevitable Houston heat and humidity.

What I'm working on:

Myself!  As always... I'm also working on the blog by slowly getting back in to the marketing course I set aside last fall.  I have one of two options - follow the course and pray that my blog improves as well as grows, OR I put it on hold for a while so I can just focus on life that is happening so rapidly I can barely keep up.  All good things.  I couldn't feel more blessed to be this "busy"/fruitful and trust that the things I agree to do are for God's glory in some form or else He would prompt me to stay home and be silent. =)))

What I'm excited about:

The month of June!  I have been slowly getting rid of furniture and things so I can begin moving over the next couple of months.  I am beyond ready for the next chapter that God is preparing me for.  I am excited about the friend's I'll get to see (finally), the down time I am blocking off in my calendar, and for my upcoming trips this month!  I'm also looking forward to starting a Beth Moore bible study called "Entrusted".

What I'm watching/reading:

I suspect you all know the answer to these so I'll keep it quick: 

Watching - reruns if I turn on the TV at all, although I rarely sit down to actually watch it.

Reading - The One Year Bible and a PDF called Every Good Marriage Begins with a Funeral that I received from Gary Thomas, author of one of my favorite books Sacred Marriage, for signing up on his street team a while back to pre-read Cherish before it was released.

In the last month we have covered: Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, finished Luke, and are currently reading 2 Samuel, John, Psalm, Proverbs.  In case you're not familiar, the One Year Bible allots about 15 minutes a day for readings split between the old and new testament with Psalm and Proverbs every day as well.  I absolutely love it!

Treadmill reading - I finished Attached - and goodness it is so interesting.  It was my second time reading it and it's enlightening to see which attachment style you fit into as well as recognizing where you were in other relationships and how it can affect your relationships.

I also breezed through A Nantucket Christmas for the 2nd time just for fun, and am now reading An Island Christmas for the 2nd time.  Reasons: they're light and easy reads, I love Christmas any time of year, and I had the trip planned to Cape Cod and had hopes to make it over to Nantucket but ran out of time.  I plan to read more of Nancy Thayer's books I think.  Easy to let your mind go.  Those two are filled with Christmas imagery so much that I had a very detailed dream about Christmas decor one evening and struggled to refrain from listening to Christmas music the next day. =)

I decided to put away Life After the Storm that I mentioned in last month's What's Up Wednesday because I just couldn't relate to it right now.  There is great information in there about grieving all kinds of losses but ultimately I missed the boat on reading that late last year/early this year when it would have been more applicable and helpful in my situation.  If you or anyone you know if going through a loss of some kind, then I would recommend checking it out.  It serves a purpose in the right moment.

My goal is to read the 21 Day Financial Fast beginning June 1st (tomorrow!) but I know I won't be able to fully abide by the no eating out rule.  I will curtail shopping though and know I need NOTHING for my two trips in June.  Mind over lustful online sales and shopping.  EEEEK!

What I'm listening to:

Spotify's Praise & Worship playlist.  It is soooo good!  And of course my favorite band, Hillsong United, is in that playlist.  I don't know if the link will work that I inserted but it's worth a shot.

I'm also still listening to my podcasts: Hope City, Breakaway Ministries, Joyce Meyer, Bayou City Fellowship, and Marriage Today.

What I'm wearing:

I'm surprised that this section feels difficult, but this month has been a blur.  I had to look back through pictures to see what I wore!  And that's even with the 2+ weeks of canceling most of my plans because I wasn't feeling well.  Y'all, I have got to slow down!  

I wore things like this MinkPink dress and ADA belt that I bought at Carrie Ann's.  You can stop by her beautiful boutique to take a look or click on the picture if you'd like to purchase it online.

I've worn my black 1822 Denim Butter jeans a dozen times because they feel like pajamas.

I sported this Free People Alana sweater in beige and red from Macy's for 40% off or something like that and love it!  (I'm using stock photos because I'm having to create this post prior to my long weekend and get back late on Tuesday and thus will not be able to add in real pics of me in my new duds).

I picked up the following shoes for my trip to Boston/Cape Cod because we planned to do a lot of walking:

Puma Vikky suede sneakers: like velvet cushions on my feet.

Converse Chuck Taylor Allstar Shoreline in charcoal: comfortable alternative to the boat shoes I love and wanted but would have torn up my heel.  These Chucks stayed put because of the elastic heel and were comfortable.

What I'm doing this weekend:

I had to look at my calendar again!  Gosh, which way am I going?  This weekend I am having a low key Friday night, taking a freebie dance/work out class Saturday morning, having dinner with a bestie Saturday night, and visiting with my girl friends by the pool on Sunday. =)))  I refuse to add more to that list other than church and sleep.

What I'm looking forward to next month:

Visiting with my friends and seeing my family, a cool inauguration of a USS ship in Galveston, celebrating one of my five God children's birthdays, my trip to Napa and to Knoxville where I will see all my family to celebrate my Mammaw's 92nd birthday!  I'll also get to hold and smooch on my four perfect & beautiful nieces!  Give them to me.  Give them all to me.  Tia Becca needs muchos besitos!!!!!

What else is new:

I think I've summed it all up for now. 


How was your month of May?  Anything fun and exciting to share that you did, ate, or traveled to?  Are you excited for the summer to kick off?  Comment below!

If you haven't already subscribed, please do!  I'd love to stay in touch so that you receive my latest posts.  Happy Wednesday!

XOXO

Follow

Friday Favorites - May 12th 2017

TGIF.  I was beginning to think this week would never end!  That's not normal for me, usually the week flies by fast.  This week was different though as I've had to slow down to a snail's pace to take care of my health, but what that has allowed me to do is to focus on putting myself first, take care of myself, and reflect on how I am spending my time.  I think that's important for all of us to periodically do to ensure that we're prioritizing the right things instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life's demands for our time.  Life moves so fast!  I have so many wonderful things coming up including some changes and I am SUPER excited.  But, I don't want to wish the time away.  Stop and smell the roses, right?  It'll be gone before we know it.  It will be gone before we have a chance to realize we didn't prioritize the important things.  "It" meaning life, of course.  We are so blessed!  

Moving on to my favorites from the past couple of weeks.  I'm linking up with Andrea to share my faves.  I'm finding I have to spread some out or that perhaps retrospectively I find even more value in something that I want to share it.  So, in no particular order...

Favorite #1

I truly have amazing friends (and family).  I cannot voice that enough.  I never say it to discredit or devalue anyone else's friends and family, ever.  I simply like to express how proud I am of mine for being such good people and influences in my life.  Last week I boasted about Rachel leading the anti-human trafficking efforts at her church.  And this week I get to boast about Karen!

One of my besties, Karen, went to Haiti last year with a group from CRU Houston, along with Coreluv on a mission trip to help out at an orphanage.  To say the trip made a huge impact on Karen's heart is an understatement.  These children were excited for the visits, the help they received, and the hope they have in God's love for their futures.  It's powerful.

Coreluv has a very generous donor who has offered to match all donations received throughout the month of May so as one might expect, Karen and her CRU Houston team are campaigning to raise as much money as they can during this month to help out the orphanage in Haiti.  Donations ARE tax deductible because Paypal Giving Fund has partnered with GoFundMe and the proceeds go to a tax deductible account.  (Yes, this is different than what you normally experience on GoFundMe where you're donating to a person.)

Your receipt will look like this, thus proving it is tax deductible:

You have until the end of May to donate for the matching, but try not to delay so that you don't forget about it.  These precious, smiling faces need our help.  You can click on the various links in this section, click here, OR copy and paste this link into your web browser to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/cru-coreluv-maissade-water-project

Favorite #2

Tomorrow is the Mother's Day celebration event at Carrie Ann's and I am excited to be a part of the fun.  From 12-3pm CT on Saturday, May 13th (tomorrow), there will be a sip & shop at Carrie Ann's in Uptown Park where you can pick up great outfits for yourself (think brunch, Mother's Day, Memorial weekend, summer vacations) or an outfit or accessories as a gift for your mom!  Stop by Carrie Ann's during those hours to receive 20% off.  I've shared some cute outfits in my previous posts, but here are a couple more!

This Mink Pink dress is soooo comfortable!  It's supposed to be a midi length, but yours truly am not the tallest person so it fits me perfectly like a maxi dress. ;)  It's perfect for work, church, brunches, dinners, or heck - throw on a pair of sandals and you'll love it all day running errands!  

This Blaque Label dress and vest...enough said.  They're perfect.  The dress surprised me, I'm not going to lie.  I was nervous about the nude shade but the material is thick and quality, thus I couldn't see my undergarments through it.  Imagine all of the ways and places you could wear these...

Favorite #3

Wake. Pray. Slay.

I should have shared this weeks ago when I took the picture but had other things to post and saved it.

April 26th was Administrative Professional's Day (hence the flowers below) and I know the ins and outs of the position vary per executive and per company, but one thing remains true: we are invaluable to our executives. 

I love my job.  I have felt blessed every single day for the last (over) seven years since I accepted this position.  I never knew I would become an administrative assistant.  It had never crossed my mind.  When a recruiting firm reached out to me for the position because of my MBA, I sort of stumbled on what to say or think because I didn't think the opportunity was something for my future.  Boy, was I wrong.  God opened this door for me, I have no doubt, and it lead me to working with and for wonderful people and wonderful companies.  I have created relationships/friendships that will last the rest of my life.  This job role suits my personality as well as the many benefits of my job itself.  I am grateful.

My dear friend, Konni, gave me the awesome insulated mug below because she said it made her think of me because it's kind of my "thing".  Thoughtful gifts always make me smile.  I just so happened to have a "slay" antibacterial hand gel at my desk as well so that morning I thought to myself, "YES".  This is my morning mantra.  I noshed on my Good Cravings energy bar and am pretty sure that the combination of things sitting there that day had the makings of a perfect morning.

By the way - Good Cravings is made locally in Houston and has all natural products of which many are Whole 30 and Paleo friendly!  You can order them online, or find them at the City Hall Farmers Market in downtown every Wednesday through June 28th. 

Favorite #4

A sense of relief.

I have temporarily halted sharing my poems online and deactivated the Instagram page.  I am not 100% sure that I will ever reactivate it, but if I do I will likely create a new page and share them anonymously.  Read: it will not be mentioned on my blog.

I have at least 200 poems in these stacks and discs pictured below.  I shared a little over sixty poems during the brief time I had the Instagram page active and the response from strangers was utmost positive and encouraging to continue sharing them.  The strangers that reached out to me privately on there regarding my writing needing encouragement and advice reaffirms precisely why I wanted to share them in the first place. 

I consider myself to be a casual writer and a majority of my poetry was written in the midst of heartache throughout my long relationships since I was 13 years old.  That was a lot of infatuation, love, devotion, and heartbreak when the relationships ended for whatever reasons.  My emotions are sincere, they are real, they are loyal, and they are intense.  I used to write on napkins, spare sheets of paper, in the margins of my notes, anywhere I could fit the words (pre smartphone days).  My thoughts and words would come bursting out of my heart and I'd stop where I was on campus, in class, at work, at home and write until I couldn't write anymore with a sense of urgency like I couldn't write it down quick enough before the next "poem" would start in my mind.  I've never claimed to be a good writer.  I've never claimed to be a great poet.  My words are my own and they get splattered against paper like a water balloon exploding on the side of a wall.  Of course nowadays with smartphones I would type it into the notepad or email it to myself.  But, I digress...

What started to happen that frustrated/frustrates me are two things:

1) Those closest to me attempted to analyze who I wrote the poems about and assume who they are written about.

 2) Those closest to me also assumed that my poems are written present day and thus incorrectly assumed my emotional status.  

While I understand the concern, I find it frustrating.  I chose not to disclose dates specifically so that no one could accurately pinpoint the time frame and who it is about.  My poetry is personal and private to me in that regard and some the assumptions have been inaccurate.  21 years of writing provides a wide time range of experiences.  That being said, I also am not writing about my present day life, nor am I sharing anything about how I currently feel.  Everything thus far was written about 2016 and the decades before. 

It has always felt good to get the words out of my head and writing is cathartic and healing for me.  My life, however, is wonderful and I couldn't conjure up those emotions right now if I tried!  Because of this, I began to re-evaluate how I am sharing my poems so that I am not setting off red flags to anyone to be concerned about me.  I never shared them for family/friends to evaluate what I went through and my emotional status.  I shared them so that the reader can relate and feel understood if they've experienced something similar.  Perhaps anonymity is key to avoid being analyzed.

Clearly I have a lot to share as seen above and yes, those hard discs are full of poems.  Even this picture doesn't capture the quantity I have.  Quantity is not quality though, so I was being cautious in sharing older and newer poems, positive and negative experiences.  Perhaps I will go back to entering all of these into a word document for a self-published book one day.  Perhaps I will create an anonymous Instagram page to start over on sharing them.  Perhaps I will just treasure them for myself.  Who knows!  But, for now I felt a huge sense of relief in temporarily deactivating the page so that there's no more questioning, confusion, discussions behind my back (not in a malicious manner), nor assumptions.  I love that I started the journey of sharing them and braved the humbling experience head on in exposing raw aspects of myself and my past.  Next time I will start off sprinting instead of taking baby steps with hesitation.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:31

Favorite #5

New chapters and new beginnings.  And this sunset. 

I've made some decisions recently that will begin transitioning my life into a new direction.  I am excited for this next chapter, leaving behind the old and starting fresh into the new.  I am excited for the potential future before me, God willing.  Sunday evening I enjoyed this sunset in perfect company while I contemplated how sunsets are like closing doors on each day as each day becomes the past.  Quite powerful, if you have the time to stop and reflect on it.  

I am a sunrise kind of girl, but perhaps I will begin a fonder appreciation for sunsets soon.


Wishing everyone a wonderful Friday and weekend!  Please subscribe below if you haven't already so that you don't miss out on future posts.

XOXO

Follow