Thursday, September 11, 2014

13 years later, remember 9/11

Every year I try to write about September 11, 2001.  

And every year I feel like I can't find the words, yet the memory of that early morning in San Diego never seems to fade. 

I still remember so vividly waking up just after 6am to the radio DJs talking about the towers being hit. I used to fall asleep to the radio playing, I think I woke up because instead of hearing music at 6am I was hearing panicked voices. 

9/11 happened about a week before I was set to go away to college.  If I am being honest this attack upset me for selfish reasons.  What would it mean for me and my future? I was 18 and ready to embark on my next journey.  

My dad was out to sea {Navy Submarine} and was supposed to pull in that day, they were almost in but because of the attack they were sent back out.  I remember our phone ringing constantly that day and the days to follow.  My mom was reassuring families things would be ok, the boat would pull in soon and not to pay too much attention to what the news was saying.  Hearing her say this over and over again was a reminder I also needed to hear, because again I was being a little bit selfish.  

A few days later my parents were supposed to drive me 3 hours north to UC Santa Barbara for my Freshman year of college.  This was an event all 3 of us had worked hard for and I wanted my dad to be home for this. So selfishly I was upset at the terrorists who attacked our country. It isn't something I am proud to admit, but it was my way of processing what had happened. 

Thankfully a few days later my dad's boat did pull in and he was able to join my mom and I on our road trip to college.  {In true military life my dad deployed a few times in the years to come and did miss family events. As I look back at this event I am super grateful he was able to be home for a small event that was a big moment for me.}

The first few weeks of school were kind of a daze. So many changes in my personal life and so many changes for our country.  I took a world religion class my first quarter and it was no surprise we talked a lot about 9/11. I wasn't ready to talk about it then. I had not yet fully understood how those terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 would affect myself and our country for the years to come. 

Looking back at how selfish I was is a bit embarrassing, but I truly think it was how I was able to process what had happened.  Every year I try to figure out why I had those feelings.  I knew the world, especially the United States would be changed in a significant way after 9/11/01.  I knew our country would go to war. I knew hundreds of thousands of military troops would deploy. I knew military families would be on a crazy journey.  I never realized it would be a 13 years and counting journey.  I never realized I would marry a sailor and would still be affected by the events that happened 13 years ago.  

I think I was selfish when I was 18 because I wouldn't be able to be selfish later on.  As I type this my husband has been deployed for 7 months.  Thankfully I know he is safe, but military life uncertainty, war, deployments, and terrorist attacks are things that always dance around in the back of my mind.  

Every year on this day I pray for the families who lost loved ones, I pray for our government officials, I pray for those currently serving, I pray for those who served after 9/11/01.  Mostly I just pray, because when I don't know what to do I pray.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

5 tips for training for a half marathon + my training plan

When training for a half marathon having a training plan is key.  You need to sit down and find a plan that will work for you, your body and your schedule.  

A 12-week plan, a 16-week plan, whatever works best for you. 

I ran my first half marathon back in April of 2010. I was a hot mess. I think the longest run I did before the race was 6-7 miles. I look back at that race and am amazed I didn't die, lol. 

When I signed up for that race I had every intention of training, but somehow life got in the way and I didn't make it a priority.  I was smart enough to email the sweet and amazing Danica of Chic Runner and ask her if she had any advice on how to train.  She sent me a great running plan.  

Her running plan was the base of my running plan for the 2014 Rock-n-Roll Virginia Beach.  

My training plan: 

Sunday: easy 2 miles 

Monday & Tuesday: 4 miles 

Thursday or Friday: long run

I tried to up my long run 1 mile each week. It wasn't perfect but after I hit week 9 and did 10 miles I decided to focus on get comfortable with doing 8-9 miles and be really strong. 

Long runs: 

Week 1 - 4 miles 
Week 2 - 5 miles 
Week 3 - 5 miles 
Week 4 - 6 miles 
Week 5 - 7 miles {from week 5 on all long runs were on Thursdays}
Week 6 - 8 miles 
Week 7 - 7 miles 
Week 8 - 8 miles {stopped Sunday runs} 
Week 9 - 10 miles 
Week 10 - 8 miles 
Week 11 - 9.25 miles 
Week 12 - 9 miles
Week 13 - 9 miles
Week 14 - 6 miles
Week 15 - 4 miles {I only ran 4 miles on Tuesday and 4 miles on Thursday and then my race was Sunday}
Week 16- Race day! 

{You can find some great info and a running plan from Danica.}

After a few weeks of running 7+ miles for my long run on Thursday's I realized my body need an extra day to recover so I stopped doing my short 2 mile sunday runs. 

My tips for training: 

1. Find a running plan and use it. You might have to tweak it, but you need to have goals and a plan. This helps when you are feeling unmotivated to run.  When you know you have a goal you want to meet for the week you are more likely to lace up your kicks and hit the pavement! 

2. Create a schedule and stick to it.  They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so it is going to take you at least a few weeks of consistently training/running before it really becomes a habit. I knew if I didn't set up a strict plan I would let training fall off my list of priorities.  I decided I was going to run every Mon/Tues and Thurs no matter what. If it rained I would head to the gym and get my run in via the treadmill.  {Thankfully there were no rainstorms on my long run days!} I don't start work until 10am so running first thing in the morning was easy for me to schedule in.  I also know myself well enough to know if I put it off until the evening I would never do it.  I found that I really enjoyed starting my day with a run and it set a great tone for the rest of the day. 

3. Have lots of good food in the fridge.  Eggs, lots of eggs! Hardboiled eggs were my lifesaver after long runs. I would be starving and they would be easy for me to eat with no prep since they were already cooked.  I had lots of fruit on hand to have in the morning to help rehydrate and since it is hot and humid in Virginia in the summer it was beyond refreshing.  Make sure you are getting enough protein. It doesn't always have to be from meat, but your body will need more protein the more miles you log. 

4. Take a multivitamin.  You already should be taking one, wink wink, but if you aren't now is a great time to start. 

5. Reward yourself for all the hard work you are doing.  My biggest reward is a massage. It is a great way to motivate yourself to keep going.  Treat yourself to a 60 or 90 minute massage halfway through your training.  If you body is anything like mine it will need it like crazy. ;)  Another good reward is new running clothes or shoes. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Half Marathon Must Haves

Wow, it's been a while bloggy friends.

I'm going to attempt to use this space a bit more to share tips and info about my running.

Last sunday {8/31} I ran my second 1/2 marathon, the Rock-n-Roll Virginia Beach.

I have been training for the last 14 weeks and along the way I picked up a lot of good tips I thought might be valuable for others starting to train of 13.1 miles of fun!

I am going to start out with a post of what I used for my race. In the future I will share more in detail about many of the items show below.

1. Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 5 I love these shoes! I bought them about halfway though my training and instantly fell in love.  They are light weight and have a 4mm offset, which is similar to the Nike Frees I was running in before. {I loved those too, but I think I love these just a bit more}  If you have never been fitted for a running shoe before I highly suggest you do it.  Find a running/athletic store in your area and get fitted! If you are running in the wrong shoes your body will soon hate you!

2. Running top: Target no longer has this exact top, but here is a similar one.  I love the tops with the built in bra, and since I have tiny boobies I don't have to worry about my girls bouncing around.

3. Shorts: Champion shorts I buy these at the Navy Exchange, but I linked to them via their website.  Right now it looks like you can save 40% if you order 2 pairs, so 40% of $50 is $30 for two pairs, a great deal!

4. Socks: I like thin cotton socks. These are by Hanes. Nothing fancy, Less than $10 for a pack of 8.

5. Running pack: The running belt above is by Marika, I can't find it online. I bought it at Marshall's or TJMaxx for about $10. I use it to hold my iphone while I run so I can listen to music and get my mile splits via the Map my Run app. I also use the side pockets to hold my Clif Bloks.

6. Fuel: Clif Bloks, I am not a fan of gels, so these bloks are my go to. I like the Citrus flavor.

7. Sunscreen: for my body I use the Target brand sport spray in SPF 30. For my face I use Supergoop! Anti Aging City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30

8. Knee tape: KT Tape, this stuff is AH-MAZ-ING. I have had issues with IT band {outer knee} for years, when it started to act up I bought some KTTape and never looked back! It is kind of hard for me to explain what it does so you should just read about it here. They have video tutorials for tons of injuries, I love love love this tape and their online team is super amazing and can answer questions if you tag them on IG or Tweet them @kttape. 

9. Sunglasses: These are prescription from Firmoo. Running in the blazing sun requires sunglasses.  

I'll soon be sharing the running plan I used to train for 13.1 miles of fun! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The best 5 years...

Dear Husband-

Every day I am thankful God blessed me with such an amazing husband.
June 2010 - wedding #2

Maybe sometimes I don't show it or say it but I am so lucky to get to do life with you. 

Fall 2012

We have been through many ups and downs together, but overall the journey has been better than I could have ever imagined. The first 5 years of marriage have been amazing, I can only imagine what the next 50 will look like! I am so proud of the man I married and the man you continue to grow to be.

May 2012 the day before OCS graduation

Our life is so amazing and we are so blessed because of your hard work. 

I hope you know how proud I am of you. You are the most important person to me in the entire world. You keep me going and give me strength when I don't have it. You believe in me and all of my crazy ideas.  You know just what I need to hear when I need a push to keep going and you know when to give me the nudge to call it a day.  You teach me every day how to be selfless and work hard.  

If anyone can make their dreams and hopes a reality it is you.  Your hard work continues to pay off, I am always inspired by the way you take on a dream head on and make it happen

Fall 2013

I love you more every day. Thank you for asking me to be your wife.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

hello 31, I think we'll be friends

Today marks the first day of 31.  When I was in my 20s I thought I would be one of those people who had a hard time adjusting to the idea of being a 30-something.  Thankfully I am not, 30s rock! 

shirt: Banana Republic // skirt: H&M // 
shoes: Matisse footwear via DSW // bracelet: Tiffany & Co. 

I'll tell anyone who will listen, I loved being 30. My 20s weren't bad, but I think we all had our years of being a hot mess. I know a lot of friends who are turning 30 this year or the next and are having a hard time dealing with it. My advice, stop thinking about the plans you had. 

We all had plans to become the first woman president, be a CEO, have our own business, have 2.5 kids, and a house with a white picket fence. No one is living the life they dreamed about when they were 18. I think if you sat down and wrote out all that you've accomplished you'd realize you've lived a pretty amazing life and are probably doing things you never even dreamed about! 

Don't waste your time comparing your life to the life you thought you'd have or to others. If you still feel like you aren't where you should be then use 30 as an opportunity to making changes. Make 30 the year you start that job, go back to school, loose the weight. {this advice applies to any age!}

It was as if turning 30 flipped a switch in my head.  I no longer cared what others thought, I did things for me.  I didn't worry that someone would think I was uncool or not smart.  My focus went from trying to make others like me and think I was amazing to instead showing myself I was amazing and being happy in my own skin.  

I could have very easily let turning 30 be a time to commiserate about all that I wanted to do by 30 but did not accomplish.  Instead I choose to focus on the things that I never thought I would do. 

I am exactly where I need to be.  

I never thought we would have bought a house at 30.  

I never thought I would be working from home doing a job many people dream about.  

I never thought I would be living in the south in our 100 year old house.  

I never thought I would love living in the south so much, I think I'm turning into a southern belle! 

I never thought I would be in the best shape of my life and addicted to hot yoga. 

Instead of focusing on all of these amazing opportunities God has given me I could focus on what I don't have at 30, children.  Thankfully I am 100% happy with where Scott and I are on our journey to becoming parents.  I was really hoping to be pregnant for this deployment, but I can tell you with 100% certainty I am happy I am not.  I know it would have been a difficult thing to do alone and with all of my infertility issues I would have been going to many appointments alone and doing it by myself does not seem ideal.  I know many amazing women do go through an entire pregnancy and give birth while their husband is deployed, but seeing that we have spent almost 4 years trying to start a family if I am able to get pregnant I think it is something I want Scott to be around for.  

After 4 years of trying I just want us to grow our family.  The desire and need to be pregnant is no longer there, instead the focus is on little fingers and toes in our house, however God wants that to happen.  I want to see my sweet handsome husband holding our baby, and however we are blessed with that baby is at God's will and that is exactly where I want to be.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

leopard and lace + deployment talk

Yesterday marks 1 month down on the deployment calendar, YEOW!!!

The first month is hard, yo.

Really the last two weeks of the first month is brutal.

That is when it all starts to sink in. You realize they won't be home ANYTIME soon.

You realize how quiet the house is with them away.

lace sweatshirt: Forever21 // leopard shirt: LOFT // jeans: JCrew // Booties: Biala via Nordstrom

I had great days and I had baaaad days. But the first month is the hardest.  Then you get to about 2/3 of the way through you just get annoyed.  You know you can handle anything but your ready for husband to be home. You're tired of being alone.

If I was going to be honest about how I handled the first month I'd give myself a C+/B-.  I think most days I made it through pretty well but some days I felt like I was crashing and burning big time.  I still can't really wrap my head around Scott being gone for so long.  Proof that you never really get used to deployment.  I just try and take things one day at a time. I can't focus on how many months we have left, instead each morning after I poor my cup of coffee I cross of a day on the deployment calendar.  

Thankfully the first month has been packed full of events with friends, buying our house and I'll be traveling for work soon and my birthday is next month. It is safe to say I think the month of April will fly by.  Beyond that I need to get more fun penciled into my calendar! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

red + cream + black & white {thoughts on comparison}

I think we have all heard the phrase by Theodore Roosevelt:

       “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I try to remind myself of this often. I have a bad habit of comparing my success or my life to others. The reality is we are all in different places and have different circumstances.  While I might be wishing for a life more similar to "so and so" they might be wishing for a life different from their own. 

This online world has a funny way of only showing others the best of their days and the good news the receive.  This is a topic many many MANY bloggers have talked about. So today I won't be sharing about why we shouldn't compare. Instead I'm going to be open and honest with you about the lack of confidence I have in myself and the struggle I have with what I want my life to look like. 

jacket, button up, booties and tights: Target // dress: The Limited // necklace: carolineg  // 
bag: Dooney & Burke {gift from hubby}

Some days I wake up and I want to work my 8-9 hours a day at my two consulting jobs and then close my computer and go about my life.  Basically some days I just want to clock in, do a good job and then focus on things outside of military life, social media, and brands.  Other days I wake up and I want to push to be a leader in my field, to be asked to speak at conferences etc. I feel like I go from one extreme to the other.  I strive to find a middle ground but if I am honest I am kind of an all or nothing kinda gal.  Go big or go home.  

There has to be a middle ground, because right now in this season of my life I can dedicate a lot of time to my work.  With Scott being gone most of this year diving into work is how I plan to help the time pass.  But what about when he gets back? What about when we start a family? What if we do not do it the conventional way and don't have 9 months of pregnancy to plan?  What if we go from no baby to 1 or 2 in a matter of months through adoption?  Then what?  Will I be able to juggle it all?  Gosh, I feel like I am getting way ahead of myself.  But the reality is I need to be able to not only look at what is in front of me now but also how life can change over short and long periods of time. 

I am not saying I need to create a plan, I know plans never work! Things never go how you expect them to.  That is both the joy and the frustration with life, don't you think?  I quit working in July of 2011 in hopes of focusing on my mental and physical health to help our infertility journey.  When I was ready to go back into the working world in the Fall of 2012 I did not want to end up in an office doing admin work or in a government contract job {nothing is wrong with either of these kinds of jobs, they are just not for me}. I wanted to pursue my passion for social media. I also wanted to work 4-5 hours a day.  Fast forward to today, I am working in the field I want but the time commitment is different than I had planned.  Opportunities arrived at my door after a lot of hard work and they allow me to do work I love and make more money that I had anticipated which means Scott and I can save for things like adoption and trips.  We can buy a house and not be worried about our finances like we were 2-3 years ago.  I was blessed with more than I had anticipated and thankfully I saw it as a blessing and not another failed plan. 

Now I am faced with the question, do I stop pushing to go to the next level or do I stay where I am and try to be content with the success I have now?  I am a competitive person by nature, not always with others, sometimes with only myself.  Can I push harder than I planned, can I get a better job than I thought I could?  I do find myself comparing my successes to my husband's success.  This is hard because I actively made the decision for us to really focus on his career and where the Navy will take us.  Sometimes I don't see my progress in a black and white way like I do Scott's.  The Navy/military structures things in a way that makes it very easy to see someone's progress.  In the civilian world these advancements/achievements aren't as black and white.  

I am struggling to give myself more credit for the success I have found already.  I need to also be ok knowing that maybe my career plans and path might not go in the direction I hope.  God might have different plans for me.  

Please tell me I am not the only one who struggles with the idea of having a career identity.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thoughts on being BRAVE + date night outfit

Today marks our first week of deployment done.  Small victory cheer! 

Today also marks the day I go and sign papers to close on our first house.  We are homeowners as of today.  C-R-A-Z-Y-T-O-W-N! 

Back in July of last year while Scott was on a 6-week work adventure I was walking Khloe in downtown Ghent admiring all of my favorite houses.  I was also chatting with my girlfriends via FB messenger. As I swooned over these $500,000+ homes I jokingly told them I was going to buy a house when Scott deployed next year.  Famous last words.  

While the house we are buying is nowhere near $500,000 it is well within the price I am comfortable paying for a house.  We are buying the house we have lived in for the 17 months and we know it will be a good investment/rental property when we leave VA.  Because of that I was very adamant that the mortgage be something we knew we could potentially pay for plus the rent of a new home when we move to a new duty station in the future.  Not to say we plan to pay the mortgage and rent of a new place forever, but I needed to know if it took us some time to find renters we wouldn't be sweating bullets.   

Buying our first home while Scott is deployed has caused me a lot of emotions.  I'm slightly sad he is not here to celebrate, but alas duty calls.  It has also reminded me that we can do things we never imagined.  The irony of me buying the house and having done all the paperwork etc is that in the beginning of all of this I didn't want to buy a house.  Having a mortgage seems scary and too grown up.  I am glad my husband pushed for this, I know it is a smart investment decision and I know this is God's plan and where we are supposed to be in our life.  

Having Scott leave last week was sad.  At the same time I felt like I didn't really accept it or process it.  Maybe all the home buying stuff has me wrapped up, a good thing.  I think though, in the next few weeks it will really sink in.  As I find my new routine and go about my day sans husband I think the reality of 9 months apart will sink in. 

The day Scott left I had many many friends text and message me that they were thinking of me. They were praying for me and that they were there should I need a shoulder or just someone to chat with it.  It was a great reminder that we do not do this thing called deployment alone.  I also had a dear friend {who is not a military spouse} tell me I was brave.  I was taken aback by this statement.  I had never thought of myself as brave.  I think too often we as military spouses don't give ourselves enough credit and try to brush off deployment as no big deal.  I am guilty of it, I am guilty of being annoyed listening to someone whine about their husband being gone,  I am guilty of judging people who move "home" during a deployment.  I am also guilty of not thinking we are brave.  We are brave. My friend is 100% right, we are brave.  It is brave to kiss you husband goodbye and know for the next 9 months he will be serving his country.  I am thankful he will not be in harms way, but 9 months is a long time and things could change.  

I think I don't see myself as being brave because I don't see any other option.  I think maybe, powering through the 9 months and making the best of it and knowing some how, some way we will make it to the end is how I get through each day, and that is what being brave is all about. 

dress: Anthropologie // jacket: Target // tights: Target // heels // Nine West // jewelry: Fancesca's

Now that I've gotten that off my chest let's talk about this outfit I wore a few weeks ago for our early Valentine's Day dinner. I kinda want to wear it It was probably the best date Scott has ever taken me on.  We went to a super cute and fancy, but not too fancy, French restaurant in downtown.  There are only about 10 tables in the place and the vibe is fantastic. We had a group of 4 on one side of us speaking French and English and a couple on the side doing the same.  I felt like I was transported to another place.  We enjoyed an amazing bottle of French Pinot Noir, delicious food and hours of great conversation.  Not the normal work and day to day marriage talk, but good deep conversation about our goals, dreams and the future.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

i just want to be a happy woman + what i wore

I try and walk a good line between venting/complaining and being encouraging, but sometimes it just feels like life is too hard to view the glass as half full. 

I look at my life and remind myself of the blessings I have, I do this so often that when things get crazy I feel bad letting out a cry for help.  Scratch that, it isn't even a cry for help, more of a cry of defeat.  

I feel like the last 6 weeks have been a bit crazy. Not the "I'm so busy I don't have time for xyz", but more of the "life keeps sending curve balls and I'm running out of ways to catch them or dodge them."

I've shared on instagram and on my personal FB account that back in January we put in an offer on the house we are currently renting and the owners accepted.  I'd like to say Scott and I are buying a house, but in reality with him in deployment prep mode it is more like I am buying a house.  Whoosh, it is stressful.  The bank has all they need from us but trying to get the needed repairs is proving to be exhausting.  The repairs need to be done to the exterior of the house and since mid January we've had snow, freezing temperature and or rain each week.  I feel like I am trying to manage 5 year olds trying to get it all taken care of.  

And speaking of deployment, Scott leaves SOON. For OPSEC reasons I am not sharing the exact date but I can tell you our days together are limited.  

I think up until recently I was in denial that he was going to leave.  I was of course fully aware of the things we needed to get in order before he left, but emotionally I was in denial.  It was very recently that I finally accepted the fact that we will spend 9 months apart.  This is not our first deployment or separation, but it is still hard.  Ask any military spouse and they will tell you, those weeks leading up to deployment are THE.WORST.   

As Scott prepares for deployment I have already started taking over tasks and things that he usually handles and I can already see that I am going to need to simplify my life a bit.  I have a tendency to add to my already over full plate. With my partner in life, and the guy I rely on to keep my grounded and sane going half way around the world I think I need to step back and re-evaluate my priorities and obligations.  News flash Jen, YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL! STOP TRYING! 

As much as I want to stay busy to pass the time while Scott is deployed I also want to make sure I am not running myself ragged.  I really enjoy my job in social media, but it often times requires a little extra time spent here or there so I need to remember that when I commit to other projects.  I will of course continue to do this job that I love, thus I need to makes shifts in other areas of my life.  Saying "NO" is hard, but I really need to start learning how to let that little word fly out of my mouth.  

jacket: H&M // necklace: Macy's {gift} // top: Style and Co via the marine corps exchange //
 jeans: American Eagle // shoes: via marine corps exchange // bracelet: The Loft {gifted}

I hate when I have days where the to-do list never ends, life seems to be whizzing by and I don't have a real firm grasp on anything.  Those days usually happen once every few weeks, but lately it seems to the daily norm.  I am working on being more focused and also learning to stop and say this can wait.  Do I need to do that task at 8pm at night after a full days work or can it wait until tomorrow?  I don't want to try and be super woman, I just want to be a happy woman. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February Goals + cobalt blue what i wore

Oh hello February, nice to see you! January is never a fun month in my book. Getting back into a normal routine after the holidays, the cold, the gloom. It is kinda blah for me.  We had snow here in Norfolk the last two weeks of January, it was not my for me.  Snow is great to visit and enjoy on a vacation, but I'd like our southern weather back please. 

In January I shared my word for 2014, Grace, as well as what I wanted my January goal to be. In January I wanted to focus on my marriage. I also wrote this post about marriage being hard.  I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't say January was a bit of a trying month for our marriage.  We had lots of life decisions happening, super highs and super lows. We began to really get into the deployment preparations.  We had celebratory dinners and then we had canceled date nights because we fought.  

We of course made up and both realized we had a fight over mostly little things because it is a common coping mechanism for couples before a deployment, kind of a way to distance yourself emotionally. We only have a few more weeks left before I kiss my sailor goodbye for 9 months and start the long homecoming countdown.  So for the next few weeks I will continue to focus on my marriage.  But I do have other goals for February. 

This month is all about my blog.  

I really, really want to get back into posting more regularly. 

Sharing what is on my heart, sharing my outfits, sharing things I love, sharing recipes, sharing more. 

I need to carve out time in the day to do and stick to.  

I am finally having a blog re-design. I changed my url and blog name last year and have yet to get a legit blog re-design.  I am so excited to work with Jane from Poppiness Designs

earrings: Francesca's // necklace & jacket: Forever 21 // top: H&M // pencil pants: Target
 // heels: Nine West // bracelet: the Loft, a gift // bag: Kate Spade, gift from husband

I need to write when the idea strikes.  I get an idea about a thought I want to share, I swear I'll remember it later and then when I sit down to write the words are gone.  I need to take 5 minutes and jot down the ideas and words when they come to me. 

I have a bunch of outfit posts lined up for the month and even took some great photos of our living room and reading room to share on the blog! We've lived in our house for over a year and I have yet to really share any of the rooms on the blog.  

What tips do you have for staying focused and making time for blogging, I'd love to hear them! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spiritual Gifts, Infertility + what i wore

A few Sundays ago the sermon at church was about spiritual gifts.  

It really struck a cord with me. 

As I was taking notes I couldn't help but wonder, what is my spiritual gift? 

What did God give me to use to share the Word and his message? I took this down in my notes: "Spiritual gifts, each of us has special gift or talent. For the building up of the body of the church, aka brothers & sisters in Christ."  I could immediately tell you the spiritual gifts of many people I know, but I was stumped when I reflected about what talent God blessed me with.  {This isn't to say I don't see all the talents and gifts he has given me, I am focusing on what spiritual gift I have that allows me to be a light for His Word.}    

I found this test online , a spiritual gifts analysis.  It didn't take me very long to complete and it really helped me to see that the everyday things I do are my spiritual gifts.  

My two areas of strength are exhortation and administration.  Thankfully the analysis also gave me the definition of exhortation, it is a greek word that means to encourage.  Yes, yes I can see how that is my strongest spiritual gift, I love to encourage others.  

This is what they said about exhortation:

You are a "how to" person. You have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by motivating others to action by urging them to pursue a course of conduct. In a teaching position, you are able to explain how to apply God's Word. Your goal is to present material that enables the Holy Spirit to promote change in the student's life. You reach out and help Christians become more mature.

As an exhorter you are a very practical person, a good counselor, tolerant of others, serious-minded, orderly, and usually impulsive. You are expressive in a group setting; the group listens when you speak. You are comfortable working one-on-one or in groups. You are enthusiastic and talkative and enjoy encouraging others.

While I am still striving to have some of those characteristics it is easy for me to see that this is something I do naturally.  I blog to share my story, to inspire others and I hope that in doing both of those things I can share His Word.  

I recently had dinner with a friend, a friend who is also dealing with infertility.  A topic she is becoming comfortable talking about more openly.  During our dinner conversation she mentioned to me that it was so helpful for her to hear me say that I am finally at a place of calm when it comes to my infertility journey.  It does not eat me up inside like it did in the beginning.  2013 was a turning point for my infertility journey, I am at peace knowing that some way, some how I will be a mom.  While I want it to be through giving birth, I am not longer haunted with the idea that it might not be God's plan.  It is 100% through my faith that I finally feel peace about the journey. 

While some days are better than others it is when I cling to His Word that I can get through each day and know that His plan is far better than mine.  I have been open about my struggle to start a family for a few years and I truly believe it one of the ways that I can be a light for His Word. 

sweatshirt: The Loft // skirt: The Limited {thrifted} // tights: Kohl's // shoes: Navy Exchange // bag: Kate Spade {gift from husband} // bracelet: The Loft {gift}

Thursday, January 16, 2014

vintage tartan scarf, fancy sweatshirt + chucks

I love a good sweatshirt. Back in my college days I was a hoodie junkie, I had a to have a hoodie with me at all times.  It was kind of like a security blanket, crazy but true.  Fast forward to a few years ago when I found a sequined sweatshirt at forever 21, it was a dream come true! I began rocking that sweatshirt long before everyone else was wearing blinged out sweatshirts.  I have now started to collect fancy sweatshirts that keep your warm and cozy but also look cute and put together.  

This sweatshirt below was a steal of a deal for $22 at the Loft over the holidays.  It has rhinestones and pearls all over and makes me feel fancy yet casual.  Add my thrifted vintage tartan scarf, new favorite JCrew jeans and a pair of chucks and you are ready for a day of running around.  A perfect Saturday outfit. 

Also, if you want to hear about our deployment adventures you can read my post about The Joys of PreDeployment over on the Got Your 6 blog

scarf: trifted // sweatshirt: The Loft // striped shirt: Forever21 // jeans: JCrew // kicks: Converse via the NEX

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Do You Have a Tribe? + what i wore

Tribe, this word seems to be popping up everywhere: Facebook, Instragram, blogging, and just about every virtual network I belong to. 

A few definitions of tribe: 

  • a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs
  • a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

I've been mulling over this word for a few months now, it has made me a bit sad. Maybe sad isn't the right word to use, maybe empty is a better word. 

Sometimes the life of moving and being a military spouse leads to a bit of disconnection.  When I married Scott and left  San Diego I left a "tribe" of friends who I have known for 10+ years. It was HARD.  Over time at my first duty station as a military spouse I cultivated a group of girlfriends, they became my Port Hueneme and milspouse tribe.  

After we left the west coast and headed east these gals became my military life rock. I could text of vox them when I was feeling out of sorts as we lived in a hotel suite in a podunk town in the panhandle of Florida for three months.  I could text them when it was over 3 months and we had yet to receive a year of travel expenses incurred thanks to the military. They understood it all.  

My oldest tribe of girlfriends are also still very much a part of my life, mostly via texting and a few facetime wine nights here and there.  Their relationship is so ingrained in my life that even if we go a few weeks or months without talking we can pick up right where we left off.  The truest signs of life long friendships. 

I should almost mention I am lucky enough to have one of my milspouse tribe gals, Liz, now on the east coast with me, living in the next town over. #hooray! I also have friends I have meet through the command as well as Junior League but I still feel like I am missing something.  

I feel like I am missing a true tribe for this time in my life.  Minus Liz and my friend Steph, I feel like I am missing a group of women that are I can really let my guard down with. Where I don't have to worry that they will over think something I say in the moment.  I feel like I am missing a group of women I can look to for encouragement and support when it comes to my faith.  Maybe I am just super picky but it seems life finding a bible study type group is a lot harder than I thought.  I now realize the group of women I got to know in the Fall of 2011 and Winter of 2012 were so much more a part of my life than I could ever realize.  Those wednesday {or maybe thursday} morning meet ups rocked my world in ways that are still touching me today.  

jacket: Anthropologie // top: The Loft // scarf: Target // jeans: J Crew // booties: Target
an adorable photobomb by Khloe

While I am sure I could find a virtual tribe I really feel like life is better when you have peeps you can call up and set up a last minute coffee date with when life seems to be too much.  With Scott's 9 month deployment down to single digit weeks countdown I think this idea of a tribe has moved to the forefront of my thoughts.  

I think that I do a good job of putting myself out there and trying to meet new people, so I am kind of struggling to figure out how I can cultivate stronger friendships here in Norfolk. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

what i wore: bold patterns and peplum sweaters

This is another outfit I wore while in Charlottesville for our #predeploymentgetaway.  

I am so in love with this jacket I got from Anthro this past Fall. I saw it in store and when it was marked down I ordered it online faster than you could make a cup of instant coffee! 

And let's not forget about this peplum top that is a sweater, genius! It is thin enough to layer under jackets and not feel like the marshmallow man.  Plus it is soft as all get out. {where does that phrase come from, it is kinda funny.}

I've spent the last few months wearing my hair curled, I am kind of diggin' wearing it straight with my new straight across bangs, what do you think? 

p.s. my husband is becoming quiet the outfit photographer.

jacket: Anthropologie // sweater peplum top: Loft // jeans: J Crew // booties: Target 

jacket: Ann Taylor Loft {thrifted} // purse: Dooney & Burke

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