February 13, 2015

one word: SELFIES

What started out as nothing more than an inconvenient thing to do when no one was around {or you were too afraid to ask someone} to take a picture of you with your best friend, has evolved to one of the most annoying things ever:  the SELFIE.

Let me be clear, I know a selfie is technically a picture you take of yourself, but for the purposes of this post I'm generalizing it to any picture of just you - whether you took it or not.

As I scroll through my Instagram feed and see people post these amazing pictures of just themselves, that were obviously taken by someone else, I often wonder how that picture came to be.  I mean, the picture of you perfectly posed outside the airport holding your purse that's as big as Massachusetts and as expensive as my car, was that planned?  Did someone ask you, "Can I take your picture so you can post it for all your friends to see?"  Or, did you ask someone to take your picture?

How do these pictures come to be?

Luckily, I got a partial answer a few weeks ago while waiting to eat at a restaurant.  A nice girl walked in with her {I guess?} husband and daughter.  She was dressed well and looked really pretty.  And that's all I really thought about her until I heard, "Will you take my picture over by this table?"  I looked up, and sure enough this guy was taking her picture next to this random table.

I get if you're at the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China that you'd want a picture taken of yourself.  But, just at a restaurant, on a seemingly normal day?  And, why not include the people you're with in the picture?

And then there are the people who upload literally hundreds {true story, I can prove it} of actual selfies to Facebook.  I get a picture here and a picture there, especially if it's a picture celebrating or documenting some special event or location.  But, hundreds of pictures of you.  In your car.  With your lips puckered.  All while flashing a peace sign.  I'm pretty sure some hippie just rolled over in his/her grave.

In all fairness, I don't like to get my picture taken, so it's difficult for me to imagine myself asking someone to take a picture of just me.  Frolicking.  In a field.  With the sunset in the background.  And my hair blowing in the wind.  And then posting it online where my friends will obviously tell me how cute my hair is, ask where I got my shoes, or to say how jealous they are of me because I'm so pretty.

Because, let's face it, you don't post a selfie of yourself unless you think you look good in it.  You just don't.

Unless you're me.

Courtesy of ISC Photography

What are your thoughts on selfies?

January 3, 2015

my NEW YEAR giveaway: BALANCE

Happy New Year!

A new year means a renewed sense of excitement and dedication to my blog, but since I'm done making promises about blogging more {not to suggest anyone is heartbroken by my lack of posts} I'm just going to say that I hope I can arrange time to this hobby of mine and blog regularly.

I decided to start 2015 off with a bang and have another giveaway!  This giveaway features probably my favorite oil:  BALANCE.  Referred to as a Grounding Blend, this oil promotes tranquility and a sense of balance.  



Balance has a woody, yet fresh and sweet scent that can be used aromatically or topically.  My favorite way to apply Balance into my life is by diffusing it during the day.  I add a few drops of LIME to enhance the effects and the smell is AMAZING.  I also enjoy rubbing it on my feet at the beginning of the day or applying it to my wrists throughout the day as a way to keep myself centered and in control of my emotions.

Balance retails for over $26.00, but you can enter to win a free 15 mL bottle.  Here's how you enter:

Leave a comment telling me why you deserve a bottle of Balance and how you'd use it.  To receive one additional entry, head over to my Facebook page and share my post about this giveaway.

I will also be randomly selecting two lucky people to receive a free sample of Balance, so please enter for your chance to win at least one of two great options!  And, remember, I don't have a huge following on this blog, so your chances of winning are great!

I will announce the winners of Wednesday, January 7th.

Good luck, Everyone!

...

A few people had issues entering my last giveaway.  I think this is because Blogger is weird on mobile devices.  If you have a Google ID, sign in BEFORE you leave your comment.  If you don't have a Google ID, leave an Anonymous comment and just leave your name at the end of the comment.  Please let me know on Facebook or Instagram if you have any issues entering this giveaway!

October 25, 2014

my TWO THOUGHTS

Last Saturday, the dread of the upcoming day was sinking in.  Sunday.  The hardest day of the week was fast approaching, and I had a very important decision to make.  I could deal with it, or I could run away from it.

I've blogged a lot about how difficult it has been for me to take my children to church.  It doesn't seem to matter how much I prepare, I always manage to forget something that apparently my children can't live without and can't possibly be well-behaved unless it is in their possession.

Sunday morning came and I was wrestling with myself as I tried to come up with a legitimate excuse as to why we could stay home from church.  Dustin for sure had to go because of his church responsibilities, but certainly there was a reason I could stay home.

As a pondered what to do, two thoughts kept entering my mind.  The first was, "just deal with it."  The second was, "trust me."

I made the decision to go to church and "just deal" with whatever happened.  I also, in some strange way, knew this week would prove to be different.

I arrived to church, armed with every snack and coloring instrument known to man.  I found a bench close to the organ so the girls could watch Dustin play during sacrament meeting.  As the meeting began, I watched as my children sat quietly and contently.  They colored and requested snacks, and I managed to keep them contained for a good 30 minutes.  A big change from the last few months!

Eventually, though, we did make our way to the hallway, but the day was already shaping up to be better than the many weeks prior.  While in the hallway, my girls wanted to run around and be free, but I remained firm with them and they stayed by my side almost the entire time.

After sacrament meeting, Isabelle complained about going to primary.  I snapped my fingers and told her to go. And she went.  I'm sure I seemed like a a mean mom to the people around me, but I didn't care.  I was going to get through the entire three hours of church if it killed me!

My next stop was taking LL to nursery.  Up until this point, she had refused to go and screamed and cried until I eventually gave up and took her home.  This week, I did a few things that I hoped would help her overcome her fear.  First, as I was getting her ready in the morning, I added a few drops of lavender to her lotion and rubbed it all over her body.  I also added the same oil to her favorite blanket.  At this point, I was willing to do ANYTHING to see some progress.

When we arrived at the nursery room, she got upset and began to cry.  But then she noticed some toys, so I put her down and she began to play.  I quietly stepped out of the room.  I found a chair to sit in and listened.  Sure enough, she began to cry.  I knew the nursery leaders would bring her to me if it got too bad, so I remained in my chair and listened.  After ten minutes, the crying stopped.  And it never started back up again.

Eventually, I went to Relief Society for the first time in awhile.  It was lovely to be at church, sitting by my friend and knowing every member of my family was where he/she needed to be.

As I left church, I reflected upon the thoughts I had had earlier that day:  "just deal with it" and "trust me."  I really believe those were inspired messages.  On the one hand, I believe it was time for me to "just deal" with the weekly struggles of church with kids.  There are worse things in life that I could be dealing with, and since I know going to church is the right thing to do, I may as well go and make the best of it.

After spending the week thinking about my second thought, "trust me," I came to the realization that I don't think I actually had true faith that Heavenly Father would answer my prayers.  Each week I would plead with Him to help me understand how to help my children behave in church, and each
week I felt as if He never heard my prayer.

But, obviously, I know He did.  He just didn't answer it the way I wanted Him too.  Or, maybe I wasn't giving Him enough time to answer.  Regardless, I was given a firm reminder that simply knowing my prayers CAN be answered does not equal having faith that they WILL be answered.

Of course, this isn't the first time I've been humbled by God when it comes to this situation.  {If I haven't told that story, I will soon!}

But, hopefully, I've learned my lesson.  And the lesson I took away from this special Sunday was this:
No day will ever go exactly the way I want.

There really is a difference between belief and faith.

 And, if it's hard doing the right thing, you do it anyway and you just deal with it.

October 23, 2014

when I was in A RUT...

Every once in awhile, I find myself in a rut.  Nothing in my life is necessarily wrong, but something feels like it's missing.  I experienced such rut a few months ago.  Isabelle had just started school, and our family had began a new schedule that was very much the same each and every day.  

Don't get me wrong - I love schedules and routines!  But there were days that I would think that there was more to me than just waking up, getting ready, dropping kids off at school, picking kids up from school, cleaning, running errands, cooking, going to work, etc.  I felt as though I needed to invest more in myself by way of developing new talents or learning about new things.

I decided to spend some more time in an area that had piqued my interest for years:  essential oils.  I was specifically interested in them in terms of cleaning.  I had always been curious about making my own cleaning products and knew essential oils were often used in homemade recipes.  I reached out to a friend of mine who had a lot of experience with the oils, and she helped me find a starter kit that complimented my needs.  


Not long after, I found myself using the oils every single day.  I used them to clean my kitchen and bathrooms.  I used them to help my family, specifically my kids, calm down in the evening and to get better sleep.  I used them to keep the spiders away in my basement.  I used them to wipe down all the door knobs and other frequently touched surfaces in my house to help eliminate germs.  I used them to help clear up my skin when I broke out into hives.  I used them as a "pick me up" when I felt a bit groggy in the morning and mid-afternoon.  And I used them to help my house smell like a million bucks!


Now, only three months later, I have found myself with a new appreciation and love for these oils.  Not only have they given me a plethora of options in how I care for myself and family, they helped me get out of my rut.  It has been so nice to learn about something new and find new ways to spend my time!

As I've shared them with my family and friends, I've forced myself out of my comfort zone and have seen new ways in which I am capable.  And, as a VERY surprising twist, they have helped me earn some extra cash.  An outcome I was not planning or expecting at all.  But, I'm certainly not complaining!

Do you use essential oils?  If so, how?  I'd love to learn new ways to use them!

Do you have an interest in essential oils?  If so, let's talk!  They really have changed my life.

October 10, 2014

FLASHBACK fridays: CROSSROADS

This is a post I wrote a few years ago.  It's a story about a time in my life when I was at a crossroads in my life.  Enjoy!

... 

In May of 2004, I graduated from Weber State University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Family Studies.  At the time, I had a job that was great while I was a student because of the flexible hours, but I always told myself once I graduated I would quit and get a job related to my field.

A few weeks after graduation, I moved into a new apartment and began working full-time for the same company.  My plan was to keep my job while searching for new opportunities.  I also had the plan to go to graduate school the following year.  It seemed like the perfect plan.  

Nearly six months went by and I still had not found a new job, but I wasn't frustrated. I figured it would take awhile. And in the meantime I was learning more about admission requirements for graduate school, getting used to the thought of living in Alabama and dreading the idea of taking the GRE.

One day, while I work, I received an e-mail from my supervisor.  She asked if I had heard about a job opening in a different department and wondered if I was going to apply for it.  I hadn't heard about the position and even though I knew this wasn't her intention, because she sent me that e-mail, I felt a little pressure to apply for the job.  

I had a week to submit my resume, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should do.  I knew I was qualified for the job and stood a really good chance of getting it.  I knew a lot of my friends (including Karen) were applying for it which made things kind of awkward.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to go through with it.

After a few days of thinking things over, I soon realized I was making a very critical decision.  A life changing decision. I knew if I applied for the job, I would get it. I knew accepting the job would change all the plans and goals I had just set for myself.  Without a doubt, I was at a crossroads in my life and I didn't know why.  All I knew is that I had to apply for the job, and I wasn't happy about it.

I submitted my resume and soon had an appointment for an interview.  

The day of my interview, I contemplated what to wear.  I had learned all the do's and don'ts of interviewing, including proper attire.  I knew wearing denim wasn't the best choice, so I wore a jean jacket.  I knew wearing perfume wasn't a wise decision, but I wore it anyway.  I knew I probably should put my hair up, but I wore it down.  I did what I could to not make the best impression because I was scared of getting this job.

I was offered the job.  And I accepted it.  And I knew it was the right decision to make, but still didn't know why.

Weeks later, something unexpected happen:  I began feeling different about a really good friend of mine. A friend that was a boy.  I was annoyed at these new feelings. This guy had been my friend for over a year, and I was satisfied with our relationship.  Suddenly, I was more attracted to him and wanted to spend more time with him.  A new job, now this?  I wanted to tell life I was tired of all the curve balls.

Fast forward at most 10 weeks (yes, that's right, 10 weeks) I found myself engaged. Yes, I was engaged  to this guy whom I had no interest in just months earlier.  It was insane.  Totally insane.  But, it made sense and completely the right thing to do.

I know not everyone believes in God, but I do.  And I know He lead me in a different direction than the one I had all mapped out for myself.  And maybe that was so I could marry Dustin.  Maybe it was to spare me from a situation that would've come about had I gone to graduate school.  I probably won't know the answers to these questions for awhile.  And that is okay because it doesn't matter.

What matters is that I am happy with my husband.  I'm thankful for the life we have built together and the many years to come.

I'm humbled to know that God, in all his infinite power and wisdom, takes time to guide me in the right direction.  And I'm so grateful I listened to Him!

October 9, 2014

the IMPORTANCE of being KIND

On Monday morning, I volunteered at my daughter's school to help with reading.  When I arrived at the school, I was told to check-in at the office.  As I was checking in, which was all done on a computer in the corner of the main office, I heard my daughter's voice.  I glanced behind me and saw her speaking to the school secretary.  She explained that her friend, who was standing next to her, had hurt herself during recess and needed ice for her cheek.

It wasn't until then that she turned and saw me sitting at the nearby computer.  We said hi to each other as the secretary told the girls that ice was available outside with the recess duty.  I motioned for her to follow the instructions, so she and her friend dashed out of the office on to their next destination.

In that moment, I couldn't help but be proud of my little girl for a few reasons.  I was proud she took the initiative to take her friend to the office and was confident enough to talk to the secretary.  But, mostly I was proud that she was being a good friend and that she showed concern and kindness towards one of her classmates.


It is easy for me to overlook the more gentle attributes my daughter displays.  I encourage her to do things on her own and for herself, and I know I put too much stock in her becoming independent and strong.  

This experience reminded me to reinforce the importance of kindness, thoughtfulness and courtesy to my children.  And I'm grateful for my daughter's example because if she can do it, I can do it!

October 8, 2014

INSTAGRAM wednesdays: DECOR by LL

My youngest daughter LL is so busy.  I can't keep up with her.  She is a little bundle of destruction!  She roams our house getting into any and everything she can.

A favorite adventure of hers is raiding the fridge.  I'm always amazed at what I find throughout my house.

 
Salsa, anyone?

For your convenience, here's some orange juice!

While I love my little LL, she can drive me crazy.  I don't want to get a lock for the fridge, but it may end up getting to that point!

Happy INSTAGRAM Wednesday!
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