Love Languages

My best friend Aimee asked me the other day if I’d watched the most recent episode of Jane the Virgin. This evening I caught myself up and finished watching episode fifty-four! I promise I won’t spoil anything, I just wanted to reflect on a scene that is very relevant to my life currently. In this clip Jane and Michael are standing in the door way of their home ready to part ways for the day. Michael is off to take the LSAT and Jane to confront a publisher. Their interaction was such a light I had to rewind the scene and play it again. If you’ve ever heard of the 5 Love Languages (L.L.) by  Gary Chapman, I think he would be proud of Jane. In that moment Jane might have been able to check off all five L.L. (including the food love language which we consider the sixth L.L. in our house). I quickly thought about my interactions with Tim in the morning and replayed our typical situation as we both depart in the morning. I don’t say anything affirming. I probably don’t kiss him goodbye because we’re in the middle of an argument, and I definitely don’t pack his lunch is his perfect version of a lunch pale. Tim and I have been in a windy season. Our comments, expectations, and hurts blowing around us both. It’s exhausting. I don’t know how so many people have managed the conversation of ‘who does what’ in marriage and not left us young folk any sound advice. Unpacking Ephesians 5 in this day and age is hard to grapple with. Seriously. How do we navigate this? Not to mention gender roles, feminism… After the conclusion of episode fifty-four, I thought back to Jane in that moment and asked myself, how could I be like this woman in respecting and encouraging my husband? How could affirming him, making and packing his lunch, and kissing him goodbye touch on my dreams and goals that I feel God has placed in my life? Calling all wives!

Travel Talk

I’ve been so blessed to have opportunities to travel abroad. From military life, to studying abroad, and now ‘holiday’ with my husband. Holiday is synonymous to vacation in Europe. This year alone my husband and I have visited four countries; Jamaica, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. We are currently finishing up our holiday in Europe with friends and family.

I’d love to share with you 5 things to think about/remember when you take your next vacation in Europe.

1. When packing for your trip, don’t bother folding or compacting your items in your suitcase. The more space you take up in your suitcase flying over the better! Once you buy a scarf for your mom, chocolate for your friends, new clothes for your closet, jerseys for your brother, and business shoes for your husband you second guess whether you’ll need another suitcase for the trip back. But since you didn’t organize or roll your clothes coming over you’ll be shocked at how well you can place everything in your original suitcase. My biggest suggestion is to roll your clothes rather than fold.

2. Bring a coin pouch. Euros are so much more exciting than I remembered. The bills are colorful and shiny and the one and two euros are in coins! Don’t be fooled though, they seem to always spend faster than normal! The bathroom or ‘WC’ which stands for water closet typically costs .50€ and water is about 2.50€ for both flat or gas, also referred to as still or sparkling. I’ll tell you one thing, dehydration is not worth the money saved drinking cheaper items.

3. Know about electrical adapters, iPhone apps, and these phone tips before you go: Using your smart phone abroad can be extremely helpful when traveling and communicating with your friends and family. We downloaded city maps to use when offline, checked in on our cat and bunny at my moms regularly, and bought a cheap flight to another country we hadn’t planned on seeing!

Tip#1 Buy a European Adapter. This one from Amazon is very similar to the one we use. (OREI Grounded Universal 2 in 1 Schuko Plug Adapter Type E/F for Germany, France, Europe, Russia & more – High Quality – CE Certified – RoHS Compliant)

Tip#2 Check out the following apps and download what you think you’ll need.

Apps we used on our trip: Messaging App: WhatsApp (Messaging App), ooVoo (Video App), Skyscanner Hopper and RyanAir (Flight Apps), Travel Guides (Travel App for Popular Cities)

Other top apps that we haven’t tried yet: MetrO, Google Translate, Wifi Finder, WorldLens, Michelin Travel Guide

Tip#3 Can’t remember what city your in; use your iPhone photos to help you recall your time in Europe. One of the coolest things about taking photos with the iPhone is that it can track where your photos were taken. This is extremely helpful when I’m trying to remember a foreign city name, or even trying to spell it correctly. I can’t tell you how many times this trick has helped me communicate.

4. Call your bank and get a Barclay credit card with a pin. Being stuck in Europe without money isn’t the best situation to be in. If you forget to call your bank(s) before you leave the states and try to pull out money with your debit card you’ll be denied if not the first time the second. And then when you try to reach out to your bank you’ll either pay a hefty fee on your phone bill or wait an insane amount of time for some response. The same goes for your credit card(s). My husband and I believe in living debt free and by the grace of God we are! We do live in an economy though that requires credit scores and income history so if you decide to get a credit card I’d highly recommend the Barclay one! The Barclay card is perfect for international travel and we used it often on our trips. Although many places in the European Union do not accept cards it was so nice to use on the stores and restaurants that did accept card! No fees, no fines, and no hassle with Barclay.

5. Take notes on what you love or find interesting. It’s normal to not know where the fridge is. At least this year in Germany I realized that the fridge is typically among the cupboards, matching the rest of the kitchen, and hiding as another glass or plate cabinet door. It’s so funny to me how different or similar someone’s home can be from our normal. I often think about my future home, custom built, with my favorite things from all over the world. For example I love big American fridges, European light switches, and the strange reality of having the toilet in the shower like some places do in Italy. What have you noticed when traveling? Is there anything that you miss on a daily basis that you may not have in your home or country?

Other tidbits: Trains don’t wait for anyone || Make copies of your passport || European hair ties are awesome || Bring a side purse || Missing a shower curtain? Don’t worry it’s normal || Christmas markets are pretty much the same in every city || If the meat doesn’t look done it probably isn’t but you can still eat it || Having two buttons on the toilet is typical || Staying in a hotel? expect a sheet less bed || Getting taxes back is more like getting a headache || Potato Pancakes with applesauce || Know your pin for your debit and credit cards || Return your glass and plastic bottles back to the store and receive a good size deposit || Flying international, check out Lufthansa airlines

Winter Wreaths

Before the Christmas season arrives our family talks about whether or not we want to draw names again this year. Typically each year our family buys or makes one gift for another member of our family. I love the tradition because I feel that it keeps all of us connected in some way. Although gift giving can be quite burdensome and some family members understandably opt out of the drawing, I am always eager to hear who I’ve got for Christmas!

This years theme was H A N D M A D E, meaning that the item you gave had to either be made by you or someone else. I wanted to share with you my journey of making a winter wreath. It is a great DIY project for the holidays and a wonderful gift for homemakers.

Supplies Needed:

  • Floral wire and wire cutters
  • Pruning shears
  • Sticks and branches which must be pliable
  • Greenery
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks

General Process:

  1. Using pruning shears cut and collect sticks/branches you’d like to use for the base of your wreath.
  2. Put together your sticks and branches into an oval or circular shape using your wire and wire cutters.
    • Start by layering your sticks and wiring them together.
    • First create a long, connected line of branches. Then manipulate them into forming a circle or oval for your wreath base. You most likely will have to add more twigs once you’ve formed your circular base.
  3. Gather your greenery and stage it around your wreath base.
    • Depending on the greenery you chose you want to consider how long it can last before it will turn color or wilt.
  4. Go back and glue in your greenery.
    • You may also want to use floral wire to secure certain pieces in.
    • Put the glue on the stem of the greenery and then slide the stem into your wreath base. The glue will dry holding it into the wreath base.
  5. Add a wire or burlap loop to the back of your wreath base so that you or your client can hang the wreath up.

FAQ:

What branches work best when making the wreath base: In winter, fruit trees have greener branches that grow straight up. These branches bend well and do not break easy. Today I used branches from a pear tree.

What greenery did you chose to use: I love the simplicity of Douglas Fir. I used that as my main greenery and then threw in some leaves from a shrub that I believe is called a Fire-thorn. The berries on this shrub were beautiful however I chose not to use them.

 


If you would like to know anything else specific please leave a comment below! I hope the holidays bring you to many wonderful DIY projects.

For more wreath resources I really found aliceandlois.com inspiring!

Functional meets Fancy

I’ve always been into staging and organization. I love the details, the colors, and of course the curb appeal. Functionality didn’t really matter when I was young; I just wanted things to look perfect and pretty. Now that I’m into my early twenties and married to a wonderful man who needs a little bit of guidance on where to put things in our house (since I’ve gone stage crazy), I find myself in two worlds. When does functional meet fabulous and fancy?

The world of don’t touch, move, or rearrange anything…I’ve got it all set up and perfectly placed, just can’t be my reality anymore.

So what can we do?

Well tonight I’ve got three tips for you regarding staging your clothes in your closet:

1. Don’t keep your files, mail, or old luggage in your closet. Not only does it take up space, it can also distract you from getting ready and looking your best. Put files under the bed and old luggage in the garage. Leave room for you to be inspired and put together a flattering outfit.

2.  More often than not we feel uninspired my our clothes. But the truth is it can be hard to create a great outfit when we don’t know what we have to chose from. Hang up as much as you can and space the items out. Avoid dressers, smushed clothes, and smashing things into drawers. If you can’t see some of your clothes you’ll be more likely to forget those items when it comes time to get ready for work in the morning. And honestly who like searching for things when we can’t even slide the clothes from left to right.

3. Get a shoe rack. I have seriously avoided buying anything of the sort for a long time. But now… I have one, and I couldn’t be happier. Quit throwing your shoes under your clothes or in a bin. Take care of them and find a way to put them on display. You may surprise yourself and start creating outfits from the bottom up!

Got more suggestions or even a question, write them in the comment box below!

Niche, Names, and Notifications

My birthdays coming soon and I’ve decided to celebrate with a few of my creative family members and close friends! I’ve always considered owning my own business but haven’t really pursued the dream. I guess I just didn’t know where to start? But here I am- I’ll be 24 in a couple weeks, and I’m having friends over to brainstorm what exactly that business may be!

What’s my niche? What should the business be called? And how am I going to use social media to grow a following?

Something special happens when two or more are gathered. When we invite people into our lives in strategic ways, energy has the opportunity to express itself, doesn’t it? I’m excited to share with you this journey; the journey of beginning, of trusting, and walking into an unknown territory!