• Advice,  Lifestyle

    What I have learned while being ENGAGED!

    After voting on my Instagram Story, over 70 % of you wanted to hear about all the things that I have learned while being engaged.  To top it off I thought I would invite my Fiance, Joseph, to chime in on all the things HE has learned while being engaged. So let’s get started!

    Ladies first, right?  Here is what I have learned:

    1. The first thing that I came to realize about being engaged was that it is not all about the ring.  Of course, it is fun to celebrate and share the magical moment of him asking for my hand in marriage, but the purpose behind it all is the real showstopper.  The fact that we are in a covenant for the rest of our lives and working towards marriage, a family and life long happiness.
    2. Second, I learned that everything good in life takes time.  We chose to have a very long engagement (2 years) to plan our wedding, and the reasoning was so that we could complete our degree program in college.  Everything is going according to plan, but it was not a very quick engagement and then you are married turnaround.  I personally think a long engagement is more fun because you have time to plan out your wedding, celebrate, save for a first home and grow together.
    3. You have a new name “Fiance”, for the first few weeks you will be shouting from the rooftops that you are a Fiance now.   As the time goes on, you won’t really mind being called girlfriend still, or future wife by others.  Fiance is just a label, and that’s that.
    4. Budgets are born.  So for me, I have always been a huge saver my entire life.  When thinking about a future together as husband and wife, you will discuss things like how much each of you will be paying for the combined bills (like mortgage, insurance, cable, internet, water, electric etc). Luckily, Joseph and I actually agree on almost all financial decisions and allow ourselves to budget our own spending money to enjoy while breaking down our combined bills.
    5. Communication is key, especially during the stress of wedding planning.  Most women know that the men really do not care about the color of the flowers or what your Invitations look like.  While all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning that may be going on, remember to take time for your significant other each day.  Ask how their morning or day at work went, and my favorite thing that Joseph and I both say often is “How can I better serve you?”. It is amazing knowing that the other person is there for you no matter what.
    6. Disagreements do not go away.  Once you are engaged, there is no magic love spell that makes you get along perfectly.  Like any other couple, you will have bumps along the way.
    7. Add you ring to your insurance policy, something I did not know about!
    8. Getting married young has a lot of pros, we will be married in February and do not have any children, which leaves time to travel and enjoy experiences before starting a family.
    9. You may decide you want a dog, but not agree on which type.  Ok, so we both LOVE dogs, but he wants a Belgian Malinois and I was thinking a Golden Retriever, or possibly German Shepherd.  We shall see who wins this.
    10. You will care about the little wedding details that you said you would not.  My top priorities for the wedding are my dress, photos and video.  His are food (typical) and “me” he says. LOL
    11. MANY people will offer you wedding advice, so just make sure you take it with a grain of salt, it is your big day not theirs. Although some advice is very helpful, others may not be.
    12. Lastly, I have learned that life is too short to sweat the small things, you are engaged and going to spend a lifetime with your bestie!  Focus on what really matters most, each other.

    The Fiance’s Side:

    1. Don’t Sweat the Little Things – Life is too short to constantly stress about every little thing involving your partner. For as long as you’re certain that you’re spending your entire life with that partner; it is not worth it to sweat the little things. In the past, I would get so worked up over the smallest of details whereas now, I go with the flow! Relationships can get really complicated if you make them that way!
    2. Accept your Lady for Who She is – There are a whole lotta’ great things about Kayla, might I say. She’s all that and a bag of chips! With that said, nobody is perfect (although she’s pretty dang close); she does have flaws like everyone else. I’ve learned over time that those “flaws” mean almost nothing in the grand scheme of things. In the past, I attempted to change Kayla in one way or another to “better” these flaws; whereas now I’ve learned that if pushed too hard, this can lead to resentment and unhappiness from both parties. If you can learn to accept someone for who they are, you will live a much happier life.
    3. Love Grows and Changes – The honeymoon phase is great and all, but everyone knows that it doesn’t last forever. Kayla and I have been together nearly 4 years. If you asked me how I love her today, it would be a completely different answer from 3 years ago. Today, I see Kayla as the love of my life, my best friend, my confidant, and the future mother of my children. 3 Years ago I would’ve probably said I love how gorgeous, awesome, and fun she was (These are STILL true!). I can only imagine how my love will grow and change whenever Kayla and I get married and move in together (MAKEUP AND HAIR PRODUCTS EVERYWHERE!! CAN’T WAIT)! When Love grows or changes, it is not a bad thing; it’s simply a part of how things work, and should be completely embraced.
    4. Support your Woman to the End of the Earth – I will never be the person to stop Kayla from following her dreams. I will always be the person holding her hand the entire way and making those dreams a reality. In Kayla’s first days of blogging and instagraming, she was on the verge of quitting it all together because a full time job and full time college was making her passion near-impossible. This “quitting” phase happened not just once but twice. I’ve always tried to push Kayla to help her become the best she can be. When Kayla’s ambition tells her to photograph 5 different outfits in 5 different locations over a 2 hour time span, I’ll always be the one that helps make it happen (I’m the photographer! Yay!). I will always do my best to support her, endlessly.
    5. Financial Selfishness Stops Now – Back in the day, I used to love buying Fitness Supplements, Guns, Ammo, Miscellaneous Amazon Items, and whatever else I wanted. At one time, I had a 2014 Ram 1500 Truck with a 5.7 Hemi which I loved dearly (Prior to this, a 2008 Mustang). All that changed shortly after we got engaged. I was struck with the realization that soon, all of this random stuff and money in my bank account would become “our random stuff” and “our money”. I thought it was completely wrong to give my future spouse my debts, when I racked up the debt before we were even married. I traded in my truck to get a 2015 Ford Focus Hatchback (The savings are totally not worth it), in order to save money on a car payment, car insurance, and gas. Also, I stopped buying random stuff (This one took a while, I’ve only started getting 100% serious about this since Fall of 2017). All-in-all, I have tremendously less debt now than I did then and I am so proud to say it. Kayla and I are both on a budget now which limits most frivolous spending. As a side note, I’ll say I am a lot happier having less. Life sure isn’t about material items and buying new stuff each week (Although, I want a truck so bad!).
    6. Fighting isn’t Fun, but is Sometimes Necessary – I’ll start this by saying that, In general, I suck at communicating. When Kayla and I have fights, sometimes they’re so beyond productive that we both grow from the argument. Usually, this is due to me letting information out that I was holding inside; Kayla then learns these things and can adjust or help me in different ways according to the issues I didn’t communicate until that argument. Other times, when either both or one of us is having a bad day for example, and an argument is started; that argument can be completely completely pointless. We are both passionate about everything, including arguing. When we fight or argue, we almost always grow from it and better ourselves in one way or another.
    7. Team work makes the Dream work – I don’t always want to consult with Kayla before I make a big decision, but 100% of the time, I should. A partner can feel betrayed if they’re not consulted before their special other asks their opinion first. Many times, when I’ve already made up my mind on something (I am stubborn), I will still at the very least tell Kayla I am doing something before I do it. This may not exactly be Team Work per say, but its the best way to keep both parties on the same page before big decisions. On the other hand, more than once Kayla has shown me the cons of my idea (Whereas I only saw the pros), and then changed my mind on a decision. I will say that I am still guilty of (rarely) making decisions without telling Kayla but I am working on improving this. Engagement, or even marriage, is all about discussing things and communicating 100%. Working together as a Team almost always (if not always) has advantages over working alone.

    I hope you guys enjoyed this post, as much as we loved writing it.  It was so fun to have Joseph join in the blog post this week, maybe we should have him write more often?  Let me know!

    Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  • Advice,  Gift Guide

    Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

    Mother’s Day is right around the corner (May 13, for all of you running to look at the Calendar now). This year, make sure you let your mom know how much you love her without stressing about ways to celebrate her at the last minute.  There are so many ways to show your appreciation, and it can be done on any budget.

    For the Budget Friendly gifts ($25 or less)

    • Grocery Store Flowers & a card (Publix, Whole Foods, Fresh Market and so on all have pretty flowers that are budget friendly.)
    • Make a home made coupon book of things you can do for your mom.
    • Get her a $25 gift card towards a nail appointment.
    • Take her to see her favorite movie.
    • Spend the day with her, shopping with her and carry all of her bags.
    • Clean the house for her. (Moms love this)
    • For the busy mom, get her car cleaned for her.
    • Make her breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Gifts $25 and up

    • Treat mom to a day at the Spa.
    • Take her out for a Mother’s Day Tea. * I will be doing this for my mom at the Chatsworth in St. Augustine FL, keep an eye out for a full blog post on our experience.
    • Manicure and Pedicure, and yes Guys you can get a pedicure with your mom!
    • For the tech Savy mom, hook her up with a new Ipad, Phone, or computer.
    • Get her concert tickets, to see her fav artist.
    • Jewelry

    Gifts or no gifts, any mom truly cherishes the time she has with her children.  Just spend time with your mom, tell her you love her and make the most of it.

    Here are some photos of me and my GORGEOUS mom:

    Wishing all you Mom’s a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  • Advice,  Lifestyle

    Just Another Manic Monday

    Is it Just Another Manic Monday? I used to be the Queen Bee of Manic Mondays, and let me tell you, those days are long gone.  I have finally decided to start being a planner… and for anyone else who knows me, I am the opposite of a planner naturally.  I am the type of person that can go with the flow, take random trips without a specific destination, and just fly by the seat of my pants.  My Fiance, however, is a planner.  He loves to have a very strict schedule, workout at the same time every day, plan his meals, and it allows him to structure his life. What I have come to realize, is that I can still have fun and make last minute plans while adding structure into my day to day life.

    It all starts with little things, like doing your laundry every Sunday, working out on a schedule, and using a calendar app to organize your meetings!  By adding structure, the first thing that I noticed is that I had a lot less anxiety and worry about upcoming events.  I felt more “in control” and it allowed me to feel like I had a game plan.  Mondays are just like jumping in the deep end of a swimming pool.  If you have a game plan with a little structure, you are jumping in with floaties on, ready for what is ahead.  If you just throw yourself into the Monday pool without any preparation, no game plan, no list of reminders, you will often times find yourself sinking to the bottom of the pool unable to stay afloat.

    Whether you have a corporate job, an internship, you are a full time student, stay at home mom, fitness instructor, self employed, and so on… planning can add a healthy balance to your life.  Mental Health is so important, yet it is usually placed behind our physical health.  Why would we do that?  By focusing on helping yourself stay organized, planning, and adding structure to your life, your mind will thank you.  Everyone has had an anxious moment, fear of missing a deadline or assignment, forgot to check something off the to-do list, was late to a meeting, and all of this could have been solved by gearing our minds with the proper plan.  This is not to say that you will never have a bad day and your life will be sunshine and rainbows, because plans do go wrong.  Bad days do happen.  By taking small steps in planning your individual tasks, those “bad” days will be few and far between.

    Tips that have helped me on a Manic Monday (Or Tuesday, Or Wednesday.. or ANY day!)

    • The night before, plan out your to-do list and make sure you are prepared.
      • For me, this means packing a gym bag, work clothes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and my school essentials.
    • Make sure you have taken a look at your Calendar.
      • For me, this means making sure I am ready for that 8 am sales meeting, and study session at the Library after work.
    • Make sure you have gas in your car.
      • Ok, really though, I used to be SO bad about this.  I always make sure I have half a tank or more in case of emergencies.  Plus, running late on a Monday to only find out your are on Empty is never fun.
    • When you bring food, drink or anything into your car, make sure you toss the trash the same day.  This will prevent clutter in your car, so things do not get out of hand.
      • I used to leave coffee cups in my car cup holders, just toss it when you are done!
    • FOOD
      • Make sure you have healthy snacks, just in case you are stuck somewhere unexpected.  Prevents *HANGRY attitudes.
    • Water is just as important as food.  Drink water often.

    Happy Monday to you!  I hope you take charge of your week!

  • Fashion

    Stripes are “In” this Season

    Happy Wednesday!

    Look at that, you have made it half way through the week, and the weekend is up ahead.  Before you get to your Saturday Brunch plans, let me tell you a little secret.  Stripes are in this Season!  Stripes are a big trend right now, they are effortlessly cute, figure flattering, trendy, and a vacation must-have.  I mean take this striped dress for example~ I wore it to Church, then on a coffee date, and I am going to rock it at the beach this weekend!  How versatile can one piece of clothing be?

    Dress: HERE

    Stripes are fun, because they can take your outfit from simple to something.  Dress it up, or dress it down it is a Spring must have. Also, keep in mind stripes are always great to we are on the Fourth of July!

    Here are a few of my favorite striped JUMPSUITS!

    Here are a few of my favorite striped DRESSES!

    Here are a few of my favorite striped TOPS!

    Here are a few of my favorite striped SHORTS!

     

  • Advice

    Let’s Talk Confidence

    If you follow me on Instagram, you may have see my recent poll called “What do you struggle most with?”.  A large number of you voted for confidence as opposed to happiness, so let’s talk confidence!

    There are so many topics that you can dive into when it comes to discussing confidence. When picking the following areas, I connected them with my personal experiences and feelings in hopes that you may be able to relate to one or two.

    Confidence Starts when Comparison Stops

    One of the biggest and most influential things to your self confidence is comparison. Comparison is a little voice in your head that see’s the best in everyone else and the worst in yourself.  Comparison is like a tick, and if you allow it to consume your thoughts and actions it will suck all the life out of your confidence.   Being a girl, I can be the first to admit that it is the easiest thing to compare myself to other girls.  We see photos on social media, or even people at their best and think “If only my body looked like that”, “If only I had longer hair”, “If only I went to the gym 7 days a week like her”, “If only I had a dream career like that”… and the comparison goes on and on.  The problem with this is the following:

    1. When you compare you lose sight of your own worth.
    2. When you compare you neglect to realize that we are all created different for a reason, how boring would it be to all be exactly the same inside and out?
    3. When you compare, it starts to consume your thoughts and you will fixate on the wrong priorities in life.
    4. When you compare, you can’t appreciate your own accomplishments.
    5. When you compare, you become insecure in yourself.

    How can you overcome comparison?  By choosing to become aware of who you are, what success you have, what your strengths are, what you do best and letting that provide joy and meaning to your life.  You define you, not anyone else.  With that said, step one would be to start catching yourself in the act.  The next time you are comparing yourself, stop, and evaluate.  Acknowledge what may have triggered this comparison in the first place. Was it jealousy or insecurity?  Learn to appreciate what another has, even if it is different from your own.  Sounds silly, but let me give you a real life example of what I mean.

    So a girl walks into a room that you have never met, you immediately notice that she is pretty, has perfect hair, is skinny, and her makeup is on point.  If your mind tells you to immediately tear her down, this is a sign that we are insecure in ourselves and must point out her “freckles” to make ourselves feel better about our own looks. What should realistically happen is you either compliment her or just let her be.  I have been there and torn another person down in order to make myself feel better and trust me, you gain nothing.  It makes you bitter and “ugly” on the inside, plus why can’t we all appreciate the beauty in others?

    To tie it all together, just make it a golden rule not to compare yourself to anyone, for any reason.

    Confidence Comes From Within

    It is true, confidence really does come from within.  Some people will urge you to “fake it til you make it” which is all good, but it is not a permanent solution.  You must truly believe in yourself on the inside and the outside in order to be confident.   Personally, I have struggled with external confidence, and I am sure that I am not the only one.  I would find myself comparing my appearance to friends, celebrities and even random people, then thinking to myself how I should look more like them and less like how God made me.  Naturally I have insanely curly hair, I am talking Shirley Temple Curls you guys!  I know, I know, I have been told all my life that “people pay good money to have their hair curled”.  Well that is great for THEM, but I have always wanted stick straight hair.  I am sure I have even prayed for straight hair at some point, because I was so unhappy with what I was given.  Shame on me for not being grateful that I even had hair.  The point I am trying to make is everyone has something about them that they do not like or are insecure about. Maybe it is your crazy curly hair, your height, weight, eye color, nose, etc.  Whatever your insecurity is, take it head on and embrace it.  Embrace the fact that no one is perfect and you have to learn that you really can’t change everything in life to fit a perfect image that you have let the world tell you, you need to look like.  It is so funny to me, because without reality tv, without makeup, without social media, we would all suffer a whole lot less with insecurity.  Especially those that are materialistic and external.

    Insecurity can exist on the inside

    So maybe you are one of the few that are completely satisfied with how they look. Or perhaps you have over come the obstacles of vain insecurities on self image, but you still feel insecure about things internally.  There are a few reasons that you may feel insecure on the inside:

    1)You feel like you do not measure up.

    2) You feel like you do not have many true friends or a good circle to rely on.

    3) You may not be as in tune with you Faith as you once were

    4) Maybe life has been overwhelming lately and thrown curve balls that have just made you lose purpose for your life.

    I have been there, and I do not want anyone to feel bad for me or take pity on me because I am truly blessed and have nothing to complain about.  I am telling you a little story so you can relate to struggles in small and big things.

    So I graduated High School in 2013 and immediately went to college to pursue my Associates Degree.  During this time I was working full time and taking four classes a semester.  This was all new to me and I was ready to take on the world (so I thought).  One semester in, I realized that being an adult also came with an immense amount of responsibility.  Thankfully I lived at home with my parents and did not have the stress of rent/heavy bills.  I was suddenly struck with the reality of real time management, I truly think this is when I had my first experience with Anxiety!  I could not just wake up whenever I wanted, have complete financial freedom, and being an adult was not the glamorous life I had dreamed of.  Fast forward 4 years, and I am about to graduate with my Bachelors Degree (go me!!) and the thing I have struggled most with through the years is comparison.  I would constantly see old friends that had graduated High School with me already getting their degrees last Summer.  I would think “what am I doing wrong, they must be smarter than me and have everything prioritized right in life”.  I was wrong, sure I dropped from 4 classes a semester to three while still maintaining a full time job, but the people that I was comparing my education level of success to were no where near where I was in life.  We all came from different situations, some of them never worked a day in their lives, some of them came into college as a sophomore due to credits, and almost all of them were in a different program of study.  The point is, what does it really matter if you graduate a year after someone else?  You have a completely different plan for your life than they do, and everyone has a different way to achieve their goals in life.  Instead of being grateful of my situation that I was able to attend a University, I was worried about keeping up with my peers and what others had thought of me.  I was letting them control my confidence and how I measured my own success.

    By strengthening my Faith, having  a great support system during this time (Shoutout to my Fiance and close friends), and focusing on appreciation of my life I have truly conquered internal confidence, and you can too!

    Physical Confidence

    My whole life I have never struggled with being over weight, but let me tell you right now that it has nothing to do with how confident you are in your image.  I may have been thin, but nothing has brought me more physical confidence than having a workout regime that is specific to my goals.  It is so important to workout for YOURSELF and to feel good.  Whether you workout at home, run outside, join a gym or take a fitness class, do something to better yourself and maintain your overall health.  Without overwhelming you with a ton of health benefits that working out has to offer, I will stay on track with Confidence.  When you are consistent, eating right and setting personal goals for your body you will start to notice how confidence slowly peaks in your mind.  You start to like the results you see, such as muscle definition, maybe you are becoming stronger (strength training) or more flexible (yoga/pilates), whatever motivates you… there lies your confidence.  My recommendation to you would be to set realistic goals and achieve them at your own pace.  You should only compare yourself to YOU anyways!

    Last but not least, Social Media can play a huge role in your confidence.  I think it is important to not fixate on the images we see on our screens and focus on what really matters.  I cannot even begin to imagine how many photoshopped highlight reels young women are looking at today.  Something to keep in mind, is that social media is truly a highlight reel of the “best pieces of life”.  It is not reality, but it is a create place to come together and share photos and creations!

    On that note, I wish you all a wonderful rest of the week!

    Dress: (Similar) HERE & HERE

    Shoes: HERE