Exciting News & New Category!

Hello Beauties!

To start out, you may have noticed something on the homepage that it a little bit different. I replaced the category of Art and added a Wedding page! Why you may ask? Well, that is because I am (drum roll, please)… ENGAGED! Jarod and I got engaged on October 27, 2017.

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My engagement ring! The center stone is Morganite, surrounded by diamonds.

The most frequently asked question by anyone is the obvious, “How did he ask?” So, of course, here is the story:

Jarod and I have been remodeling our future home, an old Amish house. We were inside the house discussing possibilities of what we were going to do with our downstairs bathroom, because we weren’t sure if the size of the room as it is now was going to be big enough. We decided to take a break and discuss options while we ate dinner (a gourmet McDonald’s meal haha!), when Jarod told me to go look in the bathroom. I walked over to the bathroom and looked around the room, while Jarod went into the pantry before coming to the bathroom.

I was standing in the bathroom remarking about how beautiful the view is from that bathroom window and how it is ironic that our bathroom has such a beautiful view when I turned around and saw Jarod down on one knee. Of course, my eyes filled with tears, especially when he said, “Grace Ellen, will you marry me?” I obviously said yes and hugged him, where we both ended up crying tears of happiness.

We have officially decided on a date: December 21, 2019. The reason this date is so far from now is because I want to finish my associate’s degree before we get married. Since I have such a long time until we get married, I have decided to make a Wedding page on here, where I can share different decisions, show DIYs, and where we can all bounce ideas off of each other.  I will share posts ranging from bridal shows, wedding colors, bridal showers, center pieces, all the way to different fitness plans for getting in shape for the wedding. I have also been considering creating a youtube channel and vlogging the wedding planning process/ just life with Jarod and I. If anyone is interested in that idea, let me know! Also, if anyone has any specific wedding posts they would like to see, of course, let me know on that one too! We will be getting engagement photos this weekend, so be prepared for a post. 😉

xoxo,

Grace

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College.

Hello Beauties!

Boy, have I missed you. The stress levels in my life right now are off the charts, and I really needed this time to focus on me and just write. I started college this fall, and things have not gone well for me. Living at school has contributed to me developing mental health issues, worsening my anxiety, and developing depression. As for classes, I have been doing well in most (curse you, Microeconomics!), and have been loving the conservative business aspect of my school.

Unfortunately, the negatives have outweighed the positives, and I will not be returning to this university next semester. After talking with my physician, parents, friends, and Jarod, we have concluded that the best bet for me would be to commute to and from school. I will also be transferring colleges because my current school is too far from home to commute to. I will however, be graduating from my current university in three years, after completing a 3 + 1, doing three years at community college and one at the university.

After going through all of these issues, I have learned a few key things. The first thing is that there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed if you face mental health issues. I felt so pathetic having to go to the doctor because I was unable to rationalize my fears and keep my moods in check. I had noticed that I was moodier than ever, I napped constantly, and was afraid of everything, and no matter what I did, I could not control it and I was falling into a downward spiral. It took a lot for me to admit there was a problem, and I was very embarrassed. My mother, sister, and boyfriend actually noticed the issue first hand and set up an appointment to talk to my family doctor. She then put me on medication and told me I had to go to counseling.

This brings me to my second point, utilize free counseling at university!!! I was beyond irritated and embarrassed that I had to go to therapy, and I put off scheduling an appointment as long as I could. I finally went and was dreading it, when in reality, I am so grateful I went and I have another appointment this week! It is so nice to have someone to talk to, especially when you’re away from home. My counselor is so nice, and she is understanding of all of the things I struggle with, and as a matter of fact, she has faced some of these issues herself, so she can relate to them as well.

My last point is that in any issues, lean on God. I never was one to preach the Bible before I left for college. I’ve always been Christian, but being at school has strengthened my faith. I realized that I cannot make it on my own without Him, and since that realization, I have been trying to spread God’s love through my actions so that they may also be at peace, and have God to lean on. My current favorite verse that I want to leave with you all is found in Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall. Keep this verse in mind as you are filled with doubt, worry, or sadness, and give it all up to God because he will never let you break.

xoxo

Grace

Current Favorites & Obsessions!

Hello Beauties!

It has been a minute since I’ve posted, I know! I finally graduated from high school (yipee!!), have college squared away, and get to enjoy my summer before I start school in the fall. I have been super busy working, planning/ throwing my sister’s wedding, preparing for college, and going on trips. I have a lot of post ideas in store, so look forward to those! (HINT: I plan on posting a vacation guide, including more pictures I took when I was pretending to be a photographer! Haha!)

While I have been navigating my hectic schedule, I have gone through tons of changes, such as graduating and finishing my last year of dance :(. Through these changes and new routines, I have found some new favorites, but basically obsessions, that I NEEDED to share with you guys! This list is compiled of so many different things/ activities, and is completely random, but I hope you guys enjoy!

P.S. I linked all of the products below to help you guys visualize/ know which products I am talking about!

  •  Ozark Trail 30-Ounce Double Walled Vacuum-Sealed Tumbler
    • To start off, I LOVE this cup! I have a 16 oz tumbler that I have been using for a few months and recently, I have purchased the 30 oz tumbler because of how amazing they are (plus, this one in turquoise!!). I have not tried the Yeti or RTIC versions of the tumbler and that is for two reasons: First, my best friend Brooke’s uncle claimed to have done the ultimate test to see which tumbler brand was best, and according to his results, Ozark Trail won the test. The second reason is because I originally bought one of these cups to try it because they were cheap, and I found they kept my drink the same temperature for a very long period of time, which worked for me. I highly recommend buying one of these tumblers because it will keep your cold drinks ice cold, and you cannot beat the price.
  • HP Envy Laptop
    • I recently purchased this laptop at Best Buy because I needed a new computer for college and I wanted to have time to familiarize myself with it before I go to school. I chose this laptop because it was good screen size, it’s touch-screen, and it is a 2-in-1, which I really wanted. I am not a tech expert, and I’m positive there are a bunch of way better laptops out there, but for what I needed it for, and for being on a budget (college student, remember?) it is a great laptop. I also learned while shopping at Best Buy that if you are a college student you can make an account on their Student Hub, which has weekly deals on all things you may need for college. Another tip would be to check and see if your college/university offers Microsoft Office for free, because if it does you can purchase your computer without it and save even more money. Using those two tricks I ended up getting $150 off of the original price of my laptop!
  • Iced Coffee
    • This one seems super simple, and that’s because it is! Lately I have been addicted to iced coffees! Whether it is from McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Tim Horton’s, I have been obsessed! I usually get my coffee from McDonald’s because I live in a small town and that is the only place to get an iced coffee, but it is completely okay because I LOVE their French Vanilla iced coffees! From Starbucks I always get an Iced Caramel Macchiato, and from Tim Horton’s I just prefer an Iced Latte.
  • Yoga Classes
    • Since I graduated from high school, I also had to graduate from dance classes. At first I was devastated because I had no idea what I was going to do instead. If you are feeling this way I have your answer: YOGA! I absolutely adore yoga, and I am so happy I have decided to start taking classes. I have been taking a weekly yoga class at my local gym with my dance (and now yoga) best friend, Maddie. We started out really nervous, but we have been taking classes for two months now, and we have really improved and gotten the hang of it, we even did headstands a few weeks ago! I strongly recommend yoga for countless reasons. It is so beneficial to your spiritual and physical health, by helping you relax and refocus your purpose, and by being good exercise and stretches for your  body. I suggest that if you are nervous or too shy to try a new class, be bold and take the steps to bettering yourself, you will not regret it. Namaste!
  • Fitbit Alta / Fitbit App
    • I received my Fitbit Alta for Christmas from my boyfriend, Jarod. I was super excited to have a Fitbit, but I found that after a few weeks I was losing interest. Recently, I was at a party with Jarod’s family and was listening to the testimonies of his sister-in-laws, on their fitness/weight loss journeys, so I decided to start wearing my Alta again. Upon using it more the second time I discovered more of the Fitbit app than ever before. After playing around with the app I started using the Communities to see other people’s journeys and to motivate myself. I also find myself LOVING the easy-to-use features such as the weight log, food journal, water log, and activity tracker. I find this app makes me more accountable for myself and my health, and it makes it easier for me to understand and see the ratio of calories consumed versus calories burned through my daily meals and activities. There is so much to say about the Fitbit app and the healthy lifestyle I have been trying to create. If you guys are interested in a post discussing those things, let me know!
  • Lava Bead Bracelet / Essential Oils
    • These items kind of go in hand with the past two, and that is because they involve a healthier you! Essential Oils are a much more natural approach to relieve aches and pains, help with illnesses, and to elevate mood. My favorite way to use essential oils is to put them on my Lava Bead Bracelet. I received my bracelet as a gift from Brooke for my open house, and I do not think I have taken it off since! You basically rub different oils on the beads, depending on what you want to use it for, and then it will diffuse the oil to you throughout the next couple of days. I enjoy putting either the Joy Blend, Breath Blend, or Lavender Oil on my bracelet to help me relax and reduce stress during my week. This bracelet is awesome because the oil scent will diffuse away after 1-3 days, leaving you with a blank bracelet to put whatever oil you want next on it. It is also a super cute bracelet! Mine has purple beads (the one linked above has turquoise beads), which matches my Fitbit! To be completely honest, I am more likely to forget to put my Fitbit on when I leave the house than I am to forget my Lava Beads!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading my endless nonsense about items and activities I have been loving. I am so grateful I have found some of these, such as yoga and essential oils (not the tumbler haha!), to help me create and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. If you have any questions regarding any of the above mentioned favorites, let me know in the comments below. Thank you for reading!

xoxo

Grace

2017 Goals

Hello Beauties!

Happy New Year! Since today is January 1st, 2017, it is the perfect time to set goals and reinvent yourself. I set eight goals using my new favorite note taking app/website: Google Keep. I really like using Google Keep and Google Calendar because it easily accessible on my phone, iPad, and computer by just logging onto my Gmail account. There are also widgets that display both my schedule (for Calendar, which is color coded!) and my goals (for Keep).

  1. Wash my face twice a day. This seems simple enough, and it should be something that I have always done; however, washing my face at night is a task I typically forget. I shower when I wake up, which takes care of washing my face in the morning. When I have a busy evening and arrive home late, I often find myself forgetting to wash my face before bed, even when I’m wearing makeup.
  2. Drink 48 ounces of water a day. This goal also seems like a given, especially since 48 ounces isn’t even the suggested amount to drink daily. I have a hard time remembering to drink water and most of the time because my go to drink is iced tea. I think an easy way to drink more water is to find a tumbler or water bottle you really like, because from what I’ve learned, I’m more likely to drink water if I like what I’m drinking it out of. We have a Brita filter on our faucet at home and since I’m really picky about my water, I usually don’t refill my water bottle until I get home. I’m purchasing this Brita Water Bottle to hopefully motivate me and help with my water-drinking pickiness.
  3. Blog once a week. Blogging for me is very therapeutic, and regardless of what is going on in my life, writing about it almost always helps. I plan on scheduling time in for blogging because the only thing that holds me back from doing it is getting caught up in my hectic schedule.
  4. Read a daily devotion. This one is a big goal for me. I really want to have a devotion/ debrief time each day because having that time with God everyday is essential to good spiritual health. I have a hard time finding devotions that are easy to understand and relate to, which makes it hard to remember to read them daily. I would gladly accept any suggestions of good devotions and books!
  5. Better Jarod and I’s relationship. This is something that will always be a goal for us, and we will always have to work on. After two and a half years, we are obviously both happy and our relationship is filled with mutual love for each other. I think constantly working to make your relationship better and to make each other happier is just really important.
  6. Work out at least twice a week. Working out is a traditional “New Year’s Resolution” so obviously I had to add it to the list! I really got into weight lifting over the summer, but sort of faded out of going to the gym as much because I was having some health issues. My goal is really to get back into lifting weights and to become toner. To motivate me to work out, I plan on purchasing these Nike shoes. Not to set my goal too high, twice a week seems like a good place to start.
  7. Finish assignments early. This goal is really important because it is a really important habit to form, especially since I will be starting college soon. For a lot of my classes, you get the assignment several days before it is due, and I have a terrible habit of putting it off until the night before the due date. I also have online classes that I have fallen behind in, where I will struggle to catch up on.
  8. Be proud of the person I am. This goal is obviously the number one goal. I want to work on all aspects of my life to be proud of who I am as a person. I really want to work on my physical, mental, and spiritual health. I want to be happier with all aspects of life and be a kinder person to everyone around me.

Again, Happy New Year, Beauties! Take this time as 2017 begins to set some goals for yourself. These goals can be as small as washing your face to as big as traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or saving money. As the year changes, there is no better time to improve yourself. I always find that I need a big change in my life to motivate me to improve myself.

xoxo

Grace

Testing Pinterest Recipes #1: Loaded Chicken and Potato Casserole

Hello beauties!

This afternoon, while on Pinterest, I decided to look for something to make for dinner because I was hungry and bored of sitting around. I decided after awhile to make something with chicken, and pulled some out of the freezer to defrost. While my chicken was defrosting I really began searching for a recipe when I finally decided on loaded chicken and potato casserole.

Click here for the original blog post!

When I decided to make this recipe (and knowing I needed to post on here) I decided to do a post testing the recipe out. While a lot of recipes you find on Pinterest work, a lot of them don’t. To save you the time, I’ll try it out first! On a side note, I didn’t have all of the exact ingredients and I put my own spin on some things.

First, I to cook the bacon I decided to cook it in the oven instead of a frying pan. I set the oven to350º and because our oven runs a little bit hotter, that would be similar to 375º. I honestly didn’t time this, you just leave it in until it’s done. IMG_0865

Second, I washed and peeled my potatoes, using regular potatoes instead of using red potatoes, and since it was for just me and my dad, I used 3 medium sized potatoes. I made one for my dad and I, and I made another one for my mom, omitting the potatoes because of an allergy. After the potatoes were washed and peeled I sprayed a Pyrex baking dish and diced the potatoes up to put in.

Third, I took the bacon out of the oven, and it was really, really crispy (but hey, easy to crumble!). I crumbled the bacon and threw it in the dish with the potatoes. After that, I took my chicken out of the microwave and cut it into small pieces and threw all of that in the pan too. I used about one and a half chicken breasts on the one with potatoes and one chicken breast on the one without potatoes. After everything was in the dish, I stirred it up.

Fourth, I shredded cheese and threw it in the pan. I wish I knew how much I used because I felt like it was the perfect amount, but I didn’t measure because I shredded it myself. I know that it was a light amount because my dad isn’t a huge fan of cheese. Next, I scooped two tablespoons of coconut oil into the bigger dish and one tablespoon into the smaller dish. I used coconut oil instead of olive oil because I didn’t have any. For spices, I used sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and chives. Because I only used what was in my kitchen, I didn’t have hot sauce, paprika, or green onion.

Lastly, I cranked the oven up 25º, tossed the dishes in and set the timer for 50 minutes.The original post said that it would take an hour, and honestly, it did. Here’s the final product and then I’ll give you my taste test review.

Final verdict: This was delicious. SO good! My dad and I ate our whole dish, and my mom ate half of her’s until she was full. We definitely will make this again; however, with little to no oil because it was too greasy. 10/10 will make again & I suggest you make it!

XOXO, Grace

Photography Adventure

Hello Beauties!

Today’s post is different than what I originally planned to publish to this blog; however, I had the best time wandering through the forest trails snapping pictures and pretending to be a photographer (though I CLEARLY am not).

One of my best friends, Kelsey, and I decided to go on a photography adventure after she had just gotten her new camera, so I borrowed my mom’s camera and we set out. First, we went to my family’s woods, walking through the trails taking pictures of wild flowers (okay, weeds, but they’re still pretty!), trees, leaves, and some apple trees. Through the tall weeds, thorns, and mosquitoes I managed to capture some decent pictures.

Next on our adventure we stopped at my neighbor’s pond, where my favorite pictures were taken. The water was reflecting the trees so beautifully, I could not resist snapping a bunch of pictures! Last, we stopped at my grandparents’ farm, where we had some fun taking the cliche “me taking a picture of you taking a picture of me” photos and taking pictures of the old farm.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our photography adventure, viewing my photos, and reading about us playing around with cameras. More photography adventures to come, for sure!

XOXO, Grace

Click here for the camera I used!

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