Brands I Love + Discounts

Brands I Love + Discounts

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

February is the month of love.

I’m a recovering shopaholic — I love to shop. But more importantly I love supporting brands I believe in and purchasing products that truly make a difference in my life. I also love sharing about those brands and products because I feel strongly that they will make a difference for someone else.

Do you feel the love??

When I was planning this post, five brands immediately came to mind. I’d love to keep this post updated as I discover new brands doing awesome things, so by the time you’re reading this there may be more than five. This will be fun!

So here’s my favorites — why I love them, what my favorite products are, and a coupon code if I have one (because if there’s one thing I love more than shopping it’s saving money doing that shopping) ❤

Cultivate What Matters

Shop here

Keywords: goal setting / intentionality / faith / planner accessories / relationships

I have been a fan of CWM for years! I first learned about the shop because I decided to read a book called Make It Happen by Lara Casey and the rest is history. It was the kick in the pants I needed and thankfully it introduced me to this incredible company.

If you’ve been around here for any time at all, you’ve seen my monthly progress and goals updates. If you’ve somehow missed them, you can check em out here. My goals are put together utilizing my PowerSheets created by CWM. They’re my favorite, but the team makes many other amazing products that will truly help you Cultivate What Matters.

If you’re looking to grow your faith I highly recommend their Write the Word Journals. I have personally completed four of them — they guide me in being more purposeful in my quiet time and I love having the space to journal my thoughts.

Simplified by Emily Ley

Shop here if you’re a returning customer

Shop here if you’re brand new — get $10 off your purchase of $50+

Keywords: life planners / simplify / declutter / planner accessories

I’m pretty sure I stumbled upon Simplified through Cultivate What Matters. The founders are friends and the hearts behind the company mesh well together. It’s hard to cultivate what really matters without first simplifying, right?

My absolute favorite product is their Simplified Planner. I used the daily version last year and I’m currently using the weekly version. Honestly, I prefer the daily, but I’m still enjoying and getting good use out of my weekly. Back to the daily for 2020.

Emily Ley has written two books that I adore and I highly recommend to any woman: Grace, Not Perfection and A Simplified Life. Yes, please!

Primally Pure

Shop here — use code RACHELT for 10% off your entire first purchase

Keywords: natural / nontoxic / skincare / deodorant / healthy

In an effort to use cleaner products I tried (and fell in love with) Primally Pure. They are a nontoxic skincare company that believes in fewer ingredients for superior results. I love their mission, so thank goodness their products actually work beautifully.

I first tried their Starter Kit Bundle because it was a great, affordable way to try lots of their products at once. I adore and continue to use the products that came in the kit. Of course I’ve had to repurchase items to stay stocked.

It’s so hard to find good, natural deodorant. I don’t want it to cause skin irritation. I want minimal, nontoxic ingredients. Most importantly, I want it to work. I love their Geranium scent, but they have lots of choices so you can find what works best for you!

ThredUp

Shop here for $10 off your first purchase

Keywords: consignment / fashion / affordable / secondhand

I love new clothes, but I don’t like paying full price. ThredUp is the largest online consignment and thrift store. They have thousands of items at amazing prices. This is shopping responsibly — you’re helping keep items out of landfills AND you’re being kind to your wallet. That’s a huge win-win.

Also, if you have great clothes you want to get rid of they have a “Clean Out” consignment service. I haven’t used this feature, but it looks like you send in your clothes and then earn cash or credit for the items they accept. Marie Kondo would be proud.

Amazon

Shop here for my favorites

Keywords: Amazon Prime / fast shipping / find everything you need

Well this one requires no further explanation. We all love Amazon 😉

Recently I’ve been able to put together my own Amazon Storefront where I can easily share my favorite products and items that are on my wish list. Because Amazon has pretty much everything we need and Prime shipping is amazing, I love having a simple place to point you to.

Bonus — save money while shopping

There are two services I love and use as much as possible when I’m doing my shopping! You might as well earn some cash back on the shopping you’re doing anyways, right!?

Ibotta

Sign up here and get up to a $20 welcome bonus

I love using Ibotta! It’s an app where you earn cash back on offers at participating stores. There are currently 283 supported stores, many of which are grocery and convenience stores.

Before you shop you just add your offers in the app, buy those products at the participating store, redeem your offers by scanning your receipt or using your store loyalty card, and then your cash is deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. Easy peasy!

Once you’ve earned at least $20 you can cash out via PayPal, Venmo, or many giftcard options. To date I’ve earned almost $200 cash back on grocery shopping I needed to do anyways. Not too shabby 🙂

Ebates

Sign up here and get a $10 welcome bonus after your first purchase

If you do any online shopping at all you MUST be using Ebates. All you need to do is shop through the site and then earn the given cash back for that store. This is especially perfect around Christmas time when you’re probably doing a lot of online shopping. Give a gift to yourself by earning that cash back 😉

Each store has a different percentage of cash back. Sometimes there’s even times where the stores are offering double cash back woohoo! Not every store participates, but most of your big ones do.

Once you create your free account, you’ll just search whatever store you’re shopping and then click on it to open your “shopping trip.” This will then track your money spent and calculate your cash back. It can be easy to forget to use it, so you may want to make a reminder or install the Ebates plugin so you never miss a cash back opportunity! To date I’ve earned around $350! Insert confetti and praise hands emojis here.

What are your favorite brands to support?

Valentine’s Day Q&A — 10 Common Questions

Valentine’s Day Q&A — 10 Common Questions

Happy Valentine’s Day, friend! ❤

This day used to mean a lot of anticipation and then usually disappointment because my made up expectations weren’t met. I think I’ll always have some sort of expectation, but I’ve tried to let it go as much as possible.

The strength and value of your relationship isn’t determined by one day. If you happen to be single (I hope you already know this, but here’s a reminder in case…) your value is not determined by your relationship status. You can be a whole, healthy, happy person as you are — significant other or not.

I thought a relationship Q&A would be a fun way to celebrate! You may be one of my close friends, a family member, or a total stranger. No matter our connection, I hope you enjoy and leave feeling a bit more inspired! Keep reading to learn more about me and my husband, Eric.

1. How did you meet?

Eric and I met in 8th grade at East Millbrook Magnet Middle School. That was 2006, so that means we’ve known each other for 13 years. Wow! It’s reassuring to me that we met in that timeframe because is anyone more awkward or unhappy with how they look than a middle schooler?? It was a challenging time, but we got through it. Started from the bottom…

Eric & Rachel Throwback Pic

2. How long have you been together?

Our relationship was founded on a solid friendship. We dated briefly the summer after our senior year of high school, but that fell apart when he went away for the remainder of the summer. I continued to date other people and he went back to his long time girlfriend. But we remained friends and innocently would grab dinner whenever he was in town.

2013 started my senior year of college and that’s when our friendship started to shift into a relationship. He won me over with many, many dates at El Cerro. I guess the way to this college girl’s heart was queso and pitchers of margaritas — it worked. We began officially dating November 2013. We made the transition from “friend Eric” to “boyfriend Eric.”

The transition to “fiance Eric” came a few years later. Eric proposed to me on a beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in August 2015. I almost ruined his surprise, but I’m so glad I was willing to get my feet sandy before our dinner plans. If you want the juicy details, you can read all about it here.

We got married on July 9, 2016. It’s my favorite day yet! It was an absolute blur, but we were surrounded by so much joy and support. Planning a wedding was no small feat (we were seriously considering an elopement about a month out from the big day), but it was incredible and more than I had ever dreamed of!

3. How did you know he was “the one”?

I knew I could really see a future with him before we were even officially together. We had plans to go to church and then to the NC State Fair. What he didn’t know was that I roped us into an event at church following the service that lasted longer than anticipated. I’m sure it wrecked his plans, but he barely even batted an eye. Had the roles been reversed, I would have freaked out!

Eric & Rachel Fair 2013

I knew him pretty well before we were an “item,” but the more I learned about him and his character, the more I felt safe and sure. We didn’t agree on everything (and we certainly still don’t), but we agreed on the things that matter most of us: faith, family, travel, good food.

4. Do you want kids?

This question comes up so much after you get married. “When are you having babies??” I don’t like to ask others because it can be a very sensitive topic, but I’m happy to answer it here.

We definitely want kids one day! Ideally one boy, one girl. But of course we will joyfully love any baby God blesses us with. In the meantime, we have our crazy girl, Stella. She has taught us a lot about “parenting” and how to work together to keep another being alive and well. When the time comes, I know that Eric will be an incredible father and I can’t wait to be a momma! Although, we’re totally okay if that timing is a little ways out.

5. What’s your favorite thing about him?

Eric balances me out very well. It drives me crazy sometimes that he doesn’t think and act exactly like I do, but thank goodness he doesn’t!

Eric is the hardest working person I know. He never complains about his crazy work hours and he’s always thinking of ways to maximize money making on his time off. He takes his lazy mornings very seriously, but I’ll give him that since he busts his butt while he’s up.

6. What is the best part about marriage?

The best part about marriage is having someone to do life with.

I love that no matter what happens in my day — good or bad — I have someone there that will celebrate a victory or help console a loss.

Eric & Rachel Atlantic Beach

I love that we are a team. He’s always been supportive of my ideas and goals. He pushes me to try new things and helps me however he can to achieve what I’m striving for. He makes a great life partner!

7. What is a challenging part about marriage?

A challenging part of marriage is merging two lives into one functioning, peaceful household. We each have our own way of doing things. We have different definitions of “clean.” We like to start our days differently. There’s lot of compromise, learning, and patience.

Marriage requires effort and intentionality. We don’t always feel like putting in those things. We get tired, annoyed, frustrated, hurt. But at the end of the day it’s us.

8. What has your marriage taught you?

Marriage has taught me how to put someone else’s needs above my own. I would say I’m an average level of selfish. I’m not the worst, but I’m not the best. If I want to do it well, marriage forces me to think and act selflessly.

Eric & Rachel serving at Hope Community Church

How can I make his day easier? How can I make this situation better? Is there something I can do or say to bring him joy? It’s the little things that make the difference. These thought patterns help me to be more selfless and compassionate in my other relationships too.

9. How do you grow in your marriage?

I strive to grow a little bit everyday. We’re going on three years of marriage this July, so we still have a ton to learn, but I feel like we’ve learned a lot already too.

I look to people that are doing marriage well and listen to their advice. We are so blessed to live in a world of free access to amazing content: podcasts, YouTube videos, Google searches, blogs, etc. We also enjoy spending time with other married couples. I believe in the power of community.

As with most other things in life, you never “arrive” in terms of a good marriage. You also won’t wake up one day with the marriage of your dreams if you aren’t willing to put in the work alongside with your spouse.

We pray, we spend time in community, we spend time together, we learn, we laugh. We do our best to love well and make improvements little by little.

10. What advice do you have for single/dating/engaged friends?

Single friends: You don’t need to wait for a special someone for your life to begin. I used to think having someone would complete me and make me happy. Truth is that I complete myself and my happiness is up to me. Another person cannot fulfill you — that is way too much pressure and power to put on another human being. Be whole and happy in who you are. Trust that your life is working out exactly the way it was planned if you keep doing your next right thing.

Dating friends: If anything feels out of alignment in your relationship, you’re probably right. Trust your gut and your heart. Marriage will not solve any problems, it will only magnify them. Love your person well and start practicing selflessness. Don’t be afraid of deep discussions. Ask the deep questions. Enjoy each other’s company and start cultivating rhythms in your relationship.

Engaged friends: Savor this season. It goes by in a blink. I know you’re probably stressed out and just ready for the day to be here already. The time will pass, so soak it up. Keep in mind what’s truly important and let everything else go. If you’re doing the big wedding day like I did, you won’t even notice if something doesn’t go according to plan. You’ll be too busy dancing the night away and pinching yourself to make sure it’s real. During your reception, take a moment to step back from all the excitement and action to look around the room with your new spouse. Take a mental picture and thank God for this blessing. The adventure is just beginning.


I feel like I’m just getting started with this content, but first I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are there other questions you have that I didn’t answer?

What’s your best piece of relationship advice?

Jan Progress | Feb Goals 2019

Jan Progress | Feb Goals 2019

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Hey there, friend!

How’s your year going so far? Not quite as far along as you thought you’d be? Have you completely given up on your resolutions? Did you set any goals? The good news is that there’s still more than enough time to turn it around if needed. Yall, we’re only in month two out of twelve! Don’t stress. But do get intentional.

I haven’t always been good at goal setting. I used to decide on maybe one or two unrealistic resolutions and then get frustrated with myself when they fell apart come mid January.

My eyes were opened and world was turned upside down (in the best way) when a set of PowerSheets entered into my routine. I found a system that worked for me. I learned about the power of little by little steps and how progress is always above perfection.

Be encouraged that you already have everything you need inside of you — you just need a system to guide you. Grab a set of the six month undated PowerSheets set and dig in! Until then… here’s a glimpse into mine ❤

January Progress

January Progress with PowerSheets

Monthly Action Items

  • Launch new small group season well: Our group is ever evolving and I’m so excited for what this season has in store. The community we’re cultivating is amazing and Lord is definitely moving.
  • Set 2019 couple goals: We created this in a shared note in our phones, so we always have it to reference. The biggest one is building a new home. Stay tuned for that journey!
  • Research therapist: I did some research, so this action item is complete, but I’ve decided to hold off on moving forward with one for a bit. My schedule has gotten fuller and we want to save any extra money we can.
  • Research chiropractor: A friend gave me an awesome recommendation and I’m really enjoying my visits. I was nervous about the cracking sounds from adjustments, but I know my body needs it.
  • Plan blog content for quarter: Done! I’m excited about what I have planned. As always, let me know any content you’d love to see here.
  • Add $4,000 to savings: Check! This is an aggressive savings goal for us, so I’m extra proud that we’ve been able to meet it. It will be worth it.
  • Budget meeting – review/set goals: We’ve gotten out of the routine of budget meetings since we got into a good money groove, so it was nice to intentionally sit down and make sure we’re on the same page.
  • Add important dates to planner: I finally got to add all my appointments to my planner. February and March are the months of doctor visits. Praying for positive feedback from each one.
  • 3 sales: So happy to say we exceeded this goal. Teamwork is a beautiful thing, yall!
  • Create daily action items for work: Done! Created a checklist in a note on my phone, so I can reuse it each work day. I think it’ll help keep me on track and productive.

Weekly Action Items

  • Speak life to/over Eric — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Date E intentionally — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Mindfully rest — Achieved 4/5 weeks
  • Unprocess my diet — Achieved 4/5 weeks
  • Blog post published + shared — Achieved 5/5 weeks
  • Cultivate flourishing AM routine — Achieved 4/5 weeks
  • Cultivate flourishing PM routine — Achieved 4/5 weeks

This was a strong start! Wellness is at the top of my priority list. My nutrition is the area I struggle in most. I have no problem working out and am getting better at sleeping enough, but nutrition is tricky. I have a big sweet tooth and love my carbs. It doesn’t help that Eric is the same way…

I had gotten into a bad habit of processed foods — snack bars, eating out, etc. Whole foods weren’t as abundant in my diet, so that needed to change to feel my best. Unprocessing my diet means reducing the added sugar and processed foods to make room for more whole, healthy foods. I’m still working on it, so you’ll see this goal for February as well.

Daily Action Items

  • Time in the Word — Achieved 30/31 days
  • Pray with Eric — Achieved 26/31 days
  • Show up with effort — Achieved 29/31 days

I felt silly at first for adding that last goal to my list. Honestly, I thought judgment would kick in. “Does she really need to make that an action item??” Yes. It’s an area I struggle in, especially in the winter when I just want to stay in sweatpants. And this is my tending list, so I add what I need. I’m not the girl that enjoys doing her hair or makeup. I’m not the girl with the most stylish clothes. I am the girl that can use what she has and put in the effort, so that’s what I’ll do. A little intentionality and mindfulness goes a long way.

February Goals

February Goals with PowerSheets

Monthly Action Items

  • Positive report at appts
  • Learn about Pinterest for blog
  • Add $4,000 to savings
  • 3 sales
  • Cultivate productive work rhythm

Weekly Action Items

  • Speak life to & over Eric
  • Love Eric well
  • Mindfully rest
  • Unprocess my diet
  • Blog post published & shared
  • Flourishing AM/PM routines
  • Love my people well

Daily Action Items

  • Worship > screens
  • Pray with & for E
  • Show up well [early & with effort]
  • Spend on essentials

February is a lighter month for action items. January had a lot going on (which lead to changes that I’m still adjusting to), so I wanted to give myself space. You don’t need to fill in every nook and cranny. Good things are able to grow well when given space to breathe. I’m embracing margin and doing my best.

What are you working towards this month?

January 2019 Round Up

January 2019 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Hi, friend!

Welcome to the end of January. Can you even believe it??

I’m working on this post the night before it goes live while watching the NCSU basketball game. If you know anything about NC State, you know being a Wolfpack fan is a constant rollercoaster of emotion. So if parts of this don’t make sense, you can blame it on my Cardiac Pack 😉

Kidding (sorta). Maybe blame it on the Barefoot Moscato…

Regardless, I’m here for you sharing a peek into my month. So much happens in those 30ish days and here’s a glimpse into some of my favorite parts.

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Orange Theory Fitness: In January I started a new fitness routine with OTF and I’m so excited! My body responds really well to cardio + strength and that’s exactly what this workout offers. Each day’s workout is different, but all very challenging (which I love)! Each workout is comprised of three different sections: rowers, treadmills, and floor work with weights or other equipment. You wear a heart rate monitor to track your stats during the workout. The goal is to be in the “orange” and/or “red” zone for a combined total of at least 12 minutes. This means you’ll continue to burn calories for up to 36 hours after your workout. Making this change has helped me find new motivation and excitement for my workouts!
  2. Chiropractor care plan: I’ve never been to a chiropractor until this week, but I felt like it was something important to add to my wellness plan. I’ve gotten into a good rhythm with my usual appointments (dentist, dermatologist, gyno, eye, etc), so I felt like I had the bandwidth to add something new. I got a great recommendation from a friend and the practice is actually very close to my home and work, which is an awesome bonus! I’m not seeing my chiropractor for any specific pains or problems, but for overall wellness and helping my body to function optimally. I had my first ever adjustment on Jan 29th, so check that off. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going 🙂
  3. Amazon Influencer Program: I’m thrilled to be accepted to Amazon’s Influencer Program! I applied once before and wasn’t accepted, but second time is a charm. This allows me to create a “storefront” where I can organize all my favorite Amazon products and earn a small commission through purchases. This will make it simple for you to discover and shop things I’m loving. I will update my Amazon page continuously as I discover products worth sharing that I think will make your life easier. You can shop my favorites here. Thank you in advance for your support!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

So simple, but so powerful. Each day we get a choice in how we will approach it. Although some days are definitely easier than others, I want to make it a point to choose joy. This choice won’t change what happens in my day. It won’t keep bad, frustrating things from happening. But it will affect how I react to life and that makes a world of difference.

Who or what I’m adoring

I’ve been loving Smile Brilliant since November when I started their process for my at home whitening kit, but especially this month because my experience + giveaway post is LIVE. Did you miss that? You can check that out here and make sure you enter the giveaway if you’re reading this before February 6, 2019.

The process was super simple and effective. My teeth are whiter without any inconveniences or sensitivity. Whitening strips are okay, but personalized whitening trays are definitely the way to go. I wish I had this three years ago before our wedding, but better late than never!

Favorite memory from January

On a Friday night Eric and I met up with some friends to take on Rush Hour Karting. This is an indoor high speed karting facility — the high speed part of that is no joke. The karts go almost 40mph which doesn’t seem like much, but is quite fast when you’re speeding a little kart through a twisty track.

This isn’t something I would normally do and I was honestly nervous, but it was SO MUCH FUN!!! It was intimidating at first, but you quickly get the hang of it. If you’re near Garner, NC I highly recommend checking out this place for a date night or group outing. It’s always good to do something different and the adrenaline rush doesn’t hurt.

A good lesson I learned

If something isn’t working, change it.

Often I get into a funk because I’m not changing something that needs a change. Maybe that’s a routine, a habit, a mindset, or something else entirely. I forget I can make a change or I’m waiting for permission.

If you do the same, I’m giving you permission right now. You always have the permission to change something in your life that isn’t working. You have to be your own advocate because you are the only one that knows what you need. We won’t always get it right and it’s totally okay to change things up.

In February…

I’m saying no to: excess sugar.
I’m saying yes to: nourishing my body.

A lot of people joke about January being a “trial month.” I can see where they’re coming from. We’re expected to have everything figured out right after eating and drinking all the things during the holidays. It’s a tough transition, but hopefully by now you’re finding a routine that works for you. Remember, it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s if that’s not what in alignment for your life in this season.

How has the first month of 2019 been for you?

Good things have come, but even better things are ahead!

Simple at home teeth whitening

Simple at home teeth whitening

I haven’t always been confident in my smile.

I used to have a large gap between my front two teeth which led to braces and a minor procedure on my gums. I’m sure a lot more work went into my smile, but I was so young that I don’t remember much about that time. All I knew was that I craved a smile I could be proud of.

You are beautiful. If your smile needs a boost like mine did, be sure to read until the very end. Trust me ❤

Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.

Connie Stevens

I’m not new to teeth whitening, but I’ve had a hard time finding something that actually works and that I’ll stick with.

Of course, I’ve tried whitening strips. Quick and convenient, yes, but they felt uncomfortable and just didn’t seem to do the job.

I’ve tried personalized teeth whitening trays that I got from my dentist at the time. I had the molds made while I was in her office and then had to pick them up later. This was much better that the strips, but the process wasn’t convenient and I stopped using it once the gel ran out because I didn’t want to bother with ordering (or paying…) for more.

Most recently I tried generic trays from my current dentist. Maybe dramatic, but I literally gagged when I took the tray out. There was so much gel left on my teeth and I was grossed out. The trays felt like a mouth guard and they weren’t personalized for my teeth. Plus I had no control over the amount of gel used. Needless to say, that was the first and last time I tried that route.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

Mother Teresa

Smile Brilliant stepped in and solved my teeth whitening woes. Affordable. Personalized trays with a quick and convenient process. Noticeable results even after my first session. No gagging. Insert praise hands here.

To be honest, I was overwhelmed at the thought of the process, but Smile Brilliant made it so simple. Everything you need is in the box, so all you have to do is open it up and get started towards a whiter, brighter smile.

This is the T3 Sensitive System kit for light stains. It includes 3 whitening syringes, 3 desensitizing syringes, and everything you need to make the molds that Smile Brilliant uses to create your custom teeth whitening trays. It also includes instructions for every step of the process, so don’t stress!

The molds are created in the comfort of your own home by mixing one base paste and one catalyst paste, then spreading evenly on the mold tray. Press the tray gently up to your upper teeth and let it harden for two and a half minutes. Remove and then repeat for your lower teeth.

I’m so glad Smile Brilliant gives you an extra pair of pastes because I had a harder time with my bottom teeth. Second time was a charm.

After both molds are created, you let them sit for thirty minutes, rinse and dry completely, and then pack em up to ship back. In about two weeks you’ll have your custom teeth whitening trays. You’ll get email updates along the way once they’ve been received and again when they’ve shipped. I really appreciated this aspect of their customer service so I wasn’t left wondering. Communication is key!

Now for the part we’ve all been waiting for: whitening! Unlike the strips you’re used to, custom trays allow for your entire smile to be whitened.

To get started, brush your teeth with water only. Apply a thin layer of the whitening gel to the front portion of your trays and then gently press the tray to your appropriate teeth. Be careful not to use too much gel. You certainly don’t want to waste it, but you also don’t want it oozing out of the trays. I’ve been getting at least three full whitening sessions with each syringe, so they go far.

Smile Brilliant recommends whitening for 45 minutes to three hours. I started with the minimum and worked my way up to make sure my teeth and gums weren’t sensitive. I did not experience much sensitivity at all, even when doing sessions on back-to-back days.

Something I haven’t seen before with teeth whitening is a desensitizing gel. This is used immediately after your whitening session and applied in the same method as the whitening gel for 15-20 minutes. It helps to reduce sensitivity and prevent future staining. Yes and yes!

It’s best to whiten before bed so that you’re not consuming other food or drinks that could restain your teeth. I’m a rule follower and I wanted the very best results, so that’s what I did. This helped prevent snacking after dinner, which was an unintentional (yet positive) side effect.

My usual whitening routine would look like applying my trays as per the instructions and then moving on with my evening. Sometimes that looked like writing a blog post, watching a show, taking a bath, reading. The trays didn’t interfere at all, so it was easy to add to my routine.

7 whitening sessions — less yellowing + staining

I have nothing but good things to say about my experience with Smile Brilliant. Not only is the kit affordable and convenient to use, but the process actually works!

I can whiten with confidence because the kits are 100% vegan and cruelty free – the gels are vegetable-based instead of animal based. Fun fact: the company was recently Leaping Bunny Approved. It’s important that I use and support companies that are in alignment with my own values — doing business well and being kind others.

I’m so happy to have found at home whitening that fits so well into my life. It certainly beats anything I’ve used in the past and can’t wait to continue using it for whitening maintenance in the future!

Are you ready for a GIVEAWAY!? 

Huge thank you to Smile Brilliant for collaborating with me on this post! We are hosting a giveaway and one lucky winner will receive their very own T3 Sensitive kit!

All you have to do to enter is fill out the entry form here! But if you’re too excited and want your teeth whitening kit ASAP, you can always use the coupon code “flourishwithrach15” for 15% off any Smile Brilliant purchase.

Be sure to follow both Smile Brilliant (@smilebrilliant) and me (@racharrington) on Instagram and tag/share with your friends who would love a chance to win too! Giveaway ends Feb 6, 2019. Good luck, friends!

Do you whiten your teeth? Would you ever try Smile Brilliant? 
Let me know in the comments below!

Professional Teeth Whitening //www.smilebrilliant.com/widget-article/flourishwithrach

2019 Goals

2019 Goals

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

The dust is settling and we’re a few weeks into the new year. Can we still call it the “new” year? When does it stop being new??

Anyways, by now you might be getting back into somewhat normal routines. Everyone is back to school or work. Hopefully all the delicious desserts are gone. The holiday alcohol consumption has slowed down. We’re back.

For me, the year starts off with equal parts of excitement and overwhelm. It’s a lot to ask of ourselves to up and change everything at once. But it’s helpful to know what you want to adjust and have an idea for starting steps.

In December I like to set yearly goals with my PowerSheets. This incredible goal planning tool walks me through prep work and helps me identify common themes to set my goals. It helps me get honest with myself in what really matters. Simply, I want to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

If you’ve been around FWR for a bit, you’ve seen my monthly progress + goals updates. These tending lists tie back to my core set of goals for the year. They are made up of smaller action items that move me closer to progress on the big picture. Here’s the big picture for 2019.

Goal 1: Know God deeply

Affirmation: I feel close to my Creator and know I am His beloved child. Through the Holy Spirit, I am full of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Action Step Ideas
Journal
Prayer — alone, with Eric, with others
Attend church regularly
Small Group
Read Bible
Read devotional
Play worship music

Goal 2: Be an exceptional wife

Affirmation: I am fully committed to my marriage. I strive every day to become a more loving and serving wife. I choose my words wisely, speaking life over and to my husband. I love Eric and love the life we’re building together.

Action Step Ideas
Unplugged, intentional date nights
Pray together
Connect — be present with each other
Set couple goals
Determine what memories we want to make this year
Practice patience
Cultivate communication
Seek out ways to help him

Goal 3: Enjoy + create wellness

Affirmation: I care for my body well and am proud of all it does for me. My body is healthy, strong, and the exact weight it was created to be. I am mindful and careful of my mental health. I am energized, joyful, and well from the inside out!

Action Step Ideas
Eat to nourish my body
Reduce sugar consumption
Unprocess my diet
Drink lots of water
Move my body daily
Commit to 3 Orange Theory classes each week
Meditation
Stretch/foam roll
Stay up to date with appointments
Rest — sit down on the inside
Work with a therapist — find one and visit
See a chiropractor — find one and visit

Goal 4: Blog growth

Affirmation: I am a talented writer and am blessed to be able to share my gift. My subscribers and readers are increasing daily which means I am positively impacting more people through my words. My blog is opening the door to many amazing opportunities.

Action Step Ideas
Plan content
Brand collaborations
Guest post opportunities
Learn more about Pinterest for growth
Join NC Blogger Network
Create freebies
Increase following on blog and Instagram
Brainstorm new post ideas
Become Amazon Influencer

Goal 5: Be a good steward of our finances

Affirmation: There are virtually no limits to how much money I can earn and save. Money flows easily to me and I use it well. I live like no one else today so later I can live and give like no one else.

Action Step Ideas
Continue through baby steps
Learn from Dave Ramsey
Work with our financial advisor
Set up our wills
Continue saving monthly for home down payment
Pay cash for car at end of lease
Budget meeting monthly with Eric

Goal 6: Simplify

Affirmation: My space is peaceful and life-giving. My schedule accurately reflects my priorities because I’m mindful about what I say yes to. I have cultivated productive and fulfilling routines.

Action Step Ideas
Reread A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
Leave white space in planner
Cultivate AM/PM routines
Follow Clean Mama cleaning schedule
Time block tasks
Maintain organization — physically and digitally
Make sure everything has a “home”
Simplicity challenge
Participate in neighborhood yard sale in spring

Goal 7: Love my people well

Affirmation: I have incredible, supportive relationships. I focus on adding as much value as I can to enrich the lives of everyone I come in contact with. I encourage others and make their lives better simply because I’m a part of it.

Action Step Ideas
Check in with friends/family
Birthday celebrations
Acknowledge special moments
Get together face to face
Encourage
Put important dates in calendar (birthdays, anniversaries, etc)

Goal 8: Success at work

Affirmation: I become better every day and serve my customers well. I successfully sell multiple homes each month because of my knowledge, skill, and nurturing relationships with realtor partners and customers.

Action Step Ideas
Create and follow daily checklist
Follow system for check in with buyers
Educate myself — books, podcasts, colleagues
Identify areas to improve
Show up!
Get to community early
Organize digital files
Get more involved with industry
Meet and exceed sales goal

Goal 9: Cultivate confidence

Affirmation: I am worthy, deserving, and capable of achieving everything I want. I commit now to schedule and follow through TODAY with the necessary actions that will ensure that I create the extraordinary life I deserve. I give up being perfect for being authentic. I love who I am and I am proud of the woman I am becoming.

Action Step Ideas
Find confidence coach (book, podcast?)
Plug into Rachel Hollis’ resources
Put effort into appearance daily
Speak up
Create a confidence playlist
Emphasize my strengths
Do more of what makes me feel powerful!

“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.”

Rachel Hollis

Some of these goals will never leave my list like growing in my faith and pouring into my marriage. Some goals are similar to last year, but have evolved. Some are new.

The wonderful thing about goals? They’re yours and you have the power to delete them, switch them up, or continue them to the next year. You may feel like you should set certain goals because of what others may think or say, but you don’t. Truthfully, those people probably aren’t thinking much about you because they’re too busy thinking about themselves. So relax and go after what set your soul on fire.

If you stick around, you’ll see more of the nitty gritty in my monthly tending lists. This is where I break down my big goals into daily, weekly, and monthly action items. Little by little I’m making progress on my big, important goals ❤

There is nothing magical about January 1st. If you’ve set your 2019 goals, I’m so proud of you! If you haven’t yet, I’m still so proud of you! There’s still plenty of time to set them if you want to. I do encourage goals because, in the wise words of Zig Ziglar, if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Lets aim for huge, incredible, scary (yet exciting) things!

One more affirmation to leave you with — I’m believing this: I am grateful for all that I have, accepting of all that I don’t, and I actively create all that I want. I strive to make everyday the best day of my life, because there is simply no good reason not to. Good things are coming and I am excited for what’s ahead!

How can I better encourage you this year? I’m cheering you on, friend.

2019 Word of the Year

2019 Word of the Year

Hello, friend. Welcome to the new year.

Or if you’re reading this after January 2019, welcome to the new moment.

First lesson: you don’t need to wait for a fresh year to have a fresh start. Although it does feel like a good time, doesn’t it? Lets use it.

At this point in the year, I’ve chosen my Word of the Year (which is why we’re here) and my main focuses for 2019 aka my goals. I stopped making resolutions years ago because we all know how those tend to go. I give up on resolutions. But goals, on the other hand, I make progress on little by little.

My word felt pretty obvious last year. Before I really dug in too far, it was there. This year didn’t feel that way and I felt panicked. It’s totally not the end of the world to experience a year without a specific word. I had gone through 24 years without a word. But I wanted one.

What is a Word of the Year (WOY)?

Simply put, this is a word (or even multiple words or a phrase) that you want to carry with you for the year.

It might be an overarching idea of what you want to develop (strength, patience, community, contentment, grace, etc). It might be a description of what you want for your year (adventure, fun, abundance, joy, etc). The beauty (and the challenge) is there are no rules. Choose a word (or multiple words) that speak to you.

How do you choose your WOY?

Choosing a WOY is different for every person. The process may vary year to year. Some people know it immediately. Some people have to talk about it, pray about it, wait and listen on it. There’s no right or wrong way here.

Start brainstorming.

Ask yourself questions and write down your answers — you may notice themes in your responses. What worked last year? What didn’t work last year? What do I want for 2019? What do I want more/less of? Where do I want to be when I’m 80 years old?

Read and/or listen to music.

Jot down any word that sparks something.

Take a look at your list — does any word speak to you? If there are a few, look up the definitions and see if one stands out. If not, don’t stress. There’s no deadline. This is your word, so it’s whatever you want it to be! You even have the flexibility to change if the chosen word falls out of alignment. The purpose is to set your intention as it works best for you in this season.

2017 was the year to Become.
2018 was the year to Flourish.
2019 is the year to…

Rest: cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

When I was working through my questions, I noticed a theme of rest.

Rest worked well in 2018.

I crave refreshment, rejuvenation, and recovery.

I’m not just talking about physical rest, although that’s extremely important to me (even though it’s an area I struggle in). I mean soul rest too. Giving myself the space to breathe, think, and just be.

I heard a phrase on Emily P. Freeman’s podcast and it stuck with me. To sit down on the inside. She was talking about peace. That soul rest we can feel when we take the time to slow down. I want that even when our schedules, days, and lives are hectic.

Rest means being purposeful. It means knowing, setting, and sticking to my priorities. It means saying no to things that aren’t my best yes. It means letting some things go. It means pouring into myself so I can be, feel, and do my best. Yes, that all sounds lovely.

So this year I’ll practice rest. Honestly, rest doesn’t feel natural to me. It feels scary because it requires trust. I’m trusting that everything will be okay without me. If I’m taking the time to rest (my body, my mind, my soul), that means I’m not doing.

WOY Ideas

abide / able / adventure
balance / be / beloved / bloom / brave / bold / breathe
change / cherish / confidence / consistent / courage / contentment / cultivate
deeper / delight / devoted / diligence / discover
embrace / enrich
faithful / fearless/ finish / flourish / focus / freedom
grace / grateful / gratitude / grow / grounded
happy / healing / heart / hope
implement / intentional
join / joy
kind / knowledge
learn / less / light / listen / love
manifest / meaningful / mighty / mindful
natural / nourish / nurture
obedient / open / organized
peace / play / powerful / prepare / present / progress / purpose
question / quiet
ready / redefine / renew / rest / rise / rooted
savor / self-discipline / shine / simplify / steady / still / strength / surrender
thankful / thrive / trust / transform
unshakeable / unstoppable / understanding
value / vibrant / vitality
wellness / worthy
yes

This is YOUR year! I’m so excited to see how you will use 2019.

Have you chosen a WOY?? Let me know in the comments below what yours is ❤