October 2018 Round Up

October 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here. I appreciate you shopping with me! 

Happy Halloween, friend!

I know that Halloween comes at the very end of October. I know that Halloween has been coming for a while thanks to the constant showings of Hocus Pocus (my fave!). But it’s still kinda hard for me to wrap my mind around October being over. It came and went so quickly!

That’s the same story every month — I’m always surprised how quickly the days and weeks pass. A lot happened this month and there’s wonderful things to come, so lets recap it, shall we??

3 things I’m excited about

  1. The holidays: This doesn’t need much explanation, right? This is my favorite time of the year. So much joy, celebration, and time with loved ones. This year we’ll be doing a Friendsgiving dinner with our small group — already looking forward to the food and fellowship. It’s another opportunity to make memories with family and friends. I’m here for it.
  2. Flawless Facial Hair Remover: This one is bit weird, but I’m all about products that make my life easier. Thank you, Ulta, for this incredible tool. I know we don’t like to talk about it, but ladies, we all have that bit of peach fuzz along our chin and lip that keep our makeup from looking flawless. If you don’t, continue reading. Ok, now the ones that are being honest — you need this! It’s so easy to use and works amazingly! Ulta currently has a 20% off coupon on their website through Nov 3rd, so go grab it!
  3. Election Day: I’m not one for politics, but as I get older, I understand more and more the power and privilege of using my voice. I know we won’t all agree on candidates and policies, which is totally fine. But no matter what you think is “right,” exercise your right to vote! I’m also just really ready for the political commercials and mailers to take a break 🙂

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“When you focus on the good, the good gets better.”

This quote is gold and definitely something I’ve been trying to improve on. It can be easy to focus on the negative — the things that didn’t go your way, the things that annoy you, the things you want to change. And then it seems like that list can keep getting longer. The same is true of the positive. If you keep looking for good things, you’ll keep finding them. It’s all about perspective and contentment. ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

PowerSheets

The 2019 PowerSheets collection finally launched October 24th! They are absolutely stunning!!! 2019 will be my third year utilizing PowerSheets to help me be intentional in setting and achieving goals and it just keeps getting better.

The Cultivate What Matters team make adjustments every year to improve the incredible tool and I love what they’ve done! I talked all about my PowerSheets and gave a little sneak peek in my previous post here. If you’re anything like me and can benefit from guidance and encouragement when it comes to goal setting, the PowerSheets are for you!

Favorite memory from October

Aside from the usual, the major focus at work in October was the Parade of Homes. This is an annual event done over 3 weekends where builders in the Triangle area can showcase their homes and design — it’s the largest open house of the year! The public is invited to visit the homes in the Parade to learn about the latest updates in design and home building. It’s so fun to show off our beautiful homes! This year my company had six homes in the Parade and the model in my community was one of them.

The homes get judged and there is a Gala to present the awards. The Parade of Homes Gala was my favorite memory in October because it was an awesome chance for Eric and I to dress up and celebrate the fruits of our team’s hard work. It was even more special because the event was held at my alma mater, NC State University. I even wore the perfect color: red.

I love embracing the opportunities to enjoy my industry and get to know others within it. I try to say yes to the different events and this one was well worth it!

A good lesson I learned

Your words are powerful.

This has been the topic of sermons at church for the last several weeks and it’s working in me. I love words and I definitely believe in their power, but until recently I didn’t fully understand how powerful they are. Anything good or bad that has happened is most likely due to the chosen string of words.

Because of this teaching and realization, I have tried to be more careful with my words. I’m striving to use them to build others up through encouragement and truth. I’m also working on the way I speak to myself. It doesn’t have to be verbalized to make an impact. I challenge you to take a look at the words you use and see if you can improve them to speak more life in yourself and those around you.

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
-Proberbs 18:21

In November…

I’m saying no to: comparison.

I’m saying yes to: gratitude.

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My #1 Goal Setting Tool

My #1 Goal Setting Tool

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here. I personally use and adore the PowerSheets and many products from the Cultivate What Matters Shop. I greatly appreciate you shopping with my link! 

Have you ever found something that you never knew you needed, but once you had it you couldn’t imagine life without it?

For me, that is the PowerSheets.

That may sound a bit dramatic to feel that way about a beautifully bound intentional goal setting planner, but if you own a set you totally understand.

When the happy mail arrives

If you’ve been around here for a little while, you’ve surely seen my monthly posts about my progress and goals using the incredible PowerSheets.

I have always been a fan of planners and writing things down. For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed in the power of goals and the importance of setting them. Before the PowerSheets came into my life, I would write down my goals, sure, but they didn’t always have a true sense of purpose. I felt a little lost in setting them, so they weren’t as meaningful as I would hope.

My well-loved PowerSheets through the years: 2017, 2018, 2019

Last year, 2017, was my first experience with PowerSheets. I could hardly wait to start the prep work and get my goals ready! Although it was challenging and it certainly took a good amount of time to thoughtfully work through and prepare my goals, I was hooked. I finally had a vision for my goals and goal setting in general.

My PowerSheets feels like a cheerleader I can carry around with me. She encourages me to reach farther and picks me up when a goal isn’t accomplished or a dream changes direction.

Because of my work in my PowerSheets, I think about my goals, my time, and my daily actions differently. I’m better (and improving) at letting things go that don’t serve me in this season. I’m understanding it’s okay to say no because that means I can say yes to what’s more important. I’m learning and experiencing each day that little by little progress adds up!

I am a Cultivator.

I strive to cultivate beautiful things in my life.

Faith.
Relationships.
Health and wellness.
Financial peace.
Success at work.
Contentment.
Peace.
Rest.
Joy.

You know what the best part is? We don’t have to do this alone. You can be a Cultivator too and you can start right now. Do you need some guidance? Start with your very own set of PowerSheets. You can do things in these final few months of 2018 that will set up 2019 to be your best year YET!

#1: Order your PowerSheets Oct 24th at 10am EST!

#2: Dig into the work and get messy.

I promise you won’t regret it ❤

What I love most about the PowerSheets is the prep work. These are pages before you even get to setting your goals where you consider what’s working/not working, how different areas of your life are currently, and how you want to grow in the coming year.

The question that always makes me ponder hard and smile at the same time: Where do I want to be when I’m 80? My answer to that question helps me cultivate a life that adds up to 80 year old Rachel’s reality.

It’s hard to say where I would be today without my trusty PowerSheets, but I’m glad I don’t have to know. I believe this amazing tool has allowed me to reach higher and go farther than I would’ve done all on my own. It has helped me to realize goals and go after things that are scary, but ultimately so good!

Friend, if you’re feeling stuck in your goals, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a community of Cultivators waiting to cheer you on! Grab your goal setting tool and lets dig in.

Will you be grabbing your set of PowerSheets!? Let me know below so we can crush our goals together! Do you have any questions about how to cultivate what matters?

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September 2018 Round Up

September 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

We are officially moving into the final quarter of 2018 — can you believe it!? September felt a little wild, especially with a major hurricane thrown into the middle of it. I hope that your month was productive, restful, and fabulous! Lets do a little recap of September!

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Football is back! I know it’s been back for a bit, but we finally made it to a NCSU football game, so it feels real! I have so many fun memories involving games (partly thanks to the tailgating) and I love being able to make more. We weren’t able to make it to any last year, so hopefully we can do better this season. Go Wolfpack! Go Panthers!
  2. Parade of Homes: The Triangle Parade of Homes kicks off in October. Our model home is a part of the parade, so that’s going to mean lots of people visiting our community. Hoping our beautiful model in WoodCreek will bring home the gold!
  3. PowerSheets 2019 Launch: If you’ve been around here for more than 5 minutes, you have heard of PowerSheets. In case you’re new, it’s essentially a goal planner. It’s one of my favorite resources ever because it encourages me to really dig into what matters most to me. It has been a catalyst for great changes in my life and I cannot say enough good things. The 2019 PowerSheets will be launching October 24th! They sell out every year, so I highly recommend you grab yours ASAP!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

The Word is full of truth and wisdom that I want to carry with me. This verse in particular stuck out to me during my quiet time and I thought it would be the perfect words to meditate on for this month. Or really any month.

Be on your guard.
Stand firm in the faith.
Be courageous.
Be strong.
Do everything in love. 

I want my life to be an example of this, especially the last part. If you do everything in love you can’t go wrong. ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

Mesh laundry bags

This is a very adult thing to be excited about, but hey, that’s where I’m at. And I’m all about little hacks that make life easier. Have you ever put something into the dryer that you didn’t mean to because you missed it when moving clothes over? It used to happen to me all the time, specifically with black clothes cause they just blend together. I would have to carefully move over one piece at a time to pull anything out that needed to be air dried, but of course I would miss something. Mesh laundry bags to the rescue! Simply put the air-dry clothes into the bags, wash as normal and then pull the bags out when it’s time to move the load over and hang up the clothes. How did I live so long without these??

Favorite memory from September

Hurricane Florence came through the Carolinas in mid-September. They were originally calling for the eye of the storm to go right over Raleigh (where we live), but the storm shifted and we got minimal damage, thank God. Many parts of our state were not as lucky, but it has been so amazing to see the community come together. People everywhere have seeking out ways to donate and serve to support the hurricane victims. My favorite memory from September was volunteering for Operation Airdrop with our small group.

We were scheduled to meet for small group as usual, but decided last minute our time would be better spent as a group at RDU collecting and preparing donations. I’m so glad we did! Volunteer pilots donated their time and planes to fly tons of food, water, and supplies to the areas that needed it most. So many communities weren’t accessible by road because of flooding and damage, so this was crucial. We were able to truly live out our church’s mission of loving people where they are. Ironically I also reconnected with a sorority sister who was a couple years ahead of me — what are the chances!? It feels good to serve others and do it alongside awesome people. We are still praying for our state and the rebuilding of communities and lives that are now taking place.

A good lesson I learned

Serve others however you can. It all adds up and makes a difference.

We all have gifts and resources that we can use to positively impact others. I can’t help everyone and fix every need, but when we come together, our efforts add up. You don’t have to wait for a tragedy or natural disaster — there are people all around that need you. Think small like a smile, conversation, or hug. Think big like a financial donation or providing a car to a family in need. No man is an island… we need each other. Serve and love — it’ll never be too small to make a difference.

In October…

I’m saying no to: isolation and loneliness.

I’m saying yes to: loving my people well.

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20 of my favorite podcasts

20 of my favorite podcasts

I love podcasts! I don’t remember the first one I listened to or how I got introduced to the podcast world, but I’ve haven’t looked back since. Free content on literally any subject you can think of — what more could you ask for!? I use podcasts as an opportunity for growth in different areas such as personal, health, and business. They’re also just entertaining! I listen to episodes while I’m getting ready, doing chores, driving — pretty much any time I’m doing a relatively mindless activity. It’s a great way to productively multitask. I know multitasking isn’t really a thing, but in this one case… it is!

You may be new to the world of podcasts or you’re just looking for some new episodes to check out. There are tons of podcasts out there and it can be hard to figure out which are worth listening to, so I’m here to help! These are the podcast that make me most excited when a new episode is available. Listen + enjoy!

Personal Development Podcasts

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Rise Together Podcast with Rachel & Dave Hollis

By now you’ve likely heard of Rachel Hollis and her best selling book, Girl Wash Your Face. Rachel and her husband, Dave, are goals. Although I’m sure #goals takes lots of hard work every day. They are open and honest about their own struggles and take every opportunity to share the lessons learned. No topic is off limits (they did an entire episode on sex sooo I really mean that). I enjoy hearing the perspective from both sides. If you’re striving to be a better person, married or not, give this a listen.

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Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis

Lets be real: I can’t get enough Rachel Hollis.

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Girls Night with Stephanie May Wilson

Girls Night feels like an actual coffee date chat with a girlfriend. Stephanie interviews awesome ladies and has truthful conversations. I love that she’s a Christian, but her beliefs don’t feel forced upon others. She discusses topics like healthy relationships, finding a mentor, friendship, depression, and business. I’m a little bit better after each episode because of her loving wisdom.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The title of this podcast pretty much explains the way I feel about it. Gretchen Rubin and her little sister, Elizabeth Craft, are the co-hosts of this sweet show. The sisters share practical and manageable advice about happiness and good habits. My favorite part of each episode is probably the “try this at home” segment where they share a tip or hack to try. I’m all about some life hacks!

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Oprah’s Master Class

Anything Oprah does is gold, right?? This is no different. Oprah brings on people from various arenas: actors, musicians, public figures, athletes — the masters of their work. People like Justin Timberlake, Reba McEntire, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dwayne Johnson. Oprah jumps in from time to time to provide a background story or other helpful information, but otherwise it’s a one sided conversation of life lessons and personal insight.

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Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

Again, Oprah = gold. This one is an interview style conversation with her guest.

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Over It & On With It with Christine Hassler

Christine Hassler is a life coach. She coaches a caller live, providing a blend of practical and spiritual advice to help both the caller and listener. It’s so interesting to hear about the challenges for which the caller needs coaching and then how Christine walks with them through it. She also does a “Coach’s Corner” where she will speak solo or bring on a guest to discuss a topic. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology, so this is right up my alley!

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That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs

This podcast is truly fun! I think Annie is hilarious and her bubbly, Enneagram 7 personality shines through! She’s a Christian author and speaker — one I’m so glad I found. All guests are her friends (or people she wants to be friends with), so the conversations feel effortless. She’s a lover of the Enneagram and soccer, so don’t be surprised if these come up in most of the conversations.

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The Dave Ramsey Show

If you need help with your finances (lets be honest, doesn’t pretty much everyone??) you should subscribe to this one. Dave answers caller questions about money and celebrates people as they come on to do their debt free screams. I’ve learned a lot through this free resource — it has actually been a big part of our debt free journey.

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Typology with Ian Morgan Cron

If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram, this is it! In case that word is new to you, the Enneagram is pretty much a personality test, but that’s way oversimplifying it. Ian speaks with guests through the lens of the Enneagram typing system, discussing how to use it as a tool to become our best, most authentic selves. I’m here for it.

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Your Kick-Ass Life with Andrea Owen

Andrea is another life coach that I love. She’s no nonsense and isn’t afraid to speak about any topic. She’s open about her past struggles with alcohol and addiction and is someone that believes in showing up and doing the work. She provides self-help in a easy-to-digest, no sugar-coating it kind of way that I love!

Faith Podcasts

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Hope Community Church Podcasts

Hope Community Church is our home church in Apex, North Carolina. I try to attend the live service as often as I can, but sometimes I’m not able to or I want to listen to the message again. I do miss the worship music when I’m not able to be there in person, but I love that these episodes jump right into the teaching.

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Your Move with Andy Stanley

The hope behind Andy’s messages is that you will “discover how to make better decisions and live with few regrets.” Yes please! Andy Stanley is a senior pastor and he’s one of my favorite speakers. The topics can get pretty heavy, but he always balances that by bringing in humor and personal stories to engage and teach. These weekly 30 minute episodes are the gut checks I need to help stay on track with my life and faith.

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The Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast

I will never stop needing wisdom from women who have gone before me. Proverbs 31 Ministries provides many amazing resources for women who are trying to grow in their relationship with Jesus and this is one of my favorites. Every episode features a variety of teachings on something valuable, so no matter your age, background, or life stage, you will walk away with something good.

Health Podcasts

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The Health Code with Sarah & Kurt

Sarah and Kurt are an Australian couple that strive to live their healthiest, happiest lives. I could listen to them talk all day because of their Aussie accents and lingo. While they’re not technically experts, they share openly about things that work (and don’t work) for them, which I find incredibly helpful. Self-care, rest, going hard in the gym, nutrition, skin care, relationships and more.

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The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson

You may have heard of Shawn Stevenson from his hit book, Sleep Smarter. If you haven’t heard of him, you have now and should probably learn more. He’s an author and nutritionist that has lived his own transformation from illness to wellness. Shawn is an excellent role model and uses his own insights to help us live our best lives. Although the episodes are generally quite long (over an hour), they’re entertaining and full of useful information.

Business Podcasts

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The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is a real estate expert and trainer. I actually learned about him through his books and training at work. I was thrilled when I found out he has a podcast! The episodes are usually short and sweet, always with at least one helpful takeaway. You don’t have to be in the real estate industry to benefit from his insight — any sales professional will gain from time listening to Jeff.

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The Brian Buffini Show

Brian Buffini is in the real estate space, so that immediately drew me to him. I just also love his Irish accent. He is the classic American rags-to-riches story and we can all learn something from his work ethic, successes, and mistakes. He shares interviews as well as solo episodes of “how-tos,” encouragement, and lessons learned.

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Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher

Jenna is a wedding photographer turned business queen. She’s real and full of so much good entrepreneurial information. I love her show because it isn’t always just business talk. She also discusses subjects that matter to her like pregnancy (and their heartbreaking struggles with miscarriages), body image, and self care. She is full of girl power, spunk, and empowerment.

Most likely to binge-listen Podcast

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Up and Vanished with Payne Lindsey

I binge-listened to season 1 (24 full episodes + many bonus episodes) in a matter of a couple weeks if that says anything about how interesting this show is. Payne is an Atlanta filmmaker turned amateur investigator. In season 1 he decided to investigate an 11-year-old cold case in Georgia to see what information he could gather. The podcast follows his investigation and aims to share the true story of the missing teacher/beauty queen. Currently downloading available season 2 episodes…

What podcasts are you loving!? Share in the comments below — I go through them so fast, so I’m always looking for new, good ones!

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August 2018 Round Up

August 2018 Round Up

This month has felt long. I’ve been very mindful of the days since we’ve been doing Whole30 this month (more about that in just a bit), but it’s also felt so fruitful. I’m feeling healthy and determined. August was a good one — lets recap, shall we?

3 things I’m excited about

  1. Fall: Every year I get more and more excited for fall. I love living in North Carolina because we do experience the different seasons and I enjoy the change from one season to the next. Fall is especially cozy and I’m totally here for that. Bring on the pumpkin spice, sweater weather, and bonfires. I’ll be singing a different tune once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, but for now I’m excited! As of August 28th, the PSL is back at Starbucks, so pretty much fall is here…
  2. Being fully released in my new position: September 1st my promotion is officially official! I’m super excited, but also a little nervous. This is what I have been preparing for since I started this job on June 12, 2017. I am ready and beyond blessed to have a supportive, knowledgable team that I know will be there for me. It’s so cool that I’m able to play a part in helping people find a beautiful house that will become their home. When I graduated from NCSU in 2014, I had no idea this is where I’d be today, but I’m grateful for the plans that are better than my own.
  3. Small group starts back: We took a needed break from small group during the summer season. Everyone was so busy traveling and had other plans/responsibilities, it just made the most sense for our group. Now that summer is essentially over, small group is back! We will start the fall season on September 6th and I couldn’t be more excited. Creating space for a break is allowing us to come back stronger and ready to serve our group members. I can already feel that it’s going to be a powerful season.

Quote I’ve been meditating on

Choose a life of conscious simplicity (simple meals, walks outside, meditation, cooking whole foods) and you’ll find more freedom in your life.” -Amie Valpone

I can’t remember where I saw this quote initally, but it immediately spoke to me. Simplicity is a value that I have been weaving through my life. Why make things more complicated? There are enough complexities in the world that I cannot control, but I can make my world within my four walls simple, peaceful, and life-giving.

This month was all about nourishing our bodies with whole foods and keeping things simple by listening to and respecting my body. There truly is freedom in the simple because it creates more space and energy to choose to let other things in.

Who or what I’m adoring

Whole30

This is my second round of Whole30. I did my first in February 2018 (you can read about that experience here if you’d like)! Round 2 was so much different. I think it was a lot easier to do it a second time since I was already pretty familiar with the program and the way it all works. I learned a lot from my first round, so I was able to carry that knowledge into round two.

A major factor this time was that my husband did it with me! I was honestly shocked he wanted to join me, but this was mostly his idea. Way to go, honey! This made it easier and harder. Easier because I had accountability and he wasn’t tempting me with going out to eat or bringing home non-compliant foods. Harder because I had to cook and do dishes a lot more! Because of my husband’s business, he wasn’t able to help too much with cooking and cleaning (he’s gone all day 6 days a week), but he helped when he could.

I really enjoyed the challenge and I love the way I feel from only eating whole foods! My body feels like it’s operating much better and my skin looks/feels so healthy! I’m definitely going to be writing a blog post all about our August Whole30, so stay tuned if that interests you 🙂

Favorite memory from August

So many wonderful things happen in a month, but our family beach trip was hands down my favorite memory in August. Earlier this month we decided to sneak away to my family’s condo in my favorite North Carolina beach town, Pine Knoll Shores. It was during the time we were getting storms and rain pretty much daily, so the weather almost kept us away, but we went for it!

It was interesting — since we were doing Whole30, we brought all of our own food. I had cooked and prepped everything ahead of time, so we packed up our cooler and were good for the two days. It was so nice to not have to spend money or take time getting ready/going anywhere, but we definitely missed the shrimp burgers from Big Oak Drive In. No alcohol was also different (Whole30 doesn’t allow for alcohol for obvious reasons), but we still had a blast!

To our surprise, Stella absolutely loved the beach and did so well. She hated it when she was a puppy, so this was new. But we’re so glad she can be a beach pup now! It was a great getaway and the perfect reminder to make time for the things that are most important. ❤

A good lesson I learned

I’m stronger + more capable than I think.

I hear this often in my Pure Barre classes from the fabulous instructors, but when I’m shaking and struggling to keep going with the move, it’s hard to believe. But it’s true. I am stronger than I think. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

August has provided some challenges in those areas, all of which I have overcome. They weren’t easy, but I already had everything within me to handle them. And of course that wasn’t done 100% by my own strength. I rely greatly on the Lord’s strength and the strength of those He has put into my life. I’m getting stronger every day, but maybe it’s partly because I know I’m weak and need help. It can be hard to admit, but I need the help of my Savior. He makes me brave. He makes me strong. And He always knows just what I need to carry on.

In September…

I’m saying no to: the urge/need to do it all.

I’m saying yes to: simplifying my space/schedule/life.

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July 2018 Round Up

July 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Does anyone else feel like summer is flying by!? I feel this way pretty much every month, but time just keeps moving faster. We’ve been staying busy with many new and exciting things so that makes sense and we certainly can’t complain. Lets round up July!

3 things I’m excited about

  1. My promotion at work: More to come about this in the future I’m sure, but I got news July 16 that I earned my promotion. Eeeekkkk!! It became official on July 20th and I’ll be starting in my new role on August 1st. That’s wonderful news to receive the Monday after vacation. This year has honestly been blessing after blessing and I’m so grateful. I work with an incredibly supportive team — it’s amazing to be a part of it. I started working for M/I Homes June 2017 as a Sales Assistant with the goal of being promoted to New Home Consultant in about a year give or take. Goal accomplished! I’m excited to fully step into this role and give everything I have.
  2. Whole30 round 2: Eric and I have mentioned in passing doing Whole30, but it’s actually happening in August. I completed my first round earlier this year in February (you can read about my experience here) and then attempted a reset (that flopped, read about it here), but Eric has never done it. It’s going to be challenging, but I think having his support and partnership in it will make it easier as well. He works in an ice cream shop 6 days out of the week, so he’s going to need some extra will power. I’m excited to see how it goes!
  3. Dip powder manicures: It sounds vain, but I appreciate feeling put together. It’s amazing how much of a difference nails can make! I’m never going back. My manicure lasted for a month! A whole month yall! It stayed perfect aside from my nails growing out, which drove me crazy at the end, but that’s okay. My nails feel so strong and even when they removed the color to change it, my nails were not damaged. Instead of usual nail polish, they use powder. They put a clear coat of polish on your nail and then dip it in the powder and repeat. My experience is they repeat 3-4 times, so it doesn’t take very long. If you’re someone that enjoys a good manicure, I highly recommend giving this a try!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Yes, yes, yes! This verse speaks into every area of my life. There are times I feel timid and unsure of myself, but this reminds me that the Spirit God has given me is not in alignment with those feelings. It’s okay and normal to feel them, but I shouldn’t dwell there because I’m made for more.

Power.
Love.
Self discipline.

This spirit allows me to accomplish anything. Isn’t that amazing!? God thinks of everything and He has it all under control. That takes the pressure off me and gives me the space live like I believe it’s truth ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

Primally Pure — I have finally found natural products that work AND use great, clean ingredients (that are also organic and fair trade). It can be so hard to find a product that meets both criteria. I’ve tried products before that have awesome ingredients, but they don’t work so well, specifically natural deodorant.

I was hesitant to give another brand a try, but I’m so glad I did! I started with their Starter Kit because I’m a sucker for a good bundle deal. Plus it gave me the opportunity to try many different products. I fell in love with all of it, but mostly the lip balms and deodorant. It’s the first natural deodorant I’ve used that actually works all day. It’s hot here in North Carolina so I was nervous to make the switch, but it’s been no problem. It neutralizes odors, so I don’t still smell like deodorant at the end of the day, but I just don’t smell like anything. No body odor, no funk. It’s amazing!

Favorite memory from July

July is such a sweet month. There’s something fun and exciting about the middle of summer. It’s challenging to choose just one memory! Independence Day, our anniversary vacation in Cancun, moments with friends, and lots of sweet memories in between. Can I just say the whole month was my favorite!? I suppose I can cause I’m the boss here 😉

But really… one day sticks out to me: July 19th. It was a busy day, but it was oh so good! Eric and I both had the day off, but we didn’t really spend time together until it was time to tend to our commitments. Our church, Hope Community, features different stories and testimonials through interviews and we were asked to share ours. So at 2:00pm we met with the team and shared our hearts. We were nervous, but we’re excited for how our story will impact someone else!

After our interview we had some time to use before the event and it happened to be Starbucks Happy Hour, so the waiting place was obvious. I wrote a blog post (this one) and Eric worked on content for Vida Dulce’s website. Productivity at its finest!

We spent the rest of our day at a grand opening party for a sweet local business, Gather Goods Co. We sold popsicles and got to meet many incredible people. It was so special to me that I was able to work alongside my husband and witness him in action. He’s so good with people, dearly loves his company, and serves his customers well. Opening a business is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it.

A good lesson I learned

Just go to bed earlier. 

I’m slowly, but surely becoming a morning person, but that means I have to break up with my late nights. Usually I’m not up late doing anything important. Probably just scrolling Instagram, doing some last minute chores, or watching Netflix. All things that can totally wait until tomorrow. Eric works late, so I would try to stay up for him. That isn’t always what’s best for me. Of course, I want to spend time with my husband, but many nights I found that time unproductive in connecting. We were both tired with short patience, so you can imagine our conversations weren’t always the best.

I’m a better wife and person when I get enough sleep. I’ve started doing 6am Pure Barre many mornings due to my schedule so that means I need an early bedtime. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting so much better! Old habits die hard. I need to remind myself that pretty much anything can wait until the next day — a good night’s sleep is worth it.

In August…

I’m saying no to: excessive mindless scrolling.

I’m saying yes to: time blocking so I can be fully present.

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Anniversary Celebrations in Cancun

Anniversary Celebrations in Cancun

“How was your trip?!”

I have gotten that question so many times this week and I love that people care to hear about our trip. It’s hard to sum it all up in one simple response, so I just say “so SO good!”

 

But this is really how our trip was… all the fun details, what we would have done differently, and what we did right. Let the reminiscing begin.

Where we stayed

 

This was our second time in Cancun. This city holds a special place in our heart.

The first time was 2016 for our Honeymoon and we stayed at Le Blanc. We absolutely adored that resort, but they are currently closed for renovations. We thought it would be a good idea to at least stay within the same resort group, Palace Resorts. It was a good idea indeed.

We stayed at Sun Palace. An all-inclusive, adults only resort. Yes please! We love kids, but don’t exactly love kids on vacation. You know what I mean. Sun Palace is only about 15 minutes from the airport which was perfect! It’s not close to the downtown “going out” area, but we were fine with staying around the resort. Gotta take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drinks 🙂

Sun Palace is also a smaller resort, so it was a quick walk to anywhere. The gym was actually right around the corner from our room (insert slight guilt when we just walked past it instead of going in after day 2…). The spa, lobby bar, restaurants, pools, and beach were all just a few minutes from our room. Easy breezy.

 

Even though we were only on the second floor, the view from our room was gorgeous blue water and we could step out on our balcony to scope out the best spots on the beach or by the pool. I gotta admit, I miss looking over to my left and seeing water. Now when I look to the left from bed I just see a closet and dresser. Not quite the same. But I have these pictures to take me back! Take me back to infinity pools and ocean views.

What we drank + ate

 

It was vacation, so of course we did a lot of drinking and eating! I was pleasantly surprised by everything we had, but I definitely had some favorites. Eric got suckered into some shots, but made sure they were fruity and delicious. Frozen drinks were the go-to since it was so hot out, but we had to be careful to avoid brain freeze. Tropical vacation problems.

It was expected being in Mexico, but my favorite drink was the strawberry margarita. But we definitely learned who made it the best and when I ask for an extra shot to add. It had the perfect hint of lime and was so refreshing.

Sun Palace has four restaurants and a snack bar at the pool. The Alamo offers buffet style breakfast and lunch and turns into a sit down Mexican restaurant for dinner. Other dinner options are the Steak House, Oriental Lounge (Thai), and Trotto (Italian). 24 hour room service is also an option — the room service menu was actually really good! The snack bar was a favorite since we didn’t have to leave the pool area. Quesadillas with fresh guacamole and pico, yum! I’m pretty easy to please.

 

We ate at the Mexican restaurant, Alamo, for our last night since it was the only one we hadn’t tried. We were greeted with a beautiful anniversary surprise! A sweet couple we met at the pool that day helped arrange this to celebrate our anniversary. It was so kind and we enjoy the well wishes from the staff. I couldn’t stop smiling!

What we did

 

Since we stayed a certain number nights, we earned resort credits. This is pretty awesome although you do have to pay the 16% tax, so we didn’t use up all our credits. We picked out a few things that we both really wanted to do — we were both happy with our choices: couple’s massage, wine tasting, and Tulum.

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I loved these pretty tile floors at a shop in Tulum

The couple’s massage was an absolute must! I went into our trip knowing we would at least do that. We both were in need of a massage. It wasn’t the full on fancy experience we were used to at Le Blanc, but it was still nice and we enjoyed it. A great way to spend a morning before a fun day in the sun.

The wine tasting was much better than I anticipated! I’m always down for some wine, but this tasting was very educational, fun, and delicious! We tried 5 different Mexican wines and each had a hand selected food pairing ranging from salad to meat to dessert. We both learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it! Although we did make the mistake of eating RIGHT before we went. We weren’t informed of the food pairings and we didn’t want to attend a wine tasting on an empty stomach. Whoops. Next time it would be wise to ask if there will be food involved as well or if we should eat ahead of time.

 

Tulum was incredible! I have so much to say about it and grabbed many pictures that it may warrant its own post (if you are interested in that!) It was crazy to experience a place that used to be so vibrant and is now deserted. It took a few hours to get to Tulum – longer than normal since we had to pick up people from two other resorts. It was rainy the morning we went, but luckily the rain stopped right after we got off the bus. It ended up being pretty overcast which helped with the heat and possible sunburn.

We had a wonderful time learning about the culture and exploring the ruins. After a 6am wakeup call, bus ride, and adventure we sure were exhausted when we got back. We got back to our resort around 3pm which was great to still have a good part of our day to hang out. Food was not included on our tour, so the first stop when we got back to Sun Palace was the buffet and then we got along with our usual pool/beach routine.

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The ice cream man obviously couldn’t pass up a photo opp with an ice cream cone 😉 Good thing he was repping all his Vida Dulce gear!

What we thought

 

We loved our time in Cancun at Sun Palace! We have traveled internationally quite a few times together by now, so we learn how to do it better each time.

For our next time we definitely need to bring more cash. It’s so handy to have cash for tipping and paying for item, especially somewhere like Mexico or somewhere touristy that will accept American dollars. We did better with the cash this time, but were cutting it close. One of the benefits of being out of debt is the ability to give freely, so we want to bless the people that serve us on our travels!

A few things made this trip easier. The first being our Global Entry access. This is similar to TSA Precheck, but it’s for international travel. We have been background checked, so it makes customs easier. It also gives us TSA Precheck, which is such a treat! If you travel relatively often, I would highly recommend looking into Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Eric booked our airport to resort transportation ahead of time. This kept us from having to be haggled in the airport to find a ride and we knew already how much it would cost. There aren’t taxi meters, so there’s no way of knowing how much you will owe at the end. Many resorts may include a transport in their price or have some sort of deal. Be mindful of when you need to be picked up for your departure though because it could be 3-4 hours early, which may or may not be necessary.

Lastly, we maintained a relaxed routine. We didn’t go crazy and go way against our normal routine which did make it easier to be back home. We created a general routine and stuck to it every day we could. I’m someone that thrives with routine, so I enjoy that. Know what you enjoy and do what works best for you!

If you’re still with me, thank you — I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip! Do you have any adventures scheduled!? Although I’m not sure where it’ll be, I’m already looking forward to our next one. The travel bug always gets me.

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