Happy Fourth of July! I am so thankful for this amazing country that we are blessed to live in that is full of so many freedoms! I’m grateful for all of the men and women, both past and present, who have fought for that freedom and the families that have sacrificed as their loved ones were away fighting. I am thankful for the blessing of living in a country where we are free to worship God and gather together with other believers without fear of persecution. We are so blessed in more ways than we can count, so today let’s not forget to take the time amidst all of the fun and celebrations to thank God for this beautiful country called America.
If you have followed me for any point of time, it is no secret that I LOVE Rachel Parcell’s clothing line. I love how timeless her pieces are and the feminine touches that always make them stand apart from other designers. I picked up this sweet dress last year and was so excited that she brought back a very similar version of it this year and have linked it up above. What do you look for in your ideal dress?
As we keep moving closer and closer to Easter weekend, I have been going back to a talk that Angie Smith gave at the If Gathering back in 2016 and I thought I’d give a recap of it today since it has been on my heart.
At the very beginning of scripture in the garden of Eden, we see two questions asked. The first one is by Satan and it is ‘Are you sure that God has your best in mind?’ and the second is by God and it is ‘where are you?’. Now, when God asked Adam and Eve where they were, it is important to realize that God had not lost them, he was asking them, what is the posture of your heart for me? God already knew where their hearts were, but by asking them Adam and Eve had to reevaluate their own hearts and find where they are. Several chapters later and hundreds of years after the garden of Eden, we find Abraham. He is now an old man and God had promised him a son that He would build a nation out of that would bless the whole world. In his old age God did grant Abraham that son, Isaac, but sometime later God tested Abraham which brings us to our first point: don’t let anyone ever tell you that God will not test you, He will never tempt you, but that is different than testing. The truth is, if we get honest God often gives us more than we can handle, and honestly, this whole life is more than we can handle, but that is why we have Him because He can handle it all. God called Abraham to take his son, his only son that he loved, up onto the mountain and to sacrifice him. On the way up the mountain as Isaac carried the wood and Abraham the fire, Isaac looked over and asked Abraham, “My father, we have the wood and fire, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham replied to Isaac, “God himself will provide the lamb.” We all know how the story goes at this point: right before Abraham sacrifices Isaac, God stops him and tells him that because he did not withhold anything from God, not even his only son, He knew he loved him more than anything. At this point God opens Abraham’s eyes and Abraham looks up to see a ram caught in the thicket and sacrifices the ram in Isaac’s place and walks down the mountain with his son. It is a story with a happy ending, of course Abraham can say that God is good when he walked down the mountain with his son, but what about when you walk down the mountain without your loved one as was the case with Angie Smith and me with my grandpa? It was during one such time in her life that Angie felt God leading her to go back and read this story again and again because He had something there for her. After reading it several times she realized something that changed her life and in a ripple effect has changed mine over the past several years, especially this one as I watched my Papa battle cancer and lose the battle. Go back and look at the beginning, as they were walking up the mountain, God promised to provide a lamb, He never said anything about a lamb. The promise was THE Lamb. Two thousand years later on this same mountain range, Jesus Christ was crucified on our behalf, HE was the promised lamb. When you think about who Christ is to you when you are being tested, have you spent more time with your eyes locked on the thicket or on the cross? We have no guarantees about the ram, but we have EVERY guarantee about The Lamb. He will not fail us, and these things that feel scary, we have to live it out and place our trust in Him, the Lamb of God. So as you face the two questions that have been asked since the beginning of time and continue to be asked over and over again, when you hear the enemy whisper, “are you sure?”, here’s your answer: “I’m not sure about the ram, but I am certain of the lamb.” And when you hear God asking, “where are you?” your answer is simple, “Right here Lord, ready and willing. You send me where you want me to go, and in your power and your strength I will do that.”
You guys, as I walk through life and all the scary hard trials that come with it, facing it with the realization that while I do not have the promise of the ram, but have EVERY promise of the lamb, I know I can walk through it because I won’t be alone, He will be there. Whatever you are facing in life, no matter how hard or scary, know that you are not alone, you have been promised the Lamb and He will not leave or forsake you, He has promised you this. If you’re needing encouragement right now (and honestly even if you don’t need it right now, because at some point you will need it), go watch the full talk that Angie Smith gave here. It is under seventeen minutes and SO worth every minute. As I said at the beginning, I have gone back to this so many times over the last several years and it has carried me through this past year.
I love all of you and am praying over each and every one of you this Easter season.
As we head into Easter week, I am going to share a different look with you guys each day to hopefully inspire you for your Easter outfit. I love the eyelet lace of this dress and the clear wedges add the perfect touch of being on trend. When I found these wedges I instantly fell in love with them as they made me think of a modern day version of Cinderella’s glass slippers. This dress would also pair perfectly with a cardigan if Easter happens to be a bit cooler where you live.
Today I am sharing with you my top 10 picks for Easter dresses this year. I love a beautiful feminine dress, and Easter is the perfect time of year to pick up a new one to enjoy throughout the upcoming warmer months. I love all of these picks because they are right on trend for this season while all having a timeless feel to them that guarantees you’ll be able to enjoy them for years to come.
I have been receiving numerous questions lately about my skincare routine, so I decided to put it together for you! I have uploaded a video to my InstagramTV where you can see how I utilize all of the products that will be mentioned in this post. As a reference, I am 27 and have a combination skin type, so my goals are to keep my skin moisturized, control oil and preventative aging. Anyways, without further ado, lets look at my morning routine!
I like to begin each morning with washing my face and my favorite facial cleanser is the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel. If you’re not sure what cleanser or other products you are in need of, a great place to start is this skincare quiz offered by Mario Badescu, another one I have utilized as a starting place for what my skin is in need of is this quiz by Beauty Bio. While I may not use every product from that company mentioned, they have guided me in researching what I need to find for my skin type as I have tried multiple brands over the years.
After washing my face I use the Vichy Mineral 89 as a pre-serum to help protect my skin from pollutants and then follow it with Loreal’s Revitalift Hydraulic Acid. I then like to use my jade roller to make sure that it gets properly absorbed into my skin and also to reduce the early morning puffiness under my eyes. I then finish up with my daytime moisturizer, the Collagen Moisturizer by Mario Badescu. At this point I am ready to begin with my makeup for the day!
Now we can discuss my evening skincare routine. I begin by removing my makeup using makeup wipes from Walmart, I don’t use anything fancy, they just need to be able to remove my makeup for me. Once my makeup is removed I wash my face using the Enzyme Cleansing Gel from Mario Badescu and then put some Cucumber Cleansing Lotion on a cotton ball rub on my face and neck to ensure a clean canvas. At this point I use my microneedling tool over my whole face and neck. I currently have a cheaper one as I wanted to try it before investing, but since I like it so much I am definitely looking at investing into a nicer one, so I will link a cheaper as well as nicer option below! Once I am finished with microneedling, I once again use Loreal’s Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid over my face and neck rolling it in with my jade roller. I am now ready to finish up my skin with my Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream and Glycolic Eye Cream. Finally I like to use some lip balm and Monet’s Eye Wonder Eyelash Serum and I am ready to relax!
Above are my morning and evening skincare routines, but below I will share with you a few other products that I like to use as well, just not every day. The first one is Facial Nair, you place it on your face like a mask (I only do the chin, cheeks and upper lip) and let it set for five minutes. Once the time is done you wipe it off with a warm washcloth and it removes any peach fuzz on your face ensuring that you have a smooth canvas for applying your makeup. After using the Facial Nair I like to use a dermaplaner to remove any excess fuzz that the Nair might have missed as well as to exfoliate my skin. I only do this routine every two weeks as my hair does not grow fast enough to need it more often. On the off weeks from using the Nair and dermaplaner, I like to exfoliate using the Mario Badescu Strawberry Face Scrub. It provides a gentle exfoliation while moisturizing my skin as well, and while we’re on the topic of exfoliating I exfoliate my lips 2-3 times a week using Ulta’s Watermelon Lip Scrub.
At this point I do not have any affordable retinol products that I have found that I absolutely love to implement into my skincare routine, but if I find some I will be sure to pass it on to all of you! I will link up all of these products below, and be sure to check out the video on my InstagramTV!
It can be hard sometimes, can’t it? This single life. Most of the time you’re decent at faking it, and there are even very real seasons that you’re actually grateful that you’re still single as it allows you the freedom to experience things that your friends who are married are not as easily able to experience. It does not change the fact though that there are very real seasons of loneliness and times when you wish you could do life with someone as it seems everyone else does. I want to let you know this Valentine’s Day that you are not alone. I’ll start by being open and sharing my own struggle. This past Christmas and birthday were hard for me. I would love to be married and be a wife and mom, but that is not the season that God has me in right now, and while I still hope for that someday, I am also very aware that it is not promised to me. To all of you other beautiful single ladies out there, I want you to know that it is ok to cry sometimes when the ache in your heart to hold your own little one as you hear that another friend is having a baby or the longing to have someone “pop the question” to you becomes overwhelming as you see on Facebook that yet another friend is engaged. Go ahead and cry. It does not mean that you are less excited or happy for that friend, it is simply an acknowledgement that your heart longs for the same. The secret I’ve learned is to not stay there, but rather after the tears have begun to slow to cry out to the one who holds my future and knows where life will lead. I promise you, God has not forgotten us. While life may not look how we always thought it would, that does not mean that God does not have something amazing planned for you, different is not always bad, it can actually be just as good and sometimes better.
Secondly, surround yourself with a community of friends who are there on your side. It can be so tempting to bottle all of the emotions up inside, but you won’t find healing that way. Open up to your community and ask them to stand alongside of you. I have one friend in particular that anytime I can feel myself beginning to feel lonely or wishing my life had followed the route I had thought it would, I send her a text message and she prays for me and sends encouragement reminding me of truth. Your community does not have to all be single either, two of my dearest friends are both married and one has a precious little one and the other is expecting her first baby. They have been an amazing source of strength to me by letting me be a part of their lives! Being around them and their families is actually healing rather than hurtful, my friends little boy always puts the biggest smile on my face and both of them have been incredible encouragements. I also have learned so much about relationships thanks to them that I would not have learned otherwise, and whether I get married or not that is invaluable!
Finally, life does not suddenly magically begin when you get married, it is happening right now! Don’t waste these years wishing for something you can have no control over. Instead, go live life as full as you can! Some of my favorite stories my mom would tell me growing up happened before she met my dad, and you know the reason she had those stories? It is because she chose to make the most of her single years and lived them fully! Make this time you are living now worth looking back on and smiling over instead of looking back and realizing that you wasted such a large portion of your life. This is your chance to go on that trip of a life time, volunteer at your church or that mission downtown. Go find a younger girl and invest in her life, you will never regret it! Spend time investing in the friendships and relationships you currently have in your life, one of the things my married friends has taught me is that when you are married you still need those girl friends just as much as you did before you were married.
I want to challenge you this Valentine’s Day to not stay at home wishing that someone special was there to celebrate the day with. Go find some single friends and invite them to a Galentines or Palentines party! Or if you’re like me and nearly all of your local friends are married, host a Galentines party a few days before or after Valentines Day. Go make memories that you want to remember!
Finally, I just want you to know that you are a beautiful, amazing young woman. Yes YOU! Not having a significant other does not make you any less wonderful as the woman in a relationship. You already are LOVED, CHERISHED AND BEAUTIFUL. God has not forgotten you, and He has not left you alone. He is on your side and He is in your corner. I also am here for you if you need someone.