Monthly Archives: July 2013

DIY Crowns

Bri from Design Love Fest is just fabulous. I highly recommend checking out her blog for creative inspiration and ideas! I discovered this DIY birthday crown project on her site and absolutely needed to share! All you need is poster board, scissors, pencil, craft glue, binder clips and lots and lots of gems, jewels, glitter, sequins or any other fun embellishments. Download the one of the two different crown templates here or here {or both} and get to crafting. So easy and super fun!

Enjoy!

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All photos from Design Love Fest

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July/August Monthly Resolutions

It helps me to write down what I want to work on, or my monthly resolutions, and place the list somewhere I can see it every day. I have this month’s {which is rolling into next months} list hanging on a mini clipboard next to my bedroom door. The list is on top of ten or so other lists; I absolutely love seeing how my goals and resolutions have evolved as I’ve grown and changed. Here’s my July-turned-August resolutions – things that I’m working on, striving toward or in general, just trying to focus on.

1. Wake up before 7am every day: this comes from the 7am monthly experiment I’m doing in July with Zach. We both wake up before 7 am each day in an attempt to make the most of our day – especially those I-wish-I-was-still-sleeping hours. It’s definitely been a challenge, especially on weekends but really awesome to see how those few extra hours or minutes allow me to do a little more each day. Not sure if I’ll be waking up before 7am on the weekends in August though ;) We’ll see.

2. Be active: walk, gym, swim and pilates 5x/week: In general, I’m a pretty active person but I am trying to step it up this summer. I want to make sure my physical activity level never gets put in second place to work, going out to dinner, etc. I’m trying to spend every day {or at least five days} doing something active, whether it’s swimming, hitting a class at the gym, pilates or hiking.

3. Be generous: studies show that generosity makes people happier, improves relationships with other people and increases your life satisfaction. This summer, I don’t want to live and spend my money just on me. I’m really trying to send surprise gifts in the mail “just because” and give money to a few local missions and nonprofits. I’ve had this idea of ‘be generous’ on my monthly resolution list for awhile and was recently had the opportunity to support amy’s ministry with cru and young college women back in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was the perfect example of how sometimes “being generous” just falls in your lap. God presents opportunities for you to bless other people often without you planning or looking for it. How cool is that?

4. Write meaningful blog posts and letters to mail: I am always going to share blog posts about being happy and enjoying life on this blog, but I also want it to be a place for you to come and find peace and that feeling of “I totally have been there and know how that feels.” I want to be able to pour out my heart and my soul to you and for us to be able to share about not-so-happy things and this learning experience called life together. This blog post about forgiveness and this one about inner beauty are two examples. I also want to get back to sending more handwritten cards and notes in the mail!

5. Belly laugh: self-explanatory, right? I want to laugh deep and loud and enjoy life and the silly moments to the absolute fullest.

6. Live fearlessly: I love this Taylor Swift quote about fearlessness: “To me,  fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” This summer I want to live life fearlessly. I want to choose to live bigger and bolder even when it’s scary. I want to approach each new day and situation out of possibility, rather than fear.

7. Be a loving and supportive big sister: given that I talk about my sisters all of the time, you probably know how much the three of them mean to me. It’s such a blessing to be the big sister of Kerry, Katie and Hope and as I get older, I’m cherishing our relationships in a much deeper and more meaningful way. This July and August, I want to show them how much I love and support them and remind them that they always have a #1 cheerleader here for them.

8. Meet and spend time with new people: Did you ever hear the little song, “Make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver and the other gold”? My mom used to always cheerfully sing this to us girls when we were in a situation to meet new people. This month, I want to spend time with new people and get to know new people that I can learn from, love with and live in community with.

9. Remember beauty flows from the inside out. Always. I’m remembering how important inner beauty is and appreciating that, instead of hair color and body size and what I’m wearing that day. Here’s a few tips for finding beauty on the inside {thanks, Oprah}.

Do you have any goals or resolutions for the summer? Find a few more of my monthly resolutions here. Happy Tuesday!

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Bestowed Box Giveaway!

There’s been quite the craze for the monthly subscription sites where people receive samples of products – everything from beauty {Birchbox, Glossy BoxBeauty Box 5} to clothes {Stitch Fix} to health food {NatureBox}. I’ve never been a huge fan, just because I typically know the brands and products I like and buy accordingly. This changed recently when I discovered Bestowed, which is a healthy, organic monthly subscription box service. All of the snacks are hand-picked by celebrity nutritionist and author Heather Bauer. I was curious to discover new healthy snack options {currently in a Justin’s and KIND bar phase} and to try out new products that I can hopefully begin buying at the store. You can find the brands and products they include in the boxes here and the boxes are only $19/month {includes shipping}.

In my first bestowed box: ips egg white crisps {in cinnamon sugar}, a gluten-free balance bar {dark chocolate coconut}, oloves {in tasty mediterranean}, artisana™ organic super food {acai berry} nut butter and a happy squeeze pouch {in acai grape and apple} and a $50 iTrain gift certificate.

Here’s what I thought: The ips egg white crisps were absolutely delicious and a great alternative to regular crackers/chips/pita bread. They crisps are jam-packed with 7g of protein and delicious with my morning coffee this past weekend. I have been trying to eat as gluten-free as possible and making small shifts, including buying and eating different granola or protein bars. The balance bar I tried was yummy and packed with 13g protein {since I don’t eat meat, this is a great protein source for me!} and 4g fiber. As someone who is pretty new to liking olives, I was hesitant about the oloves, but pleasantly surprised. The pouch was full of small, pitted green olives {and only 50 calories!}. I would most likely pack this for an afternoon snack at work or while traveling on a road trip or plane. I topped gluten-free toast with the artisana nut butter for breakfast and could definitely see myself buying this. I’m on a big toast kick these days {topped with almond butter or sliced avocados} and this acai berry nut butter is a refreshing twist on my normal almond butter routine. The organic happy squeeze pouch reminded me of applesauce, but I surprisingly enjoyed the flavor despite not liking grape. This would be perfect to throw in your bag for a quick snack while hiking. I haven’t tried one of the iTrain workouts yet, but really excited to try a few out.

The giveaway! The fun part is Bestowed is offering one Polish My Crown their own Bestowed box to try out! The box will include 5-7 snacks that you most likely haven’t tried before and almost guaranteed will enjoy. To enter to win, all you have to do is comment on this blog post or tweet to me {tagging @luckyandi and @bstowed} answering the question: “What is your favorite healthy snack?” The giveaway will be open until Monday, August 6 and is only available for US-based readers. The extra fun part is that Bestowed is offering EVERYONE a $5 discount off their order using the coupon code 5OFFBSTOWED01. Woo hoo! You will receive a delicious, healthy Bestowed box for only $14 which is a pretty awesome deal if you ask me.

Can’t wait to hear what your favorite healthy snacks/products are! Good luck!

 

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choose beauty: a love letter

this post, a love letter to myself, was originally shared 832 days ago {that’s like…two years right?} and i couldn’t think of a better time to re-share. i decided to participate in the choose beauty blog linkup hosted by the lovely thoughts by natalie and the challenge is to share about true beauty and what that means to me, how i’ve learned/am still learning to love and accept myself and my body and more. i’m guessing i’m not the only gal who has wrestled with negative thoughts about her body and excited for the challenge and opportunity to share about beauty with other bloggers and with you!

the ironic and inspiring part about this letter to myself from two years ago is that these lessons and struggles are still very real to me today. i still struggle with self-acceptance, thinking i am beautiful and remembering beauty flows from the inside out. what i will say is this: i am truly amazed at how god has worked in my life over the past two years and how i’ve learned to slowly love myself and body for where it is right now. it’s definitely a “work in progress” for me, as most things are. one of my very favorite parts of this letter is my hope for all of you reading this today: “may today be the day you stop hiding in shame and start frolicking in grace.” when we learn to love ourselves and view ourselves as worthy and loved and accepted and beautiful, we can truly live in freedom. beauty to me means freedom.

thanks for reading and enjoy your wonderful weekends! xo


dear andi,

this letter recognizes the journey you’ve been on. a journey of self-love, self-discovery, self-acceptance. with your journeys, you’ve learned to count your blessings, embrace life and value yourself as a person.

loving and accepting yourself doesn’t always come easily. yes, certain days it feels very natural to wake up and be cheerful and positive but times come when you are ruled by voices in your head. girlfriend, you need to stop that. Instead of being ruled by these negative, discouraging voices, be ruled by peace. be ruled by grace.

sometimes anguish comes from your own hypothesis that other people’s hypothetical hypotheses about you matter. it doesn’t! its’s way too easy to overanalyze what other people think about you, and in turn, you end up feeding into the negativity. wouldn’t it be easier to just not worry what other people think about you/say about you/feel about you? for all you know, they are saying absolutely wonderful things about you. why would you assume the worst?

your physical “imperfections” make you unique. you have the ability to radiate goodness, joy and kindness; why be held down by fear and insecurity? This post will remind you the difference between shame and grace.

 if shame say’s I’m defective, grace tells me i’m valuable. shame’s greatest weapon is the fear of judgment. grace’s even bigger weapon is the relief ofunconditional love. shame says that because i am flawed, i am unacceptable. grace says that though i am flawed, i am cherished. shame claims i must be perfect to earn the approval of others. grace claims i am accepted regardless of seeming imperfections.

recognize the voices of shame and consciously turn them down. start seeking purposeful, positive, life-building grace.

it’s easy to beat yourself up from past mistakes and please, just stop. move on. close that door and move forward. it’s time to start afresh and anew. Don’t live life in the past; it’s time for you to begin. some of your favorite lyrics: “today is never too late to be brand new”

when God created you 22-something years ago, he knew what he was doing. your body was a plan. every single detail from the top of your head to the tip of your toes was strategically and lovingly placed there. you were KNIT  together (psalm 139:13) you were not placed on an assembly line or just placed on earth. stitch by stitch, loop by loop, you were created delicately.  you were created delicately. you are a masterpiece. 

andi, may you come to terms with who you are and that your body, job, friends, status, location do not define you. may you live your life laughing and loving. may today be the day you stop hiding in shame and start frolicking in grace.  you were made to sparkle, shine, live life. you were created for a purpose; you are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made.

love, andi
{originally publishedaApril 15, 2011}

This is part of the Choose Beauty Linkup — an ongoing series that focuses on topics related to beauty—what real beauty is, what makes us feel beautiful, how we pursue lasting beauty in our lives, the roots behind our body image issues, etc. Through our posts, we’ll share thoughts, experiences, inspirations, challenges and more with the hope of changing the voice about beauty that we’re hearing in our culture today. Join the conversation by hitting “click here to enter” below.

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Thursday Thankful List

“I’ve started to look at life differently. When you’re thanking God for every little you – every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water – you can’t help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.” – A.J. Jacobs

I just love this quote. It sums up my mantra on life so well: the more thankful you are, the more things happen in life that you can be thankful for. Here’s just a few things I’m thankful for today:

The relationship I have with my dad
Luke 1:42: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
The sweetest email {at just the right time} from Gracie
Avocado toast
Simplicity
Afternoon phone calls with my mom
Those extra five minutes of sleep
Highlighters
Catching up with Nichole and meeting Heather and Brianne
Learning to make sushi!
Making coffee in my apartment before work {why did I just now start doing this?}
Blaring this Rihanna song over and over…
Slow mornings
Out of town visitors
Long and winding hikes in Marin
Themed parties
Writing on the last page of a journal {time to get a new one…}
Fog covered streets and trees
People on the bus who offer up their seat for strangers
Love
The 8 Women Dream community {especially right before/when I moved to San Francisco!}
Trip to Ohio in September and Seattle in October…need to get a few more booked!
That it’s almost the weekend {!!!!!!!!}
Tropical Greens juice from Thrive Cleanse

10 Trips to Take in Your 20s

This Buzzfeed article and video popped up in my newsfeed this week and I couldn’t help but share. I’ve had quite the travel itch lately. I took my first trip to Europe last September visiting Paris and then went to Barcelona and Marrakech in March and all of the experiences were beautiful, inspiring and a reminder that we live in such an amazing and huge world. I would love, love, love to go back to visit Europe as soon as possible but also want to see other places too. The absolute best thing about travel is that it isn’t just flights and new continents and a foreign languages. It can be afternoon trips to the beach and road trips a few hours away with friends. Traveling is camping trips with mom and impromptu trips to Texas and booking a train ride across the country {which I want to do so soon…}. If you could go anywhere, where would it be? What has been your favorite trip so far?

“Now’s the time. Pack your bag and go.”

Hope you enjoy the video as much as I do. Have a beautiful day, friends {preferably filled with wanderlust}. xo!

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simple moments

i’ve shared about simple moments before and wanted to take a moment to uncover a few other simple, lovely things that i’ve appreciated lately. one of my favorite authors and bloggers ann voskamp wrote: “simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.” … Continue reading