Remember that big news I mentioned about in my last post? Well I finally got the verdict last week: I will be going to graduate school this fall for my Master's in Public Policy and Administration!

This is a huge life change and its both exciting and terrifying.

Finding my backbone

Growing up, I was a perfectionist. I followed the rules, made straight As, did all my homework, went to church every Sunday and was obsessed with pleasing everyone. I hated making someone mad or upset, especially my parents. I was overly conscientious of people’s feelings and it had both positive and negative effects on my relationships and character.

Fast forward to present-day. I’m much less of a perfectionist than I was in my teens; yet hose positive and negative effects I experienced in my teens are still with me today.

Happy One Year of BLOGGING!

Happy one year of blogging to me! I remember thinking about where I would be one year from now and where I am is NOT where I thought I would be. It's even better, actually. Things didn't go the way I thought they would but I'm GLAD. Because God's plans are always better than our plans. 

In honor of this little blog turning one, I thought I would highlight some of the most popular posts and share a few insights on this past year.

Traveling on a Budget

Hi friends! Ben and I have been out of town every other weekend for the last month and a half - it's been fantastic but so exhausting! However, we count ourselves blessed to be able to travel around the country. We may not be able to go to overseas but we know how to make a weekend road trip just as memorable!

Oil Cleansing

As part of my quest for a more intentional, mindful lifestyle, I began questioning all things I put in and on my body. I've always used top-of-the-line skin care products but even those have chemicals and synthetics that shouldn't be a part of a daily routine. So after some investigating, I recently began using oil as a facial cleanser. 

Yes, a few years ago, I too would be cringing at the thought of putting oil on my face. But honestly, it's one of the best things I have ever done for my skin!

Coming off Autopilot

Oh hello, what a lovely two week break it has been! It is nice and HOT here in Florida and we have been soaking up the sun every chance we get. Spending all our free time outside reminds me how good it is to be in nature. It gives you a new perspective, not to mention some Vitamin D and fresh air.

I wanted to check in and assure you that I am alive and well. In fact, I have honestly done nothing these last few weeks except eat, sleep and move my body - and REST.

4 Tips to Save Money

This week's post is more of an accountability piece - my spending has been much more free lately and it's time to rein it back in. I thought it would be the perfect time to share a bit about my spending habits (the good and the bad) and talk through ways to overcome the bad, capitalize on the good and get creative with our money.

Finding Your Creativity

Melissa Wilkins wrote an article for No Sidebar that really resonated with me. This quote in particular has stuck with me for weeks now:

"Even if you don’t paint or write or sing, you are a creative person. You are the designer of your life. That is a creative project. So if we’re designing our lives, but we hold back until we’ve figured every last thing out—when do we actually start living?"

"The need for less often results in a life of more"

The first few months of 2016 have proven to be exciting in other ways too. Ben and I are making more conscious, mindful decisions together as a couple; we are planning more concretely for our long-term future; and we are finding fulfillment and passion in our daily life. 

The title for this post points to the third point: we are finding our life to be so much fuller and moreish (to borrow a term from the Brits). Don't get me wrong, I still get stress acne and some pay periods are tighter than others, but we are finding contentment in what we have and where we are. Consequently, we feel we have a better life with less.

One Year

Monday marked our first year of marriage together. It has been a whirlwind of a year and it has further ingrained the fact that, without a shadow of a doubt, my husband is my soul mate and best friend. I thought I learned a lot about ourselves at six months married (see that post here), but I learned even more during the latest six months. All in all, I am so ready for the next 70+ years with my Mr!

Four Ways to Prevent Stress

I had a different post planned for today, but I realized I need to get something off my chest. I’ve been totally sweating the small things even though it’s part of my mantra to NOT let those little things get me.

So I wanted to type this out and let you all in on a little lesson-learned: Pay attention to your body because it can sense things before your mind can. Here are my four steps to intentionally find my causes of stress and ways to prevent it:

Spring Cleaning: Capsule Wardrobe

Spring is in the air! Its beginning to get warmer, mid terms are almost upon our college students, summer road trips are being planned and ALL the stores have cute warm-weather clothes out and on sale. I plan on taking advantage of the new spring collections and sales, but first, my wardrobe needs to be organized!

Date Night on a Budget

Last week I wrote about living on a budget and how it ultimately helped us form a tighter marriage. Date night is an important part of keeping a marriage alive but it doesn't have to break the bank! In fact, some of our best dates were under $20.  

5 Things We Learned From Living on a (Tight) Budget

My husband and I are about six months into our most stable financial situation ever and boy are we incredibly thankful. This time last year we were both newbies in our jobs, had nothing in our savings accounts and were still trying to divvy up our expenses and plan out future bills between multiple bank accounts (which is really frustrating and stressful, so if you take my advice, don't do it). Even worse, this time two years ago, we were working a combined four jobs, living with family and could fit both of our possessions into one room. 

However, we learned one of the most important life lessons in today's economy: how to live on a (tight) budget. Over the years, we have tweaked our finances, but the lessons remain the same. In no particular order, I give you our five most important budget lessons: freebie included!

How Mindfulness Changed My Life

Practicing mindfulness is a life-long journey. I am no pro at it, seeing as how I just recently started on my own journey. But my “practice” has already changed my life in noticeable ways. So much so, in fact, that I am overall a happier, healthier, more productive person (just ask my husband!). I have found for myself that practicing mindfulness inherently draws my attention to these three key areas of life: health, rhythm and organization. 

Making Mindfulness a Priority

Everyone forgets occasionally. Everyone gets busy. But sometimes it can go too far.

It starts with oh crap, I forgot to turn off the stove and did I put on deodorant this morning? Then it somehow devolves into total chaos. This week, I found myself unable to keep up with the rush of life. After breaking down with exhaustion, I realized it was mostly all in my head. I was chasing every thought and idea like a game of scattered clues instead of enlisting the help of my own advice; instead of tackling an objective one at a time, I let all of them cloud my mind and prevent me from completing anything.

How to Clean-Up and Simplify Social Media

Social media is a gigantic grey area when it comes to productivity, engagement, friendship-building and professionalism - it can be all of those things as well as a huge roadblock to hinder them. Over the holidays I mostly stayed off Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and this blog. It was nice to be away but I definitely felt out of the loop once I got back on. These days, we only know when something is happening to a friend or family member when we see it on Facebook or Instagram...

6 Simple Habits for Home

Back in December I mentioned that January would be all about organization and "minimalist" living. Minimalism is a lot of learning how to let go and live with less, but minimalism also puts stock in how to live more efficiently and mindfully with what you have, regardless of whether you get rid of stuff or not. I am slowly cleaning out our home, boxing up what we don't use and putting it in the shed for now. It is a process that I am definitely enjoying! 

If you are the type who isn't ready to clean out and let go of your stuff yet, I get it. My husband is the same way ;). But our routine was such that we were spending our entire weekend cleaning cleaning cleaning - and that's no fun. So we compromised: first, we figured out what was the messiest and most stressful part of our home life; then, we devised these six habits to help keep our tiny home as neat and organized as possible - without making it feel like we were cleaning 24/7 or throwing out sentimental things to make up for lost space...