Walker Honeymoon // Jamaica

I had every intention of posting every day this week and actually have some great content to share with you girls! But, you know how life goes, as soon as I make plans, the opposite happens, so those posts will just have to wait until next week. 

On this dreary Mississippi Thursday I'm dreaming of someplace tropical. I close my eyes and see myself on a white sand beach with a pina colada in my hand and the breeze blowing through my hair. Doesn't that sound wonderful? As a little throwback Thursday, you get a little glimpse into our perfect honeymoon to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. (You'll be getting some wedding pictures so soon, too!)

My phone was off all week and I barely turned my camera on, so I'm surprised I actually have some pictures to share. It was the most perfect, relaxing week ever, complete with all the yummy food and drinks you can imagine! My favorite part? A couples massage on the beach. Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. It was the most fantastic way to kick off our life as the Walkers! 

Who's ready to pack a suitcase and jump on a plane to Jamaica with me? Happy #TBT! Xoxo

The Story of Us + Our Wedding Video

I've been Mrs. Walker for 6 months now. There are some days when I want to just pinch myself, because I feel like I'm living in a dream because this is all so surreal. I look over at Andrew and can't believe I'm married to him. Not only is he the man of my dreams, he's also someone I never expected to end up with. The story of us is an interesting one, but I'm thankful for the journey God led us on.

Andrew and I have known each other for almost 9 years. Andrew and I met in high school, believe it or not. There's a Christian retreat around our area called the Happening, and we just so happened to be at the same one on a weekend in November of our Senior year. I was a nervous wreck going into this weekend, not knowing anyone.

He says he remembers the moment he met me and our first conversation. I don't. I remember thinking he was funny (and cute, of course), and that's about it. According to him, he says after he told me he was going to Ole Miss after graduation, I insisted we would "have to be best friends." And that's totally something I'd say, so I believe him.

Then our first semester of college came around and we really did become best friends. I pledged a sorority (Kappa Delta) that fall and he just so happened to be a KD houseboy and was there all the time (which is why he proposed in the KD house--it's special to us.) Everyone there knew who Andrew was. 

And everyone knew we were best friends. He was like my brother; we hung out all the time. He was always charming and witty; the person I'd call if I couldn't figure out a problem on my homework. He was also the person I called when I needed anything done around my house. He was my handyman. I learned early in our friendship that he was the kind of guy who would drop anything to help out a friend.

Throughout college, I had two steady boyfriends, and for a while, I believed one of them was the "one." So Andrew never really crossed my mind that early on. After a bad breakup, I was heartbroken and lonely and praying for God to send me a good guy, someone who wouldn't break my heart this time around. Little did I know that Andrew was there all along.

Well, then life happened. I moved to Jackson after graduation and got my first big girl job. He stayed in Oxford finishing up his engineering degree then MBA. We didn't talk much. Life got in the way. But lucky me, he's from the Jackson area and was home for Christmas break for a few weeks, so we got to hang out and catch up on our friendship. And then on New Year's Eve, a New Year's kiss happened.

And so began my crush. My poor friends heard me incessantly stress over this for two months. With a kiss, we crossed that line that made us not just friends anymore, but yet at the same time, nothing serious. And I thought that I wanted to change that, and I felt like God was opening that door. We hung out every weekend on my oh-so frequent Oxford trips and it just sort of started to evolve into something more. I prayed long and hard for my heart to change towards him if that was God's will. I knew the jump from just friends to more would be awkward, but I also knew that God planted something in my heart for Andrew that was more than just friendship.

Finally, a couple of months later, after he courted me, he finally just brought up the subject of us. It went something like this: "Okay, so I know we've been friends for so long, but I like you, and you like me, too, right? What do we do about that? Is it going to be weird? I don't want to ruin a friendship, but I know there's something more here." So we talked for a while, prayed about it, and decided it was worth the risk, so I became his girlfriend and he started pursuing my heart. I can still remember that night and the feelings I felt--everything just started falling into place.

I knew before we started dating that he was the man I was going to marry. We spent many hours on the phone at the beginning of our relationship because we lived 3 hours apart. I knew after those conversations that he'd one day be my husband. Early on, we talked about our future and about kids and our life together. Some friends thought I was crazy, even my sister was a little shocked at first. I just knew there was love there like I had never known before, and I knew he loved me, too.

We dated for a couple of years before he proposed to me, and then were engaged 7 months before we said, "I do." It's been an experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.

And I can tell you one thing, if you had told me 9 years ago that he'd be the man I married, I probably would've laughed and told you that you were crazy. And you know what? I'm so thankful that God knew better. I'm thankful that I serve a God who is all-knowing and had all of this planned from the start, because His way is infinitely times better than I could've dreamed. He knew Andrew was the man for me long before I even knew him. He knew that Andrew would love me the way I needed to be loved, and vice versa.

Through marriage, I've gained such an incredible view of grace and mercy. It makes me see just a tiny glimpse of the love and grace and mercy that the Lord lavishes upon us, and for that, I am so thankful. 

So, on our 6 month anniversary, I want to share with y'all our wedding video, since I've yet to post the full length version on here. Nicole from 314 Productions is one of my dearest friends and we were blessed enough to have her and her husband there to capture our big day. It was the wedding of my dreams, and I hope and pray every day to have a marriage and live a life that is so much more beautiful than our wedding was. 

So there's the beginning of our story, friends. I hope God blesses me with many more days with this man and lots more chapters in the story of us. 

#NamesofGod2014 // Volume IV

Friends! Another week has passed with our Bible study! You know, even if you're not reading the book with us, I'd love for you to read our posts and discuss your thoughts. 

How has your week been? I hope the answer is a good one! Have you enjoyed this week's study? As we get deeper and deeper into this book, I grow to love it a little more. Some of Arthur's words/commentary is a little over my head some days, but it challenges me to look up the background story, read more of the Bible, and push myself to learn a little more. I like that fact. 

Since we started this study, I've been looking forward to this section, because I knew the "Healer" section would come eventually. I love thinking of the Lord as our Healer--it's one of my favorite names and attributes of the God we serve.

Day 20 starts off with Arthur talking about "The Lord Who Heals" and all the wounds that the people of the world hold. This quote struck me deep and made me feel a little guilty: 
"We live in our own world--undisturbed, uninformed, and untroubled by realties that could demand our concern and attention as God's ambassadors of reconciliation." (Page 71)
Whoa, how true is that statement? As hard as that is to hear, she's so right. I absolutely live in my own world and prefer for it to stay that way most days--but what good is that doing His kingdom? If I don't stretch myself out of my own little bubble, I'm doing nothing to further His word and to make His name known. How can hurt people be touched by the Great Physician if I'm not telling them about Him? She goes on to say: 
"We want to be healed ourselves. But we do not want to be involved in others' healing." (Page 72) 
Why am I like that? Why do I naturally withdraw myself from situations? Is it just selfishness? Or fear of getting involved? If I'm truly a servant of Christ, I should be actively seeking those who are hurt and ministering to them. How will they know if we don't tell them? Community is such an important thing in the body of Christ, oh so important, y'all. 

Something that stuck out to me when learning about God being Jehovah-rapha was that I had such a small understanding of God's roles in healing...I often think when "healing" is mentioned that it translates to sickness or illness of the body. But God's healing goes so , so much deeper than that. After reading through 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Psalms, Matthew, etc, I realized that God heals all. Such an obvious statement, but God is the healer of sickness and illness of the body, of course, but also of sinfulness, heartbreak, emotional wounds, relationship issues, personal struggles, and on and on. His healing is infinite over the body, but also the spirit and soul, too. 

And guess what word shows up again in these studies? Obedience. Yep, that word that I struggle with. Health, healing, and obedience go hand in hand. Exodus 15:26 shows this. 

It's hard for me to grasp the section where Arthur talks about the correlation between sinfulness and sickness. I like to think that sickness is random and just happens, but we all know that God has complete control and allows things to happen or allows feelings to be felt sometimes because of our own sinfulness. I like to view God as only a kind and loving Lord, but He is also just and gives what is deserved sometimes too. I pray that I remember to deal with my own sinfulness first when I'm feeling hatred, anxiety, or other sicknesses of spirit.

Being a nurse (btw--didn't know Kay Arthur was a nurse, too!), I rely heavily on medicine and physicians and such to treat patients. I'm a person who believes that medicine and science is here for a purpose and for the most part, does great good in the world. But at the same time, as a Christian, I believe that the God that I serve goes beyond western medicine and can overcome any illness. HE is the Great Physician and Healer, above all else. Above any medicine or diagnosis we can give as medical professionals. And I'm thankful for that.

What did you learn this week in your studies? Did anything stick out to you that made you think a little deeper? Do you agree with Arthur that sinfulness and sickness are tied together? Why or why not? I can't wait to discuss with you, girls! Xoxo

Sugar-free Strawberry Pie + a Canon Rebel T3i Giveaway!

Y'all, I have a treat for you today! Not only is this dessert fresh and summer-friendly, it's also lightened up and sugar-free. My husband has diabetes and I'm trying to be healthier, so it's been an ongoing process for me to find desserts that can be Splenda-fied. I have such a sweet tooth, and LOVE to bake, so I'm always trying to find things I can make that he can enjoy. I'll just tell you, we've had quite a few flops in the past, but I made this one over the weekend, and it was delicious! 

Grab some strawberries from your local farmer's market, then a few ingredients from the grocery store, and you're all set! I was surprised at how easy this was to make.

Enjoy! Xoxo

And for an extra little treat to make your day a little brighter--a chance to win a Canon Rebel T3i! How exciting is that? The wonderful Jana from Life Could Be a Dream is hosting this awesome giveaway with me and some other fantastic bloggers! Just use this Rofflecopter below to enter. 

Win a brand new Canon Rebel T3i!
The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on July 24th until 11:59 pm EST on July 30th. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only–sorry international friends! Please be honest with your entries because no one likes a cheater. Good luck, and be sure to visit the other bloggers who helped bring you this opportunity and give them a big "THANKS!" :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY: Anthro Inspired Mugs

I've been on a DIY kick lately, and this one is probably my favorite so far. I may have a few good characteristics about me, but my frugality isn't something I can brag about. On my list of attributes, it's very near the bottom, if it even makes the list. But at the same time, I have the (bad) habit of browsing on websites such as Anthropologie, and that does not make my husband, nor his pocketbook, happy. 

I'm finding areas to cut corners, and this little DIY was one of the first projects I did to save a few dollars. When we moved, my favorite coffee mug from Anthropologie got broken by an unnamed source (coughAndrewcough) and I was so sad. It was my go-to cup to grab for my morning brew, and I got online a few weeks ago to buy another. And then I realized they were $8.00 a piece, plus shipping and handling. I'd easily drop that much on a coffee mug, but it may send my husband into a heart attack. And we don't want that.

So, I Googled a DIY project and found these fabulous Martha Stewart silkscreen stencils. They're a little pricey (I got mine for around $9.00) but they're reusable, so I can make as many mugs as I want. I've been brainstorming on what else to use them for!

1) Clean off your mug with warm water and soap. Dry thoroughly, then wipe the surface with rubbing alcohol to make sure it's completely clean. 

2) Cut out your stencil and adhere to the surface of your cup. Make sure it's as smooth as possible; smooth out any bubbles.

3) Pick out a pretty paint color and sponge it on the silkscreen. Cover it lightly and then pull the silkscreen off while the paint is still wet. Be gentle with it as you pull it off or you'll mess up the color. Wash the silkscreen off immediately.

4) Let the paint dry before you do another section. It's really up to you as to the pattern or design--be creative with it!

5) Let the cup fully dry, and then put your letter, monogram, or name on there. I used a paint pen and free-handed it, but you could also use a letter stencil to get your desired look!

6) This is an important step! To make sure the paint stays on, place the cup in the oven and start to preheat it to 350*. Set your timer for 25 minutes, then turn the oven off and let it cool fully. This will help the paint to stay on through dishwashing!

And there you have it! Easy enough for anyone to do it, and inexpensive enough that my husband was proud of my savings! 

Now, excuse me while I go drink a cup of coffee out of my new favorite mug! Xoxo

Being a Labor and Delivery Nurse // What It's Really Like

"I'm a Labor and Delivery nurse." A statement that spurs a bunch of questions. "What's that like?" "Do you hold babies all night?" "How do you do that for 12 hours?" "I bet that's the funnest job ever." Here's a little insight to what it's really like behind the Labor and Delivery doors.

I work the night shift, which means I go to bed around 9 am and sleep until around 4. I toss and turn most of the day--my schedule is backwards compared to the rest of the world. I kiss my husband goodbye as he's getting home from work, knowing I won't see him for another 24 hours.

After drinking my "morning" cup of coffee on the way to work, I clock in and head up to the L&D unit. I can usually tell what kind of night it's going to be by the amount of people swarming the halls. We get a quick report on what's going on with patients currently, hear a few sometimes funny stories from patients earlier in the day, and catch up with coworkers. I try to go to the bathroom around this time, too, because I never know when I'll get another break.

I have a job that is coveted and hard to get. Labor and Delivery units don't have much turnover when it comes to nurses, because it's a sought-after position, so once you're there, you stay there. People think we sit around holding babies all night, and some nights we do, but our job is so much more than that. 

As nurses, we take on many roles. I admit patients, check cervixes, start IVs, administer medications, and file paperwork. I place catheters, circulate c-sections, and recover patients after surgery. I'm constantly looking at a computer screen, monitoring babies heart rates and contraction patterns, charting every 15 minutes and making sure that everyone is alive and well.

Hospitals never close, which means I work holidays too. I spend Christmas away from my family, with my coworkers and patients. To make Thanksgiving a little easier, we have a potluck feast and hope that the day isn't so crazy that we can't enjoy it. 

I'm a friend to my patient and a coach when need be. I'm an encourager when my patient thinks she can't push any longer. I sit my patient up while she's getting her epidural, while she's sweating and breathing through contractions, yet holding me in a bear hug after we've only known each other for an hour. I hold her hair back when she's getting sick from medicine or just from the pain. I let her squeeze my hand during a strong contraction and talk to her about her other kids, pets, or job to get her mind off of the pain. I ask her what the baby's nursery looks like, or what the baby's name will be--anything to distract her, even for  just a minute, to make that contraction go by faster.

I'm the go-between when the patient isn't getting the kind of care she wants. I'm the one who calls the doctor at 2 in the morning and advocates for her care. I make coffee for family members who have been up for 24+ hours, I make up couches for dads who need a nap. I grab extra pillows and reposition my patient every hour or so so she doesn't get uncomfortable and maybe labor will progress. 

I see patients at their most vulnerable times. Although we're strangers, she doesn't care that I just saw her naked. I reassure her over and over again, "a body part is just a body part to us--it's not the first we've seen today, nor will it be the last." I laugh and try to lighten the mood, joke around with the dad; I'll do anything to take a little bit of nervousness away from the parents.

I rejoice with moms and dads when, after years of infertility, a sweet baby is born. I cry when a dad cries after holding his child for the first time. I get excited when a mom of 4 boys has her first little girl. I tell each sweet baby "happy birthday" as I pass it off to the nursery nurse, while making sure the baby is breathing and isn't blue. I'm part of the best day of their life,  they thank me for being there, and I love that feeling.

At the same time, I'm there with parents who have lost a baby, the ones who have had miscarriage after miscarriage. I hold a patient's hand when she comes to the hospital and the baby's heartbeat is no longer there. I cry as the doctor breaks the news to her, and am there as the process to induce begins. I smile, get her a Sprite, bring her extra pillows, as if that will fix the situation. I'm there for the worst day of their life, and I hate that feeling.

My job is hard and demanding most days. There are rarely enough hands for all the things that need to be done, for all the moms who need care, and all the babies who need attention, yet somehow we do it and do it well. We run around in circles some shifts, when 0700 seems so far away, but, hour by hour, we keep going. My job is rewarding and incredible, more than anything. I get to experience a miracle every time I go to work, and I don't take that privilege lightly. 

I'm asked all the time if my job makes me not want to have kids. The answer to that is a definite no; quite the opposite, actually. It makes me all the more ready to experience this with Andrew. I'm glad to know what I know about this baby business--I won't be terrified when it comes my time(s). 

So, if you're reading this and have been a patient or will be in the future, I hope you know that your nurse is there for you. Each patient makes an impact on us, whether we realize it or not--we pour our hearts into every delivery. Our job is challenging and exhausting to say the least; it's often an emotional roller coaster, but when you hear that baby's cry for the first time and see the look on the parents' faces, it makes all the tough times worth it. And that's what being a L&D nurse is really like. 

#NamesofGod2014 // Volume III

I'm so glad you're here today, friend! I wish I could invite you over to my house, pour you a cup of coffee, and pull up chairs on my back porch while we talk about what's going on in our lives. And about what the Lord is teaching us through this book. How fun would that be? (And you'd get to hang out with my little Bible study buddy in the top right corner of this picture...Nena!)

This week has been a good one. I catch myself thinking more and more about this study throughout the week, even when I'm not actually reading the book. My mind goes to the Lord's names during the day when I think of Provider, Healer, Master. It's really gotten me to think deeper about qualities of the Lord and all that He is, and I'm grateful for that.

Adonai, Lord and Master. Before anything, He must be the Master of our life. He comes first, before our spouse, before our parents, before our children. He must be our priority, and then everything else will fall into place. 

One of my favorite things that Arthur says is this: "As Jehovah, He is to be obeyed. He is God; we are human. He is the Creator, we are the created. Therefore, every knee should bow." (pg 49)

The biggest thing that has gone through my mind this week is the word obedience. Every knee should bow. I really loved reading through Genesis about Abraham and when God wanted him to sacrifice his son. His only son. I never really thought into the irony of this. God asking Abraham to sacrifice His only son, when God knew all along that He would do the same thing in the New Testament.  Abraham was obedient to God even when God asked him to do the the very worst thing imaginable. I can't fathom knowing how to obey and trust in the Lord like that, without abandon. Abraham knew that the Lord would provide. Although this was included with Jehovah-jireh, I think it's so applicable to the Lord as Adonai, too. Abraham had to make the choice to be obedient and trust that God would provide in His time of need. 

Sometimes I don't give credit to God as my Provider. Although we're nowhere near rich by any means, Andrew and I aren't pinching pennies. I don't ever catch myself praying that a little extra money will show up somehow so we can eat dinner that night. And for that, we are blessed...so blessed, but at the same time, I've realized that I'm NOT the provider. He gave me my job, which pays our bills. He allowed us to be able to afford a house and make mortgage payments month to month. He has kept us healthy so hospital bills aren't having to be paid. He is the All-Sufficient Provider. Not me, not Andrew. Things could change in an instant; life has a way of surprising us, and I'm thankful that He provides, even when surprises come. Because really, nothing is from me. I can't provide anything but obedience, He does the rest.

Our faith bears fruit when we obey the Lord. If we're not obeying Him, we're missing out on so much that He has in store for us, the goodness that's hiding just behind that door that we won't allow Him to open.

His presence in our lives requires a decision. Are we going to obey him? Am I going to let go of the things that are holding me back from following His will in my life? His presence demands a decision--although I decided a long time ago to follow Him, I must wake up every morning and lay down my life, take up His cross and decide to follow Him. Obey, Rachel. I must be obedient to glorify Him, and that's the bottom line.

What has the Lord shown you this week? What parts stood out to you the most? Have you found the book challenging? I can't wait to hear from you and see the goodness in your heart! If you've written a post or have the desire to write one, link up with me and Nicole, so we can read what's been on your heart this week! Xoxo

Total Social // Favorite Family Recipe

There are a few of recipes that my husband asks for over and over. No matter how many new recipes I may try from Pinterest or from my many cookbooks, he will always prefer those old faithfuls. They're tried and true, passed down from my mother, the kind of recipe that I can pull out and make in a jiff when we want some delicious comfort food.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of them! First up, Chicken Enchilada Casserole. It's a favorite of anyone I make it for, so I'm excited to share it with y'all today! 

I've heard this called Mexican lasagna, Layered Mexican Casserole, etc, but in our family, it's Chicken Enchilada Casserole, and it's amazingly delicious. My mouth waters looking at this food. Mexican food is always a go-to for us, so if you like Mexican, you'll love this. It's got the perfect blend of seasonings; and with the sour cream and salsa verde baked in, it still tastes light and fresh. 

A few tips: I use a rotisserie chicken to make it easier. I hate dealing with raw chicken, so I'm always looking for ways to cut corners! I also make my own taco seasoning usually--less preservatives and sodium than what you get in the store-bought package. I use this recipe. We also use Greek yogurt to cut some calories (there is A LOT of cheese in this, and I want to enjoy it!)

We love to top with a little extra sour cream or salsa verde and add some Mexican rice on the side! This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday and enjoy throughout the week--it makes great leftovers!

Linking up with the fabulous Helene and Sarah for #FavTotalSocial today! 
Helene in Between

Enjoy! Xoxo

Community Brew // Marriage

I've been needing to do a post like this lately, one where I just spill thoughts onto a page. After all, if we were drinking coffee together, you'd probably realize just how much I really talk. When I have a lot on my mind, I get chatty.

I've talked about marriage until I'm blue in the face. From this post on how to pray for your husband to becoming a wife, it's something I'm not shy about discussing. I think community is such a huge part of our lives--we don't realize how vital it is to our well-being until it's missing. And I'm sure thankful for this fellowship we've created to talk and discuss, get deeper into His word, and grow together.

My mind is constantly thinking about this crazy thing called marriage. It's a role I'm just now getting used to, but I'm loving settling into being a wife. It's truly a roller coaster. Mostly great, wonderful days filled with laughter and love, but every now and then, we have a little tiff and my heart gets discouraged, because marriage can be really tough. And then I realize that this is normal, because I am not perfect, and neither is Andrew. There will be hard times, that I know for sure.

This "life stage" that I'm in is teaching me a lot...a lot about myself, a lot about Andrew, a lot about compromise, a lot about Jesus and His grace and mercy over us. 

The one thing that has been so prevalent with me lately in marriage is grace. God's grace is something we've learned about since we first started reading Bible stories--one of those themes in Christianity that we throw around easily. It's so much more than I ever realized--as I get deeper into this marriage thing, I realize how necessary God's grace is. And how much I need to have grace with Andrew, and vice versa. I like to think our relationship is perfect; everyone wants to put on the facade of happiness, even when things get rough. I put a lot of pressure onto myself and onto Andrew that isn't necessary, when all we really need is a little bit of grace, something undeserved, but desperately needed. 

I spent most of my college time being single. I so desperately wanted to be loved and wanted to have a man to fill the hole in my heart. Something was missing and I figured falling in love would solve that ache. Even now, as a wife, I'm learning slowly that as much as I want him to, Andrew can't fill every desire of my heart. If anyone in this world is my other half, it's him, but at the same time, there's still so much need and want inside of me that can't be filled except by our Savior. Jesus is the only place we can go for true fulfillment--He is where I find security and acceptance and love. My marriage is such a blessing from Him, and I just pray that we can grow in Him and that our actions, love, and fruitfulness will glorify Him in the meanwhile. 

I'm working on having grace with Andrew, because there are so many days that I don't deserve it, and yet the Lord lavishes it upon me. So shouldn't I do the same for the man I love? Perfection isn't something I should strive towards. Love, grace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness are things I should strive towards. And I'm working on that day by day.

What is God teaching you in this stage of life? If you're married, how is God affecting your relationship with your husband? Are you dating someone? Does God play a role in your relationship now? Can you see Him moving between you? Single ladies, do you feel the same wants and desires I once felt? How do you deal with that hole? I know one thing, God is enough for all of us, in every stage of life. And He's in the midst of every situation, working for the good. I know that for sure. Xoxo

Linking up with two of my favorites, Madison and Rachel, for Community Brew!

community brew link up

OOTD // Classy Neutrals

If there's one type of blogger that I'm not, fashion would be it. I can DIY, bake, and lifestyle the heck out of some posts, but when it comes to OOTDs and creative clothing posts, I'm at a loss. Always. In my July goals, I posted that I wanted to actually post an OOTD--I knew all along that I may plan out an outfit, may even take photos of myself, but that I'd never really post it. 

Here's where I prove myself wrong, y'all. After all, this blog is all about me rewriting my story, and although I've never done it in the past, that's no reason not to start now! I love reading fashion blogs--I obsess over their outfit choices and love how brave they are to put themselves out there like that, so why can't I do it myself?

Jana at Life Could Be a Dream had the perfect excuse for me to be brave--I figured their Creative Closet linkup would be a great way for me to just jump right in! 

The Creative Closet

Today's prompt was "classy neutral." When it comes to neutrals in my closet, they're slim to  none. I love color and love wearing it--I don't even own a white pair of pants (shocker, I know!) I had to think outside the box to make this one work, but it wasn't that hard when it came down to it. Leopard print is always a neutral in my book, and this basic black dress from F21 is new but is already a staple in my wardrobe.

After Andrew snapped these pics, I looked at them and shuddered at how "fat" and how "gross" I looked in them. I was embarrassed that I even thought about doing this, because in my mind, "who in the world was I to post about outfits?" For some reason, I had the thought that I needed to be skinny and tall to do this and do it right. I quickly snapped back into reality and realized that although I wasn't crazy about these pictures, I AM beautiful. I may have gained a few extra pounds that don't need to stick around, but that doesn't change anything. I'm learning day by day that beauty isn't a number on a scale. I've heard it for years, but it's finally starting to sink in. So here I am, posting these pictures, even when every voice in my head is screaming not to. 

So, neutrals. This is my neutral. I threw this on the other afternoon before meeting a couple of girls for happy hour because it was too hot for jeans and I needed to be a little more dressy than usual. It made me feel sassy and fun, yet comfortable at the same time.

 Leopard kimono: local boutique | dress: Forever21 | Shoes: Target
Bag: Louis Vuitton | Earrings: Kendra Scott 

And now I'm going to go pour a glass of wine to cure my first OOTD nerves. Thanks for reading! Xoxo

How to Spruce Up Your Space

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is redecorate. I must've gotten it from my mama--I'm always fixing and refreshing and rearranging. With a love of decorating comes the need to do it often, which is never good for my budget.  Since moving into our house, I've learned that all it takes to change the look of a space is a few little things and a few extra dollars, so I'm here to show you how to spruce up your space in just a few minutes!

{Change your fabric.} The easiest way to lighten up a room (such as your living space) is to switch out the pillows on your couch. I actually didn't spend any money on this--I just grabbed a few extra throw pillows that I wasn't using and it instantly changed the look of our couch. 

{Rearrange your furniture.} This is a no-brainer, but we've been in our house for a while and I've yet to move anything since our initial move-in. Even by just swapping an accent chair around, or maybe turning your couch on an angle, the room transforms into something different. I just recently swapped two side tables, and my room looks so much bigger, just with that little switch! 

{Bring in colors with rugs, flowers, or curtains.} Our walls are greige, our couches are beige, and our rug is dark. I'm itching for something brighter and lighter, so while searching for the perfect area rug, I figured I could bring in a little color with some flowers. But again, back to my budget, fresh flowers aren't always wallet friendly. I searched high and low for an affordable faux arrangement that didn't look super fake, but surprisingly, those were way out of the budget, too. So, in came my little Walmart project. I bought a globe vase for $3, four faux peonies for $2 each, and instantly had a bold statement piece for our coffee table. Sure, they're not quite as lovely as fresh peonies, but my theory is if someone comes into my house and judges me for my faux flowers, they're not a true friend :) (And bonus, they don't die! Victory for my black thumb!)

{Bring in different accessories.} Every few months, I love swapping things around from room to room. For instance, I'll bring out some of the mercury glass I have in my bedroom and change it out with the pottery in the living room. Swap a candle from the guest bedroom with a vase from the bathroom. Add a picture frame to the mantle to showcase a photo you love. Buy a couple of inexpensive books from a thrift store to add height, color, and textures to a bookshelf or coffee table. Oh, and remember--showcasing a favorite book (or three!) by placing it on your coffee table is always a great idea. 

{Swap out pictures in frames.} We have frames all over our house, filled with pictures of our wedding, our family, favorite quotes, etc. And honestly, I don't think I've ever changed these pictures. It may be something that only I notice, but I think it makes a huge difference in changing the look of your room. Fresh photos are always a good thing! Lately, I've loved getting prints with a great Bible verse or quote on them. 

See how easy that was? It's so fun to do, yet so simple to carry out. Little changes are all it takes to transform the look of a room! And now, I'm going to sit back with my cup of coffee and enjoy my spruced up living room. 

What are your favorite decorating tips? How do you like to spruce things up on a budget? Xoxo