Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jesus + Tea

I have a lot of things to be thankful for, and I am thankful each and every day for all of them. I mean, I've got a wonderful husband, a beautiful marriage, a large family that loves and supports me, my relationship with God which is above all the most important, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to teach, and a list that is as long as my arm of other things. Specifically though, today I am thankful for Jesus + tea.

I've really been diving into the bible and praying a lot more in the past month than I have in a while. I have always been a prayer and I do read my bible, but I mean I am diving in head first wanting to really get to know Christ better. He made me in His image after all, and that is a pretty high expectation that I need to live up to. I am currently working my way through The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional.  I believe in marriage, so even though my marriage is great at the moment, I know that a time will come and we will face trials and struggles. I am really passionate about preparing for those times, so I do a lot of reading about strengthening my marriage.

I'm so thankful for my relationship with Christ. It is the most important relationship I have and I know that nurturing and growing that relationship is the most important. So I am making a point to spend time with God every day. My favorite way to do that is with tea. I love to start my morning with my bible, devotional, and whatever kind of tea I feel like that morning. Some of my favorites are peach tranquility, scarlet jasmine, raspberry limeade, and chamomile.

I'm linking up with Charlene today for Thankful Thursday! Be sure to join in on the last Thursday of the month!

From Bisons to Buckeyes: Thankful Thursday Party

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why I'm not using a quick fix.

So many people, not just women, struggle with their weight. I am no different. I've started and failed so many different times when it came to getting in shape. I have been so tempted to use one of those quick fixes out there. You know the ones I am talking about right? The lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes kind of marketing crap that is out there. While stuff like that sounds so enticing, I just can't jump on board.

I've been pretty open about my struggle with my weight on the blog. I've tried so many different eating plans, workout plans, shakes, pills and tons of other stuff. Each and every time I failed. I would do decent for a while, but I always gained the weight back. It has taken a toll on my physically, mentally, and emotionally. Then one day it hit me. I wanted to lose weight for everyone else. Even the past times when I said it was for me, deep down, it wasn't. I did a whole lot of soul searching, praying, and even more praying about my health and how it was such a hurdle for me.

I've been doing what I can to stay pretty aware of what I eat and how often I exercise since the start of 2015, but May 11, 2015 is when something inside of me just clicked. Without making a big deal out of it, I started on this journey. There was no real motivation to start; it just happened. I started tracking my food, making much healthier choices, and doing everything I could to hit my step goal each day. I've not made any serious changes to my exercise habits, but I've revamped my eating. Sure I have treat meals every now and then, but I find myself reaching for an apple or carrots over chips or chocolate because I don't want the junk anymore. Before I felt like I had to give it up, and all I wanted was junk. I mean my favorite food in the world was donuts before May 11, but now, I'd have to go with zucchini. I still love donuts, but I would prefer eating scrambled eggs with spinach for breakfast over a donut...who am I?

In making this choice, changing my eating, and not making any major changes to my exercise routine, I have lost 7 lbs. That is more weight lost in the same amount of time from any previous attempts. I would have lost more if I hadn't eaten out 3 nights in a row. I am sure of it. So I'm not using a quick fix. I am not wanting to drop weight so quickly if it is just going to come back. My plan is to make a lifestyle change, not a 3 month change. So far, I'm on the right track. I want to put in the work because you get what you work for. I want to earn it. I want to take care of the only body I am given.

How do you feel about quick fixes?  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6 Summer Date Ideas

Summer is such a fun season for going on dates. There are so many things that are specific to summer, so you have to jump on some opportunities. I've made a list of 6 of my favorite date ideas for summer! 

*Pack a lunch and have a picnic in the park

*Go to an outdoor movie or drive in movie

*Visit a local, or not so local if you want to make a trip out of it, winery and go wine tasting

*Go to the local farmer's market, buy some fresh fruit, then enjoy it over some homemade ice cream. 

*Check out your town's fairs and festivals

*Host a game tournament. Think corn hole, volley ball, twister, and board games. 

What summer date ideas do you have? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer 2015 Bucket List!

I've mentioned it before, but Riverbend was last week and that kicked off summer in Chattanooga! I am usually never excited for summer in any way, but this year, I am. Maybe it is because I know that when fall gets here, I am going to stay busy busy busy! I decided that since I am at least a little excited about summer that I should make a bucket list of things I want to do so that I can at least look forward to some things.

1. Kayak at the riverfront (Chattanooga)
2. Go to the Chattanooga Market's Street Food Festival
3. Host a S'mores party
4. Camp in the back yard
5. Take Chaco to the dog park
6. Hike the Cumberland trail (the 5 mile section)
7. Go to Nightfall once  (Chattanooga)
8. Try 2 new restaurants
9. Go rock climbing
10. Go to a Lookouts game (Chattanooga)

What is on your summer bucket list?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father's Day is quickly approaching. I'm very blessed to have 3 wonderful men in my life who all hold a title that includes father. First off, my actual father, then my step-father, and my father-in-law. All of these men are absolute blessings. Each one had taught me important lessons. My father loves me unconditionally even when I get on his nerves. My step-father stepped up and helped to raise me through my extremely annoying teenage years. My father-in-law has welcomed me with open arms in to his family and loves me like a daughter. Each of of these men are wonderful men who love God and strive to be like our heavenly Father. They all will be wonderful examples to my children and each one will be an excellent grandfather.

In saying all that, each one of these men in my life are completely different. I wish father's day gift shopping could be easy and I could buy them all the same thing, but that just isn't the case. So I have put together a list of gift ideas for any of those hard to shop for men. And just in case any of my fathers are reading this, don't worry, none of these are for you.

Corn Hole Boards
The great thing about father's day is it falls right at the beginning of summer, and what better way to kick off summer than with the gift of outdoor fun. You can buy custom corn hole boards, or you can even make your own. Pinterest is my favorite place to look for either custom boards or plans to build your own!

Passport Case
For the traveling man of course! I love this passport cover because of the map on it. Etsy has plenty of other options if you don't like this one or want a more personalized one.

Art of Shaving Kit
What man wouldn't love a good close shave? I bought my husband an Art of Shaving kit in sandalwood and he loves it. This kit is just a starter kit, but there are other kits in larger sizes and different scents so there is something for every man.

Grill Tool Set
Ahh yes, men are king of the grill. Treat your king of the grill to a new set of grill tools. Bonus points if you add a few spices, sauces, and a new apron. You are sure to get at least one meal out of this gift!

Photo Gifts
If you want something more personal, why not get a custom photo book, mug, phone case, or even a canvas print of his favorite picture of the kids (or grand kids). What man wouldn't want to proudly display such a personal gift?

If you want to go in with siblings or someone else on a gift, think about maybe a themed gift basket, like the grill basket I mentioned above. There are so many different ideas for a themed basket and they can be customized for each father. Need some ideas? I have you covered.

For the movie lover : popcorn, candy, a few DVD's, or gift cards for movie tickets.
For the fisherman : lures, line, bobbers, bait, fishing vest/shirt, good pliers, fishing pole
For the man who loves the great outdoors : items from his favorite outdoor activities (kayaking, rock climbing, camping, etc)
For the chef : cutting board, spices/seasonings, pots/pans, knives, cooking utensils
For the beer drinker : bottle opener, beer glasses, chillsners, coasters
For the wine and cheese lover : corkscicle, wine rack, stoppers, glasses, cheese knives, board and slicer

Hopefully this gives you at least and idea of what to get those great men in your life. Be sure to let your father(s) know just how much you love and appreciate them this father's day!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ready for Summer thanks to the #BlossomVoxBox

Summer in Chattanooga is kicked off by one big event, Riverbend. And Riverbend started last Friday night with an amazing performance by 3 Doors Down. My inner high school fan girl was super excited. Then Tuesday, Matthew West and Tenth Avenue North preformed. Matthew West was amazing, but to me the star of the night was Tenth Avenue North. With Riverbend comes the expectations of days at the lake, fruit and veggie season, and lots of time spent outside. So when Influenster sent me this #BlossomVoxBox, I was beyond excited!

I'm not going to lie, my husband opened the box before I did. And he may or may not have eaten a bag of the Beanitos before I could take a picture. He was nice enough to save the bag for me though.

So first up is the Beanitos. I got the Chipolte BBQ and the Original Black Bean flavors. I am not going to lie, I did pass these on to my husband. I am not a fan of black beans in any form, but he is. He absolutely loved these! We have already bought a bag of the original ones and he has finished those off! These are such a great alternative to potato chips. I'm wondering if these would be any good with queso or salsa? 

I love that they included these little snack size portions of the Bear Naked Granola. We took these on a 4 mile kayaking trip and they couldn't have been more perfect. The sea salt caramel apple is AMAZING! We haven't been able to find it in our local grocery stores, but we have only been to two. We have purchased some other flavors of the granola and we love it! For people who didn't care much from granola, we sure eat a lot of it now. 

Summer in the south, or anywhere really, requires sunscreen. I knew I loved the Australian Gold before I was sent this. I love the classic smell, and that it doesn't make my skin feel greasy after using it. I really love this size bottle because it is super easy to toss in my purse so I can reapply as needed. The Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs is great when you get it in your correct color. I'm a pale girl, and the medium just doesn't work for me at the moment. When I get a decent tan going on though, I will be using this stuff every time I wear a dress or shorts! I went out and purchased my pale shade in the spray can though and I can't wait to try it out! 

See I told you it was a little dark for this pale girl! But I love this product!!! 

The Clairol Hair Food shampoo is a root clarifying shampoo. I wasn't sold completely on the strawberry ginger smell at first, but it has quickly grown on me. I use to wash my hair every single day, but now I was it every 2-3 days, so I use a dry shampoo and hair spray like it is my job. Enter this shampoo! I quickly fell in love with it. I strongly suggest this shampoo if you are looking for a good clarifying shampoo. I also got the NYC City Proof 24 Hour Waterproof Eyeshadow in a color that was written so tiny that I couldn't read it.  

While this product is waterproof, I feel like it rubs off easy. For me, it smudged pretty easy even after
letting it dry for over and hour. I will use it for sure, but I will just have to be cautious and be sure not
to touch my eyes at all while wearing it. 

Lastly, I received the Nasoya Pasta Zero Spaghetti Noodles. I can't bring myself to even try them. Something about pasta in a bag with a liquid just doesn't appeal to me. My husband had promised to try them though. I've heard great things about them, so I am sure they are good. Who knows maybe after he fixes them I might like them. I'll let you know if I do! 

Thanks so much Influenster for sending me this #BlossomVoxBox! 

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

[Chattanoga Date Night] Riverbend

There is no denying that I love this city. Chattanooga has always been home and to be able to share this city with my amazing husband is so amazing for me. We both proudly call Chattanooga home and I'm hoping I never have to live anywhere else. There is so much to do and see in Chattanooga making it the perfect city for some really great date nights!

One of the great things about Chattanooga is the annual river front 9 day music festival, Riverbend. Admission for the entire festival is wristbands and can be bought up until the day before the festival starts for $39 or $55 at the gate (2015). Individual night wristbands can be purchased for $25 a night or $10 on Tuesday night which is Faith and Family night. Kids under 10 get in free with an adult. Start seating in front of the stage can be purchased for every night, but prices vary and seats are gone quick. Riverbend takes up the entire river front, so come prepared to walk. To make food and beverage purchases, you have to buy tokens. For $1.00 you get 2 tokens and those 2 tokens are worth $1.00 inside the festival and can be used the following year if you end up with extra. Monday there are no performances, but instead there is the Bessie Smith Strut which takes place away from river front and is a blues night.

There is always a good mix of artists. The main stage, the Coke Stage, has the main act on it usually starting at 9 PM. This year, they added a few additional acts on the Coke Stage earlier in the evening. This year's Coke Stage line up included St Paul & the Broken Bones (F), 3 Doors Down (F), WAR (S), Martina McBride (S), Leon Russell (Sn), Merle Haggard (Sn), Matthew West (T), Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick (W), Melissa Etheridge: This is M.E. (W), Little River Band (Th), Hunter Hayes (Th), Cole Swindell (F), Gregg Allman (F), Here Come the Mummies (S), and ending with the Stone Temple Pilots (F).

Some other bands that are in the line up for this year are Sam Hunt (S), Tenth Avenue North (T), and Molly Hatchet (F) among many others including local bands. It is a great deal for the amount of concerts. If you are ever in the area during Riverbend, you should stop by. I think everyone should at least experience one night, and my pick for that one night no matter what year is Tuesday night, Faith and Family night.

Faith and Family night is the only night where alcohol is not sold. The crowds are tamer and I feel like the bands are better. Let me share 2015's Faith and Family night with you.

Tenth Avenue North was amazing. Best performance I've seen, and I can honestly say they are my favorite band. At the start of the show, the lead singer, Mike Donehey, called Chattanooga Chatty, and that made Tenth Avenue North even more amazing. The show itself was great, full of energy, spirit, and God. I wish they would have been able to play all night because I would have gladly stood there listening and worshiping with them. At the end of the show, they walked off stage, everyone turned to leave, and then Mike Donehey came back on stage to play an acoustic version of By Your Side for us. Since so many had already left, we were able to get close to the stage. It was such a moving moment too. Personally, I felt the spirit of God with us at that time. That alone was worth more than the cost of the wristbands. Such a powerful way to end such a great concert.

Matthew West was on the Coke Stage. At first, I wasn't sure if I knew many of his songs, but I quickly realized I did and they were some favorites. We did get star seating for this since my in-laws were with us and I didn't want to stand the entire time. Again, powerful performance. Faith and Family draws such a crowd and to see so many people worshiping God together is moving. Matthew West has great stage performance and really puts on an entertaining show. 

So if you are in town around this time in the future, be sure to stop by and watch some amazing shows. I wish I had taken my bigger camera to get better pictures, but I would have missed out on the moments, so these will have to do! 

Does your city have any summer music festivals?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

May 2015 Favorites

The month of May flew by, just like all the other months in 2015. I can't believe we are almost to the half way mark of 2015. Before you know it, it will be Christmas. Would you kill me if I said I am super excited about that???? Yes. Okay, then I'm not excited at all. #Imlying.

So in May, I realized that I am a major creature of habit. I basically wore the same exact jewelry every day. I carried the same purse every day. I wore the same perfume every day. Do I need to continue? Leave it to me to be the least exciting person ever. But, I bring you my May 2015 Favorites!

I've been on a gold kick obviously. I got the watch on our cruise last year, and the purse was my Christmas gift last year. I didn't think I would wear the watch as much as I have because it is gold, but I surprised myself when I wore it all month long. The MK purse I had asked for it for about 5 months. I love the brown color and gold accents, plus it holds everything I need it to without being majorly bulky!

This necklace I picked up just because I wanted a dainty gold necklace to wear with anything. I am currently searching for a higher quality one because I love this as much as I do. It is the perfect accessory to any outfit, even jeans and a t-shirt. The little anchor reminds me so much of C.

I had been back and forth over this lipstick. I didn't want to spend the money on it, but that color. I walked into Sephora to pick up a few travel things early in May, pointed it out to C and he told me to get it. Naturally I didn't argue, and when he found this perfume I fell in love with him a little bit more. I've been searching for something that reminds me of the Black Currant Vanilla scent from Bath and Body Works and C found this. Don't ask me how I get black currant vanilla from it, but it reminds me of it. I'm almost out of the roller ball, and I dread buying a bigger size because of the price. Yikes! I guess cost per use is really what I should look at right? Either that or find a different perfume.

Here is to hoping June is just as fun as May!

Share your May favorites below. I love a good recommendation! 


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