Calligraphy

I have a confession. After the past several weekends of organizing and reorganizing my bedroom and desk, I have realized that I am severely OCD with a little (actually sort of a lot) of ADD. Last Saturday, I went to Hobby Lobby to find some gold paint because I was going to repaint a bulletin board I was given a few years back so that it would match my room better:

Desk

However, my local Hobby Lobby had an entire wall of calligraphy pens that hadn’t noticed until this particular trip. Yes, an entire wall. Since calligraphy has fascinated me since I first began planning my perfectly chic and ultra-personalized wedding (at age 8, of course), I immediately bought a kit and started practicing that afternoon. As I continue practicing my letter form, my style continues to improve, but I am having trouble developing my own “whimsy calligraphy” style. Do any of you dabble in calligraphy or know someone who does? I would greatly appreciate any tips or even a website for some instructions on improvement.

Happy Monday!

xoxo

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“Your life is y…

“Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.” – Anonymous

If you feel like you’re running behind already, take a step back and think about all the good things this new year can bring. You have the power to step up to the plate and make your life worth it. Make a difference, have some fun, and make others wonder what makes you so happy! Here is a list of 5 things to start doing in 2014:

1. Pray daily. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, etc., taking a few minutes each day to pray or simply meditate can help put things into perspective. I like to write my prayers in a journal, but you may want to think yourself or say them aloud. If you are new to prayer/meditation, start by thinking about what you are thankful for. Put it all out there…you could be thankful for you friends and family or just the muffin you ate a few hours ago. Just express your gratitude. Next, go over your mistakes, your regrets, your sorrows. Although no one likes to bring these memories or facts back out of their tiny pockets in the heart, sometimes in order to move on, it is necessary to do so. Finally, end your session by praying for the future for yourself and those around you.

2. Exercise. I know that not everyone is interested in training for a 5 or 10K or even going to the gym for a few hours, but getting your body moving improves your mood and makes your body physically feel better. Even if you are as thin as a beanpole, get outside and go for a walk. Trust me, your mind and body will thank you!

3. Get informed. As much fun as it is to live in your own little world, knowing what’s going on in the real world is key in landing new jobs and gaining respect. People trust the educated – they are more dependable and knowledgable than those who do not take the time to find out what’s going on. 

4. Learn something new. This year, I have decided to learn calligraphy. Although some may see it as pointless, the art of fine handwriting is actually very interesting and can lead to good jobs at wedding or party planning businesses. You may want to learn how to swim, draw, quilt, knit, or maybe even rock climb. Find something you’ve always wanted to do and make an effort to do it!

5. Reach out. Although the “Season of Giving” seems to be coming to an end, yours doesn’t have to! So many people are in need around the world–maybe even living down the street. Try volunteering at an animal shelter, feeding the homeless, donating some coats or food, or tutoring elementary school children. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find your niche in the community service world, but helping others is completely worth it!

Hope these tips will make you shine throughout 2014. Try to make others wander what it is about you that seems so ______. Make an impact, be yourself, and be inspiring. Here’s to new beginnings!

xoxo

“For what it’s …

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that your not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wow. What a year. I began the end to my high school career, watched my mom beat cancer, and spent twelve months with those I love the most. I’ve gotta say…I am pretty dang lucky. 

The quote above is not only my all-time favorite, but they are spoken by my favorite author as well. Fitzgerald’s works are spectacular and some of his statements are even more amusing. I feel like this one is kind of my what my present-self wants to tell my future self. In 2014, I will be headed full speed ahead into my future. MY future. In five months, I will be finished with high school and headed into college to figure out who I want to be for the rest of my life. Right now, I’m considering entering into the agent world for professional athletes, but who knows what I’ll be thinking this time next year.

I hope you get as much out of this one as I do… and here’s to a wonderful 2013 and a frighteningly adventurous 2014!

Coffee Talk

“My cup overflows with your blessings.”  -Psalm 23:5

What a perfect verse to have read while drinking my beloved coffee this morning. As 2013 begins to fade into the past and 2014 starts taking its place, I have been reflecting on just how great this past year has been. Although my family got off to a bit of a rough start with my mom’s second cancer diagnosis, we grew closer, stronger, and more faithful. I am beyond grateful for the friends I have shared so many countless experiences this year. From iHop after Friday night football to movies at the theater, everything has been like a dream. It’s nice sometimes to really reflect on what you are thankful for, how you have been blessed, and what you can do with your current situation.

On another note, I always end my year with a massive clean-up for my room, closet, and computer. It’s a great way to say goodbye to the old and give a fresh welcoming to the new year. Below, I will give you a few tips on how to organize everything from floor to ceiling in a stress-free manner.

Tools:

  • Trash bag(s)
  • Label maker
  • Files/Filing cabinet or 3-ring binders
  • Good hangers
  • Cleaning supplies

Where to start?

1. Start small. NEVER EVER try to organize every single part of your room/closet/life at once. With too much clutter, it’s hard to think or make progress. Isolate a single section, your chest of drawers, for instance, and work your way around the room. I usually begin with my bookcase, move on to my vanity, and continue into my closet.

2. Don’t be afraid to throw things away! Although massive “purge sprees” are probably not smart, throwing away the occasional warn-out binder or torn tights won’t hurt anyone. Get rid of what you don’t use, whether that means tossing it or donating it. Unnecessary clutter makes a bigger impact than you might think.

3. Sort through old papers, and file or store needed ones properly. Typically, I save my school work from first semester so that I can reference it throughout the second semester. However, some people feel that the old stuff is unnecessary and may decide to recycle it. If you are a “keeper,” make sure you only keep the important stuff (notes, diagrams, graded papers) and get rid of the busy work. You may decide to file it away into a filing cabinet or just keep it in your binder for the next few months.

4. Use labels! Label makers (I use the Brother PTouch) can be extremely helpful in labeling binder tabs, file folders, drawers, etc. Try to invest in a digital one, as the indented cheaper kind are not as good of quality.

5. Closets…In your closet, be sure to remove clothes with holes, unremovable stains, and anything that is too small/big. Use stream-lined matching hangers to make sure the clothes hang nicely. The thin velvety ones sold at most superstores are my favorite! Fold non-hanging pieces neatly and dedicate individual drawers to each type of clothing. As for shoes, make sure all have clean soles, they fit, and they are not over-worn.

6. Clean as you go. I always like to clean out drawers, place a drawer liner in the bottom, and label it nicely. Wipe dust off your bookshelf and makeup off your bathroom counters. An organized room looks so much better when it is sparkling and clean!

I hope these simple tips help you on your journey into 2014. What do you do to get/stay organized?

xoxo

 

New Years Resolutions

As if you haven’t already heard enough about what your friends and family are resolving to do this year, I have decided to share with you my goals, hopefully so that I will stay accountable. Here’s what I plan to do and why:

1. Read my Bible and write in my prayer journal every day. Why? In order to be a true believer in the Christian faith, or any faith at all, one must be informed on what he or she is believing. I’ve read several sections and books of the Bible a number of times, but I would love to read it from cover to cover. Also, I’ve gotten a little off track on my prayer journaling. When I was in ninth grade, a speaker at Sunday school encouraged me to start a journal where I shared my prayers, reflected and repented for my sins, and thanked God for my blessings. I’ve been through three or four full notebooks since, and I can’t seem to get enough. It is a great way to get your thoughts out there and great for looking back at what worried/concerned you in the past. 

2. Reach my goal weight of 126 by Spring Break. Spring Break this year for me is in late March, so I have about 12 weeks to reach this goal. As of right now, I am 141 pounds, so I have about 15 to lose. On the exercise side, I am going to increase the intensity of my cardio workouts (trying to get them up to at least 5 days per week) and lift heavier. Eating-wise, I am going to stay low carb by only eating one whole-grain serving per day along with one serving of organic fruit. Plus, I will be sure to get lots of greens and protein in!

3. Stay in Touch. As a seventeen year old, I have more out of town friends than expected. My best friend lives in Florida, another one lives five hours south of me, one is in New Orleans, and another is in college halfway across the country. In 2014, I want to make sure I stay in touch with each of them consistently, whether that means shooting a text every now and then, Snapchatting, or writing a note on some pretty stationary. 

4. More Random Acts of Kindness. Like the “Flash Mob,” many people are catching onto the Random Act of Kindness trend. Whether it’s paying for someone else’s coffee or leaving a gift-card on the windshield of someone else’s car, many are trying to put a little more good in the world. I’ve been brainstorming a little bit, and when it gets a little bit warmer I want to put water bottles along the running trails for people to take. I would re-label them with John 4:14, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” and place them along the trails for runners to drink!

5. Get more sleep. I’m a bit of an insomniac. It may be my OCD that keeps me up all night thinking, or maybe its just the ridiculous loads of school work that have me drinking coffee at 11 P.M. and hopping out of bed at 4:15 A.M, but I rarely get even seven hours of sleep. This year, I plan to make sleeping a priority — which means I am going to have to be much more efficient other areas of my life. I’ll keep y’all updated on this one. 

6. Take pictures. Over the holiday break, I have been much better about taking pictures and being in them. It’s so nice to be able to visually capture every important moment, and sometimes I forget to take advantage of this privilege. I’d like to not only take more pictures, though, but improve my photography skills and be better about posting to FaceBook.

7. Finally, I want to learn new recipes. One of my favorite activities besides exercising is cooking. Over the past several months, I’ve gotten really good at baking (mostly for my football friends!), but I plan to work on making some new and healthy varieties that I can have for lunch and dinner throughout the week. If any of you have a go-to that you think is good and healthy, I would love to hear about it…or if you have a not-so-healthy recipe you want me to try an makeover, I will accept the challenge. 

Anyway, that’s that for my 2014 resolutions. Maybe seven is a lot to live up to, but I am going to do my best. The key to making good decisions for resolutions is focusing on what really matters to you. Try to pick things that you really want to accomplish so that you will be more motivated to do so! Also, sometimes it is helpful to write them down and post them somewhere you will see them every day (or really several times each day!). Let me know what your resolutions are in the comments below! Happy 2014!