April Favorites

I can hardly believe the month of April has come and gone. I’ve been married for a month already and all of that time has been spent in the house with my husband and our dog. Honestly it’s been such a blessing because I firmly believe that if Nick and I can make it through being stuck in the house together for this long as newlyweds, we’re bound to be able to survive literally ANYTHING (LOL). I’ve listed below for you all some products that have helped us both get through all the extra quality time we’ve had these last few weeks. Hope you get the chance to enjoy some of them too.

Own Your Everyday
This book seriously has changed my life. Jordan writes as though we’re just two girlfriends chatting about life and all the crap it throws our way. She slowly, but surely gets you to the realization of what has been holding you back from facing your biggest fears in life and helps you set a plan in motion to get started at living the life you’re dreaming of. Every single time I read a chapter I ended up with a list of thoughts and dreams and plans of action to get me to the next step in life I wanted to conquer. I love how relatable she makes everything seem and honestly gives some of the best advise I’ve ever received. This is a MUST read.

Rubberized iPhone Case with Card Slot
I know most of us are all about having cute yet practical phone cases, well look no farther. I love having the slot on my phone case for my cards and my ID instead of the kind that slips open. I’ve gone through about 6 of the other types and they always end up breaking or becoming loose (guess I open them too much to get that credit card out lol, shhh don’t tell Nick) and breaking. This one is easy to grip so I also got rid of my pop socket which was a nuisance of it’s own. This case comes in a few different color options, but pay attention to which one you’re looking at, not all of the colors offer the card slot.

Shower Speaker
Who doesn’t love a good bubble bath, with some Epsom salts, a candle, face mask and some good music? Honestly, Nick and I both like having music play while we shower or while we’re just getting ready. For the price point this shower speaker is amazing quality and something we use almost daily. I got this one as a gift for Christmas but would definitely buy myself.

An “influencer” I follow actually turned me onto these. She’s definitely my health goals inspiration so when she shared these as one of her favorite snacks, I of course had to give them a try. I ordered one of their variety packs so that Nick and I could try different flavors before we ordered them. He got to try all of the spicy flavors on his own 😉 All-in-all we both loved them! They are a little on the pricier side so it’s not something we order all the time, but it’s something we get as a treat to ourselves!

Ninja Coffee Pot
Okay to be fair, this was a gift from my parents forEVER ago but it honestly has made being at home so much easier and a lot less awful. We’re able to make a ton of at home coffee recipes using this thing and it’s a fraction of the cost of A. going to Starbucks constantly and B. the espresso makers I see all over the place. It has an abundance of features including a frother!

Coffee Bean Grinder
Can’t have a good cup of coffee without whole beans 😉 Honestly it’s mostly that whole beans are cheaper haha. Needless to say we’ve found that we enjoy the taste of our coffee way more when we have freshly ground beans. I grind enough at a time to get us through a week and we enjoy really fresh, delicious coffee.

Food Storage Containers
Okay this is another one that was a gift! A wedding gift to be exact, but we have absolutely LOVED these. They have multiple sizes to choose, they look great on the counter as part functionality, part decor and they just make cooking more fun. I’m not sure why it feels like I have my life together when I grab noodles out of a container, but it does! The lovely couple who purchased these for us also bought the little scoops that hook to the inside of the lid, I mean how cool is that? Please note that not all of the containers fit the scoops so watch what size you’re buying if you get these.

Amazon Fresh
Okay this one isn’t so much an item but an amazing deal. Being an Amazon Prime member continues to show its added benefits over and over. This Amazon Fresh option delivers groceries from your local health food store to your door for FREE. Even with the pandemic happening, you can see what is available for shipment in your area before you checkout. So add to your hearts content and then make adjustments as needed if things aren’t available to you. Please be aware of what you’re ordering though. I kind of just added stuff to the cart without paying attention and was slightly disappointed when some items arrived. Overall this is a great option for you if you can’t leave the house at ALL for groceries or just need a few household staple items.

As we’re flying through this year, I hope you get to enjoy some of these products too! Let me know what you’ve tried and what you think! Praying everyone continues to walk in health and safety.


Quarantine DIY Ideas

Not sure when or how it happened but about two months ago I all of sudden gained this interest in making things at home to reduce cost, reduce unneeded waste and honestly it was partly for the instagram flex 😉 With most of us staying at home these days, these may also be some ways to keep yourself entertained.

So I started small, then got my husband involved and now we make all these super cool things ourselves. Not only is it cheaper but most things actually taste better and are more enjoyable overall. Here are just a few things we’ve made ourselves at home and we think you’ll enjoy them too.

Nut Milk
You can buy these super cheap milk bags and other than your preferred nuts, honey, glass container and a blender that’s all you need. You can also do this without the bags, but just know you’ll have to dig out the pulp from your blender and your milk may have some pulp in it. Here is a recipe that we’ve used but Nick has come up with his own recipe just by playing around with it. Let me just tell you, you’re going to become OBSESSED with how much fun it is and how delicious the milk is. There’s just something that feels so great in making something of your own.

Nut Pulp Cookies
Again, the recipe I followed is attached but I subsiuted the agave with honey and used a real egg. After you make the milk, you’re going to have pulp leftover. Instead of throwing it out, make some yummy cookies and drink a glass of your homemade milk and enjoy. You can also look up other things to use the pulp for, but cookies is my preferred.

Typically granola at the store is about 10 or 12 dollars. Yes it typically lasts a good amount of time, but when you look at how much actually comes in a bag, it’s not worth the cost overall. I attached my personal favorite recipe but again, this is something you can make your own by trying different flavors. This is another one of those things that feels amazing to say you made yourself and tastes like success every time you taste it. Personally I use granola with oatmeal, overnight oats, on top of desserts, mixed in my yogurt and a few other ways. This is something I promise you’ll enjoy, especially for how easy it is.

Tie- Dyed Anything
This one is super fun. With tie-dye making it’s way back into popularity why spend $30 or more buying something that someone else made instead of making a super cute version yourself? I’ve made shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants and a few other small things. I’ve bought one tie-dye kit from my local craft store to make colorful things and I’ve purchased a bottle of bleach and some rubber bands. Just google designs and you can purchase the kits from amazon or a craft store but the best part is just HAVE FUN! No matter how your items come out, it’s going to look super cool and be something that you can enjoy that you made yourself!!

Okay this one might be a little far fetched for people and in all honesty, this is actually something Nick has been doing for about a year, but turns out it’s super great for the environment and it’s another one of those things that makes you feel good about yourself while you’re cooking. Pretty much, get some type of bin that you can keep compostable items inside. We got this one from our wedding registry. Empty it about once a week or more depending on how full it gets into a bin like this one outside, and you’re well on your way to saving the world! You can read this article about how and what to compost but overall you can use it for a multitude of things outdoors and if you’re anything like us, you might enjoy the benefits of saving money on fertilizer in the long run 😉

Re-Purpose Old Clothing
Part of being stuck inside for so long has resulted in me “spring cleaning” our entire house. In my defense we also had a ton of gifts to open from the wedding and had to find places to put things. I uploaded a ton of old clothes and shoes to PoshMark, but in light of so many people not working, I got no hits. So I decided to take another look at a lot of the items I already have and turn them into something new. So far I’ve only got a couple new skirts, tank tops and t-shirts but luckily none of these take very many skills and it’s super fun! My best advise is to look on YouTube for exactly what you’re trying to make and follow them as much as you can. I haven’t purchased anything that I didn’t already have so I haven’t followed any tutorials exactly and so far things have turned out pretty great 😉

Detox Tea
This one is quite easy. Boil some water. Steep a mixture of 1 bag peppermint tea, 1 bag ginger tea, 1 bag cinnamon tea. Drink up! I make enough to last about a week and a half, pour it into a large mason jar and put it in the fridge. Anytime I wake up feeling bloated, or simply eat too much and don’t feel so great, I drink about 5ounces of this tea and I INSTANTLY feel the benefits. If you’re not much of a tea drinker and don’t like the bitter taste of herbal tea, feel free to add your favorite type of sweetener and you’ll still feel all the benefits.

These are just a few ideas to get you started and hopefully inspire you to find even more things you can create on your own. Let’s do our part in getting back into the habit of creating! I absolutely love the feeling of creating something myself instead of just buying it and I promise you will too. Let me know what you get into and most of all, have some fun!


Ways to "Celebrate" Good Friday

Photo by: Alaina Ronquillo

Growing up I didn’t really understand the significance of Good Friday. It was just another day I got off of school and to be honest, as an adult it’s been another day that I get off of work and that I get to have to myself. I don’t remember a Good Friday in my entire life that I actually spent even a fraction of the day honoring Jesus for what He did for me. Usually it’s been filled with my frantically running around doing last minute things for my churches Easter Sunday Service, or a day filled with worship rehearsals. This year I vowed to spend way more time just thanking God, little did I know I’d be under a stay at home order anyway. I wanted to be less about asking God for things and more about thanking Him for what he’s already provided and done in my life. Obviously Good Friday is no less of an opportunity to spend thanking the Lord for His ultimate sacrifice for me.

So what is Good Friday? In the most basic terms possible (ya girl ain’t a pastor lol), it’s the day that historically speaking Christians use to honor the day that Jesus was actually crucified. It’s more a day of remembrance and reverence than of celebration. Nonetheless we celebrate that Jesus took on all our sin as a spotless, sinless and perfect human being and died on this day thousands of years ago so that we could have a chance at a life on Earth without the wrath of God coming down on us all. Truthfully people kind of like to ignore that part. Jesus was sent to Earth to show us how to live as people yes, but he was also sent as a sacrifice to God so that you and I didn’t have to keep living in a world where the only way to avoid God opening the earth and swallowing us whole, or sending down fire, was daily sacrifice.

I don’t know about you…but seriously thank GOD for Jesus…am I right? Like ya’ll I not only would not be able to carry a lamb or catch a bird to take to an altar, I certainly would not have the ability to KILL it just so my daily sins could be forgiven. Yes yes I know there was a high priest that sacrificed on our behalf and all that jazz (read the Bible for more information about sacrifices) but you get my point; Jesus paid our debt once and for all so that we would never again have to. So why wouldn’t we spend Good Friday celebrating His death? It may seem strange but here are a few ways I’ve decided to honor my Jesus on this Good Friday. Check them out and maybe add a few of your own.

  1. Set out intentional alone time with God
    Often my Bible reading and prayer time becomes me just sitting in bed and reading or praying before bed. Very few days do I actually spend time in the quite alone with God. On this day and hopefully many more, I’m physically scheduling time to spend with God. Hopefully by now you know that I’m all about a planner and some schedules, so in order to actually stick to my date with Jesus, I’m writing it in as a meeting that I cannot miss. What you choose to do during this time is up to you, but I recommend starting with talking to God and thanking Jesus for what he did for you on this day years ago.
  2. Find a local church service
    There are a few places that hold Good Friday services and my husband and I plan on attending our church. If you’re looking for one please reach out to me and I can help you find a few places you might like or are close to you. Part of the benefit of being a worship leader is you’re kind of in the know of what other churches are doing! Celebrating the sacrifice Jesus made is even more powerful when we do it with others! Even if you attend a service online, make sure you’re plugging in.
  3. Write it out
    I’ve told you all before how important journaling is to me. Even though it’s not something I remember to do daily, I try to at least hit a highlight reel weekly. Today I’m making sure to spend some time writing out what I think and feel about Jesus’ amazing love for me. Sometimes writing is easier than saying things out loud, so if you find yourself struggling to speak verbally with God, I suggest writing it down.
  4. Spend time with loved ones
    Ultimately it was His love for you and I that caused Jesus to die for us. He had every right and ability to walk away from what God asked of Him and to leave us on our own, still having to be accountable for our sacrifices to God, but He didn’t. He willingly chose to die an excruciatingly painful and humiliating death all because he LOVES us. I aspire to love my friends and family even a fraction of how much Jesus loves me. Spending time with them is a beautiful way to show that you care about someone. We only get this one life with limited time and sharing that time with others is a subtle way of showing them how you love them.

This list is short and sweet because I want you spend Good Friday in a way that allows you to feel the presence of Jesus and to remember what significance today holds. Good Friday isn’t just another day and I’m ashamed to say I’ve always spent it as so. Join me today as I begin a lifetime of celebrating what Jesus did for us.

Maybe you’ve come this far and you’re not actually sure what I’m talking about? Read the below story from the book of Matthew is the Bible and please reach out if you have questions. Like I said before, I’m not really qualified in all things Jesus, but I would love to chat and get you connected to a place that can answer anything you want to know about God.

Matthew 27:1-54

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” 11Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered.22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”


Wedding Gifts We’ve Loved & Where to Get Them

Nicholas and I were officially married on March 14th despite the increasing pandemic around us. That afternoon, about three hours before we were supposed to get married, the governor announced his wish to have no groups of 100 or more gathering, but still the wedding carried on. Fast forward a few days later, my husband and I are back home, much quicker than we anticipated and working together to get our home back in order. Don’t worry, we still plan on taking a “honeymoon” when the time is right…ya know just doing our part to help the economy when all the craziness is over.

Nicholas and I have both been extremely blessed (our entire lives) but during our wedding especially. We received not only the gift of so many loved ones joining us in celebration of our union, we also received AMAZING gifts from our loved ones. Below is just a small part of some of the things that have made a huge impact on our daily lives and things that we’ve absolutely loved and think you will too!

In addition, in no way being endorsed here but we used Zola for all of our wedding needs. We created a free wedding website, got a free registry (you can upload from as many places as you’d like and everything is kept in one place), got a checklist to assist with details of wedding planning and so much more. We would highly recommend using Zola for all your wedding planning needs!

  1. Blackout curtains
    I didn’t even have curtains before Nicholas moved in and to be honest, I spent years not sleeping great and thinking that was just part of life. OH MY GOD WAS I WRONG! We received these gorgeous curtains that literally completely darken our bedroom and living in the city, there is light EVERY. WHERE. I’m able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep throughout the night. Plus if I do wake up, I can fall right back asleep because my brain doesn’t think it’s morning time 🙂
  2. Blackout Curtain Rods
    Along with the actual blackout curtains, we got blackout rods too!! The entire point of blackout curtains is that they keep the light out of your room , which with traditional rods, light usually sneaks in the edges because the curtains don’t go around the windows. With these rods, they curve around on the sides which allows your curtain to go all the way around the window edges, allowing them to actually darken your room effectively! They’re a little more expensive than your traditional rod, but well worth the benefit.
  3. Corelle Dishes
    We both were very adamant about wanting a set or two of this serve ware. It’s sturdy enough to not break if you drop it and lightweight enough to be easy to use and move around. We had some trouble finding a set we actually liked but then we found this set that we both thought was gorgeous. We’ve gotten to the point that we pretty much only want to use our corelle set exclusively. The best part is that this stuff is that it lasts FOREVER.
  4. Soap Dispensing Palm Brush
    This thing is life changing! You fill it up with your soap of choice, press the little button on top to shoot out soap and scrub away. It’s more aesthetically pleasing than ugly soap bottles and it’s so much easier than using a dish rag for getting tough things off of pots and pans. The best part, these and ones similar aren’t too expensive. Ours also came with a cute little dish that helps keep water off of your counter. Make sure to clean them out though to avoid gross soap buildup.
  5. Large Storage Bins
    This one may seem kind of silly but Nick and I are both all about some organized storage. These bins help tremendously. They’re clear so you can see right through them and know exactly what you have in a bin, they have nice tops that latch on and they’re easily stackable on top of each other. The slight downside is that the plastic is kind of thin and if you drop one, you’re probably going to crack it so be careful. They do have a really nice price point and they’re available at pretty much every Target store in the nation.
  6. Canvas Caricature
    Our dear friend Chyna, a graphic designer by trade, took a few pictures of myself and Nick and our dog and created this masterpiece. We used it as an alternative to a guest book at our wedding and now have everyones signatures from our wedding hung in our house forever! If you’re looking to have one made for the same purpose or maybe as a gift to surprise someone, email her for information and pricing!! Chyna.Aiken@yahoo.com

Like I said before, these are only a few of the items we got that we absolutely loved and have obsessed over the last couple of weeks, but I would definitely recommend all of them to anyone. Let me know if you have questions or need help coming up with items to add to any type of registry.


March Favorites

  1. Honest Beauty Company Deep Hydration Face Cream
    To be honest I actually started using this product in December, but as most of us know, it takes our bodies some time to adjust to certain products before we really start to see the benefit. I am notorious for switching products in a few short weeks if I don’t see changes almost immediately, but this time I stuck it out. One of the biggest goals I set for myself for 2020 is to be more careful about what I’m putting in and on my body. This was an AMAZING start. By the beginning of February I could see and feel the major impact this moisturizer had on my skin. My face feels softer, I’ve had a significant decrease in any type of breakouts or redness. It smells amazing and has nothing but organic ingredients. I also have extremely sensitive skin and this has given me no problems. An absolutely MUST have!
  2. Hair Coils
    For the most part, I know most of us have seen these all over the internet and in retail stores and figured they weren’t worth the money, but let me tell you….SO worth it. I have medium length hair which means every time I put it in a bun I get the dreaded crease right at my shoulders. Good news, with these hair ties those days are long gone. I can twist my hair in a million different ways and never have an issue when I take it down. I have little to no hair pulled out with each time I inevitably rip the thing out of my hair and it’s almost completely indestructible, which when you have as much hair as I do…you go through a lot of hair ties. So overall these are worth the investment.
  3. Vitality Extracts “Immunity” Essential Oil
    Just in time for the insane outbreak of CoVID-19, I stocked up on some of my favorite essential oils. One of the best, is “Immunity” Oil. I love diffusing it my house and office because it smells absolutely amazing, with a mixture of cinnamon and other earthy scents. It’s also full of healthy oils that, as the name states, aid in assisting your immune system. Even for those of you who aren’t into the oils, it doesn’t hurt to have a nice fresh scent flowing in your house all day, plus what have you got to lose, if it turns out essential oils actually are great for you 😉
  4. Method Body Wash
    I’ve been all about using healthier products lately. Not fully organic but as close as possible. When I started to really think about the fact that I only get this one body, for my entire life, it became increasingly important that I take care of it. In all honesty I’ve never felt better in my life. The benefits have far outweighed anything I’ve lost. One of the first steps I took was switching out the products I put ON my body first. Method has about six (maybe more) scents to choose from but my favorite it the Peony and rose water scent “Pure Peace”. You can find this brand in most local grocery stores, but for a slight discount online through the Grove Collective. This body wash suds up really quickly with just a small amount which makes me FEEL cleaner, smells phenomenal and leaves my skin feeling soft and no weird sticky residue that some body washes leave.

I hope you get the chance to try some of these products and that you love them just as much as I have! Until next time friends!