Freedom in Imperfection

Ok, this is a real "heart to heart" post.

Growing up, I was always someone who was accepting of my quirks and flaws. I was comfortable being me, and didn't need to cover that up.

Suddenly, as my responsibilities have increased over the last few years, I find myself struggling with an enemy I know many struggle with their whole lives: perfectionism.


African Peanut Soup and Naan Bread

I love trying new flavors, especially at home. It's an adventure to try new recipes and ingredient combinations. Last week I made African peanut soup and Indian naan bread, and it was so delicious and flavorful I just had to share it here! 

My Grandma initially introduced me to African peanut soup with a delicious chicken soup recipe. I absolutely adore peanut butter, so anytime you can add that flavor count me in! This recipe gives a fresh twist by including kale and cilantro. This crockpot recipe is not only easy and SO flavorful, but it's also gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian. 


Snow Style

Here in Eastern Oregon we have had a LOT of snow this season!
It's 16 degrees right now, and the second week of December we had about a foot of snow on the ground.


Believe In Hope

This week I went with my family to visit an amazing celebration of lights in Colton, Oregon. Beautiful lights glittered over several properties, families out of the kindness of their hearts served complimentary cookies and hot chocolate. As I walked around, I was immediately grabbed by the theme of the festivities: Believe in Hope. 


Best Free At Home Workouts & Tips for Holiday Fitness

During the holidays we do a lot of traveling and staying with family. While I absolutely love this special time with loved ones, I can be uppity when it comes to my schedule changing. When I don't eat, exercise, and sleep normally, grumpiness ensues.
For me, finding a way to still get a workout in during the holidays is a huge part of self care. It does help me feel less like a slug amidst all the treats I eat, but more importantly it helps keep my energy and attitude positive.
When away from our gyms (or in my case, Jazzercise studio), and it's too cold to walk or run outside, getting motivated to work out can be a challenge. In these times, there's a great secret I've discovered: YouTube.
There are so many great YouTube trainers out there, I want to introduce you to my three favorites.


A Winter Gift

Amidst pajamas, hot tea, and leisurely-read novels, the snow called to me from outside. Freshly fallen, it beckoned me to explore
We bundled up and walked out to the trail near our home. We pass pine trees beautifully adorned with boughs of snow and car bumpers ladened with icicles.
All seems quiet in our little town and the snow crunches gently under our feet. We are warm in our gloves, knitted hats, and two pairs of socks. 
the sky a pale white, the horizon is indistinguishable from the banks of snow. As we distance from the road and come nearer the open land adjacent to the trail, Daniel stops and points out into the fields.


Christmas: Fixing My Heart on What Really Matters

"Fling wide the portals of your heart;
Make it a temple, set apart
from earthly use for heaven's employ,
adorned with prayer and love and joy. "
There are so many things to love about the Christmas season: decorating the tree, giving gifts, the music, the get-togethers, and the all-around cozy and cheerful spirit.

However, sometimes all this can get stressful.

I'll be totally honest here...
for the last five or so years, the Christmas season has really stressed me out.
Aside from all the activities, I really struggle to budget my time with loved ones. There are so many people we want to see and spend time with, and simply not enough time.
To be completely transparent, there have been times in the last few years that I have dreaded the holiday season, just because it can bring so much tension for me.

I was feeling that way this year... and then I took a step back. 


Feeling Fabulous in Las Vegas

In November we took a long weekend trip to the one and only Las Vegas. Our friends Katie and Justin are moving across the world soon, and we wanted to go on one more adventure with them before they move. Vegas was suggested, and we thought why not! 
The second evening of our trip was my favorite. We definitely did Vegas on a budget, but we figured we could still dress to the nines! The guys suited up and Katie and I wore all the sparkle and bling that are perfect for this crazy city. 


Make Your Own Pizza Night!

When we had seven family members come and visit, we wanted to have something fun, easy, and of course delicious for dinner. All credit goes to my husband for coming up with make your own pizza night! 
This is a super easy dinner that pleases everyone, and your guests can have fun with it too. This is by no means a fancy or Pinterest-perfect meal (I mean, there's paper plates and patio furniture in my photos), but it is one I know I will make again!


Sassy in Stripes

Last month I decided to finally get full bangs! (after debating it for the better part of a year.)
When I sent a picture to my mom of my new 'do, she said it was sassy.
Here's a before and after: 

I am loving the style that bangs add to any day!


5 Simple Tips to Cultivate a Love for Mornings

I am a BIG morning person. For me, the first hours of the day are the time that I am most productive, cheerful, and motivated. I understand this is not the case for everyone!
This post is dedicated to my fellow millennials who may not naturally come by the go-get-em morning attitude. Today I'm sharing five easy tips to help you become more of a morning person.


Blackberry Lavender Smoothie

I had a handful of interesting summer jobs during my college years. I babysat, I worked as a room attendant at the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park, tended the gift shop and washed buckets at a berry farm, and served as a camp counselor.
These jobs each carry memories of struggles and joy in their own aspect, when I think of them the sights, smells, and sounds of hard work in the summer come back to me. One scent I especially attach to my summer job memories is lavender.
The berry farm I worked at was known for it's milkshakes. While working at the gift shop I became a pretty bomb milkshake mixer. Our shakes were made with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream, mmm.


Multi-Pattern Scarf & Thursday Fashion Files

Today I am so excited to be cohosting Thursday Fashion Files. I so enjoy sharing my posts and checking out other great blogs at this party. The link up is below, but first I have a look to share with you today!

I went out on a beautiful sunny late September afternoon to shoot some photos of my outfit- it turned out to be more of a photo shoot of the landscape, and I'm ok with that! While these photos show the style I was wearing, they also showcase the rugged, sun soaked desert as it transforms into Autumn.


Floppy Hat & Fall Date Style


I love making weekend get aways to explore new places. About a month ago we took a date weekend getaway to Joseph, Oregon in the Wallowa Mountains. Holy cow, it was beautiful! 


Hidden Blessings of a Hectic Life

Honest moment here: the start of the new school year is exciting and it's nice getting back in the swing of things, but I am beginning to feel stretched thin.

We all know the feeling. Always something next on the to do list, waking up in the morning knowing it's going to be a long, busy day...remembering the bliss of summer when all that was on the agenda was reading a book by the pool.

A sweet friend in college helped me understand that the Lord gives us seasons. For the last couple of years, I've been given the unexpected gift of quietness and stillness... of room to breathe, create, and rest.
As I transition into this more frantic season of life, I'm challenged to find the beauty in it. I'm challenged to find peace and joy in the midst of my hectic schedule.