My Morning Routine + Tips on How To Develop Your Own

Post #2 of theonewhocalls Self-Care Series

So…I’ve been off the radar for a while now, haven’t I? I don’t know where to begin. A lot has happened in my life, from getting blood tests to working overtime on projects and trying my best to meet deadlines. I’m okay, I just went to an endocrinologist because I’ve been having a lot of symptoms, I’ve been really exhausted to the point where I can’t get up in the mornings and I’ve had frequent headaches. The doctor thinks it is hormonal, but we’re still receiving test results, so I’ll keep you guys posted.

Anyway, on a more positive note, I am feeling better. So today I am going to share with you my morning routine, plus tips to develop your own. Again, just like my sleep routine, this was hard to craft because I am not a morning person and I didn’t know what to come up with at first. Morning routines are super important, because the morning’s just go so much smoother when you have a schedule to follow. I confess that I often break it on weekends, but I think weekends are for relaxing + sleeping in, so that’s what makes me happy. But on school days, I love to have a rhythm that I can let flow into the day and make my day the best it can be. I’ll be showing you Mon-Fri what my morning’s look like, since I often break it on the weekends.

Here’s my morning routine:

5:50

I tend to wake up around six, although five fifty has been my pattern for the past few months. I like to wake up to my Morning Playlist and just arrive in the moment, wake up to the day. I’m not big on waking up with a leap, I usually like to wake up softly and gently since I’m not much of a morning person. With the music playing, I’ll meditate for a few minutes or take a look at my Morning Pinterest Board to get revved up for a good day. I need positivity in the mornings, especially those mornings when all I want to do is go back under the covers and collapse. I started to notice that I was becoming very negative with my symptoms, so I decided to adopt a new philosophy: Every day is a good day.

I know that some days can be horrible, but even on those days there is always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the sun kissing your skin the next morning. I want to start to be grateful more often, because it’s easy to get negative when things aren’t going as planned, but if you stay positive you’re going to feel way better, I promise you. This sometimes means you need to look at kawaii potato posts on Pinterest, and other times it just means being proud of yourself if all you did that day was get out of bed. Either way, wherever you are, know that good days are always ahead + that I’m rooting for you.

6:15-6:30

I like to get dressed first thing instead of eating breakfast, mainly because eating takes the longest. I used to eat first, but I was rushing to get dressed and it was a disaster, so I decided to switch it around. I’m slowly in the process of getting clothes that are all my favorite. Why have a favorite outfit when you can have a favorite wardrobe? Am I right?

This doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Just make sure it’s something you love. For me, this means lots of warm, soft sweaters and fuzzy leggings. I’m trying to do this for summer too. I’ve actually started a Summer OOTD Board on Pinterest, just to get a vibe for what I want to wear in the summer. I’m not sure I like all the clothes on there, but I’m trying to see what I want for the summer and what I want it to look like, so I’m hoping to get ideas through these images.

6:30-6:50

After I’ve gotten dressed, I take all of my vitamins and supplements, the usual. Before breakfast, I’ll try to drink at least two glasses of water to start my day hydrated. Then I eat. I have a staple meal in the morning, so I don’t have to think about meal planning or deciding which fruit I’ll eat today. My first food of the day will be a banana, seeing as it provides sufficient calcium, is easy to digest and is a nice starter food for the day. Secondly, I eat a bran muffin because they taste soooo good, and are also good for your digestive system. Finally, I will eat almonds.

I went to a nutritionist recently and she recommended eating protein in the morning since I would often get hungry in between meals. I only eat about twelve, but they’ve made a big difference and I feel much better in the mornings as a result.

7:00

This is the end of my routine. I know it’s pretty short, but so are my morning’s. They go by quickly. I jump in my car, say hello to one of the staff members who works at my apartment complex’s front office, and I’m off! At this point in the day, I’m dreaming about the good in my day, thinking about the work I have to do, and noticing the beauty around me right outside my window. Sometimes I’ll visualize my day going well, one where I’ll have a perfect day and end it so grateful for what I have. I know it isn’t always ideal, but sometimes life can be beautiful when we see it that way, and I choose to see it that way in the morning so that my day will be the best it can possibly be, even when it doesn’t go as planned.


I know it isn’t much, but it keeps me grounded. Really, the important stuff happens first thing in the morning, like meditation or listening to soft, gentle music. This is what I crave in the mornings, although my schedule and regular eating habits might contribute to that feeling of calm through schedule.

On to the tips:

Start Your Day Off Right

When you wake up in the morning, what you do sets the tone for your entire day. If you wake up angry, you start the day angry, which is not a good place to be in when you arrive at the office. I like to start my day with meditation, to connect with my heart and restore my soul, and to remember how loved I am. This prepares me for whatever the day will throw at me. I won’t get as frustrated in the day by little things, I’ll be more grateful, and I’ll be connected to myself. So what is it for you? What have you done that’s made your day that much more special?

If you can’t think of anything, experiment. What do you love to do? Do that first thing in the morning. Have a playlist, meditate, have a vision board, light a candle, do yoga, dance, have tea, whatever pleases your soul, do that thing.

Are You A Morning Person or Not?

This one determines everything. If you are a morning person, you may love getting up early before the sunshine and making breakfast and coffee. You may love trying new routines out. But if you’re anything like me, you wake up already grumpy at the fact that you have to wake up at this hour. Just because I have a routine I love, doesn’t mean I don’t looove when the weekends come by. But I have managed to enjoy the mornings even if I don’t want to get up. How?

I personalized my routine. I’ve never been one to read an article on morning routines and just do that. It has to fit me. It has to be personal. Just like my night routine, I cater my morning routine to my preferences, meaning I wake up gently and I don’t jump out of bed right away. Ask yourself, what do I need? What, even if I don’t like mornings, is going to make my morning enjoyable?

Do you need to wake up to positivity, like me? Or do you just need to lie in bed for fifteen minutes in order to be able to welcome the morning like a friend instead of a torturous enemy?

What Does A Perfect Morning Look Like?

Imagine waking up to the perfect morning. This could be a saturday or sunday or even a monday. What does it look like? What does it smell like? What are all your senses telling you? Are you wearing your favorite outfit, eating your favorite breakfast? Is your attitude light and airy, or is it jumping with excitement?

What if I said you could live this dream, right here, right now? You probably think I’m crazy, which while true, it’s not that far-fetched to believe that you could wake up to the smell of lavender or with the sunlight kissing your skin. The more you believe that it is possible and start imagining it, the more it might actually begin to start looking like reality. Maybe you could light a lavender candle in the a.m., or wake up before everyone to ensure that your mornings are a quiet space, at least for a little while. What steps could you take to make this reality? Think about that, and take them.

This might mean you have to change your regular schedule, but if it means being happier throughout the day and feeling great when you go to work, I think it’s worth it.


I hope you found something that helps you in this post. What is the most challenging thing about the mornings for you? What is your dream morning, and how do you want to make that reality? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great rest of your day!

My Favorite Vloggers

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite people with you guys. Personally, I love YouTube. I’m such a visual person, and I’m really getting into documenting life through film. These are some of the people who I think are amazing, who I always love to see in my subscription feed:

Cat Creature

A college student, Annabelle Gao is an artist, and generally one of the best people to be around. She’s always so positive in her vlogs, and it reminds me to be grateful for what I have. Even on those bad days, she always ends it with a positive note. She is currently going to RISD, which was originally why I followed her, to find out more about the school as an option for me. Now, I can truthfully say I love her vlogs and although I do want to learn more about RISD, I think that she will be in my subscription box for a long time, because her vlogs are always so beautiful, creative, and inspiring. Seriously though, check out her charcoal animation video, she has amazing art skills.

Holistic Habits

Sarah Nagel is a Canadian holistic health expert living in Columbia. Her videos talk about anything in health, anything that she’s been loving lately, and all natural health and beauty products. Honestly, this channel is what got me into natural living, and I’m so grateful for that because it has helped me make more healthy choices and live a healthier life. Sarah doesn’t talk about health like society does. She’s very gentle and non-judgemental.

I love her videos because they’re informative without being in your face and they really talk about her experiences and her life, not just facts about certain supplements (although sometimes they are in there, she usually talks about her experiences with certain products as well). She’s very keen on self-love and giving the body what it needs to function well. One of my all-time favorite videos is her relaxation/anxiety reducing video.

Ana Marta

Ana is a college student currently studying graphic design in Porto, Portugal. She is a great designer, currently involved with New Age Creators. She hasn’t been on her channel for a little while because of NAC and school, so I’ll link to her channel in the heading but to find out about recent activity, you should probably click on the NAC link. The first time I followed Ana, I really wanted to get to know what it’s like to study graphic design and go to college, but now I just love to watch her videos. Ana’s videos are always so creative, and a lot of times thought provoking.

It’s not exactly like that with other youtubers that I’m following. Like, sometimes you just want to watch someone else’s life play out in front of you, and it does make you think, but not as much. Ana’s videos really evoke me to ask questions in my own life and they inspire me to live awake to what’s around me. My favorite video has to be the exploring Porto video, because the music and film is amazing and visually stunning. If you’d like to see Ana’s work you can go to her Behance to view her designs.

SoSonia (on SoulPancake)

Sonia Mandeville was raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. A filmmaker, artist, and all out creative, she creates stunning films and has even been featured on SoulPancake. She’s so many things I want to be, if I’m honest. I love that she is endlessly creative and always thinking of things I would never have even considered. I love her style, the fact that she is so true to her identity, and that she is so beautifully creative. I’ve watched every video on SoulPancake because it is all so inspiring.

Currently, she is traveling around the world, filming, making, journaling. She is also very positive, which I enjoy because I don’t want more negative voices in my head (believe me, I get enough to deal with from myself!). She’s been such a blessing in my feed and I am so thankful to get to see her creativity play out in filmmaking. My favorite creation of hers is her escaping a bad day video, especially the part where she is free-spirited enough to dance in public (I am still working on that myself).

Fran Meneses

Fran is an Chilean illustrator living in Hastings, UK with her husband and her cats. Her style is beautiful, and kind of cartoony as well. She’s very humorous in her videos, and often makes funny comments or faces. She is all art and very inspiring. She talks all about illustration, from what markers to choose to color theory to how to get started as an illustrator. I’m not currently looking into illustration as a career, but I do love to draw and Fran is so fun to watch, so why not have her in my feed? My favorite video has to be the museum sketches video because I love that we got to travel and look at art with her as well as see her interpretation of the world and how that is translated through her art.

Machadowee

Claudia Machado is a hip-hop dancer currently going to college in Porto, Portugal. I originally found out about her through Ana’s NAC video, and I love her free spirit. This is such a fun subscription to have and I love to watch dance. I’m kind of getting into hip hop, especially through what 1 Million is doing in South Korea. It’s so fun to watch, because you can see the passion that a dancer has for movement and motion. I love that about Claudia. So this is just a fun subscription, but my favorite video is her most recent, about dancing bridges instead of crossing them.


Those are my favorite vloggers right now. I don’t know if they’ll change in the future, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated. So, what are your favorite vloggers? Did you like any of these vloggers? Tell me all about it in the comments. I hope you have a great rest of your evening and I hope that youtube gives you lots of inspiration or at least a good how-to!

 

My Sleep Routine + Tips on How to Develop Yours

This is the first post of the Self Care Series

We all know how important sleep is. We’ve read all the articles, seen the infographics, and woke up feeling like we never went to sleep at all. I have personally been there more times than I can count.

But today, I am sharing something very special with you guys. Scientists and doctors and sleep experts alike often say one of the key practices that helps you get a good sleep is a nightly routine. For a long time, it was just a dream for me. I’d read the articles and think, “Yeah, that’s your routine. But it doesn’t quite fit me.” I wanted to do it, but I wasn’t really into baths and I wasn’t really into spas, I just didn’t fit a lot of the criteria, and I didn’t know how their routine would fit me. It just wasn’t me.

Maybe you’ve been feeling that way too. So today, I’m going to share my routine, but I won’t just leave you hanging there. I’ll share how to develop one too, and give you the tools you need to develop your own.

My Sleep Routine

Honestly, I don’t know when I started this. I just know that one night I did a few things that helped me to sleep and I just decided, “Hey, I really like this. I think I’ll do this tomorrow night too.” And so it began.

I try to get ready early, but a few nights out of the week I have to be out late, so this is going to be an example of a good night, and though the times may be a bit different some nights, the routine is always the same.

7:30

This is the time I start to get to winding down. Sometimes I don’t do anything for these thirty minutes but sit and look for relaxing videos on my phone, but I do try to start to get into sleep mode. This means Night Shift on my IPhone, slow, calming music, and relaxing videos or pinterest. I have a board called Sleep & Relax that I’ve been trying to use to wind down; I have pictures of beds and baths (though I don’t like to take one, apparently my heart loves the pictures) and dim lit rooms. It sort of casts a vision for a night ahead, almost like saying to my brain, “This is what the night will look like. Yes, your bedroom may not be as nice as that one, but it can be very relaxing.”

8:00

Shower time. I like to be warm when I go to sleep, but not right out of the shower, you know? I’ve got to give my hair some time to at least partially dry. I love to take long, hot showers, especially in the winter, I find that the heat tends to help me wind down. If you take your showers in the morning, a great thing you can do in the night is to have a bath or a body shower. One of the best nights I ever had came from a nice body shower. I also try to wear protective hairstyles to bed so that I don’t look like a complete monster when I wake up (of course, that still can happen from time to time). My go-to hairstyle right now that I have done for years is the braid, although I’ve heard of a bun being one as well. One pro with the bun that I’ve heard is that your hair will just roll nicely out of it, though I prefer the braid because when I take it out it creates nice curls in my hair.

8:30

This is where a lot of my time is going towards preparation for the next day. I make my lunch, stick my sandwich in the fridge, and lay out my clothes for the morning. I take all my meds, check my phone a few times, have a glass of water or so. Generally, this is the time for the technical stuff. Some pros to doing this are that you don’t have to waste time in the morning doing this stuff while you could have been doing something more meaningful, or that you just already have everything in place and you don’t have to worry about a thing.

9:00

This is the time I have some real rituals and routine. The first thing I like to do after a long day is put some Rose Water on my face and skin. I find it helps with acne, stretch marks, blackheads, and it generally feels soft on my body. It also smells good. I find my skin is clearer and softer in the mornings. It can also help if you have puffy eyes or any type of skin irritation (it even is proven to work for Dermatitis). The health benefits of Rose Water are endless, so I say the more the better.

After this I like to either check my phone a few times or watch some TV for a little while, maybe even read. Reading is my go-to, but my family sometimes wants to watch TV, so I hang out with them for a little while and chill with them.

9:30

This is when all the electronics are off. Well, that’s if I don’t meditate with my phone for ten minutes, but I turn my phone upside down and don’t look at the screen. I put it beside my bed upside down as well, so that I never see the screen. I know it’s apparently bad to do that, but I don’t like to get out of my bed right when I wake up, so I put it there along with my headphones (Sony hp’s are the best for sound quality; I am not being paid to say this, there is a noticeable difference). After I am done meditating, I leave nothing on but my Himalayan Salt Lamp. This is where the real routine part starts.

I get my soft VS blanket, put lavender sleep essential oils mix on my pulse points, and spray my pillow with a lavender mist. Then I climb into my bed, put on my sleep mask and meditate again until I fall asleep. I imagine all of my soul going to sleep, I forgive myself for everything that I brought into the day and did in the day, I picture my inner child climbing into Father’s lap and falling asleep, and I go into my safe place with Jesus. I go into a sleep haven, one with a nice fireplace, dimmed lighting, a warm blanket wrapped around my shoulders, steaming tea, and a skylight to see the stars. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we just sit with our tea, but it is the perfect place to be. After maybe half an hour, I fall asleep.

How to Develop Your Own Routine

What Do You Want?

First of all, you need to consider, what is it that you really want? What would make your soul the most peaceful and joyful and content at night? Do you want to have a mini spa at night, or maybe just a comfy bedroom? For me, I wanted a gentle, slow routine. I wanted something that introduced me to the night slowly, but that could also be flexible to my late night schedule. Often on late nights, I will do my Rose Water, then do the essential oils and lavender mist, turn on my Himalayan Salt Lamp, grab my VS Blanket, and meditate until I fall asleep. Writing it makes it seem longer than it is, but at most it takes me about fifteen minutes, then I meditate for as long as it takes me to fall asleep.

What Do You Need?

This kind of depends on your personality, and it depends on what winds you down. For a lot of you it will be calming, self-care types of things: spas, baths, showers, a beauty routine, skin care, reading, writing/journaling, listening to a relaxing playlist, meditating, yoga, maybe even TV. But if you’re high energy, sometimes you just need to release that. I’ve danced before bed and it’s been really nice sometimes, although usually I need a slow routine. For high energy people, you may need some energy-releasing things: Dancing, Working out (don’t do this too close to bedtime though or too soon after dinner), taking a walk, or do something you love.

What is Chill to You?

Lastly, what relaxes you the most? What do you know will work to wind you down? This is very important if you’re going to get to sleep, because you need to relax your body, encourage that Melatonin to come out. Whatever relaxes you most or just gets you to that place of peace, do it. Incorporate whatever that means into your routine and you will be set.


So that’s my nightly routine, and how to make your own. I hope you have a wonderful night and as you can see I am not following my night routine right now because I have a day off tomorrow, but I will still do my late night routine. If you liked any products listed, you can click on the pictures to get more information. If you got a routine from this post or you already have a night routine, I would love to hear about it in the comments! Wishing you a good sleep and a wonderful new night routine!

One Day

A little poem for all the women and little women of the world:

One day I will tell my little girl, “You breathe fire 

Every time your lungs inflate”

That it is okay to like yourself and it is not vain to look in the mirror with a sense of ownership and dignity.

That she is a lioness and her roar rings out across the universe.

That her laugh is an invitation to the world to find joy in the simple things.

That her body is indeed hers and it is her choice if she does anything with it.

That no one completes her, because she came into the world complete.

That a razor is an option, not a necessity.

That she is a gift to the world, and her identity is a graceful, mystical expression of beauty.

An Honest Moment

I have to say, I’m not even sure why I’m writing this. I’m just so tired of doing things because I should, you know? I’m so tired of trying to please everybody, meanwhile sacrificing my individuality in the process. I just need to let go. I need to step back.

It suddenly occurs to me that for a lot of my life, I haven’t actually found out who I am, what I want, what I like. And now, I’m actually starting to get to know myself, I’m starting to actually not care what other people think. I’m starting to be myself for the first time, and I’m starting to live unapologetically. 

I like it. I actually really like it. I like myself, and I am not ashamed of that. It isn’t something I need to be ashamed of, because why? Whoever taught me to be ashamed of loving myself? It’s wrong.

I need some time and space to process this. Is that okay? I’m deciding it is. I think I’ll go on a pilgrimage of sorts, perhaps in the summer, to learn who I am. To learn how to be. To learn intimacy with Jesus and myself again. To just be with myself and be okay with that.

I don’t know why I am writing this exactly or what this is leading to, but I just need a space to be honest. Does anyone else feel this way?

How To Be Body Positive as a Woman

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I looked in the mirror and I felt a pang. That familiar pang that every woman feels at some point in their life. When you look in the mirror, and you can feel your inner critic leaning forward, preparing the sling of insults of the day. First she hits your thick legs, then she stabs you with a comment about that muffin top, and she tops it off with that sly remark about your 2-day hair. And looking in the mirror last night, I realized that I was tired of it. I’m old enough to be aware of society’s  list of ins and outs, and young enough to be the media’s target.

But I don’t want to live according to their standards, because I am my own person. It’s my body, and I make the rules. So that’s why I am starting to practice body positivity. I’ve tried to break into it before, but I haven’t genuinely meant what I said to myself in a long time. It isn’t right to treat my body this way. I was made to love myself, I was made beautiful, and no number or social taboo should ever define the way I treat myself.

This also goes along with exploring my femininity. I’ve often not known how to be feminine. I always thought that being a girly girl was a sign of weakness or sappy. Now, I am learning to explore the art of true femininity, which doesn’t necessarily mean pink nailpolish and loads of makeup. It’s the art of exploring the experience instead of being focused on the results, nurturing myself and the little one inside of me instead of trying to make her stronger, and slowing down instead of focusing on productivity. I need to be confident in my own feminine body instead of feeling like a stranger in my own skin, meditate on the fact that I am fully woman and that is a brace and beautiful thing, and start falling in love with my feminine body just as it is.

Here are a few things I’ve done and am doing to practice body positivity:

Bodily Meditation

Last night I started a little bit of a practice. Wherever there was tension, wherever there was a criticism, I literally touched my body. I put my hand on my stomach, my back, my legs, and I felt how each part worked so hard to support me, heal me of my wounds, and be well. It was so healing, I can’t even describe it.

Maybe the only way that you’ll know is to try it for yourself. Be thankful for all your body does for you. Sure, it may not be where you want it to be, but think about it: if it isn’t where you want it to be for the next hundred years, wouldn’t you want to love it instead of beating it up? If you have an illness, recognize how hard your body works to keep you alive, how hard it’s working to make you well. Even if it seems like it isn’t working at all, just know that it is trying its best, and that means everything in the world. Thank yourself for trying so hard to be well, and rest in the love and acceptance you have for yourself.

Body Art (especially Uterus Art)

I know this sounds soooo weird, but it’s actually really beautiful. I feel like this type of art really helps me to embody the fact that I am a woman and that that is such a beautiful, wonderful, mystical, magical thing. Whether it’s a painting of flowers in someone’s hair, or a picture of henna on someone’s hands, it just marks me. It’s almost like marking my body, like a tattoo, branding it as a masterpiece. Whatever makes you feel beautiful, whatever you feel is like a marking, put it on your skin, put it on your mirror. Let it serve as a reminder of your true identity.

Bless Your Body

A lot of us have practiced the art of criticism when it comes to our bodies, but what would change if we started to practice blessing our bodies instead of cursing them? I want you to think about one area in your body that you have been cursing. Maybe it’s your arms, your stomach, or your legs. Now think about all that they’ve done for you, how thankful you are that they work so hard to make and keep you well. What is one negative thing that you’ve said to that part of your body?

Now I want you to ask yourself, is that really true? Is that what I think or is that what society thinks, is that what another person has said or what I’ve thought that they were thinking? Is this something that I want to say to myself, is this something that is pulling me down instead of building me up, how has this negatively manifested in my life? This is where we get to the slightly odd part. I want you to apologize to that part of your body. Look in the mirror and apologize.

I know this may sound odd, but if you really think about it, it’s not. You’re already speaking to your body through negative comments or thoughts, so how far off is it really to apologize for that? It’s not, and it’s one of the ways that you can start to detox from those thought patterns that have been making you doubt yourself. Also, it is another step towards wholeness in your mind, speech, and actions. It is a fundamental step towards self-love.

*Note: I didn’t learn this on my own, you can click here to learn more about the wonderful soul who taught me this, as well as some other tips on self-love.

Imagine The Beauty In Your Body

There’s something very powerful in imagination. It’s the one thing that, though not reality, the brain interprets as reality. That’s both terrifying and thrilling. We’re going to focus on the thrilling side of things. I like to imagine light filling my body; flowers are another one of my favorites. Often the body art that I’ve encountered on Pinterest inspires me to imagine beauty in my body. It reminds me that I am full of beauty, and that no matter what anyone says, I can choose to love and accept my body as a work of art.


Accepting and loving yourself as you are is such an important step to living a whole, beautiful life that you enjoy. I hope these tips will help you to live a happier, more love-filled life. If you have any ideas for new posts, tips on body positivity, or would like to share your story of body positivity, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Grace and Peace,

WINTER HAUL

Hey guys!

So, today I’m going to show you a little bit of my winter haul. These products have helped me to stay warm and cozy during the cold months, and seeing as I’ve wanted to branch out in my blogging for a long time, I thought this would be the best place to start. Some of these I actually do not have in my closet, because I was not able to find the exact product on the internet so I had to settle for a substitute. Most of these, though, are indeed in my closet. I hope you guys enjoy and if you have any interest in the products shown just click the picture and it’ll take you right to the site.

Fleece Lined Leggings

First up are my wonderful fleece lined leggings. This particular pair I do not own, but I have many like it and they are amazing! I love these things. They keep my body warm and toasty, even if I’m just wearing a tee and a coat, there’s something about keeping your legs warm that just keeps your whole body warm. I first found out about these two winters ago, and they are a lifesaver! If you live in a cold climate or if you just can’t bear to wear sweatpants, these are the leggings you’ll want (plus they go nicely with a pair of  winter boots!). You can find these just about anywhere, but malls are a great place to start because there is a lot of variety.

Sweaters

I had never considered wearing sweaters until this year, actually. I live in a fairly neutral climate, with little more than three snow days a year. I often would just throw on a heavy coat in the morning and call it a day. But this year, I really wanted to get into the season and get some warm, cozy clothes. Again, I don’t personally own these sweaters, but I do have many like them. The last one is a lot like one of the red ones I own, although I couldn’t find an exact match.

I love chunky sweaters that are loose but provide a soft feel to the touch. This season has been extra warm and I’ve often felt very relaxed and comforted in my sweaters. If you’re worried about itchiness (I was at first), don’t worry about it; there are many sweaters that provide comfort and warmth without being irritating to the skin. Kohls is a great place to start, as well as Cupshe (these are mostly petite) and Nordstrom.

Sleep

In the winter time especially, I love to curl up in my bed and get nice and toasty. From first glance, I probably wouldn’t have even thought to pick these products up. Personally, I’d never thought of myself as a person that would own any Victoria’s Secret products. I don’t like the objectification of women, and I don’t like the message that they send out. I’m not saying I hate their store, but that’s the impression I’ve gotten. I have friends who shop there, but I never really liked the store myself.

Although, I do have to say, these two products are by far the best winter sleep products I’ve owned in a long time. They were given to me by a special friend and I can’t help but love them. I’ve gotten great sleep with this new mask and the blanket is as soft as silk. They really are the cosiest things I’ve gotten all year.

Health

For Christmas, I got these two gifts of health and self care and I just love them! They are pure jewels! While I don’t have this exact Mala, I do have this Leaf fitness tracker. I’m actually wearing both right now.  They’ve helped me in my journey towards wellness, which can be difficult to pursue in the winter months when all I really want to do is crawl under the covers for a nice nap!

The Leaf by Bellabeat is a women’s health tracker that tracks your activity, period, meditation, stress, and sleep. It reminds me to take care of the essentials and focus on the things I really need. This rose quartz mala that I got from Etsy reminds me of my femininity and to explore myself, to find out who I truly am at my core. I’ve meditated with it, and it has helped me to remember to be intentional about exploring my femininity.


All in all, my winter has been great! I’m looking forward to summer ootd’s as well, and I can’t wait to share more lifestyle blogs with you. Do you have any winter favorites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Have a great rest of your day and I can’t wait to see you next time!

Grace and Peace,

My 17 For 2017

*Just a heads up, this is a long post.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions. It’s just not my thing. But I do want to do some things differently in 2017. 2016 was such a good year, and I’m so full of joy at how long I’ve come in the past few months. I’ve gotten connected to myself and Christ like never before. I’ve found love and happiness and healing, and there’s only more to come. I hope that you’ve had a great year too, and that 2017 will bring more joy than you know.

Make Connection A Priority

If there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s how to connect deeply to myself and to Christ. Now that I’ve learned how to do this, I’ve been opened up to the wounds I have tried to hide, the pain I’ve tried so hard to escape, and the past I’ve been trying to escape. I’m caught in between wanting to run as far away from this awareness as possible, and trying to maintain this comfortable space of growing and being. Some days I run away, and others I stay. It is a hard space to live in, but I’m getting better, and staying is becoming much easier with Jesus around. Meditation has become both a refuge and a hard space of being. But I choose to hold out, and I know it will get better, because it already has. I have to keep going; if I don’t I’ll be toast.

Practice Peace

Everyday, there is a choice I have to make. I can let my thoughts go downhill into a mess of catastrophes, or I can consciously connect and choose peace. It is not a space of force or pretending. It’s a space of honesty, a space of continuous practice and ritual. It’s the space where my capacity grows to experience joy and peace and love, where my past pain is healed and new, whole skin emerges. A place where I admit I am still so afraid of being close to Christ, so afraid of being known in my innermost being, yet I do long to be known. And he comforts me, he holds me in this place of emotions colliding, paralyzing fear and the glimmer of hope.

Practicing peace to me isn’t about me being perfect and having no fear. It is about me having the courage to be honest about my process, and in turn connecting to love in it. Some ways I do this and will continue to do this are:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Music
  • Imagination
  • Self-care
  • Thankfulness

Use My Imagination

I’m slowly waking up to the breadth of my imagination. I’ve had imagination in my life ever since I was little, and it has been both the sweetest gift as well as the worst curse. I knew I could use it for stories, fearful images of both the past and the future, and as a way to communicate and understand. But I didn’t know how to connect with God in it, though I’d pictured him in my mind many times. I was used to talking to an image of him in my mind, and I’d already gotten to know him through that. But I didn’t know he and I could connect in a safe place, or that I could picture him healing my heart. I didn’t know that he could sing to me and I could experience his presence in my heart as if he was right here with me, beside my bed as I fall into deep sleep.

It’s been great getting to know what my imagination can do again, and I hope to write a post on it soon so that you too can experience that. I’ll keep practicing for the both of us in the meantime.

Capture The Beauty Around Me

Has anyone noticed the newest tab up on the site? It’s a link to my etsy shop, something I started this year called Glorious Offerings. Glorious Offerings is a shop about capturing the simple beauty of life. I take photographs of nature and post them on there. I have some new Wintersession photos coming out soon, so be sure to keep an eye out.

Care For Myself Well

As you already know, I am deep into self-care and these past six months have been great because of it. I take longer showers, I use a sleep mask, I spray lavender on my pillow, I keep myself hydrated, I meditate, I curl up in a nice blanket with a cup of tea; the list is endless. I LOVE self-care, so it’s no surprise that I’ll be looking out for new ways to care for myself well in 2017. If you want more tips for how to care for yourself, you can read one of my posts on self-care and self love here.

Spend More Time Doing The Things I Love

I’ve been really busy these past few months, and I realized a lot of the things I love to do have been pushed to the side. You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t had a chance to blog as much. I haven’t quite known how to reach a balance in my work and life, so I’m going to investigate that more. It may take me a while, but I am determined to find a balance between my work and my life. In 2017, as well as practicing self-care, I really want to start doing more of what I love in addition to all the work I have to do.

Embrace My Femininity

This is so important to me. I want to embrace myself more in 2017, because honestly, I have not been that nice to myself this year. I am now aware of that thanks to meditation, and I am also aware that I’ve been rejecting myself a lot, especially in terms of femininity. Over the course of my life, I’ve tried to be so strong and emotionless, and it just isn’t natural. I was taught to be hard, and I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to run and embrace myself again. I want to love myself unconditionally.

So I want to embrace my femininity, embrace softness, embrace how I was made in 2017. I’ve started a Pinterest Board for anyone who is interested. If you are ahead in this path, I would oh so love to connect with you. I cannot do this on my own, and I am in desperate need of resources. I don’t even know where to start…so anyone with anything to say about this topic, please feel free to leave a word in the comments.

Slow Down

Everything in my life feels like a rush. Do this, now do that, ooh now this, you need to do this, wait no this…..it is too much for me. I need to SLOW DOWN. I need to stop, I need to heal, I need time to recuperate. I feel like a chicken with its head cut off running around endlessly. It is not alright, and I need to slow down. I need to focus on the present moment more. I need to connect to my breath and take a little break. I’m hoping to do that in 2017, along with finding balance, although I admit that slowing down may not happen until the summer season. We’ll see.

Vlog Opportunities

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret. I am thinking about taking up vlogging. I’m still not sure about it, but something inside me keeps wanting to document my time here, to film beauty right in front of me, to keep a visual diary of sorts. I’ve spent the last few months watching vloggers (CatCreature, Katelyn Nix, New Age Creators) as they share their lives on the internet, and I can’t help but be drawn to it. None of this is official, and I’m not even sure it will happen in 2017, but I may explore it. So it is in the works, in a sense, even if that means this year is just devoted to dreaming.

Become a Yogi

I got back into yoga over the summer, and I have to say, it is one of the most healing and beautiful things in my life right now. It’s where I can meet with Jesus, it’s where I can experience tangible peace and joy, and it’s where I’ve learned to connect deeply with my body. I don’t want to become a professional yogi or anything. But I do want to have a devoted, beautiful, daily practice. In the New Year I want to practice yoga daily, which has proven to be a challenge for me this year, but maybe 2017 is the year it will finally happen. Regardless, I will continue to practice and delight in this simple ritual.

Savor

Along with the act of slowing down, I also want to savor. I said this last year and as I am sinking deep into it, I am realizing that savoring relates to many more things in life than I thought it did. Food is one I would love to explore. It is the act of mindfully eating, basically being present and really choosing to experience the act of eating my food. Not only do I want to experience wholeness through the healthy foods I eat, but also the act of eating them. So I want to dive deep into savoring in 2017, being present with all of the gifts my Creator’s given to me.

Be Open

As you saw on Instagram, I got a new book. It isn’t exactly a Christian book, and that’s why I got it. It has writing in it that is from the Muslim, Christian, and Hindu beliefs. I want to start learning about other religions and seeing them for what they really are: people looking for God. The people who started these religions were just looking for God, they probably had never even heard of Christianity, and I believe that they got an answer. I believe that there are some Kingdom Truths in there.

I’m not saying that I agree with everything said in this book or everything that they believe, but I do want to learn about them, about their culture, and I want to respect their faith journey even when it looks different than mine. I want to learn to find beauty in what they believe, even when I don’t agree. So I want to be more open in 2017 to people who don’t believe what I do. I want to start to get to know them, and I want to be able to walk up to them and love them and find beauty in their journey. I don’t want to feel separated or act like I am separated from them just because they have different beliefs than mine.

In the past, I have felt caught in the middle of things when I’ve met someone of a different faith. I didn’t know what to think of them, though I wanted desperately to love them and cherish them like anyone else in my life. It felt like they were almost another species, like I had to change them to be someone they were not, and I knew that that was not the answer. The Church doesn’t seem to be very good at communicating to people of different faiths, or so it feels like. But I want to learn to communicate and accept them for who they really are, not who I want to change them to be. So in 2017 I choose to put love above any prejudice or prejudgement I may have towards a person of a different faith. I choose to live and love differently.

Get Down to the Roots of Who I Am

Another thing I want to do in 2017 is find myself. I am slowly waking up to all of my interests again as I’ve been doing some heart work. I’ve fallen in love with music, art, design, and so much more. I’ve realized how much I want to communicate, that my heart is good, and that once my wounds heal I become freer to be who I deeply am inside. I want to really chip away at the marble and discover who I truly am, because I’ve been hiding for so long trying to protect my wounds that I really lost myself. I want to heal, but more than that I want to become who God made me to be, and that starts with journeying towards my center.

Be More of a Lifestyle Blogger

This is the really exciting part for you guys. I want to branch out! I have been wanting to talk about so many things besides God for the past two months or so, and though I do want to talk about him in this blog, I also have so many things to tell you guys that just don’t fit into that topic. So I’ve decided to branch out. I don’t know what this year will bring in terms of writing, but I do know that I will be focusing on topics that have to do with lifestyle. If you have any recommendations or ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Dream

I’ve spent the whole of my life in my head. I can wander off into who knows where in my brain without even realizing it. I think this is a beautiful thing, although it can be hazardous when someone is trying to tell me something and I am off somewhere else. This year, I want to use my headspace for more than just imagination, I also want to use it for dreaming. I want to use it for dreams that are likely to come true, unlike the many fictional stories playing out in my brain. Vlogging, blogging, and travel are a few. Travel will likely consist of daytrips or short drives because that is all I can manage right now, but it is still exciting. I’m slowly learning how to dream with Jesus, and I think this is the year that I will finally learn how to dream like he does.

Learn How to Cook

This one is actually a biggie for me. Cooking is not exactly my strong point, but it isn’t that I’m a bad cook so much as the fact that I grew up hating cooking. A lot of the cooking I was around dealt with perfection and performance, doing this the right way and pouring this cup the right way and stirring the right way. I know to cook an edible meal there have to be some rules, but the rules that were made up for me were not rules that had to be there. They were rules that dealt with the tiniest, insignificant things that ended up turning me off cooking.

I thought, “If it’s going to be about stirring with my left hand at this angle clockwise, I will go crazy. I don’t want to do this.” A lot of my life looked like that in my early childhood. But now I have the awareness to know that there are so many different ways of doing things, and that as long as it’s edible and tastes good, I am fine. And I have the choice to think differently. So I want to learn how to cook. But not in a strict way, just in a good environment where if I mess up no one cares, where I can stir however I freakin’ want, and where I can eventually learn to be at least okay at cooking. For now that will start in my own kitchen with a cookbook I have yet to purchase. If you have any ideas for this process or cookbooks you think I should pick up, please leave them in the comments.

Practice Being Present

I look around me and I see the clock ticking, the lamp ablaze in light, the plush blue toy dog on the floor, my phone sitting silent on the desk, my white headphones there as well. I hear the cars passing by, the sound of that old clock on the wall, a creaking of footsteps upstairs, the wind slicing through the night. I touch the keys in rhythm on this keyboard, rest my palm on the desk that holds it up, lay my elbows on the chair that supports me. This is me in this moment, this present moment that is now, and now, and now. Always present.

This exercise is grounding, and there are so many other practices that keep me in the present moment. The breath ministers to me, the sound of cars outside my window calms me. All of this I will miss if I am somewhere other than the present moment, and I need to experience the present moment. If I don’t, my life will escape me. The present is where God chooses to show up and commune with me, so I can’t miss that chance to be with him. In 2017, I want to meet him there.


I know this was a super long post so I’m going to keep this short. I want to come back here and remember what I’ve said this coming year and I hope that you will be inspired to create your own 17 for 2017. Tell me all about your 17 for 2017 in the comments! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day and a wonderful New Year!

Grace and Peace,

Abbey

A Christmas List Invested In Self-Care

Last year I did a post about revisiting my Christmas list and really investing in the life around me. This year, I felt like I should invest in myself and my sanity. These past few months have been amazing learning to take care of myself. God is so weaved into this season, and I don’t want to lose anything that I’ve learned; I want to keep investing in my well-being. So here are a few items on my Christmas list that make me very excited about my well-being in the year ahead:

1. The Leaf Wellness Tracker

This is a fitness tracker for women that is optimized for your wellbeing. It tracks your stress, provides you with meditations that help you calm down, tracks your sleep and your activity. Generally, it isn’t like most fitness trackers. It is optimized only for women, and doesn’t provide you with many insights on diet or activity. It keeps you on track with wellness, and is very good for stress. I have it on my list because I don’t want a fitness tracker, I want something that actually cares for my well-being and reminds me to take care of myself. It’s often something I forget or toss to the side during the week, so this is a tangible reminder to take care of me first before going and pouring myself out until I’m empty.

2. Psalms of Poetry-Passion Translation

There is nothing better than caring for my soul, and the bible is exactly the way to do that. I’m currently doing a meditation course on the heart, and as I’ve been connecting more and more to Jesus, I feel like I really want something to help me connect better. Not that it’s going bad, it’s not. But I’ve heard quotes from the Passion Translation, and it just ignited my heart to want that deeper connection like never before. It’s almost like God is speaking directly to me. Anyway, I’ve always loved the Psalms, and I figured they were the best thing to start me off. Hopefully I can get some of the other Passion Translation books in 2017, but for now I’d just love to camp out in the Psalms with Jesus and let my heart rest in them.

3. Artsy Things

Investing in my well-being also involves investing in my passions. I believe that to have a healthy soul you need to invest some time in the things you love most. One of those for me is art. I love so many things. I am a creative person, and in 2017 I want to branch out and experience different mediums (other than a pencil).

4. Illustrator

In 2017, I also want to explore graphic design. I am very interested in this field, and I’m wondering if I might make a career out of it someday. But of course, I first have to familiarize myself with the program that basically rules in the design world: Illustrator. It is very beautiful, design. It has a way of lighting up my soul every time I see it, especially package design. I love different perspectives, and the way you can shift people’s viewpoints by visual art. I really want to investigate this medium and what it has to offer.

5. 52 Lists

The first time I saw 52 Lists, I wondered if it was for me. I wasn’t much of a list-maker back then. But I tried to make some lists this past month and I got kind of interested in it. It’s great for self-discovery, which I’ve been doing a lot of these past six months. I’m excited to see where it takes me and what this next year has in store.


I hope that you guys got some inspiration for your Christmas list, and that you will take care of yourselves during the holidays. What’s in your Christmas list? I’d love to see in the comments! If you liked any of these things or wanted to put them on your Christmas list, just click the pictures to learn more.

A Long Journey

a-new-season

I know I haven’t blogged much this month, and honestly I think I won’t write that much this season. I feel like God is taking me on a long journey, one that involves many twists and turns but ultimately with light at the end of the tunnel. But for now there isn’t much I want to write about, so I probably won’t. I will honor my season, no matter what that might look like. But today, I do have something to write about, a little update on where I am and where I’m going on my journey inside my heart.

via GIPHY

Beautiful Surrender

I’m sure we’ve all heard by now that the Helser’s have released a beautiful album called ‘Beautiful Surrender’. There is a track named after the album that I love right now, because it is where I want to be. As I’ve gone into my heart with God, I’ve realized that I don’t have the white flag over all parts of my heart, and that I want to get closer to my Savior.

Last night, as I listened to this song, I felt like a part of my heart was willing to experience change. This was a big thing for me, since that part of my heart seemed to not be ready for change yet, to not be willing, for a long time. But as I listened to the song, I felt as that part of my heart opened up and really wanted to experience the kind of closeness it had always longed for but been to afraid to go after. I listen to it over and over again, just declaring over my heart that this is where we’re going, that we’re going to get well and that we’re not going to have to stay in a broken place anymore. I danced late into the night, because it was Friday and I most definitely could sleep late. I imagined dancing with the Holy Spirit in that part of my heart, having a dance party just like the Helser’s did on instagram. I danced until I felt I had no energy left in me to keep going, and I thought about a sermon I heard from Amanda Cook about how God loves your Yes and how a cloud of witnesses was cheering me on and how Jesus was loving my Yes.

It was one of the best times I’ve experienced in these past few months, and I want to document it here and in my heart.

that-girl-in-the-blanket

That Girl In The Blanket

The Holy Spirit has been a real gem in this season.

I’ve come to know her as a great comfort, almost like a sister. I know her as female, that’s just how I see her. Maybe you don’t, and that’s perfectly okay. I remember the first time I really got to know the Holy Spirit, which was only maybe a couple of months ago since I realized I really don’t have much of a relationship with the Holy Spirit. I used to think the Holy Spirit was kind of a weird, wind-like substance of God’s being that just floated around, but now I see her as a person. Anyways, the first time I met her she was wrapped in a blanket, and she was so funny and kind and just like any other woman you’d meet. She was kind of an oddball in the best way and she was so comfortable to be with.

She was cool with everything inside my heart, even the huge messes and wounds, and she was so gentle. She has been so amazing through this new season of discovery and I’m so thankful to know her as more than just a substance floating through the room. Every time I think of her I laugh or smile, because she’s just so fun. I didn’t think the Spirit of God could be so unconventional. She’s kind of like the child side of me, funny and weird and always dancing around weirdly and unapologetically.

She is the best of the best, and I couldn’t be more thankful for her presence in my life.

self-care-soul-care

Self-Care & Self-Love

I’ve also been taking care of myself more and let me tell you: it is the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel so light and free and calm and good. Weekends are for self-care, and it has been a blast. I am learning to love myself more and more each day, which has been so eye-opening for me. A few weeks ago I blessed my body and asked for forgiveness for all the times I had hated it, a practice that Abi Stumvoll talked about in the video above. It really woke me up to the fact that God created my body as a sacred being that I was made to respect and honor, and I am trying to do that more. I’m always looking for new ideas of how to take care of myself, and my body has become the best temple it can be. Below are my self-care practices (feel free to share yours in the comments):

  • More Yoga (trying to do it daily)
  • Longer showers
  • Essential Oil Diffuser
  • Meditation (I signed up for a meditation course recently that I am LOVING)
  • Lavender spray on my pillow
  • Good Music
  • Mosaic (I consider church a grounding ritual)
  • More Reading
  • General Hygiene (because sometimes I don’t take care of myself as well as I should)
  • Making myself warm and toasty in a sweater or a blanket
  • Spending time with my Maker
  • Start getting ready for bed @7:30 because I want my best sleep
  • Staying Hydrated
  • Eating Well (still working on this one)
  • Doing more of what I love
  • Finding the beauty of the moment

This is where I am right now, becoming more and more myself, who I was created to be. God has taught me a lot and continues to teach me about how to take care of myself. This season is beautiful, though it hasn’t been easy. There have been ups and downs, and my heart is still learning to heal, but I am more well every day, and that is something to be thankful for. I’m glad that I have the privilege of knowing how to take care of myself and get into my heart and become more well every day.

Thanks for listening! See you next time.