Holiday Gift Guide 2017: gifts that give forward!

The following guide is those gifts that “give back.” Except I like to call it “giving forward” since we are helping one another build a better & more empowered future. 

one // My white flag is hanging in our dining room and I love getting to see it everyday and know what it stands for. These white flags stand for a bigger message & the company is also partnered with Preemptive Love Coalition. PLC helps create jobs for refugees.

two // Fashionable beanies with a great cause behind them. Love Your Melon is providing hats to children with pediatric cancer around the world.

three // Beautiful jewelry with striking purpose. This necklace was made by a survivor of human trafficking.

four // I’ve been a supporter of RED for over ten years now. If you’re already investing in an Echo this holiday season, think about getting one in red!

five // Solar power chargers will soon be all the rage. Waka Waka supplies lighting and energy to people across the world who don’t have any when you purchase their products.

six // Out of Print gets communities reading through the donation of books but these are the matchbooks I’ve been raving about!

seven // Kids need a new stylish lunch box? Cheeky supplies meals to children in the U.S. with each purchase.

eight // Umm… Hi, I live in this duster these days. It’s the comfiest thing ever and Sseko partners with women globally to help them overcome poverty in their communities.

nine // Not only does Miscoots Outfitters employ people transitioning out of homelessness, but each blanket bought is another blanket given to the shelter in need.

ten // I’ve been loving in State Bags for 5 years now and they just keep getting better! This travel bag is quality and fashionable- all giving backpacks to children in inner cities.

eleven // Get showe(red) this holiday season with this partnership between Baxter & RED products.

twelve // Public Supply gives 25% of proceeds to public school art programs. These velour notebooks are where it’s at this season.

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: for the gentleman!

 

The following guide is for the gentleman in your life! Special thanks to Lane for suggesting these things!

one // I bought one of these blankets for Lane last Christmas and we’ve loved using it! Perfect for camping trips or cozy nights by the fire. This blanket is top quality.

two // For the men who love things a little spicy. I always find getting someone a gift that involves the experience of making something is powerful and a good relationship builder.

three // We are always on the lookout for great beach towels. This one is portable and easy to pack.

four // Never lose your keys again with this cool gadget. 

five // Lane is a big Topo guy and we dig all their edgy designs. This is a great carryall bag for the dude in your life.

six // Got Lane this planner two months ago and I love seeing him get organized through writing dates down. Finally- a manly planner!

seven // The best workout shorts in the world!

eight // Plenty of men out there need a good pair of gloves for the winter air!

nine // Lane swears by Baxter. This face kit is the perfect starter for a guy who wants to get a little more deliberate with his pampered side.

ten // This book doesn’t come out until January 2018 but you can preorder. Apparently Jordan Peterson is the man crushes of all man crushes *or so Lane says* and I think this book will be good addition to everyones’ shelves.

eleven // you can never go wrong with Harry’s Razor Kit. Confession: I now buy Harry’s Razors for myself because I think they are way better than anything else out there.

twelve // Innovative and essential for the athlete in your life. A way to plug in without the hassle of cords.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: for her!

 

The following guide is for all my ladies who might be tough to shop for or might just want something a little different this year.

one // make your last memories of 2017 golden with this addition to the Polaroid family.

two // I’ve been testing this bag out for you all summer long and it’s the perfect day bag for trips & everyday excursions. PLUS: all the fun colors.

three // my best friend got me this cookbook when I was halfway through my Whole30. I couldn’t eat any of the things at the time but I was d-r-o-o-l-i-n-g over the pictures.

four // slower mornings in 2018 with this classic pour over.

five // a beautiful way to remember an important date & a very cool addition to your wall decor.

six // if 12 amazing women like Malala don’t inspire you to kick butt every single month in 2018 then I don’t know what will!

seven // pamper yourself with this clay mask. I’ve been using it since July and I can’t get enough of it!

eight // Lane and I put this little guy on our wedding registry and let-me-tell-you: one of our favorite gifts to date. There’s nothing like playing a record when you get in from work and start cooking dinner together.

nine // I mean, you try to say no…

ten // you don’t even need rain to make use of these boots. They’re perfect for chunky wool socks & a fun day date.

eleven // in an increasingly digital age, there’s something really beautiful about magazine subscriptions. Darling publishes classy articles for all kinds of women. Good reading for gals who love a strong aesthetic.

twelve // got a book lover in your midst? You will never be sorry for getting them a subscription to the Book of the Month club! It’s (by far) my favorite thing to get in the mail each month!

thirteen // brain dust. sex dust. moon dust. need I say more? all natural and ready for your smoothies!

fourteen // came across this sweet cookbook the other day and I thought to myself, “this is a really cool way to start building a legacy for the generations to come!”

fifteen // forever a fan of Artifact Uprising. Lane and I had our wedding photos made into a desk calendar for him and the quality is just stunning.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: under $15!

I’ve wanted to create some gift guides for the holiday season for quite some time now. Every year goes by too fast and I just never seem to get it together. But this year, friends, is THE year.

Over the next two days, I will be publishing several gift guides to help you spend smart & deliberately this holiday season. Please note my heart as I create these guides: I believe the holiday season is a time for togetherness. It’s a time to choose experiences over extravagance. I love giving good & thoughtful gifts. All of the gifts compiled here and in the guides to follow are meant to be extensions of the holiday season but never the point of it. Dig deep this season and love fiercely.

hb.

The following guide is for all my Secret Santa fanatics & college students on that real budget! (scroll down for links!)

one // it’s a go-to and I am never disappointed when I get a monogrammed mug (or monogrammed ANYTHING) from Anthropologie. Anything to make that morning coffee cozier.

two // i love the gifts that require some assembly. This is the cutest way to encourage someone to “grow” in 2018.

three // this is a thoughtful & original gift for all the classic novel lovers in the house. I’ve been getting crazy compliments from everyone who hangs out in my loft!

four // nothing like girl power & a candle mixed into one!

five // this little gift is a classic & perfect for anyone who loves good ol’ Charlie Brown. We watched this classic every year throughout my childhood so it channels some pretty special memories for me.

six // only available for the holiday season! I’ve been using this exfoliator daily and I give it 5 gold stars! My skin is glowing & I feel festive!

seven // if you know someone who had a rough 2017, this book is golden. So much wisdom & truth packed into one place.

eight // this incense holder from Madewell is just about my favorite piece of decor. Who doesn’t like a nice-smelling home?

nine // everyone can appreciate good words. these poems will hit you hard. The perfect coffee table book.

ten // channel your inner Eleven with this little waffle maker. FYI: i have this waffle maker and it works like a mighty beast!

eleven // anthro wins all the awards for these adorable “people person” bowls. Adorable & quirky for the extroverts in the room.

twelve // who doesn’t love a pocket grid planner?

All the love fear won’t give you.

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1.

You can ask any one of my dance teachers from childhood and they will tell you it is a pure miracle that I make a living as a public speaker.

Really and truly, this career should not be a thing.

The thing to know about me is that I quit competitive dancing when I was sixteen years old because of raging anxiety every time I went to step onto that stage. I had always been a nervous kid, always getting the jitters before a performance, but this was something different. This was a real fear. This was can’t-catch-my-breath, panic-attack fear. And it didn’t just happen once. It happened over and over again until I couldn’t keep track anymore.

The girls on my dance teams were saints. They would talk me off the edge. They would remind me to have fun. I was a part of a team and so I knew I had to perform but when the chance came to quit at the end of the year, I leaped at it.

I told myself: I want to be behind the scenes. I don’t want to perform anymore. I dislike the spotlight. I won’t go back. 

This was my fear talking. Apart from childhood (thinking I might be the next Shirley Temple), I’ve never been one to want to shine the brightest. I simply like doing good work. I believe in ambition. I am a perfectionist at heart, recovering daily. But here is what I had to stop allowing: I had to stop allowing fear the courtesy of writing me a story that wasn’t true.

 

2.

My first time back on a stage was a Christmas program. I heard someone do a spoken word poem and I thought, “I have that in me.” I proposed the idea to my pastor, thinking he would assign someone the role. But he asked me to do it. More specifically, he told me I would do it and didn’t give me a chance to back down.

I took to the stage with my little poem and it was like waves of peace crashing over and over me. I still had every bit of nerves leading up to it. I still wanted to cry (and likely did), but we all have one small step to take towards a better story.

 

3.

Fear isn’t one thing. Fear is a bunch of little things all stacked up to look seemingly powerful. And, as much as I hate to give fear the credit, it is powerful. It stops you from moving forward. It makes you act smaller. It keeps you from being here now. Fear is the thing that says, “Don’t go tonight. You don’t belong there.” Fear is the whisper that says, “You? People don’t like you.”

Fear is a voice I easily become immune to, not even realizing it is there and talking to me. It says right in the bible that God didn’t give me a spirit of fear and yet I take it with me on most mornings, the way you take your jacket for that October air.

I don’t lie or tell half-truths in this space. To do that would be to tell you that I never listen to the fear. That I never let the fear give me a name that isn’t my own. Fear has given me medicine and fear has given me heartache. Fear has convinced me I am someone else too many times to count.

 

4.

It’s doing the thing that makes you want to throw up. As ineloquent as that advice is, that’s where you need to start most days. Whether that’s saying “yes” when you would rather say no. Whether that’s going on the Tinder date. Maybe it’s clicking “publish” or maybe it’s finally sending that text. If you want to vomit when you think about the action, then there’s usually a mission there.

I wish you and I could dismantle fear in some other way. I wish it was a matter of reading a book about fear and watching all our awful fears trickle away. Fear dissolves through action though.

You get two pairs of eyeglasses in this lifetime. Call them hipster eyeglasses with no real prescription to back them up, but you can put one of two different lenses on. You’ve got the lens of love and the lens of fear. The two will make you look entirely different.

Love is attractive. It draws people to you. People will want to know what you’re drinking and how they can do the same. Love is a party host. It invites everyone in. It says, “There is more room. Everyone scoot down, we’ve got the room for one more.”

Fear is a shell. It dries up the atmosphere. It keeps us all on eggshells. I don’t want to say people won’t want to be around you if you lead out of fear. That’s not a claim I can make after living that way for a long time. But I can tell you this: people notice when you live out of fear as opposed to love. It’s easy to catch. The ones who operate out of love want something so different for their fear-driven friends.

 

5.

I remember my friend Dimitri gaining the courage to tell me, a year into our friendship, that when he met me he could see right through me.

He thought to himself, this girl looks cool but I feel like she is hiding behind so much. I wonder what kind of walls she has up around her.

He thought to himself, this girl looks cool but I feel like she is hiding behind so much. I wonder what kind of walls she has up around her.

I was walking into every encounter wearing fear glasses, hoping people would mistake me for love instead. But these are the people you want in your life: people who see through your act and call you up to something better. People who say, “I know who you are under that thick, thick layer of fear. I see you. I know you’re coming back to yourself.”

 

6.

Maybe I’m your chance encounter for the day. If I am the only one that tells you this today then let it be so, “Fear doesn’t fit you.

Of all the good things God gave you, you have to stop double-fisting the thing he never asked you to hold. Fear. It’ll take things from you. It’ll write stories for you which aren’t true.

Love is a bigger story.

I know who you are under that thick, thick layer of fear. I see you. I know you’re coming back to yourself.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re okay.

 

I’ve googled “discipline fatigue” twice in the last 24 hours.

It’s not a thing. I keep checking, hoping I can make it a thing, but it’s an unknown, illegitimate ailment I’ve made up.

I whine to Lane and tell him this is what I have right now: discipline fatigue. It is hitting me like a tidal wave as he pushes me to go to the gym and I tell him I don’t want to. I have no desire. Maybe you can push me to do a workout but I won’t want to go back to it tomorrow. I’m wearing workout clothes right now but I am sitting here writing instead.

I’ve had discipline fatigue in this area of working out for the last three weeks now. I keep wondering if it is like a cold. If I can kick the symptoms with some apple cider vinegar and just keep marching on.

 

I’m a pretty disciplined person. I’ve fallen in love with discipline in the last two years because I’ve found that so much freedom comes from routines and rhythms. It’s so nice to not feel chaotic, or feel like I am constantly chasing after this person I want to become with no real map. Instead, I am inching my way towards her and I am learning how to love and take care of the person who occupies the “in the meantime.”

But I still can so easily fall into this trap of a lie that life will begin, life will mean something, when I check x,y, and z off the list. I know I’m not alone in feeling this. I make goals for the month but there are just some times where the goals– all sitting together in one place– make me feel like I am always climbing towards something and never fully in the present moment of progress.

I want to learn how to occupy my progress. I want to enjoy the imperfection of today.

 

And so, a small reminder for myself: it’s okay to feel burnt out. It’s okay to be tired, weak, weary or all of the above. It’s okay to not know which small step to take. It’s okay if it takes you a little while to take any step at all. 

Every single day is a chance to be better. That’s not a marching order, that’s a gift. All of this-this life unfolding- is slow progress. I like to think we are progressing towards being kinder and happier people. I like to imagine we will get to end of our lives and say we progressed towards joy, more love, and less fear. We must dance in the progress if we ever want to see it as a gift.

There’s a part of me that wants to scream, “Get in the gym! Keep going! Run!” We all go into Nike “just do it” mode when we’re in a mood we need to snap out of. And then there’s this quieter voice that is speaking up and saying, “Hey… chill out. Give yourself a break. You’re doing a lot. You’re carrying a lot.”

You don’t always have to be on your A game. You don’t have to be the one who wedges smoothies, kale, yoga, meditation and skinny jeans into your daily routine. You are not a superhero. There are days for sweatpants pretending to be real pants. There are days for cheese.

Perfection is a conspiracy theory we’re all believing in. Perfection is a paper town. We still chase after it because it looks like other people, people with more followers and more kale on their plates, have somehow attained it. Let the myth die: not a single one of us knows what perfection feels like. 

What perfection wants to steal is our ability to just be here now. We become seekers, lookers, finders, searchers. We become nomads hunting after divine purpose, and a skinnier waist, and a bigger bank account. It all adds up to a bigger problem: We miss one another when we chase after “missing pieces.”

You aren’t missing a thing. It’s all right here, so reach out and grab it. Is there room for growth? Always. Is there time in a single day to be everything to everyone? Never. Stop chasing it.

Don’t trade “being here” for the lie that “getting there” is worth chasing down the rabbit hole.

 

I remember sitting at a dinner table with some of my friends a few years back and I told them how I thought the two most beautiful words in the world, the most universal ones we all needed to hear, were simple: you’re okay.

We sat there for nearly a half hour talking about those two words, marveling at the way they put us all at ease.

You’re Okay. I say those words constantly to my friends in a trial. I repeat them to myself. I hush the babies with that belief, “You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re okay.”

I think all of us need this reminder every once in a while. We don’t always need a pep talk. We don’t need to lie and say we are on top of the mountain when we know we’re really not. The words are blunt and simple, “you’re okay.” Don’t cue the fireworks or call on the heavens to rumble. Some days we are just okay and that’s what the world gets of us. And you know what? That’s okay too.

And it’s true. It’s true whether you ran five miles today or you didn’t get up out of bed: you’re okay.

Whether you have slain the dragons you’re most afraid of or if you ran out of fear: you’re okay.

If you are tired and you don’t have a map: you’re okay.

If you are on the edge of transition and you feel like nothing in your life is the same anymore: you’re okay.

You got up today. You made it this far. You’re still here.

You’re okay. 

 

(photo cred)

Honesty Hour: Good morning?

I love reading the My Morning Routine blog. Something about reading other people’s morning routines is fascinating to me. I like to look for correlations and the routines inspire me to look at my own morning routine.

I don’t have a “set” morning routine yet. There are days where I am up and killing it by 5:30am and then there are days where I snooze with Lane until 8:30 and he hurriedly gets dressed and leaves for work. Working for myself is definitely something I don’t take for granted. I let myself sleep a little longer if I know I have time to work later. For some crazy reason, the hours between 5-7pm are my golden hours for work. I have laser-like focus.

But back to those morning routines…

There are a few things in my morning that make for a guaranteed good day:

  1. A cup of coffee: Lane sets my coffee up the night before so all I have to do is press “brew.”
  2. Time with God: This is always my first thing. If I don’t do it, I am way off. I spend about an hour journaling and getting my feelings out, reading scripture and commentary, and then praying for people.
  3. Writing out my goals the night before: this is the game changer part of my routine. I flounder when I look at a blank space in my planner or when I walk into a day scattered with meetings but no objectives for myself. I try to write out three goals the night before and really have my day mapped out.

So, in honor of honesty hour, what is one (or 3) necessities in your morning routine that guarantee for a killer day?