Tips For Getting More Reading Done

Reading is something that I have loved to do for as long as I can remember. Reading allows me to travel to places that I otherwise never would, or possibly never could, it allows me to become someone else, it allows me to learn about new things and new people and it gives me an escape from reality.

Not only do I love to read but it is something that I genuinely excel at. I am a very fast reader and I have this beautiful ability to block out everything else around me while I read. I have also always had great reading comprehension… and retention.

If you were to tell me the title of a book I read 10 years ago, I could still tell you what the book was about and name many of the characters.

But reading takes time, and there are many days (and years) when don’t read nearly as much as I’d like.

So, going into 2019 I am making it my goal to start reading again and go back to doing something that I genuinely love.

Here are some of the habits that I am adopting in order to help me accomplish this goal.

1. Quit reading.

For some reason, I have always had this sense that I have to finish each and every book that I begin. I don’t know if it is a pride thing or a guilt thing or if I picked it up from a teacher or family member somewhere along the way. But recently, I have realized that this isn’t necessary. If I don’t like a book or I am not connecting with it then I don’t have to finish it. As Gretchen Rubin says “No more. Life is short. There are too many wonderful books to read.”

2. Read books you enjoy.

If I’m reading a book I love or that is about a topic that interests me—for example, I’m now reading a series of books by Philipa Gregory about the English monarchs — I’ll be much more likely to find more time to read. Which is another reason to stop reading a book I don’t enjoy.

3. Join A Book Club

I recently joined a book club on Facebook and will begin reading my first book with them in December. The month has even started and I am already excited to begin reading this book because I know that I will have other people to discuss it with.

4. Skim.

This is a habit that I’ve recently adopted. I don’t do this all of the time but there are times when it is helpful. For example, I recently began reading a biography on Fred Rogers (from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood) and there was an entire chapter of the book that spoke only about the town that Rogers grew up in from the time it was settled to the time that he was born. I felt like this more in-depth information then I needed so I skipped it. Not only does this allow me to keep to the parts of the story that actually interest me but it also allows me to finish the book faster.

5. Get calm.

Like I said I am pretty good at blocking out outside distractions. But, shutting my own mind up long enough for me to read can sometimes be very difficult. I have learned that when this happens I need to close my eyes for a few minutes take a few deep breaths and remind myself about what I am reading and why.

6. Don’t fight my inclinations.

Sometimes I feel like I should be reading one book when I actually feel like reading something entirely different. Now I let myself read what I want because otherwise, I end up reading much less.

7. Always have something to read.

I always have a couple of e-books downloaded on my phone. What I love about this is that it means that I never go anywhere empty-handed. I always have something to read so if I am sitting and waiting somewhere I am able to do some reading.

8. Maintain a big list.

I find that I read much more when I have a big list of books waiting for me. I have a huge list in my journal and plan on slowly ticking them off as I read them throughout 2019.




Tips For An Immediate Happiness Boost

I have mentioned before that I love listening to the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and earlier this month Gretchen posted a blog post with her “Top 30 Tips To Make Yourself Happier, Right Now.”

I am a firm believer in the notion that our mood, our attitude is our choice. Yes, there are outside factors that can influence our mood or attitude but ultimately we are the ones who decide how we will react to those factors and subsequently choose our resulting mood.

Essentially Gretchen says the same. When we find ourselves in a sour or depressed mood we can take intentional and deliberate steps to change this, maybe not completely, but to make ourselves at least a little happier.

Obviously, this list is going to look different for everyone. What makes me happier, or puts a smile on my face may not necessarily do the same for you. But, still, there are many that I’m sure could work for almost anyone.

So here is my list of Tips for an Immediate Happiness Boost:

  • Do ten jumping jacks.
  • Go outside and look at the sky.
  • Pet my dogs. Then…
  • Text a photo of dogs to my family.
  • Re-read a few chapters of a children’s or YA book in a series I love: Graceling, Harry Potter, Narnia etc.
  • Enjoy a beautiful smell.
  • Read my Bible
  • Listen one of my worship teams albums
  • Do a small good deed for someone else.
  • Clear some clutter (I can always find some).
  • Text a friend or family members.
  • Take a minute to be grateful for some basic aspect of my life
  • Clean off my desk.
  • Copy some quotations into my giant trove of quotations.
  • Re-copy my to-do list, so it’s fresh and clean.
  • Go to the library.
  • Watch my favorite episode of Supernatural.
  • Make myself a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Listen to music or watch a Youtube video
  • Listen to a short music loop from a Disney park on Youtube
  • Make a plan for some future fun: plan an outing or add a book to my library list.
  • Tackle some small, nagging task that’s been weighing on my mind.
  • Plan to go to bed early. I always feel better in the morning.
  • Hug a member of my family (whoever’s available).
  • Allow myself to do some quick research on a subject that has been fascinating to me, but is unrelated to my work.  Such as the Titanic, the Holocaust, WWII, the Romanovs etc.
  • Listen to JT Can’t Stop The Feeling or Pharrell Happy

What It Means To Be Thankful

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my word for 2018 is surrender. What I have learned over the past year is that for me surrendering and thankfulness go hand in hand. It is much easier for me to surrender something to God when I remind myself to be thankful for what He has already blessed me with.

Over the last couple of weeks I have felt God speaking this into my heart over and over again, about various different aspects of my life.

I have not spent as much time in my Bible in 2018 as I would have liked. So this past week I decided that that was going to change.

I like to use the She Reads Truth devotionals online and decided to jump into their current one… which just so happened to be about thankfulness.

The first days devotional was about HOW we give thanks and asked the question, “How long do I go without pausing to thank God?”

I found myself thinking about this question over and over again throughout the day and I have made it my goal to intentionally stop throughout each day to thank Him for everything He has done.

I loved what the author of this days devotional said “A grateful heart isn’t a response to our circumstances or possessions. It is a form of worship, a response to what He has already done and continues to do. Turn your heart to the past and present of your great God.”

The second days devotional was about WHY we give thanks.

“Even when we don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to celebrate the sunrise, let alone say, “Do it again!” in those dark morning hours, God’s love for us and for his creation is unbounded. He loves us again, and again, and again, and again. In the face of this kind of love, our hearts will warm with thanksgiving.”


I have had to surrender many things over the past couple of years; our fertility journey, the health and wellness of family members and friends, educational and career decisions, unrest and indecision, and so much more.

But over and over again I have felt God reminding me, telling me to just trust Him, to remember all that He has already done and that all I can really do is just let go because ultimately I am not the one in control.


Just yesterday I stumbled upon a quote that said it all perfectly.

“God loves us too much to answer our prayers at any other time than the right time and in any other way than the right way.”- Lysa Turkheurst

Then this morning this card fell out of my Bible and it’s verse brought it all home.


“The spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”


He is telling me over and over again to surrender it all to him and to be thankful in all circumstances.

Our Dream Home

In late September Nick and I found our dream home.

From the moment we walked in through the front door we knew that this house was meant to be ours.

It has pretty much everything that we have been looking for and just immediately felt like home; within 24 hours we had put our full-price offer in.

As I said in my previous post, through out this whole process it has been my intention to hold everything with an open hand and to surrender it all. I have prayed that we would know which house was ours because God would lead the way and open the doors. That is exactly what has happened.

There were a couple days when we weren’t so sure about the process, when we were worried about closing costs and down payments and when our human thoughts took over and we lowered our eyes to earthly worries and emotions.

But through each of those times God has leaned in and reminded us that he is right here in the middle of it with us and has proceeded to bless us abundantly.

It is now Mid-November and we are in escrow, our down payment has been taken care of, the closing costs are currently sitting in our savings account, documents have been sent in and signed, inspection has been done, appraisal has been done and closing date is set for December 14th.

And… earlier today we received this email from our lender!


As of today we are approved and ready for closing!

God is good all of the time!


Our Home Buying Journey-Part 2

Our current lease is up in January 2019 so we knew that our house hunting would need to begin again in the fall of 2018.

Going into it this time I made the intentional decision to go in with an open mind and to not hold onto anything (or any house) too tightly. Whatever was meant to happen would happen.

Through out the entire process I have prayed the same prayer over and over again “Show us the way God, guide us in this process. Help us to discern what you have meant for us and what you don’t. If we come upon a house that isn’t meant to be ours then let us move on from it and when we find the one that is, make that abundantly clear. Make the process easy and without complication. Let us surrender this to you.”

And that is exactly what we have done. Surrendered it.

At the beginning of September we thought that we were being led to a brand-new, to-be-built town home in a beautiful neighborhood. But this new build meant that we would be on a three month waiting list and then go through a nine month build… essentially another year in an apartment.

But, the price was great, the model was gorgeous, the timing worked out and we were approved for more then enough of a mortgage loan.

But even after getting on the list, deep down we knew that God had something different for us.

Neither of us expected to find a house right away but by the end of September we had looked at dozens of houses, in person and online. In that time we realized that just because we were approved for a specific amount didn’t mean that we had to choose a house that cost that much, we came to a hard truth about how much of a mortgage payment we could really afford and how much we really wanted to pay.

We began looking at houses that cost a little less, we re-evaluated the areas of town that we were looking at.

And after sooo many houses, some close calls and a lot of discussion… we found the one for us.

It’s funny because I had seen the pictures of this house online and thought it was nice but hadn’t really paid it all that much attention.

But from the moment we stepped through the front door, I knew we were meant to live in this house.

Stay tuned to Part 3 for more on our perfect house.


August 2018 Favorites

This one is a little bit late but today I am going to be talking about my August favorites!

Disclaimer before we begin:  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliate Program. Therefore, any Amazon links I share are affiliate links. That means that if you choose to purchase one of these items, the price of the item won’t change for you, but I will receive a small commission for the sale. 

Food and Drink

Rubio’s Bowls-

I have always loved the food at Rubio’s but in August I discovered these bowls…and they are AMAZING. The shrimp is grilled so that it has a little bit of a char on it and the guacamole is always super fresh and smooth. Then once you add in the salsa it just takes it to a whole other level. I could eat this a few times a week and be happy.

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Holy Kombucha-

I have tried several different Kombucha brands over the last few months and these are by far the best. I bought them on a whim from Sprouts because they were two for $5 and instantly loved them. If you are a Kombucha drinker,  I definitely suggest these.

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Kodiak Cakes-

We have been using these for a few years now but I have never shared them before. I love using this to make protein pancakes. I substitue this in for regular flour and we love them. It is the perfect way to get in some extra protein and these are super filling. I have only ever been able to find this brand at Tartget and Costco. But, there are multplie flavors available at Target. These are regular buttermilk but they also have peanut butter and dark chocolate. Both of which I plan on trying.

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This one isn’t a specific product. Creating our own salads at home for dinner is something that I have really been enjoying doing lately. It’s just super simple and I  love how customizable it is. If there are certain things that I like that Nick doesn’t then it is easy for me to leave those things off of his salad and vice versa.

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Brandless Cookies-

We recently put our first order in with Brandless. (If yu don’t know what that is, stay tuned for a review). In that order we got these Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins and let me tell you they are so good! They are thin little, crunchy cookies and they remind me of the small cookies you can get from Mrs. Field’s in the mall.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte- 

Call me Basic, tell me it’s too early… I don’t care. I love me a PSL and I look forward to it each and every year.

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Makeup and Beauty

I don’t have very much in the Makeup and Beauty section this month.

Dollar Shave Club- 

Nick and I decided to give Dollar Shave Club a chance this month. Nick decided that he didn’t like their razors. But, I have actually really enjoyed their products. I have been using their razor and shave butter and definitely plan on ordering again when I run out.

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Brandless Face and Body Products-

Again I will be doing a full review on Brandless soon but they’re products have seriously impressed me. I have been using each of these every day for the last month and love them all. But, by far my favorite is the Green Apple scented Facial Toner. It smells so good and refreshing and it just makes my face feel amazing.


Home Décor and Products

Packing Cubes-

I ordered these packing cubes off of Amazon and while I haven’t been able to actually use them yet, I am already in love with them. The ones I ordered are super cute and girly. I was so excited when I received them I hurried up and “practiced” packing just so that I could try them out.

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Entertainment (TV, Music, Books, Internet)

Carrie Hope Fletcher-

Carrie is an English stage actress and author. I enjoy watching her videos because I love her honesty, bubbly personality. I also love getting the inside look of what it’s like to be backstage for those shows.

Clothing and Accessories

Amy’s Small World Bags-

Stay tuned for a review on these beauties.


This month my priceless moment was getting to spend a day at Cowabunga Bay with my coworker and friend Tina. It was exactly what I needed to get out of work for a little while and reset. We relaxed in the wave pool and splashed down on some awesome water slides. Field trips like these don’t happen often but when they do they are definitely something to remember.


// That’s what I’ve been loving lately! What about you?

What are you putting out? {Guest Post}

Your Energy Speaks Volumes

Have you ever met someone and known you would probably never want to interact with them again? It could have been the conversation, or maybe the interaction was quite short. I would say your energies didn’t align. There is this invisible vibration you release everywhere you go. You can release negative or positive energy.

As they say “Your vibe attracts your tribe”, look around you and you will see a little of yourself in everyone around you. If you don’t like what you see that means you are going through a transition and may have to release some of these negative friends. If you are happy with what you see, this means you’ve aligned yourself with the people that will bring you up when you are down. These people are your tribe and they have your back.

If you’re like me, you have tried to have a few close friends but it’s never worked out. I wish I could tell you why you may not align with anyone but try to just consider yourself a fairy that is trying to gain their wings.

Fairies are still trying to figure out who they are and what they can give to the world. They are learning and observing the world around them. People watch them from afar and may think they’re interesting but don’t get close because they still don’t quite get them. For the fairy, it can be lonely at times, but eventually, you understand it’s just the process to gain your wings. Try to keep the faith that you’ll find other fairies or in my case a husband that is attracted to fairies.

There will be moments you want to crank up the positive energy, such as an interview, on a date, meeting new friends, or on a business deal. This can be done by increasing your positive thinking and letting your inner light shine. There will also be a moment where you will want to dim your light, grocery shopping, the gym, and when you see someone you don’t want to talk to. These are all the moments I really don’t want to attract attention, but you may have others. Think of your energy or light whatever you choose to call it, as the little gem in a Troll. You can let it shine or you can allow it to dim. You may not have control of this light, but you can learn in time.

There are several ways you can brighten your inner light such as; meditation, reiki, chakra clearing, healing stones, yoga, mantras, and just by being a good person. These may be familiar or I may be speaking another language. If I’m speaking another language and you’re interested I suggest you start your research. As you’re researching your mind will feel as if you are entering this whole new world of endless possibilities. This feeling is overwhelming and exciting at the same time. Good luck on your journey of finding yourself and your inner light.

Stay Light, My Friends!

By: Vanessa Duckworth

Our Home Buying Journey- Part 1

Our journey to our first home began about a year and a half ago. We somehow ended up at an open house and ended up trading info with a realtor. But, we never actually expected to be contacting her; the open house had been for fun and not because we were seriously looking.

That is until we stumbled upon this gorgeous house that we fell in love with (and I don’t even remember how we found it). We immediately contacted said realtor so that we could try to get in to see it. Unfortunately, because of the beautiful house, the neighborhood and very reasonable price, it went quickly, within 24 hours it was gone.



It came and went so quickly that we never even really had the chance to fully get our hopes up. So the loss of that particular house wasn’t too bad.

But, finding this house set off a chain reaction and next thing we knew we were in full on house hunting mode.

We spent the next couple of months looking at house after house and all though we did find a few that we loved, there were none quite like that first one.

Then after some long conversations between Nick and I, a decision was made to cut ties with that realtor and that we weren’t quite ready to move forward yet. We decided that we would sign another lease and stay in an apartment for another year.

This is what we have done, we have spent nine months in our current apartment and are on the cusp of beginning our house hunting once more.


Stay tuned to my next post for the latest episode in our home buying saga.


Inappropriate Questions…

Today I am going to be talking about one of my biggest pet peeves. Something that bugs the crap out of me each and every time it happens… and unfortunately it happens to me pretty often.

I think that one of the rudest and inappropriate things that anyone can ask a woman is if she pregnant.

Unless you KNOW for certain, without a doubt. This type of comment or question should NEVER be made because you just don’t know what someone is going through or how that comment or question could hurt the said person.


My weight is something that I have been struggling with for several years. It is something that I deal with each and every day. I don’t need to be reminded of it by complete strangers.

I carry most of my weight in my stomach. That is just how I am built, it is the type of body that God blessed me with. And yes, I will admit that with a certain type of dress or top on, it can look like I have a pregnant belly. I’m not refuting that… but it should never be commented on especially by someone who doesn’t even know me.

I work in Human Resources in a rather large casino and I speak to people all day, every day. I can’t say that this question is asked of me, every day but it does happen fairly often.

Most recently, I was walking out of the restroom and through the dressing area when a Team Member looked at me, gave an audible gasp and said: “Are you pregnant?”

“No”, I said, “I think it’s just the dress.”

These types of questions can be so hurtful, for multiple reasons.

Being asked if you are pregnant (when you are not) can completely strip someone of their confidence, can place shame or guilt into their heart and mind and can completely undo all of the positive that they have been working on.

It can make them feel that their body is this problem that needs to be solved and like everyone has noticed it.

But what is sad is that women of all shapes and sizes get asked this question, women, with smaller bodies and women with larger ones—and everywhere in between.


Also what people don’t realize is that it’s not just about the physicality of it. It’s not just about the weight. It is so much more than that.

That woman doesn’t realize that she has asked me if I am pregnant when I have been trying to get pregnant for the last year and a half. So having to say “No, I am not pregnant” is just a reminder that I am not. It is just another small stab in the heart.

That woman doesn’t know if asking this question to a woman who has suffered a miscarriage or to a woman who is pregnant and has just found out that her baby is ill in some way.

You don’t know. So don’t ask. Unless I voluntarily provide the information and open the door for the conversation don’t ask; especially to a complete stranger.

Don’t ask because it can be shaming. It can have a potentially harmful impact.

Don’t ask because pregnancy status is not public knowledge until we decide it is. People’s bodies and health status are not public domain. And you never know what someone is experiencing or going through.




I hope this post made sense and that I haven’t rambled on too much. I wrote this soon after said encounter and am still a little peeved.

How I Combat Anxiety

Anxiety is something that I have just started dealing with in the last several years. In all honesty, it is not something that occurs on a regular basis but on the occasion that it does happen it can be pretty bad.

I know that anxiety and panic attacks can present themselves differently for everyone and not everyone is going to experience or feel the same exact things.

Typically for me, I begin to feel panicky and a bit flustered. I can feel my heart rate pick up and I get a feeling, almost like that butterfly in the stomach feeling, but not in a good way. I begin to feel nervous, but I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that I am nervous about.

I have found that I usually begin to feel this way when I am behind at work and my office looks like a bomb went off inside of it, when I haven’t slept well or when I have a lot of events coming up, or have a lot of things on my mind vying for my attention.

Some seasons are better than others and I can go for months without feeling this way and other times it happens more often. So I have, in the past, made an effort to find out what I can do to help combat this anxiety when it does creep up.

I. Drink a cup of tea or coffee

I know that for most people consuming caffeine is the last thing that they want to be doing when they are already stressed or anxious.

But for me, there is nothing that I find more relaxing than sitting down with a warm cup of tea or coffee. I love the feeling of the warm cup in my hand and just sitting and slowly inhaling the scent coming out of my mug. I also have a thing for coffee mugs so using one of my favorite mugs is also a small way to bring a little bit of cheeriness to an otherwise stressful time.

II. Yoga

Yoga is something that I have been doing on and off for years that I have a kind of love-hate relationship with. I enjoy doing yoga itself and have found that it really helps to relax me. But, I also find myself striving for perfection and wanting, to do these intricate, advanced poses which can sometimes stress me out even more.

But, I have found that if I am able to clear my mind and get rid of any expectations, it really helps me to calm down and relax.

III. Quiet Time

Something else I have noticed is that when I have not been spending time in my Bible or in prayer I begin to feel more stressed and anxious. I know that it is because I am holding onto earthly things too tightly and  I am trying to be in control, instead of letting Him be in control.

So whenever I begin to have anxiety attacks I know that I have slacked off on my quiet time with God.

IV. Journal

I don’t currently keep a journal in the traditional “Dear Diary” type way. I have a prayer journal that I use to keep track of what I am praying about and what I am currently working on and through and this serves as my “journal”.

V. Get Outside

This one is relatively new to me. The apartments that we are currently living in have a beautiful outdoor/pool area and lately, I have loved laying out there and just relaxing after work. Sometimes I will lay out by the pool, other times I will lay in one of the hammocks and read and sometimes I will go to the rooftop deck and do yoga. Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine really helps me to relax, decompress and sort of reset myself.

I especially cannot wait to continue this as the summer winds down and we move into fall when the temperatures begin to drop.






How I Bible Journal

I received my journaling Bible for Christmas in 2017 and immediately began filling the  blank pages with doodles and notes. Now, I by no means consider myself  ‘artistic.’ But, I kept pushing through, watched all of the Youtube videos and have managed to pull off some pretty decent looking pages.

Here are the 7 ways that I began Bible journaling and some pictures of some of my pages.

1 – Spend time with God

I try to take inspiration from as many places as I can. I try to find different ways of spending time with God and waiting to see what he lays on my heart whether that is through a devotional, specific verse or even worship music. I really like taking inspiration from scripture because it then allows me to process and think through that piece of scripture when I create an entry around it.

 2 – Pray about it

I pray before I begin; pray for God’s direction, and listen. He knows what I need to hear, and He will call me toward the verse or lyric that will most benefit me at the time. Reflect upon what He is telling me. Spend some time meditating on His Word.

 3 – Write it down

I contemplate what is God telling me? I jot down any heartfelt words of praise that come to me and think about what the verse means to me, and how can I apply it?

4 – Draw it

I then pull those truths into the margins. Whether that is through notes, a simple doodle, or a full on art spread. I try not to worry about the end result, but me mindful and purposeful about what I am learning and what God is trying to tell me in the moment.

5 – Date It

I didn’t do this at first but then I realized that this is a way for me to document what I am reading and what I am learning. This Bible is my way of documenting my journey with Him and my spiritual walk.I love going back over the pages and seeing how far I have come and how much  I have learned. I also love the idea of the Bible becoming a keepsake—maybe one that I could even pass on to my children some day. So, now when I finish my entry, I add the date.

6 – Tab it

I also mark my entries to keep track of themes throughout my Bible. Adding a tab to each entry creates a gorgeous index of your study of His Word.

7 – Forget the rules

It isn’t always easy but I try not to focus on perfection. I try not to worry about my Bible looking like someone elses. This is my personal journey in the Word.

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How I Am Working To Be A Godly Wife

Going into our marriage Nick and I knew that one of our biggest goals as husband and wife was to keep God at the center. We have now been married just over three years, have we always succeeded with this goal? Absolutely not. We fall short, all the time but the most important thing is that the intention is there and that we always bring ourselves right back.

So, in doing my part in this relationship. I strive to do my best and do everything I can to be a Godly wife. These are some of the ways that I strive towards this:

  1. I try to do everything I can to allow God to transform my heart, mind, and life. My word for 2018 is Surrender and that word has come into play in a huge way in my life (and Nick’s) as we navigate this TTC journey. I have to allow God to transform my heart when I am feeling impatient or angry. I have to allow Him to transform my mind when I am having negative thoughts. And I have to surrender to Him in order to allow Him to (hopefully) transform my life and give me (us) the blessing of a child.

2. I strive to be patient and show grace in every situation that I can. This one is difficult for me sometimes. I tend to have a somewhat unforgiving nature and I take things very personally. So, I am learning that I need to reign in my emotions and not jump to conclusions. I have learned that holding my tongue, keeping quiet rather than responding in anger, and showing grace and offering forgiveness (just as I would want) are all ways to grow towards being a more Godly wife.

3. Being respectful is a huge deal. I remember several years ago during a relationship series at church my Pastor saying “Women want to be loved, and men want to be respected.” Those words have stayed with me over the years and I try to make it a point to always show respect to my husband.

4. Keep the focus on my own heart, sin, and obedience to the Lord. This one is always the hardest for me. I tend to point fingers and want to blame everyone else rather than taking a look at myself and my own heart and actions.

What I am learning is that in order to be a Godly wife I need to remember that at the end of the day, my walk with Christ is a private one. I need to focus on repenting my OWN sin, not my view of someone else’s. Another statement that my Pastor has made that has stuck with me is “the only person you can change is you.” I need to pray for God to change ME, I need to focus on me, myself, and I.

5. I need to focus on the positive rather than the negative.  I always strive to be a “glass half full” type person but sometimes it’s a struggle. So this year I am really making an effort to focus on the positive. Every day I thank God for my husband and the good things about him and the good things that he does.

6. I need to understand that if my husband does change it is not because of something that I said or did or even prayed about. It is because God saw fit for Him to change and He is changing Nick into the man that he calls him to be.

7. Even if I don’t pray for my husband to change, I should (and do) pray for him to be blessed.

8. My spiritual well-being and growth is no one’s responsibility but my own.

9. It is important for me to let him SEE and experience what God is doing in my heart by a change in my attitude, countenance, respect, kindness, patience, peace, joy, etc…

10. Learning what my husbands Love Language is and speaking that language. This is something that I have really been trying to focus on lately. Nick is definitely more of a Type-A, clean, organized, OCD type person then I am and I would definitely say that his top love language is Acts of Service. This is one reason why I have been striving towards greater time management and organization. I also know that having a clean organized home is important to Nick (and if I have to admit it, it does make me feel better as well) so this is something that I work on in some capacity every day.

11. I need to find all of my happiness, security, peace, and identity in Jesus alone, not in what your husband does or does not do. A couple of years ago I read the book Sacred Marriage and it completely changed my outlook. What if the point of marriage isn’t to make you happy, but to make you holy? This book really drove home the point of having God as the center of our marriage. Let’s face it no one is going to make you happy, every second of every single day. Not even especially not your spouse. There are going to be times when we aren’t going to be very happy with one another and while of course, we will always love each other, there may be times when we don’t necessarily like each other. While Nick does, of course, make me happy, he is not my sole source of happiness. I need to find my happiness and ultimate joy in Christ, not in Nick.

12. If I want to be a Godly wife then I need to spend as much time as possible with the Lord in order to be filled up with Him. I cannot pour from an empty cup.

Here is a prayer that I have been praying for us and myself lately.

Please give us the light we need on each step of this journey. May we surrender ourselves fully to all that You desire to do in our hearts and minds and in our lives separately and as a couple. Help us to embrace Your wisdom and Your Spirit. I pray that we would hear Your voice clearly and follow You wholeheartedly. Please make me into the godly woman You call me to be.  Amen!

How I Make The Most Of My Quiet Time With God

My Bible reading and prayer life have taken many twists and turns. When I first became a Christian and I began feeling the need to continually pray and to read my Bible I thought that praying before bed and reading my Bible for 15 minutes a day was enough. (And for some of you, it may be).

But for me, over the years I have realized that I need more than that. I have realized that it is very easy for me to get caught up in the minutia of life, in the details and forget what is important.

Spending enough time in the Word and in prayer is still something that I struggle with. I don’t do it every day as I set out to, and I can’t always force myself up and out of bed to spend half an hour in my Bible or scribbling out my prayers.

But, I know myself well enough now to know that when I am feeling stressed or angry or like my emotions are out of wack, it is because I am spending too much time on earthly things and not enough time with my Heavenly Father.

So, a few years ago I set out to find what worked best for me and what would help me the most. I experimented and tried many different ways of praying and studying my Bible.

Here is what I found and how I have learned to make the most of my quiet time:

Writing my prayers down

I am a visual person. I write everything down, I learned long ago that if I don’t write it down, I will forget it. This act of writing my prayers down was a game changer for me. This wasn’t a concept that I was really familiar with until I stumbled upon these two Youtube videos.





“I love binders, paper, school supplies… this is perfect me! Why have I not heard of this before?!” My exact thoughts after watching these videos. I immediately created my own.






It has been several years since I first saw these videos and created my own Prayer Notebook and over the years my method of doing this has evolved. After several months of using my Prayer Notebook, I found that I much preferred having something smaller that I could carry with me if I wanted to so I transferred into a Prayer Journal and this is the method that I have been using ever since.

Watch the Youtube video below for a flip through of the Prayer Journal that I have been using for the last two years.




In this journal I thank God for his blessings, I pray about my feeling and the things that are making my heart sink. I write down what I am hoping for, what I am asking God for, and what I need. I have a section where I write down my confessions; confessions of selfishness, unforgiveness,  and about my own mess. I pray for my husband, my parents, my in-laws, our siblings, and nephews and niece. I write down the names of all of the people in our lives who I am praying for. I write down my greatest joys and painful heartbreaks.

One of the aspects that I love the most about having a Prayer Journal is that it helps me to remember. It is a visual reminder of what I have prayed for and what prayers God has answered. It helps me to remember the things that I am waiting patiently for. It helps me to remember the things that I have prayed for that God has said no to so that I do not forget that ultimately He is in control and everything is in His hands.

I also love how seeing what I have already been blessed with gives me the hope to pray even bigger prayers. In the video above you will see that I have a section for Answered Prayers; this is my favorite part of my Prayer Journal. I am only human and once those prayers are answered I tend to forget all about them and move on to the next thing to pray about. Having this section allows me to remember what I prayed for, what I waited for, and what was answered.

This journal also serves as a sort of keepsake, it allows me to see what my desires were, what was stressing me out or causing worry, what I felt called to pray about and what direction my life was going in at any particular time. I look through and stumble upon so many prayers, written in the early morning before my coffee kicked in, that I don’t even remember writing.

It gives me the gift of hindsight, reminding me of how big of a mountain I saw in front of me at the time and how now I see how tiny and insignificant it actually was.

Some days my prayers are a scribbled list of names, or of things I am grateful for and some days, it’s flowing paragraphs. Somedays what I am praying for doesn’t even make it down onto the paper and instead, the words just fall out of my mouth.

What I have learned most is that no matter how I choose to pray God hears my heart’s prayers. He doesn’t care how I do it; the journal, the paper, the pretty colors… those are for me. All He cares about is that I come to Him openly and honestly with my deepest fears and desires.

So get a journal, get a pen. Get a sticky pad and a marker. It doesn’t matter what it is; just get something. Write your prayers down and I promise you that your relationship with our Lord and your prayer life will be changed forever.


Supplies I use:


July 2018 Favorites

Today I am going to be kicking off a new round of posts, my Monthly Favorites. I love hearing about products that other people are enjoying. I have found so many great products through the types of posts; products that I never would have otherwise known about or tried.

So, every month I will write a post discussing what products I have used and loved. These products will usually fall within the following categories: Food and Drink, Makeup and Beauty, Home Décor and Products, Entertainment, Clothing and Accessories, and Priceless.

I got the Priceless idea from Blair Lamb and I think that it is the perfect way to keep my focus on being grateful for things that are not material or tangible.  If you have not seen Blair’s Youtube videos, you need to check out her channel at

Disclaimer before we begin:  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliate Program. Therefore, any Amazon links I share are affiliate links. That means that if you choose to purchase one of these items, the price of the item won’t change for you, but I will receive a small commission for the sale. 

Food and Drink

  • Cotton Candy Grapes- Oh my word! You guys these are soo good! Or, at least I think they are, Nick thought that they were just okay. But, I love them. You can find them at most grocery stores I believe. I have heard that you can find them at Costco and Sam’s Club, I have looked for them at both and could not find them. But, I have seen them pretty consistently at Sprouts. But! beware because they can be a little pricey.
  • La Croix Sparkling Water Cran-Raspberry Flavor- Nick and I stopped keeping soda in our house years ago and for a long time, I was drinking fruit juices instead. But, lately I have been trying to be more conscientious of how much sugar I take in and I am trying to be more intentional about how much water I drink. Therefore, lately, I have been drinking a lot more sparkling water. I can’t tell you how many flavors of La Croix I have tried but I can tell you that this by far is my favorite.
  • Bai Antioxidant Drinks- I have been seeing this everywhere lately. I finally decided to get one and try it. I believe that the flavor we got was the pomegranate and it is so good. Nick even tried it and he actually liked it which is awesome since the drink is full of antioxidants (hence the name). We will definitely be ordering more of these.
  • Walmart Grocery Pick Up- We have been using this service through Walmart for the last two months and we absolutely love it. I am typically in charge of creating our meal plan for the week and creating the grocery shopping list. In the past, I was notorious for creating our meal plan at the last minute and just throwing things on the grocery list and I was always forgetting things so we would end up going to the grocery store multiple times and going over budget. But, with Walmart Grocery Pickup, the app is right there on my phone so as I see that we have run out of something or if I decide there is something that I want to try I can just open the app up right then and there and add it on. We typically go grocery shopping over the weekend when we are both off and using this method has opened up so much more time for us because we don’t have to make time to physically go grocery shopping. We don’t have to spend 15 minutes trying to find a parking spot and another hour fighting the crowds inside Walmart. Usually, on Friday night we will sit down for a few minutes and decide what we want for dinner the following week and I will throw the ingredients we meed in the shopping cart, we make sure that it is within budget and then we pick a time to pick it up. That’s it!

If you would like to try Walmart Grocery Pick Up you can use the link below to get $10 off your first $50 order and we will get $10 off as well. Thanks!

Makeup and Beauty

  • bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream- I have been using bareMinerals for over 10 years and I love their products. I recently purchased this tinted cream from them and I am really enjoying it.

You can find this product on Amazon here:

  • Acrylic Makeup Organizer- You will see in one of my “In The Life” posts that I recently purchased an acrylic organizer to hold my makeup from Target. I absolutely love it. For the last several years I didn’t really use makeup all that often but in the last couple of months I have been putting more effort into getting ready for work and looking more put together so I love how neat and organized this keeps all of my makeup and it is also very easy to use and sits perfectly on my side of the counter.

You can find this product on Amazon here:

Home Décor and Products

  • I don’t have any items in this section for this month.

Entertainment (TV, Music, Books, Internet)

  • She Reads Truth– I have been using the She Reads Truth app off and on for about three years and I really enjoy it. Basically, every few weeks to a month a new Bible reading plan is issued broken down by different topics or chapters in the Bible.  The plans are beautifully designed and well-planned, and I really love the commentary/personal stories that accompany each one.
  • Youtube Channels- I have really gotten into several different Youtube channels over the past couple of months. I have found a variety of channels on a few different topics and I am really loving them. Here are a few of my favorites:
  1. The Stauffer Life- This channel follows the Stauffer Family who consists of Dad-James, Mom-Myka, and 4 of the cutest littles you will ever see!  This family is #goals for me. It just makes me so happy to see the love between Myka and James, their abundant love for their children, and their amazing relationships altogether.
  2. Myka Stauffer- This is Myka Stauffer’s private channel. I love how she covers a variety of topics; she does Days in the Life, cleaning, organization, home-schooling, etc.
  3. Adam Hattan- Adam’s channel covers all things Disney and I just love it! Adam has the most fun and bubbly personality and I just feel like we would be best friends if we ever met in person.
  4. Rachel McGlothlin- On her channel Rachel talks does vlogs, talks about their TTC journey, their road to living a debt-free life, and more.
  5. Blair Lamb- I am pretty much obsessed with Blair’s channel. She does weekly vlogs and tons of other videos and I look forward to each one.
  6. The latest channel that I have found is Amy TV. I love Amy’s personality and how inspired and motivated I feel after watching her videos.

Clothing and Accessories

  • Old Navy- I have recently rediscovered my love of Old Navy. My mom used to buy our clothes from Old Navy when we were kids but I hadn’t really shopped there very often as an adult. But at the end of June (after seeing one of Blair’s videos) I decided to check it out… and guys my wallet has taken a hit. They are constantly having some kind of sale and I have found tons of cute clothing items.


  • 4th of July- Typically for the 4th Nick and I will head out to Boulder City to hang out and watch their amazing fireworks show. But since 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year and we worked the next day we didn’t want to have to fight the traffic out of BC and be home too late. So, we decided to stay in our neck of the woods. We ended up at my parents country club gym, outside at their amazing pool. We got to swim in the cool water, enjoy a couple of drinks, spend time with my parents, and watch the fireworks at the casino next door. It ended up being such a great, relaxed night and we absolutely want to do it again next year.

// That’s what I’ve been loving lately! What about you?

How I Survive The Dreaded Two Week Wait

The journey to a baby is filled with a lot of waiting.  There is waiting in doctor’s offices,  waiting for your next cycle, waiting to see what symptoms you will have each month.  But by far, in my opinion, the two-week wait is the worst.

Going through this process has made me see how impatient I can be. As much as I try to tell myself that everything will be ok and that everything happens in its time waiting each month to see if I am pregnant drives me crazy.

It seems as if these two weeks takes forever. Even though I try to fill these days with work and other obligations, it’s hard to keep my mind from wondering and worrying about whether or not I am pregnant.

I have found that distraction is the best way to combat this and make the time past faster.

Here are some of the things that I try to do to keep myself distracted:

  • Work on my bullet journal or daily journaling.
  • Start a new Bible Study
  • Set some new goals and write out how to achieve them
  • Organize living spaces
  • Pamper myself with long bubble baths and bath bombs
  • Spend time outside in nature
  • Watch a movie I have never seen before
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Do yoga
  • Date nights with my husband
  • Read a new book
  • Give my dogs baths
  • Reorganize my closet and give some things away to charity


What is something you do to keep yourself occupied during the two-week wait?


Graziano Life Week #4

This week was pretty much a nightmare. I arrived to work on Monday to find out that Corporate had arranged for a huge audit to be done and I had to pull a ridiculous number of files and audit them; this project took me the entire week and caused an endless amount of stress.

Luckily, outside of work life at home moved on as normal and my hubby did his best to make me feel better and help bring down my level of stress.

This post will cover Monday, July 16, 2018, to Sunday, July 22, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

After a stressful day at work, I didn’t have the energy to make anything too time-consuming for dinner so we had protein pancakes and scrambled eggs.


At my work, we have a Team Member Dining Room where food is supplied to us for our meals while on the clock. But, the food served is not always the most appaling or healthiest so lately, I have been trying to make my own lunches to take to work. This week I made a Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, which literally only took about five ingredients and only needed to cook for four hours.

enchilada chili

After work in order to relax after work, I did some reading in my First 5 app.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I had that delicious Tortilla Soup for lunch; it turned out so good! I will definitely be making this again.

chili lunch

For dinner, on this day we had grilled chicken, asparagus, and sweet potatoes


After dinner, I did some yoga while watching America’s Got Talent


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

As I said this week was very stressful and so in an attempt to help myself to calm down I drank some peppermint tea.


For dinner today we had Enchilada Bowls which turned out deliciously.

enchilada bowl dinner

Bosty could tell that I was stressed out and barely left my side throughout the week


Thursday, July 19, 2018

This is pretty much what my office looked like for the entirety of this week; pretty much like a bomb had gone off inside of it.


One of our awesome managers saw how stressed out I was and was kind enough to buy me Starbucks as a pick me up.


I believe that I have mentioned this before but if you are a Disney fan you must go check out Lou Mongello’s podcast WDW Radio; listening to it last week while I audited those files was the biggest thing that got me through.

WDW radio

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Trying to stay positive and get through the last day of the work week


After work in an attempt to cheer me up Nick took me on an impromptu trip to Hobby Lobby.

I love Christmas and am half tempted to begin listening to Christmas music now but even I think putting out Christmas trees in July is a little too soon.

hobby lobby

Now that I am working on my Bujo again I decided that I needed some new supplies; these are my goodies from our trip to Hobby Lobby and I have not stopped using them since.

hobby lobby haul


Saturday, July 21, 2018

It was so windy and dusty in Vegas on Saturday that I ended up pulling out my secondary inhaler just in case. (Thank God I ended up not needing it)


Selfie for the day


I stumbled upon these two quotes which I loved


We were originally supposed to have dinner with my mom and nephew on Sunday night but those plans fell through so we decided to check out the new Golden Corral on our side of town.

golden corral

Sunday, July 22, 2018

We started Sunday with a great lunch at Rubio’s, I had a delicious California Chicken Bowl.


This week for lunch I am making an Enchilada Chili; so easy and yummy!

enchildada chili

I pre-made our lunches for the week, fruit bowls, and hardboiled eggs.


Shark Week started today which we are super excited about.

shark week begins

Boston was ready for bed early tonight and is under the impression that my pillow is his to lay on.




Graziano Life Week #3

Hi everybody! I hope you are having a great summer so far and find the time to take it slow and relax.

After the busyness of the holiday, it is nice to get back onto a schedule and into the routine of things.


So here is our next week: July 9, 2018, to July 15, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

This week starts off with my mom’s birthday!

mom bday

We weren’t able to see her on her actual birthday but we went out to dinner with her later on in the week to celebrate.


Boston was not having anything to do with this Monday

to do list

My to-do list for the day

prayer journal

Started my day off in my prayer journal


Coming into work to a completely full inbox is never fun


I am continuing to work on my blog and hopefully continue to reach more people. To those of you reading this, thank you so much! If you would be so kind as to share, like, and follow the blog I would appreciate it so much!

moday hair

Using Snapchat to get through the day 🙂

I have always loved doing yoga and am slowly starting to get back into it. If you have any interest in yoga or fitness and you are not following Jessica Olie on Instagram you should be! You can check her out here @letsstartyoga and her Lets Start Yoga ebook is amazing!


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Tuesday started out pretty good this week; I was having a good hair and looking pretty cute…until this went downhill quick.


I work for Station Casinos and the property that I work at was the very first property to open, back in 1976. This means that our building is very old and sometimes she shows her age…like on the few days a year when it rains.

Everytime that it rains our roof floods and our ceiling tiles fall and we lose power. This is what I walked into on Tuesday; a messed up roof, soaked carpet, and no electricity. I sat in relative darkness for the first two hours of my workday wishing that I could go back home and crawl back into my bed. But, luckily we have an amazing Engineering team who got everything fixed and up and running fairly quickly.

For dinner, on this night we had delicious semi-homemade enchiladas.

dinner 07-10

If you know me personally you probably know that I love anything to do with planners and journals. I am constantly writing in something and making lists and keeping track of one thing or another. So I absolutely love having a Bullet Journal. I don’t know what it is about the process of creating and putting together a Bullet Journal but I find it so relaxing and the perfect creative outlet for me at night after 8 hours at work. I also like the fact that it allows me to sit and watch a couple episodes of my favorite shows while still being somewhat productive and getting some spreads done in my Bujo.

In all honesty, I had given up on Bujo-ing about a year ago and decided to stick to a traditional planner. (I think in reality most of the time it is more fun for me to create the Bullet Journal then it is for me to actually USE the Bullet Journal.)

But, I have accumulated so many friends on Facebook and Instagram and am part of so many groups that talk about Bujo’s and planners and all of these things that I was constantly getting this overflow of information and inspiration that I just felt the draw to get back into it.

So! I have now, in mid-July begun to put together my 2018 Bullet Journal.



My parent’s love to use essential oils and over the years that slowly gotten us kids addicted to them. Peppermint oil has been a life saver for my husband who suffers from migraines and Melaleuca has been a great, natural way for both of us to deal with acne, and I love using lavender when I feel an anxiety attack coming on.

I have heard so many great things about this company Young Living. They sell not only essential oils but all natural cleaning supplies and other products. Nick and I are contemplating becoming members and ordering their Premium Starter Kit.

young living


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Queen of Scotts movie

I saw this preview for the upcoming movie Mary Queen of Scots and it looks sooo good! When it comes to reading and movies I love historical themes, both fiction and non-fiction so this type of movie is very appealing to me.

But, what I really love is that watching this preview sparked my interest in English royalty and I have found a bunch of books on the subject that I am really looking forward to reading.

Right after watching this preview I found this series of books and I am very excited to dive into them. This particular book The Lady of the Rivers is a historical novel by Philippa Gregory. The story is narrated by Jacquetta of Luxembourg, who was the mother of Elizabeth Woodville and covers the reign of the Lancastrian King Henry VI.



Friday, July 13, 2018

One new thing that I have been doing lately is taking these online courses through Skillshare. If you sign up for their free trial you can get two months worth of free classes and they have courses on everything from cooking to photography and even human resources and business classes.

You can find them here:

So since I have been working on my bullet journal again and have also been using it as a sort of art journal as well I decided to take a doodling course as my first class.

Below is one of the doodles that I created.


doodling class

Today we took my mom out to her favorite restaurant (and mine) for her birthday dinner. I have loved Cracker Barrel for as long as I can remember and I was so happy when they finally opened one here in Vegas. I would happily eat here every week but Nick (while he does like it) is not quite so obsessed so we typically come about once a month. And I always order the exact same thing; grilled chicken tenderloin, mac & cheese, and dumplings. Hmmm!

cracker barrel


Saturday, July 14, 2018

We started Saturday off with lunch at Corner Bakery where I got a delicious chopped salad.

corner bakery

We then headed over to Target where I purchased an acrylic organizer for my makeup and some other goodies. And we also made a pitstop at Panera because I am obsessed with their green tea.

green tea

If you have never tried Kodiak Cakes, you need to right away! We use them to make protein pancakes and they are sooo good and full of protein! We also found out that they now have oatmeal so we grabbed one of those to try.


We then headed to church for an AMAZING sermon from Carlos Whittaker the author of the book Kill the Spider.



We then browsed around Barnes and Noble where I spent way to much time looking through ALL of the books.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

We had lunch at Farmer Boys and I enjoyed another amazing salad.  I pretty much killed it with meals on this particular weekend!

farmer boys

We also went to Ulta so that I could do a return and bought this awesome Makeup Kit instead.


Meal Prep Life {Guest Post}

How do you start your Sunday?

I start it out by taking out a blank sheet of paper and planning out all my meals for the week. I’ve attached a picture of how I organize my meals and create a grocery list at the same time.

Meal Plan list

This list doesn’t need to be pretty or perfect; just list out what you need for each meal


It usually takes me about 30 minutes to find recipes online or on my favorite app Pinterest. Many people meal prep to stay on track with their weight loss goals, save money, or just stay organized. We’ve been meal prepping for a couple of years now but became serious about it 7 months ago when my husband and I became serious about shedding some pounds.

In December 2017 my husband was told he had high cholesterol, and I knew a change was in order. We were enjoying fast food way too much, and most of our debit card charges were from eating out.

Meal prep is an adjustment, but I promise it will bring more positive results than negative. In these last 7 months, we have evolved in so many positive ways.

Crazy right?! How meal prep can bring positive changes. I’m not going to lie, we have slipped but that’s ok, we start back on the right track the next day or maybe the next week. What’s important is that you get back on the wagon.

In our experience, we have lost weight, stayed on budget, and gained more energy from meal prepping and planning. My husband also received an A+ on his yearly checkup. His cholesterol is normal, and his doctor was very pleased. We have also learned that we actually have the willpower to not eat all the things that are tasty.

Our mindset before was pretty much eating whatever we wanted and to not worry about the outcome. Unfortunately, my husband and I clearly do not have fast metabolisms and we did not inherit the skinny gene. What does that mean? That means we look at a cupcake and gain weight. Haha!

Here’s the thing, I refuse to consider meal prep as a diet. I have decided that it is a way for us to eat healthily and eat smaller portions. If you’re interested in the process then keep reading and if you’re not, chalk this up as an interesting read but not a change you’re willing to make.


Sunday (Day 1):

  • Build your menu for the rest of the week. Include; Breakfast, Snacks, Lunch, and 5 to 7 days of Dinners. We eat the same breakfast and lunch Mon-Thurs and have a free day on Friday.
  • Go grocery shopping, most of my items are organic but that would be your preference.
  • Meal prep all your breakfast, snack, and lunch for the week. I place everything in one bag and take it to work for the whole week. Taking our meals once a day gave us the room to forget them.
  • If you decide to make all your dinners for the week, you can freeze some and refrigerate others. (I make dinner fresh every day, and I’m not a fan of microwaving food.)


Monday- Thursday:

  • Don’t think at all about what you’re going to eat, enjoy the pre-made healthy choices you have already prepared.
  • Prepare or microwave your dinners.



  • It’s our free day at work



  • You can make some cool meals with anything extra you have in your pantry. Get creative, and have a little fun!


  • Rinse and Repeat


Here are some pictures from my own meal prep:


pizza    toppings


Good Luck, and feel free to email me with any questions

Stay Light, My Friends!

By: Vanessa Duckworth



California- June 2018

At the beginning of June Nick and I took a weekend trip out to California for our nieces first birthday party.

Here is a photo recap of our trip:

Out trip started out with a trip to the airport with my favorite baby, my nephew Severus.


Beautiful view from our Alaskan Airlines plane


On Saturday we headed from the Buena Park area over to the Chino Hills area where my brother in law lives for our niece Ivy’s 1st birthday party.


After the the party on Saturday we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and to wonder around… and of course I had to do some shopping!


On Sunday we grabbed some breakfast and headed to LAX for our flight.

What I’ve Learned So Far…

As I mentioned in my TTC Journey post, my husband and I are just starting to get back into the habits and routines of this journey.

As we begin again I have been contemplating what I learned from our last experience, what can I do differently this time?

The last time I went to the OBGYN the nurse made it clear that one of the biggest aspects of TTC is keeping track of everything; my period, my ovulation, basal temps etc. She said that these things would be the first thing that an infertility doctor would ask for.
In hindsight, I think that her throwing out the “I word” and being referred to an infertility doctor after just three months of trying may have been the catalyst for my loss of hope and giving up for a while.
Going into that appointment I had felt optimistic about finding a reason as to why I hadn’t gotten pregnant yet. But that optimism was short-lived.
I went in expecting one of two results. I expected to either be told that it was still early and that we should get serious about our tracking everything and keep trying and then to come back in six months to a year or that I would have been sent for bloodwork and glucose testing and Nick would have been sent for a Semen Analysis.
But, none of those things happened. The doctor and nurse stated that they didnt want to begin running tests because those labs could be pricey once your insurance  company finds out that you are doing testing for infertility. They didn’t send Nick for any tests either and simply gave us the names to some infertility doctors in town.
Now that we are starting to get back into the swing of things I believe that our best course of action is to begin looking into a new OB and to continue trying to conceive on our own for a few more months and if we aren’t pregnant by the end of this year, then we can discuss next steps.

It has taken me a little while for me to process everything. But as I said over the last several weeks I have begun to reflect and look at everything from a new perspective.

Here are a few things that I have learned throughout this journey so far:

1. It’s important that I have as much information for my doctor as possible, whether that’s a new OB or an infertility doctor in the future.

I do currently use the Ovia app to track my cycles but I know that I am a visual person and work much better with things on paper. So, I will be starting a Journey to Baby binder or notebook. I know myself and I love binders and journals and this will guarantee that I use it and keep everything up to date.

2. I have to keep open communication with my husband. We’re in this together—it’s not my burden to carry alone.

I already knew how frustrating it was for Nick each month so I hesitated to increase that with my feelings of defeat.

But I have realized that we need to be able to share our feeling with each other and be honest with each other. We are in this together.

3. Along the same lines as number two, I can’t keep my feelings bottled up. I need to acknowledge them and allow myself to feel them and process them. Especially the intertwined messy emotions of envy and happiness and anger when others get pregnant. I need to remember that I don’t know what else is going on in their lives or what they have struggled with.

4. I can’t try to do this on my own and keep everything to myself. I’m typically a pretty private, introverted person so I didn’t share very much with anyone those first few months and each unsuccessful cycle just ate away at my hope.

This is one of the reasons why I decided to start this blog. This is a way for me to express those emotions and keep everyone updated in a way that I feel comfortable with .

This time I want to surround myself with the support of our family and friends. And I have found a great community of other bloggers and Youtubers who are experiencing the same things.

5. I have to stop denying the struggle. Getting pregnant is not easy for everyone and actively trying to conceive is hard.

6. It’s okay to track everything, even if it seem silly. You never know what piece of information will be important until it is.

7. It is our decision how much of this journey we share with others, even if that varies at any given time. Today I may feel forthcoming with how it’s been going, but next week I may prefer to talk about anything else.

8. Struggling to conceive, whether it’s your first or third and whether it’s been 3 months or 3 years is deeply personal and emotional.

9. I HATE how early pregnancy and pre-period symptoms are extremely similar.

I don’t know what the future will hold for us, but I do know that whatever does happen is part of God’s plan.


Graziano Life Week #2

So… after re-reading last weeks “In The Life” post I realized that I cut the post off on Friday and totally left out Saturday and Sunday. Oops!

So this week’s post will include a couple of extra days; Saturday, June 30 through Sunday, July 8.

Saturday June 30, 2018

I started off Saturday by heading to the pool.


On Saturday I had my hair trimmed and colored for the first time in over a year. I’m still kind of on the fence about how it turned out but for the most part I do like it.


We ended the night with the premier of our favorite tv show.



Sunday July 1, 2018

We started off Sunday with a breakfast date at Denny’s and then spent the rest of the day running errands.

Yes, I have an obsession with Snapchat filters


Monday July 2, 2018

Knowing that we had Wednesday off made the week go by much faster.

This week was a payroll week (meaning we get paid on Friday) so I need to make sure that I have everything in the system that needs to be and all paperwork sent to Payroll.


I’ve started having yogurt and fruit for breakfast. Yum!


Tuesday July 3, 2018

On Tuesday our new buffet opened at work and I was able to have lunch there with my coworkers. It is great! We also got to take a sneak peak at one of the new restaurants opening up soon.


After work I gave the dogs bathes and finished up my to-do list knowing that I wouldn’t be getting much done on Wednesday.



Wednesday July 4, 2018

We had a great day on 4th of July!

We joined my parents at their gym that is across the street from one of the casinos that shoots off fireworks so we were able to hang out in the water, relax by the pool, and get front row seats to the show.


Thursday July 5, 2018

july 5

I did not want to go back to work on Thursday morning!

lily july 5

Lily was pooped from those fireworks keeping her up!


Friday July 6, 2018

On Friday after work I stopped at Target to pick up dog food but you can’t go to Target and not browse right?

I’ve had my current wallet for 3-4 years and it is starting to come apart and I loved this little polka dotted wristlet. I am also looking for a bag/purse to take on our cruise in November that will be good pool and beach side.

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Isn’t this the cutest little bathing suit for a little girl?! (I can’t help it)


We usually try to eat dinner at home Sunday-Thursday and eat out Friday night for dinner, Saturday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for lunch. We typically spend about $80 a week on eating out but we are trying to cut that down by sharing more often.

Another way we are trying to cut down is by using coupons and such more often. So, on this day we went to Macaroni Grill (which we hadn’t been to in about  four years) because we had a coupon for BOGO Build-Your-Own Pasta Bowls.

dinner july 6

This way my bowl which had angel hair pasta, roasted red peppers, spinach, chicken and mushrooms.


Saturday July 7, 2018

bostom july 6                                                                               Bosty did not want to wake up on Saturday morning!

church july7

We spent Saturday running errands and then headed to church. Above is a video from this service that I recorded… please check it out!

After dinner we headed over to Purple Penguin for the best Snow Cones in town; Banana and Tigers Blood with cream…hmmm!


And that pretty much sums up our week! How was your 4th of July?


Also, do you enjoy these posts? I love reading about people’s day-to-day lives but I don’t know if other people do. Haha

Is it just me? Let me know in the comments below.

Get Ready With Me – June 2018

For the last several months I had been going through a lazy phase where I was sleeping in as late as possible and not really bothering to get fully ready for work. I would throw my hair into a ponytail or bun and keep going. With my work schedule being as full as it is it just didn’t seem worth it.

But over the last month and a half I have been waking up earlier and wanting to be ready to take on the day. I have been trying to really put in the effort and do my hair and makeup, which has involved buying some new products and tools.

I am not all that comfortable in front of the camera so I didn’t do a full on speaking video where I explain the products. But, I will be doing a post in the future that talks about what products I use.

I tend to switch between products depending on whether it’s a work day or a weekend. Like on weekend days when I know I don’t have to be too dressed up I will use a lighter foundation and go easy on the eye products.

I love watching these types of videos and thought that it would be fun to do one myself. I hope you enjoy it.


Praising God Through The Difficult Seasons

Many times over the last 8 months my thoughts have turned to prayer, a response that I am working to make automatic.

There are many times when I cannot find the words in the moment but I know that even when I don’t know what to say the Lord knows my heart and still hears those words that fail me.

I feel grateful for the times when I have seen the small blessings that He pours down on us as if to say “Don’t forget that even in the midst of your waiting, I am here.” So I have made it a habit to look for moments when I can be still and listen for Him.

In these moments I remind myself that my prayers should begin with praise.

But, how do I find the words to praise God when I am waiting for the one thing that I have wanted for as long as I can remember?

I start by reminding myself that the Lord loves me and he is not surprised by what is happening in my life. He knew how my life would play out from the moment he knit me together, He knows exactly what will happen and when and I have to try and rest in that knowledge.

I have learned over the years that praise is the most powerful tool we have in our prayer arsenal. The subject of praise is mentioned over and over again in the Bible.


Just because we accept Christ into our hearts doesn’t mean that we will always have a complete understanding of the work He is doing in our lives. But, it does mean that we should know in our hearts that our God is faithful, loving, unchanging, and ever-present.

So, there may be times when we can’t find praise in our hearts because we don’t understand what God is doing in our lives but even in these seasons we can always praise God for Who He is and for the blessings that He has said Yes to.

Week #1 The Graziano Life

I have been debating whether or not I should do these “Week in the Life” type posts for a while now. I continue to have mixed emotions and wonder if our daily life is interesting enough for this, will anyone read it, and who actually cares what we do on the weekends, what we ate for dinner and what I wore to work.

But, when I was contemplating beginning this blog what kept pushing me was the constant reminder that I love these kinds of blogs. I enjoy seeing and reading about other peoples lives and what their day to day routines are. So, if I enjoy those types of posts then maybe others will too.

Also, a lot of our family members live out of state. So I think that this will be a good way to give those who don’t see us often a glimpse into our lives.

So here it is, real everyday life. You’re going to get a first hand look at all of the things and you’ll see that I’m not that organized, we’re not always that put together, and we sometimes have bad days. But you’ll also see that even though we forget it sometimes, we are happy. Even in the midst of this messy, crazy life.

Fair warning: This will be a lengthy post but keep in mind that it will cover the whole week from Monday June 25, 2018 to Sunday July 1, 2018.


Monday June 25, 2018

As you will have read in my post about becoming an early bird, I have been doing pretty well lately with getting up early. But, I have to admit that I am still not getting up as early as I could be and I still hit the snooze button most mornings.

On this Monday morning, I actually wasn’t particularly looking forward to going to work. The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy in our HR office and it has caused all six of us in the office to butt heads a little bit and be on edge. Also, because of said busyness I had fallen behind on some of my own tasks which just served to increase my dread.

So, I wasn’t at all surprised to walk into my office on Monday morning to this:


By lunch time I needed a little break so I spent some time scrolling through Instagram and came upon this adorable nursery idea:

toy story nursery

And I also spent some time editing and posting new content on my Disney blog:



At 4pm I got in my car and headed home. Once there I cleaned our bathroom and wiped down the counters in our kitchen.

(This is one trick that I have learned recently that really works for me, I clean one part of the house each day. Typically the schedule is Mondays- toilet and counters in the bathroom and kitchen, Tuesdays- floors and vacuum in bedroom, Wednesdays- dust the living room, Thursdays- dust the bedroom, Fridays- clean the bathtub, on Thursdays Nick does the laundry and on Sundays we change the sheets on our bed.)

While I am cleaning I let the dogs eat their dinner and allow whatever I am making for dinner to begin to cook.

Nick usually gets home from work between 5:20 and 5:30pm. I try to have dinner pretty much ready by the time he gets home and finish it up while he is changing and settling in.

We always eat dinner together while we are catching up on our shows; right now we are going back and forth between Sons of Anarchy, Supernatural, and Grey’s Anatomy. On this particular night we had Western Bacon Cheeseburgers and watched SOA.

Typically after dinner we will do the dishes and clean up the kitchen and then Nick takes the trash out.

Once dinner is over then what we do really just depends on the day and how we’re feeling.

On Monday I was still feeling stressed about work so all I wanted to do was relax on the couch. So we spent the rest of the night watching the Avengers before showering and going to bed.


Tuesday June 26, 2018

Tuesday was still a day for catching up on things at work but I felt much more productive and like I got a lot more accomplished then on Monday.

I am going to be getting my hair trimmed and colored on Saturday so I took this picture as a way to document my look now before the change and also because I am really loving the way my current color has grown out.


For dinner on Tuesday night we had a Caesar salad with garlic bread and watched Avengers: Age of Ultron and America’s Got Talent.


While relaxing on the couch watching said TV programs I also made the final decision to start this blog and began working on my first couple of posts.


Wednesday June 27, 2018

I started this morning with a little prayer time as my mom was going in for a procedure on her heart.


I then styled my hair, dressed and did my makeup while also working on a couple of future posts for this blog.


Yes, I take too many Snapchat pictures


Today was a much better day at work; everyone is still a little tense but I was able to get a lot done.


My work to-do list (please ignore my horrible handwriting)


I was even able to take some pictures of my office to share with you all.

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I tend to suffer from the occasional panic attack if I get too stressed out or anxious so I have found that my days are easier if I find ways to relax myself while I’m at work. I do this in several ways such as keeping my to-do list,  listening to my church’s worship songs or Disney music, and drinking tea. But, one of the best ways to ground myself that I have found is listening to podcasts. I usually listen to my friend Lou Mongello on WDW Radio. But, lately I have LOVED listening to the Happier podcast.

If you are looking for tips and tricks for being happier, more content, and more organized in your life then this is the podcast for you. I started listening from the first episode and am currently on episode eight and I absolutely love it.


Over the last few weeks I have developed the habit of going to the pool a few times a week after we eat dinner; some nights I swim laps, sometimes I walk laps in the pool, and some nights I just sit and write in my journal. I have found it to be a great addition to my routine as it gives a chance to be outside in nature and to allow the stress of the work day to fall away.

But in order to get to the pool I have to walk across a four lane street to get to the main building area and in order to do so I have to walk through this crosswalk where there is a button to press so that lights will flash and the oncoming cars will know to stop. But, every single time I hit the button, the light flashes, and the cars DON’T stop. And it makes me ridiculously mad! If I wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t aware of my surroundings I surely would have been hit by now.


There is no better way to relax at the end of the day then with an amazing soundtrack, my journal, the cool water of the pool and the beautiful sunset.


Thursday June 28, 2018

I have been working in Human Resources for my current company for a little more than four years and while some days weeks months  are stressful, I really do enjoy it.

I started off with the company in the hourly HR Representative position and worked in that position from April 2014 – August 2016. In that role I did a variety of tasks including greeting and assisting Team Members as they came into the office, sending New Hires out for drug tests and background checks, and conducting New Hire Processing.

In August 2017 I was promoted to the salaried Benefits Specialist position at a smaller property and then in November 2017 was promoted once more to the Benefits position at a larger property with a much  larger Team Member base and a lot higher volume coming through the office.

Since I started with the company I adopted not only my To-Do List (which you saw above) but I have also adopted a set routine which I have stuck to for the majority of the last four years.

Every morning the first thing I do is check my emails (I typically have anywhere from 20-60 new emails each morning).

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Then I will check the voicemails on my direct line and on my FMLA call-out line (typically 10-50 voicemails).


A big portion of my job is sending out correspondence to Team Member’s regarding a variety of subjects.


Since the office has been so busy lately I don’t get an actual lunch most days but I have also been trying to focus on eating healthier. Therefore, lately I have been trying to have either a salad or a smoothie for lunch.



Friday June 29, 2018

Today was another day for catching up on work; it seems like no matter how much I take off this pile it just continues to grow.



I have a great boss; this is the second property that I have worked at with her. She has spent the last 4 years teaching me, mentoring me and helping me grow; I have gotten both promotions partly because she has recommended me and vouched for me.

One of the things I love about her is that she doesn’t hesitate to show appreciation to her team. Over the years we have developed the sort of “tradition “ of her leaving her bank card on my desk with a note for all of us to order lunch. I’ll never forgot how crazy I thought she was the first time she handed me a $10 and told me to go to the movie theater in the building and get us all popcorn or when she would randomly came into the office closed the door and told everyone to stop what they were doing because she was taking us to the movies.

Today I came into my office to find her bank card and a note of what she wanted from In and Out.



After work I went and got my nails done before meeting Nick for dinner at Red Robin.


After dinner we walked around the mall and got BOGO Frappuccino’s for dessert.


I just can’t help looking through the baby section inside Kohl’s.




Then we headed home and made our grocery list for the week and ordered them online.


We have been using Walmart Pickup for the last month and a half and we absolutely love it. We buy our fruits and veggies from Sprouts but most everything else we get from Walmart. We have always shopped at Walmart but hated going inside and dealing with the chaos. This way is so much easier, we are able to still get everything we need, and we don’t have to go into the store because our groceries are brought right out to our car.

If you live near a Walmart that offers pickup and would be willing to give it a try, we both HIGHLY recommend it. In fact we love it so much that we have a referral code that will allow you to get $10 off your first purchase, all you have to do is click the link below.



The Beginning Of Our TTC Journey

This is one journey that I never expected to be on. Before my husband and I decided to really start trying to conceive, it didn’t really dawn on me that we would actually have to “try”. I knew and understood that it doesn’t always just happen at the drop of a hat, that everyone is different and that sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get pregnant. But, the full scope of what that entails never fully entered my mind. You don’t know, until it’s you.

In all honesty, we are still just beginning this journey and we are not dropping the “I word” just yet, I just feel like it is too early for that. Honestly, while we have been “trying” we haven’t been giving it our full attention and effort. Most of this is on my part, as I’ve mentioned before I am a procrastinator by nature and that tends to effect all aspects of my life (it’s who I am, I have accepted it. But, I am working on it).

So while we have been trying to conceive for about eight months without success, I have also not been fully tracking my cycle, using ovulation kits etc. for portions of those eight months.  Lately, I’ve come to realize that when we began trying I expected to have a new little bundle of joy on the way fairly quickly and I dove right in. I purchased the What to Expect Before Your Expecting book and a basal thermometer and ovulation kits and all of the things that the Pinterest posts and YouTuber’s said I should.

And each month for three months, my period was late and I was convinced that I was pregnant. And each month I took a pregnancy test and got a Big Fat Negative.

It was hard going through the two week wait each month. It was hard taking those pregnancy tests and thinking of all the ways that I would tell Nick that we were pregnant. It was hard talking to Nick about how we would tell our mom’s and then not needing to.

For those first three months I became obsessed. I downloaded several apps and joined groups and communities online and was constantly reading articles and looking up pregnancy symptoms that I thought I had.

And then after that third month, I became discouraged and I all but gave up. I stopped taking the prenatal’s my doctor gave me, stopped tracking my cycle, we didn’t purchase anymore ovulation kits, and the excitement was gone.  I just didn’t think that I could keep going through that every month. The hope and desire have remained over these last several months but I just didn’t feel like I could continue to put in the effort.

But, slowly over the last month I have begun praying for our TTC journey again, praying for both Nick and I individually and as a couple and have felt that desire to really try again. I know that it probably won’t be easy, in fact it may get harder, but I am learning to remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that everything happens on God’s time.

What really brought it home for me and helped me to begin to process everything again was this piece of scripture:

TTC Jounrey

All we have to do is continue to ask and God will provide in whatever way he sees fit.


Thanks for coming along on this journey with us and if you have experienced or are currently going through something similar I would love to hear from you.



On the Road to Becoming an Early Bird

Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?

Honestly, I can’t say that I fall into either of these categories.

99.9% of the time I despise getting up early and I can’t say that I much like staying up too late either. Most nights I am in bed by ten and asleep before eleven.

For years, I have tried (and failed) to become a morning person. There are times when I succeed in getting up early for months and then next thing I know I’m going through a season where I’m hitting the snooze button three or four times each morning.

I chalk this up to the ebb and flow of life, to stressful times and times of peace. If I’m relaxed and in a good place, I sleep well and can drag myself out of bed at a decent time. But, if I’m stressed or feeling anxious then a fire could be raging around me and I wouldn’t want to get out of bed any earlier then necessary.

Every year one of my goals is always the same…to become a morning person.

I strive to wake up early enough to have sufficient time to pray, spend time in the Word, journal and make myself presentable for work. And like I said, sometimes I succeed…but not always; it has not become an ingrained habit.

Instagram and YouTube are full of women who can jump right out of bed, begin their days with a healthy breakfast, get in a killer workout, and get things accomplished all before leaving for work or beginning their day.

I would love to be that kind of woman and sometimes I am (or at least my version of that woman).

But, I would love to make this a sustainable, permanent reality.

I’m on a mission to become a morning person.

For me the most difficult part is the physical act of getting out of bed. Most mornings I am warm and cuddled up to my husband and/or one or both of our pups so the last thing I want to do is get out of bed.

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                                          He doesn’t like to get out of bed either 


But once I’m awake and out of bed, I actually really enjoy being up early. I love the still silence around me when everyone else is still sleeping. I love making myself a cup of coffee or tea and reading my Bible or writing in my prayer journal.

But there is something about the act of actually pulling the covers back, putting my feet on the floor, and stumbling into the next room that stops me in my tracks.


I am happy to say that right now I am well on my way to catching that worm.

For the last several weeks, I have managed to get up and out of bed with enough time to go through my daily to-do list, style my hair and put my makeup on.

And here’s how I have done it:

I started off by reading other blogs and watching YouTube videos to see what others had found helpful and I did my research and read a few articles. With this information I put together a plan, a list of practical steps that I could take to help me get up earlier in the morning and after a few weeks of trial and error I was able to build a plan that works for me (most days, no one is perfect).

1. Have a nighttime routine. This step, as well as step 2, has been a game changer for me. I’ve noticed that I work best in repetition, if I allow something to become habit or set routine.

So every night I have been showering, washing and blow drying my hair if necessary, putting out my makeup bag and all of the products I will use the following morning, and picking out my outfit for work the next day.

2. Have a morning routine. I am a major procrastinator by nature; it is one of my biggest flaws. But, I have found that having a daily to do list, both at home and at work, helps me combat those procrastinating tendencies.

So each day I start by going through my daily to do list and familiarizing myself with what needs to be done that day. I then get in the bathroom brush my teeth, style my hair, get dressed, put my makeup on and let the dogs out.

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         Daily To-Do List


3. Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Again, repetition and consistency work best for me. These times differ on the weekend but during the week our routine is pretty set. My husband is a creature of habit so once we fell into this routine it pretty much stuck. But, actually it has worked out pretty well for me and fits both our needs.

4. Stop pressing the snooze button. This one is still a battle that I fight each and every morning. But, I know that if I can fully master this step then the rest will come naturally.


Okay, so there you have it; the steps that I have taken on my road to becoming an Early Bird.


Anyone else attempting this life change? What have you found successful or helpful?

I would love to know, please comment below or on my Facebook page.


On May 7, 2015, my husband Nick and I spoke our vows to each other in front of 60 of our closest family members and friends. At the time we had already been dating for seven years and had experienced things that most couples never will. 
Even though we had already loved through sickness and in health and jumped our share of hurdles, the commitment we were making didn’t seem absurd or difficult. We entered our marriage believing that we could conquer all things, keep Christ at the center and continue to grow our love for each other. 
While the past three years have been full of ups and downs and we have bad days, we still love each other through it and find the way to forgive as our God did for us.
My name is Jessica and I decided to begin this blog as a way to share our life together as husband and wife, my personal journey as a wife and everything in between.

So please join me as I dive head first into my life as a wife and the lessons I am learning.



The Journey Begins


If you don’t already know me, my name is Jessica Graziano. Welcome to my blog!

I have been reading blogs for years, and actually currently have a Disney based blog, and for years I have wanted to write my own personal blog.

But, I’ve always talked myself out of it; telling myself that my life isn’t exciting enough, that we don’t have kids yet for me to write about or that we don’t travel to exciting locales or that I won’t  have anything to write about.

But lately I have felt it on my heart more and more, that this is something that I should do.

I have always loved to write and I feel like there are currently some exciting things going on in our lives that are worth documenting.


So, what do you have to look forward to?

I plan on blogging about a variety of topics: I want to write some ‘Day in the Life”  type posts that can help us stay connected to our out of state family members and that can give them small glimpses into our daily lives.

Also, this year we are TTC (Trying to Conceive) and I think that this blog could be a great space to document that journey, for our family and friends to come along with us and potentially as a way to connect with others who may be experiencing the same things.

I would also like to talk about my health journey, our experience attempting to purchase our first house later this year, our travels and other inspirational and everyday living topics.


Again, welcome and thank you for making your way here. I hope that you’ll stick around, comment, like and join our little family.