Baby, you should go and love yourself: Remember the Importance of Self Love this Valentine’s Day

Baby, you should go and love yourself: Remember the Importance of Self Love this Valentine’s Day

Rarely would I say let’s all take advice from Justin Bieber, but he really did say it best “go and love yourself.” As we near the infamous Valentine’s Day…some of you may be feeling mixed emotions about this beloved Hallmark holiday. Here’s a small confession….I LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY. I know…cheesy and embarrassing, right? Maybe it stems back to my childhood, when my mom would make heart shaped pancakes, or my Dad would give me the sweetest card and little gift to show his love…or the time my mom organized a Valentine’s Day tea party for me and a handful of my closest preschool friends (yeah, she was a little extra ;)).

I’ve first and foremost, been taught to love your family…and boy, do I love them fiercely and whole heartedly. I jump at any opportunity to express my love for them. I get excited every year to send my siblings little Valentine’s cards…probably more excited than they are to receive them!

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In my single days and early twenties, Valentine’s Day became more of a time for me to show love to my friends. My college roommate, and to this day one of my best friends, will roll her eyes at these memories. I was that roommate who made the Valentine’s cupcakes and forced everyone to partake in GALENTINE’s Day esque festivities, which included but was not limited to: hallmark movies, wearing red, decorating our college apartment with gaudy hearts, maybe some red cocktails…you get the picture.

Now, as an engaged (kind of grown up-ish) woman (ew?!…girl?…) I use Valentine’s Day as an extra way to show my guy some appreciation. I’m not talking your typical chocolate hearts and teddy bears. I’m talking real appreciation for the role he plays in my life and continuing to grow as a couple. (More to come on this in a future post, because it is SO IMPORTANT).

What I want you to focus on this Valentine’s Day before you rush out and buy the heart shaped donuts and giant teddy bears, is to take time to LOVE YOURSELF.  This was a lesson hard learned, and a lesson I’m still learning. I am a firm believer we cannot love others around us fully until we love ourselves. There were times in my life where I really struggled with this. I found myself in toxic situations, and just really not myself. I lost my spark, my drive, my confidence, and my sense of self worth. Just thinking back on these times makes me cringe, and if you find yourself in this spot now, my heart goes out to you. So, how do you love yourself? There are a million different ways, but I’m going to highlight what has worked for me.

1. Make YOU Time:

My “me” time is my workouts. In summer of 2016 I finally got some courage and tried a workout at Pure Barre. Fast forward to today, and I’m still hooked. The 50 minute classes are my time to zone out and do some good for my body. I’m feeling stronger, more confident, and healthier than ever before. I just crossed the 250 class milestone, and can’t wait to check off 500 classes! Whether your “me” time is a workout, reading a book, or maybe even a nice bubble bath…find something that is JUST FOR YOU and stick to it.IMG_63021

2. Be Kind to Yourself:

This was probably the hardest lesson to learn. Sometimes, when that nasty voice creeps in telling me I’m not good enough, it’s still hard to push it aside. There are different ways to be kind to yourself.

  • Give yourself a compliment! Girl, you look amazing in those new jeans! Hey, who cares what people think of your new pink fuzzy coat…if you love it ROCK IT. Don’t let that voice tell you that you are not enough, look in the mirror and compliment your fine self!
  • Be kind to your body: I’ve been more conscious about what I am putting in my body and how it affects my overall well being. I’m not telling you to go vegan and throw out all of your snacks. But, maybe pay attention to how certain foods might make you feel. Mix in some greens, swap out some white carbs, add some more veggies to that plate. It’s amazing how what we eat can affect our overall mood. But also, guac…always get the guac. If you need inspiration, check out of my favorite body-loving babes who have inspired me to take better care of myself:

Lauryn Everts of The Skinny Confidential / Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly / Tori Wesszer of Fraiche Nutrition and Jillian Harris of JillianHarris.com

 The Skinny Confidential: A Babe’s Sexy, Sassy Fitness and Lifestyle Guide/ Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever

 

  • Say goodbye to the negative Nancy’s:  We all have a Nancy in our lives…a negative Nancy. Sometimes it’s even ourselves! When I’m having a grumpy day and I catch myself making rude comments or being super negative, I’ll even announce, “sorry I’m being a Nancy.” If you’ve got a person in your life who is spreading nancy-ness around, I’m not saying to cut them out. I’m asking you to not feed into their negativity. Maybe you have a friend who is always down on herself or others. Next time Nancy makes a negative comment, I would try to spin it into a positive.

3. Reflect

Sometimes when all the things just get too tough, a good journaling session is just what I need to take care of myself. Remember those low times I was referring to earlier? A way I got through that was to journal. I wrote out all the negative feelings, jotted down how I wanted to feel, and freed myself of my frustrations. You can journal freehand or there are even some guided journals that I’m loving lately. I’ve linked some favorites below, check time out and take some time for yourself to reflect on the good, the bad, and the beautiful. You will be amazed at what this does for your soul.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I hope you learn to love it like I do. Take time to love those around you, love your friends, but above all else LOVE YOURSELF, the rest will follow.

 

 

 

 

*This blog contains affiliate links which means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage. Additionally, items mentioned on this blog may have been provided free of charge. All opinions are entirely my own.*

Date Night In: The Importance of Making Time To Connect and Our Experience with Date Night In Boxes

Date Night In: The Importance of Making Time To Connect and Our Experience with Date Night In Boxes

Let’s be real, the amount of distractions, obligations, responsibilities and every day stresses are endless. If you do not intentionally make time for your significant other, you run the risk of your relationship being shlepped to the side. Why is it that we tend to put those who matter most second on the priority list? Between work, planning a wedding, and being new home owners, good quality time with my significant other is hard to come by. At the end of the day we’re lucky if we can keep our eyes open through an episode of Chicago Fire, let alone have a meaningful and intentional date night.

It is for all these reasons and more I was so excited to receive my Date Night In Box.  In the Date Night In Box we received everything needed to have a planned date at home. We received a dessert to try, an activity to do together, and a puzzle to solve which tied into the overall theme of the date. The idea that all of the grunt work and planning had been done for me was especially appealing.

We were even provided with a menu and shopping list to make drinks, appetizers, and dinner.It was fun to cook a meal together and try something new. The meal corresponded with the theme of the date,inspired by French cuisine, which is not something we would typically try. After dinner, we got into the heart of the date. Included in our date box was The 5 Love Languages quiz to complete, and an activity corresponding with the quiz.

My thoughts:

  • I would recommend Date Night In Box to anyone! I loved the creativity of the date, and I like that you’ll receive something different each month.
  • Date Night In Box made date night EASY and ENJOYABLE. I’m a planner by nature. My week is planned from end to end. However, it was nice to take a break from that and have some of the leg work done for me. I liked the idea of knowing we had a date night planned for our evening, and not having to do much to execute it.
  • Date Night In Box kept things fresh. As much as I love going out to eat at our favorite spots, or catching a movie with my guy, it’s nice to try something new. Date Night In Box gave us a dinner, and an activity that we probably would never have tried.
  • If you’re looking for a cute and creative Valentine’s Day gift Date Night In Box would make a great gift for both of you! I also think Date Night In Box would make  creative wedding or anniversary gift.

How to try Date Night In Box for yourself:

Date Night In Box offers four different subscription plans:

  • $34.99 for each date (month to month with the option to cancel at anytime)
  • 3 Months of dates for $99.00
  • $197.00 for 6 months
  • 1 year of dates for $380.00

If you try Date Night In Box, and love it or want to learn more about different boxes available check out the parent company’s website: Night In Boxes. Night In Boxes, is a subscription box service who at their core, values deepening relationships with your significant other, God, and your children. Night In Boxes offers three different types of boxes. You can choose between a Date Night In Box, a Faith Night In Box, or a Kids Night In Box.

 

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage. Additionally, items mentioned in this post may have been provided free of charge. All opinions are entirely my own.*

You’re engaged! Now What? How I savored the moment and started planning!

You’re engaged! Now What? How I savored the moment and started planning!

“No, seriously…what do I do?” This was a question I asked myself once the excitement of being newly engaged really settled in. *Disclaimer 1: I am not “newly” engaged…we got engaged this past Spring and are getting married this fall. While to some this may seem like a “long” engagement, I like to think we are following one of my tips below and enjoying the moment.

This season of our life has been incredible. But, we now have a wedding to plan! *Disclaimer 2: I am no wedding planning expert here, I am a real life girl, with a real life budget and I’m excited to share this journey with you all as well as give any insights I can into making the wedding planning process as easy as possible.

Here is my advice for those…”now what?” moments as a fellow “bride to be.” I would love to hear how you got started planning your wedding!

Enjoy the moment

Seriously, enjoy it. After we got engaged, I called family and told my closest of close friends. My brand new fiance and I went to celebrate over some drinks and pretzel bites (is there any other way to celebrate?). I swear we were both physically glowing. I felt like people were looking at me and could tell “man, she just got engaged!” This was such a fun and special night, and although social media and  blogging are ways to share a bit of our lives with one another, I wanted this moment to be mine for as long as possible. I also wanted to be sure I told everyone who I needed to hear the news from my mouth first, before I released it onto the tiny squares of Instagram.

If you can, take the day or night and just enjoy it. Focus on your significant other, spend some quality time together, celebrate, cheers, dance, cheers again!

Talk two things: Time & Budget

Once you’ve celebrated and enjoyed this moment together, you need to talk two important things: time and budget.

Time – decide how long of an engagement you want, and what time of year you’d like to get married. These might be discussions you’ve had prior to being engaged, but now it’s time to come to a decision together.

Budget – you need to have an idea of what you’re paying for and who is paying for it. Money talk isn’t always fun, but this is the first of many financial related decisions you’ll have to make together. We sat down and used the www.theknot.com and recommendations from friends to draw up a rough idea of a budget. When we started looking at venues, this benchmark was a good reference for to quickly decide if a venue was in or out of the amount we were willing to spend. There are tons of great resources out there to help you determine how to split up a wedding budget. Some favorites I’ve stumbled upon are linked below:

1. A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration / 2. A Practical Wedding Planner: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the Wedding You Want with the Budget You’ve Got (without Losing Your Mind in the Process) / 3. The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide: Hundreds of Tips and Tricks for Hitting Your Budget

Research and Visit

You have two important things decided (time and budget) now time to research and visit venues.  Something important to remember during this process, it’s your day. If there are things important to you in a venue as a couple, do not settle. Also, keep your heart focused on the bigger picture. Yes, this is going to be the most important day of your life as a couple. But, this is just the beginning of your life together. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the wedding madness, but do not lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place.

Gather inspiration, set timelines, get organized

Gathering inspiration is the fun part! Time to find your favorite pins from you secret wedding Pinterest board (yes, you know what I’m talking about), flip through those magazines your girlfriends are gifting you, and start envisioning the details of your day. If you have an idea of a theme or colors you’d like to go with, keep this in mind while visiting venues. Some themes or colors may come together better in certain venues. For example, a country themed wedding might look out of place in a ballroom venue.

Next, set your timeline and get organized. Once we found our venue, setting a timeline was much easier. We were able to plan out how much we both need to be saving each month, to-do’s to cross off, as well as when we need to tackle important things like, get engagement photos, go dress shopping, decide on a DJ. I suggest getting a wedding planner agenda, and a notebook to designate for all things wedding. This way, you can keep your notes, any handouts, and appointments all in one place.

My sweet friends gifted me with this adorable Bloom Daily Planner, Wedding Planner and Organizer and it’s been amazing so far!

There are 18 monthly calendar views where you can fill in the dates. This has been helpful for me to get a bird’s eye view at our month and keep our appointments and tasks on track. There’s also helpful timelines, and budgeting tools.

 

If you are a bride-to-be and find yourself scratching your head wondering where to start, I hope this post has helped you! There are so many little details that will go into this day, but I keep reminding myself that the bigger picture is the marriage itself. When things get stressful, I just think of the reason why we are doing this, and suddenly, deciding between gold and rose gold doesn’t seem like that big of a deal ;).

If you have wedding planning tips, or anything that has helped you during this time, I’d love to hear! Please comment below with advice for your fellow brides. Congrats!

 

 

 

 

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