As I am sure you can tell by now, I love creativity. The uniqueness of design and color and patterns; art that can tell a story at one glance. It amazes me. And the coolest part about creatives is that they can come in many forms. I, am a blogger. I choose to put my creative efforts towards fashion and travel and helping you guys style looks. Some people choose photography. They can pick up a camera and capture an image that will take your breath away. Then there are the painters. With the simple stroke of a brush, a canvas comes to life and we are swept into a scene unlike any other. Now the other creatives that amaze me are the designers. Clothing designers, home designers, jewelry designers. They see an image in their mind and make it a reality for us to enjoy. That is pretty spectacular.
A few weeks ago, you probably saw on social media, that Darian and I ventured west for a bit. We flew into Las Vegas then drove up through parts of Arizona and Utah, making a pit stop in a small town called Moab. Now, you may be familiar with this little town due to its popular hiking trails and national parks. I, on the other hand, was slightly new to this area and was not really sure what to expect upon my arrival.
There are times when my mind is seriously blown at the creative things in this world. I mean, think about it. People had to take the time to invent something in order for us to use it. Their mind drafted up an image of a space or an object that, at the time, probably sounded crazy to everyone else around them because no one had ever SEEN it. Isn't it crazy how much we truly depend on our sight? Without being able to see, feel or touch something we panic at the thought of taking the leap. But the reality is, without that leap and without that faith, no one will be able to experience our thoughts for themselves.
I think most of you know this about me, but I am blind as a bat. Seriously, CANNOT see. Unfortunately, I started to realize this on the tennis court when that little yellow ball would be pretty fuzzy on the other side of the net...and I do not mean physically. Once I started losing matches due to my inability to see, I finally admitted defeat and went to the eye doctor. Now, I was about 12 years old when all of this went down (5th grade?), so you can imagine, I was TRAUMATIZED at the thought of getting glasses. I had just started at a new school, I was about to get braces, I mean...pretty much my world was ending. SO, with that being said, I opted for contacts. And from that point on, I very rarely wore my glasses in public. In fact, most people didn't even know my eyes were bad. Until lately.
So lets talk about that comfort zone for a second. You know, that area that you tend to hang in until you are pretty much drug out into that awkward space...yeah that one. We all love our comfort zone. I mean, why leave it? Why take ourselves out of something we are used to and put ourselves into a situation that makes our hands start to sweat? I will go ahead and answer these questions from my perspective...I probably wouldn't leave. I am guilty. I am guilty of pitching my tent in my comfort zone. And y'all...it is a comfortable tent.
GIRL BOSS. We have all heard the term. Some might be annoyed by it, some probably have a coffee mug or two with these words in bold letters. It is definitely a common thing in today's society. But how do you truly define the term? Is it simply for those who are literal bosses? Women who run their own companies and manage a staff of people who work FOR them? Or do you apply the term to your best friend who you pretty much think is just the coolest person on the planet? Well, I think it can go either way. Let me talk to my girl bosses out there for a minute (yep, that means you).
It is official guys...summer is here! It has been SO hot (almost unbearable) here in Louisiana but I am actually okay with it! You know, summertime means a lot of things for me that I love...1) my birthday, 2) pool time and 3) VACATION! How can I complain?? No but seriously, there are just some things I love to do in the summer so I figured I would round up some of my favs and share them here!
So let's talk about why I really went to California. Yes to se my girls. Yes to see cool places and take cool pics. Yes to the blog thing. BUT, the trip originally came to be when we were discussing the Hillsong Colour Conference. Four those of you who are not familiar, Hillsong is a church in Australia that has probably one of the most well-known worship teams with some of the most well-known worship songs in their repertoire. I grew up in my church at home listening to, and singing their music because it wasn't just church music...it was worship, which I love. Anyways, back to my story. This conference, put on my Bobbie Houston (one of the head pastors of Hillsong Church), was two days dedicated to women who love Jesus. And y'all, when I tell you this place was full of these women, it was so full. Women from all over. Different races, different backgrounds, different stories. But we were all there for the same thing. To share in our love for Jesus. To worship. To repent. To grow. And it was unlike any other.
I am sure you have probably been able to tell, but I have a lot of weddings happening in my life right now. One in particular is for my main girl, Darian. As you see EVERY DAY when I post on social media or the blog, Darian does a lot for me. A LOT. Words cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for her, which brings me to this season in her life...it is my turn to do something for her. With that being said, I am showering her with wedding fun, from bridal showers to bachelorette parties, and have been thankful for Basic Invite and their beautiful invitations!
Four years. I cannot believe we have been married for four years. It is crazy. Crazy to think that it was four years ago that I was planning our wedding, fitting my dress and preparing my vows. Crazy to think because it seems like it was just yesterday, but also feels SO long ago. But it is true. It has been four years since we said "I do." And I have to say it has been fun. I won't lie, it hasn't always been easy. People weren't lying when they said marriage was hard. It definitely is. I have definitely had my moments. Some where Jon Luke probably wanted to strangle me and walk out the door. Some where he thought I was being unreasonable. Some where he had had enough. And visa versa. There have been moments I have been terrified. I have been confused. I have felt that it was never going to get better. But we are making it. Making the most of this crazy adventure. And having fun.
A mere two weeks in to the New Year and I am tired people. How is that possible? I feel like I do my best to rest and have time to myself but it feels like I can never catch up. But lately, it has been mostly about that. Just catching up. I have tried to recover from our Argentina trip, do (several loads of) laundry, clean the house, plan content, and get ready for upcoming travels. I know I do this to myself so please do not mistake this for complaining. I love my life and I am so thankful we are able to do the things we do. I just need to rest a little more!
What do you think of when you hear the word INTENT? What initially comes to your mind? For me, for whatever reason, I think of passion. There seems to be a difference in just doing something to do it, and doing something with intent. When there is intent behind it, there is more of a drive; a true desire to complete the task. Right? I decided to Google the definition of the word INTENT and these were some of the answers I got from the world wide web:
Happy New Year!! Can you believe it is 2018??? I know I can’t but I am definitely excited for this new year! This past year brought some beautiful, yet challenging, moments with it but for the most part was one for the books. JL and I were fortunate enough to see more of the world together, which I will always cherish. If you remember, we traveled with this family to Alaska back in the summer. This trip was so much fun, not only because we were venturing through a new place, but because I was able to watch his family venture. They live in a small town so things that I take for granted while traveling, meant so much to them, creating good reminders for me. We also added Lake Tahoe to the list recently, as a new skiing spot. Typically in years past, we have skied in Winter Park, Colorado, but I have to say, Lake Tahoe was BEAUTIFUL. And of course we made several trips to the beach because, what would summer be without the beach?
What is it that gives you life? Is it certain books that inspire you to be better? Television shows that make you want to change the way you live? Or people that are filled with such joy that you can't help but smile when you are with them? What is it? Have you thought about it?
What is your favorite thing about Christmas time? Is it the music, the decoration, the gifts...what is it that makes your heart leap with joy? I could go on for days about why I love this time of year, but there is one thing that stands out more than anything else...the act of giving.
In the spirit of Christmas, I'm still working on gift guides! For this one though, I have a helper...and he's pretty great. Both Jon Luke and I worked together to put together this "Gift Guide for Him," because naturally, he needed to have a say in what you should get your guy for Christmas. But whether it's for your special someone, your brother, your dad or your best friend, keep reading to see some great gift ideas for him! Jon Luke might even make his writing debut here!
Happy Friday everyone! We did it, y'all. We made it to the end of the week and to DAY FIVE of Gracefully Taylored's Five Days of Fitness! Today, I want to tell you all about my Kayla Itsines BBG workout. I jumped on the Kayla train about three years ago and do not regret it one bit. I had seen her/her client's results on her Instagram account and always thought, "WOW! This is amazing," so I bought in to the craze. I bought the original Bikini Body Guide workout (before the App came out) and did the twelve weeks guide. Y'all...I saw serious results. Now I can buy the 12-24 week PDF or I can keep using the App but I love this workout!
For as long as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by boxing. I tried kick boxing classes throughout high school and college but never stuck with it until recently. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to add to my everyday workout routine. Apparently I had some anger built up because I decided that I just wanted to hit things, which made me look in to boxing again. I found a local gym and decided on personal training sessions so that I could get the most out of my time in the ring. Y'all, I have to say...I LOVE IT. I have become even more interested in the sport of boxing because there is so much more to it than I thought! From foot placement to which punch to throw next, you do actually have to think about what you are doing. And while I am not planning on getting in the ring for a true fight anytime soon, I do love the act of "training" for something. My coach keeps me motivated, I feel confident, and it really is a great stress reliever!
So I have to say that one of my favorite things to do fitness wise is to just go on a run. For whatever reason, I find it so peaceful. This is my time. My time to worship, my time to reflect, my time to think. Just my time to be with myself, no distractions...just running. Truthfully, I was not much of a runner until I graduated from college. My first year of graduate school I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. And not only did I want to run a half marathon, but I wanted to run it in San Francisco. Yep...hills. This meant I needed to train. A LOT. It was really during this time that I realized how much I loved running. I spent a lot of time running the plains of Auburn and truly loved every minute of it. So now I like to find route, but I also just like to go. Just run. And see where I end up, and how far I can go.
Well it's DAY TWO so you know what that means right?!? It is time for me to introduce another workout that I choose DAILY to stay in shape. Today, it is all about Pure Barre. And to start, I actually have a funny story about how I started taking Pure Barre. I was in class during graduate school, secretly working on my wedding website, while my professor spoke about something I obviously was not paying attention to. I was newly engaged and a newly retired tennis player with a bum knee and mission to fit into my wedding dress. True story. Thankfully, there was a girl in my class who was teaching at Pure Barre and she invited me to try a class. While my initial reaction to her invite was "I was not a dancer," she quickly convinced me that was unnecessary. I figured if I didn't need to be a dancer then this would be easy right? I mean, I was a Division I tennis player. Yeah...wrong. I could not stop shaking. So needless to say, four years ago I started Pure Barre...and now I'm addicted.
It is here! Gracefully Taylored's Five Days of Fitness. I have to say that I am really excited about this series. Fitness has always been a huge part of my life so when it comes to sharing things on the blog and being real with you all? This is perfect. Honestly, Jon Luke and I were sitting on the couch one night talking about things I could do on the blog and he asked why I didn't put more fitness content out. The more I thought about it, the more I began to ask myself the exact same question. Why don't I share more of this? So, this is me sharing. I am going to start with a week devoted to all things fitness. From the workouts I choose to stay in shape, to the fashion, even creating a gift guide for those who have fitness lovers in their lives! It will all be here over the next few days and I am excited to share!
It is finally here! The day (or weekend really) that we have all been waiting for...BLACK FRIDAY. While I am just as excited about this weekend as everyone else, I promise I was not waiting in line two in the morning, nor was I out last night. BUT, I have been on my computer plugging away at the sales so I have rounded up my favorites below!
Can you believe that tomorrow is Thanksgiving? I cannot! But it is here and I am excited! While I have been prepping for our Thanksgiving meal, I have also been prepping for those exciting Black Friday Deals! There are going to be so many great sales going on so be sure to stay tuned because I will definitely be doing a round up on the blog! In the mean time though, if you are anything like me, then you have already started your Christmas shopping. I mean, let's be real...I started mine months ago because I just want it to be done. That way, when the time comes I do not have to stress about gifts! So, for those of you who are like me, I have put together my first gift guide for the special ladies in your life. Whether it be your main gal, your bestie, your mom or sister, I have rounded up some great options of items that can go under the tree this year!
I have to admit, I have always been bad about taking my vitamins. In theory, I want to be consistent and I know they are good for me, but I am bad about figuring out what I need and remembering to take them. As I have gotten older though, I realized that the nutrients found in vitamins are crucial for my health so I am ready to implement this in to my daily routine. With that being said, I may have found the perfect solution to my problem and it is called Care/Of Vitamins.
I have said it before, but I will say it again...I love a hand written letter. There really is just something about the idea of someone taking the time to write their thoughts down on paper and share them with me. It could be a long love letter, something fun to a pen pal, or a simple thank you note, but I believe that goes a long way. I have grown up as one who likes to transcribe my thoughts (hence the blog), and I truly love being able to share them.
Recently, I had the opportunity to design my own stationary with The Keeping Room (see the design process here) and y'all...these are BEAUTIFUL! I received my final product last week and I am dying. They are simple, but they are classic and most of all, they are me. I cannot wait to start using these beauties, sending my little personal touch to all of my loved ones!
It is no secret that I love to travel. I truly do just have a sense of adventure and my heart longs to be on the go. Learning about new cultures and seeing new places just gets me so excited and I long for this feeling. With all of that being said though, there really is no place like home. I love being cozied upon my couch, in a comfortable sweatshirt, a candle lit and a coffee in hand. It is one of my favorite feelings. SO, what that means is that when I am traveling, a cozy sweatshirt is one of the first things that goes in my suitcase. No matter where I am, I want to be able to come back to my hotel room, throw on my sweatshirt and relax, just as I would at home. Thankfully, The Home Thelped me do just that in New York.
This day and age, technology has taken over. Trust me, I am 100% guilty of letting it take over my life as well so I am not throwing shade at all. Just making the statement that people tend to turn to their tech pieces before anything else. From texting, to the internet, to movies and even books, our phones have become that item that we cannot live without. With this new world of technology, one of the other things I feel has become a lost art is a handwritten letter. It is so easy to pick up your phone and shoot someone a text to say hi, ask a question, etc. Because it can be so instant, what is the purpose of sending a letter these days right? We want that instant gratification. We want the answer right now. Well, I am going to try to work on that "need" in my life (really working on my patience)...and it is going to start with a handwritten note.
Wow....I truly cannot believe that Gracefully Taylored is turning TWO today!! It seems like just yesterday I began this blogging adventure. I can still remember sitting on the couch with my sweet husband talking about this "dream" of mine. At the time (after about two years of wanting to start the blog) I was using the excuse that I did not have a name. I mean, that is extremely important and I wanted it to be right. But I wont lie, I was still scared of the commitment. It was a new relationship, first date jitters kind of thing. What if we didn't work out? What if it wasn't right? What if we didn't mix well? Then you have to bring the outside world in to it. What if people didn't like it? What if I fail? There were ONE MILLION questions going through my mind honestly. So many in fact that it was truly hard to focus on the potential good. But going back to that night on the couch, talking about the name...that is where it happened.
Well, today is the day. Three years with this man of mine! I cannot believe we are celebrating three years of marriage today, but I have to say these three years have been pretty great. Between raising our fur baby, traveling the world and just doing life together, it is always a lot of fun with him. I am so thankful to call him my husband and cannot wait to see what else is in store for us.
I am a sucker for pretty arm candy. From bracelet stacks, to dainty details, to a beautiful timepiece, I love it all. A few months back I came across a brand called Christian Paul and fell in love with their classic timepieces. I love a big watch face, so that paired with a simple and classic look had me from the very beginning. I have been so proud to wear my new timepiece around and love all the compliments I get!