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!
I have to say, Jon Luke is a very patient man. He puts up with a lot being married to me. I know people say he knew what he signed up for, but at the same time, he continues to put up with it DAILY, which I am thankful for. One of the things I'm sure he gets tired of is the constant need for pictures. Whether we have to stop somewhere and take one (usually multiple times before I find one I like), I make him wait to eat his food, or I make him participate in full on shoots with me...I can guarantee you it is not something he looks forward to. BUT, he does it, and does it (most of the time) with a smile. This means more to me than I am sure he knows, and is one of the many reasons why he will be my forever Valentine.
Happy Friday! I hope you all had a fabulous week and are looking forward to the weekend festivities. I know I am! So last week, I ventured over to Auburn for a quick second and was able to see some of my favorite people. While there I visited Side Track Coffee for the first time and literally fell in love. It is one of the most unique coffee shops I have ever been to guys. So when you walk in, you can see the wall of drink options and there are no numbers or prices. Once I got to the counter and ordered, they told me that I pick how much I want to pay! Wait, what?!? I have never experienced that and literally had no idea what to do. After a few minutes of panic (they probably thought I was hilarious), I selected an amount and sat down to do some work. A few minutes later, one of the most DELICIOUS cups of coffee was brought to my table and I was quite possibly the happiest girl ever.
Well hello 2017! I cannot believe we are now at the start of another year, but I am so ready to see what 2017 has in store for us. This past year was one of growth for Jon Luke and I, but I can feel that 2017 is going to be even better. I have set new goals for myself for this upcoming year and am excited to see where life leads me. Thank you for your continued support of Gracefully Taylored, and the love you have shown me through out this blogging journey! I hope you all had a safe and happy new year and are also looking forward to great things! Happy New Year everyone!!
Well 2016 is coming to an end and I have to say that this has definitely been a year of learning. My patience has been tested and I have felt extremely weak at times. I have messed up and made mistakes. I have done things that I regret and have said things I wish I could take back. I cannot tell you that I was perfect, but I have to say that I am glad I am not. Thank you 2016 for allowing me to mess up.
This year we are spending Christmas with my family in Texas and even the little Murph man gets to come! I am so excited to be home and love that my little family comes together with my big family in celebration of the holidays. I have to say, I am extremely thankful for this little family of mine as they both put up with my daily need of pictures, love and matching plaid. These two boys mean the world to me and I wouldn't want to spend my Christmas with anyone else!
Well we are nearing the end of the gift guide season, but we cannot forget those handsome men in our lives right? Whether it be your husband, boyfriend, father or brother, they need a visit from Santa also. I have rounded up some ideas for those fellas in your life so it is not too late to get another gift under the tree! Happy shopping!
Last week I shared with you all that we decided to design our Christmas cards with Mintedthis year (see here). Well they came in the mail and I LOVE THEM! They were printed so beautifully, both the cards and the addresses, and I cannot wait to send them to our loved ones. For now though I wanted to share the completed design with you!
When “the weather outside if frightful, and the fire is so delightful,” all I want to do is stay home. I absolutely LOVE a cold, rainy day where I can stay in my pajamas, curl up on the couch and watch movies all day. There is just something about the frigid temperatures that turns me in to a true homebody. So with that in mind, today I wanted to cater the gift guide to the homebody in your life! You know you have that person who loves to stay home and be lazy, (which is absolutely ok!) so you should cater to their desires this Christmas season. I have rounded up some ideas I know I would love for my lazy days so hopefully this will inspire you as well! Stay cozy!
I will be the first to say that on a regular basis, I prefer to live in my gym clothes. A good pair of leggings and sneakers…yes please. So with that being said, I have decided lately to actually up my gym game and really get my workout on. Not that I haven’t been doing anything, but I have definitely been a little lazy as of late. So now, I have gotten back on track and am ready to hit the gym!
"We are not here to play the game, we're here to change it." - Arianna Schioldager
That was probably my favorite statement from my weekend in Atlanta at the Create & Cultivate Conference. Let me tell you guys, it was pretty amazing. To meet other creatives and spend time with people who have walked in the same spot I am currently walking in. Then to hear from amazing women who were also at one point where I am now. It was truly a weekend full of inspiration and encouragement so I am sharing some of my favorite moments below!