marrying-hs-sweetheart-1

Our story begins in the fall of 2007.

We were 14 years old and not in any way looking for love. Neither one of us had planned to go to the county fair that night, but after some convincing by our respective parties we both ended up there. Maybe the stars aligned, or maybe it was sheer chance that I was holding hands with my future husband while we waited in line for a carnival ride. All I know is I’m glad I decided to go to the fair that night.

I never thought I’d meet the man I’d marry in high school.

Our relationship started out as romantic as any teenage relationship does. It began with a simple text: “Wut up its Cameron. U kno from last nite.”  Charming, I know, but that text is one of the many little things that has stuck to my brain and makes me happy and nostalgic every time I think of it.

If you would have told me I’d meet my husband at 14 years old, I would have laughed. Even at 14, I knew I lacked the maturity to give someone else the attention they needed. Yet somehow time seemed to fly by, and before I knew it we had already been dating for a year.

Though I’d like to say our relationship was picture perfect puppy love, it was far from. Being in a steady relationship during adolescence is very challenging. You’re trying to figure out who you are, what you’re going to do, and you’re constantly evolving as a person. Those are the years everyone tells you that it’s okay to be selfish because you have your whole life ahead of you. What they don’t tell you is that being selfish and being in a relationship don’t exactly mesh well.

There have been some very dark things we’ve had to go through, some of those being things that were out of our control. We’ve had our share of arguments and problems. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but after every fallout we came back stronger. We treated everything that went wrong in our relationship as a learning experience in order to avoid repeating past mistakes. Communication became our savior, and learning to actively respect one another was imperative. We realized that we both needed to become a little more selfless, which is a hard concept to wrap your head around as a teenager (and even 20-something).

Dating during those pivotal coming-of-age years taught me many valuable life lessons.

The most important thing I’ve learned from our relationship is finding balance. Obviously you should always have focus on your ambitions and goals, but you also have to take the other person into consideration. If conversations and activities focus primarily on you and your interests, the relationship is one-sided. If you expect them to listen to your problems, you have to be willing to lend an ear for them. It seems like a simple concept, but it can actually prove to be quite difficult. You live very separate lives, especially when you’re that young, so finding balance is crucial. It’s not just about you anymore, it’s about you and someone else.

When you know, you know. You know?

A lot of people ask, “How do you really know if they’re the one if you haven’t dated anyone else?” The answer is simple: if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sure, there may be someone in a different city, state, or continent more compatible for me, but I don’t care to search for it. I found someone I have great chemistry with. He keeps me laughing and makes me feel special, which is more than I could ever ask for. I have found someone I can genuinely be my complete self around, which is rare. I wouldn’t dare risk ruining that.

It is still unreal that we are finally married.

In 2015, after eight years of dating, we finally decided to move in together. About a month later, we were engaged. We always knew we would be committed to one another, but something about the symbolism of marriage seemed to seal the deal. After a year of fun (and sometimes stressful) wedding planning, I married my best friend of almost a decade in October 2016, and I’m counting on a lifetime of happiness with him.

To wrap things up…

My experience with my high school sweetheart is very personal. Everyone’s experiences are unique, and I would never try to spew out general advice because relationships are all about figuring out what works best for you and your partner. All I know is that I was lucky enough to meet the love of my life at a young age, and I couldn’t imagine spending this substantial amount of time with anyone else.

marrying-hs-sweetheart-2

fav-autumn-color-7

Fall is by far my favorite season. Something about the crisp air, colorful trees, and having a holiday around every corner seems to keep my spirits high.

You know what else is one of my favorite things about fall? Mustard. Now, I’m not talking about the kind that you put on your hotdog (though I love that, too). I’m talking about the color mustard yellow. Most people would prefer to reach for browns, reds, deep greens, or anything dark or neutral in the fall, but for some reason I am drawn to this particular shade of yellow. It’s not obnoxiously bright, but it adds a dramatic pop of color that is very season-appropriate.

fav-autumn-color-6

I picked up this lovely little number from Red Dress Boutique last week and immediately fell in love. Not only is it the perfect shade of yellow, but it has fascinating details like zippers, buttons, buckles, and pockets to really add interest. The fit is very relaxed which makes it comfortable and easy to move around in. The faux suede material is very soft and features a black and white pattern on the lining. Though it is lightweight, it is surprisingly warm for milder fall weather.

fav-autumn-color-5 fav-autumn-color-3

fav-autumn-color-8

Since I wanted the jacket to be the star of the show, I went black and white with the rest of my outfit. The black over-the-knee Steve Madden boots are also suede, so that way they tie back in to the jacket. I chose black skinnies from Banana Republic because I wanted the look to be a little more sophisticated, and paired them with this adorable white top from LC Lauren Conrad.

fav-autumn-color-1fav-autumn-color-2

I’m not sure what sparked my interest in mustard yellow, but it has become a staple in my fall wardrobe the past few years. Now I’m carrying on tradition by adding this knockout mustard piece to my closet, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

What are your favorite fall colors to wear? Anything out of the ordinary? Let me know in the comments!

dealing-with-a-slump2

Have you ever felt off, but you weren’t able to explain why? Sometimes it lasts a day, or sometimes it lasts a week or longer. There’s that nagging tug at your heart that you know too well and your mind feels heavy. Someone says or does something that rubs you the wrong way when normally it wouldn’t bother you at all, you’re feeling particularly moody, and your confidence seems to be lacking.

This is the vivid description of a slump.

dealing-with-a-slump-7

A slump mustn’t be confused with depression. Though the symptoms seem the same, the main difference is the length of time; a slump is something you are able to overcome in a shorter period of time, while depression lasts longer and is generally more severe.

Sometimes my slumps are triggered by something that happens during the day that upsets me, or sometimes I can just wake up sensing something’s not right. Neither one is ideal, and they can both leave me feeling down in the dumps.

This whole post will probably sound cliché, but I believe these tried-and-true methods really do help alleviate the symptoms of the occasional slump. Besides, a little reminder never hurt anyone.

dealing-with-a-slump-6

dealing-with-a-slump-5

The first thing to do is tell yourself that you’re probably taking things too personally. If someone said or did anything that upset you, it more than likely wasn’t intentional. Your co-worker probably didn’t mean to come off cold at the afternoon meeting; he or she may have just had a rough morning that set the tone for their work day. You have to ask yourself, “If the same thing happened two weeks ago when I was in a better mood, would it have still bothered me?” If not, you’re probably just experiencing a symptom of your slump.

dealing-with-a-slump-4

The next way to combat your slump is to distract yourself. You need to get out of your head and away from those ill feelings. Take a walk to clear your mind, do something that actively requires your attention to keep your wandering thoughts at bay, and/or talk about how you’re feeling to someone you trust. These are all great ways to cope, and they will help you get back into the right state of mind.

dealing-with-a-slump-1

Finally, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel this way. Everyone has off days. If every day was smooth sailing, we would never have anything to learn from. Sometimes you just want to lay there and feel what you’re feeling, and that’s perfectly fine. Just remember that you have to pick yourself up and get back on your feet. Don’t let your slump keep you down for too long.

dealing-with-a-slump-3

When you’re in a slump, most of the aforementioned above are easier said than done. Sometimes it’s not a quick fix, and the only cures are the passing of time and a good night’s sleep. However, I personally practice all three of these coping mechanisms and find that they truly do provide some relief, which I am always grateful for even if that relief is brief.

Do you have anything in particular you like to do when you’re in a slump? What advice would you give to someone who told you they’re feeling down? I’m always interested to hear other people’s thoughts, so let me know in the comments below!

 

pamper-yourself-1

We live in a fast-paced, ’round-the-clock world.

Right out of high school, I got a job, went to college year-round (yes, 3 years of summer classes, too!), and worked both a full-time and part-time job right after I graduated. It has always been my personality to live for the grind. I like to work, stay busy, and be productive. Procrastination is my enemy.

College was the most stressful block of four years I’ve had so far, mostly because I’ve always had high expectations for myself. I was so stressed that by my junior and senior year, the mental strain was creating a physical toll on my health. It’s definitely in my personality to be very anxious, and too often I have let it take control.

My friend took me for a massage as a wedding gift a few weeks ago. After we were done, the masseuse came up to me and said, “You really, really needed that. Relax, breathe, take care of yourself, and come back more often.” Maybe it’s their way to sell you on more trips to the spa, and she didn’t know that I was unusually stressed because I was getting married just a few days later, but it really got me thinking: we, as a whole, really need to take more time to pause.

I began to see a shift in my stress levels when I started doing small things for myself that I enjoy: blogging, taking an extra five minutes in the shower, doing yoga, walking my dog, painting my nails, sleeping an extra hour on the weekends, and even simply applying a face mask I bought at Wal-Mart for a dollar. It goes to show that you don’t have to take a fancy vacation or trip to the spa to relax (though no one would blame you if you did). Indulging in a simple pleasure can bring you the same amount of peace, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

pamper-yourself-3

When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to take a little time for yourself. Just because you’re hitting pause for a second doesn’t mean you’re deviating from the tasks at hand. Your obligations will always be there, and so will your drive to complete them. It’s more about finding a balance for your own sanity.

Pick up that old hobby you used to do years ago, or find a hobby if you don’t have one. Learn something new. Teach yourself a skill. Go for a run, lay down the yoga mat and find your center, or break out the pens and start drawing. Oh what the hell, you could even take a day to binge watch all of the Harry Potter movies! The important thing is that you’re doing something that puts you in your happy place.

pamper-yourself-2

Always remember that your health and well-being should come first. How can you expect to perform well in school or your career if you’re worn down by stress? Even though stress is completely natural and unfortunately inevitable, it should never get to the point where your mind and body are being bogged down by the weight of it all.

Make a promise to yourself to pamper your body and mind. They are the only ones you get in this life, so make sure to treat them well. You’ll be amazed what a fresh and relaxed mind can do for your productivity!

pamper-yourself-4

revamp-my-content-1

I have never understood why the word “change” oftentimes refers to something negative. “She sure has changed” or “I miss how she used to be” seem to escape the lips of many people when someone takes charge and decides to do something a little different. People evolve over time; it is a part of life. As long as you stay true to who you are and what you believe in, I think a little change is healthy and productive.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do.

Months of putting my blog aside to focus on planning my wedding has given me time to think and re-evaluate the type of content I want to continue creating. I love beauty and fashion, and I am still going to incorporate those topics in my blog posts. However, there was one thing I felt has been missing from my content: me. I want to incorporate more personal aspects to my blog such as my experiences, thoughts, and opinions. I want to dig deeper and offer something insightful for someone out there who spends their spare time reading blogs and wants to take something from them, just like I do.

revamp-my-content-2

I have kept a notebook since I started thinking about starting a blog over a year ago. It’s fun to look back at old notes and ideas I had, what I followed through with, what I haven’t. I still continue to write in this notebook. When I found I was writing more ideas about experiences rather than materials, I decided it was time to revamp my content. The content on a blog is usually much better when you can tell the author is passionate and honest in their writing. I knew if I wanted to make my content better, I needed to add a personal touch and variety so my posts stopped being (in my opinion) repetitive.

revamp-content-3

You could say I was in a creative slump of some sort, and now I have found my remedy. I think I will enjoy this new direction, and hopefully someday I can inspire someone else with one of my little published posts on this vast virtual space we like to call the Internet.