5 Things I’ve learned from Party on A Bike.

 10 weeks ago, I dragged my butt out of bed at 6am and showed up at The Madison Tempe for a Party on a Bike class. Erin & I set a goal of 10 classes- it seemed impossible. Well we CRUSHED that goal, and I’ve learned some pretty good nuggets along the way. I thought I’d share them here. :)

1. Community will carry you.

My first visit, the girls who were up front were like, “we thought you were never coming in from the parking lot! So glad you’re here!” I internally rolled my eyes at their adorableness/friendliness. Welp, turns out I am the worst and they were being authentically nice. It’s such a non-intimidating environment because people want to support each other. If I just rode a bike by myself, I’d take the easy route. Community that cares makes me push myself.

2. Fun is powerful.

If I can let go of the seriousness, it takes the pressure off and I have permission to work harder. Every time the class gets really hard, I purposely smile HUGE instead of scrunching my face. It sends a message to myself that I’m taking care of me and that makes me happy!

3. My body was made to move.

I have learned that I have a ton of energy. I don’t need to count myself out. I can be pushed. I can be active. I can move- and I actually like it. I’ve spent most of my life thinking that I didn’t like being active…but I actually do. My body/life thrive when I’m active.

4. I’m my biggest hurdle.

I could literally go to class and sit on the bike and the instructor would tell me I killed it. That’s just how supportive they are. The people who go to the class are nice. I’m the one who decides how hard I work. I’m the one who decides to take the next challenge. People can support me, but I’m the one who has to take the jump.

5. I’m part of the party.

In January, I spent some time praying over my year and asking God what He had for my 2015. One thing I felt like He said was, “This year you’re going to see yourself as PART of the party, not on the outside of the party.” I notice that I purposely hold back or don’t put my whole self into experiences because of fear. One day, I was in spin and I was like, “Omg! This class is called ‘Party On A Bike’! And I’m part of it! Like really part of it!” Being a “part” of the class is showing me that I can be part of any party- any situation! Even if it’s out of my comfort zone.

I love it when Jesus teaches me things in the most unexpected places and I’m so thankful for Party on a Bike. As I head into a NEW season of challenges and goal busting, I’m glad these tools have been added to my belt. Wisdom that will serve me well for a long time.

***You should totally come with me sometime! If you aren’t a masacist who wants to take a 6am class, that’s fine. I would highly recommend Mikayla’s classes- she is a gifted teacher who is right there with you! If you like that yoga vibe with some Biggie Smalls sprinkled in, take Brittny’s class! Honestly, I’ve never had a bad experience. Those girls are just the 6am homies. Plus, shout out to Cailey the angel who takes good care of…everyone. :)

Apps I’m Into Right Now

  
I’ve been trying to get everyone I know to download 2 of my favorite apps of the moment. Since my sisters only seem vaguely interested, I thought I’d share them with you all!

1. Keep

Keep is a shopping/fashion app- sort of like an online shopping version of Pinterest. You can organize lists, scroll their feed, and find everything you didn’t know you needed. My favorite part of this app is that it has items that are accessible & affordable with luxury items sprinkled in. Unlike most fashion apps, not everything is like $1,000 for a white v neck. I also think that their push notifications are really witty and non annoying. 

2. TouchRetouch

This app is like a teeny tiny photo shop & is well worth the $1.99. I found out about this bad boy from InstaCamp & I’ve been using it weekly. Just yesterday, I took a picture of my tacos and there was a weird pink chunk in the middle of the plate. I had already started shoveling tacos in my face when I noticed the blemish. Welp-this app helped me erase it:

  
Obviously it’s not perfect, but I bet you totally thought it was just a shadow when you scrolled past it on Instagram! 

Those are 2 that I’m into right now. Any ones that are tickling your fancy as of late? I’d love to hear! 

Summer Camp Melt Down. 

  Yesterday was SO FUN! I went to Instagram Summer Camp hosted by The Bloguettes at The Saguaro. We learned everything from branding to editing to landscapes. I had a fabulous group- the #shadowhawks- and we even won best group! I think I’ll even stay connected to some of the girls! The day was encouraging, affirming, inspiring, and most of all FUN!

But it did NOT start out that way. After fixing a wardrobe malfunction and being offended that safety pins are $7 at CVS, I made my way to The Saguaro in Old Town. I had signed for camp months ago but all of my expectation & excitement died the second I walked through the lobby doors. The place was FULL of the prettiest, most fashionable, hat wearing girls I had ever seen. I swear- everyone had a hat and everyone was pulling it off. I bolted for the bathroom and promptly burst into tears.

WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I thought I looked cute but clearly I look like a hobo compared to these girls with Rapunzel hair. Why did I come? Everyone is going to hate me. Definetly never going to be cool enough. Should I just leave?

This wave of terror & rejection just knocked me right over. I texted some homies. They were quick to respond with the reassurance I needed:

“Remember! You like this! It’s going to be great!”

“Um you are pretty? Let’s identify the lie you’re believing.” 

Ooof. Deep breath. I dabbed my mascara off my cheeks, put on a smile, and walked into the main room. I sat down next to a girl with perfectly pastel hair and she was so nice! She has a great online boutique based out of LA. Once I started talking, I started to feel better. I wasn’t even nervous when they had a “Meet Your Neighbor” time. Everyone there was friendly! The day got rolling, and I was loving it! We were laughing, snapping photos, and sharing tips. These were my PEOPLE! They spoke my language. And best of all, they didn’t even care if I was on my phone the whole time. ;-)

Our last stop of our full day was “Lifestyle”- learning to spot gram-able moments and being comfortable in front of the camera. I wanted someone to take my picture but I kept saying I needed “direction.” What I really meant was that I wanted permission to be silly or to strike a pose. I wanted permission to be me. But I actually already had that already. I can give that to myself. Always.

Next time I want to skip the bathroom part and go right to the “oh I actually love people and make friends easily” part. This was a huge #LiveBrave moment for me. I recently got this crazy prophetic word about how I am going to move into a season where fear falls off & I live loved. Instagram Summer Camp felt like a kick off to that. I’m ready. 

All to say- you can live brave too. You’re also in on the biggest secret: Even the loudest girl might be nervous to make friends. They even asked during the keynote, “How many times have you looked at someone for 5 seconds and already made up a whole story about them?” Guilty as charged. We’re all in this together- even the girls in hats. (PS They’re actually really nice.)  

Here are some fun snaps from the day:

   
    
    
 
 
 I would highly HIGHLY recommend The Bloguettes webinars & workshops  if you have a small business/brand or are involved in any sort of social media. They were super informative, researched, organized, and sprinkled everything with fun & whimsy! 

Revelation at the Dentist. 

  I have had an infected tooth for over 4 years. It had abcessed so much that other dental hygienists had to come & take a peek. “I have never seen anything like this before!” is not something you want to hear your dentist say. My entire sinus cavity had filled with infection and I was starting to lose bone. 

Today was the big day to tackle the issue. On the docket: a root canal, a crown, & a filling. When the dentist got in there, he found that the one tooth crumbled and couldn’t handle a filling. He had to do a second crown and (extremely generously) did not charge me for it. In case you are like part of the royal family and don’t pay bills, those are E X P E N S I V E! 

In that dentist chair, around hour 3, I heard God whisper, “I’m really proud of you.” This dental work has haunted me for years! They say oral health is the best indicator of overall health and incredibly important for heart health. My word for 2015 is “hollistic”- learning health and balance in every way. This is one step closer to me valuing myself, treating my body well, and working towards wholeness. 

I knew it was God’s favor that I wasn’t charged for that second crown. It was a little nod from the Father that I was on the right track. 

I know what you’re thinking, millennial Christian. “If it was truly God, He would have/should have given you the whole thing for free. Or healed your tooth!” Maybe. But the beautiful thing is that God has given me a great job that allowed me to save up money, learn budgeting skills, and left space for me to accomplish something. He provided in 2 ways- #doublemiracle. 

I still think that Jesus would be proud of me and love me even if all of my teeth rotted out of my face and I exclusively ate Mac & cheese for the rest of my life. He’s a great Dad. And that’s not so different than my current diet any way. 😂 But in the same way that a parent beams when their kid takes her first step or tries something new, God smiled at me today. 

I’m sore but happy. You’re worth taking care of. Take a step into the direction of self care, and He will meet you there.

*If you’re looking for a dentist, I can’t recommend Dr. Patterson & his staff enough!

*For the sake of my own pride & ego, my teeth are crazy town because  problem teeth are hereditary in my family and because antibiotics from child hood caused my teeth to be prone to decay. I promise this isn’t a “Lamar” type of thing. 

*I also don’t think God gave me an infected tooth to teach me a lesson. I think He used some of my negligence to teach me something. Oh grace. :) 

Small Steps.

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I’ve been working hard at getting healthy. Erin & I have been getting up early and walking or spinning. I’m drinking more water, enjoying treats in moderation, and tracking my steps with my fit bit.

I’m seeing results…but it has been s l o w. So slow. And some times that’s hard. But one day I just sort of looked in the mirror and decided I was in this for the long haul. I’m not going to quit. I just have to put one foot in front of the other. I just have to dig my heels in and keep going.

Well isn’t it interesting that what’s going on in the natural always reflects what’s going on in the spirit? Always! So If you’ve met me you know I’m somewhat of an avalanche. I am all or nothing. Black or white. Loud or not there. Your best friend or your worst enemy.

As Jesus tries to nudge me more into being okay with the gray, the same principle applies. Slow & steady wins the race.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It’s right there! When I feel like I’m facing an impossible course with getting healthy or in my relationships or my vision for my life or finding balance or whatever- if I fix my eyes on Jesus and run with endurance, I win. I don’t have to grow weary because His burden is light.

Even beyond that, Hebrews says that I have PEACE, GLORY, & NO SHAME! Furthermore, this jumble of situations in my life is producing PERSEVERANCE, CHARACTER, & my personal fav: HOPE!

Hebrews 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There have been many times that I’ve been hopeless. I can say with confidence that I’m more hopeful despite storms raging than I ever have been in my whole life! What a bright future that’s ahead! To quote a famous campus pastor, “Today was good. Tomorrow may not be. Either way, Jesus is on His throne and I love him.”

PS: Totally into this song at the moment. If you’re feeling the vibe above, give it a listen: http://youtu.be/IJ8pu_OHz2Y

Nothing’s Mine but I Want Everything.

  I recently moved and it’s been so lovely to craft a new space! My mom and I went to a zillion Goodwills and Homegoods and Ross’s and Tuesday Mornings’ and stocked my apt full of adorable things. I can’t wait to post pictures.

The problem is…I caught myself not being able to stop. There was always something else to buy: paper towel dispensers, hangers, cutesy baskets, fake flowers…… The more I bought the more I wanted. It gave me a rush to add something new. Occasionally (read:always), I get introspective. It’s never easy to look at the ugly parts of yourself.

I realized I was numbing  deep hurts & neglecting needs. I read a quote on IG today that said you never really stop grieving you just learn to live in a new way…that is so true. 

As I muddle through a season of significant loss, I’m upset that things are being taken away from me. Or at least that’s how it feels. Which brings me to Jesus. It always comes back to Him.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:19-21

Nothing really belongs to me- my things or my relationships. It’s all going to rust and decay. Except for Jesus. Jesus has promised me eternity. I want my heart to be in Heaven and not World Market…no matter how much I feel like I need that ceramic bird. I want full, holy healing- not the bandaid of a new mirrored side table. 

I fully believe the Lord will use my new home for wholeness, & hospitality, but I can hear the Holy Spirit whisper that it needs to start in my own heart before it can become a safe haven for others. 

A Tale of Two Besties Book Signing

I’ve been following @sofifi on Twitter for what feels like forever. And in Twitter years, 5 years is basically forever. She’s so funny, so normal, and reminds me so much of my real life bestie @mwfranci. Like…if I believed in spirit animals, she would be mine. Look:

  

She was a producer on The Hills/The City (Favs, obvi) and co founded Hello Giggles– which I’ve been reading since the beginning! (It’s how I found out about my fav blogs: Sometimes Sweet!)

When I found out she was coming to Tempe, I had to go! She just wrote a book & I dragged my sister to the book signing at Changing Hands!

She spoke briefly on Hellogiggles and her book and writing. My fav quote, “I love social media. Some people hate it but when have you ever been more connected to people in your life?” #exactly 

  
And look how she signed my book: 

  
We got the cutest little goodie bags!😍 Featuring bracelets from The Little Market:

  
It was fun to meet someone who champions friendship, vulnerability, girls & community. She used her circle of infuence to create a community and platform where one didn’t exist before.   It was clear tonight that she wants everyone along for the ride.

 
This is the picture Maggie sent my mom because they were making fun of me:

  
I can’t wait to read the book & let ya know how it is! You can pick up a copy here! (not an affiliate link. Just linking for funsies.) 

I basically cried all day yesterday. 

  

Abby got married on Saturday and I cried pretty much the whole day.

I didn’t cry because it was so beautifully decorated and their center pieces were cute and the dress was amazing. Each one of those things were there….but that’s not why I was a disaster with Kleenex stuck in my sari.

I cried because person after person had stories about how great of a friend Abby or Abe had been to them. I cried because this wedding brought together community and family. 

The way that Abraham pledged to love and protect…the commitment Abby made to be like Ruth: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” That kind of love is something so profound and so moving that there are no words for me…just tears.  

I cried because there was such a thick presence of God over the whole day. When two people comit to sacrificially love each other, to build a godly family, and to further God’s kingdom…the Holy Spirit shows up to that. 


God has so much for us. His goodness is  overwhelming. He is so FOR us. I was just chatting with a friend today about how God gives us guidelines not just so we have them but because He cares about our hearts. 

He has so much for Abby & Abe and their families and future family. They honored God that day, and He will continue to show favor & honor to them- where ever they end up. And I also have no doubt they’ll give me many more occasions to cry…like when they have a baby. 😉

random things I’ve saved to my phone but will never buy…probably.

Do you ever find cute things on the internet but you know you’ll never put in the effort to like go get your debit card that’s all the way in your purse to buy it? I do. I save them on my phone and show them to my sister and she pretends to be interested. So now I’m just going to show some of my latest faves to you. 

 


  

1. brunch tee no explination needed. This is the perfect tank. But I’ll never buy it because I want it to be like $7 cheaper. 

2. watermelon top it’s from anthro and like a million dollars but hopefully forever 21 will make a knock off. 

3. state forty eight racerback I’ve wanted a state forty eight shirt forevs but I’m so indecisive!

4. watermelon insultated beach bag like do I have a practical need for this? Um no. But is it the cutest bag ever? Yes. 

5. AZ key chains cuuuuuuute ness. And like $5. Omg. 

6. flamingo slip ons these are from a flash sale site so I’ll defs forget to order them. Especially because I have crippling anxiety about buying shoes online. 

7. #nofilter necklace I can’t even buy this because the shop owner is “on vacation.” So then I start thinking “maybe I can craft this myself?” And we all know how that goes. 

Where my ladies at who have shopping carts full of stuff they’ll never buy? I know you feel me on this one. Cute stuff that I don’t need…story of my life! Okay maybe I’ll buy the flamingo shoes…BRB…let me find my card…

I thought Target Canada ruined my life. 

So liiiiiiike a month & a half ago @misschrissycharms posted the cutest bag on her IG. I screen shotted it with every intention of running to Target to swoop it up. Seriously- how cute is it??

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Much to my horror, I could not find it on the Target website. I didn’t see it at the 3 Targets I went to either…I went back to the original post to find that the bag WAS ONLY AVAILABLE IN TARGET CANADA! In case you’re not up on Canada Related News, Target recently made the decision to close all of their stores in Canada because they weren’t profitable. I know- I don’t even know how that’s possible either. (Possibly because there was nothing to buy?) Thus…the bag would never be mine. I was doomed to just be taunted by Canadian bloggers. Or so I thought!

One morning last week, I was scrolling through the Target website for a blush pink bag. AND I SAW IT! But only at a Target at the 17 & Bethany Home. Aka like the most inconvenient location for me to swing by. I didn’t care. I gave my hair a quick spritz of dry shampoo and ran there before work. I got there & I saw it….the last bag in all of Phoenix. I bought it and it was mine. Isn’t it just the cutest bag you ever did see? It’s not too big, it looks just like this Kate Spade bag, and it has short and long straps. Sigh….so this is what victory feels like… ;-)

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