My phone fell into the Patuxent River… This is what I learned.

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Hey hey hey! It’s been a long long time since I wrote on the “life” section of Making Joy & Bliss! But I’m back to document a sad at first but kinda funny now, situation. So let me set the scene. It’s the Sunday before Labor Day (At first I wrote ‘Memorial Day’. Wouldn’t that be great?). We’re on the boat with some family friends eating cheese, crackers and grapes. It’s a nice 70° and I’m in heaven. We head out of the creek and up the river. It’s a little choppy. We close up the snacks because dad starts to speed up to avoid feeling the waves as much. We hit a slight left turn— I hear a ‘bang’ and look at my bf. “Um, Molls? That was your phone.” I hop up, telling myself— manifesting— that it was just laying on the floor of the boat. Welp, turns out it plopped in the water and down it went. Sure, I shed a few quick tears— not over the fact that my physical phone was in the water but rather because it took all my photos with it. Since it was Labor Day weekend, Verizon couldn’t ship it to me until Wednesday— here I am, writing about what I learned in those 3, phone-less days.

Waze GPS forever— since I was leaving from the river house to school I didn’t know the way and let’s just say my car named Carl sure did want to take the scenic route. Backroads & two lanes the entire 4 hours. This also made me think back to the times when you’d print out your Map Quest directions before heading off to your destination— man, those days were good.

I had time to THINK— the lack of distraction was insane. I talked to God so much and he talked right back. I had time to just be with myself and sure, it was only 3 days but I swear my heart grew. Sometimes I just forget how badly the Lord wants to hear from us. He knows every single aspect of our minds and hearts but He wants us to pursue Him and His love.

I need to look up more— Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m that infatuated with my phone. However, the minute I was without it, I noticed it. I need to walk campus without my AirPods in. I need to sit down in class and get to know the person next to me while waiting for the professor to start. I need to walk the aisles of Target without texting while doing it (you see so much more that you don’t need but ultimately end up buying ;)). 

It was a easier to get out of bed— Tuesday morning I set my apple HomePod alarm for 7am to get myself up and what I realized was, there was no snoozing the alarm, and I hopped right out of bed. I swear it was because I didn’t have Instagram & Twitter to check. I was on time for class and even had time to grab a coffee. Ah, heaven. 

Loopy case forever— When my phone flew into the water my brand new Loopy case went with it. Not going to lie, it was kind of upsetting because I felt like buying the Loopy was a splurge ($40 + shipping for a phone case? Ugh). So, I ordered a new one (that was painful) and it hasn’t arrived yet. Today I put a backup case on and I realized how much I adored the Loopy even though I only had it for 2 weeks. I can’t wait to have it back and my right pinky can’t wait either— the poor thing is tired from holding up my phone. 

Back up your dang phone—I never backed up my phone because I didn’t want to buy extra iCloud storage but if I could do it all over again I would. Photos are precious to me and so are old text messages from specific people like my sister and bestie Emma. Soooo yeah the first thing I did was buy the freaking iCloud storage.

Mother's Day Celebration Recap

 

Hi babes! Long time no chat! I know Mother’s Day was a few weeks ago but I’ve had a couple people ask about the decor so here I am, hopping on here to share everything that made Mother’s Day all that it was. I had such a fun time planning the celebration and cooking etc. I’ll share the recipes and link all of the decor here!

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Decor

Silver Fringe Backdrop // Palm Leaf Party Kit // Palm Snack Plate// Palm Dinner Plate // Latex Balloon Pack // Palm Print Tablecloth // Letter Balloons // Tassel Garland (DIY)

Brunch

Frittata: I followed this recipe that I found on Pinterest to get the gist of how to make a frittata, and then added spinach, feta, and a pinch or two of tarragon. It was a success! 

 
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Cinnamon Muffins: this box mix is a crowd pleaser & is super easy. Buy it here.

Dinner

Pineapple Chicken Kabobs: recipe here.

Rice Pilaf: click here

Chopped Caesar Salad  (I just bought a bag at the store because I’m lame)

Cranberry Pineapple Punch Everyone loved this drink and it’s a total do-again! Try it out here!

Dessert  

Eclair Cake: This was so easy and so fun! It’s best to make it the night before and store it in the fridge! Recipe here.

 

My Must-Have Apps

 
 
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Hey, y’all! I’m sharing my favorite apps that I use almost daily to make your days a little sweeter. If you try any of my suggestions out let me know, and share your favorite apps as well! Each app name is linked so you can just click and download! Enjoy. xoxo

 
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Calm

This app is my first defense when dealing with panic attacks. Since I deal with my anxiety the most at night, this app brings me a ridiculous amount of peace. Not only do I love the meditation, but the sleep stories are awesome.

 
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OpenTable

When I’m home in DC I don’t go to a single restaurant without checking if it’s on this app to make a reservation. Not only does it allow you to skip the step of calling the restaurant, but you get points for every restaurant you make a reservation at. The points can be redeemed for restaurant gift cards, Amazon gift cards etc. If a place doesn’t have availability, it will make suggestions for you so you have a back up plan.  

3 Good Things

I mentioned this app in a previous blog post about ways to make joy and bliss in your everyday life, so since this is a post all about what’s on my iPhone I had to include this app.  This is a happiness journal that reminds you every evening to enter your “3 good things” that happened that day. Big or small, it doesn’t matter— as long as you’re practicing gratitude you’ll see your quality of life increase.

 
 

Bubble Level

This app comes in handy more often than I thought it would. My mom and I downloaded it last year when I moved into my dorm sophomore year and now I use it all the time throughout the apartment. No one likes crooked decor.

Ebates

One of my good friends convinced me last summer to start using Ebates. I had always seen commercials for it but I thought it would be a pain in the butt or a scam. Little did I know, it rocks. My mom is obsessed now too. I have the app and also have it downloaded on my computer. I constantly make money back off of my purchases and it goes directly into my paypal account. If you online shop a ton, you need it  

 
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Sleep Cycle

A few years ago I was obsessed with Sleep Cycle, and here I am, getting back into it. I love so many things about it— the way the alarm works, the data it gives you the next morning, and how it helped me realize that I have to take better care of myself concerning my sleep.  

Sudoku

Call me a geek, but I love sudoku. I’ve loved it since before I can even remember. I think it’s an awesome game for kiddos to play to work with numbers too, but that’s just the teacher in me ;) Anyways, I have two different sudoku apps on my phone and love them both.

 
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She Reads Truth

My favorite guide to spending time with the Lord. My friend Laura suggested using the reading plans on She Reads Truth when I was in a bit of a rut with how to connect with God and His Word, so I began using their website. Little did I know, they had an app! 

Phrase Party!

My family loves this game. When we remember to play it on game nights, we usually end up crying laughing on the floor by the end of it. Having the mobile version makes it easy to play anywhere. I’m pretty sure my dad loves this game so much that he bought the full, ad-free version.  

Chick-fil-a & McDonalds

I’m a big fast food girl and I’m not ashamed. I love nuggets, fries, and the perfect taste of a crisp Sprite or Diet Coke. The Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s apps are my ride or dies. You earn points and can redeem coupons for free food so I have no complaints. 

 

| Smartly | What I think of the new line at Target

 
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All-Purpose Cleaner $1.59

This is the product that exploded on social media, and sparked my interest in this brand. The best part is that it smells like the Anthropologie Capri Blue Volcano Candle.

Unscented Facial Cleansing Wipes $0.99

I’m just being honest, these are a big no from me. They’re so flimsy and aren’t wet enough to actually take off any makeup. I’m planning to put these in my car for emergencies and just stick with Neutrogena wipes.

Paper Towels $0.59

These are just okay. They’re not Bounty, that’s for sure, but they get the job done. They sort of fall apart when you go to scrub anything off of the counter with them, but for basic clean up, they’re a-ok.

Liquid Hand Soap $0.99

When I first pumped this soap into my hand I thought it smelled delicious and I was really excited about it. What I noticed, however, is that the scent that it left on my hands was so odd. Honestly, it smelled like wet dog. So, bottom line, it’s a no from me. I’ll stick to Mrs. Myers hand soap.

Shaving Foam $0.99

I will totally purchase this again. So cheap, smells delicious, and a little goes a long way. I have no bad things to say about this.

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Zipper Sandwich Bags $1.19

These sandwich bags are so great! The zipper is strong as far as I’ve experienced, and they’re so inexpensive! 10/10 would recommend.

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Body Wash $1.99

I love the way this body wash smells and it reminded me of Neutrogena’s Rainbath, but at a much better price. My problem with this product is that it doesn’t lather up. When I use a body wash I want to feel and see the bubbles on my loofa. This product struggles to do that. So, if bubbles aren’t a priority when it comes to your body wash, then this is a great one at a great price!

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Unscented Hand and Body Lotion $1.99

Another no from me. This stuff did nothing for my skin. I felt like I applied it and then 30 minutes later my skin was desperate for moisture again. I also got pretty itchy—weird, I know. I do have extremely dry skin, so this might work for someone with normal skin.

Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser $2.49

Just like the facial wipes, this is just alright. I think there are better options out there for $2.50 to wash your face. I do appreciate that this cleanser was unscented for my sensitive skin.

Soft Toothbrush Set $0.99

These are so great! AND so so cute! I know they come in a seafoam green set too. I am going to keep plenty of these under my bathroom sink for guests because people are always spending the night and forgetting toothbrushes. I love these, y’all.

All in all, I think trying all of this stuff out was really fun! I love the packaging, and some products are great. I will re-purchase the all-purpose cleaner, the sandwich bags, the shaving cream, and those adorable toothbrushes. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you think about them.

 

February 14 || What's on my brain

 
 
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I’ll just go ahead and admit it— I try my very best every year to be bitter towards Feb 14. Boyfriend or not, I spend the weeks leading up to this day rolling my eyes at the v-day section in Target and saying “Oh, it’s just another day.” I try so hard to get myself into the mentality that a day dedicated to celebrating people you adore is ridiculous, however, this year, things felt drastically different.

I think the reason my feelings towards today were so unfamiliar is because I am overflowing with the love of Jesus. Today I cracked my Bible open to 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us” and honestly, that verse just made me want to run and tell all of my people how much I am grateful for them. That verse reminded me to let go of any bitterness towards anyone who has hurt me in the past. It reminded me to love myself and let go of any of my own mistakes that felt extra heavy. The verse reminded me that today isn’t a day just about significant others. It’s a day of reminding us to reset our minds and focus on what the Lord wants us to do: love each other. The important thing that I’m telling myself over and over again is that Jesus isn’t telling us to just love those who we like, or even those people that we’re just “okay” with. He's telling us to love those people who still cause that little sting in your heart when you think of them. Love those who you don’t speak to. Love those who are difficult to love because you are one of them.

So, sure, you can look at February 14th as a day of silly, annoying, commercialized love. Or you can call your grandma and tell her how much you love her. You can let your professor know you appreciate all you do. You can give the receptionist at your office a gift card to a place for lunch down the street. You can remind your kiddos how you’ll love them forever. You can even text that friend that you haven’t heard from in months to remind them that they’re important. Just break down that wall around your heart that puts a bitter view around this day. Oh, and do not forget to let others love you too. You are valued. You are precious. You are cherished. You don’t need flowers to tell you that. Soak in the love that the King of all Kings has for you. It will never run out, disappoint, or fail you.

Photo details: Top: TJMaxx | Jeans: Topshop | Couch: IKEA | Pillows: Home Goods & TJMaxx | Throw Blanket: Anthropologie | Cow print: Home Goods (I still see him at tons of different locations) | Faux Fur Pelt Throw: Target

 

When Life Feels Icky

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I’ve been keeping a list in my journal of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling down. I’ve come to realize that my 20’s has been an ebb and flow of emotions. Getting out of a funk doesn't take spending a ton of money or time. Getting out of a funk means making a conscious decision to move on, but to also be patient with yourself. A lot of the time, in order to feel better, I have to accomplish something no matter how big or small. This is a list of small things that you can and should do to take care of your body, soul and mind.

  1. Spend time with Jesus.

  2. Change your sheets.

  3. Unfollow people who make social media a place of comparison.

  4. Write down something you are bitter about. Rip the paper up into a million little pieces. Decide to let go of that anger.

  5. Go on a walk— even if it’s cold outside. Bundle up. Embrace the current season.

  6. Drink two full glasses of water.

  7. Wash your face. Moisturize.

  8. Dance to a 2000’s jam.

  9. Put your phone on airplane mode and read a book for a while.

  10. Buy a bouquet of flowers.

  11. Write a handwritten note to a family member. Snail mail is epic.

  12. Clean out your closet. Make a donation pile.

  13. Sit down and listen to a podcast. Be present. Don’t do anything else other than enjoy.

  14. Stretch your muscles.

  15. Give someone a compliment.

  16. Cook or bake something. Appreciate every bite.

Striving & “The Plan”

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20 is a weird age. I'm halfway through my college career. I should have very little worries considering how blessed I am. I have nobody to take care of other than myself, and my only heavy responsibilities include getting good grades and keeping my parents in the loop. At the same time, I'm trying to figure out what the heck I want to do when this period of my life comes to an end. Here is a glimpse into the questions that keep me up at night:

"Where will I end up after graduation?"
"Should I play it safe and live close to home? Or should I pick up and move somewhere fun since I'm young and the world is at my fingertips?
"What grade will I teach? Will I even get hired right away?"
"Am I even fit for this job? Is this what God is calling me to do?" 

I could go on and on.

I'm always worried about what's to come, but am also trying to stay present in the now. It's a constant battle. In one way or another, I feel as though I've failed every single day. I'm consumed with bettering myself, however, this leads to striving to be the best "me" I can. But what exactly does it mean for me to be the "best me"? Whenever I find success, I find some way to criticize myself. I’ll compare myself to the other students in the education program, or convince myself that I’m not good with the kids that I work with in the elementary schools. I’ll stand in front of the mirror and ask myself if I should start dieting like my friends. I’ll tell myself that I heard what God was saying to me all wrong. The internal comparing and tearing myself down rarely stops, but I’m improving.

I know that when I don’t feel like I’m enough, the enemy is working his hardest to suppress what I know to be true. My job on this earth is to be present in the period of life He has me in now and glorify Him. The only person I need to be working for is my God. If what I do each day is pleasing to Him, then I’ve done what I need to do. That’s where I’ll feel like I have the most purpose.

I’m also learning to rest in the fact that God knows where I’m going to be tomorrow, and next month. He knows where I’m going to be next year, and in 10 years. He’s not going to leave me to fend for myself. Sure, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to fall into my lap, but if I obey Him and follow where He directs me, then it will fall into place. Nothing in this life is an accident. Nothing in this life surprises our God. Remind yourself of this. No amount of chaos is a surprise to Him, and no beginning or end of any relationship or season in our lives is an interruption to His plan. 

I keep having to tell myself, “God knows where you’ll be teaching in less than two years.” “God already knows who your students will be” “God already knows how you do on that class presentation.”

So, this is what I’m learning from all of this. Life’s less than ideal circumstances are unavoidable and will knock you down out of no where. Worrying about the future is inevitable. Striving to meet expectations will never completely go away. Asking God for peace is the only thing that will bring me rest. You can’t find peace by worrying more, or trying to figure things out for yourself. Enjoy where you are in this life right now. Enjoy where God has placed you— He’s making something wonderful out of it.

Turkey Day 2018

 
 
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It’s Thanksgiving, y’all! This morning I woke up and immediately geared up to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the fam. After eating a little breakfast and hanging out, I bundled up and headed out for my own turkey trot because I didn’t even think about signing up for one until yesterday. But let me tell ya, it was cold out there and the wind was making the jog 10x harder than it needed to be.

Once I got back home Reese and I got dressed, and did our hair and make-up. She borrowed a sweater from Bittersweet Boutique and jeans from American Eagle. Her slip ons were Steve Madden! Reese has the most beautiful, long, blonde hair so whenever she asks me to style it for her I get so excited. We threw it up in this high ponytail to show off the open back of the sweater.

My sweater is sold out but I’ll link a similar one here. I grabbed this velvet J. Crew skirt at TJMaxx for $12.99. It was originally $79.50. Major steal. My over-the-knee boots are Sam Edelman and my polka dot tights are Target. Nothing like a budget-friendly outfit.

It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving Day blog post if I didn’t share what I’m most thankful for—

  1. My Sweet Jesus whose love and grace is unending.

  2. A full year of my dad being cancer free.

  3. Year #2 of Making Joy and Bliss.

  4. The river house in Solomons Island. A place where we can all come together to recharge.

  5. The family I nanny for.

  6. Plans I make that unexpectedly change for the better.

  7. My girlies that I met through LU’s school of education.

  8. Lululemon.

I cannot thank y’all enough for following me along by reading Making Joy and Bliss. This space is such a blessing and I love sharing with you. Love love love y’all.

 

Apartment Tour 2018

 
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Well, it is about dang time I get this blog post up. I hear from y’all almost every day asking to see my apartment. Probably because I can’t stop posting little snippets of it all over my instagram. I think I have been putting this post off because of the amount of things I am going to need to link for you, but I’m going to do it because I’m hashtag dedicated ;) I gotta get it up while my place is in its normal state before Christmas explodes in a few days. Yes, I’m a “decorate on November 1” kind of girl.

I furnished this apartment with my own moolah, so I was really conscious of what I was spending my money on. I had to remind myself over and over again that it is only my first place. I didn’t need to have the best of the best for everything, and that IKEA is 100% the move. As much as I wanted to buy everything from somewhere boujee like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters Home, this gal just didn’t have $100 for a single lamp. Ya hear me?

I am going to do a separate post on how I got organized in a small space, and how I feel about the pieces that I picked up now that I’ve been living with them for 3 months, but for now I’m just giving a cutesy overview.

 
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Living Room & Kitchen

Amazon was my BFF when furnishing the living room. I really just put together different pieces at the cheapest price to get the look that I wanted. One of my favorite finds, thanks to my momma was the stainless steel island to add some more space to work in the kitchen. All of the pillows and blankets are from Home Goods or TJ Maxx so I can’t link them, but that’s one of my favorite things about shopping at those two places: everything is super unique so it won’t look like you just picked out 14 pillows from Target at once.

Couch | Grey Shelves | Dining Table | Chairs | Coffee Table | Rug | Stainless Steel Island | Trash Can | Rolling TV Stand | Palm Tree | Side Tables

 
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Bedroom

I’m just going to rave about the mattress that I have right now. My mom grabbed it for me off of the lovely Amazon and it is the most wonderful thing that I have slept on. It was one of those “bed in a box” situations and I cannot say enough wonderful things about it.

Bed | Bedside Cart | Desk | Printer Cart | Clothing rack | Rug | Full-length Mirror | Pink Chair | End of bed duvet

 
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Hallway

One of my favorite parts of this apartment. I adore walking into my place every day and seeing this set up. The cubes give extra storage (a must for me). All the cute things on the storage piece are from Home Goods so I can’t link them, again. I adore this mirror, too. It’s perfect for selfies when I’m running out the door.

6 Cube Storage | Cube Drawers | Round Mirror

 

Game Day & 5 Things You Don't Need to Know

 

Hello sweet humans! Last weekend was so fun that I thought I’d share some outfit photos as well as 5 things about me that you could live life without knowing… but I’ll share anyways. I want y’all to get to know me as well as possible because the people who read this blog mean the world to me.

Liberty played Idaho State last Saturday and man, oh man it was a good one. We won ;) and the weather was perfection. Chilly, but sunny. The most ideal fall day. I ate pizza and cotton candy, along with drinking my weight in the love of my life, Diet Coke. I know, it’s bad for me but it’s a simple pleasure of mine.

Anyways, here are some photos!

 
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Outfit details || Sweater: Ruby Moon | Denim: Madwell | Shoes: Greats Brand ON MEGA SALE RIGHT NOW ONLY $71 (25% off with code LIBERTY) | Glasses: Ann Taylor (50% off with code FALLCOLORS) | Star earrings: Rocksbox (1st month free with code MAKINGJOYANDBLISSXOXO | Scarf: old, but similar here

5 things about me

  1. Liberty University was the last place I ever thought that I’d end up going to school. One day, my mom told me we were going to look and attend a football game for a girl’s weekend. I was annoyed to say the least. Of course, since momma’s know best, I fell in love with the place. I felt at home. God was nudging me in the direction of LU.

  2. I just chopped my hair to above my shoulders which is the shortest I’ve ever gone (except that one time I took my Kit Kittredge doll to the salon when I was 10 and asked for her hair). I have no idea how to style it. My ride or die curling wand is too large, I can’t seem to figure out the whole curl with a straightener thing, and I feel like when I wear it straight it just hangs there.

  3. If I could wear cowgirl boots every single day of my life and it not be weird… I would.

  4. When I got my class ring my junior year of high school I told myself that I would never wear the thing post graduation. Why hold on to high school ya know? Well here I am 4 years later, still wearing it, and with no plans to retire it.

  5. Something that gives me instant confidence… red lipstick. And just another reason why I adore game days.

 

A Quick Weekend at Home: Reese's Freshman Homecoming

 

I went home this past weekend to help my mom host the pre-party for Reese’s freshman homecoming as well as do Reese’s hair and make-up. I can’t believe she’s in high school. It’s safe to say that there were a few tears from me the day of. I wanted to share a few pics with y’all and some of the decor! I keep on saying my mom is superwoman because I really don’t know how she does it all. There were THIRTY-EIGHT 14-year olds and their parents at my house.

 
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Reese’s school colors are red, silver, and white, so you see what we were going after with all the red in the house! I personally loved doing all the deserts. Decorating cookies is so relaxing and I was kinda bummed when I went to go eat one after the party and they were all gone ha! I guess it means they were yummy!

In my mind, it’s not a celebration unless there are balloons, so of course we grabbed 3 dozen. My mom threw red bows on everything which was so adorable. White pumpkins with bows are just too cute for me to handle.

As for how we served drinks, I love the mason jar dispensers. My mom and I laugh now because we grabbed these for my graduation party 3 years ago and really contemplated buying them. We thought they’d be a pain to store, and that we’d never use the dang things again. Boy, were we wrong! They’re always a hit. We’ve lent them to neighbors for baby showers, had them out for summer gatherings, and now for the homecoming celebration. And considering the fact that Reese is the social butterfly of our family, I’m sure they’ll get even more use in the future. I can’t find the exact ones, but I will post similar options!

Decor details: Drink dispensers

 

Goals For Junior Year at Liberty University

 
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You heard it here first, y'all. I'm making this my year. I'm speaking it into existence. You should too. What I know for sure is, I am in charge of whether or not I make this year a success. What I also know, is that it's not going to always be a breeze. It's going to take dedication on my part. Here are the few goals that I am setting that I believe will fuel me to be the best I can be. P.S. there are only a handful of goals on this list for a reason. It's so important to not overwhelm yourself with goals to the point that you just say "forget it." Start with a few. Conquer them. Then, add more. 

Embrace the morning person that I am

After having to be at my job at 8 am Monday-Friday this summer, I realized that I am 100% a morning person. I got on a great schedule of being in bed by 10:30 and waking up at 7. I felt so energized all summer and saw that I am in no way productive late at night. I don't have class until noon this semester, so I want to be really mindful about using my mornings in the best way possible. No sleeping in past 8:30 am for this girl. Unless it's the weekend. Weekend's don't count. Is that cheating?

Never skip an extra credit opportunity

I don't care how well I'm doing in a class, I'm promising to myself that I will never skip a single extra credit opportunity. You just never know when you'll need them. Enough said. 

Make protein a priority 

Y'all, I do not eat enough protein, I do, however, consume ALL the carbs. So, this sounds like a silly goal, but I want to eat some kind of protein with every single meal-- especially at breakfast. A little step I'm taking towards this is by not letting myself buy sugary cereal for breakfast (it's my weakness). I guess I'll have to wait to get home until I can eat an entire box of Cap'n Crunch Berries in one sitting-- @mom.

Get moving every day with the intention of clearing my mind 

Whether I actually make it to the gym, or if I just go on a walk around downtown Lynchburg, I know that not only for my physical but even more so my mental health, I need to get up and move. It's so easy for me to get caught up in school work, the blog, social media, or even just pure laziness. Then, all of a sudden my anxiety is at an all-time high and everything going on around me seems way worse than it actually is. As I've gotten to know myself more, I've realized that I have to make time in my schedule with the sole purpose of clearing my head. 

Make time for the blog 

Oftentimes, the blog fades into the distance when life gets busy. The biggest problem with my putting MJ&B on the backburner is that I deprive myself of one of the things that fuel me the most. So, because of that, I'm committing to posting at least once a week-- hold me to it, y'all. 

Don't check social media until you've spent time with the Lord in the morning  

If I fill myself with good, that's what I'll be able to pour out into my daily life. You can't pour from an empty cup!! The important thing to note, however, is that I have to fill my cup with the Lord's goodness, not the "good" of this world. I'm totally guilty of reaching for my phone the second my eyes open in the morning. I'm changing this and vowing to spend time with God before I do any of that. Post coming soon with my favorite tools to spend one-on-one time with Him. 

 
 

3 States in 4 Days || A Mother-Daughter Weekend

 
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This past weekend was one that I will always cherish. My mom and I have a unique and special relationship. It’s been interesting to navigate, for sure, finding the balance between mother-daughter and best friend. We’ve learned a lot about each other since I graduated high school. We both acknowledged that we’re introverts, so we totally “get” each other. The things that are most important to us line up, and communication is often easy. I’m not saying everything is always sunshine and rainbows, but when we do disagree, I focus on the fact that she is indeed my mom—a beautiful woman who has more experience than I, and a ton of wisdom to share. 

 
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My mom is also one of the most hardworking women I know. Somehow, along with having a full-time job, she succeeds to have dinner on the table for our family every night, manages 4 different schedules including her own, her husband’s and her daughters’. It’s safe to say she blows my mind. This week she went on a trip for work and attended the Travelers Golf Championship with her coworkers. They had a ton of actual work things to get done the first two days, so she invited me to meet her on Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday. I’m always wanting to meet her coworkers turned friends, and just have time with her. I took off work, hopped on a plane, and met her for a weekend of good food, and good people.

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Thursday night, we took a quick little road trip to New Haven, CT for pizza that was suggested by a friend of hers. He warned us that there would be a line, but that it was 100% worth it if we were willing. Well, he was right. Frank Pepe Pizzeria was so dang good. If we weren’t staying at a hotel I would have eaten the leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (Typically, I do NOT do leftovers). Since we were super close to Yale, I just knew I had to make a stop and grab a sweatshirt. The campus is gorgeous! Look at the sky that night! When we got back to the hotel we ordered room service for 11 pm chocolate cake and then hit the hay. 

 
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The next morning, we grabbed Dunkin and then started driving towards Foxboro, MA to celebrate a friend’s high school graduation. She’s headed to the University of Maine next year! I hadn’t seen Julia in over 10 years due to the distance between us. The last time we were together is when both of our moms won a trip on the Disney Cruise back when they worked together. Fun fact, they work together now too—different company though. It’s funny how some friendships really do stick. 

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Spending the morning decorating for her party was a joy. There's nothing like preparing to celebrate the accomplishments of a dear friend! Her cake was the star of the show-- look how gorgeous it was! The entire thing was gone by the end of the night. 

On Sunday morning we packed up and hit to road to Providence, RI. The hour-long ride to the airport is something I will always cherish. Time in the car is when my mom and I get a chance to really connect. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

 
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Also, I thought I'd mention the book that I spent both plane rides reading. A Pastor that I follow on Instagram posted it on his story and when I read the title I immediately Amazon Primed it. Jentezen Franklin's, "Love Like You've Never Been Hurt" has made a huge impact on the way that I'm choosing to treat others. Recently, I've been allowing the enemy to sneak a lot of bitterness back into my life. After a rough 2nd semester, I came back from the summer unable to trust anyone, and completely run-down from beating myself up about past mistakes. This book has taught me to remove past pain and hurt from the way in which I love people. Bitterness gets in the way of me spreading the love of Jesus. I won't keep on rambling here, but go grab the book for yourself, and then pass it on to someone else! 

 

My Plans Were Wrecked to Make Room For Something Different

 
 
 

Every time I sit down to write about a new semester I'm overwhelmed by how fast time is flying. Honestly, when I look back on my second year of college, my heart feels extremely heavy. If you had asked me 5 weeks ago what I thought about this year, I'd tell you all about how much I felt God blessing me repeatedly, and how everything I wanted and planned for myself had worked out. I'd go on and on about the friendships I had made and the leadership team I had been a part of in my residence hall. I'd talk about how much I enjoyed my first year in FOUR years that I spent being single. I'd tell you how I thought I had found my lifelong, best friend who I swore was my soul sister. I'd share about how I had never really had a friendship like ours, and how I thought she'd be the one by my side through every single one of my future milestones (graduation, starting jobs, getting married, babies, you name it). I'd tell you about my plans to be a Resident Assistant next year, and how I couldn't wait to see how God would use me through that position.

What I would soon come to realize, after a very rude awakening, is that things change and people change and because of that, I'm in a season of hurting & healing. My plans for next year and beyond took a turn for what appears to be the worse, but what I'm clinging to for dear life at this moment is that God can turn anything into good, and better than I could plan for myself. This doesn't mean, however, that I'm not mourning what I thought were my plans for next year, or the end of a friendship with the one person I thought was never going to leave, but it does mean that I have hope. Hope that there's good out there and that as alone as I might feel in this moment, will not stay forever. 

During a time where I have felt so much loss, I have also seen a few ounces of gain that I'm choosing to cherish. I'm choosing to cling tightly to the people who choose me. The ones who choose me whether I'm on my highest mountaintop or in my lowest valley. I'm choosing the girls (and even sometimes guys) who say "to heck" with what others are saying about me, and who hold tight to what they know is true about me. It's the people in your life that hug you a little harder and cry with you when things are crumbling that you should never let go of. The people who text you and say "hey, I'm not going anywhere" when it seems as if everyone else is leaving. 

The way this year is ending is hard for me to grasp. I have never felt so tempted to throw up my hands in frustration and quit. Move on, transfer, or take a year off. I realized, however, that I'm stronger than that. My God is bigger than that. He's bigger than the enemy who is telling me that I need a break, or that I'm not capable, or that I'm unlovable, or unfixable. Because I'm not. I'm loved by a king, THE KING OF ALL KINGS who can get me through anything. He's the one who gets me through the friend break-ups, the confusing conversations, and the texts that read "I can't be seen with you for now because it will upset others." Y'all, I'm being real, it hurts. I'm not sitting here brushing it off and thinking "oh okay no big deal, I get it" because it is a big deal. It's a big deal when you give so much of yourself to people only to feel like a fool in the end. 

I guess there are a few reasons why I'm being so vulnerable and upfront here on the blog-- a reason why I'm possibly oversharing. First off, I've come to see that writing on Making Joy and Bliss is a healing mechanism for me, this being the reason I know the Lord put this blog in my life. Writing it out allows me let go. I find freedom from the bondage of bitterness. Writing on MJ&B also helps me declare truth over myself. It forces me to recognize the enemy's power to make me feel defeated and helpless, and then heal myself with the Gospel truth that I know. Writing posts like these make me see that God is in control. No amount of chaos is a surprise to Him, and no beginning or end of any relationship or season in our lives is an interruption to His plan. 

The other reason I'm putting all of my junk out in the open is that I want anyone who is feeling like their plans have made a complete 180-degree turn for what looks like the worse, to know that it's actually turning for the best. Not your version of what's best, but God's idea of what's best. Now, how could anyone be mad at that! So it's okay to mourn the end of relationships or the crumbling of plans that were seemingly perfect, but do not stay in that spot. God doesn't want that for you, and do not let Satan tell you that you're not worthy of better, or that better will never come. Because the devil is a liar. 

So yeah, I have no clue what's next. No freaking clue. At all. Wow, I just laughed typing that. But what I do know is that I've spent the past 5 weeks telling myself that I'm unlovable, purposeless, and unfixable, but it's just not true, and realizing that is a small victory that I'm choosing to celebrate. 

 

Where I’ve Been || An Update

Where I’ve Been || An Update

Y'all, it has been an embarrassingly long time since I've posted anything on this wonderful space of mine. To say that the past 8 weeks have been crazy would be a major understatement. I've been running around campus like a chicken with its head cut off. I absolutely hate glorifying stress and anxiety, so this isn't a post where I'm just going to complain about everything that was overwhelming me. Instead, I'm just going to highlight my favorite moments from the past several weeks so that I can update y'all and remind myself of all the beautiful things that came of this semester.

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Happy 1st B-day Making Joy and Bliss || What I've Learned in 1 Year of Blogging

Happy 1st B-day Making Joy and Bliss || What I've Learned in 1 Year of Blogging

Happy 1st birthday, Making Joy and Bliss! A whole year ago I started this blog mainly because my mom wouldn't stop bringing it up. I wasn't completely convinced that I wanted to do it, but once I started building the site and getting my thoughts out in a safe space that I created, I was obsessed. It hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies though. There were a lot of things that popped up over the course of this year of blogging that I had to learn the hard way. 

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Being Obedient

Being Obedient

I hate to admit it, but I'm no stranger to the art of being stubborn. I wouldn't say that I'm so much of a  "my way or the highway" kind of gal, but I am pretty good at building things up in my mind only to realize that they aren't going to work out that way, but I'll still try to make it happen. Oftentimes, I can be stubborn when it comes to listening to what God is telling me. I hear it, through whatever means he speaks to me, and then I say, "um, okay thanks, but I still think I'll do it this way." Every single time I get burned because as I mentioned in an earlier post, His plan is always better than mine. 

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