Monday, January 26, 2015

The Gratitude Project.

1. FaceTime - If it seems odd that I'm listing this one first, let me explain. I met Chris, my now-husband, in July 2007. From that day on, until right this moment, we have spent huge amounts of time apart. Sometimes I'm talking different countries! If it weren't for FaceTime, the distance apart would be even more tough! There were times both in 2011 and 2012 that I went 3+ months without seeing him! FaceTime allowed us to not only talk to each other but see each other's faces, expressions, and smiles. It might not seem like something to be thankful for, but when you're thousands of miles apart from each other on a regular basis, it's become something I am incredibly grateful for. Thanks Steve Jobs! ;)

2. Whole Wheat Bread - When my mom used to make my lunches in middle school, I would get so embarrassed when I would pull out my "brown" bread sandwich. Everyone else had a white bread sandwich, but mine was different. When you're in the 5th grade, the LAST thing you want to be is different…that includes what you bring for lunch! (What a change from then until now!) Everyone else had glorious Twinkies and Ding Dongs, and I had a homemade brownie. I thought I was missing out… Until I hit adulthood. I realize now that my mother had homemade snacks for me that were lovingly made and tucked inside my lunchbox for me to find that day. I am grateful for the time she took to make those delicious goodies and for the healthy "brown" bread I had, because it laid the foundation for me to be healthy as an adult. Now I love that "brown" whole-wheat bread and wouldn't have it any other way!

3. Neighbors - While I was home this past weekend, one of my parent's neighbors stopped by with a meal she had made for my mother. As I mentioned before, my mother hasn't been feeling well and hasn't been her usual self lately. Usually one to have an elaborate, home cooked meal every night, she just hasn't had the energy to do so as often. Her neighbor, our friend, knew that and took the time to make a delicious meal for her to enjoy. It was such a blessing to spend time with my mom the whole afternoon, knowing there was a delicious meal already waiting for her/us that evening. Not only was my mom grateful for that love gift, I was, too. I'm grateful that she has such wonderful neighbors that she can call "friends."

4. My Pageant Days - Last night, as I was watching the Miss Universe pageant, I couldn't help but be reminded of my own pageant days. I competed for 4 years, and during that time, I gained so much more than I ever could have imagined! I got a best friend out of the deal (that ended up introducing me to my future husband!), many friends that I still keep up with today, confidence, poise, and interview skills to rival the President's! My parents always kept me in check, saying as long as I did my best, that is all that mattered. I won some… and lost even more, but I am grateful for what my years in pageants taught me: (1.) You win some, you loose some.  (2.) If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  (3.) It's what's on the inside that counts.  Pretty good life-lessons from "beauty pageants," huh?

5. My Husband's Attitude - My husband pulled up to get me at work one day a couple of weeks ago. We were going somewhere where we only needed one car, and he took me to and from work that day. There is a big window in the front of the building, and as he pulled up to get me, he had a huge smile on his face, grandly waving to a couple of us inside. Things have been tough for him this past year, and my friend turned to me and said, "Wow. Look at his smile. He has such a good, positive attitude about life. That's so special, especially after all he's been through." That made me so emotional, because she's right! He has such an incredibly positive outlook on life, and he always seems to be happy. The thing is… 99% of the time, he IS truly happy! Life can certainly challenge us sometimes, and I'm grateful to be married to someone who sees the good and fun in life when it's not so "good" and "fun."

{19 years old…With my parents at the 1st pageant I won that took me to Miss Tennessee}

{Miss TN 2006, with my best friend Erica, right after being called into the Top 10!}

{Backstage at Miss Tennessee, with ladies I still call friends!}

{Evening Gown Competition}

{Absolutely love this. Via}

Thursday, January 22, 2015

LLIA Favorites: Blush.

Introducing Lindsay Loves It All (LLIA) favorites...

 I wanted to share a few of my favorite blushes today. I think a swipe of blush can transform your face, especially during the cold winter months when skin tends to be dry and "blah!" 

1. Nars Final Cut - This was a Nordstrom Exclusive, and unfortunately I don't think it's available anymore. I saw the reviews on it when it first came out, and I knew I had to have it. I love bright orange/coral color blushes! You have to use a light hand, but they are so beautiful on the skin when applied correctly! I especially love this blush when I have a tan. You can see it up close here, along with some swatches of the blush. 

2. Milani Luminoso 05 - After reading so much about this blush, I had to pick it up at CVS. I love the color and slight bit of shimmer it has. It's not glittery at all, just a pretty sheen. This blush is sheer at first, but you can build it up to the intensity you want very easily. I love the finish, too. It goes on very smooth. This is my daily go-to blush! 

3. e.l.f. blush in Pink Passion - Another affordable blush that I love! It's $3, and I got mine at Target. It's a copycat of Bobbi Brown's blush in Pale Pink blush, which is a cult-favorite. This blush adds the perfect pop of color when applied to the apples of cheeks and makes your face look fresh and awake. See it at Target here.

4. MAC Modern Mandarin - After looking at this blush, I am sure you can sense a theme going on here. I love anything orange/coral/peach when it comes to makeup. I feel it compliments my skin tone and enhances my eyes. After years of reading about makeup, trying it on, and just being all around obsessed with it, I've figured that much out! This shade is perhaps my all-time favorite, and I wear it all year long - but especially during the spring and summer. You can buy it online at MAC

Try these out, and let me know what you think! Don't be afraid of these seemingly "bold" blushes! With the right brush and a light hand, they are 100% wearable. I promise! Here's my tip… go to your favorite makeup counter and ask for help picking out a new, fun blush. Get the makeup artist to help choose a color that's best for you and your skin tone. They will apply it for you, and you can test it out that way. I encourage you to get outside of your box when it comes to blush! It will make a world of difference on your pretty face! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Gratitude Project.

{My motto for this series}

1. Unexpected Run-Ins - After a particularly emotional morning last week, I ran into a friend that asked me how I was doing. I am usually always so upbeat that my answer (bursting into tears) just shocked her. She then proceeded to bless me more than she could ever image that day: she listened to me. Without judgement and without interruption. She just listened. She told me about a podcast that had uplifted her that week (listen to it here; it's called "New Year") and recommended a book that had really inspired her. I am grateful that God put her in my path that morning.

2. My Courage - I admit I was a little nervous to start this series. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am always honest and open with my thoughts and feelings. I will compliment or talk to someone in a heartbeat, but this series would mean getting really personal with my you guys. It made me nervous to start, but I am thankful that my courageous spirit look over because this is something I want to do and (hopefully) bless people with!

3. Beautiful days in the middle of winter - This past Saturday and Sunday were GLORIOUS!! Dare I say "perfect!" In the middle of January, when the days seem to run together in a mass of cold and gloom, those two days were perfect reminders that good weather is ahead of us!

4. Answered Prayers - My mother has been having some back/foot issues lately. In trying to pinpoint what the problem was, she had to go through some pretty major tests. Some of which, the results could have been life-ending or life-altering. Major. Hearing that she would have to undergo all of those tests and maybe get bad results shocked me to my core. I prayed every SECOND of the day when I wasn't thinking about trying to turn left onto a busy road, or what temperature to put my oven on to cook dinner, or listening to my husband talk about his day. When all the tests came back negative, and I knew that she was going to be "OK," I literally fell to my knees to praise God!!! I am grateful today, and forever, that my mother got good results from those tests.

5. Christmas Decorations - I was at my parent's house this past weekend and helped take down some Christmas decorations. I love that time of year and always hate to see decorations being taken down and put away. In that moment, next Christmas seems so far away. It reminds me that time flies, so soak it up and enjoy it to the best of your ability. It also reminds me that I am so loved. I see that in the handmade ornaments on the tree, the pictures of Christmases past that are set on the mantle, and the decorations so lovingly put out each year for us to enjoy.

{The table-side tree that is up in my room at my parent's house}

{My husband got his own stocking last year! My grandmother hand-makes and beads them all!}