It’s been five months. FIVE. MONTHS. since my last coffee date post… friends, welcome back to my long-overdue, favorite series here on the blog. Before we get started, let me explain a little about what coffee date posts are if it’s your first time joining me for one!
Posting outfit inspiration is so much fun, but what I really love is connecting with and getting real with y’all. So that’s why every once in a while, I take a day to fill you in on all of the updates in my personal life!
You’ll find a roundup of my blog Instagrams, a (usually long winded) update on what I’ve been up to as of late, and a few personal photos. (Although, I have yet to add any photos to this post! Will fill in with a few later this evening.) Needless to say, these posts are always pretty hefty and not for the faint of heart!
Five months is a long, long time to cover and I felt stumped on where to start. So, last night I took to Instagram Stories to see what aspects of my life y’all were curious about! As always, y’all are the very best and came through with so many wonderful, fun suggestions. So let’s get started, shall we?
This was by far the most highly requested topic y’all asked to hear about… :) and TWIST MY ARM WHY DON’T YA. I’m such a sap that I’ll tell anyone who will listen!
In a nutshell, y’all, I am happier than I ever have been.
I know that’s a bold statement, especially regarding a pretty personal aspect of my life, but I absolutely mean it. Andrew and I have been dating for about 9 months now, and it has been the best in every single way. (You can read more about the start of our relationship here.) It still surprises me when I think about how unexpectedly we met and how quickly everything fell into place, but I mean it when I say I wouldn’t change a thing.
During these past five months since my last coffee date, Andrew graduated from medical school in San Antonio and moved to Ft. Worth! He’s now just 45 minutes away completing his intern year at a hospital there. Even though he’s 45 minutes away, this feels like the biggest treat to me compared to the 5 hours it used to be!
We made a decision early on in our relationship that we were going to date with purpose and intention and always work towards centering our relationship on Christ. We also decided to focus on enjoying the process of dating and to take it day by day. I think that perspective and mindset is something I’ve most appreciated in a culture that puts a lot of expectations and pressures on dating. These few months have just been so fun in getting to know each other better, spending time with each other’s families and friends, and navigating the eb and flow of life at this stage.
It’s hard to explain, but there’s an ease and effortless fit to our friendship and relationship that I’ve never known before. I could go on and on, but I am filled to the brim with thankfulness over the Lord’s timing in our story and so excited to see where it goes!
Work, y’all. The one word that finds a way of making itself into any conversation I seem to have with other friends in their mid-20s. “So, how’s work?” When did we get so old… haha!
I absolutely adore getting to run Lonestar Southern full-time. To this day, I still can’t believe I was given the gift of turning my favorite hobby into my full-time job. It’s a huge blessing I will always be thankful for.
But, with all the good, I’ve found myself really struggling with balance over these past five months. It recently hit me I’ve now been working (and living) alone running Lonestar Southern from my apartment for three years now. Like whoa… that’s a relatively long time! And that’s definitely a long time to live and work by oneself.
I’ll be honest… this job can get lonely. And it can get overwhelming. And I share that not as a pity party, but to say hey… I get to do my dream job, and it’s still hard. It still isn’t ultimately fulfilling or satisfying. And I share it to remind myself (and hopefully you, if you’re feeling discouraged with work) that it’s ok that it’s not perfect.
I’ve been struggling with balance in spending my time. Since I love what I do so much, and since I’m my own boss (and we all know we’re our own worst critics), it’s easy for me to work the day away without making it a priority to get out and see friends, rest, and step back from work. Those days turn into nights spent working, which turn into full weeks spent working, and the list goes on.
And here’s the thing. It feels like everyone else in the blogging world is doing that too. I am the first to “preach” against the dangers of comparison, but I’ll be honest. I fall into that trap oh so often when it comes to growing and maintaining Lonestar Southern. The voice in my head (whether it’s true or not, and it probably isn’t) telling me that every other blogger is working weekends, every other blogger is working the hardest during their vacations, every other blogger doesn’t go a day without posting to Instagram, etc. is incessant and as much as I hate to admit it, I have to work really hard to turn that off.
What’s also been so challenging about blogging is I’m pretty much in control of what I earn. The more I post, the more I make. So taking things like a vacation (where I genuinely unplug and just enjoy it) is terrifying. The rest of the blogging world doesn’t slow down if/when I do, and that pressure is pretty hard to deal with. You know in school that pressure of “Well, technically I could be studying for something right now?” That’s a bit what it always feels like. It’s hard to take a break because there’s always something I could be doing for the blog.
I heard a sermon recently where the pastor asked us to consider how prideful it was for us to think that the world will stop turning and God wouldn’t be able to keep everything in our lives togheter if we step back to take a break. Y’all, this struck such a chord with me. I don’t know what the perfect work-life balance looks like as a blogger (is there even one?) but I know it’s something I haven’t been getting right and I want to really work on!
So, in a nutshell, I love my job. And I’m learning there’s a way I can do it even better than I am now… and for the first time, I’m realizing that doesn’t mean working more or doing more, but perhaps re-prioritizing. It’s a scary call to scale back every so often (like I did at the end of my trip to Europe with my family. I decided to not cover it on the blog and instead just enjoy my time there) but then I remind myself… what is the purpose of blogging for me? Am I aiming to be the best, biggest blogger in the world? No. I want to work hard and encourage other girls with lighthearted, fun posts and snapshots of life that hopefully, in some way, shows the love of Jesus.
There’s so much freedom in that perspective!
I had a few of you reach out and ask about an update on my walk with the Lord. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that that’s something you want to hear about! As always, I love talking your ear off about it.
Currently, I’m studying “Respectable Sins” with my community group. It’s a look at sin in our life we don’t ever really think about or feel the need to change… and yes, it is con-vic-ting. But so good! I also just started a daily devotional called “New Morning Mercies” and highly recommend it. These two books, along with writing in my prayer journal, consist of my current “quiet time” routine, which I try my hardest to do every morning.
I’m still with my group lf middle school girls, who are heading into high school at the end of summer! AHH. I feel like a mom… I can’t believe they’re getting so old! We take the summer off, and I definitely miss them and our Wednesday nights gathering together. Can’t wait to pick back up this fall!
In terms of my walk personally, the past few months have been so sweet. With a constantly changing travel schedule, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to be consistent in spending time in the word every day, but whenever I make that my priority, the Lord blesses it in spades.
One of you reached out asking how to make “quiet time” (spending time alone to read the word and pray) a consistent part of your daily routine. My advice? Make it enjoyable! For me, that means getting a hot cup of coffee, putting on my favorite worship playlist, reading in my old person bible (the text is HUGE for my terrible eyes and I’m obsessed) and journaling with my favorite pen. Instead of viewing it as a “have to,” make it something you look forward to. That way, it quickly becomes a part of your day you look forward to (instead of feeling obligated by) and in turn, a consistent habit!
I’ve been meaning on doing a full post on this for a while, but I don’t think I can say this enough. If you’re looking to grow closer in your walk with God… I want to share a few things.
- You are NEVER too far away. Stop listening to the voice that says you’re too far gone because that is a lie. The Lord wants nothing more than for you to come running to him! (Here’s proof!)
- Invite others in. Having a group of girls who know you and can consistently push you towards Christ is the biggest blessing and a crucial part of one’s walk. If you have a church, look at getting plugged into a small group there! If you don’t have a church but are looking for one, here’s a great place to start!
- This sounds elementary and maybe old school and boring, but I’ve seen it in my own life and countless others. The main way to grow in your faith is to study the word of God daily. Not just a devotional. The actual bible. It is life-giving, transformative, and so much more than a collection of old stories you’ve grown up knowing by heart. The first study I did that truly made the word of God come alive for me was the Esther study by Beth Moore. If you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend that! I also highly recommend She Read’s Truth for a collection of amazing bible studies geared towards us girls.
Here’s another topic that was requested by some of you last night. What is my current fitness routine looking like? What am I eating daily?
The past five months since our last coffee date have held so. much. travel. Which has been tremendously fun, but has also jerked me right out of my normal routine!
This time last year, I was taking spin class 3-5 days per week, cooking for myself consistently (I love making salmon with brussel sprouts and stir-fry, in particular) and feeling great. This year, I’ll be honest… I haven’t been as consistent and I have felt so guilty about it. I haven’t seemed to master the “workout while traveling” thing (so much respect for those of you who do) and have felt too busy to even make time for myself to workout.
So that’s where I’m at currently… in a place where I miss the routine I used to have, and longing to kick start it again! I think for me, the whole thing stems from working way too late. When I’m up past midnight working on the blog, I can’t get up as early as I want to get a workout in, and the spiral continues. Would love to hear any tips y’all have on staying motivated, cause ya sista could use some! :)
As far as what I’m eating, nothing has really changed in that regard! I really don’t restrict myself, but rather try to simply stay aware of the portion size. Another helpful thing is that I don’t keep anything particularly unhealthy and delicious in my apartment. I work from home and am the BIGGEST snacker, which I learned early-on makes for a deadly combination when it comes to keeping treats within reach. Ha!
One thing I am proud of myself of is learning to eat… wait for it… EGGS! I used to like them as a child, but for some reason talked myself out of them as I grew up. I noticed I was eating basically a bucket of cereal every morning and wanted to try something healthier… so I’ve been scrambling eggs for myself! It still isn’t my favorite thing ever, but the more I eat them the more I enjoy them. It’s crazy how full they keep you for the rest of the morning!
So days, eating-wise, typically look something like this for me…
- a cup of coffee (with hazelnut creamer) in the morning
- two scrambled eggs for breakfast
- a smoothie or acaii bowl for lunch
- popcorn for a snack
- a 3pm cup of coffee (with hazelnut creamer)
- a big dinner (I don’t eat a huge breakfast or lunch, but naturally just love dinnertime)
- this summer, I’m loving a Steel City Popsicle for desert ;)
I have to brag on my mom a bit. Growing up, she never ever mentioned her weight, complained about her weight/body image, or portrayed a negative body image of any sort to us, and always encouraged my sister and I to eat healthily, yes, but also to enjoy in moderation! She is always the first to point out if I’m obsessing over what I’m eating/not eating too much and I am so thankful for the healthy perspective she instilled in me. I only hope I can be that way with my (hopefully) children someday!
Highs and Lows
In my community group, one thing we cover weekly are personal highs and lows. It’s such a great way to check in and celebrate the good and pray through the hard in each of our lives. I thought it might be fun to share those now! Let’s start with a few lows from the past five months and end on highs, shall we?
- Feeling defeated by the Instagram algorithm
- I feel silly even saying that because it sounds superficial, but since this is such an easily measurable metric of my work I pay a lot of attention to it. Lately, the Instagram algorithm has made it difficult for me to grow on Instagram. Posts just don’t get seen as much (because the algorithm is consistently burying images) and I’ve found myself getting frustrated by how much work I put into it and the drop in engagement that still takes places. It’s not the end of the world by any means, but it’s something I’ve been trying to navigate lately.
- Consistently being out of town
- Now, let me clarify. I feel SO lucky to travel! These past few months, in particular, have held so many fun adventures that I feel so lucky to have gone on. But y’all, I miss being home. I miss seeing friends. I miss being at church every Sunday. I miss lazy weekends. I miss just being home. It’s true… there’s no place like it, and as much as I’ve loved this season of travel, I think I’m ready for a break.
- Working alone
- I mentioned this earlier, but three years of working alone, at my apartment, by myself has started to kinda catch up with me. In February, I moved into a much bigger apartment. It’s been a HUGE blessing (I finally have space and don’t feel so overwhelmed with work physically taking over my personal life, ha!) but it’s also been a bit more isolating and not as cozy. I’m currently brainstorming ways to help with this. Oddly, putting on music first thing, keeping my apartment super tidy and lighting a favorite candle seems to help. I’d love if you have any other recommendations!
- Exciting blog projects
- While Intagram has posed it’s on set of challenges, the Lord has been so gracious in providing a lot of really fun projects I’ve gotten to work on over these past few months! That lights my fire and gets me so excited whenever I’m feeling “less-than” in the blogging world. Recently, I signed my biggest project to date and can’t wait to start sharing about it soon! Here are a few I’ve particularly loved working on… here, here and here!
- Cheesy, I know. But true. :)
- Friends getting married
- Y’all… I don’t know what it is about this year, but it’s felt like the year for weddings for so many of my best friends! Three are currently engaged (two getting married in August alone) and one just got married a couple of weeks ago! I love, love, love weddings and engagements and all of the fun that comes with it, so this has been the BEST. Plus, weddings feel like high school and college reunions today… what’s not to love! (Don’t forget, I have a shop page dedicated to wedding guest dresses here.)
- Isn’t it funny how something can be both a high and a low? I mentioned above that constantly being out of town has been a low for me, but on the flip side of things, I’ve had the blessing of going on so many fun adventures lately! You can see more about my trip to Rome and Nantucket, as well as a fun weekend trip to San Antonio, by clicking through!
- Happy Mail.
- This spring, I started a new project… Happy Mail! It’s my weekly email newsletter, but it’s not a normal email newsletter. It’s a COOL one! (Mean girls, anyone?) I’ve seriously loved this fun way to create new content for y’all, and I’m so excited to hear y’all are enjoying it! It’s broken up the routine of blogging and given me something new and fresh that I’m so excited about! Click HERE to sign up!
Things I’m Loving
A few of you reached out and asked for beauty and skin care favorites I’m currently loving, so I thought it would be fun to walk through some favorites of mine in general as of late!
- This Instagram account. I think I’ve liked every single photo they’ve posted!
- This self-tanner. I apply with a mit and use this for my body and this for my face!
- TV shows I’m currently obsessed with? Grey’s Anatomy and Queer Eye! (I cry like a baby in almost every episode of Queer Eye, y’all. So good!)
- My Del Brenna ring I purchased in Cortona, Italy.
- This face mask followed by this oil. My skin has never felt so smooth! I’m legit blown away.
- The nail color Pre Show Jitters. (I saw it on my friend Emily and fell in love!)
- The best athletic shorts EVER. And I’m so picky about them. I own two pairs and am planning on purchasing the pink ones soon! They run true to size.
- The newest Luke Combs album. A few of my favorites? A Long Way, Houston We’ve Got A Problem and Lonely One!
- The best snack EVER… Live. Love. Pop! THIS stuff is crack.
- This top that I’ve been wearing like… three times a week!
In a Nutshell
To wrap it all up… the past five months have been a blur. A wonderful, exciting, overwhelming at times (ok, many times) blur. There’s been so much newness and change and travel and I love it all! I’m also craving routine and being mindful of ways to add rest into my life. I think that’s a habit I need to start now, as I know life just keeps getting busier!
A verse that has been on my heart recently…
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16
As I’ve reflected on this verse, it has given me so much comfort to know that not a single day is outside of the Lord’s involvement in and care over my life. And because of that, not a single season in my life is outside of the Lord’s involvement in and care over my life. He’s with me in these highs and the lows that I just shared with you, the crazy and the routine, the fun of a wonderful relationship and the loneliness of working by myself. He’s in the big-picture things, and the little, every-day things. He already knows every detail of every circumstance I’ll ever walk through, and He is sovereign over all of it. Does that not blow your mind?
This verse has also reminded me the importance of taking things day by day. One of my friends in my community group encouraged me to think on the concept of “daily bread” when I’m feeling overwhelmed… asking the Lord for the strength, direction, and provision I need simply for the day right in front of me instead of worrying about all the unknowns ahead. That mindset has helped me be so much more present, and so much more at peace.
So I want to end this post with a question for you… do you believe that our God is a good Father? One who wants you to come running back no matter how far you’ve wandered? One who has written every single day before you were even born and promises to be with you in each? Because as I look back on these past five months, I see how whether or not I’ve held fast to those truths has directly influenced my perspective and my purpose for the day, which turns into my perspective and purose for a week, and then a month, etc. Let me tell you… life is so much more full when He is my focus!
I adore y’all, and can’t thank you enough for reading through what just might be my longest coffee date yet! Tomorrow, I’ll be covering the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so if you’re a cardholder, set your alarms! I’m getting a sneak peek of the sale today and it feels like Christmas morning! You can see my recent post on everything you need to know about it here.
I also wanted to leave y’all with a few items from the catalog I definitely plan on picking up. These items are currently marked as “out of stock,” but you’ll be able to click through and shop away starting tomorrow morning!
I’ll be pulling an all-nighter tonight, and will start posting all things #NSale at around 4am CST. Who’s chugging caffeine and staying up with me?! :)
Love from Texas,