Uncategorized

Farewell My Long Locks & Self-Confidence

Anyone else out there question their whole existence every time they get a haircut?

This past week I got my hair cut and in turn have spent the entire weekend bawling my eyes out and avoiding any and all mirrors. I just don’t want to look at myself, because I feel ugly.┬áThere is just something about my long locks that gives me confidence and makes me feel beautiful, but now that those long locks are gone, I just don’t know how to see myself the same way.

It all started because I wanted a change and fueled by the fact that my hair needed a trim. I had been frustrated that my hair wasn’t feeling the same way it always had – silky like a bunny’s butt – but it was still long and I have been slowly embracing my natural curls instead of flat-ironing it all the time. Knowing the trim was inevitable, I started looking at other hairstyles and making the big mistake of thinking I could pull off something different. I just get so tired of looking the same and seeing other people change it up all the time. I wanted to be fun and quirky and different with my look. So I saved some looks I liked and showed a few friends to see what they thought – they loved it and were very supportive. Then I started asking for recommendations of places to go to get a good cut – I chose one and made an appointment.

When the day of my appointment rolled around, I started second guessing my decision – and I should have listened to my instincts. I was sick to my stomach and shaking, but I followed through. I just wanted to follow through and own it despite my husband’s multiple warnings and reminders of what happened last time I did this. I showed up at the salon with all the confidence I had, showed my pictures, and asked if this would work with my natural hair. I was assured that it would and I felt so sure I was making a good choice and was so excited to see the final product with a whole new look.

Four inches later, a new look is what I got. I was feeling okay, because the hairdresser styled it and it looked pretty good. After getting home, I wasn’t so sold, but I was still excited to see how good it was going to look with my natural hair. The next day I showered and used the products I bought to help my curls and then let it air dry. That’s when the tears came. My hair is so short and doesn’t look at all like I had pictured. I’m left with a poofy mess of not the curls I was used to seeing.

Between my fits of crying, I would go into the bathroom and hope to see something better than the last time I looked, but no such luck. It barely fits into a ponytail or bun, so I won’t be able to hide it that way very easily. I can’t wear hats to work. So I’ll probably be flat-ironing it a couple times a week – which is exactly what I had been trying to avoid by embracing my natural look.

So pretty much I’m a wreck and wishing I could take it all back. I was such a fool for thinking I could pull off a different look. So for the next five or six months you’ll find me hiding under my blanket waiting for my hair to grow back. Sigh.

| Lauren

Uncategorized

Picture Not So Perfect

In six days, I will be on a plane headed to Portland, Oregon to begin our annual epic road trip. This year, Jeremiah and I will be road tripping from Portland to Los Angeles. Without stops it will be a total of 21 hours and 45 minutes and I couldn’t be more excited to hit the road!

Our first stop is Portland and we will be there for two days. I have a list of all the places I want to check out, sights I want to see, food I want to eat, and activities I want to do, but a couple weeks ago Jeremiah and I were offered a pretty cool opportunity. One of Jeremiah’s co-workers has a sister who is a photographer who just so happens to be in Portland the same days we are and she offered to photograph us for a discounted rate.

At first I was crazy excited about this offer. What a cool way to remember our trip and get some great pictures of us to hang up and cherish. But after a few days of researching locations, poses, and outfits, I’m lacking in the excitement department.

When looking up potential poses and outfits, I naturally hit up Pinterest. Pinterest can be such a helpful tool, but sometimes I find it to be a buzz kill. I created a board and started saving all of my inspiration. I was getting some great ideas until I found the perfect picture that was exactly the look I wanted to create.

The woman’s outfit was just what I was looking for from color to style. I started googling where I could find a similar skirt and sure enough all the ones I found were $50 to $600. Yep, you saw that right! I expanded my search to include dresses. Of course I fell in love with one that was just out of my price range. I tried to convince myself to just buy it, but I couldn’t do it. What if it didn’t fit? What if I couldn’t get it tailored in time? What shoes would go with it? The red flags just started poring in, not to mention all of the things I could buy for the price.

I chose not to buy it, but my excitement was officially crushed. I had gotten my heart set on this one look and now I am convinced it isn’t going to happen. Well when I get into a bad mood, I just keep spiraling. Now the negative thoughts just keep rolling in. I’m not photogenic enough. I don’t have enough time to find two outfits. The pictures aren’t going to turn out good anyway. I own so many clothes, but nothing looks good.

I’ve subdued most of the negative thoughts for the moment by bribing myself with shopping tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be able to find something with all the Fourth of July sales going on. Fingers crossed I can stay positive and keep an open mind!

| Lauren

Texas, Travel

Street Carnival Date // Lewisville, TX

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of going on a carnival date. Holding hands while trying to survive a rickety ride, laughing so hard your stomach hurts, playing silly games to win cheesy stuffed animals, sharing a kiss at the top of the ferris wheel, and indulging in delicious fried foods are just a few reasons why I’ve always wanted to hit up a carnival with someone special. And at the end of May, Jeremiah made my dreams come true!

On his way home from work one day, Jeremiah noticed bright, colorful lights from the highway and saw a pop-up street carnival. He was so excited to invite me on a surprise date and I was ecstatic when we pulled up and I realized what the plan was for the evening. We had an absolutely wonderful time under the bright lights and loud music and now I’d like to share the highlights and tips from our carnival date.

Highlights

1. The Kamikaze

As soon as Jeremiah and I arrived, we used our tickets to catch a spot on the intense ride, The Kamikaze. We didn’t watch it all the way before jumping on, so it was quite a shock to our systems! The safety restraints on the ride did little to keep me in place, so every time the cart went around flipping us upside down I came out of my seats. It was nerve wracking, but so much fun. I couldn’t stop laughing even though my head was pounding and stomach was churning.

2. Kiss on the Ferris Wheel

Every perfect carnival date has to include a kiss on the ferris wheel. I had never had my Notebook moment until now and it was wonderful. My only complaint is that they didn’t stop us on the very top.

3. Starship 2000

After leaving our stomachs at our first two rides, we hopped on a zero gravity ride called the Starship 2000. We thought it would be tamer compared to the thrill rides we had previously ridden on, but we were wrong. This spun so fast and the bottom actually dropped out. Although my head was hurting really bad, I couldn’t quit laughing. Also the song Ocean Avenue was blasting as we spun, so that was a plus.

4. Bean Bags & Balloons

Even though we spend twice as much as necessary to play this game, it was a lot of fun to throw bean bags to pop balloons. Because of my kiss of good luck, Jeremiah popped three in a row and won me a stuffed penguin.

Tips

1. No Cover Charge

The carnival we attended was run by Talley Amusements who does pop-up carnivals all over Texas. At these particular carnivals, there is no cover charge. Instead of a single price to enter and enjoy, you have to buy tickets. The tickets can be bought individually or in a group of 20 or 48. All the rides require a minimum of 3 tickets to ride. Note: Buy the tickets in bulk in order to get more bang for your buck.

2. Rickety Rides

Going to a parking lot carnival doesn’t really scream safety, but Jeremiah and I gave it a shot. We rode four rides and majority of them were V E R Y concerning. They rattled and screeched, definitely did not sound as secure as say a rollercoaster at Six Flags.

3. Beware of Game Booths

Typically, I avoid the game booths at amusement parks, but this was a special occasion and we were trying to be as sweet and cheesy as possible. Jeremiah and I walked up to a game where you pop balloons by throwing bean bags. The game was $5/person, but all we had was a $20. We gave the booth worker the $20 and he refused to give us change claiming he let us play $20 worth plus tip. Because of this mistreatment, we didn’t have any cash to buy food. Jeremiah did win me a stuffed penguin.

4. Have Cash Handy

Although the rides take tickets, the game booths and food vendors only accept cash. They have an ATM on site, but it does take a $5 fee for every use.

5. Free Parking

One plus to this particular street carnival was that parking was available at the strip mall next to where the carnival was set up.

Overall, Jeremiah and I had a magical time fulfilling our dream of going on a carnival date! We rode rides that made our stomach’s drops and our head’s spin. We kissed on a ferris wheel and played cheesy games. It was a perfect night and I have my husband to thank for such a fantastic surprise date!

What is your favorite part about carnivals?

 

Love Always,
Lauren

Uncategorized

May Praise Report

 

This past May has not really been a month I care to relive or remember. It was a very, very difficult time for my sweet family. I even contemplated not even creating this post, so that I could sit and sulk in frustration with how some of the events in this month panned out, but instead I made the decision to find at least F I V E good things that came out of this month no matter how big or small and I did it! Healing takes baby steps, but I’ll get there.

My May Praise Report

1. We Are Not Homeless

The hubs and I were planning on leaving the apartment life behind in the upcoming months, but sadly that endeavor did not pan out. Although we were more than a little bummed, we are so grateful that we can stay in our current apartment. Despite the monstrous speed bumps, limited space, and noisy neighbors, we do not have to search for a new place or pack up our stuff and move, so those are definitely pros. The house hunting can begin again later this year.

2. I Survived My First Solo Road Trip

Last weekend I embarked on a my first solo road trip. It was a bit sad to be on the road alone, because I absolutely love chatting anyone’s ear off during a long drive, but the time alone was good for the soul. I had 5 hours of uninterrupted country music and fast cars each way and a lot of time to think.

3. Trying New Types of Ice Cream

It is not secret that I have been attempting to branch out in my life, especially in the food department. I haven’t made it very far, but I have been confident in trying different types of ice cream than I normally do. So far there has been lavender honey flavored ice cream, pineapple lime sorbet, and vanilla soft serve with fruity pebbles. I didn’t like them all, but I did discover that I think cereal definitely belongs on ice cream!

4. Learning to Lean

Giving up control on how you cope with hardships can be difficult. This past month, my husband and I went through a very hard time for both of us and it was quite the learning experience to give up my selfishness in how I wanted to get through the situation and be there for my husband to lean on. In the end, we learned to lean on each other be open and honest about all that we were thinking, feeling, and needing.

5. The Joys of a Second Car

After being without Jeremiah’s car for so long part of me forgot it even existed. We were able to go and pick it up during the middle of May and it was so awesome to finally have a second car again! Can you say F R E E D O M?!

6. I Read Two Books

After reading so many books during the earlier months of this year, only reading two feels like nothing, BUT those two books were what I needed to complete my Goodreads Challenge of reading twelve books this year. So not only did I read a couple books this month, but I also finished my Goodreads Challenge!! So on a happy note, the rest of the books I read this year are just bonus!

How was your May?

 

Love Always,
Lauren

Marriage

To Support, Strengthen, and Encourage When It Gets Bad

To have and to hold from this day forward in good times and bad. We know the vow. We swoon over someone saying this to us one day. We dream about loving someone so much that we are able to vow this to them. On August 5th of last year I made this vow. I vowed to support, strengthen, and encourage my husband when it gets bad.

When I said those words, I meant it, but I never thought too hard on the bad and what that might entail. Supporting him during a tough time at work, strengthening him when he’s beating himself up over a small thing, and encouraging him when he wants to give up on his dreams. These were bad things I could imagine in our “now”. In our future, I could see the need to support, strengthen, and encourage during the loss of a parent or job. But I never put too much stalk into bad things that could plague our present.

Then a bad thing I never imagined entered our lives and turned my world upside down.

I was a wreck. Heartbroken. I couldn’t hold myself together. I spent hours curled up in our closet under a heap of blankets. Sometimes crying, sometimes sobbing, sometimes silent. I didn’t know what to do or how to pull myself up and keep going. It was during this time that I began to think about my vows and I realized that I wasn’t the only one hurting. My dear husband was heartbroken too and he needed me. He needed my support, strength, and encouragement… just like I needed his.

Before when I thought of supporting each other in bad times, it was always him or me needing the other one, but I never thought about times when we would both be hurting and needing the other at the same time. These are the hardest times. My husband was so strong for me. He gave me a shoulder to cry on, a closet to hole up in, space to heal, arms to hold me up, and kind words when I needed them.

I didn’t understand at first how I could support him when I couldn’t even pick myself up off the ground. But then I realized that we needed to grieve together, to heal together. A way to support and encourage one another is through honesty and openness. I needed to tell him how I was feeling and while leaning on him, let him lean on me. I needed to discuss my emotions with him instead of hiding them away and dealing with them alone. I realized that by closing myself off because I was hurt and sad, I was forcing my husband to suffer in silence. It was wrong and it was no way to support, strengthen, and encourage the man I love.

May has been a difficult month for us so far, but we have managed to make it through by supporting one another in any way we can. It has been a long road, but I am so grateful to have a husband who will be by my side through it all… good times and bad.