Living Simply, Surviving College

Tricks for Treats – a foodie’s guide to discounts on Halloween!

“If it’s free, it’s for me.”

You may have heard this phrase before, or may even say it yourself.

It’s true. If there is one thing that joins twentysomething’s together, it’s food–not just any kind of food–free food, or discounted food. Any type of food that we don’t have to pay full price for a full tummy.

And although we are a bit too old to go trick or treating around our neighborhoods and stash away candy for the next 6 months, there are restaurants out there that want to treat the kid in us on this holiday.

Here are some of my favorite restaurants with scary-good deals!

Chipotle: from 3pm to close, customers dressed up in their Halloween costumes will get to enjoy a $3 “boorito.” This discount applies to burritos, burrito bowls, and tacos.

Krispy Kreme: Trick-or-treaters get a free donut! No purchase necessary.

Baskin-Robins: pick one of their 31 specialty flavors for $1.31 one-scoop cones!

I hope you take advantage of these dinner and dessert options–goes to show we’ll never be too old to enjoy the benefits of this holiday.

No tricks–just treats!


Friday Favs

“Can the mind change the brain?” Dr. Caroline Leaf asks the TedTalks crowd, “can a brain that’s damaged grow?”

One of the most valuable tools we can ever utilize is our brains. Yes, your noggin can be your greatest weapon.

Mental illness is running rampant in our society. Our generation is experiencing anxiety, depression, and other forms of illnesses like never before. I have fought my own battles with mental illness in the past, and although my anxiety today is not as severe as it once was, I still experience the symptoms of it pretty often.

It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I heard THIS message by Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist, that I was able to take control of my thoughts that triggered my anxiety. Since hearing the message and reading her book, I have seen tremendous change in the way I handle my anxious thoughts.

I chose this topic and resolution as my Friday Fav because of how important it is and how powerful these techniques can change a person dealing with mental illness. I encourage you to read/listen to the words of Dr. Caroline Leaf if you find yourself struggling with your thoughts and feelings.

Tidbit Tuesdays

Tidbit Tuesday

All we have is today. Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year–they all become today. Today’s add up, blur together, and go away when we believe that we will always have tomorrow, but tomorrow is never ours. Tomorrow never really comes.

So go. Start now. Find what brings you happiness. Work hard for what you want. Take time for yourself to rest. Push yourself further. Imagine what you want your life to look like and make it so.

At the end of it all, your today’s become yesterday’s; your yesterday’s add up to weeks and months and years. Before you know it, you have grown more than you could’ve ever imagined all because you started every day.

So start today.

Living Simply

Minimalism + Marriage

When Jordan and I got engaged (story here), we started the journey of joining our lives together.

When we decided to join our lives together as one, we were agreeing to take care of one another as we would want to be taken care of, we agreed to a life-long promise of listening and loving and making our relationship work through the good and the bad.

We agreed to support each other’s dreams and goals.

We decided that no matter what, we had enough in our relationship with God and in our marriage.

We adopted a minimalist mindset for our marriage, and it has benefitted us more than we thought possible. Here’s how:

Minimalism + Money

For over the past year, Jordan and I have been stewarding our finances in preparation for our marriage.

We have the necessities in mind: rent, groceries, car payments, etc.

But we have dreams to travel. We have joined our mindsets together and realized that minimalism will make way for us to be disciplined with our money and create the life that we both want to live.

Minimalism + Mind/Body/Health

Like I stated earlier, minimalism creates a mindset that says “I have enough,” but it also makes space for us to use our money in different ways–ways that better us. Less mindless spending means more intentional purchases

Less mindless spending means more intentional purchases that better our health, such as food. Being picky and ruthless in your diet will make a huge overall difference in your health. Being alert and energized has a lot to do with what you put in your body. Skipping the purchasing of loads of cheap food and refining your grocery list to a smaller, more tailored and intentional list of healthy options will show you how you can eat well and spend wisely.

Minimalism will also help redefine what you spend the bulk of your time doing. It causes you to take a step back and evaluate the influence of your daily decisions. You will begin to weed out the activities that don’t inspire you or keep your body in good health and replace them with activities that do.

Minimalism + Making Decisions

Now when invitations pop up, or if we are just trying to decide what to cook for dinner, we are able to make better decisions together because our mindset and focus are going in the same direction.

We ask ourselves: what makes more sense in regards to our time and finances? Where are we putting our effort and energy into right now, and does this decision reflect that?

I encourage every couple to explore more into the idea of minimalism in their marriages, or their dating relationships.

When minimalism is adopted into a couple’s life:

The arguments over spending minimize.

The money lost over pointless spending diminish.

The time used doing mindless activities decrease.

And the quality of life is restored.


Friday Favs

Friday Favs

One of my favorite topics to discuss, as I have said before in past blog posts, is minimalism. I think minimalism is such a powerful concept for millennials to grasp at this stage in life. When we feel like we need more to be more, there is a problem. But minimalism offers a solution that works.

Today’s Friday Fav is The Minimalists. These guys have changed the way I view my finances, relationships, closet, and life in general. Read some of their “essays” here. I promise they will change your mindset on the things that normally stress you out. Let me know what you think!


Our Engagement: the story

This past March began the greatest journey I’ve ever experienced this far in life as a young twenty-something: the engagement to my love and best friend. Life has been a whirlwind trying to balance work, school, and wedding planning. But I thought I would share my favorite story I’ve ever told on my blog today. My engagement story!

Cocoa Beach has always held a special place in our hearts. The second half of our first date was spent there walking along the shore for hours. That was the first and last time we had been to Cocoa together…that was, until March 12, 2016.

We spent all day in Cape Canaveral and after dinner, we drove over to Cocoa Beach and retraced the same path we wandered down back in January of 2015 (our first date!). It was near sunset (when everything already becomes a bit more magical) when Jordan got down on one knee, making that spot even more special to us than it already was.

March 12 will always be one of the best days we’ve ever had together, and a day we excitedly get to share with our family and friends because Jordan planned a secret photographer to capture our entire evening; we were even able to celebrate with a little impromptu engagement shoot right after saying “yes!” to forever.

A photo compilation of our engagement is coming soon! Stay tuned 🙂


Tidbit Tuesdays

Tidbit Tuesday

Adulthood can be scary. Decision-making can be difficult. Growing up is uncomfortable at times, and no matter how much we wish we had all the answers, life doesn’t work like that.

But life can be beautiful, exhilarating, rejuvenating, fun and crazy. Embrace the journey; everyone’s looks different and our path is ever-changing. You don’t have to know it all to move forward.

Surviving College

Sleep Survival Tips

It’s 7:00 am. Your alarm goes off. Your half awake/half asleep body musters up enough energy to open half of one eye, lift your arm and search for your phone to stop the annoying sound it’s emitting. You’re annoyed because 1. it is early, 2. that annoying sound won’t quit, and 3. it’s early.

20-year-olds are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but frankly, sometimes that feels like a nap. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how early we get to bed, waking up can be a struggle on any given morning.

In college, or if you are working a full-time job and doing real adult things, sleep can seem like a lost commodity. Life gets busy; papers need to be written, friends need to be hung out with, movies need to be watched. I get it.

If you have never heard of a sleep debt? Well, it’s a real thing. It happens when we humans don’t get the adequate rest we need and bad stuff gets trapped in our blood or something. Sleeping literally does so much to clear our body of toxins. Read up about it, it is fascinating stuff!

In order to truly maximize your time during the day, you need to first start with your sleeping habits at night. Here are some tips to get you through this week fully rested, your body clear of toxins, and your mind operating at its highest capacity!

#1: Get off your phone.

Seriously. The tweets, pointless Facebook videos, endless scrolling through Instagram memes, they can get addicting once you climb into bed, but they are butting in on precious time your body should be resting. On average, you lose almost one hour of sleep by reaching for your phone right when you lay your head on your pillow.

I suggest unplugging yourself from any form of technology 30-45 minutes before you want to be asleep to put your eyes and mind at rest from all that the interwebs have to offer.

#2: Relax your mind and body.

There are tons of ways to relax yourself before drifting off to sleep. A few of my favorite ways to relax pinpoint different areas of my life that may be causing my brain to overwork itself.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious: focus on breathing deeply and slowly, play calming instrumental music , or make a cup of chamomile tea. If your body is feeling tense or overworked, massage these specific pressure points to relieve some of the tension. One huge thing that I noticed I was doing during those nights where I couldn’t fall asleep was clenching my jaw. I read an article about how clenching my jaw was keeping my body from relaxing and falling asleep. Now if I am having a hard time falling asleep, I will check to see if I am holding tension in my jaw–most of the time I am and I don’t notice!

#3: Prepare to wake up.

This is so important! How you wake up will set the tone for your day. Set an alarm that is calming or happy–there are so many different alarm sounds to pick from on your smartphone. If you are a heavy sleeper, turn up the volume of your alarm and have it set to also vibrate while it goes off. Waking up to an obnoxious noise or annoying beep will make you wake up frustrated or freaked out when it blares. You shouldn’t wake up scared by an alarm you set for yourself. Take control over how you wake up and you’ll take control over your day!

I hope these tips help you as much as they help me! The state of mind I fall asleep and wake up with affect the way I view my day. Take care of yourself and your body will thank you.

Surviving College

Love Listens: a live blog from church

“Sunday is the most segregated day of the week,” entrepreneur Scott Williams’ voice rings out in Bush Chapel, “what MLK spoke decades ago still stands true today.”

I look around and see many, many students crammed together under one roof for this morning’s chapel service. I take note of our differences but celebrate the fact that we are all here to hear the same word–accepting the same truth in our lives.

If you don’t like diversity, you’re not going to like heaven,” Williams laughs, as the hundreds of us laugh along while nodding in agreement with him.

Breaking Barriers

Today, on a Tuesday morning at 9am, I attended the first Athletic Chapel at my university. I go to a Christian university where we are dedicated to making space for all types of people doing all kinds of things on and for our school, and today was the first chapel of the year for athletes and students to join together to learn something from every team on campus.

I’m not an athlete; I don’t understand sports talk. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if there was much I could learn from a service dedicated to athletes. But I do understand the few things we have in common and try to relate to those things.

Like the fact that just being a student in college is difficult at times. The tests, the homework, the projects, and presentations; trying to balance social life with a decent GPA. It gets tiring. Sometimes I wonder if I will survive. But it wasn’t until our campus pastor got up on stage and laid out what student athletes endure every semester until I realized I know nothing about their struggle.

“The 6am practices, the ice baths, lifting weights and physical therapy,” the campus pastor says to the crowd of students gathered together, “on top of studying for exams, taking quizzes, writing papers, attending class. Blood, sweat and tears shed and–most of the time only God is watching you.”

It struck me. I am sitting in a room full of hundreds of athletes who attend class and write papers just like I do, yet who also face a whole different struggle that I will never know.

Sometimes in our struggle, we are only seen by God.

“The things you do in secret are the most effective for the kingdom,” says one bright student athlete while sharing her devotions for offering this morning. She encouraged the athletes and non-athletes alike to seek God and do what we know is good and noble–even when no one is looking.

Even when no one is looking.

Sometimes it’s me who’s not looking while my neighbor struggles.

My responsibility and calling as a follower of Christ is to follow the great commandment, to love God with all my heart and the great commission, to love my neighbor as myself and make disciples from every nation.

“It is the great commission, not the great omission where we go out and make disciples and omit the part where it says ‘from all nations.'” Scott Williams

“How are you adding to the solution?” says Williams, “how are you going out of your way to listen to your neighbor?”

Despite what we are going through personally, love should seek first to listen before it is ever heard.

We should all be working towards the common good–even if it’s not the same cause. As Christians and fellow brothers and sisters, we are all working together to move the ball down the field for the better of our neighbor, our country, and the world.