The Bolder the Better

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You guys. THANK YOU. As I’ve ventured slowly into the world of the fashion/style blogger, you have all been SO supportive! Your sweet comments just mean the world to me! Seriously, you all are the best!

Since I’ve started writing fashion posts, it’s led me to be a little bit bolder in my style choices. I’ve been trying things I didn’t think I could pull off and I’ve discovered that I love a few things that I didn’t think suited me before! It all goes back to what I was saying about writing things off before trying them because I was too afraid to look silly or to fail.

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Hats, for instance. I never thought I was a person who could pull off a hat! But I fell in love with this one at Target a few weeks ago, and thanks to some prompting from my Instagram followers, I bought it. I’m officially a hat person now. Next I’m going to branch out and try a really big, floppy hat so stay tuned for that. I think it will either look really cute or really ridiculous. Fun stuff either way. :)

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Shirt, hat, and jeans: Target | Watch: Gucci (a gift from my Dad) | Shoes: Paprika

Bold lips are the next thing I’ve never been too sure about. I recently bought some Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain  in that gorgeous red color (Romantic) and I’ve been hooked! The bold lip takes some getting used to, but it’s a fun change of pace from my normal makeup routine.

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What bold new things are you trying? 

The 5 Minute Face

If you’re a mom (or even if you are just a really busy person!) you might not have a ton of time to get ready in the morning. Despite the fact that I’m usually only allowed 5-10 minutes to get ready in the morning (or else my child yells at me!)  I still feel it’s really important to do my hair and makeup and just be ready to face the day. Even if everything else in my day goes to crap, if I took the time to make myself pretty I at least have that.

I feel like I’ve finally perfected the art of the 5 minute face and finally found the perfect products for achieving a glowing, fresh face that looks very natural and polished, and transitions well from day to night with a few more swipes of mascara and maybe some bolder lipstick.

The 5 minute face. Perfect for busy moms, or anyone who doesn't have a lot of time to get ready in the morning, but still wants to look polished!

Let’s get to the good stuff, shall we? We’ll start with the basics of a flawless, glowing face.

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The brushes are Sonia Kashuk. They are fantastic quality and not very expensive.

First, create your canvas by smoothing your favorite liquid foundation, tinted moisturizer, or a BB cream over your face. I like to use Sonia Kashuk Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Fair. 

Second, cover any flaws. By far my favorite concealer is Revlon Photoready Concealer. It has a great consistency and very buildable coverage. Plus is the one and only concealer I’ve found that is a 100% perfect match for my skin tone (fair with yellow undertones). I usually tap it on with my index finger until I get the coverage and blending I want.

Third, set your canvas by dusting translucent powder (I like e.l.f High Definition Powder) over your face. I do this so that when I go through with my contouring powder or my blush, it won’t be attracted to the places I used concealer. Otherwise I’ll have some pretty noticeable pigmented blotches on my face, and that’s definitely not the point of using concealer!

Fourth, contour. Remember, contouring is for diminishing. I sweep Loreal True Match Powder in Cocoa around my jawline, under the apples of my cheeks, right under my bottom lip, and right along the top of my forehead using an angled powder brush.

Fifth, after wiping off the excess color, I use that same angled brush to add a light swipe of Benefit Coralista (hands down my favorite blush ever!) to the apples of my cheeks.

Sixth, I use Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Highlighter stick in Sparkling Sand to highlight the bridge of my nose, the center of my forehead, my chin, philtrum (that little divot above your upper lip), and just above the apples of my cheeks. By the way, this highlighter stick just beat out Benefit High Beam for my favorite illuminator. And it’s cheaper. Win!

Last, I use my big powder brush to blend, blend, blend the highlights and contours so everything looks smooth and natural.

Let’s move on to those finishing touches!

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Define your brows: I only started doing this a few weeks ago and I can’t believe the difference it makes in my face! I wish I had filled in my brows ages ago. It makes my eyes pop more and it makes me look so much more put together. I love the e.l.f Studio Eyebrow Kit–you can’t beat $3! I only use the cream/gel side, and I use the little angled brush to stipple in my brows so they look more natural.

Define your eyes: Unless it’s a special occasion, I usually skip eyeshadow. I use L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner in Black to line my top waterline, then I sweep L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara on my top and bottom lashes. If you want a slightly more defined look, you can use the eyeliner on your bottom waterline as well, but I usually just do the top–it makes my lashline look darker and fuller, and that’s all I really want.

Make those lips pop: I outline my lips with a nude pencil (Cover Girl Lip Perfect Lip Liner in Seduce is my fave) then I add a pop of sheer, natural looking pink. Lately I’ve been loving Sonia Kashuk Dewy Luxe Lip & Cheek Balm in Enchanted–it looks really pigmented and kind of scary straight out of the tube, but when you put it on, it’s sheer and adds the perfect touch of color.

I know that seems like a ton of steps, but I promise you, I usually do it in 5 minutes or less! It might take you a little longer the first time, especially if you aren’t used to highlighting and contouring, but you’ll get faster with practice.

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Now I can go chase my toddler around and look good while doing it!

What does your daily makeup routine like?

Whole30: Week 1

Hooray! I’ve gone 7 whole days eating sugar free, dairy free, grain free, soy free, and legume free! I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been a little difficult. I spent the first few days feeling really great about my decision to do Whole30–you know, that blissful resolve that comes whenever you start a new challenge. After feeling that resolve for a few days, I thought this would be a walk in the park. Boy was I wrong! There are definitely things I have learned in the past week that will make this journey easier going forward and a few things I wish I would have done differently right off the bat.

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I’m definitely still feeling good about my decision to do Whole30. I’ve felt better–I’ve felt lighter, less bloated, I’m sleeping better, and my skin is clearing up! I haven’t had a single new breakout since I started Whole30, which is a pretty major accomplishment for my face. :)

Here are the things I wish I would have done differently–going into week 2, I know making these changes is going to make my life a whole lot easier.

I wish I would have planned my meals better

Under normal circumstances, I only ever plan our dinners, and usually I leave a day or two blank for leftovers or a quick fixing, spur of the moment meal. I usually have no trouble throwing something together with whatever is in our fridge or pantry, but that’s really hard to do with the dietary restrictions of Whole30. On Friday night I went to my friend’s daughter’s birthday party and dinner was supposed to be provided. I thought I would eat a small meal before in case I couldn’t eat what was being served, but time got away from me and since I hadn’t planned my meals well for that week I didn’t have anything I could eat. So I went to the party hungry and couldn’t eat a single thing. That led me to crave a lot of the things I can’t have and it made me super grumpy. Going into week 2 I have every meal planned–breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I wish I would have thought about condiments

With the restriction of “no added sugar”, almost every condiment I enjoy is out. I’ve been eating a lot of salads, but salad kind of sucks when you don’t have delicious dressing to enjoy it with. For this next week, I whipped up a batch of incredible strawberry balsamic vinaigrette, which has 6 ingredients, and is pure heaven.

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Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
makes 2 cups

10 ripe strawberries, halved and stem removed
3-4 dates, depending on how sweet you want it
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 cups olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add strawberries, dates, and vinegar to a blender or food processor and blend until strawberries and dates are pureed. With the blender running, add the oil in a thin stream and blend until emulsified. Adjust seasonings and enjoy!

Going into week 2 of Whole30, I’m really excited! I think I’m at the point where my body has gotten used to not having things like bread and cheese, so I’m not really experiencing cravings or withdrawals at this point. Follow along on Instagram if you want to see what kinds of things I’m eating during this Whole30 journey. :)

Also, check out cute Amanda for yummy recipes, happy home decor, and pictures of her cute baby. :)

Pinterest Favorites

Pinterest Favorites of the Week, DIY Sequin Blazer, Breakfast Smoothie, Photography Tips, Interviewing tips
Happiest of Saturdays! I’m Jen and I blog over at Boone + Owl where I share fashion, beauty tips, recipes, a DIY or two, and a dash of all the other happy things in life! Every weekend I share nine of my favorite pins from my countless hours on Pinterest. Do you ever sit down to pin just a few things and then find yourself still pinning three hours later? Story of my life. Sigh. Anywho, I thought I would share a few of my recent Pinterest Favorites with all of you! I noticed something. There are always at least two favorites that are recipes in every Pinterest Favorites post. Look, I like to eat. Food is delicious! My favorite quote this week also has to do with food. I should really balance this out with a workout pin. Hey, there’s always next time.

All right, moving on to this week’s favorites..

Ham Lentil and Kale Soup. I love food. I particularly love food that is yummy and fresh! I’ve made kale soups in the past, but none quite like this one. The flavor paring sounds way too delectable!

“You Only Live Once, Lick The Bowl”. Yes. This is my quote for the week, and just YES. Food is delicious. Cake batter is even better. Lick the bowl. This is my ode to yolo. Don’t ever tell anyone I said yolo.

Lash Curling Extreme. I’m sure you’ve heard of heating your eyelash curler with a blow dryer to get a better curl. Well, I found this and gave it a try. I’m just going to be honest and tell you that I 100% burnt myself the first time. I was really gung-ho about it and didn’t check the curler to see how hot it was. The heated curler actually works very well and it is absolutely worth trying. Just make sure you check how hot it is first like the tutorial suggests!

How To Top Knot. Do you still struggle with the top knot? I do. At least when it comes to doing a top knot with straight hair. I can do it with curly hair no problem. If you have any issue with a straight hair top knot, this tutorial is nice and helpful!

Simple Breakfast Smoothie. I don’t know about the breakfast part. I’m more of an afternoon smoothie kind of person. There’s healthy + yumminess in this smoothie so it doesn’t count against your calories.. right? I mean it’s spinach. And bananas. And an orange. Blueberries.. Raspberries. Yeah, that does’t count!

9 Fashion Blog Photography Tips. This is such a helpful post! Yara shares some great tips. If you want to improve your photography skills this post is worth a read!

Career 101: Interviewing. This post was put together by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere. She shares 8 tips and I thought they were quite helpful.

Stripes + Elbow Patch. I really really love elbow patches. I still don’t have a single top with elbow patches. It’s not okay. Do you know any shops that have some cute options to choose from? Let me know in the comments if you do! This pin is here because it’s so cute. That’s really it!

DIY Sequin Blazer. Blazers are fantastic. Sequin is sparkly and that’s a very good thing. This combination is so fun! It’s pretty easy to do and would add a spectacular pop to an old blazer that needs revamping.

All right, that’s all she wrote! I hope this brought you some pinspiration! What’s your yolo stance on cake batter bowl licking?

Things I Don’t Understand

-Why people feel the need to say “First comment!” on a celebrity Instagram photo. Really? Who the heck cares? I also don’t understand why people leave comments on celebrities’ Instagrams that whine about how the celebrity never responds to comments. I mean come on. For one thing, most celebrities probably don’t even read half the comments they get. If they did, they would be on their phones all. day. long. #aintnobodygottimeforthat

-Why do people get done up for the gym? I can understand having makeup on your face if you go to the gym in the evening. I don’t take my makeup off if I go to the gym at night. But when I’m there at 7:30 am and ladies are sporting cat eyes and bright red lips, it makes me a little confused. Like, aren’t you going to wash your face after you work out? Don’t you get all sweaty and gross? Or is that just me?

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-On the note of the gym, how do people where their hair down to work out? I absolutely cannot stand to have my hair in my face when I’m working out. I can hardly stand having it in my face when I’m not working out! Chalk it up to the years and years I spent as a competitive athlete, but I just can’t have hair in my face when it’s game time.

-We’re going to go back to celebrities and Instagram for a moment. I love to read the comments on their Instagram photos because they just baffle me. People get so opinionated and argumentative over the littlest things. If one person says something remotely negative about the celebrity, at least 20 people jump down their throat and call them stupid and try to defend the celebrity. HELLO people! Why are you so concerned about either bashing or defending someone you don’t even know? The celebrity doesn’t care if you don’t like them. The celebrity doesn’t care if you defended them. Like I said above, chances are they aren’t even  going to read the comments you made.

-This one came to me in the middle of the night and I had to wake my husband up to ask, “In the case of morbidly obese people, are their nerves farther from the surface of their skin due to all the excess fat cells?” Except, since I was pretty drowsy the question didn’t come out like that. It came out, “Do fat people have feelings?” Don’t judge me, I was tired. And I genuinely wonder.

-How did I live before this deliciousness came into my life? If you follow me on social media, you are probably getting tired of me mentioning that green smoothie, but I have literally had one every single day for the past week and a half. Especially since I started Whole30, it’s been my saving grace. Make that smoothie. Make it right now!

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What sorts of things do you not understand?

P.S. My advertisement options have changed a little bit! I’m always revising my sponsorship strategy in the hopes that I can constantly improve the way I  assist my sponsors to grow their blog! If you are trying to grow your blog, check it out! Oh, and please use the promo code APRILSHOWERS for 30% off your ad space. :)

Lemon Curd & Raspberry Sweet Rolls and My Favorite Weekend of the Year

This past weekend was one of my very favorites of the year. Every 1st weekend in April and October The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds General Conference. I love the opportunity I have to listen to a living prophet and apostles testify of Jesus Christ. It is such a powerful experience and it always leaves me with a firm conviction in my testimony of the gospel.

These were some of my very favorite talks–I invite you to listen to/watch/read them if you have a minute:
If you need something to help you stand firm in your faith even when no one else does, read this one.
If you need to be reminded that God is aware of you, this is the one for you.

Aside from listening to the messages shared during Conference Weekend, I love the traditions that come along with it! We officially started a new one in our little family. For last October conference I made pumpkin streusel cinnamon rolls, but for April conference I wanted to make something springy and light, but still in the sweet roll family. I ended up deciding on lemon curd and raspberry and they were a hit! It’s official–we will be having lemon curd and raspberry sweet rolls every April for General Conference, and pumpkin streusel cinnamon rolls every October conference.

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Holy cow, these were so good! The tanginess from the lemon and the raspberry blend so beautifully with the sweetness of the roll dough and the icing. MMMM!! Part of me is a little sad that I just started Whole30 because I have a couple of these left in the fridge, but I have to let Dustin eat them.

*Just to warn you, the dough needs to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours before assembling the rolls and baking them, so if you want to make them, plan ahead!*

Lemon Curd

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 eggs
1/8 tsp salt

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Combine the lemon zest and sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined and the lemon zest is very fine.

Cream the butter with the sugar mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the lemon juice and salt.  Mix until well combined.

Add the mixture to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Sweet Roll Dough

1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Combine the warm milk with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar, then set aside and let the yeast activate for about 5 minutes.

Whisk melted butter, remaining sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk into the yeast mixture.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a thick and sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with damp linen towel or plastic wrap set somewhere warm. Allow to rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

After raising, remove the dough from the bowl and knead briefly. Reform into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To Assemble

Sweet roll dough
Lemon curd
2 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle of 1/4 inch thickness. Spread generously with lemon curd. Sprinkle with the frozen raspberries and sprinkle the sugar over top. Roll into a tight spiral. slice the roll into 10 pieces. Place rolls into a greased pan. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once oven is preheated, place rolls in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

I like to drizzle my rolls with a flat icing (lemon juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla), but you can make cream cheese frosting or whatever suits your fancy!

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Enjoy!
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Behind the Scenes of a Fashion Post

embroidered top, statement necklace, skinny jeans

I love fashion blogs. I love seeing the way different people style their outfits and I love seeing their personality shine through their photos. One thing I wish more fashion bloggers would do is give a behind the scenes look at what goes into their fashion posts. Something candid–something real. Because let’s be honest, a lot more goes into fashion blogging than the perfectly styled photos that make it to the blog. Rachel Sayumi occasionally posts blooper reels of her fashion forays, and I love her for it. I’m not sharing a blooper reel today (we’ll get there, I promise!), but more of a look at what goes on behind the scenes of my shoots.

When I’m working on a fashion post, there is a lot of thought that goes into it. Especially since I have to work my photo shoots around my photographer’s (see also: husband) schedule, as well either make arrangements for someone to watch the boy, or plan enough ahead to bring him along. Usually we opt to bring him along, as it takes less work than finding a sitter.

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Top: White Plum | Jeans: JC Penny | Necklace + Bracelet: Forever 21 | Shoes: Sole Envy (similar here)

We had a lot of fun with this shoot–the weather was absolutely beautiful! Joshua got a little bit ancy after the first 10 minutes, so we let him out to run around.

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I was so thrilled that Dustin kept snapping photos while I chased after Joshua. It’s so rare that I get pictures like this of me just playing with our boy. Especially pictures where I’m actually done up and look good! Usually our candid shots involve me in yoga pants and a t-shirt.

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Look at that boy. I made that. :)

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The location for our shoot is probably my favorite we’ve done yet! We took our photos at the Historic County Building in downtown Provo. One aspect of fashion blogging is finding unique locations to take photos–sometimes my ideas run dry. Lucky for me there’s an app for that! Shootipedia uses Google Maps to show pins of cool photography locations in your area.

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Holy cow! Who knew there were so many cool places to take photos near me? Looks like there will be a lot of variety in our locations in future fashion posts.  This app is so helpful for fashion blogging. When you click on a pin, you can see details about the location–things like whether or not there are restrooms, if there is a property fee, if there is available power, the best time to shoot, and you can even see photos of the location so you can know ahead of time if it’s right for your shoot.

Shootipedia is not only useful for fashion posts–think of how much easier it would be to choose a location for your family photos! If you are a photographer, this app is a must have. The best part is, it just gets better as more people use it and add locations.

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If you think Shootipedia would be a great to have in your photography app arsenal (and it totally is!), you’re in luck! My lovely readers get a discount–the app is usually $3.99, but Life Could Be a Dream readers can purchase if for $0.99 in the app store. You’re welcome. :)

If you have an iPhone (yay team iPhone!), click here.

If you have an Android, click here.

Last thing: I have to give a shout out to my husband/photographer. He does such a great job taking my photos–he might need to rethink his career and go into fashion photography instead of international business.

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Or maybe he should go into fashion blogging. He has the pose down, at least. I told him to make fun of my poses and that was what he came up with.

Have an excellent day, my lovelies! And have fun playing around with your new app–snap some fun photos this week. :)

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I’ve Never Done Something Like This Before

If you follow me on Twitter you may have caught my announcement about starting Whole30. Yesterday was my first day, and I have 29 more to go.

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If you aren’t familiar with Whole30, it’s basically a very structured, strict Paleo diet. For 30 days I won’t be consuming any dairy, legumes, soy, grains, sugar (even honey or natural sweeteners), or white potatoes. Sounds kind of intimidating and limiting, doesn’t it?

If you read this post about why I never diet, you might be wondering why I’m choosing to do a Whole30. Especially since in that post I talk a lot about how I dislike diets because they are so restrictive. Whole30 is about as restrictive as it gets. Here is my reasoning: I absolutely don’t see the next 29 days as a diet. My purpose in doing Whole30 isn’t to lose weight. That’s not even the purpose of Whole30 at all. Will I lose weight while doing this? Most likely. But my reasons for wanting to do this are more for the cleansing effect it will have on my body. I’m in it for the reset–I’m in it to eat to feel good and do good for my body.

There are many things about my body that I want to change that are unrelated to weight that I am sure doing a Whole30 will help with. Things like pesky hormonal acne, mood swings, and sluggish digestion. I’m excited to see how these things improve by changing the way I eat and removing all potentially inflammatory foods from my diet for the next 30 days.

Because every health and wellness journey needs some sort of reference point, and because the changes I expect to see in the clarity of my skin are the benefits I’m most excited about, here are some pictures of me sans makeup. Woohoo. By the way, yes, it is incredibly strange to ask your husband to take photos of you that scrutinize something you are insecure about. Also, obviously I’m still wearing eye makeup and I have some lipstick on, but I took off all my foundation and concealer.

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If you’ve ever done Whole30, I would love to hear about your experience! If you’ve been thinking of trying one, I would love for you to join me! I’m excited to share my experiences with you through this blog as well as social media, so if you are interested, be sure to follow along. :)

Interviewing My Husband

First, I have to say how truly grateful I am for my husband. He is so ridiculously supportive of this blogging thing I do and I am immeasurably appreciative of that. I couldn’t begin to try and count the number of photos he’s snapped of me, posts he’s edited, or blog related rants he’s listened to. He’s the best.

I’ve seen this idea floating around a few blogs lately, (The Modern Tulip, A Southern Style, Katie Elizabeth), and I thought it would be a perfect way to share my fabulous husband with you. I was cracking up as I did this interview, and I hope you’ll enjoy Dustin’s answers as much as I did.

Have I mentioned he's really ridiculously good looking?

Have I mentioned he’s really ridiculously good looking?

Me: What is the name of my blog?

Him: What is the name of your blog? Something about dreaming, or something. Just kidding, it’s Life Could be a Dream.

Me: What do I typically write about?

Him: It’s a lifestyle blog. So pretty much anything you want. Tutorials, recipes, a couple fashion deals….

Me: What’s a popular fashion item for women right now?

Him: Aztec leggings tucked into  patterned socks.

Me: Really?

Him: It’s a thing. Believe me. And big fabric headbands.

Me: What’s the best place to shop for women?

Him: Like, to buy gifts for women? H&M is a good bet. Target is pretty good, depending on the occasion.

Me: What do you know about Pinterest?

Him: What don’t I know about Pinterest? (He knows a lot, because I talk about it all the time).

Me: What’s a Hunter wellie?

Him: Hunter wellie? Hunter wellie. Hunter wellie is like a wet willy for hunters. AKA, I’ve never EVER heard of a Hunter wellie. (After telling him what a Hunter wellie was, he disputed the question, saying it was misleading. He says he would have answered differently if the question was worded, “What ARE Hunter wellieS?”)

Me: What is our favorite thing to do together?

Him: Um…What rating do you want? Just kidding! We enjoy eating out. Probably a favorite.

Me: What does a perfect evening look like to me?

Him: Me doing all the dishes and cleaning up the apartment and taking care of Joshua while you get to do “research” on Pinterest. Maybe watching a movie and getting to bed on time.

Me: What’s the Pantone color of the year for 2014?

Him: What is Pantone? I think it’s coral.

Me: It’s actually Radiant Orchid.

Him. So I was close. What’s orchid?

Me: What do women keep in their purse?

Him: What don’t women keep in their purse?

Me: What do I do when I’m home alone?

Him: Sing loudly to music if you’re not doing blog stuff.

Me: And what do you do when you’re home alone?

Him: Wouldn’t you like to know? If I don’t have any urgent work to do, I usually just relax and watch something.

Me: What’s my favorite accessory?

Him: Shoes? Do those count as an accessory?

Me: What’s an acceptable amount to spend on a makeup item?

Him: $5. Isn’t that what most things cost?

Me: Nope.

Him: Well shoot! What do they cost?

Me: What is your favorite trait about me, not physical?

Him: How supportive you are.

Me: What’s my favorite TV show?

Him: Curious George, because it keeps buddy occupied. So that we can have an interview. Right now. You also absolutely love Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Me: What is my dessert of choice?

Him: I can’t remember what you said last time. You like lots of desserts. All sorts.

Me: Is that a fat joke?

Him: Nope.

Me: Anything else you’d like to say?

Him: Want to help me finish the laundry? And you’re awesome.

How To Keep an Engagement Journal

Hello all you Life Could be a Dream readers! I am beyond excited to be here on Jana’s blog today for a “Saturday Takeover” post. My name is Rachel and I blog over at Oh Simple Thoughts. I write about my life as a newlywed, my relationship with Jesus, and strive to be an encouragement to all my readers! A big thanks to Jana for letting me posttoday. She is such a joy to know, and it has been an AMAZING experience being one of Jana’s April Sponsors!

Today I wanted to share with you an idea that my husband (Ben) and I came up with during our time of engagement… an Engagement Journal. Does this sound odd? Well, let me tell you. It is the sweetest thing to look back on, and however cheesy some may think it is, I treasure this journal so much.

My sweet husband is really the one behind the journal. I was leaving to go work at a camp for the Summer and we would have to write letters all summer. He bought the journal, wrote several letters in it and then slipped it into my suitcase before I left for the summer away.

And so it began (this was before we got engaged). We would write letters, song lyrics, prayers, and memories in the journal and sneak it back and forth to each other every few weeks. It was always so much fun to be on the look out for the journal or to come up with a fun hiding spot for the other to find it.

Ben had the journal when he proposed to me at our favorite spot on our college campus. He also had it the day of our wedding and returned it to me along with my other wedding gift. This journal was such a delight for both of us. We were able to document the ups and downs of wedding planning, as well as affirm each other.
Keeping a journal is something I have always loved simply because you can reflect back on it. It is always so neat to reminisce and recall sweet times from days past, especially with the one you love.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from our journal.

“Rachel, I wanted to start this journal as a way for you and I to preserve this next year and all that happens in our lives until marriage. My intent is to use this as a place to write letters to you, record memories, write our prayers concerning you and me, and other things like that. After I write in it for awhile I am going to sneak it to you so you can read everything and then have your own turn to write! I know this year will go by quickly, and I don’t want us to fly through this year and not have something tangible to look back on together years from now.” 
 
“Dear Rachel, today we bought a truck!! I’m so glad you went with me to do all of that. I love thinking about the fact that, although right now it is my truck, one day soon it will be our truck!”
 
“Dear Benjamin, So two days ago was your 23rd birthday!! Our first ever birthday celebration together, and I loved every minute of it! I had so much fun celebrating you and your life. I am so glad you enjoyed the day and all your little gifts. I still find myself so amazed at where we are now…we are going to get married, and I cannot imagine spending all of my days with anyone but you.”

Okay, so some of these may seem a little cheesy. But think about how sweet a journal like this will be to look back on when you have been married 20, 30, 50 years! I think cheesy is great sometimes. Every time Ben and I read this journal we are reminded of our love story, and in some ways fall deeper in love with each other. Are you convinced yet? Just try it. Even if your husband doesn’t want to join in, just write him letters, share your heart with him. Give it to him after a year of writing as a gift. Journaling is therapeutic and the best way to record special memories!

Now that we are married, we do not keep up the journal as regularly as we did. BUT, we are still planning on continuing this. So by all means, just call it a marriage journal. You can create something similar to this for any season of life you are in. Make a journal for your best friend, children, pen pal, or family members! I promise you will be so happy you did this a year from now when you can reflect back on such sweet memories all recorded in one special place.

A big thanks again to Jana for allowing me to takeover today! Hope to connect with some of you over at Oh Simple Thoughts soon!

Much Love,
Rachel