Category Archives: my 20s

my 20s

when you give up fear

April 18, 2017

i was at church the Sunday before Easter and the priest saying the homily literally punched me in the gut. (*okay, not literallyyyyy. my priest is the nicest man you could ever meet.) he advised us to think about something we struggle with. pride, humility, shame, anxiety, worrying, jealousy, vanity.

then he suggested we give up that emotion for Lent.

every year for Lent, i give up sweets. it’s just a thing i do because i told myself i needed a reminder in my day-to-day life and since i have a major sweet tooth, it definitely is a daily reminder.

this Lent, like usual, i tried to give up a million things and tack on a million more. even though i tried to keep it simple, it was still too much for 40 days and i could feel in my heart that i wasn’t really getting the fruit of this season because per usual, i wanted to do it all and have the BEST LENT EVER. #storyofmylife

so i really started to concentrate just on giving up fear. i broke the sweets thing a couple of times randomly. it was even in a vengeful spirit — i just literally felt so detached from that resolution. i already eat very minimal sugar so it just didn’t feel like i was doing much more. i have been giving up sweets for probably 8ish years and i have really never grown from Lent. that’s embarrassing to admit because i keep doing it every year but here we are. #keepingitreal

i started to work through giving up fear and focused on trusting in Him in all the hard areas where i don’t want to give up control (future spouse, future family, future kids, future career — can you tell a theme? 😉 ).

i realized in a (large) moment of humility, that for the past 22 Lenten seasons, i have been leaning on sweets as my crutch to have a “good Lent.”

but the crazy part was that then i started to see how this plays out all over my life. a great example is exercise and nutrition. i was leaning on small improvements (no sugar, less alcohol, more raw foods) to make me feel like i was making this huge shift towards treating my body better from the inside out. those aren’t even really changes from my normal life to be honest — i already eat that way after growing up with a foreign mom who didn’t understand the concept of doritos. 😉

what i really wanted to do was to exercise more. but that’s hard. like who has time or energy for that? not i. but once i started to get back into running and paying attention to the steps goal on my Fitbit, i really felt the progress i had wanted to feel all along.

wait let me clarify. not progress like “and she lost 249580 pounds overnight!”. i don’t care about that part. when i say progress, i mean that i had finally did THE hard thing that i had wanted to do all along. i stopped focusing on the food part because that was natural to me and really tackled my big fear, which was that i had lost my love of running altogether and i was scared to confront that. college ruined my perception of exercise and i was nervous that i wouldn’t ever crave it like i did in high school.

i am making this comparison because in Lent, giving up sweets was the equivalent to eating healthy. it wasn’t hard. i mean it was hard, because let’s be real i love ice cream, but i was leaning on it because i knew i could do it and it was something to check off my list. i would wake up Easter morning and eat sweets, proud that i got through 40 days without any sugar.

but you see, i had used sweets as my crutch. EVERY year, i also gave up more important things or tried a new positive change. but those fell wayside. because they were hard. and i knew that at least i could give up sweets and pat myself on the back 40 days later.

once this clicked, it was like all speed ahead. i leaned more and more into letting go of fear, reaching out to people and showing up as the most authentic version of me.

i wore a long pretty dress to mass instead of saving it for the “one day that i’ll need this dress and it’ll be perfect,” because i don’t want to wait for that day.

i shamelessly reconnected with friends, unafraid that they might judge me for not keeping in better touch throughout the years and the moves.

i shared more and more on instagram about my love for style and design, even though sometimes i feel awkward doing that when most of my followers are still my friends from school. i really have no idea what i am doing as a “lifestyle blogger + photographer” but i do know that i love it.

i just showed up as fearlessly as i could.

this part makes me emotional because it radically changes your life when you embrace it: what would happen if we, especially we as women, all acted in full trust in His goodness for our lives? if we all woke up everyday, choosing to see our life through God’s eyes, full of promise, hope and crazy big dreams that are so scary to think we, just your average gal, could achieve?

it’s easy to read this on some motivational poster and think “aw, that’s so true” but when you really, truly LIVE that way, it will change you. i am starting to feel this freedom i have never felt and i would say i have been, for the most part, a relatively confidant gal for most of my life. but now i just am giddy about life because i am no longer in a white knuckle grip of my life: i handed over the reigns to the One who knows me best.

God wants us to live, really live this bold, beautiful life he created for us. and how privileged we are to live in a society that lets us, for the most part, live the way we want. we have homes, food on the table, people that care about us and yet we continuously settle time and time again for the sand castles we make in the mud, convincing ourselves that we aren’t cool enough, thin enough, smart enough, talented enough, wealthy enough to do that, whatever that is for you.

well guess what: YOU ARE ENOUGH. you’re MORE than enough.

i call this way of living “terrifying & EXCITING” because it is. i talked in a mad rush about this whole idea to my best friend on the phone the other day as i paced around target. i talked her through a recent situation where i had to really just trust His plan and do my part but really trust that He would show me the truth. but i also had to show up and be present.

i kept saying “it’s terrifying” and she kept respond “AND EXCITING”. “it’s terrifying”. “AND EXCITING”. and that’s just the gosh darn truth. giving up fear made me realize how terrifying and exciting life can be. i understand now what it means to be fearful of the Lord and His mighty power. He can do BIG things in our lives. and that’s terrifying. but it’s also exciting. cheers to lives of terrifying and exciting proportions.


** i can’t recommend enough trying this fast of fear! just give up fear for a month, a week, whatever! this is not advice to do stupid things (please don’t make me regret this). i just want you to be bold. email that girl you admire and ask to meet for coffee. tell that boy you have a fat crush on him. plant a garden. plan a trip. call a friend you lost touch with. go on a run. pray for something that just seems too good to be true. just be fearless. (cue taylor swift)

my 20s

book club: winter reads

March 31, 2017

winter is over and so is my worst ever reading record. between moving back to st. louis, getting settled in my new job and falling into bed every night, i read an all time low of two books. buuuuuut in my defense, i also crawled through one of them because it was so good and required being reread over and over.

but anywho, spring will be better. so without further ado…my winter reads!

“rising strong” by brene brown : this book. oooohhhh this book will rock you and make you really think about what it means to rise after falling. but also what it means to dare enough to fall. brene is one of my all time favorite authors. she has a way of combining her personal stories, research and a conversational tone that makes you really understand, reread every page and feel an urge to change. this book is an anthem to everyone who is showing up vulnerable and getting back up time and time again. every book i read by her is amazing.

“present over perfect” by shauna niequist : this book was an affirmation of so much that i believe. we have this present moment, of that we are sure of. but it’s so easy to get caught up in the instagram “reality” or looking forward. shauna bares her heart and talks about her own struggles with accepting the present along with learning to say no. it was a quick read and would also double as a great gift to a friend.


i am about to start “lean in” by cheryl sandberg and from there, i’m off to the races! spending more time this season with my nose buried in a book.




my 20s

what does ‘boss lady’ even mean?!

February 9, 2017

if i hear the term “boss lady” one more time, i’ll burst. like a straight up gusher.

i was finally able to pin down why that phrase was rattling me the other day: no one says how to be a boss lady. when i see it in an instagram caption or a friend mentions it in passing, i often laugh and agree. yeah, let’s be boss ladies.

but then recently, i just get annoyed. and i realized it was because every time i heard it, it was just a phrase. there was no action step, no friendly helpful ideas. i see every blogger, magazine and friend say it but i felt overwhelmed with how to do it.

since one of my pet peeves is when people complain about things they can fix, i’m going to try in my own way to help fix this problem and suggest 11 ways to be a kind, smart, gracious lady.:)

  1. stop gossiping. we need to build each other UP not break down. speak kindly, act kindly.
  2. bring a new mom a meal and offer to do something small for her – run an errand, vacuum, load the dishwasher, etc. let her know that you’re there for her. don’t know one? offer a new student, a new girl at work or the girl next to you in class a helping hand.
  3. mentor someone. this doesn’t have to be in a program – i have a couple of friends who are younger than me that i try to check in on every so often and offer a listening ear as they go through struggles that i might have already been through. being a big sister is such a thrill! #wishfulthinking
  4. clean out your closet and donate your excess clothes to a women’s shelter. i have found that it really helps me to physically drive to one and drop it off. i try to know that i am fortunate but it’s easy to feel like you have less in this race for more, more, more. when i go and help other women, it makes me feel part of something bigger and adjusts my perspective.
  5. do something sweet for your mom every week. maybe that’s making time for face timing, sending her a card or shooting her a quick “good morning” text every morning. we love to encourage young, new moms but what about our moms who are still new to it everyday? let’s love them fiercely.
  6. pay an honest compliment to one lady everyday. hopefully something different than “i like your shoes” and more along the lines of “your input in that meeting was impressive,” “your joy is contagious,” or “i hope you know how wonderful you are!”
  7. recommend an empowering book to a friend who is struggling with accepting herself. some of my favorites are rising strong, cold tangerines and present over perfect.
  8. pray for your enemies twice as much as for those you love.
  9. help a mom in the grocery store with her bags or an elderly woman with the door. let’s love women at all ages. <3
  10. send a strong female figure a letter thanking them. or better yet – call them. can you imagine how much it’d mean to them for you to thank them for the example they set? i mean praise freaking hands all around. plus a couple of dancing lady in the red dress emojis.
  11. buy one of these awesome key chains from my friend courtney – let’s make 2016 a great year. one that we follow our hearts.

and can i throw everyone for a twist and say that maybe we could show the supportive, strong men in our life some love as well? let’s build a longer table, not a higher fence and thank them for being good examples of gentlemen, of feminists, of kind people who love us right where we are. i wouldn’t want my life without some of the men in it and i am sure many of you could say the same.:)

now i can say go be a kind, bold, courageous boss lady — because now we all have an idea how! i still feel so happy to have started this little blog and have a circle of gal pals who support this creative venture of mine. 🙂

do you have ideas for how to be a boss lady? tricks up your sleeve? i’d so love to hear them!




my 20s

i’ve been thinking about the poor.

January 5, 2017

i know that is probably the world’s worst blog post title, but honestly i just wanted to get down here where i can write about what i mean by it. it just needs to come tumbling out!

i have always had a soft spot towards the homeless and those in need. really anyone in need, but in this scenario, those living without a stable home base. i really have a hard time seeing people sleeping on the ground or knowing that they probably live in constant fear for their next meal or even for their life.

but lately, i have been basically beside myself when i see someone shivering outside my window, barely able to make eye contact, waiting for someone to have mercy on them as they stand in wet clothes from the rain. how little they have and how much i have. it is so cold in missouri in the winter. it’s this bitter, wet cold that seeps into your bones and takes me a solid two hours to warm back up after coming in from outside. so to see someone outside in it? it’s devastating.

i have just had this on my heart a lot lately. then last night i was reading ‘rising strong’ by brene brown (great book by the way) and she has a section about exactly what i have been feeling.

she was at an event and the man said the following line,

“when you look away from a homeless person, you diminish their humanity and your own.”

the reason that line is even more profound than just because of what it says is because that is something i have been sitting on for the last 5 years. when i was in high school, a youth group leader once told me that it is not up to me to judge what someone will do with the food, money or clothes i offer them. it is just up to me to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the sick – and god can judge. in fact, He is the only one that can judge.

we talked about how we need to see Jesus in them. they are not worthy of having us avert our eyes just because they are dirty or make us uncomfortable. they are the image of Jesus just as much as any of us are. we deserve them, at the very least, eye contact.

so to read that in brene brown’s book this many years later was so impactful and especially lately i have been even more aware of how i treat people with so little and what i can offer them.

at this point you’re probably like literally where are you going with this, ania?

what i wanted to share is that i think i figured out why it’s been so heavy on me lately. as i have tried this “minimalist” lifestyle of really trying to detach myself from material items, that mindset has spread into so many other areas of my life in such a positive, unexpected way. this story is one example.

i think i am just really seeing them in their need as i have gotten rid of the excess i had lived in and have really honed in on what matters, what i need. yes, i still like to spend money on pleasures and clothes but i am 100000% more intentional. and i want to give just as much as i get.

i just realized reading last night that a big shift in my heart happened somewhere in the last couple of months between all the clothing purges and even in the last week as i have wrestled (in a good way) with my new year’s resolution of rerooting my identity. gosh, i am almost getting emotional thinking about this unexpected grace. who would’ve known that getting rid of garbage bags of clothing would in turn affect you like this?

and i really want to do something about it.

if you are local to the st. louis area, i would love if anyone has any suggestions for places to donate meals, food, clothing or time.

p.s. if you want to read more about ‘the great purge of summer 2016’ as my friend, mom and i fondly call it, you can read the series in part i, part ii and part iii. also read the book seven by jen hatmaker. that’s what really did me in.

my 20s

why i kept my 2016 new year’s resolutions. and will in 17, too.

December 30, 2016

i have been thinking a lot about why 2016 was the first year that i really felt growth from my new year’s resolutions. and i think i nailed it down in two pieces:

  1. i focused on parts of myself that i didn’t like and made resolutions to follow. i didn’t like how negativity popped up instead of optimism, so i tried to push myself to see the good first and foremost. i realized that i didn’t want more things but more memories, so i budgeted for some small trips to san diego, carmel and denver. i realized i didn’t like all the jealousy i had in my heart so i stopped thinking that people were perfect or had the lives in their instagrams and really trained myself to know that comparing will rob me of everything. literally everything. joy, contentment, peace, gratitude. i realized that i had lost my love for working out in the midst of some extremists in college and want to love being fit again not because i would lose a pound here or there but because of the rush of endorphins and the guarantee for a healthier tomorrow.
  2. i focused on the intangibles. to be honest, january is not a great time for someone who just spent loads of money on christmas presents and great sales to be like “oh yes, this will be the year i travel abroad.” i save my live list/bucket list/physical i-can-check-that-off list for my birthday in august when i feel refreshed and have more brain space than immediately following basically the busiest time of the year. also, i am always making goals and reading self-development books and stalking brene brown etc. etc. so new year’s goal sheets and planners and financial tips just overwhelm me right after the buzz of the holidays. so i keep it simple and focus my resolutions on things that i want to become part of ania. for 2016, it was choosing joy and seeing people as people, not perfect images on instagram. it was also spending 30 minutes of fitness everyday and choosing to travel instead of have some new shoes or accessories.

and looking back, 2016 has been one of my most joyful years. not because of perfect circumstances because holy smokes, between second semester being one of the most difficult and emotionally draining of my life, moving home, taking care of my mom, the scare with my nephew, feel unstable and undirected in every sense of the word, being rejected from jobs, getting a job, moving back to the city i swore i wouldn’t move back to and everything in-between, there was plentyyyyy of space for whining and griping and enlarging my woes. but i c l u n g to choosing joy like my freaking anchor and lo and behold, it worked. joy to the world.

it was ALL but because of my attitude shift. i just simply chose joy more. and i focused especially on everyday life. i know it’s probably almost annoying to the people around me but i think when you really start to live in gratitude and see tiny flickers of hope and joy in the everyday, it really changes you. at least it changed me. and i like this version of ania a lot more than the moody, “i am always busier, more tired and more broke than anyone ever” version. things like seeing my nephew for 20 minutes after work, cooking a good meal for friends, taking a walk to crunch through the leaves – these are the good things in life, i have come to realize. traveling will always be such a big part of my passion but not truly a big part of my life (at least right now).


things i have been thinking about that i don’t super love about myself… #honestyisthethemeofthispost

something that came to light this summer that was not so bueno was how heavily i have placed my identity in earthly things. particularly where i lived post grad and what my job was if we’re speaking recently. the fact that i might work in a cube K I L L E D me. i mean seriously it did. i had straight up anxiety when i left my job interview FOR THE FREAKING JOB I LOVE AND HAVE NOW. all because of the cubes. truly, i am the worst. but i had placed my identity in some trendy corner of NY so God literally had to wrench it off that and on Him by placing in my hands one of the biggest blessings with my current position. which yes, involves a cube. and i don’t mind at all.

other things include but are not limited to: my blog compared to others’ which are amaze balls, my photography, my wardrobe…the list goes onnnnnn but i don’t really want you all to realize how vain i can be. hehehehe.;)

so my 2017 resolution is to “reroot my identity”.

i want to root my identity firmly in what is worthy of my time and energy. aka i want to root myself in Him. reallllyyyyy spread them out in good, fertile ground.

if i work in a cube or don’t meet the love of my life tomorrow or don’t have my apartment the way i want it to look, it shouldn’t matter. because if i am on solid ground and don’t build a house around me of tiny twigs of vanity, self-love and jealousy, than those things won’t matter. because what does matter is getting to heaven. if we’re really just getting sups real.

so at the end of 2017, i want to look back and see that every time i found myself clinging to earthly temptations, i tore myself away and spent more time with Him. or His kingdom.

this doesn’t mean i am not going to shop, decorate my apartment or travel in 2017. but if none of those things happen, ill be fine. if i don’t in some way become a better version of myself, i think i’d be a leeeetle more disappointed than if i don’t make it to new york.

i also love how choosing a phrase can be applied to multiple aspects of my life. for example, i am going to continue to reroot my identity from some perfect, unattainable body to healthy and fit. i am going to reroot my identity from fast, fast, fast changes to my apartment, wardrobe and travel schedule and remember that patience is a virtue. i am going to reroot my identity from the clothes i wear to the people and places i visit.

i am excited for 2017. i love the feeling of a fresh start. but if this isn’t the best time for you to make resolutions, then don’t. set a goal of making resolutions by valentine’s day or even later. i hate the idea that this time is the only time for goals or resolutions. there is nothing wrong with setting a small goal for winter and then revisiting in spring.

i love my 23 year bucket list and my little new year’s resolutions combo. it’s a good fit for me so hopefully it helps you know that whatever works for you is what works for you and at the end of the day, that’s the best you can do. <3

my 20s

i see you

December 5, 2016

i see you working hard.

i see you getting to the library early in the am as your roommates sleep off a night of drinks while you fell into bed the night before exhausted after class, work and meetings.

i see you pushing through the last mile of your run because you’re determined to be healthy, to live longer and better than those before you.

i see you teaching yourself new skills because you’re passionate about something no one around you knows anything about.

i see you questioning every starbucks you buy and every grocery receipt, wondering if you should’ve splurged on that fancy box of cereal.

i see you laying awake at night praying for your future spouse, your future children, your future.

i see you staying after class to ask just one more question, get one more review of your paper, learn one more way to solve the problem.

i see you letting yourself be a child in your awe of big christmas trees, shining lights and bright stars.

i see you saving money, getting the least expensive drink at the bar and hoping your friends remember to repay you for the uber.

i see you staying up late and waking up early, the first one to arrive at your final and the last one to leave.

i see you going to mass by yourself at lunch, surrounded by the elderly.

i see you choosing the longer of the two dresses for formal, not drinking so you can get your friends home safe, choosing to not go out at all because you’re nervous that you’re not “wild” enough for the night your friends have planned.

i see you relishing in a night at home, reading a good book and breathing in your new candle.

i see you trying new recipes, trying new running paths, just trying new things.

i see you choosing joy despite another dirty diaper, another afternoon of tears and self-doubt as a new mom.

most of all, i see you choosing all of this when no one at all is looking, especially not instagram.

i may not be able to really see you but i want you to know that there are people our age, the “millennials”, working hard, saving money, trying to be good christians in today’s world.

in this lens of social media, it’s easy to feel unknown even though we’re really as exposed as we’ve ever been. i remember thinking in college that i had to be the only one who stressed about money, relationships, my faith, today’s society, etc because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT THESE THINGS.

but what i realized this summer is that everyone is going through something rough, carrying their own cross, and we all should be kind to each other regardless of whether we know the weight of their cross or not.

it’s not up to someone to tell me their life story or convince me how rough they have it or prove it to me in every instagram post. i should be treating them with kindness before a word comes out of their mouth or proof of their hardship is in front of me.

so here i am. little ania laying in bed typing this because i want you to feel known and seen in this crazy world. there ARE other people working their booties off just like you, who have big dreams for themselves just like you, who feel self-doubt just like you, who choose joy just like you. but you have to know that they might not tell you, maybe not at first, but they’re trying too.

i don’t want you to feel alone in this blur of pretty instagram photos. every so often i want to pop in here and tell you i see you, you have worth just by being who you are and your hard work will pay off.

have courage and be kind.





wrote this quickly in place of a style post (coming at ya live wednesday!) because i just feel like this monday post needed a little more oomph.

my 20s

dreamy 23: first quarter stretch

November 30, 2016

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i am trying this new thing with goals where i actually follow through with them.;) so every couple of months i am going to pop in here and check on my year 23 goals! i did this internally for my new year’s resolutions for 2016 and it has been the most successful year at keeping those yet in my life. more on that later…

remember that you don’t have to wait around for your birthday to make a list! life is so short and i don’t want to miss out on the wonders of daily life because i am too hurried to get to the next stages and seasons of my life. this list keeps me grounded in 23 and all the joy i can find right where i am.

i put in bold the ones i have done/am doing soon – i am making progress! weeeeeeee!

  1. visit new york
  2. make my own ice cream
  3. (finally) buy glasses i love to wear (for once in my darn life)
  4. go on a road trip to an outdoorsy location – CARMEL. might have to do another road trip to a national park or something but this little one has got to count for something. 😉 
  5. shoot an engagement photography session
  6. spend intentional time with Him everyday for at least 15 minutes (guess i can’t really bold this til i know i have it in my routine…which i need to be better at…)
  7. bake a cake for no reason and top it with flowers
  8. launch a blog 
  9. read one self-development book per month
  10. make plans to travel internationally either in year 23 or 24
  11. go to confession once a month
  12. go home to colorado and visit my brother
  13. go thrift shopping at least once a season
  14. make a terrarium
  15. learn how to transfer my writing onto the computer to make my own lettering
  16. make a desktop background to share
  17. design a mock-up for a planner (this is a serious pipe dream of mine)
  18. make a diy holiday wrapping paper post
  19. shoot a family photography session
  20. schedule a wedding as the main photographer
  21. use first names whenever possible (grocery store, flight attendants, the homeless, etc.) to promote dignity of life
  22. volunteer at least three times (more would be great!!!)
  23. get 5,000 followers on my instagram account

it’s so good to get a refresher – i had forgotten about a couple of those! with new year’s in a little over a month, it’s good to start thinking about some things that are baby or big steps to take towards your goals or self-improvement or health or anything! i love the fresh, promising start of a new year. make it happen. i believe in you and your potential!!!


vibed to nothing while writing. it’s late and i am tired after a 14 hour day but i am committed as ever to this little corner of the web and you people who read. i love each of you dearly. xx

my 20s

5 steps to better sleep

October 12, 2016

this summer put the hec in hectic. and my sleep was one of the first things to suffer as a result. so i developed a five step, foolproof system for myself that i thought i would share with you!

here’s the thing: you’ve probably read a list about sleep hacks before. tips about pre-bed yoga and long, warm baths and all that jazz. but if we’re being real with ourselves we would realize that the reason we’re sleeping poorly is probably due to lack of time combined with increase stress and if there is a lack of time, i want to see success from any pre-bed routines. (because i would obviously rather watch the latest new girl episode.)

these are five things i try to do every night and honestly, it’s has proven to result in success almost 10/10 times.

1 | make a cup of sleepytime tea as you clean up after dinner. it will be cooled down, ready to drink and be out of your system before you lay down to go to sleep thus not waking you up at night with a full bladder. similarly to children, it’s good to have a routine. your body will sense it’s time for sleep soon and start to calm down as you do the same things every evening. it doesn’t have to be crazy – something as simple as putting on your pajamas, lighting a candle or drinking tea will do!

2 | try to keep workouts before dinner. when i was hard core suffering from insomnia when i was younger, that’s the first piece of advice i got from the doctor. try to give yourself the whole evening to wind down and get your heart rate to normal.

3 | do not let yourself to start any big projects or work on anything that will hype you up for the hour or so before bed. for instance, i don’t let myself look at apartment things or house hunt before going to sleep because i either stress myself out or i get super excited and can’t fall asleep. do simple, basic tasks like prepare lunch for the next day or set out your clothes. save those big, energetic tasks for the morning when you’re fresh!

4 | have one book/essay/paper object to read for 20 minutes before going to sleep. if you have a kindle, get a real book – they’re available at this thing called a library.;) it has been proven that screen time before bed will really mess with your quality of sleep. case in point: i started sleeping so deeply once i dedicated this minimum 20 minute reading partay that i noticed i had begun dreaming again. #deepsleepforthewin

5 | speaking of screen time, get those glowing squares awayyyyyy for the hour before you go to sleep – or longer! put away your computer, iPad, iPhone and anything else that glows. take a shower. chat with your roommate. browse your clothes for new ideas. get away from the screens ESPECIALLY when you are having an especially difficult time falling asleep. don’t pick up your phone and start scrolling. lie there and think about a dream vacation, your dream home or your dream ice cream flavor.;)


vibed to brooklyn nine-nine while writing. kasia got me hooked – it’s GREAT busy work background tv if you needed a rec.;)

my 20s

book club: summer reads

October 10, 2016

*yes, it is JUST NOW turning to fall here. so i felt like that title was appropriate since i was sweating outside today helping my dad. #centralvalleyswag

a while ago i asked for some book recommendations on my instagram and i have been slowly working my way down the list ever since! there are few things i like more than a recommendation for a good read. i don’t know if i am the only odd duck that does this, but i have to finish a book once i start it. so when i start a bad one, we’re in it for the long run.

these are the ones i have read since then. i rated them on a scale of 1 – 5 stars with five being the best … but you might like something i didn’t so keep that in mind.;)

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist: ☆☆☆☆☆

i have gone back and reread sections of this book and that should tell you something because i RARELY reread books. and i had it on my kindle but i am going to order it for one of the books to have in my apartment / forever. wow. this is a masterpiece by shauna that will help you see that this daily life we’re living is the best darn thing we have if we just notice it. i had so many people recommend it to me and when i finally read it, it was like reading something that had already been written on my heart. gahhh, can’t recommend this enough!

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: ☆☆☆☆

i am not usually a huge fan of suspense ANYTHING (cried because the suspense in lilo and stitch was too much for me just to give you an idea of my tolerance level) but i really liked this book surprisingly. nothing ever happened that was grotesque or scary so it ended up being a great book because i truly dislike reading scary books full of really awful, realistic events. but this was suspenseful without have those scenes so win-win!

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica: ☆☆☆☆

^^^ same as for good girl. it’s just a good thriller with some unexpected twists but nothing ever happens on the pages that’s too gruesome but i would definitely say it’s pg-13.;) her writing reminds me a lot of gone girl if you liked those vibes! i don’t typically reach for these kinds of books but it was a good change of pace!

The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore: ☆☆☆☆

i read this book in one night. it’s not the most elevated writing in the universe which is why i didn’t give it five stars (that’d be like giving nicholas sparks five stars – i don’t know if i could compare that to like a harry potter five stars?) but if you’re looking for an easy, romantic read – look no further!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: ☆☆

the only reason i gave it two stars and not one is because it is well-written from the man with autism’s point of view. i have a soft spot in my heart for autism so i appreciated the cleverness and the accuracy of his traits but the book as a whole didn’t pull me in!

I’m Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck: ☆

it just wasn’t good in my opinion? it’s basically a high school romance that doesn’t work out and there’s some infidelity action  which is my least favorite thing to see in media. and i thought the story line was suuuuuper drawn out. but yes, i finished it. ugh.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey: ☆☆☆ (but only because of the timing! read below!)

i am reading one self-improvement book a month in my 23rd year as you read on my to do list for dreamy 23 here and this was september’s book! it’s all about just doing the dang thing and tackling the fears that are holding back from your dreams thus discovering your self-worth. i think i kind of already had that realization earlier this summer when i launched my blog and started revolving my life more around “imperfect actions make things happen” so the book didn’t have as much of an effect on me which is why i only gave it 3 stars. but if you need a little kick in the rear to get yourself going, this is the book for you! it’s well-written and will give you a realistic chat with yourself before jumping off the deep end with an idea.

Seven by Jen Hatmaker: ☆☆☆☆☆☆

yes, i do realize i gave this book six stars. i read this right after i finished my third closet purge and while reading it, came full circle and had some pretty not pretty realizations about how despite my best efforts, i still spend money on things i don’t need. this book will rock you. don’t read it if you want to stay in the happy bubble of frivolous, accidental shopping sprees at target and buying one too many candles at anthropologie. DO READ if you’re ready to see what consumerism does to us and our brains. it’s completely changed the way i spend my money but i am writing an entire post on how to purge your closet and shop intentionally for this friday so stay tuned! gonna be one of my best yet, i can feel it. anywho, get this book and let it change you.


also, as I remember them, I’ll list some of my just all-time favorite reads at the end of these reviews for you to check out! see you in the beginning of december when i go over my fall reads – they’re already pretty stacked!

The Kite Runner

A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

Me Before You

Gone Girl

The Girl on the Train

every single harry potter book of course


vibed to a cinderella story because it’s now on netflix and yes, that scene where he runs up to her in the stands S T I L L gets to me.

my 20s

instafollow: *praise hands*

October 3, 2016

the final installment of the instafollow series is all my praise hands accounts. these are accounts that i follow to keep my ig feed full of encouraging, faith-filled photos, quotes and women. if i am honest with myself, i am on instagram a lot (although i have been less lately! #babysteps) so it’s nice to automatically see the refreshing feeds of other women or accounts that are trying to slide into social media with grace and hope.

these are my favorite accounts to follow. some of these have quite honestly changed my life with their words and insight. whenever i write a wordy instagram caption and think to myself “is this too much? do people like this?”, my mind goes to these accounts that make me pause mid-scroll and reflect.

enjoy these (in no particular order) and thanks for following along with this series!

1 | jess connolly: jess is everything. my sister and i refer to her as if she’s our friend. “oh did you see jess is in stl?” “yeah, i insta-messaged her some restaurant recommendations!” have we ever met jess? no. will we ever? maybe not. but she speaks truth, people. honestly we could be friends in real life. she says everything you think no one else thinks and does it so wonderfully that kasia and i are constantly tagging each other in her posts even though there’s a very slim chance we’d miss one. she inspires me to be bold, wild and free in my faith.


2 | blessed is she: if you aren’t signed up for their daily emails, do that here! guaranteed to be an email that will help you start your day off right. they have the BEST quotes about faith and from saints. i love love love their feed and their work and their ministry and that cute little wreath around their name.


3 | katharine griffin: she. slays. the. word. game. honestly, just go through and read some of her captions! so so good. also she’s so cute. also she’s a ‘denim enthusiast’ – if you coin that, you’re a winner in my book.


4 | beating 50 percent: i have already signed my future husband up for beating 50 percent’s future retreats. neither exist but i am so there (and so is he – let him know). they are so encouraging and even though i am not in a relationship, i learn so much from this account and stow it away in my brain so i can be a better girlfriend, fiancé and wife one day! audrey roloff is amazing so i haven’t been surprised at how much of a success this has been for them and i hope ALL the best continues to flow their way.


5 | deeply rooted: they have wonderful posts – really uplifting and profound words!!! another magazine i need for around my apartment for sure. they also host retreats which would be amazing, i’m sure, if there’s one in your area!


6 | lara casey: oh lara. where do i begin?! lara is probably the realest of the real. she has a pretty crazy past and from her rough beginnings, through grace and prayer, she created a life that will inspire you to find joy in your REAL life (not some pretty instagram version). she talks when she struggles, she talks when she rejoices and her daughter grace talks a lot too which is seriously the best thing ever. also they adopted a baby girl which just reallllyyyyy gets my heart pumping.


7 | rach kincaid: jess and rach are best friends and it’s such a good model of what friendship should be. also her bio for her instagram (see photo below) is my life. i feel sometimes too old for my generation and i love the way she approaches faith, motherhood and relationships – all while being an all around boss lady. also her family is so cute and i am sincerely obsessed with her snap chats of her kids walking to the bus every morning – it’s so darn cute.


8 | my freedom bell: jess strikes again. she made this account as a well to ring her ‘freedom bell’ and be healthy, fit and learn to love her body. since that resonates with just about every woman i can think of, you might want to follow this one too. she is so real and fresh – it’s refreshing.;) #getit #someonestopme


9 | she reads truth: if you aren’t signed up for SRT daily email devotionals, do that now! it is such an easy way to insert a little grace into your day by merely checking your email – something you probably around do. they have great prayer plan books and everything is so cute. like this advent one for this year? praise hands for that.


10 | tapestry magazine: even though they have a small following, they have something really good going on here. i love their aesthetic and their magazines are so beautiful!! they could even be used for a coffee table read. #apartmentplanningalways #stilllivingathome



vibed to brooklyln nine-nine via my sister’s orders. funny show while i wait for the mindy project to come back…