December 14, 2014

Well, I have finally moved into my new house! Can I just say moving is the most terrible thing in the world? I still have a lot of de-cluttering to do and I don't exactly have enough bedroom furniture for storage right now. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks I can order some things and can everything in its place. I will be sure to take pictures and share them with you guys.

As of now, you can just ponder this beautiful picture.
Beautiful, am I right? Ugh this picture makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Any other OCD'ers out there?

I am really excited about the kitchen though. I am ready to cook some things up in there. As of now, I have 0 groceries because I work every night until 8 p.m., but I am going to grocery shop this coming weekend! It's happening.
I am so excited for my Christmas break! I get two whole weeks off and I am thrilled to just have a little bit of down time. What are your plans for Christmas? Also, can I just show you this awesome sweatshirt I am getting ASAP!
All you IGGY fans out there, you're welcome!

So, that is me in a nut shell. A very small nut shell. More updates to come so stay tuned! P.S. I hope to get back to blogging more regularly soon so please come back soon mkay?


December 6, 2014

I haven't been one to plan out 'dates'. Honestly, I am pretty bad at it. For the most part, my dating life has been, "So, what do you wanna do?" "I don't care. What do you wanna do?" I know. I am pretty much the life of the party over here!

So, when I was approached by Datevitation, my first thought was, "Um, I don't have a boyfriend/husband/boy toy/anything. Turn out, they have dates for all kinds of relationships, such as mother/daughter, father/son, friend/friend. I was so pleasantly surprised and was immediately on board!

Datevitation.com is the web's first online platform to create a custom love coupon book. Unlike the pre-packaged love coupon books on the market, you pick the dates and can customize the text to your liking. Once you are done customizing the text in your book, Datevitation will print it out and ship it to you.
The Datevitation library contains over 500 date ideas ranging from skydiving to stargazing to steamy adult-only activities. We also have over 100 book cover options to suit any occasion.
In addition to being the perfect romantic gift for your sweetie, Datevitation now has "boy" and "girl" characters with over 200 new activity illustrations specifically for kids and parents. There’s also an exciting feature that allows you to add photos of your own faces to the illustrations!
Books normally start at just $25 so it makes for a thoughtful yet economical gift.  But as a special treat for my followers, you can use the code  ‘MELISSAFAYE’  for $10 off your purchase plus free shipping (total value of $13.50) That means you can get your loved one a one-of-a-kind gift for Christmas starting at just $15!  The order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery by Christmas is December 13 so make sure to get your order in before then!

Datevitation is a family business run by the husband-wife team of Alex and Olga Karpman.  You can get to know them on the Datevitation blog, where they offer video guides to date ideas and romantic gestures. You can even watch Alex propose to Olga in a video they posted on Youtube as a Save The Date, and now has over 2 million views (you can view the video here)! 

If you are looking for a unique gift that is much more than a 'thing', this is perfect for the Holidays! Don't forget to use my promo code 'MELISSAFAYE' for $10 off!
Below is a giveaway for your own free Datevitation book! The winner will be notified by email with their free promo code! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


December 5, 2014

Christmas is such a special season. I always find ways to personalize and make my gifts extra special. One of the ways I think packages can be wrapped extra special is by making them from "you". When I decided to purchase my wrapping paper, I had to figure out my "theme".

Every year I choose a theme for my gifts. I would love to offer up pictures, but uh, I typically wrap them so last minute that I am giving them to my loved ones before I have time to record it.

Not this year, baby!
I have decided to go with the Merry Woodland wrapping paper from Tiny Prints! This is such a classic, vintage look and a huge PLUS - my name is on the wrapping paper. Now everyone will know where their best gifts come from - haha!
If you are in the market for personalized gift wrap and you want to really WOW your friends and family with the cute prints, you can't go wrong with wrapping paper from Tiny Prints.
Now, go drink some egg nog and wrap up those gifts. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.


November 28, 2014

I had a great Thanksgiving! It was full of family and food -- and what is better than that?! Here are some snapshots of the day. I have finally moved into my new home (rental), so I will be back to blogging soon!

How was your Thanksgiving?!


November 25, 2014

Dose of Charm Banner 
Per our calendar of events, today we have the Ugly Sweater Challenge launching!

   Ugly Sweater Challengers copy
Amy's Instagram • Amy's Twitter Paige's Instagram • Paige's Twitter Melissa's Instagram • Melissa's Twitter

This challenge will run from today (November 24) until December 11.
  1. Follow the challengers (Amy, Paige, and Melissa) on Instagram and Twitter.
  2. "Sign up" below so we can make sure we know you're part of the challenge and will search for your submission. If you don't sign up, we might (unfortunately) miss your submission!
  3. Then, post a picture of you in your ugly sweaters with the hashtag #DOCuglysweater on Twitter and/or Instagram.
  4. We will announce winner via social media, but also share the winning photo on our blogs with all the rest of the Dose of Charm winners on December 22.


November 18, 2014

There are several things I am thankful for this year. For some reason holidays are always a hard time for me. As a child I had very high expectations of what the holidays should be. Now that I am single again, it is hard just to adjust to being "alone" during the holiday season. Yes, I have my family and they are amazing. I have great friends and they are certainly lifesavers. But, there is something about having a significant other during the holiday season that is extra special to me. I know it will happen for me someday, but for now I really want to focus on the good things in my life rather than the things I "think" I am missing out on. 

1. My Jesus. I am so thankful for his saving grace. I am thankful that He has lifted me up during some really hard and uncertain times.

2. My health. I am so thankful that I am healthy and can do all of the things I do on a daily basis. It's amazing how much of that we take for granted.

3. My family. I love them more than anything.

4. My friends. I am so thankful for the laughs, encouraging words, and great times together.

5. My co-workers. For being more like family everyday.

6. Taylor Swift's new album. Because what else would I be listening to?

7. Hot showers and heat. This is a given, but this is so much of what I take for granted on a daily basis.

8. Boots and scarves. Cuteness factor and also warmth.

9. My blog. It has given me so many opportunities and allowed me to grow in areas that I never thought possible.

10. My job. It's not always easy to work in the financial aid industry, but my job has allowed me to be in the company of great people and I get to influence students everyday. Not sure if that's good for them, or bad, haha.

What are you thankful for this year? 


November 17, 2014

I love, love, love stationary and office supplies. I would say it first started in high school when I would binge buy post its, notebooks, pens, and journals. I think I still have a couple of journals lying around empty, but they were just so cute I couldn't pass them up!

Lately, I have been attending quite a few showers and weddings. I love fall weddings and I love how intimate and special weddings feel. When one of the students invited me to her kitchen themed shower, I knew I had to get her something really special. The invitation asked each guest to bring a kitchen utensil and a recipe, so I knew I had to get her something adorable.
When I first looked at giddy paperie's website, I was immediately drawn to the "Kitchen Sink" line. Everything looks custom and so cute, and obviously I had to have it right away. I placed my order and waited impatiently for it to arrive. I was also given some other goodies and my heart nearly exploded at how perfect everything looked!

The linen kitchen towel was just what I was looking for and the recipe card is seriously making me want to handwrite every recipe I know so I can bust them out while I am cooking. To me, stationary should be personal and this line feels incredibly personal. Everything is carefully designed and you can choose almost any kind of theme you could want.
I highly recommend and encourage you to check out Giddy Paperie. I know you will not regret it! Isn't it time you hand wrote a letter rather than sent an email? Oh, good. I have the perfect place for you to go!


November 12, 2014

Has anyone else bought Taylor Swift's album? I seriously have had this shaz on repeat for like a week straight. I don't even know any other music right now. Even now, as I sip my wine and write this post, I have Tay Tay blasting. Cheesus Crackers, I love this album!

I thought it would be fun to give you a special little something from one of my [REAL LIFE] blogger friends. Sarah is coming to us from Simply Complicated. She contacted me for a little get to know you post. If you want to see my answers, head on over to her blog and check 'em out! And yes, I am just as weird as you imagine.

So, without further delay I bring you Sarah from Simply Complicated!

1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
I know this is weird, but my papaw and uncle always have nicknames for people and nobody ever gave me one. It has been only recently that my mom started calling me "bubbles" because I'm the family bubble machine.

2. What's a weird habit of yours?
My morning and nighttime routines. If I do something out of order then I feel frazzled and like I'm forgetting something. I also HAVE to look back when I leave the driveway in the morning to make sure that I closed the garage door. If I forget, then I have to turn around to make sure I closed it.

3. Do you have any weird phobias?
I am very afraid of spiders so I am always scared that one will be hiding somewhere that I least expect it. 

4. Whats a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you're alone?
Right now its "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor. So. Dang. Catchy.

5. What one of your biggest pet peeves?
When people borrow something and don't take good care of it. I try and take care of my stuff so it lasts longer and it is aggravating when others treat your stuff like they would treat their own.

6. What's one of your nervous habits?
My voice changes. I start to enunciate my words with a little bit of a hiss at the end. Here lately I have also been scratching my neck.

7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
I never know if they mean when I'm laying in the bed, or looking at the bed. So...if you're standing at the end of the bed, its the left side of the bed. But if you're laying in the bed, I'm on the right.

8. What was your first stuffed animal and what was its name?
I don't remember having a stuffed animal, but I did have a baby doll. I have no imagination so I named her "baby Sarah"...I know, real original.

9. What's the drink you always order at Starbucks?
Either a hot caramel macchiato or an iced upside down caramel macchiato. Unless its PSL season. Then I get a PSL, of course.

10. Which way do you face in the shower?
My back is to the shower head. I don't like the water getting my face.

11. Do you have any weird body skills?
Lol nope.

12. What's your favorite comfort food that is bad but you eat it anyways?
Chips and guacamole. I could eat it everyday, at any time of day. I know its not terrible for you but in the quantities that I eat it in, it is unhealthy.

13. What's a phrase or exclamation you always say?​
I don't know that I have one right now. My students would probably tell you that I say "kapeesh" a lot. It means "understand?" and I got it from Full House.

14. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
I usually wear one of Nathan's (my hubby) old t-shirts. I don't have a lot of "cute" pajamas. My motto is to be as comfortable as possible.

15. What did you used to wear that you thought was cool, but now you realize it wasn't?​
I can't think of a specific piece of clothing, but for sure colored eyeshadow. Its not that its "uncool", I just realize now that it doesn't look good on me.

What a fun post, thanks Sarah! If you wanna do the same post on your blog, feel free to pass it on. Please go check out Sarah's blog and show her some love! I know you won't regret it. 


November 7, 2014

Disclosure: I was approached by Lunchbox to review the Walmart Soundcheck with Little Big Town and was compensated for this post. Although I was compensated, I genuinely love Little Big Town and all opinions are my own. 

Did you watch the CMAs on Wednesday? Little Big Town won Vocal Group of the Year! It's not hard to figure out why.

I love listening to live musical performances by country artists. I am a country girl (or I love country music) and so whenever I get the chance to witness artists in their element, I get excited. I don't have the chance to attend a lot of concerts, mainly because they can be rather pricey, and I am pretty picky when it comes to purchasing albums. Being able to listen to albums, especially played by the artists live, is a great way to decide whether or not I should purchase an album.

I was thrilled when I heard about the Walmart soundcheck presented by T-Mobile, because they were featuring one of my favorite groups, Little Big Town. Not only do you get to watch a live performance, but they interviewed the group about the album. There is a series of videos in which the group plays songs from their new album, "Painkiller", and answers various interview questions. The interview showcases their thoughts and feelings about their new album, "Painkiller", and the group discusses their love for their hometown of Nashville. In fact, the soundcheck is set in Nashville as well, and who doesn't love Nashville?! The band calls the album ["Painkiller"] "bold" and "aggressive", which you get a little taste of during the soundcheck. I enjoyed watching the videos and getting a taste of backstage. You get to see another side to the artists and it helped me understand their frame of mind when they were creating the album.

I encourage you to check out the soundcheck and take a few minutes to browse other artists' soundcheck as well! I mean, can you get any more up close and personal than that? Well, yes you can, but this way is free and won't land you in jail.

In case 
you're feeling lucky, enter this giveaway by using the tool below to win a signed guitar by Little Big Town!


October 29, 2014

I remember my pre-marital counseling like it was yesterday. We had a total of 4 sessions in which we went through a work book and several passages of Scripture. We discussed our relationship, our hopes, and fears, but I will say (shamefully), we weren't completely honest about everything about our relationship. We didn't take full advantage of the resources and help we were given. If we had taken full advantage, we A. May not have gotten married (which would have prevented the divorce) or B. We would have really evaluated and looked at our relationship and worked on making it better.

I want to offer some advice for you "to-be-marrieds" so you can take full advantage of pre-marital counseling. If you choose not to go through pre-marital counseling, I encourage you to change your mind. Even if you are already married, marriage counseling can do wonders as well! Is it the cure-all to all marriage problems, no, but you can rest assured knowing you did all you could do.

1. Be honest with your counselor. Whether your counselor is a licensed professional or a pastor, always be honest with him/her. Its important the counselor understand your relationship to its fullest. If there are underlying concerns or issues, counseling is the time to meet them head on. You certainly don't want to allow deception to creep into your relationship. Always get things out and on the table.

2. Share your fears. Being nervous or scared is normal when you're deciding to marry someone and spend your life with him/her. I was not honest about my fears about marriage and becoming a wife. I was scared about the future and leaving my parents, but I didn't voice it. Looking back now I should have been more up front about the normal fears that I experienced.

3. Religion is a factor. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist, there are elements of these religions that set a foundation for marriage. I have met several couples and been friends with couples that are either different religions, or one cared more about religion than the other. Marriage is not the way to convert your significant other, and your faith affects everything from raising kids, to celebrating life events, to dealing with life circumstances. Talk about your faith and do what you can to incorporate those beliefs into your marriage. It will be stronger for it.

4. Budget. Budget. Budget. Money was a hard thing for me to talk about. When we went to pre-marital counseling, we hardly talked about finances, and I think my marriage suffered. If you are spender or a saver, if you have no debt or $40,000 of debt, talk about this in pre-marital counseling. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard my friends talk about their finances and be shocked when their spouse divulged the amount of debt they were in. Talk about this way before you walk down the aisle.

5. Let's talk about sex. Sex is still a taboo subject for some people and sharing it with your counselor or pastor can be very difficult. Don't skate through this subject just because its uncomfortable. Aside from finances, sex is the second primary cause of divorce. Sex affects everything and everything affect sex. If you are in a hurry to get between the sheets with your significant other, you are not alone. Lots of couples who have waited are excited to embark on this new exciting journey, but everyone's expectations are different. If you and your partner are sexually involved, then be honest about it, and talk about it just as you have everything else.

If you went through pre-marital counseling and have any tips, comment below!


October 28, 2014

I can't help but be inspired by a well organized and styled office space. I am somewhat obsessed with office supplies and space. I think being productive happens in a space that encourages productivity. Here are some tips to remain productive during the day. I hope it inspires you to do more. 

1. Stay organized. Nothing prevents productivity like an unorganized space in disarray. Before you begin your tasks spend time making a place for everything. If everything has a home then there won't be any question of where things belong.

2. Play some tunes. I do my best work with music that is upbeat and consistent. I try to stay away from pop hits because I tend to stop what I am doing and either sing or dance. I am more focused on the music than the task at hand. I play something upbeat, typically acoustic, with no lyrics. The music helps my brain focus and it lifts my mood if I am doing something particularly boring.

3. Write it down. Tasks are made for crossing off of lists, right? Exactly. Write it down and mark it off as you go!

4. Work at your best time of day. I typically work better between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and catch my second wind around 6 p.m. If there's a time of day that you are at your best, focus your tasks during that particular time of day. 

5. Keep it simple. I try not to have too much clutter around so I can focus on what I am doing. If I have a lot of clutter around it tends to distract me from working and direct my mind to cleaning. At both my office and home office, I like to keep each space clutter-free!

I hope these tips inspire you to create a clean, organized, and versatile office space for you! What tips do you have? Comment below!


October 27, 2014

I love to personalize my own space ever since I started living on my own. I think personal touches and making your home your own is very important. I live far away from my family and much of my pictures or photos are either in a box, bag, or just chilling on my iPhone. For the most part, I don't have a ton of photos on the wall because I am renting an apartment and don't want to knick or damage the walls too much.

Living in an apartment while trying to personalize and make this space my own can get challenging. For the most part, I enjoy looking at photos of family because it makes them feel a little closer to me. One of my favorite things in my apartment is this photo block from my sister's wedding.

I look at it and think about how special that day was. I think about my BIL crying tears of joy when he saw my sister. I remember thinking how grown up my sister looked on that day and I remember thinking about how she was going to be moving away in such a short time.

Personalized touches in an apartment is so important to me. I found some other ways of personalizing  or decorating rented spaces without damaging property.

1. Temporary Wallpaper

Melissa Faye Blog: Decorate Without Damage

2. Use temporary hanging tacks, hooks, or putty.
Melissa Faye Blog: Decorate Without Damage

3. Use throws or pillows to personalize your space without hanging items on walls.
Melissa Faye Blog: Decorate Without Damage

4. Using glass prints to put on shelves or various flat surfaces in your home.
Melissa Faye Blog: Decorate Without Damage

What ways do you know of to decorate rentals without damaging walls or property? Comment below!



October 25, 2014

I have never really enjoyed structure too much when it comes to blogging. So much of blogging is spontaneous for me, and I sorta like it that way. What I have found, however, is that it is important to remain consistent for readers like you. I remember looking back one week at my posts and realizing how whiny and down my blog sounded. It seemed all that was on my mind was my divorce and not having all of the things I thought I would have in my life. I am pretty sure if anyone stopped by that week, they were over me and my blog.

So, for the sake of this blog and all of your fine readers, I am going to create some structure that may help balance out my content and my voice. This blog is more of a diary for me (hence the name of the blog is my name), but I also want to create content that allows readers to click away inspired, uplifted, and maybe even a little smarter. The categories of this blog are create, inspire, encourage, and reflect. That is the content I want to generate on a daily basis. I enjoy writing about my experiences because I feel like I have learned from them. I don't have it all figured out yet, but I am on my way. If I can offer a little piece of advice that helps someone, I am happy. If I can create a moment where someone feels they can relate to me and my story, then its all worth it!

Here is what you will begin to find here at Melissa Faye Blog.

Monday - Create Posts - DIY, adventure, travel, making a place of my own.
Tuesday - Inspire Posts - Quotes, verses, photos, art, books, and movies.
Wednesday - Encourage Posts - uplifting stories, positivity, building you up.
Thursday - Reflect Posts - moments passed, memories, lessons learned, teaching you something.
Friday - Free Posts - Fashion, food, general lifestyle.
Saturday - VA {virtual assistant} Posts - blogging, blog organization, tips & tricks.
Sunday - Sunday Edition Posts - linking up with Let it Be Beautiful & All the Things, Etc.

I think this schedule will allow me to create balanced content and attract readers on a more consistent basis. If you are a blogger and looking to find your voice, this may be a great way to focus on what it is you want to blog about. Readers go to various blogs because there is content that attracts them and leaves them with something when they click away.

Bloggers: I suggest you focus on what it is you want to leave people with. If you are a momma blogger, have tips or stories for other mothers. If you are a fashion blogger, then allow your readers to peek into your closet for the best deals and fashions. If you are an avid reader, share with us your favorite reads. Choose what you care about and write about it. Chances are others will care about it too! For more tips and tricks, head on over to The Yuppie Files. I found great inspiration from that post!

I appreciate each and every one of you that read my blog and I hope you'll stick around!


October 24, 2014

Oh, man did this week like fly by, or is it just me? Just me? Okay, then.

I am so glad it is FRIDAY! I have a good couple of weeks, so let's go through the good things, shall we?
1. I have not worked a full work week in over a month. I was sick (not good, but time off is) and went out of town to visit my sister a couple weeks back. 

2. I am FINALLY over strep! Thank you, Amoxycillin. I thought I was dying. 
3. I got to work from home a couple of days this week because of some system issues, which meant I got to work on things without distraction and get some things done around the apartment!
Laundry. Funnnn.
4. I am having a girls' movie night at my apartment tonight. The movie tonight is "Bridesmaids". We all need a good laugh this week, or really anytime. 
5. I have had pizza three times this week. Wait, is that a bad thing? Naaaahhhh. 
How was your week?! Comment below!


October 23, 2014

I have always struggled with competing and comparing myself to others. I think one of my struggles may even stem from this here blog (sorry, bloggy). I think a lot of my struggles have come from seeing others be successful and seeing what I don't have, and thinking I am an idiot for not being where 'they' are. You know, 'they'? Yeah, 'they' are everywhere.

The others/they/she/he/it is always going to be there. There is always going to be someone faster, stronger, better, and louder than me. I know that is true, but it doesn't make my inner self any happier just acknowledging it. I have to make real steps to overcome it. Lately, I have been embracing my body and accepting how I look. No, I am not the skinniest thing out there, but I am learning to embrace where I am and love who I am on the inside, so I can take care of who I am on the outside. My body is a reflection of who I have been and where I have come from the past four years. I haven't done my best to take care of it, but I have to remember the good things I have done and the good things about me. That is how I will break this vicious cycle.

I can't compete any longer with those around me. As a woman, I think its natural to do this. I think its natural for us to want to look out for ourselves, but the truth is, we all do better when we lift each other up. If a blogger is gaining rapid readership, I have to accept the fact that they are working their tail off to make that happen. If someone has a fit and healthy body, its most likely because they eat right, exercise, and take care of it. There is no reason for me to get down on myself when others around me are doing well. It should motivate me to work that much harder!

What do you think? Have your struggled with this before?


October 22, 2014

I think throughout my life I have really wanted to embrace those around me and form a community. I see so many of the people I interact with each day living among and sharing with each other. Community to me is the glue that holds any institution or organization together. Community makes up families, friends, schools, marriages, churches, etc. We all live in community and we can all share and learn from each other.

When I was first in college I wanted to create friendships that would last a lifetime. My problem is I have some pretty significant trust issues going on. I get leery of people who easily trust. To me, trust is something that has to be earned, not given freely. Throughout college I had struggles with trusting the right people. I made friendships with people that I probably shouldn't have (ouch) and looking back today and I learned a lot from those 'wrong' friendships. I learned how much to tell and when. I learned about how little people kept things confidential and private. I learned that I have built up walls because I am afraid of getting hurt. I don't take friendship lightly. I hate conflict and confrontation. I like have deep conversations and talking about where people have come from. I love to listen and give advice.

I know now that I have some great quality friends. I have friends that I can call if I need to and I have people in my life that are giving. They are life-giving and they are a part of my daily walk with Christ. I am so thankful for what I have been through. I am thankful for those who have hurt me (even deeply hurt me).  I encourage you to take a step back and analyze what it is that is holding you from creating and having community. You won't regret it.


October 21, 2014

"This is a work in progress".

I have always felt that life is a work in progress. The truth is, I let my obsession with perfection get in the way of a lot of things. I think I should have it all together the first day, the first hour, the first minute of a project. I am still learning that I am a work in progress. I have to be easier on myself and I have to appreciate how far I have come thus far in my life. I can't let my own fear of failure dictate how far I can go. I can't let my own pre-conceived notions about what success looks like hold me back. I am going to accept and embrace that I am a work in progress. I am human and I will fail, fall, get messy, and get rejected. 

I hope that someday I can look back and say I tried as hard as I could and I gave it my all. That is all we can all hope for. 

+this post is a part of the new weekly serial that I will post each Tuesday. If you have inspirational stories or quotes email them to me to be featured on the blog {melissafayeblog(at)gmail(dot)com}. 


October 20, 2014

MELISSA FAYE BLOG Tips to Stay Married
One of God's greatest blessings is marriage. Even now as a 28 year old women who has experienced divorce, I know the fragility of marriage and what it takes to have a healthy marriage. The wedding is just the beginning of a hard, messy, beautiful, joyful, sometimes tragic, mysterious union that happens between two people. When I see two people commit their life to one another I am brought back to my own wedding day. I felt completely at ease on that day, without a shadow of a doubt, this was the man I was to spend the rest of my life with. I knew the commitment I was making, but I had no idea what was to come. I had never been married and I was learning all of it and experiencing all of it at once (as do most people married for the first time).

When people ask me about my personal journey and what led me to the place I am today, I am reminded of my own experiences. What I went through may not ever happen to you (I pray it doesn't), but I still think my story matters. I think all of the stories of those who have experienced divorce matters. I once heard that there is a winner and a loser in every divorce. Whether or not one is solely to blame for the divorce - which isn't always the case - there is a winner and a loser. I don't think I agree with that statement. How can anyone "win" in divorce? Both spouses are hurt. Both spouses are devastated. Both spouses are left picking up the pieces of the life they once had.

My advice for married couples (or married-to-be) is to stay married. If at all possible, please, please, stay married. Easier said than done I know. Here are a few pieces of unsolicited advice.

1. Have the hard (read: essential) conversations. 
Don't wait until after you're married to talk about the big stuff. Be honest with one another and tell your secrets. You don't have to necessarily give detail for detail your entire life story, but don't leave out things that are going to come back up one day and potentially hurt your spouse or betray their trust. Get it all out on the table.

2. Talk about money, sex, and kids before you walk down the aisle. The three biggest things in a marriage are money, sex, and kids. How do you plan to organize your finances? Are you a spender or a saver? Joint bank accounts or separate? Talk about sex. Frequency, expectations, past partners (seriously), and what you hope to gain from your sex life. Lastly, children. Do you want kids? How many? What kind of parents do you want to be? How do you see yourself raising the kids? Will one parent work and one stay home? Will both work? These conversations may lead to some eye-opening issues that are definitely worth exploring.

3. Spend time with each other's family. 
Family is HUGE in a marriage. Even if you have the craziest family in the world, your future spouse needs to meet them and get to know them better. When I was engaged (for a hot minute) I spent so much time with my family and fiancee together that we all became really close before the wedding. I think its important to know what you're marrying into. It may not be all roses and group hugs, but at least experience his/her family for who they are.

4. Talk about your hopes and dreams for the future and help each other get there.
Nothing is better than a supportive spouse. When you express your dreams and aspirations your spouse should be there cheering you on! If they tear you or your dreams down, I would re-evalute the relationship. Nothing is more detrimental than an unsupportive spouse (or worse a selfish one).

5. Accept your spouse for who he/she is.
I can't tell you how often I hear conversations between married couples where one is trying to "train" the other. Training to me translates as "trying to change my spouse". Your spouse should never have to be trained. Just as you have your own little quirks and things that you may do that bug him/her, so does your spouse. If you like things a certain way, have a conversation with your spouse and explain the importance of why you like something that way. It could be the method in which you clean or do laundry, or it could be that when you get home from work you need some time to decompress and be quiet. If could be that you like to have dinner going and ready by 6:30 p.m. Whatever it may be, don't simply "train" your spouse to accommodate you, but talk through it.

What tips do you have for staying married. Comment below!


October 19, 2014

Linking up with Let it Be Beautiful and All the Things, Etc. for Sunday Edition.


October 18, 2014

I was going to call this post, "That Time I Almost Died in a Van", but I thought that was a little dramatic.

Here marks the first and last time I ever drive a 15-passenger van full of college kids. So, there was a Braves game that the kids were going to go to a few weeks back. Volunteer drivers were to pick the kids up on campus, drive them to the Braves game, take them somewhere to eat, and then drive them back to campus. I thought, No big deal, I got this. So I decided to volunteer. Not to mention I got to go the game for free. No, I had never driven a van of that magnitude and I certainly hadn't done it in Atlanta traffic (no, I'm not suicidal). 

So, I go and pick up the van and try and get used to basically driving a bus. It's not so bad so I head to go and pick up the kids. They all pile in. The van starts to feel heavier, weighed down, and tighter. I start to slightly panic, but its all good. I will be fine. The other driver was a bit more experienced, so I decided to follow her to the stadium. I didn't realize she would be driving at about 100 mph, but I try and keep up the best I can. The van starts to do this really fun thing where the air doesn't work when I accelerate and the steering wheel shakes so bad I feel like I may lose control. I grip the steering wheel tighter and tighter to try and keep it straight.We get to the stadium (finally) and I pour myself out of the van. I am sweating. I can barely breathe. I was a little stressed out. Luckily, I had about 3 or so hours to sit and enjoy the game before heading back. Our first choice was to go eat at the Varsity, which wasn't too far away. The roads are tight in Atlanta, but I can manage. Then, the kids want Dwarf House instead, which is about 10 minutes from the Atlanta airport. More expressways. Yay.

So, we all pile in and head to the Original Dwarf House (which kinda made me excited because I spent many a nights there in college). I began to follow the other driver and suddenly there are 5 white vans on the expressway. I get nervous and ask one of the students which one was ours. She points and I follow. I begin to worry though because the other driver is going a different way. Did I mention I can't see at night? Yeah. Low and behold it was the wrong van and we end up driving through the airport. It made me feel like when you walk into a classroom and you know its not the right classroom, but everyone is looking at you and wondering WTH you're doing there. You feel so bad that you sit down anyway and do your best to act like you belong...Yeah it felt like that.

We end up getting to the Dwarf House about 10 minutes after the other van and I am so stressed and panicked that I just drink water and sit there. I will say the students were super understanding and laughed at the whole thing. I can laugh now, but at the time it wasn't funny...The entire time I am psyching myself up to drive that monstrosity again. We eat get back in the van and haul ass home. I am so exhausted and tense that I am starting to get sore in my arms and shoulders. Even now my palms sweat thinking about it. Luckily, we all made it back alive and I swore to never, ever, ever, ever get back together with that van again. We are dunzo. Finished. Brokeded up. For real.

So, long story short. I banned myself from driving vans.


October 17, 2014

What would your dream job be? I asked myself this question quite a bit in recent months. No, I am not leaving my current job, and I am SO THANKFUL to have a job, trust me. I work with some incredible people that feel more and more like family each day. I am able to challenge myself, be around college kids, and soak each and every moment in a grace-filled, Jesus-loving environment. Some might even think "that" is my dream job, but let's get one thing straight. My "dream job" isn't just a job to me. It would be a lifestyle, an experience, a challenge, and most of all, fun!

This is a dream, by the way, so bare with me!

1. I would get to wear jeans or casual clothing everyday! Yes, this is important to me. I like to be comfortable more than I like wearing a cute skirt and heels everyday.

2. I would get to have more say in how my office looks. Don't get me wrong, I have a pretty great office now, but what if the offices were all open? There was exposed brick on the walls, a full kitchen/dining area, and even an area to watch movies on Fridays as a reward? Yes, I would have all of that! I would also love rustic wooden desks and plush, vintage (think grandpa) office chairs. Chairs that are large enough to sit in indian style.

3. Lunch hours would be our power hour. We would brainstorm, eat a delicious catered lunch, and just chat about work-related things. I know people need a break, but did I mention there's a place to watch movies on Fridays? I think eating around a table together would bring out the creative side in everyone. Some great ideas happen over food!

4. Fun and music would be a daily part of the office. Have you ever heard of 10 second dance breaks? What if this happened every hour on the hour without warning? Music just starts to play and people get up and dance for 10 whole seconds. Talk about a morale booster.

5. Women can bring their babies to work. I see mothers come back to work broken-hearted to leave their precious babe and I feel like every office should have in-house daycare, get this? At no cost to them! :) You're welcome.

6. I would get to interact with people all day long, whether it'd be on email, chat, hangout, Skype, FaceTime, or talking on the phone. I just want to help, interact, and talk to people all day.

7. I want to blog or create awesome content all day long! Think Buzzfeed or some place cool like that! Can I get paid to Pin on Pinterest? I want that, too!

8. A gym would be available from the wee hours of the morning to the wee hours of the night for myself and all employees. Who says you can't play hard and work hard...where you work...?You know what I'm saying.

So, how about you? What is your dream job?!