Category Archives: Lifestyle
I’ve been living in Texas for two years now and it’s been quite the culture shock for me. Every single state I visit or have lived has had its own unique style, tastes, and feel. Texas is no different, in fact, the culture here is even more prevalent than say the understated culture of the midwest. Needless to say, living here as a Maryland native has left me scratching my head at times and wanting to pack my bags and run home to familiarity. BUT there are some things I’ve discovered that I like about Texas and here are my top 5!
You’ll Never Run Out of Restaurants
My Lord. There are so many places to eat in DFW its not even funny! I’m pretty sure its impossible to go to every single place in your lifetime. The Mexican food here is delicious (although my San Antonio born and raised husband to be says its better down there) and I’ll never get tired of all the chips and salsa! So yummy!
Shopping is Cardio
I read somewhere that “Paris knows how to design fashion. New York knows how to wear fashion. And Dallas knows how to buy fashion.” I think that’s the truest thing I’ve ever read! There’s more money here than I ever thought there would be and the shopping possibilities are endless. Whether you’re a “thousandaire” or a millionaire, on the weekends you’re buying something pricey.
Flights are Pretty Cheap
When you want to leave Dallas, usually in July when its unbearably hot, a flight to another part of the country is rarely more than $300 roundtrip. Dallas is centrally located and a hub for Southwest airlines. Even getting to Mexico is cheap(ish).
Job Opportunities are Endless
As a college graduate with a fair amount of debt, a city with job possibilities is important. Dallas really can’t be beat when it comes to that. I always thought I’d end up in Washington DC but the cost of living vs the pay just wouldn’t cut it. So much industry is moving to Dallas, making it a job seeker’s paradise.
Neighborhoods Have Distinct Vibes
A quick Google Street View search of Deep Ellum will make you realize that hipsters and artists can be found in this area while Uptown is full of uppity 20-somethings. I like the distinct styles and atmospheres of all the little areas around Dallas- gives it some uniqueness!
So in short, even though Texas has been hard to adjust to, I’m adjusting by finding the things I like and ignoring things I don’t (the heat and lack of ocean, just sayin’.)
David and I have been engaged for a little over two weeks now and yes- I’m still ecstatic! (Read our engagement story here!) Our initial plan (ok my plan) was to wait a few months before we really start wedding planning. But all it took was me downloading the Wedding Wire app and browsing venues to throw me into planning mode! Having just begun this process, I don’t know much but what I do know is that it’s crazy. Here’s why.
The Pressure from Venues
I know venue coordinators are in the business of booking events and making a sale. Totally get that. But I really feel the pressure when they’re telling me that the month we’re hoping to get married is already booking up a year and a half in advance. Of course they might just be saying that to get us to make a decision quickly but I don’t know that for sure! So yeah, the pressure is on!
Coordinating Dress Shopping Dates
My family and most of my friends live in Maryland and I live in Dallas. David’s family lives in San Antonio. So where do I go dress shopping and when? I could go home and do it but then there’s the ordeal of getting the dress back to Dallas and finding a seamstress. Dallas just seems like the obvious choice because I live here, but then my mom and maid of honor will have to fly down here and David’s mom and sisters will have to drive up to Dallas. And then when do I even dress shop? In a few months? I have no idea!
Finding a Dress
So maybe this isn’t so much craziness in wedding planning but the anxiety finding a dress gives me. I’ve always had a vision of the perfect dress for me- ball gown with a tulle skirt, neckline that goes to my collar bone with thin straps that slope down over my shoulders into a low back dress. Not too crazy, right? But my overly anxious mind is like “what if you look fat in that or what if you can’t find any dress?!” Realistically, I know something will work eventually, but until then I’m just going to sit and worry about it.
The Costs of a Wedding
Our budget isn’t small but we’re also not looking to spend our entire yearly salaries on our wedding either. Browsing vendor pricing for everything, I was so surprised at how much something as simple as table and chair rentals cost. You want how much for a crappy plastic folding chair?! Apparently these prices are standard but I mean, really?
In the end, I think every couple gets over the sticker shock of everything and learns to coordinate a wedding as best as they can. As a total control freak though, this might be the biggest challenge ever.
Guess what?! I’m engaged! I can’t believe it either! David, my FIANCÉ, surprised me with such a gorgeous proposal! I’ve been wracking my brain all day trying to figure out how I was going to write a blog post about the proposal that did it justice. So I think I’m just going to go full speed ahead and tell it!
David and I have been dating for almost 3 years. We met in April 2015 in Fairfax, VA working together. I went and visited him in Texas that June and we’ve been together ever since! I knew he planned to propose sometime before then but other than that, it was up a mystery. I started getting my nails done regularly a few weeks ago just in case- ugly nails were not an option!
Monday night David and I went back to our old apartment to do a few final things before heading to our dinner reservations that evening. When we left to go to dinner, he wanted to walk to the restaurant, which I thought was odd given that it was about 92 degrees out and we were going to roast. I like the sunshine though so I didn’t protest. When we were waiting for a crosswalk sign to turn I put on my sunglasses and he promptly plucked them off my face and tucked them in his pocket. I started getting a little suspicious.
The restaurant was about a mile away and winding through city streets was part of the walk. We chatted about how work went that day and what appetizer we wanted for dinner. Then we came to a stop right across from Klyde Warren Park to wait for another light to change. I thought David would want to walk around the park and not through it. I was surprised when he guided us toward these lovely arches with greenery hanging over them.
He then held onto my hand and I saw him fumbling around in his jacket pocket. It was then that I knew what was going on. He made a joke that I could download our bank account app again (we have combined accounts and I deleted my bank app so I wouldn’t know if he bought a ring!) I looked at him and asked why. Then he got down on one knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring ever, and said “Liz, will you marry me?”
I said yes, shaking uncontrollably the entire time! I was so surprised and so happy! I just kept staring at my gorgeous ring and then staring back at David. Then I heard a soft clicking sound behind me. I turned around and there were my favorite photographers Luisa and her husband Douglas! Yes, David even had hidden photographers snapping pictures the entire time! Seriously, I was blown away that he did that. How incredibly thoughtful!
We then snapped a bunch of photos in the park surrounded by flowers and the setting sun. It was honestly the best night of my life. Luisa and Douglas gave us our first “Mr and Mrs” item- champagne flutes! (Read our engagement story from her perspective on her blog!)
Shortly after our engagement we called my parents who were in on the secret. David called them several weeks ago to ask for their blessing and told them how he planned to propose. We called David’s family who also knew what he planned on doing. I was the last to know!
We spent the rest of the evening calling friends and enjoying a decadent meal at Stampede 66. The entire time I literally couldn’t stop smiling. And I don’t plan to stop anytime soon! I’m so excited to share our wedding planning journey with you over the next however many months (no date set yet!) Check back for updates! PS my dress you can find here via my affiliate link!
You don’t always realize how your inner health (mental and physical) can change the your outward beauty, but it totally can! I never noticed how sad and sick I looked a few months ago until someone commented on a recent photo of mine and said “wow, you look so much happier and healthier now!” I was caught off guard in a good way by that comment. I did look, feel, and sound better! So what changed? My entire life.
I Changed Jobs
I’ve said in previous blogs how my last job was just a nightmare for my entire being. Late nights, weekends, a boss that liked to yell at me for every little thing, and then more work and stress than you can imagine. A living hell for me. After 9 months of enduring it, I have my two week’s notice with no job lined up. 4 days later a miracle happened and I was offered a new job that paid a lot more money and promised less stress. I accepted immediately and haven’t regretted it once.
I feel about 100 times better in mind, body, and spirit! I had no idea how miserable I was before. I totally lost all of my joy. Now, my stress is pretty much gone and I can live my life again!
I Started Taking a Probiotic
Ahhh the wonders of a probiotic. I never paid any attention to gut health or vitamins or supplements. I always thought that stuff wasn’t for me. Then my coworker introduced me to RenewLife probiotics. Literally, a life changer! I’ve always had bloated belly problems, gross right? It didn’t matter what I ate, even a salad could make my stomach blow up like a balloon. It got to a point where I wouldn’t wear anything remotely tight or form fitting because I knew I’d like huge in it.
Enter probiotic supplements. The bacteria in your digestive tract can sometimes be a little lacking and a probiotic will help replenish it. I just take a vitamin in the morning and the bloating stays away all day. If you have the same problem, I highly recommend you get the probiotic I use (talk with your doctor first though!)
I Finally Saw a Doctor
Lord what it takes to get me to go to a doctor is crazy. I avoid them like the Black Death. But I finally went. I had been having bad anxiety and depression for awhile and had been trying to cope without medication and I simply couldn’t anymore. My hip was also causing me a ton of pain! The doctor sat down with me and spent tons of time answering questions and going over symptoms. She recommended a low dosage of anxiety medication as well as anti inflammatory medication for my hip.
Boom. Just like that I feel a ton better! Usually anxiety medication takes awhile to really have an impact but I already feel ten times better! My hip is also improving but will need an x Ray. Fun stuff. I’m so excited to get back in the gym and workout again though! It’s amazing what a doctor who listens can do for you.
So yay! I’m feeling better! These little and big changes made a massive difference in my quality of life!
*affiliate links present
When I started writing this post I was angry at myself and angry at the company that sparked me to write it. I had ordered a pair of size medium shorts two weeks ago and was so excited when they were in my mailbox. I ripped open the bag and scurried into my bathroom to try them on. They didn’t fit. Not even close. The button was just not going to button and while the zipper zipped, it was uncomfortable. I was so upset that I cried.
How does one pair of ill-fitting shorts have such an impact on my mental and emotional health? Simple: Poor body image. I don’t like how I was put together and it’s obvious when I burst into tears over shorts! Let’s talk about body positivity.
What is Body Positivity?
Body positivity is when you’ve learned to accept everything about your body, flaws and all, and celebrate it for doing the amazing things it does. More importantly, it’s about being confident in your skin.
As much as I’d love to make this a ra-ra I love my body post, it won’t be. Sorry! I wish I could truly love myself, fatty areas and all, I’m just not quite there yet. I’ve always looked at self-love as something for people who have either been through serious hardships and need to recover…. or really skinny, pretty women. Neither of which is accurate, anyone can practice self-love. I just never viewed it as something for me.
The last few months have been particularly hard on my mind and body. I’ve been dealing with depression episodes (more about that here) and I’ve had to stop exercising because of inflammation in my hip.
Luckily, I’ve been able to keep the weight off from my inactivity and even drop a few pounds- 8 to be exact. This brings me to a bigger challenge I’ve recently faced- how is it possible that I’m thinner than I was at the start of the year and my size 8 shorts are snugger than ever before? Like I said, challenges like these make body positivity incredibly difficult!
How Do You Embrace it?
This is something I’m desperately trying to figure out. How do you embrace your body for what it is and love it? I’m annoyed with my body that it’s shifted weight around so much that things I used to slip on with no problem are now snug. Um no! Not what I was envisioning when I ate a salad every day for lunch.
So, I don’t have all the answers on embracing your body and being positive about it but, my mom said something interesting to me this morning. She said she’s been working on having a positive outlook on life and its really improved her mental and even physical health. Could it be that just adjusting how I view my life in general could have an impact on my physical health? It just might.
Instead of trying to force myself to do a 180 in terms of how I view my body, maybe I (and you) should start with just being positive about life! Is that so crazy? I don’t think so. Maybe that’s step one on the road to positive body image.
I was chatting with someone the other day about furniture shopping and home design. We both have expensive taste and certainly enjoy the finer things in life. She was about my age and income level so I figured we both got our inspiration at Restoration Hardware but shopped at Target for home decor. She pulled up this gorgeous set of nightstands she wanted to buy for her bedroom – the price tag was around $500 for each. I assumed she was just doing a little dreaming, but she had plans to purchase soon. This got me thinking, am I the odd one out when it comes to how I spend my money?
Talking About Spending Habits
Everyone is entitled to spend their money how they see fit. And admittedly, sometimes I wish I could just drop some cash and buy the things I really want! But I just can’t, my common sense won’t let me. I think our spending habits and financial management comes from our life lessons and what our parents taught us. My parents hate credit cards and try to pay them off as soon as they can. I have an equal aversion to them. So let’s approach financial responsibility from a fresh perspective!
Don’t Buy a New Car
It always makes me scratch my head when people by brand new cars. While some cars retain their value fairly well, most do not. If you can afford to make it rain money, then enjoy! However, when you’re saddled with student loan debt and other expenses, it just makes more sense to find a used car in good condition that’s affordable. I for one, do not like having a car payment!
My future sister-in-law was getting rid of her old SUV and she sold it to me for $500. Why was it so cheap? It needed a new engine. So all in, I paid a little over $4000 with repairs and engine work. Is it my dream car? NO. But, I’m saving for that!
Live on 2/3
Many people live paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes this is unpreventable. However, for many people including myself, living paycheck to paycheck is by poor money management. When we’re spending every dollar that comes in, of course our paychecks are going to seem small and money will seem tight! Many financial experts advise that we should live on 2/3 of our income and save the rest. Which brings me to my next point.
Pad Your Savings Account
When our paychecks drop, 1/3 of that money automatically goes into our savings account. We don’t even miss it because it wasn’t in our checkings to begin with. Whether its $100 or $1000 that goes into your savings account every month, it all adds up! Having a healthy savings account has been important to David and I for awhile. We both grew up in homes where it would be hard to pay for an emergency car repair. We are bound and determined not to have that problem!
If you go out everyday to grab lunch, then you’re doing it wrong! I love a yummy lunch out to break up the monotony of my work day, however the cost and calories keep me from doing so. Instead, I use my trusted Crockpot to meal prep for the entire week! This saves me at least $50 every week, so roughly $200 a month.
My favorite thing to throw in the Crockpot is a mix of corn, black beans, rice, lentils, chicken broth, a few spices, and chicken. You can make a ton of it and then freeze for later!
If this was helpful for you, please share with friends! If you have additional advice, I’d love to hear it!