Thursday, July 31, 2014

The power of a kind gesture.

Have you ever wondered how many people you're actually impacting on a daily basis? Or thought about how the simplest interactions yield powerful results?

Let me explain. 

Since I've been blogging, I've received my fair share of emails. Sometimes they're from military spouses who have found my blog while looking for advice on deployment. Sometimes they are new mothers struggling with breastfeeding. Sometimes they're a mom looking for fashion advice. Regardless of what the email is referencing, it makes my day to know that someone out there is reading. And not only are they reading, they took the time to reach out to me and ask me a question. 

Since I've announced Z was deploying, I have received an amazing amount of emails, comments, messages, texts, etc. The support from this little community could not be any stronger if I needed it to be. And the fact that I turn to complete strangers for support may seem weird to most but if you're a blogger, you get it. You know that somewhere out there, someone is struggling with the same thing you are or seeking answers to the same questions you have. 

I have received so many beautiful notes; the other day, I received an email from a woman who works in a bookstore and thought of me when she noticed other military spouses purchasing a certain book on second deployments. She offered to send me the book because she wanted to help me get through this difficult time. 

I received an email from another reader who wrote a blog post inspired by myself and other military wives. 

My mailbox was filled with Christmas cards from other bloggers.

When P was born, I received cards and new gifts to welcome her. 

I've received Starbucks gift cards for dates before Z leaves. And other times to get me through my first week as a mom of two. 

My point isn't to brag about these gifts, but recognize how important these small gestures are to me. That people I have never met have decided to go out of their way to pay it forward. In some way, I have touched their lives and in more ways than one, have now touched mine. 

We often go about our days without realizing the effect we have on people. Whether it's a simple "Hi, how are you doing today?" or paying for the person behind us in the Starbucks drive-thru, we have the power to make someone else feel good. Isn't that crazy? Crazy beautiful if you ask me :) 

I will admit, I often have a bad attitude and lose my faith. Life can't always be cupcakes and rainbows and we often dwell on the bad days over the good. We spoke with the Chaplain on post the other day about our upcoming deployment and something he said really struck a chord with me. 

I was telling him how sad I was for my children to be without their dad for nine months to a year and he replied with:

"My children don't remember me being gone or the time apart, they remember how much fun we had when I was there and we were together."

It brings tears to my eyes as I type that because I wish I looked at everything in my life that way. Instead of dwelling on the negative, his children appreciated the positive. And that's something I seriously want to strive to do in everyday life. 

As bloggers, we have the power to reach a mass amount of people with a simple click of "publish". And sometimes, we don't even mean to. Sometimes I write about absolutely nothing and other times it's meaningful. But one way or another, I'm reaching people and making an impact at that. 

Whether I receive 1 comment or 100 comments, it warms my heart to know that other people out there get me. That new mom who's awake at 1:00 am, 3:00 am, and 5:00 am leaving me a comment on my Instagram. Or a new military spouse struggling with the separation of basic training. We're all human and we all have our own experiences in life. Sharing them can be overwhelming at times but at the end of the day, these connections with other women I've never even met before are priceless. They're something I'll always cherish and always wonder how I am so lucky to have. 

Never underestimate the power or a smile or a small gesture. It may mean more to someone than you ever expect it to. You could be changing someone's life without even knowing it. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Style is subjective.

OASAP top c/o// PX shorts (similar here)// Thrifted clutch (similar here) Sassy Steals necklace (similar here)// Alex and Ani bracelets// Sassy Steals shoes (similar here)

I'm not exactly sure where my obsession with fashion began. I mean, I've obviously always loved clothes and looking nice, but it took on a new meaning sometime in the last few years. I became obsessed with shopping and by obsessed, I mean I did it (maybe do it?) a few times a week. 

I love designer brands just as much as the next girl but let's be honest, they're not in my budget. Sure, I will splurge on sunglasses or a purse here and there but for the most part, my clothes are all relatively inexpensive. And even if I buy clothes from "nicer" stores, I've gotten them during a sale or used a coupon. 

Things go on sale all of the time and I don't see a need to pay full price. Even if I had all the money in the world, the hunt for a good bargain is always more fun than actually buying the item and bringing it home. I mean, getting it for a super great deal is the best part! 

But when I'm shopping, I'm not really worried about what's "trendy"; I'm drawn to certain things and start matching them in my head with what I already have in my closet. I love to mix old things with new things and think outside the box. 

My entire outfit up there? Under $30 (minus the bracelets, but those were Mother's Day gifts). I paired the black and white top with the blue shorts because I loved the way the shorts popped against the top. I played around with wedges, sandals, and pumps and at the end of the day, they would have all worked depending on where we were going. 

My point? Style is subjective. You have to wear what you feel comfortable in and what you can afford. Designer brands are great and heck, if I could afford them, I would wear them as much as I could. But there are plenty of stores and brands out there that are just as cute and more affordable. You don't have to have a million bucks to look like a million bucks. 

Some tips?

Secondhand. This used to gross me out but I mean, you wash it anyway right? Plato's Closet, Bookoo, Ebay, garage sales; you can seriously find barely worn and almost new clothing if you take the time to look. 

Department stores: Stores you wouldn't normally frequent, right? Stores like Sears, JC Penny, Macy's, etc. These stores are always running sales AND you can usually use coupon on top of it. Try the Womens and Juniors departments and play around. Maybe the jeans won't fit you in one place but the tops will. It's okay to mix and match. 

Purge. Yes, it's important to purge your closet every 6 months or so to make room for the new stuff. Whether you donate it or sell it through one of the above mentioned outlets, you can make some money or at the very least, some more room for new things. 

Trade with friends. Do you have friends who are the same size as you? Swap your clothes out and it's like a brand new closet! My friend and I did this a few weeks ago and we received a ton of new things without paying a dime. It made us feel like we were shopping but clearly our bank accounts were happier. 

Be picky. You can find a "good deal" everyday, but hold out for the ones that are really good or for things you know you'll wear. I have things sitting in my closet because "they were a great deal!" and I haven't touched them yet. 

Be you. I wear whatever I want because I want to, not because a magazine says I have to. I love to draw inspiration and keep trends in the back of my mind but at the end of the day, I wear things because I genuinely love them. 

At the end of the day, I think we're all stylish. I love looking at everyone's different style and seeing how they wore something vs. how I would have worn it. It's what makes us unique and keeps fashion alive and fun! It would be boring if we all dressed the exact same, right?

How do you choose what to buy and wear? Do you have a certain style? How do you save money?


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A glass case of emotion.

OASAP dress c/o// Naya shoes// Baby Beau bag c/o// Alex and Ani bracelets// Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses 

Oh hey friends, remember me? I know, I've been a little MIA lately but as I explained, I've been soaking up as much time with the fam as I can. We've been spending a lot of time being lazy around the house; forts, movies, snuggling, and playing outside. 

We headed down to Florida last week and visited Zach's grandparents. A quick trip to the beach and the pool and everyone was happy :) We've taken Nolan to Chuck E Cheese, had cookouts with friends, visited splash parks, and overall been in high spirits. I try not to think about what's going to happen because when I do, I get sad and ruin the time we have together. 

I know it sounds crazy but it doesn't feel real yet; he's been on leave and I've woken up to him everyday and gone to sleep with him every night. And although he has to go back to work soon and head out shortly after that, I don't think it will feel real for awhile. If ever. 

Z and I are used to spending a lot of time apart. No, it doesn't get any easier for either one of us and yes, this time is a little more dangerous than his schools and trainings stateside. But I've become so used to talking to him on the phone and waiting for his FaceTime calls that I honestly feel really good going into this deployment. 

But it's not me I'm worried about. I'm worried about the kids and worried about Z being there alone more than anything. I can't imagine the thoughts and emotions he's feeling while thinking of missing the next 9 months to a year of their lives. Missing Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every single one of our birthdays. Missing Miss P walk or missing Nolan's first day in a new sport. That's what makes me sad. 

I was talking with a friend last night, a friend who's husband is also deploying. She said that everyone keeps telling her how strong she is and that she'll be okay. She told me that despite telling everyone she's okay, she's not. And that every time she starts to cry, she stops herself. And I told her she needs to cry. She needs to let it out and she needs to let herself feel. I've surprised myself with the amount of good days over bad days I've had so far but I know they will probably happen as time goes on. 

But we're allowed to cry. Our soldiers are allowed to cry. Because it's freaking hard. And yes, we're all strong and we will all get through it, but it doesn't mean we have to hide our emotions and put on a brave face every single day. I'm human, she's human, my husband is human. And being away from family and friends or relying on a phone call for 9 months to a year isn't an easy thing to do. 

People keep asking me how many days we have left together and to be honest, I really haven't counted. I have the date in the back of my mind but it's not something I think about. I wake up each day and live in the moment that day. I watch my boys tickle each other into a wrestling fight or watch as Z trains P in "dadadada". We let Nolan stay up late, we splurge on new toys, we take a billion pictures and videos. 

I'm not sure how many days we have left, but I am thankful for the days we have had. I'm thankful for the days we still have, and most importantly of all, the memories we've made and will continue to make... just in an unconventional way until he comes home.