#BestLifeBy35: Intentional Time

HAPPY 2018 to you! I hope this post finds you well-rested and motivated to crush your 2018 goals. I have about 813 goals I want to achieve, and my biggest problem in New Year goal setting is overwhelming myself by setting too many goals and trying to make them happen all at once. I hope to change that in the New Year by starting slowly…

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In an upcoming post, I am going to show you how I’m approaching goal setting in the New Year, but today’s #bestlifeby35 post is all about intentional time.

The phrase intentional time is a loaded one with ambiguous meaning. It could mean taking a look about how you spend your time and asking yourself what your intentions are in this activity or that activity. That’s actually a really fruitful practice that I have done in the past and that I plan to do again very soon. But I also take intentional time to mean my morning “clarity” time. I intend to focus my day during the first 20-30 minutes I’m awake by setting myself up for success.

FORMER ME: Hmm…let’s scroll through social media for 30 minutes because I know I have to be awake, but I don’t want to get out of bed. Oh, let me just go ahead and compare myself to that stylish and beautiful lady I’ve never met in real life…AHHH. How can it be 6 AM already? I still have to get ready, pick the kids’ clothes out, pack my lunch, and do a million other things in like an hour. I would then make myself (and my family) miserable each morning because I felt so rushed. Then I would get to work feeling agitated and stressed BEFORE seeing any of my students! UGH…I’m not proud of it.

I had to take a long, hard look at my practices and decided that I needed more focus and perspective in the morning. Ultimately, I cut out most of my social media time, replacing it with quiet time. It sounds very kindergarten, but just stay with me.

Here is a closer look at my morning intentional time:

  1. Get up before everyone else in the house. OK, you can totally roll your eyes at me right now, but I am going to suggest you wake up 30 minutes earlier than everyone in your house to create space in your day for intentional time. Over the years, I could not STAND IT when people told me I needed to wake up earlier, but here we are. Then I make myself a cup of coffee.
  2. Go downstairs into a QUIET space, away from all distractions.
  3. Since I’m a Christ follower, I like to start my time reading The Word. I suggest something focused so you don’t have think about what to read each morning. Planning ahead will maximize your morning intentional time. Right now, I am almost done with Havilah Cunnington’s study I Do Hard Things. (Side note: I will be writing a review of this study upon completion. I am 75 percent of the way finished. I am a Truth to Table member, so I have access to her studies for free. Check out Truth to Table HERE.) I will watch her video, read that daily section in the book (via PDF online). I will reread scripture and journal about key concepts. Then I will go into quiet prayer time.
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Truth to Table is amazing. If you are a Christian working mom, there is nothing out there quite like it…so many ways to access Biblical teachings on a time crunch.

I end my intentional time by planning out my day, making lists of everything I need to get done in all areas of my life. (More on my planner choices for 2018 coming soon.)

I often finish my intentional time in the car on the way to work by listening to an uplifting podcast or listening to worship music. I often listen to Havilah’s podcasts, but most recently, I have been listening to Elevation Church podcasts.

I know…I know. You are most likely annoyed that yet another person is telling you to wake up earlier. But do you know how much my quality of life has changed by this simple practice? My head feels clear, and my heart is prepared for the day. I feel like I can conquer the day – and as most of you know, my day is pretty full in that I am a mom of two little ones (ages 3 and 6), a full-time high school English teacher, and a LuLaRoe Retailer. Even when my schedule is completely full, I KNOW without my intentional time, I won’t be nearly as effective. Now, I’m not perfect, and sometimes I miss a day here and there. Let me say that I feel a difference when I don’t have my intentional time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on intentional time…what are your favorite ways to set the tone for your day?


#BestLifeBy35: The Series

Um. I just recently came to the realization that I am going to be 35 in 2018. Holy cow. What put it in perspective for me? My mom had my youngest sister when she was 35, right when I was entering my senior year of high school. At the time, I thought she was really old. (Sorry, Mom.) But honestly, here we are! Ha.

When I look back at my life thus far, just like any one of you, I remember highs and lows, joys and disappointments, times of heartache and frustration, times of bliss and near perfection.

But a lot of my life has lacked true intention.

Sure, I have always been decently self-motivated. A few close friends and family members have told me that I’m one of the most determined people they have ever met. But when I really think about what motivates me to achieve certain goals, whether big or small, I think most have been achieved in a spirit of competition or people-pleasing. If I achieve this goal, I will be considered successful. If I make this happen, so-and-so will be proud of me. If I can just do this, then I will win. So in other words, I don’t feel like the why behind my striving has often been truly deeply intentional.

Sad to admit when you’re 34. But true.

I’m not sad to see 2017 go. I will say goodbye to many struggles, frustrations, and disappointments. But I’m so ready to say hello to new beginnings and an exciting journey of self-discovery.

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The #bestlifeby35 blog series operates under two goals: 1. to keep myself accountable for being truly intentional in my life and being more authentic with you, my reader, and 2. helping you as my reader discover some insights and daily practices I have/will go through that will help me align my goals and desires to truly intentional behaviors that will ultimately cultivate my best life. I hope that what I share will help you in some way to cultivate your best life as well.


LuLaRoe Jaxon jacket (size small), LuLaRoe Elegant Amelia dress (size small), Groopdealz (Journey and Crew) booties. Style post on these pieces coming soon!

No, there’s not ever a life that has been lived or will be lived in a perfect way (besides the life of my Savior, Jesus), but I intend to make choices that will bear fruit in my life physically, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. And I want to take you on that journey with me, my friend.

I would love for you to examine the parts of your life that need some fine tuning and join with me! If you document your life on Instagram, I would love for you to use the hashtag #bestlifeby35 (even if you’re nowhere near the age of 35!) so I can cheer you on in your journey toward self-discovery, enlightenment, and joy.

I look forward to what is to come in all of our lives. Thank you for your support in 2017, and I look forward to connecting with you more in the New Year!






Wearing Confidence

A few people throughout my adult life have actually said to me, You carry yourself with such confidence. It took all of the self-composure I had in the moment not to laugh! While I was incredibly grateful for the compliment, I thought that statement could not be further from the truth.

I have always struggled with body confidence, and I think most women actually have at some point in their lives. I have always been way taller than most women I’m around, and I also have an athletic frame. I have my dad to thank for my incredibly muscular legs. But as I learn more how to dress myself to play up my assets, slowly that confidence has trickled in one little droplet at a time.

But I’d like to argue that your confidence also strengthens when you wear something you’re not completely comfortable in but is actually a fashion risk for you. You can choose to wear confidence. A lot of days when I get dressed, I have learned to not even allow my mind to go where it wants to go… to that negative head space that will tell me that I look like I’m trying too hard, or that you can see my belly in that top, or that my legs look exceptionally big today. In all actuality, I can’t let my mind even go there because I am always late and have literally no time to change!

When I saw that LuLaRoe came out with the Elegant Debbie dress, I absolutely LOVED the look. I loved the sleeve length. I wanted one (OK, I ended up with two) in my closet for weddings, fancy date nights, or other special occasions.


LuLaRoe Elegant Debbie (size small)

It is not something I would normally wear. A lot of you who follow my blog know that my typical uniform is LuLaRoe top + jeans + ankle boots.


Target ankle boots (last year)



Another look somewhat out of my comfort zone is wearing a metallic skirt. I am very drawn to anything with shine and sparkle, but a full-on metallic skirt was a little intimidating. I bought it last holiday season and couldn’t figure out how to style it until August.

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Stitch Fix tank, LuLaRoe Elegant Jill skirt (size small), Billabong booties

I ended up wearing it in Vegas but also needed to winterize it as well.

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Old Navy top, same Elegant Jill skirt, and Johanna’s entire look is from Old Navy.

I wore it with a buffalo check top for my sister’s baby shower, and a little side note: as I was walking in to the winery where my sister’s shower was held, about four college-aged kids starting giggling and pointing at my skirt. Five years ago, that may have upset me a bit, but venturing out in my style several times in the past few years has helped me wear my confidence.


I always look forward to a new year, just like most everyone else. As a teacher, I have some extra time off and can stop to examine parts of my life that need a little fine tuning – one such area is my closet/style. I would suggest you take some time before the new year starts and think about the styles you’ve always wanted to try but have been intimidated by. Take some time to venture through Instagram and Pinterest to find pictures of styles you love but have told yourself you can’t pull off. As your friend, I’m just going to tell you, actually, you probably can pull them off.


Fun Winter Layering

Though winter is pretty much horrible (not my fave, to say the least), your winter look doesn’t have to be. I have been recently experimenting with layering and wanted to share a great option with you, along with a little print mixing tip!

The best addition to my closet in recent months is for sure my LuLaRoe Jaxon jacket. The length is so flattering (hitting at the hip), and the denim is stretchy, soft, and basically dreamy.

For a fun and unexpected look, I have started layering my Sarah (duster cardigan) underneath my jacket. I love the length variation for unexpected interest! Try it with similar pieces in your closet.



I’m also loving print mixing to add interest to any outfit, especially polka dots and stripes, since they pair so well with nearly any other print. I just make sure my two prints I’m mixing vary in size and scale.


Outfit details:
LuLaRoe Sarah cardigan: size small
LuLaRoe Jaxon jacket: size small
LuLaRoe Lynnae top: size medium
Old Navy Rockstar jeans (these come in tall!!)
Target booties


Navigating Fall Trends: Ones You Will Actually Wear

Since fall is officially upon us (as in the sweater can actually be worn out of necessity instead of accessory), I thought I’d put together a quick post on three of my favorite fall trends right now. But before we dive into the trends, though, let’s be honest. Navigating trends…most of us don’t have time for that, right? Or we second guess ourselves: Am I too old for that? Do I actually like that? 

Here’s the deal. I want to empower you to make your own decisions on trends. What works for your Instagram blogger crush may not be your style. What that blogger is crushing on may not excite you. Don’t wear anything just because someone tells you that you should. Yes, I realize I’m probably defeating my own purpose in writing this post. However, it needs to be said! Wear what you love. Wear what excites you. But if you trust me as your friend in style, let’s proceed!

The first trend is velvet.

Velvet was HUGE in the ’90s, but I love all things ’90s that make a comeback. I think the velvet texture makes for great formal wear for the holidays (so super excited to see what velvet treasures come out of the LuLaRoe Elegant Collection), but what about everyday wear?

Enter glorious Target flats.

I snagged the pair of wine colored velvet flats (linked above) that I plan on using as my “pop of color” in some of my more neutral outfits. These flats can easily dress up your jeans and sweater for date night and multitask for work.

Next, enter chambray.

Trust me. You need a denim top in your closet. I’ve worn mine (purchased two years from Twirl Boutique in Cedar Falls, Iowa) countless times. It’s honestly true that it’s a closet staple for a reason.

I have tied it over a LuLaRoe Carly dress on a summer night, and I would simply swap sandals for booties and add leggings if necessary for an easy fall look.


The denim top also looks great tucked into a skirt for a work look.


The third way I’ve worn the denim top recently is with a printed pant (camo…yes, my obsession) and a taupe bootie for a simple yet fun casual look. No picture because…life…just trust me on this one. I’d love to see the denim top with a pair of leopard skinnies as well.

Speaking of leopard, try camo and/or leopard as a neutral this fall. Pair either with florals, stripes, or polka dots. Just be sure the size/scale of the two prints differs so your look has visual interest and depth.


Or you could let the camo print stand on its own and appreciate its glory.

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And one final trend I’m itching to try is to wear a floppy, fall-appropriate hat. Target is (of course) killing the game in floppy hats under $25. However, my son told me I looked like a man (his exact words) when I tried it on. I LAUGHED SO HARD. If you want the truth, ask that kid. I then tried it on for my husband, and he shook his head no, which is very unlike him, as he usually keeps his dissenting opinions to himself. Not this time. But I’m not counting the floppy hat out just yet.