Nov 1, 2019

Thanksgiving Tree - DIY Natural and Rustic Tree Decorations

November 01, 2019 1 Comments

[Cue dramatic entrance] 

Say it isn't so! October is over and with it all the spooky and dark festivities that my soul loves. *sigh

I absolutely love this time of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's so hard for me to choose which holiday is my favorite, my answer changes every year. This year the husband and I took our 3 year old trick-or-treating and she had so much fun. Every time someone answered the door she'd excitedly shout "trick or treat! Smell my feet!" She got a lot of laughs for that. And candy. So much candy.

With her little witch costume and curly red hair she made everyone's night. This kid got so much candy we had to dump her bucket into a grocery bag three different times because it kept filling up so fast. I mean, just look at her. Who wouldn't throw candy at this adorable diva?

P.s. We roasted that little pumpkin and stuffed it with a feast. YUM!
It turned out magnificent 

But alas, Halloween is done and while we had a blast, our home is very excited to move on to the next few holidays that are coming up.

I know there's this big ol divide on when you should put up a Christmas tree and start decorating, but I honestly love having a tree up for as long as possible. If I'm going to put a lot of effort into my tree, I want it displayed for the maximum about of time. Right? So, to avoid stepping on any toes I've found a super cute idea that doesn't cause anyone to grab a pitch fork and go after you for skipping Thanksgiving. 

The Autumn Tree

This tree can have elements of both Thanksgiving and Christmas if you desire, or it can strictly be inspired by Fall. My daughter is actually my inspiration here. She LOVES acorns. If she sees one, she picks it up and brings it home while saying it's her treasure.

Victory selfie after finding a ton of acorns!

I never really feel like spending tons of money on decorations because I'm a crafty person by nature, and that's when the idea struck. I can take all of her "harvested" acorns and turn them into little cute rustic tree ornaments. I did some research and found a ton of ways you can decorate your tree that feels more like it's honoring the season of Autumn without being too holiday specific. Of course, I still plan to make some items that are Christmas inspired, but I don't plan on focusing on that holiday alone. 

I've always wanted to make my own ornaments. That mismatched theme just jives with me, you know? I don't want my tree shiny, glossy, and "new" feeling. I want everything to be unique, natural, and rustic. I even found a way to make ornaments that actually double as air fresheners to make your home smell like the holidays all season. *fist pump*

I've looked up some information on how to make natural and low to zero cost ornaments for you all. I, personally, can't wait to try them as well. I'm about to get busy on them myself this week. A few of these ideas will have links to to follow for directions, but otherwise if it's fairly self explanatory I'll just show a few images. 

Here We Go:

 Acorn Ornaments

pop the tops off of the acorn, drill small holes and thread some ribbon or twine. Then hot glue the top back onto the acorn bottom. Before you glue it back together, paint each piece if you want them painted, otherwise skip that and go all natural. 

Dried Fruit Ornaments 

The link for the tutorial can be found here: Make me!

These are awesome and smell so great! All you need is fruit, clear craft varnish (or decoupage), an oven and some time.

Bead Dangle Ornaments

These look so pretty and can be easily customized. Rearrange them to make a snowman, paint them, make faces, write dates, names, etc. Get creative! All you need are beads and string or twine. This is so basic and simple, I plan on doing many and maybe even a wooden bead garland.

Salt Dough Ornaments

You can get so crafty with these. You can make them in any shape you want. You can make flat ornaments or 3D holiday decorations (like snowmen or Christmas tree cones) Get some flowers, plants, or maybe even lace and make impressions by rolling it on the dough with a rolling pin. Here's a recipe for Salt dough. It couldn't be easier and chances are you've already got what you need.

Cinnamon Ornaments 

The like to the tutorial can be found here: Make me!

These are guaranteed to make your home smell like autumn all season. These would be so adorable on the tree. Again, you can do any shapes you'd like. 

DIY Icicles

The link to the tutorial can be found here: Make me!

These are so pretty! And they last forever too. You need a few things, but it's so worth it. You'll need borax, pipe cleaners, twine, a hot glue gun, and some jars or pots to let these soak in for a few days.

Cinnamon Stick Ornaments

I can just imagine how lovely these would smell. Just twine or string, cinnamon sticks, and beads.

Stick & Twig Ornaments

You can do literally anything with these too. It doesn't have to be a reindeer. You can make, snowflakes, frames or maybe even a little stick family. Whichever you choose, don't forget those cute googly eyes and button noses!

And of course there's always pine cones if you live in an area rich with them. Sadly for me, being in Dallas, they're not that easy to come by naturally and I don't feel like buying them if I can help it. But if you do have access to them, they make cute little rustic ornaments with some string or a cute garland to hang up. 

Just take a walk in the park or around the neighborhood and see if anything sparks your creativity. If you love rustic and natural decorations, these are a great way to go and have a minimalist impact on your wallet.  They're such a wonderful way to spend time with family, kids, and your significant other. Make memories together and decorate your home with them for the season.

What are your favorite ways to use nature in your holiday decorations?

Oct 18, 2019

Ditching Coffee - Coping With Living Caffeine-Free

October 18, 2019 1 Comments
Here's a hint. I'm not

I'm in denial. I'm drinking a small cup of decaf every day to pretend that I'm still drinking the real deal. While decaf ins't the same thing as "Caffeine-free" it's basically just as good. My decaf coffee grounds have 0.03% caffeine in them and if I'm being honest, that's not enough to worry me. 

Before I get into it, there's something you should know about me. 


"Hello, my name is Ramona and I'm a coffee addict." 

Before, all of my friends and family knew me as the crazy coffee obsessed woman. If a conversation had the gall to not include coffee, I'd do my addiction a solid and make sure it came up. And all of those coffee memes out there? Yea, I had a conspiracy theory they were all about me. 

 I started drinking coffee when I was a child and before we pick up pitchforks and go after my momma, it was heavily watered down coffee. As in one tablespoon of actual coffee in a mug of water sort of watered down. But I got a taste for it early on. High school was when my coffee drinking days really kicked off and then I was hooked. 

The Dilemma 

Fast forward to my early 30s and my body is just not having it anymore. It's throwing in the towel on coffee weather I want it to or not. 

Now that you get the picture on how cracked out on caffeine I was, maybe this'll come off as it should. Like I'm dying. 

Okay, okay. I'm being a bit theatrical, but the point remains. It's an adjustment. I made the move to give up coffee when I realized that I was starting to get intense heartburn after drinking half a mug. Or I'd feel bloated and just gross right away. I was having trouble finishing one cup, while usually, I drink at least 3.

I kept trying to drink it despite knowing it was making me feel sick, but I could only last a week feeling like that. I had less energy after trying to drink coffee than what I woke up with. And we all know, you need energy when you're running after a toddler all day. 

Taking A Stand

For the first two weeks I went cold turkey. No caffeine of any kind or dosage. No decaf either. Just a lot of water and herbal teas. Since I'd already been through a week of being unable to tolerate my coffee I had unintentionally gotten myself used to less caffeine each day it so this made my withdrawals much more bearable. I was tired and had the afternoon blues, sure, a few headaches. But I also felt healthier. My body felt great, just tired. That feeling of doing what my body needed was all I needed to stick it out.

I haven't had coffee in a month now, and my natural energy levels have balanced out. I've got sustainable energy all day and don't suffer from crashes or feeling physically unwell. 

Finding My Compromise 

The last two weeks I have been incorporating in some instant decaf coffee, which I know. sounds like the worst of two worlds. Instant AND decaf?! But I use a brand of instant that doesn't have that gross aftertaste, so I'm happy. As someone who spent most of her life drinking coffee, I got picky on what I accept as "the good stuff." 

"Disclosure:  This Beautiful Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."
This stuff right here is the bomb. You can find it on Amazon through my link.
Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. I may be a little harder to wake up in the morning and growl at my husband when he tries now, but at least I'm listening to my body and doing what I need to be my best self, which is ultimately my entire goal. 

What tips do you have to survive without coffee?

Do you know any natural energy boost remedies?

Oct 14, 2019

Fun Projects and Things To Do for Couples

October 14, 2019 0 Comments
Getting out of the house! (all rights reserved)
We seem to have fallen into some generic cookie cutter society that thinks that quality time with your beau means dinner, a movie, or how much money you can spend on one another. While I think it's perfectly fine to occasionally give gifts, I firmly believe that it shouldn't be a measure of affection. 

So, keeping that in mind, I've come up with a few ideas on how to spend time with your honey-bunny that's a little outside of the box and doesn't break the bank. 

Here's where I insert the warning that I'm quite an oddball so some of these suggestions will 100000% be goofy. You're welcome in advance. Have fun and play. Adulting doesn't have to be dull. 

Let's all tease my husband about his scratched lenses. 😂 (all rights reserved)

"Disclosure:  This Beautiful Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Things To Do With Your Shnookums:

  • Start a podcast! - My husband and I are both participants in separate podcasts and are beginning an adventure on making one that's just the two of us reviewing all the movies and shows we watch. We watch at least one movie each night after the kiddo sleeps to help us wind down, so it is such a easy project for us. 
  • Vlog - Similar to podcasting, but instead of just recording your voice, grab your smartphone and start making videos together on topics you usually talk about off camera. Maybe a his and her opinion or the like. 
  • DIY - If both you and your boo-thang like to be more hands on (outside of the bedroom, come on guys) then give this a go. Maybe hunt for thrift store finds to flip and sell on the side! 
  • Superhero Day - Get silly with it and use a throw blanket as a cape, get some sticks from outside to use as swords, and battle it out. Good vs evil. Hangry vs fed. Whatever
  • Cook - Speaking of Hangry, cook a meal together to keep the peace. Try cooking a different style each time. Think Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost in the kitchen one day and the next day speak only in Russian accents or something. Get creative. 
  • Board Games - There are a few games that I like that are simple and easily played with two players. Exploding Kittens, PooTalk Flirt DareDare DuelSplendorAzulTicket to RideConspiracy TheoryEscape Room in a Box. There's so many more, but that's a good start. 
  • Singing Contest - No experience required! See who can sing the worst to the other and mad lib it up while you're at it.
  • Park - Hit up a local park and have a day out. Pack a picnic basket or pick up food on the way. Cloud-gaze, climb a tree, follow a trail, bike, hike, relax and chat about your favorite book, have a foot-race, or put on a silly play for others to see and question your sanity over. 
  • Teach - We often tell each other what we're passionate about, but how often do we sit someone down and try to teach them what we love? Take turns giving each other lessons. Teach art, wood working, paper crafts, how to properly load the dishwasher. You get me here, right? 
  • Goofy Selfies - Take pictures together and alternate who gets to pick the filter (or go without a filter) and see who can make the funniest faces. Have your friends judge the winner.
He hates when I make him "cutsie" (all right's reserved)
Being a mature person doesn't mean you can't have silly, fun filled moments. Having fun doesn't have to be a grand event either. Just find something that makes you smile or happy and share it with each other. Those will be the moments you'll look back on fondly. So make tons of them. 

Don't forget to subscribe, comment, and share! 

Sep 18, 2019

Eating Healthy - My Experience With Keto and Low Carb

September 18, 2019 0 Comments

I have been in a funk these past few weeks. My mind can't seem to settle on any one task and I feel so scatterbrained. This lack of focus has me running around like a headless chicken. I noticed that I've been feeling off, sluggish, bloated and cranky. With the stress that comes with my attention being so divided, it's no wonder. But when I sat down and thought about it, I realized it wasn't due to stress. It was because of the food I was eating.

Being so busy lately, my diet took quite a hit. And by "a hit" I mean it got steamrolled flatter than an anorexic crepe. My husband and I had happily been on the keto bandwagon, but we migrated off of it a bit... And by "a bit" I mean...well, you get my point. 

I decided to make a promise to myself. I'm making my diet and physical health, and that of my family's, a priority again. I'm sick and tired of feeling like I'm trapped in this body that hates when I eat food. When in reality it just hates the food I'm choosing to eat. Which has been tons of pizza, bread, pasta, snacks, and sugary foods. 

"Disclosure:  This Beautiful Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Healthy Eating Never Looked So Good (Credit: Unsplash)

If you're unfamiliar with keto, it's amazing and definitely worth being THOROUGHLY 
researched first. Basically, keto is a high fat, moderate protein, and low carb (depending on how strict you are, no carbs) diet plan. When on this diet, it reprograms your body to burn off fat for energy vs burning sugar. But, this post isn't about Keto, so if you'd like to know more, I would recommend using that good ol Google. 

My Woes [Insert Theatrical Sob]

I get heartburn if the wind blows by and someone's thinking of cooking spicy food. It used to be entirely normal for me to consume between 8 to 10 antacids daily. It was just a part of my life, or so I thought. When I ate keto, I rarely had heartburn. My tums would go months without being opened. It felt AMAZING. If I broke diet and had carb dense foods I'd feel heartburn hit almost immediately.

I also always felt bloated, sluggish, bogged down, sickly full even if I didn't overeat, and generally unhealthy. It wasn't until I cut out carb high foods that I started feeling better. Namely, cutting anything with wheat, grain, and sugar from my diet.

Okay, I can live with that. So why not stay keto? My reason for moving away from a keto diet into a more "low carb" one is simple. Because I freaking miss my favorite vegetables. Almost all fruit and a ton of vegetables aren't allowed on keto for different reasons. And sweet mother of spuds I really missed potatoes.

person eating vegetable dish
Healthy Food = Healthy Body

When I listened to my body, I noticed that I only started to feel sick when I ate sugar, pasta, bread, and grain foods. Vegetables that were high in carbs never gave me problems. 

The Woes Worsen [Theatrical Sob Intensifies]

There I am, minding my own business and drinking coffee. And then BOOM. Suddenly I don't want to drink or finish my mug of love. I woke up one morning, took a sip, and cringed. No matter what creamer I used or what coffee, it was the same. My body did not want this stuff anymore

I spent a week or two forcing myself to try to drink some each morning. I'd get a cup down and feel HORRIBLE afterwards. I would develop intense heartburn and feel bloated. I cried to the gods and died a little inside during this period of my life. I'm known by everyone as being the coffee crazed girl. But, the truth can hurt sometimes. I finally accepted that I was going to give up coffee. 

This Feels Like A Bad Breakup...

This pains my soul, but I feel it's the right choice. I did some research on what coffee does to your body. Let's just say that it fueled my motivation. If you're interested in reading up on that, the link is here.

So, What Can A Girl Have?

Quite a lot, actually. You'd think that cutting out any grain, wheat, sugar, or coffee would be restrictive, but it's not. There's so so many recipes out there in the world that we don't even feel like we're missing out on anything. Pinterest is my favorite place to find a recipe. Speaking of, have you guys ever heard of a "chaffle" it's a new movement in the low-carb world that I'm a fan of. People have learned to use a waffle iron to make "waffles" or "breads" that use cheese/egg and sometimes almond/coconut flour. They're amazeballs. Just look at this!

Recipe Can Be Found here
What the what?! Savory breads in the waffle iron? I'm all up in that business. It's reasons like this that I don't have cravings or feel like I miss out on comfort foods. 

Big Mac Chaffles! Chaffles make the best low carb hamburger buns and that Big Mac sauce is so good you'll think you're eating the real deal! #lowcarb #keto #bigmac #cheeseburger #recipe
Recipe here

How Ramona Got Her Groove Back

I went through my pantry and fridge and purged the items that I had been snacking on that were making me feel sick. I gave them to family as they were still good. We were due for a grocery run anyway, so the timing worked out in our favor. There's no point in having food sit in the pantry just because we purchased it when we don't plan to eat it anymore. It's too tempting to give in again.

I've modified my diet to be simply low-carb. I don't count calories, macros, micros, carbs or anything else but I DO choose a vegetable noodle over wheat pasta. I will choose to snack on carrots instead of cookies. And I will reach for an apple instead of candy. While the fruits I eat may have natural sugars, they're fine by me (except bananas. Not my thing). Some of the vegetables I eat may have high carb counts, but they're not as high as eating a ton of mac-n-cheese. This balance has made my body happy, which has made me feel healthier. That's what matters most to me. To feel healthy.

Sadly it's at the cost of my coffee these days. 

Excuse me while I go and sob for a while.

What are your favorite diet tips?
Have you noticed carbs/sugars making you feel sluggish/bloated?
Will you cry with me each morning as I sit without coffee?

Aug 14, 2019

Girls Who Podcast - Starting New Projects With Friends

August 14, 2019 0 Comments
We've all seen it. Groups of friends on social media who start neat projects together and become successful. They look like they're having such a blast. They're doing something meaningful (or simply playful) with their lives and they get to spend time together often. Sounds cool, right? 

Well, my friends and I have recently decided to give it a shot ourselves. (A big thank you to my Husband for sparking this idea for us too)

Expanding Horizons

(credit: Unsplash)

My gals and I try to hang out every weekend, but sometimes life happens and we get busy or just feel a little unsocial. I'm always up for spending more time with them, but at the same time, I felt like we could do more when we're together. We each have such different perspectives that all somehow meld together beautifully. It's important to find time for your friends. I actually wrote a post about that a little while back. It can be found here

So, what idea did we go with? We have created a podcast together! 

Find us on Insta, FB, & Youtube at @MysticalMoonSociety and @mysticmoongirls (All Rights Reserved)

Activate Code: Girl-Boss

We're in the beginning phase, but we've gotten our advertisements out there on all social media platforms. 
We'll host a new episode each Tuesday so make sure you subscribe to our channel and social accounts. We'll talk a lot on spirituality and elevating the conscious mind among other things. I couldn't be more excited. I also splurged a bit and purchased a BLUE mic. It's blown me away on it's quality.

"Disclosure:  This Beautiful Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

(Credit: Unsplash) Image of mic I purchased

This whole creative event that we're going through has inspired me in so many ways. Within 24 hours we went from having zero plans laid out to having everything designed, named, and hooked up to social media. Between the three of us ladies, we divided the work and conquered. 

All rights reserved

Be There or Be Square

I hope that you all join us each Tuesday while we decode the universe and all it's cosmic wonder. Explore the divine feminine, spirituality, ancient technology and lost knowledge and about expanding the human mind's consciousness to a higher plane. You can find links to our YouTube channel on my blog's home page. 

You can also find us on our other social platforms here:

And that concludes my mini-post of shameless self-promotion. 

Do any of you podcast?
If so, what are your tips and advice?

What would you like to hear about on one of our episodes?

Don't forget to subscribe, comment, pin, save, and share!

Aug 7, 2019

Self-Care - Recharging and Recovering From Mental Fatigue

August 07, 2019 0 Comments

The last few days I have been completely uninspired by everything around me. You could say I'm going through a bit of a burnout. On a good day, I have the tendency to try to do "ALL of the things" and I've been known to start multiple projects as soon an idea comes to me. (we're going to ignore the fact that I start more projects than I actually ever finish. It's just part of my personality. #NoShame)

When I'm inspired, I negotiate with myself daily regarding which task I want to work on. I'd love to all of my projects each day, but let's face it. I won't. It's not that I haven't finished anything these last couple of days. Oh, no. I haven't done anything at all. I haven't worked on any of my art, written a blog post, watched TV, fixed my hair, etc. I've just been a lazy bla for a while. It's like Monday came to visit and settled in for the long haul. Well, no more.

How to get out of this rut? I decided to do a bunch of little things that I enjoy to perk myself up and relight my creative fuse. I ditched the stress that nagged at me saying I wasn't being productive and dived headfirst into the world of self-care. For me, self care looks a lot like a homeless woman with uncombed hair and zero makeup, binging on coffee and taking an over-the-top bath as if I'm scared I'll never see water again for the rest of my life. Nice visual, right? Right.

Start the day with self-love and words of affirmation (All Rights Reserved)

Let It Begin

As per usual, I started my day by diving into coffee before my last two remaining brain cells could kill each other. This has to be one of my favorite mugs. Who doesn't love their coffee calling them a straight up Goddess? As the morning started I quickly realized I didn't have the mental energy to entertain my toddler all day. I usually don't mind giving her my undivided attention, but burnout is no joke. This child is obsessed with our record player and ABBA's Dancing Queen is her favorite song. I set her up with a vinyl and let her cut a rug. Okay, so maybe the rug wasn't really in any danger of being cut, but she tried. See? 
She's killin it, man... Slowly (All Rights Reserved)
I literally spent the morning couch surfing and browsing on my laptop about ancient astronaut theories and all that jazz. I did some small doodles in my sketchbook. Nothing worth mentioning, really. Mainly I explored my own mind and daydreamed. I can't really remember everything that happened because I lost track of time. It's all kind of one chill blur. Bits and pieces stand out as therapeutic and the rest just faded away. The day wasn't about remembering everything I did. It was about letting go and relaxing. Switching off, if you will.

Me, Myself, And I 

When my kiddo was napping I drew up a bubble bath with essential oils, bath salts, and a white sage smudge stick burning calmly to the side. B-L-I-S-S.
Relax the day away (All Rights Reserved)
My absolute favorite bath products are Village Naturals Therapy Mineral salts and Honest brand bubble bath. These guys are a must on my self-care days. I love the scent of these salts specifically. It's like a home spa. And I don't really like to buy separate bubbles for me and my kiddo so this one is perfect for us both. The lavender relaxes her for bedtime and happens to be one of my favorite scents. It's organic, non-toxic, kid friendly, and vegan so that's a "yay" in my book.

You can find these items here:

Village Naturals Therapy Mineral Salts
Honest Bubble Bath

 This Beautiful Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."
Follow up your bath with a nice hair care day. Nothing makes me feel less grunge than taking the time to care for my hair. Just simply blow drying and adding the right treatment can work wonders. I don't personally use a lot of products, just these few here:

I totally recommend checking them out by clicking the images. It'll take you to amazon, which I'm obsessed with, by the way.

Laze On, Friends

When my threenager woke up (yes, that's a thing), I wasn't in the mood to sit through an episode of Peppa Pig or Terrific Trucks. I plugged my little in with her bluetooth headphones and let her go to town with her show while she had lunch. And you know what? That actually felt weird. Yea, it was strange to see her awake and the house so quiet. Not going to lie. But it was also very nice to have that quiet time while she was awake. 
She gets a show. I get quiet time (All Rights Reserved)
Literally a sanity saver. These headphones are super convenient when I need to work on something that requires focus or just don't want to hear the constant repetitive nature of toddler shows. I'm sure I've seen ever episode of each thing she watches about a million times. These headphones are available on amazon here:

You're welcome in advance.

It's Okay To Make Time For Yourself

I know there's this stigma that you should take care of everyone around you first. That if you take the time to put yourself first you're somehow being selfish. I actually believe that's reverse. If there are other people demanding so much of you that they make you feel badly about taking time to recharge, they're the ones being selfish. You can't properly take care of anyone if you don't take care of yourself first. Don't stress over the world. It'll still turn and lives will be lived without you overseeing them for a few hours. 

By the end of my mini vacation from responsibilities I came back with new ideas for multiple areas in my life. I felt so mentally refreshed that I woke up around 6:30am this morning (naturally, without an alarm) and felt like I had slept for 9 hours straight. I hate mornings and typically don't wake up until 8ish and that's only due to the promise of coffee. This morning I got the urge to clean the house, anchor a bookshelf to the wall, write up this post, work on my art, plan a nice dinner, etc. 

Just a dork and her beloved coffee (All Rights Reserved)
See? Just look at that happy face. Who hugs their coffee? Me. I do. This is how you start the day. Well rested and over caffeinated. Be lazy occasionally, just not all the time. Laziness gets such a bad wrap because it's often used in excess and therefore it doesn't boost your mental clarity or recharge your batteries. 

So, if you're overwhelmed, struggling, smothered, bogged down, drowning, or overstimulated by today's world, take some time to do absolutely nothing. Refocus and realign

What are your favorite ways to recharge?
What's type of activities do you enjoy on your days "off?"
What type of self-love do you find most beneficial?

Let's keep in contact. Don't forget to comment, subscribe, pin, save, and share!

Jul 31, 2019

Making Time for Friends - Realistic Friendships & Stress-Free Ways To Have Fun

July 31, 2019 0 Comments
Is it just me, or does it ever bother you when you're watching a show or a movie and all these fictional friends have limitless time for each other? They're constantly hanging out in the show and never seem worried about their job or adulthood responsibilities. They drop by unannounced whenever the mood strikes (Which, apparently, is often) and their other friend is always home when they do. WHAT? What kind of witchery is that? Who lives like that? Who pays their bills? How do they have so much free time to never work and still be able to afford that apartment in NYC?! Ugh. Unrealistic friendship goals suck. Thanks Hollywood.


If you're lucky in that you DO get to see your friend as often as all that, then that's great! I'm glaring at you, but that's honestly amazing. For the rest of us, it's not that easy. It takes effort to maintain any kind of relationship in your life, and friends are no exception. 

I don't know about you guys, but my friends are like a magical balm that slows down this hectic life and they never fail to make my soul happy. I don't feel as if I see them often enough, though. So, how do I make time to see them more often? I mean, each one of us has our own busy lives to juggle outside of our little circle. As such, I've learned that it's not simply about me making time for them, but how we all put in the effort to make time for each other.

coffee date with the girls! (All Rights Reserved)

Simple Expectations 

Try to not expect the world of your friends all the time. Offer friendship, not stress. If you have a friend who's busy and hasn't made time for you in a while, let them know that that's okay. Be understanding. Sometimes we go through moments that require a little solitude. 

We all get caught up in our own individual lives and families and the next thing we know it's been a month or so since we last saw one another. I totally get it. Being an adult means responsibilities and less free time. That's a-okay. But sometimes you just gotta gather your pals around you and let the rest of the world fall away for a little while.

I have six pretty amazing pals and it is often difficult to get us together at the same time. Usually we opt to meet in smaller groups here and there when we can. The other day a couple of my girls and I decided we need to make coffee dates more routine in our lives. 

Life Tip: Never say no to coffee. Ever

Mudleaf Coffee in Plano, TX

Lost In The Moment  

We found a super cute local coffee shop and spent a good four hours there. Actually, I think we may have been the last people to leave. 

To say it was cathartic to set around and do nothing but enjoy good company is an understatement. We spent our time drinking iced coffees, talking about things we're passionate about as a group, and sharing our viewpoints on how life is going. It was such a relaxing atmosphere that I didn't realize how long we had been there until I saw the baristas cleaning up for closing time. 

Cute little coffee shops give off a vibe of being in the moment. If you or your friend don't like coffee, I'm sorry. Honestly, I don't understand you. I mean, just look at this delicious cup of magic. Blueberry iced latte. Can you say addicted

Cue drool
Anyway, before I get even more distracted with the coffee part of this post, let me get back on track. Friends. This post is about time with friends. (I type this out as I longingly stare at the picture of my iced coffee...) Ahem

Like I mentioned earlier, it's straight up magical when you're with like-minded souls. Souls who share your passions in life. Sometimes we go far too long in between seeing one another, but the key thing to remember is that it's nothing personal. I have noticed some people assume their friends are too busy for them. In reality, they're just simply busy. It doesn't mean they don't want to spend time with you. Patience and understanding are the best building blocks to a healthy friendship. 

(Credit: Unsplash)

Activities That Don't Prevent Conversation Flow

I try to avoid activities that deal with phones, theaters, or other settings that require you to separate or be silent when I hang out with friends. I want to make the most of our time together. If you're looking for a few ways to spend time together where you can all still chat, then I've got a few ideas. 
  • Coffee Shop: I mean, I couldn't start somewhere else. This one is obvious. 
  • Friend's House: Most of the time we'll gather at one of our places and talk for ours or watch conspiracy vids on YouTube. We may pause each video a thousand times while we all talk about what we're watching and our theories, but it's a blast. We usually try to freak ourselves out. Hello, shadow people. (You can't see it but I'm doing a finger cross and hissing)
  • Fresh Air: If the weather is right, get outside and do something together. Picnic, visit the local botanical garden, explore a park, or go for a walk. 
  • Book Store: One of our favorite activities is hitting up book stores. Half priced books is our jam. 
  • Get Spooky: Say what you will, but we love being a bit spooky. We love having metaphysical days and conversations together. 
  • Paint and Wine: I'm the artistic friend in our group. I once surprised everyone by drawing a bunch of images and bringing over my watercolors. We had fun eating cake, drinking wine, and getting messy. I taught everyone how to watercolor paint and we all got to take our pictures home for a nice memento. Actually, we need to do this again. 
  • Nickle Arcade: This one really depends. Sometimes it isn't easy to converse when at an arcade, but they're still fun. Who knows, maybe you can still chat while you dominate them in Street Fighter, causing them to mock you because you lured them in by telling them you're no good at games... Oh, just me? Okay. 
  • Be Moonstruck: This one is more personal to my group, but we're all obsessed with the moon. Spread out a blanket in your back yard, get some snacks and drinks, and head out to stare at the moon and share secrets or just talk. 
  • Girl's Night In: You're never too old to have a sleepover. Ever. 
  • Themed Party: We love planning dinner parties together. We'll sometimes to costumed ones for holidays. Do one just because it's a random Friday. No special occasion needed. 

Spend Time Wisely

Our time is very valuable and I often try to show my friends that I appreciate them. We're not jet-setting off,  taking weekend trips, or spending lots of money on shopping sprees. What we ARE doing is giving each other our undivided attention when we do meet up, though. And that's all it really takes, isn't it? That's why a simple coffee shop date to chat can feel like the highlight of your week. 

Always make your tribe feel valued and let them know that it's okay if life gets a bit hectic. There should be no pressure to always show up. That just causes them to feel overwhelmed, which, in turn, can prolong the time in between getting together. When you do meet up, it's up you each of you to show each other that you appreciate one another. That's best done by being in the moment and finding something to do together. 

What are your favorite activities with your friends?
How do you make your friends feel important?
What is the best friendship advice you've learned over time?

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Jul 26, 2019

Budget Friendly Date Night - Quirky and Fun Quality Time Ideas

July 26, 2019 0 Comments
The weekend is here!! You know what that means? Yup! Dunkin iced coffee (can you say squee) in the morning and free time for everyone in my household. We like to visit my husband's family each Saturday since they live so close. Belle loves to visit her grandparents and my husband, Sacha, and I get bit of alone time to go out and have a date. Win-win!

But, what do we do on our date?

Sometimes Sacha and I find ourselves scratching our heads, trying to find something to do that's not the same old "dinner and a movie." We like to be goofy and have fun. We're total nerds and enjoy being random with each other. We're not into bars, drinking, painting classes (because why pay for that? I can paint at home) or large outdoor crowds in summer. One would think that the Dallas area has more to do, being so large, but... [Cue shrug]

(Credit: Unsplash)

If, like us, you don't think that you need to spend lots of money just to spend some quality time together, strap on your boots and check out these ideas:

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  • Game Night - Have an intimate game night with just the two of you. Sacha and I have this neat game, Our Moments, and it's more of a "conversation starter" deck of cards. The cards are meant to give you ideas on what to open up and talk about. For example "What personality trait do you admire most about me" or "Which of my passions do you admire most." There are other topics in there as well. Scenario cards and "What-if" situations. It's such a confidence boost to learn how your significant other see you and what exactly it is about you that drew them in and has kept them around.
  • Learn A New Language Together - I've always wanted to learn another language. French would be a great choice for me as my husband already speaks it. (He's from Montreal. Lucky punk) We're teaching our daughter French and I try to soak up what I can. Alternatively, I have a blast getting Sacha to speak with a Texan drawl sometimes. It's simply too comical. 
  • Visit An Exotic Restaurant - Dare each other to eat the weirdest item on the menu. I've never been to a Mediterranean restaurant despite the fact that I've always wanted to go. I'm thinking of crossing this off my bucket soon. 
  • Family Goals - Write down your family's goals for the next five years. Make a list and set a budget to achieve your goal, if you need to. For example, I have a VERY hard time with hot climates. About half of the year is unbearable. Texas summer is the worst. Our goal: We don't want to stay in Texas forever. We'd love to move somewhere with four seasons that has a milder summer. Reality: We need to budget like crazy and plan in detail if we want to move out of state. But that's a bit down the road. 
  • Unplug - Turn off all digital devices and disconnect. In our first year of dating, my husband and I would rarely have our phones on us. We'd go out and leave them behind or in a different room than we would spend time in. We wanted to focus on each other, not a screen.
  • Cringe Contest - Start with small actions or phrases and slowly build up to big cringe worthy things and see who breaks character first. Crown the winner Cringe King or Queen. (Let it be known that I'm the best at this game)
  • Superhero Day - Dress up silly and create yourself a hero or villain costume at home. (Captain Underpants, anyone?) Put on that blanket cape and run around the house being dorks together. Battle it out to save humanity or in my case the local coffee shop. (Hey, if you can't be silly and have fun together then what's the point)
  • Appreciation Jar - Both of you get a small jar or box, slips of paper, and a few pens. Spend a little while and jot down short notes stating what you love about each other, what you appreciate about the other person, or a fond memory. Put those in the box or jar and give it to your partner. Have them read one of the notes after they've had a difficult day. 
  • Date Night Idea Jar - Same concept as the appreciation jar, except you only need one and you both fill out little slips of paper of ideas. Places, events, or things you'd like to do on a date. Each week you draw one slip and cross if off the list.
  • Paparazzi Day - Take fun pictures together, get them printed out, and hang them on your walls at home so you see them daily. Fill your home with fun memories. This is one of my favorite way to reminisce on all the good times. I love looking at my walls and seeing a life of joy. 
  • Arts and Crafts - Spend time doing something creative together - Even if one of you *CoughSachaCough* is not artistically inclined. I've seen those hand molding kits around and I am dying to make one someday. It's on my bucket list for sure. Like this one here:

Spending time together doesn't have to be about how much money you spend. It's not about just being in the same room as one another. It's about actually doing something with one another that keeps your relationship from becoming stale. It can be something small, silly, intimate, calm, or relaxing. As long as your main focus is each other on your dates. 

All healthy relationships take effort. 

A favorite quote of mine is "Treat your friends like family and your family like friends." I'm not sure about you, but the thought of my husband not being my best friend sounds depressing. I am spending my life with him, after all. I plan to make sure it's a happy one.

Laying around after making "sand angels" at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. (All Rights Reserved)

What are your favorite things to do with your partner? 

How have you kept your spark alive and had fun along the way?

Let's keep in contact. Don't forget to comment, subscribe, pin, save, and share!