Books, Christmas, Fashion, Favorite Things, Gifts

A Few of my Favorite Things 2019

I’ve made a list, and checked it thrice for a few of my favorite things this year….

This list is longer than years past. Since I have laid low for awhile, consider this my apology of love.  For shopping and perusing purposes, click on the pink highlighted title of each item to be directed to the link of the item mentioned!  I do not profit on any purchases from the links.  However, I have all Amazon products linked to benefit The Cove in Waco, which helps teenagers experiencing homelessness.  So, don’t be a Scrooge, help the kiddos and purchase from the links!  More info about The Cove later…

Let’s dive into some favorites!

Cozy White Cottage Book 

Cozy is my true love language.  The past few years, I’ve focused on rearranging, decorating, and bringing in what makes our home feel like an inviting place to snuggle up and relax.  I read and collect a lot of books – especially favorites that also double as beautiful decor. This one is by Liz Marie Galvan, who has a gorgeous blog and instagram you should check out.  Cozy White Cottage is written so well.  Wonderful content and completely doable ideas for the common folk.  It is also a gorgeous coffee table book.  You are welcome to come over, prop your weary feet up and read it beloved.

 

Cica Cream

I found this gem of a face serum/cream through an Instagram friend, I ordered it from Amazon without a lot of hope, due to my skin being sensitive.  This is so soothing, moisturizing, and amazing – I’ve already gone through 2 jars.  Since it is priced so well (around $17!), I use it liberally on my neck and chest as well.  Cica Cream is a high grade Koren skincare cream.  It’s a formulation that has been around for centuries, dating back to when the ancient Greeks would steam chamomile into their pores. Google it to see for yourself and then order you some.  I would not lead you astray on skincare.

 

Kork Ease Shoes

I stumbled on this brand last year, and they quickly became my favorites. If I am looking a new style of foot wear, I look for a Kork Ease option first. Let me admit, the name alone made me feel like I had given up on fashion and was going straight orthopedic shoes – if you feel the same, I promise the style, cushion and comfort of Kork Ease will melt away any worries you may have.  From personal experience, I can tell you their options of boots, pumps, clogs, mules, and wedges are all great choices.  Like these, and these, and these.  Your feet will thank me – I promise.

 

Personalized Scripture Journal 

This was a favorite birthday gift, given by a precious friend.  Each journal is custom made to place your name in 72 different scriptures.  Each page of the journal has a scripture written on the bottom.  Like this…

Seeing my name in scripture makes me hear and feel it deeper.  What great gift for a loved one, including yourself!  Customize your own at Paper Sunday.

 

Oribe Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray

This stuff is liquid gold.  Blowdrying my hair is my least favorite chore, but I’m thankful for hair, so I look for products that make it easier.  Like this spray and my favorite blowdryer from the Favorite Things 2017 list.  I need to apologize for putting something on my list that cost as much as this spray. (But the dryer is $32, so perhaps that helps?)  I blame Corrie and Mason. I get it wholesale since I birthed and raised my hairdresser, so, maybe see if you can talk a child into cosmetology school?  If you want to try this brand or product, and can’t find it wholesale, maybe start with the travel size.  It also doubles as a perfume, as it smells heavenly.  I’d love to try the other hair products Oribe offers, but haven’t figured out which kidney to donate.

 

Organic Spirulina Tablets

I have an amazing cousins, one being my favorite health guru who always provides me with answers to my health questions.  These little Spirulina tablets are a favorite supplement that we take, they assure that we get the protein we need from greens.  They are rich in protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – a green superfood!  The tablets are small, so taking several at once is not a problem at all.  I take them by small handfuls. Maybe large handfuls on the days I eat bad, which is most days. #healthnut

 

Vivo Per Lei Facial Peel

I bought this exact facial exfoliant peel from a sales booth last year.  I loved it, but couldn’t find it again to reorder.  I was so excited to find it (through a recommendation on Amazon) for 1/4 of the price…less than $12! It gently exfoliates, cleanses, brightens skin, and reverses aging. I “peel” twice a week, and get so excited when it is time to use it!

 

 “Seven Gnomes Stitchery”

If you love cross stitching, or wish to start a new hobby – this Etsy Shop Seven Gnomes Stitchery has the CUTEST and most creative patterns!  Jillian, the owner and creator, is so great to work with, and also offers custom creations from time to time, like the pattern above that I stitched for our Powder Room.  My family doesn’t think I’m near as funny as I am.  (If you follow me on Instagram and have seen some of the bible verses stitched, this is the Etsy store they came from!)

 

Rhythms of Renewal 

This book just makes so much dang sense.  It’s sweet and incredible. Daily struggles with anxiety and stress make it difficult to receive God’s peace. Rhythms of Renewal  will help you trade your anxiety for the vibrant life you were meant to live through four rhythms: Rest, Restore, Connect, and Create.  You can take a quiz on her website to discover your healthiest rhythm, the one that comes most naturally for you. Then receive input and feedback on the remaining rhythms, with actionable steps on ways to strengthen and grow.  Shocker that mine was NOT rest, but with this book, I’m learning!

 

Judy Blue Jeans 

Oh, these jeans!  I can live life so much better in comfy clothes.  Judy Blue is new to me.  I found them at Apricot Lane here in Waco, they come in so many shapes and washes and have a GREAT price point, usually around $39 or $49.  They have a great stretch that still holds structure.  The sizing comes in odd sizes, for reference – I wear a 4/6 or 27/28,  in these I usually wear a 3.  The rule of thumb is that if you can stretch them out past an inch, then you need to size down.  I also have one pair in a 5, and wear those just as much since they don’t lose their shape and bag.  Swing into Apricot Lane for more fun fashions! You will love Kristin and staff!

 

Lauren Ferrell Designs 

I found this talented gal when I was looking for unique earrings for a friend.  I ended up with earrings for myself as well – she has great designs and they are all so LIGHT!  Which is a big deal to me, heavy earrings ruin a great attitude.  Lauren is young, hip and makes jewelry for a great cause – yearly trips to Haiti for mission work and sponsoring Odinia, a young girl in the Mission of Hope school system.  Order from her website, or follow her on Instagram!

 

NuDerma Portable Handheld High Frequency Skin Therapy Wand

Before I found this on Amazon, I was texting our Skin Magician to stop in with my boys for her to “zap their zits” weekly.  This high frequency treatment kills the bacteria directly beneath while simultaneously providing a natural boost of cellular energy to both kill acne causing bacteria and reduce inflammation at the same time.  My girlfriend uses it for anti-aging purposes, to boost circulation and collagen product which help “plump” skin cells to fill in voids which are the underlying cause of wrinkles and fine lines.  The price of this is incredible (less than $35!), we use it so much that it is out on the counter more than stored away neatly.  Zappin’ our life away!

 

Praying for Strangers Book

This is the sweetest read.  It’s an easy book to curl up and devour in a sitting, or read an easy chapter a day.  I’ve always thought of prayer being a vertical connection to God, until reading this I realized it could also be a connection to others.  A great book and gift.

 

Pony O Hair 

I have a lot of hair and still can’t get a full pony tail look…until these.  Pony O’s are completely different than your basic hair ties.  Watch the videos on their website to see if they are for you before ordering.

 

Nike Tanjun Trainers 

 These sneakers are so comfy – I train in them, dance in them, run in them, errand in them, and lounge SO well in them.  **Warning – They are so comfortable that you will want other colors.  I’ve linked these to Nordstrom Rack, where I ordered my first pair.  I’ve found all the other pairs on Amazon and Poshmark.  They run true to size.

*If you are wanting these soft and amazing jazzy leopard leggings, you can get them on Amazon!

 

Live in Grace – Walk In Love Devotional 

It’s no secret what a huge fan I am of Bob Goff and his teachings. He has a new devotional out that is going in all stockings this year!  It’s just as nourishing as all his other books – a great start or end to any day.

 

Active Hydration Serum

This is a must have for all skin types.  One of my main concerns with my skin is hydration, which is a battle with combination skin.  Super fun. This miracle serum balances moisture levels and raises skins hydration by 200%, and maintains hydration for 8 hours.  It’s incredible!  Add to your face before you “Zap” it with the high frequency therapy wand.  *They have a body cream option, Active Hydration Body Replenish that is the only body cream that keeps my legs hydrated in the winter.

 

Make Up Eraser 

A friend told me about these over the summer and I can’t thank her enough.  These are the BEST – simply wet and cleanse your entire face.  All your makeup, including eye makeup will be GONE!  It’s my favorite magic trick yet.  You can find them at Amazon or Nordstorms.  They have mini travel makeup erasers too!

 

Have More Fun Book 

A friend gave me this book at what couldn’t have been a more perfect time. “How to be remarkable, stop feeling stuck, and start enjoying life.”  This book is light, funny, and deeply good for the soul. If you aren’t sold on reading it, pick it up and read the Conclusion…yep, the last chapter.  I’m giving you permission to skip to the end.  If that doesn’t speak to your dried bones, then this is not the book for you.  If it does speak to you, the audio book is a great one as well!

 

Lush Body Butter Bar 

These little guys are a moisturizing life saver. Truly.  A friend got me hooked on these a couple of years ago. Lush is an amazing store with a story to match. This Body Butter Bar is as exfoliating as it is moisturizing.  They also have a travel case that goes with the bars, so it can be gifted neatly to those who are hard to shop for…who doesn’t want soft skin?!

 

Sweet Grace Laundry Detergent

Sweet Grace has been my favorite candle scent for years, but recently I was turned on to their laundry detergent…heavenly! I have linked it to Amazon, however if you are local to Waco – Wildflower Boutique on Richland carries all of the Sweet Grace scented goodies!  Stop in and see her!

 

Pacifica Pink Nudes

Found this and several other favorites from my Instagram friend Cattle Baron in Cashmere...keep reading for more info on her shortly!  I don’t wear eye shadow much, due to lack of effort or care.  This has been a fun jazz up to my makeup routine!  Love the soft, pinky nudes of this pallet. 

 

Folex Carpet Cleaner

Apparently I am the last person on earth to know about this miracle cleaner.  I have to share it in case anyone else is living under a rock.  This is the best carpet/rug spot cleaner!  Even for red wine!  It’s great to have on hand with a house full of teenage boys…it has saved their life several times.

 

Plush Leopard Pajama Pants 

These PJ pants came in the same gift as the Scripture journal back in the summer, which means my precious friend knows me well.  PJ pants and a journal…two paths straight to my heart.  These are so soft and warm, which are MUST haves in our house that is always freezing to this Momma.  They come in several other colors and patterns with still the same plush goodness.

 

Matilda Jane Pajama Pants

It is a well known fact that if I am home for longer than 4 minutes, I will change into comfy clothes, or half change.  Even when I’m home between work meetings, hence this photo above. I had 1 hour to hang curtains in our son’s room and couldn’t do it in heels and work pants.  So, I semi-changed – Business on top, Cozy on the bottom. I used this photo to show you the length of these pants is perfection.  The material is definitely made of angel wings.  They are solid and soft.  A good rule of thumb is to grab a pair from each season of Matilda Jane.  Here is a link to their other pj pants of the season if the Christmas jammies are sold out in your size.  The sweetest part of these is their non-judgmental nature.  They will live in harmony with whatever color or print top you wear them with.  (See photo for proof)

 

Orleans No 9 Room Spray 

A friend of mine got so tired of me commenting on how amazing their house always smells, she finally gifted me with my own Orleans No 9 room spray.  I love room sprays, but get frustrated when the scents don’t last long.  I can spray this in the morning, and still enjoy it when we walk in the house that evening!  I don’t know what the difference is in this one, but it is a big one.  She found it at a Boutique in College Station, but here is it on Amazon, with their other scents for pursuing. I’d always rather shop local, so if you know where to get it around Waco, please let me know!

 

Cattlebaron In Cashmere

I adore this gal and her Instagram account.  She is hilarious, shares the funniest memes, has the BEST recipes and Amazon finds!  So many of my favorite things, were found through Alison.  Besides my kids, I don’t even know why I got on Instagram every day before Cattlebaron in Cashmere.  Give her a follow, you won’t be sorry.

 

The Cove

The Cove is a teen nurturing center designed to provide a safe space for students experiencing homelessness to access the resources they need to thrive.  Our friend, Alicia, introduced me to this organization.  Until I learned about it through her, I have to admit – I had no clue how many teenagers experience homelessness.  Let’s do something?  Whether it be a small donation or your time. If you aren’t local, I encourage you to look in your own town to find a need to help with.

 

Lastly, one of my Favorite Things this year and every year, are friends like these.  Friendship is built of 1,000 small kindnesses, a lot of acceptance, and a little bit of patience.  Swapped back and forth, and over again.   

Thank you for being a friend.

XOXO –

Brooke

 

*Featured photo by Alyssa Simmons.

 

 

 

Crazy Cycle, Rest, Stillness, Uncategorized

Ain’t you Tired?

I’ve learned the quickest way to freak my husband out is to rest.  He doesn’t completely understand the concept.  He can power nap with the best of them, but literally hops up, pulls his boots on and heads out the door in search of something to fix or do, sometimes just having to settle for watering plants.  This is not a passive aggressive complaint.  I truly love that he is a doer and that nothing stays broken or half way done at our house.  Most of the time I celebrate him by throwing a chore of my own at his feet, in hopes he will pick it up out of curiosity and complete it.  This method of my madness usually works, especially when I add a sweet smile. Thank goodness for people like Chadwick.

I need rest. I need restoration and recharging.  I’ve learned that stillness is it’s own adventure.  All lessons learned on the dusty road called Exhaustion.

I was chatting with a wise friend recently, kinda (100% completely) complaining about a situation.  Before I knew it, I was rolling around in my ego and explaining to her everything I had done for… blah, blah, blah.  Everything I was sharing was facts, I had gone completely extra on something that no one had asked me to do.  I did it out of my old people-pleasing-Enneagram-2-ways, and found myself feeling bitter when it wasn’t appreciated or the same thoughtfulness was reciprocated.

After affirming my effort, in the most gentle voice she said, “Brooke, why don’t you just…. stop?”.

It silenced me into a defeated, “I know.”

Because I do know.  I know all too well how working away at something that is one sided always leaves you lopsided.  Traveling in a circle that has no exit.  Living lopsided doesn’t seem very balanced.  Call me OCD.

“Ain’t you tired Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?”

A favorite quote from the book and movie “The Help”.  I’d like to think I’m not quite on Miss Hilly’s level of jerkiness, but truth is, I probably am – just in my own way.  Regardless, yes is the answer.  Yes, I am tired.

Isn’t it incredible what a good night sleep does for our physical and mental state?   Ask a new mom, or a mom of teenagers who drive.

Here is what I want you to hear today…

You have permission to stop, and no one will call you a quitter.

You have permission to rest, and no one will call you lazy.

To be clear, “no one” is defined by your people.

Your bury-the-body friends will never judge your rest.  Because they know it is necessary for your heart and mind.  They want this for you.  They also know there will be a lot more bodies for them to help bury if they don’t let you rest. (hypothetically speaking)

Even trees rest.  They don’t even have to be told to in a blog post.  During the winter, they send all their energy into their roots to nourish, restore, and get ready for spring.  Sometimes rest is a nap, other times it is a mental break – but the best recharging is always intentional.  Don’t forget to turn your brain off for rest time.

In a recent (8 months ago) yoga class, we were instructed to not “dump down into our ankles and hands”.  Instead our movements needed to focus on lifting.   Rising up.

Isn’t life so much about intention?   Our hands and ankles can only move in certain ways – but with a specific intention of movement and energy, they can hold our weight while rising.

When I don’t make some form of rest a priority, I end up dumping down into more things than just my ankles and hands – my relationships, health, work….all things suffer.  When we rest, we are literally lifting our spirits higher, rising to the occasion called life.

Let’s intentionally live it well.

Rest well friend.

Favorite Things, What is saving your life

Summer Time and Lifesavers

“What is saving your life right now?”

Lake days, sunset rainbows on the back porch, laughing with our boys, reading summer fiction books, and Dr Pepper.

But on the surface, here are a few more things that have brought joy lately….

This book.

Unoffendable

I wish everyone would read it.  His audio version is a hilarious delight.  I’ve listened and read it, due to being super offendable and needed to take it in twice. It’s refreshing to realize our righteous anger is complete baloney.  I’m still re-reading the parts I underlined, hoping the lessons will soak through my skull and ego.

Maui Babe After Browning Lotion

A friend came by last week and laughed that I was still using this healing lotion.  It has been a summer staple for years, because I love the sun.  A lot.  It’s basically like putting conditioner on your skin.  Maui After Sun Browning lotion is amazing and can be found on Amazon or Ulta!

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Family, Gratitude, Hope, Lessons, Love, Parenting

The Audacious Hope of Rooted Things

“The audacious hope of rooted things”

That was my first thought when I looked up from a traffic light this week and realized that the bluebonnets had bloomed.  It actually caught my breath looking at them and recognizing they were here, along with spring.*

I suspect the bluebonnets have been here for awhile, but my eyes have been cast down, along with my heart – and I missed the rebirth and bloom of the gorgeous wild flowers.

I feel ridiculous for how deeply I miss my GrandDad.  When life goes according to plan, we are supposed to bury our grandparents.  Sadly, all three sets of my grandparents buried their own children.  If life is sweet enough to let us plan according to the circle of a full life, then I should have been ready.  But, I never, ever would have been.

I miss him. He stepped in and raised me as a daughter when he didn’t have to. My parents divorced when I was eight months old, which lead to my mother and I moving in with her parents. Since my mom and her siblings called him Daddy, and my grandmother referred to him as Daddy in front of the kids, then I did too.  Lots of my cousins call him GrandDad, or Papa – but he was always Daddy to me.

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Boundaries, Crazy Cycle, Growth, Lessons, Love, Patience

Cheap and Chewed

A spiritual, intentional life isn’t one without drama.  However, it can be one without cheap drama.  I’ve arrived at this lesson slower than a tortoise, but with burnt hands, I lift them and say no more to cheap drama.

You can do the same.

Here is the deal…Life naturally brings drama.

Some of your best and most loved people are going to pass on to the next life, without your permission.  Your beloved pets too.  When you are healing from these deep cuts, life can still teach you even more heart ache.  Grey’s Anatomy taught us that real life drama takes few breaks.  Remember Denny?  I’m still not over losing him.

Your heart is going to break several times in this life.  It is also going to mend – never the same, but shockingly, it pieces back together in a similar shape. Covered in wounds and scars which give it texture. And stories that can create tenderness or bitterness, depending on which we choose.

Your plate is going to be full. Your kids are going to be crazy.  In fact, if you are a mom, or parent children in any way, you will learn our darlings come packaged with their own level of drama.  Tied with a ribbon labeled “You’re Welcome.”

People are going to dislike you.  Forsake you. You will be misrepresented in a few tales. Some people will try to hand you their messes.

The good news is you can say no and turn away from cheap drama.  Your no can be silent yet definite.  You don’t have to make a point or lesson for another, you can choose differently and hand them back their own work to do. Continue Reading