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Things I will not be taking to our apartment.

I’m really excited about this, y’all.

Justen and I have found the place we’ll live in after we’re married (AND THEY APPROVED US TO LIVE THERE). Insert that happy crying emoji RIGHT HERE.

I’ve been wanting to find a place that wasn’t cookie cutter. I didn’t want the same cream carpet and beige walls and brown cabinets. I wanted character and charm and something that was different. I’ve been trolling listings for awhile and FREAKED OUT about this one. Justen went to see the apartment, we decided to apply, and then about a week later we found out we’re approved and get the keys right after we get back.

Oh and… I haven’t ever actually seen it. Justen FaceTimed me while he walked through it, and I loved it, but still. My first time seeing the apartment is when I’m bringing stuff into it to move in (I’ll be moving in first).

But y’all. It’s located above an antique store on a cute little downtown street we’ve visited many times before. It has hardwood floors and an exposed brick wall in the kitchen and pretty white doors. I’d show you the pictures but they just don’t seem to do it justice. It’s within walking distance of a $5 theater, a coffee shop that serves Monin coconut syrup, and a bakery with the best nitro cold brew I’ve ever had. AND IT IS ABOVE AN ANTIQUE STORE.

So anyway. When I get home, I’ll be packing my stuff up to move in. and you know what I’m excited about? I’m excited about a blank slate in which to not put a bunch of crap. It’s like the ultimate act of decluttering. Do I take the crap or not?

I’ve already begun to think about what I will not be taking with me to our new home.

6 things i will not be taking to our apartment // just a little bit louder

  • More than 5 bottles of nail polish
    One of my 101 in 1001 items is to get rid of all but 5 bottles of nail polish and not buy any more until I use them all up. This seems like the absolute best time to do this. While there is something really definitively girly about having eighteen zillion shades of pink nail polish, I will never be able to use them up. They will always win. It’s a small victory over clutter and I’m going to claim it.

 

  • Bread and Milk
    If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen the post I made about being ready to do Whole30 in September. A few years ago I was 100% rocking the gluten/dairy-free lifestyle. It was my jam (on gf bread, of course). After my last Whole30, idk what happened. I went food crazy and I’ve been eating all the crap. Having empty cupboards and an empty fridge gives me the opportunity to NOT put things in there. Things like bread and milk and cheese. Instead, I can stock foods that are 100% good to put in my body and not have to worry about it.

 

  • More than 50 pens
    This was also on my 101 in 1001 list – to get rid of all but 50 pens. Justen wrote me a letter earlier this summer and in it mentioned that he didn’t have many pens and would have to get more. I freaked and told him NO WAY JOSE, because I have more pens than I should! Again, it’s that same setting myself up for a small clutter victory thing. Instead of bringing all infinityzillion (made that up) of my pens and then deciding what to keep, I’ll only bring what I’m going to keep.

 

  • Samples
    This is a big one, y’all. Today I was using up a teeny tiny bottle of cleanser I got in a Birchbox a few months ago and I realized that I need to just clean slate the samples. I’ve been trying to be more diligent with using them up, but there’s no way I’ll be able to get this under control. Honestly, I just need to go through and only bring the makeup/products I actually use, and then it will be a joy and not a burden to receive new samples in the mail each month. This one might be hard.

 

  • Trinkets I’ve kept out of sentimentality
    I’m the worst at keeping things because they were gifts. I have a really hard time getting rid of gifts, no matter how small or insignificant. Over the course of my life, I have collected quite the trinket collection. But since this will be Justen’s home too, I don’t want for him to have to be surrounded by tiny clutter-y gifts people have given me over my lifetime. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy taking care of these items and now it’s time to say goodbye to them and move on.
  • Books I’ll probably never read
    Whenever someone offers to loan me a book, I lose my mind. I have so many books, y’all. Books can be so cheap if you buy them at second hand bookstores, garage sales or thrift store 1/2 off days. Like the trinkets, I’ve accumulated a collection of books I’ll probably never read. Instead of bringing them with me to be a constant, daily reminder of how I don’t read as much as I should, I’m just going to put them back into the second hand bookstore, garage sale, thrift store cycle.

I’m sure that as I’m packing things up, I’ll find more things that aren’t worth taking with me – any suggestions? I’ll keep y’all updated. It’s like the biggest, most efficient decluttering ever. Just don’t take stuff. I love it and I’m so excited.

Plus.

This apartment, you guys.

 

I’ll take more pictures once I step into it and see it for myself πŸ˜‰

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Water your grass.

Social media is hard.

I’m not talking about the ever changing algorithms, shadow bans, relevant hashtags etc. (though those things are HARD). I’m talking about the whole comparison thing.

There are a few bloggers I hate follow. That’s what I call it. Hate following. These bloggers make my eyes roll from here all around the world. I look at their pictures and judge them and screenshot pictures and text other people judge-y things about them. A few months ago I admitted something about the #1 girl I hate follow. If she said “Stephanie! I’ll be in Portland! Come be my tour guide for the weekend!” I’d drop everything and go hang out with her.

The driving part of my hate following? Envy. Jealousy. Insecurity. I think this girl isn’t anything special, I think I’m nothing special, and yet somehow she is making money by being not special and I’m stuck staring at an “Add New Post” screen, trying to convince myself that any of my blog ideas are worth typing out.

Her income continues to grow. Her following and influence continues to grow.

and I’m sitting here sipping my iced coffee all alone, watching judging her Instagram stories and dreaming about one day making a consistent profit it off my blog. Healthy, right?

I made a goal to read a book of the Bible this month and since I have less than a week later, I decided I should do it. Like right now at this moment. Which meant it had to be a quick “easy” read. Easy in that there weren’t a lot of words, not that it was a light beach read. I decided… eh, how about 1 Peter. Just because I’ve read it but I can’t think of anything it says so that means it will be new to me.

This literally jumped out of the pages at me:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1)

I stopped to think about it. That envy word. I thought of this blog post. I typed in the title and then felt convicted to not get distracted from finishing the book. Then I got to this part, the words of Psalms repeated in the letter from Peter:

“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”

U.G.H.

Those two parts weighed so heavy on my heart. As I sat thinking about them, all I could think of was the idea of watering my grass. Not literal, but you know. When I sit and sip my iced coffee, cynicism leaking out of my heart, hate following the landscaping on someone else’s yard, you know what happens to mine? IT. DIES. It gets neglected and ugly and looks even less like what I’m wishing it was.

I was reminded of a Bob Goff quote I saved on my phone a few weeks ago:

Bob Goff Quote // stephanieorefice.net

The way to battle this really ugly envy I have growing inside of me is to, like Bob Goff says, be captivated with purpose. Or, as one of my favorite musicians, Jonny Lang, sings:

Jonny Lang Lyric // stephanieorefice.net

Instead of spending all of my energy hate following other people and then finding my creative energy tank run dry when it’s time for me to pour into my own stuff, I need to just patch the hate follow holes in my heart and my soul. It’s crazy how envy can really be the poison of your soul – it’s hard to be excited about anything you do, because you’re always comparing it or wondering if it’s as good or deciding it’s better and then trying to figure out why it has less appeal than someone else’s.

Y’all it feels so good to get this off of my chest. It’s been like a quiet, secret, invisible poison that’s been stifling my creativity and my joy.

Anyway. Social media is hard because I just see all the things and it makes me feel all the things, and a lot of those things aren’t good. I’m going to scroll less and blog more. Double click less and post pics more. Just work on my own thing without worrying about what other people are doing for awhile.

Have you ever felt this? Help me out with ideas of how you’ve combatted it.

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The rearview.

Last year I shared that one of my friends was sick. Before I left for Nashville, she was finally relieved of the cancer. My friend Donna, who has been so important to me, is gone.

I’ve been praying for her to have a baby for 8 years. I have physically (and awkardly tbh) put my hands on her stomach and prayed for her insides. All I can wonder is if the cancer was already growing in her brain at that time, and why would the Holy Spirit lead me to put my hands on her stomach and pray for her if this is what was going to happen.

All of those tears. and prayers. and this is where we’re at. Well, where I’m at.

Donna was my waiting person. While she desired and longed for a baby, I desired and longed for a husband. Thinking about my wedding feels really empty these days. Not my marriage. I’m looking forward to my life with Justen, but when I think about the actual day of my wedding I just feel overwhelmed with sorrow and heartache. Eight years ago, Donna and I met in this Waiting Room of our lives and she’s gone but I’m still sitting here dreading the day I walk towards Justen and turn back and see an empty chair. All in my heart, obviously, but still. There is a huge hole in my heart. and I am not the only one. Donna was so loved, because she was such a wonderful, loving person. Loving Donna and being loved by her has changed my life.

So I dread the day I walk ahead without her.

I committed to praying for Donna so often that I even wrote her name on my rearview mirror. You can imagine how hard the drive was the day I got the news of her tumor, always seeing her name each time I glanced back.

As I’ve been processing and beginning the grieving process (what an awful rollercoaster) I keep thinking about that picture and I had this realization.

Moving forward and stepping forward isn’t just about keeping your eyes glued straight ahead.

We are actually taught that we need to keep our current position in context. Sneak a peek at your side mirrors, watch where you’re going, and check your rearview mirror to see what’s behind you. The stuff behind you is literally a part of moving forward. Donna can’t physically go forward with me anymore. No more out of the blue Facebook messages at the very moment I need them the most. No more walks around camp talking about how much waiting can suck sometimes. No more tears shared between us. No more messages seeing how she’s doing as our camp friends announce the pregnancies she’ll whole-heartedly celebrate. Those things aren’t going to happen again.

But they’re never going to have not happened. They’re never going to be erased from my life, their impact never going to be undone because they’ve ceased happening. I get to glance at them and keep steering forward.

What an absolute treasure it has been to know Donna Parkinson. May all of you know someone so wonderful and cherish them (AND TELL THEM) every single day.

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10 Things I’m looking forward to about being married

It’s crazy to me that in a few months I’ll be married. I’m not counting down the days until our wedding, I’m counting down the days until I wake up and I’m married because while the wedding sounds awesome (and I’m thinking/guessing/hoping/planning it will be), I’m mostly looking forward to a new chapter in life with Justen.

Here are 10 reasons why I’m so excited to be married to Justen, why I’m looking forward to the days (weeks, months and years) after the wedding way more than I’m looking forward to the wedding itself. Β πŸ™‚

ONE // FINANCIAL UNITY
Today Justen sent me money for the flight I booked him. and I appreciated that, since I had paid for it, but I really can’t wait to be financially one. No more “you pay for that, I’ll pay for this,” or having to PayPal each other money or remember whose turn it is to pay for something. Not only that, but we can be united in our financial goals. I’m so grateful that Justen buys into the whole financial freedom mindset, because I know that once we get married and our finances combine, we’re going to start tackling our debt and working our way to financial freedom. It’s going to be awesome.

TWO // OUR OWN SPACE
We both live with our parents (rent is expensive, man!) and while we both love our parents (and each other’s parents!) sometimes we just want our own space to coexist. The afternoon before we took our engagement photos, we were alone at his house. Justen was getting ready and I was reading a book and I had this quick glimpse at what a Sunday afternoon could be like just the two of us AND I LOVED IT.

THREE // COMBINED GROCERIES
If I had a dollar for every time we’ve had to make quick stops at the grocery store because we needed to pick out dinner or pick up something for dinner or pick up something (etc) I’d have a lot of money. Buying groceries for one meal at a time (because we never really knew where we’d be for dinner) gets real expensive. In the spirit of Reason #1, I will be so glad to be able to go grocery shopping for the two of us and know what we have and what we need and not have to make daily trips to the grocery store.

FOUR // FOLDING JUSTEN’S TSHIRTS
Yo, Justen straight up hangs up his t-shirts. Like just regular t-shirts. I can’t wait to teach him about folding t-shirts to leave me more closet space. πŸ™‚

FIVE // STAYING IN
Because we both live with our parents, even having a night in means that one of us has to be out. The night is finished with one of us driving back home, and it never really feels like we’re just staying in. I’m looking forward to both of us relaxing in our pajamas, drinking wine and watching The Bachelorette. Not even going to edit that last sentence one tiny bit. Justen’s aware of what he’s in for.

SIX // NO MORE WORRYING ABOUT LOGISTICS
We live like 30 minute away from each other. It’s not a huge deal, could be worse, but there’s a bit of logistics involved in spending a day together. Where are we going to end up, who is going to drive, what to do about food, etc… I’ll be glad to know that we will start and end our days at the same place, making carpooling and such so much easier.

SEVEN // THINGS OF OUR OWN
Again, since we live with our parents, we have limited ‘stuff’ of our own. While we were registering, I was like… omg this stuff will be ours. Our own plates and silverware and towels and coffee pot and dish towels… and I got so excited. From that day forward all of those things will be ours.

EIGHT // SAVING MONEY
It will cost us more money to live together, but we will save so much money in not having to figure out places to go/eat and things to do. When it’s raining we’re forced inside, and most often you have to pay to do things inside (unless it’s walking around the mall, which we often do and gets boring. Paying for housing is an expected and normal life expense, whereas going out to eat or dropping money on movies isn’t.

NINE // WE CAN HANG OUT WITH OTHER PEOPLE MORE OFTEN
This is a weird one, but I’ve often felt like I don’t spend time with people who aren’t Justen because we don’t end up in the same place everything but I want to see him every day. By the time we’re both off work and get/make dinner, it’s like 7 pm and I don’t want Justen to have spent so much time driving to my side of the town and then having to go home. I think knowing that I’m guaranteed to end my day with him will give me space to make plans with other people instead of my daily plan being that I see Justen. This is hypothetical. Maybe I’ll be a person who gets married and turns into a hermit IDK.

TEN // WE CAN ACTUALLY TAKE ACTION ON OUR GOALS
For the past year or so, we’ve talked hypothetically about when we’re married. How we’d handle our money, how we’d handle dirty dishes, what goals we’d have for our finances and our family. and we’re creeping up on the day when those things aren’t hypothetical. How we handle our money becomes a daily reality. Our dirty dishes plan will be put into action. We’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work on our financial goals.

109 days until our first day married. Not that I’m counting or anything.

Also. I’ve never been married. and I’m sure there are a bunch of other things to look forward to regarding being married, but this is just what I’m looking forward to being different in 4 months. Feel free to share your own experience (or hopes/dreams) in this area. πŸ™‚

These pictures were by Sophia Rose Photography, who I am so excited to have photograph our wedding!

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6 tips to stop biting your nails

If there’s bad one habit I’ve carried with me for my whole life, it’s nail biting. It’s driven people mad, it’s made me really ashamed of my hands (and I was a piano player so that made me even ultra insecure), and I’ve even bled all over the piano because my nails were so short and I was playing so hard.

And yet.. I always acquired lots of nail polish. I’d paint my toe nails, but I always felt incomplete because I was too insecure to pain my finger nails.

Then in my senior year of high school I read an article (probably in like seventeen magazine) which mentioned that manicures were good for people trying to bite their nails because they’d go to bite them and be reminded of the work that went into taking care of them. IDK, but I started thinking beyond nails dipped in hot sauce and nasty flavored polishes to help me curb my nail biting habit.

I still struggle with nail biting, but here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me slow down my nail biting habit.

ONE // MANICURES

I’m going to have to agree with 16-years-ago seventeen magazine. When I finally overcame the guilt of having chewed down nails and went to get a manicure, I was absolutely amazed. It wasn’t just about painting my nails, but it was about taking care of all areas of my nails (the beds, the skin around it, the hands) and even when my nails were short I was able to be excited about them being well… um… manicured.

Keep in mind that if your nails are so short that you’re bleeding or it’s painful to the touch, a manicure is not for you just yet.

TWO // FILE YOUR NAILS

Yo, keep a nail file with you AT ALL TIMES, especially if you’re starting to get some traction with avoiding the nail biting. All it takes is having your nail snag on something and feeling tempted to stick that nail in your mouth and rip it off. I cannot tell you how many times my efforts to grow my nails out have been thwarted by things like sweaters and pop cans.

Julep Polish in (top to bottom) Β 1. Queen Anne 2. Cassidy 3. Randi 4. Vivien 5. Jessica
(sign up for a subscription and get your first box free here)

THREE // NAIL POLISH

Keeping your nails painted is a great way to avoid nail biting, especially if you go with bold, bright colors. As you bring your fingers to your mouth, the color is almost a warning that what you’re about to do might have some consequences – you’ll suddenly be forced to connect the idea of chipped, broken, messed up nails with the desire to bite your nails. I’ve found that keeping my nails painted is a really great way to avoid biting them. In fact, sometimes if I notice my nails are getting exceptionally long I will literally go “I NEED TO PAINT MY NAILS RIGHT NOW” because the longer my nails are, the more tempted I am to tear them to shreds. Why that is, I’m not sure.

I’m like a nail polish hoarder, so on my 101 list I made the goal of getting rid of all but 5 nail polishes and using them until they’re empty. When I came to Nashville, I only brought a few of them and I’ve been considering keeping these 5. I used to have a Julep subscription, and then I realized that I would literally never go through all of the nail polish I got at the rate I was acquiring them (I kept forgetting to skip the month!) and so I cancelled my subscription. But the polishes dry really fast and they have a huge plethora of colors.

Lollia Handcreme (my FAVORITE – wish is my fave scent) / VS Pink Warm & Cozy Hand Sanitizer

FOUR // LOTION AND HAND SANITZER

IDK if you’ve licked a pile of lotion or hand sanitizer lately, but they are 1. foul and 2. really bad for you. It’s kind of like dipping your fingertips in hot sauce but it also has a benefit – keeping your hands moisturized helps prevent hangnails, keep your hands soft and often give you a fun little scent. Β I’ve also found that when my hands are moisturized, I have no real desire to bite my nails. Like fresh out of the shower? Nail biting isn’t as fun or rewarding.

The hand sanitizer, though. If I’m desperate to not bite my nails (think hangnail and I don’t have a nail file) I will put hand sanitizer on. It is the biggest nail biting aversion I have at my disposal.

tips to help you stop biting your nails // stephanieorefice.net

PBJ Smoothie lip gloss / Root Pretty Pretty Balm in Ballet {10% off your first $25+ purchase if you shop with my link}

FIVE // LIP GLOSS, LIPSTICK + MINTS

Wearing colored lipstick or lip gloss helps because it creates a mess when you bite your nails. Seriously, I dare you to try and bite your nails without touching your lips. and then I dare you to put lipstick on and try to bite your nails without getting lipstick on your hands. There’s something about additional consequences beyond fingers hurting and short ugly nails that makes you stop and think twice.

I always try to keep mints on hand so I can pop them in my mouth as a deterrent. Nail biting is considered an oral compulsive habit, so giving your mouth something else to do (like mints or gum) helps, too.

tips to help you stop biting your nails // stephanieorefice.net

Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies on Amazon

SIX // VITAMINS

I converted to these gummy biotin vitamins after seeing Caitlin switch from Olly over to these Β (her arguments are solid – cheaper and more servings) and regardless of if it actually helps me grow my hair and nails longer and stronger, I feel like it does and sometimes it’s mind over matter. When I take vitamins to help my nails grow, I feel like I have to help my body out by biting them less. Probably all in my head, like most things are πŸ˜‰

My nails are definitely not long and beautiful, but if you’d seen where they were at when I was 15 and where they’re at now they look like they belong to a completely different person. I’m a big fan of taking whatever little tiny wins I can get, so these are all of the ways I have little victories over my nail biting habit.

Drop me a comment if you’ve got some tips and tricks I’ve never heard or if you have experience as a chronic nail biter!

ps painting my nails was totally on my list of goals for this month and that’s what sparked this blog post πŸ™‚

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