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Leaky ceilings and hurricane perspective.

A few nights ago, we bought a rug. We thought it was this big massive area rug but since we’re the kind of people who don’t look at measurements or anything, it turned out to be a rather….  well, medium sized area rug. We decided to move around our furniture (aka our couch and love seat) to see if we could find a better arrangement that would allow for a dining room table (which we still don’t have).

This is a picture of the rug. I saw on Pinterest that this is 100% how you are NOT supposed to put a rug but… idk, sorry Pinterest?

We were sitting on the couch in a new place we hated when I heard some drops.

Let me be honest here. When our old shower is left on the shower option, sometimes it drips. So I thought it was dripping. and I was too lazy to go take care of it so I said “What is that noise?” Justen went to investigate and we discovered that it was a drip; it was the drip from the first rain of fall crack in the ceiling above our bed onto the already soaked bedding underneath it.

Like… soaked. All the way through to the mattress.

We quickly pulled off the bedding and mattress and moved the bed out from underneath the leak. We grabbed our mop bucket and put it under the leak. Justen called the emergency maintenance number and was told we had to wait until the morning and I guess just sleep on the couch. Then we realized there was ANOTHER leak, found something to catch that water, and Justen called again to update them (we’re those people, y’all).

As we were finishing the dinner making process, kind of lamenting about the leak and having to not stay in the apartment we pay for, Justen said “well, at least you’re not having to find another place to stay because a hurricane is coming.” and I said “yeah, or at least we didn’t discover a leak while waiting for a hurricane to pass,” and then we spent some time talking about all of the ways the situation could have been much worse.

One of the best descriptions I’ve ever read about obsessive compulsive disorder is that a person with OCD hears hoof prints and thinks zebras, not horses. Like… OCD gets you to think of the most destructive and often least likely option and will not let you break free of the worry of that .0000024% option. It also feels really good when it’s stuff like a friend not calling you back or if someone says “I need to talk to you.” Literally if someone says “I need to talk to you,” I jump to the conclusion that I have wronged and disappointed them in some way and this meeting is to tell me that I should jump off a cliff. I’ve NEVER had that happen, but I still assume that every. single. time.

It’s easy – and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a pro at this – to enjoy splashing in the puddles of bitterness in our hearts. It’s actually kind of fun, if you think about it. It feels good to remind ourselves of how right we are – how entitled we are to certain reactions and responses – and how wrong other people are. Or, as someone much wiser (Frederick Beuchner) said:

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

but it never ends well. Dwelling in that bitter puddle just leaves you wet, muddy, cold and miserable. There’s no promise of warmth or hot chocolate or coming in from the cold. It just keeps you out there beyond the quick fun. Or, as FB sums it up:

The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

I’ve been referencing a dry, tough season I’m going through in this post and this post. I’ve been spiritually empty and it’s been producing side effects of envy, bitterness, and a weird pride. I’ve let monsters dwell in my head and my heart and I needed – more desperately than I even realized – for Justen to put that small, inconvenient leak into perspective.

You’re gonna get out of life what you’re looking for. Jonny Lang has a song called What You’re Looking for, and in it he sings these words that I’m realizing are so much more true than I’ve realized:

If you’re looking for love, you’re gonna find it
If you’re looking for faith, you’re gonna find it
If you’re looking for hope, you’re gonna find it
you’re gonna finally find what you’re looking for

If you’re looking for fear , you’re gonna find it
if you’re looking for trouble, you’re gonna find it
if you’re looking for love, you’re finally gonna find what you’re looking for

Cause the fact is that’s there’s only one truth
And the only difference is a point of view

Time to go look for the things I want to find.

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WTF, September?!

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I KNOW these posts are supposed to be all like “Hello, September!” and all excited about the smell of pumpkin spice in the air and the chill of fall settling and the flannels whispering my name to get out from the back of my closet but WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK, IT’S ACTUALLY SEPTEMBER TODAY.

and I haven’t posted on my blog in almost an entire month.

crying face emoji

Since the last time I posted, I’ve driven across the country – up to Seattle twice, moved into an apartment, spent 2 weeks babysitting (one away from home, one in a 3 hour commute away), and started processing life without a job.

Nothing major.

I keep thinking I WANT to blog, but then I see a pile of unlisted inventory and think, “oh crap, that’s unearned money right there.” Blogging doesn’t make me actual, consistent money. Selling other people’s trash on Poshmark does.

I’ll make a separate post with my September goals, but honestly I can’t even remember any of my August ones. Life happened super fast this month and I feel like I’m lucky to have made it this far without a negative bank account balance and still getting a solid night’s sleep. Little victories, y’all.

Something cool, though. We currently don’t have a dining table, and until we do… the wall where we eventually will put one makes for really great, easy Poshmark photos. One day I’ll get a lighting kit, but until then…

Looks much better than just laid on top of a white blanket, if you ask me! Also I found all of those things at the GOODWILL OUTLET, NO JOKE. Just saying. Also, if you’ve never used Poshmark, you can use my code (BWCTE) and get $5 off your first purchase on the app! If you’re interested in something from my closet, I’ll hook you up with a discount in addition to the $5 off ;D

I thought, “it would be nice to ease into blogging with a cute little apartment tour,” and then I realized that I still haven’t even unpacked everything and that I should probably do that first, and that’s the point where I put a few things away and then walk down the street to get a coconut mocha.

In other news, on Monday we’re starting Whole 30 because I am in desperate need of a food reset. It’s so weird, after my first Whole 30 I went INSANE. I started eating EVERYTHING. A lot of it was because I had no idea what Whole 30 was really about. I’ve been (slowly) reading It Starts With Food and I recently ordered The Whole 30 and I now have such a deeper appreciation for the heart behind The Whole 30, and I am very excited.

Also we’re having a record heat wave in the Pacific Northwest and if I don’t at least get a mild, healthy tan out of it I’m going to breathe fire. Speaking of sun, why is sunscreen so expensive? Justen and I were at Walgreens and sunscreen is like $10 for a bottle! Which I obviously wasn’t going to pay so instead I spent $22 unnecessary dollars on drugstore beauty products because they had a buy 2 get the 3rd free deal going on. You know me, the poster child for discipline and self-control. 

One more thing. Here’s a picture of me from the farmer’s market down the street. I was really pissed at Justen for not knowing how to make me look like an Instagram Celebrity, and then I ended up killing those flowers like 2 days later and I still have no idea how I did that…. any ideas?

RIP perfect Farmer’s Market flowers. You were $15 of temporary fun. Also that shirt was $7 on clearance at H&M. I tried finding the exact one on their site but I couldn’t. So here’s a bunch of other ruffle sleeves from H&M. Some of them are dirt cheap. But that’s coming from a girl who won’t spend $10 on sunscreen but spends $22 on drugstore makeup to get one thing free, so what do I know.

Okay one actual last thing. Anybody here know Taylor Swift? I think she should read the book Boundaries. I’m always kind of lukewarm about my feelings for her, but I’m currently stuck in eye roll mode when she comes up.
I missed y’all. Let’s keep in touch. XO.

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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.  🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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)  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.  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  (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 😉

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 🙂

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