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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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one year

For one whole year, I’ve been holding hands with Justen Martian. It’s crazy how it feels like it was both yesterday and a lifetime ago. It all happened so quickly – we never had a “DTR” or a conversation about what was going on. We got coffee and as we walked to dinner we held hands, and that was that.

Having been single for so long, I feel like I went into our relationship with so many words of advice or people’s stories in my head and I had to sort it all out on my own. These are the things I’ve learned in the past year with Justen:

  1. Not everyone fights.
    A few people had told us they were excited for us to have our first fight, but to this day we still haven’t had one. It’s not that we don’t disagree, but we’ve never let it escalate to a fight.
  2. Advice doesn’t apply to everyone.
    Every relationship is completely unique, and while people may have really great intentions for their advice, sometimes it’s not helpful because it doesn’t apply to your relationship. There is no right or wrong, it just is.
  3. Being completely open is awesome. 
    I’ve read about the anxiety of talking about finances with someone you’re dating, and I’ve heard about having to have “hard conversations.”  Initially I told Justen we should have a monthly dinner where we could address any and everything that was on our hearts, stuff that was maybe hard but never found the context of a conversation. We did that for three or so months and we realized that we had nothing left over to talk about that meal, because our relationship is a safe place to be open about whatever we’re feeling at any given moment. I’m so grateful for that.
  4. A sigh of relief is better than butterflies.
    Justen’s never given me a flurry of butterflies and made me feel giddy, but when he shows up at my house or I walk into a coffeeshop and see him sitting there, my whole being lets out a huge sigh of relief because I feel more complete when I’m with him. I’d rather have that than the flighty feeling of butterflies.

Here’s to another year of mochas, Disneyland, road trips, late night conversations, chips + salsa, Bachelor Mondays, and hugs. I’m a much better person because of everything that’s happened the past 365 days with Justen Martian by my side. I can’t wait to see what the next year (and beyond) holds for us. <3

On to year two. <3

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Rules for Self Discovery

Desiring Egypt // stephanieorefice.net

You know what will rock your identity?
Moving from one community of people to another in a quick time, especially when the community of people are both your church family and your co-workers on both ends.

This same thing happened, a little differently,  when I left SoCal and moved back to the Northwest. It’s not that I changed or anything, but it was like I was handed a blank canvas with the same paint and given the opportunity to paint something new. Get that? Same paint. The same foundation was there, but I got to make it look different if I wanted.

Two months ago I quietly left the church I was raised in. That denomination has a really strong identity – its own language and yearly events, global community, consistent program names, matching outfits – and then just like that, I stepped away. I moved towards a new group of people who already know and love Justen and started to squirm my way in.

A new canvas for my paint, if you will.

I keep thinking of this thought from the brilliant A. W. Tozer.

Rules for Self Discovery:

  1. What we want most

  2. What we think about most

  3. How we use our money

  4. What we do with our leisure time

  5. The company we enjoy

  6. Who and what we admire

  7. What we laugh at

 

Have any of you ever “started over” in a new community? Has it given you an identity crisis at all or is it just me? ;D

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When Jesus says “No.”

You know how people say that God answers prayers with three answers: yes, no and wait? I think that saying is dumb. God’s not like a Magic 8 ball with only a few generic responses. I think sometimes in my life God has answered my prayers with “LOL OK if you really want it…..” which is neither yes, no or wait. Sometimes I think he answers prayers with complete silence, which isn’t “wait.” I understand the heart behind limiting God’s answers to our prayers, but I don’t agree with it.

The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind, and not just for me.

One Saturday morning I woke up with a heavy heart. I was attending the worst kind of funeral and praying for one of my lifelong friends and another one of my best friends brothers. There was a lot on my heart, and I got frustrated because I sometimes feel like God isn’t actually doing anything in the lives of people around me – do you ever feel like that? Like your prayer request list is long and your praise list is full of who God is, or ways you’ve seen him work in the past, but nothing you’ve been praying for seems to turn into a praise?

I got to thinking about when Christ was on earth. One of my favorite blog posts is called When Christ Wasn’t There, and I think about that lesson often – what Jesus teaches us when he seems to be staying away from our hurt. But sometimes Jesus walks straight into our hurt, like the time Jesus was going into the town of Nain and as he was walking in, a funeral procession was walking out. A widow had lost her only son.

Jesus saw her and his heart went out to her and he told her not to cry. Then he brought the dead son back to life and gave him back to his mom. We read that in Luke 7:11-16. It’s a really beautiful story. Especially for that woman and her son and everyone in the presence of that miracle.

idk

…but what about all of the funerals Jesus DIDN’T interrupt? What about those widows, those mourners? What about the parents whose child Jesus DIDN’T heal, or the blind man who never saw?

 

There’s a weird peace in that. You know.. it’s just Jesus doing his Jesus thing and healing some and not others. Not because one is better, one is favored, one is more loved or important… but because Jesus just does what Jesus does and that rarely actually makes sense to people. Like seriously, if I was God’s PR person I’d be requesting a meeting to discuss what appears to be the series of poor PR decisions he’s made in the lives of those I love recently.

but I am not God’s PR person. I’m not called to strategize and evaluate the decisions of God. I think if anything I’m called to just stand there in the face of all the crap of life,  wrap my arms around the people I love, weep and say “I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.”

and there we have it. One more thing not required of me – to know. I don’t think I want to know, because I think the burden of that knowledge is far too heavy for my puny little human heart, my limited human mind, to bear. Adults often spare children the hard stuff of life; we soften all the D words – divorce, disease, death… and we let them glimpse the reality of grief, but we spare them the full weight of it. and maybe that’s what God does for us. Maybe he spares us the weight of why babies die and why changing your Facebook profile picture to say “PRAY FOR THIS PERSON,” doesn’t necessarily spring Him into action.

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

I keep trying to tell God what would really make him look good to nonbelievers – healing, restoration, healthy babies, financial favor…. and God continues to interrupt some funerals and not others, to heal some lepers and not others, to bring eyesight to some but not all. I don’t know why, but realizing that this isn’t some new pattern of behavior for Jesus has helped me have some sort of peace. God’s will be done, and I doubt I’ll ever understand it on this side of Heaven.

I don’t know, man.

I just don’t know. 

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Emotionally De-cluttering, Part 1: Giving things away.

April 2nd of 2015 was one of the coolest days of my life.
I was in California, visiting the Halters, with the boy I was dating/really liked.

I had my Instax and we took a bunch of pictures.

stephanieorefice.net

Whenever I take pictures with the twins, we divide them up at the end of my visit. They keep some and I keep some. Naturally, I kept that picture in the top leftish corner of me and the boy I was all about. I tucked all of my pictures into the collection of Instax that I kept in my wallet.

Four days later, that boy kind of messed my life up. and every time I opened my wallet to proudly show people the little loves of my life, I’d have to quickly shuffle past that picture of us. I couldn’t throw it away, because I was so hopeful that we could be friends again at some point. And maybe it wouldn’t be a picture of two people who had some great romantic love story, but perhaps it could be a testimony of reconciliation and forgiveness and the kind of love story that is often overlooked – the friends through thick and thin kind.

I held on hope for that even when he blocked me on Twitter. On his personal account and non-profit account and faith account and business account. and when he blocked me from his account in instagram. and unfriended me on Facebook. and blocked me from his non profit account on instagram. and banned my blog page from liking his non-profit Facebook… and his business Facebook… and when he blocked me on Pinterest… and when he banned me from liking his business page from my personal Facebook… and when he finally blocked me from liking his business on Instagram. It happened every few days over the course of two months, and I was radio silent the entire time, praying that the storm would die down and I could approach him with white flag waving, asking if it was safe to come out yet.

One day during the summer I was at camp, journaling. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to write his name in my new journal. I didn’t want this journal to be full of confusion and hurt. I wanted it to be hopeful and full of grace. I pulled out my pictures to tape one into my journal, and I saw the picture. I looked at it and cried a little bit because I couldn’t throw it away. It wasn’t trash. Knowing him was a special year of my life, regardless of how it ended, and I didn’t have the hardness of heart to throw it away.

So I ran to my friend Donna. The one who has been so divinely placed into my life to cry with me and to let me cry with her. Donna, who knows so deeply what it means to wait on the Lord. Donna, who has always shown me how to hurt with grace and gentleness. and I asked her if she would please take my picture and do with it whatever she thought was best.

donna // stephanieorefice.net

In September, I was hurting. and I wrote about Donna sending me a message at the very moment I needed her. In the message, she told me about that picture. She’d taken it all the way back to Australia and after having washed a certain pair of shorts THREE TIMES, she reached into the pocket and pulled out that picture.

You know how when people clean, they divide things into piles like KEEP, GIVE AWAY, THROW AWAY?
Donna let me give my emotional clutter to her. By accepting that picture and giving me a reassuring hug, she took the massive weight of a tiny picture into her life.

Sometimes when things hurt us and we don’t want to be reminded of it but we can’t bear to throw it away, we need to give it away to someone who recognizes the importance of it but who is more emotionally attached to us than the thing; who can be trusted to do what they see fit with our pain.

Right now one of my favorite songs of hope just came on shuffle, and the words of the song seem appropriate to share in light of this looking back on one of the most freeing moments of 2015.

“One, two, three, four steps
Take a little more with you
Show me one more step in the world
Thats all I need to move on.
-Will Reagan & United Pursuit

A little more. One more step. That’s all.

People of God by Will Reagan & United Pursuit // stephanieorefice.net

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