7 Steps to Get Ahead of Your Finances

Money is not a four letter word, nor is it a lottery ticket. Here are some ways your can make sure your money is working for you and not the other way around!

Money is not a four/ five letter word, nor is it a lottery ticket. It’s not something to be afraid of or something to take lightly.

How do you get ahead of your finances? What are some steps you can take today that will make future you very happy!

These steps are some of the steps I used throughout college, and I was able to graduate without dept. Praise Jesus! All to Him! These steps I’ve used throughout my life that help me use money to my advantage, not the other way around. These are also steps that, when I don’t follow, I begin to feel like I’m treading water, and that my finances are starting to own me.

TAKE A REAL LOOK AT WHERE YOU’RE AT NOW.

No holds barred, where are you at now? Do you have $10,000 in debt? Do you have $100,000 in debt? Either way the first way to start getting out of that debt is to be honest with yourself of where you’re at. This pre-step is so important because we are good at ignoring what we don't want to accept.

I don’t want to you accept and sit in that debt, but being honest with yourself will allow you to take a real look at what you can and can’t do right now to move yourself towards your overall goal.

TRACK YOUR EXPENSES BOTH NECESSARY AND FRIVOLOUS

Now, don’t go “cold turkey” on all of your extra expenses, and sit and eat beans all day. You’re not taking care of your mental or physical health if you do that.

What is healthy for you to do though, is to pull up your credit card statement or your bank statements and take thirty minutes to track your spending over the past week.

Are you spending the majority of your money on your rent, food, travel, movie tickets, etc. Take a real look at where your money is going on a weekly and monthly basis. If you’re not sure where it’s going how can you get better at tracking that?

DO YOUR RESEARCH

The first and one of the most exciting steps in the process of getting ahead of your finances is to research. Find the areas where you can save by doing very little, or where you can stop spending more by doing very little.

When I first did this I found that if I were to “lump sum” pay my car insurances for the next six months as opposed to paying month to month, I was going to save over $150 dollars. That’s more than what one month of my insurance was. Why would I not do that!

Look into how you can set up auto payments. Do you have months that you get busy and forget to pay the bill until too late and now you have a late fee. Nothing is more disappointing and frustrating than having to pay more for rent just because you’re paying on the 4th instead of the 3rd. IF you can set up auto payments, do it!

It will help your mind too because your don’t have to think about that anymore. All of your major bills will get paid without you even having to pay them attention on a detailed monthly basis after the original research.

Take that free money and stop paying unnecessary extra money!

TAKE OUT $50 FROM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT AND NOTICE HOW QUICKLY OR SLOWLY IT GOES

We live in a world where plastic is king. We swipe, and the money is gone.

It gets real when you have to physically hand over your hard earned cash for that pair of jeans. It’s also amazing to see how you spend physical money.

Does that $50 last you all week, or are you out to dinner and over half is already gone?

This small demonstration can be eye opening. There is no way not to notice where the money is going when you’re physically giving it to someone.

IS YOUR PLASTIC WORKING FOR YOU OR AGAINST YOU

I say the above to also say this as well; if you know you can still pay as much attention to swiping as handing over cash, are you using that to your advantage?

If you have a credit card, is that card adding up points that you can use for flights or to pay off a credit card bill after a few months?

There are also cards that will give you more back based upon what you purchase. I know myself and I love eating out, it’s something I have to watch, but also my credit card is one that will give me double points for food or travel. I’m turning my challenges into my successes.

GIVE BACK

What are you giving to your church or community?

Is there a need in the community that you can put some of your money towards?

This is such a necessary step of faith! It’s something that can be difficult, but will make all the difference. I say this to you as much as I say to myself! God says test me. What have you done recently to take that trust step and give back?

FIND ACCOUNTABILITY

Find a partner in your quest to get ahead of your finances. Is there someone in your life who is also looking to get ahead of their finances that you can lean on?

Look to that friend who you know will call you out, and ask them to. If you know you’re going to have a conversation every Saturday with someone who will ask you the hard questions from the past week, you’re more likely to not spend the money because you know you’ll feel guilty having to explain why you did that.

You can also talk about your struggles together. If you have a hard week and you really just need to spend some money, having that person in your life say “It’s ok, we’ll go hard next week.” is so helpful. We’re all human and there are times that if we tighten too much, we’re going to crack. Have that person be your backup, and be their support as well!

Two cords working together towards a goal is going to be much stronger than one cord trying to hold that one cord by themselves and wondering why the swing is starting to sag.

LOOKING FOR MORE RESOURCES?

Both my parents and I have used Dance Ramsey’s books to help get us on the right path! It’s hard, but living like no one else now really does add up, see what I did there!

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How to Relax Mentally

Life can be difficult sometimes, but it's important to relax mentally as well as physically. Here's some step how to relax mentally!

Life can be difficult sometimes, but it's important to relax mentally as well as physically. Here are some practical ways to relax mentally! In August I was very blessed to have multiple days off in a row, and I used them to their full advantage. A couple of friends and I decided we were going to road trip to the grand canyon and back. It's important to allow your mind to reset and relax as well as finding ways to allow your body to physically rest. The mind is a muscle and just like it's important to take a day off of exercise to allow your muscles to recoup, it's also important to allow your mind to relax. 

REALIZE THAT IT TAKES TIME

Before any of the "how to's" start this is the first step because when you first realize that your mind needs to relax as much as your body, it's easy to try to force relaxation. To "make" your mind relax in order to be more productive later on, but are you really relaxing if it's forced? No, the answer to that is no. It's going to take some practice and repetition to have your mind realize that it can relax.

IT'S ALSO GOING TO TAKE REPETITION 

Just like when you're first working out, if you haven't actively helped your mind relax, it probably isn't going to know what to do at first. When you first start to lift weights, your muscles shake because they're not use to lifting that weight. However, after repetition, your muscles start to realize that this is what they do now and they adapt. The mind is the same way. When you realize how much this is important and that it isn't a one time thing, your mind will start to relax well. 

Here are some of the ways to relax well:

  1. READ A PHYSICAL BOOK BEFORE BED

  2. GO OUTSIDE

  3. THREE MINUTE MEDITATION

  4. STEP AWAY FROM YOUR PHONE

  5. KICK IT KID STYLE (COLOR)

  6. SET A 20 MINUTE TIMER AND CLEAN

  7. WRITE IT DOWN

READ A BOOK BEFORE YOU GO TO BED, NO PHONE!

We all know the benefits of reading, but we all also ignore the downside of phone use before going to sleep. You’ve had a difficult day, and you’re ready to sleep…but now you’ll spend the next 30 minutes or more scrolling through Instagram looking up pictures of Bali. Switch it up for a week and I promise you’ll thank me! Allow your mind to start to slow down and put itself in a place where it can relax while sleeping. Reading not only helps your mind focus on other things, but it also helps you have a more sound sleep!

Click to get the book I’ve been reading!! I even love the cover. Become who you were meant to be?! Yes please!

GO OUTSIDE

Take a hike! No, I meant it, or a walk. Breath the fresh air in, and don’t spend all of the time skipping in your phone to find the next song. Remember when we had to listen to the entire song? I do! You can go with some friends to the park and play frisbee, or during your lunch at work step outside. This also helps if you’re stressed or have a job where you look at a screen the entire day. Set yourself a timer and talk a literal “walk around the block”.

THREE MINUTE MEDITATION

This has been a game changer for me! Let’s say your studying for your final and you start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of content, or say you’re working at your desk and realize you’ve been answering emails for an hour. Take just three minutes and stop! Focus on your breathing and your body. Slowly close your eyes and allow your mind to step away from that work for just a moment. You’ll not only be more focused when those three minutes are up, but it will be a more productive study session if you allow your mind to relax than if you had just “pushed through” and studied for the entire three hours.

STEP AWAYS FROM YOUR PHONE

Have you ever gotten the app that shows you how many times you opened your phone in just one day? It feels wrong seeing that number, you think “I couldn’t possibly have opened the phone that many times.” But you did! I went on a hike the other day, and it was honestly so nice to lose service! I couldn’t check any social media, and no one from work could call me, it was just a moment where we could hike and enjoy being outside.

When you’re at home or you’re out to eat with friends, you could turn off your phone! It sounds crazy at first, but after the first moment it will become your new favorite thing to do!

KICK IT KID STYLE

A few years ago coloring for adults made a comeback because of how it has such a wonderful way of having our minds relax! Now you don’t have to spend adult coloring book money. Why were those so expensive? But you can draw something, or create a mood tracker and color it in, print something from online and color that, go to the craft store and grab a canvas and paint that, etc.! Let your mind get creative with it, remember when we use to color skin tones purple and blue, do it! The world is your oyster in your coloring world!

SET A 20 MINUTE TIMER AND CLEAN

Clean just one room or multiple, when you’re cleaning you’ll be amazing how much you can get done in 20 minutes. Do those chores that will help you later in the week. I’ve talked about this in a previous post, but it’s those small 20 minute increments that if we do everyday lead to better mental self care overall!

WRITE IT DOWN

This may sound counter intuitive, but it's not. Write down your to-do list, and your wish list. When your brain is trying to remember everything you have to do throughout the day or the week, you're not really focused, because there is a part of your brain trying to remember all of the things you have to do and want to do this week. When you write it, down your brain can release those thoughts because it knows you have it saved somewhere else.

BONUS TIP: Keep a notepad by your bed so that when you're trying to sleep and you realize you have this extra thing to do tomorrow, you can write it down and forget about it and sleep well!

LOOKING FOR MORE?

2 Steps Each Day for a Full Week of Self Care

5 Things You can do Today to take better care of Yourself

Learn How you Recharge and Why That’s Important

10 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Day

Life can be difficult sometimes, but it's important to relax mentally as well as physically. Here's some step how to relax mentally!
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A Week of Self-Care

Weeks fly by so fast! What are you doing this week to improve your self-care and your life? Here are some real steps you can take to move you forward!

Weeks have this way of going by so fast that we don't really remember too many details of each of them. If there is something substantial that happens we may remember, but it's important to do our best to not let the weeks slip by, because those weeks become months, and then we look back and we haven't really remembered most of the year!

This week if you're up for the challenge I want you to walk through the week with new eyes, consciously trying to remember details of the week. Taking a step back and moving one day at a time. Self-Care is such an important part of being consciously in the week. 

Bonus Self-Care: Let's also add another step in the mix and track your mood throughout the week. I really like doing this because it gives me a small moment each day to look back and see how I acted each day. Was I grateful today, did I let the stresses of life get to me too much, was I just neutral today, or was I truly happy today? 

Let's take a week together to have a self care week:

Sunday

I want to start with Sunday because I feel so many of us feel that the week starts with Monday, but it's important to prepare before going into work. And if you have a work schedule where Monday isn't your "Monday" then shift this to be whatever your second day in the week off is! 

On Sunday do something that replenished your energy (see this post for some detailed tips). Do something that makes you feel rested. For some that could be hanging out with friends or family, and for some it could be an escape to the mountains or beach. The goal of this day is to help your mind be prepared for the week. Also, eat well. Do two days of meal prep for either lunches or dinners, this way during the first section of your week you don't have to even think about what you're going to eat for dinner, you already have planned ahead and know you're set up for success. 

Monday

Get up early and get to work ten minutes early. Use those ten minutes to your advantage. If you work in a highly computer based job, use those ten minutes to do the first scan of your schedule for the day and print it off. I've found that so helpful to not jump directly into emails but make sure my mind knows where I need to be throughout the day. If you need to change into a uniform, use that time to relax into your shift as opposed to rushing and already feeling stressed even before you start.

When you get home, eat your dinner you've preplanned without looking at your phone. Have you ever gotten that app that shows you how many times you unlock your phone in a day? It's a scary app to get my friend! 

Take your time eating and enjoy your food. Read a book, or watch TV without also searching online. I can promise you you'll find new lines from your favorite show that you didn't remember. 

Tuesday

What are your plans for the weekend coming up? Start planning now so that you have something to look forward to throughout the week. Your mind is most excited when you have two future plans or trips planned. this way when you're doing one you also know you have another coming up. For me: This month I have three different friends coming to visit, so after one leaves I still know there are exciting trips ahead and more adventures to come! 

By this time your meal prep is getting low. Take tonight and cook something, while taking on the phone figuring out what you're up to this weekend. I'be been obsessed with street tacos recently!! You really can never go wrong with a good street taco recipe!! 

Wednesday

Do a mask before bed. It does not matter if you're male or female, a good mask before bed really does make a difference for your skin. You've made it half way though the work week and you should celebrate that! Also, doing something small that makes you feel pampered will make you feel like you're taking care of yourself. I love a “sleep” geared lotion! Something that is meant to help me sleep more sound, or something that smells just so wonderful and relaxing!

Set a timer for twenty minutes and clean your home. Put on your favorite Pandora station and clean up. If your home is organized your stress levels will also stay lower, trust me on this, I've tried it both ways. Having your home as your escape and haven from the world is so important. Plus if you've been given the blessing to be able to afford a roof over your head, no matter how many square feet, it's important to be a good stuard of it. 

Thursday (it's not Friday but you're so close!)

Go grocery shopping after work. "Why would I do that Joy, that's what the weekend is for?" 

I'm glad you asked! Who loves to fight the crowds on Saturday morning or who wants to grocery shop on Sunday afternoon? No-one, that's who. Get the chore done today so that your weekend is truly a weekend. By this time in the week, your home is clean, and once your fridge is restocked all you have to do this weekend is the fun things you want to as opposed to what chores you "have" to do!

Friday!

You did it!! I'm so proud of you. It's the last day of work before relaxing/ doing your side hustle. The world is your oyster. If you love every second of your job or you can't wait for 5pm every Friday, it's important to take a weekend. You'll actually be more productive at work throughout the week if you give your mind this time to think of something besides work.

Go out after work with friends and get a drink, or go out for ice cream at night. Something that puts your mind at ease and allows you to laugh!! Laughter is so important to mental health, and as adults we don't do it nearly as much as we should. Do a game night, or go to a throwback night at the bar. Something where you're laughing and hanging with people who you enjoy.

Saturday 

The world is your oyster my friend. You've cleaned and done grocery shopping. You probably have some laundry to do, but that's about it. 

Get yourself a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop and relax! See a movie, host a movie night, eat some good food, and see the sun! 

So, how did you do? Did you make it through the entire week or did you pick the days you need help with the most? Either way if you've even made one step in the "self-care" direction, this post was worth it! 

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How do you Recharge? Let Me Explain

On a particularly stressful week or day. What can you do to make sure you're recharging your own batteries? Here's a few tips and tricks - AVintageJoy

I recently wrote a post about the most important aspects of life that I've learned since I was 20! If you haven't read that post, take a second and go read that and come back. It will help you understand this post on a deeper level. Learning to be an adult is a weird transition filled with expectations of what should and shouldn't be happening. 

One of the lessons I've learning though that I didn't really mention in that post, because I felt like I needed to expand upon so much so that I feel it deserves its own post. That topic is: Recharging your own personal battery.

During a stressful season or week have you learned how to recharge yourself in a healthy and productive way? If you have, I'm so proud of you!! Great Job!! If it's something that you're still working through or struggling with, this post is mainly for you!

One of the way I used to work through a particularly stressful week was to "pushing through" or "just getting through it", and sometimes that can be a strength, but sometimes is not the best option to tap into. What are other ways you can work through a particularly busy season of life? 

Part of living a balanced life is realizing the days or weeks where you're super unbalanced. How do you take steps in the right direction? "Let's talk about that" (said in my best Dr. Phill voice)

Discovery Phase

Let's take some time to learn about the "how" of recharging, this is so different for everyone it's important to learn for yourself how you recharge.

1// The first step is to look at your day to day behavior and start to consciously think about what makes you smile? Don't write down anything just yet, just put that thought in your brain so that you start to realize what makes your smile throughout the day. What do you feel that brings energy or life back into your day? Is it when you complete a task, or you know a fun event is coming up in the week?

For the sake of an example, let's just use me. Below are two ways that I noticed I got energy from. 

  • I find energy in the moments when I'm around people I don't have to be "on" with. People that I can just be myself with. 
  • I also find energy when I know there are two exciting things coming up. It could be as simple as I know I'm getting coffee tomorrow morning before work, or I know I'll be off this Sunday so I can go to Church.

2// The second step is to look at yourself in real eyes and think: Am I an introvert or an extrovert?

Do I truly enjoy being around people, or give the choice would I rather go to a bookstore by myself and read? Also, by being an introvert it doesn't mean that you don't like people, or by being an extrovert it doesn't mean that you can stand being by yourself, but we're all somewhere on the spectrum. Where do you stand?

3// Take an entire week to and step back, jot down things throughout your day that make you smile. This is closely related to the first step, but it is a small action your taking to work towards making yourself recharged! This isn't what you feel makes your happy, but real time/ in the moment things that make you smile.

To keep going with our example:

Some of mine were:

  • Waking up when my body wakes up, not making myself sleep in longer or wake up earlier
  • When theres a fridge full of real food
  • Knowing my house is clean
  • A really good cup of coffee
  • The smell of a really wonderful candle burning
  • Taking the time to listen to worship music/spend time with God
  • Watching about an hour or under of TV (any longer than that and I started to feel guilty)
  • Doing small exercises before bed

Action Phase 

Now that you've discovered some small ways that you, consciously or maybe unconsciously, recharge yourself or your day, it's time to act on those! 

4// How can you organize your day to still get all you need to accomplish done, but also include some items from your list? Do you need to wake up 10 minutes earlier to make your really good cup of coffee that starts your day in the right direction? Do you need to spend twenty minutes before bed to clean your house so that when you wake up you feel calm?

Bonus Tip: I've found that, although I feel like my mom talking to my phone, I really love having Siri set a 20 minute timer and cleaning my house at night. 20 minutes doesn't feel overwhelming in the amount of time, and it's crazy how many things you can clean when you have 20 minutes! 

5// Intentionally take 10 minutes each day to pamper yourself. I know that sounds like a given, but in a world where we're always moving and theres always another meeting to get to, it's hard to carve out time to intentionally do something nice for ourselves. I tend to do mine before bed, or before I go out. This is a universal guide because it doesn't matter if you're an extrovert or introvert, if you're not taking care of your body, you won't feel as recharged as you could throughout the day. 

Some ideas to pamper yourself can include:

  • Make a smoothie in the morning so that you eat before leaving the house
  • Put lotion on before going to bed so that your body doesn't dry out at night
  • Learn a better/ more effective way to put your makeup on that saves you both time and you still look great!
  • Wear your favorite neckless no matter what day of the week it is!
  • Set an appointment to see your doctor to do a routine checkup. 

A very small way I did this recently was to paint my nails. That sounds so small, but every time I picked something up, having that little sparkle was a reminder that I'm taking care of myself too. When is the last time that you put the tips you watch into action? When is the last time you put on an at home face mask, or did a moisturizing hair treatment?

Bonus Tip:

Do something that gets you "out of your box" as one of my friends says. Do something for someone else that has nothing to do with you, or your own goals. Buy someones coffee behind you in line for no reason, give a tip to the person who rings up your items at the grocery store, bring flowers to a friend, etc. Although these seem so small, they will make such a wonderful impact of your day and theirs. And you're helping someone else recharge their day in a very small way! 

Now go out there and take some real steps to live a more balanced life! Recharge yourself when you're feeling low, don't let your battery run out! You're the one responsible for knowing when you're getting low! You've got this! Take a breather we're all working through it. 

 

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The Most Important Lessons I've learned Since I was 20!

Life lessons come in stages, here are the one I've learned since I was 20 that I've found most helpful!!

There are so many birthday posts about "Things I've learned in 20-something years". I am obsessed with those posts!! Recently, however, I've started thinking about things that I haven't learned from my entire time on earth, but what are things that I've learned in the past years between "YAY I'm 20!" and "I can't believe I'm almost 30!"

Not all of these are finalized, close the chapter, and turn the page, but they are lessons that I didn't start to learn until after I was 20. If you are in your 20s, or pre-20s, or post 20s we all have stages of life that we learn lessons in. I hope these help you start to learn these lessons, or solidify that "yes these are important lessons for me to learn."

1// While in College any scholarship money that you can get is so helpful!! I remember both sides of this coin. I remember spending hours looking for scholarships to get none of them, and feeling like I was wasting my time. I also remember seeing a scholarship at my school that I was pretty sure I qualified for, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to apply for! I'm so glad that I decided to apply because I did get that scholarship. If I hadn't applied I would have left about $3,000 on the table! Crazy! College is basically the only time in your life that people are like "You're young and want to learn, here's some free money to help because we know you're struggling." I wish there were more things like that after college like, "We see that you're paying for rent all by yourself and you want to travel, here is some money!" 

Paris - AVintageJoy

2// Trends in clothing change so much, purchase quality items as opposed to the ones that are cool right now. This is both about clothes and furniture. Remember when shirts that were high in the front and really long in the back were a thing?! Where are they all now! On the other hand, my combat boots that I found and love I still wear years and years later.

3// Travel during your summers in College! On a similar note to number one, there are not as many times in life after college that you get as long of a break as summer break in college is. Yes, I worked during the summer in college, but it's so much easier to say "I'm working a part time job, I can take 3 weeks off to go explore." as opposed to "I have a staff of 30, I would like to go travel for three weeks."

-Subnote: Have some of those trips be road trips in there with friends. It will be worth it! Trust me, and so much cheeper, because you're also still in college and have to check on finances so carefully.

4// Status/a title will not make you happy! We all fall into moments where we think "If only I had ____ I would be happy." But it really doesn't. Things and status will not bring fulfillment to your life, only God can do that. Trying to fill your life with things other than Jesus in the hopes of feeling fulfilled will just not work! That's one of the reasons why, when you do get that promotion or that item, the excitement of that fades and then you're looking for something else to feel fulfilled in a few days or weeks. Their beauty will always fade. I first hand know about this. For a few years I felt like I was chasing the "white rabbit" of being a manager, but once I got it I realized that it, just like everything else in life other than Jesus, does not fulfill!

5// The unique aspects of you that maybe you were made fun of as a kid, are the aspects of your personality that set you apart from others. On a physical/looks level one thing that I use to get made fun of as a kid that I felt hopeless about was my eyebrows. Back in my day (sarcasm on purpose), small skinny eyebrows were "in", I never had eyebrows like that. But now, being an adult and not having plucked to death my eyebrows, they are something that I get comments on. It's part of my face and something that I actually really like. Your beauty marks can lead to a career like Cindy Crawford. It's a big sentence to say but, be learn to be comfortable in your own skin. It's always something to keep learning but, just because one person looks at you funny, it doesn't matter!

6// Learn to share! This is a little more of a humorous lesson I've learned, but there are so many times that I use to go out to eat with friends that I would purchase all of this food and then leave half of it uneaten. Learn to share your fries with your friends. You'll save money and waste less. Also, make sure if you're going to get a medium or a large that you're hungry enough to eat/drink it! I was notoriously bad for getting the wrong size drink and wasting half of it. Not any more, I like to spend my money where it counts!! 

london subway - AVintageJoy

7// The world is so much bigger than you realize! No matter how "cultured" you are, the world is so much bigger than you can imagine! The more you travel and get to know people the more you realize how little you really know. Never stop learning and helping others. I pray that we do not get so comfortable in our little worlds that we have the naivety to think that everyone is as blessed as we are! Helping others is really the main message behind this lesson. 

8// Comparison is a thief of Joy. Get inspiration from people of course, learn from them, get inspired by what they're doing, but don't compare where they're at in life to where you're at. You are a different person, with different lessons to learn. Comparing and feeling behind will only lead you to feeling unsettled, not motivated.

9// Don't have a fear of investing in friendships or being yourself in a group of people. I'm definitely an extrovert, but there are times that in a large group of people where the girls are all talking about makeup or all playing with each other's hair, that I don't know what to do! I have a fear of talking about how I love the Star Wars movies because maybe the girls won't like me. But WHO CARES!! I'm looking for friends who appreciate who I am and I appreciate them for who they are. You don't have to love everything your friends do, but you do have to respect each other. And how can they respect that you really love this nerdy aspect of something if you never give them the chance to. Be your weird self! (they're nerdy about something too!)

College - AVintageJoy

10. It's ok to be Mulan. Let me explain!...When I grew up I always wanted to Belle and I still love Belle, but I'm much more of a Mulan in real life. I have goal after goal of reading books, and part of me is an introvert, but I'm much more likely to push boundaries of what a female "can and should" do. I feel you, don't message me about how powerful a woman Belle is, I know! That's why I love her too. But the "I'm just going to do this to fight for my family and so that my loved ones don't have to worry about this." Is much more my personality! I say that all to say, learn to see yourself in true eyes! Learn what your blindspots are and what your strengths are. We all have them, it's ok.

11. What God thinks of me is more important than what anyone else thinks. On that same note, if I truly want to fill fulfilled, I have to be following my God given calling, not worrying about what anyone else thinks. This one is the hardest for me to write, because I'll be working on this for years, and this is the one sometimes I feel the most out of line with. But, I remember the times in my 20's that I felt most alive, it was when I was more focused on what He thinks about me than worrying about what others think. 

This wonderful picture to the right is me from college, having a wonderful time learning how to solder. Yes, it's not the best picture, but I really love it because I was having so much fun! You can also definitely tell that a bunch of guys lived in this house from all of the lovely background accoutrements. 

There's one more lesson I've learned more about this year than ever before. But I feel like that one is a more detailed posts. So I'm going to write another post about that lesson. Read it here!

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You are the ONLY You that will Ever You!

Be Your Quirky Wonderful Self! - AVintageJoy

I recently read THIS POST by CupofJo and it really hit me. I love so many aspects of people and I really want to learn all that I can from other's experiences, but I truly believe the unique aspects of ourselves are the thing that makes us so unique. I know that sounds kinda like a "duh" statement, but remember when you were a kid? Remember all of those unique aspects of yourself being the thing that other kids tried to make you feel bad for?

I've been told things, even in my adult life like "you really shouldn't make so many jokes if you're running a meeting" **I made two jokes in an hour's time**. Those things, if we're not careful change the unique aspects about us that are the reason why we're where we are in the first place. 

Yes, we should always be maturing and growing as a person, but those special aspects of ourselves that others saw and loved, are also the aspects that others will see and want to change. 

I saw a poster that said "You can't make everyone happy, you're not coffee" Preach! I'm not here to try to appease everyone I come in contact with, there are going to be people that we just don't have to be best friends with, and that is ok! We're meant to love people to the best of our ability, but it is also a two way street. If you're going to be friends with someone they have to buy into that as well. 

It can be very easy to start to be someone else's version of you. Don't! Your loud laugh, or quirky jokes, or curly hair, are all meant to be that way on purpose. Be proud of your freckles, don't cover them up! Be yourself, don't spend your time trying to be "the cool kid." What does that even mean anyways, cool is defined by whatever the masses say is cool right now. Remember when Jocks, then Nerds, then Social Media Influencers became cool?

 It changes so much, just focus on being you! You're the best and only you that will ever you. Do yourself the justice of being that! 

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June Goals (10 in 30)

June Goals 2018 (10  in 30) - AVintageJoy

It's around this time of the year that I feel like my brain goes "ahhhhh" because the year is going so quickly and I have so many things I want to accomplish! We all have so many small and big goals that we're working towards every day. It's important to celebrate those. 

1// Purchase my Sugarland Tickets! If you don't know who they are, it's a country music band that I loved when I was younger and then they broke up to have kids....but they're back together now!! And they're coming to my part of the world and I really want to see them! 

2// Find lotion that I love, that's also better for my body than the lotion I'm using now. I never thought I had dry skin, but now I'm realizing I do, and lotion is important. The lotion I want to find though is lotion that has only a few ingredients so that it's better for my skin! Any thoughts?

3// Go to bed earlier. I have to get up so early for work, and yet in my heart I'm a night owl, therefore I tend to only get six hours of sleep a night, and recently those have been restless hours, no bueno.

4// Use my Levenger notebook to its fullest potential. I may even do a post on how great this notebook is. I love it so much! 

5// Learn more about my Lightroom presets. I've always been so intrigued by them and how they work so I finally purchased a set from Peter McKinnon and I love them! But I feel like they need to be tweaked on my pictures because of where I tend to shoot vs. where he tends to shoot. 

6// I want to find two things this month that I can cut out that will help me save more money! Because I feel like it's been so long since I've traveled I've been settling down. Getting use to a place isn't bad, but I don't want all of my money going for that instead of towards a future vacation!! 

7// Keep up with my at home workout routine! I'm starting to craft an at home workout routine that I really enjoy, I just need to keep it up!!

8// Look into options for AC units either in the window or something that I can put in the wall. I just moved and my new place has a window unit, but 20 minutes after I started it up, the cold air just became air *cries*.

9// On that same home remodel path: check to see how much a simple crown molding would be. I had it in my last place and I feel like it gave so much character. I wonder how much it would cost to do that in my place now?

10// See the outdoors! I'm keeping this one from months past because I wasn't very successful! I typically work 10-12 hrs a day, so seeing the sun is something that not only is important for my mental health, but also my physical! Go outdoors people! 

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