Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: August 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Slay your Day: 6 Ways to Dress for Success (and why you should)

Even though it's still fairly humid outside, the fall semester of college is in full swing.
Which means many of us will be spending a lot of time either in our homes or in tiny, grungy coffee shops trying to keep our minds off of social media and invested in our homework assignments.
And for those of you who aren't in school, September still seems to bring a fresh waves of beginnings and new reasons to be busy.

While it sometimes seems sensible to tackle these kind of days in comfortable clothes for maximum productivity and focus, I have found the opposite to be true: I am the most productive when I feel like I look the most productive!

Think about it, though...
Do you feel motivated to tackle the world before you've brushed your teeth?
Do you feel confident in sweatpants?
Do you feel like your putting on your best face when you haven't even put on mascara?

When I feel like a killer boss beauty, I actually have the confidence to "slay my day."

So what does that look like for me?

Why bother?

All of these tips are "fake it til you make it" tips. The idea is that when you look (or, feel like you look) productive, you are more motivated to be productive.
It's basically tricking your body and your brain into feeling beautiful, confident, and ready-to-slay.

1. Mascara

I feel like I have no eyeballs before I have mascara on, and it's one of the worst feelings when I realize I forgot to put it on.
To feel like my best self, I shouldn't be cringing when I glance in the mirror. Put on something quick and simple that helps you feel like you look your best.

2. "Get rid of" my hair

I don't actually ever "do" my hair. I really can't curl my hair very well, and I'm too lazy to straighten it or blow dry it every day. But I get so distracted when it's in my face!
So, to be/feel productive, I need to get it out of my face. Sometimes that means a head scarf, a few bobby pins for my bangs, or a sloppy bun, but today it's a quick french braid because my hair is still wet. Later, I'll stick a few bobby pins in it when it starts to dry and fall apart, but for now it is out of my face and at least half-cute.

The idea is doing something with your hair that will keep you from thinking about it later.

3. "Real" clothes

Even though the sweats are tempting, I have found that I work harder, longer, and produce higher-quality work when my self-esteem is higher.
Some days this means wearing that one bra that makes me feel awesome (c'mon, every woman has one) or even wearing something business casual to make me feel like I am working at a real office instead of a home office. Today, it's some high-waisted skinnies that make me feel confident about my legs, and a tank that I feel is equally cute and forgiving of the brownies I ate this weekend.

The idea is to find an outfit that makes you feel confident without being uncomfortable, and makes you feel cute without being something you have to worry about all day.

4. Every-day jewelry

I typically just throw on my basics, like my anchor necklace I always wear and some basic earrings. Lately I've added a Pandora necklace my sweet husband gave me, and a Lizzy James bracelet I got for my birthday.
Regardless of what your every-day pieces look like, I have a hard time feeling like any outfit is complete without a little bit of jewelry somewhere.

The idea is to "complete" your outfit, still keeping it not-distracting and not-hindering to you work.

5. Planning for the environment

Are you studying on the couch all day? Don't wear a mini skirt.
Are you studying in a cold, coffee shop? Don't wear your summer's best.
Knowing what your environment will be like is also key to be the most productive. I'm wearing jeans (and later, grabbing a cardigan) because, even though it's super warm outside today, I want to study at a library later where I know it's always-never-fail cold. And nothing is more distracting than when you're trying to study but you're too cold (or too warm) to focus.

The idea is, again, to wear something that you aren't going to have to think about (to keep you focused!)

6. Feeling good internally

Basically, when you feel like your best, you act and accomplish your best. So the last thing I do to get ready is try to fill my body and environment when things that encourage me to feel my best. 
Coffee, worship music, and a giant water bottle are always things I start my morning with, and they help me feel healthy physically and spiritually. Don't start your day with your bank account or your homework or something stressful, but things that "center" you, or help you focus on what's most important.

The idea is to try to "look your best" internally, too.

Again, when you feel like your best, you act and accomplish your best.

What are some ways your dress for success on days you need to be productive?

Hope this has given you a few ideas on how to start your day (and your semester) off ready to slay.
Tag me in your "dressed for success" outfits at #TheModestBudget or @themodestbudget!

Linking up with Michelle's Pa(i)geMy Bows & Clothes, The Pleated Poppy50 is not oldClassy Yet TrendyThe Red Closet DiaryHome of MalonesMix Match FashionStylin' in St LouisHappiness at MidlifeMomfessionalsBright on a BudgetTwo Thirty Five DesignsAdri LatelyBirdie Shoots, & Fizz & Frosting

Friday, August 26, 2016

My (K.I.S.S.) Goals for August

Want in on a few goals I made at the beginning of the month?
When we got back from our anniversary trip, August was in full swing and the fall school semester was on its tail, so I didn't have very many big goals. I tried to use the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid) but that's always challenging for me...
So in that spirit, my goals included:
I wrote about my learning experience during all this cleaning here

1) Deep clean the house/catch up on laundry:

After traveling so much, laundry had piled up, and the kitchen was due for more than a surface-level cleaning!
Status: Completed! (It took me three days, but everything in the house has been scrubbed, mopped and vacuumed! And it feels great.)

2) Order wedding pictures for our wall:

Even though I have printed up some wedding pictures, I wanted to print up some larger prints for our wall. I also think a photo book would be good for the smaller pictures, but I haven't tried one before... Any recommendations?
Status: Honestly, I forgot about this one... haha!

3) Clean out/organize the laundry room:

Our laundry room has quickly become the spot for both of us to throw things we don't know where to put just yet (i.e., a lot of my stuff;). But considering how often we do laundry, I would love not to feel additional dread every time I go in that room!
Status: Not even started :( Too busy with other cleaning!

4) Stock up on school supplies:

I'm really good at using things up until they are no longer useable, but some of my methods are getting a little ridiculous... Who doesn't love stocking up on office/school supplies though! To me, it is so refreshing, and makes me look forward to doing homework.
Status: Completed! (Forgot to get fresh highlighters though... whoops!)

5) Have a beach day!

This one is (obviously) just for fun. But we have missed the beach while we have been away from VA! It may seem silly, considering we are just getting back from the Bahamas, but nothing beats the salty VA beach.
Status: Will be completed tomorrow! ;)

An accidental goal:

I made an accidental goal to work out more regularly, and that has also been a success! Last week I worked out four times, and this week I have worked out twice! For someone who has been off their workout game for more than a year, it's feeling really good to get back into it.

ALSO, keep your eyes peeled for something cool coming to social media this weekend... It might come in the form of a flash sale over the weekend to debut some of my home-knit products???

What were some of YOUR goals for August? Did you complete them?
Linking up with MomfessionalsSept. FarmBright on a Budget, Home of MalonesMy Bows & Clothes, & The Closet by Christie

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Answering the Call to Marriage: Jon's Perspective

After looking at Casey's blog today (who currently sitting on the floor packaging up wash clothes to sell, and completely unaware that I am typing this) I realized how unfair Casey's blog is, that her viewers/readers/stalkers (you know who I'm talking about) get to see her blog and read about how great she says I am, but only get to hear that one side.
So I wanted share a few words of my own on here. This won't be a mushy-gushy post in which I strive to out-lavish Casey with praise, but I hope to give her viewers an honest glimpse of my perspective, as a husband, of what marriage is like, as well as what it was like trying to get prepared for marriage as a young-man who did not have a whole lot to give. 

Prior to marrying Casey, I was 21 years old working at a car wash and still in community college. If anyone took a look at my grades, my relationship history, my achievements, my finances, and my job they would rightly and confidently say that I was far from ready for marriage. 
Going into marriage I had did not have a lot but faith in the Lord, a willingness to follow Jesus, and A LOT of love and passion for my beautiful bride. However, I was lacking everything that the logical world was telling me I needed. And I mostly still am. 

The thing that I was most confident of is that the Lord was calling me to marry Case, so on August 7th, 2015, by the grace of God, I was able to answer that call. 
Now, that's not to say there werent many restless nights of worry, concern, and prayer. I was concerned about my lack of preparedness, but through it all the Lord gave Casey and I faith, and a calling to trust Him with this new, fragile, and needy marriage.

As an engaged college student, I decided to put God's Word into practice, and prayed, read his word, and cried out like spoiled child to God for help. But it was not anything I did that finally gave me the confidence to take a walk with Casey's father, or kneel down and propose, or even to take the stage and wait for my bride. It was the Lord showering me with peace reminding me that his call was good, and his promises always faithful. 
A verse that I had to remind myself of leading up to the wedding, and will continue to remember and probably forget for the rest of my life is the popular but powerful Philipians 4:6-7:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

The Lord was faithful and trustworthy to Casey and I in this verse. And he poured peace into our hearts and minds, and reminded Casey and I who He is, And what He has done for us. 

With this promise and reminder true in our hearts, it was irrelevant that I was not ready, because the honest thing is, no one ever is. God's calling is something that is difficult (or imposible) at times to foresee, and is hard because no one will every be good enough for it. I believe its not something that can typically be planned out, planned for or scheduled (even though it can be prepared for)

For example, is any sinner ever prepared to answer the calling of God to recieve his grace through Jesus? Romans 5:10 ("while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son") would lead me to believe "No." 
Jesus called us to follow before we were even on his side. In fact, in Jesus's calling to "come and follow" came while we were still His enemy. To a certain extent, this is the same idea for calling of marriage. (However, it's problably not a good idea to be enemies with your future spouse prior to marriage, but the same idea of being unprepared for the calling still applies.) 

So how did we know that we were ready for marriage? We didn't, because we never will be. Not because we didn't prepare for it, (Casey did much better than I did and its pretty obvious) but because no one is ever worthy of it, because marriage, in the Christian sense, is a calling from God
I stepped into marriage much like I stepped into a relationship with Jesus: excited, humbled, repentant, loved, and trusting. 
When I started a relationship with the Lord I had nothing to show for it,  no wisdom of the old testament, or scripture ready to spew from my lips. I was simply a young teenager in love with a God who had captured my heart. 
Similarly, this was true for stepping into a marriage with Casey. I had nothing to show for my worthiness, no money, no consistent income, or knowledge of business or law, making me a promising canditate to secure a job. (Even though there is much to be said about men who have those things ready to give to their brides). 
However I stepped into marriage excited, humble, repentant, loved, and trusting God, in love with a woman who had captured my heart.

I learned, and am learning, that - while a consistent job/ income/education is great and truly important and something I want for myself and family - there is nothing as secure as the Love of Jesus and promises of God

The peace of God was laid on my heart reminding and comforting me that it is God who is the giver of eternal security. So whether through hard work I become a successful trillion-aire, or a average-income citizen, monetary things provide no security because they can be taken away in a second but the Security found in Jesus's love and Gods promises will be eternal. 

Out-Lavish time...

Marrying Casey was the best thing I have been called to besides Jesus. Casey is a woman who daily shows me the grace of God, whether it's putting up with me "sometimes" not using soap when I wash dishes,(don't eat at our house) or forgiving me when I fail to love her well, she is one of the most visible expressions of Jesus that I have ever witnessed. 
Which make me all the more confident to say I am not worthy of the calling for marriage, because I am not worthy of her, and the grace she extends to me through Jesus. Marriage from my percpective has been humbling to say the least. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Modest Budget: Still Feels Like Summer

Happy Monday, Lovelies!
Today is the start of the fall semester, but I'm still hanging on to summer!
I feel like most bloggers are talking about fall transitional pieces these days. And yes, my mind is certainly drifting towards the coziness of blankets and hot chocolate and over-sized sweatshirts, but the weather here in VA is keeping the fall feels at bay!

This tank I snagged on the Target clearance rack just begs me to be paired with green! This was on our last night in Florida after our vacation a couple weeks ago, but I wore it with neon shorts for a date night in Annapolis earlier this summer, too! I'm going to be sharing that outfit next week... stay tuned;)

Have any fun plans for enjoying the last of this warm weather?
Linking up with Student's WifeMore Pieces of MeElegantly FashionablePink SoleFizz & FrostingMichelle's Pa(i)geStill Being Molly, Garay TreasuresWhy I Do DeClaireSandy A La ModeMyriad MusingsThe Fashion CanvasTwo Peas in a BlogA Good HueThe Red Closet DiaryEast Coast NatDoused in PinkMix Match FashionStylin' in St LouisHappiness at MidlifeMy Bows & ClothesMomfessionalsSept. FarmBright on a Budget, Two Thirty Five DesignsAdri LatelyJolynne ShaneBirdie ShootsLizzie in LaceRachel the Hat, & The Closet by Christie

Friday, August 19, 2016

Keeping Up with the Capra's: Bahamas Anniversary Cruise!

It's Friday!
Welcoming the end of this week with open arms... it's been a rough one, ya'll!

I don't have anything really interesting to share from this week (besides being super excited that I spent basically the whole week cleaning my house and it feels so good to be done!) so I thought I'd share pictures from our trip last week!

For those who need to be caught up, we spent the last week traveling to and from the Bahamas for our first anniversary!
We drove the 14 hours down to Florida, but enjoyed the trip... Even though we were both a little tired of driving so much for work, Florida is one of our favorite places to go.
And who can be cranky on the way to Florida???
 Cruises are one of my favorite ways to vacation because you just sit back and relax and explore the ship... you don't have to worry about transportation, or traffic, or getting somewhere on time, or finding something to do. It's all right there! So I was very excited for Jon's first cruise (and our first cruise together).
Neither of us knew what to expect once we got to the Bahamas, but once we got there, it was nothing but relaxing. We sat in beach chairs, ate conch fritters (omg, so good), walked around local shops, and sat in the beach chairs some more!
Also wore my new kimono from Shop Sevan a lot! It was great as an outfit piece, but as a swimsuit cover, too!
This outfit on the right? My favorite Bahamas outfit! Read about it here!
Eating fresh coconuts... I've always wanted to try some!
Our anniversary dinner... And even without our wedding bands it's obvious we're married! 
We had an absolutely fabulous time. After two nights on the island and one more night on the boat, we were back in Florida and on our way back to Virginia.
 It was probably the best vacation I have been on... And we got back ready to settle into our home (finally!) and start preparing for the fall semester.

This week has been spent cleaning and enjoying our last week of summer before fall classes start. I had a few simple goals for the remainder of this month, and so far I'm making great progress. Next week, as classes begin, hopefully I'll be able to finish them up and begin teaching myself how to cook!

How have you been spending August?

This week's posts:

Bahamas Chic (+ co-hosting with Garay Treasures for a link-up!)
Marriage is teaching me... to wash feet (and floors)

Have a great weekend! Got any fun plans?
Linking up with More Pieces of MeElegantly FashionableMy Bows & ClothesMomfessionalsSept Farm, East Coast Nat, & Bright on a Budget

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Marriage is Teaching Me... To Wash Feet (and floors)

In a world that tells you to "Stand up for yourself!"
Jesus tells you to "Follow Me; get on your knees; wash their feet."

The Big Picture:

"If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." John 13:14-15

I think it is really powerful when people take this literally and they wash someone else's feet. Some couples have done this in the middle of a marriage ceremony, which is really cool.
But I think it becomes even more applicable when we read this story and see Jesus' example and just an example that can be used in other ways.

Foot-washing was an every-day thing, typically done by a servant. It was a gross thing to do because people wore strappy sandals and walked everywhere.
It was a dirty job
a lowly job
a daily job
an unappealing job
a despised job
a job you could probably take for granted
an unglamorous job.

Why was I so salty?

(Sidenote: Before you read this, know that Jon does a lot of housework and most of it without me even bringing it up, so don't read this as a complaint about what Jon does/doesn't do around the house! Me doing the cleaning was way overdue;)

I was washing the floors today and scrubbing the bathroom while Jon was gone, and I was tempted to get a little salty that I was the one doing it. Not because of anything in particular, it just really wasn't something I wanted to do today! I didn't necessarily mind doing it, but as I prayed and thought a little deeper, I think I was actually more than a little irritated that I was the one doing it.

In fact, I felt a little offended that I was laying down what I wanted to do today - laying down my rights and my plans and my selfishness - to, for what felt like the 1,000th time, do something for him.

This is the moment I realized that I was following what the world says ("Stand up for yourself!") instead of following Jesus' example when He says "Wash his feet."

The Turn-Around

(Another sidenote: processing why you are feeling the way that you are is crucial for being able to address the problem.)
Once I realized who I was listening to and who I was letting define my identity in the moments I was Swiffer-ing the floors and vacuuming the living room my heart had the opportunity to repent and turn around.

And it's funny how quickly my heart's attitude turns around when all I do is choose Jesus' way over my own... because it seems like as soon as I realized the sin in my heart that was stealing my joy today, God gave me the grace to bless Jon - and, in turn, bless myself - with my work instead of growing bitter.

The World's Example vs Jesus' Example:

We, as women, are constantly bombarded with influences that wants to see us stand up for our rights as equals instead of lay down our rights to serve our brothers/husbands/sisters/families/etc.

We live in a world where putting other's first looks weak.
We live in a world that tells us to fight for what we want.
We live in a world where serving others is lowly, unappealing, unglamorous.
(Just like washing feet.)

But I argue that if Jesus - the King, the Creator, my Savior Jesus - is willing to lay down His dignity, His clean hands, His rights, to wash His creation's feet, how could this lowly, dirty, daily, unglamorous work be pointless?
Yes, it looks way less fun, and way less productive... even look foolish!
But if this is how Jesus has chosen to accomplish His work, I want in.

"But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world... so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Your Opportunities to Wash Feet

These unglamorous housewife days are days that nobody cares about except for Jesus, and He uses every moment of them for character development.

And maybe you aren't a housewife, or a wife at all! But I guarantee you that Jesus has put people in your life to serve, and given you lowly, dirty, unappreciated, despised, daily, unappealing, unglamorous ways to serve them.
Will you let these opportunities slip by because you would rather stand up for yourself and claim your rights? To insist this work is below you? To object that you have more important things to do?

Or will you see these moments are also opportunities to walk directly in His footsteps?

Praying you and I will both have the humility and the boldness to choose His ways over the world's ways. (Even when it means housework.)
Linking up with MomfessionalsSept FarmBright on a BudgetMore Pieces of MeElegantly Fashionable, & My Bows & Clothes