BABE ON THE WAY!

It's been quite some time since I hopped on my blog. I've missed it!!!

So last night Nick and I publicly shared some pretty big news... we are expecting a sweet little baby!

We are over the moon excited!!! It's shocking news because we didn't plan this timing, but we couldn't be more grateful to begin this incredible adventure. We've both felt in our hearts how much we wanted to be a mom and dad, we talked about it all the time... I am excited to see each other grow in this new light of parenting together. We are ready to ride this wave! 

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I just feel so thankful. I've been brought to tears, especially more and more recently, by just how good God is. I've always wanted to be a mama and for some reason I had built up negative thoughts that because I wanted it so bad I wouldn't be able to get pregnant someday. Super negative I know, but now I just feel blessed! I GET TO BE A MAMA! 

I am brought to tears holding baby's first onesie, sitting in our now office that we're going to transform into a nursery, thinking about it growing inside me, and soon getting to hold it and have it rock my whole world. I want God to wreck me with this little miracle growing inside!

Nick and I keep talking about all of the things we're so excited for. Baby's first smile, first laugh, first steps, going swimming with it next summer, having it be surrounded with love by our families, going to the fair someday, hearing it's little voice develop and learn to talk... Ah! All the things. we have so much to look forward to! Life is just going to keep getting better and better. 

Lately...

I am 11 weeks and 6 days today! Almost through the first trimester!! We are continuing to pray for a healthy growing babe and a smooth pregnancy. I have definitely been struggling with nausea, morning/anytime sickness, and super low energy. I have been passing out before 8 most nights. Building bones and organs is pretty exhausting! 
Although throwing up is never fun, I'm still thankful for all the symptoms... It reminds me my little babe is in there and it will all be worth it. I would spend all day head over the toilet to get to hold this sweet baby soon! BUT, haha I am hopeful as my 2nd trimester begins some of the nausea will calm down a bit. 

Yesterday we had our first ultrasound and it was amazing to get to experience together. We got to see our little one (it's only 2 inches big right now !!!) move and jump around, and see the little heartbeat working away. It has a healthy heartbeat and everything looks great so far, yay! Nick was just smiling, jaw-dropped while we were in there. It's such an incredible thing to witness. I love our doctors, we are going to be working with three midwives and we already just feel so supported.

Supported by the doctors, but also by our families and friends. Man we have been receiving so much love we are incredibly humbled by all the encouragement and sweet words. Babies are such a blessing and bring hope. I can't wait for our little babe to positively affect all of our people! I know it will be so loved!! We get to turn our parents into grandparents, our siblings into aunts and uncles and our best friends into more aunties and uncles :) 

We should be able to find out if it's a boy or girl right before our wedding!!! I have no expectations or preference. I just can't wait to not have to call it, it! Whatever it will be is already perfect and predetermined. Boy or girl will be completely wonderful. 

There's so much more, but that's a good place to stop for now. Thank you for all of the love and we are so excited to keep sharing this beautiful story with you! 

xoxo Sarah + Nick 

 

 

 

 

Oils // DIY Floral Winter Roller

Happy Sunday! Nick and I are in Portland area with our friends Jesse and Olivia and woke up to beautiful snow! Yesterday we did our engagement photos and I got to see a little sneak peek and totally teared up! These photos mean so much to me... Nick and I have never had nice photos of us before so this is such a special time. Can't wait to share them! 

Olivia and I both love our essential oils and desperately wish we could afford ALL of them ! I mean who doesn't... so in the spirit of being financially conscious, here's a DIY with items we already have at home. 

DIY Floral Winter Roller 

I love a good and simple DIY. I think that's why I'm so attracted to essential oils in general. They can replace gross, chemical-filled products by creating your own natural ones with a few simple ingredients!

Rollers and sprays are my favorite things to make. I made this roller a few weeks back but never shared it, so here it is now! Adding some baby florals, leaves, greenery can just add some prettiness and add even more natural scents. I mean, how cute?!

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I ended up using this roller as a perfume for pretty much all of December and January. I mixed in:

  • 5-8 drops lemon
  • 5-8 drops grapefruit
  • 5-8 drops melrose 
  • 1-2 drops citrus fresh
  • Filled the rest with carrier oil (I use organic grape seed oil)

It became a really lovely floral + citrusy scent- I am obsessed! Especially living in Spokane where it stays cold for a solid 3-4 months, smelling this heavenly scent on me everyday just made me feel a little brighter on the inside. 

Aside from this roller...

Lately I've been spraying my face with a Eucalyptus Lemon spray (mixed with water) before I moisturize. Then I add a drop of Melrose mixed in with the face moisturizer, and I just feel clean, relaxed, and fresh! 

If YOU are an essential oil lover as well, what are some of your faves as of lately? Leave in comments! xoxo 

+ or - // Happy V Day

Happy Valentine's Day friends! I am sick at home from work with the world outside covered in a fresh blanket of snow... I bought so much medicine at the store this morning my head feels foggy. I'm having Dayquil, so much water my stomach hurts, essential oils, tea, and some zicam...hopefully that will do the trick! Ugh, I hate getting sick...anyone else?! 

Anyway... VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!! I love Valentine's Day! I'm bummed to be sick today, but it will still be a great day filled with love and affection. This year Nick is planning our night and I'm excited to see what it entails :) Last year I made him an at-home picnic with some of his favorite take out and champagne. I always make Nick cards and get real cheesy, but hey, that's just who I am ;) I'm thankful he let's me be cheesy, emotional, and overly OCD at times... what a guy. lol. 

 The card I made for Nick this year <3 and of course his favorites, Reese's. 

The card I made for Nick this year <3 and of course his favorites, Reese's. 

I already got to chat with my OG Valentine, aka my dad, on the phone this morning. He's the best. Earlier this week he shared with my siblings and I what his plan is for Lent this year and encouraged us to take some time to think about what we might want to do...and I did! 

I haven't participated in lent in a while, but this year  I'm going to hop on board with my dad and we're both working to lose 15 pounds by Easter. In order to do that I'm going to go back to the Whole 30 diet, but do things a little different. Especially seeing as this is a time of transitioning into a lifestyle change I am going to eat hummus because hummus is LIFE, and the occasional glass of wine (like tonight..uh duh I'm going to have wine and something sweet because it's Valentine's Day!!). Aside from eliminating bad foods (dairy, gluten, soy, corn, added sugar and processed foods) for Lent I'm also going to take away TV. I know this one is going to be hard at times!!

Nick and I love to just relax and watch a few episodes of The Office together at night..but there are times where I get frustrated with myself because I know there are so many other productive things I could be doing. Not to say there is anything wrong with relaxing and watching some TV, just for now I am going to cut it out so I can get re-inspired and spend more time blogging, reading, painting, and just doing more creative things in my free time. I have a huge reading list for 2018 so it's time to get excited and tackle it! 

So LENT... to my understanding Lent is about recognizing Jesus' sacrifice for us and taking intentional time out of your life to give something up (or add something positive in). If Jesus could manage 40 days and nights in the desert getting tempted by Satan, I think I can handle no TV or sugar...

What about you? Do you participate in Lent? if so, what are you adding or taking away? I'd love to know and we can hold each other accountable :) 

Hope everyone has a lovely Valentines day surrounded by people or animals or food or other things you LOVE. xo Sarah 

 

 

Mindfulness Monday // Self Care

Happy Monday!! In case you missed my post yesterday, I announced my website's rebranding! You can check out the new home page here and will see a section for recent blog posts :) 

Anyway, it's been a great day and a little bit of cold brew coffee this afternoon helped kick my butt into productive mode! I ended up decluttering more of our kitchen, hall closets, and did a mountain of laundry...always feels good to have a productive Monday! Aligning with our Mindfulness Monday I wanted to share about self care. When I take time to clean, declutter, organize random stuff...it just makes me happy. I know I'm weird lol. So this afternoon felt like my own version of self care and it was lovely. 

Self care has ALWAYS been so important. It's wonderful to empower each other to create time for yourself just doing things that you love or make you feel good.

It will look different for everyone and that's the best part. There isn't one perfect way to master 'self-care'. 

I believe investing in yourself is one of the best decisions you can make. Lately as I've been learning and reading more about mindfulness, there is a natural overlap for self care. Even simple things like shaving your legs while listening to music, or washing your face with a drop of lemon essential oil because it smells heavenly and helps to brighten your skin... little things like this, which are ultimately healthy for us (taking care of our body and skin etc.), but creating them to be more of an experience rather than just crap we have to do.

How many times have you laid your head on the pillow at the end of the day and felt almost frustrated by how exhausted you are and you didn't even get any time to yourself? You feel like the day just zoomed on by with busyness that you didn't have time to cook good food or get that workout in. This happens to me way more than I would like! I genuinely notice a difference in myself if I let the day run me instead of me running the day.  I feel like when I truly take care of myself that day, I fall asleep easier and happier. 

 Self care example: this was me yesterday... wrapped up in my robe with the space heater blasting me with some snacks and a good book. It was so lovely and so simple to create that atmosphere.&nbsp;

Self care example: this was me yesterday... wrapped up in my robe with the space heater blasting me with some snacks and a good book. It was so lovely and so simple to create that atmosphere. 

My favorite ways to practice self care:

  • Listen to a podcast and go on a long walk outside  
  • Do yoga (either by myself or following along to a video- I LOVE 'Yoga with Adrienne')...or just stretching in general
  • Decluttering 
  • Shave my legs with a face mask on 
  • Take a hot bath with Epsom salts and candles lit 
  • Treating myself to a healthy smoothie or juice 
  • Reading a book
  • Writing in a journal 
  • Even right now, as I finish typing this post I'm listening to music and have my diffuser going with Orange and Grapefruit and it's just lovely :)
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What are some of your favorite self care routines? I'd love to know!!

xo Sarah

 

Cultivate Simplicity

Happy Sunday!! I'm currently cuddled on the couch with endless amounts of tea and essential oils diffusing (RC + Lemon) because I am fighting to not get any sicker! I woke up Friday with a weird bug... lots of rest for me this past weekend. I've got to get better ASAP because this coming week is busy with a lot to look forward to! For work we have another yearbook deadline so it will entail late nights for me... meh. On the bright side- Nick and I are going to the Portland area next weekend to finally do our engagement shoot! I'm so excited !!!!!! One of my best friends who also happens to be an amazing photographer is doing them, and we get to stay at their new house- can't wait! 

The benefit towards being a bit under the weather this weekend meant that I finally got around to spend intentional time rebranding my website! I've been planning and brainstorming how I wanted to transform this space and I finally captured it. I'm very excited to introduce: Cultivate Simplicity. 

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In order to determine the aesthetic of everything, and a new logo, I knew I wanted it to feel simple, light, and flowy. I wanted the font to be a bit abstract and to feel like rolling waves. Much of my website's aesthetic includes various shades of blues because I am so inspired by and in love with the ocean. I'm also really drawn to circular shapes because it reminds me how in life there will never come a time where we just stop growing, exploring, loving, or bettering ourselves...we're always moving forward. I like that. 

so... why the change?

I've been thinking about rebranding for a while now and thought a lot about this space, how I want it to feel + look, my hopes for the future, and what the overall purpose is. 

I thought about simple joys and how that was the initial inspiration for my blog...how I really do crave and desire a simple, slow, meaningfully beautiful life where I relish in the little things that bring me joy. I thought about how I crave growth, Jesus, and self-love...I crave to not be hindered by debt, constant stress, dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, or just feeling like I don't have the time to really get the things I care about done...

SO it's 2018, a new year with endless amounts of possibilities, positive changes, and magical moments to experience. I knew I wanted to keep the focus of my blog very positive, real, and about sharing this simple and mindful life I am working hard to create. 

BOOM. Cultivate Simplicity was born. 

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Cultivate Simplicity is born out of the desire to create a space for women to come be inspired, share real life, and grow in community and self-love. Simple as that. 

To cultivate is a verb meaning to either; prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening, OR to try to acquire or develop a quality, sentiment, or skill. (Side note: I love that the meaning also translates to gardening terms. It is SUCH a dream of mine to someday have a little white house with a beautiful garden full of blooming flowers, herbs, veggies, and lemon trees. I know someday I'll make it a reality and it will be hard, slow work with very rewarding results.)

Anyway... To cultivate also means to better, refine or elevate. I relate to that so much! I am working on myself and hope to inspire other people who might be on a similar journey seeking self-love, simplicity, and overall balance in their mind, body, and spirit.

My hope for this space is to be an inspiring and comfortable place to grow in community, friendship, and knowledge for how to live and cultivate a very FULL but SIMPLE life. A life where you aren't constantly feeling hindered by stress or the never-ending to do list. Instead, a life where you carefully decide what you say yes to. One where you have time to just BE. One where your work and personal life are never colliding in a negative or obstrusive way. One where you can be present in a moment without judgement or worry. 

With ALL of this in mind... leaping forward, what can you expect from Cultivate Simplicity?

  • Honesty + real life from me
  • Blog posts focused on topics such as: minimalist concepts, mindfulness, adventures, relationships + love, health and wellness journey, and more
  • Photography focused on inspiring aesthetics and unique portraits 
  • Artwork focused on simplicity, color, and form (and some cuteness just because)

If you click HERE you will be taken back to my new home page where you get a clear first look at everything Cultivate Simplicity has to offer. Take a peek! 

There is so much to look forward to and lots of positive changes still to come. Thank you for encouragement, support, and being apart of this journey!!

xo Sarah 


This Week on the Blog...

Coming up this week on the blog will be a recap post about finishing Whole30 last month, an essential oil DIY, and a wellness post focused on self-care (a bit late, but better than never!). If you're interested in all of that and want to keep up, feel free to subscribe to my blog :) You can do that by clicking here.  

Wellness Week // Whole Foods

Happy Friday friends! I meant to get this posted for Wednesday, but it quickly turned into a busier week than expected and I'm so ready for the weekend!! It's Nick's birthday on Sunday and I'm looking forward to quality time celebrating and making him feel extra special :) What are your weekend plans you're looking forward to?

SO along with this little #WellnessWeek I want to talk about Whole 30 and whole foods in general. I am no expert, but am very excited to continue to flood the mind with new knowledge about all things food, wellness, skin and balance- and sharing about it on the blog!

I'm currently doing a round of Whole 30 for January. It's been a great kickstart to the new year. I did a post a while back in July talking about my first time trying the Whole30 challenge and I ended up not finishing it because Nick and I got engaged and we had champagne and sushi and fries....soooo yeah, haha I made it to day 21 but didn't ever finish it!

This time of the new year is perfect to do a little reset. I'm doing it with two of my best friends and we text everyday about it and hold one another accountable. It makes SUCH a difference to be doing something like this with friends! Even if one is in Austin and the other is in Orlando and I'm in Spokane- we still got each other's backs! We're currently on day 19 and successfully made it past the halfway point (wooooo!!!). I'm proud of the consistency I've given it so far, and I'm surprised it has felt this easy.  I've gotten used to always having a bar (Lara Bar, RX Bar or Aloha Bars) and fruit with me for a snack. That's helped a lot. There are so many little tips and tricks about doing Whole30. I've read amazingly helpful blog posts from other people about it and I truly love how it brings people together and creates a community of support. For those who don't know about the Whole30 challenge, it is an elimination diet for 30 days. You cut out dairy, soy, corn, gluten, legumes, added sugar, and processed foods (am I missing anything? ...basically anything potentially crappy for you). 

 Pinterest has SO many great Whole30 approved snacks and recipes! Check it out!

Pinterest has SO many great Whole30 approved snacks and recipes! Check it out!

This month I also jumped into a 30 day yoga challenge called TRUE (from Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube). I love it! I was rocking it the first week and half, but I've fallen off the bandwagon and am behind several days. I started feeling really down on myself last week about not keeping up with it, but then I remembered how it's 80% diet and 20% exercise when it comes to reaching health goals and I completely agree! Remembering this gave me some grace for missing yoga, and remaining proud of myself for consistently eating healthy, whole foods everyday. That's better than nothing! I'll share more about yoga for our wellness week tomorrow :) 

OK so..... whole foods

A HUGE (the biggest part really) of my wellness journey is changing the way I view and approach food. For anyone on a health and wellness journey, food and a sustainable change in diet is key. As I'm doing this round of Whole30 I'm journaling and tracking how I feel because I don't just want the 30 days to pass, I feel great, lost a little weight and then celebrate with a cheeseburger and milkshake haha. I am trying to figure out a way to slowly turn this whole30 diet into a sustainable one that works for me. I know I want to keep dairy, soy, corn and gluten out (with the exception to occasional gluten things maybe). Dairy is just so bad for us and for our skin!!! I'm heading in the direction of wanting to explore a plant based diet and veganism after this... Lot's of ideas rolling around in my head, but ultimately I need something sustainable that can turn into a new lifestyle habit. 

What's helped so far... 

  • WATER!!!!!!!!! Always always start each morning with a big glass of lemon water. First thing, boom. 
  • Mornings are great for fruit so you can quickly digest them. A green smoothie or juice in the morning is perfect. (PS- the company Vital Proteins sells collagen protein powder that is Whole30 approved! I'm about to start using it.)
  • Be prepared. Have ready to go snacks and fruits (clementines, dried mango, RX bars, grapes etc.) 
  • ZOODLES. Zuchinni noodles are the best thing ever. Get a $10 or cheaper spiralizer from Homegoods and you won't regret it! 
  • Coconut amino acids. Best thing ever and so tasty! It's naturally sweet from coconuts, can be a replacement for soy sauce, and makes everything (even eggs) so much yummier. I like the one from Trader Joe's. 
  • Apples and almond butter. That has become my go to lunch or treat or snack. YUM. 
  • Don't feel bad about fruit!!! Fruit naturally has sugar and you should never feel bad about eating it. 
  • BERRIES! The darker the berries the higher antioxidants they have which is also great for your skin. I love snacking on raspberries and blueberries. 

A health and wellness journey always has to come back to the big WHY. Why are you doing this? What kind of change do you want in your life? What are you unhappy with now to lead to wanting a change? Like I've said, my WHY has to do with gaining and creating confidence, balance and feeling great from the inside out. 

Also! I'm reading this great book right now (along with like four others.. man, I really just need to finish one at a time haha) called Mindful Eating. It is helping to reshape the way you approach food and your relationship with it. It talks a lot about being mindful and slow while we eat. To make eating food and slow and savory experience, not a savage feast. I haven't finished it yet, but already love what I'm learning and definitely recommend it! 

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That's all for now. More on Whole30 when it's over! Only 11 more days woohoo! See you tomorrow for more #WellnessWeek content :) 

 

 

Wellness Week // Mindfulness

The days are busy and stress can often sneak its way inside. Time just flies by, I mean the holiday season has already come and gone! I've been craving more simplicity and a stronger connection between my mind, body and spirit. This desire is because stress and anxiety have been pretty consistent players in my life the past several months. I've loved learning and researching more about mindfulness. One practice I started trying is pausing before I enter a new space (walk through a door, go home, get to my classroom etc.) and taking one deep, long breath. I'm immediately slowed down and feel more peaceful. Try it for yourself! Trust me, it makes a difference :)

Mindfulness

To be mindful or to be practice mindfulness means to bring your attention to the present moment. Bring your attention to the experiences of the present moment without judgement. I think about it like I feel everything in the universe and at the same time I only feel and choose to pay attention to what I'm doing right now. The way the keys feel as my fingers float and type along with them right now. The music playing in the background along with the humming of cars driving outside... To be present in a moment without judgement... when I hear this it reminds me to let go of expectations I can often create in my head. Let go of what a moment 'should' feel or be like and instead just accept it for beautiful and be present in it. 

Like I mentioned stress and anxiety have been pretty constant factors in my life and mindfulness has really helped with it all. It just goes along with overall wellness because I'm seeking balance over my mind, body and spirit. I want to feel interconnected and at peace with everything. When my mind is calm, my heart and body follow.  A slow, deep, inhale and exhale can feel so good. Mindfulness is mostly practiced through meditation which is why doing more yoga has been so helpful! 

With consistent practice of mindfulness it can help you fight anxiety, depression, memory loss, and helps to regulate emotions. Having regulated emotions is exactly what I need some days... I often feel like I'm on an emotional rollercoaster! Feeling like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done, to always have a clean house, to be a better friend, to be more productive at work,  to be more intentional with my students, to constantly be more and better... ugh it's exhausting sometimes!! Practicing mindfulness ends up helping with all these things, putting this unnecessary stress and expectations on myself, they start to slip away. 

Simple ways to experience mindfulness // little things I've tried

  • Yoga practice
  • Stretching on the floor, practicing deep breaths
  • Watering plants, admiring their slow process of life
  • Cooking whole foods and thinking about how nourishing it will be for my body and mind
  • Reading a great book and being so into it you lose track of the time
  • Writing in a journal about your day, dreams, hopes or what you're grateful for
  • Typically...just being intentionally still for a few moments can help me feel centered. Even just five minutes in the morning of meditation can make such a difference!
 I saw this and loved it!

I saw this and loved it!

Mindfulness has helped me discover my WHY for my wellness journey. There are so many reasons but the main are to feel balanced, confident and content. To take the time to take care of my self to live a long and happy life- to exercise, breathe, practice yoga, cook meals with whole foods, read an inspiring book, write in my journal, go on a walk... all of these little things are adding up and making such a difference in my heart, mind and body. I really am excited for this lifelong journey of health and wellness :) 

Where are YOU at in your journey? Say hi to me in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!!!

xoxo Sarah 

 

 

Wellness Week // Overall Wellness

Hello, hello and happy Monday! I'm grateful  to have the day off from work due to Martin Luther King Day. I spent the morning finally getting back to the gym and my legs are already feeling like jello! The rest of my day has entailed a smoothie date with my sister, some wedding/honeymoon research (looking for affordable recommendations for Hawaii!), and lesson planning for work this week. I'm saving all my self care fun like a face mask and hot tea for later :) So, let's get to it! 

Welcome to wellness week on my blog! I've been pretty absent from everything lately, and have been brainstorming what direction I really want this little platform to take. I've been scared and nervous, but decided I want to be vulnerable and real. I want to share things that are prevalent to the NOW. So, I’m doing this as a sort of a kick start to sharing more about my wellness journey. It’s scary to be vulnerable with things that are so personal like my health, goals, or things I struggle with... like I know I'm not the only bride-to-be who wants to tone up an lose a few pounds before the big day haha. But ultimately, I’m motivated to share for the community aspect & build relationships with people in the same boat, to track my journey + what's working for me, and hopefully inspire others.

Monday || Wellness

Wellness refers to, "The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal". I really love this simple definition. Overall wellness  and balance is the ultimate goal for me. I've been realizing it's so much more about the journey, the process of it all, not just the end result. Wellness, balance- these are things I have to actively pursue everyday, things I have to fight for to create. It's definitely worth fighting for though. To live a long, full, happy and healthy life is always worth it!!

As I seek balance within my wellness journey I am focused on these main areas:

  • Actively practicing mindfulness and yoga/meditation
  • Eating a whole foods/plant based diet (along with currently doing the Whole30 challenge)
  • Feeding not just my body but my mind with lovely things too (like reading good/inspiring books, getting good sleep, spending more time outside) 
  • Create boundaries with my professional and personal life so time feels more in my control
  • Saving time and space to do simple things that bring me joy (like painting, reading, taking photos, baking etc)

Tomorrow I'll touch more on mindfulness and discovering what's the WHY to my wellness journey? What's YOUR why? Good things to think about... 

xoxo S