One Thing You’re Doing That’s Destroying Your Relationship

 

Everyone wants to be in a happy relationship. That’s a given. We want to feel like we’re in the best relationship we could possibly be in, and we want to be just plain happy. Of course, we want our partners to be happy as well. Hopefully, this is the case with your current relationship. Or, if you’re not in one at the moment, maybe that’s why you got out of it. Maybe you just weren’t as happy as you could’ve been. If you are in one, what if you were doing something every day that’s silently chipping away at the health and happiness of that relationship? What if it was even something you were doing without realizing it?

Many times, when people are in a relationship that’s in trouble, they don’t see the trouble until it’s too late. Little things build up for awhile without realizing what’s happening. You may be in a perfectly happy relationship and think that there’s nothing for you to worry about. Hopefully, you’re absolutely right. But, what if something you’re doing is actually putting your relationship in jeopardy?

So, what is this thing we’re talking about?

 One Thing You Might be doing that's destroying your relationship: leahelizabethblogs pinterest image

Expecting Total Equality in Your Relationship

In a perfect world, couples would be true equals. Your quirks would balance out his; he would be strong when you’re weak. Your workload and emotional burdens would be the same. But guess what? They’re just not. 

Of course you should treat each other fairly and always strive to maintain mutual respect and equal gratitude. But, I guarantee you there are times when you have resented your partner because you felt like you were just “doing more.”  That is a dangerous, dangerous game, friends.

When you start thinking of your relationship as a system of checks and balances, it’s really easy to skew those results in your favor. You can clearly see all the ways you’ve worked hard or been great because you were there for all of it. However, you might not be so fast to note all the work your boyfriend or husband puts in. Let’s face it, we can all be self-centered, and it’s a lot easier to notice all of our own hard work than someone else’s.

There are going to be times when you put more into your relationship. That is 100% fact. There are going to be times when your husband or boyfriend puts more into your relationship. That, too, is 100% fact. If you spend your time focusing on who’s giving what or who’s doing what, you will damage your relationship. To what extent, who knows really. That depends on you and when you decide to stop caring about whether or not you’ve cleaned equal parts of the house or given equal amounts of affection and attention lately.

Let’s be honest here, since that’s what this blog is all about. I have allowed myself to participate in this type of thinking many times. I work a full time job just like my husband. At the end of the week, I clean our house from top to bottom unlike my husband. How easy would it be to get annoyed by that? I can tell you, really dang easy. It’s not just housework we’re talking about though. It’s the emotional parts of your relationship as well.

There are many times where I’ve felt like why am I the one who has to do x, y, z when I have just as much going on as he does? Can you hear the pettiness in that type of thinking? I hope so because I surely can. That’s really easy to say now though and not so much in that moment when I’m standing at the sink and he’s fishing. I’m getting real here people. Join me.

Recognizing that you’re doing this type of stuff is the first step to stopping it. And you must stop it.  Every time you allow yourself to go down that road, a block of resentment settles right into your relationship. At times, you may be more giving than your partner and you make a point to notice it. Another block. A week goes by and you’ve managed all the accounts, paid all the bills, and bought all the groceries with little recognition of the time it took from your schedule. Two more blocks. Now you’re building a wall. This is how relationships get into major trouble.

When you fixate on whether or not things are 50/50, you’re creating impossible standards to live by. There’s no way that you would be able to perfectly balance out every chore, every act of kindness, and every bit of hard work. That would be completely exhausting not to mention a complete waste of your time and energy.

Let Go of Expectations and Accept Reality

Expectations can get us in a lot of trouble. It’s unfair to your partner to have an idea of the way you think things should go, and then get upset when it doesn’t play out like that. How would anyone be able to please you? They can’t. And if your partner feels like he can never please you, he’ll start building his own wall–a wall of frustration. Now we’ve got a real recipe for disaster. You’re full of resentment and he’s had enough.

You can stop that from happening. Shift your focus. Try to notice all the things that he is doing that have made your day a little easier, a little happier. Put yourself in his shoes, and imagine what his day has been like. My husband works long hours at a really difficult job. I know that what he deals with on a regular basis does not compare to my work struggles. But guess what? He doesn’t compare our jobs. Instead, he supports me and listens to me even when what he dealt with might have been “worse.”

You never know what might have happened during the day that your husband or boyfriend set aside in order to be there for you. He made an effort to come in with a positive attitude instead of letting work ruin your time together. Maybe you feel like being extra affectionate on that particular night. If you expected him to come home and be equally affectionate towards you and he wasn’t, you probably would be both annoyed and disappointed. And you just let expectations cloud your reality. You overlooked the fact that he actually did put you first. You missed it because it wasn’t the way you expected him to do it. It wasn’t your version of equality.

You’re not in your relationship to keep score

The reason that you’re in your relationship is because you love your partner. You don’t want them to feel anything other than truly and sincerely loved. It’s really hard to feel that way if you constantly hear about all the ways you’re not doing enough. No one starts a relationship by signing a contract agreeing to equal terms at all times.

Relationships are all about give and take. There’s no way to give if all you do is complain about how much is taken from you. It goes back to having a servant’s heart. You’re contributing to someone else’s happiness and thinking about how what you’re doing is a humble gift to your partner. No one wins by you holding on to all the ways you think you did too much or your boyfriend or husband didn’t do enough.

The honest truth…

I am guilty of doing less for my husband than he does for me. If I really did sit down and somehow calculate all the different ways we could “score” our relationship, he would win. No matter how many loads of laundry I may do or bathtubs I may scrub, he has done more for me than I could ever repay.

Besides the fact that he does a lot of work around the house like I ask him to, he also works hard at our relationship. He is kind and thoughtful in ways that I’m not sometimes. He puts up with my bad moods and snappy attitude after a long day. We’re definitely not 50/50 when I’m having a difficult time. It is 100% him keeping us afloat. How grateful am I that he doesn’t expect total equality? I bet if you think about it too your husband or boyfriend does the same things for you.

Leah Elizabeth Blogs Happy Relationships; one thing you're doing that's destroying you're relationship

We have to understand our differences

At a time when equality is certainly on the minds of our society, we cannot make the mistake of trying to force that into our relationships. There’s no place for it when you love someone. You won’t ever find it. Be thankful instead that there is someone around who can pick up your slack. Men and women truly do carry different burdens in relationships. Women tend to carry the emotional load and men often deal with the practical things. They are both difficult in their own, individual ways. It does no good to compare the two. They’re not the same, and you won’t ever find an equal solution. Do your best to carry your burdens gracefully, and be thankful that your partner is around to carry his.

Leave a comment and let me know if I’m the only one who’s ever been guilty of letting expectations of equality influence my relationship.

Spring Outfits and Style Inspiration

 

Ok, show of hands, who’s ready for Spring? I don’t know about where you are, but here in South Mississippi Spring has already sprung, and I am on board and ready for the new season. Every time the weather changes, that means we have to switch up our style a bit, right? I definitely think so. Nothing helps me with a fresh outlook better than a fresh style. With that in mind, I thought what better way to look forward to Spring than to share some Spring outfits and style inspiration!

 

 

Spring Fashion, Spring Outfits, Spring Style Inspiration Leah Elizabeth Blogs

 

Disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please know I would never recommend or suggest a product or brand that I did not like, support, or believe in.  

1. Powder Pink Trumpet Sleeve Blouse- H & M

I absolutely love simple, casual style, and this trumpet sleeve blouse screams casual Spring style to me. I also think soft colors like this are flattering on everyone. This top can be worn with a pair of skinnies or shorts for that casual look. However, I also think this would be a great Spring blouse for work. It would look great with a pair of slacks and heels. Versatile clothes are a must in my closet, and any closet on a budget. You certainly get the most for your money when a piece can be worn in different settings and with a variety of options.

Maybe going with pastel colors is cliche and over done, but they’re just so pretty. How can you resist? The rich jewel tones of Fall and Winter are beautiful, but by the time Spring rolls around, I’m looking for some lighter, brighter colors to toss in the mix. Loose, flowy tops like this one in a soft pink, purple, or coral are a must for me.

 2. Strappy Tassel High Heels- Jane

One of the main reasons Spring makes me so happy is the shoes I get to wear again. Imma let you in on a little secret; I’m short. Like, really short. So, I love any excuse to bust out a good high heel. And it’s so easy to do during the Spring time because there are so many open toed heels on the market that can be both casual and dressy.

Take, for example, these super cute tassel high heels. I love the block heel and the way they are strappy not just around the ankle but around the toes as well. I think that’s a flattering look for everyone’s feet. The tassels also add a bit of sass, and I always love sass. Shoes like these that can take you from day to night are essential. They would look great with skinnies and a casual top or a Spring dress. Win, win.

3. Floral Maxi Dress- Jane

Maxi dresses are life to me. I think they are so beautiful and feminine. If you can’t tell, to me, that’s what Spring style is all about– soft, feminine looks. This floral maxi dress certainly fits that description. Also, I actually love the non-typical Spring colors in this dress. The darker hues tie in nicely with the winter months, which makes for a great transition piece. A dress like this would be great to wear to a bridal shower or event you might have coming up.

So, you know how I said I’m short? It’s rare that I can actually wear maxi dresses because I have to hem them, obviously. Sigh. That means, to have the perfect maxi dress, I have to find one that won’t look crazy once it’s had a few inches hacked off. That’s part of the reason why I love this one so much. Big florals or any sort of large print pattern works well if you happen to need a hem like me.

Bonus tip: If you’ve never ordered anything from Jane, they’re an awesome company with amazing deals on Boutique style clothing, shoes, and all sorts of good stuff!

4. Soft Glam Eyeshadow Pallette- Anastasia Beverly Hills

I don’t own this palette. Yet. My mouse is sitting on go, but my bank account is pumping the brakes for a second. The minute I’m able (not that I need another eye shadow pallette, but who cares), I’m snatching this baby up. I do have the ABH Modern Renaissance palette, and it’s one of my holy grails. If this one is even close to the quality of the Modern Renaissance, trust me, you’ll want it too.

It’s not just Spring outfits that makeup up our Spring looks. Our beauty routine is just as much a part of our style as our clothes and accessories. I’m a firm believer that you can rock any color lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, or whatever anytime you good and well please. But I do find myself in different makeup moods during the different seasons. I betcha can’t guess what makeup mood I’m in for Spring. You got it, soft and feminine. The colors in this pallette are so subtle and pretty. The shades can be worn casually during the day or amped up for night time. It’s a mix of mauves, roses, berries, and golds. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the Soft Glam palette.

5. 1″ Flipperless Gold Curling Wand- Hot Tools

Hair is yet another way to freshen up your style for Spring. I love to wear my hair curly or wavy all year long, but I find myself styling my hair this way even more often in the Spring. Loose curls compliment florals and pastels so well. This wand from Hot Tools is one of my favorite styling tools. It does a great job giving me even, bouncy curls or loose waves. I have long hair, and I like the 1″ size. I can wrap bigger sections loosely for a very subtle wave. And I can also take smaller sections, wrapped tightly and create a piecey style that I really like.

This wand is not only awesome at styling, it’s also awesomely affordable. I’ve tried wands that are much more expensive, and I honestly don’t see a difference. My curls last all day. Or, to be honest, several days with a lot of dry shampoo. Hot Tools products always work for me, so I keep on coming back.

 6. Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lip Color in Cookie- bareMinerals

Let’s be honest, liquid lipstick can be an actual pain to wear. Most of the time they look amazing, but feel awful. Thankfully, the Gen Nude liquid lipsticks from bareMinerals actually look and feel good. These have a different texture than typical liquid lipsticks. They’re very cloud-like and not liquidy at all. Did I mention that they smell like brownie batter? Like, legit brownie batter that you make in your kitchen.

Even if you don’t like or don’t want to try this particular liquid lip, it’s the color of this one that is most important to me. The shade, Cookie, is a subtle melon that looks great with so many makeup looks. I don’t always love a super bright pink lipstick, but when the shade is a subtle pink, it’s very wearable, not to mention very Spring appropriate.

 7. Aimee Layered Y-Chain Necklace- Bauble Bar

You can’t have a style guide without at least one accessory. So many people love this necklace from Bauble Bar and for good reason. It goes with absolutely everything, and it’s a statement all on its own. I get compliments on this necklace every time I wear it. The three chains are different patterns, which makes it really stand out. I love any accessory that does the coordinating and stacking for me.

Finding a statement accessory to go along with your Spring wardrobe is key. You don’t need to have a million pairs of earrings or fifty bracelets to try and coordinate with all your clothes. If you can get a few really great items, you’re all set. Layered necklaces and chokers are dainty and work well with any and every Spring outfit you might put together!

 

I hope that some of these items have gotten you in the Spring mood. Whatever style you like, think of the ways you can incorporate some Spring trends. I’d love to know what you’re going to be rocking this season. Let me know in the comments how you plan on changing your style routine!

Also, if you want to share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, I wouldn’t be mad atchya! Thanks for reading!

Four Signs that Anxiety is Ruling Your Life and How to Stop It

If you’ve ever felt that heart squeezing, shortness of breath, unfounded worry or stress then you know how crippling it can be. You know how hard it can be to overcome the anxiety that accompanies different events and phases in life. Or even that accompanies a random day when you can’t figure out what there is to dread. Take it from someone who knows first hand how debilitating it can be–you have to be able to recognize the signs and try your best to overcome anxiety and stop it in its tracks.

For me, anxiety always comes with major moments, life changes, or stressful work related situations. I can feel perfectly fine and happy, but still have symptoms of anxiety. I actually think I’m a pretty strong person, so it can be very frustrating when my body makes me think otherwise. As a matter of fact, I’ve often expressed how unstressed I am, yet I still have physical manifestations of that anxiety. This, friends, is why anxiety is such an evil adversary. It sneaks up on you and crowds your life without you ever knowing it’s there until it’s too late.

The things that I struggle most with, and what others I know also struggle with, is that the anxiety gains power over your life. It has a terrible way of influencing your decisions, behaviors, and relationships. NO MORE. Please hear me say this, you are NOT alone. We’re not going to take it anymore.

 

Text: 4 Signs Anxiety is Ruling Your Life and how to stop it. Picture with pink lit candle and grey notebook on bed tray.

Anxiety is ruling your life if:

1. You are experiencing physical symptoms because of anxiety.

One of the things that always accompanies anxiety for me is a physical manifestation of symptoms. These symptoms are my reality check. I typically deny anxiety and stress until my body says, no girl, you have to deal with this head on.

But there is, unfortunately, a stigma out there about anxiety. I think that’s why sometimes it takes me a while of suffering with symptoms before I’m in enough pain or sick enough to admit the truth.

Why would I do that to myself? Why would you? Who cares if someone thinks anxiety is a weakness? We know that it is certainly not. I, for one, don’t want to accept the stress that can accompany anxiety. Be honest with yourself and treat your heart, soul, and body for what’s really ailing you.

2. You talk yourself out of opportunities because of the “what ifs.”

This one. I hate this one. Thankfully, I don’t experience this as much as I used to. In high school, and even into college, I would talk myself out of promising opportunities because they might turn out badly. I might not get accepted into an organization. I might not be the best at that sport. I might make a fool out of myself by putting myself out there.

This is a horrible, miserable way to live life. No judgment. I can say it because I’ve lived it. You are not horrible and miserable. Your anxiety is making your life that way.

Recognize the cause of your hesitation before you make big decision. Ask yourself, “Am I walking away from this opportunity because it’s not right for me, or am I experiencing unwarranted hesitation?” If there is no real, concrete reason, stop and think before you walk away.

3. You stay away from social situations because of a sense of unexplained dread.

When I was a teenager, I really struggled with this. I guess I have always been an anxious person, and that can be hard to accept and deal with. I didn’t realize then that anxiety was the root of my problems. I just always assumed I was more conscientious than kids my age.

I would irrationally fear what could happen if I went out with my friends. Actually, I would think that sounds really fun, but what if we got into an awful car wreck on the way home. And I would let that dread stop me. I would stay home. Looking back, I wish I could tell myself what was really going on, and overcome those problems. Feeling these emotions can make you feel bad about yourself, but it absolutely shouldn’t.

If you’ve ever experienced this, please do me a favor. Push yourself and go anyway. Shove your worry to the back of your mind and go. I think you’d be surprised that once you take the initial step the anxiety lessens.

4. You worry about things that have no basis in fact.

Have you ever had an irrational sense of foreboding? Maybe you are, out of nowhere, stricken with worry about the safety, well being, or health of someone close to you. You know in your rational brain that they are healthy and, more than likely, perfectly safe. Yet, you can’t shake this “feeling” that you have. It might even keep you awake at night. This is anxiety working a number on you.

Do whatever it takes to calm this feeling if possible. Try your best to take deep breaths, calm down, and find some peace. It may help to listen to some music or play a mindless tv show in the background. It is essential that you remind yourself that there are no facts backing up your “feeling.” If you can ground yourself in reality, it’s easy to see that your worry stems from fiction.

 

You Can Overcome Anxiety

Anxiety looks different for everyone, but none of us should have to suffer from it. The take away is simple. Knowing you struggle with anxiety and accepting it is essential to taking back control. The longer you deny what’s going on, the longer it takes to lesson the symptoms. Anxiety does not have to be a defining factor in your life. Recognize it for what it is and treat it in whatever way works for you. It may be a therapy session with a professional or even a close friend.

For me, when I surround myself with people I love and trust, it always reminds me that I am bigger and stronger than anything anxiety throws at me. Spend time in prayer asking for a calm spirit and addressing what’s really bothering you.

I know I’m not alone in these feelings, but I would love to hear in the comments if any of you have ever felt the same way. How do you overcome anxiety? When we can talk about these things, share, and face them in the wide open, we can find peace. I’m learning to find mine, and I hope you do too.

While you’re here, check out my recent posts about friendship and marriage.

Please share this content if you found it helpful 🙂

 

Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, a mental health expert. There are tons of websites you can visit that can help you medically understand anxiety and its symptoms. I am simply a person who struggles with anxiety myself and wants to offer advice to help you in a practical way, friend to friend. You may feel the need to seek medical help and/or counseling if you feel you struggle with severe anxiety.

Making New Friends as an Adult

Recently, I️ was listening to a podcast episode from This American Life on making new friends as an adult. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time because I’m currently low on new friends, so I really connected with what they were talking about. They were discussing how making new adult friendships is a lot like dating, and it was so relevant and striking to me that I️ wanted to share my thoughts as well. I’ll link the podcast, so you can listen for yourself. By the way, if you don’t listen to podcasts, you really should. There’s literally something for everybody, and I️ can’t survive the car ride to work without them. Full Episode- The Perils of Intimacy | Segment- “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

So let’s talk about why this even matters to me at the moment, besides the fact that everybody needs friends. I’ve been married and living in a new town for about two and a half years, and I️ can count the number of friends I’ve made on one hand. I️ don’t think I️ even need all the fingers. Don’t get me wrong, since moving to where I️ live now I️ have met so many great people. There are a lot that I️ consider to be friends, but there aren’t many that I’ve been able to make that weirdly hard transition from I️ really like you to let’s actually hangout in our free time. The kind of friends I️’m talking about here are real, not just because of work, hang out on the weekend, talk about our problems-friends. The kind of friends that you make in high school and college…easily by the way.

Weirdly, now that I’m “grown” I️ sort of forgot how to make a friend. I️ think it comes so easily when we’re in school that it never occurs to us that one day we’ll have to do it differently. When you’re in high school and college, you’re surrounded by new people who are either all new or have all been there for years, so you have a ready made pool of options. No real work required. So, what do I do now that I️ don’t really now how to put in the work?

Your high school friendships just sort of naturally happen. You spend every day together, so circumstance allows you to put in the time friendships require. In college, everybody is looking for friends, so there’s not really any work that you have to put into finding your people. But what happens when you grow up and move to a town where you don’t know anybody? People are already established, of varying ages, and, especially in a small town, already have lifetime friends. No one needs new friends but you. Or, at least, no one is actively looking for new friends but you.

Why is it so hard to make new friends?

Back to the podcast for a second, the thing that struck me in the episode was how exactly right they were about the awkwardness of “friend dating”. Think about it. You’re always looking for potential friends everywhere you go– the grocery store, the gym, the bank, wherever. You see someone who looks like your type of friend, and you think I️ bet she/he’s cool. Ok, great. Now, tell me what the heck you do from there? I️ can tell you, probably nothing because hello what an awkward conversation that would be. “Hi, I️ noticed that you look like my type of friend. Would you be interested in texting and hanging out on a regular basis?” Cringe.

So, what do I️ do?

I’d like to pretend like I️ have all the answers here, but I’ve already told you the unimpressive numbers on my new friend list. However, I️ do think there are things we can do to make this an easier process for us. Consider trying these things and trying them along with me. I️ know that I️ have to put some of these into practice because all I’ve been doing is complaining about not having many new friends. I️ guess I️ expected the friend fairy to rain awesome people out of the sky like she used to, but, alas, the witch is no where to be found.

Join a Club

Every town, no matter how small, has some form of club or volunteer organization you can get involved with. I️ think the number one trick to getting friends is surrounding yourself with people, right? So, it has to be all about finding those people. For me, this feels weirdly out of my comfort zone. In high school and college, I️ was in just about every club and organization available. Why is it so different as an adult? Somehow, the fear of acceptance, for me anyway, gets worse rather than better. I’m a much more self-assured confident person than my high school or college self, but I’m more hesitant of how other adults might perceive me. What if you join a club and they think you’re a nutcase, and now you have to raise your children in a town where everyone thinks you’re a nutcase forever? Yikes.

Never fear, I️ don’t really think that would be the case. At least I️ hope not. Putting yourself out there despite the fear has to reap positive consequences, so I think it’s worth a shot.

Join a Gym

Working out can be a very solitary activity. Sometimes, I️ really like that it’s that way. However, it is nice to have a workout partner or to be part of a class. Again, by joining a gym you’re surrounding yourself with people. I mean the more people you see the higher your chances are, right? There will be a few people who go at the same time as you every day and eventually you can work up the nerve to start that initial conversation with one or all of them. In my experience, a lot of women like having work out partners, so people are open to sharing ideas, workout routines, and planning workouts together. Most people want to have an accountability partner for the gym, and that’s a wide open door for a beautiful friendship.

Seek Out Friends Through Connections

You know how when you’re dating you’re kind of a part time stalker? Don’t pretend like you don’t. You look up your love interest on social media, plus check out their friends, who they interact with, who they’re tagged with, etc. Mild stalker behavior, but socially acceptable. It’s the same principle with friends. You might actually need to be a bit stalkerish…in a non-threatening, non-creepy way of course. Smh.

You’re going to meet great people wherever you are, and one of these people might turn into a true friend. Great! That’s friend list plus one. Assuming your new friend is not also a new girl in town, they’re going to have a list of friends you can stalk and steal from! Side note: I️ don’t make a habit of encouraging such wacky behavior, but all’s fair in love and friendship. Also side note: by stalk I️ mean casually look through social media profiles to find people with like interests who are connected to your friend. Once you start doing this, you’re building a circle. Everyone knows friends come better in circles.

Get Over Yourself

This is my favorite one, and the one I️ need to work on the most. Making new friends is hard, but it really would be so easy if I️ could just chill out. If I could stop focusing on myself so much, I️ might actually find time to get to know someone. So many times what stops me from reaching out is a weird fear that no one else wants a friend but me. I️ tend to think that everybody already has their people, and I’m somehow intruding by pursuing a potential friendship. But, I’m sure no one would find it intrusive to initiate a genuine friendship. They will, however, find you to be an oddball if you just start running up to the random people on the street and asking them out on a friend date. I️ haven’t resorted to that yet, but you never know. I may eventually get desperate.

script quote- good things take time

 

I can’t help but wonder, in a world where everyone has 500+ facebook friends, how did it get so hard to make real ones? Oh yeah, maybe because we have 500 virtual ones. It’s suddenly normal to be internet friends without having a real life relationship. The intimacy of a face to face relationship is gone. And when we don’t know anyone to befriend on social media, we have to establish that intimacy through initiating personal contact. See why it’s so hard?

By the way, I️ still have wonderful relationships with my high school and college friends. I️ love them dearly, and I️ see them fairly often. But, they just don’t live in my new town, and everybody needs a few lunch buddies.

Let me know in the comments how you’ve found new friends, and help me out! Also, check out my previous blog posts on marriage and beauty. And please like this post and share on social media if you’re feeling friendly!

Marriage Advice: Having A Servant’s Heart

 

Have you ever thought about what makes your marriage work when it’s working good? Like really good. Those times when everything is clicking and you and your partner are truly happy and in sync. I already know that love is the main thing that makes it work, but I’m talking about on a smaller level. Recently, I’ve been wondering what changes on the days when everything just gets on my nerves, or everything just gets on his nerves. Thankfully, those days are usually few and far between, but who wants to ever have those days, amiright? One of the things that hit me was that I actually change. My personal attitude shifts, and it shifts a lot because, hey, I’m human.

Recently, I’ve tried to be more aware of those shifts and see what the constant was on the good days and the best days. I realized that there were several constants, and that really these should be my personal rules to a happy marriage because I’ve proven to myself that they work. Consider these “rules” marriage advice from someone who doesn’t claim to know much about marriage, but does have a happy one and hopes you do too. The first piece of marriage advice that I want to share is to try and have a servant’s heart.

What is a servant’s heart?

Growing up in the South, I’ve heard this expression most of my life, but I never really thought much about what it means. Having a servant’s heart is when you put another person’s needs and wants over your own. It requires a humble heart and a giving spirit. You, simply, aim to serve another person. By no means am I talking about degrading yourself or allowing someone else to do that. Rather, consider the strength of character and kindness it takes to focus less on your pleasure and comfort and more so on another’s.

gold love script on a pink background. Marriage advice leahelizabethblogs

How does this apply to my marriage?

I’m sure this answer is obvious. When we bind our lives to another’s, we have a responsibility to preserve and care for that person’s happiness. Sometimes that’s really easy. Sometimes, it take a little more concentrated effort. Let’s talk about practical ways to try out this marriage advice/servant heart thing.

1. Take care of your responsibilities with no whining.

This one gets SO HARD for me. I work a full time job as a teacher, and sometimes the dishes are just too dang much after dealing with the perils of the classroom all day. I can spend a good fifteen minutes whining to my husband about dishes and the laundry and the yada yada yada. Then, since I’ve been whining so much about the dishes and such, I secretly hope that my husband will take it upon himself to do them for me. And sometimes he does, but when he doesn’t… flames of fury. All of a sudden I’m even more mad about the dishes than I was before. Twisted, right?

If I would choose to just do the stupid dishes without complaining I probably would have a more pleasant evening. And I also wouldn’t be stewing for no reason.  Better yet, what if I chose to do those dishes with a good attitude? Does that sentence make anyone else laugh? Seriously though, what would it take to just focus on how doing that one task happily will positively affect your relationship. When we don’t work with favors or expectations of praise in mind, we don’t get disappointed when they don’t happen. Try instead to focus on how what you’re doing is making life a little more pleasant for the person you love most.

2. Do some unsolicited favors.

I’ve found that this one goes a long way in my personal happiness as much as my husband’s. When I do something for him that he didn’t ask me to, I actually feel good about myself. I have a sense of satisfaction that’s like, hey, I’m actually pretty good at this wife thing. What’s something that your husband hates doing? Taking out the trash? Dropping off dry cleaning? Maybe you could find time to do one of those things for him as a small surprise. I’ve never done a favor like that for my husband and NOT received a sweet text or call or even a favor in return.

3. Try to think a few steps ahead.

If you know your husband has something important coming up like a big project at work or a cool opportunity, try to think ahead of ways that you can help. You may not know a thing about the intricacies of what he has going on. No problem. Because you do know that the printer is going to need lots of paper to print those sheets of legal documents or spreadsheets of figures. That’s where you come in! How about making a trip to the store and buying enough paper and ink to keep the stuff spitting out of the printer? Your husband never has to stop, and you just prevented a potential annoyance. Yay, you! He may never think twice about it, but we know you did it. And we are dancing with you.

 4. Try to view things with a positive attitude.

I think this is one of the greatest acts of service we can do for our spouses. Actually, even for ourselves. Who wants to come home every day to a negative attitude? No hands? Didn’t think so. When we try to be positive, it creates good energy in our hearts and homes. It’s really hard to do sometimes, but give it your best effort.

We don’t always get the best news or have the best day. Sometimes, we don’t even like hearing about someone else’s bad day. But try to be the positive spin on the things that come up in your household. If your husband has had the worst day, or is just feeling negative like we all do from time to time, show him the positive that he’s overlooking. He may not want to hear it, but I guarantee you it makes an impact. Think about it in the reverse. You getting annoyed by his negativity or adding negativity multiplies the negativity. Writing that word that many times is depressing much less living out that scenario. When you bring the positive outlook, you’ve challenged your husband to change his attitude and served him on the sly. Nice.

 

Let’s get real…

Are these things possible 24/7? Well gosh, no. I can’t say it enough. We are human, and we are flawed. I’ve probably messed them all up in the last 5 minutes. But, can I try to put at least one of these tips into practice at least some of the time? Of course I can, and so can you because you’re awesome. Try them out or at least think about this perspective and see if it makes a difference.

Comment below and let me know what you think, or if you try it out. Also, share with your friends and start a conversation about what makes your marriages/relationships work when they’re at their best.

If you’re new to my blog, check out my first post and my about me page.

Best Skincare at Sephora and Ulta

Today, I want to share with you the best skincare at Sephora and Ulta. These are my absolute favorite skincare items. It can be a real challenge when you’re trying to figure out what products you need to take care of your skin. And you DO need to take care of your skin. However, there are so many choices, and it’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole. Let’s face it, Sephora and Ulta can be totally overwhelming. You walk in to rows and rows of gorgeous products that all claim to work miracles for you and cost an arm and a leg. How is a girl supposed to decide? Shopping online isn’t much better. In fact, it just makes it easier to spend too long scrolling on your phone through all the products. That’s where I come in. I do spend countless hours in the stores, online, and on youtube filtering through the madness, and these are my tried and true recommendations. Hopefully, this list can save you some headache, time, and money!

I’ve grouped the products in the order you might use them in your skincare routine and links are provided in each description!

1. Philosophy- Purity Made Simple Cleanser

This might be my favorite product out of all of them. You might be surprised how much a good cleanser will do for your skin. If you want a gentle cleanser that takes off all the dirt and makeup and leaves your skin soft, then this is the one for you. I use this cleanser at night after a makeup wipe to get rid of my excess makeup. After I’ve lathered, I can rub this cleanser all over my eyes to remove mascara traces and it does not sting or burn. Hallelujah! This is not a foamy cleanser. It actually has a texture more like a gel lotion than a typical cleanser, which I think makes it feel gentle and creamy. You can buy this cleanser in multiple sizes, but I like to go for the bigger ones. I buy the 24 oz for $44, which seems expensive, but I’ve had my bottle for over a year and still have well over 1/4 of the bottle left. Honestly, I would buy the $55 32 oz with the pump if they had it at my Sephora or Ulta.

2. Boscia- Balancing Facial Tonic

I hate toner. There’s something about searching for a cotton round, pouring out the liquid, and applying it to my face that irritates me. Weird, I know, but true. Tah-dah! Solution found. This is a toner that you can mist all over your face. It feels amazing, and no cotton rounds needed. I spritz this on my face after my cleanser. The Boscia tonic is supposed to help hydrate your skin while it purifies according to its Sephora product description, and I think it definitely does that. If your skin tends to feel a bit tight after cleansing, this is a refreshing boost that will help out with that, all the while balancing your skin. Ulta, unfortunately doesn’t carry the Boscia brand. If you’re on the lookout for a non typical toner like me, this one’s for you.

3. Drunk Elephant- T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Let me just say, this product costs a pretty penny. There’s no denying it, and it pains me to add it to the list. It pains me to buy it. I truly believe that your skincare is an investment. If you want your makeup to look good, your pictures to look good, and your skin to feel good, then you have to put some time and money into your skin. I’ve been hearing about this product for so long, but the price tag scared me away from it. 1 oz of this product will set you back $90. I know, my wallet weeps with you. Thankfully, over Christmas, Sephora had gift sets with sample sizes for $20 that I snagged to see if it was worth the hype. As much as I hate to say it, it is a game changer for my skin. If you have large pores or texture on your skin, this will work wonders for you. When I use this product, my texture is gone and my pores truly vanish. It really is that good. It’s actually a chemical exfoliator, so this would be something to add to your routine 2-3 times a week. Do you absolutely need it? No, because let’s be real, most of us (including me) can’t afford to spend this much money on a skincare product. However, if you have a chance to treat yo’ self or if texture and large pores are your main problems, you might want to consider this serum. By the way, Drunk Elephant is another brand sold at Sephora and not Ulta.

4. Origins- Original Skin Renewal Serum

If you don’t want to go for the Drunk Elephant serum, another great one is the Origins Skin Renewal Serum. This is the one I use regularly. This serum is aimed at helping younger skin (20’s-30’s). It targets fine lines, skin brightness, and pores. I do see a difference in all of those things when I use the serum. Actually, I use it in the morning as well as in my nightly routine. One of the best things about this serum to me is that it works as a good base for your foundation. It’s not a primer and won’t help with the longevity of your foundation, but it helps with the application. I always find that when I put this on before I get ready, my makeup goes on and looks better. It diminishes the appearance of my pores and smoothes my skin out to an even, clean slate. Ulta carries the Origins brand, but for some reason they don’t have the Original Skin line. No fear though, because you can find it here at Sephora.

5. Origins- Eye Doctor Moisture Care for Skin Around Eyes

You’re going to see Origins a few more times on this list. There is nothing that I’ve tried from them that hasn’t worked exactly like it claimed and been good for my skin. This particular product helps with tired looking, dry under eyes. It also plumps up the skin, helping with fine lines. Anything that improves my makeup is a plus, and concealer doesn’t settle into my fine lines when I am consistently using this moisturizer. Keep in mind this is to hydrate your under eyes and doesn’t have anti-aging power. But, if you need the moisture, go with this one. I’m all for an anti-aging eye cream, whatever your age, but those can be quite pricey. Besides, any moisture that you are giving your skin is helping aging and appearance. So, for now, I’m saving a few coins and sticking with this eye cream. Luckily, this is an Origins product you can snag at both Sephora and Ulta.

6. Clinique- Moisture Surge

If there’s something that makes your foundation look better than a good moisturizer, I don’t know what it is and you need to tell me. This might be my favorite product from the entire list. I fully believe in the power of a good moisturizer for your skin for so many different reasons. My grandmother used the Clinique “yellow lotion” for years as her primary skin care. She lived to be over 90 years old and she didn’t look a bit of it. The yellow lotion doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I prefer a moisturizer to have a more gel-like consistency and find the creamier ones to be too heavy for my skin. The moisture surge is the perfect solution for me. It really feels like gel and makes your skin feel so soft and plump. Did I mention foundation glides on like a dream? I have combo skin, and it doesn’t make me produce any excess oils during the day either. Do yourself a favor and go grab it here. You can find the 72 hour and Intense formulas at Ulta, but I’v only tried the intense and like the original better. And, I know this is a Sephora/Ulta post, but you could also buy this product from your nearest Clinque counter when they’re having a gift event!

7. Belif- The True Cream Aqua Bomb

This is another one of my favorite moisturizers for the same reasons as the Clinique Moisture Surge, so I won’t go on too long about this one. It’s also a gel formula. Did I mention that I love gel formulas? This one has an added bonus. It feels cooling to the skin, which is so nice and refreshing in the mornings. I use this moisturizer at night and during the day when my skin is not overly dry. Honestly, I don’t think you need the Belif and the Clinique, so check them out and see which one speaks to you. The cooling effect of this one is hard to resist though. Be on the lookout for gift sets, so you can try more than one product from their line and get more bang for your buck. Find it here.

8. Origins- High Potency Night-A-Mins

If you have dry skin, I think you’ll love this moisturizer. As you can see by the name, it’s specifically a night time cream. Unlike, the previous moisturizers on the list, this one is a thick, buttery consistency and not a gel. I know, shocking. It’s not at all greasy, which makes me forgive it for not being a gel. I find that when I use this moisturizer my skin is not only plump and supple, but it’s also smooth and radiant. Something about this product also helps with my texture and uneven tone, which I didn’t expect from a moisturizer, but happily accepted! I especially love this product for the colder, drier months. This is one of the Origins products that you can find at both Sephora and Ulta.

9. Origins- Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

I wasn’t kidding earlier, I love Origins skin care. I’ve never been one to mask, but I can’t stay away from this one. It’s from the same line –Original Skin– as the serum I recommended earlier in the list. The mask is all about getting your skin back to its youthful origins… See what I did there. Be prepared to look insane and take jokes from your husbands, boyfriends, roommates, etc. The mask is a thick, pink cream that dries to a thick, pink hard mask that basically will freeze your expressionless face. Trust me though, the jokes are worth the results. My skin is so smooth and soft after this mask. If you’re feeling like your skin is not looking its best, try this mask out and see the difference it will make for you. It’s from their Original Skin line, so it’s at Sephora only.

If you have made it to the end of this list, you have my undying gratitude and mad respect. Thank you for reading about the best skincare products at Sephora and Ulta (in my humble opinion), and I hope that these recommendations work for you like they have for me! You can, of course find these products from their brand websites. But, I figured that it might be easier to shop online or in store at Sephora and Ulta. Feel free to share this post and have a spa day with your friends and your new products! Comment below and let me know if you’ve tried these products, if they work for you, or share your recommendations with me!

The Beginning

First of all, I am so excited to start this blog. I have been wanting to blog for such a long time, but for one reason or another (excuses), I’ve never done it. Correction: I have sort of done it. My blog lasted all of one day and one post four years ago, and I don’t even remember what the name of it was or what I thought I was going to be writing about. All my life I’ve been a writer. When I was younger I always kept a journal. I sometimes wrote poetry, a 13 year old’s hilarious version of poetry, but mostly I just tried to make sense of the world around me. I have always kept that interest in writing. I even have two degrees in reading and writing. Eventually though I had to grow up, and I stopped writing. When you become part of the world and you have to figure out a career, it gets hard to take time for yourself and the things you love doing. But I AM DOING IT. I apologize if the capitals were very shouty, but your girl is excited.

When you start a blog, the thing that every website and every person tells you is to find one super specific thing to write about and stay in your lane. I have too many things I like to talk about and think about to pick just one. So, I hope you don’t mind if we talk about a lot of stuff here. For example, I love makeup. Seriously, I love it. I have way too much, and I want more. I also love my husband, and my dogs, and my family, and traveling, and Netflix, and my friends, and you get the point. We’re going to call this a “lifestyle blog” so I can just write about all of it. Pretty clever, if you ask me.

Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a deep thinker, and sometimes I think I’m really funny. I’m probably neither. You be the judge. I need somewhere to write and here it is. I want to share with you, and I want you to share with me. Maybe together we can make sense of the world. Or maybe we can figure out the best eye shadow pallet of 2018. I’m game for either.