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Monday, 28 July 2014

What I'm Loving: Lately.

Summer has been crazy and is flying by at lightening speed! Before summer escapes us completely I want to share a few of the things I'm really enjoying lately.
Seriously, I need to know who invented these?! Whoever it is, they're a genius! I eat them for breakfast, dinner, snacks, post workout, you name it. They take all of 30 seconds to throw together and are taste-bud paradise!
Photo source: Fitsugar.

The T-shirt Dress.
It's basically an invitation to wear your pajamas in public and still look chic. Uber comfy, uber cute; there's no denying the intelligence of the t-shirt dress.
Photo source: Pinterest.

Photo source: Pinterest.

These Sunglasses.
I took a chance, and I'm loving it.
A few days ago a friend sent me the link to 100 Happy Days; I've decided to take on the challenge! While I'm only a few days in, it has already been inspiring. Life really is better when we shift the focus to what makes us smile! You can follow my one hundred days on instagram (@amandaagraace).
What things are you loving this summer? Have you tried overnight oats?
xo, A

Friday, 25 July 2014

Faith Filled Fridays: The Divine.

One of my dear friends recently wrote a post on her blog about "but God" moments (post here). The post really got me thinking about my own "but God" experiences.

I asked Christ into my life almost 3 years ago, in September of 2011. It didn't take long for the spiritual attacks to start. As a new believer the fire of Christ was alive in me and, not surprisingly, the devil wasn't pleased with that. Satan hit me where it hurt, and hit me hard.

Legitimacy was something I had always struggled with (and occasionally still do). After coming to Christ, Satan did his best to magnify this weakness, reminding me time and again that I couldn't be forgiven for my past, that I would never be able to right my wrongs and I would certainly never be good enough.

I woke from my sleep in the wee hours of the morning one January day. I reached for my bible and it opened to a page and I was drawn to this verse:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:17-18

I had started to believe that I really wasn't worth it: but, God woke me up in the middle of the night just to tell me that I was. Can we just take a moment to realize the magnitude of this? I was sleeping. Out cold. I woke up and the first thing I did was open my bible. My bible opened to the book of John and my eyes were immediately drawn to this text. I was doubting myself but God told me otherwise.

That's divine.

My prayer is that we would keep our hearts and eyes open. The we would recognize and appreciate the "but God" moments. Amen!

Have you experienced a divine moment? Please share in the comments!

xo, A

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Lesson's Learned: Year one.

As many of you know, my hubby and I celebrated our first anniversary this month (cue applause). The first year was just as I expected and almost exactly like in the movies! Hah! Only kidding.

This first year was a lot of work. It was also a lot of fun, learning, laughing, crying, fighting, laundry, teamwork, compromise, and loving. I wouldn't change one single thing, but there are somethings I am going to do differently in year two.
Here are a few of the things I learned about myself, and marriage in general, in the last year.
1. I'm wildly impatient. Marriage requires patience. It also requires a lot of selflessness. I'm a work in progress...
2. Marriage is work. It's not seamless. It's not effortless. It takes two people giving 100 percent each and everyday.
3. It's ok to fight, functionally. I think this is one that's become common knowledge, but I'm saying it anyways. You don't need to fight about everything; some things are worth going to the wall on and some aren't. You'll learn which are and which aren't as you go. But sometimes you need to stand up for what you believe, and you should. Notice also that I said functionally. No fists need to be thrown, or daggers in the form of words.
4. You're still two people. I had the most difficult time when my husband and I first got married not feeling like I was trapped. For some reason I had worked up this idea in my mind that everything I would do from that moment on would have to involve my husband. This is untrue. While I value his opinion and talk to him before making most decisions I don't have to do everything with him, the same goes for him.
5. Love is best served biblically. Whether you have a relationship with Christ or not, I honestly believe that there is no better way to love than that which is depicted in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; loving graciously, selflessly, patiently and truthfully.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Monday, 21 July 2014

Endless Love: The First.

As I've mentioned before, my summer is filled with weddings! In fact I've recently learned that I am adding another to the list and I couldn't be more excited!
Here's a recap of the wedding we celebrated this past weekend, as well as the eating, swimming, sun bathing, and laughing that surrounded it!

I had a super lunch date with this beauty!

Some necessary sun bathing by the pool!


Dinner and drinks with two of my faves!

I was so proud of my wedding makeup.

The d├ęcor was stunning.

But not as stunning as the bride herself, cue sobbing.

The girls need a little snack after all their hard work!

 The greatest friends a girl could ask for; so blessed! 

 The beautiful bride and I. 
What a fox! With a wild side, too!

The weekend was absolutely perfect. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day for a wedding, from the ceremony to reception. The setting, photographers, champagne and cheese covered tortellini were all perfect!

Can't wait to celebrate with these two in just a few short weeks!
xo, A

Friday, 18 July 2014

Faith Filled Fridays: Unity.

In honour of tomorrow's impending wedding celebration I thought I would get a bit mushy and write on the verse the couple circulated with their invites!
"If we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:12
I know I've written on the topic of love before, but in my opinion you can't have too much love! We seem to have an abundance of hate (in several forms), violence, bullying, etc. but love seems to only come in waves, and far too often only after one the above.
If I had to describe God in one word, it would be love. Love is the first thing I think of when I think of what living a Christ-like life looks like.
The bible actually talks about love in four different contexts: Storge, Philia, Eros and Agape. Storge, or affection, is the love that exists between family members, such as spouses, siblings, or cousins. In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis attributes nine-tenths of all lasting human happiness to storge. I couldn't agree more. It wouldn't be a stretch for me to truthfully say that the majority of my happiness comes from those who are either family, or regarded as such. It's also a good reminder of where our happiness should come from, loving others.
I'm so blessed to be able to call my friend "cousin." It's one of the things you dream of when you're a little girl, doing everything with your best friend for-ev-er. While the absence of her and I becoming related wouldn't have changed our involvement in one another's lives, the fact that we are now related has just solidified God's plan in my mind. She's now becoming even more a part of my happiness, and further solidifying God's love, complete in me!

I love these three!
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8
My prayer on this day is for tomorrow's newlyweds. That they would have a marriage filled with Christ. That their eyes and hearts would continuously turn to Him in times of strength and times of sorrow. That they would learn, grow, laugh, and cry together. That they would forgive easily and love fearlessly, and that they would abound in grace. I pray that they would fight fairly, and that they would grow closer through growing closer to Christ. I pray for every happiness and blessing on these two. I'm thankful to be a part of this incredible journey. Amen!
Have an amazing weekend!
xo, A

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Challenge: Hair Styles.

I'm now 66 days into my "Year in Hair" challenge, so far nothing drastic has happened. Thankfully, it hasn't fallen out, or turned a strange colour. It's growing rather quickly, although never as quickly as I would like.
I mentioned in my first post that I don't use heat tools very often (and when the temperature hits 38 degrees there's no way I am pulling out the blow-dryer). One of the most challenging things about having short hair, especially with no real "style," is styling it. On top of this, my bangs are of course growing out, and with hair as thick as molasses it tends to impair my vision. Pony-tails and buns were always my long-hair go-to styles. Without the length however, I am having to get creative.
Luckily I am loving some of the styles that are trending this summer.
The half-top-knot.
Featured recently on both Peppermint Tea and Le Fashion this hair style is easy, cute and hot-weather friendly. Win - win - win.

14 Le Fashion Blog 19 Ways To Wear A Half Up Top Knot Bun Short Bob Hair Via Still With You photo 14-Le-Fashion-Blog-19-Ways-To-Wear-A-Half-Up-Top-Knot-Bun-Short-Bob-Hair-Via-Still-With-You.jpg
Still With You.

16 Le Fashion Blog 19 Ways To Wear A Half Up Top Knot Bun Long Bob Hair Septum Nose Ring Via Nasty Gal photo 16-Le-Fashion-Blog-19-Ways-To-Wear-A-Half-Up-Top-Knot-Bun-Long-Bob-Hair-Septum-Nose-Ring-Via-Nasty-Gal.jpg
Nasty Gal.

Another trend that I am adoring is braids. In my opinion braids are timeless. They're nothing new, but there are always new ways to wear them! Braids are also life savers when it comes to growing out bangs.


The Small Things Blog.

What are your favourite summer hair styles? Short hair styles?
Next month will be my 100 day update! Stay tuned.
xo, A

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Heat Wave.

I'm so blessed to be able to bring you all a guest post from the lovely Peppermint Tea! I've posted before about how much I enjoy her blog, and the super tips she offers. It worked out perfectly that she is doing a series of posts about sun-smart fashion (check them out here), while we are in the middle of a serious heat wave!
Enjoy! xo A
I have always been a sun lover and beach baby. I am very blessed to live in a city that allows me to spend my days in the sunshine, on the sand or beside the pool. Growing up in the Okanagan, I've had my fair share of sunburns and heatstroke.. ouch! Now that I am older I am more cautious, of not only protecting myself from the sun right now, but protecting my skin for the future. I never leave the house without sunscreen on my face. Higher the SPF the better! I have also gotten into the habit it wearing a hat when I'm lounging by the lake or pool. I think hats are a beautiful invention, and regardless of what fashion myths you may have heard, you can pull off a hat! You just need to find the right one for you.
Like anything in this life, not everything is going to fit "just right" unless it was meant for you. It might sound cheesy comparing a hat to life problems and solutions, but as women I think we put a lot of emphasis on fashion defining ourselves. I know for myself, because I'm a fashion blogger, fashion is a big part of my life. But I have chosen to not let the clothes define me, but use the clothing I wear to represent who I am as a person instead of the other way around. I want my clothing to make a statement about me and it cannot do that if I choose clothes I'm uncomfortable with or that do not fit just right. It is possible to feel amazing in the clothes you are wearing while being true to who you are! Fashion should never be about following the crowd, fashion is individual art.
These five different types of hats are just a few examples of my favorite summer hats! The straw hat (gifted), the fedora (urban outfitters), the floppy hat (Peter Grim via Blonde), the basbeball cap (lululemon), and the trucker (blonde).
Straw hat (gifted).
Fedora (Urban Outfitters).
Floppy hat (Peter Grim via Blonde).
Baseball cap (Lululemon).
Trucker hat (Blonde).
All beach appropriate and all interchangeable. Protect that cute little head of yours and find your right fit this summer season.
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