I quit sugar

Yes, you read that right - I quit sugar! Studies have suggested it takes 21 days to break a habit or make a new one. Of course, other studies have suggested it takes longer, but with the 21 day concept in mind, I set out to go on my own personal cleanse/diet/habit-breaking adventure and I'm here to share the results!

I have tried and failed on several occasions to stop drinking pop (or soda, for you American readers). Pop is so incredibly bad for you and it is also addictive! I decided last month that I was going to take this "no pop" personal boundary seriously and do my best to cut it out of my life for good! It was at this time when one of my classmates told me she and her boyfriend were going a week without consuming sugar.

Diets never really made sense to me. Why diet for a few weeks then go back to your regular eating habits? I'm not going to say I went on a "diet," but the concept of a week without sugar intrigued me because it sounded like the perfect challenge to test my own willpower. I started searching for foods that didn't contain sugar, other names for sugar and meal planning ideas. You'd be surprised the foods that are full of sugar! I had to cut out my usual favourite snacks and make things from basic ingredients in order to ensure they were sugar free!

Somehow I made it over three weeks without eating any sugar! By having to consciously plan my meals around this new restriction, I was able to realise how unhealthy my usual go-to meals were. I began to start my days off with homemade oatmeal (with unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon), and some fruit. The new foods I started eating gave me more energy and I felt fuller longer! Foods with sugar contain so many empty calories that don't energize you!

After making it a few weeks without sugar, I began enjoying a piece of dark chocolate or other sugary item and noticed that they didn't have the same appeal to me they once did - addiction broken! I don't get the same sugar cravings I used, but I haven't completely cut out sugar from my life.

Challenging myself to cut out sugar helped me realise how difficult it is to set restrictions for myself.  I'm very proud of what I learned through these few weeks and I plan on creating different boundaries for myself in order to break other not-so-healthy habits that I have! While this sugar-free challenge had its health benefits, it was also a learning process for me to become accountable with myself! Not as easy as it sounds! For anyone wanting to try and cut back on sugar, Pinterest has some wonderful meal ideas!

Would you try going sugar free?

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the problem with being busy

If you take a quick step back to observe your daily routine, it wouldn't take long to realise that most of our life is spent figuring out how to get the most things done as quickly as possible. I recently stumbled upon two pieces of internet gold which made me reflect on my busy hustle-and-bustle lifestyle and inspired me to write this post for you.

First: a pin on Pinterest with the phrase "How to Unwind and Relax."
The fact that we need to be reminded how to take time to ourselves and relax is a bit disturbing if you think about it! We're not meant to keeping going non-stop! We all need to take breaks on a daily basis! If you don't, you won't be putting forth your best work - however the word "work" can be applied to your situation. You will have more imaginative thoughts, peace of mind and a healthier body if you make an effort to de-stress everyday. We shouldn't need to read an article on the web to discover how to unwind!

Second: a thought-provoking quote on instagram (here).
Since beginning my Project Life scrapbooking journey, I started following Becky Higgins on instagram. She posts great photos of scrapbook spreads and photography tips in addition to advice on how to cultivate a good life. This particular quote that inspired me said, "part of cultivating a good life is recognizing that if we're too busy to prioritize God, we are busier than God intended for us to be." What a fascinating yet completely simple concept that I need to remind myself of!

I recently started a new job as a Starbucks barista and have been loving the learning process so far! Things can be pretty hectic and fast-paced though. I've been really encouraged by my fellow Starbucks partners who have been patient with me as I'm learning and who have written sweet messages on my cup at the end of my shifts. Coffee, for me, is a great way to take time for myself to relax and be in the moment by taking a break from the chaos life can bring.

You don't have to be superman/woman. You don't need to get everything done and accomplished right now. Life is short and you should be proud of where you're at during this current stage in your life. Look ahead to what you'd like to accomplish, but know that you can live your best life by moving forward at a comfortable and moderate pace.

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LUSH favourites 4.0

Well folks, I did it again! Another shopping adventure at LUSH plus some recent gifts from my awesome brother resulted in this awesome new-to-me pile of wonderful LUSH products to tell y'all about! I can't believe how excited I get talking about LUSH! These are my new favourite LUSH products that I'm loving right now...

Bath Bombs
I love that my family knows how much I love LUSH because anything from that store is a fool-proof and always welcome gift to myself for any occasion - especially bath bombs! Who doesn't love relaxing in a warm bath with a fun and colourful bath bomb which could possibly be full of confetti or flower petals!? I'm excited to try these two out. I didn't want to look up the names of these bath bombs because if they do something extra awesome, I want it to be a surprise!

Hand Care
I also got the Golden Handshake Hot Hand Mask which I also haven't used yet because I want to do this mask right before Cory and I get our engagement shoot done soon! (Yes, we've already done an engagement shoot, but since we've switched wedding photographers, we're doing another one with our new photographer just for fun!) To use this mask, you warm some water and melt the bar on the stick by swirling it around before soaking your hands in the nourishing water. To give my hands some extra TLC I have the Salted Coconut Hand Scrub. It's an absolute dream and makes my hands instantly softer!

Since starting my new job as a Starbucks barista, my hands have seen better days. I am constantly washing my hands or doing dishes and using harsh cleaning solutions. I used to keep some LUSH Vanilla cream in my work bag to apply during my shifts, but they're no longer making this lotion and I needed to find a replacement. Sympathy for the Skin Hand and Body Lotion is exactly what I needed! It's a heavier lotion (not as light-weight) but that's what I need to rehydrate at work. My hands are finally on the mend!

I love the LUSH fresh face masks, but they expire quicker than I can use them. When Cory showed my the Cup O' Coffee Face and Body Mask during our last LUSH trip (which is good for four months), I thought it would be a great addition to my face skincare routine. Yes, I was most definitely attracted to the coffee scent, but it's also great because it acts as a mask AND a scrub and leaves my skin extra smooth. It's like giving my face an energizing cup of coffee to start the day off right!

Do you have any new LUSH faves?

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wedding planning update

Our big day is coming up in less than 5 months! Now that I'm actually typing that out, I can't believe how little time we have left to pull everything together for our wedding day! It's been a bumpy road lately, having run into a few snags and school has also gotten crazy, so staying on top of it all has been a challenge. I wanted to update you guys on the progress of things and what I'm most looking forward to wedding-wise over the next little while!

First off, the bad news... or at least the less pleasant parts of the wedding planning process for us. We had come up with a pretty solid budget plan for how much we wanted to spend on our wedding and how much we'd like to put for each vendor and expense. That budget was working pretty darn well until we met with our caterer and realized we had very unrealistic ideas of how much food costs. Budget broken - immediately! Thankfully we met with our caterer right after we'd set a date, so we knew we'd have enough time to rework our budget and adjust to our exceeded original budget plan. No biggie. We want everyone to be fed! Food and photography were the two things we knew we wanted to invest in to make our guests happy and to remember this day for years to come through photos.

Which brings me to my next point. We just found out that we may need to find a new photographer for our wedding, because the one we had lined up for our big day might be moving to New York for a summer job opportunity. We're really happy for him if he gets the position he wants, but we'll need to find a replacement ASAP if he moves away.

On the "good news" side of wedding planning things, I now know exactly when two of my three bridesmaids will be returning home to help out with wedding things! Cory and I have been able to keep wedding plans under control while I have only had one bridesmaid home with me, but starting next month, things are going to pick up and not slow down until the wedding is here and gone! It will be nice to have my girls back! Our wedding invitations have arrived and we'll be having an invitation-assembling party soon. I love stationary and mail and paper goods, so I was really excited to finally see our invites "in person."

Another ongoing wedding project has been my wedding dress! A seamstress friend has been working with my mom and I to rework and redesign my mom's wedding dress for me to wear! It's still quite far from completion, but I can't wait to see the final results. Seeing my completed wedding dress is the one thing I'm most looking forward to right now! I've tried on many wedding dresses in the past, volunteering at local bridal shows, but wearing my very own one-of-a-kind wedding dress on our wedding day will be so special! And with that, I've officially declared no more major wedding planning until I finish writing another two essays and Easter festivities have passed!

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