Do you ever just need a quick weekend getaway? When life is just spinning so fast and all you need is a moment where everything feels calm. It has been quite the crazy month for us! Once a week Spencer and I always try to take a day where we can just unplug, relax, and spend quality time together. I was beyond excited when Element reached out to us with a sponsorship to stay at their hotel!
I have to tell you from the moment I walked in… I was in heaven! The entire hotel emits the scent of sparkling green tea & tonic. This scent is the brand staple for Element hotels. How cool is that?? I could not get enough of it! I’m sure Spencer was over how may times I mentioned it. lol
The Element is located in Redmond, which turned out to be a little drive for us. When I say us, I mean Spencer because I do not like to drive! Thanks for being my life long love and chauffeur! In a way I loved it because it really felt like we were getting away! After we checked in we went straight to their WXYZ Bar and Re Mix Lounge. I have to say that I don’t always expect a whole lot from a hotel restaurant, but this was so cute and bright! All the food was actually so good too! I let Spencer get the spinach artichoke dip to start, because we all know that I actually live and die by bruschetta. Why am I so generous? It was good though! Then we both ordered pizza and I got the Caesar salad to feel healthy. it worked. Pizza has got to be my favorite food! The whole menu from the restaurant was also available through room service. Great experience!
I guess ordering my salad wasn’t healthy enough. Spencer still wanted to work out that night. Who works out after eating a full dinner?? Well, apparently us. Not only is Spencer my BTS photographer and personal chauffeur, he’s now become my personal trainer. I did sweat a little bit thanks to him. The gym at the hotel felt like a mini YMCA! Everything we needed was there. Do I have a 4 pack yet?
it’s only fair that since I worked so hard in the gym we got to have a little fun after! Their pool was so cute complete with an outdoor patio area. The patio had a bonfire, grill and so much seating. It’s not very often in Washington that you find cute outdoor areas because of the weather. I was totally inspired to take over to create a party on the backyard balcony.
We started our morning by getting some brunch. I can’t even tell you how thrilled I was when I saw that their toasters, wait for it, are SMEG toasters! I was in heaven!!! Breakfast is out favorite meal, so we gotta take this stuff seriously right?
I found out that the hotel is doing a promotion right now! You can select a package that includes an Uber gift card. When you check in, you can pick up your card at the front desk! So the next morning we took a ride to Bellevue Square. It’s only a quick 10 minutes. No hassle of traffic, parking, or anything! Finally Spencer can have a little break from chauffeuring and we got our own! haha
We had so much fun staying in our room! The Element was gracious enough to give us their king suite! I attached the link to their site so when you’re ready, you can book a room to stay!
There’s a reason Seattle is known for its coffee! Thanks to Starbucks we are a coffee capitol. If you’re visiting Seattle, of course you need to go see the first Starbucks located in Pike’s Place Market. After seeing the history of the first store, you must go to the Starbucks Reserve! They have an incredible open space showing how they process their coffee and have since expanded to open a bar and restaurant inside!
This bright, white, two story coffee shop is one to see! They serve Olympia Coffee and have a quiet environment to study or relax.
There are a few Stumptown coffee shops in Seattle. They serve their own brand of coffee and have great beverages to bring with you to take home. This is one of Spencer’s favorite coffee brands that started in Portland!
Mr. West Cafe
This is not only a great coffee shop but a great little restaurant as well! It’s always busy anytime I have gone. A classic order aside from their coffee is the avocado toast! It’s a must!
A coffee shop with so much space! This place is located right next to the Seattle Center and other large venues. The coffee shop also has a cool studio behind the black wall.
This is a newer coffee shop to Seattle within the last year. I’ve met the owner when we were in and they were so nice to us! If you’re aren’t going for the great coffee, or the first coffee sign we can all relate to, then go to see the resident pup!
Cedar & Spokes
Located right beneath Pike’s Place Market, this coffee shop is about to have one of the best views of the water! We’ve all heard about the 99 coming down that goes along side the water, when this leaves, you’re about to have an incredible view!
A lot of people know about Oddfellows restaurant in Seattle. Not many know about Little Oddfellows located just down the street inside of Eliot Bay Books. This cozy spot is a great place to come after you’ve looked through this large book store. I don’t even like to read, but somehow I still found myself wandering the isles!
Storyville is right in Pikes Place Market. The coffee shop even has a view of the iconic sign. When you’re downtown this is the place you have to go before picking up your market flowers!
I just love the snow! We drove out to Snoqualmie before the storm a few weeks ago. When I was asked to get back into my wedding dress I was so excited! I hadn’t worn it since our wedding day over 2 years ago.
I thought, this is the real test. You all hear about the freshman 15, but isn’t there like some newlywed weight gain? I mean you go from being single and eating whatever to being married and always stocking your pantry with your favorite snacks, because after all it’s YOUR house house now. You are in charge. You make breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday.
Anyway, I put on my dress and… IT FIT! O thank you Jesus! Maybe that was the benefit of getting a two piece set and a poofy skirt.
Brooke took the most amazing photos for us! I always love having memories through photos throughout the years. I want to remember the moments when it feels like there’s no one else around, when we’re having fun and being silly, and every adventure along the way! Take photos! Sometimes you can forget those special moments in your lives. So thankful for every opportunity to have photos like these! They were just so beautiful I had to share!
But just so everyone knows and I can be real with you… At the end of the day, a button did pop off the back when we were in the car leaving. So I guess I’m not where I used to be… but that’s why my mother-in-law is a great seamstress. Please send help!
I love the Metal Vent franchise because of their anti-stink technology! There’s nothing worse than throwing clothes in the hamper [or back of your car] and causing a stink! These guys are a great shirt to work out in!
This polo is great for golfing! It also includes the anti-stink technology for those long hot days without a cart.
This is one of my favorite men’s shirts that we carry! It’s made with a super soft material that’s great for cold days while you sweat.
These shorts come in either a 7” inseam or a 9” depending on your preference! They also come in lined or linerless. They are light weight with an elastic waistband. Defiantly you’re go to!
Intent Joggers have such a soft material! If you’re looking for something comfortable to wear, I think you’ll be happiest in this.
A great shirt for layering. It’s a great fit with soft material. One of the best thing about lululemon products is that they all come pre-shrunk! I can’t tell you the issues I’ve had with accidentally putting Spencer’s shirt in the dryer…
I love the City Sweat franchise! Their regular joggers are a great fit, and this sweatshirt is no different.
This button up shirt as more of a fitted look. One of our friends even considered having their groomsmen wear it for their wedding!
These are brand new to the company!! The ABC franchise comes in a classic fit, slim, and skinny. Length for each style come in 34” and the company offers free hemming to get you the perfect fit. ABC stands for “anti ball crushing”, so you can count on a comfortable dress pant!
These are some of my favorite pants to dress up and dress down! They are great for office, traveling, or commuting. Can you get away with wearing comfortable pants? absolutely!
This new cropped jacket is soft and cute! There was a longer version out earlier this year, but this takes the cake!
I’ve had my eye on this jacket for quite a while! It’s reversible! You get two different styles out of one jacket, so you might as well think of it as half the price. Dark Olive is one of my new favorite colors from this season! Each one of these everyday items can be found in this color!
These were my first pair of workout pants and this is what converted me! This fabric is made to adhere to sweat, so it doesn’t move at all. They are high waisted, and feature pockets on the sides and throughout the waistband.
I love this top because of the tight fit! When I’m doing a lot of movement, I don’t want a “flowy” top to get in the way of my practice. The mesh top gives a lot of good breathability too!
These tanks are made with an anti-stink technology! Use this tank for all of your sweaty pursuits. This racerback is fitted and long so it won’t go anywhere when you train.
This bra is designed for a medium B/C support. The extra fabric at the bottom gives that little extra coverage that I love!
Keeps your water cold for 24 hours and your drinks hot for 9 hours!
If you have ever tried align leggings on before, you are aware of the obsession with this fabric! The moment I tried these on, I knew that it was no question - I HAD to have them!
Pro Tip: Size up! These babies run slim. Also, buy black ASAP, it always sells out!
These were my first ever pair of lululemon sweat pants, and I was not disappointed. This is your perfect classic pair of sweats to have on hand.
This is also an ultra soft fabric! Bonus: You can actually workout in these pants! The fabric is actually sweat wicking. Can you tell I have a jogger obsession? It’s been a problem for almost my whole life. I had to dedicate a section to it!
These are actually on mark down! Get a good deal on these VELOUR lined joggers. I guarantee you’ll be changed forever.
These pants are high waisted and made with the best buttery soft fabric! Do not work out in these pants though, they are made only for yoga. I wear these as my everyday leggings! They aren’t see through and totally comfy!
Same incredible fabric, high waisted and in a short version! The align franchise is all over this page, because you just won’t get over how soft it is!
This racerback is made with nulu, the same fabric as the aligns! This tight fit will stay in place during your practice!
This mat will give you the cushion and support you need! This is the thickest mat they sell, and my personal fav!
I’ve had my eye on this cute bag! Perfect everyday bag to throw all your goodies into!
This is the perfect travel bag! it’s got a slot for your laptop, and a sleeve for your hot tools! My hair is always the last thing I do before I leave and it’s so hard to pack right away! Love everything about this!
I just got this for my sister-in-law’s birthday! One of us had to have it! haha It’s got slots for your make up brushes when you’re on the go.
Let’s be honest, most New Years’ resolutions include a physical goal. To get you started, here’s a simple workout for you to do at home. You don’t need anything, just a bit of space and effort!
This workout will consist of 3 rounds. Each round will last for 8 minutes. To set a timer, I use my Amazon Echo or set a timer on your phone. In each round you’ll have three different workouts targeting different muscles. Rotate through until the time is up. You got this!
10 forward lunges [per side]
20 scissor kicks [per side]
10 push ups
Make sure that when you step forward, your knee never goes past your toes! When you step back up, push through the heel of your front foot. It’s important to keep good form so that you don’t get hurt in the process.
For this workout, you’ll want to keep your back flat on the floor! This will help to engage your core. You can either lay your arms to the side or under your rump for extra support. Bring each leg up at a time and you can either let your lower foot rest on the floor or hover for an extra challenge.
Tricep Push Ups
Tricep pushups are meant to keep your elbows close to your body as you lift and lower. If you’ve never done this kind before it might be more than you’re expecting. If you can’t do a full push up, try starting from your knees instead of your toes! Before you start, always make sure that the joints in your arms are all stacked from your shoulders, elbows, to wrists,
10 wide push ups
Basically what you want to do is sit in an imaginary chair. Put all the weight in your heels and squeeze as you stand back up.
lay flat on the floor and with your knees bent, you should be able to touch your heels with the tips of your fingers. When you sit up try to not lift with your neck. Engage your core to bring you up!
Wide Push Ups
Again, with these push ups take a wider stance with your arms, but try to keep your joints stacked as well. If you can’t do a quality push up from your toes, try from your knees here.
20 hip bridges
20 jumping jacks
30 second plank
Start by lying flat on the floor with your knees bent so that the tips of your fingers can reach your heels. Lift, squeeze, and hold for 2 seconds. For more of a challenge, you can elevate your feet onto a higher surface. Trust me, it will burn!
Jump with both of your legs out as your arms go up. If this is too much impact for you, try hopping or stepping with each leg at a time!
This is going to be the same stance that you start your push up with. Stack your joints of your arms and hold that position! Don’t let your booty raise or fall, but keep that good form to work your arms and abs.
Below are links to my outfit from Lululemon!
- February -
Spencer works for Southeastern University and helps to run Ministry Institute, our church internship for young adults! We were so blessed to lead a missions trip to Belize in February! We had no idea what to expect, but we definitely made some lasting memories with some great people!
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel Convention
- March -
Our home church is under the covering of the Foursquare Denomination. I can remember growing up and looking forward to this convention every year. Our friends all lived so far apart and getting together every year was so fun! This last year, it finally came to our district, and in the city of Seattle! I was honored enough to serve and help lead the green room to some incredible leaders!
- March & October -
It’s the happiest place on earth! Spencer told me this year, that at least once a year we need to start going to Disneyland. I almost even got over my fear of the ride that started it all. Maybe next time though.. Who else is craving a Mickey pretzel?
- April & September -
Every year, this is what I look forward to! Thankful that I have a husband who can tolerate my weird quirks. This year, the fair came around for a total of FIVE weeks! Thank you God!
The Life as a Wife Relaunch
- June -
True, the blog was already a thing.. but after some more research and some work, I got to redesign our website! It’s all for fun, but excited to see where this hobby can lead! Thanks for your support! Love you all!!
Cle Elum with the Pattons
- May -
I remember when we went out to dinner both having some big news to share… Thankful that even though you have moved away, it’s really not all that far! Visiting the ranch was such a fulfilling trip for us. And it was my first time every shooting a real gun!
Anniversary at Palouse Falls
- June -
Reflecting on this year, there is so much to be thankful for! We celebrated our 2 year anniversary with a mini road trip. Thank you to my bestie Lauren for capturing all of these moments for us.
- June -
This was our first time ever visiting Joshua Tree! This was such a fun day spent with the Gibbons exploring a new place. Thank you for inviting us and helping to make another great memory for this year!
McCartin Wedding in Palm Springs
- June -
My sister got engaged and married to an incredible guy! This was such a great memory for us as a family. My family has been going to Palm Springs for over 100 years and has always been a special place for us. Now our memories have grown as well as our family and we couldn’t be more grateful.
This was such a fun year for weddings! So many of our really good friends have gotten married: The McCartins, the Mintons, the Burghers, and the Doughertys!
Making New Friends
- July -
It can be hard to branch out and meet new people. This was something that I really prayed for! I was so thankful to make new friends at Lululemon as well as a new friend in Kate - the genius behind these photos! Thank you all for your friendships!
- October -
Another great Halloween in the books! My family never really celebrated Halloween growing up. Trying to embrace a little Nakamura tradition, and if I must say, it’s going pretty well. Bonnie and Clyde was a great last minute idea this year!
- Coming Soon -
So thankful looking back at all the memories made with people that I love! This was a wild year! Looking forward to 2019 and all the new adventures life will bring.
There is a new florist on the rise! If you haven’t heard of Susie Gelman, then it’s about time you get in the loop. The Gelman family literally BREEDS creatives! The matriarch of this family in the past few years has started to bloom in the floral world! She has served at Create and Cultivate with their floral decor team and has done an incredible job with a lot of local weddings!
This year I was able to attend her wreath workshop. It was a lot of fun! Susie is a great teacher. I would love to think that I am the creative artsy type, but it takes a lot of effort! She makes everything look so easy and applicable. My wreath is a testament to her skills!
It was really easy to do! You could even start this project at home. Start with buying a wreath hoop from Amazon, only $5. You’ll also need this perfect little kit from Amazon! It includes floral tape, green wire, and wire cutters. You can see all the greenery that was available to us at the workshop in the photos above! Honestly, if you just take a little nature walk in the Northwest, you’ll probably find all you need. Grab some pine! There are so many different kinds that will bring a natural scent into your home.
We all chose different styles of how we each wanted to make our wreaths. That’s what makes it so fun! I did an asymmetric look, which sounds artistic, but really it just means that it doesn’t have to be perfect. A sophisticated mess. Kylai went the symmetric route, which I would’ve liked to do if I think I could pull it off. Lauren was just super artsy and overarched the top of her hoop! Bre is a perfectionist and wreathed her entire hoop! There’s no right or wrong way!
Go follow Susie Gelman’s instagram!
Hello Fashion Blog - How to Grow your Instagram
Do it for the insta! Am I right? Here’s an honest project produced by a real influencer sharing how she has grown to 1 million followers! It’s an encouraging read that helps you learn how to express yourself in a receptive way!
Good American - Good Legs Blue 186
This line has been tested and approved by so many different body types! It can be really hard sometimes to find a good fitting pair of pants that can squeeze in that “Vie booty” and also be small enough to fit your waist. If she hasn’t tried these yet, she will love it!
Morphe - 25 A Copper Spice Eyeshadow Palette
I used to be a fan of the Urban Decay palettes, but it’s been hard to find a variety of matte eyeshadow colors in the right shades. It’s so affordable and easy to pick up at Ulta!
Nordstrom - Rosa Biker Jacket
This jacket is on markdown, so don’t miss out on this good deal! I wear this jacket ALL THE TIME! It’s comfortable, cute, and goes with anything. Shop now before it’s soo late. The girl in your life will thank you for this treasured staple in her closet.
Teals Prairie - Personalized Wood Cutting Board
Your mom always wants a gift that takes thought, and this will do exactly that and be very budget friendly at the same time. It’s a classy gift that I know she will want to display in her kitchen and use for all special events hosted at the house. Order now before it’s too late!
Nordstrom - Sole Society Rubie Faux Leather Crossbody Bag
Try this sophisticated bag for when she’s on the go! Small enough to be convenient, but not too big and scream Mary Poppins. Black will go with every outfit. This is sure to be her new everyday bag.
Magnolia - Home Body Book
I don’t know what mom is not obsessed with Joanna Gains. Her simple and rustic style is so versatile for any home. In this book, Joanna Gains shares on how to reinvent your space. It just came out this fall, so if she doesn’t have this yet, she’s dying to have it.
Cravings by Crissy Teigen Cast Iron Cookware Collection
$8.99 - $35.99
Crissy Teigen has come out with two cookbooks full of incredible comfort food! If you have seen her recipe’s photos you’d be drooling. She just launched a line of cookware this month and it’s gorgeous. If there is any kitchenware that your mom will respect, it’s cast iron.
John Elliot - Classic Crew
This basic tee will be your guy’s go to. They have a great fit, long style, and comfortable fit. If he’s into shopping at all he will love this brand! Kudos points to you!
Common Projects - White Tournament High Cap Toe Sneakers
I know this is a splurge! These are a coveted pair of sneakers that he will love! Usually they are priced much higher. If you are ever looking for a great designer deal without the scam, you need to shop on this site. Ssense is a great site to search for great deals on good products.
Zara - Plain Ring
If you’re looking for something small, this statement ring is a piece that he will love.
Herschel - Novel Duffle
An overnight bag is something I promise you that your guy has not invested in, but he probably should. No more being embarrassed when he’s traveling. Here’s a nice duffle to pack in all his stuff for traveling or even short day trips out.
Titleist - Pro V 1 Dozen
For golf, these are the best golf balls! If your dad loves to golf, he will love a new pack of these guys. So here’s a little inside for ya! Now you know a little something about sports.
lululemon - Drysense Mesh Long Sleeve
This top is one of my favorites! It’s SO soft!! He can even work out in this shirt if he wants, but honestly, I think it’s so comfy to wear everyday. He will appreciate the quality.
23 and Me - Ancestry
23 and Me has created a simple test with a sample of saliva to show you your family’s history. If anyone in your family hasn’t done this yet, this could be a fun thing to try! You might even learn something new about where your family comes from or find other family members based on other tests in the system.
Amazon - Echo
I don’t know about you, but my dad LOVES siri! What better than to have this on hand in your home. It can set timers for cooking, play music, and you can even connect it to control the lights in your house! He might love a virtual assistant like this around.
FOR THE KIDS
Costco - 53” Plush Bear
This bear also comes in a larger size, if you can imagine! I actually have this bear and got it for my birthday. haha Anytime I have ever seen my nephew or niece play with this, they are completely starstruck! It’s always a hit. Why not have a toy that’s larger than life?
Zara - Ruffled Denim Overalls
I’m so guilty of only ever wanting to buy clothes for my nephews and nieces! At what point will this no longer be acceptable? I can tell you that the parents love it though! These overalls are so cute and and easy outfit for them to put together. The ruffles give a cute flare!
Culture Kings - Lil . Homme Signal Quilted SS Sweater
This offshore brand is my nephews favorite! It’s got such a cool vibe for boys clothes. Isn’t shopping for boys so hard to find something without animals all over it? Trust me, with this shirt, he will be insta ready!
Walmart - Audi R8 Spyder Volt Battery Ride-On Vehicle
Let’s go all out this year! This car is markdown to half off! They’ll not only have their own car, but an audi?? Where can I get one of these in the real world? Talk about a Christmas miracle!! This is sure to be a show stopper.
FOR THE FUR BABY
Crate and Barrel - Harlequin Large Dog Bowl
This last year we just discovered the dog section of Crate and Barrel! As if this shop can get any better! If I’m going to have Harvey leave all of his things out, they might as well look nice and match my house.
Pet Smart - Dentley’s Nature Chews Full Deer Antler Dog Treat
$8.99 - $22.99
Harvey loves to chew on bones, but either they have a coating that gets my furniture dirty, or don’t last at all. Antlers are long lasting, clean, and kind of appropriate thinking of “reindeer”. I think it’s the perfect gift for your little one!
Amazon - Furbo Dog Camera
Every time I leave the house, I just HATE leaving Harvey at home. He always has this sad confused look on his face and it just kills me. Every time we used to travel or leave overnight I would legit be balling, hugging and kissing him goodbye. I heard of a friend who got the Furbo Dog Camera and now… I need it! You can see them, interact them, and even send treats when you’re not home.
This week I wanted to share about a project I’m so proud of! My little sister wrote her first book! We took a trip recently and there and back all I did was read this book! I couldn’t put it down! She has been someone who has always lived above reproach. Her life is lead in a way that is beyond admirable. Her book gives you just a glimpse into this past season of her life and is a true testament to her strength and love for God. Here is a little interview I hosted over dinner to get to hear her heart and thoughts behind it!
Adrienne: This is your first book at age 25! How does it feel to be an author?
Britney: It’s a great accomplishment! This book was put on my heart, from the time I thought of it to the time it was finished, was 19 months. So, it took a while to write and to work on. I feel excited!
A: You’ve talked for a long time about doing a blog or having a writing outlet. Does it feel good to finally have something out there?
B: When I was in high school, I had this dream that maybe someday that I could be working on a writing project. I had a couple ideas and actually started a couple of things that I ended up putting down because they weren’t inspired. They were good thoughts, but they weren’t inspired. So, I ended up not completing those projects because at the time, those weren’t really what God had put on my heart. Then when this came to mind it actually was a project that I was very hesitant and nervous to write about. I didn’t exactly want to do it to be honest! I couldn’t shake the idea. That’s how I knew that it was the Lord prompting me to do it. It’s been such a blessing because I’ve heard countless stories of men and women alike reading this book and they have been blessed and encouraged.
A: Tell us about your book for those you haven’t read it yet or doesn’t know what it’s about.
B: My book is called Dancing in the Dark. It’s kind of came out of a dark season of my life. Everyone goes through hard stuff. No matter what age, no matter what season, everybody goes through difficult things. How are we supposed to go through those things? To be honest, those are the things that people don’t enjoy talking about. It’s not comfortable to talk about your darkness. It’s not comfortable to talk about your pain. That’s the stuff that we all try to forget about and don’t want to think about. Let along talk about! It’s about how to walk through the dark seasons of your life. The book talks about the darkest season in my life when I was married at 19 and divorced at 23 and never saw it coming. I didn’t; think that it would ever happen to me and it did. It was a terrible and dark time in my life, because of the disciplines I had in my life preexisting I was able to walk through that time with grace. The book is about those things that I have implemented in my life so that hopefully others can learn from the pain that I walked through. They can now learn to journey through their pain with grace as well.
A: In your book, what are your ways of explaining your preexisting disciplines?
B: The book has three sections. I always have said that I don’t know how to write a book, so I wrote it like a sermon. It has an intro and three main points. I talk about my story, my darkness and pain in my life I go through three different kinds of dances. First being, the tango which is a really structured dance. What is the structure of our life, but our spiritual disciplines. Then moving into the next dance, we talk about the waltz. I actually talk about you quite a bit in that chapter! The waltz is the most difficult dance to learn, but the most beautiful to watch. The most difficult but beautiful thing in our life is relationships. The last section is the jive, the fast-paced dance that can be frustrating because it’s so fast moving. What can be more fast moving than the speed of life. How do we move through those things with the wisdom of God in our life?
A: What kind of expectations did you have going into this project? How would you say they were either confirmed or different?
B: I thought it would be pretty uncomfortable and it was! Anytime you think that you’re done talking about your pain and then somebody reads it and then they want to talk to you about it, all of the sudden you’re talking about it all over again. When you decide to open yourself up for the benefit of others it doesn’t stop. You choose to have your life be open to others. I think that’s how we are all called to live. To use our life, the good times and the hard times for other people so that we can all grow.
A: Who would you recommend this book to?
B: I would recommend this book as an emergency book if you have suddenly gone through a life time tragedy. This is as an emergency! I would more so suggest it for someone who hasn’t gone through anything! The whole point is to prepare yourself for the storm before it comes. I would say that every person could read this book. I wrote this so that it could bless people before they experience pain. So that we pain does arise, they know how to deal with it.
A: I’ve been talking to people who have read your book and how it’s not only focused on your dark period, but it’s very well rounded.
B: I had to look a lot to scripture to see what the Bible talks about in darkness. Jesus knew more about darkness and pain than any of us! He knows exactly what we are going through and gave us tools to walk through those things. There’s a lot of scripture in the book and that helps too, to look at the life testimonies of people that are in the Bible.
A: Can we expect more books from you in the future? I feel like the answer is yes!
B: I am definitely open to whatever the Lord puts on my heart, I feel like there may be something on my heart right now! I don’t know when that might come. What I have learned through this is season is the importance of community and friendship in our life. I have been processing through that topic, the importance of relationships! Church doesn’t happen just on Sunday mornings, it happens every day of our life. Live a life so that you church life and your real life become the same thing! You build a community so that when you journey through things, you have people by your side. That topic has been something that has been on my heart for a possible project in the future. I’m not sure what that will look like, but I’m definitely open to it!
A: I know that community has played a big part in the birth of your new campus in Bonney Lake! Maybe we can read more about your journey through the expansion of our church to a new city!
B: We have a singular goal and mission - that’s to reach people for Jesus! In the process of how we do that, it’s through godly relationships. Community life is definitely number one!
A: How can out readers get ahold of a copy of their own of your book?
B: My book is available online at www.britneymccartin.com. There are only a handful of copies left! We ran out of the first run, now the second run is almost done as well! Make sure to grab your copy.
I know that I have even given your book as a gift to people who are in emergency! Great questions I’ve always been asked as a leader is: What leader is in your ear? What book is in your hand? You NEED this book! It’s full of wisdom through experience, and I can tell you first hand walking through this season and seeing the blessing on the other side that no one has lived with more grace than this person right here! I am so honored and blessed to live life with my sister and I know that her words will speak to you just like they did me! I really wanted to share this project of hers with you. I read her book and couldn’t put it down! I know that it’ll be the same for you!
December is here! I’m not sure if you can really call it a tradition, but every year there are a few fun things that Spencer and I love to do! The northwest has so much to offer this time of year to keep you in a festive spirit. Here are a few of my favorite things…
This little German city in the mountains has always been one of my favorites to visit in the winter with friends! You can usually count on there being snow. Leavenworth goes all out for Christmas. If you aren’t feeling the Christmas spirit there, then who are you? Just take a walk down the main street and look through all the shops.
Probably my favorite thing to do here is to take a sleigh ride! It costs around $20-$30 to do and totally worth it. I remember planning an engagement for some friends and this was an absolute MUST! I can’t wait for our trip over this year.
if you’re planning an overnight stay, you’ve gotta stay at Posthotel in Leavenworth. It has the most gorgeous rooms, and incredible spa and the best view! Whenever I’m looking to book a hotel, I always check their photos for white sheets and bedspreads… then you know FOR SURE they wash them. SO trust me, this place is everything!
Starting November 23rd through Christmas Eve, Bellevue’s main street hosts a Christmas inspired parade. Every night at 7:00 PM drum lines, nutcrackers, and Santa Claus march down between Bellevue and Lincoln Square for all to see! Come to Bellevue early to get in some good shopping and a meal before the show starts. It can get a bit crowded, but it’s all worth it when the show ends with snow falling down on everyone watching. Basically, anything snow related, I’m in!
If I can be honest, I’m not sure why this is a tradition of ours… I am SO BAD at ice skating! I was never able to roller skate or roller blade, so you can see how that can translate here! Even though I am terrible, my ankles hurt, and I need to hold someone’s hand basically the entire time… we still enjoy going! Put on your scarves, gloves and winter coats for a fun winter activity like this! I even saw that Ruston in Tacoma has already started setting theirs up! This is one of our favorite places for a date night that’s close to home.
Like I said before, I LOVE to go to the snow! If you go to Crystal Mountain, their gondola ride to the top has been something that we try to do every year! I am not the best skier. I can get by, by literally snowplowing all the way down the mountain… This is a true story, when I was still learning [in high school] I thought I could go from the top. I was wrong. I got too scared and they had to strap me down on a toboggan to bring me to the bottom! This is what they do for “medical emergencies.” fortunately, I wasn’t hurt, just my pride. This is why the gondola has saved me! I't gives me a chance to see the GREATEST views at the top of the mountain!
Thanks for checking in this week! We hope that you’ll have a few more ideas to get out there and enjoy the holiday season!
Thanksgiving week is finally upon us! As we get older we have more opportunities to reunite with friends and family and you might even asked to contribute now! Sure it may be a holiday based solely on the meal on the table, but don’t feel any pressure! It’s honestly not as hard as it looks.
Let’s talk though about the Belle of the ball - the turkey. I remember the first time I ever made a turkey. We were hosting a Thanksgiving party for all of Spencer’s team at work. Has anyone ever told you that it’s not a great idea to try something new when you are having guests over? Well I learned that the hard way. I was so ambitious then! I made the entire meal by myself, no matter how much everyone offered to bring something. It’s pride people…
To my surprise, no one in this entire group had any clue how to make a turkey! So at least I was in good company. Luckily, everything turned out ok! No one died and the food was great. It was when we came to carving the turkey that I handed the reigns over to Spencer. This was the difficult part because no matter what we did, it’s like there was NO meat on the turkey! It wasn’t until that we started carving the bottom that we found more to offer for our group. Turns out… the turkey was cooked upside down!! I mean talk about embarrassment. It took everyone watching for us all to finally come to the conclusion together that the turkey needed to be flipped over. Lesson learned, BUT also some great knowledge gained from this experience - we found that if we cooked the turkey upside down it helped to keep all the moisture in the meat!
Here’s what you need to know in advance for buying your turkey…
How many people are you going to be feeding? Based on that number is the amount of pounds that you need to buy to make sure no one goes away hungry!
4 People >> 5 lb.
6 People >> 8 lb.
8 People >> 10 lb.
10 People >> 13 lb.
12 People >> 15 lb.
15 People >> 20 lb.
20 People >> 25 lb.
25 People >> 32 lb.
Now that you have your turkey, I hope you are planning this a few days in advance! When you buy a turkey, they always come frozen at the grocery store. You need to leave time to thaw out that hunk of meat either in the fridge or in a sink full of water. Heres another scale for you:
8-12 Pounds >> 2-3 days in the fridge OR 4-6 hours in cold water
12-16 Pounds >> 3-4 days in the fridge OR 6-8 hours in cold water
16-20 Pounds >> 4-5 days in the fridge OR 8-10 hours in cold water
20-24 Pounds >> 5-6 days in the fridge OR 10-12 hours in cold water
Now that I’ve had my past experiences of the turkey terrors, I can hopefully share some wisdom of how to make your turkey delicious! Here’s what you gotta do!
In every turkey there is a bag of the giblets [turkey guts] that some people like in their stuffing [ew], take that out! Also make sure to remove the neck. This might fell barbaric, but do it for the pilgrims!
If you don’t have the right pan, you can buy a disposable foil tray to cook the turkey in. To keep in the moisture while your turkey cooks, I always put it in an oven bag. Click on these links to see what I mean.
To get started you’ll want to slide in slices of butter, fresh sage leaves and rosemary UNDER the skin. Yes, you need to separate the skin form the meat and slide in these guys to make sure that you get all that flavor! Chop up some yellow onions and put them into the cavity of the turkey. I also like to squeeze a lemon in there and just throw the whole lemon in after for more flavor.
In the tray, I always add in a dry white wine like a chardonnay! It cooks out all the alcohol and leaves a yummy flavor! This time, purposefully put the turkey in the tray upside down to keep it soaking while it bakes. You can also add in vegetables to the bottom like carrots or potatoes.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees! Your bake time will depend on the weight of your turkey and also if you choose to fill it with stuffing or not! At the end of the time, make sure that the internal temperature is at 165 degrees. Here are the bake times without the stuffing:
8-12 lb. >> 2 3/4 - 3 hours
12-14 lb. >> 3 - 3 3/4 hours
14-18 lb. >> 3 3/4 - 4 1/4 hours
18-20 lb. >> 4 1/4 - 4 1/2 hours
20-24 lb. >> 4 1/2 - 5 hours
YOU CAN DO IT!
There’s really no need to be intimidated! Happy Thanksgiving! May your bellies be full of delicious food this week!
Stay tuned for #MunchieMondays and we’ll share how to turn your leftover carcass into a yummy turkey soup!
You all know I love Target! Recently, they have introduced a new product line, Bliss. If you casually walk down the Target isles in your spare time, then you’ve probably seen the vibrant blues and pinks popping off the shelves!
Bliss has been around since 1996 and setting itself apart from the beginning. It actually began as a spa that created a welcoming environment [including a BROWNIE bar] as opposed to others that might make you feel intimidated for a first time visit. The spa has attracted stars like Oprah and Madonna! It’s expanded to offering products to create an at home spa experience.
Since getting my own pet [Harvey turns 2 in November!] I can not believe what an animal lover I have become! If you’ve seen Legally Blonde 2 you know the injustice that some animals can experience because of products being made. Bliss is a cruelty free line of beauty products! This means that they do not use animal testing in the making of anything sold. Tests on animals can be painful and cause suffering since in the testing phase they don’t know how products made will react to their skin. Bliss proudly prints on all products their cruelty free stance!
It was only fitting that during my at home spa session, Harvey wanted to join me…
I’ve been to lucky to have received some new products from Bliss this year. I wanted to share a few of my favorite ones! When you’re shopping you’ve gotta pick up at least one to try! Or if you want to order online the links are attached to the photos below!
The pumpkin patch has got to be one of the highlights of the fall season. I mean, who are you if you don’t go get a pumpkin and carve it at home? I’ve never really been the kind of person who’s into scary things. So this is what I look forward to in the Halloween season! It’s one of the first activities to kick off the holiday season for us.
I have to tell you about our start to this day…
Whenever you decide you want to take an adventure with the Hunters, buckle up! You’re always bound to have a little more than you bargained for! When we were planning a day to go out, the weather app only showed rain. It looked clear enough, so we decided to take a chance!
Driving up to the pumpkin patch, we saw a car in a ditch! Jake looked over his shoulder… you know when your friend gets that look in their eye and you just know something is about to happen? Now, don’t judge me, but it wasn’t raining! So Bre and I knew there wouldn’t be time to go help AND have our fun. We also knew that this wouldn’t be some easy fix! I mean, we aren’t a tow truck, no one was injured, so what are we really going to do? We were just sitting, in the rain, with our coffees [coco] watching it all play out. First they tried to pull the car out, then they tried pushing. Inch by inch they finally figured it out and wiggled that car out back onto the street! Good for them! Good samaritan task done for the day.
If you live in the local Tacoma/Puyallup area, I love Sterino Farms right off River Road! It’s the cutest little place with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, water tower, and decorated pick up truck. If you’re going in the rain, or really just at all, bring your boots! This day was definitely a muddy one. We made sure to bring our layers and an umbrella. It’s a good thing we did too, because even though it wasn’t raining at first, it started to down pour once the boys were done saving the day.
I have to confess that I don’t care much for the part where you actually have to carve the pumpkin. What I really want are those seeds!! You’ve gotta separate your seed from the muck, boil them, then bake the seeds in soy sauce. It’s the best!
It might be the end of October, but it’s not too late to celebrate the start of fall!
Get out there and have some fun!
Let me take you on my journey through “The Happiest Place on Earth!”
Saturday mornings used to be designated Daddy daughter days for Walt and his family. He didn’t always know what to do, so he’d end up taking them to the park. Sitting on a bench one day, he thought up this magical land! July 17th, 1955 Disneyland became a reality! In the amusement park today, you can see the actual bench from the park where Walt Disney thought up Disneyland. You can also see a wood carved horse from the carousel he would take his girls to. His dream was for this to be a place where you could take your family for a good time!
Thank you Nakamuras for taking us this time!
If you know anything about Disneyland, it’s the lines. Loads and loads of lines! How do you pass the time? During this trip, fact checking has been a hobby for us all. Somehow we have spent the last three days looking up all of these Disney facts! Good for you too, because now I can share a wealth of knowledge with you. Thanks to Google!
I’m not the biggest fan of rides… I’m usually the girl who will hold all your stuff just waiting it out while you plummet to a dangerous undoing, venturing on some ridiculous thrill seeking ride. Hence why I love this little old riverboat. We all know that Disney comes out with new attractions, but can you believe that this was one of twelve attractions here from day one?! Pretty exciting! For a list of all other original rides, look below!
Railroad Main Street Station
Railroad New Orleans Square Station
King Aurthur Carrousel
Mad Tea Party
Main Street Cinema
Mark Twain Riverboat
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Peter Pan’s Flight
Snow White’s Scary Adventure
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Some are just so ride obsessed that we forget everything else that Disneyland has to offer! Since this is not my struggle let me give you a tip. If you’re one of those committed fans going open to close, let’s just start here: wear good shoes. It’s not worth it to be cool for 17 hours and completely wreck your feet! Come on, how many of you know what I’m talking about! That’s why we sit on the ropes [oops], ground, anything just to get a break! Well, here’s a tip for ya! You know the railroad at the entrance? Ya, right behind where you take your first family photo. That railroad stops all throughout the park on a little tour! New Orleans Square, Toon Town, Tomorrowland, and Main Street. Save your feet, stop doing all that walking, and hitch a ride. The park also has little trollies, buses and carriages that loop around from the main entrance to the castle. Work smarter, not harder. It’s about being strategic here when you’re trying to last that long! Rides are free and come by frequently.
Ok, so maybe you ARE a ride person. I get it. Whoever you are, there’s just one thing you gotta do: GET THE APP! The Disneyland app will make your park domination that much easier. You have everything you need right on that little phone of yours. Maps, fast passes, reservations, everything! No need to run all over the world, you’re doing that already. Make life easier to hit up everything on your list. The mornings are a lot less crowded and you could probably do every large ride in the park in the first couple hours if you use your fast passes right. It’s all about strategy people.
Days at Disneyland can be long. I know sometimes your instinct might be to just eat the first thing you see because, dang it, you want what you want when you want it. Enough of the lines already! Let’s think ahead though. Everything about this park is an experience. Shouldn’t your meals be the same? Don’t be silly, of course they are! I’m sure you’ve rode on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. You know the restaurant inside the ride? Yes, inside. You can eat there! Yes, little old you! If you can think ahead of your trip, make reservations for the Blue Bayou! There are quite a few restaurants within the park that take reservations. If you’re part of the “Finer Things Club” [The Office], then you’ve got to get to it with this one!
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
We had so much fun on our trip! With all of our Google research, I learned a lot about Disney. This quote had me thinking about day 1 the park opened. Which to most of us, might seem like a magical day, but to the team is known as, “Black Sunday.” Here’s why:
Opening day for Disneyland was over 100 degrees! It was so hot that the asphalt freshly laid wasn’t dry and women’s heels sunk into the ground. Not only that, but the plumbers were on strike! This meant no functioning facilities for the opening day. Restaurants and stands ran out of supplies and guests were left to thirst and hunger in the heat. Many other things went terribly wrong! This was the start of a majorly successful company that combined makes over a billion dollars a year!
Wherever you are at in your journey, don’t give up! Keep dreaming and keep working hard!
Here’s a little something extra for you. Unfiltered. This photo shows my shear terror back when my fear of rides began… On Splash Mountain.
That’s me in the red.
All year, always leads up to this moment. Our church hosts a ladies conference every year. Our Senior Pastor - my mom - for the last 5 years has cast vision for the ladies of our community to have a mountain top experience in their faith journey. This year was no different! Our word for the year was Hope Calls. Here’s a sneak peak of what this year looked like!
It’s so much fun to be a part of! We have 20 team leads that serve on our conference team. Without them, none of this would be possible. These men and women are so creative and help bring the vision to life! If you want to know how anything goes without error, it’s because of these individuals. I am so thankful that there are others who just have a heart to serve. From our leads, to our student interns, to members of our church community. THANK YOU! You create an environment where it’s easy to receive and feel blessed.
When I heard the word Hope Calls, I didn’t really think much about it. It sounds inspiring.
I actually learned so much this week. I’m excited to grow and challenge myself! I wanted to share a little bit about what I learned and the knowledge I gained from some incredible women who preached at our Ladies Conference these last few days!
April Carter is from Yakima, Washington at Together Church. I was so blessed to hear wisdom from her! She gave an insightful analogy of how to live your life in priority. Here it is:
Take a jar and fill it with large rocks. You might think that it’s full. Fill it with gravel and you might still say that the jar is full. Now fill the jar with sand, and still you might think that it’s at capacity. Finally, fill the jar with water. Now, all the space is filled. If you try to reverse this process and start with water and then add the sand, gravel, and rocks, the jar won’t be able to contain it all and the contents will overflow.
Don’t live your life out of order!
Over 900 ladies were in attendance!
My mom spoke in the morning session. The Best is Yet to Come! Do you sometimes feel like you’re wishing your life away? That has been me for the last few weeks. I’ve been so exhausted and emotionally drained. I keep looking forward to this trip to Disneyland next week thinking that if I could just getaway then I’d be refreshed. I left this conference more refreshed, encouraged and filled up than I expected!
Here is what my mom had to say about Hope:
-Hope believes when evidence is eliminated
-Hope listens for answers when no one is talking
-Hope smiles with confidence when no one is laughing
-Hope calls in the midst of the storm
There’s a difference between wishes and hopes. Wishes are optimistic thoughts that don’t request action. But hope, it requires trust.
Hope is a feeling of expectancy.
My sister is now an author! She has used her testimony as a way to encourage others. Dancing in the Dark is a book I can’t wait to share with you all! Stay turned as I interview her about the book later on this month! She has always been so full of wisdom and lives as an inspiration to anyone who knows her. There was one quote that stuck with me she shared from Lisa Bevere, “Obedience is the highest form of spiritual warfare.” Don’t you agree, that sometimes doing the right thing can be really hard? There’s a reason why life isn’t always so easy. Obedience doesn’t always benefit us either. Like Britney said, it DOES benefit everyone around us!
- Dancing in the Dark -
pre order at
Leanne Matthesius is originally from Australia, and her and her husband has a church in San Diego, California - C3 Church. We were all encouraged to fight for ourselves and our households. She told the story of Jael from Judges 4 and how she saved an entire nation! “Don’t Mess with a Godly Housewife” was her message title. “The Life as a Wife” rang in my head of course… You are more than just a housewife, or just a girl! Here are my key takeaways from Pastor Leanne:
-Jael refused to be a victim
-She was discerning
-She used what was in her hand to take out the enemy
I had such an incredible experience! If you are not in a community, I want to encourage you and also invite you to join mine! Everything is better when we are together. There’s nothing as amazing when the feminine heart comes and joins in together.
Don’t miss out on another opportunity like this one!
You can register for next years’ conference now.
You may have seen me post about this a lot recently, but don’t you feel like sometimes you have those seasons where you just can’t keep up? Especially during the holidays, it’s event after event… and suddenly your whole week is taken over with obligations. Or maybe you’ve over committed yourself and now there’s no time in the day to do what you actually want to do. Somehow time just slips away from you and it feels like you’re just going through the motions.
This week, I felt that we had to address this before it gets too late! There is a way to create balance! take these five steps, and I know that it will help improve your efficiency.
Get a Planner
There’s something different about writing something out. Spencer and I recently just bought planners for ourselves. There is so much going on, and so much that we want to accomplish, this helps to create a visual of what’s on your plate.
When I worked for my parents, we would get away before the start of every year and prepare for how we’d challenge ourselves to grow! In our calendars we used emphasis days. We all juggle so much, and some days it makes sense to focus on one area and make that your priority.
Add everything to your calendar! Work, the gym, homework, chores, side hustles, strategic planning, rest… If you don’t schedule it, it might not be as important to accomplish. Recently a celebrity posted his daily routine schedule. It’s CRAZY to see how hard they work and what they make time for. Trust me on this, it’s a good plan!
2. Quality Time with Positive People
Don’t be too busy with your obligations that you forget to have fun! Make plans to spend time with people who lift you up! When life gets so busy, sometimes it feels like we don’t have a “life.” It’s important to set aside time to be social! Even if it’s once a week, or once a month! When you’re in those grinding seasons surround yourself with those who can encourage you to push through, work hard, and keep going!
Whatever season you’re in, it’s so important to get away. Wherever you live or work, that’s your battleground. We are all fighting for something! To achieve real rest, sometimes you just need to get out of your everyday space. Pack a bag, even if its just for a day. Drive a couple hours and take some time away from your routines, away from the craziness, and far away from your problems. Have any of you seen What About Bob? OMG it’s so funny! Bob’s therapist tells him to take a vacation from his problems, but sometimes I think that as silly as this advice is, it’s genius. Stop dwelling so much on what’s in front of you and just take a break.
This might be the most challenging for me. Taking time to myself or by myself. I know some of you are parents and probably are thinking, “just you wait!” Well, I’m not there yet. haha The time might go by fast, it might go by slow, but don’t be afraid to be a little “lonely.” I remember when I was younger and a preacher once said that loneliness is lethal. Take time to really just reflect and gather yourself. Have slow feet!
5. Make Time with God a Priority
This might be last on this list, but it’s because it’s the one that you should remember most! God doesn’t want us to carry our burdens ourselves. We weren’t made to do this all on our own. Everyday, whatever your plans, start it with your daily devotions. I guarantee it will set you in a better mood and fill you with wisdom. If you try to do this all on your own you’ll be tired, you will feel like quitting, and you will not be able to sustain it for long. If you want longevity and success, make time with God a priority. If your principles are in place, the particulars will take care of themselves,
Am I the only one who LOVES grocery shopping?
I literally have a system for everything. The way I make my grocery list, the way I bag my groceries. It’s a science ok? Or OCD… Still to be determined.
I get a lot of friends asking me about doing a grocery haul so here it is! I’ll be honest with you, I shop at Winco. Every week on South Hill I’m there! It’s cheap [because they don’t accept credit cards] and it’s conveniently close to my house. You know when you just have your routine and get comfortable with where you like to go? It’s YOUR spot now. I know where everything is categorized to in their store!
Before you go shopping, there are a handful of essentials that you just need to always have stocked in your kitchen…
The first section of Winco always guides you to the produce. I love fruit! I always make sure to grab a few things so that I can make smoothies or just have on hand for a healthy snack. Pick your favorites but be realistic about what you actually need.
After the fruit comes the vegetables! I usually get the same vegetables whenever I go because I’m pretty picky… I pick veggies that will be quick and easy to make as a side dish or ones that can be versatile for multiple dishes throughout the week.
Don’t forget fresh herbs! They can be a little spendy, so there is only one that I always need. I make bruschetta everyday.. So you guessed it, basil!
Italian food is basically what we live off of, only because it’s the best food in the entire world. If you disagree, then you’re wrong! So, here are a few items that I routinely need to replenish from my pantry stash of goods!
I might not stock these every week, but they are great options to keep around. I can’t tell you how often I make chicken and rice with Frank’s hot sauce or soy sauce because it’s so easy.
You’re about to see how Italian I really am [with a nod to Spencer’s Japanese heritage]. Carbs are my absolute weakness! If there’s anything I would be sad to give up it’s this. You can never have too much pasta!!!!!!!!!!!