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Author: glondon

Charleston Trip

Charleston Trip

Chase and I had been planning a weekend trip to Charleston with two other couples since November and the timing was perfect. We needed to get away for the weekend, explore a new city, and spend time with our good friends! I’ve visited Charleston once before, but it was years ago for an afternoon when my family was on vacation at Edisto Beach. I had been wanting to go again so we decided to take this trip and it would be our Valentines/birthday gift to each other!

There were two things I knew I wanted to do:

1.Stay in a bed and breakfast

1837 Bed and Breakfast worked out perfectly! It had the old Charleston charm and was so close to everything! Everyone loved the rooms, cute porch with rocking chairs, and yummy breakfast they served each morning!

2.See all the colorful houses and explore downtown.

We definitely accomplished this! On Saturday we walked all day around Charleston; ate a yummy lunch in one of the parks, walked down Rainbow Row, explored Waterfront Park, and then shopped at The Market.

Yes I am wearing shorts in February! We had the BEST weather!

After walking around Charleston, I am now obsessed with flower boxes! ALL of the houses had them!! The London Bungalow will be having a flower box in the near future!

Colorful houses are my love language

Chase’s breakfast the first morning: Pineapple upside down french toast, sausage balls, and fruit!

Our sweet friends! So blessed they are in our lives!

Sunday we had breakfast, packed up our cars and went to the South Carolina Aquarium before we headed home that afternoon!

It was a wonderful weekend.

xoxo,

Grace

Maybe It’s The Food??

Maybe It’s The Food??

Allergies, stomach aches after you eat, feeling in a fog, tired, headaches? These have all been symptoms of friends and family I know who have found out they have an intolerance to certain foods. This was also me. I’ve been asked numerous times how I became gluten and dairy free, and what exactly I eat; so I thought I would share everything with you all!

I am not the only one in my family with a food intolerance. Both my sister and dad are also gluten free. My first symptom I noticed was I started having headaches everyday. I was getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water, and all my vitamin levels were normal. However, I started realizing after I ate I would feel bloated or nauseated, especially after eating at a restaurant. After discussing with my mom, I decided to have a food panel test done at an Integrative Health Doctor. They take a blood sample and after a few weeks I found out which foods I was sensitive to. A food intolerance is when you have difficulty digesting certain foods. It is similar to a food allergy, except it may come on gradually over a longer period of time. Because I ate gluten and dairy foods my whole life it “messed up” my gut. This is sometimes referred to as “leaky gut syndrome”; which is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the bloodstream.” After seeing my doctor I began my new diet and started taking probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your body and can help heal your intestines.

So I will admit it was really hard at first. When I went to the store for the first time after changing my diet I cried in the middle of the cookie aisle; what was I going to eat?! I started doing research, changed up recipes I loved, and talked with my family on what they ate. Fast forward almost two years later…it really isn’t too bad! And I feel SO much better.

If you are thinking about changing your diet, or have recently found out you have a food intolerance I have some tips for you!

1.Take everything out of your house you can’t have. No need to tempt yourself! Out of sight out of mind

2.Things to think about when going to the store:

-Most grocery stores have labels on the shelves of items that are gluten free

-Some stores even have their own gluten free section

-What to look for in labels: you will need to check out the ingredients on everything! If it doesn’t have a “certified gluten free” label you will want to make sure it does not have something you are sensitive to. The easiest way to tell if something does or does not contain gluten and dairy is after the ingredients there is a section that says, “CONTAINS:” This will list all the main food allergies such as wheat, milk, nuts, soy etc. It is still a good idea to read all ingredients though.

3.Yes it is more expensive….BUT if you search various grocery stores and do your research you can find some good deals!

4.You CAN have desserts! They make a lot of gluten/dairy free cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes, pies, and ice cream

5.Google it. I have googled countless recipes when I am craving something. I cooked our whole Thanksgiving dinner gluten and dairy free (including macaroni & cheese and pumpkin pie!)

6.Here are some dairy free alternatives for milk and butter: almond, soy, coconut, and rice milk and Earth Balance and/or Smart Balance Butter

7.When going to a restaurant:

-It is important to tell the waiter/waitress you have food allergies

-Ask if meats are cooked in butter (if so, see if they can cook yours in oil)

-I love the Find Me Gluten Free app on my phone. It is great when traveling to unfamiliar cities to see what restaurants are close by

-Ask if they can change their gloves to avoid cross contamination

-Be aware that some fast food restaurants cook all their foods in the same fryer

Great Fast Food/Chain restaurants that offer gluten and dairy free options:

-Chipotle

-Chick fil a

-Noodle Company

-Jimmy Johns

-Domino’s Pizza

-Brixx Pizza

-Red Robin

It hasn’t been easy, but it is worth it. My hope is I inspire others to think about what you put in your body, and even the symptoms you may be having. I am not perfect. I eat way too much sugar and gluten free bread everyday, but I do feel like I have allowed my body to heal and I have a greater appreciation for what I do eat.

xoxo,

Grace

2017 Goals

2017 Goals

A few years ago I changed my perspective on goal setting after reading Lara Casey’s book Make It Happen, and purchasing her Powersheets workbook. I briefly talked about them in a previous post, but wanted to share in more detail my goals for this year! I used to try and make a few “resolutions”, but ended up never accomplishing them and feeling in a rut throughout the year. It felt like I wasn’t moving forward. After using the Powersheets, I have learned how to set more meaningful goals and actually accomplish them!

“PowerSheets are the ultimate intentional goal planner! They were designed to help you uncover the things that are most important to you and create POWERFUL goals that are meaningful and action-driven. Traditional goal setting hasn’t worked for us, so we created a goal planner that focuses on what matters most. With PowerSheets, big ideas have come to life, new ideas have changed lives, fear has been let go, businesses have been started, marriages have been strengthened, and best of all: the little moments that matter have been savored. PowerSheets enable you to start living on purpose.”                      source: Cultivate What Matters

But you don’t have to have the Powersheets to create good goals!!

Here are some tips and things I’ve learned-

  • Write your goals down: This is simple, but actually writing them on paper will help you remember them! Put your goals in a place you will see them everyday. Mine are currently on my desk; where I spend every morning before work!
  • Make smaller goals from your big “yearly” goals: These can be monthly, weekly, or daily. Breaking your goals down allows them to become more attainable and you can see your progress. This eliminates the frustration you could have when you feel like you aren’t moving forward.
  • Pray: Pray for wisdom, guidance, and allow Him to open your heart to the dreams you have. Think about why you want to accomplish the goals. Continue these prayers throughout the year. Never stop turning to God for guidance in your journey.
  • Celebrate!!!: This is actually one of my goals 🙂 Celebrate progress, even the littlest step forward! Celebrate with the ones you love! Eat a cupcake, grab coffee, or treat yourself to a manicure. However you love to celebrate, do it!!

My Goals:

1.BE STILL with God

Ways I will take action: journal daily, read my new 365 bible, quiet time in the morning

2.Manage my TIME better

Ways I will take action: social media free days, smaller to-do lists, less tv, set a routine

3.SIMPLIFY

Ways I will take action: get rid of “stuff”, read Living Well Spending Less

4.LOVE my husband

Ways I will take action: surprise him, show joy, letting go, ask questions, date nights

5.Live a HEALTHY life

Ways I will take action: More water daily, meal plan, essential oil use, exercise, sleep 8 hours

6.GIVE Joy

Ways I will take action: Volunteer at church, give more of my time, money and resources

7.CULTIVATE Relationships

Ways I will take action: letters to friends and family, meaningful coffee dates, phone calls, pray for my loved ones, send prayer texts

8.Take a LEAP

Ways I will take action: Start a blog (CHECK!!!!!), travel, start photographing again, create more

9.GROW

Ways I will take action: Plant in my flower beds, landscape, read about gardening

10.CELEBRATE

Ways I will take action: Happy dances, thankful lists, inspiration boards (things that make me happy), eat a cupcake 😀

     

By no means does it have to be perfect. Brainstorm, doodle, write, cross-out, or change goals mid-year! All of that is part of the process! Also I am NOT perfect with my goals. Many days I don’t check anything off; push back goals to the next month. But all of that is okay!!! The journey and growth along the way is what matters. It is learning more about yourself. Since starting my goals in January, I have noticed a sense of calmness over me that I have never felt before. My quiet time in the morning has become more meaningful, I have seen progress in my attitude, and overall outlook of life. I know God is molding and teaching me through these goals.

It is never too late to start your goals. Your new year could be today! I would love to hear from you; comment below and let me know your goals for the year!

xoxo,

Grace

*Note: This is not a sponsored review of the Powersheets product

Top 6 Teas Found In My Cabinet

Top 6 Teas Found In My Cabinet

I am obsessed with tea. One of my favorite memories as a child was going to a tea room with my grandmother and aunt. We picked our tea, dressed in fancy hats and gloves, and ate scones with delicious lemon curd on them. It was so fun! I love everything related to tea…teacups, mugs, tea kettles, and tea pots! My husband thinks we have too many mugs….I don’t think we have enough!

There are so many teas I enjoy, but I thought I would start with some I have currently. I usually drink my tea without any sweetener. If I do want to add something, it would be honey.

Harney and Sons Fine Teas: Cranberry

I got this one as a Christmas gift and love it! I love herbal tea and this tastes like all things winter!

The Republic of Tea: Blackberry Sage

I love The Republic of Tea and I found this one at Whole Foods. It is a black tea, but isn’t as bitter tasting.

The Republic of Tea: Pumpkin Spice

Yes you heard correctly….there is a pumpkin spice tea! Perfect for fall (or really any season!)

Mighty Leaf: Organic Coconut Assam

This is a black tea, with a nice hint of coconut. I found this one at Lowes Foods. Mighty Leaf is another one of my top favorites.

Traditional Medicinals: Ginger Aid

This is perfect for digestion or if you feel sick.

Celestial Seasonings: Watermelon Lime Zinger

I haven’t had this brand of tea in a long time, but when I saw it was watermelon I couldn’t resist! I love watermelon and it is the perfect spring/summer tea!

Do you love tea? Or are you more of a coffee drinker?? I do enjoy both! I would love to hear some of your favorites, so leave me a comment below!

xoxo,

Grace

Let It Snow

Let It Snow

Snow days were the best days as a kid. At my childhood home there are many hills, perfect for sledding. My family would spend all morning outside playing then come in to yummy hot stew on the stove and a fire going.   Growing up in the South we would be out of school for days!

Going to Appalachian State University gave me a greater appreciation for schools and towns actually being closed due to snow. Living in Boone for four years I learned how to dress in many layers, walk to class in a blizzard, cover your face at all times, and figure out how to navigate a little VW beyond a snow covered parking lot and drive down the mountain to student teaching.

Coming back down the mountain after college to teach in a public school means I get snow days again!! Even as an adult, I still get giddy waking up peeking out the window to see a blanket of white snow covering the ground.

Adult snow days look a little different now, but I still get so much joy out of them!

The first snow of 2017 in my small North Carolina town was actually a good amount. Around 5 inches at our house! The snow filled weekend included going out to play, yummy chili, hot drinks, chess, movies, and my favorite: quiet time with God. 

One of my 2017 goals is to get back into daily journaling. Currently I am writing in an Erin Condren journal. These are great because you can customize the cover just the way you would like it! Along with journaling, I started The One Year Bible. This is a great walk through of the Bible. Each day there is an Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs passage to read.  Plus they include doodles and verses you can color! Also pictured above is my 2017 PowerSheets. These goal setting workbooks are a game changer!! I will write a whole separate post on my 2017 goals and how I use my PowerSheets. You don’t need anything fancy to have a meaningful quiet time with God. Just take out your bible and dive into His word. So much grace, peace, and joy are found talking to your Creator and growing in your relationship.

Hope your ”snow days” are filled with the ones you love and soaking up being still for a moment.

“The snow reminded me of the beauty and mystery of creation, of the essential joy that is life” – Orhan Pamuk

xoxo,

Grace

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I thought I would share with you all a few products that I love right now! It is a mixture of home decor, clothes, beauty products, books etc!

1. Oil Diffuser. I bought mine from Amazon for just $39.95 and love it! I diffuse essential oils all the time. Right now my favorite is lavender at night to relax and unwind.

2. Essential Oils. Since I love my diffuser, I have to love what I put in it! These essential oils are 100% pure and are a great price.

3. My newest favorite thing is my Himalayan Salt Lamp. I found mine at Home Goods for $19.99, but I know you can purchase them on Amazon and at Bed Bath and Beyond. These lamps help cleanse the air in your home, reduce allergy and asthma symptoms, increase your energy levels as well as help you sleep. They are really cool looking too!

4. You have probably heard how Probiotics are beneficial to your digestive system and gut. Besides taking a supplement, something else that has these good bacterias in it are Kombuchas. These fermented tea drinks are quite tasty and my favorite brand is KeVita! You can find them at Whole Foods and many other grocery stores.

5. I love to decorate. My husband and I just bought our first house and I am all heart eyes for every square inch of it! (Don’t worry, there will be a house tour and plenty of decorating tips coming soon) A book I read a while back really opened my heart to how I wanted to decorate my home. The Nesting Place is a great read and teaches everyone it “doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”!

6. Another one of my favorite books is Make It Happen by Lara Casey. She also is the creator of the Powersheets that I mentioned in my Snow Day post. I love her and what she stands for. It is a must read for EVERYONE!

7. Blanket Scarfs. A go-to accessory for many girls this winter season. I bought mine in the dollar spot at Target for $7!! I don’t think they have them anymore, but there are so many stores that carry them!

8. I have been using organic facial products for a year or more now. I just started using the Andalou Naturals – Quenching cleanser, toner, day cream, and eye lift cream. I have used other Andalou products for a while and was running out so I thought I would try these!

9. Two other beauty products I use daily are for my hair. I love going between the Andalou Naturals Smooth Hold Styling Cream and Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hair Creme. They both make my hair smooth and don’t weigh it down. (P.S. Vitacost is my favorite online store to get all my organic products, supplements, and much more! It is so much cheaper than in any store!!)

10. Lastly are these Kate Spade Keds! I wore these on my wedding day!! They were so comfortable, but still fun and stylish! I love the bling! I wear them all the time now!

I would love to hear what are your favorite things!

xoxo,

Grace

This is the Day the Lord Has Made

This is the Day the Lord Has Made

Every girl dreams of the day she will be a bride. Since I was a little girl I remember so vividly playing “wedding” with my little sister Rachel. Her and I would dress up in my aunt’s wedding dress, put on her veil, and carry fake flowers around as we sang “Here Comes the Bride”. Rachel and I would talk about what we hoped our big day would look like. Outside in a field of wild flowers…that was my dream.

You don’t envision 100% chance of rain on your wedding day.

Let me back up a little bit and tell you about my husband. Chase and I grew up in the same small, southern town. We met each other through a mutual friend in middle school but didn’t know each other too well until the end of my senior (his junior) year of high school. We reconnected through another mutual friend and started to hang out more. We started dating soon after. I left for college and we dated throughout my freshman year, only to break it off the next summer.  He and I went our separate ways. It was a huge blessing in disguise!! Fast forward a few years. We reconnected on Facebook and decided to try the relationship again. Chase and I realized how much we had grown up, matured, and found ourselves while being apart from one another for those years in college. Our “second go around” as we like to call it ended…well….in marriage! It is crazy how God’s timing works. And I am so blessed for that time to grow as a woman in between our dating. 

Back to the wedding day.

The week before the wedding the chance of rain kept increasing and so did my anxiety. Chase and I didn’t want to change our plans of having the wedding outside. A last minute decision to rent a tent for the ceremony and reception was the best decision we made! During our rehearsal it poured  and we were so thankful we had the tent.

Morning of the wedding…..SUNSHINE! 

Was this real life? Was the whole day going to be sunny??

I was so in awe of God and His goodness. I don’t know why I was worried in the first place!

While we were getting ready and taking photos outside it was warm and sunny! The complete opposite of what was forecasted. Our ceremony started at 5 and right as my dad and I were walking out it started to drizzle. As soon as we got under the tent, light rain began to fall. It continued to rain during the ceremony and actually cooled everyone down. However, the rain ended as soon as the reception started!   What amazing timing!! The rest of the evening was beautiful,  magical and better than I could have dreamed of!

What I learned from the whole wedding planning process is that God is in control. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the little details you forget the big picture. You are marrying your best friend, and beginning your life together as one. All the worrying and stress should be given to God.

Friends, when you are overwhelmed with worry, rest in knowing God is with you, always and forever. He takes all of our burdens. Let go and enjoy the moment!

xoxo,

Grace

Wedding Day Photographs: Ashley Louise Photography

Easy Gluten Free, Dairy Free No Bake Cookies

Easy Gluten Free, Dairy Free No Bake Cookies

You read right…yes, there are yummy desserts that are gluten and dairy free!!!

As I mentioned in my first blog post I have an intolerance to gluten and dairy. Over a year and a half ago I took a food panel test because I was experiencing severe headaches everyday and stomach issues after I ate. Now you may be wondering how do you cut out gluten and dairy?! It actually isn’t as hard as you think. Many restaurants offer options for those with allergies and I have learned how to adapt many recipes!

These cookies are so easy and quite addictive! I got this recipe from the Food Network website and adapted it:

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup soy milk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) non-dairy butter (I use Earth Balance butter)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups old-fashioned gluten free rolled oats
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Large pinch kosher salt

Directions:

1.Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment.

2.Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine.

3.Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I like to immediately put them in the fridge so I can enjoy them faster!

No one will know the difference, happy baking! 🙂

xoxo,

Grace

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, friends!

Starting a blog is a big and scary step for someone who has never been great at expressing her thoughts through writing. However, this new adventure has been on my heart for some time now and hey, it’s a new year right?!

Here is a little about me:

  • My relationship with God is above all else
  • Born and raised in the South and love everything about it! (hence the name of the blog)
  • “These are a few of my favorite things”… sea turtles, tea, southern charm, creating, taking photographs, and cooking (I have a gluten and dairy allergy, which has definitely challenged me on how I prepare meals!)
  • Laying in a hammock is the best way to relax
  • My second job would be an interior decorator (Will you be my friend Joanna Gaines!?)
  • Snuggling up with a blanket and a good book in front of a fire sounds like the perfect evening
  • Just started a BRAND NEW career path!!! I started Honey and Thistle Boutique, an online women’s clothing store with my good friend! Guess you could call me a boss lady!!
  • Lastly, I married my best friend this past May! It was absolutely perfect and I wish that day could have lasted forever. 

My goal is to reach and connect with many women in all different walks of life. You are loved, valued and beautiful, yes you!! (a little pep talk for myself too)! This site is also an outlet where I can express my creativity, and share my thoughts and ideas to others.

Future posts will cover many topics including:

  • recipes
  • fashion
  • interior decorating
  • crafting
  • teaching
  • faith and missions
  • photography

Thank you for walking along side of me in the journey called life,

xoxo,

Grace