Trusting God in Singleness

Trusting God in Singleness

I don’t know about you guys, but I often times fail to trust God fully.

You would think at this point in my life, I would have it down. I’ve seen God take the most broken of circumstances and turn them for my good and His glory. But for some reason, I am struggling. I know I am not the only girl out there trying to trust God fully and getting frustrated with my own lack of faith. So as I write this post, I want you to know, I am right there with you sister-fighting to believe God’s plan is best, fervently praying that God would help me believe His promises, and desperately wanting Him to capture my heart more. That being said, let’s find out together what it looks like to trust God during singleness.

SINGLENESS IS NOT A PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED

I can’t tell you how many people ask me how I am single or try to set me up with their husband’s twenty-something co worker. I want to tell all of them that singleness actually isn’t a problem to be solved.

In fact, singleness is a gift.

In 1 Corinthians 7:34, Paul says, “And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married one is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.”

Singleness is a unique time in a person’s life where he or she can be completely devoted to furthering God’s kingdom. It’s not wrong to desire a husband, but it does become a problem if that desire supersedes a desire for Jesus. If you are single right now, then God has called you to singleness in this particular time. Until you are engaged, God has called you to singleness. That means an undivided dedication to seeing Jesus’ kingdom expanded. And girlfriend-that is AWESOME!

WHAT IS MARRIAGE’S PURPOSE ANYWAY?

The purpose of marriage is to display the gospel.

Paul explicitly lays out the purpose of marriage in Ephesians 5. He explains mens role in marriage,
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

“IF YOU WANT A MARRIAGE THAT REFLECTS THE DESIGN GOD INTENDED, THEN WAIT ON THE LORD AND THAT INFORMS WHO AND HOW YOU DATE.”

The role of the wife is the church, whom Christ laid His life down for. The role of the man is Christ.

Christ died for the church.

Marriage displays the gospel in a unique and beautiful way. If you want a marriage that reflects the design God intended, then wait on the Lord and that informs who and how you date. Are you dating men who treasure Jesus above all else? Are you seeking Jesus with all your heart and seeking to live a life worthy of the calling you have received?

LEAN INTO GOD’S PROMISES

The other day, I asked one of my guy friends how he had such strong faith in Jesus-how was his faith so unwavering? His answer was simple:
Pray and read God’s Word.
Everyday I pray for a heart that mirrors Jesus-a heart that treasures Jesus above all else. I beg God to capture my heart more, so that I have nothing before Him.

Guys, I fail a lot.

Trusting God is difficult and praise the Lord He is faithful when we are faithless. Lamentations 3:22-23 are two verses I always cling to,

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

His love never changes.
His love never doubts you.

Jesus took your place and you are made right before God because of His perfect blood. Ask Him to help you remember that. God wants you, His daughter, to come to Him in prayer-to beg Him to transform your heart.

DAILY REMIND YOURSELF OF HIS FAITHFULNESS

How has He transformed your life already?

Remember when you first felt the weight of your sin. Recall when you first heard that Jesus Christ, who was fully man and fully God, lived the perfect life, died the death that you deserved because of your sin, but then defeated death, and was raised to life and is seated at God’s right hand.

Remember the first time you heard that and allow your heart to be filled with thankfulness.

One of my favorite authors, Jerry Bridges says, “Preach the gospel to yourself everyday.” Tim Keller tweeted (classic Timmy, amirite?!), “The gospel is not just the ABC of the Christian life but the A to Z of the Christian life.”

“THERE WILL BE NO MAN WHO CAN POSSIBLY COMPLETE YOU. THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO THAT IS JESUS. PUTTING THAT KIND OF PRESSURE ON A GUY WILL CRUSH HIM AND THE RELATIONSHIP PREEMPTIVELY.”

 The gospel is the lens from which you view everything. Set your mind on His faithfulness and goodness, and stop being so concerned with who you are going to marry. Contrary to Jerry Maguire, there will be no man who can possibly complete you. The only one who can do that is Jesus. Putting that kind of pressure on a guy will crush him and the relationship preemptively. Trust that God is working all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 2:28).
Singleness can be a difficult time, but it can also be a really awesome time. Consider these questions as you learn to trust God during this season of your life.

Are you living your life unafraid and passionately for His Name?

Are you fulfilling the Great Commission by making disciples and teaching them all Jesus taught?

Are you bringing your desires to Him and asking Him to strengthen your faith?

Are you going to His Word everyday and fighting to believe His promises?

“GOD IS USING EVERYTHING TO TRANSFORM YOU MORE INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS”

God is using everything to transform you more into the image of Jesus. You are a woman empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life for the sake of the gospel. It’s my prayer for all of us to be changed more and more into the image of our Savior as we learn to trust Him more fully.

Lylas,

Rach

My Weekly Work-Out and Diet Plan

My Weekly Work-Out and Diet Plan
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t always super healthy.

My relationship with exercise and food in the past was unfortunately skewed, like the vast majority of women. But growing up doing pageants, I think it might have been even more exacerbated. I used to work out three times a day, counting the calories of everything I put into my mouth. All for a competition. But now, a few years removed from pageantry-I can look back and see that although I gained numerous skills from competing, my relationship with my body and food is so much healthier. So much of that is derived in my relationship with Christ! I know that my identity isn’t rooted in a crown, or the number of likes I get, or follower count. My identity-and yours-is rooted in Jesus alone.

He is the one who says you are beautiful.

You are loved.

You are known.

So I just wanted to preface this whole blog with that truth at the forefront of all our minds! It’s not about how we look. It’s all about what Jesus says about us. Also-side note- I love working out. Especially because I currently work three jobs. Yes-three jobs. Working out is my time to unplug from all social media, listen to my favorite podcasts or read a good book, and feel strong. I love feeling accomplished when I finish that ridiculous Kayla Itsines’ arm work out. Throughout this blog, I am going to walk you through what I do everyday and my diet!

Diet

So this is a toughie. I am a firm believer in moderation. Yesterday after my workout, I was feeling light headed so I bought some chocolate and ate it. And guess what-I feel great about that decision! I don’t generally chow down on chocolate everyday, but yesterday I felt like I was getting attacked by dementors (it was a hard day haha) and we all know the best remedy for a dementor attack is chocolate right?!? My point is-be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. One piece of chocolate isn’t going to destroy your life. That being said, I practice intermittent fasting about five days out of the week. So I’ve found that if I eat an early dinner (around 5:30 pm) and have a late breakfast (around 11 am) my body responds to it well. I feel great and my weight stays at a place I want it to. But I don’t do it all the time. I ignore this when I’m out with friends on the weekend. A girl’s gotta live right?! Do not let a diet control your life.

I also eat very high protein. I love love LOVE tacos. My boyfriend makes fun of me because I love them so much. They honestly probably consist 90% of my diet. I make them at home and cook with avocado oil. I buy the extra-lean, grass fed beef to make them (it’s very important you buy healthy protein!). I also buy this almond cheese because ya girl doesn’t respond well to dairy. So my diet is generally high protein, low carb, and low dairy!

Ok-now here’s my workout routine!

Monday

45 minutes of Cardio! Cardio is super easy for me because I love catching up on my favorite shows, podcasts, or even reading during it. I buy giant hardback books and set it up with the elliptical and get lost in a story. Currently I am on book five of Game of Thrones. Cardio is also flexible because it can be a hike with your pup or a walk with a friend. It is basically low intensity cardio over a long period of time.

Tuesday

Leg day! So I have been doing Kayla Itsines’ BBG work out over the past four years and I cannot express enough how wonderful it is. I have had many personal trainers, but her workouts are my absolute favorite! You can learn more about her workouts here! Her workouts build muscle, but don’t make you bulky. They make you strong, but sleek. They’re pretty similar to HIIT workouts. On these strength days, I pop in my AirPods and listen to podcasts or Harry Potter on Audible! My favorite podcast currently is Potterless-the story of a grown man reading Harry Potter for the first time lol.

Wednesday

This is my toughest day of the week so I generally try to rest! I also have my small group this night so no workout unless I’m feeling crazy ambitious.

Thursday

Arm day! TBH arm day is the bane of my existence. Dwight Shrute said one of the defects of our kind is weak arms. Bahaha-just kidding. I do not support Dwight’s stupid, sexist comment. But this day is truly the WORST. I struggle through it. When I first started BBG there were actual tears. So I broke these workouts in half and decided that completing 15 minutes of it was a WIN! Don’t be afraid to change things up if you can’t handle it. Consistency is key. If you hate something, odds are low you’re going to be consistent.

Friday

45 minutes of Cardio! Go on a hike, read a book on the elliptical, or go on a walk with a friend!

Saturday

Ab day is my FAVORITE! Generally I don’t sweat as much this day which is great because I don’t have to wash my hair after. Once again, I do BBG for all of these strength days!

Sunday

45 minutes of cardio!

Well, there ya go! That is my detailed workout schedule and diet plan! Keep in mind, that while arm day might be super challenging for me-it might be a cake walk for you! Abs might be harder for you or legs! Its so important to listen to your body and decide what you consider a win. You might need to adjust certain things to ensure consistency. I’ve found that if I hate something, I can be all gung-ho for it for about a week, but then I just stop. So find something you love. This happens to be what I love because my job requires so much interpersonal interaction. So I love flying solo when it comes to working out. It’s basically my introvert time. But if grabbing a buddy motivates you then DO IT! But most importantly remember that your identity is not rooted in exercise or diet-your identity is rooted in Christ alone. Also-if you have any workout tips or podcast recommendations please let me know in the comments!

LYLAS

-Rach

My 10 Beauty Must-Haves

My 10 Beauty Must-Haves
She stepped past the threshold of Sephora, eyes alight with excitement.

Everything was beautiful and sparkly and the scent of Chanel wafted through the air. She felt excited with all the possibilities before her. She knew what she needed: bronzer. As she wandered down each aisle, things became more muddled-should she get the Tarte shimmery bronzer or the Hourglass lighting bronzer? Oh no-or the Nars blush/bronzer duo? Slowly her excitement began to ebb. There were so many options here. She scanned the store for a sales associate-but no one came to her aid-all were busy helping other customers. Her excitement soon faded into a feeling of overwhelming frustration. This was supposed to be a fun trip! But there were just so many options and she didn’t know which to choose.

 

If you’ve been in that same scenario-I feel ya girl. There have been so many times I’ve wandered into Sephora or Ulta and been totally lost. But through some ok years of trial and error, I have tried hundreds of products and found my top 10 Beauty must haves. This way, you can go into Sephora like the girl boss that you are and confidently snag these products and know they are bomb! Alright, let’s jump right in sista.

 

 1. Dress Code Elchim Blow Dryer

This is the Rolls Royce of blow driers. It runs a little pricey, but girl-it is literally amazing. I will do anything to cut my blow drying time and this bad boy cuts it right in half. My hair went from taking 45 minutes to blow dry to 15. Reminder that whenever you blow dry, use heat protector. Apply it twice: first before blowdrying and then again before you style your hair. The heat from the blow-drier evaporates the first layer and you gotta protect those gorgeous locks! This is 100% worth every penny I spent on it. I bought it straight from Amazon because prime shipping is life.

2. Origins Out of Trouble Mask

This mask is perfect for anyone with acne prone skin. I use it once a week and it always leaves my skin so smooth. Plus it never dries out your skin! Just leaves it feeling perfectly supple and radiant. Ever since I started using this, I rarely break out. And as someone who used to have severe cystic acne-I am so thankful I found this mask! It’s the only mask I consistently use.

3. Olaplex No 3

If you want bomb hair-get this treatment and use it every week! I’ve gotten my hair so long and healthy thanks to this treatment and my amazing hairstylist who takes amazing care of my locks. Many of you comment on my hair and I want you to know-my hair wasn’t always long and healthy! I used to have extensions 24/7. Getting my hair healthy was a journey and this treatment was a huge part of it. This is different than a hair mask because it rebuilds your hair from the shaft, fixing the damage done by color or highlights. I cannot recommend this product enough!

Pro-tip: Whenever you get your hair highlighted, colored, or balayaged, ask your stylist to mix in Olaplex No 2. It’s a more concentrated version of No 3 and is a game changer.

4. e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer

Apply this below your makeup and your skin looks so smooth and flawless! I also love that its affordable. It’s comparable to the Smashbox primers-but this one is cheaper 😉

5. SmashBox Studio Skin 24 Hour Concealer

This is the best concealer of all time. Even when I’ve gotten 3 hours of sleep and am exhausted, I just put this bad boy under my eyes and no one is the wiser! I swear by this concealer-its that good.

6. The Perfect Face Loose Powder in Y2

This is another hack I have learned for those pesky under-eye circles. After I do my concealer and foundation, I put this on liberally under my eyes and then proceed to do my eyeshadow. Then I take my powder brush and brush it away! And voila-no under eye circles ever again!

7. Milk & Honey Cream Deodorant in Coconut Vanilla

You know how everyone is switching to natural deodorant but then everyone kind of smells bad? That was my worst fear, so when setting out to find a natural deodorant that worked, I asked my boyfriend, best friend, and my mom to tell me if I ever smelt bad. Tbh there was no way I was gonna sacrifice smelling good to make the switch. Luckily, I found this natural deodorant from Milk & Honey and its amazing. Not only does it smell good, but it works. Just like regular deodorant, you apply it every morning! I seriously love it. The only drawback is that its cream, so you apply it differently. But I heard they were developing a stick form which I am stoked about!

8. Hoola Bronzer

I will never, ever use another bronzer. I love it because there’s zero sparkle in it. Its completely matte with brown undertones-giving you a sun baked glow that looks completely natural. I use it for my contour and its simply amazing.

9. Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

Ok-I love love love these things. As you could’ve guessed, I have oily skin. So usually about 9 hours into the day, my skin begins to produce lots of oil and get shiny. I love strategically using shine for highlighter-but looking super shiny all over isn’t my jam. So I’ll bring these little guys with me-especially during shoots because they don’t disturb your make-up!

10. Conair Xtreme Heat Rollers

Wanna know how I achieve those big curls? This is my secret! Yes, you may definitely will look like a grandma when getting ready, but who cares! Your hair will end up looking crazy awesome in the end!

There ya go! Take this list with you next time you venture into Sephora or Ulta and never feel overwhelmed by all the options again! I got chu girlfriend! Feel free to share this list with your friends. And better yet, if you have a product I have to try-let me know in the comments below!

LYLAS-

Rach

 

How to Dress for a Winter’s Date with Francesca’s

How to Dress for a Winter’s Date with Francesca’s

You hear the familiar whistle of your iPhone muffled by the pillow you’re laying on.

Bleary-eyed, you reach for the Apple TV remote to pause your usual binge of The Office-but right now, you’re only watching the Christmas episodes-so festive right?! Your super comfy half-sleeping/half-awake position is disturbed by this incessant iPhone tweeting. Finally, you decide to see who has dared to disturb your slumber.

And there’s his name: Daniel.

Eeeep! Your crush has finally, out of the blue randomly texted you. Your heart begins to beat a little faster as your imagination begins to run rampant. WHAT DOES DANIEL HAVE TO SAY?! You unlock your phone, click on the green Messages icon, his text reads the following, “Hey there! Hope you’ve had a great week so far! I was wondering-if you’re free this weekend-would you want to get hot chocolate and then look at lights? Maybe grab dinner after?”

You involuntarily let out a little scream of excitement.

You blast Cardi B while you do some crazy booty dancing as your disapproving pup looks at you with eyes shrouded in distain. But you’re so excited! Homeboy finally wised up and realized you were the woman of his dreams right?

RIGHT.

You got dis girl! Slowly-reality starts to hit. Isn’t there like 8 inches of snow outside with incessant winds beating down? And he wants to look at lights…but it is the most romantic thing. Imagine, strolling along the streets, maybe he’ll offer you his jacket, maybe your hands will brush, maybe…your inner monologue is clearly running amuck with plausible scenarios. Ok-here’s the deal-ya girl needs to look cute. That’s 100% a non negotiable. But also-its blisteringly frigid outside. So you’re going to need to dress very, very warm.

Ugh!

Winter time is literally the toughest time to dress warm and cute. Spring has light, airy sundresses, summer has crop tops and shorts, and fall has sweater weather. But what’s a girl to do when it’s literally freezing outside and the bae of all baes has finally asked her out?

Don’t worry girl. I’ve teamed up with Francesca’s to give you the best, most perfect guide on how to dress for a winter’s date! And don’t even worry, you will be super cute and warm!

1. The Coat

Austin Fashion and Lifestyle blogger

This Sherpa Coat is the real deal. They literally took the best fabric and made it into a coat. Thus making this coat the best creation since sliced bread. Not only is it crazy soft, it will keep you so warm!

2. The Sweater

Austin Fashion and Lifestyle blogger2

This cowl necked, popcorn sweater is my new favorite go-to. It’s incredibly soft and perfect for layering with a scarf. I paired it with these high-waisted jeans that are my absolute favorite. Francesca’s jeans are my jam. I always wear them over and over because my are so comfy and flattering!

3. The Accessories

Austin Fashion and Lifestyle blogger3.JPG

This little earband is my absolute favorite. I liked this one because you can wear it out while you look at lights and them pop it off at dinner and it won’t mess up your hair or make a crease! Double win. Plus-my very secret sources have informed me that guys think these things are v cute. But more importantly, I think they are v cute and hopefully you do too!

Austin Fashion and Lifestyle blogger4.JPG

This scarf is the real MVP. It’s incredibly affordable for the warmth and quality of fabric it brings to the table. The blended fabric gives it a very soft, supple color that blends so well with the popcorn sweater and sherpa coat. Plus these little flip-top gloves are the cutest to pair with a winter date!

Austin Fashion and Lifestyle blogger1.JPG

I am absolutely in love with this clutch! I really appreciate how there’s a little extra room in there so I can actually fit my wallet, keys, and phone in it! Plus-these over-the-knee boots were such an epic find! I love that they have a very slight heel. If your girl is gonna be trekking all over the place looking at Christmas lights-she’s gotta be comfortable and fashionable! They have a really cute metallic detail around the top too that I love!

Ok girl-now that you’ve got your guide on how to dress for a winter’s date-I have one more thing to remind you of! The best thing you can bring to this date is you.

Be yourself.

Be quirky if you’re quirky.

Be goofy. Be silly.

Laugh hard and love big.

Literally the best thing you can bring to the table is you.

Because-there’s only one you.

Only your nose crinkles exactly like it does when you laugh. Only you have that wicked quick sense of humor. So remember, that whoever gets to take you out on a date this winter is one very very lucky man!

Lylas-

Rach

10 Perfect (& Affordable!) Holiday Party Looks

10 Perfect (& Affordable!) Holiday Party Looks

Tis’ the season for holiday parties! Holiday parties are my fave-especially being a plus one! If you’re anything like me-you have a myriad of holiday parties approaching. Some ranging from black tie to tacky Christmas sweater to more conservative work parties. If you’e also like me-you love dressing super classy but-ya girl has a budget. I have gathered all my favorite finds this December to compile this list of all my favorite holiday party looks for every single get together you have this season! And-the greatest news of all-they’re all affordable-the most affordable being $19.90 (wait-what?!) to the most pricey being $118. Hope you enjoy this guide and have a wonderful time at your plethora of holiday parties this season!

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style2austin fashion blogger 9.JPG

Jumpsuit: Forever 21 $19.90     Bag: Tory Burch      Shoes: Top Shop

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style7Austin Fashion blogger holiday style6

Dress: Nordstrom $118     Bag: Tory Burch

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style4

Top: Forever 21 $18     Skirt: Forever 21 $17.90

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style8.JPG

Dress: Nordstrom (Top Shop) $65      Earrings: Kendra Scott      Bag: Madewell

fashion blogger austin 2.JPGFashion blogger austin 1.JPG

Dress: Nordstrom (Lulu’s) $72     Earrings: Kendra Scott

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style10 copy.JPG

Sweater: Target $34

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style.JPG

Dress: Francesca’s    Shoes: Prada

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style5.JPG

Dress: Zara $39

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style10.JPGAustin Fashion blogger holiday style9.JPG

Dress: Nordstrom $100      Shoes: Prada

Austin Fashion blogger holiday style1

Dress: Forever 21 $19.90

I hope that each of you have a wonderful time at all your holiday parties-whether it’s a black tie event or a group of girls in tacky sweaters drinking champagne and playing How Do you Meme or a cozy family get together with your precious nieces and nephews watching Elf and drinking hot cocoa! It’s my prayer that each of you take time this crazy holiday season to rest in Jesus. To take time away from all the parties-to sit and think about how wonderful it is that our Savior humbled himself to live in this world so that we can have a sympathetic God who understands what it is to be human! I also pray that your Christmas season is filled with special memories that you will always cherish. Take time to play silly games with your little cousins and family. Laugh hard, don’t take yourself too seriously-alright?! Instead of getting wrapped up in staging Insta-worthy photos, put your phone down and make real memories! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

 

LYLAS-

Rach