5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of marriage

5 things I've learned in 5 years of marriage

Bryan and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary on May 17! We also celebrated our 9 year dating anniversary. We started dating, were engaged, and were married all on May 17, two years apart. Marriage has been everything I imagined and nothing I expected all at the same time. Here are five things I’ve learned in the last five years of marriage.

1. Marriage will sanctify you. 

All of the good, the bad, and the ugly about yourself will be reflected and magnified tenfold. If you let it, this can change you in the best ways. You’ll have to do the hard work of growing into the person you were meant to be but you’ll have your best friend beside you reminding you of the good you don’t necessarily see.

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2. You will laugh more than you ever thought possible.

When you spend so much time with someone, you begin to find even the most mundane things hilarious. There have been times where Bryan and I are doubled over with laughter about absolutely nothing! We find each other funny and most of the time I’m not sure why.

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3. You will cry more than you ever thought possible. 

This person will make you more angry than you ever thought you could be. And it will be something as simple as an old cup of coffee on the nightstand that will set you off. You will say things that hurt the other person just because you know you can and you will have to learn how to forgive.

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4. You will come up with some weird nicknames. 

We call each other bean and I have no idea why or how we got there!

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5. You will have to choose each other each morning (and maybe multiple more times throughout the day). 

Marriage is so wonderful but very difficult. You will learn to turn your focus outward and serve your spouse, especially when you don’t want to. Some days this will come easily and other days it won’t. Wake up and choose each other and half the battle has been won.

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Happy belated anniversary to my big bean.

xo, Rachel

rachel reviews | 14 day detox tea

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Ok so I started this 14 day detox tea when I was like 4 weeks postpartum and really feeling like shit about myself – let’s just get that out there. I even did a “before” weight just to see if this affected it. I was cleared by my doctor so I knew I could start exercising, yada yada. I honestly was hoping for a quick fix to jumpstart weight loss. However, when I pulled out the scale to do my “after” weight the battery died! I took that as I sign that I should just measure how I feel about myself and the answer is: I feel great!

I think this tea would be a great way to kind of reset after a vacation, holiday season, etc. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know if there’s any actual science to this stuff but I did feel better after drinking the tea each day. It also helped me think about the choices I made throughout the day. When I was pregnant, I wasn’t allowed to exercise which just meant that I kind of gave up and started eating whatever I wanted. So after ten months of that, I really needed a bit of a reset.

Pros:

  • I felt better after drinking the tea (not as “heavy” feeling/bloated throughout the day)
  • I made better food choices!
  • The price! Only about $14, where other detox teas run as high as $50 or $60.
  • The taste! I am not a tea drinker and I think it tastes great.

Cons:

  • I don’t think I lost any weight from it – though my scale broke so who knows.

That’s really the only con! If you are a tea drinker (even if you aren’t) I would definitely recommend this tea. I even drink it occasionally now, i.e. not a part of a 14 day detox. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

xo, Rachel

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Men are hard to shop for, am I right?! Hoping these gift ideas help you out this Father’s Day!

Father’s Day for the sports enthusiast:

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1. Spikeball

2. Basketball Hoop Mug

3. Weighted Running Pack

4. Corn Hole (a classic!)

 

Father’s Day for the techie:

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1. Tile Key Finder (anyone else’s husband lose everything?!)

2. Wireless Speaker – can be mounted on anything and also serves as a wallet!

3. Charging Station

4. Portable Cinema – pricey but how cool!

 

Father’s Day for the fashion forward (or maybe one who needs some fashion help!):

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1. Dad hat

2. Patagonia baggies swim shorts

3. Leather sneakers

4. Backpack

 

Father’s Day for the manscaper:

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1. Skincare kit

2. Body wash

3. Beard oil

4. Shave kit

 

Father’s Day for the foodie: 

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1. Mike’s Hot Honey

2. Chef’s knife

3. Dual charger and mug warmer/cooler

4. Water bottle with snack storage

 

Enjoy! xo, Rachel

Seasons

If you are familiar with the Christian vernacular you have heard the phrase, “It’s just a season we are in.” This is a phrase I have heard and used many times before, particularly when it comes to the hardships we’ve experienced the last four years; however, it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend last week that I realized it’s really just been one long season. I’m not sure about you, but I often think of seasons as short bursts of something. Summer only lasts 3 months and then it’s gone. But that’s not necessarily true with the seasons of our life.

It’s no secret that in the last four years we have gone through infertility treatments, miscarriage, illness – both physical and mental, job dissatisfaction, high risk pregnancy, family cancer, death, surgeries, 135 days in the NICU, physical therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, vital stim therapy, eye exams, doctors appointments, hours on the phone with insurance, being denied services, fighting to get medical equipment, financial difficulty, unknown after unknown, and I could keep going. One. Long. Season.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of the battle of Jericho that is detailed in Joshua 6. God often does this for me – He presents the same story or verse over and over again because He knows how stubborn I am. In fact, as I am writing this I’m watching Queer Eye on Netflix and there is a choir singing The Battle of Jericho. Ok God, I hear You.

In Joshua 6 the Israelites had finally made it to the promised land after 40 years in the wilderness and then they come upon Jericho. If I were an Israelite, I’d be like, “Really God?! We just went through 40 years in the wilderness, the promised land is in our sight, and you’re giving us another battle to fight?” Jericho was an impossible battle and what does God tell them to do? Walk. Just put one foot in front of the other. Keep going. And that is what He is telling me.

Rachel, I see you in the wilderness.

I am with you.

Walk. Put one foot in front of the other.

I will fight your battles for you.

I don’t always feel this truth, but He is gracious in reminding me, in pulling me back to Him when honestly I’m just angry. Angry at this broken world. And He pulls me close and says, I know. I see you.

Deals of the Week – Memorial Day sales!

J. Crew –

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1. lace sleeve t-shirt –  $12

2. two tone denim  – $32

3. swim suit  – $49

4. maxi tank dress – $26

5. Cotton sweatpants – $23

6. leopard print ball cap – $10

American Eagle + Aerie –

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1. White eyelet headband – $9

2. Beaded tiered earrings – $9

3. jumpsuit – $45

4. cut out one shoulder swimsuit – $27

5. Bright side sunnies – $9

6. stripe paperboy shorts – $34

Old Navy + Gap –

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1. stripe button down – $24

2. Mens linen cotton short sleeve shirt – $27

3. toddler swimsuit – $8

4. tie-shoulder v-neck swing dress – $28

5. men’s swim trunk – $15

6. ruffle set for baby – $18

health + beauty –

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1. organic coconut oil – $12

2. Acure shampoo + conditioner set – $17

3. bite beauty liquified lipstick – $12

4. bkr glass water bottle – $31

5. whirl trio interchangeable curling wand – $250

6. coola mineral face SPF 30 – $27 plus free gift with purchase

Baby –

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1. Pack ‘n Play – $75

2. love to dream swaddle up – $30

3. city select baby jogger – $370, normally $529

4. Graco extend 2 fit carseat – $179

5. baby monitor – $80 – save $10 with coupon

6. diaper bag – $36 plus 10% off coupon

 

Happy shopping!

xo, Rachel

deals of the week!

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1. Sidestroke swimsuit – $10 off with code SUMMER

I’m not joking when I say this swimsuit might be my favorite article of clothing! But in case this style isn’t your thing, the whole Summersalt site is $10 off with code SUMMER!

2. Jason’s Vitamin E Oil – 17% off – $8

I’ve been combining this with coconut oil to get rid of my stretch marks and Bryan even commented the other day how much lighter they look. I’m also going to use it to make a lash grown serum – stay tuned!

3. Picasso tiles – on sale for $33.99 – normally 99.99, plus there’s an extra 5% off coupon

These are Lainey’s favorite! She loves stacking them and I know they will grow well with her too. Bryan also loves them and will play with them on his own sometimes! If you are the type who buys Christmas presents all year long – now is the time to snag these!

4. Little Unicorn Outdoor Blanket – $33.75 (25% off site wide today – May 13 – only!!)

This blanket has come in handy so many times! I just keep it in the back of my car and pull it out any time we go somewhere we need it. I also love Little Unicorn swaddles!

5. Isle of paradise self tan mousse, mitt, and bronzing water – $34 plus $5 off with code TAKE5 – normally $64.50

This product has a cult following and is almost always sold out on Sephora. I found this deal on QVC but it’s for TODAY (May 13) only so snatch it up! I’m excited to try it! I’m jumping on the self tan wagon because I’m trying to be more conscious of sun damage and this is a great natural option.

6. Gelato “boyfriend” t-shirt by aerie – $17

Graphic tees are really in right now and I love it because they are super versatile and comfy! The reviews on this shirt say that it runs big so beware of that.

xo, Rachel

 

 

 

mental health awareness month

I was in college when I saw a therapist for the first time. Up until that point, I thought everyone lived with what I can only describe as aggressive butterflies in your chest. I’m not sure why it never crossed my mind that it wasn’t normal but one day I walked into the health center and the counselor took one look at my form and said, “so you have anxiety?”

Oh. Is that what that is??

After that I began medication and joined a group therapy and simply having a name what was happening gave me control over it.

Flash forward a few years (post graduation where mental healthcare was no longer included in tuition!) and I decided it was time to start seeing a counselor again. We had had our first miscarriage and I specifically looked for a counselor who had experience with infertility. A few days before my first appointment I found out we were pregnant again and I almost canceled. I’m so glad I didn’t because we lost the baby a few weeks later and I’ve been going to my counselor every few weeks ever since then.

After Lainey’s NICU stay, my counselor and I decided it was time to begin medication again. During her stay I was in survival mode, so most of these symptoms popped up after we got home. I went to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PTSD and OCD. I had pretty much guessed the PTSD but the OCD really surprised me. I’ve never been one to count steps or turn the lights off and on a certain number of times. He explained that compulsions could manifest in checking Lainey’s breathing obsessively or not being able to sleep because I was afraid a painting above Lainey’s bed would fall on her. With those compulsions, I couldn’t rest until we did something about it. With medication I still get those compulsions but I can put a name to them and recognize that I don’t need to act on them.

Medication means we don’t have to rearrange Lainey’s room just in case a driver drives through the front of our house.

Medication means Bryan is still alive even if he doesn’t answer his phone.

Medication means that the other shoe isn’t necessarily going to drop (though often it does, and that’s ok too).

How freeing.

Moral of the story, taking care of your mental health is so important. For some that looks like counseling and medication. For others it might be exercise, meditation, prayer, journaling. Do what you need to do and don’t be ashamed.

Also, I realize that mental healthcare is a luxury which is ridiculous. Because of that you never know what someone is dealing with on their own so be kind to people regardless of how they treat you.

xo, Rachel

Sephora Beauty Insider Sale

I love a good sale and right now you can get 10% off at Sephora if you become a beauty insider! All you have to do is create an account – no fees, subscriptions, or anything like that – and you’ll get 10% off as well as earning points for future products. I also love that Sephora has clean products, free of sulfates and parabens. Here’s what I picked up in the sale:

1. Drunk Elephant Out of Office set

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2. Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

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3. Kopari Starry Eye Balm

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4. Ilia Prime + Set Mini Duo

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5. Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow Brightening Duo

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Here are some products that I have and love!

1. Kopari Coconut Deodorant (as long as your armpits tolerate baking soda!)

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2. Korres Vitamin C Sleeping Facial

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3. Sephora Nourishing Moisturizer

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Here are a few things I’d like to try in the future:

1. Sephora Glow Peel Pads

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2. Origins Retexturizing Mask

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3. Briogeo Leave-In Curl Defining Creme

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enjoy! Xo, Rachel

my favorite natural products

On Easter, I was having a conversation with Bryan’s uncle about how some restaurants are switching to stainless steel straws instead of plastic. He mentioned that nothing was plastic when he was a kid and I was stunned! I had never realized that plastic was something that had truly become mainstream so recently. It got me thinking about what other things our generation has become the guinea pig for.

Our infertility battle is no secret and it seems that more and more women are also dealing with the same frustration. Though there aren’t a lot of scientific studies, there are many who believe that parabens and sulfates in our beauty and cleaning products are linked to increase risk of infertility and cancer. These ingredients have gained popularity since the 1950’s and we are just recently realizing the effects they may have. Now that I have two young girls, I’d rather get rid of these ingredients just in case they do have an impact on fertility – I’d never want Lainey or Emmy to experience what we did.

That being said, switching has been much easier than I thought it would be! If you start to look, you’ll realize that many companies have already started removing parabens and sulfates from their products. These ingredients aren’t the end all be all but it’s a good place to start!

The “Think Dirty” and “Healthy Living” apps have been super helpful when I am unsure if a product is clean. I also haven’t hidden my love for Grove Collaborative! Grove specifically lists if each product is sulfate or paraben free as well as many other “Grove Values.” And most products are very reasonably priced!

Right now you can get a FREE 5-piece Mrs. Meyer’s set on Grove!

Here are some switches I’ve made (all clean products available on Grove!):

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I switch items over as I run out so I don’t have to throw unused products away. Don’t stress yourself out going clean – just do what works best for you!

Here are some more of my favorite natural products:

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1. NOTO Hydra Highlighter Stick // 2. Puracy Natural Shampoo and Body Wash (for baby!) // 3. ACURE Brightening Face Mask // 4. Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel // 5. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm // 6. Hello Activated Charcoal Toothpaste // 7. Grove.co European Dish Cloth // 8. Grove.co Makeup Remover Towel