the little things // vol. 3

I’m back with another installment of The Little Things. This series was started as a way to share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways. Because it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. I have received some of my best recommendations for products, books, podcasts, or life tips from blogs, podcasts, or friends, so I wanted to be a pal and pass along some things I’m loving with you all.

(For previous posts of The Little Things, check out vol. 1 and vol. 2)

Here are five little things that have been making a big impact this month:

1. The Office Ladies podcast

Calling all fans of The Office – if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey started a podcast last year as they rewatch the entire series, and dive deep into details on each episode. It’s full of nostalgia and behind-the-scenes information of this amazing comedy, occasionally including some of their former co-stars as guests. If you are a fan of The Office and you haven’t given this a listen yet, hop on over to your favorite podcast source and enjoy! (And if you’re not a fan of The Office, then do yourself a favor and soak it up while you can during its last year on Netflix).

2. Pilates (specifically through The Balanced Life Sisterhood)

After being introduced to the Balanced Life podcast with Robin Long, I was inadvertently turned on to try out some of her at-home pilates workouts last fall. I enjoyed the intentional movements that aim to create better posture alignment, core strength, and muscle balance. But at the time I already had a solid workout regime that was working for me, and I didn’t want to invest any further if I knew I couldn’t commit. Fast forward a couple months and I was in search of a new workout routine as the gym I worked at closed. Robin’s motivating mantra of ‘grace over guilt’ and her countercultural approach to health and wellness stuck with me and I wanted more of that pouring into my life, so it felt like the opportune time to give The Balanced Life Sisterhood membership a try. I started on the first of the year, and I am 100% loving it. I enjoy the workouts and the variety of strengths they are helping me maintain and develop. I love the attention to detail on each movement to ensure proper form to prevent injury). I truly look forward to spending time on my mat each day. It’s been an amazing addition to my workout routine.

3. Single Column Journaling Bible (currently sold out, similar option)

I recently invested in what I refer to as my “dream Bible.” I love to write notes in the empty spaces of my Bible to remember the things the Lord teaches me about it, and for the last 6-7 years I’ve squeezed as much writing as possible into the small margins on the Bible I’ve had. I’ve been eyeing a journaling Bible for quite some time, and came across this beauty awhile back, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money to replace something I already had. This Bible stood the test of time in my mind, though, and for me that often implies a worthy investment. On Black Friday I took advantage of a sale and finally purchased this perfect-for-me Bible. I love all of the extra margin space to take notes, and it is larger print so it expands the space even further. Plus, the cover is a soft leather that I can’t get enough of, and it’s ESV which is my preferred translation. My suggestion is that whether this is the Bible of your dreams, or not, find yourself one that fits what you want, and love it for years and years to come. It makes it all the more thrilling to open up the Word of God.

4. Praying for someone each day

A new habit I’ve been working on establishing this year has been intentionally praying for someone each day. I spend a lot of time journaling prayers and thoughts to God and sorting through some of my own mess, and when circumstances arise I will pray for someone as needed. But in an attempt to increase my compassion and regard for others this year (read more about that in my 2020 goals here), the thought came to me to more mindfully pray for someone each day – regardless of if a circumstance comes up or not. This has looked like praying for someone on their birthday, praying for a friend I spent time with the day before, praying for someone I’m supposed to chat with that day, or praying for someone that showed up in a dream. I’ve only been practicing this habit for a few weeks, and it seems that it’s already helping me think more about others and consider how life may be weighing on them, and in turn helping me to empathize and care for them through prayer.

5. Shark Steam Mop

Now that I have one, I’m not sure how it’s taken me so long to get one, because I am loving the ease and practicality of having a steam mop. Up until this point I’ve been using a Swifer wet jet to clean our floors, and while it’s done a fair job, I wanted something that was capable of some more effective cleaning. I was also ecstatic to realize that I wouldn’t need to regularly purchase cleaning fluid or cleaning pads either. Once I got the mop and started using it, it quickly showed how much better it is at cleaning my floors (i.e. it was able to clean up spots that had been on our floors for months from the dogs that the Swifer couldn’t even do damage on). My only fear is that we have laminate floors and there were many reviews that exercised caution over it, but I’ve been using mine on the lowest setting and following the creases as my mop instructions suggest for our floors, so we’ll see how it all holds up. I sure hope it does because it’s made cleaning the floors 10x more enjoyable, cost effective, and efficient.


And that’s all for today friends – five little things that have been making a big impact on my life in the last month. I hope that one (or more) or these meets a need in your own life and benefits you as much as it has benefitted me. If you give any of these little things a try (or if you already utilize them) let me know in the comments below with what you think!

Until next time,

what I read in 2019

I know, I know – It’s the latter half of January. Aren’t all the 2019 recaps over with? But in case you are on the search from some new reads, I wanted to put some options on your radar. Today I’m sharing about the nine books I finished in 2019. It can sometimes feel daunting to determine if a book is worth our time, so hopefully this helps take some of the guess work out of these options. I hope you find at least one that piques your interest!

Reading People: How Seeing The World Through The Lens Of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel | My Rating: 4.5 Stars

This book gives a nice overview of many different personality frameworks (i.e. Myers Briggs, the Five Love Languages, Strengths Finder, and the ever popular Enneagram) in a way that helps you better identify who you are at your core, as well as better understand others. When we seek to really know ourselves and know each other, we can have a greater appreciation for our differences and find ways to come together – each with our own strengths – rather than cast each other apart.

Lagom: Not Too Little, Not Too Much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark | My Rating: 3 Stars

This was a quick little read, but it’s more like a good coffee table book. It dips into Swedish culture and how so many aspects of it are impacted by this concept of “not too little, not too much,” which is quite radical in comparison to the American way of life. It’s a concept that coincides well with what I value in minimalism. This book covers how this mentality can affect all facets of life – our homes, our clothes, our schedules, our parenting, our relationships, and more. It gave some simple, practical ideas of how to live life with slow intention.

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink | My Rating: 4 Stars

My husband has been a fan of Jocko’s methods of motivation and discipline for years, so I’ve been on the receiving end of many Jocko-fueled pep talks in my time. But I picked this book up for myself because discipline and boundaries truly do bring freedom to my life, so I wanted some extra reinforcement on that. Made up of short essays of motivation and tough love from the perspective of a former Navy Seal, this book is filled with quotable statements to push you to get after it. Jocko also includes his thoughts and methods for nutrition and exercise, even incorporating some workouts of his own for you to try.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown | My Rating: 4 Stars

This is another book on this list that aligns with the concept of minimalism and how our typical tendencies to live overstuffed, rushed, and busy lives is draining us and preventing us from enjoying what really matters. This book formats practical ways to be more selective in how we spend our most precious resources: our time and attention. It’s about doing less, but better, in every aspect of our lives. You’ll come away from this book equipped with ways to set better boundaries, as well as fuel to chase after what you deem to be essential in your own life.

Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honegger | My Rating: 5+ Stars

This was the first of three books I read last year that quite literally shook me. God was just in the beginning stages of revealing to me how much I cling to comfort and this book reached into those dark crevices in my soul that I try to hide and lovingly exposed them. As Jessica shares her own story of fear and struggle, and how her business (Noonday Collection) came to exist through it, she connects strongly with the reader to encourage action, despite the presence of fear, in order to live a more fulfilling and impactful life. This book feels deeply personal and it radiates a vibe of chatting with a friend over coffee. The kind of chat that you don’t walk away the same from.


You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly | My Rating: 5+ Stars

Book #2 of 2019 that wrecked me was this one right here. I’m a big underliner when I read, and I’d dare to say that more than half of this book is COVERED in ink. While the title can make you think this is another “you go girl” pep-talk kind of book, it’s rather a disarming, yet equipping coaching session that spurs readers on to live unconventionally in wild abandon and obedience to God. My favorite summary of it is that our obedience + God’s capacity = abundance. Unbeknownst to me, this book prepared and equipped me for the current season I am in, and it has even been shepherding me through it as I just finished it for a second time in six months (it’s that powerful). If I could give you one book recommendation out of this entire list, this would be it, without hesitation.


Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt | My Rating: 5 Stars

This book was a very fitting follow to ‘You are the Girl for the Job’ because it was basically an example of someone seeking to live in obedience to God and trust in His capacity to endure through a heavy journey. David Platt is one of my all time favorite authors and preachers, and it was no surprise that this book was the third one of the year to rock me to my core. Different from his typical book format, this is more story-like as it follows what feels like his otherworldly journey through the Himalayas to encounter people who have never even heard of Jesus, and how it wrecked his soul. While at times heavy, it was an incredible chance to stop ignoring the reality of the broken world we live in. I will say, don’t read this book if you aren’t ready for a solid gut punch that could change your life. Then again, even if you aren’t ready for that, I hope you still do.


The Wellness Revelation: Lose What Weighs You Down So You Can Love God, Yourself, and Others by Alisa Keeton | My Rating: 4 Stars

After three attempts starting in 2018, I finally finished this book last year – not because it wasn’t good, but because it was dense with a lot of truth that I needed to hear and sift through. As I’ve been on a journey to seek health in a way that worships God rather than fueling my own empty, vain pursuits, Alisa provided a countercultural perspective on health and wholeness which helped lead me to even more freedom in this area. The book has an eight week work book format that includes reading, studying the Word, responding to questions, and taking steps towards spiritually healthy eating and exercise. While in the end I didn’t follow the exact format of the “program” for my own reasons, the truths shared within the book, as well as the questions that helped me to deeply reflect, allowed me to shift my motivations and mindset towards my health. This will definitely be a resource for me for many years to come.


More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger | My Rating: 3.5 Stars

If you haven’t already noticed the trends of books I like to read lately, this is another that falls in line with intentional living and focusing on what matters most. Jeff shares about how he found a variety of areas of life that he had more than enough, and then how he and his wife tried multiple “experiments” to challenge their limits and redefine what generosity can look like as a result. Some were simple and easily repeatable, while others seemed out-there and more challenging. Regardless of if you take on some “enough experiments” of your own, Jeff goes first to share how we all too easily live in excess, and we have more than enough to generously give to others.


Well there you have it – the nine books that I managed to start and finish in 2019. They all challenged my thinking in some way or another, and some of them quite literally changed my life. I’m looking forward to another year of reading that will hopefully do the same.

I hope at least one of these books sparks your interest and makes it onto your must-read list for 2020. Let me know if it does! And I’d also love to hear about your favorite reads to possibly expand my own list. Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

the six questions that changed our marriage

One of the things I mentioned a few times as I recapped 2019 was our new use of the Marriage Journal, and I’ve left you all hanging as to what exactly it is, and how we use it. But today I will end your suspense and finally shed some light on this tool we have been using and how it has drastically impacted our marriage.

I came across this journal last year, and it felt like a direct answer to prayer. Our marriage wasn’t in a bad place, but I was longing to go deeper and connect further. I’m a firm believer in life long learning and continual growth, and I wanted more of that for our relationship. Plus, I had been starting to recognize my shortcomings when it comes to communication. I personally have a tendency to think and feel a lot of things, but I lack strength in boldly, tactfully, or eloquently verbalizing those thoughts & feelings in constructive ways, and I don’t want to be a nagging wife, so sometimes I avoid bringing them up, which then leads to a lack of communication. And I was fearful of ever becoming one of those couples that over the years falls out of really knowing each other (again, not that we were at that point – just wanted to prevent ever coming close to that). So when this practice came to my attention, it felt like a very loud & clear response to my heart’s desires. I immediately ordered a journal as an anniversary gift to Adam, and when I explained what it was to him, he was willing to give it a try with me.

So what is the Marriage Journal exactly? In short, it is an incredibly powerful, yet simple tool to create a weekly rhythm of communication in your marriage. The basic premise of the journal is that you come together once a week to read through a quick devotional thought, get on the same page with any plans for the week, and then ask the following questions:

  • What brought you joy this week?
  • What is something that was hard this week?
  • What is one thing I can do for you this week?
  • Is there any unconfessed sin, conflict, or hurt that we need to resolve and/or seek forgiveness for?
  • What is a dream, craving, or desire that has been on the forefront of your mind this week?
  • How can I pray for you this week?

In addition to those weekly questions, once a month you also add in:

  • How are we stewarding our finances?
  • How is our sex life?

The questions are simple in nature, but they have the opportunity to unlock really profound conversations. For me, it felt like a chance to go beyond the surface and really hear more of my husband’s heart; a chance to have a platform for more challenging conversations without catching the other person completely off guard; and a chance to make sense of what goes on in each of our very different minds.

So how has it affected us? Let me count the ways…

  • It gives us set aside time to chat more thoroughly each week. We’ve always been pretty good at debriefing each of our days at the end of them, but we’d end up saving our deeper heart to hearts for date nights, which may or may not happen on a consistent basis. Now we are able to more frequently do a heart check and go beyond the basics. Plus it holds us accountable to not spending every night’s dinner in front of the TV – though we do still enjoy that together.
  • It has impacted the way we communicate day to day. There was a shift after we started getting into this new habit. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but the best I can describe it is more tenderness towards each other in communication. We seem to ask more thoughtful questions in-between these weekly “meetings” that stem from things we had talked about as a result of them, displaying a greater care and regard for each other.
  • It’s empowered us to serve each other more effectively. By discussing things we can do for each other, we can more directly meet a need, rather than assuming what might be helpful.
  • We are each given a chance to speak our minds, while also taking the time to hear each other our. We both get to be heard – and I can bet that is something that matters to just about everyone.
  • It has unveiled our hearts more towards each other. There’s an extra sense of security in knowing, and being known by, your spouse when you lay it all out on the table and you still choose to stand beside, and love, each other.
  • Though we don’t argue too much in a traditional sense (not because we have it all figured out – Adam is just extremely laid back, and I’m so much of an over-thinker that I talk myself out of bringing up concerns), this journal helps to disarm conflict because we either address it more quickly before it builds up, or we prevent it from becoming a conflict in the first place. We have the space to address concerns that the other didn’t even realize was an issue. And rather than getting riled up about them not noticing, it offers the chance to be heard without either party becoming explosive or defensive.
  • It has helped to align our hearts more closely – whether one of us comes alongside the other with better understanding, or we both form a united stance on a situation.
  • We’ve been able to continue coming alongside and supporting each other amidst transitions, challenges, and chasing dreams. We’ve talked through job transitions and Adam’s marathon training, as well as my new unemployment, and even my commitment to this blog. And it always feels good to be affirmed that you’ve got someone on your team.

In all, like any marriage, we are two very different human beings, with different personalities, perspectives, thought patterns, upbringings, and so on. And while there is incredible beauty in that, it also means we always have something new to learn about each other, so we get to adjust the dynamics of our relationship as we do. This journal has helped to do that.

I’d also like to add that we do not use this journal “perfectly,” and each week can look a little different. Sometimes we miss a week, and sometimes we have to shift which day we do it. Sometimes neither of us have much of an answer to a question. Sometimes one of us has a lot to say, while the other has crickets. Sometimes it’s quick. Sometimes it takes awhile. Sometimes we dive deep into a challenge one or both of us is facing, and sometimes it’s very light hearted and simple. The point is that we make it work for us. And I hope to encourage you to make something like this work for you. Whether you buy the journal, or you simply just ask these questions to each other once a week, this could be an incredible opportunity to dive deeper and change your marriage for the better.

I’m a passionate advocate for this tool because of how much of a game changer it has been for our marriage. I’ve shared about it with friends, who have gone on to purchase it and give it a try. I’ve given it as an anniversary gift and as a wedding gift numerous times now, because it’s something that I wish we had from the start of our marriage. And I wanted to share more in detail about it with you here today because I believe your marriage is worth investing in. I believe that when we put in the work, we can reap a bountiful harvest of abundance as we dig deeper and connect with our spouses. Whether your marriage is in a perfectly healthy place, or you are barely hanging on; whether you have been married for 5 years, 50 years, or you are getting married next month – this journal is for you. You can always learn something new about your spouse. You can always go deeper in conversation. You can always become a more united front. And it’s never too late to start.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, you can check out more details for yourself here, where you can also purchase a copy. Or, like I said, maybe just go through the questions each week without purchasing the actual journal. Regardless, I hope you give this practice a try and I hope that through time you see a beautiful impact on the development of your relationship with your spouse.

I’ll leave you with these words from Mark 10:7-9: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

P.S. What’s one question from the Marriage Journal that you think would be most influential if you added it into your weekly conversations with your spouse? I’d love to hear in the comments 🙂

NOTE: This post is not sponsored and I receive no compensation if you purchase a copy of the Marriage Journal – I just truly love what this tool has done for me and my husband, and I want you to experience it too!

best of 2019

Hello friends! I’m back for day two of my 2019 review. Yesterday I recapped the year’s most defining moments, memories, and adventures, and today I am sharing my ‘Best of 2019’ list. I saw a couple other bloggers do this, and I instantly loved it. It’s a mix of highlights from the year and recommendations for things I’ve tried and loved. I hope you enjoy!

Best adventure/travel/trip: In November we too a week long vacation at an all inclusive resort in St Lucia. It was the perfect trip full of relaxation, with some adventure. We had been saving up for a vacation like this for a long time, so to finally go on it and to enjoy it as much as we did was incredibly satisfying.

Another outstanding adventure was our hike 8.5 mile hike to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a perfect day in the mountains, and the entire trek was nothing short of a fairy tale.

Best book: Three books stand out to me as total game changers for my heart and life this year:

  1. You Are the Girl for the Job: Daring to Believe the God Who Calls You by Jess Connolly
  2. Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt
  3. Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honeggar

Each of these books were laced with the right balance of truth, encouragement, and a total kick in the pants. Each of them were a call to something more. Each of them spurred me on in my faith journey in ways I didn’t realize how badly I needed. Each of them are going to be books of lifelong worth to me (I’m already on my second read through of You Are the Girl for the Job since it released in September – it’s just that good).

Best movie: I mean, there couldn’t possibly be another winner for this category other than Avengers: Endgame. Just absolutely epic.

Best album or song: I think this category can best be summed up with the help of my Spotify Wrapped. According to the stats, my sound changed with the seasons (which is usually the case) and the four top songs for each season it identified had me nodding my head in agreement.

Winter: Cringe – Stripped by Matt Maeson
Spring: Waiting for My Time to Come by Colony House
Summer: Live Forever by Mike Mains & the Branches
Fall: Carry Me Away by John Mayer

If you’re interested, you can listen along to what was on repeat for me in 2019 here.

Best podcast: The Balanced Life Podcast with Robin Long. Each week Robin interviews women who appear to be “doing it all,” and she talks with them about what they do AND don’t do to find their own unique sense of balance. Balance is a fairly consistent buzz word in my life, so I have found myself incredibly encouraged and inspired by the conversations in her first season.

Best follow on Instagram: Jess Connolly has been a consistent source of encouragement and truth on my instagram feed for years now. If it’s possible to be discipled by someone you’ve never even met, then she’s certainly done that for me. I’ve also followed Elise Cripe for years now and I find myself loving her real-talk attitude about goal setting, balance, and just living your life in a way that works for you.

Best date: We’ve had a conglomeration of date days that revolve around heading down to Fort Collins to explore or adventure. They’ve included going to the rock climbing gym, browsing REI or Trader Joe’s, wandering around Old Town, landing at some yummy restaurants with nice ambiance, and usually finishing with either Insomnia Cookies or Churn ice cream. Every time we have a day like this, I find myself enjoying the adventures with the company of my husband. Also noteworthy: we’ve never gone wrong with going out for a hike or doing an escape room.

Best faith grower: Two things stand out to me this year, each having to do with our jobs.

The most recent has been the gym I worked for going out of business, and then determining what my next steps would be. The road leading to closure was bumpy and challenging, and I found myself falling at the feet of Jesus each morning as we navigated through it. As a result, He provided me with so much peace and hope in His faithfulness amidst the feelings of turmoil, and He took it even further and revealed His plans for me in this next season. I dive more into this story here.

The other would be deciphering the right steps with an opportunity Adam could have had in his career. The decision making process had us going back and forth over the course of a year as we took our logistics, preferences, and past experiences that affected the decision into consideration, and for awhile we weren’t getting a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from God. It not only drew us towards each other to process the decision together, but amidst the uncertainty of what to do, I again spent a lot of time handing it all over to God and trusting Him to lead us to the best decision. In the end, Adam decided to not pursue the opportunity and we both have been united and at peace about the decision.

Best trend you tried: This summer I gave intermittent fasting a try during our staff fitness challenge, and it was a total breakthrough for me in my health journey. I’ll likely be sharing more about my story with it here in the future.

Alternatively, I don’t know if you’d consider this a trend, but since it’s been a popular TV show for the last 10 years…despite my strong distaste for reality TV, Adam somehow got me hooked on Survivor this spring, so I decided to start from the beginning and watch all the way through. I’m currently on season 21, which is just past the halfway point as season 40 will be airing in February. Needless to say, I got into a much bigger commitment than I realized.

Best beauty purchase: I think I technically started using this in 2018, but I will still rave about my favorite dry shampoo more than any beauty product I use. This one actually makes my fine hair look and feel clean on days that it certainly doesn’t start out that way.

Best family memory: There’s not one specific day that stands out, but some of my favorite moments have been the simple, mundane ones. The evening summer walks we’d go on with the dogs, laughing hysterically at one of the dogs for something ridiculous they did (usually it’s Rizzo), playing in the snow – which just led to the dogs eating the snow. I think of those times and think of how one day I’m going to look back on moments like that and think “those were the days.” I love this simple little family of mine.

Best habit you created: Slow, quiet mornings with Jesus. I have usually spent my time praying, journaling, or reading my Bible in the mornings, and I have tried different routines to really maximize that time. What seems to work best for me is starting my day with Jesus before anything else. This led me to start getting up even just a little bit earlier to make sure I’d have time to take it slow before I jumped into my day. Even now that I’m not working, I have continued with the habit of starting most of my days with downing a glass of water, and slowly sipping a cup of coffee while I pray or read.

An honorable mention that I can’t quite claim as a habit because I don’t do it consistently enough – but definitely want it to be – is phone/scroll free days at least once a week. On those days I avoid time wasting habits on my phone (usually Instagram and Facebook), so that I can actually do the things I think about doing. Each time I do it, I’m always very glad I did.

Favorite blog post written: In honor of 10 years having passed since I graduated high school this year, I wrote a letter to my 17 year old self. It was cathartic to look back upon my younger self with grace and tenderness, and it was fun to reflect on how much I’ve grown and how much my life has changed since receiving that diploma.

Best new recipe: This instant pot chili recipe has been on repeat since the weather turned. An easy, hearty meal that we usually pair with some honey cornbread.

Best life hack: Two words: Pizza Friday. Most nights I’m not overly thrilled about the process of cooking dinner, but at the end of the work week, I was all the more over it. So on Friday nights we started spending the night in with two Jack’s pizzas and a couple TV shows (& usually some Ben & Jerry’s to go along with it). We started doing this sometime in the summer, and basically haven’t stopped. I’ve dubbed it my “Sabbath meal” because it allows me to rest from the work of planning and preparing a meal. It’s become a time of rest that we look forward to every week.

Best home improvement: This summer I got an outdoor rug and some string lights for our back patio, and it made my summer days even more joyful, and my summer nights even more magical.

Best little luxury you’ve enjoyed: On Amazon Prime Day we took the plunge and got ourselves a robot vacuum. While at times we both can have mixed reviews about the one we have, I’m thankful to have a little help at trying to keep the dog hair tumbleweeds at bay.


And that’s a wrap, on this post and on 2019 – though some reflections may trickle into the new year as I discuss goals for the year ahead. It’s been a good year in the real life Pruim life, and I hope that 2020 has some beautiful things in store for you all!

Happy New Year,

P.S. I’d love to know – what are some of your “bests” from 2019? Let me know in the comments!

colorado springs anniversary trip

Over Memorial Day weekend we celebrated six years of marriage, and thanks to the long weekend, we chose to head a few hours South to finally check out Colorado Springs as a way to celebrate. It ended up being the perfect weekend getaway. We quickly realized that this city has so much more to offer than a weekend’s worth of activities, so we plan to return to check out the things we weren’t able to this go around. Here’s a breakdown of what we did do during our time there.

Where We Stayed

Adam found the most perfect Airbnb for the weekend at a fairly reasonable price. The location was perfect – a cozy, quiet neighborhood, but still only a few minutes away from the downtown area. Pretty much all the activities we did were within a 15 minute drive of where we stayed. Plus you could see Pikes Peak from sitting on the couch, so that’s a total win in my book. The house itself was the perfect size for just the two of us, and they were very accommodating for us bringing our two pups as well. The decor was minimal and fresh and made me feel so cozy and relaxed while there. I just loved it, and if we have the chance, I would definitely stay there again on our return trip.

Where We Ate

Bingo Burger – Our first stop after getting into town was this fun little burger joint with locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients. I tried the Shooks Run, and while the burger was good, the bleu cheese seemed to overpower it a bit more than I would have liked. Their chipotle ranch dipping sauce with their fries was tasty though.

Denver Biscuit Co. – We had been to the Denver location of this a couple years ago and enjoyed it, so when we found out there was a location in the Springs we wanted to give it another try. I got their Biscuits and Gravy and Adam got The Franklin and we were both very satisfied. Our waiter also convinced us to snag one of their highly sought after Giant Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls, and they are not kidding when they say giant. We had just a few bites before taking it to go and having it for breakfast another day, but it was scrumptious.

Dos Santos – When snagging breakfast at Denver Biscuit Co., we really liked the vibe of the collection of other restaurants that shared the same corner, so we made it a point to come back. One of those stops was Dos Santos (also recommended by our Airbnb hosts – actually pretty much all of the local places we ate were). They seem to pride themselves in their drinks as well as (surprisingly) their brunch, but we went for an afternoon pick me up after a hike, so I went with two street tacos – the Arrachera and the Porky Lechon – and they both hit the spot.

Frozen Gold – After Dos Santos we went next door for some ice cream. Frozen Gold serves unique soft serve creations that had me take about five solid minutes to decide which one I wanted. There were some that had cereal toppings, goldfish crackers, and one with Kool-aid candied popcorn (?!). I ended up going with the Samoa Samoa, and for a vegan option, it was still extremely delicious. Adam went with their Peanut Butter Puffy. Honestly, it looks like we couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the options…except for maybe the one with the goldfish. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here when we visit again.

The Exchange – We went for a casual, light lunch at this local coffee shop and bar, and enjoyed our time there on the patio. Their caprese panini was on point, and we both enjoyed their smoothies as well. We didn’t try their coffee but they locally roast their fair trade and organic coffee.

The Melting Pot – this wasn’t a local try, but we saw it one day when we were downtown and decided to make it our official anniversary dinner destination since we had never been before. We tried their classic four course experience. While the experience was cool, I wasn’t overly impressed with the taste of the food, especially for the price we paid. I can’t complain about the chocolate fondue though, and their Yin Yang Martini was pretty tasty too.

What We Did

Seven Falls – This was one of the top things I saw recommended to do in the area so we were sure to cross it off our list. When we first arrived, they directed us to a parking area that was a bit out of the way to drive to, and then we had to take a (free) shuttle back, but I also read that you could park at the Broadmoor and also take a shuttle – we just didn’t realize that the two parking spots would be different. It created about a 30 minute delay for us, but in the end, our timing was still perfect. We probably officially arrived at around 9:30-10ish, and it wasn’t super busy yet. In fact it felt super casual and calm, which allowed a better experience taking in all the amazing views as we walked in through the canyon up to where the falls were. Once we arrived at the base we took on the 224 step staircase to climb up alongside the falls. After we reached the top we continued hiking to Inspiration Point, which overlooked the city of Colorado Springs, as well as some amazing mountain views. The trails were still fairly quiet, so we also did the other hike to Moonlight Falls. The weather was perfect and the hikes weren’t too strenuous. By the time we made our way back to the falls it was around noon and the crowds were definitely picking up. We climbed another set of stairs to get to the Eagle’s Nest for one final great view of the falls, and then we made our way out. I definitely would recommend going, and I would suggest going a little earlier so you can beat the crowds. There was a fee to enter, but they did offer a military discount.

Garden of the Gods – One of the other most highly recommended places to visit in the area was Garden of the Gods. We were given the advice by some trail-goers the day before to go early and beat the crowds and get good parking, especially since it was Memorial Day weekend, so we got there around 6:15am to do so. It was awesome to watch the sunrise over these incredible rock formations and get to explore the walking paths without too many people around. We weaved in and out around the paths to cover most of the grounds, but we didn’t venture off onto any of the hiking trails. Perhaps when we come back that would be something we would do, because I imagine that some of the views would be spectacular between the rock formations and the Rocky Mountain range all within the landscape. This is a free park and definite must see.

Drove Through Manitou Springs – After our time at Garden of the Gods we strolled our way over to Manitou Springs and drove through this quaint little touristy town. I was hoping to take on the infamous Manitou Incline but we chose to save that for our return trip when we get a little more hiking and stair climbing under our belts this summer. We saw it from a distance and I will say it looked even more intense in person that in does in pictures. We didn’t stay in Manitou long due to opting for a nap after our early morning, but I know there are a lot of cute shops and restaurants in the area that could be worth checking out.

REI & Boone’s Birthday Celebration – These are definitely not local things to do, but we had some gift cards to REI, and we knew it was their big Memorial Day sale, so we chose to spend the evening having a little shopping spree. That night we also celebrated our Boone boy’s 5th birthday and followed our tradition of taking the pups to Petco for him to pick out a few new toys and getting special treats.

21 Keys Escape Rooms – It’s truly not a Pruim vacation without an escape room. We took on 21 Key’s “Jester’s New Playmate” room, and had a successful escape in the end. Now I won’t go too nerdy on you all and give my in depth debrief of thoughts on the room, but from our experience, I would give this room a 3 out of 5 stars. There were definitely some challenging puzzles that stumped us, but some of them seemed due to a poor connection of clues in the room. A challenging room is one thing, but it needs to make sense as well. Thankfully they offered an unlimited amount of hints so we used some to still be able to progress through the room and enjoy our time. The decor and set up itself felt a bit sub par too. The staff was nice though, and they had plenty of other rooms to try that could be better.

Apart from all of that, we enjoyed lounging around our Airbnb and taking the dogs for walks around the neighborhood. Like I said, there is so much more to do in the Pikes Peak region, so we definitely plan to come back to check out some more. On my list is the Manitou Incline, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. I’ve also heard amazing things about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. And while getting to the top of Pikes Peak would be a dream, driving to the top didn’t seem as desirable for the cost, and we are no where near ready to hike a 14er (although it has become one of my life goals), so we’ll see if we ever get any closer in the future.

If you are considering or planning a trip to Colorado Springs, this website was a great guide, offering an in depth look at all the different attractions of the area.


As a whole, our weekend was a perfect mixture of relaxation and adventure – just the way I like it. And it was a beautiful location to celebrate our anniversary. I may or may not have asked Adam if we could move there at least 20 times throughout the weekend. Maybe one day the Air Force stars will align…

I hope you enjoyed this little travel recap. If you’ve been to Colorado Springs, let me know what your favorite things to do or places to eat are! And if you’ve never been, which activity seems most up your alley? Let me know in the comments.

the little things // vol. 2

Today I’m sharing with you another installment of The Little Things. These are some recent simple things that have been impacting my day-to-day life in bigger ways. Hopefully you might enjoy one, or all, of them too.

Kristen Ess Dry Shampoo
This is without a doubt my favorite dry shampoo of all time. Most of the dry shampoos I’ve tried leave my hair feeling gritty or stiff, which has been ok for days where I could use some texture or volume in my fine hair, but my hopeful purpose of using dry shampoo is so my hair can look and feel clean without having to actually wash it. And guys, this dry shampoo does the trick. When I use this, my hair actually looks AND feels fresh and clean. It makes day two hair a lot more manageable for me (unless I workout, I usually wash my hair every other day). I will confess that it is a little more pricey in comparison to some of the other dry shampoos I’ve used, and I seem to go through it fairly quickly, but I’ve grown to accept that the end result is 100% worth it. Plus it gives me an extra reason to swing by Target (as if I need an excuse to go there…)

Inkjoy Gel Pens
I’ll admit, I’m kind of a pen snob, especially with the pens I use on a consistent basis. To me, a good pen is one that comes out clean and smooth, without too much pressure, and doesn’t skip out on me in the middle of a sentence. I was recently turned onto Papermate’s Inkjoy Gel Pens and it’s been a heartfelt affair ever since. They come out with a clean, not-too-thin, but not-too-thick finish (I guess you could call it my Goldilocks pen), almost looking like a fine tip Sharpie…but better. I personally love that the ink is smooth and I don’t have to put too much pressure on the pen for it write nicely (I have a tendency to hold a death grip on my pens, so my hand has thanked me). And even though they’re gel, they don’t bleed through and they dry pretty quickly. I only have the occasional smear if I’m writing a little extra fiercely. If this is your kind of feel for a pen, I’d suggest checking these out.

Bombas No Show Socks
It’s taken me nearly 28 years to realize that a good pair of socks can make the world of a difference in your footwear. And boy have I find some good socks. I had seen Bombas around for awhile, but was always hesitant with the price tag – I mean they’re socks. But as I’ve learned the value of investing in quality over quantity when it comes to my wardrobe, I’ve found myself freed up to invest in quality essentials as well. For Christmas I received two pairs of Bombas Cushioned No Show Socks and since then I’ve gone on to purchase numerous more, this time in the lightweight version. I have quite a few pairs of shoes that are the in-between of flats and sneakers. For example, my Keds, Vans, and knock-off Sperrys all require socks, but ankle socks still peek out, and all of the no-show socks I’ve used have been too low cut, are poor quality, and require constant adjustment. But struggle no more – these socks are the perfect cut where they feel like a real sock, but they remain hidden when worn with lower cut shoes. And the best part? They ACTUALLY stay put. Most no show socks I’ve used claim that they will, but these are the first that have actually delivered. They have made wearing the shoes I mentioned that much more enjoyable because they’re so much more comfortable and I don’t have to think about them (simplicity WIN). Plus, they help keep my feet a little warmer even when my ankles are exposed. If you’ve seen ads for Bombas or have been debating giving them a try, I’m here to tell you they are worth it, and you can use THIS link to get 25% off your first order.

The Milk and Honey Podcast
I was recently turned onto this podcast and after starting out at episode one, (which is what I usually do with a new-to-me podcast), I was pretty hooked. Lindsey and Amaris share very openly, intentionally, and vulnerably about the wisdom they have gained from their life experiences, and they aren’t afraid to confront topics that might be more uncomfortable to discuss. I love that they seek truth in God’s wise counsel on all the topics they discuss and they do a really great job at encouraging their listeners to actively choose to honor God in all areas of their lives. So far I’ve really enjoyed Episode 4: Insecurity, Intimacy, and the Gospel; Episode 1: More than Our Mess; and Episode 10: Sex Intimacy. I love hitting play on an episode when I’m on a long drive, making dinner, or folding laundry. It truly feels like getting to listen in on a casual chat with some girlfriends.

Writing Things Down
In an attempt to combat some of the frazzled feelings I’ve had about life the first few months of this year, I’ve been making a more intentional try at writing things down when I think of them to: 1) get them out on paper and out of my head for mental clarity, and 2) so I actually remember to follow through on them. When I leave the thoughts floating in my head I seem to get more overwhelmed as I consider ALL the things I need or want to do. But by writing those things down, I have been able to release the thoughts and then come back to them when I can follow through in a more timely manner. I’ve been actively doing this more frequently for about a month now and I can say it has truly made a difference. I’ve forgotten far less stuff; I’ve accomplished more; and my mental state has felt a little less overwhelmed. I use my bullet journal and have a monthly “dump” page where I basically just list off to-dos, ideas, or random thoughts I want to remember when they come to mind, and add to it throughout the month. It’s actually where I made note of a few of the things on this list to share with you all. If you find yourself struggling to remember all that you want to do, or if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all the flowing thoughts in your head, I’d suggest giving this practice a try and seeing if it helps.


That’s it for today – five little things that have been making a big impact on my life lately. I hope that even just one of these things sparks your interest, because they sure have benefitted me. If you give any of these things a try (or if you already use any of these products/resources) let me know in the comments below with what you think!

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit or benefit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Bombas in which case you can get 25% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.

the little things // vol. 1

Hi friends! And happy March! Spring is ever upon us, and while where we live spring still means snow and cold, the sun is staying out longer, and slowly but surely warmer temps are sneaking their way into the weekly forecasts. So that gives me hope.

Today I wanted to share some simple things that have been impacting my life in big ways in the last month. Because truly it’s the little things in life that add up to make the greatest of impacts. So I plan to make this a regular happening here to share these little things with you in case they might impact your life as well. I have gotten some of my favorite recommendations for products, books, podcasts, or life tips from posts like this on other blogs, so I wanted to pass that along and share some things I’m loving with you all. So here are my top five little things from the last month:

1. Humidifier

The combination of cold winter air and living at a higher elevation makes for a lot of dryness this time of year. When the weather started turning cold in the fall, I was determined to avoid another season of losing sleep due to dry mouth or bloody noses, so I purchased a humidifier to help ease those symptoms. I ordered this little cutie off Amazon, and it has been on every night in our room since. For being so small, it has definitely made a big difference in my ability to breathe while I sleep.

2. Reading People

I bought this book last January, but it wasn’t until this month that I finally picked it up, and I was not able to put it down. With the Enneagram craze still seeming to be going strong, and my own desire to understand myself better, this book has helped me take my self-exploration a little further by offering a great overview of numerous types of personality profiles. The book emphasizes the value and power behind better knowing ourselves, not just for own sake, but also for the benefit of our relationships and interactions with others. I just finished it this week and I definitely recommend it as a starting ground for familiarizing yourself with some different personality profiles, and therefore also familiarizing yourself better with, well, yourself.

3. Monthly Massages

In the past, I’ve usually saved massages for special occasions or as a “treat yo’self” kind of thing. But back in November, at the suggestion of my bosses, I started to make a consistent habit of getting a massage once a month. While it has been a financial investment, it has been so worth it for my own self care to use some of my fun money each month towards this. Not only does it feel great and relax me; it also helps relieve and prevent discomfort from knots in my back or muscle soreness. This month I’m especially grateful for this little thing because I went not once, but twice, due to a gnarly knot in my shoulder, and some super tight hip flexors. If you can swing it in your budget, I highly recommend a regular massage. I notice a big difference in my back now that I am going regularly (I seem to get less knots than I used to). It also helps to find a massage therapist you like and that communicates well with you about where you might want some relief.

4. Tula Skincare Products

I have heard good things about Tula from a few different sources for awhile now, so I have given some of their products a try over the last year and it has become my favorite skin care line I think I’ve ever tried. From the daily and consistent use of a few products, my face has felt and looked more hydrated and clean. The biggest note of difference for me has been the decrease of red spots I get around my upper cheeks that tend to get worse in cold weather. With Tula, my complexion seems to get more evened out and my skin truly feels more radiant. Currently I am using the Purifying Face Cleanser, PH Resurfacing Gel, and Hydrating Day & Night Cream. I’m also anxiously awaiting the restock of the Illuminating Serum because that definitely had a big impact on brightening up my skin.

If you’re interested in trying out Tula, you can click this link for access to my referral discount of 20% off your first order. I’d recommend their Discovery Kit as a try-out for some of their most popular products.

5. Taking the Pups to the Park

On the days that it hasn’t been too cold or windy, I’ve been trying to get Boone and Rizzo some extra exercise (because I usually totally slack at doing so). To mix it up from our typical walk around the neighborhood, I’ve been taking them over to the park near our house. Some days I’ve walked them on the path that goes all throughout town here, and other days I’ve taken them to a big open soccer field with their Chuck-It for some fetch (their fave). It’s given them exercise and it’s gotten me out into the fresh air. I usually put on a podcast and watch my dogs become overjoyed at the simplest of activities. I’m hoping to amp up this habit more as it continues to warm up.


And there you have it. Five simple things that add up to make a big impact on my day to day life. Be sure to check out any of these products, or give any of these habits a try. You never know what kind of impact they may have on you. And if you do, let me know!

Note: this is not a sponsored post. All links are to products that I have personally used and truly enjoy, and I just want to share the love. I do not make any profit from these links, with the exception of the referral link for Tula in which case you can get 20% off your first order, and I get some credit towards my next purchase.