Faith Friday: Build Each Other Up

Background image by Jodi Miller Photography
Hey guys! Well here I am, relatively in one piece and happily proclaiming that I have survived the storm that is midterm season! Today's Friday so you know what that means - it's another instalment of Faith Fridays and this one is about something that's been on my mind for quite some time to write about. If you got the chance to read this Monday's post on comparison then it'll serve as a good precursor to what I'm going to tackle today. 

For years now I've seen first hand what competition can do to girls, especially when it's based on false ideas of comparison! The whole "I'm better than you because _______" is a theme that keeps coming up between women and even though I'd hoped we'd grow out of it, it seems no one really got the memo. The first chance we get to put someone down, whether it be explicitly or subtly, we take it. Instead of building up someone in love, we choose to tear them down - and I'm not talking falling Jenga pieces, I'm talking wrecking ball coming at ya at 10000 km/h. Why is that? Why have women, especially, learned to use that as a tool to feel better about themselves? When you compare yourself and feel you aren't as good, the only option left is to tell that person that what makes you jealous is the one thing that makes them ugly or unwanted. I'm not one to purposefully bring up negativity but it just hurts me when I see (and have participated in) people stepping on others to get ahead or lift themselves up higher!

One for the saddest things to see is when people live for the constant compliments and affection of others but when another person who should be someone they love accomplishes something they haven't yet been able to, all of a sudden it's either not good enough or not a big deal. We feed off of this sense of competition and we choose to let it breed hatefulness into our hearts. Letting it transform into a silent "I'm better than you" feeling inside and letting it out in small doses through our actions and words. Trust me, people have done this to me and even though they think they're subtle, I can sense it! Situations like this have got me thinking. How much more beautiful would life be if we decided to truly be happy for others and lift them up. No conditions, just straight up I-want-the-best-for-you behaviour. 

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing"
1 Thessalonians 5:11

As a Christian myself, I often look for support in other Christians. You know, because we're all on the page in a way (or at least we should be) and our common beliefs should give rise to positivity. The worst part is that I often encounter Christians who are down-builders. Who have one goal in sight and that's to be the biggest and greatest, and that sadly comes along with them putting you down to get to where they want to be. I've obviously found this same behaviour everywhere else but it hurts the most when you see it at church and among people who you could grow to call your friends. These past few months of starting my blog have been exciting and certainly challenging at times but it feels so good when someone tells you that what you wrote came at the right moment or just a simple thank you for encouraging them that day. Ultimately even though I'm the one writing my blog, I have a bigger purpose for it and Lord knows that my desire is to honour Him no matter what. The coolest thing so far is having people that I haven't seen for years message me saying that they read and that they are encouraged by the way I share my beliefs. They may not have the same ones but being genuine does that to people. So these people build me up. But you know the worst part? I was surprised by this. I expected people to automatically be thinking negatively about my blog because they don't believe the same thing - so what does that say about my expectations? The more we build people up, the more we can see that others do the same! It's not some kind of anomaly. 

The kind words I get from people, especially those who were unexpected, make sharing my faith through this blog even more enjoyable. Remember that they inspire you just as much as you inspire them. It's a mutual act of lifting each other up. Encouragement is such a powerful tool to reach other people and show God's love. This life we are privileged to live isn't supposed to be about being on top. How many times have I heard from people who wanted to get to the top that when they got there, there was nothing there. I encourage you (and me) to look for opportunities to sow into what people are doing. It's not about being better than someone, it's about helping them be better and allowing for other people to do the same. I've had to start learning to stop being cynical at times and stop expecting others to tear me apart with their words. You'd be surprised how healing people can be when you let them. 

You are called to "pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding" (Romans 14:19)

Learn to feel the best when you say something nice about what someone else is doing - not when you're being encouraged only. Because when people stop drowning you with compliments and encouragement, will you be humble enough to shower someone else with them?
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Decor Inspiration: Room Renovation

A little preview of what's to come!

Hey everyone! Hope you're all having a fantastic week. I'm back at school this week after a work 
filled Reading Week and am currently highly sleep deprived due to the fact that I have 3 midterms in the span of 3 days.... oh joy! In order to not bore you any longer with my very sad academic life I thought I'd share some inspiration pictures that I'm using to guide the redecorating process for my bedroom. I've started off with some adjustments to my desk area already which I showed a sneak peek of on my Instagram account. I'm getting super excited and my room looks better already. 

For a long while I was stuck on painting all of my furniture white because I love the clean look of all white furniture but after seeing pictures of bedroom with dark wood pieces I think I'll be staying with the colour of wood that I have right now. I think as long as I keep as many elements in my room light and airy, it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe throwing in a different coloured headboard or swapping my night stands for smaller, white ones would also add a fun, eclectic touch!

So far the idea is to keep my room centred around light dusty rose, cream and whites and adding in gold (and black for balance) accents. I want the feel of my room to be girly, fun and a little glam while still having a more traditional feel with the dark wood furniture. I love that country cottage feel without going too grandma but I also want to have a good balance of glam so that it feels more like me. Right now I'm mostly on the hunt for little accent pieces here and there that'll add some character and pops of colour, as well as different ways of filling up bare walls without going overboard with a bunch of paintings (suggestions are needed!). 

So there's a quick update on my redecorating process. Hopefully I'll wrap up the process and be able to share some detailed pictures of how my room turned out. But for now, I'm hitting the books and getting as much sleep as I can fit in. I'm praying God helps me through because this weekend is looking promising. Keep up with me on Instagram by the way... it's a really fun way of connecting with readers and other bloggers! (link is on the menu bar, my social media icon bar and my instagram feed widget so choose one haha!) Praying you have a great week and are just as excited for the weekend as I am. Lots of love!

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World Travel Through Door Photography

1// 2//  3// 4// 5// 6// 7// 8// 9//

Have I mentioned enough that I'm in love with Pinterest? Since I haven't (haha!), I'm gonna share my latest obsession to pin - DOORS. That probably sounds really weird but I love finding really cool pictures of different doors from around the world. I love injecting person style into anything, so the fact that people do it through how they decorate their door amazes me! How awesome is it that you can create an atmosphere to your home right off the bat - starting from the moment someone knocks your door. You know me, I'll probably be itching for a pink for with a gold knocker in the near future. As if I didn't want to go New York bad enough as it is, seeing doors snapshots that Amy Stone takes on Instagram makes me even more in a hurry to see the city! I'm so in love with all of the colours in this collage - So Much Inspiration!
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Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Today I feel like being real with you. Not because I'm not real with you any other day but because I want to share something from my heart as the imperfect person that I am. The world that we live in is a world of mirages - of appearances - of deception. Just go on any social media platform and all you see is a highly calculated, photoshopped version of a person. People with glamorous lives, pretty faces and even prettier clothes. It's all perfect. But what goes on behind that picture or tweet of 140 characters? What happens with all of the other words said that day, with the girl who actually feels uncomfortable in her own skin, or with the real person behind that mask?

I'll be the first one to say that it's made me jealous before, and I'm not ashamed of that. I've felt like my boring life just doesn't compare. There's always going to be someone doing cooler things than me, dressed better than me and prettier. Now it's not just celebrities that we compare ourselves to, it's also real people who try to cover up what makes them real. I can probably 100% guarantee that who you see on social media isn't the whole picture.... remember most Instagram pictures are cropped. 

Imperfection is nothing to be ashamed of. It's very rare that someone can tell you their life story and it not include some hardships and rough patches along the way. Personally, I never grew up with the picture perfect family, or boat loads of money or travelling the world as a toddler. But to me everything I never got was what made others "normal". Then I later realized that even the people who had the things I never did had to go through tough situations, even though they weren't the same as mine. If I couldn't do fun things with my mom growing up because I was part of a single parent household, the person with both parents at home didn't spend time with them because both mom and dad were working. I just didn't understand that until later. Truthfully, I'm glad for the things I wasn't given because it made me who I am today and I hope to always be grateful for the things God gives me. So can you imagine how wrong it is for us to think that people we don't even know have perfect lives? Before I told you I had a rough childhood, you may have just assumed it was all dandy. So just picture what we think about others....

Through God's perfect love, I've learned that I'm imperfect and I need him more than anything. I've learned that I'm not perfect and neither is anyone else on this planet. I've realized that a nicely composed Instagram picture is just a small snapshot which crops out 98% of what makes someone who they are. So why should I strive to become like another imperfect person when I'm already imperfect myself? I'm still in the process of making this a reality in my daily life and I encourage you to do the same along with me. Yeah, some people will always look down on people for accepting their imperfection and declaring that they need a God who is perfect to carry them through the day but that's alright. Choose to look at the small things with the biggest inspired eyes and to see beauty in everything. 

If you take something with you, take this: COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY. 

Be joyful in who God made you and don't look at someone else as better. Who says that a rose is better than a tulip? They're just different, and different is great!

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Faith Friday: Stand Firm In Your Faith

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Hey y'all! I'm here for another edition of Faith Fridays! Most of the time, I let God sort of guide me to write about something that's on His heart for me and the people who will read my blog. Today I decided to do something a little different and God didn't disappoint... He's full of surprises. So I flipped open my Bible and did the "show me what you want to show me Lord" thing and I opened up to a page with only one highlighted verse. It was incredible because it was a verse that was perfect for what I'd been feeling to talk about all morning so I took it as a sign of God's approval ;)

I've been sharing a lot about people who inspire me on previous posts and a lot of the time I'm most inspired by people who are firm in their faith and aren't shaken by the world. It's a tough job a lot of the time but we have to face it with courage, knowing that:
"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all"
- Isaiah 7:9

This verse says so much in such a short sentence. There is nothing that will make you stand other than standing firm in your faith. Faith is "Being sure in what we hope for and certain of what we don't see" (Hebrews 11:1). Picture this: if the ground that you walk on is shaky and uneven, walking will not only be difficult, but according to this verse, you won't even be able to stand! There is so much that the world tries to throw in our faces to get us away from the word of God, which is the truth that gives us life! People ridicule Christians all the time, and there are no signs of it getting better any time soon. Especially in the adolescent years, you are bombarded by the media who present to you things they say are fact, but which Jesus spent his life speaking against. If you aren't grabbing onto the Lord and being certain of what you don't see, you won't even know what to stand for. 

I decided to dig deeper into the notion of standing firm in the Word and found that a lot of my favourite verses mention that phrase. So obviously God thought it was pretty important! We must stand firm in battle, in faith, through opposition and in Christ! 

"Stand firm and you will win life" - Luke 21:19

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain" 
- 1 Cor. 15:58

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong"
- 1 Cor. 16:13

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery"
- Galatians 5:1

It is no coincidence that most of these verses are messages to people who were facing opposition for following Christ at that time. We are in their same position! I love to work with imagery so just imagine our time right now where Christians are being placed in the middle of fierce storm. Not standing firm in God's promises to you will have you quickly swept away by that wind. But if we don't let this world shape us into something that God didn't intend for us to become, we will have nothing to fear. Our feet will be crazy glued, duct taped and secured to the ground no matter what hits us - WE WON'T BE MOVED. I remember going into high school honestly being so afraid of how people would react when I said I didn't want to take part in what the "normal" teen population was doing. But I soon learned that holding on tight to God was the best decision I could ever make!

I've come to the conclusion that any doors that are only open to me if I push aside my faith, are ultimately doors I don't want to be walking into anyways! I'm sure that people will try to persuade me to stop following Jesus, but that's not going to happen because I stand firm on the rock of my salvation. It doesn't matter how good the prospect looks - it's not good if you can't have Jesus to celebrate it with you. Don't you let anyone talk you out of standing up for Jesus, ever. Live by this quote: If Jesus died for you, why not live for Him! People who stand firm in their faith are the ones who move mountains and truly impact those around them. Like Corinthians 16 says, be courageous and strong - you'll see that the storm will not move a hair off your head because You. Stand. Firm.

Wishing you an amazing weekend! Thanks for stopping by xo
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Desktop Background Freebie!

Hey guys! I've really been tapping into my creative side lately with photo editing and such, so I decided to see if I could make my own desktop & phone backgrounds! After a few google searches and some not so pretty results, here are two wallpapers I came up with for today. The thought of living has been on my mind for a few days now and two little sayings have been stuck in my head. Live by faith and live your dreams. I think they both go hand in hand. If you decide that you'll live in a way that is based on having faith in what God has planned for you, there's no doubt about it that you'll be living your dreams. He has created so many opportunities for me live my dreams and do what I love.... I just have to have faith!

For we live by faith, not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7

I really hope you guys enjoy what I've made and that you share them with people you love! Send me pictures if you decide to change this to your wallpaper. Also, if you have any ideas of what wallpapers you'd love to see next, send me a message either in the comments, email, twitter, or whatever other social media outlet you can find ;)

Downloading these is easy! For the desktop images, just right click on the wallpaper and select "save as..." and then add them into your computer. Then go to that folder, right click, and select "set desktop picture." For the phone wallpapers, it would probably be easiest to open up this blog page on your browser, press and hold your finger over the image you'd like to select, save to your camera roll and then it as your lock/home screen!

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Dehydrated Skin Helpers

For the past weeks I've been trying to revamp my skincare routine in hopes of getting my skin back into shape. Like I mentioned before, I have combination skin and in the winter I found that the texture of my skin wasn't as smooth and it could  feel a bit tight. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that I was suffering from dehydrated skin. Fact: even oily skin can be dehydrated! A lot of it comes down to the harsh products that companies market towards oily, acne prone skin. After I switched to gentler products and ones that weren't necessarily for my skin type, I felt an instant relief from the tight, dry feeling I had when I'd cleansed. So while I didn't have dry skin per se, I was dehydrated because my skin wasn't able to retain the moisture supplied from whatever creams I was using (Think of dry skin as a skin type and dehydrated skin as a temporary condition!)

I looked at different blogs and reviews of several different products that would combat dehydration and I found two that have worked well to provide moisture to my skin deep down and helping it lock in that moisture. The first little guy is Indeed Labs Hydraluron. I'd heard so much about this serum and when I saw it at my local Shopper's Drug Mart I knew I had to give it a try. For reference, this 30 ml tube retails for $25 at Shopper's but you can buy it online at a lot of retailers. Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that is found in a lot of serums that claims bring back moisture the skin. The science behind it basically says that hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water! The idea is that this serum contains a pure form of this acid so it's no frills and delivers moisture much more rapidly. You're meant to use Hydraluron as the step before you apply your moisturizing products (like oils or creams) because it will help them sink into the skin and lock in the moisture they provide. I have to say that I love using this in my routine. I noticed a pretty immediate difference in my skin after using it 2 or 3 times. My skin was plumper and it felt a lot more comfortable. You only need a pea sized amount (side note: how weird is this frame of reference!) and just press it into the skin. It's clear and can be used day and night. This will definitely be something I run to when my skin needs some extra moisture.

I'm still using both the moisturizers I mentioned in this post but I've added in an oil for days when I don't wear makeup and need a moisture treatment. I got a sample of the Josie Maran Argan Oil Light a few weeks ago and I fell in love! It's always great to add in some more natural products into your routine just so you can minimize on the chemicals that are put into products! Not only did it provide incredible moisture, it also left my sin plumper, not greasy and it helped clear out some of my acne! This argan oil is just too good. I didn't want to commit to the full size bottle so I opted for the mini bottle at Sephora which retails for $18 and that lasts for 3-4 months or so. My favourite thing about it was how light it felt (hence the name) because a lot of oils I've tried in the past were extremely heavy. This means that you can use the light version of Josie's oil during the day when you might have makeup on since it won't affect your skins texture at all. 

Using both Hydraluron and Argan Oil have reduced my symptoms of dehydration and my skin is able to retain moisture a lot better than when I'd just slap on some moisturizer after cleansing! If you're suffering from dehydrated skin I would definitely look into the products. Maybe even start out with getting a sample of the argan oil! Let me know how these work for you if you decide to give them a try. 

I hope you are having a great day today! Take some time out to sit and just listen or see God around you. You'd be surprised at how much He shows Himself through creation! 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4

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Beautiful Blooms

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It's no surprise that I'm starting to get tired of the cold. In all honesty, winter is only good while Christmas season is upon us but after the excitement of the New Year subsides, it's all downhill from there. I love moderate weather, so Fall and Spring and two of my favourite seasons. It's so beautiful to see nature transition through those few months! My secret to being happy when I'm cold and snow is falling is having beautiful, fresh blooms at my desk. I might be in a million layers trying to stay warm but glancing up and seeing flowers while I study/blog makes my day! As you can tell by my blog name, I love peonies. For a long time I really had no preference to any particular flower, probably because the only ones I knew by name were roses, sunflowers and tulips. I remember looking through Pinterest boards (as one normally does everyday) and seeing peonies and thinking "THAT's my favourite!" I love pink so pink peonies have a special place in my heart. Sadly, I don't have access to peonies year round like some people seem to have but I love having roses and hydrangeas around when I can find pretty ones.

hydrangeas at my desk

I don't know what it is specifically about flowers that makes people happy but I just enjoy having a little piece of God's creation with me at all times. I remember always thinking I had to wait for someone to buy me flowers but I realized that they're just as special if I take the time out to treat myself! It's funny because I'll be extremely busy and not notice many things around me since I'm so stressed, but as soon as I see my flowers it makes me stop. They're so fragile, yet so incredibly beautiful in their own fragility. I encourage you to buy yourself some flowers - whichever ones they may be. Scroll through Pinterest if you have to.... I'm sure you'll find a flower that speaks to you! It's just a small thing you can do to bring some life back into the cold winter and get excited for Spring to finally hit!

Reminder of the day: bloom where you are planted! Be who God made you to be in the place where He has planted you! Don't wait to bloom someplace better. 

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Current Inspiration: Faith It!

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the site Faith It but I've been hooked ever since I saw some people on Facebook sharing videos that would often leave me in tears. Last week I shared things that were inspiring me so I'm going to continue this week by sharing some videos that have really moved me! It's so great to see so many videos that profess so much faith in God and see different peoples stories. I hope you'll find something that inspires you just as much as it has for me.

ONE// Modesty and Swimwear

I've spoken about modesty before and this video was so clear in exposing our societies ideals of female beauty. I definitely don't judge depending on what bathing suit you choose to wear, but this really got me thinking! Should we buy in to constructs of what femininity should look like?

TWO// The Bachelor Sean Lowe: Virgin Bachelor?

The idea of the popular reality show The Bachelor is pretty controversial. I mean, can you find true love when you are dating over 20 women? Although the process of this show isn't ideal, Sean Lowe's testimony reveals how much God used him despite the circumstances and how he has used his influence to share his story. This is definitely one to watch!

THREE// The Influence of a Ten Day Old Baby

I was wrecked by this. It's absolutely incredible how much faith families can have despite the most extremely difficult times! In his short life of just 10 days, this little boy has inspired so many. The Lord is so faithful and my heart goes out so all the families who deal with these kinds of situations, yet they turn it into something so positive. This is truly inspiring. 

FOUR// Making Friends With Strangers

I just loved this video! It's so incredible how much people can learn from people they've never met. It honestly restores your faith in humanity when you see people being so kind to one another, not expecting anything in return. No stranger danger here ;)

FIVE// Best Father Of The Bride Speech

This is as sweet (and hilarious) as it gets. Seriously, just watch it. 

Anything inspiring you lately? Share below! Hope you guys are having a great week so far!
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Clarins Palette Eclat Face & Blush Powder

It's a new week which means lots of new stuff coming your way! To start off your week I thought I'd share the newest member of my makeup gang which I've been absolutely in love with (it's only been four days but this romance is fo realz!) On Friday I went out with my mom and grandmother to look at the makeup items that were at Winners. I've been extremely surprised at how many amazing brands they offer in terms of beauty and haircare so I was crossing my fingers to find a gem - and I found it! For a few weeks now I'd had this red Clarins box on my mind. They had this palette in the sealed see-thru box and every time I'd take it my hand to take a peek inside at the cashier, I'd put it back down. This time though, I was determined to finally discover what was in that box. Let me tell you, when the cashier opened it up I knew it was coming home with me. A beautiful gold compact slid out of a luxe, red pouch and what was inside was even better - think Diorskin Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder but way prettier! The Clarins Palette Eclat was part of their Spring collection for 2013 but thankfully you can still find it in stock at Debenhams online (they ship to 66 countries!) If you live in Canada and have access to a Winners, take a look inside because I've seen this palette at 3 locations before - plus it'll cost you a cool $20! Now, onto my rave of this beauty....

First of all, Clarins really outdid themselves with this one. The packaging is amazing and the powder itself is beautifully designed. It almost makes you want to never even touch it but let's not go that far! I was a little worried at first because the bronzier shade of the three looked somewhat light so I thought it wouldn't show up well on my medium skin tone. What I found when I applied this on my cheeks was that it was perfect when swirled with the peachy pink lines! The powder is matte so it's not going to make you look like a disco ball but it somehow gives a natural glow! Depending on your skin tone, some people even say that they can use the darker shade as a face powder which is awesome because it makes this palette incredibly versatile! 

This powder is very smooth and glides across the cheeks seamlessly so you won't have any issues with it looking like it's just an extra, cakey layer. Word of warning though, if you are sensitive to scents then I would give this a good sniff before purchasing. I find the scent to be pleasant and you really can't smell it once it's on your face but then again, I've never been very picky on that front! The shade when swirled together is extremely flattering and looks like a natural peachy flush. I love it so much that it hasn't left my cheeks since I got it and I don't see an end to our relationship any time soon! 

Have you tried this palette? I've been loving all of Clarins makeup releases lately. They're definitely taking a younger, fresher approach which always great. Their cream blushes seriously look beautiful! Anything making you run to the Clarins counter?

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Faith Friday: Love That's Unchanging

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Though this isn't my favourite "holiday" ever, I wanted to send each and every one of you lots of love today! I certainly don't think showing love for people should be reserved for one day but since we've got the chance, why not turn this hallmark moment into something special. Truthfully, I've been thinking and thinking about what I'd write about for today's Faith Friday post. I was unsure what angle to take..... love is in everything. Sure, Valentine's Day is marketed towards couples and making a day when people have to show that they still care, at least for a day. But love is something you can share everyday in all things. If you can buy someone some chocolates but can't even show love in the way that you actually care for them, what good does that serve? So today I'm gonna share what love is to me right now; not what love will mean when I'm dating someone. Because the truth is, your definition of what love is shouldn't change depending on if you have a significant other - love is eternal and will remain the same no matter what. If you can't learn to love right now in your singleness, how do you expect to love a future spouse?

God is love. See how easy that was? If you think of what God is, you have the perfect example of what love should be. Cliche as it may be, 1 Corinthians 13 gives you the key. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So you might be thinking, "I haven't learned to love like this yet!" which may lead to the thought that "I want to love someone like this some day". Ok, hold it. I'm stoping you right there. I know these verses are used very often when it comes to romantic affection, but love isn't bound to those situations! Remember the Bible says to "Love thy neighbour as yourself" (Mark 12:31) and neighbour isn't just a boyfriend or husband. We should want to love those around us in a way that exemplifies patience, kindness, a lack of envy, boasting, pride. Don't aspire to learn to love for a particular person only - learn to love now! There's nothing stopping you! The kind of love that we receive from God is unchanging; it'll be the same today as it will be tomorrow. He is completely in love with you. He didn't wait to love you, He's loved you since even before you were born. If His perfect love isn't exclusive, what makes you so special that yours should be?

Today I was speaking with someone and I said, "Girls should learn to love right now... prepare your love skills so they're perfected." To this I got the response "Love will never be perfected." Now, let me explain how I formulated my response to that. Love that is being perfected doesn't mean that it is perfect. Love that is being perfected means that you love others through God's love, which thankfully is perfect. We may not execute it with the perfection that God does but the love that we share, if it is derived from God's love, is perfect. So no, you won't love perfectly, but you will offer up a love that comes from perfect love! 

I'm gonna transition this to the single women reading this now... although girls who are in relationships definitely need to know this as well. This period of singleness is beautiful! For a long time my thoughts were just centred on waiting for a man to come into my life. That to me would be the finishing touch. But if you haven't understand what love should be, how can you expect to love someone else well? This is your time to fall in love with Christ. He's your Valentine. This brings to mind lyrics from a song by Tenth Avenue North that I love: Why are you looking for love? Why are you still searching, as if I'm not enough? Think about that. Have you been looking for love because God's love isn't enough for you? I've said this for months now and it's something that I've learned as I walk through my singleness. If you are waiting for a man to complete you, stop searching! No man will ever fill whatever void you have. The man God has for you will compliment you but never complete you. You can't live life without God! He is your completing factor and nothing or anyone else! How many times have I fund girls who say they aren't who they are because they don't have a guy?1 It hurts me so much because I used to be that girl. I was in a relationship thinking that because he was with me, I was all good. But in the end, after I was left alone, I realized that I'd lost sight of the love that completed me. The love that makes my whole existence. I was now single but God hadn't left. So again I say, if you are apparently "alone" and think you're missing something when you already have Jesus, reevaluate your situation. This isn't the time to be looking for love in the wrong places when you haven't grasped the love that is eternal and perfect in Christ. 

"Dear friends; let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God"
- 1 John 4:7

I'm not encouraging any single girl to become bitter about Valentine's Day! It's actually so horrible to see a girl be angry and unhappy because she doesn't have a man in her life, yet she can't take the time to thank God for the love she receives from the people near her. Remember that it's better to be single than to be in the wrong relationship! Love is beautiful. From my position in life right now, love is amazing and because I know that God is love, I know love will be just as beautiful when I have my person! Whenever that is, I'm not sure but I'm grateful to the Lord for these moments. Moments when I can search for His heart and find out what love is. Knowing that love is unchanging and that it is not bound by a relationship status. Look to complete yourself through Christ's perfect love! More and more I have found that I am absolutely nothing without Him. I'm a speck of dust in the universe, yet He chooses to give me love and care for me.  I love this quote from Lauren DeMoss: "When you give everything to God, when you find your very identity in Him, He becomes the completer piece to every part of you." Whatever void you want to fill, God is that completer piece! 

Know that this time won't be forever but don't let it pass you by without enjoying every second of it! God gives you singleness as a time of discovery. A time to discover His love, to know that it is constant, to give love without asking for anything in return and to know that He is what you are missing! When you figure these things out, a relationship will be that much more meaningful. And you'll know who you are, with or without that person, because you will know that God made you you long ago! Because truthfully, without knowing your identity in Christ, being in a relationship will likely make things worse. 

Know that you are loved beyond measure today, and everyday! Have a beautiful day everyone!
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The Holy Grail Foundation Search Continues

foundations to try

Anyone who knows me in real life would know that my favourite place to go to is Sephora. Just today after class I stopped by to look around and ran into some friends. Suffice it to say I spend a little longer than expected but I left with tons of new recommendations, which I always love. For the past few months I have been on the hunt for the right foundation/tinted moisturizer for me - holy grail if you will. I'm not even kidding, I have tried about 10 different products in samples and bought and returned three foundations. So yes, the hunt isn't going too well but I'm not giving up. I'll give you some background on my skin and my must haves for the perfect base!

My skin is combination during this time of the year. I have a pretty oily t-zone and I tend to get drier patches between my brows and around my cheek area. My perfect base product would have these qualities: it has to feel light on the skin (no cake-face over here!), needs to cover redness and acne scarring sufficiently, needs to control my oils yet not look overly powdery or fake looking, oil-free, and blend seamlessly (formulations that are mousse-like in texture are a no go for me). It feels like at this point my only option would be to make my own custom foundation but maybe that will be a project I'll tackle in the future. 

So far I've tried things like Clinique Stay Matte (broke down quickly and emphasized dry patches), Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation (irritated my skin), Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer (broke me out), Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (still felt heavy on my face), Jouer Matte Moisture Tint (love it but the shade was off)... this list goes on and on. There are a few bases that I'm looking to try out in hopes that I'll find something that will tick off most of my holy-grail requirements, which are shown above! Right now I got a sample of the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer which feels super light but I'm thinking it won't hold up during long days. I think it looks really natural and has a good amount of coverage so fingers crossed that it might make it through my touch testing process. My skin is getting a lot better in terms of texture and breakouts so I'm hoping to enjoy lighter feeling and covering bases, although the worst part is that most of the time the shade ranges are limited. I was super interested in the Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer but the shade jumps dramatically from the light medium to medium tan - one is wayyy too light and the other is much more of a summer tanned colour. Not cool Bobbi, make another shade please!

Oh the pain of finding a good foundation. I feel like if you can get your base right then whatever you place on top will look significantly better, which of course has to do with your skin in the first place. Well sorry for the rather long ramble but I'd thought I'd share the dilemma and hopefully receive some helpful recommendations for products to try. I'm open to try anything at this point! I don't think the girls working at Sephora can handle one more foundation related question haha!

What are your favourite foundations/tinted moisturizers? I would love to hear from you! 
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Single Ladies, Listen Up!

Hey there! Today was quite the stressful day with another midterm out of the way (all I have to say is that I'm so glad that one is over with) so getting in the post I had planned didn't happen. But, I didn't want to go without sharing something with you today. I'm seeing lots of really inspiring posts everywhere that are uplifting single girls during this Valentine's Day week so I wanted to throw in my two cents. The other day as I was studying, or taking a break from studying that is, I came across a video by Pastor Mark Driscoll. I've been single for a long time now and I'm at a happy place but this video really opened my eyes! As a single girl, you've only got a few options.... you get to choose! Sit back, relax and watch along!

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Choosing A Healthy Diet As A Student

Hey guys! Hope you've all been having a great day. In all honesty, I've probably fallen asleep while either commuting or in class (shh!) like a good dozen times. Midterms are definitely not helping me out with the energy levels. Yesterday before my first midterm at 6 pm, I needed some energy and my impulsive self was screaming "Pass me a chocolate bar!"..... healthy right?! The smarter, more logical thought would be to grab a piece of fruit but self control is not my strong suit when it comes to food. I'm working on it though - slowly but surely. One of my goals for this year was to try to eat healthier when at school and not buy food in the caf since the options aren't the best! Truth be told, I haven't been very good at packing lunches and that's mostly because I haven't planned out my meals. If I have any chance of changing my diet for the better, having a set menu that I can go to and cook even when I'm in a hurry is the only option. I've been on Google trying to find some good options for breakfast and lunch, since dinner time is most often at home and I eat pretty clean in that case. Here are some recipes I'm dying to try! (keep in mind that I'm a picky eater so things can get tough when picking recipes...)

Eating a nutritious meal in the morning is so important but people tend to skip out on breakfast because they're in too much of a hurry. These recipes are quick and simple and will keep you satisfied until lunch comes around!


I've tried making pancake with bananas and eggs only which taste great but they never ended up being able to hold their shape after I flipped them. I'm hoping this recipe which includes baking powder will fix that issue!

Although having bread isn't the best choice, (always choose whole wheat over white though!) sometimes it's okay to indulge and satisfy that bread craving. Instead of slapping on some processed sugar-filled peanut butter or spread a thick layer of cream cheese, these are some healthier options that look delish! I definitely need to pack on the veggies with eggs on toast and avocado.... girl, you know I love me some avocado! If you're feeling like eating something sweet a good choice is spreading some almond butter (one that is just made of almonds and without added sugar) and pile up some banana or strawberry slices - yum!

One of my favourites, that is super quick, is throwing together some greek yogurt, granola and fruit for an easy parfait type situation! This recipe I found looks awesome because you can make your own granola at home and have it around for when you need a quick fix. Plus you know exactly what's going into it unlike store bought granola mixes!

One of my biggest concerns with my health is trying to maintain my iron levels up. I've had some pretty low levels before so I try to eat foods that will help me through it. As I said, I'm super picky and I never thought I'd like spinach but I make spinach and cheese omelettes all the time now! This one is extra special because it has feta which I love. Definitely give this recipe a try if you're not a spinach fan. 

I'm most likely at school when lunch comes around so packing something to take with me is super important if I want to avoid having that pizza on campus (you can treat yourself but make sure that it's not your daily choice!) I'm definitely going to be giving these a try!
How fun is this idea?! I definitely struggle with keeping my salads fresh when I have to take them on the go but this makes it so easy! Mason jars are good for just about anything it seems.

Tacos with tilapia and guacamole... yes please! Because so often healthy recipes call for chicken, it's nice to mix it up with some fish once in a while. Tilapia is one of my favourite kinds of fish and like I mentioned earlier, my middle name should probably be guacamole (#iloveavocado). The tacos are most certainly on my must-try list for lunches.

Just like tacos, wraps are easy to make and take with you on the go. These look super yummy and they're a chicken caprese salad on the go - what's not to love?! (Did I mention I seriously love cheese... Ok, middle name Guacamole, first name Mozzarella!)

If you're in a hurry or in the middle of studying and don't want to make a full mean, I love smoothies as an alternative! This recipe looks great and is something I do all the time but I make a few adjustments. Since I have my iron deficiency issues I always sneak in spinach inside my smoothies. Another thing I like to do is sprinkle some chia seeds inside to bump up the nutrition. A great tip is to freeze the fruit you use for your smoothies at the beginning of the week - firstly because it makes it easier for you when you're in a hurry and don't feel like prepping and second of all, you won't need ice! 

I hope you've enjoyed some of these ideas and try them out with me! I'll definitely be letting you know how it goes. If you have any suggestions I'd love for you to share them in the comments! Thanks for stopping by xx
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What's Inspiring Me Lately?

Happy Monday! (I know, did I just say that?!) I'm currently writing to you from the comfort of my desk chair as I get ready for my first midterm of the season, so if for some odd reason I type in anything that makes no sense... blame it on the lack of sleep. Kidding, but in all seriousness this week is going to be really tough so I'd appreciate all the positive thoughts and prayers I can get! I thought today I'd share some things that are inspiring me, whether it be creatively or just personally. I love feeling inspired - it makes my day so much better! 

1. Devon Rachel in the prettiest blush get-up! Ah, this makes me want everything she has on!

2. Haley from Sequins and Things! This woman is a true example of how you can use the platform God gives you to honour and glorify Him in everything. And this tweet I saw?! Basically the most amazing thing, like ever. Yes people may not always understand or want to accept it, and yes, you may be "unfollowed" even in life by people who you thought were friends but that's okay. You did what you had to do and gave Him all the glory! 

3. If you want some Parisian inspiration you need to check out Carin Olsson's Instagram account, Paris In Four Months  - it'll make you wanna hop on a plane stat! Is there a place more beautiful than Paris? I haven't figured that out yet but so far, it's definitely the winner in my books. I could scroll through pictures of the City of Lights for hours. I feel so inspired by everything - architecture, culture, language, FOOD. 


4. The Full Time Girl. If you haven't heard of Lauren DeMoss' blog then you definitely need to check it out. Today is the sites 2nd birthday and in the time that I've read it I've gotten a completely new perspective on my relationship with Christ. She is another person that is an encourager but when she has to tell it like it is, she does and it's for the best because you get hit by a ton of bricks and you wake up. She's woken me up to a lot that I didn't realize before and I know that it'll do the same for you! 


5. The Glitter Guide Pinterest account! If you like amazing photography, tons of glitter (as hinted by the name ha!) and girly-ness extreme.... you've come to the right place. Everything they do is incredible and they've got all kinds of features from fashion to food to DIY crafts. There's surely something that will inspire you here :) (check out this Valentine's Day feature with some of my favourite fashion bloggers!)

That's what's been inspiring me this week... anything in particular you're being inspired by! Please share and don't forget to follow along with me on Pinterest to see everything else that I love. Have a great start to your week and remember to bring God glory in everything!

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Faith Friday: Who Are You Living For?

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Happy Friday to all! Today's Faith Friday post is really special because I feel like it applies to what I'm living in my life at this very moment and I hope that it will be of help to people going through the same thing. For a really long time I had the same thought in my head - "God, what am I supposed to do in my life?" Am I going to be a doctor (yeah... no.), a lawyer, a teacher? I realized that I had been focusing so much on making a career be what defined me as a person that I lost sight of my ultimate purpose. We are all called, no matter what we do, to spread the good news of Christ and to share his love with people around us. This applies to everyone: male or female, doctor or lawyer, rich or poor. So then this got me thinking: if my career isn't the deciding factor, does it really matter what profession I go into?

I will preface this by saying that we must look for direction from God in our lives. {The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him - Psalm 37:14} Now what I'm getting at is simple. It won't matter what God leads you to do in your future because He has a perfect plan and all you need to do is lift up His name no matter where you are placed. If you trust in the way He works and live your life solely to honour Him, you're on the right track. That being said, is making a living off of being a pastor, theologian, or music leader any better than a doctor, chef or teacher? No. If you make all that you do honour Him, you will touch lives and spread his Word in every part of society. One life calling isn't more "righteous" than another. If your heart is set on transmitting God's love through preaching or making cupcakes for people - then GO! I'm so thankful for someone having shared the book Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. It was only after reading what he speaks about in regards to this subject that it all sorta clicked. 

We spend so much time thinking that to be a Gold-Star Christian you have to have a specific "Christian job" but what about the platforms that God gives you to share his word outside of ministry? There are so many people that I've encountered who feel like they are second rate because they aren't establishing God's Kingdom on Earth the same way other people are. But that's just it - you may be establishing it in a different realm but who said that was a bad thing? Jefferson speaks in his book about quitting baseball to look for a more suitable Christian job but goes on to realize, who showed Christ to those guys? He has been given a platform that maybe a worship leader doesn't have but He left it because, well that's just not good enough for God is it? 

Here's the key though. Whether you are in ministry or aren't in a traditional ministry, you have to let all that you do be for the glory of God! ALL OF IT. First sign that what you're doing isn't glorifying God? When you're doing it to get attention drawn to yourself. We are humans and we have this thing inside of us that's all "Look at me! Did you see what I'm doing? I'm such a good Christian!" Sorry to tell you this, but it is not about you. It never was and it never will be. It's about HIM #shocker. Show God that you're living a holy life for Him and stop spending time trying to convince everyone else around you of it. Remember Matthew 6:16-18 when Jesus talks about the example of the hypocrites who show people that they're fasting by how hungry they're feeling.

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full" 

 What does he say? They have already received their reward! So what you do for Christ, if it truly is for His glory, you won't be looking for attention to be drawn to how well you do things because you'll get your reward on Earth - and if there's something I'm sure about, the reward in heaven is gonna be so much better. 

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" - 1 Corinthians 10:31. 

Do you recall what I have written in capitol letters up there ^.... ALL for the glory of God. There is nothing you can hold back for yourself. So I encourage you to bring Him honour and glory in whatever/wherever you've been placed. I've heard this so much but I think it is so true - we need people boldly and shamelessly proclaiming God's power everywhere in our society because everyone needs to know. 

I'm going to segway into my personal story. A lot of people from the outside might be thinking, "What does makeup and beauty have anything to do with Christ, Nathali?" It may look like I'm partaking in some vain activity trying to make myself externally beautiful or wasting my time writing about beauty products. God gave me a love for this and I'm not ashamed because I know where my beauty lies. It's a part of me and I decided to mix it with my faith. At first I said "God how am I going to manage it?" but God has made it so easy for me. Some people may not write about beauty or love it the way I do and that's okay. It doesn't take away from what I or they do. But what I have realized is that God gave me a platform. I love finding girls on blogs and YouTube who love beauty and fashion but aren't ashamed to share their love of Christ! Take BreeLovesBeauty for example. She is sharing about Christ all the time and it has blessed me on so many occasions, as well as other girls who loves makeup but may not have known about Jesus. This is her platform. Thousands of people watch her videos and she shows them Christ through the way she carries herself. I may not be a preacher or a leader at my church but that gives me no excuse not to share my faith with others. I may have a more specific audience, but it's an audience that I can reach and I fully intend on doing so. Wherever God ends up leading me, my only job is to bring Him glory in what I do, no matter what that position is. 

I encourage to pray about this. Don't rush into anything. God may call you for things in a specific church ministry or he may not but don't lose sight of the fact that whatever you do for Him is your ministry. Trust God to lead you the place and platform he has set up for you and work with it! He has your feet firmly planted. but only if you delight in him and only look to glorify him. Have an incredible weekend - Lots of love x
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