Summer Convictions

Summer always seems to bring moments of change into my life. You know those moments in the first days of summer? You start to regret when having to walk far distances, and parking lots of black tar quickly become comparable to the Sahara Desert. Those moments when air starts to press so hard on you that you have to gasp in order to fill up your lungs with oxygen? In a similar way, it seems that I find a need to fill up my life with new things in these first moments of summer. My soul begins to gasp for a fresh start. Fitzgerald, in his famous novel on the human fascination with the glittering and unfamiliar, brilliantly describes this strange need for change that grows in my heart.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Life has started new in so many different ways during the summer. Typically, summer brings back fond memories of melting ice cream, catching fireflies in my backyard, and baseball games. But my memories always look back to include major moments of change. When I started to prepare for life transitions, they always occurred during the summer. As a child, I went through the major life step of piercing my ears during the summer, as not to interfere with playing sports during the school year. Before entering high school, I remember spending time at my hometown’s basketball courts, talking about the next four years ahead of me with older friends. I made the hot trip to Manhattan, Kansas in the middle of August heat – my poor father sweating up 8 flights of stairs as he moved my mini fridge, (many) clothes, and books into a college residence hall. I traveled to Scotland alone. I started a new job after my college graduation. For me, summer has always brought on change, more so than any new year date on a calendar ever has.

With the months of June and July slowly passing me by, lingering like a Summer Solstice sun high in the sky, I’ve realized this summer will bring on more change than perhaps ever in my life. I’m quickly approaching the new opportunity for a career change. I’ve thought about a major location change. I have a boyfriend (and that is such a fun word to say after 3 years. So fun, in fact, that I’m working on another post just to speak to the adjustment of sharing a life with someone after spending so much time guarding my heart.) I just returned home from a big transatlantic trip with my baby sister. I also am feeling my own soul start to change in a way that is new to me, as I look to Christ to guide me through these times and let go of control.

I’ve always looked to keep things very personal on this blog, focused on making a deep connection rather than sharing a lifestyle, and I hope to continue doing that in the future. The past few months, I’ve found myself searching for silence all around me. I couldn’t seem to stop the chatter from my mouth or my brain or my heart. It’d be easy to tell you that I’d been able to breathe deeply, finding strength in God and my family and friends, but anxiety followed me like a shadow. Even the last couple of weeks, my feet wandering up and down the cobblestones of the British Isles, my heart felt a little restless. I hadn’t taken the time to just sit and let it be. My next few weeks will bring a little necessary stillness in my life. I’m looking forward to taking time to decompress – breathe out – and prepare myself for changes ahead. My summer convictions moving forward are to take time to really still myself to listen to God’s plans for me, understand and think about my life recently, and look forward to the future. I can’t wait to share more of my travels, musings, and what’s ahead on my horizon with you.

 

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Cheers!

-Taylor

My 6 Summer Essentials

Summer—a time of sunshine, longer days, pools, and popsicles—brings on a bit of a love/hate relationship for me. On my love list is grilling with friends, fresher fruits and veggies, patios, the return of our farmer’s market, reading on the lawn, and evening walks. With a list like that, it’s hard to think of the “hate”. But sunshine causes sunburns, longer days cause less sleep, and warm weather causes the endless search for comfy shoes.

This year, after lots of summer loving and hating, I finally have a list of 6 essentials that make the transition to warmer weather that much easier.

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  1. Starting with the sun hat, let’s take a moment to guard those pretty little locks from one of the best bleaches known to mankind. While I love natural highlights as much as the next girl, nothing hurts worse than a red scalp, and nothing looks worse than the red starting to flake away later. Floppy, straw hats immediately bring to mind sweet memories of my grandma hard at work in her garden. They also provide great coverage at the pool for me! This number is from last season at Gap, but I am loving the variety of sun hats Nordstrom has up on their website! (You can browse here: http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-sun-hats?origin=leftnav)
  2. Warm weather brings lots of cute shoe options, but more struggles in that department for me. I love a great sandal, but straps and flat options don’t always love my feet. After some discomfort in my arches, I’ve discovered shoes with a little wedge and soft leather are my best bet! I love a great wedge that is flexible, like these pictured from Marshall’s. A very similar pair can be found from Land’s End (http://www.landsend.com/pp/StylePage-440724_AL.html?CM_MERCH=REC-_-FPPP-_-GGT-_-3-_-440724-_-437947) now on sale now for $33!
  3. Please allow me to step on my soap-box for this next product. I cannot stress the importance of skin care enough, especially during the summer. For me, sunscreen has become an essential part of my daily routine. With a family history of skin cancer, I am so cautious about protecting myself from the sun. However, finding the right product for your face is always challenging. Neutrogena has made things extremely convenient for consumers by providing a huge variety (including my favorite, Clear Face at SPF 55). No more sunburns and oily skin for this girl! A few pro-tips about sunscreen—most dermatologists recommend at least an SPF 30 for patients, and always be sure to reapply if you expose yourself to sunlight throughout the day.
  4. During the summer, I love keeping my face fresh but hate the fuss of a ton of makeup. This C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve sold at Bath & Body Works (http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2726822) is great for relaxing, low maintenance days. The pink tint looks great, while the product keeps my lips super soft! Throw this on with some water-proof mascara and you’re set for a Saturday of running errands.
  5. With summer comes our exciting training program at work, and my “To-Do” list becomes a mile long. I never thought I’d become someone who relishes checking something off a list, but there’s a huge feeling of accomplishment that comes from it! Being an individual who loves “organized chaos”, I tend to lose small sticky notes very easily. This yellow notebook was a gift from a friend, and it sure does come in handy as I keep running notes on work and other agenda items! You can find adorable stationary, like this one, from one of my favorite companies, Rifle Paper Co. (https://riflepaperco.com/).
  6. The long days of summer bring long nights for me, too. I’m enjoying time with friends and finding more time to take walks in the evening. It also means I still need an extra kick to keep going in the morning. As most of you know, I am a huge coffee addict. Black, latte, or frapped—I drink it all. My most recent grocery store discovery has me addicted to Starbuck’s Iced Coffee. Why is this so great? I love iced coffee at home, but hate the watered-down taste ice leaves behind. I simply chill this, and it tastes so much smoother! My favorite thing to do is add some skim milk and caramel drizzle for a sweeter flavor.

With these items, I’m hoping to stay grateful for this season and move more items to my “love” list. As Ben Rector says, “Thank God for the Summertime”.

Cheers!

Taylor