faith: life is not diy.

life is not supposed to be DIY || girlmeetslife.com

For a long time I thought of myself as being anti-DIY. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, DIY = “Do It Yourself.”

Scrapbooks, refurbishing, and hand-making just aren’t my thing. I don’t mind arts and crafts for fun from time to time, but I’d much rather BUY party favors, or a face scrub, or cut out sweaters than make them myself. I would think, whose got time for that?

But you know what I’ve realized lately? I’m into more serious DIY than all of those tutorials I see on Pinterest.

I’m far too often DIYing all day, every day. You see, for as long as I can remember, my natural tendency is to DIY my life.

I’m naturally a problem solver. I’m miss fix-it. I’d rather do it myself than risk anyone else taking control of MY job. MY relationships. MY thoughts. MY life.

Don’t get me wrong – I think that self improvement and independence are incredible qualities for someone to have. But as with most strengths, when used incorrectly or to extremes – this self sufficiency can easily become a greatest weakness.

Trying to DIY life can work for a time, and it can even make you feel on top of the world (control has a tendency to do that). But eventually it becomes counterproductive and backfires. While DIY is typically supposed to save you on the normal cost of things, when you DIY your life it ends up costing you so much more.

For me, it leads to becoming mentally and emotionally drained, feeling hopeless, frustrated, and alone (to name a few).

Talk about being a debbie downer, right?

Well, thankfully there’s good news, and it makes life a whole lot easier and more enjoyable than the solitude of DIY. It’s called doing life with others.

While there are certainly times to embrace being alone and doing things by ourselves, we’re not meant to DIY through and through. We’re not created to live DIY lives – we’re created to have community with OTHERS. That’s where the magic happens, people.

Romans 12:4-5

In addition to being created to have connection and unity with other people, we’re also meant to have a relationship with God. Whether you believe in that or not, the fact that there is a God who wants a personal relationship with each and every one of us is the thing I’m most sure about in life.

God actually wants to do things with us. Oftentimes He actually just wants to do them completely for us – only requiring that we surrender our self-sufficiency to Him. It’s difficult to believe that it’s that simple, but it is.

Proverbs 3:5-6

The irony is that surrendering and partnering with God on all of those DIY “projects” not only gets the job done, but it results in a peace that we’d never be able to get by doing things on our own.

Philippians 4:7

related posts:
keep showing up
how to make new girl friends
the thing about striving
why I don’t do Christianity

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Anyone else a life DIYer? In what ways do you try to connect with others and/or God?

stories of strength: my mom.

This is obviously a story  extremely close to my heart – my mom’s. It’s strange because reading this made me realize how numb I made myself when all of this was going on – there are so many things I almost didn’t allow myself to remember, if that makes sense. Clearly a defense mechanism. As scary as this time was, I never want to forget it – how strong my mom is, and how thankful I am for her to be in full remission! Momma G – take it away :)

stories of strength || girl meets life.

With two sisters who had breast cancer, I figured I was the sibling who skated it, right? I would be the sister who beat the odds. That’s the way I looked at it. Thankfully, my older sister, Marion (who I watched courageously stare breast cancer down) was quite belligerent about reminding me that I should be seeing a breast specialist annually from an early age (thanks, Sis ;). So, I was obedient, got my mammogram, and saw Dr. Gordon Schwartz at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia every year like clockwork. It was an uncomfortable chore. The mammogram was not something to look forward to (for obvious reasons). The one hour trip in bumper to bumper traffic into the city was also something I had to force myself to do. But, it was there on my maintenance list along with the hairdresser, dental hygiene, etc.

So, in April 2007 ( you always remember the time and place you got “the call”), I had no clue who the unknown caller could possibly be. I had gone for years getting my mammogram, where they said “if there’s a problem, Dr Schwartz will call you,” and never received a call. Anyway, when I answered, It was Dr. Schwartz. It was sort of surreal….being told that you have cancer. I was definitely one of those people who thinks “it can never happen to me.” It just wasn’t registering.

The doctor went on to instruct me on contacting the office for further biopsy. I was out shopping with Gracie at the time.  And I remember, I just kept shopping. Weird, huh?! I didn’t have fear at the time, I just felt numb.

What sort of thoughts went through my head:  could time be limited now with the family that I love? Every word they said, every cute little mannerism, all of a sudden became so precious to me.  All of the silly little things that used to annoy me became very unimportant. Most of all, it struck me that I really DID believe in God, and salvation through His Son, Jesus;  that He really IS in control of all things; Heaven IS real, life is everlasting for me. I guess sometimes it takes something shocking to have a full realization of your time on this Earth, and if your beliefs run deep. In any event, all of those things brought me tremendous comfort and peace, not knowing what the outcome might be.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, within weeks I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my face. This required a surgery that left 18 stitches on my cheek. That month, I also slipped on the ice rushing out to a doctors appointment and fracturing my ankle! Talk about bad timing.

The rest is a blur, and flew by. The biopsy, the surgeries…all done while on crutches :( I was a mess. Thank you to my dear husband and my Gracie (who lived at home at the time), who  took such wonderful care of me.  And, my Katie, who no longer lived at home, but always the source of encouragement. I love them soooo much!!!

After the worst was over, I recall getting into my car, going to my appointment with the oncologist to discuss my follow up care.  I had my records in hand, including a little package with a my name on it, and a slide container, with the cancerous tumor tissue in it (yes, they keep that. Ha!).  I remember being alone, but speaking to it and saying “I’m so glad that now you are in that little vial, and not in me!”  Thank You, Lord!

Because of my darling sister, Marion, my seriously amazing AND SUPERIOR  Dr. Schwartz, and by God’s grace, early detection allowed me to qualify for a partial mastectomy. And, as of today, I am 7 years cancer free.

In summary….I can’t say this enough…EARLY DETECTION!!!!!!

-NEVER miss your mammogram.
-ALWAYS self examine.
-ENCOURAGE and remind other women to be diligent.
-If you have a family history of breast cancer, make an appointment with a Breast Specialist TODAY!!!!!

Lastly, don’t wait for life to throw you a curve ball to appreciate your loved ones, count every moment as precious, and a TRUE gift from God.

Lots of love and God bless you all!

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Thanks for all of your support so far this month for the Speakable Strength Collection, with 15% of each purchase being donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!

style: grown up school girl.

As a little girl I was always playing dress up to look more like an adult. Fake jewelry, plastic high heels, and Barbie lip gloss.

And now as a grown woman in my twenties, it seems I’m channeling my inner school girl.

Well, maybe rebellious school girl with dreams of New York City would be a more appropriate description.
Tomato tomahto.

tights + knee highs || girl meets life.

Anyway, I’ve been on a major (over the) knee highs kick lately. I love the way they look with tights underneath – definitely a look I’ll be rocking straight into winter.

tights + knee highs || girl meets life.

Daniel Wellington Men's St Andrews Watch

Gracie Gordon || girl meets life.

The whole look:

Romper – Urban Outfitters
bomber jacket, tights, socks – H&M
shoes – Matty’s Rodger Pump
purse – local boutique in PA
watch – Daniel Wellington (men’s Classic St Andrews)

{ photos by Sam Ruby }

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Have you seen any new looks/trends you’d like to experiment with this fall/winter?

wellness: whole30 week one update.

Hey babes!

So I decided not to track my entire Whole30 experience here on GML just for the sake of not inundating you with it, but I do want to check in with updates here and there. So here’s a recap of my first week doing the Whole30 challenge.

First up – the food!

breakfast: been keeping it pretty similar each day – usually some version of eggs + sweet potato.

lunch: I try to make a double batch of something that I can have for lunch AND dinner – either a meat + veggie combo or my Whole30 Approved Chili.

dinner: usually same as lunch! With the exception of my girls’ night (where I did some snacking on Bacon Wrapped Dates and fruit/veggies).

Whole30 meals || girl meets life.

(Visit my Tumblr for larger photos/descriptions of the meals)

How I’m feeling:

The first few days were a little rough – I felt really low on energy and had very little motivation. Oh, and I wanted something SWEET. But deep down I knew how awesome I’d feel the longer I could stick to it, and now each day that goes by leaves me feeling more and more motivated.

Physically the only changes I’ve noticed are more energy and clarity, and feeling a bit lighter than usual. I haven’t really noticed any weight loss yet, but I haven’t weighed myself so I’m not sure.

Other observations:

I’ve definitely noticed my overall mindset toward food changing. First of all, I’m really enjoying having three square meals instead of snacking all day – it leaves me feeling much more satisfied, and I pay attention to my meals instead of mindlessly grazing.

Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for getting through a whole week. I know that’s not a huge deal to a lot of people, but I don’t have much willpower – especially when it comes to the social aspect of food/eating. I didn’t realize that this challenge would be such a mental achievement as much as it is health-wise!

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Have you ever done Whole30 or a similar challenge? How do you stay motivated to stick to it?

style: slip into fall.

A few weeks back when I was having a little staycation with Marriott Hotels, I couldn’t help but wander into the massive Forever 21 in the middle of Times Square. Five floors of diverse, inexpensive clothes are great for one thing and one thing only – impulsive buying.

I left with a few new items in hand, including this hot pink slip dress with black lace detailing.

A few days later I realized that I’m in fact not “forever 21,” and should probably find a way to make this slip dress a bit less slip-like if I actually wanted to wear it in public. Nothing a little blazer and tights can’t fix, right?

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

gold cuff

Slip Dress For Fall || girl meets life.

Oh, and did I mention that I got this dress for just about twenty bucks? That’s what I like to call #TrendyNotSpendy.

The whole look:

Slip Dress – Forever21
Blazer – Top Shop
Handbag – Dolce Vita Isabella Bucket
Watch – Nixon
Tights and boots – H&M
Cuff and rings – Forever 21
Necklace – Speakable

 

(Thanks to my friend/photographer Samy Ruby – if you’re in NYC and looking for a photographer, I couldn’t recommend her more! You can check out her work here.)

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When you shop are you more impulsive, or on a mission to find certain pieces?

beauty: halloween makeup ideas.

Let’s be real – going to the Halloween store and picking up a slutty French maid costume for $75 is so 2007.

I’m not saying you can’t look hot on Halloween…let’s not pendulum swing here. But we can at least try to be a bit more creative, yes?

There are so many ways to put together a fun and creative costume without breaking the bank, and this year I’m all about focusing on makeup. What’s great about focusing on makeup as the star of your costume is that you can really keep your actual outfit pretty simple, so you can either a) wear clothes you already own or b) if you do have to buy something, make it clothes you can at least wear again.

These days with Pinterest and YouTube, you can find some great tutorials for how to do fun and creative makeup for Halloween. Some of my favorite looks this year are:

doll face

Halloween makeup idea

pop art

Halloween pop art makeup

Queen of Hearts

Halloween makeup Queen of Hearts

mermaid

Halloween makeup mermaid

cat

Cat makeup for Halloween

dummy

dummy makeup

Maleficent

Maleficent makeup

broken porcelain doll

Twiggy

Twiggy halloween makeup

And then of course, if you want to keep it REALLY simple, you can do a simple vampire look (like I did the other day for a Red Carpet Manicure photo). All you need is some fake blood and a steady hand.

The key is to apply a glob to let the fake blood naturally drip, rather than trying to paint it on.

Vampire Makeup for Halloween Gracie Gordon

Matching mani optional ;)

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What Halloween makeup/costumes are you loving for this year?

eats: whole30 approved chili.

I’m now on day 5 of the Whole30 challenge, and so far it’s being going great! I’m already feeling some changes in my body/energy, and I just keep getting more and more motivated to stick to it as the days go on.

…That’s not to say it’s been easy, though ;) Turning down pumpkin whoopie pies last night was not my defining moment.

The first couple of days were particularly tough because I was eating boring food (i.e. plain grilled chicken and veggies). So on day 3 I decided to get creative and experiment with making chili, and I was VERY happy with how it turned out.

 

 

Whole30 approved Chili

(Recipe can easily be doubled to serve more. I used all organic ingredients, but obviously not necessary!)

ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
2 bell peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
coconut oil

directions:

First cook the ground beef in a stovetop pan with coconut oil and seasonings of your choice (I used salt, pepper, and a bit of extra chili powder). Set aside.

In a large pot, sauté the peppers and onions in coconut oil. Once they’re softened (about 10 minutes) add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked beef, and seasonings. Mix all together and let simmer for another 6-10 minutes uncovered.

It’s that simple! It might not be the real deal slow cooking chili, but it tastes pretty darn close. The tiny bit of cinnamon makes a HUGE (delicious) difference. Not to mention it’s QUICK, and Whole30 approved!

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Anyone else doing (or have done) Whole30?  Would love any tips/suggestions you might have!