Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Favorites: Hawaii Edition!!!

Remember last month??  When I had all of these makeup/beauty favorites?!

Well...totally opposite in September!  Haha!  I still haven't even gotten my Ipsy bag because they sent it to my old address.  I only wore makeup one day while in Hawaii.  It was awesome.

So my September Favorites are some of my favorite moments in Hawaii that were captured on my iPhone.  I have yet to go through my photos on my good camera.  We went all over the island of Kauai!  I hope you enjoy!

(Link up below!!!!  And check out Mia's monthly faves!)

Favorite Moments in Kauai

Awesome time with my sisters...

A plethora of Hawaiian Mai Tai's...

Menehune Pond where part of Indiana Jones was filmed...

A real Hawaiian luau...

Hiking in Waimea Canyon...

Kauai sunsets...

(from Spouting Horn)

(from Polihale Beach)

This ahi poke tower with purple sweet potato chips...

My sister getting engaged at the top of Wailua Falls...

This view from our back porch after the rain...

Call me crazy, but the best hot dog I've had in my life (homemade bread, Polish sausage, mango relish, spicy jalapeno garlic sauce, Hawaiian mustard)...

This moment while we waited to head to the airport for our flight out while watching our last sunset...


Now we'd love to read about your September Favorites!  Share your favorite recipes, beauty products, moments with friends and family, books, workouts, anything you want.  Link up with me and Mia, link back to us and grab our Monthly Faves button.  You can still link up through the end of the month!

Thanks to everyone who has been linking up in previous months!  We love it!!!

A Deeper Joy

Monday, September 29, 2014

{Guest Post} Being Single

Hey there my lovely friends!  I'm back from Hawaii!!!  It was a blast and I took about a billion photos so it's going to take me a while to go through them and pick ones to share.  I'll post about it soon!

Today I'm celebrating my hubby's birthday and am just not ready to get back into the swing of things.  In fact, this Wednesday is my last day of work in Dallas so this is a really weird week for me.  We officially move out of the city on Thursday.  We'll be staying with my parents until we find jobs and somewhere to live in San Antonio.

So today my awesome friend, Kendra, from Kenji Is Here is guest posting on A Deeper Joy!  I have just LOVED getting to know Kendra while doing the No Other Gods study with her and Kayla.  LOVE her passion for the Lord and her ability to always stay positive.  

In case you don't already know this about me...I got married when I was 30 (one year ago) so, oh Lordy, did I have my fair share of being single in my 20's.  God taught me so many things and really grew my relationship with Him so I'm passionate about this subject.  Kendra is talking about her walk through this time and I just love it!  Hope you enjoy!

Take it away, Kendra...

I've had off and on boyfriends for a while now. Gone on too many first dates, but at the end of the day I'm what an application would call "single." Holla! I am definitely proud of being single. I in no way resent any ex boyfriend and am in no way trying to rush into a relationship. I've learned a lot being single and I wanted to share the top five things with you today.

1// Being single does not mean you are un-loved.  Where my single girls at?? Guess what? You, you are loved so much! By God, by your family, by your friends, and by that stranger who thinks you're a hottie. cat call anyone? But seriously, you are loved. Are you loved by the man of your dreams, maybe not..but that's okay because right now you are focusing on you and your goals and that is just fine. Prince Charming comes later on.

2// I have learned not to settle. No way no how, call me picky, call me what you want, but I just won't settle. You shouldn't either! Why? Because you have standards. Does it mean you'll be single longer? Maybe, but isn't it worth taking the time and being single than settling with the next available guy just to break up 3 months down the line? I think so. I've been single for a while now and in that time I have settled and it's never worth it. Ladies you are worth something. When you think you're worth nothing, you are wrong. You deserve the best! You deserve to be loved, truly loved!

3// I will never be able to be in a relationship when my faith is rocky.  What do I mean by that? I mean those times when life is happening and church and praying somehow get to the back burner..that is when I can't be in a relationship. That is when that little voice sneaks up and says "Kenji, you're lonely, go find a guy." Yeah, no. I know better. Any guy that enters my life will enter it through God. This is important to me. My relationship with God is #1. In those moments of weakness, nothing good can come. God first.

4// There's nothing better than being my own boss. I don't have to ask permission. I don't have to tell anyone where I am. I don't have to be home at a certain time. I don't have to worry about pleasing someone's family member that aren't my own. I am me, and I am in charge of me. I'll do what I want, when I want. This is perfect. I am independent and this fits my needs right now and it's perfect. Freedom.

5// The most important. I won't be single forever.  Even though there are days where I have a pity party of 1 and talk about how I will be an old cat lady hoarder one day, it won't happen. I won't be single for the rest of ever, and neither will you! One day my prince will come...or something like that. But seriously girls, I promise you all. We will look back on these times and laugh at how we thought we'd be single forever.

All I want to say is enjoy being single while you're single. It's a beautiful thing. Yes, a relationship and marriage and a family are wonderful things, but why try and rush what shouldn't be rushed. If you're down in the dumps just come over to my spot in the world and we'll have a single girls party and drink wine and watch movies all night. It'll be perfect!

Love yourself ladies!
Friday, September 26, 2014

{Guest Post} Finding Joy During Tough Times

Hey friends!  I'm getting back from Hawaii today!  I'm thrilled to have Caroline on the blog today.  If you don't already know her, I know you'll love her as much as I do! I know Caroline in person too and have loved getting to know her through our blogs as well!  She is always so encouraging and I learn so much from her!  Go for it, Caroline...

I’m Caroline and I blog over at In Due Time, which I started back in April of 2012. In 2011 my life changed for the better when I got married to my sweet husband, Colby. Besides working as a financial analyst, I enjoy spending time with Colby, friends, watching football, and attending various small groups and bible studies. I'm a health nut, who enjoys working out and eating healthy. I take every chance I can get to travel with my husband. I have a passion for those who are going through trials, especially those who feel like they are waiting on God to answer their prayers. I was overjoyed when Kelli asked me to post and hope you find it encouraging to read. Thanks Kelli for the opportunity to share about how I find joy during tough times. 

You can follow Caroline here:

Kelli and I met years ago at a friend's party, but lost contact until this past year when we found each other's blogs! I am so thankful we have reconnected and have been so blessed by her friendship. I love the title of her blog: A Deeper Joy.

Colby and I have waiting to expand our family now for 2.5 years and finding joy and contentment in the hard times is a topic I'm passionate about sharing with others. I love Nehemiah 8:10, which says, "the joy of the Lord is your strength." This verse really summarizes the past few years for us. We desire children so strongly and haven't had them yet and are in a place where ALL of our friends are parents already (or so it seems), but we still are full with joy.

But, how? Jesus! We know that Jesus is the only person who can solve what we are longing for. It won't be babies, a job, a husband, or money. It's God alone. I believe when we truly realize how blessed we are, we find contentment. Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of what you already have. There is purpose to every trial and every waiting period and God's purpose isn't for us to grow bitter, angry, or jealous. He wants to use the trial to refine us. He wants us to be content in ALL circumstances. Even though you might not understand the why or understand the what, continue to trust Him. Let His strength be your joy. Allow your trial to be used for God's glory. Let it be a time where you find hope and joy from Him, not from what you are waiting for.

So what are ways to find a deeper joy while struggling? Read the word. Spend time with Him. Instead of focusing on what you want, but don't have, celebrate and thank God for all the blessings that you do have. You will find that when you shift your perspective, you will be renewed with a new joy that only the Lord can give!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

{Guest Post} Beauty Tips and Tricks

Hey friends!  Today, one of my newest blogging friends is taking over the blog.  Lily from Beauty with Lily is so helpful in teaching me about beauty tips!  I won her giveaway a while back and now like red lipstick...crazy!  I'm excited to have her post today...hope you enjoy!

Hey ladies! I'm so happy to be guest posting on Kelli's blog today! I was so excited when she first asked me, I immediately started brainstorming and the idea of blogging about my top beauty tips and tricks popped in my head. Perfect! Who doesn't want to learn about new techniques, products that are multitaskers, and then some!

My name is Liliana, but please, call me Lily! I have been blogging for over a year, over at Beauty With Lily...there you'll find tons of beauty and fashion related posts.

Thanks again Kelli, I have really enjoyed getting to know you through your blog!

Image from Google Images
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

{Guest Post} Blogging, the real story..

Hey friends!  Today I have Kayla from Mississippi Mrs on the blog!  I've gotten to know Kayla through a Bible study that we're doing together and I just love her heart.  She's so passionate and loving.  Hope you enjoy her post!  Check out her blog as well!

Hi! I'm Kayla and I blog over at Mississippi Mrs.  I'm so thrilled that Kelli let me take over her blog today, so I'll try not to disappoint her!  If you've never been to my blog, then I write about my daily life as Brian's wife, random events in our life, and throw in a recipe and DIY every so often.  Oh, and I am addicted to coffee. 

So, blogging.  This can be a topic all in itself, right?


I've worked up a list of the Pro/Con of this beloved blog world.  All opinions are my own, of course.

+ friendships.  This is my far my favorite aspect of blogging.  There are several ladies that I email / text with on a daily basis. 
+ networking. This applies much like friendships, but I am speaking more brand directed with this point.
+ inspiration.  Almost daily I see a cute DIY or recipe that I had to my ever-growing "to do" list!

Blogging is such a great way to keep up with friends / family or just make new friends!  It can allow a creative outlet to form and great friendships develop.  Keep a positive attitude and the blogging world will be YOUR friend back.

- time-consuming.  Blogging takes a lot of time, if you are a serious blogger. 
- stressful. Staying on your A game and up to date with the latest trends can, in fact, be overwhelming.
- addictive.  While reading blogs for fun can happen, sometimes we as humans get too consumed with "everyone else" in life and miss out on our own great moments.

Staying at the top of the "best bloggers" list isn't in my cards, but it is so many.  These people end up failing because they aren't being true to themselves.  Write honestly.  Speak freely.  But if you miss a day or are having writer's block, don't stress.  It's just a blog and I promise it will be there later when you are feeling more creative. 

What are some of your pros/cons of the blogging world? I would love to hear!
Monday, September 22, 2014

{Guest Post} Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Happy Monday folks!  I hope you had a fabulous weekend!  Since I'm still on vacation, my wonderful friend, Tiffany is taking over my blog today with a delicious recipe.  Tiffany blogs about her adorable daughter, family activities, food and fitness.  I do her booty workout often!  Such a short workout will make you super sore the next day!  She also has a new found love of essential oils which you know I love!  Can I just be sappy for a second?  If you would have told me that you can become such close friends with someone you've never met through your blog before I became a blogger, I would have thought you were weird.  Now I know it's true and NOT weird!  Tiffany is one of my closest friends now and I so value her friendship.

Take it away Tiffany...

Hi y'all!  I'm Tiffany and I blog over at A Touch of Grace.  I am so excited to be here sharing this super easy and yummy recipe with you while Kelli is off gallivanting around Hawaii.  Lucky girl!

I know how much Kelli loves bundt cakes, so I thought this would be the perfect recipe to share!  I originally found this recipe on Shay's Mix & Match Mama foodie blog, but wanted to change it up a bit and try my own version.  I love chocolate in moderation, so making a whole chocolate/chocolate chip bundt cake was a lot of chocolate for me.

I also don't normally use boxed cake mixes, but I thought I'd stick with that and see how the cake turned out. And it was goooood.  Real good.

* 1 yellow box cake mix
* 2 small boxes of vanilla instant pudding
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/4 cups water
* 4 eggs
* 1 full cup chocolate chips
* Powdered sugar for dusting

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your bundt pan.
* In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and powdered sugar.  Mix until smooth.
* Fold in the chocolate chips.
* Pour into your prepared bundt pan and bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
* Let cake cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then flip over onto a serving plate.
* Dust lightly with powdered sugar.

The cake is super moist (worst word ever) and not overly sweet, which I love.  So much so that I usually eat 2 pieces in one sitting.  Oops! :)

Thanks Kelli for having me!  Have a great day everyone!

Friday, September 19, 2014

{Guest Post} How To Tangibly Support Friends in Times of Need

Happy Friday!!!  Today is my first full day in Hawaii so I'm probably sitting on the beach having a Mai Tai right now.  While I'm gone, some of my lovely blog friends are going to be posting here at A Deeper Joy and I'm so happy to have them.  We're starting off with my dear friend Cassie from Sage.  If you don't know her, GO CHECK HER OUT NOW!  Her faith blows my socks off.  I love her story about coming to know Jesus!  It's what first intrigued me when I starting reading her blog.  I know you'll love it too!

Hello lovely friends. I am so excited to be here with you all today while Kelli is off enjoying her MUCH deserved vacation! My name is Cassie and I blog over at Sage where I ramble about life as a newlywed, my faith, and lots of the in between! I have a passion for community and fitness. If you follow my Instagram you will also notice I am totally a crazy cat lady and I AM NOT ASHAMED. I hope you will stop by and say hello or connect with me on social media!

Cassie Sage the Blog

I mentioned that I have a love for community. Our church does what are called "missional communities" each week where we gather around a meal and live out the gospel together. Recently, a couple from our missional community (or MC) has been going through a really hard time. I immediately began to pray for them. However, do you ever feel like prayer isn't enough? Like you should also be moving in their lives instead of just expecting God to? I'm completely guilty of this. So, in praying for them, I began to ask God how I could tangibly support and encourage them during this trying time. While praying this prayer, I began to wonder how many other people also wonder how they might be able to support their friends in tangible ways during times of need. With that in mind, I have created a list of ten ways to provide tangible support.

1. Send a card, text, or e-mail. Sometimes people can have a hard time letting others help (I know I do). Sending something simple like a card, text, or e-mail to let the person know you are thinking of them and praying for them is a simple way to bring some light into their day. ASK them how you can tangibly help, send them an encouraging verse, a funny photo, or tell them how much you miss them! Sometimes they just need to be reminded that people care.

2. Send a care package. Often times self-care is low on the list of priorities when life gets crazy. Send a care package with a thoughtful note, new nail polish, or a good book you read recently. You can also nominate you friend for Happy Heart Box, a great service created to simply remind those in need how much they are loved, valued, and cared for by the Lord.

3. Treat them to a pedicure. I mean, you ladies know how quickly a pedicure can make you feel refreshed and confident. Doesn't everyone just deserve to feel like this every once and a while?

4. Bring them a meal. My church uses a website called Take Them A Meal to create food rotations for new mothers, people struggling with their health, or just because we want to show them we love them. It can be a great way to help as everyone needs to eat and often times during hard times, cooking and eating can be the last thing on someone's mind.

5. Grocery shop for them. Similar to above, having food in the house can be someone's last priority when they are really struggling. Simply running to the grocery store for them, or picking up a few things while shopping for yourself can be an immense help.

6. Give them a hug. Sometimes there are no right words to say in a situation and sometimes all anyone really needs is a hug anyways.

7. Take them out for coffee or drinks. Get them OUT of the house. Distraction can be one of the best things for someone that is really struggling. Offer to talk to them about what is going on or simply just listen. Make sure to let them know that if they don't want to talk about it that is perfectly OK too.

8. Offer to watch their children. Trying times can be exhausting and I can imagine even more so when you have little people that depend on you. Give your friend a break and offer to take the kids for a day or stay after they are put down for bed so that they do not have to worry about it. Give them some time to take care of themselves.

9. Pray with them. There's something about others praying over you that can bring light to even the darkest of days. Be intentional about making time to pray with them.

10.  Be consistent. Don't just drop a care package and assume it made all of their problems away. Continue being intentional about checking up on them and asking if you can do anything else for them.

Would you add anything to this list? I'd love for you to leave suggestions in the comments.

A huge thank you to Kelli for having me today. I hope this encourages you to go seek out your friends that might really need you and provide some tangible support!

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