Discipleship One Day at Time

pslam 63Perfection in not in my vocabulary. Persistence, prayer and God’s timing are. Being a disciple doesn’t mean my life became simpler. Many times, I feel like I deal with a lot more complicated things now than I ever did before. Following Christ means my future in heaven is guaranteed because He died for me.

We recently started this study series at church about the real meaning of repentance. What many of us think repentance means (including myself) is falling to our knees begging for forgiveness or using our own strength to make a complete change. Neither of those are correct. Repentance is about joy. It’s about a mind change (AKA Metanoia) that helps reveal what God has been trying to tell us all along.

The other piece to this is that repentance doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t go to bed hating the world and wake up the next day throwing up sunshine and rainbows. This is where discipleship comes into full effect. God doesn’t expect us to do everything correct. He knows we will mess up A LOT. That’s why His son went to the cross. He forgives our sins before we even know where going to make them. But He does expect us to give our best effort (AKA first fruits – Proverbs 3:9).

When I look at my own journey, I couldn’t even imagine that this is what my life would look like. The day I got baptized, everything seemed perfect. No one could bring me down and I was ready to take on the world. And when reality set in that this life I chose would have rough patches, I learned to take this journey one day at a time.

Sure. I work hard to do what God calls me to do. Do I mess up? All the time. I can’t rely on my own strength. And when I do, I fail. But God never gives up on me. Just like He did to the Israelites in Nehemiah, He lets me make mistakes, but always responds when I cry out for Him. This doesn’t give me an excuse to keep sinning (Romans 6); it gives me motivation to repent from that way of thinking that got me in the jam in the first place.

That’s what being a disciple is. It’s trying your best to love and obey God and let him mold you into the image of son. Jesus is the standard. He was the only human ever to walk this earth and never sin. I know I will never be perfect like him, but I will choose to follow his footsteps everyday. And God has blessed my life so abundantly that there are not enough words in the dictionary to describe how grateful I am. I literally owe EVERYTHING to God.

If you already know God, Amen. I pray that your disciple journey is filled with joy and blessings. If you don’t know God yet, Amen. I was in your shoes before. I pray that one day you will get to experience this splendid life and also make the decision to stop living for yourself and live for Christ. I made that choice almost four years ago and I’ve never looked back.

Advertisements

Engines Roared at Water Street Car Show

I arrived at Water Street and couldn’t believe my eyes. Old school and tricked out cars lined the road in downtown Henderson. Much like Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, Water Street is the spot for tourists and locals.

IMG_3990

From side-walk to side-walk, people “oood” and “ahhhd” over the spectacular cars. Since this was my first car show, I was also stunned by the work put into these vehicles.

IMG_8498

Everyone brought out their best to take home a prize. Here were the categories:

  • Best In show 1st 2nd 3rdwater street car show

  • Top 25 ( categories TBA)

  • Mayor’s pick

  • Best special use

  • crowd’s favorite

  • best vintage trailer

  • best original

  • best truck

  • best American car

  • best import

  • best rat rod

The show also hosted its first annual Pin-Up contest host by Water Street Pinup and my friend LindyLou was the first place winner!

IMG_3993

In addition to the contests, there was a kid zone and multiple local vendors to grab a bite or drink at. We gave Las Vegas Snow a try and their Bahama Mama was amazing!

IMG_8536

Water Street Car Show host their event annually so make it a point to head to downtown Henderson next year.

Turning into a NARSissist for Cosmetics

“Beauty Obsessed. Rule Breaker. Image Maker.” NARS cosmetics has me hooked from their taglines. I experienced my first makeup and shop tour last week during an Vegas Lifestyle Influencers beauty event at NARS in the Forum Shops. You might have seen my trip on my story – Wonderful World of Bree.

IMG_8485

The store is small but mighty. Barely the size of a bedroom, this little shop is covered wall to wall with goodies: eyeshadows, liners, mascara, lipsticks, etc. There was even multiple pop up spots for demonstrations.

IMG_4242

I’ve had eyebrow envy forever and just can’t seem to get the fuller brow look down. So, as soon as I entered, I grabbed a makeup artist and started learning new tricks. Junior was my designer and he showed me a simple and quick way to get a strong brow without over doing it. Less than ten minutes later, I was looking fierce. Of course, I also had to add the NARS brow perfecter to my shopping bag.

img_1042.jpg

As I roamed around the room snacking on specialty cake pops and grooving to DJ Miss Joy, I walked right into an “On the Go” demonstration using the Climax mascara (also now in my makeup bag).

Bomb Hair Salon was also on site offering cute braids and accessories. I headed to the back room to get a bohemian braid to add to my outfit by Lindsay Harlak. It’s even got a little bling!

IMG_6651 2

After checking out just a few of their products, I’m sold. My new favorite mascara and brow perfecter are water-resistant and do not smudge. If you’ve never tried their products, head in for a demonstration. Their staff will even give you a full make over and show you just how high quality their products are.

The Truth About the Mom Bod

The Truth about the Mom Bod

Fitness and being in shape have always been really important to me. I can remember as a kid going through my 5th/6th grade chubby stage and feeling not confident about myself. Being a chubby pre-teen girl was not as easily accepted years ago as it is now. No one bullied or body shamed me, but I was very hard on myself.

Thanks to puberty and learning better habits, I grew several inches in middle school and lost all my baby fat halfway through 7th grade. Since then, I’ve made working out and trying to eat right a priority. I indulge now and then on my favorite treats but I have learned a healthy balance.

When I became pregnant, I was very proud of my fitness level. I attended an aerial fitness gym several times a week, participated in fitness challenges like Spartan Race and avidly practiced yoga and Pilates. Luckily, I was able to keep up most of my fitness during the majority of my pregnancy. As my stomach grew, I modified my workouts and practiced more prenatal yoga. This focus helped me keep my weight gain at a manageable level.

Despite all that hard work, by the time I went to deliver, I had gained 35 pounds. Stepping on the scale was very scary for me. A few weeks postpartum, I had dropped 20 pounds just from nursing and naturally getting rid of excess fluids. Then, I was left with the dreaded 10-15 pounds that seem to take forever to come off. That’s when I started working out again.

Getting back into fitness was harder than I thought. Even simple movements seemed to be difficult. My balance was off and my core was so weak. It honestly took a full month just to get myself to a beginner level. It was defeating to see the number on the scale suddenly frozen week after week. I struggled trying to dress this temporary body. Thankfully, I had a lot of encouragement from close friends and my husband.

To get back into shape, I wanted to do something challenging that wouldn’t take all of my time. So, I tried T25. And finally after a month of working out, the scale started moving. The inches started falling off and my cute skinny jeans fit! I didn’t stop there. I’m still continuing the program and eating healthy, but it’s not gotten any easier.

Scheduling work outs while working full-time and nursing a hungry baby is exhausting. Some nights I have to force myself to get on my mat and turn on the video. Many times, my husband will jump in and sweat right next to me.

I don’t work out for vanity. Knowing that I can be the healthiest for my baby is the best motivation. I know that my body is different from what it was a year ago and I’m working towards building this new me.

So, if you’re a mom that is in the struggle of loving your mom bod, I can relate. Every BODY is different. Some women lose everything right away, others, like me, have to work for it. Wherever you’re at, remember to love the journey and yourself. Find your why and focus on it. I don’t want to be that chubby little girl wishing she could be happy. I choose to be happy right now and fight for my health.

Four Months of Motherhood

My baby is officially four months! I cannot believe how quickly time as flown. I was thinking back to this time last year and I was just getting in the hang of pregnancy. I don’t think I had even announced to everyone. Now look at me. I’m a mom of a beautiful, baby boy!

For those parents of multiple kids, kudos to being able to manage an infant and toddler at the same time. I struggled with just keeping my baby happy! He’s recently decided he loves to roll from his tummy to his back any chance he gets. He also cannot sit still for one moment and is even trying to sit up. I literally cannot keep up with how quickly he is learning. I’m going to blink and he’ll be running across the room!

Although these four months have been such a blessing, it’s been hard work. First, we went from feedings every two hours around the clock. When I went back to work, AC had to learn how to use a bottle and be away from his parents. Then, we all had to suffer from spitting up. My whole family can attest to home much fun baby spit up is. This guy literally went through all of the outfits and bibs in his backpack within a few hours.

Now, we’re on to good sleep habits. The last couple of weeks have been rough. AC went from sleeping pretty much through the night to waking up constantly either from hunger, discomfort or the dreaded teething epidemic. My husband and I were exhausted to say the least. But finally, we gave in and let him cry it out for a bit. After a couple fits of tearful cries, AC slept! It’s been multiple nights of better sleep and we haven’t even had to use our swing. Hallelujah!

Despite losing a few hours of rest, I honestly don’t regret a second of it. My son will never be this little again. One day, he’ll be towering over me and refuse my endless hugs and kisses. Everyone tells me that it gets better as they get older and it has. But my advice is to embrace every moment, especially the rough ones.

Take in every sleepless night, every fit, every mess. You’ll look back on those moments and hopefully laugh. You’ll be able to share with other parents how you made it through and help them to persevere even through the most difficult times.

A Plate for Every Palate at Cafe Sanuki – Las Vegas

If you’re in the mood for affordable Udon noodles in a fast food type of environment, check out Cafe Sanuki.

Photo Courtesy Madelyn Reese The Review Journal

Located on Spring Mountain and Decatur, this new restaurant is perfect for big parties, quick bites and family style menu options. There are a variety of sizes for menu items and a la cart choices of tempura vegetable and seaweed wrapped favorites.

Photo Courtesy Madelyn Reese The Review Journal

Ordering is simple. Grab a tray, enter the cafeteria style line, choose a number from the LED menu above the kitchen window and place your order. Most bowls are given to you before you checkout.

Photo Courtesy Madelyn Reese The Review Journal

Don’t forget to check-in on Yelp! Show the clerk and you’ll get a free drink.

On my visit, I was craving curry and lucky for me, all the spices were on the side.

My husband ordered their full sized rice bowl and finished every bite.

In addition to the awesome food. The service there is also impeccable. There’s hardly any wait for freshly made food and the staff comes by to pick up dirty plates throughout your visit.

Cafe Sanuki is open daily for lunch at 11:30AM and dinner at 5:30 PM. Come hungry and bring some friends to try more options.

Read the Review Journals story about their grand opening here.

Family Photo Ideas

With a new baby, there are so many reasons to have multiple photo shoots. Babies change so often that no shoot results in the same photos! My little guy is changing everyday and I’m trying to capture every moment of it. I love scheduling mini photo shoots just to keep track of how big he’s getting.

Recently, we found some adorable matching shirts from Old Navy and headed the park for a beautiful shoot by the waterfall. The shirts read “Raising the Future” and “The Future.”

Here are some images from our shoot to inspire your next family photos.

Location: Aliante Discover Park, Las Vegas, NV

 

Have you taken any fun family photos recently?

Monthly Baby Photo Ideas

My little guy is quickly coming up to his three-month mark and my sister and I have been planning his next photo shoot. Monthly photos are my favorite way to keep track of his growth. (It also helps to have some professional photos to keep for my scrapbook!)

Here are some cute themes and ideas for tracking your baby’s monthly growth. You can use monthly stickers, blankets, create your own numbers and more! (I’ve included a few of mine as well)

Sports

AC one month

Movies/Books

img_7701

Favorite Toys

IMG_1287

Nature

il_570xN.1007605362_52eb

Photo by SewMineDesign

Disney/Pixar

Disney: Pixar themed photo

Photo by Megan Carrillo

Holiday

Holidays

Photo by Megan Carrillo

Props

birthday one

Photo by Megan Carrillo

Have you done fun shoots for your little ones? What themes did you use?

 

Harry Potter Nursery

My little wizard in training has an entire Harry Potter inspired room to get him ready for Hogwarts.

I’ve been an avid Harry Potter fan since I first received my copy of the Sorcerer’s Stone. I collected plush barn owls, banners, clocks, pillows and the occasional accessories. I’ve been able to bring that magic to life for my little guy in his nursery with a few items.

Flying key mobile

This mobile comes from the Sorcerers Stone when Harry has to ride a broom to find the correct key to move forward though the corridor. I remember reading and watching this scene and being so mesmerized by the enchanted keys. My mom and sister actually created this for me. It’s a perfect and simple addition to the room.

Above the crib on the same wall, I’ve also stuck a custom wall stickers that I purchased from amazon and wall art I received from my baby shower.

Reading Window

No Harry Potter Nursery is complete without a bookshelf. I used a Hogwarts banner from my shower above the window and surrounded it with owls, House Point jars, scarves and even Harry’s glasses. I reused most of the props from my shower in the nursery.

House Banner

We all have our favorite houses that we must represent at all times. My top choices are Gryffindor and Slytherin. Throughout the nursery, I gave little props representing both houses. Currently, I have the Gryffindor crest hanging just about the changing table. It’s a perfect distraction for diaper and clothing changes.

Here’s a closer look at the custom wreath in the above picture. Someone created this for my shower! It has so many fine details; I had to put it in the nursery.

Platform 9 3/4

Every Hogwarts student must pass through Kings Cross Station to get on their train for school. My little guy has the secret passage right in his room! The platform sign is a wall sticker purchased from Amazon and the actual brick is leftover material from my shower. As a side note, use heavy-duty adhesive for the brick to stay on the door. Tape doesn’t love to stick to the paint on wood.

Throughout the rest of the room, I placed little magical details included a light switch to practice charms with and an owl post.

I’m constantly adding more as items come up. I’ll be updating this post with more!

Favorite baby accessories

My Five Favorite Baby Accessories

Babies need a lot of stuff. My house suddenly shrunk when my tiny person made his appearance. Literally every room of the house is storage for his stuff! Despite the overwhelming amounts of toys, blankets and loungers, there are a few key items I just couldn’t live without.

1. Boppy Lounger 

Baby in Boppy Lounger

This cushiony little lounger has been a lifesaver. It’s the perfect size for my little man to kick back and relax. Many times, he falls asleep right inside!

We can relax on the couch or bed with him knowing he’s comfortable and completely safe from our movements.

Recently, we’ve put in inside his bassinet for a little extra support. He’s a baby who loves to be swaddled and this lounger helps do just that. I haven’t found anyone who makes slip covers for these, but you can simply throw it in the wash.

2. Classic Boppy

Baby on Boppy

The classic Boppy pillow really is my lifesaver. Since I’m currently nursing my son, this pillow makes feeding sessions more comfortable. The pillow also helps support him sitting up and tummy time.

The cover is interchangeable and I actually ordered this custom Harry Potter slip cover on Etsy.

If you’re not into the slip cover (which I mention since feedings are messy) Boppy also offers these in patterns.

3.Bassinet with storage

Baby Bassinet I use this full storage bassinet all day and night. When I’m in my room, I can easily grab what I need for a diaper change or lay the baby down for a nap.

It comes especially handy at night when my son inevitably spits up, pees or has a blow out and needs new clothes. The bottom is a huge storage section for blankets, diapers, clothes, wipes and even some toys.

4. Baby swing

Baby in swinAlthough this took me a little while to use, I absolutely love this swing. My son loves to be rocked and sometimes I can’t be stuck in a chair all day. When he finally relaxes, I lay him down inside and let him gently swing away.

Sometimes he takes a nap and other times he just hangs out. This has been so helpful, especially on his fussiest of days.

It’s super light and I can move it to any section of my house. It even comes with music and a vibration option to soothe him. Most swings also have buckles so you can keep your little one secured inside while you move around your home.

5. Hammock

baby in hammockAnd last but not least, the hammock. This item was actually not on my registry but I’m so happy I received it. For the first few weeks, my little man could not sleep in his bassinet. He felt like the space was too big and he would freak out. This hammock helps babies that love to be swaddled and most are rockers – manual or automatic.

I’ve recently attached some toys on the top so he can play while he safely relaxes.

My dogs really love this hammock too. They can happily stay on guard duty below or next to the sleeping baby. It’s also super lightweight and mobile.

 

So moms, what are your favorite accessories?