Making My Social [Media] Life Easier with CoSchedule

I started a new job about a month ago…hence me being completely MIA from this blog. Y’all probably thought I overdosed on pumpkin chocolate chip cookies after that last post, didn’t you? Almost, but not quite.

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Trying to manage 12+ social media accounts for my new job, stay awake during my side job, figure out this whole marriage thing and somehow still manage my own social media accounts has been straight up exhausting at times. A total joy, but it’s lot guys. So one of the first things I did when all of this fell onto my plate at once was sign up for CoSchedule. I’ve had an on and off relationship with CoSchedule for the past two years and finally have accepted that I really just can’t live without it.

So here I am, a month into this new hectic life and I’m convinced that CoSchedule really is the best. It keeps me organized and  on task at my day job while helping my personal social media remain consistent and cohesive, despite the busyness of every day. And as much as I’d love to be at home blogging up a storm 24/7, the reality is that I have two other jobs so that’s just not a possibility. But with CoSchedule, I can make my content work for me while I’m working my 9-5. No more excuses for not staying on top of my social media and blogging.

So what the heck is CoSchedule?! Pull up a chair….you don’t want to miss this.

You could call it the best thing since sliced bread, but that might be a little too cliche. Instead, we’ll call it your digital secretary, your all-in-one calendar, or really — your new best friend. CoSchedule allows you to see your entire month at a glance; including what you’ve already shared and what’s coming down the pipeline. For me, this is a game changer. It allows me to see where there are gaps in my social calendar and fill them in accordingly.

Another favorite feature in CoSchedule is the ability to drag and drop. Whether it’s moving social posts around, grabbing blog posts from my drafts folder or moving meetings, to-do’s or events; this has to be one of the coolest parts of CoSchedule. Usually I’m a paper planner kind of gal, but CoSchedule has completely changed that when it comes to how I plan and promote my content. It’s clean, simple and at times, even fun to have the chance to see everything in one place.

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As my blog continues to grow, I can’t wait to see how I’ll have the chance to utilize some of the other key features now available in CoSchedule. I have a feeling workflow management and other integrations will definitely come in handy!

So overall impression of CoSchedule? It’s a game changer people. Without it, my blog would be long dead and gone. But because CoSchedule makes it all so simple and user friendly, I’m able to stay organized, seamlessly plan and promote my content and do it all while I work way too many hours every day. So without further ado, meet your new best friend; CoSchedule.

Photos by Bri Lee

The Best Fall Cookie You’ll Ever Eat

I know that we technically have a little over a week left of “official” summer…but this morning it was 36 degrees, so I think it’s safe to say that fall has made it’s debut up north. And though I’m a summer girl through and through, I can’t help but excitedly welcome fall each year. The brightly colored leaves, crisp morning air, lively football games under lights and abundance of pumpkin spice lattes are all only just the beginning of my obsession with this season.

With a chill in the air and change on the horizon, I figured today was the day to pull out my trusty old, pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe. I never bake much during other parts of the year, but as soon as fall hits; my kitchen-aid is usually working overtime and these cookies are usually the culprit. A Cristy family favorite; I was even able to get my self-proclaimed, pumpkin hating father-in-law to fall in love with these tasty treats a few years ago. Yep, they’re that good.

So, without further ado…I give you your new favorite cookie recipe. Try to eat just one, I dare you.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin; beat well. Gradually mix in flour mixture on low speed of mixer. Stir in LOTS of chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks & try to not eat them ALL in one day.

Happy (almost) fall, friends! I hope you’ll savor these final days of summer while excitedly welcoming fall with open arms. I know I’m excited for cooler days, cozy nights, fall colors and the excitement that the change of seasons always brings!

Lil

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The Reverse Capsule Wardrobe

A few years ago I tried to do a capsule wardrobe. Unfortunately, I didn’t ever get past the shopping phase…

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It seems like ever since the capsule wardrobe became popular a few years ago, everyone and their mother has given it a go. I mean, you can’t even scroll through Pinterest without seeing dozens of articles on capsule wardrobe. It’s a fantastic idea, really it is.

But I think that sometimes, they miss the point.

Here’s what I’ve noticed, nine out of ten times they all look the same. Even I’ve fallen into thinking that I need a striped shirt, black pants and a blazer just because someone’s blog post told me they were essentialGuys, I’ve worked from home for the past two years, why the heck do I need these things?! Yet, they hang in my closet, untouched and unworn because they’re really just not my style.

We’re talking about clothes here friends. Some of you are probably already half asleep, waiting for the picture of a mountain to pop up…but hey, newsflash that’s not what this is about. I’m talking about an everyday necessity, something we literally have to have each and every day.

Stick around, I promise this impacts us all.

While I could go back to Pinterest and read blog post after blog post about the iconic “capsule wardrobe,” I’m hitting the brakes. Isn’t the whole point of this thing to be content with what we have and build a wardrobe that actually works for our lives? I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it somewhat crazy that we put a number on how many items we can have in our closet all while heeding the advice of people who may live a wildly different life than us. Sure, I think this works for some people…but what about the rest of us?

What if we framed all of this in a radically different way? What if instead of creating a rigid line and telling ourselves “do not cross” we gave ourselves grace to be human and live outside the lines? Here’s what I mean….we all have excess.

Do you think Jesus carried around eight different types of blue jeans in different washes? I’m gonna go ahead and say probably not.

We’re all weighed down by our excess, whether we think we are or not, it’s there. But instead of trying to put some legalistic limit on how much we can or can’t have in our closets and dresser drawers, why don’t we try to be more intentional with what we have?

So here’s my challenge, for myself and for you. I’m spending the next 30 days being intentional about what I have. Here’s how:

  1. I’m cleaning out my closet. Wash, iron, dry clean, hang, fold, I’m putting everything I own that’s in season somewhere that I can see it.
  2. WEAR IT. I’ve been one that often “saves” clothes because I’m worried I’ll get them dirty or ruin them too quickly for the amount of money I spent. For example 95% of my Anthropologie dresses are pretty delicate and somewhat difficult to wash, so where do they end up? The back of the closet. But I didn’t buy them to take up space and look pretty. So here’s my challenge, I’m wearing what I have! Each day, I’ll be intentionally choosing clothes that may have otherwise ended up in the back of my closet collecting dust.
  3. At the end of the 30 days, I’ll be figuring out which items I never took the time to pull out of my closet. Then, I’m donating them. Yep, I’m pretty sure someone else needs them more than me. And if I find pieces that I took the time to wear that left me feeling uncomfortable, didn’t fit quite right, or I simply didn’t like, they’re going to Goodwill.
  4. No shopping. Really, none…and I mean it. I have a closet full of clothes that work. So I will not be tempted by the 70% off rack at Target. (C’mon, I know we’ve all been there.) I will intentionally choose to avoid shopping. Seriously, it’s only 30 days. That $6.47 shirt at Target really won’t change my life.
  5. At the end of 30 days, I will be evaluating what worked and what didn’t work for me. Did I end up wearing the same outfit most of the time? Great, maybe a capsule wardrobe is for me. Did I enjoy the challenge of working with what I already have and finding contentment in that without shopping? Even better.

Like I said, this is a challenge! It’s not supposed to be easy. But I can almost guarantee it’s probably going to be easier than slicing our wardrobes down to 30 items or less. So, I hope you’ll join me! I’ll be following up in 30 days and I can’t wait to share my journey in this and hear yours, too!

Lil

A Different Kind of Adventure

I’m starting to feel like this blog is just one long episode of “where in the world is Lilly?” It seems like each time I get a chance to sit down and write, I’m in a new state. Well, this time is no exception…

If you would have told me a year ago that today I would be living in North Dakota with my husband, jobless and obsessing over cornfields and sunflowers, I would have rolled my eyes SO hard at you.

You see, at this time last year, I was establishing quite the home base in Seattle. I had my church, I had my people, I had just landed an awesome job, I moved into a gorgeous house with some girlfriends, I was climbing mountains every weekend, spending afternoons on the lake, planning exciting trips left and right; y’all things were good.

Ok hit the brakes — the love of my life was in North Dakota. So why the heck was I in Seattle!? Well that my friends, is a story for another time. But what I’m trying to tell you is that in that moment I would have scoffed at the idea of living anywhere other than a place surrounded by mountains. Funny thing I’ve come to learn though is that God likes to take those “I will go anywhere but….” and give us a gentle little reminder of who is really in the drivers seat.

So even though I left North Dakota in quite the hurry a year and a half ago, it has welcomed me back with open arms, plenty of sunshine, endless fields of sunflowers and the sweetest place to call home. You see, I really never thought I’d be back here, surely this wasn’t in the plan, right God? But, the Lord, being rich in grace and mercy gave me a new set of eyes. Where I once saw nothing, I now see beauty. I see a promise. I see a future. I see a home.

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The adventure sure does look different and I’m definitely re-reading my own “10 Lessons Learned from North Dakota” because y’all, it is windy as heck 98% of the time here, I may never wear a dress again due to said wind, my hair is a mess pretty much every day also due to said wind, the bugs are UNREAL, I’ve already heard a person say “oofda” twice this week and I legitimately saw a camouflage recliner in the furniture store last weekend. We are definitely not in Seattle anymore.

But despite the oddities of this new place we get to call home, I know this is exactly where we are supposed to be. Maybe just for now or maybe forever, for that we’ll just have to wait and see.

But if I have learned anything over this last year, it’s that the adventure will look different throughout our lives. It changes and evolves and grows. And for me right now, the adventure is establishing a new home, experiencing the joy of marriage, learning what it looks like to be a wife and trying to find a good bug spray. And though this adventure is different and likely won’t offer many snowcapped mountains or perfect Pacific Northwest sunsets, I really, really hope you’ll stick around and be a part of this journey as I learn to live and thrive in this new home.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Lil

 

 

We’re Getting Married!!!! (The Proposal Story)

How do I even begin to describe the best day of my life without sounding like the sappiest person alive?!?

Well–anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a sap with the tiniest little every day things, so sharing this proposal story will be no exception. So grab some popcorn, lots of tissues and get comfortable–this is gonna be good, I promise.

To start, we’ve gotta go way back. January 2014–I’m literally arguing with God during my drive to church. Pissed off and slightly broken hearted over my lack of love life I gripped the steering wheel tightly as I finally surrendered the one thing I just couldn’t seem to let go of, my heart. I trusted God and His faithfulness, but I was getting impatient. So, cruising down the 101, I threw my hands up and gave up the idea of ever meeting my future husband in California….but with one catch “God, if I ever meet a guy, could I PLEASE at least meet him at church?!?”

Well, sometimes God works fast. And fifteen minutes later, there sat this handsome guy in cowboy boots in front of me…at church.

The next year and a half was a whirlwind of Texas two-step, dating adventures in southern California, road trips (LOTS of road trips) moving to Montana, falling in love, moving to North Dakota, moving back to California, moving to Washington, dating long distance, too many hours to count spent in airports, thousands of miles driven between North Dakota, California & Washington, countless hours spent on Skype, even more hours on the phone, hundreds of miles of hiking trails explored, five (or more) broken cell phones and a lot of adventures and mishaps in between. So as you can see, things get a little complicated when people ask how and where we met.

And this brings us to October 15, 2015. On my way to pick up a dear friend at the airport, I had no idea what the day would hold. Brooke had asked me what felt like months prior if she could stay with me during an photo shoot in Seattle. A missed ferry and a few wrong turns later and we were on Whidbey Island, rushing to the beach for the last little bit of the sunset.

The Olympic Mountains were glowing pink as the cotton candy sky reflected off the water, my favorite kind of sunset. The islands in the distance soaked up the last few minutes of sunlight as Brooke and I made our way down to the sand. Looking out, I saw a trail of yellow and orange rose petals, candles and folded up love notes leading up to a beautifully constructed driftwood cross. “Look Brooke–someone is getting married here tonight!” I exclaimed with excitement. Not wanting to ruin someone else’s moment, I suggested we go somewhere else. Clearly I wasn’t really getting it…yet.

Cue Randy Houser’s “Like a Cowboy” and a confused look spread across my face. In the distance I see someone walking towards me and all of the sudden–everything clicked. There was no couple Brooke was meeting for an engagement shoot and this set-up of roses and love notes in the sand, it was for me. I turned around and Brooke was snapping pictures as Josh and I walked towards each other.

You know how you dream of a moment for years and all the sudden it’s happening? Well it’s a lot more overwhelming than everyone makes it out to be. Josh and I rush towards each other and I can’t even cry, I’m happy, excited and confused all at the same time. How did he get here? What is going on? Is this what I think it is?

Josh leads me to the cross and shares with me a letter he wrote. Well honestly–it was more like a rap….that’s a long story. When Josh and I first started dating, we would send each other Man Crush Monday and Woman Crush Wednesday rhymes that essentially turned into long raps constructed during the early morning hours when we should have been working or sleeping or eating breakfast. In this letter/poem/rap, he shared his heart, his love, his hopes for the future as the love songs I’d been listening to for months on Spotify played in the background. He sat me down and sings to me “Never Stop” (go look it up & you’ll definitely understand why I cried the whole time.)

After many tears, laughs and butterflies Josh tells me how he hopped on a plane a week earlier to go back to all of the special places we went together when we first started dating in southern California. He then pulls out a water bottle of dirt. Ok, ok stick with me–this is some meaningful dirt. The first time Josh and I ever hung out was a spontaneous day spent driving to San Diego with the windows down, country music blasting, breakfast at the beach, a traffic-filled drive home, a long, windy drive into the mountains, capped off by a sunset hike at the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. So Josh knew he wanted to propose on that very mountain, but with me being the hardest person ever to surprise, he knew he’d have to bring Sandstone Peak to me.

Teary eyed, he poured out this nearly sacred dirt at my feet as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I could barely breathe, see, feel my face, or even think as I somehow managed to say yes. The ring box could have been empty or crawling with spiders and I never would have noticed. After a long hug of tears and joy, he slipped the ring on my finger. Cue more tears.

We prayed and worshipped at the foot of the cross that Josh had so thoughtfully constructed. God’s faithfulness has never been more clear than it was in that moment. The sun was long gone, but the sky was still glowing with every shade of pink and purple. Josh handed me a book that I’d mentioned to him a few times when we started dating. “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” My parents had given me the world version years ago but I had always wanted the US & Canada version. Josh had marked a page–Whidbey Island, the very spot we sat. Cue even more tears.

Josh then tells me we’ll be hopping on a plane in the morning to celebrate with my family and friends in California. And just when you thought more tears weren’t possible, here we go again. After a long drive home and a delicious dinner at a Seattle restaurant that stayed open late for us, I’m pretty sure I just lived out a fairy tale a thousand times better than I could have ever dreamed of. My face hurts from smiling so much, I’ve run out of happy tears and I can’t even sleep. God was so good to me when He gave me this man. Joshua Kyle Cristy–I can’t wait to marry you!!!

All photos taken by Brooke Borough Photography.

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