The post where I tell you that I got engaged

I started dating the love of my life when I was eighteen. Of course, I didn't know it then. He was cute. "He'll make a fun prom date," I thought. "Then maybe we'll date over the summer until I leave." Our relationship was supposed to be a fun way to end high school. Four years later, I said yes to spending my life with this man.

So yes, I got engaged just over a month ago. You probably noticed if you follow me on social media. For some reason, I've been avoiding sharing it on this space. I think I needed a month to process what it meant to be engaged and planning a wedding.

A big part of me just wants to have a private ceremony or elope. The engagement happened just as I was beginning a love affair with minimalism. It seems outrageous to spend so much on a wedding when people are living on less than a dollar a day. I also don't like the pressures associated with wedding planning. Well meaning people keep telling me how cute and artistic and perfect my wedding will be. I worry about offending people through my invite list. The idea of bridesmaids makes me cringe. How am I supposed  to choose people to stand next to me at my wedding, especially when only my closest friends and family will be invited? Ugh. Weddings are the worst. And yet, I'm still having one, though the idea of eloping may win out.

This quote is my anthem, "I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding."

That's where I'm at, friends. I still can't believe that I get to marry this amazing (and very handsome!!) man. And I'm still figuring out what I want my wedding to look like. Thankfully, we won't be wed until summer 2017. There is time to figure it out, and you'll be along for the ride.

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The Handwritten Note

Thank you notes used to be a chore. I remember birthdays and Christmases followed by pressure from my mom to write a thank you note. I didn't get the point. I'd already said thank you, so why was a note necessary? As I got older, the debates centered less around saying thank you for gifts and more around sending handwritten thank you notes to potential employers. The idea of writing a note instead of sending an email felt antiquated.

This post is me saying, "Mom, you were right." College, a long distance relationship, interviewing, and studying abroad showed me the value of a handwritten note. These days, I think it is less about the courtesy of a formal note and more about the sentiment. A handwritten note says, "I value you, and here is something you can keep to remember that you are appreciated."

Lately, I've been enjoying putting pieces of myself into the notes I send and the gifts that I give. I can easily spend a half an hour making the card look pretty with hand lettering and watercolor before I even get around to writing the note. The whole process of preparing the note is relaxing to me, and (hopefully) encouraging to the reader. It's a win-win!

I'd like to see handwritten notes make a comeback. Here are a few ways you can incorporate them into your life:

  • Write a birthday note instead of posting on Facebook or sending a text
  • Send a handwritten note for any gift you receive
  • If you're a guest in someone else's home, place a handwritten note on your pillow when you leave
  • Give an encouraging note to a friend who is having a rough day
  • Write a letter to your beau, even if you aren't long distance
  • Send a thank you note to your interviewer. Write it as soon as the interview is over and put it in the mail the same day as the interview
  • And, my personal favorite, write a note to someone just because
The notes don't have to be pretty, just heartfelt. I challenge you to write one this week!

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A Tale of Two Blogs

I broke the news a few weeks ago that I started a business, Jubilant. Ever since that post, I've been trying to figure out what to do about the blog situation. Do I merge Live and Move with the Jubilant blog? Do I stop Live and Move altogether? Do I send people from the Jubilant website to Live and Move?

The decision wasn't the easiest. But after doing a bit of research and asking advice from other entrepreneurs, I've settled on having two blogs. Live and Move will stay pretty much the same. If anything, it will become even more of a creative outlet. I'll share personal thoughts and tips and photography. Jubilant's blog will be chock full of business inspiration of the creative entrepreneur.

With two blogs, I can't guarantee that I'll be posting here every week. However, this space is here to stay. I hope you'll follow along at the Jubilant blog as well! I think Live and Move readers will be inspired by the Jubilant content.

I'm excited to have some separation between personal blogging and business blogging, though it may take a while for me to figure out a balance.

Thanks for always bearing with me!

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Au Naturel: An update

Last time I wrote about the oil cleansing method (OCM), I sang its praises. This post isn't a retraction. I am just more informed now.

Since my previous post, I've switched from using almond oil to cleanse my face twice a day to only using it at night. I made this decision for a few reasons:

First, I noticed that oil cleansing was really drying, especially in the winter. I may be open to trying it twice a day again in the summer.

Second, the OCM is perfect for removing makeup. By doing it at night, I'm dealing with my oily skin and taking off my makeup in one step.

Finally, I've observed that washing my face with almond oil at night helps to dry up some of my blemishes while I sleep.

I now use Soapbox Soaps ' bar soaps  to wash my face in the morning. Their soaps are all natural and feel great on my skin. (I'm currently using their black bar soap.) What most attracted me was their social mission. They have a one-for-one model that gives soap and clean water or vitamins to people around the world.


So that's the latest update on my natural beauty regimen. I'm starting to explore natural deodorants if you have any advice!

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Noble Plans

As we step into the new year, I thought I'd share a verse that helps me to dream about the future and to be assured that I'm dreaming in the right direction.

To be noble means to be of royal heritage. And we are noble because we daughters (and sons) of the King. When I plan, I tend to worry about making the right decision. Instead, I need to focus on living in my identity as a noble. When I seek communion with the King, I'll automatically make nobler plans. There's no formula. It's really that simple. 

As you chart out your course for 2015, remember who you are in Christ. I think Augustine was thinking of this verse when he penned his famous words, "Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”

Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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These are exciting times, y'all. I'm officially starting a business and today is the day I get to share it with you!

About a year ago, I chose the name Jubilant for whatever business I would start. The name comes from the biblical festival of Jubilee. It was a time when debts were forgiven, slaves were freed, and there were celebrations throughout the land. I knew that I wanted a business centered around creating reasons to celebrate, for both my customers and for people around the world.

Jubilant was born after taking a hard look at my talents and passions. It's a brand strategy firm offering brand strategy and business coaching services to small business owners and to creative entrepreneurs.

It doesn't officially open for business until March 4th, but I've got some fun things planned before then. The first exciting event is #CreativesWorthCelebrating. Different creative entrepreneurs will take over Jubilant's Instagram each Wednesday and give a behind the scenes look at running their business. The first feature is this Wednesday!

I hope you'll join in on the fun! I also suggest signing up for Jubilant's newsletter so that you can receive a free brand definition worksheet. It should tide you over until we launch in March. And if you're so excited that you can't contain yourself, why don't you tell a friend about Jubilant?

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Pump Up Playlist

I don't know about you, but I need music to get in my creative happy place. I created this pump up playlist full of fun, soulful songs that should help make any task more fun!

What are your favorite pump up songs?

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My Word for 2015: Yield

I was sitting in church on the Sunday after Christmas. My uncle is the pastor, and somewhere in the passage, he said the word "yield." It wasn't an important party of the message. He only mentioned the word in passing. Suddenly, I knew that would be my word for 2015. I can't explain how I knew. God just kind of said, "This one is for you, Taylor."

So I looked the word up in the dictionary. It's word with many meanings, but a few stood out to me as areas of focus for the year.

 : to give up possession of on claim or demand 
:  to bear or bring forth as a natural product especially as a result of cultivation 
:  to be fruitful or productive 

My prayer for 2015 is that I can give up control in order to bear fruit. We'll see how God uses this word to stretch me in the coming year.

Do you have a word for 2015?

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Things 2014 Taught Me

2014 was a big year for me. I spend four months living in Spain. I had my first corporate internship. I accepted my post-graduate job. It changed me. I know we're a few days into 2015, but it's never too late for reflection, right?


2014 was the year I...

Learned to love myself
I trained for a 10k in Spain, and that sparked my love affair with fitness. Before I knew it I was working out regularly and even attempting to eat healthfully. By the end of 2014, I was convinced that I was both strong and beautiful. It's not that I lost much weight. Truthfully, I only lost about five pounds. But it wasn't about that. I fell in love with my curves, the way the softer spots of my body complemented the hardness of my muscles. I'm happy with the way I look, and I hope to instill that contentment in other women as well.

Got help
I've suffered from bouts of anxiety since childhood, but I never really addressed it. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I started therapy. I learned coping mechanisms. Too often, we hide our struggles with mental illness. We view the fact that we need help as a sign that something is wrong with us. 2014 taught me that I'm not alone in this struggle, and that it's not something that I need to hide.

Worked on relationships
When people say that relationships take work, I always thought that they meant romantic relationships. That's not the case. All relationships need intentionality. They require "I'm sorrys" and vulnerability and messiness. They require us to truly consider others better than ourselves. In 2014, I realized how blessed I am to have friends who walk with me and who work with me.

Said no
I've always like the quote, "You can do anything but not everything." I started to live by it in 2014. I quit things. I didn't go to events out of obligation. It made my year sweeter and more restful.

It's hard to boil down 365 days worth of lessons into a blog post, but those are the highlights. What did 2014 teach you?

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