Life's Sweet Journey: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Things 2016 Linkup// February Happies!

Happy Monday Y'all!
It's the last Monday of the month, and the only Monday February 29th for the next 4 years, which means it's time for another Happy Things 2016 linkup! 
So here's to big things for Monday!

My happy things included lots of time outdoors this month and I couldn't be happier! 
Here are 5 of my happiest highlights... 
~Weekend Camping Sunsets~ We had our first true Florida boon-docking experience and enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets while we were camping at the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area. We had one wildly, beautiful time and I can't wait to share all the adventurous details with you in a later post! 

~Geek Moment Happiness~ My Harry Potter Illustrated Edition finally came! Or more like, I finally bought a copy! I had added it to my Christmas wish list, but a copy could not be found. So I used a gift card to treat myself to this joyous, wonderful book. If you are a Harry Potter fan and don't have a copy, you need one! If you are not a fan, now is the perfect time to discover the amazing world you are missing! What better way to enjoy Harry Potter than with stunning illustrations! Even better news, it's currently on sale for under $25 over on Amazon

~New Shop Giddiness~ I am pretty stoked about the new item that will be coming to my little, growing shop! I love the "you keep me safe & I'll keep you wild" quote and can't wait to wear one of these new goodies on our next hiking adventure! While I grow my shop, I thought it would be fun to share in the love with all of you and offer my prices to you while I grow. Not only are prices low, but there are more color and style options to choose from now than there will be once they hit the shop. You can look through these links here (flowy tee, tank, long sleeved, tshirt) to grab one at the discounted rate or help me decide what should make it's way over to the shop. I am trying to decide which color options I should get and I would love to hear your thoughts. I am leaning mostly to the white and coral tank and the gray and teal flowy tee, but would love to hear from you! What color/ style option would you most like to see? 

~Afternoon Day Hiking~ Babe and I spent this past Friday afternoon hiking nearby at a place called Isle of Pine. It's only about 20 or so minutes from our house and makes for a nice, short afternoon hike. We ate lunch at home and then got there right around 1 o'clock. There are two separate trail head locations located near each other (we are hoping that they are working to connect them). The first spot (off of Lacebark Pine Rd) is less shaded and took us about an hour to complete. It runs alongside an orange grove, which made for a yummy mid-hike treat. The second spot (where Lake Mary Jane Rd. dead ends into Fresno Dr.) is more shaded with views of the lake. We did both and were gone by 3:30. For any Orlando hike lovers looking for a good, quick afternoon hike adventure, Isle of Pine is a great spot to check out! 

~Flo's First Bath~ Flo got her first bath this past weekend and it was pretty exciting! Her adventures make her pretty dirty, as they should, and we had yet to have time to give her a good scrub. So with beautiful, sunny weather and a bucket of suds, we set to work! With Babe's no-nonsense cleaning instructions, she was shining like new in no time!! She is so excited to be all pretty and sparkly for her next big adventure!! Where should we go next?! I am hoping to check Myakka River State Park or Devil's Den off my Florida bucket list really soon!! 

Other happies: best friends with babies visits, seeing musicals with my man, honeymoon memories, beach days with cousins, ice cream treats and soccer days

What happiness went on in your world this month?
Linkup and let's spread some cheer! 
Link Up Rules: 
- Share a post (up to 2) about anything happy; it can be 5 happy things, 1 happy thing, really just anything for the month that has made your heart smile! 
- Feel free to share the image above so that others can link up their happy things too!
- Leave a happy comment on at least one other post
- I will interact with all posts in some way (comments, pinning to Happy Things 2016 board...)
- Share your happy things on Instagram using #happythings2016
- Come back on the last Monday of each month to share your happy things for that month and start a community of people who are adding a bit of cheer to Mondays! 
- Link up will be run through Friday of the same week

Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Fun Facts for Friday!

Happy Friday Y'all!! 
I hope today is going beautifully for you! 
I thought today we would do a fun little "get to know you" post for any new faces around here! 
1.) I'm Melanie and that's Babe (or Andrew if you must!)! This may not be the best picture for really getting a feel for what I look like, but this is a great "us" picture! My Likes: selfies with him, trying to get him to like selfies, trying to get him to smile for selfies// His Greatest Like: hating pictures in general... so therefore, meet us! Me finally turning to mean mug him for not smiling & that's when he decides to flash some teeth!
2.) I LOVE adventures!! We bought an RV about 6 months ago and named her Flo (it's short for FloRida Reva) and we are thrilled to have her as part of the family. We spend as many weekends as possible traveling Florida and chasing solitude and the great outdoors. In fact, we are heading out for a mini-venture (that stands for sans Flo) to do some hiking once he gets back from the gym. Him: such a gym person// Me: probably should be, but so totally NOT! 
3.) I may love adventures, but I am also perfectly content with a good book! I believe that reading is one of the greatest adventures you can take and you don't even have to leave your chair (or the tub) to be able to go on one! Give me all the books!! Currently reading Red Queen and I am hooked!
4.)I'm all about the !!!!! (sorry, but not really, for their serious overuse)!
5.) I discovered this week that I can drink coffee black AND actually like it; I am neither excited or unexcited by this realization. Sure it's good I can drink it when I don't have the added fluff (honey & cream), but in my mind it means I am a true adult, gah!!! How did that happen?! I'm not even thirty yet! Seriously, I'm only 29 and 1/4! Other Adulthood Signs: the wrinkles, the need to hit the gym, the fact that my parents have started letting me pay when we go to dinner together// Kid Forever Facts: Disney lover always, my popcorn dance (there's one for tacos too), I get giddy over really cool playgrounds and tree houses

Also, 1 fun added happy! 
My giveaway, for the new shop happy that's coming soon, ends today. Head back one post to find out how you can enter to win one (or even snag it at my price) before it hits the shop!

Well, there's a few get to know me facts! 
What about you? 
Adulthood come knocking for you yet?! Any fun likes, dislikes?!
Share some "you" things, because I would love to know you better!

Have a wonderful weekend friends!! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Safe & Wild// New Shop Happies Coming Soon!

I've been working away to build up my shop and I am so excited for my newest addition to get here!! While I am waiting on pins and needles to see them in finished form, I figured I would share the pre-printing prettiness with you! 

"You keep me safe & I'll keep you wild" is one of my favorite quotes, because I think it perfectly embodies Babe and me- as well as a lot of adventurers! It seems to me that someone is always the safe keeper, while the other is the wild soul. In our case the wild soul would be me! 

It takes a brave heart to love a wild soul and I can't wait to get my hands on these and slip into it! As I continue to grow, I wanted to offer up my products at my price. You can currently get these shirts at the price I pay for them! Once they reach the shop they will go up a bit. Also, not all colors and designs will make their way into the shop. So if there is a color or design you want to make sure you get, you can use the links below to grab one! 

Loose Fitted Flowy Tee (pictured at the top)
Racer back Tank (pictured in coral) 
Long sleeve Tee (most likely won't be available in shop)

I am giving away a tank or tee to two lucky winners (color and design of your choice), one through this post and one through Instagram

Enter here by joining Life's Sweet Words email list for shop updates and discounts! 
Simply subscribe using the form below, then check the Enter button in the giveaway box! 

Join the Journey through email!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's it! You're in!
Head over to Instagram to double your chances! 
What's your favorite way to keep it wild? Hiking, rock climbing...?
Whatever it may be I hope you find yourself adventuring soon!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Words for Wednesday: Read your Heart to Me

If you handed me pages from your soul, which would you choose to share? 
We all have our own stories,
tucked closely in and held tight. 
Think about each page of your soul,
which pages are ripped and torn, 
which have dog-eared edges because you've returned so many times?
Do you only share the crisp and pristine pages, 
the ones that shine and glisten and gleam so much
that you barely want to touch them for fear of damaging them? 
Share them all! 
Share the pages so worn by tears it's hard to even read the words. 
Share them for yourself, 
to free your heart of the weight of them, 
but share them for others too. 
Share them, 
because you never know who so desperately needs to hear them. 
Share them,
You never know who is grasping for breath 
and praying they aren't alone. 
Share all the pages and stories that have brought you 
to where you are now, 
because it's in fully opening our hearts 
that we give others the chance to truly love us.
It is in fully opening our hearts, 
that we truly learn to love ourselves. 
I have had the Jonny Ox quote saved for a while and I passed over it again today. Today felt like a good day for processing feelings and getting it all out. After a few days of heart-stuff and a few tears this morning after breakfast with good friends, it just felt like a day for a little bit of release. Share your heart with someone today. Share the things you've felt you have been needing to say. I know it might be scary, and sometimes it might even hurt, share it anyways! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Just be Thankful// 10 Thankful Things for a Monday!

If I am being honest, last week about knocked me clear off my feet. There was no reason in particular; the more I tried to pin it down the more frustrated I became. You know those weeks, the ones when you post happy things, wear a smile and try your hardest to turn it around, but it simply feels like trying to cover a cut with a bandaid that is just too small. And so we escaped for the weekend and I spent some time in the middle-of-nowhere-Florida, refueling my soul. Alas, Monday came at me with a cold and my "lovely lady visitor" all at once. And so, I am meeting it head on! Remembering to take the time to be thankful works wonders for me. Here are 10 things I am thankful for right in this moment... 

1// A weekend away with Babe! and Flo! 

2// The ability to explore & hike & adventure, to climb fire towers and just breathe in God's gorgeous creation!

3// Mondays that include breakfasts with best friends!

4// Having one of my childhood besties back home for a visit (she now lives out of state), this time with her sweet baby boy in tow!

5// Getting to visit with said out of state bestie and our moms for the morning!

6// Getting to see my brother and his pregnant wife, who were also in town from Georgia!

7// Finding out the newest little addition to our family ^^ is going to be a sweet baby girl AND that she will share my middle name! Way to make an aunt's heart feel really big!! 

8// A strong cup of coffee!

9// A warm blanket!

10// The fact that this list could go on... but that I also have a free afternoon to say that this is where it ends, because today gets to be one of those 'get in a warm bath, in the middle of the afternoon and read an awesome new book, while I soak away my aches' type of day! 

Hope today finds you feeling renewed!! 
What things are you thankful for today? 

Monday, February 8, 2016

#TravelTuesday #2: 7 Tips for a Trip to Greece

Happy Tuesday Folks!! It's the second #TravelTuesday Linkup and I would love to see where you all have been (linkup at end of the post)! In order to ward off the cold Florida weather right now and take a little bit of a further "journey" this week, I figured it was finally time to share our honeymoon trip. This post is a l-o-n-g time coming. 

We got married almost 6 years ago and our honeymoon cruise through Greece and Turkey was a beautiful way to kick-off our married life together! I mean just look at all this beauty...
We spent our first 3 days on the mainland, exploring and eating our way through the city of Athens.
We loved the history of Athens, but we were anxious to get to the islands. After hopping on a boat, we spent the rest of our trip cruising (7 nights) through the Greek Islands, as well as making stops in Turkey (Istanbul and Ephesus).
I am mostly letting the pictures speak for themselves with this post, but if there was any advice I could give, here are a few things I learned from our trip...
Tips for a Cruise through Greece and Turkey from Life's Sweet Words
1.) ISLAND CRASH! The main reason I wanted to go to Greece was to see Santorini. If we could go back and do it again we would have chosen to spend the 3 nights on the island and then done the cruise from there, which would have had us spending just 1 full day in Athens. Athens was great, but it was also like any major city (just add in the history and the fact that Greece has worked hard to maintain their ruins). When you only stop in Santorini for the 1 day you can't truly experience it. You are only really permitted to walk the main walkway and access down the cliffs, towards the water, isn't permitted unless you are actually staying on the island. I really wanted to jump in the sea from a cliff (yes, for all you Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants lovers, that is where it's from), but alas that didn't get to happen.

2.) DO fly smart: It's a long flight! Get up and walk around some! I did not-- this was bad! I figured I could keep myself asleep and not have totally weird time issues if I just stayed prone and didn't get up. And that theory worked, I pretty much slept the entire plane ride over. However, when getting up to get off the plane my feet felt really strange. They were swollen to the size of whole hams for the first three days of the trip. One, it was scary, and two, it made walking for the entire day really uncomfortable.
3.) DO jump in the Mediterranean Sea!! Seriously, you just have to! And while I may not have gotten to do it from a Santorini Cliff, but I did get to do it from a diving platform. The water will be cold, but man will it be worth it! We did this in Rhodes, where we walked through the ancient city to get to the beach.

4.) DO go to Mykonos! Mykonos was my favorite island on the trip. Santorini might have been, if I could have seen more of it, but Mykonos surprised me. It was stunning and quaint and everything you dream of when you think of a Greek island- plus there was sea glass along the shore line which makes a great, free souvenir from the trip.
5.) DON'T skip out on Turkey! When we were first looking into the trip and I saw the stops for Istanbul and Ephesus I was hesitant and tried to find a trip that didn't include them. I had envisioned only Greece. Having this be my first out of country trip I was nervous to begin with and wanted to know where I was going and the only place I knew and had planned on going was Greece. I am so THANKFUL that I didn't find a trip that worked without including the two stops in Turkey. Outside of Mykonos, the Turkish stops were my favorite! Beat Athens by a long shot! The colors and vibrancy of Istanbul was unexplainable. Ephesus had so much history it was incredible! I mean we got to see where Paul was jailed and where he wrote a lot of letters that became the book of Romans.
6.) DON'T compare a Mediterranean cruise to that of an American cruise! I was the only one out of the 4 of us who had ever been on a cruise (yes, we took another couple on our honeymoon! Yes, this is kind of crazy! But we didn't want our first trip in another country to be alone and we we're glad we went with travel buddies. It helped to calm out travel nerves and big trips like that are just better together in our opinions)! Having nothing to compare it to I assumed all cruises were the same. This is not true. I talked the cruise up like a crazy person, "Free food all the time! Activities at any hour of the night! All sun and shine and beautiful lounging weather when you are cruising from place to place." If you have been on Carnival or Royal Caribbean or any other cruise that leaves from the states then you know what I am talking about. You do not get these amenities on a Mediterranean cruise. At least not ours. Yes, there were 3 square meals a day and there were activities, but it's not the "all access fun pass" that I had been talking up to them. This cruise was more so a main mode of transportation, with some added perks, than it was a floating festivity in and of itself. Plus, it is super windy and kind of chilly when the boat is moving so it is hard to get any good laying out time in. If you manage to get a spot on the back of the boat you can lay there as long as you don't mind a strong breeze, but it's way to much to try to lay anywhere else. It was still great, just don't go in with "cruisin' glory" in mind.

7.) DO just enjoy yourself! Travel is wonderful, but it can also come with it's own stresses, especially out of the country where you are trying to figure things out in a language you don't know. Just take it as it comes and breathe it all in! Have a beautiful time! 
Bonus** HONEYMOONER TIP (another reason we should have started on the island): You will want to rest!! After your wedding you will be tired and you will want time to just relax; to sit in the sun, fall asleep to the sound of the waves and rest. This does not happen on a trip to Greece, where you feel like you will be missing out by not soaking in everything. We were very go, go, go! Greece was my big, out-of-country, bucket list dream so we knew we wanted to go before we really settled down or we would never make it. I am glad we went when we did, because I don't think we would have made that large of a trip if it hadn't been our honeymoon, but I do wish we had taken the beginning of the trip more slowly.

**ANIMALS: There are dogs (and cats) everywhere in Greece! They are friendly, but the ones on the streets are also dirty. Just be warned. Also, a note on the donkeys if you have ever thought of riding them in Greece: scary! Frightfully so, and I am a thrill seeker! So after our harrowing experience riding them to a castle in Lindos, we opted not to do them in Santorini. We rode the bus up and then opted to walk the donkey trail back down. This was also terrifying!! Maybe even more so then riding the donkeys! It is super steep and really easy to slip, as all the rocks were so worn down and smooth from the donkeys walking on them. Avoid the risk and take the bus or the gondola. We didn't want to wait in the line, but I honestly think it would have taken us less time to just wait with how slow we had to go. 
Hope these were helpful!! And that they have you dreaming of your next big adventure! I know I am dreaming of mine, as well as still soaking in the memories from this one! Enjoy a little bit more of the beauty... 
This is the little guy is Petros (Peter) the Pelican and he was the Mykonos welcoming committee, as well as the one wish us bon voyage upon departure. And so, from Peter and myself, farewell for now! Hoping you have the most beautiful of Tuesdays! 

Where have you been adventuring too? 
Gone away, explored your own city... 
I would love to see! Feel free to linkup below! 
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel destination and would love to see where you have been exploring! 
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest
~No real rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add your link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. Leave a little love where you like! 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
Excited explore the globe with you all!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Thoughts

Because Friday! And we made it! 
And this week has made me tired (you know those weeks) and I needed something pretty to look at! So here's to pretty and here's to the weekend and here's to little time to r-e-s-t! 

* This photo was taken at a drill site in Costa Rica. This morning I was talking about the fundraiser that is being planned to support Agua Viva Serves and their mission in Costa Rica and I thought I'd flip through pictures of my trip there last year. Working in Costa Rica, to drill wells for families who don't have access to clean water, is such a humbling experience. They live in such a stunningly beautiful place, but they lack some of the daily things we take for granted, like the fact that brushing our teeth doesn't also come with the risk of making us sick. I learn so much, each time I go, from they way they live their lives with full hearts to their welcoming spirits and they way they take such pride in all that they do have. And today I am thankful for those reminders. 

Hoping your Friday is full of reminders that make you thankful!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February Currently!

Well Hello February! How did you get here? I can't believe it is already the second month of 2016! Hoping you are all having a wonderful Wednesday! I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna again today to share what my February looks like currently. Grab a cup of coffee and join me?!

Sending~ That sweet little adventure mug pictured above to the winner of my instagram giveaway for my blog shop grand opening! 

Eating~ Last night I ate some Kraft mac-n-cheese, which Babe refers to as powdered goop! So needless to say he didn't eat any. And do you want to know how much was left? Oh just about a spoonful! Powdered goop or not, I love me some Kraft mac-n-cheese! Maybe it's nostalgia and reliving my childhood, but I eat it every few months or so and something about it is just so comforting! However, we have really been trying not to eat tons of preservative, so today I am detoxing with walnuts and banana for lunch. 

Dreaming~ Of far off places and life on the road! This is pretty much a constant in my life right now. I am always planning our next mini Florida adventure, while also dreaming big of convincing Babe to head way out west and spend time traveling from one gorgeous park or BLM to another! I wanna see all the places!! All the places!!! 

Smelling~ the cup of coffee sitting next to me! It may or may not be Christmas blend! Who said Christmas had to end in December?! 

Hearting~ My new little shop! It is small, but I am so excited about seeing how it will grow! I was so humbled over the outpouring of love I got when I opened it last week. I was nervous and scared and excited all at same time and the support from friends and even strangers meant so much to my heart! Everyone was so kind and I can't be more thankful! 

Feel free to take a little peek (shop link in navigation bar)! I am covering shipping costs between now and Monday. Yay for free shipping! Yay for new adventures! And yay for coffee!! 

Hoping you have a beautiful day!!
What does February currently look like for you?! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

5 ways to Kickstart your Day

I woke up this morning and I laid in bed. I wasn't quite ready for life to start just yet. And those mornings can be nice, really so very nice! But that wasn't how I was supposed to start today. I had planned to be productive, but it was Monday and I wasn't ready. I finally pulled back the covers and made my way to the kitchen, where I vowed to myself to devote 30 minutes to quiet reflection on my thinking chair while I ate breakfast. After doing my devotion, I opened up my Instant Happy Journal and the prompt for the day was to trace the words "I'm Not Good Enough" and then cross through them once done. I originally thought about skipping it, because I thought it sounded a bit silly! But sometimes you just do it anyways!! Oh, it was so freeing! Freeing to cross out the "I can'ts" and to let go of the running list of ways to fall short! And after that my morning took a jump start! So I really started thinking about the things that, if done each morning, help me feel like I can take on the day at full force! So I figured I would share them with you. Hoping they help you get the day started off on the right foot- or if it's already on the wrong one, maybe it will help shift that weight! Either way, here they are... 

- Be Still to Start Strong! Take at least 10 minutes out of each morning to just be still; To sit in a quiet cozy corner somewhere and just breathe in the day. The rest of the day will be rushed, there will be things that must get done, but this 10 minutes? This is my 10 minutes! I like to spend mine with devotion and prayer. Today, carving out 30 minutes was so nice! I know that won't always happen, but if I just set my alarm a few minutes earlier the 10 minutes definitely can and should! I really do feel such a difference in the day when I don't have take that time to start my day off talking to God. 

- Journal! I had a prayer/ life journal that I kept for a little while, but like most things in my morning routine it got pushed to the wayside. So when I picked it back up at the beginning of the year and saw that the last post was from the end of 2013 I cringed. Writing down a few thoughts each morning really helps me to set a tone for the day. It clears my mind of some of the fluff and opens it up to make it ready for the new day. Don't journal? No worries, just thinking on something happy! 

- List the happy things! This one is huge! I couldn't recommend it more! Take a minute and list (either on paper or in your head) at least 3 things that make you happy in that exact moment. Today mine were: 
1.) extra quiet time
2.) doing things despite fears
3.) starting my morning off worshipping Jesus
Then I jotted down a few more too! The thing is whenever I start with my list of 3 things, I usually end up with a lot more than that. I actually do this a lot, not just in the mornings. I do it a lot in tough moments. It's amazing what listing things you have to be thankful for or happy about can do to uplift your mood. Seriously, try it right now! 

- List the you things! While you are getting ready each morning, standing in front of a mirror somewhere putting on makeup or picking out clothes, think of 3 things that you love about yourself! We are so hard on ourselves all the time. I feel like as I approach 30 I have gotten even more critical of my appearance especially. At any moment, at any age and any time, we are beautiful! Life has taught us that we have to look a certain way or act a certain way, but that's all just lies! Be yourself and love yourself. Embrace your You-ness!! So name those three things and at least one has to be appearance based. Most of our time in the mirror is spent picking over the fine details; cover this, smooth that. So while you swipe a brush across your cheek, think of something you love, like your eyes or your smile or even that widows peak you (I) tried to cut off as a child that you have grown to find frames your face well! Tell yourself "I love you!!"

-  Pray! I know I talked about this in the first one, but this is huge for me. I am not going to lie, there are many mornings where the other 4 just don't happen the way they should. Seriously, I am NOT a morning person (the Lord knew I needed a job that started mid afternoon). So, if I am up before 7/7:30 I never make it to my cozy blue chair. Literally it is: push the snooze 3 times, stumble to the kitchen, pour cereal, head to the shower (yes, with cereal in hand), sit down on shower floor and just let the water run while eating breakfast. I am sure you are trying to image the scene. Just picture: shower cap on, cereal on the lip of the shower in between the plastic curtain and the cloth curtain, with my head in between the two as well so that I can eat without getting water in my food. This is real life! But I sit there, with eyes closed and mouth chewing and I say a prayer. A lot of early mornings it goes a little something like this, "Lord, please give me the strength and patience to be a morning person today!" Even if it is just short and sweet and half awake, it is so, so good for my soul. Not sure about this whole God guy? Don't believe in Jesus? It's ok. I just say try it. Try praying, even if you don't know what you believe yet. Send up a prayer the way you would talk to a friend, maybe ask about who He is, wonder it out loud, challenge Him with tough questions. He doesn't care how you pray, He just cares about you. Period. Belief or not, you are loved! Just wanted you to know! 

I hope these were helpful! For me, they were a good reminder to me more mindful of how important they are for me personally. My days are so much more productive and so much more full of life when I do them. And the funny thing is they are so very simple that I had to laugh at myself for not doing them more often! So I set my alarm a little earlier? Better than dragging myself through the day feasting for coffee! I mean, don't get me wrong, there's still coffee! But it's so much more enjoyable as an added bonus than something that I am yearning for. 

Happy Monday! 
Any thing that you do that helps to start your morning off right?