Random Post of Kindness

FullSizeRender-2I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about kindness for a while now because I think it is such a key ingredient to life that we either take for granted, or don’t think about as often as we should.  And before I begin this, I want to stress something so crucial:  I’m not perfect.  I know there are many times in either my day or week where I could display kindness better, or when I let frustration and anxiety get the best of me.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t hear the little voice in the back of my head that tells me, “Hey, maybe that wasn’t the best way to approach that situation.”  Then I move on, and try better next time.

I had never really given much thought about the word “kindness” until I saw the 2015 adaptation of Cinderella.  The whole message that was referenced in the movie was to “have courage and be kind.”  Not only did I absolutely love this quote, but it had me thinking about what kindness meant to me.  The more I thought about the word, the more I realized how big of an impact it can truly have.  And again, I’m no expert.  But I do think kindness is something we should all take the time to consider more and to ask ourselves, “how am I displaying kindness in my life?”

IMG_4609Living in Los Angeles has definitely opened my eyes to what a person with true kindness in their hearts acts like, and it can be a very rare quality to find in this city.  A good majority of the people that move here, are coming to be the best or to make something of themselves.  Whether it be for acting, modeling, dancing, singing, directing, etc. in this business, it’s hard to be anything but selfish.  We are constantly told we have to look a certain way, eat a certain way, dress a certain way, take a certain class, go to a certain event to meet a certain person, talk a certain way, have our hair a certain color, go to the gym a certain amount of times during the week, live in a certain area, work the system a certain way to benefit ourselves, the list goes on and on (and you wonder why some celebrities fall off the deep end.)  Kindness can be quite a challenge to find in a business that preaches vanity and doing whatever you need to get ahead.  And yes, I know that not all of you live here.  But I think regardless of whatever career you have, where ever you may live, or whatever stresses you may face, we all are seeking kindness in one form or another.   So here are some ways I think we can all try to incorporate kindness more into our lives:

 

IMG_4613 Be kind to not kind people

I know this is hard.  Probably one of the hardest things anyone can do.  But in all honesty, the people who are the least kind, are the people that probably need it the most.  We have no idea what battles they may be fighting, and even if we do know, we’re not in their shoes going through it.  Regardless of whether they show kindness back, you never know how you might positively impact their day by giving them a smile or a genuine compliment.  Who knows?  They might take your actions as an example of how they should act around the next person they encounter.

Take the time to listen

I forget very easily.  I can memorize lines all day, but when it comes to remembering someone’s name that I just met, I’ll forget it as soon as they say it.  I don’t think it’s necessarily my memory that’s lacking as much as my listening.  We’re all busy, and we’re all constantly thinking about what we have to get done or, in my case, what I want for dinner.  But pausing whatever you may be doing to ask your friend about his day, or maybe listening to your sister vent about her  job, you are giving them kindness in one of the most considerate forms: your time.

IMG_4610 Show yourself kindness

Everyone has insecurities and we’re all hard on ourselves to some capacity.  But how can we expect to show others kindness when we’re busy criticizing ourselves?  Lady GaGa said that each morning she gets up, looks in the mirror, and says five things that she likes about herself before progressing with her day.  I thought that was interesting so I decided to try it.  Not going to lie, it’s pretty cool!  It starts your day off in a positive way, and it gives you a boost of confidence to tackle whatever you might face through out the day.  Showing yourself kindness can cause you to have more faith in yourself, and when you feel great in your own skin, it can help you spread that joy to other people. You never know who might need it!

Help others

It’s simple and I feel like sometimes we make it so hard.  Helping others doesn’t have to be this grand affair.  It can be something as easy as opening the door for the person in front of you, or giving a dollar to someone in need.  I recently read a quote by Morgan Freeman that said, “How do we change the world?  One random act of kindness at a time.” It’s so true and it all starts with helping others, no matter how big or small the act may be.

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I hope this post has encouraged you to think about the ways you display kindness in your life.  Whether it be through listening, helping others, being kind to those that need it the most, or even giving yourself a smile in the mirror, kindness is a powerful thing that we need more of in the world.  So lets start spreading it!

Until next time,

Grace

 

P.S. one of my dear friends, Emily, has an amazing blog called Adventures and Kindness where you can find more ways to incorporate kindness into your day, as well as fun tips for traveling and planning your next adventure!  Check it out! 🙂

 

 

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Liebster Award Nominees

liebsteraward-roses-tagNow it’s time for the best part of getting nominated for the Liebster award!  I get to nominate three deserving bloggers!  I love each one of their blogs and I highly encourage all of you to check out their pages and follow their social media accounts!  Congratulations you guys!  Can’t wait to read what you all have coming up!

 

 

My Crazy World Exists

This blog is written by my brave and inspiring friend, Jen!  Through each post, she writes all about ways to keep your head up and to always have your eyes set on what you want most in life.  She also has adorable pictures of her cat, which is definitely a plus!

Things Adored

I met Lauren about a year ago when I was invited by a mutual friend of ours to come to a bible study that Lauren was leading.  Needless to say, the lesson was so good that I started going every week that I could!  She brings her beautiful voice into her faithful blog and I highly encourage you all to read it!

Disney Collector X

Love this Disney blog!  Written by a fellow Grace, on her blog, she shows her latest Disney finds and collections.  I love following her Instagram as well as her blog, and seeing the cutest ways to incorporate a little dash of Disney here and there whether it be in your wardrobe, home, or life in general!

Nominee Questions

1. What inspired you to start your blog?

2.  What is the most enjoyable thing when it comes to writing your blog?

3.  What has been the most difficult challenge with your blog?

4.  What is your biggest goal with your blog?

5. How did you come up with the name for your blog?

6. If you had to choose the power of being invisible or the power to fly, which would you choose and why?

7. If you woke up tomorrow and had the chance to have any career in the world and be successful at it, what would you choose?

8. What is your favorite holiday and why?

9. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what color would it be?

10. Who are your nominees for the Liebster award going to be?!

There you go!  Before you all start here are the rules:

  • Thank the person/blog who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Display the award on your blog. This can be done by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget (note: the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog/post).
  • Answer the 10 questions about yourself that your nominating blogger chooses for you.
  • Nominate blogs that you feel deserve the award. These must be new bloggers (less than two years blogging) who have fewer than 1000 followers.
  • Create a list of questions for your nominated bloggers to answer.
  • List these rules in your post (feel free to cut & paste!)
  • Inform the blogs that you nominated that they have been awarded the award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

 

Good luck and congrats on your Liebster award nomination!

Until next time,

– Grace

Liebster Award

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OH wow.  I’m so incredibly thankful and honored to be nominated for the Liebster award!  This award is a wonderful way for new bloggers to connect and find each other through nominations of fellow nominees, or even more established bloggers.  I was nominated by one of my best and dearest friends, Emily, who just started her blog Adventures and Kindness back in January.  Her blog is a wonderful space for inspiration, encouragement, and above everything else, a place to learn more about how to put a little more adventure and kindness into your life (which I’m all for)!  Thank you so so much for the nomination sweet Emily!  Here is what Emily had to say about my blog-

“Of course my first nominee had to be my beautiful and talented blogger friend! Grace’s lifestyle blog has everything magical and fun! Something that makes her super unique is her fantastically colorful Instagram feed. She has a great eye for design and pretty things, and I promise that following her is a decision you won’t regret!”

Words of true kindness, and that’s just a little snippet of her lovely writing voice!  I highly recommend you all to check out her blog.  It’ll surely put a smile on your face!

Alrighty, now to answer Emily’s questions!!

1. What is your blog named?  And what inspired you to name it this?

My blog is named Essence of Grace.  Right before I began my blog, I had been unclear of exactly what path I wanted to take in my life.  All I had known was acting, and I started panicking when I discovered that I had other interests that I wanted to explore in addition to being in front of the camera.  I then decided to take the plunge and start a blog to help me have a space to chronicle those interests.  I came up with the name because I wanted the blog to be 150% me, which is what your essence is all about!  I didn’t want to feel like I was writing about what other people wanted to read or what I felt like I “had” to write about.  I just wanted it to be a fun colorful place where you can get to know me better, and what’s going on inside my head.

2. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

My favorite thing about blogging is definitely when I’ve heard someone say they’ve enjoyed what I’ve written about or it’s inspired them.  I love the idea of people being able to relate to what I write about, especially when they might be experiencing something I am at the same time.  Or even if a friend loves a crafting project idea, or whatever the case may be, to know that someone is reading and giving me such positive feedback, is the best feeling.

3. What is your least favorite thing?

Figuring out the whole website part of the blog can get pretty stressful at times.  I’m super happy with my format and outline of my blog now, but when I first started, it seemed like it took me FOREVER to figure out widgets and menus.

4. Who or what started your passion to write about travel/lifestyle (your topic)?

As sappy as it may sound, my boyfriend actually said something to me one night that has stuck with me every since, and is a big inspiration behind the message I try to convey in my blog.  He said his favorite thing about me is how I “find the magic in each day.”  *Cue the tears*  Not only was it absolutely precious and adorable, but I thought it was a great platform for building a blog.   It’s true.  In my every day life, I try to find the joy and “magic” each day has to bring, even if the day isn’t the best.  So when I was putting my blog together, I wanted to make sure I showed my Disney side, my love for flowers and colors, fun crafting ideas and recipes, inspirational messages, and all around, things that I find truly happy and magical.

5. What are you hoping to achieve with your blog?

The biggest goal I have for my blog is to leave a smile on someone’s face when they’re done reading it!

6. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Europe.  Hands down.  England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Ireland are the top places I want to visit.  Can you imagine the FOOD?!

7. If you could live the life of a famous individual for a day, who would it be?

Ellen DeGenerous.  Not only is she hilarious and has an amazing talk show with incredible guests to interview, but she is so inspiring with her generosity.  I would love to make such a big difference in the lives of others like she has.  Whether it’s through donations, bringing awareness to a deserving cause, or simply providing laughs to her viewers, Ellen is doing what she can to make the world a more kind place.  I would love the chance to walk in her shoes for a day!

8. What is one interesting fact about you?

I broke both of my arms when I was in the 6th grade.  Yes, at the same time.  No, I did not have two casts.  On my right arm, my cast went up to only just beneath my elbow, and my left arm was considered a “perfect fracture” so I only had to wear a brace.  How did this tragedy happen?  I tripped in P.E. and that’s all you need to know.

9. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Boiled potatoes with spray butter and a big cheese pizza with pineapples on the side.

10. Who are you going to nominate for the Liebster award?

You can find the link to my nominees right here!

Thanks again for the nomination Emily!

Until next time,

-Grace

 

How A Rainbow Took Over My Life and How I’m Happy It Did

IMG_3048HELLO EVERYONE!

Oh blogging, how I’ve missed thee.  Let me count the ways…actually I don’t know how the rest goes, so let’s start talking!   Or typing, in my case.

Sooooo basically, I haven’t been sticking with one of my biggest resolutions this year, and that was blogging at least a few times a week.  I know, I know, I haven’t been on my A Game lately.   And do you wanna know why???  Well long story short, with the help of my good friend Skylar, we decided that I should do a fun little project in which I turn my Instagram into a (drum roll please) RAINBOW.  Yep, you read that correctly!  A rainbow!

IMG_3217Now you’re probably thinking of some things along these lines:

“What do you mean a rainbow?”

“How do you do that?”

“Does that take a lot of effort?”

“That’s dumb.”

(Hopefully you aren’t thinking that last one, but I’m sure the thought crossed some of your minds.)

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What I mean by turning my Instagram into a rainbow is simply this:  when you look at my Instagram profile or “grid,” you’ll see that each row of pictures represents a different color.  I started off with red, then went to orange, yellow, etc, until I made my way through every color of the rainbow with each row.  And no, this doesn’t involve my ENTIRE Instagram profile.  I just posted the first one on a random day, and worked my way up from there!

The reason I’m blogging about this is to not only fill you all in on what I’ve been up to lately, but to also encourage you guys to start your own Instagram project!  Now it doesn’t have to be a rainbow, because I’m sure for some of you, bright colors aren’t your thing.  It can be finding something that really captures your aesthetic eye or maybe even a few of your favorite things!  Like making a series of flowers, or cakes you like to bake, or even pictures of your cat!  Anything that could spruce your profile up a bit and to get people to see it.

FullSizeRenderEven though the rainbow has been a bit stressful at times for me, because it is very time consuming, I’ve had so much fun with it, and it’s an awesome way to get your creative mind flowing.  My biggest advice to any of you that want to start your own Instagram project, is to stick to what YOU like to see, and follow that theme.  For example, if you like more neutral colors, no matter what you’re taking pictures of, incorporate the backgrounds or what it is your shooting, to fall under those neutral tones.  I would also download some editing apps, if you don’t already have some, just to be able to enhance what you’ve already captured.  You’d be surprised how a good picture can turn into a great one with just a little touch here and there.

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Now I have to take this time to thank a few people because without their help, I would have never been able to finish this project myself.  First off, my wonderful good friend Skylar who gave me the idea, and who has basically held my hand every step of the way through this process.  I also have to thank my boyfriend, Tyler, for being the man behind the camera most of the time, when I don’t have a third arm to take the picture.  And I can’t forget my friends Brooke and Hunter for being models for me, even if I had them do silly things like putting their hair in a pool or licking a lollipop.  It’s all for the picture, people!  And they were happy to help me which makes them the best best friends ever!  Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank all of you that have given me such wonderful feedback on this project.  I’ve had the privilege of being featured on some pretty amazing accounts like Studio DIY (which is one of my absolute favorites) and even Shape Magazine, just from starting this rainbow.  But it’s all thanks to you guys and you’re wonderful encouragement!  So thank you to those that took the time to like my photos or even post a comment. It meant the world to me that I could put a smile on your faces!

FullSizeRender-1So with all of that, have fun with your photo projects, everyone!  Above everything else, remember that this is all about enjoying every second of it and it’s a way to show others your own creative style!  And in case you’re wanting to check out some of the wonderful accounts or people I’ve mentioned above, I’ve attached their Instagram links below.  Show ’em some love!

Until next time,

– Grace

Skylar Bartlett

Tyler Crim

Brooke Tomlinson

Hunter Doohan

Studio DIY

Shape Magazine

 

 

Share Your Ears

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This photoshoot was definitely one of my favorites, because it’s honoring two things I care about so much; Disney and the Make A Wish Foundation!

Many of you may not know, but my older sister, Casie, was a Make A Wish kid.  She was diagnosed with a very rare liver disease, and when she was in high school, she was grated the incredible wish of getting to meet her favorite country music star, Jo Dee Messina.  I was only around the age of 5 when this event happened, but I’ll never forget the looks of surprise and utter joy coming from my mom and my sisters’ faces when they found out the news.  Make A Wish flew us all to Nashville where we stayed at the gorgeous Opryland Hotel, and were invited to Jo Dee’s house to meet her and her family.  It was a life changing experience for all of us, and we could never thank this organization enough for all that they do to help others in need.

Now, onto the ears!  Now through March 14th, for every picture posted of you wearing  mouse ears and with the hashtag, #shareyourears, Disney Parks will donate $5 to the Make A Wish Foundation!  So of course, I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity by posting more than one!  Now, the ears don’t have to just be the Mickey Mouse ears.  They can be creative!  You can use apples, lollipops, balloons, anything that can resemble the fun and lovable ears we all know.  The pictures can be posted to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even all three!  So I encourage everyone to snap a quick selfie of themselves with some fun ears, and post!

And in case you all were wondering, a few years after Casie was granted her wish, she went into the final surgery for her liver, and a miracle happened.  She was healed!  Everything was working properly and by the grace of God she is alive and well today.

Thank you to all of those at the Make A Wish Foundation and thank you to Disney Parks for the incredible donations to such a wonderful organization!

Hope to see all of your ear pictures really soon!

Until next time,

Grace

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DIY Desk Makeover

IMG_2098Hi loves!  I’m SO excited about this post because I’ve been wanting to write about a DIY project that I’ve been working on, and now I finally get to!  Today I’m going to talk about how I turned my boring desk into a vanity that I absolutely adore and is so so useful.  And thanks to a fellow blogger I admire, Vandi Fair, for the inspiration!

I had been wanting a vanity so badly for what had seemed like forever.  I looked online at all of the different kinds when it came to pricing, size, the whole shebang.  But by the time I felt like I was going to buy it, I couldn’t help but stop myself from going through with it.  Why?  Because in order to get it, I would have to make room and throw away some of my old furniture just so it could fit, which I wasn’t excited to do.  One day while I was reading up on Vandi Fair’s older blog posts, I came across an entry she had made about a makeover she had given to her old desk.  The desk looked about the same size as mine and as soon as I saw all of the cute additions she had made to it, I completely forgot about the “perfect vanity” and started to create my very own dream vanity.  Plus, this is a great idea for anyone that’s on a budget (like me)!

 

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First things first, I knew I wanted my makeup to be out of the bag, and onto the desk.  After looking at different brush holders, and display cases, I decided to put my makeup on this cute “Giving Plate” from Francesca’s, which adds a little bit of color and a friendly message.

 

 

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Then, I took one of my favorite mugs, and used it as a brush holder (plus the saying on the mug is perfect for each morning).  My mirror came from Brick City Emporium and I couldn’t wait to get it all hung up next to everything!  The turquoise color was a must, considering the fact that most of my room is white and I needed some accent colors to bring it all together.

 

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Next, it was time to figure out the jewelry.  I had been in desperate need of a jewelry holder, but could never find one that I absolutely loved that would be able to hold everything.  I found this one at Michael’s and it’s so perfect because, it doesn’t take up any space on the actual desk!

 

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Now, it was time for the best part: decorating!  Like Vandi Fair, I absolutely adore all things Disney.  So of course I had to add a little Disney flair here and there!  I started with my two favorite Disney stories: Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland.  Barnes and Noble is the perfect place to go for new editions and covers of classic fairytale stories.  Once I found these, I knew they were perfect.  I also put a picture of one of my favorite characters, Stitch, to set on top of them.  You might also notice one or two gift boxes somewhere in there.  I love saving my gift boxes because they’re always just as pretty as the gifts, in my opinion, and they add a fun touch of color.

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Finally, I knew I wanted the space around my vanity to be decorated too.  Ikea is the BEST place to go to for really inexpensive picture frames, and to my surprise, they even have filler pictures for you to purchase if you need something to go in the frames!  Then I just added a few of my own pictures and wall ornaments and created a little gallery wall.

 

 

And voilà!  My vanity was complete!  Now each morning I can’t wait to hop out of bed and use it!   I hope I gave you all some good ideas for your own DIY project, and what better time to be creative than in the new year?

Until next time,

Grace

The Bridesmaid Diaries

IMG_1978  As I’m sure you can all tell by the title, I had the pleasure of being a bridesmaid while I was back home in Arkansas.  I was so excited when my good friend, Katie, asked me to be a part of her big day back in 2014.  Then it seemed like I blinked, and it was already the wedding week!  Since I was in LA during most of the wedding showers, I couldn’t wait to finally get to be a part of the celebration when I arrived back home.

The Bridesmaids Brunch

IMG_1939Considering the fact that I couldn’t make some of the wedding festivities, my mom and I had the idea of coordinating the bridesmaids brunch for Katie, for when I would be in town.  I’m not going to lie, I was more excited about this than the actual wedding!  We had all of the bridesmaids and their moms meet at the most charming little bed and breakfast around 10am.  We sat in a beautiful dining room where we were served delicious fruit, and the most amazing french toast. We played games, won prizes, and even gave advice to Katie for her and her fiancé, Drew.  

IMG_1945I have to admit, my favorite part about the brunch were the decorations.  Katie’s colors were black, gold, and ice blue.  So, naturally, I tried to incorporate as much of those colors as I could into the prizes, flowers, and table settings.  With the help of my mom, I think we pulled together the perfect amount of elegance and fun.  All of the girls loved what we came up with, especially Katie.  It felt so good to see her so happy and enjoying herself.  It definitely made me feel like Blair Waldorf at the end of throwing a successful party.

 

The Wedding

IMG_1980(I know what you’re probably thinking, what about the rehearsal dinner??  Well, sadly, I don’t have many photos from the rehearsal.  And the reason why?  We went bowling!  After rehearsing at the church, we all made our way to the bowling alley, where we were greeted by a huge dessert bar, and a catered dinner.  It was such a fun and new way to have a rehearsal dinner.

And also the picture you see to the right is us preparing for the wedding the best way we know how: with Chick Fil A.)

Okay, NOW on to the wedding.  Everything went perfectly, and she looked gorgeous.  It all went according to plan, without any problems.  Of course we all cried, but no one tripped, nothing was spilt on the dress, and there were no objections.  Perfect.  Well, except for my shoes were killing me, and I thought I was going to pass out if I had to stand up there for too much longer.  But other than that, great!

But while I was standing at the altar, watching Katie make her grand entrance, I couldn’t get over how weird everything felt.  It was the first time that one of my best friends, that I had grown up with, was starting the next chapter of their lives right in front of me.  I started getting flashbacks to all of our goofy times and sleepovers, and I couldn’t believe that we weren’t so young anymore.  That this kind of thing was going to start happening more often now for many of my friends, and before I know it, maybe even me.  But even though I was thinking of this the rest of the night, I also kept thinking about how it was okay.  She was going to be just fine.  Sure, we were growing up (ugh gross), but the weird that I kept thinking about, was a cool kind of weird.  A kind of weird that made me excited about what else it was going to bring.

The Reception

IMG_1968Now it was time for the best part of the night: the party!!  It was held at Hardscrabble Country Club (basically the usual place to throw nice events in my town), and there was dancing, music, a delicious dinner, and an all around good time.  It was also my first experience with sitting at a Head Table with the rest of the bridal party, which was super fun because it felt like we were royalty (plus it was nice getting our food before everyone else).  Ultimately, you could see the happiness on Katie’s face, which was all that mattered.

IMG_1941When it was time for the happy couple to leave, we all gathered around the main entrance and made a walkway for them, while holding sparklers.  It looked magical and then before we knew it, it was time to wave goodbye as they started to leave for their honeymoon.

I wish Katie and Drew the best of wishes on their new adventure together.  I hope your days are filled with nothing but the happiness of blessings and memories.  Love you Katie!

Until next time,

Grace