Something New Bridal Box Review

You guys know I love subscription boxes. Since gift giving is one of my favorite love languages, it’s super fun giving myself a little present every month. Something New Bridal Box recently sent me one of their boxes to review and oh my gosh, they’ve got me hooked. This is the only subscription box that I’ve ever received and decided to keep every single thing for myself because I’m actually going to use it all.

This is what the box looks like when you receive it:

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It came with a gift for 25 free prints from the Parabo Press App.

First, I unwrapped the travel mug that says, “Miss Mrs.” on the front. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee and tea lately, so this is going to be a really nice addition to my wedding planning supplies. I love how bright and girly it is, and despite having a kind of rubbery lid, it doesn’t spill when you use it.

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The next thing that caught my eye was a little white goody bag with a silk ribbon around it. I was excited to find a compact mirror by Pink Confetti Boutique that said, “bride” on the front. I’m a huge fan of the watercolor pattern that’s been making its way around the bridal circuit lately, and I am going to pack this in my little touch up bag for the day of the wedding. The boutique also included a 25% off coupon code, so I checked out their site and there are a lot of fun things for both bridesmaids and brides.

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Third, I found a delicate sterling silver “Mrs” necklace in the box. It’s funny, but this is the first time I’ve really thought of myself as being a “Mrs.” I have thought about the last name change and everything, but I haven’t spent very much time thinking about the title change away from “Miss.” This little necklace made me feel giddy, and I am waiting to wear it until I have officially become a “Mrs” this fall.

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Last, but certainly not least, I felt something thick and heavy wrapped in pink tissue paper underneath all my other goodies. I was so excited to find a “fiancée” sweatshirt at the bottom! It’s thicker than a shirt, but thinner than a normal sweatshirt, so I’m super excited to wear it throughout the summer. The only downside is that it’s a little big on me (It’s a size medium), however when you sign up for a subscription you can actually put in whatever size you are so it will be accurate when you receive your box. Since this was a sponsored post, I didn’t give my size, but I’d rather have this be a little on the bigger side anyway. I can’t wait to wear this over to the fiancée’s house later today to see what he thinks!

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Overall, I highly recommend Something New Bridal Box. They have incredible customer service and replied to my emailed questions within the hour, and the shipping was faster than I expected. I loved every single product, and feel like it is a decent price for everything they included in the box ($44.95, but if you use my coupon code you can get 10% off that, and the price goes down more the more boxes you commit to when you subscribe!). I highly recommend purchasing a subscription for yourself or an engaged friend. It would make a wonderful gift at an engagement party as the packaging is beautiful so it’s already wrapped, and the gifts inside are high quality and super-fun for any girl who is getting excited for her wedding.

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Here is the little price sheet they include to show how much you would have paid for all the items purchased individually.

Want to try SNBB for yourself or to give to a friend? Use the code KRISTALAUREN10 to get 10% off your first purchase.

To The Creatives Of The World

Your work matters too.

Having a chronic illness makes me so, so thankful for people who are different than I am. I appreciate the people who can handle blood and unhinged joints, and those who have brains that work for chemistry and biology. I’m not wired like that; I enjoy using my hands to write and create stories. I like painting metaphorical pictures for people, and I love resurfacing feelings from my heart and putting them on paper for others to read and relate to.

Something that really kept my spirits up when I first got sick with POTS was watching The Food Network and reruns of The Office. Laughter is often some of the best medicine, and despite not being able to do very much physically, I was able to laugh and dream. I learned as much as I could about food and health, and I lived each moment in the present as the room spun in circles around me.

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Every chapter of my life has included a soundtrack. I hear an old favorite song and it takes me back to a memory. I often do my best writing while I am listening to music, and will play a song on repeat until I have spilled old feelings on the pages in front of me. Despite not having the same ones anymore, I have a perfect memory for feelings. I know them all so well and even though I can’t remember dates, numbers, or physical details, I always remember how my heart felt about something. The best part about my writing is that it strikes a chord with people. With each blog post I get messages about how someone could relate to my own thoughts and feelings, and I take a lot of joy in knowing I can make others feel less alone by sharing my life with them.

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There are a lot of people in the world who get credit for their practical work, but I think creative people sometimes get left out of the thankfulness. I’ve written posts about how great I think people like doctors, physical therapists, nurses, and researchers are — without them I would be a complete wreck — but I’ve conveniently left out the people I understand most. The artists, the writers, the actors, and the comedians who all make life just that much brighter and more beautiful. The world is a really cool place because we have such a vast mix of humans who care about all of the other kinds of people. Without the left brains we wouldn’t be able to fix painful everyday problems, and without the right brains we wouldn’t have all the entertainment options we do. Both types of people bring more joy to the world, and we are all are a piece of the puzzle that makes for a happier society as a whole. No matter what your talent is, use it to make the world a better place.

Today’s lesson: Just because you can’t cure sicknesses or fix things doesn’t mean you aren’t important to the world. Laughter and bringing joy through the form of creativity and entertainment is a very important job. Keep practicing what you do best and giving back to the world with your own unique talents.

An English Major’s Love Language

Who else was excited that Ed Sheeran got engaged this weekend?! I was super excited for a few reasons. First, I absolutely love love. I want every single person in this world to be happy, and falling in love is something I think can really add a different element of brightness to your life. Second, I am stoked to hear all the new music he comes out with now. One of my favorite things about listening to artists I really enjoy is knowing who songs can be about. Taylor’s breakup music is fun, but the tracks about being in love and spilling her heart out in words is incomparably beautiful. I am excited to learn more about Ed’s fiancée, Cherry. Lastly, I like having a face to put to his song Perfect. The lyrics are some of the sweetest I’ve heard, and I absolutely love that he wrote such an amazing song for the girl he wants to spend forever with. That is just the “cherry” on top of the most wonderful words that have been put together.

Oh my gosh, this really gets the waterworks going. As if I needed any other reasons to love this song, knowing that each and every word written is real and raw makes me so, so happy. Something I enjoy most is knowing that the feelings in Perfect are real and raw. Being a fellow writer — though far less eloquent — I know exactly what it’s like to feel like your heart is about to burst and overflow with all the love it’s trying to contain. I also know very well that the only outlet for us to really express a deep love is putting pen to paper. Even though I don’t really know Sheeran, I feel like I’ve gotten a peek into his heart, and he’s been able to bring up my own feelings and experiences, despite being really descriptive about his own, too.

 

 

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Me interviewing Sheeran at the Jingle Ball in 2012. If you click the first link in this article you’ll see a picture of Cherry wearing this sweatshirt. I guess when it comes down to it we all love stealing our guy’s clothes.

I know that there’s significance behind “dancing in the dark,” and that they’re not just meant to be carefully crafted lyrics.  I know that there was a night where he whispered, “darling you look perfect tonight,” and I can picture him blushing happily while dancing with his sweet new fiancée.

These memories bring up my own. I think about dancing to Sheeran at a friend’s wedding with my own significant other. I think about how perfect that moment was, and going home to write this in my journal:

“Our first dance together was magical. We smiled at the newly wed couple happily, and our eyes danced as they met one another. We knew we were thinking the exact same thing; we are similar in so many ways, and we both feel touched deeply by true love — though Robert might not as openly admit that.

We swayed back and forth and I got lost in the twinkle in his eyes. For a moment I felt a little self-conscious that we were having such a moment in front of other people, but my nerves were quickly put at ease when I realized how comfortable Robert was. The way he was looking at me I knew he was peering deep down into my soul, and our two moving bodies became one. My heart hadn’t ever felt so warm, loved, and bright as it did in that very moment. It was as if all the love that had ever been in our relationship was piled into this one dance, and I didn’t want it to end.

‘I guess our first dance is to Ed Sheeran,’ Robert observed. His eyes were still smiling at me, and the twinkling lights in the barn around us were just background noise; he was the star of my show. ‘I don’t hate it.’

We continued to sway to the sweet lyrics until the song ended. I didn’t want it to come to end, but I also knew in a way it wouldn’t. I would have this in my heart forever, and that dance will be one of my favorite memories of us for the rest of my life.”

I remember having a feeling of pure bliss because of how innocent and special sharing a slow dance with the love of your life is. I think further back to being pulled close in the kitchen and listening to his heart beat while we swayed back and forth to silence. I wonder if he remembers this too, or if these moments are only preserved in my own heart and journals from before the deployment.

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Writing, to me, is the most beautiful love language. Words of Affirmation aren’t listed as my #1 love language, but they are the most special to me in so many ways. They can make my heart sink or soar, and I use them to share my deepest thoughts and feelings with others. I have screenshotted text messages from years ago that made me so happy that I couldn’t imagine just letting them disappear into thin air. I save every note someone who is special in my life sends to me, and I treasure certain words that are said in my heart forever.

I want to collect thousands of “I love you’s,” and hearing about what I mean to someone is the best gift that could be given in this world. I look at words as being sacred pieces of the heart, and despite using the “L” word freely, it also means very different things to each person in my life. When it comes to romantic love, there is only one person in the world who hears “I love you” in the giddy way that will always signify true love, and for me, that person is Robert.

Congratulations to Ed and Cherry; they’re definitely going to be people I ‘ship while wedding planning and thinking about how beautifully special two people coming together to create a life with one another is. I can’t wait for the next sweet single to come out, and in the meantime I’ll continue gently taking words from my own heart to keep writing about the things I love in this life.

2018, Fearless

Fear is a great motivator. It stifles our light and often keeps us from doing really meaningful work merely because of the off-chance that something bad may happen. When we look at someone else’s fears we don’t always see the validity of them and wonder how in the world they are letting something so hypothetical stop them from living their lives; however, our own fears feel very real and valid because they are scenarios that could really hurt us.

I have a small arsenal of writing that I have done but kept to myself because I’m afraid to share it for one reason or another. In 2017 the word I chose for the year was, “strong,” and I feel like despite some tricky circumstances, I have been able to live up to what this word means. Going into 2018 I want my word of the year to be Fearless. The dictionary defines this word as,

Fearless: adj, “without fear; bold or brave; intrepid,”

but I think when you break it down the word simply means, “fear less.”

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Fear in life is inevitable. It can be a healthy feeling, as it keeps us from doing stupid things, however it can also keep us from reaching our full potential. Think of how much you could accomplish in life if you didn’t base so many decisions on fear. The times I have moved forward with actions despite being afraid of the outcome I think my writing has been much more dynamic, raw, and real than when I am merely trying to come up with content.

This is the opposite of what I want to do right now. I’ve had a few things happen that make me want to crawl back into my shell and hide, and the last thing I want to do is continue creating posts that reach deep down into my heart to spill words on these pages for anyone in the world to read. This year I’ve learned that people don’t always want what’s best for you, and their intentions can be malicious and manipulative. I’ve learned that not all women want what’s best for other women, and my heart has hurt because of it. Something else I’ve learned, though, is that it’s really easy to look at the bad in situations. For some reason it seems to be human nature to hone in on the negative. Knowledge is power, and after taking my first step of realizing this, I have learned that the majority of the people who read this blog are kind, caring, and genuine. They want what is best for me, and they don’t have any ulterior motives from reading the diary I keep online. One person in over a thousand should not dictate the way I share my life, and most of us are here to cheer each other on and make every journey easier by being there for each other. This is a time for celebration, and I am so, so excited about my future with Robert, and with writing all about my life and the content of my heart.

So here’s to diving in head and heart first, fearless.

Give A Piece Of Your Heart To Someone

I’m always seeing little graphics that say, “tag someone who needs to hear this,” or, “tag a friend to let them know you’re there for them,” on Facebook and Instagram. While the person who created the thread means well, as do the friends who write, “@insert_name_here” in the comments, that just doesn’t cut it for letting your loved ones know you care about them.

November is a month for thankfulness, so the next few weeks I’d love to challenge you to write love letters to friends and family you care about. A letter is one of the most intimate and personal things you can offer someone; you are giving a piece of your heart and spilling out your feelings on a permanent page.

Is letter writing not really your thing? Then I encourage you even more to sit down at your desk and write a few letters. Often some of the most beautiful notes I get are from people who have scribbly handwriting or don’t use the most eloquent adjectives available in the English language. I realize that these letters are truly written from the heart, and that someone was sitting and thinking about me for an uninterrupted amount of time while they put pen to paper.

If you don’t quite know where to start, some of the subjects you can touch on are why you love the person you are writing to, how they have made an impact on your life, and what they do that you happen to think is incredibly amazing about them. You love them for a reason, and all you have to do is write that down so they can see that and cherish it forever. If nothing else, I challenge you to write three letters in the rest of November. Then, see who really appreciates the note, and make a habit of sending one letter every month. It only takes a few minutes, but is a gesture that can mean the world to someone.

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Bonus: Write a letter to sweet little Jacob. You can count this toward your three for the month, and I promise this will be an effort that won’t be in vain. As someone who saves special letters from readers and loved ones, this gesture means more than you could imagine.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I hate rainy days. They make my head hurt, body ache, and they are only soothing if it’s warm outside.

I love this blog, though. It’s so good for my heart and I’m always happy to share my feelings with everyone because I know I’m a super-average twentysomething who can relate to Taylor Swift just as much as the next girl. Today is a Call it What You Want kind of day — partly because it’s her newest song, and partly because I have been feeling particularly brave about writing lately. It will take a little bit of time to share some of the things I’ve been working on lately because the gnarly pain in my arms seems to have come back for a sudden vengeance, however I am trying my hardest to use the dictation software that frustrates me to no end.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Hemmingway,

“There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

As an ENFP this is a really easy task for me. I don’t have the best memory when it comes to numbers, dates, or names, but if you ask me how I felt at any given event I can recall it in such vivid detail. If I think about the day Robert left to go overseas enough, my heart will hurt and remember the empty ache that took resudence in my body while he was gone. I remember small details from birthdays and how I felt on each of them, how much joy I felt running around New York City with my mom while I lived there and she visited me, and I can clearly recall the warmth that filled my heart when I realized I loved Robert. I can easily remember how I’ve felt in every stage of our relationship, even if I can’t recall how many dates we went on our first couple of months together.

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Having strong feelings can be a nuisance sometimes, however I think they help me connect to others so much more beautifully than if I didn’t feel deeply. Even if I haven’t been in the exact same situation as another human, my heart can connect to theirs and sing the same melody until they feel less alone. And that, my friends, is the reason I want to keep being so open in this space and why I have to keep writing.

The “We” Mentality

I love seeing women support one another and strongly believe the more we become each other’s cheerleaders, rather than competition, the greater an impact we can make on the world.

This is why I want to encourage each and every one of you to view your friends’ hearts as your own too. Instead of criticizing the girl who is smack dab in the middle of a really messy breakup, realize that she is trying her best and probably wants to get over her ex, it just takes hearts some time to heal when they’ve been torn apart. Open your arms to the women who need your help and come to you for advice. It isn’t always easy for people to spill their hearts to friends; be proud that you are someone who people can trust with their feelings, and be gentle with their heart.

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The “We” mentality says that we’re in this thing called life together. It views someone else’s struggles as our own, and their victories as ours too.

I remember so vividly when one of my best friends and her boyfriend broke up. My heart ached alongside hers, and I shed a few tears too. Not because I thought she lost someone irreplaceable, but because I knew exactly the way she felt, and wished I could take away the sharp pain from her. I’ve always said that in a close relationship only one person has to be strong at a time, though, and this was my turn to be strong for both of us. We talked every single day and I always offered an open heart, even when I was busy, because a heart is easier to heal when you have a friend who will help you put the pieces back together again.

On the other hand, I remember when my best friend got her dream job. I got the text and literally squealed out loud and did a happy dance alone in my room. She absolutely deserves the best things this world has to offer, and her new company is so lucky to have her on their team. We went out to celebrate over dessert, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw how excited she was. This wasn’t just good news for her — it was great news for me, too. I got to watch my bestie live out her dream only a few years after graduating from college. This is one of the moments in life that feels so incredibly perfect.

One of the best parts about celebrating in others’ success and joys is that you have so many opportunities every week to be excited. Even just seeing my friends post about engagements, babies, puppies, and new jobs on Facebook is exciting. I feel like a tiny piece of my heart gets to celebrate even with the most distant of friends when I see something happy happen online. Regardless of who it is, someone on the other side of the computer screen is filled with joy, and that makes me really happy too.

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Today’s lesson: There is no room for competitiveness and jealousy in a beautiful friendship. Pushing each other to do better is always a great thing, but when you’re constantly competing to be better than each other you miss out on so many opportunities for joy. Stop comparing, and start rejoicing in each other’s “wins” in life. Learn to love people with your whole heart, and realize that when you celebrate others, they will want to celebrate you, too. Life is hard enough as it is with all the things we can’t control; we’re all in this together, and the world would be such an incredible place if we all could learn to lift each other up every chance we get.

My Journal Entries

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’ve had bad writer’s block lately. Partly because I can’t think of what to write about, but the other part is that I’m scared to write about what my heart is calling me to. Writing in 2017 is different than twenty years ago because of how many people you can reach on a little platform like this. I don’t have over 1,000 friends in real life, so where are all of my readers coming from? Not everyone who follows this little corner of the Internet knows my heart, so I feel like I need to be careful to not collect labels from strangers. On the other hand, though, I shouldn’t care what people think if they’re wrong. I know my heart, and more importantly the Creator of the universe does. He knows my heart’s greatest desire is to love and be loved, and that I care deeply about every human I meet — even if we don’t become friends.

From today on, I’m going to try to open my heart more to you all. This space shouldn’t have room for pride, and I think more people can relate to my own life than I would imagine. Be patient with me and I’ll slowly continue to open up more; that is, as much as I can while still giving the people who have been a part of my story the privacy they deserve.


To start, I can offer a little peek into what I’ve been up to lately. Drum roll, please…

SUMMER CLEANING!

I’m trying to get rid of all the clutter in my life, and it’s proven to be a pretty big task. The other day was my biggest purge so far. I found flare jeans in the back of my closet, my homecoming dress, and a million and one letters from pen pals. I also found all of the journals I’ve kept since I was in elementary school. It was hilarious reading the older ones, and really fascinating reading the journals I kept in college.

On our fourth or fifth date Robert gave me a really beautiful leather journal. He told me that he was just thinking about me while he was at drill in Staunton, Virginia, and went shopping during his time off to get me a little gift. Robert never forgot to remind me that I was special, even in the very beginning of our relationship, and I liked that he spoke my love language of gift giving.

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I just finished the last page of that journal last week, and it was incredible seeing the difference between entries I wrote about guys in my past, versus the way I write about Robert. Robert is someone I’ve never wondered about or questioned if we’re supposed to be dating or not. We’ve definitely been through our fair share of hardships — much of my journal’s pages were filled during the deployment — but I’ve never once wanted to leave this relationship or face my trials with anyone else. Life isn’t always easy, but it certainly brings you peace knowing you’re fighting through hardships with the right person.


Some of the next things I will be writing about are when to — and not to — listen to your friends about your dating life, a few things you should definitely feel about your significant other, and how to make a relationship flow as smoothly as possible. Thank you for being patient while I dig myself out of this little writing rut!

Putting Pen To Paper

One reason I think my writing sometimes speaks to people is that I feel so deeply. I sometimes joke that my feelings are as strong as Taylor Swift’s, but I think creative people are often just wired like this.

When I posted my story about forgiveness the other day, my friend Kristie said something that resonated with me. She said that I know how to put words to feelings. This has actually been something that has scared me in the past because I do think I know how to put pen to paper and explain the way I feel about things. I’m not extraordinary at a lot of things, but I definitely know all about feelings. On top of that, I’m not so scared about what people think anymore that I have trouble posting my intimate thoughts.

So, why is this a scary combination? Because I’m afraid of what God has in store for me. Writing and openness is a gift, but it’s terrifying because I don’t want to go through the hardships it takes to relate to others. Now that I’ve been through some of the scary stuff — like depression and chronic illness — I love that I can share my stories to help others, but I want it to end there. I enjoy writing about love and exciting twentysomething things and want to do that instead of writing about the things that hurt. I don’t want to ever have to write about how heartbreaking a deployment is again. I don’t want to deal with illness or loss anymore, and I don’t want to ever hurt deep down to my core ever again.

I know life isn’t perfect and that we’re meant to hurt sometimes in this world. Some people have it harder than others, and often times life is absolutely not fair. There are ups and downs, and nobody in the world has a completely easy and constantly fulfilling life. We all struggle, whether it’s with something catastrophic or minor stresses. As long as you’re alive pain is inevitable, but the way we deal with it and use it to lift others up is what really matters. The message I really want to get across in this is that life and love is worth the pain we have to deal with. You always have someone who loves you (And if you don’t feel that way, please message me and I will absolutely be there for each and every one of you!), and you matter in this world.

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Today’s lesson: Your pain and heartache can be used for good. Sometimes you’ll never know why something bad happens to you, but other times you can look back and realize the purpose was to help you grow. Having a chronic illness has made me more empathetic, kind, and compassionate than I ever was before. Dealing with depression has given me new insight to how others might be hurting and makes me want to write about my past and my feelings to help others feel less alone — and to show that even the most heartbreaking of things can be overcome. I still don’t have everything all figured out, but I am trying to use my pain and heartache to connect with others and wrap my readers in a gentle, virtual hug. You may not know why you are struggling today, but please always keep fighting. You never know who you might be impacting with your life and what kind of incredible plans God has for your future.

Technical Difficulties

Ugh! Guys, this whole “technology” part of running a blog is beyond me. I like writing a lot, but the rest of having a lifestyle blog is a bit stressful sometimes. I have to keep things pretty bare bones since I need to get help for any extra computer use (Because of the pain in my arms and my inability to sit at a computer for very long), but I know I have a little bit of work to do to update things.

So I’m going to very  s l o w l y  be making some changes. This is a reminder that as soon as I can get help I will be changing my URL to KristaLauren.com, so stay posted!

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I’m excited about some little surprises I have planned for my Single In The Suburbs family. Y’all will definitely be getting some new little treats in the next couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to continue to walk through life with y’all by my side. Thank you for being patient and thank you for staying such faithful friends! ❤