Toushae

Pay It Forward

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I still vividly remember my first time helping someone. Sure, I remember plenty of Saturdays full of my parents dragging my brother and I to volunteer with the church, but this time was different. This time, it was my own decision to help. It was finally summer and my brother and I had just spent an afternoon at the park. Exhausted and damp from the southern humidity, we headed home for a popsicle. As we began our short walk home, we noticed our widowed, elderly neighbor, Mrs. Haney, weighed down by a heavy load of white, plastic grocery bags. It is an image that is still imprinted in my mind. She walked so slow that she seemed to be bobbing back and forth. I remember looking at her still in her slippers and nightgown and feeling an unfathomable sadness, a feeling I would come to later know as sympathy. I knew those bags she was struggling to hang onto had come from the dairy mart and I knew she had been walking for a long while. I don’t think I even had to tell my brother to come and help. Before I knew it, we had taken the bags from her and carried them up a small, but steep set of steps onto her porch. I don’t remember what she said to us, I only remember her trying to give my brother and I both a dime. Of course we refused any amount of money and raced home to tell my mom about our good deed. I look back now realizing that helping Mrs. Haney was the foundation for me wanting to spend my life giving back.

I truly believe God gives us unique talents that he entrusts us to discover and then go out and use to showcase His love in our everyday work. However, as I have gotten older,  I’ve noticed there is one talent each and every one of us have in common. I know, it may be hard to believe you have something in common with Beyonce or Kevin Durant, but bear with me. If I’ve learned anything in my 23 years, it is that all of human creation has the ability to go out and and do something to positively impact someone. Maybe it is changing someone’s life through your music, but like I learned as a kid, it can also be as simple as carrying someone’s groceries.

In life too often, success is measured by large, monumental  moments in our careers and personal lives. But to me, success is measured by the amount of people we touch during our time on Earth. The beauty of measuring success this way is that not only can each and everyone of us do it, but we can do it every single day. We should do it every single day. It can happen through smiling at a stranger, lending a hand, cracking a joke, donating your time, donating your money, feeding a homeless man, holding a door, or just saying thank you.

YOU can make a difference and YOU can change the world for one person.

And when we are drawing our final breaths in this life, I believe the meaningfulness of our time will come from the being able to answer the question, “What good did I do for others?”.

A better world is possible. Now go restore faith in humanity.

-Shae

 

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For the Love of Bows

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Southern Bow Boutique

I absolutely adore bows, especially in the summer time. They are my favorite way to dress up a lazy hair day. I usually find myself sticking to a solid color bow, but lately I can’t seem to resist the patterns. This past Memorial Day Weekend, I rocked my festive American flag bow, pictured above. I’ve found quite a few online bowtiques (see what I did there?), but my personal favorite is Southern Bow Boutique! Her bows are as cheap as $3.99 and that’s where all of the ones pictured above come from. She even has some cute Lilly prints too!

If you’re looking for some bow hairstyle inspiration, check out these!

Now go get yourself a pretty bow! Enjoy!

Shae

Southern Charm

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I had the best time this weekend at CHAMPs for Mott, an event for work that took place at Zingerman’s Cornman Farm in Dexter, Michigan. If you’re in the area and planning a wedding, I totally recommend the venue. I wish I could wear the outfit I wore to the event this every day. A tulle dress and cowgirl boots? It DOES NOT get better than that. Anyways, I got lots of asks about the dress, so I thought I’d do a quick blog post on the outfit. My Ivory Ella Dress is from an online boutique, Space 46. I absolutely adore their bright tulle skirts, but I couldn’t pass up this dress that can be worn both as a dress or skirt! Best news is, it’s still available online (go get one!). It’s super easy to recreate this look, just pair it with a long necklace, your favorite cowgirl boots and a denim jacket and you’re set! -Shae

Dear About to Graduate Shae..

A letter I wish I could have given myself the morning before I graduated.

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Dear Shae:

You are about to graduate. Literally. You are about to wake up and dad will already be awake. The first thing he will say to you this morning is “we made it little bit”. You’ll laugh and love that he said “we”. You’ll rush to the shower wanting to hop in before your mom. After your shower, you’ll try your best to hide the dark circles under your eyes that are still lingering from the stressful end of the semester. You will take a few attempts at eye-liner, shrug and think you’ve never been able to put it on anyways. After you finish running the straightener through your hair for the 100th time, you’ll hold a long gaze in the mirror trying to embrace this moment. You’ll look at your white dress, white nails, and put on your graduation cap for a sneak peak. You’ll grin a little and start to get teary. Before you can let fear resonate, dad will yell to hurry you along, him knowing you have every intention of grabbing Starbucks before being dropped off at checkin. You’ll yank your cap off and rush to the car.

You’ll make it to Starbucks in plenty of time to meet Cornelius for a final undergraduate coffee date. When you see each other, you’ll hug longer than usual. Over coffee and bagels, you’ll talk about the ceremony to come and avoid too much talk about jobs. You both know today is about past success and not about the future. You will arrive at graduation jamming to WVAQ with Cornelius. Because, duh, you couldn’t imagine any other way to go out. You’ll check-in together and then be forced apart by the alphabet.

You will wait in the auditorium, looking at all the decorated graduation caps and embracing the excitement. You’ll listen to people talk summer plans and future jobs. You’ll get a little knot in your stomach at the thought of having zero responsibility starting tomorrow morning. And then after many, many minutes of waiting… You’ll walk across the big stage. Thankfully, you’re not going to fall, so let that worry go. You’ll get your diploma and after you sit back down in the squeaky auditorium chair, you’ll think.. “I can’t believe this is real. What’s next?”

I’m not going to lie to you. We’ve always been real with each other.. The next year of your life is going to be challenging. You’re going to experience every emotion possible and you’re even going to want to quit. But spoiler alert: you’ll never give-up.

As you begin this journey, know right now that you’re going to have good days and you’re going to have some bad too. You’ll get homesick, it will take you three months to find a job, you’ll lose someone else to cancer, there will be family issues, you’ll fight depression, you’ll miss college and your best friends a lot, and there will always be stressful days on the horizon.

But please, cling tight to the good. You will have a great job, you will find a church you love, you will make some new friends, you will get to reunite with your family, you will eventually see a paycheck again, you will stay involved with Make-A-Wish and you will always, always get by. And best of all, you’ll experience it with your best friend.

So stop worrying. The fear you feel right now is only going to hold you back

And a year from now, you will look back and feel happy for every ounce of struggle you had to endure, because you finally understand that even though you’re not sure what you’re dreaming of, you’ve never stopped searching and that is an accomplishment in itself.

God will place you right where you are meant to be. Now wake up and go graduate, Shae. You’ve got big things to go after.

Love Always,

Yourself

Move Wellness Ann Arbor

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Recently, I had the honor to be asked to take some classes at Move Wellness and share my experience.

Any 20-something understands that trying out a new gym or studio is never an easy feat. For me personally, I get a little jittery about finding my new spot, what the instructor will be like, and what my body is in for. But at Move, I felt right at home.

The first class I took at Move Wellness was a barre class. I arrived a few minutes late and had to rush into the class. My instructor was super understanding and made a spot at the barre for me, bringing me my equipment and welcoming me into the class. As I got settled, I began to take in my surroundings. Wow! The studio is absolutely beautiful. My favorite is the large windows that allow for the room to be overcome by natural light. It makes for a great atmosphere.

Overall, I would give the Total Barre class a 8/10. It was great. The instructor was fantastic, the class was small, and she came around to correct posture, moves, etc.

The second class I took was a Shred 60 class and holy sweat, man. I loved this one. It was 60 minutes of cardio and getting that heart rate up! We also did some strength training with the TRX. I will tell you, this class was not easy. The entire time my mind was quitting, but the instructor pushed us on and kept reminding us that we can do anything. It was just what I needed on a Wednesday night.

Overall, I would give the Shred 60 class a 9/10. It was a fantastic calorie burner!

The atmosphere, staff, cleanliness, and equipment get a 10/10. From instructors to the juice bar, everything there is perfect!

If you’re in the Ann Arbor area I encourage you to check them out. They offer yoga, total barre, pilates, gyrotonic, bootcamp, yoga, massage, wellness coaching, and shred. And best of all, the first class is free. 😉 Learn more here: http://www.movewellness.com.

Now go Move.

-Shae

To all my first year residents:

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To all my first year residents,

As graduation is just a couple weeks away, I want to tell you how proud I am of all you wonderful ladies!! I can’t help but think back to move-in day. The hall was prepped with smiley face name tags and a quote on the bulletin board read “We comes as strangers, we leave as friends.” I was nervous as you were on that EXTRA hot August day. I was definitely sweating from nerves rather than the heat as I went around and introduced myself. I met you and your parents as you unpacked..Woah, where has time gone?! I was so excited to get to know all of you girls….

I just want to thank each of you for everything you helped me learn along my own college experience. I especially want to thank you for all the many late night powwows in the lounge, even if it was after you had one too many to drink in your dorm room (yep, I knew). Thanks for coming in my room with happy tears and sad tears. Thanks for letting me cry sometimes too. Thanks for coming to all those repetitive floor meetings and eating all my candy. Thanks for decorating the hall for my birthday. Thanks letting me eat lunch with you. Thanks for running up and down the hallway at all hours of the night (Sam). Thanks for helping me laugh on some of my worst days. Thanks for asking my for fashion advice. Thanks for letting me help you. Thanks for making awesome Christmas door decs. Thanks for coming to my floor programs. Thanks for respecting my space. Thanks for the tie-dye memories. Thanks for pretending you didn’t see me downtown. Thanks for doing floor dinners. Thanks for it all, but especially, thanks for making Boreman 3rd Floor North the best floor in all of WVU!

I am wishing each of you a happy last couple of weeks as an undergrad student. You’re almost there and you’re going to make it, I promise! I know y’all are headed for big things! Even if the next couple months are a little confusing, don’t forget what I told you four years ago when you started on your journey: “Define your dreams, set your goals, and make them happen. The only person who can ever hold you back is yourself” Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer!

Congrats, ladies!!!

Forever your RA,
Shae

22 awesome things that happened to me this year!

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Is today really my last day as 22-years-old? How? I feel like I just turned 21 and now I have to face 23?! What is this madness?

Each year, I always like to spend my birthdays reflecting on the past year of my life. Sure, this is what most people use the new year for, but I’ve always felt birthdays  are a much more personal way to recap where you’ve been and focus on where you’re going. And so, what better way to recap my year than to share 22 awesome things that happened to me this year.

 

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1. Luke Bryan. Enough said.

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2. I won Outstanding Public Relations Senior.

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3. I graduated from college… say what?

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4. I moved to Ann Arbor, MI to move-in with my boyfriend of five (almost six) years.

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5. I celebrated the fourth of July by riding my first horse!

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6. Became a wish granter and met my first wish kid Lauren. Meeting Lauren was by far the best thing that happened to me this year.

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7. I supported 900 cyclists as they pedaled 300 miles across the state of Michigan all for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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8. Stood on the finish line of the Michigan International Speedway.

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9. I donated my hair!

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10 .I got my first full-time post grad job at the University of Michigan Health System!

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11. I visited Sand Bear Dunes and met Lake Michigan.

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12. I started dancing.

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13. Helped put on my first event for work.

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14. I learned how to cook!

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15. Got to wear an Olympic Medal. No big deal.

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16. Bought a car with Jaron!

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17. Got my first live Christmas tree

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18. Hung out at the Winter Classic.

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19. Watched Michigan get blasted by record snow fall. (it’s awesome now that it’s over)

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20. Made it to a new city. I love you, Chicago!

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21. Helped my brother turn 21.

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22. And I got one of the best surprises EVER!

Another full of amazing blessings. I can’t wait to see what 23 brings. XO

What the Movie Frozen Taught Me

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Frozen has become my all time favorite Disney movie this winter. Sure, I love the Elsa, Ana, and Olaf… but what really has me hooked is how much I was able to connect with the storyline.

Okay so no, I am not Elsa and even though it would be cool… I can’t build magical ice castles with the point of my finger (sorry for the let down). But, like Elsa, I do have a flaw I’ve tried to hide. It’s no secret that I am a super high strung person. If you’ve been around me for more than five minutes, you probably picked up on that much. But what a lot of people don’t know is that for over two years, I’ve been taking anxiety medication to try and control it. I had to take it and I don’t regret it. God knows I definitely needed it at the time I started taking it.

But, recently I got to the point recently where I didn’t want to take them anymore. I started going off my medication in December and I can’t adequately share what an insanely difficult battle this has been against my own mental army. It’s been so much harder than I was actually prepared for. I think I’ve felt every emotion possible the last three months, but mostly recharged. Being on medication was okay for me for a while, but the last year, I felt like I was only giving 75%. It began to mask my ambitions with contentment. And thus, I decided to go off my medication.

For a while, I whole-heartedly suffered with trying to find my “normal” again. I couldn’t remember what that looked like for me. I know it sounds odd, but after a couple of years of medication, I kinda forgot how I felt before then. I spent so much time trying to separate what’s withdrawal side effects and what’s my natural personality. After a couple of months, this has gotten a little easier but it’s still a struggle. Yet, this entire process, no matter how difficult it has been, is something I wouldn’t turn back on for a couple of reasons..

One is that if I never went on medicine, I’m not sure I would recognize my anxiety the way I do now. Before, I was so used to it. I couldn’t tell you when I was overreacting to small, unjust circumstances. But now, I can notice the waves of anxiety forming in the distance. I see them coming and can plant my feet firm in the sand and control whether or not I’m capsized.

And last but not least, I am so much more accepting of my anxiety now. I understand that it is who I am as a person and I am even thankful it. I realize that I don’t need to hide it or even try and change. And I personally want to thank Elsa for teaching me that I can “Let It Go”.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing.. I’m letting it go.

The fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all. It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free. Let the storm rage on. Here I stand and here I’ll stay. The perfect girl is gone.

This week I challenge you to think about what’s holding you back and let it go… just like Elsa.

Have a blessed week.

XO,

Shae

Our backup plan is God’s original plan

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2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
James 1:2-8

Sometimes we lose sight of our dreams, ya know? We forget God is in control, get a bad attitude, or just plain get down on ourselves.

As I have continued to chase my dreams and try and understand God’s plan, I’ve easily forgotten how much my past and losing Myles to cancer has continued to propel me forward. I always get these sweet messages from people who tell me I have inspired them to chase their own dreams. Those are my favorite messages to get.

Recently, I got this one:

“I wanted to tell you that the things you’ve written about Myles are honestly heart warming and mean a lot to me.. He’s my cousin and I always spent every other weekend at my grandma’s with him. He always talked about you! Every time after church he’d say something sweet about you too.”

My heart stopped a little. It was like a message sent straight from Heaven. It was something I never knew about Myles and it just gave me these positive vibes and memories to help me keep pushing forward for him. It was almost like a reminder that he’s still sitting there with God watching and cheering me on.

I know her message was little, but it was what I needed to see that God is still in control. And even more so, it brought me back to my past, to where it all started, and reminded me of my original life motto..”Live life for the ones who don’t get the chance.”

Don’t ever forget..our backup plan is God’s original plan.

-Shae

I’m a Grown Woman *Beyonce voice*

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Some days you just really have to dress the part. I needed to put my big girl pants on today, so I did. My favorite part about this outfit is how comfortable it is. I like to take my business attire with a side of comfort. Here are the details! My silky black accented top is from JCREW Factory. They are sold out but you can get the tank version for summer ($45) and pair it a black blazer or cardigan. My stretch twill pants are seriously my favorite. They are as comfortable as a pair of leggings. I got them from JCREW Factory as well ($50).I paid $24 compared to $175. My shoes are Daisy by BCBG and I managed to get them for only $40 at TJMAXX. My bag is Harper by Francesca’s. It’s unfortunately unavailable now, but you can find a dupe at H&M ($50). Now for my arm candy.  My Stacy Dot watch is from Francesca’s and is a Kate Spade Dupe. My gold link chain bracelet is from TJMAXX, but Brina Box has a similar one on sale ($40). Happy shopping!

XO,

Shae