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Honesty

Q&A With Lauren Curry: The Beauty Of Moving

930 699 Chase Jennings

Hey friends! We are so excited with be chatting with our dear friend, Lauren Curry, today on LSK. Lauren manages our Pinterest page & you can read this post to get to know her a bit more. Read the Q&A below to hear about her move to LA and what the big life transition has shown her about the goodness and greatness of God. She shares extremely inspiring words about trusting the Lord to lead you in your life in His perfect time, how important it is to find a Church community that you love, and how Jesus comforts and provides in the sweetest ways. Regardless of if you are moving soon, have moved, or never moved, this is a must-read!

What inspired you to move to LA?

I had been visiting California 4-5x a year since my uncle and brother had both moved from California to Washington State around 4 years ago. Since they left, I had really been finding reasons to visit since they moved. When I was in college, I interned in California 3 summers in a row and literally every time I came to LA, I felt like my heart was exploding because I loved it so much. It sounds so dramatic, but it’s true! It was this past September when my dad had finally sat me down and said, “God told me that this isn’t your place anymore and that you need to move to LA. So I think you need to move as soon as you can, like in the next 2 weeks”.

So literally, I think I moved 2 1/2 weeks after my dad had sat me down without any full time job or any idea what I was going to do in LA, but I knew that it was the right timing.

 

What was the biggest challenge in moving to a new city and how did the Lord help you with the adjustment?

The biggest challenge for me was feeling lonely for the people that I had left in Washington. Whenever I would talk to my family who was celebrating a birthday party all together or see my friends back home on social media hanging out and having fun, I would, to be honest, ask myself why I did the hard thing.

Through this, the Lord really has really surrounded me with such amazing people, but He has also been teaching me how to do things alone. When I got to LA, I realized a lot of what I had to learn was that sometimes there’s areas of your life and things you need to grow in and do alone so that God has space to lead you to new places.

What are 3 of your favorite things about the city?

1. I LOVE the restaurants and coffee shops in LA. One of my favorite things in the world is finding new coffee shops and discovering new eats and LA literally has a never ending list of amazing places to go for food or coffee. Living here makes me wish I was a professional food critic.

2.  I really admire how the mindset in LA is to dream big. Everyone you meet here is here to really chase and pursue a dream. It’s really inspiring to live in a city that doesn’t put rules on what you can accomplish- I think it’s helped me really to start thinking outside my comfort zone.

3. I really just love my Church. I’ve been going to Mosaic in Hollywood since I moved and it’s literally been a lifeline for me. I’ve met some of my closest friends from LA through Mosaic and it’s really just allowed me to grow more and make my faith my own. As a follower of Jesus, it’s so important to surround yourself with a Church community who can be alongside you when life feels hard.

What has been the biggest gift about transitioning to LA?

God’s timing, 100%. Before I moved, I kept making excuses for why maybe I shouldn’t. I was scared that I was going to relocate myself and then end up with no job or no community, or realize that maybe this isn’t the place that I was supposed to be. But literally the day I moved to LA, I could feel God’s favor on my life. Doors kept opening for me and God’s timing was so perfect in every detail. So much has happened for me in the past 6 months and it was all stuff that, before I moved, I was desperately trying to organize on my own rather than allowing God to bring it to me when I was ready for it.

Biggest piece of advice you would give someone who is considering a relocation?

Have a tangible, genuine faith in where God can take you.

When you know and believe that the Lord has called you to greater places, you must also understand that He will truly protect you and guide you to where you’re supposed to go, while giving you what you need along the way. It’s not always going to make sense and it’s not always going to be on your timeline, but He truly has the perfect place for you at the perfect time and when He calls you to that, take action with the thought that He WILL provide for you and give you exactly what you need, when you need it. Before I knew I was moving, I prayed for MONTHS that God would give me 3 things: My place, my purpose, and my people. Months later, I’m truly reaping the seeds of those prayers, so I would challenge anyone who is confused or scared to pray for those 3 things and I promise, you WILL see that prayer come to pass.

The Delight Of Discipleship

1024 682 Melissa Mayer

The act of discipleship truly is a beautiful, powerful, incredible thing. Sometimes easier said than done though, as discipleship can seem daunting and intimidating, but this is not how the Lord wants us to view discipleship! Instead, let’s think of discipleship as it is: a true delight to spread His love and grace with those around us. It really is a lovely, delightful, Spirit-led journey that does not need to be intimidating at all!

Matthew 5:14-16 reads: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

As the Bible says, we are to “let our light shine before others”. This alone is a huge part of discipleship and lays the groundwork for inviting others to experience that light which comes from God and God alone. Our “light” is really not our light…it is His light shining through us as believers in Jesus.

Living lives that glorify God and allow for His spirit to permeate in us and through us is the beginning of the beautiful, obedient act of discipleship. Just as a smile is contagious, so is a God-centered way of living. Letting His light shine through us on a daily basis with people can ultimately lead to wonderful conversations and serve as a gateway into bringing people to Him in His time. Of course discipleship takes time, patience, endurance and this is just the start, but it is such a necessary, important, and delightful start!

We would love to hear your thoughts on discipleship in the comments section below. Also, if you don’t follow them already on Instagram, IF:Gathering is an incredible group on a mission to inspire and equip women to share the gospel with other women in their lives so they can live life with Jesus.

THE OUTFIT

sunnies | top | skirt | sneaks

images by felicia lasala 

Q&A With Branch Basics’ Founders: Part Two

996 664 Melissa Mayer

Hey, friends! As you guys know, we are BIG fans of the toxin-free, safe, plant-based  cleaning products brand known as Branch Basics. We first talked about the brand here, and then last month we interviewed one of their founders, Allison, in part one of this Q&A series. If you missed that post, you must check it out! Allison’s words are so inspiring and will really open your eyes to the true significance and importance of ridding your home of toxic products. To follow up on Allison’s story, we have another one of their co-founders on LSK today for part two of the Q&A series with the Branch Basics’ founders. Also, they are kindly offering a promo code for LSK readers…use code LSK20 for 20% off at branchbasics.com! Now without further ado, meet Kelly Love. Scroll down to get to know her, her journey with Branch Basics, and why she is so passionate about toxin-free living.

How did you become part of the Branch Basic team and what do you love most about it?

Goodness, so much to say about this! Allison and I were roommates and best friends in college at The University of Texas at Austin. Our junior year, Allison turned to Marilee (her aunt) for health advice because her body was failing her and none of the many doctors she saw over a two year period could figure out what was wrong. She was feeling hopeless, depressed and was in constant pain. Within six months of changing her diet and the products she used everyday per Marilee’s recommendations, along with doing all kinds of cool detox treatments and taking food-based supplements, she finally started getting a lot better. I witnessed the transformation and was hooked. I wanted to know everything Marilee was teaching her and I started bugging Marilee with tons of questions for my own wellbeing. As graduation approached, we thought it would be amazing to live with Marilee for a summer before starting “real life”.. Thankfully she said yes! From my perspective, Marilee taught and modeled for us what it looked like to live as close to God’s design as possible. We filled ourselves with pure air, pure food, and pure thoughts. We meditated on scripture, spent time in nature, and didn’t put a single thing in our mouths that wasn’t part of our Food as Medicine prescriptions.

The results were powerful and truly life-changing for both of us. Allison was a new person and I, the “healthy one”, was feeling better than I ever had in my life. My painful menstrual cramps, dry and itchy eyes, random headaches, and joint and muscle pain all disappeared. I didn’t even have body odor when I got sweaty! It was a snapshot of our body’s potential and also, sadly, of how so many suffer because of what they eat, breathe, put on their bodies, and focus their minds on. Allison and I now shared Marilee’s passion for wanting to help others live a healthier, fuller life and avoid unnecessary suffering. So again, Allison and I went to Marilee asking for something that seemed crazy to her: Would she start a company with us so we could get her knowledge out to the world? In 2010, we launched Three Branches Healthy Living, an online shop for all things healthy – the safest organic mattresses, air purifiers, food-based supplements, non-toxic cleaning, etc. and then that turned into Branch Basics, which focused on cleaning, in 2012. As for what I love most, it’s a tie between getting to work with people I love so much and having the opportunity to learn something new from Marilee everyday. My life, my husband’s life and my daughter’s life are no doubt better because of her and everything she’s taught me.

Tell us about your journey of ridding your home of toxic products. How did you become passionate about clean home products?

I could feel the difference! I can now 100% tell that my constant dry eyes were from the conventional laundry detergent and dryer sheets I was using up until my “detox summer.” When I got to Marilee’s she had me put all my clothes in the sun and wash them several times to get the chemical residues out of the fibers. After giving my body a break from that non-stop toxic exposure (clothes, towels, sheets – you never escape it!), I was finally able to realize how crazy strong those smells are. I was so used to them that I couldn’t tell before! It’s like smokers that quit smoking and then can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. The laundry switch was such an obvious difference for me, so it was a huge motivator to change everything. (In addition to dry eyes I now notice I get a stuffy head, tingly and tight muscles especially in my face and neck area, headaches and I don’t sleep as well when I’m around conventional stuff.)

It also just made so much sense to me that our homes should be a safe haven, free of products that put stress on our body’s detoxification and immune systems. Cleaning products are such a simple thing to change, and getting all the toxic ones out makes a HUGE impact on your indoor air quality and on your body. Understanding what is and what isn’t safe is so important, though. We want people to know what to look for in products so that they are using the safest, most effective cleaning products possible and ultimately to inspire the entire industry to make human health the #1 priority when formulating.

If there is one piece of information that you think people should know about the importance of using safe, pure cleaning products, what would it be?

It’s about so much more than being “green.” It’s important because it means you’re not exposing yourself to endocrine disruptors that can make it difficult to get pregnant, or neurotoxins that can affect brain development, or carcinogens that can increase the risk of cancer, or skin irritants that can contribute to eczema, or allergens that can induce nosebleeds. Our hearts long for people to understand the true weight and importance their cleaning and laundry products carry in relation to their wellbeing. This is the reason we do what we do.

How do you balance being an entrepreneur and a wife + mom?

This is a daily struggle for me! Still haven’t nailed it down yet!

Thankfully my husband is a very helpful, hands-on dad and also helps me make dinner most nights. (Green Chef has been amazing for us!) I’m also extremely thankful that my daughter has always been a good napper because I work during her naps and at night so I can focus on her while she’s awake. I have to be careful though, because too often I’ll tend to stay up way too late (since it’s a time I can focus without interruptions and distractions), and I’ve gotten myself into a situation where my adrenals are super fatigued and working on overdrive. (I’m kicking myself because it’s 1 AM as I type this!!) But I’m getting better and I’m also getting better at saying no to things so I don’t overcommit myself. It means Branch Basics isn’t growing as fast as it could, but it’s worth it for my health and time with my family.

In addition to using clean products, do you also value a clean diet? What are some of the grocery staples in your home?

Absolutely! A clean, nutrient-dense diet is so foundational and critical. One of the things I learned from Marilee and am totally on board with is that one diet does not fit all, and the body needs different foods, prepared in specific ways at different times of the year, during different phases of life. Especially for women. For example, there are various foods to emphasize when trying to conceive, while pregnant, and postpartum that aren’t as important in other seasons of life. Another example I love is that a person in Jamaica is not going to eat the same diet as someone in Alaska. Some foods are cooling and some foods are warming. Some people do better with little to no meat, while others should eat meat regularly. I am an O blood type and have been nursing my daughter for 16 months, so I try to get in a lot of healthy fat and protein.

Some of my staples are organic eggs, butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, Applegate Organics turkey, beef and chicken hot dogs (so easy and convenient!), Safe Catch canned tuna, wild-caught salmon, organic/grass-fed bone broth (Bonafide brand when I don’t have any homemade), organic and grass-fed yogurt with no sugar added, Go Raw sprouted granola, Once Again organic almond butter, Alvarado-Street Bakery bread and bagels, organic sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, and plenty of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I also keep Amy’s Soups on hand for times I don’t have time to prepare food and spruce them up with Vital Proteins collagen, bone broth and butter.

Besides Branch Basics of course, what other clean brands do you love? They can be home, beauty, or anything else!

Ah, so many! The tops ones that come to mind are W3ll People (makeup), Primally Pure (deodorant and skincare), Innate Response (prenatal vitamins), and Simple Mills (cookies, crackers and baking mix – I don’t use their icing though), Epic (meat bars), Hu Kitchen (chocolate bars) and Pact (organic cotton sports bras, underwear, and leggings).

10 Non-Fiction Books To Add To Your Amazon List

683 1024 Melissa Mayer

We have recently been adding so many non-fiction titles to our “to read list”, so we thought it was time to share them with you! These are all titles that we have heard good things about time and time again, so we have no doubt that they are going to be that good. That being said, below are 10 non-fiction books to add to your Amazon list, ASAP. I am currently reading one of the books on the list, Daring Greatly, and Melissa is reading another…Daring to Hope. Have you read any of these books or heard about them? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom + find outfit details down there, too! xo

  • She is Free by Andi Andrew // I heard about this book on Jamie Ivey’s podcast, The Happy Hour, and immediately added it to my list. Andi has an incredible story…moved to NYC from Australia with her husband and they ended up planting a Church in NYC called Liberty Church. 
  • Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson // We are constantly inspired by and in awe of Sadie Robertson…girl is sharing the Gospel fearlessly and relentlessly and we love it! Her website, Live Original, is an amazing resource of inspiration and hope so we can only imagine how amazing her book is.
  • If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey // Speaking of The Happy Hour, we are dying to read Jamie’s book, If You Only Knew! We have heard her talk about it on her podcast and it sounds like a heartfelt and super honest, real book that looks shame straight in the face and says, “nope, not today!” and we are all about that.

  • The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile // Okay, Enneagram enthusiasts, this one is for you. If you have taken the personality test or have been wanting to, this is definitely a book to read ASAP…their podcast is awesome, too. 
  • Unshakeable by Christine Caine // A daily devotional by the incredible Christine Caine that invites you to have a closer relationship with Jesus and find strength and hope in God’s Word.
  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown // I had been wanting to read this book for so long and am currently in it and cannot recommend it enough…being vulnerable is such an act of courage and Brene Brown shares this transformative truth so beautifully.

  • The Dream Of You by Jo Saxton // Another discovery c/o The Happy Hour, this book is on my list because she writes all about the journey of discovering who we are meant to be through the letting go of broken identities…how fascinating!
  • Daring To Hope by Katie David Majors // Wow oh wow is Katie an inspiration! Her story is truly incredible and her love for Jesus and courage to follow His will no matter what is beyond encouraging.

  • You Are Free by Rebekah Lyons // This book invites us to rest in the freedom that Christ promises us through a relationship with him instead of reaching and striving for the approval of others…what a gift!
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis // The reviews on this book are unreal and makes me so excited to read it. Rachel Hollis’ book inspires women to focus on truths about themselves that instill confidence and therefore tear down false mindsets that hold us back.

 

THE OUTFIT

tee | pants (c/o) | bag (c/o) | slides | sunnies (c/o)

Get To Know The Story Of Stranded

1024 682 Melissa Mayer

Hey you guys, Melissa here, an editor on LSK! I am so excited to interview our very own Lo on the blog today, as well her best friend, Anna, to get to know the story of Stranded– their dry shampoo brand. Prepare to fall in love with the story, spirit, and soul behind Stranded, especially if you have been searching for a clean, toxin-free, and effective dry shampoo. Raise your hands, girls who don’t like to over-wash their hair!

-Tell us the story of how you two came up with the idea for Stranded Dry Shampoo Powder?

Lo: I remember AB (Anna) coming home to our apartment at the time, with a burden for brunettes because they were unable to use dry shampoo in powder form (hello, gray hair!) and expressed the idea that we should create one suitable for brunettes, too.  I could not have been more on board with the idea; research began, and the rest was history!

Anna: It really was a “eureka” moment I had in the car one day – I was thinking about how blondes could use baby powder as dry shampoo and how easy it should be to make a brown powder for the brunettes to use!  Wanting some validation, I shared my idea with Lo and with her encouragement and excitement we hopped on the internet, ordered some products, and started experimenting.

-What is the best part of working together as best friends?

Lo: There are so many positives that it’s hard to narrow them down. We have so much fun creating, brainstorming, and sampling product, plus the extra bonus- we can work in our pajamas on this, ha! The comfier the better. We also have the same foundational vision and always have each other’s best interest at heart.

Anna: Working together as best friends has been such an adventure and a blessing – we balance each other out really well and often think of things from different perspectives so that has been beneficial for our business.  It’s also been fun to learn how to be business owners and entrepreneurs together and just figure things out as we go!

-Lo, your twin sister + brother-in-law joined the team as well! What is the best part the two of them being part of Stranded with the two of you?

Lo: It feels like a full-on family business! It is so special.  Each one of us has completely different roles, too, so it makes Stranded very manageable + we are not trying to wear too many hats! We each do what we are skilled in and passionate about, work really well as a team, and have a lot of laughs in the process!

-What is the biggest success to-date for Stranded?

Anna: The positive reception we have had from consumers has felt like such a success to me – you always think you have a good idea but you never really know until people other than family members willingly seek out your product 🙂 Also, being featured on the Jamie Ivey holiday gift guide podcast felt like a real win to me.

-Any dreams/goals for Stranded that you can share?

Lo: We are actually in the midst of rebranding which sounds kind of funny since we so recently launched, but we learned so much last year and are making little shifts for long terms goals and focus! We also hope to alter the way people define and view beauty. We want to be in the beauty industry to help shift the meaning of beauty – it sounds a bit ironic, but that is our biggest foundational goal! We would also love to launch other products as we continue growing and learning.

-The fact that Stranded is for all hair colors is so amazing…has that always been an important part of the brand philosophy?

Lo: They was the philosophy that gave us a vision and a launching pad for sure. We hope to make people’s lives easier by lessening the time it takes to do your hair, and hair powder (which we feel works best in the dry shampoo world) was for the most part, only limited to blondes to use, since it was offered in only a white color. We wanted to change that!

Anna: Yes! It is so important to us that we are inclusive of all hair colors and we hope to continue growing the range of colors so that a simplified beauty routine is accessible for all people.

-It must be so fun to be able to share this dry shampoo product that you girls care so much about with the world. What has been the most rewarding part of that journey?

Anna: The most rewarding part of the journey has been when my brunette and redhead friends want me to guess how long its been since they’ve washed their hair, and then give a sly hair flip and a raise of the eyebrow, singing the praises of Stranded all the while. It feels good to have provided a clean beauty product that is becoming a staple in my friends’ beauty routines.

-Stranded is crafted with clean ingredients, making it safe and toxin-free. Why is that so important to you all as a brand?

Lo: We have learned so much about how detrimental toxins in beauty products are to our health. We wanted to offer something that not only betters your quality of life and confidence, but something that sustains good health as well!

Radiant With Joy

1024 683 Melissa Mayer

When spending time in my She Reads Truth Bible the other day (while listening to All Sons & Daughters on repeat), a line in Psalm 34 really took hold of me. Psalm 34:5…”Those who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces will never be ashamed.”

Those who look to Him are radiant with joy. WOW. What seems like a simple statement is really filled with so much power, truth, and hope. We have probably all read Psalm 34 many times, but this line stopped me and caused my heart to flutter a bit and my mind to fixate on the words. As children of God, we have the gift, opportunity, and blessing to truly be radiant with joy, as we look to Him.

This truth fills me with so much joy. If we look to Him, we will be radiant with joy. This is freedom, this is life, and this is truly the only way that I want to live! Focusing on Him, thanking Him, worshiping Him, loving Him and loving others like He does, and keeping Him first and foremost in our minds and hearts everyday is some of what looking to Him involves. Spending time in His Word, spending time with Him in prayer, and ultimately living with Him by inviting Him into every aspect of our days and lives.

As we do this, He has promised that we will be radiant with joy. The real, sustaining, never-ending, fulfilling, deep kind of joy that is true despite our circumstances. Even in hard times, we will be radiant with joy if we look to Him. The more I think about this, mediate on it, and let this truth take deep roots in my heart, I start to become emotional and overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness, greatness, and grace. He loves us so much and so perfectly and has promised us so much. We just need to look to Him always.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this verse in the comments section at the bottom of this post. You can find outfit details down there as well! Thank you Felicia Lasala for taking these photos. 

// THE OUTFIT // 

top | jeans | boots (c/o) | bag (c/o)

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