Happy Youthful Year

I felt a new year’s post was in order. There is something absolutely wonderful about the start of a new year. Fresh and hopeful. Clean and crisp.

This year my goal is to truly encompass the “Youthful Philosophy”, as I like to call it. This philosophy is not a free pass to conduct myself with immaturity. Rather, it is maturely choosing to embrace the best traits of my childhood.

And what does that look like?

1. Childlike Faith

My faith was unwavering as a child. Steady and natural. As this year is sure to present some changes, my goal is to strive towards absolute surrender to the Lord. He has always come through, so why should I doubt Him?

2. Quick Forgiveness

I struggle with this. I’m so sensitive and when someone hurts my feelings or seems to care so little, it becomes so easy for me to dwell, and harp, and re-hash. However, as a child, this wasn’t such a struggle. I am praying that the Lord will help me with this. That I will simply pray for those who act unkindly.

3. Contagious Joy

I have always possessed what I like to call my “Julia Joy.” Yet, life can quickly zap that right out of me if I let it. My goal is to be irresistibly joyful. So much so that it bubbles over and creates ripples.

4. Life Lived Unplugged

Technology wasn’t as commonplace in my childhood. While technology can be truly amazing and useful, it’s important to be able to entertain oneself without it. I want to read more books and create more things and just be in the moment. Not living with a screen plastered to my face.

5. Constantly Imagining

This was a true talent of mine as a child. And still is. But it’s easy to forget to keep that imagination alive. I hope to add a little more imagination in my writing this year. You never know what that could lead to.

6. Reckless Love for the Lord

The love of Jesus in a child is so moving and raw. A true example. The greatest goal I can make this year is to love my God more. To spend more time with Him. I will say, the last few months of 2017, I read my Bible more consistently than I had ever in my entire life. And it rocked my world. In the best way possible. Therefore, I want to keep increasing this time spent with Him.

7. Wonder

Children love to wonder, don’t they? “What’s that?” “How does this work?” “Why does it rain?” Their questions go on endlessly. They stop and look at things. May my sense of wonder and awe increase this year. May I stop and gaze at the moon. May I breathe in the fresh air. May I look on God’s creation with admiration and true worship.

Happy Youthful Year, everyone! Excited to see where God takes this little blog of mine this year.

Things I’ve Learned From Being a Teacher’s Aide


I’ve worked with kids since I was 18. In my 6 years of summer camps, aftercare, and being a teacher’s aide, I’ve tucked away precious lessons and sweet memories. As this chapter closes and I move on to the next, I am thankful for the morsels of experience I can carry with me. I truly believe that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. All we must do is slow down and observe. Look a little closer. Hug a little tighter. Love a little more.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from my past three and a half years as a teacher’s aide.

  1. Bandaids have magical healing powers. Even if you can’t see a scratch, give the kid a bandaid.
  2. Kids will do anything for a piece of candy. Even just one skittle.
  3. The power of a sugar high over a child is no joke.
  4. Kids are brutally honest. “I don’t like your hair like that.” “Oh okay, thanks.”
  5. Kids genuinely care. If I was ever out sick one day, I’d have kids asking how I was feeling for a week or so after.
  6. Four square is serious business. And if they ever hit me with the ball, I was “interference!”
  7. Childlike faith is a truly beautiful thing. They believe with such reckless abandon. Unwavering, blissful, steady faith. 
  8. Watching a child break down walls–brick by brick, begin to trust, and flourish is one of the most heartwarming things to witness.
  9. The Bible doesn’t need to be watered down for kids. In fact, the more meat they learn from it, the more of the Bible they yearn for. Seeing them get excited in Bible class is so inspiring and uplifting.
  10. Copy machines have a mind of their own and they definitely aren’t people pleasers.
  11. Working at a school is like working with family. 
  12. Teachers work so hard. Not only do they pour into a child’s education, but their inner struggles as well. It’s been an honor to work along side the very best, loving, invested teachers.
  13. Rainy days= bad days at a school. No recess = no sanity.
  14. The teacher’s lounge is a sacred refuge. With donuts. Lots of donuts.
  15. I’ve learned a lot about discipline and resolving conflicts—valuable, fruitful lessons I can apply to parenthood one day.
  16. It has been an honor to work with children of all different personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  17. Kids see the world through different spectacles. They’re not afraid to get dirty, dig, and be free—a trait I need to embrace more.
  18. Sometimes you impact a child, and sometimes they impact you.
  19. When a teacher’s aide enters the room, teachers look at you like a paramedic about to save the day.
  20. In a world saturated with technology, it’s refreshing to see that reading a child a book still deeply affects them. Sitting criss-cross-applesauce, with their mouths slightly open, their gaze in awe and anticipation—they are entranced by the power of a good book.
  21. Speaking of technology, I’ve learned that it is not only unnecessary, but harmful in excess to a child’s imagination. (This is merely my opinion.) Nothing makes my heart soar more than seeing a child play house, drawing treasure maps, building things…being uniquely and creatively, them.
  22. Children aren’t afraid. They climb to the top of the play structure with ease. No looking down. No second guessing. They just climb. And that’s where I’m at right now. I needn’t look down, but rather look up.

As I tread unwandered trails, I hold fast to the fact that the Lord has always come through. He always provides. In His perfect timing. And He sprinkles the path with blessings and lessons. A truly beautiful journey indeed.

Bringing Back Print…With Artifact Uprising


Photographs. Real, tangible photographs. The kind that can send you straight back to another time, another place, another era…with just one touch.

I remember going over to my Nonna and Nonno’s house as a child and spending hours looking through boxes of photos. My tiny fingers perused the photos with admiration. Their adventures in Italy made me dream. Their stories of moving to the United States fascinated me. Pictures of my mom and aunt growing up warmed my heart. (And made me laugh.)

It’s amazing how a simple photo can freeze a moment.

We live in the era of smartphones. We are taking pictures constantly, and with ease. Which is awesome. And yet, we are seldom printing these photos. They are at the mercy of our camera rolls. Lost in infinite scrolling.

This is honestly heartbreaking. There is a rather large chunk of my life that I have little to no tangible photos. If I had continued down this path, I would have very little to show for my kids one day.

Unfortunately, there’s something so utterly unappealing about drug store prints. The quality is rubbish and this takes away from the art of the photo. And I think this is why people don’t bother printing their photos anymore. Because the quality is so low. I was taking beautiful photos, yet I had no beautiful way of bringing them to life.

Then one day, I was introduced to Artifact Uprising.


Beautiful, thick prints. Matte finish. With an eggshell texture. A classic white border. Rich color. Timeless and quality. From the moment I held an Artifact Uprising photo in my hands, I was hooked. And a new habit was formed: ordering prints.

I think all it really takes is seeing these photos in person for yourself. My husband has a few prints on display on his desk at work. His coworkers were instantly intrigued, and one of them even ordered some for himself. That’s the power of displaying the everyday.

Bringing back print is something I am quite passionate about. Getting a box of Artifact Uprising prints in the mail is a little like Christmas. They come housed in a lovely box that allows you to label the collection. I am now in the regular habit of getting my pictures off of my camera roll and into my home.


My heart beats so greatly for the #bringbackprint movement, that I’d like for you to experience these divine keepsakes for yourself. Now through October 9, 2017, you can use my code JULIA10 to receive 10 free everyday prints, any size, excluding shipping. Everyone is a winner with this one! Get started HERE.

If you choose to order your ten free prints, please reach out to me and tell me how you love them! It would certainly make my day!

Remember the soccer game. The anniversary trip. The late night icecream run. The selfie you took by that funny looking statue. Get it all off your phone and IRL. ✌🏼

I hope I’ve inspired you to bring your Instagram feed to life. To display the everyday. To #bringbackprint

*This post is in collaboration with Artifact Uprising.


My Road Trip Tips

Ahhh road trips. There’s something about them. Perhaps it’s the slight adventurous edge they have. Or maybe it’s the old fashioned simplicity of being on the road for awhile. The slow change of the scenery. The unexpected memories that are made.

I’m no travel guru. However, over the past few years I’ve come up with some road trip habits that have made traveling so much easier. It being summertime and all,  I thought I’d share them with you! Buckle up-let’s go!

1. Have dinner ready for when you get back.

This can go for any trip you take, but always have a meal in your freezer that you can heat up when you get home. There’s nothing worse than having been in a car for 10 hours and having to figure out what to eat when you get home. I just love knowing that a frozen pizza is waiting for us, no matter how late we get back home.

2. Healthy Food Stops

There’s nothing worse than eating a bunch of greasy fries and sitting in a car all day. Eating healthy is important everyday, but especially on the road. We love a light sandwich/sub on the road. Either pack some in a cooler (Time saver! Hello, rest stop!) or stop by Publix or Jersey Mike’s for a refreshing sub.  If you want to save on time, figure out which Publix you will be near around lunch time, and order your subs online! They’ll be ready for you the second you arrive. Yesssss.

3. Stay comfortable.

By this I mean, wear stretchy material and breathable clothing, pack blankets and pillows, and whatever else keeps you feeling at ease on the road! Since I’m typically the passenger on road trips (thanks, babe!), I love to pack a sleep mask. It helps block the sunlight so I can get some decent beauty rest! Hehe

4. Pack lots of healthy snacks

Making sure you are well stocked on snacks is an easy way to save time. No need to stop for some eats. Here’s a list of my go to snacks on the road that keep me refreshed and full:

  • Apples (My all time favorite road trip snack!)
  • Homemade popcorn (recipe here)
  • Bananas (keep you full)
  • Grapes
  • Granola bars
  • Raisinets (for a little chocolate fix)
  • Hawaiian Rolls
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter

5. Stay hydrated!

We all love a nice hot cup of joe on a road trip, but coffee can dehydrate you. Make sure you drink plenty of water too! Billy and I love our Swell bottles. They keep our water so cold for up to 24 hours! A road trip must! #refreshing

6. Keep your car well stocked.

Make sure you have everything you may possibly need! Umbrellas. Car phone charger. A portable phone charger. Trash bags. Paper towels. Tylenol. Pepto-Bismol. Tums. Motion sickness medicine. (To help you during the packing process, check out my travel pack-list here!)

7. Leave your house clean for when you return.

Billy and I just returned from Georgia, and let me tell you–coming home to a clean space is well worth it! Our bed was made. Everything was tidy. It makes the return home much more peaceful.

Thanks for reading! I hope you find these tips helpful and enlightening! Where are you headed on your next road trip?

My Travel Pack-List


My husband and I love traveling. Whether near or far, a little getaway does the soul so much good. 

As much as I love to travel, packing always puts a damper on my pre-travel buzz.

“BABE, I almost forgot to pack my phone charger. Again.” A reacurring statement in the Brown Abode.

That’s why I’ve come up with some ways to make packing easier, quicker, and less stressful. Because who wants to be stressed before a vacation?!

I started keeping a small packing list on a scrap of paper that I would pull out each time I travel. It contains an all inclusive list of everything I need. Just recently, I decided to create a printable pack-list I could print each time I venture to a new place. SO HANDY.

With all that said, I am giving you my free travel pack-list printable! This list is geared towards women, and you can add other specific items on the blank spaces provided. This allows you to personally tailor your list for what you will need in a specific destination. For example, if you’re going skiing, you may want to write in “snow boots.” This list is a general list of what you might need.

Click below to print your copy! (Or maybe a few. 😉)

Travel Pack-List Printable

Where are you traveling to next? Comment below and tell me how you like the printable!

Happy Travels,

Julia

Going Out More Often


Ahhhh sweet summertime is just around the corner! 🌺 Now I know we all need some R&R from time to time, but too much Netflix and couch-potatoing isn’t good either.

Today I’d like to talk to you about the GOMO project: Going Out More Often. I think we can all agree that money spent on experiences is far more gratifying, rewarding, and lasting than material goods. Going out can provide lasting memories and enriching experiences. Life is a vapor. It’s important to make the most out of it and to soak it up.

A really cool company called Eventbrite reached out to me regarding their GOMO movement. Their site allows you to not only find local events in your area, but to also create your own and even sell tickets. Definitely an amazing concept. I recommend taking advantage of their site by seeing what events are going on near you this summer!

So, with all that being said, how do I plan on living eventfully this summer? Even though I’ll be working, that won’t stop me from going out more often. I’m all about eating at new local restaurants, checking out outdoor markets, and being spontaneous. You’d be surprised with how much is going on in your community.

In June, I plan on attending a Phil Whickam concert (which I am unbelievably stoked for). In early September, the hubs and I are going to St. Lucia! 🌴🍍 The rest of our summer is still up in the air, but I’ll definitely be using Eventbrite  to discover what else is going on.

Let’s make this summer rich with flavorful and colorful experiences! Grab your camera, go outside, find a local adventure, and create a fabulous summer for yourself!

How to Pack for New York City in a Carryon 


I did it. I achieved the impossible. I packed for a 4 day trip to New York City in a carryon.

I just got back from the city last night, and enjoyed every single moment of the experience. I’ll post what we did, where we stayed, and what we ate in a future blog post! 📷🚖

Anyways, back to only bringing a carryon. Why even try to attempt such a thing? Well, I wanted to save money and avoid the hassle of checking in a bag. Plus, it was a personal challenge that I wanted to try.

Whenever I go on a road trip, I usually pack almost everything I own. Like, seriously. I just can never decide what boots to bring or which sweaters I’ll want to wear, so I’ll just bring them all, because I can. So this was definitely a challenge for me!

First, I decided to plan out every outfit I was going to wear. This way, I didn’t pack extra. I packed only ONE extra outfit, just in case I were to spill something on one of the other outfits. This worked out really well. Now, it’s still pretty cold in New York. Therefore, I had to pack bulky sweaters and scarves. If you’re visiting New York in the summer, a carryon will be even easier to achieve!

Secondly, I laid everything flat in my carryon. When I first packed my clothes, I left everything folded, and it just wasn’t working out. Then, I decided to unfold everything and lay it all flat. I couldn’t believe how much space that saved!

Next, I only packed three pairs of shoes (choose wisely and comfortably) and set my Hunter rain boots aside to wear on the plane. (Check the weather before you pack: I knew New York was expecting rain, so that helped me decide what boots to wear.) Always wear your bulkiest items on the plane. So instead of packing my coat, I wore it (or held it) on the plane.

The TSA limits how many liquids you can bring, so this really helped me limit how many toiletries I packed.

You’re also allowed one “personal item” with you on the plane. I recommend bringing a large purse. This way you can fit extra items like a small umbrella, makeup, etc.

Honestly, when I go back to New York one day, I will pack a carryon again. It was actually less stressful bringing fewer things. I love the freeing feeling of simplicity! Next time you fly, I urge you to take my carryon challenge! You might surprise yourself! 😊