Renovation Progress

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Okay! So this whole “design blogging ” thing has me so excited! So let’s get to my official first blog post as The Youthful Home!

Since purchasing our home, we’ve tackled a handful of projects. And assuredly, will continue to do so. The list never seems to end haha. But, I wanted to share with you all the initial updates we made to the house before we moved in!!

For starters, huge thank you to my dad and Billy’s dad, and his brother for all their help! We couldn’t have done it without them.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Literally the day after we bought the house, Billy started removing the popcorn ceiling. He simply sprayed the ceiling with water and then scraped away! (Note: Some homes have asbestos in their popcorn ceilings and must be removed by professionals.) I was so impressed he knew how to do that! Removing the popcorn ceiling really brightened the rooms.

Ceiling Texture

We hired someone to texture the ceilings and it turned out so nicely! Really updated the home.

Interior Paint

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Okay, if you’ve ever tried to choose a white paint color, you know how confusing this can be. There are SO MANY WHITES. Like, what?! Each shade has a slightly different hue. My greatest concern was choosing a white that would come off cold. Well, somehow I picked the most beautiful warm, milky white on the first try! It’s called “Whisper White” by Behr. Amazing you guys. We had Sherwin Williams color match it because we have a connection there thanks to a kind friend. ūüôā

For the ceiling, we just did the standard ceiling white and it turned out great! Love the subtle contrast between the ceiling and the walls

Billy and his dad used a paint sprayer to paint everything. This made the process so much faster.

Floors

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Billy ripped up all the nasty, stained carpet. It was in terrible condition. Like, you wouldn’t want to walk on it barefoot. lol. ¬†Which is kind of important in a home.

Then, we hired someone to install our Coretec Luxury Vinyl Planks.  They are 100% waterproof, which is really important for Florida humidity. We chose medium, warm brown with neutral undertones.  I really like how wide the planks are and how much it looks like real wood!

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Now, all the hard labor is complete and we’re moved in and making it home! ¬†We are taking it one project at at time. ¬†I can’t wait to take ya’ll along for the ride.

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Introducing The Youthful Home

I’ve been on quite the journey with blogging. ¬† I’ve been at it for a few years now, and it’s become a happy little hobby of mine. ¬†You see, I love writing. I love taking pictures. ¬†I love creating. ¬†And if I can do all that, and maybe inspire someone at the same time, then mission accomplished.

With all that said, I’m excited to announce a little change happening around here. This blog is now titled The Youthful Home.

To some of you, you may have already seen this coming. Because honestly, decorating and making a home have become my greatest passions.

I’ve mulled this idea over for awhile now. When my husband and I bought our first home a few months back, the timing seemed right to focus in on a topic more. ¬†My favorite place. The home.

So what does this change mean for the blog? Here’s the type of content you’ll be seeing:

  • Our Home Renovation Journey
  • Budget Friendly Home Decor Tips
  • DIYs
  • Seasonal Decor Tips
  • Interior Inspiration
  • Vintage and Thrift Shopping Hauls
  • Recipes
  • Faith Inspired Content

The Youthful Home is where I hope to inspire you to love your abode.  To create spaces that tell your story.

You can read more about the heartbeat behind The Youthful Home in the About Me page!

I passionately believe the home should be a peaceful sanctuary in which you can be your utmost, childlike self.  A place where your faith grows.  A place where your love is shared. My goal is to never lose my young, joyful spirit and I’m inviting you to join me.

Welcome to THE Y O U T H F U L HOME

Ahhhh this little homemaker is so very excited and joyful about this! Love to you all!

Meekness is not Weakness

“You’re too sensitive.”

Words I’ve heard my whole life and believed. Words I’ve let steer my view of sensitivity as a flaw. A disadvantage.

Yet, God has been teaching me—not only is it not a flaw to be sensitive, it is a gift. It is not a weakness, it is an opportunity.

For the sensitive person, words are very impactful. ¬†Either refreshingly encouraging or devestatingly hurtful. ¬†I used to think the power of words over me was a negative trait. ¬†Recently, however, God has revealed just the opposite to me. ¬†I read the book of James a couple times in the past month. ¬†One of the overarching themes is…words. Yup. Taming the tongue (See James 3). ¬†The Bible has a lot to say about it. Words are a big deal to God. And so, it’s okay if words are a big deal to me. ¬†Because what we say is so important.

Proverbs 15:4‚ÄúGentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.‚ÄĚ

Woah! Words are LIFE-GIVING.

Proverbs 16:24 ‚ÄúKind words are like honey‚Äďsweet to the soul and healthy for the body.‚ÄĚ

Words are a big deal. When I look on sensitivity and meekness as a flaw, I am demeaning the power of words.  But the Bible repeatedly tells us words can satisfy and refresh, or words can wound and destroy.

Being sensitive allows one to feel and to feel deeply. Showing emotions is a sign of strength and courage. Sensitivity allows the simple things to be enjoyed and appreciated.

Really, sensitivity goes hand in hand with empathy, gentleness, and meekness.

For years, I’ve apologized for being sensitive.

Not anymore!

God has shown me how I can use my sensitivity to give people the encouragement that I thrive on. To care deeply for others’ trials and feelings. To channel that into the need to pray. To understand how people feel. To rejoice with them. To mourn with them. To appreciate all the details around me.

God has also revealed to me that since words are so impactful to me, that I should be all the more careful with what I say to others.  Sensitivity is something we can use to be sensitive to others.

Billy Graham once said in a devotional of mine, “Meekness is not weakness.”

A biblical definition of meekness is “strength under control.”

In other words, God’s strength imparted to us to feel, be kind and humble, loyal and honorable.

If you are meek and sensitive, stop apologizing for this beautiful gift God has given to you!

Sensitivity and meekness do not mean you let people run you down. It is exhibiting strength under control. Kindly and honorably standing up for yourself and what is right.

Here is an impactful quote by A. W. Tozer:

The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority.  Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself.  He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life.  He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels.  In himself, nothing; in God, everything.  That is his motto.

So friends, meekness is not weakness. Sensitivity is not a flaw. God is our strength and these are our gifts. Thankful the Lord has given me new perspective and invigorating encouragement!

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Three Years

View More: http://sgamblephoto.pass.us/billyandjulia

:: Written for Bill-Bill ::

I remember our wedding day so vividly. Weeks. No, months in advance I was so worried it would rain. (Our wedding was completely outdoors.) I literally looked up the weather probably two months in advance, and kept doing so til our day arrived. lol. God blessed us with the most beautiful spring day I’d ever seen. The sun sparkled over the bay, there was a gorgeous breeze, and I had never felt to peaceful and excited my entire life.

I remember excitedly peeking out of the window of my dressing room, watching the staff decorate the tables. I remember walking down the aisle to the theme from Anne of Green Gables.  I remember his face, filled with tears, as I walked towards him. I remember our friends and family laying hands on us.

I remember the happiest moment we both realized–we’re married.

The dance floor was full the entire night, and it was on our wedding day Billy realized his mad dance skills. lol.

It’s been three years since that day. ¬†The crazy thing is– I love him even more now. I’m so thankful to the Lord. The best part is– I know I’ll only keep loving him more.

Here is our beautiful wedding video.  Pull up a chair and welcome to our wedding day.

I love you, Bill-Bill. Thank you for the three best years of my life. Here’s to forever more.

Love,

Jules

View More: http://sgamblephoto.pass.us/billyandjulia

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How You Know You Met “The One”

Perched on my couch, I write to you with tea in hand and a smile upon my face. This post is written in honor of Billy and I’s upcoming 3 year wedding anniversary. Mmmm God is so good. He’s blessed me so beyond what I deserve. I will forever thank the Lord for the man that He has given me.


Talking about love and marriage always inspires me to share the wisdom I have gained through the years.  Finding the one looks different for everyone.  Everyone traverses a different path. A different distance. A unique journey. But God is near and He wants you to trust Him.

I believe we all desire love. ¬†Many people desire a forever love. A spouse. I believe God put that desire in us. It’s a good desire. ¬†It is from Him. Trust Him, follow Him, serve Him, and KNOW that He will provide.

Finding the one seems like a mystery. Until you meet the one. haha. I know it’s cliche, but the saying is true–When ya know, ya know. But, hindsight is 20/20. So here’s my insight on how you know you met the one.

  1. You can be yourself.

I remember when I first met Billy. One of the things I kept saying to myself was, “Wow, I can be my complete self around him.” It was astounding. Like nothing I had ever experienced before. I didn’t have to tame my silly side. He liked me. For me. My goofy, happy, loud-laughed, music-loving self. We were able to really embrace who we were. ¬†There were no fronts. No performances. Just us. And that is SO important.

2. You have the same values.

I remember when Billy first told me he liked me, we were sitting on the beach at John’s Pass. ¬†We realized our time together was headed towards relationship. ¬†Billy asked, “Can I pray for us?” That’s when I knew, this was different. ¬†This was something beautiful.

I can’t stress this one enough. You can have different hobbies. You can have the same hobbies. That really doesn’t matter, as long as you support each other. ¬†What matters is that your values and beliefs, are the same. ¬†Billy and I are both Christians. ¬†We believe that we are sinners (duh, we’ve all done crap), that the payment for sin is death, that Jesus paid that price for us on the cross, and conquered death 3 days later so we can go to heaven when we die. Billy and I have a relationship with each other, but first we have a relationship with GOD. If your values are not the same, the relationship is not worth pursuing.

3. There is so much peace.

I am a firm believer that God reveals His will for us through His peace.  I had never experienced such peace in my entire life.  There was no turmoil.  No constant battle.  Just peace.  It felt right.  It felt good.

4. Everything is simple.

Now, life isn’t always simple, but we humans tend to overcomplicate things. ¬†A right relationship shouldn’t feel like constant tug of war. ¬†This goes back to there being peace.

When Billy and I were dating, we typically drank tea and watched movies when he would come over. One day he told me the moment he knew we were going to get married. “We were drinking tea, and it was the happiest, yet simplest moment of my life. I knew I wanted to drink tea with you forever.”

Being with the one isn’t about some over-planned, highly orchestrated moment. It’s about simple, real, life moments.


I hope you enjoyed my little nuggets of wisdom.  Most importantly, remember the One who loves you more than any human ever could. So much so, that He died for you.

Psalm 143:8: ‚ÄúLet the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

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My God

The feeling of belonging is peaceful. The feeling of having is comforting. Don’t you agree? It’s a sweet feeling, one that we long for. One that we desire to nestle in and get comfortable with.

The other day, the most elementary principle really struck me fresh. It wasn’t new or revolutionary, but it was something that I had never given more than a passing thought. So here it is.

The Lord is mine.

Yep. Just as much as I am His, He is mine. Like, wow.

We were singing “Amazing Grace” at church, and one of the last stanzas we sang said,

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who called me here below,

Will be forever mine.

Tears filled my eyes at the very thought of it. “God will be forever mine.”

My fellow believers, just let that sink in for a moment.

The Creator of this beautiful universe. God is ours just as much as we are His.

When you put your trust in the Lord and what He did on the cross, you become a child of God. There is the belonging. He becomes your Heavenly Father. There is the having.

Our humanity wants to belong. Wants to have. Wants relationship. And isn’t it beautiful that with God we belong, we have, and we commune? If you let Him, He can fill all those little cracks of loneliness and lack of purpose in your life.

We are His, and He is ours.

It is a beautiful, mutual relationship.

Oh, MY God, you are so good.

Starting Your Day

They say that the first 10 minutes of your day sets the tone for the rest of your day.

I really started exploring this concept, trying it out for myself. For me, this way of beginning your day has little to do with checklists and tasks, and more to do with positivity and setting the scene.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of ways to start your day, with the hope of a fruitful, joyful, productive day.

1. In the Word

This is of utmost importance. I’ve always remembered my pastor saying, “We need God and we need Him early.” If you are struggling to find joy each day, but aren’t starting it with Jesus, you are setting yourself up for a dreary day. Spending time with the Lord in the morning is like coffee for the soul. The perfect way to awake and refresh. Nourish and uplift. It doesn’t have to take long. Just dedicate a few quiet moments to set your heart on things above.

2. Make Your Bed

A simple task yet so powerful. This minuscule decision sets your scene. Tidying your space helps give you that extra little boost in the morning. You’re awake. You’re up. Your bed is made. It’s go time.

3. Stretch

Perhaps a full blown workout just isn’t in the cards. That’s okay! Simply moving and stretching can alleviate tension and help put an extra pep in your step.

4. Get something done.

Even just one tiny task. Just do one productive thing in the morning, and you will be surprised how much you will accomplish throughout the day. Put away the dishes from last night. Flip the couch cushions. Fold that load of laundry. Small tasks have big effects.

Discipline will be needed in order to have a fruitful morning. Sometimes we need to help motivate ourselves. For example, I made a rule for myself a few months ago: The tv can’t be turned on until I’ve spent my quiet time with the Lord. That simple rule has been monumental in my morning routine. And in my walk with the Lord.

How are you setting yourself up for success each morning?

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.

Christmas Decor Ideas

I’m quite the homebody. I love a quiet day spent at home, tea in hand. This season, I’ve enjoyed decking the halls in our new apartment home. ūüéĄ

My philosophy when it comes to decorating for the seasons, is bringing the outside in. I try to implement this strategy in as many ways as I creatively can. It’s certainly a budget friendly motto to live by!

Here’s some festive Christmas decor ideas that’ll warm your heart just as much as a cup of hot cocoa.

1. Homemade Potpourri

My, does this make for a pretty display! And the smell? Ah! Delightful! All I did here was dry some oranges in the oven, arrange them in a bowl with some fresh cranberries, a cinnamon stick, and a sprig of our fresh Christmas tree! Some fresh cloves would be a fragrant addition as well. I think I’ve made myself a new tradition right here!

2. Set the Scene

Display your favorite Christmas reads! This gives off that lived-in Christmasy home. I always like to take off the paper sleeves on my books. More often than not, there is a gorgeous book underneath!

3. Christmas in a Jar

Perhaps the easiest Christmas decor to accomplish! All you need is a large mason jar, some red ribbon, and some Christmas tree branches! I don’t put the branches in water, but let them dry instead. This prevents mold from building up in there.

4. Orange Slice Ornaments

I dried some extra orange slices to make ornaments! Simply string them with some twine, and hang them on a branch with a light behind it. Natural stained glass! I can see myself making these with my future kiddos one day.

5. Mantle Arrangements

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a mantle. More like an IKEA tv shelf, but let’s pretend, shall we? Here I took more Christmas tree branches, added some pine cones, a few berries, and some battery operated fairy lights! Magical.

6. Remember the Reason

Don’t forget to add some Christmas cheer to your kitchen! How lovely is this nativity? It was my grandma’s years ago. (Thanks, Grandma!) I love its simplicity. A beautiful reminder of what Christmas is all about–the birth of our Savior!

I hope you feel inspired to think outside the box when you decorate this season! Wishing you and yours a very, merry Christmas!

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. ‚úĆūüŹľ

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.