Recently on Practically Joyful

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Decluttering 101: Duplicates

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Adapting to Seasons and Change

Adapting to Seasons and Change

I’ll be the first to admit that I love New Year Resolutions (although, I usually label mine “New Year Goals”). Maybe it’s my obsession with lists or my constant need to plan ahead. Either way, I make a list every year covering various areas of my life. This year the topics included financial, health, relationships, home, creative, motherly, spiritual, and spouse. The goals I choose are based on my priorities and the things I want to focus on for the coming year. Call me crazy, but do what works, right?

As has been custom the last several years, my pastor (who is also my father-in-law) encouraged us to find a specific Bible-reading plan for the year. I believe this is so necessary, as many Christians often struggle with knowing what to read. I’ve been there. The Bible can be overwhelming; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself, I’m just going to read it straight through, from front to back, only to find myself floundering months later, completely bored and struggling to find how it applies to my life (let’s be honest, Deuteronomy and Numbers are hard). Without a plan, I’ve found myself wandering through Scripture aimlessly, choosing books at random, sometime finishing them and sometimes not. 

2016 was hard. Not in the sense that life was difficult, but in establishing a routine in my spiritual life. Strong was only a few weeks old at the beginning of the year and I struggled to find time to read and pray. Fatigue became my perpetual excuse when I looked back over my day and realized I hadn’t made time for the Lord. As the months wore on and his schedule became more consistent, I found myself randomly reading bits of Scripture here and there. However, as it typically goes without a plan, my time with the Lord was unfocused and chaotic. 

Someone once told me that the Lord sees you in each season of your life; He knows that this one is not going to look exactly like the one before or after it. One season might allow for an hour in the Word a day while the next you may feel rushed and struggling to find balance. 2016 found me in the latter. 

One of the things I love most about the Lord is His grace; He is so gracious towards us when we are weak. This past year is evidence of that for me. While I don’t think He was upset at me for the little time I spent with Him, I think His heart yearned for me to draw close each day. And when I felt His nudging in this area, it was my turn to make a conscience decision to change this aspect of my spiritual life. I needed to lay aside my tiredness and to-do list and simply spend time with Him.

With all of this on my mind, I was anxious to find a Bible reading plan for 2017. I wanted to find something that I could sustain throughout the changes that this year is bringing to our family. I didn’t want to set myself up for failure by choosing to read through the Bible in a year, because I know that I would either a) not finish it or b) read through the passages so quickly that nothing would have a chance to saturate my heart and mind. After a quick browse on Pinterest, I found a reading plan that was perfect. It’s called the 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan with the key components of reading one chapter of the New Testament a day, five days a week. It’s simple and doable which is exactly what this mama needs. 

I share all of this to say, the struggle is real. Life is often fast-paced, motherhood can be exhausting, and there are never enough hours in a day. BUT I refuse to continue letting these excuses steal the one thing that always energizes and rejuvenates me: time with the Lord. So here it is, an encouragement to find a reading plan that is doable for your season of life. And while you’re at it, find a friend who can walk with you and keep you accountable, because we are to spur each other forward in this race!

XO, Kayla

Here is a link to a website that lists 10+ Bible reading plans for 2017. If you’re looking for a plan, check it out!

Fresh Focus & My 2019 Bible Reading Plan

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Gift Ideas for the Minimalist Mama

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A Beginner’s Guide to Waxing

A Beginner’s Guide to Waxing

 

So, you want to wax, but you don’t know where to start? I got you!!

 

  1. Grow your hair, caveman style. Seriously, though. Your hair needs to be about the length of a grain of rice, which usually takes 2-3 weeks depending on your body. If the hair is too short, it won’t pull out the way it needs to. (Please note: the longer the hair, the more painful the waxing session. Don’t wait too long to wax once the hair gets to be the right length.)
  2. Heat your wax. You don’t want your wax to be too hot (aka burn alert), so set your temperature to medium/medium-high heat. The more wax in your bowl, the longer it may take to warm up. (You can always set it to high heat and then turn it down to the desired temperature when the wax is close to being ready.)
  3. Set up your wax station. While your wax is heating, lay an old towel over the area where you plan to wax (you’ll want to be sure to set your wax warmer on the towel in case there’s a spill). Grab a waxing stick as well as several waxing strips. I typically use two towels: one to sit under my wax warmer and one to sit under me in case I drip wax anywhere. 
  4. Exfoliate the area you plan to wax. While this might be a step you want to skip, take it from me that it is so worth it. Exfoliation opens up pores and lessens the pain associated with waxing. I’ve skipped this step a time or two and have regretted it later.
  5. Ready, set, WAX!! Once your wax is heated, you’re ready to go. Place your stick into your waxing bowl. Wipe off the back of the stick against the edge of the bowl. (You might also want to wipe off the sides of your stick if your bowl is full to get rid of excess wax.)
  6. Apply the wax. Place your stick at a ninety degree angle to your skin. Slowly drag the wax in the direction the hair is “laying down.”
  7. Apply the strip. Place your strip on top of the wax and gently press down in the direction you applied the wax.
  8. Remove the strip. Take ahold of the strip and pull quickly and firmly in the opposite direction that you applied the wax. Be sure to pull the strip close to your skin rather than out and away from your body (the latter may result in bruising in more sensitive areas like your armpit). You may also want to pull the skin taut before pulling off the strip which will reduce pain.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 as needed.
  10. Remove excess wax. After you’ve finished waxing, apply Wax Off Cream to the area to remove any wax that may still be on your skin.
  11. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!! Exfoliate the area once again with a sugar scrub in about a day or so to cleanse the pores.

 

A few notes about waxing:

 

When placing your stick back in the warmer after applying wax to your skin, rest it on a different side than the spot where you wiped off the excess wax. This will prevent the back of your stick from getting sticky (aka less frustration).

 

You may find you have to apply wax in various directions in order to get all the hair. Pay attention to the way the hair is growing and apply the wax accordingly.

 

If you wax a particular area and miss a spot, only apply wax to that spot and try again. If you only miss a few hair, consider tweezing the individual hair rather than applying more wax, as the latter will increase the sensitivity following your waxing session.

 

On a scale of 0-10 for sensitivity:

 

Under Arms: 7

 

Legs: 5 (with the most sensitive area being directly above your shins)

 

Bikini: 8 (with the most sensitive area being your lower abdomen/upper pubic region)

 

Eyebrows: 2

 

The first time you wax will be the most painful (because you are removing the most amount of hair). After that, expect about half the rating that is listed above (less hair = less pain).

 

The more often you wax, the faster you’ll get! Your hair will become finer and thinner which will speed up the process as well.

 

I hope this brings you one step closer to trying this for yourself!! If you’re interested in my “why” for waxing, you can read about it here along with my favorite waxing supplies. And if you want a live tutorial, you can watch me wax my legs here on my Instagram page (just click on my highlights video). Happy waxing!!

 

XO, Kayla

 

My Struggle with Anorexia & Postpartum Body Love

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Neighborly Love

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Why I Started Waxing (& Why You Should Too!!)

Why I Started Waxing (& Why You Should Too!!)

 

Disclaimer: There’s going to be a loooot of honesty in this post and possibly some TMI, but, heck, this is stuff you need to know!! So here goes nothing.

 

My mom is a Shetler, and while that may mean nothing to you, it affects me big time. Shetler women are every kind of loud, curvy in all the right ways, and hairy in all the wrong ones. Two of those three are on my list of favorites while one of them is definitely not (I’ll let you guess which one). So, I guess it starts there with my Shetler blood.

 

I’ve always had thick, coarse hair that is dark as can be. Shaving has been my nemesis for years because my smooth skin only lasts for several hours after the laborious event. And to top it off, I’ve had problems with severely ingrown hairs and razor burn. I’ve tried every sort of shaving cream, shaving gel, razor, lotion, sugar scrub, body butter, you name it, but nothing ever solved these issues. That is, until I started waxing.

 

It was my sister who talked me into it. She had been waxing her armpits for about a year and was loving it. I, on the other hand, had PTSD from that one time I thought it might be a good idea before my wedding. But, as always, I can be talked into almost anything, so I agreed to grow my armpit hair for two weeks.

 

Before & after of first wax

 

Let’s just say, our timing wasn’t the best, as she was scheduled for surgery, and two weeks ended up being three and a half before we finally got to waxing those stanky pits. I was all sorts of nervous laughing before she pulled off the strip, but was absolutely shocked. My skin was *literally* the smoothest it had ever been and the pain was tolerable. Five days later, my skin was STILL SMOOTH. Say what?! The hair that finally grew back was minimal, and the second round of waxing was easier than the first. It was that experience that sold me on waxing.

 

Fast forward a few months and I had my own little waxing kit at home. My sister had told me what to buy and I had been waxing my own armpits for several weeks. Chalk it up to my so-called “experience” or maybe an odd sort of bravery, but I decided to try waxing my bikini area one night (don’t try this at home). It started out great, but as you may have guessed, it ended with a large strip of muslin adhered to my skin with a LOT of wax while I tried positive self-talk, countdowns, and deep breathing to encourage myself to pull that sucker off. Let’s just say, my favorite Wax Off Cream did the trick, and I had to finish the job at a later date due to my depleted supply of pain tolerance.

 

 

Since that night, I have been confidently waxing both my armpits and bikini area and plan to start my legs during pants season (‘cause nobody likes hairy legs + shorts). In case you’re still not sold, here are the things I love most about waxing:

 

  1. No razor burn/bumps/ingrown hairs: I realize everyone has different genetic makeup, so this is probably not universal, but take it from the girl who once saw a surgeon because she thought an ingrown hair might be cancerous (it was a nickel-sized lump). Since waxing, I have had ZERO ingrown hairs and ZERO issues with raw skin due to shaving. This is huge!!
  2. Less hair: You probably weren’t planning on a science lesson but I’ll make it short. Hair typically grows in three stages, so after you wax, hair that is in the first cycle is what grows back. Most women typically see smoother and finer hair, which is a win, win if you ask me!!
  3. It lasts longer than shaving: The trick here is to wax the current growth of hair prior to when the next cycle begins. Everyone’s body is different, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll start to notice your growth pattern. My armpit typically stays hair free for five days, while my bikini area stays hair free for about a week and a half or longer (hello, vacation).
  4. Get through the first wax, and the second is nearly pain-free (less growth, remember?).
  5. Skin that feels like silk: You guys. This one is legit. Shaving never gave me that silky clean skin, but, boy oh boy, does waxing do the trick!! Your armpits will feel like a baby’s bum and it’s a glorious thing.

 

In case you’re ready to take the plunge, all my waxing faves are below:

 

 

 

 

This wax warmer: It’s cute, it comes in a variety of different colors, and it’s cheap (I chose pink, of course).

 

This wax: I have sensitive skin and GiGi’s All Purpose Honee wax has been a dream for me. 

 

 

These spatulas: You only need one per waxing sesh (unless you’re messy which may be the case the first time or two). A pack of 100 will last you forever!! 

 

 

These muslin strips: I like these bigger strips because you can always cut them if you need them to be smaller. I use about one per armpit each time I wax, and 5-10 on my bikini area depending on the day. 

 

 

This cream: GiGi Wax Off helps remove any build up from the wax that didn’t come off with the strip. Without this lifesaver, I may still have a huge clump of wax stuck to my nether regions!! (I only use about a pea size per armpit, so it lasts a loooong time.) 

 

 

This sugar scrub: Exfoliating before waxing can help to ease hair removal while exfoliating after can help cleanse the skin and keep pores clean. Stress Relief from Bath and Body Works is my favorite, but it can be a bit pricey. Tree Hut also has a sugar scrub that’s quite a bit cheaper and smells pretty dreamy, too. I typically only exfoliate my bikini area which has really helped to soothe the skin. 

 

I hope this gives you a little nudge to join the waxing family because it is well worth it!! Any and all questions are welcome, and if you feel embarrassed asking a question on the blog, come find me on Instagram (@practicallyjoyful)!! I’d love to share my experience with you and give you any tips + tricks of the trade.

 

XO, Kayla

 

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated via the affiliate links in this post. All products mentioned are ones that I’ve used, and come with my personal recommendation. I am an independent blogger and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Birth Plan 101: The Do’s and Definitely Don’ts

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