how to help after harvey

My heart has been heavy this past week. Watching family, friends, the rest of the Houston community, and neighboring areas suffer from Chicago has been difficult.

My heart has also swelled with Texas pride as I’ve watched people and organizations across the state stand strong and rush to help each other. Seeing the country rally together to provide support and relief has also been a sweet note of hope.

Those who know me know as much as I love traveling, home is always near and dear to my heart. Granted, there are of course some things about Texas that need changing, but I’ve learned that’s the case with most places. The love for my home state will never fade. It’s home.

As we’ve watched the devestation Hurricane Harvey has brought unfold in the media, we are feeling especially far. Eric and I, along with our fellow Houstonians up north, have been hurting for our communities and looking for opportunities to help.

How to Help After Harvey

That being said, I’ve rounded up a list of goods that give back 100% of their proceeds to Harvey relief efforts, as well as organizations that you can donate to and help after Harvey.

Goods That Give Back

how to help after harvey

Texas Forever shirt from Magnolia Market

how to help after harvey

Don’t Mess with Texas candle (and this Howdy Y’all one) from The Burlap Bag

how to help after harvey

Texas Print Art (digital download) from Polish and Plume

how to help after harvey

Texas Isaiah 43:2 tee (or this Texas Strong one) from Sweet Southern Love

how to help after harvey

Texas Strong Pet Bandana from Asher & Gray (Note: 50% of proceeds donated)

Organizations Doing Good

NPR put together this awesome, comprehensive list of organizations you can contribute to. I’ve pulled out a handful below I was interested in when researching, and have linked directly to the Harvey efforts on their site.

General Relief: GlobalGiving, JJ Watt’s Houston Flood Relief Fund

General Relief/Donating Blood: The Red Cross

Food: Feeding Texas, Houston Food Bank

Animals: SPCA of TexasAustin Pets Alive!

Lastly, thank you to all who have reached out regarding my family in the area. They are safe and dry in our pocket of town. We are beyond thankful and ready to serve.

how to help after harvey

Source: Chron.com

The sun came out this week, and the rain has stopped for now. While the road to recovery may be long, for this sweet reminder of God’s presence and hope, I am thankful.

“When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you…” – Isaiah 43:2

Squeeze your loved ones, friends!

xo dayna

 

Texas Wildflower title image sourced here.

summertime in Chicago

Happy June, friends! AKA HAPPY SUMMER CHICAGO. Is there a more appropriate photo to represent this feeling than a movie in the park + rosé?

Well, fingers crossed, this beautiful mid-70 degree weather is here to stay.

I’m not gonna lie, y’all. May was tough, and that’s why I’ve been MIA these last few weeks. Eric and I had to go home unexpectedly for a series of unfortunate events, ranging from surgery to the loss of loved ones – the hardest being my family’s ten year old sweet pup, Gordo, to cancer.

If you’ve lost a pet before, than I know you know how it feels. There are just no words. They are true family members that grow up along side us.

summertime in Chicago

All that being said, the quality time with our families was so, so good and the break from everything else was much needed.

Now that we’re feeling recharged, it’s back to groovin’ and we are ready for summertime in Chicago! The people are out and about, ready to break out of their winter hibernation. It’s a pretty magical feeling – one that makes this city so special.

To celebrate this sweet new season around the corner, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite signs that it’s finally here in The Windy City.

{Paleteria Carts on the Beach} // Bring your cash folks! There’s nothing I love more on a warm Chicago day than hitting up the paleteria vendors on the beach. The authentic Mexican ice cream treats you can find are unbeatable and so delicious – my favorite are the cookies and cream popsicles!

summertime in Chicago

Spoiler alert: These treats can ruin exercise intentions, because sometimes you can’t help but stop for one. Oh, maybe that’s just me?

{Street Festivals} // To me, this is a quintessential sign of summertime in Chicago – street fests on street fests each week. Everyone has been locked up for 8 months, so now every weekend you can find multiple festivals happening across the city.

summertime in chicago

From the best hot dog round up to traditional German celebrations, there’s always something to explore! The best parts? Festivals are often free and come with awesome live music.

Side note: Tuesday movies in the park might not technically count as festivals, but they’re in this same category of awesomeness for us!

{Beaches & Balls} // This one’s pretty straightforward – the warmer it gets, the more packed the beaches get. Our favorite way to spend a Saturday includes tunes, snacks, and back-to-back sand volleyball games.

summertime in Chicago

It’s a strange concept to be laying out on the sand and turning around to a skyline, but it sure is pretty! (Also, confirming this is actual footage from a ChiTown beach.)

{Legs} // Until this month, I literally don’t think I had shown my legs outside since October? Well, except when I desperately ran to the drug store next to us for a dessert craving.

You know when those dresses, shorts, and skirts start showing up all over town, it’s a good sign. And sometimes, you just have to wear them and freeze a little because mind > matter.

summertime in Chicago

{Happy Pups} // It’s a sad sight to see all the cold doggies outside freezing their little bootys off with the rest of us during the winter because they have no choice – they gotta do their business!

That being said, you an tell it’s a good day when all the dogs are out with big smiles instead of pet sweaters. Running in the park, wind in their hair – Chicago summer pups are really living their best lives.

summertime in Chicago

Honoring Gordo with a photo from him soaking up the sun on Fourth of July a few years back. I know he would’ve freakin’ loved summertime in this city.

Now, I’m hoping I totally didn’t just jinx us with all this talk! What are the key signs of summer where you live??

Days By Day

five years

Happy Monday, friends! No start of the week blues over here today, because it’s a special milestone for Eric and I. We’re celebrating five years together and we’re pretty excited about it.

This past Saturday also marked six months of marriage, so I guess you could say the past few days have been full of all the extra giddy feels.

E and I are by no means relationship experts, but after reflecting on these five years, we couldn’t help but think back on all that we’ve learned. The more we got to chatting, the more I realized there were a solid five lessons we were most passionate about when it came to our relationship.

five years

Since I’m always one for learning and growing, it was important to me to take time to reflect and share these nuggets E and I hold strong to.

So here they are folks, our five lessons for five years!

***

{Celebrate the little stuff.}

I know some people might be chuckling at the thought of us making a big deal out of six months of marriage, but hey, that’s exciting to us! Half-way through our first year?! Time flies and we’re loving every minute of it.

My whole point here is even if it might be a smaller milestone, or a less significant event, always find reasons to celebrate! An anniversary (no matter how long), pretending to be adults with your very own phone plan, heck, even having enough willpower to only eat out once during the work week…if it’s a big deal to you, then it’s worth calling out.

five years

Our go-to is usually the donut shop at our corner, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner at home, or a good ol’ mini dance party. The point is take a second to cheer about the little stuff – it keeps life fun and exciting!

{Having different opinions is a good thing.}

E and I don’t agree on everything. We have different view points on a lot of things and I think that’s healthy. It brings fresh perspectives to our conversations and challenges us to learn from each other. It also encourages a healthy dose of respect.

I think being generally aligned in core beliefs is always a good thing, but thinking differently helps us grow and stay open minded.

five years

{Work towards your goals together and encourage each other.}

This goes for individual goals and mutual ones. I’m passionate about writing and blogging. Eric has really dived into his love for photography this year. We both get really excited in cheering each other on as we pursue these hobbies – and we keep each other accountable in not giving up.

This could look like us both heading to a coffee shop in the evening to knock out some posts or editing, giving one another honest feedback, or just reminding each other that we are kicking butt and making progress when we feel discouraged.

five years

All this applies to our mutual goals too. E and I want to move abroad in a few years. We would love to have our own business one day and/or be able to work from wherever our adventures might take us. We know these things take time and will challenge us, but how cool that we can work towards them as a team??

{You should always be “dating.”}

Even though we’re married, we still consider ourselves to be dating.

Dating, to me, means always striving to learn more about each other – after all, we’re still changing and growing with age. It means it’s important to carve out time for just us, without distractions or stresses. It means we genuinely love spending time together, and making each other feel noticed and cherished.

five years

Whether it’s planning special date nights that are more than just a dinner out, surprising each other with new adventures, or sharing sweet compliments – keeping the dating mindset alive is something we strive to do.

{Make each other the priority.}

This one’s pretty straight forward. Aside from our relationship with God, E and I’s number one priority is the other person. No matter what. Period.

As husband and wife, we’re committed to taking care of each other. We know if our relationship isn’t solid, than the other things around us will suffer. We make the choice daily to love the other unconditionally and invest in our relationship. In turn, we can love others well and focus on our other priorities together.

five years

***

I’m currently sitting across from E, dressed in a red plaid button up and a backwards Cubs hat, and thinking about how freakin’ awesome (and handsome) he is. Thankful for this human and the fact that I’m the lucky lady who gets to spend forever with him.

Have your own relationship lessons to share?? I’d love to hear ’em! As I said, always learning and growing – that’s my jam.

Days By Day

#girlboss gathering

You guys, I’m really excited about today’s post! It’s the first of a series I’m starting up here on Days By Day called #Girlboss Gathering.

I’ve wanted to start a monthly feature on the inspiring ladies along side us for awhile now. We know women supporting women is always a good idea! Plus, who doesn’t love learning about a fellow #girlboss and the awesome stuff she’s putting into the world?

Growing, encouraging, and cheering each other on? Sign me up. That’s exactly what #Girlboss Gathering is all about.

When an old friend and I got to chatting recently, it became clear this was the perfect opportunity to begin.

Today’s #Girlboss Gathering features the lovely Shruthi from thehonestShruth! I have loved reconnecting with Shruthi these past couple weeks because she is genuinely one of the most thoughtful, motivating, and adventurous souls you’ll meet. We first met during a small internship while attending The University of Texas, where we bonded over talks about our faith and relationships.

Now, this girl is living in London with her husband! Her blog is full of beautiful eats and dreamy European places that you’ll want to see.

#girlboss gathering

So before I spoil anything else, check out a my fun Q&A with Shruthi below! You can also check out the feature she posted on Days By Day here.

***

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.

S: I am Indian born, American bred, living in London, married to a 6’6″ Texan, culturally Hindu, Christian by faith, mother to the most adorable (rowdy) pit-mix, a film and business college graduate, ears to six languages, fluent in two and a half, veggie married to an omni, and figuring out this passion for writing that God put in me when he had me in mind! My blog encompasses travel, food, fashion, and thought pieces! I’ve also started a Youtube channel so head on over there if you’re interested in ridiculous albeit informational pieces.

2. Why did you start a blog?

S: You know that saying “Figure out what you daydream about, because that’s where your time should go”? Yeah, I finally decided to (wo)man-up and get started on a blog. I fill up journals like nobody’s business, so I figured, why not pursue that passion? I’ve traveled my whole life as that’s how my parents gave us Christmas gifts, food has always been celebrated in my home, and I’m a very opinionated person – hence the spaces, eats, and thoughts that make up my blog, thehonestShruth.

#girlboss gathering

4. What’s your favorite topic to blog about?

S: Thoughts. I’m a lifestyle blogger so I do write about travel, eats, and fashion, but  my favorite pieces are my opinion pieces. Those come from the heart. That’s why my blog is called thehonestShruth. As an Indian-American immigrant with a Christian faith and an inter-cultural marriage, my viewpoint is definitely unique. I write thoughts pieces on Thursdays if you’re interested.

3. What is your favorite post you’ve ever written and why?

S: My favorite blogpost would definitely have to be “The Importance of Date Night.” Besides being the most popular post in 2016 on my blog, it’s also the one that hits closest to home. I think marriage and relationships are such beautiful gifts but we have to take care of each other by chasing after one another you know? Date night is a way to have that time with your partner and leave the noise of the world behind for a few hours. We are so plugged into technology these days, and genuine quality time can be hard to come by.

#girlboss gathering

4. How do you “turn off” from blogging mode?

S: This is so hard. The best way for me to do this is to put my phone away honestly. No social media equals no engaging with followers or people I follow. This automatically helps me to stop focusing on my blog. I do carry a little notebook with me in my bag so I can jot down ideas as they flow throughout the day.

5. When you aren’t blogging, what do you love to do?

S: You can probably find me playing tennis, trying to hit 10,000 steps, getting drinks with my girlfriends, or cuddling with my puppy haha! I love finding deals on flights and trying new recipes as well so, maybe meet me in a new country at a hole in the wall restaurant, and we can chat more.

#girlboss gathering

6. What was the best advice a manager or mentor gave you?

S: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received came from my last manager. She said, “If you write that, why should I care? What draws me in? What’s in it for me? Trim the fat, get to the good stuff.” That’s always stayed with me because I think writers can get lost in wordiness. Also, one of my college professors told our class that if you can’t make your point in 40 words or less, you’re not worth the time. That’s definitely motivated me to get my point across boldly and succinctly.

7. What’s your favorite thing about living in a big city?

S: Where do I even begin! London has been a dream and I don’t think I can ever do suburbia again aha. Some of my favorite parts about living in the city include public transportation that works well, easy access to nightlife and entertainment, delicious foods on every corner, the amazing street style I see, and never feeling alone. I didn’t think I would be such a city gal, but here we are!

#girlboss gathering

8. What are some goals you’ve set for yourself in 2017 (blogging and/or non-blogging related)?

S: Great question. Blogging wise, I definitely want to grow and be consistent in my writing. I’m starting a YouTube channel as well so I’d like that to be doing well by the end of 2017. “Doing well” to me means that I see growth. In a few years, I’d like to be able to just be blogging, but I know it takes time and consistency to get there. Non-blogging wise, I’d like to make the most of our time in Europe, really enjoy marriage, grow deeper in my personal time with God, make new friendships in unexpected places, and learn more about who I am and what I am passionate about.

***

Isn’t Shruthi great? A huge thank you to her for such a fun collaboration! Be sure to connect with Shruthi on social (Insta/FB/YT) and follow along over at thehonestShruth.

Also, don’t forget about her post on Days By Day here. 🙂

Happy Thursday, friends! Stay tuned for another #Girlboss Gathering next month!

Days By Day

10 life lessons

Last week I celebrated a birthday! Twenty-four?? Time sure does fly.

So, I guess this post is a little late, but we’re doing it.

Eric and I spent my birthday weekend in Michigan at a cabin with friends. We went a year ago, so it was a blast all over again. Throughout the post, you’ll see pretty photos E snapped.

10 life lessons

As I turned another year older, I couldn’t help but get sentimental and reflect on the lessons I’ve learned something about in the past twenty-four years. Especially after such a big one last year.

Now, I know what you might be thinking  – Dayna, twenty-four is not that old. 

I totally agree, and that’s not what I’m saying at all. Regardless of age, I think we can grow wiser each year as we experience the world. That makes me really happy, and nostalgic.

So after sorting through these thoughts, below I’ve gathered the 10 life lessons I’ve learned at twenty-four.

1. No one has it all together.

I used to look around and think the peers, friends, and families I saw had their whole lives together. The truth is most of us are figuring out this life thing as we go along, and no one is perfect. Everyone has faults and struggles. We all fight battles. You’re never alone and you’re never the only one who feels this way.

2. Traveling does wonders for the soul.

I’ve been lucky to visit some really amazing cities growing up, but it wasn’t until I backpacked Western Europe in 2015 that I realized how eye opening travel can be. Traveling exposes you to new points of views and cultures. It feeds your sense of curiosity, wonder, and keeps your mind open. It is a must.

10 life lessons

3. Things that matter now might not be such a big deal later.

There are times when it seems like something in that moment will affect everything forever. I can be very indecisive and over analytical. I’ve had to learn to take a deep breath in these moments and ask myself if whatever it is will truly matter down the road. Often it won’t and it isn’t worth worrying over.

4. Never stop learning.

Learning looks different for everyone – formal education, reading self-help books, keeping up with a certain news publication, finding online how-tos, etc. The point is it’s important we don’t get complacent and we stay hungry for growth. I think this mentality and knowledge feeds into our relationships, passions, and helps us to be our best self.

10 life lessons

5. Be grateful for hard times. They make you stronger.

These past few years have taught me this lesson for sure. Hard times can show us heartache like we’ve never known, but it can also bring out our most determined selves. They’ve made me braver and stronger. They’ve brought me closer to God. They’ve showed me how I can be better moving forward.

6. You can have it all, you just might not be able to have it all at once.

I’ve written about this topic before here. We juggle a lot. Between family schedules, work, a social life…and oh, of course our own passions and health, it can easily feel like we have to pick and choose what to pursue. The truth is you can totally do it all. Just know you won’t always be perfect and excel at everything, at the same time. That’s okay! We have to cut ourselves some slack and pursue balance.

10 life lessons

7. Be bold and weird and whatever else you want.

Basically be unapologetically yourself. In our younger years, this can definitely be a challenge. Freshman year of college, I realized pretty quickly we should 100% feel comfortable to be ourselves. Always. Everyone’s human. No one’s perfect (see lesson #1). Our talents and our differences make us special (corny, but you know it’s true). So take the risk, speak your mind, and go out there and S L A Y.

8. Take it one step at a time.

I get stressed very quickly if I let an idea bubble up in my mind into a seemingly impossible task. I’ve learned to take a deep breath and break whatever it is down into smaller bits. When you take a step back, it becomes a lot more manageable and can put things in perspective.

10 life lessons

9. Passion + persistence pay off.

Those things that make us happy? Inspire us, motivate us, give us big dreams? Yeah, those are the things that deserve our time and effort. Investing in our passions might not always be easy, especially with all the busyness life sends our way. It takes time, money, and self-discipline, but it’s worth it. We love these things and we owe it to ourselves to pursue them.

10.  Always be thankful.

Life isn’t perfect, but wow, aren’t we lucky for all we have? There’s times when things are going amazingly well, and others when we’ve been thrown a curveball. I’ve learned that in both circumstances, and everything in between, it’s important to be thankful.

What are some of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned so far? I’d love to hear below!

Days By Day

P.S. Want to see more of Eric’s photography? Check it out here.