Monday, September 25, 2017

6 WAYS TO BE A BETTER FRIEND

Friendships are hard these days. I keep meeting and talking to people who say they have a hard time meeting and keeping friends. I feel like this is a new phenomenon. I swear the landscape of friendships has changed as recently as 5 years ago. Blaming social media would be easy, but the thing is that's just a cop out. Somehow along the way, real people in front of you have started to matter less. At the end of this blog post, I'm giving you tips on how to have better friendships and how to be a better friend yourself. We can't take all of the blame for our bad friendships, but we are never going to have good ones if we don't do our part.
Savannah and I have always entertained in every house we've ever lived in together. We love bringing our friends together and having a good quality time. What happened to the days where you would ask your friends if they wanted to hang out and they just simply said yes or no? And the only reason they said no was because they had something else to do that day? I feel like even as recent as 5 years ago we would invite people over and if they could come, they would. There wasn't an unanswered text message or an answer that comes the next day with some lame excuse. There was a yes or no. Those days seem to be over. Now when we plan parties or informal hangs, there's so much drama attached. "Will _______ come? Should I even bother asking? I do like when we hang out, but will she blow me off? Will she lie to me about why she can't hang out?" These are all things that are out of our control, but if you have friends like these, you really have to decide if the friendship is worth it. You can either confront that friend or cut ties and move on. But there is not enough time in the day to waste your time on friends who leave you feeling like crap.

Just recently Savannah and I ended a friendship of 5 + years, and we did not take the decision lightly. For a long time we had been feeling that these friends would wait to commit to hanging with us to make sure another better offer didn't come along. At the end of the day, we had to realize that these friends just didn't like us enough. That's a harsh reality, but you shouldn't constantly feel unsure if you own friends even like you. Or for that matter if you even like your own friends. With all of that said, we didn't really communicate our feelings about this. We own our part in the demise of that relationship. In the end, too much damage was done, and there was no trust left. 

With all of this being said, what is in our control is what kind of friend we are. In the end, we have to be the best versions of ourselves and part of that is treating our friends well. So here's how to be a better friend... 

6 WAYS TO BE A BETTER FRIEND 

1. Don't be that friend. First you need to assess if you are the bad friend we are addressing above. Are you the reason that you don't have good friendships? Are you always flaking out on people? Are you constantly flaking out on one particular friend? If so, then you need to evaluate that friendship. Maybe it's time to move on. Do a little soul searching. 

2. Say yes and mean it. For crying out loud, to quote the Bible here- "...let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no"..."( James 5:12) Period. This is how you build trust. Don't tell people what you think they want to hear. I promise you all people want to hear is the truth. If you aren't gonna show up, don't say you are. When you get in the habit of doing this, your friends will never trust the things that you say. Be the kind of person someone can depend on. That's so much better than being someone no one believes. 

3. Friendships are built on coffee- or brunch or cocktails. Asking someone to coffee (or whatever) is stress free and everyone can spare an hour if they want to. It's scary to ask someone you don't know very well to do something, but the worst thing they can say is no. I know that's cliche, but it's cliche for a reason. If they say no, cut ties and move on but keep trying. You're not going to like everyone you have coffee with or you might like them but a friendship isn't in the works for you. That's ok. I can honestly say I've never regretted getting coffee with someone. Attitude is everything. Approach people as if you have something to learn from them because you do. Everyone can teach you something. You might be surprised who you end up being friends with. 

4. Holler at your girl.  Communicate with your friends. I mean this goes without saying- or so you would think. One of the major problems in the relationship Savannah + I ended recently was that we didn't communicate well. We totally own up to our part in that. However, we never felt like we really could lay out our problems to these friends. Your friends can't read your mind and you can't be mad at them if you never tell them what's going on. Also, don't just communicate when things are bad. Tell your friends how much you appreciate them. This is hard for me in particular. I don't tell Savannah I like her enough :) Everyone is busy but you can shoot out an email or text message or whoa- a real card- to let your friend know you are thinking about them. The longer you go without communicating the harder it is to reach out. So don't let it get that far. Don't only talk when you are together. Let your friendship be a part of your daily life.

5. "Marry" your friends. This is heavy and I don't think most people think of friendships in this way, but if you want real solid/ride or die friendships, you have to be committed like a marriage. There have been a few times I wanted to tell Savannah, peace out, but I didn't because I'm committed to being her friend for the long haul. Real lasting friendships don't come easy and you are going to have conflict. I had a pastor once tell me that a relationship can't really last until after you've survived 2 conflicts. This is so true, because if you aren't committed then you can just walk away. You'll never have that next level #friendgoals relationship if you always walk away when it's hard. But if you can stick it our through the conflict, many great things can come out of it. If you can't commit to your friends in that way, then you're the problem. Awwwwwkward. 

6. Stop thinking about yourself for a second. At some point in your friendships, you're going to have to be selfless. There is give and take in every relationship, but make sure you aren't doing more taking than giving. (Or more giving than taking.) Sometimes you are going to have to go to a party with your bestie that you don't want to go to. Ask yourself- am I demanding more of my friend than she is demanding of me? Are you only friends with this person because of what she can do for you? Another time for soul searching. You really have to be self-aware to be a good friend and person. If you don't know you are being an ass, then you can't stop being one. Don't look at yourself through rose colored glasses and don't beat yourself up either. There is a happy medium in there and it's called the truth. Know who you really are. 
At the end of the day, we were designed for relationships- romantic and unromantic. There are certain things you can't get from a significant other that only your girlfriends can give you. You'll be a better girl friend if you have a girl gang. If you have a solid crew, they can keep you level headed, make you a better person, and help you see the world differently.

We would love to hear how you are intentionally a good friend! Or maybe how your friends have been good to you. Let us know in the comments!

Peace, Casey

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Camping at Nolin River Lake State Park

Over Labor Day weekend we headed to Nolin River Lake State Park for a few days of camping. We loved our first trip to Barren River Lake so much, we were so excited about this trip. We were a little nervous because the weather was predicting lots of rain (due to Hurricane Harvey), and we weren't ready to take on 3 days of rain in a tent. But hallelujah, the rain stopped the day we headed out and held off until after we left!
When we arrived we realized that our campsite was right on the water, which made for a really idyllic time. The sun would set right over the trees across the lake and it was so stinkin' beautiful.
Y'all.... the first night we were there it was 52 degrees! The day we left it was 82 I believe. I mean we were freezing the first night, you could see your breath and then we were swimming the next day. We experienced a lot of temperatures on this trip.
We laid in the hammocks for about 30% of this trip. I just couldn't get enough the scenery. Forest on one side, lake and sunsets on the other.
Hazel also loved the hammocks. We didn't have these on our first camping trip and I would say these were a GAME CHANGER. I would highly recommend hammocks for your next camping trip.
Another thing we didn't have on the last trip.... this Propane powered stove. Another game changer. Cooking over the first is fun and there is definitely a place for it, but making everything meal over a fire is exhausting. We still cooked our hot dogs over the fire, and we will probably make many more meals over the fire in the future. This thing just allowed us more time to relax- which is what camping is all about right?
I made this table cloth to keep with our camping gear. On our first trip we really could've use a table cloth. Also, there aren't many tablecloths out there that are fun/cute and not cheesy, so being the DIYers we are, we went ahead and just made us one with fabric we liked.
The first night there were so many other campers there, but by Monday they were all gone and we were the only campers for a little bit.
We also played a round of Bananagrams, which was pretty fun! We actually tried to play Mexican Train at first, but couldn't figure it out. We played regular dominoes the next day though.
This is a trail that was flooded with water from the Harvey rains. The water rose in the lake so much while we were there. They had to close the beach because it disappeared under water.
This is the area where all the tents were the day before. So deserted!
Our favorites from this trip:

We ended up planning two more camping trips as soon as we got home from this trip because we really do love camping so much! We also may have something exciting in the works involving the subject, so stay tuned. 

xo, Savannah

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Recipe: Grain-free Granola

Granola is so delicious. We don't buy it that often, because it can get pricey, especially when you get into the grain-free granolas and making sure it's made with good ingredients. And if you are trying to keep your carb count down, regular granola will not be part of your diet. The oats bring the carb count up instantly. My personal favorite granola involves peanut butter. I also am totally fine without dried fruits like cranberries, but you could add those into your recipe. The great thing about making your own granola is that you can put whatever you want in it and you don't have to measure so strictly. Anyway, you should make this. I promise, you won't even miss the grains!
Grain-free Granola Recipe

Ingredients:
- 1 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 Cup Pepitas
- 1 Cup Almonds
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts
- 1/2 Cup Hemp Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Flax Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
- 4 tsp. Sweetener (I used Agave this time)
- 2 Tbs. Coconut Oil
- Cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Put coconut, pepitas, almonds and walnuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop everything to the same size.
3. Add mixture to a bowl along with all seeds.
4. Warm the coconut oil, peanut butter and cinnamon in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until combined.
5. Pour warm mixture into the bowl and stir until combined.
6. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet, preferably on parchment paper.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

And like I said before, you can make this however you want. If you have 1 cup of walnuts and just a handful of almonds, it will still work. Happy baking!

xo, Savannah



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