Lifestyle + Travel

Currently Coveting

One thing that I’m not afraid to admit in my adult life is my constant struggle to be centered in my own self-confidence. From the outside looking in, people would probably assume that I have always been a very confident person that has always been so sure of my decisions, but that honestly isn’t true. Having confidence is something I have struggled with since middle school and at 28 years old, self-doubt rears its ugly head in my way more times than I’d like to admit. Back in middle school, I went through spouts of bullying and rejection from my peers that I think sent me in a downward spiral of self-doubt. It shook my confidence to the core and I lacked the tools to boost my OWN confidence despite what was said to me. Years down the line, I tried boosting my self-confidence by seeking to be like the people around me who I felt radiated with that confidence I desired. That just caused more of an identity crisis within myself because it had me questioning who I truly was. It became a MESS and I didn’t like who I was becoming. I spoke in this post a little bit about my journey of personal development and how there were some things I didn’t like about myself that I had to change, and lacking self-confidence is one of those things. I used to envy those individuals who could walk into any room and own it with their confidence. It’s like they would command attention without even trying and I couldn’t figure out how to be more like that.

Over the years, I have learned that although some people were just born radiating with confidence, chances are for most, confidence is probably not something that came so naturally to them either. For most of us, self-confidence takes commitment and discipline to incorporate daily habits that will channel our confidence and build our self-esteem. Thankfully I have finally grasped some tools that help me to be more confident despite what other people are doing, thinking, or saying. Learning for yourself how to do this is SO important because having self-confidence also helps to boost your mood and I believe that TRUE happiness comes from security within yourself. Today, I will be sharing 6 daily habits that you can add to your daily routine to aid in more self-confidence which in turn will also boost your overall mood!
6 Daily Habits to Improve Your Self-Confidence + Mood
Stop the Comparison Game //
Want to know one of the quickest ways to doubt yourself? By comparing your journey to someone else’s. You’ll lose yourself every time. What we have to remember is that people only tell you or show you what they want you to know majority of the time. You know how people say social media is a "highlight reel"? IT IS. Not many people post their losses. It’s the win’s that are magnified. Remember, by comparing your life to someone else, you could be comparing your day one to their day 100! It’s not a fair game.

Take More Risks //
My confidence started to improve when I started putting myself out there more and facing my fears. I still have a ways to go in this area, but taking risks give you a certain liberation that you can’t really get anywhere else. Every risk isn’t going to be successful, but the reality is that you did it! You put yourself out there and risked falling on your face and it just feels so good. Facing a fear proves that you can survive. Whether the outcome was good or bad, you survived it!

Surround Yourself With Good + Positive People //
Let’s be honest. Some people are just shitty individuals. Some people thrive off of your failures and downplay your successes. Who needs that sort of abuse? It’s a confidence and mood killer for sure! Find a tribe of people who want to see you win and if they can, they will help you to win. Also, don’t give in to the saying "misery loves company". If you hang around people who lack self-confidence, always negative, and pessimistic, you will most likely take on that personality too. You need to surround yourself with people who will encourage you and support you through the bad times, not let you sit in your funk. Let go of the Drake "no new friends" mentality and find people who will celebrate the good things about you and build you up. One of my favorite things to do is tell my friends how awesome they are because I know what it feels like to not get that, and I know the power of hearing it.
When You Accomplish Something Great, Celebrate! //
When you do something awesome, make it a PRIORITY to celebrate it. If you’re someone who has shut down because in the past your accomplishments weren’t celebrated, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to start celebrating yourself. Don’t let the actions of others make you downplay your awesomeness. It should be celebrated and celebrated often. And when you find your tribe of good people who want to see you win, they will want to celebrate you too.

List Things You Love About Yourself //
I’ve done this multiple times when I felt myself slipping into a funk. The deeper into the bad place you are, the harder this task may be, but I challenge you to do it anyway. Take some quiet time and REALLY think about it! Once you start listing the things that make you unique, special, and just totally you, your mood will be lifted and more confidence will be exuded. How can you expect people to find the things they love about you if you can’t find them for yourself?

Don’t Be a Victim //
We have to stop sometimes and look in the mirror. When I did this, I saw some things I just did not like about myself and it was up to me to change them. At the end of the day, we are all victims of something. However, we can’t let those circumstances rob us of our own inner strength. We, women especially, are so strong and possess strength that we don’t realize we have until we are forced to use it. We can really conquer anything. It’s okay to have sad moments, but staying down too long only hurts yourself more. Have faith in you and don’t let one circumstance (or multiple) ruin your happiness. Life is just way too short!

The bottom line is that you have to take care of yourself. If you don’t, how can you expect other people to do it the way you need it to be done? Be your own best friend and biggest cheerleader. When you truly accept all of the unique qualities about yourself, then there’s no room for self-doubt. You will radiate that confidence and it’ll just feel like you’re living! I want you to live your best, most happiest life possible, and you can. Start today.

Thank you so much for reading! xo
Did you guys know that February is National Wedding Month?
Yes, it is true! When I found this out, I did a little digging to find out what makes February the perfect month to be National Wedding Month. Obviously February doesn’t rank as one of the most popular months for weddings. The warmer months, such as May, June, and July are ranked highest with February being somewhere toward the bottom of the list. What I came to find out is that the most popular time of the year for engagements are between October and December 31st, which makes February around the time when most brides really start to plan out their special day! Not to mention, with Valentine’s Day being in February, it is already considered the month of love so why not have National Wedding Month in February? It makes perfect sense to me now!

Anyway because of this, I thought it would be a perfect time to share some tips that I learned throughout my wedding planning process. It has been almost five years since my husband and I tied the knot and I learned A LOT through that time period. I wrote this blog post a few months after I got married, but I hadn’t really touched on it again since then. My wedding day was one of the most magical days of my life and there’s nothing I would have changed about my actual wedding day, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to change anything about my planning process. Some things I knew and it helped me a ton, and then some things I just didn’t know and I would love to help you guys avoid some things I dealt with if I can.

10 Wedding Tips You Need to Know
  • Shut Out the Noise | Take some time to sit down, either with your fiancé or alone, and figure out exactly what it is you want out of your big day. Decide on your budget, the non-negotiables you want no matter what, how big or small the wedding will be, the things you won’t tolerate, and decide on the people you want to be apart of the journey with you. Do this without outside influences and then once it is decided, stick to your guns. Don’t let anyone or anything change your mind on the things you and your fiancé want. When the planning is underway, everyone will have their opinions. Let them speak, but you don’t have to listen.
  • Do What is Best For You | We live in an era where social media rules everything around us. Everyone wants to appear to have this picture perfect life and so, also, a picture perfect wedding. Don’t go into debt with this wedding stuff. Make smart decisions and remember that at the end of the day, people just want to celebrate you. I remember during our wedding planning process, every time we would meet with our wedding planner, I tried SO HARD to get Chiavari chairs. I wanted them so bad, but my husband was NOT having it. Compared to the chairs we actually ended up getting, they were very expensive. I’m thankful he was there to always talk me down from spending unnecessary money because the chairs really didn’t matter that much, but I wanted them just because they would look better. However, I’m sure the people who attended our wedding don’t even remember what the chairs were that they sat in!
  • Have Your Budget, But Have Wiggle Room Too | By wiggle room I mean a little cushion or extra just in case. Things can come up last minute and you don’t want to be stressing thinking that you’ve already spent your whole budget on other things. I remember during our wedding, it was like a week before and we realized we hadn’t bought a basket for the flower girl, a pillow for the ring bearer, and a few other small details that mattered and I was in hobby lobby scrambling trying to find these things. It wasn’t a stressful experience because we had room in the budget, but had we not, it could have sent me spiraling haha.
  • Wedding Party – Choose Wisely | A lot of women dream of the day they can get engaged and have their closest friends stand beside them and look absolutely beautiful at the wedding. They will shed a tear as you walk down the aisle and smile as you kiss your new beau. If this is all you think about when picking your wedding party, then let’s have a quick chat. Here’s the bottom line; being a part of someone’s wedding party is a glamourized job. When you accept the cute "Will you be my bridesmaid?" invitation, you’re saying yes to way more than a turned up bachelorette trip and a mimosa filled wedding morning/day. The wedding party is responsible for helping the couple plan their big day (if they need help.. some people are Type A or have a wedding planner), and they are supposed to cheer on the bride and groom and keep them sane throughout the planning and the big day. They are responsible for planning the bridal shower and the bachelor/bachelorette parties, and just overall supposed to keep a positive attitude and go with the flow. Ladies (and gents if you’re reading), you know your friends. If you have a friend who you know will not be able to hold up those responsibilities mentioned above, then they should not be considered for your wedding party and it is OKAY. We all have friends for different reasons (blog post on types of friendships coming soon) and bridesmaid duties aren’t for everyone. Some people just won’t celebrate you or be excited for you, friends included! Or maybe you have a friend that would normally be the best at this, but they have a lot going on and can’t commit to it. Acknowledge it, be at peace with it, and move on! Let them just be a guest and they can come to your bachelorette and bridal shower as a GUEST. I personally think it’s better to have three to five fully committed and supportive people in your wedding party than eight to ten for looks and a turn up. Trust me when I say this, you will save yourself a lot of drama by not choosing people who can’t and won’t commit to making you feel like a million bucks for your day. This tip was kind of lengthy, but I feel it was necessary and could probably have a blog post of its own! *rant over*
  • Be Vocal About What You Want | Don’t be a jerk or a "bridezilla", but be clear about what your expectations are for your wedding day and the events leading up to it. I was so afraid of coming off as a bridezilla that I didn’t really speak up a lot on things I wanted. I would have loved to have a bachelorette trip, even if it was somewhere close, but like a weekend of fun with my girls, but I never told them that. I was worried about accommodating everyone’s feelings and pockets and I just didn’t speak up when I should have. When it’s your wedding and you’re the bride, you have the right to say what you want to say and let people know the things you really want to do. Now granted, there were some things that I really didn’t have an opinion on and so I gave my bridal party free range to just do what they saw fit for me. For example, I let them have full creative control over my bridal shower. I think I just told them I wanted it to be ‘me’. They definitely delivered! My bridal shower was Winter Wonderland themed because it was in February and because one of my favorite Disney movies is Frozen, and that was their inspiration for it. You guys, it was so special. They had a video slideshow of photos of some of my closest friends and they made these cute little cut-outs with pictures of Marcus and I in them, the fruit display had a ‘J’ carved out in a watermelon for my new last name. The details were just spectacular! My Bachelorette party was a lot of fun too! I just didn’t give them any inclination on what I wanted, but I am blessed to have friends who still made sure I had a great time even without direction! Speak up ladies!
  • Where to Splurge? Photos and Videos Last Forever | This is something I tell every single bride that asks me for advice on where they should allocate their budget. If you want to know where you should splurge in your budget, get the photos and video. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched our wedding video and cried, and obsessed over our beautiful photobook. Every time I do one of those things, I am instantly taken back to that beautiful April day. Once the wedding day is over, all you have left are your memories. The cake will be gone, the food will be forgotten (I honestly don’t even remember all of the food we had at our wedding), and you will most likely never wear your wedding dress again. The photos and the video are what you will be able to look back on and show your children one day. I am so grateful to my beautiful cousin and her husband who made sure we were able to have this precious memory of our day. It was the best wedding gift ever and helped us a ton since we paid for our wedding ourselves. 
  • Make Sure You Have Time to Get ALL the Photos You Want | Since we are on the subject of photography, I need to put this tip right here. To this day, although our wedding photos are beautiful, I feel that I did not get all of the photos I wanted. Everything was so rushed! When we met with our photographer before the wedding, he asked us if we wanted to do a first look and I was adamant that I did NOT want to do that. I guess you can call me old fashioned when it comes to this; I wanted the first time my husband saw me to be when I was walking down the aisle. Looking back, I wish I had thought that through a little bit more. I now understand why my photographer was stressing this to me. Had we planned to do a first look, we would have gotten way more pictures together. Trying to get all of the shots with family, the wedding party, and with your spouse after the ceremony is over can be so hectic because you don’t really have a lot of time between the ceremony and the reception. If I had to do this all over again, I would do the first look and…. (my next tip).
  • Really Plan Out the Morning Of Your Wedding | You guys… let me just tell you. My morning of was not thoroughly planned well at all. My first mistake was agreeing to drive to the hair salon to get my hair done the morning of my wedding. I’m a loyal customer and the person who did my hair at the time told me that she couldn’t come to me that morning because she had prom girls that had appointments too, but she would come and touch me up before the ceremony started (which she did). However, I started my wedding morning sitting at the salon waiting for my turn to get my hair done. This took up so much time. Once I finally got to the church, I literally only had enough time to say hello to my bridesmaids, and I had to get my makeup done. By the time everything was finished, all I had time to do was get dressed. No cute "getting dressed" photos with my girls in the cute monogrammed shirts I got them, and no fellowship. Granted, the day turned out fine! I didn’t end up sad or stressed or anything, but when I look back on it I’m like man, I could have done that day a little different. This was just an area that was foreign to me and I did not properly plan at all. Don’t be like me y’all! My cousin SaCara did an excellent job planning her morning of her wedding day. We had this super nice hotel suite, we had light bites and mimosas, the makeup artist was there and we all got super cute "getting ready" photos and it was fun because we actually were helping each other get ready. I’d encourage you guys to think this portion of your wedding through as thoroughly as possible so that you can have a smooth experience.
  • Have Money Allocated to Tip Your Vendors | By your wedding day, most (if not all) of your balances should be paid in full. However, it is always good practice to tip your vendors after their service is complete. If you have a wedding planner, be sure to give them envelopes with a check or cash and then label each one for each vendor. Give this to your wedding planner or if you don’t have one, a trustworthy person the night before your wedding to give to each vendor before the end of the night. Doing it the day before takes the stress off of you and that way, no one will be coming to you on your wedding day asking you money questions. You should just be enjoying yourself!
  • Don’t Forget That This Is Supposed to Be FUN! | God willing, you will only be getting married one time in your life, so you want to make sure that the experience is an enjoyable one! If you feel yourself getting so stressed out that you’re upset and overwhelmed, lean on your wedding party and/or step away from whatever it is that is upsetting you. Don’t forget to delegate and try not to sweat the small stuff. Your wedding day is going to by so very fast and so all of the planning you’re going to be putting in for MONTHS will be over in a few short hours. Remember that and remember that nothing is perfect. Expect the worst and hope for the best.

I hope these tips meet you where you are and add value to your life!
If you aren’t getting married or are already married, share this with someone who you think may benefit from it. Are their any specific aspects of the wedding planning process/wedding day that you’d like me to blog about? Drop me a comment below and let me know guys!
Thank you so much for reading! xo

This post is sponsored by Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, but all opinions are my own and of my own experience. For more information on Pigeon Forge, TN, click here!

Every year, I sit down and think about all of the trips I want to plan to take either with my husband, friends, or family. I think about different places that we can go to that will be fun, affordable, and easily accessible. Every single year Pigeon Forge, TN is on my list and although I don't make it there every year, it never leaves the list because I absolutely LOVE visiting Pigeon Forge! For me, it is more sentimental than anything. Growing up in Nashville, I can think of many memories spent in those great Smoky Mountains and each one holds a special place in my heart.

One of my very first trips to Pigeon Forge was when I was between 8-10 years old. I remember going and staying in a cabin with family. I was so young, but two memories of that particular trip that stand out the most would have to be my Aunt taking me mining for the first time. I'll never forget buying a bag of dirt and being so excited about all the pretty stones I found! The second memory would be being upstairs in the cabin (probably was supposed to be sleeping) and hearing the roaring sounds of laughter and jokes coming from downstairs as the adults in my family played cards and just had the best time. I remember thinking how great it would be if I were older.
My next favorite is a cousin's trip to Pigeon Forge when I was about 17 or 18. This one was fun because as the youngest cousin in the bunch, I always longed to feel as "adult" as everyone else. This trip made me feel like I was finally in with the in crowd! We went and rode Go-karts and my best memory is when we all went 'rafting in the Smokies'. I was SO scared to be honest because I had never done it, but it ended up being the best time! We got a TRUE experience because it rained extremely hard the entire time we were out there. I will never forget that.

I honestly could go on and on about my Pigeon Forge memories, but I will just share one more. Back in 2017, my husband celebrated his birthday in Pigeon Forge with a bunch of our friends and we had the BEST time! From staying in and playing games all night long in our beautiful cabin, to going to The Island and riding the tall Ferris Wheel and doing moonshine and wine tasting, to going shopping and snow tubing, the trip was definitely one to remember!
So, here’s my quick list of the top things you MUST do while you’re in Pigeon Forge (depending on the time of year you visit):

1. Stay in a Cabin for the Ultimate Experience
2. Visit the Island and Ride the Ferris Wheel
3. Go Go-Karting
4. Visit the Indoor Snow Tubing Park
5. Go White Water Rafting
6. Visit Dollywood
7. Go to a Moonshine and/or Wine Tasting
8. Attend a Dinner Show
9. Go Shopping
10. Ride the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

Visit here to get any and all information on where to go, eat, and stay on your visit! If you have never visited Pigeon Forge, TN, or even if you have and it has just been a few years, it’s time to add it to your travel list for the year. There’s so many amazing things to do for people of all ages! I guarantee you will make memories that you’ll remember forever, just like the ones I just spoke about above. It’s one place that is absolutely beautiful, no matter what time of year you visit. I can’t wait to plan my next trip!
A picture from my trip to Pigeon Forge with my cousins in 2008. We made S'mores in our cabin!
This picture is from the cabin trip with our friends for my husband's birthday. We were at the Island!
Thank you so much for reading! XO

Hey guys and Happy 2020! :-)

I realize I’m a little late to the party with my "happy new year", but better late than never right? If you’ve been following me on @jamariaoliviaj then you’ll know that I haven’t been completely MIA. I just hadn’t updated my blog in the new year just yet. It honestly feels good to be getting back to you guys and writing a bit! There’s so much I want to share with you this year! I thought it would be fun to round up some of my favorite Instagram looks so far in 2020 and give y ’all a little life update. I feel like I haven’t wrote a blog post like this in a LONG time, you know, with me just updating you guys on my life and what’s new. As a matter of fact, before I started writing this post, I went back to see when was the last time I just wrote about life in general, and I believe it was last April! YIKES. A whole lot has happened since then guy, so let’s just get right into it. Grab a glass of wine and/or a snack because this post is a little lengthy!

So all in all, life has been pretty good for me. If you did not know, I took almost two years off from working after I quit my job back in August of 2017 and last May, I finally went back to work! Being off for two years wasn’t really planned, it just sort of happened. Once I quit my job, I did plan on relaxing for the remainder of 2017 and once 2018 came around, I was ready to start back looking for something new. Well, life is funny and God has a way of showing you that you have no control because I literally could not find another job. Granted, we traveled a WHOLE lot in 2018 so starting a new job in the midst of that probably wouldn’t have been the best idea (I think God was like… not yet child), but it was still VERY frustrating to say the least. I found myself slipping into a sadness that was really hard to come out of. There were days where I didn’t even want to get out of bed and then once the day was over, I felt guilty that I didn’t ever get out of bed and do anything productive. Isn’t it horrible how our emotions play with us like that? And the craziest part about it was that WE WERE GOOD! My husband was being the Rockstar that he is and taking care of the household and me, and making sure I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted, we were traveling the world (we went to Mexico twice, Hawaii, London, and Ireland all in 2018), but I was just NOT FULLY HAPPY. Once the trip was over and I was back in my house, I would just get sad all over again. Not to sound dramatic, but I felt like a failure. I wanted to go back to work and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t happening for me. I had never struggled to find work before, so this was foreign! Anyway, to make a long story short (because I could go on and on about this and I probably will write another blog post later about how waiting helped me to grow as a person), I finally got a new job last May and I feel fulfilled once again. I am so thankful and can’t believe it will be a year in just three months! Time seriously flies.

Now let’s get into to a married life update. Marcus and I are great! I honestly can’t believe that we will be celebrating our 5th year wedding anniversary in two months. It may sound cliché, but time seriously flies when you’re having fun and I feel blessed to say that it has felt that way for our entire relationship. I mean, we hit TEN YEARS of being together in this past November! How sway?! It feels like our love is still so fresh and new, and I pray to God every day that we can continue to hold on to that. We have so many goals this year, individually and as a couple, and I’m just excited to see them all play out! Also, we will be traveling more this year so I can’t wait to share our trips with you guys. He’s truly my best friend and I really can’t imagine my life without him in it. I miss him when we are in separate rooms, isn’t that crazy? I don’t want to give y’all any misconceptions, every day is NOT perfect. We argue, we disagree, and we get on each other’s nerves multiple times a week (him more so than me, haha), but at the end of the day, we try not to sweat the small stuff and we keep it moving. Life is just too short, you know?

Might as well give a podcast update here too. So, we took a break from our podcast @ourhousethepodcast back in August and y ’all… it was supposed to be like a month break. However, here we are seven months later and we are still on this "break". Many people have asked us when we would be bringing it back and so here’s my honest answer: I DON’T KNOW. Lol I honestly just have no idea. If you have tuned into our podcast before, then you will know that it is my baby! Having a podcast with my husband was something that I had been wanting to do since 2016 when I heard my first podcast. I thought it would be so much fun to have a platform like that with my best friend. One thing that I have learned in this journey of marriage is that some things just cannot be forced. Some things we just will not have the same passion or vision for and I’m learning to be okay with that. The podcast is/was my vision, and to be quite transparent, it has been a journey to get Marcus on that same wave with me. Don’t get me wrong, he enjoys it! When we record, he really opens up and has a good time creating the content (especially his Marcus Money Moments), but podcasting in itself is just not something he’s super into and it’s hard to run a relationship show when both parties in the relationship aren’t in it 100%. I ask him every other week about the status of our show and I have expressed that it would be OKAY if he just wants to be done with it. However, he keeps reassuring me that he doesn’t want to be done with it, and that he’s just not prepared just yet to put his best foot forward each week and I can respect that. I have told him multiple times that whenever we brought it back, I wanted to do it right. I want to be consistent and really develop a structured show among other things I’ve been envisioning for the show, so until he’s ready to do that, we will just be in limbo. So to make yet ANOTHER long story short, Our House the Podcast isn’t over as of now, but just on hold until we can fully commit our time and energy to it. In all honesty, we BOTH have a lot of other things going on right now too. Marcus is growing his business and I’m growing this blog/social media space plus we both have other ventures we are working through as well. So we just may have bit off more than we could chew in the moment and I’m okay with admitting to that! Trial and error people, it’s a part of life. :-)

What else do I need to update you guys on? I updated you on work life and married life.. let’s talk a little bit about my personal life! I feel like I’m in such a good place right now. I’ve been doing a lot of personal development and soul searching because honestly, there were some things about myself that I just did not like. When you don’t like something about yourself, no one can fix that but you. I’m not perfect and I have never claimed to be, but there were flaws in me that I refused to see for a long time and I’ve been slowly working through them to become a better person. I turn 29 this year which means next year I will be entering my 30s. I REALLY want to have a firm grasp on my self-identity before I enter that stage of my life AND before I decide to bring children into this world. Y ’all I can honestly say that I feel SO MUCH BETTER! I’ve been walking in my purpose, doing what I want to do, and trusting myself and my own judgement. I’ve always been a people-pleaser, not proud of it, but it’s true. I always been the person that would over-think every situation and worry WAY too much about what other’s may think of the decisions I make or things I say and it was honestly taking a toll on my life. Letting go has been the best thing I’ve ever done and I am still a work in progress, but I can see the progress I’m making and I’m proud of me! One day and one step at a time.

I also had a major health scare in back in September – November that I’m still not 100% ready to talk about, but eventually I will. Just know, I’m fine! If you follow me on Instagram you may have speculated or wondered what was going on with me based off of my stories during the time I was going through this, but I am okay. God is good and God is faithful! I will share more about this in due time simply because I know I’m not the only person who has gone through what I went through, but no one really talks about it so I felt sort of alone when it happened. It wasn’t a good place to be in, so I want to help other women not to feel that way. Just give a little more time.

Well, I think I have talked (or typed) your heads off enough today! I share these things with you because number one, it’s therapeutic for me to type things out (one of the main reasons I started this blog!), and number two, those of you who really rock with me and read these posts are my virtual friends and I appreciate you so much for caring enough to want to share in my life with me. You inspire me to keep going. I’m going to try to commit to getting regular life updates out to you guys. Probably not weekly or monthly, but maybe quarterly. I guess it will just depend on whether or not I have anything to share! Haha

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week and we will chat again soon!
Thank you so much for reading! xo

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