Friday, October 19, 2018

Finding Beauty in the Mess


"We all hit messy walls in life and learn, then survive; coming out on a better side of it all."

There are days where we accidentally sleep through our alarm clock. There are days where we have no energy to work out. There are days where we have breakfast at 11 P.M. There are days where we have no energy to hang out with anyone. There are days where we don't even know the weather outside because we are too busy to leave the house. Life is unpredictable. Life can be complicated. Life is messy, and when life is messy, it can be stressful. 

There have been quite a few times where my life has gotten pretty messy. Around December of last year, my life got turned upside down because I took one wrong step (literally). This wrong step caused me to fracture my fibula. A mistake that completely made me let go of my goals for a while. During that time, I was so close to transferring to a university, had started my first senior spokesmodel program and had 4 amazing girls on the team, and I was the most motivated I had ever been. All of these things changed in one second. One second of pain and anger in myself for being so clumsy.

It was during this time where my life felt dark and lonely. I couldn't go out and hang out with friends because I was injured. I couldn't dedicate the time that I could to ministry because I had no energy and was in pain. I couldn't even do what I loved most, which was photography. I felt bitter and depressed to a point where I would cry myself to sleep. But I didn't know that during this time, God was working where I couldn't see. 

I had so much free time, so I would read books and read my Bible. I'd seek answers as to why something like this could happen to me when I was always putting God first. It was this daily seeking, sometimes in anger, that molded my spiritual life to a level that I had never reached before. I felt God's silence as I had never felt before, but I had no idea that He was preparing something for me. My strength increased, my relationship with God was deeper, I felt so in-tune with my emotions, and I felt this new kind of motivation to be better and to be less busy and more present. 

Here is the reality: Yes, life is messy. Yes, sometimes things don't necessarily go as we planned. Yes, sometimes we feel as though everything is tumbling down, but when we choose to depend on God and to trust in His promises for our lives, things get easier. 

During the time that I broke my leg, I learned how to take a step back and I learned how to take deep breaths. It is true that God's timing is perfect, and I feel as though he was preparing me for my very next step. Life can completely change from one day to another. We can receive news that our loved one passed, we can find ourselves moving to a whole different city, we can injure ourselves, all of this can happen from one day to another. 

But during this time, when we are the most vulnerable, we must exercise our faith. During the time that we feel God's silence, we must exercise our patience. We need to continue to pray and be prepared because as soon as God makes our purpose for our trial known to us, we need to be ready to listen. Meanwhile, it is up to us to notice the beauty in the mess. To find that balance between joy and trial. We need to put our confidence in God and trust that He truly does have everything under control. The word of God states, 

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."-Romans 8:28

We can confidently rest assured knowing that God will glorify Himself in the middle of the mess. He has never failed, and He never will. Although fear and sadness can creep into our lives during these difficult times, this is when our faith needs to increase because what is coming next will require a deeper level of trust. So yes, even though life is messy, it is necessary to take a step back and look at the beauty that God has so delicately placed before us. 

Are you currently experiencing this level of sadness or mess? I encourage you to take a deep breath and trust in God's perfect timing and strength. Life is messy, but it isn't always messy, this means that things will eventually get better. What steps can you take today to trust God in the middle of the mess? 



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Monday, July 16, 2018

Hello July, Where Have I Been?


Hey everyone, I know I've been a little MIA lately. I have been super busy with school and it was also graduation season. This meant that I was totally busy with my super awesome seniors. I thought I'd stop by the blog again, and give a little update.

So much has happened since the last time I was here, and I just thought I'd pop on over here to share all of the exciting news. The very first big thing that happened is that I got accepted into Azusa Pacific University. I will be completing my bachelors in Psychology there, and I couldn't be more excited. I chose this Christian university because I knew it would help me study something that I'm passionate about all meanwhile integrating my faith. I should be starting in the fall, and I cannot wait. I want to join clubs in hopes of making this an experience to remember.

The second big news that I have is that Martin and I are getting a house. I can not wait to decorate it, and remodel it...so stay tuned for before and after photos. This home is absolutely perfect, and I can't wait until we make it our own.

The third and final news that I have is that I finally have my 2019 senior spokesmodels. I have such a great group of girls this year, and I can't wait to start working with them. They are such an intelligent and empowering group of girls, and I know this year is going to be a year to remember.

When I started my spokesmodel program, I was set out on working with young girls in an attempt to remind them of their worth and inward beauty. I know and understand that senior year is such a stressful season. Not only are you bombarded with finals, but you are also faced with the pressure of which university you will choose, or if you will even go to a university. This is my second year having spokesmodels, and I am looking to make it the best year yet.

I've had a lot on my plate lately, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love being busy, but I just have to remind myself to stop and cherish my surroundings as much as possible. As the year continues to unfold, I feel as though my direction for this blog and my business are shifting. I obviously am more than happy with its growth, but I am constantly reminding myself that I need to do everything that I do with intention and humility. I will always give glory to my creator. I know that if it wasn't for Him helping me, I would not be able to do anything at all.

My personal blog was originally created to share tips for aspiring photographers, but I need it to be much more than that. I need this little space of mine to be a true reflection of what I stand for, and of who I am. Of course, I'll be sharing all of those fun posts as well, but you will be seeing a lot of encouraging posts too. My ultimate goal is for my readers to come on this blog and leave encouraged. That's the only thing that feels right in my heart. Let's end this year on a good note.

What is one of the biggest changes that you have endured this year so far?

xo Liz
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Friday, March 9, 2018

Favorite Things: Etsy Shops

Oh hello, Friday! This week has definitely been a relaxing one, but it has come by super fast. Nonetheless, I am super ready for this weekend. We are celebrating my handsome sweetheart's birthday, and I can't wait! I wanted to wrap up this week by leaving you a beautiful list of 5 of my favorite Etsy shops that I have been swooning over. I love scouting small shops and supporting awesome creatives. Scroll through to view these beautiful shops, and don't forget to stop by and take a look around at the items.

1. ObviousState: Perfect for all of my literary enthusiasts who follow along. This beautiful shop is full of cute and witty bookmarks, totes, mugs, and more.



2. BeKindBeautyProducts: I am in LOVE with every single bath bomb and soap from this Etsy shop, and Kirsha (The Owner) is the sweetest person ever. I love the unique look of each bath bomb, and they all smell incredible.



3. anewalldecor: This shop has a gorgeous amount of large murals, contemporary prints, and vintage art. I love looking at them. They are so cute and super classy. I'm thinking of possibly purchasing one for indoor sessions, it would definitely add a beautiful touch to the photos. 



4. CreativeLeatherBRO: This shop has a lot of creative and cool custom leather. I actually found this shop because I searched for "cute passport covers". I'm glad I came across this shop because they have a lot of cute stuff here. I might just get a leather cover for my MacBook. 



5. KristinSchmucker: This shop sells Christian mugs, prints, and devotionals. I love looking through her stuff. I am a big fan of beautiful graphic design, and her designs are gorgeous and simple. My favorite items besides the devotionals are the bible markers and highlighters.



Which of these do you love the most? Hope you have a wonderful Weekend!

XO
Liz
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Thursday, March 8, 2018

LeahLani SkinCare: The Pink Collection

One of my major 2018 goals was to truly care for my skin with all-natural products. I must admit that I never truly paid much attention to my skin growing up. I always had soft skin with hardly any blemishes growing up, but my skin has definitely changed over the years. I have tried to develop a brand new skincare routine, and it hasn't been easy. It's been a bit tough, simply because I am not used to caring for my skin, so it's hard for me to remember to wash and cleanse my skin.

I have always washed my face with Clean and Clear, but I decided that this year I should invest in products that are way healthier for my skin in the long run, and what better way to care for my skin than with Leah Lani Skincare. I went with Leah Lani products because I had read many good reviews about her products, and today I am going to share my thoughts on her products (The Pink Collection in particular) and I am even going to share how I use each product. Also, I thought this post would be appropriate to share since it's International Women's Day. So, keep scrolling if you want to learn more about this beautiful collection.


A little backstory about LeahLani Skincare. Leah is the founder and skincare expert. Based in Hawaii, these products are made from fresh Hawaiian nectars and are made fresh weekly. If you are interested in seeing behind the scenes sneak peeks on how these products are made, feel free to follow Leah on Instagram. Leah was inspired to start these products when she herself struggled with acne, she invested in her education and moved to Hawaii where she studied skincare. She was moved to create something natural that could transform all types of skin and bring out their natural beauty.

I love reading her story, and I love seeing how successful she has become. I immediately knew that I wanted to buy her products once I read her story, and I hope you are also encouraged to do the same. I purchased The Pink Collection which includes: cleanser, toner, mask, and balm.

One of my favorite things about this collection is that every single item in the collection is a beautiful shade of pink. I can't handle the beautiful soft color. I also loved the packaging, you can tell that Leah puts so much thought into each product and package.

 I am going to describe each product and their use below in the order that you should be applying them on your face.



The Kalima Cleansing Powder: This is such a rich and beautiful cleanser. It comes in powder form and in order to activate the ingrediants, you must use water. The cleanser then turns soft, and it feels so good on your skin. I love the smell of the cleansing powder, I must stop myself from tasting it because it's that good. This product boosts collogen production, and evens out your complexion. I have found that my skin has reacted positively with this cleansing powder. I notice how soft my skin is getting with each use that I always have to stop myself from touching my face throughout the day after using this product.

Bohemian Ruby Balancing Toner: This is by far my favroite in the entire collection. This toner is perfect for those who have delicate skin. My skin is inbetween, but this product still works wonders on my skin. You must shake your bottle before spritzing to activate the ingredients, and then you must spray a generous amount on your skin. It is so hydrating, and I can't help but imagine that I am laying by the beach in hawaii when I spray this product on my face. It is so refreshing and it will leave you with a reviatlized complexion.

Meli Glow Nectar Mask: I use this mask once a week. You can use it 2-3x a week, but I feel like once a week is perfect for my skin. This product contains vitamin rich wildcrafted fruits, beauty oils, and organic hawaian raw honey. This product helps give you that rosy glow, and I love how it feels on my face. My face always feels so soft after using this, and I can't get over the delicious smell.

Bless Beauty Balm: This is the finishing touch in the collection. You apply a small amount to your face, and you can feel the moisture instantly. How much you apply I believe depends on your skin type. I already have oily skin, so I do not apply that much. The Beauty Balm contains organic shea and cocoa butters. An interesting thing about this balm that I learned from reading the product description on the website is that it does not contain water or wax, meaning that the enitire product is 100% filled with those good-for-your-skin-rich ingredients.



I have truly enjoyed this collection, and I would definitely encourage you all to invest in this product. I was a bit hesitant at first because I did find the product to be a bit pricey when I first saw it, but it is definitely worth every penny. Leah also has other collections and products for all types of skin, and I encourage you all to take a look at her collection. 

My skin has definitely improved ever since I started using these products every day. I feel a dramatic change in the texture of my skin. I tend to get a lot of blackheads around my nose area, but using the cleanser and mask in this collection has definitely helped clear them up. I can not say enough good things about Leah, her products have definitely become my absolute favorite.

Caring for your skin with all-natural products can be tricky. I had to do so much research before finally choosing LeahLani Skincare. I know all of this could be overwhelming because before doing my research, I had no idea that caring for your skin was a process, and although it is time-consuming, it is good to take care of yourself.

I hope you found this helpful. What are some of your favorite skincare products?

XO
Liz


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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Letter from Liz: Marching in with Confidence


Hello all! It's already March! February definitely came by really fast, but I am so excited for it to be March already. There are so many reasons why I love this month. First and foremost, this is the month that my lovely, handsome, sweet, super strong husband was born. I love this month for that reason, and also because the first day of Spring is in this month. This month just reminds me of starting fresh and that's most likely because of the brand new blooms.

I have so much coming up this month, and I can't wait to get started. The month of February was very slow, but I was able to redesign my photography website, and I am so in love with it! I also shared some New Years Goals and an awesome reading list. I'll admit that I didn't get very far with my reading list because...well...life happened. But that is okay. As I mentioned in my January Reading list, I have decided to not feel bad for not reading. Reading is supposed to be fun and enjoyed, and if for some reason I don't feel like doing it, then that is okay.

This month should be my recovery month. I am already taking small steps with my injured foot, and it doesn't hurt too much anymore. I cannot begin to express how excited I am to be walking again. I feel so motivated to conquer the world and my goals.

This month on the blog I am bringing new hairstyle inspirations. If you have been following along with me since the very beginning, then you will remember that my lifestyle blog when I first started used to be called, The Kindhearted. I used to feature hairstyle DIYs, and I had a blast doing them. I am very excited to be bringing those back here on the Liz Diaz Blog. I am also thinking of adding a business section, where I can feature awesome creatives and possibly interviews.

Also, keep a lookout because I will be posting some photography tips under the photography tab.  I will be posting a how I edit my iPhone photos post as well as a list of my favorite photo apps. This month I am also getting a brand new lens, you guys!!! I am so stoked for this lens because it has been on my wishlist for such a long time, and I can not wait to use it. I may do an unboxing video, so keep a lookout for that. I want to start doing youtube videos on photography and BTS looks on sessions and styled shoots, but Since I am still recovering from my leg fracture I might start that up in April!

Keep a lookout for all of this and more. So do you guys love March as much as I do?

Let me know your thoughts and also if you have anything in particular that you would love to see, let me know!

XO Liz
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Year, New Goals: 2018


This post is coming to you all fairly late, but I figured it was better late than never. I wanted to share my 2018 goals on the blog today. These goals range from lifestyle goals, spiritual goals, beauty goals, business goals, and academic goals. This is coming a little later than usual because I had so much on my plate for the month of January. For those of you who have not been following along with me on Instagram or who do not know me personally, I fractured my leg about 2 months ago, and I barely got my cast taken off last week. My leg is still very weak and sensitive, and sometimes I get pains. I still have to undergo physical therapy, but this is almost over, and I cannot wait to be on my two feet again.

I have been unable to properly hold my camera or have sessions, due to my injury and I miss it so much! There are a few positives in all of this, however, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my relationship with God. My relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. This situation has truly helped me grow in my faith. Although I was confused at first, I am beginning to understand that this situation has definitely brought me closer to God in ways that I have never been before. I may sound crazy, but I am grateful for all that has happened and now I can't wait to make a list of goals. I don't know about you guys, but if I write something down, I am most likely to follow through. So here are my 2018 goals.

Let's start with my lifestyle goals: 
Healthy Eating: This one is a tough one, but I need to take that step into healthy eating. Whether it be to incorporate more veggies and less meat.
Drink More Water: I have been doing this one already. I bought a cute water bottle in an attempt to motivate myself to use it, and I have been infusing my water with cucumber, lemon, and mint leaves. This one has actually made me feel much more energetic.
Walk More: I read somewhere that 30 minutes of walking can do wonders for your health. So once I am able to walk, I will definitely be making this a part of my daily routine.
Read More: I have made it a goal of mine to read as much as I could in my spare time. Reading makes me feel relaxed and happy, and I would love to give myself more time to read more books.
Smile Often: I have decided that come what may, I will always try my best to go through life smiling. I heard that even faking a smile, can make you feel happier throughout your day.

Spiritual Goals: 
Read My Bible: Every year my church reads the entire Bible together. They read 3 chapters a day in an attempt to finish the Bible by December 31st. This is the year that I will finish. It is actually part of my morning routine.
Prayer: I have made it a routine to pray every morning when I wake up and every night before bed. I wanted to add this to my 2018 goals because I wanted to make the prayer more meaningful on my part.
Unfailing Trust in God: I have been through a few ups and downs already in 2018, and I decided that this was the year that I would stop questioning God and start trusting Him instead. I heard a song the other night that said something along the lines of "Lead me, Lord, I will follow, Lead me, Lord, I will go. You have called me, I will answer. Lead me, Lord, I will go." Pretty powerful right?

Beauty Goals: 
My main beauty goal for 2018 is to use all-natural beauty products. I am on the look-out for natural facial products and hair care products. If any of you have any suggestions, please let me know down below. I am looking to take really great care of my skin, hair, and body.

Business Goals:
I have so many new things planned already. One thing I wanted for the new year was a brand new website. I finally updated my photography website, and I am so happy with it. You can check it out here. I am still looking to update this blog, but I have yet to find something I truly LOVE. So keep a lookout for an update coming soon.

I also have a few sessions coming up that I cannot wait to have. I have amazing clients who are so patient and kind enough to wait for me to heal completely from my fracture.

Which brings me to my third business goal, and that is to treat my clients by giving them a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

Academic Goals: 
This is a super exciting one for me. If the Lord permits, this is the year that I will finally be transferring to a university, and I cannot wait for that. I have been doing a good job with my grades, but my goal is to get even better grades this semester.

I love each and every new year because I truly enjoy making these lists and goals. At the end of the year, I love reflecting on what I managed to accomplish. I am so thrilled to see what 2018 brings. As I mentioned earlier, I have had a pretty rough start of the year, but I am not giving up. What are your 2018 goals?

xoxo
Liz
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Thursday, February 1, 2018

January Reading Summary // February "To Be Read" List


If you know me, then you know I LOVE books and I can't get enough of them. I recently set myself a goal on Goodreads to read at least 24 books this year. I may exceed this initial goal, but I at least want 24. This sets me up to 1 book a month. I definitely read more than one book this month. Oops!

I recently discovered a brand new love for audiobooks. I used to always convince myself that it wasn't the same as holding a book in your hands. Even though it is definitely not the same, it counts, and it was definitely convenient for me at times where I didn't necessarily feel the need to strain my eyesight.

I recently fractured my leg, so I have had a lot of down time. This means that I have had so much time to read in the month of January, and I have enjoyed every second of it. Even though, I do feel the need to walk already.

I read a total of 4 books this month, and I am a little excited to share with you which ones I've read, and which ones I'd love to read again!

I will also be sharing the books I would like to read in February. I have decided to not feel bad if I don't completely finish the books that I have on my list for this month. I don't want to feel anxious when I read. I'd much rather enjoy this time, so, for this reason, I have told myself that if I don't read all of the books on this list then its totally okay.

For the month of January I read the following:

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller 
Scary close is all about finding intimacy with others. It encourages readers to drop the act they so constantly find themselves playing and to be themselves. This was such a joy to read! I felt so inspired by Miller's every word. It was interesting for me to read all that he went through, and how he managed to get "scary close" with people. I thought it appropriate to apply this to my own business since photography is all about building relationships with clients and other photographers and educators.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines 
I am such a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines. I recently visited Magnolia with my husband and his family, and we saw the Silos. It was such a beautiful experience. I actually bought this book through Audible, and I felt like this was the perfect way to go about reading (hearing) this one. The book is read by Chip and Joanna themselves, so it felt like I was sitting in a coffee shop talking to good friends. This one was so much fun, and I would definitely love to purchase the book and re-read it.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is my absolute favorite classic. It is one that I could read and read all over again. This book brings up very important topics concerning race and privilege, and I love this one so much.

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins
I love Lily Collins, and this book tells her story and her battle with anorexia. It was kind of scary to see how this affected her so much growing up, and it actually made me like her even more, to see how she openly speaks up about it. I also listened to this one on Audible, and she was the narrator. It was definitely beautiful. I love the chapters where she talks about her family and her struggles.

For the month of February, I plan on reading
-The Four Loves by C.S Lewis
-Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
-Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
-Through the Morning Fog by Jennifer Malech
-Purpose Driven Youth Ministry by Doug Fields

All of these are a mixture of audiobooks, ebooks, and physical books.  I also like to mix up my genres, so I have an inspirational and Bible-based book, one fiction, an autobiography, a devotional, and a leadership nonfiction. I am so excited, and I can not wait to dive in. I start school again Feb 12, so I'd like to dive in before I become incredibly busy.

What's on your "To Be Read" list?

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