A big, huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who submitted a story to The Giving Keys BFF Contest Giveaway! You all had me laughing and crying my way through the Ask Jules inbox. Out of the thousands of stories submitted, Isabel’s stood out to me most. The way Isabel describes her friendship with Sanaia is everything I believe true friendship is all about. Congrats, girls! I hope you love your BFF necklaces from The Giving Keys as much as my BFF and I do!
Choosing just one story was nothing short of impossible, so I chose two additional runners up who I will share with you in the upcoming weeks. And because choosing just three stories out of a sea of incredibleness was also a struggle, I’ve decided to feature even more of you on my new Instagram @juliannehough_com. Stay tuned to see if your story was chosen!
I’m sharing Isabel’s letter below for all of you to enjoy. It makes me so happy to know there are wonderful friendships happening every day, and Isabel and Sanaia truly embody what it means to be “best friends.”
I used to live in Utah, and when I was 10 my mom got remarried and we moved to a small town in Kansas. I was so nervous. I’d never been this far away from family and friends. I moved at the end of January, and that following summer was when I first started talking to my best friend, Sanaia. We were at the pool for the 4th of July, and we both had a common friend that we were hanging out with. When the common friend left, it was just me and her. That day we watched fireworks together, and that’s when I realized: this girl is going to be my best friend.
It’s very easy to crash your own pity party when something doesn’t go as planned or as hoped for. We know that in life, the rug is going to get pulled out from under our toes. Somebody is going to do something that makes us angry or upset. We are going to make choices that don’t serve us well, and we will end up paying the consequences. These things are inevitable. We can’t always control the negative things that happen in our lives, but what we can do is figure out how to pull ourselves back up, put the pieces back together, and move forward.
“Identify your problems, but give your power and energy to solutions.” — Tony Robins
To me, this quote encourages us to acknowledge the things that aren’t working out in our favor, but only giving it a moment of our attention. Then, rather than dwelling on the negativity, we shift our focus, honing in on what we are going to do about it.
We all have that one friend who despises his or her job and complains about it nonstop. If they listened to Tony Robbins, they’d be proactive in finding a solution such as meeting with a recruiter, submitting applications elsewhere, or taking online courses required for a job they would find joy in. This is something we’re all guilty of at some point, for a variety of reasons.
When it comes to strong and loving relationships, one of my biggest role models is my sister Sharee. With almost 20 years of marriage behind her and many more to come, she always has the best advice for couples. I asked her to share with us her top tips for a lasting relationship and here’s what she had to say…
1. Always do a weekly date night!
It’s important to nurture your relationship and spend quality time together. Randall and I have a very busy schedule, but we always make a date night every week, even if it’s just for an hour. We spend so much time caring for our six children that sometimes we forget to take care of each other. But if we don’t then the very basis and core of our family isn’t strong so we make it our first priority.
While stepping out to a special restaurant is always appreciated, sometimes staying in and preparing a beautiful meal means so much more. To go the extra mile and set the mood for a romantic dinner neither of you will soon forget, follow my foolproof guide to a swoon-worthy at home dinner for two.
1. Pick a place you don’t regularly dine in so the night feels unlike any other. If you usually dine in the kitchen or in front of the tv (oh we all do it!) set the fancy dining room table if you have one. Or, if weather permits, the backyard or patio is one of my favorites. You can also always turn an extra room or garage into a private dining space just for the night.
Image via Home Depot
This week in my Ask Jules column I decided to slip-on my Cupid wings and address a few of my romantic readers.
I was wandering if you can tell me how you would like to be approached by a guy you do not know and be asked out?
When it comes to approaching someone you don’t know and asking them out, the key is to come off confident, comfortable, and above all – not creepy. When I was single, I always appreciated it when someone started a conversation with me before jumping to asking me out. If they could make me laugh or smile in a way that didn’t feel too aggressive, it put me at ease and allowed me to open up.
Pay attention for opportunities to start a conversation. If you’re both in the cereal section at the grocery store, ask a question about the box she’s holding or make a joke about all the choices. Breaking the ice is the best way to start.
What do you think, readers? Help Steve out in the comments! How do you like to be approached and asked out?
Today’s post is dedicated to you. Yes, YOU! I am so grateful for all the love and support I receive from you all. I couldn’t do what I love every day if it weren’t for each and every one of you and for that I am THANKFUL!
I usually post challenges on Fridays but I want to do a special one today. Let’s each reach out to at least three people for whom we are thankful for. Let them know what they do or what they’ve done that makes you thankful for them. No mass texts allowed! This challenge is meant to be personal and from the heart.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
I absolutely love receiving all your emails! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and trusting your concerns with me. If I didn’t answer your letter this week, keep checking back because I will try to get to as many as possible.
I just started college in August and have found myself having a hard time making friends. Granted, it is only the first semester and I still have quite a while for making friends. The biggest issue I have run into is how much partying people do around here, and by partying, I mean drinking. I choose not to drink because my family has a long line of substance abuse. This puts me at a higher risk of addiction, and I have no desire to test those waters. I don’t particularly mind if other people party, but that just isn’t something I want to participate in… unfortunately that means I miss out on a lot of opportunities to connect with other people.
My friends understand and support my decision to not drink, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on some rite of passage. Is there any advice you might offer to me and other students like me? Is there a way for me to connect with my peers that doesn’t involve drinking?
Last week Brooks and I celebrated our engagement with a bang! We hosted an insanely fun party for some of our family and friends in LA. There were many choices to be made when it came to planning for the party but the first one that came to my mind was of course, what should I wear?!
I immediately called up my friend and fashion stylist, the wonderful Anita Patrickson. We decided to start looking for a timeless, classic dress that also felt fun and sexy. Anita said her goal was for me to be able to look back at the pictures in 20 years and love them, rather than cringe at a “trend” that was fleeting. Knowing me as well as she does she also knew it was really important to be able to dance up a storm (which we did, obviously) and have a great time in what I was wearing. The less fuss, the better!
We both loved the shape of this dress. It felt very ’90s Kate Moss — cool, sexy and edgy, yet simple and elegant.