Interview With “Invited” Author Christen Price

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Lindsey and I mentioned that we wanted to start using our blog as a platform to share the stories of other women.  I am so excited to share with you today a special book and author!

I met Christen years ago when I was volunteering in Montgomery with the American Cancer Society.  Since that time, Christen has become an author.  She has also moved to Dothan, taken on numerous important jobs and become a mother of three children.  I have followed her journey through social media.  I decided this past month to read her book, “Invited” that she published this year.  This book came into my life at the perfect time.  It was a reminder for me that all women struggle with perfection and we don’t have to.  We can rely on God to use us to make real connections with people even when we don’t feel perfect (or have a messy house/life).

Christen was kind enough to answer some questions I wanted to ask her so that our readers could learn more about her book and her journey.  I cannot recommend this book enough for all women! You can find a link to the book and her site at the end of this post.  But first, here’s Christen:

Christen Price Bio PictureFirst of all, can you tell our readers a little bit about “Invited” and how you decided to write it?

In Invited, I weave together personal stories with a practical party planning handbook as I share about my own struggle with perfection when I moved home and began to build community. My desire for perfection caused me to experience anxiety and meltdown when parties (and life!) didn’t always go as planned.

This book is written for women who like me, want everything to be perfect, but don’t always know how to stop breaking down when life doesn’t go according to plan. With kindness and Biblical truth, Invited helps women to overcome the hurdles of perfection by finding balance, wholeness, and completeness in Christ.

 
In the book you mention a study that says that 74 percent of young women feel the pressure to be perfect.  I think this is something we can all relate to.  Why do you feel like we put this pressure on ourselves?  
 

I’ve discovered that many goal-oriented women who like to plan battle perfectionism. It doesn’t matter if we are planning a birthday party, who we will marry, or working toward our dream job – women want to achieve perfection because we want the best for ourselves, our people, and our futures. Perfection is passion, an ideal that makes us feel so strongly about the matters of the heart that we act in ways that make us later feel shame and unworthiness, like we will never quite measure up.

In Scripture, perfection is defined as wholeness, completeness, and beauty. When young women give their expectations to God and realize that perfection is only found in Christ, we are less disappointed, discontent, and depressed. God is perfect, so we don’t have to be. By releasing our anxieties to Him, we find beauty in our imperfections and accept His invitation of love, grace, and mercy.

 
Have you heard from other women after writing this book that struggle with perfectionism as well?
 
Yes, their stories have been so impactful to me! Many of the women who I’ve heard from have felt freedom from perfectionism and have been living by the mantra “connection, not perfection.” I think this idea of building relationships instead of having everything just right makes opening ourselves up to others and celebrating life so much easier.
Connection is about relationships and being linked with someone else. Our greatest fear is disconnection which causes us to strive for perfection in hopes that people will like us.  Yet perfection usually has the opposite effect and gives the impression that we are better than others. The antidote to perfection is when we can see beauty in the imperfection. When we focus on building relationships through connection, not perfection, we are able to more fully celebrate with our people.
 
Connection is such an important thing, and reading your book has inspired me to have more people in my home (even when it doesn’t feel perfect).  What would you say to someone who feels inadequate at hosting or thinks hospitality is not their gift?
 

We are often afraid to open our homes to others because we think our homes aren’t decorated nice enough or we are too busy to prepare our house for entertaining. Here’s my advice: don’t let perfection cause you to miss out on inviting friends into your home. Even if your home doesn’t look Pinterest-perfect, find a spot that makes you feel comfortable to entertain in like your kitchen or your back porch. Add some flowers and candles to make the space feel casual and inviting. Or, if you are too busy to entertain at home, invite a friend to meet you at a local restaurant. Pick a spot that has a unique menu or atmosphere and enjoy having a night out with a friend. One of the many benefits of practicing hospitality is happiness. The hostesses who enjoy entertaining the most are the ones who can let go of their worries and enjoy the party with their guests.

 
Reading about your experience with your daughters in the NICU really hit home for me.  I also had a NICU baby and felt the shame, confusion and questioning you talk about in the book.  Can you tell us about how you overcame shame and learned to dwell in God’s presence?
 
Having premature babies was not anything I could ever plan for or expected to happen during my pregnancy with the girls. So, when they were born early, I realized that there was literally nothing I could do about the situation except pray and show up. I couldn’t hold them, but I could love them and know that God was holding them during those critical first days of life. What helped me overcome shame was actually having a season of mourning. I had experienced a loss of carrying my twins the final weeks of pregnancy and I had to work out those feelings in order to move through that pain. One of the things that helped me dwell in God’s presence during that season of heartache was to listen to worship music, journal, and go on long, slow walks. I had to ask God for His help constantly, and He provided me comfort through the encouragement of loved ones and the promises that there was always light through the darkness.
Lastly, the cover of your book is so beautiful! I loved looking at it, and I plan on making the whipped cream pound cake for my next hosting gig.  What is one of your best tips for being a good hostess?
 
The whipped cream pound cake is delicious! It is my husband’s grandmother’s recipe and we made it together for the cover.  One of my favorite terms in the book is to be a hallelujah hostess. The term “hallelujah” means a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude. A “hallelujah hostess” practices hospitality by recognizing that her service is to God and not her own vanity. She not only celebrates her friends, but loves strangers. She gives gifts to those who will never repay her and offers her time, money, and her home to people in ministry. She is not just entertaining on a surface level, she is extending grace on a soul level.
Christen put it beautifully!  This book was such a good reminder for me to be selfless and seek connection instead of focusing on my perfection.  I loved that her book also contains some party planning tips, as well as recipes that go with certain life events.  Yes, I did already make the cake from the cover of the book, and it is as good as it looks!  That recipe and many more are included in the book, and I plan on making it again.
You can find Christen’s book on Amazon by clicking on this link: Invited by Christen Price.
Christen also has supplemental material you can buy on Amazon to help you dive deeper.  You can also follow her journey, as well as a continuation of the “Invited” story, at christenprice.com.  She has some great video chats with other women about things in the book.
Thank you again Christen for sharing your book and journey with us!  I hope this helps other people who struggle with the same anxiety!
~ Laura
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Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish

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I was so excited to receive an invitation to last week’s opening of Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish in Huntsville.  I invited my husband to join me, because we have frankly been craving hot chicken since our last trip to Nashville.  Well, now Huntsville residents can also get hot chicken whenever they want it!

Chef Shawn “Big Shake” Davis has been in the food industry for years.  He was also on 2011’s “Shark Tank” on ABC.  He originally opened Big Shake’s in Franklin, TN.  It has won Franklin’s Sizzle award for best hot chicken in 2016 and 2017.  Let me tell you, the food did not disappoint!

I tried the “cry baby” hot chicken, original fish, pinto beans and macaroni and cheese.

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My husband had the original chicken, as well as the cry baby chicken, turnip greens, and pinto beans.

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Everything was so tasty!  If you like a little spice, you will love Big Shake’s hot chicken.  However, if you are not a fan of “hot” food, the original fish and chicken were still amazing.  In fact, the original fish was probably my favorite.  All of our sides hit the spot, but I am craving the pinto beans as I write this post!  This is coming from a girl who wouldn’t consider herself a pinto beans person.  These are not your typical pinto beans or turnip greens.  They have just the right blend of spices that gives them both a little heat and tons of flavor!

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I also enjoyed getting to meet the Chef himself and hear a little bit about how they chose Huntsville as a location.  He told us at the ribbon cutting that they had fallen in love with this area and knew you could not find this kind of food in Huntsville.  Luckily for us Huntsville natives, Big Shake’s is located off of Martin road right off of 565.  It’s an easy drive from the arsenal (as my husband can attest) and near the interstate.  It’s also not too far for those passing Huntsville on I65.

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I, for one, am so glad I now have a yummy hot chicken place to visit locally.  My husband completely agreed that we would be visiting again soon.  Things that I plan on trying in the future: the chicken and waffles, the famous shrimp burger (that was featured on Shark Tank) and fried oreos (yes!).  Chef Shawn Davis and his wife Robin could not have been nicer.  Thank you for bringing your business to the Rocket City!

You can find Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish at:

671 Martin Road SW Huntsville, AL

~ Laura

Friday Night Outing

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I often get asked questions about our life in the city.

“How do you get around with three kids?”

“Where do you buy groceries?”

“Do you have a car?”

“How big is your apartment?”

I used to think people were being nosy. I have come to realize people are not nosy at all, they are only curious. New York City brings a pace and lifestyle most Americans are unaccustomed to. We mostly walk everywhere or take public transportation, we live in a small 2 bedroom apartment, and my double stroller is the only way I can manage to get around with all the kids! For some it may sound crazy that we pay the kind of rent we do to live this life. Believe me, I have days I think why are we here, but most days I remember the amazing work opportunity my husband has and the experience of city life we are giving our family. Recently I feel like I have been waking around with a crush on the city. Everything she does right makes me swoon and even her most annoying traits I excuse by her charm.

Last Friday night I documented our evening around our neighborhood. Hope you enjoy!

xoxo, Lindsey

 

The Perfect Picnic

The Perfect Picnic

IMG_9074Lately we have been packing up and going on picnic at least three times a week. Picnics have become a winner in our family. First, they are budget friendly! Picnics are a great way to feel out and about with out spending a small fortune on brunch or lunch around our house. Second, It’s great for kids. We have recently had a few restaurant melt-downs with our kids when the meal has either taken too long or they just got tired of being contained. So, we have been heading to that park a lot lately with meal in tow. Ben and I end up sitting and able to visit while George runs around and Sport does his thing.

When we went to Europe a few years back we had the most amazing picnic experience. At the advice of Rick Steves book we took a stroll through the market Rue Cler. We wondered through the market getting cheese, meats, chocolate, and a bottle of wine. Next he recommended going to a park in the city and making a picnic. We chose to sit on a bench in front of the Eiffel Tower. We had some amazing meals in Paris, but one of our favorites was the lunch we had in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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When Ben’s parents recently visited, we could not think of a better way to show them Central Park then a picnic in front of the Jackie Kennedy Reservoir.

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We typically just pack up  peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but in an effort to be healthier we have been doing caprese sliders.

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All I did was toast the slider buns with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Then layer thinly sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, and a piece of basil. Very simple and really good!

How do you like to picnic?

xoxo, Lindsey

If you like this post please leave a comment! I love to get to know my readers!

Weekend Adventures

Weekend Adventures

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 Everyone’s favorite part of the week should be the weekend, right? I had no clue I could love the weekend anymore then I already did until we moved to New York City. Even though we love our house in Alabama, which we still own and rent out, we do not miss the work that was required to keep it up on the weekends. You see we had a large, high maintenance yard and a large house to clean. Since we have been married Saturday mornings for the most part have been work days. So for this season of life it is really nice to be in a low maintenance living situation. We simply wake up on Saturday, drink our coffee and decide where we want to go exploring.

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Right outside our front door.

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As you can see, we spent much of our weekend in Riverside Park.

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Saturday morning we went to the library for toddler story time. Sunday we headed to church with a friend and then spent the afternoon in Greenwich Village.

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One of my biggest worries about moving to New York was that in the hustle and bustle of city life we end up spending less time as a family. What I have found is we get more quality time together in the city. We are having the most amazing experiences and creating memories as a family that will last for a lifetime.

xoxo, Lindsey

Friday Favorites: What We are Watching on Netflix

Friday Favorites: What We are Watching on Netflix

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For the first four years we were married we did not have cable. Since moving to New York we are back to using the digital antenna for local channels and streaming services like Netflix. After a day of hitting the streets with two small children, one of my favorite things to do is cook dinner, put the boys to bed, and curl up with my man to watch a show. Its relaxing for me and while we are just sitting on the couch, it is time together. I am always looking for a new show. So, I love to hear what people are watching ! Here is what we have been watching recently!

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We just finished the first season of Stranger Things. This is not our typical show but I have to say it was captivating. I believe we watched the whole season in a mater of days…not sure what that says about us, but I believe it tells you how the show held our attention. Stranger Things is about a boy who goes missing and the quest to find him. Winona Ryder is the most famous cast member. Winona plays the mother of the missing boy and gives a wonderful performance. The show is very suspenseful. While sci-fi is not my usual forte I give this show two thumbs up.

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Another Netflix original, Chef’s Table is an interesting documentary following five chefs each season and honoring the creativity and artistry in their cooking. We have watched both first and second seasons, I found both to be very interesting. If you do not watch any other episodes watch Francis Mallmann in season one, Ana Ros in season two and Enrique Olvera from season two. Francis Mallmann is a world renowned chef who  cooks almost exclusively with fire. I personally like Ana Ros for the simple reason that most of the chefs on the show are classically french educated and she is self-taught. Not only is Ana a self-made and self-taught chef, but she works with local ingredients in Slovenia where one has to get very creative with scarce culinary resources.  Enrique Olvera is a chef from Mexico who is taking what is preceived to be a relatively basic Mexican food and celebrating the complexity of the sauces and obundance of ingredients. As he said himself he is taking ingredients and presentation that you would find in the finest resturants and presenting it in ways like the taco that celebrate his culture. Enrique mentioned in his episode that he has a restaurant in New York. Let’s just say after watching his Chef’s Table episode I am dying to try it!

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Crazy Ex Girlfriend has been my “go to” lite show lately. It’s what I watch when my husband is working late, or the boys are down for nap. The plot of the show is about a successful lawyer who completely picks up and changes her life to pursue an ex-boyfriend. When she randomly bumps into an ex-boyfriend who casually suggests they should  get together sometime, she quits her job to move across the country to pursue a relationship with him only to find out he has a girlfriend. The show is full of light-hearted humor and will remind you of when we have all let our crazy get the best of us!

So all of this leads me to ask, what are you watching? What should I watch next?

Xoxo, Lindsey

A Day at the Musuem

A Day at the Musuem

Of course there are many reasons to love New York City, but one that I love as a mother of small children are all the wonderful kid-friendly museums! A friend recommended that we get the NYC ID after moving to the city. It is basically an ID for people living in New York City. This is not just any ID though, because it allows you to get into many museums for free! Since getting our ID, we have been hitting up the Museum of Natural History weekly. All I have to do is show my ID and voila, we have our tickets. I went to this museum on a family vacation and a few times since then when visiting the city. I must say I have come a log way from laughing at the naked Indian statues as a preteen with my sister and have a new appreciation for the history of our world as I watch my almost three year old’s eyes light up at each exhibit. We recently took my in-laws to the museum on their visit to the city. They loved it but had to have the mind-set that they would come back because it is far to big to see in one day!

Here are a few pictures from a recent visit.

What are your favorite museums to visit in the city?

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Loaded up and ready to go. Queue… “you see me rollin”

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He watched the whole movie on coral!

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Little man taking it all in.

What’s better than a trip to the museum? A trip to the musuem followed by hot chocolate at Le Pain Quotidien and walking up Central Park West to the Diana Ross Playground!

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I would say we had a great day! See you next week Museum.

Xoxo, Lindsey

P.s. If you plan to visit the city with kids… scope out where the play grounds are. There are tons of playgrounds in the city. It’s a great way for you to people watch and the kiddos to play out some energy for a good stroller nap!

I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City

I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City
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Outside our living room window.

It’s been a little over seven weeks since we packed up our house in Alabama and I boarded a plane for New York City. After an airport send off with family and tears, I was headed to the Big Apple with two children under the age of two in tow and a heart full of anticipation and excitement. Waiting on the other end of our flight was my husband who had just started his new job (which is what brought us to the city) and began to unpack our new two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side.

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We arrived at LaGuardia, grabbed our suitcases, hopped in a carseatless taxi (Crazy right? The city of New York is exempt from state child restrain laws), and headed for our apartment.  As we turned onto Central Park West, George opened his eyes from a hard sleep in my lap and said, “that’s Central Park.” That little boy was correct; he had placed his eyes for the first time on glorious Central Park, which would soon become a part of our daily routine. Let’s just call it our backyard, in the middle of the city.

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We have had a busy seven weeks with adjusting to living in a small space, not having a car, using public transportation, meeting new people, exploring, walking thousands of steps a day, eating more pizza then I can count and relearning our day to day functions in our new urban jungle. When my husband was initially offered this opportunity we thought the timing was off. We said things like, “our kids are too young, we will do it when they are older.” On the contrary, if we would have waited till our kids were older to make a big move like this, we would have never done it; and also, what an amazing adventure to take as a family.  Secondly we said, “why would we want to leave our large yard and settled house.” I have to say this was the biggest one for me.  I loved our house in Alabama and the thought of leaving it was tough. My outlook on our housing situation has completely changed. First, we do not spend a ton of time in our apartment. We typically wake up, eat breakfast, watch the Today Show and hit the pavement. We have traded space for experience. In a city with so much to see and do it’s hard to stay inside. Last week we had a day we stayed inside all day and I told Ben I had total FOMO (fear of missing out). I think a retired New York City police officer we met in the park playing with his grandson said it best. As I was telling him all the major adjustments we are experiencing and the major differences between Alabama and living here, he stopped me and said, “young lady do you realize you live in the greatest city in the world.”

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I completely stopped talking, sat back and said to myself, “shut up Lindsey, you are living in the greatest city in the world.” As I have shared before we are movers but we have never embarked on anything as life changing and as self growing as this. I look forward to documenting and sharing our experiences with you.

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So while I am not “Strolling Through the South (bear with us, we know we need a new name),”I am embarking on an adventure with my precious husband and two babies in the city that never sleeps and what some call the greatest city in the world.  We are still sisters divided by distance and sharing our experiences together. So for now I will crank up the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack and plan out what new city adventure we will embark on tomorrow. Take a listen to my new city girl theme song below.

XOXO, Lindsey

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Mini Van Meg

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We are teaming up with Mary over at http://www.minivanmeg.com to give away a fabulous Kylie Jenner lip kit! Check out our Instagram for details! Also, click on over to Mary’s site! I am lucky to call her family! Mary, her husband Sam and their two children live outside of DC. Sadly I have not joined the minivan club like Laura and Mary but when I do I hope I can make it look as cool. Her blog is an encouragement to young mothers like me! She talks about everything from travel to kids crafts. Definitely check her out here!

Carpool Kareoke

Because I have watch this video at least three times…. You are in for some laughs!

“Hey boo boo, what are you thinking club wise?”

Rodan and Fields

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My friend Lillie gave me a sample of this micro-dermabrasion paste a few months ago. I am usually pretty hesitant to switch up my skin care routine! Well let me say, I love this product. It leaves your face with an almost silky feeling! You are only supposed to use it once or twice a week. With that said, it will take me some time to go through this bottle. Initially I thought it would be too pricey for me to justify buying. This product is becoming my favorite splurge! Contact my friend Lillie about your skin care needs! She is a great girl and also has fabulous skin as a testimony to these products!  Check her out: Here

Corkcicle Bottle

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Ever since I had kidney stones I have been trying to drink more water! I found this bottle at a local boutique. It is similar to a Yeti but it comes in the fabulous pink color and is much more affordable! I put ice in it yesterday at 4:00pm. When I opened it this morning at 5:30am to take a sip it was still cold! I gave my mother-in-law one for her birthday and she uses it to take a cup of afternoon coffee to work!

Walmart Grocery Pickup

After seeing several friends post about the convenience of grocery pick up from Walmart, I decided to check it out for myself.  I just googled Walmart grocery pick up and it took me to their website.  I was able to look up by my zip code whether the service was available for my area.  To my delight, it was available and so easy!  You just pick out your groceries online, check out and pick your pickup time at your closest Walmart.  I will point out that you need to order them a day in advance.  I usually spend the night before my grocery shopping making a list anyways.  This is like making an online list and cutting out the shopping part.  I have only done it for two weeks, but it has made my life so much easier.  Also, you just call when you drive up for your pick up time, and they actually come out and load the groceries for you! It doesn’t get much better than that.  Just make sure to check your area.  They don’t have it everywhere yet, but I bet it will keep growing!

 xoxo~ Lindsey and Laura