Julie (Graham) Bender

You don’t usually have to wonder what Julie’s thinking. Her personal mantra is #beboldandjustbeyou so she shares her heart, her humor, her fitness and fashion tips, and frequent embarrassing moments willingly. She’s winging it. Motherhood, her eyeliner, everything.

Why I Started Praying for Your Husband Daily

Why I Started Praying for Your Husband Daily

I have a heart for marriage. Always have. Since I was a little girl (without a mom, dad, or any example of it to look to), I always desired it and understood its great worth. Then I married young. 21 to be exact. And I was married 11.5 (hard) years to Paul before I was widowed, unexpectedly while separated from him. I’m about to marry (Or should I say, “remarry?” I feel like I need to learn the terms here. It’s all so weird under such different circumstances this time!) my true gift from God to me and my 6-year-old son. So, it’s with that context that I say this: marriage is a beautiful calling… one that cannot be entered into lightly, […]

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10 TV Couples That Make Us Believe in Love Again

Awww, love…are you loving love or loathing it? Maybe you’re recently single, always single, or unhappily coupled-up. Or maybe you’re in your dream sitch, heartstrings tied neatly in a happy, little bow… Do me a favor and put all of that aside so we can take a few minutes to let our fave TV couples inspire us to believe in a lovely love again. Because who doesn’t need to escape into fantasy land sometimes by way of couples who (seem to) have (most of) it all together? Let the love fest begin… Susan & Gordon Let’s start at the beginning. Maybe the first couple you remember. Susan & Gordon Robinson from Sesame Street. Ahh, memories. What thumb-sucking preschooler wouldn’t love a schoolteacher married

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This Is a Window Into My Widowhood

This Is a Window Into My Widowhood

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.) I remember getting the call. “Paul has had an accident and it’s not good. We need to get over there.” It was his dad delivering the news, and we needed to travel an hour and a half to learn more. The detective called him because the friend who was with him on the job site didn’t know his phone passcode but did know his dad’s number. By the time I reached my in-laws’ house in the neighboring city, they had decided we were all going because the detective had called again asking where we were and reiterated that we needed to get to the other coast urgently. So, his parents, our three-year-old son,

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When Will I Be Ready to Date After My Husband's Death?

When Will I Be Ready to Date After My Husband’s Death?

When my husband passed away suddenly, I knew fairly quickly I would want to date again. For some, that might seem odd. You see, I love marriage. So much so that I even began an online community for wives (and wannabe wives) where I would encourage them to pray daily for their husbands, and it became much bigger than I ever intended. It still encourages me today, even now that I am a widow… My daily live stream called #PrayingForYourHusbandDaily was a place where I would chat a little about some area of marriage where I might be struggling or just thinking about, and then I would lead a few minutes to pray for our husbands and ourselves as wives. I led

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How to Have Your Own Coffee + Bible Time

How to Have Your Own Coffee + Bible Time

If you follow me on social media (you should, by the way), you likely see me post on Facebook most mornings (not every day—no perfection here!) that I’m enjoying “C&B” or “Coffee + Bible.” I’ve had people ask me often how I do this—what I read, and where should they begin? I love this question, and I’ll start with the biggest secret: there’s no right answer. The important thing is just to begin building a habit. If you’re new to reading the Bible, start in the New Testament. There are a couple books in the New Testament that are especially fit for beginners. The book of John or even the book of Romans are good starting places. Brew yourself a cup of

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Everything You Need to Know About Le Tote Fashion Rental

Everything You Need to Know About Le Tote Fashion Rental

It’s no secret that I’m into fashion. In fact, I’ve been known to say (half-jokingly) that it’s my hobby. We can’t all be crafty, can we? When I discovered Le Tote, a fashion rental subscription box, I quickly fell in love with the concept and the price point for what you get. I get asked about the service a lot (most notably, if it’s like Stitch Fix), so I want to lay it out there to clear up the confusion and maybe persuade you to give it a try! Simply put: Le Tote is fashion rental, where you get to borrow a box of garments and accessories styled by the Le Tote team. The items are selected based on the preferences you set when

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What Makeup Brushes Do I Really Need?

What Makeup Brushes Do I Really Need?

I got into makeup sometime in college. Before that, I shudder to see the pictures. And then, maybe worse, was my first year or two experimenting with it…but, I digress. These days I would count makeup as a hobby. Learning about it, teaching others about it, sharing my favorite hacks and products, and strongly advocating the frequent-wearing of false eyelashes (seriously, just do it!). One thing that really upped my makeup game was when I began using makeup brushes…not just relying on the applicators that came with the products I bought from the drugstore (no shame in that, by the way!). If you want to start getting a little more serious about your makeup, I suggest you get a few staple brushes

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3 Easy Apps and Tricks to Save Money

3 Easy Apps and Tricks to Save Money

I’m all about saving money. For a couple of months I was into coupon-clipping. I bought the newspaper on Sunday (two, of course, for BOGOs—Publix lovers know what I’m talking about). I clipped, and I saved. But like most resolutions, after a few weeks (maybe a month?) I got out of the habit and stopped. Still, I felt disappointed every time I recalled the savings I had once been dedicated to getting. I decided I needed to find a less work-intensive solution. I found a few ways to save that work for me! I’m pretty phone-addicted and love having apps to simplify and better my life. I know, I’m so 2017. But I’ve earned over $200 with the apps below and saved at least $500+

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5 Things I've Learned in a Decade of Wifing

10 Things I Learned in a Decade of Wifing

As I approached my 10 year wedding anniversary, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the lessons I’d learned through a decade of wifing, as I like to call it. There are hundreds of things I’ve learned about me, him, and certainly about God, so I decided to make a list of the lessons that have been life-changing. 1. Age isn’t an excuse to quit. I was a mere 21 years old when we said, “I do.” That’s pretty rare these days. “Getting married young,” is a common excuse I hear when it gets hard and people are looking for reasons to “escape” the marriage. I’ve heard it a lot during my wedded days—friends, celebrities, and strangers alike often cite it, but marriage is

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Word to the Wise for Women Building a Career

If you’re a working woman you know the struggle can be real. To be successful in your career, present at home, and have time and energy leftover to enjoy some sort of down time, hobby or creative outlet…who can do it all? We’ve got your back…here are some of our fave reads for working women, broken down by topic. Bookmark this baby, and share it with your friends! Looking to get a job? Not sure what kind of work you should pursue? How to Pinpoint Your Purpose With One Simple Question Going for an interview can be stressful, watch this first! How to Stand out in a Job Interview (Video) Are you new to the workforce? Some things you should know… How

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How to up Your Brow Game

A few years back a new trend emerged that was a little overwhelming, and frankly, it still exists on too may faces: the bold brow. You’ve seen it. You’ve been caught staring. The big, bold, über-defined brow. Just typing it makes me cringe. I’m here to say that every woman should most definitely up their brow game. But not like that! Making a point to fill in your brows can make your face look finished. It can pull your makeup together and make a significant difference. And it can be done quickly and easily! Now a simple Google search for “defined brows” can land you on a 15-step tutorial using 5 products. 15 steps for your brows? As a makeup junkie, I can’t even get behind

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Makeup Hack Essential Oils and Mascara

Makeup Hack: Essential Oils and Mascara

I feel like all of the oily ladies out there are going to love me for this one! Essential oils have become big, and I bought into the craze purchasing a full box of assorted oils. Honestly, I struggled to use them daily, until I discovered this trick! When I open a new tube of mascara I always add 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil. It helps boost my eyelash length and fullness! I’ve definitely seen a noticeable difference! Plus, it smells great! Warning, don’t add the drops if you plan to apply the mascara right away. I usually add the lavender oil when I don’t plan to use it for at least several hours, preferably the next day even. I usually

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How to Get Free Mac Lipstick or Shadow

Y’all know I love the cheap NYX matte lip products, but you can’t get cheaper than free! This hack is going to change your life. Dramatic? Maybe. But, that’s kind of how I roll. And this really did change mine! Did you know that every time you use up six Mac cosmetics products and return them (empty) to a Mac store they will give you a free lipstick (or gloss) or eye shadow of your choice? Winning! Now, before you go running off to get your free item, here are a few FYI’s—you can’t do this exchange at department stores where Mac products are sold, sadly. You have to go to an actual MAC store. Also, they don’t count eyeshadow palette refill

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Take a Moment to Stop and Listen

Take a Moment to Stop and Listen

This morning I had a heart-to-heart with my son’s teacher. It all began when she commented on my physical transformation that she noticed from the pictures I provided for his family collage. We chatted a little about that (as you do when making small talk), but then she commented on how honest I seemed… And friendly… Somehow our conversation became more personal, and she ended up sharing her struggle to get pregnant after a miscarriage. Then I shared how many friends I had who experienced the same thing; then we talked about considering adoption… Each of us revealing a piece of our heart. I am now sitting here, grateful for little interactions like these… Moments to be honest while sharing our lives. Ladies, let’s

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Nagging Your Husband? Try This Instead!

Nagging Your Husband? Try This Instead!

First, I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two in my 10 years of marriage. Namely, it takes a LOT of prayer. And I don’t mean praying as a couple. What I am saying is that instead of complaining or nagging (which we all do), pray for your husband as part of your daily or at least regular routine. It will be a worthy investment—not only for him but for you too. But why? There are several reasons every woman should do this. (And I don’t mean only if you’re currently married! If you have a desire to be married one day, or at least are open to the idea that you may get married, I encourage you to begin

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