I'm Annie. And I haven't always cared about the planet.
I grew up in a normal family. We recycled and tried not to litter, but we also ate McDonald's and sometimes forgot to turn off the water when we brushed our teeth. I grew up like most people my age. Normal.
We had a few pets growing up, but I wasn't a huge animal person. In college, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings so much that the waitress knew me by name. Until one day...
I got a dog. She changed my world (now I understand you crazy dog people!). In 2014, my boyfriend (now husband) bought me a Time Magazine called "The Animal Mind" because it had a cute dog on the front. I read it. There was a section on factory farms. I had some questions. So I Googled "What is factory farming?" And that's the day my life changed.
The images I saw online will never be erased from my head. I was in complete shock. How had no one told me where my food was REALLY coming from? I watched all the documentaries. I read all the books. I turned to social media to find vegetarians who could show me what I should eat because meat was no longer going to be apart of my diet. I just couldn't stomach it anymore.
It turns out most vegetarians on YouTube and Instagram are also vegan. In turn, I learned the truth behind the dairy and egg industries, as well. I gave it up for good in 2015.
Over time, I began to find out more and more about how animals are exploited in the entertainment, cosmetic and fashion industries. I started to rid my life of any products that came from an animal because I just couldn't bear to know that an animal suffered because of ME.
Eventually, and unfortunately, the shock of these images wore off and I was tempted to eat meat again. So I looked to the other benefits of a vegan lifestyle. I was already feeling better, health-wise, but I began to learn of the effects of our waste, our plastic, our pollution on the animals, and the planet. So off I went on my own journey to reduce the waste in my life.
Starting this journey of compassion for the animals has led me to a place where I want to lead a compassionate life for the planet and other people as well. I now try to live my life in the most ethical, compassionate way I know.
While I wish I was a total hippie that just sat around all day, making her own soap from scratch and living in VW bus, that isn't my life. I'm a busy, professional- probably just like you- and I don't have all the time in the world. So I'm on a journey to live life in a simple, compassionate way. I hope you'll join me!
Giving up social media for Lent this year •• Here’s to 40 days of replacing screen time with intentionality, prayer, meditation, reading, focusing, laughing and self-discipline. All to Him I owe. 🌱
I finished this book a few weeks ago and it was EYE OPENING. 😳 I used to think the enneagram was BS.... but then I realized it’s because I’m a Type 6 who is distrustful of everything 😂 Being a Type 6 means I’m loyal, hard-working, responsible, self-reliant and passionate about championing for others...but also largely anxious, suspicious of others (explains my love of conspiracy theories, don’t it? 😂), rebellious, full of self-doubt and indecisive....which is all spot-on 👌🏼••But seriously, realizing which type I am and which type Brandon and my friends are has been so helpful. It’s probably the most accurate personality test I’ve ever taken. •• If you are interested, definitely read this book before even taking a test online. It’s so helpful and fun to read! 📚What’s your enneagram type? #anniereadsthings
These aren’t my students. They are my babies. They are my heart. I know their favorite colors, what they’re building in Minecraft, what body language they show when they’re feeling awkward or anxious, who their best friends are, if they had a bad dream last night, why they are fighting with their parents. I have had their literal snot, germs, blood and vomit on me. I have opened their chocolate milks, wiped their faces, tied their shoes, brushed their hair, unzipped their coats. I have dealt with their sometimes bad behavior, dealt out consequences- essentially parenting them for 7 hours every day. I have bought them presents, told them I love them, counseled them, prayed for them by name every morning on my way to work. My kids (and their parents now...)call me “School Mom” cause ain’t that the truth. I may not love teaching but I LOVE these kids. And today. Today, it was hard. Today broke my heart, made me nauseous. Today, I physically felt the weight of my students’ anxiety and fear on my shoulders and in my chest. Today, I couldn’t shake it. Today, I cried. God, make me RELIABLE for these kids. May I be trustworthy with these pure little hearts that God has placed in my hands to protect and mold. Every child has a right to a childhood and God has given me a job to stand at the gates of their innocence and stand guard over these precious years. Teaching may not be my long-term gig but protecting and fighting for these kids is. May I be the light. May I be there every day, ready to take on the world with them. May I be something reliable for them in a world of chaos. #anniesteacherlife #wordsonwrists
me, working out: *swan dives head first into a burpee* •
me: *thuds face first into the living room floor* •
me: OHHHHHH! •
brandon: are you okay? I just heard something crash and you make a weird noise... •
me: I think I broke both my elbows...
And the award for favorite corner of the house goes to....🏆My first home project that I did solo and I am IN LOVE 😍 The home reno bug has bit me and I’m pretty sure my name is Annie Gaines now so whatever 🤷🏻♀️
YOU WERE NOT MADE TO BE A DOORMAT. I have always felt like “too much”. Too bold, too stubborn, too opinionated, too strong-willed. I prayed to God for years- literally -to make me quieter and gentler because in my mind, being quiet and gentle was the only way to be kind and loving. There have been times when I thought my being blunt, up-front, confrontational, willing to have awkward conversations in order to set boundaries made me a major beeeeyotch. •• But God has shown me this year an important truth and I am realizing how passionate I am becoming about cheering others- who may not have the same boldness- on in this truth. And that is: YOU WERE NOT MADE TO BE A DOORMAT. You were not created to be walked all over and taken advantage of. You can say “no” and still be a good person. You can say “no” and still do God’s will. “No” is a complete sentence.
You do not need to explain yourself to others. You are not a sinner for walking away from toxic situations. You were made to be challenged- but not abused, bruised or used. You get to choose the people that are in your life- friends AND family. You are not obligated to toxic people because you happen to share the same name as them or you happen to have known them for a long time. God gave you a brain, a gut feeling and legs to walk away from anything that tries to make you believe that you are anything less than WORTHY or LOVED. You do not need to be a YES girl. You are loved, kind, compassionate, important and still fulfilling a purpose if you say NO. You can’t allow God to use you in BIG WAYS if you choose to remain locked in your own, or somebody else’s, prison. YOU ARE NOT A DOOR MAT. You are a DAUGHTER of the KING, ADORED and created ON PURPOSED to set this world ON FIRE with PASSION and RADICAL KINDNESS. 💕
Every day, I write a word or phrase from my prayer or meditation or from the Bible, on my wrist. I keep it there as a reminder all day to help ground me in truth. // today, I was focusing on the truth “When He opens His hands, they are filled with good things” from Psalm 104. It hit me that my life is FULL OF GOOD THINGS. I don’t have my dream job, marriage, body, closet, house, etc. but my life is STILL FULL OF GOOD THINGS. Cause God doesn’t give out crap. Whatever I have right now IS A GOOD THING. So just so you know...YOU are a good thing. YOUR JOB is a good thing. YOUR MARRIAGE is a good thing. YOUR FINANCES are a good thing. YOUR BODY is a good thing. List them out like I did today and you’ll start to see all the good things popping up before your eyes. So to paraphrase God....it’s all good in da hood.
snow day vibezzzz. ❄️🔥💕
Had lots of work to get done today but instead spent the day making macrame essential oil car fresheners...so..... 🤷🏻♀️💕
REMINDER: Love is not manipulation. It is not passive aggressive. It is not unwilling to accept responsibility for actions. It is not unsupportive or unkind. It is not cold. It does not ignore or use the silent treatment. It doesn’t require others to comply with its demands. It doesn’t call names or forget plans with you. It does not belittle, make sarcastic comments at your expense or embarrass you in public. It does not forget to ask you questions or invest in your life. It does not solely speak about itself. It does not brag in order to watch you shrink and feel small. It does not withhold affection until you act “right”. It doesn’t depend on others for happiness. It does not buy your affection or hold things over your head. It does not control, blame or isolate. It is not jealous of you. It does not hold a grudge for weeks, months, or years on end. It doesn’t ignore boundaries. It doesn’t meddle or talk behind your back. It shouldn’t make you feel sick to your stomach when it calls or shows up. It doesn’t dredge up the past. It doesn’t exhaust you, mentally or physically. It doesn’t hurt you physically, emotionally or spiritually. It isn’t co-dependent, enmeshed, immature or lazy. If it is, then it isn’t love- it’s toxic and it’s abuse. If it is a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, mom, dad, sibling, cousin, co-worker, friend, neighbor, grandparent- get out. Know you are worth more than being treated like someone’s garbage. You are worthy of respect, dignity, freedom, independence, affection and time. You should only have people in your circle who BRING YOU UP • CHEER YOU ON • SPEAK POSITIVITY • SUPPORT YOUR CALLING• CALL YOU TO HIGHER. You are not sinful, selfish or rude to cut ties with people who are toxic. You are not obligated to ANYONE who is dysfunctional. Speak truth in love, draw a boundary line and have enough respect to know you are worth so much more than being bruised by people who use you and abuse you // Love will walk through it all with you, even when you try to quit every second. Love is personified in my perfect husband who is gold-hearted in every sense and makes this world a better place just because he’s in it. 💕🤟🏼
Here’s to the Monday-est Wednesday ever. 🍷🤪
Almost 1️⃣ month until St. Patrick’s Day ☘️This is your reminder to pursue your fun, silly dreams. Find what FILLS YOU- no matter how random, dorky or late in the game you feel. I’ve been relearning Irish dance about 6 months now, which is huge because I rarely push myself out of my comfort zone but it has been the most fun, rewarding adventure. Here’s the St. Patrick’s Day Set- a dance from Ireland that has been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. The second video is me last week- couldn’t finish the dance and frustrated. The first video is after a week of practicing every single day- almost finished the whole set (kinda fell apart at the end though) and fast enough to do to music. 🥰☘️ Have fun, try your best and don’t take yourself too seriously. 🤪
Learning to have fun more often. Learning that slowing down is productive. Learning that spontaneity can be therapeutic. Learning that a Sunday drive after church to Pennsylvania is the kind of Sabbath I needed. 💕
Final night with the keys to our apartment. Four years in our first little home. It was the place that ended years of long distance. It was the place we spent our first day as a married couple. It’s where I sobbed my eyes out when he sat me on the sofa and told me he lost his job 6 months after our wedding. It’s the place where we laughed at our psycho neighbors, drank too much wine and stayed up too late, had game nights and sleepovers with our fave peeps. It’s where we got our first dog. It’s the place where we spent too much time at the pool and made alliances...I mean, friends...with the not-so-psycho neighbors. It’s where Brandon put out a dumpster fire at midnight while wearing his boxers and a crop top (long story...) and it still makes me laugh to think about it. It’s where the people we loved had a key and watered our already-dying plants when we were away. It’s where we learned to rough it. It’s where the dishwasher didn’t work, there was a wasp nest outside our window, and the floor was slanted so stuff rolled off the dresser. It’s where we learned that it didn’t matter what we had, but who we were with. It’s where we were broke AF college kids, trying to figure shiz out. Dang, Remy 203 was good to us. I mean, it was also an annoying pain in the patootie to live there too...but it built character. Saying goodbye to the chapter of our lives where we are ghetto college kids....SIKE. Still the same ghetto kids you know and love from the 21234...just down the street. Literally.✌🏼🏡
First night in our new house. 🏡
Feeling really fragile all day and for the first time ever, I recognized that I felt this way and that is was OKAY to take care of myself. So no workout today, time spent with family, no lesson planning or grading, breakfast for dinner, journaling, tea and late night vinyls. 💕✌🏼
He wrote me a book about how we fell in love and I am pretty sure it’s the most thoughtful gift in the whole world. 💕😭👰🏻🤵🏻
Turns out that I’m not responsible for other people’s happiness, unhealthy decisions, lack of boundaries, guilt, victimization, toxicity, choices, lack of communication, passive aggression, unkind words or blame. Who would have thunk that I’m not obligated to call, text, see, spend time with, give money to, defend, excuse, or think about people who put toxicity in my life? ••
Is this what life is like for people with healthy boundaries? I feel like I can take a deep breath for the first time in years. ••
I spent so many years thinking that God wanted me to turn the other cheek + let people walk all over me. I thought that love thy neighbor meant tolerating toxic people because they are lost. I thought boundaries made me a mean person. ••
Turns out I read it all wrong. God isn’t a God of abuse, toxicity, or being a slave to the demands of others. God calls us to be a people of FREEDOM + STRENGTH. Sometimes, turning the other cheek is waking away, with forgiveness and peace in your heart. Sometimes, boundaries and saying “no” is the kindest thing you can do. •• Love is not enabling. Louder for the people in the back, LOVE IS NOT ENABLING. ••
Love doesn’t suffocate, control, depend on others for happiness, guilt trip, blame, refuse to accept responsibility, ignore, deflect, enable, triangulate, insult or victimize.
I will never again be ashamed, scared or timid when declaring this in my life.
My word for the year is LAUGH. It was going to be JOY, but I feel like, for me, it needed to be LAUGH because I need the type of joy that takes your breath away, hurts your abs, puts tears in your eyes, blocks all other thoughts, connects you to others and tells the world, “I HAVE NO FEAR CAUSE LIFE IS FUNNY AND IT IS ALL GOOD” I let last year steal my joy and my peace. That is NOT HAPPENING this year cause that’s not what my God has for me. My verse for the year is “She is clothed with dignity and strength and laughs without fear of the future.” WHO IS WITH ME?! 💕
I started this year with the word COMMUNITY. But really, all this year felt like was the word LOST. •
I didn’t have it in me this year. A lot was thrown my way and I buckled. I’m just trying to keep it real- this year felt like a fail. •
It was the year that I faced INSANE challenges professionally, in my marriage, in my friendships, in my health, in my relationships, in my finances. •
Everything felt like it was crashing down in 2018. I would win a battle and then two weeks later, another obstacle would smack me in the face. Eventually, last month, I realized that I rarely did anything for fun or just ‘cause. I let life take over. I let it wear me down.
It’s okay to have days, weeks, months, seasons- or even years- like this. It’s life. You brush yourself off and get back up and make life awesome. •
So here’s to 2018- the good and the bad. Here’s to three years of marriage. Here’s to stupid arguments with your husband and staying up too late talking over wine. Here’s to adopting the sweetest little pup we didn’t even know we needed. Here’s to broken down cars and emergency room visits. Here’s to apartment renovations and broken dishwashers. Here’s to sending letters to our friends in Africa and awkwardly trying to make friends in our 20s. Here’s to turning 25 and having a quarter life crisis. Here’s to therapy appointments and awkward silence on too-comfy sofas when I don’t want to talk about my feelings. Here’s to friends found in unlikely places (like on the Internet) who love the mess outta me. Here’s to a trip to Chicago and cancelled plane rides. Here’s to new jobs and budgets. Here’s to cheering our people on through weddings, and babies and loss and new jobs, oh, my! Here’s to making hard choices and setting boundaries. •
A verse that was laid on my heart at the beginning of this year was “See if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” •
I believe that will come to fruition in 2019. This was the refining year, the processing year. The year of drought and famine and fire. But next year- oh, just wait.
2019 is gonna be our best year yet.