Meal Prep for the Week: A Guide to How I Plan & What I Buy

    This meal prep post was requested, and then confirmed in a recent Instagram poll (i’ve been loving those lately) so I’m excited to share how I’ve been selecting my meals, grocery shopping, meal prepping etc!

    First a little background. Due to my schedule, I pack all three meals with me when I leave the house in the morning, which meals I eat all my meals out of tupperware. Yay. I’ve also found that if I’m not looking forward to my meals the day is infinitely less fun….and there is a higher chance that I end up at the drive through of the McDonalds across the street from my night classes. In addition, ya girl is living on a budget so meal prepping is also cost effective! Last thing, Sundays are when I grocery shop and cook two different meals for the week. The two meals allow me to alternate throughout the week and sometimes I’ll throw in a frozen meal to change it up. It does get a little repetitive but I’m okay with it.

    Meal prep

    Chicken Divan


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    5 Things to Look for When Finding a Church Home

    This past summer I moved for the 4th time in my life. I am no stranger to the process of making new friends, starting somewhere new, and having to find a new church. In undergrad, I spent an entire year and a half trying out different churches, and while I loved the one I ended up going to, I wish I could have been more involved and that I could have been there longer. With my move to D.C I knew I wanted to get a jumpstart on the process of finding a church home.

    Searching for a church in D.C can be a little overwhelming. Basically, there is a church on every street corner, and many more “undercover” ones housed in places like schools, movie theaters, and even clubs. So when I was looking for somewhere to start I first visited places recommended to me by friends, then I just started googling. Mark Batterson, the author of the amazing book, The Circle Maker, has his church here, so I visited there. Hillsong has sister churches, so I visited the two of those. All in all I think I visited six (maybe seven) different churches.

    I find it interesting that almost every church I visited led with the fact that their church has “small groups” “life groups” “community groups” etc….Honestly, every church has some variation of that so here is the mental list I carried with me as I visited churches in Washington D.C.

    1. A medium to large size congregation: I’ve grown up in churches pretty large in size. I know that is a turn off for some, but I really enjoy it. It gives you a wide array of people to meet, learn from, and just share the presence of the Lord with.
    2. Women in leadership: The church historically has a problem with this, and I’m not interested in a church that does not have women (a diverse set of women) at the table. I’m looking for women to not only be in “traditional women spaces” like child care, hospitality/greeters, but also as worship leaders, pastors, and other positions of leadership.
    3. Strong worship: Again, I grew up in churches with strong worship, but this is obviously subjective. I enjoy a solid mix of contemporary Hillsong, Bethel music, Isreal & New Breed, but ya girl loves a solid transition to a beautiful old school hymn. Honestly though, with worship, you can quickly tell when you’re feeling it and when you’re not, so this was easy to judge.
    4. Teaching rooted in the gospel: Obviously the most important part. I’m looking to get fed each week. As I visited different churches I noticed that some sermons seemed like heavy anecdotal feel good speechs or very basic foundational sermons that didn’t expose me to anything new. This past weekend I got to attend my church in Charlottesville again, and it was a great reminder of exactly what I was looking for in a sermon. The pastor was teaching on a few verses in 2 Peter. Something I could have easily glanced over if I was reading it on my own, but here I was reminded of the hard truth about God’s judgment. How the Lord is always a righteous judge, and how His judgment is related back to the of the gospel. It was great, and something I look forward to each week.
    5. Diversity in race and age: Do you see a theme here? A lot of what I am looking for are things that I saw when I was growing up, specifically in my church in Chicago, and in Houston. I not only want a racially diverse church, but also a church that has members in many different age brackets. Specifically older adults. I’ve found that after undergrad I don’t have older adults around me, at least not in the capacity that I could talk to them about my life. So I appreciate having the opportunity to create those relationships in the church.

    Alright, so after visiting different churches and looking for these five characteristics, I finally landed on one. During my first visit, I can say that the atmosphere felt right. Right in a way I can’t articulate. The sermon was literally about the gospel, the worship was good, but I wanted to keep visiting other places but I added to the list to try again. So about three weeks later I visited again. This time, the sermon wasn’t preached by their lead pastor, but by their worship director. A black woman. Honestly, I was sold. A church that literally provides a platform and a pulpit for women of color? They are doing something right.

    So there it is! That’s how I found my new church. It only took about 7-8 weeks, but I did it!

    If you have any questions specifically about the churches I did visit, or my process in general, leave a comment and let me know!

    lysse on life


    Where ya Been: An Update with ‘Lysse

    Hi hello did ya miss me!?

    It’s been far too long since I’ve posted something new, so I thought I’d finally tell you why. For a second there, I thought about doing a Day in the Life vlog to make this a little more fun, but the problem with that is time.

    If you follow me on any other social media, you may know that I am currently a 4th and 5th grade resident teacher during the day and taking 15 credits for grad school at night. You see…I don’t have a lot of time. Continue reading

    Beauty, Lifestyle

    Nip & Fab, Viper Venom & Dragon’s Blood Oh My!


    I’m here to bring you another product review. I want to start off by saying that I think all of these products are priced well and can easily be found online or in stores at CVS Pharmacy or Ulta. It has been a few months since I’ve tried out some new products that aren’t for your hair, so I was really excited about these, especially because the entire brand was entirely new to me.

    My initial impression is that the brand and the products are very innovative and affordable. When I first received the items I was intrigued by the different ingredients used, and the variety of products for individual needs (minimize pores, retouch finish, plumping). On the other hand, I like to keep a lot of my face products “natural” or at least with ingredients I am familiar with and I can’t exactly say that about these products.

    What I Got!

    Viper Venom Eye Roller:

    It’s rare that I get a new product and immediately fall in love, but y’all this is it! The product is advertised to address wrinkles, and dark circles and while I don’t have wrinkles, I feel like my dark circles are very apparent without make-up and it is often the only reason I decide to put make-up on. I have only been using the product once or twice a day for one week and the difference is incredibly evident. BUY BUY BUY!

    Cleansing Pads:

    I consistently buy another brand of make -up wipes, despite the fact that they aren’t my favorite. They leave a oily residue and I always feel like I need to rinse my face afterwards. These Nip & Fab wipes don’t leave a residue, and they don’t make you face feel sticky or tight. If you were a lot of make-up I could see how you would dislike these because the pads are small circles and you may need to use more than one. Lastly, it smells like sunscreen which I really don’t like.

    Dragon’s Blood Plumping Serum:

    When I first received this product I was a little confused as to what it was…”a plumping serum.” Is it a moisturizer? Should I use it at night? What does plumping mean? Online the product description says that the Dragon Blood “forms protective film on skin to protect against environmental aggressors.” In theory this sounds cool, but I can feel that protective film on my face which isn’t my favorite. And again, the smell is too strong..

    Viper Venom Fix Blurring Shot:

    In theory this product is pretty cool. It is advertised as “blurring” fine lines and pores to give you a “retouched finish” so in my head it sounds like the perfect product to use on the days that I don’t wear make-up. A little goes a long way, and I like the dropper packaging. I can’t say it makes a huge difference, but I can see the effect.


    Overall, I can confidently say that I will definitely be buying the eye rolling product again and maybe the face cleansing pads. If the fragrances were changed I would be more apt to buying the Viper Venom Fix Blurring Shot. Honestly, this was a really fun package to receive because I had never heard of the company or even a lot of the products, so thank you to Nip & Fab and Collectively!


    lysse on life

    Beauty, Lifestyle

    Deep Conditioning with Deva Curl: A Review

    I feel like I have been waiting to write this post for forever now, but I truly care about taking the time to test drive new products out before I write a full review on them. I have been working with Influenster and Deva Curl for a while now, and have been blessed with the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for Deva Curl. A few weeks ago, I was sent a complimentary box of two of their newest products, the Deep Sea Repair & Strengthening Mask (8oz. $36) and Melt into Moisture Matcha Conditioning Mask (8oz. $36). If you’re new to Lysse on Life and are interested in some of my previous Deva Curl Product reviews you can look here and here!

    Over the past two the three months my curls have been driving me crazy! All of a sudden it seems like my curls get tangled and matted so quickly, and overall my hair lacks the healthy bounce and shine it once had. I know I should have been doing this all along, but for the first time since I’ve been ~12 I have been been wrapping my hair at night. I desperate for a solution and these new Deva Curl masks literally showed up on my door step just in time.

    So, over the last three weeks I’ve been using both of these products about twice a week. I’m going to say up front that I did not always follow the written instructions. Sometimes you gotta be a rebel, right? It felt like a lot of work for me to wash my hair, apply the mask, then wash it out again, AND I personally felt like it needed more time to sit in my hair. A few times I applied it in the shower right after shampooing, then washed it out when I finished showering. Other times I wet my hair with a spray bottle, then applied the mask throughout my hair trying to be as thorough as possible. Each attempt, I left the mask in for varying amount of times. 15 minutes when I decided to do it right before, or during, a shower. 3 hours when I would put it in, then put my hair in a bun before running some evening errands. Then that one time I forgot and left it in over night. Honestly, I think I had the best results the day after this but *shrugs*.  
    Deva Curl

    So what did I think?

    I’m not going to say that I thought either the Deep Sea Repair mask or the Matcha mask was magical and  “strengthened” and “conditioned” my hair like the name says it should, but I do think it made a difference. While my hair has still been crazy tangly (honestly, I think I just need a hair cut) I have seen a major improvement in it’s bounce and shine. If you stayed on a strict schedule, I believe these two products (or one or the other) would be very beneficial.

    Personally, I would purchase the matcha mask again over the Deep Sea Repair. One because I like the jar packaging, two because I could use less product each treatment allowing for the jar to last longer, and three I preferred the consistency as it was smooth and silky yet still thick like a mask. For the Deep Sea Repair mask, I felt like I had to squeeze so much out each time, the consistency seems more like a normal conditioner, and my tube is nearing its end after only five-ish uses. Obviously this will differ depending on how much hair you have…but I have a lot. For both products I was able to work it into my hair easily, and it washed out without leaving any additional residue. Lastly, I enjoyed both fragrances and didn’t think they were too overpowering.

    Now, it’s no secret that Deva Curl’s products are not affordable for everyone all the time. If you’re new to the brand I would recommend starting out with the products from their One Condition Decadence “No-Poo” and Conditioner line.

    If you have specific question about these products, or any other Deva Curl product I’ve reviewed make sure to leave a comment below!

    lysse on life


    Moving Forward By Looking Back

    Home. That is a complicated concept for me. I’ve lived in quite a few states/cities and home can be defined many ways. Home is where I had some of my more formative years during high school (Texas). Home is where my mom is (Virginia). Home is the last placed I lived (Charlottesville). In Virginia, home for me is Charlottesville. I moved to Virginia right after graduating high school and after a quick summer spent at my mom’s new house I was off to The University of Virginia for undergrad.

    I made it a goal when I first got to grounds that I was going to engage with the actual Charlottesville community. Not to be confused with the UVA community. I volunteered in various public schools. Went to church, babysat, played recreational sports with people who had zero connection to the University. In addition, a lot of the classes I chose to take required us to go out into the community. Learn about the different neighborhoods, the history that happened in them, and how the city has changed due to that history. Events like Vinegar Hill, and Massive Resistance are two historical events that come to mind. To me, it was incredibly important to understand the space I was living in. And I wanted to try to understand it from the perspective of those native to the city, not from the perspective of those from the “Master’s House” like some of the native Charlottesville residents refer to the University as.  Continue reading


    4 Ways to Use Picture Prints to Make a Space Your Own

    Settling In

    I have been living in my new place in D.C for a little over two weeks now. The first week I had five storage bins, my work clothes, and bins of beauty products that I had with me in the dorm. Last weekend I returned to my mother’s house to pack up my high school bedroom set that would soon become my adult bedroom set. And this weekend I have pretty much finished unpacking all my boxes and finding a new home for all my knick-knacks. Unfortunately, due to the height of staircase ceiling, my box spring could not complete the journey to my new room, and thanks to the inconsistency of Walmart, the foldable box spring I ordered has also not made it here yet. So yay for week two of sleeping with my mattress on the floor!

    Despite my mattress being on the floor, I am feeling more and more settled each day. With all my boxes unpacked, I have began thinking and pinteresting about how I want to decorate my new space. Yesterday I bought two new plants that have made me ridiculously giddy, I’ve been on the hunt for a new white or off-white comforter, and I would love a rug as well.

    In my room in Charlottesville, I had a corner of my room that was a gallery wall of such with picture prints of my friends from Texas, college friends, the boy and I, and Christmas cards from the families I babysat for. While I loved it in my previous room, I’m looking to use picture prints in a different way this time around.

    Picture prints

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    Money Money Money Monayyyyy

    So i’m living the adult life now. For real this time. While i’m making more money that I ever had before, in reality, I’m living on a very small stipend this year…like i’m eligible for food stamps. With the cost of living here in Washington D.C. budgeting and knowing where my money goes is at the utmost importance. Before the move I was doing a good job of recording my expenses by hand in my bullet journal, but now I need something more automated and sophisticated. I’ve been doing research on some of the best money management apps, and utilizing my new DC library card to check out books all about money, so here is a quick list of the resources i’m using to track my spending and learn more about the financial world.  Continue reading

    fitness, Lifestyle

    Running to Challenge What I Tell Myself to be True


    I’ve felt in a little bit of a slump concerning blog ideas but I’m really excited to share this with you all.

    During my first class of “Numbers, Operations, and Algebraic Thinking” aka how to teach math to kindergartners through 2nd graders, our professor told us: “You are no longer allowed to say that you are not a math person” Raise, your hand if you’ve ever uttered those words. Yup, I assume it’s a lot of us. She continued to impress on us the importance of having full confidence in the content we are teaching because our students deserve that. Math may not have come easy for you, you may not have always liked it, and you may have to put in some extra work to improve, but from here on out you have to set an example for your students and you will be a math person.

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    Independence Day in D.C

    This week I spent my first 4th of July in my new city, Washington D.C! In the midst of the craziness that is student teaching, and taking 9 hours of credit, I was excited to have a day off to see a little more of the city. Some new friends and I made plans for the afternoon but intentionally left the morning open so we could just chill. I used that free time to lay in bed and watch West Wing (#patriotic).

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