Happy Monday everyone! How was the weekend? Mine was super fun since it was my bridal shower weekend – woohoo! I’ll be sharing more details later this week on that. But today is a special day since it’s time for the “Don’t Try So Hard” link up that I am co-hosting with Kate from The “Florkens” and Nicole from Treasure Tromp. This link up was inspired by “Try” by Colbie Caillat. It’s a reminder to all of us to not try so hard, especially with all the “pressures” in blogland. Back in the day you took a photo and had to wait to get your film developed to see how it turned out. Now it’s all about the perfectly posed selfie, apps to touch up your photo and staging a perfect life. Don’t get me wrong – I soooooo do all of that. I love sharing photos where I think I look cute and want my blog photos to show a pretty and clean home, not the dog hair ridden pillows or empty take out containers.

So I was excited (and a little nervous!) when Kate asked me to co-host this link up where we all show our inner beauty. Why nervous? Well because I don’t post a ton of photos of myself on my blog and when I do, it’s usually in a cute outfit with freshly did up hair and makeup. So posting a makeup-free photo was a little nerve-wracking to me. Which meant that I needed to do it. I’m super self conscious and can be critical of my flaws. When Jarrod tells me I’m beautiful when I have no makeup on, my hair is in a ponytail and I’m wearing sweatpants, I roll my eyes. But I shouldn’t. I should take the compliment and feel beautiful because beauty isn’t about my makeup or outfit, it’s about me. He sees the beauty in me whether I’m dressed up or looking like a bum. So I need to remind myself to see that beauty too.

So here is a makeup free photo with dirty hair and the outfit I was bumming around the house in. And a rule of this linkup (read more below) is to say something you think is beautiful about yourself. I’m a total self-deprecating person so this is hard for me, but I will say that I like my smile. I endured nearly 4 years of braces (thanks parents) and love smiling and laughing with my friends and family.  So my toothy smile is a good thing to me. And a bonus one – I have really long arms. As you can see. I was always really self conscious of them as a kid because sleeves would always be too short on me. Always. But now that I dance ballet, I’ve learned to be more graceful and love that my longer arms are a benefit and actually make me look taller too, so that’s another plus. And 3/4 length shirts are a thing now too, thank goodness. So there – I said two nice things about myself so I know you can all be complimentary to yourselves too!

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More about the linkup. I love Kate’s post on why she wanted to do this linkup, so go read that here because her post does a perfect job of explaining what this linkup is all about. I love that blogs encourage us to all show off the best version of ourselves, but we also need to be reminded that we’re all pretty fabulous without the makeup, free clothes, fancy houses and super cute dogs. Wait, no, the super cute dogs are pretty necessary. But everything else? That’s just dressing up an already fantastic package.

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And now it’s time for you all to participate too. Here’s how it works:

1. Take a picture of yourself — without “trying so hard.” Remove the makeup, forget the hair, and let your natural beauty shine through.

2. Let your picture take center stage on your blog and remember to include at least one thing that you find beautiful about yourself. (Use the hashtag #donttrysohardlinkup on Twitter & Instagram to share your pictures and posts!)

3. Follow your hosts and linkup your post below! (And add a button or link back so others can learn more about this link up too.)

4. Click around to others who have linked up and show them some positive feedback in the comment section. Do you love their eyes? Do they have cute freckles? Maybe they naturally have a beautiful glow! Let’s soak the blogosphere in positive thought and self confidence for one day!

5. Sit back and remember that you don’t have to try so hard. While it’s nice to do our makeup and hair, wear trendy outfits, etc., it is so much more important to remember that you are beautiful just as you are! Cheers!