Friday, July 31, 2015

July Favorites



Pretty Little Liars // There....I said it...I am completely obsessed with this show! I am 100% wrapped up in the dramatic little lives of these teen queen characters. I analyze each episode and am seriously intrigued about who A really is....

Home Depot // I know it is a bit of an odd addition to a favorites list. I can promise you my 16 year old self would probably be quite embarrassed at this exact moment. But I truly am in LOVE with Home Depot and all they have to offer their customers. I am constantly working on my home (hereherehere, and here) and Home Depot is usually my go to for supplies. Not to mention their garden section always has amazing variety. Swoon!

Kick the Dust Up // by Luke Bryan has been my summertime jam. I am so fully in love with this song and every time it comes on the radio I legit bust out my car dancing skills. It's the perfect summer anthem with an incredible beat. Just drop the top of my convertible and cruise.

A Silver Twig // I could not let my July favorites roll by without giving another shout out to my amazing new friend Ashley from A Silver Twig. She is an incredible blogger and a fantastic business organizer. She truly wants to see women succeed at accomplishing their dreams. Check out some of her newest services here. She is not only a beautiful writer but a complete sweetheart.

Be Still Clothing Company // If you are looking for some sassy, Jesus centered clothing, then this is absolutely the shop to check out. Their clothes are not only gorgeous and funny, but they are so very relevant to the world we live in today. I am in love with their pieces and own multiple items. Everything ships pretty quickly and I consistently get compliments when I wear their clothes. Love!

Milani Illuminating Face Powder // in the shade Amber Nectar. I am telling ya'll, I can not get enough of this stuff. This summer I have been really light with my makeup products due to the incredible amount of humidity in my area. It's really not pretty to have a melting face. So I place a little bit of concealer under the eyes, dust on my Milani Illuminating Powder for a beautiful highlight, curl my lashes with mascara, and that's about it. The look is super easy and gives a great summer glow.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to Make Surface Level Friendships, Deeper Friendships

Creating deep friendships can be a daunting task to any of us. It can sometimes feel safer or more comfortable to keep people at an arms length. And in general, this is even easier to do. But it truly is not God's best for your life. 

The only time that God created something that He was not fully pleased with, was when He birthed man to live by himself. In Genesis 2:18 it says, "God said, 'It is not good for man to be alone."

We were actually created to be in relationship with other people. And not just in a 'Hey, How are you?' 'I'm fine, thanks." kind of way, but in real intimate relationship where we share life together. Taking that surface level friendship into a deeper, more intimate dynamic can be scary, but is so worth the health it brings into your life.

So how do we create these deeper friendships? I started to talk about that here and now I have a few easy tips that will help you on your journey to creating that deeper friendship. 



Make that nerve racking call and set up a time to meet

I understand that the first time you invite someone to hang out, it may be a bit overwhelming, or make you slightly nervous, but it's ok. Our God is bigger than a small spout of nervousness and He will help you in reaching out to someone. Once you reach out and let someone know you are serious about spending time to get to know them better, a deeper level of friendship can finally begin to develop.

Create one on one time

If you are anything like me, this may be the most nerve racking idea of all. Just a few years ago I was terrified to ask anyone to hang out one on one. What if the conversation is awkward? But there came a point in my life where I needed to just force myself into doing it, and I am so very thankful that I did. When you allow yourself one on one time, that is where you can truly start to build real intimacy with another person and connect to their heart. It really is so super important for creating a deeper relationship and will allow that friendship space to grow.

Send a text or two throughout the week, seeing how they are doing

It truly is so nice to look down on your phone and read a text that says 'Just thinking about you. Hope you're having a great week,' or something along those lines. People just want to know that they are seen and their life is important to someone else. Sending that message can not only brighten someone's day, it opens up room for someone to give an honest response as to how their day is going, thus leading into more intimacy in your friendship as well. 

Pay attention to what someone is telling you about their life, and then check up on them later

This is a crucial part of creating a deeper friendship with someone. If you are in conversation with someone and they tell you a big part of their life (someone has cancer or is sick, they're up for a job promotion, their marriage is a bit rocky), checking up on them after the fact to see how that situation is progressing not only let's them know you care about their life, but it builds your friendship with that person as well. Now they can feel that they have someone to go through this stage of life with, confide in, etc.

Become invested

This goes hand and hand with the last bullet point, but is so completely true. Becoming invested in someone's life will help grow your friendship exponentially. Maybe that friend has a young child with a recital that you can go to or maybe they're moving and really need help with the packing. Whatever it may be, becoming invested in that person's life will help them to realize how incredible your friendship is and that it is not just a surface level relationship.

Invite them into your space

This may seem a little strange, but your home or your space is extremely personal. It is a reflection of who you are and what you find important in life. Inviting someone into that space can help that person to see who you are even better and can grow your friendship to yet another level of intimacy.


I truly understand that creating intimate friendships, who know you better than just your first and last name, can be a bit intimidating. But having someone to go through the ups and downs of life with makes life more exciting and worth while. Those people will stand next to you on your highest days and hold your hand on your lowest days. 

I love the friends that I've established deeper relationships with. They are like family to me and we have been through it all together. Don't miss out on the incredible journey of friendship that God has for you!


In what particular ways do you help grow your relationships into deeper friendships?


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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simple Decor Hacks to Beautify Your Apartment // Guest Blogging Over at Danyell Bailey

Hello my lovely friends! I have been having such a blast making new connections in the blog community and writing up posts to share with them. I met the beautiful Danyell in an awesome blogging community and love reading her posts that help my life get seriously organized and ready for success. I have come on board to her blog today to give her great ideas for decor hacks on a budget (since she has recently moved). So here is a preview for ya'll to check out, that you can finish reading over at her blog. Enjoy!


Simple Decor Hacks to Beautify Your Apartment

I am a huge fan of creating beautiful spaces that truly exemplify your personality. For me, I am a Jersey girl born and raised, living about an hour from the shore, so my style is light, bright, airy, and a bit beachy. I love the calm that flows along with ocean waves, with a scent of fresh baked treats in the distance. So that is the full embodiment of my home. 


Although I am completely in love with owning my home, I absolutely remember what apartment living was like and the desire to nest in this space that was ‘mine’, but I didn’t actually own. I honestly believe you can make your apartment (house, condo, etc) a home whether you are there for a short season or the long haul by putting an extra bit of love and design into your space. 

I also really love staying on a simple budget (I mean as best as possible). My husband and I are not made out of money, and although I can seriously fall in love with some high end furniture pieces and Pin away some gorgeous decor, I am constantly looking for a bargain that fits my budget. Sometimes that means going out of my way to do a bit of extra work on a furniture find or becoming creative with where I discover my decorating items. 

So here are some great tips and tricks that have helped me create and beautify my living space on a budget...


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Creating a Beautiful Home You Love, Part 4 // The Master Bedroom

Hello there my lovely friends! It is the very last week of this particular series, Creating a Beautiful Home You Love, that I've been putting together just for your enjoyment this past July. I loved that I was able to bring you through our dining roomliving room, and stairwell so far. But enough with the downstairs, we're movin on up! 

So get yourself ready for Part 4: The Master Bedroom


This room right here has been our master bedroom ever since we bought the home. It's honestly not the largest room in the house, but we decided to use it for now until we have the money to fix up the larger master. I told ya'll from the beginning that we purchased this home because we saw the true potential we could get out of it. Our home came with a massive bedroom on the third floor that we intend to turn into a master suite in a few years (but baby steps first). 

So for now this sweet little second floor room works just fine (especially since it is only Josh and myself at this particular moment). This is how our master has looked since we purchased it. Fairly uninspiring, with no real personality in the decor at all. But that's all about to change!


This blue was the color on the walls when we purchased our home, and I already know what you're going to say....it's gorgeous. And I absolutely do agree. But it is not the light, bright and airy feel that the home as a whole is going for.

Tip: Just because you enjoy a beautiful color does not mean you have to keep it, if it does not fit your overall theme.

Tip: Sticking with your home's theme will help with the general flow, and not make one room feel as if you are stepping into a whole new house when you enter it.

This color, while lovely, is honestly way to dark in this small space. Not to mention the fact that we have dark furniture as well, so the whole place gives a feel of caving in on you. It's not a fun space and it gives no real, breath of fresh air openness, that I've been producing in the general house. So a bit of a redesign was definitely in order.

Tip: It is a lot cheaper to buy a new paint color, then a whole new set of furniture. A dark room with dark furniture will make a space feel closed in and tiny. Painting walls a lighter color will open this area up alot. 


The hardest part about this space is that there is no real personality here. That is partially my fault because I've yet to hang any real decor in this area. I knew that we would be changing out the paint, so why go through the struggle of putting everything up on the walls, just to take it all down shortly after. So that one picture stands alone.

Tip: If you are planning on changing something before you even start decorating the room, don't go crazy with the decor at first, or you will have a large area to clean up and reorganize later.

I'm also really not a fan of the closet door at the moment. It's kind of an eyesore to me with its color. So it too shall be painted a lighter color to brighten up this area.

Tip: A simple paint job, to something like a closet door, and changing out the hardware, can really give the whole wall a different vibe.


Now, my incredible husband found this gorgeous duvet at our local Pottery Barn (very similar here) and we instantly fell in love. So this was our first major purchase for this room. Each and every decision we are making for this space is going to be based off of this one design. It's bright and airy with a gray and gold flair to it. Perfect for our room.

Tip: Finding one main design piece to be the focal point of the room and then basing the rest of the room and decor off of that will ultimately assist in the overall flow.


The next step was paint.

Tip: When you have a dark color preexisting on the walls, I would HIGHLY suggest using primer. Going from dark to light will be that much easier if you throw a primer up first.

I fully understand that there is paint and primer in one, but in my experience, you never fully get the color you want without three or four coats, when you are painting from dark to light. A good can will be in the $20 range and will honestly save you so much hassle. I used Kilz for this room since we had some left over when we were painting the wood trim and it works perfect. 

Tip: Tarp all of your furniture!! It's so much easier then having to scrap off paint later.


Here is the room freshly primed (before I finished the edges) and I already think it's starting to appear bigger.

Tip: This process may honestly take a few days, so make sure you have an alternative set up for your sleeping arrangements. You do not want to be breathing in fresh paint fumes all night.


So here is where the real problem began. I had a for real, 50 Shades of Gray, issue on my hands. Who the heck knew that so many different shades of grays existed. I'm quickly learning. I've been throwing up samples day after day trying to find the perfect light and fluffy gray that I'm looking for.

Tip: Always buy the samples first! It may be exactly what you're looking for in the store but be a whole new shade once it's on your wall at home. Sample, sample, sample!


Now, this is honestly where I'm stuck. Finding a great paint color. And it is where I am going to end this series...

With the exciting announcement that I am starting a new series in August, Beautify My Bedroom, that will take you all on this journey with me of recreating this bland bedroom into a masterful oasis. I've honestly had such a blast writing this series and taking so many fun pictures for you, that I just did not want the fun to end. So please come and join me throughout August as we explore together, and in more depth, what it takes to create a beautiful space that you will be in love with!

Starting next Wednesday, August 5th, and every Monday afterward, Enjoy this Beautiful Season, will have brand new tips and tricks just for you, so we can walk this journey out together. I can't wait to see you all there! But for now, it's off to find the perfect paint color. 

Do you know of the perfect light gray color? Let me know in the comments below if you've ever been hunting for the perfect light gray and found the exact color you were searching for!


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Friday, July 24, 2015

Great Ways to Workout For Cheap this Summer

So it's summer time (as we all know by now) and that means smaller clothes and even smaller swim suits. Getting in shape is a must if you want to be out and about, down the shore, and so on. It's also extremely important for your day to day health to be active and moving. But there are definitely seasons in life when I don't have the excess funds to be supporting the local gym with a monthly payment. 

Now usually I would find this to be a moment of defeat, but fear not friends! I have come up with some great ways that you can work out for an extremely cheap price, or even completely free!! And if it's free, it's for me. So here we go...



Youtube

I love getting my morning relaxation and strength training from Yoga with Adriene. Her workouts stretch my muscles, help my balance, relax my brain, and tone me up. She's both calming and strong. For something a little more fast paced, I like to check out blogilates. Her routines are great for people with super busy lives (they last somewhere in the 10 minute range) and they focus on giving strength to one area of the body (legs, arms, tummy, etc.) I always get a great burn on in her workouts and it leaves me prepped to take on the day. And the great thing is, both of these are completely free!

Walking

I feel like this may seem like a duh kind of statement, but going for a regular walk around a park, lake, or simply your neighborhood is a great way to stay physically fit. My husband and I like to take long walks around our area when he gets homes from work at night. We live in a historical neighborhood and we love to comment on all the beautiful homes and landscaping. This simple little act combines 3 things we love, home design, walking, and quality time with each other.

Take the Stairs

People honestly look at me like I have ten heads when I choose the stairs over an elevator or escalator, but it is seriously so good for your health. And I mean, come on, it really is not that difficult to head up one flight of stairs instead of jumping on the escalator (unless you have some sort of knee injury preventing your climb). I originally started doing this because escalators and those creepy moving sidewalk thingys, make me super dizzy. But I've kept on with it because it's super great for staying in shape.

Ride a Bike

This is not only a great way to get into shape, but it's a super fun family activity as well. It is truly something the whole family can do together, and it's a much healthier alternative to sitting on the couch watching a TV show. Now if you don't have a bike, it will obviously be a cost to obtain one. But once that magical cycle is in your possession, there are unlimited possibilities to the workout opportunities. My one friend even rides his bike to work and back (a few miles away). Now that's dedication!

Zumba Party

I know I've talked about this multiple times on my blog, but I am truly obsessed with Zumba. These classes really are an incredible way to get into shape and they're super fun as well. You can even grab a group of girlfriends together and head to a local class. They're usually very affordable and get your heart pumping for sure. My class is in the $5 a class range with no contracts, nothing to force you to come back, and you're able to bring along whoever you want. I would definitely recommend them.


So what are you waiting for??

Go out and get started on creating a healthier you. Today, whether you have ten minutes or an hour, find some time to be active, get your heart pumping, and save cost on some excellent workout ideas.


What are some great ways you workout in the summer for cheap??
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Anthropologie Giveaway!!


Happy Thursday, friends! Today I'm teaming up with a great group of bloggers to give you the opportunity to win some Anthropologie items for your home! We're giving away a gorgeous set of 6 Anthropologie bowls in pretty shades of green and blue. They're beautiful earthenware, and would be a wonderful (and useful) addition to anyone's kitchen - perfect for everything from recipe prep to soup to morning cereal. Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win (and in the meantime, get to know these wonderful ladies)! Good luck! :) anthro-july-giveaway-graphic
Hannah @ Just Bee // Hayley @ A Beautiful Exchange // Julie @ A Modest Vessel // Danielle @ Enjoy This Beautiful Season
Kate @ This Side of Paradise // Emily @ [EM]POWERED
Laura Jean @ According to Laura Jean
Madison @ The Wetherills Say I Do // Tifani @ Tifani Black // Trine @ Creative Pink Butterfly // Jenna @ A Savory Feast
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

7 Things My Husband Will Never Understand // A Guest Post by Ashley LaMar

Hey Friends! I am so super excited to be introducing the incredibly talented Ashley from A Silver Twig in her first guest post on Enjoy this Beautiful Season. Ashley and I corresponded over email about a post she had written and she very graciously let me speak to her on a real level without getting angry or offended. Her warmly open and friendly personality easily lead our conversation into a direction of friendship and I am beyond thrilled to have her on my blog today.

Last week she sweetly invited me to post on her page, here and I had a blast writing up the post for her. Now I can't wait to introduce ya'll to her writing. Enjoy!


7 Things My Husband Will Never Understand


A lot of people don’t realize this but my husband and I were in a long-distance relationship for over a
 year before we were able to reunite and actually be together. During that year apart we saw each 
other exactly one time, for 2 days, only two weeks before I was able to move for us to be together. 
The 11 months and 2 weeks prior to that were excruciating.

People ask me all of the time, “What did you guys do while you were apart?” and I all I can ever say is, “We talked. A lot.” And we did. We tweeted each other (find me @asilvertwig), exchanged Facebook messages, wrote long e-mails, and spend hours on Google’s instant messenger while we should have been working. By the time we were able to reconnect, after a year of nothing but talking, I thought to myself, “This man knows me better than I know myself” and I was certain I was correct. I was sure that he knew every single thing that there was to know about me. I actually worried that the mystery would be gone when we were finally back together.

Boy was I wrong! We’ve now been married for 4.5 years and there are still things he doesn’t understand.




For example, he still doesn’t get these 7 things:


1. How I can spend an hour on my hair just to tie it up 10 minutes after leaving the house.

Look, I don’t get it either but it’s true. I’ll spend an hour on product and curling or flat irons only to pull it back or up not 10 minutes after walking out the front door. Sure, I might be rocking a super cute curly ponytail or a sweet messy bun but it’s still not the style I spent an hour perfecting under the glorious fluorescent lights in my bathroom. I hear “Why are you taking so long? You know you’re only going to put it up!” all the time and I always defend it saying, “No, today I’m leaving it down.” We both know I’m lying (despite my best intentions). You would think that by now he’d just accept it.



2. That some towels aren’t meant to be used.

I remember the exact day this first came up. I had come home from Nordstrom with these beautiful monogrammed hand towels and had spent 20 minutes folding and perfecting their look in the bathroom. I was in the closet when I heard the bathroom sink turn on. Before I could say, “Don’t use those towels!” he had dried his hands all over one. I wept (on the inside) but he could see how upset I was. It was all over my face. He just shook his head and said, “Towels are meant to be used! Why buy them if I can’t use them?” I just muttered, “Because they look pretty.” He now knows that if it’s pretty he shouldn’t use it and that applies for hand towels, bath towels, kitchen towels, etc. He doesn’t get it and I don’t think he ever will.



3. Why I need so many bath products.

What does your bathtub or shower look like? If it’s anything like mine there are about 30 products for you to about every 2 products of his. I tend to buy collections so I have bubble bath, body wash, honey or salt scrubs, lotions, and body sprays for every scent and I have about 6 or 7 scents at once. I just tell him, “Just be happy I smell nice.”



4. That one pair of black heels is NOT enough.

Hellooooo! There are wedges, pumps, kitten heels, peep-toes, open-toes, closed-toes, pointy-toes, satin finish, leather finish, lace finish, buckle details, etc but men don’t get it. I’ve given up. All he sees are shoes and he still thinks that one pair of black heels should be enough.



5. That there is a wrong way to load the dishwasher.

It’s a constant disagreement. He insists that as long the as the dishes are in the dishwasher it’s loaded correctly. I insist that there is indeed a system to it and that system must be followed in order for the dishes to be cleaned properly. *Sigh* I keep explaining it and he keeps doing it wrong.



6. That I like my cream with a dash of coffee, not the other way around.

It’s a joke around my house. “Do you want some coffee with that cream?” Sure, ha ha ha, I get it. I love coffee but I don’t like the taste of coffee so I OD the coffee with various coffee creamers. Sure, my coffee ends up with a light cream, just slightly off-white, color but I get my caffeine fix and I’m happy. Happy wife equals happy life, right? Let it go babe, I like my coffee just fine.



7. That a little retail therapy can fix any bad day.

Actually, scratch that. My husband totally gets retail therapy shopping trips! I totally scored a winner there.


What about you? Any things about you that your husband just still doesn’t ‘get’?

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Creating a Beautiful Home You Love, Part 3 // The Stairwell

I have honestly been in love with developing my series Creating a Beautiful Home You Love for ya'll and it's been fun for me to revisit all of the rooms and hard work we have dispersed into our home over the past two years. Lots of love, prayer, and sweat went into to each space and I'm so excited to share our tips and tricks for getting each area picture perfect.

So here is Part 3 of Creating a Beautiful Home You Love: The Stairwell


It may seem like your stairwell is a space in your home to just skip over since it's not an actual room, per say, but I believe a great stairwell and landing can enhance the welcoming feel of your home while adding pops of color and personality. This is what our stairwell to the second floor of our home looked like the day we purchased it. (We were super excited to be homeowners!) 


As you can see in this photo it was mostly dark wood, similar to the living room and dining room in our downstairs. Although the original wood was beautiful, for us, it made the house feel a bit old and out of date. So the first thing we wanted to do was liven that up by bringing some fun color and airiness to the space.

The previous owners kept the walls white (my guess would be to not make this stairwell too dark). So our first goal was to flip that around, making the would white so we could color in the walls and help give this area more personality.



It took us a very long time to finish out the wood work in the white color. I'm talking, hand painting each and every spindle going up the railing. It was exhausting.

Tip: If you are working on a tedious task, break it up into multiple days. This will assure that it is completed well and without you feeling like your hand might fall off.

I spent two straight days on those spindles but I honestly wish I had broken it up into a longer period of time. My hand throbbed for nearly a week afterward and I truly thought it was going to be stuck in a pickle claw like form for good. 

Tip: Don't let your desire to "get things over with" make you rush your work. It's better to do things well then just quickly.


We then moved on to taping up the trim and painting the walls. We used the same exact blue from the dining room to give it more of a cohesive look.

Tip: When painting two rooms that are near each other but don't actually touch, sometimes it is beautiful and simplistic to use the same paint colors to compliment the symmetry of the home in its entirety. 

Tip: When painting a space where you are going to rip out the flooring, keep the old flooring down til you are completed painting. This saves you from using drop cloths and when you are finished you can simply pull up the old flooring, carpet, etc.


We followed the same paint color up the landing, and around to the second floor. Again, this helped produce that cohesive look we were going for. Once we were completed with the painting of this space we pulled up all of the remaining carpet.

Tip: (MONEY SAVER) It is incredibly easy to rip up carpet. Simply use the back of a hammer to dig up a corner of the room and then tug. It usually comes up extremely fast and efficient without forcing you to pay a professional. 


When all of the painting is complete, have your carpet installed, and then hang some of your favorite personal touches. (You can actually see the fact that we never finished painting the landing window originally. I showed how we lightened that up and added fixtures here.)

The pieces that decorate our stairwell are very personal to us. 

Tip: Adding just a few personal touches can give the space a warmer feel without looking too cluttered.

The decor that we chose to place here are all sentimental. The hand carving of Africa we purchased from a local craft vendor during our first international trip together in Uganda, the map on the second set of stairs is actually our guest book from our wedding and has been signed by everyone who attended, and our final piece of decor is our LOVE key ring we purchased from a random antique re-finisher we stopped by during a road trip.

Tip: When you are taking any type of a road trip (especially through more rural areas) it's always fun to leave aside some time to stop in a local shop or two. You never know what kind of treasures you will find.


Finally, I love adding some fun flowers to brighten up the space and give it some texture. It's a really easy way of adding a pop of color without getting super crazy. Both sets of these flowers were gifts and I love finding fun areas to place them so they can liven things up.

Tip: You do not need to break the bank for beautiful floral arrangements to color your space. Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby...all great places to find affordable permanent flowers.

Tip: You can get really affordable planter stands from places like Home Goods, that are thin and take up very little space. Perfect for areas like a stairwell landing!


Here is the stairwell in its complete state and I love how much character it adds to our overall home. I'm so glad we did not take this space for granted and focused as much time on it as the rest of our home.


Here are some more completed pictures for you to enjoy!





I hope ya'll have enjoyed this week's edition of Creating a Beautiful Home You Love. If you've been working on your home and want to showcase it off, use the hashtag #createyourbeautifulhome on the insta, so we can share and inspire each other on this journey. 

Let me know how you make a sometime forgotten area of the home (entryway, stairwell, laundry room, etc) bright and special in the comments below. I would love to hear your ideas as well!


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Friday, July 17, 2015

Spreading the Love // Blogs I've Been Loving Lately

I've been spending alot of my time recently hanging out over at the The Peony Project on Facebook and I love reading all of the incredibly talented and creative bloggers that participate in the group. Finding new blogs to read in general has been a new addiction of mine and I really wanted to share some of my love for them, with ya'll. So here are some of my favorite blogs at the moment for you to give a good look-see over your weekend!














All of these incredible women are beautiful writers and creators. Their posts range from inspiration and encouragement to DIY and fashion. They always seem to be exactly what I need to hear and assist me with fantastic ideas for around my home. Head on over to their sites and give them a good read (and some love)! Have an incredible summer weekend friends!
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to Have a Joy Filled Marriage // Guest Posting Over at A Silver Twig

Hey Friends! Coming to you on a Thursday (how cool is that?!) I am super excited to announce that I have my very first guest post up on the incredibly gorgeous Ashley's blog A Silver Twig discussing How to Have a Joy Filled Marriage. Here's a little preview for you here. Check the rest out over on her blog. Love ya'll!!
When I first published this post I expected to receive a lot of backlash for it…and I did. I lost nearly 40 followers on Facebook, another 17 on Twitter, and I had 30 people unsubscribe from my bi-weekly newsletter. It’s unfortunate but so it goes. In the blogging world you gain followers and you lose followers. It’s to be expected. What I didn’t expect was to gain two awesome new blogging friends. One of those friends strongly disagreed with me but was very kind, polite, and respectful in her dissent. Another strongly agreed with me and we connected over our similar thoughts and feelings. 
One of those blogger is Danielle from Enjoy this Beautiful Season.  Shortly after we connected I offered Danielle (whom I now completely adore!) the opportunity to guest blog here on A Silver Twig. She readily accepted and she wrote this gorgeous post about how to have a joy-filled marriage just for you. So, get reading and be sure to hop over to her blog and say hello.

I can remember the months leading up to my wedding as not only being a roller coaster of emotion, but also an open sea of public opinion. Friends, family, and even the local grocer simply loved to give me their opinions and advice on marriage. Yippee.
Now, some of it has truly turned into a blessing for our marriage, but for the most part I was given opinions that I never needed to hear. So many people brought up negative thoughts or experiences with almost a “well, good luck with that” kind of tone.
Over the years we have allowed negativity and sour thoughts to invade the beauty that is marriage until it now practically hangs over us like the grim reaper, waiting to devour its next victim. But marriage was never intended to look like that...

Finish Reading the Rest on A Silver Twig

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Writer

As I was in the car today these words came to me (no I was not driving), so I started to write them down. They turned into a bit of a conversation I was having (and have been having) with God about who He has called me to be in this life. And even though I am fully aware that I will wear different titles, I'm starting to finally realize that writer is one of them.



Writing...

I'm not great with words.

I'm not.

Or at least that's what I've always spit out at myself. I would say to myself, when I write it's boring, when I speak in front of people I stammer and lose my train of thought. 

I am not good with words. 

But what blogging has taught me is that I'm not confident with my words

I underestimate my writing ability and when I jump up in front of a group to speak I suddenly become paralyzed and completely lose my confidence. 

I shake, rattle, and roll all over myself until I can no longer get a handle on what will flow out of me. I'm so nervous that my body is trembling all over. 

What if they don't like me? What if I have nothing important to say? What if I simply can't find my words?

But then I fall into The Word and even though I'm not good with my words, The Word is all the confidence I need. 

He wraps himself around me, holds me so tightly and whispers in my ear all the things I need to hear. 

You are lovely. Fearfully and wonderfully made. I know this because I made you, just like I created the universe. Each hair upon your head, I know it. There has never been a time I've left you and there never will be. Don't fear the other opinions, you have me. And me is all you need.   

His whispers delight me and remind me that I am His so I don't need to feel my words slipping because my words don't even matter. It's Him. His Word that will elevate me to new heights

I humble myself before Him. My Lord and my Savior. I adore every ounce of Him. 

So even when I am wordless, He calls me worthy. And even if I don't see myself as a writer, He is writing on me daily. I'm listening. Open to all He has for me because when I put myself aside and surrender to Him, my dreams are suddenly within reach. 

I never knew this was who I was suppose to be but He has changed my heart. And all that's in me to be exactly who I was created to be. A reflection of Him. And His love. And His effortless joy. To spread it to those who still need Him. 

My words are never boring or meaningless because it is His Word that comes out of my mouth. He strengthens me to strengthen others and I couldn't be more honored to know that I'm His vessel. His physical discussion to a world lost and wandering. 

So therefore my words could never be without. I remind myself this as I sit down to write. I am not accidentally here. I am perfect in His sight. 

You were never meant to write without me, but through me, you are a writer. That's how I created you inside and out. Your design, from the beginning, was to have a voice. There is no other choice for you. Everything has already been paid for and decided. There's no use in fighting it.

I am a writer.

And my words will be great because the voice He gave me is powerful. Filled with life everlasting. Straight from Him. He has called me, daughter, come to me and step into your destiny. From this day forth your life will forever be changed.

I am a writer...in His name.
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Creating a Beautiful Home You Love, Part 2 // The Living Room

I'm so incredibly excited to start Part 2 of my home series Creating a Beautiful Home You Love. Last week I showed you just how we fixed up our Dining Room space to be the beautiful space that we now love.

This week it is on to the next area we poured our love into, Part 2: The Living Room


This room was honestly such a fun space for us to work on and dream up. The very first thing we did was to create a concept of exactly what we wanted our living room to say to people. The tone we wanted it to set as the threshold of our home. The first day we walked through the space it felt very drab and well...brown. And not like nice brown, but more like a mustardy colored yuck brown. I definitely was not feeling it at all.


As much as this space was cozy when we purchased it, the living room still didn't reflect us. Remember how last week we talked about light, bright, and airy. That's our style, with the beauty of historic charm, mixed into a beachy feel. So that's where we wanted to head with this space.

But before we started painting, we taped up the gorgeous stain glass window to make sure the wood trim paint did not get all over it.

Tip: My absolute favorite painter's tape is ScotchBlue in the "Delicate Surface" style, not the original. I find it to be much easier to peel off of every surface without leaving jagged edges.


The next thing we did was pick a color for this room. We wanted to choose something that complimented the dining room space we had already painted.

Tip: When picking out paint colors, if you don't want every room to be exactly the same, choose complimentary colors over completely opposite colors. It'll give you a more cohesive feel.

We also decided to pick out new carpet for this space, not because the old carpet was a horrid color that didn't match the room (it was actually quite nice), but because we wanted a fresh start to this room. We also went with a carpet that was lighter and helped brighten up the room a bit more.

Tip: Purchase the flooring you love. I understand that hardwoods are "in" but I love the snuggley feel of carpet under my toes and I wanted something my future babies could crawl around on. 

Tip: There are some things worth splurging on. Carpet is not usually something you want to go cheap with. Great carpet feels amazing and lasts a long time too.


Picking out the perfect furniture pieces was the very next thing we did. Although most of the furniture in our entire house has been handed down to us by our incredible family, the couches were the one thing we wanted to purchase.  

Tip: When buying a new couch, sit on it for a looooong time and get a real feel for how comfortable it's going to be.

When Josh and I were furniture shopping we sat on this couch for a good 15-20 minutes, like we would if we were home in our own living room. This helped us realize how comfortable we could truly get on the couch and visualize it occupying our home.


Our second furniture purchase was the love seat. We had picked up our couch from Ashley Furniture but we actually found our love seat from Pier 1 Imports. And let me tell you what, I fell in love with this love seat. I drove over to Pier 1 Imports several times every month to sit in this snuggely little seat completely mesmerized with the idea of it finding a permanent residence in my home. I had to have it! Not only was it beautiful, it matched our sofa perfectly. We spent several months saving, but I am super glad we did.

Tip: You do not need to purchase a matching set for your furniture pieces to look beautiful together. Compare material swatches with each other and if the colors and styles flow, then go for it!


We added this bench in the corner of our entryway, to have a comfortable place to put on shoes. We also found these adorable baskets to place underneath for both style and practicality. These baskets hold our shoes and keep everything neat and out of the way.

Tip: Finding creative ways for storage can be helpful and cute!


We finished off this room by dressing it up with curtains we love, family photos, comfy pillows, and personal things that make our house a home. We finished off the center of this room with this incredible ottoman. We choose it over a coffee table so that we could throw up our feet and really relax in our home.

Tip: Pick unconventional pieces that can double as durable and comfortable. 


Last, but certainly not least, be intentional with how you place your furniture. We lined our doorway with our sofa to create the feel of an entrance or foyer area, where one did not previously exist. This helped us to define two spaces in one room and gave our home a real entryway while opening up the living room furniture to the dining room space, and making it one cohesive area.

Here are the rest of the photos for ya'll with the living room all prettied up. Enjoy!






The number one thing we wanted out of our living room, was for it to be inviting. God blessed us with this beautiful house and we want to be able to bless others by inviting them into our home and showing them love through hospitality. We have found this to be an incredible place to entertain so far and I couldn't be more thrilled with the direction it's moving in.

I hope ya'll have enjoyed this week's edition of Creating a Beautiful Home You Love. If you've been working on your home and want to showcase it off, use the hashtag #createyourbeautifulhome on the insta, so we can share and inspire each other on this journey. 

We will have two more exciting weeks showcasing some of our fun home changes, with more tips and tricks so don't forget to check out Enjoy this Beautiful Season every Monday in July to learn hoe to Create a Beautiful Home that you will simply Love!


Links to this Series:
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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Liebster Award



Hey Friends! I'm so incredibly excited to announce that I was nominated for the Liebster Award by my lovely new friend Paula of Red Wine and Peonies. She is a gorgeous lifestyle blogger who creates fantastic DIYs, like this one here, has an adorable family, and a beautiful heart for Jesus. Definitely go check her out. You will not be sorry.

Now being fairly new to the blogosphere, I wasn't really sure what the award was at first, but quickly learned that it highlights great new blogs and up-and-coming bloggers. A sort of, welcome to our world, from incredible bloggers lighting the trail. What an exciting thing to be apart of! And I want to be able to spread that love to a beautiful blogger who I have been enjoying so much recently, Tiffany, the lovely creator of In All Things. This girl right here walks her life out with Jesus ya'll, and I am consistently challenged by her very real steps of faith, struggles, and ultimate love for God. You have to read her stuff.

Moving on to how this all works. There are a series of questions here that will help you (my beautiful, amazing, incredible readers) get to know me and Enjoy this Beautiful Season even better. Then it is Tiffany's turn to take these questions, run with them, and nominate someone herself. I want to thank each and everyone of you for reading and joining me on this crazy journey that is life. Love you!

What is one item that you could NOT live without?  I'm not really sure if I could choose an item. A few years back I literally lost my house in a fire and with it a healthy portion of the "things" I had collected up to that point. What the experience taught me was the most important parts of my life, live in relationships (and my pets). Those are what I can't live without.
What is something/someone who really makes you laugh?  Oh my gosh! I'm not even embarrassed to say this, but watching people fall makes me laugh soooo hard. I grew up watching slapstick comedy (not to mention my mom would always laugh when I fell as a child) so it literally makes me belly roll to watch someone eat it (and I'm super sorry if that has been you over the years...I still love you).
If you could change your first name, what would you change it to and why? I've always felt that my first name (Danielle) is kind of plain. But I love it's meaning, God is my Judge. It's helped me to realize that no matter who has what to say about me, God is my true judge and I will always lean on Him. But I also really love my middle name (Alexandra) and would probably use that....if I had to.
What is the story behind your blog name?  The concept for my blog's name came from Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.....and He has made everything beautiful in its time." I truly believe in spreading joy and grace to everyone in all seasons of life (no matter how hard they may be). When we live our lives with a spirit of joy we spread that to those around us. That's what I want to come out of Enjoy this Beautiful Season, a spreading of joy, beauty, and life, to all who read it.
What is the best thing you have ever splurged on for yourself? I don't know if you can consider this a splurge, but I would have to say my husband and I purchasing our home and decorating it. Like I said, not a really splurge, but it absolutely is the most expensive thing we have ever purchased so I would say that's a pretty big splurge. I also may say my plane tickets to Uganda were a fairly large purchase of mine that I wouldn't take back for a million years and loved every second of my adventures there.
If you could spend the day with one celebrity, who would it be?  OK, so laugh away and judge all you want but I think I would have a major decision between Mother Teresa and Beyonce because I am very much obsessed with both. I could only pray to even begin to live the selfless life of Mother Teresa, my ultimate hero, while having the incredible fabulousness and connection to this generation of Beyonce. Love them both like crazy.
What did you want to be when you grew up?  Well, for the most of what I can remember of my childhood, I always thought I wanted to be an astronaut (because they could float in the air) or a ballerina (because my life was devoted to dance). However, in adult conversations with my mom a few years back, she let me know that when I was a child I actually told her that I was going to be a pastor when I grew up. Even though I truly don't remember that conversation, it is so incredible how God works things out, because my passion is one thousand percent in ministry today.
What is your favorite place in the entire world?  It may seem a little corny to say (I do not care one bit if it does) but it's on the couch, snuggled next to my incredible husband. I love to travel and go on amazing adventures all over the world. It's a very real passion of mine. But it is absolutely true what they say...there is no place like home!
If you had a superpower, what would it be?  Ugh, definitely flying. I would love to bypass traffic and just get to where I need to be at a reasonable time lol. No more 3 hour car rides sitting in traffic, yuck! Plus I love to travel and reaching other countries quickly and cheaply would be amazing.
What book are you currently reading?  The Best Yes by Lisa TerKeurst. She's incredible, the book is incredible, and I've already mentioned this book multiple times on my blog (here and here). You absolutely need to pick this book up if you feel like you constantly need to be saying yes to everyone and everything (this is totally me). It will give you a whole new outlook on your Yes and following your Best Yes.


I seriously am so honored to be apart of this blogging tradition and can't wait to see the answers Tiffany will have up on her blog. Love you all so very much and I'm thrilled I get to share life with ya'll every week. Thanks so much friends!
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