Thursday, November 20, 2014

a clean slate.

a new planner.
and new beginnings.

Yesterday I got my new Erin Condren Life Planner in and could not wait to fill it will dates and memos for the year to come.  Before I did that though, I flipped through my planner from the past year and a half(July 2013 - December 2014) and reflected on where I was, where I have been and where the Lord has me now.
old and new.
Time like that are always such a blessing because not only does it give me a little perspective, but it also give me hope for the next season of life to come.  Looking back a year and a half ago, I was single, still living at home, still trying to figure out my role at work, yearning for gospel-centered community and much more.  A year and a half later I am moving on from a six month serious relationship, living in my own house, somewhat figuring out my way at work and loving my full life.

Part of me is happy to be setting up a new planner for the next year because it will no longer have pages filled with dates from my past relationship and reminders of him.  But another part is sad to see those memories fade away, because even though that relationship is gone it was still a beautiful one and those were some really great days.  I grew so much during that relationship and those dates, and those planner pages are great reminders of happy times and the Lord's generosity in relationships.

Another part of me is happy to see the old planner be placed on the shelf because the renovation battles and struggles are going with it.  No longer are the days of uncertainty and confusion of renovating my own house a reality.  As much as those days made me grow and become a stronger woman, I am not sad to see them go.  As for the memories, they are in the house that I get to call my home everyday.

An exciting part of those pages are the relationships that have grown over the many nights at home group with my wonderful group from church.  Those Thursday nights on my calender are something that I look forward to each week and I am so happy that they will be in my next calender for the new year!  Those women have provided some much needed gospel-centered community that had been missing in my life since college.

As I look back at my meetings and appointments for work through my calender I almost have to laugh.  I still remember one of those meetings from July of 2013 and boy am I thankful that I have grown as a designer and a business woman since then.  The way that I present myself in meetings has changed, thanks to some humble confidence, the way that I prepare for meetings has changed and the designs that I take into meetings have changed and matured.

Reflecting on the past year has reminded me what a wonderful year it was, even with some struggles along the way, and had gotten me very excited for the year to come.  Happily I look back at those past 18 months and still recognize the woman that I was at that time.  To me the only difference now is a little maturity, longer hair, and a woman with a better understanding of who she is and what she wants in life.

What excites you about the new coming year?
What kind of planner do you use?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finish This - Travel

In the off chance you are new around here, let me clue you in.  I love to travel!  As far as I am concerned, I work to travel and it is what makes me who I am.

If I could fly to any destination tomorrow, I'd go to...
...Chicago.  It has been on my list for a while now, and will hopefully be my next trip.  Several of my friends have traveled there recently and their love for it is rubbing off on my wanderlust.
Ely Cathedral - Ely, England
Summer 2014
My best advice for travelling is... put your inhibitions to the way side and let your hair down.  Sometimes trips go just as planned and scheduled and that is wonderful.  There is a sense of ease that goes with that and it is nice to know what is around the next corner.  That is nice, but I have also found that the unscripted trips can be the best trips!  Probably my favorite example of this was waking up on a Sunday in Hawaii with only one plan for the day and ending up that night at the Hawaii 5-0 season three premiere.  That was an amazing night and one of the highlights of the next ten days.
Nice, France
Summer 2011
I (like/dislike) travel because...
...I dislike traveling because my comfy bed is not with me and the unknowns of new things can tend to be stressful.

...I like traveling because it never ceases to amaze me and bring new adventures.  Traveling is something for everyone and it can take you across the world or just a few hours from home.  When I look back on some of my favorite trips it amazes me the groups and individuals that I have been blessed to get to see the world with.  

Many thanks to Nicole, Becky, Jen and Lisa for hosting the link up!  Can't wait for the year end review, it will be here before we know it!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Actual Love Language: Quality Time

I have joked before about love languages, but I actually do take them seriously.  If you were to ask me what my love language was I would tell you that I have three and that they are:
1. Quality Time
2. Sarcasm
3. Coffee

More than anything I yearn for coffee quality time with friends and family.  Ideally that quality time is spent over coffee and is doused in sarcasm, but ultimately is focused on those in that moment.  For me, quality time means the most to me when there is focused attention.  When I am able to put down the phone, turn off the tv and give my attention to someone else that I know is completely there and in the moment.

During my second summer at Pine Cove one of the guys that I was blessed to work with introduced me to the notion of quality time and having a small group of quality friends and relationships opposed to a bunch of mediocre relationships.  At first it was a foreign concept to me, but the more that I thought about it I realized that maybe not each of my relationships was that way, but it was certainly what I wanted in my relationships.  Don't get me wrong, I love people and love loving on people, but it is the quality time that I absolutely love.
Stonehenge - Summer 2014
It was that one conversation in the woods that forever changed the way that I looked at relationships and how I approached them.  It was certainly quality over quantity which was another foreign concept after growing up in a small town where you knew everyone.

I would say that in my relationships as of late quality time has proved to be more evident that ever before.  Be it in dating, making new friends, or friendships that have proved the test of time there is no longer a hesitation to hold anything back.  I can tend to be reserved, but how found a comfort in the beauty of quality time and a bit of vulnerability.

With sarcasm and coffee off the table, what is your love language?  
How do you express your language?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Christmas Crafts

This weekend I had some of the girls over for a crafting day and we had so much fun.  We ate yummy food, drank copious amounts of coffee, and made some cute Christmas decorations.  Anna's Ugly Christmas Sweater wreath was my favorite craft of the day and I have included links for tutorials to make one of your own at the end.
The morning started with a breakfast casserole that I made in the crock pot and it was super yummy.  The night before I cooked the bacon and diced all the vegetables so all I would have to do was get up when my alarm went off and throw the ingredients in and go back to bed for a few more hours.  The casserole was super easy and I will probably have to make it again around Christmas time because it was that good.  To go along with the casserole I had some amazing pineapple and strawberries and of course some French Press coffee.  If you are a coffee fanatic like myself, then you must check out  They have the best customer services and don't roast your coffee until you order it.  Anna and I enjoyed some Copper Canyon Black Velvet coffee.  Seriously, go check them out.
After breakfast we began crafting.  I made cinnamon pillar candles, burlap garland, twine ball ornaments, star stick ornaments, and helped Anna with her Ugly Christmas Sweater Wreath.  Overall, each of the crafts were fairly simple to make with a few alterations to the original directions.
Cinnamon Pillar Candles: Of course the candles were easy to find, but the cinnamon proved fairly difficult to find.  I finally found some at Michael's but had to cut it all down because they were a bit too large.  Believe it or not, I had to borrow one of my dad's hack saws to cut them.  Be prepared for some 'heavy lifting' if you are going to take this one on.

Glitter Twine Ball Ornaments: This was pretty straight froward when we followed the directions.  I used a natural twine color for some and maroon twine for the other.  I will definitely make more of these for my tree.    

Burlap Garland:  This was another one that was fairly simple and easy when following the directions.  Keep in mind that you will need a lot of burlap.  I used the standard roll of burlap that you can get at most craft stores which is 15 feet long.  To get a good length that will look good draped on my entertainment center I will need at least thirty more feet.

While shopping Anna and I got inspired to make her a wreath after we found some classy ribbon that reminded us of ugly Christmas sweaters.  So we did what any self-respecting women would do and we bought some burlap, the largest wire wreath we could find, and some ridiculous ribbon.  After making a couple of burlap wreaths myself I was able to help Anna with hers, but this is where I found the original tutorial I used.  Anna put the two layers on the wreath and then had me make her bow.  I modified this bow tutorial by making it bigger and it was so easy since the ribbon had wire in it.  We were like little kids while making the wreath and are thrilled with the outcome.  Anna even left the rest of the bow ribbon at my house, so now I need to find a use for it.
After I finish these few things that I started over the weekend I have a few more crafts I want to tackle before Christmas truly starts.  Here are a few on my to do list: Ribbon Star and Christmas Card Hanger.  They should be simple, but I'm looking forward to diving into them, as well as a few Christmas gift crafts.

What are some crafts that you have on your to do list?  
Anything I should add to my to do list?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Longitude and Latitude

I have been blessed to travel to many wonderful places around the world and struggle just like many people with not knowing how to display my photos from my many trips.  There will never be a way for me to display all of my photos from my many trips and experiences, but I did find a way to display five photos from my favorite places in my home.
Rome, Italy
London, England

These pieces came together fairly simple, but the hardest part was deciding which photos to use from my travels and which cities to show off.  I picked up these simple slightly-off white frames from IKEA and wrote the city name and longitude and latitude on the mattes.  After busting out my architectural lettering skills I was absolutely thrilled with how they turned out.  

I always love showing off my travels and journeys and the constant reminder of those trips that these frames are is awesome.  How do you like to show off your trip memories?  Have we been to any of the same places?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

One Year.

One year ago today, I spent my first night in this house that I am blessed to call my home.  Since that night it has been a year for the books.  From the first time that I first showed y'all my home to now it has changed quite a bit.  I hadn't even been in my house a month, so now there are pictures on walls and more pieces that make it a home.  But just to make sure, in case you were reading that with the understanding that my house is all put together and done you are wrong.  Just like any home, it is a work in progress and I am so glad I get to call it my work in progress.
The only way I know how to describe this past year is as a blessing.  This blessing has challenged me, pushed me physically and emotionally, and helped me grow as a person.  My comfort in being a home owner and living on my own has grown more than I ever thought it would and I am so happy to come home to this house everyday.

My favorite room in my house quickly became my beautiful kitchen.  Just like any home renovation that is where a majority of my money went during the renovation and I am so happy that I did not budge on any of my wants.  Just ask any of my friends and they will tell you that my happy place is in my kitchen.  Whether I am making French Press in the mornings, cooking dinner for my parents or having a late night baking session I am loving every minute.  I was raised by two women who were more than happy to take the time to teach me their ways in their kitchens and it is in mine that I feel closest to them.

My other favorite 'room' in my house is my back porch.  From that back porch and my hammock I can see the world go by and at the same time feel the peace of the country.  My parents and I love to spend time back there in the evenings and to me it is an extension of my home because it is the first thing that you see when you walk up to my house(because no one even knows I have a front door) and the last place you are when leaving.

The room that I use the least amount of the time, other than the guest room. is probably the office.  My office mainly holds my crafting supplies and old bible study and school books.  My laptop bounces back and forth from my desk to either my couch or the bar, so I don't even always use it in there.  One of the things that I do like about this room is that everything has a place.  The long book shelf in there houses books and photos and so much more and the closet holds everything else.

At the end of the day, each room in my house holds a special place in my heart and I am thrilled to be able to share some updated photos of them with you today.  In case you missed any of the other updates through out the year be sure and check out the 'My Home' page for the latest and greatest.  This has been an incredible year in a home that I will never take for granted.  I praise the Lord each and every day for this blessing and cannot wait to see what journey he takes me and this house on over the next year.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Favorite Little Person

The past four weekends have been filled with so much fun that I desperately need to catch you all up, but today I am only going to tell you about the last two because I got to spend them with my favorite little person.  Two weekends ago, my good friend Anna, her son and I loaded up and met John, Rebekah and Coralie at the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch and had a blast.  And this past weekend we celebrated Cora's first birthday, so you better believe there was some cuteness going on at those two major events.

We checked out the pumpkins, we rode the hay ride, we took wagon rides, and we had sooo much fun!  I love living life with Anna and Rebekah and their sweet families and am so happy they let me tag along!  

Proof that I was at the Pumpkin Patch!
See Rebekah's Pumpkin Patch post here!!

We celebrated Cora's first birthday in style at a park in town and had so much fun.  We got to celebrate with family and friends and had lots of yummy food.  Hands down the best part of the party was watching Cora eat her cake.  She was a doll, yet again, and I enjoyed getting to celebrate her and the beautiful gift she has been in all of our lives over the past year. 

We were a bit unsure about the cupcake at first, but as you can tell by the last picture of the four you can tell that we figured it out and loved it.  Happy Birthday, sweet Coralie!!
See Rebekah's Birthday post here!!