Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sweet Sixteen

I am so excited about this upcoming year and I have a feeling that it is going to be the best one yet! I've compiled a list of things I would like to accomplish this year and things I am looking forward to! Mostly, I just like making lists! :) It has got to be one of my favorite pastimes. It's always fun to set goals for yourself and just do your best. While some things I have jotted down that I personally want to strive to work on and improve this year, some are just plain silly and fun! I have to remind myself that while I am making goals, to be sure and have fun in the process, slow down, and just take time to enjoy the trivial. 

  • Read, read, & read! I have not nearly taken the time to read as much as I should the past couple of years. I have an entire personal library at my disposal and most of them I have never read! This year I want to take the time to read some classics, spiritual, cookbooks, and lifestyle books. More specifically, Paris is on my mind a lot these days and there are several books on the subject that I would like to read before traveling abroad. On my list: Lunch in Paris, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, and Paris Underground to name a few. I would also like to cook a French dish just for fun. 
  • Live well. This consists of preparing/eating healthy meals at home and out and about. Also, I want to be more disciplined in consistent exercise. 
  • Journal. I have also really slacked in this area. Before I was married I journaled pretty consistently but for the past four years it has been either few and far between or non-existent. Even if it's just jotting down some thoughts on paper, a few lines that someone said or did, I want to take time to record the moments and not leave it to my mind to store every little happening.

  • One of the other things I need more consistency in is reading and meditating on the Word. Just to be real and honest, there are many days I just don't feel like reading my bible or taking the time to meditate on it. I think "I forgot to put on that load of laundry" or "I am going to browse my Instagram for a few" and before I know it an hour has passed. I want to forsake my third kidney this year (my phone is literally always attached to my hip), learn to leave it in the next room (no, it really can wait) and spend more undistracted time alone with my Lord. I deeply desire for Him to be my ALL and to know Him even more intimately this coming year. 
  • Go on more dates. Because you can never go on too many or spend enough time with your best friend. I can't anyways. I'm so looking forward to growing in love with Josh even deeper this next year and taking on more adventures in 2016. He is my favorite. 
  • Write more letters. In a day and age of social media frenzy and texting galore, the art of the handwritten note is becoming an endangered species. I love to get snail mail and I want others to experience that joy as well. 

  • Invest more time in my first love. I want to get back into photography. It is what I studied in school and what I invested most of my time and money in back in the day. I had put it on the shelf for the past couple years but I want to dust it off and get invested once again. Here's to more projects and using it to capture images that myself and others can treasure forever. 
  • Take an interior decorating/design class. My other passion is interior design. I have not had any proper schooling or training on the subject but ever since I was a little girl I have had a passion for making things pretty and bringing a space together. I would love to embellish that passion and take it to another level. 

  • Fall in love with Audrey again. Ok, I have never fallen out of love with her but just recently I have wanted to read her books and re-watch her films all over again. I grew up on Audrey Hepburn films and she quickly became an obsession with me. I had to collect her movies and biographies, hang her posters on my wall, and even write a research paper on her for school my junior year.I remember one summer (before Netflix and when Blockbusters were still around) calling every movie store in the Atlanta area to find her rare films and binge-watching them with my mom and sister. I had the idea not long ago of trying to get my hands on whatever movies of hers that I don't have and watching them in the order they were shot. A few of her earliest ones that she had a very minor part are not available anywhere (sad day) but some of her rare movies that I still have not seen I have been lucky to find online. I think it will be a fun project to watch her films in order and see her acting and characters evolve. Do you have a favorite film of hers? I would love to hear. 

  • Plan our trip abroad! This will definitely be one of the most enjoyable projects this year! Already searching online for must-see sites in Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels has been sooo much fun! Browsing Parisian flats, cafes, and canal cruises has left me day-dreaming every day of this adventure that awaits us! I can not wait to see and snap pictures of these places I've only ever seen in books and in my imagination. 
I hope each and everyone of you have a fabulous New Year that it is filled of new adventures, new victories, and lovely moments and memories. Sweetest sixteen to you all! xoxo 

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Very Parisian Christmas

This Christmas was definitely one for the books. Josh and I have been talking about going to Europe together since we first started dating. I've been a few times but Josh never has. There is so much we would like to see and explore and experience together. We had decided awhile back that for Christmas this year we were going to gift experiences instead of a bunch of materialistic stuff. After all, experiences are what make memories. 

So this Christmas Josh gifted me with a trip to Paris and Amsterdam! Many friends have asked me if I was surprised. No, but I wasn't sure how he was going to present it. Josh loves to buy presents so of course he had to pick me up a few little things that make me smile. I didn't protest. :) Almost every little gift had a connection to our European adventure. A box of socks from Madewell that had French phrases on them, a book on Paris, a striped shirt and black beret, and a shiny gold Eiffel Tower ornament. He surprised me a beautiful, vintage map of Paris with the different streets and landmarks to frame and hang in our living room so that every time we see it we can dream of our upcoming adventure and one day remember the memories we made there. Of course, Josh had to include some kind of puzzle or mystery for me to solve in with my gifts. He slipped a sheet of paper in my stocking with a bunch of French words printed on it. I quickly googled it and discovered it was an allotted amount of money for me to buy clothes for our trip because "you have to buy some pretty new clothes for Paris!" Every little gift was perfectly me and well thought out.

I am so full of happiness and excitement for our adventures that await us this next year! We plan on spending a week in Paris and 3 or 4 days in Amsterdam. Residents, tourists, or once inhabitants - lend an ear! I would love to hear any advice you have or tips on must-see cafes, bookstores, parks, shops! 

Until next time, lovelies! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Home Tour // Den

For our wedding anniversary this year we decided to treat ourselves to a leather couch. We had only used hand-me-down couches since we have been married so we thought it was time to invest in a piece that complemented our own personal style and could be used for years to come. Then for my birthday, Josh gifted me with two beautiful tufted back cream accent chairs. I finally feel like our den has come together and it is a wonderful feeling! I thought I would share a few pictures with those who are interested in our new den make-over. This is probably our favorite room in the house and where we spend the most time playing games, watching tv, and reading. Excuse the photos, there isn't any natural light in this room (which makes it great for watching tv but bad for capturing photos). I opened the side door to snap a few shots of the room without the artificial light casting glares on everything. Anyway, hope you enjoy! 

This leather couch is so comfortable! I love the distressed look it will take on over time. It will only get better as the years go on and I love that. 

My little schoolhouse hook rack is so handy for my trusty leather tote and baskets. 

Perfect cozy spot to curl up and watch movies or read by the fire. 

This trunk was a wedding gift from a friend that knew I love old trunks. It makes for quite the 
perfect cozy corner! 

I love old portraits and after searching for awhile I found this one. I thought Josh favored this dude from the 18th century. I thought it may be fun to tell people he's Josh's great great great...grandfather. 

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Have a lovely week, friends! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Handmade Cheer

A couple of weeks ago I decided to join some friends and take a Christmas card art class. A friend from our church was teaching it and I thought I would be able to learn some pointers from her. I will be honest and say that the evening of the class I did not make one decent thing but I decided to go home and try my hand at it. Fortunately, I was able to take a couple cards home with me that my friend Chelsea, who was teaching the class, had made as examples to go by. I practiced and practiced and actually was surprised at myself for being able to create a few that weren't half bad! 

I love anything handmade. It adds a bit of character and personal touches to the gift. In a day where everything is mass produced it's more meaningful and special to know that someone took their time and created something with you in mind. So these will be my Christmas cards to friends this year! I hope they enjoy receiving a little holiday cheer in their mailbox this season. 

You should try it out! Take a class or get online and teach yourself! Pinterest also has loads of inspiration! It created a couple evenings of immense enjoyment for me and I am able to send a card to friends that I put myself into and that they won't receive from anywhere else. 

Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Maggie + Glenn

Glenn & Maggie....who doesn't love this adorable, zombie-killing couple? They are my favorites ever. If something happens to either one of them, I'm going to riot. They have the worst of luck but here's hoping Glenn can make it through the Red Sea of zombies and rescue Maggie off of that tiny outpost come February.

I discovered online one day the most darling photos of them all dolled-up and they are just too amazing not to share. So I am sharing them with you along with my loving obsession of these two. You're welcome. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

the ocean

One of my favorite things is the ocean. There is something so mysterious, calming, terrifying, and moody about it. How I've always longed to live near it. Sometimes I just imagine hearing it's waves crash along the shore and tasting the salty air on my breath. Any time I would feel anxious or troubled I would run to it and sink into the sand. I would empty all of my troubles into the sea and remind myself if God created something so vast and grand, then He has me too, in the palm of His hand. 

photos and poetry taken from Pinterest 

Franklin, a Family Affair

For our four year anniversary this year we decided to go to one of our favorite places: Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin is a quaint cozy town on the outskirts of Nashville. It is made up of several little boutiques and adorable storefronts, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants, antiques shops, and an old movie theatre. The theatre plays old Christmas movies during the holidays. Franklin really is the perfect little spot to get away and just enjoy being together. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

thank·ful: feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative

Being that is it Thanksgiving tomorrow I thought I would take this moment to share some of the things I am most thankful for this year:

  • Jesus and what His finished work has completed that my legalism could not 
  • Josh and how he faithfully loves me and takes care of me 
  • my family and that we can celebrate this holiday together 
  • new beautiful friendships that God has brought into my life when not even expecting it. 
  • old friendships that I know are always there for me 
  • our home that has held such precious memories for Josh all of his life and now for me too 
  • that God has provided so I can be a stay-at-home wife 
  • our church for the truth it stands on and how we love each other so well 
  • coffee...need I say more? 
  • that God hasn't given me all the desires of my heart so that He can draw me closer to Him & teach me things I wouldn't otherwise learn
  • Phoebe (my niece) and how her laugh brightens up my day 
  • Spurgeon (the newest addition to our family) and the joy he brings to us all! 
  • Graham (my new little nephew on the way!) 
  • Dad and the doctor who discovered his heart condition before it was too late 
  • tv shows (one of mine & Josh's favorites pastimes to share together) 
  • my blog so I can express myself creatively 
  • photos be able to capture moments and share inspiration to others 
  • my fiddle leaf plant and how I love to watch it grow 

I'm learning to love the "little things" that we so often take for granted. It's not about having more stuff or the best stuff. It's about the people we share life with, it's about the little moments. Those are the things I'm most thankful for. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Today I thought I would share ten things that I am loving right now. A few of them are new discoveries and a few not so new but I thought I would share anyway! Enjoy! 

1. I do love a good home decorating book. The Kinfolk Home was just recently released and I've been loving browsing it's beautiful pages. The simplicity, style, and emphasis Nathan Williams puts on slow living captivates me. As Nathan states at the beginning of  the book, "Slow living isn't about determining how little we can live with - it's about working out what we simply can't live without." 

2. I'm a girl through and through and what girl doesn't love a good lip color and balm? These ones from Anthropologie are fantastic. Albeit lipsticks come in an assortment of beautiful colors and I love their vintage gold outer shell. They remind me of lipsticks my grandmother would carry in her clutch to church on Sunday. Smith's lip balm comes in various flavors and packaging. Anthro no longer carries it but you can find it in several stores online. Smith's lip balm has a myriad of uses. It aids in the relief of chapped skin, diaper rash, blemishes, detergent burns, rough cuticles, and to soften rough hands, so it's basically like carrying a little first aid tin in your purse.  

3. Community. It's such a beautiful thing. One of the main things I love about my church is the community of believers that live out daily life together. It is not uncommon for me to get a text from a friend throughout the week wanting to meet for coffee, go to lunch, or go shopping together. We have a missional community that meets together every week and eats dinner together, discusses the sermon on Sunday, fellowship, and pray together. Our missional community is made up of mainly college students and I count it such a joy to be apart of their lives at such a crucial stage. We are hoping to do some college outreach soon to get even more students involved. I have another group of girls I meet together with weekly to go through a book study together, hold each other accountable, and share the highs and lows of life with each other. 

4. Which brings me to #4. I am currently going through John: A 12 Week Study (Knowing the Bible) by Justin Buzzard with my wonderful group of girls. It's been a great little study so far on the book of John and challenges me to study the Word and dive in deeper to this wonderful gospel. I love this series and would like to study more of them when I am finished with John. 

5. Ok, lovers of period dramas everywhere: I have found a new favorite tv show! I discovered The Time In Between while browsing Netflix one day. If you don't mind reading subtitles than you have to give this show a go! I have not gotten more wrapped up in a television show in a long time. Set in Spain in the 1940's, a beautiful seamstress sews dresses for Nazi officers' wives while spying on them to get information to the British. Yes, please. Unfortunately, there was only one season created but it's a beautiful story to get lost in. The cinematography, costumes, characters, musical score...everything is perfecto! You're welcome. 

6. Cooking. Yes, I never thought I would see the day when I actually enjoyed cooking but I am beginning to find some small satisfaction in it. Now that I am at home full time I have a lot more freedom to search for delicious recipes and try my hand at new ones (like Julia Child's recipe for mashed potatoes pictured above). I can't wait to try that one. I made a John Wayne casserole for the first time the other night and Josh and I loved it. I thought I would share the recipe here. I have an entire collection of amazing recipes that I have either tried or can't wait to try on my Pinterest board here if you care to follow. Included in my collection is Julia's dish pictured above. 

7. Marble. I have really loved seeing white marble all over my Pinterest feed. Marble utensil holders, marble countertops, faux marble iphone cases, and even marble-looking Apple computer covers. I purchased this marble lazy-susan for my dining room table a couple months ago and adore it! It is so sturdy, genuine marble, swivels perfectly, and looks lovely with a candle or vase of flowers displayed on top.I purchased it for a steal too at World Market.  

8. Starbucks' Cinnamon Dolce lattes have always been a favorite of mine so when I discovered they have them available in Keurig cups you could imagine my delight! It's hard for me to have just one a day but I am trying to ration them. They are THAT GOOD. 

9. Capes, scarves, and cape scarves. I snagged this little beauty at a friend's yard sale last Saturday. Anthropologie and it still had the tags on it! I felt like I had won the lottery! I love it so much. I wore it to church on Sunday and I received numerous compliments on it. If you can go out in public wearing a gorgeous blanket around your shoulders, why not?? I have had my eye on this number and have asked for Madewell gifts cards for my birthday so maybe it will be mine soon! Get in my closet NOW! :) Here is another version pictured below. A cape (with pockets!!!) AND a scarf? Oh my. 

10. The Minimalists. I've discovered a new fascinating blog! How to live with less. I am an anti-hoarder to begin with so my poor husband when this is all said and done may have three shirts left to wear. No, in all seriousness, Josh and Ryan have inspired me to declutter my life and make room for only that which "brings joy and serves a purpose." I especially enjoyed reading their post on A Month of Minimalism. Great tips! One quote that I found on their blog stuck with me: "Never underestimate the importance of abandoning crap you don't need." 

I hope you enjoyed my ten things that I'm loving right now. I would love to hear what's making you smile or what exciting finds you've discovered as of late! Leave me a comment! I hope just maybe you saw or read something that inspired you a little bit or made you curious to try something new. 

Until next time, lovelies! xoxo

Monday, November 9, 2015

Savoring the Season

I'm really loving this season I am in right now. Sure, I still have to check myself at times for discontentment but I am learning to savor the season and just enjoy this time. My husband made the decision for me to come home a few months ago and I have never been happier. Home is my niche. It's where I am happiest and most at peace. It's my heart.  I have so enjoyed cooking meals for Josh, cleaning (yes, I'm that weird Monica-type personality) and making a peaceful, lovely home that he can return to at the end of a long work day. Sure, there are days where I feel like maybe my life doesn't have a lot of meaning but then I am reminded that my greatest job and responsibility that God has given me is to love my husband and to do it well.

During this season I have enjoyed making my home a more cozy haven for our family. Our home is our refuge to come back to from a busy and complicated world. When we come inside it's doors we leave our cares and troubles outside. It's a place of rest and comfort...and a whole lot of love. I've enjoyed blogging about my adventures, about decorating, and just sharing my heart to others. I have found pleasure in spending time with friends, new and old, and developing relationships. I am enjoying every week going to some of our dearest friend's home and breaking bread together with them and some awesome college students that the Lord has brought into our lives. God has given us a community of believers to rally around and support each other through everyday life. That is priceless. I am so thankful for each of them.

I encourage you, wherever you are in life, to enjoy this season. Regardless if you are single, married, a mom, or whoever, the season you are in will pass all too soon. Don't waste it desiring to be in another season. This season God has ordained for me to enjoy my husband, making a home for him, and sharing God's love with those around me. As Anne Shirley would say, "I want to soak it all in." 

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sweet November

This month is a collector of memories. Sweet November, you always create the loveliest of moments. You remind me of that beautiful chilly day where I stood under the magnolia trees of that antebellum home and said yes to forever with my best friend. You remind me of hiking the mountains (and those muddy, slippery cliffs) with my new husband in Kauai. You bring to memory that fall that I traveled through New England with my Dad after my graduation that summer and the countless Thanksgivings our family gathered around the table and shared what we were most thankful for that year. Yes, November, you are deliciously sweet. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween & One of my Favorite Dating Memories

It's Halloween Week! I absolutely love this time of year. I am one of those rare girls who love scary movies. I love the adrenaline rush, having an excuse (do I even need one?) to cuddle up to my husband and bury my face in his chest, and hanging onto that hope deep down that the innocent people in the story will get out alive. It's also an ego boost because I think to myself, "What an idiot! Why are you doing that? Take the gun, kick him where it counts, or hide there instead of under the bed. Every murderer checks under the bed. I would be soooo much smarter in this situation." Haha.

One of my favorite dating memories is actually a Halloween memory. Josh and my dating experience was pretty horrible. I was very analytical and several times we almost broke up. That's a story for another time. It happened to be Halloween week 2010. My parents had left to go out of town the week before and my mom told me, "Take these next two weeks while we are gone and just pray really hard about your relationship with Josh and decide if you really want to be with him. If at the end of those two weeks, if you are still struggling with anxiety and doubt then you really need to break up with him and move on." This had been going on for a long time and I just could not get peace about our relationship.

Those next two weeks changed everything. I believe that's when I really started falling in love, or at least truly realizing it and that I could never in a million years let this guy go. I didn't share with Josh what my mom had told me but just kept it to myself, prayed, and decided that if these were the last two weeks we had together than I wanted to make them memorable.

My brother, Nate, was in town and after I closed up shop at Coldwater Books, where I was working at the time, we headed over to the bachelor pad (where Josh lived with my brother in law and another friend). Josh just happened to have rented The Shining that night. I wasn't used to scary movies so it completely freaked me out. I remember glaring at Josh at one point during the movie and saying, "WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS???" We still laugh about it.

During that next week he introduced me to Halloween (the movie), I carved my first pumpkin, we roasted pumpkin seeds, went on a haunted ghost tour around Florence with a local historian, took in a haunted house or two, had bonfires, and attended a Halloween party at a friend's house. I had never fully experienced Halloween and I was loving every minute of it! I found myself instead of analyzing the relationship, worrying about how I was going to live without my best friend who I enjoyed experiencing everything with. It made the moments much more special and meaningful. I didn't want to lose this amazing person I could be myself around, laugh at cheesy horror movies, grab onto when turning the next corner of that haunted house, and preparing costumes together.

For the Halloween party we tried to come up with some cheap and creative costume ideas. I pitched the idea that Josh should go as Edward Cullen. There are few things Josh hates more than Twilight so for him to agree to this was a definite sign of true love. I thought for a few seconds of going as Bella but I wouldn't have much of a costume. I decided to go as a psycho killer in a mask instead because first of all, I could just dress in black and wear a mask Josh already owned, and second, let's face it, the killer would have more personality and be loads more interesting than going as Kristen Stewart.

Josh made an amazing Edward and people knew right away who he was! Success! We poofed his hair up and gave it lots of body, he painted his face and chest with white paint, sprinkled some sparkles on his skin and tada! I've included an old photo of us at the party for kicks and giggles. It's pretty dark so you can't see details extremely well, and I'm not wearing my mask, (obviously) but I still like this photo of us.

That Halloween was such a special time. I realized that I didn't want to spend future Halloweens with anyone but Josh. Also, because of Josh, Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays. We already have our costumes picked out for this year's party and I am so excited! I am reminded how blessed I am to share another amazing holiday with this awesome guy.