Thursday, January 27, 2011

Too Good To Pass Up!

Ok, so who wouldn't love wedding gifts like these?!?

Pottery Barn is one of those stores that I love to be inspired by, and attempt similar looks in my home (a.k.a. copy), but I hardly ever think about actually purchasing from them. Unless I run across an amazing sale, I'm just too cheap.

However, if you're doing a gift registry right now, I would tell you to register at Pottery Barn! Now through Feb. 23, Pottery Barn is doing a sweepstakes giveaway for a honeymoon in PARIS! I mean, how often do you get to pick the store that people shop for you from?! Much less, get the chance to win a trip to Paris! I wish that I could register! Maybe I could...I mean, I did just move. heehee.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little Girl's Tea Party

Back before Christmas, my little girl and I decided to host a tea party. We invited all the girls from her class to come over in their fancy dresses and enjoy a Christmas Tea. It was so much fun, and definitely a party my daughter will want to make an annual event!

This tea party would be fun at any time of year, but would especially great for Valentine's Day!

The girls started by decorating their own cookie(s) in the kitchen.

Then, they headed to the craft tables.

We had pre-painted gold pots, moss, and floral foam already all sitting on the tables. All the girls had to do was:

1. pick their gold pot
2. put their foam in their pot
3. pick their stem and stick it in their foam
4. put the moss on top to cover the foam

Then they have a beautiful handmade centerpiece to take home and put on their table!

Then, we got into the goodies! The girls were so cute sipping their tea (or hot cocoa).

We decided to finish things up by gathering around the fire with a sweet story.

It was a sweet time, that I hope the girls remember for a while...
at least until the Spring...then we might have to do a Mother's Day Tea!

What's your favorite tea time treat? I love to hear what you think!

Monday, January 24, 2011

...and You will Find Rest...

This thing...called the computer...we have a love-hate relationship. It allows me to be able to do so much, and at the same time, if I'm not careful, can steal away even more. Yesterday, I truly took a sabbath and it was glorious.

Most days, especially weekend days, I come in about a thousand times to check email, hop from one favorite blog to the next, and zip all around the internet. Yesterday, after we got back from church, I walked by the office, and I felt it. I felt the tug to come into the office. To check things off my ever mounting to-do list. To be productive with my afternoon.

Simultaneously, I felt the Lord calling to me. To come and sit. To be still, and know how much He loves me. To take the afternoon off. Instead of working, which is what inevitably happens once I walk through the office door, to read my book, to have some tea, to snuggle with my children, maybe even to fall asleep in the nook of my comfy couch with my blanket all around me... to rest.

Many times I can feel His call, and choose to ignore it. I can be so focused on the tasks at hand, that working from home can be quite an obstacle to overcome. But, yesterday, I found peace for my soul, and much needed rest for my mind. It was probably the first true sabbath I've had for a while. It's no wonder why the Lord made it one of the top ten. Seems like such a simple rule to follow, and yet, one of my most toilsome struggles. It was a beautiful afternoon, and doing exactly what I should have been doing.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and
I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
matthew 11:28-30

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Best Surprise

I know I've been hinting for a while at the coming "surprise", so for all you who have been waiting, the wondering can finally end! Here's the big news...

When Alexa asked me to style a wedding shower for a photo shoot, I knew that we would make an amazing team. At first sight, I knew that she was my kind of girl. And, I knew that our style was a perfect fit. But, I did not know if it would picked. And, I definitely did not know that we would get chosen to be featured on Wedding Chicks, of all amazing dreamy blogs! See, I told you it was the best surprise.

To have your creativity put out there for all the world to see is a hard thing to do. You have no idea if people are going to laugh and point at it like it's the ugliest thing they've ever seen, or if you're going to hear people say the sweetest things ever. Either way, the risk is there, and it's hard to have your heart out wide on the table. But, one thing I've learned through doing this for a while now, is that you still have to create. And each creation is a gift to be able to make. Whether people like it or hate it, whether it's considered "good style" or not, the treasure is in choosing to create. Choosing to use your gift to bless someone else. Being able to do that has been the best surprise that I never knew was coming.

So, come say hello to us at the Wedding Chicks! Those girls are amazing, and I'm so glad they decided to feature us.

Thanks, friends, for celebrating life with me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Dress All Your Own

There are certain parts of my job that I love more than others. Wedding planning is so much fun, in every way, but just like any job, I have certain parts that are just total highlights: the first time I meet a couple, the story of how they fell in love, the giving away of the bride, the first kiss as husband and wife, the first dance, the way the bride looks when she sees the wedding she's dreamt of come to be, and so on and so forth. However, more than anything else, I love getting to know them in the midst of such a sacred time in their lives. The more that I know my client, the better I can give them exactly what they want. The more I know them, the more I can tell what they would pick, what they will love, and how they will think about a situation.

This past Saturday was one of those beautiful moments.

I was having an appointment with a bride, when she started to cry. She has so much on her plate, that she hasn't even been able to find her dress yet. She knew she would, but she just really wanted that step to be taken care of, before we proceeded down our checklist.

I looked at her, and said, "Come on. Let's go."

With a teary eyed glimmer of hope, she said, "Ok, let's go!"

We quick jumped in our cars and headed to a local bridal boutique that has exquisite gowns. Diva's has a reputation for being overpriced, but as soon as we said our low end budget, they got to work pulling gown after gown of exactly what we described. The ladies there know there stuff, and are great about finding exactly what you're looking for.

When she put on the second gown, I knew it was the one. And it astounded me, that I already knew her well enough to know that it was the one. She tried on several after that, but in the end, came back to that one. It was gorgeous, classy, sophisticated, and perfect for her...just like her wedding will be. I thanked the Lord, once again, for the gift of being a wedding planner.

If you're still on the hunt for yours, this is a great website for finding PreOwned Wedding Dresses. You can get that designer style, without paying that steep designer price. PLUS right now through the end of this month, PreOwned Wedding Dresses is doing a give away for a $2,000 gown! If you know a bride who is on the hunt, send her there first!

Another way to save on your dress, is to look in the "floor sample" section of bridal boutiques. Most stores will have their floor samples marked way down, and they will still look brand new.

Here's to finding a dress all your the price you want to pay.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Celebrating on a Sunday

Even though I'm not a huge fan of New Years resolutions, I do tend to think about things I'd like to do more in the coming year. They are usually not very big things, just little things that I've wanted to do, but haven't necessarily put into practice as much as I'd like. Usually, they include things like exercising more, eating healthier, getting up earlier, you know things that are really hard to do, but still good for you. But these are definitely NOT New Years :)

One of the things my family had talked about doing more was getting together. My parents live in the same town as we do, however, we're all so busy many times we don't stop to make sure we're spending consistent time together. So, we decided we would start trying to have Sunday dinners (which in our family is actually just a big late lunch after church) together a couple times a month. So, last night, even though it was totally last minute, I called and asked if they would want to come over for Sunday dinner. They could make it...Great! But then, I realized, wait a minute, I don't have a meal planned, I'm teaching Sunday School in the morning then going to service, which means, we'll all get to my house about the same time! However, when I was at the store a few days ago, I happened to pick up a chuck roast...and I knew just what to do with it!

This is my all time favorite recipe for pot roast. I found it several years ago, and everytime I make it people ask for the recipe. It's so easy, and it makes it's own gravy. Perfect!

I came home, whipped up some mashed potatoes while everyone was arriving, and stuck some frozen veggies in the oven on broil for a few minutes. Quick, easy, and homemade Sunday dinner...done! The house was a mess, and we didn't even have the table set, but there was still a celebration indeed.

Here's my abridged version of the recipe:

Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 can of water
salt & pepper to taste
2-3 lb. boneless chuck roast (i never use a 5 lb. like the traditional recipe suggests)

Mix the first three ingredients together in your crock pot. Place chuck roast in crock pot, and turn to coat with soup mixture. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs. or high for 5-6 hrs.

Do you have a favorite easy Sunday recipe? I'd love to know some of your celebrating secrets!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back to Reality and Other Things

After a long and completely serene vacation, I am back to real life. I've been coming back in stages. First came answering all my calls and texts. Then came doing dishes and bathing kiddos. Today, I tackled emails and the rest of the computer world...but that will take some doing.

The cruise was so wonderful. We met people from all over the world, relaxed in hot tubs for days on end, slept and slept, read (I had forgotten how to just sit still and read a book!), ate great food, got to see the beautiful Caribbean, and had a ton of great girl time. We laughed so much that we cried at times. It was so needed for my heart and soul.

As for catching up, it will take a while. I went through withdraw from the world on the first day, but then, was totally disconnected and it was grand. I had thought about taking my laptop on the cruise, but my husband told me not to...I'm so glad he did.

Now, for the winner of the apron...that will be going to baby Atticus! It'll be a while before he can wear it, but oh how he will love cooking with his mom and dad. They make the best food! If you haven't seen how cute he is, this is the perfect time to do so.

Lastly, sorry for the never ending delay in the surprise. There were some mix ups in timing, so hopefully it will be this coming week. It will be well worth the wait.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Waiting

Today has been so much fun. I'm officially another year older, and what a day of celebration it's been. I've been blessed by friends and family with little gifts of love all day. And, even though I didn't want to have to wait, the surprise will have to wait a little longer...not much, but just a little. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, knowing that something great was coming, but just not quite being able to get to it. Sometimes the waiting is the hardest part. I promise it will be soon, though. Hopefully tomorrow. Until then, I'm off to pack for my cruise!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In Which I Say Love Way too Many Times

Today's my birthday EVE! My sister is so great. You might remember her...she's this problematic bride that I told you about. She called me yesterday all the way from big fat Baton Rouge (I'm still a little bitter toward Louisiana) and in true big sister fashion said, "Happy Birthday Eve Eve!" I love love love her...and really, really miss her.

And, sweet Emily came over yesterday and gave me this LOVELY tray.

She was so cute standing in my doorway with a big ol' tray "hiding" behind her back. You know you're close with someone when they can pick out something for your house that you would have drooled over, but never would have splurged to get it for yourself. She always picks things like that out for me for my birthday, and it's super fun. And then, when I exclaim how much it's me, and how much I love it, she just smiles and says all sweet and sassy-like, "I know." Love. Her!

Ok so then...when we first moved into this house, the first thing I wanted to do was paint all the dark brown trim in the den. I knew we couldn't do it before Christmas, but I kept dropping hints to my sweet husband that "maybe for my birthday, he could paint the mantel for me". I could deal with the molding and beams for a little bit longer, but that mantel...uggh. So, as soon as I took off my garland from Christmas, it was like the big dark thing was glaring ugly at me. So, it was such a fun early present when I came home and saw this!

He's so sweet. and the best husband EVER!
And I love him love him love him so much!
What a difference paint can make...ahhh...I can breathe again.

Ok, enough about me...let's talk about what you could win. I know it's the end of the day, but this give away will go for a couple days. I love baking, and especially with my kids. We have so much fun in the kitchen. So, I thought in honor of celebrating life with them, and it being about time for me to bake some cupcakes, I would give this away...

No, not the your dreams! This cute Buckhead Betties kids apron and hat set.

Comment and let me know if you want it, and I'll choose a winner at random in the next couple days.

I can't wait for tomorrow...and not just because it's my birthday. I have a super super fun surprise for us all tomorrow! See you then!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, to Edie!

Anytime I've ever seen or heard from Edie, or anyone who knows her, it's only sweet, encouraging words. She is someone who is known for her precious heart, and her love for those around her. She uses her gifts and talents in a way that bless her family, and honor her God.

If I had just lost my entire house, and everything I owned in a huge fire, I don't think that I would be saying "Praise God for the gift that He has given me this Christmas..." What a blessing to be able to have her speaking, writing, and co-laboring along side us in this journey. Take time to go encourage this beautiful lady today. It's her birthday today, and we can't help but celebrate her life.

For todays giveaway, I'll be sending Edie one of my flourishes to make this birthday a bit more sweeter. I pray peace, hope, and joy be yours this year, Edie, more than any other before. Even in the midst of the impossible request, our God is the God of the impossible, and He will rise up to meet you here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 +

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WEEK!!! TIME TO PARTY! I want to do fun things this week, and by fun, I mean, giveaways. I'll be treating myself to a cruise at the end of this week with some great girls, and so I'll be spoiled plenty for this birthday! But, since I can't take you all with me, I figured we'd do some fun things here, too. I'm also not opposed to you sending me some birthday comment love my way. ;)

Ok, so full disclosure time...

Today was the first time that I didn't want to admit my age. I mean, there have been those times in the past that I said it, and wished it wasn't the age I am, but today was the first time I flat out. avoided. the question.

It was at Emily's girls birthday party. We were having fun, and I was getting all giddy with the little girls, and being silly and excited about the birthday party. Then, one of the little girls looked straight up at me, (a particularly smart and snazzy little thing) and said, "How old are you?" and I stalled...and then said nothing! I flat out ignored the question like it hadn't ever been asked!

Emily distracted them with bowling, and I was so relieved! I laughed and said thanks for saving me from that question! It's not that I'm that old, I just find it hard to believe that I'm turning 33 in a few days. I remember when my mom was 33, (and my dad was 37), and I thought they were so old!

All this to say, that next time, I think I'll just say, "I'm 30 +"! I could say 19+ like my grandmother used to say, but that's just too unrealistic. At least if I say 30+ people might actually think that I'm 30ish.

Speaking of 30, it was about then that I started realizing that my skin was changing. I had these lines that I hadn't noticed before that were somehow appearing on my face. When I laughed, I saw laugh lines that I had never seen on me before. I learned first hand what crows feet were, and saw other age spots appearing! I had never had a skin care line that had really worked with my skin before. I had always wanted healthier skin, but never wanted to put all the gross toxins in my body that usually accompany skincare products.

That's when I stumbled upon Arbonne. With this line of products, everything is 100% natural, and botanically based, so it's pure and safe, and still works! I've used these products for over a year now, and have been so impressed with them. My crows feet have almost disappeared, and my skin is healthier than it's ever been. I'm caring for it in a way that's natural, and truly seeing wonderful results. They are so good that they're even guaranteed, with a full money back refund, if you aren't happy with the results within 45 days.

So, for the first giveaway this week, we'll do an Arbonne giveaway. What a better give away for my "getting older week" than products that make you look YOUNGER!!

This giveaway is for all win! You can all have one product for 35% off!! That's a big deal, people. These products are A-MAZ-ING. So, here's the deal...

1. Click on the Arbonne button on my sidebar or click here.

2. Leave a comment telling me which product you would get with your 35% discount.

Check back tomorrow for more fun! Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

This year feels as if it is coming in celebrating already. While I wait for news of good friends having their new baby, and I celebrate the birthday of a 91 year old Grand Pop, our hearts are already running over with joy. As I sit and think of all the Lord has done this year, I'm so grateful to have a day to begin again, anew and refreshed.

New Years day has always been a pretty simple day at our home. Our only "plan" for the day includes our traditional New Years day meal. This is our line up...

Black Eyed Peas
the tradition is that you're supposed to
eat one for every day of the new year to bring good luck...
we're not superstitious, but it's still fun to have them!
(I seriously think this is the one day of the year that I eat them)

Baked Ham

Homemade Mac & Cheese
(my kids all time favorite - and you can't have ham
without mac and cheese in my household)

Sweetened Stewed Tomatoes
because they go great with black eyed peas

Baked Pineapple
because you can't have ham and mac and cheese
without baked pineapple at my house

(a lot of times we add collard greens to this line up, but i didn't get any this year)

What do you do on New Years? I know there are so many different traditions across the world, that I would love to hear what your family does! Whatever you do, wherever you are, may you know how much you are loved, and how valuable you are in this brand new year of life. Grace and peace to you, my friends.