Thursday, March 28, 2013

Let's hop, hop, hop- FRIDAY CHAOS

I'm so excited to be co-hosting my first blog hop! Please join us as we have a little fun to celebrate the end of the week. Hooray for Friday!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Break my heart for what breaks yours.

OK, let's begin. I'm sorry for the long post you are in for. I want to share my heart. I hope to be as transparent as possible on this blog, and this is something that is on my heart. Oh, and I'm just going to throw in a random picture at the top because we all know I don't like to post without pictures. ;)

About a week ago, I prayed that God would burden my heart for what breaks his. It's funny, when I pray those types of things, I usually don't mean it. Sad, but true. I don't want to see the things the way he does, because it's so much easier sitting back and looking away from the painful things in the world. I prefer being happily oblivious. Even though I said that prayer without any honesty to back it, he answered it. Boy, did he answer.

We were sitting in youth group tonight when our youth pastor raised the question "How are you? How are you really? Tell me about your days. What are you going through right now?" All was fine and dandy until he asked one specific boy. He didn't plan it. He was just going around asking for transparency. This kid, maybe 12 at most, broke my heart with the story of his day. When he walked into school this morning, a kid pushed him and called him a "fa*got." That was just when he walked in! He didn't do anything. He didn't egg the kid on. He told us throughout the day people pushed him into lockers, ran into him on purpose, and basically made his life miserable. During prayer time at the end, it was encouraging to hear the other kids praying for this boy. Asking God to make his day a little easier. All 50 kids in that youth group were told to continue keeping this kid in their prayers and hearts.

How can kids be so awful. I see it with adults, too. Every single day. I hear the heartbreaks, the name calling, the gossip. Why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves on a level that lets us feel bigger than everyone around us?

My husband and I were talking to two other kids after the service. The girl was wearing a dog-tag necklace with a picture of a 40-something year old man with the words RIP DADDY above it. I told her it was a really nice necklace, and she poured her heart out. This girl lost her grandma and dad within a week of each other. A. Week. Her heart was so broken. But the worst was what the kids said to her at school. Mostly through social media, kids would tease her about her losses. One boy even said "Go cry to Daddy and Grandma! Oh wait... you can't!" Heart. Breaking. WHY? Why do people do this? Jesus has been showing me what he sees. I can't ignore the hurt that these amazing young kids are going through. They are just kids! She told me more stories of the bullying at school, getting beat up, the taunting and the teasing. I just can't fathom the amount of strength they must have. All I could do was give her a hug. It felt like an insufficient thing after listening to such devastating stories. My husband said later that maybe us listening was all they needed. I think he is right.

I don't know why I feel the need to share this. I just want us to think before we speak. We are all guilty. We might not go to the extremes like these kids, but the fact is all of us have a little bully in us. Take time to listen. Most of the people around us don't need advice, they just need someone to lend an ear without judgement. They want someone to take the time to make them feel like they are worth it. Put others before yourself. I don't care how bad you think you have it, someone out there has it worse than any of us. I can tell you first hand that tonight was like having a piece of humble pie shoved in my face. I tend to get in a crazy way of thinking that my life is stressful or difficult. I have it so good. I have so many things to be thankful for.

Make a difference this week. Reach out to someone you normally would not.

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving that Easter is this weekend. I've been trying to spend this week just reflecting on what Christ did. I often am left speechless on what to say around this time of year. There are no words for what Christ did for me on that cross. I'm so humbled.

We are planning to spend Saturday throwing a little Easter Egg Hunt for Joe's nephews. I'm overly excited for this! I've been picking up little goodies for them to search for all week. I can't wait to see them!

I'm loving my new top from modcloth!The bow detail in the back is absolute perfection.It finally came in yesterday, and I'm already wearing it today! It's just the perfect spring piece.

I'm loving that I get to see my momma and sister this weekend. My. Soul. I  have missed them. Plus, my little sister is the best ever and has been buying me clothes. I love her. My mom and sister are my two best friends, and I'm so blessed to have such an amazing relationship with them. I know not many are that lucky!

I'm loving that I finally am getting my hair done this weekend! It has only been 8 months... I know. #firstworldproblems. Seriously, though. My hair is almost reaching the bottom of my back. You better believe I'm excited for those scissors to do a little choppin' on these locks. I've been going to the same lady since elementary school, and she is phenomenal.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stores that sparkle- A new shop find!

Once in a while I stumble upon something fresh, new, and exciting. When I was surfing through the good old' interwebs yesterday, I happened to stumble upon a store that was so cheerful, it immediately turned my Monday around. I'm absolutely smitten. Meet Emily Ley, a store that's sure to bring some sunshine into your life. Her products are cute, functional, and many times inspiring. You can see her joyfulness and love for life radiate through her creations. Take this for example:

I love the message. I love that it came at the perfect point in the day where I realized that I just needed to do the best I could in Christ's standards and not my own. Sheesh! If only I could implement that in my day to day life. This print would be an awesome reminder to hang in my home and at the office.

This mug! I love this mug. I love that it exudes positivity. More and more lately I've been realizing that "great days" are a choice. We can totally have a great day regardless of circumstances! Isn't that encouraging? We can make the choice to be happy, even though everything around us tells us not to.

You all know my little love-affair with the metallic gold colors this season. Emily definitely has her share of choices to go along with it!

This clutch is a show-stealer. How darling would this be with a hot pink monogram?

Head on over and check out this adorable little shop! I'm sure you will look around and love it as much as I do.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Hi friends! Hope your week is going well. I LOVE this weekly post, because it reminds me that we've made it half way through! As I told you earlier this week, we are planning a little Myrtle Beach trip for next month. I would absolutely love to hear any fun places to visit while we are there! I've only been once, so I'm not sure what the "must-do"things are. So, onto what I'm loving this week!

I'm loving my new monogrammed tote from Miss. Lucy's Monograms! I won it over at Prep in Your Step, and cannot wait to use it at the beach next month. It's so roomy, and has tons of space to carry everything we will need.

I'm loving my new shoe clips that I won over at Sunshine State of Mind. They were designed by Alternate Normality, and I just adore them. I think they will look great on a pair of nude flats.

I'm loving my new hair bow from Classy Ellebows. It's just too cute! It will be great for the 4th of July this summer.

I'm loving my new monogrammed sunglasses from Shop Crystal Faye. Want your own pair? Click here! She has the cutest products and is just the sweetest person ever.

Have a happy Wednesday! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Go away, Mondays.

Ick, ick, ick. Allergies have arrived. Sadly, Spring still has not. I spent the majority of this weekend getting organized. I wish I could claim to be a super organized person, but sadly that's one part of life I was not so blessed with. I have a terribly bad problem of holding on to clothes from years ago. This weekend I finally parted with 3 bags of clothing- most of which I've had since 6th grade! I feel so much better! Our apartment is finally organized and tidy, and ready for anyone who would like to come visit. Hooray!

In other news, this sucker came in the mail. Hooray! It made me so happy. Definitely going to whip this one out at the beach during our little Spring Break trip. Speaking of Spring Break- we are taking a little trip to SC! VERY excited for this little getaway. We are going with another couple friend of ours' and plan on visiting Greenville (where we all went to college) and Myrtle Beach. It could not come at a more perfect time. I've needed a break so badly, and I'm finally going to get one! 

I hope you have the happiest of nights. Enjoy it and get loads of rest to gear up for the rest of the week! 


Friday, March 15, 2013

From Miss to Mrs.- The Engagement

I have a little treat in store for you all! There's about 3 months left until the big 2 year wedding anniversary, so I am going to start taking you through the big event! While engaged, Joe and I won a really wonderful wedding website.Luckily I saved most of the writings from that, and can't wait to share them with you now! So, today I'm beginning with a his/hers side of the story from our proposal. I LOVED hearing Joe's side of how things went down. So funny to compare! Enjoy! :)

His Side of the Story:

I had the ring. Bought it in November. I thought that would be the hardest part… but then I realized I had to come up with something “creative.” I hate being creative. My sister Sarah had mentioned there was this castle-looking mansion at Oakland University open for tours, and I thought that was cool… but wasn’t sure that was what I wanted. 

We had talked about getting married the summer after I graduated in 2011, and I wasn’t sure how long of an engagement I wanted. I was eager to give her the ring, and thought I might be able to do something over Christmas break, but then again… it might just be easier to do something in the summer when I had more time to prepare. Winter break was drawing to a close, and I had somewhat resigned myself to waiting until summer, when out of the blue I got a call. My uncle Mark offered me 2 tickets to take Anna to see the Moscow Ballet perform “Sleeping Beauty” at the Whiting. Anna had done ballet for most of her life, so I thought she would love it, and I would just force myself to endure over 2 hours of torture. Then, the thought trickled into my mind: I could use this for an engagement idea! While seriously pondering the possibility, the thought of a princess ballet reminded me of the “castle” my sister had mentioned: Meadowbrook Hall. I looked up the times, and saw that they offered tours even in the winter. Things were in motion. That Sunday night the Anna was over with her mom and sister, and I was trying to work up the courage to mention it to Mrs. Brooks. Finally, as they were leaving, I ran it by her. She was excited and said it sounded good, but as I went around the corner I saw Anna paused on the stairs, like she had been listening. I was really hoping she hadn’t been there long, but wasn’t sure how much she had heard… So I told her how I was planning some surprise for her. So now I had to figure out how to get her off the scent. It worked out, that I would take her to the ballet on Thursday, and that would be the big surprise I had planned, and then when she wasn’t suspecting I would take her to Meadowbrook and propose. I talked to Tim Cole about going along to take pictures, and perfectly enough he said he needed to go to Oakland anyway to see the campus. Splendid alibi. I told Anna that Tim needed a ride to Oakland that Friday, and that I offered to take him and would just spend the day shopping at the malls in the area. Naturally, Anna would go along for the shopping.
I emailed her Dad my plans, and met with him on like Tuesday to discuss everything. He was all for it, and even accepted me after my embarrassing blunder. When I went to show him the ring I had bought, I was shaking so much and opened it so fast that the ring shot out of the box and bounced across the table! Humiliating. Anyway, things were falling into place.


Thursday night came… and brought with it a BLIZZARD! Anna and I were all dressed up fancy and ready to go, but I was worried that the show might be canceled. While we were waiting, for some reason I jokingly got down on one knee to ask Anna something miniscule, but my mom happened to walk into the hallway at that moment and saw us! She was like “Ooops!” and rushed out, thinking she was interrupting the big moment! Well, we went anyway, and after dropping her off at the front, I had to march half a mile thru several inches of snow and swirling flakes. We had amazing seats, but it was warm, and like I predicted, over two hours of torture! But I could tell Anna loved it. Finally it was over, and we went outside to find my car buried in like 4 inches of snow. We waited for traffic to get down because the roads were so slippery, and finally made our way out into the night. You couldn’t see any lines on the freeway or roads, and it was a good thing there was no more traffic because we were doing half doughnuts around every turn in the road. I could think of nothing more depressing than dying in a car wreck the day before our engagement…
Friday morning we got off to an early start, and made our way to Oakland. We got there “early” and had to “burn time” driving around before we could drop off Tim. As we toured, we “happened” upon a castle, and I was like, “whoa, we should tour that!” 

Tim dropped us off and said he would pick us up when he was done. We had secretly planned that he would meet with an advisor while we did our tour, and then he would explore the Meadowbrook grounds and find a romantic spot for me to propose, and then text me the location while he waited in a discreet location to take pictures. So Tim drove off and we walked up to the front door, where I realized I had made a mistake. The building didn’t open for another half hour! It was FREEEEEZING outside, and neither of us had dressed for being outside for any lengthy period of time. It was MISERABLE!! 

 However, I used extra time to do my own investigation of the grounds, taking pictures of Anna in different spots on my phone, so she wasn’t suspicious. I was actually a little disappointed in the “gardens,” which were a lot smaller than I thought, but there was a nice little bridge there that would have to do. About 30 yards away was a big stone bridge that I thought Tim could hide on and take the pictures.
Well we finally got in and toured, but at the end of the tour I got a text from Tim saying he was running late… So I had to burn more time! We went to the gift shop for an uncomfortable amount of time, long after everyone had left, and the tour guide was droning on about things that realllllllly weren’t interesting to us, but finally I got the ok from Tim to come. We meandered out to that bridge, and I gave her a hug, and took a deep breath and said: “Uhhhhhhhhh.”

It was at that moment that I realized I hadn’t prepared a speech. I had just assumed it would be easy to say something profound. It wasn’t. Anna was like “what are you doing?!” I don’t even remember what I said, but it had something to do with castles and princess ballets and how she was my princess and I wanted to make her dreams come true yada yada, and then I pulled out the ring as I got on one knee. 

We were both smiling uncontrollably while she obviously said “yes,” and I stood up to hug her. At that moment we heard a “click brrrrrrrrrrm” sound of a camera, and looked over to see Tim standing like 10 feet away behind a heating unit which he had stacked bricks on top of. We both burst out laughing and the proposal was complete. I owe special thanks to Tim for his help in planning and taking pictures, Sarah for her ideas, and Uncle Mark for the ballet tickets.



  My Side of the Story

When Joe told me he had a surprise for me, I couldn't help but get excited. I had never even considered the idea that he would be proposing then! He planned a surprise date for Thursday night, and then said we would leave early the next day to take our friend, Tim, to visit Oakland College. I immediately questioned why we would be the ones to take Tim on his campus tour. Joe was begging me to just go with it. :) He told me that we would spend the day shopping at the Rochester Mall while Tim had his tour. Of course, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to shop. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse! I was told to dress up for our Thursday-surprise, so I brought over my clothes to dress up that night. It was so fun getting all dolled up for a date night. We left early for the surprise as the roads were completely covered with snow. On our way there, Joe gave me many hints as to where we were going. I guessed it almost immediately. He was taking me to the place that I had performed at every year for ballet! Not only were we going to the Whiting Auditorium, he was taking me to see the Moscow Ballet! I was absolutely thrilled. As a dancer myself, it meant the world to me that my sports-loving boyfriend would sit willingly through a three hour ballet. The seats were amazing. I was able to watch some of the most talented dancers in the world with the man I love. It was definitely a spectacular night!  

We left early the next day to drive to Oakland. I could not have even imagined what would happen next. Joe told me that we were almost to our destination where Tim would drop us off. As we pulled up, I couldn't help but notice that this wasn't the shopping mall I knew... It was a huge castle! Joe looked at me and said, "Here's your second surprise!" I started to get a feeling that something was going on then. We walked up to the castle doors, and were quickly rushed out by the manager who said she had a tour to give. We were told to come back in an hour and hurried out of the castle doors. 

Of course, as luck would have it, Tim's cell phone was dead. We had no way to get back to the car, and we were stuck outside in a foot of snow. With chattering teeth, we decided to go sit in a gazebo to wait. That didn’t last long, as we realized that standing around waiting wasn’t going to make the time go any faster. Joe then said that he wanted to look for these special gardens he had found online. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. We did find a beautiful garden area at the side of the castle to wander around. After an hour out here, any visions I had of a proposal had quickly subsided. Surely after this long he would have done it. After a while, it was finally time for our tour of the castle. It was absolutely stunning! I was in complete awe of the architecture, and had so much fun looking at everything with Joe. After a few hours, the tour came to an end. We decided to head to the gift shop to wait for Tim. Luckily, his phone was now charged, so Joe said he would call him to come get us. I had no idea of the intricate plans the two had made! Joe kept conversation going with the tour guide as we “waited” for Tim. I noticed that Joe kept sending him text messages, but didn’t think anything of it. After he had noticeably asked every question to stall time that he could ask, he suggested we go get our coats from the coatroom. He then said that we should go look at those gardens again. I laughed at the idea of going out in the freezing cold yet again. Surely, we could just wait inside for the car! I thought that he had to be crazy to actually want to stand in the snow again. However, Joe was very persistent that we must go, and I finally agreed. As we walked to the little bridge, I heard a familiar clicking sound of a camera I jerked my head to look but Joe quickly got my attention back to him. 
I noticed him fumbling in his pocket. The clicks of the camera grew more frequent as he got down on one knee. I could feel my whole body going weak. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening! I was completely shocked and so incredibly happy. 

When he looked up at me, he started to laugh and said that he planned this whole thing out but forgot to come up with something to say! He said something along the lines of, “I can’t buy you a castle, but I want you to be my princess. Will you marry me?” It was an absolutely perfect proposal. 

I still cannot believe I’m lucky enough to spend my life with him. God blessed me with an amazing man! The evening was of course followed with a trip to every fast food restaurant in the city to try to find the best fries. Ahhhh yes... the romantic dinner to end out perfect evening. That's my man! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Thank goodness for linkups. Life has been almost too busy to blog! I promise I'll get back in the swing of things soon.

I'm loving monogramming everything. Thanks to Crystal Faye, I was able to get some monogram vinyls to put around my home. I've gone a little monogram crazy, and I'm totally OK with that.

I'm loving cupcakes. I'm just going to pretend they are part of my diet. Speaking of diets... 

My Papa (grandfather) sent me this text a few days ago. I died. 

I may have already featured tis on the blog somewhere before, but I'm flat out in love with the new flamingo Kitchenaid from Target. I don't think I would ever put it away!

Happy Wednesday, loves! We made it half way through the week! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Of Monograms and Birthdays

It's safe to say my monogram obsession is getting out of control. I ordered some monogram vinyls from my sweet friend Crystal over at Crystal Faye, and have been monogramming everything I can get my hands on. Monograms make everything so adorable. 

In other news, my beautiful, spunky, kindhearted baby cousin turned 13 today! How on earth did that even happen? 

I am so proud of the young woman she has become. She has the sweetest heart, and I know she will do great things in her life. I love you, little rosebud! So thankful for you! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday!

This Wednesday I'm loving that my Grandfather is doing well after his unexpected open heart surgery. He is already being taken off the vent!

I'm loving this picture from our wedding. I never really noticed it before, but I love that our photographer captured us praying together.

I'm still loving these disney baby onesies. My heart. 

I am loving that my cube at work looks like a 5 year old sits there.  

I'm loving that Joe's students like to draw pictures of us. I also love my hyperextended knees and giant hoop earrings. Such a looker. 

I'm loving that this fella' is stuck with me the rest of his life. Poor guy. He didn't know what he got himself into. 

Have a wonderful day! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Getting to Know You

Hi Friends! I've had some major writers' block these last few days. I'm just going to go ahead and blame it on Spring Fever. I miss the warm weather! I miss being outside and wearing short sleeves. Goodness gracious, I cannot wait for summer! I decided to start a semi-monthly post to let you, my amazing readers, get to know me on a more personal level. I know it's hard to get to know someone through the internet, so I figured this would be a fun way to start.

1. I've lived in Michigan for most of my life. I moved to Greenville, SC for a year of college and fell in love with the South. I miss the beautiful weather, friendly people, and welcoming strangers.

2. I met my husband when I was 2 years old. We started dating the summer after my junior year of high school, and got married on June 25, 2011. I like him most of the time. He's a teacher at a super small Christian school and teaches 7th-12th grades. Can you say exhausting? Also, this totally means that the little pipsqueaks take over (aka destroy) my apartment every now and then. 7th grade boys are very, very loud. That's cool, the neighbors love  us. I'm only 23, so most of the kids can talk to me like an older sibling (notice I said most of them... the younger ones think we are a few years away from death,) and I love that they are comfortable coming to us.

3. I have the whole awkward thing down to a T. No seriously, I'm awkward. I make others feel awkward. I laugh way too hard at my own jokes. It's whatever.

4. When I'm nervous, I talk. A lot. Like, an embarrassing amount. This kinda goes with the whole awkward thing. After my accident last month, I basically talked the officer's ear off. Essentially it went something like this: "Ma'am you can sit in my car while you wait for a ride." So naturally I was like "THANK YOU SO MUCH!" and started to open the front door to sit down. He closed it and opened the back door for me. Oh, not awkward at all. So this started my talking rampage. "Oh... you want me to sit in the back? I've never been in the back of a police car before. This is weird. This is scary. Are the seats really plastic? Wow! That's uncomfortable. People are going to think I'm getting arrested. That's awkward." He gave me a funny look at said "It's just protocol ma'am." No joke... he literally did that thing where they put their hand on your head to make sure you don't hit it while you get in the car. I was feeling pretty awesome right then. Oh, but that's not all. When he got in the front of the car to wait with me, my blabber mouth went on another talking spree. "That's cool that you're a police officer. I like police officers. My mom has friends that are police officers! They were like... chiefs or something. They have names. We used to go visit them at their POLICE STATION! Like, we got to go in! They had horses. One horse's name was Booger and I thought that was super funny. Don't you think that's funny?  Ha! Booger. What a name. Police officers are really nice and stuff. We saw some police officers last week and hung out with them." The poor man literally opened his door and got out of the car. Legit got OUT of the car. I saw him go over to his friend and both started laughing. Poor man.

5. I tend to think I'm better friends with people than I am. When we moved to this new city, I literally had no friends. Zilch. Zero. None. On top of that, I didn't have a job for the first 6 months of our marriage. We only had one car, so I was stuck at the apartment every single day. Even better, we had no TV or internet! We were practically Amish. I seriously would take multiple naps in the day just to pass the time. That being said, when people would talk to me be it at church, my husband's work, etc. I would follow them around like a lost puppy dog. Yes, I'm a pathetic human being. That's okay though. Human interaction was exciting!

6. I have this creepy obsession with wanting to see inside people's houses. If you ever see two eyes staring through your window, just ignore me. Moving along. Nothing to see here, folks. But really, I love seeing how people decorate and have spent many hours looking through local houses on Zillow just for fun.

7. For the first year of marriage, we didn't own a couch. So please, now picture me being stuck at home for 6 months without a job, internet, TV, or couch. Seriously, I seem so awesome. My Mom sent home an old bean-bag chair once just so we would have something to sit on. When people would come into town to visit, everyone would fight over who would get to be the lucky one to get that bean bag. One day, Joe's friend called and said a lady he knew was getting rid of two loveseats and we could take them for free! Literally one of the best days of my life. I was so excited! I hope I never stop being thankful for everyday things like owning a couch to sit on.

8. I really miss my blonde hair. A lot of people like brown better on me, but I don't feel like myself. I'm slowly learning that I don't always have to please others when it comes to something as silly as what hair color I have.

9. I'm a worry-wart. I worry about my little sister while she lives at camp, my mom becoming exhausted with work full-time and school full-time, my grandpa when he drives 2 hours to visit his girlfriend, my dad and his therapy, my husband with his workload. Seriously. I worry about everyone around me. If I see a mean comment on someone's blog, I worry about their feelings. It's something I struggle with a lot and I've been trying to just trust God with everyone I love.

10. My first words took place in the McDonald's parking lot. My Mom asked my Grandmother what she would like and I piped up from the back seat "fries coke please." I was such a classy kid.

 Have a great afternoon, loves!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gold Dot Tutorial- The Pinterest Challenge

I'm just way too tickled about this project. Is anyone else out there as obsessed with Gold Dots as I am? I wanted to make some cute little pieces inspired by some I saw on Pinterest without a back-link. I am pretty happy with how they turned out! It was pretty time consuming, but not too bad if you do it while watching a movie.

What you'll need:

  • Oven safe white bowls/ cups/ whatever you can find. 
  • 3 hole punch reinforcements (as seen here
  • Gold sharpie paint pen (Make sure it's the paint pen and not just a regular sharpie.) 
  • An oven
Put the reinforcements on your bowl in an orderly fashion. You can see what I did in the pictures below. When you have all the stickers on (make sure they are pressed firmly,) start to color in the circles with your paint pen. Let it try for at least a half hour before peeling off. When you are all set, heat your oven to 350*F and bake your dishes for 30 minutes. 

Overall, this was a great project! The 3 hole punch reinforcements were a great trick to keep the circles from bleeding. I tried to do it freehand before using them, and was having a really difficult time.

Enjoy! :)