Thursday, December 19, 2013

all about instagram:: hayley of 'the tiny twig' talks analog weekends

As much as I love Instagram, I'm all too aware that social media sometimes plays a much bigger role in my life than I'm comfortable with. When I start seeing every cute or funny moment with my family in little 2x2 squares, or I'm twitchy without my phone nearby, it's time for a break. Today, I've invited my friend, Hayley Morgan, of The Tiny Twig, to share with you about how she began taking weekend breaks from social media, which she calls "analog weekends'. Hayley is one of the sweetest and wisest women you'll ever meet on the internets, so I'm really excited that you get to hear from her today. As we are deep in the holiday season, and about to start a new year, I'm challenging myself, and inviting you to consider joining Hayley every now and then on these 'analog weekends'. 

Read on to learn more! I think you'll be encouraged and inspired to enjoy life the old-fashioned way a little more often!

Hi Hayley! Can you share a little bit about how you came to realize your need for a break from social media?

One day I realized I was mindlessly flipping through what I call the Bermuda Triangle of social media. I was on my phone zipping between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...and then back again. I wasn't really getting anything out of it, but I couldn't tear myself away. The worst part? I was insanely bored if I wasn't tied to my phone. 

What are some practical ways you stay off of social media over the weekend? Do you turn off your phone? Place your icons in a separate folder? 

I have all of my social media stuff in one folder...sometime Friday afternoon/evening I do one last scroll, sometimes post an Instagram with the #analogweekend hashtag, and then promptly delete all of my social media platforms for the weekend. Come Monday morning, I get my oldest off on the school bus and then reinstall the apps. It's the only real way I've found that I really stay off my phone over the weekend. I still use the camera, but otherwise, it's kind of a brick. It's almost like having your laptop without wifi--it's just a really heavy notepad.

How have the analog weekends changed the way you spend time with your family? Has it changed the way you look at and interact with social media during the week?

Analog Weekends have literally changed the way I do weekends. I am more present, more alert, and honestly more creative during the weekend. Plus, my mind just stays away from work and away from what everyone else is doing. Stepping away for the weekend just helps me hold social media with a more open hand overall. I realize that life is great without social media, and so it's easier to view it as just a tool rather than at best a source of entertainment or at worst a zombie-inducing distraction.

What is some encouragement you'd have for an avid IGer (or Twitter fiend, or Pinterest addict) who is considering starting analog weekends?

Just do it. Try it for a weekend. Just walk away. If you fail after 4 hours, no biggie...try again the next weekend. Sometimes my Analog Weekends are shorter than others. Sometimes I'll have something I'm dying to say on Sunday night. Sometimes I'll be on until Saturday morning when my boys wake up. Honestly--it's more about the heart than the rules. Isn't that kind of the way life works? The good things are ALWAYS more about the heart than the rules. :)
Want more of Hayley? (Who wouldn't?) Follow the links below to find her!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

all about instagram series:: a stickygram giveaway!

We're continuing the Instagram series today with a giveaway! I thought this would be a fun way to kick off the Christmas break, and when I contacted StickyGram a few months ago, they hopped right on board!

Sprinkled through this series, I'll be sharing different ways that you can get your Instagram photos off your phone and into your hands. The era of digital photos makes capturing memories super simple and easy, but why let them sit there? 

There are a ton of companies that can help you do that, and one of my very favorites is StickyGram. They turn your Instagram photos into tiny square magnets for your fridge, memo board, or any other creative use you could think of. 

I received some StickyGram magnets to review and was really impressed with the quality. The colors and print quality are spot on and each of my photos was crisp and clear. Silas loves seeing the pictures stuck up on our fridge, and when Chris is gone for work, he gets a kick out of finding Chris' face. I'd love to see the magnets be a little bit stronger for holding up papers and such, but as it is, they're still strong enough to hold up some lighter things, and they serve their main purpose (looking pretty) quite well. 

StickyGram is generously giving away two packs of magnets (that's 18 magnets!) to one winner! Check out the Rafflecopter widget below for all the ways to enter! Don't forget to come back to this blog post and leave a comment. I want to know your favorite part of using Instagram.

Is it the community with other moms, artists, bloggers?

Is it capturing memories for your own records?

Or the artistic part of the editing process?

Or is it something else?

Too impatient to wait? Take $2 off your order with the code HELLOXMAS at checkout! And just so you know, TODAY (the 12th) is the last day to order for Christmas delivery for US residents! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

my little buffalo.

Last month, I shared just a peek at one of the new pieces of art hanging on our living room wall. One of the pieces is a custom illustrated portrait by Lisa of My Little Buffalo. Lisa is one of my oldest online friends and she's got loads of talent.

Lisa and I worked on this illustration a month or so ago and it was a fun process. I sent her some photos of all of us, and included a few details that I'd love to see (colored tights for me, a bowtie for Chris). She sent me a draft and I sent her a few adjustments. Then, in my inbox pops an email with the cutest little family illustration. It was neat to see how Lisa turned some photos into little drawings of each of us. 

Pop over to Lisa's shop and check out the cute options for custom portraits. She offers everything from custom house portraits (I love this one!), personalized nursery art, and even the sweetest grandkid print. I love the custom iPhone case  too! Lisa isn't taking any more custom orders for Christmas, so this gift certificate option might be a good one.

Find Lisa on Facebook or Instagram!

snow day.

I was giddy over the weekend when I peeked at my Accuweather app and saw that snow was forecasted for yesterday. Just as I was pouring my coffee and praying for Silas to sleep a tad longer, the flurries starting falling. And those big flakes fell through the whole day. Not much stuck until yesterday evening, but that didn't matter a whole lot to us.

I wish you could have seen Silas when I took him to his bedroom window to see the snow falling. It took him a minute to figure out what I was trying to get him to look at, but then for the next six hours, he made me hold him up to every single window to get a look at that 'no. For half the morning, I thought he was just being ornery and saying no to everything I did. He does that anyway, so it wasn't out of the ordinary. That is, until, I realized he was saying 'snow'. Duh. 

After his nap, we dressed up in about 14 layers, I wrestled his new boots on his little feet, and we ventured out into the cold. I mean, I consider myself to have a pretty good foothold on the wonder and awe of things, but seeing the snow through his eyes was magical, you guys. Watching his little tomato -soup-stained face light up, and the snowflakes falling on his lashes. Just about bust me open with the sweetness of the moment.

His excitement actually surprised me a little bit, considering he has a severe abhorrence of bubble baths.  He loves baths, but the bubbles freak him out a lot.

And lest you think it was all gumdrops and snowflakes out there, our little walk in the snow ended with a tantrum. Don't ask me what it was about-- I don't pretend to understand the toddler mind. He recovered quickly, as usual, but let me tell you, it was really difficult to lug a mini StayPuff Marshmallow man down the street. Slippery little fellow.

Monday, December 9, 2013

just a blog post.

It's been a long time since I've written a blog post just for the sake of writing. I was reading over some old posts recently and that always gets me nostalgic. For the days when there was real community in the comments section, for the posts when I wrote about really dumb details about my days and when blogging was simpler. For the times when I didn't care if my pictures were perfect, or if my writing was funny enough. I just posted to share and to remember.

I'd love to get back to writing again. About the everyday stuff. Those are the posts I love to re-read years later. I miss that. 

So here goes. Nothing fancy, just a blog post. 

Last Monday night, we were at a friends' house and Silas fell and bit his tongue. Mouth wounds bleed a lot, and even though I know that-- every time he busts a lip or something, I panic just a little. We determined that we didn't need a hospital trip, but boy, that was a rough night. He screamed in pain for about an hour before going to sleep that night and it broke my heart. With a tongue wound, there's really nothing you can do, and I felt so helpless. He was a wreck all week, which meant, so was I. By Friday, his smile returned and I could tell he was feeling better. Thankfully, it seems to be healing really well, but of course, now he's come down with a cold and he's still working on those four molars. Poor kid can't catch a break. 

Let's pray that we're getting all the bloody incidents and snotty sicknesses out of the way for our Hawaii trip next week. We'll be flying to San Diego to spend a few days with my little sister before hopping over to Oahu for Christmas with Chris' family. The sun, island breezes, and waves are calling my name. I've been hanging out with Jillian Michaels the past few weeks. Not so much because I want a bikini-body again (let's face it, not gonna happen.), but gosh, I miss surfing and at this point, I have my doubts about being able to even carry my board down the beach, much less paddle out and catch a wave. I have dim hopes that a few workouts with Jillian will buy me a wave or two.

PS. Any toddler flying tips you want to share would be awesome. I'm skeered. 

Even though we're leaving next week, I convinced Chris that we should still put up a Christmas tree. Granted, it's three feet tall, (Chris wanted to go even smaller for a tree we'll enjoy for a week) which looks almost comical in our big living room. But Silas is enthralled with it, and the twinkly lights in the corner wake up my inner child. Right now, out the window behind the tree, I can see snow falling. Our first snow fall of the year. If it doesn't get rained on before Silas wakes up, I'll bundle him up Christmas-Story style, and we'll head out to get a closer look. My guess is, he'll either freak out, and want to go inside or want to stay out forever even though his poor old mom has icicle fingers. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

a simple winter outfit and a link list.

Chris took these photos for me a few weeks ago, when the trees lining our street were still a bright fiery orange. The outfit isn't anything exhilarating, but I love simplicity of a good outfit and the colors in these pictures and thought they might make you smile too.

peacoat:: forever21
gray tee:: target
jeans:: american eagle
boots:: c/o lulu's

Here are a few of my favorite links from the week. 

Jessi wrote a great post today on her December goals. My favorite part is that they aren't lofty, unachievable goals. In fact, you might call them 'un-goals'. 

We bought this dining room table from West Elm over the weekend (thank you, Black Friday sale!!) and I can't wait to pick it up this weekend! Anyone wanna come over for dinner?

In case you didn't see the link in Wednesday's post, I want to make sure you know that this beer bread recipe is SO delicious and incredibly easy. A fresh loaf of bread in under an hour? Yes, please. 

I really liked Sydney's blog post today. She highlights a whole slew of things that she wishes her readers would know about her as a blogger. My favorite line? "I hope you don't compare real life to an edited one." Isn't that the truth?

(I'm gonna sneak this one in...) Today is the last day to order from my shop for Christmas delivery. I'll be open until the 12th, but no guarantee on deliveries after today! There are some new magnets in there as of this morning! 

It's been a busy, hectic, stressful week and I have barely been able to sit and think alone, but I'm looking forward to catching up on the She Reads Truth advent reading plan this weekend. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

16 month silas and his new hat.

Silas is almost 16 months old and all boy. It's been really fun to see him transition from a baby into a toddler and I'm not really sure where that change happened. All of the sudden, he's enraptured with trucks, dogs and balls, says a million words (or his version of words, anyway) and gets into everything. He just started saying "hello" (more like "wah-woh") yesterday and I try to get him to say it every chance I get, because holy cow, the cuteness. 

Beyond the adorable factor, we're definitely wading into the discipline territory. Thankfully, he's generally a good listener, but he's also got a stubborn streak and loves to test us. Time-out is hit or miss, since most of the time he just thinks it's a fun, new game. I've had to hide my face a few times when he has me cracking up at his silly antics. 

He just started building towers with his blocks instead of only knocking them down, and he can hear a dog bark from a mile away. He loves people and definitely has inherited the extroverted nature that both Chris and I have. 

As soon as I tell him that we are going outside, he runs to grab his shoes and plops down on the ground for me to put them on his little feet. I'm a little worried about this winter since he seems oblivious to the cold, and wants to go play outside no matter what the temperature. Mama, on the other hand, wouldn't mind staying cozy inside. 

I took these pictures on our walk around the block yesterday. He loves going for walks, and it takes us about 4 hours to walk half a mile since he stops to stare at every single car, truck, bike or other mobile object. 

Emily from Blue Corduroy sent Silas this beautiful knit beanie, and he loves it. I love it too-- the design is adorable, and it keeps his noggin pretty warm on chilly days. If you are in the market for a cozy hat for yourself or your toddler, check out Emily's sweet shop. Her shop is filled with all kinds of great knits--  ear warmers, scarves, granny square pillows! She's offering a 15% discount to HelloHue readers with the code HELLOHUE15 at checkout. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

from our recipe box:: curried cider soup (the perfect way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers!)

Yesterday afternoon, I ate a turkey sandwich with cheese, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Oh, and stuffing. For some reason, the week after Thanksgiving, it always seems like the best idea to add bread to my sandwich. It was delicious, but I felt a tiny bit ashamed after eating it. Bread on top of my sandwich? Who does that?!

Anyway, that's why I'm excited to post this recipe for you today. It's the perfect way to use up all that leftover turkey (we cooked a 21 lb turkey on Friday-- we'll be eating turkey for weeks.) without feeling like a complete glutton. 

I tore this recipe out of a Rachael Ray magazine a few years ago and it continues to be one of our favorites. The perfect fall soup that pairs perfectly with a cold night and steaming hot beer bread. 

(serves 4-6) 

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup apple cider
1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/2 rotisserie chicken, OR leftover Thanksgiving turkey, sliced into bite sizes bits


In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and a teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the cider, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 4 cups of water and the sweet potato and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, lower the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. 

This is where we differ from Rachael Ray's directions. She says, 

"Using a blender, and working in batches, puree the soup, and return to saucepan. Stir in the chicken (or turkey) and warm over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper."

We have found that using the blender is pretty tedious and can get messy. We use our Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender and blend the whole batch up right in the pot in about 2 minutes. (We mostly use it to make smoothies each morning-- also way easier and less cleanup than a true blender.)

We love eating it with King's Hawaiian Bread, or most recently, I've been making this buttery honey beer bread constantly.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

weekend deals and new products!

If you're shopping this weekend for your family and friends (or even yourself!), I'd love for you to stop by the shop!

Take 30% off your whole purchase with the code HELLOHUE30 at checkout. This is the biggest discount I've ever done, and it will be a long time before I offer one this big again! 

On Monday, December 2nd, when you buy a 5x7 print, you'll receive a second one FREE! Please specify which print you'd like me to add to your order in the message to seller. (This does not include calendars or 8x10 prints.)

Click here to shop now! 

I've also added a bunch of new stuff to the shop-- new necklaces and new gray cover notebooks!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

a round-up of weekend deals!

Planning to do some shopping for friends and family this weekend? Below are some awesome Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from sponsors and friends. There's everything from essential oils, to cozy knits, adorable handmade headbands, and printed leggings for your favorite little girl. You might even want to browse around Lulu's for a fancy holiday dress. 

You and I both know that (most of the time) we don't need any of the things on our wishlists, but this time of year, I'm ecstatic to be able to support fellow small business owners while shopping for the people I love.

I'll be back tomorrow morning to share Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for HelloHueStudio before signing off for the weekend!

Click the image or shop name to head over to the sites below. 

25% off entire shop! 
Offer ends Tuesday, Decmber 3rd

(code) CYBERMONDAY1 - free domestic shipping!
(code) CYBERMONDAY2- buy one, get one half off! 
OR get a free headband when you spend $25! (while supplies last!)

free shipping on all orders! 
no code necessary

My Chemical Breakup Essential Oils
Become a Wholesale Member and get a free oils travel case when you make any purchase!
Enroll with a kit and receive a free Modern Essentials book!

30% off the whole shop 
(valid until Mandie goes into labor!)

$10 off your purchase when you spend $100 or more
(code) TURKEY10

early sale! 15% off until Thursday 
(code) GIVING15

Monday, November 25, 2013

off the grid.

This weekend, I signed off the grid for a bit and spent more time in the little moments. The minutes waiting for Chris to come downstairs after putting Silas to bed, or after dinner when we're all full and sleepy and just sitting on the couch.  Those are moments when I would usually check out and flip through my blog feed. It was relaxing to be bored for once. I don't think I allow myself to be quiet enough lately. To just sit and watch Silas attempt to rescue a ball from under a chair. Or to eat breakfast with only a book as my companion (instead of the 1,000+ people I follow on Instagram.)

We ate gooey cinnamon buns for breakfast (with green smoothies, which cancels out the gluttony, right?!). We accomplished nothing on our to-do list except for a grocery run, which turned into a Panera dinner and shopping for flannel shirts at Old Navy. There are milk drips all over our kitchen floor from a leaky sippy cup, flour dusting the table from our homemade pizza night, and toys are strewn about the living room, which is driving me crazy right now. But the little moments piled on top of each other made for a nothing remarkable, but sweet weekend.

I'm ready to head into the week with my heart a little quieter and prepared to take in this advent season.

Friday, November 22, 2013

links I liked.

My mind and heart have been pretty busy processing the thoughts I posted on Wednesday, and I haven't accomplished much more than packaging a few orders, keeping Silas from eating playdough, and sneaking in several hundred tickle fests with him this week. 

But I've been browsing on my phone, and these are some of my favorite links from the week. 

Kim just released her new wire headband collection. "Memaw's Curtains" is by far my favorite of the fabrics choices. 

I can't wait to pull of stunts like this with Chris when Silas is older.  We'll need to expand his dino collection. 

The audio recordings for the 2013 Influence Conference are live and available for purchase! If you didn't attend and you're thinking of purchasing one or two of the recordings, my recommendations would be Hayley's talk on lies we believe, Annie's on why our words matter , or Jessi's feminine influence talk.  

I'm sure you'll see it in an outfit post soon, but I just bought the coziest plaid flannel scarf from EclecticJoy. I bought one for Si too, and he looks like a cute little European kid when he wears it. If you like pretty, cozy things, you should shop there. 

This weekend, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and taking an analog weekend. I'm setting aside my phone and spending more time with my boys. To be honest, it's going to be tough, but I'm excited to slow things down a little, maybe pick up a book,  sketch just for the heck of it, and spend more time face to face with my boys. 

If you're looking to be encouraged today, I think this post is a great place to start. Ashlee shares the things in life that she does, and doesn't do, and there is so much freedom in her post. Also, her blog is inspiring me to pick up my real camera more this weekend. 

Alrighty, friends. I'd say I'm sorry that I wasn't around here more this week, but I'm not. Some weeks are just quiet and that's okay. Next week, I'll be sharing another fall outfit and some Black Friday deals that you won't want to miss. 


(PS. None of these links are sponsored. Just so you know.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

drinking from the stream of grace.

I posted this photo of our messy bedroom to Instagram yesterday during a naptime where I just felt like I was getting nothing done, and I was so upset with myself. Like so many of you, I juggle the roles of wife, mama, blogger and shop keeper and sometimes it feels like all of those proverbial balls are just rolling around on the floor while I stand there completely befuddled. 

I have orders to package, but oops, ran out of packaging supplies. Such a bad shop owner. 

Silas ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch again, and nothing else. I'm an awful mom. 

I'm way too attached to my phone and Chris and I both know it. What a crappy wife, I am. 

I haven't blogged all week, but I'm not sure anyone actually misses me. 

These are honest thoughts that haunt me many days of the week and I'll tell you what-- they are not of Jesus. These thoughts flood my brain and heart when I'm relying on my own strength to be the perfect wife, mama, blogger, etc. They are most poisonous right after a day or two of feeling like I've got my stuff together and 'aren't I awesome at this?!" Today, I'm going back to Jeremiah 17, where I'm told
 "Cursed is the man (or woman!) who trusts in man,who depends on flesh for his strength... but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes..."
I'm drinking from that stream of grace this morning, embracing the mess (somewhat) and loving on my boys as best as I can.

And you? You're doing a great job, girl. Right where you are, in the mess, in the craziness. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

all about instagram :: my most-loved photo editing apps

Today we're kicking off the first official post of the new Instagram series! There are tons of apps out there to help you take, edit, and beautify your photos. Below are my top four apps, all of which I use on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Afterlight -- (99 cents, available for iphone only) I use this app to edit every photo that I post on Instagram. I'll go over my editing process in another post, but my favorite filter is Russ at 50%. This app is completely worth the .99-- it's what I use to post non-square photos (like if I post a photo from my DSLR and want to keep it's original proportions). They also recently added some gorgeous wallpapers and new seasonal apps as well. I love that I can bump up the exposure to get an airer feel to a photo and there are many different crop and frame options (including circles and letters of the alphabet!)

TimerCam -- (free, iphone only, I think) It would be really nice if the camera on our phones had a timer, but for some reason, it does not. This is where Timercam saves the day. I use this most often for selfies (another topic soon to be discussed!), group photos and family photos. I like that you can set it for 5, 10, 15 or 30 seconds and it counts down if my ringer is turned on (which always catches Silas' attention for pics!).

Diptic-- (99 cents, iphone and android) This app gives you tons of options for making photo collages. It's simple and easy to use. Thumbs up from me.

A Beautiful Mess-- ( 99 cents, iphone only) I use this app least of all. As you can tell below, I use it mostly for announcements about shop stuff. I really prefer to let my photos do the talking, so if I do add graphics, (like on the ice cream one below), it's really minimal. The app has lots of graphics, fonts, and borders. It's fun to play around with for sure.

So those are my most-loved apps. I have other apps in my Photography folder (like Snapseed, Camera + and Pic Stitch), but I rarely use those.

I'd love to hear about your favorite photo editing apps! Got some that we need to hear about?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

two recent custom paintings.

Of all the fun things I get to do with my paints, creating custom pieces ranks as one of my very favorites. I always feel so excited when a person emails me with an idea for artwork as a gift for a friend, or just to hang on their own walls. There are so many talented artists and for someone to choose my art, I just feel really blessed.

One of the best parts about creating a custom piece for someone is that I get to interact with my customers a little bit more than when I get orders through my shop. I get to know their passions, their decorating style, the way they communicate, even the colors of their walls. I recently finished up two custom pieces that I thought I'd share today. They're so very different and have beautiful meanings to their new owners. 

The first is a mother-daughter piece I created for a dear friend of mine from our Florida days. She has one daughter and is expecting another baby girl soon! She is putting together a big girl room for her daughter and wanted a special painting for the purple and turquoise gallery wall. I love the quote that she chose and it was fun creating 'mermaid portraits' of her and her daughter. I can't wait to see the whole room put together! 

I finished this piece last night and am really stoked with how it turned out. Kelley wanted me to create a  painting representing her husband's acting career and each of the plays he's been a part of. I think my favorite icon would have to be either the ruby slippers from Oz, or Wonka's chocolate bar. I'm betting on the fact that Kelley's husband isn't a Hello Hue reader-- she'll be giving this to him for Christmas (girlfriend is on top of her game!)

To see more custom paintings, and to find info on how you can snag a spot on the queue, hop over to this page!  If you are thinking about a custom order for Christmas, email me soon! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

style blogger confessions

slouchy hat:: {c/o fountain top creations}
white tee:: {target}
kimono:: {c/o lulu's}
watch:: {c/o feral watches}
jeans:: {american eagle}
socks:: {old navy}
wedges:: {payless}

This hat has barely left my noggin since it arrived in the mail last week. I fear that I may have dreds showing up soon. It's the best thing that ever happened to this mama who is lucky to wash her hair every other day (is that gross? How often do you wash your hair?) Mary from Fountain Top Creations has an adorable shop filled not only with slouchy hats, but the most adorable hats for little kiddos and some incredibly awesome knit scarves. This is the comfiest thing I've worn on my head and if you want to snag one for yourself, use the code HELLOHUE15 at checkout for 15% off! 

Confession #2: I didn't actually wear this outfit all day. I may have only worn it for the pictures. (don't stone me!) Truthfully, I've been bundled up in leggings, Chris' fleece, and this hat all weekend and that is most definitely not anything to post about. I put this outfit together and immediately thought how fun it would be to wear for a casual Thanksgiving dinner. We might be hosting some people at our house and I think this may just be my outfit of choice. I love the contrast of the cozy knit hat with the silky kimono. Style blogger faux paus, I know- to wear an outfit for pictures' sake-- but does it count if it's my new favorite outfit?!

And finally, let's talk about sponsors. Specifically, that c/o stuff above. It stands for "courtesy of" and means that I received product from a small business or company in exchange for sharing it with you. What's cool about that is that yes, I get free stuff, but it also really excites me to introduce you to companies and handmade businesses that you may not already have heard of. You and I both know that you don't need any of the products I share on here-- but dressing cute is such a fun part of being a woman and if I can help you feel great by introducing you to some sponsors I love, then I'm a happy girl. 

Here's my promise to you-- sponsors on this blog will never change my style or voice. I'm picky about who I bring onto the blog, because I want to remain true to myself and true to you, my readers. Rest assured, you won't find me wearing Valentino Rockstuds anytime soon. Unless they make some that I can rock with peanut-butter covered leggings. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

introducing a new blog series on instagram!

Social media is a phenomena that I never really grasped until I became a blogger and small time business owner in 2009. For some reason, I was adamantly against Twitter and didn't join for a few months after I started my shop. I quickly found fellow business owners and bloggers to discuss strategy with, military wives that understood the tough schedule our family dealt with, and friends to chat with and support. I was won over to social media and the power that it held to connect people.

On the morning that Instagram became available for Android users, I remember lying in bed reading the announcement and immediately clicking 'install'. I didn't know what I was in for. I've fallen in love with the process of creating bright and colorful photos to share. I've found literally hundreds of other creative people like myself and many of those people have become good friends. I've been able to connect with my fellow bloggers in the smallest moments of our days. 

This is the first post in a series I'll be posting about Instagram. It's become a huge part of my life and I hope that this series will be not only helpful to you in practical ways, but also inspirational. The posts to come will cover everything from my favorite editing apps, tips and tricks to getting well-lit, beautiful photos, ways to print and share your photos, a giveaway from Stickygram, and of course I'll be sharing many of my favorite Instagrammers. 

I'd love to hear from you-- are there any topics (specific or broad) that you'd like to see me cover during this series? 

If you'd like to follow me on Instagram, you can find me here! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

art on our walls (and a giveaway!)

Today, I'm sharing a little bit about the beginning of our living room gallery wall, and I have a giveaway that will help you build your own!

When I was preparing for our home tour on Life Made Lovely last week, it really irked me that I hadn't gotten artwork up on our walls yet. As I shared over there, artwork on the walls is one of the things that makes a house into a home for me. The artwork on your walls tells a story about where you've been, what means the most to you, and what your personality is like. So, since I didn't want our blank walls to paint a massive, "BORING" over our heads, I got to work getting a few things hung. 

The wall behind our couch is odd, because there are three small windows above it. For now, I decided to leave it blank and display some artwork on either side of the couch.

On the right side of the couch are three frames and a fedora. I love hats hanging on the walls and all the texture and dimension they give. The small square frame holds scraps of paper from our first Valentine's Day together engaged (which also happened to be 100 days before our wedding). I filled a jar with 100 reasons I love Chris, and this frame holds just a few of those paper scraps. The other two frames are just pretty fillers that make me smile. 

On the left side of the couch are some pieces that hold a lot of meaning. 

The lyrics in coral red at the top are from a Coldplay song that we adopted as ' our song' while dating. There was a lot of waiting during that season (read more about our story here) and the chords at the beginning of that song always grab my heart. 

To the left of that painting, sits a print I made with the lyrics from Christina Perri's song, "1,000 years". It was a song that I heard over and over again at our OB's office while pregnant with Silas and so it became 'our song'. I truly felt like I had loved him for 1,000 years before even meeting him. 

The other two pieces in this little collage were sent to me by sweet friends. On the bottom is a custom portrait created for us, that I'm very excited to share with you soon! 

And in the middle is a sweet photograph taken by Meg Newsom. Meg has a beautiful Etsy shop where she sells her fine art photography and she sent me this photograph recently. I love the bold colors of the flowers against the drab background. Each of her photos are so peaceful and seem to tell a story, which is what I love about them. 

Meg has some other lovely photographs in her shop that would be perfect for a kitchen collage (I love the pomegranate one!) or adding some color and depth to a gallery wall. 

One winner will receive a $50 shop credit to Meg's shop, which could get you a whole array of small prints to make a gorgeous photo grid, or go big and get a huge photo! 

Enter using the Rafflecopter widgit below! Giveaway is open until November 13th! 

(FYI. Mandatory entry requires you to come back to this post to let us know how you'd spend your $50!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

six ways to style a striped dress this fall and winter.

Yesterday, I showed you one way I wore this striped skater dress from Forever21. I've been wearing this dress to death since I bought it two weeks ago. It's so basic that it pairs well with anything in my wardrobe. Any color goes, and stripes make pattern mixing easy. Today I'll show you six different ways to style it for this fall and winter. 

1. If you've seen this post, you know I love re-fashioning my dresses. Add a buttoned up cardigan and a belt on top of your dress and all of the sudden, you're wearing 'separates'. 

cardigan:: {target}
 boots:: {rack room shoes}

2. Got a tank or tunic from this summer you miss wearing? Wear it over your dress as a faux vest. I like that this one resembles a military vest. 

tunic:: {c/o lulu's}
 necklace:: {c/o nspottery}
wedges:: {c/o lulu's}

3. Toss on an embellished hoodie and some colored tights for a sweet and simple look. You could even do a hoodie and tennies for a cute sporty look. 

lace hoodie:: {anthropologie} {similar)
tights:: {target}
flats:: {clark's}
 headband:: {much love illy}

4. A floral kimono adds a flowy layer that fancies the dress up just a bit. Wear black leggings or go bold with some colored tights-- a rust orange would also be fun with this look! 

kimono:: {c/o lulu's}
necklace:: {gift from a friend}
leggings:: {francesca's}
boots:: {rack room shoes}

5. A full, A-line skirt looks great worn over the bottom portion of this dress. Wear tights in a similar tone for a mono-chromatic look on bottom. 

 skirt:: {target}
 tights:: {target} 
wedges:: {c/o lulu's}

6. I'm a big fan of cozy lately. An oversized sweater, beanie and boots make this perfect for lounging around. I'm wearing nude tights in this look, but thick leggings could make this look even comfier. I added a pearl necklace to keep me from feeling too frumpy. 

hat:: {target}
 boots:: {rack room shoes}
necklace:: {wedding gift from Chris}

If you're interested in trying some of these looks, I've scrounged up a few links to similar dresses below!

So, which of these styles would you wear? Do you have other ways you'd wear this dress? 

(psst... some affiliate links used. Find out more at the bottom of this page.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

don't leave me!

dress:: {forever21} (similar)
cardigan:: {francesca's collections} (similar)
necklace:: {urban outfitters}
boots:: {c/o blowfish shoes} (similar)

I'm currently curled up on the couch enjoying breakfast in our living room which is dripping with morning sunshine. 

The best part is-- I'm alone. 

Silas (thankfully) didn't get the daylight savings time memo, and has been sleeping in the past two mornings! So, this morning it's avocado toast and strawberries, topped off with a hot (yes, hot, not lukewarm or microwaved) mug of toasted coconut Kona coffee. 

There's not much to say about this outfit except that you may have noticed a pattern lately-- dresses and colored tights. I'm trying to make the most of this fall before I'm forced to dress only in pants and bulky layers. I just peeked at my weather app and it says that it's currently 28 degrees outside, but feels like 15 degrees. We'll be staying inside in our pj pants and hoodies this morning, in case you were wondering... Winter is not welcome yet-- don't leave us quite yet, fall! 

Keep an eye out later this week for five more ways to style a striped dress like this one this fall and winter. And I've gotten several emails lately about my hair (how I get the cut and how I curl it) and I promise I'm not ignoring you-- a post is still in the works to chat about hair! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

behind the scenes of our home tour.

Today, over on Life Made Lovely, I'm sharing some of our favorite rooms in our home! I know many of you have been asking me about a home tour for awhile, so hop on over and check it out. There is still quite a bit I haven't shared, but I hope to post more rooms on here as we work on them. 

Here are a few behind-the-scenes tidbits, lest the pictures give you a false sense of perfection.

I know it's easy to look at these pictures and see a neat, uncluttered room and be impressed. Don't be too impressed. Behind the camera, I assure you, there were piles of random clutter that I cleared from the tabletops. I'm constantly shoving things in drawers when guests come over. 

The night before I took the pictures, I was up in my studio, pulling an all-nighter (which means I was up until 11pm, ha!). I started by just organizing a few shelves with some IKEA supplies I had bought earlier that day, but it turned into a 'pull everything out and purge it all!" kind of night. My studio has never been more organized, and I doubt it will stay that way, but for now, it's refreshing.

If some of the pictures had audio, you would hear Silas in the background throwing a temper tantrum. My guess would be it was about something like I wouldn't let him pour his milk out on the floor. 

Several of the pieces of art hung in my studio are held up with packaging tape. Desperate times... 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures and getting a glimpse into our home and decorating style. Head over to Heather's blog and get the full tour! Happy weekend! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

sometimes i just need a little sunshine.

This morning, I'm thankful for the bright bouquets of flowers filling our home, thanks to the new Trader Joe's down the street from our house. The bright blooms are making the chilly house feel a little cozier this week (we've had some lows in the 30s already!). 

Halfway to the weekend, friends!