Tuesday, March 26, 2013

right now.

I've been feeling a bit quiet lately. Not for lack of things going on, but I'm just savoring having my family back together again and maybe hunkering down in preparation for the next two months, which are going to be packed. 

I'm enjoying being back in my studio again. It's honestly really hard for me to get much done with Silas demanding a lot of my attention, but I slowly chip away at packaging orders and painting new artwork. The warm sunshine that floods the room each morning does my soul good, especially when I can slip away during naptime. Like right now. Laundry? What laundry?

Si is constantly on the move and pulls up on everything he can. I'm pretty certain he'll be walking by the time we make it to Boston. I'm also certain that my gray hairs are multiplying daily. As one friend just said on Instagram, "Isn't it amazing how one miniature human can make you feel like your brain is melting?!" His emerging personality is anything but little, and it's pretty fascinating to see him developing into his own little person. 

I guess I don't have much else to say today, except that I don't have much to say. I'm off to finish my coffee before it gets cold and maybe package a few more orders before my boy wakes up. 

PS. When I'm quiet on the blog, I'm usually still pretty present on Instagram. I'd love to have you join me in my little space there. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

a new look, a winner, and a shop re-opening.

Hey hey, a new look for the blog!

Life has been really crazy lately and it's left me craving simplicity. I went with a simplified layout and design and a fresh logo, and Oana delivered, as usual. I'm trying out a left sidebar, which is new for me, and after years of being in the right sidebar fan club, I actually kind of love it. What do you think? You'll find links to my pages (sponsor info, about me, etc.) and links to my email, Twitter, Instagram, etc. on the sidebar under my photo.

If you're reading this in a reader, or email, click over and let me know what you think! 

Also, if you entered the giveaway for the Beautiful Blendings shop credit, thank you!

The winner was Ashley (no link to a blog!) and an email has been sent your way!

If you'd still love to snag a custom cowl or hoop art, use the code HELLOBEAUTIFUL for 25% off your order!

And finally...

The shop is back open! I've missed being in the studio and sending my artwork to you people. As I figure out how to work with this crazy maniac crawling around my feet, I'll be putting new hand-painted necklaces and prints in the shop!

Click here to visit Hello Hue Studio now!

Alright, speaking of crazy maniac, I've got a little boy to chase after now. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013



I've been quiet around here this week, for good reason. After an excruciating five hour flight delay, Chris got home on Monday night. We've been savoring time together as a family of three again and are still stuck in a bit of a jetlagged, house-bombarded-with-luggage, giddy-to-be-together-again fog. My birthday was yesterday and we celebrated with breakfast out, a drive on 30-A, followed by a picnic lunch and a dinner date with just the two of us. The weather couldn't have been more perfect and the company of my boys was all I needed.

I've got a fresh new design coming to the blog very soon, as well as the re-opening of my shop this week! I'll also be announcing the winner of the Beautiful Blendings giveaway tomorrow, so I'll be back soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

silas kai at 7 months

I could put about 25 more pictures on here, but I'll spare you the scrolling. Goodness, he makes my heart soar. In the 6 weeks since Chris has been gone, he has grown in leaps and bounds. I'm so excited for his Daddy to come home and discover all the new things he's learned.

At 7 months, Silas...

... is crawling 'like a big boy'. He's advanced from army crawling but still does it when he's feeling lazy.

... is eating rice cereal and loves squash, bananas and his Baby MumMums.

... responds to his name and is definitely a mama's boy. That might have something to do with daddy being gone and so many new faces around lately.

... has a signature smile with his little tongue hanging out. It cracks us up.

... is ticklish on his feet, back and chest. His laugh is infectious.

... is a horrible sleeper. Mama is learning to love coffee more and more.

... has gotten his two bottom teeth and just got his top two teeth this week.

... has just started to pull up on things... uh oh.

... has pulled over a ficus tree and full length mirror and loves trying to chew on computer cords. He keeps me on my toes, for sure.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

review and giveaway from beautiful blendings!

coat:: american eagle {from my high school days... it was in my parents' closet!}
top:: forever21
jeans:: american eagle
boots:: rack room shoes

As much as I'm ready to head back down to warmer weather, it's been fun to dress for the cold up here in Maryland. Layers, cute scarves, boots and jeans. During my three years in Hawaii, I dreamt of wearing those things again. 

I was especially thrilled when I got a package the other day from Tara of Beautiful Blendings. She made me a custom cowl and used one of my very favorite colors these days-- chartreuse green. I love the turquoise buttons she added, which not only make it even cuter, but allow me to wear the cowl multiple ways. Plus, it's made with the softest yarn - not itchy at all! I've been wearing it constantly lately and was even tempted to wear it to bed the first night I got it. 

Want your own custom cowl? How about some custom hoop art too? You can get all that if you win this $50 shop credit to Beautiful Blendings! 

Enter below using the Rafflecopter widgit! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

what i've learned:: the ugly side of the online community

I love the community of the blogging and handmade world. Men and women with oodles of talent and bursting with fresh ideas, encouraging one another and adding bits of beauty to the world everyday. But this is a sin-filled world and there's an ugly side to it all. Where bloggers and artists steal original ideas, leave anonymous comments with harsh words, judge you for the silliest things, and make you feel like just giving up.

I've been there. I've dealt with my fair share of the nasties and believe me, I've thought many times about leaving my little space here and just enjoying a private life with my family. Even seeing that I've lost followers can leave me feeling icky. But I love sharing my photos, thoughts and family with you. I feel like God has called me to use this space to share the Joy I find in Him. So, I'm learning how to cope with the dose of negativity that comes along with the beauty. I hope you don't have to experience this side of the online world, but in case you do, here are a few things I've learned.

Take a step back. 

Many times, the ugliness of the online community is blatant. It's in your face and makes your stomach turn to see the way people act. But sometimes I jump the gun a bit on being offended and I need to take a step back. Here's a little example of things not being quite like they seem.

This week, I downloaded Feedly to read blogs on my phone. I was curious to see how Hello Hue looked in the app, so I added my blog to my feed. Then I noticed that my little face showed up in the GFC counter on my sidebar. Uh, that seemed a bit tacky to me. I went into Blogger and changed my subscription to private. My face disappeared from the GFC counter and I 'lost' a follower. It made me wonder how many times I've seen that number go down and I lament how I must have offended or bored someone into unsubscribing. When in reality, who knows if a reader simply made their subscriptions private?

A small lesson that reminded me not to assume the worst and take offense at something that may be harmless. Written words on the internet are so easily twisted. Simple actions can quickly be misconstrued as hurtful. Yes, there are people who are outright nasty, but there are also people who are mistaken, who chose the wrong words or time to say something.

So before I take offense, I am in the process of learning to re-read, re-evaluate and consider if it's really worth getting all flustered.

Never underestimate the value of the 'delete' button

For a long time I struggled with how to deal with mean comments. I'm not talking about commenters who disagree with me, or share a different opinion. If a commenter brings up valid concerns, arguments or beefs with me, I'll respond as best as I can. But outright rudeness is what I'm talking about here (like when I was called fat in one of my early bump updates. Ok, dude...)  I've tried different things (replying with some sassy remark, leaving it for my readers to defend me, etc.). In my opinion, the best thing to do is to just delete those puppies. Don't give them a second read-over. Don't analyze them. Don't reply or give the commenter the satisfaction of seeing you upset. 

Just delete and move on. It's not worth your time or energy. 

Leave the posse at home & don't act like a fool . 

Then there are times when the offense is obvious. I've been called awful names, bullied and lied to about copying. When I've come across artists trying to sell almost exact replicas of my work, or when someone leaves a rude comment on a post, I'm always tempted to take it to Twitter. Expose the jerk. Let my readers and friends take a whack at them. Sadly, I have to admit that I've done that a few times in the past. It never leaves me feeling better, usually just escalates the situation, and honestly, looks awful not only as a Jesus follower, but as a businesswoman.

Sometimes, I just delete the comment and move on, like I said above. But other times, I need to say something. So I've learned to deal with things privately and to respond as respectfully as possible. For me, it is helpful to remember that on the other side of that mean comment, there's another human. And behind those apparent copies of my hard work, there's someone who just doesn't get it. And maybe there's a side to the story that I haven't heard yet. Maybe it's an honest mistake and by reacting too quickly and strongly, I make a fool out of myself and throw any testimony to Jesus out the window. Responding with some level of respect and thoughtfulness does not come easily to me at all in situations like these, but I'm learning with each experience.

What are some positive ways you deal with negativity in the online community?

" If it is possible, as it depends on you, 
live at peace with everyone." 
Romans 12:18

(Psst... wanna see more in the What I've Learned series? Read about changing your business name, rocking the baby bump, starting a handmade shop and more here.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

something i wore and some things i'm excited about.

top:: nordstrom rack
belt:: target
skirt:: target
tights:: target
Blowfish TUGO wedges:: c/o Lulus.com

I think I'm at my most content when I have exciting things in my calendar to anticipate. I'm a happy girl this week as I think about the months to come. So much goodness (and honestly, a pretty crazy spring season) ahead. 

Chris gets home next week. No explanation necessary. I miss my guy. 

My birthday is in 8 days and I'm excited for Chris to be home for it. Out of our six years together, he's only been around for one! 

Another trip to New Orleans to visit old, dear friends. 

A house hunting trip to Boston. Praying for God's hand in the hunt! 

Celebrating the marriage of my baby sister to her love. 

Our big move and first summer in Boston. Thrilled to see what God has waiting for us there. 

Got anything fun on the horizon? 

Friday, March 8, 2013

friday link list.

Happy Friday, my friends! My week has gone by extra slow. I think the anticipation of going home next week and Chris flying back soon has made the days drag on. Not to mention the fact that Si has been a fussy teether all week, plus neither of us are sleeping. Whew. All that to say, I'm glad the weekend is here and even if it's still frigid, the sun decided to peek out and show it's face today. 

Okay, now that we've established that we're happy about the weekend  (duh), grab a cup of coffee and your laptop and check out some of my favorite links from the week. 

The Influence Network linkup blessed me so much this week. I found so many new blogging buddies and read tons of beautifully written posts. Kimber's post titled Busted Can of Biscuits rang so true for me. You've gotta read it, if only for the awesome title. 

I really loved Kaelah's outfit here. Bright colors in the middle of winter are my jam (I think you might have known that already though.)

These gemstone rings from Amy Cornwell are just so gorgeous and sparkly. I can't pick a favorite! 

I've been participating in Rhi's Doodle A Day challenge and loving it. Check out the deets here and join in with me if you're up for it! 

Here are some of my doodles so far. I'm using my nieces and nephews' crayons and an old sketchbook from the back of my childhood closet. Looking forward to getting back to my own art supplies soon! 

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

a meetup of influential women.

Hi friends and new buddies. Today I'm linking up with some really awesome girls over on the Influence Network blog. We're sharing a few things about ourselves and hopping around getting to know each other better. We've been asked to share three things about ourselves as well as something we've learned from being a part of the Influence Network. 

1. Being pregnant was a dream, from the very moment I found out, down to my last day. It wasn't always easy, but I never felt more like myself. I felt beautiful and was amazed at the miracles occurring every second in my body. I miss my baby belly dearly and can't wait to rest my hands on one again. Even if it means having people ask me if I'm having twins. That thing was large.

2. I've loved Jesus as my Savior since I was tiny. I never had a crazy falling away period with drinking or boys, but having consistent time in the Word has been a constant struggle in my Christian walk. I've tried accountability partners, devotional schedules and reading on my phone, but I always seem to fall off. It makes me cringe to confess that and write it out. 

3. I carry my pink Camelbak water bottle with me everywhere. It's one of the (many) things on my mental checklist when we leave the house and I feel almost as discombobulated without as I do when I leave my phone at home. Three cheers for hydration. ;) (That was kind of a boring one, but I've got a little boy trying to climb on my computer at the moment!) 

Something I'm learning from the beautiful women on the Influence Network (the forums are seriously inspiring, y'all.) is that no matter what size your audience, God has a calling on your life to influence others. I love that Influence Network is full of all kinds of bloggers-- seasoned, newbies, with huge audiences and just starting out. God doesn't see blog size (or really anything!) as a limiting factor on influence. He's got plan for each of us and I love seeing how He's using influential women in the blogging world and in their own worlds as well. 

I hope you'll take advantage of this sweet opportunity to meet some truly inspiring women. Hop over to the Influence blog visit more blogs and get to know more influential women. 

PS. If you're curious about what the Influence Network is all about, check out their website here. Jesus-loving women are gathering together online to learn about making more of their online lives and letting their love of the Gospel and others spill into their blogs. 

PPS. I just picked the winner for the Blowfish Shoes giveaway! If your name is Madeline Brubaker, you are one lucky girl! Congrats Madeline--I'll shoot an email your way! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

more colored tights and other reasons to smile through weary eyes.

button down:: target
belt:: target
jeans:: american eagle
tights:: target

Can I be real? I'm tired, you guys. Being a mama and being 'on' 24/7 is so tiring, and especially so when your little one decides he doesn't need much sleep at all. You better believe I'm counting down the days until Chris comes home (14, in case you are wondering!). I have a daydream of running into his arms while holding Si and sharing a sweet reunion, then tossing the baby to him and jumping into bed to sleep for days. I'm sure Chris' daydream looks a little different. ;)

You know what makes me smile through the bleary eyes? 

Welcoming a new niece into the world last week (and getting to hold her tiny little self) and a new nephew last night! We've got two more cousins for Silas on the way this spring/summer. I love this big, baby-crazy family of mine. 

My parents have been life savers during this mini-deployment. Just last night they took Silas' first feedings and sent me downstairs to sleep. I never thought 5 hours of sleep would feel like 10. 

We fly back down to sunny Florida soon and honestly, I never thought I'd be so excited to get back there. I'm sick of cold winter weather and really looking forward to being with my little family again. 

Also, silly little things like colored tights that are on clearance at Target for $2.50 can be definite day brighteners. (You might say they are my new style obsession.) And wearing them with colorful flats like my Blowfish Paj flats makes dreary days less so. 

I hope you can find reasons to smile through tired, weary eyes today. I think this is one of my favorite times of year, because with sunny spring and the rejoicing of Easter right around the corner, hope is almost tangible in the air. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

hello March!

Spring is coming. I was feeling bogged down by winter this week, so I took Silas out to my mom's gardens to see if we could find some signs of life. Little bits of green, yellow and white are starting to pop up from the ground among the dead, brown leaves. I love fresh starts. A new month (March might be my very favorite-- and that has nothing to do with my birthday being on the 19th), a new season, fresh shoots popping up from the ground. And soon we'll be starting a whole new stage, as we get ready to move (again) from Florida to Boston in May. I guess that's the nice thing about being a military family-- lots of fresh starts and new beginnings. 

Here's hoping March brings more warmth and sunshine our way soon!