Tuesday, October 30, 2012

closing up my etsy shop {plus what i wore: golden layers}

It's been over two weeks I am still being reminded of words I heard at Influence Conference.

The first session I went to was by John Saddington, he was talking about entrepreneurship. While he said a lot of things, what resonated most with me was when he quoted his wife, 

"Say no before you say yes."   

I can say yes to a new project if I take a current one off my plate. 


We like to think we are super heros and can do it all, but guess what, we aren't. 

I realized I recently said no to something. 


 chambray top: forever21 // sweater: GAP // dress {worn as skirt}: Mark // ring & grey lace tights: forever21 // mustard tights: target // boots: nine west // necklace: Caroline.g // belt: came with a top

{picture taken by Ashlee}

I closed it in early September after we moved to Virginia. I needed a few weeks to get settled in and I planned to open it back up.

The shop is still closed and I have not intention of opening it back up any time soon. 

I spent most of the summer contemplating keeping the shop going. It never made me a boat ton of cash, but it also never took a large amount of money away. It was a something I had enjoyed doing for a long time. Even when I wasn't bringing in a lot of money I was learning, I was growing and I was networking. 

Sometime during the summer my feelings towards the shop changed. I wasn't like it, I was spending 30 plus hours a week on it and not really even breaking even. I know growing a business takes time. I kept telling myself I needed to give it more time and keep trucking on. 

I finally realized God was really telling me it was time to close the shop.

I didn't listen at first. 

I didn't want to close up shop. 

I felt like it would be admitting I failed.

When I closed it after our move to VA I never intended for it to be permanent. I had just done a logo redesign and ordered 500 new business cards that still had my shop URL on it. 

Once it was closed I felt free. I felt this crazy weight being lifted of my shoulders. 

I realized I was still me without my shop, maybe even more me without it. If that even makes any sense. 

I needed my shop to learn. I needed to learn about business, having faith in myself, networking, and so much more. The shop has lead to so many great things. It was not meant to be a permanent thing. Once I realized that so many more things made sense. 

I am still coming to terms with closing the shop, but like I wrote a few weeks ago it feels good to say the shop is closed. I am not embarrassed, I do not think I failed. I have just decided to move in a different direction. Actually maybe I did fail. But I am not embarrassed to say that either. Sometimes you have to fail to know what success is.  

God is showing me that when he tells me to do something I need to listen. He has big plans that cannot happen if I don't listen.

p.s. have you seen Lisa Leonard's Gold Collection?? I'm kind of obsessed!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 days: being ok with imperfection {apple pie pancake recipe too}

A few weeks ago I wanted to make apple pie pancakes but I didn't feel like doing it all from scratch.  It seemed silly to spend an hour peeling apples, making the sauce and then cooking the apples just to pour over pancakes Scott and I would inhale in about 10 minutes.

So, while at Target I grabbed a can of apple pie filling, a box of pancake mix and headed to check out.

As I was driving home I began to feel like I was taking the easy way out. I quickly stopped this train of thought and said "screw it". I don't have to make everything from scratch, I don't have to spend an hour on saturday morning making breakfast from scratch when I really want to spend 20 minutes cooking and then the rest of the morning sipping coffee and catching up on blogs. 

After I gave myself a pep talk about being ok with not being Martha Steward I decided I was going to do a quick and easy recipe post. The next day, after laying in bed with the hubs I got up, made coffee and got to work on my quick and easy apple pie pancake recipe. 

I made the batter according to the box and added a bit of vanilla extract for an extra bit of yumminess. While flipping my flap jacks I slaved over the can opener, opened the pie filling and dropped it in a sauce pan to let those babies warm up. 

After plating my pancakes and pie filling into a mound of goodness I grabbed my dslr and snapped a few pics. I didn't really pay too much attention to the pictures as my mouth was salivating from the smell of cinnamon, apples and pancakes, oh my. 

Scott and I devoured those pancakes.  As he raved about how good they were it hit me, to him they would have been the same amount of good had I spend 60 minutes making them or 20 minutes and a can opener. 

Fast forward to this past weekend when I grabbed my SD card to edit pics for the week. I decided I would share the simple Apple Pie Pancake recipe. As I pulled up the pics I quickly realized the top pancake looked a bit burnt in all the pics. Great, now what do I do?

Again I said "screw it".  God was clearly trying to tell me something; this post that was supposed to be as simple recipe was going to be a post about imperfections. {and a perfect post to my 31 days to a better me}

He is reminding me to let go of this idea that everything needs to be perfect. Only He is perfect. I will never be perfect so why waste time trying to attain perfection? Who cares if the apple pie filling isn't made from scratch, it still tastes amazing. 

-box of pancake mix {or from scratch if you prefer}
-can of apple pie filling {or from scratch if you prefer}
-vanilla extract to add to pancake batter

Make batter according to box, add in a bit of vanilla extract. I'd guess I added 2 teaspoons for a batter that made 6 pancakes. Heat apple pie filling in a sauce pan over medium heat. Drench pancakes with pie filling an enjoy. 


Friday, October 26, 2012

coffee date from Alexandria VA {settling in to the east coast}

Happy Friday friends!

I haven't done a coffee date vlog in a while.

I decided it was time to change that.

I am just south of DC today for a conference.

I would love hear what you have gone on. Leave me a comment letting me know what you would chat about if we were having coffee.

linking up with alissa

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 days: comfortable in your own skin

Over the last 10 years I have learned to accept and even love my glasses as a part of who I am. 

headband: c/o much love, illy // necklace: c/o lisa leonard {button in sidebar}

I had to start wearing prescription eyeglasses full time my freshman year in college. They quickly became a part of me and my personality. I decided if I was going to have to wear them 15 plus hours a day I should have a pair that expressed my personality. 

Hello thicker glasses frames.  I picked out a pair of plastic framed glasses and have never looked back. {I've been through 7 or 8 different frames in 11 years}

I wanted to make my eyeglasses an fashionable accessory I always had on. They became a part of my style. I was know as the spunky gal who wore glasses. I rocked glasses before rocking glasses was cool. I was light years ahead of the trend, wink wink. 

sweater and top: target // scarf: h&m // skinnies: forever21 // clogs: american eagle outfitters via tjmaxx // necklace: c/o lisa leonard {button in sidebar}

Trying to figure out the style and shape of frame that is flattering to your face can be a bit daunting. GlassesUSA.com has made it super easy to figure out what works best for your.  Their Virtual Mirror feature allows you to upload a pic or take one with your webcam and try on glasses virtually. You can very quickly see which shape is best for you. 

I played around with the virtual mirror feature and was quickly reminded I need either a more rectangular or cat eye shape. The large roundish geeky college style frames just do not look good on me, no matter how hard I try. 

GlassesUSA.com is offering all of you sweet readers two discount options: 

STOREWIDE OFFER - Take 15% off + get free shipping on your entire order 
(orders over $50). Code: FS15

Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses. Code: Blog10

**I was compensated for this post, all words and opinions are my own. **

Monday, October 22, 2012

31 days: plan less, live more

Yesterday might have been a perfect day. 

We had plans on Friday and Saturday night and I had plans Saturday morning, thus Sunday was left open and free. 

Nothing on the calendar. 

No agenda.

We woke up, made coffee and sat on the front porch to read. 

I sat and felt the cool crisp fall air blow on my face. I looked at the leaves on the trees that are just starting to change colors. 

I started a new devotional book, I enjoyed watching my husband and pup cuddle. 

It was a glorious morning. 

We decided it was a brunch kind of day, quickly showered and headed out to try a new place. It was perfect, good diner food with amazing customer service. The icing on the cake, drinks served out of a mason jar. 

We read the local papers while waiting for our food, we talked about things we'd like to do over the holidays. 

After our bellies were full we decided to head to the art festival. After looking at and being inspired by tons of local artists we headed home. 

We spent the afternoon half awake watching old Felicity episodes. 

We spent the evening walking Khloe around the downtown waterfront. 

We ended the night with a fro yo date. 

A glorious Sunday. 

It was a great reminder to stop always planning life and just live it. 

We had no plans. We had decided to stay home and do nothing or do everything, we would decide in the moment. 

Life gets so busy and to be honest I think so many times we like to make ourselves look and feel busier than we are or than we need to be. 

I have to remind myself it isn't always about the destination, sometimes it is the journey that is more important. 

Yesterday left my mind clear and my heart full. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

31 days: ok with being me

Happy Friday friends! I was hoping to record a coffee date but time got away from me. 

It is Friday morning, I've been up since 5am, attended a Chamber of Commerce event and now I'm at my favorite local coffee shop getting some work done. 

I am still trying to process and reflect about everything I learned at Influence last weekend. 

One of thing I realized while being there is I want to be more me. Does that sound silly? 

Often times I feel I try to be the person society wants me to be; the woman my husband and friends want me to be. I don't always feel like I am being the woman God wants me to be. 

Being around so many amazing Godly women really showed me how much I need to focus on being who God wants me to be and not the rest of the world. 

I realized I am not always the greatest friend, wife or daughter. 

If we were to have coffee today I would tell you I want to be more intentional in my relationships. 

I want to be ok with being me. 

I want to focus on editing out things and people in my life that do not make me happy or a better person. 

Of course there will be things I cannot completely eliminate but I at least want to have a better perspective and outlook on life. 

I connected with so many amazing women this past weekend. Many of them below but many of them I did not get a picture with. I was encouraged and inspired by them all. 

I had many moments of ugly crying while at the conference and you know what, I was totally ok with that. I was not embarrassed by it nor do I wish I would have looked more together. 

I was a raging hot mess the entire time I was in Indy.  But that is ok. I let my guard down and didn't keep the front up of always having it all together. I hadn't planned what sessions to attend. I didn't buy new clothes for each day of the conference. I was broken, lost, distracted, and unorganized. I was me and it felt good. 

There were some times I saw parts of me I did not like. God was showing me the changes I need to make in my heart. He was showing me how my life is in His control and not mine. He gave me many not so gentle reminders He is the one who determines everything. I can kick and scream all I want but it won't do me any good. 

I hope I will be able to show you all and the world through my actions and not just my words how attending Influence changed my way of thinking, rocked my world and reminded me God needs to be the center of it all. 

me and alli

virginia and i 
ashlee and i

alissa and i 

me and lisa

jenna and i 

{this picture of me shows how brutal a day of traveling on 1 hour of sleep can make you look like a hotness}


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31 days: reminding myself growth isn't always linear

While at Influence I was lucky enough to hear Anne from the Modern Mrs. Darcy speak.

Her words were pretty life changing. 

It was a last minute decision to go to her session, and I am so glad I did. 

If you were on Twitter Friday morning you probably saw a few tweets from me, they were sent during my time listening to this amazing woman. 

Her message was about "Making the Most of your Influence Online". This is something I struggle with. I want to be sure I look back on what I put out into the world wide web and don't cringe from embarrassment, but I also want to be real.  I also want to write from my heart and connect with others going through my same struggle. 

She said so many amazing words of wisdom, the first being this:

"We can do great things for God in these messy winding years."

How great is that?? How great is it to know we don't have to wait to have it all together to share our story?!

photo taken by alissa
{headband: target // top: forever21 // scarf & necklace: h&m // skinny cords: target // boots: nine west}

She touched on how the 20's are the years of learning and the 30's are the years of editing. Being at the end of the 20's and soon approaching my 30's I could not agree more. I look back on all that I learned in my 20's and wouldn't trade that knowledge in for anything. But now as I see the 30's on the not so distant horizon I am ready to make changes. I am ready to edit my life to include only things that are meaningful and worth my time. But most importantly things that serve Jesus.

Going back to the quote about doing things for God, I know through my struggles and through my 20's I wasn't always doing things for God, but I can take those situations and share them now and show others they are not alone and life isn't always perfect. 

Anne reminded us that Growth is not linear and boy is it messy. That was a great reminder for this type A girl. I am not always going to move forward or take steps forward, but I am still growing.  

My favorite nugget Anne shared with us was this simple statement:

"Real growth can look a lot like being lost." 

{photo courtesy of ashlee}

Truer words could not have been said. I spend so much time thinking I am lost and not on the right path when in fact God is taking me to exactly where I need to be. 

I can use a very simple explanation for this. The road to Scott getting into OCS was long and hard. Dates changed often for his package to be reviewed and a few times we thought it was going to be cancelled all together.  We did eventually get that life changing letter that said he was accepted. But things didn't stop there. When he left for Officer Candidate School in January of this year he was supposed to graduate in March. God had other plans for us, an injury set Scott back 2 months and he graduated in May. For the longest time I didn't understand why God was doing this. I didn't want to accept the fact that we were trying to control our lives and God was giving us a not so subtle reminder that he is in control {another point Anne made}. He was showing us that if both Scott and I do not let him lead us we will not get the right outcome. 

We've been in Virginia for a little over a month and even in this short time I can see why this was God's plan. I can see that Virginia is where Scott and I were meant to be at this time in our lives. I can see how his injury happened in order for us to get here.  I have met new friends quickly, got involved with organizations and connected with an old friend I met at a BlogHer 11 who is going to be a great friend and mentor. God knew exactly what he was doing. While I thought I was lost and could not make sense of the first half of 2012 I can now look at it and say that is ok. I didn't have all the answers then but as Anne reminded us, that is ok. 

Anne also mentioned a verse in James {I need to find the exact one} that reminds us to count it Joy when bad things happen. I remember looking at Scott's injury and after knowing it would not affect him finishing OCS I knew it was part of God's plan. I knew to look at it as a positive. It was a time for my husband to grow his faith in the Lord even more and a time for us to continue to connect through our letters, emails and phone calls. It was a part of God's plan and while it wasn't  Scott moving forward in OCS we were both moving forward in our faith.

Since I have left the conference I keep going back to Anne's session.  I keep repeating the words she said and the connection I had with them.  I have so much more to share with you about her session. I hope you'll stick around and learn with me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How God Wrecked me at Influence Conference

I wrote this post yesterday on my way home...

I just ordered a turkey burger at a restaurant in the midway airport, I'm about half way home from influence, words are swirling in my head and yet I don't know that I can find the right words to put onto paper.
To say the conference was good would be like saying I like to eat. UNDERSTATEMENT

I was a bit overwhelmed scared and stressed the few days leading up to the conference.

As soon as I landed I felt a sense of peace wash over me.

I relaxed and waited for Jenna to arrive to share a cab and head to the Sheraton.

The moment we started chatting the fellowship of the weekend began.

I arrived at the hotel and met up with Moriah and Rebecca, my roomies for the first night.  Again fun and fellowship. We didn't really do anything spectacular or fun, just prepped stuff for the conference laughed and chatted.

Rebecca and I went to dinner, we laughed, talked and guessed what the conference would be like. My nerves and stress were gone. The Lord was showing me the amazingness of other christian women's hearts.

Every meal I ate with others was an amazing time of fellowship.

Every time I saw Jessi I pretty much crumbled into a crying hot mess.

God broke me down.

He tore me apart in the most beautiful way.

Words are hard to find.

They cannot describe the way my heart felt.

I do have a confession. Sometimes it was hard for me to be social and present when I was meeting new people.

My heart and my head were processing all the amazing speakers and their words. I was hanging on to it all. My brain was trying to make sense of it and heart was trying to feel it all.

Hearing Jessi and Hayley speak on their heart being called to do this conference still gives me goosebumps.

To hear Jessi talk about how she would be up all hours of the night praying for us. All of us who were coming to this conference. Wow.

God reminded me that everything needs to be done for him. FOR HIM. Wow.

what am I doing every day? Do I wake up and give it all to him. NO.

Do I say God this is your day lead me and show me what you want me to do in this world? NO

What the heck am I doing?

I learned things like saying no before saying yes to something.

As I shared with people that I have an etsy shop but it is on vacation mode and I have no desire to open it back up I realized it felt good to say that. It felt freeing. God was showing me his plans. He was showing me the shop may not be for this season in my life. It was something I needed to get to where I am today.

I was confident with being me. I didn't try to emulate someone else like I often times do. I was me and it felt good. Sometimes it didn't feel good because he showed me the negative side to me, which was still good. He showed me the ugliness that people sometimes see.

I was sometimes awkward, I cried no less than 4 times a day. Ugly crying in front of people I just met or didn't even know. But you know what, it was ok.

I realized things about myself that I am not yet ready to share. Maybe I will never share it here in this space, but believe me I learned it this weekend.

I'll be sharing more details {and photos} all week with tons of Influence blog posts. I hope you won't get tired of hearing about how God wrecked me in the best way possible.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 days: not feeling like a grown up

I have to say I am really loving this 31 days series. It really kinda of makes it easier to write about things because it gives me a way to share my feelings and feel like their is some cohesiveness on the blog. Plus I feel like I just kinda of throw up all over my computer with my feelings and emotions and then hit publish. No writing posts and letting them sit or rewriting. Just honest, raw feelings. 

The title of this post kind of says it all, I feel like I am playing pretend and am not really a grown up. 

I think a major factor is not having kids. We of course want kids but the fertility issues are preventing that from happening.

I find when I am around other women my age or even younger who have kids I feel a bit like a teenager/college student again. You know, the whole hmmmm, I am an adult but maybe I am just playing grown up feeling. 

Life just seems different, which obviously it is. Not having kids means more freedom and more time for myself or Scott and I.  There are some definite perks to being sans kiddos. I do have to admit sometimes I get a bit annoyed by  comments like  oh I wish I could spend money on that or go and do that. Constantly hearing that makes me want to snap back "ya well I would love to have a child and since now is not the time I am going to be sure to enjoy the time we do have all to ourselves". 

necklace & earrings : c/o world market // sweater: target via goodwill // top: love culture // skinnies: paige denim via thrift store // shoes: toms

Maybe it is all a part of the wanting what we don't/can't have.  I have heard so many moms talk about wishing they had cherished their time with their husband more before they had kids. So I am making sure we do that. I feel like I cannot win either way. Either I cannot contribute to the diaper changing, bottle using, teething conversation or I feel like I am being judged for how I spend my time and money. 

Perhaps I am just being to sensitive and too emotional. But in my quest to be a better me at the end of October I feel it is important to put my feelings out there.  Maybe I just need to say it and move on from it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

31 days: dancing in the rain

this might be a similar post to my last one about being content.

but i feel like for me to keep growing and learning this might be a topic i talk about a lot.

in my quest to always have things perfect i often times miss out on opportunities.

i feel like everything has to fit just right for things to happen.

this is now how life works.

it isn't always going to be sunshine and rainbows.

the clouds always aren't going to part and the sun isn't always going to shine through.

and that is ok. life can still happen and be awesome with rain drops and puddles around.

even thought life isn't how i plan for it to be that doesn't mean i should just stand by and try to change it to what i want.

i need to remind myself what i want isn't always what is best for me.

sometimes what i see as wrong is actually just what i need.

sometimes i loose focus on the smaller things because i look at the big picture.

moving to virginia has been scary and yet so awesome.

i am trying to make sure i look at opportunities i would normally just pass by.

i am working at trying to no be so set in my ways and allow myself to deviate from the plan.

i am working on loving life more.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 days: being content

Being content is something I struggle with.

I want it all, and I want it all now.

When i say "all" I mean happiness and success.

I want to feel like I am making a difference and am successful.

I have this problem with comparing myself to others.

Yesterday I attended a very cool event at George Mason University for Joining Forces {more on that later}. While I was so excited to be at the event I couldn't help be hearing others around me discussing things relating to their jobs and feeling a bit jealous.

I felt myself starting to feel in adequate because I currently do not have a job. Last July we made the decision for me to stop working until we got to our next duty station. Scott and I wanted to focus on our family and I wanted to take some time for myself.

It was a decision that I do not regret. I have learned so much in the last year, but now I am ready for the next step. We thought the next step was to start a family but I think God has other plans for us. In the few short weeks we have living in Virginia so many doors have opened and continue to open or me.

I need to stop comparing myself to others. I need to focus on what is best for me, and my little family.

I need to be content with where I am in my life and know that everything will happen when God is ready. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

So Chick! Handbag Review

Today I am sharing with you a gorgeous handbag by the talented Melissa, of So Chick! Handbags .   This handbag is by far the most well made handmade item I own! I have been carrying it around almost every day since it arrived in the mail a few weeks ago! 

First, lets talk about the fabric print, AH.MAZ.ING. This colors are perfect for Fall and perfect for my current love affair with mint and coral, and a hint of mustard yellow.  This bag style is called the Audrey and she has it in a few adorable other prints.

The size of this bag is perfect, it isn't too small, but also isn't so big that you feel like you are lugging around a suitcase all day. I can fit my rather large wallet, sunglasses, keys, notebook and if needed my larger planner. It also has 2 pockets: a sleeve pocket and zipper, which hold my cell phone, pens, bobby pins and lipstick. 

necklace: caroline g. // sweater: gap // tank: j.crew // skinnies: Target // shoes: American Eagle Outfitters via tjmaxx // handbag: c/o So Chick! Handbangs

I am all about details and this bag does not disappoint. Melissa has a great eye and attention to detail. The magnetic tab closure is such a small piece of the bag but maybe one of my favorites. It makes it so when my bag ends up flying around the backseat the contents don't end up all over my car.  The rolled handles are another details that adds to the beauty of the bag. 

hair clip: whippycake // necklace: caroline g // sweater: gap {thanks sis!} // top: forever21 // skinnies & leopard wellies: target // handbag: c/o So Chick! Handbags

Almost every time I find myself in a store with this chic bag I get a compliment. It is beautiful in pictures but in person it is truly stunning. It hangs on a hook near our front door and every morning on my way down the stairs to the kitchen I see it and smile. It is just that pretty. 

Melissa is Über talented and sews so many other gorgeous bags and pouches and to say that her prices are affordable is an understatement! 

With the holidays less than 3 months away this purse would be the perfect gift for your sister, mother, mother-in-law, best friend or a nice little treat for your self to wrap up and put under the tree. 

pleated poppy

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 days: slow down and enjoy life {goodbye anxiety}

31 days to a better me. 

ok, so maybe I won't blog for 31 days straight, but I think spending the 31 days in October focusing on being a better me is just what I need, and blogging about it will not only help me achieve the goal, but also to help sort my thoughts, share my progress and gain support from others. 

Today after I got up and poured myself a cup of coffee I realized it was going to take us much longer to unpack this house than I thought. I really thought it would come together rather quickly. 

I started to get a little panic-y.

I started to feel my anxiety go through the roof. 

You see anxiety tends to get the best of me in many situations. 

I let it take control.

On my quest to being a better me I need to learn to tell my anxiety to take a hike. 

I need to stop trying to hurry up through everything. I tend to rush to get things done only to rush through the next task. 

{photo taken by me}

Today instead of letting my anxiety get me frazzled I took my coffee sat on my lovely couch I've been without for 3 months and watched a bit of TV. 

It was glorious.

And you know what? I still got a ton of things unpacked today, without rushing and feeling anxious. 

I'd say day 1 was a big success.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 days: to a better me

I've decided to join the nester and do a 31 days project: 31 days to a better me.

I don't think I will be posting for all 31 days, but I think this a great time and way for me to focus on getting back to who I am and say farewell to all the baggage and ick I have been carrying around. 

I need to simplify a bit in my life which I know will lead to a better me! 

Let's see how this project goes. 

Every day that I do post I will be talking a bit about something I will be doing to get to a better me. 

things like: 

  • purging items in my house I don't use
  • eating better
  • spending less money
  • prioritizing what is really important
  • back into a workout routine
  • job search

All kinds of fun things to talk about! 

I hope you'll join me in my journey! 

up to our ears in boxes

Today we start unpacking all of our stuff! After 3 months of suitcase living we are have all of our belongings back!

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