Wednesday, January 23, 2013

what i wore: navy, white and coral

Hi Friends, happy hump day!

I am traveling today for work but you can find my latest post about our struggle with infertility over here.

sweater: GAP // scarf: Francesca's // dress: forever 21 // skinnies: Forever  21 via my sis / boots: thrifted

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Military Spouse of the Year Voting- Round 1

Hi Friends, I cannot believe we are approaching the end of January. Where did the first three weeks of 2013 go??

If you follow me on facebook or instagram then you have seen that I was nominated for the Military Spouse of the Year award. I am so beyond honored to have been nominated. 

Today {1/22} is the first round of voting, I would be so thrilled on honored if you went over to my profile and voted for me. You can also read more about my nomination and watch a quick video I recorded. 

Anyone can vote so please feel free to share with you family and friends. *wink wink*

Back in November you ridiculously talented friend Steph took pictures of Scott and I for our Christmas Card. I am so in love with every single shot I need to get them framed and some of them on canvas.




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Listening to God: Adoption and my Etsy shop reopens!

This past fall I closed my shop for what I thought was a temporary time out. After closing it I felt a huge wave of relief. I also felt like God was telling me to leave it closed and stop creating and selling rosette necklaces, headbands etc. I listened to him and decided rosettes were no more and the shop would be closed until further notice. 

Rewind a bit more to this past summer while living in Florida, I had sketched some ideas for a whole new set of necklaces. Something totally different from rosettes and fabric. After moving to Virginia and then getting the word from God to back off from Etsy I totally forgot about those new ideas and sketches. 

Closing the shop in the Fall allowed new doors to open and opportunities to come my way. As we neared Christmas I felt like my creative bone had finally come back, and with a vengeance. I had all kinds of fun ideas swirling around in my head. Around the same time I felt the Lord was really pushing me to think more heavily about Scott and I adopting. It is something I've talked about on the blog before and it is something Scott and I talk about weekly if not daily. But I had yet to have the nudge from the Lord to make it a priority. As my crafty side was reemerging and the Lord was nudging me the new necklace ideas came flooding back, hand painted wood pendants.  



I began searching the internet to find just the right supplies. I told myself they needed to affordable and way less time consuming than the rosette necklaces, because if those two items were not met I was not even going to pursue this.  I quickly found **exactly** what I wanted and at a price point I loved. I began to throw the idea around again of opening my etsy shop back up. I was hesitant at first because I am going back to work full time next month and have also started taking some graduate classes at ODU. I did not have time to spend 20-30 hours a week trying to create and promote my shop, but I still had this urge to create. 

Scott and I had begun talking about adoption more often, how and when we could make this a reality. With the plan of him being gone most of this year we decided it was the prefect time to start our adoption fund, research and find an agency and prepare ourselves for the journey. Soon after making this decision I woke up with the greatest idea I've had in a long while, make the necklaces and have the money from each necklace go towards your adoption fund.  



I again hemmed and hawwed about if I should really add this to my plate. I wanted to get Scott's opinion but I was afraid I would explain it all wrong, you know, get tongue tied and make it sound crazy. Thus I decided I needed to "sell" the idea to my bff and fellow etsy artisan. I knew I could share all my random thoughts and ideas with her and see if she thought I was looney tunes or not. She loved the idea! I explain every detail I had thought of and the kicker of them all: all items will be ready to ship. If it is listed in the shop it is ready to go.

I used to paint random horrible pictures in college, kind of my way to de-stress. I don't think I ever showed them to anyone, I'd paint and then throw them out. Crazy, I know. I didn't spend money on canvas or anything, just paper and paint. After the bff was sold {I often times think her and Scott are very similar in their practical ways of thinking} I knew Scott would be too. He of course was {and lets face it Scott will support anything I want to do as long as it doesn't require us to go broke or doesn't end up making me miserable}.


Painting these pendants has been such wonderful experience. Painting is so relaxing and calming, pretty much the opposite of making rosettes. 

Last week I turned the shop off vacation mode and started listing pendants. On Friday I had an amazing surprise, a treasury that had featured one of my chevron ombre pendants was on the front page of etsy! I was so giddy and happy with excitement you would have thought I had won an Emmy or something. 



If you read thought all of that rambling you deserve a cupcake **wink wink**.  I am so excited for us to begin our journey to adopt. We have no idea where we will end up, we just know this is part of Gods plan.  I have been shown so much over the past year how God will show you and provide for you as long as you listen and trust in him.

It is crazy to think we are going to start this journey and just follow him. Both Scott and I are type A planners, we want to know the details of EVERY.THING, but with this we are leaving it up all to God. So I will apologize now if I don't seem to have answers about many things, the only thing we are sure of right now is our issues with infertility are part of Gods plan for us to adopt. Par of his plan to love and give a home to a baby out there who needs it.

// If anyone would like to add a shop button to their sidebar or share our story on your blog please feel free to email me at rellasbellasATgmailDOTcom //

also, tomorrow is the first round of voting for the Military Spouse of the Year awards. I would be so honored if you voted for me my profile is here. Voting starts on 1/22 and is only for the day.       



Friday, January 18, 2013

Completing my Purpose Project: being changed way more than I expected

I can't believe we are already halfway through January. I usually feel like January and February are the slowest months of the year. I have a feeling that will not be the case this year. 

Back in November I teamed up with Mocha Club to do a #purposeproject {click to learn more}. An idea inspired by the amazing Blair of Wild and Precious. My goal was to raise $400 in November and I achieved my goal, wowza! My plan was to learn to knit, hence the name the knitting project. However, I think God had different plans. Every knitting class over the last two months has not worked for my schedule. I finally decided to take a crochet class instead. Because really I wanted to learn to do both and I think the most important part of this whole experience was raising $400 to free one woman in Ethiopia from the sex slave industry. 


There is an amazing shop called KitschVA here in Norfolk. It is pretty much the equivalent of walking into a real life Etsy store.  They sell local handmade items and have tons crafty classes each month.

I was super nervous when we started. I was the only one signed up for the class so I got some amazing 1 on 1 time with the teacher, Amanda {who was beyond amazing!}. I was having a bit of a hard time understanding the terminology but I was totally getting what she was showing me. She praised me often that I was doing a wonderful job and was catching on quickly.  Just what I needed to hear.

Can I just say I seriously felt like a kid who just learned how to ride a 10 speed bike. I was on cloud nine. It's true, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, hehehe. What was so amazing to me was the feeling of accomplishment as I completed each stitch. My brain was thinking of nothing else as it was focusing on crocheting. This was the first time in a LOOOONG time I wasn't thinking of 10 different things. I was focused solely on crocheting and I loved it!



After the class I couldn't help but think of the amazing and resilient women in Ethiopia who gave up the only way they knew how to make money {prostitution} and learn a new trade with Mocha Club. If I was this excited from learning to crochet I can only imagine the satisfaction and gratitude they must feel every time they make a liveFashionABLE scarf. The joy and peace they must have knowing this item they created from their hands is they way they are able to provide for their family. 

I've said it before but I think it is worth saying again, I never imagined raising $400 would change me in such a powerful way. I look at life through a different lens now.  I wanted to learn to knit/crochet to give myself quiet time to relfect and talk to God more. I know this will happen, but I think this purpose project did something else. It reminded me that you can do so much with your own two hands. You can learn a new craft, you can use them to create beautiful work to provide for your family. The women in Ethiopia use their two hands every day to live a better life. How inspiring is that? They walked away from a life that was filled with hurt and trusted the Lord to give them a different way to provide.


Scott and I often talk about how lucky we are simply to be born in the United States. Just being born here allows us to live a life many people around the world only dream of. Learning to crochet on behalf of one of the women in Ethiopia is something I will treasure forever. Every time I pick up my crochet hook and yarn I will be inspired by the woman in Ethiopia who were courageous enough to trust that God would give them an opportunity to provide for their family without prostitution.



I plan to keep my finished coaster at my desk so every day when I drink my coffee {which is EVERY.SINGLE.DAY} I can be reminded of the change one person can make and the beautiful hearts of the courageous women in Ethiopia. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

reminding myself i am good enough and a few other confessions

I have a few confessions:

Sometimes I feel out of touch with the blogging world. 

I am not a mama, I don't have amazing DIY posts. I'm creative but such a perfectionist that I never want to share my DIYs because they don't look good enough or I can't photograph them the way I want. 

I have ADD and often times get all these ideas but never seem to carve out time to share them. 

I struggle with sharing content that is just from the heart and or adding in posts that seem to just be filler. I can't seem to find a balance. 



Lately it seems like the blogging world has become all about giveaways. I fell in love with the blogging world over 4 years ago because it was a place to get a glimpse into the life of others. To be inspired, encouraged and connect with others. Now I feel like it is about giveaways, sponorships and followers.

I read on a bloggers fb post recently that said they would rather have readers instead of followers. I have to agree. I want people to want to read my posts just as much{if not more} as I want people to follow my blog. 

2013 is going to be a busy year. I already have two work related travel trips in the next few weeks. Scott will be gone a lot for work and I want to focus on building my brand and myself. When I say my brand I don't mean rellas bellas, I mean me.  This blog is just one extension of me.  

I have some big dreams and goals for 2013, but in order for those dreams to become a reality I need to believe in myself more. I need to stop second guessing if I am good enough. I am more than good enough. 

Am I perfect, no. But what is the fun in perfection?  My friend Ashlee says she is reformed perfectionist, I too am going to take on that title. I need to stop thinking everything is going to fit in a box. Have you ever tried to stick a square peg into a round hole?? It won't happen, no matter how hard you try. If I keep trying to have this vision of everything needing to be perfect I will never achieve my dreams.

This year I will be attending more business meetings/lunches and events that require me to wear more business appropriate attire. I love taking boring office looks and making them a bit more "me".  

For a meeting I had last week I paired this simple plaid wool pencil skirt with a patterned ruffled button up under a scalloped edge shimmery sweater.  The shimmer in the sweater is very subtle and it allows only a bit of the patterned button up to peak out. Burgundy tights, camel color wedges, a pop of neon necklace and a bold red purse round out the look. 

 necklace: caroline g // sweater: gap // button up: anthro {thrifted} // skirt, tights and shoes: target // bang: vintage coach {thrifted}



***so crazy, 3 months from today {1/15} i turn 30!***

Friday, January 11, 2013

what i learned this week

Happy Friday Loves! I cannot believe it is Friday. This week has flown by in the blink of an eye! The blog has been a bit neglected. Lots of stuff going on around here, lots of changes in our home so I am adjusting and prepping for things like deployment and started another job {adding it to my plate with my other gigs}.

While at brunch last Sunday we ended up having to sit at the bar and they had these fun cards. I loved this question: What have you learned this week?


I learned I need to listen to worship music more. I listen to it in the car a lot, but not at home. Yesterday morning I turned on pandora while crafting and holy batman the Holy Spirit hit me hard. Like sobbing in my glue gun and fabric scraps hard.

{lyrics from 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman}

I was reminded yesterday I have so much to be thankful for, regardless of what I think is rough it really all is a blessing. I can't be so focused on what I want, I need to focus on what He has planned for me. Gods plans are so much better than any plan I could create. 

I'd love to hear what you learned this week.

linking up with alissa

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

3 new year's resolutions for a Christian {and what I wore to church}

One of the hard things about moving is finding a new church. We've tried one church a few times and didn't feel it was the right fit and now we are trying out a second church. I am really like the pastor and his messages at this church. The music isn't my favorite but, the word leaves me feeling inspired. 

This past Sunday he shared a message 3 New Year's Resolutions for us as Christians. They were simple yet so powerful. As he was discussing each one I kept nodding my head and writing down notes like I was going to be quizzed on it later. I wanted to write down ever word he said because it all made so much sense. 

sweater: Francesca's // dress: The Limited // scarf: Banana Republic {gift} // belt: Forever21 {gift} // tights: Kohl's // boots: Nine West

1. I'll do my best to spread Gods word. Plain and simple I will be more like Paul. I want to be strong, bold and courageous in sharing the Word.  He reminded us what Psalm 9:1 says "I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."{NIV}.  I find that I am not always as courageous as Paul was when it comes to sharing the Gospel. I want to be BOLD and share of his wonderful deeds. 

2. I'll live to the glory of the Lord. Make Gods glory shine. I was reminded of how easy it is to sit in church and be a Christian, but once we walk outside we want to blend in and not make waves. I want to make waves; and want to swim up stream, against the current and be BOLD. I want to shine for Jesus no matter what the situation, where I am or who I am around. God died for me and my sins so I could be saved. What an amazing gift. Worthy of so much praise and glory.

3. I'll choose to take a stand. He reminded us to be strong in the Lord. We shouldn't waste our time trying to be strong in our selves. Put all of our faith in Him. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm {Ephesians 6:13 ESV}. 

I left church on Sunday being so inspired. I was reminded that my purpose here on earth is to share Gods word. The pastor said we did not have to be that over bearing person who was obnoxious about talking about God, but instead do it in a way that works for you and the situation. I often times find myself in a situation where someone opens the door for me to share about God and how he has worked in my life. Sometimes I am too afraid to share. I am too afraid of being judged. I need to remind myself I need not care what others think.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Meet Emmy {Founder of Choose Joy: suviving infertility & adoption}

I'm Emmy, I'm 35, and I'm infertile.

Wait, let me back up.  I'm Emmy.  Jen has been so sweet to allow me to invade her space for the day.  I own Much Ado About You {where I used to sell printed day planners, and now I just sell printables}, I occasionally blog {Confesstions of a Paper Freak}, and I incessantly Instagram {@itsjustemmy}.  I am married to my high school sweetheart and as of this year we have been together for more than half our lives.

Almost 11 years ago I got pregnant for the first time.  Nathan and I were so excited, and immediately started planning that child's future.  We were thinking of names... wondering if it would be a boy or a girl... hoping its due date of December 26th would not mean we were going to have a Christmas baby.

But just a few days later I started bleeding heavily, and knew in an instant that that baby was gone. 

We had only just begun trying to get pregnant, but I had so many friends experiencing infertility and I begged God to spare us from that roller coaster.

Our doctor told us that since we were so early in the pregnancy I would not need a D & C, and that technically I could get pregnant as soon as my next cycle.

Which I did.

That pregnancy was such a relief, and I vividly remember thanking God that I was never going to have to walk that long and painful road of infertility.



A year after Beau was born we decided to start trying for a second baby.  We wanted four, so we thought we'd better get going!

God had different plans for our family. 

The next six years were spent going from one doctor's appointment to the next... from one surgery to the next... all in an effort to figure out why my young and seemingly healthy body was not working.

I have Endometriosis, a condition that basically destroys your body from the inside out.  During my final surgery my doctor made the painful decision to remove both of my non-functioning fallopian tubes, hoping it would increase the chance of my third and final IVF {invitro-fertilization} treatment being successful. 

The next month we had our final IVF procedure.  It failed.  We were done.

We were physically {well mostly me on that one}, emotionally, and financially spent.  The chance of a natural pregnancy was eliminated with the removal of my tubes.  I was officially STERILE.  It is still strange to say those words.  I am a woman that cannot do what I was created to do... bear children.  That is a very strange reality to be faced with.

I spent seven dark years in the thick of my infertility {I say "my" infertility because the issues were mine... with another woman my husband could have had more children... more salt in the wounds}.  For some of those years Nathan and I were not on the same page.  He didn't understand my desperation for a child when I already was a mom.  Those years I struggled with a deep loneliness that I had never known.  It is so hard to explain what infertility feels like to someone that has never experienced it, but the bottom line is... IT SUCKS.

However, God also used those seven years to challenge my character and bring me to a place of total trust and reliance on His plan for my life.  I came to a point where I had to say, "God, I love you and I trust you, and I know that {while very different from mine} Your plan is the best plan for my life.  So even if I never have another baby I will praise you and be thankful for whatever it is that you call me to do."

And I really was at peace.  Without tubes I no longer had to live in two week cycles, wondering if each late period was the one.  I had an incredible eight year old that was the joy of my life, a loving, supportive husband, a thriving business... life was good.

Now since I have already babbled on for quite some time {and probably lost most of you} I will leave this next part of the story short and sweet {if you would like to read the whole story, you can find it here}.  Through miraculous circumstances, in March of 2011 we brought home the most beautiful baby girl that looks nothing like us. 






And in the instant that I met her I understood every no that God had placed in my path. 

If you are in a season of not understanding the circumstances of your life, please be encouraged that someday you may understand and even appreciate the painful path that you are walking. 

Since experiencing infertility and adoption I have a heart for encouraging hurting women.  Several months ago I felt a calling on my life to do something to help other women that are experiencing similar trials, and the Choose Joy event was born. 




Choose Joy is a one-day conference in Southern California for women and couples that are experiencing infertility and/or desire to grow their families through adoption.  I have somehow convinced several other women from all over the country to come and be a part of this event.  We have speakers on topics such as "God's Heart for the Hurting; Waiting Hurts, Waiting Perfects", "Having a Heart of Hope: Overcoming the Hurt of Infertility", "The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of International Adoption", and much, much more.  My desire is for this to be a day of connection and community, and for women to open their minds to the plan that God has for their family.     

The event will include a luncheon and a dessert, and at the end we will be raffling off a cash prize to help someone grow their family.

Tickets are on sale for $30 through the 25th of January.  {After that the price goes up to $40, so don't delay!}  Please visit the website for all the details on the location and schedule, bios on each speaker, and to register for the event. 

If you aren't experiencing infertility, statistics say that someone you know is.  Please pass this website on to your friends or family that could use some support. 

Thanks for reading my story.

XOXO,

Emmy







stillbeingmolly

Friday, January 4, 2013

quotes to inspire: simplify

Happy Friday Lovies. What do you plan to do this first weekend in 2013? I love the new year, it brings about fresh and new ideas, a clean slate and the beginning of a new adventure. 

A few quotes I found on good ol' Pinterest, inspiration to simplify.



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Weight Watchers Tips & Tricks






If you follow me on Instagram {@rellasbellas} then you know my love for weight watchers.

Last year I lost 22 lbs between January and April. I gained about 5lbs back over the last 3 months, so I am kicking off 2013 getting back into my hardcore WW tracking. 

I do not go to the meetings, I do it all online and track in on the WW app on my iphone. 

Their website has a lot of great yummy recipes and on the app you can add the recipe to a shopping list and it tells you everything to buy, genius! 

I created a pinterest board for many weight watcher friendly recipes I frequently make. Check back often as I will be adding more as I find new favorites.

If you are starting WW or any other healthy eating plan my biggest piece of advice is to throw away all junk food, meal plan and grocery shop to restock your fridge. For the most part all fruit and veggies are zero points on WW. That means you could eat carrots and bananas until you can't stand to look at them anymore. Stock up on carrots and celery to munch on when you want the crunch of chips. Another alternative that is only a few points are the baked chips and also the Pops chips. 

Another life saver is the reduced fat 94% fat free microwave popcorn.  2 cups are 1 point. I think the entire bag is only 2 or 3 points. Add a bit of hot sauce {i like tapatio} to it and boom you have some flavor.

Meal planning is key. The first few weeks are the hardest because your body is adjusting so knowing what you are going to make each night helps to ensure you don't end up ordering a pizza or eating junk. I also usually end up eating some fruit and or veggies around 330-4pm so I am not starving before dinner and do something silly like pull out a bag of chips and stuff my face. 

Soda and juice are things that can get you into trouble. An 8 oz glass of OJ is 3 points. When I started I was allotted 26 points per day and then about 40 or so extra points for the week. To me 3 points is a lot for a glass of juice. A can of Pepsi is 4 points, I'd rather eat the 4 points.  To curb my cravings for juice or soda I add things like lemon, basil, strawberries etc to my water. I also sometimes drink club soda with lemon if I am craving the bubbles from soda.



 If you have any questions I'd love to help you or just encourage you!




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

a new year, new goals {the year to simplify}

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A few days ago I looked back at the goals I set for 2012. While I didn’t accomplish each goal as I had planned I know I made great efforts to achieve each of them and am proud of what I did in 2012.
The word I chose for 2012 was Faith; I couldn’t have picked a better word for 2012. My faith in the Lord grew, it was also tested but through it all I kept firm in my Faith and the Lord carried me through the struggles and walked beside me through the victories.
The word I am choosing for 2013 is Simplify.  There is so much extra clutter in my life, both in my home, work, personal life and just the way I think and process my thoughts.  I want to look at every decision I make this year and make sure it is necessary and will lead me in the direction Scott and I want to go. Often times I take on extra projects just because. I want to be thoughtful in everything I do. That might mean doing less, which is something I need to be ok with. 
 earrings: made by me // necklace: soleil selene // sweater: Forever21 from a friend // flannel: thrifted {JCP brand} // skinnies: Paige denim, thrifted // boots: nine west
In 2012 I set a goal to loose weight. I nailed that goal, I lost over 20 pounds and for the first time in a long time I am happy with my body. This year I want to make my body stronger and toned. I am hoping to start Turbo Fire after the New Year to get my butt in shape. In 2012 I focused on better eating habits and smaller portions. In 2013 I want to keep those habits and add more exercise to my routine.
I want to spend more time in the word in 2013. I was really good during the spring and summer about doing my She Reads Truth study daily. After we moved to VA I was not as diligent. I want to get back into the habit of starting my day out praying and reading scripture I know my days are better when they start with Him first. I also want to find a womens bible study to attend here in Norfolk.
As part of simplifying things in 2013 I want to be more mindful of what I buy and where I buy it from. After moving to Virginia we needed things for our house and I was thrilled to get the chance to do some thrifting to find new items for our home. It kind of became a game. Spending time trying to find the perfect diningroom table, dressers etc at a thrift store saved us well over $700. I accidently stopped clothes shopping at retail stores this past Fall. I bought a few sweaters when it got cold in October and then an outfit for my husbands Christmas party and after that all items were thrifted. Most brand name items and some amazing vintage pieces. I want to continue this into 2013.
This year I want to make sure I keep blogging for me. I get so caught up in what others blog about, the linky parties they have or participate in. I need to remember my blog is a way for me to share my heart and my every day life.  I need to stick with what makes me happy. I want to grow my blog and followers but I want to make sure that it doesn’t become just about the numbers.
Another goal for this year is to get the last of our debt paid off. We sat down a few nights ago and made a financial plan for 2013. Scott will deployed a lot this year, the silver lining to him being gone is the extra money we make. I know if we are smart about our spending we are going to be in a very good spot come December. I also want to get our adoption fund started. I have shared my heart before about adoption and our fertility struggles. I feel like the Lord is pushing me to start putting money aside to cover the costs to adopt a sweet baby. 
I am a true believer in writing down your goals, it helps you to visualize what you want. You need to put it out in the universe to make it happen. 
What are your goals for 2013?
 
Perception Is Everything

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!


Happy New Year Friends!

Check back tomorrow for the word I chose for 2013 and my goals for the year.

You can get a sneak peek of a few of them over on the Pollinate Blog.


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