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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

show off your apron from #cookingswap

Thankfully, we fared pretty well with Frankenstorm. I'm so sad for those hit by Hurricane Sandy who are still suffering from power outages, flooding, rain and wind damage. Some of the images I've seen on the news are downright unbelievable. Our prayers are with those working to restore communities to a livable state and all those displaced by the affects of the storm.  

Has your apron arrived? Amber and I had so much fun planning the #cookingswap and watching for tweets and instagram photos about it! Thanks to all who joined in!

My apron came from Jill in the midst of Monday's storm -- perfect timing! The package included a vintage apron, cookie cutters, a scarf, paper straws, baker's twine and more! I can't wait to put it all to use :-)

What did you receive in your box of baking/cooking apron swapping goodness?! We want to see, so be sure to link up ((it can be an instragram photo or blog post))!

BTW you only have to link up on one of our blogs and it will show up on both!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

pieces I wouldn't choose but glad I tried

I received my first Stitchfix shipment and got a few photos of each of the pieces they sent me. What do you think?

Black faux wrap dress
My take:
The cut of the dress was very flattering and I liked the faux wrap. But I have to say, I felt it was too short for my long legs ((a common issue I have)). It also could work with jeans or leggings/tights. I really liked the material since it wouldn't wrinkle easily. 

Black cardigan
My take:
Everyone needs a great black cardigan, right? This was a high quality sweater and I could tell it would never pill. I felt like this one should have been cuter, but it just seemed blah on me. I wasn't a fan of fitted bodice and angled neckline, even when I paired it with a shirt that had a similar neckline.

Black skinny pants
My take:
I was really hoping for a good pair of pants to add to my work wardrobe, but these weren't the ones. They were basically skinny jeans with an elastic waster. Unfortunately, they barely came over my rear. I did like how long they were, as I mentioned before I often have a hard time finding pants and dresses the right length.

Green button front tunic
My take:
This was my favorite item they sent. I loved the ease of wearing this tunic and could see it going with a number of things I already owned. I also thought the mossy green color was perfect for fall.

Striped blazer with gold buttons
My take:
This would be a fun addition to my fall wardrobe, with it's black and white stripes and contrasting gold buttons. However, it was too small and could barely be buttoned ((I'm not sure if that was because it was double-breasted or another factor)). It would have been a fun casual jacket.

Which clothing item do you like best?
To be honest, I chose not to keep any of them items Stitchfix sent me. I have learned to be pretty picky with the clothing I choose to buy, thanks to reading The No Brainer Wardrobe last winter. It really helped me to pare down my closet and actually wear the things inside.

All is not lost though. Despite not keeping the clothing, I got to try a few styles I probably wouldn't have picked out were I shopping on my own.
>>> I loved getting a package in the mail and scheduling when it would arrive ((I guess it's the simple joys, right?
>>> Next time I go shopping, I have some ideas of the types of pieces I am looking for ((i.e. a striped blazer and button front tunic)).

Have you ordered your Stitchfix yet?! It's free to join!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

#YOLOmondays are back!

Happy ((almost)) Monday! We're are anxiously awaiting the impending storm here in the Northeast. Have you heard about Frankenstorm?! Hurricane Sandy is supposed to cross paths with a cold front, creating the perfect storm. Schools are already closing and I get the day off tomorrow due the storm! Will you be impacted by the storm?

Do you follow me on Instagram? Lately, it's been my favorite form of social media. I love seeing what others are up to, eating and seeing. And it's seriously been a while since I linked up with the awesome Molly for #YOLOmondays.

Sad story: I was in the Dollar Store of all places, when I had to make a choice between dropping my phone or a mug. I must say, if it happens again I would choose differently. In the mean time, I'm thankful it works and put a screen protector over the broken glass in hopes that my poor cell phone will make it through the next month or so ((I'm due for an upgrade in December)).

My birthday was last week and boy did I feel spoiled?! I have to share a few photos!
>> Even Google know it was my birthday :)
>> My hubby made me a carrot cake from scratch and surprised me by taking it to our community group ahead of time so it was there when I arrived with him later on.
>> My community group gave me these beautiful flowers.

I got my first Stichfix in the mail ((don't worry, more details will come on this later in the week))!

I've also loved trying out some items in my Influenster Beauty Box.
>> I picked up the full-size Not Your Mother's frizz control cream at Target for less than $5 on Friday.
>> We've been battling soar throats and colds around here, so E Boost has come in handy.

Earlier in the week, Milton and Brandon were under the weather, so they've been resting.

We enjoyed a relaxing Saturday, complete with a yummy breakfast out and a wee bit of shopping. We also spent some time with friends that afternoon and evening, but my phone died and I didn't get to capture any of it.
>> We went out for breakfast, one of my favorite things to do!
>> Milton enjoyed some outside time...he loves the leaves!

How was your weekend?
((I'm linking up with Molly for #YOLOMondays!))

Friday, October 26, 2012

friday finds & favorites #7

So, I thought I'd start Friday off with a bit of outfit inspiration. This is one of my favorite outfits. I've shared my love of chambray before, but wanted to share some fall inspiration and show chambray can be pulled off with jeans.

 old navy chambray top + jeans // caroline g. necklace // minnetonka mocks

This week, I was inspired by these awesome blog posts & handmade goods:

>>> Don't miss these hosting tips for the upcoming holiday season

>>> I'm totally digging this beautiful polka dotted clutch from Erika's fall line

>>> I loved this stencil hand-painted mustard walls

>>> I could totally relate to Molly's conversation with her hubby and how he falls asleep faster than her. Anyone else experience that?

>>> And maybe it's just because I love home renovation, but I've been fascinated by this kitchen remodel

Have a great weekend! I hope you'll grab a button and link up your post with me and Erika!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

roasted butternut squash soup {recipe}

Oh, the flavors of fall. I think of roasted squashes made into soups and hearty stews. Sometimes, I wonder how my skin doesn't turn orange between October and December because of the many orange veggies ((sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and pumpkin)) I consume in that time. 

This soup is the prefect blend of hearty autumn goodness and the sweet roasted flavors of the season. My husband created it on a whim last week and I've wished there was more ever since. It was flavorful  yet didn't make me feel uncomfortably full as soups often do.

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cups milk ((used 2%))
3-4 cup vegetable stock
grated cheddar cheese + red pepper  ((as desired)) flakes for garnish/flavor

>>> roast butternut squash  in preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 min ((or until soft and slightly caramelized on the outside))
>>> puree butternut squash using blender in batches with milk
>>> in large stock pot, combine coconut oil and onion. cook until translucent.
>>> add garlic to stock pot and cook until fragrant
>>> pour broth to stock pot and heat through
>>> add butternut squash puree to broth mixture and combine to heat thoroughly
>>> garnish with grated sharp cheddar and red pepper flakes ((or whatever you prefer))

yields: 4 hearty servings

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

30 something lessons

Yesterday, Jessi wrote about writing from a place of experience, growth and change. I already had an idea for today's post stirring, but I must say her words spurred me in the best possible way.

Today, I will celebrate 32 years of life on this earth. I have been blessed with a loving family, adoring husband and friends spread around the world. I'm sure I've learned a lot more than 32 lessons, but it seems like a good number to share ((as you'll see, some lessons are silly while others are serious))

  1. I shouldn't waste money on high heels. Ever. I don't wear them, even though I like the look of them. They collect dust in my closet and I'm really better off with cute flats! 
  2. Coming home to a dog really can be the best cure for a bad day. He's always so happy to see me and is fueled by unconditional love. Thanks, Milton!
  3. I like to read (even though I've spent years telling myself otherwise). I just struggle to find the right thing to read, meaning a book I'll actually finish.
  4. Grief is something I may never understand, but I am grateful for times I can process pain and share the happy memories I have. 
  5. There really is a reward in risk taking. Whether it's blogging or wearing a print with stripes, I need to just go for it. 
  6. Home renovation is serious work. We dance between the need for time and money to finish projects, but we've learned how to scour the oops paint shelves and find deals in the clearance section.
  7. I'm not the one who does home renovation. He does and I blog about it :)
  8. Sometimes the chores have to wait and it's better to spend a Saturday resting rather than busying myself with a list of errands and cleaning and I'm so grateful I have a husband who supports this idea.
  9. Hearing 'no' isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm grateful I took Hayley's challenge to heart earlier this year. I have risked more and gained more, while also hearing golden 'nos' on multiple occasions.
  10. I make mistakes, but I've learned to forgive and move on. 
  11. I should strike up conversation in the grocery store more often. This is still a challenge for my introverted tendencies, but I'm often rewarded with interesting conversation and at the very least a smile when I engage someone I don't know. 
  12. Ask for help. People can't read my mind and while it can be difficult and humbling to ask for help, life is easier with a friend or two.
  13. Some of the best DIY ideas are right under your nose! Remember the upcycled glass bottles or dry erase key caddy?
  14. If scarves and cardigans were removed from my closet, I would cry. Maybe not, but I'd be seriously lost as to how to accessorize an outfit. From September to May, I wear one or both almost daily!
  15. Be flexible when it comes to scheduling. It's great to have a plan, but sticking to a schedule isn't more important than making time for people. Some of my favorite dates with my husband have been spontaneous when he's skipped class or we've pulled out of a commitment because we needed to make time for us. 
  16. Make a habit of purging. Whether it's my closet, the linen closet, or junk drawer, a seasonal cleaning and re-organization is worth it. And what could be more fun, but to host a clothing swap with your friends?
  17. Be generous. No matter if it's my time or money, I want to be someone who gives. I may not always have the resources to give in a way that I want, but it's okay to be creative and give more of my time and energy.
  18. A little confidence goes a long way. I have tricked myself into thinking I'm confident about outfit posts on this blog long enough to post them; these jackets turned vests are a great example of something I was afraid to try, but loved wearing.
  19. It's okay that my husband enjoys cooking more than me. I struggled with this one for the first year of our marriage, but now I see it as a blessing rather than the kitchen as a territorial issue. 
  20. It's okay to turn down good things. I struggle with saying no, but just because something is good doesn't mean it's bad to say no. The timing may not be right for me. I still have this napkin as a reminder to myself.
  21. Waiting is hard, but I often learn from the process, rather than the end result.
  22. One man's trash really can become another's treasure. Remember the coffee table we picked up on the side of the road?
  23. I should check the local thrift shop before I venture to a retail store. Time after time, I find myself in a thrift/consignment shop coming across items similar to those I last bought brand new. When will I learn?
  24. As a working woman, it's totally acceptable to rely on a crockpot to prepare your dinner and such old fashioned 'technology' should not be overlooked
  25. Cutting back on meat in our diet has been a healthy change, as well as one that's spurred creativity. We've found we eat fewer carbs and have to plan our meals more carefully, but it's been a healthy adjustment for us in this season. 
  26. Going out for breakfast is such a treat! It's my favorite meal to eat at a restaurant :)
  27. I don't have to be logged on to my computer to tweet in my sleep, thanks to the beauty of Hootsuite.
  28. Road trips are fun! It may take some planning and preparation, but it's worth the effort to make a long few days of driving an adventure.
  29. I can make friends almost anywhere and find community online. While online community doesn't take the place of real life, face to face community, I'm grateful to connect with like-minded friends via blogging. 
  30. Just because something is on sale or I have a coupon, doesn't mean that buying an item is a good idea. I have learned to be more intentional when I shop so that I purchase things that I'll wear from one season to the next and build a solid wardrobe I'm confident in pulling out an outfit from, rather than standing in front of my full closet asking myself "what should I wear?"
  31. Sometimes, stringing twinkle lights to the ceiling is really a great way to distract from the work that needs to be done and cheer up a room.
  32. Marriage isn't always what I expected, but I am so grateful to share life with Brandon.
If you made it this far, I'll let you in on a secret...the photos above are old, as in THREE years old from our engagement session old. But I still love playing in the leaves!

Monday, October 22, 2012

for the love of paper goods ((+ giveaway))

I've shared my love for school supplies with you all before. There's something so exciting to me about writing in a new journal for the first time. The pages are crisp and the possibilities are endless with that it could become: a diary, a bunch of lists, etc. I could go on and on about the paper products I love or my trunk full of note cards and card making supplies, but I'd rather you meet someone else with a passion for office supplies. Meet Sharon...

Hi everyone! Before I get started, I would just like to thank Beth for inviting me to share a bit about myself with all of you! My name is Sharon and I'm the bookbinder/creator over at Soundless Soliloquy.

I now live in Montreal, but I grew up in Botswana (Southern Africa), where my father owns an office supply store. As a child, I spent countless hours in the shop. Literally. The time would fly by looking at pens, pencils, notebooks, art supplies, and even post-it blocks. Basically anything I could get my hands on. If its something you can find in a stationery store, you can bet that I've probably obsessed about it at some point during my life.

Fast-forward to present day and you'll see that my love of paper has translated into a small business. In 2010, I began bookbinding as a hobby and a year later, I established Soundless Soliloquy. Each and every journal that I make is created entirely by hand. I begin by cutting the paper down to size and folding each sheet individually. All the pages are then sewn together, and finally the bookmark and cover are glued on.

It's a lengthy, but beautiful process that takes simple raw materials - paper, thread, material and glue - and transforms them into a whole different object. A little nugget of truth that I'm constantly reminded of, when going through each step of building a journal, is that sometimes we have to slow down and appreciate the amount of time it takes for things to come together properly. In our world of now, now, now, this isn't always easy. But most of the time, it's just what we need.

What is your favorite thing to DO in October?
Without a doubt, my favorite thing to do in October is take a drive from Montreal to the countryside east of the city. There is really nothing quite comparable to the colours of fall foliage at their peak. The greens, reds, oranges and yellows that the Master painter brushes in broad strokes across the forest can take your breath away. ((see photo below))

What is your favorite thing to EAT in October?
Five years ago I tasted pumpkin pie for the first time. It was smothered in whipped cream, and it was delectable. I fell in love. I've had pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving since. Except this year. I recently discovered I am gluten intolerant and the idea of marring my memory of sweet silky pumpkin pie with a poor gluten free substitute is terrifying.

What is your favorite SCENT in October?
To be honest, I'm not particularly partial to scents. I could take it or leave it. If I had to pick something though, it would probably be a toss up between the smell of pumpkin pie baking and the crisp smell of a cool autumnal day.

What do you love to WEAR in October?
October in Montreal is chilly and windy. The weather cools considerably and we usually get our first glimpse of snow around Halloween - beautiful flurries that swirl around you and dissolve upon contact with anything. To keep me warm, I've been loving this headband by Westlake Designs and the cowl ((pictured above)) by Mes Trois Soeurs, both local Montreal designers.

As promised in the title, Sharon is giving away a quarter-page journal ((see photo below)) and giving 15% off to all readers who use code CITYDOT on their purchase!

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 19, 2012

friday finds & favorites #6

We made it to Friday!!! This week, I'm excited to be co-hosting the link up with Erika! I hope you'll join us with your own blog post featuring other blog posts you loved this week.

This idea from Jen

15 ingredients for a healthy kitchen

Even though I missed out on the Influence Conference, I have been loving these posts sharing bits of the experience
Inspiration from all these maps

This post made me want to give yoga serious try

And I had no idea Ben Harper came out with a new album until I saw Monique's post!

I'm also loving everything in Amber's etsy shop

Thursday, October 18, 2012

a glance of heavenly day

Yesterday, as I drove to work the sun shone brightly, a change from earlier days in the week. The changing leaves almost sparkled as the sun bounced off of them. It was a crisp autumn morning with a real chill in the air. The cold air made me shiver, but looking at the sun warmed me.

It was the kind of morning that made me want to belt out worship music at the top of my lungs because everywhere I looked displayed God's splendor. I already had one of my favorite albums in the cd player, an album from the church where I met my husband. The opening track is O For a Glance of Heavenly Day and it just fit the day perfectly.

The chorus says:
O for a glance of heavenly day,
To take this stubborn heart away,
And thaw, with beams of love divine,
This heart, this frozen heart of mine.

As I drove, I thought about how the lyrics spoke to my own frozen heart. As I had walked to my car, I noticed frost covered leaves in the yard and there was a thin layer of frost on my windshield. Those leaves were a reminder of the state of my heart.

The song paints a picture of my heart, similar to those leaves. My heart is prone to freeze over with the many demands of the day and I go to bed weary. Each morning, it needs to be thawed, just as frost-covered leaves will be by the sun as the day goes on and the ground heats up.

About the time I was making the connection between the condition of my heart apart from Christ, and the frost-covered leaves, a school bus stopped in front of me by a cemetery. I always think how pretty the setting is with its large oaks. Despite cemeteries often being considered morbid places, this one is full of large trees with glorious autumn colors.

I flashed back to my childhood when I drove by a cemetery with my mom and recalled her view on them. I remember how she told me they don't have to be sad places and I would never have to visit her grave since she wouldn't be there. She was right, I don't have to visit her grave because she's been experiencing heavenly days for eleven years and for just a moment every now and then I get a glimpse of what heaven may be like by experiencing God's grace day after day as He thaws my calloused heart.

((I'm linking up with Desire to Inspire today))

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

a wishlist

Just a few pretties I've had my eye on lately!

1 saba infinity scarf from fashionABLE // 2 lacey lou coffee brown boot socks from Grace and Lace Co. // 3  I heart Colorado print from Monkey Mind Design // 4 molly bag from Better Life Bags // 5 salt and pepper shakers from Amazon // 6 dainty stacking rings by Amy Cornwell


Oh, and I keep forgetting to mention the #CookingSwap info was emailed by Amber last week. Check your SPAM folder if you think you missed it. The linkup will go live two weeks from today, so be sure to get your aprons and goodies in the mail!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

question of the month

It's that time of the month again...time to learn from others ((and meet my sponsors))! This month we're talking about social media and what they've learned from using it. I hope you enjoy reading their responses and take a moment to visit their blog/shop and maybe even connect with them over your favorite form of social media!

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
Allison of  Whatever the Circumstances says:
I have recently been enjoying using twitter. I love that you can connect to individuals and a whole group. I also love the versatility of linking up with Instagram and Facebook. I don't know what I have really learned from using, except that it has helped me to form more friendships in the blogger world.

TwitterFacebook | Pinterest

Sharon of Soundless Soliloquy says:
I'd have to say that Twitter is currently my favorite form of social media. I recently signed up after spending years thinking it was pointless and a waste of time. (Don't judge!) When I started my business last year, I decided it was time to extend my social wings and join the ranks of the tweeting world.
Here are a few things I've learned from using Twitter over the last month and a half.
1. If you have a business, write a blog, etc, join social media platforms as soon as possible. Even if you don't intend to use the account right away, one day you'll be glad you reserved your username. It took me months to find a suitable handle for that wasn't already in use. In searching for the perfect Twitter "name", I read many stories about people and brands that weren't able to get the handles they wanted because they were late to the game.
2. Twitter is its own little universe. It has its own set of rules and codes of conduct. I can't say I have a grasp on everything after 1.5 months (like how did that music band from SoCal find me?), but I have learned (thankfully not from first hand experience) that it's not polite to follow someone in hopes that they will reciprocate and then delete them once they're following you.
3. Condensing what I want to say to 140 characters or less? It's harder than I thought it would be, but it can be done!
4. It's incredible what and who you can discover by just clicking. You start by following one person and then another, and the next thing you know, you're collaborating with someone who was never even on your radar. At the heart of it, Twitter is all about building your networks and I'd love for you to be a part of mine, so send me a tweet!

Twitter | Facebook | Bloglovin

Sarah at Family Darr says:
My favorite form of social media would have to be Twitter. I feel that you can really get to know people with Twitter as people post WHATEVER they are feeling at the moment. I recently found two great friends on Twitter that LOVE TV as much as I do. We must have tweeted back and forth for an hour (DO YOU LOVE TV too? @sarahmdarr @SenseofCents and @Heydtie042know whats up!)

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Lauren of Fizz and Frosting says:
I'll admit that I was a latecomer to Twitter, but it has quickly become my favorite form of social media. I love having the ability to interact with other bloggers, and by using it, I've learned how social media can help to build my blog's readership. It's such a great way to connect with friends and followers throughout the day!

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest
Monique of A Creative Girl, Living in a Country World says:
At this moment, it is Twitter. I've been able to connect with individuals I wouldn't normally connect with via Facebook. I've built some relationships via Twitter, and have been able to build a readership because of the platform. I've also found some great bloggers via Twitter as well.

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Beth of Until Only Love Remains says:
I have to choose the obvious & famous Facebook. I remember the year I was going into college and a friend told me that EVERYONE in college had facebook and that myspace was "so high school" (please imagine me quote un-quoting that in the air!) It was my freshman year of college when they opened it up for everyone and myspace disappeared (RIGHT? does anyone use that anymore? Even if I wanted to, I bet I couldn't remember my password...)
I love it because my parents were okay with me never calling home because they would look though my pictures and feel like they had spent time with me. I love it because I went to college out of state and I have friends LITERALLY all over the world. We can still be friends and share our lives & pictures with each other. I love it because I don't have to scrapbook anymore, Facebook makes albums for me. Some people boycott the Facebook, that is not me. Haters gunna hate.

Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

Lauren of Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up says:
I go back and forth with social media. Sometimes I am tempted to go on sabbatical from my iPhone, Facebook, Pinterest and the likes. And other times I am no doubt giddy when I get to share and network with others via social media tools. They have all been really helpful in growing Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up reader base, which I am so thankful for! I tend to love the visuals and creative inspiration that Instagram and Pineterest bring with them, while I also have to give Facebook a lot of credit for bringing new readers to my blog as well as connecting me with other bloggers. Currently, though, Instagram is my favorite. I love that it is a window into a life. A window into an adventure. A place that after just browsing through some photos, you leave feeling like you've experienced something in a new light, seen something from another's perspective, have gotten to enjoy the same beauty as someone else. Instagram allows a person to tell a story, share a moment, in just a snapshot. I love that about it. And I also love that it is simple. It is the minimalist of social media in a way. With Instagram, words aren't even needed, and a photograph can be shared with no strings attached. I like the no-strings attached aspect, the way it fills my love for polaroid-esque moments, and of course the filters.
One thing I struggle with as a blogger, with Facebook, (and this is probably why I don't have a Twitter account) is that I don't want to over share or bombard other's with too many words. I don't want to jam up the news feed with everything and anything about Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up. But on the other hand, I do want to share about blog posts etc. Its a fine line to walk at times, not over promoting, or over sharing, yet still being active via social media. I am often rethinking the way I use social media, and about the message I am sending-- wanting to be modest and humble in my process of sharing about PPP. It is important to think about these things, for me as a blogger, but also for me as an individual, because I want to stay true to who I am, and have Pearls Poppies Pinkies Up, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram be a true reflection of my character. This is something that I am continuing to learn about. With that, I'd have to say, that Instagram really is the place I feel most comfortable sharing. Maybe it is because words aren't required and that it does feel a bit more down to earth at times. That, and I just love photographs and getting to peek into another person's story :)

Whew, that was a lot of info and it sounds like most everyone is loving Twitter lately. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts! I hope  it helped you think about your own use of social media in the blog/shop world.

I'm actually guest posting over at my friend, Jessica's blog today! Head on over to Swish and Swoon, a vintage fashion blog and check it out :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

on missing out

As you may already know, last week was the Influence Conference. I was not able to attend, but I followed along via Twitter (check out #InfluenceConf for some gems of the weekend's content). Honestly, it was bittersweet. At times, I loved following along on Twitter and Instagram and reading a blog post written while attending the conference. Other times, I felt left out and regretted missing a chance to connect and grow in person.

But rather than buying the lie and believing it wasn't for me because of circumstances (i.e. we didn't have the money to buy a conference ticket, plane ticket and pay for a hotel room), I knew there were real reasons that kept me home. 

Like most, I hate missing out and feeling left out. I didn't avoid Twitter or IG anymore than usual over the weekend (I don't often keep up with Twitter on the weekends like I do during the week). But I engaged where I was over the weekend rather than wallow in self-pity and focus on missing out on what was happening in Indianapolis. 

I'm so grateful I...
+ had a spontaneous date with the mister on Thursday evening because his class was canceled
+ spent time with a friend and caught up on Friday evening
+ attended Homecoming festivities at the university where I work on Saturday
+ shared a meal with old + new friends on Saturday evening
+ got to know a woman in my church better over serving together on Sunday morning

Sometimes, it's just better to focus on the good and count my blessings. There are other ways I can invest in my blog, even when I don't attend conferences. I'm grateful for the Naptime Diaries Mentorship program I've been part of. I am thankful for the blog friends I've met in real life and I know I'll continue the habit of meeting others in person as opportunities present themselves.   

I could have played the comparison game, bought the lies my blog wasn't popular enough or I'm not spending enough money on my blog for it to "succeed."  But where would that leave me? Feeling sorry for myself is no way to live. I do hope to attend a blog conference some day. 

For now, I will continue to network online and glean what I can from hashtags and anticipate a lot of great blog posts from those who attended :) I took advantage of a sale on Ann's book, Work Shift, thanks to her being a conference speaker. I also connected with Adproval, one of the conference sponsors. All is not lost.  

How do you handle missing out?

I do hope to attend a blog conference, especially Influence in the future and I am truly happy for those who got to be part of it. I have loved what I have read and heard from its founders. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

friday finds & favorites #5

Happy Friday! This week, I'm loving...

These looks for fall from Gina...she chose some great combos!

Need some more fashion inspiration? Don't miss this quintessential fall outfit from Lauren.

Since it's Friday, I'm dreaming of the weekend and found the perfect brunch food to make, mini muffin bites from Sarah.

This earring DIY from Rachel.

25 signs you need a vacation from social media.

If you're helping with a friend's wedding or planning your own, don't miss these planning tips on a budget from Beth.

Do you own a small business? This article (with infographic) suggests tips for turning pinners into purchasers.

So grab a button and link up your own post!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

living room pinspirations

Remember when I shared our recent living room renovation? Despite being somewhat unfinished, it was quite the transformation to have a ceiling and painted walls after months of living with the ceiling damage of a leak from the second floor bathroom. Now, that the room is painted, we'd love to get it actually decorated.

If we won the World Market HGTV Passport to Style Sweepstakes, where the Grand Prize is a $10,000 World Market Gift Card, these are my ideas for making over the space:

HGTV Passport to Style Sweepstakes
Grand Prize package includes: A $10,000 World Market shopping spree and design consultation with an HGTV Designer.
  • There will also be 3 runner up prize winners that will each receive a $1,000 World Market gift card!
  • The HGTV Sweepstakes runs from September 22, 2012 until October 26, 2012.
  • If you share the sweepstakes with 5 of your friends (via FB share or email) you can receive 5 additional bonus entries. This is part of the registration process when entering. Users can also enter daily for more chances to win.
  • Enter online at or

Have you heard about the World Market Explorer Program?
It is a customer rewards program where member earn exclusive perks, like coupons, offers, previews, and beyond. Spend $100 on Gourmet Foods and Non-alcoholic beverages and you will receive a $10 reward that you can use to purchasing almost anything in store or online. You can also earn FREE COFFEE Rewards! (Buy 6 12oz. bags and your 7th one is free!)

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This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New York in the Fall

I'm pretty sure I can blame You've Got Mail for romanticizing New York in the fall. I mean it's no secret, I love the season of fall and I certainly love a romantic comedy. But that movie has made me dream of visiting New York City in the fall and I finally had the opportunity to do so ((if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you already got a glimpse of some of my travels over the weekend)).

I've been to NYC a few times before, but never really explored with a local. I stayed with my dear friend, Amy and we covered a lot of ground in two days. I'll remember the visit for years to come.

Working in higher ed, I'm a sucker for a pretty campus. I like to take a self-guided tour of the closest university if I haven't already been there while visiting relatives. Day 1 of touring started with a New York bagel, which I ate on the steps of the old library at Columbia University.

Amy showed me around campus a bit on this picture perfect day. I loved the Hogwarts feeling of Teacher's College, with its wooden beams in the ceiling and all.

We made our way to Grand Central Station, an iconic place I had not been before. It was just as big as I imagined. The ceiling surprised me with its beautiful constellations.

Next up, we caught the East River ferry to Brooklyn. We met up with some of Amy's friends and at ferry and went to Smorgasburg, an outdoor food fair. There were so many food choices! and thankfully the rain held off, but the sky looked stormy all afternoon.

Of course, we visited the Brooklyn Bridge. A good portion was under construction, but we were there before sunset and got some good shots. I loved seeing the Statue of Liberty from a distance.

One of my favorite things about the visit was seeing Amy's place. She shares a 15th floor apartment uptown with an awesome roof deck. The city view was great and I stole this panoramic shot from her :)

Sunday was another full day, going to Redeemer and the Met, and visiting with other friends in the city. We walked around the Upper West Side and saw several landmarks shown in You've Got Mail. All in all, it was a fun-filled weekend and I'm so grateful I got to go.

Have you ever been to New York in the fall?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Feeling Timeless

No, I didn't go on a shopping spree or bust out my favorite LBD ((confession: I don't actually own a little black dress...)). I'm talking about a timeless look from Michael Kors.

It's the perfect accessory, whether you're going to run errands on a Saturday or headed out for a night on the town. Pair it with your favorite arm candy or let it stand on its own. Check out the Paris Limited Edition Michael Kors watch.

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Michael Kors.
Love your Michael Kors watch? Show us how you wear it! Share your photo on Instagram with the tag #MKTimeless for a chance to win our Paris Limited Edition Runway watch.