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SCARLETT LILLIAN

Tuesday

26

August 2014

0

COMMENTS

A New Chapter.

Written by , Posted in Living Outloud

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I haven’t blogged since February with good intention.  I needed a break.  I need time to soul search and discover new dreams ahead of me.

Inside this journal above I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming the past 6 months. I’ve been writing lots of notes about what I love, what I hope for in the future, what I want out of life beyond the familiar I knew in another career the past 7 years. I’ve been doing lots of research studying powerhouse #girlboss women. I’ve been studying what has worked and not worked for me in the past. I’ve been accepting there were weaknesses I had failures at, and remembering their were strengths I succeeded at greatly. And now as I move forward in announcing my next chapter, I’m seeing all this journaling come to life behind the scenes and I’m so giddy to spill the beans. I’ve finally chosen a date and I’ll be sharing my secret on Sept 18! That day is my baptism birthday, and I chose that day to announce my next project because it will be a rebirth of many sorts. As always, thanks for being with me on the journey and stay tuned….

Starting launch day on September 18, I will no longer be blogging here on my personal blog, as it’s time to close this chapter for the new adventure that awaits, and I want to make sure you know where to find me.  If you’d like to be the first to know, as well as receive free goodies on launch day, please subscribe below to my mailing list and I’ll send the news and your gift straight to your inbox!

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Friday

28

February 2014

13

COMMENTS

Our Nashville house decor!

Written by , Posted in Randomness

Though I am super excited to get back to the warm weather and sand between my toes in Florida, one thing I’m sad to leave behind is the decor job in our Nashville house.  It was the first time I worked with a professional designer, and she really opened my eyes to a lot of fun things like wallpaper which I had never used before.  If you are in the Nashville area looking for an interior decorator or designer, I highly recommend you check out Vickie with VM Designs.  So before we pack up and move in a week, I wanted to give you a tour of some of the rooms in our Nashville house.  I sure will miss the decor in this house… but onto new decor projects in Florida!  If only I could take my custom closet…. the hardest thing for me to leave behind!  Ahhhhh c’est la vie!

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Wednesday

26

February 2014

11

COMMENTS

Goodbye Nashville! We’re moving home!

Written by , Posted in Living Outloud

HouseWell….. we did it again… last time, we sold our house in 5 days… this time we sold our house in 4 days…. I’m starting to think I have a second career in staging homes to sell quickly.  ha ha!  But the big news is that we are moving back home to Florida!  Stephen and I love Nashville and all it’s amazingness, but after a 6 month whirlwind, and a brutal brutal cold winter, we began to get really really homesick and realized we don’t like living so far away from our family and loved ones back home.  We also realized we are miserable in cold weather and need to be back in the Sunshine State.  So we sold our house and are moving back home next week!   I will miss the creative spirit of this city, the rolling hills, the beautiful architecture of the homes, the Southern culture, and of course the new friendships we made in Nashville, but the greatest lesson we learned in the midst of everything is…. home is where the heart is, and there’s no place like home.

Here’s a few other fun things we learned along the way during our stay in Nashville:

1.  We are year-long warm-weather people.  We will never move further north of Jacksonville again.

2.  I am not a boots/layers/scarf/jacket person.  I feel way too claustrophobic in layers.

3.  Life is more comfortable in flip flops.  Year round.

4.  Some trees don’t stay green all year round.  Some change to colors of red and orange.

5.  Wild turkeys don’t have colorful tails the way used to draw around our hands in kindergarten.

6.  Horizons aren’t perfectly straight outside of Florida.  They have curves.

7.  Most people in Nashville have at least 2 jobs.  Music and (fill in the blank).

8.  A 2-minute scene in television takes 10 hours to film.

9.  You get more house for the money in Nashville, but a big fancy house doesn’t make you any happier.

10.  My soul is most at peace on the water.  And there’s not much water in Nashville.

11.  Life is too short to live so far away from those you love most.

12.  Home is truly where the heart is even with all its imperfections.

13.  Rhett doesn’t do snow.  And neither does his momma.

14.  It’s better to say “We tried it!” than to always wonder “What if we tried that?”

15.  Palm trees are a beautiful beautiful thing.

Sig

Friday

14

February 2014

4

COMMENTS

Our non-Valentine’s Day dance.

Written by , Posted in Living Outloud

5051It was the kind of average morning in our marriage, almost three years after we danced at our wedding abvoe.  This average morning was not really worth blogging about, and there’s no picture of us in action to put on social media.  Stephen and I had just eaten breakfast, then separated for our individual morning quiet time with Jesus.  Him at the breakfast table, me on the couch in our living room writing in my prayer journal where I have my daily conversations with God.  He finished his quiet time before me and headed upstairs to the office to begin working for the day.  As I finished mine, the dishwasher sound went off to let us know that the dishes were ready to be taken out.  While Stephen normally does the dishes, I thought I would surprise him by going ahead and taking the dishes out before I got started with my work day.

I turned on a slow love song that had been stuck in my head for a few days, and knowing he was upstairs probably already with his headphones on while he worked, I began to sing my heart out.  I love to sing, but I don’t do it as much anymore.  Usually its reserved for times alone in the car when I have a moment to myself when I know no one else in the world can judge me.  While I’ve been told I have a good voice, I’m extremely shy about it, and don’t really let others hear it.  But that morning in the kitchen, I didn’t care if Stephen had his headphones on or not…. I let myself… simply… sing.

The song I was singing really stirred up a lot of emotion as I put the dishes away.  Though it’s a love song, it’s a song about saying goodbye.  When I listen to it, part of me tears up because it makes me think of the time I had to say goodbye to my dad until I get to see him in Heaven again.  And part of me tears up because it takes me back to that place in my early 20s when I had to gain strength to say goodbye to a love of the past that I had to love enough to let go trusting there was a greater love in store better fit for both of us.  As my mind went back to that place of the hurt of goodbye, as I aimlessly put the dishes up and sang along, Stephen came parading down the stairs and into the kitchen with that sneaky look on his face and a big smile.  He had been listening to me all along as I sang my heart out, and now he wanted to cut in with a dance.  He stopped me in the middle of the kitchen, and swept me into his arms, leading the way as we circled around and froze time simply dancing in the kitchen.  Then he pulled me in close, his arms wrapped around me as we simply slow danced, and all I could think is…. “these are the moments I said good bye to the past for.”  These are the moments that I knew with all my heart could exist in the future.  These are the moments that my little girl dreams dreamt up that we could all grow up and find our own Prince Charming.  These are the moments that whether we have no money in the bank, or a million dollars to our name, that I hope we never let life get too busy to stop and dance in the kitchen.

As we all celebrate romance today, my heart always aches for the single girls out there on Valentine’s Day.  I had to cringe through 29 years of lonely Valentine’s before I married my ultimate Valentine at age 30.  I ache for you that our society makes such a big deal about Valentine’s, and I ache for you that I know it feels like it is rubbed in your face.  I understand that longing and all those years of waiting, and I hope the story above can encourage you to not give up waiting for the desires of your heart.  God knows the big picture, He is holding your heart in His hands and preparing the man of your dreams as you wait.  He is always preparing you, and looking back, I can confidently say that His timing is perfect.  It will be in Your life too.  I promise.  Happy Valentine’s Day, and may you find comfort in the greatest love of all knowing Jesus is your first love, and that you deserve a man who loves Him just as much. Don’t give up… you are worth it.

Sig

 

Wednesday

8

January 2014

14

COMMENTS

Shifting Perspectives.

Written by , Posted in Living Outloud

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It was the coldest day of the year so far in Nashville, and suddenly I was craving my favorite Chilled Shrimp & Soba Noodle Spinach Salad from Panera.  I bundled up putting on my fur vest over my leather jacket and threw on my warmest scarf (homemade by this sweet friend!) as Stephen and I headed out to go do errands on the icey roads. We finally arrived at Panera, and ran through the 9 degree weather from the car to the warmth inside the restaurant.  I quickly scurried up to the counter and ordered my regular salad.

“I’m sorry, we don’t carry that anymore,” the cashier informed me.

I got flustered.  Excuse me?  How can you not carry MY salad anymore?  I had an entitled moment of getting irritated.  How could they do that me?  I mean, we left the warmth of our home to drive in the snow just to go get that salad.  If I was a 10 year old Stephanie Tanner on Full House, I would have belted out a high squealed “Hoooow ruuuude!”

How-Rude-Stephanie-Full-House

Then I turned the corner and my whole perspective changed.

While Stephen finished checking out for us, I found us a table tucked away in the far corner.  There was only 1 other person sitting by themself in that faraway corner near us, and I was glad to find a spot where Stephen could finally attack our 2014 goals we were now 6 days behind on.  It took us finally leaving the house and all our distractions to go find a table in Panera and daydream.

Well… God had different plans.

As I passed by the other person sitting tucked away, I looked up from my iPhone long enough to notice she was an older lady playing crosswords in the newspaper.  I looked back down at my iPhone as I walked toward the table, then back up to to notice now this time, she was sitting in Panera without any food in front of her, only a free glass of water.  As I tried to look closer out of the corner of my eye while trying not to stare, I saw, she had holes in her clothes.  And she had about 5 layers on.  And it looked like she hadn’t had a bath in weeks.

Then I realized…. Does this woman have no warm home to go to tonight in this 9 degree weather?  Does she have no warm food to fill her belly?  How could I find out without being rude and bluntly asking “Hi, are you homeless?”

As Stephen walked over to our table, and passed her by, he said hello to her, in his usual manner as he usually does greeting perfect strangers with his extrovert personality.  We started chatting with her and found out her name was Rene.  Pronounced Re-nay, but spelled just like my mom’s name, but pronounced Reen.  She started to share how it was too cold to stand outside with a sign and earn money to eat that day, but that she was thankful to be able to come in a place like Panera and just sit in the warmth.

“They don’t like that I come in here, but, I don’t bother anyone.  I just try to keep to myself,” she tried to explain as if she didn’t deserve a decent meal like the rest of us. “Every now and then, someone approaches me with a giftcard, and I’m thankful for that, but I’m not trying to bother anyone, it’s just nice to have a place to sit.”

I had to hold back the tears.  And here I was complaining about something silly like them taking away my salad.

“Can we get you anything?  You name it, we’d be happy to buy you something,” I asked her.

In that way that I love Stephen loves to serve others, he jumped up eager to go place her order.  He took her order and walked off.

“I love the tomato soup, with the grilled cheese… it warms me up,” she said reaffirming her choice.

“I agree,” I said. “It’s my favorite!”

“If you’ll excuse me, since I’m now able to eat, I’m going to go wash my hands, will you watch my stuff?” she asked so politely.

“Absolutely!” I said.  And my heart broke even more at the simple luxury of getting to wash my hands that I take for granted.

Stephen came back before she did and he said, “Ok, we’re good to go, hers will be ready in a minute.  And bummer about your salad, I’m sorry they didn’t have it.”

That’s when I couldn’t hold the tears back anymore, and they burst out of my eyes. “Gawwwwsh, it so doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  We have a warm roof over our head tonight.  My heart just breaks for someone like Rene who doesn’t have that luxury tonight in this blistering cold weather,” I said as I tried to wipe my tears before she returned to her nearby table.  Yes, I had been complaining about the cold all day, but suddenly, the thought that there are some people who have to sleep in it…. well….. broke me.  And the last thing I wanted to discuss were our 2014 goals like we had originally planned during that meal, because all I suddenly cared about was… tonight… and making sure this new friend would not freeze as she slept.

As Rene returned and the Panera staff delivered her food, I couldn’t help but think of the 90′s song of “What if God was one of us?”  Just that morning, Stephen and I had a long conversation about how in 2014 we want to find more opportunities to give more.  In looking back over my 2013, I feel like I let myself sink into too many pity parties.  Instead of choosing to dwell on all God HAS blessed me with, I let myself get caught up in all He HAS NOT.  It was an overall constant theme of my own personal battles with 2013, and I was tired of being in that mindset.  As I posted last week on my Instagram, this verse really hit me hard:

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And as I prayed with Stephen about that that very morning, I felt like this was my 1st test for God to see how serious I was about wanting to give.  Would I sit there and ignore the quiet lady in the corner with holes in her clothes, or would I strike up a conversation and listen to her needs and use my resources to help her?

She began opening up about how she was from Europe and moved to the states with her husband who was in the military.  But then she went through a bad divorce and was left nothing and now has no way to get back to her family in Europe.  When I asked if she had a place to stay tonight, she said hadn’t figured that part out yet, she was just sitting in Panera for as long as they would let her.  Stephen and I offered to drive her to a rescue mission, but she politely declined because “It’s just not peaceful there.”  Then we offered to put her up in a hotel. I mean, for all I cared, I wanted to put her up in a Ritz Carlton to allow her one night of luxury for the burden she has to carry in life. “No, no, no, hotels are too expensive, I couldn’t accept that from you.”  I tried to convince her otherwise, because the thought of her sleeping in the 9 degree weather, I didn’t care what price I would have to pay to help have a roof over her head on this freaky cold Nashville night.  She then continued about what I could tell in her eyes was really her simple luxury. “I do have a place that only costs $20,” she said. “It’s a lady who has a house and she rents out rooms to people like me.  I would be staying there tonight if I could, but with the cold, I couldn’t bear standing outside with my sign to gather money today.  It’s my fault, I should have done that.  But that place is real nice, she lets me do laundry and use her detergent and everything.”  I asked if she would accept our $20 to allow her to stay at that place that night, and her eyes lit up, “You would do that for me?”  ”Of course,” I answered.  ”Well, that would be real nice,” she said with a smile.

As we said our goodbyes, I asked her what specifically we could pray for her about.

“Gosh, I can’t think off the top of my head,” she said.  After a pause, she finally knew her answer.  ”Wisdom… yeah, that’s what I need.  Wisdom, that’s what you can pray for me about.”

And suddenly…. I realized that was my lesson that night on that very subject.  Wisdom.  About what’s truly important in life.  And what’s truly important is giving more than receiving.  Because giving truly is receiving. Except, what you receive in return, often exceeds your expectations beyond what you could ever imagine.

Sig

Saturday

4

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

Combat the Cold: Winter Skin Tips

Written by , Posted in Fashion & Beauty

Winter-Skin-Tips

Arg.  Winter skin.  Chapped.  Dry.  Out of control.  Is there ever a way to conquer the changes that you battle with the cold air on your skin?  The snowy days here in Nashville have been doing a number on my skin.  Today’s guest blog comes from Boulder Valley Dermatology, and they have some helpful tips below to help you survive this crazy season for your skin.

Do you find yourself wincing at just the thought of the damage that the harsh cold of the winter months inflicts upon your skin? You’re definitely not alone. The winter weather is notorious for its unfortunate side effects on skin. With the low temperatures and biting winds, it can be a nightmare trying to preserve yourself against the climate. If you want to spend your holiday season by the fireplace instead of by your moisturizing cream, just follow these easy tips to keep your skin healthy.

Bundle Up

Just because you don’t feel like it’s cold enough to wear that scarf doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put it on. The easiest way for your skin to get damaged in the winter months is through exposure. Cold and dry air leaves your skin cracked and itchy – especially your sensitive hands. Try not to let your skin get hurt in the first place and put on those extra winter layers. Protection from the wind and even the sun will help your face stay soft and smooth. It might seem like common sense but make sure you’re not taking any unnecessary risks. Many people don’t realize that their heating units suck the moisture out of their homes as well. Consider investing in a humidifier for that extra hydration boost. Speaking of hydration…

Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is always an important thing to remember and it gets particularly hard during the chill of the winter. Don’t let yourself fall prey to dehydration; no amount of hand cream can save you if your body isn’t getting what it needs from the inside. Furthermore, be careful about where you’re getting your hydration from. It’s very tempting to snuggle up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate after taking refuge in your heated apartment but it can be worse for your skin in the long run. Studies have shown that an increase in sugary foods and dairy can worsen your skin condition surprisingly quickly. Nothing is wrong with indulging every now and again, just consider swapping out the cocoa for some chamomile occasionally if you want something hot.

Keep Moisturizing

Lotion is what we turn to when the damage is done, and for good reason: it does the job well. It also has an important role as a preventative measure. Even if you’ve had healthy skin so far don’t be stingy with your hand cream. It’s always better to be safe than regret not being more diligent with your skin care routine. Preventing damage is easy. Healing after damage has been done is a longer and more painful process.

Take it Easy

Even if you follow all of this religiously, there’s no telling for sure what could happen that you weren’t counting on. If your skin gets hurt from the weather go easy on it! No amount of facial cream is enough to repair the damage that can be done by over eager maintenance. Take it easy with the skin cleanser and don’t let yourself inflame cracked areas even more. The best thing you can do to fix damaged skin is to give it everything it needs to heal – especially time. Keep using a gentle and deep moisturizer on the afflicted area and let it heal. Resist the temptation to bury yourself in pore-clogging concealer and nurse yourself back to health. Keep all of this in mind for a worry free winter.

About the authorThe skin experts at Boulder Valley Dermatology want your skin to be prepared for winter! Learn more about the health of your skin at their website:bvderm.com

Friday

3

January 2014

2

COMMENTS

The Fashion Junkie’s Guide to Getting Money for Old Clothes

Written by , Posted in Fashion & Beauty

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Do you ever take a look at your closet and wonder how much money you could be making on your unused items?  You know the general rule, if you haven’t worn it in over a year, it belongs in someone else’s closet. Today, guest blogger Gem Wilson shares below about a few different ways you can turn your closet into cash.

Being a fashion addict can be tough. While you have to deal with sizing issues, out of stock items, and that one more thing that you just have to have, you also have other problems. Eventually you’re going to run out of closet space and then you have to get rid of stuff. While you’re sure to find some stuff in your closet that you never wear, you might not know what to do with it. Sure you could give it to your best friend, or take it to a charity, but why give stuff away when you can sell it and buy more stuff? While you’re not going to get the original value for your shoes and clothes, you can make money selling old clothes. How? Let’s get started.

Going Through Your Closet  

The first step is to quite simply decide what it is you want to get rid of. At this point you want to be thorough without being overzealous. Do you sometimes wear that top? You might not want to get rid of it. Unless you want to go on a shopping spree to buy new stuff, you have to make sure that all of the stuff you love stays put. In addition, sometimes going through your closet results in finding cool stuff that you’d forgotten about. For that reason, try going through your stuff a week before you sell anything so that you can make sure you’re absolutely certain you want to get rid of things.

Decide How You Want to Sell  

There are a couple of basic ways to get cash for your clothes, but because the internet is definitely the fastest and most reliable, we’ll go with that. You can choose between selling your clothes to people and selling them to companies. Each option has its own pros and cons:

Selling to People  

If you sell clothes to people then you can utilize sites like eBay, Amazon and Tradesy to list and make sales online. There are even iPhone apps like Poshmark to sell items in your closet straight from your phone. In this case you have to take photos of each garment, write a description, create an individual listing for each garment, and then wait for it to sell. This can take days, weeks, and sometimes months depending on the value, style, and desirability of your items. You’ll also have to talk with people, ensure that you charge shipping fees, probably take measurements, and deal with the possibility that someone may try to steal from you or not pay. By making sure that you’ve carefully displayed each item, and by communicating with each seller, you can get more money for your garments by selling directly to people. It is important to keep in mind that most internet sites charge some sort of commission, and often a listing fee as well, so you will have to deduct this from your total profits. In addition, the lower you price your items, the faster they will sell, so unless you want things laying around for months waiting for the right buyer to come along, then you have to offer a lower price.

Selling to a Company  

There are also a couple of companies. like Twice, that offer direct cash for your clothes programs so that you can send your garments in for a check or payment. This is the fastest way to sell used clothes online because the majority of these companies simply accept your clothing and then offer you free shipping to their warehouse. Essentially, all you have to do is put the clothes in a box that has been shipped to you and then send it and wait for your money. The process typically takes less than a week, so you get your cash fast. However, while this is a quick and painless way to make a sale, it does offer you less money per garment.

This video below for Twice explains how easy it is to box up your clothes you no longer wear and get cash for it easily!

Choosing Between the Two  

If you want to sell your old clothes online then you have to choose between using websites like eBay or others. Usually a good way to make the decision is to check how much you would get for your wardrobe on each type of site, and then make final profit comparisons. For example, if you list on eBay then you have to take the time spent taking photos and listing, the time spent communicating with people, and the money for individual boxes and envelopes for postage into account. For example, if you can get $5 for a dress without having to worry about anything, but only $12 for it after waiting for a month, dealing with people, and spending the time to take pictures and write a description, then you might eventually make more profit with the first option. It mostly depends on how you value your time, and how patient you are.

As soon as you make your decision, all you have to do is make the transaction and figure out what to buy with your new money. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of closet space to fill up with the latest fashions.

About the author:  Fashion guru and clothes seller Gem Wilson knows that the best way to make money from selling your clothes is down to research and knowing your websites!

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The sequin dress I’m holding up top and the cheetah top I’m wearing above are both from my online fashion boutique!  Get them in your closet today!

Monday

30

December 2013

18

COMMENTS

Finding birthday magic again.

Written by , Posted in Living Outloud

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So I’m just going to admit it.  I was a grinch this Christmas season and the weeks leading up to it.  There was something about my 33rd birthday approaching this year that I just did… not… want… to… celebrate. And I wasn’t much wanting to celebrate Christmas either.  Stephen had to beg me to pull out the tree and decorate because I just wasn’t in the mood this year.  I was in a major funk about a lot of different things related to the Christmas season and my upcoming birthday, as well as dealing with disappointments to unanswered prayers and struggling to keep the faith during a season of joy celebrating the birth of our Savior.

I felt like the little kid in The Polar Express who couldn’t hear the bell ring anymore… I felt like I lost the magic of Christmas, and birthdays as well.

My mom was coming to Nashville to spend it with Stephen and I, and she gave me fair warning that she was bringing “magic” with her to help cheer me up.  I of course rolled my daughter eyes in that “Ohhh mom” kind of way.  But then she told me that on my birthday, I was instructed to wear my fanciest dress, so while I was feeling like a grump, I also knew, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to dress up.

We celebrated our normal Christmas morning opening presents, mostly watching my poodle child, Rhett, open the presents for us as he tore back each wrapping paper for us.  While I know he’s a dog, I truly believe he is part human with all his funny antics and each day, he reminds me there is a piece of joy to laugh about.

Then it was off to get ready for the day and the surprises my mom couldn’t wait to begin.  As I walked down the stairs in my favorite frilly Betsey Johnson dress and hot pink bow shoes, I heard the door bell ring.  Who was joining us for Christmas, I wondered?

In walked Kate Davis, another Nashville photographer I hadn’t met yet.  My mom hired her to document the entire day.  So wait, Stephen and I don’t have to document it?  I can take off my photographer hat and let someone else do the job?  Cool.  I admit, I was impressed my mom sneakily found another photographer and booked her.  Kudos Mom.

Next I walked outside to see a limousine waiting in our driveway!  I couldn’t help but laugh when I realized my mom was recreating my 4th grade birthday party.  Back as a little girl, I had seen a movie where an average girl got transformed into a princess, and when my mom asked what kind of birthday party I wanted, I told her I wanted to be a princess for a day riding in a limo and picking up all my girlfriends along the way to go have my Debbie Gibson covered birthday cake at a fancy restaurant.  And that we did.

Fast forward back to this Christmas Day, and here we were again, limo awaiting to whisk away for a day of magic and recreating birthday dreams.  Again, kudos Mom, kudos.

The limo then whisked us away to my favorite hotel in Nashville called The Hermitage Hotel.  Not only do I love the architecture and beauty of the historic hotel, it had special meaning to me because the very first time my family came to Nashville as tourists, this is where we stayed with my dad.  I had a feeling deep down that this is where my mom was kidnapping me to… but… I didn’t want to ruin her surprise.

As we turned the corner and I saw the sign for the hotel, my heart fluttered.  All the memories of our first trip to Nashville came flooding back to me and I felt bittersweet knowing we were back at this place where my dad once was, and that he wasn’t here to celebrate with us this day.

As we pulled up, I saw a bellman holding a big bouquet of pink flowers and I thought “Awww, how cool, someone is getting flowers today!”  Then it hit me…. “Oh no….”

As I got out of the car, the bellman walked up and greeted me and told me he was holding 33 flowers and had a letter to read me on behalf of the hotel.  As he read the letter, tears began to fill my eyes as he read “We are happy to present these flowers to you on behalf of your father, Johnny Williams.”

Oh Lord….. where was my tissue?

After drying my eyes, we were then escorted to a table waiting covered with rose petals and a big birthday cake. The cake was not covered in Debbie Gibson this time, but it was chocolate with whipped cream frosting just like I had always liked.

We had an amazing brunch with first class service, and after taking a few Christmas photos in front of their big gorgeous tree, we headed back home.  But the day wasn’t over yet.  We spent the rest of the night driving around Nashville looking at all the magical Christmas lights.  I was sooo impressed how much people here in Nashville really put their heart and soul into bringing the magic of Christmas alive through the way they transform their homes into a colorful splendor of beauty and joy.  Some of the houses we saw had over 200,000 lights covering every inch of their property.

There was one house we got out of the limo to walk through their lit up masterpiece, and I remember standing there taking it all in… no Christmas bells were ringing… but in my heart, I felt like they were again.  I had felt bad for being such a grump in the weeks leading up Christmas day, because truly, I have so much to be thankful for.  Mostly importantly, I have so much love in my life, and that’s the greatest gift of all.

So what if I’m turning 33?  As Momma showed me that day, you are never too old experience the magic that each birthday brings.  Thank you Momma for a beautiful day.

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Leave me a comment and let me know, what was a little moment of magic YOU experienced on Christmas day, or at some point in this Christmas season?

Sig

Friday

20

December 2013

0

COMMENTS

Ways to Accessorize a Little Black Dress for Holiday Parties

Written by , Posted in Fashion & Beauty

Are you attending a holiday party this weekend?  Not sure what to wear?  If you have a little black dress in your closet, you’re already half way there.  Today, guest blogger, Jen, shares creative ways to accessorize your little black dress for this season’s holiday parties!

Accessorize-A-Little-Black-Dress

Holiday season means party season. There is no shortage of opportunities to dress to the nines or don your favorite sweater to spread holiday cheer. Many women have that go-to little black dress that looks great at just about any event. By itself, your dress looks great, but fancy it up with some moissanitesparkle or other embellishments to make it holiday happy.

Layer Scarves

The great thing about scarves is that they are both practical and pretty. Look for one with patterns that can add some color to your ensemble. For example, classic paisley or a fun, geometric design with reds and greens or golds and silvers can look great with your dress. Depending on the scarf, you can wear it knotted or hanging loose. Bonus: Wrap it around your head to keep warm when you go outside in the cold, frosty weather.

Jingle Jewelry

A great statement necklace can add holiday fun to just about any outfit, and it’s hard to find one that doesn’t go with your little black dress. Look for something with a lot of shine and sparkle, like moissanite pendants. You could also combine silver and gold strands for a very classic look. If you’re heading to a party with a little more pizazz, check out chunky necklaces like bold-colored beads. If you go big with the necklace, keep the rest of your jewelry to a minimum.

Fancy Feet

Your little dress is cute, sure, but it is plain black. Therefore, you can add some fun with your feet. Nothing says holiday quite like cherry-red heels. More practically, find some comfortable knee-high boots that can help keep your legs warm and still look great. Ankle booties are also all the rage right now and come in every color you can imagine. Adding some unique footwear can give your outfit an unexpected – and chic – element.

Fun With Tights

For those holiday parties where you can get a little wilder, opt for a pair of colored tights.  From green and red stripes to animated characters, there are a number of options that can put the party in your outfit. If you live in a cold climate, your tights can pull double-duty as you get in and out of the car and scoot through frosty air.

Add Pops of Color

Classic black is just that – classic. Some holiday parties need nothing more than your little black dress, tasteful jewelry and understated heels. However, you can add splashes of color that can help you stand out while still giving you a clean look. Red is an especially good color over the holidays, and the red-black contrast creates a dramatic look. Consider finding red bangle bracelets, a pin for your dress or red shoes. If you want to add color, remember not to overdo it. Choose one color to play with and avoid mixing in any others.

Finishing Touch

You can instantly dress up your outfit with a belt. Consider a wide, sparkling belt to add a festive look, or a thin, blue or red piece for a softer look. If you go big on the belt, keep the rest of your accessories minimalist so as not to have competing elements to your outfit.

Written by Jen, a fashion & style enthusiast.

SHOPPING LIST:

Little Black Dress

1. Polka Dot Yellow Scarf / Red Sparkle Scarf / Purple Infinity Scarf 

2. Teal Necklace / Silver Crystal Pendant / Gold & Crystal Necklace

3. Badgley Mischka Red Pumps / Steve Madden Cheetah Heels / Steve Madden Black Boots 

4. Red Eyelet Tights / Polka Dot Tights / Black Lace Tights

Thursday

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December 2013

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COMMENTS

Giving The Gift Of Your Gift.

Written by , Posted in Strive To Be Extraordinary

Extraordinary-08

Our Christmas tree in our new Nashville home.

There’s so many holiday gift guides floating around the blog world right now, and I debated whether to put one together also.  But then I thought, you know, we’re not going by any gift guides this year, so why should I promote one?

Instead, what we are doing in my family this year is simply… making our gifts.  When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas/My birthday this year, I simply said “Make me something.  Don’t buy me the usual knick knacks, make me something from your heart.”  And now Stephen and I are doing the same for each other and others as well.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the newest and hottest gadgets out there, but making something from the heart is so much more meaningful.

Now mind you, I’m not not not crafty.  While I wish I had the gift of being the one behind who inspires others on Pinterest with my crafty projects, I just wasn’t born with a crafty gene to create something out of nothing.  I wish I had that gift, and time, to really sit down and whip out something amazing.  But I’ve learned, making something from the heart doesn’t always have to be crafty.  Last year, the gift I made my mom was an album of all our photos from our trip to Europe.  In the past as a little girl, it was a drawing of my hand spelling “I Love You” in sign language, with a poem I wrote.  I want my mom to remember not what I bought her, but how she felt when getting the gift.

The other gift I try to give has nothing to do with Christmas… but it’s a gift I try to give all year long.  It’s simply the gift of…. giving… when I see God open an opportunity.  While Stephen and I feel blessed to earn a living on the creative gifts we have, whenever we see someone in true need of one of our creative gifts, if we are in a place to be able to give, we try our best to give without asking anything in return.  We also love blessing others with random acts of kindness when we can, such as leaving someone a bigger tip than they deserve, buying someone’s groceries behind us in line, or praying for someone on the spot.

It’s so easy to get caught up in forgetting that Jesus is the reason for the season and the gift He gave us, but below are a few ways I hope you can remember what this season is truly all about.

THREE WAYS TO GIVE THIS SEASON:

1.  MAKE SOMETHING.  If you are crafty, go to Michaels and brainstorm up something unique for that special person in your life who is used to getting something store bought from you.  If you are not crafty, Personal Creations is a great site which helps think for you, and you just plug in a custom name or phrase!

2.  TITHE.  When was the last time you sacrificed part of your paycheck to give to your church?  I know it can be hard, I know it’s a sacrifice, I know there are many other things you need to be spending your money on, but with all that God has given you, how can you not give Him back His 10%?  If you don’t belong to a church, is there someone in your life that could use a check for the 10%?  And next time you go get groceries, you know you will see that reminder there ringing the bell with a smile as your walk in.  There’s so much beauty in giving that you don’t understand until you give, and as Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.”

3.  GIVE YOUR TIME.  Just as hard as it is to give money, giving of your time can be just as hard when your To Do list is adding up with each day getting closer to Christmas.  Yet, this time of year, so many charities, organizations and churches are in need of how they are trying to give in others lives too.  Think of the homeless shelter that needs more volunteers on Christmas to serve up meals tho those whose only Christmas gift is a hot meal.  Think of that church pageant who needs people to help with wardrobe, music, passing out candles.  Or what about that old man down the street who will be spending Christmas alone?  Maybe it’s time you stopped passing by his house on the drive home, and stopped for an hour to see if he needs anything.

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthian 9:7

I hope your Christmas season is turning out to be a blessed one!  Leave me a comment and let me know any other ideas you have for unique ways to give this season!

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