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happy thanksgiving.

today i'm waking up in the rocky mountain state in the best friend's house. we will watch the macy's day parade, eat lots of food, play games, and enjoy quality time with family. i'm excited to take part in their traditions and be included in the celebrations. today i'm thankful for Jesus' grace and mercy, and his unconditional love he extends to me. today i'm thankful for new experiences, for friends who are family, and for a family who loves me, supports me, and encourages me to do new things (like spend thanksgiving in colorado.) and i'm thankful for you, sweet blogger friends! wherever you are today, and whoever you're spending thanksgiving with, i hope you have a beautiful day full of turkey, laughter, and naps.

happy thanksgiving, friends!



travel day.

well i'm up early to catch a 4a.m. shuttle to the atlanta airport this morning. i'm colorado bound, y'all. apparently today is the busiest travel day of the year, so i'm a tad nervous and hoping all traveling will go smoothly. all will be well when i touch down in denver and find the best friend waiting for me :) i'm super excited for a looooong thanksgiving weekend. okay, nap time.

oh and in case you had a hankering to watch the entire charlie brown thanksgiving, here you go.

happy wednesday, brave hearts!



christmas traditions // NO. 1

every year, the weekend of Thanksgivng, my dad and i go together to get our christmas tree. we look through several to find the right one, twirl them to make sure there aren't too many bad spots, and then i carry it to the car. my dad, always being the gentleman, offers to carry it, but i, being the independent woman that i am, politely refuse. ;) my mom usually stays home and starts decorating the back porch. my dad and i come home with the tree and get started on the front of the house. i decorate the porch railings and he takes care of putting lights on the landscaping. then he puts on the tree lights, and we decorate the tree together that night while listening to classy christmas music.

this year, since i'll be in colorado for thanksgiving, we got our tree a week early and did all of our decorating. my family will be all over the place for the next few weeks and i didn't want to wait until mid-december to get a tree. that's just unheard of! ;) i need AT LEAST a full month of christmas decorations. can i get an amen?

growing up, we had an artificial tree. you know, the ones where each layer of branches has a color assigned to it so you know where it goes? i loved putting it together because it was like a fun puzzle. i didn't know that there were far better things ahead. we donated our artificial tree a few years back and decided to go all out with a real tree. my life was changed forever. the experience of picking out a new tree each year is so fun and you can't beat the christmas tree smell. goodness gracious. it's one of my favorite things in the world.

also, our dogs sprout reindeer antlers every christmas. it's pretty magical. little baby reindogs.

so what are your christmas tree traditions?


weekend update.

- craft night prepping for a first birthday party! i like it when my friends have kids.
- getting to watch the sunrise and sunset every day. perks of the time change.
- the 4th annual core group christmas party.
- christmas card picture day at work. most every body hates it, but not me! i heart pictures.
- picking out our christmas tree and decorating the house!

on my style and such
photoshoots of late
thursday's letters
friday shenanigans

>> i have downloaded just about every single one of these holiday wallpaper backgrounds
>> my bag from thredup arrived and i'm putting together all of the clothing items i want to send. have you heard about this company? check it out!

CATCHING FIRE!!! oh my gosh. let's please discuss. i jumped, i cried, and held on tightly to the arms of my chair for the most part. it was SO good and now we wait for mockingjay. what did you think??


friday shenanigans.

my office is taking christmas pictures this morning for our annual christmas card. it's always quite the event. we have to wear certain clothes, certain colors, bring accessories for funny pics, smile for two hours and just be happy in general for an extended period of time. for me, this is not really a problem, since as y'all know, i LOVE pictures and i love to laugh. bonus. this year, in addition to group shots, we are doing individual and small group shots in a box. a box, you ask? well yes, they are turning us into a larger version of the brady bunch. i can't wait to see how it all turns out! i'll be sure to sneak y'all some pics.

while you're waiting, here are some wise words from kid president. happy friday!!

p.s. i'm going to see catching fire tomorrow!! i CANNOT wait, but uh, i guess i have to. if you've seen it, don't let any spoilers slip! ;) we'll discuss on monday. okay? okay.


thursday's letters.

>> dear core group, i'm thankful for you. i was sitting in the middle of bible study this week listening to you talk about Jesus and what you're learning and struggling through, and i was filled with thankfulness that the Lord has kept us together for four straight years. i'm so blessed to call you friends.

>> dear katniss, i'm super excited you are coming back this weekend. i've felt anxious all week, which is slightly ridiculous, but so many cray cray things are happening in catching fire and i just can't handle the waiting!! #katnisisback

>> dear craft night, you were a blast. i've never made so many paper airplanes in my life. hooray for little boys and 1st birthday parties.

>> dear colorado family, a week from today i will be celebrating turkey day with you for the first time ever. i'm beside myself with excitement for this big day. thanks in advance for including me in all of your family traditions.



photoshoots of late.

a few weeks ago, i had the privilege of taking some photos for one of my favorite families. i've known these people since my junior year of high school when L went from being my swimming coach to my spiritual mentor. she met with me and discipled me for six years as i finished high school and went through all of my college years. since we became friends, she and her husband have had three precious little girls. they love disney and narnia...we were automatic besties.


on my style and such.

fyi. i make awkward faces.

friends! today i'm guest posting over at A God Fashioned Life for allison's Tailored Tuesday's series. i'm talking about my style and giving my little opinion on clothes and fashion, which i think is pretty hilarious. me + fashion. haha! go check it out if you'd like, and be sure to say hi to allison!


weekend update.

- core group conversations
- dinner with a dear friend and her kiddos
- creating new christmas prints for the shop
- a day off to rest and recover from whatever sickness is going around

holiday gift guide // oak+oats
cayden & james | dancing // taking steps home
welcome to "the advice column" // elah tree
keeping track... // moons & junes

november sponsors
on taking sick days.

- feel free to ignore the fact that this is One Direction, but the music video idea with all the pictures is amazing!! if y'all even knew how much i love pictures you could understand. i want a whole room strung up with photos like this!! this is the equivalent of belle's library for me.
- have you heard of an app called signote? i found it via #theeverydayproject a couple weeks ago and i'm obsessed. you get to create your own typography for your photos.
- these chevron printed straws
- hooray for nerdy lord of the rings references

there are so many fun things coming up! here's a tiny glimpse.
- going to see catching fire!! y'all, i can't even handle the anticipation.
- the 4th annual core group christmas party
- going with my dad to get our christmas tree. it's a tradition.
- thanksgiving in colorado! 9 days and counting :)


on taking sick days.

today, i am at home, sick with a sore throat, headache, and a stuffy nose. say it ain't so!

i knew y'all would want to be notified.

i hate having to take sick days from work because i don't get many each year. four to be exact. and i'd rather save my sick days for when i'm deathly ill and may need to take a whole week off. this, of course, has never happened (except for that one time last year when i broke my foot and had emergency surgery on my neck), so i like to be prepared. here's the thing about sick days. your company gives them to you to use, but you're scared to use them because you don't want to get behind on your work OR because you're saving them for a rainy day. i always feel super judged when i take a sick day, but i have some things to say about that.

a// it's MY sick day to take if i need to

b// the world will go on turning if you take a sick day. your work can and will wait until monday, so calm down.

c// i HATE it when people come in sick to work. it's selfish and rude. so i'm certainly not going into work when i'm sick and could get my coworkers sick and wipe out my whole department with the plague!! sorry, was that dramatic? must be the nyquil...

all that to say. i'm staying home today and i won't feel bad about it. i'm drinking hot tea, eating soup, watching some Sherlock (BBC version, of course), getting the rest i need, and popping cough drops like nobody's business. over and out.


november sponsors.

we are already into the second week of november! how did this happen? today i want to introduce you to the wonderful ladies who've been hanging out on my sidebar this month! they are absolutely wonderful, and you should check out their blogs and shops for lots of goodness.

since turkey day is only a couple weeks away, i asked these ladies about their favorite thanksgiving traditions! here's what they said >>

1 // shayla >> moons and junes
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is one that started only 2 years ago. We always go to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving. My grandparents are my two most favorite people in the entire world. I'm so thankful that they're mine. My grandpa is retired, but keeps himself so busy. He's always in his workshop with a new project. Helping my sisters with their cars, building my family a regulation sized volleyball court just because somebody mentioned how cool it would be, Converting my mothers garage into a spare bedroom for the kids, making my arch for my wedding, on and on and on. He's the most giving person. I always knew that I wanted to marry a man who would take care of my family and other people by the example my grandfather made for me. A few years ago, at Thanksgiving, I heard my grandpa in a huff because nobody made a pecan pie, and that's his favorite. Ever since then, my tradition has been to make the Pecan Pie. I love to focus on everything that my grandpa does for us while I'm making it, and at the end I'll put a little message in the Pecans on top for him. Just so he knows it's especially for him. It's a small thing, really, but I know he enjoys it, and just knowing that I've made him feel loved and appreciated for everything he does, really sets the mood for the whole season. 

2 // britney >> the quiet place & mint chocolate chip moments
My favorite thanksgiving tradition is: pumpkin pie, it's my favorite! And spending time with family, eating lots of food, and going through all of the ads so we can plan out our next day of shopping.
the quiet place // blog//facebook//twitter
mint chocolate chip moments // blog//twitter//bloglovin'

3 // samantha >> elah tree
O'goodness. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my absolute favorite. Tyler and I are just beginning our traditions as a married couple. Last year we spent Thanksgiving in Fresno and we will this year too. We spend 4 to 5 days with family, eating great food, and doing tons of fun activities together. Last year we did archery, ice skating, and Christmas crafts! 

4 // allison >> allison ramsing
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition has always been spending the day with family and friends.  Since I no longer live near my family, I'm excited to welcome friends into my home to celebrate this year.  This Thanksgiving I'll also make my first turkey.

5 // amy >> taking steps home
Before every thanksgiving meal my family gets together, holds hands, prays, and then shares what we're thankful for. It's never struck me as a "tradition" as much as it's just how we do family. We always want to put God first - give Him our thanks, and then share what were thankful for in our day to day lives. I'm sure there are plenty of other traditions (like the kitchen full of all the women in the family) - but this tradition means the most.

6 // amanda >> little lady little city
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is making pies with my family.
Little Lady Little City//Instagram//Twitter

7 // christina >> sweet lavender bake shoppe
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is actually the crazy double family gatherings my husband and I do, every year! So, each Thanksgiving we wake up, have the healthiest breakfast we can possibly make, spend some time one on one, and then prepare ourselves to have TWO separate Thanksgivings! IN. ONE. DAY! My family's get together is usually first, as they like to eat early. So we arrive at their house, hang out with them before "dinner", help out cooking/preparing, watch football, etc...and then we sit down and eat with them. As soon as that is done, we skip dessert and head on over to my husband's family's house where we arrive as they're already eating. We sit down, hang out, chat and laugh with them, and then relax afterwards with big ol slices of homemade pie and coffee. It's neat because it allows us to spend equal time at both family's gatherings, experience a full Thanksgiving dinner, AND get dessert without feeling like we've eaten WAAAAY too much. To be honest though, my husband usually eats some dinner at his family house as well, haha.

8 // betsy >> heavens to betsy
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is heading over to my aunt & uncles house.  The whole family (usually 40+) people gets together and we have a blast just talking and munching and enjoying being with one another!  Then, the "kids" all put a plan together for some midnight Black Friday shopping.  It's always a fun day!

9 // christina >> home says hello
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is making pumpkin pie from scratch. Ever since I learned how to make my own pumpkin puree, I can't get enough of homemade pumpkin pies. :)
i absolutely love talking traditions. it's so fun to hear how different families do holidays, don't ya think?
thanks to my lovely sponsors for participating! if you're interested in partnering with rivers and roads, now is a good time to sign up! i'm offering 50% off all advertising packages through december 24th. merry christmas! ;) use the code BUDDYTHEELF.

happy thursday, brave hearts!


comfy + cozy

these are the days when i want to wear the comfiest clothes in my closet. chunky scarves, puffy vests, baggy sweaters, whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens...that kind of thing. it's all about the layers. just to give you an idea, here are some pinterest inspirations of late.

 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6
// how do YOU layer? //


weekend update.

- bonfires and musical evenings
- perfect scarf weather days
- a golden yard, thanks to the leaves
- catching both sunrises and sunsets these days. perks of the time change.

adventure... // taking steps home
let's play desert island // elah tree
how about some butterfinger fudge.. // sweet lavender bake shoppe

adventures in tennessee // chattanooga days
because fireworks are scary
the great christmas exchange

- i was a mess watching this. i wish more people, including myself, were more selfless like this on a daily basis.
- this made me laugh far too much.
- i'm obsessing over christmas garlands like this, this, and this.
don't forget to remember your veterans today. many of my family and friends have served our country, and my brother is currently serving. our military has, does, and will sacrifice so much for this country and your freedom. they deserve your respect, your support, and your thanks. happy veteran's day!


the great christmas exchange.

i know, it's just november, but christmas will be here before you know it!! two of my favorite bloggers are hosting a christmas exchange, which might be one of the greatest things ever. you get to give a give a gift, receive a gift, and make new friends! so. much. christmas. cheer.

// beth and samantha //

i have great news. this is not a closed exchange! anyone can participate. bloggers, readers, your mom, your sister, you name it, you're in! this exchange is also open internationally.  participants will be matched within their own country.

to sign up and get all of the important details, click here.

11/18: make sure to sign up by november 18th!! the exchange will close on that day.
11/25: you will receive an email with your assignment/partner
12/16: you have three weeks to shop and get your package in the mail. make sure to ship by december 16th.
1/7: enjoy your christmas break! the link up will be ready on january 7th for you sweet bloggers to link up your exchange!

keep the gifts around $20. if you are feeling overly generous, then go for it, but please don't expect anyone to go over $20 :)

sign up HERE.

merry christmas, y'all! too soon? i don't care ;)


because fireworks are scary.

only the cutest thing you'll see all day.
the grand finale kills me.
kids are the greatest.
you're welcome.
the end.


adventures in tennessee // chattanooga days

i'm a firm believer in the idea that you can always create adventures for yourself. i was born and raised in chattanooga and this city still never gets old to me. i love to explore downtown chattanooga starting on the north shore, stroll around coolidge park, skip across the walnut street bridge, and head up to the art district for a caramel latte at rembrandt's coffee house.

autumn in chattanooga takes a few weeks to show up and the leaves tend to change during the last week of october or first of november. when they change, they change all at once...almost overnight it seems. on saturday, the bestie and i decided to head downtown to take in the sights and watch the rowing regatta that takes place in chattanooga every year. the. leaves. were. brilliant.  glorious yellows, oranges, and reds. i can honestly say that i would be totally fine if we lived in this season year round. although the weather outside is getting a bit chilly, there is a certain warmness that autumn exudes as the sun bounces off the colorful leaves. it's the best. enjoy this little tour of my city!

happy november, brave hearts!



the 5th of november.

remember, remember, the 5th of november! how could i forget? it's my daddy's birthday! and to celebrate, i wrote him a little letter...

dear daddy,

thanks for taking me to baseball games when i was a little girl and letting me eat cotton candy until my teeth felt like they had tiny fuzzy sweaters on them. thanks for putting me in sports and encouraging me even when i wasn't very good (like in soccer. yikes.) thanks for taking me backpacking and helping me learn the importance of adventure and how not to get lost in the woods. thanks for teaching me how to build a fire and create a shelter. i'd make a really good boy scout at this point, thanks to you. thanks for teaching me the importance of a good, solid handshake. no puny woman handshakes will do. thanks for teaching me how to parallel park by using trash cans instead of cars. those trash cans never saw me coming. thanks for instilling in me the value of hard work and commitment. thanks for loving me even when i have my drama queen days. thanks for always striving to love me like Jesus does. you're the best! happy birthday!


weekend update.

- photoshoots and exploring downtown chattanooga with the bestie
- watching some of the annual chattanooga rowing regatta
- the leaves seemed to all change overnight and the result is glorious!
- campfires in the back yard and roasting s'mores with good friends
- wearing moccasins all day every day

// while walking to my car from dinner, the little boy in front of me (he was about 8 or 9) was apparently very distracted and veered off from his mom and grandmother. he walked to the driver's side of my car right as i was clicking the unlock button on my remote. he saw the interior lights come on and proceeded to open the passenger door.  i was nervous he was going to hit the car next to me and i was almost to him by this point, so i playfully said, "i don't think that's your car!" he looked up at me with a bewildered face and cried "i'm sorry!" and then proceeded to still climb into my car!! hahahahahah. i couldn't stop laughing. his mom, hearing the laughter, ran around my car, grabbed him, and kept apologizing. that was my friday night.

this made me smile so big my face hurt. the guy in the van is my favorite.
- free photoshop brushes
- i'm going to start using this excuse ALL THE TIME
- i'm obsessed with all things feather these days and i LOVE this feather DIY

happy monday, friends!