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thursday's letters.

dear etsy lovers, #etsyswap2014 sign ups close tomorrow evening, so sign up now while you still can! we've had a great turnout and i'm so excited to email out your missions next week!! p.s. it's never too early to start shopping. i listed some great shops last week for you to check out :)

dear california, my winter white skin and i are headed your way in six days. i'm ready for a weekend of hanging out with family and soaking up the sunshine. sunny san diego, you better live up to your name.

dear olympics, i am sad that you are over. what will i do with my evenings now besides sit in front of the tv and watch little olympians fly down snowy slopes at deathly fast speeds? the good news is i only have to wait two years for you to come back. summer olympics, anyone? #silverlining

dear weekend, i'm looking forward to hanging out with my favorite kiddos, grabbing lunch with sweet friends, spending the afternoon with walter mitty, and maybe even going for a hike! 70 degrees on sunday? yes, please.

what are your weekend plans?


april showers.

i know, it's not april and it's not raining (at least not where i live!) however, i am in the middle of planning a bridal shower for one of my sweet core group girls. the warm weather we had last week has me craving spring, so planning a spring-themed bridal shower is just my cup of tea. we are playing around with gold and pretty pastels. something classy and elegant and feminine.

chalkboard spring invite | GreenCherryFactory
metallic gold striped straws | thatchandthistleco

quick tips for hosting a bridal shower //
1 | choose a theme. having a theme will help you make decisions more quickly as you narrow down decorations, games, and food.

2 | set a budget. wedding festivities can be pretty pricey...not that your friends aren't worth it, but pace yourself. you've got the shower planning, the gift giving, and if you're in the wedding as well, dress buying and other bridesmaid responsibilities. set a budget and stick to it. i promise you can throw an adorable shower at a low cost. look around your house and see what you already have that you can use (tablecloths, napkins, chairs, vases, etc.) i'm designing our invite, so that saves money on purchasing a design plus having to print them. there are so many ways to save money!

3 | ask for help. don't be afraid to ask people to pitch in. have friends bring food (i call this being "voluntold"), have a craft night with your girlfriends and get all of your decorations done at one time, invites addressed, etc.

what are your bridal shower tips?
do you have any fun ideas for favors?


weekend update.

-- i was back on my alma mater's campus on wednesday for a work-related meeting. it was so weird being back for the first time since i graduated...almost four years ago! so much has changed...except for apparently me, who everyone still thinks is a college student. i'm told that some day i'll be thankful for this young face of mine ;)

-- we had glorious weather this weekend and i took full advantage of it! i strolled across the walnut street bridge on saturday and had a spontaneous hiking adventure on sunday. it's amazing what warm weather and sunshine can do for the soul.

-- downton abbey season finale last night!! thoughts??

-- bridal shower planning has begun for my sweet friend, abbey. i'm so excited to start getting everything together! craft nights are in my future. :)

-- there is still kindness in the world
-- kids falling on ice. this. is. hilarious.
-- a lesson from elizabeth bennet

naptime diaries journal
etsy crushes // NO. 7
music & lyrics // ellie holcomb

how was your weekend?


naptime diaries giveaway.

HELLO! my name is elizabeth and i blog over at Oak + Oats. meg is my best friend, so it is way fun for me to be guest posting on her awesomely fun blog. we also have an exciting giveaway for you so that is pretty cool!! 

last week i shared about how one of "those things" that i really wanted to do was spend time daily with Jesus. just about the same time i came across the Naptime Diaries lent journal and i was inspired to journey through that. YOU ALL are invited to join me! in fact, i am going to have a link up on my blog so that you can share posts of your journey (as personal or as privately as you want to be!!)

i think it is so important to spend time digging deeper into Jesus ESPECIALLY when there are so many responsibilities, dreams, goals, needs, desires, and aspirations filling up our lives. we need a rock and a sustainer - encouragement and energy.

i started yesterday when i got it (because i was just too excited) but the good news is that the journal is not dated and you can join in whenever! also, the first section is on hope. and that is just so hopeful #blessed #amiright. okay, sorry i got a little sidetracked by the new jimmy fallon hashtag skit that also came out this week (you should watch it sometime!) but in all seriousness, those five, ten, thirty minutes in the morning are day changers for me! 

i also have an extra one of these journals and just because i want you to experience Jesus in a new/ fresh way YOU can enter to win one!! good luck! PS: i will mail it ANYWHERE so everyone who wants can enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
what does that look like to you?


etsy crushes // NO. 7

last week, amy and i announced the etsy swap 2014 and I AM SO EXCITED about it. so many of you have signed up already. i can't wait for y'all to meet each other, do some online shopping, send snail mail, and make new blogger friends you'll keep forever. i have totally slacked on my etsy crushes posts, but it is definitely time for another with the swap coming up! without further ado, here are some of my favorite etsy finds of late.

felix fox | TinyFawn
cup of love latte mug | NSPottery
oh hey there, foxy | ohmydeer
ceramic bowl in black & white hearts | RossLab
mint enamel link bracelet | SageKandCo
sleep under the stars | thewheatfield
gold hand-glittered wooden spoon | alyssaandcarla
hello stamp | witandwhistle
golden twig pencils | inkkit
iPhone case - geometric mountain | onyourcasestore
let's go anywhere pillow | CoconutLime77
metallic gold & white stripe straws | thatchandthistleco

be sure to check out these shops and all the other products they have to offer! i'm amazed by all the creative and talented people out there, and i'm so glad we can do something like this etsy swap to help support those small and handmade businesses. happy crushing! ;)

what are you crushing on? leave me a link in the comments!


music & lyrics // ellie holcomb

ellie holcomb's new album came out yesterday. i downloaded it and listened all afternoon. if you've never heard this lady's music, you must check it out! her first two EPs were based off the Psalms and other scriptures. her new album, as sure as the sun, doesn't disappoint and stays true to her previous style. i LOVE how she weaves scripture throughout all of her songs. each melody is full of truth, hope, and grace.

currently, you can download her collection | six songs | for free!! get it, y'all. you'll listen to it over and over.



one thing you may not know is that here on the east coast, winter storms have names (just like hurricanes have names.) the winter storm that came through a couple weeks ago was named "leon" and last week's storm was named "pax". a friend decided we should refer to this event as the snowPAXalypse. get it?? it's funny. ;)

last wednesday night i fell asleep in tennessee, and on thursday morning, i woke up in narnia. i peered out my window to see a world covered in ten inches of heavenly snow. white fluffy powder. it was magical. i squealed, threw on my snow boots, grabbed my camera, and snapped away before the snow could melt. as i walked through the woods taking pictures, i couldn't help but wonder if mr. tumnus would hop out from behind a tree and ask me over for tea.

what's the weather like where you live?


weekend update.


-- amy and i announced etsy swap 2014 last week, and we have been so surprised and excited at the amount of sign-ups already!! keep 'em coming. this is going to be so fun!! :) p.s. don't forget!...there's a giveaway involved for everyone who blogs about the swap to help spread the word!

-- we got 9 1/2 - 10 inches of snow on wednesday night!! i woke up on thursday to a winter wonderland. i spent the entire morning sledding with my mama while we waiting for the ice and snow to melt on the roads. then i had to head to work. boo.

-- i spent the weekend in knoxville with my bff. because of the holidays, and family being in town, and our crazy lives, we hadn't seen each other in over three months, which is weird for us. knoxville is just an hour and half away, so we take turns visiting each other. it's a blessing to have one of my besties living so close!

-- i got a postcard from hogwarts in the mail this week. best ever. i'm so glad i have best friends who send me nerdy snail mail.

-- the weather was delicious yesterday!! almost 60 degrees outside! don't get me wrong...i LOVE the snow, but spring, you tease me.

-- 39 of the funniest animal photobombs
-- check out this cover of "let it go" from Frozen!
-- pretty backgrounds for february...or anytime, really.
-- edible spray paint??
-- 32 ideas for a blog post

february sponsors
music and lyrics // ed sheeran
etsy swap 2014 | spring fever
five things

how was your weekend? what did you do for valentine's? are you ready for spring, too?
too many questions? sorry ;)


february sponsors.

the day i get to feature my sponsors each month is one of my favorites. i love introducing these sweet women to you all and learning more about them myself! because it's the month of valentine's, i wanted to see if my sponsors had any good valentine's day stories to tell. check out their answers below!

| what is your favorite valentine's day memory? |

beth | oak + oats
My husband and I are not big Valentine's day people. It was the best when everyone built their own mailboxes out of shoeboxes and sent valentines to everyone in the class - I tried to get my office to participate this year and make it more of an "all ages" tradition, it didn't work. Last year we tried to avoid the crowds and also the chores so we went out to Chick-fil-a. Turns out we walked right into a HUGE Valentines day event! They gave me a rose, took us to a table, served us on real plates, and made the whole night a treat! We were surprised and enjoyed the "sit down" restaurant! 
blog | instagram | facebook

christina | sweet lavender bake shoppe
I'm so lame. I tried with all my might to come up with a funny Valentine's Day story. I mean, I really sat and racked my brain trying to search through all the V-Days. Nothing. All I could think of were sappy cheesy ones! Gaw! So that's what you get friends- a sappy Valentine's Day story that isn't even really a story. Hooray Christina! Valentine's Day story teller extraordinaire! Ahem. My favorite memory is probably my first married Valentine's Day. We didn't do anything outside of the norm, but there was just something so calming and lovely about finally celebrating a day about love with someone I was bound to, for life. We had only been married 3 months, so I was deep into the newlywed swooning mode. You know, hearts for eyes, hearts coming out of my ears and head, smiles all the time- think Pepe Le Pew from Looney Tunes. That was me! This will be our 6th married Valentine's Day together and seriously guys, STILL flipping excited. Love that man. 
bloglovin' | twitter | blog

amy | taking steps home

years ago my boyfriend (ex boyfriend now ha) sent me a HUGE box. 
we were long distance so little treats every now and then helped pass the time. 
inside he tried to save snow in a little cooler (because i love snow) but it melted and he put a stuffed teddy bear, a rose, and a big folder poster inside. the poster was a calendar HE MADE with pictures to count down until his next visit to me. on each day was a hershey kiss "for each kiss we would miss" i mean how stinking cute is that?! all of that to say, it holds a special place in my memory for how sweet it was! 

allison | allison ramsing
My favorite Valentine's Day memory happens to be from elementary school.  I had amazingly creative teachers all throughout elementary school.  I still remember fondly the year that we made a woven heart shaped pouch out of paper with my classmates so that we would have a place to put the Valentine's that we received.  I clearly had way more fun crafting the large heart shaped pouch with my teacher and classmates than I did receiving the actual Valentine's and candy.  Which isn't a surprise considering I still love crafting with friends.
blog | twitter | facebook

samantha | elah tree
I actually can't remember many Valentine's days. Tyler and I don't usually celebrate. Not because we hate it or anything, we just choose not to spend money on it. Growing up though my mom would always get my brother and I a Valentine gift. That would probably be my favorite memory of the holiday; being surprised by a little something from my mom. 
blog | facebook | twitter

paige | moments for the journey
As someone that doesn't really think much of Valentine's Day, this was a tough question. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike or hate Valentine's Day, I just don't really make a big deal out of it. My husband feels lucky that he doesn't have to try anything over the top or super romantic on February 14th. As I sat for a while just staring at my computer screen trying to think of my favorite memory, Valentine's Day 2012 came to mind. A couple of years ago I was sitting at home - just me and my sweet golden retriever pup - on Valentine's evening. It was about 8:45 and my sweet husband finally got home from work with some beautiful flowers in hand. Since he had to work on Valentine's Day I wasn't really expecting any type of date, but when he got home he told me to get dressed because he was taking me out. As I got ready to go I keep asking where he was taking me, but to the disappointment of my curiosity he wouldn't tell me where we were going. It turned out that he had made a late night reservation at a steak restaurant called Ruby River. It was a restaurant that I had always wanted to try because the building looked like a huge log cabin with wooden beams and a metal green roof. I was so excited to finally get to try it! The evening was great! We were one of the few couples in the restaurant because most people had eaten earlier and the ambiance was romantic. We spent the evening talking and stuffing ourselves with large buttery baked potatoes and perfectly juicy steaks. That night was special because I didn't expect it, and when I think of that evening I am reminded that I married the perfect man that is thoughtful enough to make Valentine's Day special even when he doesn't have to.
blog | twitter | facebook

britney | the quiet place
I don't really have any good Valentines day stories, but every year i always try to focus on God's love for me and how it always fills me up. Which i think is something that we all too often forget, especially around valentines day. We like to focus on what we don't have instead of the many blessings that God has brought into our lives, and the fact that his love is always enough. 
facebook |blog | bloglovin'

kenzie | the ashcraft bunch
My favorite thing for Valentines is that we never feel like we have to go out to a fancy dinner and get gifts because it's "love day." My husband usually surprises me with something unique like a love letter, favorite photo or memory and we usually end up renting a movie, snuggling on the couch and eat popcorn. I love just being simple and not getting so caught up in the commercialism. :)

stormy | life's a dance
My favorite Valentine's memory is from last year, 2013. My husband and I had found out we where expecting our first little one just a month prior and decided to tell the world on Valentine's Day! I was about 12 weeks along at that point and while our family and close friends knew it was so exciting FINALLY letting the secret out to everyone else! We'd had some announcement photos taken by our dear friend & photographer and used those to let people know about our upcoming addition! I posted a photo to my personal Facebook in the morning and put together a blog post to share with my bloggy friends {which can be seen here}. It truly was a memorable day & I loved reading every single email I got that day! 

because it's valentine's day and because i love ya, i'm offering 40% off all advertising options for the entire month of february! CODE: IHEARTYOU

what are your valentine's day stories? i want to hear them!


music & lyrics // ed sheeran

i looooooooooooooooove this song that ed sheeran wrote for the hobbit: the desolation of smaug.
it is so hauntingly beautiful.
i've had it on repeat at work for the past two days.

p.s. it snowed all night long and i woke up this morning to a narnian wonderland! we got 9 - 10 inches of white fluffy goodness!! i am giddy with snow joy. don't worry, i will take pictures for you :)


etsy swap 2014 | spring fever

Taking Steps Home
welcome to spring fever, etsy lovers! amy and i are over-the-moon excited to host our 2nd etsy swap this spring!  we had such a great experience the first time around, and are hoping you'll join us again this year. if it's your first time here, you're probably like "what the heck is an etsy swap?" well, let me give you a hint, friend! if you love etsy, snail mail, and making new friends, you will love this swap!
so how exactly does this magic happen?  you will sign up via the form below, be sure to enter as much info as you can, and we will email you with your mission. you will be assigned to another participant, and someone else will be assigned to you. so it's like this round robin game of gift giving. sounds exciting, right??

>> etsy swap timeline: 

2/28 |  sign ups close
3/4   |  swap partners will be emailed out. email me if you have not received your mission by 3/5.
3/17 |  deadline to mail off your package
4/3   |  link up

>> price range:  $25 

>> a little more information: 

+ this swap is open to everyone! you do not have to be a blogger to participate :)
+ grab our button and share it on your blog!
+ remember your partner isn't supposed to know who you are until your package arrives! we're all about being creepy fun over here!
+ once you get your partner's information, make sure you look through all their social media links (blog, pinterest, etsy, instagram, etc.) to get an idea of their style.
+ commit to the price range - no one wants to get gypped ;)
+ please make sure you mail your package out ON or BEFORE the deadline. if you happen to run late please let us know.
+don't forget to link up with us on April 3rd!

Taking Steps Home

>> and a little giveaway:

this year we wanted to do something a little different.
for those participants who would like to make a blog post about this swap to help us spread the word -- you'll be entered into a giveaway! you heard me! amy & i want to say a big ol' thank you to everyone who helps to promote the swap here in blogland. even though you'll only be entered for the giveaway for a blogpost -- feel free to promote the swap via twitter, instagram, facebook, google+, whatever your fancy is, using #etsyswap2014

we have TWO great gifts for our giveaway winner! amy and i each picked something from different etsy shops that we love.  just for you!
mini-banner | UrbanBirdandCo

HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO WIN! this giveaway is run via rafflecopter. the giveaway will close on February 28th, one winner will be selected at random and announced! the winner will be contacted by email. all entries will be verified, so please play by the rules!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
good luck and happy swapping!


five things.

| back in the day...when i was just a wee babe. |

one | i do not like coconut. i like how it smells, but i don't like eating it. it's a texture thing. the only exception to this rule are girl scout samoa cookies, which i'm pretty sure are sent from up above.

two | i have weird thumbs. they are short and stubby, and they look like they belong to a gecko.

three |  i played basketball for the YMCA in middle school. i was on my brother's team, and i was the only girl in the league in my age group. also, i couldn't make a shot from the foul line throwing the ball regularly, but you better believe i could make it throwing a granny shot. mad skillz.

four | i had braces for a freakishly long time (over 3 years) because at age 16, we were still waiting for my 12 year molars to come in. i was a late bloomer.

five | like any good home schooler, i worked at chick-fil-a for three years in high school. i have since erased the phrase "my pleasure" from my vocabulary.

that's all for today folks! what's one random fact about you? 


weekend update.

-- i attended my church's women's retreat this weekend. nancy guthrie was our speaker. if you've never heard of her, you should check out some of her books. i've gone through her study of hebrews twice now. it was great!

-- THE OLYMPICS ARE HERE! oh my goodness. i was watching the men's slope style event on saturday night and kept having to remind myself to breathe. amazing and terrifying to watch. plus, the USA won a gold! woohoo! go team! the figure skating has been so fun to watch. that one guy from canada reminded me of peter pan.

-- there are a couple of new prints in the shop for you to check out. ya know, if you're into that sort of thing :) i am loving the ease of using my iPad for design projects!

-- this video made tears well up in my eyes
-- kid president makes me giggle
-- a cute valentine download

download this // NO. 4
thoughts to make your heart sing
weekly melodies
lindsay letters giveaway

party with downton abbey | elah tree
host a party: valentine's glitter jars | katie: normal girl
sweet potato pie with marshmallow topping | sweet lavender bake shoppe

how was your weekend? have you been watching the olympics?


lindsay letters giveaway.

happy friday, y'all! aren't the weekends like the best thing ever? i think so. today i'm teaming up with oak+oats (again!) and her sponsors to bring you some lindsay letters goodies!! if you've been following along for a while, you know how much i heart lindsay letters. basically i just want to decorate my entire house with her beautiful prints. the best friend gave me lindsay's "be true" mug for my birthday last year, and it's one of my favorites! so i'm super excited we get to offer you a chance to win TWO of her "present over perfect" mugs. one for you and one for your bestie. you can start your mornings sipping coffee out of this beauty and being reminded of this simple truth.

enter via rafflecopter below. good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

p.s. the winner of the "BE BRAVE" giveaway has been picked! congrats to robyn and thanks to everyone who participated! :)  happy friday, brave hearts!


weekly melodies.

music is one of my favorite things in this world. i wanted to share with you some of the songs that have been on my playlist of late. i'm always interested in my friend's musical choices, and i love discovering new music. you can ask my best friend. i frequently will ask her what she's listening to on a particular day when i need something new or fresh to listen to, or maybe it's something i've heard before but haven't listened to for a while. i'm also that person that finds a song i love, and then proceeds to listen to it on repeat for about a month. yes, i'm that girl.

without further ado, here are some of the tunes i've had on repeat lately.

other faves from sleeping at last:
i'm gonna be (500 miles)

other faves from jon mclaughlin:
imaginary tea

i've told y'all how much i love the secret life of walter mitty. this whole soundtrack is fantastic!

last but not least, i am obsessed with the soundtrack to disney's frozen. all of it.

confession: i love basically any disney soundtrack. what can i say? i'm a kid at heart!

what are you listening to these days?


download this // NO. 4

we are officially four days into the month of february. this year is seriously flying already. a while back, i had started designing some iphone wallpapers, but then my photoshop trial ended, and that project was put on pause. now, thanks to my trusty iPad, rory (yes, i name inanimate objects. and yes, it's named after a doctor who character), i'm designing new wallpapers for you again! hooray!

since it's valentine's month i made these love-themed backgrounds for you. a quote from my favorite avett brothers song and a little bit of charm from mr. darcy. hope ya like it :)

confession: i watched pride & prejudice twice last friday night. twice. it's one of my favorites. also, i'm a sucker for british accents.