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5.30.2014

on the bucket list.

i've started a bucket list. it's small, and i add to it as i think of things, but i thought i should at least start writing them down. sometimes i feel silly writing down the things i want to do or the dreams i have, but i think it's important. it's important to dream, to have something to look forward to, and to have something to work towards...no matter how silly or trivial they may seem. so here we go!



1. see both the lion king and wicked on broadway
2. climb a 14er
3. travel across the british isles
4. roadtrip across the US of A
5. learn how to paddleboard (AKA hone my balance skills)
6. attend a concert at red rocks amphitheater
7. be the voice of a character in an animated film, a disney film, of course (a girl can dream, right?)
8. see the tonight show with jimmy fallon live/just hang out with jimmy fallon at any point in time
9. run my own full-fledged print shop
10. see needtobreathe in concert
11. see mumford and sons in concert
12. go swimming with dolphins
13. release a paper lantern into a sea of paper lanterns
14. stay in a tree house for a night...or more
15. move to colorado

and many, many more to come...

WHAT'S ON YOUR LIST?

5.29.2014

who are you?

in honor of throwback thursday, i'm pulling one out of zee old archives for ya today!

let me just start out by telling you that i took the myers briggs test for the first time when i was fifteen. i was dual enrolled and attending a local community college getting credit for highschool and college classes. being in the 10th grade, i was trying to figure out what i was good at and what i might want to study once i graduated from highschool. so i took the test, which i think was really helpful for me as a highschooler to understand a little bit more about my personality. i took the test again during my senior year of college. i was preparing for interviews and searching for internships and didn't really know how to communicate about my strengths and weaknesses, so i took the test again and had all sorts of material to look through about my personality type. the test layed those strengths and weaknesses out for me in a way that was very helpful when interview time came around! the great news is, each time i've taken this test, i've received the same results. so at least i'm consistent if nothing else! :)



the best friend showed me this and i LOVE it. i'm currently reading the harry potter series (i know, i love kid books) because i've seen all the movies and was told the books are so much better...which is almost always the case. so who am i? dumbledore! i'm an ENFJ.

so what does that mean? ENFJ stands for "extrovert, intuitive, feeling, judging."
here's some info about ENFJs:

"living in the world of people possibilites, they enjoy their plans more than their achievements.  they get excited about possibilites for the future, but may become easily bored and restless with the present." // this is totally me. i'm a planner and a dreamer...like rapunzel (who i would obviously be if i were a disney princess...)

"ENFJs are charming, warm, gracious, creative and diverse individuals with richly developed insights into what makes other people tick." // i feel like i've almost always been able to read and understand people really well.

as an ENFJ, i love people, spending time with them, and getting to know their story. i highly value people and get invested very easily. this happens not only in real life, but also with ficitional characters. for example, i love doctor who. i know, i'm a total nerd and i'm okay with that. so i found out my favorite characters were going to die and was trying to explain to a friend how upset i was about it. they did not understand until i exclaimed that it felt like my best friends were about to be killed off!!! dramatic, i know. calm down, megs. but really, i wish i could be friends with fictional characters in real life. that would be the best!

i am a huge emotional feeler. hence why i get so attached to fictional characters and people in general. i cry or get teary-eyed at least once a day. this could be because of something sad, something sentimental, something happy, or something exciting. it could be a movie scene that gets me, a cute youtube video, or a song. you never know. with my super planner personality, i've got to be a little unpredictable sometimes! ;)

i absolutely hate conflict and have had to learn how to handle it better over the past few years. i get really shaky and nauseous and would rather hide in a hole in the ground than deal with the present situation. super healthy...NOT.

i am a planner to the core. this isn't necessarily a negative characteristic. afterall, the world does need some of us to be planners. however, i have had to learn to go with the flow more often, be flexible, and be more spontaneous. it's good for my soul :)

as much as i love personality tests and how much they reveal about myself, i would like to say that i don't think anyone should be put in a box. you may have some small character traits of other personality types and that's okay. i certainly do. that's one thing i love about people in general: we are all SO different and it's through our differences that we can help each other grow and learn.

HAVE YOU TAKEN A PERSONALITY TEST?
WHAT TYPE ARE YOU?

5.28.2014

thredup goodies.

so beth told me about thredup quite some time ago, and i immediately ordered my bag, which is still sitting in my closet...waiting to be filled with barely worn but unwanted clothing to be sent back to thredup! one day i'll finally get that done.

for those of you who are new to thredup, let me fill you in. thredup is a company that buys women's and kids clothing pieces as well as shoes and handbags that are all in like-new condition. they then take those items and resell them to you and me!

where do they get the clothes in the first place? from people like you and me! i mentioned that i ordered my bag...you can order a bag from thredup which you will then fill with name brand items, ship back to thredup, and be paid for it. who doesn't love getting paid for the clothes they don't wear anymore?? if you're wondering what brands thredup is looking for, you can check out a list here.


i've been on the search for a gold clutch for a while now, and if you know me, you know i'm a little picky when it comes to purchasing certain things. like gold clutches. if i'm going to buy a gold clutch, i want it to be one that i really really love.

when i found out that thredup had started selling from their handbag collection, i knew i needed to check it out! i looked every few days as new items were added until i finally stumbled upon this beauty and immediately put it in my cart. this clutch is in like-new condition, was originally a $70 bag, and i got it for $17. what a steal! seriously. i am in love with it and can't wait to use it!






HAVE YOU EVER USED THREDUP?

5.26.2014

weekend update.



RECAPS
-- my sister-in-law did a remodel of their home gym as a birthday surprise for my brother while he was out of town. she asked me to design some inspirational prints to put up in the new and improved gym, so i got to work on those last week. the gym has a not-so-subtle USA theme. that's what you get when your brother is in the military. ;)  i will have to show y'all the designs later!

-- my sweet friend, abbey, got back from her honeymoon last week, and alex and i got together with her for dinner. we got all caught up on her married life...all 11 days of it! :) so glad that even through getting married and lots of other changes, core group is still going strong.

-- on saturday night, a boy told me that my painted toes were beautiful, he liked my shirt, and that he loved me.  too bad he's only 4 years old. ;) i've decided that compliments like that from kids are the best because they are genuine. :)

-- chattanooga market! i went to the market for the first time this season with some sweet friends. i looooove the market. we eat delicious mini-donuts, walk around, look at the beautiful flowers, and grab some lunch. this week's specialty was BBQ. yummmmmm.

-- the family and i were on our way to see a movie yesterday when i ran over a bolt so perfectly that it flipped up and went straight into my tire. thankfully, i could get the tire plugged and didn't need to buy a brand new one! we also found out that i have pretty great aim when it comes to puncturing tires! ;) needless to say, we didn't make it to the movie.

OTHER FINDS
-- in case y'all hadn't heard, emma watson (AKA hermione granger) graduated from brown university this weekend.
-- how cute are these baby literature books and the prints designed for them??
-- check out this brand new eBook from chantel at a harvest of blessing.
-- some good thoughts about REST.
-- what is your brain good at? apparently i'm good at creative thinking. spot on, internet quiz. spot on.
-- TOMS is celebrating their 8th birthday with $10 off all orders of $50 or more. this deal ends tomorrow!! get on it!
-- have you heard of Julep? my second box will be arriving soon! you can get your first box free with code FREEBOX :)

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
the art of tangled.
noonday giveaway.
a harvest of blessing | birthday edition
minted stationary.
believe better things.

RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURS TRULY
-- fruit smoothies are my go-to for breakfast these days.
-- i use the phrase "oh dear" and my friends tell me i sound like a mix of a grandma and piglet.
-- the first surgery i ever needed to have was for a broken nose i got while playing ultimate frisbee in college.

happy memorial day! as you celebrate today with family and friends, i hope you remember the sacrifice so many have made for our country and for our freedoms so that we can continue to do the things that we love. have a beautiful day, friends!

5.23.2014

believe better things.



life is beautiful. it is full of places to go and things to see, but most importantly, it's full of people. people that we are called to love. to pursue. to speak life and truth into. to invest. to build up and encourage. we were made for community and relationship. we were made for each other.

i'm incredibly grateful that jesus has brought people into my life who speak truth, who don't back away from the hard conversations, who don't allow me to believe the lies the world and satan want me to believe, who spread joy every where they go, who point out the beauty, who remind me that i am enough, and who, on a daily basis, invite me to believe better things.

i hope you have friends like this too, and i hope you are that friend to someone else.

happy friday, brave hearts. enjoy the long weekend!

5.22.2014

minted stationary.

i race to the mailbox every day when i get home from work and search through the magazines and envelopes to see if any of them say my name. not just say my name, but have my name written in a fun, familiar, handwritten font. personal letters from friends, new and old, absolutely make my day. the fact that someone took the time to sit down and write, not type, words to me, makes my heart smile. in a world that is always racing, i think it's good to take time to say the words we want to say. to write them down, stick them in the mailbox, and wait three days for them to arrive at their destination. the time it takes is what makes it so meaningful.

"there are many things that can change a life...a letter is one of them."

of course, it's fun to have pretty paper to write notes and letters on, and when i think of pretty paper, i think of minted. i absolutely love them. they have a vast variety of products and every single bit of it is made with superior quality. earlier this year, after changing my blog name and design, i ordered my first set of business cards from them! i absolutely love them and actually need to order some new ones soon...i'm running low!

i have also been eyeing minted's super cute personalized stationary for a while now, but there are so many great choices that i haven't been able to make up my mind and pick one! you guys know how much i love me some snail mail, and i would love to have some pretty, personalized stationary to send out to you! i thought i'd ask all you lovely people to help me choose! here are some of my favorites that i've found so far on minted's site.


| one |

two |


| three |



| four |

friends, help me choose! who knows, you may be seeing one of these pretties in the mail! :) be sure to stop by minted and check out all they have to offer for all of your pretty paper needs.

WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

5.21.2014

a harvest of blessing | birthday edition

Hey guys, I'm super excited to be posting here on Meg's blog today, I just love this space! If you don't already know me, I'm Chantel and I blog over at A Harvest of Blessing; mostly sharing a bit about our adoption journey, some of my adventures in gluten free baking, and a bloggers favorite thing to write about: blogging. I live with my husband and extroverted daughter in the rectangle province of Saskatchewan right in the middle of the Canadian prairies.
 

I was excited to read the date that Megan asked me to post on because today is my twenty-eighth birthday! I always get reflective around my birthday, thinking about the things that happened in the last year and the things I hope happen in the next. Each year about this time I write a list of goals, the same number of items as the year I am turning; I recently shared my list of twenty-eight things. Since I'm feeling older and (slightly) wiser I thought I would share a few things I've learned in the last few years:

When you are feeling down, the best thing to do is encourage someone else. Sometimes it can be too easy to get caught up in our own lives and problems and throw ourselves a little pity party, but look around you, chances are you know someone who is worse off that could use some encouragement.

It's important to get into the habit of praying before you do something. This is a lesson I am continually learning but I've got some friends who are great prayer warriors and who have the natural instinct to pray before they take action, and I strive to be more like them.

Be inviting. As an introvert my natural tendency is to keep to myself as much as I possibly can, but I don't think that's always Biblical. I've found that I need to learn the art of hospitality. It's impossible for people to see Christ in you if you never leave your house.

Always be willing to be the first to smile. A simple smile makes someone appear so much more friendly. I have been making a conscious effort to smile at people, especially those around my neighborhood, and it's amazing how many smiles I get in return!

Collect memories, not stuff. I have gotten rid of a lot of personal possessions since the beginning of the year after reading those words. I don't want my daughter to remember all the toys she had, but the time we had together and the things we did. I'm sure I've learned more in the last few years but I won't scare you off with an exhaustive list!

Do you take time to reflect around your birthday? 
What are some things you've learned in the last few years?
______________________________________________________________________________

be sure to hop over to chantel's blog today and wish her a happy birthday! if you are interested in being part of the advertising team, click here and use the code MAYFLOWER for 25% off all advertising options.

NOONDAY GIVEAWAY

Noonday, ever heard of them? They are a jewelry and accessories company that gives back in big ways.

"Together with the Noonday ambassadors across the country, we offer you the opportunity to use your purchasing power to create change in the world {while looking really good along the way}. Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans." 

Noonday sells beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more, all made by artisans in third world countries. Some of the money from every item bought goes back to these artisans to create a sustainable lifestlye for them and their communities. HOW AWESOME?! Here are some of my favorite pieces! 

Isn't their stuff just so beautiful? Most is all made from materials unique to the area. So some bracelets and necklaces are made from rolled up paper beads, or seeds, or recycled gun metal, or bones of animals! So cool!

HOW CAN YOU HELP THE RAGANS?
Well, let me tell you. If you would like to purchase an item from Noonday, for yourself or for someone else, just follow these simple steps to insure the credit goes to the Ragan Trunk Show!

2. Shop around, pick out your items, and proceed to check out. 
3. In the box asking for an ambassador name, put McCall Aldridge.
4. In the box asking for Trunk Show Name, put Ragan Trunk Show. 
5. Check out, and wait for your gorgeous pieces to arrive in the mail. 

This Noonday necklace is new this year, and one of the best sellers, meet the Del Mar Necklace, and your giveaway co hosts!



Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway! It is such a joy to watch others invest and show interest in this adoption! The Ragan's appreciate it so much! 

5.20.2014

the art of tangled.

when i found out that disney "art of" books existed, i immediately went and added them all to my amazon wishlist. i knew i wanted to get the one for Tangled first. why? well because it's only my favorite disney movie of all time! i don't even think i can explain how much i love this movie. y'all know how much i love Frozen. so take that and multiply by a million. that's how much i love Tangled.

also, if i were to be a disney princess (in an alternate universe, obvi) i would totally be rapunzel. you can ask my friends. they'll back me up. ;)

this book is so cool, guys. i love animated movies, and i love the animation process. it's so fun to read through this and see how characters were created and molded into the final product we see on screen. i'm slowly making my way through page by page...i don't want to miss anything! here's a tiny glimpse for you...careful...you might catch the disney bug.










eeeeeep! isn't it so great? and pretty? i think i might just leave it open to the floating lantern scene so i can look at it every day. ;) so maybe Tangled isn't your thing (i'm slightly offended, but we can still be friends)...you can also get the book for Frozen, Brave, Monster's Inc., and many many more!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE DISNEY MOVIE?

5.19.2014

weekend update.



RECAPS
-- i was busy every single night last week, which while it's nice to have things to do, i felt completely overwhelmed all week long. i couldn't get a lot of the things done that i needed to! also, i am so very ready for a vacation. good thing i only have to wait until june!

-- i babysat my favorite kiddos on wednesday and friday. i've been their babysitter since they were little babies...e was 14 months, and c came along just a few months later. so i've known him his whole life! they are 6 and 7 now and i can't believe how time has flown. we play hide and seek, pretend we are secret spies, watch disney movies, sing songs, have tickle fights, take crazy face pictures, and just have a lot of fun in general. i think kids are the best...they say the funniest things.

-- one of my core group girls, emma, was accepted into medical school!!!! we are all so excited for her as she's been waiting for this for a long time. she's starting in july, and although we are sad to see her go, we are so very excited she gets to move on and start this next part of her journey. good luck, future dr. hall!

-- beth, samantha, and i all purchased the blog life e-course from a beautiful mess and decided that we should do a little study group together as we work our way through it! we got google chat up and running so we could all hang out together! samantha was so good and had all of her homework done, but beth and i did not, so we talked about a lot of other things and got to know each other a little better. it was so fun, and i'm excited to have a couple friends to go through this course with me!

OTHER FINDS
-- this interactive map of chattanooga is pretty cool!
-- disney is making a live action version of cinderella!
-- love coffee dates? check out this link-up.
-- speaking of link-ups, here are some really great tips for starting/hosting one!
-- um, i want to paint all balloons gold now.


RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURS TRULY
-- i lose my accent a little when i've been out of the south for a while. don't worry, fellow southerners, it never completely goes away. i just get a little less drawly. the best friend's hubs always says, "megan, your accent is so much worse when you've been in tennessee for a long time." haha!
-- i have one sibling, a brother, and he is only 14 months older than me.
-- i was a competitive swimmer for 10 years, and i still miss it.

HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?

5.16.2014

A COFFEE DATE | VOL. 1


if you were meeting me at a coffee shop, you'd find me at a corner table sipping on an iced caramel mocha while people watching and trying not to make awkward eye contact with others. as soon as you walked in the door, i'd wave you over, give you a big hug, and jump right into asking how you're doing. how's work? how's your mama? how are you and your boyfriend/husband? (or maybe you're single, so we'll talk about that at some point.) how are you feeling about life and the season you are walking through?

then i'll give you a life update. i might be a little guarded at first before i spill my heart...mostly because i tend to cry when i talk about heart stuff and i don't really want to cry in this crowded coffee shop. could you hand me a napkin, please? thank you. did it just get extra quiet in here or what?

i'd tell you i'm really frustrated about my job right now, but i'll throw in something about all jobs presenting issues you don't exactly like at some point or another, and maybe this one will pass like the others have. if you know me at all, you'll probably ask me for an update on a couple of hurtful friendships in my life and i'll tell you, but i'll throw in some jokes about the situation because that's how i mask my pain.  you'll knowingly look at me across the table and tell me it's okay to be sad, but that i have to keep loving like Jesus, and i'll thank you because we all need reminding sometimes.

my relationship status will inevitably come up because it always does. i'll fill you in on all the awkward/ridiculous/thoughtless comments people have made to me over the past few months about being single. i've got some great ones seeing as i've heard them all. ;)

we'll talk about blogging goals and dreams.  i'd tell you that i wish i were at the point where i could quit my job and take this thing full-time already. i'll tell you about the classes i'm planning on taking to further improve my creative skills and how excited i am about learning new things.

summer vacations will definitely be a topic of conversation. i'll ask what you have planned and tell you how over-the-moon excited i am to go to colorado next month to see some of my favorite people and how the college besties and i are taking a beach vacation together at the end of the summer. it's nice to have something to look forward to.

finally, i'll decide to tell you that it feels like every one else's lives are changing in big ways, while mine seems to always stay the same.  i'll clarify by saying that i'm genuinely happy for them because i am! i love to celebrate others, especially my friends, but i'd be lying if i said i never got sad about it sometimes. you'll nod because you understand. we all feel those emotions at one point (or several) during our lives. you'll remind me that everyone's journey is different and we all live life at a different pace. you're never ahead or behind. you're exactly where you're supposed to be. as hard as that is to hear sometimes, it's also oddly comforting. before i forget, i'll ask if you've seen rend collective's video for the art of celebration and i'll tell you how it has altered my life and renewed my life perspective. how even on the sad days, i am fighting to chose joy and keep on choosing it because when you have Jesus, every single bit of this journey is worth it.

we'll reluctantly wrap it up because it's like 9:00pm and past this grandma's bedtime. ;) i'll leave feeling refreshed and loved because you took the time to share your life with me and listen to me ramble about mine. you're such a good listener, so thanks for that. let's hang out again soon. maybe next time we'll go on an adventure.
_________________________________________________________________________________

i'm linking up with rachel || oh simple thoughts || and madison || wetherills say i do || today.
join us for a coffee date!

5.15.2014

5 reasons you should switch to Disqus.



i've made a lot of changes to my blog over the past year, but one of the best changes i have made has been installing disqus. i love it so much that i wanted to share about it with you!  i've got five reasons  why you should switch over to disqus:

1. it is free.
you can install and use disqus at absolutely no charge!

2. no more spam.
before switching to disqus, i would get TONS of anonymous spammy comments. blogger was okay about catching them and putting them in my spam folder...only a few slipped through and actually made it onto my blog. still, it was obnoxious. disqus uses its own anti-spam software to fight comment spam. if a spammy comment slips through, disqus makes it incredibly easy to report. however, since installing disqus, i haven't had even one spammy comment. it's been so nice not to have to worry about it!

3. say goodbye to "no-reply" bloggers.
you will never have to worry about "no-reply" bloggers ever again. before switching over to disqus, i would get really sad when i got a comment from someone but could not email/comment back because they were "no-reply". the worst part is that most bloggers don't know that they are "no-reply" unless someone tells them! i would stalk people's blog's for their contact email and send my reply to them that way. plus, i'd nicely let them know about their current situation. ;) all of that to say,  i hated missing out on connecting with my readers via comments and knew i needed to find a way around that obstacle.

4. free advertising & paid promotions.
disqus will promote old posts of yours underneath the comments section in each post. there is no need to add additional widgets like linkwithin, etc. they also have a feature called "promoted discovery" which allows you to make money through content recommendations. simply put, you have the opportunity to be paid when readers click on content from other advertisers.

5. it's easy to use.
first of all, it is incredibly simple to install. it's available for blogger, wordpress, tumblr, squarespace, typepad, and other platforms. disqus makes commenting a complete breeze. you can sign in to comment via disqus, facebook, twitter, or google. there are no requirements for verification codes like on other comment platforms, which is great because i personally find those incredibly annoying and unnecessary. of course, you do have the option to verify and moderate comments with disqus but it's not a necessity. i have never found a reason to use that feature.

you may be wondering, "will i lose comments made on previous posts?" the people at disqus do a pretty great job of loading your previous comments back in once disqus is installed. i will tell you that i did lose some of my old comments, but it was on older posts that probably no one goes back to read these days anyway. :) the number of comments i lost was incredibly small. i wouldn't even be able to tell you exactly which ones or from which posts. all of that to say IF you lose a handful of comments, i doubt you will notice, and in the long run, i believe it is worth it.

if you ask me, those are some pretty good reasons to make the switch. i'm obviously a huge fan of disqus and a little biased, but if you decide to make the switch, i really don't think you'll regret it!

|| this post is in no way sponsored by disqus. i simply like their product a whole lot! ||

WHAT COMMENT PLATFORM DO YOU CURRENTLY USE?
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT DISQUS? ASK AWAY!

5.14.2014

a tennessee wedding.

four years ago, i started leading a bible study of some wonderful college sophomore girls. it's been four beautiful years growing in relationship with Jesus and with each other.  i feel so blessed to have had those girls go from being young college students in a bible study i led to becoming some of my dearest friends. on sunday, mother's day, one of those sweet girls got married in a beautiful, outdoor tennessee wedding.

abbey was an absolutely gorgeous bride. i cried happy tears as i watched her walk down the isle, as her daddy gave her away, and as she vowed to love and honor james for the rest of her journey here on earth.


it was a fun night of dancing and celebrating the beginnings of a new marriage and family. at one point, i sat there with my people as we watched abbey's and james' last wedding dance, and was overwhelmed with thankfulness. so incredibly thankful for that group of girls and for their husbands and boyfriends and for the small community we have together. for how far we have all come and that we have stuck together through everything that has come our way. i pray that as these women go out and start new seasons in their journeys, and no matter where the road might lead, that they would remember to lean on the everlasting arms and steadfast love of their Jesus.

to my sweet girls, i love you all.

xoxo,

5.13.2014

DIY | paper flowers

I'm pulling a post from out of the archives for you today. Do people do that in the blog world? Post the same thing twice? No? Call me a pioneer of the double posting frontier! ;) There are a lot of different paper flower DIY options out there, but this particular one is an absolute favorite! Mostly because one of the main ingredients is glitter.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
Cardstock // color of your choice
Scissors
Circle cutter // I tried both a 1" and 1 1/4" circle and ended up liking the larger circle better
Hot glue gun
Glitter

STEP 1: Cut circles from your cardstock. O wanted to try out the ombre effect, so I have a different color for each layer of flower. I used approximately 8-10 circles per color. You'll use more depending on how full you want the bloom to be.



STEP 2: Take your scissors and cut a slit halfway up each circle.

STEP 3: Put a dot of hot glue on the left side of the slit and slide the right side on top of the left. This will form a cone. Repeat.


STEP 4: Put a dot of hot glue near the seam of one cone and place a second cone (usually the flattest side) on top of the seam.



STEP 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 over and over and over. You'll want to make the cones less severe as you go so that the flower looks more open once you're finished.

STEP 6: Smother the center in hot glue and cover it in pixie dust. If you don't have pixie dust, I guess you'll just have to settle for regular old glitter. ;)




I think these would be super cute sitting on a mirror tray. They also look like they should be floating in water or something spectacular like that. Someone find me waterproof paper and I'll make it happen.

WHAT ARE YOU CRAFTING THESE DAYS?