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4.27.2015

WEEKEND UPDATE



RECAPS
1 | My best friend, Nat, came in town for the weekend to help me organize, to be my emotional support in making packing decisions, to spend my last weekend in Chattanooga, and to say goodbye. She's the best, and I can't wait for her to come visit Colorado!

2 | During my final Chattanooga weekend, Nat and I walked the Walnut Street bridge (my favorite) over to the Art District for a sweet snack and cup of iced coffee at my favorite coffee shop in town. Rembrandt's was a place we frequented a lot in college, and is one of my go-to stops in Chatt.

3 | This pup somehow knows I'm leaving (for more than a quick vacation), and has spent a lot of time by my side over the past few days. I also find her staring at me a lot, which is adorable but makes me sad. I'm going to miss her!

4 | We have a fun challenge for you in May's TriStyle & Co. challenge. We've all given you little sneak peeks on Instagram and hope you'll join us next Tuesday for more!!

FAVORITE FINDS
-- Gilbert Blythe was probably my first childhood crush. I was sad to hear of Jonathan Crombie's passing last week. Anyone out there an Anne of Green Gables fan?
-- I seriously love coffee dates. Check out this one and that one.
-- Great Mother's Day cards!
-- Watch 515 years of history unfold at the tip of Manhattan Island.
-- Healthy post workout snacks! I need these.
-- My favorite Jimmy Fallon clip of the week. HA!

P.S. A week from today, I'll be in Colorado! Ah! I can't wait to get settled in and get back into my consistent blogging routine.  Adventures await, and I will be sharing them with you. :)

HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?

4.20.2015

WEEKEND UPDATE


RECAPS
1 | I've had a couple of coffee dates this week. They are my favorite, but these have been harder because they include goodbyes to my friends as I prepare to move.

2 | It has rained every single day this week, and we've had a lot of flooding throughout the city! I'm ready for spring days full of sunshine.

3 | My new laptop sleeve came in this week from KANCHA, and I am a little bit in love with it! The leather and the colors are perfect!

4 | Happy mail for days! April is my first month receiving ABM's Happy Mail subscription, and I absolutely love it!! You get so many adorable cards for half the cost of what you would pay for greeting cards in the store. This "can't stop, won't stop" is heading out to a friend this week!

FAVORITE FINDS
25 life lessons from Hermione Granger
The introvert's guide to staying alive
Would you pick average or beautiful?
Black and white photos to-die for.
21 reasons you should date a camp counselor.
Cupcakes in the park.
Matthew Mcconaughey's reaction to the Star Wars trailer.

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Five Things You Don't Know About Me | VOL. 6
A Coffee Date | VOL. 3

HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?

4.17.2015

A COFFEE DATE | VOL. 3


Here we are again, meeting for coffee at one of my favorite spots. I picked this place because I'm moving and it's the last time I'll get to stop by for quite some time. I'll give you a big hug, and we'll stand in line and chat as we wait. You'll order an iced chai and I'll go for my favorite iced white mocha. It's a gorgeous Tennessee day, so we'll grab a table on the patio and suffer through the blanket of pollen for the sake of the sunshine. I'll look around and quietly take it all in: the students studying for finals, that cute elderly couple sharing a scone, the guy sitting in the corner alone totally engrossed in a good book, and then there's you and me. Friends since forever, or at least it seems that way. We've walked through many seasons and adventures together, and now I'm off to start a new one.

You'll jump right into asking me about my quickly approaching move to Colorado, because honestly, that's why we are here. To say our goodbyes. I'll light up when I start to tell you about the new job, moving to a new city full of old friends, and beginning new adventures. But I'll say the thing they don't tell you about a dream coming true is that some others die in the process. A friend recently told me that just because God calls us to other places doesn't mean it is going to be easy and without sadness. I am sad that I will not be here to support a best friend as she becomes a mama in the next couple of weeks. I am sad that I will be so far away from family. I am sad that I won't be able to drive home on any given weekend. I am sad for all of the things I will miss out on here. I'll tell you that leaving the home town and people you love so much involves a certain grieving process. My emotional state is all over the place these days as moments hit me from out of nowhere that bring tears to my eyes. For instance, I started crying in the car the other day because I was worried my dog was going to forget about me. You'll giggle at me, but it happened! I told you, I'm emotional. ;)

I'll tell you that despite the inevitable sadness of leaving my life here behind, I'm also so excited for this move. I've wanted to move to Colorado over the past four years, and Jesus continually told me to wait and wait and wait. Now that the answer is finally yes, I cannot even believe it. I can't believe I get to live in the same city as my best friend. I can't believe I get work at one of my favorite places on earth. I can't believe I get to drive by Garden of the Gods and see Pike's Peak every day. I can't believe I get to learn how to drive in the snow. ;) I'll tell you how thankful I am for this opportunity, this gift that Jesus has given me. Tears will well up in my eyes as I tell you how thankful I am that Jesus made me wait four years. Although I couldn't always see it at the time, those years allowed me to grow, to figure out who I was, to nurture deeper relationships with my friends, and to learn more about who Jesus wants me to be. I needed those years. They have helped prepare me for this.

Since you're a reader of my blog, I'll talk about stepping back from this space a little over the next couple of weeks. I'm not completely vanishing. There will be posts, but I want to use the time I have left in Tennessee spent with friends and family. Also, let's be honest, I have a lot of packing to do. Don't worry, though. Once I get settled in Colorado, I'll be back full-time with lots of stories and adventures for you from my new home.

Even though you are smiling at me and nodding along, I can still see the sadness behind your eyes. You've been swirling the ice in the bottom of your cup for the last ten minutes just to distract yourself from what's coming. This is hard for the both of us, and I want you to know how cherished and valued you are as my friend. I love you dearly and will miss you so much my heart hurts. As Winnie the Pooh once said, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

Time is ticking away, but we don't want to leave. Eventually we'll toss our empty cups and head to the cars. This is it, the moment we've been dreading. I'll hug you tight, and oh my gosh, I'm so sorry I just got snot in your hair. We'll die laughing through our tears because we both know I've never been a cute or ladylike crier. In shaky voices, we'll say our "I love you's" and "see you soon, then's" before heading our separate ways, both seeking new adventures while treasuring the ones left behind.

4.14.2015

FIVE THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME | VOL. 6




Do you ever read blogs and wish you knew fun facts about those bloggers like you would a best friend? I know I do. So I started my "Five Things" series so you could get to know the random tidbits about my life!

1 | I started piano lessons when I was seven and played through high school.
I didn't always love it at the time, but playing piano was a huge stress reliever for me. In middle school, I decided I wanted to be a fiddle player, but my parents told me I could either do both or just piano because they would not allow me to quit. I didn't have time for both, so after a few weeks of fiddle lessons, my dreams of becoming the world's best fiddler came to an end. Now I'm glad my parents made me stick with one instrument and see it through to the end of school. :)

2 | One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone uses their cell phone while in a movie theater.
I cannot even tell you how much this frustrates me. First of all, everyone can see you and your bright-as-the-sun phone screen. Second, I paid (and so did you) to see this movie, so SEE the movie. Third, can you really not go two hours without looking at your phone? I think that says some sad things about our culture.

3 | I broke my nose in college during an ultimate frisbee game.
I was passing this guy while running for the disc and he decided to turn at the exact time of me passing him. I was head-butted in the nose, fell to the ground, blacked out, and was bleeding from a big cut on my nose. I didn't know until later that night that my nose was actually broken. I ended up having surgery to fix the bone and had to wear a nose brace at night for a couple of months. It was really attractive.

4 | Coconut is not my favorite thing to eat.
I think it's a texture thing. I love the smell of coconut, but I don't like the tasted of it. EXCEPT for in Samoa Girl Scout cookies. I bet it's masked enough by the chocolate and caramel that I don't notice the coconut. ;)

5 | My family is related to Wallace the Bruce.
You know him. The king of Scotland in Braveheart. Yes yes, he was kind of a coward at the beginning but he finally stood up for what was right. I believe it was a cousin from my clan that married him. Thus, we are distantly related. Basically, I am Scottish royalty. ;)

WHAT IS ONE THING I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
SEE OTHER "FIVE THINGS" HERE.

4.13.2015

WEEKEND UPDATE



RECAPS
1 | Greenville adventures. I was in South Carolina over the weekend visiting my friends Meg and Amy. It was so much fun meeting Meg's family...her kids are adorable...and spending time together exploring Greenville. We ate yummy food, took a lot of photos, and talked a lot about life. I treasure weekends like that.

2 | Pink is my favorite color. Just kidding. It's not, but I do love my pink and purple TOMS! They are my favorite pair, and I wear them as much as I can. Do you own TOMS? Which colors are your favorite?

3 | Spring style. We announced our TriStyle & Co. challenge for April! Check it out to see what we are styling this month. We'd love for you to join in on the fun!

4 | Twinkly lights have my heart. On Friday night in South Carolina, we took a nice evening stroll through the twinkly lit downtown of Simpsonville, SC to go get ice cream at Meg's favorite spot near her house. It was so yummy! My choice: chocolate ice cream with raspberries. Chocolate and fruit. You can't go wrong!

FAVORITE FINDS
Sesame Street + Zachary Levi = so much yes.
Which Disney complex do you have?
Let's talk about your Facebook game.
Dove campaigns always have me in tears.
NYC BBQ.
OMG. Puppy photo booth. 
For all the baseball lovers.

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
TriStyle & Co. | Black Skinnies
Central Park | NYC
Influence Conference Giveaway


HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?

4.10.2015

INFLUENCE CONFERENCE GIVEAWAY

Happy Friday! Today you are in for an awesome treat. I'm teaming up with Oak + Oats and several other gals to give you the opportunity of a Lifetime - a ticket to the 2015 Influence Network Conference  AND $300 in PayPal Cash to help with travel costs!

I am not currently a member of the Influence Network, but so many friends I know are, and they say this community is packed with people who desire to encourage, come along side, share, promote, and awaken the dreams & talents within you. This conference will be an unbelievable experience and will help you grow and connect with so many other small businesses, bloggers, and creatives. To learn more about The Influence Network and the Conference, click here.

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN
Now is your chance! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win the Influence Conference Ticket and Travel cash! For each entry you get entered in the giveaway, the more you complete, the higher your chances are of winning so go meet some new bloggers! The winning entries will be verified so no cheating! The giveaway is open to anyone in the world who wants to win and come to the conference! GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4.09.2015

CENTRAL PARK | NYC

New York state of mind. That pretty much describes me right now, plus all the million other things on my mind, but I haven't stopped thinking about my weekend in New York since I got home. We saw so many people and places, and yet, there is still so much to explore! It baffles me how a city can be so dense and so vast at the same time. It stretches on for miles and miles. I'm from the south and am used to buildings having space between them and apartment complexes being built high on a hill top all by themselves. In New York, everything is designed and built right on top of each other. I feel like you could reach out your window and shake your neighbors hand if you wanted. 

Central Park was the last official stop during our day in NYC before turning around and running to catch the train at Grand Central. Before we headed into the park, we popped into the Plaza Hotel, grabbed a delicious cupcake, and took it into the park to enjoy. We strolled around, took a hundred photos, captured the sights, laughed at the silly park squirrels, and kept moving just to stay warm. Central Park always makes me think of the movie Enchanted. Do you remember the scene where Giselle bursts into song in the park and everyone joins her for a fantastic and perfectly choreographed dance party? That is what I think of. :)












I totally thought this building looked like it belonged in the magical world of Frozen. I imagine Wandering Oaken's Trading Post got a face lift and looks something like this now. ;) Yoohoo! Big summer blowout!






Have you been to NYC? What are your memories of Central Park...move-related or real life? :) Have you taken a carriage ride around the park? Tell me your favorite things about NYC! XOXO.

4.07.2015

TRISTYLE & CO | BLACK SKINNIES


LOCATION: Heritage Park, Chattanooga, TN
DETAILS: Roll-sleve Popover Top (Similar) | Black Skinny JeansTOMS | Nine West Clutch

Welcome to April, friends! Spring (and a lot of pollen) is in the air! The spring season in Tennessee means warmer temperatures, a lot of rain, and crazy allergy attacks. ;) Each month Samantha of Elah Tree, Beth of Oak + Oats, and myself (Meg of Rivers and Roads) join together to share three ways to style the same clothing item, and you're invited to be a part of it! Our goal is to encourage, awaken, and celebrate the inherent beauty in each one of us as we live in community. Join the TriStyle & CO. community here!

This month we are keeping it classy (when do we not?) with a wardrobe staple. Black skinnies! I love black skinnies and wear them year round, dressed up or dressed down. We took a quick trip to the park to snap these photos, and I just assumed it would be warmer because it's spring and the sun was out. That's how the weather works, right?? Guys, it was freezing. I couldn't feel my fingers! Keeping it real for ya. I paired my black skinny jeans with one of my favorite flowy tops. I wear it all the time because it is so easy breezy! It's the kind of top that works in all seasons, and I love having that kind of versatility in my wardrobe.

YOUR MISSION: For the month of April we are styling black skinnies...jeans, cords, khakis.  See how each one of us style them and then show us how you style yours! So pick out your favorite skinnies and show us how you style them via your blog, instagram, or twitter! Make sure to use the hashtag #TriStyleCo so that we can see your style creations.










NOW IT'S YOUR TURN! Don't forget to #TriStyleCo and show us how you style your skinnies! Have an idea for what item we should style next month? Tweet at us using the hashtag #TriStyleCo and follow us on twitter too:@oakandoats @megmcilvaine @elahtree  

4.06.2015

WEEKEND UPDATE



RECAPS
1 | Happy mail. A Beautiful Mess has the most wonderful snail mail subscription box, and I am finally on the list for the April box! I can't wait to see the reveal of all the goodies in this month's stash! One of their cards made it's way to my mailbox via my best friend this week, and it completely made my day (and might have made me tear up a little.)

2 | Space and time. Guys. Guysssssss. I watched Interstellar for the first time ever this past week, and I may or may not have ugly cried a couple of times. It's so good, and I'm a little sad I didn't see it in IMAX. Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts?

3 | OH gelato. I'm a sucker for gelato, and the Talenti brand is my favorite. I always go for the seasalt and caramel kind. I'm talking YUM TOWN. It's so delicious you have to stop and savor every bite.

4 | Puppy love. Shadow girl will forever have a puppy heart. She is full of life and the most curious creature I've ever met. She's weird and quirky, but we'll keep her. ;)

FAVORITE FINDS
I feel like everyone needs to see a waving bear.
Tangled...THE MUSICAL. Be still my beating heart.
In love with these snapshots of D.C.
On finding your Instagram style.
New York holds so much beauty.
Hikes to put on your bucket list.

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Times Square | NYC
Holders Not Folders | Recap
April Goals
Little Low Giveaway

HOW WAS YOUR EASTER?

4.03.2015

THE ART OF CELEBRATION

Good Friday, friends! I'm bringing a post back from the archives because it is one I wrote a year ago today. It is interesting to look back, to see and remember what I was going through, and to see where Jesus has brought me today. He gave me The Art of Celebration at just the right time last year, and it has been something that I have carried through the past months, something that I have to constantly remind myself to practice. I wanted to share this post with you again, a year later, because just maybe one of you needs the encouragement, and I know I always need the reminder. I love you all, and I hope you have a beautiful Easter weekend!
 

It's about time for some honest talk, friends. This video made me cry. Like an aching cry. A cry that shouts "amen!" and "Jesus, please come back soon" all at the same time. This week has been a really rough one. It's been one of those weeks where just about everything in my life that gets me down weighed extra heavily on me. It's like one thing happens that triggers everything else. I spent a lot of time at work this week with uncontrollable tears rolling down my face. Thank goodness for the privacy of cubicles, right? I spent my days with headphones in listening to some of my new favorite worship music...just trying not to fall apart. it was a week where I was exceedingly aware of how much I needed Jesus every minute of every day to hold me together.

In talking to my best friend about this week I told her, "I love Jesus so much. Life is just so hard sometimes." So what do you do when the world wears you down? Do you sit there and take the beating? No way, sister. You stand firm and thank the Lord your God for the gifts he has given. The gift to wake up each morning, The gift to glimpse another sunrise, The gift of laughter, the gift of life itself. Every single gift. You name it.

You choose joy. 

"Seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit, but joy is."

I'm not saying you have to be happy all the time. Happiness is not the same thing as joy. Joy is a spiritual discipline, and you must choose it over and over. This world will do all that it can to wear you down. Fight, brave hearts, with all your might, for joy. No matter what you are facing, there is a Gospel and a King worth celebrating. and guess what? That King celebrates over you as well. You are his, and he cares more deeply for you than you will ever know. I pray that you and I both remember this, and that he would be the song of our hearts and the hope of our souls.  

How fitting that all of this hit me the week of Easter. I am a broken being fully known and fully loved by a constant Savior who came to make me whole. Jesus came to save that I may live life and live it to the full. To live a life free of fear, free of sorrow, free of guilt, and free of shame. To live a life of celebration. There is nothing more beautiful than that.

Take heart, brave ones, for He has overcome the world.

He is risen.

LITTLE LOW GIVEAWAY

Hello, dear friends! Spring is here, and I just love spring. It makes me want to buy flowers for every room in the house, drive with the windows down, have picnics in the park, and send fun mail to my friends. Who am I kidding? I always love sending fun mail to my friends. ;) Today, because it's the first Friday of the month, I have a fun giveaway for you from an adorable Etsy shop called Little Low.

This shop has some of the most adorable cards, art prints, and hoop art. I picked out this card to send to a friend for her birthday last year, and it was perfect! (We are both weird...so it was fitting. Ha!) She loved it, and it now resides on a gallery wall in her home. Who knew cards could be so versatile? Carriers of encouraging words AND pretty pieces of art! I really love Little Low's playful artistic style, providing something for everyone and every occasion.

For the next week, Little Low is offering Rivers and Roads readers 10% off items on their website and their Etsy shop using the code: RIVERSANDROADS. Time to get your shopping on!



HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO WIN! This giveaway is run via Rafflecopter with several ways to enter! In exactly one week the giveaway will close, 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! Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is sponsored by:

If you would like to be one of the sponsors for the next MY FAVORITE THINGS GIVEAWAY, join the team! You can find more information by clicking here and for 15% off all advertising options, use code MYFAVORITETHINGS at checkout!

HAPPY WEEKEND!

4.02.2015

APRIL GOALS



Spring is here! If you missed it, we hopped into the month of April yesterday. A new month means new goals and a fresh start. I did pretty well in completing my goals for last month, and I have new ones on the calendar for April. First, let's do a quick review, shall we?

MARCH REVIEW

1 | Work on my photography skillsI definitely took time to work on these skills in March, but that doesn't mean I'm done! Each month I want to learn, practice, and strengthen a new photography skill. I'm so excited Elah Tree started The Lens Revolution because it helps me practice a new skill every week!

2 | Read two chapters in The Circle Maker - I read half of one chapter..does that count? ;)

3 | Complete four more chapter in Blog Life - Woohoo! I am ALMOST finished with this course, and I'll be sure to share some of my favorite topics with you...probs this summer.

4 | Drink at least 80oz of water a day - Done! Aside from a handful of days throughout the month (maybe 4 or so altogether) I drank at least 80oz of water a day! I feel so much better when I'm well hydrated, and I had less headaches in the month of March. I'm contributing that to how much water I drank. ;)

APRIL GOALS

1 | Purge/clean out the closet - Guys, I probably do this once a year or so, and for a while my closet looks like heaven. Then, as things tend to do, everything falls apart. There are clothes and shoes everywhere, un-filed paperwork, random and unfinished projects, every letter I've ever received in the mail...you get the picture. Somehow the closet has exploded. Anyway, that is the current state of my closet, and I need to get everything back under control.

2 | Complete four more chapters in Blog Life - If I stay on track, I'll be done with the course in just two months!

3 | Participate in each challenge of The Lens Revolution - Elah Tree's new photography series is pretty rad, guys. She is going through several practical photography lessons, and each week includes some homework. It's my goal to participate in each week's lesson and complete all of my homework!


WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS THIS MONTH?

4.01.2015

HOLDERS NOT FOLDERS | RECAP

Dear #holdersnotfolders, our quick six week series on improving your phone photography has come to an end. Beth and I want to thank you so much for your encouragement, support, and participation as we've gone through each lesson. I hope you learned or were reminded of skills and helpful tips along the way. As I browsed the Holders Not Folders hashtag, I loved seeing your creativity and the way you have put some of our lessons from this series into practice. Whether it's playing with filters, lighting, perspective, cropping and framing, or color, I hope you continue to learn and grow in your phone photography!

Below are some of my favorite photos of yours from this series. Keep up the good work, y'all! Don't forget that one of the most rewarding aspects of Instagram is the community. Keep reaching out, making new friends, and learning from each other! Oh, and go follow all of these ladies on Instagram!





This particular series may be complete, but #holdernotfolders is far from done! We will have something new for you to participate in starting next week. Be sure to stop by for our next set of challenges! :) Until then, take photos until your heart's content and hashtag them with #holdersnotfolders. Happy April!

Make sure to follow @oakandoats and @megmcilvaine on Instagram. To see the rest of our series, click here!