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8.31.2015

WEEKEND UPDATE





Oh happy Monday, sweet friends! It's been a while since I've been around here on a consistent basis, and I want to give you a little update. Life has been CRAZY since my move to Colorado. Crazy good. Crazy overwhelming. Crazy exciting. Crazy emotional. Summer is quickly wrapping up, and I will have officially lived through a whole season in the wild wild west. It's a little hard for me to believe that I moved here in May...seems like an eternity ago. Turns out, my goals for keeping up with this space over the summer on a regular basis were maybe a little unreasonable. It's not that I don't have things to share with you, or that I don't have dreams and plans for this space, but I have felt incredibly exhausted and spent emotionally and mentally. Apparently moving somewhere new, starting and learning a new job, and trying to make new friends takes a lot out of you. ;)

So here's the thing. September begins tomorrow and I think I'm finally ready to give a little more time to this community. I plan on being here three to four times a week with new content and adventures and life stories to share with you. Thanks for sticking with me this summer, and for giving me grace during this transition. A huge shout out to those of you who sent me sweet, encouraging emails and notes over the past couple of months. You have no idea how much that has meant to me. XOXO.

RECAPS
1 | Last Sunday we had a garden party dinner at a friend's house. The food and twinkly lights and friends were wonderful. The stomach bug half of us caught that weekend was not as wonderful.

2 | I got to go hiking at work last Friday with a coworker, which was so fun! There are several trails on our property that I haven't been on and am excited to explore. I hadn't filled my outdoor adventure meter in a while, and it was so good for my heart to be out and about breathing in all the fresh air and capturing all the tiny details.

3 | You may have seen this on Instagram, but I am not the best plant mom. I bought two baby succulents back in May, and only one of them is still living and it is a bit sickly. Thanks for your helpful suggestions on Insta! I'm hoping to bring the little guy back to a thriving status.

4 | This weekend I helped the boys cut and hang drywall in the Mayberry's basement. I loved it!! Learning new things like that and seeing walls go up and a space come together is something I really enjoy. Plus, it was fun to have good brother time. Just got made fun of for two days straight. What else is new? ;)

FAVORITE FINDS
You've never seen a newborn photo shoot like this.
Frozen in 2D.
I'm so excited for a Colorado autumn.
Loving this quote.
Helpful tips for lifestyle photography.

Tell me: How have you been? What was one of your summer highlights? Did you go on any exciting vacations? Do you have any fun plans to wrap up this sunny season? I'm all ears!

8.20.2015

SOUTHERN SWEET TEA

If you are from the south, or know anyone who is, you've probably heard about this thing called sweet tea. And if you are from the south, but have moved out west where sweet tea is hard to come by, you learn every single spot you can find it (there are only two, by the way.)

When you're raised in the south, knowing how to make a good batch of sweet tea is a requirement. My grandmama taught my mama, and my mama taught me. It's one of those little things that is passed down from generation to generation. ;) There's something about it that feels like home. A cold glass of sweet tea takes me back to summertime, Sunday dinners, and family gatherings. Now I know y'all are all wanting to know how to create this sweet southern mixture, so lean in real close and I'll let you in on the family's secret recipe...

WHAT YOU NEED:
1 gallon pitcher
4 tea bags
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 lemon or lime - optional

1. Boil 7-8 cups of water.
2. Drop in 4 tea bags (I use Lipton because it's a classic.) and let steep for 12-15 minutes.
3. Pour the tea into your pitcher and mix in 1 cup of sugar. Mix well.
4. Finish filling the pitcher with cold water and place in the refrigerator to chill.
5. Pour yourself a glass, add a slice of lemon or lime, and grab a seat on the porch in your favorite rocking chair. 







Are you a sweet tea drinker, or is it just a bit too much for you? What drink is a staple in your family? Tell me in the comments!

8.19.2015

HOLDERS NOT FOLDERS | SWEET

Hey there! We're moving on to our third week in the new Instagram challenge with #holdersnotfolders. We thought it would be fun to end the summer with a chance to think creatively, work on our photography skills, and build an even stronger community within #holdernotfolders. You guys are so great, and we love that you are using this little hashtag that reminds us to reach out to others instead of simply folding into ourselves.

Here are a few of my favorite FAMILY moments from this past week. Thanks for letting us be a part of your Insta lives and for showing us what family looks like in your life.


This week, your photo prompt is SWEET. Show us what SWEET means to you. Maybe it's something that is literally sweet like candy or chocolate or your favorite ice cream. Maybe it's a moment that was just so adorably sweet and something you will hang on to forever. Maybe it's super sweet weather (I sometimes refer to the weather as feeling "delicious" so "sweet" totally applies.)


HOMEWORK: Make sure you follow @oakandoats and @megmcilvaine on Instagram and get creative in the ways you show us what is SWEET in your life! Don't forget to #holdersnotfolders and make new friends in this community! XOXO.

8.12.2015

HOLDERS NOT FOLDERS | FAMILY

Last week, we announced a brand new Instagram challenge with #holdersnotfolders. We thought it would be fun to end the summer with a chance to think creatively, work on our photography skills, and build an even stronger community within #holdernotfolders. You guys are so great, and we love that you are using this little hashtag that reminds us to reach out to others instead of simply folding into ourselves.

This week, your photo prompt is FAMILY. Show us what family looks like to you. Maybe it's time spent with your biological family, or a handwritten note you wrote or received from a family member. And sometimes the people we consider family are those who aren't actually related by blood. I don't know about you, but I only have one biological sibling. However, I feel like my family is so much larger. My closest friends are like family to me, and Jesus has given me so many different brothers and sisters that way. That has been really important to me since moving to Colorado. I don't have any family here, which has been really hard, and I'm so grateful to have friends and families who have taken me under their wing and made me feel so welcome and loved. I need that family time so much.


HOMEWORK: Make sure you follow @oakandoats and @megmcilvaine on Instagram and get creative in the ways you introduce us to the FAMILY in your life! Don't forget to #holdersnotfolders and make new friends in this community! XOXO.

8.10.2015

MINI INSTAGRAM ALBUMS


I love Instagram. It's a place to connect with others and to cultivate community. It acts as a visual journal, as a place to keep and remember stories, and as a timeline of the past few years. I also love photo prints. You know, the ones you can actually hold in your hands? Do you remember the days of film when you would take the twenty-something photos and drop them off to be developed? You had to wait a few days to get them back and the anticipation of seeing your photos and how they turned out was almost too much for me to handle at times. ;) You would take your prized photos home and stick them in a cute photo album where they would stay for years to come and where you could look at them any time you wanted. We don't tend to print photos as often these days because they are so easily accessible online or on our phones, but I miss having physical copies of those moments and memories captured.

Beth and I decided it had been far too long since we'd done a craft project together, so with the help of photo prints from Social Print Studio and the most adorable tiny albums you've ever seen from A Beautiful Mess, we made our mini Insta album dreams come true. I printed off a stack of photos from my Instagram feed that I could use in an album for the year of 2015. I sorted through them all and placed them in chronological order so I could see my year this far in photos. So much has happened this year, and I love looking back to see photos from one of my best friends' weddings, my trip to visit Sam and Tyler in New York, the hard last days of saying goodbye to Chattanooga and friends there, the road trip to Colorado with my mom, and this crazy beautiful summer here in the Rocky Mountain state. It will be so fun to print the rest of the year off at the end of December so that I can have a finished album!

















Be sure to check out @megmcilvaine on Instagram at 4:00 MST for a fun giveaway. I promise all you Insta lovers don't want to miss it!

What is your favorite part about Instagram? Do you prefer to print your photos or are you completely happy leaving them on your phone/computer? Have you ever created a photo album full of Instagram prints? Tell me about it!

8.07.2015

A COFFEE DATE | VOL. 5


We headed out to a new-to-us coffee shop for a friend date, which is turning out to be normal life these days because I live here now and we get to do so much together. We order our drinks, a latte for you and a caramel latte for me, because I'm fancy like that (WINK), and then grab a seat by the window.

I'll say I can't believe we have known each other for ten whole years this summer. We'll joke and laugh about our high school days and rate our awkwardness on a scale of zero to the Voldemort/Draco Malfoy hug (That's a Harry Potter reference, for all you muggles.) Ten years later, and I'd say I'm still up there on the awkwardness scale most days. You'll giggle because you know it's true.





We'll talk about living in the same city and how fun it is that it's actually a reality after all of these years. I'll say one of the things I love about this is learning more and more how we each react to different situations. We are so similar in many ways, and different in others. We both love having a plan but react differently when those plans change, and that's okay. It's just something we are learning to be sensitive towards for each other. That's one thing about friendship. We, as individuals, are always growing and learning and changing, and as friends, we need to be aware of those things so that we can grow and learn and change together and so we can be respectful to each other in our differences.

Something I learned a long time ago about friendship is when we hurt each other, we should be quick to genuinely apologize and quick to forgive. I love that you and I do that. That's another thing about friendship. The ability Jesus gives us to see one another as we truly are, to see the bad and the ugly and the brokenness of our hearts, and to be able to look past that and say "You are precious, and beautiful, and worthy of love, and I am honored to be your friend." To realize none of us are perfect, to stop the comparison game, and to be each other's biggest cheer leaders. That is a beautiful thing.






There is a quote I came across recently that I wanted to tell you about. It says, "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person; have neither to weigh thoughts or measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

That is was a true friend does for you. They take all of the lies and unkind words you have told yourself, gently scoop them up and away from  you, and toss them to the wind, hoping that they will never find their way back to you. Thank you for being a friend who is brave enough to share insecurities, for being vulnerable and open, for sharing your heart and your life with me, knowing that this friend of yours will always strive to use gracious and honest words to build you up and encourage you.





Today I am turning twenty-seven. My heart has the warm fuzzies because I know you've made plans for friends and dinner and games tonight. Thank you for speaking my language and for taking the time to make sure I feel valued and loved. You know all this past year has held for me. All of the ups and downs, and you have had a few of those yourself. It was a hard year in many ways, but a gift nonetheless. We both learned a lot about trusting Jesus with some very big requests and about facing the unknown with courage. A wise lady once told me that just because God calls you to something or to some place, doesn't mean that change will be easy. One thing I know, He has brought us this far, and he won't let go now.






You are a sister I never had, and I'm so glad you are a part of my Colorado family. This year, let's laugh more (it's hard to believe two people could actually laugh more than we do, but we can rise to the challenge), try new things, adventure until we can adventure no more, believe what Jesus says about us (that we are precious and honored and loved in his sight), and love each other and those around us well. It is fun walking through this journey of life with you, best friend. Let's rock the socks off of twenty-seven.

8.05.2015

HOLDERS NOT FOLDERS | END-OF-SUMMER CHALLENGE


Happy Wednesday, brave hearts! Boy, do I have some exciting news for you. We are bringing back the Holders Not Folders series! If you are new to this series, take a look a the meaning behind it. Beth and I have absolutely loved seeing the #holdernotfolders community grow and grow since beginning this series over a year ago (5,800+ photos posted!) You all have been so encouraging to one another, and we love watching you cultivate new friendships on social media while challenging yourself to think creatively in your photography.

It's the first week of August and the perfect time to begin a new series as we wrap up this sunny season called summer. We will be doing a nine week end-of-summer Instagram challenge that will take us through the end of September and right up to Autumn's front door. Because we are celebrating #friendshipweek on our blogs, we thought FRIENDSHIP would be the perfect prompt for our first week in this series. We will recap each week and remind you of what prompt is coming up next so that you can participate and look for the community and friendship in your world! Don't forget, this hashtag is about the little things and the big things! We don't want to miss out on life because we were afraid to reach out and hold on to one another.




Get out there this week, think creatively, and show us what FRIENDSHIP looks like to you. Maybe it's an adorable photo of you and your best friend, a coffee date, a sweet handwritten note, or maybe you have a lot of long distance friendships and that looks different in photos because you aren't always together. We've all been there. Think outside the box this week and show us what you've got!

HOMEWORK: Make sure you follow @oakandoats and @megmcilvaine on Instagram and get creative in the ways you introduce us to the FRIENDSHIP in your life!Don't forget to #holdersnotfolders and make new friends in this community! XOXO.