July 29, 2016

July Favorites

I am so ready for summer to be O.V.E.R. I may get some crazy looks for that statement, but I don't do well in the heat, and the heat this year is off the effing charts. UGH. Fall can't get here fast enough, so lets just hope we don't have nasty extended summer weather.

I've sorta stepped back from the blog this month, for several reasons. Some personal, and others that are reasons for a lot of people's anxiety and stress these days. I am so over all of the violence and hate that is permeating our society right now. It worries me when I think about our future and the future our potential child will have. Gives you a lot to think about. And this whole presidential election BS that's flooding the news stations and our Facebook Newsfeeds is getting out of hand. But that is for a post on another day.

While I haven't been showing up for my own blog, I have been reading others, so lets get to the part you really came here for, my Favs.

+ Progress, sweet progress, is being made in the bathroom. Like, tangible and usable progress. I'll give more details in the Newsletter (it goes out Sunday, so you still have time to get on the list for that! Click the button on my sidebar to add yourself to the roster).

+ I finished a project for my sister-in-law in about a week. And it's a-freaking-dorable (She's pregnant, btw). I also found a pattern for another project for another dear friend who just found out she's expecting too. 

+ Confession time: my eating has been utter shit lately. I'm so not joking. Two words: Cookie. Cake. However, I have not gained any weight! So this new supplement I'm taking (doctor approved, don't worry) is working to help keep my insulin levels under control (an update on the baby journey will be in the Newsletter too!).

+ Goal Setting Tip of the Month: Try 'Tiny Habits' - Not Entirely Perfect
Maybe this is what I need to do to get myself motivated to do the things I like and want to do, and to keep the depression at bay.

+ 3 Ingredient Cake Pops - Eat, Drink, & Be Mary
Um, Yes please!!

+ Highly Recommended - Frankly, My Dear
The most epic book lists of book lists. Have you read any of these?

+ Low Fat Lemon Pancakes - Dash of Herbs
These look so good AND they are low fat. Win, win!

+ 4 Reasons You Should Not Be Modest - Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish
This post is so insightful about the concept of a woman's modesty. It makes me questions my own choices when I leave the house, and now I will be much more aware of my clothes and how they effect others.

+ I'll Remember Tomorrow - The "Florkens"
This post. I relate so much.

+ IVF: What I did & Didn't Do - Becca Dorr
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Reading Becca's infertility story and following her pregnancy has helped me so much in my own battle with infertility. As much as I don't want it to get that far, IVF may be in our future, so any information I can get my hands on is great.

+ How Are You Prioritizing Your Marriage? - The New Wifestyle
I 100% believe that in a family (no matter how big or small) your own marriage and spouse should come before anything else. Yes, even before your kids. Your spouse is the one that is supposed to be your partner in everything, including parenting, and they are the ones that will be there when your retired and the kids are all grown. It will be just you and him/her again, so keeping that relationship a priority is so excruciatingly important.

+ This video. I laughed for 10 minutes. 

+ This article showed up on my newsfeed and at first sight of the title, 'Why I'm Racist,' I thought "um, what?" But then I read the article and I relate. Because it's the truth about many white people. This quote sums it up: 
"But even with the upbringing and exposure I was blessed with, I’m probably still a racist. I don’t mean racist like a hate-filled bigot who dehumanizes and devalues the lives of others based on skin color. I mean that I am uncomfortable with, ignorant of and distant from racial inequalities that exist in my country."

+ This article resonates with me on a personal level as it voices many of my own concerns, even though I'm not yet a parent.

+ Free Stock Photos - Helene In Between
Another lovely set of photos to use for blog posts.

+ Common Blogging Myths - Love the Here and Now
All the yes.

+ A Beginners Guid to Blog Photography Styling
I found this on Pinterest the other day and I'm so glad I saved it.

+ 5 Alternatives to Email Marketing that Bring in Results - Elle ay Esse
Another Pinterest find. Good stuff here guys.

+ 6 Newsletter Ideas Your Customers will Love - Lot808 Marketing
Pinterest was a gold mine this month.

+ DIY Red, White, & Blue Wreath
+ Surprise Gift For Hubs
+ Design Reveal - Frankly My Dear

June Favorites
May Favorites
April Favorites
March Favorites

Were any of these on your favorites list this month?

July 12, 2016

Design Reveal - Frankly My Dear

Happy clients make a happy designer. And this design was so much fun to do. Once M and I got started talking about the direction of her blog during our text session, I immediately knew I wanted to work with her. Her inspiration for the design... wait for it... Gone With The Wind!! YES! We totally bonded over having it as a fav movie. Vintage and classy and simple. Yes. Yes. Yes. 

I had to finish up Mar's design before I could start working on it fully, but I just HAD to play with fonts and colors for M just a little to make sure we were on the same page for the feel of the design.

That dress. I so wanted my mom to make me a dress like that when I was little. It never happened, but I still dream about it. Back to the design. I pulled the colors from the dress and some gold foil texture. M said she wanted to incorporate wind somehow and I think I captured it elegantly without making it appear kitschy, with the swirly elements in the Header. Then I accented the script font with a clean sans serif and a cute handwritten font. 

M wanted the Deluxe Package, so then I got to work on her pages and extra customization for the sidebar elements. I loved the gold foil paired with the kelley green, so we ran with that for the feature images. Then we worked on the content and layouts. For the sidebar I coded the email subscription and search bar to match the color scheme, and customized the popular post section to flow with the design better with the round images rather than square. 

Go check out the live design at Frankly, My Dear. Keep up to date by following FMD on Bloglovin', and you can get other awesome updates on M's social media accounts.

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest

What do you think? Did I capture the film in the design?

Knock on Wood Designs now has pre-made templates! Go check those out here.
To get your own custom Blogger design visit the Knock on Wood Designs website.

July 6, 2016

Surprise Gift for Hubs

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. I was compensated with a free watch for this unbiased presentation and review of the watch. All opinions are 100% my own.

I'm amazing at putting together cool and creative gifts for people as a surprise, but I am terrible at keeping them a surprise. I just get so darn excited about them that I can't keep the secret. This time, though, I did it! I planned a surprise for Hubs and I KEPT it a surprise. Go me!

Earlier in the spring we purchased a new grill. Well, I made Hubs splurge on himself by purchasing our snazzy new grill. He's not one to buy himself nice things. We went on a grilling spree! Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steak. YUM. Then the weather got weird and it rained a lot, nipping our grilling spree in the bud. But it's summer now, and while it's crazy hot outside, it's the best time of year for grilling. (how many times can a person type grill/grilling in one post? Let's keep count! There are 5 so far.)

Why did I want to give this surprise gift to Hubs? Well, he's be amazing during this stressful baby journey on top of our bathroom renovation. My emotions and hormones have been living up to the roller coaster cliche and I can be a bit demanding when it comes to how I want our bathroom done. We may have had a couple of little tiffs, but considering everything that's been going on for us, it could have been a lot worse. We've recently hit the one year mark on our baby journey, and thought I'd do something special for him to thank him for how great he's been in putting up with me.

So when JORD reached out to me to see if we could work together, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, Hubs has started a small collection of different and unique styles of watches for men (he loves watches), and this Delmar Red Sandalwood and White Carbon watch made a lovely addition to it. When I received the watch, (after oohing and ahing) I started planning. I went out and got the ingredients for a little cook out and pulled out his shiny new grilling tools I got him for our Anniversary in April. I made sure his favorite shirt was clean and double checked that we had a bottle of his favorite whiskey on hand.

When Hubs came home I sent him straight to the bathroom to shower and laid out his clothes. He was puzzled as why I wanted him to put on "real" clothes and not "hang around the house" clothes, but I told him to just do what I say and he'll understand. Luckily he does mind me pretty well (...most of the time). Once he was dressed, I presented him with the watch. He loves it! Then I told him what I got for us for dinner and to go fire up the grill.

He's not big on having his photo taken, but he was good and played model for me. I think he did fantastic! He wears this beautiful watch like a pro. What do you think?

We had a wonderful evening. He was excited about showing off his new watch to his parents over the weekend when he got to grill again for our 4th of July cook out. And he's looking forward to wearing it again for our next holiday gathering. I think I did well with this surprise gift.

You can give someone the gift of a JORD watch or just get one of these beauties for yourself! Just click HERE and enter your info to win a $75 e-voucher from JORD. Giveaway ends July 24th. You'll get a small prize even if you don't win, so what's to lose?

When was the last time you gave a surprise gift to someone? Are you good at keeping surprises a surprise? Did you keep count of the number of times I said grill/grilling?

Unique Watch

July 4, 2016

DIY Red, White, & Blue Wreath

Remember that Twine Wreath I made back in March? Well I made it to where I can change out the decoration on it so I can use it for all kinds of holidays and season. Today is our Nation's birthday, so I made this patriotic wreath for our front door.

Here's what you need:

The basic twine wreath (You'll find the instructions on how to make it In this post.)
Fake Red Flowers
Fake White Flowers
Fake Blue Flowers (if you want)
Fake Greenery (if you want)
1 pair of American Flag Flip Flops
Pipe Cleaners
Glue (I used Gorilla Glue, but craft glue or hot glue would work as well)

Here's what you do:

Make 2-3 bunches of flowers in their respective colors, or mix them up. Get creative! Then you want to figure out how you want your flip flops to lay and glue them together. Let them dry well. Once dry, attach pipe cleaners to the bottom of the straps on either side of the glued flip flops like in the picture below.

Then attach the flower bunches to the basic twine wreath with pipe cleaners in the spot where you want them. Using the pipe cleaners we put on the flip flops, secure them to the wreath in their desired position. You may need to attach additional pipe cleaners to the back of the flip flop straps to get it to stay in position. And viola! You've got yourself a Red, White, and Blue Twine Wreath perfect for your 4th of July festivities. You can also use it for Memorial Day! Or change out the colors of the flowers and flip flops and use a bare pool noodle to create a look for the whole of summer.

NOTE: To make the decorations permanent, glue them to the wreath.

Do you change out your front door decor for the holiday or season? Do you make your own wreaths?

July 1, 2016

June Favorites

Last month I started this new thing and it did pretty well. Plus it makes me hold myself accountable for saving things I really like to share with you all. I enjoy spreading the love and hopefully introducing new people and things into your life. 

Things I Accomplished

+ We made some progress in the bathroom! Still not close to done, but it's moving along.

+ I've completed custom three designs this month! Plus another pre-made template and an update to my own blog. The creative juices are flowing, guys.

+ All signs are pointing to success for our first medicated cycle. Fingers crossed the blood test I'm going in for tomorrow comes back to confirm that.

+ I started working on some Christmas presents for my parents. I know it's a while away, but these gifts take a lot of time to make.

+ I kept a surprise for Hubs a real surprise! Usually I cave and tell him because I'm just so excited, but this time I kept my mouth shut. And you know what? He loved it! I'll be posting about it next week, so stay tuned for that.

Blog Posts - The Lovely Side of the Blogosphere

+ The End of a Decade - To & Fro
I love this birthday post from Mar. Perhaps it's because I'm also turning thirty this year, but this lovely recap of the past ten years makes me want to reflect on my own life through my twenties.

+ How Using The Space In Your Home Can Make You Happy- How to Make a Life
There are several spaces in our house that I wish we used more. This post from Sheryl makes me want to make a change and use them more often.

+ Trying to Do Good - Love the Here and Now
In the light of all the tragedy that has occurred in the recents weeks, spreading some goodness around not only to the people in our lives, but to strangers that we come in contact during out daily lives.

+ For the Stay at Home Wife - Becca Dorr
Because I am one, and sometimes it's hard to explain what I do all day.

+ Red, White, and Blue Sangria - Eat, Drink, and be Mary
Perfect for wine lovers who are having a summer cookout!

+ 10 Classic Novels - A Hundred Tiny Wishes
Everyone should read at least half of these in their lifetime, I know there's a few that I still need to read myself.

Blog Posts - Current Events, Controversy, & Important Topics

It's NOT Okay - Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos
I've experienced some of the same things Lindsay has, and she's right. It's not okay.

+ Rape, Injustice, and Gender Inequality Didn't Start Monday - Taylor DuVall
I've written about gender inequality myself, so I can totally get behind the message in the post.

+ Infertility: The Downside to Being Public - Becca Dorr
There are pros and cons to sharing and to keeping things private.

+ The Infertile Mom - Southern Hope Blog
Finding women who know what I'm going through doesn't make it easier, but it makes it bearable.

+ On How Gun Control is only HALF the Problem - Christine Everyday
Because it is. 

Blog Related Things

Thoughts on the "Why I Won't Read Your Post" Posts - Love the Here and Now
"Oh wait….I know why I hit publish on them….those posts are a snapshot in time. At that point in time, I was doing the best I could with what knowledge I had. I was expressing myself with the words and design that I loved back then." - Anne said it best.

+ DIY Home Photography Studio - Oak and Oats
I've been debating doing this in a corner of my house somewhere, and this post has come good ideas on how to achieve it.

+ 10 Must Read Posts on Blogging - A Hundred Tiny Wishes
Some great reads all in one spot!

+ Newsletters that Provide Free Styled Stock Photos - Love the Here and Now
Um. YES PLEASE!! I'm always looking for new places to get images for the blog when I don't have the time to take my own.

Things Found on Facebook

+ I've been open about my struggle with depression here in this space. It's a topic that I take very seriously and when I came across this article on I found myself nodding and saying "that's me" to myself. The article titled "We Cannot Overlook 'High Functioning' Depression" says it all. Just because some people's depression doesn't match society's view of what depression is supposed to look like, doesn't mean it's not any less real and debilitating.

+ This video tutorial of FOUR different styles of the messy bun. ALL. THE. YES.

+ A new hashtag was trending on twitter this month, #NoWomanEver. It's bringing some much needed attention to the way women are treated in public by men. Check out a few of the good ones in this article.

+ I'm not Catholic, but I think this is a big step in the world of Christianity. In a recent interview, Pope Francis has said that the Church needs to apologize and seek forgiveness from the LGBTA community as well as from the poor, women, and children. BIG STEP. And I applaud him for it. #LoveWins

+ I think we all need to work on our self-love. Being too critical of yourself can actually be self-sabotage, and that's no good. This article gives you four tools to increase your self-compassion and regulate your emotions about yourself.

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