Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I'm obsessed with Podcasts.

Something I've been trying to focus on lately is trying to fill my time with things that are profitable to me spiritually during times that I normally don't.

I don't know if that made sense. Times such as getting ready in the morning or cleaning...but mostly when I'm in the car. I don't have a really long commute, but it is 25 minutes each way which adds up. 

I've never enjoyed listening to anyone talk until I started having a daily commute. So then I started listening to the radio....and most of it is trash. If not trash, then just meaningless chatter. And I don't want to listen to depressing news or political banter.

I started listening to my Bible reading in the morning since I had some catching up to do, but that just wasn't working. I like to actually READ the Bible - reread verses, make highlights, mull over it, etc.

So I then turned to Podcasts. So far it's been all David Platt for me. And it's been OH SO GOOD. I'm borderline obsessed.

If I'm even in the car for 5 minutes I'll turn one on. And then I don't want to stop. It's like I've all the sudden become some sermon junkie. But it seriously helps my mind and heart so much! I find myself thinking about it all throughout the day.

Being a Christ follower is such a daily commitment. If I go a few days without reading His Word or talking to Him, it makes SUCH a negative difference in me. 

Kinda sounds like marriage, huh? But I'll save that for another day... :)


Ashley

Monday, January 7, 2013

Six Reasons Why and How I Didn't Buy Clothes in 2012.

I didn't buy clothes in 2012.

No, seriously.

One of the goals I made for 2012 was to not buy clothing for a year. 

And I stuck to it.

I knew there would have to be a few exceptions, and there were: a bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding, scrubs when I got my job, a bathing suit because I needed a one piece.

I also received some as gifts: a dress from my mom for my birthday, and some clothes for Christmas. 

Whenever I told people about this, (which was only if it somehow came up - I didn't go around proclaiming a no-clothes campaign or something) they asked, "WHY??"

First I'll tell you why, then I'll tell you how, and finally I'll tell you the results.


WHY

1. To challenge myself.

2. To remind myself that I don't "need" new clothes.
 
3. To simplify my life in a small way.

4. To be grateful for what I have.

5. To save money.

6. Jordan and I shared a really small closet at our old apartment and nothing else would fit.

I think that all of those reasons (with probably the exception of #6) could apply to you if you want to accept this challenge! Not that I think that you should, but honestly - it was kinda fun. So I recommend it if you're looking for a 2013 challenge. :)


HOW

1. Don't go looking.

2. Don't browse clothes on Pinterest or clothing sites.

3. Don't covet what your friends have - admire it and how cute they are. :)

4. Don't get sucked into the trends.

5. Take stock of what you do have and create new outfits out of old clothes.

6. When you have to go to 3 weddings in November and don't want to repeat an outfit and don't have another option for cold weather - borrow a dress from your mom. :)


Again...the last number probably won't apply to you. But you get the picture.


RESULTS

1. Not that I was a big shopper before (my friends know I'm not a big fan of the activity unless it's for hang out time), but now I definitely will take part in minimal clothes shopping. I'm so used to it now.

2. I learned that quality and usefulness really are important if you want to make the most of what you have. Instead of getting a trendy piece because it's a good deal, I may be more inclined to spend a little more money on something that I'll wear countless times. (And when I say a little more money I don't mean hundreds of dollars for a dress, haha.)

3. We saved money. Yay.

4. I got rid of clothes I don't wear and discovered my true classic pieces. Pencil skirts. Cardigans. Solid tops. Good jeans. Etc.

Here's my go-to outfit...jeans, solid top, and cardigan. Or without cardigan in summer.

5. I succeeded in my challenge and felt good about it.

6. I am more grateful for what I do have, and more aware of what I don't need.

So there ya have it. It was a great year for a challenge. What about you? Are you up for a challenge? Did you complete any in 2012 or have you already challenged yourself for 2013?


Ashley

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our Home at Christmas 2012

It was such a joy to decorate our new home for Christmas.

"Joy" seemed to become our theme, and was quite appropriate. :) It was also my middle name before I got married! 

These pictures aren't fancy or anything, but they can give you a glimpse of what our decorations looked like and a little of what our house looks like too! It's mainly for me to look back on and to help me next year when I get to do it all over again, Lord willing.

I'll start out with an easy craft that you could do next year with an old window:

Christmas Card Window

I had an old window with lace from The Nest (a place that will be mentioned a few times in this post! They're in Mebane, NC) that was perfect to use for some Christmas cards. I kept our other cards in a little basket and put the ones with pictures on the window. It was really simple - just twine, scotch tape, and tiny clothespins from Michael's! I loved the way it turned out. I'll probably keep it there and switch the cards out with our pictures.


We moved the table into the office to have a little buffet set up for our parties. We kept the dining room open for the games that we played. :) I kept it simple with a gray lace runner from The Nest. (That little bistro set in the background is from there too!) And yes, that is a chicken feeder with ornaments in it. I love unique, rustic pieces!





On the kitchen counter/bar I used my little chalkboard with a line from one of my favorite Christmas songs, "O Come, All Ye Faithful". The jar with the shepherd in it and the beautiful tree in the milk glass holder are both from the talented Kim Woodall - you can find her pieces at Suzanna's Antiques in Raleigh.


In the breakfast area next to the kitchen, I have an antique "dry sink" from my Nanny and Papa that was recently painted yellow. The mirror was left here at the house when we got it, so we decided to paint them both. When I say "we" I barely mean myself because I just helped a little bit. I really mean my sweet mother and the same aforementioned Kim Woodall. They are furniture ballers.

The metal tree, sheet music candle, and antique sifter is from The Nest. The antique washboard is from a shop in the mountains. For a while I thought I would have to resort to using that because our washing machine wasn't working...



The hutch is also in the breakfast area next to the kitchen. Those white reindeer are from Target years ago.


When you walk in the house to your left is the living room. As soon as you walk in there's some wall space to your left, so that's where we put our beloved Jesse tree made by my mother-in-law Kim. I explained the Jesse Tree last year  and it was wonderful to pull it out again for our 2nd married Christmas. :)



We had to rearrange some furniture for the tree, so it was perfect to bring one of the end tables to put in front of the Jesse Tree. I had a little sleigh with greenery and a Joy to the World ornament.


This is one of my favorite pieces, a "Joy" nativity from a little shop in the mountains that my mom gave me last year. 


Of course I had my Scentsy "'Tis the Season" warmer out to count down the days 'til Christmas! We had to change the number to be accurate after it was over. And by we I mean Jordan. Remember you can talk to me or visit my Scentsy website to order fabulous Scentsy products. :)  They made my house smell AMAZING through the holiday season. I warmed Festival of Trees, Christmas Cottage, and my favorite - Snowberry. Jordan loved the smells too. :)



This sweet little picture is from The Nest



I was so SO happy with how the mantle and our real Christmas tree turned out. I felt like Christmas spirit was bubbling over inside of me every time I looked at it.

And since these were taken post Christmas, we have a lot of our gifts still sitting there. Jordan likes to line them all up at the fire place. So pardon all of those items please.


The "Joy" letters are from my great uncle Sam's shop at Suzanna's Antiques. We also used them in my family's Christmas card.


One of the things I loved the most this year was our new stockings! I knew I wanted burlap ones, and I also wanted our names on them, and I also did NOT want to make them. Haha. So I found the PERFECT ones on Etsy. And they were even on a Black Friday sale! They are from Lovely Little Babies Etsy shop - go visit her shop RIGHT NOW. Or after you finish this post, haha. She has the cutest stuff! Whenever our family grows in the future, I'll definitely be ordering from her again! I mean seriously, look at those snow people. They girl has a gingerbread man brooch and pearl necklace on. I die of cuteness.


The "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" pillow came from The Nest, and the red pillow covers are from Festive Home Decor Etsy shop. That shop had excellent Black Friday deals and they came SO fast. I would love to order more! The tray on the coffee table is also featured in this post about vintage decor if you want to see how I've used it in the past.


Here's another Scentsy warmer that I LOVE. It's from the Silhouette collection, which means you can change the outside "wrap", so whenever I get around to taking all of our Christmas decorations down I'll take the Nativity one off and put the usual one on. :) 


This plug in Scentsy warmer is called Silent Night. I had it in the half bathroom downstairs.



This wreath was on our front door - I love the simplicity of the greenery with the burlap bow.


We had two little trees on either side of our front door and candles in all of our front windows. We didn't do any intense outdoor decorating.

Mistletoe hung right where you walk in. :)


This Christmas tree craft was made by a dear family friend who is like an extra grandmother to us. :) She gave it to me for Christmas this year and I'll definitely be picking the perfect spot for it next year!


This window shelf came from The Nest and so did the Joy sign sitting on it. It's on our living room wall above the couch.


Here's a few close ups of some new ornaments this year.

This one was made for me by my office manager Kristina. :)


I made these next two at a Christmas crafting party and I love how they turned out!



This one came from my friend Brianna's shop - you can find her on Etsy at the Nora Gray Vintage shop. She's so talented. I'll have to show you all of my other stuff from her soon. :)


We got this one on our trip to Williamsburg. Slowly but surely getting an ornament from every state!


This space is also in our living room. The Noel sled and Christmas tree jars came from The Nest. Can you tell I love that place??




And yes, this chalkboard snow shovel came from there too. I'm going to leave it up all winter. And no, it probably won't snow here.



One of my favorite pieces in our house is this antique scale from a shop in the mountains. My dad got it for us because he loves old scales. :) 


The gold snowman and sled are from Pier One.


Here's some close ups of the mantel. The Noel candles are also from The Nest!





This little tree came from a thrift shop for 5 or 6 bucks. It made a home in our office.



Here are a few shots from our dining room, which also included a bunch of opened gifts, so disregard those!

The antique tea cart with decoupaged sheet music is from The Nest

The artificial tree that I used to use in my old apartment came from a yard sale for $20! It's such a good one!





The O Holy Night art is from Kirkland's. And the cross stitch is from my friend Brittany. :) This is in our half bath downstairs.






I love this Faith nativity from Hallmark!


We hung this banner from TJ Maxx over the french doors that separate the office and dining room. (They will be painted white eventually!)


Here are our old stockings that I still used in the office. With our decapitated snowman holder that suffered that injury last year.


I know I'm jumping around like crazy, but on our fridge was a gold star from Pier One, and the Christmas cookie countdown is from Hallmark.


The only decoration upstairs was a tiny little tree made by Kim Woodall in our bedroom. :)

The green bedding is from Target and the bluish gray pillow was handmade by a wife of a doctor at the office where I work. She gave every employee one for Christmas!



And lastly is another Scentsy warmer called Tilia that Jordan picked out for our room. It isn't a Christmas decoration but it is lovely. :)


Well, there ya have it! Sorry it's so late, but I had to post our first Christmas in our new house. :) You can read about what we did for our Christmas 2012 here!

Ashley

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