In case you haven’t heard the news yet, this little blog of mine has found a new Internet home!
Hope on over to aplacetodwell.com and do some exploring.
Can’t wait to see you over there! ;)
In case you haven’t heard the news yet, this little blog of mine has found a new Internet home!
Hope on over to aplacetodwell.com and do some exploring.
Can’t wait to see you over there! ;)
It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I’ve been in a bit of a dreamy place the last week or so, and in the midst of that, I put together two new moodboards that capture some of those thoughts and dreams.
The first one (above) is more end-of-summery, while the second one (below) is more in anticipation of fall and all that fall might bring.
Together they show a heart filled with plans for adventure, dreams of making art, and taking risks for God.
I could write quite a bit about each image and what it means to me right now, but I think I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
(Image sources found here, here, here; “Seek the Unfamiliar” from Sseeko Designs; Lucky Bean Coffee from their FB page)
If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be ordering an iced soy or almond latte, because I can’t seem to get enough of them this summer. If I was feeling particularly indulgent, I might add a shot or two of syrup (the one pictured is maple…YUM!). I MAY even try to convince the both of us to get a cookie or a pastry (how about a chocolate croissant?!) :)
If we were on a coffee date, I’d want to talk about books. I’d ask you what you’re reading lately, and I’d tell you all about the book I just finished — Delicious! — and how I couldn’t put it down. I’d also tell you about loving the fact that the story was partially set in Akron and Cleveland (the two cities closest to my heart). And I might even admit that I have a huge stack of books right now (and that I always do), a combination of purchases and library books, little stacks of colorful possibility all around my home.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about something I read in Hannah Brencher’s book If You Find This Letter that made me nod my head like crazy and shout yes from the heart — something I feel should be a new anthem of sorts in my life…And it is this: I want to learn to live inside a life that says, “Girl, this whole dang thing is your love story.” Life is a love story, whether you are coupled up or not. Life is a love story filled with daily little love letters that come in things like cups of coffee, smiles shared, sunrises and sunsets. Even if I live out all my days in singleness, I’m still living out a love story. It’s a love story written by God, and it’s a love story I can choose daily.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about how I want to start writing on the inside covers of my books again. About six or seven years ago, I read about a little practice of writing inscriptions in your books…little details like when you read it, where you read it, and how you felt while reading it. I loved the idea, and upon stumbling upon some of those inscriptions this afternoon, I was reminded how much I enjoyed the practice. I’d also tell you I read it on one of the very first blogs I loved (My Messy Thrilling Life).
If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask you about your morning routine, because I’ve been working on mine. I’d tell you about the P.R.E.S.E.N.T principle, part of another book I’m currently reading called The Better Life. I’d tell you that I’m an aspiring morning person and that right now, my morning routine consists of coffee, scripture, and my Five-Minute Journal. I’d also tell you that I just recently received Lara Casey’s Write the Word journal in the mail, and I’m excited to start using that on a regular basis.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d say I can’t believe it’s August already, and I’d confess that in all the years I’ve professed fall to be my favorite season, summer has been creeping up closer on my favorite season list. I’d ask how you plan to savor the rest of the summer, and I’d tell you that I hope to chase the sunshine as much as possible, dip my toes into water pool blue, and make sure I pay attention to every twinkly, under-the-sky moment.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about my recent adventure visiting my college campus. I’d ask you about your college days and how you’ve changed since then. I’d admit that I miss those days sometimes, miss the sheer possibility and openheartedness they contained.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what God’s been telling and teaching you lately. I would share that I am smack dab in the middle of a season of letting go, a season of learning how to give up my plans, in exchange for better ones — His. I would tell you that I’m learning to give up control and say yes to all He is and all He has for me. And I would also tell you it isn’t always easy. :)
If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you this: right where you are today is right where you’re meant to be. I would be saying it to you, and saying it to me, too.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably ramble too much, smile big, and laugh often. I would try to find out the area you most need encouragement and then offer that to you with joy and with prayer. I would let you know how grateful I am for you and how inspiring I find a good chat over coffee. I’d thank you for being you, and I’d already be looking forward to next time.
*I discovered this fantastic format over at Mr. Thomas and Me, and I couldn’t wait to join in. Expect monthly-ish coffee dates around here from today forward. I hope you’ll share some responses in the comments, so we can kind of pretend we really are out to coffee. (Even better if you enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage while reading…) :)
I can’t believe we are almost to the end of An Inspired Season! It has been such a good exercise for my heart and my creative spirit.
(P.S. Sorry for posting this a day late!)
I’m smack dab in the middle of a pretty ordinary week, so I think there couldn’t be a better week to respond to this prompt! :-) Life is made up of normal Tuesdays (or Wednesdays I should say), yes? :)
So here’s my plan for celebrating my season this week: I want to design an art print that features the bucket list I created earlier this month. I saw the idea on@abeautifulmessofficial, and I thought it was such a fun and artful way to appreciate the joys of right where you are.
I’ll be back to share the finished art piece next week sometime! I’m also excited to share that I’ll actually be checking an item off of that bucket list this weekend! I’ll be attending an outdoor movie event with my sister, and I can’t wait to celebrate the joy of summer by making that memory with her! :)
Photo by: @tracyxo_
What about you? How will you celebrate your season this week? How will you celebrate today? :)
These amazing ladies are some of my favorites to follow in this season of life, and I’m excited to introduce them!
MEET CARRIE: Carrie’s Instagram is full of colorful encouragement! She has the sweetest, most giving heart, and I’m fairly certain that even though we’ve never met, we could become fast friends, bonding over bright colors, polka dots, and living each day with thankfulness and joy!
MEET NATALIE: Natalie Metrejean has created an incredible devotional for single ladies (see below), and she is daily encouraging other single women to embrace their season and live a full, meaningful life. So lucky to call her a dear friend!
MEET NATALIE (YEP, TWO NATALIES!): Natalie of Good Girl Style is fabulous in so many ways (and another lady I am so lucky to call a friend). She’s stylish with a fantastic flair for vintage, a fellow latte lover and coffee enthusiast, an amazing and inspiring poet, and above all, she loves the Lord in a really brave, beautiful, and faithful way. She’s currently walking through an incredibly tough season, but she still shares with honesty and joy.
MEET BAILEY: Bailey has become such a sweet online friend, and I absolutely adore her heart for living fully and savoring her season. Her blog and Instagram are just chock full of creative inspiration — from books to read, quotes to remember, adventures in life and theatre, and crafty Project Life pages that celebrate God’s goodness and all He is doing in her life. She will encourage you to live, dream, and create with courage!
MEET EMILY: Emily reminds me often what it looks like to be beautifully content in the Lord. She is an encourager, a cheerleader, and such a sweet spirit and friend. You’ll find peace, rest, and inspiration in each of her lovely posts!
MEET ALI: Ali has written some pretty spot-on blog posts about what it’s like to be single in your 30s (see link below). This girl is living proof of how to rock the single life, too! You’ll love following her adventures in food blogging and making the most of life!
Looking for more inspiration? Here are some of my favorite reads and resources for singles:
So, who’s been inspiring you lately? And if you know of other single ladies who are living life to the very fullest, I’d love to be introduced! :)
I have a whole category about adventuring on the blog. I love it. And originally, when I thought about answering today’s prompt, I I thought I would talk about a recent adventure, something super current in this season of mine — or maybe one of the more exciting adventures I’ve lived like my trip to California, or doing my internship in New York City.
But then I was reminded of one day and one small adventure that just may have been the start of my love of everyday adventures, of exploring right where I am, and living in the present moment fully.
And that’s when I decided that’s the story I wanted to tell.
This story takes us all the way back to my college days. I can’t even remember what day of the week it was, but I do remember my journalism assignment was to go check out an art show opening and write about it.
So, I hopped in my car with my MapQuest directions (hello, pre-GPS days…), and I drove to a small town about 45 minutes to an hour away from my university. Some of the details of the day are fuzzy, so forgive me if I mix up their order, but I do remember finding the art show, wandering around the opening, and loving every second. I pored over the artwork and the descriptions of each, took lots of notes, gathered inspiration, and began working out sentences in my head for the article I would later write. I remember being filled with energy (perhaps that is also when my love for discovering art began…)
Instead of leaving after covering the art opening, I decided to explore the town. I remember wandering up and down the main street, ducking into an antique shop or two, eating at a local restaurant, while going over story notes, and then I think I may have even sampled the town’s local coffee shop. (I can’t imagine I’d have skipped out on that.) In fact, that may have happened on the way TO the opening. Who can be sure… ;)
It’s funny, because I had this adventure pre-iPhone, so I don’t have Instagram shots to capture the day. I can’t remember the name of the coffee shop, or the restaurant, or the antique shop. I can’t even remember clearly the art I saw that day, or who had created it.
I do remember how much that day inspired me, though, how it made me want to create more, explore more, experience more. It made me want to tell the stories of those experiences and discoveries, too. I couldn’t wait to share the stories of those artists, what had moved them to create and what those creations were sharing with me and with the world.
It’s funny to think now how little pieces of the woman I am today were being formed on that seemingly normal day back in college.
Looking back, I can also see how God has only furthered developed each of those pieces, and it’s pretty spectacular to think about. They may seem like tiny, insignificant details, but in God’s hands, they’ve become meaningful moments in the greater story, stepping stones in a creative journey.
I wish I knew where that story was and what I had written…maybe I can find it in my portfolio someday and revisit everything in more detail.
But for now, it’s enough remembering — even if it’s all a little fuzzy.
Even though so much time has passed, I’m still grateful I didn’t just do my assignment as quickly as possible. I’m grateful I lingered and explored and learned more about that little town. More than anything, though, I’m grateful I realized that day what a joy everyday adventures can be and how much there is to discover and appreciate right where we are, right where God’s placed us.
Because the truth is, even the little moments are leading us somewhere good.
Today, I’m bringing you the third installment of the #AnInspiredSeason collaboration with Bailey of Brave Love!
Today’s topic: BUCKET LISTS! :)
Over the years, I have written bucket lists of all kinds (birthday bucket lists, dream bucket lists, holiday and seasonal bucket lists etc.), but this is the first time I am actually writing a Single Girl’s Bucket list.
And I could not be more excited to share it with you!
An Inspired Season is all about embracing and celebrating life RIGHT where you are… And singleness? Well, that’s a pretty big part of where I am these days, so why not have a bucket list specifically dedicated to the opportunities such a season provides? :)
I had a blast brainstorming these ideas! Dreaming up some new adventures that don’t require waiting for future seasons really helped me look forward with hope and appreciate right where God has me.
So, what’s on your bucket list these days?
(Don’t forget to hashtag #AnInspiredSeason when you share!!)
Creating today’s post came at the perfect time, on a day that started with struggle and discontent, but ended in thankfulness and rejoicing. God is in ALL things. Every bit of my story — and your story — is threaded through with His goodness, His love, His faithfulness, and His creativity.
We miss it sometimes, though, don’t we? I know I do.
My #AnInspiredSeason moodboard came together in a few different fun and inspiring heart-filling ways. I browsed my Instagram feed, Pinterest boards, and also brainstormed a list of key words and phrases that would help me tell the story of this current season and all God is doing.
Here’s a peek at some of the words and phrases on that list:
Bright colors and playful patterns; iced coffees and sunshine; nails the color of summer; playing with paint; time to learn, create, adventure, and explore; fresh foods and ideas; gaining strength; telling His story within my own; opportunity; possibility; community…
Are you participating in our An Inspired Season? Leave me a link to your visual representation, or use the hashtag #aninspiredseason on Instagram. :)
P.S. Catch the whole list of prompts here.
::Credits: Proverbs art from Naptime Diaries; Live/Create art from The Fresh Exchange::
She’s all bright colors and polka dots, when we meet at her favorite local coffee shop to talk.
We find a corner table in a spot of sunshine and begin with stories from her childhood. As she sips her creamy iced latte, she shares that she’s been curious for as long as she can remember.
“Growing up, I wanted to try everything — from rock collecting to playing basketball to cheerleading,” she says with a smile. “Learning and trying new things has always interested me.”
And then there were books, of course! So many books!
“I used to get ‘grounded’ from reading as a kid, because I’d get so lost in a book, I wouldn’t finish my chores.” She laughs and shakes her head. “I’m sure my parents were both thrilled and frustrated that I loved books and reading as much as I did.”
That inquisitive little girl grew up to study magazine journalism in college, where she learned all of the ins and outs of interviewing, fact-checking, and feature writing. What she grew to love most about journalism, though, she says, were the stories, and the way her words could bring them to life.
The summer before her senior year, she packed her bags and headed for New York City, where she spent three months working at a magazine, exploring the city, and wandering around The Strand bookstore.
“That summer was such an awesome adventure for me,” she says. “It challenged me in so many ways and gave me courage and confidence to take risks and pursue dreams, even when they feel completely big and out of reach. I think that summer was definitely foundational for me and helped me find my way in the world of words.”
Following her college graduation, she did exactly what she expected she would: she got a job at a magazine. As an editor at a scrapbooking magazine, she says she felt inspired daily by the stories the scrapbookers were capturing and her part in helping them share those stories with others.
“Being on staff at the magazine only further developed my love of storytelling,” she says, “and, I think, it also got me thinking about the small stories that make up each of our days. I started to develop an interest in telling those stories — and celebrating them in a beautiful and artful way.”
So, she took what she says felt like the next natural step in her creative journey and started a blog.
Her blog, A Place to Dwell, became a colorful Internet home for her own little stories as they unfolded, a place to capture and share about her experiences, her newfound faith, and the creative life she was learning to live.
It was around that time that she also took a collage class and fell in love with visual storytelling.
“Looking back, I can see that so much of who I am today was being formed and discovered in that season,” she says. “I was learning so much about who God had created me to be, and I was able to start really dreaming about where all of those things might take me.”
That season of learning and discovery eventually transitioned into another season of challenge and growth when a troubling economy led her to lose her job at the age of 24.
“I knew God was closing a door, and I felt peace about that, but I also felt a lot of uncertainty and apprehension about what door He would open next and how long it would take Him to open it.”
Even though it was an incredibly difficult time in her life, she says it was a season that truly deepened and refined her faith. And it was also a season of unexpected blessing.
“I got a lot of precious time with my family during that season,” she says, “especially with my grandmother, who passed away in April. I can see what a gift that was now.”
After months of dreaming and praying about what she might do next and where God might be leading her, she discovered her current world of telling stories through greeting cards.
“I feel pretty lucky that I get to be a part of both the little and big moments in people’s lives, and that I get to help them celebrate those moments,” she says.
She’s also continued to blog, and she says her creative journey as a whole has led her to learn how much living a full and inspired life for God means to her.
“When I put all of the pieces of my story together so far, I can see how much I value being inspired and inspiring others. I can see that I want to live an inspiration-filled life, and that I want to help others do the same,” she says.
While she says she is still figuring out what that looks like, she did write an eBook last year all about living an inspired life (appropriately titled An Inspired Life: Living Fully & Creatively in Every Season).
“It had long been a dream of mine to write and publish a book, and so to have the opportunity to do that is an incredible blessing,” she says.
So, what’s next in her inspired life?
She smiles and pauses.
“I really have no idea,” she says, “and I think there’s a lot of beauty and hope and possibility in that. I have a lot of dreams and ideas, of course, but I’ve also learned that God does some of his best work in the unexpected seasons we find ourselves in. I’m going to keep writing, and I’m going to keep creating. And as long as I’m seeking to use the creative gifts God has given me to the very fullest, I think He’ll take care of each and every adventure ahead.”
* * *
Want to jump in and join the An Inspired Season party? Here’s a look at our upcoming prompts! (And you can read more about the collaboration on Bailey’s blog.)
Tuesday, July 7th. Describe your current season in pictures (make a mood board/art collage/whatever)!
Thursday, July 9th. Write a bucket list that’s FOR your current season (focusing on things you can do and want to do in the very near future, rather than dreams for what you hope is ahead).
Tuesday, July 14th. Pick a verse for your season and create something based on it (a blog post, a painting, a poem, anything you’re inspired to make)!
Thursday, July 16th. Take a look back at the past year. What are some highs and lows from this season? What were some surprises? What advice would you give yourself if starting this year/season anew? (Feel free to choose one, any, or all of these questions!)
Tuesday, July 21st. Write about one of the best adventures you’ve had so far in this season.
Thursday, July 23rd. Who are others you admire that are living/celebrating a similar season well? What resources/books/posts have encouraged you?
Tuesday, July 28th. What’s one thing you can do this week to celebrate your season? Set the intention (on Instagram or Facebook) and then do it! Write about the experience.
Thursday, July 30th. Write about something this season of life has taught you.
Hi, friends! I’ve been using the Stitch Fix styling service for a few years now and have been meaning to do a review post for ages. Chances are you’ve tried it, or at least read about it, but I still hope that sharing some of my experiences may help you get a better box the next time you order.
I thought it would be helpful to explain how I use Stitch Fix (and how it works if you’ve never heard about it before).
Stitch Fix is an online styling service. You fill out a style profile, and then you can either set your account up to receive fixes monthly, or you can manually order them whenever you want. I choose to order fixes seasonally, so I usually get about four a year.
Many people ask me about the prices, and they have various pricing options you can select from when you set up your account (I’ll be honest, I select the cheapest one), but the items are still not going to be Target-priced, obviously, so I use the service to add fun, unique pieces to my wardrobe each season. I find it’s a fun treat a few times a year.
When you request a fix, you pay a $20 styling fee (but if you order something from your box, that $20 comes off the price of that item). So, as long as you purchase at least one thing, you won’t be out that $20. It’s also free to ship back anything you don’t want. They send a pre-addressed and stamped envelop with your box, so it makes returns SUPER EASY.
A few Tips/Things I’ve Learned:
1. Set up a style board on Pinterest (and leave specific notes to your stylist). Since I pin often, I’ve found it best to leave specific notes on styles/items I really want my stylist to pay attention to (see below). (You might also notice the cobalt dress with the coral necklace on my board, which is something I received in my summer fix!!)
2. While you can mention you’d like certain items you’ve seen on the Stitch Fix blog or Instagram, don’t get your heart set on receiving those specific items. I’ve never once received EXACTLY the item I’ve requested. I’ve often been sent something similar (like the chevron dress above), but I’ve never received the exact item I listed. Which brings me to my next tip…
3. Allow yourself to be surprised! Once I stopped getting certain pieces in my head that I couldn’t wait to receive, I started having a LOT more fun with my fixes. It’s fun to be surprised! That’s not to say you shouldn’t be specific in your profile and requests — definitely try to be as specific as you can in your style profile and the notes to your stylist about styles, colors, looks you like and don’t like— but don’t go about your fixes as though you are ordering specific items from a catalogue or online shop. That’s not really how it works! ;)
4. Try everything on! The coral tulip-sleeved blouse below is one example of something I didn’t like when I pulled it out of the box. I loved the color, but didn’t think it would look good on me! I never buy tops like this! I tried it on and LOVED it, though! ;) And it’s super versatile! I’ve found I can pair it with jeans (as pictured) and also with a cute navy striped skirt they sent in the same box. Such a happy surprise!
And my final tip…
5. Contact customer service if you genuinely get a fix that doesn’t reflect what you requested, or if you’re having trouble with their service in any way. When I first got started, I got a disappointing fix, so I contacted customer service for help, and they were AWESOME. They have an amazing customer service team, and if you aren’t getting fixes where you like at least one to two items, they really do want to help you get it figured out. And they will! :)
A few last thoughts:
I’ve had the most luck with dresses (and I’ve started to be pretty specific about the styles of dresses I like and don’t like), but I’ve also received a few super fun tops and accessories!
I’ve also started giving my stylist a pretty specific request for the TYPE of items I’d like in each box (i.e. dresses and tops or tops and accessories, etc.). I’m finding that to be pretty helpful.
They also now offer Petite sizing! YAY! YIPPEE!! They continue to update and evolve their services to better meet the needs of their customers, which I think is pretty awesome.
Well, I hope this post was helpful in some way for you, and if you order a box, let me know how it goes! :) If you’ve already ordered, what was the best item you received? I’d love to hear about it! :)