Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Power Of Red Lips

Do you have a favorite beauty pick-me-up? Something you do or wear on days when you're feeling a little blah? For me, it's red lipstick! It doesn't matter if I'm just at home and not wearing a stitch of makeup otherwise. I'll go into the bathroom, swipe on one of my favorite reds, and I'll magically feel lifted and fresh and a little glamorous. 

One day earlier this week I was wearing super minimal makeup--just tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a little under eye concealer. My hair had air-dried that morning and I threw it up in a clip while putting groceries in my car (Alabama in April = hotter than you'd expect). I wasn't even wearing my usual tiny diamond stud earrings. There's nothing wrong with days like this but I felt in need of just a little midday boost. I put on a layer of this lipstick and instantly felt put together and feminine.

(One trick for wearing a deep red lipstick during the day and still looking pretty natural: after applying I blot my lips with a tissue to create more of a stained look, and with my finger I sort of blur the edges a little so the lines aren't too defined or severe.)

What about you? Do you have any beauty pick-me-ups? Another one of mine is washing my hands with a special scrub. The scent lingers all day and my hands feel silky smooth! Amazing what a little pampering can do.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Sweet Moment

We witnessed the cutest thing in church a few weeks ago. There was a family sitting in the pew in front of us--a mother and father, a daughter who was maybe 6, and a son who looked like he was about 4. The kids were really sweet and spent most of the service coloring quietly. At one point, the little girl got up to show her dad a drawing she did of a man and when my husband and I caught a glimpse of her drawing as she showed it off, we thought it was the cutest thing in the world.

She had drawn (very prominently) black plug earrings in the man's ears, identical to the ones her own father was wearing. And she specifically pointed them out to her dad as she beamed and he lovingly smiled back at her. 

I would say it's pretty atypical for a dad to have plug earrings and lots of tattoos and a mohawk. The point of this isn't what he looked like or what I thought of it (he actually pulled it off quite well--maybe he was in a rock band?). The point is that this girl's dad did have these things, and she was proud of him and looked up to him and loved him exactly as he was. She drew his quirky and unusual style choices into her drawing of him, and beamed with pride as she shared it.

It made me think of my relationship with my own dad--not because he has plug earrings or a mohawk (!) but because of that adoring look I witnessed between father and daughter. I think any Daddy's Girl would have recognized that look. It was such a sweet moment. I feel lucky to have seen it.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Decorating Slowly

Let's be honest! One of the best things about moving is getting a whole new place to decorate and play with. We are renting a very cute little house (that we haven't seen in person yet!) and I just can't wait to fill it with our things and hang art on the walls and get out my hammer (and maybe a paint brush?) and really make it ours.

But as eager and excited as I am, I have made a resolution to decorate slowly. And here's why. I truly believe that the most beautiful rooms have an eclectic, natural feel to them. They don't look styled, they don't look planned. They look put together and collected but completely organic at the same time. The most beautiful rooms look like the people who live in them.

I think rooms like this are a natural result of taking things slowly. One of my favorite design bloggers wrote once, "I've learned the rooms I like the best aren't usually designed with moodboards in one day or even a week. I think you'll be most happy with your space if you move a little slower and try to decorate in layers."

So my plan is to settle into our new home using what we already have (and we are very blessed--due to my parents' downsize at the same time of our wedding, we have a lot more furniture/art/rugs/kitchen supplies than most young couples). I want to get used to the light and the layout and the quirks of the house (it was built in 1946 so it's bound to have quirks! hooray!). I want to use each space and take our time figuring out practical and aesthetically pleasing solutions for storage, or lighting, or any number of things we're sure to encounter. I think it will be fun to test out different furniture configurations and try our art in various spots and DIY whenever possible.

This is not to say that we won't be buying anything new, but in the first few weeks I hope to keep the spending to a minimum. There are of course things we will need right away but whenever we can wait for a sale or wait until we find a version of something we really love, as opposed to a version we think is just ok, I want to try to wait. Also, as usual, thrift shops will be my friend as I hunt for things for the house.

Not only is this approach going to encourage us to be thrifty and make better design decisions, I think it will also make for a more relaxed move-in. I'm looking forward to playing with what we already own and filling in the gaps carefully and thoughtfully as we go.

 What about you? How do you decorate? What have you learned by trial and error?

(All images via Pinterest, picked because these rooms feel earthy and natural and cozy and because they inspire me.)

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

   And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him. And after three days He will rise.
-Mark 10:34

Good Friday is the really difficult part of Easter weekend. We know that Easter is coming and the joy and hope it represents, so it can be easy to forget today. But it's important not to forget today--to forget that our salvation came at a price, that God asked His son to do something unimaginable, all because He loves us so very much.

The part of the crucifixion story that is most painful for me to read is when Jesus cries, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus' humanity, his divinity, and both his physical and emotional suffering are all wrapped up in this cry. His pain was real. 

Good Friday is a sad day for Christians but without it, the joy of Easter wouldn't be half as bright, and wonderful, and brilliant. May we all remember what this day means and be thankful.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Easy Choice

Tulips for Easter and Springtime and new beginnings

Finally, the cat's out of the bag! Thanks so much to my dear, sweet readers for being excited and happy with us! Charlottesville is a vibrant, wonderful little city and I'm pretty sure we're going to love it there.

These last two years in Alabama were very much not a part of our plan, as I'm sure you have gathered from my posts. We thought we would live here together as a married couple for three months, max, but it's been close to 24. We also thought we'd be in a very different situation by the time we left Alabama than we currently are. Life has surprised us.

But you know what I've learned? That this trying, frustrating, patience-testing, worry-filled, big unknown phase of our lives has been one enormous blessing in disguise. God had a plan for us and my husband and I both honestly believe that we are in a better place as a result of the chaos of the last few years (the details of which I won't get into here). If that isn't a praise-worthy revelation I don't know what is.

We are moving to Charlottesville because my husband got the unexpected opportunity to go back to school in order to pursue a career change (a career of the "dream" variety). We're moving there to be close to our families--my in-laws are a little over an hour away and my parents are a little over two hours away. We are moving there so that I might feel more stimulated artistically and creatively and hopefully grow as a musician and a teacher and a writer. We are moving to Charlottesville because it's a beautiful and interesting part of the country. Simply put, we like it there.

Last week we signed a lease on a cute house to rent and--get this--we did it all sight unseen! Something I wouldn't have imagined doing in a previous life but I guess I'm getting gutsy and learning to be flexible. To be fair, my mother went to see it and proclaimed it adorable and perfect for us. (Also, it has a red door and a screened porch. Sold.) We can't wait to see it and move in.

It's a wonderful feeling to have made this relocation decision together as a couple and to know that it is the right one for us. It was weird, sometime over this past summer I started to feel a pull to Virginia generally and Charlottesville specifically. As we thought about it more and more the decision pretty much made itself. It was an easy choice and after months of hard choices or too few choices, that felt great.

It goes without saying that there are still unknowns in our lives (there always will be) and issues to overcome (of course!) but we feel so hopeful for this new chapter and the changes it will bring.

(Not least of which is the happy reunion that will take place when I get to unpack the boxes filled with wedding gifts. I've had many a daydream about Grandma's china and our white embroidered pillowcases and our pretty dining room chairs.)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

At Long Last

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Friday, April 11, 2014

When Life Endears You

Sometimes life has a quirky way of endearing us to it.

Yesterday at my hair appointment, my hairstylist was describing her sixth-grade son's "serial killer handwriting" and her story and hand gestures were so funny that I was laughing and leaning forward in my chair (I'm a forward-leaner when I'm laughing hard) and there were tears in my eyes.

I spoke to two different customer service representatives from two different companies yesterday and both were as cheerful and helpful as can be and my problems were resolved in a matter of minutes (that never happens, right?!).

And then there was the lizard quandary.Yesterday afternoon I got in my car to drive to the grocery store and noticed that a cute little lizard was peering right at me from the hood of my car. I pulled over in my neighborhood and got out to shoo him off. He ended up jumping down into the tire and at that point I didn't know what to do--I didn't want to crush that little guy! Just then, a few Saudi Arabian flight school students (they are trained at Fort Rucker) stopped because they thought I had car trouble. I explained the lizard situation and they both jumped out and got on the ground and tried to see if he was still in my tire. One of them said that snakes like to get into the hood of the car so we should check there, and I said that it was actually a lizard and I knew he was in the tire. He didn't know the word lizard so I described to him what they look like. I think they thought I was way too weirdly nice to be so concerned about hurting one of those.

Anyway, we couldn't find the lizard so I decided to just start driving very slowly and the guys who helped me were going to drive in front and look back to see if the lizard jumped out. Sure enough, after about 3 seconds of creeping along slowly, I got an ecstatic thumbs up and a hand signal that could only have meant that the little critter skittered off safe and sound! The whole thing ended up being hilarious and sweet.

Then later in the day I had a very honest, real, meaningful text-chat with a dear friend. Let me just say that she's a keeper, that gal.

It was a regular yet oddly endearing day. One of those days when you connect with people, friends and strangers alike, in a way that makes you feel happy and grateful.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

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