Birthdays

Good morning to you. ¬†ūüôā ¬†This past weekend I spent some time with my in-laws at their house celebrating my 28th birthday, which is this Tuesday. ¬†I’ve gotta tell you guys… 28 feels good.

Cupcakes

We moved in with my in-laws when I was just 25, and this will be my first birthday in our new house.  To say that feels incredibly special to me and that I just feel like the blessings have been poured over me would be the understatement of my life.  My in-laws gave us a place to rest and work hard, a safe place to connect with one another, and the gift of creating a deeper relationship with us that I treasure and keep so close to my heart now.  If moving into their home had the sole purpose of giving us an unbreakable bond and a strong relationship, I would do it all over again.

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I am surrounded by so much love, it’s unbelievable sometimes. ¬†How is this my life? ¬†I think that all the time. ¬†And I still feel pain and heartbreak and loss, but the year 27 has been the year that I feel so blessed every time I feel sad or immense happiness because to feel is to live. ¬†27 was the year of living for me.

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It’s really the little things in life that make me happy these days… ¬†puttering around my house, making my bed, Sunday morning coffee in my Harry Potter mug, snuggling with my husband in the middle of the day, fresh flowers of any kind, my sweet pupper’s frothy lips, my nephew saying, “Garia, I love you!” (although that is a very big thing — the best kind of big thing)…

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I’m happy. ¬†And it feels good. ¬†I have worked hard to feel this happy — I have walked through the muck and the dark places. ¬†I have explored my insides and learned, listened, leaned in. ¬†It’s a wonderful thing to feel.

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PS: Sending out a birthday wish to my momma!  I love you!

Seashells and Special Things

I’ve written before about our coffee table’s array of special things, so it was really fun to add some Summer details to the display. ¬†ūüôā

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Coffee Table Vignette

This silver bowl is one of my favorite things in our house.  It is so versatile.  I found it in an antique shop while we were living with my in-laws and I was always dreaming about using it to decorate in our future house.  It is a reminder to me of how blessed we are.

I added some shells to the rocks in the top and then added some sand to the bottom with some more shells. ¬†Decorating for Summer truly is so simple — it requires little effort! ¬†I love that. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Simplicity before the abundance of Fall and Winter (although I am already looking forward to another Christmas in our home! ¬†—One thing at a time!)

Spring Sunday Brunch

First let me just say that we are so blessed with two amazing families. ¬†To have family at our house is the most incredible gift, and not one that we take for granted. ¬†It feels so special to be making memories in our first house. ¬†The emotional aspect of that is not lost on us — we worked so hard for this, and our families had such a huge part that they played by¬†supporting us to create opportunities for this to happen for us. ¬†Being homeowners is so huge for us…to the point that little annoyances like a slightly overgrown lawn or a bunch of dirty dishes after an elaborate meal for just the two of us raises reactions like, I’m so glad I have a lawn to MOW! – My husband, and We’re so blessed to be having dinner in our HOUSE! ¬†Can you believe we have a HOUSE?!¬†— the dishes aren’t even noticed. ¬†We truly feel just completely overwhelmed at this point with our blessings. ¬†Our cups are overflowing, and we’re taking opportunities all day long to give the glory to God and thank Him for all of this.

To have our families at our house, to putter and nest, to fill our house with flowers and plants, to cozy up on the sofa together and watch movies, to occasionally have a pizza night in our pajamas… It’s a wonderful time. ¬†ūüôā

So we invited our family for a Spring brunch, and we wanted to make it fun and festive. ¬†I made this egg casserole (so good), my mom-in-law made some lemon danish-type treats and a cinnamon roll French toast bake, and my sis-in-law brought this awesome fruit salad with blackberries, grapes, mandarin oranges, etc. — delicious. ¬†All yummy stuff. ¬†ūüôā

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Cadbury Snacks 2

Trail Mix Snack

Tabletop snacks included mini Cadbury eggs which are ridiculously addicting, and Trader Joe’s trail mix because it is seriously my favorite.

Spring Flowers

Orchid

Not like our living room needed any more plants but I found the hydrangeas and the mini orchid at TJ’s and fell in love.

Coffee Station

Espresso

Coffee

I set up a coffee bar on a table in our kitchen — that way everyone could get what they needed and I just stayed in charge of refilling the coffee pot. ¬†ūüėČ

Mason Jars and Straws

Juice Station

We had cranberry and orange juice at the ready and my in-laws brought over a bottle of champagne for mimosas.  The straws were a little too long when I bought them so I just snipped the ends so that they would fit inside of the mason jars at a good height.

Table

A blog that I love, A Thoughtful Place, was where I first saw the idea of using wrapping paper as a table runner. ¬†LOVE that idea so much and I’ve done it once before for a birthday party. ¬†It’s inexpensive and easy clean-up. ¬†It’s also fun to use that as a starting point for the table design. ¬†I decided to go with gold accents and those blue flowers were a Target Dollar Spot find. ¬†They have adhesive backs so I just stuck them where I wanted them and was able to save them for another purpose — they’re in a craft bin now.

Beads

Which brings me to the beads. ¬†ūüôā These were my Gramma’s, and I’ve used them here, too. ¬†I’ve been missing her a lot lately and these beads remind me of her. ¬†She loved to decorate and make spaces pretty, and she made everything special. ¬†She was a beautiful entertainer and I can still remember her putting fresh mint in lemonade and letting me pull the leaves from the stems. ¬†Having this little pop of red added a splash of personality to the table — and reminded me of her wild and free personality that I loved so much.

Linked up on The Chronicles of Home

What To Do When You Feel Uninspired by Your Space

We live in a world in which we are saturated every day with photos of beautiful homes, beautiful things, and people who are living lives that sometimes feel so much more grand than our own.  Sometimes this can make us feel uninspired by our own spaces, or things, or lives.  We compare ourselves to others and we compare our houses to what we see on Pinterest, and we feel discontent with what is around us.  We want more.

So what should you do when you are looking around your home, feeling dissatisfied, like something is missing, like you want it to be fresher or brighter, or more organized and less cluttered?  What should you do when the budget is tight and a room makeover is not realistic at that time, but you feel you like you want to do something, anything to make you feel inspired by your space again?

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Can you forego the fancy coffee this week and buy yourself some flowers instead?  Or, even better yet, can you take a walk in your backyard and cut some flowers that speak to you, that inspire you?  Bring some life inside your space!  Take a dusty vase out of your cupboard and toss the flowers in and let the flowers be beautiful.

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Can you move your furniture around, and breathe new life into your space with every moving part? ¬†Can you layer things and putter and turn some music on that you love and enjoy shopping your house while rediscovering things that you forgot you had? ¬†Maybe you like cleaning — what about dusting and wiping places that you normally forget about, like lucite chair backs and ottoman feet?

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What about finding some cozy elements from other rooms and bringing them into new spaces, thinking about how these items might be used by the people you get to welcome into your house?  Things like a cozy throw blanket for crisp, cool Spring mornings or a basket with pillows for loved ones to perch on.

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Sometimes the answer to our feelings of being uninspired is not to add, but to take away.  Are there places that you can declutter?  Are there things that no longer bring you joy, but that you know could bring someone else joy?  Things like an old pitcher, table linens, or picture frames.  Donate the things that no longer speak to you, and when you do this, feel your house take a breath with the release.  Sometimes we need to clear our space in order to find our direction again!

There will always be times in our lives when we feel like our spaces aren’t what we want them to be. ¬†There are seasons where it feels like a dream to live in our homes and then there are seasons where we lose our way¬†and we don’t really know how we want them to look — we just know we don’t want it to look like this. ¬†But every season comes to pass, and by perpetually nesting and puttering, we can make our inspirational droughts last for a lot less time.

How do you bring back the inspiration when you are feeling uninspired by your space? ¬†Let’s help one another!

2016

Happy happy New Year to you. ¬†Most people that I talk to are glad to send 2016 packing… I don’t think I have ever seen so many memes about a year the way that we have about 2016, either. ¬†On some level, it’s sort of nice to know that we have all been in the same boat this past year.

2016 was the year of my highest highs and my lowest lows, which was really difficult to navigate. ¬†Everything really began on New Year’s Eve of 2015 when my Gramma ended up in the hospital, and things just kind of fell apart after that. ¬†We trudged through until April, and then I lost one of the most influential and important people in my life; a woman who helped raise me and shape me, understood me and loved me in the most tender, selfless, and hilarious way.

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I was blindsided. ¬†We all were. ¬†And then a few short weeks later, my husband’s Grandmom passed. ¬†It was a heavy time for our two families. ¬†And coming back to reality after all of that loss, as the world sort of expects you to become a part of it again, to show up every day just like everyone else — that, for me, was the hardest part. ¬†There was a part of me that didn’t want to join the world. ¬†If I joined the world, that would mean that she was really gone, wouldn’t it?

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 A couple of months later, in the heart of June, I was spent.  I think we all were.  Greyson and I had a getaway in Flagstaff and then spent some time in California with his family.  Most of our days were in the company of the beach and each other, and one of the days we went to Universal Studios, just the two of us, and had the best time.  I felt like I could breathe again.  But once we got home and the distractions were gone, I felt all of that pain and sadness work its way back into my heart again.  I missed my Gramma so much, and I longed for her, longed to talk with her and have her hug me and pat my back the way she always did.

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Our hearts opened even wider by loving on this sweet soul. ¬†We feel more connected than ever to him, reaching for him and having him reach for us when we need one another. ¬†He took to sleeping with us every night, wedged between us. ¬†We have a family bed and we love it. ¬†We wouldn’t want it any other way. ¬†This baby of ours has brought us laughter and light and comfort when we needed it most.

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2016 was a strengthening year for our marriage.  I needed more than I have ever needed, and Grey showed up every day to love me, remind me of my magic, find me in my sadness, and love me right there, in my most vulnerable moments.  This was a year of growth for us.  I look back on when I married him and I know that I loved him more than I had ever loved him then; but the way that I love him now is deeper, with more passion and it is so full.  2016 could have been different for our marriage, but it made our roots intertwine and grow deep in the ground.

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¬†2016 was the year we lost Zoe… the friend I had through my teen years at my parents’ house. ¬†A big dog, the kind you can lay on and snuggle with. ¬†It was hard to lose this friend. ¬†She was special, and she was so, so kind. ¬†She was tender and loving. ¬†I miss her.

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And a few weeks later, our family was blessed with Charlie, the biggest lap dog we have ever had.  He is smart and sweet, and he pretty much lives for his squeaky ball.  He speaks, and he dances, he shakes, and he lays down.  He loves walks.  He can make friends with any human or dog.  All he wants is love.  He is the perfect example of how we should all show each other that all we want is love from one another.

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¬†We did what felt insurmountable in 2016…we bought our first home. ¬†We set a huge financial goal that seemed impossible, but with the help of our families, we made it possible. ¬†Along with this amazing blessing was the equally amazing sadness that came with it, wanting my Gramma to see this happen for us and to come to our house, and knowing that she couldn’t. ¬†Waffling between happiness and sadness, and feeling frustrated with myself for feeling sad, a Why Can’t You Just Be Happy?! feeling — this was hard. ¬†But mostly happy. ¬†Mostly feeling grateful and knowing that she is with me, in this house, filling it with her love.

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The big news of 2016 is that Kuma got a yard. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Watching him explore each day and seeing his excitement when he goes outside is pretty much the best thing ever.

And so, on New Year’s Day, Greyson was at work and I found a photo of myself that made me smile.

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¬†I was struck by the joy on my face. ¬†It’s nothing spectacular that I am holding, just a cupcake. ¬†But that cupcake is making me so happy. ¬†It’s just a little thing. ¬†This is what I want for myself in 2017. ¬†Joy in the little things. ¬†2016 beat me up and I lost my joy. ¬†I lost the ability to find it in all the little things. ¬†And so I am entering 2017 with the willingness and prayer that I experience moments like this, that I create moments like this for myself; that I have crumbs on my shirt, messy hair, and a small gap in my teeth and I just don’t care — because the little things are making me happy. ¬†Finding joy in the small things is a habit that has to be fostered and it is what creates an existence of gratitude. ¬†I’m not going into 2017 with any resolutions or restrictions; only with the hope and determination to find the joy.

I hope that this year, you find joy, too.

Happy New Year!

Our New Adventure

When I started this blog about two and a half years ago, we had just moved into my in-laws’ house in order to save money for our own home. ¬†We didn’t think it was going to take as long as it did to accomplish our goal, but guys…we bought a house, and we moved in over the weekend. ¬†It is truly a dream come true and it happened so fast — we went out one day to look at one house, and it ended up being The One.

We moved in on our five-year wedding anniversary, which was such a gift that we both could share. ¬†My husband already did a bunch of home improvement projects and I zhushed — it was pure bliss. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†With a little stress, of course. ¬†But mostly bliss.

Together as a couple, we truly found our faith over the past several months and created a strong bond with our God, and we are all the better for it.  It was an amazing experience to go through as a couple and I am so, so thankful.

SO, we’ve got a ton of fun little projects to do and things to get (all eventually), but I thought I’d show you just a little bit of the house today.

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My mom brought us that pretty poinsettia on the day we started moving things over.  I love it!

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¬†The entertainment center is from Ikea. ¬†Lots of great storage — I’ve got some candle sticks and vases in the bottom drawer.

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The slip cover for the sofa is from Sure Fit and I highly recommend it if you want to cover a sofa and not buy a new one. ¬†We got the look we wanted for just a little more than $100. ¬†The pillows are from HomeGoods, of course. ¬†ūüėČ

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I changed up my little vignette that I wrote about on the blog a few months ago — layering a lucite tray with my DIY marble tray. ¬†A silver bowl holds my favorite rocks and the¬†seashell that Grey collected for me on our beach trip back in June. ¬†And aren’t those coasters cool?! ¬†Marble with an agate center — HomeGoods for $7.99. ¬†I couldn’t believe it!

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The kitchen is a work in progress much like everything else, but I love it. ¬†We hung the chandelier that we bought from Ikea and I’m expecting four chairs next week – I got them for a great deal and need extra seating so I can actually have people over for dinner. ¬†ūüėČ

I hope you’re having a great Tuesday! ¬†I’m off to work and then I have a feeling I will be spending my evening sorting through the garage, ha!

First Day of Fall

Good morning and Happy First Day of Fall to you. ¬†ūüôā

For me, like so many others, I associate Fall with a feeling. ¬†Living in Arizona for my whole life has not provided a great view of changing seasons, falling leaves, etc.; but instead, it is a more gradual change that we experience, beginning with cool mornings and ending with light jacket weather. ¬†But the feeling that I get when Fall is in the air… that is something that I will never take for granted, and it is something that I experience each year. ¬†It can only be described as a true internal warmth that just makes me feel so cozy and hopeful. ¬†There is the promise of the Holiday season, which always proves to be special given my strong familial connection, and then there’s just the anticipation of it all — the belief that it can only get better from here.

I hope you have a wonderful day and that you experience a little bit of Fall today wherever you are.  These photos are a representation of what Fall feels like to me.  What does Fall feel to like to you?

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.37.27 PMBakeaholic Mama

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Original Source Unknown

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Home Stories A to Z

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Joy Tribout Interior Design

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How to Decorate

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Camille Styles

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Williams-Sonoma