Friday, June 29, 2012

Music Segment: Jon Foreman

a reminder of how Jesus taught us to pray.  hope it encourages your heart.

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Chorus (3x):
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

(Chorus 3x)

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us wicked sinners
Lead us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's What's for Dinner: Southern Comfort

I am so uninspired to cook lately so here's an easy dinner that gives the appearance of effort being made.

Feta Baked Chicken:
Top frozen chicken breasts with feta cheese (preferably the tomato-herbed flavor), a squeeze of lemon juice, black pepper and a dash of oregano.  Bake at 400 degrees covered with aluminum foil for the first 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes)

Easy Mac n cheese:
Cook noodles of your choice according to package instructions.
Put a layer of noodles at the bottom of a 9x11 inch pan.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on noodles.
Cover with shredded cheese of your choice.
Repeat both layers.
Pour 1 cup of half and half over the top.
Dot with a couple of pieces of butter.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Green beans:
Steam and top with butter, rosemary and thyme

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: a day late

I didn't have time to post this on Wednesday so I'm "back-posting" my favorite video of Graham this week.  Warning: it starts adorably and ends kind of sad.

Blog Lovin': Inna + Derek on Style Me Pretty!

We think everyone is as big of fan of Inna and Derek's wedding as we were! Check out this amazing post on Style Me Pretty about their wedding. A HUGE thank you to Inna for the sweetest words about our team. We love you too!

Photo Credit: Clean Plate Pictures

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's What's For Dinner: family night out

A wise friend of mine with kids a little older than Graham told me once that I wouldn't regret nights out with my family.  She said that while it costs a little more, it's an investment.  
Last night was one of those nights.  Somehow when you know there aren't dishes to do or other distractions, you end up savoring conversation more and slowing down.  And while going to a restaurant with a 2 year old often ends in spilled drinks and stained clothing (both of which happened last night), it sure is refreshing if you just go in expecting it.
If you live in the area, I highly recommend downtown Durham and especially the DPAC area.  We even caught part of the Durham Bulls baseball game from the Tobacco Road deck.

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In case the pics were starting to look too ideal :)
Unfortunately he could not blow hard enough to move this pinwheel.  Disappointing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Behind the Scenes: reality

 This past weekend I packed my bags...
 Said goodbye (or cried goodbye) to this little one and the big guy too.
 And went to Orlando for the first ever Gospel Coalition Women's Conference
(Ok, I got there a little early for some pool time.  The sessions were, sadly, not held at the pool.)
 The setting was beautiful.
 The 16 sessions I attended were life-altering.

 Had girl talk and deep talks with my sweet mom in law over uninterrupted meals.

 And heard some of my favorite speakers and teachers: Tim Keller, John Piper, Elyse Fitzpatrick and my new favorite Paige Benton Brown.

In some ways I had to come back to reality yesterday but in another way, I just spent 4 days more aware of what "reality" really is.  We think of reality as our everyday life in which we lose sight of the purpose in all that we do.  But soaking for 4 days in who God really is and how that changes everything is more real than anything.  
So I'm hoping to bring reality more deeply into my every day.
I cannot wait to share more with you.  I'm kind of on overload just soaking it in.  
I'm so grateful that God's word is living and active and has the ability to change us from the inside out.  We really are hopeless without that.
All of the sessions will be posted online FOR FREE in a few short weeks so I will let you know when they are up and tell you which sessions you cannot miss.

Giveaway Winner!

Happy to announce that Annie Luhmann is our Cakes by Lala Giveaway winner!
Annie, send me your contact info and we will go from there!  Thanks for playing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Travelstyle/Guest Post: Grocery Shopping Tips


I'm jet-setting to Orlando today for a conference so we have a great guest post today!  See you Monday!

Stock Your Cabinets Without Emptying Your Wallet
Let’s face it. The recession is in full swing, and many of us have felt the impact. We’ve been forced to cut things from our budget and put limits on anything that isn’t a necessity. However, saving money on the things that are essential is another way to tighten the belt and extend the limits of your money.

Something that can really eat up a paycheck is a visit to the grocery store. We have to eat, but we don’t have to take out a second mortgage in order to do so. There are many money-saving ideas that you can use to lessen your grocery bill and free up some cash for other needs and wants.

Create a Menu
Creating a menu for the week is one of the best ways to save at the grocery store. Simply plan ahead what you’re going to make in the week to come, make a list of ingredients you’ll need, and stick to the list when shopping. This ensures that you will get everything you need and not a bunch of extra stuff that you grabbed just in case.

Buy Store Brands
Most stores have a store brand version of anything you need to buy. These brands are always cheaper than the name brands, and you probably won’t even be able to notice the difference.

Shop Alone
You know what you need, and you don’t need anyone else telling you what he or she wants.  How often do you hear “can I have” or “I want” when shopping with your kids or spouse? Once is too many. Stick to the list. They certainly won’t starve and you will cut out extra expenses.

Drink More Water
Not only is it good for you, it’s a lot cheaper than sodas. Give yourself a week to get used to it, and you won’t even miss those expensive carbonated beverages.

Avoid Prepared Food
It’s more expensive for a reason. Not only are you paying for the food, you’re also paying for the preparation. Again, not only will this save you money, but it’s healthier too.

Stock Up
If you find a sale on something that you regularly buy, buy a few of them. Chances are, next week they will be regular price again. You might as well take advantage of the low price for as long as you can.

Look Down
Most stores use many marketing tactics. They know that, naturally, you are going to scan the shelves at eye-level more closely than the shelves by your feet. The more expensive versions of things will almost always be looking you in the eye, while its cheaper counterpart is hiding on the bottom shelf.

If you follow these steps while taking advantage of sales and coupons, you will be surprised by how much you’ll save. If only it were this easy to save money everywhere. Since they don’t offer a store brand electric bill or bulk discounts on gasoline, you have to same money anywhere you can.

Dan Geisse is always looking for ways to save money, and he is a contributing author at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On a Personal Note: home again, home again

I've been a stay-at-home mom for 16 months now.  I left my "dream job" as a Resident Director at Biola University in Los Angeles to move to Raleigh for my husband's job at our church here. I'm recently realizing some beautiful benefits of being home...a lot.  And on many days more than I would like.  That's why Graham and I frequent the Target snack counter too often, make up reasons to go for a drive and sometimes just show up at Dad's office unannounced to say "hi."  That may sound glorious to some of you but it's kind of hard for me, specifically after nap time and before Daddy gets home.

But here are 3 gifts of being home that I am deeply savoring right now:

*The gift of starting days with perspective

Never been a morning person.  Never will be.  Being home allows me to slowly waddle to my coffee pot (I waddle when I'm tired), put my son in front of a video (which I don't feel guilty about anymore) and open God's word and ask him what he wants to show me that morning.  Sometimes it's profound- feeling like Scripture was written to pierce my heart specifically.  But more often it's a subtle perspective shift: Jesus is Lord and I am not.  Today, loving God looks like doing dishes, talking with friends, putting my son in time out 10 + times and listening to my husband's heart.

*The gift of being available

I used to be very busy.  I'm a high capacity person and I realize that can be a great thing.  But I seldom had time or space for those opportunities to help someone last minute or check in with someone who's hurting or make a meal for a friend.  It's honestly been so fun to get to do that more often.  God delights us as we give ourselves away to others.  I need that reminder so often.

*The gift of training my son

My friend reminded me yesterday of how repetition is at the core of parenthood, especially with a 2 year old.  I literally need to record myself saying "no more elmo" "no more cookies" and Graham could probably stay home alone.  But seriously, I have been so frustrated at how repetitive it is to train a little human.  What I'm realizing is how it is training me to have to repent for my impatience, be slower to speak and control my anger.  It's not fun but I know it's a gift.

For those of you that are "homers" like me, I'd love to hear what you are savoring right now.  And for those of you who don't choose to be home or don't get to be, I'm sure you can think of some gifts of not being home every day.  I'm sure these thoughts might have reminded you of those too ;).  God is gracious to give us gifts in each season.  Don't forget to look for them.

Amy Landis Photography

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Giveaway: Cakes by LaLa

So I know people enjoyed seeing our house on Friday but do you know what they went CRAZY about?  I'll give you a hint...

Now some of you may be thinking: "thanks for rubbing it in that I was not invited"
but I'm about to make it up to you in the best way!

A Cakes by Lala GIVEAWAY!!!!

Here's what you need to do to win a dozen cupcakes (or cookies if shipping is necessary):
Head on over to Cakes by Lala on facebook and "like" it and leave a comment here that you did so.
That's it!  Easiest giveaway ever.
We'll run this through the weekend and announce our winner Monday morning.
Prepare to be AMAZED.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homestyle: housewarming

After some final touches on the house (more to come this week on that), we warmed our house with several friends on Friday night.  It was crazy to think that most of these people we hardly knew a year ago if at all.  I didn't take enough time documenting since I was having too much fun!

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(note: sweaty look in last picture was the result of an impromptu after party/dance party that occurred- video footage NOT included on purpose)

Thank you to our sweet friends who made this night so memorable.  We feel loved, supported and challenged by you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OC Brideworld Bridal Expo 6-10-12

We spent last Sunday with hundreds of excited brides-to-be (and a few grooms-to-be) at the Brideworld Bridal Expo at the Orange County Fair & Event Center.  The brides were treated to a display of a pink, orange, purple and light green color scheme within our floral arrangements and linen/rental choices.

The sweetheart table display at our booth showed a light green (celadon) tablecloth with black chiavari chairs, silver chargers with black napkins and included a box floral arrangement of Peonies, Hydrangea & Roses as well as 2 beautiful bouquets, one simple & elegant (Mango Calla Lilies) and the other a bit more vintage with some "bling" (Hydrangea, Peonies, Succulents, Orchids & Dusty Miller).  We also showcased the same color/flower scheme in our 2 larger centerpiece mockups; 1 was a round topper to a trumpet vase (Hydrangea, Peonies & Roses), crystals in the bottom of the vase and was sat atop a mirrored platform box; the other was geared towards our Asian clients utilizing a lazy susan for their dinner reception and utilized an eiffel tower vase with a round topper (Hydrangea, Roses & Dahlias). We also had a collection of smaller, low arrangements that can be interchanged with the tall arrangements or clustered together for a more voluminous centerpiece.

The sweetheart display over at the Classic Party Rentals embraced the tangerine/oranges with some pops of white & green.  We also went a bit more "organic" by including some small Succulents amongst the Hydrangea, Dahlias & Spray Roses in the 2 small square arrangements. We finished the look off with a 3-tiered floating candle display between the 2 arrangements.

We enjoyed meeting and getting to know all the brides and hope our design, color and floral ideas inspired everyone as much as we enjoyed creating them!

Homestyle: British Room

Finished up our British room.
Chose this theme in honor of England being the place where Dave's faith really became real.  


Monday, June 11, 2012


What woman doesn't want soft, glowing, perfectly moisturized skin?

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE exfoliating scrubs! I've done some research and found some great Do It Yourself homemade scrubs that are really easy and inexpensive to create.

Brown Sugar Vanilla Coconut Scrub

This one smells a lot like suntan lotion! It's a great summer scent!
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil. 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Container to store your new favorite body scrub (you can use a canning jar which you can purchase at most grocery stores or plastic containers (which is what I use) from Hobby Lobby, Michael's or most craft supply stores.
Start by adding the brown sugar in your container. Mix in the coconut oil until the mixture is even. Finally, add in your vanilla extract, stir and close tightly.

Soothing Scrub2/3 cup ground nuts or seeds (walnuts are great for oily skin)

Great for peeling, rough, sun tanned skin!
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • Enough liquid to make a paste (water, rose water or aloe vera)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon lavender
  • Container with lid
Combine the dry ingredients in a blender until they are reduced to a coarse meal. Pour the meal into a glass jar with a screw top. When you want to have a body scrub, scoop out about 1/4 cup‚s worth of the meal, and place it in a bowl. Stir in enough of the liquid to make a paste. Store in your favorite container and freeze.

Chocolate Souflee Scrub
  • 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of Cocoa powder
  • Container with lid
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then slowly add the oil and mix until completely blended. Store in a container with a tight lid so that it doesn't solidify.

You can add any your favorite scents with essential oils which can be found at most health food stores along with the coconut oil and rose water.

Have fun and get creative with your scrubs!


Momstyle: anniversary

Celebrated 5 years with my sweet man on Sunday with a movie, dinner, gifts and news that we will be traveling to Napa Valley, CA in the fall to celebrate again! 

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Dress-JCrew warehouse sale; kimono-thrifted; (gifted)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blogs I Read: Through a Dirty Window

I love the wisdom that I read on my friend Cas' blog Through a Dirty Window, particularly her recent posts on mentorship on May 29th and June 5th.   Click Here

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Behind the Scenes: one way to get in NY times

My man and several of our college students and leadership team are in NY City this week.  They are in the NY Times after the events of today.  Love seeing bold and fearless students.

Read the story here

On the Cover of MAG Rouge!!!

Elizabeth Messina, the Wedding Chicks, and fall bridal looks all highlighted in the current issue of MAG rouge...

Be sure to check out the current issue of MAG rouge here. Not only are there more beautiful photos from the shoot that took place here at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, but also wonderful Q & A articles with Elizabeth Messina and Amy and Jocey of the Wedding Chicks.

This fabulous photo shoot organized by the Wedding Chicks, was taken here at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum by the amazingly talented Elizabeth MessinaWith vintage pieces brought in by Jeni of Found Vintage Rentals, the images came our stunning!

What would your "harvest" themed wedding look like? Mine would definitely be inspired by these beautiful photos! 

Photography: Elizabeth Messina
Event Styling & Vintage Items: Found Vintage Rentals
Hair & Makeup: Erin Skipley

Thank you for choosing the Santa Barbara Historical Museum as your venue location!
You are all such beautiful and fabulously talented people!  

What a GORGEOUS photo shoot here at the Museum!

Another absolutely stunning photo shoot by the lovely Elizabeth Messina. Special thanks to  Amy & Jocey of the Wedding Chicks and Jeni Maus of Found Vintage Rentals. You all are AMAZING!

Photography: Elizabeth Messina/ Event Styling & Vintage Items: Found Vintage Rentals/
Hair & Makeup: Erin Skipley/ Flowers: Kelly Oshiro/ Dresses: BHLDN & Lindee Daniel

To see more fabulous images from the shoot please take a look at the Wedding Chicks post here and on Elizabeth Messina's blog, Kiss the Groom