Tuesday, September 16, 2014

PSA ((tip of the day))

So, this is a little random and outside my normal posting topics, but I wanted to share this tip that's been saving me so much time and stress. 

A friend from college posted a recipe that I tried out  a few months ago and then in her post she mentioned what kind of chicken she uses. It was probably overlooked by most but it has been a COMPLETE game changer for me and I wanted to share it with y'all. 

You see, I love soups and stews and yet - I need them to be really hearty ((hardy?)) and there to be lots of meat and such so that it's filling and I don't go running for the oreos an hour later.  We usually make chicken based soups, but I get so tired of cooking it in a skillet and then either shredding it with a knife or two forks or even putting it in the kitchen aid to shred for me ((with the paddle attachment)). Too many dishes to clean! I've used rotisserie chicken often in enchiladas and soups and such, but even tearing that up is messy and time consuming. 

Well, little did I know that you can buy around 3 lbs of PRE-SHREDDED rotisserie chicken at COSTCO. It's around $11-12, comes in a little vacuum pack and it's over by the prepared food section ((you know, like the pasta dishes you stick in the oven with a sign above it that says $3.99per pound. The "per pound" is in the tiniest font ever and you might think you're getting a great deal until you get home and realized you paid $15 for 6 stuffed peppers. Not that that ever happened to me or anything **wide eyes*)). I feel like it's a good deal ((the chicken we usually buy is $7 a pound and I still have to go home and cook it)) AND it saves me a boat load of time. I divide it up the first time I open it into 3-4 bags and either pop them in the refrigerator for meals later in the week or in the freezer for the next time I need chicken. 

I've used it successfully in several of my favorite dishes including:
Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas ((which I need to redo this recipe because I've since made it SO much healthier))
Thai Chicken Soup ((originally a slow cooker recipe but it makes it so much quicker!))

I know there's only a handful of you that would get as excited as I did about this, but I hope it's helpful nonetheless! Also, no photos because chicken isn't the most glamorous thing to photograph ;)


Friday, September 12, 2014

On Choosing Joy & The Heart Behind my Fall Line

This time last year, I felt so fragile. Life was chaotic and the Lord was allowing us to feel one struggle after another. 

1. We were kicked out of our apartment when the windows started leaking copious amounts of water due to all the rain from the Boulder Flood. Our carpets were soaked and previous tenants had cats so when the carpet got wet, it released bacteria and odors that were unbearable from urine ((tell me again why ANYONE would want a cat?)). Chase is allergic to cats so the now exposed dander made it impossible for him to sleep. Every single hotel in a 50 mile radius was booked from people whose homes were entirely flooded. We were fortunate, but still down & out.

2. We celebrated our 5th Anniversary with all of our furniture pushed to one side of our apartment with the carpet removed and fans blowing everything dry. We ate pizza on the floor while Knox snoozed. 

3. We stayed with some generous friends from church that we hardly knew at that time right when Knox started cutting his first tooth and was still not even close to sleeping through the night at 5 months old. I definitely hadn't gotten a hang of the whole "being a mom and living on no sleep" thing...I was on the verge of tears at all times. 

4. I was preparing to go to a conference and sell my handmade items at a market. I couldn't even get to my sewing machine. My life felt like it was in shambles and traveling to Indianapolis was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to hunker down and pick up some pieces. We road tripped to Arkansas for a friend's wedding. We found out the hard way that Knox does not like being in the car for more than an hour. ;) 

5. Just prior to all of this, my car broke down when we tried to get away and go to the cabin for less than 2 days and it was a pricey fix. We had to get it towed back to Boulder from Buena Vista.  

Looking back, it was the beginning of a year that was spent being knocked down to the Feet of the Father and also being picked up by Him by the armpits while I was limp and helpless. It was a year of heartache and changes.  

Fast forward to this past May. We bought a house and the next weekend, my life seemed to crumble.  Chase was out of town for a class he had to finish for school. We had found out about a month or two prior that we were expecting baby number two, for which we were surprised by and giddy about at the same time. It was a huge reason why we sought to buy a house in the first place. 

A happy change and an event that was supposed to be joyful and exciting was tainted by heartbreak. I had been "spotting" all weekend but didn't know until I had to bump up my doctors appointment for an emergency ultrasound Monday morning that we had lost our baby. A child that we were so excited about and had already been making plans for. We loved that baby just as much as Knox and we had yet to meet them. Sitting in that ultrasound chair while the ultrasound tech failed to find any sign of a heartbeat was the most heartbreaking moment of my life. I think I was just trying to hold onto hope that everything was okay until proven otherwise up until that point. I remember thinking...hm, she must be new at this...just to try and not believe the actual outcome. When she labeled two things "baby A" and "baby B?" - I lost it. I asked her to turn off the tv monitor and the sound while she finished. After an excruciating two hour wait for my doctor, it was all confirmed and I was sent home - in complete shock and devastation - to let nature run it's course.  I'll spare you details,  but after a sweet friend stayed the night with me while I labored, after complications and some amazing friends rushing me to the ER the next morning, after my parents flew in from Texas and Chase flew back early from his trip. After a surgery and the hardest 48 hours of my life - I still couldn't wrap my head around it all. 

Over the next few months, I tried to let myself grieve and process. Many days, I would just try to distract myself. There were days that I felt the joy of the Lord and saw beauty - whether that was in gorgeous summer weather or the therapeutic nature of planting our garden and landscaping around our home. There were days that the Lord showed me over & over that He was right there beside me, but I didn't want Him there. I fell into this dark state that was hardened, calloused and cynical. I truly doubted the goodness of the Lord at times. 

In one of my darkest weeks, Chase asked me to read a section of a book by Eugene Peterson ((a long obedience in the same direction)) and I said "No." He read it to me anyways. We were driving somewhere, he had the book in his backpack, and he started reading it to me. It was a turning point in my grieving. 

"For God does not want us neurotically dependent on him but willingly trustful in him. And so he weans us....God hasn't abandoned you and you haven't done anything wrong. You are being weaned...You are free to come to God or not come to him. You are, in a sense, on your own with an open invitation to listen and receive and enjoy our Lord." 

For me - I felt the Lord was weaning me from my own self-sufficiency. Even from my instinct to simply distract myself with work and designing. I couldn't control what happened. I couldn't stop it once it was happening. I couldn't even control my own emotions after it happened. But once I realized that it was a choice I was making to be cynical and doubtful of the Lord's goodness - I could truly start to turn that on it's head and CHOOSE to find joy and CHOOSE to trust that He is for me and CHOOSE to believe that He is good - EVEN especially  in those days that are hard and sorrowful.  

I've hesitated writing about this because it seems way too vulnerable and personal and raw to expose. But I wanted to explain how much this change of seasons is meaning to me. So what does my miscarriage have to do with my Fall line?

This Fall is more than about pumpkin flavored beverages  and flannel and boots...it's about a fresh start and a reminder to choose joy as a new season approaches - whether it's smooth sailing or full of refining and devastation. It's part of the reason I am so excited for this Fall line I just launched. To me, it's a tangible symbol of getting my feet back on the ground, trusting God to use and shine through the creativity He's given me, and hoping in the new mercies He's promised every morning. Because sometimes, we have to take things a day, even  an hour,  at a time because that's all we can handle. Putting our hope in our to-do lists or distractions or elusive "me time" won't get us anywhere. So, this might just look like a pretty font on a flattering tee - but it's my heart on a product. It's my hope for y'all : That you would choose joy instead of wallowing in despair for so long - like I did. That doesn't mean that you just brush off your feelings. I'm still sad about those few days in early May several times a week and I don't think the heartbreak will ever truly go away.  Please feel your feelings and take all the time you need to grieve. But believe that He makes all things new (2 Cor 5:17) and that He cares for you (Zeph 3:17). My heart and soul are both so intertwined in this line of headbands, kimonos, and tops. I hope you love it as much as I do. The excitement of a new season is so refreshing and rejuvenating - I want to embrace it and squeeze it for all it's worth.


((photo details: tote & skirt from gypsy threads, choose joy tee found here ))

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Kimonos, autumnal headwraps, stretchy headbands, AND new tees. What are you waiting for? Our ENTIRE Fall/Winter '14 Collection is now (9AM Mountain Time 9/10/14) available HERE!  As always, limited quantities are available and items aren't expected to last long. Thank y'all for your support and just because it's been super quiet on the blog and I appreciate your support - if you read this enjoy 10% off your order today only with the code FALLLAUNCH (three L's in there!).


You can find the look book HERE or click through below. I'm so excited about this collection and will share more about the heart behind it later this week. Happy shopping!


Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sewists ((my first book feature!))

Way back when, I used to make & sell these paper-bag skirts...and even taught my local sewing classes how to sew them.  Many tutorials and patterns popped up after that, so I stopped selling them. I ended up posting a tutorial here on my blog and was contacted shortly afterwards to share it in an upcoming book. I mean, how could I say no?
Fast forward a year or two and badda-bing, the book arrived on my doorstep! It's one thing to be featured in a magazine, but to work so hard to share fresh ideas with the internet world and it be published in a book -- it's a different ball game and I almost didn't share because I didn't want it to seem like I was tooting my own horn. BUT, what good is a blog if I can't share good news!? The Sewists is available today here

Here's a sneak peek into my section. I had literally just had Knox when they needed photos - so I had them just take whatever they needed from my website(s). I love how colorful it turned out!

Thanks for all the support along the way and sharing in the excitement with me! It's an exciting week in Oh, Sweet Joy! land :)


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fall Vibes

Tee - C/O Riffraff 
((and then I went and bought the ivory one, too, because duh.))
Scarf (similar here) , Denim - Anthropologie 
Watch - Feral watches ((similar & less pricey here))
Booties - Matisse

Honestly, Sundays are one of the few days a week I've been getting *actually* dressed recently. I've been working my rear-end off getting ready for the Fall/Winter collection launch. I'm not aiming at perfection, that's impossible...but I want it to be intentional and put together (not thrown together out of excitement - although that works for me sometimes haha). I want the look-book to be cohesive and well-thought out and attainable for any style/age/size/shape. I'm rambling, y'all. 

Knox usually wakes up early and we play and eat breakfast and Chase leaves for work and we meet up with him at church. I put on a ten minute episode of Bob the Builder so I can try and look decent  put on makeup and do something with my mop hair. Then I let him jump on the bed while I get dressed. I know, mom of the year. TV and dangerous activities. 

Oh, you want a close up of these awesome shoots booties? Well, only if you promise to pretend that my leg doesn't look broken. 


Friday, August 22, 2014

Favorite Things Friday 8.22.14

I kind of loved bringing back a pseudo favorite things friday last week...I thought I would round up my faves from this week too!

1. This Haters Gonna Hate tee. Coincidentally, I had a haters gonna hate tee design in a girly font that I decided to hold off with until spring. Then I saw this at Riffraff and knew I had to snag it for the time being! 

2.  T-Swift's Shake it Off. On repeat, y'all. Goes pretty well with the above tee, if I do say so myself. ;)

3.  Buffalo Chicken Dip - One night this week, I made buffalo chicken salads and then this dip to snack on until dinner time. It's so addicting and delicious. I made it a bit different than this recipe, but I'm sure it tastes the same!

4. Gardening - Y'all. my flower beds are looking so gorgeous.  Dahlias, geraniums, daisies, and a giant orange poppy just bloomed! I can't believe that I have enjoyed taking care of plants as much as I have this summer. Word on the street is I need to start planting spring flowers soon. FUN!

5. Sales and Discounts - the bicycle peplum tee is on sale ($25, normally $32!) through tomorrow. Hop to it! 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

((outfit schmoutfit)) falling for maxis

I've always loved styling maxi skirts (exhibit a/ exhibit b/ exhibit c), but that usually ends when summer does. This is the first time I've styled a maxi with boots or booties and maybe it's the darker tones in the skirt - but I think it really works!  I also love how this maxi is fitted up top and then flowy towards the bottom. The slits were OUTTA control high, so I sewed them down another 6-8 inches. Ain't nobody need to see that much of my leg.

maxi skirt - forever 21 (similar here and here)
v-neck (similar here and here)
hat - target (also here)
booties - c/o riffraff