Tuesday, May 28, 2013

life to the full

I've been so reminiscent lately and pretty darn emotional. A lot of that stems from hormones. A lot of that stems simply from an abundance of gratitude.

You see, I feel that I've lived a pretty darn full 26 years on this planet. I've made some amazing memories, made plenty of mistakes, and have been richly blessed. Yet, I'm so quick to let sleep deprivation, exhaustion, a body that I don't recognize, & petty circumstances steal my joy. I'm quick to just let the enemy win. I sit down and let him sit on my shoulders so that I'm immobile.

I look back on my life at the things I've done, places & people I've enjoyed, and the moments I've lived...they make me want to fight harder against the enemy so that I enjoy everything to the fullest. They make me take a deep breath with a smile on my face and just say, "Thank you, God. You are too good to me."

Growing up in a community that loved football and loved God. Sometimes misplaced in priority, but still those people usually pointed me to truth and my faith.
Being nurtured and raised by a family who serves, supports & loves genuinely. 
Being blessed to develop rich friendships.
Realizing when it's time to let go of some relationships for a healthier & happier me.
Working two summers at a summer camp where I got to lead rope courses, hang out with awesome kids, teach them about Jesus, help them overcome fears, and get crazy tan lines...while simultaneously learning what it meant to rely on Jesus for strength & energy & patience.
Graduating from one of the best universities in the nation.
Riding on an elephant in Sri Lanka. 
Sharing the Gospel with a 90 year old woman in Togo, Africa.
Marrying the love of my life.
Moving to the mountains when the job market in Texas had nothing for us upon graduation.
Hiking a fourteener. 
Singing "Jesus loves the Little Children" with a group of 100+ precious children in Africa.
Skydiving in Queenstown, NZ.
Working my dream job.
Riding a train across the Sri Lankan countryside.
Driving both the North & South Islands of New Zealand for our honeymoon.
Eating weird weird weird food in Malaysia.
Starting my own business.
Living on an island & riding a boat to work every day while teaching English overseas.
Moving to Boulder to be a part of a church plant, which has been one of the hardest times I've had trusting the Lord and relying on Him fully.
Going to Mexico for a fun little getaway. 
Giving birth to a happy and healthy baby boy that has given me more joy than I ever thought imaginable.

In those moments I know that I was living life to the full. I want more full moments. I want to live a full life, not crippled by fear or anxiety or exhaustion. 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Are you living your life abundantly? I hope you're not letting the enemy destroy more than you are feeling and experiencing life to the full. Be thankful and focus on the abundant, sweet, and beautiful today. 


Monday, May 27, 2013

handmade monday ((diy fabric iphone case))

I'm always wanting to buy a new iphone case and yet I can never seem to want to spend more than $15 on one. I found the perfect solution, which is what brought along today's handmade monday project. Enjoy!

Step 1
Purchase a clear iphone case. I bought mine here for suuuuper cheap. You can find them anywhere from about $5 to $20. 

Step 2
Trace the outline of your iphone onto fabric or pretty paper. Using a scissors ((for fabric)) or an exacto knife ((for paper)), cut out the oval for the camera. I used the case to trace the placement and then trimmed as needed.

Step 3
Cut out the fabric, pop it into the case, and slip your phone in. Voila! You've got a "new" iPhone case that can be updated as often as your outfit. ;)

Make sure you are cutting the fabric to where it will be "pretty side" facing outward.


Friday, May 24, 2013


Sorry for the delay in posting. 

Kind of. 

We ran away to the cabin for a few days to celebrate the end of Chase's semester. He works so hard - going to school full time and working full time. He gives so much of himself to me & Knox, his job, his course load at seminary, and to his friends.  Needless to say, it was a much needed getaway and I am so thankful for this little piece of Heaven that Chase's family so graciously let's us use when we need it. It's good for our hearts, our souls, our marriage, our sanity, etc...and It's truly my favorite place in the world. It was special to take Knox there for the first time. He loved it. ;)

I've never been one to be able to "slow down" very often, but motherhood has gracefully ((most of the time)) forced that need upon me. Whether it's driving a bit slower & more patiently to protect my precious cargo or just giving in and resting when Knox falls asleep on my chest ((rather than putting him down and answering pending emails)), I'm finding out how important it is to just slow it down and relax. I'm finding out how crucial to my health and sanity it is to occasionally stop doing so much and just sit, recognize that I'm not a machine, soak up beauty around me, and drink in precious memories in the making. 

Here are some photos from our time in the mountains. I loved every second.

Our little s'more. Amazingly adorable onesie by The Wishing Elephant.

I hope your all of y'all's weekends are restful and slow


Monday, May 20, 2013

((handmade monday)) DIY ruffled pillow

One of my fabulous sponsors, Amy Kathryn Bags, put together this great tutorial for an adorable ruffled pillow. I'm excited to share it with you for today's handmade monday!

Cut two 19” squares of fabric for front and back panel of pillow.  Then cut four 38” x 4” pieces of fabric for ruffled edge trim.  You will also need an 18” square pillow form. Once you have all of your supplies and your materials are cut & ironed, you’re ready to start!

  1. Take one trim piece and fold the short end of trim ½ . Fold in half lengthwise to show a folded edge at short end.
  2. Sew a long stitch lengthwise .5 from cut edge without backstitching at either end. Leave about 5 of thread hanging off each end.
  3. Hold one thread and scrunch the fabric gently along the thread towards the middle to get a ruffle. Be careful not to break the thread. If that happens, you must start over with Step 3.
  4. Pull your fabric so it has an even gather throughout the length and so that it fits along one 19 edge of your square pillow.   Repeat four times and pin ruffles in place. Folded edge of ruffles should face the center of pillow.   Sew trim to pillow facing over the existing stitch line on ruffle.

5. Sew second panel to facing with ruffles. Make sure fabric is right sides facing each other. Sew to the inside of your existing stitch line. Do not sew almost all of one side. Just sew about 2 in from corner on the 4th side of square. Then, turn pillow right side out and place pillow form inside case.
6. Fold and pin the fourth side together. Topstitch the opening closed (this side will preferably be the bottom on the pillow).

 How great is that? The color and fabric possibilities gets me all giddy inside. So pretty and a simple way to update a space.


Friday, May 17, 2013

favorite things friday ((bumped by blanqi))

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Bumped by Blanqi blogger launch and share this great company with all of you. I know that a lot of you are moms, soon-to-be moms, or (like me) NEW moms! This post &  product is for you. Blanqi is a brand started by real moms who saw a need for moms and moms-to-be and met it. So inspiring! Here is a quick video sharing about this great new line for Target! ((turn up your sound, for the first time in my life, I wasn't loud enough!))

Below are two links that will take you straight to the product to purchase, depending on which you need. I know that I will for sure be getting the maternity tank for my next pregnancy! I needed that support so badly with Knox, but didn't know about Blanqi until month 8. I will also say that I bought a wrap for postpartum that was $70  and it's pretty bulky, although it does it's job. $34.99 for this tank is WELL worth it and if I were to go back, I'd buy two of these instead of the compression wrap I bought. 

Something I forgot to mention in the video that I think is really important is that I have a really long torso, so I almost always have a really hard time with tanks 1. being long enough and 2. not rolling up if they are fitted. This cami was not only long enough for this long torso of mine, but the only time it rolled up was when I slept in it, which is understandable ;) Needless to say, it stayed put when I wore it underneath a dress and when I wore it with jeans and a top. 

ALRIGHT, now let's get to the giveaway! One of you will win a $25 Target Gift Card AND a postpartum cami like mine in your choice of black or ivory. JACKPOT!


As mentioned in the video, I was sent this item for free but opinions are clearly my own! I'm wearing it right now and have been for almost a week straight. I TRULY believe in this product. Okay, great :) Glad we're on the same page.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

sponsor highlight + giveaway (( featuring RiffRaff ))

Over the past few months, you may have noticed here on the blog and my instagram feed all the great pieces I've worn from RiffRaff, a boutique in Fayetteville, Arkansas that also sells new arrivals at 15% off, online every day. I love checking out the new items they have almost every morning while sipping my morning coffee. They also have an amazing baby section, which I could get into major trouble with..and if you are partial to your home state (who isn't?) don't miss their state love section. 

You can read more about the story behind the boutique  here

ohsweetjoy for 10% off


Kirsten sent me two of these necklaces - one for me and one for YOU! Enter to win below :)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

outfit schmoutfit ((everyday casual))

Two things I need more of in my life: Texas and the beach. As I was on a walk with Knox, we stumbled upon this little spot that reminds me of both. It's  technically gravel, but it's sand-like. The pond and green grass remind me of flying kites with Chase at parks while we were dating. 

My post-partum styling//dressing tip for this week is three fold: 
1. simply do not be afraid to size up and 
2. choose things that aren't form-fitting and
3. if your legs aren't back to normal (raises hand), elevate!
Wear a neutral wedge like these gypsy wedges from blowfish to elongate them a bit. This  state love tank from RiffRaff flows away from the body just enough to where I don't feel like I need spanx or my belly bandit or my blanqi tank. 

Yellow Stevie Ankle Pants - Anthropologie
Aviators - RayBan
Handbag/Diaper Bag - C/O Amy Kathryn Bags

What does the warmer weather make you reminisce about?


Monday, May 13, 2013

rites of passage on mother's day

I hope all of you moms out there felt loved and celebrated yesterday. I hope all of you moms who have lost little ones were able to cling to your faith and your family on a difficult day. I hope all of you who struggle with infertility felt abundant hope. 

It was a special one for me, as it was my first Mother's Day. Chase surprised me with flowers and a massage at the St. Julien and although it had nothing to do with Mother's Day, a friend gave me some AMAZING red cowboy boots from her boutique. Can't wait to come up with an outfit worked around them...I couldn't wait to wear them and wore them last night to Whole Foods and our team meeting ha! I got the sweetest cards from my parents and in-laws, got so many "Happy 1st Mother's Day" wishes from friends spread across the map and even some of y'all ((my bloggy friends)), it was warm & sunny and it just felt so surreal to be celebrating such a special day.

I had Chase take a picture to document the day and my heart melted when I looked at it. Knox really only smiles when he's falling asleep, but Chase captured this big ol' grin and it was icing on the cake to such a great day. 

I felt like yesterday was full of mommy rites of passage, too. For instance, I drank my entire mug of coffee completely cold. No hands or time to reheat it before church. Speaking of church, I was 40 minutes late, dirty hair and all... and if you know me, you know that I hate being late. BUT I went...so E for Effort? The photo above was another rite of passage too -- you aren't looking your best, but your kid looks so darn precious that you post it anyways. Welcome to mommyhood, Kim. I just talked to myself. Add that to the roster while we're at it.

I think the most special one was when I got up to feed Knox at 2 AM. He ate, was still a little bit awake...so I swaddled him and rocked him. I try to rock him for 5 minutes and then put him right down but it was one of those sweet moments that I just wanted to soak in. It was pushing 3 AM and I, of course, needed to sleep but as he snuggled against me, cooing and keeping me warm I couldn't help but take it all in for way longer than 5 minutes. I sat there, with the nightlight illuminating the room from behind me, watching the shadow on the wall of us in the rocker go back and forth, feeling his tiny breaths, smelling his shampooed fluffy hair, snuggling my precious little one tight knowing that He is a gift that I can't take for granted for one second. 

These moments won't last forever, but I have to be able to look back and know that I soaked them all in as much as I could - whether it's captured in photograph form or not AND whether it's during the day or at heinous hours of the night. Sometimes I think those moments not able to be captured on instagram are the ones most cherished. The ones that feel like a warm blanket on a cold night. The ones that keep you from taking life for granted. The ones that perch on your soul and remind you of God's grace, His goodness, His loving kindness and His endless mercy. 

What a gift motherhood is. I never imagined it could be so sweet.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

outfit schmoutfit ((maxi skirt + shirting + kangaroos?))

It's a miracle! I'm back and had time to not only fix my hair & make-up but get dressed and take 7.5 minutes to take photos! 

Every time I post a photo on instagram recently, I get a few "you don't look like you just had a baby" comments. While those are entirely nice & flattering things to say and are much appreciated, just know that being a personal shopper ((and a woman who loves styling)) gives me a few tricks up my sleeve that helps me disguise problem areas in a ((hopefully)) effortless way. I'm going to try to focus on a postpartum styling tip each time I do an outfit schmoutfit for a little while, but hopefully the outfit inspiration will be relevant whether you have a mama pouch to disguise or not. For the record, I love calling it a mama pouch because it reminds me of kangaroos and kangaroos are the only animal I don't mind being compared to. They stand tall, are pretty darn cute, I love that they have a little pouch for their babies & I secretly think they're the inspiration behind baby wraps ;) Okay, this post isn't about kangaroos, y'all.

Just a few weeks after you have your little one, you should be able to see your natural waist come back little by little. In order to hide the little bump you have remaining, wear a maxi skirt that flows down and takes the eye away from your midsection. For extra help, use the shirting trend to your advantage by tying a chambray button down or a fun button up blouse at the your waist to accentuate that you still have your figure! This top is such a great layering piece, by the way. A statement necklace also helps to draw the eye up and disguise if your ((ahem)) knockers are larger than anticipated and pulling at a button or two. Not that this happened to me or anything. *wink*

Floral blouse: c/o ever.mi + crush
Maxi Dress: c/o RiffRaff
Necklace: Francesca's
Shoes: DSW



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

pile of goo

I can't get over the little moments like these that steal my heart. Who knew tummy time & one little ((big)) smile could melt me into a pile of goo?


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

((very jane giveaway))

Even with all of the daily deal websites out there, Very Jane remains one of my top three faves. I love that mostly everything is either supporting handmade and/or small businesses. They feature items from striped straws to trendy apparel at a great discount. Everything I've ever gotten from Very Jane is great quality, so it's nice to know they don't feature just anyone. For instance, I recently got the striped pocket tee above from Very Jane and LOVE it. You can find them at the Blu J Boutique  in so many color options.

Today, you can enter to win a set of gorgeous bangles from the Violet Fly on etsy, a recent feature on Very Jane. Score!


Monday, May 6, 2013

strawberry ice cream + sugar cookie ice cream sandwich recipe

Summer is just around the corner, so let's make some ice cream sandwiches. The flavor combinations are limitless, but I have to say this sugar cookie & strawberry ice cream combination really satisfied my sweet tooth! It was a refreshing treat, that's for sure. 

To make the ice cream sandwiches:
Make a standard sugar cookie that you roll into balls & bake, rather than rolling flat and cutting shapes out of. I find they're a bit sturdier this way. ((recipe at the bottom!))

Scoop out some ice cream and put in a 9X13. I used Blue Bell Strawberry. When it's melted a bit, stir until you can spread out & make a layer out of it. Mine was about an inch tall. Place back into freezer overnight or until firm.

Once your cookies are cooled & your ice cream is frozen again:
Using a cookie cutter, donut punch, or mason jar lid...whatever you can get your hands on, cut out circles in the ice cream. You may need to use a knife & spoon to cut the surrounding ice cream and scoop it away. Place on top of one cookie and sandwich it with another cookie.

((option: roll sides in sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc))

 Place in freezer for a few hours (or one hour if you are impatient like I am) until it's all hardened together. 

Next time I make ice cream sandwiches, I want to make a chocolate cookie with mint chocolate chip ice cream! YUM. 


((sugar cookie recipe))
-preheat oven to 375.
-mix 2 3/4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder together.
-cream 1 cup of butter with 1 1/2 cups of sugar
-beat in 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of vanilla
-slowly add in dry mix 
-roll into walnut sized balls, roll into sugar, sprinkles or nothing at all and bake for 8-10 minutes. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

((favorite things friday)) it's finally spring!

I think we've finally had our last snowstorm and spring is officially here. Our home is full of flowers brought by sweet friends coming to visit Knox. The daffodils are starting to sprout up from the ground and the grass is a gorgeous shade of green. Hopefully the trees will stop being so confused and will start sprouting blooms soon. It's the month May for crying out loud! Ahhh, sweet spring-time. I love you.

Here's what life looks like ((apart from the sleepless nights, almost 24/7 pajama wearing, diaper changing norm)) these days. It's not difficult to find beauty in everything these days.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

sponsor highlight + giveaway ((featuring lions & ladies))

Little Man bow ties that can also be worn on little ladies as headbands -- adorable. Grown up bow ties for your main men -- super handsome & studly. Baby girl headbands that are colorful -- toooooo stinking cute.  This shop is seriously just too much cuteness to handle! Just go ahead and try to handle it! You can't! I'm so excited to share this shop with you today. Introducing: Lions & Ladies!

Hi! I'm Melanie. I wear many hats, but the most important are wife, lover of Jesus, and Momma to 3 sweet babies. I've always had a love for crafting and sewing, but stay-at-home motherhood has given me the opportunity to turn that love into a little business! I started out making bow ties for my own twin boys and bows for my daughter. I fell in love with the process, though, and just never stopped sewing!


using the code OHSWEETJOY will get you 15% off  your entire order!