Thursday, September 26, 2013

now is the time

It's hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner, but they are! If you are a small business that wants to boost your sales and get prime ad "real estate" for the holiday season on Oh, Sweet Joy! now is your chance. Your ad will be seen throughout the holiday season and especially during the traffic-driving annual Handmade Holidays Gift Guide. Not to mention, the option to be featured individually is exclusively yours as a sponsor. 

Recent stats can be found here and you can mail me ((ohsweetjoyATgmailDOTcom)) for current rates -- I can't wait to be a part of growing your business!

In other news, I am off to Influence Conference for the weekend. Keep me in your thoughts & prayers as I teach a workshop, soak up wisdom and strategize with some blogger friends! I wish I could put all of you in my pockets to come with me :)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

caramel apple martini recipe

A couple of years ago, my friend Emma made me one of these cocktails and it's now a seasonal all time favorite. I thought I'd share the wealth, but I deserve zero credit. 

2-3 parts organic apple juice or apple cider 
1 part dutch caramel vodka ((we use van gogh))

garnish options
-((photographed)) dip rim in water and then in sugar in the raw + red sparkling sugar. 
-get a caramel apple sliced and cut a slit in the apple and put it on the rim
-take a skewer and make a mini "kabob" with apples and caramel squares 
-red or green striped straw 
-rock candy 
-cinnamon stick

p.s. lace skirt - c/o shop riffraff  ((use code ohsweetjoy for 10% off!))
p.p.s. don't drink? here is my hot apple cider recipe from last year that you'll love
 ((click the photo))

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

an autumnal outfit & some real talk

I've felt the attacks of the enemy in what seems to be every waking moment in the past three weeks. I sincerely believe it's partly because I'm going to teach strategy with a focus on the gospel with some women this weekend at Influence. Satan knows what's up. He knows I'm going to speak truth into these women's lives. I want our blogs to be online spaces that point to Him when so many are not. I want them to be salt & light. He's threatened. By putting strains on my health, our finances, our marriage, relationships, my energy levels and sleep (or lack there of), my home, and mode of transportation, Satan is crippling me. He knows how to knock me down and make me doubt the goodness of God. He makes me live in fear of what terrible thing will happen next. 

Yesterday, the cooler weather set in and I decided to trade my iced coffee for a warm drink. With a white chocolate mocha + a dash of cinnamon, a sleeping babe in the backseat, and the radio turned off, I cruised around the rural parts on the outskirts of Boulder. I drove with nowhere to go, praying, confessing to God my unbelief and doubt. I drove around talking with God as though He was (He is!) a friend who I felt wronged me (He didn't)...telling Him that I'm mad at my circumstances. I'm angry with how this month that was supposed to be joy-filled and jam-packed with goodness turned into a stressful, chaotic, season of suffering. I told Him that although the Bible says we're considered blessed to be worthy of suffering for the sake of the Gospel, that we're supposed to count it all as joy - that it sure feels like punishment...and counting it all as joy seems impossible right now. 

I didn't know what else to pray for, except to close it with a plea for peace as I drove up to our home. I prayed for peace and a constant posture of gratitude. I don't know if I feel it yet, but I'll keep praying for it because I don't know what else I can do. The second I stop asking for it and stop fighting,  the second I lose my joy - the enemy wins. To that, I say, "Screw that. I'm not a quitter." 

I hope that other women going to Influence aren't feeling the same attacks, defeat and discouragement...but if I had my guess - they are. My prayer is that we would be women who suffer well and look for places that we can find joy and peace amidst all the chaos. Our God is triumphant and we will celebrate that this weekend.

Sweater - Target last year
((also styled here and here))

Rejoice in hope, be patient during tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


Monday, September 23, 2013

handmade monday ((revamping a t-shirt))

I somehow stumbled upon an instagram account that sold these awesome and eclectic t-shirts that had been revamped with different fabric for the sleeves. She mentioned somewhere that she did a tutorial for them, which I quickly found and tried! 

I'm loving graphic tees as of late and I wanted to make this keepsake Ray Lamontagne tee from a concert that we went to when we were newlyweds a bit more feminine. I need to rework the neckline I think, but I love how it turned out. 

Anywho, sorry it's been so quiet around here lately...I just wanted to pop in and share this gem of a tutorial which can be found HERE. I will say - the sleeves are tricky and I wouldn't recommend being under the influence of cold medicine when attempting to sew them on. I sewed both of them on backwards. Happy sewing!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

sponsor highlight + giveaway ((featuring the wishing elephant))

One of my favorite online shops to peruse is The Wishing Elephant. I love her handcrafted onesies and clever costumes that she makes for little ones. Knox's Wishing Elephant collection is growing quickly, and I'd have to say my favorite is a two-way tie between the Jackalope and Groucho glasses. The little gnome is a close third. Carolyn's shop is one to watch, for sure! It has been so fun to watch her business grow. 

To be honest, sometimes I just look around my studio and wonder - how the heck did this happen?  I started The Wishing Elephant in 2009 when my son was just three months old. My very first design was the Groucho (Knox's fav?). When my second baby was six months old, I was asked to be on The Martha Stewart Show with my daughter's sushi costume. Things got a little wild after that! Yes, Martha is awesome. No, she wasn't mean to me. She did call my daughter a boy (about 3 times), but I was too nervous to care!  You can check out the video here (starts minute4:40). Watch for the pure elation at the end, I didn't faint or barf!! 

Enough about Martha!  If you want to catch a glimpse of my kiddos, you'll see them modeling my goods in the shop and covered in ice cream on my Instagram feed. Look on Etsy for my giggle worthy clothes for babies and toddlers. This time of year my shop fills up with simple, comfortable and awesome costumes.   I think your kids should look amazing AND be comfy (Yes, that can happen).  Remember when your mom used to make your costumes? Well, this is the best of both worlds - a handmade costume made by someone else (ahem, me).  If you peek in this month's EveryDay with Rachel Ray, you'll see our lederhosen onesie on page 102!  Woot, woot! 

Today, Carolyn is generously giving away a $100 shop credit. Just follow the instructions on the widget to enter!

Discount Code: 
OSJ20 will get you 20% off until SEPTEMBER 30th

Link Love:


Monday, September 16, 2013

my morning routine

I've never been a morning person, but motherhood is slowly turning me into one. I still love to sleep in, but the early wake up call from baby Knox has made me crave a morning routine. I secretly love opening the blinds in the morning and looking out on the sunrise. Finding beauty in the new mercies that I'm granted, in the new day that I get to live, in the landscape and sunrise that surrounds's a beautiful thing. 

I nurse Knox around 7-8 am, depending on what time he wakes up, while reading my She Reads Truth plan. As much as I'd love to wake up earlier and journal before He wakes up and actually read from the Bible, rather than a Bible app - it's just where I'm at right now and I'll take that daily bread however I can get it. 

I love to get dressed right after Knox gets his breakfast, but that rarely happens. When it does, I feel I can accomplish so much more. I put Knox down to play while I make coffee and usually throw some clothes on while it's brewing. I try to do something with my bed-head. 

If Knox eats before 8, he usually is ready to go back down for a morning nap so I can watch Kelly & Michael and sip my coffee. I love that part of my gets super quiet and still and then I turn on the tv with the volume super low. I answer some emails and do some random blog work during the commercial breaks...also planning my day in to-do list form. 

Basically, my mornings are spent trying to figure out how to be a mom, how to be a disciple of Jesus, how to run a business + a household, and how to drink my cup of coffee without having to reheat it three times. 

Before I know it, it's 11 am and Knox is ready to eat again and then..bam. It's lunch time and the afternoon is ready to be taken on. 

My favorite mug to sip from is this latte mug from NS Pottery. It's HUGE, so I'm able to fill 'er up and sip away...and who doesn't love a little humor in their day? This spoon from JessicaNDesigns makes me giggle every time I stir my creamer into my coffee. Too Legit to Quit ((Hey Heyyyyyyy!)). I also can't wait to hug these girls at Influence SO soon!

What's your favorite moment in your morning routine?


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Influence Meet & Greet

Let's jump right to it, shall we? 

2 things that I will for sure have packed in my bag:
1. Orange Lipstick and Headbands to cover up my post-partum bald spot. Mmhmm.
2. Tons of notebooks and journals to write in and make lists and journal and doodle.

2 things I am most looking forward to:
1. Hugging some old friends, Lindsay & Moriah, and also awkwardly hugging some new friends and kindred spirits, Jessi & Hayley ((although, I've been reading the Tiny Twig and emailing with Hayley since at least 2010))
2. Being challenged and redirected in my efforts. I can't wait to learn from wiser women.

Going to Influence? Link up so we can meet you!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

piles in my heart

What kind of cleaner are you? Do you lean towards the OCD side - cleaning every nook and cranny and making sure everything is in tip top shape? Or are you like me - a pile maker - vaccuuming and ((rarely)) dusting, but only tidying what can be seen, making piles to give the illusion of a tidy house? 

((don't get me wrong - I clean the kitchen and bathroom like crazy. but the living room and our bedroom? a totally different story)) anywho.

If you're like me, before you know it - there is a ginormous pile on the kitchen island that we for some reason turned into a bar, a medium pile on the dining table that when dinnertime rolls around usually get placed onto the pile that is on or under the coffee table in the living room. All of a sudden your home has morphed into piles of bills that need to be paid, letters, magazines, Joann flyers that you keep because Oh! I could use that coupon! ((but you never remember them)), catalogs that you won't ever thumb through, grocery lists and meal planning calendars that need to be hung on the fridge, and to-do lists for the week and some from last week if we're real with each other. 

No one call hoarders just yet, we eventually just take it all to the recycling bin and pretend it never happened...but that's neither here nor there.

I'm realizing this is a part of my personality and is also a direct reflection of my spiritual life. I tend to be  fairly "out of sight, out of mind." Part of that is a coping mechanism that I feel I've developed to make it easier to be away from family ((it doesn't really work)). Part of it is a way I deflect hurt feelings and grudges that could develop. I distract myself and just "get over it" without really dealing with the heart of the matter. 

Where it becomes dangerous is when I see sin in my heart that I don't want to deal with. A grudge here, some pride there, an idol or two thrown in every  now and then fairly often, anxiety and worry taking over. What I should be doing is falling to my knees, realizing the error of my ways and being broken for the gross stuff in my heart. I should be repenting...but I make a pile in my heart of all these things -- I'll get to them later, I tell myself. I'll do some journaling and spend some time in prayer when I have time and deal with it all then

I love Paul's plea to the Philippians about taking sin seriously in a messed up world.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I maybe proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 
Philippians 2:12-17

I pray that we have a sense of urgency to make things right with our Maker. That we may take sin seriously and be honest with ourselves about the piles of sin that we've stacked up in our hearts to "sort through later." That we don't waste another second being halfway caught up with that something hurtful that someone said to us or just cataloging our idols that we've built for ourselves pretending that they aren't misplaced affections that are intended for God. At the end of the day, our piles of sin are paid for. They've already been addressed on the cross. So why are we pretending they don't exist? Soak in the truth that ignoring that sin won't make it go away, but Jesus has taken care of it. Be quick to repent, not leaving unconfessed sin stacked into piles in your heart, and recognize that the ransom has been paid. Thank God for that gift of a clean slate. 

Now if only the pile under my coffee table would be that easy to get rid of. ((wink))


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

excuse the quiet

The past few days have been all sorts of stressful. We didn't have much time (September is BA-NANAS for us), but we decided to go to the cabin for a day and a half to spend some time with the in-laws. Chase's sister and her husband were going to be there and Knox hadn't gotten to "meet" them yet. It's only 4 hours away and we never really turn down an opportunity to head that way. About two hours into our drive, we got caught behind a logging truck and my car was having trouble shifting as we went uphill over a pass. Finally, the truck moved over and as we accelerated, my jeep started dinging and overheating. Long story, short - we had to abandon my car in Buena Vista and rent a jeep from a off-roading jeep rental place just to get to the cabin. Perfect timing with labor day, no one could look at the car until yesterday morning. Chase was supposed to be at Seminary yesterday afternoon for class that he had to miss. 

What was thought to be a small thermostat issue, a $70 fix..turned out to be a potentially blown head gasket ((whatever the heck that means)), a $2,500 fix. My car is worth $5,000 at best and I don't think it's surprising to say that we don't have $2,500 to throw into my dumb car.  We could take a hell of a vacation for $2,500. I can't tell you how badly I just wanted to beat the trash out of the car and sell it for parts. We made it back to Boulder without my car ((don't want to dive into that chaos)) and we will try and get it towed to Boulder sometime soon. We are supposed to leave for a wedding tomorrow...a 12 hour drive to Fayetteville. Thankfully, we have another vehicle, Chase's truck. This is just not how I envisioned a quick trip to the cabin to look.

I keep telling myself that no one is injured, no one has passed away, Knox is healthy, I have an amazing husband, God is good, and it's just a car. It's still just a mess. I just felt like you should know that it may be quiet around here for a few days. I can assure you that I don't need your sympathy..I am completely aware that there are people hurting way more with bigger issues than a falling apart 2004 Jeep Liberty. I just needed to process it a bit, I suppose. 

Gasp.  A blog post without a photo.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

acknowledging beauty

Life doesn't always ((read: usually)) go as planned. However, it's in those moments that I must continue to look around and acknowledge the beauty that surrounds me. It is in those moments that God reminds me that He is in control, no matter how hard I try to be or insist that I am. I'm willing to rest in that as often as I can. It's all that keeps me sane sometimes.


Monday, September 2, 2013

a fun, affordable, and super easy way to print your instagram photos

I had a realization a few weeks ago that when my kids are older, they aren't going to be able to just scroll through the photo library on my phone to see photos of themselves as babies. Somehow, this instant gratification of uploading photos keeps me from printing them off for keepsakes. I also tend to delete the phone version and keep the instagram version of photos I take. With that said, I wanted to print off some of my favorite photos from the past few months that Knox has abundantly blessed our lives. They will soon go into the Knox's memory box and a few will also find their way on to the refrigerator. 

I found an app that is free and super easy to use and wanted to share it with y'all. It's called Printicular and you can download it in the app store. Basically, I downloaded the app, picked my photos, and picked a Walgreens location ((which just so happens to be about one mile right down the road)). I picked them up in an hour and just sat there in the car ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how cute baby Knox is. Yep. Mom status. Baby is in the backseat, yet I'm gawking over photos of him in the front seat. ;)

Anywho, this isn't a sponsored post - I just wanted to share the wealth. I know there are lots of websites you can print instagrams, but I was pretty impressed with the quality and I loved the size that they printed out to be (4X4) I hate paying for shipping. 

((Also, sorry if this is old news to some of y'all. I tend to be late jumping on bandwagons))

Happy Labor Day to my U.S. readers!