**All photos are shared with permission from Krista Browning Photography. Krista loves capturing the emotion of people’s stories through pictures. She is based in South Florida, but she is open to traveling to meet your photography needs. You can find her by clicking on the following social media platforms | website | facebook | Instagram | Pinterest. We are honored for her to have donned a disguise and hunkered down in some bushes on a hot Flordia afternoon to capture these moments for us.**
It all started just over 14 years ago.
She, a 7-year-old pig-tailed blonde sporting glasses and watching out for her 2 younger brothers. He, a sandy-headed 5-year-old ready to run with the big dogs, and do whatever his big sister said because she had convinced him she was the boss of him. It was the first day of a weekly sports club with a pavilion full of kids. New faces fully anticipating a morning of sports and yet slightly nervous about making friends.
A month ago I decided to finish organizing my bedroom closet the way I had planned to when we moved into our house … five years ago. Then I came up with a few ideas to add a bit of decorating and DIYing to the project. And if you’re going to do something like that, you might as well invite a few friends along, right? So I did. Before we knew it, it had become a blogging collaboration between So Much Moore, Tori at Mess to Blessed and Amanda at Life on the Bay Bush. Three weeks ago we challenged y’all to join us for Mission Organization | Closet Rescue. We’ve purged, DIY’d, decorated and organized and now we get to present Mission Organization | Closet Reveal Highlights.
Thanks for the love on Monday’s Closet DIY post! It seems that the copper tub has stolen a few hearts! Along those lines, let me add here that the colors, styles and types of DIYs I am using in my closet may not exactly capture your heart. And you know what? That’s okay! In some ways, it’s almost better! The goal is not to make your closet, home, family, life exactly like someone else’s. How boring would that be? But if something you see sparks an idea to solve an issue in your own space … then mission accomplished! Which is why today we’re checking out some other DIYs in this next step of Mission Organization | DIY Project Highlights.
If you’ve joined us on this Closet Makeover enough to have purged your clothes and culled through some of the chaos in your closet, then give yourself a hand. If you were here I’d fix you a coffee or give you a cookie or something. Because we all know a plaque or ribbon would be too tempting to take home and shove in your closet somewhere, and we’ve moved way on past that now haven’t we!
Anyway, if you have not had the time, energy or resources to move past the purge, that’s okay too. This moving in the right direction requires a lot and every step along the way needs to be celebrated in some way. Wherever you are in this process, we want to celebrate with you. So here’s your reminder to send in a few pictures and follow us on social media. And what better way is there to celebrate than with a few prizes. Since mailing chocolate is complicated, we’ve opted for some happiness that would make a nice addition to any closet space. You can find all of our contact info at the end of this post to be entered in the giveaway drawing.
Tori’s Tips and Tricks at MessToBlessed
Tori’s master bedroom is in what formerly was an attic, so the closet is not exactly spacious. It also has sloped walls, making it impossible to store items on the walls. She found a few helpful hanging items on amazon to simplify her accessories and make her closet more functional all at the same time. One of those items was a pack of shower rings to store her scarves. I’ve tried something like this plan before, but it didn’t work so well because I didn’t have the right hangers … I wish I had read her post first to save myself some frustration.
She also found this handy 2-pack of hangers for tanks. Depending on how you hang them, they will each hold between four and 16 tanks. That’s enough to clear out and entire drawer AND keep them from wrinkling. I definitely need to add some of these to my closet.
Amanda’s DIY Projects at LifeOnTheBayBushBlog
Amanda has a walk-in closet with wall space and shelves to store things but has been working on making it more organized and user-friendly for a busy mom with three girls. One of the things she did was cover some old diaper boxes with fabric and a hot glue gun, a perfect solution for those who want the look of a covered box without the details of sewing. She also had a brilliant little tip for dealing with the printing on the outside of the diaper box. Another aha! moment for me!
Another fun project she did involved these glass knobs, a piece of wood and some fun paint. Whenever you can add some style to the storage process it’s a good thing!
You can find each of us on social media using the links below.
You know how sometimes you make plans for something and you’re just sure they’re going to be awesome? And then they’re not? They’re actually better? I love it when that happens. That was our story a few weekends ago and it was so sweet.
Our church family started a wonderful tradition a few years ago. We reserve a cabin, or three, in the Smoky Mountains and spend the entire weekend just hanging out and enjoying the views. Or hiking, playing games, fishing, cruising Gatlinburg or doing nothing … basically whatever strikes our fancy at the time.
It’s such a fun balance between being away and being together. Oh, and we eat. And maybe nap. And then we eat again. And enjoy the views.
Our family drug in pretty late Friday night this year. I was up early Saturday morning as part of the breakfast crew, which obviously called for coffee. I was a little surprised when the mug had the name of a Bed & Breakfast where we had stayed for two nights as part of our honeymoon almost 25 years ago.
I sipped my coffee as we finished up breakfast and then headed out to the other cabins to let everyone know breakfast was ready. As I was heading back I noticed a little tree house off one of the rooms of the main cabin, and that’s when it dawned on me.
Made a little sweeter this year
It was the B&B where we had stayed, and suddenly it’s like I saw and remembered so many details. The latticed brick entryway floor and beamed ceiling in the kitchen. The deck stretching across the entire back of the large cabin. The little bridge out to the private tree house that at one time held a hot tub.
I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I quickly found another mug with the name of the B&B on it and poured Steve’s coffee. When he showed up a few minutes later I led him out to the little tree house deck to show him the view.
As if that wasn’t awesome enough, his expression showed the exact moment he recognized everything. Even our teenage girls were impressed with the story.
What are the odds? There are hundreds upon hundreds of cabins for rent in the Smokies, and we just happened to be at the very one where we had honeymooned.
I had actually searched for the B&B a few years ago to surprise Steve for his birthday, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. We ended up camping for his birthday and it was great fun. And this better-than-expected surprise was such fun to share with a few of our kids and each other 25 years later.
My own reminder to notice the details and savor the surprises
So I guess my reminder in all of this is to pay attention. I’m sure at some point it would have dawned on me where we were staying, but I’m so glad it was at the start of our weekend. It made our time even more enjoyable and special.
And the other lesson? Coffee. First thing. Every day. You’re welcome!
What sort of better-than-expected moments have you celebrated lately?
So last week around here a challenge was issued for a closet makeover. When two fellow bloggers responded, we decided it would be a fun collaborative project. It quickly turned into “Mission Organization | Closet Rescue”! Which means you’ll have three others walking this harrowing journey with you – 3 times the ideas, 3 times the perspectives, 3 times the prizes. Yay prizes!
** This post contains an affiliate link. Basically, that means if you click on the links I’ve provided and decide to make a purchase, then I’ll make a little commission. It does not cost you anything extra, it just makes it easier for you to find products. THANK YOU for following along on this closet makeover with SoMuchMoore**
With what you have … a few things to overcome?
See that last line up there? “With what you have.” Let’s talk about that for just a minute.
Now, I don’t know about you, but most of us have these little running conversations in our heads. They’re all different but they often contain what counselor-types call “negative self-talk”. Whether it’s about not making our bed, or exfoliating, or eating enough veggies, or using our kind patient words with our children … you get the idea, right?! And somehow in the midst of these mini-rants we give much more weight to our liabilities than our assets.
Because of this sad little bent that we all seem to have, those words, “With what you have” can come across as a bit heavy, judgemental and even exclusive if you will. We all come to these conversations with our own hidden list of inadequacies. Like …
… a teeny tiny space to work with
… a firm belief that we do not possess even one creative bone in our body
… too many family and job responsibilities to even think about pinning a few DIY projects much less the time to complete them.
… a lack of energy for a myriad of reasons that make taking the first step nigh impossible
Whew, too many inadequacies here, my friend!
With what you have … How about a few assets!
The beautiful thing is that we also have certain assets at any given time. Like …
… a creative ability to make something magical with a bit of patience and some modge podge
… access to loads of scrap wood and an expert carpenter
… financial resources that allow for the purchasing of organizational tools that are so cool there’s no need for even the slightest of personal touches
… a desire to make a change and just enough courage to go for it
Good news! These assets and liabilities may come and go through various seasons of our lives. That’s where the beauty of “With what you have” comes in.
Tori is a lifestyle blogger who lives in an old farmhouse with her husband, their four kids and a variety of animals. She’s addicted to flavored coffee and I know you’ll enjoy her blog and it’s range of topics from faith and family to DIY, organization and her regular Friday Funny feature. Tori claims her biggest liability for this project to be a teeny tiny closet with a slanted ceiling, along with the time constraints of a Mama involved in her church and kids school life too.
Amanda is also a lifestyle blogger who lives on a farm with her hubby and three girls. Her loves include – family, DIY projects, Coke zero, Disney and her church family. With all daughters, you may find a little more pink on her blog in the midst of her passion for repurposing old things into something new and beautiful. Won’t it be fun to follow along on her adventures! Amanda would say that though she is blessed with a walk-in closet, it has quickly become a storage area for her girl’s treasures waiting to be passed on to others.
A few friends and a desire to make chores fun? That’s exactly how this collaborative series started. We are each in different seasons and bring different assets and liabilities to the table. So in the coming weeks, you’ll find three different approaches to tackling the chaos that is our closets. One of us may choose to use more ready-made organizational systems while another opts for old diaper boxes. Another may craft everything from a tree they felled with an old hand saw, just kidding that’ll never happen.
Bottom line – each makeover will be different because we all bring different things to the table and have our own unique goals for our space. There is no right or wrong here … can I get an amen!
The one thing we have in common? Wanting a more organized and quieted closet and the understanding that everything is more fun when done with friends!
Here’s what you can look forward to …
For the next few weeks, we’ll be tackling one step in this process each week. The first week we’ll be purging and thinking through closet goals, yes #closetgoals is a hashtag. Then you’ll need a weekend break before we get to week two – DIY projects and ideas to spur your own creativity, and yes, believe it or not, you do have some of that! And we’ll wrap it all up on week 3 with some final closet reveals, just in time to restock those cozy sweaters and fun boots for fall!
How do you fit in here?
Well, I’m so glad you asked! We would love for y’all to grab a friend or two or 12 and join us. We would even recommend a purging party, it’s so much more fun with a buddy … and chocolate, obviously! In that process you can knock around some goals and start dreaming of what you want for your space. We won’t judge one bit if that requires a little coffee get together too.
Share your own pics of your process via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, either the final week or after each relevant post. We would LOVE to see things like your before pic or maybe a giveaway pile if you deem your before picture too revealing – though we don’t believe they could be much worse than that one above! Share some of your ideas, successes, and even fails, We’ll be sharing ours and it’s so much easier to learn from someone else’s “save” than to have to go through the oops! ourselves.
You’ll have the better part of the final week, towards the middle to end of September to send us pics of your final reveal. AND then the really fun part …
Each of us bloggers are creating a little closet happiness project that we’ll be working on for our own closets and we’ll be making extra for a lucky reader to be chosen at random.
The catch? Just that we want you in the trenches with us! How does that happen?
1 – follow al three of us on social media
2 – send us pics of your oown closet makeover and we’ll consider them proo of your trench time.
No, this is not for the faint of heart. But we know y’all enough to know that we know that we know that Y’ALL ARE BRAVE!
Be looking for our next post on Monday about the purging process. If you want to do a little research in the meantime, I used quite of the few concepts found in Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“. I’ve also included a few ideas that you might find helpful on my pinterest board “A place for everything”
We’re looking forward to taming our space with you and please feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have any other questions that I can answer. See y’all Monday morning to tackle this beast!
You know that one awesome friend you share all sorts of interests with, like favorite restaurants, movies and chocolate bars? And then you meet another friend and your first thought is, “Oh these two need to meet, they would just love one another!” You know what I mean, right? Well, I have a friend I’ve been so very excited to introduce to you. Technically, it’s a whole family of new friends who run a clothing boutique in central Illinois, called Glamour Farms. They sell fun affordable clothing for women ranging in sizes from juniors to 3XL. And today we kick off a new series called Fashion Friday with Glamour Farms, Isabella being our highlighted piece this month.
I met this family two weeks ago at the Haven Conference in Atlanta. Haven is a DIY and home design conference but, home bloggers like to design more than just great interiors. So, Glamour Farms was there with racks and racks of awesome clothes and their high-energy staff to assist each of us!
** This post contains some affiliate links. Basically, that means if you click on the links I’ve provided and decide to make a purchase, then I’ll make a little commission. It does not cost you anything extra, it just makes it easier for you to find products. THANK YOU for following along on this grand adventure at SoMuchMoore with Glamour Farms!**
The Fabric Perks
I pretty much fell in love with the print on the mint colored Isabella tunic/dress the first time I walked through the Glamour Farms booth at Haven. It’s just so cheery, fun and feminine! The great thing is the Isabella is typically available in a variety of prints and colors.
Then I just had to touch the fabric because I’m a seamstress and that’s what we do. I can’t tell you how often I have to tell myself not to grab the sleeve of someone’s blouse or dress because it’s just one of those fabric-loving instincts that apparently creeps people out. Who knew?! As it turns out, the Glamour Farms gals encourage such things!
So let me just say, this fabric is a polyester/spandex blend, which is basically code for super comfortable and forgiving for us Mamas entering our “wisdom years”. It’s as comfortable as jammies, but not as thick as other stretchy fabrics that are too warm to wear through the summer. That makes it the best of both worlds!
I brought it home from my conference weekend, pulled it out of my suitcase two days later and it didn’t have the slightest wrinkle in it anywhere. Not only does it resist wrinkles, it folds up small enough to tuck in a carry-on bag for your next trip unless of course, you decide to wear it instead.
The Construction Perks
I’m a bit of a fabric snob, just trying to own my issues here, so the next thing I tend to look at is the construction of a garment. The seams are solid with a well-aligned print. And it’s not like those cheap shirts that will twist on you after a few runs through the washer and dryer. Score!
The Basics Perks – Leggings and Shapers
The basic crop leggings in ink are a great option to transition through the seasons too. They are considered shapewear, but they’re comfortable enough to wear all day without feeling like you just really want to rush home to peel them off. The crop length looks great with summer flats or wedges and can transition to booties or riding boots for fall and winter. I’m pretty sure these should be collected in every color!
The other part of the basics collection that you can’t even see is the “Ahh-mazing” long tank shaper in sandstone. It is also shapewear that can be srcunched up without adding bulk, as I did in these pictures, or worn long to come down to almost mid-thigh. One of the cool features about the tank shapers, whether you choose the long or short version, is that one side has a scoop neck and the other has a V-neck cut, so you can choose which one you want to go with for each outfit.
The white jeans are from my own collection, but they are similar to the Ava Hyper Stretch Skinny Jeans. Fun thing about their stretch jeans, I was able to wear 2 sizes smaller than my usual range of sizes. That’s enough to make you want to buy a pair in every color right then and there.
The Customer Perks
One more thing, that really has nothing, and possibly everything to do with Glamour Farms. I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those who believes in the importance of standing behind your product and not only that but treating “customers” with the same grace you extend to friends. I’ve found wonderful products before but have walked away because the service was so terrible. If I’m going to go so far as to associate my name with someone or something it has to be someone or something that I believe in. And y’all, I do!
So, go check them out and see what you think. Just to sweeten the gift of your time browsing around their site, they’ve included a $10 off coupon on all regular-priced products for SoMuchMoore readers. That makes their already reasonable prices even better. And while you’re there, take a minute to read through their about page and you’ll really start to understand why I think you’ll soon count them as friends too!
5 reasons why you Gotta Hafta go to Haven Conference
It’s been pretty quiet here in this space for about a week, but not because nothing has been going on with the blog. More like because all sorts of exciting things have been going on!
I was blessed to spend this past weekend in Atlanta with over 400 pro-bloggers, 100+ sponsor representatives and a whole big bundle of excitement everywhere we went. In all the excitement, there was little time to sleep and even less time to blog, a little pre-planning issue I intend to change in the future. In the meantime, consider this your advanced invite to join us at Haven 2017 because once you hear these 5 reasons why you gotta hafta go to Haven Conference, you’ll want to reserve your ticket too!
What’s that you say? You don’t have a blog so you can’t go? Au contraire! I met several amazing women this year who don’t have a blog but are wanting to start one. What a brilliant way to learn blogging before accumulating a host of mistakes to correct. Wish I had thought that way a year ago so I could spend much of the next month creating instead of correcting. I heard about another non-blogger who came with no desire to start a blog, but simply an excitement to enjoy DIY classes and exhibits with some cutting edge products and project ideas.
So without further ado, 5 reasons why you gotta hafta attend Haven Conference …
1 | Because Grand Hyatt, Grilled Salmon, Starbucks & Chandys upon Chandys
It’s not that you’ve never stayed in a nice hotel, it may be more like you’re kind of an outdoor girl at heart. An awesome family vacation for you might involve the mountains or beach, a nightly fire with s’mores and an overcrowded tent. So, yeah, the Grand Hyatt is a bit swanky.
And the chandeliers are everywhere. The Hyatt staff pretty much expect all of the DIY/design bloggers to take multiple pictures of the chandys. You’ll still look ridiculous staring up at the ceilings and snapping away, but it would never stop you from appreciating such beauty! This ginormous one in the main stairwell may quickly become a favorite.
Although it’s gorgeous, it’s not the design that you’ll love. It’s the group of women who will gather, ones who had previously only shared a few sentences online if that. You’ll love how the adventure begins immediately as you run across the street through a deluge of rain so you can dine in a trendy restaurant looking as stylish as a pack of drowned rats. You’ll have absolutely no inkling of how special each woman will become by the end of your weekend. Maybe there’s some sort of magical bond formed when you walk into a classy restaurant looking all disheveled and soggy. Whatever it is, it’ll work!
From that first night of swanky accomodations, to the grilled salmon and roasated veggies for lunch, to the morning Starbucks coffee on tap and plenty of spaces to sit and chat – you’ll quickly find it to be the perfect venue for gathering and connecting deeply with others who get you.
2 | Because Geeking out on Tech Tips, New Apps, Analytics and Knowing there’s Always Something New to Learn
But, I’m not a techy person, you say. I’m not a business-minded person, you say. And this blogging thing requires a good bit of both. So when you have the experts in the field sharing the tips, tricks and techniques they’ve learned along the way, you listen. And you take notes. Lots and lots of notes. And when you miss some, one of your new-found friends will mail her notes to you. And just in case, lots of the speakers will add their notes for all the Haven attendees to enjoy. Even if you didn’t even go to their class in the first place!
And oh my, the ways to really discover and understand your readers! What matters to them? What’s the best way to connect with them?
And if you already know that stuff, or don’t need to know the techy stuff, then the hands-on classes are some of the best you’ll get anywhere. From water painting with crazy gifted artists to photo styling to building cool stuff out of concrete.
3 | Because Swag Bags, Dance Parties, Awesome Brands to Work with … and did I mention Swag Bags?
Perchance “free” is your thing … who am I kidding? Have you ever known anyone who didn’t perk up a bit when they heard the word “free”. If not, then I don’t know how to say this nicely, but our friendship from here on out just might be on shaky ground.
The first thing that happens when you check in at the Hyatt is that you’ll be offered some yummy fruit infused peach tea. Becuase, Georgia and peaches go together like oreos and milk. Next, you’ll pick up your name tag and your swag bag.
When I say swag bag, think ginormous tool bag, that one in the bottom right corner above, stuffed with all sorts of tools and treasures. Like, bring an extra suitcase big, because if you can somehow fit your swag bag contents in your usual luggage, you’ll never get all the other giveaways in there too. There’s just that much stuff these companies send home with bloggers. And we’re not talking stress balls and pens here, we’re talking coolers, hardware, specialized paints and stains and a Dremel tool, the same one that’s been on your wish list for a few years now. You also need to be prepared to explain to the men in your life that the power tools are part of your swag and not their Christmas wish list. Yeah, have fun with that!
4| Because Mentors, Tribes, Friendships and Big Girl Sleepovers
One of the new features of Haven this year was mentor groups. As a Haven attendee, aka. Haven Maven, you’ll be placed in a group of about a dozen or so others and a mentor, all of whom are quite experienced and gifted.
Your mentor just might be Mandi from Vintagerevivals.com, whose tagline on her home page reads “This DIY blog runs on paint fumes and blind enthusiasm. Consider yourself warned.” What’s not to love about that?! You may not think you’re much into the mid-century decor stuff until you see her blog and promptly change your mind. After reading her crazy-fun-embrace-life creativity you too will respect her, even more, when you hear her heart on life, marriage, facing fears and growing strong in the grit of life. What a gift to hear her heart and see her genuineness and her desire to encourage others and most of all to remain true to ourselves and our readers.
If that mentoring weren’t enough, you may also have the privilege of making the 6-hour trek to and from Atlanta with someone like Cyndi from cyndispivey.com. Cyndi is a fashion blogger who not only shares great fashions and tips, but also beauty for the heart as the foundation of our outward beauty. Cyndi did not teach classes at Haven this year, but she has in the past, so it was like another 14 hours of blog / life mentoring. Note to self, a 12-hour round trip can easily become a 14-hour round trip if I’ve you’ve had very much coffee to drink.
You may even bump into someone you met several years earlier for just a few short minutes. And even though you each knew the other was attending Haven, you would have no idea how quickly you would connect and how excited you would be to see what God does with that friendship in years to come.
And you may just end up rooming with a few women you’ve never met until you checked into the hotel. And you’ll smile at the blessing they were and will continue to be on this journey. And you’ll come across those crazy talented creatives with loads of energy who make it hard to wait and see what they do and how many they inspire in the years ahead. But you’ll watch nevertheless because you just know it’ll be worth it.
Then you’ll meet women from all over the US – Kentucky, Oregon, North Carolina, Washington, Arkansas, Tennessee … This will become your tribe. Some of them will be such huge influencers that it could be intimidating that is, if they weren’t also so down-to-earth and interested in journeying together.
What encouragement, laughter, wisdom, and general silliness you’ll share together. Not to mention some pretty tasty dinners too! You’ll hear everyone talking about the networking friendship thing almost as soon as you register. But you can’t grasp the depth of what they mean until you’re there, at which time it’ll become crystal clear and beyond your wildest expectations.
And then you’ll just settle in and enjoy the best big girl sleepover of your life.
5 | Because Coaxing, Pushing and Soaring out of our Comfort Zone are non-options in this life
You may find that right up until just a few days before Haven you’ll be excited but you’ll mostly be intimidated. Unlike a lot of bloggers, you may be an extrovert. You may love meeting new people, hearing their stories and connecting. You may even love setting out on new adventures and learning new things. But, you may not love all of those things happening at once, without the comfort of people you know or a base of knowledge. It’s so easy and natural to compare. Comparing ourselves to others who are further down the path we’re pursuing, yes. But even comparing ourselves to where we would like to be. Some of us are true over-achievers in this area. It can be completely defeating and hard to pull out of once we head that direction.
Scary stuff here, mixed with a bit of excitement too. But some days, mostly scary.
Even with the scary intimidating stuff, you’ll not find a better way to spend your days. And you may need to have lots of conversations in your own head as needed. You’ll recognize them after a bit because they usually start with, “Suck it up, Buttercup” and move on from there.
And the best part? You’ll quickly discover that everyone’s feeling the same way. Even those with tens of thousands of Instagram followers, and subscribers that extended beyond immediate family members. And the beauty of the assortment of those gathered is in seeing how sensitive so many are to including others instead of allowing them to be left sitting alone. Because when that’s the prevailing attitude, the “alone” never lasts very long as it’s quickly replaced with a “Hey, come join us”.
Along the lines of doing brave things that terrify us, you may find yourself and your new blogging friend being roped into participating in a fashion show. Along with the blogging mentors, remember the really big bloggers that were holding your hands and walking you through this adventure that is blogging, yeah, them. Let me just say, you may be the type who would rather spend a Saturday afternoon at the mall in mid to late-December than do anything that involves a catwalk and others looking at you. That’s when you’ll text a pic like the one above to your family, along with the “You better be praying hard because I just might puke” command.
They will. And somehow you and your friend will both survive and manage to have a little fun along the way. And then you’ll get to work with an awesome company like Glamour Farms Boutique. There will be more on them and some of their sweet clothes and accessories in the days to come. Trust me, you’ll love their hilariously fun selves and their great selection of clothing and accessories!
Then, after your first of many Haven Conferences, you’ll be so so so very glad that you did what you knew to be the brave thing and started a blog. The thought of putting your ideas and words out there for others to receive or reject can be quite intimidating, but you’ll know that you know that the idea of living all boxed up in your little comfort zone can quickly become quite stale and drab.
Because it’s all about the journey, those we journey with and what we learn along the way
The really cool part is that none of this would have been possible without another friend like Traci. A friend who would gift something huge to you, freeing up the finances to even make Haven a possibility. It’s a beautiful picture of this entire Haven journey. It starts with one kindness followed by the kindness upon kindness of others that make this a conference you’ll plan on attending for years to come.
And then as you go about working to improve your blog space, and learn more about your readers and what makes them tick, you’ll want to be more mindful of encouraging others.
This isn’t a race – not with ourselves or others.
This is a journey. And most journeys are meant to be made together.
Your being here encourages me more than you’ll ever know!
So thank you! Thank you for the comments and the sharing! Thank you for coming back! And thank you for joining in on this adventure!
And since you’re here and still reading along, how can I encourage you today?
Part of Summer’s beauty is found in being outside and having a slightly slower pace to enjoy those around us. Granted, we don’t all enjoy the childhood privilege of having the summer off, but the pace tends to be slower in many ways. To quiet these summer days and create even more summer thriving, alfresco dining is a great option.
We spent this past week in Birmingham and found this wonderful little street cafe, Delta Blues Hot Tamales. It was just perfect! From the ivy covered patio entrance off a bumpy old brick street to the bamboo shaded tables and a nearby waterfall.
The food was delicious, but the atmosphere made it even more enjoyable, even at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I was a bit beside myself to have found a dedicated gluten-free restaurant too, those are hard to come by!
Somehow, taking any meal out to the deck just makes it taste better. Whether it’s a few minutes alone, or gathered with family and friends, there’s just something significant about it. Maybe because it so easily lends itself to lingering a little longer after the eating is done. And picnics and summer? Well those two were made for each other.
With the freshest ingredients
If it’s just entirely too hot in your zip code, then the next best thing might be stopping by a local Farmer’s Market. We have several in our city throughout the week. It’s fun to browse the tables and find new fruits, veggies and flowers that I never knew existed, and fresh produce is always tastier than canned or frozen. Just think about it, if you have to go grocery shopping, it’s just more pleasant to do so surrounded by food laden tables, fresh flowers and the sound of the outdoors as opposed to the piped in music and fluorescent lighting of the grocery store, no matter how nice your grocery store is?
If it’s just too beastly hot or if your alfresco plans are hijacked by rain, just move the party inside. Throw a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic, followed by a game of cards, becausemost of us moms have no appreciation for frisbee in the house.
And a hint of extra flavor
While you’re at it, add a bit of fresh mint or fruit to your water or tea. It’s amazing how refreshing a plain old glass of water can be with a sprig of mint or a splash of citrus, or even some lemon essential oil if you forgot to pick up lemons.
What are your favorite tips and recipes for eating alfresco?
Some months are just packed full of one celebration right after another, even one right on top of another. Occasionally it’s one week, seven days worth of big events. And every now and again, there’s that one day. One day when several people close to you are celebrating major events.
Take today for instance. Today is the birthday of one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world. It’s her 29th. Again. Or not. Our continuing friendship requires that I not reveal her year of birth, other than to note that it was not nearly as long ago as mine.
Just two years ago we had what we like to lovingly refer to as her biggest birthday party ever.
We’ve been friends since our kids were little, even before some of them were born. Between our 4 and her 5, play days were always full of energy and adventure … at least for the kids. Us Mamas tried to complete an entire sentence a time or two and mix up cookie dough to nibble on before we were discovered. Sometimes that worked, other times not so much. We’ve been there for the birth of babies, the loss of parents, the celebration of holidays and all sorts of huge milestones with our kids.
Two years ago, she was gracious enough to coordinate one of the biggest celebrations for our family to date. Our girl’s wedding. On her birthday. And what a day that was.
These two had dated for four years. Three of those being extra long because they were living several states away from one another.
It wasn’t easy for them. But it was good.
And it led to this moment …
And it was worth the wait.
Now two years later, they find themselves in a new home in a new city and new state, finding new jobs. Our city and state! For now – our very home!
What a fun surprise to have them move here with us. And for all the terrible stories you here of kids moving back in, it’s been a pretty sweet month together.
Crowded? Yes. Chaotic? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely yes. And also temporary.
Soon they’ll find their own place to live here in town. All the while adding memories and anniversaries to their marriage. And we get to be a part of those daily moments.