Monday, July 27, 2015

Outfit of the Day: White Linen Skirt








Happy Monday!

Summer is just flying by and our days have been full to the brim. This white linen skirt has been a staple in my closet for years, and its flowing gauziness makes me reach for it morning after morning. I wear it with a variety of things, but especially like to keep the outfit simple and neutral. 

Have a good week!


Linen skirt // Ann Taylor (old)
Tee // Marshalls
Sandals // Target (old)
Hat // Target
Necklace // Thrifted







Saturday, July 18, 2015

When Gratitude is Not Enough




On a sticky July afternoon last summer, I started the weekend chore of mowing our lawn. In my rush to get it done during the window of nap time, I didn't grab headphones or entertainment. It was just me, the lawn mower, and my thoughts.

Some people, like my husband, are natural optimists. For me, optimism takes work. I can be positive, it just takes intentional effort. Reframing thought patterns. This particular afternoon, my mind was settling down into its comfortable spot of negativity. I knew I had a whole lawn ahead of me and lots of time to simmer in the worries of my life.

I decided to try gratitude as a method to pull my thoughts up. I am thankful for my comfortable home (with peeling paint and an abundance of weeds). I am grateful for my family (and I forgot to help this child with this, and disciplined this child too harshly, and didn't discipline this child enough...). I am thankful for my physical ability to mow this lawn (which is the only exercise I got this week... I really should not have eaten that chocolate, and those cookies, and...). I am thankful for this person (but worried about their current problems), and that person (who is also struggling with such and such).

Gratitude is an amazing cure, but for whatever reason, it could not boost my thoughts that afternoon.

A voice in my mind gently said, "Why don't you focus on being hopeful today instead?"

I gave it a try.

I am thankful for my home, and I have hope in our ability to work hard and get the repairs done. I am grateful for my family, and I have hope that my efforts and love will discount my imperfections as a parent and wife. I'm thankful for my physical abilities, and have hope that I can someday overcome bad habits. I am thankful for this person and that person, and have hope that they will solve their problems.

I have hope for change, hope for improvement, hope in the power of love and work, hope that everything will eventually all turn out for the best. At the core of this exercise, I found hope in Christ, the true source of it.

Hope was the one thing powerful enough to override my negativity that day. When the motor died and the smell of cut grass filled the air, my outlook was cheery and optimistic again.

When gratitude is not enough, hope always will be.


Sharing with > Stone Gable > Karen's up on the Hill > Three Kids and a Fish > Le Chateau Des Fleurs > Mod Vintage Life >  Coastal Charm > Tumbleweed Contessa > Elizabeth Joan Designs > Huckleberry Love > The Dedicated House > Sand & Sisal > Cozy Little House > Elizabeth & Co. > A Stroll Through Life > Savvy Southern Style > Ivy and Elephants > The Blissful Bee > 21 Rosemary Lane > Katherine's Corner > From my Front Porch to Yours > Anderson and Grant > Imparting Grace > Northern Nesting > French Country Cottage > The Charm of Home > Craftberry Bush > Nancherrow > My Romantic Home > Shabby Nest > Finding Beauty > Pieced Pastimes > House of Hipsters > Whipperberry > Thoughts from Alice > Interior Frugalista > Silver Pennies Sundays > It's Overflowing >  By Stephanie Lynn > Simple as That > Twelve O'Eight >

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad


This simple salad is one of my favorite ways to use the our ripe tomatoes, which are normally pouring out of our garden by July's end. Time got away from us this year and we didn't plant any tomatoes, so the store-bought variety will have to do. These little grape ones are still packed with flavor. The mix of artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and a favorite dressing gives this salad an Italian "al fresco" feel. Pair it with grilled chicken and fresh bread, and you've got the perfect patio summer dinner. 

Tomato and Artichoke Heart Salad:

1 large head of red leaf lettuce (washed and torn)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 of a large red onion (sliced)
1 7.5 oz. jar of marinated artichokes (chopped)
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Italian dressing

Toss all ingredients and enjoy!

Serves 4-6








Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our Living Room Semi-Makeover


As I mentioned in this post, I'm working on softening and lightening our home. I've been trying to make little swaps and changes here and there, and gradually alter the feel without breaking the bank. My main focus has been the living room, and I've been slowly updating this space.

You can see how I redid one corner of our living room in this post.  

Here is a "before" shot of the rest of the room:



Here's how it looks now, with some minor tweaks:



Let's get into the details - - - >



The main thing I wanted to makeover were the accents-namely the pillows and rug. I brought down an Ebay Potterybarn rug from the boys room (that wasn't really working there anyway). The dark brown went perfectly with the mirror, and there were other yellow accents in the room already. It's also bigger than our other rug, which was a major plus.


That was easy. 

On to my search for pillows. Not quite as easy. I started where I normally do - in my big scrap pile of fabric. I tried this and that, and that and this, and nothing really settled right. 

I did end up using one little embroidered piece that fit the room perfectly. 




But what to do about the rest of the pillows...

I started shopping, looking at this and that, that and this. I spent hours, agonizing, analyzing, searching and searching. 

I could have done a million different combinations of pattern and color - and I love that approach - but this time I was trying to soften. The trick was to be subtle without being BORING. 


On a stroke of luck, I walked into Home Goods one day and found these. Lovely, linen-y, subtle, non-boring floral print pillows. I wasn't sure if the color would work, so I brought a sumptuous velvet gold pillow home too. To punch things up, just slightly. Also, to bring out the yellow tones in the rug. 


It's a simple combination, but it's perfect. The room feels complete, but very restful. 

We had 2 barrel chairs in here, but they are getting pretty worn out. I don't know what we will do with them. For now, we switched one out with an eclectic, thrifted rocker (that gets a ton of compliments). 




It was the most random find. It has embossing all over it, and I've actually seen it in a few blogs! 


It's a little tall... We'll see if it stays permanently...

I also switched out a few accessories, and kept things REALLY simple. There are a lot of little fingers around here. 



I am loving the changes, and the lightness in the room!


Thanks for taking a peek! If you want to see the original room post, click here



Sharing with > Stone Gable > Karen's up on the Hill > Three Kids and a Fish > Le Chateau Des Fleurs > Mod Vintage Life >  Coastal Charm > Tumbleweed Contessa > Elizabeth Joan Designs > Huckleberry Love > The Dedicated House > Sand & Sisal > Cozy Little House > Elizabeth & Co. > A Stroll Through Life > Savvy Southern Style > Fresh Mommy Hump Day Dump > 21 Rosemary Lane > Katherine's Corner > Imparting Grace > French Country Cottage > The Charm of Home > Craftberry Bush > Nancherrow > My Romantic Home > Shabby Nest > Finding Beauty > Pieced Pastimes > House of Hipsters > Whipperberry > Thoughts from Alice > Silver Pennies Sundays > It's Overflowing >  By Stephanie Lynn > Simple as That > Twelve O'Eight >










Monday, July 6, 2015

Outfit of the Day: Island Vibes








Happy Monday!

Hope the USA readers had a nice holiday weekend! We had a marathon of activities on Saturday, and we ended our day of parades, lake swims, and s'mores sweaty, tired, and smelling like sunscreen and campfires. The kids fell in bed so exhausted and happy, and I know they'll talk about this day for a long time. Days like these wear me out too, but in a good way :).

I wore this skirt on the 4th to represent my American blue, even though it makes me feel like I'm on a tropical island somewhere. I've paired it with a fitted tee, which works, but something about the looser shirt makes it feel even more carefree. Like I'm off to pick lavender or something.

Have a great week!

Shirt // Thrifted
Skirt // Thrifted
Hat // Ebay
Shoes // Consignment


Sharing with Pink Sole More Pieces of Me > Mom Trends > The Style Record > Not Dead Yet Style > Lipgloss and Crayons > Rhea Et Cetera > Fashionably Employed > Fizz and Frosting > Twelve O'Eight > Sand & Sisal > The Fashion Canvas > I Do deClaire > Elizabeth & Co. >  The Pleated Poppy > Thrifting Diva Katherine's Corner > High Latitude Style Let Your Light Shine Thursday > Sincerely Jenna Marie The Red Closet Diary French Country Cottage > Craftberry Bush Nancherrow > Simply Lulu Style > Musings of a Housewife > Penniless Socialite > Rachel the Hat > Style Elixir > Shabby Nest > Pieced Pastimes > The Fashionista Momma > House of Hipsters > Thoughts from Alice > Silver Pennies Sundays > It's Overflowing >