{Soul Searching} 31day Challenge favorites!

Today is only day 28 of my own 31daysChallenge but for most of the LinkUp partyers, today concludes each of their personal journeys throughout the past month. Since so much of who we are (or I am!) over here in the "blogosphere" can be influenced or inspired by other bloggers, I thought this was a fitting post on my own "soul searching" adventure.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite fellow "challengers" (some of whom I had already been following for a while) and their posts that have inspired me the most in the past 31 days!
Please take a minute to pay each of these lovely ladies a visit, but only if you plan on having a half-dozen or so favorite new blogs to follow! ;)

31days Challenge: 31days of Letting Go

My favorite Challenge post: Letting Go of My Silence

Not only is Shannan an incredibly inspirational woman based on how she lives, but she is an incredibly powerful and persuasive writer. Her posts read like poetry and are filled with pretty photos... making a simple list of daily chores or errands feel like a vulnerable glimpse into her personal world. Her series has been incredible to follow- as she pours out her hopes and fears of facing the process of moving away from her family's beloved farm house and towards city life- in simple, captivating daily chapters. 

31days Challenge: 31days of Celebration

My favorite Challenge post: The Calm Before the Storm

Annie is a super clever and creative young woman who, like me, is trying to figure out how to not only juggle living a Christ-centered life, marriage, work, relationships, and passions... but doing it all well. Her series on Celebration has been refreshing and fun to follow with her topics ranging from everything from throwing parties to finding peace in the chaos of everyday life. Plus, it's super fun that she and I share the same anniversary (11.22.08)... on that day we were both wearing white dresses, walking down aisles, exchanging vows with our best friends, and dancing the night away in "Celebration" but would only come to find one another by expressing ourselves through blogging. That's just plain neat. 

31days Challenge: 31days to an Organized Home

My favorite Challenge post: Defining Clutter

I have thoroughly enjoyed following this 31days series. Her posts are usually pretty short and sweet with  helpful tips and advice for how to simplify our lives and live intentionally with what matters most. Not only does she offer great advice, but she lives it out in her own life- posting pictures of each project along the way. I don't know about you, but if someone was telling me how to organize my sock drawer... you'd better believe I want to peek in theirs too for proof! I think this is one challenge I could probably repeat every 31days!

31days Challenge: Blog to Biz

My favorite Challenge post: Love Your Mess

Obviously, I'd pick that one as my favorite. Anything to justify the constantly chaotic state of our home (ha!). Kidding. But this has been a super informative and interesting series to follow. Donna is an incredible go-getting, junk-loving woman who turned her own passion into both a super successful business and blog and is now sharing what she learned along the way. Her work/photos have been featured in magazines and she has earned tons of awards and recognition from big-wig names in the design industry. If you've thought twice about how to start using your talents within the blogging world to start a business, her 31day challenge is a great start! I have a feeling I'll be referencing these posts for a while to come!

Big THANK YOU to these inspirational women for pouring time and energy and love into each of your posts. They have challenged me as much as they challenged you and I am thankful for the opportunity to have started each of the past 31days off with visits to your blogs. 
I hope we can all remember to keep "letting go", "celebrating", "simplifying", and "motivating" ourselves in the days ahead!

~happy Monday everyone!~


{soul searching} Day 25: Handmade Happiness!!

I have been absolutely anxious to share some photos of the projects I've been up to these past few weeks!  I ran into some issues with uploading...hence the half SLR, half iPhone photos.
But quality issues aside...

 I am SO excited to show you all my newest crafty creations!
:::drum roll please!:::

~Gypsy Ruffle Curtains~

I love LOVE them... flaws, uneven edges, stray threads and all! They are the biggest sewing project I've attempted and {most importantly} finished! I am no seamstress... even threading my dang Singer gives me anxiety, but the sight of these beauties hanging 108'' off my floor makes the blood sweat and tears hard work so worth it! ...All 18 hours of hard. work. ahhh.

~ Scripture Window Wall-Art ~

So fun! 
A couple hours, a set of letter stencils, some acrylic paint, and a little sponge and I turned one of our old windows that we replaced last summer (for ones that actually open and close!) into a fun and personal piece of wall art. In case you can't see it, this verse is 2 Peter 1:5-7, one of my favorites and a great reminder for daily life both inside and out of our home.

~ Hand-Painted "Flooral" Mats~

Love them!
I had only planned on painting two for our kitchen, but I got on a roll... I think they are just the prettiest floor mats I've ever seen! A few coats of clear sealant and I think they'll be the perfect addition to our space! Not to mention they're as practical as they are pretty... with three furry crumb snatchers around, I am constantly vacuuming, sweeping, washing, and shaking out our mats!

...{Some of these things may, or may not, have something to do with more exciting news coming soon}...

Thanks for stopping by!!

.:.*a very Happy Halloween weekend to you all!*.:.

Don't forget to stop by the LinkUp Party (and see this lovely post!)
 going on NOW!

{soul searching} day 25: "wood box on wheels" mini d.i.y.

One of the many little projects I've been getting my hands on in the past few weeks is this little storage crate below...
I have an unhealthy average-sized collection of magazines that I simply needed to corral. I found this box at a thrift store and a few easy updates turned it into a practical storage solution that keeps my 'zines within reach and their pretty covers bring some color to the space!

DIY "Wood Box" makeover:

What you need:
1 "wood box" (mine, was even labeled as such on the side...ha!)
4 wheels/casters (2-pack at Home Depot for around $2.95 each)
wood stain/paint (I used "sunbleached" stain)
white acrylic paint
letter stencils
sponge brush
paint brush
gorilla glue


a rolling crate for storing stacks of magazines, blankets, board games, etc!

** hilarious!!! Um... any one notice my dyslexic moment? That's awkward.
In the English language, "J" does this... not... that. Lawd. I was going to fix it, but I'm debating leaving it as-is... errors add character? Mmm... nope, not going to get out of this one, Hailey.**

Anyway! Here's how you make one:

1. If your crate is unfinished, you can start brushing on the stain with your brush. Stain goes a long way, so start with a little and you can layer to build up the color. Make sure you get in the corners and along each edge. Clean your brush, set aside to dry.
2. Once the box is dry (about an hour), sparingly brush white paint all over with a dry-brush to create a weathered antique effect to your liking.
3. Once dry, start stenciling your letters by placing them in their desired location and sponge-painting to fill in. 
**To get the "messy" look like mine: rush through the stencil process, and while letters are still slightly wet, rub them lightly with a paper towel- it will lift off the damp areas of paint creating a distressed look... sometimes impatient accidents pay off! **
4. once the paint is dry (give it the rest of the afternoon), flip it over and attach your casters in each corner (placing them far enough from the edge so the wheels can properly turn) using gorilla glue (make sure you dampen both the surface of the caster and the box where your attaching it... water activates the glue!)
5. Let it dry for 24 hours before dumping your stuff in it... Voila!
A cute little crate with a home-made touch!

I think this says something along the lines of
"Library of Inspiration"...
don't correct me if I'm wrong.
 It's already been stenciled & sponge-painted. It's staying. 

and if you're thinking to yourself how nice it must be to be able to take such peaceful, practical photos in the comfort of my own home... 
let me zoom out for ya:


~happy Friday to you all!~ 
come back soon for another update... possibly arriving later today!


~ Thrifty Thursdays: Thai Coconut Curry Soup ~

Put down the delivery menu!
This sweet and spicy version of tangy Thai Coconut Curry soup will satisfy your  carry-out cravings and leave you with a happy tummy and fridge full of leftovers! 

Thai Coconut Curry Soup 
~ $15 makes 6-8 servings!~

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste (in a jar)
  • 2 stalks fresh lemon grass (whole)
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 3 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 med. tomatoe, cut into chunks
  • 1 can baby corn*
  • 1 can button mushrooms*
  • 1 can sliced bamboo*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups uncooked white rice

*optional... or add different veggies of choice :) (baby broccoli, snap peas, etc.)

1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add curry paste, ginger, lemongrass and stir for about 1 minute. Slowly pour in vegetable broth. Add brown sugar, stir to mix well. Simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Get the rice going in a med. pot or rice cooker. (mix in 1/2 can coconut milk with 3cups water)
3. Head back over to the soup...Add in sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, canned veggies. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in lime juice, salt. Serve over or with rice. Garnish everything with cilantro. Mmm!


{soul searching} day 23: the precious present...

"Life belongs to the living, and he who lives
must be prepared for change."
~ Johann Wolfgang van Goethe 

Feeling inspired after reading this post by Heather, over at Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
I leashed up the pups for an early afternoon walk. 
And I am so glad I did.

The weather was perfectly crispy. Each breeze loosened leaves from branches and they floated on their final descent to the street below. The trees are in full vibrancy, proudly performing their grand finale before they prepare to rest... fleeting, quiet, simple moments of peace. I wanted to make it last forever.

But today... we woke up to this:

Oh, how precious the present! 

~ I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday and are able to savor the simple moments. ~

"A happy life must be, to a great extent, a quiet life.
For it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that 
true joy may live". 
~ Bertrand Russell


{Soul Searching} day 22: ...ideas for an uninspired space

A few rooms in our home are in desperate need of new life. Unfortunately, since I am home more during the day, I have more time to obsess over everything that I've always wanted to change about our home but have never had the freedom to do. I feel stagnant, discontent, and uninspired...blah.

I love this post by Kelly at www.imperfecthomemaking.com. She challenges us to think about what we want our homes to be and what it should represent.
 I want our home to be a sanctuary; a refuge; a place that exudes comfort, warmth, and peace. I want it to be clean and free of the clutter of having too much "stuff". I don't want our home to feel like a burden or a trap as it often can with worries of mortgage payments, ongoing projects, difficult neighbors, and buyers remorse. 

One room in particular that gives me anxiety is our living room. I have been inspired by my 31days of Soul Searching challenge and I am finally starting to acknowledge and address the things that upset, frustrate, and exhaust me about our home:

1. Our downstairs (living room- dining room, kitchen) gets very little daylight during the day (we literally have no windows, just a second front door with nazz frosted glass sidelights), so it has the cave-effect.

I'd love for it to resemble this:

(operation: Massive Red Couch)

2. We have a full wall of exposed brick and a fireplace in our living room (which we love) but it can be a little overwhelming... I want to build a big mantel around our gas 'fireplace'... hubs is hesitant.

Like this:

3. We have a gigantic sectional that we just had to have from Crate&Barrel...
and we just had to have it in red "brick" chenille like the showroom sample.
There it is.
 It was almost four years ago. no excuses.
 It totally clashes with the orangey-brown brick. Please don't judge me.

Wanting a slipcover like this: 

4. We have nice tall, 10ft ceilings which makes the room feel nice and open, but also... that's a whole lot of unused blah wall space to figure out what to do with. 

Looking for wall decor ideas like this:

5. Our furniture and decor is a mash of things that we have collected, found, and lugged around over the years so the space feels a little chaotic. Book cases, coffee table, dining table, chairs, cabinets, shelves... all in different stains and finishes. I need to find a way of making them work better together.

Fun updates like this:

Ooohhhhh myyyyyyy goooooodnesssssss!
It's all just so fabulous!

I have started tackling some DIY projects that are helping to get my creative juices flowing. In addition, I have been collecting inspiration for ways to bring some color and excitement into our space.

Since I don't think waiting around for my knight in shining, glittery armor- David Bromstead of HGTV-I'm embarking on Operation "Color Splash" in my own little way.

I'll share some photos of the progress soon!

xoxo lovely Tuesday to You! xoxo