It’s January, mid January at that. So far this month, I feel like I have a lot of ideas and motivation. I’ve been reading Chip & Joanna Gaines’ book The Magnolia Story. It’s truly been inspiring. I like to think that if Joanna and I were to ever meet, we’d be quick friends. I feel like we’re a lot alike in the way our minds work. Now, I’m in no way saying I’m as creative or talented as she is, I’m just saying our thought process seems to be alike in ways. I’ve always wanted my own little (tea) shop, and this month, reading this book has left me inspired and motivated and creatively thinking, which is always a good thing in my books! These are a few things and spaces that I’ve found to set the mood for my mind-set this month. What’s inspired you? What are things that help you get motivated? Hope you enjoy what’s inspired me!
We all remember that one Christmas where we got the best gift ever! Maybe you were like Ralphie and wanted a “Red Ryder Carbon Action 200-shot Range air rifle,” and actually got it. Or maybe you wanted a baby doll that was life-like in every way and got her wrapped pretty in a box on Christmas morning. Whatever it was, I’m sure it’s engraved in your mind as the best Christmas ever! Mine has to do with the very title of this blog. Let me give a little back story for you.
Back in 1991, when I was 5 years-old my family went to Disney Land. Mind you that’s the year 101 Dalmatians was rereleased into theaters. I’ll never forget we had just gotten into the park and we were making our way to some specific place in the park, that part I don’t remember the details on, I just remember we weren’t stopping anywhere else on the way. That’s when I saw it, this huge 101 Dalmatians display in one of the shop windows. My heart fell head-over-heels in love with those spotted creatures. If I would’ve been a cartoon my eyes would’ve had spotted hearts popping out of them (see what I did there? ;). I was completely in love and I was not going any further until I had my hands on one of those spotted plush creatures. I bugged my parents until finally my mom’s cousin Janet, whom was with us, took me to get a stuffed 101 Dalmatian pup. I took that puppy with me everywhere!
From that point on I only saw black & white spots. Everything I had was black and white. This wasn’t just a short fad, for years I was obsessed with the 101 Dalmatians. You guys, I’m talking yearrrrsss. So as you can imagine, my one hearts desire was a real-life Dalmatian pup. I’d been asking my parents for one ever since we’d gotten back from Disney Land. That was the only thing I talked about, and asked Santa for that following Christmas.
Christmas Eve had come and we were having Christmas at my Grandma’s house with my aunts and uncles. There was a knock on the door-It was Santa! He had a box wrapped and it was for me! I was so exited and I remember being a bit confused on why I was the only one getting a gift. I remember him telling me he heard I’d been a very good girl and the package was heavy, to be careful with it. We got it carefully set down on the floor and I started unwrapped it. The sweetest puppy I had ever seen popped it’s head out of the box and I was completely smitten! I couldn’t get that box open fast enough, my heart was so full! I was so excited, I immediately named him Freckles!
This is a picture of pure joy. That moment is forever engraved in my mind and my heart and when I think of my favorite Christmas my heart goes to that night and it’s been spotted ever since.
Last Christmas, my 3rd Christmas with One Cute Cowboy, he had another one of those memorable, special gifts. I’m a collector of vintage books, and for years I’d searched for a 1st Edition The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Christmas morning Riley eagerly handed me a gift. I opened it and looking up at me was a 1st edition The Hundred and One Dalmatians. My eyes teared up. I knew he understood my heart. It was such a thoughtful gift. I’m so lucky to have this thoughtful, caring man in my life. One that truly understands and hears my heart.
Now I know Christmas isn’t about getting gifts-Christmas is about the gift. When God sent the ultimate gift, Jesus Christ, into the world that cold night in a tiny stable. My heart is overwhelmed when the imagery of that night comes to mind. I’m filled with hope and gratitude. For I truly hope every one of you takes time to remember “the reason for the season.” For there is so much more to Christmas than pretty packages and fun Christmas carols. A king, the King was born that night to be the Prince of Peace, and to bring hope into the world, and to bring redemption to you and I. O holy night, indeed! Praise be to God!
December can be such a glittery, beautiful, enlightening month. I truly am a winter child, though I’m sure One Cute Cowboy would shake his head, since he’s out in it all day, every day. Needless to say he’s not as much of a fan of good ‘ol Winter. Christmas in the 50’s (or maybe just the 50’s in general) always inspires me so my Christmases always have a strong 50’s influence. These are the things that light my heart and make me swoon this December! Hope you’re all having a beautiful one!
So as the year has proceeded I’ve tried various, more natural methods for making my clothes softer and getting out that dreadful static cling!
I started with 100% wool dryer balls. I know you can buy these, but I decided I wanted to make them for myself. I folllowed the directions from this post and bought my 100% wool yarn on Amazon. It was a fun process! The dryer balls definitely help dry my clothes faster and I could tell they helped with the softness, but I was disappointed they didn’t help more with the static electricity.
If I were to do this over I would have bought twice the wool so I could make the balls bigger, I think that would make them more affective. It also didn’t help that everytime one would pop out when I’d open the door, it’d go rolling on the floor and our dogs would automatically assume it was theirs–needless to say I lost several.
Next I tried a mixture of shampoo and vinegar I found on this site to add to my washer. This was a mildly affective method. I think it helped very little with the softening and I don’t think it helped with the static at all.
The latest thing I’ve tried is cutting up an old shirt or fabric and let it soak in a jar with vinegar and a few drops of essential oil , usually Lavender, and then throwing a piece of the shirt in with my wet laundry in the dryer.
This is actually a pretty good method, though if you don’t add enough of the oil, your clothes or towels come out pretty vinegary. Plus, I feel like I possibly need a softer/thicker shirt or fabric to use.
All-in-all I think I’ve about decided a combination of the vinegar soaked fabric and wool dryer balls will be my best bet, but I’m really interested if any of YOU have any fabric softener alternatives? Or have any of you tried these methods and had success doing something a little different? I’d love to hear them if you do!
First off let’s talk Christmas movies.
The Christmas Story is probably a staple in everyone’s Christmas movie watching during December. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I’ll watch it as many times as I come across it. Also ever since the Home Alones came out in the early 90’s I’ve looked forward to seeing them again every December. I mean, seriously some of the best Christmas one liners!
“Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.”
“Buzz, your girlfriend…WOOF!”
I just love those movies. I even got the little handheld recorder that Kevin has in Home Alone 2 one Christmas…I loved that thing! As I’ve grown older, The Family Stone has become my Christmas movie, my thing. I watch it while putting up Christmas decorations, I watch it while I wrap presents, and I even listen to the soundtrack while driving sometimes. I just love that movie! It has an all-star cast. I love all the different personalities, while it’s a bit sad, it’s just such a great story! If you’ve never seen it, I hope that sometime this Christmas season you take the chance to watch it.
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation-I’d actually never really seen this movie until my brother-in-law came into the family. Isn’t that crazy?! It’s hilarious, and it’s one we always try to see at least once.
On to Christmas Music:
I’m a sucker for that old-time Christmas sound. I’m talking Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin, all those Rat-Pack guys. Nothing sounds like Christmas more than those guys. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas is one of my favorites. I can remember my grandma always playing this around Christmas. Now I have it and play it on my record player all month long.
Speaking of rat-pack type guys, I’m going to go ahead and say if Michael Bublé would’ve been around in those times, he would have been welcomed into the pack with open arms. His Christmas album just makes me purely happy. He’s got such an incredible voice and a fun spin on some Christmas classics without making them too cheesy or just plain ruining the song. You’ll find this whole album on my phone played-out by the time Christmas is over.
I also want to mention A Very She & Him Christmas. Zooey Deschanel has one of those classic voices that makes for great Christmas music. I slide this red vinyl on my record player in between Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics.
Now let’s move on to Christmas Reads:
One of my favorite authors came out with a Christmas book a few years back and it’s one that I’ve enjoyed reading the past few Christmases. You’ll fall in love with the characters and the 50’s styled Christmas decorating! My sister and I reference this book a lot at Christmas time.
Back in the Summer I mentioned in my Summer Reading List how my sister and I had been enjoying Several of Elin Hilderbrand books. This first book of her “Winter Series” as Kizzi and I call it, was what got us hooked on her books. Winter Street is such a great Christmas book, and you’ll absolutely fall in love with the characters as they continue on into Winter Stroll and her newest that Kizzi and I are both reading (and love) Winter Storm. You feel like each character could be in your circle of friends, I love love love these books!
So that’s my Christmas Favorites round-up. I’d absolutely love to hear what your Christmas favorites are! Leave me a comment down below to let me know what you enjoy around the Christmas season!
For more Christmas posts, you can visit these posts from last year. Enjoy!
When November rolls around, everyone starts to remember and make lists of what they’re most thankful for. I love to see those, from the smallest things to the biggest things people are thankful for in their lives. This last week has made me long for those thankful posts on social media. It’s heart-breaking to see what’s been going on in our country in response to our new President-elect. One thing I keep at the forefront of my mind is, God is good, all the time. I’m holding that mantra especially close as we go into the next few months. I have great hope. This isn’t to be a political post, but a human post. I pray that each one of you keep your inspirations close, your eyes bright, and your hearts open. Remember we’re all in this together no matter which side you’re on. With that said, here are the things that are inspiring me, keeping me motivated, and keeping my mind creatively active. I’d love to know what all of you are inspired by! What are some of your daily mantras?
I saw The Pioneer Woman’s Holiday line came out this week!! Since I love pretty much everything Ree Drummond, I decided to list a few Saturday favorites as we go into November, with Christmas literally around the corner!
The Pioneer Woman’s Holiday line I’m pretty sure is my favorite so far. She paired together some really delightful pieces that will work all winter long. Let’s start with this beautiful winter tree plates. While they look like Christmas, they also could be used all winter long. I’m so in love with these, look how pretty those Poinsettes are! I’m also in love with the pitcher that matches.
And seriously, who could resist these tins and Charlie in a beanie?!? I just can’t handle the cuteness.
Okay okay, if I’m not careful this whole post could turn out to be Pioneer Woman. But it can all be bought at Walmart, or I suppose her new Mercantile she opened in Pawhuska,OK. I can not wait to be able to go visit it for myself.
So moving on…
I ran across this beautiful little mug when I was scrolling through Instagram the other night. I’ve been dreaming of owning the set ever since. It comes from one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie. I don’t get to go shopping there near as often as I’d liked, (we’re talking twice a year if I’m lucky!) Don’t those gold handles make it look so elegant? Like you’re having a fancy tea party or coffee date! I just love the detail.
Speaking of tea cups and Anthropologie, they have some of the cutest tea towels!
And there is no way, in any world that I could pass up this cute Dalmatian tea towel. (I obviously have an illness of thinking I need more kitchen stuff than my kitchen could ever possibly hold. Haha, oh well!)
While I was cruising around the Anthro site, I also ran across these lush faux-fur throws, that I’m prettttttty sure I’m going to need this winter.
Don’t they look completely irresistable? I’m obviously ready for cooler weather.
Have I ever mentioned how much I like Kate Spade? Her products are fun and always look classic to me. I’m currently in love with this crossbody handbag, the Cameron Street Margot. I love the size and shape,and just the sleekness of it.
While the Margot is a classy, tailored look, I also love this fun Magic Rabbit in a Hat card case. Isn’t it cute? Her Novelty Shop is so fun.
So there it is,some of my Saturday favorites. Kind of a weird array of different stuff, but what else are Saturdays for?
Hope everyone is having a good weekend! What are some of your current favorites?
Since yesterday was the anniversary of the day Riley proposed to me, I decided I’d tell you a story about how One Cute Cowboy and I ended up together and how God is good!
From a young age, I loved music. I sang everywhere I could growing up and eventually learned to play guitar and learned to plink around on a piano. Fast forward to the college years. I studied Commercial Music (no, not music for commercials) and Entertainment Business at South Plains College in Levelland,TX. After graduating I spent some time contiplaiting what my next step was: Austin,TX or Nashville,TN.
After 8 months, I finally decided to take the leap to Nashville. I lived there for 3 years, worked at the famous Grand Ole Opry, and met life-long friends and had some really great experiences. I played music here and there and though I enjoyed Nashville, I knew I would never make a permanent home there. I moved there in hopes to start a music career, I feel like what really happened was I truly became myself there. I learned things about myself and who I was in the time I spent there. Then the opportunity kind of arose to move back home for awhile and help take care of my grandma. I was kind of burnt-out on Nashville, and thought it’d be nice to go back home for awhile.
Now, in a parrallel world, Riley had been growing up, riding horses, chasing cows, and roping everything he could only 84 miles away. He started working with his dad after high school and after a few years and a couple of adventures, he decided to join the military. He went off to Boot Camp in Georgia, and came back and was stationed in Colorado Springs, CO. Then (at the time I had been in Nashville for about a year) he willfully went to Afgahanistan. He was there for a full year before returning home. ( I thank God every time I think of this, He fought for and brought my future-husband home so I could become One Cute Cowboy’s wife and build my life with him long before I knew him or knew God’s plan for me.) He spent one more year at base in Colorado before joyously returning to his family ranch, only 60 miles from me, 2 months after I, myself, had just moved home.
I remember one of my Nashvillian-raised friends making the comment, “Just watch you’ll move back to Oklahoma and fall in love with some cute cowboy!” I distinctly remember rolling my eyes and telling her she didn’t know where I was from. I was moving from a city of around 168,000 people to a county of right under 2,000. There wasn’t a cowboy in a 60 mile radius I didn’t already know.
For the next 10 months I stayed days and nights with Grandma, helping take care of her, and helping my dad with his puppies, and just enjoying a quiet, single life. I didn’t have any concrete plans on what I would do next, and really had no kind of timeline, I was just taking life in stride, watching Andy Griffith & Bonanza with Grandma and playing lots of dominos. Life was good. I was happy!
Then, one day in mid-May, we ran into a couple of family friends. Like us, they were in the middle of working their Spring calves. The conversation got around to if I was seeing anyone. I knew then and there Sherri had something up her sleeve, for since I was in High School she and her sister had been trying to set me up with this boy and that boy, just regular ‘ol matchmakers. She went on and on about this “young man” she just knew I’d hit it off with, how sweet and polite he was, how he was fun and kind. Once again, I distinctly remember rolling my eyes. “HA!” I thought, “that’s the last thing on my mind, and I’m definitely not interested in any cowboy!” She kept mentioning how they’d be branding again that Thursday, and how I should come out. Now,if you’ve been with me for awhile, you’ve probably read my Rancher’s Wife post. I’ve only ever helped with my own family’s brandings, so the thought of going to help with someone else’s branding was a bit daunting. I went back and forth about it and had pretty much decided I wasn’t going to go, I really wasn’t all that interested in dating at the moment anyway. The night before, Sherri called me and said she’d had an idea. She said that they always like to have someone take photos during one of their Spring brandings. So if I wanted, I could bring out my camera and take pictures and then help with lunch, then I wouldn’t feel the pressure of helping since I wasn’t used to drag branding (my family had always used a chute to brand, though that’s not entirely the case now that Riley has come into the picture 😉 So I begrudginly agreed to go.
The next morning I got up early to drive the 45 miles out to the place they were branding. It was unusually cool and foggy for May. I met Sherri at the house and we drove over together to serve a little morning snack after they’d gathered the calves. I was nervous, a bit embarrassed even though I was assured he knew nothing about it, so there wasn’t any real pressure there. For all he knew I was just a girl that came out to take photos. We pulled up to the pens and there he was on his horse, getting a calf that had turned back. He was grinning from ear to ear-I could tell he was loving what he was doing. I remember that making me smile.
Sherri and I had parked and gotten out the coffee and little snacks. The whole crew came over to get something warm and I quickly took the chance to look at his face while serving him coffee. His eyes were clear blue, and again, he was grinning. I quickly looked away, but even after I looked away, I could feel his eyes on me. He was handsome in the most rugged, best way.
We got over to “the Dandy” to sort and work the cattle. I started watching and taking photos.
These are just a few from that day, though I have well over 100. I mean, how many people can say they have a picture of their spouse the very first day they met? I’m so happy to have these. Anway, on with the story…
They finished working the calves, and it was time for us to serve lunch. We set everything out, and Sherri came over to me and said, “Let’s take over some tea to Riley and his friend, and I’ll introduce you.” We walked over to where they had just sat down with their plates and he jumps up for Sherri to introduce us. He was trying to hold his plate, take off his hat to politely shake my hand, while I was trying to hand him his drink and shake his hand, all at the same time-it was a pretty funny sight I’m sure. He said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you! It really is,” with that big grin spread across his face. That was it, that’s all he said. That was the only real exchange we had the day we met, except for when he left, he thanked us, as a group, for lunch, and smiled once again and repeated the same sentence from before. Haha! It was endearing, but I was just sure he wasn’t that interested in me. I mean, that’s all he said. The whole day. The day was done, so I left with Sherri to go back to my car and head back to town. On the way there Sherri informed me that though Riley didn’t know I’d be out there today, he did know about me. Stormie, her niece, had been telling him about me as well. She asked if he were to ask for my number, if I’d mind her giving it to him? I told her that’d be perfectly fine, but I just had a feeling he wouldn’t be asking for it, but it was a good day,and I had fun regardless if he was interested or not…so I told myself.
The following day we were working our own calves so I’d been out all morning and half the afternoon helping with that. We got in late afternoon and I decided to take a nap. When I woke up, I had a missed call and a message from a number I didn’t recognize. I quickly listened to the message and LOW & BEHOLD, it was from HIM! The One Cute Cowboy himself asking if I wouldn’t mind calling him back. I called him back and he asked me on a date for the next night! I was excited, I was nervous, I was worried we’d end up being too different. The next night rolled around and we went to eat in town and we just talked. I mean really talked. About anything and everything and I was surprised at how immediately at ease I felt with him. I had my mind set out that I was not going “out of my way” to impress this guy,that had never worked in the past, and if this guy was going to like me, it was going to be for all of me. We had so much fun, that night, talking and dancing on a dirt road. For the next 6 months we were pretty much inseparable. Then October 27th, 2013 One Cute Cowboy asked me to be his wife! The rest is pretty much history: we got married April 5, 2014, and never looked back!
The reason I wanted to write this, and in such detail (sorry I know this post is long) is One Cute Cowboy was not in my “plan,” but thank the Lord, he was God’s plan for me! We went from growing up merely 60-80 miles apart our whole childhoods, never meeting, then Riley literally went across the world to war, and I moved 1,000 miles away from home to pursue music, only for God to bring us right back where we’d both grown up, to meet each other, fall in love, and make our life here. I’m amazed at the persistence of God. There were times I questioned if what I was doing was God’s plan for me (as I assume most of us do) but now I see all those steps were for a reason. God knew Riley and I neither one were ready until that exact moment in time. I thank God for not giving me all those things I thought I “wanted,” and for showing me that He truly had a better plan for me.
So there’s our little (condensed) story of how we ended up together! If you made it this far, thank you for reading! There’s a lot of other details, but I didn’t figure you have all day 😉
It’s the weekend! Hope it’s a blessed one!
I love the month of October! Fall is usually in full swing and I’ll just admit it, I love Halloween. Not in the “let’s go get costumes and scare people” type way, but in the pumpkins and black cats, and magic that can happen in October. I can’t tell you how many times I will watch Hocus Pocus until October 31st. Some things never change. But here are the things that are inspiring and making me smile this month. This was the month that OneCuteCowboy proposed, so it’s a special month to me regardless of all the rest. Hope you enjoy and will share some of your inspirations this month!
Jealousy. It’s a terrible, green-eyed dragon that breathes anger and untruths. If you’re not careful, the dragon will defeat you and leave you bitter and full of negativity and anger. With that said, I think it’s important to slay the dragon just as soon as he rears his ugly head.
I think there’s a few different forms of jealousy. There is jealousy because of insecurities, this is when you’re so unsure and self-conscious of yourself or your relationship, or your looks, or whatever it is, that you’re jealous of anyone that has what you want or what you think is “acceptable.”
Then there’s jealousy out of comparison. This is when you’re constantly evaluating your life by comparing it to someone else’s, then jealousy rears its nasty head because it appears someone else’s life/body/relationship seems better than yours. This one can be a nasty one. While I think it’s good to have goals and to have role-models, it’s important to remember everyone is their own person, and not one life is alike. The best way to sum this one up is this:
Comparison is the thief of joy.
And just like that, comparison steals the joy in your life. That’s no way to live.
And finally there’s just good ‘ol jealousy. A pretty girl talks to your boyfriend or husband and immediately its “Off with her head!” I feel it’s human-nature to want to protect and keep what’s “yours,” but I think it’s something you have to take with a grain of salt and you have to remind yourself to recenter yourself and not let it consume you, or it will, indeed, consume you like a fiery furnance. In my 30 years I’ve found it’s not worth it. Anytime I think of jealousy or I feel jealous I remember the words from a song I loved back when I was in junior high called The Sun Screen Song. It goes like this,
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind-the race is long, but in the end, it’s only with yourself.
It’s a good reminder in those moments. I’m most certainly not perfect and I definitely have those moments from time to time, but for whatever reason I had it on my heart to write these things out. I just think jealousy can add such ugliness to the soul and I don’t want my mind, or heart, or words to be consumed with it. God made us to be so much more than that. So who cares if what someone else is doing seems better or more exciting than what we’re doing at the moment, there are also others wishing for the life you and I have. We are all in this together.
So I’m going to step off my soapbox and enjoy the rest of my Saturday, listening to “Love Drunk” by Steve Moakler on repeat while the crew move/wein cattle. 🙂