Happy Aloha Friday! I hope your Friday speeds along and you have an awesome weekend ahead of you!  I'm linking up with Charity and Aimee for my first Find Beauty Friday!


I find beauty in patterns. It could be nature made patterns on leaves, or patterns I make on quilts. I love to see different textures, lines, shapes, colors. It's like candy for my eyes!








Dear Harper

Do you guys find beauty in patterns, or am I just a little weird?
Find Beauty Friday 1

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I will admit, I'm VERY new at the whole blogging thing. I started it as a way to share our travels and adventures with family and friends. And to also share my personal interests- crafting and cooking. Everyone always wants to know tutorials and recipes, so I thought I'd share with everyone using one post. I know, maybe a little lazy but to email a recipe 50 times is a little tedious to me.
 Now that I've been blogging regularly for about 4 months, I see how this little creative outlet could turn into a huge time sucking monster! When researching for blogging tips, I kept seeing the "Don't let it take over your life" and I now understand what they were warning me for!

 Don't get me wrong, I love using this as a platform to share my stories and ideas. It's fun! But, I made a promise that if it ever became too much of a "job" then I'd stop it. I don't want to be tied down with the whole political side of blogging. I know, you may not think blogging is anything but politics, but to me it seems like it.

From researching ways to make your blog popular, these are some of the items that have rubbed me the wrong way-
  • You have to comment on other's posts, which I do because I truly think the posts are awesome, not because I'm fishing for you to comment on my blog.
  • You should do a giveaway to lure other readers in by subscribing to every single social media outlet you have, and some ladies have about 20.
  • You should pay to sponsor someone else's blog, (meaning they put your button on their blog for a fee.)But you sponsor someone else's blog only so they can take that money and sponsor another person. I don't understand this, it's just the same money being passed around? Why can't we just sponsor for free? Or like HopeEngaged does and donate all money to a charity. THAT makes more sense to me.
  • You should cover topics that "get you noticed". No thank you! I'll cover what I like and if you like it too then great! If you don't, then I'm sorry.
  • You must make blog friends with the ladies that have thousands of readers in order to get more recognition. I don't go for this either. I connect with someone who is like me, an average girl just wanting to share stories or ideas. If you are in blogging for the "fame" then I probably won't connect with you. Just who I am.
And I'm not saying any of this to hurt any one's feelings or bash any of the blogs out there. I'm simply saying, in my opinion, blogging is about a little community sharing parts of their lives with each other. In today's society, amazing friendships can be built solely through the internet and blogging. And meeting (though emails) some pretty cool bloggers through this whole process is worth it to me. No, making friends is not what I thought would happen when I started this, but it's nice none the less!

Does blogging take over your life?
Does blogging take over your life?

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When I linked up here for the Harry Potter Lovers Unite, I had NO idea there were so many ladies who shared the love of Hogwarts! When we toured Europe in February, we travelled by bus about an hour north of London to the WB lot where they filmed most of the Potter movies. It was amazing! As promised, I'm putting up more pictures of this magical studio. This will be the first installment of 2 or 3. I know, I want to show you all of them at one time too, but the posts would be way too long.  I'll shut my trap now and let you enjoy the photos!






















More, you say?

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Allo Govna! Today we talk about marriage and relationship goals. Last week, I posted this about my goals and how I was doing with them this month. I really like the listing all goals and posting a little update on them so we will continue with that format this week!


 Marriage & Relationship Goals


This month my goals are:
  • Focus on my relationships, be not only present in the moments with my loved ones and friends, but be proactive- send a goodie box when one is not expected back and they have no idea one is coming, (which reminds me, I will be sending out email requests of your addresses) give more time and thought into emails and texts instead of a one word reply or maybe two if I'm feeling extra chatty.
         11/11/13- I feel like I've kept this up this past week, I didn't get any one's address yet,  but I  have put more thought and time into my emails and texts with everyone.  
 
11/26/13- Emails went out requesting addresses and I've received a few back! I love sending at least a card in the mail to someone randomly. You never know when that tiny gesture will brighten up some one's whole day!
 
  •  Do not become idle in my relationships. God put these precious people in my life and I will cherish them! I won't sit back and wait for them to respond to my emails/texts/phone calls. I will continue to show them, Hey- I'm thinking about ya!
          11/11/13- Progress on this point also this week. I truly value everyone in my life, and I                          hope that I'm conveying this to them each and every time we connect.
 
11/26/13-  I have really nailed this one this week! I've been reaching out to people who I know have a completely insane schedule and just telling them a quick hello with no entitlement attached to it! I know they will read it and I don't expect them to respond. Just wanted to let them know they are still in my thoughts! In marriage, we have been actively planning new things to do in winter. I love art, (obviously) and we've been saving the museums for winter since we can't be outside as much. So I'd say that's not becoming idle!
  • And finally, do not become sluggish in my work both personal and professional. I have a list of requests for quilts and things to be made for my family and friends and I've just been so scattered lately that everything personal has been put on the back burner! I think my trap is having too much time in the day that I can just keep pushing it further and further off, but it never gets done. I need to schedule it like a normal working day with lunch breaks and everything!
          11/11/13- I must admit, I have been a tad sluggish this week. On Friday, I was straightening out my closet and reached just enough to throw my back out. It's not absolutely terrible, just so frustrating and enough pain/muscle spasms to be uncomfortable. But, I still am working hard at scheduling myself and managing my time better!
 
11/26/13- The holidays are always a time where everything gets fast-forwarded and you have zero time to be sluggish! That being said, I've been going above and beyond this year to make sure I have everything done so I can at least take time to myself during the week and really study the Word. I want to go to Christmas service with a heart fully humbled and grateful without thinking of the details that make the season so stressful!
 
That's all, folks! How are your relationship and marriage goals going this week?
Marriage and Relationship Goals

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Good morning! I hope everyone had a great weekend! To start this week off right, let us dive straight into the weekly wishes...

Last week's recap:

1. Compose and schedule all blog posts for the week so I can spend quality time with the Mr. and NOT glued to my computer. Didn't compose a single post ahead, but I'm more determined this week. I just want a day where I don't have to rack my brain for post topics!

2. Get all Etsy orders out and create more product since I will close the store for 2 weeks. Hey, a girl has to recharge her creative juices every once in a while! Taking a small break does that for me! I shipped everything out, but didn't get to create more product. I think I've run out of time with this one before the break. I'll just keep shipping out stock I already have!

 3. Plan and shop for our Thanksgiving meal. I think it'll have to be before Thanksgiving day due to  the Mr.'s weird work schedule, but that's okay. We make things work! Didn't do this one either! I did plan and execute Sunday's gathering, so that counts right?

4. Decorate for Christmas! I'm sorry for those of you who don't agree, but putting up decorations to bring the true spirit of Christmas into our home is so important to me. And I will need longer than from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day to have the decorations up!  This is a big fat check mark complete! I love the decorations up! Glitter everywhere, sparkling throughout the day... I mean what is there not to like?

5. Rejoice in the scriptures as much as possible. I have a lot of different books going on right now, and I think I'll cut down on all but one. Books like, The Love Dare, God's Little Devotional, Woman After God's Own Heart, and my She Reads Truth email comes every single morning. It's just too much to read and try to apply all of the messages at once much less do bible study on books I want to study personally! I'm thinking, I do my study plus ONE book until I finish that one, and THEN pick up another.... sounds like a plan, right? Done and done. I've chosen to read and study the Wife After God book and hopefully my BFF Jessica does it with me! Anyone else is more than welcome to join us! I know it's going to be tough around the holidays, but I need to focus on my relationships- more on this tomorrow when I link up with Amberly for the Monthly Marriage and Relationship Goals!

CAN I JUST SAY BOOM? All done! Oh, how I love organized lists!

This week's wishes are:

1. Keep up the post writing so I can have a few stashed away for rainy days. Let's face it, some days the last thing we want to do is come up with a post. And you don't want to publish just filler junk on here, so this would be awesome to have for those days!

2. Organize my pictures on computer, phone, and hard drive. It's a mess, a real bonafide mess.

3. Meal plan the WHOLE month of December. With many events taking place in December, I feel like I need to meal plan for the regular days. Hopefully I can also get my grocery shopping done for those days where all I have to do is check the plan and cook it! Sounds pretty painless right?

4. Finish Christmas shopping! My goal is to be completely done and all gifts wrapped by December 1st.

5. Design, execute, and photograph new creations for my Etsy Shop. I put the shop on hold for a few weeks so I can refresh my creative juices without being bogged down with the regular items I have on there. I think it will bring sales down, but hopefully improve sales in the long run.




The Nectar Collective

What are your weekly wishes?
Weekly Wishes

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 As women, I think more so than men, we tend to see ourselves in a much different light than we really are. We are bombarded with images the media puts out that are heavily photo shopped, and told we need to look this way or that, and we must use this product or wear these clothes to have this glamorous  life. So we are critiquing ourselves unmercifully every single day, every time we pass our reflection, every time we see another woman with a cuter hairstyle, or more fashionable outfit. It's madness! We are enough. We are exactly who God made us to be. A smaller nose will not make us a better person because a smaller nose is just the wrapping on a present. People tear through wrappings like it's nobody's business to get to the present inside. And THAT is who you are, your personality, your heart, your quirks as weird as they might seem, THAT is you. Not your clothes, not your face, not even your hair or skin color/type. It's the inside that matters, ladies. The bible has stated this many times:
      
1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV         
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
 
Matthew 6:25-33 ESV         
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...
1 Peter 3:1-6 ESV        
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, ...


When I came across this video from Uplifting, it's originally by Dove, it showed exactly what I'm talking about!  Warning: It's going to pull at your heartstrings!




My question is:  What would your sketch look like?
What would your sketch look like?

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Ah, Berlin. You were a cold one, temperature and ambiance.  Berlin was interesting. Tons of history, and not all good. 
 
We left Amsterdam on day 3 and headed to Berlin. We arrived in the afternoon and had a free night to explore. Unfortunately, by this time, the pain from my hand injury, you can read about it here, was getting the best of me. So as soon as we checked into the hotel, we found the nearest hospital to have it checked out. Mind you, we are in Germany and neither one of us speaks any sort of German.
 
Our cab driver pulls up and drops us off at the hospital, all signs, of course, are in German, so we just try to go find the information desk. There was a gentleman there, and as soon as we started saying, "Emergency" he started speaking German in a not so nice way. We had NO idea what he was saying, so he eventually just pointed out and around the corner and we went that way. It was later in the night, about 8 or 9pm, so there wasn't many people waiting, but it still took forever!
 
Finally getting called to the back, to say I was nervous about the language barrier at this point is a huge understatement! God was watching out for us because in walks this younger woman, speaking chopped English but English! I was so happy even though she did throw in a "Sweet" at the end of each statement like we are 13 again.  
 
After a couple of x-rays, nothing was broken, it was stretched ligaments and they send us on our way with two ibuprofen and an ace bandage. Thanks a lot doc!
 
We get back to our hotel and meet up with some of the tour group downstairs eating. The younger folks went to the night club across the street but all I wanted was a warm bed!
 
The next day we had a guided walking tour of the city and all of the famous/touristy sites. Our tour guide was amazing and really painted the tragic picture of the past. As I said before, it was very somber in the city. It is truly heartbreaking everything the people went through.
 
After, we had the afternoon to explore on our own, so a few of us went off in search of... you guessed it... food! There wasn't much appetizing places, and we found a sushi/pho place! Yes, I had a nice bowl of pho in Berlin! Who would've guessed it?
 
Check out some of the photos below!
 





 
This is what the Mr. had to say about Berlin-
"Berlin was very somber. There was a feeling of sadness there that was I think due to all of the WW2 history that was displayed.  The memorial thing they had was real crazy, and standing on top of the bunker where Hitler died was both awe-inspiring and terrible. the architecture was very good, but the general feeling of everything was not inviting."


Have any of you visited Berlin or any other somber city?











Berlin, Germany

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Time for my weekly update on the Marriage and Relationship Goals! Last week, I posted about my progress for not being lazy here.

My progress- it's so hard not to be lazy when it's freezing cold outside! All I want to do is bundle up and catch up on my DVR shows! But, I made a promise to challenge myself this month, so here we go...

This month my goals are:
  • Focus on my relationships, be not only present in the moments with my loved ones and friends, but be proactive- send a goodie box when one is not expected back and they have no idea one is coming, (which reminds me, I will be sending out email requests of your addresses) give more time and thought into emails and texts instead of a one word reply or maybe two if I'm feeling extra chatty.
         11/11/13- I feel like I've kept this up this past week, I didn't get any one's address yet,  but I  have put more thought and time into my emails and texts with everyone.
 
             11/20/13- I've sent out email requests for addresses, so that's progress on that front! And I feel like I've tried to respond to emails and text more thoughtfully.  
 
  •  Do not become idle in my relationships. God put these precious people in my life and I will cherish them! I won't sit back and wait for them to respond to my emails/texts/phone calls. I will continue to show them, Hey- I'm thinking about ya!
          11/11/13- Progress on this point also this week. I truly value everyone in my life, and I hope that I'm conveying this to them each and every time we connect.
 
11/20/13- I've definitely worked on this one this week! I don't know what it is about the holiday season that makes me think everyone has lost their minds, but it happens and I pray that God works through me with enough grace to keep things smooth!
  • And finally, do not become sluggish in my work both personal and professional. I have a list of requests for quilts and things to be made for my family and friends and I've just been so scattered lately that everything personal has been put on the back burner! I think my trap is having too much time in the day that I can just keep pushing it further and further off, but it never gets done. I need to schedule it like a normal working day with lunch breaks and everything!
          11/11/13- I must admit, I have been a tad sluggish this week. On Friday, I was straightening out my closet and reached just enough to throw my back out. It's not absolutely terrible, just so frustrating and enough pain/muscle spasms to be uncomfortable. But, I still am working hard at scheduling myself and managing my time better!
 
11/20/13- Let me just point out, that I am currently 6 posts ahead of schedule! I'm knocking this one out of the park! This one is no problem for me this week!
 
I'm sure the energy will just drain from me after this holiday season, but for now I'm on a roll!
 
 
 Marriage & Relationship Goals
 
How are your goals doing?
 
Marriage and Relationship Goals Update

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Hey Y'all! Time for my Weekly Wishes! I'm late this week posting because I had other posts scheduled, and I'm not Super Blogger Woman to publish more than one post a day! I need to spread it out!

So, I finally accomplished my weekly wishes I told you about here, and now it's time to start a whole new list! Are you as excited as I am? Probably not, but that's okay!

WEEKLY WISHES-

  • Finish ALL Christmas shopping! If it were up to me, I'd bake something for everyone instead of buying gifts. I send gifts on Birthdays, but I'd rather be with family and just remember the reason for the season. But, we have lots of younger nieces and nephews that don't understand yet, so we must dive into the toy sections of the store... it's a jungle in there! I barely make it out alive!

  • Plan ahead blog posts to really enjoy the Christmas week. I love you guys, I really do, but I just don't want to stop celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus to tell you guys how to decorate a candle! I know y'all understand because you are probably doing the same thing!

  • Organize photos! This is a big one. My external drive is so crammed with pictures and my laptop is too! I keep taking them, uploading, even sharing them, and I hardly ever delete. I don't know why because it makes so much more sense to delete and organize as I go rather than having to spend a week doing thousands of photos! I bring it on myself, I know!

  • Get Ginny to actually LIKE the snow. She's being a bit of a diva. I'll admit my fur baby isn't perfect! She's pulling on the leash, trying to be the pack leader, and only wanting to walk on the sidewalk- never get in the grass to do her business. Maybe I'll make her some little doggie foot mittens, but that looks crazy right? I know her feet are cold, but I don't even know if she will like them. Anyone use mittens on their dogs when it's ice & snow on the ground?

  • Prep Christmas cards! I want these babies to be addressed, postage correct, signed, sealed and ready to go for the day I send them off! I like to be early and prepared, folks!
The Nectar Collective

What are some of your weekly wishes? And does it hold you more accountable doing a blog post about them?
Weekly Wishes

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Hi! I'm so excited to share with you my Fall Cara Box experience! This was my second time participating in the exchange, and I loved getting to know my girls! You can check out the whole program over at Wifessionals .

I was paired with Jamie over at U Gotta Have Hart, and this girl is amazing! She's so strong and can pretty much handle anything thrown her way! Her sense of humor is fabulous! So I sent her a box, a little early, I'll admit, but I just couldn't wait that long! Ha!

The amazing lady who sent me a box was Kaysey over at Thinking Out Cloud. Although our schedules didn't allow us to email daily, it was still fun to get to know her. Plus, she has super adorable children, I mean did you see their gorgeous blue eyes? Cuties!

Kaysey sent me the most thoughtful gifts, check out the pictures!


 
 This candle is heaven in a jar! It put me straight into the Fall spirit!
 
 
Can we just pause and awe at this scarf? I'm forcing myself not to wear it every single day!

 
And she even remembered Ginny! How sweet is that?


 
The nail polish and bead are such a nice touch! I always tend to go for pinks and reds for polish, so this shook up my routine! It matches the scarf, too!
 
I love participating in the Cara Box Exchange, you guys need to go sign up for it pronto! It's such a good way to meet other bloggers and plus, who doesn't like goodies in the mail?
 



Cara Box

 
 
What have been your experiences with gift exchanges? 
Fall Cara Box Reveal

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Over the past week, I did a little sprucing up the place. I wanted clean white,  and of course my favorite colors- gray and pink. With the help of Christin Thomas Design, I finally have the clean slate look I wanted!  But, I change my mind constantly, so we will see how long this lasts! Let me know if you guys like it!

I also wanted to update you guys on random things-

More travel posts coming up next week, if I can buckle down long enough to get them done! (This is the sluggish and lazy problem that I'm dealing with here. It was such an amazing experience that I feel if I don't share it with y'all soon, I may burst.




And speaking of travel, we have tons of coins from different places in our collection. After debating what we should do with them, I've decided to make a candle holder, or key/wallet holder, with them! Stay tuned next week for that tutorial!



Also, I have more of the WB Studio Lot pictures of the Harry Potter sets! So exciting!!!




And finally, can I just say that it has been snowing and averaging 22 degrees here right now? To say we will utilize the fireplace this weekend is such an understatement! Besides layering, what are some ways y'all stay cozy and warm in winter? PLEASE comment below! I need all the tips I can get!


Hope to hear from you soon! Have a great weekend!
Sprucing up the place

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Christmas has always been a touchy subject for me. In my younger days, I wasn't overly religious. We grew up Catholic, and I just didn't seek Him out like I should have. We went to mass regularly, like we should, but that was about it. Around age 10, one of my aunts passed away a week before Christmas. She was the Aunt who had ALL the Christmas spirit! Her house was decked out from top to bottom in Christmas décor. Needless to say, Christmas was always pretty somber after that.

Fast forward to the last 3 years, and my faith has renewed like it's never been renewed before! I cherish my daily walk with Christ, and am so super excited to celebrate His birthday! 

 I try not to let the selfishness of the world damper my spirits with the me me me I want EVERYTHING for Christmas. Let's face it folks, it's not YOUR birthday! We must remember the reason for the season! Whew, rant over. Now let's chat about decorations!


I decided that I would decorate now. This year, my goal was to decorate, plan, purchase, wrap gifts, and have everything I needed to do, be done by December 1st. BIG DREAMING, I know!  I'm happy to report that 92% of it is done! I want to just fully submerse myself in the word and strengthening my faith over December, so I'm more determined than ever to fulfill my goal!

Let me share with you my decorations and how to make your own Christmas candles! I'll state here that we don't have a huge home, and even less space to store things, so I wanted my decorations to pack the punch without taking up a lot of space. I have one plastic tote in the closet that, in theory, should hold all decorations for the house. Again, I dream big! Ha! OK, so I dug around and found these gold pillar candles that managed to get all scratched up in the move. I needed a way to use them again because I hate throwing anything out!


 


I had purchased this glitter paper for bunting, but thought it was perfect to jazz up the candles! I measured the candle, and cut out the sizes I needed to wrap around the candle.


 

Next, I glued the ends as well as the candle itself, applying one strip of paper at a time. I used the Tacky Glue, but I'm sure you could use any sort of glue. Well, maybe not Elmer's, but a stronger type glue.

After each strip was applied, I used a hair tie to secure the paper around until the glue dried about 2 hours later.
And you're done! You can use this process on any holiday, it doesn't have to be Christmas colors. I'm kind of excited to see if I can remove the paper without damaging the candle too much so I can reuse it for other holidays!
 
 
How are you guys decorating this season- store bought or home made décor? Comment below!
 
A little Christmas spirit

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