November 24, 2009

A Few of My Favorites

So many blogs, so little time.

I have two books on my desk. I have started one (an amazing new book by Francis Chan that I will hopefully finish and write about soon) and another by Mark Hall that I'm anxious to start. The problem is that I follow too many great blogs. How am I supposed to read an actual book when I can't take my eyes away from my laptop? It's tough.

Since I am an admitted blog stalker, I thought I would give a shout-out to a few of my favorites. Maybe someone reading this post will fall in love like I have.

Favorite Design Blogs:

Urban Grace Interiors

Erica has an amazing eye for design and decor. I was a blog virgin before I discovered her. I googled "blog similar to Cottage Living" when the Cottage Living magazine went under (I'm still bummed about it) and Urban Grace Blog came up. I've been hooked ever since.

Design Sponge

Another great site for all things design. I can spend hours reading this one. I wish there was a need for a professional blog reader. I think I would be qualified.

Favorite Food Blogs:

The Pioneer Woman

Do I really need to say anything about this one? I will mention that I'm excited to go to her book signing in Nashville to pick up a copy of her new cookbook. If you're a Nashville native, PW will be at Davis-Kidd on December 8th at 7pm.

Happy Lady Eats

This blog is a new one for me, but I instantly liked it. Like the author, I'm definitely a "foodie," so this blog fits me well.

Favorite Everything Blog:

Fly Through Our Window

Darby's blog is one of my absolute favorites. She's a doll and I secretly wish we were best friends. You can learn so much from this young mother of three. I'm pretty anxious about motherhood, but she makes me want to be a mom. A humble follower of Christ, Darby doesn't flaunt her blessed life, but instead encourages her readers to see the beauty in their own lives. At her site you can learn how to make pumpkin butter, how to decorate a bathroom, how to sew an apron without a pattern and how to balance a crazy, busy life. She's also the twin sister of Erica (Urban Grace Design). Check her out if you haven't already.

Favorite "Beautifully Written" Blog:

Dreams of Simple Life

Christine's attempt to live life in its simplest form is beautifully portrayed in her blog. It isn't one that I casually read between sending emails. Instead, her blog is one that I need a warm cup of coffee before reading because I'm going to stay awhile, soaking in every word. Her writings about God, family, home, travel and life in general are poetic. I honestly believe I will own a copy of one of her best selling books one day. She is a true talent.

Favorite "Genuine" Blog:


There are thousands of blogs out there that depict the good life. Sometimes I even find myself caught up in the fluff, almost feeling defeated because my life isn't as shiny-happy as others in blogland. Christi doesn't write to impress. She writes to express life as it really is: the dirty, ugly, difficult life that most aren't brave enough to write about. But Christi has a way of ending each post with hope - she reminds us that we are all to be dreamers, anxiously awaiting what God has up His sleeve. With Christi, what you see or "read" is what you get. With a vulnerability that is rare these days, Christi's blog is a gem.

Favorite Inspirational Blogs:

Humble Pie

I consider Lissa a friend. We have never met and may never meet, yet she has encouraged me in more ways than she may ever know. She bravely shares with her readers the journey of a difficult road that she has walked and how God is bringing her to the other side. Her faith, courage and hope are to be admired. She also has a great creative side and I definitely share her love for all things Pottery Barn!


If you are a Christian and want to be challenged, this blog is a must. With topics ranging from 'should child molesters be allowed in church?' to 'ministry burnout,' you will spend the rest of your day thinking about her posts.

Whew! This has been a lengthy one for me. I guess if nobody reads this, I'll have a great reference page for myself!

So these are my go-to blogs. What are yours? I'm always looking for another great one to add to my list!
PS - Happy Thanksgiving!!

(All photos are courtesy of their respective blogs)

November 16, 2009

Wedding Bells

This weekend I was the matron of honor in a very special wedding: my mom's. My mother is officially Mrs. John Patrick. Todd and I drove out to Asheville, North Carolina for her small, yet beautiful ceremony in the little town of Maggie Valley, just outside of Asheville. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. It was sunny and 75 degrees. I don't think anyone was expecting that in November.

I'm biased and obviously think my mom is beautiful, but on Saturday she looked stunning.

The chapel was adorable. It was tiny and only fit about ten people comfortably, but it was exactly what they wanted.

This weekend was the third in a row that I have been out of town, even if for a short trip. Last night to get things a little back to normal, I tried a new recipe. I found it in Real Simple. Only requiring a few ingredients, Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli (you would think they could have come up with a more catchy name) was super easy to throw together and tasted great. I think it will be even better tonight when all of the flavors have had a chance to mix together.

I'm hoping the weather is just as beautiful next weekend when we put up our Christmas tree and lights on the house. This will be the earliest we will have put our tree up, but I'm getting antsy and can't wait!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

November 11, 2009

Friends Like These

I have some great friends, folks. I honestly don't know what I would do without them.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be spending weeknights at Chuck E. Cheese's celebrating the cutest 3 year old on the planet's birthday!


And I wouldn't have spent a fun day road-tripping to Atlanta (where I may or may not have purchased too many kitchen gadgets at Ikea).


And if you're looking for talent, I have some of the most talented friends you will find. The two ladies on the right are about the craftiest I know.
Roxanne, another good friend and co-worker is extremely gifted when it comes to whipping up something sweet in the kitchen. I just found out last night that she has her own website, Roxie Cakes, and had to mention it!


You can check out (and purchase) her sweet treats here.

Happy Wednesday!

November 5, 2009

Is It Thanksgiving Yet?

Everyone has their favorite holiday. Most people when asked would say Christmas is their favorite. I love Christmas for all of the obvious reasons, but I am one of those people who finds the Christmas holiday stressful. Todd and I have such a busy Christmas break that I have in years past created a spreadsheet to remind me where we needed to be when. One year we visited 9 homes in 3 days. It doesn't get much more stressful than that. Add on shopping and the horrible feeling of not knowing what to buy friends and family, it can be overwhelming. The true meaning of Christmas can easily be overshadowed by the busyness.

Thanksgiving, however, is different. No gifts to be bought, no parties to plan, just quality time spent with family over wonderful meals. People actually stop to think about what they are thankful for, and in some ways, this holiday can be as special as Christmas because on Thanksgiving we are reminded that above all else, we should be thankful for a Savior who died to set us free.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is sitting at the dinner table while each person shares what they are thankful for. It's a great way to sum up the past year and give praise to God for his many blessings. Like a couple of years ago when my dad had a major health scare; after a successful surgery, he was back to normal. Not one of us forgot to give thanks for that. This year we will be thankful that Todd's mom beat breast cancer and in a down economy, we still have our homes and jobs we love. The list goes on and on.

Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday to host and decorate for. This year we will be going to Missouri, but last year we hosted dinner at our home and had the best time. I dug up some pictures to share.





I would have been completely fine not hosting this year until I saw the Thanksgiving issue of the Pottery Barn catalog. Have you seen it? It will make you want to host Thanksgiving dinner in your house every month of the year. I love the wineglass placeholders and the framed menu. I'll have to save those ideas for 2010!

PB Table

Because Thanksgiving is my favorite, I can guarantee this won't be the last time I write about it this month. Hope you don't mind!

November 2, 2009

Hometown Halloween

What a difference an impromptu trip to Missouri can make! Todd and I had a great time in Ozark, even if it was a quick visit.

We were too busy laughing, eating and visiting for me to snap many pictures. It was really nice to see our family. I don't get homesick all that often. After 4+ years living away, I'm pretty used to it, but every now and then I get the urge to go home and I don't want to be that person who ignores those urges. Life is too short to let a 7 hour car ride get in the way!

On Saturday we had a wonderful brunch with Todd's family. His grandparents couldn't stop cracking jokes. If you have met my husband, you know that he's good for a laugh. Multiply that about 5 times and you have met his family. It's non-stop!

After brunch we spent the day with my family. My little (I say little, she's 13. That's still little, right?) sister and I baked our first apple pie. I'm not one to brag on myself, but we can make a mean apple pie! Thanks to Martha Stewart for the leaf idea. This might be an annual tradition.

That night we went to the Follow You tour. It's not very often that my family gets a glimpse into my work life. Two of the artists I work with were on tour in my hometown, so we went by to meet the guys and catch a bit of the show. We picked a great night to see the concert. Everyone was dressed up for Halloween as the Goonies. It was a neat experience introducing Todd's parents to the artists I work with.

Pictured: Brandon Heath, Leeland & Francesca Battistelli

Sunday morning we went to James River. The sermon was so fitting. Pastor John spoke about the favor of God and walking in His blessing. I think about this past weekend and how loved we are by our family and I can confidently say there is nothing better than being covered in God's rich favor and blessings. The tagline of one of the blogs I follow is "living a dream we don't deserve." That pretty much sums up the way I feel.

We had one more meal with my family before hitting the road. My heart was full when we left and I'm so thankful we made the trip.

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!