Pretty Florals

Dress: Plum Pretty Sugar  | Shoes: Target 

Watch: Michael Kors | Necklace: Similar

You know I love a good floral print! And ya know I love a good dress! Meet one of my favorite shops: Plum Pretty Sugar.

I've loved the beautiful, feminine prints and sweet designs for years, so I was thrilled when they sent me this adorable dress to wear this spring! I'm planning to wear it for an upcoming trip and can't wait. Their designs are perfect for spring, summer, your tropical vacation, date night with your man, and weddings (they have the sweetest bridal robes and so many of the dresses would be perfect for bridesmaids!) 

My Favs

 

 

 

 

This post may contain items gifted for consideration; all opinions are my own. It may also contain affiliate links, purchasing through them helps support my blog. 

Lace Love

Lace Skirt: Shopbop (similar, got mine at a local boutique)

Shop Bop is having a huge sale today!! Use code: EVENT17

 Shoes: Nordstrom (similar, mine are dupes!) 

Top/Tunic: Nordstrom (similar, mine is from Zara but it's not listed online. I tied it up!)

I adore lace skirts (and lace everything!) here are some of my favorites!

 

 

This outfit has been on repeat for me lately! Being a mama, it's hard to feel fab while also taking care of your little one! That's why I just love lace skirts. You can dress them up with heels or dress them down with sneakers. I wore this outfit on a family day out with my boys in Malibu for Mexican food and a beach sunset last week and it was comfy and I felt chic!  

Easter Dress Ideas

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*Some of these dresses are very high-end and the prices reflect that -- I'm not thinking you should go drop $500 for your Easter dress (although, if you can, more power to ya! :) -- just giving you ideas for looks that would work and these are all of my favorites looks that we can sometimes find dupes for! Here are some more affordable options: 

Under $50

Thanks for reading, sweet friends! I hope this post gave you a few ideas for your Easter outfit. You are beautiful and loved!

 

xoxo

Erin

 

 

Easter Basket for Baby

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Easter Basket: Pottery Barn (size small) | Liner: Pottery Barn 

Little Lamb Book: World Market | Good Good Father Book: Amazon 

Teether: Amazon | First Easter Book: Amazon 

Chick: Home Goods | Bunny: Similar | Socks: Polo Ralph Lauren

Peter Rabbit Organics Pouch: Amazon (Weston adores these and I actually got the one in the basket at Starbucks haha) 

Gerber Puffs: Amazon

Easter is this week, you guys!!

And I'm soooo excited. Holidays with a baby is the most fun ever. It's something I've looked forward to since I was a little girl, actually! Especially Christmas and Easter. These holidays have such a significance for me because of the heart of them -- Jesus! And the fun things that surround it just add to the joy and sweetness! I tend to go a little over the top with holidays. I just adore all things festive and fun! 

I started ordering things for Weston's Easter basket right after Christmas (I know... so crazy, but shopping for him is my hobby haha ;) and I thought I'd share the basket with you for some baby easter basket ideas! I'm not always this planned-out (believe me, I've had my fair share of run-to-Target-on-Christmas-Eve moments in life, especially in college ha!) I had so much fun putting his basket together and he's already gotten into a few of the toys and he's just playing with them already! Can't wait til Easter morning, church, and family time. It's such a sweet day and experiencing it with your new little is just even more happy!

Here are some of the products in his basket as well as some other cute ideas:

Friday's Fab List

When I started blogging, I used to do "Four Favorites" on Fridays -- a place to share some of my favorite things (of all kinds!) I've decided to get back on that train and give you some fun inspiration for your weekend!

So here's Friday's Fab List! You gals are my girlfriends, so just like I'd text my girls a cute trend I think they'd like, an encouraging podcast they should listen to, a fun restaurant they should visit, or a must-have product I found, I'll do the same for you, right here! 

1. Milani Matte Lipstick

As far as drugstore lipsticks and lipglosses go, I've tried pretty much every brand and mostly they don't compare with more quality brands. But, Milani is surprising me! I've gotten so many questions about these on Instagram so I'm answering here! I love the Statement Matte Milani lipsticks -- they aren't too thick or shiny, and are the perfect mix of moisturizing and also kiss-proof. I highly recommend these for the price! And the colors are pretty and flattering. My favorite shades are: Matte Orchid (which is what I'm wearing in the photo) and Matte Blissful.

 

2. Almond Milk Cinnamon Macchiato at Starbucks

Have you tried this new drink yet? I liked it! Caramel Macchiatos are one of my favorite Starbucks drinks and so I had to try this one. It's definitely sweet, so I say it's more of a treat/dessert type drink. But it's yummy! Sometimes I'm asked about my diet and what I eat! I'm not one of those who does the skinny lattes or healthy drinks at Starbucks -- all things in moderation, I say ;) And so, if I'm gonna do Starbucks, I get a sweet, guilty coffee drink and enjoy -- go big or go home! I just make sure that's the only sweet thing I have that day, and the rest of my diet is totally clean. I'll do a post about my health and diet mindset sometime soon! But when I cook for my family and eat at home, I try to cook mostly organic (which is expensive but I try when possible) and very clean, whole foods. Once in a while, I'll run through Jack in the Box and scarf down one of those awful but awesome tacos (this is really a California girl thing haha), but 98% of the time it's all clean and very little sugar, fat, processed, etc. Anyway, this Starbucks drink is yummy in my book! 

3. Getting Organized

 

I've actually so enjoyed getting organized in our new home since we moved! Since we got married, we've lived in one tiny beachfront studio apartment in Santa Monica (dreamy but teeny -- if we had guests over, we'd have to fill our closet with all the things in our living room just to make space to walk through ha! It was small but sweet for that season) with basically no storage space, and another larger apartment with not-too-much storage space. This new townhouse we are living in has a garage, walk in closet, and so much more storage -- it's like a whole new world for me! I've gone a little Monica on "Friends" with organizing this new place with baskets, bins, plastic containers, and labeling everything with chalkboard tags! 

- We've filled our garage with plastic bins like these to organize Christmas items, old baby clothes, and my keepsakes (#packratprobs)

- These are the chalkboard tags I've been using on my plastic bins in our closet and pantry.

- And these are similar to the chalkboard tags I use! 

- I use this hanging shoe organizer in my closet for organizing sandals, flats, and hats.

- I've been eyeing this basket to store magazine or throws in for the living room.

- I bought 3 of these wicker milk crates (the ones in the picture) from Target for storing nail polish, wash cloths in the bathroom, baby items I use in the night and need within arm's reach (diapers, thermometer) and tied a chalkboard tag on them. 

4.  Off-The-Shoulder Tops

This off-the-shoulder number is a repeat in my closet lately -- it is forgiving and loose, and I love the breezy bows on the sleeves! 

My 80's and 90's loving heart is happy with the fashion trends comin' back around from those eras (like denim mini skirts!) 

5. And Still She Laughs

I'm half-way through this book, and you guys.... ugh, the big, hot alligator tears. I'm going to blog about it when I am done reading, but it's healing my heart is some sweet, tender ways. 

Speaking of, I have been writing Weston's birth story. I'm sure you've noticed I have been pretty quiet about his birth and all that happened that day and those weeks. It's quite the story. Quite the ride. And quite the journey. God has been nothing but faithful, but goodness..... it was simultaneously the hardest, most traumatic thing we have ever walked through and his life is the best thing we have ever experienced. My heart has been healing for the past 9 months and I haven't been ready to write or share anything about the experience. But, I am getting ready now and know that is part of my personal healing. I'll be sharing it soon, as well as more of our breastfeeding story, in hopes that somehow, my little story and experience will help heal some other mamas heart, too. There is power in telling our stories.

6. California Poppies

 I grew up near the California Poppy Reserve and goodness, those poppies just the most beautiful show every year. We were on the hunt for them this week as we visited my parent's home and we found the most glorious field! More pics coming soon.

Well, gals, I hope you have the happiest weekend!

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Love you all! 

xo

Erin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Current Reads

I love to read and have always simultaneously been reading about 10 books at a time! It's a lot, but I've always enjoyed going from one book to the next and changing it up each night before I go to sleep. Reading relaxes me, and even though a Netflix binge is fun sometimes, I find that reading is far more calming, peaceful and encouraging, even, than TV time or randomly scrolling through social media. Followers have asked me over the years what my favorite reads are, so just thought I'd share my current ones in hopes of giving you ideas and recommendations, too!

When Courage Calls 

This new favorite is so sweet! You know the TV show on the Hallmark Channel, "When Calls The Heart"? One of my very favorites. This book is the special companion series by author Janette Oke that goes with the show! As a 14 year old, I read the original book series "When Calls The Heart"  that the show is named after, but this (and the show) is a different take on the story. I've only read the first few chapters of this one, but because I've read every other book Janette Oke has ever written, I know it will end up uplifting, wholesome, romantic, and inspiring. 

She Reads Truth

I've done "She Reads Truth" devotionals on and off since they launched several years ago, and often use the app for Bible reading and devotionals. I have always been encouraged. I expected the book to be devotionals (didn't read any reviews, just bought it!) and was surprised it is two women's stories interwoven and it all points to the Lord's goodness. I'm about half-way through and have honestly laughed and shed a few tears while reading this good one.

The Joy of a Word-Filled Family

This book was assigned to me in a college counseling class on Family Dynamics, and just a small section of one chapter was necessary for the class. I was oh so busy at the time (#collegeprobs) with homework that I didn't have time to read any more of the book. But, it seemed to be filled with so many gems that I always promised myself I would read it "someday" when I had a family. Bingo, here we are! I haven't started it yet (so I can't tell you my thoughts or if I agree with all the theology of it) but hopefully it's encouraging for a new momma!

Happiest Baby on the Block

An older one that I've read most of -- some helpful tips, especially for brand new parents of newborns. 

So Long, Insecurity

Just dove into this one, after a trusted friend suggested it as a must-read for every lady! It's already encouraged me and been eye-opening. Beth Moore always shows up with gems of wisdom!

Thirty-One Prayers For My Husband

I've followed The Unveiled Wife on Instagram for a while now, and love her heart. This is her book and I ordered it, excited for inspiration on praying for my man! Haven't started it yet, but can't wait! Anyone read it and loved it?

Out To Canaan

Pretty sure that one of the best feelings in life (when it comes to the smaller, but meaningful things) is loving a book series, reading it obsessively, falling "off the wagon" for a while because of life busyness and then, years later, happily finding that the book series has grown by ten books since you left off! Jan Karon is one of my very favorite authors. I started reading the Mitford series when I was a pre-teen, as she released them. The whole setting and storyline is very uplifting and has a "Mayberry" small town/South vibe (which I personally adore.) Such a good, easy bedtime read, pairs perfectly with a cup of chamomile tea, and it is interesting, wholesome, and "cozy." 

Balancing It All

If there's anyone I fangirl over, it's Candace Cameron Bure -- I just think she's the cutest and the coolest. Daniel laughs at me because I'm a Hallmark Channel lover, and she is one of the main actresses (especially for the Christmas movies -- can I get an amen that those are just plain fun?! ;) and who doesn't like "Full House"? A few months ago, we went to a For King and Country concert and she was across from me in the audience -- I about died and Daniel just laughed haha! I've loved reading her book and hearing more of her heart for the Lord, tips for marriage and motherhood, and I really appreciate her honesty, how real she is, and how she strives to live in freedom and godliness. This book has some great advice on being a Christian woman, wife, mom, while working, and how to deal with it all. 

The Music of His Promises

This has been on my bedside table since I received it at a women's retreat my pastor-parents hosted at The Ranch when I was about thirteen. It's really, really beautiful and never, ever gets old. If you're going to order just one of these books listed, I recommend this one as #1. It's a good, classic one you'll read over and over again. 

 

What are you currently reading and loving? 

Happy Spring! (And a Graceful Mag Update)

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(Sidenote: I've always had super thin, super blonde eyelashes, and I finally invested in NeuLash after researching it and seeing it pop up on so many beauty reviews for years. Figured it was the perfect time -- not pregnant, not nursing! And after two weeks, I am seeing results already and am loving it! I will do a post about it when I'm further in. But am seriously impressed with it and am kiiiiinda excited to have thicker natural lashes!) 

I'm back! As much as I love the very good things about the Internet and this blog community, sometimes taking a little time away from social media is inspiring, freeing and good for the soul. We've moved, fought off bronchitis, traveled a little, and enjoyed our little guy as we get settled in our new townhouse. Can you believe he's already 9 months old? He is such a joy and I love seeing his personality shine through more and more each day. Giggling, trying all kinds of new and exciting foods, scaling all the furniture, and just making our lives better. He has such a sweet, strong, precious heart and spirit! 

Spring is here and it's warming up in Los Angeles after all the rain we've had lately (we needed it!) I have some fun content planned for you. Life has been insanely busy (with all good things) the past 3 years for me, and I haven't had time to blog the way I used to. It's so enjoyable, fun, such a creative outlet, and so inspirational for me to blog. I adore connecting with you ladies and hopefully encouraging and inspiring you as I share my life and heart. Can't wait to post more of my life and loves, things I enjoy. More travels, home, style, stories, and momma things. I am working on writing some close-to-my-heart stories from the past months: Weston's birth story and my experience with breastfeeding. It's been a beautiful ride with it's share of heartache, and I want to open up and share more as my heart is more ready to after healing a little. Excited for this year and to share more life here in this little space. 

Also, an update! Remember Graceful Magazine? I've been slowly working on it and putting it together for months now! There is just so much great, encouraging content and the women featured in it and just so inspiring and have beautiful hearts and words. I'd hoped to publish the magazine sooner and make it available to you, but it's taking longer than I planned (hashtag #reallife :) and I want to to be good and well done. So, instead of rushing I am choosing to set the release date for this Fall. I know it's a ways off, but realistically this is how it's gonna happen. First, I'm a stay at home mama to Weston so everything else as far as work takes back seat, and I love it! But it's not first priority like business creative things used to be. And that's the season I am in and I wouldn't miss it for the world :) Pray for me as I follow God's lead in this and His timing, and hopefully produce something beautiful and worth reading that will be a wonderful addition to your coffee table and an inspiration to your mind and heart. Stay tuned for a firm date and more deets! 

Thanks for reading and sticking with me all these years. You guys are the best, love you all! 

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Jeans: Free People | Top: Target | Wedges: Similar

Necklace: Similar | Earrings: Forever 21

Lipstick: Nordstrom (in shade 49, Tropical Pink) | Nail Polish: Essie (in shade: Blanc)

Watch: Michael Kors

 

Camo & Pink

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Camo Pants: Styles For Less | Tee: Similar  

Lipstick: YSL | Rings: Forever 21 | Glasses: Similar

Jacket: Similar

 

I'm so excited that camo pants are back! It must be some combination of my California country girl side combined with my love of all things pretty and glam, but I really like to combine pink and camo print together! Recently, I wore this outfit while in the mountains at my family's house and I thought I'd share this look with you as some spring style inspo! Do you like camo print? If so, what's your favorite way to style it? 

Love you, girls!! Like I shared on my Instagram post this morning -- this week, let's dream big, pray big, and hope big! 

Crochet Top and Boots

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Happy Monday, girlies! Hope you all have a beautiful holiday today, relaxing and enjoying your people! We are in the middle of moving (our third move in less than two years of marriage. Hashtag #exhausting) but I'm thankful to for a change and new season, for a nicer place, and for more storage space! Also? Super excited to decorate again! Always fun, right, ladies? I foresee some TJ Maxx and Home Goods trips in my near future ;) 

Right around my 30th birthday a few months ago, I decided to commit to investing in high quality items to continue to build my wardrobe. In my twenties, I got stuck in what I call the "Disposable Clothing Rut." You know what I mean: the -- I'll just buy another random, very trendy item at Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe because I have some extra pocket money or maybe an event coming up. It was haphazard, most of the time, and rushed... last minute. You pick up some new rayon top that you wear once and wash, and then it falls apart, loses it's shape, or frays. You throw it into the bottom of your reject-drawer or the back of the closet, and that's it. You pull it out a few times and try to make it work again, but it just doesn't cut it. You try to pair it with your favorite jeans and wear it again, but it's shapeless and really, it's gone out of style at this point. So you donate it or throw it away. And the cycle continues. And honestly, when you're "making the dream work" and don't have a real budget for clothing at all, that's kinda the name of the game. And for certain seasons, that's great! But, something about the mix of becoming a mom and turning 30 made me realize it's time to get to a new season in certain areas. Wardrobe being one of them. And it has been so fun -- to curate and collect, purge and get rid of (very difficult for my pack rat tendencies, but I've pushed through it lately and found it to be rather therapeutic!) I'm slowly saving and investing in clothing, hair care products, and skin care and makeup products that are good for me, that are made well, high quality, that will last. Daniel and I were laughing the other day about how we both have certain quality clothing items that have survived the long-haul: his North Face jacket has seen winter upon winter, hours of construction work, even more hours of street performing music, trips overseas, etc. He still wears it because it is so quality and timeless! Same for me with my Hunter Rain boots or Louis Vuitton clutch. They just last and stand the test of time. I truly do believe that (in most cases, not all) "you get what you pay for!" This crochet top is one of my 30th year investment pieces and I just adore it -- it fits my style well! Put-together but California Girl laid-back, with a touch of glam! And if you know me, you know that's what I love! Of course, I always combine higher-end, designer "investment pieces" with low-end pieces in almost every look I wear. I love to do that, and it's part of my personal style! I want to be realistic for you girls. Sometimes, I'll be reading a fashion blog and clicking on outfit item links and my jaw drops... Who has $1,000 plus to spend on each and every item in one outfit?! And that's awesome that some gals are able to do that, but I know most of us aren't, and don't even want to! So, expect to see a combination here: higher end items with lower end. Nordstrom paired with Target! I hope that's relatable and more "real" for you. I love fashion (read my heart on it here) and I am excited to share more of this passion and art of mine, and I want to be inspiring to you and real. 

(Also, these photos were taken a few weeks ago right in front of The Ranch where I grew up. All the feels :) 

It was extremely windy the afternoon we shot these, so excuse my wind whipped hair haha ;) 

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Top/Dress: Free People  | Leggings: Similar, Similar | Boots: Target 

Lipstick: YSL

What are your favorite investment pieces you've recently added to your closet? 

Our Wedding: The Day We Became Mr. and Mrs. Morris

"Once there was a princess and she fell in love." 

- Snow White

May 16, 2015.

Here it is. The long-awaited day.

I will never forget driving the hour from my parent's home to the nearest mall, two days before our wedding. On a solo errand, I listened to music as I breathed deep and went over last minute details in my mind. "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney came on the radio, and tears came streaming down my cheeks. I could just feel the Lord put on my heart: "Take in every moment. It's gonna fly by." I prayed that I would. It really flew! Here we are, 21 months, one self-published book and CD, lots of trips, two moves, and one baby later! And I am just now posting my wedding photos on the blog. Life has been full, ya'll. And good.

I am so excited to finally share with you some of the special moments and memories from the day our family began! 

If there's one thing that stands out in my mind about our wedding day it's that it was so special. I know, every one's wedding is special! But, our day was so full of meaning and significance. Every small detail, every song, every decoration, every item, every moment.... meant something, had meaning behind it, and was a labor of love or gift from someone who loved us. Our wedding was full of heart. A California bride and an Oklahoma groom means many of "our people" came from many miles away to share our day. Daniel's family is mostly in Oklahoma and Texas, and other parts of the Midwest and East Coast, and many of them were able to make the trip to my mountain in Los Angeles. Most of my closest girlfriends don't live in LA. One of my bridesmaids flew from Canada to our wedding, and one all the way from the Midwest!

Rain threatened our day. Moms checked the weather apps and Dads and brothers made plans for tarps to cover our *all outdoor* wedding. Everyone else prayed. I didn't care! I literally didn't. If we get rained out, oh well! I'M GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW!!! It would have been a completely muddy disaster. But I didn't really think about it, and I wasn't stressed. I felt a complete and total sense of peace. And for that, I am grateful. All I could think was, "If the Lord took us this far in our waiting journey: through almost thirty years of ups and downs, fears and worries, loneliness and depression, financial struggles, losses, questions, dream chasing, broken relationships, and then literally brought my future husband from thousands of miles away and dropped him on my door step? He can handle a little rain." And He did. A storm was coming and it hit two days before the wedding, on May 14th, our rehearsal dinner (which also happened to be my amazing parent's wedding anniversary) it poured. POURED. The rehearsal dinner was full of love and BBQ-ed meat, family, dear friends, and happiness as it rained outside. As we played silly games and everyone chattered and laughed, Daniel's sweet grandfather became very ill in the middle of our rehearsal dinner's games.... he basically collapsed in his chair. The family rushed to his side, his eyes closed, not responding. The whole room wept, cried out, prayed. Arms held Pop up. Hands were raised, begging Jesus to save this beloved patriarch of the Morris family. Quick thinking mamas took terrified babies and littles upstairs, older children clung to siblings, someone grabbed the phone and called 911. Daniel took my hand, crying and begging with his eyes for Pop to wake up. Brothers wept in the corner. We prayed and prayed and prayed, tears streamed, it seemed like forever. The Paramedics arrived and attended to Pop. He was alright, but needed to go to the hospital. It was dramatic and scary, and all we felt was relief as we heard over the next few hours that Pop was alright.

As I went to bed that night, all I could think about was Daniel's Nana... and her strong but terrified, tearful eyes as she sat by Pop, unresponsive as those frightening moments passed. 50 + years of love and marriage, faithfulness and commitment. That was what this is about, I thought. It's not about how perfectly pressed my wedding dress was, not how clear my skin would be on my wedding day (#acneprobs), not if the sun was shining or the rain fell and ruined the decor, it wasn't about my lipstick shade or my spray tan, it wasn't about how perfect the ceremony music sounded or how delicious the food would be -- at the end of the day, I was committing my life to Daniel, promising faithfulness in sickness and health, "as long as we both shall live" -- whether we were given 5 months or 50 years. It was a huge, important, life-altering gift, responsibility, joy. And I wanted to walk into it with clear eyes and a ready heart.

As the wedding day closed in, the rain stopped. The sun shone. It was cold (well, cold to a California girl ;) But we didn't care. It just made everyone get on the dance floor (even people who would never normally dance) under the canopy of sparkling twinkle lights (one of my dreams) just to warm up. I loved that.

The way our people came together to celebrate with us, it all meant the world.

Our wedding day.

My sister in law captured this picture the morning of our wedding and it means so much to me. My girlhood room (where I'd moved back home to in the few years before getting married) was a torn-apart disaster on the wedding morning. Literally, it had never been such a mess. Hosting a wedding at home is no joke and not quite as tidy as it looks on "Father of the Bride" haha -- my mom is a ROCKSTAR for pulling it all of and dad is incredible. My Wedding Notebook that I made as a dreaming little 14 year old girl laid in the mess. Full of magazine clippings and written-out plans and dreams. 13 years worth! Behind it is a print that hung on my wall all through high school of Gilbert and Anne from the "Anne of Avonlea" movie and it reads: "LOVE: I don't want sunbursts or marble halls.... I just want you." 

Daniel and his boys and family got ready at a rented mountain home down the road from my parent's property, the wedding venue. I love these photos, because obviously I wasn't there seeing all this. His relationship with his brothers, and especially his twin brother, gets me allllllll teary-eyed. 

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Our Save The Date and Invitations. My friend Margaret designed these for me. Isn't she talented? It was so kind.

I remember as a teenager, I would write out the wording for my wedding invitation on the backs of school notebooks and at church when I was bored ;) I always placed a _________ after "Erin Elizabeth to _______." Feels good to see it filled-in.

My mom placed roses and some of my favorite books from girlhood on tables in our "getting ready room." 

My gown. You can read the story behind it in At Long Last.

The moment I saw Mom for the first time on my wedding day is one of my top 5 favorite moments of the day. She'd been attending to decor details downstairs (Wonder Woman, seriously. She made the dream happen) and when she came in the bathroom as I got my makeup down, I LOST IT. I ruined my make-up and we had to start again!

The moment I saw Daniel for the first time on our wedding day, out the window.

My handsome groom.

My bridesmaid Lisa and I met back in High School, on the Internet before meeting online through blogging was a "thing." We met on a forum that connected young women who were praying and waiting for their future husbands. I lived in California, she was from England. Years went by, and she came out to LA to meet me in person. One afternoon, we climbed out my bedroom window and sat on the roof, overlooking our backyard oak tree, pouring over wedding magazines and dreaming. Fast forward 7 years later. She, happily married to her dream man and expecting their first little one. I, about to marry mine. That morning as we got ready for my wedding, we stopped. We noticed our two long-prayed-for men setting up chairs for the ceremony, laughing and chatting as they worked. We looked at each other, tears filling our eyes and full-circle joy in our hearts! The very same view we looked out at 7 years earlier as we dreamily flipped through those wedding magazines. The dreams really did come true! I will never, ever forget that special moment. 

And, more tears ;) Then, got it together and put my lipstick on.

My best friends helping me put my wedding dress on.

This picture makes my heart happy; it's such an example of my sister Mandy's love for me. She is the most servant-hearted, kind, genuinely sweet, mama-bear protective, thoughtful, fiercely loyal best friend in the world. And the bravest and strongest girl I've ever met. Your wedding day certainly highlights the people who are "your people." Along with celebrating and sealing our love, Daniel and I marveled later on as we talked about "our day" how overwhelmingly loved and blessed we felt on our wedding. It was almost too much!

If a picture is worth a thousand words...... it's this one. It would tell of all the years of waiting. The moments of feeling forgotten. All the pain. The loneliness. The hurt. The painful things I went through those long years that only those closest to me know about. The heart ache. The "forgotten feeling." I felt like I'd made it to the finish line of a very long marathon. Joy mingled with all the pain of all the years, culminating in that moment, that day. I'll never, ever forget it.

Every little detail meant something. Each small thing that made up the whole big wedding was a labor of love, a gift from someone special to us, a thoughtful sacrifice, precious time and hard earned money spent. It wasn't a million dollar wedding, it was a wedding at home made up of lots of small things. My Aunt Theresa created my bouquet. Fresh peonies were expensive, so as we planned what my bouquet would be, I opted for a less-expensive flower that looked similar. You can imagine my heart when she waltzed in the getting-ready room with my dream bouquet. I'm a lucky girl to be so loved.

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Thanks to my caring mama, all my rustic romantic dreams came true in the very important details.

"Nothin' fancy, just love."

 Joel's boots. 9 years before our wedding, Daniel's three year old brother Joel went to Heaven after a battle with childhood cancer. In honor of Joel, his boots sat on "his chair" on the Morris family's aisle. It was a special reminder for us.

My mom's wedding china for our head table 

My mom's wedding china for our head table 

We chose to have a First Look because of the wedding timing and photograph schedule, and I'm so glad we did. It was one of the day's top 5 favorite moments for us. Our photographer and sister Kristen set it up and didn't tell us what the plan was as far as music. As I walked out the doors under the pagoda that Daniel built especially for his bride to walk down the aisle through, the song "Love is Waiting" drifted through the air. It was such a special moment and that song is one I replayed hundreds of times through my single years. Daniel loved seeing me in my wedding gown and I was smitten with him in his dapper suit. "Perfect" is the word I would use for this moment. It was so perfect. And I loved having that special just-us-two moment amid the craziness of the day. I loved it.

"Oh, the longer the waiting, the sweeter the kiss
It's better my darling, I promise you this."

- Josh Turner

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words really can't describe what she means to me.

words really can't describe what she means to me.

our people.

our people.

kindred spirits

kindred spirits

the ceremony 

the ceremony 

"But it was a happy and beautiful bride who came down the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September noon--the first bride of Green Gables, slender and shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting. It was to him she was coming in the sweet surrender of the bride. Was he worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped? If he failed her--if he could not measure up to her standard of manhood--then, as she held out her hand, their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad certainty. They belonged to each other; and, no matter what life might hold for them, it could never alter that. Their happiness was in each other's keeping and both were unafraid." - Lucy Maud Montgomery, "Anne's House of Dreams"

dad performed the ceremony, so we asked our dear friend casey jones to walk me down the aisle. he and his wife are second parents to me, and it was so sweet to have him walk with me. he made so much of our wedding happen, including putting up and designing all the twinkly lights above our reception area. 

dad performed the ceremony, so we asked our dear friend casey jones to walk me down the aisle. he and his wife are second parents to me, and it was so sweet to have him walk with me. he made so much of our wedding happen, including putting up and designing all the twinkly lights above our reception area. 

A few of our super-talented siblings (all of them are so talented and musical!) played beautiful music -- some worship as well as the song Daniel wrote for his future wife as he stood atop the Empire State Building a few years before (and those who have read my book will remember the lyrics and story behind it!) 

My dad did a beautiful job officiating. He led the ceremony in such a poetic way, telling stories of our waiting journeys, lives apart, and our love story, weaving it all into the vows, communion, worship and music, etc.

Our parents prayed for us during the ceremony. So powerful.

There aren't any photos of it, but my precious lifelong friend Bruce Marchiano read 1 Corinthians 13 as part of the ceremony. It was significant to me to have him be a part because he encouraged me so much in my waiting journey as an older brother/uncle who was also praying for his future wife and waiting for her. He is now married and has the most beautiful family. The word of the Lord is true!

We combined sand from the beach in California and red dirt from Oklahoma as our "Unity Sand." It was sooo windy, though, the morning of our wedding, that the original glasses we had the sand in blew over and broke! So we had to use these random glasses and a Mason Jar. But it worked haha

Saying our vows was so emotional and "big." 

Saying our vows was so emotional and "big." 

Exchanging the rings. Before we exchanged our rings, I gave Daniel my purity ring. I got it when I was 13 years old as a symbol and reminder of waiting for my future husband. 15 years later, of wearing it daily, I gave it to my husband. Chills! 

YES!!!!!! WE ARE MARRIED.

YES!!!!!! WE ARE MARRIED.

"And now, we party." 

First dance!

One of my favorite wedding pictures 

One of my favorite wedding pictures 

Thanks, God, for the golden light.

Another Top 5 Favorite Wedding Moment: the Best Man and Maid of Honor speeches, given by our lifelong besties and twin brother and sister, Caleb and Mandy. Good LORD was that a special moment. I can't even write about it without tearing up! The two of them are naturally more reserved, quiet personalities. They aren't talkers or expressers, especially publicly. Both of their speeches were so beautifully said, so wholeheartedly thoughtful, so carefully prepared. They were straight from their angelic hearts (they are both two of the sweetest, kindest people on the planet) and we were blown away. The whole wedding was blown away. The strength of friendship and love. These two have loved us our entire lives, they've lived side by side with us (we were all inseparable growing up) and experienced so much life that no one else will ever know or see, we have all played music together and can give each other a look without a word, and read one another's minds.... and they know us in a way that no one else does or ever will. Those moments will be ones I hold close to my heart until I die. I have their speeches written down and will keep them forever. 

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Father/Daughter / Mother/Son dances and ... just, dancing!!!!!

Our entire wedding! I have this photo on the wall in our dining room. 

The lights turned out even more magical than I always imagined.

Almost the entire wedding on the dance floor. Butterflies! (The one good thing about the cold weather ;) 

The dessert table created by my fabulous mom

It was an epic dance party. Just like we wanted!

I read the quote below when I was in Jr. High. It's in one of my mom's favorite books, and we she had me read it for school, I remember skimming over it and not fully grasping what it meant. Now, I know. 

"I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character — perfect concord is the result."

- Charlotte Bronte, "Jane Eyre"

The Lord truly writes the most beautiful, redeeming, always-on-time stories. He listens to little girl's hearts and little boy dreams. He cares. He is there. He does not forget. 

What a day! What a life. And today, I'm even more in love. 

Read our whole love story in my book, At Long Last, get it here

Photography by  I'm Kristen Photography (And her trusty second-shooter, Ally Michele!) 

At Long Last Book: LAST COPIES of the 1st Edition Going Fast!

PSA! 💝 My book, #AtLongLastBook -- our life and love story -- is about to get a new cover, new edits, and will now be available in it's 2nd edition - in print through Amazon! This means that I have a handful of this first edition left, so if you want one of the last few original copies with this cover, then click on over to http://gracefulwomanhood.com/atlonglast & get one in your hot little hands -- I will write a personal note to you, too!

Back in December 2015, when I self-published & released my book, I had no idea how much support & love it would receive from you, my precious readers. Thank you so much for cheering on a sister chasing her dreams. At the time, I ordered a bunch of big boxes full of books. I was terrified. It was a huge investment. A big risk. I remember standing there, looking at all of them under my Christmas tree... boxes taking half of our tiny seaside studio apartment. 😨I had some pre-orders, but, would people actually buy all of these? I prayed, hoped. And then the orders came in, and the tears came pouring down. It's a pretty overwhelming thing to know real people chose to spend their real, hard earned money and real, precious time reading your hands-open, vulnerable story and words. It blew me away. To be down to the very last few books is thrilling & humbling. Shipping each & every book out with my own two hands (& my devotedly kind hubby) was a huge undertaking, & one that's become too big now that I have a baby crawling around 👶🏼😉 So, say farewell to the first edition & cover by getting yours, & come next week, you'll be introduced to the second edition & brand new cover. Putting yourself "out there" & chasing looming, scary, close to your heart dreams is *hard.* It's sleepless nights, anxious meltdowns, thousands of emails, lots of packing tape, saving money, putting a big chunk out with the possibility of a big flunk, writing notes in book covers 'til your hand is a claw, wondering if you're crazy, & lots of frustrated tears at the Post Office. But, it's oh so worth it. 💘 Get your limited edition copy just in time for a Valentine's (or Galentine's) gift - for yourself or your bestie!

Valentine Favorites

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Right behind Christmas, Valentine's Day is my faaaavorite holiday ever! And not just because it's all about love. But because, uhhh, PINK! (And if you know me, you just said, #duh haha :) 

An excuse to wear/buy/enjoy all things pink? Sign this girl up! 

So, just for fun, I've rounded up some of my very favorite Valentine things for you -- whether you plan to spend the evening out on a fancy dress-up date with your man, heading out on the town all dolled-up with your best girlfriends , or cuddling on the couch in your favorite robe or tee, hot chocolate and enjoying a book or your snuggly baby! Daniel is working this year (#musicianlife ;) so we are planning to celebrate another day (which is nice because we'll beat crowds!) I may go with him to work or stay home and cuddle my little guy! 

PS -- If you check out any of these things, puhleassseee check out #6. Girl. I've used this body wash since I was 15 and it is hands-down the best-smelling thing that you'll ever put on your skin. It's hydrating and just delicious -- and doubles as a shampoo! Also -- #10, that gorgeous dress, comes not only in that lovely pale pink, but also a delicious RED. So, have fun deciding which to wear... cause, I want both! ;) 

XO!

Erin

The Owlet

 
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Like every new mom, I'm constantly checking on Weston. Since day one, I've checked him breathing as he sleeps -- making sure he is perfectly fine! I remember when I was younger, my mom told me that once you're a mom, you're never fully asleep. You always sleep "with one eye open" ready to jump at the slightest sound from your littles, always tip-toeing into their nurseries and rooms to make sure they're okay.

I remember a sweet quote from the show "Little House on the Prairie" - my favorite as a little girl - when Laura said, "If she hears the least littlest noise in the night, Ma will come climbing up the ladder, to make sure we're alright. Her face is the last thing I see before I got to sleep and the first thing I want to see in the morning." Mamas. They're there, watching, listening, checking that your belly moves up and down, up and down. Every nap, every night. For me, it's been a source of some anxiety, something I've had to take the God and surrender. He is able to take care of and is watching my baby, even when I can't. Every single second of every single day. 

And in all the checking, trusting, and watching, it's comforting to follow safety measures (like Back to Sleep, etc) and using your very important mama's intuition (it's so real!) and to have little helpful tools that can make sure Baby is perfectly fine! One of my favorites is The Owlet. It's a Smart Sock -- tracking Baby's heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep. Using clinically proven technology, the Owlet uses pulse oximetry to measure levels and is designed to notify you through a base station, connected with an app on your smart phone, if heart rate or oxygen are outside the preset zone.

I love that the Owlet uses a Smart Sock (that is hypoallergenic, wireless and does not use any adhesives), that comes in different sizes to fit your little one, and easily slips onto his or her foot. Honestly, I have never used our Owlet all night long, but it is so nice to have the option and so helpful to be able to check levels while baby is napping or during sickness -- especially respiratory illnesses that little one's catch in the winter! There have been times that Weston was so congested, it's so nice to have those "okay" numbers or to know if you need to head to the doctor. If you're a new mama or mom to be, check out The Owlet -- it works so well! 

Learn more about Owlet here

Robe: Pink Blush Maternity  Bassinet: Nordstrom Bassinet Sheet: Halo 

Sheepskin: Similar: Pottery Barn Striped Curtains: Amazon

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This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them helps support this website. This post may also contain items gifted for consideration.

Bell Sleeves

In the spirit of my last post, here's an outfit I styled, love and recently wore! Can we take a moment for bell sleeves? My current favorite! 

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Top: Zara, Similar (not online, but check in stores) | Sunglasses: Anthropologie (similar)

Jeans: Sold Out, Similar | Heels: Dupes, Valentino 

Nail Polish: Essie | Bag: Michael Kors

Thank you all for the amazing, encouraging response to my last post! All your comments and emails were so amazing -- for any of your hesitant bloggers or girls who dream of blogging but are too afraid: 98% of the time, when you put yourself "out there" you will discover kindred spirits who are similar to you and you'll be glad you shared what you did! People often say the Internet is so negative -- and I truly can be used in so many ways for negative, not-encouraging things and influences in our lives. But, it can be used so beautifully, can be so encouraging, and can be very uplifting, too! 

So, we've had a bit of a rainy few weeks here in Souther California (good for the crazy drought) and the day I shot these photos, it was pouring rain! It lightened up just while we were shooting and thus, my frizzy hair haha ;) Thankful for sunshine the last few days and for all the rain that made everything around us so green! Thank you, friends, for stopping by, thanks for reading! Means the world to me to have you as part of my blog family! 

(I just recently bought my top at Zara in Pasadena, California, but sadly I don't see it online. I've rounded up some of my favorite bell sleeve tops and dresses below so you can check out a selection. I love this style -- so comfy yet whimsical and glam! 

On Faith + Fashion

"She is clothed with strength and dignity,

and she laughs without fear of the future."

Proverbs 31:25

Faith and fashion.

Ah... somehow, this feels like a touchy subject. Two rather wildly different things that are -- quite honestly -- not really talked about all that much in our Christian culture. Oh, we have always talked about modesty. But, there's not been a lot of talk -- that I can find -- about fashion and how the Christian woman relates to it. And yet, that's sort of strange to me. And sad. And semi-confusing. As a writer and blogger, I've been wanting to talk about it... for a while now. And yet somehow, it's this sort of hush-hush subject. But.... if ya look back at my track record, who am I to dodge any awkward/hush-hush topics? ;) (Remember when I wrote about saving sex for marriage? The book "50 Shades of Grey"? When breastfeeding doesn't work out and how no one talks about it?) Soooo, grab your favorite hot drink in your prettiest mug -- here are some thoughts on my heart, sweet sisters. (This isn't some theological piece or essay, thorough paper or sermon. Just a sister's thoughts, over coffee. So take it as that. Not the end-all-be-all.) 

As a thirty-year-old Christian woman, a new wife, a new mama, I love Jesus. I grew up as a typical 90's-2000's "Christian Girl." I was a pastor's kid. Homeschooled from first grade through twelfth. A worship leader. A youth group leader. A women's ministry leader. I attended a (pretty conservative) Christian college and majored in Home Economics-Family and Consumer Sciences, with a minor in Bible (and I graduated.....just shy of one internship... long story!!) I've been through being part of the leadership of a 4,000 member megachurch, a heart-wrenching church split, the nitty-gritty of planting a church, every single ministry situation you can imagine. I've counseled thousands of women (in person and on the Internet) about every single issue (from sexual abuse to doubt about faith to every relationship/dating issue in the book.) In my four college years, I spent three in the dorms and one in leadership over about 25 girls on a dorm wing. I've written this blog about my heart and faith in Jesus, for 4-ish years, and have spoken at colleges, conferences, events, and communicated through Skype and e-mail and books to hundreds of women. I'm not saying I know it all - I really don't (and somehow, the mix of turning thirty and becoming a mom have made me all the more aware of it!) It's just... I have seen a looooooot (in Christian culture, especially). I've seen the girls who absolutely love Jesus who feel comfortable sporting mini skirts at the beach without blinking an eye and I've seen the girls who absolutely love Jesus and feel very convicted to wear full-coverage denim skirts, inches past their ankles. 

In my 4+ years of blogging about my heart, faith, and life, I have received countless emails from young women who ask questions like: How should I dress? You post outfits, Erin -- is it okay that I like clothes and styling and makeup and hair and fashion? Or is it wrong? What are your thoughts on modesty?

And, I haven't ever really addressed those questions. Ever. Quite honestly, it's because there are just so many differing views and opinions, and I don't want to step on any toes, come off like I know it all, and I want to always be super-careful with my words and influence -- because I am always learning and growing.  But, for several reasons, I feel led to finally write it all -- my thoughts on fashion and all it entails. So! Here are some things on my heart about fashion and the Christian woman. Like I said, these are just my thoughts (shaped by all the years and experiences mentioned before) and I am excited to finally share a bit of my heart on it and really just a random string of thoughts on faith + fashion with you.

1. Fashion can be so fun, joyful, an expression of creativity and art, and a gift of beauty in this world from the Lord. 

When I started blogging, there was no app called Instagram. No "Like To Know It" or bloggers who boast 1 million + followers and make millions on their blogs and social media. It was basically just a gaggle of sometimes-seen-as "out-there" fashion/photography/word-loving ladies who were brave enough to put our amateur styling, writing, and photos on the Internet for the world to see and comment on, in hopes of connecting with other women, building businesses, starting shops, making money to support our families, having fun, and using our voices (free speech, y'all!) It's been insane to watch as thousands of new gals have hopped on the blogging "wagon" and many have created flawless and beautiful brands, multi-million dollar businesses, and we've all (to some extent) found likeminded sistahs who have become real-life friends here on the Internet. I have been incredibly, gratefully, life-alteringly (is that a word?) blessed by the "blog world." Heck, I met my husband on Instagram through my blog! I've met real-life best friends here on the Internet. And have been able to (hopefully) encourage women with my story and heart, publish several books, tell my story, pursue my dream of writing, and make money through my blog. It's the best! From day one of my blog, I shared "fashion posts." Outfits I put together (on a very, very tight budget at the time) and my mom and dad (bless them!) would take photoshoots with my iPhone THREE in our yard for my blog and I would haphazardly edit the photos on a little website called PicMonkey (I dare you to go search those old posts ...oh my ;)  I've always enjoyed fashion and styling outfits to wear. Always! As a little girl, Barbies and doll-playing was my favorite. Sister and I would spend hours picking out outfits for them to wear, cutting up old fabric and tying it on them to create new looks. One of my fondest life memories is my grandma Dot taking me every birthday from the age of 3 to the mall, letting me try on scores of dresses, and buying one as my birthday gift. I always picked out the most glamorous, over-the-top, extremely impractical, sometimes ridiculous gowns -- often floor-length (a favorite was an all-denim skin-tight dress with sequins on it...think, Britney and Justin. Haha! Not the most subtle and I really only wore it as dress up. Where does a pre-teen have an occasion for that kind of get-up? But I loooooved it!) As a pastor's kid who grew up on The Ranch (kinda like a YWAM school in the mountains of Southern California) we never had a ton of money. But, picking out clothes as I entered my teen years, playing with makeup, painting my nails, and doing my hair was a passion of mine. It was joyful, a hobby, and fun! I am a creative person and learning a new way to curl my hair, finding a new shade of pink nail polish to paint on for a summer day, or spraying on hair-glitter as a young teen made me feel confident and it was just so fun! I believe the Lord truly created us in His image, and desires for us -- His girls -- to be joy-filled, to be free, to have fun and soak up all the good, good things on this broken but beautiful world we live in. Things that are a small, faded picture of heaven and eternity. He gives us life and good gifts -- not to trudge through life in fear with our heads down, but to live and revel in every day in His grace as we live for and serve and love Him! "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

Something I've found interesting as the "blog world" has expanded is the obvious lack of Christian bloggers talking about fashion. There are a few, but not many. It's unsaid, but I have always felt this "vibe" from our Christian blogging culture that fashion blogging just isn't godly, holy, "mature" or worthwhile enough to write about... it feels, at times, looked down upon or taken the wrong way, perhaps? Misunderstood, maybe? Fashion and styling isn't every woman's jam, and that's great! But I've always picked up on a noticeable trend in the Christian blogging culture -- posting anything even remotely related to fashion isn't done very often. And further, it always kind of felt like the ones who did post outfit pictures, talk about a new favorite lipstick, or did a hair tutorial were sort of looked upon as being....I don't know... immature, not godly, maybe a little "immodest" or "wild", or just kind of....fluffy? There are several Christian magazines and blogs out there today, and clothing is (markedly) not a part of their publications. You'll find recipes and food! Travel articles! Relationships! Devotionals! Art! Photography! Pieces on finances! Technology! Good reads! Great movies! Music! And of course, home decor! And even DIY crafts! But, no sign of style or fashion or clothes. It's honestly so weird to me! We as Christian women must find inspiration, direction, and ideas for what clothing to wear.... elsewhere. There are a few Christian fashion bloggers, but -- few and far between. InStyle magazine, Pinterest, and popular fashion blogs are our go-to.

Clothing is a gift. It's a must-have, actually. Whether you own ten pairs of jeans or one pair, whether you shop at thrift shops and Target or Nordstrom (I do both). Whether you enjoy the structured tops at J.Crew or the flowy dresses at Anthropologie. Whether you truly enjoy styling an outfit for an event or dread it. Whether you would rather spend that 50 extra dollars on new shoes or would rather buy a nice dinner out, clothes are part of our lives. And I don't think there is anything wrong with enjoying this gift. Just like we as Christians shamelessly enjoy taking trips to see beautiful places God created and taking time to enjoy tasting delicious varieties of food He's given us to eat. 

2. Fashion is temporary and frivolous, but it can also be meaningful, significant, and eternal. 

A fashion blogger (and fellow Christian gal) I enjoy reading said this about clothing:

"Although clothing can be frivolous, I love how certain pieces coincide with our memories and take us back to the place we were when we wear them. That’s how I imagine our wardrobes will be when we are older. Not closets full of “stuff” but  rather, closets filled with weddings, job interviews, trips and kisses on the Michigan Avenue Bridge."

- Katey McFarlan, Chronicles of Frivolity 

We as Christian women wear clothes. Every day. Whether meager or abundant, we have closets and budgets and wardrobes for each season. And yet, the whole topic of clothing (aside for how it relates to modesty) is not really talked about! And I think it should be. Because, clothing is more than just fabric stitched together to cover our bodies (which all started with Adam and Eve in Scripture, anyway) -- it is important because it represents so much more: money we have to spend that we have worked hard for and that the Lord has so graciously provided, clothing represents an outward sign of our inward hearts: they make first impressions at job interviews and are the first thing everyone sees about us as we walk down the street and live our lives, our personal creativity -- our likes and dislikes, our beautifully unique personalities! Fashion can be an expression of creativity. And to me, it's really no different at all the other arts we enjoy. Maybe styling outfits, choosing fabrics, picking out accessories, or curling hair isn't every woman's cup of tea, but if it is -- I believe there's no shame in enjoying it. 

I've heard Christians say they don't really see where fashion fits into the Christian life. I don't agree -- yes, fashion is temporary. Just like the delicious caramel latte I enjoyed the other day, the yummy lemon chicken and potatoes I made and we devoured the other night, or the artistic movie we went to see on a recent date night that made us think. But it's a gift -- that can be frilly and silly, or significant and meaningful. We could eat the same bland thing every single day and survive. We can all wear the same article of clothing every single day and be absolutely fine. But, our kind God gave us variety in all of life: food that is sweet, spicy, tangy, crunchy, juicy, crispy, salty! Weather that is freezing, stifling, dry-hot, humid-hot, balmy, cool, warm! Hair that is curly, straight, course, black, blonde, white, red! Conversations that are small-talk in line at the grocery store, laugh so hard you snort at the girl's night out with friends, sitting across from someone you love and bearing your soul and telling your secrets, confrontational honesty that stings but feels good to say, listening to someone talk and not saying a word. Fabrics that are cashmere soft, burlap rough, cotton comfy, denim sturdy. Just go to the zoo (new mama example, ha) and check out the incredibly unique and varied types of animals: a monkey is nothing like a giraffe, a hippo is so vastly different from a flamingo. All so creatively and wonderfully made. Our God certainly could never be called boring. The beauty of clothing and style is that there are so many options, so much fun to be had, so much creativity to be tapped into.

And it must be handled with care, thoughtfulness, and awareness. Fashion, like any other material thing on this earth is not eternal. It is temporary. It's all going to burn someday. Scripture says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) We will not take any of this "stuff" with us when we die.

If ever my "treasure" is in my closet, my living room decor, my car, my passport stamps, my garage, my jewelry box, my Instagram follower count, my refrigerator, the technology I own, or my bank account -- oh Lord, change me. I desire my heart to be set on Jesus, on heaven, on eternity. On people. How chilling is the thought that we would come to the end of our lives and look back, realizing we spent all our time running around selfishly trying to gain likes, followers, people who adore us because we try to make everyone like us, build closets, bank accounts, cute houses, and travel logs, only to realize we never spent time or effort speaking or knowing truth, sharing the Gospel, loving the unlovely in the dirty and messy, unseen and broken, worshipping Him, or knowing Him.

That being said -- I believe clothing, bank accounts and budgets, how we spend our time, the homes we build, the trips we take, our relationships with food, and how we handle, carry and present ourselves as women of God does carry eternal value because these are gifts given to us to be stewarded. And this can be messy and so hard to steward! It's not cut and dry. Every single person is unique -- in our struggles, loves, callings, gifting, stories, and resources. The Lord hands us each the gift of a life and a story, and we are given the free choice to do handle it and walk it out. And we are not perfect. But, we can try and with His help, honor Him with our lives and with our stewardship of the people, money, time, energy, etc. that He gives so graciously. 

This past week, I watched on TV the transfer of power from one president to a new one, I heard a news anchor (can't remember exactly who) say this about anticipating the new First Lady's fashion choice for the evening ball: "Some people would say, oh that's sort of the frivolous part of the day. But it's not necessarily: there is a message that is being sent by who she chooses to wear and what she chooses to wear. She represents us, as Americans. And what she wears speaks about who she is." I could not agree more, for you and for me, too, in our lives, callings and stories. Our clothing speaks to who we are. When I ignore my wardrobe, I end up overspending on things I don't need (too many pink lip glosses, too many designer dresses that require unrealistic dry cleaning, too many white tees) and lacking things I practically need to function (jeans that fit, socks that don't have holes, bras that aren't ripped, a decent coat, etc.) due to neglecting stewardship of my closet. It matters. Just like planning your menu according to your schedule and budget for the week and creating your grocery list instead of just popping in Trader Joe's whenever you realize your pantry is empty and buying whatever looks good in the moment (mostly for me that would be chocolate, chips, coffee and smoothie drinks, and probably some sparkly wine!) It all falls under the category of gifts given to us to steward that are frivolous but have eternal heart-value attached to them.

3. Fashion represents who we are and our inward hearts (AKA also: my thoughts on the modesty question)

"Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." 

- Rachel Zoe

It is much easier to create blanket-statement rules than to delve into the colorful array of free choice we are given as Jesus-followers, if you stop and think about it.

Cut and dry, straight-forward rules are easy. A to-do list that says: "If you complete A, B, and C you are guaranteed to be blessed" is easy. A graph printed out and handed to you that states all the garment and hair styles you are allowed to wear is easy. An exact measurement for what is acceptable and checks the box of "godly" when it comes to "modest" clothing is easy: you can wear jeans but no tights. You can wear black but no white. You can wear skirts but no pants. You can wear tank tops with a 2 1/2 inch thick strap, but no spaghetti straps. You can wear your hair down and curly but you can't wear red lipstick. You can wear tankinis but you cannot wear bikinis. You can wear Bermuda shorts but you cannot wear cut-off shorts. It would be easy to start dating a guy and a get a list that says: "Things that are okay: hand holding, sitting side by side, laying a head on shoulder." and "Things that are not okay: kissing, being alone together in a room, sit face to face, etc." 

To my heart and mind, these specific lists of rules leaves no room for real-life or real-hearts. For each individual situation. For each person's personality, story, history, and struggles. For nuance. For setting. And honestly, I have seen it with my own eyes: it does not work. It leaves you feeling trapped and strangled, bound and confused, mindless and completely devoid of wholeheartedness, intimacy with the Lord and others, and basically creates a rule-following mind that is not linked to meaning or purpose, devotion or heart.

There are obvious things that we all hold as right and wrong. But, in the middle of that there is so much freedom. And that is messy! And it looks different for everyone. Because we all have a different story, different personality, different setting, different life, different heart, different mind, different relationships. 

So, sweet girls who have emailed me for the past 4 years asking, "Is it okay to wear a shorter skirt? What do you think about bikinis? What about crop tops? What about cleavage?" Dear sister. I am not going to answer that. I'm not going to give you a list of specific guidelines for what will and won't get you "into trouble" or what is right before the Lord. Only you know. And I know that it is a big, sometimes-scary responsibility to embrace, but we should all - individually - open up our hands and hearts to Him, and ask. And be led. And sometimes look back and say, "Hmmm, maybe I wouldn't wear that now." But to be willing to step out and walk it out, in freedom and joy, openness and a humble heart. I don't really feel led to go into graphic detail or create guidelines about the whole modesty topic. But, here's what I will say -- after years of being asked: 

Honestly? Be classy. Have style. (My friend Kymberly, who has a great blog, recently said that to me about this topic and -- it's so my heart)  Think it through. Use wisdom. Take each situation carefully in mind and just try to be a lady. For instance: I own bikinis. But where and when I choose to wear them is key for me. Do I throw one on when I attend a get-together at the beach where I'm playing volleyball with a bunch of guy friends from church (which is totally not gonna happen for me because I'm the least sporty person ever and I legit run from all sports balls....plus, I have no clue how to play volleyball, as embarrassing as that would be for most people but I literally don't even care #sportswatchernotplayer, but that's neither here nor there, this is just a random example -- lol) -- I'd choose to probably wear a one-piece or tankini just because: boppin' around playing a sport like that in that small amount of fabric is awkward and a bit TMI for everyone, and just not appropriate for the situation, for several reasons. But: hubby and I go on our honeymoon to a secluded beach island? Heck yeah I wore a bikini with him. It was a whole different setting. 

And sometimes, you'll look back and feel like you didn't get it right. That's okay! I chose this one outfit for our family's Texas Thanksgiving this past year and it was hilarious because I had it in my mind as being so classy and appropriate: a long sleeved, shorter-length Free People dress that was black and brown with a higher collar, paired with these suede over-the-knee boots. I put on the outfit and, out the door I went. When we got to Daniel's sweet grandparent's house I started to realize: A. I was overdressed. B. It was humid and the suede/nylon combo was far from comfy, plus -- what the heck was I thinking! I am now taking care of a 4 month old! And C. Uhhhh oh.... this outfit has a semi-"Pretty Woman" stripper vibe goin' on somehow and uhhhhhhhh, oh no -- this is not the right setting for it. Ha! The outfit was fine, really. But I just suddenly felt uncomfortable, not right for the setting (Grandparent's home with cousins and uncles and aunts and babies) We took family pictures and then changed into some sandals later, and it all worked out. Looking back, I would have chosen something different: more comfortable and understated, and less, well -- like I was gonna meet Richard Gere? (insert some shocked-face emoji) But oh well. My heart wasn't to look like a stripper, obviously! I was just trying to look fabulous as a post-partum mama who missed her old boots! And it was fine in the end. I hope that example makes sense; this is what I mean: do your best, be yourself, think it through, and just have fun, give your heart to the Lord in it over and over, and don't stress too much. 

Be classy, tasteful, appropriate, elegant, refined, smart, and thoughtful. Freedom, not shame or fear. Be graceful and be you.

That's my motto and that's my heart on the topic.

4. Fashion can be a tool to connect with the world.

A huge reason I have shared outfits, pretty things, and style on this blog and my social media (from day one) is because it's a very powerful tool to connect with the world. It draws people in. More than just black and white words on a page. Pretty photographs, trendy outfits, lovely graphic design, interesting content -- it all draws the eye, and can create a "feeling" that sets the tone for and creates warmth on a blog or social media. I truly believe our blogs and Instagram feeds (or Snapchat or whatever your favorite form of social media is) can be like our online living rooms. A place that is our turf, where we can welcome people in, share our hearts, be hospitable, open up and be vulnerable, and also a place where we can set boundaries, talk about what we want, let in what we allow, and love on people. 

I'm not a 100% full-time fashion blogger. I'm a creative and a writing storyteller who loves beautiful photography, beautiful gifts (home, travel, food, clothing, etc!), telling my story, sharing my joys and struggles, but most of all I love Jesus and encouraging women to know how much He loves them. This is my heart in all I do (whether it be sharing a post about newborn tips to help moms, writing a devotional to encourage girls, designing a printable that is inspirational, sharing a favorite recipe, being honest about my struggles or my joys in life, posting pictures of beautiful creation or good food from a trip I was blessed to take with my boys, or posting an outfit I put together and shot to give ideas for putting together an outfit!) I pray that whatever I post  -- and it all comes from my heart and is always born out of passions and things I love -- inspires you to know how loved you are and how graceful He is. Life is beautiful, and a gift. And I hope my blog screams that -- in every thing I post.

5. Fashion can be a picture of our hope and confidence.

My sweet friend and fellow blogger who loves Jesus, Jessica Sheppard, recently wrote this and it mulled in my mind for about a week:

"Dressing is a form of hope in and of itself…

you’re expecting something wonderful to happen.

I mean, if you dressed for the occasion, why wouldn’t it?

Dress for what you expect." 

Wow! Clothing is powerful. It is important. It means something. It represents a whole lot. It's a gift to be stewarded. And it can be a picture of hope.

I am all about yoga pants / messy hair / no makeup days, especially as a new mom! Seriously, I roll around town half the time in an old baseball cap and yoga pants. But, I do honestly find that when I take fifteen minutes and brush my teeth, brush my hair, put on a little bit of makeup, and clean clothes, I have a better attitude. It's self care. It means something. I don't feel dumpy and frazzled. I act more like myself, more like "it" matters. The dishes and feeding Weston his baby food and the reading books to him... it matters, oh so much. And when I am put together -- even a little bit -- it changes my mind and attitude and helps me to act in hope. That's just me! I have found this to be true.

Clothes can give us confidence and make us feel beautiful. We are incredibly loved by our Creator, made in His image, and there is nothing wrong with looking and feeling beautiful! *I've edited this post to include a comment on this post from a sweet reader that I just loved and is so the heartbeat of what I am saying:  

 "I'm going to rock my pretty sweater, my skinny work pants, cute boots and makeup because I feel beautiful, I feel confident in who I am. I can hear the truth louder and the lies are quieter."  - Stephanie Hart

The Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible "...seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands" (vs. 13), she "dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong" (vs 17), "is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in sacrlet." (vs. 21), "makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple." (vs. 22), "She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant." (vs.24), "strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future." (vs. 25). (NASB) 

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

Proverbs 31:30

May we be women of depth and character, who are free to enjoy the frivolous fun of fashion but whose minds, hearts, and eyes are set on God and His work, carefully handling the joys of this life with thought and attentiveness for what they represent and mean. 

Be classy, be stylish, be ladylike, be free, be you, and think it all through.

What a joy to live in abundance, freedom, and grace, knowing we are always loved, we are safe, and when we are not perfect, He gives grace upon grace.

This is my heart, as I post fashion on this blog.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

Free Printable: Faithfulness

Happy Monday, sisters!

I created this little free printable/lockscreen is for you.

You, the weary college student starting another semester in what feels like a string of never-ending semesters leading to...where? You, the exhausted mama of the teething little one (me! lol) You, the dreamer turned cynic who is fearful of hoping. You, the excited-about-the-future-but-fearful, too. You, who has far too much month at the end of that paycheck. You, who is secretly struggling with depression. You, going through a break-up and reeling, relieved, sad, wondering. You, the new bride: happy but overwhelmed. You, who feels like the forgotten one in your group of friends. You, the popular, pretty, "perfect" one who just feels broken. You, the one who feels like you've made a mess of it. You, who thinks you don't really have any more chances left. 

Remember these words.

He has always been faithful to me and you. He will always be faithful to us. When it makes no sense, when we question out loud, when He hears and sees and knows but it feels like He isn't answering, when the going is tough, when the flowers bloom, when the memories haunt, when the pain cuts deep, when ____________.

He is faithful. And it will all be okay, in the end... and if it's not okay today? It's not the end.

Love ya, sisters. You are all diamonds! 

just right-click, then save, then print! 

Rose Parade Floats

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Puffy Coat: Amazon  Boots: Target  Leggings: Forever 21 Bag: Michael Kors

Daniel's Jacket: Northface

Stroller: Mamas and Papas

The day after New Year's Day, we spent the afternoon looking at each and every Rose Parade float as they are parked after the big parade for public viewing for just hours, really! I've watched the Rose Parade every single New Year's morning since I was born and have always lived within 2 hours of Pasadena, but I'd never seen the floats in person. Daniel and I took Weston on our day off (when you work holidays and weekends, week days are your days!) and it took my breath away to see how detailed, magnificent, creatively designed, and FRAGRANT the floats were! TV cameras just don't pick up the detail! It was so magical, special, and a once in a lifetime experience. Such a fun family day out with my boys!! 

My 2017 Word: Redemption

Happy New Year! 

2016 was one of the happiest years of my life, and it's sad to see it go, but I am so excited for all the Lord will do in 2017. Here's to new beginnings, second chances, fresh starts, new mercies every morning, and grace upon amazing grace from our good, good Father. 

I absolutely love ordering my new planner for the year, getting all my paper things ready (post on that to come, soon) and sitting down with coffee, pen and paper and writing down dreams, goals, plans, ideas, and also -- my word for the new, fresh, upcoming year ahead. I started doing this a few years ago, and it's been something I've loved to do. A few days before Daniel and I met, I claimed "Wild and Free" for 2014 and it certainly was that!! I believe speaking LIFE over our upcoming year and future, as we trust God who is in control of it all, is a beautiful, purposeful thing. To really look ahead with clear eyes and an open heart. To look back on the previous year's chapters -- with all their heartache and joy, disappointment and fun, loss and triumphs, and to give it all to Him, closing the pages on that "book" and without bitterness, to lay it at Jesus' feet and move forward. We simply aren't perfect and life is full of brokenness. To do lists go undone. Dreams go unfulfilled. Plans go awry. Hopes are thwarted. But, in it all, He is sovereign, He is good, He is kind. Often, it can be overwhelming to make a list of 25 New Year's Resolutions only to realize in March that the list is gathering dust and you've been completely derailed. This is why I like to pick a word and a vision for the new year. I also love writing those lists and goals. But, I try to focus on the word for my new year and not so much on what I need to do, be, accomplish, and change. 

This year, the word the Lord put on my heart is REDEMPTION.

For a lot of personal reasons that I've written in my journal to the Lord. But, I am praying, speaking, and believing for redemption for some things in 2017. Maybe you are, too. For my heart, life, etc. His redeeming love is one of the sweetest things about my Jesus. 

He redeems. It's who He is. The very nature of His heart, His character, His love for us.

The very reason He came to earth as a poor baby and was nailed on a cross at Calvary. To redeem it all for you and for me.

 He makes the broken beautiful. 

I love the Scripture that says: 

"in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist." -- Romans 4:17

He calls the things that are not as though they were. 

He gives life to things that are dead, broken, long gone, over, totaled, spoiled, ruined, too late.

I have seen with my eyes the Lord's faithful redemption and grace spilled all over my life. In incredible ways. In so many areas of my heart and life. And I believe He can continue to do it in my life and in yours. 

This song is an old one but a good one on redemption. 

So call it, sister. Redemption. This year. Believe our God who can do it. Who literally breathes life into that which is dead. Whose "words alone can catch a falling star." He lives. He is alive. Trust Him. Look to Him. He may not redeem it all today or tomorrow or even in 2017. But He will, fully and completely. Thank you Jesus for Your sweet redemption! For bringing dead things to life. For breathing hope into the darkness. For carrying us when we are weak. We love you. We trust You. You are so good.

What is your word for 2017?

 

 

New Years Eve Outfit

 

my boys hanging out and playing in the snow! 

Red Dress: Amazon  Faux Fur Vest: Angl (old) Similar, Similar 

Bracelets: Similar, Similar  Lipstick: Overstock

Foundation: Laura Mercier

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I hope you had a very merry Christmas, loves!

We spent ours at my family's mountain home, and we got SNOW on Christmas Eve. It was oh so magical and really a dream come true. Growing up in Southern California, even in the mountains, I only remember snow on Christmas twice: the first year we moved to the Ranch, in 1998, and last year -- our first married Christmas. I prayed and prayed and as the Lord would have it, it started snowing on Christmas Eve. This year, the same thing happened! Weston loved playing in the snow and it was so exciting and fun to have a white Christmas. 

I snapped a few pictures in one of my favorite dresses to give you ideas for what to wear on New Year's Eve! It's kinda avant-garde, but pairing a bright dress (and even though Christmas is done, I think red is celebratory and festive and it still works on NYE!) with some faux fur with big hair, a bright lip, and some chunky jewelry is perfect for whatever your New Year's Eve looks like! Since we have little man this year, we will be staying in, getting Chinese food, and watching the ball drop on TV this year while snuggled on the couch but it's still fun to wear something festive! So whether your NYE is a mama-style one like mine, or a girl-out-on-the-town style, this look works for both! Below I've also linked some other styles of red dresses -- dressier and more casual, to give ya ideas too! 

I've had a whirlwind of (wonderful) things happen in the past three years and haven't been posting here on my little blog much at all, but in 2017, Lord willing, I will be back at least 3 times per week with posts sharing my heart and encouragement, lifestyle, travel, home and food, and style tips and fashion ideas! In college, I was a Home Economics major and we took classes and emphasized partly in Biblical studies/ministry for women but more than half of our studies were classes like Family Counseling, Clothing Selection (fashion) and construction (actual sewing and design), Food Preparation (cooking), Hospitality and Entertaining, and more. All of these fun arts are such a part of my heart and will be not only shared more here on my blog but in my magazine, too (coming soon!) Love yall and thanks for hanging with me all these years of blogging. Here's to a new year of new things! 

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