inspired.

sometimes I just need a little bit of inspiration. here are a few things I’m loving these Fall days-

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1. Chicken Sweet Potato Apple Skillet

2. warm & inviting string lights

3. countryside, on fire with beauty

4. cozy plaid scarves

5. comforting, warm drinks

6. oh sweet joy blog and clothing line

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my pinterest– {for more things I’ve come to love!}

for the love of sunrise.

When I think of all my “favorite things” in life, I realize there are many.

I love mid afternoon coffee and a little bit of chocolate.

Snuggly babies dressed in cozy fall outfits.

Fresh flowers, thrown into a beautiful bright bouquet.

Handwritten notes from friends. and handwriting notes to friends.

Learning about people- who they are, what they love, their hearts.

As you get to know me this month, you will catch even more of the things I hold nearest and dearest…the list just keeps going…

But today I was, again, struck by one forever love of mine- the sunrise.

When I still lived at my parents home I would wake up early in the morning to take long runs on country backroads. I loved the rest I felt in these moments; running amidst fields and trees, down the stony orchard lane, chasing the sun as it rose bold and beautiful each day.

When I moved into the city I felt this great loss. Suddenly that rest I found at daybreak was replaced with tall buildings and dodging trash cans. The air didn’t feel so fresh, and I told Brent “the city makes me hate to run.”

Slowly but surely I have trained myself in the ways of city running. Go where the green lights take you, watch your step on uneven sidewalks, and don’t breathe for 10 seconds when the trash truck blows past you (not sure that one is good for my lungs…). Beyond the practicals, I have found it a joy to search for a spot of sunrise in the city. There are certain locations where I know I’ll catch it, and I love to begin my runs so that I end heading into the sweet glow of morning. I see glimpses over the Lime Street cemetery, down the wide expanse of Walnut Street, when I branch out and run down Broad Street and by the river.

Even when the fiery streaked sky is peeking through buildings it brings hope to my heart and a fresh perspective to my day. The sweet encouragement of morning sun has, by no means, been lost in the city. It just takes my perspective shift, and stretches me to seek beauty in the unassuming.

and someday- i’m sure I’ll experience moments where I reminisce those sweet city sunrises.
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 {sunrise in ronks}

photo-8{sunrise in lancaster}

You Are Worth It

The past few days have been a blur.

Some friends and I put together a spontaneous closet sale, which turned out to be a HUGE success! The amount of old relationships I got to rekindle and new ones I got to make amazed me, and all the socializing felt like my own personalized version of heaven!

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{love some of my very best friends in one picture!}

Combining my passions for shopping, fashion, girls/women and planning gave me SO much life, and as I’ve replayed how the event went (and mentally began to plan the next one) I’ve felt my heart stirring to blog on a topic that is so real in my life- and maybe yours too.

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You are worth it.

I’ve shared my journey with self image before, with perfectionism, eating, and my perception of beauty. One thing I really prayed in planning for the closet sale is that it would be a fun, social event that girls would enjoy, and that looking in the mirror and trying on clothing would bring life not lies.

Trust me, I know what the mirror can do. You know why it was so easy to sell my clothing? All I had to do was grab piles from our bedroom floor, leftover from weekday mornings when I practically threw tantrums over how I looked.

Well I guess I didn’t like these, or I would have worn them, so might as well sell them.

How many of us have been in this position? Something is SO cute on the rack, in the catologue, and even when you lay out an outfit Thursday night. But when Friday morning comes and you slip into that adorable dress, you realize that it clings a little tighter than you want, that the color looks better with your bedroom chair than your skin tone, or that you simply do not like what you see. You end up in so many attempts at “the perfect outfit,” that soon your hair is messed up, your deoderant has landed on a hem somewhere back at outfits #4 or 5, and your confidence is crushed. As unfortunate as it may be, your mood has been defined.

You would be hard pressed to find a woman who has not experienced this very thing at some point in her existence. And for those who haven’t, I applaud you. You are not missing out.

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I’ve often rambled to my husband the thoughts I have about a certain fashion phenomenon. That something can look SO cute in a store, or even on some other girl, but then you bring it home and it suddenly becomes this sad piece of fabric, collecting dust in your closet. I’ve (more recently) come to the conclusion that I’m blaming the wrong thing.

This may not be the clothing’s fault. Or even the company who created it.

How often do I choose to make a purchase on a “good day,” and then 24-hours later hate what I see in the mirror? How often am I just unhappy with me, with my number size or my heighth or the tone of my skin, with my peeling sunburn or the “extra weight” I percieve? How often do I throw fits in the morning, not because of the clothing, but because of my lacking confidence?

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As I think of the women I admire most in life, I realize something- They each know their value and they each recognize their worth.

I am not just attracted to the clothing they wear or the style of their hair or the way they always look just right. I am attracted to the deep seeded confidence I just feel when I’m around them. A confidence that creates comfortability, a knowledge of who they are in the Lords eyes, that they have so much to offer, and that they can invest in other people, in me. To look outward instead of inward, and value so much more than the material.

I am no pro at getting rid of this warped sense of beauty that is so easy to grab hold of. In fact, all I can tell you is that even in marriage, when you have been chosen and you know your husband loves you, it is a struggle. But I am a firm believer that being aware of the root of a problem helps majorly in then taking hold and uprooting, and I know that fighting your own thoughts does make a difference!

 I often think about someday, when we could have a little girl, and it brings tears to my eyes.

If  there is one thing I want her [and YOU]  to know, it is this.

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xoxo Katie

Monday Inspiration

 

 

 What’s on my mind this beautiful day…

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This weekend my mother-in-law surprised me with the most enormous bouquet of flowers ever.

Not many things bring me joy like fresh flowers do, and I had so many I created multiple arrangements with more to share!

My current favs are hydrangeas and garden roses. I’ve never loved roses but those pastel pinks totally inspire me.

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Saturday we got to celebrate the marriage of one of the sweetest girls I know and a member of my Wednesday night dinner club!

Court & Nathan’s wedding had the most elegant and laid back style, and there were so many friends to spend time with. It was the perfect night!

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Yesterday Brent and I went on a countryside run near his parents home.

We ran 5.5 miles, which totally shocked and excited me because I’ve definitely being feeling a little “out of shape.”

I’m so thankful for a husband who loves me enough to slow down to my pace and stick with me on runs like that one.

The weather was truly beautiful and I loved coming home to see the evening light shine through the trees onto the brick wall of our apartment.

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We ended the weekend with a delicious fresh & local dinner, (recipe compliments of Martha Stuart herself) and watching the World Cup with friends. (Although I couldn’t really tell you much about the game since Amber and I took a walk that lasted for it’s entirety haha!)

Lately I’m learning to see the beauty in little things, and to truly enjoy moments for what they are. Our days are hardly perfect, but I find that when I focus on the pieces that I love I can cultivate thankfullness within my own heart and that of my husband, and those around me.

So here’s a recipe for you to try as you begin your week-

I really do love Martha Stewart…

A quote to inspire you-

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And a post to help you remember that Mondays aren’t so bad when you’re counting your blessings 🙂

LOVE YOU ALL!

(and sorry for the awful iPhone pics. Maybe I’ll get a camera someday!)

xoxo Katie

It’s Hard Work Being Yourself

12:30 AM and I am wide awake. Tapping on my sleeping husband’s arm and whispering, “hey Brent, are you awake?” (I totally knew the answer to that one). “I think I’m overstimulated creatively.”

That woke him.

I was met with a groggy, “you are so weird.” And he was out again.

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For those of you who know me, and therefore don’t believe this story, it is true. On Saturday I slept past 9 AM (which led to a major freak out because I never do that and my Saturday was completely wasted) and then I stayed up till 1. Another uncharacteristic move on my part. I spent my day loving the weather, sipping on the yummiest coconut breeze iced latte from cute little Corner Coffee Shop, strolling the grassy aisles of an inspirational craft show and planting flowers in my city garden. On top of that, I started reading an amazing book that encompassed, beauty, home decor, and all things I love.

Who needs caffeine when you’re hyped up on inspiration?

This is no exaggeration- once I finally did close my eyes that Saturday night, I was abruptly disrupted by my own dreams of rearranging the living room furniture, and could hardly stay in bed at 3 AM. Four hours of sleep later, we were up and I was jabbering about all the things I wanted to do. We took every picture off the wall and “re-did” our apartment, and it goes without saying that I totally crashed Sunday night.

I truly was overstimulated creatively.

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I am a creative person, and once my mind gets racing I just can’t stop. I breathe beauty, love life and want to hug everything for joy.

My creativity can make me feel alive and ridiculous all at the same time. While I can be creative, I can also get caught up in the details of things and fall into the trap of perfection. I can become almost paralyzed when I consider what others might think of what I create, write, decorate, wear, anything that speaks to my “style.” Being vulnerable and putting myself out there can be scary. I can feel silly- Like I choose to do things that have no meaning, or waste time with the menial. I can become insecure, that my brain doesn’t work as logically as some, or that I’m just coming across as over the top and ridiculous.

It is hard work being yourself. Especially when you care what others think.

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Just today I was thinking about all this- about life, our weekend, what was on my heart, blogging. I was feeling insecure, lost in the busyness of where we’re at right now and feeling like I have nothing to give or to say. The more I think, the more I spiral, and the more I spiral the worse my thought process gets. But I feel like that is exactly where the devil wants me.

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Do you ever feel like you use your gifts, be who you are, enjoy life (even if it seems “menial” or “silly”) and then have the worst day ever 12 hours later? Or you feel like you’re getting ahead only to fall back into whatever your “blah”-ness is all over again.

I have discovered, more and more, that the Lord totally wants us to

a. be who we are

b. have FUN!

Enjoy life! Creativity isn’t silly, beauty isn’t ridiculous, it is totally a gift. Being excited about life is ok, and not just ok, it is good for you. I just REALLY felt like I needed to write this to encourage whoever you are to BE who you are. It is so easy to fall into the fake-ness and false-self stuff, but nobody really believes or likes that side of you.

Don’t lose yourself to the pressures you feel or perceive.

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Some of the photographers at the studio where I work attended a workshop recently and came back with this quote. I feel like it pretty much sums up my heart in this perfectly-

If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and gave you the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation. Creativity is His gift to you and the ‘raw materials’ to be put together in various ways are His gift to you as well.”

The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life, Edith Schaeffer

❤ Katie

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things [recently]

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{watermelon, feta, & mint. sounds so strange, but seriously the best combo.

oh and Rice & Noodle’s macaroons.. YUM.}

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{this little antique peach pitcher I found at the craft show last Saturday. perfect for planting a succulent…but what isn’t perfect for a succulent?}

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{this watercolor print created by my friend Abbey of In Colour. I love to look at it hanging by my desk.}

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{the adorable craft show I went to last weekend, called The Cottonwood House.}

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{peonies, my recent flower of choice. and the dinner party I got to throw for my dear friend Court (soon-to-be MRS) and fellow dinner club members!}

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{the book I’m reading- which inspired me to take all the decor off my walls and rework my home. and the author’s blogamazing.}

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 {my workspace. I figure since I spend most of my days there it needs to look ‘me-ish’- and let’s not forget my recent favorite iced drink, introduced to me by my sweet friend Brittne. Prince Street coffee with a little chai! }

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letter to my someday daughter [and any girl in the world].

Disclaimer- This post is not to say my own mother didn’t tell me these things, but simiply that I chose to learn the hard way. These are some of my personal opinions, thoughts and lessons learned in my short 21-year-old life span. Some pertain to my battle with anorexia, some to my education, some just micellaneous life stuff. I have always dreamed of being able to share my store and impact someone, someday the way so many women in my life have impacted me.

So here they are…things I wish I never did, things I did and learned from, stuff that’s on my heart.

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1. The kissy face is NOT timeless, you will regret it. (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re either lying or should google “myspace kissy face”)

2. Just because two pretty people are in a relationship, does not mean they have pretty hearts. (outward appearances only hold up so long)

3. Stocking up on dirt-cheap Target clearance items that you “kind of like” is not being a good steward of your money- Save up for those leather boots you really want.

4. Belly button rings? Not really timeless either…and they leave a gaping hole above the already gaping hole in your stomach.

5. To guys, stick-thin-coat hanger-thin bodies are NOT all the rage.

6. If you starve yourself, your metabolism slows down. Any food your body can get ahold of is stored…as fat. So eat normally, proportionately, moerately, but normally. (and normal can include some ice cream every now and then!)

7. Along those lines…No matter how thin you are, you will think you should be thinner. Same goes for every area of your life. Being hard on yourself is a waste of time, drop the expectations. Choose to embrace your life.

8. Dating in high school is rough at best. I know I may seem hypocritical considering I did the cliche and married my high school sweetheart…but hey, we had to break up for two years before any of that happened.

9. Freshman year of college- NOT created soleley for skipping classes, slacking on assigments and then assuming you will pass. I almost didn’t.

10. The more you look in the mirror, the worse you will start to look.

11. Just because you survived freshman year of high school doesn’t mean you know everything- Mom still knows better.

12. Hiding the receipts does not mean you didn’t spend the money.

13. If you plan on going to college, do not feel the need to have a five year plan by 11th grade. I went from fashion design to interior design to business at Shippensburg (haha) to elementary education to undeclared to public relations to NOW. (I will not disclose which of those were actual majors vs. just dreams. It’s too embarrassing). There is hope, I am somehow graduating early, you are NORMAL. -or you have found someone else who is abnormal.

14. Playing the dumb girl who doesn’t enjoy reading or writing and never knows answers-doesn’t pay off. Brent recently told me that if he had known that I actually enjoyed my times reading classics like The Great Gatsby and The Scarlet Letter, he may have liked me MORE in high school! (Not that it matters now 🙂 )

15. You cannot  love others until you love yourself, and you cannot love yourself until you embrace God’s love. {I’m crying as I write this.}

16. Your first heart break seems the worst-I can feel the pain for you. Break-ups are terrible, awful and I wouldn’t wish one on anyone (another case against high school dating) but I PROMISE you God’s got a plan beyond your own. Hang on to Him.

17. Back on the timeless theme- shirts that reveal cleavage, not cool, and not bringing any attention you want from any guy worth getting.

18. Guard your heart. This includes Snapchat, Facetime and texting. (In my day-not that long ago- it was IM, Myspace, Xanga).

19. I’ve had enough self-tanner faux pas to know, it doesn’t work. none of it.

20. There is always someone worse off than you. When you’re upset because you shrunk your favorite shirt, humiliated yourself in front of your friends or got grounded for something you think you didn’t do, consider others ahead of yourself. Create a gift, write a note, do SOMETHING for SOMEONE that is NOT YOU. I am always amazed at my perspective change.

21. Popularity is overrated.

22. Don’t limit yourself, start a dream journal and just let your ideas flow. Creativity is contagious, pass it on

23. Eat oatmeal when you have cramps. It helps, I promise (and chocolate actually makes you feel worse because your sugars spike and then crash. Crashing sugars=a pathetic, crying, grumpy Katie).

24. Above all else, realize you ARE not alone. There IS someone like you, someone who went through all the joys and crap of middle school, high school and beyond.

You WILL survive!

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Love, Katie

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real life | sweet fairytales | joy.

“maybe the good life isn’t a fairytale…”

-some random radio station

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That’s ridiculous, I thought, as I’m driving along at a painfully slow speed on Lititz Pike. (For those of you who ever
try to enter Lancaster City from this route, you understand me. It is however a great deterrent from frozen yogurt and craft stores.)

So i’m thinking, that quote is absurd, life is beautiful, life is a fairy tale, that is the good life.

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I am a girl who loves beauty, I love beautiful clothes, keeping a beautiful home, aiming to look beautiful.

I am a girl who loves perfection, I love perfect weather, perfect days, perfect meals in a perfectly clean kitchen.

sounds magical, right?

I am a girl who cries, I cry when I burn bread, I cry when I shrink a shirt, I cry when my face breaks out ( I am being very candid here.)

I am a girl who fears, I fear a messy home, I fear a failed dinner, I fear a fight or a bad day.

and just like that, the magic is gone.

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I am learning, slowly learning, that I can’t rely on a fairy tale life to bring me joy. I can’t avoid fights with my husband to keep us “happy,” I can’t always coordinate our outfits in public (and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t), and I can’t make perfect dinners from now until I die.

Where are my margins? Where is my room for mistakes?

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My mind…that quote…passing from immediate judgment and scorn to a breath, a thought, I wonder…

What if I changed my perspective of “the good life,” what if I redefined “fairytale?”

fair-y tale, noun ; a story about magical and imaginary beings and lands,

~

fair-y tale, noun ; a beautiful illusion, something that comes of dreaming, but nothing of substance. For true life, true magical living comes moment by moment- it is not an overarching image of perfection, it is living life with the ones you love…gracing yourself with room for imperfection…openness and honesty…experiencing the reality of life with a new frame of mind.

The good life is NOT fairytales.

The good life is raw, open, honest | joy.

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***for those of you curious about my scorned tone at points,

(specifically the mention of culinary disasters),

to you I say one thing-

never try bread in a crock pot. the crock pot is good, not that good.

my wedding was not the best day of my life.

here it is-

the once promised and long-time-coming post: wedding version.

I have to admit, the thought of trying to describe to you all the details of this solitary yet packed-full-of-emotion day is rather daunting. And I decided I don’t have to. Pictures speak for themselves, and I have a whole load of those coming from my sweet friend Amber and Jeremy Hess Photographers (so I just gave away the topic of my next post 🙂 ).

BUT.

I wanted to share some of the photos my friends took, AND say a few things.

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First- I loved my wedding (you are probably thinking, who doesn’t love their wedding? or else your feeling a sense of relief after seeing the blog title). But really, I just adored my wedding.

I will admit that there were points when the weather made me want to pull all of my perfectly done hair OUT, the rain held off and our wedding was outside! (Better late than never is my new motto).

My #1 tip to future brides with the image of an outdoor wedding- Add to it an image of an indoor wedding, do not rely on the iPhone weather for anything, ever, and stop checking the weather the week before your wedding. Let your future husband and stressed out dad handle that. (just kidding Dad). 

But really, what I LOVED about my wedding was the heart and soul behind it. How cliche can I possibly be is maybe what you are thinking, but if I could only communicate the amount of people who pulled this thing off. Without friends and family I would have said let’s walk to the courthouse and get ourselves a judge. (That came up a few times anyway).

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I love a good party. And (in my opinion) my wedding was a pretty good party.

Let’s just be honest. My wedding was not the best day of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, my wedding was beautiful, it was fun, I was the center of attention which (I will admit) I always enjoy. My dress was everything i’d dreamed of, my flowers were the exact look I was aiming for and my husband was so handsome.

But all that is gone in a fleeting moment. That day is simply a memory now, and it’s only been one month! That day you anticipate flys by so quickly that you hardly get to grasp all of its moments.

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The best days of my life, for me, have been the days after my wedding.

The mornings of waking up next to my husband and knowing he’s here. The days of keeping my home and folding our laundry and anxiously awaiting his return with a meal on the table. The evenings of togetherness, whether at home or away. And the nights of falling asleep knowing that I am not alone, of feeling safe.

I’m not saying that cleaning the bathroom is no longer a chore, or that doing laundry is my new favorite activity…that my meals always turn out as planned OR that Brent always loves them…but there is something to be said about having purpose.

And I honestly believe that I’m living my dream, to be a wife, to keep a home, to love and care for my husband and to throw my all into it.

Yea, I think that these are the best days.

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it’s Real Simple.

There are days when I find myself entering into this place. A place I don’t like. My mind starts racing, my heart beats faster, I begin to sweat. Sometimes I break out in hives. This place is totally not a place of rest. This is a place of stress

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Why am I stressed? Why do we stress? Well right now I can tell you it’s about money, about the fact that I’m beginning a new life and investing in new things. Suddenly there are so many more responsibilities, more things to think about and more things to buy.

Where is the simplicity of life that is so often discussed?

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In an effort to reduce the heart palpitations, I reached for my latest issue of Real Simple  magazine.

The tagline?

| Life made easier |

The headline?

stress-free SUMMER.

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Titles like 67 Refreshing Ideas to Make Every Day more FUNCool Drinks, Hot new beach reads and my personal favorite, Look Great in Pictures: 17 Expert Tricks. All of the words scream read me, I’ll fix this, and for a moment, I buy it. (I mean I bought the magazine for some practical reason didn’t I?)

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With my magazine [and a peach] in tow, I head to my bedroom for a relaxing read and to rest my brain. The scent of lavendar greets me, as the lavender buds ordered for our wedding are currently hiding under my bed.

Ahhhhhh, I need this cleanse. I deserve this.

I hate to say that’s what I’m thinking.

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It is SO easy for me to think to myself, “i am a bride-to-be, i am working and i am a college student. i have every right to be stressed.” 

But it didn’t take more than two minutes for me to realize that the magazine and a sense of lavender scented self-entitlement was not what I needed. I opened Jesus Calling, my go to for a little refreshment. This line immediately spoke to me.

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the glitter of this world is tinny and temporal. the light of My Presence is brilliant and everlasting. 

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The beauty of these words overwhelmed me. Here I am reading Real Simple when real simplicity is at my beck and call [excuse my punniness]. Peace washed over me. I have to allow myself to relax. Submit myself to a presence so much greater than I could ever create with loads of lavender and way more than 67 refreshing summer fun ideas. 

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peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled. 

Trust in Me.

{John 14:27}