Guest Blogger : Ruthy @ Discovery Street



Hi there! I'm Ruthy from Discovery Street; a lifestyle blog documenting my days as a wife, new mom, and homeowner. Pre baby my life was about adventure, travels, food and making something from nothing--currently life revolves around a 17 pound blue eyed ginger haired girl named Parker Penny...I swear she's my daughter...but she clearly took after her father. 

Our path to where we currently are in life was not the road most traveled; but we wouldn't have it any other way.



WHAT I LEARNED IN PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING



I LOVED going to pre-marital counseling. But that probably doesn't come as a surprise to those who know me; I'm totally into psycho babble regarding personality assessments. I heart taking "get to know yourself better" tests. I love Myers Briggs, birth order analysis and learning about love languages. So seeing how my partner and I "matched" up was really fun and interesting. I think it helps that we were already "pre-determined" as compatible based on e-Harmony's matching system, but it was pretty confirming to hear our counselor say that we were one of the highest scoring couples he's ever counseled. (Aww yea!) I realize that points and answering questions on-line regarding our viewpoints on finances, children, roles, communication, etc are not the be all end all of determining a successful marriage. But it sure was great to learn that we have similar outlooks on the "big stuff."

The most significant thing I took from this experience was the answer to this question. Our counselor asked, "Five years from now, when the romance and novelty has worn off and you've had the fight to end all fights and I ask you, why did you marry _____, what is your answer?" We each answered sincerely and lovingly and looked back at our counselor pleased with our answers looking for affirmation. We learned our answers revolved around how I made Andyfeel and how he made me feel. He told us our answers revolved around ourselves....that the other person was fulfilling our individual expectations or desires. But what happens when those expectations or desires stop being met? This is when a lot of marriages start falling apart because this is the basis of "why I married _____." 

Our counselor explained that marriage is a calling. (*We went to a Christian counselor, so "calling" includes a spiritual connotation). Five, ten, or 20 years from now if Andy and I are going through a rough patch and someone asks me why I married him...I'll say without hesitation, I was called to. When you feel called to do something, when you know without a shadow of a doubt that your marriage is a divine appointment, you don't let anything stand in your way. This truly was an "ah-hah" moment for me. I wonder how many marriages might make it through the rough times if they truly understood before hand that they were called to be husband and wife. Called not to just love each other, but called to honor, respect and serve one another even when we don't feel like it.

DIY Blog Design : How to Pick a Color Palette


Ok. So neither JD nor myself are professional graphic designers, by any means. However, I looove learning how to spice up our blog design on a very consistent basis. 

Anytime JD is away on travel or when we're off traveling somewhere together for his job, I revamp our blog design in some way or another. Designing helps ease my anxiety and makes the time fly by as I wait to have my husband back in my arms.


[Side note: Can you tell from our new design that JD has been out of the country for three weeks!? Needless to say, I really really missed him. I spent the three weeks with my parents crafting, leather-working and helping to set up my mom's booth at The Cotton Depot. It was a beautiful time with our amazing friends and family in Georgia, but I still really missed my husband. He flew in Saturday where I greeted him with this painting at the airport. But more on that another day.]



It would be so much easier if I bought a template from one of the awesome professional designers on Etsy, but I'm a stubborn DIY-gal. 

A very stubborn DIY-gal... And I married a very stubborn DIY-guy. 

We're not stubborn in the sense of close-minded, rather in the sense of being frugal and wanting to do everything with our own hands.

So it only makes sense to try our hands at designing our own blog... right?

Now, let's get to chattin' about a main element of design.

Color.

It's crucial to design.
Absolutely crucial.
So choose wisely.
For our newly revamped blog design, I picked "Sparkled Hues" from Design Seeds.


I wanted a color palette that would incorporate the colors of spring but could possibly carry into summer, if needed. So we have Easter blues as well as a Fourth of July red, white and blue. I love the pop of red but only implement it in smaller places on our blog.

Color schemes are so wonderful and inspiring that I made a Pinterest board here. Color palettes are perfect for anything design... websites, home decor, sewing projects, weddings, you name it!

You want to choose a palette with four to six complementing colors to integrate into your design.

Here's a great tutorial from The Mother Huddle on how to create your own color palette using a photo with PicMonkey.

What do you think of this palette? 
What are your favorite colors to work with?




Flower Arrangements 101 with JL Designs

Did you see this lovely rustic photo on your Instagram feed last week?


No? Well then, you can follow us here

;)

And guess what? I didn't buy that arrangement... I put it together with my own hands along with a few of these wonderful ladies, all thanks to JL Designs

Me, Mom, Lauren (cousin), Aunt Sonya, Meredith (cousin)

The night offered a delightful time filled with laughter, catching up with old friends and hanging out with our sweet family.

Mom and me

Our friend Jeff, owner of JL Designs, taught an amazing flower arrangement class! If you live in Walton County (Georgia), you MUST take one of his classes. 

Before I show you our photos from the class, you have to see some of his work. He was the florist for our wedding...

Read more about our wedding day here

Is this not the loveliest and most whimsical of bouquets you've ever seen?? I love those hydrangeas, feathers and the use of my great-grandmother's broach. 


Jeff helped us carry out our theme of nature, birds and nests. He was such an integral part in making our wedding day special. 

Kike Morales Photography

Back to the class... 

Jeff taught us how to arrange two bouquets in glass vases - all from a freshly-cut bouquet of long-stem flowers and greenery like you would get from a florist or in a grocery store.

I don't want to give away a lot of the details Jeff shared with us (out of respect for him and his business), but I'll share a few key points of basic flower arranging that everyone should know:

(1) Don't just toss that beautiful, aromatic bundle into the vase!! Trim your stems in a way that will add height and dimension to an arrangement. The shortest flowers should line up right above the lip of the vase.

(2) Put the greenery in first and fill in accordingly.

(3) Carry a color theme throughout the bouquet from top to the lip of the vase. Our pop of color was purple.




The second arrangement Jeff taught was this {sigh} absolutely stunning hydrangea and white rose arrangement.

This was honestly the coolest technique I've ever seen for arranging flowers. I will be using it any and every time we have friends over for dinner!!


It's rare to see a business willing to teach details about their profession to their customers. Jeff encouraged us all to make our own arrangements at home (even though most of the class will still run to him for all florist needs - there's no comparison to his work). All that to say, JL Designs is a fantastic company with an awesome willingness and loyalty to go above and beyond for their customers.

Thank you Jeff, Amber and Andrea at JL Designs for hosting this fantastic class!

Check out their Facebook page here and see more photos from the class. 

That's Amore : A Todd Nest Valentine's Day Tradition

Happy Valentine's Day!!


Is that an ironing board... with chicken and candles?

Why, yes, it most certainly is.

Valentine's Day is a super sweet day for couples, but let's be honest here - 
Restaurants are always packed and overpriced,
heels are nice but house shoes are comfier,
floral arrangements are expensive and
candles sure smell sweeter in your own home.

{can you tell we're homebodies?}

So we celebrate Valentine's Day by cooking dinner together,
in our own home, and setting it all up on our ironing board by candlelight,
just like we did in 2009 in my ole' apartment at Auburn University.

Oh - and lots of chocolate. We eat lots of chocolate. :)


As cliche as it sounds, every day is Valentine's Day for us. We love marriage, we love each other and we love celebrating those things every single day. I can't imagine our marriage being any other way.

JD and I love creating new traditions and celebrating old traditions as Mr. & Mrs. 
As quirky and simple as it is, we wanted to give you a little sneak peek into the way we have celebrated love on Valentine's Day.

Do you have any special Valentine's Day traditions?


Twenty-five...


At least that's what I'm hoping for...

Have you signed up for the Anthropologie card? I was super excited when we first moved up to Huntsville and saw that the nearest Anthropologie was only a few miles away.

Oh, who am I kidding..?
I'm STILL super excited that Anthro is that close to us! 



I turned 25 last Tuesday. Maybe you can believe that, but 25 is kind of a big age to wrap my head around. It's certainly not old, but it makes you feel like you're at least getting old

Kids call you ma'am. 
Your body gets a little love-handlier.
Ambition drives you more because 
you realize this is really the time to make of yourself who you want to become.
Big decisions are bigger than ever.
You're an adult and you should probably dress like it.
Health seems to become a trillion times more important.
Moments become sweeter by the day.
Then you realize that 25 is halfway to 50.

As JD says, this can be a half glass full or half glass empty mentality.

Obviously, it must be the half glass full mentality. There is so much more I can't wait to achieve and embark upon before I'm 50 years old. More traveling, more creating, more loving.

And I can't wait to start it all full-force in this year of my life with my sweet husband by my side.


What was turning 25 like for you? 
What has been your favorite age?




Turquoise and Bison Hide : Moleskine Leather Journal Cover


Over the last few years, I have wanted so badly to make my own leather journal.

Fortunately, my brother's brother-in-law taught him how to make one. Ergo, for our Christmas present, Chase (my brother) helped us make my first leather journal.

We're all spending Christmas at my parents' this year. Chase and Jackie flew in from Las Vegas Wednesday and we drove in from Huntsville that night.

Mom, Jackie and I had glitter and cardstock scattered everywhere with our projects while Chase and JD took up the other side of the basement with bison hide and leather-working tools.

Very few moments are as special as seeing family gathered together, especially when it's your husband and brother (dad joined in later after he came home early from work to be with us).


In all fairness to JD, he made 98% of my journal while I was working on other Christmas presents and drinking coffee. 

Have I mentioned that my husband is rockin'??

Look at this beautiful bison hide journal they put together for me:

front on the right, back on the left


It took us a while to figure out what kind of clasp we wanted to do in the front. My only non-negotiable was the turquoise closure. Brown and turquoise are the Jitney signature colors.


Instead of making an actual journal with the super rugged and gorgeous paper, we ended up making a leather journal cover so that I can interchange all of my Moleskine journals. 



I stitched the flap for decorative purposes and styled the closure. Besides that, my sweet husband worked for several hours on making it perfect. 

There was so much selflessness poured into this creation (JD was pages-deep into a new zombie novel when I asked him to help me).

I am deeply thankful for priceless moments spent with my amazingly creative family. I could not ask for more this Christmas. 

What do you think of the journal cover?

Germany : Heidelberg Christmas Markets

It's cold in Germany.

Many of you may not think it's cold, but for a couple of newlywed kiddos from the Deep South like us... it was cold. 

But Germany has Christmas Markets.

So the cold was easy to overlook.

Each town hosts at least one Christmas Market in Germany. "Amazing" cannot even describe it. Most people are cheerful, friendly and inviting. "Merry Christmas" banners hang on sides of the buildings, and guess what? People don't protest them or rip them down. In America, people try to protest nativity scenes and anything that says the word Christmas; but not in Germany. They believe in Christmas and they celebrate it like no country we've ever seen.

This particular Christmas Market was in Heidelberg, Germany. Five different markets lined the main street of the town: Kornmarkt, Markplatz, Universitatplatz, Anatomiegarten, and the Bismarckplatz. 

See the line of lights in the photo below? Those are the walkways between the Christmas markets....

Before we shopped, we had to make one crucial stop. 

Food.

Check out the Fuerwurst that I grabbed at the Christmas Market booth above.

Delish.

JD got the steak with onions.

Are you a Nutella fan?

If so, go to Germany. Everything is Nutella there, including the special crepes.

Ok - so we realize that kissing pictures are cheesy and a lot of people don't think they're very cool... but how can you resist when there is a store right in front of you called Coffee & Kiss? 

I mean, you really have no other choice, right?!

Below you will see a gigantic Christmas Pyramid - life size, at that. 

I could've stood and stared at this thing until it got dark. 

And maybe we did...

(Haha - kidding, we walked back to it after we finished touring the markets and it just so happened to be all lit up.)

How beautiful is that!?

When we realized how big of a deal Christmas Pyramids were in Germany, we just had to get one for our own Todd Nest. Each tier displays a piece of the Christmas story - except Baby Jesus isn't on there. We like to think that the candles display who He is - the Light.

Have you ever seen one of these in person? It's super cool. The heat from the candles rise and spin the propellers at the top, which in turn spins each tier. It's one of our favorite Christmas decorations.

What is your favorite Christmas decoration?

Thanksgiving Rummaging and Reminiscing

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!

Most of you have probably had five blog posts since Thanksgiving Day but we wanted to share our weekend with y'all anyway. :) I cannot wait to spend a couple of hours delving into your blogs, checking out your holiday happenings thus far. 

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. As much as I love giving gifts (and let's be honest... receiving gifts), Thanksgiving is one of the rare holidays that is all about family and friends. No tangible gifts. Just the gift of community. How awesome is that?

We spent the weekend at JD's parents in West Alabama. As some of you may know, JD's dad celebrated his eightieth birthday in October. Yeah - celebrate good times! C'mon!

He kicks it better than any eighty-year-old man we know. He walks about seven miles every day... after breakfast, after dinner (and probably most days after lunch). 

So we joined in, walking sticks and all.


And it was such a blessed time. 

There is just something so special about Thanksgiving walks with the fam. I'll never forget one Thanksgiving Day I spent walking under the amber trees at Lake Oconee (aka The Bungalow) a few years ago with my sweet Gingin. She shared with me how crucial it is to savor every moment, because you really never know when it will be the last. You think you know that until your grandmother reminds you. Then you realize you really don't know much at all so you better soak in every ounce of wisdom she has. JD and I are both thankful for the wisdom and lessons our precious parents and grandparents have taught us.

Back to the weekend....

JD's childhood room is still decked out in baseball posters. Stacks of baseball cards (with chalky gum still in the plastic wrapping of unopened cards) line the walls. Random Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figurines can be found in drawers and high school and collegiate awards still hang proudly on the walls. Needless to say, I love sleeping in there. It makes me feel like I can share a special part of him that I never had the chance of knowing. 

We spent the weekend trying to clean it out but had trouble since so much held a special place in JD's memory. Obviously, we had to share a few of our favorite finds with you...


The American Gladiator soup thermos. The black slanted writing is none other than the names of each gladiator. What!?


We rummaged through old papers and sermon notes. The ones above and below were favorites of mine. 

Why?

Because it proves that opposites truly do attract. 

JD's occupations of dissimilar interests include all but one of the things I wanted to do in life. When I was young, I spent every day in the basement teaching an imaginary classroom while writing lessons on several chalkboards for my "third grade students". I started college majoring in Radio, Televison and Film to be a News Anchor / Reporter - and switched halfway to finish my studies in Public Relations instead. And now... I would love to teach an art class. 

My only non-interest was a medical illustrator.

At least we agreed on one area of dissimilar interest.


However, my favorite find was this: JD's written testimony from high school (pictured below). Even though our stories of salvation never change, our testimonies of God's goodness and mercy are ever-changing in such a beautiful way. It was so awesome to read about the place God had JD in that season of life. 


And then we found this... a poem JD wrote in college that made goosebumps pop up on my arms. 

My sweet husband is such a humble man. Reading things like this make me fall even deeper in love with him and Christ. I am thankful for him.


Unbeknownst to me, JD set up my new sewing machine and all of my supplies in front of the TV (so he could watch football while I sewed) while I was sorting through his childhood room.


Thus goes the weekend: Walking, Turkey, Walking, Sewing, Football, Eating, Cleaning, Organizing, Sewing, and Walking. :)


What was your favorite Thanksgiving memory from this year??


Linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMondays! Please go check them out and show some love! :)



Surprise! Did You Know We Were Movie Stars for Twelve Seconds??

Today we're linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMondays! 

Keeping in line with our last post about extras...

Did you know JD and I were in a movie??

Yeah. Like, we were stars for about twelve seconds. It was awesome.


Ok, so it was only an ABC Family movie. BUT we officially made it onto Netflix. What!?

If you want to check out our part, without watching the rest of the movie - you can.

Movie: My Future Boyfriend
(It was originally named "Always & Forever" which we liked a lot better, but oh well.)

Time Stat: somewhere around the 39 minute mark.


About three months after graduating from college / three months into our marriage, we were living in "The Bungalow" (AKA: a cabin right next to my gracious grandparents on Lake Oconee). I was jobless and JD had just gotten a small job at a technology storefront in town. Needless to say, we had a small income and very flexible schedules.

So when we heard about Extras Casting Atlanta on Facebook, we were super pumped.



We heard about this company via my brother, Chase.

Side note: You can see him as an extra in the movie Wanderlust. We watched the movie on the airplane just to get a screenshot of him...



A day or so after we "liked" the company, we saw an opportunity pop up for a "kissing couple." We emailed one of our wedding photos and an engagement photo that night and two days later, we got a phone call asking us to be in the movie.


They asked us to bring in a few outfits for the wardrobe department to choose for our part. The wardrobe dept. told JD "Your outfit looks perfect," then pointed to me and said, "Uhh... What else do you have?"

I ended up with the floral dress and JD ended up with a green polo and shorts.

Then we got on set...

The director looked at JD and said, "What is he wearing? Did you even go through the wardrobe dept? Go change."

We got a pretty big laugh out of this. The wardrobe dept. got him some khakis and dress shoes within a few minutes, and we were back on set.

Our part was "so important" that we were not allowed to play as extras in any other part of the movie because the audience would notice us. This led to an entire twelve hours on set (getting paid $9 an hour), only to act for 30 minutes of it.

Our part?

We were supposed to portray "love" so JD bought me a rose, we kissed and walked off.

They shot about four different angles and we were finished.

About nine months later, someone wrote on my Facebook wall: "I'm pretty sure I just saw you on ABC Family..."

Contrary to our beliefs, they decided to keep our part in the movie and we were on TV.
How cool is that??


We still can't believe that we were in a movie, but it hits on our Top Ten List of the most exciting adventures we've had thus far. It was also the prime part to play as newlyweds.

What unexpected thing would go down on your Top Ten Most Exciting Adventure List?


I Want YOUR Advice : Perfumes

Whitney, here.

I need some advice. 

{Perfume from Anthropologie}

For Christmas, the only gift I'm asking for from my husband is a bottle of perfume (and maybe a pair of black TOMS). 

My biggest problem is that I see a perfume bottle, fall in love with the bottle style so hard that I want to buy it without even caring about the scent. Example: Anthropologie's Happ & Stahns Perfumers above. It's a pin cushion with the loveliest of pins on top... and it's my favorite color. Who wouldn't want something so pretty?!

I'm a lover of lotions but have yet to dabble much in perfumes. 

Perfumes seem so womanly - and I want to smell womanly!

I want to smell delightful to my husband. 

So delightful, in fact, that the words of Solomon flow from his mouth when we embrace:
"How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your oils than any spice!"
Song of Solomon 4:10

(Ok. So he would never say those exact words... that would be weird.) 
A sweet-smellin' wife adds an extra flame to the candle.


So, here's where you come in. 

I need suggestions on perfumes that smell lovely... 

because if I try to pick one out myself, 
I will base it on the aesthetics of the bottle and not the nature of the scent.

Give me your best blogosphere spritz and help a sister out!