Newlywed & Business Printables

Have you seen our Etsy shop yet?
 

Normally we have lots of super cute home decor items like this:


...but we're getting ready for an event called Shop with a Purpose supporting For Life Ministries and we're trying to stock up inventory until then.

In the meantime, we still have these lovely printables in our shop for purchase!

We have hourly, daily, weekly and monthly printables like these:








Home and business printables like this:
And our favorite: Newlywed Printables. 

All of our newlywed printables include Mr. & Mrs. as well as "bride" and "groom" highlights.
JD and I found that we have more wants than we have money, so we decided to create a form that prioritizes our wants and needs in long-term and short-term time spans. It really helps to put a lot into perspective. We've bought a lot less too. :)

Print those babies off and place in a family or business binder. 

You can also go by Staples or Office Depot and ask them to bind your printables.

They make awesome wedding gifts! 

Hope you stop by and grab a few here!! 

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! :)



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! 

Tutorial : How to Replace and Sew a Button


Have you ever lost a button in the washing machine? Or have you ever wanted to simply add a cute button to an apron or shirt? Follow this step-by-step tutorial and you will want to sew buttons onto all of your fabrics... or at least save you some money by not having to throw away clothes because they're missing a button.

Ironically, the week before I had planned to post about sewing on a button, my husband just so happened to lose a button on one of his favorite shirts while we were in Hawaii. We'll use his shirt as an example...



Step 1: Grab your supplies: seam ripper, a button, a needle, matching thread, and a pair of scissors. If you will be replacing a button on a shirt or jacket, look for the replacement button inside of the shirt material, specifically along the seam around the bottom. Then use your seam ripper to release the button from the shirt (see below).

Step 2: Find the original spot for the button or decide on the place you want to add a new embellishment button. How do you find that spot? Glad you asked. There should be either some broken thread or a couple of itty-bitty holes from where the thread was before. Still not able to figure it out? Easy sauce. Fasten up the other buttons and pass a pin through the hole of the missing button. Whichever way you do it, make sure you mark the replacement button spot with chalk.



Step 3: Thread the needle. (See below for thorough photographic instructions.) Pull one end of the thread through the eye of the needle. Pull that end of thread to meet the other. Knot the ends together by making a loop and pulling the tails through. Knot once more, and trim off any excess.



Step 4: Let's get stitchin'. First, push your needle up through the back of the fabric to the front, pulling the thread all the way through. Slide your button on down the thread to meet the fabric. Are your holes lined up with the button in place? 

Perfect. 

Now you can push your needle down through the opposite hole and out the back of the fabric. Make sure your stitching matches the pattern of your other buttons. Repeat this four or five times per hole. The thread should be tight enough as to where the button doesn't dangle. At the same time, it should be loose enough as to where your fabric doesn't bunch up. Whew! 




Step 5: Shank and Snip... Push your needle up through the back of the fabric to the shank (which is the thread located between the fabric and button). See the needle in the top two photos below? Pull the button away from the fabric and wrap your thread tightly around the shank. Simply slip the needle through the shank twice and trim the leftover thread.



Step 6: Boo-yah. Congratulations... Wear and wash that shirt with pride! Nicely done.


With that being said, learn how to sew a button.
You Only Live Once...
Linking up with Molly & Carly for #YOLOMONDAYS.

Viva Las Vegas : Happily Ever After

Have you ever been to Fashion Show Mall in Vegas? 

It's pretty epic. 

A fashion show stage and catwalk literally rise from the ground floor and models strut their stuff. As soon as the show is over, the models step back into their window-shop positions as the stage and catwalk lower back down into the basement of the mall like an elevator. 

Sheer genius.


We celebrated Jackie's birthday at Maggiano's, family style Italian. 

Mmm.


The guys fought against Optimus Prime. 


And we took a lovely family photo in front of a fountain.


Here's a few last Vegas shots for your viewing pleasure...






Thanks Chase and Jackie for letting us stay with you guys. We're super proud of the things y'all are doing in Vegas. God is doing amazing work in and through the two of you. Can't wait to see what else He will do! 


Mom and Dad  - Few kids can say that their parents have been married for 30 years... much less happily married for 30 years. Chase and I have been infinitely blessed by you two. Your kisses in the kitchen and hands intertwined when you walk have not gone unnoticed. In fact, it is the imagery of your entire marriage. Thanks for loving each other wholeheartedly. You have not only stuck with each other through the worst of sickness - but you have fought for each other within in. Thanks for rubbing mom's feet when her neuropathy kicks in full-blast and for driving dad at nighttime because glaucoma has glazed his eyes. Your support of one another is impenetrable. Thanks for remaining faithful in prayer and in the Lord when doctors said mom would only have one more year to live in her darkest time of sickness, and when doctors said dad wouldn't be able to see his daughter's birth because he would be blind by that point. 

Most people must live by faith and not by sight.

But I have seen. 

I have seen that God heals and that He does a mighty work in marriages, in families and in our bodies. Thank you for leaning on Christ and each other in times of trials rather than straying apart from one another. Thank you for setting such a pure example of marriage for Chase and Jackie, and JD and myself. 

We love you.

Here's to 50 more years of being newlyweds. ;)

Being Intentional in Marriage, especially when physically apart



JD's trip lasted an entire three and a half weeks. That's 24 days. 

I had to come up with something that would make it seem like I was there in spirit. I wanted to do more than just Face Time every day (which was still incredibly refreshing); more than a card every day; and more than just a picture every day.

So I started digging through all of our "love" keepsakes and found this oldie but goodie... 


I sent this little "scrapbook journal" to JD during his summer on a mission trip in Mobile, Ala. It is filled with quotes, lyrics, pictures, random facts about me, encouragement and sweet drawings I tore out of old books. 

And I thought, "Of course. I will make another one of these for him except I'll give him only one page per day, and he can put the journal together himself!!"

So I did.


I made a page for every day we were apart from each other and stuck each one in an envelope. I also included two binder rings and my favorite pen so he could assemble it and write back, when the opportunity arose. 

Glimpse inside...


Day 2 was awesome. I was in the grocery store, unable to Face Time with him, when he got home from work and got settled into the hotel room. (Seven hour time difference is not cool.) In honor of our tradition of putting our hotel slippers on as soon as we get to the room, he sent me some awesome photos of him pouring coffee in his hotel robe and slippers. 

Tears may have started falling down my face in Publix at this moment.




I reminded him every single day, "Don't forget to send a postcard back!!" He must have gotten tired of it by Day 21... But at least he remembered to send one back!!


We love dancing. Like. We. Love. It. We dance in the kitchen, at weddings, in the car, in the pool. You name it. We dance there. Needless to say, I was super bummed at the fact we weren't able to celebrate National Dance Day together on July 27th, so I asked him to dance in the hotel room in honor of me. But he worked 17 hours that day, Face Timed me and fell straight to sleep. I guess we'll just have to celebrate it during Date Night tonight. ;)



I begged JD to journal while he was over there. But he was honest with me and said, "I may journal like the first couple of days, but I'll get burnt out." So, I knew if I made him journal because of the journal we were putting together, he would do it. :) And he did. I made it easy for him though. He only had to "write me back" a few days and I would give him questions so he wouldn't just be saying, "Day was good, but I miss you," every day. It's not like he had much to write about, besides work, anyways. 

For example, the question on the other side of this card was, "Have you done anything cool where you are? See any shows, ride a camel, visit a museum? Write about it on the back. I'm really missing you. I love you sooo much!!"

His response: Cool architecture. Ate baby camel tonjia and Moroccan harrico soup. 

Simple and concise. Obviously, the complete opposite of my style, but that's just one more thing I love about my man. ;)





The finished product. 

It is absolutely crucial to be intentional with one another in marriage, especially when you are physically apart. I hope this gives you a few ideas in case you and your love have the unfortunate event of being separated physically for a while. This journal served as a tool for us to communicate things we might not have been able to otherwise, and gave JD something to look forward to every day!


Etsy Product Release!! "Home Is the Nest You Build" Series


We are super excited to announce a few of our new products that arrived in our Etsy shop yesterday!!

These products were created by the one and only Mama E. We have entitled this series: 
Home Is the Nest You Build


"Our Flourishing Home"
We pondered over this piece for quite sometime. Then, all of the sudden, it just came together. A flourishing home is difficult to build, but wonderfully satisfying to attain. 



"Our Wild Nest"
Home is the nest you build for your family... And it just so happens that our nest is a WILD one!! Isn't family more enjoyable that way? If your home is filled with an overwhelming amount of laughter and joy, this may just be the perfect piece for you to place in your home. Take pride in that Wild Nest of yours!


...And my personal favorite... 


"Our Sweet Nest"
Since we've had a place to call our own as a married couple, we have always called our home, "Our Sweet Nest" in the same way I call JD, "My Sweet Husband". The word "sweet" just fits our lifestyle to a tee. I'll be honest, this is a tough piece for me to let go of. If you're an avid reader of our blog, you know that birds and nests have a lot of symbolism in our marriage. But, I am willing to let this piece go as long as someone will cherish it as much as we do. :)


Hope to see you in our Etsy shop!!
More products to come throughout the next few weeks! 



Welcome Home, My Love...

Maybe you noticed these pictures on your Instagram feed yesterday?


And then you thought, "Wait. Where did he go?!"

Well, I can't tell you his destination but I can tell you that my husband has been in another country for THREE AND A HALF WEEKS!! If you were to compile every single day that we had been apart since dating, prior to this trip... it would still not add up to three and a half weeks - 25 days - that we were away from each other at this one time.

If you're new to our blog, I'll fill you in on a few key details...

  • JD travels for business pretty frequently.
  • Thanks to his gracious company, I am allowed to travel with him unless security/safety issues arise.
  • We choose not to post any real-time information when traveling.

I picked him up from the airport with this tears, bright green sign, tears, a box of Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its, tears, and Mama E's pecan mini muffins. Did I mention a terribly dreadful amount of happy tears!?

So we packed up the car, headed home and unpacked the bags. A few minutes after JD said, "I'm going to try to stay up late so I can get re-adjusted to central time," I found him sweetly sleeping with his new business class eye mask covering his eyes on the couch. Hey, he made it to 5 p.m. That's better than I would do. 


We woke up at 7:30 in the a.m. and started sorting through his foreign treasures...


How cool is this engraved scroll-holder? JD got our last name engraved in English and Arabic. He suggested we write our vows in calligraphy, age the paper and store them in here. ;) He's awesome.


JD received these tiny houses on his KLM flight. All business class passengers get to choose one on each flight. I'm thinking: Christmas Village material. 

Normally they store potpourri in the houses, we think, but they didn't for these because of Customs regulations. 


We love collecting things from other countries, especially when they have English on one side and the country's language on the other. Thus, we have a wonderful collection of Coca-Cola products. JD also brought back some Tabasco, Colman's Mustard, Ketchup and Jelly jars. Yum!

And then he pulled out a grocery bag of... chocolate bars. Snickers, Mars, Kit Kat, and Twix bars all with Arabic writing on the sides. Room service would leave them on his bedside table. It will take us at least a couple of months to finish these off, but I was so glad he saved them and brought them back to share with me!! 

What did we do to celebrate his return??


We shaved his beard off, devoured Five Guys burgers and fries, and...


we counted / rolled the coins from our finally-filled-up coin jar. And we had so. much. fun! Honestly. We sat there, laughing and talking with music playing in the background, simply counting coins. No TV. No distractions. Just spending the day together. Pure bliss. JD decided we should try to find all 50 states for the quarters and a penny for every important date in our lives year.  The only state we couldn't find was Colorado. We're hoping we'll find it eventually though! 

Oh - and we found four "Jesus Christ" coins. "Good For One Dollar In Trade" Haha! We were pumped each time we found one in the jar. Praise the Lord that we do not get into Heaven based on how many Jesus coins we have stashed away in an old coin jar! 


Come back Thursday to see how we remained intentional in our marital encouragement during each other's absence. 

Attraction: What's that one quirky thing that made your spouse fall for you?

"Mmm girl. That smile. You just gave me whiplash."

"Oh my gosh. His hair? Yeah. It's pretty spectacular."

Let's be honest here. When we are attracted to somebody, there's just something about that person that we are drawn to. Whether it be their character, their personality, their laugh... it's something. 

And sometimes a lot of times, there is normally at least some physical attribute that draws us to that person too.

For JD, I'm pretty sure my glasses were a big selling point for him. 


Ok. Now, I know that there are thousands of things he could say that he loves about me... but my glasses are kind of near the top of the list. As in, they're probably in the Top 5. 

I read an article by Terri Trespicio entitled "Guys really do make passes at girls who wear glasses" on February 7, 2012. I had no other choice but to capture this quote and feature it in my journal... for no other reason but because the guy who flirted with me when I was wearing glasses one day is now my husband

Glasses make a person feel confident, sophisticated and smart. Yeah, they may have been dorky in middle school but the frames industry has really turned the style around. 

{People ask me if my Warby Parker glasses are real or fake way to often!! And yes. They are very much so real.}

I really can't say it any better than Ms. Trespicio, "Glasses seem to say I may not be all that accessible, but I'd love to see you try." 


And my sweet husband tried. 
Eventually, he broke through the barrier of non-accessibility and claimed victory over my heart. 
Unbelievable. 
But oh so wonderful! 

What does your spouse or significant other find in you that is truly enthralling? 
Even better, what is the #1 reason you were drawn to your significant other?