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C A S O N | flashback friday: diy doormat

The sun is out and your exterior spaces could probably be spruced up a bit! In case you missed it the first time, I’m bringing back the DIY painted doormat Kat made last summer. It’s a no-brainer DIY project!

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Cason and I have been getting seriously outdoorsy. And by outdoorsy, I mean hanging out on our patio. (When freakishly large bees aren’t attacking us.) Recently we re-did our patio (you’ve got to check that out here) and ever since then we can’t get enough. We’ve been grilling out, enjoying dinner or drinks on the patio, and even sitting out there for a chat or two. The weather’s been great and we want to take full advantage of it!

While perusing Pinterest the other day I saw two DIY doormat ideas. (It was like a sign!) They both seemed so simple, I knew I could handle it. I thought this was the perfect summer DIY project and I could make one to match our new patio- win, win! (It’s budget friendly too!)

Materials:
:: plain coir doormat (Let me save you the hassle, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond don’t have them. Make Home Depot your first stop.)
:: duck tape
:: sponge
:: paint (You can see I started with a yellow but didn’t love it. I ended up using glow pink and white but you can use whatever colors you want!)

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Instructions:
Step 1 | Start by taping off the design you want on your mat. I decided on diagonal stripes but I have seen some with vertical or horizontal stripes. I have also seen some designs using sponges they cut into polka dots or triangles.

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Step 2 | Apply paint to your mat using a sponge brush. You want to just dab it on there so you get into all the crevasses. If you’re using a natural fiber mat like mine, you’ll need a lot more paint than you think. It absorbs paint really quickly and it will take several coats! For the white stripes I needed 1 large bottle and for the hot pink stripe I needed 3 smaller bottles.

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Step 3 | Let the paint dry then peel off the tape and you’re done!

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See how simple it is? Everyone needs to go home and make their own doormat stat! Check out the other mats I saw here and here for more ideas. Happy Friday!

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A U D G E | love is.

liz+mitchI was gabbing with some special gals in my life over lunch one day about an article they had read titled “Why You Deserve Someone Who Will Give You The World And Nothing Less”. It was kind of long, so I asked for the link so I could sit down and read it when I wasn’t trying to feed three people at once (It’s a skill. One I definitely haven’t yet perfected yet.)… and when I finally swam through this deep sea of thoughts on love, it just felt so wrong.

I sat there and wondered how many people believed this wholeheartedly? How many people left feeling empowered by this, ready to find this wild and passionate love? Or even worse, how many people read this and put their own relationships under the microscope and came back feeling completely inadequate… even if they were in a good place? I sifted through and pulled some of the snippets out (which are next to the quotes) and then inserted my two cents… for whatever it’s worth (in parenthesis).

We should never settle for someone who could walk away and not turn back.

(Literally, Jesus is the only person who promises that to us and can actually fulfill it. Never, ever seek that in anybody else. They’ll always let you down. I understand the sentiment in that statement, but people are fickle and selfish, no matter how much we love someone.)

We should never settle for someone who doesn’t recognize what he is holding when embracing our hands or someone who doesn’t remind us every day of how much we mean to him.

(Some days, he won’t. But don’t let someone else determine your self-worth.)

What you truly deserve, well, is everything.

(You’ve already been given everything: Christ himself. And we didn’t deserve that, at all. Not even a little bit.)

What you deserve is someone missing you the moment you walk out the door, even if you’ll only be gone a moment.

(Miss them, but don’t cling to them. Hold everything loosely in your hand, even the people you love.)

You deserve someone who may not believe in fairytales, but who treats you like a princess simply because that’s what you are to him.

(You’re not a princess. That’s weird. He should love to serve you, but you should both be serving each other, and doing so without strings attached – I’m still working on this… haha)

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You deserve someone who will challenge you instead of just giving in. 

(If he’s challenging you, that’s good. If he’s challenging you from a Sprit-filled heart, that’s amazing. Seek someone out who loves the Lord, it changes every single dynamic. It’s the greatest attribute you can find, because it means God is working in them too, just like you.)

Someone who will share his honest thoughts with you because you’re going to share your honest lives together; yet, someone who knows how to forgive and to be happy instead of right.

(This one’s actually great.)

You deserve that epic passion that “50 Shades of Grey” doesn’t even cover: a spark that never goes dim, eyes that only turn to you and the need to feel your touch whenever you’re around. You deserve a passion that awakens your inner being and intertwines your hearts into one.

(Don’t even get me started on 50 Shades of Grey… that sh** is stupid. That’s not love at all. That’s straight up abuse and it’s so messed up. Men are men, they’ll love you but their attention and eyes will always wander… because they’re sinners too. The day will come where you probably do too. Just know that and pray against it. Passion comes and goes in waves, but that isn’t the determining factor to whether you’re in a  healthy relationship or not. That means you’re living real life.)

You deserve to always feel wanted, to never doubt for a moment how your significant other feels about you.

(Some days you will. Some days you won’t. And that’s okay. Love is a decision just as much as a feeling… with Christ at the center, you’ll both be moving in the same direction. Towards Him.)

You deserve to never waver for a second that the future consists of you together, both looking forward. You deserve the safety that encompasses you like a wave, sometimes in a swell, but forever coasting.

(Again: Love is a decision as much as it is a feeling. If you’re making vows to each other, remember them in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because sometimes you won’t feel like it. But a promise is a promise.)

You deserve every birthday remembered and every holiday embraced. You deserve effort behind any gift, even if it’s a flower picked up from the sidewalk on the way home.

(But that might not always happen. And that’s okay too. Show grace.)

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You deserve to be held with tenderness. You deserve that earth-shattering kiss; the one that you need to stay alive and the one that is your sole nourishment for survival.

(Again: Jesus. You technically don’t need anything else. Anything and everyone else is considered “lovers less wild”. But if God gives you someone with skin on to love, then thank him for it and cherish it, even when they’re begin total terds.)

It breaks all bounds and you lose yourself in it every time. Your mind can’t find the difference between present, past and future because in that moment, time does not exist. You’re adrift between the taste of love and the feeling of forever.

(I understand the idea or the sentiment behind this statement, but you can’t lose yourself that completely into another person. It’s not good for you. Root yourself in Christ. He loves you the most.)

You deserve to be introduced to friends as if you were the rarest thing on earth. You deserve to be brought into a room with pride in hand that he is so blessed to be standing beside you.

(I mean, JoJo does this everytime… pfffft.)

You deserve something that isn’t easy; a love that is hard, but you tough it out together. You learn through your battles and you start to fight them together.

You stand your ground, but you stand beside each other doing so. You deserve to be tested in your limits because it’s at the edge where you discover the greatest faith.

(This is good. I can agree with that.)

 

You deserve a true and epic love, nothing short of the above. You deserve to be someone’s dream come true, never someone’s afterthought. You deserve to walk on air and walk on fire at the same time because the very best things in life are not easy.

(As a Christian, YOU ALREADY HAVE THIS. Just remember that.)

Yes, you deserve it all, but that person out there in the world deserves it, too. He deserves the girl in his arm to encompass everything he ever wanted.

You yourself must justify the love you think you deserve. So be the person that deserves the world, and the world will bring you that love.

(You don’t have to justify someone loving you. Jesus loves us freely and lavishly, and we don’t deserve it at all. Not even one little bit. He tells us to love the same way. The battle will always be within your own heart – remember that. When it gets hard, check yourself. Remember where your strength and security lies. When it gets really really good, check yourself. Don’t get prideful and pat yourself on the back. Remember God’s grace to you, and to the person you’re with… and all of the ways that He’s growing you both. And “the world” doesn’t give you crap, much less someone you love. Side note.)

—–

Liz+MitchWedding_071I’m by no means trying to rip this girl apart that wrote this article… I just couldn’t let this slide by unchallenged. With my job as a photographer, I get to be a part of that amazing first day where you stand before one another and say I’M WITH YOU IN THIS. Wherever it takes us.

And I’m not going to be your everything and I can’t save you. But I’m going to love you no matter what happened this week, how exhausted I am, or how many pairs of shoes you’ve left on the bedroom floor. And I’m not always going to do it right… so give me grace. And I’ll try to give you grace, even though it’s so against my nature. And if we’re both loving Jesus and he’s working on your heart just like he’s working on mine, He’s filling up all of the gaps in me that you never could and never will be able to fill. So let’s be in this together, imperfect and full of Christ’s love for us.

Paul Tripp wrote a really great article called 23 Things That Love Is that I read shortly after this one… his looked preeeeeetty different from the other one. It’s definitely worth a read!

12_invitation_to_love_2What do you guys think? What does love mean to you??

Happy Thursday! Until next time…

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J O A N N A | spring dresses

I am LOVING this GA weather! The sun is shining and the breeze is just enough to keep ya cool. I am eager to start shopping for some spring time gear to celebrate the change in seasons! I am 100% a dress girl… I wear shorts occasionally but the quick and easy style that dresses bring is hard to beat. The only down side of spring/summer is I have to start shaving my legs more regularly. Boo. (Girls, you know what I’m talking about.) But, it’s a price I’m willing to pay to enjoy these pretty little get-ups. Here’s what I got my eye on…

These are also great options for Easter dresses! Ever since I was little my family went all out for Easter…I’m pretty sure my older siblings have grown out of this tradition, but I doubt I ever will. I will never give up an excuse to buy a new dress.

31bitsWhile you’re at it, check out Cason’s post on costume jewelry to complete your look!

Side note: As I was writing this post my aunt shared a ministry via Facebook called Forget the Frock. It’s a ministry that sells T-shirts to raise money for orphans (and supports other charities as well) . Their Easter campaign right now is basically “hey how about you forget spending money on a new Easter dress to worship in and put your money where you mouth is and buy this T-shirt that actually DOES worship Jesus, by giving back to his children.” I thanked my Aunt for making me look like a big ol’ jerk and decided to redeem myself by sharing this ministry with you! Be sure to check it out! (To be completely honest, I will probably still wear a cute dress on Easter… buuuut I’ll order a shirt too!)

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Hope you guys are as excited for spring as I am! Happy hump day!joanna_crop

K A T | key lime pie recipe

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Easter is right around the corner! (Less than 2 weeks to be exact.) If you’re anything like my family you’re already planning your Easter outfit and of course, discussing the plans for Easter lunch. My mom or grandmother always outdo themselves with the most prefect southern spread. And how can you have a southern spread without key lime pie? They’ve been making this pie for years and it’s one of my favorites. Impress all your guests this Easter with the best key lime pie recipe- it’s simple, sweet, and completely delicious! And if I haven’t won you over yet, I should probably mention it’s the easiest pie to make. I’m not kidding! It’s pretty much foolproof!

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Key Lime Pie Recipe:

Crust ingredients
:: 1 1/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers
:: 3 tablespoons of sugar
:: 1/3 cup of butter
:: OR just get 1 ready-made graham cracker crust

Pie filling
:: 1/2 cup of lime juice
:: 1 can sweetened condensed milk
:: 1 small container of cool whip
:: Optional- a couple drops of green food coloring

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If you are making your crust, mix together sugar, graham crackers, and melted butter. Press mix into pie dish and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Let crust cool before pouring in the filling.

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Mix together lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, cool whip, and dash of food coloring. Pour pie filling into graham cracker crust and refrigerate for 2 hours.

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Easter’s on it’s way…and you want this pie there!

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C A S O N | favorite photography accesories for amateurs

So I’m kind of OCD about photography and branding. Whether it’s fashion photos for the blog, or new product photos for When it Rains Paper, I want to capture the perfect shot. It doesn’t matter how proud I am of a new stationery design, if my photo doesn’t capture it beautifully and professionally, buyers will skip right over it. Photography can be one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to growing your business or blog. Kat and I can’t deny that the better our photography skills get, the more products we sell. All that to say…I hate photography! (Sorry Audge. Love me anyway?) My house is a complete disaster after chasing the sunlight around from window to window. Half of the photos end up out of focus. And unfortunately, the nature of my work requires me to do this ALL THE TIME. You heard it here first, photography is the first thing I’m outsourcing if Kat and I hit it big one day! While we patiently wait to be part of Oprah’s Favorite Things, I’ve managed to assemble a handful of low-budget photography accessories that have tremendously helped hone my skills. If you’re looking to become a professional, these are probably not for you. (I can’t picture Audra walking around a wedding with foam board.) But if you’re running a small business or blog, these faves might be just the thing to perfect your photos!

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1 | Cannon 50mm Lens
At $115, it’s the most expensive item on my list but has honestly made the biggest difference. You can get great shots even in really low lighting with this little guy and I love being able to blur out backgrounds so that my subject really pops.

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2 | Targus Digital Flash
I try really really hard not to use a flash. My photos just seem to look more natural if I avoid using a flash but every now and then it’s inevitable. If I’m shooting indoors at night, I can’t function without it. Unlike the flash that comes on my camera, I can bounce this one off of a white ceiling so that it’s not so harsh on my subject. A flash also comes in handy when I’m shooting products that have glitter on them. It gives me just the amount of sparkle I need!

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3 | Fotostrap
Nope, a monogrammed camera strap doesn’t help improve my skills. It just makes me look a little bit more stylish. Fine by me! I’ll take all the help I can get since I’m basically faking it until I make it anyway.

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4 | LimoStudio Lighting Kit
This has been one of the best $50 I’ve spent on photography gear. On a cloudy day or when the sun starts to go down, this gives me the boost of natural light I need to keep shooting. It comes with 2 tall light stands, one short light stand, 3 bulbs, and a carrying case – well worth the money for those of you doing product photography!

5 | White Foam Board
Forget science fairs, these white boards were made for amateur photographers. Not only do I use them for all of my product backgrounds, but I also use them to bounce light off of when I’m using my flash. (Thanks Kat for always holding them for me!)

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Alright bloggers, small business owners, and Insta lovers, get out there and make it happen. Happy Monday friends!

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A U D G E | flashback: style my bump.

Remember that time when I was a prancing preggo?? Gah, that seemed like forever ago. I think there must be something in the water, because all around me there are baby bumps a-blooming at all different stages… and it almost makes me miss it! (For like 10 seconds. Then I remember my cankles and carpel tunnel and get to kiss my baby on the face… totally worth the trade-off.) The weather is getting warmer outside, and I’m busting out some of my spring pieces and came across this little lacey poncho… oh, how I’ve missed you! And the best part this thing? I can still wear it today… WIN! Happy bump styling to my preggo princesses! flashbackfriday_edited-1I think there’s a window of time when you’re pregnant and you feel like a million bucks. You’re finally big enough where you’ve passed the “I just ate a big lunch” phase and people are starting to become less scared to talk to you about the fact that you actually ARE growing a human being and not just awkwardly expanding. And then you’re kind of large-ish, but still comfortable. This is the golden window right here… you wanna work what you got hot mama! Because right after this phase… you’re officially a beached whale. Your movements are no longer graceful. You can’t look cute sitting down (It’s literally impossible). And you really don’t even know what you’re wearing on the bottom half of your body anyway since you can’t see it anymore. (ok, ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic. Fine.) But this golden window! It’s super great, but you do have to start venturing into the world of… (dundunDUN) MATERNITY CLOTHES. I have a love-hate relationship with maternity clothes, mostly because I love shopping, even if I don’t do it a ton, but it’s totally depressing trying to style your bump. If you want the really REALLY cute stuff, you’ll pay an arm and a leg for it and of course only be able to wear it for a few months. And if you try shopping at the stores you normally love that “have a maternity line”, it’s like half of a wall in the very back corner behind the kids clothes OR on the floor with the old lady stuff. Seriously. It makes you feel like you’ve been banished from the world of all things cute and trendy. So I try to do a little bit of “blendy-bumping” – mixing maternity essentials with a  few non-maternity items just to keep somewhat of a feeling of normalcy in my wardrobe. And surprisingly, a lot of what’s in kind of works for us preggo’s… atleast until the very end. (Then you’re a hopeless case. Sorry.) Here’s  one of my fave outfits that is super easy to rock and you can tweak a hundred different ways…
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This lace-fringed crocheted pancho was an Etsy find that I actually wore in my maternity shoot with Tacie (it was super pretty in pictures!). It was a vintage listing, so it’ll be hit or miss trying to find another one exactly like it.

Tank top: The Old Navy “Tami”. Seriously y’all, best tank ever. It’s not even maternity, and I can still barely rock it. I might have to let it go soon, but it’s been a winner in my book!

Maternity Jeans: You’ve got to invest in a couple of great pairs. These are some of my faves I found at Motherhood Maternity – Fade To Blue Secret Fit Belly 5 Pocket Skinny Leg 

Boots: I actually got mine at Justfab.com (which I also have a love-hate relationship… if you’ve used them, you KNOW why!), and they’re no longer listed on their site. But here’s a pretty similar option from DSW.

Wooden necklace: Another Etsy find, which also accidentally doubled as a GREAT teether necklace. I wear it all the time just because I love it, but you’ve gotta appreciate some baby friendly functionality as an added bonus! This is a similar one from the same shop I got mine.

Anywho, hope this inspires you! There will be a few more maternity fashion posts coming your way in honor of baby #2, so keep an eye out… may your baby bumps be healthy and ridiculously good looking! :)

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J O A N N A | bupper: defending jacob by william landay

It’s BUPPER time again! Woohoo! I love sharing with you guys the great books we read and the delicious meals we share together. This past Monday our friend Kristin hosted us as we discussed the (totally crazy) book Defending Jacob… but before I dive into the details of the book, lets talk food!IMG_9305

[the MEAL]

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Kristin took us to Elmyriachi for dinner. This restaurant is located just around the corner from her home in Decatur and the weather couldn’t have been better so we decided to walk there, it was lovely. The food was the real deal, I had the chicken burrito (that was seriously the size of an infant) and loved it. Unfortunately, I made the amateur mistake of filling up on chips and guacamole, so I wasn’t able to finish. Kristin’s chimichanga and Kat and Cason’s taco’s also received rave reviews but, fair warning, it took them awhile to recover from the spiciness.  We finished off the night with Kristin’s WONDERFUL, homemade, peanut butter trifle… It was everything dreams are made of. I may be able to convince her to share the recipe with us soon!IMG_9311IMG_9313IMG_9320

OK, so on to Defending Jacob… um, WTH?! This book was intense. It follows a Lawyer, Andy Barber, as he tries to prove his son’s (Jacob) innocence as he goes on trial for the murder of a young boy in his class. This book took several weird turns; I don’t want to say too much, but I will say this… be prepared to be shocked and very frustrated! I am usually not the biggest fan of crime dramas, but would definitely recommend this book! (There are talks of a movie being made in the near future… fingers crossed!)

[discussion QUESTIONS]

There are discussion questions in the back of the book, but here are a few that don’t give to much of the story away…

1. How would you have handled this situation if you were Andy? Would you make the same choices he made? Where would you differ the most?

2. Before and during the trial, how would you have handled the situation if you were Laurie? Do you feel she made strong choices as a mother and a wife?

3. Is Andy a good father? Why or why not?

4. Do you believe Jacob is guilty?

5. Do you think Neal Logiudice acts ethically in this novel? What about Andy? What about Laurie?IMG_9327IMG_9324

[next BOOK]atl

Kaki choose our next book, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Don’t be scared of reading along just because the author of this book looks like Lord Voldemort.  This historical fiction novel was on the New York Times bestseller list and voted one of the best books of 2014. I can’t wait to dive in! Here’s a brief synopsis…

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.”

Hope you guys plan to read along with us! Until next time,joanna_crop

K A T | sandal season

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Can we talk about this weather for a minute? I think it’s time to officially declare it sandal season! I finally got my hands on a pair of Jack Rodgers (which I will probably start living in) but I’m still dying over all these other sandal styles. A girl can never have too many shoes, right?! Here are a few of my faves this season.

Happy Wednesday! Until next time…

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C A S O N | diy succulent planters

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I hope everyone is sporting something green today in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! Growing up, I always forgot to wear something green but avoided being pinched by saying my eyes were green. Total cop-out but it always worked! I’m multi-tasking today by celebrating Irish culture AND bringing you a DIY that will add a touch of green to your home! Am I a professional blogger or what? (I wish.)

[ WHAT YOU’LL NEED ]

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:: miniature succulents
:: empty soup cans in assorted sizes
:: cactus soil
:: hammer
:: nails

1 | Clean your soup cans well using a residue remover like Goo Gone.

2 | So that your plants can drain well, use a nail to poke a few holes in the bottom of each soup can.

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3 | Fill your soup cans up about half way with cactus soil.

4 | Carefully remove succulents from the containers they came in and lightly loosen the soil around the roots. Continue filling the can with cactus soil and pat down well.

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5 | Water your succulents generously just this once. Ideally, succulents need to be placed where they will get several hours of sunlight during the day. They only need to be watered once every few weeks but read the labels on the particular succulents you buy just in case it’s more or less often.

succulent-ideastiny-succulent-plantersDIY-cactus-planters

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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A U D G E | bricks & baubles

BB03I’m getting to the point now in motherhood where I can finally wear cute necklaces again without having to sacrifice them to “the iron grip of jewelry crushing babies” – THIS IS HUGE! While I love a good statement necklace, I think my go-to will always be a simple chain with a little somethin’ somethin’. Ashley from Bricks & Baubles was such a peach and sent me this AH-mazing purple crystal necklace… it’s love. Me and this necklace were made for each other!

BB01I love being able to support small business, especially ones with some heart behind it – which I think Ashley’s definitely does. You can read all about her story of how she started and about what a portion of your purchase goes towards. I love the quality of these pieces (translate: it’s not sketchy. This is the real deal!), and that there are so many different styles… you can find a little gem for any of the lucky lassies in your life. Teacher gifts? Guaranteed straight A’s for the year. Family members? You’re the new fave of the bunch. Girlfriends? BFF4EVER. You really can’t go wrong.

BB02And one of my favorite parts? It came with a little card with the verse that inspired the piece of jewelry… For this necklace:

“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” -Psalm 61:2

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Love the heart behind this work, and I hope this little necklace reminds me of just that… to cling to the rock that is greater than I.

Happy Monday! Until next time…

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