Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trusting the Process.

I was writing my latest freelance post just the other day, and the topic and words really struck me as I was typing. So, I decided to share this semi-vulnerable post here as well. I hope you enjoy it!

I am a type A person by nature. I always have been, and I have come to the realization that I always will be.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with being Type A, and in fact, I often feel that my personality type helps me to strive for more and to accomplish lots of things.

But, that’s just the thing. Sometimes, I set out to accomplish too many things.

I guess it’s a control thing sometimes. I often feel that as long as I can write everything little thing that is running through my brain down on paper, there is nothing keeping me from accomplishing it all. You know, except for lack of time

I could go on for days about how many times I have gotten up bright and early, and motivated to start a new day, only to find that by lunch time, I had only accomplished about 10% of the things that I had set out to. This always leaves me feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Like I need to be able to check more things off!

I finally had to stop and ask my self why I feel this way? Why do I let things like to-do lists get the best of me?  The answer was clear: just ‘let go.’ Let go of needing to control everything and feel like you can do everything all by yourself. Sure, life would be ‘easier’ if I had a clone, or if each day was four hours longer, but that’s not really what it’s all about, is it?

I was really struck by the words ‘trust the process.’  There are so many ways to interpret that into your life, but for me it means to let go of the timelines: where will my business be in 2 years? When will I stop worrying so much about what other people think of me? When will I get pregnant? And, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

I need to get better at trusting the process. Living in the moments that I am a part of right now.  And trusting the fact that although hard work pays off, work isn’t everything, so, above all, enjoy your life’s process

Monday, March 26, 2012

Putting A New Spin on Memory Books

Did you have a memory book growing up? All four of us did. Even though we knew our memory books existed, we only saw them about three times a year when my Mom was adding items like report cards, school photos, and later on in life, those cheesy gorgeous professional prom photos! After each 'visit' with our books, they were tucked neatly back into storage in the attic inside our very own memory boxes.

I guess I never really thought about holding onto memories like that until somewhat later in life. I used to think I'd never be interested in what my favorite subject was, or who my best friend was back in 2nd grade, but now that we're getting closer to starting our own family, I can totally see why those memories are worth keeping! Each year, my Mom filled out all of the info that the book asked for, and once we were old enough, she let us do the talking for ourselves. I'll have to look back at my book next time I'm home and see who made them. They were such a cute idea!

I have also always loved photos. Remember when you used to have to drop your film off at your nearest Walgreen's and wait days for the pictures to be processed? I was definitely one of those people that just had to pay the extra money to get my beloved pictures a day or two sooner. Obviously, I needed to see how cute the new pics of myself and that time period's beau turned out!

I guess it was a combination of the memory books and photo obsession that turned me into one of the girls that loved her yearbooks. Heck, I was even on the yearbook staff a few years in high school. What better way to preserve your middle and high school memories than by working on the 'inside' to make sure that some of the best photos of you and your friends made the full color pages. Am I right?

Technology and photo printing have come such a long way, even since I was in high school! Digital photography and online album creation have totally changed the way you can preserve your families' memories. And that's where Shutterfly yearbook comes in! 

I have personally created many keepsake photo albums using Shutterfly, and have given their photo books as gifts on multiple occasions. When I learned that they were coming out with yearbooks, I may have quietly leapt for joy! Are these books not the absolute cutest way to preserve your children's school memories?!

Shutterfly Yearbooks
Not only can their yearbooks be customized for your child, but you can even design them for your child's entire class, and with rates as low as $5 per yearbook, how can you refuse?

I definitely plan on utilizing Shutterfly's new yearbook's as our family grows, and maybe even for a few special little nephews in my life as they continue to grow!

To learn more about designing your own Shutterfly Yearbook, visit: http://www.shutterfly.com/yearbook/

You can also keep up with Shutterfly's latest and greatest on Facebook, Twitter and now, Pinterest!

**This is a Shutterfly sponsored post. I received a coupon code good for one (1) leather bound photo album in return for reviewing this new product.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring 2012 Fashion Crushes: Colors & Prints

Happy Thursday, lovelies!

Wow, this week has been flying by! We're headed out of town tomorrow morning bright and early to kickoff the festivities for my brother-in-law (B's younger brother) and sister-in-law to-be's wedding weekend! We have been waiting for this day to come since they got engaged back in July of 2010, and we're so excited that it is finally here!

Naturally, I have been thinking about them a lot over the last few weeks leading up to their big day, and I cannot believe how immensely God has blessed them with the warm temperatures we've been having lately! It's definitely not characteristic of New Jersey to be sunny and 70 degrees on a random Saturday in March, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that these next few days stay just as nice as the last few!

All of this thinking about the wedding weekend and the spring/summer weather fastly approaching also got me in the mood to shop! I spent some time at our local mall over this past weekend, and came home with a few new threads that I think will really dress up my wardrobe this spring! 

Oh, those green pants are just to.die.for.  You can find them here, if you're interested! I wore them for the St. Patty's cocktail party, and in case you missed the Instagram photo, here they are in all their glory! Please excuse how short and stumpy I look next to my beautiful, long-legged blonde friend!

I am absolutely loving anything green, coral and animal printed this spring and I think my mini shopping spree got me off to a good start! 
What are your favorite new pieces this season?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thirty-One Giveaway WINNER!

Spring has officially started, and I have two things on my brain: my brother-in-law's wedding this weekend and drool-worthy Spring fashion!

I did a little shopping over the weekend, and am dying to break out all of my new color combos now that it seems this warmer weather may be here to stay! My plan is to post more details about my favorite Spring 2012 fashion trends here tomorrow, so check back for that!

SO, now for the real news - I am happy to announce that the winner of last week's 31 giveaway, and the new owner of the Tote-Ally Awesome Tote in Awesome Blossom is .....

 An email is headed your way, girlfriend!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Big 'Thank You' to My March-April Sponsors

Wow, another weekend has come and gone again! We had a super productive weekend around here, but more on that later this week!

Thank you again to everyone who entered promoted and participated in last week's week full of 31 giveaways! I think it was a smashing success for our first try, and the winner of the my giveaway will be announced here on Wednesday, 3/21!!

Today is really about this month's fabulous sponsors! In the second half of March, and first half of April, both Lena and Leigh Anne are sponsoring Our Love Nest! I could not be more excited to have these two fine ladies hanging out here on my blog, so please welcome them!

If you're a frequent visitor here, then you probably already know about Lena and her fabulous Stella & Dot shop since she was also a sponsor last month! If not, I'd love to introduce you to her again. Lena and I became fast friends via Twitter and the blog world, and she is selling Stella & Dot jewelry!

If you've never heard of Stella & Dot before, consider this to be your lucky day! Their accessories are simply divine, and super versatile! I was first introduced to S&D about  year ago when a family friend was hosting a party in someone's home. Needless to say, I did not come home empty handed, and ever since, I've been wanting to browse and maybe spend a small fortune again!

Sophia Pearl Bib Necklace
I would be lying if I said I wasn't still thinking about this necklace and saving up my pennies! I just think this piece is classic, chic and timeless!! I probably should have asked B for that for Valentine's Day, but hindsight is always 20/20, right? Hey, there's always Easter!

You can also get to know Lena, and some her some love here and here.

Now, I have the pleasure of introducing you the the wonderful (and gorgeous) Leigh Anne.

Leigh Anne is the author of the fabulous blog, Hart to Heart, where she writes about fashion, fitness, cooking and crafting! Be still my heart. Talk about a girl who is my style, right? She's a fellow newlywed and a fellow fashionable brunette! She has already motivated me to cook healthier and to get my fitness back on, and that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Leigh Anne is sweet, down-to-earth and the type of girl I know I'd be friends with IRL. In fact, maybe we should work on this whole 'in real life' thing so I have someone to motivate me back into the gym a few times a week!

Please head on over and show Leigh Anne some love! You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and follow her on Pinterest!

** Thanks again to my fabulous sponsors! 
Are you interested in becoming a sponsor of Our Love Nest? 
Do you have a product you'd like me to review or giveaway? 
Just email me at ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com for more details! 
I look forward to working with you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thirty-One Week of Giveaways: 2 Chances to Win Today!

This week has been so exciting for me, not only has there been a buzz about Thirty-One products, but I have also had the chance to meet some new women, and get to know some of my favorite bloggers even better!

As you (hopefully) already know, I have a great group of ladies giving away some fabulous Thirty-One products all week long, and today there are two giveaways! 

Like I mentioned earlier this week, my fabulous team member, Britt and I have been helping to sponsor and co-host this week's festivities, and today, Britt is giving away a Thirty-One Spring Product of her own!!

If you don't already own an Organizing Utility Tote, you should order one right away! They are cute, functional and great for traveling and organization!! And? They're only $20 and come in each of the patterns above.

Today, Britt is giving you the chance to win an Organizing Utility Tote in a fabulous spring pattern, so head on over to her blog for a chance to win!!

Interested in having double the chances to win? I thought you might be! Well head on over to Kim's blog and enter for a second chance to win an Organizing Utility Tote in one of my favorites, Lotsa Dots! Kim is giving away this tote this week courtesy of the wonderful, Amanda, who also happens to be a fellow Thirty-One consultant!

Make sure to hop over and thank each of these ladies, and happy playing!!

Don't forget: there is still time to shop my catalog party, and enter my giveaway! Both close Saturday, 3/17.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our Home Renovation: Guest Room & Another Day of Thirty-One Giveaways!

Thank you all again for hosting, promoting and participating in our week's worth of Thirty-One Spring 2012 product giveaways. We have all had so much fun announcing what each new day brings, so without further ado, let me introduce you to my next host: Nina!

Nina and I became fast friends recently when we found each other on Twitter. She so graciously offered to be our next giveaway host, and I am so excited to help announce it! Head on over to Nina's blog to enter for a chance to win one of these ....

Don't wait long, the giveaway is only open this week! Thanks again, Nina! You rock my socks!!
Many of you may have gotten a glimpse of our guest room in last week's DIY post. Truth be told, I allowed our guest room to sit on the back burner for quite some time when we first moved in. But, I quickly made it a priority when I realized that I actually had a bedroom for guests to sleep in when they came to visit!

The previous owners had used this room as their your son's bedroom, so it was simple, and the walls were bright blue! 

I have no problem with little boys rooms, but since we don't have kids yet, I knew this would be the perfect room for our guests. 

We started this room the same way as the others: ripping out flooring and painting the walls. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room!

Although the room is exactly the way I want it to be yet, we have comes leaps and bounds from where we started with it, and we can officially have overnight guests stay in comfort at our house now! 

I still plan on filling some of the space where the walls are blank, but I felt it is good enough condition to show here on the blog :)

I was able to incorporate all of my old bedding and furniture from my post-college-but-still-single days, and my parents were generous enough to donate that gorgeous oriental rug, and I love the way the colors all compliment each other! 

I've added a mixture of items from Target, Hobby Lobby, threw in some Pinterest-inspired projects and voila!

Now, who's coming to visit?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DIY Wall Art 'How-To' & A Thirty-One Giveaway Update!

First of all, I want to thank every one of you that have already entered my Thirty-One Spring 2012 product giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, you have until this Saturday (3/17) to do so here.

Today, the giveaway's continue over at Mandy's blog! Mandy so kindly offered to host a giveaway for us, and my team member, Britt is sponsoring the fabulous item that she will be giving away this week.

Go ahead over and enter for a chance to win a 'Cinch-Up Thermal Tote' in Black Paisley Parade, and don't forget to thank Mandy and Britt!

Now, for the 'meat' of today's post, I wanted to share another DIY project that my hubby helped me perfect over the last week or two. It shouldn't come as a surprise that this project was also inspired by Pinterest, and more specifically, this pin.

The minute I saw this pin, I couldn't believe that I had never thought of this idea before. I already owned about 3 rubber mats in that style, so I knew this would be a fun and inexpensive way to fill the blank wall behind the TV in our living room.

DIY Wall Art

What You'll Need
1 Rubber Mat in the size of your choice (ours was 18x36")
1 large piece of wood, about 1/2" to 1 inch thick
1 can of white spray paint (I used Rustoleum's Dover White)
1 can of wood stain
1 spray can of polyurethane

Begin by cutting your wood into four (4) equal pieces. Ours evened out at 9x36" each. Once the wood is cut, lightly sand each piece to get rid of rough edges, etc. 

Next, coat each wood piece in your wood stain. We chose a dark cherry because we already had it lying around the house. Allow the stain to dry overnight.

Then, I laid two (2) of our wood pieces next to each other and placed the rubber mat on top so it covered the entire 18x36" surface. I began spraying the white paint, and did a thick coat. Make sure to spray from a few angles so you get into all of the crevices of the pattern. Sallow everything to dry for about 30-60 minutes.

Remove the rubber mat and place over the next set of two (2) wood pieces. Repeat the above process. 

Once the wood is dry, remove the rubber mat and allow all of the wood to set overnight. 

Finish up your project the next day by spraying an even layer of polyurethane over the entire project. Allow to dry overnight one more time!

We decided to hang our art in our living room. Because B had gotten the wood from his job site, we had to add our own mounting hardware to each wood piece. We used the metal tooth frame hangers that we had and affixed them to the back of each piece.

All in all, I am pleased with the way this project turned out. I think it fills the space on that wall very well, and it's different than the rest of the wall art that I have bought to fill our new home. B even mentioned that he liked it because it had a bit of a 'tribal' flare to it! I'll take it.

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!! Don't forget to check back tomorrow for even more Thirty-One giveaways!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thirty-One Catalog Party & A Spring Product Giveaway: 6 Chances to Win!!

If you're new here, you may not know that, in my spare time, I act as a Thirty-One consultant. I started selling Thirty-One products last summer and have enjoyed every minute! The freedom to make my own schedule, meeting new women, and supporting a company that stands for something I truly believe in.

These are just a few of the reasons why I am over the moon excited to announce that, all this week, not only will I be hosting an online catalog party right here on my blog, but myself and a team of other fabulous women will be giving away a Thirty-One product (or two!) ever day!!

So, without further ado, I want to introduce you all to Thirty-One's Spring 2012 catalog Our new catalog is full of fun patterns and new products!

We'll start with one of my favorite new items - the XXL Everyday Tote! This bag is perfect for work, school, or even as a diaper bag! It also comes in two of my favorite new, Spring patters: Flutter and Lotsa Dots!

The Organizing Utility Tote is by far one of our most popular items. I actually have two of them that I use in my every day life - one to keep my 'extra' things organized in my car, you know coupons, my umbrella, etc. And, the second one I use to store all of my extra craft supplies. This item comes in almost every pattern, and can be personalized! Seriously, how cute is our new 'Awesome Blossom' pattern (pictured above)

Another product favorite is our Thermal Tote. I have actually had a few friends order these just within the last few weeks to use as lunch boxes for themselves or for their kids snacks. They are perfect for the beach as well since they'll keep your drinks chilled! I am just dying to order one in our new 'Painted Snakeskin' pattern. Swoon. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of my favorite new products and patterns this Spring. And, now for the fun part! Starting today, any of my fabulous followers can browse the new catalog, and place orders by visiting my online party! This is the perfect time to stock up on your favorite Thirty-One items, or, if you're new to Thirty-One, I'd be happy to help you find the product(s) that you'd love!

And, it gets even better; every month, we run a 'Customer Special' because we love our customers so much, and the March special just so happens to be: For every $31 you sound, you get a Mini Utility Bin for just $8!!

I have one of these bins in 'Lotsa Dots' and have every intention of buying a few more to use as organizing bins in my closets!

So ladies, if you are looking to do some spring shopping, or you're ready to kick off some spring cleaning around your house, you've come to the right place! Starting today, my online party will be open! Your orders can be placed any time between now and Saturday morning, 3/17. If you have any questions about placing an order, or if you'd like my assistance with it, just leave me a comment on this post or email me at ourlovenestblog{at}gmail{dot}com and I am happy to help!

That's still not all! Today also kicks off a week's worth of Thirty-One Spring 2012 product giveaways!! Check back here each day for an announcement about where that day's giveaway is being hosted. There will be five different products from six different ladies, so you definitely don't want to miss out! 

So, to get things started, I will be hosting Day 1 of our giveaway's right here, and will be giving away one (1) 'Tote-Ally Awesome Tote' in Awesome Blossom! This tote is also one of my personal favorites, and I think Awesome Blossom is just to die for! One lucky lady will win this tote just for entering my giveaway use the Rafflecopter widget below! This giveaway will be open until Saturday, 3/17 and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, 3/21!

Good luck to each of you, and don't forget to check out my online party and check back in for giveaway updates every day this week! 

Want a hint about what's to come? Tomorrow's giveaway will be coming from Mandy over at 'Mommy Musings!' She'll be giving away another fabulous new Spring 2012 item!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Bucket List of Sorts: Things To Do Before the Big 2-9

I've been thinking a lot lately about how close I am getting to the big 3-0. Most days, I still feel exactly the same as I did when I turned 24, but sadly, I'm no longer in my early or mid twenties. 

As a teenager, I always thought I would be married with two kids by the time I hit 30, but I guess God had a slightly different plan in mind for me! But, even with that said, there are some things that I'd love to do or accomplish between now and my 29th birthday, so I thought I'd put together a 'bucket list' of sorts.
  1.  Reschedule our trip to St. Lucia (and actually make it there this time!)
  2. Finish the renovations necessary to complete our basement and master bathroom
  3. Become more established in my consulting business by adding 1-2 more large clients
  4. Start building our savings account back up post-house renovations
  5. Get pregnant.
  6. Finish reading the Hunger Games series
  7. FINALLY finish reading Breaking Dawn (those last 150 pages have really lost me)
  8. Organize every closet in my house
  9. Attend a few more outdoor country concerts and tailgate all day
  10. Run a 5k
  11. Try Insanity or the new P90X
  12. Attend Thirty-One's National Conference
  13. Spend long weekends at the beach with B
  14. Enforce the 'no technology after 8pm' rule on myself
  15. Make time for each of my close friends and treasure each one of them

There is something about making any kind of list that just makes my heart happy. Do you have a bucket list of your own?!

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

DIY Project: Curtain Rod Picture Frame Hanger

I realized a few weeks ago that I have become slightly obsessed with having a full plate of DIY crafts to get through. This realization came when I remembered that I had completed 90% of the projects that I had lined up for myself before Christmas. So, what's a girl to do? Well, run on over to Pinterest, of course! 

Within minutes, I had found a handful of projects I was dying to start, and so the Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann's Fabrics lists' began! 

First up, I decided, would be this project. A picture with no tutorial, but I assumed it self explanatory enough to be able to complete it with just that. So, off I went.

DIY: Curtain Rod Frame Hanger How-To

What You'll Need:
One (1) 24-48" curtain rod with hardware for hanging
One (1) 8x10" picture frame (preferably for wall hanging, but not a necessity)
Two (2) 5x7" picture frames (above applies here as well)
One (1) spool of thick, white ribbon (or ribbon of your choice, but it should be sturdy)
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks

Start by hanging the curtain rod on the wall in the place of your choice. I chose to hang ours over the bed in our guest room, and I also recruited B to hang it for me. 

Gather your frames and select prints and images for each. 

Then, begin gluing your ribbon to the backs of each frame.

Make sure to press down on the hot glue while it dries so that the ribbon is held tightly in place on the back of each frame. 

Next, hang each frame from the curtain rod and place rod back into brackets.

Adjust the frames so they are equally spaced apart. 

Lastly, take a step back and check out your new masterpiece! It's really that easy!

I think this added the perfect touch to our guest room since I don't have the money to buy a headboard for this room, and the entire project only cost me about $35! How's that for decorating on the cheap? :o)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Home Renovation Process: Living Room/Dining Room

And the renovations continue!

One of the main selling points for me when we looked at this townhouse was the open floorplan of the kitchen/living/dining areas. Truth be told, I had wanted to rip out an additional wall to really open the whole thing up, but that pesky thing turned out to be structural and was not worth the time and money it would have taken to bust it out; not for our first home, at least. 

Below is a picture of what the living area looked like the day we closed on the house: dirty grey/blue carpet, three different colored walls, old doors and trim. Luckily, the bay window is brand new, and I knew that it was going to be a beautiful focal point for the room once it was completed.

We started by ripping out all of the flooring. I could barely stand to look at the soiled/old carpet any longer. The entire space needed new doors, trim and paint as well.

Sometimes it's still hard for me to believe that this is the same house as the one we bought just a mere five months ago. Once we painted the walls and put in the floors, the entire space was immediately transformed.

This was also the first time I had a living area this large that I could do whatever I wanted with! What's better than a blank canvas, right?! We needed new furniture, art for the walls, and curtains, just to name a few. My Mom came down to visit one weekend and we went to town on the 'look' of this room. Since it's long and narrow, we had some space to work with.

Here is a close up of the top of the serving piece from Home Goods. I love having another piece of furniture to use for display!! Oh, and I scored that mirror for 60% off at Hobby Lobby!

 I am thrilled with the turnout. It is a bit different than I originally anticipated, in that, I used more green than I thought I would, but I love it now. It feels warm and cozy and that couch may be one of the top three items we have bought for the house! We added the same natural hardwood floors to this entire room that we did in the kitchen and master bedroom. The walls are also painted with Benjamin Moore's Shaker Beige, which for the record, is my absolute favorite color now! The entire space contains new doors and trim, and like I mentioned earlier, the windows had been replaced shortly before we moved in.

Since there is so much in this room, I'm not going to list out where we got everything, but if there is an item or items that you want to know more about, just leave it in the comments and I'll get back to each request!!

Happy hump day!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday's Thoughts & Tidbits.

Life has a funny way of surprising us sometimes, doesn't it? Flying by. Lately, our life has been full. Of happiness and busyness. So, today I thought I'd muster up a 'brain dump' of sorts, because it's been a while. 
  1. It's March. March?! And, as much as I am delighted to have had such a mild winter so far, I'm still waiting for that freak Spring blizzard that will hit the East Coast.
  2. I finally started reading Hunger Games yesterday, and wow, I am definitely hooked. I guess all the hype was right. I will, no doubt, be finished with book one by tomorrow, and I can't wait to download Catching Fire on my Kindle.
  3. I've been struggling with being more money conscious lately. We are in a period of transition. We're still working on the house, and I am no longer working full time outside of my business, so there has been a good amount of change over the last few months. It's still difficult for me to hold off on completing that room, or that DIY project because the budget was already used up this month. I'm working on it, by the grace of God. And maybe a little help from my Dave Ramsey CDs.
  4. We streamed the service from our favorite South Florida church yesterday, and the sermon left me feeling seriously convicted. It was all about how we are to establish spiritual rhythms as God intended for us. Prayer, praise, devotions, the Word. How we are to carve out time for these things just as we do for workouts, grocery shopping, and all the other things that keep us going. I would be lying if I said that I had been making time for God lately. Sure, church on Sundays here and there, but the real time for just me and Him? It has been lacking lately. This sermon not only convicted me about my time with God, but the time I am spending on other things. Should I be going for that run instead of checking Instagram for the twelfth third time that day? You bet I should. So, this week started a little differently. Priorities are shifting slightly and blocks are time are being 'ear marked' for the things in my life that I have been ignoring of late. It feels good to have a plan. Now I just need to put it into action. Wish me luck!
  5. Speaking of things that take up too much of my time: has anyone been watching American Idol this year?! I think this is the best year yet. So much talent. I already have so many favorites and the top 12 haven't even started to perform yet! Top guys? Phil Phillips and the church singing guy (cannot remember his name at the moment). Top girls: Skyler and Hailey? (the tiny blonde girl). Lucky enough, I somehow got B to sit through it with me this year. We'll see how that goes over the next few weeks.
  6. We worked on and/or completed some more DIY projects around the house this weekend, and I am SO excited to share them. Once the finishing touches are completed, the posts will start coming. Thank you, Pinterest! (PS - If you need an invite for Pinterest, let me know!)

Happy Monday, lovelies! I hope your weeks are off to a great start!