Happy Christmas Time

It's hard to believe that Christmas time is already upon us. Anyone else feel like this year was a gigantic blur? With all of the hustle and bustle and holiday prep, we are making sure to keep some of our favorite holiday traditions alive. One of them being, Christmas movie binging!! There's nothing more cozy than a big cup of hot coco, your favorite blanket, and a Christmas movie marathon. 

So, join us as we narrow down some of our favorites just for you (in no particular order)...

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The Holiday

This is a must and it’s probably the least cheesy of them all. It's very well made with some of our favorite actors. It's also not overly Christmas themed. Rumor is that its currently on Hulu.

White Christmas

This movie is a classic. It's a bit long but it's so worth it. Bing Crosby is in it and it's amazing. P.S. it's on Netflix!

Christmas With Holly

This was a Hallmark movie from a few years ago about a little girl who lost her mom and is being raised by her uncles. Oh goodness, it is so darn sweet.

Jingle All the Way

This movie cracks us up every time we watch it. Arnold Schwarzenegger AND Sinbad fighting over a toy is hilarious.

Preacher's Wife

Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington... need I say more.

A Christmas Prince 

This is a new Netflix original. It is so sweet and has pretty decent acting. I mean, you can read the title, watch the preview, and pretty much know the story line, but isn’t that what makes you watch these sweet cheesy holiday movies anyway?

Muppet Christmas Carol

I think this is the only Christmas Carol version that we even like. The muppets make the movie!!!

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

 Literally one of our FAVORITE Christmas movies of all time: good cast and good story. A must watch.

While You Were Sleeping

This was our mom's fave movie when we were growing up. We watched it all the time. I would totally watch it any time of the year but it does have a sweet Christmas sentimental element to it.

Christmas With the Kranks

Such a grand lighthearted funny classic.

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We really could go on and on and add about 20 more but we will stop here and let you tell us what your favorites are!

Merry Christmas folks!

xoxo,

Beth Ann & Becky

Re-alignment

Dearest friend, I hope this Thursday morning finds you well! I want to get real and right to the point -

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This past week, I found myself in a  bit of a rut. One that flowed into every piece of my life that makes me who I am. For instance: my creativity was at a halt, my organizational skills/house duties seemed to be hiding, and I was having a hard time trying to be myself in the midst of all of my emotional feels. And as my Pastor often says, "Emotions are a valuable tool, but not a good guide (my paraphrase)."

Life has a way of bringing us to these un-welcomed moments, leaving us with a choice to be made. Currently for me, it is one of those seasons where I feel that I don't have space to breathe or focus because everything (good and bad) is hitting all at once.

Maybe you've recently found yourself at this choice too. It comes down to... Will we let our circumstances dictate our perspective and mood OR will we lean in closer to our Creator and let His Word remind us of our victory in Christ and the joy we have in Him for eternity? 

For me, I always desire the latter decision, however, sometimes I can get caught in the middle of the storm without realizing that I've let it pull me into the facts and reality of the situation instead of holding onto God's truth. Honestly, I hadn't sat down and spent intentional time with God for almost all week. I was slumped into a bout of depression and trapped in my over-analyzing mind, when in an instant God reminded me, "That's not My voice!" Because I hadn't been in His presence enough, I wasn't as sensitive to His voice and His truths in my life. Perspective is everything, what we allow into our hearts and minds is EVERYTHING. So, I sat down and made myself a roadmap that will help me see when I need a heart and perspective check, I pray it helps guide you too! Ready?


6 Clear signs that I need to realign my heart with God's truths:

// Any form of irritability: are the little things bothering you? 

// Insecurities begin speaking: Are past/current insecurities speaking louder to you than God's truths about you? 

// Inability to rest in God's peace: Are you feeling chaos and confusion around you and you can't seem to find your way out? Have you been in a pit of depression or complacency?

// Negative Perspective: Are you grumbling and complaining more? Are you finding the bad in everything instead of the good?

// Emotional Overload: For you sensitive people (ME), is your sensitivity becoming flesh-led instead of God-led? Do you find your emotions exaggerating a bit?

// Life struggles make a reprise: Are you more tempted to, or actually giving into the things you know that tempt you?

If any of these resonate with you, like all of them did with me, maybe it's time for a readjustment. So, I challenge you to block out at least 30 minutes of your day for the rest of this week, grab a big cup of coffee or tea, grab your Bible and a journal/or your phone to take note of what God shows you and just sit in His presence expectantly. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, you don't really need coffee.. For in the words of Joyce Meyer, "Just let Him know you want to spend time with Him. Lock yourself in a room, and say "God, time." And just let God know that you want to meet with Him.

If you are looking for a passage of the Bible to read in or maybe start for the first time, the book of John in the New Testament is always a good place. I'm stuck in there right now and am getting so much! I hope this road map helps you when you need a heart check and that it reminds you to realign your perspective with God's truths.

We are praying for you and we can't wait to spend time with you this holiday season through all of the holiday drinks at Starbucks and all of the cheesy Christmas movies! Also, you must go see some Christmas lights and get into the spirit!

With love,

Becky

Life is ART

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"I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art."

- H. B. Carter

 

photography by Katie Ward 

Music Favorites

Hey folks! Here's an update on our Summer Bucket List (click on the link to head back to our original post)...

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We have successfully completed 10 out of 17 things!!! Fall hasn't technically started yet, so we're still working on those last 7. (Side note... We can't wait to have a Fall Bucket List coming your way soon since it's only our FAVORITE season.)

One of the things we got to cross off our summer list together was a ROAD TRIP! We've taken a few separately, but we were ecstatic to take one together with our family. Find a recap of our trip from MD to MO HERE

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So, with all of the road trips, our daily commutes, and random adventures, we've been driving A LOT lately. We have found that music and playlists created for every occasion makes trips and driving long distances even better! 

On some trips we have destinations, and on others we just drive to nowhere and clear our minds. Sometimes it's nice to put on chill music and not have to think, and then there are times when we know we need to worship and praise our hearts out with an intentional playlist of uplifting worship. There are moments when we want to dance and scream out all of the words to some classics with our throwback playlist. And then... Christmas all year round anyone? We've got you covered. Come follow along with our playlists and musical moods on Spotify at: NLVND.

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Some of our current favorites are - -

On Your Face Worship:
Take Courage - Bethel
Divine Romance - Phil Wickham (always this song)
Holy Ground - Passion
You Waited - Travis Greene

Uplifting Music/Worship:
Hillsong Young & Free | Hillsong United
Jesus Culture's new album  - Love Has A Name
Amanda Cooks album - Brave New World
Any Audrey Assad

Chill Music:
Our Morning & Afternoon Drive Playlists

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Go find more from us on Spotify!

Do y'all have any favorites we should know about right now? 

Moving Stuff & Apartment Tours

 God told us in the beginning of this year that "This is the year.." We knew He meant for us to fill in those blanks and to believe Him for the unimaginable...

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What a whirlwind this past month has been! Luis, Aria, and I are finally all moved into our new home and the crazy is starting to settle. There's a never ending list of things to do tucked away in my mind such as: painting, fully unpacking, redoing our pantry, putting up new light fixtures, painting, cleaning the carpet, etc. But this week, we have resolved to sit and to simply live in our new home as a family. Though, I'm sure I will still find time to decorate every corner!

In honor of moving, I wanted to share some memories and a tour of our very first home - our sweet little apartment, where we became a family of three.

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Aria was around 6 months here and still fit into all those cute onesies! This room was definitely eclectic and fun. I've kept most of the same decor but am putting a new spin on it in her new nursery.

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While our space was small, it fit so much community and love inside of it. We hosted a Bible Study for a few years and literally filled every inch of this apartment. One thing we love about our new house is all of the extra space we have to fill with family and friends!

While our space was small, it fit so much community and love inside of it. We hosted a Bible Study for a few years and literally filled every inch of this apartment. One thing we love about our new house is all of the extra space we have to fill with family and friends!

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Our good friend Nikki Kauzlarich captured these sweet memories in our apartment, and we can't wait to make a thousand more in our new home! I'll keep you posted on all our DIY house projects to come. I can't wait to share our miracle house story with you either!

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Always remember to hold tight to God's Promises,
XO - Becky

PS. Follow us on Pinterest HERE!

Favorite Finds

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One of our most favorite ways to shop is buying second hand or better yet "vintage." Whether thrifting, antiquing, flea market-ing, yard sale-ing.. you name it! We love snagging a good deal on something that has character. A few posts back, we shared some of our secret thrifting tips. Click here to read them! This morning, I wanted to show you some of my prized "vintage" finds.

I love interior decorating and even call it a hobby. So, one item I feel that can add to a room and at the very same time be useful are magazine racks/record holders. This black leather one with a metal handle and a wooden top was my first one. I purchased it for $19.99 at a local antique shop. It now holds my hubby's car magazines on his side of our bedroom.

This jewelry holder/stand below, I snagged at a Unique Thrift Store for $3. I love how it has that antique feel and adds a little pop of color/pattern to our room.

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Also on this table are two vintage necklaces, one from each of our Grand-mas. They are so dear to me.

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I found the most unique top for $12 at a consignment shop while on a mini vacation. I fell in love with it's quirkiness and how I hadn't seen something like it before. I later found it in a small local shop for around $80. What a steal!

Needless to say, you can find us bargain hunting/antiquing at least once a month. And we're always up for company! 

Happy Shopping,
-Becky

Photography by Katie Ward

Hello Miami

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I love me some adventures! So, when my boo Pam came to visit me a few weeks ago we definitely took to the road. It was one very full day that was not wasted one bit. From Vous church, to yummy tacos, to talking about going after your dreams, to the best cold brew either of us have ever had, to finding the coconut man on the side of the road, to trying on glasses at Warby Parker, to posing by walls for epic photo shoots, to laughing until our sides hurt, to the yummiest ice cream ever, to belting out 90's hits all the way home. We did it all and had such an amazing time. I wanted to let you in on our day. The links to the places are at the bottom. Have a fun weekend folks! 

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DIY Sharpie Mugs

If you know us (or if you've been following along and seen all of our coffee posts) you know we drink A LOT of coffee. Of course we enjoy the caffeine boost but more so we love the taste. We also love to drink it in cute mugs because it tastes better that way! Am I right? We thought it would be fun to share this easy DIY mug tutorial with you so that you can make some for yourself and friends! They are completely dishwasher safe which is the best part! I included a simple one and another with more detail. 

If you know us (or if you've been following along and seen all of our coffee posts) you know we drink A LOT of coffee. Of course we enjoy the caffeine boost but more so we love the taste. We also love to drink it in cute mugs because it tastes better that way! Am I right?

We thought it would be fun to share this easy DIY mug tutorial with you so that you can make some for yourself and friends! They are completely dishwasher safe which is the best part! I included a simple one and another with more detail. 

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MATERIALS: 

  •   Coffee Mug - I actually like to find blank white ones at the thrift store because you can find some fun funky shapes. Or as you can see I also did a sugar canister. 
  • Oil Based Sharpies  - Normal sharpies will not work for this. You can find oil sharpies at a craft store like Michaels. I would go with a fine point or extra fine if you want to do intricate detailing. I have had the best luck with black. Other colors work but tend to change color with the baking process. 
  • Wet Wash Cloth - This will make it easy to wipe of mistakes.  
MAKE IT (SIMPLE):  Wash the mug with soap and water before you begin. Once it fully dries you can start.    All you have to do is pick a saying and write it. If you mess up, wipe it off and start over. If the ink has set too much and is not coming off, go wash it with soap and water and when it is dry, start over.   You can also pick a pattern and draw that. Polka-dots, stripes, squiggles, whatever you want. 

MAKE IT (SIMPLE): 

Wash the mug with soap and water before you begin. Once it fully dries you can start.   

All you have to do is pick a saying and write it. If you mess up, wipe it off and start over. If the ink has set too much and is not coming off, go wash it with soap and water and when it is dry, start over.  

You can also pick a pattern and draw that. Polka-dots, stripes, squiggles, whatever you want. 

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 MAKE IT (DETAILED): 

You will need both fine and extra fine oil based sharpies for this.

After washing and drying the mug, sketch out your picture. I usually free hand it directly on the mug but sometimes I sketch it on paper first. Then, I tape it on to see how it will fit.  

For the picture of the girls, I used the bigger markers to plot out the big points first and then I went back with the extra fine markers to add in the details. 

BAKE IT:  Let the mug dry overnight.  Make sure to clean off any marks/mistakes you don't want on your mug before placing it in the oven because you will not be able to get them off after. Set the oven to 350• The key is to put the mug(s) in right when you turn the oven on. This way the mug heats up gradually and does not get streaky burn marks.   Bake for an hour and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.   Turn the oven off after an hour and let the mug cool inside for another hour. I know your tempted to peek but do not let air in until the time is up.  

BAKE IT: 

  • Let the mug dry overnight. 
  • Make sure to clean off any marks/mistakes you don't want on your mug before placing it in the oven because you will not be able to get them off after.
  • Set the oven to 350•
  • The key is to put the mug(s) in right when you turn the oven on. This way the mug heats up gradually and does not get streaky burn marks.  
  • Bake for an hour and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.  
  • Turn the oven off after an hour and let the mug cool inside for another hour. I know your tempted to peek but do not let air in until the time is up.  
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Voila!! There you have it! So fun and so easy! 

*GIVEAWAY* Maybe you are a busy bee and don't have time to make mugs, maybe you don't have a creative hair on your head, or maybe you just want to win... I would love to make you a mug. I will pick one winner and create a custom mug for them. Giveaway details are available on our instagram @NLVND_. Go enter there and spread the word.

Don't worry non-instagram friends, we have blog specific giveaways coming soon. 

Xoxo Beth Ann

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Photography by Nikki Kauzlarich 

Road Trip!

This past weekend, we got to cross ROAD TRIP off of our Bucket List (check our last post). We traveled twelve hours from Gaithersburg, Maryland to the great city of Fenton, Missouri. We attempted to make it a non-stop party - and I'd say we succeeded. There were endless playlists and 2-3 coffee stops a day. And of course we stopped for tacos. It really did have everything, and the best part of all was the stellar company. Here are some highlights:

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We wanted to share the songs that kept us going those twenty-four hours. Follow us on Spotify here: NLVND. If you're planning on taking a road trip of your own soon, catching a plane, or need a new pick me up for your drive to work - we have you covered. We'll keep them up to date, so check back often! Happy listening!!!

 

xoxo, Becky & Beth Ann

Summer Bucket List

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Summer is here and we are pumped about it! We have been longing for pool days, relaxed vibes, watermelon, and flip-flops. We've both got some fun summer-y things coming up and a few of them get to be together (heck yes!). We thought it would be fun to make a bucket list  with some things we want to do and hope you'll join in too. 

Take a road trip. Grab some pals, snacks, and a good playlist. Plan for some fun stops along the way. It's all about the journey folks. 

Find a new coffee spot. This is essential. Good coffee with a cozy atmosphere, yes please. 

Get by the water. If you live close enough to make a day trip to the beach, do it. The ocean pretty much cures everything. If the sea is not an option, get to the pool.  

Go on a morning or evening hike. Go see nature and sing with the birds. Find cool rocks, explore a new place, and enjoy every step. Don't forget bug spray though. 

Read an inspiring book. Read something that will challenge you, encourage you, and excite you. 

Read an escape book. Read something that takes you away on an adventure in your mind. 

Get coffee with a new friend. Coffee dates are the best. So many fine moments are had over a cup of joe. Plus you may just find your new bff4l. 

Serve your community. Get out there and do something outside of your comfort zone, outside of yourself. Even better if you can do it with family or friends. 

Start an herb garden. Fresh herbs are so yummy. They beat dried ones every time. How cool would it be to go out to your garden and grab fresh cilantro for you homemade guac!!?

Try new recipes. Maybe you'll discover your new favorite meal. Also, if you fail, it's okay.

Make a new craft once a month.  Making something by hand makes you feel so accomplished. Pinterest has something that even you can make (we promise). And don't forget to show it off! Even if it turns out really bad, you can make a funny "Pinterest Fail" meme.

Go on a walk once a day. Walks are awesome. Not only do you get to breathe in fresh air, you get to appreciate your surroundings, and your body will thank you for the exercise. 

Take a dance class. Dancing is so freeing and even if you completely suck, you will thank us for the fun you had.

Make late art. Try it! Make your morning coffee more exciting. 

Redecorate a room in the house. If you only have a room to yourself than pick a part of your room to makeover. It feels good to switch things up. 

Sew a pillowcase. There are super easy tutorials. You can do it by hand or with a machine. 

Watch the sunrise and sunset in one day. Wouldn't this be epic?! 

Happy summer guys!! What things would be on your summer bucket list? 

 

photography by Kathleen Marie Ward.  

#Yesstocoffee

If you were to ask me my favorite drink, word, smell, model for photos, thing to hold, thing to look at, purchase to make, and what I will drive 30 minutes plus for.. I would have to say COFFEE.

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Today, I'm talking all things coffee! You can imagine the ear to ear grin on my face right now. Disclaimer: I am by no means a coffee expert, I'm just slightly obsessed with the stuff. 

It all started when I worked as a barista at Borders Book Store (may it Rest In Peace). I hated the smell and taste of coffee. I couldn't understand for the life of me why people would pay for it. Slowly but surely, I inched my way through mochas, flavored lattes with one shot of espresso to cream with a little coffee, and here I am now in a committed relationship with Coffee.

Coffee and I continued together when my husband and I registered for a Mr. Coffee Pot for our wedding. We then got into the French press trend and are on our 5th one because those things can be fragile! You can buy my favorite one HERE. Then I tried my hand at pour overs with this simple and cheap one HERE from World Market. And best gift ever, Luis bought us a fancy espresso machine for Christmas one year! I am so close to mastering some beautiful latte art. These machines are pricey, but they'll bring you the highest quality and best results at home. Click HERE to see which one we bought.

Currently, my favorite coffees and roasts are:
French Press: Madcap - Six One Six
Or one we've been buying locally from our favorite coffee stop - Gravel & Grind
Espresso: Stumptown - Hair Bender
Inexpensive coffee to have on hand - Peets Coffee (any roast, you can find it at most grocery stores)

From time to time, you will catch us posting about our love for coffee. And since we can't get enough of it, we are eager to know your favorite roasts and favorite coffee spots! Please share your coffee secrets with us.

Stay caffeinated,
-Becky

Photography by: Kathleen Marie Ward Photography

Avocado Goodness (with eggs)

Raise both hands if you LOVE avocados as much as we do! We wanted to give you a simple recipe for your long and special Memorial Day weekend that we can't get enough of. 

Ingredients:

:: 1 large whole ripe avocado
:: 6-8 boiled eggs (less or more to taste, I would start with less and add more to your liking)

After eggs and avocado, add in:
:: Spritz of fresh lemon or lime / whichever you have on hand. This is for taste but also to help the avocado stay green and vibrant
:: Salt & pepper to taste
:: Something to eat it with!! I love it with toast and croissants. If you are gluten free or if you're trying to stay away from carbs, it is equally delicious over brown rice/quinoa and fresh spinach. Lastly, it can be used an awesome dip with tortilla chips, any chips, crackers, YUM! 

Directions:

:: Fill your pot almost 3/4 (enough to submerge the eggs) full with water and get it boiling at a medium/high setting on your stove.
:: Add some salt which will help get the peeling off easier. 
:: When it's bubbling/boiling - carefully place all of the eggs in the water, turn it to a low heat setting and cover it. I read that it takes 12 minutes when done this way, but the more eggs you add - the more minutes you add on. For this many eggs, I put 20 minutes on the timer. 
:: When the timer goes off, Drain the water out and run cold water over them until they are ready to be peeled. 
:: Once eggs are boiled and peeled, cut the avocado and add in the eggs two by two mashing them through with a fork each time. You can also cut the eggs up before adding them in so it's easier and quicker to mix. 
:: Then stir together all ingredients. The riper the avocado the easier it will be to mix and the smoother the consistency. 

If you want to bring more flavors out and more nutrients, by all means - do it! When I get the chance I'm going to try adding in: raw onions, chopped celery, flax seed, chia seed, garlic powder, and the possibilities are endless. My mouth is watering. Don't delay, try it! Your taste buds and your tummy will thank you. IF you end up sharing it (I can eat the whole thing by myself), whoever you share it with will thank you! 

We hope you are well, and we have SO MANY exciting things coming your way in the days to come! Happy Memorial Day weekend, and a BIG THANK YOU to all of those who have served. We are so blessed to live in this country and to have our freedom.

PS. Our giveaway with Jord Watches ends THIS SUNDAY, so go to our previous post and ENTER ENTER ENTER!!!! 

We're praying for you friends,
-XO, Becky

Photography by: KathleenMarieWardPhotography

Valuing Alone TIME

I was completely alone when I first moved to Florida.

I was also broke from the move. So, needless to say, I had to come up with inexpensive things to do that I wouldn't mind doing solo. I visited the beach a lot (obviously) and little coffee shops here and there but, when I found this little Green Market on the water, it quickly became my favorite thing. It is actually the spot where I learned to value alone time.

I actually wrote this on Instagram at the beginning of last year when I was facing a season of extreme loneliness...

Some days you just need to stay holed up inside and watch Netflix and not do anything. But, the next day you need to force yourself off the couch and try new things... like visiting a new church and joining in on the church luncheon to meet nice people. Then, accidentally stumbling upon a green market right by the water that has so many things you love so much - air plants, kombucha, and GF + DF Reese’s cups. Then, tucking yourself away in a coffee shop right by the window so that you can dream and write and thank God for days like today. I’m learning to like solo adventures and get out of zones that are comfy. I’m learning to remind my soul that Jesus is it.

So many special things have happened at this little market. Like the time a vendor let me pick a bracelet from his collection because he wanted to be a part of my story. Or the time I walked the pier with tears in my eyes because Jesus is just so special. Or the time where I only had a quarter and the sweet old lady at the fruit stand let me have a peach. Or the time I got to pray with a friend for breakthrough in her life. Or my favorite, when I met a homeless lady who radiated such joy, that she brought me to tears. 

I've brought friends here. I've made friends here. This place has marked my heart.

While this market is dear to me, it symbolizes a bigger picture for me... getting over my fear of being out and about alone. I'm a work in progress of course. But, bit by bit I'm learning how amazing solo adventures are. They aren't scary. People aren't looking at me with pity in their eyes. They are fun. They are sweet. They are priceless. It's about TIME I realized this.

Speaking of TIME and valuing it whether alone or with people you love, Becky and I have something fun to share with you! We have teamed up with Jord watches and are hosting a giveaway with them! That's right, one lucky ducky has the opportunity to win a $100 gift card to get the watch of your dreams. The cool thing is that even if you don't win, everyone who entered will receive a code for $25 off. You have until May 28th to enter.

The watch I'm wearing (which I am absolutely obsessed with) is the Frankie Series, Zebrawood & Champaigne | Check out other watches here... guys / gals

~~~ Enter the giveaway HERE ~~~

Becky and I are so thankful for you and appreciate that you are on this life journey with us. Stay tuned for more giveaways in the future!

Photography by the talented Leah Voss

Plant Party

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It's no secret that we loooooove plants. Our mammaw has a very green thumb. Our mom has a pretty green thumb. The both of us our trying to turn ours green. I think we are doing a good job so far minus a few plants that didn't make it under our care. I have it easier than Beck does because I live in warm weather all year round and I can have my plants outside while she has to deal with icy winter temperatures.

We had this plant adventure together the last time I was home and of course we had to document it. We though today would be a good day to share it with you as well as tell you about our favorite plant.

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Becky: "My current favorite house plant is an aloe Vera plant that I call Aloe Blacc. He's so lively and is growing out of his home fast, so I'll have to repot him soon. However, every plant I try and repot dies. Please send help. Really though, any plant experts out there teach me how to repot plants!"

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Beth Ann: "My favorite plant is my cactus buddy in my room. I named him when I bought him but I can't remember what it is. I really lucked out and snagged him for $4 at a native plant sale. I'm not sure what kind he is but twice a year he blooms a little white flower that reminds me of a lily mixed with a daisy. It is so cool when it happens. 

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If you guys are ever in Frederick Maryland, check out Dutch Plant FarmWe absolutely loved it!

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What are your favorite plants?