November Thankful List 3

Only two more Thursday's in November after this one! Sharing my thankful list with you this week...


- a quiet afternoon reading my new Reese Witherspoon book for inspiration. I love her style!
- 2 dozen white roses, picked up from TJ's for $11 and sprinkled all over our apartment.
- the coming of Christmas. 
- protection over my family and friends in california from the fires (though one of my parent's friends' homes burned completely and she lost everything...thankful for her safety).
- waking up to hot tea at my nightstand from my husband before he left for work.
- hello fresh (because sometimes coming up with what to cook is really hard for me!)
- smells of a yummy dinner (my husband is cooking right now :))
- Lincoln running as fast as he can at the park, playing with puppy friends.
- intentional time working on our marriage.
- the book How We Love. I've been reading it this week and so many light bulbs are going off about both of our family history and how we bring our pasts into our marriage.
- snow tires
- the sweetest, most encouraging text from my mama. It was the best surprise during a day I could have done without.
- sunshine after days of cloudy gray skies.
- time to do a little craft project.
- family pictures...and my friend Ashley who does such a good job taking them!
- a quiet night doing girl things like painting my nails and watching a Hallmark movie.
- my husband's heart for his student's in the youth group. 
- the way God pursues us, even at our worst.
- a needed break from social media this week.
- client projects that fuel me with creativity
- thanksgiving next week and the yummy food that comes with:)



What are you thankful for this week?
xoxo






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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Hostess

You guys, it's that time of year! I can't believe it's here, but the holiday's are right around the corner. Like, next week is THANKSGIVING. (How?!) After my poll on Instagram last week where you guys told me you wanted to see a gift guide for the hostess first, I'm here today delivering! And I think you made a great choice, because perhaps you'll want to bring the host of your Thanksgiving gathering a little something from my list.

Here's the thing about this gift guide: I chose the items on it as great gifts to give to the hosts of upcoming parties and get together AND for the friends and family in your life who love hosting and entertaining. My mom always taught me to bring a little something as a thank you to the person hosting a dinner or holiday party, so some of the smaller trinkets (even the spice jar!) are great ideas for that occasion. Take a look...
Host Cookbook / Garlic & Herb Salt / Wood Marble Cheese Board / Wine Glass Markers / Wood Hearth & Hand Salad Bowl / throw blanket  / Diffuser / Copper Shaker / Monogramed Agate Coasters / mini ornaments / Spatula Cookie Cutter Set / wick trimmer & candle / Hand cream

What hostess wouldn't want colored markers to let guests write their names on their wine glasses? I think this falls under the fun and practical category. Anyone who loves to entertain could never say no to another cheese board, especially when it's marble and comes with knives! If you're looking to bring a small "thank you" without spending a ton, a festive spatula and cookie cuter for the friend you know loves to bake, seasoning salt, a candle and wick trimmer, or cute name place cards shaped like pine cones would be perfect. If you know your loved one loves Christmas, this set of mini ornaments would make them smile for sure. And if your hostess-loving friend spends a lot of time doing dishes, you know she'll appreciate some amazing hand cream! This set includes three scents, so it's perfect for breaking up and giving one lotion to three different friends!

I happen to love receiving "coffee table books" or recipe cookbooks as gifts, which is why I'm including a bunch of my favorites! I feel like you can't go wrong, because they are beautiful, practical and helpful all in one!
Cooking:

Decorating / Other:

Happy Wednesday!
xoxo
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0

16 Winter Date Ideas

Winter is coming. Literally. It snowed last weekend, so I'm bracing myself. I even got my snow tires put on at the sign of the first snow! Admittedly, this isn't my favorite time of year, but we try to do some fun things throughout the colder months (especially during the holidays!) to get through it. I rounded up some of my favorite date ideas made for dinner and the holidays!

1. Go ice skating!
2. Pick out your tree together (we always get a Starbucks before doing this!)
3. Find a local coffee shop and go together to sip a warm drink & play a card game. Or better yet, use this time to ask each other intentional questions about life!
4. See a holiday movie and the theatre.
5. And/or make a bucket list of holiday movies you want to watch on the couch together.
6. Bowling! This is our favorite winter date night. (Yes, he always smokes me, but I don't care :))
7. Have your friends over for a potluck.
8. Throw a My Favorite Things party. I'll be doing this for the second year in a row this year (during the holidays) and it's SO much fun!! You can make this into a couple's date night easily.
9. Take a cooking class together.
10. Go to a concert or comedy show. We just went to Keith Urban a couple weeks ago and he was amazing! I'm SO glad we did it.
11. Give each other a $10 limit and pick something out for each other in Target. Get creative :)
12. Try a new recipe together.
13. Do a progressive dinner date by eating apps and drinks at one restaurant, going to dinner somewhere else, then making dessert together at home.
14. Have an olympic game night. With friends or just as a couple! Last year we got the idea from the gals at The DIY Playbook when the olympics were going on. We played jenga, curling with ice cubes on the floor (hilarious!), and made up a bunch more games.
15. Make a Date Jar full of all these ideas, but add a surprise element to it by folding up the ideas in the jar and on date night, pulling one out to do!
16. Try Datebox! This is a super fun subscription box that comes once a month full of the makings of a super fun date night at home. We just did this last month and it was great! It's so fun to see what comes in the box. 
To show you a little more about Datebox, I took some pictures of our box. Each month is a different theme and our box was Casino themed. The branding reminded me of The Great Gatsby. So fun and festive! The box came with everything we needed to play Craps, Blackjack and make a yummy mocktail! The little booklet it came with held the rules for the games and had fun questions to ask each other at the end of the date.




If you want to have a fun night in, give this a whirl! We loved it and will do it again. Datebox was so kind to send my readers a discount code! Just use code MICHAELA50 for 50% off your first box and $20 off of 3 and 6 month subscriptions! 

And friends, here's the best part. When you buy a box with my code, you're automatically entered to win TWO FREE AIRLINE tickets to anywhere in the US. This giveaway ends 11/18, so grab your box asap!
Check out my instagram stories today where I'll show you an inside look at our date-night-in :)
Tell me your favorite winter date nights in the comments! We love new ideas.
xoxo
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* This post was sponsored by Datebox. All opinions are reviews are genuinely my own. Thanks for supporting companies that keep Michaela Noelle Designs' doors open!*
2

November Goals + Thankful List 2

This time of year can feel so rushed and crazy, so I want to be intentional in sharing my goals this month, even if it felt like I didn't have time! At the end of today's post is also this week's Thursday Thankful List. 

First, a look back at my October goals...
- My mom is coming next week to visit and I couldn't be more excited. We're going to Northern Michigan to experience (hopefully) the color changing and go wine tasting. We're also having a spa day, going shopping, and going to eat at some favorite restaurants! This was such a sweet visit. You can see the recap HERE.

- Cook / bake something fall-inspired. Maybe chili and cornbread, peach or apple cobbler, etc... I kindaaa cheated and picked up a bread mix at Williams Sonoma. It was the pecan maple one and it was divine. Not even mad about it.
- Go to the Keith Urban concert! We're so excited about this, as it's our anniversary present to each other. I'm a total country fan and my husband is just being very kind to me ;) This was SO fun!! One of my favorite date nights ever with my husband. Keith Urban was incredible and so was Kelsea Ballerini!
- Get my parade house photographed and show you soon on the blog. Got it photographed! We got so many pieces of great feedback on the house for the Parade of Homes here in Grand Rapids. I'm so thankful. Hopefully I'll start showing it in January on the blog.
- Go on a retreat with the other youth group leaders at our church. This is always one of the most fun weekends for us! This was such a fun weekend. When I moved to Michigan almost 5 years ago, I knew nobody except my boyfriend and best friend (who lives an hour away), so it was imperative I make some friends. Not only did we want to make friends at our church, but we also had a heart for the young people, so working in the youth group has been a double blessing because we get to do that and this is where all our best friends are from!
- Start with a couple of new clients. Can't wait to dive into more projects with some new families. (PS. I'm booked until mid-November, but am taking clients on after that!) Yes! Met two new families this month and I'm already so excited about their designs.
- Share the Beautycounter Holiday collection with you soon! It's SO good, girls! So many fun gift options. Didn't do this yet, but I think October was too early for Holiday. It's November now, so anything goes ;)
- Attend a workshop about how to keep our immune system healthy next weekend. I'm excited to learn, but also excited to have my Beautycounter table set up for people to learn about safer beauty! Check!
- Visit the apple orchard where we met and got engaged. Also goal: eat all the donuts there. I did this with my mom when she was here. And yes, we got the donuts. My husband and I haven't gone yet just the two of us. Hopefully we'll get to that before Thanksgiving.
- Be intentional about spending time investing in our marriage! We did this by getting Date Box and it was so fun! More on this soon. 
- Go to the dog park as often as we can before the snow hits. Another goal: don't cry when the snow hits ;) We did it as much as we could! Keeping the second part of the goal through the whole winter, ha.

- Share my fall decorations with you both inside and outside and give some tips on how I decorated with what I have. Our fall porch is coming tomorrow! Done! You can see our porch here and interior decor here. My post on decorating with what you have is here.
- Host a Beautycounter party at a client's house. I can actually check this off already because it happened on November 2nd :) it was so fun! Everyone loved seeing our products and we even had a friend of mine there to do eyebrow tints and waxes.
- Watch a couple Hallmark movies. Not sure why, but they're just so sweet and heartwarming to me! No judgement ;) This goal shouldn't be hard to complete, considering I've already watched a few.
- Make a dish for Thanksgiving! Usually I bring the mashed potatoes since my husband's family loves how I make them (the secret is finely chopped rosemary). 
- I can't wait to try a recipe from Reese Witherspoon's new book. I think I'm going to try her pecan parm crusted chicken this week. I'm also trying the chicken spaghetti from Joanna's Magnolia Table. 
- Get our Christmas decor out and decorate the week before Thanksgiving so we can enjoy it a little longer! (The tree will come the weekend after, see below)
- Go get a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving! My husband wants to go chop one down this year. We'll see what happens...but our tradition is to go get a Starbucks before we get our tree, so that'll stay the same.
- I know this is so crazy, but I always love going to one or two stores on Black Friday. I feel like the craziness just gets me in the holiday spirit haha!! I know so many people are shaking their heads right now. 
- Get a couple gift guides out this month to help you all (and myself!) with Christmas shopping! And honestly, I'd love to get a couple gifts checked off my list!
- Our small group wants to find something to do to help the community or a family in need. We're brainstorming ideas and will hopefully choose something by next week. I'm really excited about doing this together.
- Plan my holiday parties out for the season. I know I want to have my girlfriends and my neighbors over this year!
- Follow this little reading plan I made for my husband and I. 1 verse a day, each day of November. Each verse has to do with giving rightful praise to God or inspiring thanksgiving towards Him because of his faithfulness. We are also writing down a couple things each day that we're thankful for. Join us if you'd like!
Share your goals with me in the comments!
Now onto my weekly thankful challenge. Each Thursday of November I'm sharing a bunch of sweet things I'm grateful for. 
- The way my husband comes in and kisses me goodbye before he leaves every morning.
- Seasonal candles. The other day I sat and read my new Reese Witherspoon book with a Magnolia fall candle burning...little piece of heaven :)
- The beauty of creation proclaiming God's faithfulness
- My parents, who see needs in their children's lives and seek to fill them. 
- Fresh roses by my desk, deep purple in color and lasting over a week.
- Lipstick. Yes, I'm thankful for lipstick because it's fun and makes me feel put together and feminine :)
- Date nights and good food. Good food is such a wonderful common grace.
- Birthday surprises and girlfriends who love celebrating.
- Real and raw conversations with friends. Friends who feel like sisters and who you know care, in the depth of their souls. 

Share what you're thankful for below, friends!
Happy Thursday,
xoxo
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1

Helpful Hosting Tips For the Average Girl

I absolutely love hosting! It's actually one of life's simple joys for me. I LOVE having people over; everything from getting my home ready to have them over to the people actually being there for the gathering. We have a small apartment, so hosting doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but we have had some fun things here over the past few years. Last year I hosted all of our neighbors in our building for a Christmas party, I also had 15 girls cram in for a holiday edition of a My Favorite Things party, and we've had lots of small groups for church over. In thinking about moving to a home one day, some of my main considerations will be about hosting people in the house! 

Since the holidays are coming up, I'm sharing a couple of my favorite hosting tips with you. And listen, I'm not hosting anything extravagant, so these tips are for the average girl, just like me. I hope they're helpful!

1. Get as much prepped BEFORE the party as possible. I got this tip from my old piano / singing teacher who would host amazing get togethers at her house. I remember being young, but watching her every move at parties to see what she did to make them flow so seamlessly. One of the things she did ahead of time was lay out the serving dishes that food would sit in on the counters and put a post-it-note with the name of the food that went in that dish. So when the party started, she would get that food item out and put it in the right dish without even thinking about it! This works extra well when people are bringing food to the party and you want them set in specific dishes. They know exactly where it goes :) 

Other examples of getting things prepped ahead of time would include getting your bar cart ready by opening bottles, filling the ice bucket, cutting the garnishes, and setting out glasses nearby the drinks. You can preheat the oven, unlock the front door so guests can let themselves in, and get things all set in a "staging area" if you have one. For us, this means our tiny laundry room ;) This even means getting as much as you can ticked off your shopping list a couple days in advance, so you're not crazily rushing around town the day of the party. If you get your house cleaned or do it yourself, do it the day before so you're not feeling dissolved before guests arrive.

2. Fresh flowers! I usually put one arrangement on the coffee table and one on the dining table. Maybe a couple sprigs of greenery in budvases near the food if I'm wanting it to be extra festive. 

3. Some people recommend doing unscented candles near the food or where people will eat so all the food scents and candle smells won't poorly mix. I try to keep my candles away from the food for this reason, but I always have a yummy one lit in the bathroom!

4. Put a cute sign on the front door that says "come on in!" or "let yourself in!" so you don't have to run to answer the door every time. On the same note, as guests enter, if you want them to remove their shoes be sure to have a sign and a designated area so there's no second guessing what you'd rather them do.

5. To-do lists are very helpful for the few days leading up to the party and for the party day itself. Keeping yourself organized is key in not getting stressed at the end.

6. When guests enter, greet them and ask them if they'd like anything to drink. This is always a great first thing for them to do! Show them where the drinks are and tell them what you have to offer so they feel comfortable right away. And on this topic, be sure you have a little variety of drinks so everyone has something they can choose from. For example, if someone doesn't drink make sure there's something fun for them to sip on while everyone else sips their wine or cocktail. Wouldn't want anyone to feel left out!

7. Personalize! This is a great way to make your guests feel extra special. If you're doing a dinner party, think about making place cards or something festive. If it's a baby or wedding shower, think of personal details that the guest of honor would love and sprinkle them around. 

8. Music is a must at any gathering. It not only brings people together, but it also creates a welcoming and festive atmosphere.

9. Let the good times roll...and let all the other times roll right off ya ;) Sometimes it's stressful getting ready for a party. Just remember done is better than perfect and what really matters is the people who are coming. I always want my main goal to be focusing on how the people feel who are in our home. I want them to feel cared for and loved because of all the touches and food around the house. I don't want to make people feel like they can't touch anything, but rather want them to feel like they're at home. Being carefree and outgoing during a gathering, not too tethered to the kitchen, is a way of doing this!

A couple more food and drink tips:

- Finger food works great! I set out little appetizer plates just in case they want them. These are the ones I have. They were one of the best things I registered for! Fun paper napkins are a great touch to put by the plates.
- I usually stick with cheese and crackers and a bit of fruit (grapes are perfect because you can cut them into small bunches for people to take!)
- I find a mixture of salty & sweet foods are the perfect mix. For this, I love doing Trader Joe's caramel & cheddar popcorn, pretzels, cheese and assorted crackers, french bread (this always goes first!), grapes and my all-time favorite cream cheese with Trader Joe's pepper jelly on top (only available at the holidays now!). It's a crowd favorite! Then simple cookies and mini cupcakes for dessert always works well.
- I try to vary the heights and container shapes that hold the food items. You can see I used a cake stand for desserts, a wide platter for the crackers, a taller bowl for the popcorn, and smaller platters for the other items.
- I always have a separate drink station for water and non-alcoholic drinks. I put this on the kitchen counter, while the alcoholic drinks go on the bar buffet.

Let me know what hostess tips YOU have! I love picking up new tips.

xoxo



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General Rules of Design

Do you ever google questions relating to design? Like, "how high should my chandelier hang above my table" or "how do you mix pillow patterns?" Hopefully this post will help compile a lot of your Frequently Asked Design Questions into one place! I've come up with a ton of answers to FAQ's I get, along with a couple I feel like need to be mentioned, then I asked some of my friends to give me their best tips as well. This post is chalk full of quick, practical, general design "rules". (Of course, in design all rules come with exceptions, but these are pretty straightforward and always work!)

CURTAINS:
- Curtains need to touch the floor or even do a slight puddle. If you have 8' ceilings, you'll want to order 96" drapes to ensure they touch the floor. You might have to get them tailored a touch if you don't like puddling, but puddling is better than high waters ;) 9' ceilings? 108" drapes. Anything over that usually will need to be custom made, as big box stores don't typically carry longer than that.

- Hang your curtains as high above your window molding as possible to create the effect of higher ceilings or simply to highlight your windows.'
LIGHTING:
- Chandeliers should be 32-36" above the table depending on your height.

HARDWARE:
- Drawer pulls should be about 2/3 the side of the drawer. On extra long drawers, use two pulls.

MIXING METALS:
- To mix metals, use the buddy system. Every finish you have should have at least one other thing in the same finish. For example, if you have black door handles, tie in the black through black on light fixtures. Slip in some hold in the hardware on the kitchen pulls and maybe a touch of gold in accessories or on the kitchen pendants. 

- Another way to mix metals is to keep the metals the same on every plane. So cabinet hardware might be one finish, while the sink faucet and towel bars are another, and the lighting and plumbing is another. 

WALLS:
- The center of artwork should be hung at about 55-60" off the ground

- Your artwork should be about 2/3 the size of whatever it's going above (a dresser, couch, bed, etc.)

- Every wall does NOT need something hanging on it. There's something to be said for negative space.

- When hanging gallery walls, make sure there are only a couple inches in between each frame. Same goes for if you're hanging two or three pieces next to each other in a row...hung too far apart will not create continuity. Hanging 2-4" apart will make them look purposeful, which is what we want!

- Speaking of gallery walls: these aren't the only ways to decorate your walls! One large piece of art or big framed photo, a fun clock, textured wall art (like this or this), wood signs, letters to spell a word or phrase, succulent wall, a plate collection, or a mirror are all great ideas. Wall sconces are also a great accent on either side of one piece of art!

STYLING + ETC.
- Scale is important. Simply put, big room with high ceilings? You'll need larger scaled furniture to fill it out. Hanging dinky artwork or putting a tiny chair or low couch in a two-story room will make it feel incredibly small compared to the height and grandness of your room.

- Want an easy way to get your duvet in the duvet cover without it bunching? This video is a MUST watch. Thank me later ;) #lifechanged

- Too big of a room? (What a good problem to have!) Creates separate, more intimate spaces by zoning off sections of the room for different things. Like, a cozy reading nook with a pair of chairs and a side table, a TV watching area with a sectional, and a play area with a small kids table. Something (almost!) every "zone" needs is a rug. It'll help clearly define the area and help this big space become more intentional. 

- If you have short ceilings, there are a couple things you can do to counteract that and still make your space feel tall and open. 1. Hang curtains as high up as possible. 2. Build or create the look of built-ins that go all the wall from floor to ceiling. 3. Paint all walls in sight the same color (typically I go light-medium in the case of a short ceiling unless going for a more dramatic look). 4. Get some tall plant(s) for the room to continue to draw your eye up.

- I once heard every room needs a touch of black, and I happen to love the advice and have seen how much sophistication black adds to a room!

- When in doubt, decorate in 3's. This means to group items in 3's (or odd numbers) to create unity, instead of perfectly spacing decorations out. 

- Just like walls, not all all countertops need something. In a kitchen, I think it's great to have one or two "vignettes" depending on the size of your counter space. In my old apartment I had hardly any counter space, but I still did a cute set up on one of the areas. My favorite vignettes would be a coffee / tea station complete with a tray for mugs, a recipe box and cookbook stack, or a pretty fruit bowl or cake stand on top of some books.




We're In This Together:
I've asked a couple designer friends to weigh in with their best design "rules" and suggestions as well, so you don't just hear them coming from me. Read on for more!

From The DIY Playbook...

Make sure your rug is large enough for your space. Bigger is usually better.

- Avoid buying generic home decor. Instead, collect pieces that are personal and tell your story.

- Don't buy an entire furniture set. Mix & match for a unique and layered look.

- Ditch the pillows that come with your new couch and buy new ones with varying patterns, textures, and colors! (more on how to do this below)

From Hannah Matthew Design...

- Layering window treatments adds both form and function to a space. I particularly love layering drapery panels over woven wood blinds.  The options are endless with the drapery hardware, style of woven wood, and drapery fabric, so the combination can really be tailored to fit any space.  There's just something about the look that lends an elegant yet warm and "finished" feel to a room.
via

From Lark & Linen...

- When mixing pillows a good rule of thumb is to have one solid (bonus points for some texture), one small scale pattern and one large scale pattern. Stick within the same colour palette and you'll win every time!
via

From The Inspired Room...

- Using a color three times in fabrics, backdrop elements, or accessory displays creates a cohesive feel in a room.

- An easy interior design equation for your color palette is 60-30-10. The main room color should cover about 60 percent of the room, the secondary color should make up 30 percent, and the accent color is the remaining 10 percent.

- Add white to a darker paint color used in one room to create a new complementary paint color for an adjoining room. Mix the exact same paint brand and sheen of paint to ensure the paint goes on smoothly and evenly when mixed together.

- Layers of pillows will add height and dimension to your bed. For a stylishly layered queen bed, select a combination of at least two Euro-style pillows (big square pillows), two standard pillows with shams, and a center accent pillow. For a playful look, mix patterned or colored shams. Create the feel you love with different pillow fabric textures: grain sack, faux fur, knit covers, or pillows with a surprising metallic sheen.

- A common lighting problem is a room with only one center light that leaves the corners dark and dreary, especially at night. Beyond that primary light and natural light, additional sources can make a big difference! Incorporate variety through table lamps, wall sconces, lanterns, string lights, task lamps, under cabinet lighting, etc.

- I love using indoor/outdoor rugs inside! They are easy to keep clean even with dogs. When they get dirty, I wipe them off with a rag or take them outside and host them down (the rugs, not the dogs!).

*get even more tips in Melissa's books Simple Decorating & The Inspired Room.

From Our Fifth House...

- Always measure your doorways before ordering large furniture pieces like sofas.  There's nothing worse than buying something that you can't get into your space.  Ask me how I know.  ;) 




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28 + Thankful List 1

Happy November! I can't believe I'm 28 today! I've always loved my birthday being on the first of the month. It feels so fresh and hopeful.

This November my husband and I are going to intentionally set aside time to remember our blessings and name out loud what we're thankful for. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and totally forget to remember what God has done for us. In case you're interested, we're going to be reading a Psalm of Thanksgiving once a day (we just looked these verses up and wrote them down, one for every day of the month) and then we're going to write down one thing each day on our chalkboard that we're thankful for.

These things can be monumental (like our marriage or our family) or they can be extremely simple and seemingly small (like my favorite tea or cozy pajamas). I thought that once per week, each week in November, I would share some things from my Thankful List here. I used to do this years ago when I took a challenge to list 1000 things I was thankful for. Today is a great day to start, I think, seeing as though it IS my birthday ;)
ashley slater photography

- The gift of the gospel. Without this, none of the other things matter. The greatest gift will always be what Jesus has done for us. I hope I never lose sight of this.
- My handsome husband. Forever thankful for the big and the little things he does for me and the life we're living together. I'm extra thankful for the way he serves me (he's the best dish washer and trash-taker-outter and Brita re-filler there ever was, always so willing to help ;)) I'm sure there will be lots of other things about him that make the list.
- Our hilarious doodle pup. Lincoln brings so much joy to our lives...and sometimes some messes, but we love him still :)
- Blankets. You all can't understand this joy unless you live somewhere where it snows ;) ha!
- Family. I'm so thankful for my family; though we're thousands of miles away, I know they care for us. My parent's have always supported my dreams, my job, and even though it's hard living away from each other and it hasn't always been perfect, they are supportive of where God takes us as a couple. I'm also thankful for a brother I love, am proud of and even look up (says a lot, as he's younger than me!)
- Our home. It's tiny, but it's ours and it's cozy. When we do move from this apartment, it'll be tough since this is where we started our lives together!
- Mrs. Meyer soap. Not even kidding, it's making my list!
- Starbucks' Zebra Hot Chocolate: 2 pumps dark chocolate, 2 pumps white chocolate, 1 pump vanilla. Yum! (I don't drink coffee, so this is my winter drink)


"The practice of giving thanks...eucharisteo...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see." -- Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts


What's on YOUR Thankful list? I'll be back next Thursday with more.
xoxo
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Tried & True Skin Care & Make Up Favorites

You all know I'm a recent convert to safer beauty products. I never looked at ingredients labels even a year ago and now I read them like a hawk because it's actually really important to me!  I'm sharing a couple tried and true products with safe, effective ingredients that I love. They all smell amazing and have been SO good to my skin.
face wash acne spot treatment cleansing balm / lipgloss / charcoal face mask / adaptive moisture lotion (moisturizer) / dew skin tinted moisturizer with spf 20 / kids bath wash

The Cleansing Balm is a new-to-me product! I just got it 3 weeks ago and love it so much. I used to use coconut oil to take off makeup, but I started noticing I was getting dry around my eyes, so I stopped that. The Cleansing Balm is a 4 in 1 product as it removes makeup (what I use it for every night!), is a moisturizing face wash, and can be used a mask (leave it on for 20 min and rinse) OR you can actually sleep in it and use it as a heavy moisturizer.

If you struggle with acne, occasional breakouts or oily skin, Beautycounter's new CounterControl line is perfect for you. This has totally curbed my oily skin. When I've had a breakout, I wash with this, then put the SOS Acne Spot Treatment on it and it drastically reduces the length of the breakout. Hooray!
It's so important to exfoliate our skin. We can do that a couple ways. The first is with an exfoliator wash and the second is by masking! Our Charcoal Mask is a best seller for good reason. It draws out your impurities and leaves your skin SUPER soft and not too dry after you wash it off (something most charcoal masks don't do!)

Heading into the dryer parts of the year, this Adaptive Countermatch Moisture Lotion is my best friend. It has technology in it that actually knows if your skin is too dry or too oily and it counteracts whatever is going on, giving you an even skintone and skin type throughout the day!
Have littles at home?! The Kids bath wash smells like strawberries and is obviously totally safe! My cousin's son says he loves it because it smells good and makes him all "slippery" ;)


A fun way to finish your look is with lipgloss. I've never loved a lipgloss more! My favorite colors are Peony and Bare Shimmer. We actually have a super fun holiday set with 10 lipglosses, which would make great, affordable gifts when broken up!


Have a wonderful day, friends! And please do share with me your favorite products; beautycounter or not!
xoxo




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Decorating with What You Have: Fall Edition


Last month I wrote about how I was going to refrain from buying anything new for Fall, even though I really wanted to. I wanted to practice decorating with what I had + with a small apartment and plans to hopefully move to a larger place in the future, we don't need to be spending money on yet another pumpkin figurine only to take up space. 

My process for decorating for Fall with my existing decorations went like this:

- Clear off any specific summer decor (I mostly decorate with neutral pieces that could technically be used all year round, but there are some pieces I prefer to be out only for specific seasons. 
- Get out all my existing fall decor items and lay them out.
- DO NOT look at old pictures from past years. I wanted to use the items I had in (hopefully) a new place, although there's not tons of space in our place for things to go ;)
- Try to find some other pieces that could pass as "fall" to mix it up. I found a couple textured or patterned vases I loved, I even dug up an old frame and print and put it out. I actually didn't even know I had this, so it felt new!

I actually don't have too much fall stuff to bring out, but the items I have, I've had for nearly 5 years. My challenge was to be joyful while putting out the same things I've put out for years, not feeling the need for more. I thought it'd be fun to show you some comparisons from last year to this year's decor placement!

2017: layered pictures

2018: found this white frame and pretty watercolor painting. Same candles, same sign. I just like them here :) But feels a little different with an existing plant.


 2017: Gather sign on the ledge

2018: cute wood sign and collage of layered pics. That little white vase is the vase I've had and decided to fill it with dried hydrangeas this year.

Cotton // Olive branches (found that I had bought there earlier in the year)

 2017: more color

2018: more neutral (found these houses that I used last year at Christmas and used them for fall instead!)

 Pumpkins on a stack of books // pumpkins by themselves in front of vases.

2017: pumpkin on the buffet tray

2018: pumpkin on the bookshelf


You see a lot of the same things, but it's mixed up just a touch! It was more fun than I expected. Hope this inspires you to use what you have first! It was a challenge that got my creative juices flowing :)

xoxo




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My Birthday Wishlist

My birthday is just a week away...it always seems to sneak up! I will be honest, my love language is gifts, so I can't help but create a wishlist of a few things I might like to spend my b-day money on ;) Here's what I'm crushing on!
Hand cream set: I'm a lotion addict. I definitely got this from my mom, who always is applying lotion ;) This set of 3 all have different smells and they are each incredible. They're soft but don't make your hands oily or sticky, which are both important factors when choosing a lotion, ha! 
 
 T3 curling iron: I've been hearing amazing things about this curling iron. Things like, perfect curls in one pass and curls that last overnight without needing to touch up the next day! This is definitely at the top of my list.

 Throw Blanket: this is the throw blanket we have in our living room, but in another color. They are just that good :) I love the dusty blush color!

 Penny riding boots: I have this boot in black and have had them for 3 winters now. I love them so much and always reach for them, when I saw they had them in brown, I thought it would be worth putting on my list! They are so comfortable. I've walked all over Chicago in them before.

 Homebody by Joanna Gaines: Of course JoJo's new book is on my list! And if I don't get it for my birthday, I'll be transferring it swiftly to my Christmas list.

 Cardigan poncho: My mom mayyy have already gotten me this as their gift to me and I'm in LOVE! It's not itchy (my main criteria) and it's warm! A coat can also fit on over it if need be (and I can assure you need will be here in Michigan ;))

 Rothy flats: I've heard nothing but good things about Rothy's from all my wedding industry friends who work long hours standing up. I love flats but have a hard time finding comfy ones, so that's why these are on my list! I love the leopard pattern, too. Since I wear a lot of neutrals, these could be perfect to spice things up a little. 

 Black coat: Girls, I need a new black coat. I try not to say "need" unless it's true. But it's true, I tell ya! I have had the same black coat since the year before I moved to Michigan, so it's pretty beat up. And to be honest, it's never really been THAT warm. My mom has this one and I loved borrowing it while she was here, so to my wishlist it went.

 She reads truth bible: I have a Bible I love (The Gospel Transformation Bible ESV), but I've heard that this one is great because of the devotional content pieced throughout the verses and chapters. It's also just beautiful!

  Pecan pie candle: Have you ever had one of Ellery Mae Candle Co.'s candles?! If not, you're missing out. This one was my favorite from last year's holiday collection! Also, stay tuned next week for a little giveaway on my Instagram :)

Earrings: I rarely change my earrings. I love my simple studs. But these I think are so sweet and feminine and would be easy to change out without making a massive statement :)

 
That's my list! Anything else you're loving that I should add?! Can't believe I'm turned 28 next week!
xoxo
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Traverse City Trip Recap

Last week when my mom was in town visiting, we went up to Traverse City and did some wine tasting with my husband, mom and me. It was so fun! The fall colors were about 70% there, so it was just gorgeous and God even blessed us with some sunshine (which enhances the colors!) I'm showing you a little recap of our trip (aka emptying my camera roll into this post ;)) and letting you know what wineries we went to, just in case you want to plan a trip in the future!


Our first stop was the Old Mission Peninsula and we went to 2 Lads Winery first. My mom loved their wine so much she became a member. We were laughing so hard because this was our first winery-- if she did this at all our stops my parents would have a TON of wine ;) Thankfully this is the only one she became a member at, ha! Their view is great, the building isn't my favorite (it's very modern) but the wine is tasty.



Next up we went to Chateau Chantal. It does have the most beautiful views (water on both sides!) but it was so crowded and I wasn't overly in love with the wines.

 mom's jacket (on sale) / my jacket (same, but gingham pattern)

Next up is one of my favorites of all, Brys Estate. They have a cute little gift shop, garden and the day we were there they even had a pumpkin patch complete with donuts and cider.

Their dahlia farm was so pretty! Just a few blooms were left.


Despite the cold weather, I still got their Froze since I loved it so much on our anniversary trip there about a year ago. My husband got a hot spiked cider and my mom got white wine. We met the people next to us and it was so fun chatting with them. It was crowded, but thankfully they shared their table with us. So nice!

The view off their upper deck is so stunning.


I didn't take any other winery pictures, but after Brys, we went to Mari which is really pretty and delicious (love their cheese boards!) but it was so cold since the sun had set, we didn't sit outside.

Later that evening we drove over to the Leelanau side of the bay and met my grandma, who was staying with her sister and her sister's daughter at their cottage in Northport. It's right on the water-- stunning views! So fun to see my grandma (my mom's mom).


It was so windy, so the waves were big! We stayed the night with my family, then got up the next morning to head out.

Our last winery stop on the way out of town was Black Star Farms. It was GORGEOUS. Though no water view, it was still one of my favorites. We got a bottle of their Late Harvest Reisling and Cherry Sparkling Wine. Both so delicious!

One day I want to stay on their property in their hotel:


On our way out of town, we got coffee from BLK MRKT per my friend Kristin's recommendation. It was tasty (I heard, I drank a hot chocolate ;))

Once we got back to Grand Rapids, we went to see my breeder friend's Australian Labradoodle puppies (same breed as Lincoln!) I had to show my mom in case one day they want another dog :) She fell in love!

We also went shopping together-- what we do best :) I found this adorable lilac / purple color tie sweater (comes in 4 colors):

This pink PJ set (omg it felt like I'd be sleeping in luxury)

My mom got lots of Lincoln snuggles while she was here:

She even got to see a beautiful sunset!

On her last day, we went to the dog park and Lincoln gave her a tour ;)


Then we got cleaned up, went to lunch at my favorite restaurant called Nonnas. If you're local, you've got to go!

Living across the country from my family comes with it's struggles, that's for sure. But I'm always so grateful for our time together!
Happy Tuesday!
xoxo
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