Easy Hairstyles Anyone Can Do for Fall

I've always LOVED doing hair. So much so that when I was little, I wouldn't even let my mom do it cute-- I would always do it myself. Pretty sure I arrived at the hospital to meet my baby brother at the age of 3 with tons of plastic hair clips and too many ponytails to count! I think this is actually where my creativity first came out and despite some ridiculous hairstyles that are memorialized in photo books, I'm thankful my mom let me play around and experiment in this department. (Though I'll be begging God to bless me with a daughter who lets me do her hair cute all the time! ;)) 

I have really thick hair, which is great in some ways because it holds a curl really well. But it's also a bit course (thanks, mom) which means there is no air-drying for me! I've always loved curling my hair (straightening takes too long), but just curling it every day and leaving it down can get boring. I'm sharing a couple SUPER SIMPLE, like can't-believe-I'm-making-these-into-a-tutorial-simple, hairstyles I do once my hair is curled.

I start by using either my curling wand (which is what I did here, 3/4" wide) or my regular curling iron, which is 1" wide. Get more tips on curling hair from this post. (I'm in the market for a new curling iron and I'm hoping to try this one  because of amazing reviews with my birthday money :))

The first one is one I do all the time. On the opposite side of the way my hair parts, I take a small section of hair at the top by my part.

Twist it back, holding it in the direction you'll be pinning it. This just needs to be a loose twist (anything tight and you'll lose the volume at the top). Take your bobby pin and grab the twisted hair from the back, pushing the open end of the pin forward in the hair. The pin will be held in place and hidden under the twisted piece.

The second one is also extremely easy! I'm sharing this one because I was wearing this style on Instagram a couple months ago and got a few questions about it. This is like a classier play on a middle school hairstyle ;)

Once your hair is curled grab the top section of hair, leaving some to cover your ears (at least, that's how I like it best).

Get a small elastic and start putting that top part of hair into a LOOSE, tousled (read: do not slick back) half-up ponytail. Instead of putting the hair through the loop on the last go around, leave the tail in creating a bun.

We want this to look messy, so I jostle it around a little and pull some hairs out if needed (by the way, this totally goes against my perfectionist tendencies ha!)

In order to get some volume from the front, push your bun a little and secure with two hair pins.


Hope these two little ideas spark some inspiration in the hair department!


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Fall Staples: For Your Closet

Happy fall everyone! I savored the last few weeks of summer and now I'm ready to embrace the new season. I even picked up a couple fall-inspired things at Trader Joe's last week ;) (butternut squash pasta that look like pumpkins, butternut squash mac n cheese, and maple leaf cookies which are our new favorite thing EVER, might have to stock up!)

Last week was summer weather and all of a sudden, crisp air and a little breeze seems to be here to stay from the look of the forecast. I am excited for my mom to be here in two weeks-- hopefully her trip will align with the color changing here in Michigan!

I haven't switched out my closet from spring/summer to fall/winter fully yet, but I did pull out some fall staples. This year I think I'm going to live in a few key things: some basic long sleeve tops and tees (I love that mustard color below!), big cozy sweaters, booties (these are my favorites that I wear constantly in the light color) and scarves. I want to find a classic poncho sweater that will go with tons of things, too. I'm eyeing the black and white plaid one below. One thing I have in my closet that I wear on repeat in the fall is my army green anorak jacket, which is why I'm calling it a staple! It really seems to go with everything.

Long Sleeves:

Chunky Sweaters & Jackets:

Scarves & Ponchos:

Boots, Booties & Flats:

What are YOUR fall must-haves? 

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Client Reveal: Modern Farmhouse Kitchen With Barn Wood Accents

Today I'm showing you the heart of my client's modern farmhouse-- the kitchen! If you missed the other rooms, you can catch them here: dining room, entry & playroom and the family room.

One of my favorite things about this kitchen is how it's set behind this beautiful archway! During the Parade of Homes tour, this is something everyone commented on, which was so fun to get such excited feedback from those on the tour. Though the kitchen is primarily white, we added texture with the cool barn wood hood (my client's idea!) and the fun barn wood back of the island. Not only is this a unique design feature, it's also practical because they don't have to worry about their kids hitting their feet or making marks on the back of the island while sitting in the stools. 

My personal favorite element in the kitchen is the pretty backsplash. The subway tile is a handmade look, which means it has a certain texture and isn't perfectly smoothed out. I love the reflection it creates! And then that tile behind the range is just so gorgeous. I couldn't love it more.

How amazing are these flowers that Modern Day Floral created for our Parade Tour?! It was lilac season and boy, did they smell amazing!

Ashley Slater Photography / Steve Visser Builder / Modern Day Floral 

What's your favorite part about the kitchen?!

Thanks for checking out this space!

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Two Years of Marriage

It feels like a couple months and like years and years, all at the same time. I simply cannot believe that today we're celebrating two years of marriage! Two years ago yesterday, I was an excited and nervous bride-to-be. I was feeling nervous about the next day's events, so my groom-to-be came into my room and prayed with me. Immediately I felt peace. I was ready! Then, two years ago TODAY, I became a wife. I made a whole bunch of promises to my favorite man in the world; most of which I had no idea of their weight or meaning or how tough, joyful and sanctifying all those promises would be. 

Not that we are experts on marriage (not even a little bit!), but we did think it would be fun to share a couple really important things we've learned in our two years. We hope you enjoy them!

- Communication is key: What a cliche, I know! I don't just mean communicating about problems (though certainly talk about those!) but I think another key to marriage is communicating throughout your days or if your jobs don't allow for that, at least have an idea of your schedules and what the other will be doing throughout the day. I love to know when my husband is leaving work to come home (helps me know when to start dinner!) and I also love getting fun messages from him throughout the day on G-Chat. This helps me feel connected and like he's thinking about me and vice versa.

In communicating about issues, we've learned that it's best to do this when you're not in the heat of the moment if possible. I like to talk things out right away, but often this isn't a good idea if I'm still really upset. My husband would rather wait two days, then talk about it, which also isn't a good idea because it could go unsolved. We learned in pre-marriage counseling that it's okay to take a breather and step back for a couple of hours, as long as you decide you will come together to talk about the issue soon. That way we can both collect our thoughts and hopefully come together with a more clear mind. 

Then there's communicating about needs, desires, expectations, likes, dislikes, your faith, your dreams...you know the everyday stuff! I think it's just really important to never stop dating and getting to know each other. It's SO easy (believe us, we struggle with this!) to veg out on the couch and watch a show together. But when that becomes the norm, you eventually stop having real conversations and that's not okay or life-giving to a relationship! We try to be intentional about asking each other the following questions at least once a month:

1. How can I be praying for you? (This helps us get at the heart of things. What is really going on in our minds and souls?)
2. What is God teaching you? (This helps us understand each other's faith, what God's doing in their lives and it's immensely encouraging to hear your spouse share about the work the Lord is doing.)
3. How can I serve you better next week? (This helps bring out anything we can work on in ourselves for the other spouse and reminds us that we are supposed to serve the other before thinking of our own needs.)

- Create your own family: This was taught to us in pre-marriage counseling and I think it's one of the most important things we've learned. Leave and cleave to your spouse! This doesn't mean cutting your family off but it does mean that you and your spouse are now each other's main priority, making decisions together that are best for the two of you. This has been tough for us because we love our families and want everyone to be happy all the time. My husband is a peacemaker (Enneagram #9) and I'm an Achiever (#3) who often looks to others for approval and worth. We want our families to be okay with where we live, what we do, what church we go to, what kind of doctors we see, how we'll raise our future kids, but the truth is they might not always approve and that's okay. We have learned that we need to first follow what God wants for us as a couple. As long as we are like-minded and making good decisions for us, that's all that matters.

- Laughter: the more we laugh, the more connected we feel and the more we grow in love. It really IS the best medicine!

- Marriage is 100/100: This is probably controversial. In fact, I know it is because I watched The Bachelorette and Becca said she was looking for someone to do life with 50/50 about a million times. I'm sure she has tons of girls listening to her and agreeing with her sentiments, but friends, can I just share this with you: marriage was never meant to be 50/50. This implies that if each person puts in 50% of themselves, they will equal 100% together. 

We learned that you put 100% of yourself into marriage because as Christians, marriage emulates the relationship of God with His Church. When Christ died for our sins on the cross, giving us hope through eternal life with Him as our savior, he gave EVERYTHING he had. He didn't just go 50% in. As a wife, I am to be mirroring what Christ did for me in my marriage, which means I put in 100% of myself. 

A 50/50 mindset will keep score. You'll try to do things equally, but you'll find out it's not possible and it's tiring to keep track. It will harvest bitterness when your partner doesn't do "their fair share". What happens when your spouse can't lift their load? Do you call it quits? The vows we took weren't "if you do your part, I'll do mine" they were "I promise to love and serve you for all the days of my life"...no matter what. 

In a 100/100 relationship, we don't wait for the other person to act or serve or do in order for the other to reciprocate. We do it out of our love and because that's what we promised. Just like Jesus didn't wait for us to get our acts together before he died for our sins-- no, he died for our sins and promised us new life with Him while KNOWING we would still sin and make mistakes. The 100/100 marriage is (hopefully) a picture of grace and servanthood that the gospel presents. 

And on a personal note, I have a tendency to keep score on things. I like to be the best I can be and I like to think I have "right" ways of doing things. But you guys, the second I start doing this is the second I stop serving my husband and instead do things to prove I can do them better or faster. Then I get bitter. It's a downward spiral. The more I tell myself marriage is about giving everything I have regardless of reciprocation, the better my relationship is with my husband and the Lord.

- Create traditions: This one is mostly from me :) I just love creating traditions with my hubby that one day we'll do with our kids. For example, we get a Starbucks then go pick out Christmas tree. On Valentine's Day I get up early and make us oven-pancakes. On what would be McCann's dad's birthday (he passed away over two years ago now), we have milkshakes and talk about favorite memories because his dad made the best shakes. On our anniversary, we watch our full ceremony and speech videos from our wedding. I cry and he laughs at me while I cry ;) It's just all so sweet. 

- Community: Don't ditch your friends when you get married! I've seen this happen with some of my own friends and I think it can be really dangerous. This is a time in your life when you'll need them more than ever. We've been SO blessed by such sweet friends and we're so thankful for their influence in our marriage. We are in a small group with two other couples from our church and it's been great to walk through marriage together, keeping each other accountable, pointing each other to God, and sharing experiences. It's also important to hang out with your girlfriends and guyfriends separately so you still feel like "you" :) We were never meant to do life alone, even in marriage/relationships! Having a supportive community of people around us these last few years has been such a gift.
- My spouse doesn't complete me: Also a wildly popular idea ;) I used to have a list of character traits I wanted in a husband and while I think it's good and important to know some things you think you want in a husband and know what you're worth as a woman, I think it can be dangerous to make a list of traits because you think those things, in the form of a husband, will complete you or make you happy. Being married has brought me tons of joy, yes!! But being married hasn't made all my problems go away or made me feel complete.

If you go into marriage with the thought that being married will finally fill a void or complete your missing part, then you are setting your spouse up for epic failure and yourself for some serious disappointment. If your happiness and sense of completion ride on your spouse and their performance, then they will fail you every.single.day. I'm not ragging on my husband (because I'm not, he's amazing!), I'm just saying that if my hope is in him, a human who can make mistakes, I'm setting up way too high of expectations for him and myself. He feels pressured and I will never get that hole filled if I'm looking for it in him. 

The ONLY person who can complete and satisfy me (and you!) is Jesus. My husband and I have to remind ourselves all the time that Jesus is who satisfies, He's who completes us and He's where our eternal joy and hope comes from. People will always fail us in one way or another, but we will never be left thirsty by Jesus, I can promise you that.

- Being in the Word: As Christ followers, the Bible is our wellspring. If we're not reading it and soaking in God's truth, then we won't interact with each other in an honoring way. I get a lot of questions about how this looks for us and usually, it's us doing our separate reading time, but then sharing what we're reading or learning at dinner. We've also just started in the last few months reading through a book of the Bible at or right after dinner time together. We read it out loud and then talk about it. It's been really good!

- Get out and do things together: AMEN! In order to nurture a relationship, you have to continue making memories and sharing in experiences. Some of our most favorite times together are trips we've taken, random drives to look at neighborhoods, going bowling or mini golfing, or going to a restaurant. 

- Marriage is hard: There, I said it. It's not always rainbows. It's hard and it takes work, just like growing a garden. You can't expect the flowers to bloom if you're not tending to them and giving them what they need. The same thing is true in a relationship. We have learned it takes tending to, it takes time and effort and understanding. It takes failure sometimes to learn important lessons in how to work better together. In two years, we've had our share of "hard". Don't let Instagram fool ya ;) Hard things and slow things are often the best, most rewarding things, though!
Photos: The Poffs 

- Marriage is a gift: It truly is. Having someone see all your flaws (and let me tell you, I have many) but loving you even so...that is humbling. What a picture of God's love for us! There's no greater joy in my life than being my husband's wife. 

If you made it through the post, bless you ;) Thank you for reading and being a part of our journey! I'd love to hear from you about some things you've learned in marriage over the years. 
Happy Tuesday! We'll be celebrating by going to dinner at one of our favorite spots. I'll be wearing my rehearsal dinner dress (something I'll do each year until I outgrow it...ha!) 

If you want to see more of our wedding, click here!

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Thoughts on Decorating for Fall with What I Have

A couple days ago I was thinking about the change of season and how I actually just didn't want it to change. I told my husband that even in the summer, I have a hard time fully enjoying the sweetness of warmer weather because I'm already dreading the winter. Phew! It was one thing to tell my husband, but another to put it out here for you to read. Do you ever feel this way? Maybe not just about the weather, but seasons of life? 

Then, something even more revealing came off of my lips. My husband tried to reassure me about the change of seasons by reminding me that it meant I could get out my fall decorations and redo some of the decor in the house. I sourly said, "I don't even want to decorate for fall, because I'm just going to put out all the same old decorations I've had for 5 years. No one wants to see the same thing every year!" He asked me who I meant by "no one" and I told him my blog readers, my friends who come over, and myself. I paused for a couple seconds and looked up at him. He lovingly reminded me that maybe this was an issue of my heart. Darn, he was right ;)

After thinking about this statement for a couple of days, God brought to mind a convicting couple of things. 

1. The first is how I feel like I need new things in order to be approved of by others and feel good about myself. I like looking around and seeing new treasures, creating a new feeling in our home for a new season. 

2. Second, I felt the need to have new things in order to be seen as a trendsetter or be deemed a good designer. I guess I look around Instagram and magazines and think that "good designers" or "seasoned bloggers" are always getting new things to show on their feeds and in their homes. I had this thought that in order to inspire people to decorate for a new season, I had to show them something they haven't seen in my home before. 

Here's the thing though: I don't need anything new. We have all that we need (and more). I don't need to show you new fall decorations here in order to inspire you. In fact, maybe I will inspire you more by using my old stuff, because perhaps a lot of you are in a similar place as we are. We're saving for a house, currently live in an apartment and don't see a reason to buy small decorations to fit the apartment when we won't even be here next year. 

So, I've been praying that God will change my heart into one of thankfulness, not comparison or wanting, and instead be glad for the decorations I do have. This may sound super ridiculous or silly to be talking about being grateful for fall decorations...and maybe it is! But money and stuff often reveal my heart and talking about heart issues aren't ridiculous or silly. 

This month, like I mentioned in my September Goals post on Monday, I want to savor summer. Really, truly live in the moment and experience the joy of our warm days, get outside and enjoy them. And then when the cooler weather comes, I want to work on my attitude surrounding that, and do what my husband reminded me to do: find joy in decorating our apartment for fall, even if I am using the same decorations ;) I have a small (like, $50 small) budget to get a couple fall things like pumpkins and flowers for the porch, fall scented soap (Mrs. Meyers brand, of course!) and a fall candle, so I'm going to focus on being content and grateful for that (and try to stretch that budget as far as possible ;)) Then I want to get creative with the pieces I do have, maybe moving them around from where I usually put them. I want to share that process with you, since I'm guessing a lot of you can relate!

It's funny how calendar seasons can often coincide with seasons of our hearts. I want to cultivate thankfulness in this next season, decorating with what I have and knowing that's enough.

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September 2018 Goals

First of all, I have not done a goals post for quite some time. I intentionally took the summer months off writing these, so I could spend more time enjoying the glorious (and sometimes very humid!) weather. Second, THIS was last year's September goals. The picture of Lincoln is killing me...he was so little!!

Since I don't have any goals to look back on from last month, I'm just going to dive into September's goals! This is a fun month for us, as it's our wedding anniversary month. Hooray!

- Celebrate our anniversary together! I can't believe it's been almost 2 years since our wedding...how time flies. We're going to go to dinner on our anniversary (where I'm not sure-- I think my husband is surprising me!) Our anniversary gift to each other is going to the Keith Urban concert in October, which my husband also surprised me with, but couldn't wait until our anniversary to tell me ;) Gotta love it!! I cannot wait.

- Watch our wedding ceremony video and our speeches on our wedding anniversary. Also, dance to our first dance song. This is a tradition we started last year and I'm so excited to continue doing this forever!

- On the topic of marriage, one of my goals this month is to not be so naggy. I know it's a habit I fall into easily because I like to be in control, but I don't want to be this type of wife!

- In conjunction with our anniversary, I'd love to write a post about marriage so far, what we've learned, etc. If you have any questions, let me know and I can answer them in the post!

- I am currently getting a client's home ready for the Parade of Homes, which starts October 5th here in Grand Rapids. I'm loving how it's coming out and can't wait to show you everything soon! Countless hours go into making it beautiful for my sweet clients, but also getting it tour-ready for all the other hundreds of people who will be coming to see it.

- Go have dinner and see the sunset at the beach with McCann's grandparents. They are only here in the summer and fall months, so we want to see them once more before they move back to Florida for the winter (which speaking of, can I come?! ha!)

- Use our hot tub a couple more times before it closes on October 1st. Always sad about this!

- Guys, for the last couple of weeks I've actually been going to the gym a couple times a week and doing weights, then running. I know, it's crazy! I'm trying to start a good habit of this before winter comes and I literally don't want to move out of my cozy little home. Can I be honest, though? I hate running. I feel terrible after I do it, and I can't even run for long periods of time. I run for 3-4 minutes, then increase the incline and fast walk, then put the incline back down to run for another 3 minutes, etc. That's all I can do so far, so I'm trying not to give myself a hard time about it. But it is frustrating that I feel like death and other people say they feel amazing after a run. Maybe I will never be those people haha ;) *Goal here is to CONTINUE doing this!

- Begin getting our speakers lined up for 2019's Bloom Workshop schedule. We're hoping to launch the schedule on Black Friday!

- I'd love to get some things cleaned and organized before October hits. Our garage needs to be cleaned out, I'd like to clean the windows since they're a mess from the storms we've had a couple weeks ago, and I always love cleaning my closet out before a new season. Speaking of that, I do have a couple things for sale here that I just added!

- Decorate for Fall no sooner than the last week of September. I'm just really trying to savor this last official month of summer. I can't even fathom it getting cold again :( Send help. 

- Get our holiday plans with my family tentatively laid out so we can start looking at flights. This year we're spending Christmas here in Michigan, but will still go to California to see my fam at some point around the holidays. I hate leaving this to the last minute!

- Start my new book None Like Him. I just finished In His Image by Jen Wilkin and I loved it so much. It was so helpful to me to learn even more about God's character and how I can be an image bearer in order to live our God's will for my life. Highly recommend!!

What are some of your September goals?!


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Client Reveal: Modern Farmhouse Dining Room

So thrilled to be sharing the dining room in my modern farmhouse client project today! If you missed the entry & playroom or the family room, be sure to check them out, too. The dining room can be seen from the front door, as it's the first room past the entryway. The shiplap entry wall leads you right into this gorgeous space with huge sliders out to the deck. The archway into the family room is so beautiful. It's one of the things that was most-commented on during the Parade of Homes tour!

Come on in and take a look around!
This pendant is so fun and goes perfectly with the modern farmhouse vibe. The dining room table is a custom piece made by Haven Creek, local to Grand Rapids, MI and I'm so impressed with them! They're currently making another set of client's a dining table as well and I can't wait to see it. Since the table is almost 9' long (with good reason-- the family has 5 kids! -- we needed a light fixture that would span horizontally like this one. 

Nothing like some gorgeous house plants to give life to a space! I love this one from Peace & Toil

For the Parade of Homes tour this spring, we were lucky enough to have Modern Day Floral create these stunning flower arrangements for our table! Peonies and sprigs of lilac filled the vases and everyone was commenting on how gorgeous they were.

Ashley Slater Photography / Steve Visser Builder

Table / Metal Chairs / Similar Upholstered Chairs / Light Fixture - similar but different height lights, similar but three light fixture / Rug 

Isn't the table gorgeous?! Hope you liked this part of the tour!


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