Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Year in Blogging

Hello young 2014 world! In just a few short hours you will be a year older! You will be 2015—and you will bring with this new number lots of new experiences, choices, hurts, dreams come true, relationships, thoughts, and more!

I wanted to take this one last time to post in 2014 to share some of my favorite blog moments this past year. I've been blogging for years, but this year marked many of my all-time favorite blog posts, as well as the discovery of many blogs that I have come to love. So I've rounded up the top 10 posts from this blog this year, as well as given you a few other lists of some of my favorite places to read on the internet. Enjoy and have a safe, Happy New Year!


My top 10 posts from this year:
On Being Married
Engagement Photoshoot
First Apartment: Living Room Reveal
5 Tips for Planning a Wedding
Very First Apartment
5 Ways to Fill Your Walls
Sneak Peak: Bedroom
One Month
Weekend Wrap-Up

My 5 favorite design/inspiration/diy blogs:
A Beautiful Mess
Nesting Place
Vintage Revivals
Style Me Pretty Living
The Inspired Room

My 3 favorite snarky Christian blogs:
We are THAT Family
Rage Against the Minivan
Jamie the Very Worst Missionary

My 5 favorite blog posts:
Dear World: Let's Stop Giving Our Crap to the Poor
# Blessed
On Being "Healed of Being a Big Deal"
Marriage on the Edge of Eternity
Rich and Poor | The Question That Wrecked Us Both

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking Back // 14 in 14

So at the beginning of the year, I posted about 14 goals, wishes, hopes, and dreams that I had for 2014. I already updated you on #1, 2, 3, 8, & 9 in my Catch-Up Post wayyyy back in February, so I thought I would update you on the rest of my 2014 hopes and wishes—the good AND the bad. We're all about transparency and authenticity around here, right?!

The Good
#4. Try a recipe outside of my comfort zone
I'm trying to wrack my brain for something that was outside my comfort zone. I know that we tried many new recipes this year, but most were pretty easy or normal. When asking Loverboy, he responded with a Garlic Parmesan Salmon that we made for a double date. Correction: he and the other male counterpart made it while I and the female counterpart went shopping. :) So I can't really take credit for this one, but it did turn out really yummy!

#5. Repurpose something
I'm sure there's a better example of this, but this year I did paint a dresser and a side-table. I guess that's not really repurposing, but more refinishing. Again, Loverboy's two cents was that using our radiator as a stand for our TV the last month while the tree's been up counts as repurposing. I'm not so sure.

#6. Get a job 
Back in March I got hired as a part-time Graphic Designer for Bethlehem Baptist Church! I was able to start right after my stint with The Navigators when I moved to the cities in May and it has been such a blessing of God's provision and care. I get to work for a great place with great people, doing something that I really enjoy. Win/win/win (as Michael Scott would say). ;)

#7. Finish reading the Divergent Series (and see the movie)
After reading the first book and then hearing about others' opinions on the 2nd and 3rd, I kind of lost steam on this one. I have however seen the movie, not once, but twice, and do find it quite enjoyable, and am definitely looking forward to seeing Insurgent.

#10. Print something from Pinterest
I just accomplished this one! I printed "Our Year in Review" printables from the Dating Divas. They have some sweet [and pretty] sheets to fill out with your spouse and/or family to remember your year. The hubs and I will be doing this on a New Year's date we have planned.

#11. Purge my closet
I accomplished this last month when I participated in a Sunday School clothing swap... so I may have come home with just as many "new" things as I purged my closet of. I'm thinking it's about time to do this one again.

#14. Keep up with the blog
I think I've done a pretty decent job keeping up with the blog and writing pretty regularly. Some months were heavier on posts than others, but overall I feel good about this one!

The Bad
#8. Make an art journal, mini-album, or scrapbook
I certainly haven't done as much crafting as I wanted to this past year, but I think a lot of that is due to the fact that life was pretty busy and transitional (engagement, moving, new job, wedding planning, marriage, etc!). Plus, I just made a little rolling cart craft station so I'm hoping the convenience will inspire me to do more crafting!

#12. Memorize the TMS
I think out of all my hopes for 2014, this one was the most lofty and also required the most thought and planning, which just didn't happen. Oops. Maybe next year? :)

#13. Knit something
Another hope that just wasn't fulfilled due to business and lack of intention. Plus, I totally don't remember how to knit so I would have needed brush-up lessons. I'm not too heart-broken over it though.

What have you accomplished in 2014 that you're proud of? What have you maybe not done that you'd like to do this next year?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up: Holiday Posts

Hey friends! Just in case you haven't been around for long, or have been busy [what.... this time of year?! Noooo...] and have missed a couple, I wanted to round up in one place for you all my holiday posts. Feel free to browse and get some Christmas inspiration... after all, it is less than a week away!

In my first holiday post, I share some excitement as well as some of my favorite Christmas traditions.

This post gives you three creative ways to wrap those packages this Christmas season. So get out the twine and washi tape, throw on some tunes, and get wrapping!

A traditional coffee date post with a holiday spin. Crab a cup and sit awhile.

In this post I show you how I made my super easy Advent count-down. Sure, it may be nearing the end of Advent, but you could always do the week before Christmas!

Get a tour of our apartment decked out in Christmas cheer for all to hear!

A collection of some free Christmas downloads that I love from around the web.

O Christmas Tree
Yesterday I shared about our Christmas tree experience—from grade A customer service at Home Depot, to decking out the whole tree for less than $30!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

O Christmas Tree

As promised, I'm finally posting about our very first tree! as you can see, it was quite the process to get it all set up and decorated, but with some Rudolph playing in the background and our stellar teamwork, I'd say it was a very successful first tree! 

Not to mention how stinkin' awesome Home Depot is. [No, I did not get paid to write that... I wish. Home Depot? Please?] But seriously. We went to go get our tree with Bri's little Honda Civic, a little uncertain about how it would go, and left with grins on our faces. 

Really, the free hot cider and cookies while you browsed would have been enough, but then we got to the check-out, the guy gave us 50% off, partially because he couldn't find the tag, and partially because he was a nice guy wanting to spread some Christmas cheer! 

Then they put it through this little machine that netted it up [see above intense photos of me cutting the net], and told us to drive up our car. Once we did, there was a gentleman there who helped Bri hoist it up on the roof of the car and tie it all down safe-like for us. What a breeze!

Here's the little guy all lit up and shiny in our living room. Please notice the faux-fire playing on the television. They are all the rage, guys.

I got all our ornaments and tree-decking supplies from the Dollar Tree! Man, I love that place! It cost us less than $30 to deck this guy out and we even had left-over ornaments to spread throughout the house (and then some.... may have overestimated how many ornaments it takes to fill a tree... oops!). 

I'm kind of in love with the gold, white, and metallic vibe we've got going on. Probably my favorite color palette right now, if you can consider those colors. We loved the experience of Home Depot and how easy it was... but I'm curious... are there those of you who are hard-core "go cut it yourself" or others who are tried and true to the fake tree? I feel like we took the road in the middle as far as convenience, ease, and memory-making. What do you do for your Christmas tree? Anyone wanna try to convince us for next year? :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Three Months

Today I have been married to my Mr. for three months. A quarter of a year. And so far, it's been the best quarter of a year of my life! I'm waiting for that "the first year is the hardest" saying to kick in... but until it does, I'm just going to enjoy this little thing we've got going and continue to thank God for all he's given me.

This month has marked a lot of big milestones in our marriage.

I officially (and finally!) became Mrs. Heather Douglas to the government. Lemme tell ya'... if you're going to stand in line at the Social Security office in mid-teen weather a half an hour before they open, please for all that is good in the world, make sure you're standing in the right line. Not speaking from experience or anything.

Loverboy and I became members at our church. Putting down roots, getting involved, finding a family. These are good things, people.

We experienced our first nights apart—three in one week—one while Loverboy was in NY for business, and the other two when he went hunting with a friend in WI.

We had our first Thanksgiving as a married couple! We made mashed potatoes and stuffing for the Block Thanksgiving, and let's just say that we got a major stamp of approval from the grandma. :)

We got our first Christmas tree and decorated our place for Christmas as well as started an Advent tradition. Three cheers for family traditions! And the holidays! (duh.)

It's been a full, wonderful, busy, beautiful month. And tomorrow we head off on a little getaway that involves a mansion, some fine dining, tours of old houses, and breakfast in bed on Monday instead of going to work. Yep, I think the 4th month of marriage might be the best yet! :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

3 Tips for Renters

Happy Friday, friends! Today I want to share with you three things I've learned from renting. A lot of people in our life stage are renting, and it can sometimes feel like a drag to not be able to do exactly what you want with your place, but there are definitely ways around that, and even bonuses to renting as well!

1. Put stuff on those walls!
Nothing says "renter" like empty walls. So one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your rental feel like home is to hang stuff up! It's super easy to take down when you move, and there's not a whole lot (if any) repair work before you leave. Photos, paintings, prints, and other various wall hangings can do wonders to an otherwise empty or disorganized feeling space. You can share stories through your wall hangings. You can convey style and mood. You can create a color scheme or a theme. Wall hangings are important, people. Need some inspiration? In case you missed it, awhile back I posted about 5 ways to fill your walls. I'd say that's a pretty good place to start. ;)

2. Embrace the awkward
Pretty much anytime you rent, you're going to have something about the place you don't love. That's probably true of when you buy too—but then you can just demolish, re-finish, or otherwise completely change that little bit of awkward going on. But when you're renting, your best bet is to embrace it.

Check out the creepy sweet angel shelf going on in our bathroom... once paired with a little bud vase in similar colors it's not quite so weird. And see that cut-out in our kitchen? Yeah, it's a window into the second bedroom. Why is it there?? We have no idea [although I speculate it was to pass food through to a prisoner, buttttt....]. So we put up some scrapbook paper and use it as a shelf for cookbooks. Boom. Awkward embraced.

3. Become friends with your neighbors!
Okay, so this tip obviously doesn't have anything to do with decorating, but it has tons to do with making your apartment/rental feel homey! The great thing about rentals, is that they are often apartment complexes or duplexes, or if you're like us, a four-plex! This means you're living super close to at least a few other people, if not a whole building of them. I think this is the perfect time to practice making friends, since seeing someone in the hallway is much easier than walking across the street and knocking on someone's front door.

And take it from me, becoming friends with your neighbors can be so much fun! We just had our upstairs neighbors over for a game night last night and we had a blast [hey K&M if you're reading this!]. The best part? You don't have to bundle up and brave the cold to hang out! :)

What tips and tricks have you learned from renting? 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up: Christmas Freebies

You guys, I know that most of you aren't as obsessed with your calendar as much as I am so I wanted to let you know that it's FRIDAY! Woo! This weekend is packed with lots of goodness... with a double date tonight, Loverboy's Casino work party tomorrow, and visiting family for a birthday party and a small group game night on Sunday. We're hoping to slip in a bit of sleeping in [we've been dragging the last coupla' days], taking a chunk out of our wedding thank yous, and baking some Christmas cookies as well! Bring. It. On.

What are your plans for the weekend? Anything spectacular?

Here's some holiday inspiration for your weekend [I promise I won't make every post ever about Christmas during this season... maybe...].

I simply adore these free desktop and phone backgrounds. Perfect for getting some Christmas music stuck in your noggin. :) Speaking of Christmas music...

My love for Pentatonix grows every Christmas. They just keep pumping it out! You can listen to their whole album, That's Christmas to Me, for free on Spotify!

I'm sticking with the Christmas music theme, so here's a free printable that you can frame and put on your mantle. Or just tape to your wall with some pretty washi tape. Your choice. :)

Have a very merry weekend, friends!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Spreading Christmas Cheer for All to Hear!

I really do love this season. Partially because it lends itself to so much gold and glitter, but mostly because it's the time of the year that reminds us of God's greatest gift to us—His Son. And although gold and glitter don't exactly say "Jesus," I really do find that decorating for the Christmas season gets me in the mood for cheer and thankfulness. Having Christmas music playing as the soft glow of Christmas lights shines on the Nativity scene just does something good for my soul. So I thought I'd share some of our decor with you in order to inspire you to snaz up your place a bit for the holidays. And as you're about to see, it doesn't have to be expensive or difficult.

I love going to TJ Maxx or Gordmans and looking at all the beautiful decor, but something about the challenge of being uber thrifty really excites me. So this year we've decided to keep costs to a minimum... but that doesn't mean that gold or glitter had to be at a minimum! After hitting up the Dollar Tree and a couple thrift stores, we were ready to decorate!

So here's a peak at our place all spruced up for Christmas. And of course things are a bit different now that we had to rearrange the living room to fit our tree... but that's for later.

The jingle bells, ornaments, and this fabulous tinseled tree are brought to you by the Dollar Tree.

This ceramic Nativity set is from way back in the day when I was in a church equivalent of the Girl Scouts. I glazed the set myself... not bad for a nine year old!

The colorful lights, greenery, and gold, glittery pears were all thrift store finds, along with the precious ceramic deer that I snagged for $3 and $4 a piece!

And here's our tree.... JK! This lil guy brings Christmas cheer to our bedroom... and has been doing so for me probably since I was in middle school. Post about our real tree coming soon!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent [Activity Envelope DIY]

Well folks, it's December, believe it or not, which means it's the season of Advent! I decided that I wanted to do something to celebrate Advent this year, and I thought some sort of Advent calendar would do just the trick. So to Pinterest I went and found this adorable (and easy!) idea. This project really only took me maybe an hour or so and can easily be done while talking with a friend or watching a movie.

You will need:
Scrapbook paper
Paper cutter (or scissors)
Twine or other string/ribbon
Mini clothespins
Thin sharpie

For this DIY, I simply chose some fun scrapbook paper, cut it into fourths (which made for 4 6x6" squares from each piece of paper) and then folded all the sides in to create an envelope shape. If you wanted to make actual envelopes you could glue or tape the sides down and then fill them with things, but I chose to leave mine open and just write directly on the paper envelope, like so...

I decided to go for a variety of activities for our Advent Calendar, you could however just include scriptures to read. I included scripture readings, things/people to pray for, fun Christmas activities like looking at lights and cuddling up with hot cocoa, and more! The sky is the limit.

After filling all your envelopes with ideas for each day, simple string up some twine, number your clothespins, and hang up your envelopes. This Advent calendar also doubles as a wonderful little decoration, and if done with Christmas paper would be even more festive!

So go ahead! If you make this in the next day or two you'll only be a couple days behind, which is so easy to catch up! Plus, if you're anything like me you might just have these supplies laying around.

I think this will be a really fun way to be intentional with this season and focus our hearts on the coming of the Savior, as well as have some fun creating some new Christmas traditions. Plus, it will be fun to see the envelopes start to disappear as Christmas approaches and anticipation builds. I fully believe in Christmas being just as magical now as it was when we were 5 years old! :)

What about you? Do you do anything fun or meaningful for Advent?

This post is a part of the Peony Project monthly link-upThe Peony Project is a community for women who love Jesus, love blogging, and are looking for a common space to share ideas, encourage one another, and make real, honest friendships with one another.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...