November 24, 2015


You know when you get really excited about something? When you can hardly sit still because the anticipation is eating away at you? You feel like a kid on Christmas Eve Night anxiously awaiting the pitter patter of reindeer paws on your roof. I had that stomach-turning excitement recently after ordering the most amazing, beautiful, gorgeous, best wooden watch I'd ever laid eyes on.

I ran to the mailbox each day hoping, with baited breath, that I would open it and find that glorious square package inside. So the day it arrived I was quite literally beside myself. Happy early birthday to me (it's only two weeks away but really who's counting?).

The expertly-crafted wooden time piece is the best sort of twist on a classic wardrobe staple. It's the sort of thing you invest in and that which every man and woman should have on their holiday wish list, if it's not already adoring your wrists.

A Jord Wood Watch is a great way to accessorize a casual Thanksgiving Day outfit or dress up a holiday party ensemble

Watch via Jord Wood Watch Cora Series in Maple & Silver c/o // Thankful Grateful Blessed Tee via Busy Bicycle // Jeans via Loft (old) // Necklace via Kendra Scott
So if you're still scrambling to clean your house, cook your turkey and write down all the things you're hoping Santa will place under your tree - take a minute; relax and send your husband, boyfriend, mom, fill-in-the-blank, a link to your favorite Jord Wood Watch. Because the best kind of gift is the one that you can keep for a lifetime - the one that never go out of style; it's timeless.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored posts for the readers of Everyday Thoughts by Jord Wood Watches. I was not financially compensated for this post and all opinions are my own. 

Be Blessed,
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November 19, 2015

You Made Me Feel Beautiful

Thank you to the patient sales women at the makeup store.

You didn't bat an eye when I trotted into your meticulously lit, white retail space with my two-year-old holding my hand. You instantly asked me if you could help, when most other sales professionals turn their back and pretend like they don't see me, as if having a little one means that I don't need the type of help that a serious shopper requires. I realize that when they see a mom with a toddler it's akin to an elephant in a china store. I know they typically don't want to deal with the extra frustration - but that didn't hinder you. You didn't turn away. You walked right up to me and spoke to me like an adult.

You listened to me as I, in a Tourette-like moment, tried to shop for an eyebrow pencil and control my rambunctious mini human at the same time.

You are in the business of selling makeup and told me I was beautiful and that I didn't need any. I realize it's a sales tactic but as a mother who is proficient in the one-handed diaper change - it was one of the nicest compliments I could have received.

It didn't phase you that my little boy wanted to try on lipstick. You chased me while I chased him and you graciously applied brow pencil, lipstick, foundation and powder all to make me look great and give me a new-found confidence. You saw that my time, patience and energy was limited and in the span of 3-5 minutes you made me over and made me feel beautiful at the same time. You weren't trying to sell me anything but I bought because you simply took the time to acknowledge that sometimes moms need a little extra attention. You let my son be your big helper by allowing him to put the makeup back on the shelves and you took the time to learn his name.

When he started running around the aisles, I held my head in embarrassment, knowing full well my time in a store was about over. This had happened four (count them - one, two, three, four) times previously when I came into shop. All four times I had one or both of my littles and moments after walking in I quickly turned to walk out. Who was I kidding thinking I could possibly try on a lipstick when I have a three-month old strapped to my chest and a two-year old who thinks lipstick is candy? You made sure I didn't run out.

Since you took the time to treat me better than most, I called the manager at your store to thank you. I've worked retail and it doesn't happen often enough that people actually get positive feedback. I learned that you were a sales rep from PÜR Cosmetics (which is probably why I walked out with two new products from your line). So Ulta and PÜR, thank you for having such great people on your team. People that aren't afraid of mama bears. People who make others feel beautiful, with and without makeup. People who treat your customers like they matter. 

And for those of you who are wondering I walked out with these two awesome products:

If you haven't tried PÜR Cosmetics they are based out of Atlanta and they specialize in beautiful makeup that improves the look of your skin with their mineral-based makeup selections. Based on my recent experience I am so excited to try some other products in the future. 

Have you ever had a great shopping experience that promoted you to call the store and give them positive feedback?

Be Blessed,
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November 10, 2015

Are You Living a Life FulFilled?

I recently had the pleasure of reading Danise Jurado's new book, "Fulfilled - Learning to Live the Life God Promised". I spent my time combing through the pages, reading about some of Danise's personal life struggles and how she continually found the strength to persevere through each obstacle because of her faith and courage in Christ. Throughout the book she discusses themes like; truth, forgiveness, change and hope and it's all based on the Written Word. Each chapter spoke of Biblical Truths that challenged me and had me take a closer look at my heart and my relationship with Jesus. I learned more about myself and my faith from reading "Fulfilled" and I think anyone that takes the time to turn the pages will as well.

The book itself was well organized, easy to read and clear enough to understand even if you are just beginning your faith journey. Danise's personal sharing shows her genuine and authentic heart and allows readers to find similarities in their life giving them grounds to make parallels in their own life.

I was excited to dig in a little deeper with Danise after I completed the book and I just had to share these faith-filled Q&A with you. Don't worry you can read this before you read the book (it doesn't give anything away).

What inspired you to write Fulfilled?
Danise: God placed people in my life who were able to see the potential for this book within me long before I ever did. Writing the book was a ten-year journey with God; inspired by the desire to share my own personal journey to discovering the full life God has promised. I’ve also served as a pastoral counselor for fifteen years and I wanted to share all the practical steps that have helped me and many others find healing and spiritual freedom in life.

If there is one single take away from the book what do you think it is?
Danise: There is a pang inside of us that comes from the soul longing to be satisfied and whole. Although there are many ways to pursue a fulfilled life, there is only One who can truly satisfy the heart; the One who created it. God’s definition of a fulfilled life is so much more substantial than our limited ability can see. When betrayal, loss, addiction, hopelessness, fear and doubt whisper, “Is a fulfilled life even possible? How?” - God reaches out to us, right where we are, through the power of His promises to lead us to freedom and fill our life in ways we can’t imagine.

God has clearly chosen you to help minister to his flock - how do you feel about that responsibility? Do you have any advice to those that have a similar calling?
Danise: It is a privilege to partner with God to help others discover His truth and walk in freedom.  I often describe it as working in Holy Spirit territory because that is what the human heart is; Holy Spirit territory.

With that in mind my first bit of advice to those called to minister is to understand that as you help others navigate through very personal areas of life – be a trustworthy person. Confidentiality is more than just a moral code of ethics it is respect for the Holy Spirit territory that you have been given access to. The healing God desires to bring to a heart that has been broken by betrayal can be hindered if further betrayal happens at the hands of a “minister”.

Next, my advice is to continually pursue freedom and healing in your own personal life. It is difficult to lead someone to a place you are not familiar with yourself.  We are all a work in progress, just be sure that you are always yielding and surrendering to Christ throughout your progress.

You talk about the Dream Center in the book and you've graciously offered to donate 50% of the proceeds from the sale of "Fulfilled", what is the Dream Center and why is it so close to your heart?
Danise: The Dream Center is a wonderful organization that reaches over 85,000 people every month through both residential and outreach ministries; helping people overcome things like addiction, abuse, homelessness and poverty. They provide housing, food, clothing, furniture, education, job placement training and most importantly the hope and love of Christ.

The mission of The Dream Center is to find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it with the overall goal of reaching the people behind the need with God’s love. Over the many years of ministry there, I have personally seen countless lives restored and healed by God through this amazing organization; that is why I am donating half of all the proceeds from this book to further the great ministries of The Dream Center.

You candidly wrote that you grew up in a house that was far from faith, about your battles with weight and food and some of your marital hardships, why did you decide to share so many personal details about your life? 
Danise: God has done amazing and wonderful things in my life.  Our testimony is one of the most powerful ways we have to share the hope and freedom of Christ. Vulnerability allows the reader to build a relationship with me throughout the book. I wanted the book to be as though it was just me and the reader sitting down for a chat about living a fulfilled life through Christ.

You share a lot of Scripture throughout "Fulfilled", do you have a favorite verse? If so, what is it and why does it resonate with you?
Danise: I think this might be the hardest question to answer. I love the Word of God. I depend on God’s truth in every way. I have specific favorites for certain areas of life application so it’s hard to choose only one. Overall the one that comes to mind immediately is 2 Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” This verse reminds me that no matter what season of life I am in, no matter what I am facing in life, God’s blessing of grace to me is always more than enough to abound in every good work He has called me to.

Where do you find your writing inspiration? 
Danise: Life and the Bible. I love how God’s love letters to us are applicable in every way throughout life’s seasons. Every day we are all surrounded by the facts of our life; God’s Word is the truth. Just because facts are real doesn’t make them the truth. God doesn’t say you will know the facts and the facts will set you free. He says, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Leaning how to maneuver through all the facts of life with the power of God’s truth is a life long journey and wonderful inspiration for writing.

Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
Danise: I love to read and learn.  I enjoy reading many different authors, including bloggers. Some of the best reading comes not only from authors of books, but authors of blogs. My favorite book of course is the Bible.

Do you have plans to write another book in the future? 
Danise: Yes! I do. I never thought I would say that but I have several ideas for future books. One on the topic friendships and prayer partners, and the other one about holding on to your true identity through dating relationships. It will be fun to see what God does with those ideas in the future.

Do you have any book recommendations? I'm always looking for my next great read. I also recently started a profile on GoodReads - follow along here.

Be Blessed,
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November 5, 2015

TastyKake Minis

I'm celebrating the fact that both of my boys are down for naps - AT THE SAME TIME! Can you say "Mom Victory!" It's my personal Mini Win and I'm celebrating with TastyKake Minis, delicious bite-sized cupkakes that are perfect anytime of the day. Yes, even breakfast - I know because I've tried, just add coffee.

"Yum" is just about the only thing I can say about the incredibly delicious, rich and decadent TastyKake Minis. These little treats are the perfect shareable snack. With three mini cupkakes in each pack. My husband and I like to split one and give the third to our oldest son - who's now always asking for "cupcakes." They are a bit rich so I personally can't eat the entire pack but I don't think my toddler would have a problem annihilating them all. Plus they are filled with Reese's peanut butter and really does it even get any better than that?

My family was able to try the TastyKake Minis Peanut Butter Cupkakes because we received a box of them for free from Influenster for testing purposes. You can get a delicious package for yourself at most grocery stores or check out more from TastyKake Minis here or here.

Be Blessed,
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November 3, 2015

The Beginner's Bible All About Jesus Sticker & Activity Book

As the weather grows colder I've been on the look out for fun, age-appropriate activities for my two-and-a-half-year old. I even started a Pinterest board full of ideas (check it out here). My oldest loves to read but the books that sit on our shelves get old after four days of rain and being stuck inside.
I was thrilled when I discovered "The Beginner's Bible All About Jesus Sticker & Activity Book" a children's book filled with stories, activities and stickers based on the life and teachings of Jesus. The main focus of each page centers on the miracles of Christ, from healing the blind to walking on waves - it's a great supplement to other bible teachings. The activity book itself is appropriate for children ranging in ages from 4-6.

The message of Christ's teachings and miracles are presented in a clear, well organized manner. Each activity is paired with a one to two sentence explaination of a biblical teaching. While the summaries are easy to understand the activities were too difficult for my two-year old. Several of the stickers fit within a picture, like a puzzle, and their placement requires much finer motor skills than what my son currently possesses. The illustrations are beautiful and inviting and even though my little guy couldn't do the activities as they were intended he loved looking through the pages, playing with the stickers and coloring on the pages - and I was happy because I can use the book to help teach my son about Jesus's ministry. I would recommend this activity book if you're looking for faith-based fun for a child between the ages of four and six - and with the holidays coming up it would make a fantastic gift!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Check out some of my other favorite faith-based books for children here and here
Be Blessed,
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October 20, 2015

neutral territory - booties

I don't have many excuses to dress up anymore. I'm the stereotypical; mom-jean, top knot, no makeup wearing, baby totting, stay-at-home mama. That's not to say that I don't appreciate those times when I can put on some mascara and go out (anywhere) without the kiddos. But since it's not necessary for me to load my closet with office-appropriate clothing, I've come to appreciate each and every item I add to my wardrobe. I think about each new piece and unlike my spontaneous shopping of old, I now research and save for every single purchase. The instant gratification is gone now I take my time, like enjoying a fine wine or a silent bubble bath.

My current fall fashion obsession is booties. I've been on the prowl for a great pair of neutral or brown colored booties for some time now. 

Here are some of the pairs I'm keeping my eye on lately. 

neutral territory

Shop all featured items here:

I really need to go ahead and pull the trigger on one of these. Do you have a favorite pair? Help a mama out - where's your go-to place to shop for shoes?

Be Blessed,
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