Sunday, April 20, 2014

Good Friday 2014

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I love to cover my head on Good Friday with a veil or scarf. 

See I'm a big fan of tradition. Tradition has roots. Tradition has meaning. It has heart, if you let it. All of that feeling is up to us, though...tradition itself holds little, which is why we can so easily forget. What we bring in our hearts to tradition is where the beauty lies. The remembrance of things past that have lead us to this day, the longing of things yet to be...it's all rather poetic and my heart clings to that. 

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Covering my head helps me feel the mourning of my Savior's death. For MY sins. How could I not cover my head then, in sorrow and reverence for this act that was for ME? Because of me? I put myself in the place of the followers of Jesus who were there, who saw the God of the universe clinging to a cross, barely recognizable. And YES, we know He rises. But they didn't, you see. They couldn't comprehend that Jesus crucified, would soon be Jesus risen. Still today, 2000 years later, it is hard to comprehend the agony and beauty mixed together, even though I know He rises, that He is alive.

But the fact remains that the price was paid. The sacrifice was made. 
So I wear black.
And cover my head. 
A woman in mourning. For my Savior's death. For my sins. 
For the bleak and hopeless outlook that would be ours had Jesus remained on the Cross. 

But this isn't the end of the story.

Tell me, do you cover your head for Good Friday? 

Scarf: Burberry//Wool Bow Dress: Vintage//Cashmere Sweater: White + Warren//Heels: Ann Taylor

xo
Natalie

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reese's Eggs on Big Girls Small Kitchen

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New recipe for Big Girls Small Kitchen (BGSK) today: Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs! Anyone would be more than lucky to get these tucked into an Easter basket (and I definitely just ate one for breakfast, so there's that). Click here for the recipe!

Unless you follow me on Facebook, I haven't been sharing these amazing recipes with you, and for that, I offer my apologies. Here are a few of my favorite delicious (gluten-free!) recipes I've had the pleasure of creating for Cara over at the wonderful BGSK.

Here are some of my favorites!
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Starting from the top, going clockwise: 


Enjoy!
xo
Natalie


Monday, April 14, 2014

Pinterest Faves from Jen @ Boone + Owl

Happy Monday, lovelies! Today I want to introduce you to my new friend Jen from Boone + Owl. She's a kindred spirit for sure and you should go check out her fun blog! She loves Anthropologie, Chipotle, and Jesus, too, so if those are your jams you're gonna love her! You can find my post featuring my favorites sunglasses & lipstick pairings for the summer, over on her blog today

In the meantime, here's Jen with one of my favorite series' she does, her Pinterest Favorites: 

Pinterest Favorites of the Week, DIY Sequin Blazer, Breakfast Smoothie, Photography Tips, Interviewing tips

Happiest of Mondays! I'm Jen and I blog over at Boone + Owl where I share fashion, beauty tips, recipes, a DIY or two, and a dash of all the other happy things in life! Every weekend I share nine of my favorite pins from my countless hours on Pinterest. Do you ever sit down to pin just a few things and then find yourself still pinning three hours later? Story of my life. Sigh. Anywho, I thought I would share a few of my recent Pinterest Favorites with all of you! I noticed something. There are always at least two favorites that are recipes in every Pinterest Favorites post. Look, I like to eat. Food is delicious! My favorite quote this week also has to do with food. I should really balance this out with a workout pin. Hey, there's always next time. 

All right, moving on to this week's favorites..

Ham Lentil and Kale Soup. I love food. I particularly love food that is yummy and fresh! I've made kale soups in the past, but none quite like this one. The flavor paring sounds way too delectable!

"You Only Live Once, Lick The Bowl". Yes. This is my quote for the week, and just YES. Food is delicious. Cake batter is even better. Lick the bowl. This is my ode to yolo. Don't ever tell anyone I said yolo.

Lash Curling Extreme. I'm sure you've heard of heating your eyelash curler with a blow dryer to get a better curl. Well, I found this and gave it a try. I'm just going to be honest and tell you that I 100% burnt myself the first time. I was really gung-ho about it and didn't check the curler to see how hot it was. The heated curler actually works very well and it is absolutely worth trying. Just make sure you check how hot it is first like the tutorial suggests!

How To Top Knot. Do you still struggle with the top knot? I do. At least when it comes to doing a top knot with straight hair. I can do it with curly hair no problem. If you have any issue with a straight hair top knot, this tutorial is nice and helpful!

Simple Breakfast Smoothie. I don't know about the breakfast part. I'm more of an afternoon smoothie kind of person. There's healthy + yumminess in this smoothie so it doesn't count against your calories.. right? I mean it's spinach. And bananas. And an orange. Blueberries.. Raspberries. Yeah, that does't count!

9 Fashion Blog Photography Tips. This is such a helpful post! Yara shares some great tips. If you want to improve your photography skills this post is worth a read!

Career 101: Interviewing. This post was put together by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere. She shares 8 tips and I thought they were quite helpful.

Stripes + Elbow Patch. I really really love elbow patches. I still don't have a single top with elbow patches. It's not okay. Do you know any shops that have some cute options to choose from? Let me know in the comments if you do! This pin is here because it's so cute. That's really it!

DIY Sequin Blazer. Blazers are fantastic. Sequin is sparkly and that's a very good thing. This combination is so fun! It's pretty easy to do and would add a spectacular pop to an old blazer that needs revamping.


All right, that's all she wrote! I hope this brought you some pinspiration! What's your yolo stance on cake batter bowl licking?



Go give Jen some love ya'll, and don't forget I've got my favorite pairings of sunglasses & lipsticks on her blog today! 

Sunnies+LipstickGGS


xo
Natalie
(and Jen!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Wardrobe Additions

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It's springtime! Ok, well, really, here in New England it's mud season, but that's nothing some Hunter wellies can't conquer. I spent a bit of time hunting around my favorite consignment and thrifting spots for a few Spring Wardrobe additions, focusing mostly on neutral basics upon which to build with colorful accessories. Here's what I picked up:

1.) Vince Black Leggings Perfect for everyday wear with any light sweater long enough to cover my bum. LOVE these tucked into my Hunter wellies on rainy days.

2.) Jill Stuart Cream Pea Coat A nice change of pace from my heavy down coat on the days I need it. I've only needed it a few times though!

3.) Catherine Melandrino Bell-Sleeve Openwork Sweater Oh my goodness I canNOT stop wearing this. I'm so in love with it. It's baby alpaca so it's warm but not bulky, and with a colored tank underneath it's nice and cheery.

4.) Pink Gauze Star Scarf from American Eagle A colorful addition. I love my black/gray star scarf so much I had to grab this one when I spotted it.

5.) Adriano Goldschmied Brown Corduroy Pants I LOVE AG cords because they have the perfect amount of Spandex in them. I snagged these on ThredUp (review coming soon!).

6.) Gap Academy Blazer Adoring the neon pink lining on the cuffs & collar of this sweatshirt-material blazer.

7.) J.Crew Ankle-Zip Cords I already have these in seafoam, but gray is so versatile and looks great with all of my seafoam and light pink spring tops.

8.) Wool-blend shorts These are so cute and perfect for warm days in that almost-spring weather that's warm with a cool breeze. I think these will look great with my light pink sweater.

Of course I also loaded up on some spring nail polish colors, which will be in a separate post :) And a cute new polka-dot umbrella because it's April, after all.

What have you added to your wardrobe for Spring? Are you loading up on bright things or sticking with neutrals like me?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maple Latte

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Ya'll I live in New England, mmmkay? So I'm a pretty legit expert on all things maple syrup (fact: it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup #boom). So this maple latte thing is on lock over here. The basic proportions are the same, but fiddle with your version of "strong" coffee and your version of "sweet" until it's your kind of awesomely-delicious. Here's what I love:

Maple Latte
1/3 mug hot VANILLA flavored coffee
2/3 mug HOT milk, foamed/frothed
1 1/2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Really, all you have to do is stir these together. But here's my more in-depth method: I actually use a two-mug method to do this...heating the milk in one mug while letting my coffee brew through my Melita pour-through coffee maker into another mug. I've found it's best to add the coffee to the milk rather than the other way around, so I put the milk in the mug I want to drink from to microwave it. Then foam it directly in the mug using a tiny whisk, fork, or my favorite gadget: an Aerolatte. Then carefully pour in your hot coffee, add the maple syrup right on top of the foam, sneak a spoon in under the foam and stir. The last secret is to make sure this is served VERY hot. I am by no means a barista, so this is just what I make to enjoy at home: quick & easy!

And a verse to cheer your morning:

psalm9017GGS

xo
Natalie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Your Wardrobe Secret Weapon: Dear Kate

It's probably no surprise I like pretty underthings.
But I'm also a fan of practicality, and sometimes function wins over form (has anyone ever found a pretty nude strapless bra that is smooth? If so, please let me in on that secret).

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But I'm about to let you in on a fabulous secret, something generally only your best friend might tell you. Have you heard of DearKate's "revolutionary underwear"? They're form-meets-function-meets-awesome.

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These are underthings you can rely on. They've got you covered and feeling good all day long, no matter what the day brings: running, Zumba, yoga, comedy night out, extra confidence that time of the month, or visiting the White House (as I read in their testimonials section!). Any time you don't want to leave anything to chance (and who does?) reach for DearKate.

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They have athletic styles and everyday styles, all carefully crafted in NYC and packaged adorably like a letter. I chose an everyday pair from the Ella collection, with polka-dot lace and a little bow in green (how could I resist?).

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Love the polka-dot mesh/lace and the thick but breathable (and silky smooth!) lining. I will caution you to be careful washing these in the machine straight-up (without a lingerie bag) because I made that mistake and they got snagged a bit. I also recommend sizing up one size.

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I am so pleased to have found these and Dear Kate was kind enough to send me a pair to review so we can all ditch pantyliners, be free to live as boldly as we'd like & still wear beautiful underthings. I think that's pretty revolutionary! These are not affiliate links, but I know Dear Kates are a bit on the expensive side so you can use code "goodgirlstyle" to get 25% off your order through April 30th!

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Might I suggest you use it on their brand-new Vera collection? SO CUTE and I loooooove the color! Because I love you so much and DearKate is so generous here's the code again:


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 I highly recommend keeping at least one pair of these in your lingerie drawer. 
xo
Natalie

Friday, April 4, 2014

Add Some Blue Skies to Your Day

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A bright Spring coat, such as my bright pink wool version from J.Crew, is a must-have for this time of year. You're sick of your heavy down winter coat, right? Me too. Investing in a transition coat (or a few, I also have a seafoam green coat and a red trench!) bring color and light to your wardrobe while still keeping you warm on the days Spring decides to be not-so-nice.


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Oh Spring! How tempestuous a season you are! Snow, rain, "wintry mix", this abominable thing called "freezing mist" and then...bright, glorious blue skies! How my heart soars! I'm absolutely LOVING my sky-blue nail polish from Sinful Colors (Bright Lucite-dont'ya love that name?!). Glossy, gorgeous blue sky nails are a sure-fire way to bring some brightness to your wardrobe (and your life!).

What are some ways YOU add color to your life this time of year? Do you have a bright rain coat, umbrella, wellies, or a favorite shade of nail polish? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Monday Things


I just want to tell you:

You are beautiful. 
And loved. 
And worthy. 
And I'd totally give you a hug if I could, because I think you're awesome.
And I just wanted you to know that.

I mean, all this outfit stuff? 
It's fun. It's an expression. It starts a conversation. 
I know the whole schpiel (spelling?) of why I do what I do.
But does it really matter when it comes to the nitty-gritty? 
Nope. 
It's the heart that matters. 

I've said it before and I will say it again:
I AM NOT PERFECT. 
I am so, so, so far from perfect. 
Just ask my friends. Just ask my family. Just ask anyone who has spent five minutes with me ever. If you've ever watched one of my vlogs, I'm sure you figured it out ;-)
I am flawed and sometimes I find myself frustrated that I have to be stuck with this whole humanity-thing so often when I'd like to just GET the being-like-Jesus-thing. 
But I am daily, minute-ly (totally not a word) being perfected by Jesus. 
He is working on me, and it's a beautiful thing.

You see I just can't get the words out, friends!
I can't tell you how much you are loved by God. 
I'm a writer. Words? My thing. But I can't re-write your story. But God can. He wants to step in to your story and change the ending. I can't tell you how much He desires to walk with you. 
Not only does He want you, He is JEALOUS for you. 
He doesn't want the world to have you! 
The world with its ugly, mean, and dirty. With its hateful and hurtful and guilt and shame.
God says no. 
God says love and beauty and trust and freedom and openness and joy.

Can one have an "altar call" on a blog? A "come to Jesus" post? I don't know. 
I just know that He loves you, He desperately wants you. 
And if you want to accept that into your life, here's what you can say:

"Lord, I'm done with this world's definition of me. It stinks! I want to get my heart right. I recognize that I am sinful, that my sin hurts you and separates me from you. I ask for forgiveness from those sins through your death on the cross. I believe that you rose again and you are coming again to give us eternal life. I desire to live my life according to Your desires. I invite you into my life and into my heart, to teach me Your ways."

Those words? Sometimes we need to say them daily. And that's OK. He's just wants us on our knees, coming to Him, even if it is with offerings of humility in our frail humanity. 

xo
Natalie

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Keep Shining


"Don't you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine..."

As a culture we have this really messed up pattern of behavior where we tell people to SHINE (be  famous, stand out from the crowd, stand up for what they believe in, etc., a concept I read about in this article about L'Wren Scott's suicide, I think) and then as soon as they stand up we throw rocks at them. Why do we do this?

Most of the time we're afraid that someone else is shining more than we are or might be taking away some of our own glow. And it brings up our own insecurity/failures/past/wounds. So we deflect and find comfort in defense mechanisms such as demeaning the efforts of those who have found their place in the world. 

Stop. Stop now, ya'll. 
There's enough to go around. 
We all bring something different to the table, I promise.
That's a beautiful thing.

How about instead of throwing rocks at other people, we reflect on what those rock-throwing-tendencies say about the state of our own hearts, and humbly admit that we might have some work to do. It takes ownership of faults and our own failures. This is hard heart-work. But it must be done. Oftentimes it must be done over and over and over. For the health of our own hearts, it must be done. I promise you, you'll never shine to your own full potential while still holding on to a mentality of rock-throwing.

And then, in humility and selflesness, let's applaud those who shine. Let's use them as inspiration to be braver in our own lives, to throw off our insecurities so we, too, can shine, and light the world with our collective glow. 

Wouldn't that be a beautiful place to live? 

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle." ~James Keller

*P.S> If people have been throwing rocks at you lately, like a few people have been in my life, lean in to it. First of all, consider the source. If you deem the source someone in your inner circle whose opinion and voice in your life you value, then you can dig deeper. If not, release it from having any say in your own heart and pray for the other person. The hard thing here is that you might realize someone you thought had your best interests at heart, didn't, and that hurts even more. 
If it is from someone you value, say to yourself, "What here has merit?" examining the situation, your own heart, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Strip it down to the essence of what you can work on, and use the rest as motivation. Looking back on my life, the naysayers were actually the ones who helped me access my deeper inner strength when I was struggling.

Shine on, you gorgeous thing, you!   

xo
Natalie

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Things


Enjoying the sunshine, bright lips, and big sunglasses! 


Slowly working on my office and pulling a few pretty things together here :) 


Over the weekend I made some strawberry sauce and lemon curd. YUM!


Then I baked some blueberry muffins to enfold all of that delicious lemony-goodness. It was also delish on shortbread cookies, obviously. 

Then of course I had a LOT of dishes to do.


Good thing I have these pretty sink things to make it happy! Pretty colors & aromatherapy soap for the win! 
{hot pink pot scrubbie//method frosted fir hand soap//mrs. meyer's lemon verbena dish soap//mrs. meyer's radish hand soap//green sponge//wood veggie brush}


I'm obsessed with Mrs. Meyer's products. And that tiny bottle? Target $1 section (with attached coupon for $1 off a big bottle, so it's win-win). That's also where I found this little crate that is going to be perfect to use as part of my Easter table centerpiece! (it's hanging out on my office shelf above right now!) 

PS> Radish sounds weird but it's actually one of my favorite Mrs. Meyer's scents, and for some reason reminds me of the cute kitchen I had in my condo in Florida! 


And the bunny towel? Smitten. My grandma lovingly embroidered that. I adore it (and her!).

#allthehappythings 

Show me your happy little Spring things on Twitter? Hashtag it #allthehappythings!

xo
Natalie

Thursday, March 20, 2014

You Make it Beautiful: Happy Spring

beautiful early-morning spring light through my curtains.

It's Spring. And my heart struggles with this, in a strange way. I know normally Sunshiney Natalie would be screaming from the rooftops (especially after a maple latte this morning) that it's SPRING YA'LL!

But really my heart is just in a little bit of a no-not-Spring place. Just a bit of a "let me stay here, buried in snow, I'm fine...really..." sort of half-smile place. More like the several inches of snow we got last night and the gray day here with my candle and vintage lamp and a warm mug of goodness in my fleece pajama pants (yes, still, at 11am #writerlife) snuggled under a blanket that has Love written in several languages on it. Just a little bit more of this.


I've been thinking lately of when I was little, how I spent so much time in my room quietly creating, happy as a clam to be in a cozy space creating beauty out of nothing more than glitter and gluesticks and paper and words. I would write all sorts of little storybooks and set up a shop to sell them to my mom for a nickel each. Just a happy little quiet Natalie-heart.

And then life. 
You know what I'm sayin'? 

Today is one of those days where I feel that unequivocally, life pressed down on top of my heart. Anxiety, selfishness, fear, bitterness...not so pretty.

See the truth of the matter is, I have a tender heart. I have a poet's heart underneath it all, when we get down to it. One that sees pain and the quietness and the joy of life and takes it in deeply. A heart that has been wrecked with pain and brokenness.

These soft hearts like mine don't just bounce back quickly. It is a bit more fragile. A bit more malleable. A bit more attentive and empathetic and a whole lot softer. It still hurts now and again and I face the thought of blooming into spring one more time with trepidation.


But I'm thinking how I don't want an "And then life" life. Not worldly-life. I want heart-life. I want quiet-beauty-inner-happy-deep-well-soft-heart-poet-eyes-take-it-all-in-and-bring-it-back-to-life-and-breathe-it-out life. A happy little quiet Natalie-heart.

So I guess that means I do want Spring. The beautiful, life-giving, revival of Spring.  To breathe that in again and let it fill me. To sit with that for awhile, to heal and slowly be brought back to life.

"You take brokenness aside and You make it beautiful." Amen.

 

Happy Spring, my dears! 
xo
Natalie

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chocolate Chai Oatmeal


I know this doesn't look like anything special. But the flavor, oh-my-goodness the FLAVOR
Chai + Chocolate = Genius.
I got the idea from Chocolate Covered Katie (love her site) but fiddled with the recipe a bit.
I also had a Chocolate Chai Latte at Starbucks not too long ago so you can bet I'll be making a version of that for ya'll soon!

Chocolate Chai Oatmeal for One
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
3/4-1 cup boiling water (depending on how you like your oatmeal)
1 1/2 tsp. loose chai mix or 1 chai teabag
Pinch salt
2 tsp. sugar (adjust to your liking/needs...obviously I wouldn't recommend this EVERY day...but you might want to lower the cocoa powder amount if you do this because the cocoa can be bitter)
2 tsps. cocoa powder

Steep the chai in the boiling water for 10-15 minutes to get some good flavor in there. Remove the tea mix or bag and add the brewed chai to the rolled oats and milk in a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and the sugar. Microwave for approximately 3 1/2 minutes. Let stand in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in the cocoa powder and top with a few chocolate chips if you have them handy. Enjoy! 

xo
Natalie
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