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Le Tote Trial



Hi guys! I FINALLY filmed another vlog...the unboxing of my first LE TOTE ! Le Tote is a clothing rental subscription company. They send you 3 pieces of clothing and 2 accessories and you can wear them as many times as you want in a month before sending them back (dirty!) and getting another selection next month. Or if you send the items back sooner, you can get another box the same month. It is $59 a month, and if you like something, you can keep it at a reduced price. I'm SUPER excited by the items in my first box and can't wait to wear them. Have you tried LE TOTE ? What did you think? This is NOT a sponsored post but the links are affiliate links :) Try it free for 14 days!!

  Le Tote First Box Free

Enjoy!!
Natalie 

Freelance + Freshbooks

As my freelance business has grown, I've really been trying to keep up with the growth and create systems for my workflow.

One thing that makes this so much easier is FreshBooks, a cloud accounting, invoicing and expense-tracking system that I really love. I'm an affiliate for them now, because I use them so much, so if you click through any of my FreshBooks links and decide to sign up, I get a commission at no charge to you!

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I used to make a new Word document invoice every time for every client, and email it. FreshBooks lets me send out recurring invoices, lets me email it as a PDF or Word, and they will even print it out and mail it for me (they include a return envelope)! It's awesome! My invoices have my logo and are easily searchable by client, and I can track paid and unpaid invoices. Clients can even pay me by PayPal or credit card, an option I never had before.

I also love the automatic expense tracking. Once you import the bank info (totally secure) for your business checking and credit card accounts, they automatically import your expenses and categorize them for you. WHAT HOW AMAZING IS THAT.

There is also a time-tracking feature, which is awesome for my bigger projects (like book writing). My favorite feature here is the real-time TIMER button, where you start and stop the timer and it automatically adds the time to your invoice. Woah-hey.

The mobile app lets me snap a picture of a receipt and add it to expenses so I can ditch the receipts crumbled up at the bottom of my purse for "sorting later" (you did that too, right?). And P&L statements? Literally click a button. I just love that I can access this anywhere, too, since being mobile is part of my freelance business.

FreshBooks is priced at $12.95 for up to 5 clients, then it goes up incrementally, but tops out at $39.95 a month for unlimited clients (click here for more pricing details & to start your free 30-day trial: Pricing). Trust me, this is nothing compared to the time and frustration this saves, which means I can add more billable time and projects to my week instead of spending it on invoicing, adding expenses, etc.

I truly love FreshBooks and if you run your own thriving small business, encourage you to check it out!

Reading Lately

I've been on such a reading kick lately, with the rainy mornings and quiet afternoons galore that Spring brings. 

copy provided for review by Blogging for Books


Find Your Extraordinary 
by Jessica Dilullo Herrin
4 stars ****

This was a GREAT book on business and lifestyle by the founder of the Stella & Dot companies. I wasn't familiar with Jessica Dilulo Herrin's accomplishments before I picked up this book. I found her to be inspiring, pulls-no-punches and tough-love in her words, but with an absolute conviction that she wants YOU to be able to live an extraordinary life. And living an extraordinary life requires a fire under your tush, which Herrin is happy to give you. It took me awhile to embrace her voice given those things, but once I did, I found the book very inspiring and one I will keep on my business shelf for awhile. I will also check out the Stella & Dot companies in more detail. 


copy borrowed from my book illustrator!

Big Magic
by Elizabeth Gilbert
4 stars ****

Big Magic has some great insights into the creative process and the nature of ideas. However, it is mixed with a lot of new-age mumbo-jumbo, so the Christian must read it with a strong grounding in the truth that creativity comes from God, the Creator of the Universe. with that in mind, you can certainly unearth some real gems here from Gilbert. This is a book that invites you to ruminate on the creative process long after you put the book down. And that cover! That cover is just all sorts of goodness. Grab this one and read it at a coffee shop sipping something delicious. 

copy from the library!

Do Over
by Jon Acuff
3.5 stars ***1/2 

Jon Acuff is one of those writers I WANT to like more than I do. Truth be told, though, I find it...grating at times, and a little too over-done. Now I've had the pleasure of seeing Acuff speak in person and I know that is just his way...the over-the-top enthusiasm makes him who he is. This book is chock-full of useful advice for those stuck in a career rut, but I did find it more geared towards 9-5ers instead of those of us in the creative field. Which is fine, since that's Acuff's background, despite his switch into the author/expert category. This is worth a read, as it's a quick read, but I won't be buying it for my own collection. Although that awesome cover makes it tempting....

provided by bloggingforbooks

Full-Color NKJV Study Bible
5 stars *****

This is a GORGEOUS full-color study bible in paperback. I could not be more thrilled by this. If you combined every huge Bible study tome on my shelf, including the giant Illustrated Bible Dictionary I have from Nelson's, this Bible would be their child. It's gorgeous, easy to hold in your hand, and somehow very manageable for the wealth of knowledge it contains. From extra articles, timelines, word studies, maps, and notes, this Bible far surpasses any others I've seen. I feel this would be a great gift for any man in your life, perhaps a recent graduate, because it seems to have a bit of a masculine feel, but of course I love it too. The personal size really keeps things manageable and I like that is is soft-cover, although they also offer it in hard cover. A true keeper and a must-have for your Bible resources shelf. 

Happy Reading!
Natalie 





Grove Collaborative



It is VERY hard to find glass spray bottles, and hard to find good spray bottles in general. I absolutely love my high-quality Grove Collaborative  (affiliate link) one, and can't wait to get a few more. I use this one for ironing, but also want one for homemade cleaning products and such. They're just too handy, beautiful, and lasting. 

Do you about Grove Collaborative (affiliate link) if you haven't heard of them. They deliver the best in natural cleaning and home products to your door, stress-free, and with all sorts of perks! Every order plants trees, offsets carbon, and does so much good. I've placed many orders from them and their customer service is top-notch, too. Not to mention you get the same goodness brought into your house...natural cleaning products, luscious candles and lip balms made by them, THE best glass spray bottles EVER, and, of course, my favorite Mrs. Meyer's hand soaps. 


They even carry the hard-to-find Limited Edition scents. I am DYING over the Lilac scent this spring. It is SO good. The Apple and Rhubarb are perennial favorites as well.

Check them out, here's $10 through this link :) Enough to nab one of these gorgeous glass spray bottles fo' FREE! OR a soap...your choice, tough call though.
(affiliate link) 

Love!
Natalie 


Book Review: How to Live in Fear

book provided by booklook bloggers

How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out
by Lance Hahn
3.5 stars ***

I was very intrigued by this book based on the title and subtitle. They say so much and speak to my heart right now. However, after reading the book, I am left with conflicting feelings about it. On the one hand, it is very inspirational to see a leading Christian figure struggle with panic disorder and still keep going, still keep making progress for the Kingdom. On the other hand, the book is full of anxiety triggers and I could hardly read more than a few pages at a time without feeling anxious because of his in-depth descriptions of his own panic. I also still wrestle with the whole idea of being chained to living in fear. I guess perhaps I still want a "way out." But maybe Hahn is bucking the system by NOT saying we have to have "enough faith" or enough medication, to dissipate our feelings and lose anxiety along with any other emotions. Perhaps he IS right in saying we should freak out, and live with the freaking out, as best we can. Hmmm....this is a thinker for me ;)


Reading Lately

{courtesy booklook bloggers}

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way
by Dr. John Townsend
3 stars **

I thought the title of this book really drove home a point I'm passionate about: things are pretty darn easy these days, and we get lazy. You know what laziness translates into? Entitlement. Chances are we'll have an entire generation of entitled adults, if we don't already. Not I! So I was excited to review this book based on the title and subtitle. Unfortunately, it takes a pretty hard-edge view of things that was rather disparaging. It was not the hopeful, encouraging or even enlightening book I was expecting. I do not need to be barraged with the negativity. I want to know how we FIX this. How can I avoid it in my own life? How can we teach the next generation to dig in and do the hard work? This book was a disappointment for me. It might speak to some, but it didn't for me. Plus, I'm not sure anyone who actually IS entitled would pick up this book, giving it a "preach to the choir" angle that didn't suit me. Even the cover speaks of an axe to grind...and edge, instead of a hopeful point of view.

Valentine's Day Picks

OooooOOooo, it's almost Valentine's Day! But if you have last-minute plans that require a drop-dead outfit, Rent the Runway has you covered. It's not too late to rent a stunning dress for that first-date or fancy night out.

 (This post is sponsored by RtR but fully endorsed by me! :))


Here are some of my favorite picks from Rent the Runway for this holiday, all shades of red and glamorous. 



I am DYING over this jumpsuit! I want to wear it errrrryyywhere!
You just gotta wear this with GOLD and a sparkly clutch and some big earrings for that 70s-disco vibe. Cannot tell you how much I"m loving this one. 

Can't you just see this with some tights and high black booties? Super-loving the plum color, too. It has such a Taylor-Swift-on-tour feel.


Sweet Kiernan Dress
This sweet dress has a gorgeous texture, flirty line and a cut-out back. What's not to love for this sweetheart holiday?

Burgundy Cascade Skirt
Wear this with a just-perfect white tee tucked in and some sky-high heels for that, "Oh I didn't try too hard, I'm just naturally this glamorous" look we all want.


I just love celebrating Valentine's Day, with or without a boyfriend. It's just such a fun holiday. I'm also going to a gala at the end of the month and am eyeing that sleek red jumpsuit...how fun would that be to rock?

What are your Valentine's Day plans? Are you getting dressed up? Let me know if the comments!


New Firmoo Glasses + New Coat

Oh the little things in life are so good, ya'll, so good. New glasses make such a HUGE difference for a girl's confidence and selfie-game #amiright?! I was about to grab some new Warbys when Firmoo reached out and I just couldn't resist getting a pair from them. 


Then throw in my CRAZY-AMAZING new J.Crew Stadium Cloth coat and a girl is 
all sorts of heart-eyes gahhhhhhhhh. 


Super in love with this cognac and tomato color combo, aren't you digging it? This is a thrifted vintage Hanae Mori handbag that is so much fun. The handle on top makes it.


Now, these Firmoo glasses. I'm loving them. Firmoo glasses are always high-quality. My last glasses are Firmoo, too, and they've both been great quality frames. While it can be a bit hard to decide online, the prices are so low, even if your pick isn't a total-win, it's not the end of the world. I'm still deciding how much I like these, but they grow on me daily. I was looking for something more "writer-y" and I think these nail that vibe. These frames are $19, ya'll. There's no arguing with that. 


How good is red lipstick + writer-y glasses + fur hood? 
#sogood
Thanks, Firmoo! 






Catch-All Catch-Up Post

Life has suddenly just exploded with sunshine lately! And sunshine = busyness in this case. Aside from WORKING ON MY BOOK (we are working on cover details now, guys! Crazy-exciting), I've been...


Enjoying endless sunshine this winter...SO good for the soul! 


Signed up for a membership at the local rock-climbing gym because I am LOVING IT LATELY. Can't get enough. I used to go rock climbing at the indoor gym quite often, and this summer got outdoors for a bit of climbing. Of course my climbing shoes are pink and called "RockStar" (ha get it?!?!). I have fallen in love once again and I dream of routes and problems (a problem is what you call a bouldering route...metaphor for life, amiright?).


I'm not vegan, but my friend owns an amazing vegan restaurant and I've been addicted to this Superhero Hot Chocolate filled with all sorts of good things for you. In particular it has Shilajit, which is a mineral from the Himalayas. I don't know much more than that, but I DO know it's crazy-good and I can't get enough.


While I haven't been doing many outfit photos lately, you can find them from the studio on my Instagram. This is H&M black skinny jeans, Sorel boots, ON cardigan, Gap London tee and a random star scarf from who-knows-where.

It's almost February! We are SO making progress on this winter-thing. 
"The cold never bothered me anywaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy!"


MA BIRTHDAY!


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Hey you guys!!! It was MA BIRTHDAY last week and I must say, it was quite a lovely day. Full of friendship, love, caffeine, surprises, fun little interactions and comments from strangers (how could they not, with my outfit?), and so much more. What a gift it was, truly, so good for my spirit and refreshing for my soul.

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I wore a peachy-pink tulle dress that was quite ballerina-ish, with a cashmere spring-green ballet wrap cardigan. It was topped off with my blue fur collar and my favorite-ever scarf from ages ago.

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Birthday flowers from best friend.

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Of course there was a bow in my hair. And giant mink earmuffs 'cause FLUFFY.

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Sprinkle cookies with candles for breakfast :) Because birthdays only happen once a year.

And now into the new one!



Warby Parker Try-On Winter 2015

It's that time again! Time to try a new batch of Warby Parker's deliciously quirky and writer-y glasses. Warby Parker's Winter 2015 Collection Oh what fun it is to tryyyyy on WarbyParkerglassses! (you have to sing it like that to make it fit into the Christmas song but hey! why not!)
(this is NOT a sponsored post but clicking on these links may earn me a commission at no cost to you--thanks for supporting GGS!)

My best friend and I both ordered Home Try-On program boxes, so here you get to see me try on NINE!!!! options :) (one just looked so very terrible on me that I couldn't even share the photo, sorry friends! for reference it was the Nedwin in lime green). 

I have a HEART-SHAPED FACE for glasses if you're trying to choose glasses for your face shape.(To find yours, stand in front of the mirror and trace your face with lipstick or a dry erase marker directly on the mirror (pull your hair back first).

 So these are my picks from the Warby Parker Winter 2015 collection for heart-shaped faces and brunette hair. See past picks here and here

Here they are, in alphabetical order: 



chiltonWP







oliverWPggs



uptonWPggs


My top three favorites are (in no particular order): 



What are your favorites FOR ME and FOR YOU? 
If you haven't tried Warby Parker or aren't sure which frames work for your face, try their Home Try-On program for FREE (both ways!). They sent you FIVE pairs to try on for five days, risk-free. It's awesome! If you're ordering from Warby Parker, let me know which pair YOU chose and share a picture if you want in the comments :) Love me some discussion about WPs! 


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