Category Archives: THINGS I LOVE

RINGING IN 2016

Oh 2015, the year of new adventures.

It was interesting for sure. I became an aunt, booked a few jobs, lived alone for the first time, and drove drove drove til my tush was numb – all while spending 1/3 of the year away from my husband. It was rough. But it was a good rough.

I mean, let’s face it. No one’s year turned out like they would have envisioned. May it be good surprises or tire-popping potholes, we all encountered something unexpected, and the same thing will happen next year. The best thing we can do is be ready to face the giants of 2016 head-on while paying attention to the little details along the way.

Today has been entertaining though. It’s the last day of the year, and everyone is reflecting on what happened the last 365 days. I could join in by listing what I did, who I met, where I went, and how I changed, but I’ll spare you the gag sesh. I know what I’m proud of. I’ll keep it to myself. Instead, I’d like to share with you some things I learned + precautions I will take in 2016. Feel free to take notes.

Lessons from 2015

Your hair can and will get stuck in a blowdryer. I’m not the exception to the rule.

Not everyone loves my dog as much as I do.

Selfies are ok as long as you use a tripod.

Ticks are real. Very real.

75% of what comes out of my mouth at home is completely ignored by my husband. I’m ok with it.

You should keep your eyes open at all times while singing in the car.

It may take buying seven or eight lip stains to find the right shade. Oops.

Living alone is fun. It only takes 3 weeks to stop crying!

You won’t ‘literally die’ from giving up a TV show or two.

And lastly, it’s ok to touch other people’s pets and babies. Just ask first.

Goals for 2016

Go on more hikes.

Eat less bread and cheese. And tator tots. No more tator tots.

Try my best to actually use the 100 bottles of nail polish I own.

Get more than two haircuts a year.

Give gifts and compliments often.

Wear more sunscreen – not because I need to, but because apparently it’s healthy.

Say yes to everything. But not drugs. Don’t do drugs.

Take more pictures with Morgan. 

Give away more clothes. Give away, like, all my clothes.

Love everyone. With all that you have. No matter what.

I hope you all have a blessed New Year. Be safe. Have fun. Keep my lists for future reference.

Love,

Lauren

Photos by Anna Grace Photography

EXPLORE MORE

Welcome to Owings Mills, MD, the last place on earth you’d expect to wind up in a scene like this one. And believe me when I say that my mouth hit the floor when I stumbled upon this little corner of the earth. It’s incredible. I’ve visited this trail a few times lately, and I find myself thinking about it all the time.

It’s pet friendly, too!

As I get older, I find myself wanting more of this – more adventure, beauty, solitude, peacefulness, and reminders of God’s love. It’s places like these that cause me to think of how big the world is and how small I am. But it also shows us how much we’re loved.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?” Job 12:7-9

God is the only one responsible or capable of such beauty. It’s a beauty we should constantly seek and never stop giving thanks for.

So grab a friend and go exploring! You never know what you may find out there.

Jacket | Francesca’s

Sweater | H&M

Pants | Garage

Boots | Target

Hat | Under Armor

#thingsadored

CHRISTMAS ANTIQUES

I wandered the aisles looking for little trinkets to bring home and make my own. They were things that had been long forgotten by their original owners, but they were new to me. The Island of Misfit Toys had nothing on Sheffield Antiques. I had hit the jackpot and lost all self control.

If you’re old school like me, try wandering around an antique store near you for your next Christmas purchases. Macy’s is great, and Nordstrom has some really nice decorations, but nothing fills a home with Christmas cheer like the secrets hidden in an old ornament that once hung joyfully on someone else’s tree.

There are so many treasures to be found, but we always tend to draw to what’s shiny and new. Why not dust off that 1950’s Santa on aisle E that’s been waiting to cheer someone up for the past ten years? I think you’ll find he does a really great job.

#thingsadored

CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST

Happy Holiday | Bing Crosby

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear | Johnny Mathis

The Little Drummer Boy | Harry Simeone Chorale

Silent Night | Frank Sinatra

White Christmas | Dean Martin

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen | Perry Como

Jingle Bell Rock | Bobby Helms

All I Want For Christmas | Ray Charles

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas | Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters

O Little Town Of Bethlehem | Frank Sinatra

Away In A Manger | Bing Crosby

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree | Brenda Lee

Baby, It’s Cold Outside | Dean Martin

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas | Judy Garland

I’m old school. Mariah Carey and Glee Christmas can only last me so long before I revert back to the traditional songs I grew up on. I don’t know what it is about Bing and Perry that set my heart ablaze, but they really know how to make Christmas sound right.

I hope this playlist brings you joy this season. Grab some hot chocolate and your loved ones, and enjoy! And if you’re a Pandora listener, check out their Christmas Radio station. It’s full of the good ole stuff.

Merry Christmas

#thingsadored

GIVE THANKS

‘Tis the season to give.

But I want to challenge you to give not for the sake of the holiday, but just because you care about someone.

We all have people in our lives that influence us, sacrifice for us, and help us without expecting anything in return. Who are those people to you? Maybe they’ve encouraged you lately, watched your kids when you were in a bind, sent flowers or a meal during a time of loss, or shared something meaningful with you. Think about who that might be, and do something to show them they are appreciated.

Here are a few gift ideas for under $10 to get you started:

– Popcorn/ treat mix/ chocolate

– Flowers

– Candles

– Board games/ movies/ records

– Fun ornaments/ hand-made wreaths

Get creative!

I recently had some new friends (new as in a met them the day of) that offered to help me with some photos for The Simply Beloved. They donated their time and talents to create some beautiful pictures for us. In return, I wanted to do a little something to show them my appreciation.

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I purchased the candles from a local store and found the gift tags at Michaels. When they arrived at my house, I had them sitting on the table with some fresh peppermint chocolate cookies. It was easy, fun, and let them know how thankful I was that they wanted to be included in this project.

There are plenty of ways to make these little reminders festive. For edible gifts, Christmas treat bags were available. They also had really cute holiday stationary and cards if you like writing down your thanks. You could also purchase a few mason jars to put fresh flowers in. Wrap some red, green, and gold ribbon around the top, and you’re set! Take a few minutes to walk around your local craft store, and see what you can come up with.

What can you do to extend thanks to someone who cares? Spread gratitude this season! Say THANK YOU

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#thingsadored