How to Take + Edit iPhone Photos

I’d say there are two questions I get asked most frequently in this blogosphere: “What kind of dog do you have?” and “Are you a photographer? What camera do you use?”

First of all, she’s a red standard poodle. haha.

Secondly, I am not a professional photographer. I certainly do appreciate many of you thinking so! Lol. I do, however, enjoy photography immensely as an art form and hobby! I’m constantly growing and learning in this arena, and I’m thankful to have a very camera savvy husband.

Let me break this down: All the pictures of me are taken by my husband.  Most of these pictures are taken with a DSLR camera, although some are an iPhone. All the pictures you see of food, decor, flat-lays, etc. were taken by me with my iPhone. Crazy right? The iPhone is an incredible piece of technology.

My iPhone isn’t new.  In fact, it’s an iPhone 6 and still takes fantastic pictures.  (Although, some of the other features aren’t working so great…Sometimes it won’t let me take/make calls! lol.) Eventually I’ll update my phone, but for now I’m working with what I’ve got!

I thought I’d share my (amateur) tips for taking and editing, beautiful, print-worthy photographs.  I’m going to break it down into three categories: Lighting, Framing, and Editing.  Okay, let’s get this photography party started!

Lighting

616ab65b-8d61-4908-839c-0ce831afc069

This is everything.  If you take a picture in a dimly lit room, expect your picture to look fuzzy and washed out.  Natural light is the key to crisp, perfectly lit, divinely beautiful photos.  However, try to avoid harsh sunlight.  When taking a photo indoors, open all your blinds/curtains and choose a time of day in which sunlight is pouring in.  When taking a flat-lay, take it next to a window or glass door to insure the very best capturing of details.  With natural light, you don’t need flash. Flash will blow out images and cast harsh shadows. Because of this, taking pictures during the day is when your iPhone will best capture the image.

So basically, take your photos during the day, next to a window or outside. Boom.

Framing

de2307bf-edf5-4833-b3aa-9140b32a6cbe-1

When I frame pictures, I often like to off-center the focal point of my photograph.  This gives negative space.  Negative space is a lovely way to let your picture breathe.  It allows for an airy image that draws the eye to the focal point, without distractions.  Try to keep a simple background.  This will help the subject pop.

Lines are very important.  If there is a vertical or horizontal line in your picture ( like a building or a sidewalk), try to keep these lines from slanting in the image.  This can also be corrected in editing, but I try to take the picture as straight as possible.

Editing

Without editing, your iPhone pictures will look mediocre. The key to editing, is to try to make the picture look how it did in real life.  When you take a picture, it’ll look less vivid, less rich, than it did in real life.  That’s where editing comes in.  Editing also gives your photos an art-like quality.  This is the fun part.

I use an app called VSCO to edit all my iPhone pictures.  For our DSLR photos, we use Light Room.  But today, I’m talking about VSCO.

You need this app.  There is just something about VSCO filters that gives photos such an editorial look.  It creates beautiful depth and richness.

I typically brighten my pictures a tad, add some contrast, and a little grain.  (Grain is used to give your photos a film-like appearance and has a vintage vibe.  If that’s not your thing, skip this.) Editing all boils down to what you want your style to be! Do you like bright and crisp? Muted and moody? Cold or warm? That is for you to decide.

Once you decide on a filter and editing style, don’t change it! Use the same filter EVERY TIME you post a picture.  This allows your feed and photography to look consistent, fluid, and cohesive.  This is the key to an eye-catching gallery.

Here are some before and after editing examples! They greatly showcase the importance of editing!


I hope you all enjoyed this post! It was fun to share my growing knowledge.  What a delightful way to freeze time and encapsulate every day art.

P.s. Don’t forget to get those gorgeous pictures off of your phone, and onto paper! I always use Artifact Uprising to print my pictures.

img_2493-12

Apt. Reveal :: The Living Room

living room, interior design, decor, magnolia, apartment

Curled up with a blanket atop my lap and a cup of tea in hand (well, actually its resting on a coaster, but tea in hand sounds much more poetic),  I am thrilled to be composing the second installment of our apartment reveal: the living room. If you haven’t already, check out the bedroom reveal here.

It wasn’t until I had my first apartment with my hubby that I realized a talent and passion of mine: interior decorating. Prior to being married, I was actually a little messy. My room always had a chair with a pile of clothes on it. (Sorry Mom and Dad.)  I didn’t always make my bed. After having my own space, to my own surprise, I’ve become somewhat of a neat-nick.  I think it has to do with all the heart and attention to detail I’ve put in, that I strive to maintain a home that best displays my handiwork.

img_7595 One of my favorite parts of my new-found hobby is the hunt. I try to be very intentional and particular in my purchases.  If I don’t love it, I will pass and continue the quest for that just-right piece. I think that’s why I enjoy vintage markets so much–you invest time and exploration into a well-loved treasure.  (Also, it’s cliche but true: They just don’t make things like they used to. Shop vintage when looking for quality, made well pieces.)

When creating a living space, it is of great importance.  This is a co-space.  A space where not only you will dwell, but your friends and loved ones too.  It must be inviting, cozy, and story-telling.  Don’t just slap some stuff on a wall.  Find pieces that mean something to you. What speaks to you? What represents you as a person? Your family. Culture. Upbringing. Hobbies. Colors. Your home is a giant painting of who you are and I think that is absolutely beautiful.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

  • I am Italian and so very proud of it. Therefore, the framed map of Italy is not only beautiful and special but represents something very unique and specific about me and my family.
  • I like nature. Being outdoors refreshes the soul.  So, I like to bring the outside–in, with lots of (faux) plants, wood, and natural textures.

51eede6c-75b1-4c36-a731-65ccfc955675

Without further ado, kick off your shoes, and have a seat on our sofa. Welcome to our living room.


a372b6c9-54e9-4010-9d6d-755dddd4e9e6

Let’s start with this space pictured above. When choosing pillows for your sofa, think: cozy, soft, and texture. Target never fails me when it comes to pillows. All my living room pillows are from Target. Shocker. The blanket on the back of the sofa adds visual interest with a homey-feel.  It was hand-knit by my Grandma Nancy as a wedding gift. This Lane cedar chest is one of my favorite pieces in our entire home.  My Grandma gave it to me. It was given to her when she was 13 years old.  Not only is is it stunning, but it also serves as a great storage solution.  It houses all my fall/winter clothes!

8639829e-202b-4c0d-9cff-0c53f831caaf

Let’s talk about this rug, shall we? Now, its quite clear I am a neutral-loving girl. But when choosing a rug, I wanted something that wouldn’t show dirt, would add a pop of color and a sense of warmth, and would play up the vintage vibe I got going on.  This Magnolia rug checked all the boxes.  It is seriously the star of the room.  When decorating, choose one item to be the focal point.  This prevents a room from looking cluttered or too loud.

img_7535

We purchased this loveseat to serve as additional seating for when guests come over.  It is quite comfortable, and is where I teach all my online classes.  I appreciate its slim design.  It doesn’t overwhelm the space.  As for the pillow: I searched for a blush pillow for months. I kid you not. Just ask Billy.  When Target released this velvet blushing beauty, I knew it was the one.  I’m telling you–wait for the pieces that you love…not like. What I love about this pillow, is its still a neutral.  But it subtly introduces a hint of color and pulls from the colors in my area rug. Win.


Here are some more details from our living room. Remember: greenery transforms a space. Add some life. It will take your home to a whole new level.

We’ve had a lot of luck at yard sales.  Historic neighborhoods often have community yard sales, and typically people with historic homes own vintage things. Yard sale gold!  The wood end table pictured above was only $20 at a yard sale. I love its raw beauty. The kerosene lamp was a yard sale gem as well! Only $5! And the table housing our record player was another $20 yard sale find. Using vintage items gives your home instant character and prevents a space from looking too “sterile.”

img_7665

Well, that’s all for now, folks! If you’d like links to any of the products discussed in this post, simply comment below or contact via the contact page. Remember to create a home that you enjoy. That brings you peace and admiration. That envelopes your loved ones with comfort from the moment they enter. Happy decorating, friends! Stay tuned for the bathroom and kitchen reveal.

img_2493-12

Working From Home

About 6 months ago, Billy and I moved about an hour away from our hometown due to his job relocating. It doesn’t sound too far, but it’s far enough to change life up a little bit. It’s crazy how different this area is–we went from hustle and bustle, to cows in our neighborhood. And I honestly love it.

One of the changes that came with moving, was finding a job. A job that I enjoyed and looked forward to. I found a listing online for an online job, and it had my name written all over it.

After a couple weeks of interviews and training, I was hired by a company called Qkids! I am an online ESL teacher to children in China. Basically, I teach English to adorable kids each morning through a computer software program. It’s pretty much the happiest way to start my day!

Interested in possibly working for Qkids? Keep reading…

Why I Love It:

  • I get to choose the amount of hours I want to take on. The flexibility is so nice.
  • I totally work in pajama bottoms. (That’s just our little secret, okay?)
  • It pays well!
  • I make money from within my home. On my sofa. How legit is that?
  • It is such a rewarding experience interacting with children across the globe! They make me laugh and smile. It’s so fun to learn about them and what they like, their hobbies, favorite foods. My heart melts just about every morning.
  • Working from home frees up my time to do what I love: blogging and being a homemaker.

Qualifications:

  • Native fluency of English
  • Live in the U.S. or Canada with strong internet connection. The upload speed should be at least 2mb/s, and the download speed should be at least 10mb/s.
  • Have a degree or are currently enrolled in college
  • Prior teaching experience preferred
  • Outgoing personality
  • Digital literacy
  • Availability to work at least 6 hours a week

What It’s Like:

  • Each class is 30 minutes long.
  • Children are 5-12 years old and you will have 1 to 6 kids per class.
  • You don’t need to speak Chinese. The program uses animation, games, and virtual flash cards to help you guide the students. It’s really quite fun!
  • I work every weekday morning. And then I’m done for the day! My schedule is open for all the cooking, cleaning, reading, and Netflix my little heart desires!

Does this sound like something that would suit your lifestyle? If you’re interested, please contact me via the contact page, comment below, or DM me on my Instagram! I’d be happy to give you more information and to referyou!

This is honestly the best job I’ve ever had. It has been such a blessing to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and have a home cooked meal on the table when Billy gets home! Very much so an answer to prayer. I’d love to help you if this job sounds like a good fit for you!

A Weekend in Charleston

4c05e8e3-6c59-47a7-a7f6-c4945b089f86

A couple of weeks ago, Billy and I hopped in our little Prius and traveled to the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina.  Each year, we dedicate a weekend away to celebrate our anniversary. It’s a sweet tradition we’ve come to look forward to so much.

I had been wanting to go to Charleston for…I don’t know…a really long time! So my little photography-lovin’ heart couldn’t wait to capture all the historic adorableness of Charleston.

We wanted to make this trip all things southern–sweet and simple.  And it was just that! We also wanted to try to keep this getaway as cost-effective as possible, so throughout this little travel diary, I’ll share my budget friendly tips.


Where We Stayed

A huge part of what made this trip so easy on our wallets, was staying at an Airbnb. This was our first time staying at one, so we were a little skeptical.  But we did our research and chose a place with amazing reviews.

I gotta tell you–I am officially hooked on Airbnb. We LOVED our little Charleston home away from home.  It was so relaxing! Bright, airy, minimal, and clean.  And the best part–only $100 a night.

Staying at an Airbnb allowed us to save so much money on food! This was a HUGE bonus.  We had a full kitchen, which enabled us to eat out way less.  We went to the local Publix and stocked our fridge for the weekend.  And I must say—being able to make my nightly cup of green tea made me feel so at home and peaceful. Yet another, wonderful perk.

Oh and I must mention–this Airbnb had a vintage Nintendo! We played Mario Brothers every night and it was a complete blast.  Pretty sure I’ll always remember that. 🙂

Where We Ate

Our favorite restaurant was Poogan’s Porch.  We went there for brunch, and the food was delicious, and the charm! Ah! Adorable.  It’s basically a restaurant that used to be a house.  “Poogan” was a stray dog that used to hang out on the porch. *heart melt*

For breakfast one morning, we ventured to the renowned Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. Oh my. It was just the cutest little hole in the wall. And it was packed! Not hard to tell why–their assortment of biscuits were melt-in-your-mouth amazing! Comfort food at its finest.  Reminded me of a little place in New York.

Now let’s talk coffee.  There’s little that Billy and I enjoy more than a really good coffee shop. You know, the ones that have that perfect balance of aesthetic and warmth. Black Tap Coffee has come to have such a special place in my heart.  It was so relaxing, the atmosphere was really awesome, and the COFFEE! No words. I literally had the BEST latte of my life there. Not exaggerating. The Lavender Latte. *sigh* So smooth and flavorful. We hung out their twice. Can’t wait to go back one day.

My best friend recommended Carmella’s, and oh how happy I am she did! We fell in love with this darling gem.  We selected two mini cakes to go, and enjoyed them at our Airbnb. The cakes were so moist and flavorful! A perfect pairing with our tea!

Where We Shopped

I was immensely impressed with the quality of shopping in Charleston.  There was a delightful balance of big chain stores, as well as local boutiques.  Shopping along King St. could easily take a whole day.  Not complaining… 😉

There are two shops that you absolutely must visit if you go to Charleston.  The first is Candlefish.  It really is the most divinely beautiful candle shop.  They even offer candle making work shops.  The service was exceptional, and the candle library kept you lingering and enjoying all the scents.  Quite the experience indeed.

07b016ce-ce11-499d-ba89-f3fdc47f36bf

My second favorite shop was an adorable boutique called TheSkinnyDip. They had everything from sweet little dresses to darling local souvenirs.  I purchased the cutest coffee mug of my favorite site in Charleston: Rainbow Row! Upstairs, they have a fun coffee/lounge with a co-work space.  A rooftop patio made this place such a memorable stop.  Highly recommend!

What We Saw

The lovely thing about historic places, is that you can just wander. For hours. And wandering is free. But oh the memories you will make!

One of my favorite things about Charleston is how vast it is. The streets keep winding, and every little nook and alley was so picturesque.  Everything was blooming. Cobblestone streets lead to homes with darling shutters, window boxes overflowing with flowers, statement wood doors, and vintage gas lights. It is a lovely feeling knowing that everything your eyes happen upon, has a story.

Here are some pictures from our brick-lined explorations . . .

e4d7167e-34b8-4b6c-a464-2252dd5a14dd

679a3eee-e5f6-4266-9e1f-94e28c59497c

740ebdbb-232f-460e-927e-e272bc563fe2

35f477da-1a8b-416d-bd4a-0bcf27e9dcc4

d68ea927-8898-4ff1-8334-4c9191507d92

It was such a joy celebrating 3 years of marriage with my hubby in Charleston.  It is honestly a new favorite city of mine.  I eagerly can’t wait to return!

img_2493-12

Youthful Confidence

Recently, my heart has been stirred towards the topic of confidence.  I feel it is a topic of vital importance this day and age.  So let’s get this conversation started, shall we?

Youthful Confidence


Our society tells us, there’s one way to look. One body type. One type of nose. One height. One beautiful. Then society tells us–“It’s okay if you don’t fit that one mold! There’s a surgery for that.” Basically–you’re not normal if you don’t look a certain way, but you can “fix” these things.

Um, no.

I’m so thankful I have the Lord in my life.  God is a Master Artist. The Creator. And He LOVES His creation. Through His strength and love, I can have confidence. Youthful confidence. A kick off your shoes, run around a field, kind of confidence. A joyful confidence that radiates from the inside, out! He made me and He loves me.

I asked 3 darling women, “How do you embrace confidence?”I know it to be so encouraging hearing Godly insight and wisdom, taken from people’s lives and stories. So here are their answers.


Priska 

img_8060

I didn’t steal this from Pinterest, but it may sound like it at first:

The way I embrace confidence is by embracing God.

Something I feel God has been downloading on me lately is that godly confidence is so much greater than self-confidence.  The struggle of “Am I pretty enough?” and “Am I worthy enough?” and “Are my body dimensions ‘right’?” are all cultural questions because culture believes self reigns supreme.

But from a godly perspective, God reigns supreme, so the place we put our confidence should be in Him.

There’s a verse that has been so present in my life lately.  Here’s the summary:

In my weakness, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So rather than “I’m confident that I’m good enough to enjoy life, be blessed, be a blessing”, instead I want to say, “I’m confident that GOD is good enough for me to enjoy life, be blessed, and be a blessing.”  I’m confident in His power at work through me that even in my weakness, He is strong.  Even on days I don’t like what I see in the mirror, He is good.  Even on days I look in the mirror and think, “I’m allllll that!”, He is good.  Just as good as days I don’t like my image.  THAT, to me, is a stable confidence.  It isn’t swayed by emotions or body dysmorphia or my own performance.  It’s a strong and steady confidence.

Personally, my waist line has grown and shrunk…several times over.  A few years ago, I was obsessed with working out – I spent 8 hours each week at the gym.  I was the skinniest, fittest, strongest I’d ever been.  But when I looked in the mirror, I was the least confident I’d ever been.  I was obsessed with my physicality because I was so ill confident that I was worthy of love.  Nowadays, I work out a healthy amount, and I’m also heavier than I was back then.  But when I look in the mirror, I see someone that God gave His Son to die for.  I see someone worthy of love.  I see someone who should be confident that my worth will never fade with time, age, wrinkles or cellulite.  I’m confident I’m worthy, because God called me worthy.


Sophie

img_8059

Well in my opinion, I don’t feel confident when I rely or depend on myself. The way I feel confident is when I rely on the Lord and know that what I am and who I am is a child of God and that’s where my beauty comes from.

When I look at my outward appearance, I don’t feel confident or beautiful most of the times. But when I am reminded about how I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the one who created the entire Universe, that’s when I feel confident.

I embrace confidence by embracing myself for who I am and how God created me. The times when I feel the least confident is when I try to be something I’m not.  When I try too hard to fit in or try too hard to look “beautiful” to cater to or impress a guy I like, I don’t end up feeling confident.  But when I embrace who I am (which is an awkward, quirky person who loves Jesus) that’s when I feel the most confident.

There are many prettier pictures of me posing for a camera in good lighting to make me look beautiful, but I chose this picture because this picture was taken when I decided to fully be myself and make a pine tree crown and pose next to a Christmas tree because I love nature and I love Christmas.  It’s a picture that shows off me as who I am and it shows my personality instead of just showing off another posed “pretty” picture.


Meaghan

img_8058

Embracing confidence to me is only possible when I truly embrace my identity in Jesus Christ.  It’s who He says that I am – forgiven, worthy, redeemed, wanted, and lovely – that gives me the confidence to face each day with a healthy balance of self-love and humility.  Why both? Because embracing your confidence is not screaming “I AM BEAUTIFUL” at the world; instead, it’s a gentle whisper in the ear of those you encounter saying, “I’m lovely, and so are you.” ❤

 

 

 

 


Thankful for the beautiful wisdom these women have shared, and I pray you are blessed and encouraged!

img_2493-12

Three Years

View More: http://sgamblephoto.pass.us/billyandjulia

:: Written for Bill-Bill ::

I remember our wedding day so vividly. Weeks. No, months in advance I was so worried it would rain. (Our wedding was completely outdoors.) I literally looked up the weather probably two months in advance, and kept doing so til our day arrived. lol. God blessed us with the most beautiful spring day I’d ever seen. The sun sparkled over the bay, there was a gorgeous breeze, and I had never felt to peaceful and excited my entire life.

I remember excitedly peeking out of the window of my dressing room, watching the staff decorate the tables. I remember walking down the aisle to the theme from Anne of Green Gables.  I remember his face, filled with tears, as I walked towards him. I remember our friends and family laying hands on us.

I remember the happiest moment we both realized–we’re married.

The dance floor was full the entire night, and it was on our wedding day Billy realized his mad dance skills. lol.

It’s been three years since that day.  The crazy thing is– I love him even more now. I’m so thankful to the Lord. The best part is– I know I’ll only keep loving him more.

Here is our beautiful wedding video.  Pull up a chair and welcome to our wedding day.

I love you, Bill-Bill. Thank you for the three best years of my life. Here’s to forever more.

Love,

Jules

View More: http://sgamblephoto.pass.us/billyandjulia

img_2493-12

How You Know You Met “The One”

Perched on my couch, I write to you with tea in hand and a smile upon my face. This post is written in honor of Billy and I’s upcoming 3 year wedding anniversary. Mmmm God is so good. He’s blessed me so beyond what I deserve. I will forever thank the Lord for the man that He has given me.


Talking about love and marriage always inspires me to share the wisdom I have gained through the years.  Finding the one looks different for everyone.  Everyone traverses a different path. A different distance. A unique journey. But God is near and He wants you to trust Him.

I believe we all desire love.  Many people desire a forever love. A spouse. I believe God put that desire in us. It’s a good desire.  It is from Him. Trust Him, follow Him, serve Him, and KNOW that He will provide.

Finding the one seems like a mystery. Until you meet the one. haha. I know it’s cliche, but the saying is true–When ya know, ya know. But, hindsight is 20/20. So here’s my insight on how you know you met the one.

  1. You can be yourself.

I remember when I first met Billy. One of the things I kept saying to myself was, “Wow, I can be my complete self around him.” It was astounding. Like nothing I had ever experienced before. I didn’t have to tame my silly side. He liked me. For me. My goofy, happy, loud-laughed, music-loving self. We were able to really embrace who we were.  There were no fronts. No performances. Just us. And that is SO important.

2. You have the same values.

I remember when Billy first told me he liked me, we were sitting on the beach at John’s Pass.  We realized our time together was headed towards relationship.  Billy asked, “Can I pray for us?” That’s when I knew, this was different.  This was something beautiful.

I can’t stress this one enough. You can have different hobbies. You can have the same hobbies. That really doesn’t matter, as long as you support each other.  What matters is that your values and beliefs, are the same.  Billy and I are both Christians.  We believe that we are sinners (duh, we’ve all done crap), that the payment for sin is death, that Jesus paid that price for us on the cross, and conquered death 3 days later so we can go to heaven when we die. Billy and I have a relationship with each other, but first we have a relationship with GOD. If your values are not the same, the relationship is not worth pursuing.

3. There is so much peace.

I am a firm believer that God reveals His will for us through His peace.  I had never experienced such peace in my entire life.  There was no turmoil.  No constant battle.  Just peace.  It felt right.  It felt good.

4. Everything is simple.

Now, life isn’t always simple, but we humans tend to overcomplicate things.  A right relationship shouldn’t feel like constant tug of war.  This goes back to there being peace.

When Billy and I were dating, we typically drank tea and watched movies when he would come over. One day he told me the moment he knew we were going to get married. “We were drinking tea, and it was the happiest, yet simplest moment of my life. I knew I wanted to drink tea with you forever.”

Being with the one isn’t about some over-planned, highly orchestrated moment. It’s about simple, real, life moments.


I hope you enjoyed my little nuggets of wisdom.  Most importantly, remember the One who loves you more than any human ever could. So much so, that He died for you.

Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

img_2493-12

Apt. Reveal :: The Bedroom

A few months ago we moved about an hour away due to my husband’s job.  Although relocating has been hard in some ways, there has been so much joy in it. So much blessing. And so much to look forward to. We’ve actually come to fall in love with our new city. It’s quite beautiful and scenic. A refreshing change of pace.

We were very excited to make our new apartment home. And I must say: we were seriously stoked about finally having white walls. lol. We are very minimal in that way! Needless to say, I am so excited to share with you our home.  This is the first blog post of the series. Today I’m sharing our bedroom, because it has completely transformed from our old apartment.  Below are pictures featuring details, links to products, and our design tips and inspiration.

Welcome to our home.

Nightstand Details

I knew I wanted mid century nightstands for our bedroom update. However, everywhere we looked they were all so expensive! Starting at $150. No, thanks.  I found these at Target and fell in love! Exactly what I was looking for and only $80 a piece. You can shop them here. The drawers slide nicely and they look so classic. The “Mr.” and “Mrs.” chalkboards are from our wedding. A special little reminder of our day.  The box on my nightstand is a vintage Lane cedar chest. Dried eucalyptus in an old bottle adds just the right touch of greenery and character.

Let’s talk these lamps. I love them because they don’t take up room on our nightstands and they give that “hotel” vibe. The picture frame is from Marshalls and houses a special picture from our dating days. The faux fiddle leaf fig tree looks shockingly real and completely transforms the space. I can’t stress the importance of greenery enough!

I wanted some sort of candle holder on one of our nightstands. This one comes in a set of 3, of varying heights. Looks expensive, but the set was just under $10. I like the subtle vintage vibe it gives, and it ties the headboard in nicely.

The Space

I’ve been getting lots of questions about this mirror lately.  It is our latest addition to our bedroom. Mirrors are an excellent way to open up a space and bounce light. I like the rounded edges of this one and the matte gold finish. It quite nicely complements the gold accents we have throughout our home. For an affordable price, this mirror looks much more expensive and the quality is very pleasing.

Our wedding shelf is a darling memento to our big day. It houses our toasting flutes, communion cup, a jar from our centerpieces, our wedding invitation, and our homemade candle favors.

The Vanity

I love this little space. It allows me to get ready for the day, without hogging up the bathroom. This vanity was purchased from Target but is no longer available. Here is a similar option. This oval vintage mirror is a favorite of mine. It has so much character.  Billy got it for free awhile back, and painted the wood frame a muted gold. Love.

Garden Vibes

This butterfly wall hanging is not only classic and stunning, but also near and dear to my heart. It was our guestbook at our wedding. I love walking by it each day and catching a glimpse of a sweet message someone wrote. Puts a smile on my face. Every. Time. 🙂

These succulents are, yet again, fake. But so lifelike! We purchased these and the twine at Michael’s a few years back. A whimsical touch indeed!

The Bed

This quilt gives me all the cozy feels. I love its old fashioned look and its soft material.  We bought it at Target a few years ago.  I’ve gotten some questions on our new headboard! It is from Wayfair and is an excellent price! Again, it has such a vintage flair. The painting above our bed is from a local vintage market. I saw it across the room when we were checking out. I said, “Billy! That painting! Over there! It’s perfect.” And it truly is. I love its rugged wood frame, its character, and the woodsy feel it brings.  It makes me think of all our fun adventures in Georgia.

Life Update

If you haven’t already heard–we got a puppy! This is Lady Darling Brown and she is the cutest little sweet potato.  She loves squeaky toys, stealing daddy’s socks, the dog park, long naps on the balcony, and staring at herself in the mirror. A constant joy, this one.


With our bedroom, we really tried to give it character. It reminds me of a cute little bed and breakfast and I love that! We stuck with a very neutral color palette of white, black, brown, and greenery. Gold accents give it a little something extra. When decorating, I always try to stick with classic pieces. Because classic never goes out of style. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of our apartment reveal! Decorating is such a passion of mine. I enjoy it ever so much.

img_2493-12

My God

The feeling of belonging is peaceful. The feeling of having is comforting. Don’t you agree? It’s a sweet feeling, one that we long for. One that we desire to nestle in and get comfortable with.

The other day, the most elementary principle really struck me fresh. It wasn’t new or revolutionary, but it was something that I had never given more than a passing thought. So here it is.

The Lord is mine.

Yep. Just as much as I am His, He is mine. Like, wow.

We were singing “Amazing Grace” at church, and one of the last stanzas we sang said,

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who called me here below,

Will be forever mine.

Tears filled my eyes at the very thought of it. “God will be forever mine.”

My fellow believers, just let that sink in for a moment.

The Creator of this beautiful universe. God is ours just as much as we are His.

When you put your trust in the Lord and what He did on the cross, you become a child of God. There is the belonging. He becomes your Heavenly Father. There is the having.

Our humanity wants to belong. Wants to have. Wants relationship. And isn’t it beautiful that with God we belong, we have, and we commune? If you let Him, He can fill all those little cracks of loneliness and lack of purpose in your life.

We are His, and He is ours.

It is a beautiful, mutual relationship.

Oh, MY God, you are so good.

Starting Your Day

They say that the first 10 minutes of your day sets the tone for the rest of your day.

I really started exploring this concept, trying it out for myself. For me, this way of beginning your day has little to do with checklists and tasks, and more to do with positivity and setting the scene.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of ways to start your day, with the hope of a fruitful, joyful, productive day.

1. In the Word

This is of utmost importance. I’ve always remembered my pastor saying, “We need God and we need Him early.” If you are struggling to find joy each day, but aren’t starting it with Jesus, you are setting yourself up for a dreary day. Spending time with the Lord in the morning is like coffee for the soul. The perfect way to awake and refresh. Nourish and uplift. It doesn’t have to take long. Just dedicate a few quiet moments to set your heart on things above.

2. Make Your Bed

A simple task yet so powerful. This minuscule decision sets your scene. Tidying your space helps give you that extra little boost in the morning. You’re awake. You’re up. Your bed is made. It’s go time.

3. Stretch

Perhaps a full blown workout just isn’t in the cards. That’s okay! Simply moving and stretching can alleviate tension and help put an extra pep in your step.

4. Get something done.

Even just one tiny task. Just do one productive thing in the morning, and you will be surprised how much you will accomplish throughout the day. Put away the dishes from last night. Flip the couch cushions. Fold that load of laundry. Small tasks have big effects.

Discipline will be needed in order to have a fruitful morning. Sometimes we need to help motivate ourselves. For example, I made a rule for myself a few months ago: The tv can’t be turned on until I’ve spent my quiet time with the Lord. That simple rule has been monumental in my morning routine. And in my walk with the Lord.

How are you setting yourself up for success each morning?