i LOVE these papercuts. what gorgeous works of art. they are from madebyjulene.com, and (of course) julene is British. her site is chock full of blow-me-away pieces (i could have posted a hundred more pictures) AND she has some available on etsy. i think the above two are my favorites though it’s hard to choose. i’m storing this find for upcoming wedding gifts!
merry christmas, all! my sister and i are heading out today for chicago to see my family. i really can hardly wait – my nana and gampy are already at the house, my youngest sister is home from college, my mom has White Christmas ready to be watched, and my dad has promised fresh homemade cinnamon rolls (he makes the best ones!). they have lots of snow on the ground and i can’t wait to go sledding (never too old, right?)!
i’m looking forward to watching modern family (we’re obsessed) curled up in my parents’ bed with my sisters and some quiet time of reflection and prayer in our reading room (my favorite room in the house). my aunts are also throwing me my first bridal shower while i’m home!
i always get pretty emotional during christmas. thinking about the love of God embodied in a child. being overwhelmed by how much i love and cherish my family. and, this year, missing m. it seems unnatural to part with my best friend for my favorite time of year, but i know we have every christmas from this time forward together. thank God for that.
i’m so excited to announce that some of our engagement pictures were featured on United With Love, a blog about weddings in the DC area! i’ve been shy to post these pictures but since they are already exposed to the greater web world, i thought i’d share them with you.
the post where our pictures appear is one in which our talented, amazing engagement photographer, eric kelley, and his wife, lora elaine (my makeup and hair stylist) share some tips about what to wear for engagement sessions! i’m incredibly flattered that they chose our photos to showcase their work. m and i have been so blessed to call eric and lora friends, and i just about fell over when they offered to take some photos of us around town. both of them are insanely talented and have gorgeous websites. i loved working with them because they are both laid back and made the shoot comfortable and fun, but above all, they are incredibly committed to their craft – which comes through in the photos.
i highly recommend eric and lora for your engagement or wedding photos! but book early – these two are in high demand! and check out United With Love. the post has some great advice for looking good on camera.
remember when i had mentioned that i’d been wanting to make the book wreath featured on the jones design company blog? well… i did it! check out jones design (it’s amaaazing!) for full instructions. i have to say, my wreath turned out pretty differently from hers, but i still love it. she said it took her about two hours, but i have to warn you – mine definitely took longer (i think i watched 3 movies over the course of a week or so). and three whole books. and an entire pack of hot glue sticks i had just bought. but – so worth it, don’t you think?
i made mine a bit fuller than hers by placing all of the folded book pages close together, overlapping the edges as i went around. i hung it in the hallway for now (please excuse my bad photography!) but i’m thinking it might make a cute decoration at the wedding (especially since m and i love reading together. it represents us well!).
i can hardly believe christmas is less than a week away. i still have one gift to buy and several to wrap. m and i will be going our separate ways for our last christmas as non-marrieds (crazy!), so i am headed off to chicago later this week and he to north carolina. it’s amazing to think that next year, we will be each other’s new family. i’m geting excited about starting new traditions with him. this year, we are celebrating together tomorrow with a christmas dinner and some gift opening (i can’t wait to see him open his! wish i could tell you what it is).
then my sister and i fly to chicago where we will spend the next week with my mom’s side of the family, playing with baby cousins and eating my mom’s incredible cooking. we all go over to my aunt’s house on christmas eve for a cookie decorating contest (my uncle, who owns this design firm in chicago, always wins.) then head out to church (where we always have a candlelit singing of o’ holy night – my favorite). before bed, we all, including adults, get to open one gift from my nana and gampy, and it’s always pajamas or slippers to wear to bed that night. (i love the below nightie from jcrew).
as i was scouring etsy for some last-minute christmas gifts, i came across this gorgeous coat. i love winter white coats, and this one is all cashmere and silk satin. love the high collar and the bow waist. it only makes sense that the shop is in england.
my family has decided to try something new this year with gifts. my mom drew names and matched everyone up in my extended family, so we are buying for just one person. i must have done something really sweet because i got paired with my little, less than a year old, baby cousin Bennett. she’s precious and cuddly and everything a sweet little girl should be. i’ve had the best time finding cute things for her. isn’t the little hat above adorable? an etsy find for only $20! click on the images for their source!
and a few stylish accessories to keep baby warm! let me know if you have other suggestions!
we got our first snow of the season today! it’s been snowing since 7:00 this morning, so there’s now a soft layer of white on all the streets and trees. it’s beautiful outside and so quiet. the whole town seems to be moving slower.
it puts me in the mood to sled or build a snowman or go skiing. unfortunately it’s already getting dark and i’ve been working all day… hopefully it’ll stick around for the weekend!
christmas. i love it. a time for family gatherings and cuddles by warm fires. mistletoe, holly, and the singing of carols. baking dozens of cookies from recipes you never touch the rest of the year and subsequently overeating. i even love the crowds of people on the hunt for the perfect gift. i love all the salvation army volunteers ringing their bells and the general sense of generosity and good will that people extend to one another. i love that even the dmv (where i spent one morning this week) decked their halls with evergreen. i love that the teller smiled broadly and wished me a merry christmas even after i took almost 10 minutes to find my ID in my overstuffed wallet.
& yet, even with the twinkle of lights and jolly dispositions, it’s still somehow easy to forget that christmas is just so merry because of the birth of Christ.
i’m thankful that my parents were always keenly aware of the ever-encroaching commercialism of christmas and so brought my sisters and i up knowing that the birth of Jesus and the fulfillment of God’s promise were the reasons we celebrated. i knew that come christmas morning i would get to open presents exactly because they represented the gifts brought by the magi. so, i think, i was given a pretty theologically grounded view of christmas.
m and i were talking about christmas traditions last week. we grew up with many similar experiences and were growing giddy just thinking about how we would one day get to watch our kids experience christmas (ok, maybe it was just me with the giddiness).
that is, until we got to santa claus. i grew up believing in santa. m did not.
we argued. i pouted. he made valid points. i made silly points. he made a sensible argument. i made a sad pouty face.
i like all the imagination and feeling of possibility that come with santa and the flying reindeer but i see m’s point that you can still experience the wonder and excitement of christmas by focusing on Christ himself. and though i didn’t grow up thinking my parents had lied to me, i could imagine a child being scarred by the realization that what his parents said was true (that santa is real) was actually false. maybe that’s taking it a bit far, but as i enter my marriage, i’ve had a new desire to examine my choices, assumptions and expectations.
did all of you grow up with santa? do you expect to raise your kids the same way?
m just sent me this article that gives a great perspective on santa. i love it. you should read it. this is the kind of tension i believe in – celebrating the imaginative while still keeping christmas sacred.
and the article sheds light on santa claus himself – the real guy! he truly was what is (mostly) embodied in the jolly, rosy-cheeked claus we see today. an orphan himself, claus, in his adulthood, spent his time helping children in need.
ok, santa. i think i’m ok with you.