Last Saturday Art and I had a wonderful opportunity to go and see Chris Tomlin at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, going to see a worship band. Would it feel uptight, would it feel like an extension of church, would it feel good or awkward? I really honestly didn’t know if it would feel strange to worship outside of church, because essentially that’s what we would be doing. I’ve talked before, how Art and I sort of have a private relationship with Christ, whereas I pray on my own and he prays on his own, and rarely do we really pray together. During church we hold hands and he hands me a tissue when I inevitably start to cry, so I wasn’t sure what the evening would be like. Would it be like all the other concerts we go to together where we sing our faces off and lose our voices by the end of the night, or would we sort of stand side by side holding hands, similar to what we do in church? Maybe I’m over thinking this, I know, but I have a feeling some of you out there would be thinking the same thoughts, right? When we got there though and saw the DJ onstage, leading us through a dance song with high energy and awesome beats, I had a feeling it would be all good. Turns out we did a mixture of singing and dancing our faces off, and also standing side by side.
The night turned out to be beautiful. Art and I had just celebrated 14 years of marriage a few days before, so to be outside under the stars on a beautiful California night, singing praise and feeling the energy and presence of Jesus in that auditorium was nothing short of awesome. Chris (it’s totally okay to call him by first name after spending an evening with him right?) and the band’s energy were incredible, and their stage presence pretty magnetic. Art admired the drummers beard, I admired their overall fashion sense, and we both admired their skill level as musicians, singers and songwriters. The way they connect with music and the audience is something special and a beautiful thing to see.
It definitely was the most energetic, yet peaceful concert I’ve ever been to, and we left there feeling a sense of just happiness. That’s the most simple way to put it. If you’re a long time fan of Chris Tomlin, or even if you’re new to his music, and not sure how you’d do at a “Christian concert”, I’m here to say that you’ll love it and be very awesomely surprised. There will be a few posts being published online today talking about our Chris Tomlin concert experience, and while I’m not sure the perspective that everyone else will be coming from in their writing and experience, I’m here to represent the girls who didn’t grow up in the church, who don’t have their scripture perfectly memorized, who goes to church but sometimes still has lots of questions, yet for whatever reason, connects with Jesus through music on a level she never thought possible. I’m representing that girl who is curious and wants to try out something like a Christian concert but may be a little hesitant and afraid. Afraid if you’ll fit in, have a good time, connect, feel good while doing it. Try it, push yourself, and I can almost guarantee you’ll come out of it not only glad you did, but also inspired and humbled in the process.
Transparent Productions is a concert promotion company who strive to bring Christian shows to Southern California and the rest of the nation. Transparent Productions has promoted shows and events with Hillsong United, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Mercy Me, Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Delirious, Jesus Culture Band, David Crowder Band, and Tenth Avenue North as well as shows with Switchfoot, Family Force 5, Relient K, Owl City, NeedToBreathe, Anberlin, Red, POD and many many others. You can follow Transparent Productions on Twitter, Facebook and find them on Instagram.
Tickets for Fish Fest 2013 is on June 29, 2013 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and tickets go on sale today. To find out more and purchase tickets visit here. The Hillsong United show is on Friday June 7th, 2013 at my all time favorite venue The Hollowood Bowl. To get tickets visit here.
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® andTransparent Productions but all my opinions are my own. Thank you to Pollinate and Transparent Productions for the wonderful experience, amazing seats, and for pushing me a bit out of my comfort zone.
here, and I’d love to get the patterns or party set.
Heidi Klum for New Balance leggings because they are a compression fit which means they will sort of suck you in a bit and smooth out and tone those legs, yet they are still really comfortable and don’t feel like you’re being squeezed to death. They are nice and long and have a really cute ruching detail at the ankle. Now the only problem with this look, for me, is when the tight leggings are paired back to a super tight top, especially when you’re not in tip-top shape. First, I feel really exposed with every lump and curve showing, and the tight top highlights my still bulging postpartum pooch area. You can also clearly see the where the waistband is pinching in at my waist because the top is so tight. Overall it’s not the most attractive look.
- Long and lean true workout bottoms that have a slight compression fit that molds to my curves and that fits slim all the way to the ankle or knee; no bootleg type openings.
- Longer and loose tops that cover me up a bit more and glide over the postpartum pooch, don’t hug and squeeze it.
- Ankle athletic socks that are hardly visible inside the shoe helps creates a longer silhouette to your legs
- Functional coverups for staying warm that are long and loose to comfortably fit over clothes.
Next week we’ll talk about shorts, because I know they’re the bane of many women’s existence, especially workout shorts. I hope this has been helpful for some of you. I’ve continued with my Pop Physique workouts 2-3 times a week and I’m now down about 9 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I’d love to get to the gym more in the coming months as soon as we’re out of cold and flu season and I can feel comfortable taking Hayden to the gym daycare. Until then I’m happy with the progress I’ve made!
New Balance has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. The Heidi Klum for New Balance partnership combines New Balance’s expertise in fit and form with Heidi Klum’s commitment to sophisticated style, to create a versatile collection for women that is both everyday wearable and chic. Learn more: http://www.newbalance.com/Heidi-Klum/heidi-klum,default,pg.html New Balance encourages you to submit your own Heidi Klum for New Balance looks via Instagram or Twitter using the #hknb hashtag.
Compensation was provided by New Balance via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of New Balance. I personally have been a fan of New Balance for at least 15 years and have exclusively worn their shoes for all of my workouts. I was more than thrilled and honored for this opportunity to share these active wear pieces with you all and can attest to how awesome they are.
Holy hell I was wrong.
Sleepovers, as it turns out, are a lot of work. 7 young girls in our house for 16 hours straight, minus a very short window of time when they are actually asleep. Other than that, it is full on girl craziness 100% of the time. I loved it, Taylor loved it, and I’m glad I did it. All I’m saying though, is if you think a sleepover is going to be somewhat easier because you can do simple kid food and play simple kid games and just throw them in the room, you’d be wrong my friend.
The feelings of responsibility alone were enough of a burden to make me question having another sleepover for a couple of years. I found myself counting the girls over and over again, between pool time and bed time, I would count over and over again to make sure all the girls were accounted for. Is that weird? I also checked in on them about 5 times throughout the night. And counted their heads. One girl’s little head was tucked under her sleeping bag so I went over and lifted it up, just to be sure. I am crazy, right? Ha!
But aside from all the self-inflicted stress of hosting a sleepover, it really was a great party and I did limit myself on the decorations and “theme”. A couple of days before the party I had Taylor take a trip to Target with me and let her pick out the paper plates, some party accessories from the party aisle, and then we went and ordered the cake. Between the random, mismatched party decorations and paper goods, the galloping horse cake, and the activities planned, including a Princess Leia pinata, we dubbed the party a “favorite things” party and we sort of just went from there.
The only thing I ended up decorating was the actual table the girls would be sitting at, and hung a lettered banner, which I’ll share later this week, and some balloons as the backdrop. The table setting and the crowns the girls all took home as favors, were all made and thrown together in about 2 hours time. No joke.
For the table cloth I just used a white linen tablecloth I already owned, and then placed colorful strops of grosgrain ribbon along the width of the table. The table was set with alternating pink and lavender colored watercolor inspired paper plates, and those beautiful blue Bell mason jars? I received those compliments of Bell and they were just the perfect thing to set the table off.
I added some colorful striped straws, bright paper confetti, and then placed a flower crown at each place setting for the girls to take home as favors. A beautiful and useful replacement to ye’ old goody bag, if I do say so myself. Oh! And those horse place-card holders? I found them in the craft supply aisle at Michael’s and bought them on a whim, thinking I could use them for a washi tape craft with the girls or something. You know, in case we got bored or something (ha!). At the last minute I decided to add the girl’s names on them and use them as place holders and they ended up taking those home too they loved them so much!
The decorations proved once again, that the less preplanning and stress, the better. For me anyhow. I seem to work the best and get the most creative inspiration when I just let go and don’t force it. It was colorful. It was all over the place. It was a bit much. But for Taylor, and who she is, it was PERFECT!
I had a couple of crafts planned for the girls, as well as some games, but it turned out they just had fun swimming and making their own games up. I purposely didn’t include any photos of the girls at the party because as they get older, I’m trying to be more sensitive to their privacy, but I wish I could share one of the games they came up with because it was so cute and brilliant! I bought these glow in the dark star glasses at Target, and after passing them out, they made up the glow in the dark tag game. We turned off all the lights and all the girls except the seeker, hid. The seeker then had to find the girls by finding their glow in the dark faces. It was really cute and creative and LOUD, but very fun. Needless to say lots of throw pillows and blankets were hurt in the process, but they proved no worse for wear.
Tomorrow I’ll share the process of making the very sweet and easy floral crowns, which the girls NEVER took off that night! I instagrammed some photos (@fourflights), and most of the girls were even wearing them the next morning. It was a great party and I’d do it again, in another 5 years maybe
Taylor, I am eternally grateful for the blessing you have given me and your daddy, by being in our lives. And I thank God for the chance to mother you. I love your kind spirit, your energy, your curiosity, and your silliness. I am proud that you have your own interests and pursue them, even if they are different than what some other girls at school may be into. I love your tender heart to animals, and your creative connection to everything from nature to art to music. At 8, you love to write songs, you love to paint, you love to be outside, and you love to dance. As you grew each year, I always prayed and hoped that you would be this lovely and special. And it seems God has answered my prayers.
There is no one like you, and you are the perfect piece to our family. You are the one who granted us the gift of parenthood, and you have taught us both so much. Each of us is a special part of this family, each of us has a unique role to play and spot to fill. For our family, you remind us to be curious, to be adventurous, to be kind to all living things, even if they’re pesky rodents, and you remind us to care for each other. Watching you take care of both your younger brothers is a lesson in servitude, in gratitude and in love. You love and care for them both without question, without asking and prompting, and always from the bottom of your heart. You my dear, show me what true, unconditional, unbreakable love is. I cannot tell you how much I love you, I value you and I appreciate you. I hear 8 is great, and my gosh I can’t imagine you getting much better, but I’m sure you will continue to surprise us all, and make us all very, very proud.
Happy birthday my sweet girl. We love you to the moon and back again. You are awesome, amazing and inspiring.
All these midi skirts and more can be found on my Pinterest board. Follow along with me as I pin my favorite Spring Style and Trends for women. And don’t miss a thing, like For The Love Of on Facebook to keep in touch!
I’ve been on the hunt for a lovely midi skirt lately. I love maxis, but once the heat turns up they can feel quite cumbersome, even if they’re light and airy. Midis though are a more modest, and functional version of a short summery skirt that look great with wedges, pretty heels and flat sandals. Perfect for pattern mixing, wearing back to chambray, and just a simple and easy tank, midis are on my mind, and here are a few favorites I wouldn’t mind having in my closet.
Floral ASOS 2. Pink Linen ASOS 3. Red Full Circle ASOS 4. Lime Green Ponte ASOSAbstract Jacquard ASOS 6. Green Striped ASOS 7. Black and White Check ASOS 8. Black and White Striped ASOSStrata Panel Skirt Anthropologie 10. Waverly A Line Skirt Anthropologie
As with maxis, I can just hear it now. Some of you more petite girls are going to be saying, “I can’t wear a midi skirt, I’m too short!” Nonsense! Focus on lengthening your proportions by adding a belt and tucking in a blouse or form fitting top. Then pair with wedges to give yourself some lift and you have a flowing, easy chic look that allows you to feel pulled together, season appropriate yet still functional. You aren’t tripping over your long skirt and you aren’t afraid a gust of wind or bending over to pick something up will reveal too much. I’m a fan of this length, and can’t wait to try adding a skirt or two to my current mix, which consists of just one skirt in such length, as seen below.
Last week was my birthday. I didn’t make a huge deal about it here on the blog, but don’t worry, I blasted at least 5-6 photos of the day on Instagram, so if you follow me there, you luckily got all the juicy details haha! If you follow me there, or are friendly with me on Facebook, you’ll know that my husband browsed my Pinterest board and surprised me with this beauty, called the Banded Totem Shift Dress, from Anthropologie. I was speechless. First because he actually searched me on Pinterest while at the store and showed my style board to the sales girl to help him pick out a dress, and second, because he picked out a dress I had pinned the night before, and gasped out loud while doing so. I LOVED this dress (photo at the very bottom of the post if you don’t feel like clicking over). So when I opened it up I was almost in tears over not just the material purchase, but the fact that he took the time to try and find me something he thought I’d truly love. A very thoughtful gesture for such a hard working and busy guy.Anthropologie; Shoes – Dolce Vita; Ring – Kate Spade
The only problem with the dress after trying it on, was that it was truly a shift dress, and would really only look best fitting me exactly as is, at my current weight. With a loose fitting, flowy dress, or even one with a belted or elastic waistband, you tend to have a lot more flexibility for weight fluctuations. But with shift dresses, they look best when you purchase them for your current size, and don’t fluctuate at all. At just 7 months postpartum, I’m still about 10-15 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Not that I’m currently concerned with dieting my way to losing the weight anytime soon, but if my body reacts the same way it has in the past, when Hayden stops nursing, I will inevitably shed a few more pounds. Leaving me with a very lovely dress which no longer fits. A very lovely, and expensive dress, which no longer fits. I couldn’t stomach the thought of having this pretty thing sitting in my closet, and with its detailed striped fabric, which currently lined up perfectly at the side seams, I knew alterations would be costly.
Slowly and surely since Hayden has been born, I’ve developed a new routine of enjoying Sunday night on the couch with Art, watching a plethora of our favorite TV shows, which happen to now all appear on Sunday nights. From Downton to Dexter to Mad Men, Sunday nights are now for the couch and cuddling, and not the computer and blogging. Typically now, after I get the kids off to school and Hayden down for a nap on Monday morning, I start on Monday’s post. I know I’m doing it all wrong according to the books, but I try to keep in mind that blogging is one of those things where only we can set the rules and pace for ourselves, no one else.
So as I went to prepare my post yesterday afternoon, after spending the morning working in Syd’s Kindergarten class, I opened up Twitter to learn of the horrific events unfolding at the Boston Marathon. For the next 3 hours I was glued to the TV, Twitter and Facebook, wrapping myself up in a flurry of news updates that never really seemed to provide any real answers, only morbid images and sad, first-hand pictures. My heart aches for the city, those affected, and our country. I continue to pray as hard as I can pray for peace and healing for Boston.
Suddenly posting a new 52 Weeks To Create update, showcasing all the wonderful details of the Craft Cabinet event from Friday night seemed pointless and insensitive, so I closed my dashboard and continued to do some other work, all while trying to figure out what exactly had happened.
The event Friday night was wonderful, and from what I can gleam from conversations, looking at the photos we took, and a couple of blog posts I’ve read, people truly enjoyed themselves. I certainly did and I am proud of our efforts and results. Later tonight I will be posting some more photos of attendees and what I wore, since it’s not a party without people having fun and cute dresses, right? But for now I thought I would just share a few photos Danni’s husband Nick captured for us, right before we opened our doors. The setup, in my opinion was beautiful and came out better than I would have ever imagined! The watercolor palettes mixed with the vessels of flowers and succulents, gorgeous sheets of paper and colorful brushes, set against long rows of Kraft paper, was simple yet elegant. As Jules said before we opened, “C’mon! It looks like a wedding!”. Indeed it was pretty and I loved the finished product. Once attendees mingled, ate and drank a bit, we all set down for a session in watercolor technique. More photos to follow, but for now, just wanted to pop in to say that this was my baby for the past week. This was my 52 Weeks to Create project, and then some.
Have a blessed day and see you a bit later.
As you can tell by the amount of photos in this post, we covered and documented a lot of ground during our trip, but what I thought I’d mostly talk about is vacationing with young kids to a slower paced destination, and finding a way to do things that will make everyone happy (for the most part). When I first told my parents we had settled on Los Olivos/Santa Ynez as our vacation spot for Spring Break, they asked what on Earth we were going to do with the kids and how we’d keep them occupied. Even more pressing to them though, was whether we would be lugging the kids around the entire trip on wine tasting excursions. The answer was a resounding no, but we did fit in a couple of tastings.
We started off by finding a house to rent on VRBO so we could cook meals and have a couple of separate bedrooms. The house we stayed at was initially out of our budget, but after contacting the property manager we negotiated a lower rate, and had friends stay with us for 2 nights, lowering our cost even more. The lower cost was just an added bonus of being able to hang with our friends. If you can find a family or two to occasionally take trips with, I wholeheartedly suggest it. It gives everyone a break from the usual; kids get to play with their friends and grownups can feel like they’re on a regular vacation since they have others to interact with. We searched for a place with a yard, a patio and either a pool and/or spa to give the kids something else to do. The house we found had all of this and more, with the added bonus of a stunning view, bikes to use at our disposal, and an outdoor fireplace so we could roast s’mores. Turns out the kids only went in the spa once, and spent the majority of the time just running around outside and exploring the pond on the property. Let me know if you’d like the link to the specific property we stayed at. It was at least 5 acres, and the nearest neighbor was across the other side of the valley. It was pretty much the most remote place we’ve ever stayed. The coyotes, frogs and crickets at night were unbelievable.
We brought along the things that the kids always tend to want to play with at home on the weekends; Legos, and more recently, Chess. When they needed some quiet time, they just sat and built Legos or we played Chess. As a side note, we bought local, hard to find wine a few times while in town so that we could enjoy a glass or two while overlooking the backyard view, and hanging with the kids. This gave us the feeling and experience of enjoying the fruits the valley has to offer, without dragging the kids around to countless wineries.
We chose Los Olivos as the place to stay because of its quiet, small town atmosphere. It’s located within the Santa Ynez Valley, just a couple of miles away from the town of Buellton and Santa Ynez. Having access to the town would allow us a place to go when we didn’t want to cook meals and to just stroll around if we did want to get out of the house. Los Olivos has dozens of tasting rooms in town, but I would not recommend taking young kids into them. While the overall atmosphere of the Santa Ynez valley is very casual, the tasting rooms tend to be small and quiet places where grown ups go to enjoy themselves. There’s really nothing at all for the kids to do in them except get bored and get into trouble. We did trade off with our friends though and the guys watched the kids while me and my girlfriend took a tasting, and then we traded. While the grownups were tasting, the kids and the other set of adults hung outside the Cuquelicot tasting room and played bocce ball and ran around. After we each had our turn, we took the kids to a great local park to play a bit. The trip was always a bit of a trade off. We go to a nice meal, then we play Chess for 2 hours. Hang out and play games out side while the grownups enjoyed a wine tasting, then go to the park. Endure another meal at another restaurant, then take a ride on a surrey. Give and take, that’s how we roll
The only other time we went on a proper wine tasting was on our last day when we stopped at Sunstone Winery with a picnic lunch and the Chess set and sat outside eating, playing and tasting. Most wineries are really laid back and it is okay to bring kids, and in fact you often always see kids at the wineries. They have large beautiful grounds that the kids tend to love exploring.Solvang, a little town just outside of Santa Ynez that was founded by Danish school teachers in the early 1900′s, hence it’s Danish inspired architecture and windmills. We rented a surrey and cruised around for a little bit, got ice cream and had brunch. It was nice to feel free to stay as long or as little as we wanted, to not really be on any type of schedule. Los Olivos Cafe and Sides Hardware and Shoes, both in Los Olivos. Full Of Life Flatbread Pizza in Los Alamos had amazing food.
I’m certain not every vacation will be a slow paced one like we had last week, but I am certain those are the best ones for our family. There’s lots we want to see, so as the kids get older we’ll continue to take more adventurous trips that may challenge us a bit more with tight schedules, sights to see and tours to take. But for now these laid back times to be together as a family away from home and the distractions of housework and home improvement projects and just everyday life are our favorite. I asked Taylor at the end of our trip what her ideal vacation would be, and she quickly replied, “This, but with horses and other animals.”