Friday, October 28, 2011

Winner of $30 Pear Tree Gift Certificate

Ladies, thank you for participating in the Pear Tree Greetings holiday card giveaway. I enjoyed seeing the cards that all represent you best. I'll keep this short and sweet, since there were just a few entries I picked the name out of a basket this time instead of using and the winner is Elizabeth! Congratulations, I will set you up with your gift certificate from Pear Tree Greetings just as soon as you can send me your your e-mail address as it wasn't listed in your comment. :)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pear Tree Holiday Card Giveaway!

Every year around this time I start thinking about our family's Christmas cards.  I spend several hours perusing cards online, combing through my digital photos looking for the perfect pictures to include and deciding upon what memories or message we'll be sharing. This year has been no different. You might remember how I narrowed down to these Christmas cards last year and it was so much fun. I got SO many compliments on last year's card that I'm inspired to do something even more creative. If you're wondering which one I chose last year, it was Christmas Tales which included a timeline, shown below.

Pear Tree informed me that they improved their personalization too and it's super easy and a lot of fun to use and I know you'll love it too! That's why Pear Tree is offering one lucky reader a $30 credit towards any of their holiday cards that you can enter below!

After playing around with multiple designs I found the perfect card to send our family and friends this holiday season. I'm a big fan of using multiple photos as well as telling a story since many of our family members and friends (my immediately family in particular) live out of the the country and state so sharing about our year tops my list of must haves, which replaces the Christmas letters I used to write summarizing the highlights of our year. This is my perfect card! It has just the right amount of color, I love that it is interactive and opens up from a present into a storyboard of sorts with a caption under each photo! This truly represents my family's style-elegant with clean lines, yet playful. :)

Now for the GIVEAWAY! One of YOU will win a $30 gift certificate so you can design your own holiday cards and cross one thing of your holiday 'to do' list! It's super easy, tell me you're a follower of this blog or follow this blog publicly and pop by the Pear Tree page to tell me which design caught your eye and represents you/your family best. Leave a comment below and the winner will be chosen tomorrow @ 11pm EST.
Good luck ladies!

This post is sponsored by Pear Tree Greetings. Pear Tree Greetings has helped tens of thousands of customers celebrate life’s shareable moments with a collection of uniquely personal, high-quality greetings and stationery.  Pear Tree Greetings offers a full line of photo cards like Christmas cards, invitations, announcements, address labels, save-the-date cards and dozens of other high-quality paper products, so you can seize every opportunity to connect with others. Custom greetings made simple, affordable, and absolutely keep-worthy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your Attitude Determines Your Day

If you've been following this blog for a while, you  know that this is not the first post I've written on the importance of attitude in one's life. A few months ago I posted about having an attitude of gratitude and my experience with beginning a gratitude journal.

For many, a classy woman is deemed as such because of her outer appearance and overall polished exterior. This is also important, but more than this it is her attitude towards life that will not only allow her to realize success today but will also shape her into the woman she will become in future and carry her through life.

I had the day off from work today and decided to do some light cleaning. I began dusting off our bookcases (my husband has a very large library with a wide range of book topics) and I randomly pulled some titles off the shelf that I hadn't seen before and decided to flip through them when I came across this anonymous quote about our daily attitude and thought I would share it with all of you since this is a topic close to my heart.

"I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight; I have responsibilities to fulfill today. I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I'm going to have. Today I can complain because the weather is rainy, or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money, or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste. Today I can grumble about my health, or I can rejoice that I am alive. Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up, or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns, or I can celebrate that thorns have roses. Today I can mourn my lack of friends, or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships and rekindle old ones.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work, or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do. Today I can complain because I have to go to school, or I can eagerly open my mind and fill it with new tidbits of knowledge. Today I can murmur because I have to do housework, or I can feel honored because the Lord has provided shelter for my mind, body and soul.

Today stretches ahead of me waiting to be shaped, and here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping. What today will be like is up to ME. I get to choose what kind of day I will have."


It's funny how you can enter a room, a loved one's home or even just arrive at work and your otherwise great mood can be squashed by a co-worker's complaining, bad attitude or negative outlook on life. On the contrary, some people are just known for being able to put a smile on your face because of their sheer zest for life!

I don't know about you but I want to be remembered for being someone who brings joy and light into other's lives and who makes my mind up that the day will be great no matter what circumstances and mishaps may be in store for me. After all, today's test is just tomorrow's testimony!

I hope you all have a lovely week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Letting Go of How Others Perceive You

One of the greatest joys of knowing yourself intimately is being comfortable in your own skin. The woman who knows herself deeply, cares more about her dreams, passions, creations, memories and the very moment she is experiencing vs. what others think of her.

How many times have we gotten ready to put ourselves out there and share something we love, are proud of or are interested in pursuing when a little voice asks us if we're sure we want to do that. I don't know about you but as much as I try to just be myself, from time to time I still hear that voice. It usually shows up when I'm revealing a personal tidbit that may not be received by the masses as 'perfect', ideal or as it pertains to design-an example of my best work. Whether it's a photo of something I took on my average camera with my less than average photography skills, my writing or sharing my design concepts and putting my creative works out there for others to see, it can be a little daunting sometimes. However, most of the scary stuff is all in our own head.

A girlfriend e-mailed me today sharing with me that she's been working on her new office space for her business. It's something she's really come to love and enjoy. It's pretty, comfortable and reflects her personal style but in comparison with those in her industry (she's also involved in design) she thought that they might perceive it as amateur and considered not sharing a photo of the progress she was so excited about. She then reminded and encouraged herself to just post it and decided that she really didn't care what anyone else thought anyhow, it was special to her. I'm so impressed with her attitude and for posting the picture!

We could drive ourselves crazy over what others think and become paralyzed with fear which would prevent us from doing the very things that bring us joy; or we can embrace the imperfections, the 'realness' of what we choose to expose or endeavour knowing that it's all part of our journey, our unique life story.

 What fears in your life about other's perception of you hold you back from sharing?

*images: (1) , (2), (3)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sophistication is About Simplicity

Have you ever noticed that often the most beautifully decorated homes are also the most simple as they provide an effortless look? Rooms bathed in sunlight with white paint, warm textures, natural materials and neutrals with small pops of color bring about a cozy feeling for me personally. Likewise, some of the most elegant gowns or beautiful, classic outfits are almost always the most simple in terms of design. In all areas of life, elegance and sophistication exist because of their ease and uncomplicated nature.
Lately I've been focused on simple yet yummy meals using raw ingredients or a limited amount of ingredients which lessens prep time in the kitchen and allows me to enjoy everything else in my life more fully. Last night's dinner (and admittedly today's lunch) was roasted beets and sweet potatoes (or sweets & beets as I lovingly refer to them as), just two ingredients plus 400 degrees of heat for 40 minutes and I could really taste the earthly goodness of each-they were delicious!

When it comes to my wardrobe, the pieces I get the most compliments on are always simple, classic pieces I've owned for years vs. the new, trendy pieces that are currently available. It's the prefectly fitting blazer I bought 8yrs ago with clean lines, or the pumps that I've kept in excellent condition and keep wearing year after year with multiple outfits because I chose black or neutral over an of-the-moment color. While the odd impulsive,fun, colorful or of-the-moment purchase is exciting and a great addition to one's wardrobe, classics are key for a classy woman's wardrobe. I love wearing what fits me, looks good on me and that which I feel confident in. Working with key pieces makes getting dressed in the morning that much easier!

What about your calendar-is it relaxed or chaotic? Are you making time for YOU? One cannot elegantly go through life with their hair on fire as they race from one meeting or event to the next. Why not begin scheduling some time that is especially for you. Maybe that time is first thing in the morning when the kids are still asleep, a 5am workout session, quiet meditation or prayer time to begin your day or an hour of rejuvenation after a long day of work. We cannot be a blessing to others and give of ourselves fully when we feel drained. A simplified schedule allows us to make room for the surprises of life and give us space between more stressful parts of our day to regain peace and recharge for the next day.

What areas of your life could benefit from a little more simplicity?

*images: (1), (2)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Never Say Never

Don't worry, this isn't a post about Justin Beiber. ;) Although, I do like the words of the song he sings titled 'Never Say Never' which inspires us all to move forward, ignoring the nay-sayers so we can reach our destiny!

Those words 'never say never' mean a lot to me. I can count the times I've been amazed by others sacrifices, discipline or circumstances and said something like 'Oh, I don't think I could ever share one car.' This of course was before getting married because as many of you well know, that is the current car status in this casa. OR 'I would never want to work in shifts or late night hours.' You guessed it, I'm now doing that too so I've learned to never say never when it comes to anything because when I do it's as if I've just tossed a challenge for myself up to heavens that inevitably comes to fruition. lol.

How many times have we  heard people refer to someone else and us the word 'never' as it pertains to them getting a better job, losing weight, quitting smoking, upgrading their education, finally breaking free from a bad relationship, getting their finances in order, etc?

As friends, family and colleagues we have a responsibility to be supportive and uplift others. Gracious, merciful and uplifting are some of the traits of a classy woman. She is not the one sitting in the corner whispering and gossiping with her friends about how bad Suzie's marriage is and how she'll never be strong enough to leave her abusive husband. A classy woman offers encouragement, and takes the time to inspire others and offer support. It doesn't have to be all-consuming but in order to see people change for the better we have to first believe in them, even when they may not care or may not believe in themselves. Tell the people you care about that you know they have what it takes and that they can do it!

When my next-door-neighbor first moved in I learned really quickly that they are not a family who recycles. Daily I'd hear the clanking of glass bottles being tossed into the trash and wondered why with such great recycling facilities in our city, someone would want all of those items to go to the landfill. This went on for the past two years but I always secretly hoped and believed that they could finally see the light by watching enough other neighbors on our street bring theirs to the curb and by my own example as our pick up locations are side-by-side. I had put it out of my mind until a couple weeks ago when I drove home from work and saw a bin full of glass bottles sitting at the end of the curb. I was so excited to see they had finally begun recycling and they've since continued their efforts! Their change is what inspired this post. It was a reminder that we can never say never, write someone off or believe they'll never change. Even after years of the same attitude, behavior, poor choices, reverting to old ways, laziness or fill in the blank, people can and do change, we have to be willing to cheer them on and never give up!

Right after seeing the good news about my neighbors I met with a close girlfriend for lunch. We talked about many things and I shared the recycling story. She shared with me that her carnivore hubby who is a meat and potatoes guy and does not enjoy veggies and would avoid them at all costs for as long as I've known her has started to make the switch. She told me one evening she prepared some fish for dinner but was too busy to make the veggie side dish and he actually asked her, "No veggies tonight?" She though he would be excited but she commented that he actually seemed disappointed. You see, for the past 4 years that we've known each other I've known her to slowly introduce new things for her hubby and sneak veggies in wherever she could. He was not interested and cared little about the health benefits, etc. She did know one thing, he was receptive to facts, statistics and science as he is a math kind of guy. Instead of preaching about produce to him, they watched a few documentaries about food and how it's grown, the soil quality and our overall health and why veggies in particular are so important and now he doesn't go a day without them. This is a guy that I once watched polish off a 16-oz rib eye while dining together like it was nobody's business and left all the veggies on the plate! My friend is so happy so all of you moms out there who cannot get your kiddos to eat their veggies, don't give up, you're one step closer, keep up the good work!

Seeing someone else change begins with us, it begins with our attitude, our mindset and our own beliefs as well as being an example to others also. You may not know how this shift in someone will take place but just begin praying for them and believing in them and it will.

"We meet thousands of people, and none of them really touch you and then you meet one person, and your life is changed. Forever." ~Unknown

Is there someone in your life that you have a 'never' kind of mentality about? Change is possible and it's around the corner!

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