Thursday, July 31, 2014

a month in review // july.

*  celebrating freedom
she reads truth: sermon on the mount devotional was one of the best i've worked through
*  give me all the salads, all the time
*  summer flowers make my heart happy

- there is beauty in the process.
- the grass isn't always greener on the other side. it could be astroturf.
- walking around with your shirt on inside out for most of the day is hilarious and humbling.
- if it's not my problem, it's not my business.
- even in my mess, He pours His grace & mercy on me every single day and shows me i am beautiful because i am His.
-  "the more beauty we find in someone else's journey, the less we'll want to compare it to our own." bob goff.

- celebrated mama's birthday & the fourth of july with family, friends, and fireworks.
- i shared my life journal.
- i finally watched grace unplugged and ohmylanta, i loved it.
- i made way too many GIFs with the new party party app.
- i shared what's in my bag.
- one of my photos was in a magazine! 

around the internet:
+ this pin.
+ four reasons to hate 50 shades of grey by matt walsh.
+ follow reid wiseman on twitter to see pictures from space. seriously, earth is so beautiful.

and finally, a joke for this fine thursday.

what do you call a blind dinosaur?
a doyouthinkhesawus. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

weekend photo diary.

crepe myrtles are starting to bloom.

quite possibly the best salad of my life.

 sometimes my desk is messy. and sometimes i drink iced coffee from a stemmed glass. #classy

be still, my soul.

the sunflowers were in high grass, so i rocked shorts, rain boots, and two mosquito bites.

a large branch plummeted to its demise last weekend, and we finally got all the limbs cleaned up & hauled away.

 that golden hour though.

first off - i am wearing shorts, promise. second - i don't know why it is, but ridin' a four-wheeler is good for the soul.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

rubbin' elbows with brooke davis.

back in may, people stylewatch emailed me about featuring this photo in their how do you read your stylewatch? section. ( ! ! ! ) it wasn't in the july issue, so i figured they didn't need it after all. no biggie.

so last monday, i sat down with my turkey & cheese melt, sweet tea, and the august issue of PSW. i'm chowing down when all of a sudden -
i see it. "OH MYLANTA - THAT'S MY NAME - THAT'S MY PICTURE!" mama was all girlfriend is crazy, but then i showed her and in typical mama fashion she replied, "honey, you're gonna be famous one day." [she's goofy, but i love her anyway.]

true story: i had a moment when i realized my name is like an inch from photos of reese witherspoon and brooke davis, uhh - i mean sophia bush. [one tree hill forevah.] it's like we're friends now, right?

Friday, July 25, 2014

party party app.

i have a confession to make: i cannot stop making stop motion videos and GIFs.

the incredible talented ladies & gents over at a beautiful mess have done it again! [seriously, is there anything they can't do?!] they recently released the party party app. i'll admit that i had no idea what the app was about when i purchased it, but i've been a loyal ABM reader for years - so i trusted that it was just as awesome as their other app i downloaded or their photoshop actions i constantly use or their blog life e-course i'm working through. [hashtag, fangirl.]

in addition to GIFs and stop motion videos, you can also make square collages or photo booth strips. you can choose from 9 different frames, 17 filters [levi is my fav!], and you can adjust the brightness & contrast as well.

the ladies wrote a detailed blog post all about the new app HERE. there's also a q&a post HERE.

when work gets cuh-razy - i make GIFs.

swingin' in the park

my daddy is always up for photos. i have the 'penny' setting, so when that sweet voice counted 1-2-3!, he thought it was so cute. 

after we took these, he asked if it was a new app and proceeded to tell me it was cool. he's pretty awesome. :)

boomer got in on the GIF action. 

i love her, but clearly those feelings are not mutual.

and because flowers are my love language - a sunflower GIF. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 erin condren life planner.

my 2015 erin condren life planner came in the mail over the weekend and schoolgirl squeals quickly ensued. it's like christmas in july, y'all!
i have been a fan of the ECLP for a few years thanks to my darling friend, cassie. in turn, i have converted two of my favorite people as well.
[here's the review of my 2014 ECLP & the EC address book.]

close to the end of last year, instead of just writing down to-do lists and appointments, i began documenting my everyday life as well - fun happenings, goals, quotes i found on pinterest, blog posts, the little things, etc. it turned into a life journal. this method of documenting the daily occurrences of my life has quickly turned into a fun habit. 

here's my 2015 EC life planner [journal]

i've said it before, and i'll say it again - i'm a sucker for pretty packaging!

 in the past, it's taken me a week or longer to decide on a cover design. but with the new interchangeable covers, i can change at any time!
if you know me, this design fits me to a T. first off, flowers are my love language. [just look at my instagram.]
secondly, everyone who is close to me calls me amber dawn. of course, it is my name, but it still makes me smile nonetheless.

 open up to the inside cover and you'll see this prettiness.

 the weekly format is broken down into morning, day, and night with a goals & notes section on the side.
not pictured are over twenty-five lined and blank pages for note-taking, lists, etc. i use mine for quotes & ideas.
[another new feature this year is the clear ruler, pictured above.]

 each planner comes with two sheets of labeled stickers and two sheet of blank stickers. [240 total.] you can customize them as well!

back cover // double-sided 'keep it together' folder, perpetual calendar, & clear zip lock pocket.

 the planner also includes twelve gift labels. how pretty!

 the perpetual calendar is a new [and wonderful!] addition this year. in past planners, the birthdays & anniversaries section was in the front, but now it's a handy booklet, which is great if you ask me, because re-writing every birthday/anniversary was time consuming.

 inside the perpetual calendar booklet. there are also a few pages for contact info for friends and family.

 as i mentioned before, i use my planner as a journal. this is what one week looks like - lots of color & washi tape.
[not pictured are the new coil clips. you can attach invites, ticket stubs, etc. mine will be here next week!]

  the bottom section can be used for a number of things, but i use it to write one thing i'm thankful for that day.

 Jesus & coffee. always.
2013, 2014, and 2015 life planners 

i cannot recommend these planners enough. for me, they are tangible books of memories and thoughts and dreams. whether you like to be organized or write down daily happenings like i do, this is a great product.

click here to get $10 off your first purchase!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

this crazy-beautiful life.

i tried (and tried) to write new posts alllll weekend, and y'all - i got nothin'. [expect poor grammar. just kiddin' - it's an oklahoma thang.] 
when i read this post by my sweet friend, kiki, i knew i wanted to share a similar update.

but then i realized i did not have a "pretty" picture to post with the update. after i ran the daily errands at work this morning, i noticed the magnolia tree had a new bloom. i took a few [okay, that's not true. more like seventeen] pictures and then snapped a photo of myself. my honest thought when i looked at that photo was, "it's pretty, but i cannot post this on my blog. the building is in the background and i am not wearing a cute outfit."

as i walked back inside, it occurred to me: why do i spend so much time & effort crafting a perfect, pretty, picturesque online life?
i am giving off this perceived reality of having it all together, all the time. i wasn't created to curate a seemingly perfect online life - i was created to bring Him glory. my life is messy and sometimes boring and sometimes crazy and it's a lot of different adjectives, but most of all - it's a beautiful gift from my Heavenly Father. when i look at this picture now, i'm reminded how immensely loved i am by the Creator of the universe. even in my mess, He pours His grace & mercy on me every single day and shows me i am beautiful because i am His.

now that i have totally veered off topic, here's how my crazy-beautiful life has been going lately:

youth group  //  when God put these kids on my heart a year ago, i had no idea how much they would change my life. though they aren't my flesh and blood, i treat them as such. there have been nights where i couldn't fall asleep because i was in awe of the ways He was working in their lives. and there have been nights when the words didn't come as freely as the tears did. i've watched as kids give their lives to Jesus, and i've also watched as they struggle with the temptations and hardships this life brings. they've opened their lives up to me, and it's so beautiful, but so often heartbreaking because their home lives are less than ideal. i've learned there are three constant things i can provide these teens: prayer, love, and grace.

singleness  //  yep. still single. this topic gives me so many conflicting emotions. most days, i'm okay with it. and other days, not so much. i can't open instagram without a picture of a left hand adorned with a sparkly ring or a cute pregnancy announcement greeting my eyes. yep, sometimes IT SUCKS. but marriage is not something i take lightly. i have shifted my thinking from waiting on a husband to the notion that if i can better serve God with a boyfriend right now, i'd have one. if He wanted me to be married, i'd have a ring on my finger. in the meantime, i want to live my life; i don't want to waste my energy on things i have no control over. being single is not a disease; it does not define me. i will not let society manipulate me into thinking i have to be at a certain cultural level by a specific time in my life. this is exactly where i am supposed to be. if marriage is in God's plan for me, then so be it. if not, it is well with my soul.

blogging & photography  //  i've had more ideas for the blog in the last thirty minutes than i have in the last thirty days. this part of my blogging journey feels a lot like it did when i first started out in photography. i was frustrated because i wanted my work to look like the work of photographers i admired and aspired to be like, but then there came a point where i had to form my own identity as a photographer. i didn't want to be a second-rate version of someone else, so i researched and practiced every chance i got. these days, when i actually use my camera, there is a kind of freedom on my fingertips. i do not get that feeling with blogging, but it's a process. and there's beauty in that.

community  //  i love my church family, but it's comprised of three groups: youth, adults, and the much older adults. [that's a nice way to put it, right?] i feel like i am missing out sometimes. don't get me wrong - i lovelovelove the wisdom and encouragement from the older generations. it's been vital over the course of the last year. but i am craving a good bible study. and coffee shop talks. and conversations that last until the lightening bugs come out to play. but then i remember that my soul sistah will be here in a few weeks, and i thank God for her friendship and the ladies i've met through blogging. for people who don't blog - the thought of a blog community might sound odd. but for me - it's one of the best communities out there. i'm constantly inspired and challenged by these women. i hope our paths cross this side of heaven some day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

weekend photo diary.

 though you can't see all of it, i'm wearing the prettiest kimono.


 i've wore this new tee from target (men's section!) more times than i should have over the weekend.

 that oklahoma sky.

 the track finally re-opened! mama and i grabbed our shoes & ipods and walked until we couldn't move.

and then mama wanted to go swing in the park (like last time). it was a wonderful saturday evening.

Friday, July 18, 2014

the circle: what's in my bag?

today i am linking up with the circle for this month's theme: what's in my bag? 

 on the left is my bag and on the right is my purse. this sounds strange, but i put my purse in my bag when i'm going to and from work/church. i take it out when i run errands or go shopping. now that you ladies know how weird i am, let's talk about what's on the inside!

 these are the items i carry in my bag:
-blog binder & blog ideas journal - for all my ideas and thoughts for this blog. [i'll be posting about these soon!]
-EC life planner - where my to-do lists and plans are scheduled. 
- pens & washi tape - to write (duh) and make it all pretty.

these are the items i carry in my purse:
keys - yes, that's an OU key. hollllla.
hand sanitizer - cause ya girl is a germaphobe.
wallet - from target.
gum - orbit's sweet mint is my all time favorite. 
baby lips - yep, i kinda like them. (not pictured: every other color/flavor available.)
bobby pins - i am growing my bangs out and these are necessary for that process.
excedrin migraine - i make sure i always have this because it's the only thing that helps.
sunglasses - the bright purple is great for summertime.
not pictured is my iphone, but i had to use it to take these pictures.

Monday, July 14, 2014

weekend photo diary.

 pretty little flowers on the deck.

 gelato, aka: bliss  //  the color on my nails is my new favorite!

 great movie! it gave me the feelings
if you haven't watched this movie - please drop everything right now [unless you're holding a baby] and make it happen!

after i hit publish on last night's post, inspiration hit me! i spent over an hour writing down ideas. it was energizing!

my favorite summer drink is sweet tea with a few splashes of lemonade.

the SRT: sermon on the mount study is rockin' my world in the best possible way.

more pretty little flowers.

i've said this before, but starbucks' blackberry mojito tea lemonade is the bomb dot com. 
[not pictured is another one because that's how i roll. and i had a free drink coupon.]

Sunday, July 13, 2014

balancing the mess.

i've sat down to write a blog post for days now, but end up deleting what i write thirty minutes later. it's not that i'm un-inspired or lacking ideas, i just cannot form my thoughts into words. i don't consider myself a writer - photos are my thang. but i remember a time in my life when i could express myself with words, and i want to get back to that place - to find a happy medium between photos and writing.

my feelings toward blogging are weird sometimes. i've been scouring the internet (aka: pinterest) for fresh blog topics, but the only thing i seem to come across are articles on how to grow a blog or how to have a successful blog. and that's where i feel torn. when i first started blogging three years ago, it was fun. i had my very own space to create and share bits + pieces of my life. but then i saw "big" blogs; blogs with thousands of readers. blogs that paid the bills. while i don't hate my day job, making a living by blogging sounds so flippin' awesome! so i got to a point where i was writing posts for other people instead of myself. it became about the number of followers and pageviews. then it wasn't so fun.

if i say i only blog for myself, then i disregard the community that the blogging world offers and the friendships i've made. i want to share the ups & downs of my life while documenting the memories i make as well. i don't want to portray a life that i don't live. life is messy and crazy and beautiful. this is where i'm trying to find the balance. what gets your creative juices flowing? i like the old fashioned way and by that i mean non-internet related inspiration: taking a walk, making lists, photographing nature, and so on. i have a few ideas. do y'all like the 'coffee date' type of posts. i guess i should ask if you'd participate in them?

i'm thinking a new blog design might help. i've been toying with the idea of starting all over, but good grief, i've already done that once! i mean, this little blog isn't even a year old yet! [the inner workings of my mind are a jumbled mess, i tell ya.] whatever direction i take with this space, i want to say thank you to those who continue to read and comment and encourage me. you are why i love this community. and if you're still reading this post, go buy yourself a cupcake. [or two.]

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

my 2014 in polaroids // part three.

week nineteen: rainy day  //  week twenty: coffee  //  week twenty-one: memorial day

week twenty-two: summertime flowers  //  week twenty-three: psalm 23  //  week twenty-four: falls creek tabernacle

week twenty-five: rose of sharon  //  week twenty-six: transformers  //  week twenty-seven: freedom & fireworks  

Monday, July 7, 2014

weekend photo diary.

there's something about driving down a country road with the windows down and george strait blaring through the speakers.

 what a great weekend of celebrating freedom in the U S A.

 watchin' mike keahbone deliver the Truth.

  front porch sittin'.

 journaling in my EC planner.

dinner with one of my favorite people.

pretty flowers.