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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I think this is a record: two blog posts in one day (check out my earlier post here if you missed it.) But I just can't miss out on my favorite link-up, The Girl Behind the Blog! Make a vlog and link up, I highly encourage it :) Such a fun way to meet wonderful bloggers.

5ohwifey


Here it is - sharing the 3 things I can't get through the day without.

And here I am - in all my hair-flipping glory. I didn't realize how much I flip my hair until I watched this video. Seriously, I'd take home gold if hair flipping and poofing was an Olympic sport. 



Love!

XO

Erin
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Hi sweet friends! 

Dropping in to share my sponsorship options for November with you all. I would LOVE to partner with you and help you in any way I can!



I have some exciting things in store for this little space in November, so stay tuned and I'd love to have you join me. November is also my birthday month and so I'm hosting a huge giveaway at the end of November to celebrate! (Email me if you're interested in participating!) 

My heart is to build a community here and to foster friendships, connections and relationships with and among you, my readers. Check out the info below if you're interested!

I'll be back tonight with my (late) Girl Behind The Blog Vlog :)


Love to you all today.



In Him,

Erin



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Sunday, October 28, 2012

As I sit by a warm fire cupping a hot mug of caramel vanilla tea in my hands, I am thankful. Thankful for so many things - little and big. And thankful for you. For this space, this blogging community - for a "net" to catch us when we are honest and hurting, as I was a few nights ago.

I realized afresh how many sweet, kind hearted and beautiful people are out there. Through all the darkness and pain in this world, there is so much light, so many people being Jesus to those around them. I am learning that we are all different. But in so many ways, we are all very much the same. And I love this "net", this sisterhood here on the Internet. Who would've thought we'd find each other, huh? 

So friends, thank you. For your sweet words, precious emails, loving prayers. I love you all. And I love the community we are all building through our little blogs.

I pray your weekend was beautiful, even in small ways. And I just wanted to pop in and share a few of my favorite things - about Fall :)

I love Fall, don't you? 


I love...Pumpkin Spice Coffee. (It's the best. Ever. Find it at Trader Joe's)


I love... chambray shirts and big, loose curls.


I love... weekends full of family, football, and a fire in the fireplace. 


I love... promises of God that we can rest and lean on when we just can't stand on our own.


Also... a few weeks ago, I was asked to write a post for Speak Now, an amazing organization that empowers young women. If you'd like to read my article and explore the beautiful website, visit this link.  
    



Love to you this week. 
I have some fun things in store this week, can't wait.

Keep your head held high,
we are not alone.

Stay strong,

XO

Erin



linking up here & here today
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Friends. I had planned to share my Chicago travel pictures with you this evening, but something else surfaces on my heart and so, I write.

I could have shared my Chicago photo diary or even a post full of Friday favorites... 
I almost did.

But then I decided to share my heart. My real, raw heart. Because I always want to be honest and real on this little space.


Tonight my heart hurts. It's nothing dramatic or serious, I promise. But just those pangs that come, unexpectedly but surely, in every human relationship. Relationships are messy. We get hurt. We hurt each other. And it's painful. 

You know that feeling? Hurt and pain, and also disappointment. "They let me down," we muse. I caught myself thinking that this week, today. But that is the problem. We simply cannot be the perfect friend. The perfect sister, daughter, mother, wife. And we cannot expect others to be perfect, either. We hurt each other. Relationships are messy. In my disappointed heart I remembered wise words I once heard, 

"People are gonna hurt you and let you down.
Your family, your friends - they are wonderful.
But they will hurt you, from time to time.
God is the only one who will never let you down."

Oh why do I put my hope in people? People instead of Him.

People are broken. I am broken. And we hurt. Sometimes we hurt bad. And that's real, it's raw, it's life. We get hurt... and we also hurt back, sometimes without even knowing it.

Only He can take my brokenness and make me whole. Only He can fill my empty, hurting heart. Only He can fill the void. Only He can heal the wound, mend the cuts. 

I don't really know if this all resonates with anyone but me. Perhaps it's just my full heart just spilling over here onto this page. 

All of that to say I want to remind myself, and you who understand the hurt... 

That there is someone who will never hurt us.

The only One who will never, ever let you down.

The only One will never make you cry.

Or misunderstand you.

Will never be insensitive, or cutting.

Will never dismiss you or turn away from you.

Will never walk away from you, never ignore you, never cheat on you.

Who will never, ever belittle you or make you feel small or worthless.


Oh my precious reader, and my own soul - take the pain to Jesus. 
Take the disappointment to Him. The loss. The bitterness. The anger. Take it to Him.

And hold fast to this truth. The one that came to the surface of my mind as I hurt today: 


Rest under His feathers, hide under the shadow of His wings. 

He will keep you safe.

And He will always, forever love you. 

Don't forget it.

I remind myself, tonight.



Love.

Me
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

     This morning during my devotions, a certain verse was part of my daily reading. It's a verse I claimed as my favorite at the age of 12 when I first started really studying and reading the Bible on my own. The truth of it's simple words has become so familiar to me over the years, but as I read the commentary of the verse today I was reminded afresh of the beauty of it's call to young people. 



I remember how I typed up 1 Timothy 4:12 on a 1996 version Word document in Comic Sans, printed it out and taped it to my bedroom wall. It became my favorite verse and one I often prayed about, one that grew close to my heart.



photo credit // TMinspired Photography 


This morning I was inspired to embrace this call anew. My prayer is that you and I gain strength as we choose to shine for Him.

May we look to Jesus to receive His grace in our lives, so that we can be examples of Him - in our words, life, love, faith, and purity.

It's a big call. But we can do it in HIS strength.



Love.

Erin


photo credit: TMinspired Photography 
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

**Okay, so before you start reading - go pour yourself a tall cuppa coffee or hot chocolate.... this is a long one. I learned so very much at Influence Conference and my prayer and hope is that you, my friends, can also glean a few gems of wisdom from my experience.**
        A year ago, as I prayed about starting this blog - as I scribbled down name ideas and possible topics on a sheet of ripped paper, I had no idea how significant blogging would soon become in my life. And at the start of 2012, when I slowly began connecting with real women through blogs who shared many of my heart's convictions, I could not imagine how special they would become to me. I simply ran with the "kite tail" the Lord gave me, and began chasing a crazy dream - a dream that writing and sharing my heart on the Internet would mean something. Would maybe touch somebody. I obeyed God's pressing on my heart early this year and I poured out my story and heart and life on this little space. Little did I know the fruit that would come of that step of faith. Oh, no - not because of how great I am, not because of my writing or photography skills, not because of my fashion sense or great theological insight. No, not because of me at all. Jesus has taken my face in His hands and has healed, restored, and loved on me through blogging. Through being honest and real. But mostly, through your stories. Through the other blogs I have found and read and resonated with. Through e-mails I've received. Through realizing, "I'm not the only one who feels this way" or "I'm not the only one who struggles with this..." or "I'm not the only one who has this dream." And oh, has it be healing. I never expected to attend The Influence Conference. Where I've been this year in my life, there was no way I could financially work it out. But thanks to God opening a door through some of His generous and obedient daughters, I was able to go. And it was really, really special. 
Influence Conference was a gift. Meeting the women behind amazing blogs was nothing short of significant. Spending time chatting over coffee with women I love and admire, sitting face to face with ladies I've connected with over the Internet, sharing a meal with unexpected kindred spirits.... it was beautiful. And a true blessing.

 I am still processing all I learned, saw, experienced, and felt at the conference. But I would like to share some gems I took away from my time in Indianapolis. 

one // Blogging friends can truly become real friends.


I realized, afresh, how special this little world we call blogging is. How amazing it is that through a space on this thing called "the Internet" we can connect with like-minded people we would have never otherwise had the chance to meet. From the moment I landed in Chicago all through Influence Conference, I was blown away by how God's hand was on the weekend. On the friendships forming. And how He planned it all out so perfectly in ways we could not have imagined! I've gotta tell you, hugging a sister in Christ whose face you've seen only on a computer screen and whose heart you've known only through emails, Skype chat, and blog posts - it's one of the most special experiences! Months ago, when I first dove head-first into blogging, I got some criticism about this blog world. People who didn't understand why anyone would desire to take the time to write posts when information overload surrounds us in this culture. Why anyone would desire to take time away from their "real friends" to connect with people through a computer screen. Well, I realized afresh how beautiful blogging is as I experienced Influence - time and time again I heard women reiterate, "This is real life!" How joyful it was to see how using a platform on the Internet for good can be such a ministry, such a positive element of life. Blog friends can be real friends. And these posts, connections, comments and emails? That's as real as it gets. Last weekend seared that in my heart and I won't soon forget it. 


1) Draggin' my (exactly 50 pound!) suitcase through the airport.
2) Boarding pass. This California girl's first trip to the Midwest.
    3) Flying from LA to Chicago = over 2,000 miles.

4)Meeting Annie for the first time!!  via: all glorious within
5) Chicago. I fell in love with that city.
6) We got on the road and took a mini-road trip to Indiana. (Beautiful farmland & skies)


7) Together at last! Meeting and spending time with these ladies was such a blessing.
8) Thoughtful gifts from my roomies
9) The Stripes Party! Hosted by the awesome Ad service, Adproval
10) Meeting & rooming with Margaret was lovely! I adore her!



two //  I didn't realize how close to the surface my emotions would be all through the conference.

From the moment I stepped into the beautiful hotel, my heart was full. And honestly, going into the conference, I didn't realize how emotionally stirring it would be. From being warmly welcomed by the community leaders to running into ladies I recognized who embraced me with open arms. The sessions proved to be incredibly informative and helpful. The speakers were all wise in their own unique ways, and I came home with a full Moleskin book of notes. Yet, it went deeper than just learning facts or tips from experts. It was life. And it was moving. I am a very emotional person, I always have been. That's how God made me. But I found my emotions were more raw than usual during Influence. I found myself wiping away tears in more than one session, in more than one meaningful conversation, at more than one dinner date with friends. It was good and needed, but unexpected. And in all honesty, among all the good and beautiful - it was also overwhelming. And exhausting. Meeting new people, the weariness that comes from relating and traveling and shifting time zones and weather climates. It was real life, which is painful and messy and beautiful. And so be prepared, you 2013 conference-goers. :) Be prepared that you might feel a bit more tender and emotional than usual. If the Lord opens the door for me to attend next year, I am most definitely bringing Kleenex!
Stripes Party!
photos on right: via from awkward to art 
photo below: via momma's me time 

three // "Your mess can be your ministry." - Casey Wiegand. 

Casey Wiegand is one of my favorite bloggers, ever. And so I was especially excited to meet and hear from her. And her session and presence at the conference proved to be such a joy to us all. I was struck by her humble, unassuming attitude. She is such an example to me in how she handles her blog, her faith, her family, and purpose. I learned so much from her. As she stood at the front of a packed room, fighting back tears, she told us - "Your mess can be your ministry." BAM. Straight to my heart.... tears in my eyes. I was empowered and encouraged to take the broken pieces of my life and story and my plan that has gone all wrong, and to let God make something beautiful out of brokenness. 

Casey sharing with us

Chelsea // Lisa // L //  Kerrie // Casey

with Annie, Emily, & Margaret 

four // Learn when to say a "brave yes" or a "strong no." -Emily Freeman

It was lovely meeting and hearing from author Emily Freeman (writer of "Grace For The Good Girl") She shared many jewels of wisdom throughout the conference. But this simple sentence hit me hard:

"Learn when to say a brave yes and when to say a strong no." 

Truth right there.

five // There is healing in coming together as sisters in Christ.

The last night of the conference ended with an extended time of worship. The lights low, some women raising hands high, some bowing down quietly. As I stood in a big room among that group of precious souls, the first chords of a guitar played softly and sweet voices began to join together in harmony and sing out boldly - my tears began to fall. Slowly, softly. Song after song, truth upon truth. And when the lyrics of my beloved life-anthem rang out, "In Christ alone, my hope is found..." it started. The ugly cry, as Haley later called it (thankfully I wasn't the only one ;) I cried all my mascara off. I cried and cried and cried. And in the tears, in the hugs of friends, in the raising of hands and the bowing of our heads... there was healing. 

Honestly, healing is something I didn't expect to happen at Influence. I expected networking and relationship building, learning and growing, laughing and eating. But healing came unexpectedly... like a soft rain: through the sessions, heart to heart conversations, smiles, hugs. I am sure I'm not the only one who felt this way... It really was precious. Because, God knew just what we needed. And how sweet is that?

11) Ashley - such a sweet & precious friend, I adore her!
12) Amanda - a Godly woman!
13) Amanda - this girl has an amazing heart and story.
14) Alli - she is so kind, fun, wise, and amazing.


six // Growing can look alot like being lost. And that's okay. - Anne Bogel. 

The lovely Anne Bogel spoke to us about navigating life through our 20's and 30's. And how messy this season can be. I was incredibly encouraged by her wisdom. She reminded us that our lives will look different than people who are not following Jesus, and that "the plan" we may have for our life may not be God's. She encouraged us women to get to know ourselves, to find wise and older mentors, and to deal with baggage honestly. I love a few words she shared: 


"Without the negative, it's not a good story."

"Nothing connects you more to God than hard times." 

"Women in their 20's see things in black and white, 
and women in their 30's understand the gray."


seven // Be intentional with blogging.

Influencing people in big and positive ways on the Internet doesn't happen by accident. It takes work, planning, preparation and lots of time. I realized this afresh as I took nuggets of wisdom from each speaker and woman I interacted with -  being purposeful with our blogs and our influence was emphasized all weekend. As many of you, my dear readers, are bloggers - here are a few gems I heard and scribbled in my notebook:


--> Be intentional all day long. Use white boards, calendars, to-do lists. 
--> Be careful with what you write on your blog. It is permanent and effects other people.
--> Readers love to read real stories. Share honestly but have boundaries in place to protect yourself and your loved ones.
--> 1 out of 5 people in the world will log onto a social media site every month... social media is becoming a huge part of our world and culture. Use it wisely.
--> Measure everything and have a plan.
--> Set goals! 

                 coffee dates with sweet friends                    cups of tea & notes in wonderful sessions

Seeing this girl again was one of the highlights of the trip - 
we met online 8 years ago (long story there!) 
and met for the first time 3 years ago.
It was wonderful to be reunited again!

***

Such a rich time and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend.
What a special memory and a highlight of this year, for sure.
I pray there were a few gems you can walk away with from what I've shared
and 
I hope that those who were not able to attend this year can go next year!

Something that resonates still in my heart from the conference was spoken by
John Saddington - who shared his amazing wisdom on entrepreneurship. 

He said, 

"You are an entrepreneur - start acting like it! 

Don't throw it away." 

These words stuck with me. 
Not just for starting a brand, business, or blog.
But in life.

I encourage you - 
what are the areas of life where you have influence? 
In your family? Job? Blog? Church? Community? 
Whether you have thousands of readers or ten readers, 
how can you share your heart and story in a way that influences other positively? 
And touches the world with the Gospel?

Think about it with me.
And let's not throw away our influence.
May we embrace boldness and step out - no more excuses!
What are you afraid to do and keep putting off? 

Make a list. Set goals. Start today.

I have many more fun photos and stories to share with you 
from the following days after the conference as I explored 
Chicago and took a roadtrip up to Michigan with sweet friends.
And I will share that in a few upcoming posts! 


Love,
 to you and you and you.

XO

Erin
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Monday, October 22, 2012


Sharing sponsors with you, my dear readers, is something special to me. To me, it's not simply sharing bloggers who choose to advertise here on my little space on the Internet.... it's more than that. The ladies who run the shops and blogs that I share with you are women who inspire me. Who use their online platforms to do good and set a positive example for others. I truly love sharing my sweet sponsors with you because each and every sponsor is a person who has truly, honestly touched my heart and life with their story, their encouragements, even simply their photos or words. 

And so, the amazing girl I am sharing with you today is someone special to me. Her blog is unique and beautiful, and I am loving getting to know her through her blog. She is someone I would love to sit down and meet for coffee (I hope we get to do that in person some day!) As she shared in the following interview, her blog is joyful. Her posts always uplift my heart and make me smile. So, my friends - this is why I'm excited to share her with you today. 

Friends, meet Morgan - writer at Quite the Blog


My sister & I - this is how we walk down the street, all the time 

1 // Tell us all about your encouraging blog and why you chose the name??

Quite the Blog is far from being the first blog I ever started, as I've been a blogger on and off since high school. However, for the first time, I began to hone in on the fact that the internet is quite a powerful machine that I should be using more for connecting with the world.

And so I did. I decided I would sit down and take the time and connect with the world.

I had no idea what to call it at first, so I tried about fifty random options on a domain name site, but everything I liked taken. The world "quite," which means absolutely; completely, suddenly just popped into my head. I didn't know why, but it just seemed to fit. And when I discovered that "quitetheblog.com" was an available domain name, I was delighted.

As a naturally introverted person, I decided that I needed to step out of my habitual bookworm mode and talk about more light-hearted, happy things.
From my first post, I decided that Quite the Blog would be a place that was just absolutely, completely about things that brought me joy. Foremost, my belief in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior brings me the most joy. Secondly, my husband, and my family, and then, all of the other random things I talk about on the blog: clothes, coffee, music, travel, books, clothes, coffee…

Overall, Quite the Blog is quite simply a place that I hope is joyful. And not just for me, but for anyone else that happens to stumble across what God has been doing in my life!
My husband & I in Eastern Europe

2 // What is the Lord teaching you right now?

Patience! I'm a part of a women's Bible study in Atlanta called "Worth" and we've been studying all of the women in the Bible, and during this study I've been reminded of how many of us women (even back then) try to jump the gun on God instead of just waiting on what He has planned for us. In the Bible study, we've been looking at how important it is to wait on the Lord, but how often we just…well, don't want to. It's funny, because I get rather impatient as I try to learn to be more patient, so I guess God is still working with me in this area!

Psalm 130:5 has been on my heart lately:
"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope." (NIV)
my sister & I ministering during her CD release party

3 // If your life was made into a movie,
 which actress would you choose to portray you and why?

Zoe Saldana! Hands down. Why? Because she's pretty much an improved version of me! I kid, I kid. But really, I love the passion in her acting, and from what I've seen in her interviews and such, she just seems like a wonderful person in addition to being an exceptionally talented actress.
 My crazy family getting crazy on New Year's Eve
My sister and I way-back-when in all those ruffles

4 // If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only have 3 items, what would you bring??

I'd bring a bow and arrow (yea, I pretty much taught Katniss everything she knows), a solar-powered flashlight (I do not do well with darkness. I still sleep with a nightlight), and last, but most certainly not least, a motorized boat equipped with CB Radio PA capability and GPS navigation (is that even allowed in this scenario? I hope so!).

5 // What is your favorite thing about blogging? 
What is one tip you can share to help other bloggers? 

Favorite thing about blogging?
Being able to stalk random people's lives.

I'm joking! Okay, only half joking.

But seriously, I'm the kind of girl who will sit in a coffee shop and make up stories in my head of random strangers sitting around me. I do this because I am truly fascinated with the peoples' stories. Like one of my favorite lines in the book series "Matched" by Ally Condie (a book like Hunger Games in the way that I'm probably too old to be reading it), I often just "wonder." And for me, blogging is an outlet for me to wonder…and wonder…and wonder, until I realize it's 2 a.m, my husband is sleep beside me, and I've been clicking and clicking for hours!

I suppose what I am trying to say is, my favorite thing about blogging is getting to read and connect with the stories of people from all around the world. They are stories that I would have never ever been able to engage in had it not been for the internet. I really do enjoy that. Blogging takes just simply "wondering" about the stories of other people that I don't know and turns into a readable reality.

…and I mean that in the least creepy-sounding way possible.

In terms of a tip for other bloggers out there, I could sum up any advice I may have to: just connect, connect, connect!

On my past blogs, I just sort of wrote blog posts and hoped that people would somehow see them. I might put it on Facebook and tell some relatives about it, but that was it.

Now, I realize more than ever that blogging is less like a broadcast to the world about what I have to say, but more like my small piece in a never ending conversation between me and rest of the world.

So get out there and meet other bloggers! Don't worry about views, comment counts, or followers…just connect with people who you find interesting and have things in common with and make some friends! Just be diligent in this and the rest will come in due season!

Which reminds me of my life verse, Galatians 6:9:
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (NKJV)
Patrick and I on our 1 year anniversary 

***

Isn't she great?
I'm thankful for this community 
and the
amazing friends we can meet through our blogs...
people we would have never met otherwise.
Amazing!

Love.

XO

Erin
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

darling friend,

where is your heart....  today?

is it heavy?

is it weary?

are you tired?

are you worried?

full of anxiety? 

afraid?

in pain?

on the breaking point?

happy but tired?

fearful?

honestly, i began to sink into fear this morning. fear over an unknown future. fear of what God has planned...plans that don't "fit" my plans. fear over so many little things. and then i was reminded of this.....this truth.

know this. know this truth and hold fast to it today - you'll get through whatever it is, my friend... whatever it is you fear. if you hold to Him. 


all my love and prayers.

(and i promise to be back very soon with all the stories and photos from my travels. 
just want to make sure they're edited all cute for you ;) 


XO

Erin


_____

also - 
one of my sponsors, Jackie from  Lilla Rose  is having an amazing autumn sale this weekend! i just had to share - they have beautiful, unique products. go check it out!

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Friday, October 19, 2012



Friends! 
I have someone special for you to meet today - she is one of my sidebar sponsors and she is someone you will definitley want to meet and get to know. Her lovely blog is called The Lemonade Diaries. She is cute, sweet, and (most importantly) encouraging. Go real quick and follow her blog - you'll love it: 

Isn't her blog great? 

She also has a fabulous shop, check it out here

I took some time to get to know her a little better through asking some questions. Friends, meet Monique! 


1 // Tell us all about your beautiful blog and why you chose the name. My blog is about my crazy, chaotic, fun everyday life as a wife and momma. Although I absolutely love lemonade, especially strawberry lemonade, my blog name has nothing to do with it. In the past, when life threw me "lemons", I normally did not handle it very well. I would get upset, pout, and ask God "why?!" But when I became a momma at 21, I realized I had to grow up and be an example to my little boy. I couldn't get all upset just because things did not go my way. Instead, I am learning to embrace the "lemons" and all the crazy that comes with. I'm not perfect, sometimes I still ask "why", but more often than not, I find myself asking "God what are you trying to teach me?" And so, I am "drinking up the lemons of life, one sip at a time." 

2 // What is the Lord teaching you right now? Oh, so many things. Everyday He shows me something new. But right now, specifically He is teaching me how to be the best wife and momma I can be. And in order to do that, I have to make sure I am spending quality time with God every day. Not only that, but I need to make sure I'm spending time with Him and my kids. Teaching them scriptures and being an example of a godly wife is exactly what God has called me to do.

3 // If your life was made into a movie, which actress would you choose to portray you and why? I would have to say Reese Witherspoon. I absolutely love her! She is very down to earth and sweet. And because of this, I think she would be the best to portray me in a movie.

4 // If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have 3 items, what would you bring? 

1. My nook because I have to have my Bible and books.

2. Coffee because I absolutely cannot live without coffee.

3. My ipod because I cannot live without music.

4 // What is your favorite thing about blogging? What is one tip you can share to help other bloggers? Community is my absolute favorite thing about blogging. I love that I can connect someone across the country just simply because of a single blog post. I love that I have become friends with some amazing women all because of blogging - I would have never met them any other way. If I could share one tip about blogging I would have to say "be yourself." It is so important to be yourself and share your heart. 


Follow Monique

twitter: http://twitter.com/lemonadediaries
pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lemonadediaries/
instagram:  http://followgram.me/monique_thelemonadediaries
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lemonade-Diaries/166746100096529

See you tomorrow when I share all my Influence thoughts and photos!

XO

Erin
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