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Friday, November 30, 2012

What is art? I think sometimes we have these grand ideas of what art is. Most days, I wish I had time to sit at my desk and create lovely scrapbooks, dabble in watercolor painting, and mod podge vintage postcards onto blank canvases. But life gets busy, doesn't it? Things move so fast. Work calls to us, leaving us exhausted at the end of the day and too weary to create. Family life can be demanding, and you mamas out there constantly give and give, finding little time for extra hobbies. You young gals may be swamped with homework this weekend, books stacked up on your desk and a 2-page long list of "to-do's" and deadlines looming before you. Wherever you find yourself, I think most of you can relate with my feelings on this... not enough time, energy, or really - just inspiration - to do special little projects and express ourselves creatively. And while taking "me time" to care for our hearts and souls is important (including time to explore our creativity) I am learning, as I get older, that art is not simply paint and canvas. 

Life is art.
flower created by my sweet friend 

I first shared this idea last spring (view post here) , and the idea has been on my heart again lately. 

Although it's nice, we don't need hours of free time and endless art supplies to explore our creativity and to make things of beauty. Life can be art. Life is a gift, and how beautiful it is. It's all in our perspective... choosing to see life as an opportunity - and choosing to live artfully. This week, I've chosen to see life as art. 

The simple, little things in your every day life add up to make the big things. 

They can be your art. And this everyday art? It can make your days ever so beautiful.

Art is a new, unique manicure... like wearing a love letter on your hands. 
It's the way you display your jewelry and decorate a little shelf.
And the way you pick out your Christmas tree. 
Art can simply be the way you fold your towels.
Or the way you love spending the day with your mama. 
Art is in the way you stand in your closet and choose what to wear on an ordinary day.
And the morning ritual of spooning richly fragrant coffee grounds into a filter. 
It is the way you sit and read, write, think, & sip Holiday Tea at a bookstore on a rainy day.
And art can simply be hanging a string of old fashioned Christmas bulbs along your vanity mirror. It's the perfect lighting for makeup, after all. (Ignore my dirty mirror. I am.) 

The other day, I read these words by the great artist, Van Gogh. 


Embrace your art. Even if it is just simply giving someone you love a hug.
Life is beautiful.
Live your art.

Love you all!!
You are loved and you are special. 
Remember that :)

XO

Erin

PS -
Don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't! 
Ending in a few days!
GIVEAWAY
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Happy Friday, loves! 
Just dropping in to share a friend of mine with you - she has a beautiful heart & blog. I love this community we are building here in the blog world, & she is definitely someone you will want to get to know. Read her heart below, and then go say hi! 
1 // Tell us all about your sweet blog and why you chose the name?? Hello readers of Sweetness Itself! My name is Janna from Who Am I? I came up with my blog name because a month ago, I came to the sudden realization that I didn't know who I was anymore. You see, I'm not your typical 24 year old. By the time I was 18 years old, I was already married By 19, I had a newborn son and my husband of one year was deployed overseas. Thankfully, he came back to me, safe and sound. I enrolled in college and after attending for 2 years, I found out I was pregnant again...and that my husband would be deploying...again. Another year passed, he again returned home safe and sound. As a third deployment looms in the near future, I started to question who I was. Was I an Army wife? A mother to 2 smart and funny kiddos? Or was I a college student? A United States veteran, maybe? A daughter, sister, or friend? Or maybe I was an unpublished romance writer? A blogger? As I sat contemplating who exactly I was and feeling lost, I decided to start over. I deleted my old blog and started writing from the heart without holding anything back on Who Am I? I write about Jesus, marriage, family life, what I'm learning in college, and what makes me laugh. All while remaining steady on the balance beam that is life. I may be lost but I know I'll be found--sooner or later :) 
2 // What is the Lord teaching you right now? Oh, this is a good question. Right now, the Lord is teaching me how to trust in Him completely. I have always believed in Jesus but, when it came to trusting Him with my wants, needs, problems, or really anything, I always held back. Simply, I was afraid. Afraid that if I trusted Him, He would let me down like others have in the past. However, all of that has changed. I started reading Lynn Cowell's His Revolutionary Love a few weeks ago. Slowly, I began to trust Jesus. I told Him everything and for the first time ever, I felt whole. I felt like I wasn't alone. My heart and soul have now begun to heal from past hurts...all because I finally trusted in Him.
  proverbs3.png

3 // If your life was made into a movie, which actress would you choose to portray you and why? If my life was made into a movie, that would be pretty interesting! Out of all of the talented actresses in this world, I would have to have Emma Stone portray me. She's quirky, funny, intelligent, down to earth, sassy, and driven. Plus, I love her voice. 

4 // If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only have 3 items, what would you bring?? Well, hopefully my kids and husband would not be stranded with me because that would be rough. If it was just me, I would bring a wind mill, a solar power panel, and my smartphone. Combined, I could still complete my classes, stay in touch with loved ones, and listen to my music.  

5 // What is your favorite thing about blogging? What is one tip you can share to help other bloggers? My favorite thing about blogging, is getting the chance to meet so many amazing and inspiring people. I'm a shy girl by nature but in the blogosphere, I have a voice which allows me to connect more easily than I would in real life (I stammer when I get nervous and I easily get tongue-tied). One tip I would love to share to help other bloggers, is this: write for yourself. Don't write for anyone else. If you're writing "fluff" posts just to fill in space, take a step back and remember why you started blogging in the first place.  

P.S. You can find me on Pinterest! 
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

  It's almost December, friends! 

And you know what that means - it is time to whip out the Christmas music, pull out the garland, start baking Christmas cookies, and most importantly - celebrate our Savior's birth! 
It's also time to announce a special ad sale I have starting TODAY! 



I just love Christmastime. And because I love it so much, I am offering a special holiday SALE on ad space this month. Yay! I believe that as our blogs change and grow, we should grow with them - changing what does not work, embellishing what does. And as my blog has developed in new ways these past few months, I've made a few little exciting changes to my sponsorships to best benefit my readers and sponsors. I am offering 25% OFF my top two spots!! So see below!

When I began this little blog and ministry just over a year ago, and when I wrote the first post,  "Firsts"I had no idea the sweet and amazing community of people I would have the privilege of connecting with through it and the things God would accomplish. I am so grateful and humbled to be a part of it. Thank you so much for interest in sponsoring Sweetness Itself blog! I want to connect you and introduce you to my other awesome readers and followers! 


--->You can start TODAY! Or anytime you're ready.
---> Ads run for 30 days.
---> Don't have a button? No worries! I'll make one for you for $5.

Updated Stats:

As of 11/28/12—

Pageviews last month: 16,600+
Google Friend Connect Followers: 910+
Twitter: 1,015+
Instagram: 1,160+
Pinterest: 670+
Hello Cotton: 153+ {featured on Lifestyle blogs of the day in June 2012}
Facebook: 235+ {posts are also shared with 950+ personal Facebook friends}
Bloglovin' - #15 of 248 in Christian blog category


For my top two sponsor spots, I am offering 25% OFF purchase of ad space! 

For the "Sweetest" spot, use promo code: "SWEETHOLIDAY" at checkout.
And for the "Sweetness" spot, use promo code: "HOLIDAYSWEETNESS" at checkout.



Details: 

Sweetest... 



---> The sweetest one of all! 

---> Extra Large Size! // 250x350 

---> Special FEATURE solo post 

---> Giveaway option!

---> Social Media shoutouts!

---> Have something special on your blog/shop this   
              month? We'll talk about fun ways I can
              support you (example: product reviews,                         giveaways, etc)




Sweetness...
           
           ---> Sweetness itself! (I had to. ;)  
           ---> Large size! 250x250
           ---> Special group feature (photo of your choice  and a fun question!) 
            ---> Giveaway option!
            ---> Social media shout-outs!        
              
             
Ad will run for 30 days.
5 available, 5 shown at a time.



Sweeter...

         ---> Very sweet deal! 
         ---> Medium size // 250x200 
         ---> Group giveaway option. One social media
                       shout-out!
         
Ad runs for 30 days. 8 available, 5 shown at a time.



Sweet... 

         ---> Who can resist somethin' this sweet? 
         ---> Small size // 250x150 

Ad runs for 30 days. 8 available, 4 shown at a time.





Just a spoonful of sugar...

        ---> Sugar for the price of a Starbucks LATTE!
        ---> Smaller size // 250x150 
        --->  Runs for 30 days. 
   

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hi sweet friends!
Hope your week is fabulous so far :) Kinda hard to get back into the routine after the fabulous turkey-coma - family weekend, huh? But I have a bright spot for your week - it's time again for The Girl Behind the Blog link-up. And this month is extra fun as we are sharing embarrassing moments or stories! You have to join in. It's such a fun way to make a vlog and get to know new bloggy friends. Click on the link below the video to join in on the fun! 

(Okay, so little disclaimer... I may have exaggerated a little bit about the size of the animal I describe in the video. It seemed like it was that big ;) And Ashley & Julie, sorry for going waay over time.)



5ohwifey

Love you all! 


XO

Erin

PS - Be sure to enter my latest big giveaway if you haven't :) It's ending soon!

GIVEAWAY

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GIVEAWAY

Friends, I have someone so very special to me to introduce to you. 
She is a dear friend of mine. We met through this precious world we call blogging and met early this year. But it feels as though we've been friends forever. We live on opposite coasts - she, in New York while I am in California. But that doesn't matter - for distance is nothing to our God! He brought us together as friends and I could not be more thankful for her. She is truly a kindred spirit, whom I affectionately call a "soul twin" because our hearts beat for so many of the same things.

This past year, I joined an amazing ministry she leads called The Kite Project and one of the reasons this blog exists today is due to her encouragement.
 She is here guest posting today to tell you about her blog and her project!

***

Hi!
I hope that by the end of this post we'll be calling each other "Friend."
I'm big on that word. Really big on that word :)
My name is Rachel (you can call me Rae if you'd like) and I blog over at Chasing Kite Tails.
When I first started my blog, which was a little over a year ago, I had absolutely no idea what Chasing Kite Tails meant. I figured, it's cute, it's whimsical...it works! Little did I know that Chasing Kite Tails wasn't just some cute, whimsical blog name. In fact, I learned that it was far from cuteness and whimsy.

Chasing Kite Tails is a dream chasing journey. It's the messy, messy place we inevitably find ourselves in, time and time again. It's the questioning God, "What should I do with this life You've given me?" It's the wondering if those inklings and ideas we feel in our heart are in fact desires that He has birthed within us. Come on, I'm not the only one who faces these questions, am I? It's the fear, the doubt. The uncertainty. It's the, "What if I succeed?" and the "What if I fail?" It's everything that a dream could entail.
I've found myself caught in this dream chasing journey many times. It happened once when I was 13 years old...and it happened again, after I graduated college and watched my biggest dreams wash down the drain after I decided to move back home with my family instead of pursuing my lifelong aspiration of working in NYC.
Oh I could go on and on and on about dreams and how they play out in my life and how I hate dreams and yet have come to love the messy, scariness of it all. But...what I guess I learned to love most, is coming along side of other women dreamers. I love watching the faces of those confessing they've always wanted to ride a horse, or ever since childhood they've dreamed of painting a painting, dancing a dance...I love hearing how the fear cripples. Because, to me, what better time to encourage than then?
I'm not a good talker, in fact I don't even like talking. But I'm a professional listener and I'm pretty sure I have a gold medal in Encouragement. And so, sitting beside a friend (or, ya know, over a virtual cup of tea) and hearing her talk about her dreams is something my heart smiles for. That's one of the reasons I started The Kite Project (which you should sign-up for now!). And I just realized, Erin, am I doing this whole guest post thing right? I feel as though I'm rambling...I am, aren't I? Okay, you know what - let me switch gears...
Let's just do the whole facts thing :) I don't like cilantro, I'm a wannabe Vegetarian, most days I can't decide whether I want nail polish on, or off. I have three brothers, I'm the second oldest child. My older brother, Jordan, is the smartest, coolest, funnest Special Needs person to have ever walked this Earth.
There's nothing that means more to me than my relationship with God. Every moment I breathe, I want to be spent loving others the way Jesus did. (I'm a cat person, btw). I want to leave NY and live in an entirely different part of this continent (or world). I secretly bump Selena Gomez in my car. Before I die, I must see Linkin Park in concert. And I'd pick a chicken any day over a pet dog.
Haha, there's a little about me. Do you feel like you could call me friend now? I hope so. Stop on over at my blog, Chasing Kite Tails. I love meeting new people...and I'd love to check out your blog and hear a bit about your heart.
If you've got a dream that you've been holding onto, you should join The Kite Project.
I promise, you won't be let down.

Oh, PS: Erin is my soul twin. If you cracked open our hearts, you'd find lots of the same stuff inside. Isn't she a doll? I'm so thankful God saw it fitting for this New Yorker and Californian(?) to team up and become such bosom friends ($5 Forever 21 gift card to the first person who can coin what movie I'm referring to when I say 'bosom friend').
XO 

love always, Rae :)
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Monday, November 26, 2012

GIVEAWAY
//be sure to enter the latest giveaway!! click above//



"Change will come as surely as the seasons and twice as quick."

When I first heard those words (on none other than the classic movie, "Little Women"...love that story) I was a little girl. Years later as an adult, I understand them more fully and I appreciate their truth all the more. The past few days, surrounded by family, I realized this truth afresh. Change happens inevitably, and we cannot hold time in our hands... it slips through our fingers just as quickly as sand through an hourglass. And as we age and grow, that realization can be scary. But I am learning, more and more, to embrace and savor and enjoy every moment instead of mourning their passing and fearing their loss. To cherish the little things, the small moments - for they add up and become the years that pass, the years and ages we kiss goodbye. Those sweet moments that soon become memories. 

My birthday Thanksgiving was special. All day, a song I hadn't thought of for years was stuck in my head, replaying. Written by one of my old family friends & mentors, the song lyrics are all about God's love, and I would like to share them with you, my dear reader. 


Lord, Your faithful love... it comes to me like healing.
And it's leaving me undone, Your mercy and favor revealing.
From the bottom of my heart, I know You are who You say You are.
So I'll give all I am to You. 


Isn't His love beautiful? In His love is the source of my joy. Because of His love, I can fearlessly embrace another year, excited for His plans. He is faithful, my friend. Never forget that.

Sharing some of my last few days... examples of His faithful love in small things: 


// Snapshots from a Thanksgiving Birthday // 

My sweet dad took me out on a birthday breakfast date in the morning. 
While my little sister Mandy spent the morning hanging out with Dick Van Dyke (her hubby is a sound engineer in Hollywood and Dick Van Dyke ran an event he worked.) Being a huge throw-back, 1950's/60's TV show fan, I was totes jealous.
And mama cooked up the most beautiful feast. She's a chef, I tell ya.
We remembered. How when our great-grandpa was asked, "Do you want pumpkin or apple pie?" He simply answered, "Yes." Which meant, of course, he wanted both. I now follow in his footsteps.
And then, football. 
I found so very much to be thankful for this year. It was fitting for me to celebrate my birthday on Thanksgiving, the Lord's way of reminding me to see my life through the lens of gratefulness. And I hope you did too. I hope that you and I both savor these days as they turn into years, thankful for each moment - focusing on "haves" rather than "wants." Thank you all for the birthday wishes. Each email, comment, and tweet meant the world to me and warmed my heart. 

Love to you this week, as you set up your trees and whip out your twinkle lights. Oh, and if you need some cheery Christmas music to liven up the decorating, check out my friend Bri's favorite blogger's Christmas Playlist 2012 - I'm honored to be included, and excited to find some fabulous new songs.


Happy last few days of November. 
It's almost Christmas, you guys!
Bring it on.

XO

Erin

PS - Don't forget to enter the big giveaway, link at the top of the post!

linking up here 
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Important Note, updated on 11/25/12: 

Unfortunately, when this giveaway was posted using RaffleCopter for entries, it malfunctioned and only included about 5 links to enter. RaffleCopter is not working for me at this time, and so I have chosen to extend the giveaway until 12/5/12 and I am changing entry to leaving a comment for each entry. 
Sorry for the confusion! But I have record of all entries so far, and will include those in the final count. So no worries! :) 

*** 

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! (& happy birthday to me! ;) 

I hope you've enjoyed a beautiful day with the people you love. I have something special for you to make your day even better - a big giveaway! What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving and my birthday today than a big giveaway! 

Some of my sponsors and very favorite bloggers and shops have graciously contributed wonderful things. (Thank you ladies!!) (Just FYI - there are alot of ad spaces in here... so whoever wins, your blog is gonna grow by leaps and bounds for 2013, yay! :) 

Look at these amazing prizes! And there are lots of opportunities to enter. Ready, set, go!









Shop (comment below & tell me your favorite item in the shop) 
Pin any shop item on Pinterest 












BlogTwitter : Etsy  







*********

//to enter, you must be a follower of my blog// 

Entries: 

Follow each link above.

My links: 



**Leave a comment below for each entry** 

(For example, one entry would be: "I follow your blog via GFC", 
another example: "I Follow 5ohWifey on Twitter!" 


I will be choosing the winner on Wednesday, December 5th. 

**Winner Takes All** 
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