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Monday, September 30, 2013

Yesterday morning I landed at LAX, my hair a mess and my heart full. Back to home sweet Los Angeles after a whirling, crazy busy, beautiful 5 days in Indianapolis for Influence Conference. I'm encouraged, inspired, wrecked, healed, exhausted, and smiling. Serving as a community leader, speaking to the single ladies in a workshop, and just soaking in truth as I sipped coffee with 300+ of the best women on planet earth. 

I have few words tonight. But lots of pictures. 

Truly, Influence Conference this year blew me away. I have so so much I learned that I want to share with you. So many precious, sweet, breaking, healing moments. So many truths whispered and shouted and sweet, sweet tears shed. I think we all left a bit more tender and stronger than we came. 

The days flew by and goodbyes came all too soon. As I hugged one of the wisest women I know, Kerrie Williams, she squeezed my neck and said "See you on the internet.." 
And for some reason, emotion welled up in my throat. And I realized how thankful I am for this community. For the internet. People often say the internet is a bad thing, but we at Influence Network think it can be a very, very good thing. Blogs are powerful platforms and I was reminded afresh how significant our words are and how precious this online sisterhood is. We can change this world for Jesus on our blogs. And it blows me away. The people we meet on the internet may not live near us. But we will spend eternity together in Heaven someday, and it is just one of the sweetest things ever to think about. 

Tonight, I am thankful. 

Sharing a few of my favorite moments from Influence Conference.... more to come later. 


// my workshop - pic stolen from annie // 

Had an amazing opportunity to film my friend Haley Castille's show Jertsey's N Heels at the Indianapolis Colts complex! The team took off for Jacksonville, and we had the most fun filming in the locker room, on the practice fields, etc! It was so so exciting for this football loving-girl to be a part of!! I'll share more about it soon :) 

Hugs to you today, friend. You are LOVED.
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hello from Indianapolis, loves!! 

I'm currently at Influence Conference and since I'm all busy chatting it up with amazing bloggers, meeting new friends, getting inspired to share with you, and learning what the Lord has for us all here I don't want to leave you out - I have a fun giveaway for you today!! Remember how I introduced ya to All Things Lovely Daily Deals yesterday? Well, these fabulous friends are back with a giveaway for you today! 


Who loves LUSH cosmetics?! I certainly do. Such a fabulous company. Who wants to win $75 giftcard to a shopping spree there? Thanks to All Things Lovely, you can! 
See the rafflecopter widget below to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

All Things Lovely Daily Deals Links 


 Sweetness Itself Links 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hi beautiful friends! 

As I am currently headed to Indianapolis for Influence Conference, my amazing sponsor All Things Lovely is here today (and tomorrow for a FABULOUS giveaway!) to share their amazing website with you! 



Hello! 

We are so excited for the launch of our new site and think it has something to offer for everyone! 

Here is a little bit about our site!  


The Daily Deals

We handpick unique vendors that meet our expectations of professionalism, quality, and most of all, a one-of-a-kind product, in turn bringing these items to you for a limited time and at discounted prices.

The Vintage Shop

For those of you who love discovering that perfect vintage find, we eliminate the endless searching and bring the shops to you, creating a relationship that will last long after the find!

The Themed Weeks

Don’t you love finding the perfect holiday item, be it a unique decoration or the gift for the one who has everything? We bring these bits of holiday happiness right to you, from New Year's Eve to Christmas Day and every stop in between. And it doesn’t end there! Watch for exciting themed weeks like Harry Potter or All Things Mint. Every themed week is a fun and unique experience!

The Featured Bloggers

Throughout each month, we work closely with many of your favorite bloggers and feature their favorite items, from the unique to the downright perfect! It's a great way for you to connect with the bloggers who inspire you!

The Infertility Page

This is one of the most important parts of our site. Every month we will feature a couple who is struggling with infertility, letting you read their story and feel the challenge they face


Many of you may have experienced these struggles yourselves, or you may know and love somebody who has. This is your chance to make a difference! With each featured couple, we give you the option to donate directly to their cause, with 100% of the donations going to this couple to help them start their family.


Our current couple Tyson and Ashley have shared their amazing journey (you can read here) so far to try and start a family. We are helping them in any way possible to make this dream a reality. You can help by entering our amazing giveaway on our site! Go enter to win and see what our site is all about! 
Website 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Monday, dear friends! 

I am so crazy excited that Influence Conference is finally here this week. Just so looking forward to meeting some of you in person (eeep!) and seeing what the Lord does with the beautiful group of women meeting up in Indiana on Thursday. So exciting. Can I ask for prayer as I travel, serve as a community leader, and lead a workshop on Friday evening for the single ladies? Thank you friend. I will be updating you throughout the trip so make sure we're connected on Instagram & Twitter! (And I may even film a video for you while there!) 

As I look over my workshop for Influence, praying over it and reading through the outline, it makes me cry/be so super encouraged and inspired. Oh how He loves us :)

I just feel led to leave you with this for the week ahead: 

Remember,
whoever you are.
whatever you've done.

Jesus calls you "beloved"
and He loves you more than you could ever imagine.
Walk in that this week.
And live in His grace.



Love ya.

XO

E
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sweet readers!

Okay so I am starting a weekly series called: Heart to Heart, A Coffee Date with Erin James where I'll be talking to you about random things that are on my heart. I always say I wish we could have a coffee date and so I'm makin' it happen! The videos will be about 15 minutes long, so grab a drink and get comfy - we're gonna chat! Love you all oh so much and thankful for your hearts! Hugs and blessings to you this week!! XO, E. 

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Kindred spirits aren't as rare as I used to think", our beloved Anne Shirley always said. And I am finding it is true. Recently, the Lord crossed my path with two of the sweetest women on earth - Elena and Natalia. These beautiful twins are TV and radio talk show hosts/producers of New Generation. Their show is absolutely inspiring, encouraging, relevant, and all about Jesus! I'm so thankful for these women and their hearts for ministry and media. Soon, I have the honor of being interviewed on their amazing show so you will hear more about them! But for now, I just wanted to introduce you, my sweet readers, to my lovely new friends! 


Website: 



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Monday, September 16, 2013

****Announcing the Catching Fireflies giveaway winner - see the bottom of the post!! 

So, we girls love shopping right? But what's even better than shopping?? (No, not chocolate.. although it's right up there!) Shopping for a CAUSE! 

I am so excited to share my friend's shop with you. Megan of She Does Justice has such a beautiful heart, and the items in her shop are simply lovely. Plus, each month she chooses a cause to support and donates 10% of each purchase to the cause. How generous and kind is that? She also just launched a line for littles! If you have a little one (or need a gift for a child in your life) then this is the place to go! See SDJ Littles (soo cute!) 

Megan sent me something from her fall line to try and I am in LOVE with this gorgeous scarf. I'm thrilled to meet this girl in person at Influence (coming in just like a week and a half!) and to wear the scarf there! (I'm scared I'll be freezing in Indianapolis. California girl wimp over here ;) 

And in other news....

It's been a week, so I have chosen (generated via random.org) the WINNER of 
the Catching Fireflies $43 gift certificate giveaway is....

Sarah Greenberg
 email me girl! erin_sweetnessitself@hotmail.com

Hugs to you, dear friends.
Hope you're having a fabulous, blessed week!

XO

Erin
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Sunday, friend!  

As I constantly say, I L O V E this blog community. LOVE it. I love all you girls and I just love how God connects our hearts and stories through little things called blogs. I've been incredibly encouraged by hundreds of bloggers. The internet can be a negative thing at times, but it can also be so positive and wonderful - we can use it for good, for God and for encouraging, inspiring and uplifting others. Today I get to introduce you to one of my dear bloggy sisters. This girl is truly one of the most encouragement people I've ever met. She's incredible, inspiring and super sweet. Get to know her and follow her links below! :) 
   My name is Amanda and I just started blogging at Paving the Rugged Path. For over a year, I actively posted at my first blog, Faith Love Strength. However, after taking a couple months off from the blogging world, I grew to miss the community tremendously. Instead of continuing to write for my former blog, I was inspired to develop a new blog and do all of my own graphic designing. I am so excited to start this fresh new experience of writing.
Outside of the blog world, I am a senior dietetics student. I will be graduating in May with my B.S. in Nutrition and Food Sciences with an emphasis in dietetics. Next on my journey? I am required to spend about a year working in an approved internship somewhere nationwide before I am a Registered Dietitian. I’m still narrowing down my options, so feel free to put in a plug for your neck of the woods! ;)

My ultimate goal for my blog is to encourage readers to seek inspiration through life’s roadblocks, detours, and smooth pavement. I am so encouraged by other Christian bloggers, and I hope I can be the same for others. 

1 // I have a huge heart for dogs. My yellow lab, Maggie is my pride and joy. I even worked at a vet clinic while I was in high school.

2 // Receiving mail is one of my absolute most favorite things. A simple note in the mail really brightens my day.
3 // I love to run. I ran competitively in high school, but now it is more of a stress reliever and a time for me to reflect on my life.
4 // I love having my nails painted, but I have a terrible habit of peeling off nail polish during class.
5 // My favorite movie of all times is “You’ve Got Mail.” The combination of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan=perfection!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

All I have for you tonight, dear friend, is a song, a scripture and a few snapshots from my life and heart lately. Tonight I am reminded of the subtle but overwhelming truth. If we lived by it, our lives would change drastically. 

"Above all, love each other deeply, 
because love covers over a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8
NIV


My life lately. 
- to follow daily updates, find me on Instagram

1/ sister's teaching me guitar.

2/ be in love.

3/ football! cowboy's training camp with one of my besties.

4/ coffee with a dear friend. 5/ Jesus, the name i love. 

6/ fall = tights! 

7/ afternoons by the pool with mah girls.

8/ sweet quote card given to me by Mom in 1994.

9/ beach-bound, 1st pumpkin spice latte, & feeling very "duck dynasty" in my hat!

10/ love is.

11/ reminder for us girls!

12/ plaited hair.      



You are loved, darling.
He's crazy about you.

Happy weekend.

XO

Erin
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm super excited to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers today! This girl is fabulous. In every way! Her style is totally inspiring - sometimes I just go visit her beautiful blog to look at her outfits when I need inspiration! She puts together items I would never think of and they just go so perfectly together. But even more than that, her amazing heart just shines through. We are both here in Los Angeles and while we haven't officially met yet, I feel like we know each other. I'm thrilled to have her on my sidebar this month, and even more excited for YOU to connect with her! Go follow her links and get to know her, she's one of the blogs you need to be reading. 

  Hello Sweetness Itself readers! I'm Carly, and I blog over at Lipgloss & Crayons.  I'm a teacher in an inner-city school here in the City of Angels, a Christian, a wife, a little too fashion obsessed, and a mom to be.  Lipgloss & Crayons is my adult creative outlet, I love playing with fashion trends and translating them into wearable, affordable styles for the real world. I share fun recipes, and a little about my life here in Los Angeles. 


1 //  I met my husband on Valentine's Day at church.  We were both over 30,                and I'd essentially given up on cheesy love stories.  We got engaged 9                      months later at our church Christmas Tea in the room where we met.                      Guess my cheesy story came along after all!

         2 // I could live off of sushi and mexican food.

         3 // While this is our first child, it is not our first pregnancy.  We had a miscarriage                          before this little one, and I pray constantly about how to help others who have had                  this experience. It's a tough one!

         4 // If I wasn't a teacher, I'd own a cupcake shop.

         5 // I wasn't raised as a practicing Christian.  We went to church on Easter and                                  Christmas.  I became a Christian as an adult, and it has been amazing to see the                        total change in my life since.




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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Influence Conference is just around the corner. In about 2 weeks, I will be hopping on a plane at LAX and flying to Indianapolis to meet up with my bestest internet sisters. I am SO excited. I wish you all, my dear readers, could be there too. I am eagerly anticipating meeting you who are coming. I'm praying so much for the conference - that God will move. And I will surely share with you all on this little space everything the Lord does (and lots of pictures!) I just can't wait to meet you ladies. 



2 Things I'm Excited About

- Real coffee dates and chats and hugs with blog besties. I always say I wish we could all meet for a coffee date. And Influence Conference is an opportunity for blog sisters to do just that. Influence is kinda like a big, long coffee date (doesn't hurt that our fab hotel has a Starbucks in the lobby - score!) 

- Loving on the ladies who will be there. I can't wait to connect, talk, have heart to hearts, real life conversations, and hopefully - as a community leader - try and make anyone who feels alone, afraid or a little nervous totally welcome and comfortable!


2 Things I Will Have Packed in My Bag 


and 

Okay so that's more than 2 things. It's more like 8. (Clearly, I tend to way over-pack)


Influence girls - I can't wait to hug you (if you're cool with that. I'm a total hugger :)
Sooooo anticipating and praying over this conference. Cannot wait to learn, grow, and build real friendships. And just a heads up, if it's anything like last year - I will most likely be doing the ugly cry more than once. It is all so amazing and good. 


Also - 

If you're a single gal, my sweet friend Annie & I want to invite you to dinner!

unashamedly stole the following from Annie's blog - 

"When: The Friday of Influence
Where: We haven't decided yet. The combinations of California laidback and Michigan last-minute will do that to you ;]
But why?

Well, one, because the single ladies dinner is as traditional as influence itself. Chelsea and I hosted the inaugural dinner at the cheesecake factory at last year's influence conference and I am thrilled to be doing it again with Erin in just a few weeks.

But more than that, Erin and I both have a deep passion for those of us who are single learning to live in the truth of our value and not the lies of the world. Erin is going to be teaching a workshop on singleness at Influence, and we thought this would be a great way for us single girls to get to know each other ahead of time.

We're not doing this to single ourselves out, the way so many church ministries do painfully.

We're doing this because I believe we are uniquely gifted to bear Christ to the world, to serve and love like Him in a way that others, for whatever reason, aren't able to." 

Let us know, single ladies, if you are able to join and we will make reservations! 

Love you all.

E

If you want to hear more of my experience last year, read my recap post -

---

Also, if you missed it - enter my latest giveaway
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Monday, September 9, 2013

I have something to make your Monday just a little sweeter, friends!! 

My fabulous new sponsor, Catching Fireflies  is THE place to find the most creative, whimsical, sweet, uncommon goodies and items for all ages! You just get lost in the awesomeness of their shop - SO many cute, funny, unique items! 

And today, you all get the chance to WIN a $43 gift certificate (a number as unique as they are ;) to score anything you want from Catching Fireflies. Yay!

Wish you had some cupcake flavored toothpicks? Look no further. 

Enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***note: if you do not have Facebook, then your mandatory entry can be to:
-  follow Erin on GFC (here on my blog) or BlogLovin'
AND
- Sign up for Catching Fireflies' e-news letter here


And if you just can't wait to find out if you've won the gift certificate, Catching Fireflies is offering my readers a special coupon code: SWEETNESS for 20% off your purchase (expires one month from date of post)

Connect with Catching Fireflies

Shop  // Blog  // Email  //Facebook  // Twitter  
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Saturday, September 7, 2013



















Remember today, dear friend, that you are loved by God.
Extravagantly loved, more than you could ever know.
May you be reminded of this truth today, in whatever you are facing.

If you're feeling discouraged, dear one, spend a few minutes listening to this song.
It's definitely an older one, but I just love the lyrics - they are timeless and so encouraging.


Hugs to you and you and you.

Stay strong.

XO
Erin
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013


This sweet song is a reminder of how beautiful waiting is. 
Waiting until you're ready.
Until it's right.
Despite what the world all around you says, patience is precious. 
Pursuing purity is valuable.
Waiting will be worth it.
Don't believe the lies that you're alone. Don't worry if loneliness visits you from time to time.
Saying "no" to what is temporary now will make the "yes" someday all the sweeter. 
Stay strong, my loves. 
It will be worth it. 



In the autumn on the ground,
between the traffic and the ordinary sounds
I am thinking signs and seasons while a north wind blows through
I watch as lovers pass me by
Walking stories - whos and hows and whys
Musing lazily on love
Pondering you
I'll give it time, give it space and be still for a spell
When it's time to walk that way we wanna walk it well

I'll be waiting for you baby
I'll be holding back the darkest night
Love is waiting til we're ready, til it's right
Love is waiting

It's my caution not the cold
there's no other hand that i would rather hold
the climate changes, I'm singing for the strangers about you
don't keep time, slow the pace
Honey hold on if you can
the bets are getting surer now that you're my man

I could write a million songs about the way you say my name
I could live a lifetime with you and then do it all again
and like I can't force the sun to rise or hasten summer's start,
neither should I rush my way into your heart.

- song  by Brooke Fraser 

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