Favorite Fall Recipes: Part 1
One of the most awesome things about blogging with someone else is you have double the ideas. That's awesome all the time, but this week it's even better because we're sharing double the amount of our favorite fall recipes with you! It was really chilly over the weekend and the leaves have almost all turned here in Kentucky (which is amazingly beautiful, in case you were wondering). Perfect weather to break out the chili and caramel apples! I have a few go-to recipes for when the weather turns cold that never let me down and I'm so excited to share them with you. Admittedly, they're mostly comfort food, but 'tis the season, right?

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

pumpkin-spice-latte-and-bread What fall recipe list would be complete without a pumpkin spice latte? You could go to Starbucks and pay $5 for one (which we've all done... let's be honest), or you can make one yourself really easily! Here's how.


2 tbsp canned pumpkin 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 2-3 tbsp Stevia 1 cup nonfat milk 1 tsp sugar free vanilla syrup Espresso (or strong coffee)


Heat 2 tbsp canned pumpkin over medium heat with approx. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice until well heated. Add 2-3 tbsp of stevia (depending on how sweet you prefer your drink) and stir well until heated. Add in 1 cup of nonfat milk and 1 tsp sugar free vanilla syrup and stir continuously over medium heat. Once heated, froth the milk and pumpkin mixture in a blender. Brew 1 to 2 shots of espresso, and pour the frothed milk into the espresso. If you're like me and you don't have time to be heating all this up for 10 minutes each time you just want a PSL on your way out the door in the morning, I'd suggest making a larger batch of the pumpkin/spice/stevia/milk mixture ahead of time. That way, you can brew your espresso, heat the milk mixture in the microwave, combine and be done!

Easy White Chicken Chili

white-chicken-chili I love chili... like, so much! My husband, on the other hand... well, let's just say his esophagus isn't a fan of tomato sauce. So in this house, we modify things. I had never had white chicken chili until I made a trip to Cincinnati about 10 years ago, and I was hooked from the first bite! Ever since then, it has been a staple in our home. This is a simple recipe, and can be made stovetop or in the crockpot (but if you're like me and you dropped your crockpot, breaking said crockpot into tiny pieces in your garage while it was full of a delicious, freshly made batch of chili... well, we'll just have to make do with stovetop. Le sigh).


1-2 pounds cooked boneless chicken tenderloins 16 oz organic chicken broth 3 cans of great northern beans 1/2 package taco seasoning 1/2 package of cream cheese 1-2 tbsp onion powder (depending on how much you like onion) 1/2 tbsp garlic powder Shredded cheese, sour cream and fritos for garnish


This is the easy part. Combine all ingredients except the cream cheese and garnish items in a saucepan (or crockpot). Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Add the cream cheese making sure to mix it well. Let the chili simmer for approximately an hour, then serve with garnish and fritos. If you're making this in the crockpot, cook all ingredients except cream cheese and garnish on high for 3 hours. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 3 hours adding cream cheese. Service with garnish and fritos. You're going to want to make a lot of this... trust me.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

jalapeno-dip This is probably more of a game day recipe than anything, but I've made it for the holidays, for get togethers... really any occasion I can find to make it. It's delicious and so very cheesy! Here's how to make this!


4 tbsp diced jalapenos 8 oz cream cheese 8 oz sour cream 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I'm not a huge mayo fan, so sometimes I only use 1/2 cup) 1 sleeve Ritz crackers 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese 1 stick of butter


Mix all ingredients except crackers, parmesan cheese and melted butter (this is way easier if your cream cheese is room temperature). Pour into a shallow dish. I usually just use a pie dish. Mix together one sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers, parmesan cheese and melted butter in a separate bowl and pour over the top of the cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips. I love recipe cards, you guys, so here are all three recipes available for download in two different styles! [caption id="attachment_2430" align="alignleft" width="300"]give-thanks-skinny-pumpkin-spice-latte-recipe Give Thanks Recipe Cards[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2431" align="alignright" width="300"]skinny-pumpkin-spice-latte-recipe-card Chalkboard Recipe Cards[/caption]               Have you tried these before or made a variation of any of them? I'd love to know what you think! xoxo jess-signature  
Craft Week: Free Fall Printables
It's officially fall, yay! Have you started decorating yet? We started when September hit and got inspired by some seasonal decor from fellow bloggers which you can read all about here. As October approaches, though, the weather starts to feel a lot more like fall so we break out our hoodies, light up the fire pits and enjoy pumpkin spice everything! Fall is probably my favorite season, and I celebrate in as many ways as I can! We're talking food, fashion, home decor... you name it! To help you kick off your fall decorating, we've made up some free fall printables for you!Free Fall PrintablesThese are all 8x10 and available via PDF download. The best way to use these? Print them on cardstock and put them in thrift store frames! Here's how to upgrade thrift store frames and use them in your fall decor. Step 1: Head to Goodwill, the Peddler's Mall or your favorite thrift store, and search the frame section for ones that are in good condition. I went to a thrift store down the street and stumbled on these white ones for $3.00. Even if yours aren't the color you want, get them! You can paint them! Step 2: Take them home and remove the glass and backing. Give the frames a good wipe-down. Step 3: Spray the frames with a primer coat and two coats of satin enamel paint in the color of your choice. (You can even distress them using Vaseline which you can read about here.) Step 4: Print out your favorite designs, put them in frames and done! Free Fall Printables Free Fall Printables I love using things in unexpected ways, so don't feel like you can only use frames. The clip photo displays in this Shanty2Chic tutorial (which also make great gifts, by the way) are a great way to showcase some of the prints! If you have a ledge or floating shelf in your house, that's a simple way to display art collages because you don't actually have to hang anything up. A mantle is also great way to do this! Free Fall Printables Okay, now for the freebies! If you're not already subscribed, you can sign up here and you'll get access to five extra printables in varying sizes to help create your collage (some of these are pictured above). Happy decorating, friends!





A photo by Steve Richey.








Craft Week: DIY Fabric Pumpkins

The first time I saw these fabric pumpkins was actually in the form of a gift from my mom. My parents occasionally take a little weekend getaway and they love stopping at little crafty fairs. My mom bought me a cute little fabric pumpkin that was immediately added to my fall decor. I never even thought then about making my own! Until that fateful day I stumbled across this DIY on Pinterest. Then an entire world of soft pumpkiny possibilities opened up! I could choose whatever colors or sizes I wanted. I don't know about you, but for a recovering control freak, that excited me.

My tendency is always to go for bright colors and complex patterns. That's fine for an accent piece here & there (and honestly, could work great with these pumpkins!) but I am training myself to go for simpler, more neutral colors in my decor. Thank you, Joanna Gaines. That being said, I chose white and pink for my first couple of pumpkins that I will share with you here. My goal was simplicity, so I grabbed whatever I had lying around. That meant I used a white bedsheet & a pink pillowcase for my fabrics. These pumpkins use a ALOT of batting (stuffing) so make sure you have multiple bags if you want to make a lot. I put wooden stems on these, but I may do fabric stems or no stems at all on the next bunch to make them more stackable. I love that look!! Let's get to it!

Materials Needed

Needle & Thread, Fabric, Batting, Yarn Needle, Yarn or Jute, Measuring Tape, Pen/Marker, Scissors, Stick (if you want wooden stems) & glue gun. Sewing machine optional.

Step One - Cut Your Fabric

img_4958 You want your fabric length to twice it's height. So for my larger pumpkin I measured 12" by 24". The smaller pumpkin was 9" by 18". You will lose a bit in size once you've completed them. The larger one turned out more like 9-10" and the smaller one more like 6". I don't have amazing scissors for cutting fabric & I am terrible at cutting a straight line. So I make marks all along the fabric to help me cut straight across. They'll be on the inside of your pumpkin in the end so it won't matter! img_4966

Step 2 - Sew (Just a little!)

img_4967 Besides not being able to cut straight, I really struggle to do much more than sew a straight line on the machine. Thankfully, that is all you have to do here! Just bring the ends together and sew. Now your little pumpkin fabric is as wide as it is tall. Make sure to only sew that one seam. The top and bottom should remain open.

Step 3 - Running Stitch

img_4960 Ok, get out your little needle and thread and get to work! This will be the bottom of the pumpkin. Just thread your needle in a loose, wide stitch, all the way across. This is a "running stitch". Once you get to the end, pull! Once the fabric is gathered together, stitch it to hold it in place. img_4961

Step 4 - STUFF & Stitch

img_4962 Stuff that pumpkin full of stuffing!! Think you've got enough? Add more!! You want to fill it until you can't fill it any more. And then add just a tad more, so it's spilling out over the top. Now, do another running stitch around the top, pull it closed and stitch it shut. [caption id="attachment_2381" align="aligncenter" width="813"]img_4963 This was the easiest way to keep the pouf steady so I could sew & then pull.[/caption] img_4964 [caption id="attachment_2383" align="aligncenter" width="815"]img_4965 A cute little pumpkin pouf, ready for its ribs![/caption]  

Step 5 - Pumpkin "Ribs"

[caption id="attachment_2390" align="aligncenter" width="815"]img_4972 These were super inexpensive at Walmart for only $1.77 - it's a good thing considering the shape mine was in when I finished my two little pumpkins.[/caption] Time to give your pumpkin "ribs." Yes, that's what they're called. I googled it. Grab your plastic yarn needle (you can use a metal one, but it may be so sharp that it will injure you) and thread your yarn or jute through the eye. Start at the bottom of your pumpkin and squish it through the middle and out the top. Then back around to the bottom and out the top again, 6 times (or more if you choose). This way you create six even sections of pumpkin. Be sure to pull tightly each time you create a new rib so that your pumpkin has that charming squashed look. Mine wasn't tight enough at first and I was able to pull on each one (kind of like a shoe lace) to correct the problem. Once you're done, knot it off at the top. img_4974

Step 6 - Add a Stem

[caption id="attachment_2395" align="aligncenter" width="600"]img_4976 Super professional. Lol.[/caption] My daughter found a stick outside last night and it just so happened to be the perfect diameter to create stems for my pumpkins. It would probably be easiest to use a small saw to cut it down to size. I improvised with a serrated knife, and while it took quite a few saws to get through it enough to break it off, it was still effective. Dot on a bunch of hot glue, then hold on the wooden stem for about 30 seconds so it has a chance to cool and secure the stem. You could then add extra jute or faux leaves, berries, ribbons, or whatever other decorations you want to spruce up your little pumpkin. To make a stem out of fabric, just cut out two sides of a "stem" shape. Sew them, wrong sides together, flip right side out, stuff it, then stitch it onto the top. I love the look of these little pumpkins stacked in graduated sizes. I plan to create two sets for my mantel & I'll be sure to share them with you when I finish them. By the time I do, it will be time to start decorating for Christmas most likely! Haha! So much in store for our favorite season!! Get excited! img_4969

Step 7 - Decorate!

[caption id="attachment_2389" align="aligncenter" width="821"]img_4971 They might not be stackable on their own with their big ol stems on top, but stacking them inside this decorative bird cage helped me achieve the look I was going for.[/caption] img_4973img_4970 Amanda Signature
Craft Week: DIY Floating Table
One of the best things about the fall season is all of the crafts and DIYs that come along with it! If you haven't noticed, we have a thing about decorating with pumpkins, using them on the front porch and in the dining room not to mention in vignettes and on mantles in the rest of the house. But what if you don't have a surface to put them on? Tables take up space and if you love open spaces as much as we do, you don't want to clutter up your house or apartment with a bunch of end tables. So why not suspend your surface? Floating shelves are an easy solution. You could build them and attach them to the wall... or you could hang them from the ceiling! All it takes is a piece of wood, some twine and a hook! Oh, and don't forget your pumpkins! diy-hanging-table-materials These wood rounds are available in various sizes at Home Depot and Lowes, and the size you use will depend largely on the size of your area. I purchased a 15" round from Lowes and stained it using Minwax Dark Walnut stain. To stain, just use an old rag or tee shirt to wipe the stain on, then wipe it off with a dry rag immediately. The composite wood will absorb the stain really quickly, so it doesn't need to sit long. Once my round was stained, I used my Ryobi 18V drill to drive three holes in the wood. The holes form a triangle to evenly balance the "table". These holes are what you'll thread your twine through. diy-hanging-table diy-hanging-table-drilling-holes Once you've drilled holes in your wood round, cut three strands of twine to the desired length. I wanted my table to hang around three feet from the ceiling, so I cut three 3' 6" pieces of twine. I used Blue Hawk's twisted jute twine from Lowes, but you can find twine at any craft store, Walmart or Target. Tie a knot at the bottom of one strand and thread it through one of your drilled holes. Do this for the other two pieces of twine as well. The wood piece should rest on the knots of twine if you gather the opposite ends and hold them up. If your knots are too small, just keep knotting! diy-hanging-table-rope-and-wood diy-hanging-table-holes-with-rope Gather the three unknotted ends together, loop them over and tie them in a knot. This will be the very top of the table that hangs on your hook. I bought a decorative ceiling hook that I'm pretty sure is used for a plant, but is being repurposed in this case. It blended in with the ceiling on our patio which sold me on it immediately. Here's the hook I purchased. Just follow the instructions to put it in the ceiling. Then hang your loop over the hook! Ta-da! You made your table! diy-hanging-table-rope diy-hanging-table-hung-up Now the really fun part: decorating it! I had these white canisters... yes, I used a kitchen canister... from Target that I just thought would look gorgeous with flowers in them, and of course, it's fall so I used mums! These purple mums are mostly white with just a hint of color, which provide a great contrast to the dark wood surface. After I planted the mums in the canister, I added two white mini pumpkins from Kroger. I love white. Can you tell? It's been the perfect addition to our porch without crowding up the floor and still provides that bright, fall look that I love! diy-hanging-table-header-image diy-hanging-table-finished-9 diy-hanging-table-finished-8 diy-hanging-table-finished-6 diy-hanging-table-finished-4 diy-hanging-table-finished-3 diy-hanging-table-finished-2 diy-hanging-table-finished How are you decorating your fall tables? xoxo jess-signature    
S&L Devos: Be Still & Know

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

A friend recently asked me to be part of a musical project he's been working on for some time. My response, of course, was yes! Absolutely. How can I help? As we began planning, I added in dates to my calendar and noticed that I had a lot going on around the same time but thought, Hey, this is no big deal. It'll be fine. Fast forward to the beginning of October and I found myself completely overwhelmed with deadlines, projects, jobs and hobbies not to mention I needed to balance that with spending time with my family, all because I wanted to say yes to everything. See, I am a yes person. If a friend asks me for something, I immediately want to say yes. If there is an opportunity to get involved in a local project, I'm in! If I can encourage or help someone in any way, I'm there

Generosity is a spiritual gift -- being generous with time and effort as well as money. I am blessed to have been given that gift as I know many of you have. As with anything, though, I have to know my limits and when to say no. Discernment is also a spiritual gift, and it doesn't always just mean knowing good from evil. It also means listening to the guidance of the Spirit to know when to move and when to stay still.

We live in a chaotic world, friends. There is political, civil and personal chaos all around us at any given moment. We have so much vying for our attention at all times, and we have become accustomed to running at break-neck speed, constantly checking notifications and calendar reminders. Matthew 11:28-29 says, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

There's that word... Rest. How do we find time for quiet in the midst of the noise of everyday life? Even as I write this post, I'm sitting in the living room keeping one eye on the computer and the other on my daughter. My excuses for not being still in the presence of God are different now that I'm a parent, but the circumstances haven't changed. We are all busy, but in the midst of all that, we have to remember our purpose, our God. He's the reason we have life, and deserves our attention more than anything or anyone else.

Here are a few practical ways we can start each day in the arms of the Father and find that quiet time our souls so desire.

1. Get up early.

I am not a morning person, but my day is never as wonderful as when I wake up well before my daughter does and spend time listening to the Spirit.

2. Surround yourself with creation.

Whether you take a prayer hike or just sit on the patio, being in the midst of the beauty of God will bring his presence close every time.

3.  Worship.

Spotify is always going, either on my laptop at work or at home. God has this way of taking me by complete surprise through the words of a song regardless of what I'm doing at the time. In case you haven't found that quiet moment yet today, listen to this tune and just let your soul breathe. [wpdevart_youtube]TAPpunj-dMM[/wpdevart_youtube]   In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27


Fall Style Challenge
Fall fashion. Okay, admittedly I look at some of the fall fashion trends and go, really!?! I would never wear that in a million years! I am all about being on trend, but in a flattering way, you know what I mean? So my fall fashion generally comes from Pinterest inspiration or modifying the latest trends on the runway to fit my current wardrobe. Yesterday, Amanda shared our top picks for fall, and today, I'm excited to announce our Fall Style Challenge!!! We want to see you sporting your favorite version of our fall accessories! Whether you tie that plaid scarf on your oversized leather bag or wear it around your neck, we want to see the innovative ways you're styling our fall picks and the amazing deals you've gotten on them! We'll be featuring our favorite look on all of our social media platforms at the end of each day, so be sure to tag us and use #SLBstylechallenge for your chance to be featured.


Wednesday: Booties

Break out those ankle boots and snap a photo of you rocking your favorites! boots

Thursday: Blanket Scarves

There are so many ways to wear these. Stage a flat lay or snap a selfie with your favorite blanket scarf! scarf

Friday: Leather (bags or jackets)

Do you have the cutest leather purse ever? Or maybe you splurged on a jacket overseas that's to die for like Amanda. We want to see it! Snap a photo and tell us where you snagged your leather goods! scarf-jacket

Saturday: Leggings

Saturday is the perfect day for leggings, right? They're comfy, but can still be dressed up! Snap an overhead photo of your favorite leggings and sneak in a PSL or hot beverage of your choice while you're at it! leggings

Sunday: Hats

No, it's not Easter and it's not Keeneland, but there's a whole line of felt hats to be worn this fall! Why not rock one for church or brunch this Sunday? Snap a selfie or group photo with your favorite style of fall hat! Outfit-On-2 Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't give you some styling tips, right? Here are some of the best posing tips out there for a perfect look every time.

Strike A Pose

Cross your ankles. This sounds weird and can feel completely unnatural, but it works wonders! Not only does it slim your hips, but it looks completely unposed to the camera. Amanda stood in the first pose below for probably two minutes while I snapped photos from all angles, but in the photo it comes across like she just looked over for a brief moment while walking through the grass. Angle your head. Can you get a great straight on shot? Absolutely, but it takes some work. Unless you've got tons of time to test out that perfect look (we don't), try this tip. Angle your head down and to the side ever so slightly. This accentuates your jawline and is a much more candid look. Twist your body. My wedding photographer told me to stand completely sideways then twist my upper body to face him for photos. I thought he was nuts... until I saw the photos. That's a quick way to shave off inches or show off your figure if you're wearing baggier clothing. Have fun. There's a lot of pressure in our graphic-driven world to take great photos. My husband hates having his photo taken for this reason. He feels like his smile isn't natural or he's standing awkwardly. Think about all of our tips above, and then be sure you enjoy yourself. If you're don't, your smile won't look genuine. Some of the best photos I have are ones where I'm laughing with my daughter, completely unaware of the camera. all-accessories posing-all-accessories We can't wait to see what you come up with this week using our Fall Favorites! Let the SLB Style Challenge begin!!! xoxo jess-signature
Five Fall Fashion Favorites
It's no secret that Fall is one of our favorite times of year. The cooler temperatures, the falling leaves, the crisp, clean air, hot apple cider, pumpkin spice everything - the list goes on and on. Outside of those things, it's the fall fashions that get us excited. Every one knows that person who dons a scarf & boots on October 1st, regardless of the temperature. We can relate!! We are those people. And since we are well into October, we are almost overdue in sharing with you our top five fall fashion favorites.

1. Boots

Boots are always a great fall fashion addition. We've been living in open toed sandals & flip flops and now our toes are feeling a bit chilly. We love a good knee high boot, but our favorite way to transition into the season is with a cute neutral colored bootie. They're comfortable, cute & warm, and with a small heel they add a little more elegance to even the most casual outfit. booties

2. Leggingsleggings

We love to be comfortable, but we'd rather not sacrifice looks for comfort. Enter patterned leggings! What a simple way to add some fun to a basic, comfortable daily uniform of leggings and a slouchy tee or oversized sweater! What is the massive appeal of leggings? See stretchy material and an expandable waistline, full of forgiveness for "mummy tummies" and thunder thighs. Keep your patterns small & simple to achieve a more slimming silhouette. For the most flattering look, keep tops long enough to come to the middle of your thigh.

3. Leather Jacket

Leather jackets are perfect for fall. They typically provide just enough warmth to stave off a chilly October breeze and look way cuter than a windbreaker. Lol! I purchased this authentic Italian leather jacket in Florence in 2006 and it has held up amazingly well. However, it doesn't have to be a real leather jacket. There are plenty of imitation leather jackets, in all different colors, that are just as perfect for fall. The texture of a leather jacket adds so much dimension to your outfit and seems much more appropriate for fall than any other season. Pair it with a plaid shirt and some ripped jeans and you'll complete an adorable autumnal ensemble.


4. Blanket Scarf

I was OBSESSED with these blanket scarves last season. By the time I had jumped on the bandwagon, I was way late to the party and couldn't find them anywhere. This cute plaid scarf was purchased from the Target dollar bins a few weeks ago for - wait for it - SEVEN dollars!! Of course I snatched it right up and probably should've grabbed a few more in different colors (self control!!!). I think this accessory may be my absolute favorite of the five. What's cozier than wearing a warm blanket around your neck? Am I right? My favorite way to wear it? Take the blanket square and fold it in half diagonally to form a triangle. Take the two opposite ends all the way around your neck and tie them underneath the piece in front. Fluff it up until it looks the way you want. Instant cozy! scarf-hat

5. Leather Handbag

Have we mentioned we like leather for fall? I would recommend mixing up your leather colors if you plan to wear your leather jacket & carry your leather bag. A gray leather jacket with this brown leather handbag is a great complementary combo! Whether you prefer a cute crossbody bag, this large oversized one or anything in between, it's the final piece to pull your fall outfit together. leggings-purse

6. Felt Hat (Bonus!!) 

Ok, we couldn't leave this one out and "Six Fall Fashion Favorites" just doesn't have the same flow. A felt hat is an adorable way to keep your noggin warm and cozy in these cooler temps. Think you're not a hat person? Give one a try and see what you think. You can find them in all price ranges and for just a few dollars, it's worth trying out something new. It could totally change your style this season! Not to mention, it's a great option when your hair is less than its best on any given day. Dry shampoo only goes so far. Throw that cute hat on and go grab a pumpkin spice latte. You'll have the makings of a perfect instagram-worthy selfie. Outfit-On Amanda Signature
S&L Devos: He Restores My Soul
I recently had an opportunity to participate in our church's worship night. These are my favorite types of services. There are all sorts of worship, right? We can worship God with our words, our actions, our time, our service. But my absolute favorite way to worship him is in song. There is something about music that moves our very soul. And that is how we connect to God the most intimately, with our souls. He restores my soul. Our soul is the essence of who we are. There is something so supernatural about losing yourself in the presence of God in complete surrender and acknowledgement of him. I don't know about you, but it isn't often that I get to feel that kind of closeness with my Lord. There are way too many distractions in my daily life.

"There is something about music

that moves our very soul."

In a perfect world, I would wake up "early" (and let's pretend that early is 7 am), pour myself a cup of coffee and spend an hour just praying, journaling and reading God's word. Then my children would wake up at 8/8:30 and I would be so ready. I would be ready for whatever the day could throw at me. I know I still wouldn't be perfect, but my emotions would be stable, and I would be able to continue my day in the spirit in which it began: in the presence of God. Reality check: my kids are up by 6:30 am, if not earlier. It is highly unlikely that I could get my rear out of bed any earlier...although I have considered it, given the pay off. Most days, I start my day grouchy and annoyed. Just ask my husband. I then change poopy diapers, make breakfast, clean up messes, sew holes in my husband's work pants, do laundry - all before I've even had my first cup of coffee! This is a problem. It takes me until 10 am to feel awake and ready to do anything with my day. And at that point I still haven't said two words to God besides "please let them stay asleep!!!" img_4380 Those few days leading up to that worship service were worse than ever. I felt this dark cloud hovering over my mood and it just sucked any life right out of me. I nearly didn't go to that worship night due to trouble finding a sitter for my kids and working around my husband's work schedule. I'm not divulging all of this to you to receive any sympathy, please understand. I have a feeling many of you can relate, whether you have kids or a demanding job or other commitments, time with God is easily crowded out of the picture.

"I know I still wouldn't be perfect, but my emotions would be stable, and I would be able to continue my day in the spirit in which it began: in the presence of God."

That night, I just let go. I let all of the words and the music wash over me and I shut everything else out. Some people raise their hands while they worship and some people don't. I'm going to tell you why I do. It's an outward symbol that I am giving everything I have over to God and I am ready and willing to receive whatever he has to give me. During that 90 minutes of song after song, God spoke to my soul. There were lyrics in songs that moved me to tears because they spoke to burdens I didn't even realize I was carrying. My soul felt so refreshed by that night of corporate worship. It taught me something.

"I let all of the words and the music wash over me and I shut everything else out."

It taught me something that I'm sure I used to know, but over the years I had forgotten. HE restores my soul. He leads me beside quiet waters. When the weight of life's daily demands gets to be too much and it's all I can do to get through the day without breaking down in tears, HE wants to refresh me. On those days when I feel like I'm dragging, I'm unmotivated and uninspired, HE is ready to pick me up, dust me off and encourage me to keep going. All it takes is a few minutes of quiet focus on him, on his word. Whether you have an hour or five minutes, I encourage you to take that time. Put the kids in front of Daniel Tiger for a few minutes longer, put in some ear buds and listen to your favorite worship song. Let the words speak to your heart and don't think about what else needs to be done. Just for those few minutes, let God restore your soul. [caption id="attachment_2194" align="aligncenter" width="501"]he-restores-my-soul-for-blog-900-px Feel free to use this photo as your lock screen on your phone as a reminder.[/caption] This coming Tuesday evening, October 11, there is another opportunity for an all-worship service. At Southland Christian Church on Richmond Rd in Lexington, KY at 6:30 PM. Come out and worship with us!! You will be so glad you did. Amanda Signature
Look for Less: Fixer Upper Inspired Tablescape
I love a good tablescape. Every year around this time, all the decor magazines and store catalogs come out with beautiful tablescapes for fall and the transition into Thanksgiving and I just get so happy!!! My most anticipated issue, though, is the new Magnolia Journal premier! Have you guys seen the cover!?! Shew. I think everyone here knows about my love for all things Fixer Upper, and I'm just gasping over that table and the decor. The Magnolia Journal Every time I get on Pinterest, I see photos of the Magnolia Fall Gathering which you can read about here. These are some of the photos that, of course, Joanna Gaines had a hand in decorating. fall_workshop_014 fall_workshop_027 So I decided it was about time I got my own tablescape going in our house (albeit on a much smaller schedule) because, you know, it's officially fall! Now, I looked at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel... all of those have beautiful options for tableware, signs, centerpieces, wreaths! And they're all going to cost you about... well, a lot. Let's just leave it at that. I love to decorate, but I have to do it on a budget. So I decided to scrounge around and use things either I already had or pieces that can be easily obtained for very little cost to create a fixer upper inspired tablescape that's perfect for this season! The entire tablescape cost me less than $20 and while you may not have everything on hand, you can purchase these items for low cost (or forage for them as the case may be). Here's how you can get this look for less. pinterest-image First thing's first. Gather your supplies. Here's what I used to get this look:
  • Coffee sack (obtained for free from a local coffee brewery)
  • Magnolia leaves (literally picked off a tree in my in-laws' backyard)
  • Chalkboard cards (I had this banner from my daughter's birthday party last year and cut the bottoms off to make it rectangular)
  • Chalk pen (the greatest thing ever invented!!!)
  • Plates (mine are from Target, and we've had them for eleven years! So not fancy!)
  • Wood crate (mine came from my in-laws' basement, but you can purchase these at thrift stores for around $30 or build one yourself. You can!) *in some areas, you can get empty wine crates from Costco and liquor stores for free!!!
  • White pumpkins (all of mine came from Kroger for $1 each!)
  • Greenery (I used boxwood because I had some left from a garland I purchased at At Home for $7, but you could use cedar branches, cotton stems, etc.) *I just stumbled on this tutorial for making your own cotton branches! Check it out!
  • White tablecloth (mine is actually just white material that I had on hand)
  supplies-4 Lay out your tablecloth, and use the coffee sack as a runner. If you don't have access to a coffee sack, you can use a grain sack or even just a piece of burlap material from any sewing or crafts store. Set your wood crate in the center to hold the runner in place. My crate was actually a soda holder so it had dividers built in, but even if yours doesn't, just layer the greenery in around the edges letting it hang off the sides. There is no method to this, honestly, except to leave some set aside to fill in any holes later. crate Then comes the fun part. Fill that crate with as many pumpkins as you can get your hands on!!! I used mini pumpkins and small ones to give it a little depth and just piled them on. The messy look like they've just been set on there nonchalantly will come naturally as you load them in. Just be sure to leave some mini pumpkins to fill as many gaps as you can once your box is filled. white-pumpkins centerpiece-1 I love the rustic feel of using a wreath as a charger underneath plates. Anything with natural elements strikes my fancy anyway when it comes to home decor, so I knew I wanted to do something similar to the grapevine wreaths pictured in the Magnolia Gathering above. The only problem? I didn't want to spend $20+ on wreaths. When all else fails, go outside! I had these dried magnolia leaves left over from a magnolia wreath that I made earlier this year (get the details here) and thought, why not use them as wreath forms under the plates? They turned out to be perfect, and the best part is you can customize the size of the "wreath"! Just lay them out in a circle then set a plate on top of them! centerpiece-3 To add that finishing touch, I handlettered phrases that are significant to me for fall like "blessed", "thankful", "gather" and "autumn" onto the chalkboard cards using my chalk pen and added a laurel wreath design to the top and bottom. These can be customized for dinner parties to be name cards or hold other phrases of significance because the chalk marker erases with water! supplies That's it! Just add silverware, glassware, stemware or any other type of ware you might need for your gathering, and you've got a beautiful fixer upper inspired tablescape for a fraction of the cost! flat-lay centerpiece-2 centerpiece-4 on-the-table Okay. Now can somebody please tell me when the next season of Fixer Upper starts back!?! xoxo jess-signature      
The Look for Less: Farmhouse Herringbone Coffee Table
Can we just start out by talking about how gorgeous this coffee table is? Not only is it that rustic farmhouse style that we love, the herringbone design on top just takes it from "pretty" to gorgeous! How much can you expect to pay for a similar table? Anywhere from $500 to $1,000 plus! Did I mention this farmhouse herringbone coffee table was custom built? Similar, custom built tables start at $1,000 on Etsy and I've not seen any with this exact style. So how can you get your hands on one of your own??? Pick up that miter saw, girls, and take a trip to Lowes for some inexpensive lumber. coffeetable7 Our friends, Josiah & Brittany Durham, did just this, with very little previous wood working experience. They self educated themselves on the tools to get started and went to work! With a few inspirational ideas from Pinterest, Brittany enlisted the help of her handy hubby to craft the coffee table of her (and our!) dreams. With around 15 pieces of wood (inexpensive pine boards for that herringbone pattern on top, a pressed wood board for the bottom and some 2x4s to form those charming "X"s on the sides), some wood conditioner, stain & seal, a little white paint, and one long weekend, this beautiful table came into existence. coffeetable5 img_1186-copy coffeetable2 Total cost to build? Approximately $100. Given the time invested, maybe add in another $50-100, depending on how much you consider your time to be worth and you're still saving hundreds of dollars for a "look for less" that in our opinion is way prettier than any other tables priced much higher. img_6981-copy img_9347 Maybe you're worried about your lack of building skills. We all have to start somewhere! It's much more simple than you probably think. If you have an idea for something you want to see come together, take inspiration from this couple's project. They had a vision for something they wanted to add to their home, researched the proper measurements & tools they would need, and worked together to make something totally unique. You can too! Just ask your friends who already build, talk to an associate at Lowes or another hardware store, or even just pinterest/google it! You would be surprised at what you are capable of accomplishing when you set your mind to do it! img_9945 Amanda Signature