September 2015 Goals

August was a truly special monthI'd say it's one I'll always remember. We bought a house and I turned 30! All 31 days were full of activity, but they were also full of reflecting and savoring the sweet gifts of those days. 

 All these wonderful people helped make my 30th birthday so special. Meaningful relationships don't just happen   
  
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    —  you have to value and cultivate them. I want to do even more of this in my thirties!  Photo by   Mary Margaret Smith Photography

All these wonderful people helped make my 30th birthday so special. Meaningful relationships don't just happen you have to value and cultivate them. I want to do even more of this in my thirties!
Photo by Mary Margaret Smith Photography

I actually found myself a bit surprised (and so grateful) when I realized I accomplished ALL my goals for August! Now, don't be fooled, this is not because I have wonder-woman-like goal-accomplishing skills, rather I believe it is a testament to the hard work I've been doing to simplify my goals for the past several months. After feeling a little overwhelmed with all the expectations I was putting on myself each month, back in April, I started taking a simpler approach to my monthly goals. It's taken some effort and practice, but I'm starting to get in a good swing!

 Y'all, I'm 30!!!  Photo by  Mary Margaret Smith Photography

Y'all, I'm 30!!! 
Photo by Mary Margaret Smith Photography

The thing is, I'm realizing more and more that goals in and of themselves are not the end game (although, for a lover of list-checking like me, it can feel this way sometimes). Rather, it is the big, important purpose each of us are put on this earth to fulfill that matters. Digging down deep to understand your own heart, where you've been and where you're going is key to setting focused, intentional goals that lead you to living a life that matters and makes a difference. 

If you're new to goal setting, don't be intimidated. Start by looking back at where you've been, looking present at where you are, and then looking forward to where you want to go. Once you do this, you will slowly but surely be able to set meaningful goals that aren't just about checking things off a list, but instead are small steps in the journey to living your purpose fully and joyfully.

 Happy little homeowners.

Happy little homeowners.

You may wonder if a life of purpose and joy is on reserve for only certain people, but I assure you it's not. It's for everyoneyou included. It's not about being perfect, it's about making progress for a purpose. If you would like something to give you a jump start to living with purpose, I have just the thing! Lara Casey's PowerSheets have truly changed my life as they have taught me to set goals and make what matters happen! If you want to jump head first into goal setting, order PowerSheets today! Seriously, stop reading this and go order them!  (They are even having a perfectly imperfect sale right now!)

August Goals Progress

  • Celebrate my 30th birthday in a meaningful way
  • Close on our home! Hooray!!!
  • Develop new products for September Pop-up Shop
  • Complete groom card for custom order
  • Celebrate Dad's birthday
  • Focus on home renovation projects with intention and heart
  • Continue tidying process with Woody
  • Speak on goal setting at The Orchard

Standing monthly goals

  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody

September Goals

The numbers beside each monthly goal represent the corresponding yearly goal

Write and send 30th birthday thank you notes (33)
Love Woody well by keeping our marriage as a top priority (3)
Continue home renovation with focus and plan to finish well (2)
Complete product development and printing for The Orchard Pop Up Shop (5, 7, 10)
Attend The Influence Conference (!!!) (18)
Launch 2016 Birthday Card giveaway (6, 38)
Purchase 2016 Simplified Planner (I'm still trying to decide between daily and weekly edition any recommendations?!) (37)
NYC planning night (9)
Continue tidying with Woody (46)

Standing monthly goals
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

What hopes and plans do you have for September? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

July 2015 Goals

Well, hello there, July 13! Woody and I embarked on an impromptu beach vacation at the end of June through the weekend of the Fourth, and that put a kink in my goal setting flow. I'm realizing more and more these days that I simply can't do it all. In this case, a week away with my love won out, so here we are with the first mid-month goals post! 

 Sweet moments on the pier in St. Simons captured by our friend and photographer,  Sarah DeShaw .

Sweet moments on the pier in St. Simons captured by our friend and photographer, Sarah DeShaw.

In every year of our marriage so far, Woody and I have saved the majority of our vacation time for our anniversary celebrations in November. Last year, as I watched friends and coworkers head to the beach in June and July, I realized waiting for vacation until November just wasn't cutting it! There is something about a midyear break that is good for the soul, and I wanted in on it.

We began the year intending to take a summer beach trip, but when we got a contract on a house in the spring, June and July turned into home renovation months. Then, that contract fell through (full story to come), and we found ourselves in late May with no house and no beach plans. When June arrived, we decided it wasn't too late to make it happen and planned our summer vacation in about two weeks. As we quickly made plans, I realized it would be our first full week away since our honeymoon two and a half years ago! I couldn't believe it.

 These bikes are the best! We rented them and rode around  Sea Island  even as the rain sprinkled down on us. They were adding more bikes for the weekend of the Fourth, which explains the lovely truck and cardboard boxes behind us! 

These bikes are the best! We rented them and rode around Sea Island even as the rain sprinkled down on us. They were adding more bikes for the weekend of the Fourth, which explains the lovely truck and cardboard boxes behind us! 

Our vacation week was so good for us, and it's safe to say we won't let another year pass without taking off for a full week (or two!). It was refreshing to step away from the flow of daily life and breathe in some different air. We have a lot of great things happening in Birmingham right now, so it was actually a little hard to leave, but it was so important that we did. In addition to giving ourselves time to retreat from life's everyday responsibilities, it was a helpful reminder that things can go on for a week without us (shocker, I know). For our getaway, we chose to return to St. Simons Island, one of our favorite spots in the world. I hope to share more with you about why we love this place soon.

How is your summer going, friends? Have you made time to retreat? Whether it's a day, a week, a month, or some length of time in between, I hope you'll create the opportunity for your soul to rest this summer. In fact, it would make a great summer goal for all of us!

 S'mores in the summer! While on vacation, we got to see our dear friends,  Sarah  and Brent, who live in the St. Simons area. This particular evening, we went to hear the bagpiper play on the golf greens at The Lodge at Sea Island as the ocean waves rolled by. And yes, it was as dreamy as it sounds.

S'mores in the summer! While on vacation, we got to see our dear friends, Sarah and Brent, who live in the St. Simons area. This particular evening, we went to hear the bagpiper play on the golf greens at The Lodge at Sea Island as the ocean waves rolled by. And yes, it was as dreamy as it sounds.

June Goals Progress

  • Make vacation plan with Woody Not only did we make our vacation plan for the year, but we also took an impromptu beach trip! Double hooray for accomplishing this goal!
  • Clean out my closet in prep for capsule wardrobe This hasn't happened yet, but I did start reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" which is setting me up for success!
  • Write and post three blog posts
  • Celebrate Christy's wedding
  • Continue triune wellness plan with Woody I'm learning I need a really solid plan to make this happen effectively
  • 30th birthday planning
  • Celebrate Father's Day with my dad We had a special weekend at the lake, and I prepared all the meals, which is a big step for this cook-in-training!
  • Sigma Kappa work group research
  • Make prayer list

Standing monthly goals

  • Send June birthday cards
  • Write Woody a love note
  • Goals blog post
  • Budget party with Woody
 Happy Independence Day! Love this festive flag at the  Sea Island  Beach Club.

Happy Independence Day! Love this festive flag at the Sea Island Beach Club.

July Goals

The numbers beside each monthly goal indicate the corresponding yearly goal.
Also, I am continuing to work on staying simple, yet very purposeful with my goals.

Write four blog posts (5)
Close on our home! (1) I can't wait to share the full update on our house journey!
Host Sarah and Brent in Birmingham (31)
Send 30th birthday party invitations (12, 33)
Watercolor (10, 11)
Celebrate July 4th with family (25, 33)

Standing monthly goals

Send July birthday cards
Write Woody a love note
Goals blog post
Budget party with Woody

What are you excited to do in July? Even though we're now mid-month, there is absolutely still time to make it count for what matters in your heart. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or leave a link to your own goals blog post!

Amy's baby shower

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby carriage! Most of us have sung this little song since childhood, and sometimes it's hard to believe we're now adults living out its rhymes. With The LovingKind being a love and marriage blog, I suppose talking babies is inevitable! 

Last spring, I helped host a baby shower for my dear friend, Amy, and it was a truly special day. It's been a year since the shower, and now spring is on its way again, so I thought I'd share our party with you! If you are planning a shower, decorating a nursery, or just enjoy fun event ideas, I hope you find some useful inspiration here.

Many of the shower elements were created DIY-style by the hostesses, and are things you could do yourself too! If you see something you like that you want more details for doing it yourself, feel free to ask!

Also, big thanks to shower guest and photographer, Ashley, for all these fabulous images of the event!

 

festive invitation

Being the lover of paper products that I am, I was very excited for the opportunity to create a special invitation for Amy's shower, and the other hostesses graciously obliged. Amy and Todd had announced the name of their baby boy, London, and we decided to incorporate it into our shower theme, and it started with the invitation.

I illustrated the London Bridge (a nod to London's name and the popular nursery rhyme) along with London's name and worked with Amy's husband Todd, a graphic designer and photographer, to complete the piece. 

IMG_6118.jpeg

We kept the invitation a surprise for Amy, and it was such a sweet moment when she called me with such sweet, genuine excitement after receiving it in the mail!

We also framed a copy of the illustration to use at the shower and to give to Amy to display in London's nursery. It turned out to be a wonderful keepsake from the event.

 

tasty food

Amy's shower was held at brunch time, and we loved picking out delicious brunch items to offer guests. We served fruit kabobs, orange juice, coffee, mini quiche and mini muffins. These items were easy-to-eat finger foods and were just right for a morning event. In addition, as any Southern hostess knows, you can't have a shower without something sweet! We couldn't resist a festive cake being part of the celebration, and one of the hostesses, Lindsey, selected this darling baby blue one from Edgar's, a popular Birmingham bakery.

Also, check out that fabulous doughnut hole tree! In my opinion, there is no better sweet morning delight than a doughnut! The tree was made by Lori, one of the hostesses, and was such a fun and tasty treat for the table! I found a couple great resources to help you make your own: Rachael Ray and Oh Happy Day.

 

fresh elements

One of the hostesses, Ammie, offered her home for the event, and it truly was the perfect location. From the natural light to the colors of her home decor, it was the ideal backdrop for the shower. 

Ammie also brought in beautiful, fresh elements in the beverages served and the floral touches throughout her home. The orange slices and mint leaves in the water not only looked nice, but tasted fresh too! Notice how she kept the flowers simple by only selecting a few types of blooms; this made a beautiful impact without feeling over the top. The colors were bright and happy, just right for an early spring, boy baby shower. 

 

personalized decor

One of the first things I always ask parents-to-be is if they are sharing with people the name for their baby. The name parents give their new little one is so special, and I just get so excited! If the parents have announced the name for the baby, personalizing the shower is a really sweet touch. We incorporated this starting with the invitation and continued it throughout the event decor.

The cheery, green monogram was made from floral wire, floral tape, greenery and craspedia (commonly called billy buttons). I used the floral wire and tape to create the letters, making loops at the top where I could tie ribbon for hanging. Once I had a letter shape I was happy with, I used the floral tape to attach the greenery and then the billy buttons to the volume that looked right. The finished product was lively and happy, and I love the statement it made hanging in the window!

Anxious to put my new calligraphy skills to use, I also made these little flags with toothpicks, scrapbook paper, and glue and personalized them with London's name and monogram. They looked adorable in the delicious Magic Muffins mini muffins and mini quiche we served. 

 

creative guest book

We wanted to provide a memory of all the friends who came to celebrate Amy and Todd and baby London, and decided to take a creative route over the traditional guest book.

We found this great map of the London Underground Transportation at Paper Source  and used spray adhesive to mount it on a foam core board to be used as the guest "book." We loved that we were able to incorporate London's name into so much of the event, and guests enjoyed finding the perfect place to sign their names to create a memory. 

 

little details

As Amy put together London's nursery, animals became a theme of the decor, so we wanted to incorporate these into the shower as well. One of the hostesses, Mandy, made these fabulous metallic animal figurines, and they looked amazing! She bought plastic toy animal figurines and spray painted them in metallic gold and silver. They looked so special throughout the shower, and we were also able to send them home with Amy to add to the nursery decor if she wanted. 

As another tribute to the animals, we got her two Little Darlings prints from The Animal Print Shop as a gift from the hostesses. Also, we gave her a few of the toy animals (pre-spray painted) for London to play with one day!

As I look back, one of my favorite things we did throughout the planning was to create special items that were personalized to Amy and London, and that Amy could take home with her to remind her of the shower well beyond the actual event!

IMG_0166-Edit.jpg
 

loving friends

 All of the shower hostesses with guests of honor, Amy and London.

All of the shower hostesses with guests of honor, Amy and London.

At the shower, Amy was surrounded by so many friends who were excited for London's arrival, and we truly celebrated their growing family that day. While all the decor and sweet touches were great, it was the love felt in the room that made the event truly meaningful. 

 

a year later

It's been a year since the shower, and London is just weeks away from his first birthday! He is one of the happiest little boys, and his parents are beyond smitten with him (I'm sure you can see why!). It has been a joy to be part of his life in this first year, and I can't help but kiss his little cheeks every time I see him. Amy and Todd are great parents and there is so much love in this little family of three.


Wherever the baby carriage may find you, as the hostess of a shower or preparing for a little one yourself, may your heart be ever focused on what matters mostthe gift of life you are celebrating and the foundation of love you are blessed to be part of laying. 

I know there are so many great shower ideas out there, and I'd love to hear from you! What are your favorite baby shower ideas or tips?

Shower photos by Ashley Bowers Photography
Family photos by Grant Benton

Valentine’s Luv & Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows

Valentine's Day is almost here, and I for one am loving this sweet season! There are so many good ways to celebrate, and I am excited to share one with you today through a special treat! 

 Strawberry Swirl Marshmallow from  Luv Cooks ,  Happy Valentine's Day card  from the  TLK Shop ,  Mug  and linen from  West Elm ,  Pink Hot Chocolate  from Sur La Table. 

Strawberry Swirl Marshmallow from Luv CooksHappy Valentine's Day card from the TLK ShopMug and linen from West ElmPink Hot Chocolate from Sur La Table. 

For those of you who have been visiting The LovingKind for a while, you may recall that I am a cook-in-training. I choose not to claim that I am "not a cook" or a "bad cook" so "in training" seems to fit the bill! This is why I decided to team up with my fearless, cooking friend, Callie of Luv Cooks for a series of collaborated posts (see posts one and two on The LovingKind, and one and two on Luv Cooks)!

 Callie of  Luv Cooks

Callie of Luv Cooks

I love the way Callie cooks because she is brave to constantly try new things, and she always includes the most important ingredient in any recipelove for those she is serving. I've seen this shine through in her "honeymoon inspired" chocolate pomegranate cookies she brought to our cookie swap, the handmade caramels she gave as favors at her NYE/wedding celebration party, and the skillet-baked cornbread she made for a weeknight dinner with friends. 

Not to mention, Callie loves Valentine's Day just like I do, so the focus of our third installment was obviousa Valentine-worthy celebratory treat! I hope you will feel Callie's heart and sparkle come straight through the screen, and also check out my post for Luv Cooks! 

Here's Callie!


The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows

Essential cooking tool: wooden spoon
recipe: Strawberry Swirl Marshamallows


True love, they say, is a "many splendored thing" (cue Andy Williams). Love in the kitchen, I say, comes in many splendored, shapes and sizes. 

It looks like slow-simmered, homemade chicken broth, carefully watched into the wee hours until bones and onion are discarded, then stirred into carrots and celery; noodles boiled al dente, chicken shredded and topped; served steaming to the one who needs to be soothed. It looks like a crazy day, schedule full to the brim, halted when the one who makes your heart skip a beat walks in the door with just the spice you needed. It looks like early morning scrambled eggs, whisked with gusto, while French press coffee fills the cool morning air with velvety richness.

To me, love also looks like a wooden spoon. Ironically, and of all of my kitchen tools, they are the first to show the stains of recipes gone by- smudges of sauce, caramelly burnt sugars, lowly hot water spots. But they are by far essential for oh-so-many kitchen taskssautéing vegetables; guarding a boiling water pot so it doesn’t overflow; scraping browned bits off the bottom of a braised pan.

The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows
The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows
The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows

My beautiful sister Caroline actually gave me my current favorite wooden spoon that she had monogrammed just for me. It’s luv cooks logo reminds me of the intention and care she put into buying it for me every time I stir. But for those of you looking to purchase your own wooden spoon, I adore sturdy, well handled varieties that stand the test of time. This olive wood version at Williams Sonoma is spot-on, but bamboo is also a solid option, as these tools tend to be lightweight and more flexible. Birch wood can be an excellent choice too!

In this recipe for marshmallows, a well built wooden spoon is key to the best marshmallow experience you can have. Make sure you watch your sugar mixture and stir it frequently so the sugar dissolves. Then, stifle your desire to stir as your mixture reaches the perfect boiling point (240 degrees). Finally, the stirring comes full circle as you fold in your egg whites. Its a beautiful, stirring process (wink wink).

All in all, the wooden spoon may be the most loved kitchen tool I own. Yet, it really is the one that shows wear the most. It hit me a few days ago that maybe that’s how real love actually is- messy sometimes; but always steady; always helpful; always solid; always beckoning us to stir more deeply into the good that awaits.

May you enjoy this sweet treat, and this sweet week, with the ones you luv.

The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows
The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows
The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows
The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows

Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows

What you will need:

For the marshmallows:

1/2 to 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup cold filtered water, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the strawberry swirl:

1 pint fresh strawberries, halved and tops removed
1 tablespoon sugar

What You Will Do:

  1. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan well with cooking spray. Scoop about ¼ to ½ cup confectioners’ sugar into the pan and toss the sugar around to coat the top and sides of the pan, discarding extra sugar.
  2. In a large bowl, pour ½ cup cold water over the gelatin. Let it sit for a few minutes to soften.
  3. Put halved strawberries and sugar into a blender to sit while you prepare the marshmallows.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, cook the granulated sugar, corn syrup, remaining ½ cup water, and salt over low heat. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until all of the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook without stirring the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat, and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture (don’t worry if you now have a gelatin dome- just keep blending), stirring until dissolved.
  5. Beat mixture with a mixer on high speed until fluffy and tripled in size, about seven to ten minutes. Once it gets so sticky that your beaters aren’t really working anymore- stop there!
  6. In the bowl of a separate stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and almond extract.
  7. Add egg white mixture gently into the sugar mixture with your wooden spoon until combined and still fluffy.
  8. Pour the mixture into prepared pan, using an oiled spatula (or spoon) to spread the mixture evenly.
  9. Make the strawberry puree: Blend the strawberries in blender until smooth.
  10. Use a wooden spoon to dallop strawberry puree in center, then corners of pan. Using a toothpick, make a pretty swirl pattern, gently combining the strawberry puree with the marshmallows.
  11. Chill in the fridge for a few hours and up to a day. I found it helpful to spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray, then stretch it over the top of the marshmallows. 
  12. To remove the marshmallows, run a knife around the edges of the pan. Cut marshmallows in to a grid of your desired size. Use a spatula or knife to remove. Enjoy!
 We decided to bag up a few of our marshmallows to share with friends!  Hi, You card  from the  TLK Shop .

We decided to bag up a few of our marshmallows to share with friends! Hi, You card from the TLK Shop.

The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows
The LovingKind_Luv Cooks Strawberry Swirl Marshmallows

Extra fun:

As you can see, Mattye and I fully embraced the celebratory nature of Valentine's Day treats with a fun white and dark chocolate dipping station! All you need is some melted chocolate; we melted Divine 70% ginger chocolate bar and white baking chocolate. Once dipped, sprinkle the mallows to your heart's content (we loved the Valentine-themed sprinkles from Sur La Table)! This is the one case where double-dipping is officially allowed! 

Also, if you have extra strawberries from the puree, they are great for chocolate and sprinkle dipping too!

Happy early Valentine's Day!

New love + Valentine Cards available in the TLK Shop!

I have always loved greeting cards. They combine two of my favorite thingswords and illustrations. In fact, as a little girl, I used to create cards for my parents on the regular and even started my own card "business" drawing custom cards for all my parents' friends (think: Lemonade StandHallmark edition). 

I don't know what it is, but there is something about those sweet pieces of folded paper and their messages of love, thoughtfulness and celebration that I just adore. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that when I set out to create products for The LovingKind, a card collection was the obvious starting point. 

The TLK Shop had a great launch at Christmastime, and with the my favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, right around the corner, I knew the next opportunity was to release some designs I had been dreaming up for a while. Some of these ideas have been sketched out in my sketchbook since before the launch of The LovingKind, and I am jumping-off-my-seat excited to finally get to share them with you!!

 Complete Collection

Complete Collection

I hope you love these cards as much as I do, and more importantly, I hope they inspire you and help you show the important people in your life that they are loved. From a classic "Happy Valentine's Day!" greeting to a playful "Love is the Jam" card, this collection is created to make you smile and to make celebrating those you love easy and enjoyable.

Each card is created from my hand drawn illustrations and hand lettering. My dear friend, Michelle of Parapalla Design Shoppe, helped me get my illustrations turned digital to be printed for you! And, I couldn't be happier with them! The illustrations just come to life printed on 110lb smooth ultra white paper and paired with a colorful, coordinating envelope. All they need is your personal message of love and celebration and a stamp to make someone's day!

And, these cards aren't just for Valentine's Day. If you ask me, every day is a reason to celebrate love and the people you care about, so choose your favorites and use these cards throughout the year! They're perfect for saying "I love you" to your sweetheart, "Congratulations" to a newly engaged friend or bride and groom, "Happy Anniversary" to a couple you love and admire, or just "You're awesome" to a good friend.

Whether you pick up one card, a few, a collection, or just browse through them, I hope they bring so much love and cheer into your life and relationships!

As always, thank you for visiting, for reading, and for being The LovingKind!

New Year's Eve: a time to celebrate!

It's New Year's Eve! This day always bring so many emotions for me. As someone who is sentimental by nature, NYE can be a little much for my heart to handle. From nostalgia for the year ending, hope for the one to come, and a wistful feeling as I want to savor what it's like to be living in the moment, I have a lot going on inside!

If I'm really being honest, most years I kind of just want NYE to be over so that I'm not so dramatically confronted with the passing of time. I'm a "savorer," and the conclusion of an entire year, and the knowledge that it will never be that year again is just hard for me to process.

Does anyone else feel this way?

 Ringing in 2014 last NYE with my darling husband!

Ringing in 2014 last NYE with my darling husband!

 We couldn't wait until midnight for a kiss!

We couldn't wait until midnight for a kiss!

I'm glad to say, in the past couple years, this has really turned around for me, and I've learned to truly celebrate NYE. By surrounding myself with people I care about and ringing in the New Year with joy, I have come to think less about the passing of time, and more about how blessed I am. I shift my focus to all that the concluding year has given me, and embrace a wild excitement for the possibility of what's to come.

Last year, we hosted a "sparkly" NYE party with our good friends, Callie and Jake, and it was a true celebration in every sense of the word! Woody and I's favorite part of the party ended up being the Hope Tree we set up in our loft (the sparkly photo booth compliments of Jake, Callie, Taylor and Bo came in a close second!). We found the inspiration for the Hope Tree at The Paris Market in Savannah, Georgia, the year before, and Woody had looked for an opportunity to recreate it ever since. 

 Our NYE Hope Tree

Our NYE Hope Tree

 Hopes and dreams waiting to be made and hung on the tree!

Hopes and dreams waiting to be made and hung on the tree!

We set up a lighted wire tree and asked people to "Share a dream, a hope a wish for 2014, hang it on the tree, and surely it will come to be!" It turned out to be one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the party. Seeing each couple find a moment during the festivities to hope and wish together was so special. Then, reading the collection of dreams was remarkable. The sincerity and individuality of each couple was heartwarming and inspiring.

 Lucas + Rachel // Bought their first home in 2014!

Lucas + Rachel // Bought their first home in 2014!

 Todd + Amy // Welcomed first baby, London, in 2014!

Todd + Amy // Welcomed first baby, London, in 2014!

 Jake + Callie // Got married in 2014!

Jake + Callie // Got married in 2014!

 Bo + Taylor // Got pregnant and renovated home in 2014!

Bo + Taylor // Got pregnant and renovated home in 2014!

 Michael + Amber // Welcomed first baby, Daniel, and moved states in 2014 (We miss them!)

Michael + Amber // Welcomed first baby, Daniel, and moved states in 2014 (We miss them!)

 Matt + Natalie (Natalie pictured holding the "0") // Fostered their first child in 2014!

Matt + Natalie (Natalie pictured holding the "0") // Fostered their first child in 2014!

Here we are, a year later, and God has done so much in our lives and the lives of our friends. Not everything is exactly as we each hoped and dreamed, but isn't it really better that way? Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." As we conclude 2014 and look forward to a new year, there is nothing more that I hope and pray for all of us in 2015. 

So friends, whether modest or extravagant, I hope your New Year's Eve celebration is one of gratitude and hope. God is doing good things. Happy 2015!

 

TLK Shop Launch!

I am so excited to finally share with you the launch of the TLK Shop! From the beginning of The LovingKind brand, I knew I not only wanted to inspire love through writing, but I also wanted to create products that inspire love in our everyday lives!

I love celebrations and beautiful paper products, so there was no better debut product for the TLK Shop than a collection of Christmas cards! It all started with some of my hand drawn illustrations, and turned into a darling collection of love-inspired holiday greetings! But, there is more behind these cards than just pretty illustrations and paper.

 There are four designs in the TLK Christmas card collection. See more details in the  TLK Shop !

There are four designs in the TLK Christmas card collection. See more details in the TLK Shop!

When we first got married, I was so excited to send out our first Christmas cards as Mr. & Mrs., but the process ended up being more challenging than I expected. With our timeline and budget, it just wasn't as easy as I'd thought. With this in mind, I set out to create my collection of Christmas greetings to be cards that celebrate the love and excitement of a first married Christmas, while being easy to order, ready to go, and fitting for a "newlywed budget!"

I partnered with Nicholas Keaton to create a special video to introduce you to the collection and shares the heart behind the cards. I hope you enjoy!


Also, the cards aren't just for newlyweds! The two folded card designs are so sweet and perfect for anyone wanting to send an extra dose of love along with their Christmas greeting!

TLK Shop Christmas Card
TLK Shop Christmas Card

special offer just for you!

TLK Shop

To celebrate the launch of the TLK Shop, everyone who places an order between Wednesday, November 12, and Friday, November 14, receives 20% off! I hope you'll enjoy shopping the new collection, and since this is the season of giving, share the launch special with a friend!

Thanks for being part of this special day! I would love to hear what you think of the new collection! 

xoxo. mattye

 

it's our second anniversary!

I loved our wedding so much. So much that I was honestly concerned that our anniversary would make me miss it. I feel like on Instagram this is where I would follow with #sadbuttrue.

While I love looking back on our wedding, and do miss it from time to time, our anniversary is not just the "reminder" celebration of our wedding that I thought it might be, but it is truly a special celebration all its own. 

It's easy for a wedding to feel like the "main event," but the truth is, it is just the beginning of the real main event: the marriage.

 I love this first-married moment right after we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife. I feel like our excitement could just leap off the page!   Photo by Sarah DeShaw Photography

I love this first-married moment right after we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife. I feel like our excitement could just leap off the page!

Photo by Sarah DeShaw Photography

I am so proud and honored for each year (today marks two!) I have been able to spend as the wife to my dear husband. Every anniversary is a time to remember the vows we made and the fabulous event that kicked off our marriage, to be thankful for the years we've been given, and to renew our love and hope for the future years to come!

This year, we're celebrating our second anniversary at the most magical place on earth: Disney World!

In the spirit of our anniversary this month, soon I'll be sharing what I've learned in the first two years of marriage, as well as some thoughts on ways to celebrate an anniversary. But for now, I'm going to spend time with my sweet husband having new adventures! I hope you'll also begin this month by doing something fun and by giving a kiss to the one you love! 

Happy November from the Woodcocks!