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Spring 2017 Lifestyle Favorites

Spring flew by and we are officially in the summer months. How is it possible that the year is half over already?!

I thought I would share a few of things I’ve been loving and using lately. Hope you enjoy and find some inspiration to try something new, too!

 

Fashion

florence-adams-paisley-close-up

As I mentioned in a post last week, I am absolutely loving wearing my new paisley patterned maxi dress from Florence Adams. It’s classy and elegant and comfortable and it makes me happy when I wear it!

 

Beauty

it cosmetics vitality lip stain

My new favorite lip product is the It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush 4-in-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain. Vitality Lip Flush takes the place of four products–your lipstick, conditioning lip balm, hydrating lip gloss, and lip stain, all in one! It’s comfortable to wear and long lasting—I put it on in the morning and the color lasts all day long!

 

Books

what women fear

I recently read What Women Fear by Angie Smith, and it was excellent. This book challenged me and encouraged me. I identified with so much of what Angie shared. She wrote in a candid, vulnerable way that resonated with my own experience in so many ways. I highly recommend this book. It has the potential to be life-changing.

 

Personal Care

Everyone Lavender Lotion

Lately, I’ve been using EO Products Lavender and Aloe Everyone Lotion. It’s smells wonderful, with it’s fresh lavender scent from real essential oil. It is made with natural, healthy ingredients that are nourishing for the skin, and it’s versatile enough to use on face, hands, and body. I especially love to apply it at nighttime; the smell is perfect for helping bring a sense of relaxation in preparation for sleep.

 

Food

republic of tea good hope vanilla

My favorite tea right now is Good Hope Vanilla Rooibos from The Republic of Tea. It has a nice smooth vanilla flavor. It’s perfect with a drop of cream and a sprinkle of sugar or stevia. So yummy!

 

Home

pillow

Recently, I decided to update the throw pillows on my bed. I chose an easy care square pillow with a beige background and pretty script lettering, along with a soft pink minky one. They both give the perfect accent to my vintage style floral bedding.

So there you have it—all my favorite things from this spring!

What are some things you’ve been loving lately?

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that  I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Get Ready for Summer Giveaway

It’s giveaway time again! I’m really loving these monthly giveaways. It’s so much fun choosing a prize, writing the post, seeing all the entries come in, and then seeing how excited the winner is to receive their gift! Thank you all for participating and sharing the giveaways with your friends, so they can join in the fun as well!

For this month’s giveaway, I decided to gather a bunch of goodies together  to make one amazing prize. All the items included in this giveaway are perfectly suited for prepping for all-out summer fabulousness! I’m calling it the Get Ready for Summer Fun Giveaway!

This is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to see which one of you wins this one!

(All of these items came from past Fab Fit Fun subscription boxes—feel free to check out my Fall, Winter, and Spring Fab Fit Fun unboxing posts. These are things I received in the subscription boxes and wasn’t able to use myself; each of them is in its original packaging and in brand new, pristine, untouched, untampered with, and otherwise perfect condition. 🙂 So there you go….)

get-ready-for-summer-giveaway
What I’m including in the Get Ready for Summer Giveaway:

RealHer I Am Fabulous lip kit

Luv AJ earring climbers and studs earring set

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion exfoliant

Deborah Lippmann nail polish duo

Gypsy 05 Boho Beach Roundie

Anderson Lilley Beach Butter Body Cream in Sicilian Tangerine

Fashionista note cards (2 sets—for the stationary lover!)

 

To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will run for 10 days. I will email the winner at the close of the giveaway. Thanks for entering and here’s hoping you’re the winner!

 

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  I only ever recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

10 Books to Encourage the Heart of the Christian Woman

10 books to encourage the heart of the christian woman

There are so many non-fiction books available these days in the inspirational category. Some are excellent, some are more on the mediocre side. It’s hard to know which ones are worth your time to read. Which of these reading choices will give you the most benefit for your time invested?

I love reading inspirational non-fiction books almost as much as I enjoy novels. It can be so valuable to spend time considering new ideas, reevaluating priorities, or hearing from the lives of others who gone through difficulties and grown in wisdom because of them. Christian inspirational books are my favorite of what can also be described as “self-help.” I try to read at least one book a month that challenges me in this way.

As someone who is always on the lookout for the best in Christian non-fiction, I thought maybe you could relate. So, I gathered 10 titles I consider excellent reads for the Christian woman looking for encouragement in her daily walk.

**Please remember to use discernment in choosing any of these (or any other) book. It’s always wise to “chew the meat and spit out the bones”—meaning you may not agree with everything included in each of these books. Be sure to look to the Bible as the final authority and remember that each of these books was written by a human. None of us is perfect, but each of us has something to share with others that can be of benefit.**

10 Books to Encourage the Heart of the Christian Woman

  1. The Best Yes by Lysa Terkheurst
    It seems like so many of us are running ourselves ragged trying to keep up with all of our commitments these days. This book addresses our tendency to agree to things that may not be the best choices for our current circumstances. Learning to say “yes” to the right things at the right time and “no” to the things that don’t serve us or our families well can be extremely freeing.
  2. What Women Fear by Angie Smith
    The message of this book was one I desperately needed to hear. I believe we all need to hear it. Personally, I have struggled with different forms of fear my entire life. Because of that, this book really resonated with me. If you have every struggled with being afraid to try something new, to take the next step, or that you aren’t who you believe people think you are and you are afraid of being found out, this book is for you.
  3. The Set Apart Woman by Leslie Ludy
    This book is so needed in today’s culture. The message the Ludy’s share is one of dedication to serving God no matter the cost. In this book, Leslie discusses the importance of prioritizing knowing God and following after Him. She talks about the importance of a life wholly devoted to the Lord, whatever the cost may be.
  4. Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae
    I believe the author of this book will hit a nerve for many young moms in today’s culture. Motherhood is hard and sometimes it can be tempting to wish you could escape the mundane routines of your everyday life for exotic places filled with adventure. In her typical self-deprecatingly entertaining way, Sarah Mae encourages her readers to see the beauty and adventure all around us. She shares her own journey toward finding joy and meaning in ordinary, everyday things.
  5. Choose Joy by Sarah Frankl and Mary Carver
    This is the moving story of a woman who lived for over 20 years with, and eventually died from, a debilitating autoimmune disease. It is the story of how she found joy and hope in the midst of incredibly challenging circumstances. This book will touch and inspire you to choose joy in your own life, no matter the difficulties you may be facing. This is a truly life-changing book.
  6. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
    As women, we all seem to feel the pressure to perform, to keep up appearances, and to meet so many expectations we place on ourselves. So many women are running around trying to be everything to everyone, and often feeling like they are falling short. This book addresses that issue by presenting another way, a way of authenticity and grace. It is a great reminder of how to be fully present in your own life.
  7. Rest Assured by Vicki Courtney
    Another book on how to free yourself from an over-committed, busy, hectic life, this offers practical solutions on recovering from the resulting exhaustion and overwhelm.
  8. Hoodwinked by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk
    Because of culture, family, friends, or lack of biblical teaching, many moms miss how valuable and powerful their calling really is. Some have bought into the pressure to be “Supermom.” Others have believed the myth that they can “do it all” and do it perfectly. This book will encourage and inspire women to embrace their roles as mothers wholeheartedly yet realistically, whether they work outside the home, have a home business, or are stay-at-home moms.
  9. Anchored by Kayla Aimee
    Both poignant and humorous, this book recounts the story of the author’s journey through the premature birth of her long-hoped-for daughter. With vulnerability and plenty of wit, she shares her struggle to redefine her faith, her marriage, and herself within the midst of challenging circumstances. As someone who has experienced the loss of a child, this was not an easy read for me. But the message of hope resonated with me, as it will with anyone who has walked through an unimaginable trial like this one.
  10. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
    In her signature style, Ann Voskamp speaks from her own place of brokenness and asks: What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This book is filled with profound insight on how to fully live a life of faith, even in the midst of brokenness.

Has this list given you some ideas for what to read next? Do you have any favorite Christian inspiration non-fiction books you could add to these? Have you read any of the books on this list? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below—I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that  I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is approaching. Honoring the mothers in your life is a wonderful privilege of the day. If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas, I’ve got some suggestions to get you started.

mothers-day-gift-guide-2017
Flowers

Flowers are one of my favorite gifts to give for Mother’s Day. I don’t know many moms who wouldn’t love to receive a beautiful bouquet of blooms in appreciation for all they do. I usually order from ProFlowers. The prices are good, service is great, and delivery is guaranteed. And then there’s the convenience factor of being able to choose and order an arrangement from my phone. When I order, I am definitely going to be doing so through my Ebates app; right now, Ebates is offering 12% cash back and several discount codes to choose from. Pretty good deal, huh? (If you’re not signed up for Ebates yet, you should be!)

Clarisonic Facial Brush

This handy little gadget would make a perfect gift. Personal care items like a Clarisonic are a great way to pamper mom with something she may not buy for herself. A Clarisonic is wonderful for enhancing a skin care regimen. Mom will certainly thank you for treating her to this one.

Spongelle Shower Gel Infused Sponge

A Spongelle bath and shower sponge is a clever little invention. It’s a bath sponge already infused with cleansing gel, making it a luxuriously practical little gift. These sponges smell amazing! They’re special enough to gift alone, or one of these would be a perfect addition to a bath-themed gift basket.

Subscription box service

A subscription box service would be a lovely gift, and one that keeps on giving. Subscribe mom for a month, a few months, or a year—it’s up to you. She’ll be impressed with your thoughtfulness. And I guarantee she’ll love getting a gift over and over again, long after Mother’s Day has ended. One subscription box I highly recommend (and the only one I personally have at the present time!) is Fab Fit Fun. There’s is a nice variety of items in each box, which comes four time a year. There are so many different types of subscription box services available, from makeup to books to food, you’re sure to find one that will appeal to you (and you’re mom).

Phone case

A pretty phone case would make a great gift for a mom with a smartphone. If you’re mom is tech savvy (mine is not), a tech related gift like this one could make her very happy.

Heart pendant necklace

This beautiful silver and rose gold heart pendant necklace would be a perfect way to express your love to your mom. It’s a gorgeous piece any lady in your life would be pleased to receive.

Perfume

If she has a signature sent, pick up a bottle of it to give to mom. If she doesn’t have a particular brand of perfume she loves, choose one for her. Lauren Perfume by Ralph Lauren or Creed Spring Flower would be a great place to start.

Floral maxi dress

If you know mom’s clothing size, why not give her a beautiful floral dress as a Mother’s Day gift? This one is a pretty, feminine style in chiffon.

Digital photo frame

Help mom preserve memories with a cool digital photo frame. Load it with photos of her family, and she’ll cherish it (and you’re thoughtfulness).

Beautiful scarf

A ladylike, beautiful scarf makes a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. A soft, flowing, feminine scarf can make her feel so special.

A good book

If your mom likes to read, a nicely bound copy of her favorite book might be a good gift idea. Or maybe you could give her a book she hasn’t read yet. As a book lover myself, I would love a gift like this from my own kids (a little hint just in case you’re reading this, kids)!

A Roomba vacuum

If you really want to splurge on a Mother’s Day gift, why not give her the luxury of not having to vacuum her house? A Roomba vacuum is a great way to make mom’s life a little easier. She’ll love the fact that she no longer has to clean her floors. Imagine the feeling of giving your mom a robot who does housework! Pretty cool, huh?

I hope this list has given you a little bit of inspiration for Mother’s Day gifts you can choose for the special ladies in your life. I know you want to make your mom feel special and appreciated this Mother’s Day. These gift ideas will certainly do that. Do you have any great Mother’s Day gift ideas to add to the list?

AND one more thing…

To show my appreciation for YOU, this month I am giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one of my lovely readers. Hint: that means you! This giveaway will only run for 10 days, so make sure you enter right away. Just scroll down to the bottom of this post and you’ll find several ways to enter. You can do one, two, or all of them–the more ways you enter, the more chances you have to win!

Be sure to enter the giveaway in the Rafflecopter widget below!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that  I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

How to Create a Personal Sanctuary

sunlight-through-window

Our lives are so full and fast paced these days. Everyone is busy. We all have so much going on. We’re overworked, overstressed, and in constant need of more rest. I think many of us have forgotten the importance of stopping to refresh and renew.

That’s why we need to create a personal sanctuary.

A few moments of quiet solitude to be still with our own thoughts is extremely important to our own health and wellbeing. A daily time of quiet reflection is essential.

For as long as I can remember, spending time alone has been necessary for my own sense of balance and peace of mind. I need moments of solitude in every day to be able to ponder and process through my thoughts. I like to use the time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future.

As a Christian, it is important to me to take a few minutes each day to read and mediate on God’s Word, the Bible. The Scriptures give guidance and wisdom for daily life. They help us know the mind of our Heavenly Father. Spending time in the Bible brings clarity and purpose to my day.

Along with reading and meditating on Scripture, I also love to carve out a few minutes in every day for activities that feed my soul. Whether it’s reading a good book, working on a sewing project, gardening, taking a quiet walk, or practicing an instrument, doing something just for me is an important part of what keeps me sane as a homeschooling mother of eight children.

Karen Andreola, one of my homeschooling mentors, calls this sort of thing Mother Culture.

“When a dedicated, hard-working home teacher takes part in Mother Culture she safeguards her enthusiasm. She will be better able to cope with her responsibilities. To take part in Mother Culture is to feed herself with the Word of God, with ideas from books, nature, art, music, etc., taking care to keep growing spiritually and mentally.”

It’s not only homeschooling mothers that can benefit from taking time to feed their own souls with beautiful, life giving activities. Anyone can find peace and joy by carving out moments in each day to cultivate their own interests. So much more than just “Me Time,” this daily sanctuary helps us to develop as people and brings refreshment to our spirits.

Do you have a time and place each day devoted just to you? A quiet, peaceful place where your soul can be renewed? Do you dedicate a few moments to solitude within your own thoughts? If you’re a Christian, do you spend time reading and meditating on the Scriptures each day?

In the hustle and bustle of life, don’t forget to feed your soul. Humans were not meant to be on the go 24/7. We need times of rest and silence alternated between times of activity and busyness.

Take time to create a personal sanctuary in your life. It doesn’t have to be fancy. it doesn’t have to take long. Just a few minutes of listening to your favorite song or reading a good book can do wonders. If you love to knit, do that. If you like to paint, make time for it. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea in the afternoon. Take a relaxing bubble bath. Just do something that brings you joy and makes you feel peaceful. Do it just for you. Don’t try to find a reason to justify it. Don’t multitask while doing it. Be fully present in it, just for a few moments every day.

This practice to create a personal sanctuary will bring balance to your life in ways you may not expect. It’s a wonderful way to de-stress. It’s great for your overall health and wellbeing. And you may find that you feel happier and more fulfilled in every other area of your life.

10 Best World War II Historical Novels

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Be assured that  I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

best-wwii-historical-novels

I’m a bit of a history buff. I guess I come by it naturally; my dad had a passion for history. My brother is very knowledgeable about history as well. And it’s being passed on through the generations to my own son and to my nephews.

One era of history that particularly fascinates me and many others is World War II. The horror of that time, as well as the heroism displayed in the face of great evil, captures interest and makes us want to learn more.

From thrilling, to poignant, to romantic, to heartbreaking, there are so many novels available to the WWII history buff.

Here is a list of historical novels that will bring to life some of the events and people surrounding that time in history.

(Please be aware that these books should be read with discernment. Not all the content in all the books is easy to take in. Considering the subject matter, some of the details and incidents in many of these books may be disturbing or graphic.)

This is not a comprehensive list by any means. It’s just a few recommendations to get you started, if you’re interested. Choose a book or two (or more!) from this list and allow yourself to be immersed in this major turning point in modern history.

World War II Historical Novels

 

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Two sisters make decisions and live with the consequences in this war-time story set in France.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A poignant tale that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

 

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

If you didn’t have to read this one in school, you should read it now. It may be considered YA, but like most good books, it has value for a large range of ages.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This is an imaginative and somewhat quirky novel that gives a taste of live on the German-occupied British isle of Guernsey during the war. Oh, and it’s about people who like books.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Several women from different background struggle to survive a Nazi concentration camp.

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A young girl finds hope and beauty in the midst of tragedy and the horror of war.

 

The Sisters of St. Croix by Diney Costeloe

A beautifully told tale of the lives of people in an occupied French village.

 

The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada

This haunting story shows the strength of hope and the power of beauty in the face of atrocities.

 

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson

This isn’t a novel about World War II per se. It is a coming-of-age story set during the war and gives a glimpse of life for families on the home front.

 

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Not a novel, but well written and highly recommended. Arguably the best on the list. Corrie Ten Boom tells the story of what happened to herself and her sister when her family hid several Jews in their home.

 

Go ahead, immerse yourself in the reading and learning!

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