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Summer Garden Tour

Gardening has been a passion of mine for many years. There’s nothing quite like getting down, hands in the soil, nurturing and bringing forth green and growing things. It is indescribably rewarding.

Gardening is a useful skill. Growing a vegetable garden can provide fresh, nutrient rich food for the family. Yes, it’s a lot of work to grow your own vegetables, but the quality of the food and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from it is worth the effort.

My favorite type of gardening, however, isn’t the practical kind at all. It’s planting and tending my flower gardens and landscaping beds. I love flowers, and my favorite way to enjoy them is when they are growing right in my own backyard.

I’ve spent several years working to develop and cultivate my flower gardens. It’s something I dreamed about for years before we built and moved into our house. I envisioned the profusion of flowers that would spill forth from my garden beds. I could see in my mind all the varieties of plants I would choose, and many of those are the very plants I have now.

Bringing beauty and creativity into the world is an extremely rewarding pastime, whether you are growing flowers or painting a picture or cooking a delicious meal for your family. Never underestimate the value of creating beautiful things. As humans, we are made in the image and He is an inherently creative being. This means that we should also be creative. One of our missions in life should be to find the ways in which we are gifted toward creativity and pursue those ways to beautify and enhance the world around us.

In gardening, I like I am cooperating with God in encouraging the growth and expression of the beauty of His creation. There is an aspect of flowers and plants that brings glory to God in His amazing creativity.

It thought it would be fun to give you a bit of a tour of my gardens and tell you a bit about how they have developed over the years. What do you think? Would you like a peek at my gardens and all the pretty flowers I get to see out my windows every day?

Well, then, here we go….

We’ll start in the front yard. Our home is a large traditional federal style house. We built it ourselves (my husband used to build houses for a living) about 15 years ago. About 12 years ago, we added some hardscape (stone surrounded beds) to the front and one side of the house to enclose the foundation plantings. In the front of the house, these stone wrapped beds hold a profusion of hydrangea bushes.


Hydrangeas have long been one of my favorite flowers. I love their big showiness, yet there is an element of simplicity in them I really enjoy. These front flower plantings are one of the things I clearly envisioned long before our house was built. I had a picture in my mind of exactly what this area of the garden would look like, and that’s exactly what it looks like today.

One of the things I love most about having these hydrangeas planted in the front of my house is the beautiful, dramatic bouquets I have on my kitchen counters at this time of year. There’s nothing quite like a vase full of hydrangea blooms to brighten a room.

Toward the front corner of the house, there is a spirea bush I bought years ago at a local plant sale held by our town’s garden club. (Several of the plants in my garden came from this annual sale which is a fundraiser for the garden club.) What started out as a small sprig I paid $1 for has grown into a large bush which is overflowing from the space where it is planted.


Next to the spirea grows our large lilac bush. At this point, it is more of a tree. It could use a good pruning one of these years. I love the sent of lilacs wafting through the living room windows on a lovely spring day. Another flower I love to bring inside, lilacs make beautiful cut flowers. Lilacs also happen to be my husband’s favorite flower.


Moving on to the side of the house, I have couple of flower beds that I designed to have the feel of an English country garden. There is a profusion of flowers blooming throughout the season, from spring through fall. Daylilies, pink mallow, peonies, candytuft, irises, salvia, creeping phlox, and climbing roses all take their turns in the spotlight during the summer months.


Our house is set into a hill, so our side garden is laid out in a terraced design. In the lower terrace, I have more bright bloomers overflowing from the bed.


Heading away from the house and into the backyard area, there is a small and simple garden consisting of hostas and daylillies surrounding the base of a willow tree. There are also some fragrant asiatic lilies that were given to us in honor of our daughter who passed away. There are a beautiful pure white color and smell heavenly, reminding us of our little girl’s beautiful purity and the hope that she is waiting for us in our heavenly home. This garden has special meaning to me not only because of these lilies, but also because I planted the garden the summer I was expecting her. For me, this has created a tender connection to her life.


Beyond this flower bed, we have a small orchard and a few berry bushes. To the side, we have an arbor with grapevines and we have a small fire pit area set up as well. The fire pit was thrown together by our sons one afternoon last summer and we’ve enjoyed and used it often since then.




Along the perimeter of our back deck I have planted hostas. Hostas are wonderful plants for landscaping. They are easy care plants that give you a lot of bang for your buck. They blend with many different styles of landscaping and gardens.


One last area of gardening in my yard (at least for now!) is my little herb garden, which is planted beside my vegetable garden plot. In it, I have two kinds of mint, lavender, oregano, purple coneflower, lamb’s ear, and chives.

There you have it—my summer garden tour! I hope you enjoyed getting this peek into one of my favorite places to spend a quiet summer afternoon. Gardening has been a rewarding and enjoyable hobby for me for many years, and I hope it will continue to be for many more to come.

How about you? Do you enjoy gardening, or is it a hobby you hope to develop for yourself one day? I’d love to hear your thoughts–please leave a comment!

You’re Looking Fabulous, Darling! Giveaway

Today is my birthday, and to celebrate, I thought I would give one of YOU a gift!

I’m calling this my “You’re Looking Fabulous, Darling! Giveaway.” I’ve gathered up a few of my favorite things from this summer and bundled them into one amazing gift for you!

Having a summer birthday is definitely very cool. I’ve always loved the fact that my birthday falls right in the middle of the best part of summer. It is always warm enough for pool parties. There is still plenty of time before having to start school shopping or planning. We’re still in the midst of the nicest days of the most relaxing season (in case you’re new here, I really like relaxing). Yep, I have to say I have the best day for my birthday!

Now, on to the giveaway!

birthday giveaway

This little bundle of goodies includes some really fun and fabulous items I just know you’re going to love! It’s perfectly curated to help you get the most out of the last few remaining days of summer. I’m so excited to give it away to one of YOU!

Here’s what’s included:

Gorgeous Sun hat
Keep the sun off your face and look glamorous

Cute Flamingo Kimono/Scarf
This adorable kimono combines two trends I find irresistible

Cool Sunglasses
Foster grants—good quality and you’ll look cool too

Pretty Silver-toned Earrings
These have a lovely delicate look, yet they make a statement

Essential Sunscreen
Gotta have it—this stuff is really nice quality, too

Urban Decay Lipstick
Need I say more? It’s Urban Decay—the real deal

and the one I’m most excited to give to you…

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette
This makeup palette is simply beautiful. It includes some of Tarte’s most iconic colors (can you say “Park Avenue Princess?”) in a gorgeous nomination that will help you create many fabulous looks. The packaging really stands out as well—it’s very unique. If you’ve ever tried anything from Tarte, you know the quality of their products is excellent.

birthday giveaway overlay

I can’t wait to see which of you wins this! This giveaway will run for eight days. To enter, just use 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!

Summer 2017 Fab Fit Fun Unboxing

It’s that time again—time for another Fab Fit Fun unboxing!

Fab Fit Fun is a subscription box which comes out four times a year. Each season brings a new box. Usually the theme of the box corresponds to the season in which it is released. The boxes generally contain a nice variety of beauty, health, and lifestyle items.

Fab Fit Fun is by far my favorite subscription service of any I’ve tried.

The retail value of the items included in the box always well exceeds the price of the box (which starts at $49 per box). Usually the total worth of the items in the box is over $200. How’s that for a great deal?

The best part about any subscription box is the surprises inside each one. It’s like giving yourself an unexpected gift four times a year!

The latest Fab Fit Fun box is the summer one, and it’s got some really great items included in it. Let’s take a look at what’s inside!

summer fab fit fun box
Michael Stars Ruana

summer-fab fit fun-ruana

It was so excited when I pulled this out of the box! This gorgeous ruana is perfect for adding a little something to a summer outfit. It can be worn as a scarf, sarong, or draped like a shawl. It’s such an amazingly versatile piece!

BKR Glass Water Bottle


This little water bottle has a pretty blue silicone sleeve and convenience handle on the cap. It’s a handy size for toting around and would be perfect for traveling.

Vital Proteins Marine Collagen

This is an unflavored drinkable collagen powder that can be added to any beverage, hot or cold. It claims to give a healthier complexion and a life of vibrancy. It’s gluten free, sugar free, and non-GMO. I’m interested to try this powder. I don’t know much about the benefits of collagen proteins, but this has given me a reason to find out more!

Cargo Cosmetics HD Picture Perfect Highlighter in Bronze


The color of this highlighter is a bit on the dark side for my skin tone, though it would make a perfect bronzer. I had never heard of this brand, but it seems like a good quality product. Unfortunately, my powder came cracked. Not a difficult fix, but a bit disappointing. It was packaged well, so I’m not sure what happened.

Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate

Juice Beauty is a high quality beauty brand that uses natural ingredients in their products. I am excited to try this eye cream. It has certified organic grape and carrot juices blended with essential fatty acids to hydrate and nourish the eye area. We’ll see what kind of results it gives!

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Being a curly girl, I don’t typically use dry shampoo as my hair is already on the dry side. I don’t know much about dry shampoo, but this one seems to have more natural ingredients and it claims to eliminate dirt, oil, and odors and help regain volume and texture without white residue. Not sure I’ll be trying this one—I’ll probably pass it on to someone who can benefit more from it.

Eau Thermale Avene Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+

This sheer, lightweight sunscreen contains broad spectrum SPF 50. It has a very light scent and blends really easily into the skin. It’s in a convenient size as well.

Kris Nations Mystic Bar Necklace


This necklace is made of real therapeutic gemstones. The stones are hand-cut by craftsmen in India. I love the delicate look of this necklace. The color of the stones is lovely as well.

Salted Himalayan Pink Salt Kit


Himalayan Pink Salt has many health benefits. It also adds great flavor to cooking. This salt kit comes with a grater, wood stand, and a block of Himalayan Pink Salt.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this box. It has a nice variety of items. Some of these items are going to be a lot of fun to try out!

If you’re interested in getting a Fab Fit Fun box delivered to you every season, use this referral link and you’ll receive $10 off your first box. Each box is available only for a limited time, so if you like what you see in this one, don’t wait!

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!

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!




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!



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!



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.



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!




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….)

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!

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