Thursday, January 27, 2011

thank you!

i can't tell you all how much this little blog has come to mean to me. after college, i craved a creative outlet, and i've been so thankful for a place to store ideas and process life. what's more - i've been incredibly thankful for all of you. i have been really encouraged and inspired by all of you readers. though i have not met many of you, i have cherished sharing a connection, however small, with each of you. and i do hope to meet many more of you if our paths should cross someday! so thank you for stopping by and making my day. your comments are always such a pleasure to read. you can keep up with all future posts by becoming a follower at right. thank you for being here, friends!

if you haven't introduced yourself, i'd love to hear from you! what would you like to hear more about? i really appreciate that you're here as i continue to discover my voice and what exactly this blog is about.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

happy one year, t & f

have you been over to tulips & flightsuits yet? today is the one year anniversary for mary's blog. congrats, mary! i follow numerous blogs, but t & f is one of my daily must-reads. mary curates a fabulous blog about the home, being a navy wife, travel, and newlywed life. but what really makes mary's blog one of my favorites is the fact that her writing is so personal; it's as if you were sitting across from mary at your favorite coffeeshop, chatting over a mocha and a croissant.

so head over to t & f and tell mary hi!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

dance. dance. dance.

i can't get over these photos taken of me and m at a friend's wedding. can you tell how much we like to dance? truth be told, one of the things that most attracted me to him was his ability to bust a move on the dancefloor (one of our first dates ever was a salsa lesson - so fun!).

and though we often have very different music taste (me: indie and sometimes girly; him: rap, country, and beach music), we'll dance to just about anything. and we do so (obviously) with quite a bit of abandon. m grew up shagging (a Carolina dance set to beach music), and his parents actually fell in love while on the dancefloor (i know, cute). it's in his blood, and i'm so thankful. dancing always makes life a bit more fun, wouldn't you say?

when we sat down to plan our wedding, m and i discussed what mattered most to us. and both of us agreed that dancing was one of the top priorities. come june, my dancin' shoes are on!

if any of you are planning a wedding, i'd love to hear what you decided would be your priority! flowers? food? do tell.

Monday, January 24, 2011

finally BHLDN

when natalie sent me a cryptic message displaying a simple url, i had no idea what to expect. but when i clicked on it and the webpage appeared, mimicking a pretty letterpress invitation and fading into gorgeous close-ups of lace and cloth buttons, i knew.

the time has come.

anthro is officially launching their bridal line.

i know; pick me up off the floor.

february 14 (how appropriate) will mark the big day. the wedding line, called BHLDN (pronounced Beholden), will launch online followed by a boutique opening in August of this year. their motto, Be You, Be Loved, is so very Anthro, wouldn't you say? romantic and breathless. i can't wait to see what they've come up with. the website preview is already swoon-worthy. lots of texture, lace, fringey poms, glitz, and glam.

AND it's just in time for my wedding. perhaps i'll be able to pick out a few bridesmaid dresses and accessories for the big day. i'll have to steer my eyes away from the wedding dresses. if only.

BHLDN will be featured in the April issue of The Knot, and, small Cville claim to fame, Easton Events will be coordinating the photo shoot along with Rock, Paper, Scissors, who will be designing the paper products. these two companies are incredibly creative (check them out!), so i'm sure the trio will produce an amazing shoot. and yeah, Charlottesville! i love this town.

you can sign up for their email newsletter here: and if you have any more insider details, please pass them my way!

oh my word. yes.

ok. ok. i promise this is the last time i will blog about emersonmade... at least for this week. but come on - that bra top, the high skirt, the ballerina messy bun. yes please. tell me it's springtime already.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

poms and stamps

last weekend, i invited some girls over for brunch, mimosas, and crafting! now that the wedding is just five months away (!), it seemed high time to put some action into all those diy plans i'd made. the craft party was a wonderful success, and i couldn't have asked to share it with more lovely friends!

i spent the friday before the party preparing. my sister (and fabulous MOH) and i headed out to get all the essentials: ingredients for brunch, champagne, orange juice, fabric, a movie, and chocolate (ok, the chocolate and the movie were for us).

we set out all the crafting supplies:
1. tissue paper (i had bought the paper in bulk from this paper mart)
2. pipe cleaners, scissors, tape, pencils
3. cards (in one of our wedding colors! a total score from the Michael's sale bins)
4. thank you stamp (i splurged! thank you, ampersandity!) and ink pads
5. fabric (in various prints and textures, all in our wedding colors, from JoAnn's)

and then we turned on some music and went to work in the kitchen. we made this delicious egg strata (though we used 8 eggs, tore all the bread into bite size chunks and sauteed all the veggies beforehand). we made it the night before, so the next day all i had to do was pop it in the oven (along with some cinnamon rolls!). and finally collapsed on the couch to watch this movie (which was actually pretty good!). i LOVE time with my sister. we had a blast.

(that picture wasn't taken while we were making egg strata... though we have been known to strut around the kitchen in the dead of winter in our bathing suits. i love our matching freckles!)

the crafting party turned out beautifully! i had made poms earlier in the year for a party (pre-engagement), so i did a quick tutorial on pom-making since we'll be using a lot of them at the wedding. all the girls quickly became pom-making pros and set to work. my good friend natalie, known for her wordsmith skills, added stamping to her skill set and stamped ALL of my thank you notes. and maureen began to craft our fabric wedding banner.

the egg strata was a big hit, the mimosas were delicious, and the conversation was sweet. i'm so excited to see all of the diy decor coming together. i've had this vision growing in my mind since september, and it's going to be all the more beautiful knowing so many friends contributed to the finished product! i feel very loved.

thank you so much to all my beautiful friends who helped! i'm so sorry i didn't get photos of all of you but your presence was much appreciated. i wish i could post all of the finished products, but some things will have to be left until the wedding.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

some wednesday photo inspired thoughts

these photos have been sitting in my inspiration pile for ages. as i was looking through some of my favorites, i noticed a trend. i love the messy bun.

i've spotted this quote several times over the last week (really - it was someone's bumper sticker, it was on a poster in a coffee shop bathroom, it was used as a sign off in an email, and now i found it on pinterest!), so i thought i should pay attention. it's very true, isn't it?

my coffee. his coffee. ready for this to be real and for our home to be with each other. less than 5 months, bloggies!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

sarah seven

if i could wear multiple wedding dresses, i would have bought my second dress from sarah seven. i discovered sarah seven the summer before m proposed. she wasn't all that well known then but in the past year, her designs have blown up on the blogosphere. this weekend when i saw a huge, gorgeous ad for her dresses in Unveiled (perhaps my favorite wedding mag), i was reminded how much i love her style. the dresses are flirty and not the least bit fussy. AND the best part is that 5% of the sale goes to the International Justice Mission, which works to free those enslaved by human trafficking, and to Compassion, which feeds needy children. how awesome to have a bit of your wedding benefit others!

Monday, January 17, 2011

bone-deep honesty

natalie posted about this article in the curator on friday, and i thought it was too good to not repost.

do any of you journal? i remember getting my first diary as a birthday present when i was seven. it was one of the first presents i received that made me feel very grown up. it was a precious moments (remember those?) diary with a cartoon little girl on the cover. i cherished that little book. i remember feeling so important, like i must have significant things to say if someone had thought to give me an actual book in which to write them down. looking back on what i wrote is pretty comical, but i'm thankful for it nonetheless. it instilled in me a great love of writing and a practice of processing my thoughts externally - something i've learned that i need in order to understand what i am actually doing in my life and what i think of what i am doing. that may sound pretty egocentric, but i think the practice of understanding and evaluating my life actually allows for me to be more focused on others.

i love lindsay's quest to write in her journal fearlessly, to allow herself to be the imperfect version of herself on paper and to enjoy the freedom of writing. in her article, lindsay quotes luci shaw, and i think her remark is right on.

"Though we are often moving too fast to notice it, there is in each of us a profound need to be still, to be alone, to reflect, to meditate, to contemplate, to wait, to reach a kind of bone-deep honesty with our own souls.”

bone-deep honesty. i'm letting that one sit with me a while.

Friday, January 14, 2011

latest wedding inspiration

this wedding looks romantic and so sincere. the decor is a bit mismatched, vintage, and just the right amount of feminine pretty. i love it. all of these outdoor weddings are making me so excited for ours - now i just need to pray for no rain!

via SMP

Thursday, January 13, 2011

discovered genius

this story has been circulating around my office, and i just love it. i wonder what vivian was like while she was alive.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

taking a moment

hello dears, i'm so sorry i've been quite m.i.a. and inconsistent lately. the past week or so has, quite frankly, been full of wedding planning and decision-making, and my energy has been exhausted by it. i am beyond excited to marry m, and i feel incredibly blessed by the generosity of our families in the wedding planning process. there are so many fun, good things to look forward to (not least of all, actually being married !!!).

sometimes, though, i must admit that wedding planning can rear its ugly head and cause me to become a stressed, unfocused crazy person. if you've witnessed this, i do apologize. i think a lot of the anxiety that i allow to creep in comes from my tendency to lean on perfectionism as my defining state. and, big news - i'm just not perfect. my wedding will not be perfect. and my wedding planning will not be perfect.

i won't be able to make my perfected, shiny original vision for the wedding come to life in every single way (for instance, i originally envisioned everyone sitting at one long barn table together... but hello! we are expecting 250 people. one table? not happening.)

also, m and i disagree. this has been perhaps one of the most surprising things about planning a wedding for me (i'm not sure why, as m and i tend to have different tastes and make decisions in different ways). it's not always easy.

so this week, full of decision making and to-do's, has been messy. and yet, it has been wonderful.

it's been wonderful because i finally allowed my perfectionism to die. and i received the best gifts - grace and love. my parents graciously told me i would never be perfect but i was still beautiful and very capable of making good decisions. m affirmed that it was ok we disagree, that it did not mean we were less excited to marry each other, and that the wedding is about so much more than our decor and desserts. it's about celebrating God's provision in our lives and for bringing glory to His goodness by committing our lives to each other.

i've been thinking about that a lot this week - how profound it is that when i'm wrinkly, gray, and weathered by life's difficulties, i will still be committed to the promise i made when i was 23. i will still be committed to m, in his mess and in mine. at the end of the day, no matter what happens at my job or how miserable my day is, i'll be coming home to m, my best friend. the wedding will be amazing. i'm so excited. but marriage will be life-changing. my life for his. laying down my desires (even my perfectionism), in order to love m. i've hardly a clue what that means in real life besides what i've experienced through Christ's love for me, but i am anticipating a life of adventure and fierce, fierce love.

ps - i love the above picture, taken at our surprise engagement party. such joy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

52 in 52

yesterday, m and i were talking of new year's resolutions and how we hadn't made any. then he said something like 'i want to make 2011 the year where i say yes to more things. let's not allow ideas to stay ideas. let's do them.' i love that.

so, i'd like to read more. as you know, i love books. and i love the idea of reading more (a lot more). so i'm joining the leagues of 52 in 52 and attempting to read 52 books in 2011. i'm also resolving to read more nonfiction because i tend to always gravitate towards the literature section of any bookstore and, i've heard, nonfiction does good things for the brain.

anyone care to join me?

here's a start to my list. many are taken from the new york times best books or from pulitzer prize winners or national book award winners. some are recommendations or standard classics. some are about marriage (it's the year of the wedding after all). and some come from this website where other people write about their 52 in 52.

1. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
2. Desiring God by John Piper
3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (again)
5. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
6. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
7. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (started this twice... need to finish)
8. The Artist, The Philosopher, and The Warrior: The Intersecting Lives of da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped by Paul Strathern
9. When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
10. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
11. The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy by Cathy Porter
12. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (from Natalie's list!)
13. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler
15. Tinkers by Paul Harding
16. The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila
17. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
18. A Maze of Grace by Trish Ryan
19. The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason
20. I Married You by Walter Trobisch
21. The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace
22. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
23. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
24. A Christmas Carol & Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens

do you have recommendations? i'd love to hear them!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

a chicago christmas

here are a few photos from my chicago family christmas. my mom always makes our home so cheery and bright with lots and lots of decorations (some of which have been handed down to her from her own grandmother) and a lot of which have been handmade by me or by one of my sisters. somehow she keeps the house looking festive and familial without allowing it to become overrun with knick knacks or clutter. ever since i was young, my family has decorated our house for christmas the saturday after thanksgiving. we go out and get the christmas tree (it's always a contest to see who picks the best one) and while my dad strings the lights, all of us girls start unwrapping ornaments, garland, the advent wreath, and snow globes.

the chalkboard is courtesy of my dad who, little known fact, is a great artist. i love that every so often he'll decorate the board with some message or drawing for us when we return home for a weekend or holiday.

finally, i just love our christmas tree. while i always enjoy seeing those trees decked out in proper golden garland and strung with gleaming red bulbs, there is something i adore about our little handmade tree. the ornaments all have stories behind them, whether gifted, made, or passed down. i love that kind of heritage.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

too early?

maybe it's just the dreariness of this day, but i'm finding myself already dreaming of spring. so when i stumbled upon (ok, maybe i "stumble" here too often) emersonmade and saw that her new spring collection previews were up, i was thrilled.

ps - that coat is my fave.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

i'm back!

whew! can you believe the holidays are over? i hope yours were restful and cheery. i had the best time at home, having a slow week full of family, some wedding planning, and my first bridal shower! now that i'm back, it seems i've hit the ground running and all that r&r has fallen by the wayside.

does this happen to you? it's like all week i got plenty of sleep, worked out every day, ate delicious meals, read a lot, lounged, wondering just how in the world i would fill up all the hours in the day. and then bam! vacation is over, and i'm wondering just how in the world i'll have time to work, eat, plan a wedding, work out so i fit into my wedding dress, and maybe sleep. and why, oh why did i not get more done during vacation? but that is what vacation is for, i guess. a reprieve from the constant roar of accomplishment.

so here are the very few non-accomplishments i checked off my list while i was gone:

1. painted my nails the most glittery gold (see above photo). it chipped off after 4 days, leaving my fingers in a sorry state of post-christmas hoopla. but i still enjoyed looking at them, like the sweetly sad feeling you get when you see all the wrapping paper balled up in the trash around noon on christmas.

2. listened to a new friend talk about the life he left in mexico, his love of painting, and how he once won a singing contest in front of 300 strangers. this might have been the most meaningful conversation i had all christmas season, and it happened when i volunteered with my church at an event for the homeless.

3. watched old home videos. oh my goodness. i haven't laughed that hard in a long time. my parents were strenuously committed to documenting all of their young daughters' lives on camera, and the result is pure entertainment. as the oldest, i exhausted myself in front of the camera, coming up with anything, anything to bring the attention back to myself (as my sisters would say, oh how things have changed). hilarious.

4. made these no-bake cookies (my grandma was famous for them around our house).

5. saw this movie. i highly recommend it. colin firth is amazing, and this story warms my heart.

6. read a lot of this book. a must read. it's changing the way i think. more thoughts on it to come.

would love to hear how your holidays were!
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