Fall Fashions

I have a cold and right now I've got so much medicine in me I can hardly think straight.
Not much is getting done around the house today because of it :(

It feels just a wee bit like Fall outside today and if you're like me you love fall fahions. Even though Spring is my favorite time of year, I love the look of fall clothing.

Right now I'm loving neutrals, lace, ruffles, belts, pleats, and leather.
Here's some of my favorites

Most of the items above are inexpensive, but I've been able to find similar items for next to nothing at thrift stores. Belts exactly like the one above are incredibly easy to find and usually only cost  $1 or less.
I will have to say that I always have a difficult time finding cardigans at thrift stores. When I do find them they are for plus size women or they look like they've been washed and worn way too many times. I usually end up having to buy mine new. Target and even Walmart tend to have good deals on them and they last forever and will never go out of style.

Pleated skirts from the 1980's are also easy to come by. Yes, you will probably have to sort through ugly plaid ones or ones with stains on them, etc ...but I've recently found some GORGEOUS vintage ones. I bought a full length cream colored one in perfect condition (1970's - 1980's; see below) for $3.50 and I always get lots of comments when I wear it. I also bought a knee length one that is dove gray. My favorite is a pink one with layers and layers of fabric (below; left). It's probably from the late 70's - early 80's.
The pinkish one has sooo many layers and um...recently at church all those layers in the back ...yup they got tucked into my undies. I am forever indebted to the very sweet girl sitting behind me for telling me what was going on back there and yeah.... sadly that is not the first time such a thing has happened to me at church.

They look almost the same color in those pictures, but they're verrrry different looking in person.

I got this cute Gap dress at Goodwill last week. I think it will be perfect with heals and a cardigan.

I also bought this cute vintage lace top.

Leather and faux leather large totes and messenger bags are also fairly common and are usually less than $5. I've recently purchased a huuuge gorgeous faux leather tote (Chico's brand) at Goodwill for $2. I discovered recently that thrift stores like Goodwill tend to put all of the smaller size purses and clutches hanging on a pegboard wall or spinning display, but large totes and purses they consider to be more like luggage or briefcases and so they tend to be stuffed into those bins instead of in the purse section. That's where I found this Chico's purse.

looks kinda like a smiling frog

Our Courtship - Part 3

If you missed the beginning click here for part 1 and part 2.

my friend Leah took this the day after Caleb & I got engaged

So the texting became more frequent and so did the visits and
sometimes Facebook messages and chats.

On a typical Saturday visit at the end of October 2009 with
 Caleb and some of his brothers, it happened.
Caleb and I were left completely alone.
It wasn't even planned.
Except of course, by the Lord.
Do you have any idea how it wasn't even possible for that to happen?
I say that because Caleb's brothers (and I love each and every one of them dearly even when they make me mad) can talk water UPHILL.
Caleb is very quiet. The others; not so much.

My grandma, me and Caleb on his birthday last November
So we were left alone for about an hour or so in the living room.
The tv had a college football game going since I'm pretty sure Caleb and his
brothers came to my family's house to see us...and to watch college football on ESPN.
I just sat there tired from the day's activities wondering WHY I had to be left alone with "the quiet brother" and wondering what I was suppose to say.
Caleb sat there nervously, because he decided that to fulfill his "plan",
he needed to make sure we were 100% on the same page as far as beliefs go.
So I'm just sitting there staring blankly at the tv (I have NO idea whatsoever how one plays football; still don't) when all of a sudden Caleb coughs (he always coughs before he say something important, but I didn't know that then).
 He coughed, and then without making very much eye contact with me starts asking me
about all kinds of things from my opinions on women's dress, holidays, children, head coverings, doctrinal things, etc. I can't even remember it all.
I thought is was sort of a strange conversation since I knew that HE KNEW what I believed.
I just didn't know that he was double checking. Caleb double checks and triple checks everything in life. I like that about him.
Then when he was done double checking he said he needed to head back home.
I was somewhat relieved that he was going and I could now go help my mom clean up from the day's events.

So...I sort of kind of - but not really - thought over my conversation that'd I'd just had with Caleb while I was cleaning up.  Then a few hours later I got a text message from him.
He sounded giddy and it said something about how he'd had a great day and that he was SO glad we got to talk about things.

Yeah right, I was thinking sarcastically...you were quizzing me.
You had a purpose only I didn't know you had a purpose and a plan.

THAT is the exact moment in history that it dawned on me that this dude LIKED ME!
As MORE than a friend!
I went upstairs and I um...

I prayed that God would make Caleb NOT like me.
As you can see...He did not grant me my request.
He knew. Caleb knew. I didn't yet know.

dancing at my sister's birthday party last July

So I sobbed. And sobbed. And that didn't get me anywhere.
So I wrote all kinds of things that evening in my journal.
Things about how I hoped I was mistaken and that God would make Caleb
not like me. That sounds so very sad and awful of me in retrospect.
It was NEVER because I didn't like Caleb or anything...
I just didn't feel that my heart was ready to be in a romantic relationship yet.
I still had all that hurt and pain going on.
But the Lord knew. And His timing is ALWAYS perfect.
You can count on that.

So the day after our "talk", I felt horribly guilty about my reaction to the Lord.
I prayed constantly and asked Him to make it VERY clear to me if He wanted me to consider Caleb.
I asked Him to change my heart to romantically liking Caleb ONLY if it was His will.
I begged Him to not let me get hurt.
I didn't write in my journal again for 10 days.
10 looong days of prayer and seeking God's will.
10 days later my journal entry says "I think God has changed my heart for Caleb".
Only 10 days! God mercifully answered my prayers!

Caleb had NO clue I was going through all this. He probably just thought I was liking him
all along. I'm not sure.

Leaving the church. I love the look on Bub's face!

Anyways...3 weeks after Caleb quizzed me he starting talking with my dad and told him that he wanted to court me. My dad took him very seriously and told Caleb that when he came over on the day after Thanksgiving (he was already planning on a visit that day) that they could discuss things.
So I didn't know about any of this.
Caleb helped my dad fry some turkeys and while they did that apparently they talked things over and Caleb asked my dad's permission to court me. Not to marry me, but to court me.
Caleb got permission that same day, because my parents already knew Caleb and his character, etc.
Sometimes the dad/suitor part can take a long time if the man is someone who isn't well known by the parents/family.
So ...that's why again I say: no courtship is the same. There are no one set of rules.

Now by this time I WANTED him to court me.
To marry me.

So the same day he asked my dad's permission Caleb asked me if I wanted to be
"more than friends".
I told him before I could answer him I had a LOT of questions.
There were some things that he believed that I wanted clarification on.
He kindly answered all my questions and clarified any misunderstandings I had.
Then I said yes.
Whole heartily said yes!

All courtships have different sets of rules regarding what kinds of interactions the couple can have:
hand holding, kissing, hugging, being alone together, going out on dates, chaperone's, length of courtship, length of engagement etc.

I guess my parents were pretty easy going.
We had lots of alone time to talk.
We went out alone and on dates.

Although...now that I think about it...most of our "courting" took place at home.
Just sitting around watching movies or football or talking or planning future things.
Caleb very quickly became a part of my family and that was a huge blessing!

But again...I'm not holding up our courtship as a guideline.
It just so happened to work beautifully for us.
I do think when the parents/or father set the rules for the courtship that they
should take into account things like the couple's age and maturity level.
I know my parents did with me and Caleb and with my sister and her fiance.

I've read MANY books and articles on the subject of courtship.
Some pretty much declare that their way is the only way.
Even the Bible doesn't give ONE way.
The Bible does give guidelines.
All couples who are courting OR dating are to pursue holiness.

Some books I read said that the couple should only be best friends before they're married and that love should only come after marriage.
I don't agree with that.
I don't doubt that many happily married people have gone about it this way...
but if you are happily marrying someone...how can you NOT love them?!
I couldn't help but to fall in love with Caleb before marriage!

Another issue frequently brought up in books and articles on courtship is that of emotional purity.
That is the belief that one should remain emotionally pure during the courtship process and to NOT give ones heart away to the other person.
Now, I believe that BEFORE courtship this is a good thing to practice.
But...during our courtship, as the Lord made it clearer and clearer to both of us
that it was His will for us to marry and spend the rest of our lives together, I couldn't help, but to give my heart little by little to Caleb.
Yes, I guess I was taking a bit of a risk that he would change his mind and leave me, but
that didn't stop my heart from being emotionally involved.
Is it really possible to keep ones heart from growing in love or emotional attachment towards someone who is pursuing you for marriage? If you are happy in your courtship I mean? Is it really?

Caleb and my dad spent lots of time together during our courtship remodeling my parents kitchen.
Caleb and my dad are both very gifted handymen and so together they got a lot accomplished.
But working together like that gave them time to become better friends.
I like that.

The topic of woodworking reminds me:
Yall, I am SO spoiled by Caleb!!!
That man built me a GORGEOUS cherry jewelry box for my birthday in 2009.
He even filled it full of Dove chocolates!
He actually started to build me that box the week after "the talk" at the end of October.
He told me later that he'd been hoping that I would be his girl by my birthday (12/29) that year so that he could give me the box then.
I love the sort of hope and peace Caleb had about the whole situation.
Especially, considering that at the time I didn't even know there WAS a situation!

Caleb also built the ring box that he used to propose to me with. He built it years before in hopes of getting to use it one day.
So many sweet things for me to treasure!

Our courtship was only 6 weeks long.
Caleb and I just knew.
My parents were thrilled.
They ADORE Caleb.

We were engaged the first week of January 2010 and got married on March 27th 2010.

best friends!

I can't imagine a happier marriage.
I love that man. Love him to pieces!

We've been married for 17 months now, and we've had so many difficult things thrown at us since we've been married. We've dealt with family matters, money matters, my health (colitis flare after 2+ years in remission), and 2 miscarriages.
I'm so grateful that I have Caleb by my side through all of life's difficulities.
We both strive to bring glory to God in all of life's circumstances and to thank Him for each day we get to spend together.


Vanilla Granola

I love granola, but I'm so picky about what's in it. Therefore, I enjoy making my own.
I have two favorite granola recipes that I enjoy making; a peanut butter granola that my sisters-in-law have shared with me and a vanilla granola recipe that I've been making for a few years now.

A few days ago I made the vanilla one. It makes the house smell so good! Caleb came home and ate about 1/2 of what I'd made :)

Vanilla Granola
1 1/2 c. coconut
3/4 c. wheat germ
4 c old fashioned oats
1 c sliced almonds or walnuts
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c vegetable oil or coconut oil
1/4 c honey
1/4 c maple syrup
4 tsp vanilla (this seems like a lot, but it's perfect!)

Preheat oven to 300*.
Lightly grease a large cookie sheet.
Mix coconut, wheat germ, oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a saucepan combine oil, honey, and maple syrup.
Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
Pour over oat mixture and stir well.
Spread onto the baking sheet.
Bake about 25-30 minutes (stirring half way through).
Let cool completely. 
Stores up to 2 weeks

It tastes so yummy stirred into yogurt or eaten like cereal with almond milk.


A peak inside my yellow, white, & gray themed bathroom

Our house is from 1954 and has 3 full baths and one half bath. The full bath that is on the main floor of the house has pretty gray tiles (2 contrasting shades of gray). The previous owners had the walls painted a flat white color. I decided to go with yellow walls, but picking the right shade scared me. Yellow is not a color that I decorate with often (ever?) or even wear. I just don't really like it. However I love the look of gray, white, and yellow together.

This bathroom is a really awkward size so sorry my pictures aren't so great.
Not that they usually are :D

before & after

The color I chose is called "Buttercream" and is the Better Homes and Gardens brand from Walmart.

I re-enameled the icky old bathtub for only $12.
You can read about that here.

We ended up deciding to keep the original chrome medicine cabinet. It's in great condition and has the built in lights on either side.

 Since it's such a small space I knew I wanted to lighten it up in there with a white shower curtain. I got a nice simple one at Kmart for $20. The cute vintage inspired lucite globe hooks I got at TJMaxx for $5. The city water around here has a weird red tint to it and it stains the sinks, tub, and showers in our house a redish color sometimes. It always leaves my plastic shower curtain liner GROSS looking and it just doesn't clean well. Sooo I bought a white fabric shower curtain liner for $10 at Kmart and I'm so pleased with it! It is machine washable and it is also much lighter weight and so now the curtains draw back much easier.  Mostly I just like it because it looks so much cleaner.

A close up of the yellow wall color.

There had been mini blinds in the window, but I knew I wanted Roman shades with a pattern. I found this cute dark gray (it looks black in the picture, but it's not) polka dot fabric at a sewing shop near my mom's house. I followed this tutorial from Little Green Notebook and made mine in about an hour or so. Mine is mostly for decoration, but it does work really well.

 For some strange reason the window just had regular glass on the lower half so people outside could easily see in and ew ew ew who wants that to happen?! So I went to Home Depot and bought some vinyl window film with a slight texture so that light can still filter through, but you don't have to worry about anyone seeing in. I think I paid $20 for a large roll of it, but I only had to use about a quarter of the amount on the roll. It's nice because it clings to the window with out any adhesive glue stuff. It's easy to take right down and smooth out if you have to.

A close up of the window vinyl.

There wasn't a medcine cabinet in the bathroom; in fact, there wasn't any storage anywhere except for inside the shallow medcine cabinet. I drew up what I wanted Caleb to build me...ha! I'm so spoiled!
He built me this GORGEOUS cabinet that is the perfect size. It has a couple of shelves inside plus an open shelf to hold jars of cotton balls and q-tips. I got those cute vintage fleur de lis embossed jars at a flea market for 50cents each. Caleb built the cabinet out of scrap wood and I painted it white to compliment the trim in the bathroom. 

I got a nice smaller size white memory foam bathmat at Kmart for $11.
I love that thing! 

The sink is not original to the house, but thankfully it is in good condition and is a nice small size to fit in such a narrow space.

 I spent right about $115 to makeover this bathroom and that counts for:
shower curtain
curtain liner
enamel tub paint
curtain rings
window treatment
window vinyl
soap dispenser
knobs for the medicine cabinet
towel hooks

 I'm really pleased with how the room has come out looking...now I need to start working on the other 3 bathrooms in the house...



A 1940'S Bathroom Remodel

I seem to have done like 9380 million posts lately about bathrooms (I already posted this Regency inspired bathroom earlier). Sadly, I have even more to post about soon. Now I want to share with yall one of the bathrooms in my parents house.
The house my parents bought a few years ago here in Virginia (after a move from Memphis) is from 1940 with a large addition from 1950. The 1940 part of the home has a small half bath between the kitchen and the library. The house my parents bought was a fixer upper and this particular bathroom had to be completely gutted.

The picture the left is the before shot (duh!) and is a picture from the house listing when they bought the house a few years ago. There was some really, really, really ugly brown-tone butterfly wallpaper (1970's) that took me like 5 years to get down so that we could paint the walls a pretty soft gray - green color.

My Dad is really good at tiling (actually he's really good at everything with home renovations) and he layed down a beautiful glossy black tile with gray grout in a pattern. My Mom wanted the bathroom to have a slightly Art Deco vibe.

When my dad took up the old brown carpet on the floor (who puts carpet in a bathroom?! EW! Men should never be allowed anywhere near a carpeted bathroom) and found lots of old water damage underneath. He took up the flooring all the way to the beams. You can see the basement in the picture on the right.

My mom and I found this cute vintage round mirror for $10 at a thrift store and I think they got the light fixtures at Lowe's. The beautiful glass door knob is orginal.

There was a lot of wall damage on the lower wall so my parents installed bead board, chair rail, and baseboards. They also installed a new pedestal sink that takes up less space and a new toilet.
The cute paint by number flamingo artwork was bought forever ago at a yard sale for 10 cents. My mom framed it and decided that this bathroom would be the perfect spot for it.

This bathroom is even classier looking in person. I think my parents did an awesome job on it.

A Hollywood Regency Era Bathroom

Caleb and I just got back from the most wonderful quiet beach vacation.
We needed a vacation.

On our way back home from Bethany Beach we stopped in at Caleb's granddad's house near DC. His Granddad has owned and lived in the house since it was built around 1959-1960 and while most of the decorating in the house is country/early American in style, one of the upstairs bathrooms is so chic I just had to share pictures of it with yall.
Granddad has lots of country decorating in the bathroom, but you can still get the gist of its original features and style.

The bathroom has lots of Hollywood Regency elements about it.
The bathroom was shared by Caleb's mom and her five sisters.
Would you not have just died to have such a chic and girly bathroom like this growing up?

I was totally coveting the vintage lucite and chrome floating shelf that sits over the sink.

There are three of these vintage gold tone French inspired towel bars.

It was so difficult to capture the pink and metallic silver wallpaper, but it it gorgeous and shimmery from all angles. It is original and in perfect condition.
I want.

 Granddad still has all kinds of vintage towels.
I love the vintage pink and white raised polka dot towels!
It probably seems creepy of me to take a picture of a towel...
I love the pattern, but mostly it AMAZES me that those vintage towels are still in great condition. I have towels from last year that show more wear than these vintage ones.

 I love the sink cabinet hardware.

The medicine cabinet mirror is gold rimmed with a pearly / metallic white in the center.

 Cute vintage vanity light fixture.

 I love the pink tile floors with the pink wallpaper, but I also LOVE how the crisp white edger tile contrasts against the pink.

A cute little bathroom with lots of style!

Caleb's granddad and me.
He is such a character yall!
I love him to death :)