Sunday, April 19, 2020

A little weekend shopping (pt.2)

  I am so excited to chat about Scout & Cellar! Have you heard of it? I had only heard bits and pieces about this wine company from one of my favorite bloggers (check out @jaminato's 'clean wine' story highlights!), but I didn't really know what it was until I invited some girls from my small group over for a wine night. My friend Heather brought her own bottle of wine and said she was actually a S&C consultant. I proceeded to bombard her with questions about the company and wines for the rest of the night!

  Like with Noonday Collection, I could go on and on about why I love Scout & Cellar wines! I am SO bummed that we can't all get together and do a tasting (honestly, so fun). But Heather is amazing and she's put together some little tasting sets for everyone who is local (hi, Bluffton friends!) so we can literally taste them together tomorrow night. If you plan to join and want to do a tasting with us, let me know and I will drop off a tasting set for you tomorrow! If you're not local, I'm going to share my favorite wines here and definitely hop on the Houseparty tomorrow at 8pm to pick Heather's brain about clean-crafted wine. (Be sure to give me a head's up so I can add you as a friend on Houseparty!) If you can't join the party but still end up shopping, be sure to let me know! Heather is giving away some wine spritzers

Ok, now to the good stuff. Here's what I love about Scout & Cellar!

1. It's clean-crafted, which essentially means it is just better wine in pretty much all the ways. Did you know most wines sold in America are manufactured differently for Americans? Dyes, sugar, pesticides, extra sulfites are all added. Scout & Cellar find vineyards that adhere to strict standards for providing only clean wine, which means lower calories, less sugar, no chemicals and wines that are all around just better.

2. Because the wineries S&C works with are committed to clean-crafted wine, that means they also uphold ethical working conditions and fair pay. Any time I can make an intentional choice to support businesses with an emphasis on fair trade and ethical working conditions, I'm in!

3. They have the most fun wine clubs! This isn't necessarily unique to S&C, but it is such a fun way to try different wines. I don't have one favorite type of wine I stick to and I like the idea of someone else sort of putting a collection together for me. I have friends that do wine memberships from local restaurants and wineries and I've always loved that idea. But they're usually pricey and daunting to me so I've never actually done one. Until a few months ago! S&C has so many different options, all are wines I can trust to be ethically sourced, low calorie, and clean-crafted. And wines I won't find in the grocery store. You can pick 4/6/12 bottles of whites, reds, or mixed to receive monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. So literally an option for almost any budget! I do the quarterly 6 bottle mixed membership and I actually split it with a friend. That's sort of an added bonus! We get together and each pick our favorites when a shipment comes in. I know some ladies who are neighbors and they do the 12 bottle membership and its a great excuse to plan a girls' night.

Ok that feels like enough talking! If you've been wanting to try Scout & Cellar, it seems like a global pandemic/quarantine is the best time, right? Heather will share her favs on the Houseparty tomorrow, but if you aren't going to hop on here are some of mine.

I don't usually like rose wines (often too sweet!), but S&C has one I love! It's currently out of stock (they work only with vineyard that hand-pick grapes so their batches of wine are smaller). BUT this sparkling rose is from the same vineyard and if you like sparkling wines, you'll love it. And this rose seems to be the most popular one because I think everyone ordered it when I did a tasting this past Fall!

I've started to prefer red wines over the past couple of years, but it is almost like perpetual summer here in the South and sometimes a chilled wine is just necessary. This chardonnay was in my wine club last month and it was perfect for evenings on the porch.

Have you ever tried a Nero Di Troia? I love this one from Italy and almost always keep a bottle in our pantry because it seems like everyone likes it.

Cabernets might be my favorite wine lately and this bottle is HANDS DOWN my favorite I've tried from Scout & Cellar. It's more expensive than I would usually pay for a bottle of wine, but it came in my last wine club box. I'm so glad it did! Justin isn't a huge wine drinker, and he even loved it.


That's probably enough, right? Right. Go buy some wine! And if you do, here's a head's up that shipping is sort of pricey. It is worth it to check with some friends or neighbors to see if they want to go in on an order with you to bump you up to free shipping.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A little weekend shopping (pt. 1)

Two days until my social-distancing girls' night! It might be a little nerdy, but I'm pretty excited. My favorite girlfriends and I have had a couple of happy hour calls during this quarantine and its actually super fun. So if its anything like that (with an extra emphasis on the wine!), Monday is going to be the best!



  I could literally talk your ear off about Noonday Collection and what I love about it, and I actually have probably done that in real life if you've hung around me much. It's the best! A handful of ladies are in for the virtual party on Monday, but I know lots of you probably won't hop on the Houseparty app with us. I want to invite you to still check out Noonday Collection and here is why... (I'm going to try to cool it and not be too wordy here) As an added bonus, one person who shops BEFORE Monday will get a Starbucks gift card. Heyyyyyy! (here's the link to shop the party)

1. Noonday is the best. 7 years ago before it was known really at all and still a really new company, I fell in love with it and hosted my first trunk show (here's proof). See? I've been geeking out about Noonday for 7 years! And my enthusiasm hasn't died down, in fact I even spent a couple years as an Ambassador myself. Life changed a bit (some family health crises and a cross country move) and I don't actually work as an Ambassador anymore, but I think the best part of that is how I STILL love it. I saw the inner workings of the company as sort of an employee myself, learned more about their mission, watched the company scale and grow and change over time- and I still support it. Because it's that good! Their mission to join with artisans (and ambassadors!) around the globe, help provide dignified work, and create pathways out of poverty is pretty amazing. It isn't charity work, but instead an effective business model. (You can read all about how Noonday works here)

2. They make the best gifts for giving! Truly. Colorful, unique, at nearly any price point and still trendy. Bonus? Everything comes packaged prettily and ready for giving!

3. Each piece has a story behind it (and literally an accompanying card about the artisans who made it!) and that adds another layer of meaning when you give a gift to someone you love. Some pieces are made from up cycled artillery (bullets!) by women who are escaping human trafficking- they are literally using things meant for harm to create new, flourishing lives for themselves. Others are made from ethically harvested horn and bones (from animals who have died of natural causes instead of poached illegally). There is an entire collection called Storyline made from women in Asia who are learning new trades as they escape human trafficking and each piece includes the name of the artisan who created it. So. Many. Stories. And we have the chance to be a part of the stories when we use our shopping for good! If you're going to shop anyway, how great to know there are ways to be intentional about where you shop.

Ok, I'll stop! Seriously. I could talk about this forever because they make pretty stuff, literally change lives around the world, and it all makes the best excuse for a girls' night (in person or virtual!) Now I'll just show you some of my favorite things they have right now! Some of them are on super sale for Mother's Day (and the sale ends Monday- I already snagged a few things in case they run out!).

This dainty cross necklace is the perfect size and length and I'm eyeing it for myself.

This leather crossbody was my free product after my trunk show this past Fall (free!!) and I love it so much!

Ok so these are technically out of stock but you can sign up to be notified when they come back in. Adorable build-your-own bracelet sets! What a great stocking stuffer or birthday gift for a little girl! I plan on grabbing a few to keep on hand for classmate birthdays, cousins, etc.

If you're in the market for a bigger gift or something for yourself. this clutch is AMAZING. I have a similar from a few years ago and it is so good. Without fail, every time I'm carrying it, I get compliments from strangers on how pretty and unique it is!

I'm evidently into neutrals lately because all of these seems like great gifts to me: simple gold Demi hoops, a wrap bracelet that would match any outfit, and these sort of summery earrings with rafia.

This set of three earrings is on super sale for Mother's Day and I have it and LOVE them!

This cuff is perfect for all you cool cats and kittens😸

The Storyline Collection is probably my favorite thing off all and the Heart To Heart necklace would make such a perfect Mother's Day gift for just about any mom!

....and now I'll make myself stop! I'll share some of my fav Scout & Cellar finds tomorrow :) Happy weekend-ing!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

House party!

  You know what sounds really fun? A party at my house with a nacho bar from the local Mexican restaurant, a really great wine tasting, and shopping for Mother's Day/graduation/teacher gifts with some girlfriends. Amiright? Want to come?

Womp womp. Soooo clearly that is not happening. I had to cancel that fun girls' afternoon I had planned for later this month. If you know me, you know there are three things I LOVE- girls' nights, wine, and Noonday Collection. I was so bummed to have to cancel! But to be honest, I don't have anything else going on so I found a way to still (sort of?) have this party. Want to come? The more the merrier! If you're free on Monday (as in April ) at 8pm, hop on Houseparty and join us. My friend Heather will be talking about Scout&Cellar wines and doing sort of a virtual tasting and Kelli will be showing us all the fun Noonday accessories! (and if doing a virtual party sounds weird to you, I'm with you girlfriend! But desperate times...or you can just shop online on your own time!)


Since I can't see people in real life to chat about it and invite them and I don't want to be that person doing a million instagram stories that most people don't care about, what better time to take advantage of the 'ole blog?

If I were bumping into you at Target or chatting with you after church, here's what I would say!

Hey girl heyyyy! (too weird?) Want to come to my Nacho party? (except, you do need to bring your own nachos) Basically, just a fun girls' night to laugh (because technology and video chat are awkward sometimes!) learn about the BEST wines and do some fair trade shopping for Mother's Day? Or honestly, just for yourself. Need an extra nudge to join us? Two people will win free wine- because if we can't all do a tasting together, I at least want to make sure you get to experience it! We're also giving away a gorgeous leather Noonday bracelet and some Starbucks gift cards (treat yourself while you're locked away in your house!)

If you haven't heard of Noonday Collection (you probably have), it so good. So good! In a nutshell it is a company that sells accessories made by artisans all around the globe- most from developing communities. They have such a great business model that provides jobs for artisans to support their families and dream big dream AND creates jobs in America for ambassadors. If all of that sounds good but isn't necessarily your passion, just hear this- they have GOOD stuff! Like, gorgeous jewelry that is on trend but also super unique. The best kinds of things for gift giving! With Mother's Day coming up and graduation and teacher gifts (can we all agree to still celebrate teachers and grads, even though school is effectively cancelled for the rest of the year?) Noonday has some things on sale that would make perfect gifts.



TIP: Order by April 22nd to guarantee arrival by Mother's Day! The Noonday home office in Austin has been pretty impacted by Covid-19, so they are giving modest ship times to insure packages arrive in time. You can shop the party directly here!

Ok, let's chat about Scout&Cellar now. Have you heard of this wine company? I feel like its fairly new, and sort of unknown to lots of people. My friend Heather is going to explain it so much better at the party on Monday, but I'll give you the nutshell. Scout&Cellar sells clean-crafted wine (aka organic, no added sugar, no added sulfites, pesticide-free) from around the world. They scout out wineries that make clean-crafted wines and stock it to sell to customers (hence the name Scout & Cellar). In lamens terms? Its good wine without junk in it. No extra sugar, so lower calorie. No added sulfites (only those naturally found in the grapes) so no headaches or hangovers. Just really good wine!  And at pretty much everyone's prices points- which I love. I actually do the Wine Club with a friend (we split the 6 bottles/quarterly) and its SO fun! It ships to my house, we each pick the wines we want (a surprise every month!) and it honestly great to try new wines (and know they'll be good no matter what) but also do it with a friend.
Click here to shop the Scout & Cellar tasting! 



TIP: Shipping is a little steep unless your order is over $99, but going in with a friend/neighbor/family member will likely get you to free shipping AND give you an excuse to swing by a their house to drop off wine and have a little driveway chat in the middle of this crazy time. If you think of ordering any wine and you don't live near me, you should find a friend or two who also want to order and go in together. If you do live near me, let me know! We can go in on an order together!

So, join us! Email/text/message me for the info on the HouseParty (it feels weird to just blog that...) and keep an eye out for another blog post about my fav wines and Mother's Day ideas if you can't join us on Monday (or if it feels to awkward😜).

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

God keeps his promises.


God keeps his promises.

It’s true though, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking a lot about how this crazy global pandemic feels eerily familiar in some ways.

Two years ago around this same time, our family was smack dab in the middle of what I only hope is our hardest season ever. It was one of those seasons where you wake up every morning and keep your eyes closed extra long just hoping it’s all been a bad dream. But then you wake up and do all the things you need to do, because that is how life works. I’m guessing you’ve been there, too?

In that season, we dealt with hearing doctors say things a parent never wants to hear about their child (who ever wants to be the impossible statistic or uncharted medical case?!), prayed for miracles, passed each other in the night as we took shifts in the ICU, trudged through health crisis after health crisis (or at least it felt so at the time), cried and mourned the long term loss of some things for our child and then slowly made a new normal when it started to calm down.

When I type it up, it all seems so concise and neatly packaged. Isn’t that how it always is when we’re able to look back? In reality, it was anything but. Lots of crying. We were ‘fired’ from one doctor for missing too many appointments because we prioritized others (thus feeling like failing parents...). One of our kids spent more time with his aunt and uncle than us for weeks. I gained 10lbs. Our other son spiraled into extreme separation anxiety for months and had other lingering effects from medical trauma.

But now, it’s two years later. We absolutely have not forgotten most of it, but it’s not nearly as heavy today as it was in the middle of it. We’re on the other side. We still deal with the big lingering health things (which is why we take social distancing super seriously! We’ve experienced the unfortunate side of a medical statistic), but also it feels normal now.

Looking back is ALWAYS so helpful for me to process what’s in front of me. What have I already learned that is also true now?

Basically, all of this is a long winded way to say two things. One, stay home. My kiddo has lifelong effects from a germ that is literally on every surface everywhere- and we had no indication beforehand that he would be so effected. We had no one warning us or telling us how to stay healthy- and how I would give both my arms to have had warning like we all do now! Take this seriously. Don’t risk it, for yourself or anyone around you.

Second (and most of all!), God keeps his promises. I have experienced that firsthand, haven’t you? I spent so many nights, for months on end, just praying that God would get us through to the other side and all the days in between. And now here we are, two years later and through it! We’ll get through this, too. Even if it looks messy and frustrating and maybe even heartbreaking for some of us, he’ll carry us through it. He always does.

I’m bracing myself for some messy days (literally, because I have preschool boys and our backyard currently could be mistaken for the neighborhood dump and it seems I’ve just given up even trying to pretend I care about my laundry room), short fuses, and pity parties. Maybe my kids will learn some stuff from my modified homeschool set up. Maybe not. I might get a house project done and run lots of miles and read my Bible every morning. Maybe not. I’m not sure there is any real way to do uncharted things like this well, outside of holding onto the promise that Jesus will carry us through. And remember that he always does (even if it looks different than we want/hope/prefer/would plan ourselves).

In the meantime, I’m a firm believer that he gives us things like sunshine and snail mail and innocent kids with their fart jokes and the occasional glass of wine and pizza and FaceTime and the ability to go for a run to help us move through the days until we’re on the other side of whatever feels heavy.

Here’s to God keeping his promises and fart jokes to keep us laughing while we wait 🤣

Friday, March 20, 2020

Oh hey!


These are weird times, and I have extra minutes on my hands. So why not jump back into this little blog? Except for the small problem of not having a computer anymore (RIP ten year old MacBook) and hating to type long-form on my phone, this should go well, right?!

It seems as if EVERYONE has ideas for how to stay busy, reasons we should stop complaining, and resources for how to keep ourselves and kiddos busy (and thriving, really). I sort of fluctuate somewhere between HERE FOR ALL THE THINGS and PLEASE STOP TOUCHING ME, which is all balanced pretty well so far by a few things. Nightly walks and Voxers with my bff, the occasional glass of wine, some semblance of structure for my kiddos, and finding things to laugh about.

So maybe I’ll start my ease back into blogging with some advice I heard Shauna Niequist share on a (COVID-19 unrelated) podcast this week: Add goodness, connect, keep going. I mean, that’s good advice for just about everything, right?! It always feels right to add goodness- whether it’s good food, words, activities, or good things to look at. And honestly, when we’re literally isolated in our own homes, it feels essential to find ways to connect with others. Lastly, what other real choice do we have but to keep going, even if we sort of want to pull our hair out or cry sometimes? Here’s a little list of ways to do those very things (because any not add to the growing suggestions being shoved at you right now?! Lol)

Make some good food. Maybe include kiddos if you have them! Our go-to easy recipe to make with ingredients we always have on hand are these granola bars. Just make sure to let them cool before cutting- it’s worth the wait!

Drop something off to a neighbor or friend. Maybe those granola bars you just made? A Starbucks drink you just picked up from the drive thru? Or, super classy like we did early this week- a ziplock bag of bird seeds 😂 To be fair, we made pinecone bird feeders this week and Caleb insisted some of friends would want to do the same, so we dropped off that little activity for some friends to try!

If you need a good laugh, go watch Jen Hatmaker’s videos on Instagram of her laundry saga this week. It is irrelevant to all important things and just a hilarious 15 minute break for your brain and heart!

Send some 🐌 mail. I have no idea how long we will still have mail around, so I’m furiously writing all the letters and mailing fun stuff while I still can. Most exciting is the Sticker Club invitation we got from a friend for my kids- you send a pack of sticker (hi, amazon👋🏽) to one friend and then invite others to join in so you can all collect some. What other fun stuff could you send off ? (If you have littles and want to join our sticker club, let me know!)

Oh! And on the ‘keep going’ part of her advice, just keep doing your thing. Working, online school for kiddos, endless crafts, scooping your dogs’ poop, house projects, whatever. Maybe make it fun by documenting it? We’re doing more crafts than usual and while I love my kids’ artwork, I don’t necessarily love having it alllll over my house. So I’m thinking of using up some Chatbooks credit I have to make a book of all their recent art. Or maybe finally make our wedding album! We’re sort of obsessed with Chatbooks and of you haven’t tried them, here’s a $10 off promo code for you 👌🏼 KATIENRUSH-KYY9

What are you doing to add goodness, connect, and keep going? I’m 99% sure no one comments on (or even reads) blog anymore. But if you’re up for proving me wrong, leave me a comment and let me know how you’re staying sane in this craziness!

Here’s to the weekend! Aka two days that will look a lot like the past 5, but maybe with the reinforcements of your spouse if they’re still going into the office (like mine!)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Hallelujah.



  I'm fully on the 'word of the year' bandwagon. I'm less of a lofty-goals-hustle-more girl, so picking a word to sort of focus on is more up my alley. Quiet and simple, steady, faith- those sum up the last few years for me. This time, I'm holding tight to Hallelujah. And, as usual, I have ideas in my how how that looks or why that its important for me to focus on. I'm also confident that, just as it always goes, those ideas will be turned upside down and I'll be surprised what God actually ends up teaching me from my word for the year.

  I could go on for a long time about how this word stuck for me (just sit and read the book of Psalms for a few months and it will probably stick with you too!). But it really all comes down to wanting to get better at looking up more and spend less time looking down and around myself. Practicing praise always, not dependent of what life looks like or how the world tells me it should. And being really, really intentional about the whole thing.

  What about you? Do you pick a word? Resolution? Goals? Nothing at all? I'm all for doing (or not doing!) what works and makes sense for you. Wherever you fall on this whole New Year's thing, here are few of my favorite things for a fresh start or to kick off some fun things for the new year.

Podcasts:: this interview with Lysa Terkeurst will give you a swift kick in the pants on how to view disapointment, this one is good for reconsidering what contentment means (especially good for empty nesters!), and Aaron gives some amazing insight here on growing your faith here.

Decluttering:: I hear Emily Ley has a really good (and pretty!) book all about this and I love this book for its tips on decluttering more than just your home (It's technically about parenting, but I would recommended it for anyone!).

Goal setting:: Lara Casey is the pro on all things goal-setting! Other than that, the counselor in me wants you to know that whatever goals you set- make sure they are measurable, attainable, positive (ie. instead of lose weight, make it feel stronger!), and specific!

Songs:: Marching On, Counting Every Blessing, I'm Walking, Put It On the Altar

Fun habits to try on:: One Second Everyday (I will forever talk about how fun this app is!), pick a monthly memory verse (if you need a cute motivator these are cute!), send more snail mail to friends, start something (like a book or cooking club or monthly neighborhood hangout or a new workout class or a new hobby), sign up for chat books (make a series so it automatically prints and ships to you once the book is full! I can give you a code to get your first book for free!), read through the Bible this year (I'm loving this REALLY brief daily podcast to go along with this habit)


Friday, January 4, 2019

Lately.



  Does anyone else breathe the biggest sigh of relief when the holidays are done? I love all the busyness and fun of the season, but even more I love sliding back into routines and decluttering and just taking off lots of the pressures or expectations that come with holidays (and we added a move in the middle of it all this year!). Packing up the Christmas tree and having a clean state for the new year is the BEST feeling to me!
 
  Justin's birthday is this weekend, so I think we might do a few touristy things (like visit Savannah again!). We both need to shop a bit for our mini vacation coming up and carry the last few unopened boxes up to our attic. But other than that, I'm excited for a quiet weekend. With a crazy last 5 weeks (/months), it is nice to see our calendar full of nothing but free weekends!

  None of that has anything to do with this post, except that I haven't done a sort of life lately snapshot for awhile and that randomness sort of captures it right now. I love these little lists because they're such a good summary of my days!
 

Listening to the Wake Up Happy playlist on Spotify. So good!
Loving early morning workouts. I've been going to our neighborhood gym with a neighbor for the past two weeks and, even though I don't love rolling out of bed, it feels amazing to be back into a grove of exercising after year of not taking great care of myself.
Reading Mary Kay Andrews latest book (and then The Alchemist for book club!) And I need to start reading this book lent to me by a friend
Thinking about permanently having the boys share a bedroom. We bunked them together while we had visitors last week and are keeping them together for a bit longer since my mom is coming to town soon. They both love it so much, maybe we'll just leave them together and make Tyler's room a guest room/office? Give me all your tips for successfully having preschool boys share a room!
Making a grocery list to start making green smoothies every morning again. WHY DID I GET OUT OF THIS HABIT?! 
Dreaming up a dozen projects for our new house. A cute patio space, shared boys room, guest room/office, garage storage...now if only my budget grew as fast as my project list!
Missing a good coffee date with good friends. The hardest part of moving was saying goodbye to best friends and our early morning starbucks dates or cooking clubs. I'm a verbal processor and value quality time, so I'm learning that no amount of texts/facetime/voxer can fill that quite the same.
Trying to really practice being impatient and intentional with parenting. Lots of teaching the same lessons over and over these days! 
Working on writing more. Not necessarily for any purpose other than it feels like a good season to write. And hoping to make some of that include our adjustment to a new house and community!
Looking forward to our trip to Jamaica (without kids) in a week! My mom is coming to be with the boys while we're gone and then staying a few days once we get back, so I'm looking forward to her visit!