$20 Date of Firsts

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It’s been no secret on this blog that this summer funds have been tight at the Henry household.

At the start of June I had big plans for the summer months, but as the story of this summer began to unfold it became clear that all of my plans involved money, money that we didn’t have.

I was a little disappointed, I wanted to have been able to have done so many new things by this point, but we have not been able to, and then yesterday came about!

Justin has begun his student worker schedule which means he only worked from 8-10am yesterday morning and then had the rest of the day free! We really wanted to try to do a last ‘hurrah’ before summer officially ended so, we decided to go to the beach!

I’m not sure what it is about not being able to do the big adventures that makes us forget how many little adventures are still fully available to us!

The real trick to dating on a budget is working with what you already have!

 Justin and I already had to eat lunch yesterday, so why not pack it up and eat it at the beach! We already had free time, so why not spend that free time walking around downtown!

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We spent a grand total of $20 to make the date happen and it was full of firsts for us without us even realizing!!

Justin and I had never gone to the beach just the two of us before! It was so fun putting a lunch together and then on our way out stopping to grab some snacks ($7 of treats), setting up our little spot on the beach complete with a styrofoam cooler and shade supplied by an available tree ($3 a car to get onto the beach) and then afterwards going downtown for a cool treat from Paradise Ice a new place that makes artisan sorbets and frozen custards ($10 and worth every penny of it!), before getting our frozen treats we walked around the Mast General store downtown as well, for the first time, and I just have to say, that store is full of all kinds of magic!! We found so many things from our childhood and so many random things that were just simply brilliant in and of themselves, the best hats we’ve ever had the pleasure of trying on, the cutest owls and hedgehogs carved out of stone, a bright red bread box that I am SO going back to get when I have the funds, games upon games from our childhood, vintage signs and sodas, barrels of candy brimming with sweet treats, and certain things that inspired us to plan out a possible future in a state far from here!! ;)

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We were shocked at the end of the date at how much fun we had even though we had traveled almost no distance and had spent no more than twenty dollars! (Though if we had bought everything we wanted from the Mast General store the title of this post would have been more like ‘$200 date of firsts’ ;) )

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I think we were truly inspired by the simplicity of the adventure and how it was accomplished without breaking the bank, it took a bit of planning, but it was completely worth every minute of it!

A Young Blogger’s Frustration

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The following post is a bit of ranting, questions, and resolutions all wrapped up together on a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently, read on with that awareness.  

Recently I have been putting a lot of time into the production and up keep of my blog.

After watching American Blogger I felt like my blog could have so much potential and I was excited to become more intentional about becoming a part of the ‘blogger community’ that was talked about so much throughout the film.

I thought through my blog history and really gained a clearer vision of the purpose of my blog, and then decided to begin a project by connecting with other bloggers and telling some of their stories on my own blog in an effort to become a part of a wider community.

I sent out email after email after email to bloggers all across the world, some that I had been following for years now and others that I just recently became aware of thanks to American Blogger.

So far the response has been mixed, but mostly nonexistent.

To be honest, I am a bit disappointed; here I was after watching a film that boasted of the community that is so readily available via blogs, but even in an attempt to connect with other bloggers I find myself no closer to really becoming a part of the blogging world.

I know it isn’t intentional, people are busy and blogs are just a taste of the world that the women behind them are a part of….but it just made me wonder what I was missing…was there something about my blog that wasn’t good enough to catch their attention? Was I too far from their stage of life to be worth interacting with? Too few followers? Not looking to pay for a feature post? Too young?

Maybe they really are just too busy, but I can’t help but wonder if my blog had a following or if I was older if time would have been made for the project.

…who can know.

What I do know however, is that the blogging community is very unique. It can either be an amazing place of connections and support or it can be a fairly lonely occupation if approached with a certain mentality.

I would certainly say that I falter on the side of insecurity many times; I can take things personally sometimes that were not at all meant to hurt me and this type of personality mixes with the blogging world in a difficult way sometimes. My intentions are so hopeful and strong at the start, but it doesn’t take much to make me second guess the worthiness of my blog by the interaction, or lack-there-of, with other bloggers. Blogging is a whole other realm that I need to remember my identity as I interact with it.

This whole process had made me think on the stage of life I am in, and how rarely I find bloggers whose lives are similar to my own, personalities of bloggers perhaps, but almost every single blog I come across seems to tell a story of a husband, wife, and their children, a fashion blogger, a business owner, or a combination of the three. Maybe other 21 year olds just aren’t into blogging, maybe there are just too few of us who have stories to tell via blogs or maybe I just have not come across them. Whatever the case, it is an isolating place to be sometimes.

I don’t write this post to complain, but rather I write in reflection and even to ask any readers of this little space if you know of any young bloggers who maybe relate to this feeling? Maybe the truest of a blogging community can’t be found until I become a mother, maybe I have the wrong idea of what a blogging community really is, again, I’m not sure. Right now though, perhaps I should expect to strike out a lot in my attempt to connect with fellow bloggers across the world…perhaps my attempts are too premature…it makes me a little sad, I don’t like feeling like I’m missing out on connecting with people or that I’m stuck on the outside because I can’t do anything to change where I am in life.

I want to remember not to blame my fellow bloggers for their lack of attention to attempts at connection, I want to always give the benefit of the doubt and not feel forgotten or not good enough to be acknowledged, because in the end, I remember that I don’t blog for them or for gaining followers or to be noticed, I blog for my own story.

You’d think I would remember that far more than I do :D

I also don’t want to feel discouraged, blogs are not meant to and should never have that kind of control over my emotions, I want to continue reading other blogs, learning from women in other stages of life and writing positive comments to let them know that I may only be one little person, but I am listening and following along with their story, and they might not know me at all or have any kind of investment in me, but because of their blog I have a small investment in their lives.

I was never a big fan person, it always felt strange to me to love someone so much only to realize at some point they don’t know you at all or maybe even worse they don’t ever even want to know you…this ‘fan’ mentality is something that can very easily develop with blogs however, because the stories shared are so personal it’s so easy to think that because you are relating so well with the stories of other women then they must be able to relate to you as well and at least be willing to talk with you, but this leads very quickly to a point where you become spread too thin over the expanse of blogs you could interact with and the bloggers themselves don’t have the ability to reciprocate.

The truth is, most bloggers can’t invest in their readers, readers are like fans, a shout-out is given and the blogger really is grateful for their support, but interaction with them is controlled and somewhat minimal. And that’s alright!

I always struggle with mediocre relationships, relationships that don’t feel even in their effort, one sided relationships…I think that this is the one area that blogging irks me, the one sided relationship part. Maybe its an inevitability, bloggers at many points gain such a following that actual sincere interaction is impossible, I think due to wishful thinking I hoped it would be different.

That I wouldn’t feel out of the loop, the group, the core, the ‘blogging community’, even with my efforts to connect. I think I am just momentarily frustrated at how one sided it all feels many times.

Any thoughts, yourselves? Is the ‘blogging community’ an elusive goal for some bloggers? What exactly is a ‘blogging community’ anyway? Any thoughts on the difference between certain generations who are bloggers? Is the system of interaction between better known and lesser known bloggers faulty or just normal?

These are the ‘life changing’ things I ponder as I await hearing back about job applications ;)

A Blogging Autobiography

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Yesterday I watched American Blogger, a movie documenting the stories and lives behind blogs across the nation.

The movie, created by Christ Wiegand, husband to popular blogger Casey Wiegand, delved into the purpose and reason for blogging, a concept that is lost on many people who don’t blog and don’t understand the connection it can have with so many people.

Apart from being a technically excellent film, it was also incredibly astute at revealing, in an even more personal way, the people behind blogs through the nuances that only film can supply.

The film inspired me to create a short video of my own blogging history,

and also gave me the idea for ‘Blogger Autobiographies’

American Blogger helped even me, an avid blogger, gain a different perspective about the people behind blogs, it was so interesting to hear people talk about the names of their blog and the reason behind their blog. It got me curious to hear more of their stories and answers to certain questions!

The project ‘Blogger Autobiographies’ will feature different bloggers who will answer 5 questions,

1) When/Why did you first start blogging?

2) Why did you choose your blog name?

3) What is the core story or purpose behind your blog?

4) What do you hope your blog will become and continue to be?

5) What would be different in your life if blogs didn’t exist?

and by doing so, not only allow for more people to perhaps connect with their blogging experiences, but also allow bloggers to reflect on their own stories, and to allow readers to see the basics of their blogging history in a succinct and unique form!!

I know I am always looking out for new blogs to visit, but I have the hardest time coming across new ones that I can relate to because their are just so many!! I hope this project might also provide a place for readers to access and find out about new blogs as they read a little about each blogger’s personal beginning and blog purpose! Think of it as a blog library. :)

I am still working out the technical side of beginning the project, but I hope to begin featuring bloggers weekly and soon!!

Cheers!!

early august evening

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last night Justin and I took a walk on the back road our house is set on,

i had been doing the dinner dishes while Justin was playing guitar in the back room and at some point in the dish doing process I looked up to see an abundance of soft yellow sunlight bathing the back porch and yard.

in an instant I knew that I wanted to go on a walk, to stand in the gentle sunlight as it wished the day goodbye,

it sounds dramatic, but there is just something about the sun, in the morning and in the evening, that ministers to me so much.

it always seems so brave and confident, yet at the same time gentle and restful.

it not only beckons one to be fearless, but it also seems to promise that even when you can’t be it will still be there to revive you with the energy and warmth of its rays.

i’m not much of an outdoorsy person, too many bugs and unpredictable elements,

but nights like last night always make me feel like I could live outside forever.

the summer is coming to a close, things are finally about to settle down I believe,

the sun last night was almost a reassuring gesture saying, ‘you made it.

granted, I did with much less grace and poise then I hoped, but sometimes making it is just enough.

:)

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Abode

I have constantly struggled between my desire for color in a home and my minimalist tendencies.

For the longest time I thought minimalist meant neutral, that color could not be included in home essentials for fear of being too overpowering, but then my desire for color would kick in and I would begin to add art pieces and accessories to try to fulfill that love of cheerful decor!

I would feel satisfied with the color accessories for a while, but then I would begin to feel like my home was just cluttered again, so out went the colorful accessories leaving a minimalist neutral home behind, exactly what I wanted, or so I thought.

This cycle has repeated again and again and again, until today, I have FINALLY realized what my plan of action must be!!

I LOVE color in a home, but I also LOVE minimalist, uncluttered spaces,

SO, to solve the problem, I need to begin, slowly, replacing the core pieces of my house with colorful replacements!!
The solution is not to add a colorful pillow or lamp here or there, but to replace the neutral couch with a bright yellow one,

I have to go more basic and essential with my color additions!!

Living Room

For the living room I want to go with royal blue, dandelion yellow, and pine green, along with a wooden coffee table and dresser-like bureau-tv-stand-ish piece.

Dining Room

For the dining room I want to shift from the red we have now to shades of yellow, a wooden table and wooden wall art, also the light fixture in the bottom left would be a dream come true, though it may have to wait for awhile longer!

Kitchen

I also want to move my kitchen away from reds to greens and whites, I want it to become and feel more natural.

Master Bedroom

For the master bedroom I want to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, keep bedding white, and incorporate color through throw pillows and wall art!! I also love wooden dressers with chubby handles, so that will be incorporated at some point as well!

Around the House

For around the house I want to start bringing more color into play in unique and simple ways, I’m still thinking through this a lot , but the pictures above are very inspiring and keep me thinking in the right direction!

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Lots of natural light is also one of my highest goals in a home, neutral or color, it always looks better with as much natural light as possible!!

So, kind of a random Monday blogpost, but it was just so great to finally gain a clear direction on how to begin to build my home decor in the best and most long term way!!

So what about you? How do you incorporate color and neutrals into your home?

All Just Weeds

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 This summer has brought random spurts of foliage all across the bushes and patio in front of our house, and though they can be described as nothing more than weeds, I am realizing I don’t have the heart to destroy them because they reflect my summer in such a unique way. They are a nuisance, they are out of place, they don’t actually help the plants that are meant to be growing, they cannot be ignored and if they are removed they will always come back. They are present, obvious, and stubborn.

This summer has also brought out a lot of weeds in me.

Weeds of anxiety, fear, and doubt.

Things that don’t belong, things that complicate and distract.

I have a serious need for control over my life, to have clarity in everything and to be able to feel secure in my surroundings and goals. I always thought that God’s direction would provide all of those things, but I have realized over this summer that God works in a life far differently than I expected.

I expected myself to have unwavering peace, direction, clarity, wisdom, etc….

I expected to always know if I was doing the right thing.

I didn’t expect to have to wait so long for answers, to have to battle so many weeds, to have to feel so many things and to be challenged in so many ways.

I am not so great at the start of many things, I get easily overwhelmed and then I feel the need to retreat quickly to gain a sense of self and stability again. Those tendencies, as I’ve learned, don’t translate so well into real life.

I have been faced with so many weeds this summer, in my front yard and in myself, I can’t say it has been all that pleasant of a summer overall, but now that it is coming to a close I realize how much I have experienced and how much better I understand so many perspectives and aspects of life.

I certainly have a long way to go, I imagine my future experiences in life and continued growth in relationship with Christ will help with that, but I feel a bit more experienced at this whole real life thing, it’s gonna be a tough journey, but hopefully I’ll learn each lesson as they come so that maybe in the future the weeds become farther and fewer in between. :)

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The Secret to Homemade Lemonade

Is actually no secret at all!

It is simply 3 ingredients, a bit of work, and a few judgement calls!

The process overall is quite simple, though it may take a few trial runs to get the measurements how you like them since most of them are quite subjective! :)

Homemade lemonade has been one of Justin and I’s favorite things to make since last summer and it is always a refreshing treat, day or night!

You will need:

a pitcher

a large spoon

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a knife

a measuring cup

lemon juicer

courage

fresh lemons

white sugar

cold water

spontaneity

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Step 1

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Get yourself some lemons! Large or small!

Because our pitcher is relatively small we simply used 6 large lemons and that resulted in even a bit more lemon juice then we probably needed!

Step 2

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You will want to slice the lemons in half and use your lemon juicer on all of the lemons! We got our manual lemon juicer from ALDI, if you have one similar prepare yourself for a bit of an arm workout, the lemons look small, but the task requires some strength! :) You can either strain the juice using a little strainer or just simply pick the seeds out of the lemon juicer, the lemony pulp is a lot different then orange juice pulp and can’t actually be tasted in the final result!

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Step 3

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After getting as much juice from the lemons as possible, pour the fresh juice into your pitcher.

Our pitcher was about a foot tall and we had nearly two inches of lemon juice, which was more then enough!

Step 4

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Fill the rest of the pitcher up with cold water until the shade of the liquid is a nice cool yellow color.

Step 5

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Add some sugar! This step is more particular then others.

For instance, I like my lemonade more tangy and Justin likes his sweeter, and though the choice is up to you, I would advice adding less sugar then more to start off with,

remember, you can always add more at anytime!

Step 6

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Stir up all the ingredients in the pitcher, pour, and enjoy!! :D

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A Love Story Continues | Engagement

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One of my absolute favorite things to do is to take pictures of special events and memories for family, I am so grateful that they give me the opportunity to capture their beautiful moments in a way that is so important to me,

photography. 

A few weeks ago Justin’s sister, Brittany, got engaged and I recently had the amazing opportunity to shoot some engagement portraits of her and her fiancé, Joseph!

I must admit, it had been awhile since shooting engagement photos and I was a bit rusty on my technique and ideas, but they were so wonderful and sweet together that they made the shoot brilliant, despite my lack of recent practice!

I so enjoyed seeing how much they care for each other throughout their shoot, it’s a splendid thing to catch an honest glimpse of how good two people are together.

So much of it is in the ease of the interaction; the intentional way Joseph would always give a hand to help Brittney, the genuineness of an embrace, their sincere laughter together, the mutual understanding of being completely comfortable while sitting or standing close to one another, it is a unique bond between two people who care very much about one another and one that I was privileged to witness throughout the shoot!

Justin and I are so thrilled for the two of them and so excited for the upcoming wedding and marriage that lies in their future! We love them both and look forward to making so many more memories and taking so many more pictures with them throughout the coming years!! :)

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