Friday, June 28

Confidence Challenge: The Year So Far

It's hard to believe that this year is now halfway over. I took a look back at my New Year's Resolution, summed up with the word: Confidence.
I want confidence. Confidence that doesn't come from what job I have or what I can produce, but in who God made me. Confidence that no matter what happens, He has a plan for me and is working all things for good, even the things that seem like mistakes or detours to others...and myself. 
I also wrote a list of ten goals for the year that I tried to revisit and re-write every week. It's a tip I learned to help you accomplish more since they will probably go through changes from the first of the year to December. My goals for the year in January were:
  • Launch a business that I was working on at the time with two co-partners
  • Get published
  • Run a 5K
  • Get my closet down to 100 items
  • Pay off a school loan
  • Guest post on 3 blogs
  • Quit Target
  • Redesign Scribbles
  • Finish the church flyer and my quilt
  • Make art
So much has changed in six months. As of June,

While I've met many of those goals, and many more I've made throughout the last six months, I wonder how I'm doing on my overall resolution - growing in confidence. 

Dealing with failure and rejection has helped me grow in confidence. For example, when the business partnership didn't work out, I went through a period of self-doubt, but I was also determined to try again on my own. Bleu Feather Paper Co. doesn't have people breaking down the (virtual) door yet, but I have learned so much in the process of setting it up, creating the brand, marketing, and trying to find what works. For example, you'll find out via the next newsletter that there's been some important pricing adjustments.

I've been rejected for a several jobs that I thought I was a great fit for, without even an interview. That really struck a blow at my confidence at first. I wallowed a little, thinking I wasn't good enough for anyone, but instead of letting that last for months, I decided to proactively work on getting more experience so that I could be a better contender. 

Interviews are a great way to work on your confidence, as it turns out! After all, you're selling yourself, your skills, and the potential benefit to your employer. I've had two interviews this month, and while at first I felt a little like I was faking it, now I do feel more confident in my abilities. 

And I can tell more changes are on the way for the next six months. For one, I'm very excited to announce that I am now an intern for Sage Grayson! My first day is July 1st, and I will be helping her with social media, scheduling, and graphic design. I know I'm going to learn a lot from Sage, and I'm glad that I'll be able to use my skills to free her up to focus on coaching and writing.

From right here, I can see the beginnings of many possible paths for the future. Who knows what the next six months will bring?!
"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)."
I'm deeply grateful that God knows the plans He has for me, and it's all under His control, not mine!

I'm also deeply grateful for all the love you guys show me through your faithful reading and sweet comments. Thank you so, so much for being here!

Did you make New Year's Resolutions? How are you doing on keeping them? Share your progress in the comments!

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Monday, June 24

LIFE: Our Anniversary Weekend

When I wrote my June bucket list, my main goal was survival. I'm taking a class on fabric design, we had Youth Sunday at church followed by a week of Vacation Bible School, while planning a trip to California with the youth group. I made some new products, I made my painted table cloth, and I applied for a few jobs. Brian had a mega stressful project to complete at work. So when our anniversary arrived last Wednesday, we were ready for a vacation! 

On Wednesday morning, I got up early and went with Brian to Starbucks for breakfast.

Thursday, Brian got off work a little early, we stopped at Starbucks for iced coffee, and we headed to Scottsdale!

My favorite part of our anniversary getaways is the food. We decided to try a new restaurant this year, so I made reservations at Olive and Ivy. We had bruschetta with mozzarella and tomato jam. The tomato jam was sweet, salty, and spicy all at the same time. I ordered a dish with scallops, creamed corn, and a salty, tangy sauce, while Brian ordered bacon wrapped pork tenderloin. Everything was incredible!

And they brought us chocolate expresso cake!

After dinner, we still had time left on our parking spot, so we explored Old Town Scottsdale and the Paolo Soleri Bridge and Plaza. I pretended that we were wandering through an Italian city.

Friday morning, we had breakfast at Starbucks, and Brian read by the pool and I had a phone interview. Brian neglected to wear sunscreen, as usual, so when he came back two hours later, he was a a very dark shade of pink. On the bright side, he finished the seventh Harry Potter book over the weekend!

Friday afternoon, we accomplished a long-time goal of mine: visiting an art museum in Phoenix. On our honeymoon, we loved the Institute of Art museum, and I knew there were several art museums in the Phoenix area. We finally made it to one!

That isn't the art museum, it's just a really cool building close by. 

The lobby and hallways when we first walked in were covered with paper butterflies!

We weren't supposed to take pictures, but I felt compelled to snap a picture of this painting. I kept coming back to it... something about the colors and pattern created by the brushstrokes. 

I also enjoyed the small fashion design exhibit, which featured digital printing technology.

 They had quite the chandelier in the lobby:

After spending the afternoon at the museum, we arrived a little early for the Diamond Backs game. Brian bought great seats, and it was all he could talk about for the last two weeks. It definitely met his expectations, and he enjoyed getting to see the players warm up.

We won!!! It was a fun game to watch. We even got fireworks after the game!

Saturday, we checked out of the hotel and drove downtown. We walked around the Fashion Square, and looked at the pretty stores like Anthropology, and cooking stores like Sur La Table. Brian bought me an anniversary present! 

It's a doughnut pan! I've been saving baked donut recipes and looking for one of these, and I can't wait to try it out!

Before we left Scottsdale, we bought cupcakes from Sprinkles. Mine was chocolate peanut butter, and Brian got vanilla. They were divine!

We ended the weekend with bowling with the church. We hoped to raise funds for the youth group trip to California, and we didn't have enough people. But a good time was had by all. And I'm pretty proud of my score!

Food, art, baseball, more food, lots of coffee, Harry Potter (Brian finished the Harry Potter books and we watched the last three movies)...you couldn't ask for a better vacation!

 So, now we're back to real life. Back to the not so glamorous activities of actually watching what we eat, and working. That's always the hard part of vacation...it's never quite long enough!
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Friday, June 21

Beauty Find Friday: First Day of Summer!

It's official! Today is the first day of summer. What would make it the best summer ever? 
These strawberry coconut popcicles would sure help!
Source: joythebaker.com via Emily on Pinterest
Wearing flowers in your hair.
Source: thebeautydepartment.com via Emily on Pinterest
A summery outfit.
Source: scribblesfromemily.com via Emily on Pinterest
Tasty Mexican food.
Source: thepioneerwoman.com via Emily on Pinterest
Source: es.123rf.com via Emily on Pinterest
Swimming and sunbathing.
Source: Uploaded by user via Emily on Pinterest
And just relaxing.

Source: google.co.jp via Emily on Pinterest
Here's to our summer adventures!

Source: 79ideas.org via Emily on Pinterest
This weekend, Brian and I are celebrating our third anniversary with trip to Scottsdale, visiting an art museum, and a baseball game!

What's on your summer bucket list? Share in the comments!
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Wednesday, June 19

Follow Scribbles on Bloglovin'

You probably already heard this, but Google Reader is going away July 1st. If you haven't already, now is the time to move your blog subscriptions to a new service, before you lose them!

Even if you don't use Google Reader to keep up with blogs, if you follow using Google Friend Connect, you'll also want to switch to a new way to follow blogs. Why? Because the sole purpose of GFC is to add blogs to Google Reader, which then syncs to your Blogger Dashboard. Without Google Reader, I'm guessing Blogger Dashboard will go away, and so too will Google Friend Connect. Most of the Google Friend Connect services have already been discontinued, such as the newsletter feature.

Don't panic yet. While I'll miss seeing your smiling faces in the Google Friend Connect widget, I think you'll be really happy moving to Bloglovin'. I started using Bloglovin' to follow fashion, lifestyle, and craft blogs mainly, maybe a year ago. Now I've imported all the blogs I follow and categorized them accordingly.

Why I love Bloglovin':
  • It's super easy to move all the blogs you follow over. Just go to this page, and click the big blue button that says to import from Google Reader. Make sure you're signed into Google, and then it only takes a second!
  • It's super easy to use Bloglovin' for your blog. Sign up, Go to "My Blog," and hit "Claim Blog." You'll get some code, which you can then copy and paste into a widget in your sidebar. Then your blog is claimed! All you need to do next is grab a follow button, add that to your sidebar, and you're set!
  • It has a clean, simple interface for reading blogs. I love that on your home page, Bloglovin' displays a large photo from the post and the first few lines of text. It's easy to scroll through and click on the posts that look interesting to you, and it all just looks pretty. 
  • Get behind on your blog reading? Just hit the "Mark all as Read" button at the top to reset. 
  • You can also discover new blogs to follow by browsing the categories. 
  • I personally like getting an email digest each day with some of the recent posts from the blogs I follow. It really helps me keep up with my favorite blogs. 
  • There's also a great Bloglovin' app, which is perfect for reading blogs in bed. Or anywhere.

So without further ado, here's my Bloglovin' button:
Follow on Bloglovin

Also, lately I've been thinking about social media. I'm currently on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and sort of Google+. I also occasionally post on my church's Facebook page and the youth group Facebook page, and don't even talk to me about the youth group blog. It's a lot! I'd rather be really present on one or two, than mediocre on all, but I love them all for different reasons. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. If you had to pick one to keep following me on, which would you pick?

In other news, remember my marriage blog? Life happened, and my contributors had babies and moved, and we all got busy. It's been fun, but Newlywed's Bliss will officially be going away July 15th. I'm really grateful for the experience of working with and designing on self-hosted WordPress, and getting to write with several wonderful, wise, ladies. 

Will I be seeing you on Bloglovin'? Do you use something else to follow blogs? Share it with us in the comments!

Monday, June 17

DIY: Aztec Painted Blanket

Several months ago, I received some free fabric and lace from Wholeport. The lace I was able to use almost right away on this DIY Lacy Dolman, but the fabric stumped me. While I do love stripes, I'm not really into pink, and this fabric was too thick for pillowcases or clothing. It sat at the bottom of my fabric drawer, until last week.

A Proper Pinwheel shared the watercolor table cloth I mentioned before, made using watered down acrylic paints. At first I thought I could do something similar, but then 100 Layer Cake blog posted this geometric table runner DIY made by stamping fabric paint, and I recalled the fun of stamping on fabric. This image of an Aztec pattern inspired me to turn the fabric into an Aztec patterned picnic blanket:

Source: a1.s6img.com via Emily on Pinterest

You will need:
  • Craft foam for your stamps
  • Fabric Paint
  • Shallow dish for dipping your stamps into (I used a plastic ice cream bucket lid)
  • Striped fabric

First, make your stamps by cutting out a triangle and a circle from the foam. Glue several layers of foam together so that your stamp will be easier to hold. Lay out your fabric on a surface that you don't care about getting paint on, or place some newspaper or carboard underneath, because the paint will soak through (And it's hard to wash off of cement. I speak from experience!).

Pour paint into a plastic lid, and dip the stamp into it. Then, press it firmly onto your fabric, creating rows of shapes.

I made up the pattern as I went along. Mix up the colors, and add in some diagonal and vertical lines. You could even get fancier and stamp circles on top of the triangles. You can make your pattern as elaborate as you have time and paint!

It makes a great picnic blanket, but it also works for an outdoor rug.

And a table runner. 

Is this a summer project you might try?

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Monday, June 10

What's In My Beach Bag {Giveaway!}

Since I've been all about the beach lately, I thought I'd show you what I carry in my beach bag today!

 Starting left to right: my sunglasses. These are from Target, purchased almost immediately when we first arrived in Arizona, almost three years ago. They've served me well. More about my sunglasses pouch in this post. I'll bring my wallet, and also a colorful zippered pouch for holding make up. For the beach, it will probably just hold chapstick with SPF.

I'll also bring some cocoa butter lotion. This tube is from Target, and I love that it's small enough to carry onto planes. Cocoa butter has a lovely light scent, and there's nothing better for maintaining a tan. Seriously, it will make it last for weeks.

Headphones, for plugging into my iphone and listening to beachy background music. Sunscreen, SPF 30. A bottle of water, and my sandals, which I actually bought at Disneyland.

My trusty beach towel, which matches my swim suit. I love to bring reading material, and also a notebook and pen to jot down any ideas that come to me while relaxing. My swimsuit is from Ron Jon's Surf Shack, and I love it. The shorts are great for people like me who are self-conscious about their legs. Plus, for youth group swimming activies, the girls usually wear shorts and tees over their swimsuits, so these surf shorts are perfect.

That's that! It all fits into this beach bag.

This bag has a story behind it. It's handmade by the artisan business partners of Indego Africa, a social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education. They partner with over 400 women-owned business to give them access to markets for their jewelry, accessories, and home decor on their online store and over 80 retail locations. They also collaborate with major design brands like J.Crew, Madewell, and Nicole Miller. 

Indego Africa's profits go to fund training programs for their artisans taught by Rwandan university students on business management, entrepreneurship, literacy, technology, and health. 

Many of these women are survivors of the 1994 genocide, which not only destroyed their country, but left them widowed. Many are the sole providers for approximately 5.5 dependents, and many struggle with HIV/AIDS. With little education, these women made less than $2 a day.

Indego Africa has several objectives for their artisan partners:
  • WOMEN GENERATING SUSTAINABLE INCOME. Women consistently earn more than $2 per day through their own initiative and oversee households that are entirely free of hunger, inadequate housing, and school absenteeism.
  • WOMEN LEVERAGING VALUABLE LONG-TERM SKILLS. Women deploy new high-value skills to earn supplemental income in their own community – whether at a cooperative, another employer, or their own business.
  • WOMEN RUNNING PROFITABLE EXPORT BUSINESSES. Women manage cooperatives that are fiscally responsible, effective in product design and delivery, and dynamic contributors to the community – all while engaging the global export market on their own terms.
  • WOMEN FEELING HOPEFUL AND CONFIDENT. Women translate their experiences of financial success and increased productivity into a lasting sense of self-worth and pride, knowing that anything can be accomplished by working together with others and relying on their own strength.
Indego sent me this Color Weave Beach Bag to review, and I can't recommend it enough. It came signed by the woman who made it! Not only is it beautiful, it's huge! I'm amazed by how much I can fit comfortably inside. Plus, the handles are the perfect length to carry it all comfortably on your sholder, regardless of how full it is, and it's extremely sturdy.

Today, Indego Africa is giving away $50 to one of you lucky readers towards anything in their online shop! To enter, visit Indego's shop and leave a comment about your favorite handmade item. After that, there's several more ways to enter to increase your chances. The giveaway ends Friday at Midnight!

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