Wednesday, July 31, 2013

{wordless wendesday} HERE'S TO TWO!






Welcome to the £200/$300 Gift Card Giveaway!
How would you like to win some free cash to perhaps brighten up your wardrobe, 
treat the kids, or even yourself? I've teamed up with some lovely bloggers 
to give you the chance to win a £200/$300 gift card of choice! 
Simply complete the tasks below to earn entries for this giveaway. 

Rules:
-July 31st at 12:01am GMT – August 22nd at 12:00am GMT 
-Open to everyone worldwide 
-You must have a paypal account 
-You must be at least 18 years to enter 
-All entries will be verified, so please don’t cheat.

Please take a moment to visit our co-hosts below. 

Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I have received no compensation for this post. Any opinions are my own and may differ from your own. Please contact ohsoamelia@hotmail.co.uk with any questions or if you would like to take part in the next big event sign up to the mailing list here.




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CHRIST-CENTERED LOVE



Pete and I have been together a little over 4 years. 

Looking back through our years together, I can honestly say that I have never been more satisfied in our relationship  as I am today. Marital bliss is not the same thing as lustful passion, although passion is a necessity for marriage. A Christ-centered marriage is far more rewarding than youthful puppy-love and romance. 

I've been falling in love with the same person every day – over and over… for over four years now... and still, God renews us each day and it never gets old. I am married to my best friend. We even finish each other’s sentences. And though our attention gets swallowed up by mundane daily tasks a lot of times, there is a wonderful blessing to having complete trust and faith in God's ability to keep us together through the trials of life. 

To my newly engaged and/or recently married friends, there's no magic pill that guarantees you will stay together and have a wonderful union... it all boils down to sacrifice, service, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and Jesus .

(Heavy on the Jesus part.)





Monday, July 29, 2013

{meet my guest} SEA SALT & CARAMELZ

Hello there, I'm Sonya, living in California but a European girl through and through. I thought long and hard about how I would introduce myself in this post and struggled to find an idea that would showcase my blog and my personality. I spent a majority of my time looking at how others decided to present themselves and realized that most centered it around a passion or business that had brought to life there blogs. 

Insert a moment of serious panic and anxiety, as I realized, I had neither. This lead to some amount of introspection into what I wanted my blog to be and if I would ever truly thrive in the blogging world without a "niche" or business behind the blog. Considering that I had to write this post, I was forced to push this long inner discussion aside and focus into typing something up. This is usually how things start with me: research; inner discussion; serious procrastination; draft; more procrastination; final draft. The reason I procrastinate is not because I'm not organized but rather because I'm a perfectionist at heart (with a slight case of OCD, my magazines are organized by genre and date, while my clothes are color coordinated) and will never start a project unless I know how I will end it.  I finally decided that the best way for you to get to know me was to let you follow along my stream of consciousness. Bare with me, I've mastered the art of tangentry (is that even a word? perhaps it is spelled: tangent-ry).

Proof: I've written a long paragraph without mentioning my blog. (I'd write another to justify that but I'm not here to bore you) 

When it comes to blogging I try to touch on a variety of subjects not to try to grab as many readers as possible (but I guess that is definitely a perk) rather because it is a reflection of my eclectic taste and interests. Because of my unique heritage I have had the opportunity to travel in France, Italy, Tunisia and Mexico and the lists of places I wish to explore is never ending.  I'm lucky enough to have relatives in those countries which enables me to return on a regular basis to visit them. I'm a big believer in the notion that the knowledge you acquire through travel is precious and priceless.


Food is my jam....did you catch that pun? My mother is Italian and French and through her I fell in love with food and the arts. I've always had a sweet tooth, mainly for chocolate. My belief is that you could add chocolate to absolutely anything and it would instantly make it better and I mean anything. Don't worry though, the recipes I share on my blog are not even remotely related to chocolate covered green beans, I'm not that evil :) Something I realized recently, when my friend came to stay with me in Paris, is that rather  then telling her we should visit this or see this I would say "O there's this restaurant I want to bring you to" or "There's a little place a few blocks away that makes the best magret de canard" I connect places with food. 


As I grew up I would always envy my sisters closet. It symbolized everything I had always loved in fashion: maturity, simplicity and the monochrome look. I have always leaned toward the preppy look, not perhaps not as "preppy" as you'll find in Vogue magazines but I'm definitely a blazer and blouse kind of girl. If I had to describe my wardrobe it would be simple, versatile and classy. When I do outfit posts or share my favorite items of the week you can quickly spot that trend. 

Something I have not explored fully in my blog but definitely love is the realm of cosmetics. I've been watching make-up tutorials for as long as I have had access to a computer; and unfortunately, my skills  have only barely improved (whenever I play with eyeshadow I end up giving myself the dreaded black eye look). Though my skills may be mediocre, at best, my passion started (and still is) in skincare. One must care for the inside rather then covering up the outside. A book I found indispensable was written by Kat James: The truth about beauty, it's fantastic and I recommend it to everyone. 

I feel like I've rambled on enough, what do you think? I hope I have been able to give you a glimpse into who I am, hopefully I made you smile while I tried. Candid, is really who I am, and that is what you will find on my blog. I would love to get to know you, please pop on over and say hi.

Visit Sonya on all her social media networks:



Friday, July 26, 2013

LET'S BE FRIENDS BLOG HOP


Hello there! It is time for the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #22! Link up to gain new followers on GFC or bloglovin'!

Promote this blog hop by putting the button on your page, or throwing a shout out at the end of your post today or tomorrow. The more link ups we have the more our blogs will grow! Invite a friend, tweet it, or let your Facebook  friends know! :)

Make sure to follow the hosts and co-hosts!

Have fun and meet some friends!

Check Out My Current Giveaway
            

Lauren from Marked By Grace


Jessica from Blissfully Miller



Kate from Teal Vogue






Thursday, July 25, 2013

HERE'S TO TWO


Dear Reef,

I move and act and think differently since you were first laid in my arms. I have more purpose behind my reasons and more motivation to my actions.

I have watched you grow from an infant, to a baby, to a toddler in what feels like a single breath and at every stage I have said “This is my favorite age” because they have all felt exactly so. You keep us laughing and guessing and entertained every single day. What a joy you are to your father and I and Keegan and Bailey.


I am so proud of your creativity and energy and the way you are already welcoming and engaging the world around you. You are so lovely in your smallness, in your brave spirit, and in the sweetness of your heart. Here’s to two years of this beautiful life, Reef William. On this very day two years past, in the first hours of that day, I was bringing you into the world -- and it was the start of amazing.

I can’t wait for the gift of this next year with you. and the one after that. and a lifetime of watching you become. The whole world is yours for the taking and I have no doubt that’s exactly what you’ll do.

I love you with my entire being.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Love,
Mommy

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

WHAT KIND OF PARENT ARE YOU?


I seem to be having this conversation more often than not – with friends just entering the world of parenting. I suppose fellow mommy friends feel I’m all knowing in the world of raising children, since my seniority reigns at roughly 13 years. But I am hardly worthy of advice. I just know what has worked for me and my family. And the jury is still out on whether it’s actually “worked.”

Pete and I believe that our mission as parents is to raise our children filled to the brim with love, as both the giver and the receiver. But children are born sinners…it is innate to us all. So, as soon as we feel a child can decipher right from wrong, we whole-heartedly help to form and shape them to model respect and kindness. Our parenting isn’t filled with doom and gloom and constant correction, but the potential for discipline indeed hangs lowly above at all times. 

There is comfort in knowing your boundaries, and I think children thrive in an environment where expectations are clearly understood. Alongside that, we compliment our children with positive praise and encouragement, enabling them and empowering them with confidence and independence. And oh, how we fail at times – anger and frustration get the best of us. So, we pray and read and seek resolve, but most importantly we surround ourselves with people who propel us in a Godly way of parenting.

I’ve once or twice been told that we’re too hard on our children, and I do, in fact, wonder at times if maybe. But then I’m told by teachers and parents how ideal my children behave, and that squashes any doubt I may have had. Our kids might be manipulative and bratty at home, but their light shines when it counts.

What child-rearing tactics work for you and your family?





BE STILL



Our 2-year is quite energetic. As much as any 2-year old, I presume. He’s busy exploring this world and living life to the fullest. Sometimes, I fall back into my chair and mutter, “Can you just be still for 5 minutes?”

I want to cuddle with him more often. Wrap my arms around him and hold him tight. Rub his back and run my fingers through his beautiful blonde locks. And then I realize…he’s just like me – never wants to sit still – always wants to DO something. 

I wonder if God feels this way with me. Wanting me to be still – to revel in His love. To hear Him say “you are special and I love you.”





Friday, July 19, 2013

LET'S BE FRIENDS BLOG HOP


Hello there! It is time for the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #22! Link up to gain new followers on GFC or bloglovin'!

Promote this blog hop by putting the button on your page, or throwing a shout out at the end of your post today or tomorrow. The more link ups we have the more our blogs will grow! Invite a friend, tweet it, or let your Facebook  friends know! :)

Make sure to follow the hosts and co-hosts!

Have fun and meet some friends!

Check Out My Current Giveaway
            

Lauren from Marked By Grace


Jessica from Blissfully Miller



Kate from Teal Vogue

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

PARTY PLANNING



You! Yes, you, you mom that pulls off a toddler birthday party with style and panache and never break a sweat. I envy you. I mean, I don’t even deserve to ride in your mini-van, I’m so unworthy.

I’m a mommy to a 2 year old. Well, will be 2 at the end of this month. And he’s totally aware of it because we’ve been teaching him to say “I two” while holding up the peace-sign-two-finger hand gesture.

So. This is a big deal. Two years of Reef, two years of being alive, two years of diapers. (Seriously. That has to add up to like 608,000 diapers). It's been a good run of babyhood and toddlerhood. And I'm ready to celebrate.

We’re planning on having friends and classmates gather to ingest loads of sugar and sing “happy birthday” in high-pitched voices while all kinds of pandemonium breaks out as the excitement of having something other than goldfish for snack takes hold.

Luckily, Reef doesn’t know about Pinterest and the insanity moms are going to for crafting life-size images of their children with marshmallow cream and fondant. He also doesn't know that toddler moms everywhere are Instagram'ming the hipster parties. I am not THAT mom, but I do have some small talents of my own. Like re-creating ideas I love and tweaking them just a little. 

I'll let you know how it turns out in a couple of weeks. [wink]

{here are a few images from birthday #1...}

 





FINDING JOY IN THE CHAOS



A miniature version of a shopping cart found its way into the middle of my closet. Orphan socks lay on our kitchen table, patiently awaiting their mate. An overly ripened avocado hides among the bright fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator drawer. Life seems to be a juxtaposition of unlikely objects in my role as mother of an adventurous, curious toddler. Reef’s daily life is a series of opposing pairings. From sucking his thumb and wanting to be held like a little baby to demanding to take the stairs himself, his behavior is a study of opposites. The mother’s life too reflects the often uneasy pairing of the polished professional woman with the sometimes (most of the time) frazzled, uncertain or exasperated mother of a young child. There is I believe a lesson to be learned in these contrasts. My life is enriched by the unexpected, popping up in refreshing ways, keeping me alert and reminding me not to sit too comfortably in one place for too long. A puzzle piece amidst my hair accessories? Well, why not?

I am learning to slow down, enjoy and soak it all in. I've learned to find joy in the chaos and embrace the unexpected...




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