1.29.2015

Ten Years



On this day ten years ago, my life changed forever. I made a vow, an oath, to love and cherish, to honor and obey. I pledged my love for a man that I am forever grateful for before God and man. My heart was overflowing with the joy I felt.

Today, my heart overflows even more. With each year that has passed, each day that has passed, I have grown to love my husband more. Sometimes, I am in utter disbelief that God has blessed me with my husband, with my children.


The day we got engaged, August 2004











Honeymoon in Gatlinburg, TN



St. Augustine, FL 












Now, ten years later, I am so thankful for a man who works hard to provide for his family. He is selfless, always putting us before himself. He would do anything to see that we have what we need. I know that he loves me unconditionally, that he knows me probably better than I know myself.  He loves his girls and spends time with them to make sure they know that. I am beyond blessed to call this man my husband. 

So, Jared, here's to the next ten years......and the ten after that.....and the ten after that. I love you more than words can say, more than I could ever hope to express. You make me one of the happiest girls in the world! SHMILY!






1.27.2015

Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Inspiration

Mid-Century modern isn't a style that I have worked with a whole lot. While I appreciate the clean lines, it just isn't a style that I have in my own home. To get a better feel for it, I decided to create a Digital Design Board, showcasing a couple of mid-century modern pieces. Paired with some current accessories, this look is fresh and updated with a vintage flair. 

When I saw this pink chair, I had to build a board around it. It's so chic and that pop of color is perfect for a neutral bedroom. I also really loved the lines of this amazing dresser.  And the plush carpet would be so cozy underfoot in the mornings as you're dragging yourself out of bed. The gold sunburst mirror highlights the gold accents on the dresser, and the patterned pillows bring some fun to the design.


All of the items on this design board are from Chairish. It's a really cool website where you can score all kinds of vintage furniture and accessories. No matter what style you have, they have something for you. One of the cool things about the site is that you can make an offer on the item you want. Items are sold by individual sellers (Yes....you could sell your vintage goods as well!) and they can choose to accept your offer or you may have to meet a reserve price.  Either way, it's a great way to get a good deal on an item you love.  

Board Details: 
Mid Century Nine Drawer Dresser
Lamp
Pink Slipper Chair



I like to mix design styles and now I think I will be a little more open to Mid-Century Modern design. What do you think about that design style? Is there another style you would prefer?

1.21.2015

My Next Project: The Office

It's time to start working on a new project. (Although, I haven't finished the laundry room yet. I am at a standstill with that. I can't move forward without my hubby's help and his work schedule leaves him NO extra time for improvement projects at this point.) So, I am moving forward with something I can do on my own. Or, at least I can do the first couple of phases of it. 

Let me show you the before pictures. When we first moved in, this room, which right off of the current living room, was carpeted with yellow walls. This used to be the formal dining room, but we felt it was too small. It's the perfect size for an office. (These pics were from after we first moved in and had piled lots of boxes and junk in there before we had some of the renovations done.)

Before:





Progress:

We removed all the carpet and put down wide plank laminate. I painted the walls grey and added some pretty curtains. And this is basically the state this room has been in for WAY TOO LONG. I mean, trying to blog from that tiny table is pretty difficult. I have no storage for office items. When people come over, I end up trying to hide stuff under the table behind the tablecloth. I am so ready to get this room done. I feel it will help me be so much more organized and on top of things. 


Inspiration:

Here is my inspiration for this room. The walls will be staying grey except for the wall that the computer is on. It will go a dramatic black like this.....

//Via//

We have a set of upper and lower cabinets left over from the kitchen remodel (the ones we pulled out of the kitchen).  I have already primed them and now they will get a couple of coats of white paint.  The cabinets will go in the center of the wall and shelves will extend on either side to the wall, creating an entire wall of built-ins. We will add a wood countertop as well. The layout will be similar to this.....
//Via//
 I envision golds, blacks and whites, with big pops of color for the accessories and organization pieces. Kind of like this.......

//Via//


I cannot wait to get started on this. I hope to begin painting the wall tomorrow. Hopefully, I can get the ball rolling and keep a forward momentum for completing this room. 
But while I am in get-the-office-done-organize-all-the-things mode, let me ask you this. What is your favorite place for stylish yet functional office organization?  There aren't a lot of places for me to find things in my hometown and I'll have to branch out online and in larger cities to find what I need.  Have you ever purchased items from The Container Store? I would love to know!

1.13.2015

Healthy Recipe Review



 I'm not going to lie. I ate horribly from about Thanksgiving all way through New Year's.  We honestly had Christmas get-together's and parties every single weekend all month. Then, my husband's crazy work schedule got in the way of me being able to go to classes at night at the gym, so I didn't work out. At all. I could've walked in our neighborhood. I could've gone to gym while the kids were in school. But I didn't. I just didn't. And I have paid for it. I've gained weight over the holidays and I feel awful. Correction. Did feel awful. 

I'm getting back into the swing of things, eating healthy and getting some workouts in. I'm already five pounds down since last week! Yay!  But it was probably just water weight. (I am doing a detox cleanse and I'm sure that has helped. More about that in a minute.)

//Via Instagram//

My hubby bought me a Samsung Gear Fit for Christmas so I can keep up with calories burned and my daily steps with the pedometer. I really like having it. Before, I was just guessing how many calories I burned during a workout. Now, I have a much more accurate reading.  Also, I got some new kicks for my birthday! I am all set!

Saturday afternoon, I decided that I would go ahead and cook a few meals and pre-package them so that I would be prepared to eat healthy this week and would have no excuses to not choose wisely. 

Here's what I cooked this weekend:

//Via He and She Eat Clean//


This was the first time I had ever cooked the zesty chicken. It is marinaded in Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg's) with a couple other ingredients, and it is a little too vinegar-y for me. It isn't bad, it's just a little tangy.  I used this chicken to fix six grab-n-go meals for myself. By the way, a couple of the recipes I am talking about today comes from He and She Eat Clean. I highly suggest checking our their site. They have wonderful healthy recipes!

//Via 100 Days of Real Food//
Now, this crock-pot whole chicken is one of my favorite clean meals to make!  It is so yummy and easy. It's also something that my hubby and kiddos readily eat. I give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up (Clueless quote there) and highly suggest trying it!

//Via Chelsea's Messy Apron//
These flourless and gluten free apple almond muffins were really good. They weren't very sweet, which I guess is the point, but I still liked them. They are good for breakfast with coffee and even as a mid-afternoon snack. Next time I make these, I am adding a bit more apples and just a little Stevia. The best part about these muffins?  They were guilt-free! I'm talking zero guilt. I ate them and enjoyed them and knew I wasn't cheating even though it kind of felt like I was. 

//Via Jennie O//

These Mexican turkey sausage frittatas are so good and another go-to breakfast for me. It's flavorful, healthy, and only 100 calories per frittata. They are great to make ahead; make a large batch and package them in pairs. Pull out throughout the week for a quick breakfast or high-protein snack. 


My pre-made meals and snacks:


These are all the meals I made up using the Zesty chicken. (The bottom right is just extra chicken I used to make whole wheat wraps.)


I packaged half cups of strawberries and blueberries. (These were on sale this week at Winn-Dixie, which surprised me since they aren't in season. I snatched them up.)  This has been good for my girls, too. They can easily grab something healthy. 

//Via Instagram//

One of the snacks I have eaten over the last few days is half of an apple with one tablespoon of new Reese's spreads.  I have a huge sweet tooth and sometimes, if I feel totally deprived, I completely blow my healthy eating by grabbing a brownie or something equally as fattening. I like the Reese's spreads because it has the same amount of calories as peanut butter and I can eat just enough to get the sweetness I crave without totally going off track. (And it is so good! I mean, seriously yummy!) I've also added a tablespoon into my chocolate protein shake with a half a banana for a sweet afternoon snack. (I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.)

//Recipe via He and She Eat Clean//
Okay, now for the detox drink. This is Jillian Micheal's recipe. I'm not really a huge fan of teas or weird drinks, but this one isn't bad at all. It kind of tastes a bit like lemon water. (It has lemon juice in it.) The recipe calls for dandelion root tea. I couldn't find any around here, so I used Yogi DeTox Tea (found at Winn-Dixie). I had read other reviews of the tea where they used DeTox instead of dandelion root, so I was cool with swapping that out. I am on day four. It hasn't been bad at all, and I believe it is helping flush out toxins. Only three more days to go on it!

You can find all of these recipes and lots more on my Healthful Pinterest Board. Follow me on Pinterest! I am always on the lookout for healthy meals and pin to this board often.  (Also, I'd love to connect with you and cheer you on your own weight-loss, get-healthy journey or your next DIY. It makes my day to hear from you guys!  Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter. Also, don't miss a Cultivate Create post!  Join this site on the right sidebar, sign up to get our posts emailed to you, or follow along on Bloglovin!

So, how are you doing now that January is here? Are you eating healthy? Still have the winter blahs?  Killing it in the gym? Finding it hard to find motivation? 

Do you have some favorite clean, healthy recipes that you'd like to share? Leave it in the comments!

1.12.2015

I Don't Have It All Together

I asked my husband last night if he thought that at thirty-three years old, I should "have it all together" by now. He just kind of shook his head at me.  "That's an illusion, isn't it?" I asked. He replied in the affirmative. 

Who is this elusive woman who has it all together?  Whose floors are spotless, laundry folded and put away, dishes washed?  Where is this woman whose kids are dressed to a "T", whose own wardrobe looks like a walking virtual Pinterest closet, whose husband is of the doting type?  In my head, she also has impeccable taste, her home boasting the latest design trends. She exercises every day, eating a totally clean diet complete with things like fennel and flax and kombucha. Her kids are popular, well-liked, and smart. She is on the PTA, or maybe in a civic club, and finds time to volunteer at her children's school. Her Instagram account has the prettiest pictures, showing how interesting, exciting, and beautiful her life is. Beautiful home. Beautiful family. Beautiful everything. 

And I'm just a beautiful mess

My dining room looked like this most of last week. I chiseled away at the Christmas clutter little by little. Oh yeah, and all these photos in this post? They were taken with my phone. Because my batteries were dead in my camera. And I didn't get around to getting more batteries at any time last week. 

I spent last week trying to get myself into gear. I had great dreams of all the things I would do starting January first......eat clean, exercise every day, get all my Christmas put away and the house back in order, start on my next DIY project. Did those things happen? Not entirely or consistently. My house stayed in chaos most of last week. 

And when my home is in chaos, I. CANNOT. THINK.  It makes me want to hide. It renders me immobile. Seriously. I just can't seem to get anything done because I can't decide where to start first. I get distracted really easily. 

My inner monologue went something like this:
         Okay, let me get the tree taken down. I'm going to start with the large ornaments first. Oh, look at that. There is glitter all over the floor. I have to sweep. Then I will need to mop. But first....the ornaments. I wonder if I have enough storage for all of these ornaments. Storage....storage....storage....I need to organize our storage building. Maybe I can come up with some clever system to keep all of my seasonal stuff separated so that I can get to each easily. Wait, what was I doing? Oh yeah. Ornaments... 



And so it went last week. Trying to get myself together. Trying to put my home back in order. Trying to eat healthy. Trying to exercise. Trying to get my kids to pick up after themselves. Trying to not feel so blah. Trying to pick myself up by my bootstraps. Trying, trying, trying......


My counters have been cluttered......


I am forever behind on laundry.....

And all last week, I kept comparing myself to she who has it all together. Her perfection trumping my feeble attempts to get it together every time. 

I think we all have a version of that woman in our minds. It might look different for each of us, our own perfectionist tendencies and ideals coming into play. We have delusions of grandeur, thinking that if we keep on trying, that we can achieve this got-it-togetherness.

But, I am reminded that she who has it all together doesn't exist. And comparison is the thief of joy. 

“Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.” Galatians 6:4 (CEV)

We (I) have to quit beating ourselves up about every little thing, comparing ourselves to an illusion. We need to give ourselves a little grace (and relish in His Grace) when we are finding it difficult to get our ducks in a row. Only then, will we be free to just be who He created us to be. 

I'm not saying that I've had some great epiphany, some poignant moment that has changed my life forever, and that I will never dare compare myself to the got-it-together-mom ever again.  I'm sure at some point, I will have to take those thoughts captive many times over. But, for now, a gentle reminder has helped me move past being immobile in my beautiful mess of a life to being able to give myself a little grace. Because He gives me grace unmeasurable. 



1.01.2015

2015 Non-Resolutions



Oh, hello 2015. Glad you could drop by. I'm happy to know that you'll be around for a while. So, I might as well tell you that this year, I'm not making any particular resolutions. While you're here, I'm not going to box myself in with particulars. Instead, I am thinking in directions. These are the things I want to move toward, the direction in which I want to go. So, 2015, here's to a great year!


My NON-Resolutions:
I just want to make memories. I want to travel more, to taste something I've never tasted, to experience something I've never done. I want to walk down streets that I've never seen before and take it all in, moment by moment. 


I want to read a good book. Not just any good book, though. I want to read a book that changes me, that shifts how I see the world. 


I want to get healthy. I want to conquer my demons. I want to be proud of myself for taking care of myself, for pushing myself to new limits, for persevering beyond what I thought I was physically capable of. 

I want to find balance. 

I want to find new ways to show my husband and daughters how much I love them, how much I am grateful to God that He chose me to be theirs. I want to laugh more with them. I want to cherish my moments with them.

I want to surround myself with people I love.

I want to become a better me. Not a different me, but a better one.....the one that God created me to be. I want to thrive in my passions, and make the world a better place because I am doing what I love. 

I want to discover new music......the kind that travels right to the center of my heart and stays there. The kind that I can listen to on repeat and never tire of. The kind that moves me.

I want to love deeply and with abandon. 

I want to continue to make my home a refuge, a haven for my family. I want a place where friends want to gather, where all are comfortable and at ease. 

I want to cultivate my passions.

I want to create, to use my imagination. 

I want re-ignite!



A very happy new year to you! May God bless you in 2015!  Have you made any resolutions?  Specific or generalities, what are your goals for this year? 

12.23.2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Cultivate Create!

Love and joy to you and your family. Amidst the busyness, and hurried visits, may you remember to smile......

 

......even when your crazy uncle does something, well, crazy.... 


......May you be gracious to all your friends and family. Share some laughter. It's okay. Let loose and cackle!






I hope this Christmas, you find ways to share happiness.....


....and to be together. 





.....to make memories....


....and be in the moment.


....even when it's hard. 




May we slow down and remember why we are celebrating, why that night so long ago was holy....


......why with the birth of a little baby named Jesus, joy was brought to the world.


....Why shepherds and wise men followed a star so long ago......


This Christmas may you love and be loved.....



....may you share hope and peace.....


.....with family....


.....with strangers.....



....with friends! 
(All photos above by Newman's Photography)



Here's to dreaming of a white Christmas! (even if in South Alabama the chances are slim to none. Hey, a girl can dream!)

I'm taking a little break to spend time with family and friends and will be back fresh as a daisy in 2015!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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