Pen + Paper

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

As much as I love this online world – the writing, the connections, the inspiration – I’m still a pen + paper girl. I love to write – as in handwrite on paper. Beautiful journals and colorful pens make me smile. I enjoy writing in a real life planner. I love digital and I love paper. Yes, you can do both.

I’ve posted some pictures on Instagram from my morning quiet time and had people ask about the journals and pens I’m using, so why not write a post about it, right?!

Here are my current favorites in the pen + paper categories…

Pen + Paper Favorites

Paper

The Day Designer by Whitney English - I’m going to try to not be overdramatic, but this planner has CHANGED MY LIFE. I’m great at dreaming up big ideas and making long-term plans, but I get stuck in the day-to-day details. I need major help planning out my days and tackling to-do lists. The Day Designer has seriously revolutionized the way I think about my days and the efficiency with which I tackle all the different responsibilities in my life! I probably need to do a whole post on the Day Designer alone, but I just needed to tell you how much I adore it.

Prayer Journal by Val Marie Paper - Prayer is immensely important to me, but I have a hard time remembering all the prayer requests I want to pray. Val’s beautiful journal is laid out perfectly to jot down prayers for all the important people and areas in my life. I carry it with me in my purse at all times so I can pray or write down a prayer at a moment’s notice. I love that it is organized by month and includes sections for prayers for our world, nation, loved ones, friends, and personal requests, as well as Scriptures to pray and a place to record answered prayers!

Abide Journal by Naptime Diaries - Our Bible study went through this bible study/journal over the summer and we all just adored it. It is an invitation to rest in Him and Jessi included Scripture and devotions right alongside space to process your own needs to really abide in the Lord. If your life feels hurried, stressful, or disconnected, I highly recommend the Abide Journal to help bring you closer to Him.

She Reads Truth study packs - I want them all. There is just something about having a beautiful journal to write your Bible study notes in and She Reads Truth had done this SO well. The artwork is always gorgeous, the study sections for each day help me focus on the passage and write through my thoughts, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. I’m particularly excited about the Hospitality study starting October 27th!

Journals from DaySpring - I can’t even count how many DaySpring journals, but there are full ones all over my house. DaySpring has journals of all sizes and designs – literally something for everyone, including the guys! The All of Me journal is awesome for recording spiritual and physical health, and I always carry a spiral journal of some kind with me to take notes at church!

Anything Moleskine - I was late to the game on Moleskine, but I’m a full believer now. I’ve used the little ones to count my blessings or record exercise. I’ve used something a little bigger as a prayer journal or a doodle book. They just feel special, you know?! I even used one to make a “restaurant passport” book for The Hubby so we could remember all the great places to eat in our city and check them off as we go! We haven’t kept up on it so well, but it looks cute!

Pen

Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens - Great variety of colors, don’t bleed through the pages of any of the paper products listed above, and I love how smoothly they write!

Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Pens - Oh my word. Where have these been all my lives?! Pens, available in many colors, that can be erased just with friction by using the rubber end of the pen! I use these ALL the time in my Day Designer in case I need to rearrange plans.

Sharpie Stainless Steel Fine Point Black Ink Pen - This pen feels amazing to hold in my hand and I love how it writes. And it looks super fancy, which is always fun! The Hubby also loves this pen. For the record, he had one first, so I’m just copying him.

Yes, I just wrote over 700 words about PENS AND PAPER. My love is deep, friends. And I hope you found some new loves to try!

What are your favorite pen + paper products?

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

What I Wore: Symbology

I received the top mentioned in this post for review. I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Fair trade accessories have been a staple for me for a while and they are not too hard to find these days. But fair trade clothing was elusive to me until recently. And it was worth the wait because I am discovering some great pieces for my capsule wardrobe that also support the artists who made them in a fair way!

Before I show you my new favorite tunic, I need you to know something: I love elephants. Ok, now you are prepared for this awesome…

WIWW Elephantspaired with GAP mint skinny cords and wild copper Tieks 

This Kissing Elephants Tunic is from Symbology Clothing, a company who employs marginalized artisans, with a special focus on women, and preserves traditional artforms threatened by globalization.

WIWW Elephants 3

I love this top for so many reasons. First of all, the elephants. Of course. The length of the tunic is perfect to cover my rear end and the length of the sleeves can be adjusted with the button cuffs! The fabric is lightweight and super comfortable. And I love the cut of the neckline. This tunic could be dressed up for a date night or bundled up for fall frolicking with your kids!

WIWW Elephants 2

paired with comfy skinnies, burgundy combat boots,  fashionABLE scarf – and wind!

Symbology has SO many cute tops, dress, kimonos, skirts, and more! Through Sunday, October 19th, you can get 10% off your Symbology order with the code HOMEWITHSYMBOLOGY {all caps} at checkout!

Coupon_Symbology_101014

In case you were wondering, YES, I did wear the same top twice in the last week. That’s how much I love it. And I know you’ll love Symbology – the mission, the design, the prints – just as much as I do!

What are you loving from Symbology? A top? Dress? Skirt?

linking up with What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

What It Looks Like to Run Wild

I received the products mentioned in this post for review. I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I might be a dreamer, but I also tend to play it safe. I worry about getting things “wrong” or stirring things up. I shy away from activities or dreams that might complicate my life. I go through seasons of pushing and challenging myself, only to fall back in to safe mode where things are more comfortable.

I’ve seen this cycle play out in my training as a runner. When I sign up for a race and have a goal in mind, I am willing to push myself and get a little crazy in the hopes of achieving the desired result. But once the race is over, I slip back to my comfort zone, sometimes even missing workout days and other days just barely making it through with very little effort.

I know this pattern in life and running is not God’s plan for me. The “safe” zone is not where my growth happens or where my faith becomes greater. This almost always happens in the messy places that make me a little uncomfortable. It happens when I do what God recently spoke to me:

Run wild, Erin.

Run Wild 1

He speaks to me a lot while I’m running and in running metaphors, but these words are more about my everyday living than my workouts. I first heard them in a song by For King and Country

There’s no time left to waste
Yeah, you can make your great escape
We’re made to RUN WILD

The song is from the album of the same name, Run Wild Live Free Love Strong, and all of it is moving me to a place of messy forward motion. I may not be the most tidy person at home, but I’ve tried to keep my journey with God nice and neat. This “tidy” faith is more frustrating than freeing. Taking on this call from God to run wild after Him is scary but full to the brim with freedom.

Run Wild 2

I’ve noticed that my tendency towards safety has kept me from encouraging wild faith and trust in God in my family. I use the words “careful” and “nice” a lot. My boys are naturally wild in their behavior, but I have done nothing to show them how God can use their wild spirits to change the world for Him.

Run Wild 4

I need the words RUN WILD before me every day as a reminder. I’ve started chasing some wild dreams and loosened my grip on the small, tidy faith I once held so tightly. Most days feel a little out my control, but I know I my life is completely in His hands. He made me to run wild. He made my guys to run wild. I’m moving out of the safe zone and running wildly with the purpose of changing this world to the glory of His name.

Run wild
Live free
Love strong
You and me

Those words I need in front of my face? There’s no better way to have them on display in my home than with the new Letterpress Blocks from DaySpring! The fun thing with these blocks is the the “Build Your Own Word” site where you can drag and drop letters and symbols before you decide what to buy! Seriously, I spent so much time playing with the mixing and matching of letters and fonts, as well as designing different words and phrases! The actual blocks work well sitting on a ledge or hanging on a wall – however you want to use them keep those important words in view!

Run Wild Giveaway

Thanks to my dear friends at DaySpring, I have a $50 coupon code to use towards a Letterpress Blocks order to giveaway today! Just leave a comment below by Friday, October 17th at 9 p.m. CST telling me the word or phrase you would make with the Letterpress Blocks!

What would your Letterpress Blocks word or phrase be?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Fall Family Fun!

The past week has been full of all sorts of fall family fun – my favorite kind of fun! I recently wrote on the Tommy Nelson blog about simple fall break ideas – things to do locally when you can’t get away for long but want to enjoy some autumnal activities! Here’s what we’ve been up to as we enjoy the change in seasons…

First stop: the pumpkin patch!

Vala's 2014 001 Vala's 2014 002 Vala's 2014 003 Vala's 2014 004 Vala's 2014 005 Vala's 2014 006IMG_3873 Vala's 2014 007 Vala's 2014 008 Vala's 2014 009 Vala's 2014 010 Vala's 2014 011 Vala's 2014 012 Vala's 2014 013 Vala's 2014 014 Vala's 2014 015 Vala's 2014 016 Vala's 2014 017IMG_3886

And then the Monster Mash Fun Run/Walk to finish out our Miracle Marathon

IMG_3970 IMG_3971 FullSizeRender FullSizeRender (1)

It was super fun to meet up with blog reader and Miracle Marathon team member Erika, her boys, and her mom! We all enjoyed the activities, the walk, and each other’s company! We also met Curt Tomasevicz, former Husker football player and Olympic bobsledder! How fun that he let us hold his Olympic medals?!

Speaking of the Miracle Marathon, the miles have been logged, but it’s not too late to donate! I still have a ways to go to reach my $272 goal, but you can help me out and give until November 1st!

Don’t forget to check out my fall break ideas over at Tommy Nelson to make the most of my favorite season!

What kind of fall fun does your family enjoy?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

What I Wore: Fall Capsule Wardrobe {Vol. 1}

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

This fall capsule wardrobe thing has me back in the swing of What I Wore Wednesday! It’s been a few weeks since I committed to my capsule wardrobe and I am still loving it! I have not felt limited for outfit choices at all. I am dying for fall weather to kick in full throttle so I can start layering more!

Here’s what I wore in the past few weeks from my capsule wardrobe…

WIWW 10:8 1

striped tunic – H&M, white jeans – Target, flats – The Root Collective, necklace – Charming Charlie’s

WIWW 10:8 2

grey tee – Old Navy, skinny jeans – Target, grey ankle boots – Steve Madden, Genet scarf – fashionABLE {available for a limited time through Kickstarter right now!}, Mamuye tote – fashionABLE

black drape tank – Everlane, Josie hoodie – Evy’s Tree, red jeans – Target, Tierdrop necklace – Noonday Collection, Willow boots – Lane Boots

WIWW 10:8 4

navy u-neck tee – Everlane, vest – made from fashionABLE scarf, jeans – Ann Taylor {thrifted}, flats – The Root Collective, sunglasses – H&M

Packers tee – Target, Packers hat – Scheels…and the PACKERS WIN!

WIWW 10:8 6

Brooke tunic + infinity scarf – Evy’s Tree, black leggings – Target, moccasin boots – Minnetonka

white tee + black maxi – GAP, scarf – fashionABLE, wild copper ballet flats – Tieks

be kind to you tee – Revelation Wellness, white jeans – Target, necklace – The Root Collective, denim stripe TOMS

That last tee is a new addition to the capsule and I have just a couple more to introduce to you next week! One of the advantages of this capsule wardrobe thing is how it has curbed my impulse shopping. While I was in Nashville, we spent an afternoon at a mall and I didn’t even feel tempted to buy any clothes! I did snag some new sunglasses, but that’s it! I love that I have a well-thought-out plan for the season to save me money, time, and space!

So what have you been wearing lately? Any new fall favorites? Have you taken the capsule wardrobe plunge?!

 

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore Wednesday!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Free Devotional eBook + Praying for the Bibleless

Here I sit, surrounded by Bibles in numerous translations because I’m kind of a Bible geek. I’m not even going to tell you how many Bibles are in our home. I’m not hiding in shame over that huge number. That’s not what I’m thinking about right now. I’m thanking God for having all of these versions of His Word and resources in my own language.

Over a billion people are still Bibleless. A BILLION.

There’s not even a Bible in their language anywhere. Some people don’t even have a written language that a Bible could be translated into, but that is not stopping The Seed Company from getting the Word of God into their lives.

At the Declare Conference, we heard from Esther Havens, a photographer who traveled to document the work of The Seed Company in Africa as they bring Bible to the San people in spoken form. The pictures and videos were so compelling because they were visual proof of the work of The Seed Company AND the transforming power of God’s Word. The Gospel is highly treasured by those who have never had it for themselves before. And this inspired me to treasure my Bible even more.

While I can’t go out and translate the Bible for people in a remote village, The Seed Company has empowered me to do something just as important – to pray for the Bibleless. I can pray. And The Seed Company provides resources and reminders for praying for specific people groups.

I want to invite you to become a prayer partner with The Seed Company! It doesn’t cost anything, but your efforts will have a big impact. You can read more about becoming a prayer partner and sign up now at The Seed Company website!

Joy Devotional

I also have a FREE gift to share with you! It was an honor to contribute to this new devotional, Joy in All Circumstances, from the Seed Company. Just click here to download your free copy! It won’t surprise you to find out my devotional was inspired by running, but I know non-runners will find His inspiration in it as well! I hope you find joy in the whole ebook – so many of my favorites contributed to this devotional!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Fall Capsule Wardrobe: The Shoes

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Last week I revealed the clothing pieces I chose for my fall capsule wardrobe, but today I wanted to talk about shoes. I did not include shoes in my capsule wardrobe, but I am trying to narrow down the shoes I own and wear this fall to see how I can simplify my closet even more!

Fall shoes are the best. I’m not a huge fan of sandals and flip flops. Boots and cute flats are my jam. I’ve tried a lot of both over the years and today I’m playing favorites and telling you all about them!

FALL CAPSULE Shoes

Flats

Root Collective Ballet Flats – My favorite flats because they are cute, comfy, and they make a difference! I have an emerald green pair and a pink striped peep toe pair – they are my go-to pops of color for any outfit! I love knowing who made my shoes and that my purchase is supporting him and his family.

Wild Copper Tieks - I’m warning you: the price tag is high, but so is the quality and versatility of Tieks ballet flats. I chose the Wild Copper pair precisely because of the versatility and they have not let me down one bit! Traveling with them is the best because they fold up into a tiny little bag and match just about every outfit I could pack. Tieks also has a foundation which contributes to women entrepreneurs around the world through Kiva.

TOMS – These are my more casual flat option and you can get basically any color, fabric, or texture your heart could desire! This fall, I chose two neutrals from the TOMS + Zulily sale – a denim stripe and a black pinstripe. My grey pair from so many years ago was starting to look quite distressed!

Boots

Willow Lane Boots - These boots are getting their own post because they are so amazing, but let me just say it is worth the money to invest in a real pair of cowboy boots that are high quality and make you feel confident. These boots are just those kind of boots. I have never in my life had so many compliments on one pair of shoes!

Minnetonka moccasin boots – Basically, these are slippers that are acceptable to wear in public. And they have a sturdy sole on them. And I adore them.

Grey ankle boots – Grey is hot this fall. Ankle boots are hot this fall. Grey ankle boots for the win.

Riding boots – I’ve have had a black and a brown pair of riding boots for a while now and they will never go out of style because they are so classic. My black pair is from Lands’ End {similar} and my brown pair is from Target {similar}, so you can find riding boots for any budget!

Burgundy combat boots – This was a fun new addition at the end of last winter when boots were on clearance. So far, I love them with leggings and tunics! I’m still experimenting!

Other

Keens – I have two pairs of Keens and they are the sturdiest, most comfortable shoes I own! I’ve had my red shoe pair for years and they just get more comfortable every year. The best part is they haven’t lost any support in the arch over time. This year, I finally snagged a pair of Keen sandals and they are perfect for the warmer fall days, you know when summer tries to sneak her way back in. Keens are a must for this mom of active boys!

Rain boots – As I write this, we’ve had a few rainy days in a row and I love it! And my yellow rain boots make rainy days even better. Rain boots are also great for trips to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard because they can be easily cleaned off after you trek through the dirt to get that perfect gourd! There are lots of fun rain boots, but I love my Lands’ End pair! Unfortunately, they don’t make them anymore, but they are very similar to the classic Hunter Wellies.

Who shares my love for fall shoes? What are your favorites this season?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Nashville Girls’ Weekend with Tommy Nelson!

It’s been a little quiet around here for two reasons. The first is the fundraiser we launched over at the MOB Society last week as we make the move to becoming a nonprofit ministry! We’ve only just begun and it’s already very exciting, overwhelming, scary, and wonderful at the same time! If you’d like to read more, head over to the blog to hear our hearts!

The other reason has been travel, both with family and for blogging purposes! If you follow me on social media, you probably know I just got back from a girls’ weekend in Nashville!

I have been a part of the Tommy Nelson Mommies writing team for four years and they’ve been wanting to bring us all together for a while. It worked out for all of us except for two women to meet in Nashville this weekend and it was AMAZING.

Our weekend was jam-packed with goodness. We stayed at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland hotel…

TN Opryland

had a wonderful day of meetings at the Thomas Nelson headquarters {SO cool to be where all the book magic happens!}…

TN Thomas Nelson

TN Group at TN

ate the most wonderful food at places like Puckett’s Grocery and the Loveless Cafe…

and topped the whole weekend off with a night at the Grand Ole Opry AND a surprise backstage tour during the concert! Oh my word. This was incredible, especially since Vince Gill was playing and he did a song that is very near and dear to my heart {more on the Opry experience at a  later date}. A night I will not soon forget.

TN Vince Gill

But the weekend was really all about these beautiful women…

TN Johnny Rockets

Each of them beautiful in every way, I had the best time getting to know these ladies, laughing and crying and sharing and learning. Some were new friends, some I was so glad to reconnect with in person!


TN Party Car TN Group Jump

I just could not think of a better group with whom to talk faith, writing, and motherhood {and also jump and eat my way through Nashville}! I’m thankful we had the chance to hear each other’s hearts in person as well as hearing directly from the team we work with at Tommy Nelson. These people really love Jesus AND children’s books! They are so committed to bringing more resources to parents to help their children learn about God and His Word – and they are a TON of fun!

I loved being a part of the Tommy Nelson team before, but this weekend gave me an even greater appreciation for their dedication to strengthening the faith of our children through books. It’s an honor to have a small place amongst this wonderful group!

If you’re a blogger and want to sign up to get Tommy Nelson children’s books to review, just head over here to apply! LOTS of great books coming out for kids in the next few months!

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Fight Hunger. Spark Change.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with The Motherhood.

I recently did some research on childhood hunger in my area. What I found made me sad and a little sick to my stomach. Over 30,000 children in my community are at-risk for hunger. 30,000. I can’t get that number out of my head.

I used to scoff at stores and restaurants that asked me, “Would you like to add $1 to your bill to help fight hunger?” How could $1 do anything to fight hunger?

Then I learned the stories and numbers. And I learned the power of doing something, anything, no matter how big or small, to help. I applaud any company who wants to partner with their customers to DO SOMETHING to help fight poverty or hunger or any injustice in our communities.

The Walmart Foundation recently launched “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.,” a nationwide campaign calling on the public – that means us! – to get involved in the fight against hunger right here in America. The goal of this campaign is to provide $3.7 million in grants to participating Feeding America food banks and local partner agencies that provide hunger relief to millions of people in need of food assistance.

Walmart Fight Hunger

As part of the initiative, Walmart is teaming up with acclaimed chef, cookbook author and TV host, G. Garvin, and calling on the public to support their local food banks by voting online through October 5th!

So here’s the deal about how YOU can get involved…

1. Head over to Walmart’s Fighting Hunger site, type in your state, and vote for your favorite local food bank! I’m voting for Food Bank for the Heartland! You can vote once a day and tell your friends to join you!

2. Join me and a few friends for a Twitter party next Tuesday, September 30th at 1:00 p.m. EST using the hashtag #Vote2FightHunger to spread the word about this important campaign! Five $25 Walmart gift cards will be given away during the hour and I want YOU to win one of them {or all of them}! Find all the details of the Twitter party here and I’ll see you there next week!

Do you know about hunger in your community? Have you donated to or worked with your local food bank?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Fall Capsule Wardrobe: The Pieces

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Did I build up this capsule wardrobe reveal enough?!

Seriously. I’m no fashion expert. I’m a mom who doesn’t want to look frumpy as I go about my boy-raising life. I thought I would share my fall capsule wardrobe process and pieces because I think a lot of you are moms like me – not a huge clothing budget, wanting to look stylish but also be comfortable, needing easy ideas for looking put together, wanting to SIMPLIFY.

If you’re new here, you can read my fall capsule wardrobe lead-up posts here:

About my fall capsule wardrobe: I have 37 pieces on my list right now. It does not include shoes, accessories, workout clothes, pajamas, or undergarments. There is no hard-and-fast rule about the number of pieces in a capsule. Some people include shoes, some don’t. I have my number at 37 right now and will cap it at 40. I’m giving myself that wiggle room in case I realize I forgot something!

Fall Capsule Pieces

Here’s my current list and I will update it if necessary… 

Tops

Bottoms

  • black skinnies {Target}
  • denim skinnies {Levi’s}
  • white jeans {Target}
  • black maxi {GAP}
  • comfy skinnies {similar}
  • mint skinny cords {J. Crew}
  • red jeans {Target}
  • wide leg jeans {Ann Taylor – thrifted}
  • knee-length skirt {hand-me-down}

Dresses

Outerwear/Miscellaneous

A few notes on this fall capsule wardrobe: Of course, I had to include a couple game day shirts! There are a few pieces in the “tops” section that I am considering swapping out, but I’ll give them a try for a few weeks first! And as soon as I had this list finalized and I started dressing from it, the weather warmed up again! Ugh! I have a pair of shorts on standby to use when needed, but otherwise I’m sticking to this list through the middle of December!

I didn’t include pictures of every item because I will be showing you them in outfits as the weeks roll on! If you follow me Instagram, you may have seen a few already, and I’ll keep posting outfits several times a week over there!

What pieces on this list would be in your fall capsule wardrobe?

 

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook