friendsgiving, thanksgiving decor

Food + Friends = ThankFULLness. (I thought this posted last week! Boo technology!)

friendsgiving, thanksgiving decor, table setting, knoxville

friendsgiving, table decor, fall table decor

friendsgiving, thanksgiving decor, table decorations for fall

Last year we tried our hand at this #Friendsgiving thing and it was so delicious we decided to do it again! This year we went full boar – rented tables and chairs and decked out the entire back patio.

Party planning was a part of my job there for 5 years and it wasn’t something I necessarily jumped at, but I’m so glad I had that experience because it really helped grow me as a party throw-er. Plus after you’ve planned corporate Christmas parties for 60-70 adults, having a handful of friends over is nothing. ;)

I wanted to share pictures from our Friendsgiving in hopes that any of these might inspire you for the big day coming up this Thursday!

And let me just say, I’m so thankful for you! I hope you’re able to stop, breathe and take time to enjoy this weekend :)

Follow me on Instagram for peaks into some great sales going on at West Town Mall!

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The Magnolia Story

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No one needs another reason to love Joanna Gaines. But as it turns out, I’ve got one.

Twice now I’ve blazed through the book, “Magnolia Story.” I cried, laughed and marveled loud enough reading through it the first time it got my husband interested, so we listened to it on a long road trip.

Sure it’s neat to learn the back story of their lives. Knowing how they met and the journey they embarked on with business and kids (the stories of them as new parents had us laughing so hard we cried) – all of that is so entertaining.

But truly the best part, the part that reaches deep down in your soul and stirs the passions God placed inside you – is where Joanna shares how God nudged her into fulfilling her dreams.

If you were to ask me to tell you about this in person, I guarantee I’d have a hard time telling you without tearing up.

There’s a place in the book where Joanna is sure God is leading her to do something very, very hard. And as she is doing it, she hears…

“Joanna, if you trust me with your dreams, I’ll take them further than you could have ever imagined.”

As the reader, seeing what it is she’s laying down and knowing where it is God takes her in the future (and He’s not even finished yet!) it’s like an electrical shot of faith. In the moment where she’s laying down what she loved, there’s no way her mind went to the fact that her and her husband would star in one of HGTV’s most successful shows, or that they would have a nationwide appeal, a line in Target, and so on and so on (I mean there are so many so on’s!)

To me, it’s so encouraging and an example to look to in moments of frustration and WHY?! I’m so thankful they shared their story.

Please take time out to read it. I’m certain you’ll laugh, cry and feel a power surge of encouragement like I did!

Need help navigating motherhood/daily activities/LIFE – this book is a huge help.

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Benefits of Stepping Away

take a step back, mom blog, mom life, how to get it all done

Give yourself a hot minute.

As I started to write this post, I began to realize how giving myself breaks has really benefited me in every area of life…

A couple weeks back I was having trouble coming up with what to wear for an event. I tried on outfit after outfit but nothing was working. I knew that if I would just walk away and stop thinking about it that once I came back, I’d get an idea. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.

But I’ve come to learn that stepping away helps with more than just outfit planning. Certain times I’ll write something and I won’t turn it in until I’ve stepped away and come back to it. This requires me to give myself enough time before my deadline so that I’ll have plenty of time to step away and I’m glad when I do because it’s so beneficial.

Lately I’ve been applying this method to our house.

I’ve shared before that I’m the type of person that sees a mess and I allow it to make a speed bump in my mind (not when I see a mess at other people’s house, only at my own for some reason).

Here lately I’ve been purposing to turn that off and spend guilt-free time with my family. The guilt, of course, coming from none other than me. But it so helps my ever whirring mind to turn off the part that’s constantly cultivating a t0-do list.

I know I’m not telling you things you don’t know. But I think it’s good to have a reminder every once in a while. I got the reminder from this gal and thought I’d share my own with all of you.

This is my absolute favorite month of the whole year. In order for it to not feel like it’s passing me by, I purpose to stop and enjoy the pumpkins, the smells, the weather, my family (don’t judge me for not listing them before pumpkins). I want to take that stopping and enjoying with me for the rest of my life.

Let’s all do it more, shall we?

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Check Perfection at the Door

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Read only if you’re human.

The sounds I want to hear when sitting down to write? The sound of the washer, dryer and dishwasher all whirring at the same time. The soothing sounds of my toddler and dog snoring just a wee bit as they sail off to dreamland. The “likes” of the picture I just posted on Instagram ticking up and up and up!

Does this happen every time I sit down to write? Nope. Is the sound of someone sailing off to dreamland often me? Yep.

I don’t have to tell you (but I’m going to because it was in my outline for this post) that we live in a time when it’s harder than ever to put away the picture perfect world we have in our heads and be thankful for our reality. Enter: Emily Ley.

Her book Grace not Perfection was top on my t0-read this list year as the title alone helps me realize I’m doing a good job.

Why should you listen to Emily Ley?

Well, she has twins, and a elementary school child which is reason enough right there but let me go on… She runs her own business – one she built from the ground up. It’s super successful and oh at the heart of it is her desire to make women’s lives easier. Also, random fact: she turned down Shark Tank.

If you read any of that and say “Meh” get out and start writing your own book for us all.

Emily is the creator of The Simplified Planner. Oh yeah – this woman has built a business on paper planners in the 21st century. Let’s add that to the list up there. She has struggled with infertility, stressed herself out to the point of breaking and just generally embodies the “when having done all to stand – stand” scripture.

That’s why I was excited to pick up her book and get a snapshot of what drives her.

Here are my takeaways…

It’s okay for the house to be a mess sometimes.

“You don’t need a Pinterest-perfect home; you need a home that works for you and makes you feel alive.”

No matter where you fall on the scale of perfection when it comes to your house – at some point in your week you look around and think it needs to be clean/cleaner/what has happened with my life. I cannot function with a messy house. And (while I won’t admit this to many) get a small thrill in cleaning it up. So when I can’t get to it and things are awry I start to unravel a bit mentally.

On the other hand, if I spend my entire free evening cleaning the house and getting it to where I like it, but don’t spend any time with my kid – the other kind of guilt sets in and I go to bed thinking WHY HAVE I FORSAKEN MY CHILD!?

This book reads like you’re sitting across from her having coffee and being told “it’s okay to let go of the mess.” Which is great. But what is also great, is Emily gives pointers as to how to manage it all. Like her laundry basket trick at the end of the night, or her Sunday night ritual. (You have to get the book to see what those are! Muahahaha).

It’s okay to take moments for myself.

“God’s grace shines through our ability to love others with sincere patience, gratitude and acceptance.”

Several months ago I started embracing early mornings. I am in love. Those quiet moments with my Bible and my coffee have revolutionized me as a wife, mother and human. Talk about women empowerment – how about all the women in the world spend some time with their Creator. Am I right? *First bump.

Here’s the thing – we can’t be in touch with that grace she talks about up there, if we’re not recharging ourselves. It’s like the airplane oxygen masks – put one on your face before you go to help someone else. You can’t be a help to others if you’re falling face first into the floor, ya goon. So why do we go through life without putting our “oxygen mask” on first? Selah.

It’s okay to take inventory of your social media.

Emily talks a lot about unfollowing people who aren’t pushing you forward. Get rid of the clutter, get rid of distractions. If there’s someone that pops up in your feed that makes you feel bad, unfollow! If social media as a whole makes you look around your room and wish everything was perfect, get off!

Since reading this book I’ve taken several large blocks of time when I don’t allow myself to get on anything social. It’s so freeing. It’s something I want to do regularly to break my brain of having to check in every 15 minutes.

Obviously I could go on and on but I’ll wrap it up. One of my favorite quotes from the book is this…

The difference between people who achieve their goals and people who don’t is their ability to dust themselves off and wear their dirty outfit proudly.

Towards the end she talks about finding your purpose in life. It’s a great reminder to listen to the tug God has placed inside of you and to hone in on your purpose.

That just shows that regardless of where you are in life as a woman – this book is for you. I can’t think of any woman that doesn’t need the “Grace not Perfect” message. Well, maybe that one girl that always pops up in my Pinterest feed. She’s clearly got it all together, summer winter, spring AND fall – but other than her – we all need this message.

Get your book here. While you wait for it to come in, read this post to see how to fit reading into your busy schedule.


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All of the happy emoji’s.


Why do I squeal with delight at the sight of pumpkins? Or smile broadly as I walk by a grocery store display of fall mums?

Because, as a true millennial would put it, fall is everything. Now let me unpack that massive statement with a list of things you didn’t know you loved about fall. Because lists are everything ;)

ONE: Fall brings more clothes and what do more clothes mean? Shaving less often (insert your own interpretation of “less often” ;)

TWO: A sharp change in season is fun because it awakens a new part of your closet. Fall opens the door to layering, jackets and tights! If you don’t feel as if you can master fall dressing – keep reading this blog! I’ll help you out with that.

THREE: The holidays are such a fun time of year. And to me, I like to start savoring them now. Use the upcoming cool days and cozy nights as reminders of the fun times ahead!

FOUR: No more bugs! Gah, I hate bugs.

FIVE: Sure there’s a time change and I’ll admit, now that I have a little boy reason to stay outside longer it’s not as exciting. But two things I like to focus on when I start to get sad about the darkness…first, it always makes you think it’s later than it is. Bonus time! And second, it’s a great excuse to pile up on pretty lights and candles outside and actually get to enjoy them! In the summer by the time it gets dark enough for lights, it’s so late. But once the time changes you can enjoy the ambiance longer.

If you just can’t WAIT to start building your fall looks, here’s some great fall fashion advice ;) Also here.

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