I’ve spent quite a bit of time curating my Instagram feed. Every month or so I go through my list of “following” and unfollow any accounts that don’t add value to my life or make me laugh – minimalism lives within the squares. It makes me feel sad to think about any of you missing out on the style, laughter, advice and food these ladies bring me. So, without further ado, here are my very favorite Instagram accounts to follow.
Cooking dinner is one of my very favorite things to do. Since we’ve been married I pretty much make dinner every night, which certainly hasn’t helped our waistlines. Making dinner for my family is one of those activities that I used to dream about and I plan to make it a priority in our home for as long as I can. My mom did all of the cooking in our home growing up, so I am mostly self-taught and really enjoy the learning process. I know it’s hard to find meals that you love, aren’t too difficult, and don’t make you feel guilty, so I try to share the winners here! This is what we’ve been eating and loving lately.
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti Squash
- Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken & Veggies
- Seared Salmon with Gnocchi & Roasted Cauliflower
- Sheet Pan Poblano Chicken Fajitas
- Chicken Guacamole Taquitos
We don’t follow any particular diet or eating plan, but my sisters and I are doing a round of Whole-30 in January/February. I’m so excited because I’ve heard you are in the kitchen all the time during Whole-30, but I’m also very nervous because I’m not great at sticking to such strict rules. Also, I love wine! If you have any tips send them my way!
Image © Deidre Lynn Photography
Wedding dresses are one of my favorite things to talk about, and since I have a pretty unconventional wedding dress story, I’d love to share my story! About six months before our wedding I became the store manager of my favorite bridal boutique, Adore Bridal & Specialty. It was a dream job and I still can’t believe it was mine! Being a bridal store manager certainly contributed to my bridal gown story, but it all started when I was just a customer.
As soon as Adore opened its doors I knew I wanted to purchase my dress there one day. It was the charming, personal experience and the unique gowns that drew me in. My mom and mother-in-law took me to my appointment where we worked with Janice, the store owner – my future boss, and future friend. Looking back, I have to chuckle because I think I was actually a pretty challenging bride that day. Even still, Janice was able to find me a dress that I loved. And a hair piece I could never live without. Sadly, I had seen a dress online at BHLDN that I thought I just had to see in person. My mom didn’t like the dress in its pictures, but both my mama’s took me up to Chicago anyway. They’re the best.
It’s ironic that I feel so compelled to share this post with you this month. My day job has demanded all of my time and attention for the last several weeks and the rest of my life has taken a back seat – including my blog and all of my goals. Things are starting to slow down at work and I remind myself to be grateful for the seasons of life. One thing that has kept me sane during this busy season are my PowerSheets and I have to tell you about them.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram see my PowerSheets all the time, and several of you have asked for this post! A year ago I purchased my first set of PowerSheets from Cultivate What Matters and they have honestly, truly changed my life. In so many ways, PowerSheets help me to live intentionally and within my means. I have less than two weeks to convince you why you need them in your life so that you can snag yours when they launch on October 25th, but it shouldn’t take but a moment.
I think I’ve always had minimalist qualities, but after I started listening to The Minimalists podcast this past winter I officially committed to the movement. My minimalist principles are mild in comparison to many, but our home has become pretty lean over the last few months. We are incredibly conscious of anything we bring into our home, and that thinking has extended into our gift giving. I’ve gathered eight gifts that you just can’t go wrong with – even for a minimalist! Tuck these in your pocket for the upcoming Christmas season, or any other gift giving occasion.
When I was in fifth grade, my family built a house. My mom let us pick out our bedroom colors. I chose “Lemon Curd”. For months, my sisters and I found ways to entertain ourselves in flooring stores and on top of dirt mounds at the property. Building our home is definitely a season that I look back on with fond memories. It was also about this time that I started dreaming of my future house.
I always had an expectation that when I got married I would move into a house. Growing up in a small town, I didn’t know very many people that lived in apartments – if any! Two weeks before our wedding Jordan and I moved our belongings into a second-floor walkup in our tiny town. Owning a home wasn’t, and isn’t, even on our radar. Even though it wasn’t a house, our first apartment will always be our first home.
We no longer live in our hometown, but we still live in a second-floor walkup. There’s really nothing charming about our current apartment. We have an attached garage and someone definitely tried to be with the times when they built it, but there are couple hundred identical apartments surrounding us. Our door handles are commercial, the countertops are a dark pattern that was hot for a minute in 2011, and the front door is a slamming door. We do have a deck, but that’s the only evidence of charm.
Neither of our apartments have any business being on Pinterest or Instagram. And get this, in June we are moving into a new apartment that is identical to our current one, minus a bedroom. Naturally, there is part of me that wishes we had an aesthetically pleasing space, but above all I am grateful. I’m grateful that our first apartment was rented from close-family friends and timed perfectly with our wedding. I’m grateful that our current property owners accept and love Lincoln. I’m grateful for God closing doors, making it clear that we were to stay put in Champaign, allowing us to move into a smaller apartment and save money on rent. I’m really grateful.
We’ll be living in apartments for quite a while and I’m very okay with that. Jordan and I are not ready to “put down roots” so buying a house would be a bit over-committal for us. That’s not to say we don’t love Champaign. We do. We just don’t want to put ourselves in a permanent position.
I also cannot make a design decision to save my life. Our apartment is pretty empty because choosing home décor is almost impossible for me. I love this home, but I also love this one – what are we supposed to do with that? Jordan and I are going to read through this article, and hopefully get a better grasp on our style. But still. It will probably change next month. Is something wrong with us?
If Jordan and I knew that we were going to live in Champaign forever, we would absolutely have an aggressive savings plan and purchase a home. We would make it ours over the years and I would love that. That’s how I pictured our life five years ago, but that’s just not who we are today. So, for right now, I don’t get too worked up about the shortcomings of our apartment life – looking at you, boob lights. I ooo and ahh while scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram, and trust that when the time is right for us to become homeowners we will do so with humble hearts. And really, this isn’t so much about living in an apartment as it is about living in a space that doesn’t feel very reflective of us. If anyone has suggestions on making standard spaces charming, I’d love to hear them!
Every once in a while several of the Instagram accounts I follow start posting about the same book. These campaigns always grab my attention and I’m inclined to purchase the book being promoted. That’s how I got connected with “Unashamed” by Christine Caine. I started reading “Unashamed” while we were in Mexico, but I decided to press pause and read it when we got home. There is a lot to process in this book and I felt like my beach state of mind wasn’t able to give “Unashamed” the thought it deserved. Last night I finished “Unashamed” and I am still feeling blown away.
Christine Caine, the author, is a cool lady. The first thing you need to know about Christine is that she is from Australia, but her heritage is Greek — already awesome. Christine is also the founder of Propel Women, which is an organization that I follow on social media. She travels around the world speaking to groups of men and women, and she is currently touring in the United States! But my absolute favorite of Christine’s projects is A21, an anti-human trafficking organization that she and her husband founded. “Unashamed” really reveals her heart behind this ministry.
Freedom is packed in every corner of this book! Christine explains the difference of shame and guilt, and more specifically, how Jesus sees the two emotions. So often we associate shame and guilt as the same thing, but they are not! Of course we should feel guilty for our transgressions, but we were not intended to feel shame. I was amazed, AMAZED, at the number of stories in scripture where Jesus frees his children from the weight of shame. “Unashamed” is full of them!
A lot of Christine’s knowledge on the power of shame comes from what she sees and hears everyday through A21. Unfortunately, she also has first hand experience with this wicked emotion that allows her to reason with shame so well. No matter where your shame is born, you are delivered from it by the King of the Universe. That is totally incredible and I want everyone to know!
So if your shame is subliminal or bigger than the skies, I encourage you to read “Unashamed” because you do not have to be chained by the unspeakable acts of others. You are made new!
Grab your copy of Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny by clicking on that link!
This week’s kitchen crush + meal plan is inspired by husband and wife team, Studio McGee. This entire modern mountain home is amazing, but of course the kitchen is my favorite room. If you read last week’s kitchen crush it’s probably no surprise that this kitchen is visually appealing to me. Rich colored cabinets, brass hardware, open shelving, and wood stools are totally my jam.
What I truly love most about this kitchen is the way that it sits completely open into the main living space. The open concept (sup, Joanna) allow life to keep happening while food is being prepared. Y’all, there is nothing I love more than life happening around the kitchen. Will you be dreaming of this kitchen all week, right along side me?
Jordan and I have set a delicious menu for you to create in your kitchens this week! Did you know that the Numbers software has a meal plan/grocery list template? I just discovered this modern marvel and I’m in love! I used to hand write my meal plan, because I didn’t like any of the templates I found on Pinterest. Who knew the perfect meal plan template was right beneath my nose? If you have Numbers, the meal planner is under the personal templates.
I challenged myself, once again, not to use any of my go-to recipes for dinner this week. Jordan and I are looking forward to trying some new dishes, and maybe one of them will turn into a Davis family tried and true. I have included our entire meal plan and grocery list for the week, exactly as it appears in Numbers. Make sure to read through my meal planning and grocery shopping process here!
Monday: Paleo Chicken Fingers
Tuesday: Chicken Bake
Wednesday: One Pan Mexican Quinoa
Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Wraps
P.S. I’m sorry I said y’all up there in the first paragraph. I felt that it was necessary, and I might still feel a little sad about not being a southerner.
I’m so excited to introduce you to our Golden Retriever, Lincoln Rockefeller Davis! This little puppy has taken residence in our home and big-time in our hearts. I’m going to be sharing his story and our puppy parenting experiences, along with the incredible images taken by Kristi Lee Photographer, over a series of posts. He has already made our lives so much more adventurous!
Jordan was twelve years old when a fifth guy was welcomed into their family. His name is Ranger and he is the twelve year old Golden Retriever that I compete with for Jordan’s favorite person. You think I’m kidding. Jordan and Ranger do have a very special bond, and I’ve never truly understood their relationship until bringing Lincoln home.
Around Christmas time, Jordan and I decided that we were ready to bring a puppy into our home. Of course I love Ranger, but I am not a fan of Golden Retriever’s intense shedding. As a compromise, I suggested that we get a Goldendoodle. They are so cute, part Golden Retriever, have curly hair like me, and they don’t shed! Jordan wanted nothing to do with my seemingly perfect compromise, so we looked at several different breeds. We actually became pretty serious about a French Bulldog, but something was holding us back.
One day I just could not get the picture of our family with a Golden Retriever out of my head. I decided to call Jordan over lunch and offer a proposal: we can get a Golden Retriever, but I get to pick the name. No questions asked. There was no hesitation before Jordan’s “yes”. Lincoln is named after Honest Abe, and the name Rockefeller was inspired by my Grandma! She said, “who doesn’t love a rich and honest man?!” We couldn’t argue with that!
The journey to find our perfect little puppy began (finally)! You should know that there are two variations of Golden Retrievers: English and American. English Golden Retrievers are creamier in color, and a bit wider in stature. American Golden Retrievers range from true gold to red in color, and they have a much more narrow stature. We wanted a golden that would look similar to Ranger, so we narrowed our search to a male, American Golden Retriever, with light gold to gold coloring.
Finding the right breeder was so challenging. We searched for months, but it was never the right timing or the right type of puppy. We had all but given up hope, but I decided that I was going to look on Google one last time. I believe I typed in something like “golden retriever puppies in Illinois.” A small ad popped up on the right side of the screen, and it caught my attention. The ad was for a breeder in El Paso, IL – a town just an hour from where we lived.
After finding their Facebook Page, I sent a message to the breeder. She had three male Golden Retrievers available that were just 2.5 weeks old — I couldn’t believe it! Golden Retriever puppies are usually snatched up the day that they’re born, so this was nothing short of a miracle. Lincoln is actually 1/2 American and 1/2 English, but his dad is very red so the colors balance out perfectly for us. The minute Jordan arrived home from work I sprung all of this information on him, and we decided that one of those little guys was going to be ours. It’s possible that the true miracle here was how quickly Jordan was able to make a decision. Boom.
That night we walked to the mailbox to send our information and deposit. Just a few weeks later we were able to pick him out, although it would be a month before we could bring him home with us. We were waiting in a little room at the breeders when two teeny-tiny Golden Retrievers came trotting up to us. Their names were Bo and Brady. I knew we had to pick one, which we did really quickly so that we wouldn’t become too attached to the other. It was still unbearable saying good-bye to one. We selected little Bo to be our buddy for life, and just like that Lincoln was ours.
What I’m about to say is probably going to induce eye rolling from some of you, and that’s okay. Finding Lincoln really reminded me about God’s sovereignty in such a sweet way. The minute Jordan and I decided we wanted a puppy, I wanted that puppy now. Finding the right puppy was frustrating and we were impatient. Now that Lincoln is ours we can look back and see that everything worked out exactly as it should have. And yes it is true, having a puppy does prepare you for parenthood. Jordan and I confirmed that we are not ready to have children within two days of bringing Lincoln home. Both of our parents are pretty smitten with Lincoln and don’t seem to mind that grandchildren are not in the near future.
If you want to bring a puppy into your family, Jordan and I highly recommend Dogtown Kennels. They breed Golden Retrievers (American and English), Golden Doodles, and Labs. You can find all of the information you need to know on their Facebook Page.
P.S. The shedding doesn’t bother me at all <3
* Although we have chosen to purchase a puppy from a breeder, Jordan and I support the #adoptdontshop movement through financial contributions to local shelters. Bringing a puppy into your home is a wonderful thing no matter how you do it!
It’s book review time and I can hardly believe that we are nearly half way through the month of July. Summer can stay as long as it would like, but I am really looking forward to Autumn’s crisp weather. Regardless of today’s stifling temperatures, I’m excited to review Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. You probably know of Elizabeth Gilbert from her infamous memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which is also a major motion picture featuring Julia Roberts.
Jordan and I visited the beach last month and I read Big Magic during that trip. One of my favorite parts about prepping for a beach vacation is deciding which books I’m going to take; I call these my beach reads. I was able to soak in this book while lounging under a seaside cabana. I want us all to feel like we’re under a cabana while reading this post. So take a peek at the image below, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to that place. Ahhhhh…..
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Big Magic for the creative spirit who has buried their talents under fear and excuses. In the book you are able to get a glimpse into Elizabeth’s creative process, and you realize that it does not always come naturally. I believe that we are all creatives in some way, but you have to really be passionate about your creativity in order for this book to be meaningful to you. Naturally, Elizabeth’s experiences are from her writing career so you really have to expand on those experiences and apply them to whatever it is that brings out your creativity.
Despite many wonderful attributes, Big Magic has a few ideals that don’t align with my Christian faith. While reading, I often found myself wanting to change a proclamation to: but Jesus does, but Jesus is, or but Jesus can. Basically Elizabeth describes creativity as something that has a mind of its own, choosing when to be part of our life and when not to be. I guess my belief is that our creativity is something God instills within us; it’s a gift he gives us. I delight in knowing that my creative instincts come from my precious Jesus. Amazing!
After reading this book I feel more of a responsibility to tend to my creativity. Whether you think creativity chooses who to meet with or creativity is a God-given gift, your creativity is unique to you. Only you have the power to share your creativity! There is a lot of inspiration to fuel your creativity in this book. Elizabeth does a wonderful job of helping us apply her experience as an author to all creative expressions.
Big Magic is written incredibly well, which we should expect from Elizabeth Gilbert. She is a literary genius. I’m certainly glad that I read Big Magic, and grateful for the creative inspiration. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth’s writing than I would definitely encourage you to read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for obvious reasons. However, I don’t really know that I would recommend this book to someone whose reading it specifically for creative inspiration. The lessons I learned from this book can come from more productive resources such as blogs, webinars, and conferences. If you’ve read this book I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts! Where do you all get your creative inspiration?