Our Friend Selah

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A few weeks ago, Selah came over. This precious little girl is the daughter of our friends and Sunday School teachers from high school. Their sweet family has been such a blessing to our lives. While Selah was over, she had a MAJOR potty training milestone... at our house! Call me a freak, but I was loving this.. and immediately whisked Selah to the front porch for a little photo session to celebrate. This is what we ended up with. I just thought I would share, how stinking precious!

Cutest little Aggie that there ever was! :)

Home Tour Preview

Monday, October 28, 2013

I am THRILLED to be able to share with you a preview of our recent home tour photo shoot! I still need to work through all the photos and tie up a few loose ends before sharing all of them with you, but I couldn't resist sharing a few detailed images to get you as excited as I am about this shoot! I will also be detailing sources to the best of my ability soon!

Hope you enjoy, Happy Monday!

This may sound crazy, but the more my heart grows with a love for hospitality, the more I wish I could open our doors to each and every one of you! We are so thankful to the friends and family who helped us with our remodel, and are actually considering doing an "open house" for local friends to come see how everything turned out. What do y'all think? Should we go for it? :)

All photos are by Zac and Kaitlin Photography. Check them out if you are in the DFW area!

Remember the Black dear, Remember the Gold.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For those of you who were not in a sorority, bear with me. This is neat, I promise. :)

As you may or may not know from reading, I was a Kappa Alpha Theta at Texas A&M. The girls that I met through Theta have been and still are an incredible blessing in my life. I joined with the intention of meeting girls different than me, which I did, but I also met so many kindred spirits.

In the recent months, blogging has provided several meaningful connections for me. I'm so thankful for those of you that read my little posts. (I have TWO different giveaways in the works to give back to y'all... so stay tuned!) I've made contact with people all over the globe, with girls I know I would call a best friend if we weren't states away, and with a sweet lady named Patty.

A few months ago, I started exchanging short, encouraging emails with Patty because she too, was a Theta sister. I pledged in 2010, and her in 1977. It was such a fun foundation for friendship. Patty's loving example in emailing me encouragement and shining Christ to me became a great part of emailing. Whenever I had things about Theta to share, like here and here, I thought of Patty and was even more excited to share! Last night, I got home from bible study, and there was a package from Patty sitting on the counter, that Ben had brought in.

None of Patty's daughters went through recruitment, so she decided to pass on her Theta heirloom to me! Reading Patty's sweet note and seeing how old some of these pins are really and truly blessed me and brought tears to my eyes. It blew me away that Patty would pass something so special on to me. Patty, I wish you could come to Texas for a visit! I could take you to the Theta house and we could chat on the big front porch! I'm so honored to be your "legacy"!

As you can read, some of these pins came from girls that Patty knew as a child. One pin is from 1970, celebrating Theta's one hundred years of existence. I loved that the card had the church where Patty was baptized.

This gift truly and deeply touched my heart. I've gotten several things in the mail lately that have blown me away. How about y'all? I'd love to hear about gifts that have encouraged you greatly!

Hope Spoken 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This morning, I'm linking up with a bunch of wonderful ladies that I'll be attending a conference with in the Spring. So bear with me today as I answer a few things for the conference link up! This is the description on the Hope Spoken website, describing the conference. 

"Hope Spoken is a women's conference where we all can come to know Jesus more, and make Him known in our lives. Our conference will be filled with stories. Stories of Christ in each of our lives, and how we can use these stories for His glory. This is a weekend to rest and feel His love, to lay burdens and hurts down and feel His grace. We want to let women know that they are enough, to encourage women to use their passions, their words, and their creativity for the Lord. We, above all else, want to glorify Jesus' name and share the hope we have in Him."

Yes, Yes, a thousand times yes! Hope Spoken, come soon please! 

I'm Victoria Strader, my husband Ben and I live in a rural town near Fort Worth, Texas. I'm newly  graduated, from Texas A&M, and do several different "work from home" jobs. God has equipped me in this time to serve in many different ways in our church, and to maintain our home as a sanctuary for my busy coach husband. 

Something I'm nervous about? I think in large groups of females, even for someone bubbly and outgoing like me, we all fear being unnoticed and feeling left out. I have some super awesome roommates I'll be sticking with... but I guess I'm nervous about getting intimidated and shrinking back in the large setting. Let's turn our nerves into prayers, ladies! 

I'm hoping to learn from all the incredible women around me. I'm suspecting that I'll come in contact with a lot of ladies in the next stage of life (mommas!) and I'll be scribbling notes like crazy to try and soak in every little bit. I'm praying that the Lord will also give me encouragement through community during the weekend. I'm just so excited to hug some necks and make some connections, y'all! 

Something fun and random? All of my relatives live in England, and I was born in Paris, France. Buuuuuutttttt I married a farm boy. Seriously. If anyone wants a Strader Farm t-shirt as a Texas souvenir  let me know. :) 

Has anyone who's attended a conference like this before got any tips for me? I'd love them! If you're here from the link up... HELLO! Big hugs! Leave a comment and say hi! :) 

Linking up here.

50. Meet an Interior Designer I Admire

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last Thursday, I crossed something really fun off of my 101 in 1001 list. My friend Susannah and I traveled to Waco, Texas, with the intention of attending the Magnolia Fall Show.

The show was hosted by Joanna Gaines, in the farmhouse that she and her husband had just finished renovating. You can follow that process and all of their other renovation adventures on her blog, The Magnolia Mom. Much to my joy, the blog is in the process of being turned into an HGTV show, Fixer Upper. The cameras were there filming the show, which was just surreal more than anything. It seemed weird that we could possibly be around that world! The show was essentially a sale of tons of wonderful home goodies, plus there was the added bonus of the fact that we could check out the beautiful house. I'm literally dying to see how they decorate now that the renovation process is nearing it's end. I got so much inspiration from their property, and I hope you do too!

We drove through the gate and I immediately fell in love with this sign. It's part of our dream to one day build our dream house down the road on my in-law's property, Strader Farms. So clearly now I want a sign like this. :)

When we were arrived, we were SO taken aback by the large crowd. None of the pictures that I snapped really communicate how many people were there. The sight of the parking situation stressed us out... we had our eyes on a few specific items. More on that later.. :) Take a moment to swoon at the sight of the farmhouse. I love the tin roof and the wood beams and the white. Ahhh, the white. Y'all know I love my neutrals.

We walked in the door and this is what we saw. BA-BOOM! HGTV. Getting their film on. We were literally cornered behind this filming and finally decided to slip past and search through the goodies.

Here are a few photos, stolen from @themagnoliamom on Instagram, of a few of the corners that were set up as the shop before we got there.

Now, we literally could barely move. The show was a huge success- and there were decor lovin ladies EVERYWHERE. It was fun and exciting, but we REALLY wanted to get "Joy" signs.. pictured above. (A bunch of the other things in the photos we never actually saw! We walked into a side room and snagged the very last two in sight... right after several ladies approached us asking where we found them and we heard people asking. I felt like a mighty warrior! The Joys brought us Joy. I also snagged one of the sparkly trees, a small pinecone wreath, and a wooden horse (under the white table in the photo above.. it's SO Restoration Hardware!)

After getting our signs, and a few other things.. we just focused on exploring. I'm in love with this hanging tray setup. Wouldn't that be so fun to do for a party in your home or something? One day, I will shamelessly deny my children Chuck-E-Cheese birthday parties. Entertaining in the home is too much fun! :)

I was obsessed with all of the old doors that Joanna used throughout the space. She is the master of blending old and new.

We made ourselves right at home.. :)

The outdoor spaces were just as inspirational and lovely as the indoor... I loved it! I'm officially prepared to grant my husband's wish of having chickens after seeing their adorable coop set up. Plus the chickens running around were actually really really fun!

Before we came to the show, I knew that crossing off #50 wasn't guaranteed, I may not get a moment to meet Joanna.. but it just kind of happened. I quickly told her about my list and how much I admired her incredible style.. she had the warmest and kindest personality. As much as I really do love Joanna's style, I am even more inspired by her heart for the home and for Christ. Since getting married last year, I've been so passionate about how much the atmosphere of the home really sets a tone for our little family, and for those who enter. I love reading posts like this from Joanna, explaining that from a more experienced position in life. She was truly a delight and I am now BEAMING with excitement for Fixer Upper on HGTV!

We LOVED our inspirational and fun trip to Magnolia Farms. We felt so welcomed and I'm now officially in the Christmas spirit... oops. :)

What do y'all think? What inspired you from the farmhouse?

And because this post didn't have enough photos already, I thought I'd share a quick preview of our Christmas card photo shoot this weekend. Our amazing photographer had them all edited and ready the night of our shoot. Talk about perks of being friends with the photographer! Love you, Katherine!

Life has been Full!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lately, nothing about my life has been based on routine. Just when I thought life was getting all organized.... :)

Each day has been filled with something new, and it's been really busy. No matter my life stage, I feel like October is always filled to the brim. It's been so good, but I'm ready to slow it down a bit. As October ends in a few weeks, it's my hope that things will return to normal. Except then, the holidays will be upon us! I think that's another reason I'm so passionate about getting Christmas shopping done early.. I want to be able to fill the joyful holiday months with sweet time with people that are important to us.

I thought I'd share a few snippets of what's been going on in our little corner of the world, with all the craziness!

Last week, we had a houseguest. Our dear friend from high school, Seth (blurry face pictured above), came in town for an audition. Our other friend Liz joined us for a dinner of Southern Living's Crockpot gumbo. It was such a blast just hanging out in our home with people who we've cherished for so many years!

The next day, Ben had work, but Seth and I met Liz and our other friend, Katherine for lunch. We dined at the fine Chili's establishment, which made me feel sick to my stomach. Yuck. No fun. We did, however, enjoy a lengthy trip to Target to browse the Halloween decor and get a bucket to house our Halloween Candy. Next weekend, we're hosting my Sunday School class (9th and 10th grade girls) for a weekend retreat and I figured they would be a fan of the candy bucket!

On Sunday night, the Halloween fun continued. We went over to our brother and sister's house with a few of their friends to carve pumpkins. It was fun, but I can't say we were very good at this. :) In the future, I would just carve a normal jack o' lantern face, I think! We tried to carve Matilda, but she kind of looked like a weird teddy bear. :)

I'll be sharing more about this soon.. but I've been able to cross a BUNCH of things off of my 101 in 1001 list. One of them included a fun trip to Waco, Texas to attend the Magnolia Mom Fall Show. While we were there, the HGTV cameras were rolling, and we were snagging some majorly beautiful home goodies. It was so much fun! Look forward to a full post on this next week! :) PS Do ya like my artsy light? :)

Check out this precious image preview of our adorable pup! Last weekend, we had a little photo shoot with Zac and Kaitlin Photography. We had a blast with this joyful, fun couple. Matilda was hamming it up.. big time.

This morning, my bible study co leader, Chelsea, and I returned to my old high school stomping grounds to support a few girls that are in our study. The morning pep rally was so much fun. We loved watching all the performances. I did NOT love watching high school couples get their mack on and insult each other and use curse words. I had forgotten about the harsh realities of high school life. I had also forgotten about how many people you interract with on a daily basis in that setting. It made me miss the opportunity to share Christ with so many people and just love on people in all different life settings. I don't know that I necessarily took advantage of that opportunity back then, but it sure did get me thinking. I was such a proud mama watching these precious girls (and one more, not pictured!) show off all of their hard work. These girls are seriously so talented and I am so blessed to know them!

What's been going on with y'all lately? Any pep rallies or HGTV or pumpkin carving? :) Happy Weekend!

Simple Little Thing #3: Controlling Your Inbox

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Does your email inbox ever get out of control with subscriptions? Until recently, I was deleting tons of emails each day. While I was at Making Things Happen, I connected the fact that the time I spend doing something so silly, could be spent doing things that are meaningful. What seems like seconds becomes precious when you realize you're wasting them each day.

Then I discovered, a site that helps you organize all of your subscriptions. This is what the homepage looks like. You can login to your email account at the top. I believe they support most major email providers. 

They will then pull up everything that is sent to your inbox. Mine is now down to just 24, which may seem like a lot.. but it's a HUGE cut down to what I got before. Several of these things I don't get daily or even weekly. As you can see, along the top you have the option to view all of the things you have sent to your inbox, the things you've unsubscribed from, your rollup, and new items. 

The rollup is if you want to receive one email a day with a bunch of subscriptions all posted in the same email. I don't really like this method, because I might miss something that I would have liked to see. I keep zero things in the rollup, but for some, this might be great! 

When you first login, all of your subscriptions will be under new items. You can then go through and decide if you want to add the item to your rollup, unsubscribe, or keep in inbox. The image above shows the things I chose to keep in my inbox. 

As you can see, I've unsubscribed to 102 email subscriptions that have popped up someway or another. A lot of them come from online shopping orders. 

I decided to keep my inbox to a few promotional emails from places I legitimately shop at on a regular basis, inspirational newsletters, and things like banking or upcoming events. 

What about y'all? Could this help you out? I hope so! I check in to once every few weeks to deal with any new items that have popped up, and it really simplifies things for me. 

Also, I had to share this cute photo. 

Yesterday morning I watched one of Ben's cousin's daughters. We had such a sweet time, she was cuddly and polite and rocking these precious socks. Three year olds are way too cute. 

Kappa Alpha Theta Big/Little Reveal 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

A few weeks ago, I returned to College Station, Texas to welcome a new addition into my sorority's family line. For those of you not super familiar with this, every girl gets a big sister and a little sister. So overtime, a family line builds. In Theta, it's a really big deal and families really try to develop strong friendship. My Theta family has been such an incredible blessing to me, I'm so proud of these girls and often wish that College Station was closer so that I could pop down to see them more often. :)

Our newest addition, Rachael, got to open a big box to reveal her big, Maddy. I got to be there beforehand to get Maddy settled in her box (HAHA!).

There was a huge row of boxes, all with the girls' names on them. When the group of new littles started to approach, it was so exciting!

Look how cute our new baby is as she gets closer to the box. Can't handle how precious she is!
Ps. As I'm writing this.. Ben walked up and said "who's that?" and I just said "the new baby!"... which is honestly probably weird. Haha!

After the reveal took place, we celebrated with a ton of fun photos, and a trip to BJ's for dinner and pizookies! :)

I'm so thankful for my flexible work schedule that allowed me to attend this lovely event and spend time with these girls whom I love so much!

Do you have any sorority memories from college? Any other fun memories? I'd love to hear about them!
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