2014 (Part One)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Let's take a look back at 2014! Shall we? 


I started off 2014 being a bit of a crabby crab. But really- on January 1st I began several weeks of sickness by finding myself with a stomach flu while in the car at the mall with our family. My poor brother in law is scarred for life! Haha! This was really spiritually hard time for me. I entered into the year with a very clear vision (read that, here) and being sick in bed for several weeks kicked my tail. 

This month we also went from this:

To This: 

I still owe y'all a full renovation recap of this room.. it's on my blogging to do list for 2015! :) It's funny that I now can't remember life before a garbage disposal.. scrubbing that grout with a toothbrush.. and that yellow! Yikes! I'm so grateful that we got to complete this renovation!

Notable Posts:

I'm Going to be an Aunt
Southern Weddings Web Feature 
Thoughts for My Daughters
Dreaming of Europe 
2014 Vision 
How to Budget for Christmas Shopping 


We continued our Valentines Day tradition of a picture within a picture, I turned 23, and completed my real estate salesperson certification this month.

Notable Posts:

My Story
A Big Career Change
A Message from Jack


In March I created the illusion that I attend classes all the time- Sushi 101 at Central Market and a fullosophie class with The Southern Table! I also had the honor of being a bridesmaid in my friend Michelle's wedding.. her bridal shower was this month too! We also had our home photographed for The Everygirl!

Notable Posts: 

Goodbye, Rut of Mine!
Flower Arranging with The Southern Table


Spring is my least favorite season, and it's reflected by the photos and events (or lack of!) I have for these months of the year. I'm already brainstorming ways to add a little bit of pep into the season! I worked with Winifred Paper on baby shower invitations, picked out fabrics for my tshirt quilt, and we had the blessing of opening up our home a few times, including one that was particularly special for me. 

Notable Posts: 

Our Home's History
When I changed My View on Social Media
Lessons from the Homes of Others


We started off the month celebrating Michelle and Caleb's wedding, so sweet! My dad bought his dream collector's car, I hosted a baby shower for my sister in law, and took photos of my friend Morgan and her pup, Millie. (RIP sweet doggie!)

Notable Posts:

Kayce's Baby Shower 

Photo By Lamour De Paris


This month we prepared for and took our trip to Europe. By far my favorite two and a half weeks of the whole year. I love traveling with Ben SO much. We have decided that we want to take our next trip to Europe during the first year of our firstborn child's life (whenever that is!) Call us crazy, but the idea of taking our babe to a bunch of fun cities is exactly what we have in mind.. I grew up traveling a lot as a baby, and really want to make that something special in our little family, too!

Notable Posts:

Almost Halfway Through 2014
We're Home 
Trip Preparation 

Aaaaaand that's the first half of 2014! Stay tuned! Ps these blog posts are probably just for me so it's okay if you didn't get this far, haha! 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6

Today, I'm happy to share a little look at our holiday home. The past few months, our house has felt more ours than ever before (2 years in!) It's been extra cozy and we've loved snuggling up and enjoying our tree. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours- thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to encourage me with comments.. I can't tell you how much it means to me! Enjoy a sweet few days of rest and celebration of our Savior. If you're alone or struggling this holiday and feeling it magnified.. I am praying for you. Without diving into details, I had one Christmas in particular that was really hard for me. It's no fun seeing everyone else bursting with joy when you're so sad.. praying that the Lord Jesus would comfort you, and I'm confident that the best is yet to come! XO 

Check out my friend Katie's blog- she's sharing a few details about her holiday home today, too! :) 

Bathroom Inspiration

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

So here's the deal. Bathrooms = cash monay.

But really. So going into this little renovation, we really wanted to be budget conscious. We could knock out the tub and put in an awesome glass shower, and get the $1,000 vanity that I love, etc, etc... but at the end of the day we decided it was going to be just adding a bathroom in general that added value to our house.. not picking out the best of the best. We love our home but with two bedrooms we know we won't be here forever. That being said we're still going to create a space that is "us" and that will be enjoyed for every moment by us and future residents. At this point I can't imagine the kind of luxury that isn't having to dash across your living room in a towel to get to the bedroom after a shower.. so literally anything is going to make me so happy!

I couldn't resist using the fancy vanity in my inspiration board. Haha! The most realistic thing in the board above is the bathtub.. right now we have an old porcelain tub that doesn't have a shower fixture, just bath, and it did have blue tile that went up about three feet from the top of the tub. Ben tore all of that out. The biggest goal for this renovation is to give us a functional shower space. I love subway tile... because I love it and it's cheap. For some reason in this space, I'm really leaning towards gray grout. I'm not sure what brought that on or if we'll end up doing it.. but that final decision will probably be made based on if we end up going with the wallpaper above. It's kind of wild to do wallpaper, I think.. but I'm OBSESSED with this one. It would be perfect for the small space and I have a gift card that would cover the cost. I need to get Ben's opinion on it- but I think if we do the wallpaper I may just want white grout to keep it from getting too busy (even though it will be hidden behind a shower curtain... Thoughts?) We have mercury glass lamps and details in our bedroom, so it only makes sense to carry it across into the bathroom. Because I get ready each morning at a vanity in our bedroom, it's been quite easy for us to keep our bathroom counter clean.. I think just a few mercury glass canisters (q tips and cotton pads for makeup removal) would be beautiful and look great with the marble top of the vanity. And on the topic of vanity.. This is the one we'll go with. I love the one above but it's over double the cost... and they aren't that crazy different. If it were a smaller price difference I'd consider the nice one more.. but especially with a small scale update, $500 price difference is a huge percentage of overall budget. Maybe that logic will get our beautiful mercury glass canisters and wallpaper? :) That really is a crazy way to think about it.. for the price difference I could buy really fancy wallpaper, and canisters, and still have a chunk leftover. This is how my mind works while planning things.. haha! 

What do y'all think? I'm all about light and airy for bathrooms! Actually let's be honest... I'm all about light and airy for all spaces. 

Around the House

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lately, we've been knocking out home projects like nobody's business! On Thursday nights, we usually go on a date night out.. but this week, we were feeling the coziness of home. We ate a quick dinner out and came back home to hang the gallery wall above. I recently shared some more about the progress in our dining room.. and hanging this art has really completed everything. I'm also looking forward to seeing it shine without the christmas decor around it.

I have always dreamed of having a gallery wall full of black and white photos in our home. As you can see, there's only one photo up so far (haha!) but after the holidays and our trip to Colorado we'll have a few more photos and I'll order my favorites to fill the wall. I think this will only get better with time, especially when the big frames are filled with adorable baby faces.... SPEAKING OF. Prince George. Oh my! He is so precious.  I'm also dreaming of a new light fixture... and then this room is completely 100% done! I would say it'd be the only room in our house that is, other than maybe our kitchen. I'm always scheming in other spaces!

Speaking of scheming....

On Saturday night we both had hurt tummies from something we had eaten, not sure what. Ben felt it more that night but on Sunday morning I needed a bit more shut eye than usual to feel better. We skipped church (which I hate doing!) and I woke up to Ben saying "I think I'm going to tear out our bathroom".. UM WHAT?

We've been talking about redoing our "master bath" for some time now. Our house has two identical bedrooms connected by a bathroom without a shower in it... and another bathroom across the house where we have showered for the two years that we've lived here. People with a master bathroom, I envy you! We've known for awhile that we've wanted to redo this space, and put in a shower. We'll have parts of it done professionally and (clearly haha!) DIY other parts.. but Ben spent the whole day yesterday tearing out all of the blue tile. Oh yeah, here's a before photo :

Image by Zac & Kaitlin Photography
Directly across from the vanity is the bathtub without the shower fixture. You're looking at exactly the area shown in the torn out photo above, too. Which is wild. It was in tact yesterday and now it's totally gone. Praise! I'm excited to share my inspiration and the process of this bathroom becoming about 150 times more functional.

The rest of the house is all holly jolly! I fell in love with this Eiffel Tower ornament from Anthropologie, and snagged it during their 25% off Black Friday sale.. online. It felt so perfect for us- the rest of our tree has mostly gold ornaments, I was born in Paris, and this year we traveled there together for the first time. I wrote a little baby 2014 on the bottom in sharpie. :)

Image from here.
In other news, we have two out of state trips that have snuck up on us. After Christmas we'll be in Colorado until New Year's Eve (Zac Efron ski lodge selfie, anyone?) with family and a close friend. I've never been in the mountains during winter so I'm really excited for all of the snow! Plus, I'm not skiing so I'll be cozy by the fire with a book 90% of the time. :) We'll be there for our second anniversary, too! We're grateful to spend time with family and then be able to celebrate just us when we get home.

Ben spilled the beans on my Christmas present a bit early.. we'll be spending Valentine's Day weekend in New York City as my gift! We love the idea of giving experiences instead of stuff.. and this has been the first time we've really gotten to act on that idea. Well, Ben did. :) We've both been to the city multiple times, but never together. I haven't been since high school! So I'm thrilled. Any recommendations of places to eat or things to do that aren't super touristy? Because we've both been we won't be hitting up Canal Street or the Statue of Liberty.. although The Mindy Project has renewed my interest in the Empire State Building... Since we've been married.. we've LOVED traveling together. In two years we've gone to Charleston, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, England, France, and now Colorado and New York. We're so passionate about travel as a family and making those memories, so I'm thankful for how the Lord has provided these opportunities for us! (Lots of flyer miles and family travel connections have made these trips possible!)

Sorry for this all over the place post today, I just thought I'd share a little bit of where my head is at. :)

Holiday Bucket List

Monday, December 8, 2014

Photo by Mary Clare Photography

I've been LOVING the Christmas spirit lately (check out my insta for a zillion Christmas pics, @victoriastrader) and so I decided to make a list of a few things I want to do before the 25th! Last year was a really important Christmas because it was our first as a little family, and I really wanted to start some traditions. Even more so this year, it's so important to me that we are a family who celebrates and cherishes the true meaning of the season, the coming of our Savior. I'm also passionate celebrating with rich tradition.

  • Purchase a "2014" ornament and label the bottom of some other unique ornaments with the date (hey sharpie heyyyy!)
  • Find a signature holiday Starbucks drink (peppermint hot chocolate no whip is already secured!!) 
  • Mail Christmas cards to friends and family
  • work through the #SheReadsTruth advent study during my own time with the Lord
  • Read an advent devotional together as a couple before bed each night 
  • Spend time together as a couple reflecting on the good and bad of 2014 and setting family goals and a vision for 2015
  • Provide a need for someone
  • Have friends over to bake Christmas cookies
  • Bake Cinnamon Rolls for friends and family to enjoy on Christmas morning (a favorite thing from last year)
  • Burn Christmas candles! (Favorites = Bath and Body Works Tis the Season, Cinnamon Frosting, Fresh Balsam)
  • drive through some nice neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights
  • purchase a snowglobe
What's on your list this holiday?

Our Dining Room

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our dining room has come a long way. Like. A LONG WAY.

When we first got our house, I was a young college girl planning a wedding and making questionable design choices. I didn't know what my interior style tastes would be like as an "adult" sharing a home with my husband.

So I chose this for our dining room:

I will admit. It was a lot better than what we started with:

(note: not our stuff.. this is a photo I snapped when we decided to buy our house)

Last fall, I chose gray. It seemed like a great decision. The color itself is pretty great.. but there was one problem. It didn't suit me, or my tastes.

However, we loved that room. It housed friends and family often. That table was given to us for free and we were so grateful, are so grateful, for the kindness that was shown to us that first weekend that we moved into our home.

One day I was stalking Restoration Hardware and found my dream table, on sale. WHAT? I know. I showed it to Ben and we figured out that it would actually be a great use for some money we had saved.

So on the morning our niece was born, this little baby was delivered to our home.

Once we ordered the table and were waiting for the delivery time, I painted the room the same neutral color as our kitchen and some other spaces in our home. It's not a revolutionary design choice but I really think it works in the space. It made the room a neutral palette for me to make our own.

The next step was selling the old chairs and saving for the new ones. We had a garage sale and sold a TON of our stuff from college and I stalked the World Market sales for our new chairs. I really wanted a french country look for the center of the table, with neutral linen armchairs on the ends.

It sounds silly but the changing of this room has changed the tone of the rest of the house. It's one of the first rooms you see when you walk in, and I'm so much happier now that it's consistent with our style.

I'm still working on art in the space.. but I'm really really happy for it. It did a great job hosting Thanksgiving last week.

What do y'all think?

December Goals

Monday, December 1, 2014

Image by Mary Clare Photography
Let's start with this:

“The family tree of Christ startlingly notes not one woman but four. Four broken women —women who felt like outsiders, like has-beens, like never-beens. Women who were weary of being taken advantage of, of being unnoticed and uncherished and unappreciated; women who didn’t fit in, who didn’t know how to keep going, what to believe, where to go —women who had thought about giving up. And Jesus claims exactly these who are wandering and wondering and wounded and worn out as His. He grafts you into His line and His story and His heart, and He gives you His name, His lineage, His righteousness. He graces you with plain grace. Is there a greater Gift you could want or need or have? Christ comes right to your Christmas tree and looks at your family tree and says, “I am your God, and I am one of you, and I’ll be the Gift, and I’ll take you. Take Me?” - Ann Voskamp

That is my heart for December. To grow in my understanding of the truth of Christ. I remember before I knew why Christmas was Christmas. I used to just think it was Santa and a tree and presents. But after Jesus grabbed hold of me, everything became different. Yesterday was the first Sunday with advent at church and I am just obsessed. I have been recovering from an awful cold (more Thanksgiving recaps soon!) and it was so hard for me to balance my desire to shout out in worship with my awful cough. Haha! 

Praying that you all can enjoy the sweetness of this season with friends and family. To those who find yourselves in a sad, hard season.. I'm praying that you will feel Him near to you, regardless of your circumstances. XOXOXO

November Goals:
Makeover my two favorite blogger's blogs (Nicole & Jamie!)
Clean out EVERY space in our home: (!!!!!)
Office (desk, armoire)
Laundry Room Shelves
Guest Bath Cabinets
My Closet & Dresser 
Ben's Closet and Dresser(s) #diva #samesizesincemiddleschool
Master Bath Cabinets 
Front Closet
Rejoice over getting my hands on a copy of Southern Weddings V7 (it's blowing my mind that I ordered V4 when Ben and I got engaged.. time sure does fly)
Be a part of the Lipstick Gospel launch team
Begin praying for the Lord to reveal His vision for 2015 for me
Maybe start Lara's goal setting series 
Gather inspiration and execute this year's Thanksgiving tablescape 
Host our Second Annual Thanksgiving dinner 
finish all Christmas shopping 
Wrap all Christmas presents 
Finish addressing & stamping all of our Christmas cards
Set up Hot Chocolate Bar 
Research and Plan our vacation for next Summer
Decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving 

December Goals:
Declutter our Home 
Mail Christmas Cards 
Drink lots of hot cocoa with Benjamin Luke 
Celebrate two of my brothers' graduations (Henry from Texas Tech & Zac from Texas A&M! Whoooop!)
Go through Lara Casey's goal setting series for 2015
Dwell in scripture this holiday season, with the #SheReadsTruth Advent study

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