Summer Adventures

Summer Adventures

It officially feels like summer in NYC!! Anyone else beyond excited? Our fridge is officially stocked with summer fruit (yay for fresh berries!!) and I’m dreaming of summer adventures. Our month of June is a bit hectic- in the best way possible. In the coming weeks we will be spending weekends at the beach, attending the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic and the Belmont Stakes, visiting family in Georgia, sailing on the Hudson River and having many, many picnics in Central Park. Follow along on snapchat for daily updates, photos and videos!

Now that we’ve hit 90 degrees, it’s officially time to put away the last of my winter attire and add a few new pieces to my summer wardrobe. I’m currently loving these dresses below and they might be sitting in my online cart… {Bonus- they are all under $25!} Don’t they look perfect to wear while sipping some mint & berry infused water or sparkling wine and watching summer fireworks?

Beyond blessed summer

red dress :: white off the shoulders :: blue dress }

I’ve also been perusing pinterest for the best summer treats, drinks, and activities! Picnics in the park have always been one of my favorite summer activities and I can’t wait to try new recipes this summer!

What are some of your summer favorites?

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Beyond Blessed Blog

Prioritize Beauty

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“People often ask me why I emphasize beauty-
art, candles, music, cups of tea, cinnamon rolls, great stories and books-
as though these things are unnecessary and frivolous.
I prioritize them because I want to bring the whole reality of God and His life into my home.”
Sally Clarkson 

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind. Where has the time gone? We are already half way  through spring and summer is quickly approaching. Since time seems to be getting away from me, I’ve decided to make it my goal to intentionally slow down this week. I’m trying to prioritize beauty.

Whether it’s a new candle, fresh blooms, a good cup of tea or a stunning photograph- I believe there is beauty in the details. And after all, God is the ultimate artist {I mean, just look around- anyone who has watched the sunset over the ocean or stood amidst giant mountains can’t help but notice His omnipotence!}. 

This week, I want to focus on the whole reality of who God is and the joy He brings through beauty!

How can you add a little beauty in your life?

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photography :: B Schwartz Photography 

styling :: Tandem Events 
flowers :: La Fleur du Jour 
dress from shoot {seen here}:: BHLDN 
hair & makeup from shoot {seen here} :: Pinned & Proper

Beyond Blessed Blog

Love Needs Light

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As I sat in a coffee shop yesterday, I couldn’t help but dream about adventures I yearned to go on. I began reminiscing on previous trips, here and abroad. I scrolled through photos and got stuck on a recent weekend trip to Brooklyn. In that moment, the Lord spoke to me through the lighting.

Pure love needs light. Light reveals what is hidden in the darkness. It allows our shame to be dealt with, to be redeemed. Light uncovers our baggage and can force us to lighten our load. It reveals our darkest secrets and exposes our sins.  Light allows us to be renewed. Love requires light.

Tim Keller wrote,  “to be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God.”

For so long, I’ve tried to hide my baggage in the dark. In a relationship, being transparent and vulnerable can be painful- both on the giving and receiving end. But no relationship can thrive in the dark.

Praise the Lord, there is never-ending light and grace through Jesus!

Beyond Blessed Blog

{more photos from the weekend adventure in Brooklyn can be found here}

Make it Part of Your Dance

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Henry Ford said that “failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” In life we are all guaranteed trials, failures, and difficulties. We have no control over that. What we do have control over is how we react to these experiences. What if there was no such things as failure? I think it is time that we alter our mindset to see “failure” as a teaching lesson and as something that leads us one step closer to our correct path. Mistakes are how we grow. Therefore, failure is not a bad thing. It is part of life. Embrace it. Make it part of your dance.  Don’t make perfect your standard because you will never get there. Just as God gives you grace, sometimes you need to give yourself grace. And remember, if you are failing- you are trying!

“Life is 10% what happens to you & 90% how you react to it.”
Charles R. Swindoll

Galatians 5:22-23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.”

What would you do if there was no chance of failing?

Beyond Blessed BlogOne of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts, encourages you to embrace imperfections and to fully live. It’s a must read!

Searching for Magic

 

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“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you 

because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. 
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Roald Dahl

It’s Friday!!! Anyone else excited?! It has been absolutely GORGEOUS here in NYC this week and if you follow me on snapchat, you know I have been taking full advantage of it- from picnics in the park to attending  the America’s Cup! It has been glorious!

The next few days are supposed to be overcast and rainy, but I still plan on taking full advantage of the warmer temperatures. Nothing can keep me from soaking up the last few weeks of spring before summer arrives. As Roald Dahl says- magic can be found in the most unlikely of places! And so this weekend, I will continue searching for magic!

What are your plans for the weekend?

{all photos are from my iPhone- some are screenshots from snapchat or instagram}

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Celebrations and Trials

May is a special month for me. This month holds memories of one of my highest-highs and my lowest-lows. It is a month that brings back memories of celebrations and trials. But in the midst of it all, I am reminded of God’s steadfast love and His unwavering desire for my life. I believe that He uses all things for His glory- both pure joy and unbearable heartbreak.

I had mixed feelings as the month of May approached- excitement for the celebration to come and fear as I remembered the pain. After much prayer and words of wisdom were showered over me, slowly the Lord began to remind me of his plan- plans to sanctify me, prepare me, mold me and above all, to use me for His glory.

Bob Goff reminds us that “failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. God didn’t make it a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sort of thing. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”

Life doesn’t always happen how you expect or plan it to, but that doesn’t mean each season doesn’t have a purpose. Often times, it’s the hard times that mold us the most.

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
Charles Swindoll

Beyond Blessed Blog

 

 

 

Cleansing Rain

Anyone else feel like the rain has stuck around a little longer than normal this year? While I am definitely ready for sunny weather & warmer temperatures to return, I am learning to love the rain. Life kind of stands still in the rain. The rain reminds us to slow down. There is something peaceful about sipping a hot tea and watching the raindrops slowly roll down my window- even if I am sitting in my office.

As I sit here, I can’t help but think about how this rain is cleaning away some of the dirt and smells of the city. At the same time, the rain is reminding me that I need to slow down and mentally take note of the cleanse that needs to happen within me. I’ve been carrying baggage, afraid to let go. It’s time for me to use this rainy weather to not only cleanse my city, but also my heart.

We are heading into spring- a time of new beginnings. It’s time to embrace this rain- letting it cleanse us of all the unnecessary until only the essential remains.

Have you been holding onto something also?
Is there something you need to be cleansed of?

Beyond Blessed Blog

 

Adventures in Brooklyn

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You know the saying ‘April showers bring May flowers?’ Well, apparently NYC missed that memo and our May is off to a very wet start. While I love the romantic shadow the overcast weather casts over the city, I am still dreaming of our sunny weekend adventures in Brooklyn.

This past weekend we went to Williamsburg and spent the afternoon in the most authentic Brazilian restaurant I have ever seen. Seriously- you could have told me we were in Brazil and I would have believed you. It was dreamy. One of our friends does a lot of work in Brazil and his co-worker speaks Portuguese and visits Brazil monthly. This coworker introduced us to this little piece of paradise. He ordered for our table in Portuguese, so I have no idea what exactly we ate- but it was delicious. If you are ever looking for an authentic Brazilian restaurant go to Miss Favela in Williamsburg {but get there early or you won’t get a seat- seriously. and be ready for a live band and lots of dancing. who knew lunch could be a party?}.

After our trip to another country {kidding- kind of}, we returned to America and explored Dumbo and the Brooklyn Bridge. We got there right as the sun was beginning to set. I highly suggest visiting Dumbo. Walking along the river, watching the kids run along the pebble beach, and soaking in the views- it is all perfect.

And I happened to bring my new camera lens with me, so naturally I had to play around a little bit with the pretty background. :) On a sad note, I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures inside the restaurant- I did post some of it on snapchat, so you should follow me there ;)

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Anyone else excited about Mother’s Day?! I could not be more thankful for my mom and the lessons she has taught me over the years. She is my inspiration and my encourager. Each year we designate one day {although one day is definitely not enough} to celebrate the moms in our life and finally the day is approaching. Here are a few Mother’s Day gift ideas to remind your mom how much she means to you!

mothers day gift ideas beyond blessed

1.) Book a mother/daughter trip! Anyone else dreaming of a trip to Charleston?
2.) The BEST spiralizer! {If you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon yet- you MUST and your mom should too}
3.) Her new go-to lipstick for summer! {i love rouge rock!}
4.) Sunglasses {she can look cute & give sight to someone in need by wearing these. Win-win!}
5.) Books are always a good idea {I’m currently swooning over all things French & this book “How to be a Parisian“}
6.) Perfect summer tote (on sale for under $40!)
7.) Casual afternoon free-leaf-tea & treats are always a good idea
8.) Classic Burberry perfume (on sale for under $50!)

Any other suggestions?
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Beyond Blessed Blog

**affiliate links are used in this post**

1 Year in Thailand & 1 Year in NYC

Two years ago this month I moved to Thailand.
One year ago today I moved from Thailand to New York City.

Where has the time gone? Each year I am befuddled by how quickly time passes. {anyone else with me?} It feels like just last month I was in the classroom with my 20 Thai students, but if feels like years since I drove my motorbike to the Thai street markets. To say I miss Thailand would be an understatement. The sweet people, the culture, the food, the adventures… It was incredible.

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At the same time, I can’t believe I’ve lived in NYC for a year! How can this city already feel so much like home, yet I feel as though there is still so much left to explore? Even my southern husband was amazed out how easy it was to make New York our new home.

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{Ashley Monogue Photography}
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{Ashley Monogue Photography}

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Each year of our marriage has been spent in a different city. Our first year was in Branson, our second in Dallas, our third in Thailand, and our fourth in NYC.  While we have no intention of leaving the city, I know this year will be full of  plenty new adventures. I can’t wait to see what God has in store!

{follow the adventures on instagram & snapchat}

Beyond Blessed Blog