heart spotlight

I am so excited to talk about my most recent finding and new adventure. 
One day I was scoping out Jen Hatmaker's instagram (one of my favorite people in the whole world) and saw a cute little chinese chunk just rocking an extra chromosome. I dug a little deeper into this precious boy and saw that he was an orphan in China who also had a heart defect. My heart grew as big as the sky instantly.

Morning Star Foundation is an amazing organization which includes a foster home in China for children with complex heart defects as well as projects in Uganda too. I was immediately drawn to the heart babies and found out I could sponsor a baby monthly too. I prayed about it for a month and finally made a commitment to sponsor Eli. 
I get monthly updates and I also follow them on instagram and facebook for updates too. 

 Eli middle


This has been such an amazing adventure to me. I pray for Eli all the time, I pray that God will heal his little heart and he will find his forever home.



**I am in no way affiliated with Morning Star. All opinions are my own. I just love them so much.

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Birmingham Boutique Favorite

I've been crushing on Scarlet and Gold for a while now. 
They work off of an amazing commitment of encouraging other women through Christ. Their products range from tees to art prints to phone cases. Not only are their products amazing but their customer service is personal. I received this handwritten note from them when I purchased this Peace Tank last week. This goes a long way in my book and I will continue to shop there.





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easy on the madness

Don't over do it this Christmas!
 It is so easy to get caught up in the madness that is Christmas. 
I know that it is only one month and you HAVE to go see Christmas lights, drink hot chocolate, shop for the perfect present, get and ugly sweater, sing Christmas carols, watch all your favorite Christmas movies, and go over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house. 
That can make you feel like a grinch. 

Take it easy.


Here are a few ways I like to sit back, relax, and just watch the lights on my tree twinkle. 


1. Drinking warm lemon water and reading a good book, I'm working on Why Not Me?
2. A hot bubble bath with candle everywhere! 
3. Take Baker for a walk and looking at all the Christmas decorations around my community 
4. Read my Bible, specifically the book of Luke. 
5. Count my blessings. 
Seriously, I look around at what all I have to be thankful for 
and I thank God for it. 

These are just a few ways I relax and recollect during the Holidays.

-jessica

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currently


Have you ever had writers block before? You want to write something worthy of reading but you come up with nothing? Thats where I've been these last couple of weeks. All my ideas come up short of the realness I want to give with this blog. I want this blog to represent me to my utmost, nothing fake. I want it to be like I am talking to a friend not putting on a persona. The number one reason I started writing this blog is to help with my creativity and to find what my real passions are. More of that to come though. Here is another edition of currently...

Doing: I am still into the Barre craze, this month I'm going to Neighborhood Barre for my barre workout. It is just as good as the others and way closer to my house. I could walk! The girls there are super sweet too. 
Eating: I'm sorry, but if you have never had Fresh Markets Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti you need to! These are so amaze. It's like the perfect size cookie. I eat them with coffee in the morning or after dinner at night. 

Reading: I am just about to start Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I love this girl so much, I really would love to just follow her around all day in a non-stalker-ish way. She is an inspiration to totally follow your dreams. I can't wait to start this book and laugh my hiney off. 
Listening: Adele. Enough said. I swear I sound just like her when I'm alone in my car. 
Loving: Can you guess what I am going to say? Christmas! Our tree is up, decorations are halfway finished, and Baker has no idea what to do with herself. I can't wait to post pictures of our tree!
 It was an experience when we went to cut it down. I only told Taylor to 'turn-around-we-are-not-going-today' three times. Ahh, the holidays. Happy Family. 

-jessica



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gifts for a cause

This year I am pledging to buy majority of my gifts locally or for a cause. Over the years I've found some great items where the profits go towards something or someone with a need. Here are some amazing organizations that will be getting my money this Christmas:

These people I can totally get behind! They give jobs to women in the most vulnerable communities. They cherish children, empower women, and give people jobs! 
Here are a few pieces that I will be buying for my family and friends! 
  
Click here to shop

This company gives jobs to women who were once slaves for sex trafficking. This company gives them means to live, hope, and freedom.
Their Punjammies in particular are made by women in India hoping to gain a new life for themselves. 
I'll take one of each thanks! These will be great for my mother-in-law and sister-in-law! 

Another organization that is helping women who are tied to sex trafficking or have escaped. Their cards are changing the world! I plan on picking some of these up and putting gift cards in them! 
Aren't these just adorable! I know I'd be touched to get one. 

I love the idea that my money is going to a cause and I am helping someone by giving them a means to live. I know these gifts will be more meaningful to my family this Christmas. 








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She Reads Truth advent

If you are looking for a great advent to read this Christmas then here you go and you're welcome! 

 You're only a couple of days behind but you can catch up super easy! 
My prayer is that this advent will draw you closer to the Lord this season and you will know the true King! 

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Morning routine

Here is my morning routine when I am definitely not working and I have myself together.

Morning routine on work days includes rolling out of bed and grabbing coffee on the go...
So without further adieu:

7:00 - I don't need an alarm clock because Baker is usually waking me up by now nuzzling me in the face. You can't fight this one, I have to get up and take her on a short walk.


(but seriously, can you say no to this?)

7:20 - Come back in and feed Baker, then make something to eat, usually I've made croissants ahead of time or scramble eggs with toast and fruit. 

7:30 - My favorite part of my morning is sitting down in front of my computer and doing my devotional time with the she reads truth blog. 

8:00 - After my devo I now head off to my pure barre class. I love getting my workout finished early on, it sets a good tone for the day.

9:00 - After class I will either go grab some coffee for T and I at our local coffee shop or go get some groceries for the dinner I've planned ahead to make.


(this stuff. praise him.)

9:30 - Back home for a shower and to look through my to-do list on what my day is going to look like. This is usually when T starts grunting for coffee. We can't make any plans unless he has had coffee in him.


(tonight I'm making Ina's beef stew from her Back to Basics book, the beef is marinating in cabernet all day today. delicious.)

That's what a morning looks like for me on my off days!  See any resemblance to yours?!

xx-J
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Winter Skin Care Routine

With the season changing it's time to update my skin care routine. The air is now turning cold and dry, and that is not good for my skin. Here are a couple of items I like to use to fight what the winter air does to my skin!


To start off with during the day I will prime my face with Bliss Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner and follow up with Royal Apothic Firming Eye Treatment.


For my body I use Lubriderm on my legs, I have sensitive skin and this works really well in helping to prevent breakouts after shaving, it helps that it is fragrance free.
 For the rest of my body I usually switch between my favorite lotion Simpatico Ambergris and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, I use FAB 2-3 times a week and the Simpatico the rest of the week.


For my face I always use Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate and I usually use the midnight eye concentrate(not pictured) as well. I love this stuff, I wake up and my skin has an amazing glow to it. Over that I usually put on a moisturizer, I have been trying out Eucerin Redness Relief for about a week now. I have redness around my cheeks and nose and I have heard good things about this one. During the day I usually use Kiehls Panthenol Protein Moisturizing Face Cream


 Another product I use about 3-4 times a week is Kiehls Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, this stuff works! My skin is amazingly smooth after putting this on, I usually wear this under my daily facial cream.

Any other products I'm missing? Any better ideas for redness relief? What is your go-to winter skin care routine? Let me know! 

xx-J

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Tuesday Quotes


um, aren't these the cutest?! I found them at Homegoods, of course.

Happy Happy November!
November is so special to me for so many reasons, my anniversary, my dogs birthday, and Thanksgiving! 
These quotes are all verses on thankfulness! 

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:15-17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:6

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Remember this month to be thankful to the Lord for everything he has given you and be kind to others! 

xx-J



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perfect product



I received this body lotion sometime last year in a Popsugar box and it has been my go to for winter.
As the air changes so does my beauty routine. 
This is a thicker cream that has a lighter fragrance to it but still heavy enough to make my skin feel smooth all day. There are different scents but I cannot get away from this one, Ambergris.


I'd love to know more about your winter routines and changes. I'm always looking for new products to try!
xx-J






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currently

morning snuggles

Reading: nothing! and this is a problem, I need book suggestions and I need them fast! 
Watching: I am so happy that fall shows are back on! Modern Family and The Mindy Project are my go-to shows! I am also watching Gossip Girl on Netflix. I read all the books when I was in high school and am just now getting around to watching the show. I know, basic white girl. 
Planning: with the magnificent holidays come planning and scheduling! We will have lots of holiday parties to go to and need to work out the deets for those!
Doing: I just bought a membership to Pure Barre, which I've become slightly obsessed with, so here come the rock hard abs! 
Loving: I've said it once and I'll say it again. This weather! It is finally starting to feel like fall here in Alabama, the air is feeling crisp and the leaves are turning yellow. 

Have a great Halloween Weekend! 
We will be zombied out on the couch watching scary movies and eating candy! 
xx-J


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5 wishes

 
1. Ugg Adirondack Boot - I've had my eye on these for about a year now, they would obviously but so comfy! Just gotta take the plunge and make the investment
2. diptyque candle - I have never owned one of these, I've heard amazing things! Christmas wish for sure!
3. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray - this is coming to my cabinet as soon as I run out of the other I am currently using. I have always loved using these products. 
4. Emily Ley's Simplified Planner - I will need this next year to keep dates and projects together, and this is THE planner of all planners! 
5. Crosley Record Player - This would be an amazing addition to our home, I think we would use it all the time! 

Those are my 5 wishes for today! Have a great day!  
xx-J

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Tuesday Quotes


Food for thought:

"If the world was blind, how many people would you impress?"

"Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud."

"Always be kinder than you feel."

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

"Be careful who you open up to, only a few people care, the rest are just curious."


*all images and quotes taken from Pinterest


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perfect product



This tea! 
I first received this tea as a gift last year and have vowed to only drink it during the fall and winter months. It is so delicious, I didn't find it at my local Trader Joe's but I found it on amazon here.



This is what I drink in place of coffee on days when I just want to lounge around the house. The smell is unbelievable. I usually mix in a small amount sweetened condensed milk and it adds the perfect cream flavor. 



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currently




Reading: Currently finishing up Judy Blume's In the Unlikely Event. I've enjoyed reading it but I think the next book I want to read I want it to be a holiday book. 
Eating: Today I made these. Cauliflower tots! They are so so good, I keep them in a container in the fridge. They are great for snacking on! 
Doing: I have succumbed to the Pure Barre trend. I must admit I do love it though, I feel so good after a class and I hurt in places where I didn't even know I had muscles. 
Planning: Our one year anniversary trip is coming up and the Disney planning has begun! I cannot wait for our trip to Disney World! 
Loving: Although it gets pretty hot during the day, the mornings and nights here in Alabama are turning cooler and cooler each night! I am loving wearing my warm cozy pj's to bed. 

have a great weekend!
xx-jessica

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fall to-do list


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Bolivia

I don't even know where to begin writing this post. This trip was so humbling. This trip made me realize that I need to step up my game in loving people, ALL of Gods people. It made me realize just how much excess I have! 
I am so blessed to be a part of this organization and am so excited to share photos. 

This is Camilla, she is having surgery here in the states. 

This precious thing is Luis, her brother, I wanted to bring him back with me. 

Diego, a cousin

Dinner at the House of Santa Cruz with Corolla (Bolivian coordinator) and Marcia (my translator) for some authentic Bolivian food


 2:00AM at the airport getting ready to go to the USA

Praise God for people that truly love people. 


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mood

I believe every home should have a mood. Taylor and I like our home to be cozyyyyy. We have throw blankets on deck and candles everywhere. I believe having candles lit just sets a cozy tone for the day. Now that it is fall we have pumpkin and cinnamon candles everywhere! 

::dining room::



::kitchen::

 ::bedroom::

 ::bathroom::

All of these candles were purchased at Home Goods. They have a great selection and they are reasonably priced. However, I am dying to go to Anthropologie and buy a million of these. They are the best smelling candle we've ever owned.
 Taylor actually thought I was baking cookies one day. 




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