Diving In.

5175c108e0656557ee384cf109346a6eI got a rejection letter yesterday. It was from a prestigious law firm that I applied to a few weeks ago. The letter was all of two lines and addressed me as “Mr.” For a split second I was sad about it (and slightly angry at my parents for giving me a unisex name), but then I felt a huge wave of relief. It’s no secret that I have no desire to be a lawyer. I’m just happy that I graduated from law school. Everything inside of me knows that the legal profession is not where I’m called to be, but I still find myself taking steps toward it. I’m not sure if it’s pressure from family and friends or pressure I put on myself (probably both), but I feel obligated to follow through with it sometimes. And each and every time I try to follow through, it doesn’t feel right and ultimately something stops me. How long is it going to take me to realize that I’m swimming in the wrong direction?

I have big dreams for this blog and for my writing. So big and exciting, in fact, that I find myself ignoring them. I’ve even been ignoring the blog because, when I sit down to write, those dreams taunt me. I know that I could be doing so much more, but I’m afraid. Those dreams are too scary, too risky, too expensive, the list goes on. But what if those dreams were planted in me by God? (they were.) What if He already has a plan mapped out? (He does.) What exactly am I waiting for?

Over the next few months, I’m really challenging myself to step out on faith, dive into deeper waters than I’ve ever been in, and trust that God (and my sweet husband) will help me figure this out. I’m also challenging myself to be diligent and to work hard. My brain has been out of “school mode” for almost a year now and I’ve found that it’s difficult for me to set goals and work towards them for myself. I’m so used to answering to professors and working hard for grades and a degree. Now it’s time to answer to, and work hard for, myself.

The thing about being a writer (or a painter, designer, etc.), is that when you first start out, there’s no one there giving you assignments or offering you payment for services they haven’t yet seen. It’s just you and your computer (or pencils or paint or sewing machine). You have to show up everyday and wait for the inspiration to strike, for the words to come, and for something to take shape. You have to start and restart, type and erase, try and try again. It’s a process without a definite end result. It’s hard and beautiful and honest and crazy. And it’s important. It’s important for me and it’s important for the people who will one day read my words.

So I’ve made up my mind: I’m diving all the way into these dreams and I’m not turning around no matter how frightening they may be. I’m excited to look back on this post a year, three years and five years down the road. I know that I will have grown as a woman and in my faith. I know that I will be writing for so many more women and that this space will have become a community. And I know that I will be more than happy with my decision.

Thank you in advance for taking this journey with me!



Nobody But Yourself

22c6e24be0cc2760cd8ee0a4b88b00e7Today, I’m giving myself permission to be myself. I’m giving myself permission to love myself, despite my imperfections. I’m giving myself permission to believe that God created me in His perfect image, that He loves me despite my sins and that He trusts me to carry out the calling He placed on my life (after all, it was his idea in the first place). I’m giving myself permission to trust my husband when he says that he believes in me and supports me in every single thing that I do. I’m giving myself permission to dream bigger than I have ever dreamed. I’m giving myself permission to keep dreaming, even when it doesn’t bring me financial security or recognition or even peace. I’m giving myself permission to block out the pressure to do what “makes sense.” I’m giving myself permission to do the things that seem to make no sense at all.

Today and forever, I give myself permission to be myself. To love myself. To trust myself.



Registry Essentials // Casual and Fine China

f747ee1284b99837ffc6244418e91a5cWhen Sam and I started looking for our first place, the most important thing on my list of must-haves was entertaining space. The place we found has its shortcomings (there isn’t one closet on the main floor), but we have plenty of indoor and outdoor space to host our friends so we’re happy. Once we found the place, I focused my attention on stocking it with everything I would need to entertain properly and the first thing on my list was dinnerware.

I am a china fanatic. I love to collect dishes, teacups and glasses. Choosing our casual and fine china for our registry was so fun for me. It might have been a little too much fun because I ended up registering for way more than we needed (and there were still at least five patterns I wish I could have added). Today I wanted to share my favorite casual and fine china sets with you. If you’re engaged, I hope you’ll find the perfect set to add to your registry. If you’re not, I hope you’ll be inspired to plan a little get together for your friends this weekend!



Highlights // 4.10.15

Weekly Highlights posts have become a tradition in my past few years of blogging. Every Friday, I share a round-up of the things I’ve been loving, things that have piqued my interest, and things I believe my readers want to know about. These “Highlights” have included beauty products I’ve been using, recipes I want to/have already tried, articles I read and wanted to share, online sales I heard about, etc. So, of course, the tradition will continue! Here are the highlights of the week…

:: Sam recently started working on the weekends and, because I’m still getting used to his schedule (that’s code for “I’ve been super lazy”), I’ve been terrible about making sure we eat home-cooked meals more than we eat out. This weekend, I decided to make our favorite turkey burgers (here’s the video version in case you’re more of a visual recipe follower). They’re healthy, Sam loves them and I’m making enough so that we’ll have leftovers in case the lazies hit me again tomorrow. Triple win!

:: Ever since I moved back to Virginia (from New Orleans, where I attended law school), my skin has been dry and dehydrated. I’ve tried everything I could think of, but my dry patches haven’t budged. Despite this problem, my t-zone is still pretty oily so it was hard to find a moisturizer that could balance my entire face. I’ve been using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream for about two months and I’ve had great results. It gets rid of my dry patches without making my entire face greasy. I have to reapply in the middle of the day sometimes, but that doesn’t bother me. Have any of you tried it? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations?

:: Book of the Week — With or Without You by Domenica Ruta. I started and finished this incredibly brave memoir in one day. I have too much to say about the book to summarize it here, but this NY Times review will tell you everything you need to know. If you do read it, let me know what you think.

:: I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my home office so I’ve been devouring all of the home office and work space tours I can find. I was browsing old articles on The Everygirl and came across this one about the different ways to style a desk for the college student, post-grad and career woman. I’m somewhere in between the post-grad and the career woman so I’m going to come up with a combination of the two for myself. If you’re currently designing (or have been meaning to start designing) your home office, you should definitely check this one out.

:: After I decided to launch the Registry Essentials series, I came across this DIY Housewarming Gift tutorial. While shopping off of a registry is convenient and guarantees that the recipient will love the gift, a homemade (or semi-homemade) gift is always more memorable. What I love about this gift idea is that you can change the container or the contents depending on who you’re giving it to and what their style is. It may take a bit more time than purchasing a gift off of a registry, but it is sure to make a lasting impression.

Have a fantastic weekend!



All Of My Friends Are Getting Pregnant Without Me

The following post is the first in the new Words Wednesday series. In an effort to force encourage myself to write every day, I’ll be posting an original piece of writing each week (hopefully!). I’m not making any promises of perfection or publication worthiness, but I will try my best to make them honest, entertaining and thought-provoking. In the future, I would love to feature other writers in this series as well. If you’re interested in contributing to E&E, visit the Contact Page for submission information. 


I saw a book not long ago called All Of My Friends Are Getting Married Without Me. I had to fight the urge to buy it because anyone who is unmarried and in their mid-twenties (I was both of those things at the time) knows that feeling. You’ve recently graduated college and started your career, you’re trying to get a foothold on this whole adulthood thing and then all of a sudden your single girlfriends start dropping like flies. Everyone is either engaged, married or stuck in that awkward and tense phase of their relationship where the girl is dropping every proposal hint she can think of and the guy somehow manages to miss (ignore?) every single one. It’s impossible to keep up with the engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette weekends and weddings you’ve been invited to. You adore your friends and you love celebrating them, but if you have to sit at the singles table one more time you just might have a nervous breakdown. You can’t help but feel like you’re missing out. And you hate yourself for thinking that everyone else’s life is a little bit better than yours because they’re wearing a ring on their left hand. I admit feeling like this more than once. I almost married the wrong person because of it. But that’s another story for another day (or another lifetime in which I have the courage to tell it).

Just when I started to feel like I had gotten over my comparison phase (which coincidentally coincided with my own engagement), another life event swept through my circle of friends like a pox. If I wrote a book about it, the working title would be: All Of My Friends Are Getting Pregnant Without Me. You’re probably laughing. I am too (a little). But I’m also doing a mental survey of my friends list, trying to think of at least five of my close friends who aren’t currently pregnant or who haven’t already had a child. I only made it to four. I am surrounded by babies almost every single day and I have to say this (type this) before I’m overtaken by guilt and shame: I have baby envy. I’ve been married for exactly twenty-five days and I have baby envy. I have clearly lost my mind…right?

A normal woman would be in a state of euphoric newlywed bliss, enjoying every kid-free day and night she has with her husband, knowing it will be twenty to thirty years before she can have him all to herself again. And I am. But every now and then, when I’m watching my friend Angel hold her perfect baby girl next to her perfectly round pregnant belly, I can’t help but want to join the mommy club too. And when I recognize my own smile in the smile of my adorable, curly-haired niece, Alana (pictured above), I can’t help but wonder what the future Everett babies will look like. And no matter how much I try to keep it together, my heart always manages to burst into a million tiny pieces of mush whenever I see my husband holding or playing with or even smiling at any human under the age of five.

I guess I just want to know that other women recognize these feelings too. I want to know that someone else understands what it feels like to want a baby at the “wrong” time. That someone else knows what it’s like to be convinced that they’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms, even though they feel exactly like PMS. That someone else has already figured out how long it would take (and how much it would cost) to change the office they just designed into a nursery – just in case the birth control fails. That someone else has felt the tiniest bit of heartbreak when their period showed up on the exact day they knew it would.

I know that I’ll look back on these early days of marriage and wish that I could have stretched them out a little longer. I know that I am blessed to have this time to sleep and write and travel and play. I know that in God’s perfect timing four, maybe five, Everett babies will grow in my belly, climb into our bed, play in our backyard, and eat waffles every Saturday morning at our kitchen table. But I still can’t help but wish that their tiny feet would walk into my life just a little bit sooner.


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