Good morning, y’all! (Y’all is a rarity now that we’re Oregonians so I have to slip it in every once in a while.)
Ready for round two of things I’ve been adoring lately? I hope it’s not against the bloggers code to post a note with the same ingredients back to back, but if it is, oh well I suppose! I’m all giddy with holiday spirit this morning, so let’s get started before I burst.
Carrie McQuaid aka Caroline G Shop
I mean really. Carrie is just the sweetest thing with the darlingest (if that’s not a word I’m making it one) jewelry shop and blog. Her online boutique, Caroline G Shop, specializes in beautiful necklaces that Carrie puts together and ships all herself. I’m partial to the three bubble necklaces myself. I have it in mint, red and gold (so far). So cute, right? While the shop itself is for profit, what Carrie does with her income makes my heart nearly explode with joy each time I see a new love project she’s taking on.
Carrie oozes the love of Jesus. She has made it her daily purpose to show love and kindness to anyone and everyone that she interacts with, including friends, strangers on the street, social media butterflies and the like. She often walks around her city, handing out balloons to random passersby, just wishing them a joyful day. A few weeks ago, she loaded up her Starbucks card with $50, and then posted a snapshot of the barcode on Instagram and encouraged her followers to treat themselves to a beverage, or to pay it forward and bless someone else. I’ve said before about Carrie that while I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, I consider her a friend because she makes herself a friend to all. I am completely inspired by Carrie’s life and generosity and strive to fill my days with even more purpose because of her influence. I highly recommend following her on Instagram (@carolinegshop), keeping up with her blog, liking her page on Facebook (she does awesome giveaways and deals on her jewelry frequently!) and supporting her shop! You will absolutely not regret it.
Don’t be afraid to click that link! I promise you won’t see anyone’s naughty bits. Club Naked is our wine club! Let me explain. Naked Winery is a fantastic little wine shop down in Old Mill District here in Bend. With their wines provocatively labeled things like “Oh!”, “Penetration”, “Cougar”, “Fling”, “Vixen” and so forth, while a tad saucy, that makes the atmosphere at Naked Winery relaxing and so much fun! Wine tastings are offered weekly at no charge to club members, who are encouraged to bring guests, which is how we were introduced to Club Naked. A group of wonderful people that Shawn has the pleasure of working with invited us to join them at the wine tasting several weeks ago and we were hooked. For only $40 every quarter, we get two bottles of wine of our choosing (each quarter), free weekly wine tastings, birthday specials, discounts and deals throughout the year, access to limited edition wines, invitations and priority access to special events and so on. As a result of Club Naked, Shawn and I have begun developing fun friendships as well as been able to expand our knowledge of wine and our palettes. We love Club Naked!
J’aime boire du vin.
If it weren’t for Duolingo, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you in French just now that I like to drink wine (without googling it). When Shawn and I found out that we were moving to Bend and agreed that I would be a full time homemaker, I decided to sit down and make a list of goals for myself since I would now have the opportunity to accomplish them. Along with teaching myself how to gourmet cook, finding organizations for positive change to be involved with and working towards a healthier lifestyle, a huge goal of mine was/is to learn the French language. I think French is so beautiful, and I’d really like to be able to speak it when Shawn and I make our trip to Paris someday. While Rosetta Stone always comes as the highest recommended resource for learning a language, it’s also extremely expensive. Eventually, I’d still like to purchase the Rosetta Stone program, but in the mean time, I have found this little gem.
I found out about Duolingo from my dearest friend in all the world, Callie, as we’ve both lamented about the ever costly Rosetta Stone program and how we so desperately just wanted to learn. She sent me a link to the website and I began exploring. Duolingo offers courses in Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. So far I have found the course I’m taking to be thorough and so fun. The best part about Duolingo? IT’S ALL FREE! I’m having a blast delving in to my little French lesson each day, and I know Shawn is getting a kick out of hearing me throw around beginner French phrases like I’m an intermediate or something.
Fur Lined Moccasins
Let me tell you something, Bend gets ca-hold in the winter. We’ve had temps drop down to -15 after sunset as of late. I love it, I love it, I love it. Truly, I do. But after fear of losing my little feet to frostbite do to the insane amount of shoes that I own that don’t require socks, I decided I should probably invest in something a tad warmer. Enter these babies.
I was kind of anti fur lined anything for a while because I tend to get too warm to quickly, and this gal does not like to sweat. I loathe it. But when I saw a girl at PDX after we returned from our trip to NYC where I wanted to cut my own feet off, wearing fur lined moccasins, it occurred to me that she was, in fact, a genius. Her feet looked like they were nestled in little clouds. So I began my search. I found the perfect pair at Target. Sure. Technically, they’re labeled as slippers. But if wearing this particular pair of slippers as shoes is wrong, I don’t want to be right. These mocs are adorable, sturdy and ridiculously comfy. Maybe if you’re very sweet and ask nicely, Santa will bring you a pair too!
Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Hummus
Truthfully, in the past, I’ve always kind of had to choke down hummus. But since we are trying to work on this whole living a healthier lifestyle (ugh) thing, I thought I’d give it one more try. Holy Hummus Batman! This stuff is incredible. It’s Trader Joe’s label, Mediterranean style, topped with pine nuts, a touch of oil, red pepper, parsley and paprika. Mmm, so so tasty. I do my best to pair it with sliced bell peppers, raw broccoli and snap peas, which is unbelievably delicious, but it’s not unheard of for me to make a bag of sea salt pita chips disappear when I pair it with this magic dip.
Christmastime in Bend
Yeah, this is just a glimpse of what I see at the end of my street. You. Guys.
Oh this? Out the back window. No big.
Last, but certainly not least, Christmastime in Bend. I am just gushing with holiday joy and spirit right now and a lot of it is due to this beautiful part of the country we have moved to. Bend is so lovely on it’s own, with it’s majestic mountain views, breathtaking sunsets and lush evergreen trees, but when you pair that with winter air, snowfall and Christmas decor, it becomes so magical.
We had the loveliest snowfall here last week and I’m praying praying for a white Christmas. I love seeing all the lights up in our neighborhood! The sun sets around 4:30, so Shawn and I have been taking a lot of night walks in the snow lately and it is gorgeous.
– – –
Well, I suppose that just about wraps it up for now. I am ever so grateful for the life that I lead and for God’s provision and presence in it. I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of this holiday season with my darling husband, our fat cat, and friends in our wonderful home. Sending you and yours our warmest and happiest holiday wishes!