Nov 30, 2011

Guest Post: From Heather's Heart

 Hi! My name is Heather and I blog over at Finding Beauty in the Ordinary.
I'm a 26 year old, happily married, adventure seeking blog lover :) My
little blog is a place to share what's on my heart, what God is
teaching me, and what my husband and I are up to as we have recently
relocated to a new city for his new job.  I love capturing a moment by
camera and simply finding beauty in the ordinary moment of life. 

I love Jen's blog here! Jen was my very first blog friend and I've met her in "real life," too!! She's the real deal: honest, funny, and gorgeous!!! I LOVE HER.

The past couple of months, I've started blogging actively, using social media, and have been trying to keep up with it all. Most days, I feel like I'm drowning in information. I get burnt out easily and often feel completely drained from technology! There are days where I feel like I go to bed with my laptop and wake up with it. Oh, and how can I forget my iPhone? That thing is my own personal little companion. I'm addicted.

Have you seen this video before?


Some of my favorites points for staying creative were these:

Carry a notebook everywhere
Get away from the computer
Take breaks
Go somewhere new
Get lots of rest
Stop trying to be someone else's perfect

    Wowzers! Ummm... I need to watch this again. How often do I take a true break from technology? As in, literally LEAVE the computer, the phone, the emails... and get away? Whether that's going on a long drive somewhere beautiful, or sitting on the beach near the ocean, hiking to the highest peak of a mountain, or going on an evening walk? Or simply doing the mundane things of life like doing the dishes and folding laundry without being interrupted constantly by the ding of the iPhone notifying me of emails?  When was the last time I gave my husband my 100% attention? Not just the "Oh yeah, really, babe? What happened at work today?" question while I'm skimming through my BlogLovin' feed and diverting my attention elsewhere. I'm guilty.

    God has blessed us with so much beauty around us. Let's get out there and enjoy it. There's a time and a place for everything, including our blog, email and technology time. Don't get me wrong, I love it all :) But when it all comes down to it, people are the most important things in life... let's invest in them,  and really be with them when we're with them. And take breaks from technology consistently, using our creative talents for His glory, and really live.


    Hi friends! It's Jen popping in! Isn't Heather the greatest? Love, love, love her to pieces!

    Nov 29, 2011


    Remember, a long time ago, when I said I was looking for a new purse? Well, I finally found one. Never rush a new handbag, sweet friends. It will come to you when it comes and not a moment too soon.

    My new purse came to me last week. I decided on a cross-body bag. I've never had one before and I wanted to give it a try.

    Here's one thing you should know about me, I hate names and labels on purses. On most clothing really, but especially on purses. Whether it says Liz Claiborne or Coach, Prada or Faded Glory, I hate it. Maybe it's because my purse will never say Prada or Coach and I'm bitter, but I don't think so. I just don't want someone else's name on my purse. If it says "Jen" fine, but no one else is allowed!

    Second thing to know about my purse selection... I like them bright. My clothes are usually fairly muted and neutral, so I love having a bright purse for a pop of color. In the recent past, my purses have been mustard yellow, peachy orange and bright orange. Bring it. I don't think I've had a black or brown purse in at least five years.

    But finding a purse that is stylish... with no labels... in a fun color can be a chore. So when this little beauty flashed before my eyes last week, I was sold almost instantly. Well, after a little trial in the only mirror I could find in the store to confirm that I wanted to switch from a regular mid-size shoulder bag to a cross-body style....

    This one or that one???

    But I crossed over in more ways than one last week. Here's one more thing to know about me... I kinda pride myself {bad, I know} on not being a clothing snob. I don't care about labels and I can happily say that I am willing to shop at almost any store if they have cute clothing to buy. I've spent the last few years of my life trying to convince my friends that Kohl's has great business casual clothes. Don't get me wrong. I love Nordstrom and Banana like the next girl, but Kohl's and Target are on the list too. However, if I am really honest, I don't really shop at just any store. There are a few stores that I completely avoid. Sears, KMart, and JCPenney come to mind...

    Except the other night I found myself in JCPenney for the first time in years. I was looking for new bedding and rumor has it they have cute home products. I actually found amazing bedding and then on my way out of the store, I spotted this cute little green bag. It was so perfect that I pushed the JCPenney stigma out of my mind and tried it on...

    Sweater :: Banana Outlet // Cords :: Lauren Conrad for Kohl's // 
    Boots :: Steve Madden // Headband :: Whippy Cake

    Humbled. JCPenney is legit.

    And now you'll probably find me shopping at Sears or KMart next week...

    Merry Christmas!

    Have you entered the GIVEAWAY yet? Ends tonight!!!

    pleated poppylollipops


    Nov 28, 2011

    My {etsy} Christmas list

    Over the weekend I finished up my Christmas list. Yes, this 29 year old still makes a Christmas list. It's not that I am über greedy, it's just that I love gift giving and I want everyone in my family to give and receive good gifts. I think this is best accomplished if everyone shares a gift list of items they actually want/need. I would rather get an item that costs $10 that I really love than a $50 item that is only mediocre.

    However, one thing about my Christmas list was very different this year. It's still mostly clothes and other pretty things, but it's the source of these items that has changed. My family doesn't need to fight the crowds at the mall to get me something I will love. No. They only need to hop online because over half of my wish list items can be found on Etsy. I guess I'm really a true blogger now...

    Here are some of my favorite handmade items this Christmas season...

    Image of Mustard & Lace
    Lace infinity scarf from Cotton Lane

    Something Old, Something New, Antique Vintage Lace and Linen Necklace, Pink, OOAK
    Lace pendant necklaces from Feed Your Soul

    Image of Long Gold Silk Rosette Statement NecklaceImage of The Casey Gray and Cream Rosette Statement Necklace
    This necklace and this necklace from Pink Lemonade

    03 The Ingrid: embroidered pendant with flowers on turquoise background and pearl
    Embroidered pendant necklace from The Hollie Rogue Shop

    Dahlia Necklace from Sunshine Blossoms

    Black Friday Etsy, Cyber Monday Etsy Sale - Gold Tassel Necklace - fringe shimmer fashion accessory by petitor
    And a pretty gold tassel necklace like this one from Petitor

    Pair Vintage Fabrics Dishtowel Set 2/pk-Vintage-Pair-Cotton Dish Towels-Custom Handmade OOAK
    Pretty dishtowels or potholders from Bonnie Rose

    And this doesn't really count, because I already bought these... but to kick off the Christmas season I ordered our Christmas cards from Naptime Diaries. And if you haven't met Jessi, please head to her blog. Her love for Jesus and her family inspires me daily.

    Coral Merry Christmas photocard
    The Arizona Russums - coming to a mailbox near you...

    Last day to enter the Christmas giveaway friends!

    Merry Christmas!

    Nov 27, 2011

    We survived!

    We are back from North Dakota my friends. The weather was actually quite amazing while we were there. No snow. Sunshine. Upper to lower 30s for daytime temps. On Thanksgiving Day we took a walk around the neighborhood after dinner and some people didn't even wear coats because it was so sunny, crisp, and pleasant. {I wore a coat though...are you kidding me? My idea of truly amazing winter temps is about 75 degrees...}

    We ate lots of delicious food, including the Norwegian treats lefse and krumkake. So good. I would have flown all the way to North Dakota for those two delights alone.

    We did a little Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving night, and by a little I mean we failed miserably. We only had two items on our list - a flat screen TV and a PlayStation 3. After a brutal experience at Walmart at 11pm, where they didn't have the TV we wanted and the PS3s sold out at 10pm, we also went to GameStop where we waited in the cold for an hour only to find out right when we finally made it into the store that they had just sold the last PS3. Boo hiss. It was 1am and I was running off two hours of sleep from our early morning flight.

    But I didn't fail completely. While in line at GameStop, I called my mom back in Washington where it was only 10pm. She told me that she and my dad were going to Target at midnight to try to get a TV. We are from a small town and the Black Friday shopping there is pretty tame. I asked her if she would also see if they had the PS3 available and I would pay her back if she could get it {Micah's Christmas gift}. After an unsuccessful night in Fargo, I awoke to a text on Friday morning {the real morning... 9am not 1am} that said she got the PS3! Win! And later that day Micah and I ordered a TV off Amazon - no tax and no shipping thanks to my free student Amazon Prime account. It will arrive to our doorstep Friday morning. Take that, Best Buy!

    For the rest of the weekend we just experienced North Dakota in all its majesty. We took Russum family portraits on Friday afternoon and there are so many spouses and great-grandchildren now that we hardly fit into the studio. The Russums can thank Micah and I for not having children yet {you're welcome} because with one more bundle of love in the fam I don't think the photo would have been possible. Other highlights included a trip to the movies, a North Dakota State basketball game and hearing Micah's aunt, uncle and cousin play the bells at church on Sunday morning before we left. Other than that, I just played with babies - lots and lots of cute babies.

    Hello idiots waiting outside Best Buy at 11am on Thanksgiving Day. 
    Way to ruin a perfectly wonderful holiday...

    Hello Canada?

    Hello bajillion cars and lots of fun relatives. Yes, we had over 50 people at dinner!

     Hello sweet KJ! One of my favorite people in the whole wide world who traveled to North Dakota by train!

    A Norwegian feast! Hello lefse and krumkake! 

    Hello {and goodbye} Walmart shoppers. It wasn't until the flight home that I learned all the Canadians flood Fargo to shop on Black Friday...

     Waiting with the boys outside of Game Stop. The rest of the girls were in bed. I am hard core...

    Hello pout-y face.This is how I felt after getting inside GameStop 
    only to find that they had just sold the last PS3...

    Hello husband. Thanks for taking me to your birth place, ND! 

    Hello Caribou Campfire Mocha. You were good to me after a long, fun weekend.

    Merry Christmas, friends!

    Nov 24, 2011

    Christmas GIVEAWAY!

    Merry Christmas, friends! Since Thanksgiving has come and gone, I am allowed to fully indulge in all things Christmas. To kick off the season, I am bringing to you my friend, Audrey from Curls & Courage, who is giving away a necklace from her shop. Because while I truly support a handmade Christmas, we all know that I don't have ANY time to craft. I am good for about two crafts a year and they always happen during summer vacation. What does that mean? I will be hitting up Etsy for lots of Christmas shopping this year...and do you know what's on my list? A tassel necklace just like the one Audrey has for you today! I'm serious, people. I had a tassel necklace on my birthday list back in September and I didn't get one, so now it's transferred to my Christmas list. I hope I get one before they go out of style!!!

    * * * * *

    Name: Audrey
     Blog: Courage & Curls
    City: Fort Mill, SC - just south of Charlotte, NC
    - - - - -
    My blog and shop both were born of grief-- my blog provided an outlet for me to communicate with friends and family throughout my second miscarriage. My shop was once just a fun hobby that turned into a ardent passion-- taking old broken jewelry and giving each piece new life. The majority of my jewelry has upcycled components mixed with new and shiny.

      Thankful for... I'm extremely thankful that I found the blogosphere when I did. The Lord has really ministered to my heart through His blogging daughters. He is always right on time, amen?

    And here is the special treat Audrey has for one of you today...

    And if you don't win the giveaway {announced next week}, Audrey is offering all my readers a discount in her shop through Christmas. 
    Use the code RUSSUMS for 15% off at checkout!

    To enter the giveaway:
    1// Must follow the AZ Russums
    2// Must visit Courage and Curls Blog OR Shop
    {Leave a comment and let me know that you've done this first step}

    For additional entries:
    3// Follow the AZ Russums on Twitter or Facebook or Bloglovin'
    4// Follow the Courage and Curls blog
    5// Follow Courage & Curls on Twitter
    6// Tweet or FB about this giveaway with the post link

    That's like a zillion chances to win. Leave a comment for each entry!



    Nov 23, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving

    We are off to North Dakota early this morning. Praying I was able to stuff enough clothing into my carry-on to keep me warm all weekend. If I'm not back on Monday assume I am frozen somewhere in the Midwest. While the cold weather is not my favorite, I am excited to spend the weekend with Micah's family. I've heard their food is amazing and that the aunts and girl cousins are hard core shoppers. Sign me up!

    And here are some things I'm thanking the Lord for today:

    A pretty new kitchen with lots of storage space....

    Husband's new boots. Yes please...

    The world's cutest grandparents...

    Great friends at church...

     Sister-in-law living with us and lots of fun visitors this fall...

    The WORD {and coffee}...

     The opportunity to go to grad school...

    Sweet blog friends...

    New babies...

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!


    Nov 22, 2011

    What I Wore {Whippy Cake}

    Well, friends, I have made the leap. I finally feel like a true blogger. Does it have to do with how often I write? No. My number of followers? No way.

    It's because of this...

    I now own a Whippy Cake headband. It's official.

    Two weeks ago I attended the Believe Boutique in Chandler with my friend, Ashley. Nothing makes you feel more like a blogger than being at a craft fair full of headbands and baby clothes and jewelry and calendars. Nothing except walking home with two Whippy Cake headbands bought at discounted boutique prices that is.

    Here we are debating which one{s} to buy...

    Becki's display was by far the cutest. Baskets full of Whippy goodness and Whippy covered Christmas trees. It was impossible to choose just one, which is why I walked away with two!

    I am in love. You can probably tell by how often I've worn these bad boys...uh... little ladies over the past two weeks.

    Shirt :: Banana // Sweater :: TJ Maxx // Navy leggings :: Banana // Boots :: Aldo // Belt :: TJ Maxx

    Shirt :: Nordstrom {BP} // Sweater :: Madewell // Jeans :: Hudson // Necklace :: F21 // 
    Grandparents :: The Best

    Scary face...but it shows my true excitement over the first coat-worthy day in Arizona this fall!
    Coat :: Banana // Dress :: Target // Boots // Steve Madden // Scarf :: Ethiopia

    And here's my other one! 
    I love this one just as much, if not MORE, but this is the only day I remembered to take pictures.
    Shirt :: Gap // Sweater :: JCrew // Cords :: JCrew // Shoes :: Nordstrom Rack // Necklace :: Banana


    pleated poppy

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