The month that....

How we already stepping into September is beyond me but one thing's for sure, I'm just loving it. I adore this time of year, and of course, I also love that we are inching closer + closer to Christmas. August sure was a busy month, if you weren't having water poured over your head then you were probably prepping to get yourself or the kids back to school or perhaps planning the last of those summer BBQs. In this third edition of monthly headlines I will be discussing a chosen few of the major headlines in a given month and adding a dash of my personal touch + opinions.

ONE // Kindness still prevails. There were a few examples at the beginning of the month which validate that random acts of kindness are still evident in our world today. Many of the media outlets paint pictures of negativity, constant crimes and war zones, while that is all very important and true, the balance of positivity can sometimes be lost.

In Australia a swarm of people ran to rescue a passenger whose leg got wedged between the train and the platform. The group of people joined together to push the train on it's side to free the trapped man. It's a beautiful example of your everyday superheros. Then you have the pay it forward gesture that started at a Starbucks in Florida, my home state, so proud. The effect of one person buying a coffee for the person behind them rippled and ended up reaching nearly 400 free cups of coffee. It might seem small but that little gesture could have made the world of a difference to someone. I can vouch for that, I would be beaming at the thought of a free cup o' joe to begin a hectic day. 

TWO // This month brought some sadness as we were all stunned by the death of Robin Williams. It just reiterates that mental illness is real. It's a reminder to us all that there are those silently suffering everyday, we need to be alert and supportive and let those hurting know that there's a way out.

THREE // We celebrated International Lefthanders Day! Who knew there was such a thing? I do now. Apparently we make up only 10 percent of the population yet, five out of the last seven presidents were lefties. It's safe to say that although we're lefties we use the right (correct) part of our brain. 

FOUR // Ice Bucket challenge. Unless you've been hiding under a brick with headphones on it's unlikely you haven't heard about the IBC. What started in America has made it to the UK and across the globe. From celebrities to grandmas, hardly anyone has escaped the challenge. There has been some debate on where the funds go exactly and are people actually donating but the ASL charity has raised 60 million pounds or $100 million dollars. Whatever your stance might be it's hard to fault the fact that it's created more awareness and raised a lot of funds for research and medication. You can watch Stephen embarrass himself below.


FIVE // The start of college football. Yes, even abroad, I keep up with all things orange + blue and I was more than ready to root on the team until the typical Florida thunderstorms got in the way. So here's to coming back with a bang again next week. I'll be watching! Will you?

Here's to September and all things fall!
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Fancy Finds :: Organisation

There's no denying fall is upon us, hashtag PSL is trending, football has begun and the weather (in some places) has started to warrant thoughts of boots, scarves and cozy sweaters. This time of year also brings a new school season for many and it's a great time for a September shuffle and, although it's clearly not spring, a little fall cleaning could be just the thing that could bring us through the busy holiday season feeling on top of our calendars and organised to a tee.

Here are a few of my fancy finds, organisation style.

1. This, storage meets mirror, cabinet from Ikea is perfect for a bathroom or closet. This new Gunnern range makes it simple to conceal those random bits and pieces and still practical for those last minute touch ups. The compact solution starts at 22 pounds with a large range of other complimentary storage options. Get yours here.

2. A magazine rack makes it easy to clear away the magazines, newspaper and even the mail that's lingering around. This decorative bamboo holder is a chic way to quickly clear away that unwanted clutter.

3. How can you resist this stylish antler hook? This hook can be used on the back of a door to hang your robes, next to the door to stowaway your keys or even in the closet to keep your scarves or necklaces.

4. Sometimes I find myself, mid year, itching to update my calendar. That or, let's be honest, I might have lost track of it come September. The paperblanks diary is the perfect solution for either case. The dates start from July 2014 and carry you through to December 2015. Not only will you remember all of the parties and get-togethers during the holiday hustle + bustle but, Santa will be forced to stuff your stocking with something more original than a calendar this year.

5. If you're anything like me you've experienced one of those mad dashes to tidy away things with only a five minute warning. These cardboard boxes will be your best friend during these moments of chaos and, bonus, they are simple enough to camouflage with a variety of decor options.

6. These convenient jars can be used store kitchen spices, finger nail polish or even q-tips and cotton balls. The chalkboard label allows you to personalize the label to fit a variety of storage needs.  photo Tara-16_zpsec1fb878.png


Tips on kicking the writer's block

If you ask any author, poet, musician or even the business leader, politician and teacher; they'll admit that they've all faced a moment of the inevitable writer's block. The times when inspiration + creativity come to a complete halt and the very thought of trying to develop new content is enough to make you want to avoid the task at hand at all costs.

There are plenty of reasons this lack of motivation happens and even minimal ideas just don't flow, sometimes it's because we've been going full force at our tasks and haven't left room for vision and sometimes something as simple as the gloomy weather can be to blame. Whatever the reason might be there are a few simple tasks that can help to combat the writer's block.


1. Change your scenery. Sometimes stepping away and taking a brisk walk, parking yourself at a new coffee joint or even moving to a different room in the house can help trigger a new spark of creativity. If you are feeling a lack of inspiration try moving locations and changing up you routine and scenery. 

2. Read. Stop whatever it is you are doing and pick up a new magazine or dig into a good book. By picking up something new to read it provides an opportunity to stop what you are working on for a moment and dive into something else. This little refresher can help to direct your thoughts elsewhere and then you can go back and look at the current piece with a fresh new mind. Things always look different when you walk away and come back to it later.

3. Find inspiration from others. I have a few blogs, news outlets and twitter feeds that I try to read on a daily basis. It's those select news outlets that sometimes spark a new idea and new content. I've found that other content can greatly help with my own inspiration. Creativity begets creativity, so select a few of your favorite + reliable sources and try to begin your day skimming through some of these. 

4. Make a mess. I know, this tip probably sounds like an oxymoron, you might be thinking that surely organization is the way to go and you'd ordinarily be right. Although the messy I'm referring comes in the form of pin boards covered with those random thoughts + ideas + magazine articles and post-it notes. Sometimes referring back to your inspiration board can be the very thing to prompt a new idea. I tend to write some of my topics out on individual post-it notes and then go back later and start adding some depth to them. 

5. Just do something. Sometimes all it takes to spin an idea or bust out an article is to just begin. Let your writing flow without considering grammar, structure or edits and see what you end up with. Then go back later and finesse what you've started. It's easier to go back and edit a current piece then to look at a blank canvas and try to structure all of your thoughts on the first go. At this point at least you will have something to work with and it will make the process a lot less daunting.

These are just some ideas to consider when you feel like you're stuck in a particular writer's block. What tends to do the trick for you?
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Put down the gloves

Some weekends are ordinary, although lately those have been few and far between, and some weekends add a little bump in the road.

You see as believers we need those mountain top experiences to fall back on when the world has us feeling like we are in the center of a boxing ring. This weekend God spoke so clearly to my heart and if you will allow me I'd like to share some of this journey with you.

It's easy to put on a mask, especially across social media and to those who don't know about your everyday struggles, and act like you are on a constant high. That everything in the world is peachy keen and challenges are few and far between. In most cases though, we all have struggles. We all face those days that leave us feeling weary, and those moments when fear + doubt seem to creep in.

The beautiful thing is that we then have a choice, we can decide to show some vulnerability OR keep our secrets stored far away. We can continue to fight, to tread the water, to hide or we can make a decision to put the gloves down.

In this journey of 'do I' or 'don't I' I've learned three things...

1. You are never forgotten. No matter how hard life might seem you have roadmap drawn specifically for you and your destiny awaits you. We were each created for a purpose and we each have a future filled with blessings and promises awaiting us. Someone was put in my path these last few weeks that reminded me that I'm not too far away from 'home'. That while I may be across the pond in a country that's not my native, I'm still the person that I was uniquely created to be. We can try to run, we can sink back and hide away but we will never be forgotten. In those moments of feeling alone we can rest assured that we our positioned in specific places because someone, somewhere needs our smiles, our encouragement and our inspiration.

2. You have influence. Following on from what I touched on above, you have influence. If you're a teacher you have precious hearts at the palm of your hand that are looking to you for guidance. If you work in business you may come across stressed out employees that could use a listening ear to combat the pressure they feel. If you're in entertainment or sports you have a sphere of people who are looking up to you and watching your every move. Whatever the situation might be, you have a circle of influence. You can use these moments of trial or challenge to be vulnerable and inspire those who are watching.

3. We all have a story so never down play your miracle or testimony. This is a tough one for me. Spare me the pity party and listen to my heart. I was born with a life threatening condition called CF. I've shared some about this story here. I can choose to keep it hidden away or I can choose to share this part of who I am. I can also choose to beat myself up for the things I'm not ticking off my ever ending to do list OR I can choose to view every morning as a miracle and everyday a blessing. My story might be the very thing that causes another to share theirs. It can be the testimony to someone else who might need that extra bit of encouragement to keep going and keep moving. Let me be clear, this verdict that I was given at six months old is not my identity, it's just part of my story. It's the very thing that reminds me to make every moment count, the thing that reminds me that life is a precious gift. The beautiful thing is that we all have a story it's just a choice on whether we choose to view it as an asset to our testimony, a building block to our faith and if we decide to view it as a means to inspire and encourage others.

This weekend my little bump that I referred to above is a two week hospital stay to tune up my lungs and get me back in tip-top shape. But even that can be viewed as a positive; it's an opportunity to encourage the doctors and nurses that I come in contact with, the perfect time to tick off a little more of my running list and it reminds me of those little lessons that I listed above.

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Easy tips to cozy up your house

Picture this, a breeze gently blowing through the shutters while you nestle by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa, better yet, a pumpkin spice latte in hand. That, my friends, is your perfect fall day.

Yes, we are those people that start trimming the tree come November so it's only suitable that in this household we start dressing out the house with fall decor pronto. Plus, given it's only a month until the official start date of this season, I thought now is a better time than ever. 

There's just one minor fall 'faux pas', it's not traditional to deck out your pad for this season in this country. Why? Simply because there's no Thanksgiving, that, paired with the fact that Autumn just symbolizes the ushering in of a long winter. Given that I've never let that stop me before, here's some tips to dress up your space and welcome this fresh + chilly time of year. 

Fall decor in a few easy + affordable tips. 

1. Select a color palette that suits your room. The color scheme in our living room is crisp white with robin egg blue and silver accents. There are also a few wooden pieces thrown in to warm the space up a bit. Throwing in a lot of oranges, auburns and golds just wouldn't have suited the space, so I've chosen to stick with the whites + neutrals. Decide what color scheme would work for you and play around with finding decor to complement your space. After a few coats of gray paint this pumpkin which was once a bright orange now perfectly suits the room.

2. Consider what you already have. The pumpkin above, for instance, took little effort and yet added an extra touch to the mantel. These feathers + branches were left over in the garage from a previous arrangement and, because I had already decided a theme, I knew they would work for this season. Take a look around to see what you already own + how you can switch it around to fit the seasonal decor. 

3. You can never have too many candles. For the wintry months candles are always a 'yes'. The ambiance the light of a candle gives off instantly warms the room, and the scent also adds a dimension to your decor. I've chosen spiced pumpkin + cinnamon stick flavors, the aroma makes you want to snuggle up and cuddle those that you love + share stories of years gone by. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic but I bet it painted a pretty picture in your head? 

4. Printables are another easy way to transition your summer decor to the autumn season. I've chosen this set of letters for the mantle and this chalkboard print for the dining area. It instantly sets the tone and it's an easy way to tie in the decor.

5. Bring the outdoors inside. Fruit styled in a decorative bowl can easily add to the table decor, either fresh or artificial. I paired this fake fruit with cinnamon potpourri to adorn the table. 

Anyone else just as ready for fall? I'd love to know some of your seasonal decor ideas? Cheers to the approaching season ahead, now if only I had a PSL in hand... 
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Consider this...

Why hello there beauties, stunners, babes, or even the gent or two. It's a new glorious week and someone, somewhere out there needs you to slap on that smile and put your best foot forward. I know, Monday comes early and it's not easy but consider this...

That elderly lady crossing the street needs you to be ready when the rain starts to pour.

Your friend depends on you to answer when your phone starts ringing at the most inconvenient time.

The doctor, cashier, postman, construction worker - they won't get a smile from anyone else today.

Or that acquaintance who could benefit from a prayer of hope and purpose.

Your better half could really use encouragement to help him get through his long, arduous day, the stress is just too much.

The young girl who hit your car needs your compassion more than you know.  This is minimal compared to what's going on in her world.

Your colleague at work who is quiet because there's a lot going on at home just needs someone to ask a simple, 'how are you', in order to muster up the words to share what weighs on their heart.

That family in the checkout line are two pounds too short and need to feed their family. Will you help?

Lets live with eyes wide open, there's just too much at stake to sit and let the world spin. Be a light to someone today.

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Lessons from year two.

Mmmmm yawn, stretch, rise and shine - it's Friday!

I'm not sure what you've got up your sleeve for this weekend but I can let you in on what we'll be up to. Monday is our two year anniversary so this weekend will be used to celebrate. In some ways I can hardly believe I've been a 'Mrs' for two years and in other ways it feels like it's always been 'us'.

Snapshot from our wedding rehearsal 
To mark the first marriage milestone I wrote my thoughts on the things I learned in the first year - here. So to keep in similar fashion I thought I would do the same for year two. For anyone who has been married I think you'll agree that each year brings new challenges, new perspective and a deeper  appreciation and understanding of this special bond. 

I think you'll also agree that you never stop learning, so here's a little insight on what year two has taught us.

Compromise. Given that we moved into an unfurnished house, this trait has needed to be exercised time and time again. We've had to meet in the middle and find a common ground between my feminine decor and his man cave ideas. Elegant rustic is what I like to call it and it's beautiful. Compromise at the core can be a beautiful thing; two people blending taste, priorities, expectations and life, but it's also the breeding ground for a learning curve. The compromise on home decor is just a minimal example but there were times and will be times when this word will need to be applied to more meaningful situations. Safe to say it's a good lesson to learn sooner than later. 

The power of  yes + no. If you've read the latest edition of Across the Pond you'll remember I touched on this there. We are 'yes people' and love to help in anyway we can. We believe that community is important and we love 'going' + 'doing'. However, if we aren't careful we can end up wearing ourselves too thin and burning out. This year, more so than the first, we've had to learn to prioritize our commitments. We've learned that making time for each other needs to remain important as does finding adequate moments of rest. This lesson is most definitely a work-in-progress but one that has started to ring ever so important. 

Don't forget romance. Life doesn't stop, ever, and it's easy to get so wrapped up in our everyday tasks that we could easily forget to make time for romance, as crazy as that might sound. One of the things we soon realized is that we need to keep life exciting, still make time for date nights, still spoil each other in the littlest and most thoughtful ways and never ever wear tired of saying, 'I love you' and meaning it. My heart still melts when Stephen fixes me my morning cup of coffee and his smile says it all when I whip up some amazing grub. It's those little things that can add the spark into our everyday. 

What are some lessons marriage has taught you?

Rumor has it we're going to a fancy-schmancy dinner paired with a spa and we might even treat ourselves to a lazy breakfast-in-bed kinda morning. One thing's for sure, my husband has learned the way to my heart. In more ways than this of course.

Cheers to a beautiful weekend friends!

wedding day snapshot
Snapshot from our wedding day

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