February 28, 2012

WIWW: Blissdom Edition

I just recently returned from blissdom, which was an incredibly, life altering experience. I feel like it far exceeded my expectations and I walked away from so much inspiration and encouragement. I'm going to blog more about it later to share all my experiences and what I learned from it.

I laugh a little bit in hindsight with how much I crammed into my suitcase to the ratio of what I actually ended up wearing. I'm a overpacker to the extreme, please tell me I'm not alone. I had to wear my pink cowgirl boots on the flight home due to the fact that it was either that or leave them behind.


The hotel at Blissdom was huge, like really really huge, so I had to tailor my outfits accordingly. Not to mention, a part of the hotel felt like a hot muggy jungle and then two feet later it would be like an ice box.


February 21, 2012

On Leaving The Comfort Zone

I love my comfort zone. I mean absolutely love staying within the confines of my comfort zone. I'm type A by nature, so I'm a list maker and planner. I plan, and plan, and plan. I even have a plan for the plan. I used to be a wallflower although no one believes me when I tell them that. I was so painfully shy as a child that I spent a lot of my younger years hiding behind my parents' legs. In fact, I was so painfully shy that I hated when my class sang "who stole the cookies from the cookie jar" in kindergarten because it meant getting called on.

When I was about 13, I came out of my shell. I started becoming more outgoing and pushing myself every so slightly out of my comfort zone. And slowly but surely, baby step after baby step, I let go off my shy self and became the outgoing person that I am today. I love talking to strangers that I meet at target, the grocery store, on the running trails, etc. I thrive off of hearing others' stories and getting to know them better. And the girl who could barely sing the cookie jar song can't seem to shut up now.

You would think that with an outgoing personality that I would love to attend conferences, meet new people, and get to spend so much time surrounded by strangers. But the truth is, large events are far from my comfort zone. They end up meaning many unexpected things, loads of people I've never met, and typically require a plane trip to get there; which is one of my greatest fears.

On Thursday morning, I'll wake up early, board a plane, and head off to Nashville; a city I've always dreamed of going to in order to attend the Blissdom Conference. From the moment I leave my house, I'll be venturing out of my comfort zone into the land of the unknown and the unexpected

While, I know this trip will be far from my comfort zone, it'll also be good for me. I'll get challenged, pushed in a good direction, and make some friends along the way. I'm somewhat nervous but ten times more excited for the experience. I know as far as it'll be out of my comfort zone, I know I'll look back at this experience as a good one. So here is to facing fears and flying and being open to new opportunities!

sweater: lilly
jeans: old navy
shoes: target
hair bow: caroline g
sign: allora handmade

February 20, 2012

Winners, Winners!

Thanks to all those who entered during our giveaway week!

Here are the winners!

Day 1: Ping-Ting Penny C.

Day 2: Alison J.

Day 3: Pamela P.

Day 4: Lauren D.

All winners send me an email so that I can get you connected with lovely shop owners who participated!


February 9, 2012

Today I want to introduce to you some more amazing shops and products!

Shop: Wicked Wench Shop
Giveaway: Coffee & Goat’s Milk Exfoliating Bar, one Gingerbread Cookie bar, one Relaxing Rose Bath Tea package and one Orange Chocolate Truffle Lip Balm. Retail value of 16.50

Shop: Catcophony
Giveaway: $20 Store Credit

Shop: Catherine's Jewerly
Giveaway: Beautiful gemstone earrings. Retail value or $62.

Shop: Camilee Designs
Giveaway: Sterling Silver Mom Necklace with Pearl.  3/4” disc matte finish hand stamped with up to 4 names and a heart in the center.  The pendant stands alone on an 18” sterling silver satellite chain.  Retail value:  $43.00. 

Shop: So.ME by Mollee V.
Giveaway: So.TAYLOR" leather wrap cuff bracelet. Retail value: $35 

Shop: Seasons of Wool
Giveaway: $25 store credit.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 8, 2012

Giveaway Week: Day 3

Shop: Christine and Company
Giveaway: Insulated lunch bag in Amy Butler's Wallflower Cherry; valued $24.

Shop: Designs By Taylor2u
Giveaway:  Custom Chandelier Crystal Map Necklace valued at $65.

Shop: Silver and Honey
Giveaway: $30 Store Credit

Shop: Minali
Giveaway: Earrings (pictured below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 7, 2012

Giveaway Week: Day 2

Happy Tuesday! I want to introduce you to some more shops and their lovely products that you'll have a chance to win!

Giveaway: 2 sets of cards valued at $18.00

Giveaway: $25 store credit

Giveaway: Beautiful set of earrings: valued at $25


Giveaway: stunning bracelet valued at $45


a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 6, 2012

Giveaway Week: Day 1

I figured no better way to start off a month than by hosting a few giveaways. I want to introduce you to four *amazing* shops and their beautiful products that you can win!

Emma opened up her shop, Sock Monkey Emporium, in July 2010 and with 3 core lines of monkeys, cats and dinosaurs.They have fashioned squid, duck billed platypus, crocodiles, penguins and many other animals at the request of our customers.

Giveaway: 1 sock monkey valued at $18


Shanna is a self taught tie dye artist and owner of  Shanna's Tie Dye Shop. Her shop is filled with lots of vibrant colored shirts for all the little ones in your life. Her shirts are sure to add a little extra color to your day.

Giveaway: $25 giftcard to custom design your own shirt.

Kelly owns Write Stuff Design, which specializes in hand made journals, recycled map coasters, origami flowers and the most unique book purses. I am inspired by my love of the written word and the possibility that a beautiful sheet of paper holds.  Our most popular product are our book purses designed to show off your love of great literature with classic editions made into a stylish accessory.  The Write Stuff Design is where paper and stitches meet.

Custom Map Coasters - value of $25- Create a memento from a favorite trip by allowing The Write Stuff to customize a set of 4 ceramic tile coasters with your favorite location or 4 different locations!

Jess, of the Sparetire Design, loves designing logos for fellow small businesses, personalized stationery and special occasion stationery, including but not limited to weddings. Sparetire Design's note cards are a popular item with the retro pattern note card being a top seller. All Sparetire Design's designs are unique and original, with a natural and organic influence.

Giveaway:Designer Note Cards in Retro Pattern (set of 10): $18.00 

Winner gets all four items! Giveaway will close in a week. Good luck!

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February 3, 2012

Who I Am

I've been working on an "about me" page for this blog, so I thought I'd make a post out of it:

My parents changed my birth name when I was 11 days old; I feel like that might explain my inability to make decisions from time to time. ;)

I'm overly sensitive, and my heart breaks for so many things in this world.

I was born in a city, yet raised in the south. My mama says the city still runs in my blood. Not to mention it'd explain the lack of a southern accent and the fast talking I do.

Most people pronounce the second "r" in Carrie even though its silent. I've learned to answer it to anyways. :)

I'm continuing to learn about beautiful grace as its lavished me on daily.

I'm learning to laugh at myself and not take life so seriously.

Thank you notes are my love language to the world.

I love the south from the endless monograms to the fact that I can find sweet tea about every .5 miles.

This year I'm working on being fearless and taking every opportunities that come my way.

I live in shades of color; anything bright and happy. I have been known to wear pink a time or two. ;)

I have a bit of a stubborn side but I'm learning to use to not give up on my dreams.

I continually remind to be the change I wish to see the world and give a voice to the voiceless.

I'm a dreamer and still learning what it means to bring my dreams to life.

I believe words of encouragement are like medicine to the soul. So I try and take every opportunity to say as many kind things, as often as I can, to any many people as I can.

I'm a avid runner. I love marveling at God's creation on my long runs. Someday I'm hoping to cross the finish line of a marathon.


February 2, 2012

Are Your Dreams BIG Enough?

I'm a big advocate of chasing dreams, no matter their size. In fact, I changed the entire direction of my life based on a sizable dream and goal. But sometimes I find myself asking, is my dream big enough?

This quote hangs in my office and when I find myself hitting a road block; I stare at it long and hard:

"Tell me my dreams aren't realistic,
and I'll tell you that yours aren't big enough"

I recently poured my heart out to a dear friend over coffee as I told her all my goals, plans, dreams, and hopes for my business this year. When I finished, she asked me if I was dreaming God-sized dreams or Carrie-sized dreams. She went onto explain to me, that while my plans and goals were mighty, were they really beyond what I was capable of doing myself? A lot to ponder on, right? So I came home, scribbled lots of notes, and began to ask myself, "are my dreams really big enough?" They felt challenging, hard, and beyond my limit, but was there room to stretch myself and even have more faith. And the answer was yes. I could dream bigger, a lot bigger. It'll probably hurt to stretch myself so far out of my comfort zone, but aren't dreams worth that in the end?

Sometimes I think we sell ourselves short. We think we can only achieve X amount of things, so we lower the bar, and never aim to excel beyond it. We too often run the 5ks instead of pushing ourselves to the 10ks or the half marathons. Or worse, we sit on the sidelines, wishing to accomplish something but never dare to try. When I was little my parents and teachers told me I could grow up to be anything I wanted to me. I read books in school like The Little Engine That Could that preached to me that with a good attitude, I could do it. But then over time the world wears on us and we settle for less. We trade in our dreams. We make excuses and before we know it our dreams fall by the wayside.

But I want more for my dreams and for your dreams. So here are some ways we can dream even bigger:

Love Your Dreams Well:  The world is full of dreamers. You are one of them. Dreams start as teeny tiny seeds that are given to us to care for. We are the gardeners in a field of dreams. The hours are long, its tiring, and nobody ever said it would be easy. But with enough time, energy, and love those little dream seedlings will bloom and the end result is breath-taking.

Don't Compare: Sometimes our dreams maybe similar to someone else out there, but there is no point in comparing. Do you know what comparison will do? It will rob the world of YOUR dream because you'll be too paralyzed to put it out there. You were given a certain set of skills and talents on purpose, so USE hem.

Be Fearless: Dreams require a LOT of faith. Sometimes you have to jump off the cliff and grow wings on the way down. But dreams are about taking risks, falling hard on your face, and getting back up to try again. And chances are the bigger you dream, the harder you'll fall. But every time you get back up will be because your dream is worth fighting for.

Don't Wait for Tomorrow: Too often we find ourselves saying, "I'll do it tomorrow." But day after day, we say that and before we know it tomorrow becomes some far off time in the future. Value your dream enough to give it the time and energy it deserves. Remember: a flower does not grow over night very much like a dream.

Accept the Unknown: Dreams often take us on paths we didn't plan on going on. They have a way of changing as time goes on. So be open to where the wind blows you.

Dream Wisely: I think there is something to be said about throwing caution to the wind as you chase hard after your dreams. But we are also called to certain responsibilities and honoring those responsibilities allows us to be better gardeners in our field of dreams. Sometimes the best gift we can give ourselves and our dreams is the gift of time. This does not mean we let our dreams die, but merely allow them a little more time to grow before they bloom. Their day in the sun will come.

So how do we take a little seedlings and grow them into a field of dreamers?

Here are some practical questions I ask myself when dreaming big:

What is the end goal?
Who will this involve?
What do I want to accomplish?
What is my purpose?
What do I hope to learn from this?

So my challenge to you: Ask yourself what's stopping you from dreaming BIG and how can you overcome it?


The Kindness of Strangers

If someone was to tell me that I'd grow up and have a blog and own a business; I would have probably laughed in their face. I had a pretty set plan for my life at a young age, and I've slowly learned to let go of certain dreams as well as chase after new ones. While I don't blog nearly as frequently as I want or should, the blogging world been an absolute blessing to me. 

Some of my friends laugh at me when I talk about linky parties, conferences, and the blog/crafty friends who I hold dear to my heart. But truthfully, blogging has changed my life for the better. Two years ago, I was cautious, reserved, and utterly private, and here I am a couple hundred days later pushing myself so far out of my my comfort zone day in and day out. 

Blogging has taking a very serious girl and reminded her that its okay to laugh every once and awhile.

It has restored my belief in the kindness of strangers as blog friends miles and miles away open their doors willingly and allow me to love on their kids.

Its lead me to coffee dates where I can pour out my soul to new friends.

It teaches me about beautiful blessings when sweet bloggers willingly take me under their wings long before they even meet me in real life.

It has humbled my pride and taught me that its okay to ask for help when taking risks; even in the simply things like dying my hair.

It floods with email account with words of encouragement, inspiration, and love.

It comforts me in my weaknesses and picks me back up when I fall down.

I am refined by all the grace I receive from others.

It challenges me to overcome fears and learn to fly on the wings of eagles,

which takes me on brand new adventures.

This beautiful community reminds me that I am never alone in my struggles and trimuphs.

It takes me thousands of miles away from home, just to find a piece of home there.

It restores old wounds and reminds me that we are not alone in our pains.

It continually reminds me to have compassion and love for the heartbreaking things of this world.

I encourages me to be true to myself; even in all of my pink and green.

I am amazed as I watch people rally around those who have fallen on hard times; living true to the motto,"when one falls, we all fall."

And sometimes it overwhelms me to the point of no words. I know that I have wonderful friends where I live and I am so incredibly blessed. But I am equally as blessed by those I have friended online. This was never ever the life I dreamed for myself, but now its a world I could never imagine living without.

I am taught that life is short and that I should forgive quickly, love always, and cherish every single day to the fulliest.

A thousand thank you's would never suffice to the gift that each friend is to me.