April 30, 2012

Oh Snap! A Recap

So I have a confession to make: I really should of written this post last week! I came back from Snap over a week ago and have been doing a lot of processing. Most of the conferences I've attended, I've come back with amazing inspiration and a go-getter attitude, and immediately put things into practice. Snap conference was amazing in so many different ways, but more than anything it did a number on my heart.

I arrived back to North Carolina late Sunday night with unbelievable bags under my eyes, pure exhaustion, but a full heart. And I took all of last week to process the experience, to relive in the hugs, the laughter, the late night chats.

I successfully managed to cram as much as possible, still check my bag, and survived all four flights in one piece.

My beautiful wednesday night roomies and I got to chat a lot, explore the city, and got excited about waking up for Snap conference! I bought a dress at Gymboree (yes, I know that's a child's store) and they helped me cut it into a shirt. It was a craft conference after all, right?

Nothing beats laughter and hugs than getting together with girls who have similar passions as me.

The sessions were amazing and I learned a lot from the many speakers!

I got to meet my sweet mentor in real life and she was every bit amazing as I thought she would be and then some! 

If the bags under my eyes could of talked they would of told you the stories of all the unstoppable laugher and love that outpoured from our room. I felt like my roomies, our suitemates, and all the other sweet girls who can to our room, made me feel so grateful for the experience.

When I got back from Snap, my heart felt so full and heavy at the same time. I feel like Snap challenged me to figure out what it means to live out "just be you" in the flesh. Honestly, it couldn't of come at a better time, and boy did it stretch and grow my heart. This week I'm putting some practical things into practice such as creating an encouragement board in my room, so that I can do a better job of being intentional to love people well!

April 26, 2012

Follow Your Heart

The dream project is officially underway. My inbox is bulging with emails of all the love y'all are spreading. In fact, I'll even admit I had forgotten that I came up with a hashtag to use with this project on twitter. However, when I discover that people we're using it; it brought tears to my eyes. I got an email from a young girl that told me she didn't feel brave most of the time so setting out in faith and encouraging others was out of her comfort zone. But she did it anyways because she knew her words could brighten up someone else's day. That's exactly the heart of this project; its about somebody else besides yourself.

I have found myself lately wondering what direction my life is heading in and thinking about what my purpose is here on earth. While I can't predict the future, I can certainly aid it by taking small steps forward each day. I think we live in a culture that tells us in many ways how to life the best life possible. But at the end of the day, it really comes down to following your heart. I have found that even  when its difficult, scary, nerve wrecking; that following your heart always pays off. It always leads you to where you were meant to end up. So perhaps you find yourself today at the edge of a cliff scared to take a leap of faith. Just do it! Trust me, you'll grow your wings on the way down.

How will YOU follow your heart today?

April 24, 2012

What I Wore: Snap Conference

I just got back from Snap late Sunday evening. The bags under my eyes could tell you the story enough of the conference; it was THAT amazing. I don't think I've ever slept that little or been that weary, yet so encouraged, inspired, and full to the brim with love at the same time. I'll write more later about what I learned, how it changed me for the better, and what I plan to do moving forward.

I walked away feeling inspired and encouraged beyond belief. Honestly, Snap gave me an opportunity to take some weight off my shoulders and just be myself. I was in a room full of like-minded women, and boy were they good at lifting one another up. I seriously can't say enough good things about the entire conference.

Dress: mini boden
bow: caroline g.
sweater: target 
shoes: target

Linking up to the pleated poppy

April 23, 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday.

Hello to a wonderful weekend away at SNAP conference. 

Hello to fitting everything into my suitcase both ways!

Hello to facing fears!

Hello little bows shoes that were so easy to take off at airport security. Why I always used to wear boots is beyond me.

Hello birthday treat. Oh how yummy you were.

Hello Wednesday night roomies! Oh how I adored them.

Hello 26! You have been so good to me thus far.

Hello first bloggy friend in real life! I have missed you!

Hello girl's night and the endless laughter. Why did it have to end?!

Hello to saying I conquered my fears!

April 19, 2012

Hello 26

Today I'm turning 26. {woohoo!} This year I happen to be in Utah which is 1000s of miles away from my family and friends. In fact, this is the first year I've ever been away from my family on my birthday; kind of strange if you ask me. But I'm extremely grateful to be at the snap conference learning from some incredibly wise and talented women. In the past few years, I've realized that while gifts are nice and lovely, that I truly have all that I could need or want. So rather than think of all the things I may want, I'm going to choose to count my blessings on this beautifully amazing day here in Utah!

Today, I am thankful for:

safely making it here and bravely boarding not one but two flights in order to travel the necessary miles to reach Utah.

having the chance to meet new friends,

the laughter to come,

the chance to hug friends I've seen before and be reunited with them,

the opportunity to keep on learning and growing from others,

and the chance to celebrate the start of a another year of possibilities and dream chasing!

April 17, 2012


In two short days, I'll be turning 26, so I've been doing a lot of reflection back on the past year of my life. I think when I look back on my life, I'll remember 25 as a special year. It was the year that changed me the most, that grew me, that challenged me, that healed me, comforted me, and taught me so much about life. Twenty-five took me on a lot of adventures to new places, new faces, new experiences, and new challenges.

It was the year that I realized dreams can come true.

It taught me to get back and fight despite failures.

I learned that its okay to ask for help when taking risks, even in simple things like dying your hair.

dress: mini boden

and I learned that sometimes those risks pay off. {I got so many sweet hair compliments.}

I learned to laugh at myself and all the mistakes I've made along the way.

dress: j.crew

It's brought people into my life who have taught me the kindness of strangers.

It was the year a TV producer called me and chatted with me about my blog.

I learned to dance in the rain and be okay with the little bumps in life,

dress: marshalls

The year I overcome my fear of public speaking as I asked Martha Stewart a {very random} question while attending a taping of her show.

dress: j.crew

I held my first blog meet up with two of my dear friends, and was overwhelmed with how amazing it was to meet local bloggers.

Dress: mini boden

I think turning 26 will be a bit bitter sweet for me after this amazingly great past year. However, I'm looking forward to new memories, adventures, trials and errors, and chasing dreams to come!

A Local Meet-up

In February, my friend Kate and I flew out to Nashville for the Blissdom conference. We were both so encouraged and inspired by the entire conference that we started to brainstorm some fun ideas for our own blogs/businesses as well as things we could do together. The one thing I loved about Blissdom was the encouraging community that we saw there. Kate and I started to put our heads together and talked about having a small local meet-up for the chance to connect with bloggers near us. We had originally thought we'd have about ~5 people attend and were planning on hosting it in the corner of Starbucks or Panera, and we even discussed hosting a small craft activity in a local park! {not kidding!}

We quickly got Kate's amazing sister, Lauren, on board and started to plan our mini meet-up. We were incredibly blown away the response and were sad that we were unable to host an event large enough to meet the response level. Once we realized it was going to be large enough to fill an entire Starbucks, we knew we'd have to find a great location. I got an email from Kate a few days later explaining that she had talked to the owner of Benelux, an amazing little cafe. I was pretty much sold on it after she mentioned that they sold waffles. I had never been there before, but I was dying over the cuteness when I first arrived. 

Honestly, I felt like the meet-up flew by. I got to meet so many wonderful bloggers in the area and had so much fun chatting up a storm. Kate, Lauren, and I all shared little tidbits about our blogs, our hearts behind them, and things we've learned along the way. I am so looking forward to connecting more with them through their blogs.

We made these fun gifts to give all the bloggers as a thank you for attending. 

Aren't all these bloggers just so adorable?

We hope to host more local meet-ups in the future and build a community of bloggers in our city!

April 16, 2012

Hello Monday

Hello brand new week,

Hello birthday week,

Hello sunshine and beautiful weather,

Hello packing my bags and heading on a trip.

Hello to face old fears and rising to the challenge yet again,

Hello to new kid sized clothes and shoes,

Hello to seeing old friends and making new ones.

Hello to visiting a new state this week,

Hello to adorable new skirt coming in the mail made with love by my friend/snap roomie: Sew Caroline.

Hello to months of planning and the day finally arriving,

Hello to new friends/local bloggers!

Hello to chasing dreams each and everyday.

Hello to a conference in a few short days! {can't wait for you to get here!}

ps: don't forget to enter the j.crew giveaway here!

April 10, 2012

One Person

I originally studied human development when I was a freshman in college. As I continued to learn and study, I eventually narrowed down my studies to child development when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. I picked the major because I had always been fascinated by human connection and the positivity one life can have on another.

I can still remember the moment where one of the professors told us one of the most simple yet profound things about being a teacher. She looked around the room and shared scary statistics with us about the declining number of children graduating from high school, and how early education is a predictor of that. And then she laid it on thick. She explained to us the one thing that breaks that cycle; it only takes one adult actively involved in one child's life for one year to alter their life. One child, one adult, one year; one new direction in life. I remember being about 21 at the time, and feeling the weight of that. But even with the weightiness of that, I recall thinking "yes, this is exactly what I wanted to be a teacher in the first place." You are given a rare opportunity to touch a life, to change a life, and to leave things a little better than you found them. It was exactly what my heart beat for and at the time what I felt like I was put on earth to do.

dress: old navy/ shoes: payless / sweater: ann taylor loft

As I left teaching this past summer, I wondered if I was closing doors to helping others. But it turns out, I'm touching lives in different ways than before. I'm using the same encouraging heart to send handwritten letters to friends, extend kindness and grace to strangers, and do small things with great love. Although I am no longer a teacher, I am continually reminded that all it takes is one committed person to change the life of another.

Read about how I'm planning to touch lives here and a chance to enter my celebration giveaway here.

Share with us: How will you bless someone today?

A Celebration + A Giveaway

Yesterday was a big day in my life. I've been working a dream for a long time and a small piece of it arrived in the mail {more details will be forthcoming} and I launched the dream project!

I thought it'd be fun to celebrate the readers I have as well as welcome new readers. So no better way to do that than to offer a fun little giveaway. J. Crew is probably one of my favorite stores especially in this season when they have such vibrant beautiful colors. So I'm offering a j.crew gift card; just enter the giveaway for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ps: I'm currently offering free sponsorship on my blog. So if you have a blog or shop and would be interested in having your button on this blog, send me an email!

April 9, 2012

The Dream Project

The dream project started in my heart many years ago. It was probably around the time that I was 5 years old that I discovered that words have meaning and power as I began to learn to read. Actually, I struggled to learn to read but the more I struggled, the more I had a desire to understand how words put together could tell stories, ideas, thoughts. It could bring a picture to life, evoke a memory, or allow you to get lost in your daydreams.

At about age 12, I began to understand that words could hurt too. That they could scar and wound us if used in a certain way. I remember hearing over and over, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt." I tried to believe it will all my might, but let's be honest.....words do hurt. So I spent part of my teen years wounded by hurtful things and perhaps wounded others with my word choices as well.

However, the summer I turned 14 was life changing for me. I spent it volunteering as a candy striper (not stripper!}. The main goal of my job was to sort mail into different sections of the hospital and then hand deliver them. It was during that summer that I realized words can breathe life back into a weary soul. I wish at the time I had a better understanding of sickness, of death, and of the depth of the pain those people were experiencing. As I knocked on each door, I was almost always greeted by a smile when they saw me with cards or flowers in my hand. While I did not personally write any of the letters, I was able to see the firsthand positive effects that words can have on people. It seemed to be what kept these patients fighting, holding onto hope, and cherishing every moment they got here on earth.

As a young girl I watched my mother write thank you notes to others and eventually picked up the habit myself. I learned that extending gratitude to someone for their gifts serves to further them along in continuing to use their gifts to bless others. Kind words start a cycle; a cycle that breaks down the walls we build up to protect ourselves from words that cut, scar, wound, and hurt. Inspiring words pick us back up when we've fallen down. Encouraging words help us chase after our dreams and help us realize the potential we have in ourselves that was somehow forgotten along the way.

The dream project is about 

kind words,
celebrating life,
spreading encouragement,
loving people well,
lifting one another up,
finding hope,
failing and then getting back up again,
never giving up,
and chasing dreams.

It starts with YOU, with ME, with THEM. All you need is a piece of paper, an index card, a post-it note, a torn receipt, a gum wrapper, etc...and a writing utensil. Really it's quite simple. Write an encourage quote, word, saying, etc. on a piece of paper. {see example below}. Hang it on a mirror, in a dressing room, on a magazine cover, on a windshield, on your neighbors door,  or hand it over to a stranger in passing. Be sure to include "chasingbigdreams.com" at the bottom of your paper so that we can build a community of encouragers and dreamers here on this blog. Take a photo of your encouraging words and email them to chasingbigdreams@gmail.com. They will be used in future blog posts to encourage others!

I'm going to be brave with my life. Will you be brave with yours?

April 6, 2012

Celebrating Life

Each week I try and look for the good and all the blessings I've received and celebrate life to the fulliest. Here are a few of my favorites from this past week.

1. Since Easter is just around the corner, there are a ton of my favorite candy at the store. Hello jelly beans! And this brand cracks me up because they try to make it seem so healthy, but lets be honest; they aren't.

2. At a trip to Michaels, I discovered one of my favorite mottos on a cloth bin; Dream Big!

3. I also found this brand new journal to start jotting down all my dreams and hopes.

4.. Oh my dear sweet Kate. This girl is such a gift to me. I spent some time at her house this week as we prepped for our blogger meeting up next weekend. She is such an encouragement to my business and life goals!

5. And perhaps the highlight of my week was hanging out with Kate and her lovely sister Lauren. Oh my word, those girls are hilarious together. We spent a few hours planning, organizing, and wrapping up gifts for our meet-up. I love how blogging has brought me local friendships that add so much joy into my life.

linking up here

April 3, 2012

Dancing in the Rain

I'm a dreamer, and I'm all about chasing after them. But every once and awhile {sometimes more often} the storms of life roll in and damper my spirits. It has been raining here a lot lately and as a result my spirits were down, my energy was low, and my motivation was at a standstill.

But in those moments, I remind myself that this is my chance to shine; or dance if you will. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning how to dance in the rain. So while I have gotten soaking wet, cold, and miserable after being caught in the past few thunderstorms, my spirits are not crushed. I have learned to come back fighting after I feel like I've failed. I've learned that I'm strong than I thought I was.

I'm learning that life is about laughing at yourself and not taking it too seriously! You only get one shot at this, so you better enjoy it!

Umbrella: Target
Dress: Belks
Boots: Mini Boden

Ps: are you a dreamer? Join the community and share your dreams here!