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A Fatter, Happier Version Of Me (And A Giveaway)

11.29.2013
Well hey there my little turkey gobblers! Are you ten pounds heavier and all kinds of happy? You and me both! I made sure to eat extra helpings of well, everything. Just in case I got snowed in and ran out of food I will be okay for the next, oh I don't know...30 days?

Like always, another amazing Thanksgiving for the books. I'm so grateful for both of my families and the common bond we all share, our faith. It's so nice to spend the whole day full of laughter, food and family fun. Have I mentioned I love the holidays? I love the holidays. 

Did you go black Friday shopping last night or this morning? This was the first year Jon and I haven't done it. I normally love going and fighting the crowd for a fab deal, but it just wasn't happening for me this year. For one I was perfectly happy cozied up all nice and warm watching the parade, helping myself to seconds of corn casserole, and watching Dallas pull a win. Two- I am just so against black Friday and all it's craziness this year. Starting on Thanksgiving night? When people should be with their families. Pure silliness and ridiculousness if you ask me. "And that's all I'm gonna say about that".

Since you are all full and happy from all your eating, napping and holiday festivities I know there is very little that can top it all. So why not just have icing on the cake? Plus sprinkles! Myself and these lovely ladies have brought you something a little sweet.
Because who doesn't love some extra cash around the holidays? You're welcome!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In Remembrance Of Hailey

11.26.2013
I had a blog post planned for today, but I had to push it aside as I felt my heart strings being tugged in a different direction. I need to write. 
 
As Jon and I drove home last night from our date night I spoke with my baby sister on the phone and listened as she cried and told me of a friend in her school, Hailey, who committed suicide a few nights ago. My sister is in 8th grade. This young teenage girl was in 7th grade. 7th grade. My sister went on to tell me that this girl had lots of friends, but was repeatedly bullied by the same crowd. They wrote nasty things about her in the bathroom stalls. Those nasty things were left, inked on the stalls for Hailey herself to go in and scrub off because she just couldn't take reading it.
 
My heart is shattered. I ache at the thought of a girl feeling so helpless and alone she chose to take her life. My heart hurts for her family who is left daughterless and broken when the holidays are just beginning. I am left to wonder, did anyone see her cry out for help? Why did no one save her? I have a pit in my stomach at the thought of young kids being able to make a human feel so degraded and worthless. My defense goes into overdrive at the thought that my sister goes to school with these bullies. That she had to witness this act and feel pain.

It honestly makes it hard for me to want to bring children into the world we live in today. And that's just disgusting. But Jon and I have to remember that we have to teach our (future) children strength and dignity. To love and serve the Lord with all their heart. To stand up for what is right. To know the difference between right and wrong. To be humble in who they are. And that they can come to us with anything because home is their safe place and we will always be there with open arms.
 
What keeps my head up and faith in my heart is that we serve a diligent and rewarding God. He has the master plan. He promises He is in control. He teaches us lessons through wonderful and ugly situations.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11  

Please say a prayer for Hailey's family and those who knew her. I never met her, but even the tiniest part of her story touched my heart and reminded me life is short and precious. I hate that it takes an event like this to take place for that reminder.

If this story has touched you and if you felt led, you are more than welcome to wear green for Hailey on Monday, December 2nd and show support for her family. If you do please tag me on Instagram @themoderntulip and use the hashtag #riphaileyhouck and I will make sure to share that with my sister and her classmates.
 Rest in peace, Hailey. You will be unharmed now.


Tis The Season To Be Jolly...

My front door sings to me. Or at least is does in my head.
This weekend I made sure to make time to pull Christmas boxes from storage and venture out in the cold with Jon to pick out our Christmas tree. I know people are on both sides of the fence when it comes to when to decorate for Christmas, but the way I see it the season isn't long enough. So I choose to decorate the week of Thanksgiving so I can soak it up and enjoy every last moment of holiday cheer. Let me tell you something. It is like instant gratification when we put our tree up in the stand. When the lights start going on and glittered balls make their way to pretty green branches, my heart skips a beat. Throw on some Buble, pour some Bailey's over ice and give me the scent of pine and we've got our self a date.
Ornaments from Target
You can find me sleeping under this beauty for the next...oh I don't know... 40 some days.

Stomp On Da Replay

11.25.2013
Linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans.

There are some weekends where I wish I could hit the replay button over and over and over and over. You get the point. My jeans are fitting tighter due to fabulous food and one too many martini's. My home feels cozier thanks to the glitter and Christmas cheer that has thrown up all over. And my heart feels full due to the amazing friends we shared endless laughter with.

Friday I was able to have a coffee date with two lovely ladies. One of which, Rachel, no longer lives here. She moved to GA after she graduated to teach Nutrition to a bunch of silly college students. She has one of the most sincere hearts and infectious personalities I've ever seen. It's hard to believe we actually had time to drink our coffee with all the laughing that took place. All I can say is, our poor waiter.
Mom, is this my good side?
Only the smallest and cutest container for creamer you'll ever see.
Saturday #cmreunited happened. Two of our best friends came to visit with their sweet fur baby Murphy. Cody and Laura are such amazing friends and whenever we all get together it's always a blast. That's why we knew when our children pups met for the first time they would tee-totally hit it off. And we were oh so correct. #instantbuds
It's necessary to invest in good looking friends. Isn't she gawgeous? And she is a total fashionista if you couldn't tell. She has thoughts floating around in her head of starting a blog with a big focus on fashion and of course I say cheers to that. Help a sista out!
My sweater | Loft. Her vest | F21
Oh and PS. our husbands are twins. It's kind of eery. Even after a few martini's they still look strikingly alike.
Cheers to good friends and another fabulous weekend for the books. Oh and I can't wait to share all my Christmas glitter with you, but of course that is deserving of a post all it's own.

Blessed

11.22.2013
Oh hey Friday! You're lookin' pretty fine. Hey there cutie-patootie friends of mine. Y'all are lookin' pretty good yourselves. I mean...I assume you are. Thanks for humoring me and answering all my ridiculous questions. You all are kind of the best and you gave my mind some ease...for now! There may be a sequel.

I just want to take a minute to reflect on a wonderful, whirlwind week of complete awesomeness that continues to get better.
I shared a handful of coffee dates with amazing girlfriends and my mommy.

A 5 hour shopping date full of girl talk and giggling with one of my best friends and no pictures to prove it.

Another Christmas shopping date with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a great family friend in Pigeon Forge.
A thoughtful and adorable gift from the hubs. He sure does know how to make me smile. I've had my eye on this mug like all 1,567,987 other women in this world, but I was being a good girl and not getting sucked into it. And then hubs goes and surprised me by bringing it home to me. #keeper
Another coffee date to come tomorrow with a sweet friend visiting for the weekend.

Our great friends are coming in to stay with us for the weekend with their sweet pup for Roxi and Oskar's liking.

Jon's Grandpa is coming in from Ohio on Monday for Thanksgiving. He's kind of the cutest thing you'll ever see.
told ya.
All this to say that the word friend has graced this post a bazillion times and those friends make me feel absolutely blessed. Blessed to be surrounded by loving, uplifting women in my life. To have a husband who is genuine and thoughtful. Blessed to have you readers friends who have made a huge impact on my life in such a short period of time. Weeks like this remind me that I serve a great God who puts wonderful people in my life and has given me endless joy. I am reminded to enjoy even the smallest moments.

Enjoy your weekend, kittens. Take a minute to enjoy the small things.

Let's Play A Game. I'll Ask. You Answer.

11.20.2013
Please do me a favor and solve all the mysteries circulating in my brain. I constantly have questions and thoughts rolling around in mi cabeza and it's tiring. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping because I don't know how to turn my brain off. But a few extra glasses of wine can fix that problem. But I'm still stuck waking up to the same questions. It's chaos up there people, pure chaos. I'm actually afraid to have children because of all the thousands of questions they can come up with. Here's my first question - How will I come up with witty answers for all their questions?

How do I keep my hair from being full of static during the winter? I constantly look like I've been raped by a swarm of balloons.

Why are there "no-reply" bloggers? I want sooooo bad to respond to your sweet comments and emails, but then there's that problem that I can't get back to you. I guess I could go searching, but please just take yourself over here, thank you Sarah, and fix this problem so we can chat!

What is the correct amount to tip your hair dresser?

What is wrong with having Mexican for dinner every night? I see nothing wrong or weird about this.

Why is it that I can have all these amazing blog ideas when I'm running around frantically with no pen in sight, yet when I sit down in front of my computer screen my fingers freeze and my mind goes blank? Can you say annoying? You don't have to answer the second part of that question.

Do you think it's inappropriate when you find out other men, some of which whom are married, read your blog? #ido!

Why when I play hide-and-seek (Jon and I are mature adults) do I have to pee as soon as I find a good hiding spot? Happens every time.

When will I meet Ellen Degeneres? I'm waiting patiently. If you have connections, I want in.

Why are Sophia Grace and Rosie considered cute? I find myself cringing, not laughing, when I watch them.

Why does my to-do list never end, but continues to grow?

Why is cooking a challenge for me lately? I've hit a major slump so if you have a yummy recipe on your blog, share the link in the comments below and help a sista out.

Why does Christmas shopping for others stress me out? It's the thought that counts right? Thank goodness I share that task with my amazing husband who somehow remembers everything everyone mentioned they wanted months ago and shocks me and the gift receiver every time. #yourockhubs

I want to have a blogger meet up. Okay so that's not a question. Let me rephrase. When and with whom am I going to have a blogger meet up. I have met some amazzzzing ladies in the past few months and I want to make it official. Not like Facebook official, but like, "lets have dinner and drinks and share all things life and blogworld and become BFF's" official.

Answer any or all of my ramblings. My mind thanks you.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

11.19.2013
I'm linking up today with the beautiful Elise over at Cheers Y'all to share all those sweet Christmas gifts my heart is desiring this year. And what better way than to say, "Yo momma, check out my hot-digity blog today and see all those sahweet things you could put under the tree for moi!" I find it easier to say that than to "tell" my family members what I'd like in person. It seems so... selfish.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm starting to get really pumped about Christmas this year. And yes I realize it's not even Thanksgiving yet. I don't know what go into me, but I want to crank up the Christmas jams, put up my Christmas tree and sit and stare at it for hours on end. I used to be a Grinch about Christmas. I guess my heart grew two sizes this year.

I don't own a vest. Crazy right? And I'm in love with this JCrew vest. Or any of these.
These boots need no explanation.
This guy would make his way right into my office.
Aren't they precious?

Needless to say the list could go on, but I feel selfish and materialistic when I look at all the things I want. I'm just so thankful to be able to spend another year married to the man of my dreams and surround by a loving family. Holiday fun is about to begin. Let the good times role!
http://cheersyall-thehoustons.blogspot.com/

Dear Santa, All I Want For Christmas Is My Dream Closet.

11.18.2013
We spent Saturday at Dollywood with my in-laws riding roller coasters, watching Christmas shows and eating more greasy food than any human should consume. And on top of it all, it was an absolutely gorgeous day.
Sunday after church I headed back to NC for a baby shower where I played silly games, OOO'd and AHHH'd over tiny clothing and cuddled a baby pig. I've decided no baby shower is complete without a baby pig. You'd understand if you experienced a pig at a shower.
Other than that things were pretty quiet around the Mill's household. I fought myself all week and weekend long to put up Christmas decor. I'm just SO ready to do it. I'm ready for the scent of pine cones, for dreamy lights and glitter everywhere. I'm going to attempt to wait until the week of Thanksgiving, but I'm starting to feel weaker and weaker.

To keep myself from blasting Christmas music and showering my house in glitter I decided to clean out my closet. Which was a much more daunting task than decorating for Christmas. It took me a couple of hours to even get everything out of my closet. It's not even big and I think that's the problem. It's too small and everything feels crammed. It's like there is no good way to organize.

Life would be much simpler if this was my closet.
Can I get an amen?

Since I don't live in dream world, I have to make the best of what I have. So here is the before.
It's extremely unfortunate sharing a closet with a man. What I could do with the other half of the space not pictured. I don't do the whole "winterize" my closet thing and pack my spring/summer clothes up. I just find it too time consuming and I could never decide what to pack up that I might not use. I don't ever move anything out of my closet unless it's making it's way to the donation pile. Clothing is one thing I have a really hard time letting go of. For some reason I always think, "I can't get rid of this because I may wear it....never." Back in a drawer it goes.. I'm a clothing hoarder. It's also something I can't seem to stop buying. I really hope my husband isn't ready this because my words are going to bite me in the rear end.

So here was the finished product of cleaning out my closet. I didn't get rid of a single thing, but I organized according to color and I found and spot for everything. That is until I get more... And I hope you weren't expecting anything glorious because my closet is about -5,000 points on the glorious side. That is until I convince Jon to blow out a wall and extend our closet another 50... 1,000 feet. #bigdreams
Jewelry stand | Ross