5 Favorite Instagrammers

While I still don’t post very often to Instagram, I sure love taking in the beautiful images and to see what other creatives are up to! Along with personal friends, I also follow quite a few other bloggers and influencers who bring a constant rotation of inspiration and ideas. Listed here are the five I enjoy the most, and always look forward to their updates. I hope you’ll check their feed and get inspired too!

1. Emily P. Freeman@emilypfreeman
I consider Emily like an online writing mentor. As an author and blogger, her whole message centers around “creating space for your soul to breathe so you can walk in step with your calling.” Her books, blog posts and podcast do just that with an encouraging, engaging and calming demeanor. I appreciate how real and down to earth she is, which is especially demonstrated in her Insta Stories. It’s always a treat to hear what’s on her mind!

2. Jess Connolly@jessaconnollyI found Jess Connolly sometime last year by the happiest accident, and watched her Insta Stories like it was my job. I’ve watched her train for a marathon, travel, hang with her family and share what it means to live our lives sold out for Christ. She’s an author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and overall creative gal. Her demeanor is very engaging, genuine and authentic. The thoughts and ideas she shares always stop to make me think about God, purpose, and loving others well.

3. Amanda Frederickson@amandafredericksonAmanda is a sweet, down-to-earth professional cook who always posts the most delicious recipe ideas! I tried several this last Thanksgiving with awesome results. Every Wednesday she shares a series called “Fridge Foraging” where she goes through what’s in her fridge on Insta Stories. She pulls out whatever ingredients she has on hand, and miraculously makes dinner out of it! Very creative and I’ve learned several tips and tricks watching her cooking methods.

4. Layla, The Lettered Cottage@letteredcottage

I’ve been a longtime fan of Layla’s blog, The Lettered Cottage, where she posts her interior design and home décor ideas. Her farmhouse style uses a fun mixture of antique and updated pieces. She and her husband also recently adopted a little boy for Haiti who is the sweetest little guy. Along with their home renovations, she also shares other style and beauty tidbits. Her positive, upbeat personality is also easy to get hooked on!

5. Kate, The Small Things@k8_smallthings

I found Kate on Pinterest around five years ago, and have followed her ever since for beauty and hairstyle inspiration. She started her blog by filming hair tutorials, sharing outfits and reviewing beauty products. I adore her simple outfit styles (many times from Target), easy recipes and home décor ideas. Her general take on life happenings is hilarious, and I always look forward to seeing her Insta Story updates!

Here & There

A few things I’ve read or listened to online lately.

Sarah Bessey’s recent essay on why she stopped drinking blew me away. She so articulately described the gentle way God convicts us of our habits. I don’t have a particular hang-up with drinking daily as she described, but could completely relate to the way God spoke to her heart about reliance on something outside of Him. In this way, drinking could be replaced by an activity that blocks our dependence on God as our ultimate source. So good!

For fellow writers, I’ve really enjoyed the Hope Writers Podcast featuring author and blogger Emily Freeman, her sister Myquillyn Smith (blogger behind The Nester), their author dad Gary Morland, and their marketing friend Brian Dixon. They chat about all kinds of writerly topics, based on their background and provide a great source of encouragement and inspiration. Bonus that their dynamic together is pretty fun and entertaining.

Speaking of Emily Freeman, she recently posted a great piece on “8 Things Whole-Hearted Creative Women Do Differently.

If you are anything like me, you might struggle with regularly cracking open the bible. To help with this, I’ve used the YouVersion Bible App since my church provides a reading plan on there. I recently discovered though, that there are tons of free devotionals, even by famous authors. Two I’ve loved lately are “Wait and See” focused on waiting for God’s timing, and the “Without Rival” devotional by Lisa Bevere. Once you download the app, just tap the Discover tab and there are so many to choose from, all divided by life issues and topics. It’s awesome!

I was so inspired by this Everygirl article, a first-hand account of what it was like to work out every day for 30 days. I’ve held this goal for a while as well, and to see a journal-style tell-all made it seem much more attainable and completely worth it.

What about you? What have you been reading or listening to online lately?

Savoring Spring

IMG_2154_spring

The weather these past few weeks has felt like such a treat! Here in Southern California, it’s cool and sunny with a delicate breeze, and flowers are blooming everywhere. I love this season’s transition, and how the time change makes the sun stay out longer. Does this make you as happy as it makes me? Here are a few ways I plan to enjoy this time, before we head into summer’s heat.

Lingering Outside

After work I go on a walk just about every other night. This greatly helps my mental state as I can clear my head and pray, or just listen to music for about 30 minutes. It’s something I truly missed during the winter months! I moved to a new area last year that is surrounded by hills, and they are all gloriously green from a heavy rain season. Also, watching the sunsets – they offer a breathtaking sight in what can feel like a very ordinary day.

Spring Cleaning

I’m busting out the cleaning supplies as I’ve noticed some cobwebs in corners and dust gathering on window sills. It’s also time to turn my mattress around and do some closet organization. I keep my seasonal clothes in containers under my bed, so I’ll be swapping out the winter sweaters for spring dresses. I also love when there’s a slight breeze, I’m starting to open windows and sliding doors more often to get some nice air flow.

Thoughtful Giving

Each season I like to collect a few items and arrange them in a basket to give away. It’s perfect to surprise someone who is going through a rough time or needs some encouragement. For this basket I’ve so far collected a candle, journal, devotional, nail polish, and lotion. I’ll add some fresh flowers, and a hand written card. I gather these items one at a time, as my budget allows, and then deliver the surprise. Brightening someone’s day is always a happy thing!

On My Reading List

I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t jump to make a book purchase. I’ll let it hang out on my Amazon wish list for a while, and then take the leap after thinking it over. I think because I want whatever I’m reading to match the season I’m in, and accurately speak to where I’m at. No need for it to collect dust on the shelf, and not otherwise get cracked open.

I reviewed my list the other day, and these four were the prominent choices for various reasons. Mostly because I’ve read these authors before, or currently follow them online. I think they will provide a great rotation this spring!

Nothing to Prove
I was a big fan of Jennie Allen’s “Restless: Because You Were Made for More.” Her voice is gentle, encouraging, and helpful. Her writing is relatable when you feel like you’re the only one experiencing the pressure of being enough. “Nothing to Prove” looks like it also provides an exhale of relief from carrying the burden of worth through accomplishment.

Wild and Free
This is the first book by these two author friends who are around my age. I found Jess Connolly on Instagram, and I adore her continual encouragement of staying in God’s word and loving the people around us. I’m looking forward to diving into this one, as it’s a “hope-filled anthem” of embracing who God has made us to be.

She Walks in Beauty
This has been on my list for years! It’s time to commit. I love how poetry opens your soul and sparks creativity. I love how much meaning is packed in and new understanding is formed. This will likely become a coffee table book. Easy to grab in a quiet moment, and helpful that is matches my living room anyway.

Becoming Myself
I’ve read and enjoyed both John and Staci Eldredge’s books for a long time. I loved how Staci’s personal stories in “Captivating” showed God’s transformation in her life and identity. This recent release further shares her testimony of God’s restoration, and how He ultimately shapes us, and shows us who we are.