Friday, July 29, 2016

Adventuring in New York City, Part I

Just writing the title of this post I had half a dozen tunes floating through my head. From little orphan Annie singing “N…Y… C…!” at the top of her lungs to T. Swift’s opening track “Welcome to New York,” the Big Apple has had its share of love songs. After last week I can certainly see why.

I always knew my first trip to New York would be special, but I didn’t know in what way. When Claire and I signed up for the Broadway Teachers Workshop earlier in the spring, I knew I wanted to make the most of my time in the city, but I also wanted to limit myself (and my wallet) to seeing as many shows for as inexpensive as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do that and we used them ALL.

Our workshop was a three-day weekend full of master classes and musicals, mingling with other teachers, and prepping for the year to come. I arrived in New York a full week ahead of time to spend the weekend (and my birthday!) with a dear friend from college. Micah and I explored parts of New Jersey as well as the city, but it was HOT HOT HOT. On my birthday we had brunch at The Standard before wandering Chelsea Market and the High Line, but we were soon melting under the sun and decided to ferry back home.

We met up with her friends for drinks at House of ‘Que (yes, this Texas girl went to an “authentic Austin barbeque” place in New York) and to wait out an unexpected rainstorm. We’d been there the night before to watch the dueling pianos which was INCREDIBLE. While we were there, a children’s birthday party was going on in the front of the restaurant. When they left, a single Elmo balloon remained floating over one of the tables. One of our group snagged it and insisted that we keep it. Once Micah’s friends found out it was my birthday, they insisted on singing to me, and I posed for a picture with said Elmo balloon. Doesn’t everyone have Sesame Street characters at their 25th birthday party?

A few minutes later a toddler went running by, eyes wide and pointing happily at the balloon. One of the girls took it down and tried to give it to her, but the poor thing went off screaming and crying to her mom. It was hilarious and sad at the same time. Once the rain let up we headed back to her apartment, but not before picking up junk food and face masks for a girls’ night in. We ordered pizza and watched our way through 13 Going on 30 and The Prince & Me.

On Sunday we went to church then camped out at a Starbucks to get some work done. We went to the local beer garden and chatted over some super chill live music before going to see a movie. That’s a whole other story… I’ll keep it short and say the major takeaway? Don’t trust the ticket gal when she tells you the theatre number. It could be very, very wrong…

On Monday Micah went back to work, and I got up for a phone interview with a high school back in Texas. It went very well and I hung up feeling confident and expectant. For those of you have been following along with my job hunt journey, you know it’s been going a long time without any fruit. It felt great to leave that call knowing I had done my best and with the hope of a job on the horizon.

Shortly thereafter Claire flew into town and we made our way to our hotel just off Times Square. It was there, standing in the middle of the hustle and bustle, that I got a phone call with a JOB OFFER! Praise the Lord! I accepted it then and there and immediately felt such relief and peace! It looked like I’d be moving to Aggieland after all ;)

To say I was on cloud 9 would be an understatement, and that joy carried me through the week. We saw 8 shows in 6 days, mostly musicals with one straight play for a matinee, and I returned home so excited to begin the next chapter. This week that chapter begins with organizing my storage room and hunting for an apartment. Next week we will load the moving van and make the move officially.

Stay tuned for more details on the shows I saw. Those deserve a post of their own.

Have you ever been to NYC? What was your favorite part?!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Illustrated Faith: I Am Strong

I probably say this about every Illustrated Faith devotional kit that gets released, but "I Am Strong" by Wilna Furstenberg is reading my mail! By that I mean the words she has so carefully and prayerfully written have been speaking straight to my heart and into my season. I should really stop being surprised by this because the Lord has used the women who write these devotionals again and again to share His heart on topics that so many of us face and that are released at just the right time.

"I Am Strong" thrilled me from the first sneak peak. I've always been a fan of pink and orange (and I may or may not have had every other wall in my room painted those colors as a teenager...) and I love a bold black and white stripe. Not only are Wilna's images STUNNING as per usual, the 14 day devotional has a message that reaches far and wide, then pulls you in close.

Wilna also used the Amplified Version for many of her verses which is one I love but don't see included too often.  For example, the AMP was used for this familiar verse on Day 1:

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] 
shall change and renew their strength and power; 
they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] 
as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, 
they shall walk and not faint or become tired. 
Isaiah 40:31 AMP

Isaiah 40:31 was the school verse when I was in elementary school, so you can bet I heard it over and over and over again. We repeated it at every chapel, it was printed on all of our shirts, and our mascot was even the eagle. I loved getting a chance to look at this familiar verse in a new way (AND illustrate it on the next page so I could remember the newest meaning).

I am also always on the go during the summer, so I was thrilled when my kit arrived in time for me to take it to New York City. I packed the full kit in a small carrying case, much like the one that comes in the Genesis kit, and then I chose the remainder of my supplies that kept with the same color scheme. I didn't carry my journaling Bible with me on the trip because my carry-on was already full, and this gave me the opportunity to really dig in within the kit itself.

I made sure to grab my Faber-Castell pens and my Illustrated Faith precision pen so I could take notes on the go. While there are a TON of supplies to choose from, keeping it simple while traveling helps me focus on the message and heart of it all rather than elaborate designs.

When I first started Bible journaling, I would sketch household items into the pages, so that when I looked at my favorite candle, teacup, or blanket I would immediately remember the verse. Woven wall hangings have been super popular in recent years, and seemed like the perfect choice to go with Day 1's message and verse. I now want a hanging that looks just like that for my quiet time corner ;)  I worked in a few more of the gorgeous stamps and highlighted the phrases that most stood out to me, keeping it simple but meaningful, even on the go.

The collaboration between DaySpring, Bella Blvd, and Illustrated Faith is truly that of a dream team. Heartfelt messages, beautiful illustrations, and quality products are sent out into the world again and again, month by month, encouraging women all over the world to walk forward in their faith with courage and creativity.

Get your I Am Strong kit HERE!
Don't forget to use the code THANKYOU for 25% off!

*This post contains affiliate links. They won't cost you a cent more, but your purchase may help fund this future-teacher with some much needed caffeine. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lovin' July's Playlist

By the time you're reading this, I will have been deep in the heart of New York City for almost a week!  If you aren't already following the adventure at @lovebaileyjean, head there now! Remember, I broke up with Snapchat last week, so Insta is the way to go!

When it comes to traveling, I love building the perfect playlist for the drive, the flight, you name it. Honestly, I'm listening to music practically every hour of the day, the only exception is when I'm sleeping. To say I'm passionate about it would be an understatement. So many songs send me back into favorite memories, and I'm always delighted to discover a new favorite. 

In college I started creating monthly playlists in iTunes to put my current favorites on repeat, and they are their own form of scrapbook to that season in my life. I sadly lost a lot of those playlists when my computer crashed, but I started doing it again on Spotify a few months ago! I started out with seasonal playlists, but the monthly ones are back in action.

One of my favorite features about Spotify is the feed on the side that lets me know what my friends are listening to, and it's been a fun way to share with my friends/followers what I've got playing these days. I have also TOTALLY been caught listening to Christmas music in July October, but hey, it's the internet. Someone was bound to catch me at some point ;)

All of this to say that I'm starting a new monthly feature! I'm going to share my monthly playlists with you here on the blog, and follow along on Spotify as I add new tracks throughout the month! July is chock full of old favorites and a few tunes that are putting me in the summer mood. My favorite tracks this month include "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" by Stevie Wonder. 

What about you? 
What are your favorites? 
What would you add?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Seventy-Three at Twenty-Five

Twenty-five is here, y'all! My birthday was on Saturday, and I have to say it was pretty darn great. Micah and I explored a bit of NYC, starting with brunch at The Standard and adventuring around the Chelsea Market. The heat here though was brutal so we headed back to New Jersey, and met up with her church friends at an "Authentic Austin Barbecue" place called House of 'Que for drinks, ending the evening with face masks, chick flicks, and pizza for a girls' night in.

But since twenty-five feels so BIG and this year is FULL of potential, I thought it would be fun to snag these 73 questions from Rachel and document this stage in my life here and now. Brace yourselves, it's quite the list!

73 Questions at 25
  1. What are you most excited about these days?  Being in New York City for the week! It's my first trip to the Big Apple, and I'm over the moon about seeing my first (second, third, and fourth!) Broadway shows!
  2.  Favorite holiday? Christmas without a doubt! 
  3. Favorite season? Fall/winter. Wearing scarves, cardigans, jeans, and boots? Yes, please! Snuggling up with a good book and hot chocolate? All day every day (if I could!).
  4. Recent hobby?  Hosting Create in Faith retreats! The first one is coming up in August and you should join us!
  5. If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be?   Lara Casey. She's such a gem, her family is precious, and her job looks so fun!
  6. If you could have coffee with someone from the past, who would it be? Elizabeth Elliot. 
  7. What’s the best thing that happened this year? Directing Almost, Maine TWICE was certainly a big and grand thing! But joining the Illustrated Faith creative team has been a life changing part of the past year for sure!
  8. What’s the best way to decompress? Curling up with a good book and some instrumental music or Bible journaling the afternoon away.
  9. What’s the weirdest word in the English language? Uhhhhhhh.... any word you say over and over again until it becomes incredibly strange.
  10. If you had one superpower, what would it be? Teleporting. So I could travel anywhere at any time.
  11. Who do you miss most? My Seattle family and friends.
  12. Who was the last person to text you? Rachel Nordgren!
  13. Who are three people, alive or dead, that you would have dinner with? Oh gosh! My group would be so random!  Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anne Hathaway, and Ann Voskamp.
  14. Last book you read? I'm currently reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, a birthday gift from Carissa! It's absolutely fascinating so far!
  15. Book you plan on reading? Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  16. Book you read bc everyone else in the world was reading it? All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I LOVED it!
  17. A book from your childhood that positively shaped you? The Elsie Dinsmore Series by Martha Henley.
  18. Favorite tv show that’s currently on tv? Don't judge me.... I'm currently following The Bachelorette... but otherwise it's Grey's Anatomy, Chicago PD/Fire/Med, and Once Upon a Time.
  19. Favorite ice cream? Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate
  20. What makes you smile the most? Theatre. Love stories. Heart-to-hearts with sweet friends.
  21. First pet? Prissy the shitzu. 
  22. Worst subject in school? In college? FRENCH. I did not learn well in complete immersion and STRUGGLED through three semesters.
  23. Favorite game? Oh man! Catch phrase probably.
  24. Coolest thing in the world? The ability to make friends via blogging/instagram. It has rocked my world for many years.
  25. Cutest thing in the world? Babies and baby animals. So stinking cute.
  26. Favorite thing in the world? Books.
  27. One talent you wish you had? Singing.
  28. One thing you still have from your childhood? My American Girl dolls. 
  29. What’s your patronus? It would likely be something small but surprisingly fierce. A barn owl, maybe?
  30. Last song you listened to on your phone? "Ambre" by Nils Frahm (instrumental piano)
  31. Favorite song lyrics? All of Hamilton: An American Musical.
  32. What song would you probably be caught dancing alone to? Anything from Footloose.
  33. If you could work the runway, what song would it be? It's a funny choice, but I love the beat to "I Just Want to Make Love to You" by Etta James. I could strut my stuff down the runway to that just fine ;)
  34. Best gift you’ve ever been given? The ability to go to Baylor University. It would not have been possible without the generosity of my family.  
  35. Fashion icon? Kate Middleton.
  36. What did you wear to your prom? A flowing green dress with a beaded strap the first time and a turquoise/teal mermaid-esque dress the second. 
  37. Who was your date to your prom? The only two guys I dated in high school, only I wasn't dating either of them when we went to prom. My freshman boyfriend was my date junior year, and my sophomore boyfriend was my date senior year. Funny how that worked out.
  38. Favorite movie of all time? Pride & Prejudice (2005).
  39. Favorite movie of the last five years? Cinderella (2013). 
  40. Movie that made you cry? Benjamin Button. I SOBBED through the entire thing.
  41. Movie that made you laugh the hardest? We watched The Prince & Me this weekend, and I forgot how cheesy that movie was!
  42. If you could make a documentary, what would it be about? Broadway behind the scenes maybe?
  43. Favorite TV show? One Tree Hill will always be a classic in my mind. 
  44. If you could make a cameo in any TV show what would it be? Grey's Anatomy!
  45. Best plot twist of all time? Tough one! But My Best Friend's Wedding took me COMPLETELY by surprise (and I wanted to throw things at the tv)...
  46. Twitter or Instagram? INSTAGRAM. Duh.
  47. Who should everyone be following right now? Caroline (@ckelso). Her illustrated daily affirmations are great! And Tara (@radandhappy). She speaks the truth in such a fun font and with all the sass.
  48. Favorite food? Macaroni and cheese.
  49. Favorite dessert? Oreo cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. (A recent favorite is peach cobbler from... well, just about anywhere!)
  50. Favorite band? Bethel Music. 
  51. Favorite solo artist? Lauren Daigle. 
  52. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? Hunter Hayes.
  53. What would be the title of your autobiography? Love Bailey Jean. Expect to see more of that around these parts soon!
  54. Favorite sound? Rain, coffee shop ambiance, and piano/cello music.
  55. Least favorite sound? Squeaky hinges/shoes/floors.
  56. Favorite animal? Small fluffy dogs! 
  57. First celebrity crush? Justin Timberlake. I was an NSYNC fan early on.
  58. Current celebrity crush? Theo James (Four in Divergent). So dang good looking and that BRITISH accent tho! All the heart eyes.
  59. What is your kryptonite? Chick-fil-a.
  60. Guilty pleasure? E.L.Fudge cookies and Fixer Upper marathons.
  61. Most proud moment? Getting into Baylor Theatre then being selected to be in the advanced directing class.
  62. Biggest weakness? Comparison. It's the trap I fall into again and again.
  63. Skill still unmastered? Cooking. 
  64. What is the definition of misery? Running. But really, it's a feeling of hopelessness, darkness, no end in sight.
  65. Biggest learning experience? This season. Oh man. With everything so up in the air and uncertain, I'm learning a WHOLE lot about myself and my expectations/tendencies/abilities/you name it.
  66. What is your idea of a perfect date? Coffee/hot chocolate or a sweet treat to go (depending on the time of year) in a quaint downtown area to walk and talk, Mexican or Italian for dinner before a show, then drinks or dessert afterward to finish the night.
  67. An experience when you felt the most nervous? Moving across the country to Seattle after graduating college.
  68. At what age were you the happiest? Twenty-one was pretty great, but I have high hopes for twenty-five. It's off to a great start ;)
  69. What’s one vice you wish you could give up? I have very little self control when it comes to comfort food/sugar. 
  70. If you could teach a college course, what would it be called? Shakespeare Today and Yesterday
  71. If you could star in any movie remake, what would it be? Harry Potter. Or You've Got Mail. Or Pride & prejudice. ;) 
  72. If you were an Olympic athlete, what would your event be? Well, I'm athletically challenged, but if I COULD be an Olympic athlete I'd pick figure skating.
  73. If you could offer your 13-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Don't be so hard on yourself, but trust your gut. The Lord will lead you where you want to go and there is FREEDOM in that. Also... just say no to the perm. You'll get braces a week later, start high school the following Monday, and your yearbook picture will be a hot mess. Sorry, girl.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fancy Friday: Week 5

It's Friday #5, y'all! Annnnnnd it's the day I've been waiting for since... well... forever: I'm off to New York City! I'm currently perched at the airport at o'dark early, hoping this storm rolls through and away before we take off in a couple of hours. I've got a few posts scheduled for the next week, and I definitely plan to document the adventure along the way, so stay tuned.

Todays Fancy Friday include some recent favorites, future releases, and a couple of features worth checking out for a little afternoon inspiration. I hope you enjoy!

A Hymn for Him Guest Post

As a member of the Illustrated Faith Creative Team, I have the JOY of guest blogging for them twice a month, and one of my favorite pages to date was shared this week HERE. I had a Hymnal Girl by Beth of FreeSpiritFarmhouse hanging in my apartment before I moved, and I was THRILLED when I found out she would be designing them for Illustrated Faith. I tucked this sweet girl into Song of Solomon alongside a poem from one of my favorite books series from high school: The Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn. Read the full details HERE.

Illustrated Faith Starter Kit

There are so many fun new releases coming out this August by Bella Blvd and Illustrated Faith, but I think my favorite might be this starter kit! It is brimming with beautiful products to jump start your Bible journaling journey, and it is complete with instruction sheets for a few of Shanna's favorite techniques. Tabs, alphabet stickers, washi tape, paint, all in a pretty box which reads "I Color In My Bible". I've been illustrating my faith for over a year, but I still plan to put this to good use! Read more about the starter kit HERE.

Be Still Magazine

Oh my heavens, I am so excited for this! When Kristin of Kristin Schmucker Shop asked me to contribute to the premier edition of Be Still Magazine, I leapt at the chance! She asked me to write about the joys and struggles of being single, so needless to say it was easy to pour my heart out. When I received my copy of Be Still in the mail this week and re-read my own words, I laughed out loud. My feelings about being single sway almost daily, and honestly I'm not as perky and content about it these days as I was back in March. The scriptures I shared then encouraged my heart all over again, and I cannot wait for the encouraging words of the other wonderful women featured to be in the hands of so many! Be Still is set to be released in two weeks, so stay tuned!

The Leaning Pear in Wimberley, Texas

Last weekend my mom and I traveled down to San Marcos so I could take my teaching certification test, but the trip wouldn't have been complete without a visit to see family friends in Wimberley. Deep in the heart of Texas, the gateway to Hill Country if you will, Wimberley is full of charm and character! The last time we went we stumbled upon a little cafe called The Leaning Pear with THE BEST skillet macaroni and cheese that I have ever had! It was a must-do this time, too. I can't wait to take a few gal pals there in the future, and if you're ever in the area you HAVE to check it out!

Heart Melting Animation

Have you seen this yet?! If not, stop what you're doing and watch now! If you just watched it, then  you know why I included it ;) I saw this floating around Facebook and actually almost turned it off the first time I watched it. It really is worth watching all the way through to the end. I may or may not have teared up. Twice.

That's all for now, and it's up, up, and away for me!
What fit your fancy this week?
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