Friday, July 3, 2015

A Wish List for 24

Guys, guys, guys, guys, IT'S JULY! And do you know what that means?! 24 is just around the corner! 

Good ol' 23 will cease to be on July 16th, and you know I'm prepared with a wish list for any birthday gifting hopefuls ;) From fun function finds to fitbits and frilly blouses, I spy both a color theme and a very happy Bailey in my future should any of these come my way. I've spent plenty of time scouring Etsy, Amazon, and Anthropologie, so maybe you'll find a few things to add to your wish list, too. 


  • Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley. If a book can remind me of both Harry Potter and Sundays at Tiffany's, it immediately has my vote. I spotted it at the local indie book store and have picked it up several times, but it's never made it home. Maybe it will soon.
  • Fitbit Flex. I'd love a little extra motivation to get moving during the day, and after keeping track of our steps on my vacation to Las Vegas (14,000+ one day!) I've put this baby on my list. I found a pretty fuchsia one at Target! Pretty please?
  • "Open Book" by Elizabeth Mayville. My apartment is packed in pretty artwork, but I'm sure I could find a spot for this lovely, likely in the reading corner. The view out my window isn't exactly gorgeous, so why not bring a little nature in?
  • A medium custom weaving. Is anyone else obsessed with the weaving trend? I've thought for a long while about trying my hand at it, but knowing my schedule I wouldn't have time (or the cash) to keep up the habit. Instead I'd like to invest in a pretty thing that would match my bedding. These hangings by Wild Plum Co. are divine!
  • "Blogging Day" mug. Hey, beautiful! I'm still not a coffee drinker, but you can bet I'd pour myself a frothy mug of hot chocolate in this and curl up to get some blogging done. I actually wish I could gift one of these to each of you! Wouldn't that be fun?
  • Anne of Green Gables iPhone Dock. I swoon for Rifle Paper Co. and when I found this phone charging station it was no exception. I've been meaning to start charging my phone away from my bed so that, one, I stop scrolling the night away and, two, that I wouldn't search Insta first thing in the morning. I think this sounds like a great option! I mean, it sort of kills me to think of this book being used as anything other than a book, but isn't it pretty?!
  •  Terrapin Tank. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I want to add another navy blue top to my closet (more than half of what I own is black + blue!). At least this time it's got a super cute pattern --just look at those little turtles!-- and is scalloped/sleeveless. And for Anthro, it's actually not too expensive. 
  • Monogrammed laptop case. My laptop goes everywhere with me. I should probably name it or something. While I have a Vera Bradley case and a hard shell, I can't help but adore this monogrammed option. You can get a matching draw-string cord carrier and an iPad case, but I'd settle with the first... for starters ;)
Lucky for you, there are still 12 days before my birthday to get one of these pretties sent my way! ;) Just kidding. I get the feeling birthday money from my grandparents will be put to good use on one or two of these. I'll keep you posted! For now, it's time to savor the rest of sweet, sweet 23!

Anyone else swooning yet? What's your favorite?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Inspired Season | An Introduction

Guys, this is HARD. I'm sitting here, staring at my laptop, trying to write my story to complete a prompt that I came up with and I'm struuuuuuuuuggling. Sorry y'all. My hope with this prompt is to look back at where I have come from and forward into where I want to go. All those dreams I have? I'm still not sure how they're going to line up, but maybe this will help spot a small path toward them. Personally, I'm more excited to see what the Lord weaves together; I'm all thumbs and trust His design far more. Okay, take number . . . seven.

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Thursday, July 2nd. Introduce yourself by writing your biography as if being interviewed for The New York Times, sharing your history, accomplishments, and where you are right now. Complete it with what you would want it to say in the future (biggest dreams and goals included) in italics. 

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"All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." The star of our story made her debut in July of 1991, though it took her a while to realize she both loved and feared the spotlight, but we will come back to that later. Small town Texas provided the blank pages of her story, scenes and settings shifting every few years as schools changed, interests were cultivated, and moves occurred. 

"Fifteen minutes then fifteen minutes then another fifteen minutes," she said with a laugh about the uprooting that moved her family mere miles away each time. The small, private academies that were nestled into Sunday school classrooms shaped her early years and linger in memories of dodgeball games gone awry, hidden honeysuckle plants on the playground, and accepting Jesus at the ripe young age of five years old. "I had to miss recess, by the way," she doesn't hesitate to point out. 


What started as a youthful understanding of the Creator of the universe --her desire to be the good-girl impacting both the decision and the days to follow-- matured over the years as the familiar was abandoned for the unknown, friendships faded and were found anew, and she made the transition to a school more than six times the size of her previous educational institution. Of course it occurred when every young woman is most confident and care-free: age thirteen.

By the grace of God, the first hour of the first day of school was spent in a theatre classroom. However, after her lunch hour was spent alone in the cafeteria, she camped out in the counselor's office refusing to "go back out there".   Thanks to a patient and encouraging woman, she managed to get back on her feet and to her final class of the day, where she would met many a student who would greatly impact the next five years. 

Slowly but surely, Forney became familiar. It became home. And the plot thickened.

Friends were found, then old foes appeared, bringing their own challenges and a flare for the dramatic; thankfully by this time, she had found an interest in the stage, one that would propel her forward into unexpected directions. 

High school came and went in a flash. "You don't believe it when you're there," she comments, reeling at the time passed since graduation, "but it's true. One minute you're a freshman, and the next..." With a wave of her hand and a snap of her fingers, it's brevity is captured. From first boyfriends and final bows, 20-page-long math problems and skipping class, a first kiss and a last hurrah, those four years were full to the brim of lessons learned, not all of them confined to a classroom.

"I'm pretty sure there's a Taylor Swift song or two to sum up those years, so I'll spare you the details."

Up next was college, and a round-about search landed her at Baylor University from which she would fling her green and gold afar, solidify that love for the stage, and come to know Christ-centered community like never before. By the time she walked a different kind of stage to receive her diploma ("It wasn't even in there! It had to be reprinted!"), friendships of gold had been fused, former ties loosened and lost making space for the new, and her summers spent across the nation and across the Atlantic.   

Just a hop, skip, and a boat ride away --"You mean a four day drive of HORROR across the US"-- planted her in Seattle the following summer. After a year spent in the Pacific Northwest, working retail and directing children's musicals, Bailey returned to the south, well almost, landing in Oklahoma to pursue her masters degree. A second uprooting in two years? Another opportunity for God to move in major ways. And He did.

With one year down and one year to go, Bailey is back in the picturesque Pacific Northwest for the summer, once again working with children and savoring time spent with old friends. She has high hopes for the future and knows the best is yet to come.

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And here is where creativity flies out the window, y'all. I don't even know if the above makes sense, but at least it's written. My story is so much more than that, I know, and I want to go through it here someday in detail. Or write a book. Or twelve. But what's important is by looking back, I remembered small details I had forgotten, many of which I didn't include in the paragraphs above. Every season, every transition, was SO intentional, even if in the moment it felt like I was being stretched in all the wrong directions. Everyone's path and stories are unique, and THAT is to be celebrated! 

If someday in the future someone were to write about me in the NYTimes, I honestly couldn't tell you what it would be for. Maybe for writing those books or becoming a public speaker, or directing a show that was particularly moving. All I do know is that I want to be BRAVELY CREATIVE with the life I have, INTENTIONALLY ENCOURAGING to those around me, and UNAPOLOGETICALLY GOD-SERVING with whatever I do with my life. 

What about you? What's your story? 
Where do you want to go from here?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

MAKING JULY HAPPEN

Yet again I'm staring at a new month flabbergasted that the last has already gone.  Am I the only one?

June brought about the move to Seattle, reunions with friends, and much needed rest. I saw great theatre, read good books, went to excellent movies, all in all it was a great month. True I didn't get school work done... but I've got the rest of the summer. ;)

July is exciting for all sorts of reasons (*COUGHmybirthdaymonthCOUGH*), and I can't say I'm not pumped for a fresh slate on monthly goals. June was pretty successful, but July brings a whole different change of pace. Summer camps start next week, claiming my days, and there are so many good shows to see in coming weeks! I'm ready to pack a picnic lunch and see some Shakespeare. Anyone want to join me?

This month's goals look like last month's with a few new tossed in to shake things up. Let's see how it goes.

June Goals:

1. Read 5+ books. Done, done, and done. This month I completed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Lunch in Paris, The Crossroads of Should and Must, Alias Hook, and Creative Confidence. I had expected to read more, but I at least hit the 5. Reviews of some of these coming soon.
2. Head to Seattle for the summer. I'm here! Goodness gracious, it feels so good to be back.
3. Celebrate Alyssa's weddingCheck yes! It was a gorgeous ceremony, surrounded by great friends, followed by hiding out from the rain at the reception and dancing for hours while the sky continued to fall. The newlywed Wilsons know how to throw an amazing party and God got all the glory!
4. Continue to go gluten free for 6 weeks. Eh. I kept it up until I got to Seattle, and I've simply been trying to limit my gluten (or at least alternate days) to lessen the damage. 
5. Write my play analysis for Almost, Maine. Ha. Ha. Ha. Oops. 
6. Follow the SRT Women in the Word study. I haven't kept up day-to-day but whenever I dive in, it's always super encouraging, very timely! Some of those stories I was already familiar with, but a fersh perspective can do wonders!
7. Follow the Elle & Co. Illustrator course. I need to commit some time to go through all of them. Time slipped away from me and Creative Cloud and I did a few rounds any time I tried to get it to work..
8. Re-launch the Be You, Bravely series. This is still in the works. I want to change a few questions and reshape its focus, then launch it well!
9. FINALLY complete The Contentment Challenge. Nope. But you'll see it below. This month was a prime example of "fail to plan, plan to fail". 

Summer blazes onward. Now for this month. It's going to be full and I've got some high expectations, big things to make happen :)
July Goals:

1. Read 5+ books. Here we go again! My summer is filling with camps starting next week, but I'm still determined to get in some good reading. I practically brought the library home with me the other day, so I have plenty to choose from. This month's list includes Where'd You Go Bernadette, Bon Appetempt, Sarah's Key, Untold Story, and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. See my full library list HERE
2. Turn 24 and celebrate it well! What the what?! Twenty-four sounds SO OLD. Only not at the same time. My birthday is on the 16th in case you were wondering ;) Not quite sure what I'm going to do for it yet, but I hope it's something fun and friend-filled.
3. Co-host the #AnInspiredSeason series. I am so excited about this one! Katie and I shared the prompts for our series YESTERDAY and I'd love for you to join in! It's all about getting creative and savoring your current season, plus getting us both back in the swing of blogging on the regular again. I'm pumped!
4. Money in the bank! This summer is for saving, not spending. I want to put my check in the bank each week, more than half going into savings each time. I'm also considering Hannah Brencher's budgeting sheets. Has anyone tried them out before?
5. Write my play analysis for Almost, Maine. I really can't put this off any longer. At least I got started last month! Er... yesterday! 
6. Be saturated in scripture and dedicate time to prayer. The SRT Women in the Word study continues for a few more weeks and I hope to keep up with it! It's been so life giving thus far. 
7. Get active! Take a dance class, go for a walk, play with the kids. Do something active multiple times to kick your health into gear!
8. See good theatre! Seattle has 4 shows touring for  Shakespeare in the park AND the National Theatre in London is broadcasting several productions I can't wait to catch! Anyone want to come with me? :)
9. The Contentment Challenge. I have failed every single time previously. Nancy Ray shared about her contentment challenge ages ago, and I hope to follow it in order to cultivate contentment for what I already have and have an increased awareness of my lack of need when I get the urge to spend. I want to put money in the bank this summer.

There you have it! July, let's do this. Now what about you?
What do YOU want to make happen in July?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

An Inspired Season Series

One of my favorite things about the blogging community is connecting with soul sisters. 

One of my sweetest encouragements and biggest inspirations is Katie of A Place to Dwell. Her e-book about living An Inspired Life fell into my hands at just the right time, at the start of diving into what it means to savor my season.

She and I have talked about those very ideas many times over, and we've been wanting to collaborate on something fun to get us (and YOU) writing and creating while celebrating our current season. Be it school, singleness, summer, you name it, we both believe where you are RIGHT NOW is so important and worthy of all the confetti and heart-eyes a girl can muster. And we've finally come up with a master plan to make it happen:

#AnInspiredSeason Series
Tusdays & Thursdays || July 2nd - July 30th

During the month of July we plan to get our creative juices flowing, whether they be online, on paper, for all to see or for our eyes only, and we want to invite YOU into the journey! There will be a prompt for each Tuesday + Thursday of the month and you are welcome to share your creations/discoveries publicly or tuck them away for your personal enjoyment. If you DO choose to share, use #aninspiredseason to follow along :)



Thursday, July 2nd. Introduce yourself by writing your biography as if being interviewed for The New York Times, sharing your history, accomplishments, and where you are right now. Complete it with what you would want it to say in the future (biggest dreams and goals included) in italics. 

Tuesday, July 7th. Describe your current season in pictures (make a mood board/art collage/whatever)!

Thursday, July 9th. Write a bucket list that's FOR your current season (focusing on things you can do and want to do in the very near future, rather than dreams for what you hope is ahead).

Tuesday, July 14th. Pick a verse for your season and create something based on it (a blog post, a painting, a poem, anything you're inspired to make)!

Thursday, July 16th. (My 24th Bithday!) Take a look back at the past year. What are some highs and lows from this season? What were some surprises? What advice would you give yourself if starting this year/season anew? (Feel free to choose one, any, or all of these questions!)

Tuesday, July 21st. Write about one of the best adventures you've had so far in this season.

Thursday, July 23rd. Who are others you admire that are living/celebrating a similar season well? What resources/books/posts have encouraged you?

Tuesday, July 28th. What's one thing you can do this week to celebrate your season? Set the intention (on Instagram or Facebook) and then do it! Write about the experience.

Thursday, July 30th. Write about something this season of life has taught you.

Again, feel free to participate in any way you'd like. This is about savoring and celebrating YOUR season while infusing it with fresh perspective and inspiration. I quite honestly think we'll be changed by the end of it and be able to see this place we are planted in with new eyes.

Are you in? Join us with #aninspiredseason starting on Thursday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

#Collaboreads | Very Good Lives

You know me, I like a good book, and I like a good challenge. When I first read about Rachel and Amber's #Collaboreads series, I was positively delighted. It's the summer of books, as I said a few weeks ago, and I love the idea of sharing reviews with fellow book enthusiasts. Each month of the challenge there will be certain criteria. June's was the following:
 On the NYT Best-sellers List When You Start Reading

I scanned the list the first week of June, marking a few titles (I downloaded The Girl on the Train as an audio book initially!) and then when I was wandering around Target I spotted the shiny cover of J.K. Rowling's Very Good Lives (which had been #2 under Education). 


Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!




First things first, I adore J.K. Rowling. My love affair with the Harry Potter series seriously marked my childhood and has left lasting effects throughout the years. I just finished re-reading the final four books last month, and I've recently wanted to get my hands on her other fiction pieces. 

PS. Is anyone else excited for the next series of movies?! JKR is writing the screenplays for a spin off series based on (a HP Textbook) Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them. It will be set in 1920's New York AND Eddie Redmayne is going to play the lead, Newt Scamander. Y'all, I'm beside myself with happiness! Okay, back to the book. 

This little book, Very Good Lives, is a recording of JKR's 2008 address at the graduation commencement at Harvard University. I don't remember a thing anyone said at my graduation, but if she had been the guest of honor you bet I would have! I actually read it cover to cover while wandering said Target, but one of these days it will come home with me. Her words are simply that good.


Now onto the promos provided by the #Collaboreads team:

RIVETING. What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?

  • JKR's writing style is so easy to follow, and it's easy to picture her at the podium that graduation day, eager faces turned up at here, or sitting across from you at a coffee shop (wouldn't that be a dream?!). I, of course, loved any and all Harry Potter references, but I was mostly fascinated by her story. She gives readers and audience members a glimpse into her unique post-grad/pre-HP-glory journey which is encouraging no matter where we are on our own path.
  • A favorite quote"Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation; in its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared." 
    • THIS is what I love about what I do as a theatre artist! It's part of what makes theatre so powerful. Anywho, moving on ;)

ELEMENTS. How did you relate to/care for the characters? What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns?

  • I suppose this isn't your conventional novel, so these questions don't entirely apply. However, the tagline of the book is "The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" which are her two key points in the speech. As creatives, and as people in general, I think both need to be embraced for success and a better quality of life, and her words on the two are honey. 
  • Another favorite quote: "We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

ASSOCIATE. What other books are like this one? If none, did it remind you of a particular TV or movie with it's themes and characters? Does it serendipitous-ly line-up with things going on in your life or the news right now?

  • I'm sure I'm not the only one to have received a gift book from well meaning teachers or family members after high school or college graduation. I particularly remember the sporty and pink UChic: The College Girl's Guide to Everything (although I don't remember reading it...) and The Red Rubber Ball (I did read that one! But I don't remember what it said...). However, this is a book I would ABSOLUTELY gift to someone graduating, experiencing that life-altering transition into "the real world". Returning to the ideas of imagination and failure, both can be daunting as the major change is being made, but both are worthy of sharing JKR's wisdom.

DESIGN. You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages?

  • A pretty script and plenty of white space certainly caught my eye with this one! It's smaller than the novels it sat beside but is larger than the gift books I listed above, and only around 40 pages.  Each page of text is partnered with an illustration or a pull-quote in a similar style, pleasing in its aesthetic and memorable. The main font was nothing special, but it didn't need any embellishment there. All in all, I thought it was fitting and enjoyable!

STARS. How many out of five do you give this book? Would you recommend this book to a friend?

  • I'd give it 5/5 stars in its category, for sure! It was entertaining, encouraging, and an easy read. I'd absolutely recommend it (even if you simply browse it in the store like me) and feel free to watch it live from the queen herself HERE.


Mr. Thomas and Me

There you have it! Now go out, grab a good book, and tell me all about it :)