Peek Into Our Week: FlameFest Ball, New Hairstyles, Growing My Nails Out, SheSpeaks Conference, Family Roadtrip, and Homemade Latte!

Peek Into the Week

It’s been a full two weeks and I’m finally getting a chance to do a recap post… and wow is there a lot to recap!

I went to IL to speak at a Firefighter Wives’ Event called Flamefest. It was held at the Hyatt Lodge at the McDonald’s Campus (the McD headquarters, I guess?) Guess what kind of coffee they served at the hotel? Cracked me up to drink McDonald’s coffee from a McDonald’s cup — at a HYATT no less! :)

Peek Into Week

I was the keynote speaker at the Flamefest Ball on Friday evening, so I had fun getting dressed up for the occasion. :) And I also learned a really powerful lesson about courage that night. Read it here.

Peek Into Week

I flew home Saturday morning. I was supposed to get in before lunch, but after multiple flight delays, I ended up getting back into town about three hours later than planned. But that’s just life sometimes, isn’t it?! I’m learning to roll with the punches… or at least I’m trying to! :)

On Saturday evening, we went to hang out with our good friends and neighbors, the Hodges. We spent the evening talking, laughing, sharing, and eating delicious homemade salsa and fresh-baked cookies.

While we were there, other friends dropped by to bring us all boxes of cookies and stayed to regale us with hilarious stories. Have I mentioned how much we are loving and being blessed by the community here??

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Kaitlynn found a tutorial on YouTube for making homemade lip gloss with crayons and coconut oil and just had to try it. She made it almost entirely by herself — and it turned out really well!

This girl constantly impresses and inspires me… and I’m so grateful for the beauty and creativity she adds to our home and life!

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Move over, Starbucks! I am so excited that I finally learned how to make her own DIY Breve Latte — without a Latte Machine. And it is delicious!! Get the recipe here.

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It was cloudy and overcast one day… Perfect for snuggling up on the bed and reading chapter after chapter aloud together while the kids created with Legos. I love quiet, at-home days!

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You know what warms my heart so much? It’s amazing young people like Kass Hodge who love on our kids.

We had another fun neighborhood get together at the Hodges house and while we were at their house, Kass gave Kaitlynn a makeover. You can imagine little fashionista Kaitlynn thought was the best thing ever!

I hope both of my daughters grow up to be as generous, kind, and warm as Kass is!

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I began last week feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done, so I took a deep breath, made some Good Girl Moonshine and painted my now-growing-out nails.

It might seem weird to stop and do something like that when I had a long to-do list to tackle, but I’ve found that sometimes, when you feel like there’s too much to do, making yourself stop and breathe for 20 minutes is the best thing you can do. At least it’s definitely much better than hyperventilating! :)

{Also? I think I’ve discovered the secret to growing my nails out!! Not only does it involve keeping them painted in cute colors, but it also involves publicly blogging about your nail-biting habit. Somehow, going public with it, has made me much more disciplined about actually letting them grow out. And every time I look down at my longish nails, it makes me so very happy! So anyway, thank you all!}

Peek Into Week

We left six hours earlier than planned on Wednesday morning to head to North Carolina for me to attend the SheSpeaks Conference. There were storm clouds and rain much of the drive — which is my favorite weather to drive in!

I spent the drive wrapped up in this favorite blanket of mine, reading a good book, having discussions as a family, and getting in some blogging work since I was able to get good wi-fi in the car through my phone’s hotspot.

Peek Into Week

It’s really impossible for me to put into words just how blessed, refreshed, and filled up I was by being at SheSpeaks.

Spending time with these two women was one of the biggest highlights. Not only did we have deep conversations about heart things and struggles, but we also did a whole lot of laughing since both Edie and Ruth are hilarious — especially when you get them both together!

I think I’m sore from all the laughing we did, but it was so very worth it! We only wished that Edie could have stayed longer than just one day!

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Lookee whose book just came out in paperback?!?! I’m so stinkin’ proud of my girl, Ruth Soukup, and all the amazing things she’s doing!!

Her book, How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, is truly the BEST blogging book I’ve ever read.

It’s available as an ebook on Amazon or the new and expanded paperback version should be available on Amazon next week.

Peek Into Week

It was so fun to get to spend a little time with the amazing A.J. Gregory! She ghost-edited my last book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and I’m so honored to be working with her again for my next book.

We’ve been mulling over the next book’s concept for months and are so excited to finally be ready to jump in and start the intensive writing process together. I think you’re going to LOVE the topic — or at least *I’m* super stoked about it! :)

Our plan is to have the manuscript finished by December 1 of this year and, if all goes according to plan, it should be in bookstores by the beginning of November 2015!

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Listening to Michele is always a huge inspiration to me. I love her to pieces! If you’ve not had the chance to listen to her speak before, you are majorly missing out!

Peek Into Week

I won’t lie: the reason I went to SheSpeaks was because Ruth was speaking. So yes, I may have been having trouble containing my pride and excitement while she was up on the stage.

A few months ago, Ruth and I were talking on the phone. I was celebrating with her that she was going to be speaking at the SheSpeaks conference — a real honor to be asked to be apart of, but one Ruth was wholly deserving of.

Then she said something that I totally hadn’t considered, “You should come, too.”

Since I try to limit my traveling to only a few speaking/business trips per month, I didn’t think it would work out. However, my husband knows just how much Ruth’s friendship means to me and he concocted a plan to make it work, because he’s amazing like that. Truly.

His idea: we turned the trip into a family roadtrip/visit with my sister and her family who live nearby in South Carolina. While I was at the conference, he did fun activities with the kids and spent time with my sister’s husband and her kids.

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These are some of the beautiful ladies I had the chance to get to know better at SheSpeaks. Courtney (who created the adorable Scripture cards above) is just a doll. Ruth and I instantly loved her! {Photo credit: Courtney}

{And notice my Cents of Style tee in the picture? I bought it during the last sale they ran on their t-shirt line and I absolutely adore it!}

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One of the highlights of the conference was getting to see my dear friend, Renee, kill it in her morning keynote. I can’t tell you how blessed I am to know this woman in real-life.

This was my first opportunity to hear her speak in front of an audience, so I had to try to keep it together so I didn’t bust out with loud proclamations like, “Isn’t she AMAZING?!?!?” :)

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I just LOVE these girls! Each one is a true gift in my life! Oh the laughter, memories, stories, deep conversations, love, heart-to-heart talks, cups of coffee, and experiences we shared at SheSpeaks! We may not have gotten much sleep, but it was so very worth it!!

Peek Into Week

We capped off the conference with a late night (and into the wee hours of the early morning) PJ party in a hotel suite most of us had shared together during the conference. It was a blast.

The above picture makes my heart feel like it just might burst. These women are some of the dearest women I know and we are committed to walking alongside one another in this journey and adventure of life. Their friendship is a true gift.

Peek Into Week

My family re-joined me at the hotel on Sunday and we spent the day sleeping and taking it easy before we drove over to meet up with my sister and her family.

All the cousins had a fantastic time being together. They are old enough now where they mostly play together really well and it’s so fun to observe them!

The dads took all the kids on Monday evening and Brigette and I went out shopping with a few gift cards we had. We tried to see how much we could get without spending any money out of pocket. We got some great deals, had a lot of fun, and only went a few dollars over the gift card amount at one store. Score!

Afterwards, we came back to their house, put all the kids to bed, made snacks, and then stayed up way too late watching a movie. I knew we could all sleep in in the morning, so it was worth the late night. :)

Peek Into Week

We got up late this morning, took our time getting around, and left for home around noon.

It was a mostly uneventful and relaxing 8-hour drive home: rocking my first messy bun (thanks, YouTube!), enjoying some yummy and fairly healthful snacks (who says the gas station only sells candy bars and soda pop??), listening to my favorite playlist on repeat, knocking out some blog projects thanks to more good wi-fi in the car, and soaking up the beautiful scenery.

All in all, was a great trip, but it’s also so good to be HOME!

We’re happy to be back for the rest of this week so we can spend time with friends here and catch up on laundry and sleep before we leave again for a trip to Arkansas and Missouri next week. :)

How was YOUR last week (or two!)? Anything interesting or exciting happen at your house?

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Enter to win a $100 Walgreen’s Gift Card + save on Suave Professionals at Walgreens


Walgreens is offering you the opportunity to save on Suave Professionals this week (July 27-August 1, 2014). And by combining the everyday value price with the Balance Rewards offer this week plus using a manufacturer’s coupon, you can get what I consider a great deal!

Here are the details:

Buy two Professionals Body Wash and Suave Professionals Lotion Products at the everyday value price of $3 each
Use 2 $1/1 Suave Professionals Product coupons from the 07/27 RedPlum insert
Spend $4 plus tax out of pocket
Earn 2,000 Balance Rewards (This is the equivalent of $2 Rewards points — This offer is valid through August 1, 2014 only. Earn 2,000 Balance Rewards Points when you buy $6 worth of Suave®Professional products. Offer valid on Suave® Professionals Body Wash and Suave Professionals Lotion Products sold at Walgreens.)

That’s like paying just $1 per bottle after the everyday value price, the coupon, and the Balance Rewards. The New Suave Professionals Body Washes are infused with spa-inspired ingredients for beautiful skin. Suave® Body washes have bright, clean scents that leave your skin feeling fresh and delightfully fragrant.

Would you like to win a $100 Walgreens gift card so you can buy this body wash or some of the many other great deals available each week at Walgreens? Click on the graphic below to enter to win. One winner will be chosen and posted early next week. This giveaway ends Thursday, July 31, at 11:59 pm, CST.

Enter the Giveaway

This post and giveaway is sponsored by Lunchbox, all opinions are 100% my own. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Magazine Bundle! Get BOTH Taste of Home and Everyday with Rachael Ray for $8.99!

Rachael Ray ComboRight now, you can a fantastic deal on two very popular magazines!

Get a one year subscription to BOTH Taste of Home magazine and Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine for only $8.99 when you use coupon code 19975 at checkout. Even better, you can order this bundle for up to FOUR years at this price!! This deal is TODAY ONLY so grab it while you can, as we probably won’t see this sale again for a very long time!

This offer expires Thursday night 07/31/14 11:59 PM EST.

Are you looking for other magazine titles? You can use coupon code MONEYSAVING to save 20% off of most titles at DiscountMags!

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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