What’s On My Christmas List

For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted for Christmas this year. The idea of getting lots of “stuff” just was not appealing. But gift-giving at Christmas is such a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to others – not just just the person you’re giving a gift to, but also the companies and workers you support by your purchase. 
In years past, I’ve shared gift guides for gifts that give back, but this year, I don’t really have time for that. You know those “what’s in my purse” posts? I thought I’d adapt that, and share what’s on my Christmas list this year. 
My Christmas List

1. Black Metallic Desert Wedges. I love, love, love every pair of TOMs I’ve owned, but I’ve never tried anything other than flats. I’ve also never ever worn ankle booties. I could really use a new black pair of shoes for work, and instead of getting another pair of flats, I’d like to add these shoes that give a pair of shoes to someone else.

2. Rose Gold Round Watch in Pale Pink. I love wearing a watch, and this classy handmade watch is is sustainably made from new scrap leather that would otherwise go to waste.
3. #GIRLBOSS. “In the New York Times bestseller that the Washington Post called “Lean In for misfits,” Sophia Amoruso shares how she went from dumpster diving to founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.” I think this is basically required reading for 20 something women these days, and it sounds fascinating.

4. Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms. Emily Henderson wrote a book! I’m an avid reader of her blog, and I’ve been awaiting this book release with great anticipation. 
5. Moscow Mule Mugs. Because, copper. I can’t get enough. Honestly, I could see myself drinking hot chocolate out of these. How cozy would that be? 
6. Causebox by Sevenly. This would be like Christmas every few months! It’s a subscription box filled with ethically made, goodies that give back. It’s not cheap . . . so a Sevenly Giftcard to go toward a shirt or print would also be much appreciated!
Not pictured: a lot more books, and some Disney/Pixar animated movies – namely, UP and Wall-E.

For more gift ideas that give back, you have to listen to The Happy Hour Podcast’s Christmas episode. So many great ideas! And Jen Hatmaker. Seriously, it’s a gift just to listen in! And, I’ve got a Gifts that Give Back pinterest board for more inspiration. 
How’s your Christmas shopping going? I have started … sort of. The problem I have, is that I find cool things, and then I want to keep them for myself. Anyone else? Let me know in the comments below!

On My Nightstand: Books on My List This Year

One of my resolutions this year is to read one book a month. Last year I only read six books, but still, aim for nothing and you’ll hit it every time, right? 

1. Harry Potter Series

Always. Well, the first time I read the Harry Potter books I was 21. I have a lot of lost time to make up. This is only my second time reading the books, and it’s been so much fun. It certainly motivates me to get to bed at a good time, so I have time to read. Especially now that the suspense is really picking up. The Order of the Phoenix is one of my favorites of the whole series, so it’s a great start to the new year.
I got this book for Christmas, and we’ve been nearly inseparable since. With John and Sherry’s help, I can’t wait to tackle more projects around our new house!
I discovered this book after watching Susan Cain’s TED talk on the subject. I loved her talk so much, I think her book will be great. It’s been on my list for quite some time, but I’m planning to make that change this year.
Also based on a TED talk, this time by Brene Brown, I also recieved this book for Christmas. I can tell it will be one of those books I’ll have to read slowly, to savor it and take it all in.
I bought this book on my ipad, and started reading it last year. It’s a truly fascinating look at the culture of innovation built at Google. This book is a little more business than pleasure, but I’m looking forward to finishing it.
This one is definitely more work related for me, but I just started reading it on my ipad over Christmas, and it’s mind-blowing. 
I suppose I should add some parenting or baby books to the mix! I’m not really sure where to start on those … any ideas?
What’s on your reading list? Any books you recommend from last year? Leave a comment below!

Beauty Find Friday: Cozy

1. This candle. It’s from Williams-Sonoma, and I got it on sale. Best $5 ever spent. It has a “clean scent of pine with cedar wood, cinnamon, patchouli, thyme and citrus.” The apartment smells like a forest, and I love it. 

2. Speaking of the apartment, I’m also loving that we moved some furniture around! Saturday, we moved a bookshelf from a different wall to the corner shown above, and it makes me happy everytime I look at it. Never mind that antenna cord stretching to the top shelf.

3. These mugs. Seriously, I love them all. Here’s two I really want/need.

3. Sleepytime tea. Delicious and soothing.
4. The fact that my hair is actually long enough for a decent braid.
5. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. I don’t really watch TV, so webseries based on classic novels is as close as it gets. I’m not crazy about the guy playing Rochester, but Jane is incredible!
Now, I’ll just light my candle, sit on the couch in my book-lined apartment, sip some sleepytime tea from a cute mug, and watch some Jane Eyre. 
What are you loving at the moment? Share your beauty-finds from the week in the comments!

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A Brave New Year

Buy it from Watersounds on Etsy

While riding in the car for 45 hours during our road trip to Iowa for Christmas, I had ample time to reflect on 2013 and make some goals for the new year. Honestly, 2013 was such a blur. From January to December, so much changed. 

I learned a goal setting technique some time ago that radically changed the way I make New Years Resolutions. Instead of setting goals for the entire year in January, I make a list of ten goals for the year, but re-write it every week. If something happens that requires my priorities to change, there’s no guilt. I found that I accomplish much more than when I wasn’t able to take unforeseen circumstances into account. 
Last year, I …
  1. Actually made money from my blog
  2. Started a small business
  3. Reached my goal weight
  4. Got more involved with managing our finances
  5. Trained for and ran a 5k
  6. Was published in a magazine
  7. Finished my quilt
  8. Finished my wedding scrapbook
  9. Started an Etsy shop
  10. Redesigned Scribbles from Emily
  11. Made art
  12. Guest posted on 3 blogs
  13. Quit Target
  14. Curated my wardrobe to 100 items
  15. Paid off a school loan
  16. Guest posted on 2 more blogs
  17. Applied for 20ish jobs
  18. Traveled (California, Oregon, Iowa)
  19. Got better at driving
  20. Made two new friends
  21. Maintained goal weight all year
  22. Did an internship
  23. Got a full time job
This year, I hope to accomplish at least these, some of which carried over from last year: 
  1. Run a faster 5k (February). My first was 45 ish minutes, so I’d like to do better this time!
  2. Pay off school loans. With my full-time job, we could potentially be out of debt this year!
  3. Get a bigger bed, bedroom furniture. Much needed. Can’t handle sleeping in a full sized bed much longer.
  4. Read 12 books. Approximately one a month, so if I read the Harry Potter series again, that takes care of seven. 
  5.  Blog 52 posts on scribbles from Emily. Aiming for once a week.
  6.  Build a professional wardrobe. Also much needed! 
  7.  Re-decorate house. A goal from last year, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not very good at interior design. I’d like to learn some new skills in this area.
  8.  Finish embroidery pillows. I started these ages ago, and can’t wait to finish them.
  9.  Learn to golf. It looks like a fun sport, that I could actually get good at.
  10.  Take a writing class. Since I’m a writer now, I’d like to work on my technique and learn some things that can help my career. Plus, it’d just be fun.
Last year, my theme was Confidence. This year, my theme is Brave. 
It’s similar, but difference. Brave is doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel confident. It’s doing what you need to do, even when you’re still afraid. It’s saying what you need to say, knowing that not everyone will like it. Brave is pushing for what you believe in, standing up for the right, and being yourself instead of fitting in. Sometimes, being selfless is brave.
I think I was inspired by this song, that I’m kind of obsessed with right now. 

I like choosing songs for different seasons of my life, and this is mine right now. I was also a little influenced by reading Divergent. 

The verdict is still out on where I’d rank this book in comparison to the Hunger Games and other dystopian literature, or young adult literature.

Regardless, I plan to accomplish something brave this year.


What about you? What are you excited about for 2014? 

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Beauty Find Friday: My Fall Reading List

Books, pencils, and notebooks – ah, the signs of fall. After I painted this doodle, I felt like talking about books for today’s Beauty Find Friday!

Currently Reading: 

Youth Ministry in Small Churches

I pulled this book off of Brian’s shelf about a month ago. I’ve been digesting it slowly; it’s packed with thought-provoking examples, useful tips, and practical ideas. 

I haven’t made much progress in this one, but what I’ve read so far was challenging and convicting. As someone who fits the definition of “growing up Christian” by being raised by Christian parents, with Christian grandparents, home schooled and/or Christian schooled, and faithfully attended church my entire life, I can relate to the blessings and the struggles discussed in this book.

Wish List: 

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
Yes, I’ve decided to read the Hunger Games. I realized that I’m always late to the party when it comes to popular books. I read The Lord of the Rings books after the movies had come out, I read Harry Potter last year for the first time ever. I don’t want to miss out on something good for so long this time. And after all, I do like dystopian literature. Let’s hope this is the next Harry Potter, not the next Twilight.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I’ve wanted this book ever since I watched Brene Brown’s TED talk, and I wanted it even more after I saw her segment with Oprah. According to the synopsis: “In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.”

This book just sounds like fun! “Using a simple doodle as a starting point, 18 artists take you on an inspirational, crafty journey! Filled with inventive prompts designed to fuel the imagination, these 75 exercises motivate crafters to pick up a pencil, brush, or marker, and explore their artistic voice. From quick “try it” ideas using shapes and patterns to doodled portraits and contour drawings, these step-by-step projects are wild creative fun.”

I enjoyed Chip and Dan’s innovative approach to marketing in Flip the Switch, and as a writer, I want my messages to stick. “Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.”

What are you reading now? What’s on your list? Share it with us in the comments below!

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