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BLOG-TEMBER DAY 30 | A Farewell Coffee Date

We made it, friends! Thirty days of blogging, thirty days of connecting, and hopefully thirty days of making new friends. The 2nd Annual Blog-tember Challenge was such a delight (even though I know I've been abysmal at replying to comments...) and I'm already thinking of ideas for next year. Now for one final hoorah as we wrap this thing up.

Wednesday, Sept. 30: A farewell coffee date. Take some time to breathe, sip a warm drink, and share with your new blogging buddies. If you'd like a prompt: how did the Blog-tember Challenge go for you? Any surprises? What was your favorite prompt, or what would you like to see included next time?

I wish I could take each of you out for coffee. We'd camp out at the one Starbucks in this town, I'd order my first pumpkin spiced anything (I know, I know, I'm behind the times but I DO want to try one!), and the fun would begin. I have loved getting a glimpse into your days, reading your stories, hearing your voices on the vlogs, and growing alongside you during this challenge.

The beautiful thing about the blogging community is that you get to take it with you wherever you go. I carry you all in my pocket on the way to class, and I can check in with you in the middle of a crazy day at the office. When life picked up from Texas and moved me to Seattle, you followed suit, and you made the trek back across the country to Oklahoma just a year later. My community here is not what I am accustomed to, and my schedule makes for few opportunities to plug in elsewhere, but you have been consistent. You all have been my cncouragers, my sounding boards, and my delight. I am so so thankful for each one of you.

So the fun doesn't stop with the end of The Blog-tember Challenge. We get to keep going. We get to go with one another into whatever comes next. For me it's show month. My creative component launches in the middle of this month, eight weeks of hard work finally coming to fruition. Then the end of the semester looms and Christmas sparkles in the distance, with another move coming after graduation. Though all of those things hang in the distance, I am content where I am partially because I know you are hanging out at my side.

Once again, thank you all SO SO MUCH for joining in The Blog-tember Challenge! Whether you posted one day, ten days, or all thirty, no matter what capacity in which you joined us, I am SO thankful that you did! Let's get back together same time, same place next year, shall we? ;)

Happy blogging,
Bailey Jean

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 29 | Ten Terrific Topics

One day more, y'all! One day more! Anyone else have Les Mis stuck in their heads now? I know I do ;) Today and tomorrow are all we have left of the 2015 Blog-tember Challenge, and what a ride it has been! So may of you have said that this kicked you back into blogging gear, and that delights me to no end!  Hopefully today's prompt will help keep the ball rolling and give you inspiration for the month to come.

Tuesday, Sept. 29: Write your own list of 10 blog topics to inspire us next month.

Ten Bonus Topics:
  1. Tour your hometown (or current town). Share the highlights and hot spots!
  2. 10 __________  you need this season.
  3. A favorite family recipe. Get permission from grandma first though ;)
  4. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
  5. Something you recently accomplished and what you learned along the way.
  6. Your Top 10 _____________.
  7. Create a gift guide! What should we buy our moms, dads, boyfriends, etc?
  8. Tips & tricks other bloggers should know.
  9. Share the story behind a sentimental item you own.
  10. 10 things your readers might not know about you.

If you're looking for more ideas, I HIGHLY recommend the 365 Blog Topic Ideas book pictured above. It is GOLD!

Your turn. What 10 topics would you suggest?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 28 | A Day in the Life

Oh, how I love a good routine! Thankfully many of my days, especially during the school week, have settled into one, and it really throws me off kilter when the routine is upended. Today I'm going to give you a glimpse into my day-to-day life here at school, and I can't wait to see what yours looks like, too.

Also, can you believe its the last week of the challenge?! How did October sneak up on us??

Monday, Sept. 28: A day in the life. Take us through it with you.

My typical day starts with an alarm between 6:00 - 8:00am, depending on how much homework I need to finish in the mornings. I am not an all-nighter kind of girl and would rather get a bit of rest and do the rest in the morning than stay up late to try to tackle it. I can almost guarantee you that's how this morning went too ;) I'll hit the snooze a time or two, and my alarm songs are either "Victory" by Tye Tribbet and his gospel group or "Joyful, Joyful" by Laura Hackett. 

Once up and at'em, breakfast is typically yogurt, granola, and strawberries, my favorite combination! Mornings are HARD, y'all, but we all have them, so I power through and typically put on some sort of upbeat music to keep me awake while showering, packing, and homeworking in the mornings. Luckily I'm close enough to walk to campus in under 5 minutes (depending on the traffic on one main road) so I'll pop over to my office before class and print any last minute papers.

I try to spend my lunch breaks either at the gym or at home, eating a lunch I packed over the weekend or sometimes cheating by stopping at the Chick-fil-a on campus. Lunch breaks area also my Bible journaling breaks, and taking the hour at home SO helps me decompress from the stress of the day. Often more homework happens here too, or a power nap before the afternoon work load. If I'm at the gym, I'm on the treadmill catching up on my favorite shows (can't wait to watch Grey's and Once Upon a Time this week!) or listening to a podcast. I'll take any of your recommendations, btw!

In the afternoon I am either in class or in the office, so I walk back over to campus and get that ball rolling. When I'm not house managing, I work as a communication's assistant for the theatre department, and that basically means lots and lots of phone calls. I get a brief dinner break before it's back on campus for rehearsal. I am in the middle of directing Almost, Maine as my creative component ("thesis show") and it goes up in October. Ahh! But because it's drawing so near, I am in rehearsal from 6:30-10 each night with even more projects to do for the show in my in-between moments. 

I should be better about staying on campus to finish homework and grade papers, but more often than not I head back to my apartment to get some shut eye, then start the cycle all overlain to finish in the morning.

What about YOU? How do you spend YOUR days?

PS. Find me on PERISCOPE @baileyjrobert today at 12:00pm CST for another round of #makingMondaymeaningful. Today we're talking tackling to-do's and how to make things happen!

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 27 | Wishing for This

Ah! One of my favorite days! These lovely things can speak for themselves, and I must say that browsing Etsy is beating out Pinterest these days. Take a gander at the pretties below and maybe snag one for yourself ;)

Sunday, Sept. 27: What's on your wish list? Be sure to include links so we can shop too ;)

What's on YOUR wish list?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 26 | Read, Reading, Ready

Books, books, books. I wish I could spend all my time reading books. I have quite the tower of them, you know, and I'm in desperate need of another bookshelf. Last year I made the goal of reading 15 books in 12 months, and I surpassed it with ease! This year I set the goal of 100 Books/Plays in 12 Months and I'm just over the halfway point. Woohoo! I don't think I'll break 100 (#gradschool) but it certainly lit a fire under me to get me going.

Saturday, Sept. 26: What's on your to-read list, what are you currently reading, and what have you recently read? 

Recently Read
I picked up The Royal We at the beginning of the summer to be my airplane read on the way to Seattle... and that didn't quite happen. However, I DID read it on my flight BACK from Seattle and I couldn't put it down! It has moved into my top five with ease. I mean, come on! Isn't it every girl's dream to study abroad in London and fall in love with the Prince? Or just mine? ;) 

Simply Tuesday is another sweet read speaking to my soul, and I want to journal my way through it again. I love just about everything Emily writes, and it was no exception. 

Lizzy & Jane was a summer read that swept me up into the world of these two sisters, and it just so happened to be set in Seattle which was oh-so-fitting. A great read, chock full of beautiful imagery and a winding tale of sisterhood, you should definitely check it out!

Currently Reading: 
Wild in the Hollow is a sweet balm for my soul! Amber's writing pulls you in, and her truth-telling is bold and encouraging at the same time. I am only a few chapters in but I know it's going to be a rich read all the way through.

Hands Free Life is by the author of Hands Free Mama, a book that caught my eye but wasn't quite right for my season. I started reading this on the flight to The Influence Conference, and I hope to pick it up again this weekend. Goodness knows a hands free life is what I need and what I fight against, too. I'll let you know how it turns out!

I was sent Dancing Through Life this summer to read and review, and I can already tell you it's going to hit the spot. As a performer myself, the challenge to hold to your values and morals, and to speak them confidently, is quite difficult in the world of entertainment, and I have looked up to Candace Cameron Bure for quite some time in the way she appears to do this well. I can't wait to dig deeper into her story.

To Read
I first heard Jen Hatmaker speak at Hope Spoken, and man is this woman hilarious! She's got a flare for the dramatic and is so relatable, but she speaks truth and the Gospel with a fiery passion that is so inspiring. I pre-ordered For the Love this summer and it's next on my list of things to read.

I have to tell you, I don't know much about Girl Meets Change, but the title and tagline had me in a split second. I feel like I have been in a constant state of transition for the past two and a half years, and that it is going to continue for some time, and I want to be a woman who handles change well. You know I'm all about savoring your season, and hopefully this will encourage me along the way.

I'd seen The Selection Series floating around for a while, but it wasn't until Victoria recommended them that I jumped on the train (and put to use a great B&N coupon). The last fiction series I picked up was Divergent, and I'm hoping to disappearing into this world in the evenings before bed instead of social media. There's at least 3 (maybe 4?) in the series, so hopefully it will tide me over for a while.

Your turn. What are your reading recommendations?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 25 | Meaningful Music

There are very few moments when I am not listening to music. It comes on as my alarm in the morning, I turn it on in the living room for breakfast, and I play a certain song each day when I shower. I often joke you can tell how stressed I am by how early I listen to Christmas music... and I've already been doing that for two weeks ;)

I have playlist after playlist for each season, holiday, even month of the year. I can go back through 2013 and have a flood of memories wash over me as I click through each song with each month. So, naturally, I had to include music in the Blog-tember Challenge. I thought it would be a different mix, but right now these three worship songs are hitting the spot, and I can't wait to see what you think of them!

Friday, Sept. 25: Three songs you are connecting with right now.

"I Trust it All" by Brett Stanfill
With every breath, with every word I speak
With every step, with every heartbeat
Jesus let it be for you, for you only
My whole life, all for your glory
My life is in your hands
I trust it all, I trust it all to You
My dreams & all my plans
I trust it all, I trust it all to you.

I first heard this song over the weekend at The Influence Conference and  Y'ALL! It broke me down and blew my mind. I want to sing it out at the top of my lungs each day! The lyrics are so poignant, so this season, and so what I want my battle cry to be. Let this song sink in. You won't regret it.

"Come to the River" by Housefires
Come to the water, all who are thirsty
Come and drink
Come to the table, all who are hungry
Come and feast
Those who are weary, those who are needy
Come receive
Come to the river, come to the river
Taste and see

We sang a few songs from the Housefires II album when I was in Seattle this summer, and I simply could not get this one out of my head. My season of grad school so often feels like a dry place, and I'm so weary and needing Jesus, that this song speaks it out when I cannot. It echoes His promise that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness shall be fed, and that all we have to do is draw near to Jesus. Yes please!

"Majesty" by Antioch College Worship
You are holy
You are good
You have been faithful
Like You said You would
Oceans will rage and mountains fall
But Jesus your love will stand through it all
So we'll  rise with heaven sing of your majesty

I have been looking forward to this album for weeks! I went to Antioch Community Church in college and was consistently blessed by the worship music they put out, and this album is no exception! Go, run, get it NOW! In fact, get every album ACC has put out, especially Forever Sound Our God Comes. You won't want to miss them! This song in particular speaks truth straight into the lie I so often believe that God has good things for other people and not for me. It's NOT TRUE AT ALL an He IS good and HAS BEEN good and WILL BE good and faithful to ME too!

What about YOU? What music is speaking to you today?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 24 | Five Fab Bloggers

Today I wanted to introduce you to five of the beautiful ladies gracing my sidebar this month. These gals are true gems (and there are a few more I will share later this week!), so I can promise you that you want to see what they are sending out into the world on their blogs!

Thursday, Sept. 24: Shout out five of your favorite bloggers. Who are your regular reads?

Rachel of Rachel Rewritten

Hey, Brave Love readers! I’m Rachel from Rachel Rewritten and I’m so glad to be here. I’m a labor and delivery nurse by night and I love to blog on the side. I’m a wife to Andrew and we live in the best Southern town, Oxford, MS! Jesus has changed my life and is rewriting my story. My blog is all about inspiring, encouraging, and celebrating. 

If I could put Rachel Rewritten into words, I’d want it to be a warm, welcoming space. Like sitting down with a friend, where laughter is strong and the coffee is stronger. A place where community is cultivated and friendship blooms. I hope for it to be a place to inspire others, whether it be through words I say or the ideas that I share with DIY projects or fun, new recipes. I envision it being a place to share marriage joys, hard lessons learned, and words that stir my soul.

Rachel Rewritten is where people can escape the real world for a few minutes and read something on my heart, something that I hope will encourage others. I pray for it to be a place where Jesus is first always, and His name is glorified above all else...where we can let go of the feelings of inadequacy and busy-ness and soak in all of His goodness and grace. I want to help people truly learn how to celebrate life and find joy in the every day happenings. I'm slowly learning how to live freely and abundantly in every season of life, no matter what it may be, and I hope you'll join me on that journey.

Hey party people! I'm Leah and I blog over at My Favorite Adventure. I'm a church secretary by day, but after hours you will most likely find me writing blog posts, watching The Mindy Project, or burying my nose in a book. I'm newly married to Tyler, my high school sweetheart (we started dating when I was 15!) and loving every second of this new and exciting season of life.

I was born and raised in central Wisconsin and all the stereotypes are true - we really do love cheese and polka music. I'm a huge fan of the rain, cool temperatures, handwritten notes, learning people's strengths, and sushi dates with my husband. I firmly believe in naps, lingering in a hot shower, and the power of listening.

My Favorite Adventure is a space I created to help me remember. I want to remember everything this adventure has for me - from what filled me with joy or sorrow to what books I read and what we did on our honeymoon. It's a space to document the everyday and the extraordinary. My blog is best read with a cup of tea in hand, so grab your favorite mug and come on over.

Tawni Sattler is a missionary living in Vienna, Austria with her husband and two sons. Her husband teaches secondary math at an international school while Tawni pretends to be a real-life blogger and tries to keep their sons alive every day. Tawni also leads worship with her husband most Sundays at a bi-lingual, international church. She considers herself ├╝ber blessed, and is so thankful that God chose such a beautiful city for her family to do His work in!

You can usually find Tawni drinking coffee and eating ice cream while she paints, letters, or writes for her blog and shop, the life in between. Tawni started blogging a few years ago, but it wasn't until recently that she discovered how her words could bring people into The Word, and now that God's shown her that, she's really excited about a particular upcoming project that has to do with how the creative arts and faith are intertwined.

Tawni's prayer for her blog and shop is that she'll encourage and inspire women to live more joyfully, and to enjoy more time with Jesus.

Annie of What She Saw

Annie Wiltse is a writer, traveller, and INTJ learning to mix grace in her daily grind. Born and raised in the Motor City, she loves her home state of Michigan and believes firmly in God's work and redemption on the ground in Detroit. She's passionate about good art, good food, and good conversations.

Annie blogs mostly about how God has opened her eyes to Himself in the small ways and across cultures, which is why she named her blog What She Saw. She loves finding ways to serve Jesus and make disciples locally, internationally, and on the Internet.

What She Saw will shortly be hosting its fifth 31 Days series, which will be a reworked version of 2011's 31 Days of Writing. Otherwise, you can sometimes find Annie on Instagram but you can almost always find her on Twitter.

Hey Brave Love readers! I'm Leigh Anne and I run the show over at A Genuine Delight, a blog about, well, the things that delight me! I'm a big believer in finding joy in the little things, in saying YES to new adventures and in doing what makes you happy, even if it means going against the grain. I currently live in New York City, where I work full-time for a news site, attend Liberty Church, and spend as much time as possible on rooftops.

So what will you find at A Genuine Delight? Lately, the thing that's been bringing me the most delight is TRAVEL. This summer I've been to Boston and Los Angeles, and next month I'm taking my very first trip to Africa with my church and a fantastic organization called Children's Cup. You'll also find posts on NYC, food, books, and of course my faith. I hope to see you over there!

If you're interested in sponsoring Brave Love for OCTOBER, get the details HERE and use the word "BLOGTEMBER" for 10% off!

What about YOU? Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 23 | A Guest Post

Today's the day! It's time to showcase a friend or fellow blogger who you invited into your corner of the internet for the day and I cannot wait to share what Katie sent my way! Enjoy!

Wednesday, Sept. 23: Grab a guest post. Recruit a friend or fellow blogger to share on your space for the day.

5 Resources for an Inspired Day
by Katie of A Place to Dwell

Hi, friends! If you're familiar with my blog or Instagram at all, you know I am a BIG fan of living an inspired life, but I also know that when you're facing the normal day-to-day grind, it can sometimes be tough to find and see that inspiration and live in an inspired way.

So, that's why I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite inspiration-filled resources. My hope is that you'll give one — or all — of these a try and add a little extra color and inspiration to your week! :)

1. Coffee in a cute mug (of course!)
So, even though this is pretty basic, I just had to start my list off with it. Hot or iced coffee inspires me like nothing else, so I love to start my day with one of the two. (Not a fan of coffee, no worries! Pour some tea, some cocoa, a smoothie, or some juice! Whatever gives you that jolt of happiness and gets you gearing up for a great day. (I'm also a huge smoothie fan. Bonus points if you use a cute straw.) :)

2. The Five-Minute Journal
I love how this journal works, as well as the idea and science behind it. You start the day by listing what you're grateful for, three ways you can have a great (and inspiring!) day, and then one affirmation statement for your day. It brings such a positive focus to my mornings and gets me thinking right off the bat about all the good stuff in my life and also how I can appreciate and live my day to the fullest. There's also a section you fill out at the end of the day, capturing three amazing things that happened and one positive way you could have made the day even better.

3. The Write the Word Journal from Lara Casey
I know, another journal, but I'm a total journal addict, so what did you expect?! ;) Lara has created such an amazing product, with space for writing scripture and prayers each day. I love how approachable this journal is and how easy it is to incorporate into your daily routine. It also provides some focus and direction for my quiet time, which I really value.

4. Worship Music
Friends, I feel so much more uplifted and inspired when I am filling my mind and heart with good stuff. The weather was gorgeous today, and I listened to my new Ginny Owens CD to and from work, as well as on my lunch break. What a difference it made! Even if you can only listen for a few minutes each day, I really believe it will have a powerful effect on your heart and spirit. Looking for some new tunes? Lately, I’m loving this album by Ginny Owens and also I Am They's self-titled album.

5. Words & Phrases That Inspire, Encourage, & Motivate You
Surround yourself with inspiration by taping scripture and quotes to your bathroom mirror or computer, wearing a graphic tee that makes you smile, and/or hanging some inspirational artwork wherever you know you’ll see it each day. (For the record, I do all of these things…I love to surround myself with bright happy colors and inspirational words as much as I can! (T-shirt pictured by Lara Casey. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of what she’s making and sharing with the world.)

I'm praying that whatever your day holds today, you'll be blessed with a little joy and inspiration along the way!

Isn't Katie just lovely?! I have the Write the Word journal and cannot recommend it enough, and I absolutely adore what she said about keeping inspiring phrases close and in sight! They make such a difference!

Now it's YOUR turn! Who is your guest blogger today?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 22 | Creativity Calls

Can you believe we just have a little over a week left of the challenge? Where did the time go?! The time certainly disappeared from me as this prompt approached, with school assignments taking over much of my creative time since coming back from The Influence Conference. If I get a spare half hour this afternoon, I'll add something new below :)

Tuesday, Sept. 22: Get creative! Sketch, paint, dance, play music, whatever then give us a glimpse.

For now, enjoy one of my latest pages from my journaling Bible journey! Like I said, if I get a little free time this afternoon, I hope to work on my Project Life album for 2015. Be prepared for pages from that to appear oh so soon!

Thanks for the grace ;)

What about you? How did YOU get creative today?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 21 | You Can Quote Me

In the Pinterest era we are living in, pretty quotes come and go and bounce around the internet at rapid fire. I have pinned a dozen or so on my Making 2015 Happen board, and I try to actually put them into action throughout the year. Ages and ages and ages ago I had a Xanga (circa 2005) dedicated to cute quotes and sayings, and I carried them around in a binder at school. The obsession continues and I can't wait to read your favorites!

Monday, Sept. 21: A favorite quote/expression and how it has impacted you.

We also live in a time where people's lives, successes, and dreams are broadcast for all to see. Instagram is alight with pretty photos from fashion bloggers, entrepreneurs, stay at home moms, and everyone in-between, and I can almost guarantee we each have a place we want to go that is different from where we are. Whether it's the single gal who wants to be married, or the mom who is working furiously at nap time to make that business happen, our future-minded selves can be sucked into the comparison game SO EASILY. It's a vicious cycle that is life-giving to no one.

Another popular/familiar quote is that "Comparison is the thief of joy" and y'all, it's SO TRUE! Comparison edges out gratitude and contentment, replacing it with envy and self-doubt and a slew of other tactics made to deter us from celebrating life fully where we are. Everyone is on a journey, and each journey is unique with its twists and turns and the paths the Lord has for you. It's important to remember especially when we are looking at those around us.

"Don't compare your beginning 
to someone else's middle"
-Jon Acuff

We each have an idea or definition of where we "should" be and by when, but life doesn't necessarily work that way. I try to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and we really don't know what it took a person to get where they are. Celebrate the small beginnings y'all. Everyone who got anywhere had to start somewhere.

What about you? What quote is really speaking to you these days?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 20 | Guilty as Charged

We all have those little things that delight us to no end but might come off as strange to people we don't know. Actually, to people closest to us too ;) I thought it would be fun to get some of those out in the open, so here we go!

PS. Forgive the short post.... Influence Conference just ended and I'm SPENT in the best way possible.

Sunday, Sept. 20: It's guilty pleasure time! Shows, books, songs, foods, whatever it may be.

How cute is this Lily and Jade bag?! I wish I had won it, but it's definitely going on my wish list ;)

My Guilty Pleasures:

  • I am a purse/weekender/duffle bag hoarder. Especially if they have tassels ;)
  • I am obsessed with Once Upon a Time and all things fairytale related.
  • I have watched the Harry Potter movies too many times to count and plan to marathon them in October.
  • I love love love the cheesy ABC Family holiday movies. Holiday in Handcuffs and 12 Dates of Christmas are my favorites.
  • I actually like Justin Bieber's old stuff and jam out to it from time to time. Don't judge. Or totally do ;)
  • I have a weakness for chocolate chip cookie dough, apples with peanut butter and Nutella, and ELFudge cookies. They don't stand a chance in my house.
  • I could eat macaroni and cheese every day of the week.
  • I actually really love the National Treasure movies. The history geek in me has loved it since high school.

There you have it, friends! Now what are YOUR guilty pleasures??

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 19 | The Best Day

When I think about the best days of my life, a handful come to mind. The day I realized I was moving to Seattle, meeting my best friend in the hat room at Baylor, welcome week and line camp freshman year, just to name a few. But today I'm revisiting arguably the best day that still lives vividly in my mind.

Saturday, Sept. 19: Tell us about one of the best days of your life.

Your 21st birthday is one of those milestones you just can't miss. It is also one you often can't forget. Mine was certainly one for the books and I loved every minute of it!  I have always loved being a summer baby (except for the fact I never got to bring cupcakes to school on my birthday...) and when I found out we'd be in Paris for the big 2-1, I was pumped to say the least! Being in a fantastic city with some of my favorite friends meant it would be epic indeed. 

We decided to kick the night off at midnight, and somewhere around 11:00pm the gang gathered together and took the Metro to the steps of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. It is a gathering place for all kinds of artists and musicians during the day, and well into the evening, and it looks out across the rest of the city. We were actually in the elevator on the way up when it struck twelve. Once everyone made it up, they broke out the champagne and we gathered on the steps to sing and celebrate.

I loved getting to celebrate with these incredible people! They sure know how to make a girl feel special. However, the most special guests of the evening are not pictured. To the right lounged a very... intoxicated man who insisted on singing with us, loud and off key. He was also convinced that it was Jessica's birthday (whoever that was) and shouted it out whenever the song was sung. The second featured artist was an Asian man in full-out Japanese warrior garb with a guitar in tow. He serenaded me with a unique version of Happy Birthday, and Bailey sounded far more like Pei-Wei than anything else. It became my nickname for the rest of the trip. I still have several friends that call me Pei-Wei to this day, thanks to him. He also did a particularly lively rendition of Pretty Woman and would not leave our group for quite some time. 

These girls were definitely my traveling buddies on this trip. From exploring Versailles to gelato-hopping in Paris (and flagging down our favorite crepe maker, crying out in the street when he closed his doors just as we approached... surprise, us theatre majors are a tad bit dramatic...) Kelsey, Samantha and Courtney made everything 10 times more fun. I could not have asked for a better bunch to celebrate with. 

We wandered around the Basilica, singing and being the typical tourists that we were, and may or may not have trespassed a little to get these shots (you can faintly make out the Eiffel Tower in the background, just above Kelsey's head). But our late night meant we missed the last train to our hotel, so the fourteen of us paraded across Paris at 1:00 in the morning, only adding to the adventure.

After a few hours of glorious sleep, my birthday continued with a trip to the Louvre. I mean come on! How much better does it get?! Well, actually, it gets even better a few hours later. The Louvre was INCREDIBLE! I could have spent a week there alone! I waded through the hundreds of tourists with Brian and ZJ, hitting the hot spots including the Mona Lisa and the Egyptian artifacts. One of the best decisions our professors made was the museum pass they purchased. It gave us a chance to pop in and out of dozens of museums any time we wanted during our 8 day stay. It is definitely on my must-have list for next time I go. And trust me, there will be a next time ;)

The Louvre was followed by a trip to the Musee de l'Orangerie, which is just across the courtyard. I popped in my headphones to some of my favorite movie scores and moved through the galleries on my own this time. It was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. The Lord speaks in mysterious ways, and looking at the stunning water lilies painted by Claude Monet gave me so many new dreams and revelations about things the Lord was teaching me during that time. I didn't want to leave. 

Eventually the rest of the group appeared and we decided it was time to head to --oh yes!-- the Eiffel Tower. I told you, the day just kept getting better and better! We made our way across town only to discover there was a 2 hour wait for the elevator to the top. The stairs to the second level, of course, had no such line. We chose the stairs, and 500 steps later regretted the decision. It was actually 700 steps to the second level, and by golly we made it, but only after a break on level 1. Once you're on the second tier you can hop onto the elevator to the very top, but Brian and I were hesitant. We're not the biggest fan of heights.

Thankfully someone talked us into it, and though I was shaking and quaking I agreed. We squeezed onto the tiny top level with dozens of other tourists, carefully peering through the fencing to look out over the city. It was breathtaking. 

Perhaps the funniest moment of the trip took place moments after we made it to the top. Brian had been joking that he wanted to stage a proposal, just to see what the tourists would do. We thought he was going to do it to Kelsey or Courtney, but one moment we were rounding a corner and the next he turned to my friend Kim, who was totally unsuspecting, and got down on one knee. She immediately started laughing and freaking out, which to any passers-by looked like a normal reaction to a proposal. The rest of us were dying laughing and cheering, really playing up the scene, our cameras out and everything. Kim was laughing so hard she started crying, again making it the perfect scene for the tourists surrounding us.

Even people we didn't know started taking pictures and cheering! In her hysteria, when Brian asked "Kim, Kimmy Kim, Kim, will you please marry me?" she nodded and everyone let out a shout of joy! There is a video on someone's phone and I really think it needs to reappear somewhere. One of the girls was wearing a fake engagement ring and had given it to Brian, so the scene was complete. 

I have not laughed that hard since. 

We ended the day with dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby, then stopped at a place called Sunset Boulevard near the hotel. They sang to me at least twice (always to Pei-Wei, never more to Bailey), and the day came to a close. Like I said, this was a birthday for the books, and certainly a hard one to top.

What about you? What was one of your favorite days?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 18 | Vlog Away

Hey, hey, hey! Happy Friday! It's VLOGGING day, y'all! I know it can be a little scary, but I can't wait to hear your voices and see your beautiful faces! Today I have a special guest joining me, and I should really say last night because Annie (of What She Saw) and I camped out in the skywalk to say hello after the Influence Conference welcome party. Annie is a gem of a friend and co-hosts the Speak Up monthly vlog link-up, so how perfect is this?!

Friday, Sept. 18: Record a VLOG! It can be about anything you'd like!

Today's VLOG was brought to you by the beautiful Annie and Dana here at the Influence Conference.  
Find them @anniewiltse  + @danaees on Instagram to follow our conference shenanigans! 

What about YOU? What are you vlogging about today?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 17 | Recent Obsessions

Goodness gracious, today is finally here! I have been counting down to September 17 since last September because today is the day I head off to Indianapolis  for The Influence Conference! I cannot wait to see sweet friends new and old, soak up the wisdom from my favorite ladies, and to simply enjoy a few days away from school. Now that is something worthy of obsession! ;)

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @baileyjrobert and Twitter, also @baileyjrobert!

Thursday, September 17: Just for fun, your latest obsession. What can you not get enough of these days?

If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed my recent obsession with Bible journaling. I bought my journaling Bible in the spring of 2014 with every intention to simply write within the wide margins my study notes and meaningful quotes. To be quite honest, I wrote on a handful of pages then it sat untouched in favor of my NKJV Women's Study Bible or the YouVersion app on my iPad. 

It wasn't until this spring that I took another good look at the journaling Bible, this time with fresh eyes. I had seen a glimpse of Shanna Noel's art journaling with scripture and was curious, then I found myself putting pen and paint to paper in my own journaling Bible. It was thrilling, eye-opening, and so refreshing. The Illustrated Faith community soon took off, and I knew I had to be part of it.

I used to say I couldn't draw a straight line or a stick figure to save my life, but after a little practice and a lot of patience my love of painting and sketching has grown immensely! Artfully connecting with scripture is so stress-relieving and really breathes new life into the words I've read for most of my life.

I get a lot of questions about why or how I feel it is okay to paint over the scriptures, especially when some of the images cover them up entirely. I absolutely get where people are coming from when they asked this, because I was hesitant at first, too. But this Bible is specifically for artfully connecting with and responding to scripture. I have another Bible and other resources for digging into scripture in my daily study, and the journaling Bible experience is a companion to that. 

I do believe the Word of God is His gift to us, relevant and active in our lives today, and I want to honor it and obey it. But putting paint to paper has infused the Word with a new life for me and that has made such a difference! 

To find my favorite journaling Bible resources, go HERE.
To follow along my journey of journaling through scriptures, go HERE.
PS. I have a super fun journaling Bible giveaway planned for the beginning of October! 
Be sure to follow along so you don't miss it!

What about you, friends? What are you obsessed with lately?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 16 | Real Me vs. Online Me

One of the beauties of the online world is getting to know people you never would have met otherwise, learning their likes and dislikes, getting a peek into their world. There are so many gals I call dear friends that live across the country from me, hundreds to thousands of miles away.  But along with such friendships and opportunities comes a second side of the internet where people hide who they are and put out an entirely different persona. That's the risk we take putting it all out there and trusting the frequently filtered and edited sides of people they choose to share. Today's prompt is a response to that dilemma. 

Wednesday, September 16: The real you vs. the online you. Are they the same or different?

I would hope that I am the same person in real life that I am online, but I know that I often draw a line between the two, both intentionally and accidentally. 

In real life I am the often frenzied, anxious, over-scheduled grad student, bolting from class to project to work to rehearsal and back again. My apartment is a wreck six days out of seven, I get much less sleep than I should, and theatre overwhelms my days. Several days a week I throw my hair in a bun and headband and barely make it to class on time, watch Disney movies on repeat when I'm doing homework, and let the dishes pile up on particularly busy weeks. It isn't glamorous, but it's part of this season, and much of that I don't document for all to see.

Online, especially on Instagram, you get a more curated feed: prettily arranged pictures, snaps of the clean corners of my living room, selfies sent through Pic-Tap-Go and VSCO more than once. I can share an encouraging word and share scripture with ease, even when my heart isn't feeling it on the other side of the screen. 

But sometimes it's easier to be real about those things, the hard times and the tough spots, to write them out in an Instagram post or on the blog, than try to wrap my mind around it on my own. And the online community has flung the doors open, shining light on the lies we all too often believe that we are in this alone, providing a chorus of "Oh, me too!" to give us support, strength, and courage. 

It's only been within the past year that I've started sharing more freely about life as a theatre artist. I used to apologize when I tried to explain to people what I did or what I was passionate about, writing it off as weird and too difficult to understand so I wouldn't feel bad when other people felt that way about it. My calling, my craft, isn't the norm, but it's MINE and something I absolutely believe the Lord has placed in my life. Even if I lose followers when I share rehearsal shots or details about the scenic shop (is it sad that I know it happens most of the time?)  I want to share boldly and truthfully.

The online world is a funny thing, and I'm constantly looking for ways to navigate the offline-online balance. I don't always do it well, but I think beginning the attempt is half the battle. How do you manage it? What does the balance look like in your world?

What about your online presence? Is there a divide?
Who is the real you vs. the online you?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 15 | What's In My Bag

I am a notorious over-packer... and a bag lady. Those two things combined can be disastrous or delightful when it comes to preparing for a trip. I have learned that it is best to pack way early so I can unpack and repack multiple times. It may be an odd system but it works for me. With The Influence Conference at the end of the week, today's prompt came at a perfect time!

Tuesday, September 15: What's in your bag? Pick up your purse and peruse its contents, then share with us!

For this trip I am bringing a carry on and a purse, and above the latter is pictured. Apparently I have a thing for packing color schemes. You should see the outfits I put together... they all coordinate too! Oops!

Monogrammed Bag: I love a good monogram, and I've had this bag for around a year. I first had it in mustard yellow with brown stitching, but after daily use for eight months it was looking pretty worn. Mom, Shelby, and I have a favorite monogram shop at First Monday in Canton, and we go straight to them to place our orders. I used this bag at Hope Spoken and it held everything so perfectly, plus with all the pockets it keeps me organized for a full day of travel on Thursday.

Write the Word Journal + Gold Journal: I love love love to journal, and I love using a number of resources during my devotional time, but when I travel I like to keep it simple. I started the gold journal over the weekend, and I plan to take notes in it from the conference sessions. The Write the Word journal is a GREAT and recent favorite resource for studying scripture, and I cannot recommend it enough!

iPhone Battery Case: I get the feeling I am going to have my phone out quite a bit at this conference, tweeting sessions, Instagramming meet ups, sharing everything via @baileyjrobert and #influenceconf, and I know how fast a battery can burn up. I got this phone case for Christmas last year and it has a built in battery that will give my phone a complete second charge with the push of a button. A must-have for the weekend I think!

iPad + Headphones: Leaving town this weekend, I am choosing intentionally NOT to bring my laptop with me... or at least I'm hoping to! (I keep going back and forth as new assignments are added for next week >.<) School dominates so much of my life, as it should in this season, but I need a weekend away. I am bringing my iPad however to read on my Kindle and check on Blogtember as needed, but it certainly won't let me do all I'd be tempted to do with my laptop. I also never go anywhere without my headphones because I am constantly listening to music. I'm planning to make a playlist or two to listen to as I travel. Any suggestions? Send them my way! 

The Selection + Hugo & Rose: I have heard such good things about The Selection Series and Hugo & Rose that naturally they were my choice of reading companions for the weekend. I'm tempted to pack the second Selection book just in case I blaze through these two and am dying to know what happens next. I also found the complete Elsie Dinsmore series (like I mentioned in yesterday's video!) for $2.99 on Kindle so those should help entertain me as well.

Starbucks Card + Andes Mints: The Starbucks card was a gift from a friend, and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets put to good use on a coffee date this weekend at the conference, or for a morning pick-me-up at the airport when I have to be there at 5AM on Sunday. Yes! The Andes mints are a sweet treat I like to tuck away just incase I get hungry but don't want to pay gobs of money for airport snacks. Can't travel without them!

What about YOU friends? What's in your bag today?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 14 | Books That Left A Mark

It's the beginning of another week, y'all! I hope everyone's weekends were restful and pleasant, and that you're geared up ready to go! Saturday I did a whole lot of nothing, at least nothing particularly productive, other than cleaning my apartment, crafting, and watching plenty of Bones. The real work happened on Sunday, including prepping this week's posts. I'm headed out of town on Thursday for The Influence Conference, and I have some fun surprises inshore for you along with that! Now onto one of my FAVORITE topics!

Monday, September 14: The 5 books that have impacted you the most.

There you have it friends! The five (six... seven... eight?) books that have impacted the most!

PS. Didn't you love my little rant about Shakespeare? Haha sorry y'all. But really though, GO SEE SOME! And I know I sounded suuuuuuper Southern talking about Mardel, one of my favorite places EVER, but what can ya do? Well, I could've re-recorded the video, but that takes too much effort ;) Now it's your turn!

What about YOU? What 5 books have impacted you the most?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 13 | Collage Your Season

Seasons come and seasons go, and sometimes we land in seasons that are difficult to handle. I'm not just talking about the final days of summer lingering while we wish for fall. There are days when I love my season: being in grad school, being single, having my own place, getting to travel and be creative on a whim. Then there are days it's not as much fun, hard even. On those days, I like to make something bright and tangible to remind me to find the little joys and light in the hard places. Today's prompt came out of one of those days, wanting to put a fresh spin on things to better #savoryourseason.  

Sunday, September 13: Create a collage or inspiration/mood board for this season in your life.

Today I'm going to let this mostly speak for itself. I think I need to print it and hang it by my desk :)
What about YOU? What does this season look like to you?

BLOG-TEMBER DAY 12 | Currently in September

Happy Saturday, y'all! We've made it through another week! I am truly so blown away by the dozens of you linking up, and I'm doing my best to say hello to everyone, popping around from blog to blog when I can! Thanks for your patience, and thanks for linking up! Now, onto today's prompt.

Saturday, September 12: What are you up to currently?

Reading... For the Love by Jen Hatmaker and Hugo + Rose by Bridget Foley... sort of. I'm trying to save these two for my flights to and from The Influence Conference next week!
Playing... how many blog posts can I write in one day. This Blogtember prep is no joke! ;)
Watching... Bones still! The next season just came out on Netflix! But I'm trying to keep it to the gym and weekends.
Trying... to get two weeks worth of homework finished ahead of time. Wish me luck.
Cooking... Nanny's spaghetti. It's a treat for myself for making it through another week.
Eating... clean. Or at least trying to. I'm following Revelation Wellness's #cleanhearting the best I can.
Drinking... water. Lots and lots of water. Pretty tumblers make it better.
Calling... it a long day. But a good one. It's a Saturday for homework and rest, not in that order.
Texting... all my Influence gal pals! I can't believe I get to hug their necks next week!
Pinning... fall decor. Come on fall, let's get here soon!
Tweeting... my Instagram pics through IFTTT app. Have you checked it out yet? Read more HERE.
Going... to the Influence Conference next WEEK! Are any of you going to be there?!
Loving... getting to know more of you through this challenge! Such a blessing!
Hating... the hate and hurt happening overseas. Ann Voskamp shared her heart beautifully HERE.
Discovering... a love for painting. It all started with a journaling Bible in the spring, and continues HERE.
Thinking... about taking a Shakespeare intensive in December... scholarships pending, it just might happen!
Feeling... like the year is steamrolling me already, but praise the Lord for grace!
Hoping (for)... a tidal wave of provision for the dreams on my heart for the rest of 2015. Lord, let it be!
Listening (to)... the Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. Everything has been, well, spot on! ;)
Celebrating... the completion of another week! Really, it's the little victories, y'all.
Smelling... one of my favorite Anthro candles: Aloha Orchid. SO GOOD.
Ordering... a couple of fun things to celebrate the blogiversary. Coming soon to a post near you!
Thanking... ALL OF YOU for making this challenge happen! Such a delight you've been!
Considering... taking a nap. It's just one of those days.
Starting... to pack for The Influence Conference. I'm so excited! If you can't go, you can get the videos HERE!
Finishing... this blog post! Obvi ;) Now onto homework... which, I must say, isn't quite as fun.

What are YOU up to currently?