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Beautiful, Uncommon Goods

It's never too early to start prepping a birthday wish list, am I right? Not even when said birthday is still two months away...right?  Every year I have have the hardest time coming up with what I want; I may have a million ideas in February, but by the time July rolls around I've forgotten them all.

Luckily, Uncommon Goods has come to the rescue!

Uncommon Goods is a resource for unique goods and gifts, dedicated to supporting artists and small manufacturers alike, carrying books, bags, accessories, and home decor among other things, and they are dedicated to sustainability and resourcefulness. Since opening, they have not sold goods containing leather, feathers, or fur, refusing to promote products that bring harm to humans or animals.

Another thing I love about Uncommon Goods is their ability to find truly unique and useful pieces. They claim to be constantly "on the lookout for designs that serve a purpose, solve a problem, stun us with their beauty, or make us wonder why no one thought of it before." One glance at their site and I'm sure you'll agree with that they have met that in every way!

I know I'm not the only summer baby, so no matter who it is, they've got you covered!
Sister, mother, gal pal? Try here
Brother, father, boyfriend? Take a look here.

If you're feeling bookish, like I often am, check out the library card tote bag or the literary candles. And have you heard of hide-a-books? The heart book box would be a sweet gift and fun storage option. The Pemberly candle would be perfect to burn after lugging home every Jane Austen-esque novel I could find. I always forget to bring a bag with me to the library, but if mine was this snazzy I certainly wouldn't leave it behind.

If you're looking to bring spring into the home, pick up one of the festive vases pictured above. The porcelain giraffe bud vase comes in a set of two and brings plenty of whimsy, while the bedside smartphone vase gives you a place to charge your phone with blooms overhead. The caterpillar bud vase lets you mix and match and makes quite the centerpiece.

If you're looking for ways to organize your jewelry, the pedestal jewelry holder gets gems up off the counter and has holes perfect for perching earrings around the rim. The prism jewelry tray would be perfect for your nightstand to take off any forgotten pieces before catching some z's. I've also fallen in love with the "Be Brave" necklace --I mean, hello Brave Love Blog ;)-- which would make for a great gift for any gal in your life.

Lastly, the fruit infusing ice balls just look fun. Add some pizzazz to your summer drinks and help fight off the heat in a beautiful, uncommon way.

If you're looking for the perfect gifts for that special someone, give Uncommon Goods a look. I'm willing to bet you'll find something special for that special someone.

Any of these catch your eye?  
Bring anyone in particular to mind? 
Take a look around and share what you find!

This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. All opinions shared above are my own, while certain products/links have been highlighted by request. For sponsorship inquiries/info please see the contact page.

Day-to-Day in May

What a whirlwind, y'all! Oh my heavens. The last stretch of grad school came and went in a hurry, and you know what?! I HAVE A MASTERS IN THEATRE! Wooohoooo!!!! If that's not a cause for celebration I don't know what is. 

Summer vacation is in full swing and I'm back in the great state of Texas --okay, THAT'S another reason to happy dance-- for GOOD! But the whirlwind has only just ended and the dust is finally settling at my feet, so I thought I'd update you on a little of what's been going on in life lately. 

1. I've been blogging for Illustrated Faith!
Did you know I'm a monthly blogger for Illustrated Faith? I'm on the creative team again and I am SO THRILLED for what's ahead with this company! IF has changed my life, and the women on the creative team have been such an encouragement. Read all about them HERE.

My first entry for IF this month was about prayer and love, the water and sunshine needed to bloom in faith. I made a mess with this page but it did so much good for my soul, and it's a message I need to take to heart myself. Read all about it HERE

My second post was about finding comfort in the Word. Do you see a trend here? I so often write what my own heart needs to hear. There are so many places we look to for satisfaction and comfort, but the Word is where we can find true healing and encouragement. Read more HERE

2. I have re-read and FINISHED The Selection Series! 
I have been looking forward to the final book, The Crown, coming out for so long, and it arrived on my door step just before graduation!  However I decided to re-read the series since it had been so long, and I'm SO glad that I did! There were a bunch of small details that I forgot. I now have my mom reading the series, and she's getting so good at guessing what happens.

Honestly, I think the final two books should have been three books (I wanted more details in some areas!) but I loved them all the same. And I would have HATED to have to wait another six months for the final books. So we're all good ;) If you haven't read them yet, GO DO IT NOW!

I recommend reading them in this order (links provided below):
3. The One

3. There are TWO grads in the family!
My sister and I graduated a week apart. I finished a MA in Theatre and she got her BS in Kinesiology. I am soooooooooooo proud of how hard she's worked these past four years! She's kicked butt and taken names the WHOLE way. 

We've also gotten really close over the past few years which is such a gift, and she is now one of my best friends.  Way to go, Shelbs! You've got a bright future ahead of ya ;)

4. The #100illustrateddays Challenge is going strong!
I shared in this post about the challenges I was diving into, and I'm pleased to say that I'm more than a quarter of the way through my 100 Day Project challenge of illustrating a page in my Bible every day.  It has been so refreshing, so fun, and my Bible is bursting at the seams! 

Have you been doing the 100 Day Challenge? Find all of my illustrations HERE.

5. I survived a tornado...
Okay, so maybe the tornado was on the other side of town, but the sirens still went off which was SCARY and we all headed down to the basement for a good hour or so. I was reading The Heir at the time (all the praise hands for a good book to keep me company!) and the other girls hiding out with me had cute dogs. So that helped. 

But y'all, look at that picture again! It was intense, let me tell ya! I am SO thankful to be out of Tornado Alley. Hopefully we don't get any of that weather here now.

There you have it, friends! 
What have YOU been up to lately?

Please note: The above post contains some affiliate links. These links won't cost you a cent more, but any shopping you do will help me power through my job applications with a Sonic happy hour run ;) Thanks for your support and enjoy!

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Breaking Busy

I think I know when I started it. The glorification of busy. It must have been in high school, though I couldn't tell you why. At least not at first. My freshman year I signed up for student council and ran, unopposed, for freshman class president. I auditioned for the musical. I joined the drama team at church. The BAM. I'd been bitten by the busy bug.

The dangerous spiral launched from there: drill team manager, actor and stage manager for competitive theatre, principal's advisory council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes secretary then co-president (I wasn't even an athlete...), sports photographer then yearbook editor, political awareness club secretary (yes, really), and finally student body president. Oh yeah, I was "crowned" Miss FHS, too. Woohoo.

But what did all of that get me? A great college resume but a recipe for disaster.

I wish I had read Breaking Busy by Ali Worthington back then. The tagline reads "how to find peace & purpose in a world of crazy" and oh that SINGS to my soul!

This book was equal parts inspirational and practical, and it is a MUST read for any of you trapped in the glorification of busy like myself. Each chapter ends with action steps and questions to ask your heart and schedule, prompting you to push forward in the fight for freedom in your pursuits.

One of my favorite quotes was from the chapter on time:
"Think of stewarding your time well as a spiritual discipline. If we stay in a cycle of busyness because we can't manage our time well, can't say no because the discomfort in the moment hurts, or believe falsely that we are 'good' Christians only when we say yes to everything, we will forever be overwhelmed, never having the time or energy to live out our God-given destiny."
Woah. Talk about perspective-shifting. I had always considered my schedule to be MINE. I had said yes to too many things. I had read book after book about how to make a change but nothing had worked so far. Breaking Busy could be the tipping point.

If you, too, are DONE with the glorification of busy and want to take your life back to better give it away, give it a read. It just might be exactly what you're looking for.

I'll leave you with a parting thought, another great line from Ali:
"Let your life be about what you are meant to do, not full of what you think you should do."
And with that I've read 36 books out of my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge! I might need to raise the number ;)
Have You read anything of interest lately?
How do you plan to break busy?

 I received this book courtesy of BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Believe in 2016: May Goals

How on earth is it May?! I've had this month in mind for TWO YEARS. Why? Because I graduate from grad school on Friday! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Everything inside of me is screaming, dancing, throwing confetti, and simultaneously curling up into a ball. Big changes are head, and I don't know if I'm ready.

However, I am ready to take a look back at what happened in April and plan for May. Are you?

Making April Happen
Verse of the month: Lamentations 3:21-25
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.' The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."

1. Finish grad school! DONE! Well, I have two papers due tomorrow, then I'm D.O.N.E. done! And graduation is on Friday. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!
2. See Cinderella in Tulsa (+ more shows if possible)Hoorah! Cinderella was simply lovely, and I saw the broadcast of Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet in Ft. Worth a few weeks ago. OSU also put on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which was hilarious. A month full of theatre leaves my heart well pleased.
3. Participate in the 24 Hour Play FestivalOh, this was so fun! We got our scripts at 7:30am, started rehearsals at 9:00am, and performed at 7:30pm. What a whirlwind! My cast was great to work with, the script so interesting, and I am really proud of the product we put out by the end. Hopefully another one of these is in my future.
4. The Contentment Challenge + StudyMonth one of The Contentment Challenge actually went fairly well!  I stayed away from frivolous spending on home goods, clothing, etc, and banned myself from TJMaxx and Target (among other places). I still ate out quite a bit, so that is where the next month of the challenge will shift.
5. Journal through the April Daily Declarations. At least I started! You can find the first few pages on Instagram, @lovebaileyjean, and even on the Illustrated Faith blog. IF made a cute printable that I'm using as a locks screen, and I hope to finish out the declarations this month.
6. Read 5+ booksSo.... I definitely met this goal. In fact, I doubled it! This month I participated in the 24-Hour Readathon, which brought my book count up to 12 for this month! I read: Wild and Free, Cinder, Scarlet, All the Light We Cannot See, The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise, Peter and Alice, Ah, Wilderness!, 100 Essays I Don't Have time to Write, The Wedding Dress (Audible), Hamilton, Once Upon a Prince (Audible), and The Paris Architect.
7. Disciple my girls wellOh, these sweet girls have taught me so much! I hope that I have discipled them well, but honestly they have had a huge impact on my life, and I've learned so much from them, that I'm sure they blessed me more than they know!
8. Contribute to my teamsI successfully completed my Illustrated Faith team duties for this month, and sadly I had to step down from the Laura Rahel team. It was simply too much for my season. I also contributed my first post to the PowerSheets community site, AND I have an article coming out in a magazine this summer. Woohoo!
9. Finish the In the Wait studyI haven't yet finished In the Wait by the sweet Holly Holt, but I'm still working my way through it. Boy, is it talking right into my season. Check it out ;)

Goodness! This is the first time in a long time that I've been able to check EVERYTHING off my list (even though the final one is only mostly finished...) April was a crazy month, but I'm more than ready for the next. May, here we go!

Making May Happen
Verse of the month: Colossians 3:23
"Do your best. Work from the heart. Work for your real master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance."

1. Graduate from grad school! Graduation is Friday! Ahhhhhhh!
2. Keep with ketogenitic plan. My mom got me started on a high fat, low carb way of eating, and it has been really great. I feel so much better cutting gluten and sugar mostly out of my diet, though it is allowed in SMALL portions, and getting to slather practically everything in butter is a plus ;) This means kicking my fast food habit out the window (which will benefit both my health and my wallet), so I'll keep you posted.
3. Participate in The 100 Day Project. Elle Luna is once again hosting #the100dayproject, and I have jumped in with 100 Illustrated Days! I am illustrating a page in my Bible every day from April 19 to July 27, and so far we're going strong. Check them out HERE!
4. The Contentment Challenge + Study. Month two begins! It has been TOUGH to keep from wandering into my favorite shops, and I'll admit I shot off one Amazon order but it was small... So The Contentment Challenge continues, and I plan to cut out fast food. Wish me luck.
5. Meet my savings goals. This will largely depend on when my retail job picks up once I move back home, but I have specific amounts I want to put into savings and to put towards my trip to NYC at the end of July.  
6. Read 5+ books. My 52 Books in 52 Weeks goal for the year has passed the halfway mark! Woohoo! I have my stack of books ready to read in May, and maybe without grad school kicking my butt I'll have time to add a few more. 
7. Complete online certification. I have to admit I've been putting this off, but I need to buckle down and do it. Boo.
8. Collaborate with intention (and enthusiasm!) online. I'll be writing for Illustrated Faith and the PowerSheets this month, as well as beginning some new collaborations that I'm truly excited about! Stay tuned for more details ;) Also, I'm bubbling with a giveaway side for when Insta reaches 7,000 oh so soon! Woohoo!
9. Find a job. Yup, this one is on my list. I can't guarantee this will happen, but I am making it a priority to apply and interview as often as possible, searching out my options and the Lord's leading this month. We'll see how it goes.

Okay, May, you've got some big shoes to fill. Life is switching major gears as grad school ends and I move back to Texas, so goal planning for this month was actually really tough. I can't wait to see what actually happens by the end of it all!

So what are YOUR goals for the month?
What do you want to make happen this May?