Tag Archives: beauty

Favorites to Follow on Instagram

August 15, 2017

It’s no surprise that Instagram is one of our favorite sources for inspiration. We’ve rounded up a list of our current favorites to follow, some of which are our very own Birmingham locals. We think they’ll inspire you, too.

@BrittanyBMassey- Brittany Massey is a freelance hair and makeup stylist and one of the cutest moms we’ve ever seen! She makes motherhood look effortlessly stylish and fun! From makeup transformations and outfit ideas to a glimpse into her family life, Brittany is one to follow.

brittany massey

brittany massey

brittany massey

@Megan_Larussa – Style coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth is the Southeast’s top expert in “dressing for the life you desire.”  We love her Instagram filled with daily style hacks, confidence tips, and more. Be sure to check out her Back-to-School shoppable guide for every mom!

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@StudioMcGee – We love this husband-wife owned interior design studio and online store. If you like pretty pictures of dream interiors, then follow this duo for inspiring decorating ideas and video tips, too.

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studio mcgee

Style File: Botanical Prints

July 21, 2017

Who doesn’t love an art gallery wall? If you have a large wall space, then a gallery is the perfect way to fill your spot. Personally, I now lean toward designs with symmetry. I love the look of a gallery with same size frames. It gives a sophisticated and clean look even with multiple pieces of varying art. (And I absolutely swoon over floor to ceiling galleries.) Recently, I wondered what I was going to do with the set of six frames with matting I had purchased. I remembered how much I adored botanical prints and even found several printables for free. Granted, they’re not the real deal vintage print, but it sure to does bring life to my wall now.

These free printables by A Daily Something are what I used for my wall. But with a simple Google search, you’ll find that a botanical gallery is just one click and print away. For larger or vintage prints, Etsy is great source.

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Here’s some inspiration for your next weekend project.

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Free printable for this set at PoppyTalk.com

Poppytalk.com

 

 

 

botanical prints

 

botanical prints

botanical prints

Real Religion

July 9, 2017

 Photo credit: Ismael Burciaga

It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth day of feeling deathly ill that I decided to pray. Deathly ill is a bit exaggerated, but I was sick for over a week with strep throat. “They” say it hits adults harder than children, and I believe that now. Alone in my apartment trying not to get anyone infected, I prayed. And I prayed hard.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the last time that I had prayed.

But I do remember the first time. I was an innocent eight year old girl, holding the Sunday School teacher’s hand as I “asked Jesus into my heart” – what the Baptists call being saved. Prayer became second nature to me and so did doing right.

Church and singing became my life. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night the doors opened, I was there along with my two sisters and faithful mother. Alone in my bedroom with my initialed Bible, I often prayed for my father who didn’t attend with us.

Over the short twenty-seven years of my life, my faith has evolved. It (faith) has always been a part of my life, not just a small part but a large part. Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, the issue of right and wrong was pounded heavily in my head. In high school, I attended a charismatic church and always was the lead star on the praise team. We were preached to about sin until our faces turned blue and slathered with oil at the altar when in time of prayer. They viewed prayer as powerful and life changing and so did I.

As a college student, I discovered a new found freedom, questioned my faith and rarely attended church. Along the way, God always pulled me into his arms whether through a friend or song heard on the radio. Often prayers were spoken in times of stress and guilt.

My eclectic background had me confused. My faith in God became more about appearance and doing right. How to overcome temptation and live in a real world was not something I had been equipped to do. But I knew the right words to say, the perfect flowery words to pray.

As the years have passed on, I have faced reality in more ways than one- through the loss of close loved ones, loss of jobs and the end of a marriage- my heart has been bumped, pushed, torn and broken and sometimes all at the same time.

Living for the Lord stopped being about what others expected of me. It stopped being about doing what others thought was right and stopped being about praying what the preacher taught me to pray.

Many times it feels like there is a label on my forehead that reads “failure.” I’m not the perfect example of Christian that I once claimed and others thought of me. I’ve made mistakes, big mistakes and often appeared as just another face in the crowd.

I’ve learned to pray differently — from a heart that knows I’m nothing without him. I’ve learned to pray without fancy words. I’m appreciative that I have a mother that made sure I was in church and a grandmother that prayed for me daily and often recited Psalm 23 as she drove me to daycare. I’m appreciative that I experienced eclectic styles of worship. But I have found what works for me.

I’m reminded of the song that I once sang as a child, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” My faith is simple and so is my prayer life. I know who He is based on my own experiences. From that I pray. It may not be a pretty prayer- just me, raw and transparent.

Brittany Windle

Photography credit: Ismael Burciaga

The “R” Word

June 20, 2017

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“Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day,” this song rings loudly in every bride’s ears on her wedding day. Unfortunately, avoiding this word will not make the dark clouds hide and the sun appear.

Becca Bell, owner of 2b Photography, says, “Some of the most beautiful and creative images come from getting scrappy and being resourceful when faced with the challenges of the day.”

On her blog, she provides five tips to help lessen the anxiety of rain on your wedding day. I had the privilege of helping her style Part 2 of this series. With the use of stylish umbrellas and cute rain boots, there may just be a silver lining when it comes to a bride’s worst nightmare.

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To see the complete gallery of photos, click here.

Brittany Windle

Photo Credit: Becca Bell of 2b Photography 

5 Musts for the Busy Woman

March 23, 2016

2b Photography

Recently, I had a change of jobs. Although I would consider this move to be an advancement from where I was before, I caught myself homesick and stressed. A new job means a new schedule, new people and new responsibilities.

To make it through the transition and twelve hour days, I began to find something to look forward to every day. Thankfully, the time change peeked around the corner and has allowed for the sun to still be beautiful and bright when I exit the building on those long days. The first day the sun was still out at 6:30 p.m., I hurried into the house, changed into workout clothes, and bolted out the door for a long run. Looking forward to something as simple as the sunshine allowed me to look for the silver lining in each day.

I’m kinda known for relishing in a cup of hot tea, preferably “Sleepy Time” tea at night, taking long baths, and cuddling up in a cozy robe. (No, I am not in my 60′s.) If you didn’t consider me to be an old soul before, I’m sure my new philosophy on life solidifies it now.

But if you catch yourself running only on fumes and know that your busy schedule may not be slowing down, consider these five musts for keeping your sanity and lowering your stress:

1. Find something to look forward to every day, even if it’s just as simple as sitting on your porch or going for a walk in the afternoon.

2. Discover the things that bring you joy and fulfillment, and do them! Implement these small joys into your daily life. Exercise is essential for me. Even if I were to never burn a calorie or lose an inch, I would still workout. Exercise relieves stress and releases endorphins. (Endorphins reduce your perception of pain and produce a positive feeling! Thanks, WebMD.) Other things on the list may include going to the farmers’ market on Saturday’s or thrift shopping. Your list may look differently, but whatever it is, make time for those things that create moments of relaxation and happiness.

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3. Surround yourself with inspiring friends. My closest girl friends validate my feelings but are also honest with grace when needed. Their conversations are therapeutic, comical and often times enlightening. And hey, “a good friend is cheaper than therapy,” they say. Negativity breeds negativity, which can add to an already stressful life.

4. Take time to be with your family, and call your grandmother back.  My family centers me. They shower unconditional love and provide irreplaceable support. During my job change, my grandmother called several times and left voicemails. When I returned the call, all she wanted to say was “I love you.”

5. Put it in your schedule to rest. Rest is just as important as anything you do. If you are spent, then you are good for no one. A rested mind, body, and soul make for a better friend, mother, sister and coworker. Say “no” to things that you know will be draining, and make time to sit down and put your feet up daily.

What can you look forward to every day?

Article by Brittany Windle

Photo Credit: 2b Photography  Model: Becca Bell, one of my inspiring friends

Inspire Us Bham

February 9, 2016

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inspire us bham

The Inspire Us Bham project was started by Laura Jett Walker, a wedding photographer, and Kali Peirsall, a wedding videographer. “ A 2005 car wreck left Piersall with a prominent scar on her forehead. Wouldn’t it be neat, she said, if Walker captured her in a makeup-free portrait?”

This conversation inspired the fun duo to host an event and photo shoot of 20 to 30 women all makeup free, celebrating raw beauty and the stories behind these inspiring women.

Piersall and Walker say their goal is to celebrate women and their individuality. “‘We’re all about people being different,’ Piersall says. ‘There’s a lot of jobs the Lord’s given me and given Laura. But judging people isn’t one of them.’”

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Kerri, one of the many women involved in the project, tells her story of helping other women accept their uniqueness.

On Feb. 15, Walker will photograph these women and document each story. Applications are now closed, but you can join the event at The Nest in Avondale from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. We’ll be there!

Read Kerri’s story and many others here, and stay tuned for the release of the project!

(Sources: Al.com)

Thanksgiving Serve

November 6, 2015

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“If you don’t post it on social media, it never happened” is a common misconception. It can be extremely easy to lose sight of what’s important with the way the media has helped play a role in distracting us. The need to post everything we do from what we ate that night to a rant on presidential elections are among the themes we see on our Facebook news feeds. Some things should be left unseen and unheard. Unfortunately, privacy no longer exists.

Social media often fuels the selfish nature of man. Self is gloried at every turn. While the need to be outwardly beautiful is every person’s desire, this need has become an obsession to the point that many can’t post a picture without first editing and tweaking. Instagram accounts look like editorial features from magazines ranging from Cosmo to Southern Living.

“If you don’t have a crisp, white kitchen, wreaths decorated with burlap, and you and your children looking as if you’ve stepped out of J. Crew, you’re nothing,” a friend joked as we were talking about social media expectations.

What if the time we spent in front of the mirror or retaking a photo was spent serving others? What if we decided to create a balance, “unfollow” those who cause us to compare? What if we didn’t think about self so much but the person we may have passed by at the grocery store who needed help with their bags? Did we notice the homeless woman sitting outside that department store?

An act of service may not be seen or heard by a crowd of many. But the impact it has on an individual far outweighs the “likes” your selfie may receive.

Sometimes I have to remind myself what it’s all about. The expectations of the media and the self absorption it has helped create can be exhausting. To set myself aside, serve a person less fortunate puts things into perspective.

And if no one sees it or hears it, it still happened…. and best of all, it could be life changing to someone who really needs it.

Join me this Thanksgiving in serving those in the Birmingham area. Listed below are service opportunities hosted by several organizations in the city.

1. Church of the Highlands

2. Hands on Birmingham 

3. Jimmie Hale Mission

4. The Community Kitchens of Birmingham

5. First Light Shelter

6. See this list of Food Pantries in Birmingham for service opportunities.

7. Check out the Homeless Shelter Directory for a list of shelters in the state of Alabama.

* If the service opportunity isn’t on the website, call the location to inquire.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

Quote and Photo: TryLife

Q & A with Aubrey Sampson

October 28, 2015

overcomerToo many women have allowed shame to condemn and confine them for far too long. If you’re ready to break free, regardless of the shame experience that is holding you back, Aubrey Sampson–a pastor’s wife and an advocate for at risk women—invites you, like her, to be an overcomer. Sampson courageously shares her own history with shame, ranging from sexual assault to everyday imperfections and laughable mistakes. But it doesn’t end there.

Sampson identifies seven major lies of shame, such as, “I cannot experience freedom from shame,” “My past is unsalvageable,” and “Shame is experienced only in traumatic situations.”

Written with a strong biblical theology and a humorous authenticity, Overcomer equips readers with the spiritual understanding to overcome shame.

Through her personal experiences and true-life stories shared by women of all ages, Sampson deals directly with the shame that comes from the humbling moments in life, as well as from the tragic—sexual abuse, eating disorders, addiction, abandonment, and more. Then she empowers women to transform their life’s story into ministry, creating ripple effects of hope and healing that can change the world.

Written for any woman whose self-worth has been stolen, Overcomer gives you the courage to kick down the walls of shame and embrace freedom and a future in Christ.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aubrey Sampson is passionate about empowering women of all ages to experience freedom from shame. An author, speaker, church planter, and member of the Redbud Writers Guild, Aubrey lives and ministers in the Chicagoland area with her husband, Kevin and three young sons.

Connect with Aubrey at www.aubreysampson.com and @aubsamp.

Q and A with the Author

 1. What is shame?

Shame encompasses such a wide range of emotions it can be difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way to understand it is to think back on a moment when you experienced it. You may have felt embarrassment, discomfort, or self-consciousness (I was a middle schooler with pink and purple braces and bangs up to the clouds, so yeah, I know self-consciousness!). Shame can also express itself in much weightier emotions, such as when we feel humiliated, inadequate, injured, or abused. Another difficulty with shame is that so many of us live under the weight of it without realizing it because we’ve been conditioned by culture and life experience to accept that feeling as normal. Shame is simply always there; it’s that familiar yet profound feeling that we don’t measure up.

Add to all of that, the pressure in our Christian culture to operate above reproach all the time, we can feel ashamed when we make even the tiniest of mistakes. We may even believe that if we aren’t shaming ourselves, we’re in danger of becoming prideful. So we beat ourselves up as the “better,” more Christlike option. It’s a vicious cycle. At its core, an identity of shame is the belief that, in whole or in part, I am not enough.

Throughout Overcomer, I share my own history of “not-enoughness,” along with stories from others who’ve overcome shame in their lives— ranging from situations of abuse to struggles with body image and eating, to everyday laughable imperfections.

The ultimate message of Overcomer is this: in spite of the overwhelming nature of shame, there is good news. The promise of Scripture is that when we look to Jesus, our shame is transformed into sparkling, beaming joy (Psalm 34:5). There may be moments in life when we feel condemned, but when our identity is centered in Christ, we can discard the dark covering of shame and rise in radiance.

2. In your new book, Overcomer, you share the seven lies shame tells women. Can you go into one of those for us?

While shame tells us many lies, ranging from My past is unsalvageable to I’ll never be free from shame, I believe one of its most insidious lies is that because of shame in our pasts, we are unfit to be used by God in powerful ways. Regardless of the form your shame might take, sooner or later it will try to make you feel disqualified so that you question your ability to be a good anything—leader, employee, friend, date, spouse, parent, even child of God. But the truth for us today is the same truth that empowered Paul in 2 Corinthians. The grace of God is sufficient, not in spite of our weaknesses, brokenness, and shame but smack-dab in the middle of them. That’s where the power is, according to Paul: “[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ … That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses. … For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9–10).

In other words, if we believe we’re insufficient  (and even if in some circumstances we are), it doesn’t even matter, because Jesus is more than sufficient and he qualifies us—for grace, for mercy, and for meaningful service in the kingdom of God.

3. The title of your book is, Overcomer, what does that word mean to you? What will your readers take away from it?

 About a year ago, a friend heard the book title and asked, “Who’s the overcomer? You? The reader?”  Her question struck me as funny at the time, because I initially thought, “Well, of course it’s the reader! Who else would it be?”

But then I realized something that changed the roadmap of the book. The only reason we can overcome our shame is because we have an Overcomer in Christ. He endured the ultimate shame so that we no longer have to. That’s what I want readers to leave with – the truth that even if they still battle shame at times (and we all do), they have, in Jesus, a Savior and a Shame Remover—a Sovereign Ruler who compels our shame to bow down before his authority. In other words, even if your past is dark, even if you’ve spent your entire life feeling like a replica of yourself, even if you think you don’t measure up, even if you’ve been hiding in shame for years, you can overcome shame because your Overcomer already has.

4. The phrase from your book, “shame flourishes in silence” is really powerful. Can you explain how this happens and what we can do to stop it?

The root of the word shame is actually derived from the phrase, “to cover.” Just as Adam and Eve were so ashamed of their sin they covered themselves with fig leaves, over and over again we instinctually follow their lead. Anytime we feel ashamed, on any level, the last thing we want to do is broadcast those feelings to the world around us. Shame loves to isolate and isolation loves to keep us from experiencing the benefits of community.

Far too often we believe the shame-lie that our imperfections equal our inadequacy, and that exposing our flaws will reveal spiritual immaturity or lack of faith. So we suffer silently, saying nothing about our inner pain. In the meantime, our shame roots grow deeper.

There is greater freedom and deeper joy to be had when we are willing to break the silence of shame and reveal our authentically-flawed selves to each other. It’s ironic, actually. As we disclose our weaknesses to others, that act actually strengthens us and our communities to continue overcoming shame. Acts of vulnerability produce contagious courage.

At the end of the day, vulnerability doesn’t have to be overly complicated, excessively dramatic, or heavily programmed. In fact, the most powerful moments I’ve experienced in community are the organic ones; when one person talks about a struggle and another says, “Oh, I struggle with that too, but I never came to you because I assumed you had it all together.”

Overcomer equips readers with the courage necessary to begin coming out of the darkness, kicking down the walls of shame, and embracing freedom and future in Christ.

Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding your Soul, www.aubreysampson.com

Is available for on AmazonBarnes and NobleChristian Books, and wherever books are sold.

© (Sections taken from Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Zondervan.www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.)

 

TED Talks: Inspiring Women

June 25, 2015

Stories of great courage and lessons learned are the themes of these TED Talks. These speakers will remind you that no matter your story, it can and should be used for a greater purpose.

Piper Kerman

You will want to watch this TEDx talk from Piper Kerman, the woman whose memoir inspired the show Orange is the New Black.

In the talk, Kerman tells the story of how, at age 34, she was sent to federal prison for delivering drug money a decade earlier. She shares the lessons she learned on the inside — lessons about prison survival, lessons about a broken justice system, and larger lessons about life.

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Meera Vijayann

This talk begins with a personal story of sexual violence that may be difficult to listen to. But that’s the point, says citizen journalist Meera Vijayann: Speaking out on tough, taboo topics is the spark for change. Vijayann uses digital media to speak honestly about her experience of gender violence in her home country of India — and calls on others to speak out too.

Sarah Kay

A performing poet since she was 14 years old, Sarah Kay is the founder of Project VOICE, an organization that uses spoken word poetry as a literacy and empowerment tool.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

31 Bits: Eliminating Poverty

June 23, 2015
Sophia Bush in Gulu, Uganda and the women of 31 Bits.

Sophia Bush in Gulu, Uganda and the women of 31 Bits.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw Sophia Bush in a long, white and black checkered skirt surrounded by a group of women in Uganda. I couldn’t help but read what her latest adventure was. She was and is still visiting the women of 31 Bits. She is a part of a project that will be telling the stories of these artisans.

31 Bits is more than just a jewelry company. It is a business that was founded by five women from California who saw a way to eliminate poverty with fashion. One of the founders, Kallie Dovel, returned from a “life-changing” trip from Uganda during her senior year of college. “Kallie brought a box of the jewelry back, and we fell in love instantly. We sold the jewelry to friends and ran out within weeks. That’s when it hit us. These women had a skill, but needed a market,” the founders state in their story.

Green accessories from the Summer Collection

Within a year or so of traveling back and forth and selling the jewelry, they implemented a five year development program where the women of Gulu receive health education, finance training, counseling, and business training. They knew that these women needed more than just a paycheck. “After five years in our program, the women graduate, leaving with an education, a career, social equity, confidence, and a voice.”

The beads of each piece of jewelry is handcrafted and made from recycled paper. 99% of the materials are from local markets in Eastern Africa. “All of our products are carefully crafted by hand. From the first cut of paper to stringing on the final bead, every detail was thought through. You might find tiny differences from bead to bead, but we call those the “perfect imperfections” of having a handmade product. Each piece is unique and tells a story because it was made by a real person.”

Summer Collection - the "Marrakesh" necklace

Summer Collection – the “Marrakesh” necklace

Arach Nighty grew up a child enslaved to the war traveling through Eastern Africa. She never had a chance to go to school, and didn’t think her own children would ever get to either.

Arach Nighty grew up a child enslaved to the war traveling through Eastern Africa. She never had a chance to go to school, and didn’t think her own children would ever get to either.

Sophia Bush sums it up beautifully with these words: “31 Bits was born to help rehabilitate a war-torn region. To help empower the most disadvantaged women. To return hope to families. And these amazing ladies have done it. Their stories will move you to tears, make you thankful for the sheer magic that is the human spirit, and bring so much joy into your heart that you’ll realize you’re clutching your hand to your chest just to feel it beating, and you didn’t even notice that you put it there. Being conscious of what you support, even through such simple actions as buying a bracelet or necklace for a loved one, can literally impact entire communities halfway around the world.”

Impact an entire community by supporting companies like 31 Bits. Every purchase is life-changing.

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.