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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Girl Behind The Blog // Your Influence

Today's the day, my friends!! It's The Girl Behind The Blog link-up, one of my favorite times of every month...because I get to see your beautiful faces and meet new bloggers! I'm so excited to be co-hosting this month with Ashley. She is such an amazing woman and I just love her so much!

 I know it can be a little intimidating to record a vlog & post if for the world to see, but the great thing about this link-up is...you're not alone! We're all doing it & it's such a wonderful way to meet new friends & work on building this awesome community of women. I know that it can be a little awkward, YouTube chooses the worst thumbnails ever just to annoy us ;), and crazy things happen (like how I was uploading my vlog earlier & long story short...it got deleted. Yeah. So this was, honestly, like take 15. Ahhh! ;) But it's so worth it because in the end, our community is stronger and we come away with getting to know other bloggers better! 

If you need to be reminded of the topic and questions, check out the prompt , make sure you follow both our blogs (we're the firs two videos!), and remember that you only have to link-up with one of the host's blogs because our links are interlinked.

 Have fun as we share our hearts on our influence! 

5ohwifey








Sunday, September 23, 2012

happy.

Life isn't perfect. Is it, friend? 
But I am reminded ever more how many beautiful reasons we have to be happy. 
To be thankful.

Sweet readers, I had several thoughts to share with you this past weekend and a couple big posts I planned to write, but life has a way of changing our little well-made plans. Long story short, this weekend my home was threatened by a wildfire - everything is completely fine now. But it was a crazy, exhausting week and weekend for many reasons. And though I planned to share some deeper thoughts with you tonight, I simply don't have the energy. And so instead, I will be back tomorrow - fresh faced and inspired. And until then, I wanted to share this with you - On Wednesday of last week, I had the joy and privilege of modeling for a photoshoot with an amazing Southern California-based photographer, Taylor Marie. Check out her inspiring, beautiful website. She's actually going to be one of my sponsors for the next few months, and so I'll be introducing her to you soon and sharing some of the photos from our shoot. A little preview... 

Blessings on your week ahead, dear one. 
I'll be back for an exciting week - 
Girl Behind the Blog linkup and I promise to share Thankful Sweetness lists.

'Til then, 
look for the little things and thank God for them.
No matter how hard life is,
we really have so many beautiful reasons to be happy.


Love.

XO

Erin


"Do not grieve.
For the joy of the Lord is your strength." 
-Nehemiah 8:10

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Girl Behind The Blog - Your Influence

  You guys.... I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you today. I'm honored and so excited to be sweet Ashley's co-host for this month's version of The Girl Behind The Blog vlog series! I jumped in for the very first Girl Behind The Blog link-up when Ashley first started the series in February (kinda awkward first vlog here) and have found this link-up to be such a huge blessing. I've seriously met and gotten to know some of my dearest bloggy friends through it and it's been such a helpful tool in building this blog community.

I am over the moon happy to be co-hosting, I just love Ashley and her heart. 
Aren't they just the cutest? (And I secretly wish that outfit 5ohbaby's wearing came in an adult size)

When I first started really blogging at the start of 2012, her blog was one of the first 3 I found and read, and she's one of the first real friends I made through blogging. She's the one who graciously explained to me how to show my e-mail in comments when I made the rookie mistake of being a "no reply comment" blogger :) She is one of those few people who is totally real. We've shared some heart to heart e-mails about struggles we've faced in life and she is always so encouraging and genuine. She's honest and down to earth in such a sweet and caring way, which I think is a rare and special character quality to have. 

I'm excited about the topic we chose because it is close to my heart. Using our influence for good is a passion of mine and the heartbeat of this blog. As Influence Conference approaches, Ashley and I will be meeting in person for the first time as well as meeting many other bloggers (yay!) But whether you are attending Influence Conference or not, this topic is something we should all consider and think about, because I firmly believe that each and every person has influence - it might be in your community, family, workplace, blog, or other platforms. Even if it's just one person, we all act as a role model to someone: whether that be to our children, co-workers, blog readers, family members, friends, etc. And we can all choose to influence others for good. We can choose to uplift and encourage others people. 
Let's share our thoughts on influence and learn from one another how to be more purposeful in using our sphere of influence for the good of others!

So, Wednesday, September 26, 2012 ... one week from today ... we invite YOU to explore your influence, both here in the blogging world and in your own life. And maybe make a few new friends. All you have to do is follow both of our blogs, post a button anywhere on your blog, and post a short vlog answering the following questions. You'll only have to link up on one of the host's blogs because our links will be interlinked. We really hope you join us. You can grab a button below to put up on your blog. Spread the word, and let's get to know each other a little better! Here are the deets... feel free to make your video your own but please try to stick to these prompts and the time limit. 


The Girl Behind The Blog - Your Influence

Time limit: Vlogs should be 2-3 minutes long
Introduce yourself and your blog
Who or what has influenced the way you think and who you are or changed the way you think/are?
How do you hope to influence people through your blog?
Is there another area in your life where you have influence? How do you plan to use your influence in this area?


Hope to see your smiling face next Wednesday :)


5ohwifey
<a href="http://www.5ohwifey.com/search/label/TGBTB" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc416/5ohwifey/Blog%20Tools/NEWtgbtb.jpg" alt="5ohwifey" width="200" height="200" /></a>


XO 

 Erin

Monday, September 17, 2012

sweet, simple, real.

If you asked me, I would tell you that as I get older I realize how important simple things are. 
I would tell you that I used to think the big things mattered most.
Now I see it's the small things, after all.
Don't get all wrapped up in having the big things, friend.
Big things can be exciting. But I think the small things.....are even better.
But take time this week and look for the small things that really aren't so small.
The simple things that don't demand your attention.
Pay attention to those things this week. 
For, they are really the big things in the end.
Like turning the pages of a book before bed instead of watching TV.
A baby's smile.
The last sweet, juicy slices of watermelon of the summer.
A friend's warm voice over the phone.
The truth you read in the Psalms that overwhelms you with peace.
New vanilla scented lotion.
A kind email from a new friend.
Laughing with your co-worker.
A hot cuppa tea.
The almost-Fall breeze.

And be thankful. We have so much. 
I love the quote above by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She said that after growing up as a poor pioneer on the prairie; she became a woman and at the end of her life was embraced by the world as a beloved and successful author of the "Little House on the Prairie" series. And yet her heart knew that the most important things were the simple, unassuming ones.

Sharing with you the sweet, simple, real things that I found this past week.

Spending time with out of town family this weekend. My cousin's sweet baby is such a doll.
My new hoop art from Beka has found it's perfect home on my wall of inspiration.
Pin-Curls. My new favorite way to create curls with volume & body. Some Instagrammers asked how; Tutorial HERE
Mom & I loving our Avon lipsticks. I'm now a representative for the company :) Avon has luscious, high-quality products for very low and reasonable prices! Check out my website here: www.youravon.com/erinelizabeth
Loving the lipsticks and lip glosses. And can we take a moment for this cute vanilla-scented body scrub... I adore the ice cream cone container, don't you?

New DIY: old scrap pieces of lace, white spray paint, and neon paper: a pretty & unique design for homemade cards!

Friends, what are some of your favorite small things?


Embrace and enjoy the little things this week. 
For they are sweet, simple, and real.

XO
Erin



Weekend iPhone Photo Drop


to follow on Instagram, search: erin_sweetnessitselfblog






//first photo via pinterest.com/sweetnessitself//

Saturday, September 15, 2012

sweet sponsor: on the heights.


My sweet readers! 
Thank you for being patient while I rode out the "wave" of what's been lovingly known as the funk. It's over now, I believe. I've spent this week thinking about some big things, praying through blogging, and am freshly inspired to dive headfirst, fearless into writing, blogging...and in the next weeks, I am going to share something exciting with you -  a new project that the Lord has put on my heart!!

 Until then, I have a new friend for you to meet and embrace. She is lovely and has a beautiful heart. I so encourage you to go over to her blog and say hi, follow her, and take time to read some of her posts. If you're looking for real community, blogs that encourage you, and like-minded sisters who will lift you up - she is someone to get to know. Friends, we can't go at this alone. We need others who can lift us up, encourage us, point us to Jesus when we feel down. I call it "the net". Last week, I tweeted a cry for prayer and I instantly received THE most kind, loving, and thoughtful e-mail from the writer of the blog I am about to share with you. On The Heights is a rare gem, and Diana is a beautiful person. Take a moment to read her heart here. And visit her blog. I've disabled comments on this post so that you can go share some love on her blog. Without further adieu, meet Diana:  


1 // tell us all about your encouraging blog and why you chose the name. i work an office job doing pretty uncreative things all day long. on the heights  is a space for me to come and create; to share the things that inspire me and to love on people who i may very well never meet in person. on the heights is a place for me to share my story as God writes it. and sometimes, it's raw and it's too honest - but God is writing a uniquely beautiful story with my life. so i want to be brave enough to share it.
the name on the heights comes from habakkuk 3:19, my absolute favorite verse in the bible. it reads, the sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's feet, He enables me to go on the heights. i read this verse before almost every race i ever ran in college. the thought of God literally guiding my steps has always intrigued and comforted me. i want Him to write my story - to guide my feet to the places He'd have them go.
2 // what is the Lord teaching you right now? goodness gracious. the Lord is so clearly and so tenderly teaching me patience. patience in finding a new job in charlotte. patience in relationships. patience in progress. patience in success. patience in growth. He is teaching me, that like everything else, this is merely a season of my life. whatever it is a season of, He is nudging me to lean solely on Him. because He alone is enough. everyday, He is enough.

3 // if your life was made into a movie, which actress would you choose to portray you and why? kate hudson. she is hysterical and i feel like we'd (creepily) be best friends, haha. (and i love that andie anderson in how to lose a guy in 10 days is also a writer. so that's a plus!)
4 // if you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only have 3 items, what would you bring? my bible, something to write with and a charged cell phone with an unlimited data plan.

5 // what is your favorite thing about blogging? what is one tip you can share to help other bloggers?  i love that blogging is a true community. when i first started blogging, i must admit that i expected there to be some sense of competition among bloggers - sort of a "my blog is better than your blog" type mentality. i was so pleasantly surprised. i have found nothing but support from bloggy friends and have been so encouraged by the sweetness and serenity by you all. there is such a sense of community here - and i love it! one piece of advice to others bloggers would be to find your voice. i am a firm believer that good writers borrow - but i think it is absolutely essential to adopt your own voice and style on your blog. it's your space to do whatever you want with - be you! i promise you, when you do this, you will feel so much better about your blog - and the support you receive will be so tremendous, you will quickly become more and more comfortable in your own bloggy skin :)


***

Isn't she awesome?
Told ya so.
Earlier this week, Diana encouraged me with these words and I want to share them with you:
"Sometimes, God breaks me and brings me to an absolute bottom 
and it's then that I FINALLY remember, 
'Oh yeah. I should be looking UP."

Look up today. 
You just might find Him.

Back again late this weekend to say hi and share Thankful Sweetness lists.


Love and prayers for all in this beautiful community,
for all those who read.

XO

Erin

still a few spots open to sponsor with me :)
if you're interested, click here

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

eleven.

I will never forget the morning of September 11, 2001. Before terror hit our country in the most keen and painful way, it was already a memorable day for me: 9/11/01 was circled in red on my calendar because it was my first day of High School. I remember waking up early, reading my Bible like I always did, and hopping in the shower as Mom prepared the fresh, new books on our kitchen table. Being homeschooled meant we would be right there all day - and I loved it like that. I remember being excited - a new chapter of life, a new season beginning... another step towards growing up. I remember rinsing the shampoo out of my hair in the shower and humming some pop song when I heard a knock at the bathroom door. Through the steam, Mom told me to hurry up - we needed to go over to Scott and Belinda's house (we didn't have cable TV at the time) - I asked, "Why?" through the shower curtain. And Mom quietly said, "An airplane somehow flew into the World Trade Center and lots and lots of people are dying...hurry... and pray." Her voice was strained, scared. It sounded like she'd been crying. She shut the door and I rushed to rinse the shampoo out of my hair. I skipped the conditioner. It didn't really even matter at a time like this. I remember standing there under the hot water and thinking - I didn't really even know quite what the World Trade Center was. I'm a born and raised California girl - and I'd never even been to New York City; but somehow, it hit me hard. With just that fragmented piece of information - I just knew, somewhere deep in my heart, that this was big. And that it was terrible. I pictured myself just two years before - on my way to visit Israel on a church trip, and our layover was in New Jersey. I remembered standing at the big window in the Newark airport, straining my eyes over the sea of sparkling lights in the inky dark night - and seeing those two very tall towers that Dad pointed out - to me, they looked huge, unshakable, steady...just like America. Now, I wept. Looking back, I really had no idea how monumental this event would be for our nation, for my life - my perspective. As I stood there in the shower, all I knew was that people had died and this was big... and bad. I didn't understand then that our country was under severe attack by terrorists who wanted us dead - in fact, at this point, no one even knew it was a terrorist attack. I didn't know how many families would be left fatherless, motherless, childless. 

I had no idea the days and weeks ahead of our country - I had no idea that countless firefighters and rescue workers would be sifting through that toxic, fiery rubble for months to come, desperately looking for signs of human life - finding fragmented pieces of torn apart, unrecognizable bodies. I had no idea the way my generation would forever be changed by the events of that day. No idea that my life and perspective and heart would be altered. No clue how this event would shape my generation, how it would color how young people viewed everything and how the future would be decidedly marked by it. 

That the first day of High School was a stepping stone into a less-innocent mindset. I didn't know how drastically America would change - from the economy to the way we traveled - to the bloody war that would soon begin, taking from our lives people we loved and treasured. I knew none of these realities that early morning; but I wept, nevertheless. I don't think I'd ever really wept before. Oh, I'd cried. But never wept, not like this. I was just 14 and my life had mostly been the picture of happiness, innocent, and peace. But somehow, my heart knew - my heart reeled and grieved and my body shook with sobs that morning for the people in the rubble, the people who lost family members, loved ones... the kids who started High School just like me that day, who would come home to an empty house and a missing Dad or Mom. I spent that first school day huddled in front of the TV in shock with close friends and family. 

I started High School on 9/11, but not in the way my teacher-Mom planned. Instead of fresh textbooks and newly sharpened pencils, I watched CNN while my perceptions of life, dreams, loss, my future, my country, and the world shifted. A sense of fear, maturity, and a new reality set in and changed my heart forever. But I was one of the lucky ones. My heart ached for those who were there, who were directly affected. And it still aches to this day.
Our country reeled in pain, sorrow, and shock that Tuesday morning. And eleven years later on this Tuesday morning, I don't really think we've stopped reeling. I know I haven't even tasted the very tiniest tip of the iceberg of horror and devastation that some Americans suffered, and continue to suffer, because of 9/11. The effects of the terrorist acts that fateful day are very far reaching, monumental and defining in our nation's history. 

Today, High School is long since completed. I'm now an adult trying to figure out life in my twenties. And our country and personal lives have taken many turns and ups and downs since the horror, injustice, and unthinkable loss and pain we experienced on 9/11/01. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with those who experienced loss that day. Who lost loved ones, family, friends, happiness, health, peace of mind, dreams, and faith. Those who lost life, hope, and love.

Eleven years later, my prayer is this: that America takes our broken pieces, the suffering, the loss, the confusion, the pain, and the fear that still haunts us - and that we give those pieces to God. For, after all - He is the only one who can heal and mend, redeem and save, give peace and restoration.

Hug somebody you love today. Life is precious and can change in an instant.

XO

Erin


// Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
and all that is within me, 
bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits - 
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit 
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The Lord works righteousness 
and justice
for all the oppressed. // 
-Psalm 103:1-6

Sunday, September 9, 2012

random string of thoughts.

My sweet friends!

 I've missed you this week. Several times I sat down at my laptop, ready to write a post. But each time, I couldn't do it. It wasn't writer's block and it wasn't due to a lack of ideas or thoughts. I suppose I was in a bit of a funk.... not necessarily a bad funk, but a funk nonetheless. This mixture of feeling overwhelmed, a little weary, and contemplative = the funk. And because of my promise to myself and my readers to never write "funk posts" on this little blog, I took a step back and I'm finally here today. 

My heart is full, and I have few words tonight. A few exciting projects the Lord has led me to begin are filling my time and threatening to overwhelm my mind. And until I can share those with you soon, I want to share with you a few thoughts - 

I am learning. 

When to step out and be brave. When to refrain and be quiet. Learning to listen to His whispers and follow His word. To be present in every moment, the mundane as well as the amazing. To breathe, to rest, to work. To do what I don't feel like doing...and to do what I really, really want to do. And learning to trust God in the uncertainties of life. 

I'll be back, my dears, early this coming week. 'Til then, I'd love to share some bits from the past two weeks... which are really just a random string of moments, pictures, and thoughts.

Friend, what are you learning and how is your heart? I'd love to hear. 


Perfect candle from my mom - smells just like a Pumpkin Spice Latte :)
The last of Summer days by the sea.
I love playing catch on the beach with my dad
My sweet friend Beka sent me this package. Tears! Visit her lovely blog here

Prayers for each one of you who reads.
Shine for Him this week and stay true to who YOU are and what you believe.

Love.

XO
Erin


"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."
-Hebrews 10:23

PS - I didn't forget about "Thankful Sweetness" :) Will be back next week so keep on writing those beautiful lists.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

influence & somethin' about me.


Hello my sweet readers! 

 I hope that each of you had a beautiful Labor Day weekend. And to those who may be visiting from the Influence link-up today, welcome! As I've shared before, in October I am privileged to attend Influence Conference. This conference is a gift from God to me - not just because I'm sure it will be totally encouraging but also because it truly was that: a gift. Early this summer, on May 20th to be exact, I remember praying about going but there was no possible way. On a difficult weekend full of tears and struggling with trusting the Lord for His provision in my life (on many levels, but specifically financially) I received an unexpected e-mail. An e-mail I will never, ever delete. The sender? Annie, one of my sweet bloggy friends. The subject? "Influence Conference Purchase." I looked down at my iPhone as I opened the e-mail, and tears spontaneously began to fall. The message simply read, 

"I'm excited to meet you in October, Erin. This is for you." 

 Yes. She bought me a ticket. And I was completely overwhelmed with thankfulness. 
 You can read more of the story in this post. Because of my precious friend's generous heart and also because of my sweet kindred spirit, L's thoughtfulness and kindness (read her encouraging blog, here) I am going to Influence. Annie and L are two of my roommates, along with the amazing Chelsea (she blogs here) and I am SO counting down the days until this amazing conference! Yeah, it's totes on my phone. See? 
38 days, people! 38 days. (And yes, those are my roommates!)

If you're attending the conference, I cannot wait to see you there, give you a big hug, and get to know you better through reading your blog now. Here are my answers to the link-up's "Get to Know Me" questions.

If you're not attending, please don't feel left out! I pray that you would somehow find fresh encouragement and a sweet reminder through my story - a reminder that our God is big, amazing, and knows our hearts. He answers prayer, He works in unexpected ways, and He has some really, really beautiful daughters who reflect Him in profound and precious ways. I pray you are encouraged to believe in the impossible. To hope for what seems hopeless. And to keep on listening to His whispers. And may you smile as you read along - and maybe get to know me a little better! 

3 "get to know me" things

1 // I love Jesus. I'm grew up as a homeschooled pastor's kid,  a worship leader for ten years, and attended a Christian college & majored in Home Economics-Family & Consumer Sciences. I love ministry, and specifically have a heart to minister to women in the area of purity - chasing a lifestyle of sexual purity in mind, body and spirit - whether single, dating, engaged, or married.

2 //  I grew up on a 350 acre horse ranch in Southern California. People always call me a girly girl. Yet, at heart? I'm just a country farm girl who kinda wishes she had a Southern accent :)

3 // I adore the color pink. Someday, I dream of visiting Prince Edward Island (yes, where "Anne" lived.) I have a big heart for orphans. I love country music. Watching a good game of football with my dad makes me smile. I love red nailpolish. And dancing. 

2 things i'm looking forward to about the conference

1. // The stripe party. Yes, I said it. I love themed parties. And stripes. And big get-togethers where blog friends become real life friends

2. // Meeting and hearing from Casey Wiegand. I love her blog. I love her heart. She's been an inspiration to me this past year - to dream big, take risks, and be myself. Love her!

1 thing i can't leave home without

// TEA. I know that sounds weird. But I seriously take tea bags everywhere I go. I have this little tea pouch my grandma sewed for me & I always have little packages of my favorite tea with me. So, if you see me whip a tea bag out of my purse when we're standing in the coffee line together, you'll know why.

Influence sisters, I can't wait to meet you. 
And to all my sweet readers and blog sisters - I love ya. 

XO

Erin

// outfit stats // 

top: Forever 21
shorts: Gap
necklace: Forever 21
watch: Michael Kors
anklet: bought it on a special trip years ago in Athens, Greece
wedges: H&M



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sponsor for September!

   
  Today, for the first time in weeks, a cool breeze is blowing in my window. And as I sit here with a cup of tea and a white cable knit throw wrapped around me, I am happily enjoying almost-Fall. Can you believe it's already September 1st? Crazy how time flies. And with the changing of the months and the seasons, I wanted to extend an opportunity to you, my sweet reader. If you're looking to promote your blog or small business, I would be honored to work with. I am offering a variety of advertising options on Sweetness Itself and would love for you to take a look!
        This month, I'm adding several spots that are the price of a Starbucks LATTE :) so look below and get 'em while they're hot!
       
 I am no longer offering swaps, but for those of you who have emailed me and are already      lined up for swaps in the coming weeks, no change to you!

       Since starting the blog and ministry at the end of 2011, it has grown significantly and I've just been amazed at the community of bloggers and readers I've come to have the privilege of connecting with. Now, friends, I want to connect you and introduce you to my other awesome readers and followers!

If you have any questions, email me.

Enjoy the last drops of your weekend, dear friend. I'll be back for the start of the week with some new thoughts.

Sponsorship Info: 


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---> Ads run for 30 days.
---> Don't have a button? No worries! I'll make one for you for $5.

Stats:
--As of 8/31/12--

 Pageviews last month: 10,500+
Google Friend Connect Followers: 680+
Twitter: 680+
Instagram: 760+
Pinterest: 536+
Hello Cotton: 139+
 {featured on Lifestyle blogs of the day in June 2012}
Facebook: 169+
{posts are also shared with 950+ personal Facebook friends}
//Bloglovin' - #15 of 248 in Christian blog category//


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