New Year, New Resolution

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Dress: Versona (sold out online, but I’ve seen it still in stores)

 Jacket: Similar Shoes: Similar

Happy New Year Everybody!

If you have been around for awhile, you may remember that last year I shared with you that I don’t enjoy doing the traditional resolutions, but rather enjoy picking a trait or two to work on for the year.  Last year my words were to be gentle and kind, and while I was not perfect, I have definitely seen growth in this and am so thankful that I spent the past year focusing on this.  There were several times where because I had this at the front of my mind I acted in a kinder and more gentle manner than I might have otherwise.

I have been looking forward to sharing my words for this year with all of you for sometime now.  While spending some time with God last October, I felt him leading me to have my words for 2018 be faith and courage.  This year I want to focus on having faith and trusting God at a new level, knowing that He will never lead me wrong.  This is so much easier said than done, and that is where the courage comes into play.  Sometimes it is scary to step out on faith, and this year I want to have the courage to go wherever God may lead me.

And while this isn’t part of my “words for the year”, I want to draw closer to God and own my identity in Him of a sinner saved by grace and a beloved daughter adopted into His family.  What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?  Does anyone else choose a word or words to try to define your year with?  If so, I’d love to hear them!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

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Christmas Recap

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Sweater: Jcrew Old (similar) (similar)  (similar) Necklace: Versona Old (similar) Boots: Old (this years version) Purse: Similar

Christmas began early this year for my family.  My aunts, uncles and cousins all came in town on the 22nd and we celebrated on the 23rd.  It was a little smaller gathering this year than in years past due to scheduling conflicts, but it was still so much fun to spend time with family!  My cousin has been wanting me to make my hot chocolate for her ever since I posted about it, so I promised her that when she came in town for Christmas I would make it then.  We got in the car and braved the grocery store to pickup the ingredients and had fun making hot chocolate.  Afterwards we all gathered around and opened presents.  All too soon the time came for family to head home, but thankfully Christmas weekend was still just beginning!

Christmas Eve I went to a candlelight service in the evening.  I am an old soul at heart, so I loved being at church in a room filled with candlelight singing carols of old and remembering the true reason for Christmas.  Christmas has always been my most favorite time of the year, everyone is a little nicer, the winter evenings are lit by twinkling lights, and there is this wonderful feeling of expectation, knowing that something is coming.  It is the time that we celebrate when God set his biggest and most beautiful miracle of all time into motion, the coming of His son as a baby to grow up and die for our sins to save us all.  The miracle that would be completed thirty three years later on a cross and then in an empty tomb.  It truly does not get better than that!

After the candlelight service my dad read one of our favorite Christmas stories to the family.  It is in this tiny old book called A Budget of Christmas Tales and is maybe three pages long, but it leaves us in stitches of laughter every time.  It is called Billy’s Santa Claus Experience and tells the tale of a young boy named Billy who tries to be Santa Claus to his little brother Tommy, but things quickly get out of hand.  My dad first read the book to my sisters and I when we were quite young, and it is one of my favorite stories to read at Christmas.

Before we knew it, Christmas morning was upon us!  We all gathered around the tree where my dad read the Christmas story from Luke before we opened presents.  This year all I asked for was money to buy books for school.  I was sooooo excited when between my Christmas and birthday money I was able to buy a commentary set for the New Testament!  I cannot wait until it arrives in the mail early next week!  We spent the day with some of my grandparents and in the evening we decorated gingerbread houses together.  When it came time for the judging I came in last place, but what can I say, it was my first time and my house kept falling apart while I was decorating it, lol.  Lesson learned, NEVER decorate the house until the icing is dry!

How was your Christmas?  Do you have any special traditions that you enjoy doing each year?

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

A Very Versona Christmas

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Shirt: Same c/0  Necklace: Versona (not online) c/o  Shoes: Old (similar)

I was so excited when Versona reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in sharing their Christmas collection!  They have the cutest things not just for yourself, but also for the other women in your life.  I literally had so much fun shopping not just for a fun Christmas party look, but also finding presents for my friends!  I’d share with you what I found, but since they haven’t opened them yet I think I better not.  😉  One of my favorite parts about Versona is that when I am shopping I can always count on the wonderful sales associates to help me out if I need some help.  I fell head over heels in love with this shirt, but I couldn’t decide on a necklace.  When I shared my vision with the sales associate, she literally pulled not one or two, but FOUR necklaces that were spot on for what I described.  I know I can always count on them to help me figure out accessories if I need help.

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I tried on everything from the adorable work office party dress, to Christmas Eve and staying comfy at home with your family look.  In the end I decided upon this beautiful blouse and necklace.  I loved the idea that I could wear it to a more casual party with jeans as shown here, or I could pair it with a cute midi or tutu skirt for a dressier occasion.  Versatility is a key for me when choosing items to add to my wardrobe.

If you have any last minute parties or family get-togethers (or just want a cute festive outfit “just because”) check out Versona’s  holiday collection.  I promise you that you will not be disappointed.  I even found my perfect New Years Eve dress that I can’t wait to share with you after Christmas!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

*a special thanks to Versona for sponsoring this post*

Gift Exchange Guide

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Skirt: Similar Shirt: Similar Shoes: Similar  Headband: Same

 I LOVE a good holiday gift exchange.  I have already been to one white elephant gift party and am going to another one this coming weekend.  The only hard part for me is always coming up with a good present to bring.  I always want to find something that will actually be enjoyed, not just fill someone’s junk drawer.  Below, I have rounded up a list of ideas for what you can bring to your next gift exchange party.

  1. Christmas Candle- I brought a Christmas candle to my party last weekend and it ended up getting stolen three times!  You can’t go wrong with a good Christmas scent during this season, and who doesn’t love the warm glow of candles?
  2. Fuzzy Socks- I LOVE fuzzy socks, and if I happen to see someone open a package with them, you better believe it that I am going to keep an eye on that package to steal if I get a chance.
  3. Lotions and Body Wash- this one is a little bit more risky in my book, some people don’t like certain scents of body wash and lotion, but if you go with a good warm vanilla scent or some other neutral one, it is almost certain to be a winner!
  4. Candy- seriously, who does not love a box or basket of candy?  Especially if it is chocolate?
  5. Gift Card- if you don’t have time to come up with a cute gift idea, a gift card to Starbucks or a local restaurant is a good backup idea that will still be appreciated.
  6. Christmas Cookie Cutters- most people love to make Christmas cookies, so why not bring cute cookie cutters that they can use year after year?
  7. Hot Chocolate Mix and Mug- This makes a cute little gift idea, and you could even add marshmallows and a big bow!
  8. Snack Basket- you can buy a basket and tie a big bow around it and fill it with popular snacks and candies.
  9. Christmas Movie- Everyone loves a good Christmas movie, so buy your favorite Christmas movie and add some popcorn and maybe a cute fuzzy blanket and socks for a fun movie basket!
  10. Ugly Christmas Sweater- Go buy the ugliest oversized Christmas sweater you can find, the person who opens this will get a good laugh and be able to wear it to the rest of their parties during the season!

What are some of you favorite things to bring to a White Elephant Christmas party?  Like I mentioned above, I have another one this coming weekend, so stay tuned to Instagram to see the special gift I have planned for that party!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Christmas Bucket List

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Shirt: (old) Similar  Vest: Same  Boots: (old) Similar  Necklace: Same

In honor of the Christmas season, I decided to share my Christmas bucket list today.  Christmas is my most favorite season of the year, so is basically goes without saying that I love all of the fun activities and traditions that come with this time of year.  I would love to know what is on your bucket list for this season, so please comment below with what you want to make sure you do this year!

  1. Read Maggie’s Miracle- Maggie’s is my all time favorite Christmas story.  I discovered it when I was thirteen and have read it every Christmas since.  It is the sweetest story and if you haven’t read it I can’t recommend it enough!
  2. Go Look At Christmas Lights- Can you really have celebrated Christmas if you haven’t gone to look at lights?
  3. Go On A Horse Drawn Carriage Ride- We don’t get enough snow where I live to be able to do a ride in a one horse open sleigh, but there is a nearby shopping center that does free carriage rides every Friday and Saturday leading up to Christmas, so I definitely plan on going on one.
  4. Sip Homemade Hot Chocolate While Watching Christmas Movies- No need to explain this one, the title says it all. 😉
  5. Watch White Christmas- This is my most favorite Christmas movie of all time, and if I am being totally honest, probably just my favorite movie period.  It has everything, a sweet story line, hilarious moments that leave you laughing, gives you all the feels (I even sometimes cry during it, and I NEVER cry) and a beautiful love story.  Definitely all the ingredients for a perfect movie.
  6. Go To a Christmas Party- Christmas Parties are so much fun, so I definitely plan on going to as many as I can.  I love the festive spirit and spending time with dear family and friends.
  7. Read the Christmas Story With My Family- every year before we open our Christmas presents my dad gathers the family together and we all read the Christmas story.  I love starting Christmas remembering what it is all truly about.
  8. White Elephant Gift Exchange- I cannot WAIT to go to a white elephant Christmas party.  I figured out the PERFECT gift last year and can’t wait to put the idea to use this year!!!!
  9. Decorate Gingerbread Houses- I have never decorated a gingerbread house before, so I bought a kit this year and can’t wait to do it with my sisters.  Expect a post on that!
  10. Play Christmas Music On The Piano- I enjoy playing the piano, and Christmas music is always my favorite music to play
  11. Make Cinnamon Rolls- I don’t know why, but I always love cinnamon rolls at Christmas.  While they are good anytime during the year, they are always extra good at Christmas.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope everyone has been having a wonderful day filled with family and friends and thinking through everything you are thankful for.  Tomorrow I’m going to share a recap of my Thanksgiving as well as how I decorated our table, but for tonight I want to share some things I am thankful for.  This past Sunday at church our pastor encouraged us to spend the last five minutes of the service writing down a list of things that we were thankful for.  I quickly discovered I was not finished after I had filled a page and have continued with the list since.  For Thanksgiving I thought I would share twenty things I am thankful for here on the blog.

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  1. Incredible parents who love me and have supported me my whole life.
  2. Sisters who are my best friends and that I know are always there for me.
  3. An incredible group of friends who are seriously more like family to me than friends, community is an incredible gift that I do not take for granted and am so thankful for.

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4. Food on the table

5. A job that I can actually enjoy going to throughout the week with incredible coworkers that I enjoy spending the day with.

6.  The blessing of having the chance to go back to school and pursue a degree I love and being able to do so debt free.

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7. Dance.  When I had to quite dance at 9 I was devastated.  I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to get to dance again later in my life and even pursue the dream of earning my pointe shoes.

8. A chance to travel.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on many missions trips and as a result see the world and meet so many incredible people.  One of the greatest gifts this has given me is actually finally being able to understand the bigger picture that the church truly is.  It is so encouraging to know that there are people serving God all over this world even when I can’t see them.

9. An incredible church that I love where I learn every week more about God and have found an incredible community and grown so much in my faith.

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10.  A car that while it has had issues, gets me to where I need to be.

11. The baristas at my favorite coffee shop downtown that know my favorite drink and always have it already started for me before I even step foot inside.

12.  Extended family that is always there and that I enjoy seeing when we get together.

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13. Living close to work and being able to come home for lunch and spend time with my puppy and family.

14. My sweet puppy Checotah and cats Tiger and Oreo, they bring so much joy to my life with their sweet cuddles and personalities.

15. I am thankful that when I look over my life how I can see God’s fingerprints all over it and know that truly, I have never walked alone, He has always been there and always will be.

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16. A bookshelf overflowing with books in my bedroom that I love sitting down to read.

17. Afternoons spent playing the piano and soaking up the music.

18. The holiday season and how it brings family and friends together, both ones you see all the time and ones that you don’t see often.

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19. The gift of the Bible and living in a country where I am free to read it and study it without fear of being arrested.

20. And finally the most important thing I am thankful for, the gift of salvation.  When I truly stop and think of this, my mind truly can’t comprehend the love that God must have for us that he would send his ONLY SON to die a horrific death to save ungrateful wretches who were living in rebellion against him.  I will forever be thankful that he to give my a life filled with his grace.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Fall Bucket List Review

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Shirt: Same  Skirt: Same  Vest: Similar  Boots: Similar  Purse: Similar

How can Thanksgiving already be only a week away?!  I feel like fall has only just started, but for fun, I thought I would revisit my fall bucket list from this post and share what all I have had the chance to cross off from it before the Christmas season is upon us.

  1. Corn Maze I went to the corn maze not once, but TWICE before it close two weeks ago.  Once with my mom and again with friends and had so much fun both times.
  2. Carve Pumpkins Once again I can mark this one off my fall bucket list.  I carved my first pumpkin last year in a snoopy theme and decided to continue the theme this year basing it off of this pumpkin from Pinterest.
  3. Camp Fire Unfortunately I didn’t get to do this one, the night we were supposed to have one when we carved pumpkins it ended up raining.  That’s Midwest weather for you.
  4. Hay Rack Ride They had hay rack rides to take you out to the corn maze, so I was able to mark two off in one night!  Woot woot!
  5. Eat S’mores I don’t know if this counts, but I make s’mores rice crispy treats and have made them twice this year and thoroughly enjoyed them both times.
  6. Eat Apple Pie I’ll be crossing this one off my list over Thanksgiving and am counting down the days until I get to eat it!
  7. Make Pumpkin Bread I’m crossing this one off my list because while I didn’t make it myself, my mom actually made it last night and I have eaten more than my fair share!  lol
  8. Go to a Haunted House  I was getting worried I wouldn’t get to do this one since no one wanted to go this year, but last minute a group got together and I was able to go.  We went to a new one this year, and not gonna lie, it was a little disappointing.  Way too short and not scary at all.  Oh well, it was still fun though and we made good memories.
  9. Go to an Apple Orchard  I was so disappointed that I was not able to do this one this year, I did some research and evidently all of the apple crops in my area failed this year and there were no apple orchards open.
  10. Pumpkin Patch  They have a pumpkin patch at the corn maze we went too, so check!  Marked this one off the list.

Not gonna lie, seven and going to be eight out of ten is pretty good!  Who wants me to do a Christmas bucket list?  I think I might share one right after Thanksgiving!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele