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Some people just get good style and don’t even have to try. My sister, Sarah, is one of those people. Every room of her house is fresh, clean, uncluttered, and bathed in beautiful neutrals, pretty fabrics, and natural light. What I really love though is that her style is functional and accessible. It’s not too trendy or busy, there’s purpose for where things are, and it is living proof that you don’t have to have lots of stuff on every wall and surface to live pretty.

While I was visiting her in Texas last week, I shot a few pics of her home office, mainly her beautifully-styled shelf (you may remember this photo I shared on IG). Sarah really has a knack for this kind of thing, so I asked her to share five things to keep in mind when decorating shelves and flat surfaces. I think with these helpful (and quite easy!) tips, you might be inspired to revamp your own bookshelves to create rhythm, simplicity, and of course, a prettier view.

Here’s what she had to say:

tips for styling shelves

By Sarah Linden of thesarahlinden.com

1. Maintain Color Continuity
One of the best ways to create cohesion in your home is through color repetition. This is especially true for shelf styling when you’re trying to seamlessly mesh disconnected or random objects in the same space. I used lots of neutrals throughout, mostly white and soft tans, and small splashes of an orangey-pink hue you can see in the framed art up top, a book in the center, and throughout the books at the bottom.

2. Embrace negative space.

A common styling pitfall is filling every inch of empty space with something so it doesn’t feel ignored. Instead of fearing negative space, use it intentionally to give the eye a visual break from other highly styled areas. If every cubicle on my shelf was filled to the brim with stuff, the clean and coordinated look I’ve created would fly out the widow, and I’d be left with a heavy, chunky mess. Maintain negative space by placing only a single object that’s proportionate to the space it’s filling.

3. Merge functionality and aesthetics.
I love pretty things SO much that I tend to value aesthetics over functionality. We all do this from time to time. But guess what – I don’t live in a magazine, and all the spaces in my home need to serve a function. So I do my best to make those functional pieces pretty. Every rattan basket on my shelf is filled to the brim with office supplies, but they still look great because all the crap is hidden! See how I’ve organized books inside wire baskets? Even our less-than-pretty objects can look cohesive if we think of creative ways to merge functionality and aesthetics.

4. Create height.
My office has 12-foot ceilings. You know who sells affordable 12-foot shelves? No one! So I created that height on my own using framed art and white branches that almost lead to the ceiling. (P.S. You can find that “Fight the Good Fight” art print here.)  This technique also works in shorter rooms, and it’s the reason why we’re told to hang curtains just below the ceiling rather than right above the window. It’s a visual trick that works.

5. Consider a theme.
Themes in decor can become kitsch super fast if you’re not careful, so it’s best to think in minimal terms when creating a theme. My office has a coastal chic vibe due to the few beachy elements I’ve incorporated—rattan baskets, a piece of coral, driftwood, and a small lantern. I don’t think anyone would look at my shelves and think there’s a beach in my backyard (hey, a girl can dream), but these few objects help create the cool and breezy design aesthetic I’m incorporating in other rooms of my home.

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Now, everyone, go get to work on those bookshelves of yours! And don’t forget to share in the comments which tips were most helpful for you.

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There is something about nature that’s so good for the soul. It has such power to refresh and revive in ways not many other things can. Chris and I have found that we are most rejuvenated when we can get away – just the two of us – for a few days and spend time away from busy city life in a beautiful place and enjoy the great outdoors. So that’s what we did.

Last week, we took some time off, rented a vacation home from Air BnB, and spent a few days in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northern Virginia. It was the perfect mix of lounging, enjoying mountain views, eating breakfast on the grand front porch, watching the tube (NBA Finals, holla!) as well as driving through the long windy country roads, hiking a bit, and exploring Shenandoah National Park. It rained several times, cutting into most of our hiking time, but we did get to spend a morning trekking up to a waterfall, which was pretty great.

One of the coolest things we experienced was getting to see the wildlife. We watched a momma bear and her two cubs play in the wild – pretty spectacular. And we came across a baby fawn franticly stumbling up the road all by himself – probably one of the cutest little creatures I’ve ever seen. We later saw the fawn with his momma, so I could sleep in peace that night. There were lots of other fun critters around too, like chipmunks, alpacas, and rabbits. What can I say, we’re suckers for animals.

If you’re in the Northern Virginia/DC area and looking for a quiet getaway in the Shenandoah Mountains with your family, check out the Air BnB vacation rental where we stayed. Highly recommend it!

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The longer I live in small town Texas, the more I love it. You can drive in any direction outside of Graham, and you will always find yourself on country roads, passing through wide open fields, winding up and down through hill country, and it truly never gets old.

Chris decided to pitch in with some friends on renting a deer lease about 25 minutes outside of town, and we spent our Saturday date night eating burgers and fries from an old local diner, cruisin’ with the windows down in our recently-inherited Chevy pickup (thanks in-laws!), and yes I even sat in the middle seat all cozy-like next to my man. He took me out to the land and showed me around, and we enjoyed the fresh air and peace and quiet. We spotted deer tracks and hog tracks and scouted out the best spots for prime time hunting. I should also add that I was on high alert at all times because I just know one of these days I WILL cross a rattler, and I will always be ready to run and frolic through the fields to avoid that moment at all costs. Nevertheless, I look forward to many more weekends together exploring and adventuring on this piece of land.




This weekend I watered plants and fed kittens for my friend who was out of town, and I had to whip out my iphone and take a few snapshots of her lovely backyard details. Succulents are just so great, aren’t they? There are so many different shapes, colors, and dimensions, they are timeless and beautiful, and they make for some fun photos!




It was a cozy afternoon during Christmas week. He was sitting in front of me with the camera rolling, watching and anticipating my reaction to what I would find inside this little box wrapped in green and red. I was tearing through the packaging, with a mouthful of Christmas candy, and before I knew it, I was looking at my gift. I held this $300 Cannon 50mm 1.4 lens in my hands, and I was stunned. “This costs too much, babe! This is just too much! Oh my gosh! I love it!” (feeling just a tad guilty that my gift to him was of no comparison – just something hand-made… go figure.) Regardless, his lit-up eyes upon seeing me so pumped was enough.

So, I have this new lens now and have put it to very little use (aside from a couple recent trips), and just this weekend I was compelled to pick it up. Really pick it up for the fun of it, and start snapping again.

On the one hand, I think it’s become way too easy to take too many pictures. I find myself pulling out my iphone numerous times a day, only to find each month when I am syncing my phone to my computer, I have all these random photos of things I quite frankly don’t really even care about as much as I did at the moment I “clicked,” and I either keep them out of guilt or simply end up pushing “delete.” I mean, really, what am I going to do with all of them? (please refer to this Jim Gaffigan clip.)

On the other hand, whatever. Don’t overthink it. Taking pictures is fun. So, this weekend, I was inspired to take some time with my camera, and shoot (would Jim Gaffigan approve? I’m not so sure!). They will probably mean nothing to most onlookers, but for me, these captured our restful weekend at home. Here’s to the glorious week’s end, more thoughtful pics, and more (or less?) computer storage space.

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Invested in a new grill last year, and it has paid off bigtime. Try telling me baked chicken is better than grilled chicken… you can’t, because it’s just not true.
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We had this sago palm we bought last Summer. It spent all Winter, Spring, and half of this Summer in our dark stuffy garage after I thought it had bit the dust. I finally looked at it for the first time in months, and alas, it was growing leaves again. How it was reborn, I have no idea…. Then I found out sago palms are extremely toxic to household dogs. Shoot.
Chris studying, reading, learning… this man is diligent.
My dad sent purple flowers for my birthday, and I replanted them in this cute little tin vase and added some hand-made flair. Awww.
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Glimpse of the back porch (umbrella was a last-season $30 WalMart clearance find, thank you!) And a very common expression of Jasper these days, tongue hanging out sideways and loving his spoiled little life.

What on earth will NEXT weekend bring?



The ever-inspiring Minted is hosting another design challenge – this time for all submissions of all kinds. I thought I’d take another stab at it and submit some more of my photos and see what happens. Voting is open, and if you look to the right of your screen, you’ll see a “voting badge” where you can link to Minted and see all the submissions and make your votes for your favorite designs and photographs. You can also click here to see my designer page and see all my submitted and available photographs and designs from past and current challenges at the bottom of my designer profile. I’d LOVE to win some cash again, so if you like what you see, vote for me!

Just click on each image below to be directed to it’s coordinating voting page where you can rate, critique, “like,” and comment.

to the last drop


Good afternoon, and welcome to the (almost) end of the week! Thursdays are exciting for me because that’s when my weekend starts. These Disches don’t work on Fridays, and I have to say it is luxurious.

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Anyway… I was just stopping in to announce that one of my photographs, “Golden Mums,” that I submitted to Minted in a recent design challenge has been chosen as an editor’s pick and is now for sale on Minted.com. If you’ll look to the right, you’ll see a sidebar link that will take you straight to my products that are for sale on their website. Also, if you order through this link, you get 10% off your order by using the code listed there. Lucky you!


So, the Disches have apparently found a new hobby… This past weekend, we took our second camping trip of the year and headed out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I forget how much I love not wearing makeup and living in the “wild” for a couple days. It’s so liberating and refreshing. Chris says it’s because I don’t feel like I have to impress anyone. Which is true. And sad. Because why should I EVER feel that way? (Well, that’s another topic for another time…) Aside from all the emotional benefits from a trip like this, I found that I just straight up NEED them to clear my head, get away with my husband, turn my phone off, and just enjoy the outdoors.

And call me ignorant, but I didn’t know there were mountains in Oklahoma. And when I say mountains, think large and rocky cliffs and hills, not so much Rockies or Himalayas. Nonetheless, they were still pretty spectacular for a Texas girl like myself. We hiked several different trails deep into the wilderness (I’m not kidding), came across some pretty large bison (a little too close for comfort sometimes but still awesome, because bison are straight up prehistoric beasts), and enjoyed lots of camp fire food including non-Paleo junk like puffed Cheetos and s’mores. Lordy.




Man, I’m loving Minted.com. I recently entered another contest where participants were asked to submit their family photos or photos they have taken of others to be used in their holiday card collection online. Although I am not a photographer by trade, I’ve had a few good friends ask me over the last couple years to snap some fun photos of their families, which has been a great way for me to bless them with a gift and get some experience with my camera. I picked a few of my favorites, submitted them to Minted.com, and was delighted to hear that one of my photos has been chosen for an editor’s pick award (see above photo)!

The prize is $100 credit towards Minted, and I’m thinking I may order a couple of art prints for my walls. Below are a few of my favorites. Like what you see? Here’s a link to see more beautiful pieces from some great indie designers.

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And just for kicks, here are a few more photos I submitted in the contest… aren’t these people so pretty?

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Six planes and two trains later, across the world and back, Chris and I are home now from an incredible trip to Southeast Asia, where we visited some friends who have made that part of the world their residence the last couple of years. This trip was amazing in so many ways, and I would love to go into every detail, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I’ll give you a little background as to what is going on over there.

Our friends’ goal in living within a mainly Islamic (and severely unreached) nation is to bring the hope of Christ to people who have never heard of the freedom that comes with trusting in the One true God. From running a social work foundation, to bringing in various medical practitioners to do teaching and clinics, to spending time with their neighbors and some of the local college students, to making long treks into the jungle to meet with and share hope with the natives living in remote villages and equipping believers within those areas, God is using Kyle and Misty and other believers there to use these platforms for the gospel to be shared and heard within one of the largest unreached people groups in the world.

Would you like to hear more about our trip and what God is doing across the world? Click here for Kyle’s blog to read all about it. Chris and I get so excited when we think about God’s commission to all believers to take the gospel to all nations and are constantly in prayer as to how WE can be a part of that. After all, this life is short and passing, and we want our lives to count.

Here are a few shots from the trip (out of my 1,000+ photos I took altogether!). Enjoy!