Thursday, January 31, 2013

5 things.

boyfriend sweater: c/o Tailor and Stylist / hat: forever 21 / blue pants: tjmaxx / boots (fillmore): c/o Blowfish Shoes

1. though the temperatures dropped like crazy in Georgia, Ryan pretended that it was a warm summer day. he grilled us hot dogs that we topped with our favorite condiments (mayo, cheese, and onions - yum!) and baked french fries in the oven drizzled with cheese and ranch dressing. and last but not least, indulged in several glasses of ice-cold lemonade. Ryan raised a glass and would say, oh, a warm summer's day! 

2. lately i have been loving anything with stripes. every time i walk into a store or browse online boutiques, i am immediately drawn to anything striped. so you bet i was giddy as a school girl when i discovered this cozy, striped boyfriend sweater from my friends at Tailor and Stylist. and bonus, elbow patches. enough said.

3. i am so excited to have finally climbed out of my reading rut! i have stayed up till almost midnight every night, the minutes ticking away as i meet new characters and engage in a whole new story. so expect a brand new reading list 'cause this girl is on fiiiiiiire - um, i mean, this girl is back. sorry, had some Alicia Keys on repeat. 

4. so many things have been rolling around in that little noggin of mine underneath that floppy hat. things i have been learning and shaping my heart and my thought process.. things that involve prayerful decisions. things that involve waiting and hoping and taking a deep breath. things that make you realize that the suspense and excitement of life is what keeps life so interesting.

5. it's friday and a brand new month! celebrate the weekend, good people. sit back and relax. thank God for another day to live. kiss your babies. laugh till your insides hurt. sleep in an extra hour. or stay up later than normal. take a freaking break. and don't wait till feb. 14th to tell that special person you love them. 

much love.
{happy friday, friend.}

p.s. are you Danielle M. (#7) 'cause you won the January Combo giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail do com to claim your prize. congrats to Danielle and thank you to all of our fabulous sponsors! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

afternoon in athens: the arch, a vegetable mural, and our favorite bull-dawg.

yesterday, Ryan and his brother took me to visit their alma mater, University of Georgia! (i know, i know. this is where all of my South Carolina friends are inwardly groaning). i was excited to see this campus for myself and to see where my husband spent his college years. and since i love rooting the bull-dawgs during the college football season, i wanted to see the stadium "between the hedges" for myself.

~  the obligatory alumni photo in between The Arch ~ 

 ~ you bet that momma found the nearest Starbucks on campus ~

 though i lived in a very big city during my college years, i went to a much smaller college (Moody Bible Institute in Chicago) in comparison to UGA. and since it was in the heart of Chicago, the campus was small and all the buildings were in close proximity to each other. (i praised the good Lord every day for this especially with the frigid, knife-cold wind we dealt with during the winter time. you wanted to get from point A to point B as fast as possible!) 

so to drive through a campus like UGA was kinda mind-blowing for me. everything was all spread out with buses driving students to and from classes. it was like it's own little city. i loved all the boutiques and restaurants that lined the streets as well as the fabulous, colorful murals painted on the sides of may buildings.  

the huge vegetable mural painted on the side of this one building was probably one of my faves because it was so colorful and massive - and just random! and i loved spotting some Beatles on the side of this diner. though we didn't have time to browse the boutiques or drop by any of the cool looking coffee shops, Ryan promised that we would be back soon to Athens so that we could come back to explore. totally looking forward to that!

*insert more inward groans from my South Carolina friends*

and wanna know my number ONE reason to visit UGA? 
to get a pic with Uga, the UGA mascot, of course!

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Monday, January 28, 2013

sponsor love with Radiant Cosmetics.

if you have followed this blog long enough, you will know that i have a big heart for this particular company that i get to introduce to you today! not only do i love their incredible products, but i am very passionate about their very cause - fighting a very real battle that many people are fighting on a daily basis. so today, we have the privilege of hearing from Nicole Marett, the owner and founder of Radiant Cosmetics who will personally share Radiant's vision and cause that starts with one lipstick at a time.


Typically when I do guest posts I talk about makeup; my favorite products, how to
create certain looks and tips and tricks. However, this post is a little different.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Radiant is finishing up our
Kiss Slavery Goodbye Lipstick Campaign. While lipstick may be fun to talk about,
it’s crucial we talk about trafficking, because it affects nearly 27 million people
worldwide. Yes, 27 million people are currently enslaved, right now. This isn’t just
something you read about it in books, it’s happening around the globe and in your

Radiant Cosmetics is a social enterprise makeup company dedicated to ending
human trafficking. We donate 20% of profits directly to our anti-trafficking partner
organization, Redeemed. Radiant is a big part of raising awareness and educating
others that slavery still exists. We are also physically involved with our partner
organization and help in their outreach, aftercare and advocacy work as well that
directly helps women who are victims of human trafficking.
What does makeup have to do with human trafficking? Makeup may have more
to do with human trafficking than you may think. How many of you have ever felt
worthless or ugly? Whether others made you feel that way or you simply felt you
couldn’t live up to an expectation, that feeling was still there. I think as women, we
can almost all relate to that feeling. Insecurity. Wanting to look like someone else.
Thinking if I was only _____ enough (fill in the blank). We live in a world that focuses
so much on a woman’s beauty and a standard most of us can’t live up to.

In that same way, traffickers prey on young girls who feel they aren’t worth
anything. Please don’t hear that having these feelings mean you’re going to be
trafficked, but these are some of the reasons you hear stories of young girls being
trafficked by men they’ve met on Facebook or at the mall. I can’t tell you how many
stories I’ve heard from survivors or current victims who believed and were told,
often by their own families, they were worthless.

Radiant seeks to be a force for change in the beauty industry, focusing on
empowering women. I don’t want you to hide behind makeup, or attempt to
recreate yourself through it. Radiant is about having fun with makeup, enjoying
wearing something for yourself, not to hide insecurities, but to celebrate who you
are. I want more than anything, for women to understand their worth and to spread
that message, especially to women who have been enslaved who worthless and lost.

I want to empower a generation of women to stand up and fight against injustice.

This month, on top of our normal donations, for every lipstick purchased we’re also
donating a lipstick to a current victim or survivor of human trafficking. Donated
lipsticks will be sent to Brazil with The Trade, who teaches women job skills,
specifically in hair and makeup, which is crucial in preventing trafficking. We’re
also donating lipsticks to our partner organization who will use them in outreach
gift bags, which serves as a way to reach trafficked women. Gifts are a great
conversation starter to let these women know help is available. The women don’t
usually receive gifts and it’s the perfect way to show them they’re special, loved and
worth fighting for.

Kiss Slavery Goodbye is all about making a difference any way that we can. I urge
you to learn more about human trafficking and get involved beyond purchasing a
lipstick. There are some amazing organizations to support and volunteer with. To
learn more about them please visit our resource page.

~ Nicole Marett, owner and founder of Radiant Cosmetics~

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Sunday, January 27, 2013

she + him // *first* Lulu's + TD couple outfit post by yours truly and mah husband.

SHE // dress: belk / belt: f21 / tights: c/o We Love Colors / wedges: c/o Blowfish Shoes / lipstick (moxie): c/o Radiant Cosmetics / sweater: c/o Lulu's HIM // flannel shirt: c/o Trucker Deluxe / jeans: Levi's / adidas shoes: c/o Trucker Deluxe

where does time go?! just over a month ago, Ryan and i were married on a beach in Maui and snorkeling with sea turtles and soaking up the Hawaiian sunshine. now we are living life together every single day and we couldn't be happier! what amazes me and how much more i have fallen for this man and how much more our love continues to grow for one another on a daily basis. like a friend wrote to me the other day: enjoy this amazing gift from God and i'm seeing for myself how this relationship truly is a gift.


speaking of gifts, last week Ryan and i received our first big package that was addressed to both of us. it was such a fun package to receive especially since it was from our friends over at Lulu's and their boyfriend company, Trucker Deluxe. so between now and throughout the month of February, we will be partnering with Lulu's and Trucker Deluxe for some super fun couple outfit posts by yours truly and my awesome (good-looking - ow, ow!) husband. woohoo! hope you have as much fun seeing our outfits as we had putting them together! 

p.s. i still love being able to call him husband. it never gets old!)

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

one lipstick at a time.

~ lipstick (Flamenco): c/o Radiant Cosmetics ~

Prostitution. Slavery. Human-trafficking. Ugly words that make us wince or pull the covers over our heads or push those images under a rug because surely those things don't really happen. 

My eyes were drastically opened up to the world of human trafficking several years back on a spring break college missions trip. My team worked with an organization that helped out women who were trapped in the world of human trafficking - and I can still remember how my heart raced and my stomach sickened as we walked those dark, late night streets of Manila, Philippines. My senses digested the sights and the smells of the bars we walked past, lined with women waiting to be picked up and men approaching them to make their selection of who would accompany them for the rest of the evening. I remember meeting women of all ages - one who was around 22 years old and another only 14 years old, who even told me that she had school the next morning. 

These were real women, real girls with real lives. 

And then I met women who were rescued from this lifestyle. They lived alternative lives - learning basic life skills like cooking, cleaning, and creating their own businesses. They were able to be there for their children and their husbands or for their siblings and their families. These were women who took the stand to fight for their lives. 

And you know what? We can help them continue to win this fight against injustice! We can let them know that their is hope, that this battle can be won. One way we can help them win this fight is by partnering with Radiant Cosmetics, a cosmetics company with an inspiring vision to raise awareness on human-trafficking and contribute 20% of every Radiant Cosmetic purchase to the cause of fighting it. Also during the month of January, with every tube of lipstick purchased, Radiant Cosmetics is giving away a tube of lipstick to a victim of human trafficking as an outreach to let these women know that there is someone out there that cares about them. 

Don't push these words aside like they aren't real. There are 27 million people trapped in human-trafficking. Let that reality sink in and be a part of a movement to make a difference in our world by kissing slavery goodbye

And we can get it started with just one lipstick at a time.

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


apparently all last week i was practically living in my Hunter boots but now they sit prettily on the side while the sun comes out to play in Georgia. no puddles to splash!

apparently baby sisters grow up because mine got a college acceptance letter in the mail today. i repeat, baby sister and college acceptance letter.

apparently apples continue to be my before bedtime snack for the past three weeks.

apparently i was meant to be a Broadway actress because i cannot stop singing the songs from Les Mis - and just singing entirely (i.e. Ryan, what are we cooking for dinner tooooooniiiiiight?! said in sing song voice, of course).

apparently lipstick tubes are my newest obsession. i found 7 different ones in my bag and about 10 more under the bathroom sink and oh, yes another 5 more in another purse.

apparently i am more organized than i thought i was. when you have your own place, you have a tendency to keep things more organized than when you lived back home. (sorry, mom!)

apparently i can be a big whimp. i have had Gone Girl on my night stand for the past two nights, and i just cannot pick it up for the life of me. the first sentence alone creeps me out.

apparently the Kroger Brand of peanut butter cookies is 10x better than any brand name pb cookie dough.

apparently i am a blanket-stealer. when i shared an air-mattress with with Leo at blogger's conference last year, she told me i stole the blankets from her all weekend long - and now, Ryan is dealing with this.

much love
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Monday, January 21, 2013

January Combo Giveaway!!!

i am super stoked today.
first because i finally saw Les Mis and i am so massively in love with that musical that i keep singing around the house. oh, my goodness. i have seen it on Broadway before as well as the movie version - but wow, this was a whole new level.

second reason for my super stoked-ness (i just invented a word if that isn't one already) is that i have two fabulous-beyond-fabulous sponsors to show off to you today. and they have even more awesome(er) giveaway goodies to show off to YOU.

so without further adieu (or before i invent even more words on my musical high), i introduce you to...

giving away 2 months of regular ad space ($40 value) on her adorable blog! 
you can find her over at her blog / twitter / facebook.

esther and floribeth of Florero Creations.

you can find them over at their shop / facebook / twitter / blog

exclusive discount to Much Love, illy readers: use coupon code MUCHLOVEILLY for 15% off of your entire Florero Creations order! 


i mean, come on! fabulous or what?! 
and with this combo giveaway, it's total ONE WINNER TAKES ALL!

{how to enter:}

be a pubic GFC follower of this blog!
(mandatory entry)

{really, really wanna win?}
additional entries - keep in separate comments to count as individual entries

- follow, like or heart any of the listed links above and let me know for which sponsor
- tweet, blog or facebook about this giveaway and include its link, pls.
- follow, like or heart EVERY single link listed on this post for each sponsor and let me know that you did (total of SEVEN links)! (1 entry)

Giveaway is open to ALL Much Love, illy readers thru January 28th.
Winner will be announced on January 29th.

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

Sunday, January 20, 2013

let's rock and roll.

 dress: c/o Kintage / leather jacket: c/o Oasap / tights: We Love Colors / wedges (India): c/o Blowfish Shoes / nails: OPI's Big Red Apple / rings: Pandora and c/o Amanda Lynn Designs / lipstick (Park): c/o Radiant Cosmetics 

that's how i am feeling. about leather jackets and florals. about life. about God and faith. about this upcoming week. about (finally) going to see Les Mis tomorrow. about a whole brand new season of waiting.

so life, bring it on.
and let's rock and roll.

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

Thursday, January 17, 2013

the honeymooners // part two.

i don't know what the weather has been in your part of the world, but it's been gloomy, wet and chilly in our part of Georgia. without the sunshine peeking through our bedroom window, i have been waking up every morning this week wanting to snuggle deeper into the covers and closer to Ryan (though i married a morning person and he normally pops right on up after the alarm goes off, so little snuggle time is left in the morning).

which makes these honeymoon pictures in maui almost like a super amazing dream - a place where the waters are the perfect temperature, the sun kisses your skin, and the pineapples are the best in the world.

like i said, an absolute dream.

we have one more batch of pictures left to share - we took so many pictures, of course! so thanks so much for letting me share this special time with you, friend. if anything, hopefully these pictures bring you to a happy place like me - or maybe an extra touch of warmth during these colder winter months!

much love.
{happy friday, friend.}

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

that holiday with big red hearts, fluffy clouds and cupids is t-minus less than a month away.

and that is why you do not have to look any further for what to get your honey bunches of oats (yes, i went there)! 'cause you see, i have a friend on the other side of blog world who resides in  California named Julie Ann and has the world's coolest handmade card shop ever. i'm sure you've heard of it - it's been exploding and blowing up mailboxes since she opened up. Julie Ann Art is my go-to place for Christmas and Valentine's Day cards. like i said, her cards are the real deal.

so  if you visit her shop, you will know exactly what i am talking about. these cards are not your typical mushy, gushy cards. they are witty, mushy, raw, tear-jerking, hilarious, and just darn right cute.

this one makes me snort.
this makes me say aaawwww. 
this makes me giggle.
this makes me warm and fuzzy.

~ Valentine's Day cards c/o Julie Ann Art ~

and because Julie Ann is just as awesome (if not awesome-er), she is giving YOU Much Love, illy readers an exclusive discount! use coupon code ILLYLOVE for 10% off of your entire order (valid thru Feb. 14, 2013). happy shopping, friend! 

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

p.s. are you Cait (#43) of Fierce Fab and Fit 'cause you just won the Smartbuy Glasses Rayban Wayfarers giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot with your mailing address and we will get those babies to you asap! congrats to Cait and thank you, Smartbuy Glasses for a stellar giveaway!