Tuesday, April 30, 2013

1984 // Blog Every Day in May.

 top: c/o Lamixx / jeans: American Eagle / scarf: c/o EcoShag
moccasins: c/o Minnetonka / lipgloss (elsa): c/o Radiant Cosmetics 

no, not the George Orwell novel. that was the year that i was born. 

(did i surprise a few of you there? most people think i am 18 years old. the question doesn't phase me anymore - especially when people ask me if i am graduating this year, and i just look at them with the sweetest look and go, oh, no ma'am. i graduated COLLEGE in 2006, so um, yeah...). 

i was born in a military hospital in the Philippines to a pair of  very cool parents. because dad was in the U.S. Navy, it meant that we moved around quite a bit - not as often as most military families that i know - but definitely more than the average family. our family has always been tight-knit, so globe-trotting (mostly Asia and the U.S East Coast) with your best friends (my parents and two sisters) made the moving a little bit easier, plus we all loved traveling so much, it was as if every new duty station was a new adventure for us. 

eventually, i had to grow up and make my own move, so i packed my bags and headed to college. i attended the Moody Bible Institute, located in the heart of the Windy City, and pursued a degree in Communications. four years later, post-graduation, my girlfriends and i decided to rent an apartment together and find jobs and just enjoy life in the city. and within those four years, i lived in 3 different apartments, worked my first full-time job, learned to live on my own (pay bills, apartment hunt, write up resumes, etc.), started my etsy biz and this blog, and last but not least, i met, fell in love, and got engaged to my husband, Ryan! 

after my time in Chicago, i moved back home to South Carolina, while Ryan headed back to his family in Georgia. we spent two (very long) years long distance as we waited for some personal things to unfold before we got married. though it was difficult to be apart, we were blessed to have such an enriching couple of years with our families. i loved being home with my parents and my baby sister, especially since i had been away for nearly 8 years. it was also during this season that Ryan and i grew tremendously in our relationship and found that our love was only confirmed and strengthened.

and most of you already knows what follows: this past Decemeber, Ryan and i eloped to Maui, Hawaii and the rest is (a beautiful) history... (or you can always just back track to my posts. i hear that works, too. *wink*)


so why the random, short-version of my life story? i am joining in Jenni's sweet blog challenge of Blog Every Day in May, a blog challenge with a daily prompt and challenge to well, blog every day! care to join in the fun? click on the button below for more info. the more, the merrier!

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}
p.s. are you Meg S. 'cause you just won the Sweetness a boos' giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize. congrats to Meg and thank you, Shio for a fabulous giveaway! you both rock! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

sponsor love + giveaway with EcoShag.

meet Tania of EcoShag.

Tania is the one woman show behind EcoShag, a handmade business birthed from, as she calls it, her strange affinity for scarves. Her shop offers a variety of handmade scarves of all kinds - infinity scarves, neck-scarves and, my personal favorite, headscarves in all sorts of patterns. And not only are her products created in absolute quality, they support a number of organizations and charities because she believes that "a humble spirit and a giving heart are key in changing the world as we know it."

i cannot rave any more than i have already raved about EcoShag. i have worn both this headscarf and the infinity scarves on more than one occasion (here and here) - and i have a feeling that they will be lasting favorites for a very long time! the quality of her products are absolutely incredible particularly, her headscarves are the easiest ones i have ever worn! Tania even offers her customers a step by step tutorial for those feeling uncertain of how to wrap her headscarves - so fabulous!


and today Tania is ever so generous to giveaway $30 EcoShag shop credit! eeek, that pretty much covers anything you want from her shop. not that, you'll be able to just pick one. i obviously am obsessed with the headwrap and scarf that i own but i am still eyeing this one and that one, too! so start deciding 'cause if you win, you'll have a quite the problem on your hands. *wink*

{don't wanna wait?}
use coupon code MUCHLOVE15 for 15% off of your entire EcoShag order!

Giveaway is open to ALL Much Love, illy readers thru May 7th.
Winner will be announced on May 8th.

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

Sunday, April 28, 2013

some of the best things in life are (practically) free...

 dress, belt: Belk / tights: We Love Colors / wedges (last season): c/o Blowfish Shoes
lipstick: NARS (heatwave)

...like this dress that i got at Belk over the weekend. unless it's Black Friday, you won't find me getting up at 4:45 in the morning to make a shopping trip; however, my mother-in-law got some tickets for this charity event at Belk, so we thought why the heck not? and made a little adventure out of it. we were one of the first 100 people so we got gift cards at the door and an automatic $5 off of our first purchase. i found this dress on the clearance rack (always my favorite section of just about any store) and used my gift card on it. i also got a pair of sassy leopard heels for a super sweet deal but i'll brag on those on another day.

oh...and this is for free, too: this tutorial on Orchid Grey's blog for the faux undercut. i love the undercut look but know i could never take the razor to my hair so when i stumbled across this tutorial, i was giddy to try it out. i think my hair is too dark in these pictures to be able to even tell that i did it but i think it turned out pretty good (especially when the husband says that he loves my hair this way - *fist pump*!). i do think i need to tighten the hair back a little back and bring more of my hair forward to give it more of the shaved look, but other than that, i loved it and will probably try it again. so for all of my 1990's sisters out who had a love/hate relationship for this semi-mullet, you are oh, so welcome.

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

p.s. anyone else trying this fun challenge over at Jenni's blog this Wednesday? 
i am so intrigued by the idea and think i might join in the fun! lemme know if you join, too!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

*FIVE* obsessions at random and then some.

if you know me at all, i can get easily obsessed. some may not take that the wrong way, but i guess i just mean that i get easily and overly excited about little things. in other words, when there are BIG things to get excited about, i am OVER the moon and probably in a puddle crying in absolute joy. i'm totally that girl that people points at and say, she is an emotional one, that one.

yup, and today i am pretty very giddy over the moon excited about these obsessions, totally at random, all of that making my week in one way or another. 

 print and postcard c/o Trisha Chan / necklaces c/o LeMode Accessories and Very Jane

this adorable print and these darling postcards from Treeshachan arrived in my mailbox in the cutest of packaging - and not only that, they are hand-drawn and custom printed by Trisha, who is the sweetest thing ever! and i love reading through her shop to see the meaning behind each illustration, some being lessons she is personally going through or some drawn to help support her friend, Jaime in an upcoming mission trip! i think that all of her illustrations would make the perfect addition to any wall. check out her shop HERE

when i come across a good book series, i cannot not spread the word about them! if you have followed this blog long enough, you'll know that i have raved about Delirium and Pandemonium before. the third installment for this series came out last month, and i could not have been more thrilled to finally get it in my hands. every one of these books have left my jaw-hanging with its twists and storyline. i am nearly done with Requiem (i was up till1 AM reading it - i could not put it down!) and will def give a final review once i finish, but if you are looking for a new book series, def check out this one! 

so i have only been on Instagram since January and it's only recently that i started dabbling in the world of photo editing apps - and i feel like i have discovered a whole new world that i cannot believe that i have been missing out on for so long! and just last night, i took the leap and bought Afterlight (which i happen to keep calling Afterlife for some reason - i promise, i am not a morbid person) and oh.em.gee. i am completely obsessed with it. it's amazing the photo magic that this little app can do.

if you are looking for free photo apps for iphone/itouch, i also am loving Aviary, Mirrorgram, PhotoCollage, whitagram, and Pixlromatic. what are some of yours? do share!

via Rhi-Creations.

speaking of instagram...while i was on instagram i came across Doodle a Day challenge hosted by Rhi of Rhi-Creations (IG username: @ellolovey). i am not as consistent as i need to be as these challenges are daily but i try to keep up as much as i can. i know that i am doing better than i did last month - when i think i came out with one doodle. Rhi comes out with a new challenge every month, so with May just around the corner, all those doodlers out there, should def join in the fun! 

i have a worship music playlist on my ipod that i love blasting on Sundays or after my quiet times in the morning; however, after last week, i've found myself needing more of it lately. someone at church last week talked about the need of more defiant worship in our every day lives especially when we battle the brokenness and pain of this world - and that phrase really stuck to me. (i have more thoughts to share on this, so look out for an upcoming blog post, folks) this song by Colton Dixon is one in particular that i have been playing on repeat and the words are so powerful and so comforting. 
love it so much. 

what are some of your obsessions? do we share a few?
if you have some new ones to add to the list, please do! 

much love.
{happy friday, friend.}

p.s. don't forget to enter this month's Combo giveaway 
with Pink Cricket Paper and Boyish Chic right over HERE

and are you Sandra Sinatora Lee 'cause you just won the Blowfish Shoes giveaway?! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize. congrats to Sandra and thank YOU, Blowfish for another amazing giveaway! 

April Combo Giveaway with Pink Cricket Paper + Boyish Chic.

duuuuude, i am super giddy about today! you get to meet two fabulous ladies - one with a brand new blog and the other a long-time  friend and sponsor of Much Love, illy. so be sure to show both lots of love and don't forget to enter their suh-weeeeet giveaway.

without further adieu...

giving away a Custom Stamp Gift Box from Paper Source that includes a self-inking stamper, one black ink cartridge and one gift certificate that allows recipient to customize a stamp plate online (valued at $39.95).

meet Jillian of Boyish Chic / My Remedy Design.

giving away a 30 inch My Remedy Design necklace is a reminder to Live in Love. each dog tag is unisexhand engraved & unique. the handwriting will vary slightly from piece to piece.

*exclusive My Remedy Design shop discount for Much Love, illy readers! 
use coupon code LOVEILLY for 15% off of your entire order.*


Giveaway is open to ALL Much Love, illy thru May 1st.
Winner will be announcd on May 2nd.

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

on the edge.

 top: base exchange / skirt: c/o Lula Roe / headwrap: c/o EcoShag / lipgloss (elsa): c/o Radiant Cosmetics / wedges (last season): c/o Blowfish Shoes 

last friday afternoon, i grabbed coffee with an old college friend. we talked about a zillion things especially since a) we had not seen each other since 2007 and b) we sat at Starbucks for nearly 5 hours - but one thing that particularly stood out to me was how we were two women in similar and yet not similar seasons of life, however we felt the same thing: we were on the edge of something big. and as i think back to that coffee date, that phrase came up several times as she and i talked about future dreams and personal desires that God had placed on each of our hearts - and even before that coffee date, i have felt that same feeling continuing to wrestle inside of me.

anyone else resonate with that feeling where you know there is something more that what is sitting in front of you? and i am not talking about discontentment in the way that sprouts roots of jealousy or competition or bitterness. i am talking about that season of your life where you are ready to grow and allow that passion and love of life to take you to do something that you were always meant to do.

and i know that is different for each person.

...opening up your own business
...going skydiving
...backpacking through Europe
...recording a song
...speaking in public
...writing a book
...going out on a date
...starting a family
...changing people's lives for good
...being brave

the list could go on and on for so many different people in different situations.

so...what's holding you back? what's holding me back? nothing. the only thing or person that can hold anyone back from what they are meant to do is really themselves. i know i do. i come up with every excuse in the book...until i run out of excuses, of course.

let's stop teetering over the edge. let's stop crawling on our hands and knees and looking over the edge of the cliff to see what could be. instead let's for a change, be brave and take a running head-start, diving head first (and no, Ryan, this is not me saying yes to sky-diving. that is a whole other can of worms that i need to process through - mentally and physically). 

honestly, i am writing this down for myself to bookmark the fruition of this dream - this something that i am on the edge of. but i know there are some women (or men!) out there who have a dream and haven't had the guts to move from where their feet have - what feels like - concreted in the ground. we need to spread out wings, friend, and fly 'cause we won't know what we are on the edge off until we jump.

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

p.s. are you Cricket of Pink Cricket Paper 'cause you just won the Lip Gloss and Crayons / Sephora Gift card giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize. congrats to Cricket and thank you Carly for a fabulous giveaway! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

sponsor love + giveaway with Shio of SWeetness a boos.

meet Shio of SWeetness a boos.

Hello, my name is Shio and I enjoy blogging because I am able to share things about my little life through it, along with some inspiration & creation :) I have a loving husband and 3 cute kids. My passion for creating has finally become a reality through my little etsy shop, I am so blessed to be able to do something I love!

Shio is an absolute sweetheart and so gorgeous (inside and out!). her family is adorable, her posts so uplifting and just fun- and she always brings a smile to my face. she is also super crafty as she has an etsy shop that she is constantly stocking up with brand new pretties - and i adore this cute DIY on her blog this week. 


today Shio is generously giving away $30 shop credit to her super sassy etsy shop! there are so many accessories perfect for spring. if i won, i would love to rock this or this headwrap with a messy bun!

Giveaway is open to US Much Love, illy readers thru April 30th. 
Winner will be announced on May 1st.

{don't wanna wait?}
use coupon code illy20 for 20% off of your entire SWeetness a boos' shop order 
(valid through the end of May)!

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

Sunday, April 21, 2013

three things.

 dress: c/o Lulu*s (similar) / earrings: c/o Acute Designs / shoes (cricket): c/o Blowfish Shoes

there are three things i can say about this outfit:

1) i will never stop falling in love with polka dots - especially big, obnoxiously round ones.
2) everyone needs a pair of these geometric color-dipped earrings from my friend, Gina.
3) forget boots. these little peep-toes were def made for walking - or dancing. yes, definitely dancing. so sassy and comfy. and the husband loves them, so it's totally a win-win.

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

GFC is going sayonara, so don't forget to follow Much Love,illy via Bloglovin'.
thanks, friends!

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, April 18, 2013

lately 'N stuff.

 headwrap: c/o EcoShag / top: Forever 21 / necklace: Pretties by Meg /
lipgloss (Elsa): c/o Radiant Cosemetics 

wanting to highlight my hair with neon pink streaks.

going on early evening walks with my husband around the neighbor.

watching Hart of Dixie and becoming smitten with Wade.

obsessing over my headband scarf from Tania of EcoShag.

looking forward to a coffee date with a college friend this weekend.

unable to believe that my baby sister registered for her fall semester college classes.

listening to old school Britney Spears on repeat.

still praying for the people of Boston.

opened up a Vine account and learning to make fun looping videos that remind me of Harry Potter.

tried Steak 'N Shake for the first time in my 28 years of living.

yesterday was mine and Ryan's 4 month anniversary.

what's been happening with you lately, my friend?

much love.
{happy friday, friend.}

don't forget that GFC is shutting down, 
so be sure to follow Much Love, illy via Blog Lovin'! 

Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

sponsor love + WINNER'S CHOICE giveaway with Blowfish Shoes!

meet Blowfish Shoes.

okay, so if this is a first time introduction to their shoes...i must say, where have you been? you'll be saying the exact same thing once you check out their site. and then you'll be rocking their glorious shoes and scream up to the sky, where have you been all my life?! you see where i am getting at with this. 

Blowfish Shoes has been a long time faithful sponsor of this blog - which i feel super privileged to have had such an outstanding relationship with them. and maybe you didn't know, i write for the Blowfish Shoes B.Log as a contributor - so there you go, you learn something new every day! 

Blowfish is known for only the hottest variety of styles in absolute quality. i am super picky about shoes, so i tell no lies about this. they create shoes for every lifestyle and for every woman - and i practically die every time they release new styles. i recently got this pair (smitten by them!) and am also eyeing this one, too.

but now it's your turn.


the fabulous people of Blowfish Shoes is giving away your choice of any pair of Blowfish Shoes! i mean, uh-maaaaaazzing, right?! get those fingers clickity-clacking 'cause you are def gonna want this, people!

Giveaway is open to US Much Love, illy thru April 25th.
Winner will be announced on April 26th.

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

i believe...

 maxi dress: forever 21 / fringe necklace: c/o Pink Lemonade / thunderbird moccs: c/o Minnetonka / lipstick: NARS heatwave

in weekly date nights.
in wearing red lipstick.
in writing more handwritten notes.
in holding hands and goodnight kisses.
in fringe and maxi dresses.
in reading books regularly. 
in listening to music loudly.
in my Lord and Savior, Jesus.
in eating french fries with an ice-cold coke.
in snuggling closer to the one you love.
in catching up with your best friends.
in laughing until it hurts.
in licking the spoon covered in cake batter.
in telling your family and loved ones i love you more often.
in being creative every day.

what do you believe in?

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Boston // it's in moments like these...

Anyone who has a heart surely felt theirs aching and sinking to the pit of their stomachs as the news regarding the Boston Marathon flashed across people's televisions and social media feeds. Mine did - even to the point of denial. No way. Not again was what I thought, my stomach balling up in a tight wad. The footage of the explosions, frantic reporters, and people running in every direction (most of them towards the blast to help the victims) was almost more than I could bear. I had to walk away from the tv to be able to somewhat process it.

And to be honest, all I could do was pray for the families, the victims, the runners as I tried to continue on with my "normal" Monday afternoon. Ryan and I cooked dinner together. We went on our after-dinner walk around the neighborhood. I caught up with a girlfriend on the phone. Then we wrapped up our night with an episode of The Voice and eventually went to bed - Ryan always falls asleep before I do, while I read a book or catch up on social media.

But you can't go online without seeing more news about the horrific event. And you can't avoid reality for very long. And next thing you know, I'm streaming through the reports and reading the stories of the many lives so tragically affected. I covered my head with my comforter and cried my eyes out, my heart still aching and my stomach still tying itself in knots.

And it's in moments like these that I find myself praying for God to be even more present, to bring comfort, justice, healing and overwhelming grace in such a chaotic, heart-wrenching time.

It's in moments like these where I snuggle a little closer to Ryan and whisper I love you because you never know if you have tomorrow.

It's in moments like these I think about what are the real priorities of my life versus the petty things that can easily consume my day.

It's in moments like these that I thank God for my family and for trips like last week where we could go to the beach and just be together.

It's in moments like these I look forward to heaven where there will be no more pain or tears.

It's in moments like these I remember that good outshines evil.

It's in moments like these I cherish the little things because life itself is a gift that we should never take for granted.

Boston, like so many people across this nation and around the world, my thoughts and prayers are continually being sent your way. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

sponsor love + Sephora gift card giveaway with Lipgloss and Crayons.

meet Carly of Lipgloss and Crayons.

Hello Much Love, Ily readers! I'm Carly, and I blog over at Lipgloss & Crayons.  I'm an elementary school teacher, having a love affair with fashion.  Lipgloss & Crayons is my place to play with trends, color, and share a little bit about my life in the City of Angels.

i think Carly is a breath of fresh air. i love her colorful sense of style and positive outlook on life, and i especially love the community she has created over at her part of blog world. you will find darling outfit posts, blog link-ups, recipes and so much more. seriously, hit follow now 'cause you do not want to miss out on anymore of Carly goodness!  


today Carly is so generously giving away a $30 Sephora gift card! holla! so much eye-candy (literally) and make-up goodness in one of my all-time favorite cosmetics shops. so yeah, one more amazing reason to follow this fabulous bloggity-blog!

Giveaway is open to ALL Much Love, illy readers thru April 15th.
Winner will be announced on April 16th.

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

if you missed this last night, then you are welcome.

all i can say are these two things:
1) it needs to be November 22 like NOW and
2) you can bury me in a coffin because i am dying.

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

Sunday, April 14, 2013

beach week snapshots.


it was a week filled with lots of sunshine, water, sand, kayaking to the sandbar, hanging out with Ryan's family, grilling outside, hot-tubbing, waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, good eating, long walks on the beach - and even got 2 days to getaway and head home to see my family and get some wedding reception planning done (yay!). as usual, the days were blissfully long but all of it went by too fast. sigh. i love a good vacation. 

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}