Wednesday, November 27, 2013

instavation // my newest favorite iphone app!

one of my long time blog-friends, Dana of the Wonder Forest, is one of the most creative, ingenious people that i know. this girl blogs, sews, knits, creates, and makes apps! um, what?! Dana is the real deal and i am very proud of her latest creation (drum roll, please!) the Instavation App

*round of applause* 

i downloaded it yesterday and haven't had a chance to upload anything just yet on my instagram (running around with its chicken - um, i mean turkey with it's head cut off, getting ready for Thanksgiving break tomorrow!); however, into the wee hours of last night in bed, i perused this incredible app and was in awe of all that it offers. Dana has created the cutest of captions and quotes to add to all of your IG pics. my favorites are all of the holiday ones, which you can bet i plan to use this week and in the celebratory days to come!

so if you haven't already downloaded Instavation, be sure to download it HERE before the holiday season kicks off! and then be sure to follow me over at instagram and look for the hashtag #Instavation to see all of the other sweet Instavation creations! 

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


 coat: Forever 21 (many moons ago) / dress: c/o Simply Audrey / tights: We Love Colors / boots: c/o Blowfish Shoes / best infinity scarf in the whole wide world: c/o EcoShag

loving: mine and Ryan's Christmas cards (first ones together - yippee!)

drinking: Starbucks' gingerbread latte 

eating: lots to get my stomach ready for Thursday, yo

learning: about true gratefulness to God all year long, every day

fighting: the urge to play Christmas music before Thanksgiving

thinking about: cutting my bangs again 

reading: not much these days but in the middle of Unearthly (still)

playing: Story of My Life by One Direction (hey, don't you be judging now) on repeat

missing: being with my family during the holiday season

preparing: my shop for some rad Black Friday deals (be on the lookout, folks!)

watching: ParenthoodXFactor (Alex and Sierra are so cute!), Hart of Dixie and Vampire Diaries 

wearing: boots and boots and more boots - especially this pair from Blowfish (hashtag obsessed)

giddy: about the white Christmas lights and pom-pom garlands decorating my living room 

thankful for: Ryan (i thank God for him - he is my favorite and fall in love with him more every single day)

*post inspired by Sometimes Sweet and Elise Blaha! write up your own and include your link in the comments - i'd love to read it!*

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

Monday, November 25, 2013

oh, where is my brain this morning?

scarf: H+M  / jacket: c/o oasap / pants: borrowed from my sister / denim button-up: Belk / oxfords: c/o Lulus / lipstick: NARS heatwave / watch: c/o born pretty store

for starters, it's over in the grocery store, thinking about thanksgiving dinner...but most specifically in the aisles that carry the ingredients for my pumpkin pie. love me some turkey and some gravy and some stuffing...but the pumpkin pie with a dollop mound of whip cream? 

that's my JAM, people and i am salivating thinking about it. 

i'm also thinking about how good and full my heart is after this weekend so there isn't much room for sadness and dread that it's monday because i'm looking forward to this week. i love thanksgiving and the food and the fact that ryan will have some time off - and this will be our first married thanksgiving so heck yes, it's a big deal for us weirdo newlyweds who celebrate every monumental date! 

oh and this bright, red kawaii watch is my newest fave accessories. i love the color and the caaaa-ute little bear smiling back at me and the jumble of numbers floating up that side of it. i also have a soft spot of asian products writing things out in english that make no sense - partly because i lived in japan for almost four years and it brings me back, but also because i think its just hilarious and random. (psst! want one of your own? use coupon code ILENEBC10 off of your order!)

and last but not least (wait for it), my mind is still relishing, doing cartwheels, and causing me to hyper-ventilate on various, random moments throughout my day as i think about Catching Fire. if you follow me on instagram (or you might have unfollowed me due to my Hunger Games spam), you know how much over the moon i was for that movie.

i hate movie spoilers, so i will not spoil it for those that have not seen it yet. but seriously, people, get your butt over to the movies NOW and see it. best book adaption ever and believe it or not, better than the first one (which Ryan could not believe i even said that since the first one was pretty much perfection in my eyes). 

so um, yes...evidently, my mind is one big monday mush. raise your coffee mug 'cause here's to the oncoming slaughter of more monday mushes as the holiday season picks up.

and i love it.

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

p.s. two lucky Much Love, illy readers who won some awesome giveaway swag:

Stephanie Justin Smith - Albion Fit East Coast Hoodie
Delaney Knight AND Cara Howard - Field Trip $25 Gift Certificates

shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prizes! congrats to the winners and thank you to Albion Fit and Field Trip for two rocking giveaways! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

the weather was rather gloomy and cloudy over the weekend, however...

 dress: c/o junieblake / belt: forever 21 / tights: we love colors / ankle boots: gift from mom way back when / jacket (last season): c/o oasap / lipstick: NARS heatwave 

...i like to battle that with a bright red lip and bright, crazy colors on a dress that has pockets. did you hear me?! POCKETS! (i don't know why pockets make me go crazy. i don't even put anything even them, not even lipgloss, but they still make me go caaaa-razy.) and oh yes, a motorcycle jacket to top it off. makes me feel all tough and biker chick-like. 

come on, you know you do it, too. 

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

sponsor love + giveaway with Katie of Queenikathleeni Designs.

meet Katie of Queenikathleeni Designs.

Recent college grad Katie Ryan turned her passion for art and all things fashionable into a new venture, taking the leap into the world of being a small business owner with Queenikathleeni Deisgns. With her signature red lipstick and a venti Starbucks in hand, Katie creates whimsical and feminine designs for both her etsy shop and custom pieces. Queenikathleeni Design’s fun and trendy illustrations feature girls that live in a dream world of high fashion and a “pearls for breakfast” lifestyle. Katie’s fashionable and confident illustrations celebrate the beauty in life and prove that everything is made better with a touch of glitter!

first off, i absolutely adooooore this girl. Katie is darling, super sweet and oh so talented! i believe that she is THE up and coming with her gorgeous, fashion-friendly illustrations. she is spot on with all of the newest trends and styles in all of her illustrations - and you might even spot some of your favorite fashion bloggers in her work! this print is absolutely adorable (which happens to be my go-to look!) and the phone covers too much fun! 


and today one of you LUCKY people get a chance to win a whole package of Queenikathleeni swag: TWO fashion prints, one set of feather note cards and a fashion illustrated phone case! zoweeee! talk about a sweet package deal!

Giveaway is open to US Much Love, illy readers thru November 27th.
Winner will be announced on November 28th. May the odds be ever in your favor! 

{don't wanna wait?!}
visit Queenikathleeni Designs TODAY and check out her HUGE sale that is happening right now! select prints on sale for only $10 and select notecards at $15! you can't beat that and perfect timing for the Christmas shopping season! 

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Monday, November 18, 2013

10 things.

 hat: c/o Lulu*s / top: Forever 21 / wide leg jeans: GAP / phone case: c/o Field Trip 

1. started decorating our apartment for the Christmas season
(i have a strict no Christmas until after Thanksgiving - but i am getting soft on this rule)

2. grabbed coffee with this hottie mcgee
(and we ended up getting sore throats after we walked out of Starbucks from laughing and yelling over the Christmas choir singing at full-volume in the middle of the room)

3. with the husband - lots of Netflix and downing Key Lime Pies like it was our job
(also caught up on Parenthood to the tv schedule - YAY!)

4. finished the final season of The Office and goodness, what a stellar ending to a series
(talk about a major TEAR jerker)

5. starting a new book
(always a scary but exciting thing - and this book isn't one i would normally pick up (i mean the cover alone, gag me) but a friend recommended it so crossing my fingers, it's a good one)  

6. Ryan bought me these fuzzy slippers so my feet won't get cold anymore
(i am obsessed and warm)

7.  counting down the days till midnight, Friday 
(i won't even have to tell you what this means if you are a true fan ;))

8. working on Christmas cards
(mine and Ryan's first one together - yippee!)

9. falling asleep between 9:30am-10pm
(i literally cannot stay awake past 10! i told you all i'm getting old)

10. and yesterday celebrated 11 months of marriage with Ryan!!!!!!
(it's hard to believe next month will be ONE year. i told him that we so close to being an old married couple at this post. so weird. but seriously, where did the time go?!) 

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}

p.s. loving my phone case as much as i do?! then be sure to enter the Field Trip giveaway happening on the blog over HERE! just a few days left to enter!

and one more: are you Megan Chaney of Deployed Heart? 'cause you just won the Social Print Studio giveaway! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize! congrats to Megan and thank you SPS for a rocking giveaway! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

march two thousand seven // Samar, Philippines.

i took this photo back in march 2007 while on a mission trip in Samar, Philippines. i remember the room was hot and stuffy, people fanning themselves even though a slight breeze blew in from the ocean and through the open windows of the one room school. my missions team and i were there for a school graduation ceremony - it was a very important event for the barrio. everybody was dressed in their best, especially the graduating students. 

as we waited for the ceremony to start, i remember this little boy (i learned his name later own was Lito) in the photo peeking into the room. we made eye contact and he smiled back at me. and even as the ceremony began, Lito continued to watch from the outside, smiling at me every so often. 

afterwards, my team and i congratulated the students and their family and spent time talking with many of those who attended the service. many asked why would we come all the way from the United States. we had been serving in that particular barrio as well as surrounding ones, assisting a medical team as they offered free medical and dental care and distributed vitamins and food in a very rural area. we also had the opportunity to set up a Vacation Bible School in all the towns we stopped in, teaching children and their families about Jesus and the Bible. 

as we left the building, a large group of children, including Lito, gathered around us, asking us to play and to stay for just a little longer. and of course, we did, running around the small school yard with its thinning grass and playing tag until parents started to call their children home. though we could not communicate in the same language (i can understand Tagalog but being further south, they spoke a completely different dialect), the laughter rumbling from the pit of our bellies and the sparkles in everybody's eyes communicated the love and the joy among us.

we spent a week in that small town - and as i think back to it, a rush of memories come back to me...

...this morning of the graduation ceremony and all the children there
...befriending a little girl named Michelle, who followed me around all day long at VBS and invited me to see her house, a nipa hut
...walking through the dirt roads with my teammates and drinking coconut juice straight out of a coconut.
...teaching about Jesus and the Bible in small one room schoolhouses and churches and underneath trees to a group of people who had never heard about Jesus
...laughing and bonding with my teammates
...meeting so many Filipinos and hearing so many different stories and exchanging hugs and tears and lives together

so when i heard about typhoon yolanda hitting the Philippines last week, particularly in Samar where our team had served for a week, my heart broke into a million pieces. and it's still breaking as i continue to hear news report after news report from my television, the internet or my facebook feeds.

and this whole post might seem like one big ramble, but it's what has been on my mind all week long, therefore, i write. these are real people, real lives wiped away in an instant. some are searching for loved ones amongst the rubble, while others are gathered with their families but without food and shelter. and to be honest, i am at a loss of how to even help. as i write, i am waiting to hear back from fellow teammamtes, Philippine ministries and family members on what is the best way to do that very thing.

but for the time being, i urge you to pray with me - for these lives...that they be provided for. that help comes in time. that sweet reunions happen between family members and loved ones. that God be glorified and be a shelter and divine comfort for them in these dark times. 

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

sponsor love + TWO WINNERS Gift Certificate giveaway with Field Trip.

meet Amy of Field Trip.

I'm a graphic designer living in Vancouver, BC. I design and make cases for the iPhone 4/4s and 5/5s in my studio. I love design and creating - when I'm making new things I'm my happiest. Outside of work I love to travel and hike. 

This shop is an expression of my love for the creative life – I not only love designing – but it is also a discipline that I’m fascinated by.  Because life is an adventure – this shop will continue to change and evolve – I am endlessly inspired by new ideas.

 i think this shop is absolutely incredible. i love her amazing collection of prints (this Dr. Seuss one, LOVE!), but my favorites are her phone cases. they are stunning with a color and pattern for every kind of personality out there: for the cat lover to those that go gaga over aztec to those like me who can't stop listening to Royals.


and today not one, but TWO lucky Much Love, illy readers get a chance to win one of TWO $25 Gift Certificates to Field Trip! nab a matching Royals case like mine - or get busy with shopping for Christmas because everything here makes fabulous stocking stuffers!

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian Much Love, illy readers thru 11/21.
Winner will be announced on 11/22. May the odds be ever in your favor!

{don't wanna wait?}
use coupon code illy for 10% off of your entire Field Trip order (valid until 11/21)! 

much love.
{happy thursday, friend.}

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

these leaves though.

 sweater: JCPenney / jeans: Aeropostle /scarf: H+M / backpack: c/o Lulus / boots: c/o Blowfish Shoes 

whew. life has been one big whirlwind - and it's not even the holidays yet. well, i guess it depends on your perspective of when the holiday season officially starts. seems like it started way before Halloween even began in the stores or on all the tv commercials. and i have to admit, i myself have been feeling the temptation of decorating the apartment and playing the Christmas music. 

resist, ilene. resist. 

but praise Jesus, we live in the south. i heard my friends and family up north are already facing below freezing temperatures and have been greeted with snow. i am so sorry. and as much as i miss Chicago, that is probably one of the reasons that keeps my heart content with living here in Georgia.

like i said, these leaves though. 
insert much deserved applause to God here. 

much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

Monday, November 11, 2013

sponsor love + giveaway with Albion Fit.

meet Albion Fit.


Our garments are fashionable and unique, but more importantly practical and technical. Designed by women, our apparel is crafted for women wherever they may be in their fitness goals. Our clothes easily transition from work out gear to lounging gear: whether she's running an errand or 26.2 miles across a finish line.

i cannot express my love for this hoodie because my love for it is so m a s s i v e. i am not joking. i have worn it more times that necessary this past week. it's the perfect hoodie for autumn layers and also the perfect hoodie for chilly, morning runs. the fabric is breathable and cozy, and the sleeves end with thumb-holes to keep you super warm. best hoodie eva.


and one of YOU super duper lucky readers have a chance to win one for you! Albion Fit is giving away one East Coast hoodie (just like mine! we will be twins!) in today's giveaway. and because this hoodie is my favorite and totally stand behind it, i am so excited for one of you to win one!

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers thru 11/19.
Winner will be announced on 11/20. May the odds be ever in your favor! 

{don't wanna wait?}
use coupon code muchlove20 for $20 off of your Albion Fit purchase of $100 or more! 

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

i should be stressed but i'm not.

 sweater: c/o Choies / skirt: c/o Lulu*s / tights: We Love Colors / wedges: c/o Blowfish Shoes / lipstick: Mac Ruby Woo / nails: OPI 

then again, you can check on me Friday night and see how high my stress levels are and the pace of my heart beats. 

the neighborhood holiday bazaar i've been prepping for is this Saturday. and it's not a huuuuge bazaar - not like Renegade or anything - but it's pretty decent sized with about 25+ local vendors. it certainly has kept me busy for the past month, pumping out accessories and headbands and jewelry like i haven't in awhile. this past year has been quite the whirl wind of life events that my shop has sadly been put on the back burner. so having this bazaar to prep for has been kindling that creative fire in me, so it's been a good thing.

but like i said, i'm not feeling the stress like i normally do in prepping for a craft fair. maybe 'cause i have done these before and have become a veteran without realizing it. or because maybe this time i am more prepared than i have been for past fairs. 

or maybe i'm just oblivious to the stress for the time being.

i'm actually not even home today preparing for it (that's what Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are for, right?!). my husband has a conference in Athens, so i tagged along with him. i'm actually settled into a nearby Starbucks and then plan to explore this little college town once i wrap up on work here at Starbucks.

and btw, have you sampled their gingerbread latte? i just did - and oh, man. might need to order a second drink.

raising my sample Starbucks cup, here's to a day of stress-lessness. and you bet i'll take it.


in other news, this tiger sweater is one of my autumn favorites. i think i've worn it way too many times in the past couple of weeks. people probably think i don't own any other sweaters. also wearing it around here in the Southeast part of the US, people automatically assume that i'm a LSU fan. 

um, no.
much love.
{happy wednesday, friend.}

p.s. are you Cynthia Gaarder 'cause you won the JoTotes giveaway!?! shoot me an email at muchloveilly at gmail dot com to claim your prize! congrats to Cynthia and thank YOU, JoTotes for a rocking giveaway as always! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

sponsor love + giveaway with Social Print Studio.

these sticker books are my absolute favorite. they come in books - each one containing 252 stickers. you can mix and match and upload as many pictures as you want. the possibilities to these stickers are endless! 

if you are anything like me and are a lover of pictures and instagram and facebook, then you are going to fall HARD for Social Print Studio! they make printing off pictures in the easiest way possible and in the most creative ways - from square prints to posters to teeny-tiny stickers. they allow you to print off pictures from your facebook or from your instagram. the sticker books above are probably one of my favorites from SPS - but take a peek below to see more of their amazing products that i am absolutely smitten over! 

i used this frame at our wedding reception and since i loved it so much, i kept the twine and clothes pin up so that i can string across the square and mini prints. i still need to find the perfect place for it in our home but i love how it turned out! 

love how these square prints so much. i printed out a lot of my fave pictures of me and Ryan! i eventually want to frame them especially since most of them come from our first year of marriage!

these mini books are too adorable for words! uploaded a bunch of pictures from this past summer and made mini albums and will be sending these off to my sisters (surprise!). 


and luuuucky you! Social Print Studio is generously giving away $42 of shop credit to get whatever you want in their incredible shop of picture goodness! and not only is picking out what you want is a lot of fun - uploading your pictures from Instagram or facebook is the other half of the fun. and it's not early to be thinking about Christmas but these would make the perfect stocking stuffers! 

Giveaway is open to ALL Much Love, ill readers thru 11/11.
Winner will be announced on 11/12. May the odds be ever in your favor!

{don't wanna wait?}
follow SPS via Instagram and facebook, then email me at muchloveilly at gmail dot com letting me know that you did (please include your IG and facebook usernames). then i'll email YOU back with a super secret password for a FREE $5 Gift Code! 

much love.
{happy tuesday, friend.}

Sunday, November 3, 2013


  jacket: c/o Lulu's / hoodie (east coast): c/o Albion Fit / jeans: American Eagle / sneaker wedges (tugo): c/o Blowfish Shoes 

dear weekend. as always you come and go so quickly but it was a full and good one, so i really can't complain. i was with my husband for all of it; therefore, it was perfect.

dear daylight savings time. apparently, since i have no babies i am supposed to appreciate you more until that day comes. i don't think i've seen more complaints about babies and DST until this weekend! and since i'm such an old lady now, i got up earlier because of the time change. even had time to straighten my hair before church! who have i become?! 

dear leftover halloween candy. i really should just eat you all up in one sitting, right? it's all for a good reason instead of you tempting me at late hours of the night...right? right?!

dear horsetown east. you were definitely a cultural experience for me. cowboy boots. the thick smell of leather. the deepest of southern accents. i know i ain't in Chicago anymore, that's for sure.

dear veronica roth. why?!!!! 

dear tobias. we are officially broken up. i can no longer consider you as one of my book boyfriends. IT. IS. OVER.

dear autumn. the leaves this year are just absolutely breath-taking.

dear adam and christina braverman. you guys are my favorite. (note: i am only in the middle of season 4 - so please, NO SPOILERS!) 

dear break and bake PB cookies in my fridge right now. you are about to be put into the over then into mouth and then into my belly. enjoy the ride.

dear blog readers. i feel like i don't say this enough, but i really do appreciate you so much. the fact that you stop in every day or leave me a blog comment means a whole lot! you continue to inspire me and i love that many of you have become such sweet friends. so thanks.

dear husband. you are so good to me. i love you so much and glad we have forever together. plus it doesn't hurt that you are so stinkin' hot.

much love.
{happy monday, friend.}