Thursday, June 27

beauty is friendship

I am back from my wedding/newlywed hiatus!

Those of you who are married know what I mean. I had to take a leave of absence from Elvira Bleu to fully focus and enjoy the past two months. The weeks leading up to the wedding were full of nonstop errands, crafts, and compromises. The weeks afterwards were full of giving myself the gift of no responsibilities and moments of mindlessness. It has been wonderful, and I am so thankful Andy and I have been blessed with so much free time this summer! We move the first of August, where we will both have full time responsibilities. 

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words, excitement, and support! Even those whom I have never met in person; I am blessed to know you! You play a very important role in my life, and I am so thankful.

To kick off my return, I am pleased to participate in Coast to Coast's Beauty Is... Photo Challenge! I know you all have seen my participation in the fashion challenges, and even the dream challenge. This one is special, celebrating 30 days of beauty represented in characteristics & nonphysical attributes.

Beauty is Friendship.

Our wedding was tangible proof of this. It POURED. Seriously, the heavens opened and released a heavenly sea of water. Our entire wedding was outdoors. We had a Plan B, but there was no way it would accommodate the amount of guests we invited. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 5:30. The rain began around 3:30. Instead of taking my bridal shots outside, we were forced to shoot them on the screened-in porch overlooking the venue. We had to stop after only a few photos were taken because it was raining so hard there was almost no natural light at all. We crammed all of our bridal party & groomsmen photos on the tiny front porch. The rain let up about 30 minutes before the ceremony and never started up again. Despite the tsunami, over 300 of our friends and family made the trip to our drenched, half-way decorated wedding. 
I have been told our wedding was one of the most fun weddings some of our friends have been to. I am not sure if they feel obligated to say this, or if I am biased because I was the bride, but I have really never had that much fun at a wedding. My shoes and gown were soaked and muddy, all the tablecloths were wet and we ran out of alcohol, but none of that mattered. I didn't even register most of the decorations, I ate the food but can't remember what it tasted like, and honestly the entire celebration was a blur; the thing I remember clear as day is how much fun we had. No amount of planning, decorating, or spending could have determined that. It was our friends, their ability to look past the rain and make the night the joyful celebration it was meant to be. I am so thankful and blessed by our friends, the ones present on our wedding day and the ones who celebrated elsewhere. You all made our wedding day one of the most wonderful days ever.

All film photography // kristin sweeting photography

Thursday, April 25

Excuse me while I get my sass on...

{seriously you guys, I had my sassy pants on today...}

It's no secret that I have never been afraid of color. My mom always tells me if she could do it over again, {now that I have developed a personality} she would re-name me Joy. 

Color is one of the best ways to make others feel happiness or joy. I have no idea why, but our minds work that way! So when I found out the Coast to Coast Challenge for today was NEON, I was very excited! 

There is something so daring and taboo about neon colors. They immediately catch your attention. Much like these pants caught MY attention. {Okay fine, they are leggings... I like to be comfortable!} I honestly tried these on as a joke, but ended up absolutely loving them. They have such a nostalgic affect on me because they remind me of an old gymnast leotard I used to have. 

Anyways, I had tons of fun today wearing my neon. Also, Shania Twain's 1997 album "Come On Over" is the perfect soundtrack for a day of neon. Something about singing "Man I Feel Like A Woman" while wearing all neon made me feel so extremely powerful and untouchable. Somebody give me a reality/ego check! {haha just kidding ;)}

{the outfit deets:}
1. necklace: Stein Mart. I know.
2. peplum top: clearance rack at TJ Maxx
3. belt: forever 21 I think
4. pants/leggings: TJ Maxx
5. sapphire flats: Target

I'm just going to let this outfit count as my Frugal Friday post, too, since tomorrow I will be on my way to the BEACH. It's my Bachelorette Party weekend and I couldn't be more excited/nervous/scared/mostly excited. I hope you all have the loveliest of lovely weekends. I'm sure I will be full of funny stories when I return ;)

Tuesday, April 23


Hello dearies!

In honor of Earth Day and the natural beauty of the world, today's Coast to Coast Challenge was EARTHY. Woo hoo! I love the earth! I am pro-preserving the Lord's raw and marvelous creation. That includes embracing natural beauty.

I have always been a spokeswoman for minimal to no makeup. I didn't start wearing makeup until my Junior year of high school, because I would rather sleep an extra 30 minutes beforehand. As I continue to grow up and mature, I find myself becoming more and more comfortable in the skin and body the Lord gave me. This is not an easy thing to do, but it is more important than you could ever realize! It is nearly impossible to love anyone else until you learn to love yourself. This is where I thank God for his mercies & his perfect example of love.

So today, as I was thinking Earthy thoughts, I decided to go completely Au Natural. No makeup, no hair styling, no clothes {ha ha, just kidding!}

Stripping away all that extra stuff really made me appreciate the day more. My naked face was more than excited to drink in this amazing Spring weather! 

So in honor of Earth Day & loving yourself in the body God has given you, I dare you to go naked! {not all the way, obviously} Naked in the sense that you don't feel hidden behind a screen of beauty products and makeup. You are beautiful and your confidence will make everyone notice that!

{the outfit low-down:}
1. dress: Solitaire
2. belt: mom's/vintage
3. boots: Minnetonka
4. bracelets: gifted {Florida, Paris, Haiti}

Embrace the naturale this week! Give your skin and hair a break & let them breathe in this beautiful fresh Spring air. Get some Vitamin D-full sunshine rays, and eat yummy fruits and vegetables. Your body will be so happy, I promise!

Okay I'm done with my mom lecture now. I love you guys ;)

Sunday, April 21

my dream is...

Most of you are very familiar with my love of Coast to Coast challenges, and some of you have even joined in on the fun! Recently the ladies of Coast to Coast joined in with Go International for the #DreamCampaign.  The purpose is the realize what you dream to accomplish in your life so that it can become your reality. I believe whole-heartedly that we God has created us with specific life purposes. Some people know right off the bat what the path God has planned for them will look like, while others learn from experiences what truly touches their hearts. My dream has been a long time in the making, although I wasn't aware of it until quite recently.

This post is one of the most personal and meaningful I will ever have the opportunity to share. I hope the Lord will use this as a way to encourage you to love yourself and recognize your dream, His plan for your life, specifically.

My dream is to become an ambassador of hope to those suffering from mental illness.

This may seem quite random to many of you. How have I stumbled across this, why do I want to be involved in this, and why do I feel God has prepared me for a life of this dream?

The truth is, most of my life I have suffered, and continue to "suffer", from multiple mental illnesses. Hardly anyone would suspect that my every day is a struggle, a war between my brain and my soul. 

I suffer from chemical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder. I can recall my earliest memories and trace these illnesses all the way back.
It took me much longer to be honest enough with myself to recognize that I was struggling. When I finally did pinpoint what was going on, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had felt OK. 

Unfortunately, mental illnesses carry such a stigma, especially in the Church. 
I can't tell you how many people have told me to just "pray" it all away. It doesn't always work like that, not for me anyway. Some people struggle with depression or anxiety due to circumstances. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in every 4 adults in the United States suffer from a mental disorder.

I have been living a life of confusion, trying desperately to get rid of this darkness and suffering that was my constant shadow. I have struggled and fought with God for so long over WHY; why me, why am I consumed and enslaved to this, why does my own mind seem to reject the person and soul God created? 

The Lord has answered all my prayers. But not the way I had previously thought or hoped. God did not rid me of these mental illnesses, instead, He opened my eyes to their PURPOSE in my life. I have been called by God to live my life as an example to others. I have been on many domestic and international mission trips with my church, in turn experiencing God's love in ways I never imagined. I now realize that the Lord has called me to be a full-time missionary, just in a different way than I expected. I know for a fact that The Lord made mental illness part of my daily life so that I am reminded each and every day how I am nothing without Him. I am so stubborn, strong-willed, and independent. While some people see mental illness as a disability, I see it as a gift. 

Isn't that what we, as Christians, are called to do every day? To feel so broken and lost without Christ that we physically cannot bear life without Him? Living life with a mental disorder is just like living a life without knowing Jesus. There is no hope, no salvation, no future. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to suffer from mental illnesses, so I can be reminded each and every morning how desperately I need Jesus. 

Seeing everyone else's dreams on the Coast to Coast Challenge blog & hashtag feed caused me to search myself. What is the one thing I hope to embody as I continue living my life? I have so many dreams, and I feel so blessed to have a heart full of wonder and excitement for this beautiful world The Lord has created. But this weekend I received the confirmation that I needed to know that this dream of mine should become reality. 

This weekend I suffered an anxiety attack that took about 24 hours for me to recover. During these hours, I am typically silent, spending most of my time and energy just listening and reflecting on things going on around me. Still in my reflective state at church this morning, our pastor said something that spoke straight to my heart:

Hope is the ability to fall in love with reality; Not simply what is happening in my life, but what God has to say about what is going on in my life.

It was as if God was looking me in the eye, comforting me after this exhausting spell. BE STILL, MY SOUL. The Lord has my life in His hands and everything is going just as He has planned.

My dream is that I will become an ambassador of hope to people suffering from mental illness; Christians and non-Christians. There is an equal need on either sides because living with a mental disorder causes you to doubt your self-worth, and your life as a whole. Not only do I want these suffering people to learn to love themselves, but to see, recognize, accept, and embrace the hope that Christ's love restores our joy, our hope, and our lives. 

God has shown me how to fall in love with my mental disorders, so that I may have hope. I so desperately want anyone who suffers to open themselves up to this overwhelming hope and joy He has instilled in me. 

I would LOVE to hear from you all. If you have questions, comments, prayer requests, or just need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to comment or email me at

There is no shame in mental illness.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28

Thursday, April 11


I have never been a fan of sixties style until today. Coast to Coast's Mod Challenge was one of the first challenges that I just thought to myself, "no way."

I almost didn't even try. 
I googled "Mod Fashion" & "60's Style", and I began to form my own take on "Mod". 

Today made me realize; People in the 60's really knew what they were doing! Babydoll tops, A-line sihouettes, huge sunglasses, LOTS of color. My Twiggy-style makeup today made my eyes look bigger than they ever have. 

So, I commend you, Coast to Coast Challenge. You turned something so undesirable to me into a fun, new fashion interest of mine!


{The Outfit Nitty Gritty}
1. Jasmine earrings: mom's
2. crochet peplum: Lily White {TJ Maxx}
3. printed shorts: Forever 21
4. hot pink loafers: Target

I did my own Mod Makeup, and was quite proud of myself! Since most bold makeup trends seemed to be on fair-skinned women, I used browns to create a softer look.

Although it was rainy today, {I always seem to wear these loafers on days that start out pretty, then end up pouring} I was beyond comfortable all day. Sixties style has it going on, so don't be surprised if you see more Mod-inspired pieces sneaking into my outfit posts :)

I hope you all have a lovely Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday! Yippie!

Wednesday, April 10

calling all the married & wise...

Hello darling blog-world!

Here we are, another Wednesday. You are probably wondering what on earth I could post today {I STILL haven't made a habit of routine daily posts... and for that I am VERY sorry.}

Today we are going back to the initial Wednesday theme; wedding! Except instead of me telling you all what I love & what to do, {I am so bossy... very sorry again} I am seeking YOUR input. 

The purpose of today's post is to hear from you all. As the wedding gets closer, I find myself getting more and more freaked out. Not in an anxious way, believe me I am more than ready to be a wife and begin our life together. I am freaking out because I am a perfectionist and I want to know what I am getting myself into!

This past weekend, I was blessed beyond measure by my two maids of honor & their families. They hosted my first bridal shower. It was a beautiful day spent with family and friends. I was prayed over, and as the shower was coming to a close, my maids of honor ask the ladies to give me marriage advice. 

Up until this moment, the wedding seemed very surreal to me. I absolutely loved hearing advice from those women near and dear to me. The advice ranged from serious to sarcastic, but it was advice all in the same.

So today, I am reaching out to you, my readers! I am seeking marriage advice in all avenues; keeping Christ at the center of our marriage, moving away, maintaining our close relationship, financial & budgeting, etc.

So please, now is the time to flood me with your advice! Please feel free to comment on the blog, text me, {if you have my number ;)} or email me at

You all are so lovely and I am looking forward to hearing from you all. 

Tuesday, April 9

another outfit from the vault

Feel free to sing "another one from the vault" to the tune of "another one bites the dust" while reading this post.

So today's coast to coast challenge was boho braids, which was so much fun! I have bohemian blood in my veins, so I welcome any chance I get to embrace it with open arms! I was thoroughly busy today, so I didn't get a chance to document my entire outfit, so once again, here is another outfit from the Elvira Bleu Vault!

{but first, here are my boho braids}

This outfit I pulled from the vault may look familiar to you. It was the Statement Earrings challenge day. Here is the rest of the outfit I never posted!

{what you saw the day of the challenge}

I apologize for the grainy quality of these photos. I think it's because I waited until dusk to document the outfit of the day. {classic procrastinator, I know}

Outfit Breakdown:
1. grey asymmetrical cardigan: gifted {tj maxx}
2. tribal bandeau: Elvira Bleu Original
3. off-white flowy tank: target
4. heathered peach knee socks: target
5. leather riding boots: dolce vita {marshall's}
6. earrings: gifted from Kenya

I hope you have had a happy Tuesday! Tomorrow I hope to change things up a bit with some wedding-ness!
Thanks for stopping by the blog & looking at my face & listening to my brain.
- hannah