2.16.2011

twenty-six thoughts and a giveaway

photo via
A few days ago I turned 26. I hopped over the hump of twenty-somethings, edged a whole lot closer to 30 than 19, and honestly I couldn't feel happier about it.

On my birthday's eve, Jeff whisked me away for dinner and a little shopping date. We didn't buy anything fancy, just drooled over iPads that we couldn't afford at the Apple store, and yet I returned home with an overwhelming sense of contentment and muchness. I love this season in my life.

Odd as it may sound, I'm finally feel like a legit grown-up. A grown-up who still knows how to have fun and who, ironically, feels more like a kid than ever when she lays on the floor with coloring crayons and sings about the wheels on the bus.

I'm beginning to feel just plain comfortable in my own skin. It's wonderful. I feel like I know more of my likes and dislikes than ever before, and find fewer things getting under my skin. I think I'm learning how to let things go. The more life experiences, the easier it is to see the big picture. You know, that extravagantly beautiful picture God paints in our lives as he calls us and loves us.

I'm learning to rejoice in the little things, which as it turns out, are really really big things. Like our health, having food on the table, the boy's constant messes, and the piles of laundry.

I love being married to Jeff more and more every day. Did I tell you he made me the most extraordinary flourless chocolate birthday cake? {Flourless cakes of all kinds are our absolute favorite desserts lately.} I've tried a few different recipes, but Jeff's absolutely swept me off my feet. He allegedly added 15 ounces of pure chocolate. Slightly snug jeans aside, it was absolutely heavenly and a super far cry from the horrible artificially flavored strawberry box cake he made for my 22nd birthday (although I was still charmed by his efforts).

So here's to number 26, a head full of dreams, and a heart full of joy.

*****

And even though the day + cake have come and gone, there's still a lil' birthday giveaway that I'd love to share:

Have you heard of the Shabby Apple? They are owned by two women entrepreneurs who are devoted to designing stylish and sensible women's dresses, little girl dresses, and cute accessories, and also committed to helping women worldwide. I'm super delighted to give away this simple North Shore dress to one lucky lady. (An $88 value). I love the rosey shoulder and am certain that the waistline would flatter any body type. You know you could use this in your spring wardrobe!

Giveaway ends Wednesday 2/23! And even if you don't win, the Shabby Apple is kindly offering readers 10% off their purchases through the month of March. Simply enter livingtheswelllife10off at the check out. Yay!

*****

You can enter in one (or 3!) ways:

1. Leave a comment telling how you would accessorize this dress, imagining you are the lucky winner. (C'mon, you know you have the perfect shoes or headband!)

2. Give the Shabby Apple girls your thumbs up on facebook (and leave a comment if you did).

3. Share a link to this giveaway on your social media site of choice to help spread the word (then leave a comment to let me know you did)!


*for US residents only, please.

114 comments:

Emily said...

I would wear my red heels and red rosette earring!! LOVE IT!

Emily said...

I tweeted this!

Emily said...

I liked on FB!

lramey said...

i gave it a big thumbs up on the book of face!

lramey said...

and i need this dress to wear with my ruffly gold heels and fantastic colorful earrings!!

Pink Stitches said...

Love this dress! I'd wear it with some white slingback wedges!

Jenny said...

I liked on FB

Jenny said...

I blogged the giveaway!

Jenny said...

I would accessorize this with my big braided leather belt and my sparkly owl cocktail ring!

Heather J said...

Happy 26!

Cute dress! I'm sure I'd wear it with some strappy sandals and some cute earrings.

Heather J said...

Shabby Apple has been liked on FB!

J6 said...

Definitely a floral headband.

BR said...

i would add a huge belt!

Anneliese said...

happy belated birthday! i am approaching 26 here in a few months...i don't know if i can say that i feel like a legit grown up yet...but i do notice myself maturing in ways. like being able to keep my mouth shut & seeing the benefits of it :)

thanks for a great giveaway!

Anneliese said...

ps. i liked them on facebook :)

From Sunday to Monday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Sunday to Monday said...

I love the dress and would wear it to my rehearsal dinner (probably the honeymoon too)! I would probably match it with my leather bracelet some cute leather sandals and dangly turquoise earrings!
-I blogged about this
-I facebook thumbs upped it =)

Becca said...

I love that dress! Glad you had a good birthday. I know- I think the mid-late 20's are a good age to be! I think I'd wear it with some cute new shoes I got.

Mama B said...

I'd wear it with some wedges and a big bangle. Love this dress!

Fairlightday said...

Glad 26 is treating you so well. I've enjoyed my 26th year and am looking forward to 27.
Such a cute dress! I love Shabby Apple! Loving everyone's suggestion for accessories. :)

Fairlightday said...

I "liked" Shabby Apple on FB

Amanda said...

Glad to hear the birthday celebrating went so wonderfully! I have the perfect pink flats that would go with this.

Amanda said...

I like them on Facebook.

Amanda said...

and tweeted!

Melinda said...

Hello sweetie! I would love this dress in my Spring wardrobe. Considering I don't own any dresses, aside from a 'peasant' type for a wedding coming up in March. I would accessorize this dress with a pair of earrings that I own, they are white with a 'cottage' style feel to them...I would also wear my new 'Leather Toe Ring' sandal found at AE.com that I just purchased. Simple. Not too much, but just right. ;) Hope I win! :)

The OD's said...

I love this dress (and need it as I redo my wardrobe after a new baby). I would pair it with yellow ballet flats some enamal jewelry and a litlle cardigan for now, and in the summer, switch it up with some gold sandles and a fun wicker clutch.

Sourkraut said...

I'm not too good at accessorizing but I have the perfect black headband to pair with the dress. It's even got a bit of sparkle, which is almost unheard of in my wardrobe!

And can I just say how much I loved your birthday post? Just a few days ago I was annoyed when I read another blogger complaining about turning the dreaded 27. I don't think she realized how ridiculous that sounds to those of us who are older than 27. I was worried this was going to be a similar post so I was pleasantly surprised by your healthy attitude toward your age. I'm turning 30 this year and I'm actually looking forward to it. Glad you had a great birthday!

Sourkraut said...

I also like Shabby Apple on FB.

The Monogrammed Nest said...

So pretty! I would wear this dress with gold heels and a colorful big bead necklace.

The Monogrammed Nest said...

I like Shabby Apple on Facebook!

Rosemariee said...

i was just browsing on their site yesterday. loving the south pacific collection. this dress is beautiful too! i think it'd look great with a wide belt.

Jenna Lou said...

Happy Birthday! I love when that time of year passes and you just feel comfortable and right about the world... so glad you are in that place!

The dress is so stunning on it's own that I would keep it simple and accessorize with black heels and a silver headband.

Rosemariee said...

i liked them on facebook as well!

Nicole said...

Happy Birthday!!
I have a great silver feather bracelet and huge pink cocktail ring that would look cute. Thanks for the opportunity!!

Erica said...

Happy birthday! I'll be turning 26 soon too. The dress is adorable, I hadn't heard of Shabby Apple before. I think it'd accessorize perfectl with my growing baby bump! And some leggings/boots and a cardigan for now, and strappy sandals when it finally warms up!

I also tweeted the giveaway (@midwesternita).

I also like them on FB now too.

Cottage Mommy said...

Cute dress...if I had the guts to even wear it I would wear my tall brown leather boots!

Megan said...

Happy 26 Jess! Jeff's flourless chocolate cake sounds delish. You are a lucky lady :)

The dress is adorable! I would pair it with my sparkly gold TOMS for a fun night out in Milwaukee!

Liv said...

Welcome to 26, it's a good age. I love your thoughts about life right now too. So beautiful and true.

I would wear this lovely little dress with a big floppy hat, because maybe one day, it will be warm enough to wear such things again!

Mrs. Lay said...

Love this! and Happy Belated Birthday! I would definitely accessorize this dress with my new hair cut! haha As a new mom, hair cuts and colors are few and far between so I'm thinking my new "do" would be quite the cute accessory!

ellen said...

black high heels

Amanda said...

Happy belated birthday! I have a pair of strappy burnt orange sandals that I think would look great with that dress! It's gorgeous!

JSchaller said...

Winning this dress would be a great 30th birthday gift! I'm thinking I'd pair it with yellow for spring . . . or maybe coral . . . yes, I have coral bead jewelry that might just do the trick!

bethany said...

Love, love Shabby Apple! Have never actually bought anything through the site, but have spent much time dreaming there. :)

I think I would accessorize with a red peeptoe pump and some dainty silver earrings.

Adore it! :)

And hope your birthday was super excellent!

lhunt212 said...

It's a little chillt here in spring so i would pair the dress with some knee high chocolate brown boots and a brown belt. Then Some gold bracelets. Wow I'm having fun just thinking about the possibilities!

Heather said...

I would accessorize with SAND! I would go straight to the beach for an afternoon stroll and then out to dinner with my honey! This dress would work perfect for a whole day of fun!

Chase and Melissa said...

I have the cutest pair of brown and teal jewelled sandals that would look adorable with this dress! Paired with my gold tear drop shapped earrings, I think it would be a great little dress for a casual summer date night with my husband.

Chase and Melissa said...

I liked them on faceobok!

Amy said...

I would accessorize with a shell colored necklace or bracelet.

Amy said...

i like SA on fb :) Happy 26th! I'm turning the big 2-6 in a few weeks, too!

Emily Ryan said...

Count resist but like it on facebook! Love the pictures!

Emily Ryan said...

There would be so many options with a dress in such a fabulous color! I think I would accessorize with my white beachy saddles, and a flowery headband! Love that color!

This Little Daisy said...

First, I definitely added them on Facebook! To accessories...I would wear my yellow canvas slingback espadrilles with my straw fedora, and my gold bangle bracelets from my grandma...channeling summer right! Great giveaway, thank you! :)

lisa said...

happy birthday!

J said...

I would wear my silver flats and a cute flower print headband that matches the flower perfectly!

Happy Birthday

J said...

I liked them on Facebook!s

J said...

gave a shoutout on twitter to the giveaway: @jjscheid

A Place to Reside said...

Happy 26th!

I'm envisioning the dress with my silver and gold sandals and a white shrug. Oh I can't wait for spring!

zealous4truth said...

So adorable! It looks so comfortable and having cirrhosis at 25, that is so important! I would wear this with all my pearl accessories :)

Justine said...

I would wear this beautiful dress with some gray peeptoe flats or maybe my yellow ones! So many options! Also...I'd most likely have my baby on my hip!! He goes with any outfit!

forr2girls said...

I would wear this dress with my black ballet flats.

jen @ homeinthecountry said...

Just wanted to say Happy Birthday!

Such a cute dress! I'd love it with a thick yellow headband & yellow ballet flats! But you shouldn't pick me unless they'll make a maternity version for me... I'll be wearing maternity clothes this spring & into the summer.

Thirty-One Trendy Totes said...

I would wear my yellow earrings! This is such a cute dress!

kaylynn_0419@yahoo.com

Thirty-One Trendy Totes said...

I liked on facebook!

Angie said...

I'm picturing some white canvas slip ons and a white bangle bracelet.
angiewith3 at live dot com

Angie said...

liked shabby apple on FB
angiewith3 at live dot com

Angie said...

RT'd giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/angiewith3/status/38456327382499328
angiewith3 at live dot com

PurpleLarkspur said...

I have a pair of metallic flats that would look awesome with this dress. Add some chunky bracelets, and I am good to go!!!

PurpleLarkspur said...

I tweeted the giveaway! http://twitter.com/#!/PurpleLarkspur/status/38502998573326336

Katie said...

I LOVE shabby apple and that is one of my favorite dresses I've seen! I would wear it to a wedding I'm going to in April with a pair of cute shoes!

Katie said...

I liked on facebook!

Sam and Emily Grindstaff said...

With my black ruffly heels and cute earrings.

Sam and Emily Grindstaff said...

like shabby apple on facebook

Gabby and Jason said...

love the dress & Shabby Apple! I have a pair of yellow pumps that would work fabulously with it.

p.s. Happy bday! :D

Gabby and Jason said...

also liked on facebook!

VivatRegina said...

Happy Birthday! I'm right behind you, I'll be 26 in May... YIKES!

I SOOOO love Shabby Apple and this dress is GORGEOUS!!!

I do have the perfect heels for it, canvas and gold-trimmed peep-toe wedges! I think I need this for my birthday! haha! :)

VivatRegina said...

The Shabby Apple got a thumbs up from me on facebook!!! YAY!!

VivatRegina said...

And I linked up with my Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/VivatReginaCrafts

*crossing fingers and toes and hoping to win*

Christine E-E said...

I can see my daughter "knock 'em dead" with this cute dress. She'd wear it for her spring OPEN HOUSE (she's a kindergarten teacher - doesn't wear dresses during the day so she can get down & sometimes dirty with her students). She make jewelery so I have no doubt she would "whip up a pair of dangly earrings & simple bracelet with beads in shades of orange, agua, red & maybe some silver.
She has some red shoes - or she might treat herself to a new pair if she won this dress!!

Kate said...

HAPPY HAPPY birthday!

Anne said...

I think I would keep it simple--flip flops and my favorite brown headband.

Christine E-E said...

back again! posted a thumbs up on fb.. looked back at my post. silly me ~ my daughter would not wear "agua" beads, ha! but a bracelet made from aqua beads!!!

Ana said...

Cute dress. I'd pair it with a pair of grey flats, a colorful headband and maybe a cute belt.

Happy belated bday!

aimee said...

Ooo adorable! Big thumbs up on Facebook!

Kelly said...

Love this dress! How about some woven sandals and pink coral jewelry for an island look?

Celeste said...

Bright red shoes! I love turquoise + red together.

celeste@mail4me.com

Allie said...

YAY! my new brown belt and some colorful heels!

Allie said...

i liked on FB!

Cassie said...

I can't enter the comp being outside US but just wanted to wish you a belated birthday and say what an amazing post that was. Beautifully written.
xx

sarah said...

I would wear that darling dress with my red heels and some turquoise earrings.

Happy Birthday! I just turned 26 as well last month :)

sarah said...

I liked on Facebook

Megan said...

I think this would be super cute with a red belt and some flats!
megangaughan at yahoo dot com

Megan said...

I also like SA on Facebook!
megangaughan at yahoo dot com

Mystial Batwoman said...

I would wear it with gloves and a nice clutch!

Mystial Batwoman said...

gave shabby apple a thumbs up :)

Biscuit McGhee said...

I definitely would rock this dress with my favorite black sandals... Perhaps a flower pin in my hair and some sass!

Rebekah said...

happy happy birthday - I will pray for sunshine to melt the snow away for you guys :)! So I have been sneaking around your adorable blog for a bit now and just HAVE to throw my name into the hat on this. I adore shappy apple and would totally rock this little number in some cute heels and my favorite diamond studs for one of my date nights in! :)

thanks for the opportunity and for having a birthday and letting us celebrate with you!

Rebekah said...

I gave it a thumbs up on fb!

Rebekah said...

and tweeted about it too!

Precious said...

I would accessorize with a belt around the middle, string of long pearls, or make a flower to wear in my hair to match the ones on the dress - depending on my mood, right?

Precious said...

Absolutely HAD to give a thumbs up "like" for shabby apple!

Amy said...

Ooh, this dress would be great with my expanding baby bump.

Marci said...

I'm thinking cream lace tights with grey heels and some sassy earrings, maybe pearls.

Marla said...

Simple large hoops and a pair of strappy sandals. . .

Andi Mae said...

Okay, so I'm super late joining the party, but here I go...

If I won this oh so lovely dress, I would wear it with my favorite pair Mary Janes + my red earrings!

Andi Mae said...

I like Shabby Apple on facebook!

Andi Mae said...

I posted about your giveaway on facebook!
xo

Ginny said...

id totally wear bright yellow flats with this dress right now!!

love that color :)

Ginny said...

also, I liked them apples on Facebook :)

Ginny said...

pss: i love that they have a maternity line!!!!!

i reallly want to get this dress :)

http://www.shabbyapple.com/p-398-finding-out.aspx

Jenny said...

RED! I would wear red earrings and maybe a red sash!

Jen said...

I liked Shabby Apple on FB! :) Love all the Shabby Apple dresses!

Nancy said...

I liked this dress on FB!

Kayt said...

I liked it on facebook! And then proceeded to love everything they are selling :)

Jenny said...

i liked it on facebook thru andi.

would LOVE this gorgeous dress with knee high boots and a belt and a slouchy handbag!