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Dec 31, 2014

The Best of 2014



what a year 2014 has been!  as i was going through my posts from this year, i realized a few things.  in 2014, heavens to betsy saw more growth than ever before!  more readers, more page views, more posts, more engagement.  thank you so so much for that.  it's incredibly humbling to realize how much this little blog has blossomed in the past twelve months, and even moreso, how many awesome friends i've gained through the blogging world!  

as we celebrate the very last day of this year, and look forward toward 2015, i thought i'd leave you with a round-up of my favorite (and in my opinion, the best) posts of 2014.  enjoy!



arm knitting 101 // this post was a quick video tutorial that i put together all about arm knitting!  arm knitting is by far one of the quickest ways to knit a cozy, bulky scarf.  you can sit down with some yarn and have a whole scarf finished 60-90 minutes later!  i gave a bunch of these scarves as christmas gifts this year and they were very well-loved!



blog with purpose // this post is a great stop for some tips on how to create and engage a community through your blog.  you all know how much i believe in the blogging community...it's why i blog!  so here are five tips that can help you get out of your little hole in the blogging world and make some real, honest-to-goodness friends!



learning to lead // as i stepped into a few leadership positions this year, i learned a lot about what good leadership is.  this post offered a few thoughts on the type of leader i want to be, the marks of a true leader, and an example of biblical leadership.



how to love running // i have always wanted to be a runner, but it wasn't until last spring that i truly learned to love it.  in this post, i shared 7 tips for turning this often-hated workout into something you crave!



how to make money blogging // this post lays out a few ways that you can make money blogging.  it breaks down things like affiliate programs, media networks, and blog sponsorships, and gives some general tips on how to get started and how to be successful!



the trouble with mary and martha // after doing she reads truth's hospitality study this fall, i began to look at the concept of hospitality in a way i never had before.  i've always considered myself to be a martha, and never saw the real danger in that until a few months ago.  this post unpacks the trouble with being a martha and what true hospitality looks like.



a few of my favorite drugstore mascaras // calling all mascara addicts!  here's a round up of a few of my favorite drugstore mascaras!  and don't miss the comment section of this post from even more suggestions from readers!



open your bible // i'm not exactly shy about the fact that i am terrible when it comes to a devotional routine.  but as i started being more intentional about it this year, i found that these tips helped me to set aside time with jesus on a regular basis.



why you shouldn't cut yourself short by undercharging // this one is for all the freelancers!  when you do freelance work, it is so so easy to undercharge for your services.  but here are a few reasons why you shouldn't undercharge as well as a few ways to stop undercharging!



worship while you work it // i got into the habit of listening to worship music while i ran early last summer and it helped transform my workouts into more intentional time spent with the lord.  so i put together a playlist of upbeat worship songs for you to listen to while you work out!

a few other exciting things that happened on heavens to betsy this year:
+ the launch of the peony project
+ the opening on heavens to betsy handmade
+ hit over 1,000 followers on bloglovin'
+ all-time high of over 28,600 pageviews/month
+ became a member of the influence network

if you're not currently following along, you can find me here:

am i missing anything?  was there a post on heavens to betsy this year that you loved but that didn't make this list?

Dec 30, 2014

NYC Day



every christmas, my family heads to nyc for a day.  we meander around the city and just enjoy spending time as a family.  for the most part, we don't have an agenda, and we go with no expectations.

this year was a little different, if only for the fact that my brother and natalie got engaged!  we took the staten island ferry into the city and then mark and natalie hopped on a train into brooklyn to grab coffee, saying that they'd meet up with us on the brooklyn bridge.  we all knew what was coming but she had no idea!  the rest of us headed up to the manhattan side of the bridge, grabbed some starbucks and a belgian liege wafle (if you haven't discovered the wafels and dinges food trucks in manhattan then you haven't lived) and started the walk across the bridge.

we met up with mark and natalie on the bridge, celebrated that she said yes, and then headed back into midtown to grab dinner and see the tree at rockefeller center.  natalie and i did a little shopping at anthropologie while everyone else walked up to the park and then we all headed home.  all in all, it was such a great day in the city!



do you have any holiday traditions?

Dec 29, 2014

Grateful Heart // New Years Edition



long time no see!  i hope you all had a fantastic holiday week.  i took a sort of unintentional blogging hiatus it seems.  i had every intention of blogging through the week, but time just got away from me with work and family stuff!  but to get back in the swing of things, i'm joining in on ember grey's grateful heart monday.

i have so so much to put on my list today!  i'll keep it brief for your sake, but let's just start off with the big one, shall we?

aj and i got engaged last week!  
(yes, i will definitely blog about the proposal, and probably throughout the wedding process!)

and a few other things i'm grateful for today:

a great breakfast with my best friend (and moh!) this morning
wonderful family and friends who have celebrated with us this past week
my brother also got engaged!
a great nyc trip with my family
fun new years plans for wednesday night
a pretty new shirt from anthropologie
another week off from work (sort of)
a really sparkly ring on my finger (that i can't stop looking at)
a cozy faux fur scarf
getting my first eagles shirt from aj's grandmother (though i'm saving it for next year because they are disappointing right now)
having all of my family home and in one place right now!

i hope you'll join in with us and tell us a little bit about what your heart is grateful for this week!  head on over to ember grey and link up with us!

what are you grateful for today?


Dec 23, 2014

Grateful Heart // Christmas Edition



i'm joining in on ember grey's grateful heart monday....well, this week it's grateful heart tuesday...but it works!

with a busy, busy few days (as always...i feel like a broken record for saying that!) my heart has so been needing this...a moment to focus on some of the little (and big) things that i'm grateful for!

getting started with christmas eve services at church tonight!
having aj home for even just a few days so far has been fantastic
christmas is just two days away!
hot cocoa (with marshmallow fluff on top)
pretty lights
having all of my presents purchased and wrapped
mocha punch (it's amazing)
yummy smelling candles
a pretty, decorated christmas tree

i hope you'll join in with us and tell us a little bit about what your heart is grateful for this week!  head on over to ember grey and link up with us!

and while we're at it...would you mind helping us pray the rain away?  it's supposed to be raining all night and all day tomorrow, and our christmas eve services include a number of outdoor elements.  we're praying that this storm takes a turn and is out of here before our services start at 3pm on christmas eve!

what are you grateful for today?

Dec 21, 2014

HTB Happenings



well, i'm a day late on my weekly recap, but better late than never!  as christmas gets closer, i feel like my life is getting crazier!  i'm officially on christmas break from teaching (woohoo!) and we had an adorable little sing along with my preschoolers and their parents. they sang jingle bells and the first verse of away in a manger and they were so proud of themselves!

happenings:
+ i designed our family's christmas cards this year and included a little hand lettering!
+ aj's mom and i drove to boston on thursday and brought aj and my cousin zac (who also goes to berklee) home for the holiday!  it's going to be so great to have him home for a month!
+ i spent lots of late nights knitting this week...i think i knit 10 or 11 scarves in the past 6 days!
+ our christmas cards arrived friday.  i love them!  but also disappointed because we ordered 25 and they only sent 20...boo!

in case you missed it:
+ in what ways is god calling you to be generous right where you are?
+ here are my five tips for having the prettiest presents under the tree this year!
+ i talked about dressing down and featured a beautiful necklace from pink lemonade!
+ two exciting giveaways are open right now for you!  (but hurry!)
+ a quick little grateful list!

don't miss these:
+ if you're obsessed with washi tape like i am, then you need to check out this super simple diy washi tape jar from meg!
+ love love love this handmade holiday gift guide from farm pretty!
+ these fun diy cards from melissa!
+ summer's thoughts on advent.
+ these yummy granola & yogurt parfaits from madison!  

have a fantastic sunday!


Dec 19, 2014

Giveaway Day!

i try really hard to never center a post around a giveaway.  i like to add giveaways into posts with more content, and i don't think i've ever offered more than one in any post.  but i'm traveling today and i wanted to give you all the opportunity to enter both of these giveaways that i've partnered with other bloggers to be a part of, so, today, we're going for it.... #hatersgonnahate.

emily ley simplified planner



the christmas season is such a spirit filled, cozy time of the year, but there is nothing quite as refreshing as a new year and new plans. there's so much hope & eagerness to see what the new year will hold.

to get you on the right track & ready for all that 2015 has to offer, i've teamed up with jenni from frankly my dear & several other ladies to give away one lucky a reader a sold out 2015 Daily edition of emily ley's simplified planner in happy stripes!



 the williams journey // blonde freedom // joyfully organized // new home, new name, new adventure // simply complex mom // park avenue // rachel rewritten // heavens to betsy // frankly my dear // oak + oats 


one simplified planner will be given away in happy stripes. open to those with a valid us address for shipping. all entries will be verified. no purchase is necessary to win. giveaway will run until 12/21 at 11:59pm. winner will be emailed and have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. 
good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

brighter day



i've also partnered with some other wonderful bloggers to offer one reader this clutch and these silver foil earrings from brighter day!  these are so cute and would make a great addition to any wardrobe/accessories collection for the new year!



have fun and good luck!

Dec 18, 2014

Dress Down and Pink Lemonade



sometimes my job requires me to do some hands-on work like painting.  this week at work has been particularly busy with preparations for our christmas eve, so i needed to dress comfortably.  that meant my favorite pair of jeans, a soft long-sleeve tee, a drapey cardigan, and some sneakers.  but because i also like to accessorize, i added this cute pink lemonade necklace to the mix!  you already know my affinity for wearing scarves, but they can get in the way, so choosing a cute necklace is always a good option as well!

i can't tell you the number of compliments that i got from this necklace.  not only does it pair well with neutrals, it is also handmade and was really comfortable to wear!  with a simple fabric tie in the back, it's easy to customize the length of the necklace and it was soft around my neck as i went about my work all day.

paige, the owner of pink lemonade  started her shop when she was just 14.  her work is absolutely gorgeous and unique, and what i love even more about her shop is that her desire is to glorify god with the work of her hands.  i can't encourage you enough to go over to her shop and check out her stuff!




and exclusively for heavens to betsy readers, you can take 30% off your next pink lemonade purchase with the code "betsy"!  don't miss out on that awesome offer!

and follow along with paige and pink lemonade here:  

Dec 17, 2014

Community Brew // Be Generous Right Where You Are

today i'm joining in with madison over at wetherills say i do and rachel of oh, simple thoughts for their community brew link-up!  community brew is a monthly link-up that is designed for bloggers to be "open, honest, and vulnerable, and to build community with others."  december's prompt is generosity, so join in and tell us a little bit about what season of life you're in!
_________________

it's hard to believe that christmas is a week away.  i'm sitting in my room, looking at a pile of wrapped gifts and receipts stacked on my desk.  i can't wait to give those gifts out next week.  i love picking out something great for someone i love and i'm looking forward to handing out these carefully-picked and wrapped gifts on christmas day.

generosity is a buzz-word this time of year.  in fact, it was our theme for the month as the character-education assemblies that i help to organize through our church.  we spent a few days teaching kids that generosity is "making someone's day by giving something away", and i can't think of a better way to put it!  everywhere you look right now, you'll see examples of people being generous.  generosity in giving gifts to friends and family; supporting charities; sponsoring families in need....opportunities to be generous are all around us every day.

i love practicing generosity year round, and i'm learning to be more generous with my money so that i can be a blessing to others in that way.  you see, being generous with my time has always been easy for me.  but money, well, that's been harder to release control over.  i'm in my mid-twenties, with two degrees under my belt, which also means a decent amount of student debt.  so i've always made it a point to be as frugal as possible.

but i've learned that not only does god call us to be generous (and that being faithful in our giving to him through our tithes will return more blessings than we can imagine), but he delights in it when we show generosity!

no matter what your financial situation, there are ways to be generous with a little or with a lot.  i'm a fan of making small commitments when i can.  for example, the mocha club is an awesome organization to support...they back a myriad of different projects in africa and you can support them for just the price of two starbucks drinks a month.  i also love supporting businesses that give back or are small.  as a shop owner, i know i'm blessed by every order, and i consider each order an act of generosity!

of course, generosity isn't only about money.  there are so many other ways to be generous with your time and resources.  offer to babysit for that single mom at church; spend some time wrapping your grandmother's gifts for her; if you can make something, do it and send it to someone as a snail mail surprise!  be creative with your generosity and i bet you that you'll find it really fun.

so, how are you showing generosity this christmas season?

Dec 16, 2014

5 Tips to Have the Prettiest Presents Under the Tree



my friends courtney and britney are some of the most creative people i know.  they have a talent for creating lovely things, and i love everything they touch!  their mom, sherry, is also so incredibly talented and creative.  each year, these dear friends open their home and invite a group of women to come over and wrap all of their christmas gifts.  we call it the wrapping party and we all show up, bags full of unwrapped gifts, rolls of wrapping paper, scissors, and tape, and after a few hours, leave with tummies full of good food and beautifully wrapped packages.

because it's not just about wrapping your gifts in paper at the wrapping party, it's about adorning your packages.  sherry feels her kitchen table with ribbons and trims of all sorts, and after you wrap up a box, you head over to the table to pick out some unique toppings to take your packages to the next level!

friends, this party has totally taken my christmas gift game to the next level.  like, for real.  i'm ruined for all of wrapping ever to come.  and i bet it would do the same to you too.  but you don't need a wrapping party to put the prettiest packages under your tree this year!  here are my five tips for wrapping your prettiest gifts ever:

1.  keep your paper simple and streamlined // just like julie andrews, i'm a huge fan of brown paper packages tied up with string.  brown paper is plain and easy to adorn, but you don't have to go that route!  this year, i've incorporated some variations on the theme...all of my paper has a brown base, with different patterns (white chevrons, gold polka dots) and they go well together.  whatever papers you choose, keep a common theme...for example:  chalkboard, gold, metallic...as long as the papers work together, you're good!

2.  look around you // you don't have to spend a ton of money on trimmings at a craft store to have pretty packages.  look around you...do you have twigs, trimmings from your christmas tree, extra yarn or twine lying around?  things like pinecones, berries, bark, old sweaters or fabric all make great options!

3.  never underestimate the power of the glue gun // until three years ago, i had never even considered using a hot glue gun on my christmas gifts.  use tape to wrap your packages, but then break out the glue gun.  it is the best way to get your embellishments and ribbons to stick where you want them on your packages!  plus, it will make you look super dedicated to the cause when you're not just using tape anymore.

4.  wrap in unique ways // utilize things like mason jars, flower pots, and other interesting containers instead of just boxes...they will give your gifts interesting shapes and textures and will help them to stand out in the crowd.

5.  plan ahead // you can do this in a few different ways.  try to give yourself at least a week or two to wrap before christmas.  you want to be able to take your time with this and really get creative!  i love the wrapping party because it gives me a goal.  once it's on my calendar, i know i want to have most of my shopping done by that date!  after christmas this year, stop by your local craft store and stock up for next year.  things like ribbons and trims and embellishments will be dirt cheap and on sale in the days following christmas!



what about you?  do you get creative with your wrapping?  will you try your hand at it this year?
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