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Mar 31, 2015

Palm Sunday.


This post originally appeared on GT Church's Easter Blog.

Palm Sunday always creates a knot in my stomach.  As a small child, I loved it.  I had no real perspective then on the true significance of the day, or what was to come in the next week; what mattered to me was that I got to walk down our little church aisle waiving a big palm branch that my choir instructor would inevitably remove from my tiny hands for playing with it too much during service.
 
As an adult, though, it makes me cringe.  For me, it always serves as a reminder of how easily I turn my back on God.  I think about Jesus riding into Jerusalem, the city exploding with excitement and celebration…(I mean, they don’t call it the triumphal entry for nothing, right?).  But just days later, those same people who waved their palm branches and threw down their cloaks to make Jesus’ ride a little smoother nailed him to a cross and turned their backs on him.  Of course, he knew that this was going to happen, but it still makes me want to say "Turn around Jesus and get out of there!  We humans aren't to be trusted!". But that sentiment, however good at heart, is futile.
 
It’s easy to forget the reality of Christ’s sacrifice on a day-to-day basis, especially if you don’t make intentional time to consider it.  However, I'm continuously amazed that I get to be part of the story that God is writing, while doing nothing to deserve it.  In the case of this Easter, I feel like I fell short.  Life got the better of me and during a season of the year when I should have spent time reflecting on the hope, passion, and life change that accompanies the cross, I went about my day-to-day, busy as ever, not slowing down. 

The wonder of Christ lies in the way He freely gives us grace.  There's a song by a Christian band that my friends and I use to love in high school, and one of the lines goes, "the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair."  How true those words are...the beauty of the grace Christ gives us is that it takes away the punishments we deserve in life (ultimately, the weight of our sin) and in Him, we are redeemed beyond the shadow of a doubt. 

But really, the wonder of Christ is that He continues to extend that grace even in a season when I've not tried or done my best. He redeems and restores, and offers rest to the weary.  

Maybe you're looking at a to-do list that is a mile long as you prepare for next Sunday.  Maybe, like me, Lent slipped away faster than you realized and you failed to truly savor and appreciate this season.  Maybe you feel like that's always your story...good intentions, poor execution.  Guess what, friend?  That's everyone's story.  It's our nature.  We will always fall short of the glory of God, but again, that's the beauty of grace.  

Mar 27, 2015

My Spring Wardrobe Inspiration (& a Giveaway!)

I'm going to be completely honest with you...spring is not my favorite season to dress for.  I love the onset of warm weather, but I just have such a hard time finding clothes that I love for these finicky months!  My spring go-to plan is to layer, layer, layer.  Well, that's actually my plan every season!

I love having a wardrobe that can transition from season to season, but there's also something about spring that makes me want to shop for just a few new pieces to add to my closet!  I'm trying to be really good and not spend money on new clothing, but a girl can dream right!  Check out some of my wardrobe inspiration:







And because I think YOU deserve a spring shopping spree, I've teamed up with eight other fabulous bloggers to give one lucky reader the chance to win a gift card to Gap worth $150!  Check out these awesome ladies (and go leave them some love on their blogs!) and enter to win below!



Enter below to win a $150 gift card to Gap!  All entries will be verified, so please play fair!

Mar 26, 2015

Guys Behind the Blog // March



I'm so excited for another Guys Behind the Blog Link-up!  This fun little link up seems to be growing every month, and it's been fun to get to know your guys better in the process.  I hope you've been enjoying it too!

So this month, I convinced (ok, I sort of forced) AJ to sit down with me and let me interview him via video!  I believe that Madison was the one who came up with this idea (credit where credit is due!) and so I totally stole it.  This was fun for me, and I hope you enjoy watching it!  It seems like the last few seconds got a bit cut off, but basically, if you can get your guy to agree, you should vlog with us one month!!

There's still time to join in on our March link-up....it'll be open through next Friday.

This month's questions were:
1 // Do you have a good luck charm or ritual? (like a lucky coin, or you always used to listen to a certain pump-up song when you played sports in high school or college?)
2 // What is your favorite dish that your wife/fiance/girlfriend makes for you?  Do you have any fun memories of a time when she tried to cook and it totally flopped or does she get it right every time?
3 // What did you want to be when you were growing up?
4 // Which of the five senses is your strongest?
5 // Would you ever run for president?



March Guys Behind the Blog from Betsy Gettis on Vimeo.

And here are the prompts for April....mark your calendars for Thursday, April 23rd.  (We usually do the last Thursday in April, but since the last Thursday is also the last day of the month, I'm moving it back a week).  The link-up will be open through May 1, so join in with us any time during that week! And if you have ideas for questions for upcoming months, you can submit them here.

April's questions:
1 // Has Starbucks ever spellled your name wrong on a cup? If yes, what's the craziest way that someone has spelled it?
2 // Who would play your wife/fiance/girlfriend in a movie or TV show about your lives?
3 // What is your proudest accomplishment?
4 // What is your favorite holiday and why?
5 // What is your favorite breed of dog?  If you don't have a favorite breed, describe the characteristics of your ideal dog (or cat)!

Mar 25, 2015

Mid-Week Grateful Heart Check-in



I can't believe we've reached Wednesday already.  These weeks are just flying by, and to be honest, I feel like a bad blogger this week....sorry!  I'm finding my brain consumed with to-do lists for wedding planning and work, and as usual before a big holiday (Christmas & Easter are the craziest times at work for me), I'm starting to have those panic dreams where stuff goes horribly wrong.  On the bright side, those dreams are usually pretty funny when I wake up, but they're a definite sign that I'm stressed!

I promise tomorrow's post will be great (it's The Guys Behind the Blog, after all!), but yesterday just didn't happen.  AJ and I had a busy weekend and we're needing to make some decisions about where to go on our honeymoon (we're looking at a few different resorts in Punta Cana and the Riviera Maya) and we're basically the most indecisive couple ever.  Plus, everything just looks gorgeous and wonderful and we just want to be married, so it's hard to choose!  Decisions take a lot of energy, friends.

So, I'm stopping in mid-week to join in with Emily's Grateful Heart Link-Up (she hosts it every Monday and it's open all week!).  I firmly believe that the practice of writing down the things and people you're grateful for can be a huge help in keeping some perspective!

Here are a few things that I'm particularly grateful for today:
+ AJ was home for a few days and he'll be back next Friday for Easter
+ We got some things checked off of our wedding to-do list this weekend
+ Fresh-pressed juice
+ The freedom (and ability) to plan an awesome honeymoon for us!
+ Easter is less than two weeks away!
+ I'm getting to spend the weekend with Madison starting tomorrow!
+ Tomorrow is our Guys Behind the Blog link-up, and AJ let me convince him to do a vlog for it!
+ Biking
+ Sunshine
+ Most of the snow is finally melted
+ My dad is feeling a bit better this week (his energy levels have been low)

And just to make your Wednesday a little cheerier...here's a fun giveaway for a copy of The Kinfolk Table!  Good luck!
Kinfolk_Table_Cookbook_Giveaway_Graphic
Hannah at Just Bee // Courtney at Familiar Friend // Betsy at Heavens to Betsy 
Abby at Winstead Wandering // Stephanie at Sustaining the Powers // Emily & Sydney at The After Hours Chef

Happy Monday! I've teamed up with some other amazing bloggers to offer you the chance to win your own copy of "The Kinfolk Table" cookbook! "The Kinfolk Table" is a hardcover book full of beautiful pictures, wholesome recipes, and heartwarming stories of people's lives around the world. It doubles as a cookbook and a gorgeous coffee table book. :) We're very excited about this opportunity to bless someone with a great product. Entering to win is super easy - just check out the options below! Best of luck!

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR TODAY?

Mar 23, 2015

5 Tips for Fresh, Glowing, Summer-Ready Skin

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreshAndGlow #CollectiveBias
5 Tips for Healthy, Summer-Ready Skin

Spring is officially here (hallelujah!)!  I'm fully prepared to savor this season for all it's worth, but I can't lie...I'm already looking forward to the summer months of day trips to the beach, backyard bbqs, and getting a little color from that beautiful, warm sun!  

But if you're anything like me, winter does a number on your skin!  My skin is dry and lacks that summer glow that I love, and it's almost embarrassing when I look at my hands and realize how much they need some moisture.  So, with the warmest months of the year right around the corner, here are my top 5 tips for healthy, summer-ready skin that you can start using today to make sure your skin is in tip-top shape come June!

1 // Hit that H2O
Drinking the recommended amount of water each day is crucial to healthy, hydrated skin!  Drinking water has a ton of health benefits, and one of my favorite perks to getting that H2O is what water does for your outward appearance.  Not only does water help beat bloating, but it can help keep your skin aglow by nourishing your cells from the inside out. 



2 // Exfoliate
Getting rid of all of those dead skin cells is key to keeping your skin feeling soft and also helping it retain moisture!  Exfoliate with a gentle cleanser or homemade sugar scrub in order to slough off those dull, dry skin cells and help your skin get back it's luster!

3 // Listen to your Mom and Moisturize
I've had my mom tell me time and time again to moisturize so that I don't end up with wrinkles, and truthfully, I haven't always heeded her advice.  Lotion just makes me feel icky, but I've overcome that aversion and gotten into a good routine of moisturizing right when I hop out of the shower.  It really is amazing the difference some moisturizer makes!  My skin is so much happier when I've slathered on some lotion...goodbye itchy, dry skin!



4 // Wear Sunscreen
You've heard it a million times:  wearing sunscreen is imperative to keeping your skin healthy and happy!  I choose to wear foundation that boasts SPF 15 year-round, and I always feel good knowing that my face is protected.  I spent way too many years as a teenager forgoing the sunscreen because "I'm Italian and I don't burn!" (yeah right!).  Wearing sunscreen when you're out in the sun for long periods of time (and re-blocking!) is one of the best ways to keep your skin in it's prime for a long time!



5 // Use the Right Body Wash 
Despite the fact that you're in water, showering can help to dry out your skin even more.  That's why choosing the right body wash is so important!  With all of the options out there, be sure to choose something that contains ingredients that will leave your skin happy, like the 100% real extracts found in Softsoap's new Fresh & Glow Exfoliating Fruit Polish and Fresh & Glow Hydrating Shower Cream!  Both of these products will leave your skin healthy looking:  the Exfoliating Fruit Polish will help to slough off dead skin with the help of apricot seeds that exfoliate your skin, and the Hydrating Shower Cream puts to work milk protein, almond, and coconut that nourish your skin and leave it feeling soft and hydrated! 

And both varieties of Softsoap Fresh & Glow is available at your local Wal-Mart in the body wash aisle!  I even picked up a new sponge when I was there, just to get my skin at it's summer's best!  And while you're there, don't forget to pick up some moisturizer, sunscreen, and a cute water bottle in addition to your new Softsoap Fresh & Glow!




WHICH SOFTSOAP FRESH & GLOW WOULD YOU WANT TO TRY FIRST?  HOW DO YOU GET YOUR SKIN READY FOR SUMMER?

Mar 21, 2015

HTB Happenings



This weekend has just been the best.  AJ came home on Wednesday morning and we've basically spent every minute together since.  Despite the fact that we got four inches of snow on the first day of spring, we have had a great few days together!

Here's what you might have missed this week on Heavens to Betsy:

HAPPENINGS // 
+ Water is pretty much the only thing I drink, besides coffee and tea, and I love infusing it!  The combo of blackberries and rosemary is super yummy!
+ One of the things we tried to cross off the wedding checklist this weekend was figuring out our honeymoon plans!  We narrowed it down to a cruise or a week at an all-inclusive resort, and we think we made a decision...if you weighed in and offered some advice on instagram...THANK YOU!
+ The beginning of the week was filled with a few busy, busy days of getting stuff done before AJ came home...and I got sick!
+ Like I said...4 inches of snow on the first day of spring.  And it was basically all gone the next day when we had temps in the 50s!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT //
+ Have you tried this delicious Blackberry-Lime Spritzer?  Check out the recipe and get some party decor tips!
+ I'm a bit of a Target addict, so here's my spring wish list (plus a giveaway for a $400 gift card!)
+ You can read all about my decision to go to a Christian college here.
+ The first of my Heavens to Betsy Tell-All posts went live this week!  I answered ten of YOUR questions!
+ I started the week with a grateful heart, despite not feeling well.


DON'T MISS THESE // 
+ This grain-free granola recipe from Anna!
+ Have you ever seen Mystic Pizza?  Well Samantha took a trip to Mystic and ate there!
+ Daisy's lessons learned from working freelance are so interesting!  Freelancing is definitely not easy, but it's an adventure!
+ I totally resonate with Skylar's feelings about being in the "in between" stage of life!
+ I'm loving how many of my favorite bloggers are engaged right now!  Summer's coffee-themed bridal shower looks adorable!

and for a limited time:  i'm offering $3 off any ad package on my blog with the code "justbecause"!  click here to check out advertising options!

Mar 20, 2015

Easy Blackberry-Lime Spritzer (Plus Quick Party Decor Tips!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KeepSpringBubbly #CollectiveBias

I'm so excited to show you how to make this super simple (and super delicious) Blackberry-Lime Spritzer today!  I can't wait to feature this pretty drink at all of the spring and summer get-togethers I have planned for this year. 


Growing up, our house was always filled with people.  I had friends over all the time and our family has always been close-knit, so backyard BBQs and impromptu get-togethers have been frequent happenings in our home for as long as I can remember.

My mom is, without a doubt, the hostess with the mostest.  If one of her spiritual gifts isn't hospitality, well, I don't know what is.  She knows how to whip together a quick (and beautiful) spread of food and knows how to make people feel welcome in her home at a moment's notice, and I like to think I inherited even just a little bit of that from her.

I love hosting get-togethers, and with both my brother and I getting married at the end of this summer (and considering I'm one of my future sister-in-law's bridesmaids), I'm sure this summer will be full of both planned and impromptu parties at our home.  I'm a firm believer that even the most spontaneous of parties deserve some fun decor, and so today I have some tips for party planning for you!

While planning a party in fifteen minutes or less might seem daunting, it's definitely possible!  To start, whipping up a quick, fun, and special drink will make any occasion seem fancier.  This Blackberry-Lime Spritzer will not only satisfy your guests' palette, but will also look like you are the (non-alcoholic) bartender to beat!



Here's what you need:
+ Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale
+ Fresh Blackberries
+ Fresh Lime Slices
+ Fresh Rosemary

To make this easy spritzer, simply pour a 2-Liter bottle of Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale into a pitcher and combine with the juice of two limes.  Toss a few fresh blackberries and 2-3 sprigs of rosemary into the pitcher.  Serve over ice and top each beverage with a lime slice, 3-4 fresh blackberries, and a sprig of fresh rosemary!  It's so easy and looks great on the table!

You can also make this spritzer with regular Canada Dry Ginger Ale if you'd like a little less blackberry flavor!  I found all of the ingredients for this spritzer at my local Wal-Mart, which is the best place to find this limited edition Canada Dry Ginger Ale flavor!




When it comes to party decor, you don't need to spend a fortune to make your spring bash beautiful!  Look around your home for pieces that can double as decor for a centerpiece or feature table.  Things like photos, globes, crates, cake stands, and even books and bottles can make great featured pieces.

All of the items that I used to create this tablescape were gathered together in about five minutes just by looking around my room.  Think outside of the box here!  You can use just about anything to bring some pizzaz to your table.  If you live in an outdoorsy area, consider gathering some flowers or greens (like ivy) from around your home or neighborhood.

If you're throwing a bridal shower, then consider creating (or ordering) some printable bridal shower games and look for decor pieces that show off things about the bride and groom.  For example, do you have some blocks with letters laying around?  Find one that has the groom's last initial on it and feature it with a few other pieces on the card/gift table.

Other everyday items make simple, yet special decor pieces...pretty hardcover books can be used to elevate glass soda bottles or jars which can be used as vases.  A pretty mug could hold some candy and placed in the center of a table for guests to munch on as they sit and chat.  A strip of fabric, like burlap, makes a great table runner.

Finally, don't underestimate the usefulness of your food as decor!  The Blackberry-Lime Spritzer made with Canada Dry Blackberry Ginger Ale is so pretty that it makes a great focal piece on a table!  Place a few glasses of it with some paper straws on a cake stand to bring attention to it and add a pop of color to your tablescape.




See more great Canada Dry Ginger Ale® recipe ideas on the Canada Dry Ginger Ale® Social Hub.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOCKTAIL (OR COCKTAIL) RECIPE?  DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTY DECOR TIPS THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?


Want to stay up-to-date on what's posted here at Heavens to Betsy?  Follow me on Twitter, Instagram,  Pinterest, or Bloglovin', or like my Facebook page!

Mar 19, 2015

I Heart Target.

No joke, friends:  Target is my jam!  When AJ and I got engaged, we knew without a doubt that Target would be one of the first places we registered, and some of my favorite items on our wedding registries are on our Target wish list!  

Spring is just such a time of renewal in my mind...I'm ready to clean out my closet and replace some of my staple pieces, and refresh my home decor.  But I'm also really trying to save some money, so I've been trying to just window shop a little and not spend money...or use gift cards!  And luckily, I still have a few left over from Christmas to my favorite place!  So here are a few things on my Target wish list this spring!

Coral Tote // This bag is so cute!  I love a good structured tote bag and this pop of coral is perfect for spring.

Hammered Gold Serving Bowl // Truth be told, quite a few of the things on this wish list are straight from our registry, including this bowl!  We are going for a boysenberry, white, and gold color scheme in our kitchen, so this gold serving bowl (along with it's small counterpart and two gold serving trays) was a no-brainer on our registry.

Scalloped Throw Pillow // I love the texture of this throw pillow, and gray is always a go-to neutral for me!

Wire Basket Organizer // Another pick from our registry, this wire basket organizer will be great in an entryway for holding keys, mail, sunglasses, and scarves and gloves in colder weather!

Metal Milk Crate // Have you seen these at Target recently?  I love having baskets for throw blankets, magazines, and other loose ends, and these milk crates are super cute!

Road Bike // Ok, so this isn't the most high-quality road bike ever, but I really am considering investing in one so that I can get out and ride this summer!  I already own a cruiser bike which I love, but it's too heavy for longer training rides, and I'd love to get out of the cycling studio and hit the road this summer.

Floral Bib Necklace // If scarves are my go-to in winter, long necklaces take the cake for me in summer, and this colorful bib necklace is not only super cute, but will dress up any shorts and tank outfits this summer!

There you have it...my spring Target wish list!  I love shopping at Target because it's a one-stop shop, and because you can find great deals and savings!  Mandy just wrote this bomb.com post on ways to save money at Target, and she is spot on!  Between my RedCard and Cartwheel, plus coupons that they give me when I checkout, I love watching my savings pile up.  Plus, they just have such cute stuff!  But one lucky reader will get to have a little Target shopping spree...check out this giveaway to enter to win a $400 gift card to Target!

Target Giveaway - March.jpg

// GIVEAWAY DETAILS //
Prize: $400 Target Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email becky@ohmygoshbeck.com with any questions.)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 4/8 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

Enter below and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WHAT'S TOPPING YOUR TARGET WISH LIST THIS SPRING?

Mar 18, 2015

Why I Chose a Christian College



It's hard for me to believe that I graduated from college over 4 years ago.  That time in my life seems like it was just yesterday, but the reality is that I walked off of Gordon's campus with my Bachelors degree in 2011, and most of my friends are married and scattered around the country.  We've all made moves towards jobs, schools, and careers, towards our lives.

I was talking to a girl from my church this weekend who just made the decision to attend my alma mater...Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.  She is excited to have made her choice and I, of course, was excited for her!  It made me think back to my own decision over 8 years ago.

High school came easy to me.  I went to a small public school, had a great group of friends, and graduated at the top of my class.  While I didn't apply to any terribly difficult schools to get into, I got accepted to each one I applied to.  Those acceptance letters came from a mix of Christian and secular schools, and while I seriously considered each one of them, I knew early on in my search that I wanted to seriously consider attending a Christian college.

I had grown up in church, and I had a firm foundation in my faith, but the thought of learning alongside others who had the same foundation just had a certain appeal.  Looking back, I couldn't be more satisfied with my decision to attend the school I did.

Gordon helped shape my worldview.  The school's motto was "Freedom within a Framework of Faith" when I was a student, and I think it was so true.  I loved that my professors prayed at the start of class and that I could have late-night chats about faith and foreign policy over a cup of tea with my apartment mates.  I loved that even in my extracurricular activities, from my season on the field hockey team to my job interning in the admissions office, God was not taboo, but a welcome topic of conversation, and prayer was always available when needed.

Gordon was fraught with intentional community, and I drank up every moment.  I lived alongside of world changers and was inspired and challenged daily by our conversations, both in and out of the classroom.  Looking back, it's hard to swallow that that season of life is over.  I wish I had another year of learning and growing in that environment, but I'm so grateful for the time I did get.

I chose a Christian college because I wanted to be in an environment where I felt understood and known at the core of who I am:  my love of Christ.  It was important to me to find community that would support me through faith and spur me on to my calling to be Christ-like.

Do I believe that Christian schools are the only places these communities are found?  Absolutely not!  I think that you can find people who will push you to follow Jesus no matter where you find yourself in college.  And I think it's possible to go to a Christian school and find people who won't be the kind of community described in Hebrews 10:24-25.

I think that no matter what stage of life you're in...whether you're deciding on what college to attend or what job to take or where to plant your roots, you need to be intentional about seeking out that community, those people.  There's so much to be said for surrounding yourself with the people who will truly embody the words "brothers and sisters in Christ", and those people, whoever they are, are completely irreplaceable.

WHAT WAS YOUR COLLEGE EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Mar 17, 2015

HTB Tell All // All About Me



I was bopping around Emily's blog this weekend and came across one of her Tell-All posts.  I had been wanting to do a round-up post to answer some questions that I get a lot from readers, and I loved how emily did a few of these posts and called them "Tell-All"s.  So I whipped up a Google Form and sent it out into the web and you all came back with some awesome questions!  So many, in fact, that I had to break them down into quite a few posts...so here's the first of the Heavens to Betsy Tell-All series!  

I decided to start off with some "About Me" type questions, so here are the silly and the serious...



1 // What do you do as a job, outside of your blog and your shop, and what does it all entail?
I work at GT Church, where I wear a few different hats.  My primary role is Creative Arts Project Coordinator, and my responsibilities include coordinating and writing our announcements (both print & video) each week, some graphic design work, conceptualizing and executing stage designs sometimes, creating decor for certain times of the year, and doing some creative writing when it's needed.  On Tuesday & Thursday mornings, I teach preschool, and then throughout the month, I coordinate volunteers for the character-education assemblies that we do in local elementary schools each month.

2 // What's your favorite nail polish color currently?Ooh!  I've been loving deep purpley reds this year.  I particularly have been switching between Essie's Bahama Mama and Wicked all winter.  

3 // What's your coffee order?
I'm fickle and I switch things up a lot.  I like tea as much as I like coffee, but since you asked about coffee...
Hot:  Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte with skim
Cold:  Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato with skim

4 // What decade fits you best?
The 40s!  I have always said that if I could pick any decade to live in, it would have been the 40s...I just love the fashion and the hair...I love that women were looked after and respected and that chivalry was important in society, but also that women were strong and rose up and took ownership of things during WWII....and then don't get me started on the music!  Yep, the 40s it is!

5 // What do you put on your toast?
Hmm...I'd have to say that the best way to enjoy some toast is the way my grandmother used to make....toast with peanut butter and a little sugar dusted over it!

6 // What are two or three of your go-to dinner menus?
I'm going to be totally honest with you...I can cook, but I rarely do it!  Since I still live with my parents, I don't do a lot of cooking.  I need to work on that for once I'm married!  But some go-to meals that I do make would be grilled chicken salads, taco pie, and salmon in the broiler!  

7 // If you could do a "do over" what would it be?
Oooh...this is a tough one!  I try not to regret things, but if I'm being honest, I guess I wish I hadn't wasted the energy on pursuing a relationship with a guy that I was talking to before AJ and I started dating.  I learned a lot, for sure, but it just made things awkward and I got really hurt.  I wish I could have that to do over!

8 // Who is the most influential person in your life (past or present)?
Probably my mom!  I value her opinion so highly and she is one of my closest friends!  I can't imagine not being as close to her as I am, and she has definitely influenced my life a ton!

9 // What was your biggest mistake and how did you resolve it?
Hmmm...I'm not sure!  I mean, I'm sure that I've made some big mistakes....I've let words slip that I didn't mean or I've hurt people without intending to.  Luckily, nothing glaring comes to mind, but I always try to humble myself and apologize when I've made a mistake!

10 // What's the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
I talked about this in a Golden Vlog recently, but my most embarrassing moment is definitely from middle school....my brother shouted across the pool one summer and told the guy that I was crushing on that I liked him...it was the worst!  

Alright, there you have it!  10 get-to-know-you questions asked by YOU!  (And to the friend who asked me "How are you so awesome?"...You're sweet, and I'm not....in fact, I'm mostly a giant dork.  haha!)  

If you have a question that you'd love to see me answer in an upcoming HTB Tell All post, you can submit it here!  All questions are welcome!  In upcoming Tell Alls, I'll be answering some questions about my wedding, faith, and blogging!

Mar 16, 2015

Getting Grateful on a Monday Afternoon



I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm not ready at all for this week!  AJ is currently in Nashville with Berklee but he's flying home on Wednesday, and I feel like I have a huge to-do list to check off before I can drop everything and just spend time with him this weekend.  Plus, I'm not feeling great.  I left church yesterday with the start of a sore throat that has just gotten worse and has also invited some nausea, a little headache, and just feelings of "ick" along with it.  I feel like crawling into bed and sleeping!

It's been a little while since I've participated in Emily's Grateful Heart Link-Up (she hosts it every Monday and it's open all week!), but I can't deny that it does good things for my heart and my perspective to start the week off with a grateful list, so I'm excited to do just that today!  It's super easy for me to get a little bit pessimistic when i'm not feeling well, so my heart needs to choose gratitude today!

Here are a few things that I'm particularly grateful for today:
+ As I mentioned, AJ's coming home!  We haven't seen one another in over 4 weeks, so I'm excited to spend some time together!
+ We are going to be getting a few things done for the wedding this weekend....yay!
+ Warm coffee in the morning
+ Working in a fantastic environment
+ Mark was home for his spring break last week....it was great to see him a bit!
+ Warmer weather settling in!  It's been in the 50s these past few days, and even though we have a few days that are in the low 40s on the horizon, even that feels warm compared to the cold, cold winter we've had!
+ The snow is melting (and you can actually see grass!)
+ Easter is only a few short weeks away
+ Having a bit of time to rest yesterday (and try to beat this cold!)

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR TODAY?

Mar 14, 2015

HTB Happenings



we're finally getting into warmer temps here in pa, and i'm loving it!  how is it that 50 degrees actually feels like 80 after a long, cold winter?  it's been a busy week with work and checking things off of my to-do list, but i'm looking forward to what's to come in the week ahead!

here's what you might have missed this week on heavens to betsy:

happenings:
+ i picked up my wedding bands at the beginning of the week!  i love them and i can't wait to get married in less than 6 months!
+ rachel of oh simple joys makes these awesome book letters....i got one in my new initial so that we can use it for the wedding!
+ we are doing silk florals for our bouquets and boutonnieres and i went and picked out all of the flowers on friday morning.  can't wait to start putting them together!
+ it was finally warm enough to open up my sunroof after i left the gym on thursday!

in case you missed it:
+ i posted a full review of my experience with fabletics this week!
+ ollie loved the treats that our friends over at chewy.com sent to us!  check out the video in this post to see how much!
+ i joined in with faith on the march golden vlog to talk about some of my favorite books, tv shows, and movies!
+ a few photos of the snowstorm we got last week....march does come in like a lion!
+ to celebrate madison's bday, we gave away $200 in cash! (sorry, the contest is over!)

don't miss these:
+ these tips from daisy on how to sell your gently-worn clothing!
+ i loved this virtual tour of victoria with angie!
+ summer's list of gifts for bloggers is spot-on!
+ i always love faith's golden blogs!  be sure to join in with her next month!
+ laura echoed how i approach my spring wardrobe...layers!!

and for a limited time:  i'm offering $3 off any ad package on my blog with the code "justbecause"!  click here to check out advertising options!

Mar 13, 2015

Ollie Approved: Chewy.Com



My dog might just be the most spoiled pup on the planet.  After our last dog passed away, my parents said that that was it.  No more dogs.  Their kids are grown, and even though I still live with them, it's not exactly as if I'm in need of a lot of care and attention.  They like to take little day trips and they didn't want to have to worry about having a dog at home to care for.

But then we thought about having a puppy...and that dog-shaped hole in our hearts started growing bigger, and somehow, my mom and I convinced ourselves that what my dad really wanted for his 50th birthday was a golden doodle.  Enter Oliver....our black-bear fur ball with more energy and love than I think I've ever seen a dog have.  And to say that he's like their third child is the biggest understatement of the year.  He has more toys and balls than any dog I know and he also has a permanent seat reserved for him in the back of my mom's vw beetle.

So when chewy.com asked me if Ollie might like to try out a few of their treats, I couldn't say no!  We're really intentional about feeding Ollie wholesome, grain-free food and treats, and Chewy had a huge selection that fit our standards.  I thought he might like to try out some Orijen Free Run Duck Treats, and they couldn't have been a bigger hit! And our sweet new friends over at chewy.com even sent ollie a new toy, just to spoil him a little more!



Goldendoodles are pretty darn smart, so a few weeks ago, I decided to see what would happen if I gave Ollie the opportunity to choose his snack.  (Also, I just couldn't decide what to give him, so I wanted to let him pick).  I held two bags of treats in front of him and asked him to pick....and he did!  It's become a fun little game that we like to play in our house.

Ollie loves the Orijen Freeze-dried treats from chewy.com and after reading more about Orijen, it was such an easy choice to order them.  Orijen makes treats that are fresh and "biologically appropriate," which basically means that they're made to mirror the richness, freshness, and variety of meats that our pets would naturally hunt if they were in the wild.  Their treats are rich in meat, have low glycemic indexes, and include fresh fruits and veggies as well as meat.

So when I was thinking about how I wanted to show Ollie's love of his treats from chewy.com on the blog, my mom suggested a video where we played our new game.  Disclaimer:  I did not coach him at all in this...he totally chose the orijen treats all on his own, and he loves them!  I love them too, because they're made with free run canadian duck and they have a low calorie count.  I feel good that we're giving him quality treats!




We couldn't be happier with our service and the quality of the products that we got from chewy.com! They were super helpful and had such a great variety of treats and toys.

Would you ever consider ordering treats for your furry friends on chewy.com?  What kinds of treats and toys do your pets love?

Thanks to chewy.com for sponsoring this post!  I was offered these treats by chewy.com for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are my own (and Ollie's)!  

Mar 12, 2015

Golden Vlog // March



yay!  it's time for another round of the golden vlog with faith over at life with mrs. g and the artist!  i never thought i'd say this, but i kinda sort think i'm beginning to love this vlogging thing!

you'll have to excuse my appearance this month...i didn't exactly plan ahead and instead had to vlog after an almost-13 hour work day and a big event at church.  this is the real deal, people....me after a long day at work when i just want to crawl in bed.

i also had the hardest time answer this month's questions!  choosing my favorite anything is hard, but my favorite books/movies/tv shows?!  that's basically impossible for my fickle heart.  those favorites change with whatever's freshest in my memory, and friends, nothing is fresh in my memory after a long day.

also, before you watch this vlog which is basically all about my favorite tv shows, i have 4 words for you:  the unbreakable kimmy schmidt.
have you watched it yet?  it had me at the theme song.
for real.
stop what you're doing (that is, after you watch me ramble for 8 minutes about what i'm currently watching) and go binge watch your new favorite comedy on netflix!
and then come back and thank me.  you're welcome.


march golden vlog on vimeo.

tell me about some of your favorite books, movies, or tv shows!

Mar 11, 2015

March Comes In Like a Lion



i've said it before and i'll say it again....pa's weather is ridiculous and i'm soooo ready for spring.  i can't really complain right now....it's been in the high 40's-mid 50's for the past three days, and even though it rained today, it felt like a spring rain, which is awesome.

but last thursday...you know, at the beginning of march...southeastern pa was not feeling the springtime love.  instead, march came in like a lion and dumped a lovely 8 inches of that white powdery stuff on us.  and it was the kind of storm that required three different rounds of shoveling and left our little lane a mess.  oh, and we still had a few inches on the ground from back in january because it's been so darn cold here that i just. never. melted.

despite the fact that i'm clearly just over winter, i did recognize what was hopefully the last snowstorm of the year to be an opportunity to soak in the last of winter's beauty, and so, on friday morning, i put on my boots and ollie and i headed outside to enjoy the reflection of the sun off the snow and to snap a few photos.
   



so yes, the snow is pretty, but i'm ready for the beauty that spring brings, aren't you?

oh, and just to keep it real....let me tell you about the real gem of friday.  after hopping out of the shower, i decided to let ollie out so that he could enjoy some time in the snow (which he loves) while i got ready to head to a friend's house.  i threw a towel around my wet hair, threw on a robe, and ran downstairs and stepped out on our front porch with the pup.  as soon as i pulled the door closed behind me, i realized that i had just locked myself out.  on the front porch.  in the snow.  with no key, no phone, and only wearing my robe (thank goodness we live on 5 acres of woods and our neighbors couldn't seen onto our property because of snow-covered trees!).  the only way into the house?  all the way around the back...requiring a barefoot sprint around the house, in the snow, while i maybe let a few choice words fly and also randomly had the thought, "this must be what george washington's troops felt like at valley forge!" (ya know, because of being barefoot in the snow and all...#nerd)

hope your friday was warmer than mine!

Mar 10, 2015

My Workout Gear // Fabletics



when it comes to working out, i'm pretty certain there's nothing better than getting some new gear.  cute workout clothes keep me motivated and wanting to hit the gym so that i can wear them, and i just feel a little bit better about myself when i look in those big gym mirrors and i look cute, despite the sweat.

typically, i pick up a few pieces here and there when i find stuff on sale.  i hate spending a ton of money on clothes that i'm just going to get gross in!  but i've been seeing ads for kate hudson's fabletics site for at least a year, and finally decided to give it a go.  i haven't purchased any new work out clothing since last june, and since i'm working on getting in shape for my wedding, i thought i'd treat myself to a new outfit!  i had checked out the fabletics site quite a few times and was always skeptical.  the outfits were cute, but i just wasn't sure if they would be worth it.

here's a little bit about fabletics if you're unfamiliar with it:
+ you can sign onto the site and buy pieces at any time, just like a regular retail site as a "regular member."
+ however, the real gem of fabletics is the vip membership.  the vip membership allows you to get a workout outfit each month at a good discount.
+ each month, on the first of the month, you can log onto the website and check out the outfits that were selected for you (though you're able to browse all of the outfits on the site).  you can choose your outfit and order it, or choose to skip that month with no penalty or cost.  typically, outfits are around $50 and contain 2-3 pieces.
+ the bonus is that your first outfit is an extra 50% off. (i paid $30 for mine)

when you join fabletics, you fill out a quick profile which asks you about how and where you typically work out, and then asks about your sizes and what you like to show off (arms, legs, tummy, or nothing).  i told them that my workouts depend on the day...i like to get some good cardio in a few times a week either by running or cycling, but then i also try to attend yoga at least once a week, and i  typically strength train after my cardio.  i usually hit the gym, but in the spring and fall, i love running outside.

since i do a lot of running and cycling, i like having compression capris.  i wear them both indoors and outdoors all year round, so i get a ton of use out of them.  while fabletics offers outfits with shorts, pants, capris, and crops, i knew i wanted something on the longer side.  i ended up choosing the voyageurs outfit:  compression capris with a loose-fitting, open backed tee (perfect for yoga) and a wide headband.  i assumed that once i selected the outfit, that was it, but i was even more excited when i realized i could customize it further by choosing a different color/print for the leggings, a different color for the headband, and customize my size for both the top and bottoms.

but of course, just liking the selection isn't enough...you have to like the actual product!  so i put the whole outfit to the test....a 17 mile bike ride plus a pretty serious arm, leg, and ab workout.  and i give it two-thumbs up!  friends, to say that i'm in love with these leggings is an understatement.  they are fantastic.  they're soft, they fit perfectly, and they're great for working out as well as lounging.  i wish i could have them in ever color.  the top that i got is super cute, and i think it will be great for yoga or even with a tank top underneath and with a pair of shorts during the summer.  this is the first wide headband that i've owned and i was so impressed with how well it stayed in my hair.





overall, i'm super impressed with my fabletics experience and i can't wait until next month to see what outfits are chosen for me!  i'm not sure that it's something i'll get to enjoy every month simply because of budget and that whole i'm-planning-a-wedding thing, but it's definitely something i'll be doing again soon!  if you're in need of some cute, comfortable, and quality workout clothes, i can't recommend fabletics highly enough!

have you tried it out?  what was your experience like?

this post is in no way sponsored by fabletics.  they don't even know who i am, and all of the opinions expressed are completely my own.  however, this post does contains referral links.  if you're interested in trying out fabletics, i'd be honored if you told them i sent you by using this link.
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