2014 || The 2nd Six Months

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The first six months can be found HERE! Now for July through December...

July was a very full month for us. I recapped our the second half of our vacation to DC, with family we celebrated the 4th of July, we were over the moon for our first Etsy Shop sale, and we had several backyard shindigs. Not even half way through July, I was bitten by the autumn bug. Then Pete and I started P90X (yep, we didn't get all 90 days through, but we did make it a third of the way through). I started the hunt for the perfect pair of glasses and tried to decide if I was going to cut my hair off, which I didn't do. I also shared some tips from around my home, a few random facts about myself, and my beauty routine. Finally, July was great for late nights at the drive-in theater.

August started out simple, with a relaxing weekend. I fell hard for booties this month, husband guest posted on the blog in a "Newly Married Series," and we froze some herbs we had been growing. We consumed our fair share of fried green tomatoes, did a little treetop adventure, created the perfect recipe for lemon poppy seed pancakes, and I shared some tips on decorating yours shelves. Toward the end of the month I recapped our lake vacation with the Hills. And last but not least, husband started graduate school.

September was jam packed with events. We went apple picking, counted down to the official start of fall, celebrated three years together, and began our office makeover, which still isn't complete (I need curtains!). In the fall mood, I shared some fashion pieces I love for that season, a free fall printable, along with how to pick a great ombré, and my fall home décor. Early in the month I announced the start of a food blog, which I named Flour Darling. We made some pumpkins from reclaimed wood, I ordered chatbooks and loved them,  we celebrated husband's 24th birthday, and I learned that "It's good now." Toward the end of the month I declared that Mondays be optional and I rejoiced that it was officially fall!

My favorite month didn't disappoint! We started October off by celebrating our first wedding anniversary in Asheville, North Carolina, and I shared a little film from our trip too. We sponsored our first child through Compassion, we visited the pumpkin patch with family, our house got batty, and I shared my favorite fall finds. I shared our Halloween décor and a DIY for some Halloween Luminaries.  Toward the end of the month there was lots of pumpkin carving, Christmas tree tagging, throwbacks to past Halloween costumes, and a weekend visit to my hometown. We also had our second annual Halloween fest!

In November we had our second couple's retreat of the year, I announced I would be designing Christmas cards for purchase, and I shared our transitional Thanksgiving décor. One of the highlights of the month for me was my baptism. There were our family photos, we cut down our Christmas tree, shared our holiday traditions, prepped for Turkey day, and then gobbled till we wobbled!

December was a whirlwind! I shared our Christmas decorations, we had Hill Family Christmas at the Christmas Cabin, and we tried to keep with our 12 Dates of Christmas ideas! With family we toured the Inn at Virginia Tech to take in all of their decorated Christmas trees, we visited a drive-thru nativity, and had our first Java Jammie Christmas with friends! I shared an ornament DIY and our Christmas card tree. We baked like crazy had a progressive dinner with our House Group. And last but not least we celebrated Christmas and our Savior's birth!

Phew this year has been crazy good! And by golly do these posts take a lot of work!! Thank you so much for following along and supporting my blog! It means the world!! My prayer for you in the upcoming year is to have health and happiness. I pray that my little family will continue to grow, walking closer with the Lord and finding joy in the every day! See you all in 2015!! Happy New Year!!!

2014 || The 1st Six Months

Monday, December 29, 2014
I just don't have words for how fast 2014 has gone. I really can't believe that we're only two days away from the start of a new year. Seriously, how have twelve months have come and gone?! 

This year has been so full of blessings, challenges, growth, learning, friendships, family, etc. I could keep going, but I'm sure you get my point. We've come so far in 2014, and I feel certain that the new year upon us is going to be a fabulous new chapter for the Hills. We're truly looking forward to beginning this new journey, and feel that the Lord has big plans for us. The two of us are thrilled to follow where He takes us. But, first I want to take a look back on our year. To stroll down memory lane and take in some of my very favorite moments from 2014. For now, I'm sharing January through June, and tomorrow July through December will be posted. Care to enjoy some blasts from the past with me??

We kicked off the new year is style with our friends. Husband and I got the idea to turn the side of our staircase into a cityscape, complete with dangling stars. At the start of January husband and I decided to go healthy with our meals. We were really great at it for the first three months of 2014. And well, the rest is history. I also decided to start #adayinthelife214 on my Instagram account, where I made sure to share at least one photo for every single day of the year. I think I missed a day or two; not bad considering there are 365 days in a single year. And just like I will for 2015, I shared my goals for the year. Rounding out January, I turned 24 and we celebrated on the slopes.

The biggest thing I remember in February was the snow. It fell from the sky in heaps and gave us plenty of snowdays. The two of us celebrated our first married Valentine's Day (in the snow). We hiked to a frozen waterfall (also in the snow). Toward the end of the month we visited Louisville, Kentucky, and we ate like kings, visited the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and toured Churchill Downs. Husband also made me a beautiful box to display the succulents my sister got me. And during all that snow, I revamped the blog and gave it a makeover!

March was a simple month for us. We started the month off in the Smoky Mountains with friends. I made some knock-your-socks-off cinnamon rolls, I crafted a door wreath for the coming of a new season, and we gladly welcomed the springtime
April was good to us! First we celebrated our six month wedding anniversary, then we had a night out to watch Hokie baseball. A backyard BBQ was just what the warmer weather called for. With family we rejoiced on Easter. I admitted that running just isn't my thing. And at the end of the month we announced that we were opening an Etsy Shop!

Sweet May began with camping in my parents' backyard. Then we hiked a mountain with some of our favorite people. I came up with some twists on a classic julep. Husband and I contemplated buying a house. Toward the end of the month we attended my cousin's wedding, hung out at one of the best spots, picked more strawberries than we could count, and celebrated Memorial Day.

We discovered a new favorite summertime drink at the beginning of the month. I shared a short film I made from my cousin's wedding back in May. I let you in on some tidbits about myself and even some of my quirky 'isms'. I experienced a quarter-life crisis. And at the end of the month we camped at the beach and visited Washington, DC (yes, husband even watched a ballet performance with me!).

Next up, the last six months of 2014....!

The Christmas Affair 2014

This year Christmas started on Sunday for husband and I. And that means there are a lot of photos to share in just one post, but I'm going to make it happen! So sit back, grab a cup of coffee (or two), and start scrolling!

Sunday morning started off with church and a Christmas cantata of music. The steel drums left me feeling in the Christmas spirit, which was perfect for our next destination: Grandmom's. 

Going to Grandmom's is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. There's always A LOT of family, plenty of cheer, and incredible food. And my Grandmom, who is 91 and as sassy as ever, has always kicked Christmas off in the most special way.

 Of course, there's always twirling. And this year there was some pretty impressive singing...."Do you want to build a snowman?"

On Monday night, husband and I finished packing for our mini vacation to my parents', and ended the night by opening our stockings.

Mid-morning on Tuesday, we made it to my parents'. Their Christmas tree is full of childhood holiday memories. There are ornaments from all over the world gifted from my mom's parents, and special ornaments noting special moments throughout life.

Santa and his elves ascending the ladder is probably one of my favorite Christmas decorations at my parents'. How can you not love it?!

During our stay, we baked, we wrapped gifts, we played games, and waited with excitement until Christmas Day arrived.

But, first we enjoyed Christmas Eve with the Hill side of our family. Husband and I traveled to spend the day with his brother's family, and we had the best time. The morning started off with brunch, followed by a mystery game at North Pole. Wouldn't you agree, these helpers are mighty cute??

We raced cars down ramps, built toys our of legos, and ate some scrumptious food all before heading off to the Christmas Eve service at church.

Then Christmas morning came, and so did Mama's birthday. Yes, she's a Christmas baby, and her name just so happens to be Merry. Coincidence?? I think not :)

 I don't care what age you are, opening gifts will always be fun and full of excitement!

Then this photo, a complete accident, happened. And because our Christmas jammies will be going away until next year (just like Christmas), it seems like the perfect photo to close this post out. I hope you and yours had a magical Christmas!!

Friday Favorites Full of Christmas Cheer!

Friday, December 26, 2014
The past 7 days have been like a week full of Fridays and I've loved it! The festivities have been cheerful, the presents abounding, and the reminder of our Savior's birth apparent in everything. This week has definitely had favorite moments and as always I'm sharing them with you on this Friday. And it just so happens that this is the last Friday of 2014! Say what?! My word, where has this year gone?? Seriously though?!

Before getting into my favorites, I have to throw in one more Merry Christmas, before it becomes officially unacceptable to say it for another year. I do hope you and yours had a magical Christmas filled with more love than ever and the sweet news of the Lord's birth!

[one] Last Saturday we went on a double date with Pete's brother Cary and wife Amy. The four of us caught a men's basketball game at our alma mater followed up with family dinner and a million rounds of Head's Up.

[two] Sunday morning was the best we've had in a while. We got up early enough to have a breakfast date at Starbucks before getting to church. At church there was a Christmas Cantata of sorts with steel drums and it was amazing! The afternoon was spent at my grandmother's for a Christmas lunch with family. It was kind of the perfect day.

[three] Monday night I came home from work to find husband just like ^^this^^. His tool belt had become a cleaning belt, and the whole house had been scrubbed to a pearly white. It was glorious and took so much stress off of my shoulders. He won some serious brownie points for it ;)

[four] Another Monday night bit of fun was taking a minute to relax and get some quality time with one another. So went on a date, ate out-of-this-world pizza, and grabbed a couple of last minute gifts. Living in a college town, it was SO nice to eat out downtown, which is typically overflowing with college students.

[five] Our Christmas Card Tree filled out its branches as Christmas cards kept spilling in. I have loved watching the tree fill up with our people.

[six] Another thing that filled up was the space underneath of our Christmas tree. Don't you just love looking at your twinkling tree with presents heaped up around it?! You should check out the GIF I made of it!

[seven] Tuesday around noon we arrived in my hometown to spend Christmas with my parents and sister. The driveway décor was a nice greeting, welcoming us for our extended stay.

[eight] The twinkling lights that have lit the nights for over a month now. I'm going to be sad to see them go. But, I refuse to be that person who leaves their lights up well through the spring and until the next holiday season rolls around.

[nine] Speaking of twinkling lights, check out this house! We rode around Christmas Eve night for a final Cocoa Jammie Christmas. And this home was decked out to the max. And yes, some of the lights were set to music. . While I would be the last person to decorate like this, I totally appreciate it, especially their Happy Birthday sign for Jesus.

[ten] Christmas morning will always be magical. And just like last year, husband and I are so glad to be spending all the holidays together. Married life really does rock :)

Can't believe I'll be sharing my next set of Friday Favorites next year!! Enjoy your weekend and may the holiday cheer be ever present!!

AND, if you had a real Christmas tree this year, be sure to check out this DIY before taking your tree out!!

follow me on Instagram, @astleigh_hill

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