It's Back! The 31 Days of...

Happy October! Do you know what that means? You aren't exactly wrong if you recognized it as by birthday month, but try again. It's The Nester's annual "31 Days of Writing" challenge across the blogosphere...!!

Some of you may remember the 31 Days as a Beginner Stay-at-Home Mom series that I wrote last year. It wasn't the stuff of internet sensational material, but it certainly embodied the highs & lows (mostly lows) of those first stages of full-time motherhood. My posts were a bit desperate and all over the place, but I did stick with it for the entire 31 days. I also said to myself that I would probably never do it again. Lucky for you, I changed my mind!

Ok, you can stop laughing now.

This time, I mapped out my topics over the entire month of October in advance. It's is a topic that I get asked a lot of questions on and would maybe even consider myself a pro at. Are you ready for it??

That's right, y'all. 31 Days of Thrifting!! For those of you who think that there couldn't possibly be enough information to cover over that many days, I am hoping to prove you wrong. I really feel like I'll be laying all my cards out in sharing the tips & tricks that I've learned in all my years of second-hand shopping. I've even done some additional "research" to ensure that I don't forget anything key.

You can expect to read posts on knowing what to look for, where to find what you're looking for, insights into developing one's personal style on a thrift store budget, as well as other fun little features throughout the month.

This post will serve as a landing page for all the posts, so I will continue to update it accordingly for your reference. Who knows how far this series could possibly go...?? I can't wait dive in to this topic with you!

[1/31] The 31 Days of Thrifting!
[2/31] Why Thrift?
[3/31] Thriftfix: Nicole
[4/31] My Fave Finds: The Mod Family Canvas
[5/31] Thrifty Print
[6/31] Before You Go Poppin' Tags...
[7/31] Tools of the Trade
[8/31] On Personal Style
[9/31] Thrifting a Capsule Wardrobe
[10/31] Thriftfix: Emily
[11/31] My Fave Finds: The Retro Shell Chair
[12/31] Thrifty Print
[13/31] Thrifting Geographically
[14/31] Too Good to Be True?
[15/31] Fashionably Thrifty DIY's
[16/31] Guest Post: Men's Thrifting Tips
[17/31] Thriftfix: Nicole S.
[18/31] My Fave Finds: The Modern Yellow Desk
[19/31] Thrifty Print
[20/31] Thrifting For & With Kids
[21/31] My Fully-Thrifted Fall Uniform
[22/31] D.I.Y. Thrifted Frame + Washi Tape
[23/31] D.I.Y. Home Decor Roundup
[24/31] Thriftfix: Mandy
[25/31] Fave Finds: The IKEA Round Mirror
[26/31] Thrifty Print
[27/31] Thrifting Vintage
[28/31] D.I.Y. Thrifty Gift Guide">
[29/31] The Minimalist Approach to Thrifting
[30/31] Skipping the Thrift + $20* Credit For You!
[31/31] Concluding Thoughts on the 31 Days

Influence Conference 2014

Just like that, Influence Conference 2014 has come & gone already...The road leading up to it was long and uncertain at times, but I am so grateful to God for making a way for me to attend.

I missed the conference last year and experienced record levels of FOMO while scrolling through all the social media channels under the Influence hashtag. I had to go back. Sadly, it seemed like every time I would get a conference "kitty" going, we'd have a financial setback.

It's challenging enough to manage a one income household, but throw in a couple kiddo emergency room visits, a minor surgery, an over-payment from my previous employer, and well, you get the idea. There was something holding me back from asking God for permission to go this year. I didn't want to get a 'no' answer from Him, so I avoided the question. But it got to the point that I couldn't do it without His help, so I humbly asked. I felt a peace that despite my circumstances, my God was capable of covering every aspect of this trip if it was His will. And you know what? Something pretty special happened...

This year, I had the great privilege of going to Influence as a Brand Ambassador for ViBella Jewelry! I didn't know something like this was even a possibility until reading a great post on conference sponsorship from Hayley of The Tiny Twig.

I already had a relationship with ViBella after hosting a giveaway on my blog for them this past summer. I prayed about it, proposed my idea to their marketing team, and was pleasantly surprised when they agreed to partner with me. In exchange, I shared the story of ViBella with other conference attendees and wore their jewelry at every gathering. ViBella also included a pair of earrings in all of the swag bags.

Left: Taking a "groupie" with my conference roommates, Kayla of Many Sparrows & Madison of Espresso & Cream. Right: ViBella Star Necklace, conference pass, & my name tag from a group exercise in Whitney English's session. 

As with any great conference, I came home with a ton of swag! Some of my favorite goodies happened to be from the SheReadsTruth gal (Rebecca) after hunting her down when a clue was posted on their twitter account.

The weekend was packed with amazing speakers...Jen Lula, Sammy Rhodes, Whitney English, Jess Connolly, Hayley Morgan, Ellen Parker. And those were just the ones I got to witness.

But can we talk about Lara Casey for a minute? Lara Casey is the editor for Southern Weddings and hosts an exclusive (& intense) workshop called Making Things Happen
. You guys. Tickets for this intensive sell for $1800. And Lara, so graciously, presented a mini-Making Things Happen in a Influence Network members only session.

I didn't know what to expect going in, but what I experienced was a soul exfoliation to the core. I was challenged to get out of my comfort zone, to ask myself some hard questions (like, REALLY hard), and to do some serious vision casting for my life over the next 10 years. It sounds pretty cut & dried, but the way it was presented was entirely unlike anything I've participated in. Just, wow.

Jessica Honegger, the Queen of Noonday Collection, was also a speaker at Influence. I am so inspired by her life and the work that her organization is doing. ViBella is quite similar to Noonday in their mission and operation, so it was awesome to talk to her for a little while about both businesses. Plus, she loved the way I styled the Star Necklace:)

The Strategy Panel consisted of seriously rockin' business ladies - photographer Shanna Noel, Rebecca of Better Life Bags, Lindsay of Lindsay Letters (YES, LINDSEY LETTERS!! And yes, I totally went nuts buying her prints in the Sashes Market), and Natalie & Mandy of Happy Mommy Box.

My "Mom Confession" in the Thrive Moms area. This entry won me an additional swag bag full of fun & pretty mama necessities. In case you were wondering, I am wearing the Priscilla necklace from ViBella in this pic:)

How do I even end this post? I feel like it is just the beginning. The conference theme was "It's Time to Build". And now, I'm back at home with this perspective and a desperate desire to be a responsible steward of this experience. There are days where the only thing I'm building are Lego towers. But it is my belief that it is all part of something greater. So. Much. Greater.

Thanks again to ViBella Jewelry, to my super supportive husband for playing Mr. Mom while I was away, to the conference organizers for bringing us all together, and to all the special ladies I made memories with. God is real, y'all. He can change ANYTHING.

Hope to see you all next year! xx


Hello, Hello! | #InfluenceConf Linkup

Hi, ladies!! Finally linking up to this online party wagon...Seriously, I am SO excited for this year's Influence Conference. I was fortunate enough to attend the first one (completely last minute) and voraciously followed last year's (via hashtag) as I was home with our newborn son. So, yeah...

A bit about me:
I'm Erin. I stay at home with my two sweet babes, Ruby (3) & Sterling (1). I wrote a pretty desperate 31 Days series on my experience as a Beginner Stay-At-Home-Mom last year. Don't worry, things have improved since then. Lately, I've been transitioning into a Work-At-Home-Mom since picking up some writing & social media freelance work.

My husband & I have been together for almost 7 years (which seems so unbelievable to type out). We share a mutual love for thrifting and spend our date nights grabbing tacos & going on Goodwill runs. He also plays drums in a pretty swell band (in my humble opinion) called Parlours. Here's a link to their music video (that I also helped style). 

1 part of the conference you’re most excited about:
I'm actually looking forward to all the things I'm probably going to miss while I'm at the conference...getting a full night of sleep, going to the restroom without an audience, not having somebody hanging on me all the time...Amen, anyone? But really, I am going to miss my kiddos SO much.

1 thing you wouldn’t leave home without: 
For this conference in particular, I COULD NOT leave home without my ViBella Jewelry. I am so honored to be attending this year's Influence as a brand ambassador for their terrific organization. ViBella impacts the lives of at-risk women in Haiti & Mexico by providing sustainable jobs in a safe work environment. Be sure to look out for a little something special from them in the swag bags;) And be sure to find me if you have any questions about ViBella. Or just come say 'hi' anyway!



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[Image via umba.]
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