Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

Hi, just me again :) I'm so overwhelmed that it's almost 2016. Where does the time go? As I've reflected on this past year, I've been flabbergasted by how quickly my first year in Chicago has flown by. I've made some pretty awesome knits this past year, and I want to just step back in time for a minute to look at some of them again.

Keep It Casual Cowl - January 2015

Big Lace Scarf - February 2015

Purl Soho Classic Cuffed Hat - February 2015

Make Up Your Mind Tank - April 2015

Halstead Shawl - May 2015
I can't wait to dig into some new projects in the new year. If you have any pattern suggestions, please send them my way!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cat Alphabet Cross Stitch

Inspired by some similar patterns on Flickr, I made this adorable cat alphabet cross stitch for my mom for Christmas, and it turned out even better than I was anticipating--I want to make one for myself now! The pattern is just so clever, and it's perfect for cat lovers, aka me :)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Heart-Led Leader // A Blogging for Books Review

The Heart Led Leader, Tommy Spaulding's second book, is about looking inward on ourselves and focusing on who we are, not on what we've accomplished and done. Spaulding gives examples to demonstrate why he thinks leaders who lead from the heart are the most successful leaders, and how we can individually grow in our values to live from the heart, not the head.

Spaulding calls this the 18-inch journey, the approximate distance from the head to the heart.We have to learn how to draw on love and humility to transform our careers and likewise transform business for the better. This book is filled with examples of extremely successful leaders, whether CEOs, businessmen, principals, etc., who have learned to lead a community with integrity.

I found this book useful because of its layout. After part one which is mostly just an overview of what will be covered in the book, Spaulding goes on to have eighteen chapters devoted to each inch of the journey which all highlight a different characteristic trait of a heart led leader and how to cultivate it. I found this to be a worthwhile read albeit not entirely new in the information it was presenting.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

My apologies for the dark picture! This is more of the sweater vest/wrap that I talked about last week. I've finished another arm hole and and working on finishing up the last front panel. So close to being done! I'm away for Christmas now though, and the project was ever so slightly too large to bring with me, so it will have to wait a little bit longer to get finished :) Which means I'll probably start a new project in the meantime.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Bucket List

I'm pretty sure I'm not the fist person to ever say that winter is not my favorite season. There are some really wonderful things about this time of the year though. David and I are flying back to Atlanta this week for Christmas, so we definitely won't be having a white Christmas since it's insanely warm there right now, but there are some fun things we're looking forward to doing here in Chicago!

  • Enjoy all the Christmas lights around the city. Including the Christmas lights on the tree :)
  • Visit Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo always puts up thousands of lights each December, and David and I haven't gone to see them since 2012.
  • Make a snow angel.
  • Try baking bread from scratch.
  • Go see an exhibit at the Art Institute.
  • Do some spring, uhh... winter cleaning.
  • Sit in front of the fire at a bar or restaurant, preferably accompanied by a hot drink :)
  • Visit Cloud Gate (aka the Bean) in the snow.

I'm sure this list will grow and evolve over the next couple of months, but I think this a pretty good start to making the best of the winter weather!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Unveiled Wife

David and I celebrated our four year anniversary two weeks ago :) It was such a nice day of love and happiness. We made one of our longtime favorite meals (chicken satay with a spicy peanut sauce from the Colorado Classique cookbook), and for dessert we made an angel food cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream to eat while we watched a movie.

Celebrating our anniversary always makes me think towards the future. Dating has been such a wonderful journey, and now our journey as an engaged couple has also been an exciting time in our lives. We're constantly every day growing in our love, and we're learning that our relationship can only be strengthened by pursuing a similarly intimate relationship with Jesus. Chasing our faith has been one of my most favorite things about our times together--I treasure going to church together every Sunday, and I love praying before each meal. It highlights one of my favorite Bible quotes, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13), and it also emphasizes for us that our relationship would not be possible at all without our faith.

I started reading recently a new-to-me blog called The Unveiled Wife written by Jennifer Smith. It's really just all about encouraging and uplifting wives and providing them words of wisdom and inspiration to look up to God and let Him strengthen our relationships. I like this blog because it seems really real and doesn't try to sugarcoat things. Marriage is not easy, but it can be so incredibly rewarding if we learn to take the time to cultivate it. In turn, I hope that God can work through me to show me my shortcomings and guide me to rectifying them because it is oh so worth it.

Since finding this blog a few weeks ago, I have since read Jennifer Smith's book of the same title, and I felt so inspired by it. If you are currently married or in a serious relationship, I truly recommend this book to read because I hope you'll be encouraged by it too :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday and Happy Yarn Along Day! Linking up with Ginny from Small Things :)

It's been a while since I've participated in Ginny's yarn along. Life has just been crazy the past couple months, and I've been too busy to work on any projects, much less take pictures of them. But I've been so grateful for time off from grad school this month so that I can spend my free time reading and working on new yarn projects :)

This is about half of the "Peek-a-Boo Button Wrap." It's been a perfect project to get back into the swing of things, especially as the weather cools down. Even though it's been unseasonably warm for December! If you're interested in following along with my progress, you can find my Ravelry notes here or you can follow me @kerryecogan on Instagram. I usually post my pictures there first.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Best Books I Read in 2015

I made it a personal goal to read 30 books in 2015, and even though the year is not over yet, I have already exceeded this goal.  If you want to take a look at everything that I read this year, and beyond, check out my Goodreads page.  And friend me! I love to look at what other people are reading (plus it is a great way to get book suggestions).

And speaking of book suggestions, if you read an amazing book this year, let me know what it was because I need some ideas as 2016 approaches.  I've been getting my book fix recently from the Chicago Public Library, and I need some new books to add to my hold list :)

Many of the books that I have read this year have been by Sarah J. Maas, the author of two incredible series of books--Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I pretty much swallowed these books whole, and I recommend them so much, especially if you love a good bit of fantasy with a side of romance on behalf of dark, brooding characters, haha!

This year at the beach, my sister, Colleen, brought a book along that I ended up loving.  Me Before You is the quintessential beach read, and I loved it. Be prepared to cry multiple times, but I'm the kind of person who appreciates a good cry, and I don't mind books that trigger this kind of emotion in me. This book now has a sequel, After You, and it is sitting in my library hold list. I can't wait for my turn to read it!

I already decided that I'm going to have a whole post for this book, but I listened  The Unveiled Wife on audiobook, and I could not stop listening to it. I finished it in less than two days, and it has given me really interesting perspective. I found this book after stumbling on Jennifer Smith's blog of the same name, and while I am not a wife yet, I think it's never too early to start thinking about the very real issues that come with marriage, and getting honest wisdom from a woman who has experienced some really hard marital problems is priceless.