Made New

I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember. It started like all kids with paper doodles, and eventually led to me drawing on every piece of furniture in my room (which my mom was amazing enough to allow me to do) and painting my closet doors in black and white designs. The first time I held a film camera in my hand and pressed the shutter, something inside of me lit up and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Cue me deciding not to go to college for psychology, and instead choosing photography. Thankfully this was before I actually set off for college months later.

Art, colors, textures, light…they’ve all shaped the way I’ve seen the world around me. I finally decided to have a go at painting a few years ago. I don’t know exactly what pushed me to do it other than a deep desire. Kind of like that moment with the camera 10 years prior. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved it. And turns out, I was kind of decent at it. And in turn successful at making art for other people. But then I found myself in a “rut” of making art I didn’t love, not sure what my style or “voice” was in the art world. And then I had another baby and life got busy, and the paint brushes stayed put away for a while.

And then that stirring up thing happened again. For months and months I kept seeing these visions of the kind of paintings I wanted to make. They weren’t like anything I’d done in the past. And they were beautiful. I loved dreaming of them and taking photographs as inspiration for them. But for some reason or another I just hadn’t brought myself to actually try to make it happen. I would like to say it was for lack of time, but I think underneath that was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it. That they wouldn’t actually be as beautiful as I was envisioning them to be.

Honestly I could have let myself sit in that fear and funk, and I’d still be here two years later with paintings in my mind and not on canvas. But I hit the breaking point of saying I either have to just go for it, or I need to walk away from this dream.

So I went for it.

I remember the canvas laid out on my floor in the living room (I didn’t have an easel, desk, or any type of “real” workspace back then). I cranked my favorite worship album on, and got to work. I don’t know how far into that first painting I was, but I know I stopped and just started crying. Because I was bringing my idea to life. And it was working! And I had decided to push past fear and doubt and step into what I believed God was giving me.

I fully believe God places dreams and desires in our hearts. He wants us to step into the gifts He's given us. He wants us to dream big and trust Him with the process and outcome. Maybe creating a piece of art isn’t your calling or doesn’t even sound that scary to you, but I bet there’s something like that in your heart. Something you dream about that feels too scary to say out loud. He takes our desires and plans and turns them into something even better than we can try to come up with on our own.

I named this first painting I did “Made New.” It marked such a turning point for me. I was learning to try things and not live in the fear of failing. I was learning to trust God and trust my gift. He kept reminding me that He makes all things new. And that He make all things beautiful in His time.

I’ve had quite a few people ask and encourage me to share more about the meaning behind my paintings, and I knew that God was also asking me to share more openly with you here! My hope is to make this “story behind the painting” a regular series here on the blog, so if you like this kind of content let me know! I will let you know when the original painting is still available to be purchased (“Made New” is, so just let me know if you’d like more info about it). I’m also linking some available prints! Maybe you need this visual reminder to keep dreaming, to make brave choices, and to know that He is in all things, making them new and making them beautiful.

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2018: Year in Review

Believe. It’s the word I chose at the beginning of this year. I also wrote down things like authentic, intentional, bold, brave. But believe just felt like it summed the whole thing up. Because if I could believe the truth about who I was, then everything else would flow from it. My prayer was that it would be a year that I would let go of lies that had held me back, and stand firmly on the truth of who God made me. I wanted to believe that I was capable, that I was created with gifts and with purpose. All I had to do was to step into that boldly and let Him work.

I had no idea what this year would hold for me when God gave me that word. But, He knew. He knew how much I’d need to lean on and rely on Him this year. He knew that I would have to dig into Him with all that I had, that my own resources would never be enough to get by. This year may have been unexpected for me, but He wasn’t surprised.

It would be impossible to sum up what this year has given me in just one simple blog post. But I’ll do my best.

I shared on instagram a few days ago that I was having a hard time navigating this whole end of the year/start of a new year thing. That last year I was the girl with the goals and the plans, and not to say that I didn't accomplish them throughout the year, but I was just swiftly reminded that I need to hold my plans loosely. It’s been hard to get my head around setting New Year goals this time. I think mainly because in order to move forward you have to sort through what you’re leaving behind.

From the get-go, this year was crazy. The first week of February is when I found out I had the BRCA2 mutation. And it’s set the course for much of my year. I feel like this year was sectioned off by “before my surgery”, “after my surgery”, “before my second surgery”, and “after my second surgery”. There was so much waiting, so much anxiety, so much unknown. A lot of pain, physically and emotionally. It’s hard to pinpoint other highs and lows of the year because BRCA2 and mastectomy were the banners hanging over a lot of it.

It’s been a freaking hard year.

But.

It’s also been such a year of growth, and there has been so much good. And I’m going to venture to guess a lot of that good wouldn’t have been possible without the hard. Trudging through the hard taught me so much about myself, about God, about trusting, about humility, about patience. There were many chances to let myself cave under the weight of it, and some moments I did. But I know I can look back and see how I’ve gotten through it and am stronger because of it. I chose to believe that God was still good. I chose to believe that He had things under control, even though I desperately wanted to be in control sometimes. I chose to believe that He was who He said He was, and that I was who He said I was.

Our trials, our circumstances, our hardships…they are all opportunities to grow our faith, to know Him more. I was the girl with the plan, set out to live my best year yet. But I believe that His plan was better. His goals for me were better. A lot of the things I wanted for myself still happened - embracing the season I’m in, being more honest and vulnerable, living well, living authentically, being present and more intentional, being healthy. Those things happened. But not because of me. Because of Christ in me, the hope of glory.

As I get ready to step into 2019, I’m still dreaming and hoping for things. There are goals both in my mind and written on paper. But He’s taught me to hold them loosely. He’s asking me to step alongside Him as we walk out this year together. Surrendered to Him and His plans, trusting Him as we go. I’m hopeful for the year ahead. I’m expectant and excited to see what He will do and where He will bring me. I’m anticipating knowing Him in new ways, and I’m praying I will continue to believe that His way is better than anything I could dream up. I’m praying that for you, too. Let’s set goals. Let’s dream big dreams. Let’s step into our callings. And let’s not forget who is the author of our stories, and whose ways are higher than our own.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Somehow it’s already Thanksgiving week, and my brain can’t quite register it! This year has flown by, y’all. And believe it or not, Christmas is coming. So that means it’s time for a gift guide!! This year I wanted to focus on smaller businesses rather than big corporations, so you won’t be finding any affiliate links here today. I love supporting small and local! All of these businesses are also run by women! That makes me even happier to support them, because nothing is better that a woman stepping into something she feels called to do. Check out my top picks, and then make sure you scroll to the bottom for a GIVEAWAY! One person will when an item from each of these shops!

Small Business Gift Guide coldcoffeehotmess.com
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This shop has the most beautiful journals that would all make perfect gifts. The Motherhood Journal would be such a thoughtful gift for any new mamas in your life. It’s a three year journal, with prompts and lined pages for each week. The Me+You Journal is a correspondence journal that encourages hand written letter writing and story telling. There are so many ways to use this journal! The Heirloom Recipe Journal is another great gift, one that could be perfect for your mother, MIL, or grandmother! I think it would be a sweet newlywed gift as well. It’s a journal you use to compile your favorite recipes, along with any stories and history behind them. Be sure to check out the lunch box love letters as well! I can’t wait to use these in the boys’ lunches!

*Use the code THANKFUL from Friday at midnight through Monday 11/26 for 25% off your entire order.

Leisure Lane

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I’ve never seen such a practical but also stylish and classic apron until I found Leisure Lane. Their aprons are “made for the cook, the home keeper, the farmer, the fashionista, the artist and the little people in our lives.” The Crossback apron is so versatile and simple to put on, and it’s made with high quality and carefully sourced materials. I love the neutral colors and the linen fabric. It’s very easy to put on - no string attached! There are even aprons for your littles (junior and mini sized) - because we know they like to help us out in the kitchen! You could easily pair this with the Recipe Journal mentioned above to make an incredibly thoughtful gift.

*Be on the lookout for 15% off you order Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

Dear Mushka

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I have been slightly obsessed with Dear Mushka’s jewelry for a while now. Gifts with meaning behind them are my favorite! Every piece is inspired by scripture and comes with a verse card. The Eclipsed locket would be such a sweet gift, especially if you include a special picture inside for the recipient. The verse that pairs with this necklace is Jeremiah 33:3 - “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Beautiful, right? There are endless gorgeous and meaningful options that would make such a precious gift.

*Black Friday deals will be announced to their newsletter subscribers on Thanksgiving day, so if you want to be the first to know, subscribe here!

Little Chick Love Letters

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My friend Sarah recently started her business Little Chick Love Letters, where she makes the CUTEST little personalized crayons. I have gotten each of my boys’ names made and they’ll go in their stockings this year. My kids are crayon-obsessed, so I know they’re going to be so excited to get these. They are thick and sturdy, which means they won’t snap in half within 30 seconds like most crayons do. You could get them personalized, get some fun shapes, or even the entire alphabet. These are also perfect for your nieces and nephews, grandkids, or for your kiddos to give their friends. You can contact her through her facebook page to order! She ships and also has local pick-up.

Love Life Soap Co.

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Skip the big chain store soaps full of who-knows-what and check out Love Life Soap Co. Their soaps are made with natural ingredients (always ethically and sustainably sourced, and locally sourced whenever possible - from local farmers, her own garden, and honey from a friend right down her street), no artificial fragrances or colors, and handmade in small batches. She’s got bar soaps (try the Pale Ale for hubby or dad - they’ll be excited about a soap made from beer), body butter bars, lip butters, and a soap and balm perfect for the babies - she nearly guaranteed me it has magical ingredients to help your kiddos go to sleep easier ;) ! The price point on all of these products makes it easy to stock up for teachers, friends, and hostess gifts. The gorgeous packaging doesn’t hurt either.

*free shipping and free body butter bar with every order on Black Friday, no code needed! 

So Yaya

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If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know my love for So Yaya products runs deep. I swear by their oil cleansers and serums! They also make the best all natural mani & pedi balms that would make a sweet and easy gift! I’m thinking stocking stuffers, teachers, neighbors, friend gift exchanges! You could easily pair it with some cozy socks or your favorite nail polish if you wanted. Get the mani/pedi set or buy them separately: mani balm, pedi balm.

*They’ll be offering free shipping through the holidays as well as some sampler gift sets!

cold coffee shop / Hannah L FINE Art

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I can’t leave my own shop out of this list, can I?? Check out the Cold Coffee Shop for a lot of fun options to gift this Christmas! I’ve got notepads and mugs that would make great teacher or friend gifts, as well as art prints! Art is something everyone can appreciate, and it is one of my favorite things to gift. Be sure to check out original artwork I have available, or commission something special with me at Hannah L Fine Art!

*I’ll be offering 25% off in the Cold Coffee Shop from Black Friday through Cyber Monday with the code THANKFUL25. And be sure you’re following along with Hannah L Fine Art on Facebook and Instagram for some deals as well!

Need more ideas? Check out the 2017 Gift Guide here. And be sure to check back to this post for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday deals. I will update the post with info and discount codes accordingly.

And now for some fun…I’ve collaborated with all of these shops to bring you a GIVEAWAY! One person will win the following:

gift guide giveaway coldcoffeehotmess.com

Use this form to enter

The * denotes required for entry, others are optional for extra entries!

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Be on the lookout for my posts on Instagram and Facebook for even more ways to enter! Giveaway will run until November 27th. I will contact the winner and get their info on where to send the prizes! Happy shopping, friends!

Special thanks to each of these shops for sending items to me to able to give my honest review and recommendations, as well as items for the giveaway.

How My Village Got Me Through My Double Mastectomy

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Apart from when I had each of my three children, I’ve never needed to be on the receiving end of major help. After my surgery, I suddenly found myself organizing childcare for my boys, deciding the dates I wanted to sign up for a meal train, lining up grocery pick ups and errands to be run. When you’re the mom, you are the one making all these plans and decisions for other people. You’re the helper. Switching to the role of “helpee” was harder than I anticipated, solely due to my own mama-pride, not due to anyone’s lack of wanting to help me…

Continue reading this guest post I wrote over on Komae’s blog.

Komae is a an app that makes finding a sitter so easy! It is the easiest way to coordinate all of your sitting needs for both your kids and your pets within your circle of trusted friends, family, and paid sitters. They call this your village. In fact, Komae (ko’-may) means village in Greek! Whether it’s a sit-swap with your friend, a favor from Grandma & Grandpa, or cash to the teenager next door, Komae’s got it handled. Find out more about them here.

My Favorite Clean Beauty Products

Hey friends! My last few posts have felt a little heavy, so I figured it was about time for something more fun! I did a round up of some skincare products I love earlier this year, but today I want to cover the whole spectrum of personal products, including some updates on skincare! If you've been around here a while, you know that products that are "clean" and safe to use are very important to me! So almost all of the things I'm sharing today fit into that category. As a disclaimer, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means the company (not you) pay me a percentage of the sale if you click and/or purchase something (read more here).

Ok, enough chit chat. Let's jump in.


Body

SheaMoisture African Black Soap
This bar soap has helped out my dry skin a ton! I get mine from Target, but I know Walmart carries it as well.

The Seaweed Bath Co. body wash
I know some people are anti-bar soap, so here is a great alternative. I love this body wash!! The scent is amazing. There's a eucalyptus scent as well that is heavenly. I like the lavender since I shower at night usually. It’s available at Target and Amazon.

Beauty by Earth self-tanner
My friend Mycah from Home Sweet Hunter recommended this brand to me and I love it! Easy application, non-orange and non-streaky color. Safe to use and easy on the budget!

Honest Company body lotion
Lightweight & moisturizing! I use this immediately after showering and anytime my skin is feeling a little dry. It’s available at Target as well, but the Amazon price is cheaper.

Primally Pure deodorant
I've tried a lot of natural deodorants, and this is my favorite! I've been using it for over a year. It’s non-irritating and actually keeps the BO away. Lemongrass and Blue Tansy are my favorite.


Hair

Love Beauty & Planet shampoo and conditioner
I love this budget friendly & safe option that I get at Target. I personally use the shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair, but they have a lot of good options depending on your hair type.

Love Beauty & Planet hair oil
Hair oil is great for taming frizziness and keeping hair moisturized (a must for me especially with color treated hair). I run this oil through my ends after I shower and when styling.

Not Your Mother's Dry Shampoo
I love this brand because it's budget friendly, lightweight, and unscented. You can find it at most drugstores including Target and Walmart.

eSalon hair dye
I'm at at-home hair color fan, mainly because I like to live on a budget. Also because making time to get to the salon frequently is next to impossible sometimes...especially when you have grays to cover up. And y'all, I'm just too vain to have grays in my 30s. eSalon is fully customizable color. You work with a color specialist to get exactly what you want. I have been using it for years and absolutely love it.

I’m in search of a clean or safer hairspray that doesn't cost $$$$, so hit me up with your recommendations in the comments!


Skincare

So YaYa Loopy Cleansing Balm
If you've never oil cleansed then we need to talk ASAP. It has totally changed and healed my skin! I've been oil cleansing for years. I stopped a few times for some reason, but I always come back. And I don't think I'll ever stop again now that I found this balm. It's a clay, coconut, and castor oil based cleanser. It removes all of your makeup and cleans the gunk off and out of your pores! It contains an emulsifier which makes it really easy to wash off of your face, unlike a lot of oil cleansers out there.

DIY Exfoliant
I just made this exfoliant my friend Blake shared in her skincare post. I love it! It's super easy to make, and does a great job at exfoliating and nourishing your skin at the same time.

Rosewater toning spray
My skin kind of freaked out and became super sensitive after my surgery, so I got this rosewater spray off of Amazon as a super gentle toner. Rosewater is really nourishing and helps balance your skin.

The Ordinary mandelic acid
Rachel from So YaYa told me about this, and I'm hooked. I was using a mild retinol, but the post-surgery skin sensitivity put a stop to that and I had to find something a little milder. "It exfoliates the skin by accelerating cell turnover, which in turn improves the overall texture and tone of skin. If your skin is dull and has a rough texture, it will help to smooth the surface and brighten your complexion – all while fighting off fine lines and wrinkles." Yes please.

So YaYa Quench Serum
Holy grail product. I use this after my mandelic acid at night. Just a couple of drops is sufficient to nourish all the skin on your face. I have dry skin and this serum has been a lifesaver. You can also use it as an under eye moisturizer if all your skin isn't dry like mine, and check out their other serums to find what works best for you. 

Radha Rosehip Oil
If I feel like I need a bit more moisture at night, I will put on a few drops of this rosehip oil. I discovered this oil a few years ago when searching for a natural alternative to retinol. Rosehip oil provides the skin with a rich source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids. It also helps brighten skin, reduces blemishes and has premature aging effects. I use this as my morning moisturizer as well (2-3 drops is plenty).

Beautycounter Rejuvenating Eye Cream
I’ve been using this for years and am obsessed. It know the price is high, but it works and will last you at least half a year! I’m not a Beautycounter consultant, just FYI. I just love some of their products!

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask
This mask claims to be the "world's most powerful facial". I don't disagree! Go read the reviews on it and you'll be sold, too! You mix it with apple cider vinegar (if you have super sensitive skin, it also mixes with water) and apply it to your face. You literally feel your face pulsing as it promotes circulation and cleans your pores. I use this twice a week! Super budget friendly too, hallelujah!

Andalou naturals BB cream with SPF
Daily sunscreen is a must. I did A LOT of googling, scouring EWG’s data base, and reading reviews in order to find this product that checked all too the boxes I wanted. It has a higher SPF than most that I found, it's tinted so it offers some coverage, it moisturizes, and helps fight signs of aging. It also won't leave a white sunscreen glow on your skin! And y'all, it's around $15! I was so glad to find this to replace the $40 one that I was previously using. 

I plan to do an updated full skincare routine post soon! I'll go into a little more detail that I did here.


Makeup

Andalou Naturals BB cream
On a daily basis this is the only coverage I use. Full description in the skincare section above.

Beautycounter Tint Skin foundation
Perfect on days when I need a little more coverage. I use the shade "linen".

Burt's Bees Blush
I love all the Burt's Bees cosmetics I've tried so far. I use the shade "shy pink" and love it. Find it at Target and Walmart.

Burt's Bees Nourishing Mascara
No flaking or clumping, and I really do feel like it nourishes my lashes. I really like this mascara, and I really like the price (about half the cost of the previous mascara I used). Available at Target, Walmart, and most drugstores.

Beautycounter brow pencil
The shade is an exact match for my eyebrows which I love. It's easy to put on and doesn't wear off. I don't love that it's a pencil I have to sharpen, though. Does anyone else get annoyed by that? 

Beautycounter eye liner
Doesn't smudge off or irritate my eyes! This one also comes as a pencil I have to sharpen though. That’s my only critique.

So YaYa lip balm
Obsessed. Grab one to keep in your makeup drawer, your purse, your diaper bag, everywhere.

Burt's Bees Satin lipstick
Drugstore lipstick that's safe and doesn't dry out my lips! There are a ton of beautiful options, but if you can only get one I'd recommend Iced Iris. It won an Allure best in beauty award last year! Here’s a link to get it from Walmart!


Whew, we made it guys. I know that was a lot, but I wanted to create a resource that covered the entire spectrum of personal care products. If there's anything I didn't cover that you want to know about, comment below, email me, or shoot me a message on Instagram! If there's anything you want me to go more in-depth on let me know that as well! I'd also love to hear your product recommendations. Come chat and share away in the comments here or on social media! Cheers to safer beauty!

Save the photo below to pinterest to keep this as an easy reference!

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