Louis Vuitton Monogram Tote Giveaway

Hello lovely friends! Remember a couple of weeks ago when I had a beautiful Michael Kors Purse Giveaway? Well handbag lovers, I have another spectacular bag for you today: A Louis Vuitton Monogram Tote is up for grabs via HipSwap.

Yes, you read that right – this is the real deal: an authentic Louis Vuitton Tote. The monogram bag has been Louis Vuitton�s symbol since its introduction in 1896. It is widely recognized as an elite status symbol around the world. This handbag has style and functionality which makes it a perfect everyday bag, whether you are taking it to the office or doing your errands. This is a classic bag that is sure to be chic and stylish for years to come. 

HipSwap is a mobile and web marketplace that connects buyers and sellers locally and nationally. It enables people to discover what’s inside the most fabulous closets, homes, and shops in neighborhoods and cities across America, and easily sell their stuff. HipSwap currently offers delivery service in Los Angeles and New York with its iconic pink delivery van. Do not live in LA or NY? No problem! Everyone is eligible to enter and win this  Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Tote Shoulder Bag.

Joyfully Gray Blog has partnered with HipSwap to promote this giveaway; this is a sponsored post. You only have to complete the the entry requirements by clicking here; you do not have to be a follower of Joyfully Gray to enter, though I would appreciate it so much!! Regardless, I am so glad you came by.

To enter this contest, click here

The contest for this Louis Vuitton Bag is on from July 2nd – July 9th, 11.50 EST. Joyfully Gray Blog has partnered with HipSwap to promote this giveaway; this is a sponsored post.

Want to enter more giveaways for designer handbags? Keep your eye on HipSwap because for the next six weeks they are giving away even more beautiful bags!

Further details: 

June 26th � August 7th, 2012

Weekly Giveaway: 
(6 weeks / 6 bags): One Designer Handbag each week.

Bag Types: 
Recognizable designer handbags such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Fendi, or a barely used designer handbag previously worn by celebrities and tastemakers.

Giveaway Announcements: 
Weekly bag brands will be announced one week prior to launching.

1. Create a HipSwap account by going to HERE. Enter yourname, email and zip code.
2. Once registered, you can earn additional entries by:
a. Pinning the �Win This Bag� contest on Pinterest � graphic available on giveaway landing page
b. �Liking� HipSwap on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hipswap
c. Following @HipSwap on Twitter https://twitter.com/HipSwap
d. Post a Tweet on Twitter for one week: WIN this Louis Vuitton Tote from and @HipSwap #winthisbag 

Winners will be announced every Tuesday in the HipSwap weekly newsletter and on the HipSwap Facebook page. Winners will also be notified via email. Prizes will be shipped to the winners free of charge. 

The Fourth

We had a swell fourth of July; and though I did not tackle a traditional fourth ensemble, I made my patriotism clear with sparks of the ever-appropriate and necessary red, white and blue. Stacks of red necklaces? Yes ma’m! I tried on three outfits before we went for hot dogs and watermelon, and ended up wearing the orange on the end and tying it up to avoid some heat, just as my bestie Sasha would do – yes, true Sasha style. But copying someone is the greatest form of flattery, right? Oh, I have always hated that! Did your mom tell you that too? 

My lovely floral top is from Target and I was excited to grab it the other day for sixteen bucks because of all of the possibilities that it presented – as you can see I can pretty much layer and combine it with anything and everything! 

I think it was the Fourth of July: 
love and hugs, 
flag flying,
heat enduring, 
fire-works watching, 
“Happy Birthday, America” saying by Lucia,
strawberry shortcake eating, 
watermelon sharing,
grand old, rootin’ tootin’ time.

Yes, I think it was the Fourth of July.

Saturday in the Park by Chicago on Grooveshark

Link Party!

My friends Melissa and Allison have invited me to be a part of a really cool new gig: A Thursday Link Up Party. The best part? You are invited too!
Link your twitter, Facebook
or instagram account below and you will be linked not only on my blog, but on Feeding My Temple and Pineapple Lily as well. What an awesome way to meet new folks. Xoxo

Summer Brights + Tunes

Last night we took our Chee swimming at the neighbor’s pool and she was alive with enthusiasm. She and her daddy played “Ariel and King Tritan” for as long as the day would allow, while I observed their game and kicked my feet on the steps of the bright blue lagoon.
Despite our attempts to wear out our little one, she put up her usual fight at bed time. Every night I lay next to her and ignore her hundreds of attempts to strike up conversation. She chats away and asks me questions, I refuse her game most of the time, until something like the following comes up and I cannot deny her a response:
“Mom, I need you to tell me something.”
“Mom, does college mean that you put stuff in the attic?”
Giggles from me.
“I suppose it does Lucia, but you have many more summers before you have to worry about that. 
Go to sleep. 
I love you.”
“I love you too. 
And college.”

Hello July

June was good to us – long days at home with Lucia, Houston, NYC, Tulsa, friends, play dates, my thirty first birthday, love, love, love and more love.
Bright hues and gold for July. I hope the heat eases up on us a bit.

Dress & gold top: Anthro.

Head wrap: Gap.
Red shoes: lucky thrift store find.

CRISIS | The Hunt for Vinyl Storage

When I married Matt a little over seven years ago, he had a bewilderingly large cd collection, being the avid music lover that he is. Eventually, over the years, he has progressed further and further away from his outdated love of cds, though many still stack the shelves of our man cave. Now he  piles the iPod with mixes from his hard drive that is loaded with hundreds — perhaps thousands — of tunes. Ah! Finally, I thought, we would start to free up room in our ever-shrinking home — my husband is going electronic with his music collection.
And then the lust for vinyl began. I used to say things like, “Do not get too excited about record albums, we do not have room for them….” Or, “Matt, seriously, this is going to be an expensive hobby.”
And then his mom bought him a record player and he would purchase a new album here and there. As he began to play the records for me, I began to quietly listen and hear what he heard. Authenticity was it? Scratchy sound waves in their purest form? A hint of nostalgia? What was it about listening to vinyl that made the music experience so much better than hearing an iPod or playing a cd?
I caught the bug.
Our Chee caught the bug. Asking to accompany Matt to the record store every Saturday; and always asking to listen to vinyl when daddy gets home from work. Her number one request, “The Lips, Daddy, please?”
Enter dilema. Where to store the vinyl? I have given Matt an odd shelf here and there, cleared a space atop our living room desk for him to place his gigantic crate filled to the brim with wax treasures. But, alas, he continues to buy and our storage continues to shrink.
What is a girl to do? Shop on the internet for awesome vinyl storage, of course! Here is a collection of my finds, in case you too are suffering from a wax overload. I must admit, I have found my hunt somewhat limited and wish there were more options out there. Some of my finds are far too expensive to satiate our budget, and then others seem too flimsy to securely rest Matt’s growing collection.
1) Probably my favorite piece because it is a bit industrial and could chill out the chintzy vibe of my living room with its rough edges: LP Storage by Boltz.
2) Custom Pieces by Tony’s Woodshop, which I am also a fan because I like the raw bones of wood shelves and like the idea of having a piece custom built: LP Storage by Tony.
3) The most amazing piece that I have found is by Atocha Design, but it unfortunately does not fit within my budget. The wood is beautiful, the storage neat and organized, and is set up perfectly to strum through your collection drawer by drawer. Oh, my! Read this description by Atocha, it kinda makes me want to make out with the piece of furniture. (Matt, inanimate objects will never win my love over you.)
4) The Ikea Expedit shelving system offers a very clever and affordable storage solution. I think it would also look rather sleek and would be a definite space saver. Plus, if you are like me, you might like the open storage system so you can admire your collection. There is a very clear youtube video that explains how to set up the Expedit shelf for vinyl storage, and offers suggestions on how to use the various sizes.
5) And at the risk of sounding oh-so-cliche, my last, but certainly not least find is from the tried and true, Urban Outfitters. There storage is not large enough to accomodate Matt’s growing collection, but they have some awesome vintage-throw back pieces! My favorite is this rolling cart made from repurposed wood: Go, Urban.
Please me know if you have any clever vinyl solutions, or if you too are a collector because we should be friends.

C U R R E N T L Y | Tid Bits

Clockwise, upon my return from the big city: My dad came over for a few hours to say goodbye before he headed back to Qatar; I actually hung my clothes up and unpacked my suitcase; I wrapped a baby gift in some sweet pink ribbon and now face the challenge of getting it to the post; Lucia has strown her toys all about the house… every where, every which way.

Reading: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Oh, my. I picked this book up on my way home from NYC because I had a few layovers to beat and an iPhone battery that needed to be conserved; thus,  much to my dismay, no surfing the internet all day. The Kitchen House is an intense read that speaks the harrowing truth of slavery and indentured servants in the  United States. Especially if you like Historical Fiction, this book is for you — heartbreaking and eye-opening, a page-turner. I cannot believe the human capacity for cruelty, nor the definitions and lines that were created because of race and class. I am also in awe of the extent of research that Grissom had to conclude in order to create such a realistic portrayal and, of course, I am simply amazed that authors can write, write, write with such talent. Read it.

Watching: I am sure that I have mentioned my love for HBO Girls already as I just wrapped up an entire season in one week,  entirely without shame to admit the many hours I sat dedicated to my iPad after Matt and Lucia went to sleep at night. Raw, honest, relatable, believable scenarios that will crack you up and remind you that other girls share the same thoughts, insecruties, fears and laughs. Watch it.

Anticipating: Fireworks on the Fourth! I think Lucia is finally of age to stay up and watch the sky light up without getting scared. 
Laughing about: Lucia making a face on her plate with food: the smile, a piece of caneloupe; the eyes, two halves of a boiled egg; a mustache, shreded turkey. I know I should not encourage playing with food, but it was quite clever, right?

Listening to: The Black Keys on repeat in my car. Everyday for two weeks. Husband, expand my musical horizons, please!
Working on:  Being grateful and content. Making the life we have the best it can be. Beinga better wife and showing Matt that I appreciate all of his hard work because he is a really good man and he deserves to know it.
Wishing: Someone would weed my front flower bed and dead-head my rose bushes because 109 degrees is a bit much for my weary self to endure.

An Introduction of Sorts | Welcome New Followers!

Thank you for visiting my little blog home. 
I am a twenty thirty something wife to my wonderful Matthew (I call him Mateo);
mother to my little Lucia (pronounced Loo-sha, though I often call her Loo-chee-a, 
Chee, or Lucia-belle).
I was born in the hills of West Viginia and spent my first five years 
in a sweet log cabin with my mom, dad and two brothers.
The years in-between five and 15 were spent in Texas and Oklahoma, until my family moved to the Czech Republic at the start of my tenth grade year. I attended the International School of Prague and had a great high school experience with lovely friends and a fabulous group of teachers that continue to inspire me.
Fast forward: College.
I am an alum of The University of Oklahoma where I earned a B.A. in English Literature.
For a year of my undergrad career, I studied abroad in Stockholm, Sweden at Stockholm University.
That year was a great year of making lifetime bonds and traveling all over Europe via planes and trains.
Fast forward: Marriage Motherhood.
I married my dream man when I was twenty-four.
We had our daughter, Lucia, after four years of marriage. 
She is our love and light.
Our story continues and this is where I document our journey.
For more tid-bits:
I love to post music that I love, outfits and share bits from my everyday. I am really glad to have you here. Please say hello! 

Home from the Big City

I had an amazing, over-the-top, spoiled rotten, thirty-first birthday weekend in New York City. Sasha, her brother and I all hit the pavement hard and crammed oh-so-much into three days, three nights: eating well, drinking well, dancing, laughing and more. While frolicking about, I often caught myself daydreaming about life with Lucia & Matt in the big town. Dreams, dreams, dreams. 
I will be back with more from my trip soon, but before then, I have a baby to catch up with because she and mama missed each other dearly, laundry to do, and perhaps I will even wash my hair today – perhaps. Until then, some music for your Monday: Los Campesinos, a British indie pop band with – in my mind – a very punky sound, whom we saw while spending an evening at Brooklyn Bowl. 
You! Me! Dancing! by Los Campesinos! on Grooveshark

Emily D + The World of Blogging

Am I the Toad? And you, my reader-out-there, are you the bog?

Does anyone hear me?
I want you to hear me… I have much to say.

How dreary to be somebody!
And I do not have the words to acticulate all of my thoughts.

At the moment, dear internet world, I have no hippy-creatively-inspired outfit to post, I have no glorious words of wisdom.

But I have memories and secrets.
I have things that I want to say.
I have things in my head that I cannot share.

I can think, however, that life and dreams are full of love and color, as if I am in my garden as outside my front door.

And if some things Gold do stay…
Oh, does gold ever stay,  Dear Mr. Frost?

Was your poem for me?

I want to dream and live in a world where the reality in my mind is the reality in which is true. I want to go to bed tonight with hopes that the people in my life will find peace. I want happiness for my family. I want to go knowing that my Grandparents know that I have spoken of all of them today, even though they live miles–hundreds of mile away–or perhaps even in heaven.

I want you to know that I know my language is simple.
I am just a girl…or a lady? Does thirty-one make me a lady?

Dear Lady Sarah….

You are a a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher, a friend….

How public to be somebody!

Happy Birthday to me…
Happy Thirty first, Sarah Jane Gray.

PS. Third-person is dumb.


…Not me!