Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Layla | Newborn Photography

Sweet Layla Rose made her appearance more than a week past her due date, and just a few days later she was ready for her close-up! I took Jenn & Brandon's maternity photos back in August and had so much fun documenting their journey to parenthood. Now, can we talk about how cute Layla's purple nursery is?! J+B, thanks for inviting me into your home to photograph your little miss!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Celebrating Africa and a Baby!

Africa has a special place in my heart, so naturally I was excited when asked to contribute to a church baby shower by bringing Africa-shaped cookies. Didi and James will welcome baby Moses in just a few weeks, and sometime next year they'll be sent out from our church to be full-time missionaries in Tanzania. The cookies were a huge hit, and we're continually praying God's blessings over their growing family and ministry.

I actually looked into purchasing the cookies from one of my favorite local bakeries, but figured I'd save a little money by making them myself. So glad that I did -- this sugar cookie and royal icing recipe will be one I use for years to come!

"The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies" recipe {via allrecipes.com}
Glossy Royal Icing recipe {via allrecipes.com}
Africa cookie cutter {via Sole Hope or OneStarfishAtATime}

  • I made these on the Friday afternoon before the baby shower the next day, so I didn't have time to chill the dough as the recipe suggests. Turned out just fine! 
  • Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing, several hours if possible. Mine definitely weren't warm when I iced them, but had they had a few more hours to harden up, two or three broken cookies would have been spared being moved for decorating!
  • The royal icing tastes great and was very simple to make. Other royal icing recipes I've seen use egg whites or meringue powder, but this one just calls for water, corn syrup, almond extract and powdered sugar.   

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'll be at Hope Spoken!

Today is the Hope Spoken link-up! Looking forward to attending this one-of-a-kind event in March, and I'm excited to start meeting other women who will be there through this link-up!

{introduce yourself} Hi everyone! I'm Amanda Reed, a newlywed, blogger, photographer, marketing coordinator, proud Baylor Bear and Austinite. I love Jesus, candles, good design and typography, trying new recipes, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

{something you're a little timid or nervous about for the weekend} First things first, I'm anxious about a close friend of mine being able to get a ticket since the event is currently sold out. We were planning to room together for the weekend, but that's contingent on her actually attending Hope Spoken. Thank you Casey/Danielle/Emily for making every effort to add more tickets! Secondly, I'm a tad of an introvert when it comes to big groups of people {if you really know me, you know I'm not always introverted!} so I'm just asking God to break down my walls so that I can be real and intentional to build friendships at the conference.

{something that you are hoping to take away from HopeSpoken} Two things I'm most looking forward to: 1) resting, learning, listening, being encouraged, and allowing Jesus to fill me up and send me out, and 2) meeting so many incredible, creative-minded women who love the Lord, and getting to hear their stories. I have a few "blog friends" whom I've never met in real life {Casey, Wynne}, so getting to hug them and talk face-to-face will be so fun!

{share something fun/random about yourself} Though I call myself a Texas girl, I was actually born in Alaska! Read more about that here.
hope spoken

Thursday, October 3, 2013

King of Love

After moving home from college a few years ago, I started attending Austin Stone Community Church, where I met some of the sweetest girls and got involved in a missional community for several months. Once Thomas moved to town, we got connected to our now church {Wells Branch Community Church} which was a little closer to home for us, but Austin Stone will always have a special place in my heart!

That's why I was so thrilled when Jamie Ivey asked for some blog friends to review Austin Stone Worship's new live worship album, "King of Love." The most beautiful box arrived in the mail last week, and now I have this CD on repeat in my car. It's so good!

I think my favorite song on the album is "Jesus is Better" {grab the FREE download here!} and I find myself singing it over and over throughout the day.

There is no other so sure and steady, my hope is held in your hand.
When castles crumble and breath is fleeting, upon this rock I will stand.

Glory, glory, we have no other king but Jesus Lord of all.
Raise the anthem, our loudest praises ring!
We crown Him Lord of all.

Your kindly rule has shattered and broken the curse of sin's tyranny.
My life is hidden 'neath Heaven's shadow, your crimson flood covers me.

Glory, glory, we have no other king but Jesus Lord of all.
Raise the anthem, our loudest praises ring!
We crown Him Lord of all.

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better -- make my heart believe.
In all my victories, Jesus is better -- make my heart believe.
Than any comfort, Jesus is better -- make my heart believe.
More than all riches, Jesus is better -- make my heart believe.
Our souls declaring, Jesus is better -- make my heart believe.
Our song eternal, Jesus is better -- make my heart believe.

Jamie shared the video below earlier this week that shares the story behind "Jesus is Better."

The "King of Love" album is out in just a few weeks with a release date of October 22, so be sure to grab a copy! And if you didn't see the link above, scroll back up and get a free download of "Jesus is Better."

Aaron, Jamie and the rest of my brothers and sisters at Austin Stone, thanks for inviting me to the #KingofLove party a little early. Praying that the music on this album stirs hearts and touches lives!