Coffee Chat (my birthday, baptism, and other celebrations!)

Last week was a big one for us over here! It was my birthday, I got baptized, my parents were in town, the kids were out of school for Fall Break, Abreham (our almost 17 year old) got both his first job and went to State for XC. Oh! And Anton (9 years old) won first place at his BMX race!

So basically, it was a whole lot of insanity...and a whole lot of celebrating!


Though I was only five years old when I asked the God to be Lord of my life, I never made the plunge to get baptized (pun only mildly intended, haha).

It's been on my heart since college, but really wanted to do it in the Jordan River, like Jesus was. Years have obviously zoomed by and I've realized that I won't likely get to the Holy Land anytime soon.  

What I did realize though, is I didn't want to be dunked into a hot tub type vessel in front of the sanctuary. I love being outside, you guys. I wanted this to be more than simply a quick immersion into water. I wanted to really make this into a celebration. A ceremony. A communion between myself and my Lord.

I wanted a body of water, one where I'd feel a chill and feel some discomfort, because to me...this was a big deal.

Since my parents were in town and the weather was still warm-ish, I asked our pastor (and dear friend) Nirup, if he'd baptize me during my birthday week.

I'd long since given my heart and life to my Heavenly Father, but this felt almost like renewing my vows to Him. This was an occasion where my family and friends could enter into an experience with me as I outwardly showed my commitment to God and He bathed me with grace and love and forgiveness.

And I wanted to celebrate His Goodness, His Mercy, His Faithfulness, and Holiness.

So that's what we did. And it was amazing.

(Per usual I forgot to take photos during the party. So all these were taken during setup and cleanup. Bummer!!)


I thought I was turning 38 this year...but surprise! I'm actually 37. It's been years since I've paid attention to my age, but the closer I inch toward 40 I realize I'm not quite ready! So that was a present in and of itself. (Feel free to roll your eyes. I don't blame you, haha.)

As a mom, I've long since given up on the idea of sleeping in on my birthday and having a full day at the spa or something. Not that that doesn't sound like heaven...I'd just rather not miss the fun stuff going on with our kids.

Anton had a BMX race where he won 1st place in his division (and a trophy about as big as he is!)

Abreham also had his State Cross Country meet and got his first job at our neighborhood grocery store!

We of course still did some celebrating that evening though, and since they know my love language is a pretty table and dining outside, my mom and the kids set up the most fantastic Ethiopian Dinner for us all to enjoy.

We were out there 'till way past their bedtimes as Gram and Grandpa told goofy stories about me as a child and two sweet guys just didn't want the night to end. 


I'm truly just not a fan of Halloween at all. The only thing we really do is go trick or treating and the only reason we do that is to get to know our neighbors.

I had told the kids toward the end of summer that I wasn't buying costumes this year. Money is tight and I just can't justify $30-40 x 6 kids. I was surprised by how little they actually seemed to mind.

We obviously have a surplus of costumes from years past and our kids love being creative so some made their own costumes, some did wardrobe changes throughout the night, and others just decided they didn't want to take part and didn't dress up at all!

We set up a table in our front yard and made enchiladas and moscow mules. Friends brought homemade guac and chips, and before the dads headed down the street with the kids, we just spent time of chaotic fun together. 

Neighbors came by and chatted for a bit since we decided to camp out at the table, rather than head back inside, only opening our door when kids came by for candy.

We met tons of neighbors we didn't yet know and caught up with many we already did. I'm so glad we stayed outside. Conversations ensued that never would have happened otherwise!

I think this may become a tradition. Dress up or not, come by for food and drinks. Hang out under our cozy blankets by the outdoor heater if it gets too chilly.

We had such a fun week of celebrating so much.

And PS once again, I got NO "during the actual festivities" photos!! I've gotta get better about that!

Take Joy,


GIVEAWAY | my favorite things

In the past, on my birthday I did things like this.

This year though, in honor of my birthday... I thought it'd do a fun GIVEAWAY of a bunch of my favorite things!

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Let me walk you through all the items real quick, before you scroll down for the rules.

Oh! And if you add everything up, it retails at over $300.

I totally want to win, right?

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I absolutely love throwing parties and having people over, so much of this collection highlights that.

I also adore a mishmash of vintage items on the table. So here are, four gorgeous vintage forks to get your collection started (from my favorite shop here in Denver)!

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I'm over the moon about tassels from GlamFete and because they know how much I love them, they're gifting a string of them for our giveaway!

Ours typically hang above our bed (see here), but admittedly I move them around the house a bit.


Love Does. Sigh. I just absolutely and completely love this book.

I've bought it and re-bought it for friends and family and if you've read it, stick it in your purse to give to someone. Everyone should read it.

Love can do so much. Change so much. Just the simple act of saying "yes, I'll do it", can change your life and many of those around you!

I sound like an infomercial. But truly. Just read it. Head to Amazon now.

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I have met some of the most incredible world-changing ladies through the past several years.

I bought these colorfulful mixed metal bracelets from Beautiful and Beloved awhile back and love pairing them with Stella & Dot pieces I already own. My sweet friend Amber, founded of this shop and nonprofit with the purpose of empowering survivors of slavery and was willing to gift one of you a set of your own!

Head over to her shop to learn more and how you too, can help empower the marginalized and formally enslaved!

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I love having fun treats for the kids when they come home from school each afternoon.

These ice cream cups are perfect for just cream (obvi)...but are also ideal for hummus and carrots! Or a bunch of berries, apple slices with almond butter...or perhaps guacamole with a few tortilla chips!

If you don't have kids (or they're not school-aged), you totally need to invite some girls over. Because let's be honest...don't we all love gold + white right now? And now cute are the little wooden "spoons"?!

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I mentioned a few weeks ago in this post how life-changing Beautycounter's products have been for me.

My illness last summer (that lasted for months and months) caused me to really begin to research living more of a healthy, clean life and Beautycounter's mission lines up so perfectly with where I am now in caring for myself and our family.

The above photo is of the canvas bag that I adore and keep all my makeup in. But moreso, I love the encouragement printed on it. Don't you want to be someone who "leads the change" in life? I sure do.

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This Rose Water Uplifting Spray is amaaaazing and both smells and feels so luxurious.

I use it every morning to set my makeup and again in the afternoon as a little "rev-up" for my skin!

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Whitney over at Beaded by W sent me this beautiful tassel necklace last summer and I basically haven't taken it off. The mixture of white wooded beads and gold glass ones...combined with the massively bright pink tassel is absolute perfection.

This necklace will be sent directly from Beaded by W so if you ask nicely...she just might send you something from her fall line, with debuts in the next day or two instead.

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(also in above photo)

I'm a total sucker for gold + pink ( couldn't tell?!) and can't get enough of this eco-friendly journal by Greenroom.

The cover looks and feels like leather, though it's somehow recycled fiber.

Tell me you love the paper's pink edges, as much as I do!

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Paper straws. Obsessed.

Black and white stripe. Also obsessed.

Need I say more?!

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You know back when you were collecting Garbage Pail Cards and stickers (please tell me this isn't dating me)? Well, I was the super nerdy one who had a paper napkin collection. Yes. I'm serious.

Well, it has since translated into a love of hosting and making a pretty table...and this pink ombre set is just right up my alley. I may or may not have bought an armload of them awhile back. As in all the store had in stock.

I know, I have a hoarding problem.

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I posted a photo of this yummy lemonade on Instagram this week. I'd never had it before but the gorgeous packaging and the fact that it's Elderflower and Rose, totally hooked me.

It was an instant favorite!!

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I say this phrase to myself all the time.

Oh Jesus that we would pray more and worry less!!

A few years ago, I bought a big canvas and painted the saying in beautiful bright gold.

It was a major diy fail...looked like an elementary aged kid painted it. Which would be cute, if my kids had made it! Oh well.

Instead, you get to enjoy this gorgeously calligraphed piece surrounded by reclaimed wood (from my same favorite store where the vintage forks came).

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Though I typically love drinking from glass, sometimes carrying around a lidded plastic container just makes more sense.

But I have a hard time finding really cute ones that are BPA Free.

So when I happened on this one, I just had to bring it home (sorry I can't find it online)!

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Who doesn't love a bold poppy colored bag?! This leather cross body purse from Stella & Dot even has fun lining!

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When they came out with this collection, I bought everything they carried in the vibrant hue!!

More favorites are this and this!

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I'm always adding to my silver collection and especially love platters and trays because you can use them for everything from holding office supplies to desserts! And don't tell my grandma, but I love when they're slightly tarnished looking.

I also adore unique gift tags for gift giving or even to use as place markers at dinner parties!

And really, who doesn't love gorgeous pencils. This collection rests in a small vintage white pitcher on my desk. They're from a favorite paper goods store here in town.


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Who of you know Ruth over at Gracelaced?? Her heart is even more beautiful than her paintings. Truly.

I've had the extreme pleasure of spending time with her on a couple occasions.

I'm so excited she's blessing you with one of my favorite of her prints.

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. . RULES . .

Ok, here are the official rules for this giveaway!!


You must subscribe to Hugs & Punches blog via email (see sidebar if you haven't already done so).


Please 'like' this post.


Please follow H&P on Facebook and Instagram.


After doing the above, simply comment on this blogpost with your favorite Birthday tradition or memory...and you're entered! (I will be checking 1,2, 3, &4)

For extra entries...

. Share this post/giveaway on your Facebook page for 5 extra entires .

. Share this post/giveaway on your Instagram page for 5 extra entires .

.Tag a friend on this post (Facebook and/or Instagram). 1 extra entry per tag. Please do tagging in separately (one tagged person per comment) .

That's it!! GOOD LUCK!!!

Contest/Giveaway ends 11:59pm Pacific on November 1st.

So sorry but Winner must live in the Continental U.S.

A winner will be drawn on Monday, November 2nd and will be tagged via social media!



take joy-signature-new-pink