A Summer Camp Formal Dinner

Caleb and I have had the privilege the last two years to take responsibility for¬†creating the aesthetic for a formal dinner that takes place in the middle of the summer camp week for girls that is hosted by our church group’s youth ministry.

[You may have seen my vision board for this year’s event here when I mentioned it a week ago.]

I promised to share a few photos, so here they are, in full iPhone-quality glory. ūüėõ





Giving credit where credit is due…

  • I couldn’t have pulled this off without the help of my sweet husband, who: scouted out these lovely rustic barn boards weeks ago, arranged his work schedule for the week in such a way that he would be able to be involved in this project all day yesterday, did all the dirty work as we collected flowers and greens after a heavy rainstorm, hoisted the boards into and out of the car and onto and off of the tables and in general was just a huge help. I can always count on him to do the hard work to make my plans and ideas happen. Thanks, Babe!
  • Frieda Graber generously allowed us to pick from the bounty of her green thumb…all the foliage except the Queen Anne’s lace (which we pulled from the side of the road on our drive to the camp) was from her property.
  • Bree from Meadows of Hope allowed us to use those boards and offered her assistance as we transported them to Camp.
  • Camp’s Servant Team graciously tied all 125 or so of those silverware sets together for me, which saved me hours of time! They also helped to set tables and clear clutter in the dining hall just before the dinner began last evening.
  • All the paper products, including the linen-like paper tablecloths, were purchased from B&G Paper Products.

Total cost for décor for this event? Zero. Love that!

What¬†has been or will be next¬†on your summer event planning agenda? Where do you get your inspiration, and how do you stick to (or eliminate the need for) a budget? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Instagram Feeds I’m Loving

Instagram #1

I love sharing my favorite things with you. That’s what The Realization of Good is all about! Today’s post is a quick lineup of my favorite Instagrammers.¬†If you missed them earlier, check out my favorite blogs and Facebook pages, too!

  1. @the_beauty pill  //  super pretty beauty product feed
  2. @malisyourpal  //  Mallory has such a cool ministry over at @theuneditedmovement + I feel a kinship to her since her pregnancy loss earlier this year
  3. @marylauren  //  such a gorgeous feed + I think Mary looks a lot like my best friend, Michelle
  4. @oldjoy  //  mama + homemaker (whose hats, and baby-filled belly, I adore)
  5. @tortoiseandthehareclothing¬† // ¬†a¬†just-launched handmade heirloom children’s clothing line designed by my very own sister [in-law]
  6. @sackclothxashes¬† // ¬†the coolest blanket company in the history of ever — I just placed an order for one¬†this week & can’t wait ’til it arrives!
  7. @emilyhogarth  //  talented papercut artist & creative mama
  8. @mamawaters  //  such an inspiring mama, with a precious new tiny!
  9. @caroline_joy¬† // ¬†it was a sad day for many when Caroline stopped blogging at un-fancy…but thankfully we can keep up with her + her fabulous outfit inspiration on Instagram!

And if you want to keep up with me on a personal level + all things #therealizationofgood, hit Follow on my account over at @melpfish.

What are some of YOUR favorite Instagram accounts?

Finding Design Inspiration on Pinterest

Photo pinned from RuffledBlog.com
Image via Ruffled Blog (click for link)

I’m a huge fan of Pinterest, and I’m not ashamed to say so. I’ve found it to be not only a fun¬†and exciting treat for the eyes, but also an extremely helpful tool. I love being able to find¬†easy access to hundreds of beautiful images with just a few quick searches using¬†the right keywords. I love having wardrobe inspiration, interior design tips, recipes, links to free printables, and all kinds of lovely¬†right at my fingertips.

Seriously, what did we do without Pinterest?! The other day I read a post from a personal blog I wrote post-high school about discovering Pinterest and how awesome I thought it was, and I had to laugh and try to remember what that was like. ūüôā

One of my favorite uses for Pinterest most recently has been tracking down store images of all my clothes to use for Stylebook. Even though most of the stuff I purchased more than half a year ago or so is no longer for sale from the manufacturer, I can usually find someone somewhere who has it pinned, and I can save the image from there!

Here’s a peek at a recent project for which Pinterest has come to the rescue… Next week I’m responsible for transforming¬†a summer camp dining hall¬†into a beautifully decked-out banquet hall for a special evening during our church’s youth ministry’s yearly girls’ camp week. Click on my inspiration board below to see the pins that have been helping to shape my vision for what the tables will look like.

girls camp inspiration board.png

What are some ways you’ve used Pinterest for inspiration lately? Leave a link to one of your favorite boards in the comments!

Capsule Wardrobe Debut | Summer 2015

summer capsule wardrobe

Here are my 37 pieces for Summer 2015! Yay for July 1 and the first day of a new season in my capsule wardrobe calendar.¬†I confess, I wasn’t as strict as I have been in the past about waiting until today to start wearing some of my summer pieces. I was just way too excited about some of the clothing that’s been arriving in packages on my door step in the past week or so!

This time around, I’m only posting links to the items that I purchased recently or are still available for purchase. Maybe next time I’ll be a bit more ambitious and provide links to lookalikes or similar items,¬†for the rest!

I’m looking forward to talking more about some of these lovelies and how I wear them in future posts. Also, I plan to fill you in on a few¬†key mistakes¬†things I realized and acknowledged while wearing my spring capsule wardrobe, and how I used the Stylebook app, as mentioned previously, to learn them.

Tell me, what are you most looking forward to wearing this season?

Why I Cover My Head


“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man¬†does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman‚Äôs sake, but woman for the man‚Äôs sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God¬†with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.”

This passage, the third through fifteenth verses of the eleventh chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, is a¬†“famous” section of Scripture, in my mind.¬†Those of you who, like me, were born into and brought up in the conservative¬†Anabaptist culture, could likely recite at least parts of it from memory, while others who live in parts of the world¬†uninhabited by the “Plain People” and unaffected by their theology and practices may be completely unfamiliar with it. If you associate with the latter camp and wish to read¬†more about the age-old societal tradition of the practice of head-covering, here are a few¬†resources (that I don’t necessarily 100% endorse, but that will be relevant to your study): The Head Covering Movement, this article on Christianity Today, and this Mennonite discussion forum¬†…and of course, there’s always Wikipedia.

As a young child, I knew without question that when I came of age (or when I gained church membership, as the case was in my family and church) I would begin to wear my hair “up” under the traditional, uniform Mennonite “veiling.” As a young teenager, I rebelled against the stigma that went along with this visible nonconformity to and separation from “the world” (non-believers). As a young adult, I wrestled (and still do) with the uncertainty in¬†my own heart, the expectations of the people I loved, and the Holy Spirit’s touch on my mind and spirit.

I want to emphasize, before I [quite vulnerably] reveal my heart on this¬†controversial issue,¬†that first and foremost, my belief is that my position is deeply personal. I¬†hope with all my might that this post does not come across as soapbox-y, because I do not and cannot know whether or if the path I have chosen is “right” or “best” or “necessary” for you or anyone else. (If I felt that way, I might have titled this “Why Our Heads Should Be Covered” or “Why Head Covering is Important/Right/Biblical” or something of that nature.) What I do know, is that the path I have chosen IS right, good, and necessary for ME.

I cover my head because I feel the Spirit has revealed to me, through the scripture quoted above, that as Christ is Man’s “head,”¬†Man is my head, and having my head uncovered dishonors Man. As a married woman, this concept most practically manifests itself in the relationship I have with¬†Caleb, my husband. So by wearing some sort of fabric over some part of my head or face or hair, I am reminding myself of my proper place under my husband’s authority, who in turn is under the authority of Christ.

>> I know this idea is not a popular one. But for those of us who have pledged our allegiance to a Heavenly Kingdom and chosen to walk the narrow path, it is the unpopular ideas and expectations that we have committed ourselves to and for, not, of course, for the sake of merely being different, but for the sake of the barefoot Nazarene whose upside-down purposes compelled those who knew Him to follow. <<

My stance may be considered extreme. But the following excerpt from Leslie Ludy’s¬†Set-Apart Femininity¬†quieted that doubt for me years ago, and is still a good reminder:

“When it comes to pouring out all we possess in radical abandon to the King of all kings, there is no such thing as being too extreme. Nothing we offer to Him out of a heart of loving devotion is ever a wasted sacrifice.”

I know I am not the only woman who struggles to honor her husband’s leadership in the family and home. I also know that my outgoing, opinionated, and somewhat over-achieving personality includes¬†an additional tendency toward independence and self-righteousness. The headband, beanie, scarf or hat that I don¬†before I leave the house each day serves as a visible reminder for me that I am not my own, nor do I want to be.

There are many opinions on the whys, whens, wheres, and hows of head-covering. In the heavily Mennonite-influenced community in which I continue to live, they are not uncommon topics of conversation and thought. The fleshing-out of the principle that I have chosen is different than many, but the valuing of the principle is not unique to me.

If you’ve been following along here already, you know by now that I’m doing the capsule wardrobe thing, and obviously have a bit of interest in fashion and even more of an interest in style. So how does this “extra garment” so to speak, play into that? Well…the headpiece is the main accessory in each of my outfits, and a pretty obvious one at that. Choosing it well and pulling it off takes lots of creativity, and I certainly haven’t mastered the art yet.¬†But check out my “Covered” board on Pinterest for some styles + looks I’m currently loving.

I definitely don’t want to start any riots, but I also don’t at all mind a healthy, inspiring debate, either. So if you’ve got words to throw in here, fire away in the comments. ūüôā I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject of covering, if you have any!

My Beauty Routine


I love¬†when a single product serves multiple purposes. This All-In-One Healing Skin Cream is the best thing in my bathroom cabinet right now.¬†This is my daily moisturizer¬†+¬†lip balm¬†+ cut & burn soother (including sunburn!) +¬†itch & rash relief…that’s a lot of uses! What’s more, the ingredient list is super clean. This is a product I can feel really good about smearing all over myself + my (future) babies…what’s not to love? I rub a tiny bit (the consistency is Vaseline-like and doesn’t absorb like lotion, so you don’t want to overshoot) onto my face after cleansing morning and night.

I use essential oils as part of my face care regimen as well — more to come on that in a future post.

I don’t wear much makeup, and my look doesn’t change a lot from day to night or from everyday to special occasion…I keep it pretty natural all the time. But I have spent years experimenting with different products and¬†finally am at the place where I really love every one of my go-to products. I got rid of everything else, and it’s pretty great having only these six¬†things in my make-up bag! I love the minimalist feel to my morning routine + bathroom storage, not to mention how much time I save by knowing exactly which products to use + where to find them.

  1. Mary Kay¬ģ TimeWise¬ģ Matte-Wear¬ģ Liquid Foundation
  2. Mary Kay¬ģ Liquid Foundation Brush
  3. Maybelline Brow Pencil
  4. Mary Kay¬ģ Mineral Cheek Color Duo in Juicy Guava
  5. Maybelline Eye Shadow Quads
  6. Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

Obviously I¬†don’t exclusively buy¬†organic/natural/clean makeup, although I have been gradually making that transition in many¬†other areas of my life¬†over the last year or so. Once I get to that step, I’m sure you’ll hear about it!

Speaking of clean ingredients, I discovered the (free!)¬†Think Dirty app and am loving the easy access to ingredient knowledge I’ve found in it. If you have any interest or curiosity about what goes into the things you feed your skin/hair/etc. but don’t have hours to spend scouring the internet for reliable info/studies, definitely check it out!

I’ve been using a Mary Kay eye makeup remover for a couple years, but once my bottle is empty (it’s lasted forever!) I plan to try this¬†alternative.

I am still in the process of finding and switching to a¬†good clean-ingredient facial cleanser. I’m considering trying this one¬†from Kiss My Face¬†next. Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear about it¬†if you have one you recommend!

The Real Reason Why I Believe in Making the Bed


According to Psychology Today,¬†in a Hunch.com survey of over 60,000¬†people, “71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy.”

There is a whole chorus of voices on the internet these days proclaiming the good in making your bed first thing, every morning. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? click here, here, and here for just a few examples.)

They say that people who make their beds every morning lead happier, more productive lives. The reasons are endless: making the bed daily is an exercise in good habit-forming, it keeps the bed cleaner and healthier, it can lead to better quality sleep, and it gives us a feeling of accomplishment.

I certainly can relate to and agree with¬†U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McCraven’s statement that “if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

But the real reason I make bed-making a priority upon rising each morning is that a made bed creates a welcoming atmosphere, a haven of rest for my husband and me to come home to in the evening. Even after a crammed, hurried, stressful day, when the rest of our house is reminiscent of the aftermath of a hurricane, we have a visually appealing and restful place to retreat to at day’s end.

I can exhibit a good deal of OCD when it comes to keeping my home tidy, but there are days when exhaustion cries louder than perfectionism. When I’ve taken those 2-3 minutes in the morning, while fresh and energized, to prepare the bedroom for our return, I can close the door to the rest of the mess and relax in the simple, clean order of our little haven.

Do you make your bed every day? If so, it is merely out of habit, or do you have similar intention-filled motives for this menial task?