Apartment Tour: Living Room

In response to requests from my girlfriends (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love checking out other people’s places), I’ll be posting pictures from our apartment to give you a mini apartment-tour!

I am not super creative and most of what we have is a combination of what we had individually before we got married & stuff we bought immediately into our marriage – since which time my tastes have significantly changed.  Also, there are a lot of weird things about apartments in Brazil, so…not the easiest canvas either.  That being said, we have more than we need or could ask for and are thankful for all of it.  🙂

First up on the tour is the Living Room:
Some credits: 
Pillows: Layla Grace (multi-colored) and Furbish Studio
SF Print: Ikea
Couch: Pottery Barn
Gray Side Chairs: Home Goods
Brazilian Cowhide Rug: purchased in Columbia, South Carolina 🙂
Chunky Knit Throw Blanket: Made by my Aunt Sheryl!

Things I still want to do in here:
1) I would love to paint the room a pale gray to give it a little more character / definition.
2) I am in debate about putting up drapes.  I usually love them but the space is so small I’m not sure if it would crowd it too much…?  If I did anything I think they would need to be light / sheer.
3) The floor lamp…should I paint it??  I’m not a fan but am trying not to buy much home stuff until we move into an actual HOME one day, at which point I’ll want to get a lot.  🙂
4) If you are wondering about the “coffee table,” it’s an Ikea coffee table and side table pushed together.  We bought them right after getting married as a temporary solution until we found something we loved, but never found the right thing and kind of forgot about it…

*** Any Ideas or Suggestions are Welcome! ***

Keeping up w/ the Harpers

Hi friends!  Here’s the deal:

We truly love sharing our life with you through this blog and bringing you all on our little adventure with us, but because I am getting a little sick of seeing my Facebook page flooded with Jeans & A T-Shirt updates (seriously, it’s just too much), I have decided to make it a Facebook page of it’s own, and only update there. 

SO – if you like keeping up with us but usually only remember to check-in when I post it on Facebook, you now have 3 options:

1) Like the new Facebook page and then I assume you’ll get updates in your newsfeed, right??  I think that’s how this works…  (*Note* If you are my Facebook friend, I have probably already “invited” you to Like it.  It was just a blanket invitation that went out when I started the page.)

2) Sign up for email updates by entering your email address into the box on the top right (just under the header).  I think this requires clicking on a link in a confirmation email but then you will receive the posts to your inbox every time I post.  Then, you don’t even need to click on the blog – you can read the entire thing in your email or on your phone!

You will get emails that should look like this

3) If you like to manage your blog-reading on your own, then bookmark it or mark it as a favorite so that you can come back whenever you feel like it.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for going through life with us!!
xoxo ashley

Unexpected Provision

In my recent Things I Miss post, I mentioned that since moving to São Paulo, Michael and I have missed our church in San Francisco – City Church.  We miss it for many reasons, but a major one was the community that we had there.  We were blessed to have made friends and to have each joined Community Groups where we would gather on a weekly basis and discuss God’s Word.  We would share what we were learning and struggling with.  We would eat and drink and laugh and pray together.  We would serve our community together.  We would encourage each other and hold each other accountable.  We would spur each other on towards greater godliness.  As you can imagine, this was amazing.  Hard at times – of course – but mostly a whole lot of amazing.

And I have been seriously missing this amazing in my life.  Because in Brazil, while we have been blessed with a church, a community that we are still getting to know and some awesome friends who love the Lord, it has seemed harder to DO as much here.  It’s kind of a hike for us to even get to our church and it’s much more difficult to meet up with others during the week.  We don’t have a car, the city is tough, people’s schedules are all over the place, the community is smaller…the list goes ON.

Anyway, as I was missing my GIRLS and Biblical accountability, I simultaneously felt like God was convicting my heart / encouraging me to give Him my FIRST fruits.  As in, give Him my MORNINGS.  I am NOT a morning person.  At. All.  And the way my schedule works, I usually have more time scattered throughout the day than I do in the mornings.  But He laid it on my heart to spend time with Him FIRST.  So, I prayed for God to help because, hello??  Waking up early is hard.  Right?!

Then, about 2 months ago, I learned about The Hello Morning Challenge.  It’s an online accountability group of women (mostly moms, but they let me in anyway) whose goal is to spend time each morning: 1 studying the Bible, 2 planning their day/setting goals and 3 exercising.  Obvi I have been the least faithful with the exercise, but…one step at a time.  So, how does it work?  Before the challenge starts, you select a group based on:
Twitter or Facebook: I chose Twitter since I think it’s easier to follow for something like this and, since I never really used it before, I didn’t feel like I would be spamming people.
Time-zone: I had to go with East Coast since there was *shock* no Brazil group.
They provide a Bible study for everyone to go through together and each morning you check in with your group and – if you want – share what you are learning from the passage that day, send encouragement to each other, etc.

It’s a little unconventional in the sense that it’s all online and I will likely never meet these women in this life, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but God has blown me away with it.  I feel so inspired by the faithfulness of these amazing, kind women, who sacrifice to wake up early (earlier than their kids!) each morning to spend time feeding on & studying the Word of God and encouraging their fellow sisters.  Also, we are studying 1 Peter together and I have been so blessed by what I’m learning through the Word and just by the daily act of getting up and starting my day by spending time with God.

But, one of the biggest lessons I have learned from all of this is about God.  It seems that He desires the hearts and minds of His children so much that He will stop at nothing to provide for us what we need to know Him better — even something so randomly specific as an online accountability group of women who study scripture in the morning.  I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.  He is faithful.

PS: Hello Mornings is a tri-annual thing so maybe next time I can convince some friends around the world to join me…?!  You don’t even have to do their Bible study if you’re studying something else…  Any takers???  

Chilean Wine Country (Part 2)

We started Saturday with a very impressive tour and tasting at Clos Apalta Winery (Lapostolle).  They walked us through the entire wine-making process which, for them, focuses on using manpower, gravity and as little machinery as possible.

Happy Customer:

The Snowball. We love a cheap little rental car.


Is this a California Poppy flower??  Looks just like the ones in CA wine country

Next we stopped at Viña MontGras for a little lunch overlooking their vineyards and the mountains, followed by a lovely tasting.  We ended the day at Viu Manent for a walk around the property, another wine tasting and a fabulous dinner at their Rayuela Wine & Grill Restaurant.

Sunday we drove back to Santiago, had a fun final night in the city, and returned to São Paulo on Monday morning.  The whole trip felt like a total dream.

Chilean Wine Country (Part 1)

After a fabulous day in Santiago, Michael and I headed a couple of hours South to the Colchagua Valley, in the heart of Chilean wine country.  We honeymooned in Napa and loved exploring Californian wine country while we lived in San Francisco, so since moving to Brazil, checking out Chile’s wine country has been at the top of our to-do list.  And it did not disappoint.  The whole trip felt like a second honeymoon.  Absolutely magical.

In my opinion, almost all vineyards are beautiful, but to have such gorgeous scenery set to the backdrop of the snowcapped Andes Mountains… it was almost too much.  Although there is no way to capture the beauty in pictures, here is my best shot.

Friday — Driving in, we stopped at the most GORGEOUS vineyard — Viña Casa Silva — for a little lunch/wine break.  The scenery was unbelievable, the food was delicious, and their Carménère was my favorite wine from the whole trip.  We loved Casa Silva so much that we returned on our way back to Santiago on Sunday.  

Friday evening we arrived at the sweet Posada Colchagua, right outside Santa Cruz.  The owner knew that we were there celebrating Michael’s birthday so we were greeted with a bottle of red and some fresh bread & local cheeses.  We then proceeded to sit outside our room in little seats made from old wine barrels, sip on wine, watch the sun go down, and sit for hours under the stars.

Up Next: Chilean Wine Country Part 2!

Santiago, Chile!

In celebration of Michael’s 30th Birthday (this Sunday, Sept 9!!), we decided to go to Chile which appropriately marked the 30th country that he has been to!

We started the trip in Santiago and then made our way to Chilean wine country, but I took way too many pictures to fit into one post so here is a look at our time in Santiago.

We arrived late Wednesday evening and started bright & early on Thursday with a hop-on / hop-off city bus tour.  It was totally the way to go and allowed us to see a lot of the city, learn lots of cool facts, and remain totally stress-free.  During our tour we made stops in Providencia, El Golf, Alonso de Cordova, Plaza de la Constitucion, and several others.

Coming from São Paulo, Santiago seemed very different.  It had much more of the old-world, European charm with beautiful buildings left and right. The snow-capped Andes mountains provided a beautiful backdrop to what is a very clean, organized and metropolitan city.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  Although they are heading into spring, it felt like a crisp fall day.

Neither Michael nor I had been to Santiago before, but we kept feeling like parts of it reminded us of other places we had been before.  A little Denver mixed with San Francisco mixed with Charlotte mixed with Buenos Aires… We could never quite put our finger on it but it basically felt familiar and new all at the same time.  Here are some pictures from our day exploring.

Plaza de la Constitucion

I loved all of the beautifully painted benches:


Plaza de las Armas 

Afternoon enjoying Chilean beer in Bellavista.  


In the evening, we headed to the W to grab a drink at their rooftop bar and appreciate the amazing views of the city.  *This is a total must-do if you’re going to Santiago.* 

We ended the night at an adorable restaurant in Providencia, Nolita, with an incredible dinner and a great bottle of Chilean wine.  It was all just so perfect that we were literally the last people to leave the restaurant, not wanting the day to end.