OK, just so you know we actually gave away the stuff we said we were going to give away we asked all our winners to provide photographs of themselves in action with their new gear. Thankfully all acquiesced (lest you think we shorted somebody a gift) and we decided to take today to share those with you. Thanks again for all the wonderful comments and for all the joy you bring to us on this blog!

It was a little up in the air for about 6 hours whether Brittany S. was going to claim her prize but she chose the navy blue TOMS and we think that was a pretty great pick. Oh, and love the action shot!

Allison M. rocked our sweet little Christmas compilation at one of her Christmas parties and said everyone loved it. I’m calling that a win/win situation for her because if people like it she wins (obviously) and if people don’t like it she can say “yeahhh, I dunno, this weird blogging couple just started emailing me iTunes stuff, I felt bad so I brought it…”

Amanda K. took home the handmade cards. She lives in Georgia, which doubles as my favorite state, and apparently takes really awesome pictures.

Allison B. was the winner of our Kiva gift card. Here’s what she had to say about the man she’s sponsoring: “Simon Ochieng is a married man who lives in a rental house in Kenya that has electricity but not piped water. His greatest monthly expense is food for the family. He has operated a vegetable stall business for the past two years, selling from home to his neighbors and passersby. Simon faces a major challenge of seasonality and fluctuation of prices in the market. He hopes to expand his business and establish a retail shop in the future. He wants to purchase green vegetables, tomatoes, onions and fruits. He decided to join Yehu because of the efficiency of the financial services.” Great pick Allison.

Derek N. won the Book of Basketball. I would have loved to have given this away to somebody from Stillwater but, honestly, if I had to pick a college town other than that one Athens would be first, Oxford second. Enjoy it Derek — hope it doesn’t take you 3 months to read like it did me.

Daliene H. was the Domino winner. She was Jen’s RA freshman year at Oklahoma State, which I suppose slightly calls into question whether or not any bribes exchanged hands for this prize, but she’s a massive Cowboys football fan so I guess I’ll let it slide…

Finally, Brittany F., our coffee winner. (I guess change your name to Brittany or Allison if you want to win next year?) She’s a huge coffee fan and uh, hello, a great writer as well!


The TOMS Winner

First of all, I’d like to say how much both of us have enjoyed doing this Christmas giveaway. We went into it kind of blindly, not really knowing what to expect but it’s been a fantastic experience of trying to figure out creative things to give away that our readers will like and other people in other parts of the world will be blessed by (in the cases of Kiva and TOMS).

We hope you’ve enjoyed the Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway as much as we have. If you didn’t win this year, no worries, we’ll be back again next year (did I just commit us to doing this for more than a year?). And there will be plenty of giveaways between now and then.

As always, thank you for the comments, notes, and emails. They stir our hearts and push us forward. You are appreciated.

Without further ado, the winner of the TOMS giveaway is:

Comment #88 – Brittany S.

We actually have no email, twitter, or any other form of communication for Brittany S. so if she’s reading or you’re reading and you know her, contact us ASAP!

For those of you who didn’t win, we’re putting a midnight tonight deadline on contact from Brittany S. (just to spice things up a little) so we could have a re-count tomorrow.

Merry Christmas to all!

Day 6 – The TOMS

*Congrats to Derrick N. (Bill Simmons book winner) and Dally H. (Domino book winner)*

It seems that this time of year lots of bloggers are doing year-end lists and thanking their readers for visiting and talking about what a great 365 days it’s been in the blogosphere.

Well, it’s only been about 180 days for us, but we do feel like we have the best readers on the internet.

Your comments are thoughtful, your notes are kind, and your encouragement is paramount to whatever we’ve done on this space that could be called successful.

We hope you’ve seen our thankfulness in the 5 giveaways before this, but just in case, we’re bumping it up a notch for the last one.

We’re giving away a pair of TOMS.

I’m so jealous of Blake Mycoskie for creating this company it’s unbelievable. I don’t actually own any TOMS (because I look like this in them), but Jen has two pair and we’re both huge fans of the company, their products, and what they stand for.

Just put your shoe size in the comments and whoever wins can have the color of their choice in classics for the girls or for the boys.

This giveaway ends at 11:59 CST on Wednesday.

Don’t be afraid to comment if you haven’t yet. Could be your lucky day…

Day 5 – A Double Giveaway

Congrats to Brittany W. on winning the coffee + cozy and thanks to everybody who entered, your comments were killing us.

Hip hip, hooray for a giveaway times two! That’s right- because we love you guys so much (or because we couldn’t come to an agreement) we’re giving away two delightful gifts. One for him and one for her.

For the girls –

I know we make a lot of jokes about the fact that I’d give up any of my appendages to have Domino magazine back, but there aren’t many things closer to my heart. And then, there was the Domino Book of Decorating. Before I owned this book, I used to frequent the local book store and read it in segments. Every page is full of color and life in every style imaginable. To steal words from the cover, “This book demystifies the decorating process and provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional, and fabulous. It’s the new decor bible for how we live today.” *sigh* What more could a girl ask for? Except a free copy?

For the boys –

Guys, I’m sorry. I’m sorry we talk so much on here about Etsy and Jen’s always putting up pictures of her crafts and I’m talking about The Pioneer Woman like she’s family. You deserve better than that. Well, actually you probably don’t since 75% of our readers are girls but this is me trying to give you better.

Simmons’ hoops book was easily (and I mean it wasn’t even close) my favorite guilty reading pleasure of 2010. I read the hardcover version this summer but don’t worry we’re giving away the newly-released paperback with dozens of pages of new material on Kobe and DWade and LeBron’s new legacy and how KD has an outside shot at being the greatest basketball player who has ever walked on planet earth. Like I said, don’t worry.

Plus it makes for a great Christmas break read. Only 700+ pages worth of hysterical nonsense on sports, culture, and history as only Simmons can write it. I probably won’t be spinning it into a spiritual post on my marriage where I compare Jen to an aging Bill Russell but it should be on your gift guide nonetheless.

Girls – give us your favorite magazine of all-time to enter the Domino giveaway.
Fellas – give us your favorite athlete of all-time to enter the Book of Basketball giveaway.

Jen just brought up the fact that “some guys out there might want to get into the world of decorating.” I don’t know if that…umm…”demographic” is a big part of our readership but guys I suppose you can comment on your favorite mag to win the Domino book and girls can comment on an athlete to win Simmons’ book.

Good luck!

This giveaway ends on Sunday night at 11:59 CST

Day 4 – The Coffee Post

What is Christmas if it isn’t curling up next to a fire (real or gas-powered, we don’t discriminate) with a piping hot cup of coffee wrapped in a precious little (Jen’s words, not mine) cream-colored cozy?

Where am I going to get all those things, you might ask.

Well, I don’t know what you’re going to do about the fire (please don’t try anything crazy) but we can help with the rest.

We’re giving away a pair of 8oz. sacks of Oak Cliff coffee from our favorite Dallas coffee shop – The Crooked Tree paired with this eco-friendly (Al Gore thanks you) cozy from an (aptly-named) Etsy store, CozyCommodities.

To win, tell us below, coffee or tea?

This giveaway closes at 11:59 CST on Thursday

PS – Congratulations to @allisonmbrown on winning the Kiva gift card!


Day 3 – The Kiva Giveaway

First of all, congratulations to Amanda K. (#7) for winning the Day 2 Giveaway – Jen’s Christmas Cards!

I have a confession (I find myself saying that a lot on this blog):

I went to business school for 2 years and I don’t feel like I know a lot about business. Sure, I understand basic economic principles like depreciation, supply/demand, and competitive advantage. I don’t, however, understand how all the puzzle pieces fit on a global scale.

Like many of you I don’t grasp what our place as Americans in 2010 really is. We (I) tend to shut out the rest of our (my) non-American world. It’s easier that way. It’s more comfortable to live within the square, tv-shaped world we’ve carved out for ourselves. It’s a lot more fun that way too. We can ignore the other 192 countries and 6 billion people who live in them.

Or…we can do this.

For the last 2 years I’ve been a Kiva member. Kiva, in their own words is an organization that:

Empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

In other words – I give my money to people trying to start small businesses in other countries and they pay me back once they get their business going. Once they pay me back I lend to someone else. And on and on it goes. As someone who reads entrepreneurial books incessantly, I appreciate this, as a Christian, I find it imperative.

I’ve given money to electronic salesmen in Ghana, bakers in Tajikistan, furniture makers in the Philippines, and one dude starting a pub in Bolivia. To date, I’ve been fully re-paid on 4 of the loans and partially on the rest.

The beauty of it is that it’s helping those without access to the monetary resources we have access to, build, create, and sustain themselves.

So for those of you looking to give the gift that literally keeps on giving head over to Kiva and start searching for farmers, bicycle makers, or fishermen (or women) to support.

Or maybe you should wait until later in the week because giveaway #3 is your very own $25 Kiva gift card. You get to choose who it goes to and help support a small business in a foreign country.

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us what your favorite country outside the U.S. Ready, go.

Also, this giveaway shuts down Tuesday night at 11:59 CST so get your comments in ASAP!

Thanks to our bomb friends Chad & Becca Ward for the idea to put this in our gift guide. You can read about it in their post here.

Day 2- Jen’s Handmade Christmas Cards

Okay ladies and gents, our randomly selected winner from Wednesday was #11 Miss Allie – I think Allie forgot to enter her email address so Allie if you’re reading this and you were the 11th comment from Wednesday’s giveaway, email us so we can send you your playlist. Or if you know Allie go shake her by the shoulders and yell “you won the Marriage Project playlist!”…then tell her to email us. Congrats and thanks to all who played. If you were one of the other 57 comments, try again today!

In honor of the Christmas season, we’re giving away two free sets of Christmas cards handmade by yours truly. There are six in each set (the winner can pick from the five variations below), retail for $10 each, and are also available for purchase. Just email us here if you want some (but wait until after Sunday to see if you score some for free).

I don’t think any of them say Merry Christmas, so someone should probably put me on the grinch alert, though they pack a handful of Christmas cheer. They’re full of hand painted and hand inked designs and will be the perfect solution for those who haven’t yet mailed out their Christmas cards. Like us. Maybe we should hold onto them.

To enter, simply comment below and let us know whether you like receiving birthday cards or Christmas cards better. You have until midnight on Sunday to comment and then we’ll pick a winner winner chicken dinner. Except there are no chickens, only snowmen.

Happy card winning!

Day 1 – 12 Songs For Christmas

You know how last Saturday we asked all of you to give us the Christmas albums you were rocking out to this Holiday season? That was partly selfish in an “I’m too lazy to peruse iTunes” kind of way but also partly a bit of foreshadowing for today.

See, we were going to just wrap up a nice little iTunes gift card to our winner but who puts “iTunes gift card” in their Christmas gift guide? I’m actually raising my hand right now because I love getting iTunes gift cards for Christmas, but, seriously, how dull is that? Incidentally I’m typing this one-handed because I’m still raising my hand.

Anyway, instead of boring you with a gift card we decided to put together a little 12-song 2010 Christmas music guide (descriptions by Jen) to go with your egg nog spiced cinnamon caramel whole milk latte (those are real, right?). To win our album (we have an album!) all you need to do is write your favorite season (spring, summer, fall, winter) in the comments below and we’ll pick a winner Friday. The playlist will be delivered to the winner’s inbox Friday morning to be enjoyed all weekend. Without further ado…

2010 Christmas Music Guide

  1. Snowfall by Ingrid Michaelson – A cute and predictable Ingrid song oozing with wintry goodness.
  2. Christmas Lights by Coldplay – We know this is probably hitting the airwaves like crazy, but there’s a reason. And to think I used to hate Coldplay.
  3. O Tannenbaum by Vince Gaurauldi Trio – Every time I hear this I can taste the egg nog and see us dancing a little ditty in our apartment together. We’ve never actually done that, but a girl can dream, right?
  4. Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong – I love this song so much I actually played it at our wedding in the middle of June. Christmas and Louis Armstrong are celebrated all year in my heart.
  5. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm by Judy Garland – I also played this one at our wedding. Even if it was 105 degrees out. The warmth of love is so abstract anyway.
  6. Christmas Tonight by Dave Barnes– Our favorite Dave Barnes song on the Christmas album (thanks to all the reader suggestions!)
  7. Sleigh Ride by Harry Connick, Jr. – From one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time.
  8. Winter Song by Sarah Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson – Two of my all-time favorites collaborate to accidentally perform a song about Jesus. He’s always sneaking himself into the strangest places.
  9. Winterlove by Parachute – One of Kyle’s new favorites.
  10. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow by Michael Buble – A classic at our house.
  11. Happy Xmas by John Lennon – Johnny from the good years. I think this song is the longest-lived war protest in history.
  12. Auld Lang Syne by Ben Rector – A little something to wrap up the playlist and your 2010. Our goal is for all the world to sing Auld Lang Syne by heart, though it may not happen until 2012.

And technically everybody wins because here are a couple of free Christmas downloads we highly recommend:

Tracks in the Snow and O Come O Come Emmanuel by The Civil Wars

Giveaway is open until 11:59 CST Thursday evening. If for some reason you hate music come back Friday for a new giveaway.

PS: Big thank you to all of you who helped us create our 1st giveaway.

Holiday Gift Guide

(scroll pictures above to see release dates)

I wanted to do something to honor the half-birthday of our blog (and marriage) so I proposed (pun!) a few things to Jen. The following are her answers.

  • Have Jen get a full-time job so we can get some graphic design upgrades: “No”
  • Buy season tickets to OSU football games next year: “We don’t have enough money”
  • Change our URL to “kyle’”: “You’re an idiot”
  • Buy a puppy and train him (or her) to write our posts: “Enticing…but no”
  • Have a kiddie and train him to write our posts: “YES!”…no (that’s me saying “no” for clarification)
  • Have a 6-day Holiday giveaway: “Sure!”

OK, confession time: we have no clue what we’re doing with this. We’ve seen some Christmas giveaways on a few blogs and some Christmas gift guides on a few blogs (notably here and here) so we said, “Hey, why don’t we do a Christmas guide/giveaway?”

We don’t have any cool sponsors for these gifts but we’ve felt especially blessed lately with so many fabulous readers that we wanted to do a little something special for all of you this holiday season.

Obviously more details are forthcoming over the next 3 days but we just wanted to give everyone plenty of time to get fired up for what’s going to be happening over the next 2 weeks.

Spread the word.

Thanks for reading.

See you soon 🙂


It seems to me that time is where the war of the 21stcentury is being waged.

There is (and always has been) a finite number of hours to be spent by humans every day. I think we can all agree that the increase in the number of ads, blogs, TV shows, sporting events, restaurants, friends, websites, networks, and gadgets over the past 10-15 years has made those hours more valuable than they used to be. Supply (the hours you have) has stayed the same while demand (the number of things demanding your attention) has increased. In economics that means what is being demanded (your time) becomes more valuable.

But this is not an economics class.

We simply want to thank you for spending your valuable minutes and seconds reading what we have to say on this blog.

We don’t always know what we’re talking about but we always try to put thought and effort into what we’re saying so that you (the reader) might walk away changed in some small way…even if that means your day is happier because you’re giggling at something idiotic I did. Especially then.

This blog has helped shape who we are and who we are becoming because it creates a sort of real-world accountability. For example, when we see people now they might ask “hey, how’s that minimalism thing going?”

What we say: “Ohhh…yeah, it’s going pretty well”
What we’re thinking: “Wait, you actually read that, oh, crap….wow, we really do have to get rid of some of our stuff, people are calling us out on it”

It’s sometimes bizarre, always challenging, and mostly, it’s real. So thank you, more than you know, you guys are changing us even as you’re reading about us. Ironic, I know.

And just for fun (and because you’re awesome) we’re giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon so you can read something other than us.

All you have to do is leave your name and favorite blog (other than ours) below. Giveaway lasts until 11:59 EST on Tuesday, November 2