Soul's Spotlight



THIS WEEK: margot Joy

Q: How old are you, Margot Joy?

Margot Joy: I'm 12.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

Margot Joy: I would describe myself as fun, outgoing, energetic
and caring. 

Q: You're actually from a modeling/pageant family, is that correct?

Margot Joy: Yes, my mom, aunt, and both cousins are title holders. I've modeled for my aunt since I was very young and I love doing that.

Q: Do you have any likewise aspirations?

Margot Joy: I aspire to be Miss Indiana, just like my cousin, and I'd also like to model once I'm older for my career. However, if that doesn't work out, I'll be happy to be a dental hygienist.

Q: What are some goals you have for yourself?

Margot Joy: My short term goals are to stay on the honor roll through graduation, then attend a college on the east coast. 

Q: What is the most important message you can give to other girls about inner beauty?

Margot Joy: The best advise is to be yourself, be true to yourself and don't judge others. Also don't worry about others who judge you!

Q: So how did you like modeling for Art and Soul?

Margot Joy: I loved modeling for Art and Soul! It was so fun, and the clothes were so comfy! I begged my mom to buy the top for me immediately after the shoot...and she did! 


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Stories from a Mom with Soul...

Are you a Mom with Soul? Send us your stories, triumphs and epic fails! 
This week's story submitted by Jama Smith from Fort Wayne Indiana. Jama is a working mother of 5 and a freelance writer. 

I have an amazing husband. 

I know, usually I write about the acts of my evil brood of children, my insane work life, my rapidly dysfunctional bladder...

Today I'm thinking of how blessed I am that the voodoo ritual stuck this time, convincing my husband to live out his days in my servitude. 

I say "this time" because (as I'm charmingly reminded at every holiday and family occasion) I don't have the best track record with making marriages stick; I'm on my third one. 

There are various theories as to why my marital status was the running joke of the family. "It's her mantra; eat, drink, and remarry!" 

"She changes her hair color every six months. They should consider themselves lucky!" 

"She really goes out of her way to buy a new dress, doesn't she?"

I can feel the love radiating from them.

In truth, there are various complicated reasons that I've found through vast amounts of prayer, self-reflection,and therapy. Many of them have a core of self-blame, which is my least favorite type. So instead, I've developed a new theory.

I blame my father.

My dad retired after 40 years of working tireless hours for CSX. He would wake up at 2 am, head off while it was still dark out, and come home long after the sun went down. A few hours of sleep, and he would be packing his suitcase again for the next run. The day after he retired, he was suddenly employed again, working a job that paid a fraction of what he was making. He took it not because he needed the money, but because he simply adores to work. He can't sit still, can't relax on a golf course or take a leisurely nap. "I don't need to spend the day in bed. People die in beds!" He once told me. "Your grandpa told me that..and guess where he died?" 

He set me up to fail with thinking all men had such a work ethic.

When I was five, I had to have kidney surgery. I'm sure great advances have been made to this procedure over the last 30 years, but at the time it was a serious operation that kept me in the hospital for weeks with strict instructions of no visitors. My dad knew the rules, but when his five year old baby grew tired of the same nurses, he snuck not only a huge group of people through the back but also the puppy that I'd been given for my fifth birthday. It was a huge party in my hospital room, and my dad couldn't have cared less what the hospital thought about it.

He made me think that all men would move the earth for me when I was vulnerable, sick or hurting. 

I was accepted to Indiana University and rushed off to college as my brother before me had, complete with a scholarship in Journalism, ready to change the world. Not even a semester later, I came home, wrecked and unable to focus on school after a boy had broken my heart. My dad helped me move my stuff back home, and when we stopped at a gas station, I shamefully asked how much I had disappointed him. He explained, very gently, that things happen and maybe it just wasn't my time to make this move in my life yet. But he was still proud of me, and always would be.

He made me think that all men would be so accepting of my failures, that they would love me even when I faltered.

There are countless examples of how my dad made it impossible for men to measure up to the standards he sets; his fathering, his eagerness to always drop everything and play with this grandchildren, his humor in the roughest of times...but most of all, it was always his unconditional love for me. When that stopped existing in the two former men I had chosen as my mate, I knew I couldn't stay with them. 

My dad's fault.

I'm happy to have someone to blame (besides myself), but even more so to have found someone who continues to exceed the requirements for playing a lead role in my life. My husband is all things I've always demanded for myself; loving, accepting, hard-working, fulfilling my every need while being an amazing father.

Just like my dad. 

Soul's Spotlight




Taya, modeling A&S "Paisley Park"
Q: How old is Taya?

Kelly (Taya's Mom): Taya's 5.

Q: Tell us a little about Taya's personality.

Kelly: She is a very spirited, energetic, outgoing little girl. She is also sweet and very caring. 

Q: As she grows into a young woman, what are some things you hope she learns from you? 

Kelly: I really hope to teach her how to be a strong, independent young woman who can be anything she wants to be. I also would want her to continue to be the nice, caring person she is today. 

Q: Has Taya ever modeled before?

Kelly: This was her first time.

Q: She did a wonderful job and took direction so well! Did she have fun?

Kelly: She loved modeling for Art and Soul, and absolutely loved the clothing. 

Q: She had a beautiful smile. Looks like she was 
loving the clothing! 

Kelly: She loved the clothing so much, she wanted to see if we could buy the outfit she was modeling right there so she could wear it home! I promised her that we would order it! 


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Stories from a Mom with Soul...

Are you a Mom with Soul? Send us your stories, triumphs and epic fails! 
This week's story submitted by Jama Smith from Fort Wayne Indiana. Jama is a working mother of 5 and a freelance writer. 

As I lay in bed during nap time, trapped helplessly between a set of sleeping twin toddlers, I have plenty of time to think.

Oh sure, it would be helpful to get out of bed and do some laundry. Maybe catch up on some writing I've been putting off for months now. Or actually, since I am in bed and unable to rise, get back some of that sleep that alludes me every night and sends me dragging my feet to the coffee maker at work daily. 

But it doesn't work that way, does it? Not for us mothers.

Wide awake,unable to sleep at what would be the most opportune time, the moment I even shift my weight under the blanket one if not two sets of eyes pop open, which spells my imminent doom for the rest of what I lovingly refer to as WHINY TWIN DAY. No, it's better to forget what I could be doing and just focus on the only thing I can be doing. 

Alone with my thoughts. Scary place to be.

At that moment, probably roused from the sheer chemistry of a thought forming in my brain, Sophia sits up in bed. I panic, knowing I have a mere 3-5 seconds before she makes a noise that awakens her sister and thus begins my personal hell for the next 8 hours.

Between whispering hushes and soft back pats, I somehow manage to get her back into a sleeping position and even get those heavy eyelids to close. SUCCESS! My gleeful moment of pride is quickly overshadowed by the realization that, in an effort to get her hastily back to sleep, I had twisted my body into an awkward yoga/pretzel position to which my darling daughter was snoring away on.

And I'm no yoga body. I wear the yoga pants, but even they aren't fooled by my intentions when I put them on. They know nothing's happening other than a night of Hell's Kitchen and Chinese takeout.

My lower back began to ache, the muscles in my shoulders were already beginning to weep a bit. As I took a deep breath and told my body to suck it up, I couldn't help but think about how ironic it was that I was in this very symbolic position: painfully twisted and suffering to ensure my daughter stayed peaceful and happy. 

And as she starts to stir, instead of grabbing the opportunity to grab change position, I use my free hand to pat her back into sleep, to make sure I stayed in a torture position for at least another half hour.

That's right, I make sure the agony continues because it's what she needs right now, what's best for her. And nothing really matters more...least of all, myself. 

Another day in the life of an average mother. 

DIY Wine Corks

It's no secret...I like wine.
A lot.
And it's a funny thing, how I start to get creative when I drink more and more of it. Suddenly, I have the urge to make things around the house...wait, no, I just need to nap. 
Then I'm sad.
Then...where am I again?
If you can get past all that and STILL keep your creative juices flowing, here are 10 DIY Wine Cork Projects to utilize those leftover corks. 
Note: No spare wine corks in your home? Then we probably can't be friends.
But many fine dining establishments or wine bars will give you their used corks for free. 

1. Stamp

Where can you use a DIY stamp in your home? Just about anywhere, but it’s especially great for personalized thank-you cards, placemats or homemade gift wrap. We love this heart-shaped cork stamp from Morning Creativity. All you need for this project is an X-ACTO knife, a pen or pencil and an inkpad.

2. Fridge Magnet

Is your refrigerator looking a little empty? While we can’t help you if your fridge is barren on the inside, we can help you cover the outside! Turn wine corks into magnet holders with a pocket knife and some hot glue. If you don’t have time to make your own, we like these fridge magnets from AlissaRose’s Etsy shop. 

3. Trivet

Protect your countertop in style with this DIY wine cork trivet from Sweet Paul Magazine. Simply glue same-size corks together until you have a circular shape. Tip: For this project, use superglue instead of hot glue to secure your corks. That way, the glue won’t melt under the heat of your next batch of slow-cooked Swedish meatballs!

4. Keychain

To make this project, just take the ring from an old keychain and use it for a new one. The simplistic look of a solo cork for a set of keys just can’t be beat. Check out Cleverly Inspired to learn how to make your own. Bonus: If your summer involves trips to the pool or lake, you’ll never have to worry about dropping your keys in the water and losing them – they’ll float!

5. Bathmat

If you have a hefty supply of wine corks, this cork bathmat DIY from CraftyNest is perfect for you. It requires around 175 wine corks, a hot glue gun, a pocketknife and cutting board. Tip: Use shelf liner for the bottom of your bathmat so that it won’t slip.

6. Mini Succulent Garden

These mini succulents are perfect for those who have trouble keeping potted plants alive. First, punch a hole in your cork with a screwdriver. Then, using a Swiss army knife, carve out a hole in each of your wine corks. Fill with a scoop of potting soil and some succulent clippings, and that’s it! Check out the full step-by-step at Upcycle That. 
Photo: Upcycle That

7. Coaster

Not only will a set of DIY wine cork coasters give your home an extra dash of personality, they’ll also protect your tabletops! Break these out during your next dinner party or wine and cheese night and soak in all the great compliments you’ll get for being so resourceful. 

8. Jewelry Organizer

You may have noticed there’s no shortage of awesome, upcycled jewelry organizers on Pinterest. And while we’re still pretty keen on using driftwood, this wine cork organizer from Humble Foodie does a pretty good job of making us want to organize stuff, too. 
Photo: Humble Foodie

9. Place Card Holder

Looking for a way to add a touch of elegance to your tabletop? Make these easy cork place card holders from Hope Studios. Tip: Make each name card unique with a little washi tape
Photo: Hope Studios

10. Wall Art

You could buy a ready-made piece of art from a gallery, but it’s not nearly as fun as making your own wall art with wine corks! After all, you’ll get to flex those creative muscles and probably save a little bit of cash along the way. Need some inspiration? We like this Ombre Cork Heart tutorial from Green Wedding Shoes.
Here are a few more of our favorite ways to upcycle wine corks: 

Crazy Cake

cauliflower cake

Crazy Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Just my way of telling myself that there IS a way to eat chocolate cake on a diet...add your veggies to it.          No one will believe what the secret ingredient is in this moist, delicious dessert!
Thanks to for the recipe and pic!
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour or white flour or Arrowhead Mills gf (120g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (20g)
  • 2 tsp ener-g powder, or 2 tbsp ground flax. You can omit; the cake just won’t rise as much.
  • 1/3 cup xylitol or sugar (64g)
  • 1/8 tsp uncut stevia or 4 nunaturals packets (or 1/4 cup more sugar)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mini chocolate chips (60-120g) (Do not omit. The recipe just won’t be the same if you do.)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 loosely-packed cups frozen cauliflower, thawed completely but not cooked (250g) (Or omit and sub 1 cup canned pumpkin, if cauliflower is too weird for you. I might even like the pumpkin version better!)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice. For pumpkin version, use just 1/3 cup milk (or 1/2 cup if omitting oil).
  • 3 tbsp oil (or omit and increase milk to scant 2/3 cup, for a lower-fat option)
Preheat oven to 350F, and grease an 8×8 square baking dish. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix verywell. Combine all liquid ingredients and the cauliflower in a food processor and blend until super-smooth, so there are NO lumps whatsoever. (See nutrition link below, for an option if you don’t have a food processor.) Pour wet into dry, and mix until just combined, then pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. (Or you can try my super-gooey way: bake only 14 minutes and then leave uncovered in the fridge overnight, and it’ll firm up and turn out like fudge! Not everyone likes this undercooked texture; I wouldn’t serve my gooey version to anyone but me!) Let cool completely. After a day, this cake is best stored in the fridge. (Edit: I frosted with my Reeses Chocolate Frosting, linked below the second photo in this post.)

Soul's Spotlight....



THIS WEEK: Camden and Summer Ann

Q: How old are you two?
Camden and Summer Ann: Camden is 10,  Summer Ann is 8.Q: Camden, how do you like having Summer Ann as a sister?Camden: Having a little sister is fun, but also frustrating at times.Summer Ann: How about you, Summer Ann? Same question.

Summer Ann: Having Camden as a big brother is cool because he looks out for me.

Q: We know you're a military family. What branch of the military is your dad in?
Camden: Our biological father is in the Army, and stationed in Kansas. He has been in six years, but is finishing this summer. Our step-dad is in the National Guard; he's been in for 17 years and is still in.Q: What's it like being in a military family?Summer Ann: It's pretty neat because I have heroes I look up to. But I don't like when my dads are gone for a long time.

Camden: I think it's a good thing because it has taught me things, like how to be strong and help my mom when my step-dad is away. But then again it's tough when I can't see my dads.
Q: So do either of you have inspirations of joining 
the military as well?

Camden: Yes, I would just like to follow in my dads footsteps. But if my mom has anything to do with it, she won't let me go. She's really over protective of me (laughs).  
Summer Ann: I would like to join so I could help others, but I also want to sing one day. I could be a singing solider! 
Q: Anything else you would want people to know about being in a military family?

Camden: Just that there are never "good-byes", only "see you later". We believe and hold that to us when our dads leave. 
Summer Ann: We also have a comfort doll we put his picture in, and that helps. 


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