June 29, 2015

Summer Days, Sleep-Filled Nights

There’s no better time to make updates to your bedroom than summer.  Changing of the seasons offers new perspective, new weather, and often times, more energy (ahem, sunshine and happiness is the definition of summer, right?!).

And with that energy, I wanted to recommend to you 9 things to do during your summer days to help you get restful sleep at night in your master oasis.  From decor to food, you will be surprised at how some of the smallest things will lead to big dreams and perhaps even an extra hour or two of beauty sleep.  Let’s get this summer sleep party started!

 

1.  Summer is the perfect time to change your bedding.  Whether buying everything new, or just swapping out your sheets, it’s a great time of year to update your bed and change colors and moods without redecorating your whole space.  My vote for color is white and my vote for brand is Parachute.  No question that new, freshly washed bedding (especially bedding that gives back to the world) will help you fall – and stay – asleep.

2.  Did you know that cherries are one of the only foods that contain melatonin (which helps regulate sleep and wake cycles)?  And did you know they are in season?  Add these beauties to your diet (and put in a cute bowl for extra points) during the day to enhance your sleep at night.

3.  It’s summer.  Go to the beach.  With friends.  With your kids.  With yourself.  A little sun (don’t forget the SPF) and swimming will help you ease into the evening for a relaxing night sleep.  (P.S. I want that towel from Parachute!)

4.  Fresh flowers basically make days and nights at home 100 times better. And throwing some in a mason jar or small vase and putting on your nightstand can give your bedroom a luxurious and beautiful feel – almost like an upscale hotel on Central Park West in NYC.  Plus, if Emily Henderson is doing it, so should you.

5.  Journal.  You know that whole thing about writing things down as you think of them?  Sort of a shift from brain to paper.  To decrease stress.  To clear your head in order to fall asleep.  Yeah, it works.  And it’s a bonus when your journal is from Rifle Paper Co. because then it can function as a creative element to your nightstand as well as a mind dump for all those brilliant ideas and thoughts you have. #winwin

6.  Now that it’s summer and the sun is shining and temperatures are mild, getting outside to exercise is a must.  I recommend even a power walk at the end of the day or a 2-3 mile run in the morning to get your blood flowing.  Enter:  endorphins, good moods, bikini bodies and a restful night sleep.

7.  I don’t know about you, but for me, splurging on a gorgeous decor book to read and put on my nightstand is a must-do each season.  It keeps your creativity flowing, creates a new style to your nightstand and gives you something to look forward as you crawl into your new Parachute sheets.  My summer read?  Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home.

8.  In the spirit of decor, the easiest thing to do to update your bedroom for a summer refresh is a throw pillow (or two).  I love the sunshine, pop of color and design this pillow from Parachute brings.

9.  Switching gears and sharing my final recommendation on how your summer days can lead to sleep-filled nights – tea.  Caffeine can keep us up watching HGTV re-runs until 3am (which wouldn’t be the worst thing) so I recommend swapping out that afternoon double espresso with a decaf tea served in this incredibly gorgeous Anthropologie tea cup.

Sweet dreams and happy summer to all!

June 23, 2015

Saying No, Saying Yes

I follow a lot of really remarkable women in the social media space.  Women who write books, who stay at home with their babies, who go to school, who work in corporate America.  And over the last 12-18 months, by pure coincidence – or not – so many of them wrote and blogged and Instagrammed and Tweeted about saying no to say yes to the right thing.  A simple concept, one that I gravitated towards but didn’t fully get it.  Saying no to something gives you space to say yes to something else.  Something better, something more suitable, something that makes more sense in your life, right now.

I took note.  And regrammed quotes and inspirational posts, while in the back of my head thinking “great idea, works for you, wouldn’t work for me…”

And then in Israel, I read a remarkable book called Make It Happen by Lara Casey.  It was a game-changer for me.  I took more notes in that book than I have in quite some time.  Her story. Her truth.  Her transparency.  God’s love, redemption, grace.  Marriage and struggles and pain and career and passions.  Basically I felt like the book was written for me to read at the exact time I needed to read it.  Thank you, Lara.  Thank you, God.

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And recently.  I’ve started implementing the saying no concept.  And I’ve been saying yes to the RIGHT things.  Quality, not quantity.  A yes with gumption.  A no with freedom.  And peace.  You see, this life concept is simple, uber difficult to implement, but worth it.  And just plain great.

And so.  After like 25 years of tension.  Passion.  Desire.  Lack of confidence.  Wanting a perfect plan.  Excuses.  Blah blah blah.  This past weekend I said yes.  Yes to enrolling in Interior Design school.  Not full-time.  Not to get a 4-year degree.  Not with a perfect plan.  Instead, with a “taking one step” plan.  An imperfect plan, but one that had a super-charged yes to back it up.  Steps.  That’s it. Yes!

I am not quitting my job to go to school.  I am not quitting my job to become an interior designer.  I am taking one step.  I’m taking online classes at nights and on the weekends to learn more about interior design.  To pursue a burning love I have, to validate that love and to say yes to something that feels right, right now.

I will have to make sacrifices.  Rick will have to make sacrifices.  But, yes.  Just yes.  And no to other noise and things and temptations and haters.  Yes to something that is an effort, that is hard, that is worth it.

I couldn’t be more excited 😉  And because decisions like this don’t happen in a silo, a giant hug of gratitude goes out first to Rick.  He’s always encouraged me to go to school.  Second, to all my friends (you know who you are) who prayed for me and cheered me on and offered wisdom and words of encouragement.  And last, to God.  Because I’ve been praying a lot about a lot, all the time.  This has been a big part of the aforementioned a lot.  And he made this next step CRYSTAL clear to me this past weekend.  #sayno #sayyes #makeithappen

June 16, 2015

Paper Source Custom Art Prints

This past weekend while working on a fun project that involved scouring the Paper Source website (a favorite leisurely activity), I came across the most adorable AND reasonably priced custom art prints.  They make perfect gifts for babies, for baby showers, first birthdays, toddler bedrooms, tween bedrooms and like 20 other occasions and reasons.  Basically, they’re amazing and would be a great focal point for a gallery wall.  Here are some of my favorites and full list can be found Paper Source custom art prints.  Enjoy!

PaperSource-custom-art-print PaperSource-custom-art-print-2

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June 9, 2015

7 Nursing Essentials

I recently finished my seventh and last month of nursing and honestly, it was awesome.  Like 100 times better and moe amazing than I ever expected.  You are literally nourising a human being.  What?!   Yeah, it’s sort of unreal.  Such a creative blessing God has given women.

But ladies, it’s not always easy.  And I wanted to eat all the time.  And to actually shower and get dressed and wear a normal bra is basically the equivalent of climbing machu picchu.  I am a total awkward breastfeeding lady.  Nursing in public?  Nope.  I can count on one hand how many times I did that.  You see, some women are like nursing ninjas.  They are talented in it.  You know, like, they were born with the gift to nurse and whip the boob out anywhere, gracefully.  Not me.  I guess technically we all have some sort of nursing gift but I fell in the “average” nursing category.  I liked it, it was sometimes hard and I was okay at it.

And at about six months, I new my nursing days were numbered and I was coming down the homestretch of this season with Zoey (sniff, sniff).  It was one of the hardest decisions of my life (more on that later).  In the meantime, while I was nursing, I was willing to buy almost anything to help me along the way.  And I wanted to share these 7  nursing essentials that I would recommend for any pregnant or new mom.  Sources below!

7 nursing essentials

1.  Simple wishes hands free breastpump bra – no joke.  This thing is the greatest invention of all-time and I KNOW, as a working mom, I would have never made it as long as I did without this.  Swear.  So, buy it.  Oh and it’s one size/adjusts with you.  Trust me.  It does.  Again.  Buy it.

2.  Archer Farms Monster trail mix – see aforementioned comment re: eating.  All.  The.  Time.

3.  Camelbak water bottle – oh yeah, and you’re thirsty all. the. time.

4.  The Wonder Weeks App – not just for nursing, this app is a new mom must have.  It’s the only app I’ve used since becoming a mom.

5.  My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow – there are a few different style nursing pillows and I liked this one because you could clip it on/walk around (yes, this happened regularly).  There’s a pocket for, oh, snacks or your phone.  It’s just great

6.  Medela Freestyle Breastpump – hands free, yes please.  #enoughsaid #bestinclass

7.  Gilligan & O’Malley’s nursing henley cami – this is personal but I liked these because they are a great price point, they held the girls in (as much as possible), come in a few colors and are comfortable

May 19, 2015

A Beautiful Mess

I’ve been brewing up this post for quite some time now and wrestled on whether or not I should share.  But, if you know me or have been following me for some time now, I hope you have gathered that I am a pretty transparent person.  And on occasion I share a bit about what’s going on behind the scenes of my life.

Right now, in the midst of this beautiful life comes an equally beautiful mess.  You can find me right in the middle.

I have no graceful or smooth approach to this post.  My head is clogged and jammed and spins a bit out of control, on the reg.  Since becoming a mom and going back to work, I can only explain my life as a cluster.  And after giving this some thought over the past few weeks, I think I can boil it all down to two things.  One, I can’t do it all.  Two, I need God.  On the reg.

You see, having a child is the greatest, most precious amazing heart-tugging incredible thing on the planet.  And working for one of the best hotel companies in the world is pretty frickin’ amazing.  And being married to a funny, God-fearing, loving guy is superb.  And being a blogger is creative and surprising and innovative and adds passion to my life.  And losing baby weight and staying healthy is just a necessity.  And having time with my girlfriends.  Yeah, also a necessity.  Being with God daily?  HUGE necessity.  And serving at our local church is a glorious obligation.  And helping friends with their businesses is beyond rewarding.  And managing a household as a wife, a mom is also rewarding; also a glorious obligation.  And designing rooms and spaces, in pursuit of a giant love that was stamped on my heart when I was just a child?  Yeah, that’s a home run in my life.  And traveling to visit friends, see the world, explore new territory…now we’re talking grand slam territory.  Homemade meals midweek?  Sign me up, I love acting all Julia Child-ish.  Add a few people to that meal for one of my favorite pastimes, dinner parties?  I feel like Babe Ruth in 1921.  BTW, I have no clue where all these baseball analogies are coming from.

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And then I start hitting foul balls.  I swing, I miss.  And then I strike out.  And my head explodes.  My heart follows suit.  And my neck hurts.  And I’m eating chocolate chip cookies to feel good about  my life.  And the second I take the last bite I am pissed at myself because, baby weight.  And I’m doing most things at 70% and minimal things at 100%.  And forget 110%.  The percent at which I functioned prior to being all grown up.  And I’m mad at Rick for not totally understanding me.  And I’m not praying because I don’t want to face God.  And it takes me longer to respond.  And I think about my life.  And the tension.  And me.  And me.  And me.

And now I’ve entered selfishville, the worst city in the entire world.  A world where all my thoughts are focused around my stress, how I can’t do it all, how I’m thankful for everything but awesome at nothing.  And I want awesome.  And my life.  And I only live once.  And I need this.  And I need that.  And I want this.  And all-consuming me thoughts.  Barf.

So, there’s that you guys.  There’s where I am at.  And as I keep asking what’s next?  And what do I do?  It finally hit me, thanks to my husband.  I’ve been throwing these questions at him for some time.  And finally, unexpectedly he answered.  As I anticipated his response to “what is next for me” – I thought for sure he’d say something bold like “quit your job and become a full-time blogger!”  Or “let’s move to the south of France!”  Or “be a stay at home mom!”  Or “try out for HGTV to flip houses!”

My loving, God-fearing, superb husband says this:  “I know what you need to do.  I know exactly what you need to do next.  PrayOh, and be patient.

It’s the most annoying, cliche, brilliant, loving response to my insanity.  So while my head spins and I perform life at 70%, I will be praying.  And it comes as no timing coincidence that I leave this weekend to go to Israel.  By myself.  Ahem, with God.  Begging for a Jesus intervention in the holy land. Praying my face off.  Being thankful for this beautiful mess.  And having hope and confidence because Romans 5: 3-5 and because I’ve been here before.  And God has picked me up.  And has made beautiful things out of the dust.  Out of us.  All of us.

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