That time a miracle happened.

OurTwins-01I’m still speechless. I stare at that photo and I feel like someone photoshopped my face onto that girl. But oh wait… that’s me. That’s Bryan. And that’s my precious B holding two fingers up. Two. One, two. At night after B says his prayers he says… “and thank you, God, for our babies.” Our babies. Back in November of 2013, we gave up on the whole fertility thing. We had a sit-down with our fertility doctor where he told us IVF was our only remaining option – after multiple failed IUIs, years on crazy fertility drugs that made me feel awful and more procedures / scars on my belly than I ever dreamed of having.

We laughed nervously and told him “But we weren’t supposed to get here. We have a child. We’re capable. IVF was so far down the road. How’d we get here.” So we stopped it all. We took a break and enjoyed Christmas. We sold a lot of planners (and shipped a lot of planners). We celebrated Brady’s third birthday. We worked hard at our jobs and found ourselves enjoying being a family of three more than anything in the world. Being JUST the three of us was / is a joy that we didn’t even realize until then. Still, I cried at the idea that our family may never grow. God had opened this piece of my heart that I KNEW was to be filled with another child. I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would open doors and CLOSE doors so that we would know the route to take.

There were many options but none felt like the ONE. Until one night at dinner, Brady asked us who was going to sit in the empty chair. Our little circular wooden table seats four. And he asked why there was always an empty seat. And my heart broke in half and I hid my tears and ate my dinner. And Bryan and I decided to make the scary decision and give IVF one shot. Just one. If it didn’t work, we would celebrate our family of three and be unendingly grateful that we’d been able to have a child together and move on. The scariest part of the whole process was picking up the phone, calling our nurse and telling her that we decided to move forward with IVF and that we were ready.

That was in March. It takes a long time to get all the ducks in a row and all the tests done and everything ready to begin the process. I focused on the National Stationery Show and kept busy to distract myself. Sidenote… we struggled a lot with the decision to do IVF. For a thousand reasons. And for weeks, we said we weren’t going to share our journey at all – just because it is so personal. But when the emotions of it all started to wash over me we both knew that I couldn’t’ keep it a secret. That’s one reason why infertility is so hard. We alienate ourselves. And we become unbearably lonely because we think we are the only ones who have to travel these difficult roads. I hope someone reading this is able to pull this virtual hug out of their computer screen because you are not alone. Not at all. We all stand with you. And we pat you on the back for every step forward you make – no matter WHAT road you choose to grow your family.

We started our cycle on Mother’s Day, I started the injections. The next few weeks were a blur. I gave myself daily injections while in NYC for the Stationery Show (thanks Sarah for being my alarm and keeping me on track). Throughout the process I noticed little coincidences that made me feel like God was showing me we were taking the right steps forward. For instance, my trip to NYC almost cancelled our cycle. But my flight home saved it by less than 8 hours. I flew home at 11pm and I was in my doctor’s office at 7am the next day. Day by day we followed the protocol. I kept my chin up and stayed hopeful (Bryan is ALWAYS hopeful… I tend to be the “prepare for the worst” one in our relationship). My little belly bruised. My calendar was FULL of appointments – most at 7am across town. And my body felt the affects of the TONS of medications. The day before Father’s Day, I started feeling bad. I wasn’t sure what it was but my belly was beginning to swell a little – all part of the process, I assumed. I begged Bryan to get me a pregnancy test. He was very much against me taking one at home and wanted me to wait for my blood test two days later. After a while he gave in and drove to CVS. That night I sent Bryan and Brady into the living room. I took the test and shook as I held it under the bedroom light next to Bryan’s side of the bed. That little stick determined the rest of our lives.

That’s a lot of pressure for one little stick. And just as fast as could be… those two little lines appeared. Pregnant. In an ugly-cry, racing-through-the-house sort of way I ran into the kitchen mumbling and sobbing and scooped up Brady and tossed the stick at Bryan. (Poor thing, he didn’t know whether I was happy or sad). “Yes!! Yes!! Yes!!” I kept saying. I’ll never forget that ugly cry for as long as I live. The next day I started to feel worse. I called my doctor and let her know about my little belly. She said we’d keep an eye on it and asked me to check in with her later that day. But that afternoon I gained 6 lbs and couldn’t eat more than a tiny bit of food. When my kidneys stopped working they pre-admitted me to the hospital and asked me to come in right away. Over the next 48 hours, I gained an additional 14 lbs of fluid (22 total) in my belly. I could barely walk, eat or even sit comfortably. I was diagnosed with severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation. It only occurs in 1-2% of IVF cycles, but wouldn’t you know it… it happened to me.

Essentially my one little ovary got VERY big and my veins started pouring fluid into my abdomen, which made me very dehydrated, totally confused my kidneys and eventually went into my lungs, back, chest and legs. Miserable doesn’t even describe what it felt like. I had a drain installed in my stomach and was drained 4 times for a total of 7 liters during my hospital stay. But… during my first day in the hospital, my HCG blood level was drawn and my pregnancy was confirmed… on Father’s Day. :) Little did I know at the time, but late onset OHSS is a strong indicator of multiples.

Eight days later I was released from the hospital. I was still up 22lbs of fluid but my body had finally stopped adding fluid to the problem. I was able to continue recovering at home. Unfortunately, with pregnancy-triggered late onset OHSS, like I had, the pregnancy hormone (HCG) feeds the problem. So it takes a long time for your belly to go down (I looked about 6 months pregnant). I was put on a (I can’t even type this without cringing at this point) high salt, high protein, all gatorade, no water diet. (Gross). And slowly but surely I started to recover.

My mom and dad and Bryan and my friends here have been just incredible. I’m so grateful. A few weeks ago we received the surprise of our lives when the sonographer confirmed two babies with fluttering little heartbeats. Since then we’ve been shocked, overjoyed, terrified and over the moon.

I knew, knew, knew that painful little infertility fear shaped piece of my heart was being shaped for something big. I just knew it. And now, it all makes sense. The timing, the twins (!?!?), the lessons learned. I don’t even have words anymore. Either that or this UNBELIEVABLE nausea is drawing me away from the computer screen. Thank you friends for supporting me from near and far during our 3 year journey to baby #2…. and #3.

And for those of you reading this who are just a few steps behind me in the process, know this… The tears are ok. Its ok to have bad days. Know also that an incredible plan was put into place long ago and you are in the middle of it. The ending, whatever it may look like, however your family may grow, will be the perfect completion. It may not be easy, but it’ll always be worth it

xo,

Emily – soon to be Mama to 3 under 4 (AHHH!!!!)

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A few thoughts for anyone discovering this googling “late onset Ovarian Hyperstimulation” from their hospital beds miserable and tired of drinking Gatorade:

  • OHSS is miserable for about 1-2 weeks. Buckle down. Walk as much as they’ll let you, when they let you. Eat what you can. Give yourself grace and rest.
  • OHSS is still affecting me (my belly is still quite big) at 10 weeks pregnant. Doc says it’ll be a few more weeks before my one ovary (I only have one) goes down. It’s the size of my head right now. That’s crazy. It’s big, but I have no other symptoms at this point. At 6.5 weeks things started improving drastically.
  • There’s not a lot of info about OHSS online. And my nurses didn’t know much about it in the hospital. Late onset is rare but not bad. Don’t be scared, just be honest about how you feel and do what you can to feel better.
  • I went straight from OHSS into the worst nausea I’ve ever had in my life (and I had it BAD with my first pregnancy with my son). Keep reminding yourself of the happy things. Don’t focus on what’s uncomfortable or you will drown. Seriously. I still haven’t processed the gravity of what I was hospitalized with. Let people help you.

A few thoughts on IVF for anyone considering it:

  • IVF is not for the faint of heart. But thank goodness for it. After much prayer, it was clearly the right move for us. Do I regret it after OHSS? No way. I had incredible doctors and nurses and just happened to be one of the 1-2% that got it. BUT, I was also one of the 55% IVF works for on the first round. I’m forever thankful.
  • Should I do IVF? I can’t answer that. :) It’s such a personal decision. And one that I really feel like needs to be prayed over, thought through, talked about very carefully with your family. There are SO many noble options for growing your family. And I can name SO MANY women who have seen their infertility circle drawn to a close through all of them. Beautifully. And so happy. Consider everything.
  • Was IVF painful? Expensive? It’s different for everyone. Needles puncturing your skin never feel good :) But they didn’t hurt too bad. I gave them to myself. The other procedures were relatively painless. Expensive – worth it.
  • Did you transfer two embryos? We did at our doctor’s recommendation. We had a 15% chance of having twins. And wouldn’t you know… I’m just winning all the games with this! I should go buy a lottery ticket…
  • Did you keep IVF a secret from Brady? Nope. We’re a pretty open family. He wanted to watch me give myself shots every day. He knew we were visiting a doctor to help get mommy’s belly ready for a baby. :)

To our sweet babies, Sweet little ones. We’ve loved you for a thousand years. And every hour has come to this. Every appointment. Every tear. Every worry. We never dreamed God would meet our worries here in this space with the two, sweet, perfect, tiny two of you. We can’t wait to hold you in our arms and kiss your “squishy faces” (as your big brother, Brady says). With all of our hearts, Mommy, Daddy & Brady

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Summer Launch!

HIP HIP HOORAY! It’s here, it’s here! Happy Summer Launch Day! Go HERE to shop the new collection!

xo,

Emily

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The National Stationery Show

Whew! I feel like I’m still recovering from our week in NYC. Gina, Sarah and I made the trip to New York for our debut at the National Stationery Show. We are SO over the moon about the experience. We learned so much, met a ton of great retailers (MANY of whom will be carrying our line very soon!) and took home the Best New Product award in the Desktop category! Here are a few (ok, a lot) pics from my iPhone and from Ruthie Eileen who was there shooting for Southern Weddings with Nicole Yang (their full recap of NSS will be up soon!) The Javits – where NSS is held every year – has super strange lighting. Ruthie’s are all the pretty images. My iPhone shot all the rest, haha! We arrived to blank white walls (and a gorgeous white floor) and a pile of boxes… two days later our little home away from home was complete! It was a ton of work getting ready (and getting it all there) but I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.

Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-13 We arrived to find a GIANT crate blocking the entrance to our booth. No big deal. We’ll just climb over, use it as a table and cover it with duck tape and junk food (we were all STARVING and that’s wall there was!) Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-14 Little by little, it came together. I actually designed this (to scale) in Illustrator before we set it all up (to know measurements for the builders, number of shelves we needed, how our products would fit, everything else I needed to buy and duh… to make sure it was pretty!!) Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 3.06.32 PM Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-02Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-03Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-01 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-04 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-05 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-06 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-07 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-08 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-09 Yep, this happened. I burst into tears, naturally. We were surprised with our Best New Product (Desktop) award for the 2015 Simplified Planner!Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-11Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-15 Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-12 The ever beautiful and very pregnant, Michelle Edgemont, who rocked the floral in our booth. I almost died when I laid eyes on those beauties. My peony-loving heart exploded.Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-16 And then there’s Gina and Sarah – my right hand gals. I’m so grateful for them and couldn’t have done a lick of this without them. G and S, thanks for the champagne, the laughs, the junk food lunches in our booth behind the table, jumping up and down with me every time someone left the booth and supporting me through this. I love you both.Emily-Ley-National-Stationery-Show-2014-10 Our shop will be launching all these beautiful products in about two weeks (more firm date / time to be announced soon) and we’ll be posting a list of ALL of our new retailers in our shop too!

We also had the super fun opportunity to talk with Mindy Lockard (@TheGraciousGirl) and Stationery Trends for a #KenroCam interview!

Thanks again everyone who came by! Til next year, NYC! xo, Emily

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The 2015 Simplified Planners!

Emily-Ley-Simplified-Planner-2015-CoversHooray!!! Our secret’s out! Our 2015 Simplified Planner® has THREE beautiful covers to choose from! Our signature happy stripe, pink key and navy dot.

These will be available for sale on Wednesday, September 3 at 10am EST in our shop. We aren’t offering a pre-order this year BUT all orders are GUARANTEED to ship the NEXT business day (HOORAY!!!)Scroll to the bottom of this post for a little video with all the details!

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Thanks everyone for your love and support! We’re thrilled about these beauties and can’t wait to get them in your hands! Now, we’re off to pack for the National Stationery Show this weekend! Come visit in Booth #2927 if you’re in NYC! And follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes pics from our trip! :)

xo,

Emily

The 2015 Simplified Planner from Emily Ley on Vimeo.

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Simplicity with McKay Pittman

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GUYS! Yay! Meet one of my closest friends, McKay. McKay and I met because our hubbies used to work together. Our boys are best friends (seriously, go look at the hashtag #BeckettAndBrady on Instagram. You’ll cry as hard as I do when I look at it… they’ve been best buddies since birth!) and just six months apart. It’s so great having a creative entrepreneurial momma of a boy toddler friend just miles from my house. Ladies and (a few) gentlemen…. meet McKay! xo, Emily

Hi there! My name is McKay and I’m a wife, mama and CEO of Oatmeal Lace and the Pittman Household in sunny Tampa, Florida. I studied Hospitality Administration at FSU and started out my career managing restaurants for Vail Resorts. Seriously, I would’ve called you crazy if you’d told me five years ago that I’d own my own business, especially one in a creative field! I am so grateful that I stumbled onto this path – my days are spent sourcing textiles (so fun for me) and creating custom bags and accessories for lovely people all over the world, some of whom I’m honored to now call friends.

Simplicity_BlogTemplate-01BOB STROLLER: My workhorse. This stroller has literally been the best purchase we made since we found out we were expecting a baby.  I’ve used it since day one and still use it almost daily now with my 2.5 year old.  If you do any sort of running or walk off pavement it is awesome and can handle pretty much anything. It turns on a dime with one hand and if you are a mom, you know how many times you need that extra hand for something! Also, if you’re ever in the airport, running late for a connecting flight with luggage and a crying baby by yourself, you can hold the baby in one arm and shove your carry on, purse, etc. into the stroller to sprint to your gate…this has happened to me twice now.

LIBRARY CARD: I have always LOVED to read- I distinctly remember bringing home 15-20 books at a time on our weekly library trips as a kid. Now I’m lucky if I can read two sentences before falling asleep at bedtime and sadly, leisurely weekends spent reading don’t exist with a toddler. The solution?  Audiobooks! I utilize the library’s online system to add books I’m interested in to my queue and as soon as they arrive I get a notification and can swing by to pick them up. I love that I can listen to my favorite authors while sewing and cutting fabric and it makes our frequent trips to Tallahassee fly by when we’re in the car.

OLD NAVY FLIP FLOPS: best invention ever for little kids. These have made my daily chore of dressing Beckett much easier.  Trying to put socks and shoes on a wiggly toddler can be next to impossible some days- these slip on easily and stay on. Bonus: for $5 you can get two pair! Thank you Florida weather!

POLAR LOOP/HEART RATE MONITOR:  Exercise keeps me sane. Goals keep me going. The Loop is a fitness band (similar to Nike Fuel, Fit Bit, etc) that can synch to your heart rate monitor and with a light touch will show an accurate read out of steps, activity, calories burned and how close you are to your fitness goal at any point during the day. I like being held accountable to how much activity I really am getting- especially since the majority of my day is spent sitting in front of a sewing machine or computer.  It gives me the motivation to do that extra loop around the neighborhood with Beck if I’m almost to my goal, or helps me feel less guilty about the sleeve of girl scout cookies I ate if I already exceeded it earlier in the day…

GOODY SLIDE PROOF HEADBAND: I have long, fine hair that starts to look greasy way too quickly after I take a shower! Combine that with being a terrible hair stylist and you’ll understand why 95% of the time it is up in a ponytail.  Thanks to post pregnancy hair loss (and my stellar brushing skills) I have lots of wispy, shorter pieces that don’t quite make the ponytail.  These headbands keep them out of my eyes and are the first ones I’ve found that actually stay on my head without sliding off, even through a workout. Hooray!

BEDTIME: Not gonna lie, sometimes getting my child to get ready for bed is super stressful and I am counting the minutes until he is asleep and I am finally relaxing on the couch.  That being said, my mindset going into this part of the day versus how I feel coming out are usually completely different.  No matter how my day went, or our evening has gone, bedtime is a constant.  We say our prayers as a family, Beckett picks out books to read and we settle into our rocking chair. After reading, we rock, sing songs and have ‘quiet time’ before I put him in bed to fall asleep. I love that I get these few precious minutes to just hold him and feel his little body laying against me.  It’s been this way since he was born and I know the time is quickly approaching where he won’t need or want me to rock him before bed (SOB!!!).

Follow along with McKay:

Website: www.oatmeallace.com

Instagram: @oatmeallace

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THE SIMPLICITY SERIES features busy gals, in different stages of life, making what matters happen and tips and tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Simplicity is about building margin into your life and spending time on and with that which fuels your heart. While we love to share products and services that help us day to day, but simplicity is about HEART and intentionally choosing the thing that matters most (your TREASURE) more than anything money can buy. We wear many hats and we know you do too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well! 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

 

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Meet the Home Base Binder!

For years, we’ve dreamed of a binder system to serve as home base for all of life’s little papers, notes and big plans. We’ve finally perfected our system, after a few awesome years, and have given it a new name.  Meet the  Home Base Binder™.

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A few details about the binder itself:

  • Size: 11 x 11.5″
  • Features a sleek white dotted cover (with gold foil detailing)
  • Navy blue liner
  • NEW super strong front pocket!

2013 Shay Cochrane

Each Home Base Binder comes with a kit of 82 pages (printed on luxe art paper) and 6 gold foil detailed dividers ready to be completed and put to great use. Inside your Home Base Binder, you’ll find:

  • Section 1: Family - Perpetual calendar, Emergency information
  • Section 2: Contacts - Home & repair contacts, Family & friends contacts
  • Section 3: Projects - Planning pages (12 – one for each month)
  • Section 4: Meal Plan - Weekly meal planning / grocery shopping pages (52 – one for each week of the year)
  • Section 5: Finances - Monthly spending plan pages (12 – one for each month)
  • Section 6: Heart - Family bucket list

2013 Shay Cochrane

The Simplified Home Base Binder AND the Refill Kit (all the pages and dividers will be available as one big retail kit for those of you with our “vintage” binders!) will be in the Shop this summer! Here’s a little clip for you with all the details! :)

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram to be the first to know when our Summer Collection LAUNCHES!

ALSO!!! Congratulations to Emily Ramstetter – our winner of the Kenroy Home giveaway last week!!!!

xo,

Emily

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Pensacola Strong Fundraiser Update

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This incredible fundraiser has turned into something so much larger than I expected. And I am so grateful. Thank you for blessing these Pensacola families while they rebuild and recover from the terrible floods that ravaged the city on April 29, 2014. Pensacola is near and dear to my heart as my entire family lives there (they are all safe, thank goodness).

You can read the launch post for this fundraiser here for background, more details and photos of the devastating damage. In short, my family and I huddled together in my parent’s master closet in 2004 while a tornado took half the roof and ceiling off of our home. The next morning, we walked into my brothers room and saw four walls… and sky. What was left of the roof and ceiling had collapsed onto my brother’s bed and broken it in half. It was the first time I saw my Dad cry (many of you know him as Pop Pop). Hurricane Ivan was the worst thing that’d ever happen to that sweet city, until April 29, 2014. I’ve heard this storm was much worse. Though I’m 500 miles away in Tampa now, I can only imagine what the city is going through as it rebuilds – the broken hearts, the broken houses and the lost memories and treasures that floated away with 26″ of water (that fell in 24 short hours).

Over the past few days, I’ve heard story after story of families – many with children – who hid in plant ledges 12 feet above the ground the escape the rising water. Many were rescued by boats (on second and third attempts after boats capsized in the rushing waters). Many lost everything. I earned a Masters Degree in nonprofit management and have always had a burning little fire to SEE A NEED and MEET IT DIRECTLY rather than give to larger nonprofit organizations (even though those do a WEALTH of good as well). It’s just so incredible to be able to pool money together from generous and loving individuals and put 100% of it in the hands of someone who is desperately in need of it. You all have done exactly that the past 24 hours. There are two special ways to give:

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Since yesterday afternoon, we’ve raised over $2,000 through our Pensacola Strong and You Are My Sunshine printable art print sales (with your gift of $10 a print-ready file will be instantly emailed to you to print at home, cut on the crop lines included and frame in an 8×10 frame). That money has been split into $200 increments and will be gifted to families in Pensacola in the form of American Express gift cards to be used for necessities as they rebuild.

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Equally as incredible is the amount of support for our newly established Pensacola Blessings Fund. Many of you asked how you could donate specifically to bless individuals who are hurting – to bring a bit of joy to their lives in this difficult time. So late last night we started this fund. It’s very simple – you give any amount you can and we pool it together to purchase bedtime books for children, new shoes for moms and dads clearing homes of waterlogged furniture, hot meals for neighbors giving their time to help tear down damaged walls and even favorite toy replacements (like as our first blessing – the Saige American Girl Doll we purchased last night for a little girl who lost her home and her favorite doll — the way this came about was incredible. I posted on our FB page looking for any AG doll for this sweet girl… within 45 minutes we had enough money to buy a brand new replacement doll plus 3 additional AG dolls, AG doll clothes and handmade personalized birthday crowns for this sweet girl AND her doll).

Your monetary donations go a long way in helping us deliver these little blessings. If you are interested in donating goods or other items, here are a few immediate needs. Please email me directly if you’d like to send any of these goods or can even donate gift certificates to places where we can purchase these directly once we know sizes, etc. I will collect them and deliver these little happies to the families:

  • NEW SHOES: A sweet family who is in need of new shoes – a family of four, Mom, Dad, little girl, little boy
  • ACCESSORIES: A little girl who is 13 and lost her home and loves jewelry and accessories (headbands, necklaces, bracelets, etc).
  • NEW BOXES OF LEGOS: A little boy who is 7 who LOVES legos (this will be part of our second blessing – we’ll be purchasing a few today).

Please note as much as we would love to accept other physical donations (clothes, shoes, toys, etc) these families have no homes or storage. Many are staying with friends or family and have little space just for the necessities. I realize accessories and legos aren’t necessarily necessities but imagine the little bit of joy they’ll bring to these difficult days for these sweet families. Sometimes a little bit of happiness is great medicine for an aching heart. Many thanks, friends. From the bottom of my hearts. Together we can make such a difference. Even though we are all over the world, we each know the love and connection we have to that place that just feels like home. Thank you for helping me support mine.

xo,

Emily

 

 

 

 

 

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Pensacola Strong

UPDATE: Many of you have asked if you can simply donate toward the purchase of these gift cards and other incidentals that we might be able to bless people with. All proceeds from the prints will go toward gift cards for families who are rebuilding. All funds raised through this donations link will go towards specific blessing opportunities that might arise – for instance, we just learned of a little girl who lost her home… and her sweet American Girl doll… we’re trying to raise enough money to purchase her doll for her. I’ll keep this updated with other blessings we’re able to do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xo, Emily // DONATE HERE to our blessing fund




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I stayed awake until 2am on April 29. My dad was driving home in what was perhaps the worst storm Pensacola has ever seen. I couldn’t even close my eyes until I knew he’d made it through the water. He told me last night that he had water coming into the doors of his truck.  I’m from that sweet town – born and raised. And I cry every so often because I want to move home so badly. I love that city. When Hurricane Ivan devastated our town back in 2004, I saw neighbors come together, churches open their doors and friends made under broken power lines. It was incredible. And Pensacola is doing the same thing right now. The photos are horrendous. My family is safe, thank God. But many of our friends lost homes, furniture, clothes, photos, memories. Everything. God planted a wildly growing seed in my heart back when I earned my master’s degree in nonprofit management to SEE A NEED and MEET IT.

So here we are. I’ve designed two printable art prints – one reading PENSACOLA STRONG and one reading, appropriately, YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE. They are each $10 and will be delivered to you as an instant download to print, cut (crop marks are included) and frame at home. Even if you don’t need the print – the purchase would make a huge difference for someone. PURCHASE YOURS HERE AND SUPPORT FAMILIES IN PENSACOLA.

Every penny will be used to purchase gift cards to send up to Pensacola to families in need. Please share and consider helping. Below are photos of my sweet hometown.

xo,

Emily

images from PNJ.com

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Home Tour, Part II + a giveaway from Kenroy Home!

EmilyLey_Home-02 Last week, Southern Weddings featured my little family and home as part of their new (awesome!) Southern Newlywed series! (Shay Cochrane took some amazing photos of us in our space!) We’ll be married six years on October 18th. Six of the most incredible, difficult, amazing, heart-filling, growth-filled, tear-filled, love-filled years of my life. I’m excited to continue the home and family tour here on my blog and answer some of the questions you’ve asked on Instagram, Facebook and on the SW post.

I’m going to try and link to sources for everything I can think of below each photo… if you have more questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll try and find sources for you!

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Bryan lived in our home in Tampa, Florida before we got married. In fact, we dated long distance for 8 months before he proposed and I moved down right before our wedding in 2008. Our house was built 20 years ago. Bryan says when he bought it – it had plaid wallpaper in the kitchen and yellow walls. In 2008, “dark brown” was the style so we painted our kitchen espresso brown. Yikes.

 Sumner table and Wynn chairs and Manchester barstools from Pottery Barn.

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hemnes entertainment center (I painted the knobs gold), speakeasy table tray //coffee table books: Kate Spade and Perfectly Imperfect Home // faux hydrangeas // propeller - ebay // coffee table – craigslist // white floor lamp from Target

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Restoration Hardware chairs // Blanket basket – Love these. We have them all over our house to corral stuff. Tourance Blankets from OKL on the backs of the chairs – I’m obsessed with these.

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That whole dark color thing wore off quickly and in 2010 – 2011 I spent months changing our tan / brown house into a bright, white, personable and comfortable home. We decided before we ever started really decorating our home that we would splurge on good quality lasting furniture pieces and save on decor, pillows, etc. The brown chairs are from Restoration Hardware and the couch is Martha Stewart for Macy’s. BUT the turquoise table is a spray painted table from Target, the coffee table is our prized possession that Bryan found on Craigslist for $200 (!!!) made of real barndwood, our entertainment center is Ikea and that propeller on the wall is from Ebay ($150 or so – a Christmas gift for Bryan one year… it’s a replica but we also have a [not shown] real boat propeller that we’ll hang one day).

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The Family Rules Canvas was done by the incredible Lindsay Letters. She lettered our ACTUAL family rules (See Brady reciting them here. Hysterical). And… big news… it’ll be available as a two-tone gold foil print in our shop THIS WEEK!

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We painted all the walls except Brady’s room and our bedroom Conservative Gray from Sherwin Williams. It’s amazing, by the way, what all new doorknobs and hinges will do to your home. And I spray painted a bunch of our old silver hardware gold.

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We remodeled our kitchen totally (see the before and after here), painted all the walls and baseboards (twenty years can do some damage to baseboards), removed vertical blinds (yuck) and tore down crazy box-shaped window treatments to bring as MUCH light as possible into the space. WHAT A DIFFERENCE those few inexpensive changes (well, minus the kitchen remodel) made. I’m still finding small (FREE!) things we can do to our home to make it more comfortable and fill it with more light.

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One of my favorite things that we did to our kitchen was turned a sit-in desk and overall mail-drop area into a wine bar. Brady was really little when we remodeled our kitchen and this was our attempt to create date nights at home! After a trip to Sonoma in 2012, we LOVE trying new wines and love having this special space in our kitchen.

You’re Looking Particularly Good Today print // copper cups

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Other than all the “bring more light” into our home changes we’ve done two additional things: 1) swapped our “junk” and meaningless STUFF for mementos that mean something to us and bring back memories (our favorite places are Home Goods and One Kings Lane) and 2) organized our home in ways that makes SENSE.

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For instance: it makes no sense to hang our backpacks / purses / jackets in the hallway near our kitchen where we’ve had them forever, so we put three hooks near our front door (initials: B, E, B from Anthropologie) and replaced our big rack with a gorgeous Kenroy Home Gilbert mirror (read to the end to find out how to WIN a Kenroy Home Gilbert mirror!!) and Target key rack (painted the hooks gold!)

 Kenroy Home mirror  // growth chart from pop pop :) // table // chairs

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One of the BEST things we ever did was turned an odd little cubby / wet bar area into a toy storage space. My dad built white shelves above two white cabinets and I purchased some clear / colorful bins from Target. I went to work with my label maker and a few hours later most of Brady’s toys were up off the floor and organized by activity into these bins. A few of the names on the bins so you can understand how we set this up: cars, animals, pretend (for funny hats and pretend doctor tools), play-dough, trains, arts and crafts (thats that big one on the bottom). Brady’s favorite toys and legos are in his room but when he wants a box to play with, he asks us for it (sometimes we hold him up and let him see [easy because the bins are clear-ish]) and we get it down. He knows he has to clean up one box before he can get a new box down. I love this system because it keeps my house remotely tidy and it allows Brady to play with one set of toys at a time. When he’s done with his trains, he’ll get out his play-dough, etc. Speaking of B’s room, let’s hop over there… 

canvas by Lindsay Letters

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madras bedding // animal prints 

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I love this toy storage system from Target. We sorted all Brady’s legos into these and I labelled them with Martha Stewart gold press-on label holders (from Staples). They’re organized by set (though they never stay that way) and the top ones are generic legos organized by color. B loves to sort them (he’s his mama’s child haha).

toy organizer

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Our front room is an odd space. This whole “two living room” layout is strange to me. A lot of homes built in the 90′s seem to have this. This is what we call our “formal living room.” It’s a  place for Brady to have quiet time and watch Frozen for the eight billionth time or for me to read a book. Truth be told that custom Ikat chair (from Haverty’s) is the time-out-chair. :)

couch // custom chair from haverty’s // paintings from home goods // pillows // rug

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I tend to spray paint a lot of things, by the way: our front entryway table and all the knobs on our Ikea entertainment center to name a few. My favorite spray paint is Valspar.

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I adore our bedroom but I’m really itching to paint this space WHITE. Maybe one day.

white dresser // duvet // mirror

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And last but not least, welcome to my little office! I’ve worked here since day one and will work here until we move one day. It’s 10 x 10 – quite small. When we used to ship from our house my business bled into the dining room but now it’s just me in this little room. I love it really. Brady comes in and draws on my big white Ikea mirror with dry erase markers. I have plenty of space to ship small packages if necessary and table space for any projects that need to get taken care of. My desk faces to Home Goods chairs (such a great find!) and it just feels so comfortable in here now.

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There’s a new product sneak peek up next to those big YAY letters! :)

pink striped bins // white chair (I lucked out — mine’s from home goods)

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Thanks for stopping by my house!!

EmilyLey-03And now… Kenroy Home is giving one lucky reader a gorgeous GILBERT mirror like the one you see hanging in my hallway! There are a few ways to enter and you can enter as many times as you’d like:

  • “Like” Kenroy Home on Facebook and leave a note here letting us know you did so.
  • Follow @KenroyHome on Instagram. Be sure and leave a note here to let us know you did.
  • Head over to Pinterest and follow Kenroy Home! Leave a note here of course, letting us know. Be sure and check out this gorgeous board. I’m so inspired to start redecorating our bedroom now!

Giveaway ends on Tuesday, May 6 at midnight EST. We’ll choose one random winner on Wednesday, May 7!

xo,

Emily

PS: Thank you SO much to the fabulous Shay Cochrane for taking these images of our home!!

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Busy as bees – some exciting news!

Whew! We’re busy as bees over here preparing for LOTS of good things to come!!

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We are SO EXCITED about our 2015 Simplified Planner® and will be OFFICIALLY revealing the covers and all the details about them on Wednesday, May 14. You are going to love the new covers and we’ve tweaked a few things about the way they’re made as well as the inside pages! :)

AND… answer to the question you’ve ALL been asking… the 2015 Simplified Planner® will be ON SALE (no pre-order this time, just ON SALE!) on Wednesday, September 3 at EmilyLey.com. SAVE THE DATE!

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I’m THRILLED to share that I’ll be speaking at Amber Housley Inspired in Nashville in September! Amber and I are dear friends through our work with Making Things Happen. She’s such an inspiring mama / entrepreneur and has really created an intimate and incredibly enriching experience for the 30 people who will be joining us. I’ll be speaking on “Small is the new Big.” Big business, enormous overhead, 80 hour work weeks and living in a constant state of overwhelm are so yesterday. With specific boundaries, well defined end-goals and smarter-not-harder systems in place, small brands like yours are racing to the top — all while allowing business women to live their lives to the fullest.

And some more exciting news… you can save $200 off registration by using the code above (EMILYLEY) at checkout! The code is good through June 30 but tickets are nearly sold out and are expected to be gone by the end of this week. Learn more about Inspired, a one of a kind business and lifestyle summit for creative women entrepreneurs here.

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Our second Playbook Webinar was a great success – well, minus a few technical hiccups, but grace not perfection, right friends!? The recording (hiccups included!) is for sale here. Playbook 1 is also for sale here.

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We’ll be debuting in our own booth for the first time at the National Stationery Show in NYC May 18-21! If you’re at the show, we’d love for you to stop by and see our new collection! We’ll be in Booth #2927! We’re knee (or neck!?) deep in preparations right now and are so excited for the way its coming together. We’re exhausted… but excited! Follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes sneak peeks and photos from our trip to the Big Apple!

Whew! I need a nap just thinking through all this! Happy Monday, friends!

xo,

Emily

 

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