SIMPLICITY: Mandy Volpe

Simplicity_Graphic_ VOLPE-01Our love story began in college one summer when I interned at Georgia Tech where Conner was going to school and working. We believe in a marriage rooted in love and focused on Jesus. Marriage is hard work and messy, but we are learning how you grow closer together when your focus is on God first. We don’t have all the answers and nine times out of ten we fail. However we know that love never fails and when we focus on that, we can’t fail either. We love traveling, home projects, throwing celebrations, focusing on a healthy lifestyle, and play time with our fur baby, Brinkley. That makes us a family of three for the time being :)

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?

I kick off the day with some quiet time with my main man JC. It gives me time to focus on the day, journal my prayers, and read some truth before emerging myself into the world of marketing.

As for physically, we have been on a journey for the past year 1/2 to transform our lives into a healthier lifestyle. We have collectively lost over 175lbs through monitoring what we are putting in to our bodies, working out, and having active dates rather than just a movie with popcorn. It hasn’t been easy but to see the transformation of how we are stronger and have more energy is absolutely amazing. It proves that with a little will power and perseverance you can accomplish your goals.

In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?

We try to keep everything “in the cloud”. We both share a drop box account to share files and pictures easily. We also use google docs for meal planning/figuring out what needs to be restocked/what activities will have us away from the home for the meal. As for laundry, we both do our own because we like it done a certain way and wanted to avoid the fight that came with the expectations surrounding folding/shrinking/color-washing that comes from mysterious clothing with multiple parts. granted, if there is something that needs to be washed for Conner, he has to ask for the help, otherwise it is left to him to get it done. Our motto: “You wear it, you wash it”.

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What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why?

We have two and funny enough they both are about food. Ha! 1) Dinner around the table every.single.night. This is where we pray together, catch up on the day, game plan for the next day, and talk through things that need to be helped around the house. 2) The second tradition we have is what we call our “Post travel breakfasts”. (Southern Weddings actually featured a photo shoot from one of our breakfasts a few months ago). My husband travels alot so it gives us time to go get some bacon and eggs the morning after he returns. When he is out of town, it makes it difficult to talk as much as we do when we are both working from home, so these PTB keep us connected and help us to recharge after being away from each other.

Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely not live without?
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1. Google Calendar: We have joint access to a family calendar via Google. We both must put any travel/activities into the calendar that will affect each other. Basically anything that draws us away from the house for an extended period of time or a meal period..gets put into the calendar. Also special events or celebrations go in the calendar, too.

2. Brinkley Diaper Bag- I got a Thirty One make-up bag embroidered with our dogs name (yeah I am that person. ha!) The bag is the perfect size for carrying his food, harness, scoop for meals, and leash for when we need to drop him off at the grandparents house or the vet.

3. My Fitness Pal App: We use this to track all of our food and exercise. It has helped us stay accountable in our healthier lifestyle change.

4. Google Doc Grocery List: I got tired of the question of “What’s for dinner”, or the complaint that the paper list was never with me when I went to the store. Now the google doc has Sunday-Saturday listed out for Dinners and is a place for us to both look quickly to figure out what is on the meal plan for the night so that either of us can easily pitch in to make it. Also, the same document keeps a running total of items needing to be picked up from the store so that we only have to go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons. 

5. Tervis Tumbler: I have a shelf for just my tervis cups. They are insulated and keep everything the appropriate temperature. It also helps me to stay hydrated with fewer trips to the fridge to fill up. I work from home so there is the temptation to just hang out in the kitchen all day and eat snacks. By having the 24oz tervis cup, I can fill up a couple times in the morning and afternoon with fewer trips to the kitchen. This cuts down on the random need to snack when visiting the kitchen for more water. 

6. I have a horrible memory. But I want to love on people and remember the tiniest details of their lives. I utilize the “notes” function under people who are listed as contacts in my phone. Random things like what types of pizza they like or their kids names helps refresh my memory.

 

Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together?

I love to use Pinterest for new ideas on outfits and food. I tend to get in a rut so going on that site and actually doing what I pin is vital. I also love party planning so on my phone you will find a running list of event ideas for the next celebration. I love on people through party planning so I am always trying to come up with outside of the box ideas to make people feel special, not like it is an obligation to celebrate them.

Follow along with Mandy:

Blog: http://mandyandconner.com

Instagram: @volpemandy

 

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

We want to know how you intentionally create joy in your life as well as the ways you make your busy life simpler. Submit your story here.

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SIMPLICITY: Amanda Rosen

Simplicity_Graphic Template-01I live in Independence, Ky, which is a few minutes south of Cincinnati, Oh. I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur, but just this year I’ve taken the plunge to work on my heart’s dream full time, from home. That dream is writing (on my blog) on the topics I’m passionate about and growing my shop of knitted goods (I sell things I knit, and am branching out into creating patterns). My family is small and is made up of my husband, Alex, and our sweet little two-year-old, Ezra, plus a cat (Caspian) and a dog (Aslan).

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?

Taking time for myself is a big part of ensuring I’m physically and mentally prepared to be my best self. Knitting plays a huge part of that; it’s my mental down time as well as my inspiration. I’ve gotten into hot yoga recently, too, and I can’t believe how alive it makes me feel. But, above all, the most important piece of my health – and this goes for physical and mental – is continuous time spent with Jesus, through prayer, music and study. It sounds silly to say that helps me physically, but it’s true. Just having that emotional and mental connection relaxes me physically better than anything I could do myself.

In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?

Meal planning and grocery shopping are two things that go hand-in-hand in our house. It starts on Sunday when I put together our meal plan. I’ve learned that, for me, if I’m choosing recipes that are different and exciting, I’m much more likely to stick with the plan so I always check out Pinterest to see what I can find. After that, I write down the ingredients I don’t have from every recipe I’m using in my kitchen journal. Where we live, Kroger is one of the main grocery stores, and it’s where we primarily shop so we can get fuel points to put toward the cost of gas. So, once I know what ingredients I’m missing (plus whatever other incidentals I need to replace from the previous week), I check Kroger’s weekly ad and digital coupons, and I also go through the weekly coupon inserts and match as many of the manufacturer and digital coupons as I can to what’s on my list – and I match what’s on my list, as best as I can, to what’s on the weekly ad. 

The fun part happens on Tuesdays when Ezra – my official grocery shopping assistant – and I head out to the store. He picks out his favorite car cart (Kroger has shopping carts in the shape of cars) and off we go. I organize my list and coupons in order of how the store is organized so I’m not scrambling while we’re there. The moment of truth is always at the checkout; sometimes, to avoid the element of surprise, I will keep a running total on my phone’s calculator. 

Ezra’s favorite thing – apart from the car cart! – about our grocery trips is helping to get ingredients from the shelves and picking out the fruit we’ll snack on throughout the week. And my favorite thing is spending time with him and, hopefully, showing him that it’s fun to plan our meals, it’s fun to gather up coupons and play the savings game, and it’s fun to bring it all home and see the recipes come to life. Meal planning and grocery shopping – though definitely mundane – is my favorite little routine we have in our family.

kitchenlivingroomcombo What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why?

Our life tends to center around our combined kitchen and living room area, and our evening routine that unfolds around there is really important to our family. In the evening, everyone is home and the stress of the day is gone. We’re all at the same place, at the same time, and we relax around the table for a meal. When we’re done and everything is all cleaned up, we play in the living room until it’s Ezra bedtime. Once he’s in bed, the routine centers around Alex and I – that time we spend together, even if it’s just watching television, is so important. Our lives are busy, but I know every evening, the pace changes and slows down and I appreciate it so much.

Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely not live without?

Simplicity_BlogTemplate1. Macbook Pro – the majority of my work is done online, so I definitely can’t live without my Mac!

2. Planner & Powersheets – Right now, I have planner pages slipped into my Simplified Life Binder (I never was able to nab up a Simplicity Planner – Looking forward to September!) and my Powersheets are housed there, too. These pages are extremely important in my day-to-day life and help keep things on track with my work – professionally and at home.

3. Clarisonic – This little gadget is one of my favorite parts of my night. I wash my face with it every night, right before bed, and it’s so refreshing!

4. Yarn bag – Knitting is such a huge part of my life, and I could not live without my yarn bag. It’s full of projects for my shop, for my son and (sometimes!) for me.

5. Bunn My Cafe coffee maker – This little guy came into my life when I broke our Keurig. It has a few different attachments that let you brew anything from a k-cup, to loose ground coffee, to tea bags, to just plain hot water. It’s probably my favorite kitchen gadget ever.

6. Norwex Enviro Cloths – I didn’t really believe the hype, but these are the real deal. I can usually clean things up with just water + an enviro cloth, and you can’t get much more environmentally friendly and kid safe than that.

Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together?

My biggest tip is to constantly re-evaluate, in order to keep your routines and systems fresh and always relevant to your life. When something stops working, don’t give up – just re-think it. Sometimes a simple little tweak can make the biggest difference.

Follow along with Amanda:

Blog: http://charminglymodern.com

Instagram: @moxiemanda

 

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

We want to know how you intentionally create joy in your life as well as the ways you make your busy life simpler. Submit your story here.

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SIMPLE FAVORITES: MINTED + A GIVEAWAY!

Minted-FoilCardFormatsI’ve always felt like, because I’m a designer, I have to pull all the stops when it comes to my own family’s invitations, announcements, holiday cards, etc. But last Christmas, instead of banging my head against my desk trying to create something I was entirely too close to, I went to Minted.com and let them work their magic on our Christmas cards.

You may have been able to hear me squeal from Tampa when I realized Minted will print your addresses on your envelopes for you… FOR FREE (<— seriously!). All you have to do is upload them and viola! (Plus, they’re saved forever). Make my life easier and you win my heart forever. Now Minted and I are BFF. (“A Wonderful Life” foil pressed design for Minted by b.wise papers, Photo by Turquoise & Palm)

Minted-RoseGold I also had the JOY of meeting some of their team and their artists at the National Stationery Show this past May. They’re just good people over there.  But not only are all their designs incredible – they offer the coolest services to just make life easier. I seriously think it took me all of 20 minutes to get our holiday cards done last year. Check out the super cute way that the recipient address designs match the cards. I die. Signed-&-Sealed-by-Jennifer-WickOk, are you ready for this… our friends at Minted are giving one VERY lucky friend of ours $400 towards holiday cards!!!!! Enter below! (PS: Next time you’re perusing Minted and drooling over their holiday cards, check out their personalized wrapping paper and personalized / custom art prints <– I’m eyeing this one to go above Caroline’s crib!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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SIMPLICITY: Courtney Romine

Simplicity_Graphic Template-01I’m a 26 year old single gal living in the most charming city in Alabama. My family is small; it’s just me and my 5 pound Chihuahua named Apple. My parents live about 20 minutes from my house and I see them every week. I work full-time for a Geospatial Engineering company but my passion lies in web and graphic design. I am a huge sucker for polka dots, stripes, and gold foil. Who isn’t?!


How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?

Every day (usually 20 minutes in the morning) I carve out time to reflect on what I am thankful for. I use this time to center, re-focus, and get ready for the day ahead. With a full time job and several part time projects, it is easy to get overwhelmed. I find this extra “me time” helps me to put things in perspective and to stay humble.


In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?

Two words: Simplified Planner. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner junkie. I usually purchase at least 2…or 3 different planners every year. Ever since I found the Simplified Planner last year, it has absolutely changed the way I manage my day(s). I document everything from “make grocery list tomorrow” to “get groceries today”. I find that writing down everything gives me an easy reminder so I don’t have to keep my brain so cluttered. Talk about a life saver!

deskcloseupWhat is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why?

Every Sunday evening (weather permitting) my dad and I go for a walk at a local green way. We walk about 2 miles of the 10 mile trail. I am an only child and my dad lost both of his parents when he was young. I am so fortunate to still have him in my life and to be able to spend time with him. I also talk to my mom every day on my lunch break. I’ll be 27 next month but I’m still a momma’s girl at heart.

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Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely not live without?

1. Simplified Planner!

2. Nutribullet Blender – The only way I will eat kale is to blend it into oblivion.

3. Benefit Girl Meets Pearl – this highlighter gives an all over golden glow perfect for any time of year.

4. Le Pens – The best pens ever! I use these for planning, journaling, scrapbooking, and even work reports.

5. iPhone – I hate to say it but I don’t think I could live without this thing. I do everything from shopping to banking to conference calling on my phone.

6. Dior Lip Glow – this stuff is amazing. period. It is moisturizing and hydrating like a lip balm but it actually changes colors to complement your natural lip color.

Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together?

With a full time job, part time job, and miscellaneous projects I pick up here and there, I stay pretty busy. Wearing so many different hats and trying to be everything for everyone can be overwhelming. I keep things in perspective by practicing time management, reading uplifting or inspirational books (168 Hours, #Girlboss, and Successful Women Think Differently are just a few of my favorites), and making sure I carve out that oh-so-coveted “me time” that seems to elude even the best of us.

Follow along with Courtney:

Instagram: @courtneylouise

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

We want to know how you intentionally create joy in your life as well as the ways you make your busy life simpler. Submit your story here.

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SIMPLICITY: Meg Hamilton

Simplicity_Hamilton-01I live in a little, bitty town called Landaff {pop. 425} in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I am the professional wedding and lifestyle photographer behind Rodeo & Co. Photography. My husband, Nate & I have two sweet boys. Marcus is 6 & Hank is 3…they both attend the one room school house in our town, The Blue School. We also have a dog, a kitty, 2 bunnies, a horse, and hive full of bees. {My horse and the bunnies reside down the road at my parent’s farm}.

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?

I’ve learned that by waking early, I can put my best self forward for my family and my business. I can tackle so much before the boys even wake up! This means, going to bed early…and not working at my computer screen into the wee hours of the night: the screen time really negatively affects my sleep. My nighttime routine keeps me balanced & centered. I read to Hank, then I read to Marcus, then I visit with my husband, write in my gratitude journal, jot down reminders for the next day, and read something for myself.

In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?

Laundry is my least favorite thing to do. My husband does the ironing when it’s needed {thanks in part to his being a State Trooper he is well trained for this!}. In our laundry room we have baskets for each of us & the towels…..So as soon as laundry comes out of the dryer it goes directly into that person’s basket. When a basket is full, I take it upstairs and put the clothes away. It makes saves a ton of time & makes it almost tolerable. {In the summer, I’ll even bring the clothes off the line, and sort into the baskets too}.

rodeoandcophoto13What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why? 

This year, we are all very involved in taking care of our new beehive. It’s exciting to watch the bees in and out of the hive & to study their movements as a family. Marcus has the task of turning off and on the solar charged fence each morning and night {to keep the bears away!} and Hank loves watching me in the hive & begging to sample the honey. My husband and I dreamed of having honey bees since we were dating & it’s so fulfilling to see that we are finally making it a reality, teaching the boys about nature & helping the environment too. Hopefully, we will have some honey to harvest later this Fall!


Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely not live without?

Simplicity6_ Hamilton-011. Burts Bees nightcream:  It keeps my skin smooth & my grandmother told me to. I put it on nightly.

2. Local Maple Syrup: I try to avoid processed sugar, and this makes my morning coffee delicious.

3. My Standup Freezer & EL Menu Plan Notepad: We stock up on local meat and veggies & my freezer is stocked with lots of yummy goodness. Cooking dinner is my sacred time….nothing makes me happier than cooking a delicious & healthy meal for my family, unless I’m not prepared and scattered. Having it written out ahead of time, then I know what to defrost, what to pick up, and what to use up before it goes to waste!

4. Mile IQ: This little app tracks all my business mileage for me in one swipe!

5. Encyclopedia Brown Series: Marcus {age 6} and I have been reading a chapter or 2 each night. His Dad is a Major Crime Detective & he gets a kick out these. I love the simpleness and timelessness of the stories.

6. Pentel Arts Color Pens: Each person, and job has a different color associated with them in my planner….it keeps it pretty AND functional.

Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together? 

I have also learned to have strict office hours & family hours and do my very best not to blend the two. When I’m a mommy, I’m a mommy {and an auntie too, once a week I watch my sweet little niece, Thora {she just turned 1}. When I’m a photographer, I’m a photographer: I stay on task, I block FB, and I get it done. I do this, so that when I’m in family-mode I am fully present and connected to my family, because at the end of the day, that is what matters most. It’s been a struggle to completely separate the two {sometimes, I even unplug the wi-fi} but I’ve found through trial and error that this is what works best for me.

Follow along with Meg:

Blog: http://www.rodeoandco.com/blog/

Instagram: @rodeoandcophoto

 

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

We want to know how you intentionally create joy in your life as well as the ways you make your busy life simpler.  Submit your story here.

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Simple Favorite Gifts: Hayden Reis

HaydenReis_4I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for two things: big bags and pineapples. Pineapples suddenly became very trendy this year and, since they are a huge part of our brand (as a traditional symbol for Southern hospitality) a lot of people have asked me how I feel about them being “so cool” now. I LOVE IT! Well, I love it when they’re used in a great way. And Hayden Reis knocked it out of the park.

HaydenReis_3They sent me this adorable bag (I’d been eyeing it forever because it is gold, navy, pineapple-adorned AND can be monogrammed) and I about squealed when I pulled it out of the box. That’s one beautiful monogram (and if you ever saw my post about whether or not you’re supposed to put straight line monograms in the order of FIRST, MIDDLE, LAST or FIRST, LAST, MIDDLE – it’s officially FIRST, MIDDLE, LAST).

Because I’m in full-fledged nesting mode entering my 20th week of this pregnancy I’ve already begun Christmas shopping. (And planning Brady’s fourth birthday party for a full 2.5 months before his actual birthday – little playgroup pizza party in December, birthday 9 days before my due date in February). I just LOOOOOVE Hayden Reis as the perfect Christmas gift. The bag’s huge and great quality.

HaydenReis_1Perfect for stuffing beach towels and sand toys in. Or perfect as an overnight bag even! Swoon, Hayden Reis. High fives on nailing the pineapple perfectly!

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Simplicity : Christy Campbell


Simplicity_Graphic Template-01Hi! I’m Christy. I currently live in Queretaro, Mexico after recently moving from Shanghai, China. When I’m not exploring local neighborhoods or revising my travel plans, I work as a freelance writer and run a small branding and communications business where I have the privilege to work with some of the most incredible small businesses and help them tell their story and communicate their passion. I juggle a crazy schedule and have yet to master the art of balance but it’s a constant pursuit. I love finishing off a day with good friends and a glass of bubbles.

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I’m a true introvert. And while I thrive in life thanks to the relationships I have, I’ve also learned to have grace with myself and build in intentional ‘alone time’ so that I can put in energy with others. Starting my day with prayer and time in God’s Word is always the decision point on how the rest of my day will go. Regular exercise (so hard for me to schedule in my always changing, unpredictable schedule) is huge and while I’m such as fan of good food and wine, making sure I put wholesome things in my body also has an impressive impact of my mental wellbeing as well as my physical health.

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In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?

I’ve learned that when I’m working from home, I get buried in my office with little to pull me out and so I’ll get lazy and order in delivery if I’m not careful to plan my meals out better. With this in mind, I now draft up a rough meal plan for the week, factoring in a couple meals out with friends or clients and then order my groceries to be delivered first thing on Monday morning (so I have no excuses about not making it to the grocery store). I hate letting food go to the waste, so once it’s in my apartment, I’m usually good about making sure it gets used.

What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why? 

Tradition and routine are not very prevalent in my life, but one tradition I’m trying to foster is to pick up a postcard every place we visit and note down a great memory from the place/trip. I’m hoping to curate these into a collection–maybe someday an entire shoebox full–of reminders and stories. While I’m the first one to pull out my camera and snap a thousand pictures when I get somewhere, I think there’s something more reflective about capturing a memory in words. It would be so cool if future generations stumbled across a box of hand-scribbled postcard notes and it inspired them to go explore and to not just take pictures, but to make memories, tell stories and live adventurously.


Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely note live without?

As my life revolves around domestic travel and a lot of international travel (to see family and friends around the world, for work and for pleasure), I thought it would be fun to share six items that I’ve found to simplify something that can all too often become stressful and complicated. With that said…

Simplicity_BlogTemplate-01Here are my ‘pick six’:

1. A stash bag (call it what you will, just fill it with the products you LOVE and you’ll have that extra perk of opening it up when you travel!). I keep this ready to toss into my carry-on wherever I’m going. I have an extra cute little bag that always contains eye drops, lip balm, a mini bottle of lotion, mints, floss, tissues and Colgate Wisps. (oh my gosh, Colgage Wisps!) I used to have a mini bottle of dry shampoo too–but can’t get replacements. Regardless of what your must have items are, I can’t tell you what a lifesaver this bag can be. Pack it, toss it in and be happy.

2. Trip Case App. There are a lot of great travel apps out there, but this one still wins in my book. All I have to do is forward all of my reservation emails for hotels, flights, rental cars, etc. to their email address and they automatically build out my full itinerary for me and there it is in my phone, all ready to go. Everything in one. A traveler’s dream.

3. Snacks. Ok, let’s be honest. You never know when you’re going to get stuck, when a nice stewardess hands you a tray of unidentifiable mush or when you just can’t stomach the idea of another bowl of ramen. So regardless of the sort of transportation or destination that awaits, I always grab an apple, a couple packets of Justin’s almond butter (my absolute favorite is Maple Almond Butter) and a couple Starbucks VIA packets. They can get me through about anything. Find your favorites and keep ‘em handy.

4. “That” pair of shoes. You know, that pair that goes with practically everything, that’s über comfortable and that lasts through the delays, the extra mile walk to the hotel you’re stuck at because you forgot to make reservations, the freak storm that weatherman never saw coming, etc. I’m a pretty efficient packer when it comes to clothes but a classic overpacker where footwear is concerned. Nonetheless, I always grab “that” pair, knowing they’ll carry me through anything. And in case you’re wondering, currently, “that” pair are Clark’s Grayson Ericas for me.

5.  For the sake of simplicity, I use all Apple products right now. And for that reason, the Apple World Traveler Adaptor kit has taken up permanent residence in my suitcase. I never have to look up what sort of outlets a place has before traveling there, I just know I’ll be covered. One less thing to think about where technology is concerned, is one less thing to fret over.

6. A sense of humor and compassion. Seriously, whether you’re road-tripping to the beach two hours away or making a 27 hour haul across the Atlantic, you can pick up a toothbrush at the local drugstore or buy new flip flops on the way, but you can’t find a single corner market stocking an extra dose of humor or a bottle of compassion. So bring it with you. It will ensure your trip is AMAZING, regardless of where your luggage ultimately ends up or how many flat tires you get in one ten-mile stretch. And that’s a promise. Happy Travels!

Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together? 
Two more tips for traveling: 

If you’re traveling somewhere new, consider scrapping the guidebook and find a novel or memoir set in the area. They’re far more fun to read through and often provide more insight than your Lonely Planet anyway.

I never go wrong packing light. Not once (truly) have a I wished I had brought more with me, but all too often, I wish I had left more at home. You can always pick up an umbrella, cute necklace or sundress along the way if you need to spice up your wardrobe a bit and those items are sometimes the best souvenirs anyway….and they often come with a great story.

Follow along with Christy:

Blog: http://www.laneletters.com

Instagram: @lane_letters

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

We want to know how you intentionally create joy in your life as well as the ways you make your busy life simpler.  Submit your story here.

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Simple Favorites: Dressing the Bump

This pregnancy has been MUCH different than my pregnancy with Brady. Obviously, there are two babies in there rather than one, so that makes things a little different in general. But what I wasn’t expecting was how big I would get and just how fast. As of Tuesday, I’m 18 weeks. My measuring tape I marked and used when I was pregnant with B measures 28 weeks. Ha. Needless to say, I’m a little scared about just how much my body is going to change in the coming weeks. With Brady my belly went straight out and I gained little weight everywhere else (41lbs total). This time, EVERYTHING is growing. I feel my body plumping up all over to help supply these little ones with all the nutrients they need. The big changes are a little bit of a mental body-image struggle for me, who’s tried to remain thin her whole life, but I’m willing to give up control and pack on whatever I need to for these two.

Dressing this quickly growing bump has been a challenge. Because of OHSS, I had a belly at 4 weeks. It didn’t start actually growing (when the extra fluid was replaced with pure precious baby) until really about 10 weeks. So I’ve been rocking the maternity outfits since the get-go. There are really two ways to go about dressing the bump: actual maternity clothes or maternity pants + some cute non-maternity tops that stretch to cover the belly (I’m afraid I’m running out of options in this category).

Belly Dance Maternity (a maternity line) and White Plum (a non-maternity line) were so sweet to send me some cute outfits to help my mama-of-three-to-be wardrobe.

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Belly Dance is a fave of celebs like Gwenyth Paltrow and has been featured on The View and in some other cool magazines. My favorite of their line is this NOM Charcoal Stripe Ellie Dress. Seriously, guys. Seriously. It’s 100% worth the investment. as such a gorgeous basic piece (so easy to dress up for date night!). It’s my go-to dress right now and has probably been worn 25 times already. It’s made really well and makes me feel so pretty (which we all know is hard when you’re growing in every direction sometimes). They have some really great basic pieces as well as hosiery, nursing attire even swimwear.

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White Plum was created by a former dancer turned entrepreneur. After having children, she decided women like her (who were managing home and kids and everything in between) should have affordable and super cute options. Let’s all pause for a minute to talk about how great leggings are. I’m able to wear theirs under my belly and woah. They are the softest things ever. Even Bryan commented on how soft they are. This polka dot dress stretches in all the right areas and was so cute with the tie tied over my belly. I wore it to brunch yesterday with friends.

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(This is what happens when we try to take photos in our house). :)

So, let me tell you… I’m planning the most beautiful maternity session with Gina Zeidler in Chapel Hill when I’m up there for Making Things Happen next month. This is my last pregnancy (FOR SURE) and I’m excited to document it in this really gorgeous way. Let’s just say there are sequins, Hey Gorgeous flowers and Oatmeal Lace monograms involved. I’m so excited.

So what are your tips for the maternity wardrobe? I also love the Target maternity line as well as Old Navy maternity jeans and maxi dresses. I’ve only invested in a few really great maternity pieces for this, my last, pregnancy and I’m trying to make everything else I have work for as long as I can (though I think my days are numbered in that theory).

ALSO – TWO EXCITING THINGS! Belly Dance Maternity is offering our readers 20% off their purchase with code ELEY from now until October 25. Run, go!

AND thanks so much to White Plum for offering this great giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ley babies: Nursery Inspiration

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When we found out we are having both a boy AND a girl, I was so excited. (I really hope Caroline is still a girl… hahaha, we go tomorrow for our first Level 2 ultrasound and that’s when they told me my little Brady was NOT a girl like they originally guessed…). By the way, we named the babies – did you hear? Caroline Sue and Tyler Joseph. We can’t keep secrets around here – so there they are in all their precious glory!

Back to being excited… I started thinking about their nursery the other night and suddenly got really overwhelmed! My sweet girl can’t have her SUPER pink room because little Tyler will be in there. And vice-versa! So I knew I had to come up with something gender neutral-ish that was still really special. I adore Lindsay Letters (not to mention she’s a precious friend of ours) so I was perusing her shop looking at her canvases to find one that really spoke to me. I stopped in my track when I saw this canvas (#1 above) based on one of my favorite verses (that meant a great deal to me during our three years of infertility craziness). Brady’s nursery was “beach” themed because our roots are in Pensacola, Florida (where we’re both from and where Bryan and I met). It only seemed fitting to design the babies’ room around a similar theme with more of a nautical / anchor feel to it.

I ordered Lindsay’s canvas in 16 x 20 size with an incredible, ornate, awesome gold frame as well. It’ll go somewhere special – probably over the not-yet-purchased changing table or near the not-yet-purchased rocker. :) There’s a pretty good chance (99%) that we will be moving two months after the babies arrive, so we’re planning for a space we don’t have yet. Even more exciting! :)

Tell me your ideas! Sources below. xo

  1. Let Hope Anchor your Soul canvas by Lindsay Letters
  2. Catch of the Day fitted crib sheet from Land of Nod
  3. Stripes Around the Floor Bin in red from Land of Nod
  4. Mirrored Wall Letters from Pottery Barn Kids
  5. Cloud Mobile from Etsy
  6. Thar She Glows table lamp from Land of Nod
  7. Gold Wall Anchor from Etsy
  8. Magic Carpet from Land of Nod
  9. Flamingo No. 1 Print from Sharon Montrose
  10. Gold Dot Quilt from Pottery Barn Kids for tummy time

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Simplicity : Chrissy Winchester

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I was born in NJ, grew up in PA and am newly Southern as of late 2013. We made the move when my husband took another job and so far, we’re loving it! Though, I could do without the oversized bugs! I was married in 2010 to my college sweetheart and we welcomed our little girl into the world in October 2012. How life has changed since then! She is full of personality and always keeps us on our toes! I have many creative loves and own a photography business, an Etsy shop and have just separated my photography blog into a personal one. I also work part time as a health coach consultant. Yea, I’m a little busy, which is why I need my planner to keep me on top of things!

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I will admit… since having a little one, this has become harder and harder. However, my husband and I are passionate about staying healthy. He does better in the nutrition department and I do better in the workout department, so between the two of us, we keep each other in check! I recently started a weekly “wog”- that’s a walk/jog- with some neighborhood friends, it’s a great way to get out with the kids and fit in our exercise!

img_9789In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?

I have to set aside certain times to do things, otherwise, I’ll just push them off if they’re something I don’t like doing (like unloading the dishwasher)! Or, sometimes, the time just gets away from me! My current schedule is: 

Sundays- start laundry (this typically runs over into Monday)
Monday- clean bathrooms and kitchen
Tuesday- clean floors
Thursday/Friday- meal planning
Friday/Saturday- grocery shopping

For meal planning, I sit down on a Thursday or Friday (whenever I get a free minute) with my weekly meal planner, my grocery list paper and my iPad. I open up Pinterest and Foodgawker and search through my favorites for some inspiration on what to cook. I also get great use out of “My-go-to-dinner-ideas” in my Simplified Planner. There are so many meals that are quick and we enjoy, but sometimes we just forget! I then plan out the meals for the week, while simultaneously adding needed ingredients to my grocery list. When the meals are finalized, I write them on our chalkboard menu wall so everyone knows what’s for dinner (including me!)

What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why? 

Storytime. Since the day our daughter was born, we have read to her. Now, she loves books more than any other play item that she has. Every night, after bath and brushing her teeth, we all go in and sit around her chair and read a few books together. It is a quiet time that both my husband and I cherish and we love the extra snuggles!

Simplicity_Blog_Winchester-01Your PICK SIX: What 6 products can you absolutely note live without?

1. Otterbox Symmetry iPhone case: With a little one, I’ve already broken two screens. So far so good with this case!
2. Emily Ley Planner: I am typically a paper girl, but I will admit, I am getting better with using my technology and I am SO excited for the APP coming this summer!
3. Summer Infant Video Monitor: Maybe I’m just super paranoid, but I have to have EYES and EARS on my little one. This monitor goes everywhere with us during nap time and night time!
4. 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment: I use this every.single.day. This little spray leaves my hair soft, frizz free and even tangle free. I love it!
5. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm: This is in literally every bag that I own, in our “junk drawer” in our kitchen, in my nightstand and my husbands. We don’t go anywhere without it!
6. Pampered Chef Cookie Scoops: My husband thinks its ridiculous that I need scoops in three different sizes, but they are all used for different things, and they are used. Heavily.


Anything else you think our readers would love to know? Any additional tips or systems that help you keep it all together? 

Anyone that is struggling to make time for everything, should sit down and map out their their time. I put together a time schedule in excel to track how I was spending my time and how I PLANNED to spend my time. It has been a great help in making sure I spread my time evenly and don’t neglect family while trying to run three businesses, while working part time. 

Follow along with Chrissy:

Blog: http://www.always-c.com

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

We want to know how you intentionally create joy in your life as well as the ways you make your busy life simpler.  Submit your story here.

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