Simplified: A Beauty Regimen

I remember a time in my life when I had endless amounts of time to primp and get ready for my day every day. Not so much anymore. But when I completely forget to take care of myself I notice that I just feel bad – sluggish and yuck. Bed rest has put me in that slump a few times. Being a busy mom has put me in that slump MORE than a few times. So a few days ago, after Brady went to bed, I decided to take a little while to myself to take a good hot shower, wash, dry and do my hair, shave my legs (a sight to see when you’re 35 weeks pregnant with twins) and take care of my skin. I felt like a NEW WOMAN. These products below are things I used to use daily and / or weekly and I plan to work into my routine now and continue after the twins arrive – even if it means two minutes in the morning to make sure I wash my face. EmilyLey_BeautyRegimen-01 I didn’t include makeup in this (even though I do have a few favorites I’d love to share one day) because lets be honest – on 99.9% of days, aint nobody got time for that. :)

  1. Clarisonic MIA 2 Facial Cleansing System - Love to use this occasionally to remove dead skin and give my skin an all-over smooth finish. The kit comes with a gel cleanser – but I just use my regular Neutrogena Naturals cleanser with it now.
  2. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream - This was recommended by Kate Bryan over at The Small Things Blog and I LOVE IT. It smells fresh, isn’t greasy and is great to use twice a day (morning and night). I wear it under makeup or (in most cases) by itself.
  3. EOS Lip Balm - I have about four of these floating between my bathroom, my bedside table, my car and my purse. Sweet mint is my favorite. I’ve always had an aversion to lipstick or lipgloss so this is my go-to.
  4. Redkin Smooth Lock Serum - I LOVE this stuff. I put two pumps in my hands after towel drying my hair and run my fingers through my hair from middle to ends then blow-dry. I have fine hair, but I have a ton of it – so its deceiving. This keeps the ends sleek and not super frizzy.
  5. Big Sexy Hair “What a Tease” Styler - This stuff is magic. I love the Big Sexy Hair line but this is a recent find. When I want some extra lift (my hair naturally lays pretty flat because its so fine) I spray a tiny bit of this underneath a section (careful because it is FIRM and has SUPER DUPER HOLD almost like hairspray) and scrunch my hair around until it looks like I’ve gotten some lift. I’m terrible at back-combing, so I love this right at the crown for a cute pony tail (most days) or down for date night.
  6. Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme - Again, I’m not a big beauty product person. And I tend to be pretty brand loyal. But I have used this stuff for probably 10 years. It’s made with olive oil but its not greasy at all. I have only gone through two bottles in 10 years – that’s how little you use. Once my hair is dry, I rub a tiny bit of this on the ends for a bit of polish. It’s amazing. Go buy some. It will change your life. You will come back to this post and thank me. I’m serious. :)
  7. Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush - I get my hair cut at an Aveda salon and I bought this to use for quick blow-dries. Bryan loves it and now Brady does too. So we each have one. :) It’s pricey brush but totally worth it. I can dry my hair with this and my cheap blow dryer in about 10 minutes. I flip my head upside down and viola!
  8. One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque - I’ve used this since One Love Organics came onto the market. It lasts forever and is a great natural scrub for your face. I use this every night just to take off any impurities after washing my face with my regular Neutrogena face wash.

Washing my face and drying my hair probably takes me about fifteen minutes total. I typically throw my hair up in a messy pony tail, grab the closest pair of yoga pants and a Walk in Love tee and a pair of earrings and go. Earrings make me feel put together. :) Taking just a few minutes to feel like I’ve pulled myself together a bit goes a LONG way. xo, Emily

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SIMPLICITY : McKenzie Fussell (Our Shop Assistant!)


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Hi there! I’m McKenzie, the lady that responds to all of your sweet Emily Ley emails! It’s so nice to finally pop in and introduce myself to ya’ll! I wear a lot of hats these days- wife, friend, letterer, shop assistant here at EL, student, and I also run my own little shop full of hand-lettered goodies. My sweet husband and I are Amelia Island natives but are currently living here in Tampa trying to navigate what I call the “big city”.  We said “I do” last May and I sobbed like a baby and could barely get my vows out (if you know me- you’re not shocked). I love a well placed monogram, Jesus talks with friends, decorating our home, books (excluding textbooks), extra large glasses of sweet tea, attempting to cook, and anything creative!

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

For starters- I pray. I pray a LOT. I ask others to pray for me as well and I give my burdens to God. I also take a lot of “me” time. I make it a priority to rest. That may sound silly but I am a bit of a go-getter and have a difficult time doing unproductive things, so rest must be scheduled. Pearce and I have started using essential oils, making healthier food choices, and incorporating exercise into our time together so that we physically feel great!

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

First of all, if it’s not in my planner, it doesn’t get done. I write EVERYTHING down and it helps me stay focused on my priorities for the day. I’ve tried my best not to abuse the to-do list column in my planner by adding things in just because there’s a free line. I write down what I truly believe I can get done and I make that happen. Working from home has made it a bit easier for me to get things done around the house. I try to wake up and get chores and errands done before I start my work day so that I won’t be distracted by huge piles of laundry or floating dust bunnies. I’ve also found that getting my meal planning and grocery shopping done during the weekend helps our busy weeknights run much smoother. I pack my grocery list in my Lilly Pulitzer market tote (to make the event a bit more colorful) and make a quick trip to Aldi, Trader Joes, or Publix.

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

Jesus time & Date nights! Grabbing a cup of coffee and digging into the word is the best daily routine a gal can have! Date nights have also become pretty important here in the Fussell house with our busy schedules. We love trying new restaurants and attempting to find good movies on Netflix! We used to play monopoly but that got a little too competitive!

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

Simplicity_Pick6_FussellSimplified Journal:  This is one of my all time favorite products. Each night before I go to sleep I try to write down everything on my mind and get it off my chest. This nightly “brain dump” helps me clear my head so I can sleep better. A little lavender oil on my feet and a few minutes spent writing in my journal seems to be the best sleep aid.

Crockpots: I’m all about easy meals that taste delicious. We have crockpot dinners as much as possible around here. I even purchased a mini travel sized crockpot for Pearce to take to work with him. It’s the coolest little gadget and he’s told me everyday after work how yummy his food was (new wives love to hear that).

Longchamp Bag: I’ve had this bag for years but just can’t seem to part ways with it. It’s huge! I fit my macbook, my planner, my schoolbooks, a thousand pens, 2 chargers, a bulky wallet, my water bottle and a trillion other “necessities” in there. When I’m not using the bag it folds up into a tiny square that can easily fit in a small drawer which is perfect for apartment living.

NutriBullet: This bad boy was one of my favorite wedding gifts and we didn’t even register for it. I make delicious fruit smoothies with doTERRA Terra Greens supplement mix and get all of my veggies for the day! It’s so quick and easy to clean! I’ve got my routine down to a science now and I can both make my smoothie and clean up my blender in under 3 minutes!

Jesus Calling Devotional CDI’ve read through the Jesus Calling devotionals by Sarah Young a few times now and they’re always so relevant and encouraging. I found a CD version of the devotional awhile back and LOVE listening to it in my car each day.

Glass Water Bottles: I’m a big believer in essential oils. For the oils to work properly they can’t be mixed in plastic water bottles- so we buy glass. My favorites are lemon and peppermint water!

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

One of my favorite quotes on simplicity is this one from Hans Hoffman: “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Through the process of simplifying I’ve been able to find so much more joy in my days and truly focus on what matters to me!

 

Follow along with McKenzie:

Instagram: @mckenziefussell

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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The 2015-2016 Simplified Planner: SNEAK PEEK 1

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Hooray!! I just couldn’t go out on maternity leave until I shared one of my FAVORITE new updates to the 2015-2016 Simplified Planners (coming May 6 at 10am EST!!). Over the years there’s been something I’ve really missed on our pages, something that didn’t feel quite right. During the Fall of last year I spent hours upon hours reworking the pages in an attempt to bring our two key principles into the pages even more: JOY and SIMPLICITY. The simplicity part was easy – I reworked the layout and moved things around based on how I was using the daily planner and where I felt like I needed more or less space.

  • The Schedule section is now smaller and extends from 6am to 9pm. I struggled with this a bit… we had to eliminate our half hour increments in order to extend the hours AND keep it simple AND allow space for other sections. But then I remembered how I’ve been using this section from the get-go. I write (on the nearest hour slot) appointments like this: 2:30 // Dr’s Appt. And I really like it. Now I feel like I’m really using that section rather than letting SO MUCH PAGE to go waste. See below…

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  • The Dinner section is now underneath the Schedule section (since that’s really how I think of my day… what appointments do I have, where do I need to be and what are we having for dinner…) and a little larger.
  • The To Do section is a little larger also
  • The quadrant feel makes me SO HAPPY visually. Aesthetically I see my page in four sections now – and nothing else. The “nothing else” part is what fires me up about our Simplified Planner – we don’t put excess in these pages and that helps my mind feel free from a) guilt of not using certain portions and b) helps me see only what I need to see.

The JOY part was where I was stuck. How could I make our pages SIMPLE but HAPPIER. It took me a while to get this right but I about died and made Bryan come in to look at it fifteen times once I did it… we added COLOR to every page. Minimal color. Nothing busy, just color within the flag (the flag will say M, T, W, Th, F, S or Su depending on what day it is — and each day of the week has its own color throughout – so Mondays will all be the same color, etc) and within the section titles. That’s it. Oh be still my color-loving-heart. It’s joyful but still simple. The Weekly will also have this :)

Ok!! Now the fun part. For years we’ve had a Daily Page printable in our Free Printable Library but it wasn’t quite like the planner. NOW, you can download and print this page to see it for yourself! There are SO MANY of you that didn’t get a Simplified Planner and wanted one (determining how many planners to make each year is one of the hardest parts of my job) so I thought you’d love this little treat. Download yours here.

I know you’re going to have lots of questions and I promise we’ll answer them as we get closer to May 6. These are just a FEW of the updates and changes we’ve made to the Simplified Planner to make it more joyful and more simple. I’m seriously over the moon about all of them and can’t wait to share more!

xo,

Emily

PS: This image above is showing you the new page layout inside our Navy Dot Daily. We’ll have three NEW covers with the new editions. Not this one. :) This was just for fun.

PPS: The image above shows the printable. The new pages will all be dated, of course :)

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SIMPLICITY : Larisa Mar


Simplicity_Mar-01Hey there! I’m Larisa, a California girl born and raised living in the Big Apple. I moved to NYC when I was 17 to attend a prestigious university without have friends or family on this side of the country. After graduating, interning and working full time at big fashion names (Lord and Taylor, Betsey Johnson, J. Crew) I’ve finally found my home working as the Executive Administrative and Marketing Manager for an inspiring entrepreneur. I work directly with the owner on her 6 small businesses and actually manage and direct her most recent one: a boutique pilates and group fitness studio! In addition to all of this, I am also in the process of launching my own branding business. After helping several friends launch their own businesses and brands I’ve decided to actually brand myself as well!

I met my current fiance in school, and we have been together for 5 amazing years. He is my rock and my greatest resource. As we plan our wedding and prepare for our future together I am reminded on a daily basis how good God has truly been to me! We share our life with a handsome tuxedo cat named #Phoenixthemancat.

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

I always take some time to recharge at the end of the day so I never go to bed upset or feeling down. I love taking an evening yoga class, or taking some time for self reflection in my Simplified Journal to clear my mind. It’s important to me to get a great night’s sleep so I can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my day.

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

We plan out everything to make sure the mundane parts of life are already handled. This way we don’t ignore anything and know it will get done!

For groceries Mike and I belong to a CSA,  Community Supported Agriculture. A local farm about 50 miles away from us drives to a location closer to our home, about 3 miles away at a community garden, for us to select our pre-paid farm share every other week. It comes with collard greens, edamame, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, arugula, and other organic farm fresh produce! It’s important to us to adopt a healthy lifestyle as it is better for us, our future children, the environment, and the world! 

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

One routine we always do that is becoming incredibly important to us is calling each other every day during our lunch break. At times our jobs are rough, and they always require an intense amount of focus. I love the break in my day to eat my lunch and unwind, and I love the 5 minutes we steal away on the phone just to check in. Whether our day is good or bad we always make it a point to remind each other to think positively and hustle through the work!

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

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My Planner: I use it as my content calendar for blogging and my daily to do list at work. I’m able to track all my action items and know what needs to be done the next day without fail.

My Simplified Journal: It’s how I am able to sleep at night! I clear my head of all the brainstorming projects or personal to-do lists I’ve made throughout the day.

My PowerSheets: The PowerSheets are my guiding light right now. It’s so easy to set goals, but creating a true plan for how to actually achieve this goal and actually understanding it is something I was definitely missing before.

Stila Felt Tip Eye Liner: I’m not myself without my signature subtle cat eye. This is the best product for the job by far!

Vaseline: It’s gentle on my sensitive skin as moisturizer, and it’s the only way I’ll take mascara off.

My kindle: It’s the fastest way for me to download books and lose myself in a good read. Plus, I don’t download all that extra stuff (movies, music, email, etc) so when I’m reading it I’m not distracted by a million notifications!

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

I try to plan my life daily, but review it weekly. If you try and track your progress day by day you will drive yourself insane!

 

Follow along with Larisa:

Blog: We Heart Beauty

Instagram: @lovelarisalove

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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On carrying twins, Part II

Instagram_Printable-01Today is January 13. I am 34 weeks pregnant with Caroline and Tyler. Today is the day I marked and circled and starred in my planner months ago. My doctor told me, based on my ultrasounds, that if we can make it to 34 weeks – we will have made it to a GREAT milestone. I’ve been in and out of the hospital four times now for a total of 17 days so we weren’t sure just how far we’d make it.

It’s funny. I woke up ready to celebrate today – ready to bust out the confetti and take a silly picture with Brady in front of my mirror like I’ve done with my other bump photos along the way. But my heart feels steady and joyful and full in a different way today. The joy we feel – having come through three years of infertility, multiple failed rounds of terrible fertility drugs, 12 scars on my belly from procedure after procedure, multiple failed IUIs and finally – making the difficult decision to give IVF one chance – is real. The joy is big and intense and I feel like it just seeps from every pore of my body, every word I speak or type. But I’ll never forget the path it took to get here. It changed me. Not every journey leads to this place – that’s not lost on me at all. For years, even before Brady was conceived, I was scared I’d never become a mama. But here’s what I know…

God allows this baby shaped hole to form in our hearts when He fully intends to fill and use it somehow.

I was going to write about all I’ve learned from this pregnancy and this journey (like where to buy the best maternity clothes and what stretches have helped my back carry these two big babies) but this morning I woke up to this thought… what really matters are those words up there . And that’s it. I’ve learned that God loves us unfailingly. Sitting here in this chair continuing my bed rest until these babies are ready to be born, these four verses were on my heart. I made them into a printable (surprise, surprise). Get yours here under “Verse Cards”. I would suggest printing them on card stock, then cutting on the crop marks. Tape them to your mirror. Put them on your desk. Stick them on your fridge. They’re 3 x 5 when cut to size. And they’re meant for anyone, anywhere, in any journey.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting me (and all five of us) along this incredible journey full of incredible highs and painful lows. It’s hard to be open about something so deeply personal, but I hope our story gives hope to one of you. God’s love is never ceasing. Ever, ever.

xo,

Emily

To ready more about our journey:

Announcing our twins

In the middle of our infertility journey

The pain of yearning for a little one

Brady’s Birth Story

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Simple Favorites for your Free Printables

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m 1) on modified bed rest until the twins come (yay) and 2) I’ve been having so much fun designing free printables and downloads while glued to this chair! :) Many of you have had questions about at-home printers, pens, binders, etc – so I thought I’d gather them all here to help you organize your free printables! Granted, you don’t really need any of these things to make your free printables work BUT if you’re looking to get fancy, here you go (affiliate links below): FreePrintables-01-01-01
1:  Le Pens Multi Colored Set - I love these pens. I have a bajillion of them in a cup on my desk. They’re thin, crisp and they don’t bleed. Plus the colors are just so fun!

2:  Le Pens Black Only - A while back I bought about 25 of these pens. I have another cup only desk with black pens only for filling out forms, writing letters to people, etc.

3:  EL Home Base Binder - I love our Home Base Binder for holding our free printables! It comes with a bunch of awesome pages but has room for more.

4:  HP Color LaserJet Pro Printer - If you want to get fancy, this is a great (pricey) printer. Roughly $300. Ink is pricey but you can find deals on it on Amazon. The quality of a color laser jet can’t be beat. I owned this printer for a long time before switching to the one below.

5:  Canon InkJet Printer - This is a GREAT printer (especially at $99!). It’s the one I have now. I love that it has a scanner on top. And, well, it’s pretty. :) Color quality isn’t as great as my old laser jet, but its still great.

Visit our FREE PRINTABLE LIBRARY HERE (at the bottom you’ll also find a complete set of gorgeous desktop wallpapers for download) and our FREE IPHONE WALLPAPERS & LOCKSCREENS HERE. Follow me on Instagram for new printables as long as these babies keep baking! :)

xo,

Emily

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Get Organized in 2015!

Now that I’m on bed rest with these babies (33 weeks tomorrow!!!!) I’ve been keeping my mind distracted from wanting to get up and “nest” everything in site by creating Free Printables for our Free Printable Library. I haven’t had the time to sit down and just play for years, so this has been so much fun! On Instagram today, I asked for suggestions for printables that you’d like – and I realized many of you didn’t know of the ones we already have! So here’s a little run down for you – including links to help you get it together in the New Year. Read all the way down and you might just find a little coupon code :)

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My Simplified Day || 2015 at a Glance || 2016 at a Glance - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Monthly Calendar || Daily Devotional || Sunday Prep Checklist - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Blog Planner || Gratitude Journal || My Go-To Meals - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Health & Fitness Tracker || Meeting Details || Kitchen Measurements - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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More Meeting Details || Packing Checklist || Family New Years Meeting - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Another Packing Checklist || Passwords & Logins || Party Planning Checklist - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Prayer List || Recipe || Kids: Bedtime Routine - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Valentine: Crayons ||  Valentine: S’mores || Kids: Chore Chart - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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Love Coupons: Babysitting || Afternoon Off || Coffee or Ice Cream Date || Date Night Out || Date Night In || Full House Cleaning - Visit the Free Printable Library to find and download these. Print at home and enjoy!

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The Home Base Binder can be purchased two different ways: as a KIT (with our beautiful binder!) or just the pages and dividers (called a Refill Pack) for use with your own binder. Each includes: Perpetual Calendar for remembering birthdays / anniversaries / etc every year, Emergency Info, Home & Repair page for business cards, Friends & Family page for contacts, Monthly Projects pages (12 – one for each month), Grocery Shopping / Meal Planning pages (52 – one for each week of the year), Monthly Budget / Spending pages (12 – one for each month) and a Family Bucket List. (Save 10% with code YAY2015!

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Our Simplified Notepads have bright colors and gold foil (who could ask for more) and come in eight formats: To Do, Groceries, Thank You’s to Send, Weekly Meal Calendar, Info for Babysitter, A Note from Mom, My Little Ones Day, Have a Great Day (a general notepad for leaving love notes).

Instagram got a little overwhelming with suggestions, so I thought we’d collect them here. Leave a comment with your ideas for free printables NOT mentioned above and I’ll choose a few to work on! Also, save 10% on our Home Base Binder, Refill Kit and Simplified Notepads through the end of this week with code YAY2015!

xo,

Emily

PS: Some of you mentioned wallpapers and iPhone lock screens (works for Android too) – those are all found here.

PPS: If you have questions about our Simplified Planners, you can find all the details on those here.

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Ley Babies: Pregnancy Essentials

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I got asked a lot in the beginning what my favorite pregnancy “essentials” were – and I laughed overtime. I was just trying to survive OHSS and severe morning (all day) sickness. My answers then would have been sleep, water and croissants from Starbucks to settle my queasiness (?). Ha! Now that we’re into the third trimester, there are a few things that have really helped me get to 29 weeks with twins. Since I’ve experienced a singleton pregnancy with Brady I can also vouch that any of these are great for pregnant women NOT carrying multiples also.

1) A super cute dress that makes you feel beautiful: Obviously good maternity clothes are a staple. I shop at Target, Old Navy and my friends’ closets. :) I prefer to buy inexpensive staples (leggings, jeans, tees, etc) that are really fitted and make me feel more “all belly” and less “ginormous all over.” BUT, this pregnancy it has been SO GREAT to have one really nice awesome dress that makes me feel pretty and can last my whole pregnancy. This one is from Belly Dance Maternity. It’s incredibly well made and fitted all over (with room for a GROWING bump). I wore it early in my pregnancy as I was just starting to show and continue to wear it 35 pounds and a WHOLE LOTTA belly later. I’ve worn it with flip flops, with heels, with boots – it works with anything really. So cute and so comfy. Best part is – it just makes me feel pretty… which is hard when you’re pregnant sometimes! My friends at Belly Dance Maternity told me the other day that they are closing their NYC store (their Chicago store and online shop will remain open) BUT they are offering 30-90% off everything online!! Run, go! 

2) Craving staples: With Brady I craved ketchup and clementines. No, not together – but I must have eaten a million clementines and I wanted ketchup (maybe it was the salt?) on EVERYthing. With these two, I’ve craved SOUR candy and clementines again… and crushed ice (weird, we’ve been working to bring my iron levels up though – so that may explain it). I keep a little bit of sour candy in my house (not a lot or I’d eat it ALL) to satisfy cravings. Pink Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids and Skittles. Yes, please.

3) Prenatal Massages: Ok. These are an indulgence, but I am a BIG believer in the power of massage. About a year and a half ago I went through a rough patch of anxiety and started going for regular massages. (If anyone in Tampa wants my massage therapist’s name – send me a note! I’ll happily pass it along. She’s incredible. Just don’t take my spot! Ha!) :) But they REALLY helped me. A lot. So when I started to get sore and uncomfortable carrying the twins, I started going once a month again. Now I’m up to once every two weeks because I’ve had some lower back pain but it is THE BEST. So totally worth it. I count down the days until I get to go again. All in all, treat yo’self when you’re pregnant. You’re doing a TON of work and you deserve it.

4) Comfy Shoes: I’m always amazed when I see pregnant women in heels. I gave those up long ago. Not to mention my belly is so big I think I’d fall over if I attempted it. I wear flip flops during the day (the joys of living in South Florida) or I’ll wear my Tieks. I am DYING over their new Hollywood Collection. These are rose gold. So gorgeous. They’re so comfortable and have a good supportive sole on them.

5) Mommy Measuring Tape: So, I did this with Brady and I’m SO glad I did. I used the Mommy Measure to measure and mark my belly progress throughout all nine months. It’s been so fun (and slightly hysterical) to compare this time. I’m measuring 10 weeks ahead. Ha! We’re past where my belly was at 40 weeks at this point.

6) Coconut Oil: One of the hardest pregnancy “symptoms” is the ITCH. My belly is so itchy right now I just want to scratch it with a FORK. I’ve tried EVERYthing. Coconut oil just feels the most “non-greasy” and seems to help a little bit. I used it pre-pregnancy also. I love that its natural and smells heavenly.

7) A Super Cute Cup for LOTS of Water: I’ve been mega thirsty this go-round because the babies need so much water from me. I was really excited when my amazing friend, Ashlee Proffitt launched her new mugs and tumblers including this super cute tumbler. It comes with a hot pink straw, lid and the cup. The cup doesn’t sweat, which I love. And it says “JOY comes in the morning.” Wont that be a nice reminder during those sleepless nights. Well, it already is during THESE sleepless nights. I try to drink a few of these a day to stay hydrated (which helps a bit with the itchiness). You can find Ashlee’s tumbler here.

8) Boppy Sleep Wedge: Ok. This took me a few tries to get right. I am having a horrible time sleeping because my belly is so heavy. I’ve resigned to sleeping in our recliner now BUT when I am able to sleep on my side (the entire first and second trimesters) I needed a lot of support. Typically I put two squishy pillows under my head, one firm pillow between my knees and SOMETHING under my belly to hold it up in line with my spine. I tried a Snuggle and hated it. It’s huge. I just couldn’t get comfortable and rolling around with that thing at night was like wrestling with a bear. Plus my belly is so big and the pillow is so big, it just didn’t work. A friend recommended this itty bitty wedge and I gave it a try. IT’S PERFECT! It’s not too big and not too small. It holds my belly up to be in line with my spine and takes pressure off my back. Brady calls it “Mommy’s little pillow.”

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I’ve got 9 weeks or so to go, so I’d LOVE some more of your suggestions! Honestly, a few things I didn’t include here that are DEFINITELY pregnancy essentials: good friends who can help in a pinch, a husband who will help you even when football is on, lots of sleep and heaps upon heaps of grace with yourself.

xo,

Emily

(Pic above by Laura of Captured in His Image Photography in Tampa)

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SIMPLICITY : Rachel Green

Simplicity_Rachel Green-01I am a city girl turned small town farmer’s wife. I live in Leitchfield, Kentucky (near Louisville) and I have grown to love the slow pace and close knit feeling of small town living. I am married to my best friend, Jonathan, and we are have a 8 month old baby boy named Logan. Motherhood has been one of the greatest blessings I have been able to experience, next to being a wife, and I consider myself very lucky to be living those roles daily. Just this year, I was able to quit my job and focus on running Printed Ink full time so that I could be home to take care of our son.

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

Most importantly, I pray. I ask God to give me the strength I need (and sometimes patience) to get through the day and to be the best wife, mother, and business owner that I can. That prayer time puts my mind in the right place and gets me off on the right foot each day. I also try to eat healthy, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep. It may be the cliche answer, but it really is what works best for me.


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

I take care of most of the mundane tasks myself since my husband works outside of the home, and I work in the home so I can take care of our son. I am admittedly OCD about being organized, and it is essential that I have a routine in order to get it all done. My weekly routine makes it so easy because I know that there is time to get it all done and I don’t have to stress out about trying to figure out when to do something. Running a business while taking care of a baby can be tough some days, so things don’t always get done when they need to. But I try my best to take care of business things during my set office hours and chores during my set housework time and it really does make it less stressful. One thing that I try to do to help make it easier is monthly meal planning. It rarely stays the way I planned at the beginning of the month, but I at least know there is a plan for something if I need it. Things change and you have to be flexible with it, but it makes a difference knowing that there is one less decision to make each day when I have a meal already planned. It also helps with the grocery shopping too because I can stock up on things once a month and then just run for the essentials the rest of the month.

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

With a new little one around the house now, we are starting to create traditions as a family. One of the most important things we do every week is going to church on Sunday mornings. We want to make sure our little boy is raised in church and grows to love God at an early age.

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

Simplicity_Green-011. Bible/Devotional:  It always brings me peace and inspiration to read the words of God. I am currently reading the Busy Mom’s Devotional by Lisa Bergren and each week, the study hits me exactly where I need it.
2. iPhone: Unfortunately, I take this thing with me everywhere – even just around the house. I mostly use it for the camera and I am always snapping photos of my sweet baby. But I also use it to keep track of my to-do list, check emails, and social media when I am away from the computer.

3. Diaper Bag: The only time I leave the house without it is when I leave the house without my son (which rarely happens). I am currently using a JJ Cole diaper bag and it has been great for us so far. It is easy to carry and can fit all of the baby essentials with tons of pockets to keep it organized (and this organization-loving mom loves that!).

4. Baby Monitor: Every time the little one naps or when he is sleeping at night, the monitor is on and next to me. I have a Summer video monitor and I absolutely love it. Logan is a good sleeper, but it is a comfort knowing I can check on him anytime I need to. And sometimes this provides entertainment because he likes to look up at the camera and smile when he wakes up!

5. Project Life App: I just started using this more and more and I love it. I love being able to instantly use all of those many photos I take of the little one and put them into scrapbook pages. It is so easy to use and makes me feel better about taking so many pictures!

6. Computer: This is how I run my business and I would have no way of doing what I do without it. I had to live without it while it was being fixed a couple of months ago and it was tough! It is hard to run and online graphic design based business when you have no computer to operate on!

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

Setting office hours for my business was the best thing I could have done this year. It makes a huge difference in my stress level and gives me more time to enjoy my little one and my husband. It allows me to fully enjoy the time I am with my family and gives me time away from my business to relax and rest my mind. Plus, most times when I come back to work the next day I feel ready to tackle my to-do list and full of inspiration. On that same note, setting a routine for yourself can help you to make more time for the things you enjoy. Especially with a little one to take care of, things can get hectic easily, so it is a lifesaver to be able to have extra time to spend with him knowing that those chores will get done later.

One other thing I am still in the process of learning each day (and probably will always need to be reminded of it) is that no matter how stressful, or sad, or crazy things get, this too shall pass. Every season of life has its ups and downs, and it is important to enjoy it while it is here. Time goes by so fast and before you know it, this season of life will be gone. Don’t get lost in the next step or planning for the future and miss out on what is in front of you now.

 

Follow along with Rachel:

Instagram: @printedinkdesigns

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 Opferman

 

Simplicity_Graphic Template-01My name is Amanda Opferman, I am 19 years of age. I have three younger sisters and a little brother who is four. I started my company, Wallflower Design Co. when I was 16 when I couldn’t find a phone case that I liked. Three years later, my business has grown and changed way more than I expected or dreamed (like your pants on thanksgiving, kinda.) I went to college for a month and dropped out to pursue growing my company. (Heck, I could go back later.)

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

My home studio is in my basement (finished for my studio space). I deliberately planned out a little ‘nook’ filled with antiques, good books and a big American flag. This is where I do my devotions – I pray for good business decisions and strength for the day. This definitely keeps me sane. I bring the walls down and just relax in this time. More recently, I have been doing nightly devotions due to chaotic mornings.

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

I am always so buried in my work. Since I work at home, it is tough to escape it. If my car is in the driveway, I am probably working. (I’m excited to maybe/finally get my own commercial space soon!) I try and do laundry on Sunday, my room on Monday, the studio on Wednesday and then whatever needs done the rest of the week. I am still living with my parents if you couldn’t tell already. ;) I try and get my sisters to help with whatever needs cleaned. Not a specific day of the week.

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

Almost every night, we will all sit in the living room and talk about our days, the news and play with our dachshunds – Lucy & Rudy. Let me tell you, they are both balls of energy after dinner, which we also have together. I am so thankful that my parents make us all stick together when we could all be hurrying off to do other things.

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

Oh wow! This is tough. I love:

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1. My iPad: I love how I can have everything on it. Editing software for Instagram posts for @madebywallflower, books for the down time and of course, music.

2. Micron pens with sketchbook: Micron pens are my favorite medium – I have used them on almost every project I’ve created! I always carry a small sketchbook to dump my brain of design ideas and quotes to use for my current 365 project.

3. My Home-Base Binder: I love the printables. Cant wait to try out the weekly planner this year!

4. My Bible: I have learned as a small business owner that the only constant thing is God. As I take more risks and carry on day-to-day I lean into him to give me guidance on everything. 

5. Mod by This Is Ground: I love how it can carry everything I need.

6. My favorite chapstick or lipstick: I am a fan of Stila ‘Vivienne‘ shade lately along with the shimmery chapsticks from Burts Bees. I can’t decide!

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

I think that especially in this time, it is easy to lose ourselves in social media. It is so easy to put a front on for our followers. It is so much more important to post something showing your real true self than posting something for likes or attention for the moment. Let your true style show off. Be authentic!

 

Follow along with Amanda:

Instagram: @madebyamandaliz

 

 

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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