Happy third birthday, Brady Ley.

Dear Brady,

You’re three years old today. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my mind around it, really. Because just yesterday you were taking your first little wobbly step. You were saying Mommy instead of Mama. You were saying your first word. And now. Now, sweet boy, you are a little boy. No longer a baby and only a toddler for just a little while longer, you are so strong. You are smart and sweet and silly and full of personality. You’ve grown, little man, from Mommy’s precious baby into Mommy’s big boy. I don’t really know what to say of all this love in my heart for you. Other than it brings me to tears to try and write.

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I want you to always know how much you are wanted. How much you are cherished and valued. You are so important, sweet B. You are so worthy of a life lived to its fullest every single second that God grants you. And naturally tears are streaming down my face, just like every year when I write these letters to you, but that’s just the outpouring of a grateful heart. Your daddy and I dreamed of you for a long time and it will never sink in just how lucky we were for God to tap our shoulders to be your parents.

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This year, you’ve done so many new things. You started “school” at Mrs. Evelyn’s house with your three buddies. You travelled thousands of miles back and forth to Nana and Pop Pop’s house in Pensacola.

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You learned how to cheer Mommy up when she went through a hard time after we lost our sweet Briggs and your Daddy’s Daddy went to heaven. Speaking of heaven, we talked a lot about it this year. And you asked a lot of questions about a lot of important things. You are so smart sweet boy.

One of my favorite memories from this year was when we travelled to Flights of Fantasy with Daddy and Meemaw. This little bitty airplane was about to take off and had to rev up his engine down a really long runway. It was loud and windy and everyone was cheering on the little plane. I was video-taping your reaction to seeing this cool airplane when you suddenly cheered, “GO GO GO AIRPLANE! YOU CAN DO IT!” I thought my heart might explode. All you wanted was to cheer that little airplane on. Oh sweet boy. Never, ever lose that heart of yours.

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My prayer for you is that you would always have that need to LOVE on other people. Give it away, B, and it will come back to you in a million ways. If you’re ever confused and don’t know the answer to a situation… just love on people. That’s always the right answer. Never doubt that.

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I love being your Mama more than anything in the world. My favorite time of day is at bedtime after Daddy brushes your teeth… I lay down with you for a few minutes and we say prayers together. You say you’re grateful for your tool bench and your stuffed dog, Taco.

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And sometimes, like tonight (its almost as if you knew my heart needed extra love today) you ask me to marry you. Or you tell me how much you love when Daddy swings you from your feet in the living room. :) I love those little moments of honesty, buddy. They fill my heart to its brim. This little family of ours is so special.

I love you forever, my three year old. Happy, happy birthday to you.

With all my heart,

Mommy

Happy first birthday.

Happy second birthday.

Images by Michael Newman Photography (farm images) & Allie McWhinney Photography (neighborhood & home images)

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SIMPLICITY WITH CAITLIN ALEXANDER

Simplicity2-02Hi everyone! I’m Caitlin, and I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer and a full time college student. I’m deeply committed to celebrating the sweet and significant seasons of life alongside each of my treasured clients, and I have a big heart for real people and real love. I’m also super passionate about creating images that will bring happy tears to my clients’ eyes each time they peek at it. I adore gorgeous sunrises and any excuse to celebrate, pursue joy daily, and without Jesus I would be nothing. Thanks so much for having me!

Friends! Meet the lovely Caitlin Alexander. I’m so happy to have her here on the blog today. She’s such a sweet friend and encouraging supporter of mine and her work is beautiful as well. Without further a due…

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SPERRY ANGLEFISH SHOES: I absolutely adore these shoes. I’ve owned the same pair for a while now, and they never fail me. They’re made out of gorgeous, comfortable leather that goes with almost anything, and their classy, nautical style reminds me of New England, where I was born!

iTUNES RADIO: Found in the “Music” app on iPhone’s & iPad’s! Throughout my days at school, I can often be found with a pair of headphones plugged into my iPhone and one of my favorite stations playing on iTunes Radio. I have several stations “favorited” and ready to play as I head to a class, study, edit, or even tackle emails! It’s the perfect soundtrack to my days.

EOS ORGANIC LIP BALMYes, I’m that girl who always is taking this out of her bag to reapply it! I adore Eos, particularly the light blue mint one. I’m a fan of no-fuss, pretty makeup, and this is the perfect foundation or addition to any look for me. Not to mention the fact that it smells amazing!

INITIAL NECKLACE: I received this necklace for my 18th birthday, and there have been very few days since that I haven’t worn it! I adore how classy and wearable it is. Much like the Sperry’s, this necklaces goes with anything. I’m a sucker for anything personalized or monogrammed. A little fancy and a little simple, I can’t get enough of this one!  :)

147 MILLION ORPHANS TOTE: Perfect for an overnight trip or just a day out, this bag has been well loved! I have a huge heart for the millions of orphans worldwide, 147 Million Orphans is my favorite organization to support in their fight against the orphan crisis. Plus, the bag is just plain adorable, and the burlap makes it super durable.

THE MESSAGE: SOLO DEVOTIONAL: I read through this book daily as a part of my devotional time. It’s written in the Lectio Divina style, which I had never heard of before my pastor recommended this book to me! The devotion for each day is fairly short, but more powerful than I ever expected. My favorite part is found near the end, which provides a prompt for prayer and reflection, and I find that this is especially helpful in getting the most out of my time with Jesus every day!

 

Follow along with Caitlin:

Website: caitlinalexanderphotography.com

Blog: caitlinalexanderblog.com

Instagram: instagram.com/caitlin_alexander

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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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A printable Valentine

photoHappy almost Valentine’s Day, friends!

Valentine’s Day is two days before Brady’s birthday, so its a special holiday for us. I made these cute “You make my days colorful” Valentines for Brady’s little four-kiddo class and LOVE how they turned out! Here’s a little printable for you in case you’d like to use them too! You can print them on an 8.5 x 11 piece of card stock and use crayons or mini Crayola markers (I found these in the dollar bin at Target not too long ago). I slipped gold elastic through the holes and tied bows to hold them on. Hooray! Enjoy!

xo,

Emily

Red Valentine Printable

or (in case the red is too much for your printer)

White Valentine Printable

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Keep it simple – business

Over the past few years, in my attempts to streamline, automate and simplify my business – all while building an extremely personal and connected brand – I’ve come across a few really great tools that have helped me tremendously. Back in 2008 when I was brand new, I wrote helpful blog posts to “pay forward” all the help and advice I’d received along the way. (Read here about trademarks, setting up a business and budgeting). I want to get back into that in all aspects of my life – in business, as a Mama and as a wife. I’m going to start a series here called Keep It Simple. I truly believe that it is possible to do it all (our need to’s, have to’s and want to’s) when we get rid of the excess.

I’ll go into more detail on this topic later, but I recently let go of A LOT of excess in my business. Someone once told me, “Just because you’re good at it… and can earn a living at it DOESNT mean you have to do it.” I chewed on that phrase for a long time before I finally decided to trust my gut and grow this business from my core – our Simplified Planner and my love for helping other busy women make what matters happen.

I work 24-28 hours a week. This is the most I’ve worked since Brady was born. For the first year, I was with him most of the time with the occasional afternoon to work (Oddly enough, that was my BUSIEST business year to date. I had my iron in so many fires it makes me tired to remember). During his second year, I worked three days a week and spent two with B. Now that he’s three, I’m working 4 days a week from about 9:30-3:30. I love having a flexible schedule but running a growing business and working these few hours I have had to put some tools in place to help me streamline my workflow and make everything happen. My favorite tools:

1-01Guys, I never EVER thought I’d say this. I love Quickbooks Online. I have tried Quickbooks at least seven times in my 5 years in business. I’ve devoted days and weeks to setting it up only to throw in the towel because I was so overwhelmed. My brain “doesn’t work that way” I used to say. I used Outright up until a few weeks ago when I decided to put on my big girl pants and give QB one more shot. The new Quickbooks Online is fantastic. It’s new for 2014 and is very visual – charts, graphs, colors – it’s great. I feel like I have a much better handle on my financial picture – thanks to QB and Will Ray. I’ve been working with Will for a few months and he’s FANTASTIC. I highly recommend both :)

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Our shop is built on the Shopify platform and I will sing their praises to the moon and back. I’ve used other cart platforms before and I really love the way Shopify gives me so much control. God bless Aeolidia, they also give me a lot of control with the custom theme and adjustment abilities they gave me within it (because they know how much I like to customize and adjust things as we go).

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Perhaps my greatest discovery in my tenure as a shop owner is ShipStation. Shipping is REALLY hard whether you’re receiving two orders a month or ten thousand orders a month. ShipStation was something I discovered through Shopify. It pulls our Etsy sales and our Shopify sales into one safe place and allows us to batch ship our orders. We use a Dymo 4XL LabelWriter (we have a love hate relationship with this label printer just like any other printer that tends to jam from time to time) but it does the job quickly.

There you have it. I’d love to know some of your simple business tools. Running a busy family is a lot like running a business, so if you have simple family tools I’d love to hear those too! I hear Mint is a good one but I’ve yet to try it!

xo,

Emily

 

 

 

 

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Happy Friday!

This boy. I can’t even handle it. He and his buddy Beckett (and their two little gal friends) all learned the pledge of allegiance. It’s my favorite thing ever. I’ve watched this video seven hundred times. Hope it makes you smile today. :)

xo,

Emily

PS: Enjoy his Marvel Comic Book tee shirt. His Daddy buys him these to balance my seersucker and monograms. :)

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SIMPLICITY WITH NANCY RAY

Simplicity-07I’m a Southern girl who looks most forward to waking up each morning to drink my coffee, read my Bible and soak in the beauty that surrounds me. When I’m not taking pictures, you can typically find me watching movies with my husband, browsing Anthropologie, walking my great dane puppy, or finding the latest treasures at my local antique store.

Earlier this year I challenged myself to 3 months of no shopping. Before you close this webpage and write me off as crazy, I want you to know that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was a simple decision centered on self discipline, changing habits, and focusing on what matters. It was hard. I’ve always been a “shopper,” a “spender,” a “free spirit.” My weakness is clothes, I’ll admit it. But in the midst of this challenge, I learned so much about myself, about wasted money, about our culture that lies to us and tells us we never have enough and we always need more. I learned the truth: I CAN change my habits. I DON’T need more. I AM content. (You can read all about it here.)

This decision enhanced my life in so many ways, and it formed new habits in me that I pray will last for a lifetime. It simplified my life more than I could have ever imagined! I wasted less time, I did more activities with my husband and friends, I found more outfits in my closet that I already owned, I focused on all that I have. And it’s a lot.

I hope these 6 picks will help you find simplicity and contentment in your own life!

Friends. Hi, there. It’s Emily here. Meet Nancy. Your life will genuinely be better now that you know Nancy. She’s one of my favorite people on planet Earth. She has a heart of gold. Her husband, Will, is a great friend of mine too. I’ve been doing some business finance coaching with Will lately and he’s helped me a lot (for all my creative friends out there!). I’ll let Nancy take it from here… xo, Emily

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MY MORNING ROUTINE: I am a firm believer in this quote by Simon T Bailey: “The way your start your day determines your day.” So, my morning routine is as follows:

6:00 am: Wake up and do not push snooze. (Still working on this one!) Let the dog out, get coffee. Light a candle, turn on the fireplace, say a prayer, read a chapter in the Bible.

6:30 am: Read Jesus Calling, then journal about what God is speaking to me for that day. Write 3 things I’m thankful for in my gratitude journal.

7:00 am: Read 15-30 pages in a non-fiction inspirational book to help me in some area of my life or business. (Currently reading 168 Hours & loving it!)

7:30 am: Get ready for the day.

8:00 am: Work out or begin my work day.

MY ENVELOPE SYSTEM: My husband and I believe that taking care of our household finances is an incredible way to honor God and make a difference in the world. When we tell our money where to go rather than asking where it went, we are able to do more and give more. Simplifying our finances with a budget takes time and diligence, but it is so worth it. Every month before the month begins, we have a budget meeting to determine how we will spend every single dollar we make. Then we put cash into Envelopes! We have a food envelope, a household envelope, a clothing envelope, a gifts envelope, etc. When the money runs out, it runs out! We don’t go to the bank to get more. This keeps me accountable to NOT overspend, but to pace myself through the month – especially with groceries and household items. We are intentional with where we spend our money, because “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I realized during the Contentment Challenge that I was putting my “treasure,” my money, into clothes and material things. Scripture says that is a reflection of my heart, and I wanted to change that! After 5 years of sticking to a tight budget, we paid off our house. Now we have a bigger budget, the freedom to travel and the ability give more away!

MY LISTS: Whether it’s my To-Do list for the day, my grocery list at the store, or my family gift list for Christmas, I stick to my lists. This has been a major way I’ve simplified my life. I check off things to do that are priority for that day, and don’t get sidetracked with other menial tasks. I don’t buy that extra box of cookies or sweater just because it’s on sale if it’s not on my list! This has allowed us to create the habit of only buying what we need, which allows us to live clutter-free and stick to our budget. To this day, at the end of the month when our grocery envelope is empty, we choose to eat the food in our pantry and fridge instead of buying “what we are in the mood for that night.” I love beginning each month knowing that we’ve used what we’ve purchased, instead of buying too much that will just expire anyway. Yes, our pantry is pretty much empty at the end of each month, and we like it that way.

MY EXERCISE: Two years ago I was the most non-athletic person you have ever seen. It took me a solid 45 minutes and a lot of heaving and ho-ing to walk/jog 2 miles. But I made a decision to take care of my body, and I set a goal to run a half marathon. It was terrifying. I never played sports; I didn’t have an athletic bone in my body. Fast forward 2 years, and I’ve run 2 half marathons since! I love my Pilates, hot yoga, walks with my dog, and long runs through my neighborhood. This has taught me the incredibly valuable lesson that doing physical activities brings me so much more joy than spending money or going out to eat. This was a major shift in how I spend my time, and I am so grateful for this part of my journey. Taking time to exercise allows me to focus on me, to clear my head, and to physically prepare myself for the tasks ahead.

MY GRATITUDE JOURNAL: Every morning I write down three things things I am thankful for. We have SO MUCH to be thankful for. Honestly, we’ve already won the lottery just by being born in America. (Read my husband’s thoughts on this here.)  Starting my day off with this perspective gives me strength to operate life from a place of contentment, fighting the voice of our culture that always says “you never have enough.” Oh friends, we have more than enough. If we didn’t buy 1 new outfit for a year, we still have more than enough! Some examples in my gratitude journal include: A long day at work, a full pantry, tears of understanding, a rainy day at home, life celebrations, ice, the right to worship freely, vision, God’s timing, late night road trips, peanut butter pretzels, campfires, red nails on a summer day, the ability to read, clean dishes, a good night’s sleep. Callie, one of my associate photographers, gifted me this journal last Christmas. You can get yours at CallMeCallie.

MY CHURCH: Every week I attend church with my husband on Sunday morning, and I volunteer at youth group on Wednesday nights. (He is the youth ministries director!) We teach a financial class one evening a week, 1 – 2 times a year. My husband is on staff at our church, but even so, we make this a priority for us. Nothing fills me up like singing my heart out in worship on Sunday mornings. When I get to talk with young girls about the challenges they face on a weekly basis, and then I see them making the right choices, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness. My walk with the Lord is THE most important thing to me. It keeps me grounded, it gives me purpose. The Lord renews me every day. While this is last on the list, it’s certainly not the least. In fact, I don’t believe you can achieve true contentment in life without Jesus. Simplicity and contentment begins and ends with getting your heart right before God, and living for Him. Nothing else brings truer joy!

Follow along with Nancy:

Website : http://nancyrayphotography.com
Blog : http://nancyrayphotography.com/blog
Instagram : http://instagram.com/nancyray (@nancyray)

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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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Our Spring Cleaning Sale is here!

HOORAY! Friends! This is a big one. We have only two sales or discounts a year and this is #1! Everything in our shop is discounted up to 60% (excluding the Simplified Planner). We’re so excited about our newest collection (coming soon!) of very, very purposeful products designed to help women focus on what matters most. In an effort to simplify (pun intended), we are discontinuing our current products. Watch this short little video for all the details about what’s last-chance and what’s coming back in an even more powerful way! :) Happy Tuesday!

xo,

Emily

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SIMPLICITY with Amy Romano

Simplicity1-01Hi there! I’m a Northern California girl with southern roots living in the sunshine state.  I started blogging at Lily & Bliss to chronicle my journey raising sweet Lily and navigating marital bliss. My husband, Mike, our sweet Lily (who was born in 2011), our little girl #2 on the way, and our pup Bentley are the loves of my life. I really believe life is all about creating your own bliss. For me, bliss is found in a good book, live music, my comfy white Pottery Barn linens, dinners with my family alfresco, fresh peonies, a good bottle of Malbec (my wine of the moment), organizing our home to make life easier, the History Channel (a guilty pleasure!), sweet Lily giggles and all things Southern.

Friends! I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my very best friends, Amy! Amy lives in Tampa and has a sweet little girl named Lily (and another on the way!). Amy is my soul sister and I’m so glad to feature her here. We met at a bar right before I got married… its your typically love story! You will love her. AND check out her blog, Lily & Bliss.

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AQUAPHOR: I don’t leave home without this amazing ointment! Aquaphor is preservative-free & fragrance-free which is non-irritating for my super sensitive skin. I primarily use it for a lip balm, however whenever I get eczema or dry skin I lather it on. Wearing flip flops 80% of the year in Florida is rough on the heals, so I apply this magic ointment to my feet at night and slip on some socks. My two year old daughter, Lily, has unfortunately received my sensitive skin and this product is safe for her precious skin when she gets small eczema breakouts. I love that I can find this product at any store and since you only need to use a small dollop- it lasts a very long time!

BOO-BOO BUDDY: My daughter, Lily, is very active and her legs seem to be riddled with bumps & bruises 24/7. The Boo-Boo Buddy is a cold pack I keep in the fridge to help soothe her boo boos which seem to occur on the daily. We have an Elmo & Disney’s Ariel the Little Mermaid and they make her smile through her tears when she gets to hold it against her scraped knee or head bump. Even though her dad and I are there to shower her with TLC, it’s the Boo-Boo Buddy that seems to alleviate her pain and end her tears…and that makes this a priceless item in our household! You can find these online or at Babies R Us. A tip: place it in the fridge & not in the freezer. The freezer makes the pad too cold for kid’s owie!

iPAD: Thanks to modern technology us moms have access to gadgets to keep our little ones entertained while we can get the most basic errands completed. The iPad makes grocery shopping, random trips to Target and doctor appointments much easier. When we take road trips the iPad has been a life savor keeping Lily entertained long enough to keep tantrums at bay. We have plenty of her favorite shows and a few Disney movies downloaded, but we have plenty of educational apps to keep her little brain active. Our favorites are Farm Sounds, Memory Match, Color Drops and Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad.

ZIPLOC BAGS: These famous plastic baggies make my life simple in more ways than one! To keep grocery bills low I purchase pork chops and/or steaks in bulk and then separate two pieces of meat per freezer safe bag, tossing them in the freezer until I’m ready to cook them. I pre pack snack and sandwich size bags with Goldfish crackers, Cheerios, gram crackers and any other snacks for my two year old. Whenever I’m running out the door (which is always) I can quickly grab a bag or two and toss them in my diaper bag. Always keep your toddler’s belly full when out in public! I keep a large Ziploc in my car just in case my daughter soils her clothes. When I have leftover pancakes I toss them in the freezer sealed in Ziploc bags. It takes less than a minute to heat the frozen pancakes for a quick breakfast!

MAC BLOT POWDER:  This is another product I never leave home without. As a stay at home mom I rarely apply makeup anymore, but this compact helps me spot any food in my teeth along with blotting my shiny forehead from the brutal Florida heat. There is nothing worse than a woman with too much make-up on and this pressed powder helps set your make-up without leaving noticeable powder lines that most compacts tend to leave. The main reason I became hooked on this product (been using it since college!) is that it helps absorb my skin’s oil and keeping my face shine free!

BATH & BODY WORKS 3-WICK CANDLE IN “LEAVES”:  I’m a candle lover, not just for their wonderful fragrance, but the calming ambience a flickering candle brings after a long stressful day of tantrums from my two year old. Turning down the lights and lighting a candle has always been a way I unwind weather I’m reading a book or catching up on my saved shows on DVR. This particular candle has become a favorite because the it makes my home feel like fall even though we are experiencing weather in the upper 80s still in Florida. This candle is suppose to burn for 25-40 hours and I can tell you that you only need to keep the flame going for less than an hour to make your entire room smelling like fall. Tip: this candle is pricey, but the shop sometimes places their 3-wick candles on sale for 2 for $22, so keep your eye out!

Follow along with Amy:

Blog: http://lilyandbliss.com

Instagram: lilyandliss

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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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You Have Five Minutes, Part II

fiveminblog-01Do you need a refresh? We’re three weeks into 2014 and I’d like to ask you a question my friend Lara asks me a lot.

How are you doing?

No… how are you really doing?

Well, imagine you have five minutes. Five FREE minutes to yourself right now. What will you do with them? Will you waste them on Facebook? Thumbing through Instagram on your iPhone? Feeling overwhelmed about the MOUNTAIN of half folded half unfolded laundry that’s in the living room on top of your couch? (Oh wait, that’s me…)

No, you have FIVE WHOLE MINUTES right now! TAKE THEM! Run with them! What will you do to refresh yourself? Your mind, your body, your soul – whatever needs it most or all of the above. This morning, after dropping Brady off at “school” (our dear friend has four toddlers over to her house a few days a week for “school” and its the greatest thing ever) I walked back into the house to get ready to work and immediately felt overwhelmed. But, I knew I could spare five minutes so I kicked that overwhelmed feeling in the teeth – gathered all the laundry together so we can tackle folding it tonight, made our bed, brushed my hair back into a neater ponytail and started making a green smoothie (yea, I’m fast). BOOM! Here are some ideas for you and your fancy five minutes. These can work for you if you’re in an office right now or if you’re at home:

  • Tidy up your desk. Put stuff away. Better yet, THROW STUFF AWAY.
  • Take all the trash out in your house.
  • Make a cup of coffee.
  • Drink a big glass of water.
  • Treat yourself to a healthy snack on a real plate.
  • Download your thoughts and to-do list onto a piece of paper.
  • Go for a walk outside, sunshine is a cure-all.
  • Gather all the loose papers on your desk into a pile. Deal with said pile later.
  • Tackle your inbox. You have five minutes, get it down to 0. Flag the important ones and take care of them later. Delete the rest.
  • Go to Unroll.Me. You’ll thank me later.
  • Call a friend. Warn them you only have five minutes. I talked to Lara this morning for longer than five minutes but it was so good for my heart to have “face/phone time” rather than “text time”. Pick up the phone. 
  • Read a few pages of a good book.
  • Open the Bible and read what you turn to.
  • Go brush your hair and put it up. Get it off your face.
  • Take a deep breath. No, really like right now as you’re reading this…. deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep breaaaaaaaaath. (We do this in my house and it works on everyone including Brady). Don’t you feel good now?

BOOM. You just kicked that overwhelmed feeling out the door too. Need more ideas? Check out “You Have Five Minutes” Part I that I wrote a few years ago over on the Making Things Happen Tumblr.

xo,

Emily

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Simplicity with Emily Ley, Part II

Simplicity-04Our Simplicity Series has been quite the hit. I’ve really enjoyed sharing “simplicity” tips and tricks from so many dear friends. I’m excited to share my second post! Here are a few things that make my life a little easier and a little more joyful:

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Tourance Blankets: This is my go-to gift for EVERYONE right now (scroll down to Tourance Blankets – I have the snow leopard). Seriously. You will thank me. It’s on sale at One Kings Lane (lots of different colors / patterns / styles) and it’s RIDICULOUSLY amazing. My friend, Danica, said it’s like wrapping yourself up with air. We have two laid over the back of our Restoration Hardware chairs and they make evenings around the fire watching football the most comfy ever. I adore One Kings Lane – I did a lot of Christmas shopping there because they feature a lot of small artisans and GREAT deals. I always feel like I’m purchasing something “found” there rather than from a big box store.

Redefine System by Rodan + Fields: I’ve been using this for a few months and I am OBSESSED. I used ProActive when I was a teen and I really loved the way it made my skin feel so smooth and clean. Redefine is for anti-aging and its fantastic. I have the kit that includes the cleanser / mask (Brady laughs and says I look like a ghost when I use it) + toner + moisturizer for AM and PM. I’m really picky when it comes to skincare… before my grandmother passed away right before Brady was born, she was 89 years old and had gorgeous skin… she used to tell me the secret was lots of time in the sun, lots of sunscreen and lots of moisturizer. I think she was probably right. I have two really dear friends you can purchase R+F from… links below:

Leah Harrison (in Pensacola)

Kristen Steele (in Nashville)

Shopify: Shopify makes my life so much easier. Our shop is built on the Shopify platform and its incredible. They offer everything from payment processing to easy set-up to reporting to discount codes to fulfillment integration. They are amazing – by far the best platform I’ve ever worked on (and I’ve worked on them all). They offer a free-trial and lots of details on their website. If you’re a shop owner, I highly recommend. There’s nothing else like it.

Amazon Prime: I remember being a new mama and having absolutely NO energy OR time to go to the grocery store for soap. I bought soap and laundry detergent on Amazon Prime (FREE two-day shipping!) and had it delivered straight to my door two days later for free. I shop here for nearly everything our family needs (diapers were so easy with Amazon Prime… but thank goodness we’re out of that stage).

Walk in Love: My entire work wardrobe is Walk in Love. Nearly. I’m serious. Their shirts are so incredibly soft and comfortable and carry the most beautiful messages. I have my eye on this one. The owners of Walk in Love are an incredible couple. I love supporting this small business with enormous heart.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: I LOVE this Bible. It’s so perfect for kids Brady’s age (and younger AND older). Every night we tuck Brady in and read a “chapter” from his Bible. The stories are short and the illustrations are captivating. He loves it and remembers so much from it. My favorite part of life right now is putting B to bed and hearing him remind me to read his Bible with him. You can purchase it with Amazon Prime and receive it in just a few days.

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