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.

DressTheBump_EmilyLey-03

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.

DressTheBump_EmilyLey-01

(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

Twins_Nursery-01

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

Simplicity_Graphic. Winchester-01

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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SIMPLICITY: Bailey Jean Robert

Simplicity_Robert-01Hi y’all! I’m Bailey Jean, a Texas girl born and raised and a recent graduate of Baylor University. In the past year I have worn many hats, from a live-in nanny, a children’s theatre director, and an Anthropologie sales gal all while adventuring in Seattle. This fall will bring me closer to home as I will attend graduate school, pursuing a masters in theatre at Oklahoma State. It is needless to say that in a whirlwind of transition it is the simple things that keep me stable and steady.

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I have learned that rest is key, and that it has to do with FAR more than my sleep schedule. I am an extroverted introvert and after a full day of working retail or Alice in Wonderland rehearsal, I can tell when I need to recharge. Yes, hitting the hay early helps, but it is the morning that turns my day around. Instead of hitting the snooze button three times, if I’m up-and-at-’em at the first bell’s ring, I have more time to take my time getting ready. Listening to worship music during my morning routine and commute puts me in a good mood, and taking time to get in the word is the perfect dose of perspective to add grace to my day.

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In your house, how do the mundane parts of life get done?
As a single gal, meal-planning for one is more difficult than you may think. I try to take care of grocery shopping on Sundays after church (and if I’m really feeling in-control I steer clear of Target; too many beautiful things find their way into my cart otherwise). I need quick meals on the go, and I find that writing them in to my planner keeps me from detouring to Chipotle in-between gigs.

What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to you? And why?
Every Wednesday my small group hosts a potluck dinner. We are given a theme on Sunday and each prepare our best dish (some go Pinterest-crazy and others simply put a new spin on Grandma’s classic recipes). This time is essential to my week and so refreshing! We gather around the table, catch up on life, and share many a laugh over a wide variety of food. There is a prize for best dish, by the way, and boy is my group competitive. But it’s all in good fun, and it’s this fun each week that gets me through to the weekend.

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

Simplicity_Blog_Robert-011. Lara Casey’s PowerSheets: I am a list girl through and through, an avid note taker, and a firm believer that when you write something down it gets put into action. I LOVE these goal setting tools!

2. Project Life 6×8 Albums: I love to scrapbook but the 12×12 was too much for this season of life. My 6×8 albums are a fun way to capture the memories and adventures from my time in Seattle, and totally manageable with my small budget and space.

3. The Any.Do App: More lists, is anyone surprised? Literally crossing off items on my to-do list makes me feel more productive, and I love having this app at my fingertips. Plus you can earn rewards with the more items you cross off!

4. Root Plump by Big Sexy Hair: This project is a life- and time-saver! My hair is straight as a board and obstinate when it comes to holding a curl, so the extra volume this product gives is stellar. A few spritzes before drying in the morning and BAM! All day lift.

5. Rifle Paper Co Journals: I love a good journal, and pretty paper goods are a day-maker. I use the Rifle Paper journals for everything from to-do lists to party plans, big dreams and daily doings.

6. The Message Bible: One of my goals for 2014 is to reignite a love for scripture in my life, and this version has helped immensely. Even the most familiar verses and stories have been brought to new life. I highly recommend it!

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

I struggled for a long time to become content in my season; I’m not the cute mom blogger of six who can tell you ten ways to keep the kitchen tidy, nor the newlywed with sage advice for building a home. But I have come to realize that even as a single college grad I can make my home meaningful as well as live a full yet simplified life! Invest in fun dishes, embrace your spontaneity, and make your healthy habits now. Today is the day, my friends! Don’t wait ;)

Follow along with Bailey:

Instagram: @baileyjeanrobert

Blog: http://www.braveloveblog.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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Simple Favorites: Erin McDermott Jewelry

ErinMcDermottJewelry2

When it comes to fashion and clothes and accessories, I’m a pretty minimal / basic kind of girl. Find me the perfect fitted tee and I’ll buy it in every color. In terms of jewelry I wear special, meaningful pieces. Often they’re gifts from Bryan or sometimes more pricey pieces that I’ve had forever and wear over and over again. I don’t wear statement pieces a lot – unless its a gorgeous necklace with a simple black dress for a night out.

I LOVE this new necklace from Erin McDermott Jewelry. Not only is each of her pieces handmade, each piece has a special story and was carefully created by Erin with so much love. For a long time I wore this cross necklace from Stella & Dot. (Like… I never took it off). Now, I’m wearing this version of the laid-down cross from Erin. It’s a freshwater pearl necklace. It’s just gorgeous and feels so special. I haven’t taken it off in weeks. You may recognize Erin’s pieces from Garden & Gun, Martha Stewart Weddings and Real Simple Magazine.

A lot of people have asked me what the sideways cross means. I love this explanation (though I’m sure there are a lot of explanations) – “It’s a symbol of Jesus’ finished work – having procured our salvation, He has laid his cross down.”

All of Erin’s jewelry is just gorgeous and she’s been so sweet to extend a special discount just for our readers!! Use code “EMILYLEY” at checkout to save 40% off the Freshwater Pearl Cross Necklace and / or the Bracelet version!

Follow Erin on Instagram

Like Erin on Facebook

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The 2015 SIMPLIFIED PLANNERS ARE HERE!

SimplifiedPlanner_Annawithlove_WEB--18Order yours today! We’re so excited to FINALLY have these in the shop and can’t wait to put them in your hands! If you have any questions, check out this great post with details of both the Weekly Edition and Daily Editions! LaunchButton-09

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Special thanks to Annawithlove Photography for the beautiful image above!

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SIMPLICITY : MANDY MAY

 

Simplicity_Graphic_May-01Hey y’all, I’m Mandy! I live in Louisburg, NC. The south. The country, to be more exact. My back yard is a tobacco field, my neighbors bring us fresh vegetables from their gardens, and we have just recently become the adopted family of six little ducks who think they are children. My husband, my two girls ( 3 and 5), and I make up our little family. Though in the south, as you know, “family” is a relative term. Literally. It grows by the day, which I love. You just never know you might run into at the super market who will introduce herself as your cousin, twice removed, and squeeze your babies cheeks and ask about “your mama and them”. Speaking of family, my work is really just an extension of my family life. I work for my very dearest friend, Susan, and I feel like the Lord created this little piece of heaven just for us. Technically, I am the Operations Manager of Pea Pod Paper and Gifts, but in reality, I am the Organization Queen of the South. That’s the title I give myself. It’s a better fit, I think, and one of these days I’ll have a sash made.

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

I start and end every day in prayer. I actually visualize the Lord, in His full glory, listening to my every word and thought. I do this because I believe that He IS listening, and it also helps me stay focused. A mama’s mind so easily wonders. This simple prayer and meditation keeps my attention all day long. Whenever I start to stray from the goodness of life to the land of “things that could possibly happen that are TERRIBLE but probably never actually will”, I just come back to those quiet moments with me and Jesus, and I am enveloped in the peace that passes all understanding. I am ready for anything.

I have also learned to let myself enjoy the things that I love, that may not serve any other purpose than to make me feel good. Sweet tea, Lilly Pulitzer, banana pudding, Mary Kay Andrews, and brightly colored office supplies, for instance. And so what if I have to watch Dirty Dancing EVERY SINGLE TIME it’s on TV? Who is that really hurting? I think the two most important things we can do for ourselves are to give our whole entire hearts to Jesus, and to give ourselves a break. He gave us this life to enjoy it. And to do whatever we can to help other people enjoy theirs. Love deep and wide, and don’t ever apologize for it.

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

I may be one of the few southern women left in the world who actually enjoys chores. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, I love it. My very favorite chore is cleaning out. Give me a messy closet and a few giant trash bags and I am in hog heaven. For me, cleanliness provides deep satisfaction. Sure my floors need scrubbing and my shower grout needs bleaching, but overall, I like things tidy. This is my idea of simplified life. Keeping things tidy, everything in it’s place, refrigerator shelves lined with cute polka-dotted covers (that’s right, refrigerator shelf liners), this keeps things simple. I love to make lists and check things off, hangs clothes neatly by category in the closets, and dress us all in sort of coordinating outfits with giant monogrammed matching hair bows on my children’s heads. I believe this compulsiveness is deeply rooted in southern tradition. Not quite a disease, but close to it.

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What is one tradition or routine that’s really important to your family?

Night time prayer is our most treasured tradition. This began as me saying prayers over my babies as I gently, okay sometimes desperately, rocked them to sleep at night. I would thank God for the best parts of the day and plead for more patience and guidance in the more difficult bits. And as the babies grew, they joined in the thanksgiving and pleading. And as my husband listened to the sweet gratitude for sunny days and best friend’s birthday parties, and the serious requests for the healing of boo boo’s and more new Sofia’s, he even began to lift up a prayer or two. And because I believe the absolute most important thing that we will do in this life is raise our children to be faithful followers of God, this tiny piece of our day is the most important. It defines who we are as a family.

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

Simplicity_Blog_May1. Emily Ley Simplified Planner
Let’s just start with the tie that binds. While I am admittedly planner obsessed, this one has been a game changer. The vast open white spaces leave lots of room for color coding without clashing, because we can’t have that, and lists of all kinds. I adore the large spaces on the monthly calendar, the weekly prep list, and bright colored tabs. While I am giddy over the new designs, I think I’ll be going for the signature stripes again for 2015. It’s hard to improve on perfection.

2. Monogrammed Hair Bows
When I was younger I just could not believe my mama put those giant bows on my head. I whined and swore I would NEVER do that to MY little girls. Well guess what. No outfit for my girls is complete without a monogrammed hair bow that is nearly the size of their heads. They look naked without them! Luckily, we have a friend who hand-ties them and another who monograms, so we never have to go without. Just precious.

3. Bright pink blush
My current favorite is MAC Proenza Schouler Blush Ombré in Ocean City. Southern women should never leave the house without a pretty pink blush, a coat of mascara, and lip gloss. Basic rule of thumb. Call me old fashioned if you want to.

4. Good Home Co. Beach Days Glass and Surface Cleaner
This all purpose cleaner is both powerful and all natural, keeping all the harsh chemicals and additives of most cleaning products out of your home. But most importantly, it smells so much like the beach that I want to strip down to my unmentionables and lay on the back porch with a pina colada every time I wipe down the kitchen counter. Get some. Your husbands can thank me later.

5. Carolina Herrera 212
Oh this perfume. This smell. It is absolutely intoxicating. People stop me when I walk by to ask what I’m wearing. Of course I tell them I don’t know what in the world they are talking about, it’s just my natural scent. But actually, I owe this sweetness to the lovely Ms. Herrera.

6. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young App
This daily devotional changed my life. It speaks directly to me every day. And I know I am not the only one who feels that way. I have gifted it to so many friends who feel the same way. Sarah Young has a way of interpreting scripture that brings the Bible to life in a whole new way. It’s an absolute must have.

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

After attending Making Things Happen in 2012, Emily and Lara became a driving force in helping me find my way back to my roots. And my purpose. While I have taken some time off from writing, I have certainly found myself. I have learned to say no to some things that I used to love so that I can YES to what matters. I encourage y’all to do the same. Remember the times in your life when you felt the MOST full. The most complete. Remember who you were then . Even if you haven’t felt that way since you were in high school, or a little girl without a care in the world. That still matters. It’s still relevant. Even though circumstances change, who you are meant to be never does. Simplify your world. Bring the innocence back. Let’s go back to a less more pure way of life.

 

Follow along with Mandy:

Instagram: @peapodpaperandgifts

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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