The 2015 Simplified Planners!

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

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

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Emily Ley 2015 Simplified Planners-04

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



The 2015 Simplified Planner from Emily Ley on Vimeo.


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Simplicity with McKay Pittman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow along with McKay:


Instagram: @oatmeallace


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

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



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Meet the Home Base Binder!

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

2013 Shay Cochrane

A few details about the binder itself:

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

2013 Shay Cochrane

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

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

2013 Shay Cochrane

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

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

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




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Pensacola Strong Fundraiser Update


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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









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Pensacola Strong

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


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

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

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



images from


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

canvas by Lindsay Letters


madras bedding // animal prints 


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

toy organizer


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

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


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


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

white dresser // duvet // mirror


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





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

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


Thanks for stopping by my house!!

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

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

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



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


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Busy as bees – some exciting news!

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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





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Simplicity_Graphic_Anna-01-01Hi everyone! So excited to be here today on Emily’s blog along side so many fabulous women!  I am a portrait/glamour photographer from Toronto, Canada! I am also a lifestyle blogger and with a newly opened fine art photography shop! As a recent newlywed and recent business owner I am constantly looking for ways to save time, streamline and simplify my life.  It’s definitely a work in progress but here are a few essentials I can’t go without.  Hope you all can take away some tips and ideas!


SIMPLIFIED PLANNER: If you follow me on Instagram or follow my blog you’ll know how obsessed I am with my simplified planner!  I take it everywhere and I love how organized it keeps me.  When I first saw this planner I screamed YES! FINALLY! Emily get’s it.  Lots of space for to-do’s, a layout and timetable of the day, space to plan dinner, an extra “notes” section – which I’ve started using to remind me what social media posts to go live, inspiring quotes daily (which I love) and not to mention the bright coloured stripes that make me so happy on the outside. Sigh, I love this planner.  Everything stays in one place and I can quickly reference it to see what’s coming up/what I have to do next.  It has saved me so much time, simplified down to one planner.

Emily’s note:  Anna has taken some amazingly, beautiful photos of her using the Simplified Planner.  Check them out!  We are completely, 100 % sold out of the 2014 Simplified Planner, but will be releasing more information on the 2015 edition soon. Stay tuned! :)

CLEAN KITCHEN: The way you start your morning can either make or break your day.   My morning routine is pretty simple.  I wake up, go into the kitchen, turn on my espresso machine and quietly start my day with a hot cup of coffee.  I love the feeling of walking into a clean (and I mean clean clean) tidy kitchen.   Nothing kills the feeling of a productive fresh start like a dirty kitchen (especially when you work out of your home).   Let’s keep it real sometimes I’m pooped after a long day of shooting and after dinner and rinsing the plates I want to sneak off to bed without tidying up 100%.   Every time I did this I’d wake up and feel so behind for the rest of the day.  I work best first thing in the morning, so instead of getting right to work it I’d start cleaning and then feel like I was playing “catch up” for the rest of the day!  I’ve now gotten into the habbit that no matter how tired I am I’ll thank myself in the morning if I get it done. I need to be as productive as I can every day, so being aware of what can throw you off and taking the time to fix bad habits definitely simplifies my mental state!  Something so small but makes a huge difference.

RASKOG: I want you all to meet Raskog & Raskog Jr. They’ve become part of the family! These two Ikea trollies keep everything organized and looking good.  I bought the first to hold all my desk supplies and was not expecting love it as much as I did.  Everything has a place and I can quickly grab what I need fast and easy (no digging through stacked boxes).  I had been looking for something moveable to hold all my camera equipment that kept it all safe but had easy access.  I went and bought a second Raskog and now they are friends.  I love having designated spaces for my supplies and equipment, keeps me from scowering the studio to find what I need and making a mess.  Love these!

MAGAZINE ORGANIZATION: I’ve had this habit since I was in high school that whatever magazines I would subscribe to (and there are many) I would rip out the pages of everything I liked.  I have magazine clippings from over 10 years ago of photoshoots that inspired me.  From here there are two things that happen, first I rip out all the pages I like, then I have a filing cabinet organized with categories ex: photoshoots, house and home, style, celebrity portraits, covers (I keep all the covers it’s so fascinating to go back and see them all over the years) and I file away every magazine clipping in it’s proper folder.  Talk about old school pinterest!  The last step is reserved only for my absolute favourite clippings, I buy blank sketch books and double sided tape and start taping in all my favourites, creating my own mini inspiration book.  I know have so many black books filled with the best of the best from over the last decade, it’s such a good resource to reference, clients love coming and flipping through them. This is something that’s difficult to keep up every week but every couple of months I set aside an afternoon to do this.  For me, it’s not work or a burden, I’m so happy when I’m in this zone not only getting organized but re-inspired all the time.

This may seem a little silly but hear me out.  Day to day I have a super easy low maintenance beauty routine.  Wash and go type.  I’m always looking for ways to streamline and simplify the “getting ready” process. One thing I’ve always loved to have fun with, is my nail colour.  I try every colour sometimes all at once.  I was always hesitant to try it but about 5 months ago I stated getting gel manicures and haven’t looked back.  Ever been in a meeting or about to meet a client and look down and realize half your nails have chipped off?  Embarrassing! Doesn’t look very good does it? That’s why I love gel nails, they last 3 weeks (okay sometimes I push it to almost 4) and I don’t have to worry about fitting in time to re-paint my nails every 3 days to make sure they look presentable.  Ain’t nobody got time for that ;)  It is a bit of an investment but saves me loads of time in the long run which is why I’m hooked!

MY MR: My husband :) Without him none of what I do would be possible (and I mean it).  Kosta and I just got married 5 months ago (yayy!)  He has always been my biggest supporter.  Way back when in high school when I decided to go to film school, then again when I decided to change careers into photography and finally when I decided to go at it alone and start my own business.  He has always been by my side with unwavering support.  He is without a doubt the number one thing that brings me so much joy and makes life easy.  I would be lost without him.  It’s scary when you are starting your own business.  A lot of irrational doubts creep into your head, a million and ten things always on your to-do list.  It’s a juggling act.  Without him being the voice of constant encouragement and reason (and also telling me and reminding me when it’s time to shut down and relax a little) there is absolutely no way I’d be able to do what I do.  He is my secret weapon, the best part of my life and someone I can always count on.  I’m so grateful for him. (Love you babes!)

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Instagram: @annawithlove


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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Cleaning up our house

1-1 Over the past few years, I’ve made a real effort to decrease the amount of  junk in our house – in terms of STUFF we’ve collected and toxic junk in our food and the products we use. We started with the obvious by bathing Brady in “clean” products and swapping our cleaning products for safe products. But as we travel further down this infertility road and I really start to read and research more about WHY so many (!!!) couples deal with this… I’m really starting to realize the effects our “normal” products have on us. I read this post from Sarah Tucker the other day and it blew my mind. 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer. WHY is there so much of this. Here are a few changes we’ve made over the last few years:

GLUTEN FREE-ISH DIET + CLEANER FOOD: Last year, I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. I was feeling exhausted every afternoon, had some strange symptoms and just felt sluggish. I still allow myself gluten every once in a while, but its made a TREMENDOUS difference in how I feel. One of the things I’m most proud of as a Mom is that Brady will eat ANYthing (I realize that could change at any second, but let me have my moment, haha). He loves vegetables. He’ll eat onions, turnip greens, mushrooms. He’ll try anything, really. And for that reason, he loves healthy snacks and doesn’t eat a ton of  processed stuff. That kid could eat twelve apples a day. We make smart choices about the food we eat and buy and are just starting to make even MORE healthy choices as we start this journey to make our home and family more healthy. I purchased the good stuff above from VitaCost to make Sarah’s smoothie here (it’s a great website Sarah introduced me to – cheaper than Amazon and just as fast!). You can get $10 off your order (I’ll get $10 off mine too!) by using my link here. I’m excited to start using coconut oil as a moisturizer and in smoothies (especially since I’m allergic to banana – so strange). Here are two movies I watched that really made me look at food differently: Forks Over Knives and Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.

ESSENTIAL OILS:Another way we started cleaning up our house is by using essential oils. I was very skeptical at first, but after watching Brady’s bedtime COMPLETELY change after rubbing lavender on the soles of his feet or watching a sniffle go away over night after diffusing thieves in his room, I’m convinced. I’m still learning all the ways to use our Young Living set, but I’m a believer. I got ours from my friend Amber Ulmer.

SAFER PRODUCTS: Sarah also introduced me to BeautyCounter. Check out Sarah’s post on their products here. I love good skin care products, but they’re FULL of parabens (aka bad stuff). And if you think about the amount of products you use on the largest organ you have (your skin)… it’s pretty scary. From shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes, makeup, skin cream, face wash… just goodness. It’s a little overwhelming when you think about it. I ordered some face wash from BeautyCounter. I’m interested to try it. My skin is combination, so I’ll keep you posted. Their website is fantastic though and they have a great blog, Truth Serum. Their “Never List” will blow your mind.

HONEST COMPANY: Since Brady was born, we’ve purchased his products from Honest Company. I love this brand. We get pull-ups (used to get diapers, now we just get these for night time – no I haven’t tackled that whole night time potty training excitement yet), all his bath stuff (even detangler!), sunscreen (B has a sunscreen allergy… probably because sunscreen contains some nasty stuff), hand sanitizing spray, wipes, gummy vitamins, etc from them. (They also offer a free trial pack!)

We’re slowly transitioning what we have to these healthier products. So when we run out of laundry detergent or dishwashing pods next, I’ll buy mine from Honest Co, etc. I’d love to know what you do to keep your family healthy. I feel this enormous responsibility about it, obviously, and I also KNOW that so much of the disease and exhaustion and infertility and awfulness that’s out there right now is, in part, due to the food and product choices we make. Its SO overwhelming though. So what healthy choices do you make for your family? I’d love some tips!



Here’s another post on how I used to juice for little B! 

And here’s another post about how we changed our eating habits a few years ago for the better



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Simplicity_Graphic Template-01Hey there! I’m Dusty Pyatt, owner of Cupcakes by Dusty. I have 4 chilldren, 2 cats and a very large dog. I’m a self classified foodie. I love being in the kitchen. I sometimes find myself standing in there to watch tv, or help with homework or talk on the phone….nothings cooking, it just feels right. I love cooking and food so much that I realized while coming up with my favorite things to share, they were all kinda food related!


COCOA POWDER: It’s not just for baking people! Hear me out….I am very busy on any given day, and sometimes washing my hair is just not happening! Dry shampoos are a great time saver but often leave my brunette hair looking a bit grayish and brittle. My solution is a combination cocoa powder and arrowroot. I mix 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup arrowroot in a container and use an old (clean) make up brush to apply. A little goes a long way so play around with it a bit to find the right amount for your hair. You’re welcome!

EASY LUNCH BOX SYSTEMI’ve been using this system since my 5th grader was in Kindergarten and now that I’m packing for my 2 sweet girls, it makes it that much easier! The containers are very inexpensive, but last! (I still use the original set!) The only thing we have updated is the lunch box itself because a little girls “favorite color” changes each year apparently. And this system eliminates all those plastic throw away baggies.

MISE EN PLACE:  Fancy French word (pronounced me-zahn-plahs) that basically translates to ‘set in place’ or ‘everything in it’s place’ depending on who you ask. It may seem simple, but my house wouldn’t function without this rule. It’s everything from the coffee made the night before and ready to just turn on in the morning (life saver, by the way), to the girls knowing that if they don’t unpack their lunch boxes, put their ice packs in the freezer and dump uneaten food, you don’t get a homemade lunch the next day…true story. I take time on Sundays to make a huge pot of brown rice (in the oven, best thing ever), a big pot of soup which happens to be chicken tortilla right now because I’m addicted, and I chop all my veggies for the week and store them in Snapware containers for easy lunch packing and cooking. The brown rice is a fast healthy side dish, a great soup extender, and with whats left, you can  make a mean veggie stir-fry at the end of the week with all them left over vegetables! Yum!

SILICONE BAKING CUPS: These little things are amazingly versatile! Funny thing is, I don’t bake in them! I use them in the girls lunch boxes to separate pickles from hummus, or a chocolate treat from apple slices. At home we put ranch or ketchup in them for dippin’! I hear they’re also great for cupcakes, muffins and things because they’re non stick. Again, another item that is long lasting! One of these little suckers got in the garbage disposal…and survived!

THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED DRAWER: I’m sure that title says it all, but let me explain. My 7 year old can eat a full dinner, and then an hour later (once the kitchen is clean) be starving!  Although I love being in the kitchen, I do have other things to attend to, therefore I found myself getting snippy with her…poor thing right? Insert eye roll here. This is how ‘the kitchen is closed drawer’ came to be. I bought an inexpensive white basket that fits in the bottom drawer of the fridge and I keep it stocked with all things she can do herself. Things like squeezy fruit pouches, single serve pickles, go-gurt, olives, apple slices and the little 8oz Horizon Chocolate Milks.  Nothing that requires a spoon or adult assistance.  Done! One stress from my day averted!

TERVIS TUMBLERThey have a lifetime warranty, they don’t sweat, they hold hot or cold beverages add in a lid and a straw and you’re getting in your 8 glasses of water a day for sure! I have a tumbler with me at all times, seriously.  After coffee in the morning, my smoothy goes in one, then I switch to water and then later in the afternoon, I sometimes have an iced coffee. Want to increase your kids water intake? Buy them a cool cup with funky designs or order a personalized one from Tervis and its a guarantee. Lid and straw are a must!


Follow along with Dusty:



Instagram: @cupcakesbydusty


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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