Making House Home // #Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Minted, but all opinions and exclamations of praise are mine. :) I’d never steer you wrong, I only recommend products on this site that I truly believe in.

I’ve not been quiet about my love for decorating. I really love making my house a home. I love being able to find little things to add to my space. Whether its a big thing like a new coffee table or little things like a succulent on my side table or a throw pillow on the couch, I absolutely love finding something that just fits. Like it always was meant to be there.

When we moved into our current house, my sweet friend Lindsay from Lindsay Letters gifted me a beautiful canvas as a welcome home gift. I picked this “Come Thou Fount” canvas because this house is our #blessinghouse. We prayed and came before the Lord for this house and he met us. And then exceeded our expectations.

We hung the canvas and yet the wall needs more. This canvas needs some companions! So my friends at Minted came to the rescue to help me out. [Check out below for your chance to WIN.] They have some wonderful artists making some beautiful artwork, and I was excited to find some pieces to add to our wall. I Photoshopped in some of the art just to play around with what it might look like in our home. Some things I love about the current trends of wall art is the mixture of words, abstract art, and still life paintings.

Minted Decor

I also love the fact that I can pick an art print by itself or for a bit more, I can add a frame. Their frames are SO cute! And then I don’t have to make a trip anywhere to find something to fit. I don’t know about you, but I am so incredibly busy and so finding the perfect frame to match a print is just something I’ll have to find time to do. Minted takes care of it all in one shopping experience.

Minted Decor

And go take a look at their wedding invitations and save the date cards…I mean, GORGEOUS. I wish I were getting married so I could use them. They have a wide selection of pretty much anything you’d need: invites, save the date cards, menus, place cards, engagement party invites…seriously everything!

Minted has so kindly offered a chance for my lovely readers to WIN $50 to get art or whatever you would like! Enter below for your chance to win $50 to Minted! So what do you think? I love all of these prints and wish I could get them all!! What prints would you get?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Soapy soapy soapy… // #Giveaway

Whenever I wash my kids in the bath, I usually sing “soapy soapy soapy…” I’m not sure where it came from, but they giggle every time. So I keep doing it…naturally. ;)

Today I have a special treat to share with you guys. You all know that I am all for natural living, I’ve always wanted a farm, and have tried my hand at growing vegetables in our backyard. Well, my friend Erin is like the QUEEN of homesteading. She also makes the most amazing goat’s milk soap (and I may or may not be giving a bar away ;) ), and I’m excited to share about it with you today!

Firesky Farm is their family farm nestled on 7 acres in Chino Valley, which is about 20 miles north of Prescott (which is about 100 miles north of Phoenix :) ). They raise turkeys, chickens, ducks, dairy goats, and sheep for eggs, meat, milk, and make cheese and ice cream! They are also adding two piglets to their farm as well right before summer. Erin and her family have made the commitment to farming and love what it has done for their family life.

11015431_10206118711790572_691142450_n

Here is her story about her wonderful soap.

We have had dairy goats going on 3 years now and they are wonderful and amazing. I bought my first 2 mini dairy goats when my son refused to nurse any longer at 8 months. I knew cow milk was not a very good substitute for him and that started my complete adoration of goats and their wonderful healthy milk! Our herd consists of Nubian dairy goats. We have 7 does and one buck.

The process of soap starts early in the morning with milking the girls individually by hand while they each munch on their sweet treat. Goat milk has tons of beneficial skin properties. With all the extra milk, and all the chemicals inside products labeled “soap for kids,” I decided it was time to make the switch for good. I am a certified herbalist and with that knowledge and soap making resources, I have put together all of my soap recipes. There are no copycat recipes here — each recipe I mull over and calculate etc. I have bars specifically for sensitive skin, itchy skin, eczema, dry oily etc. Each bar contains over an ounce of goat milk straight from the girls. Its never heated or pasteurized but added in its raw state as to preserve all of the benefits. Each oil in the soap is sourced naturally, and each oil brings a different quality to the soap. Some oils add moisture, other hardness, bubbles, silkiness etc. So coming up with recipes is super fun!

Almost all the scents come from natural essential oils, which also bring in their wonderful healthy properties to the soap. If a fragrance oil is used, it is always non-GMO and phthalate free! All of the colors in my soaps come from completely natural and mostly herbal sources. I am very proud of my soaps! I really feel like I pour my heart and soul into them, I absolutely love making them, and I love being able to offer a product that is completely healthy, safe, and natural. My family has not used anything but goats milk soap for hair and body for over 6 months and we don’t plan on ever changing that! Everyone’s skin has greatly improved; we all have dry skin here, and this is the first winter we all didn’t have cracked and bloody knuckles.

We absolutely love Erin’s soaps and are on our way to replacing our shampoo and body soap with her luxurious bars. You can shop her soaps online here, or enter the giveaway below to win two: a Spiced Amber Ale and Sunny Day! Seriously you guys, you WANT to win this one!! ;)

IMG_1545

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Indian-Inspired Decor // #BestExoticMarigold

This post is a sponsored post from World Market, but all opinions are mine. As many of you know, I am a MAJOR fan of World Market stuff and that’s why I love to promote them! :)

Best Exotic Marigold

One of the things I love about Indian culture are the bright and gorgeous patterns and colors that drape over everything. From rugs to wall tapestries, jewelry to clothing, Indian culture is dressed top to bottom with beauty. If you’re wanting to add Indian-Inspired Decor to your spaces, here’s how to do it easily, beautifully, and all from World Market.

Second Best Exotic Marigold

1. Start with a neutral base

With so many bright colors and patterns, it is a must to start with a neutral base. Whether you’re going for more light colors and want to start with a white or tan couch and tables or are striving for deep, rich tones and want to start with a midnight blue couch and oak or hickory tables, you want to start with a uniform base. Its not really ideal to have a patterned couch, patterned rugs, funky table, and then toss in all the bright colors and patterns you love. It will be pretty busy looking and very overwhelming. World Market has many wonderful options for neutral furniture! I love this Tribal Carved Coffee Table.

2. Build the room from big to small

Now that you have a neutral base for your couch and loveseat, its time to add in other big pieces to the room. Still sticking with the neutral theme for now, we want to build the room from the big pieces down to the small. Its important to do it this way when adding in the festive looks that India is known for because you don’t want to get to to the end of a room, have all your knick-knacks, art, and other decorative pieces and then suddenly have to somehow match in a colorful and patterned area rug. It would be much too difficult to do it that way. Start big and it will be much easier to find little pieces to fit in with the larger ones you’ve already put in. If you’re re-decorating an already pretty decorated room, try taking everything but the couches and tables out of the room. It will bring your room neutral and allow for you to only put in what you want.

I absolutely love tapestry-looking rugs [and am in LOVE with this one] and big quality pieces of furniture to compliment the seating. World Market carries some beautiful rug options and always has a great selection of bookshelves, room dividers, etc. to complete a room. So start there. Add a colorful trunk to hold your television instead of the standard media cabinet. Maybe you like all the furniture you have but just want some extras to add pops of color. Try this Elephant and Floral Motif Bookcase or this Painted Elephant Wood Cabinet. Have fun and don’t be afraid to add in bright things. That’s what makes Indian decor so beautiful!

3. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns

One of the things I love most about my current living room is that I have patterns, graphics, and all sorts of things that might otherwise “clash” but actually look really great together! Long gone are the days of one uniform patterned toss pillow on the couch. Welcome to the era of mix and match. It isn’t that difficult and if you play your cards right, a couple well placed patterned toss pillows and an ottoman can change your space!

First, pick a color scheme. You’ll be able to play with it a bit later, but try to find the color you want in your space. Lets go with turquoise. So find pillows or other textile items that have some texture to them. Don’t change the color just yet, just play with texture. Shiny, matte, knitted, silk, embroidered, print…there are endless options to the look of a textile with one color. Try this Blue Moon Button Ribbed Lumbar Pillow, this Aqua Tile Lumbar Pillow, or this Arctic Blue Cotton Herringbone Pillow. Okay, so after you have 2-3 items in that color (lets pretend we have two toss pillows and a blanket), think of a secondary color that is complimentary. Since we’re going with Indian-inspired, lets try lime green as our complimentary color. Now find a pillow with that complimentary color alone or paired with your primary color turquoise. Try this amazing Zebra Graphic Throw Pillow or this .Okay, now we’re stepping out of our comfort zone a little here, but find one more complimentary color to the two you’ve chosen. Lets pick yellow. Now find another pillow [like this Blue Diamond Throw Pillow or this Yellow and Green Geometric Tile Throw Pillow] in this color or paired with one of the other colors. Finally, try and find something that is way left field, and for our example I’m going to pick hot pink ;), and find something in your primary or secondary color with just a hint of this left field color. And if you’re really feeling daring, try to find something that is a mashup of all your colors. Something patchwork [like this Natural Patchwork Throw Pillow] or this Multicolored Knitted Sari Pouf [I LOVE] or even this Kantha Sari Patch Throw.

Have enough ideas? Remember to leave the tags on your textiles so that you can mix and match and return the things that don’t quite fit. Its a puzzle but such a fun one to try and work with!

4. Remember to think tall

Not only is it important to work from big to small, you also don’t want to neglect the space that sits between your shoulders and the ceiling! This is valuable and often wasted space in a home. The light fixtures that came with your home are often left where they are and the ceiling isn’t thought of as a decorate-able space [is that a word??]. One of the things I love doing is hanging plants from the ceiling in the corner or hanging lanterns. I also really love adding art all the way up to the ceiling to add height. With Indian-inspired decor, you could easily hang a beautiful tapestry [like this India Tapestry], a beautiful hanging lamp [like this crazy gorgeous Gold Lotus Hanging Pendant Lamp], or some brightly colored lanterns [like these beautiful Cool Multicolor Hanging Hurricane Lanterns or these amazing Warm Multicolor Hexagon Teardrop Hanging Lanterns]. Be creative in utilizing your space. Don’t overdo it, though. Just a couple things hanging in spots where you need room height is all it takes!

5. Its the little things

Lastly, you want to add in the little things that sort of finalize the design. I also like to go back to neutral or single colored items so-as not to overwhelm your space. Boxes, candles, picture frames, all of these things add persnality to your space without a lot of busyness for the eyes. Beautiful soap stone boxes [like this Hexagon Carved Soapstone Box], neutral wood colored candle sticks [like these Natural Wood Pillar Candleholder], a neutral lamp base [like this Jute Table Lamp Base], or picture frames [like this Whitewash Carved Rambagh Frame].

It takes only a few brightly colored changes to make your space into a gorgeous Indian-inspired space that will make everyone want to come over! All of the inspiration for this post came from the new movie The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in theaters March 6. When The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is full, Sonny decides to branch out to open another hotel but it turns out to be more time consuming than he bargained for. This fun romantic comedy is one that you do not want to miss!

GIVEAWAY: Of course, World Market is not going to let you get away without some amazing loot! Celebrate the upcoming film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (in theaters March 6), and enter for a chance to win a dream trip to India, FREE movies for a year and a $1,000 World Market Gift Card! Ends 3/27/15. Enter now: www.worldmarketsweepstakes.com.

Marigold Sweeps

Nap

Today, after I picked my daughter up from preschool, we came home for naps + quiet time. This is the usual for our daily routine – up, get ready, school drop off, play with Elijah at home, lunch, pick up sister, nap + quiet time. During this time, I usually do homework while Elijah sleeps and Jael paints or colors. This time, as I was reading, the cushion of the couch enveloped me. I swear the couch was out to sabotage my schoolwork time, but I went with it. After checking the clock, I dozed off.

Only ten minutes later, Jael was standing right in front of me…STARING.

“What’s up?” I groggily asked. She speedily said something about wanting to use a special straw from school and cleverly sped over wanting juice instead of water. So I told her she could have juice after Elijah woke up from his nap and they had their afternoon snack. I dozed off again, and what do you know…ten minutes later, the interrogator was back to staring at me.

Startled, I woke up and asked again, “What’s up?” She again explained the straw and juice situation. Again, I told her no and dozed off again. Well, third time’s the charm because this time she sat on the couch across from me and quietly waited and stared. I remember feeling a weird sense that I was being watched, but with my eyes closed and half awake, I wasn’t really paying attention. But finally, through a slit in my eyelids, I see this figure sitting across from me.

You know those dreams where you’re falling off something and you flinch in reaction and wake yourself up? That. Only this time, it was from the penetrating eyes of a five year old with a mad hankering for juice and a paper straw.

This time, admittedly with a little frustration dropped in, I said, “What’s up, Jael?” This time she just giggled and ran off. I mean…what?! I guess a nap was not in the plans for me today.

So now I am nursing an iced coffee and writing this story out to you all, which is probably boring you to tears right now.

Welcome to my mom life. Now pass the espresso shots.

“It was like…magic.” // Seattle & Portland

One of the things that I would like to make more of a constant in my life is travel. I absolutely love traveling. Its something that I have come to love more in my adult life [maybe its motherhood and needing a little break occasionally!], and I’ve had several conversations with Joseph about doing it more often. There’s just something about stepping into a place you’ve never been before. Setting out to explore the hidden gems that cities have to offer. Its so wonderful. Or as Sam said, “It was like…magic.” [If you get that reference, we are MFEO. ;)]

PDX-2 PDX-3

This post is FULL of links to all that we did. If you’re visiting the area, I hope these suggestions help! We snagged an early flight into Portland, Oregon first, spent the day there, drove up to Seattle and stayed with family for a couple days, and then drove back to Portland for one more day, and then flew home. It was such an amazing trip with my sister and her husband. Instead of the usual tourist schedule, we skipped most of the shopping and instead opted to do things that we would remember forever. Like taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island and hiking Mount Rainier…and of course, we did shoot to the top of the Space Needle. Because who doesn’t like being insanely high above the ground in a tiny little elevator that goes to the top in 41 seconds?? Apparently, one person a month throws up on the elevator. I could empathize.

Walking around Portland that first day was so crazy to me. Of course, I know other states have seasons [dear Arizona, follow suit, please…], but seeing all the trees on fire with red, yellow, orange, and green leaves was so amazing! The piles of leaves everywhere were fun to see [although I hear its a pain because if you don’t rake them up, they turn to sludge and that’s no bueno]. I couldn’t help but imagine my kids diving into piles of leaves on a cold fall day here. You don’t get that in Arizona.

PDX-4 PDX-5 PDX-6

Of course we ate tons of yummy food. We joked that vacations are just trips to eat food in a different place than home. But seriously, it was sorta like that. I had some of the best food I’ve had in my life. Our breakfast when we arrived was at Mother’s Bistro & Bar…it was amazing. I had the breakfast nachos which are basically Irish nachos with the most amazing bacon you’ll ever taste. I just wanted to keep eating. Even though I was full. We visited the Nike Headquarters [because my hubby and my sister’s husband both work for Nike] as well as the Nike Company Store. My husband was like a kid in a candy store. For reals. We spent the day exploring all things Nike and then that evening met my cousin and her fiance for dinner at Portland City Grill. Its a restaurant 30 stories up above the city. It was amazing. We got a table at the window and chatted the evening away while eating yummy food and listening to the live piano. It was so cool.

The next day was in Seattle. On Bainbridge Island we visited a little crepe place (Bainbridge Crepes) that was just…there are no words. I had a savory crepe with fresh salmon and a sweet crepe with strawberries, pecans, and fresh whipped cream. The shop owner is the sweetest lady you’ll meet, and she tries to get all local ingredients for her crepes. YUM. And the crepes she made were buckwheat so they were gluten free. I couldn’t tell…they were SO good. You must eat here if you step foot on Bainbridge. Seriously.

PDX-7 PDX-8 PDX-9

We visited Public Market (aka Pike Place Market) after we came back from Bainbridge. Y’all, the flowers at the market were INSANE. I didn’t get a picture of them because I was in such awe, but you could get a bouquet that makes grocery store flowers look like weeds. Seriously HUGE bouquets for only $10-$15. The first Starbucks is in this area as well as tons of seafood vendors, farmers market stands, and I even found a gluten free pasta vendor! Its such a cool experience; the vendors holler at you from their stand, give tons of samples, and the place is hoppin. I imagined living in an industrial downtown loft and shopping every day at the market for dinner. So fun!

The most magical thing we did was hike Mount Rainier. Having lived in Seattle as a kid for a short time, I remember seeing this snowy giant in the distance. I’d never visited the mountain until now though, and I’m so glad we took the trip. Its a good two hours or so southeast of Seattle through small mountain towns and swerving switchback roads. My sister and I were devouring ginger chews to keep from tossing our cookies on the way up, so definitely take your time.

Once we got through the gate, there are many different places to stop and take pictures before you get to the place where you hike up the mountain. There are waterfalls and many photo stops and then finally you get to the place to climb. It was a workout for sure, and since the air is so much thinner this high up, it is definitely a trail to take slowly. But its SO worth it when you get to the top. Truly breathtaking.

PDX-10 PDX-11

How cute is my hubby? He wrote J + E in the snow up on the mountain. I’d like to think that because its only going to get colder from here on out, that his little love note will be preserved in snow until the mountain thaws next spring. :) A little piece of us left in Washington. :)

PDX-12

The city of Portland is just so cute. I loved the little houses and places to walk. We walked around Northwest 23rd Avenue in Portland where there were tons of shops, restaurants, and side neighborhoods to explore. Its definitely a place to visit! We loved Salt & Straw and Barista.

Altogether, it was an amazing trip. In four short days we definitely did a lot! I was so sad to leave and can’t wait to get back. What places are your favorite to visit? Share below in the comments!!

So Thankful. // Share the JOY

Is it just me, or do the holidays creep up on you like a procrastinated due date? Every year, the summer seems to creeeeep by (in Arizona, this is torture since the temperatures reach over 115º daily). Then school starts and before you know it, you’re frantically searching for that one costume that your four year old wants and trying to figure out why it became a tradition to give small people an overabundance of their drug of choice (sugar). But after you’ve “sorted” through their candy (parent talk for “eat half of it”) and the sugar tantrums fade, its suddenly the best time of year.

If it weren’t for the pure joy on the faces of my children at the sight of Christmas lights, sparkly trees, and that one gift (or five) that they’ve been begging for since the Toys R’ Us ad came out…I’d say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Who doesn’t like a day dedicated to eating until you’re uncomfortable, taking a nap, and waking up to eat more?? And then drink coffee and eat pie? I mean, you must be crazy if this isn’t your idea of heaven.

We have several Thanksgiving traditions in our house…snuggling with the kiddos and watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with Starbucks hot chocolates is one of the biggest. My husband and I also watch White Christmas every year the weekend after Thanksgiving, make sure to watch the Friends Thanksgiving episode with Brad Pitt (can you believe this was a tradition started by my husband? ha!), make toasted pumpkin seeds, do a little holiday baking, and enjoy the time of year where neither the A/C nor the heater are on. Bliss.

This year, because I have it on my 30 before 30 list, I am cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I am both excited and terrified. Many different scenarios flash through my mind at the thought of this…most of them inspired by television turkey fiascos. I imagine a beautiful turkey that is ice cold on the inside, still contains the “parts” bag in the…ahem…cavity, and that tastes mildly like burned oven. But I digress…I have to learn and figured it is one of those “rights of passage” for adults…yada yada yada. *wink*

As I was thinking about cooking my first turkey, I also started thinking about the table that it will be on. If I am going to make a magnificent bird, he’s gotta have a great stage, right? Growing up, we never really had much of table decor for Thanksgiving because the whole table was full of food. I’m not complaining. But if I am being honest, a beautiful table set up is just icing on the cake of a wonderful day celebrating the things we are so thankful for. So I have come up with ten items I would love to have on my Thanksgiving table from, of course, pretty much my favorite store, World Market.

World Market Thanksgiving

  1. Amber Damask Ogee Tablecloth$14.99
  2. Turkey Serving Bowl$24.99
  3. Be Thankful Paper Banner$7.99
  4. Turkey Oval Platter$29.99
  5. Wood Bark Pedestal Stand$29.99
  6. Porcelain Plates Sets with Space-Saving Racks$19.99-$24.99
  7. Natural Fiber Turkey$22.49 sale
  8. Edin Wood 2-Tiered Stand$19.99
  9. Autumn Grass Stacks$39.98
  10. Mini Cornucopia$1.99

And this amazing create your own table set up interactive part of their site that you pick plates and different accessories and it populates your choices and shows you what your set up would look like! I don’t know about you, but it can be really frustrating for me to pick all the pieces to match the idea in my head but then get home and it doesn’t quite look like what I imagined. This eliminates that!

Thanksgiving Tablescape

I think I have this high idea in my head of what I would love Thanksgiving holiday entertaining to look like (appearance-wise) and that would probably be the dinner table scene in the intro to the show Parenthood. Outside, hanging bistro lights, long table, decor, candles…it just looks so magical! To celebrate the spirit of giving this holiday, Cost Plus World Market’s Share the Joy sweepstakes is back! Enter for your DAILY chance to win a $500 World Market gift card for you AND $500 for the charity of your choice! A winner will be chosen daily. Enter today and get the chance to Share the Joy this season. Sweepstakes ends 11/21/14.

What does your Thanksgiving table look like? What are some of your favorite pieces to decorate with?

This post was sponsored by World Market but as usual, all opinions are mine. I wouldn’t share something I didn’t believe in, which is why I changed the direction on my blog. You can read more about that here.

5 Things Every Mom NEEDS On Hand

5thingseverymomneeds

As most parents learn, I’ve learned through trial-and-error [and mostly error] the things that make my life easier. Many times, I am simply too scatter brained to even think of new ideas to help myself be less stressed and the household a happier place. [Can I get an amen??] But as my babies get older and I become more aware of the hardest parts of my day, I’ve decided to sit down and write out the top 5 things I think every mom needs to have on hand at all times. I mean, we’re here for each other…solidarity, mamas…and I think we have to share our tips and secrets to a less chaotic day! Yeah?

1. Dry Shampoo

I mean, I could probably just say that and be done with it, but you guys. For reals. I used to not use dry shampoo because I had really greasy hair every morning and was not convinced that it would work. BUT. IT. WORKS. And for cheap too. I use Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo [and you can buy a 2-pack at Target!]. It smells good, works really well, and I always have it on hand. I mean, as I write this post, I’m wearing day-old hair [with curls!] and it looks great!

One thing I love about dry shampoo is that you can also use it on days that your hair is clean for that extra volume you need, extra grip for a pony tail, or in my case, to hold curls in my otherwise thin and limp hair. Its a win-win-win-win…you get the idea…

2. A Good Tumbler

31uMsT26GyL._SY355_Its a commonality amongst moms that we joke about how many times a day we have to reheat our coffee. For me, it was like 4-5 times before lunch time and then I would end up tossing it and starting over because it just didn’t taste right. Now that I live in a home that does not have a microwave, this makes things a bit more complicated since I have to reheat my coffee in a sauce pan. [I know…] So, one day, I had a Gru moment [lightbulb…] and realized that my coffee would probably last a bit longer if I used one of my coffee tumblers. And, surprise surprise, it worked!

Of course, I have several really cute coffee mugs that I love to use, so if I am anticipating being able to drink all my coffee in one sitting, I still use mugs. :) But tumblers like this one or this one [or make one you own really pretty with this tutorial] are really cute and will keep your life-giving mommy-juice warm for the duration of your morning. :)

3. Jeans that make you feel amazing

I don’t know about you, but I could probably live in my yoga pants and/or pajamas all the livelong day. But because I have to sometimes venture out into the world of the living, I need to look at least like I didn’t come off the set of The Walking Dead.

I’ve always loved Old Navy’s jeans…they always fit me just right. And right now, I am in LOVE with their Diva Skinny Jeans. I own a couple pairs in a few different colors and washes. The reason I think every mom needs a good pair of jeans is because when you feel good in your clothes, you really do feel better. I don’t know why. Maybe its just that you feel like a human again when you’re dressed and your hair looks good, but it changes something inside. Like a reverse Hulk situation.

4. A good mascara

I’m not really sure what could possibly distract from dark circles under tired eyes, but a good mascara is always a great idea. I have hopped around to different mascaras, trying different ones for fun. But I always come back to Maybelline New York The Colossal Volum’ Express Mascara. I have thin hair and eyelashes and need that extra volume and this mascara does the trick. Its pretty cheap and yet I love it!

On mornings that I am running my daughter to school, tossing on a couple coats of this mascara changes my face. I also have dropped a few drops of Lavender oil into the bottle [I use Young Living] to promote lash growth and to keep yucky germs out of my mascara tube. I really have noticed longer lashes! Holla!

5. Self-care

Okay, I know you can’t buy this one on Amazon [if you could, I’d buy all the stock!], but as I get older and my kids get older, self-care becomes more and more an obvious need. I always felt guilty going and doing something by myself. I hated leaving my husband and kids behind just to do something that I thought was selfish [which is not]. But in the past year, I have learned that when I am not caring for myself, I am unable to fully be present with my family.

I started with just going out for an hour or so. Then, when school started in Fall 2013, I started going to coffee shops to study before class. Then, a couple months ago, I started attending Holy Yoga. For me, going to yoga was the tipping point. I had found my jam. Now, I go weekly and find it to be exactly what my soul needs to reset and refresh.

There’s nothing worse than a worn-out, grumpy mama. These five things are game changers for me. What are the things that you just cannot live without as a mama? Comment below!

30 Before 30

I am 29. Its very weird to think that soon I will be leaving this life-changing, defining, pivotal, immensely hard 20s season behind me and venturing into my 30th decade on this earth. While that Friend’s episode of Rachel not wanting to turn 30 plays in my head, I am actually extremely excited to turn 30. Not really for any specific reason, but I am ready to venture into new waters and see what the Lord has for me. The turning of the clock from 29 to 30 seems to have a symbolic “leaving behind” for me…maybe I will finally move past some things. Maybe my 30s will be less about the uncertainty of my 20s and more about assurance.

Lots of bloggers out there have done 30 before 30 lists, which is a list of thirty things you’d like to do before you hit your 30th birthday. I started my list a couple months before I turned 29 in June by writing little goals in my notepad on my phone. But I have already been able to check some things off my list, so here it goes!

30 BEFORE 30

  1. Get a wrist tattoo – I really like this image and have always wanted to get three birds on a wire for my sisters and I.
  2. Start a vegetable garden – Growing your own food is something I have always wanted to do but have been so intimidated by!  Started this garden at the end of August 2014 :)
  3. Plant a few flower pots for the porch – The front of my house, while historic and cute, is not the most colorful. I’ve always wanted pots overflowing with flowers to help bring a little color! Done! Planted some pretty hanging planters as well as some fun pots full of pretty flowers in September 2014. Yay!
  4. Run a 5K – I’m not a runner, so this would be a victory for me…all 3.11 miles.
  5. Start a blog about simplifying – In my own pursuit to #simplify my life, I want to share my stories with others. I renamed my blog “the simple blog” in August of 2014. Since then, I have had more joy in writing about pursuing simplicity in my life. Its wonderful!
  6. Start singing on the worship team at church again – I was on the worship team at my church from age 14 all the way through age 24. This was one of my most favorite seasons of life.
  7. Start mentoring someone – I don’t look at this goal as an, “I’m so great!” type of goal. I see this as something where I am ready to pour into someone else and love on them.
  8. Take piano lessons – Always wanted to do it. That’s all!
  9. Lose 10 pounds – Because. Food. I achieved this through my 23rd point below! Yay! Finished the program in September 2014.
  10. Start practicing yoga – I’ve always wanted an active hobby and I love the slow flow and quietness of yoga. Holy yoga is something I really think would be a great way to start. I started going to Holy Yoga classes here in Phoenix in August 2014 as well as practicing at home with a DVD. This has been a major part of my self-care goal, and I am excited to say I plan to stick with attending the classes!
  11. Start co-leading a small group with my hubby – We absolutely LOVE hosting people at our house and have always loved being with other couples. This is a goal we both have really desired for a while.
  12. Take a cooking class – I think this would be so fun! Anyone wanna join?
  13. Go somewhere I’ve never been before – We always vacation to California…don’t get me wrong, I love California. But I would love to go somewhere I have never been before this next summer comes. We took a short 4 day trip up to the Pacific Northwest in November 2014 with my sister and her husband. You can read about our Portland, OR/Seattle, WA trip here. :)
  14. Once a month, write one “just because” card and mail it – Everyone loves mail! I’ve recently purchased a few cards from Target that were really nice and just cards for every day. I’d love to write cards to people to encourage them and love on them.
  15. Take a girl’s trip – I have always wanted to do this!! When I was 18, I took my first road trip without my parents with a couple of my girlfriends [one who is now my sister-in-law] and yet, I have never taken one since! I’d love to take a trip like that again.
  16. Take a trip alone – I went to the Influence Conference in 2013 and absolutely LOVED how refreshing it was to travel alone.
  17. Host a dinner party – Because this would be so fun! :) I hope to have my patio all decorated pretty before the cooler weather comes so we can actually enjoy it. Think string lights, picnic table, and pretty pretty plants. :)
  18. Make self care a priority – I’m not quite sure how I am going to achieve this…but I’d like to think that investing my time into the other 30 things listed here would be a start ;) But seriously, I think that I would love to have something I consistently do to pour back into myself. I started practicing Holy Yoga in August of 2014 as part of my self-care as well as going to a coffee shop occasionally for quiet me time. I have also been giving myself more leniency with sitting and enjoying the quiet during nap time and after the kids are in bed rather than busying around doing my to-do list. Sometimes you just have to sit and binge watch New Girl or Call the Midwife. You know?
  19. Develop a habit of prayer – This one is super important to me. I don’t want to only be praying in desperation every day, but I also want to develop the habit of praying for others and for myself and my family – again, not in desperation [i.e. “God, please make my son stop throwing a fit!!!] but more for things that I’m seeking an answer to. I have this awesome prayer journal that every month you write in things you’d like to pray for. In August, I filled that thing up, but opened it to pray only a handful of times. I’d like to change that.
  20. Make more friends – I’d really like to have some more friends. I mean, this is always a good thing, right?
  21. Cook a turkey – This is intimidating to me. REALLY. But I’ve never made the Thanksgiving turkey before, and I’d like to learn. I did it!! And it was amazing!!! Cooked our 22 lb. Thanksgiving turkey in November 2014 and it tasted AMAZING!
  22. Go and actually cut down our Christmas tree – I’ve always thought this would be lovely, but here in Arizona, you have to have a permit to do this. Luckily, they only cost $15 but are first come-first served, so I hope this one gets checked off because we actually got to do it! We were unable to get a tag to get a tree so we bought a fresh one from a local nursery. Next best thing :)
  23. Complete one full workout program – I tried Slim in 6, didn’t finish it. I did about two months of P90X and didn’t finish it. I started Jillian Micheal’s 30 Day Shred and, you guessed it, didn’t finish it. So I hope to finish one program in my 29th year. I started 21 Day Fix in the beginning of September and finished!!
  24. Bring more intentional with my kids by doing things they like – This will include scripture memorization and baking with Jael and playing Play Dough or outside with Elijah…of course, there are so many more things they love, but I want to be more intentional about doing things they individually love too.
  25. Join a book club – This sounds like so much fun, so if any of you are part of one, want to start one, or know of a good one, please let me know in the comments below!
  26. Replace my husband’s truck – This one might be a bit difficult, but its on it’s last leg for sure, and I’d love to bless him with a new one.
  27. Register and plan to go through the Gottman Level Two training – This one you may not quite get, but its basically a training for therapists who work with couples. It will be in Las Vegas in November 2014, so I’d like to at least be planning for it by the time I am approaching my birthday. An MFT friend of mine and I are all registered to attend Gottman Level 2 training in CHICAGO next year!!! YAYY!!! :)
  28. Visit [lunch, dinner, play group, etc.] one blog friend – I don’t know who because I have a couple that are close by or within driving distance, but I think this would be really fun.
  29. Mail a family Christmas card - I’ve always wanted to do this. I think Christmas cards are so fun!
  30. Paint and DIY my living room end tables and coffee table – I bought the end tables at a garage sale with the intention of painting them and adding glass tops as well as repainting my coffee table, so this would be nice to have done within the next year!

So there you go! Any tips, ideas, or comments about my list? I really hope its not like my past New Year’s resolutions…I really want to try and get these things done. These things are items that I feel would add to the joy and cheer of life, and I am excited! Let me know what you think below! Have you done a 30 before 30 list? I’d love to read it!

our week in pictures

I thought that I would hop on today and share our week in Instagram picutres…I really love it over there. Connecting with people while also getting a peek into their lives, where they live, what they do, is so neat! I love being a part of the community there, so come on over and visit. :)

my week in instagrams

Last weekend, my husband and I kept it nice and hot by taking a trip to Home Depot for stuff to do our yard. Yeah…I know, be jealous. ;) // I also posted a teaser about an essential oil DIY I ended up posting over at the simple oil – DIY Hair Product! My husband really liked it, so it was a win. // I discovered a new found love for baths after the kids are down for the night. With my lavender bath salts and a good book, I am in heaven.

my week in instagrams

This week, I started 21 Day Fix which is a program by Beachbody. I am part of a little bootcamp group where we encourage one another and keep each other accountable. I have enjoyed it but have to be reminded of that fact in the minutes before starting the day’s workout. ;) But I have been happy to put some Young Living Lemon oil in my water to aid in the detox process while I attempt to get healthier. // I posted on the simple oil Instagram account another DIY I am planning. Can you guess what it is? // With the 21 Day Fix, I am eating a specific meal plan, so I was super excited when I found this Paleo Banana Chocolate Smoothie on Pinterest. YUM! It was seriously the best smoothie I’ve ever had.

my week in instagrams

I also found several inspirational moments this week…but one in particular was getting to interview a gal that I truly admire for her spiritual leadership. In her interview, I was inspired in so many ways, but mostly in the area of community. I crave it. When she said, “I believe women who just ingest God and keep Him private have a hard time having passionate spiritual practices, so I think replicating – passing on what you know/learn/feel – is HUGE,” I was taken aback by how deeply I was craving this kind of community with other women. So this is now on my prayer list. :) // I found this quote by Lysa Terkeurst to be thought provoking. Still simmering on this one. // Lastly, I posted this morning about wanting to wear yoga pants but also finding fun in getting dressed. Honestly, doing the 21 Day Fix has kept me accountable to shower daily! Because no one likes a drippy, stinky mama. Ew.

So there you have it! I hope your weekend is full of rest, recharge, inspiration, encouragement, and knowing you are deeply loved by the Creator of the Universe. xoxo

DIY Essential Oils Hair Product

One of the things I became really excited about when I started using Essential Oils was the prospect of making my own beauty and self-care products. Recently, I put some oils on my underarms instead of deodorant. I’ll have to wait to tell you more because the verdict is still out on that one ;) But one product we go through really quickly was one I was super excited to try to make, and that was my husband’s hair product. This recipe can also be modified to make women’s hair product as well!

DIY Hair Product

Head over to the simple oil to read how you can make your own DIY Hair Product!