Thursday, September 8th, 2016

When Less IS Really More

It’s funny when you begin to sense a theme in your life.

Mine has been:  GET RID OF THE CLUTTER.

I am tackling the physical clutter and hoping it’ll have positive impact upon the rest of my life as well. Saving precious time. Saving money. Saving energy. For things that really matter.

How did I come to this epiphany?

Part 1:  unnamed family member cannot find their keys or wallet (again) because they are wading through a sea of non-key and non-wallet items. Plus the wallet is black. I am offering to purchase in a bright neon color or to bedazzle existing wallet.

Part 2:  sweet friend Amy happens to share her story about how she is being intentional about simplifying her life and shares this video on minimalism.

Part 3:  we are getting rid of some older pieces of furniture that we have had since pre-marriage / early marriage, circa 12 years. We are hoping to consolidate pieces by purchasing a console table with storage, for example. Now that the kids are not spilling stuff 24/7 we are getting some grown up pieces and pieces in lighter fabrics – gasp!

Part 4:  you begin to clean out your parents’ home for them – and they’ve accumulated 51 years worth of stuff during their marriage. I want to be honorable when I speak about this, though. My parents were born in the early 30s and don’t believe in waste. Also they are elderly and have both recently suffered from illnesses (including multiple neck surgeries for my dad and two battles with cancer for mom). They are my heroes. So I don’t want to call them out for anything other than being awesome. If you are reading this mom and dad, I love you so, so much. We have smiled on numerous occasions on unexpected cleaning discoveries. My sister, Stella found some LPs[1] including Taste of Honey’s Sukiyaki A taste of honey – Sukiyaki (classic) 1981 – YouTube

Where was I? Brain clutter at critical mass. So anyway, yeah, I was getting this recurrent theme in my life. I hope that by getting rid of extra things in my life, I can be free to pursue the things I really love.

It seems just too simple: get rid of extra stuff – you know the stuff I am talking about -and you will

  • be less stressed,
  • spend less time shopping and cleaning and (looking for lost things) and
  • have more time, money and energy for the things that really matter.

What ‘really matters” may be different for everyone. Maybe you’d like to travel more. Maybe you’d like to spend more time with friends and family. Maybe you’d like to be able to give more to charity? Maybe you’d like to binge watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix.

One piece of advice from a newbie at this: strike while the iron is red hot. Don’t get inspired by the idea of it and then push it off to another time. Start by getting rid of one bag at a time, one room at a time.

In general, I haven’t heard a good reason for the opposing viewpoint which is “accumulate, accumulate and accumulate because it really will improve your life.” So this makes practical, mathematical and logical sense.

If you will indulge me for a moment, it makes great spiritual sense, too.Do not hoard

Can someone tell me if there is a mind-being-blown emoji? Because I need it real bad.

Write and tell us if you’ve experienced a simplifying and minimizing process. We’d love to hear about it!

[1] For any younger readers: Wikipedia -The long playing (nicknamed the LP; in full a 331⁄3 rpm microgroove) record is a vinyl record format, an analog sound storage medium. Introduced by Columbia in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.

So this was the state of my office before I finally decided enough! Piles and piles of paper everywhere you look. I just can never stay on top of the paper clutter. So I’m going to go paperless with the help of The Paperless Home ebook by Donny and Abby Lawson.

Before I could do that though I wanted to start with a blank slate. So I pulled everything out of my office and wiped everything down. Goodbye dust bunnies!

It’s so nice to get rid of the clutter and have breathing room. But it was feeling a little too blank. There’s a delicate balance between minimal and sterile. The next step was to add my personality back into the space. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies getting to this point. Just to prove it. This is what happens when your office vomits into your family room…

Now comes the fun part! Only bring back into the room what you need and love.

I’m in the process to going minimal in my home and part of that process involves only having things you love and/or are useful in your home. This actually helped me get rid of a lot of junk that I’ve collected over many years. For the shelves – I started with my favorite art piece – So Much by ClareElsaesser. This gave me a jumping off point for the colors I wanted to use. The tones in the wood add warmth and the glass vases play off the blues from the print. This part is also tricky because it’s a lot of trial and error. I put stuff up, stepped back and asked myself if I loved it. If not, then it came back down. I scoured the house for things I love that didn’t have a home yet…


Up next is my office junk wardrobe which I’m planning on making into a hub for all office gizmos and gadgets…

This was our first year at the Haven Conference. Haven is an annual conference geared towards Home DIY/Home decor bloggers. We came ready to take on the blogging world head on!

What we loved about Haven:

  • The camaraderie of being surrounded by ladies of all ages and walks of life that loved to DIY as much as we do!
  • There was an abundance of wonderful session topics that made it hard to choose.
  • The Maven mentor groups were a great add and allowed a more intimate setting to connect with others and ask questions and share information.
  • Hearing people’s stories – how they started, their successes and struggles.
Double breasted jacket

Will never forget this number from the Glamor Farms Fashion show!

Abby Lawson - Just a Girl and Her Blog

Love all Abby’s openness and passion to help others!

Our Takeaway –

We came with certain goals in mind… At the top was – connecting with brands and learning how to grow and monetize our blog. But, by the time we got to the airport to go home, we realized something pretty huge – Blogging for a living is too crazy hard y’all!

Don’t misunderstand us… We still want to blog and make some $$$, but we want to do it without ALL the pressures of making it our “business.”

How did we get  to this conclusion? Honestly, we were feeling completely OVERWHELMED in all the sessions about what it takes to run a blog – from social media platforms, working with brands, to networking, and don’t get us started with SEO… But we LOVED the sessions that helped expand our creative skills like – Sketchup, Lightroom and photography, And the sessions that talked about real community and connecting with others was very encouraging.

So we’re taking the pressure off… We’re gonna blog just for fun! Whoa, right?! We’re still going to try to do things the right way and use the things we learned. But we’re taking our time, having fun and seeing where God leads us. Amen?!

So if you came away feeling overwhelmed, we feel ya! You’re not alone… We look back at most of our favorite blogs and I realized most of them just started out sharing for fun… We don’t want to skip that part. Our advice for new bloggers like ourselves is take a deep breath and just to blog slowly. You don’t have to do everything right out of the gate. You don’t even have to do it the ‘right’ way. Give yourself permission to screw up. Because you will… We’ll screw up together! Don’t worry about ALL the business side of things in the beginning. I think it’s so important to find out if blogging is even for you personally. BEFORE you invest your time, money and energy. If you don’t have a passion for it, it’ll end up being just another JOB that you’ll hate.

I’ll leave you with one of our favorite life verses – Matthew 16:26

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

So as we see it, you can bust your butt, have a bajillion followers and make millions, but would it have been all worth it – if you forfeit JOY for STRESS and FAMILY for MONEY?

So what’s next for us? We’re taking the scenic route to blogging. Even if we never “arrive” and become super A List bloggers, our hope is at the very least we would have enjoyed the journey and helped others along the way.

We are definitely not knocking those who’ve had immense success in the blogosphere. There are the rare few who may be able to balance all the priorities of life and run a successful blog simultaneously. Hats off to you ladies.

Our best to all those out there who are certain of their blogging destiny.  For those who are about to blog, we salute you! Thanks for taking the time to read our Haven 2016 Recap.


We hope to see you all again next year at Haven 2017!!!

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Easy Stressfree Fabric Wallpaper

Does the thought of wallpaper give you chills? What if I told you you could wallpaper without worrying about destroying your walls and there little prep involved?

Are you ready? All you need is fabric, liquid starch and a little patience… The best part is when you’re tired of this wallpaper you just peel it off and wipe down the wall.


Head over to Julep to read about my step by step process here.

So here the moment you’ve been waiting for… The reveal of my mom’s kitchen!!
designretake_kitchen_reno_after-1designretake_kitchen_reno_after-3 designretake_kitchen_reno_after-6 designretake_kitchen_reno_after-11 designretake_kitchen_reno_after-10designretake_kitchen_reno_after-8designretake_kitchen_reno_after-4designretake_kitchen_reno_after-12Incase you don’t remember what we started with…

Kitchen Before
20160205_104012Kitchen Afterdesignretake_kitchen_reno_after-2Kitchen Before20160205_104027Kitchen Afterdesignretake_kitchen_reno_after-5I’ll be back with all the details later. If there anything you want me to talk about just ask in the comments. We’re excited to be heading to the Haven Conference this weekend.