The other day after not sleeping much one night, and early wake up calls for school drop offs, a scripture popped up in my newsfeed from someone who had just shared it....Read More
My husband and I were talking the other day about saving money and paying off debt. And I said now is not really the time to focus on that. Of course he laughed, thinking I was joking. But I totally wasn't. Queue in Dave Ramsey here, but he says that when you are in this "season" of life, there are expenses that you just can't get around. Babies are expensive. So get through the pregnancy, delivery and first year of the baby's life, and then refocus your energy on saving or paying off debt. And its so true. There are constant and sometimes super unexpected expenses. So your money has to go to that. But the same is true for your time. When you are in the season of pregnancy or newborn life it's important just to understand that your house is not going to be clean all the time and you're probably missing out on a lot of important sleep. So this season is not the time to focus on waking up early to have some quiet time by yourself or launching a business. This is a season of rest and it should be.
Understanding your season is extremely important not only in money + time management aspects but also with life in general. I think it's very difficult to accept where you're at right now in life and not constantly compare yourself to those around you. But when you constantly compare yourself with people around you what you're actually doing is holding yourself back from achieving peace, contentment and achieving your goals and dreams . And social media is the biggest enabler of this.
I love this generation of women because as I look around I see moms who are shop owners, bloggers, models, designers and photographers. I see women who are achieving their dreams while caring and providing for their families. And I am so blessed to be a part of that crew.
I've found that one of the biggest issues that moms have is comparison. They're constantly comparing themselves to what the next mom is doing, what that shop is doing, what the other moms are wearing, how their dressing their kids and feeding their kids. And it's killing spirits and stealing the joy of really enjoying where we are at individually in our lives. Life would be SO boring if we were all the same.
But the take away here is... #1 Comprehend what your season is and accept it. Use it to your advantage and enjoy the rest or enjoy the ability to wake up early and be productive! And #2 is enjoy your current season, because seasons don't stay. Just like Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall, they change. One day we will be really sad that we don't get to rock a baby to sleep at night. And then we will be really sad that we don't have a naked toddler running around. And then we will be so sad that we don't have to answer a million questions a day.....(I might not be so sad about that one)....and the list goes on and on. Motherhood is always changing, my friends.
As I went through and prepared the content for my ECourse, Time Management for the Modern Mom, I really had to sit and think about all of the steps I have taken to get to where I am at today. How did I transition from an irresponsible teenager to a mom of 4 who owns her own business? (And when did that happen btw?). Sometimes, its really difficult for me to break down the "how" of things. Organization comes very natural to me. Its how I function. It's from being in the trenches of motherhood that helped me create healthy habits in order to survive. And it really has made me think about when we go through hard times, as humans, what comes out of it? You have heard many people talk about how their tough times made them better. And that really is true for me. But its because I have been humbled enough to accept correction from wise council. I've seen what its like to live life on my own, thinking I know everything. And it wasn't until; #1 I sought out Jesus (More like he found me) and #2 I sought out wise council - that I really started improving areas of my life.
So here we go, I have compiled 10 habits that have helped me on the road to "success". These by no means are the only ways that have helped me on this path, but they are very important ones.
A Successful woman does these things....
#1. She makes time for herself // This one is non negotiable. A successful woman takes time to think on her own, without interruption. To reflect on her dreams and her goals. She takes time to fill herself up so that she can pour into her family or her job or whatever other commitments she has. A successful woman takes time for herself by doing something that reminds her that she is her own human and deserves some time to herself.
#2. She sets goals for herself with plans to achieve them // Think of life like a journey. If you don't have a destination you are aimlessly roaming around. And if you don't have a roadmap to your destination, you will either get lost a million times or never get to your destination. Taking the time out to think about your goals is really important. These goals can be simple ones like committing to working out or maybe just waking up 15 minutes earlier in the mornings. But the bottom line is, make a goal + a realistic plan to achieve that goal.
#3. She has grace on herself // when you make a plan and it doesn't work, don't beat yourself up. A successful woman will try a different approach, ask for help or advice and accept correction from mentors. I don't know one successful person who didn't have failures. Allow your failures to rebuild you and strengthen you.
#4. She is aware of others but she doesn't compare herself to others // this one is kind of important. Being aware of others is important. If you are a stay at home mom and you have a friend who has a clean house and well behaved kids - ask her to help you get to that point too. But don't compare yourself and feel less than. Because you aren't. You just haven't experienced the same lessons she has. Utilize others around you to push you in a forward direction. Not backwards.
#5. She manages her time wisely // managing time wisely isn't always about to do lists. It's about what you are saying yes and no to. And why you are agreeing to things you shouldn't be. We all have 24 hours in a day. That's 1,440 minutes each day. Each minute matters and is either pushing you towards your goals, pushing you back or keeping you stagnant. If you complain that your house is a mess but just spent 2 hours scrolling Instagram....your time management skills aren't up to par and you need to adjust your priorities. Especially if you have any desire to succeed in whatever portion of life you choose.
#6. She creates and allows changes in her life // Change is important. Personally, I know that I need improvement in my life in some areas. And I am constantly seeking ways to change those faults. I am seeking wise counsel, I am reading, I am asking questions. I am constant seeking change and I am allowing areas in my life for that to take place. Change is good, my friend. Accept it with joy.
#7. She is orderly and diligent // Orderly does not mean your house is spotless all the time. But it does mean that you are aware of your areas, and you keep things tidy. Why? The less energy you have to spend on "finding your wallet" means you can spend more energy on your goals and finding success in life. You can use your "minutes" wisely.
#8. She smiles // This is one of my biggest challenges, honestly. I am wired negatively. I get stressed easy and it takes me a very long time to process situations (that are out of my control) before I have found a resolution or come to terms with it. BUT I have improved and a lot of that had to come with learning how to release control. Hey, ho. I'm getting there. But Smile. Its important.
#9 She accepts correction & seeks improvement // If you asked anyone who knew me 10 years ago if I accepted correction well, they would laugh in your face. But here's the deal. As you get older, you do get wiser. In the sense that you learn who to trust. A successful woman wants to learn why she is receiving correction, what motivates them to give correction and when she sees the fruit of that change - then she is basically begging for correction. She sees that it is good. And she craves it.
#10 She accepts responsibility for her actions // good and bad. A Successful Woman looks at her decisions and learns from them. She doesn't blame her life on anyone else. She accepts that she is flawed and makes mistakes. But when she achieves, she is proud, content and thankful.
How many of these habits come natural to you? How many are a challenge?
Does getting dressed in the morning really make a difference? This is a tough topic for moms. Especially, Stay at Home Moms. Generally, we are at home most of the day, so we wear yoga pants or cough, cough...jammies all day. But, I soon realized that the days I got dressed and did my hair and make up, I was more productive. Not only that, but I was happier, I felt better and I felt more put together. And still to this day, we have some pretty crappy days when I stay in jammies till 2pm.
So I started researching the correlation between my days and if I got dressed or not. And it turns out, that getting dressed is a pretty important part of your day. No only does clothing affect how other people perceive us, but it affects how we feel about ourselves as well. If you were to walk into a job interview in a freshly pressed pant suit, heels and a pretty blouse - #1 how would they perceive you and #2 how would you feel?? If I was wearing that, I would walk in like I owned the place! But imagine walking into a job interview in sweatpants and no make up. Um, #gross. I would be embarrassed, have no self confidence and probably not get the job. They would look at me like I was crazy!
Just because we aren't walking into a job interview every day, doesn't mean we shouldn't take pride in ourselves. Just because we are cooking for toddlers or folding laundry doesn't mean that sweat pants are where its at every single day. (some days, its totally ok!).
Check out the post below from another moms perspective who also happens to be an incredible stylist in Texas! Myaann is a personal brander and image consultant based in Dallas, TX! We got to know each other through a project we both worked on, Prep Cosmetics and I think we connected right away! Love this girl!
One of the phrases I use on repeat (and I mean broken record status) is “if you look good you feel good.” It’s true on the daily. As a mompreneur of a 14 month old, I know the struggle all too well. I get up at 4:30/5am everyday to work until the baby wakes up. It’s difficult yes, but to build a better future for my son, I’d do anything!
Being sleep deprived is the norm for most moms. The goal is to bathe and put on deodorant everyday, am I right?! But what if you took it a step further. Ok, maybe 5 steps further…what if you got dressed everyday in clothes that fit and did a little something with your hair and makeup?
Let’s be real: it’s SO easy to throw on leggings and a sweatshirt. I do not deny that. But how do you feel in your worn out leggings and sweatshirt/tee shirt you wore yesterday with a questionable green smudge on the sleeve? Not really sexy, I’d say. Not confident, and not productive. What if you upgraded that look to a leather-ish legging with a tunic tee and a long cardigan sweater? Or a step further – to skinny jeans, a cute tank top and a leather jacket or a blazer?! You’d feel much better, right? Right. You’d look good, therefore you’d feel good. You’d be more confident and productive that day. Who doesn’t want that?!
Let’s not skip on the fit of your clothing, either. For example, finding the right fit of a jean can be daunting. With all the cuts, styles, and brands you will find your perfect pair! Don’t think you need to spend $350 on them, either. Go to the big box stores and try on several pair. Find a style and size that fits you perfectly and find them on an online consignment store like ThredUp or Poshmark. Having clothes that fit is paramount to how you will look and ultimately how you feel.
A couple of tips when trying on tops:
- Check the armholes if you think it feels big
- The old cross the arms in front of you to check the fit of the back isn’t realistic. Re-create movements you would naturally make
- Check the hem length and think about your lowest fitting pant!
Having a closet full of clothes that fit your body not only make it easy for you to get dressed (who wants to mess with a fussy outfit all day?!) but you will feel better about yourself. You will exude confidence, and I promise you your productivity will go up. Remember those days when you’d get dolled up to go out and dance the night away? Well, you can have that feeling and really get things accomplished. When your confidence is high, you have a much higher probability of staying motivated, focused, and on task. Think of what you’d achieve in the worn out leggings and the sweatshirt with questionable stain vs the skinny jeans, cool tank, and leather jacket…a helluva lot more, I’d imagine!
I will challenge you to go through your current wardrobe. Pick out those items that don’t fit quite right and make the decision to either sell them online or get them altered. It will make your life easier when getting dressed and you will look and feel your best!
Myaann is a personal brander and image consultant based in Dallas, TX with clients on both coasts. She specializes in helping people find their personal brand, creating curated closets, and personal shopping. She is also the founder of MYN Style Box, the only custom subscription box service. Her passion is the art of dressing and her calling is to serve others, helping them be the best versions of themselves.
How do you do it? That's Probably the most asked question I get and have gotten for the last 12 years of being an entrepreneur. And my basic answer in my mind is, survival. I didn't really have the choice NOT to. I was a single mom before I married my husband. And I knew when I had my first baby 9 years ago that I wanted to be home with her full time. I was not willing to let her go, not even for a little bit. On top of that, child care is insanely expensive! So owning my own business was the option that made the most sense. And since I started doing hair and make up in high school, it was a no brainier just to continue that "full time". Thankfully, doing hair and make up held me over and helped us survive. But it wasn't without a ton of experiences that taught me many valuable lessons. One of which is time management.
As my family has grown, not only has my "available time" adjusted, but my passions have as well. When my kids were little and not in school, being away on weekends didn't bother me because I had all week with them. But as they grew up, and started school, I realized how much time I was missing out by being at events all weekend. Not only that, but I was exhausted. So enter in the Blog + ECourse. I love sharing, but I love being home even more.
Regardless of WHAT your actual business is, here are a few tips that helped me accomplish more, stay on track and run my business from home.
Write it down // Anything in my brain gets written down. Anything that I have to accomplish has to be physically written down on a paper so that I remember to actually do it and so I can cross it off once its done. Some people prefer lists or some like to schedule it in their calendar. I prefer to Time Block my weeks out. (Want to know more? Check out my Ecourse!)
Schedule tasks out in advance // Anything important needs to be scheduled. I personally schedule everything and time block most of my days. This helps me balance my time better, by not dedicating too much time to work tasks but also making sure I actually get them done.
Treat work "tasks" as if you are clocking into work (and a boss is watching you). // Even though you are running your own business, it doesn't mean that you don't work or you work less. It means that you have the freedom to allow family time to be prioritized over a dictated work schedule....sort of. Say you are a blogger...it does't mean that you write during your spare time. You should set aside a certain amount of hours per week to WORK your business. What you get out of your business depends on how much work you are willing to put in it. So if you truly want to succeed as an entrepreneur...work your business. This is especially tricky for moms who decide to "stay home" but also work from home. Most people don't realize how much dedication and self control it takes to set aside time to work while having constant distractions of dishes, kids or endless demands on the home front.
Give yourself deadlines // If you don't give yourself deadlines, nothing will ever get done. At least not in a timely manner. Make sure you set yourself REALISTIC deadlines as well. There is nothing more disappointing then either rushing through a project or not meeting a deadline.
Honor your commitments by following through // This is SO important. If you say you are going to email someone back, do it. And do it on time. If you say you are going to have a contract over to them, or a product to them by a certain date, follow through. By letting "home stuff" get in the way of your business, you are failing your business. This quickest way to drive your business down the drain. Honor what you say and DO IT. Whatever IT is.
How I do this all comes down to TWO things....#1 The Grace of God - He has given me talents to share and the ability to manage them. And #2 My Schedule. I have learned the importance of scheduling my days so that my business gets ran and my kids get fed. I have learned to let go of tasks that cannot be completed that day and need to be pushed to the next day. I am constantly learning to let go of perfectionism, knowing that I (and my schedule) am a constant work in progress.
If you are someone who needs help in these areas, check out my ECourse, friends. Total shameless plug, but it will help show you how to manage your time, prioritize your commitments and learn to be present in each area of your day.
It took me a long time to actually comprehend that I wouldn't be doing hair and make up for weddings anymore. I couldn't quite wrap my brain around the fact that I had worked so hard for 12 years to build my business up, and now, at the top of my game, I was walking away from it. Kind of bizarre and not many people understand why anyone would make that move. But when God says move, you do it. And it always pays off.
I definitely wouldn't say its been a full "catch up". I think with a bigger sized and growing family, you always have tasks that have to be done. Looking around we have half done renovations and dang does that grass grow far too quick out back. But I feel a little less overwhelmed. I feel like I can finally start to stay on top of some things. One of my obsessions/addictions is white sheets and white towels. Freshly washed and yes, bleached. (I know, I know, bleach is terrible for you and detergent and softener has SO many chemicals). For a mostly chemical free house, this is my non negotiable. And I am not even going to mention what type of softener I use, because its cheap but my favorite smell, ever. But now that I am home on the weekends, I can actually strip everyones bed at once and wash our sheets. (And even put them back on the bed the same day). #MomWin. And Hello, Daily Rhythms. I can actually leave survival mode and put some better systems in place to function better!
As for our bedroom, It still isn't decorated. We bought our house in June last year and we've spent the last few months trying to fix the downstairs first. Because, lets be real, thats what people see. Not many people go upstairs. If you missed the Kitchen Reveal, check it out here. Most of the downstairs is live-able now, so we can move up to the bedrooms. Our Master Bedroom is massive, so we decided to make half of it the new babies room. (I nurse the first 12 months or so, so baby stays fairly close to mom #AttachmentParenting). I am working with West Valley Moms Blog on Nursery Decor and we will be doing a big Nursery Reveal over there. Obviously gender neutral because we don't find out the gender until baby is born! But I cant wait to show you all!
So now I am off to do sheets and towels....and smell them like a creep. Because clean sheets are the best. Happy Saturday, friends!
What are daily rhythms?
Daily rhythms are healthy habits that you create and implement to add intentionality in your day. I don't think its just moms that let stuff pile up our build up. There are responsibilities that we put off, household tasks that we procrastinate on and we avoid things that just aren't fun. Which is really silly because the work isn't going to go away. It's going to sit there and just wait for us to do it eventually. Like laundry or dishes. Yuk. But its not so bad when you tackle it daily.
One rhythm or healthy habit that I have implemented in my days are doing one load of laundry every day. My husband and I HATE when we have massive laundry piles. And it's been a huge problem for a long time for us. We wait until the weekend, we let all our stuff pile up, do all the loads at once and then fold them. By the time we're done folding we are so tired and sick of laundry that we just let the piles sit around the house. So it goes from dirty like to clean pile and then back to a dirty pile. Not only does that suck, but it's messy. And who wants to live in a messy house? Since starting this rhythm, we have kept up on our laundry so much better than before. Another key part to this is MINIMIZING OUR WARDROBES. I realized that I didn't wear most of what was in my closet. And what I did wear, i just threw on because it was clean. (because my dang laundry was piked up on the floor). And most of the time I felt like crap in what I was putting on. So by eliminating those "quick fix" clothing items, I lowered the amount of laundry that we do, I feel better in each outfit I wear and I have to make less decisions in the morning about what I am putting on my body. Its a win/win!
Here are a few other rhythms that I have implemented in order to keep my weeks going smoother and keep work from piling up....
- Daily load of laundry...or every other day once you get caught up.
- We load all dishes in dishwasher after dinner as a family, wash them overnight and then unload each morning. Those 3 things are separate "daily rhythms" for us that work together to help eliminate an overflow of dishes.
- Bring down (and start) a load of laundry BEFORE you do anything else for the day. I wake up, come downstairs and put it straight in the washer. Then I move on to my other tasks such as reading, making coffee or tea, breakfast for the kids etc. We have laundry sorters in our closet so everything is sorted ahead of time.
- Once a load of laundry is done and dry, I PUT IT AWAY. Don't let it sit there. It literally takes 2 minutes to fold. And maybe 5 minutes to put away. SO why do we hold off and let it just sit there? TIP: Do not start a load of laundry unless you are home and prepared to see it through to the end. If you aren't prepared to put the laundry away when its done, don't even start it.
What tasks or physical items are piling up in your house that you feel you could break up and tackle each morning??
Want to purchase the entire course on Time Management for the Modern Mom? An affordable resource to help you be more efficient through your days so you can be present with those precious babies and learn to prioritize your time.
My big, very large, very full make up kit has been stashed away. But that left me to wonder what in the world a make up artist keeps in her own personal make up bag for every day wear. And this my friends is what it came down to. And I couldn't be happier to have a simple and quick routine for daily wear. Check out whats in my make up kit below!
FOUNDATION // IT cosmetics CC Cream
BROW // Elf brow kit in dark
LASHES // Huge by Stila. My all time favorite mascara.
Not Shown // I do wear concealer every day as a highlighter under my eyes and if I have any problem areas. I use MAC pro longwear concealer in NC20.
What are your favorite make up kit staples??
Being a working mom for the past decade has seriously given me so much hands on experience with productivity but more important LACK of productivity that comes with motherhood and "working from home". I think it takes a very certain kind of person to work from home and requires a lot of motivation. BUT, not only working moms need proper time management skills. Stay at home moms do as well. Well....everyone does. But that's a different day/post. It doesn't matter if you "work" or if you don't. Being a mom IS work. And there are so many tasks when it comes to running a household. Its exhausting and its draining. But it doesn't have to be.
I like to look at time management less as a tool to "get more done" but more as a skill of prioritizing what you already have to do. Join me as we dig deeper into time management skills for the overwhelmed mom.
To enroll in the course, please click the button below!
I never thought I would say these words, but I am officially a homeschooling Mama. After some careful thought and consideration we realized that not all of our children learn the same way so educating them the same way just didn't make sense. We pulled one of our littles out of school and are now venturing on homeschooling. And let me tell you, the stress has subsided substantially. Crazy, huh? The mornings are peaceful, we don't feel like we are forcing anything anymore and and it is just working. I am still navigating my way through curriculum and trying to decide whether this is just for this year or a more permanent decision. But it's been awesome and there are so many great resources out there.
A word of encouragement? If you are a parent, remember that. YOU are the parent and you know your child. Be confident in that. Do your research, look stuff up, ask questions and don't be afraid to question "authority". Because ultimately, you and your child are the ones who have to live with whatever decisions you make whether that's educational or even medical. And if something isn't working, it doesn't mean something is wrong with your child. But it also doesn't mean something is wrong with that type of education. We are just realizing that there are so many ways to accomplish a goal, and it's ok to get there on different paths.
God gave us our babies for a reason. Honor that by being their advocate in every situation.
Hi Friends! I took January off to prepare for the rest of the year, get some content ready and to take care of a few family commitments. It was awesome, but I am definitely ready to get back to sharing. Need a little update on this month? We are now homeschooling one of our kids, I am 21 weeks along in the pregnancy and things have been amazing this time around. I feel great, no nausea and lots of energy! We have been busy preparing for baby, decluttering the house and just trying to simplify some systems in the house. I read The Magnolia Story (in 2 days) and it was incredible. In January I officially became the co-owner of the West Valley Moms Blog which has kept me busy but in a great way! So some really awesome things going on, but I am really looking forward to launching my ecourse the next few weeks!
We are jumping into this month full force with a ton of content to prepare for the ecourse. We will be chatting all about time management, managing your commitments, understanding your season, and so much more. I can't wait!
If time management is something you struggle with or just don't understand at all, please comment or shoot me an email with a specific question that I can answer for you!
Hello 2017. And goodbye to the American Dream.
In the 1930's, the American Dream was "invented". The term was originally a really amazing concept with positive intentions. It was defined by historian James Truslow Adams, and it meant, "That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement." Sounds great right? But as time went on, we as the human race, totally perverted that term. As we do most things.
It has turned in to more, more, more. Make more money, buy more things, achieve more, do more. Being successful means going to college after high school, getting that degree, finding that great job and climbing that corporate ladder. Or it means starting your own business and pretty much be a slave to that your whole life. In the midst of trying to achieve the "American Dream", we lost our sense of community, of family, but most of all, we lost our sense of rest. We lost our sense of CONTENTMENT. We lost our sense of quiet. We walk around like robots, unwilling to interact with each other, staring at our phones. And in the family sense, we are all too independent, unwilling to ask for help and lean on a neighbor for support. We don't let anyone correct our children when they misbehave and we aren't there to see, because we don't want to upset our kids or allow them to have hurt feelings. I just don't like any of it.
And it is all too easy to get trapped in all of these things if you aren't awake, aware and consciously seeking truth. And when there is too much noise, you don't hear that small voice of God, even when he is SHOUTING at you.
As most of you know, 2017 means I am officially saying goodbye to the business of hair and make up. Saying goodbye to all things weddings. And as scary as that sounded a while ago, I couldn't imagine continuing any longer. I loved my job and I loved my clients. But I worked 24/7. I never rested, I didn't have days off for months at a time, and my family got the leftovers of a grumpy, worn out mom.
So as we enter into a new year, most people will be making new years resolutions and picking a word for their year. And as I thought about it, I couldn't settle on just one. I settled on three. Rest, Intention + Simplify. I feel that all of these words that I have chosen come together beautifully to create the type of life I've always searched for and the life I want my kids to know. A life of less, not more. A life of simplicity. A life not dictated by my bank account or the amount of toys we have, but a life focused on the quality time spent together, the intention behind our decisions and the legacy we are choosing to leave behind.
We are going to spend more time outside, more time in the quiet, more books will be read, more simple family dinners at home, unrushed, messy and easy. As for me? I have my list of goals, such as more prayer time, not rushing through everything, and although I know its extremely challenging for me, I am going to try to allow white space in my calendar. I am going to commit to leaving spaces open in my schedule, not constantly filling them up and feeling like I need to be productive all the time. And I am going to enjoy the simple things. The mundane things. And just slow down.
Cheers to 2017, friends.
All images by Coleen Hodges Photography
I just finished this book. I've never read a book slower, ever in my life. I am a natural speed reader, I blow through books quicker then I can keep up with. But this one was different. I read it slow. I savored it. I re-read chapters. I highlighted and underlined and folded down pages that I wanted to come back to. Shauna Niequist spoke every word I have been feeling this season of life. A season to slow down, a season to stay quiet, a season to stop the hustle and bustle, a season to stay in my Jammie's and rest more then I feel comfortable with. A season of uncomfortable, weird, silence.
But beyond the silence, it's becoming a season to reconnect, dig back into Gods word and reconnect with my family. My work has pulled me in all directions, different states, different countries and all over the valley. But in the midst of the non stop hustle, I realized it wasn't passion that was driving me. And my work wasn't bringing me joy anymore. I was filling a need to prove myself. A need to show everyone that I'm not "just a mom", or a teen mom, or a single mom. I thought that I could show everyone how I could pull myself out of my "bad choices" and into a successful life. A life with no financial struggles, a life not dependent on "help" from others, a parent with it all together, an intentional mom (hoping it was the opposite of an irresponsible teenager as I once was). But guess what? That was exhausting. And it left me empty and wanting to hide so I didn't have to act all put together every time I was around someone.
So, here I am, a retired hair and make up artist, who has almost 4 children and I'm not even 30 yet. I love a schedule, I love being organized but I also love staying in my Jammie's all day and reading. I am an introvert, social settings give me anxiety, and I love staying at home. My wardrobe consists of mostly black and gray tones. And I like it that way. Neutral tones calm me.
I announced sometime last year that I was retiring from weddings. Something God had been YELLING at me to do for years. But I wasn't listening. I thought I had to work and that I had to provide. But the truth is, I don't. Because He does. I quit my job without another lined up. I didn't even speak to my husband about it before I made the decision. I knew in my soul that I needed to stop. I was unhappy, stressed, distant and miserable. I was overwhelmed. Each event was less joyful for me and more work then I ever imagined. So again, without any "future plans" or "future income", I said goodbye.
With Baby No. 4 on the way, I am still not sure how I will bring income to our home. But I am finding a little bit of peace in that I know I can trust the Lord to provide. And my prayer is that my husband realizes that he doesn't need to stress either. Because we have never gone with out. And we just need to honor what has been given to us. His guidance will come, his provisions will come. And they wont be based off of our works, or our schedules, or my obsession with being an entrepreneur.
So this book. It has put into words what I have felt for a long time. But never knew how to execute. Never knew that it was ok to feel all the things I am feeling. It helped me realized that I wasn't being lazy. Rest does not equate to laziness. But, that I have been craving rest, connection, intimacy and a slow calmness that hustling would never give me.
I am thankful for people who write the words that are in this book. That are real, honest, truthful and bold. That pave the way for people who cant quite put into words how they are feeling so that they can make the necessary changes in their lives.
For now, I will keep snuggling my kids, watching movies on repeat, enjoying my last pregnancy and stay in my jammies and I will blog for whoever wants to read.
Shopping in London is heaven. There is something about the style that you just can't get at shops here in Phoenix. And even better, because we are Non-Residents, we get to shop Tax Free, thankfully because of Premier Tax Free. A company that enables us to claim our tax back at the airport. And the tax in the UK isn't 8% like in Phoenix. It is 20%! So to get 20% back before you go back home is a huge bonus! (And major incentive to spend our money over there hehe).
To start, my husband LOVES All Saints Jeans. They fit great, amazing quality and they last forever. We snagged 3 pairs of the Cigarette Jeans for him. And can I just say how thankful I am? He had been wearing the SAME pair of jeans for 2 years! (gawk!). The Hubs also scored some amazing work shoes from Top Shop!
Then, we always hit up Zara for the whole family. But this mama needed some shoes...And because of my short legs, I have the hardest time finding Booties. But we spent one of our last days shopping in London and we went in to Office on Carnaby Street and my eyes lit UP! The amount of options was slightly overwhelming in the best way possible. And I walked out with not just one pair but TWO pairs of booties that I LOVED!
Check out the steps below to find out where to shop and how to get your tax back!
- Check out "Where To Shop Tax Free" and you can search by country and then Brand or Shop name! All the shops I named above are supported by Premier Tax Free.
- Shop your brains out. (And always pack an extra suitcase when traveling to the UK because you will find more then you think you will at the shops)
- When you check out at the shops, you just ask for your VAT receipt and they print out a separate receipt from Premier Tax Free and put both receipts in an envelope for you to take with you to the airport to claim your tax back.
- HELPFUL HINT: Once you are finished shopping, fill out all your receipts before you get to the airport. There are spots on each VAT receipt asking for your info such as Name, Address, Credit Card info (for your refund) and trip details. Having these completely filled out before the airport will speed up your wait time at the airport.
- Once you get to the airport you will see an area that says VAT Refunds. Get in line (which is normally pretty short) and turn all your receipts in and decide how you want your refund. There are many options on ways to receive the money. Check them out here.
For more information check out Premier Tax Free!
This is our 3rd time traveling to the U.K. And to be honest, it's always been so easy. The older kids have always traveled well. The flight is 10 hours, which most people gasp when they hear that. But it's a night flight direct from Phoenix to London so we basically sleep the whole time. But this trip was slightly different. It definitely was not easy. It was Mia's first time flying to the U.K. And she is the most restless child I know. She doesn't sit still and is the lightest sleeper. Add in a fever for 5 days, and it was a bit if a disaster. But we survived. Here are a few things to remember when traveling with kids...
#1. Don't wait to travel til they are older. Get them used to it as early as possible. All of my kids have been traveling since they were a few weeks old. From all over the states, to Mexico to London and Spain. I love that we can go to a different country and the kids are open to trying new foods and they sincerely enjoy the different cultures.
#2 Travel Light. Unless you are traveling on a safari to Africa, bring the basic necessities. There will be stores all around. And babies do survive all over the world. On this trip, we went to the pharmacy a few times, needed diapers, tights etc. and we just got them whenever we were. We even had to see a doctor for Mia.
#3 Most places are pretty child friendly. Any pub or restaurant we went in always made sure we had what we needed, made accommodations for the kids, changes to the menu and made sure Mia had warm milk for the road.
#4 When traveling to a different time zone, do not look at what time it is back home. You will only confuse your body and mind that much more. When we come to the U.K., we don't look at what time it is back in PHX. Whatever time the clock says in the U.K., is what time it is. You will adjust quicker. And when you are out all day, and it's time to go to sleep, you will be tired for sure. Especially with kids!
So its been a few weeks since I have blogged. So I thought I would give an update, on life.
October is my crazy month. Always. It's like everyone in Phoenix has high hopes that the temps will drop, we can plan a bunch of events and we can magically go outside without being mostly naked and maybe wear a sweater. Only to be disappointed each October that its still in the high 90's. It's hot and I am annoyed by it. #CanYouTell? So I have been on long days of production shoots, weddings and with my clients that fly in seasonally. I am so tired. And the kids feel it for sure. And so does my messy house. But I have blocked out the rest of this month, so no more events on site. Time to rest up, catch up and clean up. I am really looking forward to this being my last crazy October, honestly. As much as I love my clients, I need time to rest. I've been going at this for 12 years and its just too much.
I have started some really new, crazy, cool things too, but I cant share just yet. But they require a little less on site commitment then Hair & Make Up does.
As for our little tribe, the babies caught a tummy bug this past week, so that was gross. Mia bumped her head and had to take her in. But she's ok. And this mommy and daddy are just wrecked. We are needing some serious time together away from the kiddos.
We head out for London in 3 weeks, and we cannot wait. I need some cooler temps, some actual weather and some nice people. I cannot wait to grocery shop, eat everywhere and spend time with family over there. Literally counting down the days. Speaking of, who wants to follow along on our trip? I will probably do some videos and hopefully some posts for you all.
Anyway, thanks for tuning in. And some good content will be coming soon. Once I rest up a bit.
This post never went live! SO I am reposting it for you so you have the recipe! These literally are the best cookies EVER. So soft and chewy, crunchy on the outside, and the flavor is delish! Hope you enjoy! Send me pictures of you baking them and see the recipe below.
First of all, pinch me. These are MY kids??? LOVE THEM! Second of all, I am so thankful for my Aunt, Kathy Cole Photography, who captures the most precious memories of my family. We did a session for Mia's First birthday and she was such a turd...until the cake came out! Then she was all about it! She loved the cake and seriously cracked us up! Check out her cake smash photos below!
My aunt also captured some really great family photos of us, which by the way is so stressful. Why cant family photos be chilled out and easy? I was sweating my butt off and my kids had way to much candy (from bribing them). And my poor aunt was out of breath and all sweaty trying to keep Mia's attention. But she managed, as usual, to get some great shots! Here is a sneak peek of just ONE family photo, because the really good ones will probably be on our christmas cards hehe :)
And lastly, we tried to get some of me and my littlest, but she wasn't very interested.
Ill share the photos from her birthday party next! We seriously enjoyed celebrating this little lady. She lights up our life!
Can I get sappy with you for a minute? This mama is really starting to comprehend how quickly life goes by....how fast our babies are growing up and how precious life really is. I have always loved being a mother, but something about this past year has really changed and just increased this motherhood joy x100. Do I have moments of frustration? Yes. But loving on Mia literally makes my heart explode. Watching my son in his first year of kindergarten? UGH, I cant take it. I LOVE it. I love watching him do his homework and practice writing his name. I love reading with him and just seeing him truly thrive in his classroom. And my oldest, Brooklynn. I love seeing her be the first one awake, already in her uniform and reading because she just cant wait to get to school. Maybe its the postpartum hormones and emotions that are still running rampant through my body. Or maybe I just have truly come to a place in life where I find pure joy in motherhood. But a few things that I think have a lot to do with it is my decision to step back from work.
A few years ago I was working all week long, weddings on the weekends, blogging, traveling for work etc. I called myself the "Yes Man". If I got a call for work, I said yes. Being a single mom before my husband and I met, I tasted the bitterness of not having money, not being able to provide for my own children and facing the stress of it every single day. It was horrible. So in an effort to "never have to feel that again", I said yes to everything. But guess what? It didn't work. We still ran into financial troubles, we still did not have an abundance of money and we still struggled. The lesson? Where was I placing my faith and trust? In myself. And that just doesn't work.
We have had such a busy summer with the move and trying to sort out renovations, unpacking, school shopping, family in town etc. But I am so looking forward to this year. I want to hold on to every single day with Mia, because she will soon be ONE and it is literally breaking my heart. I feel like I just had her! and just for some sweet memories...look at this baby when she was still fresh...
I think of all the sweet memories I have with Mia and from my two older babies and it is something that I just hold so dear to my heart. Motherhood is incredible. Motherhood is a gift. An absolute gift. And I cannot imagine my life with out these kids.
So excuse me while I go sneak my babies out of their beds to cuddle me in mine...because why not. They won't fit in between mommy and daddy forever. And I think this mama might be super heartbroken when that happens.
Finally, guys!!! Here is my video of how I curl my hair! Hope you enjoy all my cheesiness! (I HATE videos! Lol)