I can barely contain my wonder when I look back at the last four years.  I’ll save all my gushing for another post, but I will say that the joy that has met me through this work that I do has been one of my life’s greatest surprises.  I am so, so grateful that you would read here, talk with me on social media and keep coming back to see what’s new in the shop.  Y’all are such a sweet part of my life.
 

lets par tay
 

 

I’ve polled my friends and wracked my brain and decided that I wanted to combine the best of our deals for you AND do a big giveaway {!!!}.  So, here’s how this little shindig will work:
 

 

–Starting today through Friday there will be a new deal each day.  The deals will post here at 6 am {est} each morning and end at 11:59 pm each night.  

 

–In addition to that, you can enter to win a Favorite Four Prize Pack which includes your favorite pieces from the shop in four categories.

 

{some entries can be earned everyday}

 

 
 

Here are the deals each week {I wanted you to be able to plan and get the best deal for you}:

 

HLL partay deets

 

 
Today, we are giving 25% {get it? one fourth?} off any and all necklaces in the shop.  Simply go to checkout and enter the code: “HLLFOURTH” and it will come off automatically.  The perfect time to stockpile, friends!
 

 

 

The giveaway:
 

This is for your choice of  1) statement necklace, 2) pair of earrings, 3) single bloom and 4) badge reel or girl’s mini necklace {can be made to match any adult necklace}…I’ll let you pick.  You just pick out your four favorites and I’ll ship them right to you.  How fun!!!

 
 

 

favorite four giveaway

 

 

 

This is going to be a fun few days, y’all! The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm est Friday night.  I’m rooting for you and thanks for celebrating with me!!!
 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

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HLL fourth birthday

 

 

Happy Monday!

 
 

I’ll be back to Hello Monday next week, but today I just wanted to make one quick announcement.  Our birthday celebration is moving to Wednesday.  While today is our official birthday…I pushed publish on our shop exactly 4 years ago {yay!}…I feel like I needed more time to plan the way I want.
 
 
Last week was a bit nutso with a sick kid who finally ended up in the ER {he’s fine}, an intense work season, kids home with me most of the week and having to do some things are really anxiety-producing for me {more on that later} plus a weekend trip.  Whew.
 
 
I just needed a little margin.  Y’all know I love margin. :)
 
 
So we’ll just extend the celebration through the week.  Sound good?

 
 
 
 
I’m busy planning the goods, but if there’s something you love that I’ve done in the past {maybe the way I or another shop owner did it?}, I’m all ears.

 
 
 
Have a great start to your week, friends, and I’ll see you back here Wednesday! {psst…did you get to see our new Leather + Suede collection? see it all here.

 

 

 

 

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The leather and suede collection

 
 
I’m so glad it’s finally time!  Y’all, I have been wanting to work with leather and suede forEVER.  I’m not quite sure what took me so long, but it feels amazing to get some of these ideas out of my head and into the real world where you can see them, touch them wear them.
 
 
And I have a feeling that this is just the beginning for these materials in my shop.
 
 
So let’s get to it, yes?
 
 
 
suede earring collage

{teal + coral//green + teal//blue + coral//lavender + white//nude + gold//mocha + gold}

 
 

These cuties are where it started for me.  I love the colors and texture of suede matched with my favorite Czech glass beads… and the fact that you forget you’re wearing them because they are so soft and light is the cherry on top.  The options are vast so I started with these six.

 
 

I cut them all by hand and layered colors I think you’ll love.

 
 
 

leather hoop collage

{teal accent//yellow accent}

 
 

Inspired by my favorite metal pair, I wanted to make something that had a luxe, boho feel with a bit of a western twist, but didn’t dig into my neck or feel too heavy.  These hit the spot.  They are crazy light and soft against your skin.  They are quiet {hello, moms who hear enough racket all day! }, and the little extra sparkle in the bead gives it something special.

 
 

Hand cut by me so they are 100% one of a kind {perfect is boring}.  I see these transitioning to fall wardrobes seamlessly.

 
 

{Does anyone else feel the need to order cowboy boots pronto?}

 
 
 

leather and turquoise collage

{leather + turquoise}

 
 

I’m giddy about these little bows.  I mean, how cute are they???

 
 

Again, so many possibilities so I’m starting simply with three necklaces for you to enjoy.  I made each bow by hand and added them to my signature beaded necklaces for an accent that you don’t see every day.

 
 

Also, at 23 inches, these next few necklaces hang just a tad longer and I love that.  {If you need a different length, just ask!}

 
 
 

mint and coral collage

{mint + coral}

 
 

Feminine, smart and really darling.  Mint and coral is so hot right now, but this is my own take on it.

 
 
 

leather ornate collage

{leather + metal}

 
 

This combination of rustic leather and elegant, ornate beads makes me swoon.  The beads are light and covered with little gold and cream flowers so the neutral color palette means this piece goes with everything.

 
 

I think it will make you swoon too. ;)

 
 
 

I’m so glad you stopped by to see this new leather and suede collection!  I design my pieces for YOU so your feedback is incredibly valuable to me.

 
 

Share this post anyway you like, then leave a comment telling me about it and I’ll pick one reader tomorrow night and send them their choice of earrings. Oh yeah, and take 20% off anything in the shop today just because you’re awesome. Use the code: “leatherandsuede”. Thank you SO much!!!

 
 
 

…here’s an easy, sharable graphic for you to use:
 

the leather + suede collection instagram

 
 
 
 
***UPDATE: The winner is MANDY!!! {Mandy, check your email!} Thank you guys so, so much for sharing about my shop. Y’all are the best.
 
 
 

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Happy Monday morning to you!

 
 

This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for beauty and joy, even in the gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.

 
 

I missed last week so I’m all geared up and ready to say some hello’s today.  Join me?

 
 
 

I’ve been busy summering…how about you?

 

summering collage

 
 

Hello mushy summer brain

 

I’ve swung from hyper anxious and feeling frantic to complete mush.  No motivation to do much of anything.  Where is the middle?!  I just want to lay around by large bodies of water, have a nanny, housekeeper and wait staff follow me around, refilling my fruity drinks {with the little straws} and read a good book.  I don’t feel like that’s asking too much.

 
 

My mom, sister and I recently had a funny discussion about the kind of people who use “summer” as a verb…as in, “so where does everyone summer?”  I might not have 3 different vacation homes to choose from but, dangit, I’m summering.  The mush might be here for a bit longer.

 
 

Hello creative overload

 

Big projects are in the works {can’t wait to tell you!} and that has filled my mushy brain to the brim.  Today, I finally took an hour to write out some main goals, then sub-goals, then a 10 week plan.  Who am I?  Lest you get the wrong idea, I am not a planner by nature.  It was just the only way to get my brain organized so I don’t start to feel frazzled.  I’m finding it really helpful to write out my main objectives of what I want to happen and then work backwards, filling in the smaller steps I need to take to get there.

 
 

How do you brain dump?

 
 

Hello books

 

Thanks to due dates from the library, I’m reading a lot more these days.  Yay!  Right now, I’m really focused on finishing the last few chapters of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire {it’s overdue} and my friend Courtney just recently passed me The Fault in Our Starsso I’m excited about starting that one soon.

 
 

What are you reading right now?

 
 

Hello getting out of the house

 

Our family is finally at the place where it is sometimes easier to leave the house than stay in it.  The natives get restless so going our friend’s and family’s pools, grandparents houses, parks and play dates have been keeping us from eating each other {it’s like Lord of the Flies over here}.  This week it’s a local splash pad with friends and I’m excited.

 
 

Hello shop birthday!

 

One week from today the shop turns FOUR!  Etsy years are like dog years so this is really fun for me.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the best sellers were, how the shop grew this past year and…most importantly…planning fun surprises for you guys!  Stay tuned for more about that soon.  You won’t want to miss next Monday. ;)

 
 

Any particular lovelies or promos in the past that you especially loved?  I want to hear!

 
 

Hello sneak peek

 

2014-07-09_1404936433

 
 

A new batch of lovelies are coming on Wednesday and friends, prepare your hearts for….

 
 

LEATHER

 
 

I’ve been wanting to work with leather and suede for a really long time so I’m pretty excited.  I think you will be too.

 
 
 

Share with me what you’re saying hello to?  Perfect.  And I hope you have a wonderful start to your week!  

 
 
 
 
*affiliate links might have been used so if you buy, I’ll receive about 4%. thanks for supporting me!

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Happy Friday, you guys!
 
 
I’m switching things up right now with this Oh Hey Friday post.  The Five Things on Friday link up is on a break for the summer, but I have come to really enjoy these posts so this week we are linking up with September FARM and The Farmer’s Wife for their very first Oh Hey Friday link up!
 
 
It’s the exact same format, just different hosts {they felt the same way I do and didn’t want to break for the summer}.  I hope you’ll click over and even join with us or enjoy the other Friday posts.
 
 
 

five great reads on living with less

 
 
 
So, since I posted a little update on our house purge this week, it got me excited about it all over again!  Sometimes you just have to dive in and it will come back you.  I started going back through blogs and posts that have really inspired me in the past.  I even found some new great reads so today I’m sharing 5 of my favorite reads for getting inspired to live with less…be that less space or less stuff or both.

 
 
1.  Assortment — 665 sq ft.
 

assortment kitchen

 
 
I found Carmella in my Country Living magazine one day and had to know more about her story.  Then I discovered her blog and fell in love.  This lady is a beautiful, beautiful writer.  She loves Jesus, she and her family of 5 have made radical changes to simplify and their 665 square foot space is dreamy.  So much inspiration here.  I recommend you start with their story.

 
 
 
2.  Shalom Mama — family of 6 living on a BUS
 
bus-conversion-tour
 
 

This girl is quirky and fun and totally out of the box.  I first found her on Tsh’s podcast {another wealth of wisdom on living simply} and she was so interesting!  She’s very committed to natural living and her blog is so intriguing to me in general, but y’all.  Her family of 6 LIVES ON A BUS.   I’m not saying I want to go this route but it’s crazy to see how they make this work and ARE HAPPY.  So fun to read.
 
 
 
3.  A 30 Piece Wardrobe

 

30 piece wardrobe (1).jpg

 
 
Have you ever heard of building a capsule wardrobe?  Basically, it’s a pared down wardrobe of quality pieces that mix and match well together so you have what you need and the decision of what to wear is much simpler.  As a clearance/thrifting/impulsive hoarder, I’ve ended up with a closet of clothes that I don’t love and plenty of occasions where I don’t feel like I have what I need.
 
Enter this post.  I can tell she put so much thought into it as she takes you step-by-step through the process she’s used to come up with a 30 piece year round wardrobe.  She’s a smart cookie, that one.

 
 
 

4.  10 Reasons Our Family Wants to Live with Less Stuff
 

10 reasons to live with less stuff
 
 
 
This was one of the first posts I read when we started the process of getting rid of our crap.  I lined up on almost every single reason and she put words to how I felt.  If you want to feel validated in your stress with your stuff or feel motivated to live more and manage stuff less, this is a great read.

 
 
 
5.  Five Helpful Tips for Purging Crap
 
RantsPurgingChart
 
 
If you’ve ever hit your breaking point with the crap {raise your hand if you’ve thought about burning it all down and starting over}, you’ll enjoy this read.  She’s hilarious and still offers practical suggestions for what to actually do with all the stuff you’re purging.

 
 
 
Enjoy and have a great weekend!

 

 
 


 
 
 

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{Before we start,  we are a family of 5 living in a little house just over 1000 sq ft and don’t plan to move in the near future.  We are tired of managing stuff…moving it, cleaning it, organizing it, stepping over it, etc.  We would rather do other fun stuff so…we’re trying to fix that.  You can read a little more about that here and see what we’ve done so far in our bathroommaster closet and bedroom, the boys’ roomZoe’s roomphase 1 of our hall closet and phase 1.5 of our hall closet…which is fully functional but has still yet to be completely finished.}

 
 
 

Let’s just go ahead and acknowledge the fact that it has been a full 5 months since I’ve really talked about our house purge.  Other house projects have come and gone, a school year became really intense and then ended, the months have flown by and life has happened.  Lots of really good, beautiful stuff and plenty of living.

 
 

 Sure, there’s been some donating and cleaning out happening here and there.  I feel like I’ve cleaned out the boys’ room at least 3 other times.  I guess it just didn’t feel like enough to write about.

 
 

But I have thought about our goal of getting rid of 30-50% of our stuff a LOT.  This task is not completed and I still intend to “finish”.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned through this process is that purging has levels.  You could do a huge sweep through your entire house and get rid of bags and bags of stuff you don’t need and maybe feel finished, but my hunch?  Is that you will peel back that first layer to reveal covered up layers of things you have been holding onto that’s cluttering up your life without even realizing it.

 
 

Getting rid of that stuff is where the good stuff happens.  It forces you to get to the why of your stuff problem.  And dealing with that leads to freedom and a lighter living space.  I’m still working through this, to be honest.

 
 
 

So enough talk now.  I’ve recently headed into my living room to tackle the buffet that houses wii remotes, office supplies, our dvds, craft supplies, junk and also serves as our entertainment center.  After I tackled that, I went to work lightening up our tiny kitchen.

 
 

The buffet was in a tragic state.  Some of the drawers wouldn’t even open and each one was it’s own mini explosion of randomness.

 
 

buffet before 4 buffet before 3 buffet before 2 buffet before 1

 
 

I didn’t do a great job of taking pictures {I was in a mode, y’all}, but I threw out all kinds of crap and reduced our dvd collection by about 40%.  When I finished, each drawer had plenty of room and the bottom drawer was empty.  Yay!

 
 

buffet after 3 buffet after 2 buffet after 1

 

 
I moved in art supplies to several of the drawers that were displaced after we did the boys’ room so now they have quick and easy access to them.  Spare junk and tools that I was scared to throw away were corralled in a zip lock bag.  Pencils, pens and office supplies were greatly pared down so they can now fit in the little containers I already had in there.  Still not sure how to make the wii stuff look pretty, but when the drawer is closed, it’s fine. :)

 
 
 

So, the kitchen.  Y’all, I don’ t have many nice things to say about our kitchen.  I really, really struggle with it.  Daily.  When we bought the house almost 11 years ago, I was happy when I followed the instructions on the back of the Chicken Helper box successfully.  That’s not an exaggeration, so I could care less that the kitchen was tiny, had almost no counter space and only 2 drawers.  I was maaarrrrried!!!!
 
 

Here we are, a decade and 3 kids later, and we haven’t done very much to update it.  I have a list a mile long of things we want to do, but pouring tons of money into a house that won’t give us much return has been our deterrent for a long time.  BUT…I have done a few things to cuten it up and having it de-cluttered is one of the cheapest, most gratifying things you can do for your space, no matter how small it is.
 
 
Here’s the before:
 

kitchen before 3 kitchen before 4 kitchen before 5 kitchen before 2 kitchen before 1

 
 

A few things to note:
 
–that counter space above {and mainly the section to the left of the sink} is where I do almost all of my cooking.  See how full it is with our coffee stuff?  {And this is fairly clean.}
 
– the 3rd picture is of a white cabinet that we bought to house our baking stuff and our trash and recycling is out of sight at the bottom of the cabinet.  It’s a great helper to us.  Unfortunately, the top was becoming a very visible catch-all.
 
– the 1st picture is of a bookshelf another teacher gave Josh several years ago.  He hung it on the wall over our table and I looove the extra shelving and fun decor options it has given us.  I also like to call it our South American Fruit Stand because all our fruit goes on the bottom 2 shelves.   Lately though, the yellow has started to feel less fun and more over-powering.  I’ve been craving visual rest.  A quieter space.
 
 
I had already gone through our closed cabinets so this time I just focused on all the surfaces you could see….our 2 main upper cabinets, countertops, the bookshelf and the top of the white cabinet.  I got rid of dishes we never use and stored extras we only need sometimes or are seasonal {like my beloved pottery bowls we use for soups}.  They went into a big basket that sits on top of the cabinets.  I also rearranged some decor for a fresh, lighter feel.
 
 
And my favorite is the crisp white paint job the bookshelf got.  Aaaahhh.

 

kitchen after 1 kitchen after 2 kitchen after 3 kitchen after 4 kitchen after 5 kitchen after 6 kitchen after 7

 
 
 
 
Here are a few side-by-sides to see the difference:

 

kitchen before:after kitchen before:after 5 kitchen before:after 4 kitchen before:after 3 kitchen before:after 2

 

 

It’s not revolutionary, but it definitely better. :)  Oh, and if you want the details on how I backed the cabinets to give them more personality {and grab the attention of Good Housekeeping!}, you can read all about it here.  It has been a full year and remains one of my favorite things I’ve ever done in our house.
 
 
Also, my most viewed post here by far is my tutorial for making the yard wrapped “EAT” on our shelves.  That’s here.  Such a fun project.

 
 
 

So!  What have you been cleaning out these days?  I need some motivation!
 
 
 
Linking up with We Are THAT Family.

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Happy FOURTH OF JULY!!!! I hope you’re grilling out, with friends and family and soaking up all the summer glory. Blogs can wait. Go have FUN!!! {and then come back here and leave your comment!} :)
 
 

 

5 summer dinners that won't heat up the house

 
 

So, it’s definitely heating up here in NC (not to mention the humidity…hello, frizz). The way our house is set up, we get full sun in the kitchen and living room from lunch till sunset. And, while I love all the light, it gets HOT. Our great room is usually several degrees warmer than the rest of the house despite the thermal curtains we use.
 
 

So dinners that don’t heat up our house are a must. I rarely crank up the oven in the warmer months (and if I do, it’s usually in the morning or late evening).
 
 
Here are five of our go-to dinners that don’t heat the house up:
 
 

1.  Grilled pizza

 

grilled pizza

 
 
This signifies the beginning of summer for us. We christen it with grilled pizza and the BEST is picking fresh herbs and veggies from the garden and just piling them on. So, so good.
 
 
Another tip is that if you don’t have time to do it from scratch, you can grill a frozen pizza too…which somehow makes me feel like a rock star and negates the fact that it came out of a box.
 
 

2. Sausage + Sweet potato Hash

 

IMG_1863

 
 
This recipe has been in rotation since we did the whole30 last summer. It is pure deliciousness. Add a fried egg on top and do a little jig.
 

 
 

3.  Slow Cooker Chicken Ranch Tacos

 

Chicken-ranch-tacos-300x261

 
 
Ok, so this recipe uses seasoning packets, but they can totally be made from scratch if you’re worried about the crap in the seasoning. And it pretty much doesn’t get easier. Just pile that deliciousness on a tortilla with lots of fixins and you have dinner.
 
 

 

4.  Mango Chili Coconut Shrimp

 

mango chili coconut shrimp

 
 
The newest addition to our meal rotation and it was met with lots of exclamations. It is soooo yummy. I love most dishes that combine sweet and savory so the mix of all the flavors was delightful. I served it over rice and I’m pretty sure there were no leftovers.

 
 

 

5. Sloppy Joes and watermelon

 
 
Good ol’ fashioned summer food. This is another recipe we used when we were doing our whole30 last year (note: I don’t add stevia and it’s just fine) so it’s really healthy and super good. I usually have mine over quinoa or brown rice. A great way to end a hot summer day when you’re the best kind of exhausted.
 
 
 
What dinners are you enjoying that are anti heat-rage? ;)
 
 
 
 

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Can you believe that June has already come and gone?  I’m a little shocked.  Summer comes soooo slowly and then just whizzes by, doesn’t it?
 
 

2014-06-04_1401888407

 
 

Well, let’s get to it then!  This is my monthly come-clean session on the goals I’ve set for myself.  In January I set out to make this a year of intention.  I’m weary of wanting and desiring results but not acting on it in an intentional way.  I set the goals and got really serious about them in April.   {I know.  I’m slow.}  You can see what happened in April, May and June.

 
 
 
So here we are, almost half way through the year and I’ve set July up to be an evaluation month.  I’ll still set goals, but I’ll take more time to really go over the last few months, take inventory of what went well and what didn’t and then make a plan going  forward.
 
 
Whew.  Ok…so here’s how June went:
 

updated june goals

 

 

One time goals:
 
– yard sale — that dang yard sale!  Gah!
 
– file taxes — we set the appointment and we’re doing it this morning!
 
– switch insurance — I started this process until I realized that the initial monthly withdrawal was more than we could do so I’m putting it off until we get our tax refund.
 
– launch new line —  I did!  You can see The Getaway Collection here.
 
– edit kitchen/purge buffet — Done and done.  Post coming soon on that.
 

 

Ongoing goals:
 
– wake up at 6am — maybe once or twice BUT the goal was to have some quiet time and I still got that several times a week.
 
– plan easy lunches — I didn’t do this at all.   It’s been a sandwich and chips month.
 
– stop working at 5pm —  This went well!
 
– social media curfew at 8:30pm — This went pretty well too.
 
– read a fun book — Yes!  I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and loved it!  Great book.  Now I’m half way through Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.  That is one big book.
 
– 3 desserts a week — Eh.  I’d say I stuck to this half of the time and the other time I didn’t pay much attention.  Vacation meant this got poo-pooed.
 
– move 3 times a week — Yeah, probably half of the month was really great.  Then we went on vacation and I’m trying to get back to it this week.  The good news is that my clothes are looser and I’m noticing a difference. :)
 
– pursue collaboration with 5 bloggers/small biz owners —  Does posting to the Influence Network forums count?  Cause I did that yesterday, but I haven’t emailed anyone.  Thankfully, I just joined a mastermind group that should be starting up soon so those are built in contacts as well.  If that doesn’t pick up soon, I’ll take to the scary direct emailing.
 
– save $100 — I did it…but….we also had a lot of extra expenses this month and I haven’t been disciplined like I need to be.  So the money was moved to savings, but in actuality, the other expenses did more damage than that little bit helped.  This is revealing a lot of funk in my heart about money.  I’m asking the Lord to help me deal with it and it will be something I look at closely as I reevaluate.
 
 
 

So onto my goals for July:
 

july goals

 

{I’m continuing on with trying to move 3 times a week and eat good food regularly.  My hope is that they would gradually just become part of my normal routine that I don’t have to think about so hard so they aren’t listed.}

 
 
I feel a slight shift in my heart this month of we’ve been working hard for a few months plugging away at making this home run, our finances run, the shop run, my body run.  But it’s time to live.   I want to be able to write and encourage you sweet friends out of overflow of life.  Dreams and goals and just grinding it out certainly are important and necessary, yes.  Most of us don’t need to be told that.
 
 

 Sometimes we need to be told to get out there and live a free and creative life that glorifies our free and creative Maker.  And that’s what I want to encourage you to do.

 
 
What good is it to only plan to be free in the future and set things up to be life-giving later?  We’re not guaranteed that.  I have all the abundant life I can handle because of Christ and I want to live like that today.  So scattered among the monotonous like switching insurance providers, some of my goals this month are simply to leave my house and connect with other people.  Get to know them, their kids, their hearts.  Have people in my home.  Plan fun outings with my kids.  Chuck the project list and go exploring on a Saturday.  Put down my work and play a game of Chutes and Ladders.
 

emerson

{source}

 
 
The business strategy goes on.  Dealing with my funky heart about finances needs to happen.  I’ll keep battling my dinner time burnout, and hopefully I’ll continue to yell at Jillian on my tv because I’m letting her torture me.

 
 
But I hope I lighten up a little and have some fun too.  I hope I love and connect deeply.  I hope I drink in His love for me.  I hope I do something adventurous and new.  I hope I live in a way that makes me giddy to tell you about it.

 
 
 
And I hope your July looks like that too, friend.
 
 
 
Linking up with The Tiny Twig.

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GOOD MORNING!!!

 
 

This is a sweet weekly rhythm where we greet a fresh week, open to the possibilities and on the hunt for beauty and joy, even in the mundane and gritty…because sometimes that’s where it grows best of all.

 
 
 

Let’s say hello on this last morning of June!

 

Zoe and the hydrangea

 
 

Hello mind vacation

 

home

 
 

Apparently, it still hasn’t come back.  I’ve been really foggy the last week or so and I have no idea why, but part of me thinks that the slower pace we had on our trip is kind of where I’m stuck.  Is that bad?  I’m fully in summer mode and honestly?  I like it.

But thanks for your patience as I’ve been a bit sporadic here and on social media (not that you’re waiting for me, but you know what I mean.).  Do you think we get to a point where our brain just decides for us that we’re going to slow down?

 
 

Hello spruced up kitchen

 

shelves before and after

 
 

One of my goals for June was to edit down the kitchen.  I wanted to reevaluate all the things that were on our open shelves and decide if they were really needed or if we were just used to them.  I wanted to do the same with all the other shelves that are open and visible (I did this with the cabinets several months ago) and just see how it would feel to have less on there.

 
 

I finally did all of that this past weekend (plus the little fun project above) and I’m looking forward to showing you.  It feels much less cluttered and visually more restful.  Our kitchen is tiny, tiny so any little sprucing up goes a long way.

 
 

Hello Papa and Nana camp

 

My mom texted me the other day and asked if the kids could spend a couple nights with them.  There was really no need to ask.  Heck yes.  So here I am with a day stretched out in front of me and I have no idea what to do (other than all the work waiting for me), but I’m going to try my darndest to get a hair cut squeezed in.

 
 

Here’s what I’m thinking.  What do you think?

 

long bob

{source}

 
 

Hello to getting back on the wagon

 

ripped in 30

{Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30}

 
 

I took a break from working out when we were out of town and I haven’t really started back yet so I’m declaring that This Is The Week.  I was finally getting some good results when I stopped and it doesn’t take long for those hard-earned results to get covered up.  So it’s time for a reunion with that mean girl, Jillian.

 
 

Hello Fourth

 

red white and blue mommy and me set

{Red White and Blue Mommy and Me Set}

 
 

Hello grilling out, hello fireworks, hello sparklers in little hands.  I love it and watching my kids love it is the best.  And there’s something about having a little girl that gets me excited to pick out a cute little red, white and blue out fit for her to wear.  I’ve never really thought about it with the boys, but dressing her up is like my own little hobby. ;)

 
 

I also wanted to tell you that it’s not too late to grab a darling little mini necklace for a sweet girl in your life or a great statement piece for you to celebrate the Fourth.

 
 

You can order either necklace individually or as a set {and save a few bucks. I’ll apply this to the whole shop today and not just the set above.} and if you order today, I’ll upgrade the shipping to priority for free.  That way, it will get to you by Friday, but you need to order TODAY.  The earlier the better. ;)

 
 
 

Have a lovely Monday, friends, and let me know what you’re saying hello to!

 
 
 

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I’m back!  And weirdly, my brain is mush.  We hit the ground running Monday morning with a summer bible camp for the boys each morning this week, unpacking, catching up on work, dealing with truck repairs…and apparently after a week of relaxing, I’m a delicate flower.  The cooking!  The driving!  The folding of clothes!

 
 
So since my words are pretty limited, I thought I would just unload pictures.  How’s that for a fancy blogger trick?

 
 
We started the week with Josh’s family in North Myrtle.  There are now 9 grandkids and 8 adults plus a dear friend who was visiting from Norway (she was an exchange student who lived with them for a year when Josh was a kid.  we love her.)

 
 
 
Here’s the one attempt at a picture with all 9 kids (notice only 8 are in the picture):
 

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I didn’t do a great job of taking pictures but the week was filled with lots (and lots!) of hours on the beach watching the kids ride their boards in the waves, reading, eating at our favorite spots, watching movies, playing minecraft (the kids and Josh), playing putt-putt, riding rides, shopping, chatting, playing with cousins and resting.
 
 
As a really fun bonus, two families we love were at the beach the same week so we got to play on the beach and have early morning coffee and walks on the beach with them.  So fun.

 

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My mother-in-law goes quite the distance to take care of all of us and what a gift it was to not have to cook.  I felt that part of our vacation more this year than probably any other year.  Cooking dinner is just plain hard for me right now so I really soaked that up.
 
 
And to be honest, I decided to not fight the usual battles with my kids on screen time and junk food.  I wanted it to be a true break for them, and as much as I might not love it all the time, games and doughnuts are just what they’re into.  So they had a complete blast playing tons of games and enjoying sun drop and doughnuts for breakfast.   And, surprising even to myself,  I don’t regret that.  The break was good for us. ;)

 
 
 

At the end of the week, my side of the family came to Myrtle and we went to stay with them for a few days.  We floated down the lazy river, laid out while the kids swam (I haven’t said “laid out” since high school), played cards, read some more and had coffee out on the patio.  It was really lovely and I didn’t want to go home.
 

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I’m back now, feeling like I could use another week, but so grateful for that chance to catch our breath.  I actually read 1 1/2 books while I was there and didn’t feel any real temptation at all to be online.  I thought that would feel weird but it didn’t.  It felt right.
 
 
The biggest impact our time away made on me is the reality that the pace I’ve set for myself in my daily life is not the pace where I thrive.  I need more than a vacation.  I need a much slower pace.  My brain is more clear, my priorities are more focused, my body is more rested, my anxiety lessens and I just enjoy the sweet moments so much more (maybe because I notice them?).
 
 
 
It was a sweet time and I’m thinking about ways I can incorporate that slower speed into life here.  I’m ready to thrive and not just survive, you know? And if you’re trying to do that too, tell me how! I’d love to hear about it.
 
 
 

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