Wednesday, August 30

GIVE | Love Served Here



Feeling inspired to do something to help the people of Texas who've been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, I'm donating 100% of the profits from this sign to the ongoing relief + recovery efforts.

The selfless acts of service + love depicted in images across social media and the news outlets truly defines us as a nation. We always come together and serve up love to one another...quite generously. It's truly inspiring.

Hang the printable sign in your dining/kitchen area - a reminder of your donation but more importantly, a reminder of the greatest thing we can do in this life...love one another.

Click here to make your $10 donation now!
UPDATED AUGUST 30th TO INCLUDE MORE SIZES - as requested by YOU!!

Receive 8 different signs... 4 sizes, two different backgrounds in each size. 
2 - 8x10 signs (chalkboard background + white background)
2 - 11x14 signs (chalkboard background + white background)
2 - 16x20 signs (chalkboard background + white background)
2 - 24x36 signs (chalkboard background + white background)


Lifting up the people of Texas through prayers...
xoxo
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I keep thinking about something my friend Heidi posted on IG the other day...
"Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ".
Perhaps you needed to hear that too? xoxo

Read more...

Monday, August 28

BOOKS | Summer Reading


So before we kick off our beach sandals and tip toe into the Fall season, I just had to share with you the books I collected this summer.

You may want one (or two), for yourself...OR...you may want to add them to your ongoing "Gift Ideas" list. You have one of those too, don't you? You know, in the "notes" section on your phone? A list of names of the people you love and shop for throughout the year with links or descriptions to things you find randomly throughout the year? I know I'm not the only one who does this, am I? Well if you don't already do this...then I just gave you the best idea! *wink*

Anyway, I'm listing the books below with affiliate links to Amazon just in case:

Cut Flower Garden - I bought this one to inspire me to create a small cutting garden in my
                                  backyard. I follow Floret Farms on IG and really respect their story + growing
                                  process. I wasn't able to dive into this book yet, unfortunately, and a cutting
                                  garden was not in the cards for me this Summer but I will be using the Fall +
                                  Winter months to map out a plan for next spring.
                               

The Making of a Rag Doll - First, I do NOT sew. Regardless, I had high hopes of making a rag
                                  doll with Ella over the summer, using a glue gun or the iron-on fabric adhesive
                                  technique I've yet to try. lol But nope. Did not happen. But I love this book and
                                  the adorable dolls in it and I may just end up making this a secret project and
                                  making one for Ella for Christmas this year. *wink* (She has one that her sister, 
                                  Ema, made for her years ago. It's the funniest looking doll and yet the sweetest 
                                  doll I've ever seen since Em made it using scraps of fabric, yarn + buttons from
                                  around the house.  I should totally share it here on the blog. (see book on Insta)

The Wellness Project - This has been a fun + interesting book to read. I'm still not done with it but
                                  Phoebe takes us along on her year-long "wellness journey" she started in an
                                  attempt to heal her autoimmune disease. What I love about this book is she
                                  chose 12 different health-related topics to implement, try, research each month.
                                  So this book is not just about food - although there's a yummy smoothie recipe 
                                  she shares that I've been LOVING. She also touches on topics including "green
                                  makeup", posture, hormones, sleep and more. I shared it on Insta!

100 Days of Real Food - Really been loving this book. I've used it to cook many a meal over the
                                  summer. Ella's favorite recipe was the Mac + Peas. Very yummy. It's just a
                                  really great book of recipes for making the process of cooking REAL food easy
                                 + fun. The No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars are YUM and approved by us all.
                                 No one liked the Lime + Cilantro Coleslaw though. *wink*

The Magnolia Story - Need I say more? No, but seriously, I bought this book right before we moved
                                  and I haven't even cracked it open yet. Ha!! But I know it's good because so
                                  many people have said so. *wink* And it's Chip + Joanna. You've already read
                                  it, haven't you?

A Touch of Farmhouse Charm - I've only looked at the pictures. I got this before we
                                   moved too. I follow Liz, from Love Grows Wild on Instagram and love her
                                   charming style. And even though I'm moving away from the "farmhouse" style
                                   home decor, (I mentioned why on my Insta and will expand on it more
                                   here at some point), there are fun DIY projects in this book! It's the whole
                                   reason I bought it in the first place.  A lot of the projects can easily be adapted
                                   to fit a lot of different home decor styles. (like the simple greenery wreath,
                                   printed book page art, monogrammed doormat, etc.)

Hand lettering for Relaxation - Haven't even popped this one open yet, just so many other books
                                   things fighting for my attention. But it's a pretty book. And I love hand lettering
                                   and I love to relax so it seemed like a no-brainer to get this one. Ha!!

The 4-Hour Work Week - Have not even looked at this one yet. It's thick. So maybe I'm
                                   intimidated? But it came highly recommended by Emily Ley so....I bought it.
                                   And the title sounded very promising. Although truth be told, I'm not a fan of
                                   the cover.  It'll never make it onto the coffee table - which I don't even have yet.
                                 
The Turquoise Table - "Finding Community and Connection in your Own Front
                                     Yard." That pretty much sounded exactly like the book I needed having just
                                      moved into a new neighborhood who's tagline is "front porch living". Truth?
                                      Haven't opened it yet. *frown* I'm still excited to read it because it goes
                                      hand-in-hand with my search for simple + authentic living. It'll get read.

Chasing Slow - The only book I read from cover to cover this Summer. It's SO good you guys.
                          I will be reading this one again. Not even kidding. I already posted about it here
                          but it's worth saying again...this book gives such a fresh perspective to this crazy,
                          fast, chaotic world we live in...through a true story, from a real person. LOVE!!

Devotions from the Front Porch - Truth? I bought it because I loved the front cover. And it went
                                       right along with my desire to start my day off by reading something
                                       inspirational by the morning light on my front porch.

So there you go. If you've read any of these I'd love to know what you thought.
Better yet, do you have any must-have reads you'd like to share with me? Let me know!!

xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Notice in my opening paragraph I used the word "collected" and not "read" when referencing my summer books. *wink*
If anything, my list of books may point to a possible addiction?
And that I apparently have a real problem with actually starting and finishing them. Hmmm? I should look into that.                             
SaveSave

Read more...

Monday, August 21

HOME DECOR | Summer Collapsed Into Fall


Ella is back in school.
Summer is slipping away.
The sun will be "collapsing" into the moon later today during the total solar eclipse.
And so yes...a new sign felt very appropriate.

This quote by Oscar Wilde sums up my feelings exactly on letting go of Summer. (you guys already know how I feel about it by now...it's the same song and dance every year for me, isn't it?). *wink*

Love the sign too?
It's now an instant download in my Etsy shoppe, so you could literally print this and have it hanging in your own home by the end of the day...if you really wanted to. AND...there's a chalkboard version too! Want to see it?


So there you go.
A new season.
A new sign.
And a new sky today...at least for a little bit.
I think that about wraps it up for me. *wink*

xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Ella is home sick today...
I probably would've just kept her home anyway because apparently strange things happen during an eclipse. Have you heard that? Do you believe it?
Regardless, I'm taking advantage of the extra snuggle time I get with her.

Truthfully, I don't really care much about the eclipse and I'm feeling super guilty about it.
Would you believe me if I told you I didn't even know it was even happening until a couple of weeks ago?

I'm standing in a CVS getting ready to check out and some lady walks in and asks the cashier if they carry solar eclipse glasses. I literally thought to myself, "What a weirdo. Who walks in and asks for that?"  I forgot about the incident and two days later a neighbor mentioned her plans of traveling to Tennessee for optimal viewing of the eclipse. I pretended to know what she was talking about. Then the very next day, a friend told me her husband and her two girls had plans to travel to see it as well. Are you kidding me??? Hello? Where in the world had I been? Under a rock apparently. *giggling*

Read more...

Monday, July 31

Chasing Slow...

We have been in our new house for nearly eight weeks now.
Summer is coming to a close and school starts back in eleven days.
And all I did was blink...


I have so much to share with you...so much I want to say.
Today, however, I only want to share this book...because this book is all the feels.

I can hardly put it down because it has filled me up.
"Chasing Slow" is beautifully written...pages penned with truth and authenticity while the story itself is riveting. Erin Loechner has most certainly shared her heart and in the process has stolen mine.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Here are some excerpts that struck me during my reading - I've only just finished chapter 9 :

"Sometimes the most holy thing we can do is to be still. To sit down and twirl the fork and eat the pasta."

"The only thing worse than being a victim is resenting the survivors." 

"Do you know what happens when we victimize ourselves? When we hand over the power to circumstances? We lose everything that matters. We lose the freedom to change, the grace to rise above, the strength to get up off the couch. We have given the power away. We can no longer conjure it when we need it most. And let's be clear: we will need it most."

"...success is not a mountain, not a flood, but a mirror. It reflects what the world wants from you, and so you smile and brush the hair out of your eyes, and you play along."

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

If any of that resonated with you...I encourage you to get your hands on a copy and be ready to be inspired...and moved.

And if you want to connect with Erin on social media...well I've made it simple for ya:
BLOG: Design for Mankind
INSTAGRAM: erinloechner
FB: DesignforMankind
PINTEREST: Erin Loechner / Design for Mankind

xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I don't want this summer to be over...
because it's just another summer I will never get back.
And there are just too many of those in my life already! *wink*

Read more...

Wednesday, June 21

Moving Forward...


The place we've called home for the last 7 years was put on the market and 14 days later it sold.
New beginnings are never easy...mostly because of the letting go we are forced to do.

I think you guys know I didn't want to say goodbye...there are so many things we are going to miss.

But I think what tugs at my heartstrings the most are the memories we leave behind.
For me I feel like the memories become embedded in the walls, windows, doors, and foundation of our homes. As much as we carry memories with us in our hearts and minds...I feel like there are so many "memory treasures" left behind. As if they are held prisoner within the walls and can only be unlocked by those who had to leave them behind. Does that even make sense? Or is that just too deep? lol



Although, truth be told, I do have to say there are some painful parenting memories I will be glad to leave behind. Watching children struggle and battle the ugly things this world tries to destroy them with (aka teenage years) has certainly left me feeling helpless at times.

Not going to lie. There were some rough, rough seasons; Parts of parenting I just quietly battled behind the fun projects and happy blog posts I was sharing here at the same time. And friends, that's just keeping it real.






You have no idea how many times I wanted to pour my heart out here on the blog about specific struggles we were going through but my desire to honor and respect the privacy of my family kept me quiet. (and will continue to keep me quiet).

And honestly, I'm a pretty private person...believe it or not. (ironic, considering I'm a blogger).
Wait a minute.
Actually, truth be told, if there weren't other people's feelings and character involved I would gladly spill the beans about everything in my life. (most everything anyway). *wink*








I have to say there are still ongoing battles that rip this mama's heart out.
So...as much as I will miss our beautiful home on Oak Cluster...
I am also looking forward to MOVING FORWARD.

I have felt stuck for some time and didn't even realize it.
I think making new memories...
creating a new home...
in a new area...
will offer me a chance to regroup, recharge and rekindle so many things that have fallen by the wayside. It's just what sort of happens when we are distracted (or buried) under the thick of adversity.

And friends, let me tell you...
no matter how pretty the Instagram squares are...we all struggle.
There isn't a person on the planet right this second that isn't dealing with something hard.
Our "hards" will all look very different, because we are very different people experiencing life in sometimes dramatically different ways.

So, no matter what your "hard" might be...
it's my hope that you will find strength in knowing you, (we) are not alone.
Sometimes, just knowing that or hearing those words can bring the greatest of comfort.
I know personally how true that is.

xoxo
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Geez...maneez!
I'm obviously in a very reflective, contemplative mood today.
But whatever....I'm just going with it.

Looking forward to sharing all about the new house + community soon!

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