In 2018 I decided to choose a theme instead of a word.
I’ve written a few times before about how I am making a commitment to living a simpler, fuller, more enjoyable life that focuses on what lights me up. Selecting a word for the year is great, but it just didn’t feel right this year. I felt like I needed more than that.
Like many, I fail to keep resolutions.
Resolutions are meant to solve a problem or a choice to do or not to do something. To me, this seems as if there is an end in sight or an accomplishment that once achieved you are finished with.
I, however, am working on a lifestyle change. There is no end in sight. I am constantly striving to be the best version of myself and in the moments when I’m not, to grant myself the ability to shift that thinking.
To me, grace means looking at the overwhelm, stopping for a moment and shifting your focus towards gratitude. Grace is seeing through the lens of love instead of judgement. It means giving yourself and others a break when one fails to be their best self.
Gratitude shifts your thinking and fights the negative. It chips away at the stressors of life and is a constant reminder to embrace all of the joy in your life, especially when it’s hard to see through all of the fog. Gratitude is about thankfulness and appreciation.
The two go hand in hand. Once gratitude is second nature, grace steps in. I have a lifetime of being too hard on myself that I need to let go of and this feels like the natural next step. It’s all a delicate balance that is going to take some time and patience to adjust.
How about you? Choosing a word or a theme for 2018? Share below.
Taking the time to reflect upon the last year has always felt important to me.
It’s almost like it’s taking the time to accept all that has happened, the good and the less-than-good, and begin a new year with a clean slate.
That’s how most of us start the New Year, isn’t it? Making a resolution to do better?
Well, most people don’t keep their resolutions. I can tell you now, you won’t be hearing any resolutions from me. I will be making commitments and lifestyle changes to myself, to my family, and to my blog.
Before we get into that, I want to take a moment to wipe my slate clean from 2017 and share with you my highlights and bumps from this year.
Owl Creek wore a few different hats this last year. Although there was a struggle with balance, I gained clarity in the last few months on what’s actually important and realigned myself with my vision for this blog. More on that to come.
In trying so hard to discover my purpose, I stopped taking in what I already have. I failed to pour into the most important parts of my life. I became someone just going through the motions of life, instead of breathing in all of the joy that my life is blessed with.
It’s hard to be truly honest with yourself about your faults, but I learned that I am extremely hard on myself. It’s typically a result of me over committing and I’m working on improving that.
The first and biggest change I made earlier this year was switching my blogging platform. I will call this a highlight, although it was not without its bumps. That one threw me a curve ball and was definitely not as seamless as I had hoped. I will still say that it was the best decision I could’ve made in order to move forward with Owl Creek.
After 2 years of resisting, I began using Essential oils to support overall wellness in my life. I learned that emotional health is just as important as physical health. This change has really opened my eyes to better products that use quality ingredients and how much that can support a healthier lifestyle.
Self-care became a priority in my life again. I fell back in love with reading and discovered a few books that shook me to my core. I had forgotten how satisfying it feels to get lost in a good book.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2018
Heading into 2018, you may notice a few small shifts I am going to be making in order to continue to realign my blog with my vision. There will be more focus on what lights me up, which will hopefully inspire you.
First, expect more writing. Nikki Elledge Brown said it best in this podcast, “Magic happens when you put pen to paper.” Whether I am journaling or typing, that’s when I feel most connected to myself.
YOU WILL NOTICE EVEN MORE CONCENTRATION ON HEALTH, HAPPINESS, FAMILY, AND DESIGN.
This year I will not allow myself to lose sight of what’s the most important part of who I am.
My focus will shift even more towards simplicity and not over committing. In order to stay aligned with the most important parts of my life, I need to let go of anything that doesn’t spark a fire in my soul. While I love connecting with you all, I want to connect with you how it feels best to me and not how others tell me I should.
This means that I will be closing my facebook group. While I have loved getting to spend time with you inside of there, if I’m not doing it well then I shouldn’t be doing it at all. I will be super present on Instagram and, of course, here on my blog. And who knows, just because it doesn’t feel right now doesn’t mean it won’t later on.
It’s important to take the time for reflection, as often as you need to, in order to change, grow, evolve and learn. I invite you to take a few moments to yourself, even if it’s 5 minutes, and reflect.
Thank you so much for sticking with me on my journey and I can’t wait to spend 2018 with you!
I can’t really nail down when my love for airstreams became a slight obsession, but I do know that they are amazing.
Perhaps it’s because I yearn for more simplicity in my life. Or maybe it’s a touch of feeling wanderlust. Earlier this year I took the time to set some life goals, and one of them is to travel somewhere new every year with my family.
That doesn’t mean it has to be a huge excursion, it could simply be a day trip to a beach or a park we’ve never been to.
I know they kind of have a cult following, but there’s something about an airstream that tugs on my soul.
While I must be patient to make my investment into the right one in the future (aiming for 2019/2020…but we’ll see),
Gabby’s words and tools helped me to appreciate my life and what I have, recognize that I was trying too hard to control the outcome (read more on that here), and really search deep within my soul to discover more about who I am and what I want.
Here are some of the most impactful takeaways I had while experiencing this book:
“When you begin to slow down and open up spiritually, you may come even more aware of the ways you’ve been resisting true healing. You may see how your addictive patterns have masked your feelings or how your high strung energy made you move so fast that you never slowed down long enough to feel.”*
Without love, without gratitude, without kindness and positivity we got stuck in a state of overwhelm, in a state of anger, in a state of unhappiness. Make the small changes to bring more joy into your life. Listen to your soul, follow it’s message, and trust in yourself and the Universe.
“Speak up, rise up, and show up with Grace.”*
Meditation releases the tension and weight and allows me to be filled with light.
“I witness that I’m out of alignment with my power. I choose to see peace instead of this.”*
I choose to learn through love.*
“Thank you, Universe, for helping me to see this obstacle as an opportunity for growth. I will step back and let you lead the way.”*
The perfect one to end on is the absolute most impactful statement from the book that shook me to the core: “We are resistant to being happy.”*
There’s a reason my mission is for a more peaceful home, not a perfect one.
You see, so many of us struggle to try to create a picture perfect home. Everything in it’s place, shelves always dusted, floors never messy.
But, the reality of that is exhausting.
We can try. We can try and try and try.
And when we fail to maintain this unrealistic perfection, we beat ourselves up over it. We think we are incapable. We become overwhelmed and full of anxiety.
Why do we feel that we need to hold ourselves to such a high standard?
Who set that standard anyway?
The pictures you drool over on Pinterest or Instagram or even in a magazine, yes they are a great aesthetic to aim for. Let’s stop aiming for picture perfect though, and instead aim to create your own definition of a peaceful home.
If to you a peaceful home is everything having a place and sparkling clean all of the time, and that’s within your wheelhouse, go for it.
If it’s creating a retreat for yourself, even if it’s the corner of your bedroom, the create it.
If it’s about preparing more for the week ahead and finding more time to be present with your family, do it.
I don’t know about you, but I know that I am sick of being stuck in this vicious cycle that feels as if I’m never doing enough.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the monotony of life, that we don’t slow down. We stop appreciating what we have because we’re too busy checking that off the to do list and focusing on what’s next.
We’re guilty of creating our own environment of stress and overwhelm.
Let’s slow down.
There’s no competition. There’s no prize to be won.
Life is just life and sometimes life can be short. We can’t control everything that happens in our lives, so why not shift our focus towards what we can control?
If you could do one thing today to make your home a more peaceful environment, what would that be?
Did ten things just run through your brain? Yeah, me too.
But what if I told you to just choose one. Choose one easy thing you can do today that will get you closer to your definition of a peaceful home. Then, wake up tomorrow and do the same thing. Don’t create a list. Just wake up, relax, and pick one and then do it. Start doing this every damn day.
Some days you may have time to choose more than one, but don’t stress yourself out trying to do too many things at once. That defeats the purpose.
Have you been trying to create a new routine? Try implementing one part of that routine a day into your existing routine.
Are you trying to finish a project? Try one task a day.
Do you feel guilty that you’re not being more present with your family? Try shutting down distractions for a half hour or an hour.
Has eating healthier been in the back of your mind for some time now? Try replacing one snack a day with a healthy option.
Life is all about balance, and so is having a peaceful home.
No, our homes are not going to feel peaceful every day. And they won’t feel peaceful at every moment of every day. But they shouldn’t feel stressful and chaotic more than they feel happy and welcoming. I mean, how unbalanced is that?
If I can leave you with one final thought today, it’s to stop aiming for a perfect home and instead aim for a peaceful home.
Our homes should be our warm welcoming hug, not a source of contention. Stop comparing where you’re at to where someone else is. Love your home and the people you share it with, make the small changes that you can make when you can make them, and eventually it will all fall into place.
Have you decided that it’s time to start to simplify?
In this post I shared that my husband and I are working on simplifying, taking some concepts from minimalism, and putting our own spin on them.
It’s not something that can be done in one weekend. It’s about incorporating new ideas and implementing them in ways that fit your family and lifestyle so they have longevity. Take your time, try out new things, and choose what works for you, your family, and your lifestyle.
We each have our own reasons for wanting to simplify our lives, but if you’re reading this and you feel a nudge, it may be time for you to consider it.
Here are 5 ways you can start to simplify your life (without spending a damn dime).
Break up with the idea of “perfect”.
Let’s be honest, no one’s home looks TV or Magazine perfect 100% of the time. And if they do, are they really enjoying their home or is it a museum?
Embrace your home’s imperfections, as they can be beautiful and are unique to your home.
To me, I love that my stairs are a little creaky and I love the slight cracks in the plaster walls in my dining room. It adds to the character of our home.
What elements of your home do you love, even if someone else would see it as an imperfection?
Own less and live more.
Don’t try to fill a void with more “stuff”. Think about purchases before you make them and decided if it’s a need or want. Yes, even decor items can serve a need, but know where they are going and what purpose they serve.
I’m not suggesting to sell all of your belongings or anything, just be conscience of how you are spending your time and money.
Make time to enjoy life. Life is more than just paying bills. Enjoy it.
Make space for what’s meaningful and beautiful.
It’s ok to get rid of things that aren’t your taste or style, no matter who gifted them to you. And if it’s super sentimental, can you repurpose it somehow to make it fit in?
If you purchased a beautiful piece of wall decor and haven’t hung it yet, make the time to dust it off and hang it. Have you been putting off staining a piece of furniture (guilty) or completing that accent wall? Make time to get it done.
Don’t let busy and excuses become habits, and if they already are, work on breaking them.
Are you really busy or do you just feel like you’re too busy? Take a look at how you manage your time. Don’t use the excuse, “I don’t have time to do (insert whatever it is here).” Sit down and see where you can fit it in.
Yes, in some cases, in some weeks that may be true. But if you need to start exercising on a regular basis, can you wake up 10 minutes earlier and work out for 10 minutes? Can you bring your kids with you on an evening walk?
Then go to the next tip…
Make small, simple changes.
How can you make your routine easier? Can you meal plan? Crock pot meals? Lay your clothes out a night?
Don’t get hung up on large projects. If you can’t afford it now, is there a “Phase 1” project you can do to the space that will make it more aesthetically pleasing to you in the meantime?
Move around what you already have. Try moving pictures and accent pieces into new areas of the home to freshen up the space.
Don’t overthink how you should simplify. You do not need to get rid of all of your stuff or move into a tiny home. Simplifying doesn’t have to be about drastic changes. It’s about making changes so that you can live more and enjoy life more.
When do we know it’s time to simplify our homes and lives?
I wouldn’t say our end goal is minimalism because let’s face it, that’s not who I am or who my family is. While we aren’t striving to be minimalists, my husband and I are taking some concepts and applying them to our life.
Some days the concept of a tiny home sounds appealing…
…and then I realize how much I love and need my space and respect other’s need for theirs. I love my family, but there is such thing as being too close.
While I don’t really desire to join the #tinyhomenation, my husband and I have been really drawn to reducing the amount of “stuff” that we have.
For us, we have 2 biggest offenders when it comes to clutter: clothing and toys. Him and I have both been feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep up with daily life and keeping a house.
What we realized is that we could probably reduce our clothes and toys by over half and no one would even notice. Deciding to simplify our lives is a process we are working towards and isn’t going to be something we achieve quickly. It takes time, dedication, and a little planning to start to simplify.
Today I want to share with you 5 signs that it may be time to simplify.
Your home is cluttered.
And I don’t mean that it’s not clean or that it’s disgusting. No, I mean when you’ve spent the last 2 hours cleaning your house and while it looks so much better, you still can’t see passed the clutter.
You’re buying too much “stuff”.You find yourself mindlessly spending on things you’re not even sure you need or where the hell you’re going to put them.
You are using retail therapy to fill a void that you aren’t even really sure you have or not. But, we all know that the retail therapy is a temporary high and once you come down from that, you’re right back where you started.
I know it’s hard, but put down that marked down item and walk away. Really think long and hard about if you really need it.
You are struggling to keep up.
You find yourself constantly feeling overwhelmed in your own home and fighting with your ever growing to do lists. It seems like every time you implement a system, it fails.
Full disclosure: this is where we are at. Life is overwhelming and busy AF. Some weekends, other than sleeping, I’m lucky if I spend more than 2 hours in my own home.
I constantly feel like trying to keep up on one aspect of my life makes me fall behind on another.
If you can’t even sit on the couch and relax with your family, it may be time for a change.
You’ve hit your personal breaking point.
Your anxiety is through the roof and you find yourself crying on the bathroom floor.
Maybe you’re starting to think the concept of a tiny home is a great idea for your family. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place.
But, if you’re starting to think that maybe, just maybe, you can cram your family of 4 into less than 400 sq ft, and that sounds like fun, it may be time to reassess where you’re at. (Unless, of course, a tiny home has been your life long dream.)
If you’re thinking it may be time to simplify, just start. Identify the areas that stress you out the most and tackle those fist. Remember, slow progress is still progress. Even if you can only commit 5-10 minutes a day, do it! You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
Thinking about a new project with your SO? Um, Idk about all of that.
It’s not always easy combining two styles into one space–or even if you both have the same style, agreeing on the best solution. Trust me, you’re not alone. I see it every day with couples.
You have the SO who “doesn’t want to be involved” but you feel badly making decisions without them, or even worse they say that and then hate every decision you’ve made resulting in starting the entire process over again.
You have the SO who says, “whatever you want will be fine.” Or the SO who ignores what you want and only wants it their way.
And then there’s the SO who wants to be involved but together you cannot make a decision to save your lives.
There is no reason for divorce or murder people! It may not be easy every step of the way, and you will definitely disagree. But, I can assure you that you will get through this project together. I promise.
Here are 5 tips to keep the peace with your SO during a project.
Put your ego aside and really open your ears to listen to their point of view. Remember that the space belongs to both of you and even if they squash your idea, it’s their house too.
I know this is especially hard when you’re really attached to an idea or and item. Take a step back and reevaluate.
If it’s something you would put on your top 10 must haves, maybe try to create a visual for your SO so they can see what you’re seeing. And if you realize that if you came back in a few days and couldn’t do it or buy it anymore and you’re not heartbroken, then it’s not that important. Let it go.
Speak up if you hate something, but be respectful when doing so. You both have to live there and neither one of you should feel anything other than pride when showing off your home. Respect each other’s opinion and styles.
Think before you speak up and do not attack their ideas. Remember that eventually you will want them to listen to you and your ideas. Show them the respect you want.
Find a common ground. When my husband and I were choosing a bathroom paint, neither one of us would budge to the other’s side. We had to start from scratch and start looking at a color family that we both could live with.
If you have two completely different styles, search for items that compliment both or have a nod to the other’s style. Combining styles isn’t always easy, but it can definitely be done.
Limit or eliminate bringing family and friends into the decision making process. Unless you live for a competition, this could get ugly. Try to only ask for opinions if you both are ok with it and try to ONLY ask those who either share your style or understand it.
Remember that they don’t have to live there and the final decision should be left up to you two. Also, just because your mom, brother, sister, uncle, best friend, or whomever did it, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you and your home.
Keep it fun! These decisions are then the end-all-be-all. Don’t make it so serious that it’s no longer fun to deck out your home together.
Are your organizational skills in need of some TLC?
Getting home from work you kick off your shoes and hang up your coat. Instantly you feel overwhelmed instead of relaxed.
If you were to describe your house right now in 2 words the would be: cluttered and disorganized.
Toy status: Everywhere.
Laundry status: Piles.
Mental status: Breakdown.
Going into the new year you had big goals and you have a list to prove it…you just have to find it first. You felt so accomplished once you wrote it all down. Now it’s the end of July and your house looks marginally better than it did after Christmas.
Raise your hand if this is your current state…come on don’t be shy. I won’t tell anyone because I’m right there with you.
You dream of a more organized home because hell, wouldn’t that be a peaceful way to come home?
But I will let you in on the secret to organizational success.
And yes, there is one.
You can write list after list, pin post after post, and ask anyone and everyone for their best tips but if that’s as far as it goes, you will never get out of this rut.
Here’s the secret: YOU.
YOU have to create a system that works for YOU and YOUR family. (See what I did there?)
Sourcing ideas from other people is great and you don’t have to implement exactly what they did (unless it’s perfect for you). Take the tips and tricks that work for your family and your home and apply those. But make sure that YOU DO THEM.
I rounded up 5 blog posts that have some great ideas and systems for your organizational success.
If you tell me you don’t have paper clutter, I’m going to call you a liar. And if you prove it, I’m going to hate you a little then be completely envious. These are 7 invaluable tips on taming the paper overload (and I’ll be using some of these myself).
The pictures that go along with these tips are probably some of my favorite. The reasoning? Because they aren’t highly styled photos that give you a false sense of what her house looks like. These pictures are great quality and give you a realistic goal of what your house could look like.
Arming you with a 12 month planner and free printables that you can start any time of the year with an optional facebook group for extra support and tips, this post will help you break the cycle of pinning ideas and leaving them there to die. She also ends this post with a few tips to get you motivated.
This post has an absolutely essential detailed list of areas to clean and declutter in your house with a few spots that you don’t typically think about. She even talks about your wallet, purse & diaper bag! There’s a free check list to print off (no email address required) to help you check off as you complete.
This post from Faithfully Beautiful features one of the coolest products. I’ve seen these in the store before but now seeing how they work, they’re on my must have list! She also gives you some great tips on cleaning and organizing in this post, like downsizing your dish rack to help shift your mindset to doing the dishes sooner, rather than later.
Don’t lie, you’re just like the rest us who have fallen in love with Joanna and Chip Gaines.
We all love our JoJo and Chip and cuddling up on Tuesday nights to watch the newest episode of Fixer Upper. Lately I’ve been hearing the same frustration from a lot of people: “But Joanna Gaines makes it look so easy.” And yes, she certainly does.
Before you get too stressed and give up thinking you can’t do it, check out my video above where I dive into detail on 5 aspects of her Fixer Upper design method.
Before you feel too deflated about your own design skills, consider this:
1. She’s designing for someone else and the homeowners aren’t making all of the decisions.
2. She doesn’t do it alone. Who wouldn’t want Chip and Clint on their team?
3. Joanna Gaines has a distinct style (farmhouse, anyone?) that she generally sticks to, but she isn’t afraid to veer away from it for client’s who have a different design style.
4. She has experience. She has done this for years and worked with all different clients in all different types of settings.
5. She has a design process that she uses on all of her projects.
HGTV has a great way of highlighting the fun parts of the process and skirting over the sticky situations. Hey, they have to make great TV and I don’t blame them.