What I learned from a Stranger’s Compliment

What I learned from a Stranger’s Compliment

My husband and I were vacationing in Nashville when I was approached by a stranger. We had just finished our meal at a local restaurant and I had gotten up to start for the door. A middle-aged woman stopped me and said, “I just wanted to tell you that you are very beautiful.” She went on to tell me she was unsure of saying anything, but felt compelled. She explained she was a mother and spending the evening out with friends and just really wanted to say to me how beautiful I looked sitting at dinner.

I was initially taken back by how blunt she was. Almost speechless, but I was able to find the words, “Thank you.” I gave her a hug and told her that I wished more people would give compliments like this. I then preceded to walk to our car, hand-in-hand with my husband.

What I haven’t told you, yet, is the fact that we had just hiked up and down a mountain in 10 degree weather. I wasn’t wearing any make-up. I had jeans tucked into my boots and a warm sweater on. My hair was a bit out of sorts from my winter hat I was wearing earlier. This wasn’t a sexy evening out on the town with my husband; it was a last minute effort to eat out rather than veg on the couch all night after a fun, but tiring day.

Hubby started out for the condo that we were staying at and I sat in the passenger seat, my mind thinking back on what just happened. ‘That was bold of her to say. She was quite lovely herself. Should I have complimented her back? Maybe she had too much to drink. Was a hug too straight forward?’ Continue reading “What I learned from a Stranger’s Compliment”

Why We Decided No More Santa

Why We Decided No More Santa

This was a big holiday season for our family. Not due to the stress of buying a plethora of presents for everyone, but because we made the decision to teach our son that Santa is an imaginary character from the start. I don’t want to come across as condescending, because I know that every family is different! I’m just looking to share our idea behind our decision. There are two very important reasons why:

1. We want to teach him that the money Mom and Dad spend is hard-earned and should be spent wisely. We hope that in doing so, he will be grateful for the presents he receives from us.

2. We want to teach him that trust is mutual and he can trust us to tell him the truth.

Our son is almost two years old. He doesn’t understand that a man in a red suit travels the world one night a year delivering presents to all the good little boys and girls. Our son just wakes up Christmas day, like every other day, with one difference. He sees wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree and he begins to tear them open. He doesn’t know whether the tag says ‘From: Santa’ or ‘From: Mom and Dad’. He doesn’t know that the cookies left out the night before were for that big man coming down the chimney. He hasn’t learned about “the list” or the North Pole or the child who doesn’t have a gift under the tree, but he will. Us parents teach our kids to believe in Santa. Whether it’s for the wonder we’d like to see in our kids or the wonder we feel we missed out on, it is a learned tactic that has spiraled out of control.

Continue reading “Why We Decided No More Santa”

Minimizing my Morning Routine

Minimizing my Morning Routine

…and how I get ready in 15 minutes (including shower)

Ugh. I’d wake up and glare at the bathroom counter. So much hair product and styling tools and needless make-up. I don’t even wear make-up.

I came to the realization that I needed to decrease the time I was spending getting myself ready in the mornings. Not that I was spending a bunch of time doing so, but I despised the thought of getting ready in the mornings. I had flashbacks of when I used to have an office job (I’m a stay-at-home mom now) and I literally could have pulled my hair out thinking of all the time wasted trying to fix my hair.

So what did I do? Spoiler alert: boys have been hiding these secrets for centuries!


I started by shaving my head. Yep, that’s right, I shaved it off. Okay, really I shaved my head to raise funds for a charity, but none-the-less my hair was gone. I can remember my sweet, sweet stylist asking me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” and without hesitation I said, “Yes.” I sat in the chair with my long locks and had absolutely no second guesses. The buzzer came on and bye-bye went my hair. It was freeing and liberating. I had no connection to my hair. I didn’t cry or pout or think I was ugly. In fact, in that moment, I had never felt that beautiful in my entire life. Continue reading “Minimizing my Morning Routine”

Minimizing My Wardrobe

Minimizing My Wardrobe

I feel like this post could be five different posts in one, so I’m going to do my best to summarize my wardrobe transformation. This year especially, I’ve needed to rid myself of the cluttery closet to help give my mind some peace. In the past, when I was bored, I’d run to the mall or hop on the computer and buy something. I know now, that ultimately does not bring happiness. It can actually weigh you down and create depression, which was happening in my case. The over-flowing of my dresser drawers was a reminder of time wasted- wasted doing laundry, shopping, folding, re-folding, and a pretty good waste of money, too.

So I started with a big burst. I got rid of a large lump of clothes that either were ripped, I literally never wore once, or were just out of style. Off they went to local thrift stores, and it felt SO good, but I still had so many clothes. I started to analyze each piece and started to expand my search. I looked at my scarves, my socks, my jewelry. If I hadn’t worn it in the past six months, it was time to say goodbye. If I couldn’t find a matching sock, I put it in the to-go pile. This took a few hours to complete and was no easy task, but I managed to fill another trash bag full and again, it felt good.

So now I was left with about half of my wardrobe, which I still felt was too much. There were pieces left that I thought I would probably never wear, but they were expensive or a gift or for a special occasion. I came up with a plan.

For the clothes that I was unsure if I’d ever wear, I wore them. Each day, I picked out a piece that I thought I would never wear and I wore it all day.

I wore it to the grocery store, around the house, to bible study, to a family function, whatever I was doing that day, I wore something I didn’t think I would. THEN, at the end of the day, I decided whether or not that piece of clothing was functional, if I felt good in it, if it was comfortable and fit me well. I can tell you right now, the majority of those clothes, I got rid of.

I looked at my wardrobe and realized the clothes that I kept were comfy, multi-functional, and mostly neutral. I had always wondered what my “style” was and now I know. I feel good in what I wear and I spend much, much, MUCH less time doing laundry. How? I still wear clothes everyday, but I don’t need to change my outfit to go out at night, or to a soccer game, or to the dentist because all of the pieces are versatile. Sometimes, I even wear my outfit straight to bed!

Here are a few of my staple outfits.

This is just a very basic way to start minimizing your wardrobe, but like in most of my posts, I try to emphasize that it really is a lifestyle. No sense in cleaning out your closet if you’re just going to fill it back up. Encourage yourself to stay out of the stores and away from online shopping. If you’d like to find out more ways of keeping a minimal wardrobe, check out this blog by A Small Wardrobe.  Below is a step-by-step guide on how I managed to minimize my wardrobe.

Guide to minimizing wardrobe

  1. Start by clearing off and making your bed. You’ll need space to lay out outfits, determine what shirt can go with what pants, a space to get organized.
  2. Grab three boxes. One for clothes you’ll give away, another for clothes you might want to keep, and a third for clothes you’ll definitely be keeping.
  3. Start with one spot. Be it a drawer, a rack, your shoes, or the clothes sitting in the dryer. Start small and keep pushing forward.
  4. Look for clothes you know you can part with. This will give you momentum. Once you start to see an actual pile to get rid of, you’ll be more likely to keep adding to that pile. The more free space you see in your closet, the more likely you’ll want to give that old shirt away.
  5. Donate your first load. Give yourself a break to reflect on what you’ve just achieved.
  6. The clothes you might want to keep. Go to this box and sift through it. There may be a few pieces you’re ready to get rid of. Let them go. As for the others, try wearing them for a whole day and see how you feel. If it worked and you really liked it, keep it. If you didn’t feel comfortable, give it away.
  7. Hang up your clothes in outfits. Because your pieces will likely be versatile, you can make several different outfits with just a few pieces. Hang them up in your favorite outfits so they are pleasing to see and easy to access. Now, you’ll be able to visually see any pieces that don’t go with your complete wardrobe.IMG_3463

20 Ideas to Inspire you to Embrace Hygge

20 Ideas to Inspire you to Embrace Hygge


Hygge is a fairly new term to me, but once I started to research it, I knew I needed more of it in my life. Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a danish term for living comfortably and cozy in your everyday life. I find this definition quite vague and hygge is so much more than just being cozy. It’s a feeling of contentment. Feeling safe and satisfied in your surroundings. Being able to relax and unwind and just be you. It’s relationships and getting to know one another. It’s slowing down and making time for what’s important to you. You can’t buy hygge, you must feel it.

I suppose before I knew what hygge was, I was already embracing it. I just didn’t have the term coined. I was already doing things to simplify my life in order to have that feeling. If you embrace hygge as a lifestyle, it’ll come natural as opposed to thinking of it as an object you are trying to obtain. For example, planting a flower garden can bring someone an abundance of joy. It is a lot of hard work to start and to tend to, however, if you spend enough time caring for it, you will have beautiful flowers all season long. You can take a stroll in your flower garden or sit near it and admire your hard work. You can clip those flowers and make arrangements that you can give as a random gift to others or you can make your own bouquet and enjoy a fresh centerpiece on your kitchen table. Hygge is much more than a pretty flower in a vase; it’s rather a lifestyle that you form from all the things that strengthen your soul. Continue reading “20 Ideas to Inspire you to Embrace Hygge”

home, sweet, home

home, sweet, home

The plans for the new house were actually quite simple for us to dream up. It, of course, ended up being more square footage than we hoped for (930 sq ft on main floor with a finished basement), but we are happy with the layout of our smaller home. We focused mainly on an open floor plan on the main level and bedrooms in the walkout basement.

The biggest obstacle for me was the fact that I used to be a realtor, so the looming thought in the back of my mind was, ‘resale.’ There are some things that most people want in a home- three bedrooms, a bathroom for every bedroom, a fireplace, marble floors, media room, a pizza oven- the list is really endless. Once I got over that thought, I was able to focus on what WE wanted.

The Main Floor

One of the most important things for me was NOT having a dining room. In fact, I didn’t even want space for a dining room table. I was happy with a nice, large kitchen island that could be used for prep space as well as where we would eat. So many people tried talking us out of this, but we knew it was right for our small family. We decided that if we ever needed more seating that we could extend a fold-up table with fold-up chairs. The deck is also directly off from the kitchen, where we plan to have a table and chairs in the summer months. We want to enjoy the view and the outdoors as much as possible. We decided to have a dishwasher, although my mindset is so far from a dishwasher. We currently use one but I’d really like to wash the dishes by hand and save on water usage. We are putting one in for now. Continue reading “home, sweet, home”

the beginning

the beginning

In a world that tells us what to wear, what to eat, what bra size we should be, what pay grade we should be at, what to drive, what to do for a living, who is worth our time, how we should parent… well, we decided to go back to the basics. Kind of, start from scratch. We were sick of society telling us what we can and cannot do. This is our journey to live simple and yours will look much different.

I am not a professional. Let me repeat that, I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL. I do not have a degree in cooking, agriculture, organizing, or by any means, psychology. However, I feel like I know myself REALLY well. I know my family and what works for us. With that said, my background in self sufficiency is watching re-runs of Mountain Men. I have basic (my husband may disagree with this) cooking skills and gardening skills. I spend way too much money on crap. Yes, just plain crap. But I’ve heard, acceptance is the first step.

What I do know now is that I enjoy cooking. Crazy concept, I know. I do enjoy gardening. I do enjoy a minimalistic approach. I do enjoy reading versus screen time. I do enjoy playing in the dirt… with Brooks, of course. I do enjoy a well-kept house and sense of peace. These are all things I enjoy, and I would think most people do, too. So how do we keep getting caught up with too much crap and not enough time? I dare say, I’m about to find out on this journey. Continue reading “the beginning”