Gettin’ All Up in Beauty’s Face

One of my favorite all time quotes comes from Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild. In the book, Cheryl is quoting her mother about the daily choices we make. Her mom told her: 

“There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it… Put yourself in the way of beauty.”

It’s our job to seek out beauty, to put ourself in its path so that we don’t miss it. 

Even while we’re cloistered away at home.  ​​​​​​​

Especially while we’re cloistered away.

via: usual Sunday

A few ways to put yourself in the way of beauty

1. Bring the outside in 

If your backyard is blooming like mine is beginning to, grab some scissors and clip anything with life from flowering branches to vines, blooming bulbs and budding leaves. 

Here’s the thing, when I looked out my window my yard still looked barren, but when I walked around with a pair of clippers suddenly I found all sorts of bits and pieces to cut and bring inside. 

Get out there. 

Call your mom or friend or neighbor and see if you can cut a few branches off their blooming cherry blossom this week. No hug, handshake or touching required. 

via Present Season

2. Fill your home with encouraging and uplifting music

A few years ago I created a playlist for every season to help welcome the season into our home. Two of my Spotify Playlists I’m currently listing to: 

1. Hope Because Life’s Not Perfect Playlist

2. Spring Playlist

3. Watch something stress free

A few of my favorite beautiful, zero stress shows:
Moving Art Episode2: Flowers on Youtube or
Big Dreams, Small Spaces on Netflix or
Victoria on PBS

via Present Season

4. Create a DESY in every room

With entire families home, one simple way to simplify and add beauty is to create a DESY (Designated Empty Surface, Yippie!) in every room.

Choose one surface in each room–usually the hardest working surface like the coffee table or kitchen island–and allow it to be decor free. Clear it off a few times a day not so it can live completely empty, but so that it’s a cleared off space that’s ready to serve your family.

Enjoy the beauty of simplicity.

5. Create big art with your Kids

I’m not talking about the kind of art that you’ll throw away as soon as they leave the room. But a big huge piece that you’ll show off forever like this one Angela made with her kids. 

Personally, I’ve done this by painting over a big inexpensive thrifted canvas, or an old piece that doesn’t have any value that I’m tired of. You don’t have to use artist approved paint–grab the leftover house paint and any of those 50 cent bottles of craft paint and go for it.

But clearly, Angela is the QUEEN of kid art- the canvas she made with her kids? Ended up on the cover of January’s Elle Decor.

This past week we decided to cancel the next three events we were planning on hosting–our son’s dorm retreat weekend here on our property, our annual Mantime Event, and our first Weekend Workshop (postponed). 

We are sad but looking forward to the time when we can all be together again. 

One question I’ve asked myself about this unique time in our history is, when I look back on this time, what will I wish I would have done?

And then, I try to do that thing.

Here’s to doing that thing and putting ourselves in the way of beauty,

The Best + Most Annoying Way to Learn How to Make Decisions for Your Home

I’m in the process of redecorating our living room.  

This has me thinking all sorts of thoughts as I’m the weeds of making actual decisions with actual money to purchase a few items that I hope to actually love. 

The BEST thing I’ve learned about making better decisions in our home and for our home is for me to pay attention and evaluate past decisions I’ve made. 

Today I thought I’d share four decisions I’ve made in our home that I continue to think back on, they help me make better decisions today.

Decision 1:  

One of my all time favorite purchases is this Viking Range I found second hand on Craigslist (here’s more about that).  

 I can remember being an absolute nervous wreck– spending a few thousand dollars, borrowing a trailer from our church, driving with Chad three hours away to pick up this range from a strangers house. We got to see it work in their house, then we brought it home and it had to sit on our porch, then inside the house for a few months until we finished renovating our kitchen.  

It was one of the biggest risks I’ve taken and it’s now, even six years later, one of my favorite things in my house. It’s the crown of the kitchen because it looks great, is large and black and gold and I love it because it cooks like a dream. 

 Lesson learned: just because something scares me to death while I’m making a deciosn isn’t a red flag that it’s a bad decision. Sometimes the best decisions are the most terrifying, a lot of trouble, and take months to know if you’re happy with them. 

Decision 2:  

I got this big hutch as part of the One Room Challenge a few years ago.  

I absolutely love the piece, the simple lines, it’s surprisingly well made–I even went on to buy another piece from the same line a year or so later.  

BUT. 

When I choose this hutch there were three or four options that would have worked for the wall I bought this for. My deciding factor was that I wanted to get the largest piece possible.   

Why not? I wanted as much storage as I could fit on the wall, right?

 The problem was, I forgot about my tendencies of enjoying moving furniture and using it in different places based on our changing needs, along with the reality of our home–it’s small with very few large walls.  

Because I bought the largest hutch in the history of mankind, I’m really limited with where I can use it. As much as I love it, I do wish I would have sized down to either give it some breathing room in it’s current space, or give me the options to get creative and try it in different places. 

Lesson learned: my tendency to buy large pieces for one specific place can hinder future creative ways to use things.

Decision 3:

A few years ago we upgraded to a king size bed and I knew I wanted a velvet wingback upholstered headboard. It took me awhile to decide on the color. But once we ordered our king mattress I knew I needed to pull the trigger and I decided to take a risk and go for a gorgeous green velvet bed. 

Sadly, the green velvet was out of stock for months and I had a mattress on the way and had sold our queen bed. So I decided to get my second choice–the black velvet.  

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank Jesus, my lucky stars and the every coin I’ve ever wished on that that green bed was out of stock. 

I absolutely LOVE the drama and freedom that having a black bed brings to the space. If it were green it would be so bossy with how the rooms looks. A neutral bed allows me to change up the way it looks without dedicating my life and room to the color green. 

Lesson learned: I want my large pieces to be dramatic but neutral so I can have the freedom to use whatever colors I want.

Decision 4:  

When we first moved in we renovated the kitchen and changed out the lighting. I knew I wanted a wood chandelier so I bought an inexpensive one to save money. As soon as we hung it I knew it was entirely too small. 

Instead of saving money, I basically wasted it trying to cheat our table out of the right size lighting. I sold the chandy and bought the right size and we lived happily ever after. 

Lesson Learned: just because something costs less doesn’t mean you’re saving money.

As much as it pains me to admit it, I’ve probably learned more from the decisions I’ve made that I wasn’t happy with, than the ‘good’ decisions. The ‘bad’ decisions were an instant lesson in what I did wrong (wrong for me) and they usually cost time, money, energy or all three so they will stick with me forever. #WorthIt 

The best thing I can do to learn how to make better decisions in my home, is to force myself to simply make decisions in my home. 

It’s worth it, even if the decision turns out to be less than ideal because it will help me learn how to make better home decisions. 

I believe it’s the same for you.

Start small. I didn’t start with a Craigslist Viking stove, I built up to it with smaller less risky items and buying stuff second hand from yard sales. Slowly I gained the confidence to make riskier decisions. 

But that doesn’t mean things always worked out or that the decisions were easy and that I didn’t second guess myself. 

A few starter questions to ask yourself to help make better decisions in your home ::

  • What things have you changed in your home that you’re thrilled with? Why?
  • What things have you changed that you’re not thrilled with? Why?
  • Where was money, time and energy well spent in your home?
  • Where did you spend money, time and energy that didn’t seem worth it?
  • What’s something in your home that you’ve had a long time and still love? This will help you learn what could be a timeless classic for you and your personal style.
  • What’s something in your home that you do not like at all?

Making decisions in your home is really the only way to make progress. A less than perfect decision becomes a normal part of life that doesn’t have to be feared when you allow yourself to learn from it and decide to keep moving forward anyway.

Come on over!

One of the things Chad and I are most excited about for the coming years is hosting more in person events here at our home and on our property. We live on 12, imperfect acres, 20 miles east of Charlotte, North Carolina. We love hosting people and hope that at some point in the future, you can make it to our home! 

Our plan is to have events for you and your man–some events will be for both of you, some just for men or just for women. 

Here’s what we have planned so far for 2020 


March 14 : Chill Night (men) 
 
For the fellas: free, from 6-9, dinner, ax throwing and hang out around the fire pit and Owl’s Room here at our property. No ticket needed, simply RSVP to Chad here.

April 2-4: Mantime (men) 
A weekend event for your man hosted by my husband Chad here at our property. Tickets still available (men fly in from all over the country for this one!)   

April 16-18: Weekend Workshop (women)
Your Welcoming Home:: The Art and Science of Making Home This is our first ever weekend workshop and the first one is sold out but, if it’s a success and we all don’t hate it, I plan on hosting it again in November. Click here to be notified first when we plan the next one

October 17: The Nest Fest (everyone) 
This year The Nest Fest will be Saturday, October 17. Its our fifth annual event–at our home, barn and backyard on the 12 acre property where we live outside Charlotte, North Carolina. 

As always, you’re invited! 

We have guests and vendors join us from all over the US, and I cannot wait to host the vendors, musicians, authors, food trucks and you this year!

You’re Invited

It is with great joy, a touch of anxiety and a lot of healthy fear that I invite you to ✨Your Welcoming Home✨:A Weekend Workshop on the Art and Science of Making Home. I’m hosting three days of learning all about home at my own home and barn outside Charlotte, NC. There will be second […]

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4 Practices for a Simple, Tidy Home in 2020

I’m not naturally good at a lot of things, but I am good at watching and learning from other people. Here are four tips I’ve learned (and implemented!) over the years that have helped me keep a tidier home. Shine your sink This one is from Marla Cilley, the Flylady and expert on all things […]

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Out of Time? Here’s The Perfect Last Minute Christmas Gift

A guest post from my long time friend, Kristen Welch

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A Cozy Minimalist Christmas Home

Today I’m joining a Christmas Home Tour hosted by Rachel at Shades of Blue Interiors, links to all the homes are at the end of this post, you’re gonna love them!

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