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Projects :: Laundry Room Before and After

3:52:00 PM

One of our most recent projects was enclosing part of our garage and turning it into an actual laundry room. Queue the hallelujah chorus! For years our laundry area has just been a part of the garage, cluttered and dirty. Not my ideal space to do laundry, but it worked. 

After years of dreaming and saving, we finally were able to enclose a part of the garage and create a dreamy, functional space for our laundry. We also were able to drop our AC into this room, so it feels like part of the house and actually increased our square footage of the home a bit. BONUS!

I could not be more in love with how this space turned out and if you are a mom you can understand the delight I have now getting to do laundry in a pretty space. Because you very well know, there is a LOT of it!!

BEFORE


AFTER


Details:
Laundry/cleaning Jugs - Amazon
Laundry/cleaning Labels- Etsy: 2TreeStudios
Laundry Room Sign- Etsy: CastleberryHill
Rubber Utility Mat- Walmart (similar one here)
Flooring- Lowe's
Brick Backsplash- Home Depot

So what do you think about this space? Are you dreaming of any new projects around your home?? What is something you LOVE about redesigning a space? How about HATE?

My favorite part of redesigning a space is seeing it all come together. I love all of the little details that make a space feel cozy and complete. Something I definitely do not love about redesigning spaces or anything in construction is all of the unforeseen problems that always seem to pop up. For instance in the laundry room, one reason it took so long to complete was some of the plumbing issues. We ended up finding a leak in a pipe behind the wall (which was a blessing in disguise, but still). If you have ever done any sort of construction or renovation you know there are always unforeseen or additional things that pop up during the process. Without fail, happens every time. 

Onto the next project! Until next time friends...

Motherhood

Finding Balance As a Working Mom

2:15:00 PM

photo by: Jennifer Martin Photography

Being a working mom is hard. Not only do we have the responsibilities of taking care of our homes and families, but the added responsibilities of our jobs as well. If you are new here, here is a little background on me. I am a hair stylist and small business owner. I have worked behind the chair as an independent hair stylist for nearly 8 years now and have been a mama the entire time. In these past 8 years I have adapted from being a mom of one, to a mom of three. I have learned a lot in my short time being a mama bear, but am by no means an expert on the subject. Motherhood, I believe, is one of those amazing things that you never actually master. Each day brings new challenges, new blessings and new opportunities to learn and grow as a mother to the tiny humans God has entrusted us with.

If you are a working mom to young children, this post is for you. First and foremost let me tell you, in case no one has told you recently, YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! You are enough! Let me also preface this post with letting you in on a little secret....scootch in close. Can you hear me. I do NOT have it all together. I do not have all the answers. I simply wish to share with you some of my life experiences and how I have learned to find balance in my own life as a working mom. Hoping that maybe it will help you as well.

Finding balance in your life is key, whether you are a mom or not. Married or not. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, life should be all about balance and I feel there are no arguments there. We can't eat French fries for every meal, nor can we eat kale for every meal. We can't only work. We can't only play. The human mind needs balance, just like the body. Our lives need a good footing in lots of things so that we don't experience burn out.

I have experienced burn out many times. As a natural people pleaser, I am the worst at saying "no". I never want to let anyone down. But I heard something a few years back that freed me from my people pleasing chains. Every "yes" to one thing is a "no" to something else. Sit on that for a minute. What are you saying "yes" to that might be stealing time and energy from something else? For me I was saying yes to every appointment, every seemingly good thing at the expense of time with my family. At the expense of my mental health. I was giving my best to everyone else besides the people in my life who needed it the most, my kids and my husband.

THE POWER OF "NO"
The first way I learned to start finding balance in my own life was by learning to say no. And guess what?! It didn't make me a bad person. People were not picketing in my yard demanding more of my time. I had to learn to weigh out what I was saying yes to with what that meant I was saying no to and find, for me, what was most important. I don't know who needs to hear this, but it is okay to not be everything to everyone. Let me free you from the idea that only you can do _______ (fill in the blank). 

Sometimes the no, is the most powerful yes to something else. I've learned that it is okay to say no to taking more clients and working more days. It allows me to say yes to other things, like eating dinner with my family; tucking my kids into bed at night; a park day with friends; seeing my kids at their sports practices and games. 

It is not only okay to say "no", but in my opinion, it is good. It helps set up healthy boundaries between your personal life and your work life. Now I am not saying that this gives you an excuse to say no to everything all the time that doesn't fit your fancy. I simply mean, it is wise and healthy to not say "yes" to every project or every (even seemingly good) thing that arises in your schedule. That for me, finding the power of saying "no" even if it was just every once in a while has helped me find more balance and more joy as a working mother.

photo by: Jennifer Martin Photography

THE POWER OF PRESENCE
Making sure you are present as a working mom can sometimes feel impossible. You work all day, run kids here there and everywhere, make dinner and honestly are just plain pooped by the end of the day. Girl, I get it! How can you really be present with your kids when you feel like you have been run over by a semi truck half the time? I don't think that there is a one size fits all answer to that question unfortunately, but something that has truly helped ground me and helped me become more mentally present when I am physically with my kids is putting away the phone, turning off the TV and just having simple good old fashion fun with them. Sometimes I let them choose a game and I put my housework on pause for a few minutes, sit on the floor and let them have my undivided attention. Other times I include them in the things that need to be done, like cooking dinner. It might mean things get done a little bit slower, but it is time we get to spend together and memories made at the same time. Another thing I love to do is find fun conversation starter questions and ask my kids silly questions, sometimes at the dinner table, sometimes just randomly while we are driving. It spurs the most beautiful, unique conversations and helps me get to know my kids even better. 

One more big thing, aside from all of the coffee. If you know me personally you know coffee basically runs through my veins. But, I digress. The biggest thing that helps keep me present is waking up a few minutes before the rest of my house, making myself a cup of coffee and getting much needed quiet time with Jesus. I try to start every morning this way, although there are many days that somebody wakes up early, or the snooze button gets pressed one too many times and my quiet time is not so quiet. However, even if my time in my Bible is not spent alone, I really try to get this time in each morning at the very beginning of my day. It helps ground me and set the tone for the rest of the day. There is no way us mamas can pour out our hearts and souls to our families and kids and jobs if our cups are empty. I will get to more on that in my next little section, but starting your day on a good note, something peaceful and something that helps center you really does help keep you present the rest of the day.

THE POWER OF REST
Rest. What the heck really is that? Honestly, on the regular I find myself repeating the quote, "there is no rest for the weary..." I haven't rested since before I was even pregnant with my kids. But there is power in rest. True rest. Unplugging from your devices. Turning off the television. Finding little pockets of time to just sit and breathe and be.

I think one of the best decisions I have made in my career (and I know that not everyone has this same flexibility) is to work only Monday, Wednesday, Friday and some Saturdays as needed. Now I do work longer hours (sometimes 12 hour days) because of my fewer days in the salon. Some nights I am closing up after 8 or 9pm and miss tucking my kids into bed those nights. It is hard, but it is a trade off. Because for the most part, I do not work on Tuesdays, Thursdays and I never will work Sundays (that is our sacred family day). This gives me time to find rest within my work week while the kids are at school and is much needed time to get other things done around the house, but also a much needed mental and physical break.

I am somewhat a weird person and rest for me doesn't necessarily mean taking a nap. I must admit, I am actually a horrible napper. I think it is because there is just too much to be done all of the time and I can't seem to shut myself down to take one. For me, rest is more like listening to a good podcast or audiobook while doing the dishes or folding the laundry. Or sitting here now writing this blog post. I don't get to write very often anymore, but it is something that fills me up and that feels restful even though it is still something productive. Finding 20 or 30 minutes for a nice workout. Being outside on a beautiful day, spending time in my garden. There is something so therapeutic about being out in nature. 

Whatever rest looks like to you, my greatest piece of advice, especially to all of you working mamas, is to be intentional about it and write it into your schedule. Schedule a meeting with yourself one hour each week to just breathe, get a coffee and read a good book. Or go for a walk. Put it on your calendar so you can't forget about it or put something else in it's place. Take a little bit of time for you. As I mentioned earlier, you can't pour from an empty cup. You won't be good for anyone if you are strung so thin feeling like you are on the brink of a panic attack (been there many times, it is no fun). Leave some room in your week to be still. You will find the more you do this on a regular basis, the more balanced your life will feel and in turn let you be an even better mom, wife, daughter and friend.


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I will wrap all this up by telling you a brief story that was a turning point for me in my motherhood journey. It was after I had my second son, I was still in the relatively beginning phases of growing my business. I felt guilty saying no to my clients and for even trying to take 6 weeks off for maternity leave that I started coming back to the salon after just 2 short weeks. If you are a mom, you probably are thinking that I was crazy and how could I possibly even physically do that. Well, you would be right! I was crazy and I paid a big price with my mental and physical health. I was tired (you know, the newborn baby tired that you feel like you may die you are so tired), nursing, working way too much, trying to be a good mom to my other son and also leading a bible study that I had already committed to doing before getting pregnant. 

I brought my newborn with me and wouldn't work long days at first. Just a couple of clients at a time, feeding baby in-between. But it wasn't a couple weeks into this crazy, non stop schedule that not only did I start having postpartum depression from the lack of sleep and hormonal fluctuations, but my body was also just weary. I ended up getting a clogged milk duct that gave me a high fever and flu-like symptoms for a weekend. Thankfully, my wonderful husband took the boys, I took a boiling hot bath and put myself to bed at like 4pm that first night and didn't come out or was needed by anyone except to feed the baby. My body was trying to tell me something that I didn't quite get at the time. It was trying to tell me to slow down. To give it a break. Give myself a break. Rest! 

I wish I could tell you I learned my lesson after this incident, but I didn't. There have been a handful of times in the last few years that I have burned myself into the ground trying to do everything for everybody. However, it was a turning point for me. A realization that I can only do so much and take on so much. There are only so many hours in the day and I don't want to spend all of them doing everything for everybody else. Something had to give. I had to make a big mental shift to saying "no" to some of the very good things on my schedule so that I could honestly make room for being a more present, more involved, happier and healthier mom to my kids and wife to my husband.

Although I don't wish burnout on anyone, it is no fun, and the consequences can be much worse than what mine were. If you can allow yourself to learn from those pivotal moments in your life and change the trajectory afterwards than it can be worth it. Life is a journey, let us not miss all of the fun things along the way because we cannot find the balance in our lives to do so. 

If you feel like your life is out of balance, start today!! Start small. Take one step at a time and slowly you will start feeling much more fulfilled in your daily life. Remember that it is okay to say no, to pause and be really present in those small moments with your kids and to find time to rest. I may not be an expert, but I am living proof that finding balance between work and motherhood has made me such a happier person and I enjoy motherhood as well as my career so much more now.

decor

Projects :: Back Patio Redo

3:51:00 PM

We have lived in our current home for just over 5 years and although we have done a LOT around here, if you have ever owned a house, you will know, that there are always things to be done and projects that need tending.

A most recent project that we took on was redecorating our back patio. For years it has been a variety of different things, but never a true living space. As our kids are getting a little older now, I felt that we could give this space a little face lift to make it feel more grown up. 

We started by moving the furniture that was under the patio out by the pool. The set was a bit bulky and definitely works much better out there. My goal was to create a space that was light and airy with a touch of beach cottage. I wanted it to feel cozy and inviting as well as functional for our family of 5 who loves to entertain our friends and family regularly.



We started out purchasing these amazing egg chairs from Sam's Club, and when the hubs went to go get them, he came across the smaller kid versions. In his own words, "they were just too cute to not get them." So I altered my vision a bit to make room for the extra chairs, but honestly how stinkin' cute are they?? And our kids love them! They are the perfect little reading nooks. And if you have kids of your own, you will understand we couldn't get just one, as we have 3 kids. So we got one for each of them.

The adult egg chairs were on clearance so I can't find a link to these exact chairs, but HERE is a similar version. Same with the kids ones, but THESE are almost identical. If you have time to wait, you may check your local Sam's Club during the Spring or Summertime, because they may get more in stock for the season.



The coffee table between the adult egg chairs, found at Walmart, actually opens up for storage as well, which I love! Give me all the extra storage please. Find similar styles HERE and HERE.

Once we had the first little area set up, I knew I wanted to do something that added a bit more seating. We eventually settled on this sofa set from Walmart HERE. If you click the link for the sofa, you can see it only came with 3 pieces (and the table), but they accidentally shipped us 2 sets and didn't want us to return the second one so we took 2 of the pieces and created our own little small sectional. Honestly, it works really well in the space and seats a few more people, so we like it! 

I will most likely switch out the tables at some point, but these work for now. I absolutely loved the teak colored wood with the blue cushions.


All of the little throw pillows and the palm tree were found at Homegoods and TJMaxx. Outdoor rug was from Wayfair.

So what do you guys think? Do you like how we redid this space? Do you think it accomplishes the vibe I was originally planning to accomplish? Does it feel cozy and inviting?

Now that our back patio is complete, on to the next project!


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