Monday, February 27, 2017

Must Share

I love the modern minimalist look and I am always striving to keep my surroundings simple, pretty and functional. I can't tell you my desk looks like the one above, but what is on my desk is intentional. I choose to eliminate the junk and keep my environment looking the way I want to feel inside.
So, last post I shared what books I have been reading and I have to share a few gems from The Morning Miracle: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8AM. Wow, that is a really long title to write. I hope it inspires some meaningful self-reflection.

My two favorite quotes from today:


"How you do anything is how you do everything." -T Harv Eker

"Every time you choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what's easy, rather than what's right." -Hal Elrod

How do you do things?

What identity are you creating?

I sometimes think that there will be an event that defines my life, but it will be the day-to-day decisions that will shape me. I love the thought that every decision, however small, is not an isolated event because of the quotes that you read above.

Can you think of a decision that you thought was only affecting that moment, but it was actually shaping you? What was the decision and how did it impact your life?

I can tell you that reading scripture everyday is a choice that has lasting and meaningful impact on my daily life and on the person I am becoming.

I hope you have a productive and intentional day!

Best,

Lucy Bowman

P.S. I am learning about floral arranging tomorrow and I am excited to share what I learn with you.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Signs of a Homebody



Last night we had a snow storm complete with thunder and lighting. I slept through most of it and woke up to the white again. I am not mad about the snow being back actually. I like the clean blanket that hides the ugly muddy mess underneath. I also love when the snow is here because I don't feel guilty about settling into my home with my children and my books. Summers fill me with guilt because I know I should be outside enjoying the fine weather, but sometimes I would rather be inside reading.

I had a friend tell me this week that my home seems to be easy to live in; she is right. It is very easy for me to live in my home. There are never-ending projects I want to do to improve my home, but I am comfortable and happy in my home regardless.

If can easily live in your home, a few things are working for you...
~Your home is functional...you can cook, get clean, store, gather, entertain and learn in your spaces.
~You have people and things around you that bring happy and meaningful memories.
~You have come up with a system that helps you to keep your space organized and clean. No one wants to hang out in a home that constantly reminds them of the things that that have not done or keeps them from being able to concentrate.

Good job homebodies! You have created this home and now you like to hang out in it! =)

Here are some signs of a homebody.

1. When you think about going outside, you pictures large disgusting bugs, getting sweaty and dirty. I saw a super funny meme the other day. It said after being on a hike, you are thinking, "Everything hurts and I am dying!" LOL!

2. Having food delivered to your home is worth the extra money.

3. You love to be in your bed to read and write.

4. You have a spot on your couch that is "your spot" because you sit there so often.

5. Large parties give you anxiety.

6. Weekends are for doing NOTHING.

7. Sometimes you just don't want to go out and there is no good reason expect you would rather be home. You take a lot of rain checks.

8. Too many dates are movie nights.

9. You buy clothes only when you have committed to going to an event. Online shopping is the best!

10. You don't mind missing out on things if it means you don't have to shower, get ready and brave the elements.

Which of these do you relate to the most or do you think homebody's are crazy?


Thursday, February 23, 2017

10+ Affordable Places to Shop for Home Decor and Furniture

10+ Affordable Places to Shop Home Decor and Furniture

So, now that I have told you that you can do without in my last post, I am going to tell you to shop...no, just to shop smart when you are ready to buy! I love a good deal and quality. The following stores have treated me well so far, or they are stores that have been recommended to me by family and close friends.

1. Home Goods: If you don't have this store nearby, I'm sorry. If you do have this store nearby and have not wandered the aisles, you should! They do a great job of categorizing the merchandise and even creating vignettes to jog your imagination. I suggest having a plan in mind before you go so that you don't leave the store with unnecessary items or more items than you really wanted to get!

2. Burlington Coat Factory: I know you are probably thinking that is weird, but they have a pretty good selection of decor and the prices are right. There is not very much furniture, but all of the other decor items you may be looking for are there. Nicole Miller brand is featured here too.

3. Gordman's: I have yet to visit this store, but I have heard good things. Their website is user- friendly and I am planning a trip this week.

4. Target: Target is great at keeping up with the decor trends. They now have names like Nate Berkus and Emily Henderson designing collections for sale. I enjoy their modern decor and they have some great selections for kids rooms.

5. Amazon: Recently I have read about looking up "as is" items and finding great deals that way. Even without that, there are great deals on furniture and home decor. Make sure you check the reviews and measure carefully since you won't see the items before you order.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Make Do or Do Without


This weekend was very special to me. My older sister Holly and my mom came to visit from Utah. There was a lot of visiting late into the night, eating yummy food, taking pictures, coloring, pretending with paper dolls and taking drives around Wisconsin. I will cherish the memories we made!



On my family's last day here, we went shopping. My mom works very hard as a third grade teacher, the president of a women's organization and a mother to her children. She has little time to go shopping. Holly is a wife, mother of four and a first grade teacher to 61 students. She, too, has little time and interest in shopping for herself. So you can imagine that going shopping was a treat for all of us.

As we walked into a department store in the mall, my sister just wandered around.

"I would never to stop and shop here. Everything is too expensive."

My mom and I continued to look around and started to add articles of clothes into my sister's arms. She followed us around with her pile of clothes in her arms and a deer in the headlights look on her face. At one point I looked at Holly and she looked completely overwhelmed. I started to laugh and realized that she was not enjoying herself. I suggested we take what we had found and try it all on. Once we got into the dressing room she was able to loosen up and we started to find some pieces that looked really nice and had the right price tag. We made a plan for each clothing item to work in many different circumstances and seasons. Every purchase was considered carefully and slowly. Eventually she chose four items that she was willing to buy, with apprehension.

"I think I might be able to find this shirt somewhere else for less," Holly said.

At the register, a kind lady started to ring up the purchases, and after each item except one, she scanned a 20% off coupon and my sister started to feel much better about her decision to get the clothes. =)

"I could do a happy dance right now."

We were all very pleased with the surprise discount that we were not expecting. Watching my sister struggle to feel like she could buy herself clothing made me realize that my family has adopted a sense of frugality that was started a long time ago. I have pioneer ancestors who worked hard and made beauty and wealth from very little. The popular quip "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" is a principle that is at the foundation of most of our decisions, and I am glad that it is.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Poetry and A Call to Action

Hello Friends,

I write poetry. When I wrote my creative thesis for my Master's degree it was a cathartic experience. I loved to feel and think deeply and write purposefully. I will periodically share some of my poetry with you which is a vulnerable thing to do when I pour my heart into every single word. 

By the way, I know some people get intimidated by poetry and feel like they are not "getting it," but the beautiful thing is that poetry can mean different things for each person, especially when you are not reading it for an English class. ;) The best way to read poetry is to read it three times. The first time read it purely for the sound and rhythm; don't try to "get it" the first time. Try to hear the song in the words. The second time you read it pay attention to the images and feelings. The third time try to connect meaning between the words, images and you. 

There are a few poems that felt like they came easily to me, while others took many months. The poem below came to me quickly and went through many drafts. I wrote this poem as I thought about my anxiety and fear about fulfilling my dreams. 

“I do not have superior intelligence or faultless looks. I do not captivate a room or run a mile under six minutes. I only succeed because I was still working after everyone else went to sleep." -Greg Evans 

I believe that the difference between me and the person I want to be is lots of courage, faith and work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What is your Manifesto? Create with Purpose. Here's mine...



What is your Design Manifesto? Design with Purpose
Me with one of my best creations.

I have been thinking a lot about my purposes right now in my life. In the book The Nesting Place, which I recently bought, I came across a designer's manifesto that really resonated with me. You can find the original here. I have created my own version of the manifesto below. 
I love that manifestos are specific and defined beliefs that give us purpose. When we are sure about how and what we want to create, the creation will be focused and fast. So, I wanted to share my manifesto and challenge you to create one too.

I am a Master Author/Designer/Creator

I see beauty all around me...in nature, in books, in my home, friends and family. I want to enhance the beauty I see for everyone around me, so they too can bask in God's love.

I am a daughter of the Master Creator. He has taught me how to design through his creations below, on and above the Earth. I see stars, the trees, flowers, seashells and my daughter's tiny hands and know that he can teach me all about creating beauty. He created me and let me help to create the most beautiful thing of all--human life. 

I appreciate exquisite things, but they are not the treasures I will keep forever. I know that what is most important repels being styled and staged. I am most authentic when I am paying real, special attention to my faith, family, relationships, learning and health. What God thinks of me trumps the world's judgements.

I seek order, but I know that messes are just masterpieces in progress. Nothing is a finished product because we are ever-changing and so what we create will change too. I love clean slates because that means potential. Simplicity, modesty and beauty is my consistent goal as I create.

I write to edify, to help others realize they are not alone and to convince everyone that they have worth. I use words like a musician uses an instrument...to express, uplift and connect. I believe that learning is why we are here on Earth and I want to learn with friends. 

My aim is to create a home that envelopes those that enter with light, love and peace. My home is my daily temple where my family feels safe, loved and nurtured. All that I do and make is to bring joy to others and glory to God. 


Best, 
Lucy










Monday, February 13, 2017

Just in Time


So, in honor of Valentines Day this week I wanted to share a few fun ways to help you celebrate.

The first is a list of 100 Funny and Random Questions to Ask Your Husband. (The title is a link to the questions.) Cody and I have been using this as a way to start interesting conversations on our dates. I answer them too because it is fun...and he should want to know my answer too. =) I have actually learned a few things about Cody that I did not know before. If you don't want to have to pull out your phone of the date, remember a few of your favorites or write a few down so you can reference them when you have some time to talk. Enjoy!


The second is an activity you can do with the family or as couples. There are two variations.

The first, you buy some conversation hearts. I got mine at the dollar store. Then you hand each person five to seven hearts...make sure each heart they get is different from the others. Then the challenge is for each person to write a love poem to their significant other or family members using the words or phrases they get. You can even glue them onto the paper as you incorporate them into the poem. Read them aloud after everyone is finished.

Last year, we did a variation of this with another couple and we loved sharing the poems with each other. We were all a little surprised at how well they turned out and both of us couples saved the poems. We didn't have the conversation hearts last year, but I did gather some words that worked well. The challenge with the words below is to pick five words from the Romantic bag (Cut each word out and put in a bag or jar for them to pick from.) and five from the Realistic bag and create a love poem with the words they draw. I was going to share the poem I wrote, but I don't want to sway your use of any of the words. I will share the words we used below so that you can do the activity without having to buy anything. Have fun and Happy Valentines Day my friends!

Let me know how you celebrate Valentines Day at your house...

Best,

Lucy

Romantic:
adorable, alluring, attractive, bewitched, charming, cute, delectable, dear, elegant, enchanting, beauty, handsome, kiss, lover, manly, passion, luscious, sexy, tantalizing, unique, wild, yummy, smart, sassy, ravishing, radiant, keeper, unforgettable, romantic, rose, remarkable, hugs
Realistic:
snoring, morning breath, stinky feet, cooking dinner, taking out the garbage, work, bills, vacuum, grocery shopping, yard work, dirty laundry, cleaning bathroom, dishes, diapers, homework, messes, making bed, cold mornings, washing the car, sweaty t-shirt, frustration, tears, tired

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Emerging...


























Tonight, I finally left the house after almost four days. I have been very sick, so I have not been wanting to go out, but once I finally did, I felt a little more human. Since Cody will be gone for Valentines Day, we had a date early so we could still catch a little personal time before the beloved day. We went to a Hibachi grill. It was our first experience, and it was pretty neat. I enjoyed seeing the dexterity of our Hibachi chef, and I loved the food.

Our chef was either having a bad day or was a more pensive, no-nonsense personality because outside of smiling once when he tossed a piece of broccoli very far from my mouth, after challenging me to catch it, he cooked our meal very skillfully and bid us a good night at the end. However impressive his cooking skills were, I was feeling like the other chef was a bit more "fun". He was joking with the guests and keeping them entertained even as he cooked. Then I thought for a minute about myself. Am I the fun type or the serious type? The answer is very easy...serious. I actually remember someone telling me in high school that they thought I was boring. Mean, right? After my experience tonight, I have to admit, maybe they are right. ;)

However, in defense of my own kind, however "boring" we may seem, there is depth and mystery to us. It is going to be harder to peg me into a category because I keep lots back, sometimes on purpose and sometimes because I don't know how to reveal more. Serious people keep the "skippers" grounded and however "boring" that is, somebody's got to do it! =) I may never be a center stage act, but I can keep the act running.

I do have a good time with people I am close to. My mom and siblings would tell you they can't shut me up and that I am Crazy...with a capital C, but it generally takes me awhile to loosen up with everyone else. I am a very deep thinker who spends a lot of time observing.  I certainly feel uncomfortable being the "life of the party" or the "center of attention". When I look back on my closest friends, they have been people with few inhibitions. They pull me out of my shell and challenge me to take risks and "live a little." I am grateful for those friends. My husband Cody is more "fun" than I am too, but he also has his shy moments. Thankfully for us, we are usually not both shy and awkward in the same situations. At least we don't think so.

Which are you? The down beat or the up beat?

Whichever you are, own it and use it.

When I was a counselor at EFY (Especially for Youth: a weeklong spiritual camp for teens), I had a slight nervous breakdown after the first week. I thought I was the fun, energetic counselor that everyone was going to be so excited to have, but come to find out, I was quiet and reserved. I should have known that about myself, but I guess I didn't because after that first week, I was ready to go home and forget it ever happened. My identity was shaken... The head counselor convinced me to stay another week and I am glad that I did. I embraced who I was and what I did know and tried not to worry about what I was not and what I did not know. I ended up having a good experience and seeing that I was best when I was me, boring, serious and corny.
Our first Habachi grill experience. 

I'm glad you are you. I hope that you are all having good health and that lots of love is headed your way.

Best,

Lucy

I love John Milton, so here are two of his poems that relates to my post. Which of Milton's poems do you relate to best...the L'Allegro (the brisk tempo) or the Il Penseroso (the serious man)?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Design Inspiration for your Weekend

Image credit: domino
Image credit: domino
Image credit: domino
Image credit: domino
 Image credit: domino
Image credit: domino

Image credit: domino

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

House of Learning

Although I love the visual aspects of a home, I also love what the spaces of a home facilitate...a place of learning. My home is where I am safe to be me, in all my complicated and rough-hewn glory. I am constantly learning and my home is where this all begins. When I was a kid, it was usually on someone's bed that we read since our hand-me-down couch wasn't terribly comfortable.

My mom was not all too concerned about design elements in her home, but she was concerned with how her children were using their time. When we said we were bored, her first response was always..."Read a book!" I loved to read her Dr. Seuss when I was first learning to read and later, in the summers, before I was old enough to work, my siblings and I would listen to my mom read us book after book. We were completely enthralled with the stories and we were equally in love with our fun-loving mom who still knew how to get lost in a good book.

We always knew that when Scholastic book orders came home with us from school, my mom would make a way for us to get at least one book. We had several bookshelves of books to choose from and if we didn't have it in our home library, my mom was always game to take us to the library. I have one specific memory of going to the library and checking out my first chapter book. It was a big deal and I devoured all of the books that I checked out well before the due date. When did your love of books and reading begin?

So, now, I want to create a place where my children can read, learn, and grow. I hope you will spend time reading with your kids each day and take the time to notice what they really like about the books. Ask them questions and let them take their time digesting the words and the illustrations. Sit close to each other and let it be a time for both of you to unwind. I am guilty of trying to rush reading time, and I know I miss opportunities to teach my children when I do.

After creating inviting spaces for your kids to get comfortable with a book, your job is to have books available to them! Below I share some favorites at our house. I may continue sharing books with you since this is really only a few of our favorites. Let me know if you have questions. All of the titles have a link to the book on Amazon, if you want to look a little closer. Enjoy!

All of Baby Nose to Toes

This book has awesome illustrations, fun-to-read text and lots of opportunities to snuggle and connect with your baby or toddler. I have a lot of great memories reading this to each of my children. 


This book teaches confidence and is funny. David Catrow is a favorite illustrator of ours. We also have Where's my T-R-U-C-K? which is also illustrated by David Catrow. 



This book is ultimately about sharing and playing together. My girls love the details and the elephant, of course. 


This is another book about sharing and does a great job of showing what can happen when we don't share. Since my girls are at the age where sharing is hard, I love to have a book that helps me teach them the concept and also entertains them. 


Monday, February 6, 2017

Ways to Get that Light and Inviting Look to a Room


Ways to Get that Light and Bright Interior
A lot of natural light pouring into this space and plenty of light colors for the light to bounce off. 


Lighting: Throughout the day take note on how the light changes in the room. Is there a lot of windows that let in natural light? Do you have dark-colored, heavy curtains blocking the light? When the natural light wanes, is there enough artificial lighting to keep the room looking bright and fresh?

Window Treatments and Lighting Fixtures: Let the light in! Window treatments should add color or whimsy to the room, but do not need to block out the world. Blinds are great for creating privacy and easy to open for the light to stream through. If you are going to add curtains, make sure you hang them as close to the ceiling as possible so that it creates height in the room. Sheer curtains can let in lots of light, texture and flow. The lighting fixtures should be placed in the darkest parts of the room and can also be strategically placed to highlight beautiful vignettes of decoration. There are lots of cool options for lighting fixtures. Check out my lighting post here.
Ways to Get that Light and Bright Interior
Notice the large windows are only covers with sheer curtains. 
Paint colors: What colors are on your walls, the trim and the doors? Whites and grays are going to bounce natural and artificial light the best, so consider those colors if light and airy are your aim. What color is the furniture? Although a few colorful pieces of furniture will not take away from the light of a room, having all your pieces be very dark will give the room a more dark, moody  look vs. a bright fresh look. Remember to choose primary and secondary colors for the room and then add on other color for interest. More on choosing colors in another post.
How to Get that Light and Bright Interior
Even with the shades closed, this room has a light and airy feel to it because nearly everything in the room is white. Color matters!

Decor: Now that you have walls, doors and trim that enhance light and furniture that complements the walls, think about the wall art and decorations. Are you wanting a light farmhouse country look, are you going for modern, classic, eclectic, or glamorous? Whatever your taste, you can use the decorations to add your personal flair to the space and contribute to the rooms over. Don't forget about the flowers; they add a punch of color, whimsy, and shout "come in and stay awhile."

How to Get Light and Bright Interiors
Notice that most of the decor is white or neutral with pops of colors like green and blue. These finishing touches to a room bring interest to the room while still contributing to the light and bring atmosphere.

YOU: Sometimes I get cleaning and perfecting my spaces and at the end I am ready to enjoy the space or invite others into my space, but I look and feel gross. I am guilty of answering the door smelly and looking unkept, but my house looks amazing. There is something wrong with this picture. You should feel as good as the space you created, so time your preparation so that you can look and feel as inviting as the beautiful space that you made. Maybe I am the only one that forgets to polish myself in my frenzy to make my home just so, but just in case there is someone else out there, here is the reminder that YOU are a huge part in making your house inviting. You don't quickly forget the homes, clean or dirty, fancy or humble, that make you feel like a special guest. Open the door with a smile, offer them some refreshment and invite them to sit down in your bright, inviting room!

Now, you and your room will fill your soul and the souls of others! Enjoy!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Best,

Lucy Jo

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Five Tips for Family-friendly Decorating

Five Tips for Family-friendly Decorating

Kids are rough on nice things, but that does not mean you need to wait to make your home beautiful and inviting until the kids are older. It will take some forethought, but it is worth it. Here are some practical tips.

1
Is your furniture durable? However careful you are about teaching your kids that furniture is not their personal play gym, it is likely that the kids will get a few bounces in at sometime. It is so important to buy furniture that is durable. Usually, the cost of the furniture is an indication of its quality, but this is not always the case, so try it out or carefully read product reviews.

It will be better to buy fixed-back furniture with removable cushions. I have three girls and my couch that has a cushion back is in a room that the girls don’t spend much time in, but when they are in the room I am always asking them not to climb on the back and if it was a high traffic sofa, the back would start to really stretch out and lose shape.

For the dining room, try to get tables chairs and/or benches that are made of real wood or metal or both. Farmhouse tables are generally sturdy and fun to decorate. If you don’t have the budget to buy one, check out the many tutorials on how to make your own on Pinterest. I have some pinned in my DIY board.

Beds should be more firm with a good quilted top...get the best you can with the money you have. I think that is always the best route...get the best you can get right now. You can upgrade later if you need to. Check out Home Reserve Furniture for living spaces.

2
Can it be cleaned? Pick furniture with fabrics that can be cleaned easily and have longevity. For easy clean consider man-made fabrics, like outdoor fabric and Ultrasuede. For longevity, wool, mohair or linen is a good choice. I also bought an insurance plan for my upholstery and have used it once with success. You will have to decide if that extra cost is worth it.

Silk, leather, rayon and rayon-polyester blends are not kid-friendly. Whatever kind of fabric you choose, spray some kind of stain protection on them. Before you try to clean a stain, make sure you already know how to clean it. If you buy your furniture new, make sure to ask the salesperson how to clean the piece or look yourself before your purchase. Be prepared with whatever you may need in the case of a spill.

3
Who can reach it? I essentially draw a line through my entire house into two levels...where my kids can reach and where they can’t. Of course this will change over the years, but thankfully my kids appreciate and coordination will also change. If you dare to add charming pieces to the “kids can reach” part of the house, just ask yourself two questions...Is it durable? How will I react when if it breaks? Don’t get me wrong, you can teach little kids to leave your nice things alone, but most of the time it is just an accident. For example, right now in my living room I do not have a coffee table with perfectly stylized books, a floral arrangement and cool decor. The books would eventually have ripped pages, the flower vase could break and the cool decor would only stay if it is too heavy for them to carry off. Plus, I like to have more space in my living room for wrestling and playing, so a coffee table doesn’t meet my needs right now.

Now, anywhere my kids cannot reach is a space I get excited about. My mantle, my bookshelves and walls can all be decorated to my heart’s content. Plus, paint colors, furniture selection, pillows, throws, and lighting are also super pretty and functional choices you get to make. Just move your pretty coffee table arrangement up; it is that easy!

4
Get the family involved. Let the family be involved in decorating the home. When I was a tween and older, I started to share my room with my younger sister. I would not let her put any of her things in “my” room. Instead, I cleaned out the bottom half of a linen closet, wrote a sign with markers that said “Joanie’s Closet,” taped it to the top of the closet and let her put her unworthy trinkets there. She was too little and sweet to argue. I laugh now, not because I obviously had some selfishness issues, but because my special stuff was really not that cool. I had mini tea sets set up just so on my dresser and my desk had some other trinkets that I can’t even remember.

Seriously, my sister’s stuff was just as quality as my own collections, but I believed that my tastes were more important than hers. I have since apologized, and I am now working on implementing my husband’s tastes and interests in our home. If your family members don’t care how your home looks, then go for it, but if they do care and you want them to love the home as much as you do, give them some tasteful options and incorporate it in. Notice I said… give them some tasteful options, just giving them better options than decorating the linen closet!

5
Save a seat for the critic. I love Brene Brown; in a talk she gave to creatives at a conference, she suggested to everyone to save a seat for your critics. Don’t stop yourself from being creative with your spaces just because you are not sure about what someone else might think. You will not please everyone. We all know that the best way to find your style is to try things out. Your tastes change and once you try it and it looks wrong, that is just room for learning. Go find out why your room looks small or dark or why your wall art doesn’t look like that picture you saw on Pinterest or why your paint color clashes with everything else in the room. Of course, I encourage have a good plan, but if it is a fail, that is just an opportunity to learn!

Keep filling your home with beauty and goodness like only you can.

Best,
Lucy
© Lucy Jo. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.