Friday, May 10, 2013

Top 10 Real Foodie Mother's Day Gift List




As a real food mom, I thought I'd put together a Top 10 Real Food Mother's Day Gift List.  What types of things does a real food mom want?  Definitely NOT store bought Wilton Chocolates!  Probably not a bouquet of flowers that will wilt in a day that come with a packet of chemicals to prolong the life of the already dying flowers.  Also, candy won't make a nice gift for a real foodie because they are loaded with artificial coloring and refined sugars.  So let's look at some awesome ideas for the Real Food Moms of the world!



Via
10. Wholesome Sweeteners: Sucanat

I know it's not healthy to eat sugar all the time, even real sugar. However, on those occasions that I am fixing my mother's holiday recipes or simply needing a teaspoon of sugar for my coffee, Sucanat does the trick.  As a real foodie, I'd be happy beyond belief for a pack of Organic Sucanat to replace my Demerara sugar!






Via

9. Organic Raw Unprocessed Coconut Oil

Everytime I go to the store, I buy another container of Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil.  I use the product for so many things!  I use it to wash my face, to moisturize, to remove my makeup, and it also is a great oil for Indian dishes.  In addition, I take the coconut oil as a supplement to curb my craving for fatty foods and extra calories.




8. CSA or Co-Op Subscription to a Local Farm (LocalHarvest.org)

If I were in the states (which currently I'm not), I would go crazy for a subscription to a local farm for fresh produce, milk, and eggs.  I honestly can't imagine anything so healthy and perfect than being able to pick up the freshest fruits and veggies and cook wonderful meals for my family!  Any real foodie mom would be lucky to get a CSA subscription for a Mother's Day gift.




Via
7. Nourishing Traditions

Whether the mother in your life is longtime food enthusiast or just exploring the world of real food, if she does not own Nourishing Traditions then this will be the perfect gift!  Not only does it have tons of recipes for fixing traditional real food meals, it also is chock full of information regarding why the traditional meals are so healthy.





Via

6. A Kick Butt Stockpot (Le Creuset)

As a real food mom, I make broths and stews and other amazing dishes using my stock pot.  I couldn't live without it.  However, I could live with a larger one!  Buying a real food mother in your life a stock pot for Mother's Day will not only make her year, but it will also make some wonderful meals.





Via


5.  Cast Iron Skillet (Lodge)



My husband was the one who first introduced me to the cast iron skillet.  I thought he was mad.  The monstrosity is so heavy and you don't even wash it!  Fortunately, his southern heritage was a gem (in disguise) and I've come to love my cast iron skillet.  Not only is it beneficial because it develops wonderful sexy arms, but it is a great replacement for the not so safe non-stick skillets.  For the real food enthusiast, this would be a great gift to aid her pursuit of traditional foods!



Via
4.  Ball Jars with Lids

When you are cooking up outstanding foods, it's nice to have a good place to store them!  I love my Ball jars and use them all the time.  In fact, I need more of them.  I want them in every size.  I want every lid style.  I want labels.  If your real food lady is making broths and stews, she would probably jump for joy to have a set of Ball jars in any and every size.  I'm especially partial to the Heritage Collection with the beautiful hint of blue!



3. Herbs (seeds or plants)

I love herbs.  I use them in my cooking.  I make teas with them.  I add them to my natural beauty products.  Herbs rock!  If your real foodie hasn't yet explored the world of herb gardens, get her started with an organic herb kit or buy her some plants at your local farmer's market.  This option is much better than cut flowers!


Via

2. Fermenting Dreams (The Art of Fermentation)

Want to grow something altogether new together?  Ferment!  The book, The Art of Fermentation, is a great way to get started making kefir, cheeses, sourdoughs, and even sauerkraut.  If the real food mother in your life is serious about real food, then she will really like this book!



1. Send Her Packing

Find a conference, class, or a bed and breakfast to send her to for a little Real Food R&R.  A conference will be full of helpful information, a class might teach her to make new foods or about how to keep strong with her choice to eat real foods, and a bed and breakfast will provide her with real food while she rests.  All three are excellent choices!

Conferences
 
 
Classes
 
 
Bed & Breakfast
 
 
 
I hope you can make good use of this Real Foodie Mother's Day Gift List!  Enjoy!
 
Brooke
 
P.S.  Do you know of any other conferences, classes, or Bed & Breakfasts that specialize in real food?  I'd love to know!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Simplify: Money Doesn't Talk

You've all heard the saying that "money talks," but have you ever considered what that particular point of view holds for those who accept it?  For Simplifying Life with Designing Life, we will be discussing why money doesn't talk for a simplified life.  I hope you enjoy the discussion that my son and I had (see the graphic below) that inspired my continued thoughts on the subject:
 


Why Doesn't Money Talk

Literally, money doesn't talk or have a voice.  Figuratively, we say that money talks because if you hold a $100 bill up to a waiter who has just told you that there are no more seats available . . . somehow he manages to find that a table just became available.  Did the money speak?  No.  In fact, the person holding the bill is communicating loud and clear.  Is this person saying, "Check this out, I'm the nicest person in the world and I'm going to make your day and give you this $100 bill"?  Or is this person saying, "I'm in a hurry, I don't really care that there are no seats currently available.  Allow me to provide some incentive in order to get what I want NOW"?  Money doesn't talk, but when people use money to communicate in this way they certainly aren't making any friends.  Money doesn't talk . . . people do.

What Do You Use Your Money to Say?

In simplifying your life, consider using your money to say what you mean to say.  Most people don't throw a hundred dollars at their waiter, but someone might spend $500 for an extra (meaning having more than one) television for their home.  If you are attempting to simply your life, adding an extra television set probably won't give you more time or a simple life. 
 
What are you using your money to say?
 
What is important to you and your life?

How Can You Use Money to Simplify?

I honestly don't think it's wrong to use money to task things out in life and to use money on important things in life.  If you believe your family is most important, but you spend all your time working on a small business decide if it's worth hiring a new person on to help.  If you feel that it is important to develop friendships, then spend some money taking them out to eat, preparing elaborate meals at home, or organizing outings for your group of friends.  If you have extra money as a stay-at-home mom, maybe you can hire a cook, house cleaner, or lawn maintenance personnel in order to give you more time to spend on your children, on a break (in order to feel up to spending more time on your family), or on other things about the house.  However, please don't confuse a simple life with laziness.  Money is a great tool to allow you to have more time to spend on the important things in life . . . but it isn't very important to watch television all day, spend the day on the computer, or spend every day in pajamas.  With simplifying life, some days are for relaxation, but it's about focusing on what's important and dedicating your time to that thing.

Relationships vs Money

I notice that our American attitude is "accumulate," "attain more," and "make more money," while in regards to friends our attitude is "friends will wait," "someday," and "when I have the time."  I'm not sure about you, but that doesn't make any sense!  Relationships are a high priority in my life and money, while necessary, doesn't make the world go around.  I wonder what things in our life that we insist that we "need" are things that are absolute necessities.  When you consider someone who has "no" money and you see them walking around with designer jeans and an iPhone, it's easy to see that if we want something badly enough we find the money.  If I had to chose, would I let go of my subscriptions, my iPhone, my computer access, using my dryer, being super warm and toasty (rather than putting on a jacket in the winter), in order to have money to spend on relationships? 

What comes first in life?
 
What really matters, fake relationships on Facebook or real relationships forged in flesh and blood as well as tears and triumphs?

I hope this has helped you to think through an area that is fantastic to consider as you simply your life.  Thank you for tuning in . . . or well, clicking in for this simplify post!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Follow Along Friday - FLT

 
Welcome Fancy Little Friends! We're so encouraged to have each of you share in this little space of ours and have been so blessed by your encouragement! I hope you've had a chance to sign up for one of our Gal Groups, connect in the Community forums, and even submit your testimony to share with others! In order to get to know you all better, we're hosting the Friday Follow Along each first and third Friday of the month! Today, we'll be linking up our Pinterest and Instagram profiles! This week we have a few friends joining us! Make sure you stop by and say hello to --- Christie from Satisfaction Through Christ Brooke from Designing Life Krissy from Not Alone Mom and Candace from Magpie Event Co.
 
 
 
1: Follow us and our co-hosts on PINTEREST or INSTAGRAM! Both would be just lovely! 2: LINK UP! Please note - we have (2) link-ups down below.. one is for Pinterest, one is for Instagram! Link appropriately please!! --->> Link up by following two EASY steps! Step #1: Fill out the “submission” form below & enter your PROFILE URL into the “URL” section. Step #2: On the next screen, select “Upload from Computer” and choose your image to upload. 3: Follow along with with at least 5 others. Leave a comment or two so they know where you followed from! 4. Share our Follow Along! Please tweet: “Follow Along Party with @FancyLilThings today at http://wp.me/p29X49-1Aw” or you can always tell your lovely Facebook followers too! BONUS: Are you interested in co-hosting one a future Follow Along? Contact us with details about you & your blog and we might just choose you!!
 

 

 

 



 

 
 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time to Simplify

Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard I try to keep my time simplified and purposeful, I get distracted.  I used to think that this was a fault and that I really needed more discipline to deal with my easily lost focus.  However, as I've begun to move through life and see how the "determined" live and how the "relaxed" live.  I now know that I don't want either.  I want to live somewhere in a happy medium.

My happy medium involves planning, prioritizing, and goal setting, but now I know that the planning, priority setting, and goal reaching isn't the end goal at all.  It's a process in order to remind me what is important in my life.  Knowing what is important helps me to simplify my time.  If all I do is plan, then I am not living my life at all!  Even if I reach goals through strictly outlined plans, it's not quite as fun as reaching it by just living intentionally.  I want to plan my priorities to reach a very simple goal this year.  I want to grow.

I do not suppose that you have the same goal as me for your year or your life.  Everyone has their own reasons for living life.  My reason for living isn't growth, but my reason for living helped me realize that this year was about me growing.  Do you know your reason for living?  Or do you have a goal that you are working toward this year?  Allow me to help you to simplify your time through a little planning, a little prioritizing, so that you can easily make choices that agree with your goals while living your life.

Planning

Some people believe that you don't get anywhere without planning.  That's not true.  You get somewhere, but when you end up where you end up you may not like where you are.  Planning is about looking forward and laying out a path.  The path may change and life definitely happens, but plans allow you to have an idea of where you are heading.  Take a second to find a piece of scrap paper.  Write down where you see yourself in one year.  Where do you see yourself in five years?  Where do you see yourself in ten?  All of the sudden when you begin to look far enough ahead, you realize that you may have to take certain steps to make that ten year self look like you want your ten year self to look.  Planning is vital, but must only be done periodically.  Again, there is no use spending one's whole life planning instead of living.

Priority Setting

Once you take a look ahead one, five, and ten years into the future you begin to realize that some things must indeed be more important to you than others.  Maybe right now, you are a mother orchestrating the raising of multiple children.  However, in ten years, you will be the mother of multiple teenagers.  When your teens are out playing sports, hanging with friends, and going to concerts, will you be spending time with their dad or your husband?  For me, that makes my husband a high priority even while I'm raising my kid.  Maybe you have teenagers already, where will you be in in ten years when your children are moved out and having children of their own?  Do you want to start your own business?  Do you want to volunteer?  What priorities might need to change now in order to assist you as you transition into being an empty nester?  Take a second with that scrap piece of paper.  Write down your priorities as they are right now in reality (not in wishing).  Now take a second and rearrange them into how you think or know they should be, be sure to add in any priorities that may have been missing from the first set.  Here's the top of my ideal priority list so you can get an idea of what a priority list may look like (no one has a "wrong" priority list, sometimes some are more helpful than others though):

God
Husband
Son
Relationships - Friends, Family, Bible Study Group
Home
Etsy - Orders
My Blog
Etc.

Each person will have their own priorities.  It is KEY to be aware of what you want your priorities to be.  Again, just like with planning, being aware of our priorities (not consumed by setting them) we can intentionally choose our activities and plan out our time.  Priorities make choosing activities simple, because you know exactly what to say yes to and when to say no.

Goal Setting

I still spend January setting a list of goals for each area of my life, but I do not suggest that anyone starts out by setting a massive list of goals or resolutions each January.  For me, this is almost a setting a course exercise where I set my sails and plot my heading for the upcoming year.  Some of my goals come to fruition.  Some remain undone.  However, I know what I want to achieve and I have some sort of compass to guide my decisions.  My success or happiness is not based on whether my goals are met, but rather did I live my life well this year?  For me the question is "did my life glorify God this year?"  Goals set in this manner simplify decisions rather than making every decision a hassle.

Taking Time to Simplify

While all this planning, priority management, and goal setting can seem to make life more complicated. I disagree.  My life is simplified by knowing where I am heading, what my priorities are, and what I'm reaching for in my life.  I can take aim without getting distracted by things that don't align with my plans or priorities.  I can grow in peace without feeling like I'm going to mess up big time.  I know where I'm heading and I know what is important to me.  This simplifies my time.

Do you have plans and know where you are heading in the next year, five years, or ten?

Do you have your priorities set?  Do you make your decisions based on what's most important?

Do you have a goal that you are reaching for this year?  Where are you setting sail to in your life?

Thank you for clicking over to Designing Life today!  I hope you have had some time to think through simplifying your time, I know I have!  I have some goal setting worksheets over at my Etsy Shop, Designing Life.  That is . . . . unless your scrap sheet of paper has been fully adequate for this exercise :-)  Come back soon to check out more Design & Decorating, Home Organization, Simplifying Life, and Printables 4 Life!




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5 Bedroom Design Tips

After I clicked the little 'Design & Decorating' button on my own blog, I realized that I have been remiss in my design duties! How could I leave my readers high and dry in the design department? With the refocusing of my blog, I am more than happy to focus on bedroom design tips! Let's get this bedroom started!

Tip 1: Pick a color to focus on for your room.

When you come into a bedroom and think wow, you see a connection within the room. The items aren't just thrown in the room, there is intentional design. Many times a color draws the room together. Sometimes a particular style gives the room a feeling of comfort. If you want to fuse a room easily and on a budget, choose one main color then choose a few colors that match. Write down a list of items that you need for your room (especially ones that no longer match your color scheme) and start searching for those items in the exact colors that you want. When you mesh these colors throughout your room, it will immediately look much more intentional and will begin to create your own "wow" effect.

Tip 2: The bed matters the most.


Polka Dot Stripe Bolster Pillow Via Turtle Dove Lane
A beautiful room with a nasty bed is still a nasty room. 
The bed matters most. Why? Because it's a BED - room, not a dresser room or a nightstand room. If you haven't dressed your bed, your bedroom is naked. Or maybe just the dweeb of the house. Find a comforter, duvet with a duvet cover, quilt, or stylish blanket to clothe your bed. Sheets matter too. They don't matter to the person passing by your room when they miss the turn to your bathroom, but you know what is hidden underneath your bed topping. Have sheets that match your bed covering and make you feel happy to slip under the covers. Finally, top your bed with some beautiful coordinating shams. Remember those colors on the last tip? Make sure to integrate these into your shams as well as on your bed covering.

Tip 3: Space for you, space for him.

This tip is assuming that this is a shared bed, if this is not the case please skip to tip 4. You both need space in your bed, duh, you both sleep there. But what about the room itself? Each person sharing a bedroom needs adequate space within the room to feel that this is their space. When a lady enters a room, she doesn't want to feel as if she just stepped into her husband's bedroom and that she just sleeps within his space. In the same way, a husband doesn't want to feel as if he just stepped into his wife's bedroom and that he only gets his section of the bed each might. A shared bedroom can't be over feminine and it can't be over masculine. Space for the lady, space for the dude.

 
Tip 4: Don't mistake soothing for boring.

Texture - Brown Flower Pillow Case Via Momo Rad Rose
I've heard people say that they want to use muted tones for their bedroom, but then proceeded to fill the room with flat beige colors with nothing to catch the eye.  BORING!  I'm all for using muted tones.  Some people really don't like a colorful room.  However, when you choose to go muted with the color scheme, you must heighten the other senses!  Choose textured wall art to create extra dimension to the walls.  Choose a bed covering that is quilted to add texture.  Throw fluffy pillows on the bed or use a pattern that is muted yet exciting!  AKA creating a "soothing" space is no excuse to create a boring space.

Tip 5: Move out.

Okay, so you got me.  I don't literally mean, move out of your room.  I do mean move out everything that has nothing to do with a bedroom.  Mainly, a bedroom is a room in which to sleep, change clothes, and perhaps read a book.  Why then, do most of our bedrooms resemble a jungle of junk?  In my personal opinion, if you want to watch television, go to the living room.  If your husband or children are hogging the television, design a television sharing schedule.  Alright, back to the bedroom.  Move out extra frames cluttering dressers.  Keep items needed for sleeping, changing, and reading.  You will never regret moving out!


What is your biggest hang up when it comes to designing your bedroom?
 
Have you already conquered all five tips?


Thank you for stopping by Designing Life's blog!  I hope to keep updating my blog with more "Design & Decorating" posts as well as posts on "Home Organization," "Simplifying Life," and "Printables 4 Life."  If you love printables as much as I do, hop on over to my Etsy Shop Designing Life to browse my designs.  Stop by again soon!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

10 Paper Storage Solutions


I'm not sure about you, but I have issues with paper.  Think bunnies multiplying except replace the bunnies with papers and that hardly describes the gravity of the issue.  I get papers and magazines and advertisements in the mail.  I take notes, I use printables, and my son draws these adorable pictures.  Then they begin to gather together to take over my home, surface by surface.  They often start with the computer desk, but then the start to make piles on the floor.  Then little by little they cover my TV stand, my end table, and my bookshelf.  You think I would catch those little papers before they got so far, but no.  With moving every few years, my storage tools come and go and are often busted up by the moving companies (no, really, my filing cabinet is irreparably dented at the drawers).  I need new options and I need them fast!  Here are some if the solutions I've come up with to prevent my paper problem from consuming every surface in my home:

Letter Sorter
 Brocade Letter Sorter Via The Container Store
 
Quick Pros and Cons
A Letter Sorter is a great way to separate out the mail designated for each member of the household.  Just remember, that the letter sorter can become just another place for junk.  Also think about where you will put the letter sorter and how much room you are willing to give to your incoming mail.  If all family members can commit to looking through their own mail daily, this can be a great place to stick mail as soon as it comes in the house.
 
Letter Tray
 
Quick Pros and Cons
 A letter tray can be a great place to store ongoing projects or to store documents as they come into the household or office.  You can also assign a tray to a particular family member or assign them to ongoing tasks such as bills, taxes, or work files.  Again, you will need a surface that is large enough to house the set of trays, but if it keeps all of your papers in one place it can be a great benefit.
 

Magazine Files
Magazine Files Via See Jane Work

Quick Pros and Cons
Magazine files have so many uses!  You can store magazines in your files or you can store kid's papers, computer paper, or current ads. It's great to use one to house misc. papers.  Once the misc. magazine file becomes full, you can go through the file.  You can store the files on a bookshelf or under an end table.  Just remember to go through the magazine files, no need to store things that are just going to take up space in your beautiful home.
 


File Tote Box
 File Tote Box Via The Container Store
 
Quick Pros and Cons
 The File Tote Box is a great way to keep hanging files nearby and stow things away quickly.  If you keep one in your home office near your computer, you can easily print out tax information and file it away or keep track of receipts and bills.  However, this is a temporary storage option.  Permanent files need a permanent home.  You will want to keep temporary files and current information in a box like this.
 


Paper Storage Case
Paper Storage Case Via The Container Store
 
Quick Pros and Cons
Paper storage cases can be great for storing children's art, ongoing crafting projects, and any oddly shaped papers you may have sitting around that you may still want to keep.  The main purpose for this case is to store scrapbook paper, but a 12" x 12" box can be used for myriads of paper projects.
 


 
Colorful Storage Boxes
  Stockholm Office Storage Boxes Via Container Store
 
Quick Pros and Cons
 Office Storage Boxes in bright colors just make me chipper!  Why not hide all the paper mess in these wondrous boxes?  For larger boxes, you can keep track of larger family photos.  Letter size boxes are perfect for storing written works of art.  Speaking of art, the mid-size boxes are great for keeping art paper.  However, you must be sure to designate a purpose for each box.  It could be easy to lose papers if you are not intentional about how you use each box.  Store the boxes on a bookshelf to make a statement.
 
Desktop File
Bamboo Desktop File Via Container Store
 
Quick Pros and Cons
Desktop Files are very similar in use to the file tote boxes except these are intended to live on top of your desk.  If you have tons of space on your desk, this is an even easier option for grabbing out files that are used often and storing them away quickly.  These can also be great for keeping track of children's homework and yearly school files.  The bamboo is one option but there are also many other colors and textures in the realm of desktop files.  If you have extra desk space, then consider including one of these files on your desk.
 
Mesh Desk Organizer
 
Quick Pros and Cons
 I love this product!  It is a desk organizer, but it has shelves and two areas for binders.  This is a great way to create horizontal storage space on your desk allowing you to keep home organization binders on your desk or even on a kitchen counter.  The shelves are ideal for desk accessories, keeping things up off the desk and out of your way. It may be a challenge to fit this on a small desk, but it is definitely worth considering.
 
Nickel Paper Caddy
Nickel Paper Caddy Via See Jane Work
 
Quick Pros and Cons
This Nickel Paper Caddy is a very stylish option for your desk, bookshelf, or counter.  You can keep files, binders, notebooks, and magazines resting on the caddy.  Personally, I think it is so beautiful that I would absolutely have to keep everything tidy in respect!  Again this item will take up some space, but if you have the space and money to afford this product, you will indeed enjoy having the organizational capability that it provides.
 
Lateral Filing Cabinet
 Outlook Lateral File Cabinet Via Smart Furniture
 
Quick Pros and Cons
Many of the other tools are temporary storage options.  You need to have a filing cabinet to house your permanent files.  In a filing cabinet you store last years taxes, medical records, car insurance information, etc.  These are all files that are necessary to keep, but do not need to be accessed often.  Instead of the metal vertical filing cabinets that most of us are used to, this lateral file cabinet is much more refined.  The one negative for this cabinet is the price tag.  A nice looking file cabinet will cost you more, but you'll enjoy having it in your home. 

Whatever you buy for your home, home office, or office, consider buying organization accessories that make the experience more enjoyable.  I hope going through these paper storage solutions has helped you as much as it has helped me!  Now which ones shall I buy?
 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Refocusing Designing Life

We all grow.  We grow externally as children to become adults.  We grow internally in knowledge, wisdom, and in life.  People grow, but so do thoughts and concepts.  My Designing Life blog is one such thought, one such concept.

I started Designing Life's blog in August 2010.  The thought behind creating this blog was to share my experience as an Interior Designer as well as provide a supplemental source of information about Designing Life, my Etsy Shop.  Since it's conception in 2010, my blog has grown.  I have realized that Designing Life isn't just about interior design, but it's also about organization, family, and intentionally designing one's life.

However, in past months, I have taken the concept of "intentionally designing one's life" and broadened it so much that it is too all encompassing.  With some deep thought and contemplation, I have come to believe that my readers do not come to my site to hear about how to find peace, finding movies that motivate a workout, or even realizing the difference between Life Coaching vs Discipleship.  Though I personally am interested in these topics and they are great topics, Designing Life blog isn't about those things.  Designing Life the blog is about helping people with their home, organization, and life through design, organization tips, simplification advice, and printables.

Therefore, I'm refocusing Designing Life.  I'm narrowing this concept back down to appeal to my reader and to help others in these specific areas.  Consider it my winter pruning.  My blog will now focus into the following areas exclusively:

Design & Decorating
Home Organization
Simplifying Life
Printables 4 Life

Please join me as my blog and I continue to grow.  I would love to keep my current readers as I make these changes and gain new ones as this blog grows more like a flower than some expansive ivy.  Thank you for reading about the changes and growth happening at Designing Life!
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