a year later

on january 1st, 2014, sean and i made the final decision that i would be closing my shop.  after 5 1/2 years of owning my own handmade business, it was time.  what started somewhat accidentally, just for fun, became a necessity for our family just a couple years later, getting us through some hard years.  we were so thankful for the reoccurring support of my faithful customers, and for the ability to provide for my family in our time of need, and to also give work to other local women.  but when we realized we were no longer in such a bind, and sean said to me “the need has been lifted”.  in an instant, we knew closing was a very real option, but we decided to think on it/pray about it/seek advice for a couple months.  we set new year’s day as our decision day, and there wasn’t a day leading up to it that i didn’t feel that closing was the right way to go.  and what’s even better?  there hasn’t been a day since that i’ve regretted that decision!


this has been a really strange year for me.  a year of many doors opening, decisions of which ones to go through, and a consistent feeling of unsettledness and being in limbo.

so what on earth have i been doing?!  i mention little bits here and there – basically i’ve been doing a little of a lot of things!

job #1 – wife & mom.  for so many years, i had been running on fumes – staying up into the wee hours working, tending to my kids in the day.  while sean and i found a pretty good balance together, i was still running a bit ragged and often short tempered.  the biggest decision maker to me closing the shop was so that i could have more mind space available to focus on the kids.  i’d love to say that this year was my best mothering year ever, but i’ll be honest – its been really tough to get back into the full time mom mode.  when my kids would get difficult, i’d bury myself in work emails or product design – it was easier.  so this year i have actually had to deal with issues more head on, and not let my mind drift to work projects.  its definitely a good thing, and i’ve made big changes in myself, but it hasn’t been nearly as smooth as i hoped it would be.


job #2 – blogging.  while i may be wildly inconsistent right now with my posting frequency, it is still a big part of my identity: i am a blogger.  i’ve been blogging for over 8 years!  i am trying to find my footing as the blog world has changed drastically  in the last couple years, but it still brings me  joy!


job #3 – very soon after i closed my shop, i was approached to take on a larger role at Fred & Betty’s, our school’s thrift store.  i was the project manager for the renovation before our grand opening, and had stayed on as a design consultant, to do displays, and also as a business consultant.  this new role included all of that, but also was more of a supervisor position.  i am passionate about small business, our school, thrifting, repurposing, and design, so this job was a great fit for me!  i am in the store a couple times a week, and can do work from home also which works well with our family schedule of the kids being in school 2 days a week and home the rest.


job #4 – again right after i closed my shop, i was approached by a handful of people to do design/decor work for them.  as exciting as the prospects were, i was terrified!  i have no design degree or professional experience, only my years of hands on work with our own homes and helping a few friends, but that didn’t make me qualified, right?  so i turned them all down because i didn’t believe in myself.  a few months ago another opportunity came up, and after encouragement from sean and my best friend, i decided to try it!  i am currently consulting for a family who will be renovating their house this summer while they move out for a few months.  for now, we are nailing down floor plans, furniture layout, all the finishes and details.  when the construction starts, i’ll be acting more as a liaison between the job site and the family – i can’t wait for that part!  i’ve shared peeks at some of our design plans and i’ll share more soon, but the final results won’t be finished for several months, so it just seems a bit premature to share right now.  whats great about this job is that i am able to do most of the work from home in the evenings, with a few house calls on days the kids are at school!


job #5 – this one is the newest, and is very similar to the last one.  i have just started working with some friends who own a business doing fix & flips.  they have pulled me in on a couple jobs to make all the finishes decisions – think interior & exterior paint, tile, cabinetry, flooring, faucets, hardware, lighting… you name it!  these are super rushed jobs – i chose all the finishes for the first house in 3 days!  what i love about this is that i get to make decisions on making a home look its best for the style of home it is, and make neutral design decisions that will appeal to a broad range of potential buyers – so fun!  sean and i have fixed up a couple homes together with a 2-year fix & flip time frame, so i have a little experience with this.  when i was making the design decisions for our current home, our “forever” home as we called it, the decisions seemed so much heavier if we had to love these choices forever!  this job will be much more infrequent than anything else, but really really fun!  i am hoping to share some before and after pictures of my first 2 projects as soon as they wrap up – they are pretty amazing!

and job #6 has officially ended.  for several years (7 i think) i have ran a local handmade boutique called the stitch market twice a year (sometimes more).  my partner and i have both decided that we just don’t have the desire to keep it up and running, but man it was a good run!  we’re so thankful to our wonderful vendors and all of our customers over the years!

so that’s what has been keeping me so busy and away from blogging this year!  that and the whole “feeling in limbo” thing.  i’ve finally moved past twiddling my thumbs in not knowing what to do with my life, and now i’m just trying everything!

simple (& budget friendly) beauty products

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, All You®, and Real Simple® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #SpringintoMeTime http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

budget friendly beauty products

last week i was parenting solo for 4 days and by the time sean came home i was ready for a break!  a nice mini getaway for me is to grab a couple magazines from my daily weekly trip to Target and hideout by myself.  as winter winds down and we head into spring, i needed a little pick-me-up to spark some inspiration, and honestly, to zone out for a bit.  just a little me time.

Real Simple (one of my go-to magazines) had an interesting article about anti-aging beauty products and it got me thinking.  actually, it sparked a conversation with some girl friends as well.  you see, i have a really simple beauty regimen, if you can even call it that.  i’m in my 30’s and have a very basic routine.  thus far, my main defense against aging is sunscreen.  thankfully, my closest girlfriends are in the same boat as me.  no retinoids or serums or masks.  i joked that we at least will be old and wrinkly together!

while i know its time to start adding in some additional help, like maybe some under eye cream, i really enjoy the simplicity of my daily regimen.  and even more, i like the price.  i’m not looking to complicate this part of my life, but simplify!

budget friendly beauty products

i’m going to share with you my daily routine, plus a few extras.  maybe as we head into spring, these products can help you feel fresh and ready for the new season!

budget friendly beauty products

these are my cleansers:  clean & clear morning burst exfoliant (i use this in the shower), and olay oil minimizing toner (i use when i don’t have time for a shower).

budget friendly beauty products

immediately after i wash my face, i use olay sunscreen.  its a moisturizer and spf 30 combo that doesn’t leave my face feeling oily. my other daily musts are mascara, a little swipe of blush, and some moisture on my lips (and a bit of color).

budget friendly beauty products

this next group are my “extras”: either for breakouts or for date night, hopefully not at the same time!

i was having breakouts around my nose for several months then finally went into sephora for some help.  the saleslady gave me murad acne spot fast fix for spot treatment that i can use day or night, and tarte bb tinted treatment for covering up problem areas, applied with a concealer brush.  thankfully my freckles have always been helpful in concealing most of my blemishes so i don’t have to use this stuff too much!

have you heard of e.l.f.?  its a newer brand at target that stands for eyes.lips.face.  and its super inexpensive.  i’ve never been great at applying eye liner but i wanted to try liquid eye liner without investing too much in case i didn’t like it.  turns out its easy and fun!

i always have lip balm on and sometimes add color with lipliners or lip stains – this darker e.l.f. lip stain is a fun change for me, a big step out of my usual tones.

budget friendly beauty products

from top right, clockwise:

lip pencils: sephora nano in cute caramel & maybelline in nude

exfoliator/cleanser: clean & clear morning burst facial scrub

eyeliner:  e.l.f. liquid eyeliner in black

lip balm:  burt’s bees original

moisturizer:  olay complete with spf30

lipstains:  e.l.f. in nude nectar & berry blush

toner:  olay oil minimizing toner

mascara:  covergirl lash blast volume very black

tinted concealer:  tarte bb tinted treatment

blemish treatment:  murad acne spot fast fix

blush:  e.l.f. contouring blush & bronzing powder in st. lucia (i only use the blush – i have no idea how to use the bronzer!)

budget friendly beauty products

when you’re headed to Target this week (don’t lie, you know you’ll be there!), pick up a couple magazines for yourself – you can save $2.00 when you buy any 2 participating magazines titles (All You®, Real Simple®, PEOPLE®) from 3/15-3/28 while supplies last.  how great is that?!  even better – no coupon needed!

  and do you use the target cartwheel app?  its awesome!  this week there’s an additional offer to save 15% on select special issue magazines which include PEOPLE® Crimes of Passion, National Geographic® 100 Journeys of a Lifetime, TIME® Mark Twain, LIFE® Lincoln.  this promotion ends 4/17 or until supplies last.

so what about you?  do you have a simple beauty routine, or a time intensive one?  do you have any simple product recommendations for us?