White to Bright: Office Makeover Inspiration

White is so hot right now. 
Sleek, modern, pure, and accented with gold and soft pastels. As much as I admire the Scandinavian look (and Bonnie’s office above is LOVELY) that workspace just doesn’t work for me. I’d feel like I’d always need my nails done, fresh peonies, and a latte in order to work. It’s just not sustainable.
Creativity is messy! However, there’s a big difference between a messy creative process and a messy, chaotic office. Outer calm creates inner calm. You want to be more productive? Clean off your desk. And your husband’s desk? Well, turn your chair so you can’t see it. 
Here’s what our office started with: a recipe for mediocrity. Beige walls – check. Bland shaggy carpet – check. Carpet infested with cat fur – also check. Dog won’t stop peeing on said carpet because of said cat fur – check. Tearing out the carpet first thing – CHECK.
Where to even begin? 

The balance of serenity and warmth is why I tore this photo out of Better Homes and Gardens years ago. I like the productivity boosting color scheme of blues and grays with natural textures – modern, but with warmth.

I’m inspired by this living room styled by Emily Henderson. The patterned chair, gold and brass accents, contrasting colors – it’s exciting, but not overwhelming. 
Apparently, I really like patterned chairs. For my office inspiration boards, I’m going to start there, with a vintage accent chair find from Chairish
I had a hard time choosing just one vintage chair to be the focal point – this one was a close second. With the centerpiece chosen, we can build outward and make it our own. I took my inspiration in two different ways – classic and wildcard.

Style #1: Classic

For this style board, I started with the BHG photo and added the navy gallery wall from HomeDit, but I also made it more bright and colorful with light blue and yellow. 
I like the contrast of the ornate gold frames on the navy background, and the sunny Stockholm rug from Ikea repeats the shape of the mirrors and adds warmth to the floor that’s missing in the inspiration photo. While the desk doesn’t have the weathered look of the metal one, you could always rough it up with sandpaper, if you really wanted. 
The magazine files, storage baskets, and light fixture add color, texture, and well, light, to illuminate your excellent organization. As for the print, my decor philosophy is to always add a little something French. You really can’t go wrong. 

Style #2: Wildcard

Party time! These colors feel so happy. Hot pink accents punch up the energy while the pool blue of the desk chair and curtains and white desk keep things simple. The light, pillow, and table add sparkle, but the patterned chair remains the focal point. In this room, I’d use the chair and side table to make a little reading nook.
I showed both style boards to Brian, and guess which one he liked best? He said the second one doesn’t feel like an office. But maybe that’s the point – if it feels cozy and fun, we’ll want to spend more time there. 
Although I can see the hot pink being a deterrent for one of us. 
I’ll try to post update on what we’ve done since ripping out the carpet soon. 
So, what do you think? Would you pick the classic navy, blue and yellow, or go for the wildcard hot pink? 
Let me know which is your favorite in the comments below, on Instagram, or Facebook. 

Five Friday Finds 9/24

Just a handful of things/blogs/shops/articles that I find inspiring, encouraging, or entertaining: 

Via Emily Henderson

1. It’s fall y’all! And I’m loving these fall styling videos and posts from Emily Henderson and Target: Cozy Retreat and Gather Around. Get inspired to bust out that fall decor. I was so inspired, I already autumnized the living room.

Via Designer Blogs
2. With fall comes a renewed desire for adventure, and for those of us living in the valley, we can actually go outside without melting away in the sizzling heat.This looks like a fun fall bucket list. If you’re putting together one of your own, here’s a blank printable.

3. October makes me think of Harry Potter, and that makes me think … I need this mug for Christmas. 

4. After listening to this podcast with Jon Acuff and Jess Lively, I added this book to my Amazon wishlist.

Via Craftsy
5. Fall means back to school time, and being the nerd I am, I miss it. If you’re with me, there’s good news: Craftsy is having a sale on classes; over 550 classes are $20 or less! You can add “Learn something new” to your fall bucket list!
What did you find last week that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook!

Five Friday Finds 9/18

Just a handful of things/blogs/shops/articles that I find inspiring, encouraging, or entertaining: 

1. #WeWelcomeRefugees. You’ve seen the photos of Aylan – the three year old who woke up the world to the tragedy experienced by millions of people as they flee from ISIS and civil wars. #WeWelcomeRefugees is a budding movement started by Ann Voscamp with World Relief and the Justice Conference with the goal of connecting churches in America with those in Europe. Find out the practical ways you can get involved!
2. Brittany from The Nested Nomad is running a new series on “Simplifying Your Life.” For me, fall is the perfect time for a refresh, and I’m looking forward to the next posts in the series!
3. Elizabeth at Oak and Oats posted 5 Tips for Your Blog Redesign. Almost makes me want to do it again…
4. The Influence Network. The Influence Network is about encouraging and equipping women in their passions and projects right where they are. I finally joined in May, and I haven’t regretted it! For the price of two lattes, you get art prints, at least one free class, and other goodies as a member. I’ve loved every class I’ve taken, on everything from writing as a ministry, to home decor, to impacting the culture as a Christian. I haven’t figured out the forums yet, but I still highly recommend becoming a member, even though you can purchase classes individually. The $10 cost motivates me to learn something new each month. They also have an annual conference, that someday I’d like to attend.
5. Lauren at Mercy Ink shared the story behind their new fall line of prints. The scriptures she chose speak to me at this time in my life, with the difficulties we’ve had since Edison was born. My favorite is the “Be Still” print. I need that reminder several times a day!

What did you find this week? Share it with us in the comments!

Five Friday Finds

Just a handful of things/blogs/shops/articles that I find inspiring, encouraging, or entertaining: 

1. Emily Ley Planners and All Things Office-y. Looking at Emily’s website makes my heart beat faster. It’s been awhile since I’ve used a real planner, and I think when the 2016 ones go on sale on September 9th, this is going to be the year. Also, if you watch the video – color-coding with washi tape? #Brilliant.
2. Periscope. In the last week or two, all my favorite bloggers joined Periscope at the same time, because they all said that their favorite bloggers had just joined. So, I joined too, although I have no intention of making any videos, I love watching the live videos from my favorite bloggers and being able to comment and participate in the discussion live. If you’re on Periscope, I’ve really enjoyed watching Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society and Gretchen Saffles of Life Lived Beautifully.
3. Grace in Style. I recently found this blog through Instagram. We share a passion for ethical fashion and Jesus, and she also writes about food and traveling – and takes beautiful photos. 
4. 31 Bitsies. 31 Bits is the ethical jewelry company empowering people to rise above poverty, making stunning pieces out of rolled paper. They recently launched Bitsies, kid-sized jewelry, to teach kids about the world and how they can change it for the better. 
5. Modern Burlap. Another Instagram find, I cannot tell you how much I want some of their muslin swaddle blankets. Especially this blanket, and this one. Plus, they have an option to add on a one-for-one, so for and extra $10, a blanket will be donated to someone in need. 
What have you found lately? Share it with us in the comments below!

Living Room Inspiration: In the Navy

Beach houses have such a clean, fresh, and relaxed vibe. And if there’s three things I’d like to feel this summer, it’s clean, fresh and relaxed. And since I’ve always been obsessed with the beach, a paired down, Southern-California-esque refresh is in order for summer, without going overboard on nautical accessories.
Especially since here in Arizona, we’ve got plenty of sand … just no ocean. 
In general, I started feeling like the living room was going in too many directions. Simplifying to focus on navy and white will coordinate with the blues and grays in the rest of the house, and add some elegance to the living room. 
The photo above is my ultimate inspiration  – white fireplace, gray couch, white ceiling, natural wood textures and fluffy rug, and that ottoman! I dream of putting my bare feet on that vetlottoman. 
This one looks comfy too, if you moved the tray with candles. That’s what coffee tables are for.
Oh look, this one even has inspiration as far as what pet accessorizes this couch well! I think Sirius will suffice as a cheaper and more stylish version.
Check out that room’s entire transformation on Emily Henderson’s blog.
I’m toying with the idea of a navy gallery wall. It’s dark, but we do have quite a bit of natural light in our living room/entry way. The gold frames look so classy against the navy. 
Speaking of gold – I love gold accents, but I’m also loving copper. Can you mix both? Seems like it’s worth a try. 
And some fun pillows – you know how I love pillows
And this, this is the quintessential Southern California home, the epitome of stylish and cool: 
More photos of this room’s transformation.
It has plants! And light! And cool pillows and blankets! And retro furniture – and a swing! 
Maybe I’m getting a little carried away. I’m not sure where I’d fit a swing in our living room, but I can try, right? 
I’ll pop back in before too long with the finished results of my living room. Here’s the Pinterest board where I’ve been collecting ideas. What themes do you see in the photos above? How do you like your living spaces for summer? Let me know in the comments below!

My Summer Bucket List

 
  1. Go to California. At the time I made this list, I was in the car, on the way to California. Check. Subpoints: 
    1. Disneyland – check! Just when you think it can’t get more magical, you discover Tom Sawyer’s Island.
    2. Angel’s Game – check!
    3. Beach! – Can’t ever have too much beach time. Except when you get sunburnt, and it’s super windy. It was still fun. 
  2. Read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I took care of this one at the beach and on the drive home. Check.
  3. Curate my summer wardrobe and personal style. To this end, I finally signed up for Stitch Fix. My first fix was a disappointment to be honest. I just kept a necklace. But I left more specific notes, so I have hopes that the second one will be better.
  4. Learn a new hairstyle. I’ve been in a rut – bun, or straightened. Once in awhile I pull it into a pony-tail to mix it up. While in LA, I shopped in the Fashion District and bought a curling wand for $20. I burned myself on the first curl, but it’s been all uphill since. Check.
  5. Paint Seashells. I pinned this last summer, and I finally did it! I love the way they turned out.
  6. Catch up on my magazines. I have a giant stack of Real Simples, InStyles, and Better Homes and Gardens on the coffee table I haven’t had time for. 
  7. Try a new drink. So many options, but also while in California, I had a peach southern sweet tea with peach schnapps, and other goodness. Check. 
  8. Watch 500 Days of Summer. A movie with Zoey Deschanel and Joseph Gordan Levitt? How have I not seen this? 
  9. Have a bonfire. I was in a beachy mood when I made this list. But I realized that it will still be in the upper 90’s at night here in the valley, so this might not be such a good idea.
  10. Go swimming once a week. So far, so good. Planning to swim again this weekend. 
Reading at the beach
Santee Alley in the Fashion District
Of the 10 things on my list, I’ve already done all but four, and I don’t think I even want to do the bonfire anymore. I think I need to aim higher – I still have over a month left of summer! 
I’m at a loss – it’s hard when it’s 120 degrees outside. Any ideas? Let me know in the comments!

Waxing Poetic Wednesday: Fall

From FantasyorFiction

Fall

Fall, falling, fallen. 

That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples 
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves 
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition 
With the final remaining cardinals) and then 
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last 
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground. 
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees 
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager 
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever 
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun 
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance, 
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud 
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything 
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s 
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment 
Pulling out of the station according to schedule, 
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It 
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away 
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet, 
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving 
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us, 
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets. 
And every year there is a brief, startling moment 
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and 
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless 
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air: 
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies; 
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.
Every first Wednesday, I indulge my English Lit minor by sharing an inspirational poem. Share any poetry that’s caught your eye recently in the comments. It could end up on a future Waxing Poetic Wednesday!

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INSPIRE: Fall Trends, Fair Trade Edition Part 2

Yellow and Gray Fall Fair Trade Fashion

Yellow and Gray Fall Fair Trade Fashion by econley featuring a bangle bracelet

Plaid, leather, chunky knits, and delicious colors are just a few of things I love about fall fashion. I especially love these items, because each of them was made by someone earning a fair wage, someone who can now support themselves, afford to send their children to school, start their own business, and contribute to their local economies. That’s what fair trade is about. 
Starting at the top left, going clockwise: 

What do you look forward to wearing when the weather cools off? 

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Beauty Find Friday: My Fall Reading List

Books, pencils, and notebooks – ah, the signs of fall. After I painted this doodle, I felt like talking about books for today’s Beauty Find Friday!

Currently Reading: 

Youth Ministry in Small Churches

I pulled this book off of Brian’s shelf about a month ago. I’ve been digesting it slowly; it’s packed with thought-provoking examples, useful tips, and practical ideas. 

I haven’t made much progress in this one, but what I’ve read so far was challenging and convicting. As someone who fits the definition of “growing up Christian” by being raised by Christian parents, with Christian grandparents, home schooled and/or Christian schooled, and faithfully attended church my entire life, I can relate to the blessings and the struggles discussed in this book.

Wish List: 

The Hunger Games (Book 1)
Yes, I’ve decided to read the Hunger Games. I realized that I’m always late to the party when it comes to popular books. I read The Lord of the Rings books after the movies had come out, I read Harry Potter last year for the first time ever. I don’t want to miss out on something good for so long this time. And after all, I do like dystopian literature. Let’s hope this is the next Harry Potter, not the next Twilight.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
I’ve wanted this book ever since I watched Brene Brown’s TED talk, and I wanted it even more after I saw her segment with Oprah. According to the synopsis: “In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.”

This book just sounds like fun! “Using a simple doodle as a starting point, 18 artists take you on an inspirational, crafty journey! Filled with inventive prompts designed to fuel the imagination, these 75 exercises motivate crafters to pick up a pencil, brush, or marker, and explore their artistic voice. From quick “try it” ideas using shapes and patterns to doodled portraits and contour drawings, these step-by-step projects are wild creative fun.”

I enjoyed Chip and Dan’s innovative approach to marketing in Flip the Switch, and as a writer, I want my messages to stick. “Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.”

What are you reading now? What’s on your list? Share it with us in the comments below!

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Beauty Find Friday: My Favorite Online Magazines

There’s something to be said about the pleasure of finding a magazine in the mailbox, or flipping through the pages in a coffee shop, or whiling away the hours of a long flight with a glossy stack. With that said, the internet has blessed us with online magazines. Now, we can enjoy magazine articles for free, and on our phones. 

I’ll always love physical magazines, but today I’m sharing a few new loves of mine in the online magazine realm. 

Dean Street Society – Dean Street Society covers style, life, and entrepreneurship with a graceful, plucky spirit that makes me feel like I could be totally at home having coffee with Hilary and discussing what humidity does to our bangs and how to set reasonable business goals.

Clementine Daily – Hilary introduced me to Clementine (she’s the style editor), a new magazine whose every article so far I’ve loved. Their sweet video makes me want to wear dresses every day, buy more flowers, ride a blue bike, and learn to play the ukulele. And dye my hair red. Check out their manifesto here.

Matchbook – I’ve followed Matchbook since their second issue, and it just gets better (Although, I do miss the hand drawn illustrations they used to have). It’s eye candy extravaganza with style, decor, art, parties, and more. In their words: 

“Brimming with intriguing interviews, stately homes, captivating memoirs and swoon-worthy fashion spreads, matchbook seeks to inspire women around the globe to design a life they adore. From lipstick to letterpress, gelato to grosgrain, and Paris to Peru, consider us your field guide to a charmed life.”

The Beauty Department – If you’re on Pinterest, chances are that you’ve seen, and pinned, some of the photo tutorials from The Beauty Department. Everything you ever wanted to know – the right way to pluck your eyebrows, how to create the latest nail art or  braided updo – this is the place. 

Darling Magazine – Even though Darling Magazine has a print edition, there’s still great content on their website. The departments are divided into personas – The Achiever, The Dreamer, The Hostess, etc. Their mission says it all: 

Your turn – do you have favorite online magazines? Share them with us in the comments below!

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