the pressure to be perfect and learning to be myself

EVERY year, my family and I go to a local greenhouse on the first weekend before spring.  It started a long time ago and has kind of become a celebration of surviving a “midwest winter.”  (It tends to drag on and on, teasing you every once in a while with a warm day, only to divert back to freezing rain the next.) So we go, and each year as our family grows we take in all of the things that mean spring.  The bright colors, the smell of dirt, all of the opportunities of our soon-to-fail square foot garden.  It’s kind of become a celebration. 

greenhouse trip

This year, I thought it would be fun to write a little post on this sweet family tradition.  This will be great.  I figured all the kids were off school, I’ll bring my camera, snap a few pictures…perfect!

greenhouse trip with kids

Well, in short, that was optimistic.  The reality I found myself in was actually more something along the lines of this: an hour drive of arguing and whining and ‘are we there yets”, followed by bad attitudes from not eating breakfasts and us all still trying to make it through daylight savings. There was rain, lots of rain. My children running: on tables, down aisles, over to fountains, into breakables and away from me.  And the worst part: me and my big fat need to get the best pictures for a post. 

planting succulents

My dumb attitude was the worst part.  As much as I wished it wasn’t about getting the perfect picture, that is exactly what that outing soon became all about. I snapped at my sister, at my kids, at my mom.  All because of the pressure I was putting on myself to get that great shot.  To look cute, but not stupid.  To pose my uncooperative kids, to get the right lighting and to make sure I was sucking in. 

I don’t know if you guys have ever felt this.  I tend to be a perfectionist and when everything out there already seems to be perfect and I am such a hot mess (even when I try so hard not to be) the pressure is too much.  Who am I trying to be anyways?  It’s just a dang picture.  But I think it’s more than that.  I think it’s the scary part of trying to put myself out there more.  Anytime you share yourself, in any way, it’s vulnerable.  And though I wish I was cool enough to rise above it, I fall hard into the struggle to be perfect trap.

spring flower planting
DSC

And you guys, in my chase for perfection, for the best photos, I missed the moment.  I missed my kids having a great time, smiling. My cutest little nephew who I do NOT get to see near enough and who is running now.  I missed time with my mom. Asking her about her work, their upcoming trip and her concern for a dear friend who’s husband was sick.  I missed my sister, who I treasure time with, and asking her about her growing business, and how mom life feels and what she’s looking forward to.  I missed Everett recognizing some of the plants and planning out what herbs we’re going to plant this year.  I missed Courtland’s dimple grin and the sheer happiness to be with the whole family.  I missed Isla’s first time really experiencing the flowers and how every single aisle was an opportunity to explore.  

family outing spring

On the ride home we stopped at a drive-thru for coffee and as we were paying, my oldest son shouted through the window at the barista. “I love your voice!”  So I rolled down my window so he could tell her again. Interpreting for him I said “my son thinks you sound like a nice person.” She smiled so big and through the suckers she gave them, I could tell it meant a lot to her. 

I kept thinking of that.  “I like your voice!”  I think I am learning. When I am just me, when I am “my voice” and not trying to be any one else’s, or trying to say/be what I think people want or trying to look how I think I should look, or be someone I think I should be, I am way more free.”

spring succulents

When Racheal and I decided to blog more this year, it was because of a pull we both feel to just be ourselves in hopes of encouraging others to do the same. We want to be human, along with other humans.  There is a lot out there telling us how to be someone else, but that’s not why we are each made so different and diverse.  Its nice to see someone just be themselves, don’t you think?  When I see someone else being “human” I feel like I get them.  I feel like “I can do that too.” We should be inspired and encouraged by other’s honesty and vulnerability because it creates a real connection.  No one is perfect, no matter how hard they try, so I’m gonna work on not trying.

-erin

i'm not perfect so i'm going to stop trying to be

Maybe The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

This spring started with a whirlwind as my husband (the calm & steady rock of our family) mentioned to me that he was looking at a fixer upper house for us to buy.  WHATTTTT??!! Who was this spontaneous stranger I was talking to???  Amongst the little baby stage we were just submerging from, I honestly had forgotten that fixing up a home together had been a dream of mine for as long as I could remember.

Fast forward to falling in love with two houses on the market, late night debates (we won’t call them fights ;)) one offer–which we quickly retracted and a couple of broken hearts.  Slowly, over the course of realizing what a fixer-upper house would entail for our family and jobs at this time, was NOT the best decision for our family.  Not a “never” but just a “it is wise to not embark on this journey yet” grown up sort of decision for us.  So I put away the Pinterest boards and forced myself to stop checking listings every 2-3 hours and made myself stuff the dreams back into my back pockets for another time in our lives.  This was a hard time for us, for my adventurous spirit. Let’s just say there was a lot of sulking.

And then, as if the stars aligned (or God knew just the whispers I needed to hear) I ran into the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. It melted my heart and shook my world in all of the good ways.  I finished the book in 48 hours (which if you know me, this is quite an accomplishment.) I swear that book was just what I needed.  

I came to realize that though it is 100% ok to dream and it is a beautiful thing to want to accomplish them, I also began to discover that in order to dream I had to choose the best dreams for me at this moment.  With the busy of three littles, a growing business and a husband working in a ministry position, we wanted to be able to still give to all of these without losing us.  Without losing what we felt was worth fighting for.  

I came to realize that though it is 100% ok to dream and it a beautiful thing to want to accomplish them, I also began to discover that in order to dream I also had to choose the best dreams for me at this moment.  With the busy of three littles, a growing business and a husband working in a ministry position, we wanted to be able to still give to all of these without losing us.  Without losing what we felt was worth fighting for.

My dear friend mentioned to me that she had started a gratitude journal and after many obvious signs of my need to focus on the good, I went to the store and grabbed a journal out of the dollar bin (ironically it was titled “The Good Life”.) I began to write down the beauty I did have.  I began to WORK on not thinking about the things I deeply wanted but just weren’t in the cards yet. 

Erin Loechner, in her book, said that chasing slow is a chase.  I am slowly learning that there is nothing wrong with fixer-uppers or fighting to follow big dreams.  It just is about focusing on having the right heart.  Choosing to stop and ask, why am I chasing this?  What if what I actually really want is right here all along.  And then the paint brushes and the new light fixtures just enhance the beautiful things I already have. We all have beautiful dreams right in front of us. 

Some of my Beautiful Things:

little hands, screen doors, deep conversations with friends, royals games & good attitudes, hammock snuggles, sidewalk chalk, sunshine, lavender candles, porch lights, morning coffee, loud hip hop songs, great workouts, yummy food, porch time with the hubs & spontaneous puppy adopting. 

Some of my Beautiful Things: little hands, screen doors, deep conversations with friends, royals games & good attitudes, hammock snuggles, sidewalk chalk, sunshine, lavender candles, porch lights, morning coffee, loud hip hop songs, great workouts, yummy food, porch time with the hubs & spontaneous puppy adopting. 

I’ll be honest, I’m not great at it yet, but I have caught myself looking for things to write down and found a new happiness in chasing the small things.

-Erin

Gold Hoops Style

Statement earrings are back, and BIG!  I mean gold hoops have always had a special place on my favorites list, but right now the style seems to be the bigger the better!

Being a “jewelry artisan” I love being able to take a style or certain fashion trend (ie: chokers) and making it work to how a person like myself would wear it.   Let’s be honest, I am a suburban mom, with kids to chase and errands to do (and little grabby hands) so I wanted something that would somewhat fit my busy lifestyle, while still participating in the make-a-statement look.

Jewelry   Earrings   Dangle & Drop Earrings   gold hoop earrings   gold hoop earring   gold hoop   earrings   gold hoop earrings   gold hoop earings   gold hoop earing   gold hoops   gold hoops earrings   gold hoops jewelry   gold dangles wholesale

Here is what we came up with.  These are light weight hoops.  Not so big they are touching my shoulders (which I need to save for diaper bag placement, and not so small that they don’e say something.  They have the perfect amount of “diva” to them.  These hoops are gold plated, so nice and shiny and for a little extra touch, they have slight horizontal etched pattern all around the outside.  

I’ve officially been wearing the for about a week straight and I LOVE them.  They are t-shirt worthy, work-ready or even cute with a bathing suit & turban.  They are my new everyday favorite grab.  Easy style upgrade and perfect for this mama.

-Erin

Jewelry   Earrings   Dangle & Drop Earrings   gold hoop earrings   gold hoop earring   gold hoop   earrings   gold hoop earrings   gold hoop earings   gold hoop earing   gold hoops   gold hoops earrings   gold hoops jewelry   gold dangles wholesale

Three Ways to Style A Jean Skirt

I’ll be honest, I don’t have the world’s most diverse closet and a lot of times I am a t-shirt and jeans girl, but I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone in the fashion department and decided it was time to branch out a little.  Summer is a great excuse to try something different (or so I keep telling myself.  So I marched my way down to one of my current favorite stores: Madewell.  They have the perfect “basic” pieces.  I wanted to come home with one piece, because let’s be honest, I’m a youth pastor’s wife and can’t just buy it all (like I wanted to.) . With the help of Racheal (always take a friend) I decided on this zip jean skirt.  Here is how I style it 3 different ways.

1. Mom-ing: I wasn’t kidding when I said I love t-shirts.  I like to feel comfortable but not loungy.  I chose a fitted gray crew neck tee (tucked in) with Birkenstock sandals and to class it up just slightly, I added one of our new dainty 14 karat gold chokers with a tiny gray stone pendant.  Now I am all set to run to target, chase the kids and tackle the laundry!

thatsdarling, sunnies, skinnyjeans, instapic, insta, instalike, shoot, date night look, date night style, date night outfit, dressy casual, tee shirt style, t-shirt style, mom style, everyday look, real life, mom life, mom style ideas, jean skirt style, jean skirt, madewell style, mom style, 30s style, casual style, birkenstock style

Jewelry   Necklaces   Chokers   14k gold choker   14k gold   choker   14k   gold choker   14 karat gold choker   14 karat gold chokers   14   karat gold choker   choker gold   14k gold necklace   14k gold necklaces

2. Friend Hanging: Sometimes you just need some time with the girls: brunching, shopping or just coffee.  I like the casual look of this stripped tee, also from Madewell, with the jean skirt.  To add a little more to these basic pieces, I add a pop of color with some suede coral open-toed flats, a pop of color with my favorite turquoise beaded choker and of course the sunnies. 

thatsdarling, sunnies, skinnyjeans, instapic, insta, instalike, shoot, date night look, date night style, date night outfit, dressy casual, tee style, jean skirt style, jean skirt, madewell style, mom style, 30s style, casual style, stripped tee, how to wear jean skirt, how to style jean skirt

3. Date Night: With a tucked in bright floral print blouse (Old Navy) and some layered 14 karat gold necklaces, I am ready for a night with the hubs.  I threw on some neutral toned wedges (TJ Maxx) and a bright lip color (Blue-Red Lipsense) to up the look.  All ready for a summer night. 

thatsdarling, sunnies, skinnyjeans, instapic, insta, instalike, shoot, date night look, date night style, date night outfit, dressy casual, blouse style, jean skirt style, jean skirt, madewell style, mom style, 30s style, casual style.

I love a piece that can be used versatilely. Jean skirt For The Win!

How to Wear a Choker Everyday Style

Chokers are back in style and we are in LOVE!  Though they are simple & minimal, they still make a great statement piece.  We love the thin and classy look of these matte gold Czech glass beads and black wire.  They have a very feminine feel.  

Jewelry   Necklaces   Chokers   choker   choker necklace   necklace choker   choker black choker   chokers necklaces choker   necklace chokers   gold choker   gold choker gold   choker gold   gold necklace   layering necklaces layering necklace

We like the edgy feel it brings to a simple white tee and jean jacket.  It doesn’t have to be with a deep cut neckline.  It can classy up any everyday look.  

Jewelry   Necklaces   Chokers   choker   choker necklace   necklace choker   choker black choker   chokers necklaces choker   necklace chokers   gold choker   gold choker gold   choker gold   gold necklace   layering necklaces layering necklace

Pair with some laceup flats and distressed jeans for the preppy but grungy look.  

Jewelry   Necklaces   Chokers   choker   choker necklace   necklace choker   choker black choker   chokers necklaces choker   necklace chokers   gold choker   gold choker gold   choker gold   gold necklace   layering necklaces layering necklace

Add a little lip color for a finished look.  Whether you’re looking for street style or that “cool mom style,” a choker adds a fun but classy look.  

Working Mom Struggles

Being a working mom, the struggle to find enough time with the kids is REAL. There are days I have to choose quality when quantity isn’t an option.

small business bossgirl girlboss working mom WAHM SAHM working mom mom struggles shoplocal shopsmall smallbusiness smallbiz businessowner smallbusinessowner smallbusinessweek smallbusinesssaturday smallbusinessowners smallbusinesslove smallbizowner smallbizlife creativeentrepreneur

This is my favorite time of day: my two littles strapped in, picking up my oldest from the kindergarten. Sometimes we talk about new spelling word successes, sometimes we navigate tough friend scenarios and sometimes we just blast some music, roll down the windows and soak in the moment where we are all breathing the same air.

working mom  stay at home mom work at home mom work from home mom little kids looking for lovely Jewelry   Necklaces   Chokers   choker   choker necklace   necklace choker   chokers   necklaces choker   necklace chokers layering necklaces   layering necklace   pink choker   pink choker necklace   pink necklace choker   pink necklaces   pink chokers

 

To all you mamas who have ever felt that mom guilt (that tends to creep in uninvited,) you’re doing a great job, one of the toughest jobs. Don’t listen to that voice…just focus on loving on those babies, the rest will sort itself out! -Erin 

Accessories   Hair Accessories   Barrettes & Clips   hair clip   pink hair clip   leather hair clip   hair clips   baby hair clips girl hair clips   girl hair clip   clip for hair   hairclips   toddler hair clip   infant hair clip   leather hair clips   hairclip

Baby Steps and the Next Right Thing

One of my favorite parts of this job is the drive, the constant push. That’s also sometimes one of my least favorite parts. I’m driven, but I also need to rest.

Balance is so hard, ya’ll. I am learning to start small. Baby steps. When I set a new goal for work, I start on focusing on that goal in small, manageable ways so that it can eventually become a daily habit. Baby steps are hard because that means I have to be patient. I can’t accomplish it all in one day. Whaaaaa? Big revelation. I just don’t want to lose sight of the way bigger picture.

There’s a reason I’m in this. I want to try and focus on doing “the next right thing” because i’m learning that consistently doing that adds up to things i couldn’t have dreamed of. And focusing on that next right thing allows me to stay in the moment and be patient for what’s to come. 

-Racheal

a classy statement piece.

Looking for a statement piece that goes well with lots of things? We love this black tassel glass beaded necklace.

il_570xn-1102406349_dpnd

We love this tassel necklace. It’s a classy crystal & black Czech glass beaded necklace with dark gray glass settings and a black genuine leather tassel. The length of the chain measures 36″. The tassel hangs 3 1/2″ long. Modern. Chic.

il_570xn-1102406329_b1ag

We like it best with jeans and a white blouse or dress shirt.  It also looks really pretty with bolder solids, like fuchsia or royal blue!

 

why not be a little fashion brave.

It’s always fun to try out a new trend.  But I wouldn’t say I am the first to jump out there when it comes to trying out new styles.

We sell accessories and this seems like an oxymoron.  I don’t know what my problem is, maybe it is a lack of courage, but it takes me a while to feel comfortable wearing a new style.

I don’t know what it is about weekends, Friday’s especially, maybe it’s the “party animal” that lives deep within me or the loosening of the chains of order and scheduledness. Either way, I become a little more brave.

Not in a “I’m ready to wear a midriff” type of way, but in a “why not try this on, while I am out and away from all who know me or take me seriously ” sort of thinking.

So all who can relate to the timidness I can feel when it comes to fashion, please join me.  It doesn’t have to be big.  Try ONE thing and wear it boldly.    *erin Accessories  Hair  Headband  turban headband  turban headbands  turban  headband  turbans  headbands Jewelry  Necklace  Locket  long locket necklace  long locket  necklace  long  locket  necklaces  locket necklace long necklace locket  locket long necklace  long necklaces  gold locket necklace  necklace gold locket  long necklace long

{photo credit: brighton road photography}