5 ways to organize.

today i am sharing my 5 favorite organizing ideas. i am certain that i am not the only one weeding through the toys in the playroom, kids bookshelves, scrap booking supplies, totes in the garage… now, to organize what is left!!

{featured crates in the image made by Reclaim the Grain. find them here!)

my all-time favorite EXPEDIT shelving from IKEA loaded down with filing, storage and pretty little boxes. i have a serious problem collecting storage bins, baskets, totes… now i am putting them on my mega shelf to contain the chaos & an animal head & uber-large letter too //

EXPEDIT ikea shelf full of totes & boxes!

via + add a little crate storage with a custom reclaimed crate found at this shop!

i may just have a small collection of cute little knobs that might just finally be used for hanging my growing collection of jewelry.. seriously… so so cute, right?



organizing kids art is so easy with twine & clothespins


i am a girl all about crates. i collect them. and we WILL be making this darling outdoor stacked crate sweetness when the warmth comes back to SoCal! my dad makes reclaimed crates and i will definitely be adding to my collection!

shop for some amazing Reclaimed Crates here —>>> Reclaim the Grain

i love this central family location organization wall. a must have for sure!!

Office organization


motivated to organize? i am!!!

// & join Julie at her blog for a monthly link up for 5 things on January 4th!!

it’s hard to NOT BE INVITED.

this week we’re taking a break from talking about Friendships that SUCK… and moving onto something kinda similar. not being invited.

we are always new. we move often. we don’t know where the local shops or restaurants are. it takes us awhile to find the shortest traveling route. we meet all new people –>> at work, the grocer’s, post office, library, bank, church, school. we have to make the effort to find everything we need. especially the closest Target!

we often do not get invited.

we’re not the locals. we didn’t go to high school or college with you. our family isn’t around which means we don’t have any big plans. we don’t travel 3,000 miles during the holidays to visit our families. i don’t think people remember us; we know it’s completely unintentional.

please, do not feel bad for us. we have chosen this career path; this is just one of the many side effects.

we used to talk about this. wondering when or IF someone would invite us over. offer to host our sweet little family. we’re nice. our kids rock. i always bring a bottle of wine, appetizer or dessert. sometimes all 3.


i stopped feeling sorry for myself. for my uninvited family. i realized that a lot of those in our new circle actually didn’t host group gatherings, large parties for no reason, backyard BBQ’s with every friend you know + kids.

only a few months into our new home in Corning, NY (about 5 years ago) we hosted a BIG BBQ in our brand new rental. we invited my parents and EVERY SINGLE FRIEND WE KNEW + their kids. i asked them to bring a dish to pass and we took care of grilling. everyone seemed to have a good time; we realized then how much fun hosting was.

what i didn’t expect was the follow up cards and conversations we had next.

one friend admitted they had never been invited since being married with kids. no one had invited them? not one time? my heart was so heavy for her. another couldn’t believe that we encouraged her to bring her kids. all of them. yes, all of them could come. all were welcome.


and so began a new season of our lives. inviting people over. not necessarily just our good friends… but everyone. we had the desire to include everyone. those that had never been invited. those that had wild kids. those that perhaps would never return the invitation. we invited simply to spend time with people. open our home up. to make people feel valued. important.

a simple invitation can change how someone feels about humanity.

today i’m encouraging you. instead of feeling like YOU should be invited. be the one inviting. have a Pizza/Movie night. a game night. a BBQ in the middle of winter {yes, they are fun, even when it’s snowing outside}.

[edited: before reading on -- the following tips are really more for a formal gathering -- consider just hosting a playdate of other moms & babies, a girls lunch out, cookie decorating, meet the movies, meet some friends at a local pizza shop. my hope is that you do. you invite. you encourage others to join you. share your life. be the one that invites.]

1 // plan your event

write out a list of potential invitees. choose a date/time that might work for the majority of those being invited. we have found that friday at 6pm, saturday at 4pm or sunday at 4pm works the best for us. decide between a potluck, BBQ, game night with appetizers or something you favor.

2 // send out your invites

http://www.thetomkatstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/invitations-2.jpg i love sending out sweet little invites. there are plenty of free printables around but my favorite are these little chevron invites by the Tom Kat Studio. you can find the download on this page.

include an RSVP by a few days before the event so you can follow up and plan as needed. i love having everyone bring a dish or drink to share. they feel they are contributing and a lot less work for you.

follow up with a text, phone call or email. i typically let my friends know that invites are going in the mail and i would love for them to join us = this usually means more of them will attend!!

3 // decide what to serve.

once the RSVP’s being rolling in with their dish/drink to share, you can begin planning your menu. think of a main dish to feed the masses on a relatively moderate budget. if grilling, do chicken pieces with BBQ sauce. {this is perhaps the cheapest & tastiest main dish we offer}. homemade pizzas or a chili bar with the fixings. always plan to have water, milk, lemonade or ice tea and juice if you’re inviting kids.

4 // plan some entertainment.

i love inviting LOTS of people. less need to plan any kind of entertainment although we always have some conversation cards and games on the coffee table just in case. the more people you have, the more chatting will happen. turn on some jazz or big band music and play it on random/repeat!

—>> inviting kids? have a few movie selections, rated G and parent-approved, ready to go.

5 // thank them for coming.

yes, this might seem a little backwards but send a thank you card. some people can be nervous attending a party at your home for the first time. let them know you had a great time and you’d love to host again. then, host again!


/// trust me. people don’t like inviting people to their homes. you’re not the only one that’s never been invited. we invite and invite and invite and never expect a return invitation. approach hosting so that you are simply extending love towards them because you never know, you could be the first one that has ever invited them over!


maintain & cancel friendships, part 2

i encourage you. read Part 1 first. read the comments on that post too. then, hop back over here for the heart heavy i am about to share.

<<<     >>>

i’ve spent this past week making notes for myself. an outline of the heart pushes, the mind grazes. the heaviness sitting in my gut as i process friendships again this week. the words you shared with me. the emails and phone calls. they brought comfort to me too. they allowed me to feel less alone as we battle for good & solid & supportive friendships. those that offer grace. mercy.

i maintain good friendships. God gives my friends grace & mercy to give to me; because i need it. i WANT to maintain good friendships. i know what i should do. make time. give back. love wholly. cherish deeply.

// my cup runneth over. i do not deserve the caring & generous friends that i have now. but i am thankful daily for each one of them. i wonder if sometimes we experience heartache of friendships lost so we can revel in the joy of determined friendships. i have good friends. lots of them. they are faithful. whole. loving. supportive. maintain friendships. good friendships.

here’s my 5…

#1: give joy.

i have hard days. hard weeks. earlier this year craig & i had a hard 10 months; yes! an entire 10 months of circumstances that hurt. the friends that called just to listen, the ones who called to check on me when we temporarily separated in the Spring. they prayed, encouraged. they offered me bits of joy and peace when those seemed to be fleeting… so, give joy. all the time. be the listening ear. the one that offers a joyful word. words of thanksgiving. words of encouragement. for in that moment, they probably needed it.

#2: reciprocate.

did you get a birthday card from your sweet friend? send one back. did she pick up the phone and call you or schedule an outing? now, you take a turn. even if it’s out of your comfort zone –>> this is reciprocal friendship. when you reciprocate it makes them feel value; it confirms a friendship; it provides physical evidence.

#3: love wholly devoted.

through the tough. the hurting moments. through divorce. through miscarriage. through sadness. BE THERE. be devoted. be caring. put away your pride and your hurt. give them your attention. they need it. in that moment. friendships strengthen when they go through the hard and lonely together. you may be the only steady daily support they receive today.

#4: forgive with grace & mercy.

when they ask for forgiveness. forgive. wipe the pain, the hurt, the fear away. start anew. refresh yourself and your friendship. we all fall. we all sin & fall short of the glory of God. oh to have perfect friends. alas, we do not – we are all level on this field and need to have undying mercy & grace for our sweet friends.

#5: make time.

there is never enough time. ever. we have to make time for our family, our spouse, work, playdates, date nights, ourselves. when do we have time for friendship? for those that matter… we make time, just like everything else. pop in a short cartoon for the kids to make the phone call. say no to events to say yes to coffee with a friend.

<<<   >>> give your friendships value. elevate them. we need friends. desperate to have comfort in friends. to share. to delight. to encourage. to spend hours talking about life over dinner when it’s been a whole year since the last chat. we crave to have girlfriends that will love & support us in spite of ourselves. i know that i sure do!

but sometimes it’s time to say goodbye. sometimes it’s best to say no more. you are the boss here. you decide what friendships stay & go. it’s a heart thing. consider praying about it. consider following the encouragement of others. considering stepping back to recognize if they are toxic. if they hurt. if they manipulate. if they are not allowed anymore of your precious time.

#1: be forthright & honest.

just say it. tell them. leave the anger & the hurt and use “i feel” statements! a message. leave a voice mail. something. get it off your chest – hold less tightly to the information so that they too can have the ability to work through the hard. this is not the easy one. you might get shaky. you will likely be extremely uncomfortable. putting words to hurt opens communication and allows closure.

#2: take a break.

perhaps the need to break is harder. take a break… but still consider telling them. that you need space & time. you will come back around when you are ready. my prayer is they are receptive & respectful.

#3: with a 3rd party.

if their grip is too tight. you may need to take a friend with you. a counselor. a mediator. a spouse. i rely on my husband for sound advice and as the steady voice of reason he helps to reduce any potential escalation i may endure. bless that man.

#4: natural separation.

in time you respond less. connect less. call less. choose to be less. as you do this they may fill some of that void with other friendships and not realize what happened to you at all. be prepared for the call or message one day asking what happened; be prepared to answer with forthright & honesty if you can.

#5: old fashioned snail mail.

this is perhaps my favorite. sitting down with a glass of ice water at the kitchen table reflecting on a friendship. spending time going through the happenings. preparing a letter knowing there is no quick auto-response. a few days to get there. several more for a response. it sits heavy but comfortable knowing the action you took is one step closer to healing. it gives permission for them to process and respond. it gives handwriting to emotions. the wait can be hard; but do your part. own it.. let them own their part.

<<<  >>>  i urge you. warn you. hope to scare you…

…out of ever blocking someone on facebook without reasonable, logical cause. yes, this hurts. to not return a call after some concerned voice messages. to not reply to a letter for months. to delete the email of the concerned voice without responding. why? because ladies, our hearts hurt. we yearn. we desire to remedy. we do not want to be the source of your dissatisfaction. rather give us some blasted terrible qualities so we can overcome them. make them better. be a better friend to our other friendships.

writing this little series has given me thinking with purpose. organizing my thoughts and my hurts. attempting to remedy this hurting heart that years for long-lasting friendships. a girls weekend in Chicago every year for the next 20 years kinda friendships.

my hope is that this post will stir something in you too.

part 3 to follow. i’m sure of it.


GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Anchors, Anchors, Anchors

if you haven’t noticed already, we have a thing about the sea, nautical-inspired, coastal, sea breezes, toes filled with sand and anchors. yes, lots of anchors. today we’re hosting 3 lovely shops + some of my own anchor-inspired gifts just for you. 2 winners. lots of lovely items chosen.

values: Winner #1 / $110 — Winner #2 / $105

Printed Palette // Livy Love Designs

Livy Love Designs // Fancy That Design House

a Rafflecopter giveaway

friendships that suck, part 1

my story //

i have been hurt. a lot. i have been burned. used. deceived. i  have been forgotten. i’m prepared to throw in the towel and hold up a sign. No Vacancy for Friendships. so basically: friendships suck.

did you know? –>>  i am sensitive. ultra-sensitive. therefore, coping mechanisms abound.

i portray a thick-skinned sharp-tongue, quick-speaking girl. i pretend that you can’t affect me. you can’t own my feelings. you’re not allowed to make me feel this way. i refuse to waste one minute of my time stuck in your lackluster graces.

2 friends. completely unrelated. without notice, stopped talking to me. did not return my phone call. did not respond to my note. i do not have details. i have no idea what i did wrong, how to remedy. how to apologize.

eventually, i retreated. i hid away hoping that the shock of the ended friendship would not have long-lasting effects. the lack of knowing forces me to respond with frustration and hurt.

my soul was heavy-burdened.

//this past year has been hard. i am finally willing to share. publicly.

i admit. i fail at friendship. i fail often. i say the wrong thing. do the wrong thing. encourage the wrong way. open mouth/insert foot. i hurt feelings. i hurt people. i hurt friends. but this past year has been especially hard on me… between grieving the loss of 2 friendships +  then dealing with friends that i thought were friends… that were not friends. i feel stupid.

the chance of reconciliation is unlikely because i do not like to get burned twice by the same heat.

// a challenge for you.

if you no longer want to be someone’s friend; no matter the reason —>> i urge you – allow your friends some closure. allow them to have healing. truth hurts. but sometimes, we just need to know what we did wrong so we can do it different the next time.


i am clearly not the expert here. but i just want to share some heaviness on my heart about friendships. don’t worry though, i will come back for round 2 where i tell you about the amazing, supportive, loving, Christ-focused friends that offer me unlimited grace, acceptance and love far beyond anything i deserve. some of the non-friends or missing-friends in my life have made it possible for me to create new friendships; all is not lost.

in my humble opinion there are 7  friendships that suck. big time. in a major way. they hurt the soul. crumble our confidence. they build walls. take us away from our purpose and expose us to unnecessary difficulties.

#1: oh jealousy.

ever had one of those? you land a new job. buy a new house or a car. or perhaps you just have a minor addiction to Coach leather bags and that just rubs them the wrong way. suddenly, whatever their attachment to the item in your life, they just can’t deal with you anymore. jealousy. bitter, evil jealousy drives wedges in the middle of true friendship.

#2: uses & abuses.

this is a sneaky approach; perhaps even unintentional by the culprit. they contact you a few days before they need you. they work weasel themselves into your life. again. & again. you play along thinking that perhaps THIS time they are being genuine. and then they ask you for something. for something that close friends would never ask of you. they take advantage of your talents. your gifts. your job. your abilities. your tools.

#3: joy-robbers.

everything in their life sucks. bad. everything is worse for them than for you. they share details about their life, their marriage, their family that does not build up. this relationship tears down. it robs your joy. you know that every interaction will result in a ‘woe is me’!

#4: selfishly.

there are people in this world that truly believe that the planets evolve in perfect rotation around them. gimme gimme. more more. me me me. conversations are one-sided. they are looking to be elevated. confirmed. they collect friendships like nail polishes. try them on, wipe them off, change the color — seeking for the perfect companion to confirm that their selfishness is somehow okay.

 #5: the copycat.

she wants to be you. just like you. wants your determination. wants your friends. your situation. oh, if they only knew about the not-so-great that comes with this life. convincing someone that they should not desire your life; how unsatisfying.

#6: drama mama.

exhausting. high maintenance. someone makes your tough situation radically about them. requires the center of attention and unless you cave into that 100% of the time, you’re suddenly not being enough to them.

#7: perfectionist.

yep, you know the one… they have to be right. it has to be there way or no way. stubborn. this is the kind of person that has schedules and time-frames and deadlines and abides by them like a rite of passage. if you know me well enough, you know this is me. more or less!

how many of these  have you been? for me… at one point or another, i played all of these roles.

// in conclusion: snarkiness is rude. sarcasm is bitterness robbing true joy. unbalanced friendship can results in hurt hearts. heaviness. thankless support.

let’s all band together to show genuine, selfless friendship. let’s learn to hold our tongues. oh! they are malicious and evil and troublesome. they are vile and wicked. they scorn. mock. gossip. lie. cheat. stealing breath from Holiness and giving to the earthly sin of flesh.

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

Part 2 arrived!

QUICK UPDATE –>> {read the comments friends — hearts are hurting, searching, begging for answers. i am literally in tears reading & responding to your hearts. thank you for sharing!}