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Weekly Top Ten: Vol. 127

January 11, 2019

Happy Friday, friends! Here are ten things that brought us a little bit of joy this week: 

1. Color Coding Dots: They're BACK! Our Color Coding Sticker Set is one if the best selling products in our shop. These stickers have been out of stock for a few months but are officially back on our site as of this morning! Hooray! 

2. Our 200k Giveaway: Today is the LAST day to enter to win a $200 to our shop! Enter to win here

3. The Simplicity Challenge: It's not too late to join us! One simple step each day for 30 days to live a more intentional life in 2019. 

4. A Simplified Life: If you're enjoying the Simplicity Challenge, Emily's book, A Simplified Life, is the next step in simplifying for 2019. 

5. Amazon Echo Spot: We got lots of questions about Emily's alarm clock from the Simplicity Challenge photo, so here it is! Pro tip: wait for a sale to purchase!

6. The Best Gold Hoops: These are the perfect size, lightweight, and so versatile! Plus, you can't beat the price.

7. 2019 Signature Simplified Planners: It's not too late to get your SP for 2019 for 20% off! Use code GETREADY at checkout! 

8. Cable Knit Scarf: A great basic to have in your winter wardrobe, and it's on sale! 

9. Our Favorite Lip Treatments: The weather is getting chilly, and these are our favorite lip treatments for dry, chapped lips in the winter months! They're a splurge but worth the high price tag! 

10. Our Spotify Playlist: Don't forget to listen along to our January playlist! Sign up here to receive a new one in your inbox each month! 

Simplifying 2019: Part 4 - Simplicity

December 31, 2018

If you’ve been following along with me here for any length of time, you probably know I’m all about a life of simplicity. I’ve written books about it, I’ve built a business and line of products around it, and I’ve cultivated a growing community of people seeking the same thing. But for me, simplicity isn’t just a design aesthetic or trending keyword on Pinterest. It’s not just crisp white walls and an organized kitchen pantry. It’s not just cutting commitments out of my schedule or coming up with a more streamlined routine for my kids (though those things are great too).

In fact, I would venture to say true simplicity often isn’t even visible to others. Pursuing a simplified life is an internal journey, first and foremost — an opportunity for personal growth that also happens to add efficiency, and more importantly, joy and peace, to our lives. I’m passionate about simplicity because I believe it’s the precursor for so many things I want in my life. Pursuing simplicity means getting the clutter out of the way so we can set our focus on what matters most to us — our families, our friends, our careers, whatever lights us up. Simplicity is a mindset and lifestyle shift that makes room for the good stuff!

Because I know simplicity is the cornerstone for the life I want to create — the backbone for rest, grace, and wellness — I’m running after it more than anything else in 2019. If you’re ready to begin the journey toward a more simplified, joy-filled life, or you’re just hoping for a refresh in 2019, here are a couple of practices to incorporate into your routine.

Prepare yourself to be flexible. While routines and schedules pack a big punch in simplifying our lives, there’s no way to control our day-to-day. Life happens. Kids will get sick. The babysitter will cancel. The house will get messy. More clutter will magically emerge after you remove it. Part of simplicity is being willing to go with the flow when life gets tricky — and giving yourself loads of GRACE. As you begin to cultivate and implement routines that simplify your life, remind yourself that the best routines are ones that can be modified or scrapped, and life will go on.

Take stock of what you value first. Before you can begin removing things from your home, life, and schedule, it’s important to think about what you want to STAY. What are your core values as a person, and as a family? What brings you life? What are the absolute necessities for you to live a life of rest, grace, and wellness? What do you WANT your hours, days, and weeks to look and feel like? Carve out some time to journal and list the pillars of your life, or, if you’re a more visual person, get online and create a vision board. Once you determine what you want your life to look like, you can far more easily de-clutter AND build a routine that emphasizes these things.

Ruthlessly declutter your home. Organizing and decluttering your home (and office, and car, and iPhone … ) is a really practical way to create an environment that inspires you instead of overwhelms you. Fewer options (and less mess) make life more efficient, and honestly, more enjoyable. I get it: It’s SO easy to accumulate STUFF. Wrappers in the console of your car, kitchen gadgets you haven’t used in ages, clothes and toys your kids have outgrown. It happens to all of us. But what would your life feel like if that stuff wasn’t even part of the equation? If your senses and soul could really focus on the things that add color and beauty to your life? There’s no better time to ruthlessly declutter your life than the New Year. It’s the perfect backdrop for a fresh start. So grab your trash bags (seriously) and get it done. You’ll be surprised how amazing you feel in the absence of excess.

Remove anything that gets in the way of your joy. The Konmari method is great, but I think the concept of simplicity goes even further than removing physical clutter. If we’re seeking a life of simplicity and joy, we’ll need to eliminate anything that drains us, even routines or practices we’ve grown used to. If Instagram is distracting you and causing anxiety, delete it (or move the icon to another screen). If your kids’ twice-weekly soccer practice adds stress to your routine and keeps you from connecting as a family, re-evaluate. If home-cooking meals every single night puts you on edge until dinnertime is over, think about if it’s worth it. Every commitment and routine and expectation comes with a trade-off. Think about if the investment is worth the emotional and physical energy, and remove (or delegate) anything that doesn’t add a sense of vibrancy to your life and home.

Other suggestions for a life of simplicity in 2019:

  • In my experience, there’s no greater tool for simplified routines than a comprehensive (and colorful!) planner. I’m looking forward to finding new ways to use my Simplified Planner, paired with my favorite pen and washi tape, this year.
  • Going through your house with a trash bag? Easy. Staying simplified? Not always the case. Check out this blog post with suggestions for sustaining a life of simplicity after the excitement of the New Year fades.
  • If you’re looking for some support and encouragement in your own simplified journey, look no further than our Simplified Community on Facebook— a lively community of more than 25,000 simplicity seekers!
  • I absolutely LOVE reading books by women who have pioneered the journey of a life of presence. Shauna Niequist fits the bill. Present Over Perfect is a soulful, encouraging read that will surely shape your understanding of “less is more.”

xo,

Emily

Read the rest of our Simplifying 2019 Series here: Part 1 - Grace, Part 2 - Wellness,  Part 3 - Rest. If you haven’t picked up your 2019 Signature Simplified Planner yet, now’s the time! They're 20% off for a limited time! Get yours before they’re gone! Also, mark your planners for January 1. We'll be starting our annual Simplicity Challenge on Instagram. Join tens of thousands of women all around the world as we simplify our lives one step at a time, day-by-day throughout the month of January. Each step takes less than fifteen minutes and exactly $0 to complete. By the end of January, life is guaranteed to feel simpler. Follow along here!

Enter to win today's AMAZING giveaway! Today's giveaway includes a $100 gift card to The Container Store, a copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, a 2019 Signature Simplified Planner (Mint Pineapple Daily Edition), and a "Simplify" Page Marker. Giveaway ends at midnight tonight. Winner will be contacted via email.

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Simplifying 2019: Part 3 - Rest

December 30, 2018

After a very full year, I’m looking forward to being intentional about rest in 2019. Don’t get me wrong. I’m crazy thankful for everything I’ve experienced in 2018, but as 2019 inches closer, I’m hungry for a change of pace. From transplanting my family to Pensacola and moving into our forever home to new business ventures and book projects, my schedule feels like it’s bursting at the seams. So it’s no surprise that when I think of 2019, I daydream about margin. About days with no plans, spent at home with my family. About reconnecting with loved ones and tuning into my creativity. When I think of 2019, I think about REST.

One thing I’ve learned over the years as I’ve built Simplified is that rest and dreams and work go hand in hand. I have a lot of ideas about what I want to accomplish in 2019, and I’m excited about all of them. I’m working on a new book (more on that soon), I’m eager to get even more settled in our new home (and, of course, simplify it), and I can’t wait to continue investing in Simplified and our mission. But I know that to do all of these things — to do them WELL, with passion and energy and thoughtfulness — I need to prioritize rest. To write a book I’m proud of, I need those days at the beach. To make my house a home, I need to connect with my family and my creativity. To do my best at work, I need rest.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? We’ve all bought into the lie — I know I have — that success always equals “doing.” But if there’s anything I’ve learned in seeking a simplified life, it’s that rest is the foundation for meaningful days. To be the people we want to be, to accomplish our dreams and goals, it’s vital we have margin. Because without a culture of rest in our homes and lives, we’ll have nothing left to offer in other spaces of our lives.

Now, I’m all about the occasional cat nap (or three-hour snooze). But what I’m talking about when I say rest is SOUL rest. Rest that fuels you. Rest that inspires you. Rest that connects you to what matters and frees you up from everything else.

What does it look like to really rest? How can we take steps to incorporate breaks? Here are a few things to think about — and a couple of practical things to add into your routine to promote rest.

Rethink “rest.” To infuse our lives with nourishing rest, we need to change how we think about it. If you feel guilty about taking time for yourself when you could be playing with your kids, or saying “no” to a night out with your friends, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, too. But here’s the thing: You will have SO much more to give your kids and your friends and just about everyone else when you take some time to breathe. The last thing the kids need is a tired, snappy mom who would rather be somewhere else, right? When you’re promoting rest in your life, you’re becoming the best version of yourself — which is the farthest thing from selfish I can think of.

Schedule regular self-care dates. Now that you see how rest can benefit everyone in your life, give yourself permission to step away. Be intentional about infusing your life with things that light you up. Remember, YOU get to decide what feels restful to you. But that means you’ll have to be ruthless about incorporating those things into your routine. Feel your best when you’re put together? Get a manicure (or just take a long shower!). Craving some quiet and calm? Walk through Target with your favorite coffee. Does connecting with a friend sound restful? Meet up with your closest friends for a night out. Chances are, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to give your FULL self, which is better for everyone.

Create a home that facilitates rest. A thoughtfully designed home isn’t just about appearances. The atmosphere you live in can play a huge part in how you feel, including how easy it is to rest. Think about how difficult it is to relax in an environment that feels cluttered, or the way a harsh paint color affects your emotions. What would it look like to create an atmosphere of REST in your home? Whether you focus on de-cluttering your bedroom and living spaces or stock up your bathroom with scents that relax you, find a few practical ways to bring a little serenity into your home. Candles, blankets, family photos, a place to put your feet up ... these are all highly underrated. Make your home a place that refuels you and encourages rest.

Declutter your schedules and routines. You all know by now that simplifying is a lifestyle, not a Saturday afternoon spent throwing out your kids’ toys (though we’re fans of that too). Once you’ve given your home some thought, take some steps toward simplifying your schedule. Anything that doesn’t add life or promote rest gets cut. Remember: Your kids need a present, energized mom more than they need that extra play date or ballet class. Do what you can to create windows of margin in your schedule, and I promise you’ll thank yourself later.

Give yourself grace. We’ll get more into grace in the next post, but the principle here is that it’s never too late to find time for rest. The key here is to be honest with others, and yourself, about your needs. If you’re noticing your schedule is fuller than you’d like or a part of your work routine is wearing you down, you’re already halfway there! Remember: No one is expecting you to do it all. The standard isn’t perfection. It’s presence. So do whatever you can to protect your presence in your life, even if that means doing less or saying no.

A few other suggestions for a lifestyle of rest:

 xo,

Emily

Read the rest of our Simplifying 2019 Series here: Part 1 - Grace, Part 2 - Wellness (and stay tuned for Part 4 - Simplicity, tomorrow)! And, if you haven’t picked up your 2019 Signature Simplified Planner yet, now’s the time! They're 20% off for a limited time! Get yours before they’re gone! Also, mark your planners for January 1. We'll be starting our annual Simplicity Challenge on Instagram. Join tens of thousands of women all around the world as we simplify our lives one step at a time, day-by-day throughout the month of January. Each step takes less than fifteen minutes and exactly $0 to complete. By the end of January, life is guaranteed to feel simpler. Follow along here!

Enter to win today's AMAZING giveaway! Today's giveaway includes a $100 gift card to LAKE Pajamas, a copy of The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, BeautyCounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel, and a “Rest” Page Marker. Giveaway ends at midnight tonight. Winner will be contacted via email.

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copyright 2019 emily ley