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Simplifying the Holidays with Enstrom Candies

November 29, 2017

Every year when the holidays come around, we have grand plans to accomplish #allthethings and make sure that our homes are decorated to Pinterest perfection and our traditions are as extravagant as those in a Hallmark Christmas movie. This is the year that we’re going to accomplish it all, right?

But what if this year we took a few minutes to slow down and enjoy the memories we create with our people without the visions of Pinterest dancing around in our heads. Remember, a home filled with love, joy and lots of laughter is much more fulfilling than recreating the perfect light display on Pinterest. We’ve discovered that the secret to enjoying the holidays and savoring the good stuff with our people isn’t accomplishing all the things, but rather, it’s planning ahead and simplifying wherever possible. And when you take intentional steps to simplify now, it will keep you from feeling overwhelmed once December comes along.

One of our favorite ways to simplify in preparation for a busy holiday season is to purchase items we know that we need in advance— stock up on gifts and seasonal treats now, so that you won’t be scrambling to find the perfect gift at the last minute. This year, we were introduced to Enstrom Candies, and they’ve quickly become one of our favorite treats to stock up on for last minute hostess gifts and special treats for our loved ones. We love that they’re handcrafted in small batches with quality ingredients, so it really feels like you went the extra mile to pick out something special. This year, we plan on purchasing a few gift sets in advance (we LOVE the Almond Toffee Petites!), so that we’re able to relax and enjoy the holidays with our people, instead of scrambling to find a gift for our little ones’ bus driver, or the neighbors down the street at the last minute.

What’s your favorite life-hack for the holidays? Hop on over to Instagram and leave us a comment. Let’s ditch the Pinterest perfection, simplify to make room for the good stuff, and enjoy a sweet, slow holiday season together this year.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Enstrom Candies. The opinions and text are all mine.

Share a Simplified Planner Giveaway Stories!

December 21, 2016

A few weeks ago, we asked for your help in finding some incredibly deserving women to be gifted a Simplified Planner this holiday season. We were blown away by the responses we received. Our team read through story after story of amazing, selfless, women who are giving so much of themselves for others each and every day. To say we had a difficult time choosing which women to gift planners to for this giveaway would be an understatement! We were so moved by the stories that were submitted that we decided to share some of the stories below. We hope these stories will touch your heart as much as they touched ours.

Asa’s Story (nominated by her daughter, Abbie)

My mom’s planners from the 90’s (those chunky calendar ones from drugstores) have inspired me my whole life. Scrawled in the most impeccable handwriting are the notes that made up our lives these last 25 years. Grocery lists tell me our favorite foods. Phone numbers, dates, and bank balances show me how much of an empire she ran every day. Homeschooling 3 kids from kindergarten to 12th grade took guts, strength and a sense of purpose that reverberates like music notes through her writing. I cannot read those pages, that to most would be just boring facts and figures, without crying over how much she loved us and still does. These days she keeps her notes in little notebooks that fit in her purse and I would love for her to have one that could finally keep up with her style and love for lists (so many lists lol)! She would never buy a Simplified Planner for herself because she never thinks about herself. And I would love to give her this gift.

Stephanie’s Story (nominated by her daughter, Kara)

When I was 16, my mom (Stephanie) was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She was given five years to live…that was almost 10 years ago! She fought so hard and survived with her will and God’s plan. I’ve always considered her my Wonder Woman. And this week, we found out that the tumor has started growing again. We know that He’s got this, but it was heartbreaking again. I know she will be able to fight this yet again and will continue to amaze me. But with my brother’s impending wedding (and possibly mine too) and more doctors appointments coming up, I want to give her this amazing planner that I’ve fallen in love with. The tumor makes her forget things often and having this blank canvas could help her keep track of things and stay organized. I want her to be able to take notes at her doctors appointments and keep track of her meds and/or symptoms. But I also want her to keep track of fun things like planning the wedding and ladies bible studies and my nieces birthday party! I just want to give her a small way that might make her help feel in control.

Leah’s Story (nominated by her friend, Natalie)

About a month ago, Leah’s mother, who had never been hospitalized in her life, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. It has been a whirlwind from a doctor appointment on a Friday to starting daily chemo the following Monday. The burden of the vast majority of support and logistics has fallen to Leah. Her and her husband, Mark, went to the mats to get her mother a room at Moffitt after being told there was no space. Leah and Mark had actually been planning to buy her parents’ house when all of this happened. So in addition to this shocking diagnosis, Leah has planned and overseen the selling of her home, the purchase of her parents’ home, locating a home for her parents to purchase and the buying of that home. She was also responsible for moving out of her house and into her parents’ house AND moving her parents’ belongings into their new house. She is also taking charge of organizing and furnishing her parents’ new home to provide her mother a comfortable, put together environment when she is able to return home. She has done all this with a 4-year-old and 2-year-old in tow. Oh, did I mention she is 17 weeks pregnant with baby number three? Just thinking about what she has done and what still awaits her makes me dizzy. Some people would crumble, but Leah is getting it done while still remaining positive and maintaining her sense of humor. (Just ask her about her parents’ dog that she is taking care of that none of us are very fond of.) She is so much stronger than she realizes and what she can accomplish in one day still baffles me. I know she would love a planner that is fun, stylish and, most of all, practical for her crazy life right now. Not to mention, more than at any other point, she is now so aware of the poignancy and urgency of focusing on what matters most.

Jessie’s Story (nominated by her friend, Jenna)

Jessie’s husband recently accepted an exciting new job, but it means a move to a new city for them, very suddenly. She is expecting their third BOY early in 2017, right after they move! In a season of great change, I think the Simplified Planner would be a helpful, beautiful, and even comforting tool. I would love to send her into this new season of calling with a resource that has been thoughtfully designed to help women live with a sense of purpose in each of their days.

Raven’s Story (nominated by her cousin, Ashley)

I’m nominating Raven because she’s a wife, mother of two boys both under the age of three, and she’s starting her own business in 2017. Did I mention Raven also works 50 hours a week at her full-time job? Raven currently doesn’t own a planner and I know that the Simplified planner will be a complete balance for tracking the appointments of her sons Liam and Chancellor, her deadlines at work, and all the necessary planning for launching her new business. The Simplified planner will also assist Raven in meal planning. Having Raven win a Simplified planner will be the best gift to give my hero to show her how much I’m cheering for her success in 2017 and beyond.

Brenda’s Story (nominated by Heather) 

Brenda is my mother-in-law’s caretaker. My elderly mother-in-law (with dementia and who only speaks Vietnamese!) moved in with my husband and I just after we got married.  We have been fortunate to find a caretaker who does a great job looking after my mother in law. The service we use is expensive, but, unfortunately, does not pay the caretakers very well. Brenda is in our house every day and knows how much I rely on my Simplified Planner. She would love one for herself and I know she is also a busy grandma so she needs all of the organizational help she can get!  We appreciate the peace and joy that Brenda has brought to our home and the peace of mind that she gives us by caring for my mother in law!  A Simplified Planner would be a wonderful blessing for Brenda, who works hard and gives selflessly to our family!

Michelle’s Story (nominated by her friend, Helen) 

Helen devotes her life to encouraging others and could use this little bit of encouragement herself with a Simplified Planner to begin 2017 off to a great start!  She recently moved into a new home and is trying her best to put more organization into her home office, as well as keep up with the rest of her life of wife and mom.  She has also had to take on more responsibility at the women’s home with the house mom being out for a few weeks due to major surgery.  She is truly an amazing lady.

Share a Simplified Planner Giveaway!

December 01, 2016

We absolutely cannot believe that Christmas is upon us. It’s our very favorite time of the entire year. We love all of the holiday traditions, family parties, and most of all, the heart of giving that’s so prevalent during this season. We adore finding ways to give back to our communities in whatever way we can, and this year, we want your help finding some incredible women who deserve to receive a little something special this holiday season!

Throughout 2016, we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of emails, comments, and even hand written notes that we’ve received telling us about all the ways the Simplified Planner has impacted the lives of so many women around the world. We couldn’t be more honored, and while we love hearing stories of women using their Simplified Planners to simplify their lives and make time for the good stuff, we also know there’s another group of women out there. These are women who would love a Simplified Planner but simply won’t or aren’t able to spend the money on themselves to purchase their own planner— women who spend so much of their time and resources pouring into their people that they often aren’t able to invest in themselves. We wish we could meet each and every one of them for coffee, give them a big hug, and encourage them to keep on going through the long evenings and tired mornings. But since we can’t do that, we want to do what we can to spoil a few deserving women this holiday season.

So, this is where you come in. If you love your Simplified Planner and would like to nominate a friend to receive a planner of her very own, we would be so honored if you could nominate her here. Just fill out the form and tell us why your friend is deserving of a Simplified Planner this Christmas (U.S. residents only, please—  sorry International friends!). We’ll choose a select amount of nominated women to receive a Simplified Planner + a sticker set, and we will also be giving the friend who nominated her a $50 Emily Ley gift card to put towards her next Simplified Planner purchase. All nominations must be submitted by December 12, 2016. We can’t wait to partner with you to bless some deserving women this Christmas!

copyright 2018 emily ley