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3 TED Talks to Listen to Today

May 25, 2016


TED talks are one of our favorite ways to learn and grow our minds when we're on the go. They're so easy to listen to while we're impatiently waiting in traffic, sitting in the car line at school, or putting away that second and third load of laundry on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it's hard to find time to sit down a read a book, but we believe it's so important to keep our minds active and to learn from others who are traveling along this journey of life with us. So today, we've gathered up three of our favorite, inspiring TED talks that we think are worth listening to. These three talks are by incredibly intelligent speakers, are easy to listen to, and won't take up more than twenty minutes of your day. They are definitely worth the listen!  


1) Love Letters to Strangers by Hannah Brencher: We love Hannah Brencher (find her on our Simplicity Series here), and the movement she has started to bring hope to strangers who need it is absolutely incredible. Because she believes in the power of a written letter (a tradition that her mama instilled in her!), she started a global initiative to exchange love letters with strangers all over the world. Countless lives have been changed because of Hannah's simple choice to decide to start something bigger than herself and run with it. We think that's awesome! 


2) A Life of Purpose by Rick Warren: Rick Warren is the author of the The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold over 30 million copies all over the world. In this talk, he discussing the importance of finding your purpose and using your influence to do good. We believe this is a message that everyone needs to hear! 


3) The Power of Vulnerability by Brené BrownBrené is a research professor in Houston, TX and has been studying the topics of vulnerability and authenticity for over ten years. Her thoughts on embracing our imperfections and embracing life from a place of worthiness and authenticity and fascinating and so inspiring. 


3 Tips for Work + Life Balance

April 27, 2016


God has only given us a set amount of time each day. No more, no less. And we're responsible for how well we manage it. Whew. That's a big responsibility. Thankfully, He's also given us grace for each day. And let's not underestimate how much we need that! Being a busy working lady and attempting to keep a sane and healthy personal life is tough. It can get messy-- especially if you have kids at home. Sometimes you might feel like you're not around enough for your family. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed and worn thin. BUT, when it's done well, it can also fill you with a jump up and down type of joy that ignites you with passion and fills up your well, because you're living out what God has created you to do. That, my friends, is what we're after.



1) Learn to say no. Understanding that saying yes to work commitments means saying no to something else is HUGE. Sometimes we need to say no to good things because we simply don't have time for them. If you're giving it your all and still don't have enough time for everything on your to-do list, it's time to reevaluate and take a few things off of that list. Don't attempt to be everything to everyone, because that's just silly. It never works, and someone is always left disappointed (either you or the person you're trying to please). We love how Lysa Turkeurst says it: "A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul." So good. 


2) Have boundaries. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down your boundaries. Maybe you want to be home by 5:00 every day to spend time with your little ones before bed. Or maybe you only want to commit yourself to one weekend event per month. Whatever those boundaries look like for you, get them onto paper. Don't leave them floating around in your head. Writing them down gives you something to point back to when you're tempted to throw in the towel and overcommit. 


3) Know when to switch gears. Sometimes life gets hectic and unplanned circumstances require more of your attention than planned. That's okay!! Kids get sick. Deadlines get moved up. Life happens. Know when to hire a babysitter to spend a few extra hours on a pressing work project, or when to take off work early to spend time spoiling your little one who's had a rough week at school. Don't be afraid of a little (or big!) change in schedule. 


Preparing for a big year

December 27, 2015


What makes you feel calm? At home? Alive? For me, its the beach. It's the messy hair, salty air, sandy feet feeling. My favorite. I'm from Pensacola Beach and I just love it. I've started putting more beach photos in my home. It's a simple thing that makes me feel happy and at home. With January 1 quickly approaching, a lot of us are thinking about how to make next year happier, easier, smoother, less stressful. And while we're each probably thinking of lofty (and great) resolutions like losing weight, relaxing more, eating healthier, etc. sometimes it's the smallest five minute changes we can make that really make an enormous impact on our quality of life. I've pulled together a list of quick changes you can make to set yourself up for a more relaxed, less cluttered 2016.


I am a big believer that physical clutter = mental clutter, so many of these tasks involve simplifying, eliminating and turning the noise down on the STUFF drawing our attention away from what really matters. Begin by setting aside an evening to go over your year and the upcoming year with your spouse or your family. You can download our Free Family Meeting Printable here. What worked? What didn't? Write it down and commit to making positive changes for yourself and for them. 


1. Simplify your computer.

Delete (don't just put them in folders) unwanted or unnecessary apps, software, files or photos. 


2. Simplify your photos.

Clear the ones you don't need to keep and get the rest into one great place. I love Chatbooks and Social Print Studio for printing Instagram photos and use these square-photo sleeves along with Project Life for easy scrapbooks for my photos. This photo storage solution is also a great idea for storing photos in a safe digital place. <-- holds 32,000 photos!


3. Simplify your mailbox.

This is a great resource for stopping unwanted or extra mail, phone calls and email. Opt out of prescreened credit and insurance offers for five years by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT. Visit the Direct Marketing Association's website to opt out of junk mail and advertisements here.


4. Simplify your inbox.

Visit Unroll.me to view all the emails you are subscribed to. Unsubscribe from them in bulk or add to your daily "roll-up" to see them all in one email.


5. Simplify your phone.

Stop unwanted telemarketer calls by calling 1-888-382-1222 to put your number on the national Do Not Call list. You will get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number. Keep the apps you use every day on your home screen and move the others to the next pages. Change your lock screen to something that makes you happen and your wallpaper to something that makes you feel calm. Here's the wallpaper I downloaded free! Also, turn off those notifications. I have 0 notifications on my phone except text messages and phone calls. IT'S SO FREEING. On an iPhone: Settings > Notifications > turn them off!


6. Simplify your shopping.

Check out services like Shipt (grocery delivery), Amazon Fresh (grocery delivery), Amazon Prime (free two day shipping of just about anything you can think of!) or Drizly for delivery of alcohol or wine (great before a get together!) PS: Have you seen these Amazon Dash buttons? Stick them near the products they're for and when you're low, simply hit the button (approve on your iPhone or set up one-click-shipping) and they're on their way to you. Life changer. 


7. Simplify your home. 

Did you know you can schedule a pickup from Salvation Army? I do it all the time with my kiddos clothes, toys, and household items I need to donate. Declutter and fill your home with the things that make you feel joy: yummy smelling candles, photos of loved ones, your favorite books. This doesn't have to cost any money. Simply rearranging can lift your mood and make a big impact on your life.


8. Simplify what you allow take up valuable brain space.

Unfollow anyone or anything that doesn't bring you joy on Instagram, Facebook, etc. Make your feed a place of inspiration. 


8. Set up a system.

Whether you choose a magnetic weekly calendar on your fridge, a printed monthly calendar on your bulletin board or a planner (ahem, I know of a few great ones with free US shipping until 1/1. Use code HOORAY2016 here) or PowerSheets (by my friend Lara Casey), commit to it and make it work for you. That means spending some time filling it out and discussing the routine with your family.


Happy 2016!





copyright 2017 emily ley