×

Join our Mailing List

for news + special offers

HOORAY! NEW SIMPLIFIED
PLANNERS ARE HERE! 🎉
MENU Sign in/Register     Cart 0  
Help you find something?
Browse by category

2012
2012 planner
2015
50% off sale
a day in the life
accessories
ad
ad design
advertise
advertising
advertising design
after
agenda
alabama
amber moon
anchor
angel food cake
anxiety
app
ASL
assistant
assistant creative director
auburn
authenticity
avery
b-man
babies
badges
bahana
beauty
before and after
best planner ever
bibs
binder
binder planner
birth story
birthday party
bley
blog calendar
blog simple
blog topic idea
blogging
bman
book tour
bounty
bow tie party
boy's birthday
boys clothes
brady
brady lay
brady ley
brady was here
brady's birthday
brady's first birthday
bradyley
branding
brian ley
brianley
brightly designed
Bryan Ley
bryanley
bulls
Business
busy
buttons
cabinets
calendar
careers
checklists
children
Christmas
classic
classic invitations
clean
clean planner
Coffee Break with Em
Collaborations
college
college binder
college day planner
college planner
coming soon
contest
cotton twill
courtney scowby
cover reveal
creative director
cross
cupcakes
cupcakes by dusty
custom clothes
custom invitations
date book
datebook
day planner
delayed
design
disney
disney world
do what matters
downloads
dwarfism
easier
easy
easy planner
easyplanner
el
emily
emily and bryan
emily and bryan ley
emily lay
emily ley
emily ley agenda
emily ley is hiring
emily ley job
emily ley paper
emily ley planner
emily planner
emily simplified
emilyely
emilylay
emilyley
emilyley paper
emilyley planner
emilyley simplified planner
emilyleypaper
Entrepreneur
ephesians
erin mcdermott
etsy
exhausted
failure
faith
fall 2012
Family
fashion
fertility
first birthday
first birthday invitations
first birthday parties
first birthday party
florida
florida state
football
free printables
fundraiser
garden hose
garnish.com
gators
geaux tigers
getting married
giada
Gift Guide
gina hafley
gina zeidler
ginazeidler
giveaway
Giving
go brady go
Goal Setting
god
gold corners
gold foil
gold paper clips
Grace not Perfection
granite
green cedars farm
gut check
hair
happy
hayden reis
health
healthy cooking
healthy family
healthy options
Heart
help
hiring
holiday
Holidays
Home
home base binder
home office
honest company
hustle less
i can do it
i will hold myself
idea list
infertility
inside my planner
Inspiration
iphone cases
ivf
jessica haley ink
jessica ulrich
jewelry
job
job applications
job opening
jobs
journal
joy unspeakable
jv clothiers
kitchen
kitchen remodel
kitchen reveal
knot and bow
land of nod
lara casey
lara casey planner
laracasey
launch
leather planner
leaving kids
lemon honey angel food
letters to bman
letterstobman
ley babies
Lifestyle
lila was here
lindsay letters
linen planner
louisianna
Love
lsu
luna bars
magic kingdom
makeup
makin
making brands happen
making things happen
mama
Marriage
marriage is hard
martha home office
martha stewart
mbh
mbh2012
meal planning
michael newman photography
mj paperie
mom
mom slump
mommy
mommy's memories
mompreneur
monogram
monogrammed
monogrammed iphone case
Motherhood
Motivation
mth
mth2010
mth2011
mth2012
mth2013
mud pie
national stationery show
nautical
neat
new orleans
nicole yang
nicoleyang
now hiring
nursery
of grace
ohss
olive manna
organic
organization
organized
organizer
packaging
pearl
pensacola
pensacola strong
perfection
personalized
personalized iPhone cases
photography
pink sugar photography
pitbulls and posies
plan to eat
planner
planner for moms
planning
plantoeat
plantoeat.com
pockets
pottery barn kids
printables
prints
prizes
recipes
remodel
ritz-carlton
roll ride
rsv
sahm
sale
salsa
scripture
sec
seersucker
Self
sewing
sham
sharon montrose
shipt
shop
shop opening
shorts
sick
sick baby
simple
Simple Favorites
simple planner
Simple Style
Simple Tools
simple wedding planner
simplicity
Simplicity Series
simplieplanner
simplifide
simplifideplanner
Simplified
simplified blogging
simplified notepads
simplified planner
simplified planners
simplified wedding planner
simplifiedbinder
simplifiedplanner
simplifying 2017
simply planner
southern
southern boy party
southern party
southern picnic
sponsor
Sponsored
sponsorships
spring cleaning
standard of grace
staples
stationery
stationery academy
stay at home mom
stephanie cowan
sticky notes
style
subway tile
summer 2014
tabs
target binder bands
team
the challenge
the fullness of God
the happiness project
The Shop
The Simplified Planner
the stationery academy
three ring
three ring binder
three ring planner
tigers
Time off
to a standard
to do
toddler
toddler food
toddler in disney
toddlerhood
travel
traveling
travelling
trust
twins
uf
usf
vegan
vegetarian
vita cost
wahm
walt disney world
war eagle
washi tape
wedding
wedding calendar
wedding organizer
wedding planner
Weekly Top 10
Weekly Top Ten
wfhm
wham
wholesale
woman
work at home mom
work from home mom
 

2017: A New Year for EL

December 27, 2016

One of the reasons why I love making planners is because I love (and often crave) the feeling a fresh start brings. With the Simplified Planner, you “visually” get one every day. A simple, clean place to start anew. I often think of this verse from Lamentations: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Though times and circumstances change, God’s love never ever wavers. He makes all things new and gives us that fresh start every morning.

I found myself, in mid-2016, desperate for a fresh start. In the middle of the beautiful craziness that comes with having two toddlers and a kindergartener, and newly diagnosed with a thyroid disease and autoimmune condition (Hashimotos and hyperthyroidism – an odd pair for any of you who understand this stuff) that were likely exacerbated with stress, I couldn’t find my footing. Life just felt indiscribably chaotic. No amount of organizing brought me peace. And trust me, I’m a pro… I tried everything. My heart clearly told me that it wasn’t my lack of organization that was the problem – it was my over abundance of STUFF. Stuff on my calendar. Stuff in my house. Stuff on my “yes” list. Stuff in my head and stuff in my heart. My family had grown. My business had grown. My responsibilities had grown. In Shauna Neiquest’s book Present Over Perfect, she talks about how a very large church had intentionally grown that way by “putting out the chairs.” Even though they talked about the growth like it just *happened* to them, it  actually happened because they just kept putting out the chairs.

Familiar.

I cried the night I read that. A lot. More than I have in years, actually. And it was a weird cry because nothing was broken or wrong or sick. But something wasn’t right and God was calling me down an unfamiliar and uncomfortable path. I felt His tug years ago, but I’d resisted and resisted. For the next few weeks, I prayed my heart out. I took a lot of time to read, relax, sleep, and write. I talked to a handful of close mentors, my team, and my husband. And finally made an enormous decision.

It sounds great to be able to say my line “is carried in almost 800 stores around the world.” Right? Hooray! In fact, it’s been a hallmark line in my professional bio for a few years now, as the number climbed. But in 2016, I found myself on 48 airplanes. In 18 cities. In a countless hotels. Life suddenly just looked a lot different than I’d planned or hoped it would. It wasn’t just the travel that made 2016 a tough year, it was also the way our business changed. You may have noticed I don’t personally write on this blog much anymore. My “coffee break” emails have stopped. I found myself in an entirely new role with a wholesale program so large. We began to design and plan for retailers more than we designed and planned for you, our customers. And that created an empty space, a disconnect, that was as wide and deep as it was deafeningly loud. I knew, as I sopped up the tears, what had to happen. Slowly, we made a plan, late this year, and redefined what success looks like to us. We knew, in our hearts, that just because we could do things, didn’t mean we should. Our new definition of success says it all:

Success, for our brand, means connecting women with JOY in their lives – as students, teachers, professionals, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, volunteers, encouragers, and friends. Success for us means serving our communities with our time, our resources, and our actual products – being inclusive and being blessings as often as possible. Success means serving our team of seven women and creating jobs that are rich with flexibility, ownership, and creativity. Success means inspiring our community of women to embrace stillness and simplicity so that we can be our best selves and live our best lives. 

For myself, success means unabashedly sharing my heart, my faith, and my words. It means wholeheartedly investing myself in the four other people who share my name. It means pulling back without fear because God’s calling me into a new season that is rooted inside the walls of my home. Success means taking care of myself, my health, and my heart – filling my well so that I can richly pour out on others. Success means doing the work God’s called me to do with -you- in mind – you, who I may not know in person, but whom I will call my sister. You who uses our products, reads our content, and hears these words. I let go of my chase for perfection years ago, and now, I will unhook myself from the grips of BUSY, overwhelmed, and overfull. 

As of January 1, 2017, we will be closing the wholesale side of our company and focusing on selling our products directly to our customers. While we will continue to sell our products through our top key accounts (Swoozies, Anthropologie, Joseph Beth Booksellers, Monkees, and Chapters Indigo), we will be stepping back into a fully retail business model. Yes, this means less revenue. But it also means our team of seven (staying intact) will get back to what we’re best at – encouraging joy and simplicity with our content and products and genuinely connecting with our sisters who, like us, are just trying to do life well.

We let all our retailers and our incredible reps know about our plan in mid November. I’m teary to tell you that their response to our change in direction was overwhelmingly supportive. Thank you, to all of you, for supporting us in this. We are unendingly grateful for the ways you have stewarded our brand and helped us spread our message. The emails I received from so many of you – small business owners as well – supporting our step back and our commitment to remaining small and mighty, brought me to tears. I am forever grateful.

I’m embarking on 2017 feeling refreshed, renewed, and confident. I’m grateful to my team, my husband, and my family, for supporting me through these growing pains. And I’m so grateful for the God given peace that I prayed He’d give me when we made the right move. It is here and I am proud of where we’re going. My goals for next year include a lot more writing (here and with Book 2 coming next Fall), much more breathing room to be creative for our community, and a whole lot stillness. I’ve learned, this year, that I can’t hear God when I’m too busy executing my own plans. But when I stop, get still, and make space for Him, He speaks loud and clear. Our Simplifying 2017 blog series starts tomorrow – a series of four blog posts (and giveaways!) about tactically simplifying, organizing, and pairing back for a fresh start in 2017.

xo,

Emily

 

PS: If you’re looking for some holiday reading, Grace, Not Perfection is on sale on Amazon for under $10 (e-book is just $3.99!) And if you haven’t gotten a Simplified Planner yet, you can get free shipping until January 2 with orders over $100 here.

What It Means to be Found

September 23, 2016

A few weeks ago, something happened. I’m not sure what it was. Maybe it was the looks in my children’s eyes as they’re inching closer to six (omg) and two (hold me). Maybe it was the indescribable growth our company has experienced the past two years reaching a fever pitch. Maybe it was / is God pulling me into a new season of life, closer to who He wants me to be. But this theory of grace, not perfection has become first and foremost in my mind every single second of every day. I go to sleep thinking about the life I’m leading — the busyness, the hustle, the frantic days, the frazzle, the anxiety — as well as all the good things: the success, the increasing sales numbers, the connections we have with our community, my wonderful team, and the three precious blessings Bryan and I have been entrusted with.

But one day, a few weeks ago, I woke up new. I know that sounds crazy, but its indescribably true. I woke up new. And all I could think was, I once was lost and now I’m found. The process of writing GNP pulled something out of me that has been simmering since I submitted my full manuscript in January. The process birthed something that can only be called a revelation in my own life. Everything in my life has been top priority for so many years, clicking, dinging, crying, singing, operating at incredible volumes creating this NOISE that is so hard to see through.

I’ve been making some big decisions about life and work lately – all good things, but still decisions nonetheless. And I’ve been taking such good care of my admittedly delicate self. Filling my well even when my brain tells me its time to hustle, to work, to build, to create, to pour out. I’ve been filling up and slowing down instead. It feels weird. Counterintuitive. But as my heart leads my body to do these things, they’re becoming a little easier – muscle memory is taking over. I forget where my phone is sometimes. I find myself wandering outside to watch the sunset. I watch the kids pull pots and pans out of the cabinets and don’t feel that itch to pull them away and clean up. They just bang on them over and over with giant smiles and the clanging and banging fills my heart and pushes that need to make my house perfect away.

Today I got a massage while the babies were at school. I’ve been going often because massage does something for me, forces my body to relax and let go. I don’t know my massage therapist very well, but I’ve seen her a few times. She doesn’t know what I do for a living or how many kids I have. While I was laying on my stomach, I prayed hard today. I prayed about the decisions to slow down that have been on my heart. In my prayer I said to God, “God… please just show me that these decisions I’m making to slow down, pair back, and get back to the good stuff are the right move. I’m scared. I’m scared the business will fall apart. I’m scared if I stop working at break neck speed nothing will move forward. Make it clear to me that I can slow down.” I’ve prayed that “show me” prayer a hundred times in my life but I’ve never actually SEEN a sign or had something happen that I could hold onto as proof that God is leading me in a specific direction. An hour later, as she was finishing up, I was laying on my back. Judith, my massage therapist, said to me, “Emily. I don’t talk to many people about this and I certainly don’t ask this question but, do you believe in God?” Bewildered, I said yes. She said, “I just feel like I need to tell you He’s helping you. If you just let Him, He is helping you right now.”

I’ll leave you with that. Because I’m still speechless. Thanks, God. :)

Amazing Grace.

xo and Happy Weekend,

Emily

5 Ways I’m Simplifying Right Now

September 22, 2016

I tell this story in Grace, Not Perfection about trying to organize shoes in my closet. I tried all the fancy organizers, cubbies, shelves, racks, whatever. But nothing seemed to help my closet stay neat and tidy. At the end of the day, I realized I just have TOO MANY SHOES. Sometimes it’s not our lack of great organizers that’s the problem, it’s our overabundance of things. So, deep in the trenches of overwhelm, I’m letting go of things. Throwing out. Saying no. Cutting back. Pairing down. Stripping all the layers until I can get to the rich, good, beautiful heart of things. Less decision to make. Less choices. Less distractions. Less stuff. Less heaviness. Grace is light and pure and good. I’m reminded of the verse, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)” That lightness is what I’m searching for these days, in a way I’ve never searched for it before. Yes, this is deep and important and meaningful, but the steps toward that lightness I’m seeking are tactile, methodical, and physical. 

  1. Following my gut when making travel or work commitments. This might not be right = no.
  2. Allowing myself to disappoint people outside my immediate circle of people. My people = my family.
  3. Treating myself like a delicate person. I’ve never wanted to be “one of those people” but by treating myself as a delicate person, I’m able to give myself permission to rest, to sit on the couch, to watch TV with the kids, to wander around the block and go outside and ignore the dishwasher.
  4. Throwing away and donating extra stuff in my house. Physical clutter = mental clutter.
  5. Ignoring the urge to create the next big thing, master another new project, or build something else.

This is an ongoing process for me, but so far, it feels really, really good. Hope this help you too.

xo,

Emily

copyright 2018 emily ley