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2017-18 SIMPLIFIED PLANNERS
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Simplicity Series: Kayse Pratt

June 13, 2016

   
    
Hi there! I'm Kayse, wife to Jon, my musician hubby, & mom to Emily (5) & Nathan (2). I'm a tiny bit addicted to sweet tea, good fiction, and planners. (You too? Let's be friends!) Jesus and family are the two most important things in my life, and I'm so grateful for a job that allows me to keep those important things important! I'm a blogger, so I get to work from home, and I write to share Biblical encouragement and practical resources with moms.
  
     
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
To be honest, I'm not always the best at this! But it's something I'm working on. I try to be in bed by 10 each night so that I can get up early and read my Bible & get a short workout in. When I start my day with jesus, I'm just a better wife to my husband and mom to my kids. I need that quiet time in the morning to settle in, fill up, and get ready to take on the day. And the workout is a new habit I'm trying to start! It's not always (ever?) easy, but I always feel great afterwards.
    
What’s your favorite beauty secret?
I'm a simple girl, so I don't have too many beauty secrets! But I love love love the skin care line I use. I never had nice skin in my life until I found dōTERRA. I use the Veráge line every day - face wash, toner, & the best moisturizer in the whole world. I also got hooked on Bare Minerals makeup a few years ago, and I've never looked back.
     
What’s your favorite go-to outfit for a quick polished look?
Nice jeans, this flowy black top that I love, & red flats. I'll throw on a big necklace or some fun earrings and feel fancy!
   
What’s your favorite quick-prep dinner for your family?
Oooh I have a lot of these. My favorite quick dinner is my Grape & Shallot Chicken recipe. It sounds (& tastes!) gourmet, but it takes like 10 minutes to prep. I throw together an Easy Homemade Pasta Bake a couple times a month, and we're also big fans of Taco Night!
    
Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow and why?
I'm a little bit obsessed with @JellyBirdSigns. I love her work, and I've snagged three signs in her flash sales! I consider that a personal victory. I also follow @EmilyLey & @SimplifiedPlanner, of course, & love when Emily shares real life.
    
What tradition or routine is important to you?
My morning routine is absolutely the cornerstone of my day! I get some time with Jesus, time to pray, and get a short workout in. With a little time to myself each morning, I'm just able to have such a better day (or respond a little better when the day goes crazy). And when I miss that time? I really feel it! 
    
What’s in your purse?
My navy & white striped wallet from Target. It's my fave. Sunglasses, SoftLips Vanilla chapstick, dōTERRA's Citrus Bliss Hand Lotion, diapers, wipes, sippy cups, dinosaurs, dolls, and crushed crackers. Always.
     
Where do you find your inspiration?
This could be a really long answer, so I'll try for the short version. I had a pretty good life growing up - great family, good grades, perfect job. And then my life fell apart in every way. My mom died, my marriage broke, we almost lost my daughter at birth & we did the whole NICU thing with her, and then I suffered a double pulmonary embolism after giving birth to my son. It's fair to say I was a pretty broken person after all of that. But out of the brokenness, the Lord saved me. I'm learning so much about His goodness in the midst of hard circumstances, and I'm learning how to rest in the fact that my faith (and my life) doesn't depend on me, because GOD is the faithful one. I want my kids to know the goodness of His gospel, and I want the same for moms everywhere. That's why I stay home with my kids, and that's why I write. Jesus is my only hope, and my singular inspiration.
      
We know you’re a busy lady! How do you balance all of your work responsibilities with your home life? Any tips for our readers?
I'm still figuring this out! Family comes first, and that's just the bottom line. I try my best to keep work within my office hours, and right now I'm trying to scale back so that everything fits within those office hours! That means letting some things go, hiring help, and saying a lot of "no's" in this season. I also go through my own course every 6 months, called Stop Settling For Overwhelmed. It's a step by step process that helps me clear my plate off completely, find a focus for the season I'm in, and then create a routine that actually works for our family, keeping the important things important. I've used this process consistently for the last few years, and it's helped me so much that I turned it into a course for my readers, too! It's the most popular purchase in my shop now - I think so many of us feel overwhelmed as mommas! (You can read more about it here.) But learning to accept your season, and then creating a realistic plan for what you can and can't do? That's incredibly freeing, and probably the best tip I've got.
     
What’s your favorite app (or other tool) for helping you do life? 
I use the Notes app in my iPhone constantly. I'm such a list maker, and the Notes app is just so simple! I love it. I keep everything there - grocery lists, blog post ideas, book notes, etc.
    
Follow along with Kayse: 
Instagram: @kaysepratt
   
  

Simplicity Series: Mackenzie Horan

May 23, 2016

    
   
Hi, I'm Mackenzie! I started my blog, Design Darling, in college, writing from the coffee shop on campus about whatever was inspiring me that day. By the time I graduated, I’d been blogging every day for two years and it had grown from something only my mom read to this place where I could connect with so many young women who love the same things I do. After a series of short-lived jobs in San Francisco and New York, I realized I had an opportunity to make Design Darling part of my long-term career goals. Ten months after graduation, I launched my online boutique (by the same name) from my parents’ dining room table in Connecticut. Four years, a two-and-a-half year stint in New York, and a move to Dallas later, I feel extremely fortunate to be running my own business, working with amazing vendors (like Emily Ley!), and learning something new every day.
   
How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?
I love sleep — if I don’t get 8 or 9 hours, it’s not a pretty picture. And lately my fiancé and I have been holding each other accountable for getting to the gym — it’s way better with a buddy and being in shape for our wedding is a great motivator!
   
What’s your favorite beauty secret?
I was recently introduced to Tata Harper’s skincare products and now I’m not sure how I lived without them. When it comes to makeup, I’m definitely a less-is-more kind of girl so the better my skin looks, the more comfortable I feel in just a swipe of mascara and a little under-eye concealer.
  
What’s your favorite go-to outfit for a quick polished look?
I practically live in button-down shirts, skinny jeans, and ballet flats, with an oversized handbag to lug around my laptop. 
  
What’s your favorite quick-prep dinner for your family?
Takeout. ;)
  
Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow and why?
My favorite person to follow on Instagram is @amy_stone — partly because she’s one of my favorite people in real life but also because she has incredible style and a killer eye for color and composition.
  
What tradition or routine is important to you?
Any time before someone in our family boards a flight, we send a text on our family thread saying “GBTT” or “God bless this trip” and everyone responds with the same. I don’t know how it started but now it’s second nature to text everyone before take-off and my fiancé and I have started doing it too. I think now that my parents are in Connecticut, I’m in Dallas, my sister is in New York, and my brothers are in Pennsylvania and Ohio, it’s a great way of keeping up with who’s traveling where and letting them know we’re thinking of them. 
   
What’s in your purse?
Wallet, sunglasses, eyeglasses, Aquaphor, Claritin, and usually a million receipts and pieces of paper I keep meaning to throw out.
  
Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m happiest when I’m traveling with family and friends, whether it’s somewhere new or someplace I’ve been before. My happiest days are on Nantucket, filling the house with too many people, biking to get coffee, spending all day at the beach, then taking turns taking outdoor showers and getting ready for dinner. Of course that’s only a few weekends every year, and I love Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for more everyday inspiration. But I’m a big believer that you can’t write about your life if you’re not out there living it!
   
We know you’re a busy lady! How do you balance all of your work responsibilities with your home and personal life? Any tips for our readers?
My iCal is my best friend — it’s color coordinated with different colors for everything from birthdays and travel to blog deadlines and conference calls. It might seem duplicitous but I also love my Emily Ley planner (this year I’m using the pineapple design) — there’s something about seeing my whole day at a glance and manually crossing a task off my to do list that will never, ever get old to me. I guess in terms of balancing my work and personal life, there’s definitely a blurred line between the two. Will and I squeeze in workouts together during the week when we don’t have time for a sit-down dinner date, which makes us feel like we’re killing two birds with one stone. We’re immensely supportive of one another’s careers, which makes it a lot easier when one of us has to work overtime. Weekends are our time to see friends, take Rory to the dog park, catch up on our favorite TV shows… and this year we have nine weddings to attend!  
   
What’s your favorite app (or other tool) for helping you do life?
I joke that our household (and my office, for that matter) runs on Amazon Prime. It’s how we order cleaning supplies and toiletries for the house and packing supplies for the office — it’s one of those things I don’t know how I ever lived without. Other than that, I love VSCO for editing Instagram photos, Audible for “reading” on my commute to the office, and Prism for paying bills.
  
Follow along with Mackenzie: 
Boutique: designdarling.com
Instagram: @mackenziehoran
Pinterest: @mackenziehoran
Twitter: @mackenziehoran

Simplicity Series: Emma Kozlowski

May 16, 2016

     

Hi there! My name is Emma Kozlowski, and I am the owner of Emma Lyn Designs, a line of handmade accessories. I taught myself how to sew in college 4 years ago and have been designing and creating ever sense. When I am not at my full time job as a teacher, you will find me with a cup of coffee in my sewing room. I design products that are both functional and fashionable. I believe as busy women, we all need practicality and simplicity, and I try to provide that in the form of fun, colorful accessories.

     

How do you take care of yourself so that you’re physically and mentally prepared to be your best self for others?

While balancing many different roles both personally and professionally, I have learned that sometimes it is best to stop and take a break. It is so easy to say “Yes” to everything, but knowing when to say “No” has been important. It isn't always easy to say no, but it's necessary.

     

What’s your favorite beauty secret?

Less is more. I like to keep it simple with a quick coat of foundation and some mascara. I love sleeping so I make my routine as quick as possible in the morning.

    

What’s your favorite go-to outfit for a quick polished look?

I am currently really into jeggings with a cotton t-shirt and a long sweater over it, paired with some cute flats.

    

What’s your favorite quick-prep dinner for your family?

My husband and I love making grilled pizza. All of the cooking is done outside on the grill by my husband, all I have to do is cut up some mozzarella and veggies and throw them on top of the pizza. It is very little prep and very easy clean up. The grill makes the pizza extra crispy and it is fun to try all different kinds of toppings.

    

Tell us your favorite Instagram account to follow and why?

There are so many! My favorite kind of people to follow are people who share their story and inspire me to continue following my dreams. It is nice to be reminded that that I am not alone in this crazy journey. Mica May from May Designs is one of those people that keep it real and reflect on her journey of building her business while balancing family life.

    

What tradition or routine is important to you?

I always try to take some time in the afternoon to relax before a busy afternoon/evening of working. I like to have my afternoon cup of coffee while checking up on social media. Spending 15 minutes relaxing is something I look forward to every afternoon. This routine of guilt free “me time” is an important part of my busy day.

     

What’s in your purse?

I use my Emma Lyn Everyday wristlet to hold my essentials.  I really don’t keep too much in it, just my cash, cards, Burt’s Bees grapefruit chapstick, sunglasses, business cards and my iphone. When it comes to my everyday clutch that goes everywhere with me, I like to keep it simple and uncluttered.

    

Where do you find your inspiration?

This may sound like a very millennial thing to say, but I love looking on Instagram to find inspiration. I live in a small town in Connecticut, so it is always fun to get a glimpse into other people's lives. I am especially inspired by following the stories of successful women who built strong businesses and brands from the bottom up. I also find inspiration in the fabric store. I could spend hours looking at fabrics, admiring the patterns and texture, and dreaming up things to make with it.

     

We know you’re a busy lady! How do you balance all of your work responsibilities with your home life? Any tips for our readers?

I once heard Jessica Herrin, the founder and CEO of Stella and Dot, talk about balance and what she said really stuck with me. She talked about how we are all juggling so many things in our lives and trying to keep so many balls up in the air. We need to identify which ones are rubber and which ones are glass. It is ok to not keep all the balls in the air, as long as they are rubber, they will bounce.

   

What’s your favorite app (or other tool) for helping you do life?

I use Google Docs because I can use it on my computer and on my phone. Although I am a notebook girl and love writing things down, having everything on my phone is great for the times when I don’t have my notebook handy. I also love using Paprika to store all of my recipes and make my grocery lists.

   

Follow along with Emma: 

Website: www.emmalyndesigns.com

Instagram: @emmalyndesigns 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emmalyndesigns

   

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