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SIMPLICITY with Gina Hafley

September 17, 2013

I’m so excited for our second SIMPLICITY feature featuring our very own Gina Hafley!

Emily Ley. I’m also a soon-to-be thirty year old (eeek!), who’s lived in three states over the last four years as we’ve followed my cute husband’s career. I enjoy traveling, a good cup of coffee or wine and a cute striped dress!  I love when my toes are in the sand, but most often than not, they are on or near a football field.  Image above is from North Photography captured at a friend’s wedding in Vermont. 

* Notes from Emily in pink. :)

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara Most days, I’m running out of the house to the EL Shop or to tackle an errand, with my hair in a pony-hail, athletic gear on my body and an au natural face.  I very rarely wear “full” make-up these days.  But, when I do…or when I’m quickly leaving the house, I almost always put on a little mascara.  And, this, my friends is the best!  I add a few strokes to my eyelashes and I’m ready to go!  Quick, simple, and I look a little more alive!

Amazon PrimeThis one sounds a little silly, I admit.  Especially since I don’t have a child (one day) or a demanding corporate job (been there, done that).  But, I love Amazon Prime.  There I said it. For $79 a year, Amazon Prime members receive free two-day shipping and $3.99 overnight shipping.  And, Amazon sells anything and everything.  Seriously.  Those delicious nut crackers, Amazon has them for half the price at the grocery store.  A pair of shoes for the husband, who HATES going to the mall. Yep, we’ve done that too.  Books, coffee, closet organizers, face moisturizer, printer ink…the list goes on!  It’s amazing what you can order with one little click, and how fast it arrives at your doorstep.

* Emily: Can I just say how much I love this one. When Brady was first born and I desperately needed face wash, I used my Amazon Prime account to have it delivered to my door. I was so afraid to leave my house with a newborn and Bryan was traveling for work (yes, he travelled 3 days a week every week for the first year of B’s life). Insanity.

Loft Sunwashed TeesThese are the best!  Short Sleeve, long sleeve, stripe or solid.  So many choices, and I think I have a few of each!  These tees are SO soft and fit just perfectly.  I wear them during the day with leggings or jean shorts, and at night, I throw on skinny jeans and a statement necklace for a dinner out.  One simple tee.  So many options. These make getting dressed and out the door a breeze!

Nike Training AppGetting my day started usually requires two things: watching Good Morning America and a good workout!  The endorphins, the stress release, whatever a workout does, it does my body and mind good! I like to switch up my workout, but I always come back to this nifty little Nike Training App on my iPhone.  It’s like having a personal trainer, but totally free! Pick your goal, level and workout…and then ready to sweat!

Gina’s Skinny Recipes–  I love sitting down together as a family (or, just the two of us right now) and eating dinner at our dining room table.  But to get to that, means I must cook—and though it’s something I enjoy, I very much need some guidance.  Enter this site. (And no, it’s not me. :) ) The recipes are simple, require very few ingredients and are healthy.  It doesn’t get better than that!  And, everything I’ve made has been so yummy!  A few of my favorites for an appetizer, entrée and pasta.

Bose Mobile SpeakerThis is actually one of my husband’s “toys”—but I think I use it more than him, so I’m adding it to my list! :)  I find myself using this amazing wireless, Bluetooth connecting speaker all the time!  It’s constantly on while I work at my computer. BUT, and maybe most useful, I tend to take it with me to make some of the dreaded household tasks a little more enjoyable.  A little Luke Bryan goes a long way when cleaning, putting away laundry or weeding!

* Emily: This post would not be complete if I didn’t tell you how excited I am for you all to get to know Gina more. She’s my right-hand-gal and an amazing friend. AND, HAPPY ONE YEAR, Gina!!!!! Gina has been working with me for a year now and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate her. Here’s to another awesome year, G! xo

THE SIMPLICITY SERIES features busy gals, in different stages of life, making what matters happen and tips and tricks they’ve found to be helpful. Simplicity is about building margin into your life and spending time on and with that which fuels your heart. While we love to share products and services that help us day to day, but simplicity is about HEART and intentionally choosing the thing that matters most (your TREASURE) more than anything money can buy. We wear many hats and we know you do too, so we’d love to hear your thoughts as well! 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

On a Day When I Feel Like “I’ve Got This.”

April 05, 2012


I write a lot of times after I’ve had an especially stressful day. It’s like free therapy. But today I thought I’d write in the middle of a great “I’ve totally got this” day.

THESE ARE RARE, PEOPLE.

Kara is here with Brady only a few days a week and I’ve cut back my working hours a lot to be able to spend more time with B. But I still have days when I have work to accomplish and a 14 month old (WHAT!?) to grow/entertain/feed/change/etc. Today is one of those days. But for some reason, today, I feel like I’ve got this.

I was taking a shower this afternoon (sometimes that’s how it happens) and I thought… ok, what are you doing different today than those days when you feel like the world is caving in on you and you can’t do ALL OF THIS.

  • I went for a long walk this morning with Brady. I always ALWAYS feel better when I start my morning with at least a good, long walk… when I get my body moving and my heart rate up.
  • I started my morning with my favorite breakfast: a nonfat, two Splenda cappuccino from Starbucks. I’m one of “those” people. I spend almost $4… almost EVERY day… on that little white cup with the cardboard sleeve. It makes me feel good (not just the caffeine – though that helps me focus).
  • I solved a problem. My husband and I had a quick call with my accountant to go over a handful of tax questions. I feel so much more peace knowing we’re getting a better handle on our business finances.
  • I connected with friends and had a good laugh. I connected with other people – and this sounds silly, but when you’re a work from home (or stay at home!) mama, there are days when the only voice you hear is your own. I laughed with Lara about the way Brady likes to stand up in his wagon and talked with my friend Amy about a new (awesome!) blog she’s starting.
  • I knocked off a big to-do. worked like mad for an hour while Brady napped and made great progress on the Making Brands Happen Client Experience Webinar we’re presenting next week. (IT’S AWESOME!!! There’s still time to sign up!)
  • I made a healthy, special (pretty!) lunch for Brady. We ate lunch together. (I normally skip lunch, so this was great) Brady had goldfish, peas, strawberries and a mini toasted peanut butter + Nutella sandwich cut into the shape of a little heart. I served it to him on his little gingham Pottery Barn Kids plate I just purchased. It made me smile… and him too : )

These are all things I need to build into my every day schedule. It’s so important to take note of what’s making you feel the way you feel on the GOOD DAYS, not just the hard.

Happy Thursday!

Emily

PS: Follow me on Instagram where I take fun iPhone photos and make believe everything is chic and vintage-y. : )

Happy first birthday to my sweet boy

February 16, 2012

Dear Sweet Brady,

Could it be that an entire year has already passed since we first met. I’ll never forget that day, so full of emotion and excitement… your daddy and I could hardly contain ourselves. And then that moment came, after so many hours of labor… when we heard your little cry and saw your sweet, sweet face. Our hearts were never the same.

This is a cross in a church in Irvine, California. I’ll never forget visiting and singing Amazing Grace with Aunt Lara and Aunt Gina. I wrote a prayer for you and it’s pinned to the right side of that cross right there in that photo. God is so good to have heard and to continue to answer that prayer. Our cups overflow with gratitude and sincere joy. Becoming your mama has been my greatest adventure. And watching you grow has been my greatest joy. From a tiny little baby who weighed just seven pounds to a precious, growing toddler who keeps us on our toes. You made our little family a real family.

I’ll never forget when I first learned of you… this awful photo is the only one I have of the test because I was shaking so badly. We’d prayed for you for so long little B. So long. And there it was… God’s answer to our prayers…. yes.

You grew and grew and we fell in love with you day after day. We talked to you and sang to you and planned for your big arrival.

And somehow one whole year has passed since that big day last year. This photo is of you and I on our way home from the hospital. We were so excited to take you to your new home. And here you are… your first time in your big crib. You were so little.

On your first birthday, I have so many wishes for you. This morning, before your daddy and I woke you up to discover the surprise balloons in your room, I asked your Daddy what his wish for you was… and he said “the whole world.”

image credit: gina zeidler

At first I thought that was a silly answer, but its the most precious answer there is. We wish everything for you. But above all, we wish you a heart that is full. Full of joy and compassion. Full of empathy and hope. Full of faith and the knowledge that you can be anything you want to be. My heart brims with this enormous desire for you to know that you are so special, so smart and such a source of joy for so many people. Not just your mommy and daddy.

All of this and you only know four words! (Mama, Dada, yuck and uh-oh) : ) I can’t imagine what life has in store for you as you grow. When I was pregnant with you, your daddy would rub my belly and whisper to you “grow and be strong.” I love those words so much, B, because they underline everything we hope for you. We hope all the goodness in the world grows in your heart, no matter where life takes you. And we hope all that you encounter makes you strong and confident and happy and full.

I’ve never met another little boy who smiles as much as you do. I like to think it’s because you have much to smile about. But I know it’s that God gave you a spirit that is joyful. I pray that spirit stays in you as you grow.

image credit: gina zeidler

This year we’ve experienced so many milestones together. From your first laugh (when daddy was playing that silly game where he touched your face) to learning to do things on your own to learning to communicate with us. My favorite memories of your first year are the times you’d fall asleep on my chest so sweet and cuddly, the many road trips you and I took together to visit Nana and Grandpa, this priceless, precious video Aunt Gina made you when you were just six months old (and didn’t like to sleep so much) and the times you now scan the room quickly for your mama and get a great big smile on your face and throw your hands in the air for me to come and get you. Melt my heart sweet boy.

Sleep Baby from Gina Zeidler on Vimeo.

Your daddy and I are king and queen of silly little jokes and goofy names for each other. You have so many. You were Whammy before we knew if you were a boy or a girl… then you were Bman before we knew what your name would be. Then B, Bubba and now Boat. Boat comes from the story “Goodnight Moon.” Nana adapted the story so you could say goodnight to all the things in your house “Night night Fridge, Night night Table…” and lastly “Night Night Boat” to the boat in your nursery. When we lay you down to sleep now, we say “Night Night Boat.” And hence your newest nickname sticks.

image credit: michael newman photography

I love you more than all the stars in the sky, little B. And I can’t wait to experience this next year with you.

Thank you for opening my heart to a world I never imagined could be so joyful one year ago today. You are so beautiful, so special and so precious sweet boy.

With all of my heart,

Mommy

As little B grows, it’s very important to our family to teach him about giving and sharing. One foundation that is near and dear to our hearts is Alex’s Lemonade Stand. ALS raises funds to support childhood cancer research. Children all over the country host lemonade stands and raise money, dollar by dollar to give to ALS to children affected by childhood cancer enjoy more happy birthdays. When B is old enough, he’ll host his own lemonade stand. But for now, Bman’s lemonade stand is virtual and every “cup” of lemonade sold benefits the Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation. We’d love to ask you to buy/give one “cup” of lemonade in honor of Brady’s birthday to help other little boys and girls celebrate more happy birthdays too. A genuine, heartfelt thanks from our family to yours. xo, Emily

Go here to buy a “cup of lemonade” via PayPal or here via credit card.

copyright 2018 emily ley