Because, sometimes…

running shadow maggie whitley

– you remember to set out the butter at lunch so it can soften in time for post-nap cookie baking. Instant supermama status!

– your daughter burrows into your neck and lets out a long, squeaky laugh, and you can’t help but join her.

– you wake up early a few days each week so you can hit your August running goals. HOORAY!

– your son leaves the room only to bring you a chair so you can reach something up high. Oh my word, it’s starting already ;)

– your husband encourages you to make a hair appointment and yes, add a little ombré color! And then he reminds you it’s important to take care of oneself. (Note: the at-home haircut and at-home highlight thing wasn’t working out long-term, but it was fun while it lasted.)

PS. now through tomorrow at 11:59pm PST, all Gussy Sews items ship for free. Simply enter code FREESHIP at checkout, we’ll do the rest!

Have an amazingly relaxing weekend!

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Ten things I love // Vol. 5

August_ten_things

As a personal exercise to start noticing the small things around me I started a blog series titled “Ten things I love”. There’s much to be thankful for in life, sometimes we just need a little quiet to fully notice our lists. This month I wanted to focus on ten fun facts you most likely don’t know about me. But, I’d love to know in the comments if there are any you already knew! :)

Ten fun facts about me:

1. I had a small “side business” of wrapping my classmates hair with embroidery floss during our lunch break… in middle school! #entrepreneuratheart

2. As a kiddo I often rode around my neighborhood with a radio strapped to my bicycle.

3. My favorite movie is Home Alone. Dead serious.

4. I was a Varsity cheerleader all four years of high school. Go Vikings!

5. Speaking of bicycles, I have a scar on my chin from an attempt-gone-bad at doing tricks on my bike. I blame my brother and the neighborhood boys for poorly influencing me to try this out ;)

6. My aunt Judy often gave me Avon samples of lipstick as a little girl and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

7. My dream corporate job is to work for a magazine publication. (I loved yearbook class in high school.)

8. I love Mexican food! Mole sauce? Yes, please.

9. Although I dislike swimming in a lake, I will as long as I can see down to the bottom. Swimming in the ocean? No, thanks.

10. My parents threw me a surprise 16th birthday at our family cottage. It’s been fourteen years since, and I still remember it (and loved it so much).

Now it’s your turn. What are three things don’t we know about you? Any fun hobbies or food cravings or secret insights into your dream career? You know what to do: share them with me in the comments!

(Past “Ten things I love” posts can be found here.)

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Are your things holding you hostage?

donations maggie whitley

Many times now I’ve seen a particular tidying up book pop up in my social media feeds. When I first saw the title, I admit, I wasn’t sure what it’s greater purpose was. I didn’t understand why it was gaining popularity. I wasn’t sure how it could be applied to my life and my things and why I needed to spend my time reading it. (I sound so selfish!)

And then my friend Rhiannon said she was reading it and enjoying it. So, I did a little research and came to the conclusion this book scared me a little because it would force me to fully evaluate what we keep in our home (along with WHY). Suddenly I felt like I had to read it, too!

You may remember three years ago our family moved to Los Angeles. I was newly pregnant with Maxwell, and when we arrived here we had just a few things with us. And I literally mean just a few: a few boxes and duffel bags in our Jeep, plus a couple boxes shipped via the postal service.

What we have in our Los Angeles home has (perhaps) even greater meaning than ever before, because we literally had to save our money to buy it. Simple things, like bath towels and a mattress and bed frame, a work desk and a couch and an end table, lamps and clothing hangers, kitchen utensils and cookware. We went without for months until we could afford to buy it with cash. (And some of that is still true today.)

Reading this book has helped me to realize I’ve placed way too high of value on the things we keep in our home — even if we don’t need it, use it, or like it.

Not too long after we arrived in Los Angeles we had our first baby. And then we moved to a slightly larger apartment. And then we had a second baby. I’ve started a business, put a business on pause, and have re-opened a business. In the meantime, we’ve accumulated more and more and more and more. Paper work and blankets and mugs and clothes and baby items and towels and sets of dishes and craft materials and extra furniture. Should I keep going? Someone stop me.

Our home, in all it’s simple living-ness, is wonderful at helping us to use it’s space well overall, but it’s made us (me?) cram in way more than necessary. Our bedroom and linen closets are so generous in size that they are able to house multiple categories of items, making them look and feel unorganized. There’s too much “stuff” in there, without a clear definition of What and Why. And I think this can apply to every home out there, not just smaller-sized homes or larger homes.

In fact, it’s not even about the size of our home, but rather the atmosphere we want to nurture inside our home.

I think what resonated with me the most is when Marie (the author) shared clutter happens when an item is either too hard to put away or has an unclear storage location.

I actually listened to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up through Audible while running with the kids. It took me four days, but I felt inspired after just 30 minutes. Pretty amazing.

My friend Joanna shared she loves to read because it gives her something to talk about with her husband, aside from their children. Do you see me nodding my head? Maybe you’re nodding your head, too.

What do you want to change about the way your family uses your home?

I’m maybe three-quarters through tidying-up our home and already have thrown out four bags of trash, donated seven bags, and have sold a few things to speed up our debt payoff progress.

Are you thinking of moving soon? We don’t have any plans in the near future to move, but I know it will happen some day. When the time comes, the process of packing up our home will be so much easier because we won’t be packing, moving, and unpacking boxes and boxes things we don’t need, use, or like.

Or maybe you’re knee deep in paying off debt, like we are? Could you set aside a collection of items to sell that will help you either build your emergency fund or make an advance payment on a debt?

All you have to do is let go of the things that are holding you hostage in your own home.

PS. a compilation of books I’ve read.

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Why your girlfriends are so important.

girlfriends maggie whitley

Three years ago, shortly after we moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis, I found myself meeting up with Joanna. We hadn’t yet met, so you could say it was an “internet friend blind date”. (We had a mutual friend in Minneapolis that insisted we connect.)

One morning, while I was about 6 months pregnant with Maxwell, we met for coffee. And traditional to going on a blind date, I knew nothing about her, however per her confession (years later!) she had thoroughly read my blog beforehand ;) and knew everything about me!!!

Joanna and I met at a local cafe and settled in on their patio, which had many outdoor heaters. Many. (Extra emphasis on the many, because you know, southern California is cold in October.) With hot drinks in hand, we began chatting, and then said aloud to each other — at nearly the same time, Are you hot, because I am sweating!

And then we burst out laughing, knowing (I’m sure of it) that we were going to be the best of friends. #Midwestgirlsatheart

Not too much time later we both had a friend that “you just have to meet,” and suddenly we were a group of four. As someone who thrives on being in community, these women, Joanna, Rhiannon & Cristina, have become a lifeline to me in Los Angeles.

We talk about “all the topics” when we’re together, from pregnancy (and all it’s struggles), marriage, beauty, writing, travel, creativity, books, and finances. In fact, I’m sure people sometimes wish they didn’t overhear our conversations ;)

I’ve always trusted God to provide me with the right kind of community, exactly where we live, but to have it so continually — through all the highs & lows of life and parenthood and womanhood, has made me feel so cared for.

A time when I’ve felt the most-grateful to have this group of girlfriends? The first few months as I transitioned into my role as a mama of two babes. Those were hard months. I still remember. Obviously, because I hadn’t ever done that before, but also because there were so many hearts to be caring for, all at the same time — my heart included. Many times I fell back on this realization: the best way to get through “it” was to try and try again, but it’s so refreshing to have my girlfriends walk alongside me while I try. (Some things just need to be experienced, right? But that doesn’t mean we have to experience them alone.)

park maggie whitley

Our girlfriend group has grown from 2 kids to 6 kids, and as Cristina so perfectly explained it last week, it’s such a treat to know we can always count on seeing one other at the beach on Tuesdays. Once summer ends we’ll have to set up a new weekly date so we can continue to problem-solve together :)

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

PS. a fun (unplanned) fact: we all had babies in 2014! And can you believe Natalie will be turning One in October?

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