Kate Spade Sale?! Yes Please!

Kate Spade sale online and in stores today! Use code GREATFIND for an additional 30% off already reduced sale prices. Woohoo!

Here are a few of my favorites…

I love a great neutral bag with classic lines, this has Celine-esq feel to it, gorgeously classic. Shop the bag here.

The classic Sam (my first Kate Spade, she was something of beauty) with a floral twist. I’m loving florals this season, especially in accessories, and this one is pretty awesome. Shop Sam here.

Sputnik Earrings!?! Yes please. Fun, sparkly and will go with everything. And for under $30, grab a pair here.

The Snowy Nights earrings. While the name makes it clear these were a part of the winter collection, the floral feel to these earrings will work well into the summer. I’m personally loving the pink and blue. These are a bit more of a splurge, but still a great deal for KS earrings, and the perfect statement earrings for summer. Check them out here.

Do you have a sale favorite? Let me know what awesome sale finds make it into your closet!

Happy Wednesday flamingo friends!

 

 

 

Friday Finds Southern Style

Welcome to the newest edition of Friday Favorites!! I’m so excited to share my latest favorite finds with you. This past weekend was extra special because some of my Iowa girlfriends visited me. We had the perfect weather, sunny and warm, and had a blast eating and shopping our way through town.

There is an amazing new restaurant in downtown Waxhaw that we had to visit, Emmet’s Social Table! It’s an old cotton mill turned restaurant…the ambiance is wonderful, the food to die for and the drinks beyond delicious. Their patio seating was perfect for our night out, and the fire pit is one of the coolest I’ve seen. It was an awesome night out laughing and catching up with old friends.

The girls and I stopped by the cutest little boutique called Southern Style; because when the girls visit, you make sure the cute boutiques are on the list. I’ve been there a few times since moving here, Ryan has even been dragged through their doors, and I was thrilled to go back. Southern Style is full of great finds, and my favorite Friday find is from here, it’s a brand called Katie Loxton. It’s a London based brand that focuses on great designer looking finds at affordable prices. So. Darn. Cute.

I have a major obsession with clutches, so her clutch bags with sayings are a definite favorite! And at $24 they are a steal! I might know a few teachers who received “One in a Million” as part of their teacher gift, because great teachers are one in a million. Love. These.

And if we hadn’t just returned from the Kate Spade Outlet, I would own this bamboo handled handbag, the perfect summer bag. I might be using Birthday money to snag one yet, and at $80 it’s a great deal for something so stylish and cute.

The boutique ladies helping me raved about the scalloped tote bag and adore it. And be sure to check out her accessories…I loved her bracelets and key chains. And the product that started this all?! Her stationary, I picked out this card for the teachers and then it spiraled from there. A heart pin on a card for teachers with a heart of gold, for real. You can be sure that Katie Loxton will be finding her way into my closet.

What was your favorite find this week?!? Do share.

Because it REALLY does MATTER

As an advocate for safe beauty, I’ve spent the past four years with Beautycounter, focused on the mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. And I’ve loved my time with the company and sharing their products and mission with others. But somewhere in those four years, life took over and I got tired…so darn tired. Between personal and family challenges, the daily grind, school, sports, kids and their stuff, and then packing and moving cross-country, so I could unpack and attempt to settle into this strange new home…I lost my fire for the mission.

And then I stumbled upon a new line of products with a different company, the promised amazing results and I was tired, so I gave in. I was supporting a friend and figured, why not. They delivered as promised and I was happy; and they claimed to be clean and safe, so I took their word and left it at that. I was still weary and had grown lazy when it came to products and ingredients. This gal who touted all the great safe beauty lingo, who believed it with all her heart, she gave in and didn’t even research the products or ingredients. Sometimes it’s exhausting having to explain that not all “safe” is created equal, and all natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe, and that the skin is our largest organ, absorbing over 60% of what we put on it. Think about that (60%!!), so if you are putting estrogen disruptors on your skin, it will get into your body and it will mess with your hormones. Think about those products that are covering most of your body; the body washes, lotions, shampoos and conditioners…they seep into ALL of that skin. Anyway, even the staunchest believers can fall, and I fell.

Well, long story longer, the fancy new “safe” products weren’t safe, and I realized that the health issue I was experiencing had to be connected to using the products. So, I stopped using them, but it’s what happened after that gave me an “aha” moment. Because other health issues I had been experiencing improved, and I mean REALLY improved. I had foolishly assumed that stress was causing those issues, but causation leads me to believe otherwise. I found Beautycounter years ago because my son’s health needed the safest products out there, and I KNEW the importance, but sometimes we forget just HOW important it really is.

This lazy Beautycounter rep, who grew weary of sharing the mission and feeling like the crazy lady rambling on about product and ingredient safety is here to say that yes, it DOES matter. What you put on your body matters A LOT. And no one can police that for you or me, I am ultimately responsible for what I put on my body. With a little education, you and I can greatly impact our health for the better. Education is power. And that power is transformative. So, use what you know, use what I’ve told you, use what you’ve read and take control of the products in your home.

I would love to see all of you run to my Beautycounter website and buy like crazy (wouldn’t that be nice!), but I know that’s not realistic. So, I urge you to check out www.ewg.org and research the products and ingredients in your home. Become educated and don’t become lazy like this gal. And if in your research you find a burning passion to share safe beauty with others, I would love to link arms with you and do so together. Because together, we can make a difference. And if you’ve never tried Beautycounter but want to, shoot me a message and I would love to get samples in your hands. Like it or not, Beautycounter is my standard for safe and effective products (think Chanel meets Whole Foods); with their tireless research and the over 1,500 ingredients banned with the Never List, I have yet to find a company that I love and believe in so wholeheartedly. SO be like the new and improved Rachel, and shop informed.

FUN FACT: Your skin is the largest organ in your body and because it’s so porous, it absorbs anything you put on it. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health determined that the skin absorbs an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage.

www.beautycounter.com/rachelanderson

Just Open the Door

 

I had the privilege of reading Jen Schmidt’s (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam) new book Just Open the Door before it was available for sale. And what a privilege it was. Opening the doors of our home and building community have long been passions of mine, so I relished the opportunity to read this book about biblical hospitality. When hearing the words biblical hospitality, it doesn’t necessarily evoke warm and fuzzy feelings for me, but this book did. The stories, the insight; it reads as if you are sitting down with Jen herself, sipping tea and chatting about life.

Since moving and settling into our new life in North Carolina, my door hasn’t opened nearly as much as it used to, and while that’s ok, this book was a good reminder that I’m at my best when the door is swinging open regularly. And I love that as you read, it’s clear that an open-door policy isn’t just about the physical door of your home, but that mentality moves with you everywhere you go, whether that be the soccer field or the grocery store. And at a time when we still don’t have our people and our place here, that is crucial. But I hope to live that way even after we’ve settled here, because imagine if we  embraced all opportunities to connect and engage those around us, never saying enough.

 

 

Looking back at our life in Iowa, it’s clear that by “just opening the door”, we found a richness of community and relationships that is unmatched. From all the baby showers and wedding showers and dinners with friends and dinners with acquaintances that became friends, to the day we placed a flamingo in our front yard and nervously waited for neighbors we’d never met to show up; our door was swinging wide all the time. And even as I look back at my childhood, the door was always open, always. So, at a time when we are still waiting for that richness and abundance in North Carolina, we will move forward and open the door as we have in the past, because we want to live with an open heart.

 

 

This book is truly for everyone, and I recommend it to all my friends; but if you are wanting to learn about simple,  practical and heartfelt hospitality, then this is definitely the book for you.  The kind of hospitality that works with what you have and where you are, not a Martha Stewart Pinterest perfect kind of hospitality, but the kind of hospitality that leaves others filled up. “When we use our lives exactly as they are, desiring only to create a sacred space for our guests, mixing it with the countercultural truth of loving Jesus and loving others, we turn entertaining upside down, and it becomes radical hospitality.” JS And as you read on and hear stories of people’s lives affected by the Schmidt’s open door living, it becomes abundantly clear that this kind of living truly can change a generation.

 

 

Today is the last day to preorder with perks, so head on over to www.dayspring.com and order yours now. Preorder perks include the first 7 CHAPTERS digitally, a beautiful PRINTABLE to download and $10 OFF any Dayspring order.

Perfect Love

 

Life these past few weeks has been so disheartening, everywhere you turn there are stories full of destruction, heartache and pain. It’s enough to down even the strongest of us. Just this morning I was reading about a teenager who was tortured to death and spent years in a home full of abuse and pain. I couldn’t help but weep as I read about this poor child’s life and demise. And just a few weeks ago the headlines read about a large family with many children that experienced similar torture and horror on a regular basis. And last week, multiple teachers and students lost their lives in a school shooting. The evil around us can feel so strong at times.

With such atrocities, many are struggling to make sense of what we hear, and desperate to find solutions. We can’t fathom losing a child in such a horrific way, and we can’t grasp that a parent would treat their own child with such hate. Evil has existed since the beginning, and will continue until the end of time. We live in a country where that evil hasn’t trampled our daily living like in other countries, so it’s sometimes hard to grasp what evil really “looks” like, and then it smacks us in the face and we struggle to understand it.

While I have many thoughts, opinions and feelings about the “issues” being discussed post tragedy, it’s clear to me that as a society we have lost our way with handling such tragedies. One minute on social media and you can’t help but feel bombarded with opinions and causes. Just today my computer time included gun debates, food assistance debates, pleas to care more about third world countries, and stories of human trafficking and road rage attacks. It’s a lot, especially considering that was intended to be an enjoyable experience, one where I pop on and see what people I care about are up to, not what they feel about this or that issue.

I try not to be too “in your face” or forceful with my thoughts, because I believe we all have something to offer the conversation, but the conversation is happening in the wrong place. It’s time we all turn off our phones and computers, and actually talk to people. Nobody is gaining anything from the painful social media posts and debates, so just stop it. Rather than engage on a platform that eliminates the fullness of human interaction; go have coffee with a friend, invite a neighbor to dinner, volunteer at the food bank or career closet, bring a basket of cookies to the neighbor or teacher or coworker who is making your life difficult, or simply smile at strangers. Engage people. This is where the conversations should happen, and this is where people coming together can make a real difference.

The one constant in all of the stories consuming the media right now, broken and isolated people. While there are many forms of brokenness and many needs in our society right now, it’s safe to say that community is lacking. We’ve become so connected to the digital world, we’ve forgotten we live in a real world with real people. So, while many will be on social media creating enemies and causing division with senseless debates, I will be pursuing real people and hoping to bring a little bit of light to a broken world. People loving people will always be a more effective tool of change, and that is where one can truly change the world.

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God…”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”

Change

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At the start of every year, so many of us focus on goals and dreams for the upcoming year, and some will embrace a word or verse or saying as their mantra for the year. I personally entered 2016 with the goal to focus on me, to focus on the change that I needed personally. I’ve spent nine years of my life investing in my kids and husband and home; and while those are all wonderful investments and of the utmost importance to me, I knew that me needed a bit more attention this year. So as 2015 neared its close, I chose the word CHANGE as my word for 2016, not realizing just how fitting that would be. Two months into 2016 and I can assure you that change is beyond accurate, so much more so than even I had planned. But life is funny that way, I think we sometimes feel the wind shifting before it changes directions.

My intention was to spend this year pursuing new to me things, stretching myself and finding renewed confidence as I pursued new passions and interests; but today, for the first time in many many years, I interviewed to rejoin the corporate working world. That was not on my 2016 plan for change. Life has thrown me many curve balls over the years, and sometimes I’m shocked by all I have lived in my 35 years; but this one was out of left field. I had a great career prior to leaving to focus on family; a blessing I all too often took for granted. I never really planned to rejoin the corporate world I once knew, I just figured that I would fall into something worth doing when my youngest entered kindergarten; but life detoured and here I am. The saying “you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone” is so fitting. I have, more than I care to admit, loathed my time at home with littles. It’s the most selfless, busy, never-ending, down-in-the-trenches work that one can do. And coming off years with a grouchy, sick child, one would think that rushing to a corporate adult world would be the end all be all, but truthfully, I’m realizing how much I have treasured my time at home. Raising little people is truly some of the most important work that I will ever do.

 

As I look back over the past nine years, I’m overcome with how special all of that time was…and that’s saying a lot considering my kids pulled some crazy antics. What I wouldn’t have given on those messy, trench-filled days to be anywhere else, to be dressed in real clothes, talking to real adults about “important” things; but what I overlooked on those painful days, was that the important work was right in front of me. And many days, just keeping the kids fed and alive was all I could handle; but the lie that I needed to be accomplishing more was always there. The lie that if I could keep the house cleaner, make a better dinner, play more with my kids, be more attentive, more involved, less this, less that, more this, more that….all the lies, distractions from the important work I was doing. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, and spending countless hours alone with these little people, well, its just exhausting; they have this way of taking you from “exhausted” to “can’t even function anymore” in no time flat. They are the worst and the best, all tied up in these sticky little packages.

 

My parenting work isn’t even remotely over yet, and I will still have the joy of experiencing so many “can’t even function anymore” moments, but the way things are, that’s changing. And change is one of those things I’ve grown to love and hate, the perfect dichotomy. My family will find its new “groove” and I will experience more adult interaction throughout my days; but the sweet days of me desperately wanting to run away, as I invest hours upon hours, cleaning up mess after mess, and argue incessantly with little people; those days are coming to an end. And I guess my dream of sending all the kids off to school and drinking wine all day with my girlfriends will have to wait until another day…

Chocolates

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“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”Forrest Gump. Isn’t that the truth. Have you ever looked back at your life dreams and compared that to reality, so often they are vastly different. My life right now is in a bit of upheaval, and it has me reflecting on the past, present and future. As humans we have this great capacity and need for dreaming, its so much of our life…dreaming about what we will do, how our families will be, what our homes will be like, the next amazing vacation; for some, life is already a dream come true, but of others, its not been so dreamlike. And context is so crucial here too, because my reality could  be your dream, or vice-versa.

My husband, and our sole provider,  is between jobs right now, not exactly a dreamlike place to be. And we were here a few years ago when the economy tanked and his whole division was shut down, that time it took two years to find solid employment again. Two whole years of dreaming and hoping and struggling to get through. We were blessed by so many during those years, and looking back, I don’t get warm fuzzy’s, but I don’t want to erase them either. Because life is fluid, and those years are full of lessons and memories and people and good stuff despite the valley

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Having lived through this before, I can compare this time to last time, and I can work at doing it better. And this time, the fear is different, the impact feels less extreme and the reality is, I get to dream again. Dream about what he will do, dream about what I will do, dream about the possibilities. It’s just a job, but wouldn’t it be great if he loved his job. Would’t it be great if this was a redirect to something even better…that’s what we all hope for when big changes like this happen, better, because we dream.

I hope to never lose the ability to dream, because I think that is the charm and sparkle that keeps like moving forward, the catalyst to change.What are your deep down dreams? As adults, life and kids and responsibilities take over and sometimes we forget that deep down dream that once was so vibrant. I sometimes wonder what the world would look like if we all gave those dreams a little more attention, a little more space  to exist; and then what if we pursued them? What if complacency and fear took the backseat, and fervently chasing that dream became a priority?!

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The past few years I have been solely focused on my family, specifically the health of my son and his struggles. It consumed all of me, and the more I invested in him and fought for him, the less alive I felt. It was hard and all-consuming and required me to be completely selfless, the dreaming had died. But then he started to improve, and it didn’t consume all of me anymore, and the little dreams started to surface again, and pretty soon I wondered if the little dreams could be the big dreams…so here I am, diving into waters that make me feel a little uncomfortable and out of my element, but you know what, I’m chasing my dreams. And with each step closer to the dream, my spirit lifts, my heart feels freer and life feels a bit more magical. So do me a favor, take a few minutes today and just dream…dream about your future, those deep heart desires, and the possibilities, because life is full of them. Dream on my friend.

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Missed Moments

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Oh my heart. I just finished snuggling my baby; he’s four now, and feels like a giant. As I stared at him all nestled in my lap, he looked so big. I’ve spent the past four years snuggling this child more than I care to admit, and I can pull up countless photos to prove it. Snuggling him through  illness, and grouchy days and impromptu naps…days upon days upon days of snuggles. That’s what he needed, and I selflessly gave, but not always joyfully. At the time I often resented it, all of my time spent confined, desperate for space; but now, as I’m snuggling this tired little boy, I’m overwhelmed by how much I miss it. How much I miss those sweet cheeks buried in my chest, his warm little body sprawled out across my lap and the steady drone of his breathing…such sweet memories.

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How quickly things change, just a few months ago I was still confined more than not, but now its so rare, and I’m realizing its the start of many missed moments as my baby grows older. With the older kids I was desperate for them to just do something, anything without needing me; but now that its my baby, I’m not quite so eager, for a day will come when he no longer needs me. It almost hurts to type that, I mean that’s not really something I even think about; my children will one day not need me. That is what we are all striving for as momma’s right, for these children to turn into self-sufficient adults; and now as I stare at my four year old, I realize these years will be gone in a flash.

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I have found myself lately smiling a bit more as I trip over toys, or find cushions made into a fort, or when he grabs for my hand unexpectedly, or when he pecks me with those sweet, slobbery  kisses…its going by so fast! And I don’t know what I will do when these moments are but a memory, when they are big and can do it on their own, when I’m not the most important person in their life. I mean, lets be honest, it has its downsides, but you can’t beat the love of your littles.

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My daughter turned seven this week, and its shocking how grown she is now. A first grader who is reading and writing, confidently living life without me by her side. She is growing into her passions and dreams and its a little bit startling…not that long ago she was the one pecking me with slobbery kisses, grabbing my hand to cross the street and yelling momma every two seconds. There were days that I swore thats all they said, the incessant drone of momma all day long, so draining. But now, I hear it less; don’t get me wrong, it still feels like a war zone at times. But its shifting; they need me less, they entertain themselves, and somehow, my momma instincts can feel the change. The instincts just know it, life is changing, for the better in many ways, but also bittersweet. The life I’ve been striving for, all three kids in school all day long, its coming, and I might become the cliche mom who cries…I swore I wouldn’t be her, I’m not an overly emotional person, so to me it always seemed a bit extreme; but I might. And I think the tears will signify the sweet memories of the past, and the acceptance that this child is launching into the world without momma by his side. Be still my heart.

 

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Mama Bear Heart

A mother’s fierce mama heart and instincts to protect her offspring whatever the cost has always been fascinating to me. To think she would do anything for her kids…and until becoming a mother myself, I never knew how much mama’s truly sacrifice for those littles. Day in and day out absolutely everything in their life revolves around those children…feeding, laundry, diapers, toilet training, cleaning, playing, reading, disciplining, worrying…constant investments in transforming little people into quality big people.

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When I became a mother, I knew I would do anything for my littles. And while I have invested more than I ever dreamed, it wasn’t until my youngest, Tate, joined our family, that I started to understand exactly how strong mama’s protection really is. We’ve been through quite the journey with Tate, from being a sickly baby and toddler, to fighting for his health and finding healing for his body, only to struggle with a new challenge; all of it leading professionals to question why he functions as he does. We addressed, and thought laid to rest, the autism diagnosis last year, but it reared its ugly head again a few weeks ago. The specialist in our first visit started throwing out words like ADHD and autism, but different specialists would confirm…so for two weeks we prayed and pondered a future with those big words included. We would do it, we would figure it out: we researched and knew lots of money might be needed for treatments and we would do whatever it takes to help him.

With numbers floating in my head and uncertainty as to how we would ever make it work, I pondered things like selling our home and downsizing our life, this was my child and I would do ANYTHING to make his future the best it could be…and then it hit me like a load of bricks. THIS is how my Heavenly Father feels for me, He would do anything to make me the best I can be…He chose me and fights for me and I am His child. “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb” Psalm 139:13. We are loved and valued and desired and He will fight for us. We have a perfect Heavenly Father who loved us even as a baby in the mother’s womb…a Father’s perfect love. So humbling and undeserved and so perfect.

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Tate’s future is still uncertain, but once again the autism diagnosis has been laid to rest, as well as the ADHD. We may never know why Tate functions as he does, it could simply be that a hard start in life creates anxious preschoolers; but there is hope for his future. Even with scary labels, there would still be hope for his future. He has a mother and father who love him, as well as a Heavenly Father fighting for him.  A mama’s heart is fierce for her babies, and that is a gift from God.

 

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My Life Mimicking the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”…

It’s lunchtime and Tate is hungry, so mommy cooks him a corn dog and sets it down in front of him.

But it’s too hot to eat, so they play shapes while it cools down.

Mommy prepares her lunch while Tate eats his corn dog.

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Mommy sits down to eat, and Tate has finished his corn dog and would like more.

So mommy gets up and heats more food for Tate.

It’s too hot again.

So they play shapes for a few minutes.

Tate eats his food, but now needs water, so mommy gets him water.

Tate then spills the water, so mommy wipes up the mess while he finishes his food.

Mommy sits down to eat her now cold food, and Tate is done eating.

Mommy cleans his hands so he can play.

Mommy gets ready to sit down in front of her now ice cold food, and Tate gets his toy car stuck under the oven.

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Mommy tries to get it, but can’t.

So she pulls out the oven and retrieves the car.

It’s dirty back there, so mommy grabs the vacuum and mop and cleans.

She then cleans the counters and side of the oven before moving it back in place.

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Now she has the vacuum out and needed to vacuum the floors anyway, so she vacuums the main floor.

Now, what was mommy doing?

And this is why all mothers know that the book was actually written about our children..the guiltiest little mice of all!

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