Linen Sheets Are A Game Changer

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This post is sponsored by Garnett Hill.

I kept hearing all of this buzz about linen sheets being the best thing you could ever sleep in, but I didn't really believe it. And even if it was true, I wasn't about to drop a ton of money on sheets when I already had some that were perfectly fine. I mean, it's like the whole thread count, Egyptian cotton thing...It sounds amazing and I love luxury, but do I really need to spend a wad of cash on sheets for the best sleep of my life? If it's a good price and halfway decent and I can get it at a nearby store then I'm sold. At least, that's how I operated until I had the chance to try linen sheets through Garnett Hill. 

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When they reached out to me to partner with them this year I was definitely excited. They are known for quality basics for women, kids and home. I have never ordered sheets online before though, and so I thought this was the perfect chance to experience that process. 

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I saw these Eileen Fisher ticking stripe sheets in pink, and I just had to have them. The frayed edges are so cute, and the color was the perfect way to add some spring freshness to the room. Although I must say, I was a bit hesitant about linen. I was wondering if everything was just going to look like a wrinkled mess all of the time. I sure as heck didn't want to have to iron all of the sheets everything time I had a guest visit. 

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But I took a gamble on them because of the rumors that sleeping in linen is the best. Boy am I glad I did. They are so awesome that I am considering giving up my own master bedroom for the guest room. Being that I live in Arizona where the temps can climb to 120, I should have done this a long time ago. They make you feel like you are sleeping on a cloud, and keep you nice and cool compared to regular sheets. 

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They do have a worn, slightly wrinkled look to them as most linen does, but I find that charming and a juxtaposition to modern design elements in my guest room. I highly recommend trying linen for yourself! Visit Garnett Hill for more linen styles. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

Article Sven Sofa Review

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This post is sponsored by Article.

Shopping for a sofa is worse than shopping for jeans. Can I get an amen?! It's hard because you can't exactly try on sofas, they are really expensive and there are so many styles to choose from. I have had four different sofas in my family room and none of them have worked until now. FOUR! This is why you should look no further than Article when you are choosing your sofa. You get good design, comfort, quality and price all in one sofa. Plus, it's shipped to your door and you have a 30 day return policy in case you don't like it.

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This Sven sofa caught my eye awhile ago. It was between Article and West Elm, and I chose West Elm at the time because I knew the brand. Long story short, the couch was nice, but way too deep and my former husband took it in our divorce. So, here was my chance...to do it right this time. It was time to go for the Sven. I had kept seeing it pop on Instagram over and over again, and rave reviews one after another. 

But before I bit the bullet on the Sven, I got to experience these green velvet beauties. And then they arrived, and I touched and felt and saw the quality and craftsmanship of the chairs. There was ZERO doubt in my mind that a sofa from Article would be top notch too.

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I went with the Birch Ivory Sofa because after purchasing three shades of gray and one brown sofa I knew the space needed a lighter color. I loved this birch textile because it wasn't stark white. It has texture to it and is an oatmeal color with specs of browns. It's rich, soft and comfortable. Even with two kids that are walking stain hazards, I know this is still the best one for me.

I summed up my main three takeaways from my sofa chronicles below. I hope this helps you make a wise investement. 

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1. Always choose comfort over style.  There are a lot of pretty sofas out there, but they aren't all comfortable. If this is a sofa that you are going to be sitting on a lot over the years, don't sacrifice comfort for style. The goal, of course, is to find a sofa with both. That's what I found with Article's Sven sofa. 

2. Don't scrimp on quality just because of prices battles. There are a lot of inexpensive sofas, but you will get what you pay for. I know that to be true because I bought cheaper sofas in the past and they were terrible. The Sven sofa is only $999! That sofa would easily sell for $2,300 in other stores with that kind of quality and crafsmanship. Such a steal!

3. Don't be afraid of online shopping. I bought a sofa in-person and it turned out to be terrible. Online shopping gives you the ability to read reviews and see other people's experiences. And a good store has a good return policy. Article has an amazing one.

Photos by Rennai Hoefer

TO FEAR OR NOT TO FEAR

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Fearlessness is praised by our world, and it's funny because it's a completely non-human idea. Fear is not meant to be absent from our lives, but it's also not meant to control our lives. Fear is an innate, God-given human emotion and response produced to protect us from danger. Even animals experience fear. To be fearless (without fear) is to be foolish. 

Yet, as someone that has lived with perpetual anxiety due to some traumatic situations, I know first-hand how fear plays a huge part of my life. Too big of a role, actually.  I know what it is to desire fearlessness because my thought is that, "If I am fearless then I am brave" or "If I am fearless then I am free."  

And what I will tell you after years of counseling, is that fearlessness is not the end goal. It is simply to able to listen to my fear, to acknowledge that it's there, to hear what it's trying to tell me, and then to assess if that message it true, and what I am  risking. 

The goal is simply to have fear and peace CO-EXIST. 

So, why did this all of the sudden come to me? Well, I was sitting in my counselor's office on Monday, and I was sharing with her the intimacies of my relationship with God. I described a vision of a wounded puppy that is being adopted by a kind loving man, and even though I see all of my other puppy brothers and sisters running to him and licking hIs face and being overjoyed to see him, I am simply sitting across from him gently wagging my tail wanting to run to him, but I can't. I am thinking about it and his arm is stretched out. He is offering me assurances saying, "Don't be afraid," and, "It's okay." And I am scoping him out thinking, "I think this is the nicest man ever, but I still can't be so sure." But the man is patient with me. He wants me, and so He simply waits for me to come to Him when I am ready.

I tell this "vision" to my counselor with tears rolling down my face. I tell her how frustrated I am with myself that the one person I love most in this life is God. He is the one truly good thing that I know. But after all of the separation and divorce and pain, I am so terrified of the future that lies ahead - the future that He has for me - is more of the same. I explain to my counselor how I just want to be fearless and to trust Him. And I feel ashamed that I can't TRUST God fully. I can trust Him with some things, but not all things. I tell her that to not trust God feels like I'm a bad Christian or something. I lack faith like Thomas and Peter when he is walking on water. And I feel ashamed by that. And she asked me, "Do you think God is upset with you for feeling fear?" And I said, I don't know."

And that's when she said to me, "Why in the world would God make you feel shame for experiencing an emotion that He gave us? He gave us fear to help us." And then she said, "Why else do you think that God says over and over and over again, "Do not fear for I am Your God,"? She went on to say that God is such a sweet, loving God that He offers assurance to us constantly in the Bible by saying, Do not fear for I am with you always...Do not fear. I will not fore sake you." He says all of these things to even his closest friends, His disciples, even after they have watched Him perform miracles and He has shown them nothing less than integrity and kindness and love. These are loving assurances that our God makes to us in scripture and even in my heart as I talk to Him because He knows I have fear and He doesn't expect me not to. Rather, He hopes that I can acknowledge my fear, tell him my fear, and then he will meet me with His assurance of love and peace. 

I think that process has applications for all kind of scenarios. To be vulnerable on social media or on my blog for example...

-What is the fear? To be misunderstood or rejected by friends, family and strangers.
-Why am I writing? To help others
-Is the reason why I am doing this more important to me than the potential rejection of peers? Yes
-Will I hurt anyone else for writing this? No
-What will I gain from writing this? Feeling heard and helping others
-Am I okay with the risk of loss? Yes

See how there is fear? It's no absent at all. It's simply acknowledged and replaced with assurances of the good and peace that can come from the risk. 

This is the message that we need to tell people with anxiety and fear. For anyone that has risked their life to save a life, it's not that they weren't afraid. It's that they were at peace with the loss they might experience in hopes of gaining something better - saving a life. 

PUTTING THE "MY JOB IS HARDER THAN YOUR JOB" GAME TO REST

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I grew up with two hard-working parents. I didn't have a stay-at-home mom or dad. So, when I grew up I always saw myself working full-time too. I wasn't really sure if I would even become a parent, but sure enough, God blessed me with a daughter and three years later a son.

When Ryan and I were planning on starting a family our hearts became aligned for me to stay at home with Elle, and also work part-time from home. Thank you, Internet! I never felt comfortable completely giving up a job. Maybe it was because my mom had engrained in me to never, ever stop working just in case something happened to Ryan. (Boy, am I sure glad she did that...but I digress...) So, I made a way to do both, but I what I didn't know was that I was setting myself up for failure because I didn't have any clue about boundaries or what to expect.

I had no idea how hard it was to be a stay at home mom. Oh my goodness is it soooooo hard. It's one of the hardest jobs on the planet. HANDS DOWN! And I can say that because I have done it ALL. Worked full-time, stayed at home, and now being a single parent working full-time and parenting alone...Hands down, being a stay at home mom is harder than any desk job, in my opinion. And being a stay at home mom while running a business....Well, my friends, that's working two full-time jobs truthfully. 

The reason why it's harder than a desk job is because you are constantly pouring yourself out without any encouragement from a colleague, zero payment from a boss and hardly any breaks. Heck, I still don't go to the bathroom alone unless I'm at my desk job! When you are home with a baby constantly breastfeeding and changing diapers, while a three year old is repetitively asking for snacks and for you to play...And then you finally get the toddler down and the baby is still awake....Oh my goooshhh...Never ending, exhausting job that is soooo worth it in the long run, but then you have all of the other housework to do and you barely have two hands to do it....I mean, those "I love you, Mommy's" and sticky jelly kisses are worth more than gold, but it doesn't put the fuel back in the tank. While desk jobs can easily affirm you and give you a pep in your step as you cross things off your list, make people happy and can see it on their faces, and get paid.

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I have a lot of friends that are stay-at-home moms looking to work a side gig to bring in some cash and here is what I will tell you so that you can learn from my mistakes:

1. Make sure you know why you are wanting to stay at home, and make sure your partner sees the value too. Maybe even agree together to assign what that numerical value is of being a SAHM. That way it's not EVER looked as FREE and you both see your role as important.

2. Make sure you clearly define your SAHM hours and your team parenting hours. You can't just hand-off your kids for the whole night to your partner when they get home, but you may need that one hour break you would normally get for lunch at your desk job when they get home. (Some days kids don't take naps and there ZERO breaks).

3. Make sure you define the reason why you are keeping a part-time job. Is it really for the money or are you doing it for job security or are you doing it to help your mind sharp. Whatever it is make sure you define the why.

4. If you are going to work from home, set your office hours and stick to them, so that your spouse knows when you are working.

5. Since SAHM's or SAHD's don't get reviews or bonuses, make sure your partner knows when you are feeling unappreciated, discouraged or kicking ass. Have them help you celebrate wins and grieve losses. You might also want to join MOPS or mom clubs to other moms can cheer you on. 

6. Don't ever say you don't work! You are working and providing a lot of value to your family by raising your children. Put it one your resume on LinkedIn. I sure did! It's called the "pregnancy pause." https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-evjen/ Just because I was home with Elle doesn't mean I wasn't learning and gaining skills that can be applied to a team office environment. I learned to nurture, to discipline, to multitask, to be comfortable with looooong hours, etc. 

7. Remember that even though your job is hard it's the most rewarding. I wish I could go back to being with my kids more. It's such a short time in their lives before they go to school, and I wish I got to do that more for Levi. 

Now, full-time working moms...I know you might be mad at me right now for saying this, and that's okay. I'm a full-time working single mom, and this is just my opinion now that I have been able to compare and contrast different seasons and roles. I'd love to hear your thoughts too. Please share!

BEST EYESHADOW PALETTE

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Raise your hand if you get overwhelmed walking into Sephora...I sure do. I'm a gal that loves to play with makeup, but with so many choices and colors and formulas, it's a gamble on which one is the most flattering and best buy. My dear friend Lindsey Bouffard is a celebrity makeup artist, and found that her clients were just as frustrated with the buying process too. She also found that many of them had no idea what to do once they got an eyeshadow palette. 

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Lindsey decided to create a no-brainer approach to eyeshadow application with Flekk Cosmetics. It's basically paint by numbers for your eyes. GENIUS! Each color has a number and coordinates to a brush with the same number. She even tells you which colors would look best for everyday wear and gives you a couple combinations for glam eyes.

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All of the eyeshadows that come in the palette are for natural everyday wear, but can be amped up for night. You're going to see crazy purples, blues and greens. All of these palettes are to help women highlight their eye shape and eye color with browns, pinks, neutrals and golds. 

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We all have different eye shapes and eye colors, so to find out which colors work best all you have to do is take a quiz. It will then recommend your palette combination. It's only $38 for six shadows. Such a steal!

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I have the fine palette and I wear it every day. It's perfect! Let me know what you think! Check out the palettes here.