Why I Stopped Exfoliating

I recently posted on Instagram that the best thing I've done for my skin in the past year is stop exfoliating and got rid of my Clarisonic. You'd think I told people to cut off a limb with the amount of questions and messages I received about it! 

I grew up using Dove soap on a wash cloth to scrub my face clean morning and night, I loved that tight, squeaky clean feel! It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I started cleansing with oils, switching to natural lines and completely rethinking my whole life in terms of skincare. I had no idea I had been completely stripping my skin of all the good oils, ruining my acid mantle and then trying to make up for it with heavy face creams. Yikes! Our skin is our largest organ so just like our internal organs they are made to work perfectly, basically unassisted if fed and treated correctly. Shocking, right?! We don't need to scrub and strip it to give it a glow... in fact we need to do the opposite and leave it alone more! Best news ever, right? For some reason even after I learned this I was still skeptical and had a hard time making the switch for a bit, it was like learning that carbs can actually be beneficial and good for you! It takes time to rethink the things we've been told for forever so I'm not completely surprised by the response I received on this topic. I reached out to one of the most brilliant girls I know on the subject, Laura with Salis Skincare to explain it all so I didn't mess it up! She is the one who first told me this and I was just as shocked as everyone else because the beauty industry touts the amazing results and the need for tools like a Clarisonic so frequently that it had to be truth. Wrong. Laura is an expert on whole living, eating foods within season because that is what our bodies are truly craving and all things skincare. She formulates her whole line and is seriously a wealth of information and I love everything she has taught me! Her schooling and experience make her my #1 go-to for basically anything health and whole living. She does all natural facials and things here in Utah so if you live here I would totally suggest meeting with her!!

Here's a little video explaining the "why" behind exfoliating, hopefully it's helpful to those of you that messaged and were interested in more info!

Kids and Minimalism

Sometimes it's hard to imagine a minimal home where multiple young kids live and play because we all know how toys can take over a space! While I think it is so important to have fun, educational toys I do LOVE keeping it to a minimum. It is such a breath of fresh air to not have to pick things up so often or be worried about the next thing we should be getting the kids for the "keeping up with the Jones'" lifestyle. The thing I've learned the hard way is just because a toy is organic or wood it doesn't mean the kids will love it or that it is worth buying either, something I fell for when I first started making this switch. The toys the boys usually love are ones that can be played with and used multiple ways, use their imagination and doesn't have too many bells and whistles! Riley's birthday is this weekend and I grabbed a little water fish toy that they can use outside or in the tub and that will probably be his only wrapped present. Now I have to give you a little background on why this is so shocking coming from me. My family has always had such fun birthdays that were filled with our favorite things, amazing gifts and the best memories! So one thing I have struggled with is if I don't go so big on the gift part of birthdays will they feel jipped? Will they look back with the same amazing memories my parents created for us?! I really think the answer is yes because my goal is to have parties that are simple or no gifts but are filled with family, games and fun! That's what I want them to remember anyways, they won't remember what toys they got but I sure hope they remember how special they felt on their day and how loved they are! So for Riley's this weekend we are doing a dog party because he LOVES dogs, a slip n slide + sprinkler because he loves anything water and another favorite of his... a hot dog bar! I seriously am way more excited about all the laughing and fun we'll all have doing this than any toy I'd be giving him!

Another aspect of living minimally with children is that they know everything has a place and when they do want to play with something they know right where it is, they aren't overwhelmed with choices and can use that energy and brain power for imaginative play! Win-win for everyone!! There is nothing cuter than looking outside and seeing Hudson either playing with Riley or just by himself with a stick adventuring and fighting the bad guys in our backyard. Or the amazing questions he asks everyday that are so detailed because he has cultivated an amazing imagination and love for learning because of his simple alone time. Alone time is SO important and I really think it is so good for our kids to be "bored" from time to time! It encourages them to get creative and that is such a great skill to develop! Our boys are naturally very clean, organized and like things picked up and put together. Carl and I are very much this way so this has been such a natural transition in our home for all of us that has paid off in huge ways and I'm excited to see more and more how it evolves for all of us! 

Petunia Pickle Bottom City Carryall Bag

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Are you looking for the most practical, pretty, lightweight, fashionable diaper bag? Well you're in luck because I've found it and I LOVE it!! About two years ago I did a photo shoot with Petunia Pickle Bottom and was able to meet the owner who became such a great, fast friend because of her huge heart! Riley was just a couple weeks old, I still had baby weight hanging on, was paranoid of germs and she was the kindest, helped us feel comfortable and went out of her way to just make it such a positive experience! There's no doubt Petunia Pickle Bottom has been so successful because of her sweet and caring personality and passion for what they do! The quality of their bags is top notch, the options and endless styles, colors, prints and patterns are always amazing! 

I love this specific City Carryall in the Black Colorblock pattern because of the stunning simplicity and functionality! Love the option of being able to attach and detach the changing pad, the wipe-able canvas fabric, the leather accents and I have to mention it again, LIGHTWEIGHT! I have had diaper bags that are so pretty but even when they're empty they about break my back. Not this one! Another thing I love is how structured it is, the amount of pockets for organization and that it doesn't collapse on itself while you're looking for things! Don't tell me I'm the only one who knows they put an extra binky in there but when the baby starts screaming you're scrambling and can't find the dang thing! This bag is your solution, I am in love with it and know you will be too! 

Meditation, Mindfulness Or Whatever You Want To Call It

I wanted to chat today about these two things or whatever name you want it to fall under. I have always been a big prayer and faith person. I love this quote "Prayer is when you talk to God, Meditation is when God talks to you." I can think back to a really young age and the many times when I have felt stressed, scared or overwhelmed and prayer was always my go to. I feel like it is a special gift I have been given, to be able to get out of my mind when things feel like too much. Soon after I delivered our stillborn Crew I experienced a whole new level of anxiety that I had never dealt with before. This was different and frustrating and I realized those things how I've always used them weren't cutting it for awhile. Long story short, my hormones after delivering him early, having my milk come in and the whole set of hormones that come along with that as well as the shock of the whole situation was a lot for my body to try to understand and in turn my thyroid issues got really off balance. Once we found a great doctor who knew exactly what was going on with my thyroid, things have been much better and I have been able to dive into meditation to keep myself more balanced.

I think a lot of times we over complicate meditation, it can be as simple as a few deep clearing breaths, a prayer or sitting still for hours on the ground. There is no right or wrong way. I've tried a lot of guided meditation apps, YouTube videos and just focusing on deep breathing which has become my go-to. Deep clearing breaths are my all-time favorite and I love working on it with Hudson when he gets frustrated or overwhelmed too, it is SO powerful! Over the past 6 1/2 years of dealing with my thyroid going up and down a lot due to pregnancies and losses I have become really comfortable with meditation and the HUGE blessing it can be. There is something so powerful about knowing you can get yourself out of panic mode with your mind if you can train it to go there, how cool right?! This is the exact reason of why I want to have this baby boy epidural free, because part of me wants to challenge my mind, part of me hates meds and the other part is scared of another epidural after Riley's being so rough. With that being said, if at any point I feel like I need the epidural I would do that as well. Our minds are capable of so much and I think for a lot of years I robbed myself of the huge power of that. Meditation and mindfullness coupled with essential oils has kept me off anxiety meds and for that I am so grateful in the power of it. 

What is your favorite way to meditate? Does it feel awkward or silly to you? Have you really, really tried it and given it a chance? If not, I challenge you to! What's the worst that can happen, you end up super relaxed and happy? That doesn't sound too bad to me!

How are we teaching & showing our kids what true success is?

How do you measure success? Honestly ask yourself that.

I've thought a lot about this over the past year and I'd have to say I'm a little bit embarrassed of what my answer would have been a couple years ago. Is it a certain kind of car? Large home or in the "perfect" neighborhood? Specific amount in the bank? Being well known or well liked?

These would have all crossed my mind or probably been on my list somewhere. I have a funny story that happened a few months ago on my Instagram that got me thinking extra about this and what our kids are perceiving as "successful" or expected. We had recently finished remodeling our master bathroom and the boys bathroom and I posted a few photos showing how it turned out. I got an innocent message from a girl who looked to be about high school age and her comment was, "Is that your WHOLE master bathroom?!" It caught me so off guard to be honest, I was confused why that would be so shocking? It is small, has a single sink, no tub, one vanity and guess what the small vanity even has some EMPTY drawers still... shocking right?! After I let it soak in for a bit, it made me sad. Not because of my bathroom, that part actually made me more proud of the progress I've made in this area, I love that little spot! What made me sad was this is what our teens, children and innocent kids minds think is needed to be happy/successful/to fit in. We are more than our possessions, SO much more.

One of the best things I've noticed that is closely linked to my minimalism journey is the improvement in my anxiety and the boost in my confidence. You experience a clearing and mind shift when you're not so focused on the "stuff". How can we teach our children this same feeling and experience with the complete opposite constantly being thrown at them? Buy this, do this, travel here, bigger, better, faster... how do we stop it? While I don't have the answers yet and my kids are still young I will make it my goal to show them that none of that makes you happier or better. When we moved into our current home we said "oh we'll be here 3-5 years!" well guess what? Here we are, year four and I have grown to love this place, our neighborhood and realized we have more space than we actually need as is! Would a larger family room be great for parties? Absolutely! Would bigger bedrooms be nice? At some point, sure! But would it really make Carl and I any more happy? I can honestly say no. We probably won't be here forever because at some point some things like the boys getting bigger and needing bigger beds which means a little bigger room will have to happen but the size of the home I once thought I needed to feel I had "arrived" is a fraction of what it used to be and that is so calming. The stress and pressure to make more money, save more, build sooner, be here by this point kind of thinking is no way to live and I hope my boys will grow up feeling this way too.

Success to me is creating a family bond that we all know we have each others backs 110%, that we can be unapologetically be ourselves and that is more than enough. That Heavenly Father lives and loves them, that being kind is the most important thing you can be to people. To love more and judge less, that buying this or that is a waste and that experiences are what matter. To gain an education and find the things in life that make you feel alive. Service can be fun, making and doing things for others makes you feel good too. How to have fun and to be good humans. My parents tease me when it's time for birthdays or holidays that they don't know what to get that won't end up being donated to DI the next week, haha. I do think having some toys and things to stay busy and challenged at home is important but I also know that there is so much more than that too and teaching them along side me as I'm learning will be such a huge blessing in the long run to us all!

Minimalism for president! Haha my challenge to you is look inside YOU and see if what your worrying about, focusing on and teaching your kids is really what you feel is important. If it is then go you, you're ahead of me! If not then change things around so it can be! This next generation needs some clear minds and open hearts to sort through all the crap that is thrown at them. 

XO