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Growing Lavender: Part II

Hey guys!

It's been over a week since we planted our lavender and it's growing right along!  New blossoms are poking through every day and it smells SO good.  But I'll be honest - we didn't get off to the best start ...

In the first few days, it was actually looking pretty limp.  I put the pot just outside our front door thinking it would get sunlight there.  But I was totally wrong!  Once I realized what was happening, I moved it into a sunny patch in our front yard.  It perked right up and has been looking healthy and happy ever since!

This week, I bought a little watering can.  I only water the lavender every few days, but during the in-between times, I leave the can outside so Lu can pretend to water it all by herself.  It always makes her smile and I love that she has such a big heart!

On a related note, I once read that plants need affection just like people.  I have no idea if it's actually true, but I'm a firm believer that every little thing needs love.  So every morning, I take Lu out to say hello to our lavender.  And every evening, we say good night!  Luna LOVES doing this!  After a week, she now stands by the door just WAITING to see it!  And as soon as I let her out, she waves and toddles over to it.  At almost a year old, she does A LOT of adorable things but this has to be one of my favorites!

I'll be posting another update in a few weeks.   Hopefully our little plant will be a lot bigger by then!  Actually, we might have to invest in a bigger pot soon if that happens!  Once it fully blooms, I'm planning to make lavender sugar and maybe a few other fun things ... maybe a lavender crown?   Or lavender satchels to tuck into our dresser drawers?  I'll make sure to post about it so stay tuned if you're interested! 

Until next time,

Lace & Lu

10 Simple Ways to Brighten Your Day

Hi everyone!

Do you ever wake up and feel off?   Everything is fine but you're just not feeling it.  Sometimes a bad day is just that ... a bad day!  But it doesn't have to stay that way.  Try these 10 simple ways to brighten your day:

1. OPEN THE WINDOWS

Throw open the windows in your house or roll them down in your car.  A little fresh air will go a long way towards making you feel better.

2. TURN ON THE RADIO

If you only have time for one song, make it River by Leon Bridges.  Or Carry Me Through by Dave Barnes.  It's like pushing the reset button on your soul.  And if you're looking for a full playlist, keep an eye out for our Better Days Playlist which is coming soon!

3. DETOX WITH SPA WATER

I'm a brownies-for-breakfast kind of girl.  But I try to steer clear of mood-crashing sugar on rough days.  Instead, I make a pitcher of detox water for breakfast.  Then I pour it into a wine glass, close my eyes, and pretend I'm hanging out at the spa for a few minutes :)

Quick Recipe:  Combine ice, water, mint cucumber, and lemon in a pretty pitcher!

4. TRY LUXURY HAND SOAP

Am I crazy for including soap on this list?  Maybe.  But I swear I feel happier every time I use Pecksniff's England Rose & Peony Hand Wash.  I found it at my local T.J. Maxx for super cheap and it smells so. freaking. good!

5. BUY FRESH FLOWERS

For under $5, you can purchase a sweet multi-colored bouquet from your local grocery store that will brighten your day (and the rest of your week)!  Just snip the ends and place them in clean water to keep them fresh.

6. SIGN OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

Have you ever heard the quote "Comparison is the thief of joy"?  Social media makes it so easy to compare ourselves to other people!  Try signing off for a day or two and let yourself focus on real life for a while. 

7. GO FOR A WALK

Skip the gym today and take a walk outside instead.  It will feel less like a chore and more like a much-needed recharging.  I actually take a walk every single day for my sanity's sake :)

8. TAKE AN EPSON SALT BATH

Our muscles tense up when we're feeling moody.  A warm Epsom salt bath will help your body (and your mind) relax.  It's worth it, even if you have to wake up a few minutes early or go to bed a little later to make it happen.

9. HUG SOMEONE YOU LOVE

Hugging is proven to make us happier.  It makes us feel more connected to the people we care about and significantly reduces our stress levels.  I knew this long before I ever read a study on it.  In fact, I give my husband and baby and family ridiculous amounts of hugs on a regular basis.  So snuggle up to someone you love and hold on tight.

10. WASH YOUR LINENS

If the day is almost over and you're still not feeling it, strip the sheets and pillowcases from your bed and toss them in the wash.   It feels so good to snuggle into freshly laundered linen after a long day.  Breathe in the soothing scent of your detergent and know that tomorrow is bound to be a better day.

With love,
Lace

Growing Lavender: Part I

Hey guys!

Have you checked out my 2017 Summer Bucket List yet?  If you answered "no" - what are you waiting for?!  It's amazing!

If you have skimmed through it, you know one thing I want to do is grow lavender.  I know it's not technically summer yet but I'm already working it because I just can't help myself!

I should mention that I am terrible at growing things.  Every few years, I buy some poor plant from the store and bring it home to die.  I water them, give them sunlight, give them positive reinforcement... but nothing seems to work!  One by one, they all wither away.

With that being said, I'm determined to keep this lavender alive!

I've actually had an empty pot for a while just waiting for new life.  It's pictured below and I love love love it despite it's tragic past.  I found it at Lowe's Home Improvement last year and tried to grow an herb garden in it.  Unfortunately for the herbs, I went into labor the day after I planted them and, yep, you guessed it ... they died while I was in the hospital.  But it's not the pot's fault so I'm using it again (hopefully with better results this time).

According to a very nice stranger at the gardening shop (meaning Walmart), lavender thrives best in pots that are 12 - 16 inches deep.  If I remember correctly, my pot is only 10 inches deep.  But I thought of it as a suggestion rather than a rule ... like the expiration date on bread. I'll let you know how that works out.

He also recommended using a Miracle-Gro potting mix that protects from over- and under-watering (I told him about my terrible track record with plants).  For all I know, he had no idea what he was talking about.  But he sounded legitimate so I went with it!

Back at home, I lugged the pot, lavender, and potting mix into the yard.  I tried showing Luna how to fill the pot with soil but she was more interested in eating it.  I probably should have discouraged her but I try to let her be.  I mean, what's a little dirt in the grand scheme of things?

Once my pot was almost full, I set my little lavender plant inside and then packed extra dirt around it.   To be safe, I bought Adolescent Lavender.  I just made that term up, ha!  What I mean is .... I didn't buy seeds and I didn't buy a fully grown lavender plant.  I got this little guy who is just ready to grow!

Once I was done with the planting part, I figured it could use a little water.  I don't own a watering can, so I tried to get crafty by filling a mixing bowl with water and then pouring the water into strainer over top of the lavender.  It didn't work very well.  But afterwards, Luna had fun playing with the bowls (and the plant) so that counts for something!

Last but not least, I relocated the pot to just outside our front door where it should soak up the sunshine all day long.  I'm really hopeful that this little plant will grow and flourish and bring more happiness to our (already happy) home.  And who knows, maybe next year I'll have a WHOLE garden!!  Guess you'll have to stick around to see :)

With love,

Lace

One Month Until the Lace & Lu Launch!

Hey guys,

Things have been crazy around here!  The official Lace & Lu blog launch is only ONE MONTH (and two days) away and there's still so much to do.  I have interviews to conduct, photography sessions to complete, articles to write, and so much more.  I want to make sure that I'm giving you guys the best content possible and it takes time to do that! 

In the meantime, I want to share a little behind-the-scenes insight on how I'm prepping for our launch.  This week, I'm finalizing the Home page and creating the About page.  It's pretty tedious stuff to be perfectly honest.  I've had to sit down and really think about what I wanted to say and I how to get my message across.  But it's also been a rainy couple of days so there's no better time to buckle down and get it done. 

On a happy note, the weather was BEAUTIFUL last week!  I took advantage of the sunshine and drove Luna down to a nearby dock for an hour.  We met my friend Shannon there - she has a little boy about Luna's age and (like me) is working on her photography skills.  She took these shots of me and Luna while baby Arthur played nearby :)

I knew these pictures would be PERFECT for the blog if they turned out well.  But when Shannon sent them to me, I couldn't believe how much I loved them!  It's not that I don't have faith in Shannon's skills - she's incredible!  But Luna was ready for a nap and a little cranky and I was sure I looked like a complete mess!  Maybe that's why these pictures turned out so well, though.  Because by the time we got around to shooting them, I was more focused on Lu and less focused on trying to pose for pictures.  Just looking at her makes me happy and I think we can all agree that EVERYONE looks better with a smile :)

The hardest part about incorporating these pictures into my blog was choosing which ones to use - there are so many I love!  I ended up selecting one for my Home Page and one for my About page.  As for the rest, I'll use them to build anticipation for the blog on my social media accounts.  It's all part of the roll-out plan I'm currently putting together and I'm hoping it's at least somewhat effective.  I'll probably write more about that later if I can find time!

In the coming weeks, you'll have the option to sign up for the Lace & Lu monthly email list.  Until then, check back regularly for updates and let me know if there is anything you'd like to see on the blog.  I'm always looking for inspiration!

With love,

Lace

 

13 Common Themes in Every Happy Marriage

Hi all!

Coming from a divorced home, I know that marriage is hard.  Sometimes things just fall apart or don't work out.  But from the moment my now-husband proposed, I knew I wanted ours to be a forever thing.  So I started observing the people around me and studying their relationships.  I listened to their conversations, how they speak to each other, how they interact and how they react.  I took mental notes.  And I paid a lot of attention to my own relationship in the process.

Over time, I realized there are common themes in every unsuccessful marriage:  resentment, blame, indifference.  But there are commonalities in the successful ones, too.  And gradually, I came up with a list of things I think set happy couples apart:

1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This is so important!  We all need to feel seen and heard by the people we love.  And it's such an easy thing to give our partners.  Say hello when he comes home.  Look him in the eyes and smile.  Put down your phone and pay attention for a minute.  Some people think hatred is the worst thing; I think indifference is worse.

2. AFFECTION

It's obviously important to love your spouse.  But you also have to like them.  Even more important, let them know that you like them.  People like to feel liked!

Affection is easy in the beginning. You're infatuated and in love and can't get enough of that person.  But over time, our affection naturally dwindles.  The key is to find ways to hold on to it.  That's where this next theme comes into play ...

3. COMMUNICATION

Talk about the good things and the hard things.  Tell him what you need and what makes you happy.  Tell him why that thing he did last night was frustrating for you.  And then listen.  Listen to his needs and wants and frustrations.  Be open to his feedback and remember that it's okay to argue sometimes.  Talk it out until you find common ground!

4. Effort

There is no such thing as an effortless marriage.  Even happy couples have to work at it to make it last!  So make sure you're prioritizing your relationship and always do a little more than what's strictly necessarily.

5. FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is a cornerstone of all successful relationships.  There will be times when your spouse lets you down.  Times when he says or does something that upsets you.  Don't hold on to that hurt and resentment.  Take the time to process what happened, then find a way to let it go. 

6. LAUGHTER

Happy couples laugh a lot.  They try to see the humor in what might otherwise be a frustrating situation.  The other day, my husband opened the cabinet and realized all the popcorn was gone.  At first, he was a little miffed and told me so.  I laughed and said, "well you drank all the beer!"  And then we both started laughing because guess what?  I don't drink beer!  Just like that, everything was back to normal!  Keep the little things light and save your serious arguments for the big things.

7. PASSION

Your spouse should be the one person that sets your soul on fire.  After ten years of friendship, dating, and now marriage, I still feel a little giddy every time I see my husband.  Part of it is our natural chemistry.  The other part is the huge effort we put towards keeping that passion alive (see theme #4 above)!

8. PERSPECTIVE

We are conditioned to believe the grass is always greener on the other side.  But every marriage, even happy ones, have little pitfalls and hard times.  Remember:  just because you have a bad day doesn't mean you have a bad marriage. 

9. PRAISE

Be genuine and generous with your praise.  Tell your spouse how much you appreciate him.  Recognize the things he does for you and your family.  See the things he does right instead of focusing on the things he does wrong. 

10. RESPECT

Happy couples respect each other.  When they do argue, they avoid blaming or name-calling.  There are times when I'll affectionately call my husband a "dumb-dumb" (he does the same to me) but it's only during lighthearted moments.  During arguments, name calling is 100% off limits.  At the end of the day, you have to respect your partner and your marriage.  Remember the golden rule and treat your spouse the way you want to be treated.

Along the same lines, pay attention to the conversations you have about your spouse.  Think about how your partner would feel if he was listening in.  Would he feel loved?  Respected?  If not, steer the conversation in a different direction.

11. Spontaneity

As the years go by, most couples fall into routines that rarely change.  That's just life!  But it's so important to keep things interesting in your marriage.  Pick a random spot on the map and take a road trip.  Make a candlelit dinner at home.  Leave a note in his lunchbox.  Try something a little outside of your comfort zone in the bedroom.  You might just have fun!

12. TOUCH

Make it a point to touch your spouse every single day.  It could be a hug or a kiss on the forehead or a hand massage.  It could be something more intimate.  Whatever you choose, remember that skin-to-skin contact is part of every healthy marriage.  Sometimes I don't notice how tense I feel until my husband hugs me.  Immediately, my shoulders relax and I let out a breath that I didn't even know I was holding.  That's the magic of touch.

13. UNDERSTANDING

There will be times when your husband says something hurtful or lashes out.  He's a human being just like you.  Instead of reacting or taking offense, remind him that you are on his side.  And once he's ready, talk about what's really going on.

I know this article is called 13 Common Themes in Every Happy Marriage.  But if you've made it this far, you deserve a bonus theme!  So here it is (drum roll please) ...

BONUS:  SHARED RESPONSIBILITY

Nothing spells disaster for a relationship like one partner taking on most (or all) of the responsibilities. When you're married, you're part of a team.  So pull your weight - and if your spouse is lagging behind, ask him politely to pick up the slack ;)

Even if you are already in a happy relationship, I hope this list helps you through the hard times.  I hope you remember to like (not just love) your spouse and to praise his efforts.  I hope you can forgive him when he inevitably does something wrong.  And I hope you find a way to push through with the knowledge that there will be good years and bad years and that it's all worth it in the end.

Wishing you all the happiness in the world,

Lace