Danielle Cosgrove

Simple living is all the rage. It is all over social media, It is on the latest magnolia journal, it’s something I have been striving towards in my own way of living. It has become a new way of life for many people. I love that it’s something people are striving for. Simplifying your life to make time for the things that mean the most to you. It is definitely something I can get behind.

Simple living is different for everyone. For some it can also often mean minimalism. I wouldn’t define myself as a minimalist, as I don’t want to be defined by my “things” or a lack of “things”. Honestly, I love my things. I love the simple pleasures of my home, like throw blankets on my couch to curl up in, family pictures on my walls and extra towels for when I get lazy and skip doing laundry.  Minimalism is not what I am talking about when I refer to simple living.

Simple living can also mean getting back to the basics. The basic life that really isn’t all that simple. I want to emphasize that living simply does not mean living lazy. Simple living does not necessarily mean easy. Living simply sometimes requires more elbow grease in order to have more time and money for the things that mean the most to you. This is why living simply involves intentionality.

Simple living isn’t about bare homes, zero color, and the lack of “things.” It’s about living intentionally for the things that bring you life.

To start on your own journey towards simplicity, you must first ask yourself the big what and why: what do you want to simplify in your life and why do you want to do it? For me, I want to take care of my family’s health and wellness. I want to cultivate a good work ethic and thankful hearts as we steward the resources we have.

I’m excited to share some ways that we have simplified our lives. Honestly, these ideas aren’t all “easier”, some are hard work. But it’s little steps that make a new normal and my new normal is more time with family and more money to save for our future. To embrace purposeful simplicity is the best decision we could make.

1. Homesteading

I’ll be the first to admit that this idea doesn’t resonate with everyone. In fact, a lot of my points below may not, because it involves hard work and time, but with homesteading we have saved so much money and learned so much gratefulness.

Grow a garden to cut out some food costs. Get some backyard chickens for eggs and to sell eggs (they can also help “mow” your lawn!). Start composting and minimizing waste in your home. Don’t have the space for homesteading? Join a CSA: support local farmers and reap the fruits of their labor.

If you need some help starting a homestead or taking steps towards one, Check out this blog HERE

2. Minimize Waste

Can we all agree that our homes are filled with waste? From mismatched Tupperware, to junk mail, to loads and loads of paper products, our homes fill with waste often because of the lack of intentionality…or laziness.

Grabbing a handful of paper towels to clean up a spill is easier then grabbing a rag that you will later have to wash,dry, and restock. Paper plates and cups are easier to clean up after a gathering then washing dishes. Sure, these things make my life simple and less complicated. BUT, I might unintentionally be cultivating laziness in my family for the sake of convenience. Remember, simple living doesn’t always mean the easy route. 

Here are some ways to minimize waste in your home: Use reusable bags for groceries, get a reusable water bottle, ditch the paper towels, start recycling, compost food and paper, use glass jars and Pyrex for food storage, get reusable napkins. Start making your own home products.

3. Homemade Products

This past year, this was the biggest thing I changed. We ditched the toxins and decided we didn’t want to spend the extra pennies to buy things organic or natural, so I learned to make all of them on my own. It saves you so much money and you are getting the cleanest ingredients. Here I am purposefully living towards good health and wellness while saving our family money.

An easy place to start is to think of the things you use every day and replace them. I spent 20 min one day with a piece of paper and walked around my house to think about the things I bought each month, I then tried to figure out a way to replace them. Things like:  – Laundry detergent, wool dryer balls, dry shampoo, all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, facial scrubs, make-up, shampoo, soap.

4. Declutter 

This is a little different than minimizing waste. This is more about “things”. Ladies, purge that closet. Even if you aren’t ready to do the capsule wardrobe yet, just go through it and get whatever you can out of there. One thing I did, I went through my closet, got rid of some clothes, then told myself I would wear everything that was left in it at least once over the next month. if I didn’t, it’s because I either didn’t love it anymore, it didn’t fit how it used to, or it just lost its’ “touch”. – it was just taking up space so it had to go.

Clean out closets and shelves, even the pretty decorations cluttering your home. Think about what they mean to you. Again, I’m not talking about minimalism and giving away the simple pleasures of your home, I’m talking about getting rid of that clutter that you know is there and just keep “putting off” for that spring cleaning. There is no time like the present.

5. Buy Less

We all having something we spend our money on. Maybe it’s accessories, entertainment, or food. We all do it. But maybe we can take this a step further,  I do notice I spend money on things I do not need to because of laziness. For example, I have a band of hair ties and bobby pins and I’m making an extreme effort to see how long I can make them last (this one will be the hardest. Am I right, ladies?). For me personally, it’s the little things like this that I slowly lose money on. Mindless spending because I just need them, instead of purposeful effort to not lose them.

But really, make goals for yourself. Try not to buy a new article of clothing for a month, or don’t buy something when you first spot it. think about it for a week and then go back to it. Make a budget.

6. Cook at Home

This is such a simple thing that can really simplify your life. For me, I push this in our home, not because it is always simple, but because it’s an intentional effort towards the things that matter to me. We control the quality and ingredients of what we are eating, we get personal time with family slaving over the recipes, and money saved from the labor invested. Cooking at home can also become a way to allow creativity and independence in yourself and family. Also, eat as a family. I can’t stress this enough. Turn off the TV and your phones and enjoy the company of those you love most.

For me, living the simple life is freeing. It is the best decision we have made as a family. It is a slow process and we are nowhere where I would like, but it is a process. Some of these things may not resonate with you. The idea of getting backyard chickens or getting rid of shampoo, those are a little extreme. I get it. Maybe your idea of living a simple life is doing less, traveling more, enjoying friends more often. Sit down and think about your why. Make a list of the things you value most and go from there. Just start.


Sarah is a wife and mother who currently resides in Upstate, NY. She is obsessed with homesteading, gardening, and raising animals and babies. In the evenings and on the weekends she is a professional photographer, photographing weddings and families. Gift her a kombucha, RX bar or fresh eucalyptus and you’ll be besties for life.

Sarah has a heart to educate those around her to live simply and naturally. To find joy in the little things and live for the big things. Her mission in life is to be a loving wife, a gentle and patient homemaker, raising a family to love and serve Jesus.




One of the biggest driving forces that led to shifting my purpose and vision for The Lowly Life, was my smartphone. Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself going back and forth about using my phone too much and really struggling with just how involved things like social media were in my life, and in the lives of those around me.

Technology and all we have access to through it is truly amazing! It’s fun and can be a practical, useful tool for our lives. But it can be overused so easily and there are many unfortunate side effects to this. Relationships suffer, we disconnect from real life moments and experiences, drama (So. Much. Drama.) discord, and comparison eat away at us, our health can be negatively impacted, and we can struggle to be productive. It was really important for me to take a major step back and look at how I was personally being affected by the ways I used my phone, and then determine the changes that I needed to make.

Now this is coming from a girl who LOVES her Instagram and has made so many incredible connections through being on social media! I know that there are many positive aspects to it and it can be a beautiful way to engage with others. But I do think use of social media and our smartphones in general, has blown way out of proportion and that it could be dialed down a bit. Okay, a lot.

We can implement significant changes into our everyday lives that will help us spend less time on our phones, and live more simply, intentionally and purposefully. This will look different for all of us, but today I wanted to share with you some simple ways that I’ve personally created distance from my phone, and the boundaries that have really helped me to be more productive, mindful and invested in different areas of my life. I hope they are helpful for you as well and that you’ll consider giving them a try if you’ve found yourself in the same boat.

1. Turn Notifications OFF

This one change has been SO helpful for me! My phone used to blow up with all kinds of notifications throughout the day and it made it difficult to be self controlled and not respond to things immediately. So at the start of this year, I turned off all social media notifications and it’s been absolutely wonderful. Now my phone only goes off if I receive an email, phone call or text message. In addition, I’ll usually have my phone on silent during the day, and this has also helped me be more detached and able to get things done without it calling to me 24/7.

2. Phone Free Date Nights

I recently started leaving my phone at home or in the car when Jay and I go out for date nights. This boundary allows me to focus more fully on time with my husband, without the distraction or need to check my phone for anything.

Back on our 2 year wedding anniversary, Jay took to me to a super fancy restaurant in Downtown Austin. It was such a beautiful place and the food was insane! I very quickly grabbed my phone to capture/post it all and he lovingly asked me if I could just put my phone away. A very simple and understandable request. This made me so frustrated, however, because all I was trying to do was capture the beauty of what we were experiencing. I didn’t see the harm at the time.

But the truth is that it simply wasn’t necessary. Jay wasn’t trying to be a jerk, all my husband wanted was a full date where we were focusing on simply being together, not worried about sharing it with the world or capturing the perfect picture.

There isn’t anything wrong with taking a snapshot to remember something beautiful, but we have to be careful and mindful that it doesn’t become routine, obsession, distraction, and have a negative impact on the people around us.

Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I’ll bring my phone with me if I want a picture with Jay or of where we are, but I never post in real time and always try to be selective and disciplined in it.

3. Phone Free Night Stand

I don’t know about you, but this girl is a major night owl. I am always more productive, alert and my creative juices flow best late at night. Jay on the other hand tends to be an early riser and can be out cold by 8:30/9PM, which is pretty much impossible for me. We hardly ever go to bed that early, but sometimes he’s ready to hit the hay long before I am. We don’t like going to bed separately, so unless I have something specific to work on, I try winding down when he does.

More often than not I am tossing and turning, wide awake forever after he’s gone to sleep, so my first instinct is to grab my phone off of my night stand. It’s terrible I know, but it’s usually the only thing that “helps” get me to sleep. I’ve wanted to break this habit because I know it isn’t good for me, so I finally made a change and moved my phone away from my nightstand. It now charges on our dresser, on the opposite side of the room, which I’m too lazy to get up and grab if I can’t sleep. So that worked out nicely!

While this has been been an adjustment, it’s definitely been a positive one. I’ve actually had an easier time getting to sleep since making the switch, which is interesting. It also gets me out of bed quicker in the morning because I have to get up to shut off my obnoxious phone alarm, as opposed to hitting snooze a billion times when it’s next to me. We’ll be getting lamps for our room soon, so I’ll be able to read in bed when I can’t sleep, and that usually works wonders for me, too.

4. Posting Content Later And Less

I used to feel this strange need to post in real time and often. I thought I had to post something every single day,  and would even stress over not having content to share. It was ridiculous. Platforms like Instagram are such fun creative outlets and I love being able to showcase different aspects of our lives through pretty pictures,  but these apps should never, ever control us and it can be so easy for them to.

Things don’t have to be shared the moment they happen, and sometimes a moment should just be enjoyed for what it is, away from our phones and our favorite apps.

This shift in mindset was a game changer for me. I started looking at social media in a different light and saw less of a need for it in my everyday. For me, it’s been really helpful setting boundaries online, when it comes to how much I post and how much I’m on in general. Weekends, for example,  have become more of a phone free time in our home, where we aren’t posting, interacting online much and are very intentional about doing things together.

For you it might not be your phone. Maybe it’s Netflix, or cable, or just too much time browsing on your computer. Whatever the case may be, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re doing a good job of being invested in the lives of those around you, intentional with your time, and disciplined in the way you’re using technology. If you find that these areas could use some work, and even if none of my ideas suit your fancy, come up with a list of your own and give it a trial run! See the difference it makes for you.

I want to conclude by saying that I AM NOT PERFECT. I do not succeed in every area of this all the time and this is a constant work in progress! I’m not over here saying I have all the answers, because I most certainly don’t! But I have experienced very quickly the benefits of incorporating these much needed adjustments. I feel so passionate about giving my phone and technology in general, less of a place in my life. Because life is precious, and it’s important to view all that we do, as well as the motives behind what we do, in light of that.


Thanks for reading and please let me know if you give any of these a try/how they’re working out for you. Happy Friday!



“Friendship is a deep oneness that develops when two people, speaking the truth in love to one another, journey together to the same horizon.”

~ Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

I am blessed to say I married my best friend. I fell in love with my husband, Matt, when I was sixteen and he was eighteen. Because we were so young, he and I were able to grow and learn together as we became adults. So much of who we are now was in some way shaped by the other. We have been extremely compatible from the beginning and have come to know each other so well during our almost twelve-year relationship (going on 5 years of marriage!). But, as we all know, people change as they grow. Movies, music, and activities we enjoyed when we were in high school might not suit our fancy as much now as we approach our thirties, and the fact that we have been given a beautiful daughter who never lets us sleep has changed our priorities as well. How do we continue to cultivate deep friendship when many of the commonalities that brought us together don’t mean as much now? There are also many marriages where the spouses are very unlike one another, and that’s not a bad thing! Regardless of how dissimilar a couple may be, deep friendship is possible. I wanted to share four simple and practical ways Matt and I continue to grow in our friendship, even when life looks different from how it did before.

1. Make Christ Your Dearest Friend

I know it sounds like the cliche Christian thing to say, but this is such a foundational truth: Jesus is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He will never fail you. He will never change. His love, his grace, and his mercy towards you are inexhaustible. We and our spouses are in stark contrast. We constantly fail, change, and exhaust our supply of mercy and grace. But knowing that we are perfectly loved by God in Christ, we won’t be crushed when we fall short or when our spouse fails. This takes such immense pressure off your relationship and places you on unshakable ground. Matt and I must constantly preach the gospel to one another and remind ourselves that our identity is not found in our imperfect relationship but in Christ—our true and better friend who will never leave or forsake us. We can have confidence that our marriage will last on this journey of life because it is built on the firm foundation of the gospel. “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

2. Be Intentional (Date Night! Date Night! Date Night!)

In practically every marriage or counseling book I’ve read, the number one reason for struggling marriages is neglect. Neglect is stealthy and hard to notice unless you’re actively searching it out. Even when we’re focused on good things, our marriage can suffer if it is not a priority. One of the most practical ways to be intentional about staving off neglect is having a regular date night. And no, it’s not just going and getting food somewhere that makes a good date night (although food is amazing); it’s using that time to intentionally focus on your spouse. Matt and I do our best to have one date night a week, even if that means dropping our daughter off at her Nana’s so we can enjoy an “at-home” date night, since going out every week can get pricey (but if you’re going to spend money on something, invest it in having intentional time with your spouse). Use that time to ask specific questions and learn something about your spouse. What are they learning in their Bible reading? What are they struggling with? What’s something they’ve learned about themselves? Where are some areas you can improve?

Matt is one of the pastors at our church, as well as an MDiv student, so he is constantly learning, studying, and planning. Anyone who knows him knows he processes by talking things out. I love listening, but on date nights, we try to make it a rule not to talk about his work or school, and I try not to talk about how tired I am. Even though those things are a huge part of our lives right now, date nights are a time to direct our focus to other areas that get less attention. For some couples, a date night with this kind of discussion might seem awkward at first because it’s an unnatural style of communication: asking such direct questions to someone they know so well already. However, it’s worth the initial awkwardness and effort to make it a habit of being a student of your spouse, intentionally learning and growing in love and friendship together. So, drop the kids off at a family member’s or a friend’s, and enjoy some quality time together!

3. Have Fun

This step ties in with being intentional but deserves its own point: having fun together is vital for friendship in marriage. Laughter can lighten the heaviest of moments and erase a day’s worth of exhaustion and tears. In other relationships I admire, it’s noticeable that the couple laughs together and truly enjoys one another. I must make note that this laughter is never at the other’s expense but rather an expression of their mutual joy and love. I’ve always appreciated Matt’s sense of humor; he can make me laugh like no one else can. He knows exactly when to say one of our favorite lines from Frasier, or he’ll randomly dance side to side from the doorway in our kitchen as I sit watching from the living room in hysterics. The comic relief he brings to our home is a blessing. A big part of intimacy in friendship is simply being able to be silly together. With the many responsibilities we carry, it’s easy to be serious most of the time (or to take ourselves too seriously), but it’s important to show your spouse that they bring you joy. Be generous with your laughter.

4. Give More Than You Get

Sacrificial love is the most Christlike love you can give your spouse. It means serving and giving more. It means trying harder to love your spouse better. A practical way to live this out is to care about the things that matter to your spouse. Whether it’s a specific sports team, a show, or a hobby, try to find something about those things that you can enjoy too. Try to pay at least some attention during the football (or in my case, futbol) game. For Matt, it means going on a walk with me even when he just wants to relax indoors after he’s home from work. It means sacrificing even when you feel you’re the only one who ever does.

Because we’re human, we’re selfish. We want what makes us happy and comfortable. But God’s primary purpose in marriage (and life) is not to make us happy, but to make us holy. Holiness happens over the course of our lives through the work of sanctification—a continual dying to our sinful nature and a consistent growing in our likeness of Christ. In Christian marriage, sustained and motivated by God’s love towards us in Christ, we have the unique opportunity to find deep, pure, and substantial joy by sacrificing our preferences for the betterment of our spouse. Can you think of a more true and beautiful friendship than when both spouses are doing this for one another: “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21)? Not only do we show a picture of Christ’s love to each other, but the world gets to watch the gospel on display as we glorify Christ in our marriage through our friendship with our spouse.


Brianna is wife to Matt and mother to Lorien. She is a committed member of her church, Elmira Christian Center, in Upstate NY. She is passionate about helping cultivate healthy, gospel-centered marriages and families. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram .


How many of you have been stressed out from throwing a party and maybe so much so that you don’t even enjoy it and your guests? Or maybe you have been so intimidated from the thought of throwing one, you avoid it all together? I have been there and I get it. Over the past several years of hosting parties, I have learned a few lessons, tips and tricks that I want to share with you.  

I have always loved throwing parties and will find any and every excuse to do so. My family and friends thought I was crazy for hosting a housewarming party only a week after moving into our home but I just couldn’t wait! I know some would say that parties could be frivolous and do not really matter a whole lot in life. This thought reminds me of the episode of “Friends”, when Rachel reconnects with her old sorority sister, Melissa. They begin to tell each other what their current jobs are. Melissa says that she left her job of real estate because she wanted to do something where she can really help people and make a difference. So Rachel asks her what she is doing now and Melissa responds with, “Party planning”. Of course you hear the audience laugh because the thought of really helping people by planning parties can sound kind of lame, but I would like to suggest to you that in a small way, throwing parties, big or small, really can make a difference and be meaningful. It is a way to connect people with each other, potentially creating life-long friendships, and at the very least, make long-lasting memories!

So let’s get down to it. I want to share with you 6 lessons I have learned over the years of throwing and hosting several parties. From my huge DIY wedding back in 2011 before the Pinterest and Instagram era, or large vendor fairs held at my house like the Galentine’s Day Spa + Market I hosted this past weekend, to the smaller bridal showers, baby sprinklings, costume Oscar parties and even smaller surprise birthday celebrations and dinner parties. All of them begin with the same basic principles that lead to a fun time with lasting memories.

1. Pick A Theme

Picking themes like a woodland animal baby shower or something more generic with just a color scheme can be super helpful in narrowing your decisions on how to decorate. It also makes your whole party look cohesive and put together if you stick to your theme/color scheme. Pinterest will be your best friend for this step! I can’t even tell you how many secret boards I have made for the different themed parties I have thrown together. What a great resource!

My Galentine’s party was spa themed, so I chose to run with the color green because of cucumbers, and peach because I just love peach and am not a fan of typical Valentine’s colors. Once I picked my colors, I incorporated them into everything from the DIY cucumber eye mask that each guest received, to the heart shaped peach-colored cantaloupe and green-colored honey dew skewers!

2. Decorate For Cheap

There are lots of really quick, easy and cheap ways to make your party look like you spent a lot more time and money than you did. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Just a little paint and paper can go a long way! I love making bunting signs for my parties like the one I made this past weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right color peach paper I needed and I live in a super small town that doesn’t have any craft stores, so I took peach paint and cheap poster board and made some of my own which turned out great! I always keep inexpensive twine, mini clothespins, and washi tape on hand too.
  • Another cheap option is to reuse decor items from past parties. For my wedding, I had used logs and tree stump plates that I had asked a local logger to cut down for me to decorate with (which he did for free!). Since then, I have kept them over the years and use them for most of my food tables at parties, or just around the venue/my house. I also used mason jars at my wedding and have kept them in my basement so that I can pull them out whenever I need a quick centerpiece.
  • Paper straws are also a great way to add to your decor. I have a giant bag with all different colored straws I have collected over the years and just pull out what colors I need for the specific party I am throwing. Most people don’t use the straws so I just put them back in my bag at the end of the night and reuse them for the next party! I also typically get matching party plates and napkins from TJ Maxx because they always have a great selection that is cheap. I store whatever is remaining for the next party!
  • I tend to buy green foliage like eucalyptus or myrtle or even filler flower, like wax flower or baby’s breath, to decorate with because they are cheaper than flowers. If I do buy flowers, I will usually go for alstromeria lilies because they are on the inexpensive side, but don’t look cheap like carnations. And the cheapest option is going out in your backyard and grabbing some wild flowers, pretty leaves or branches! For Christmas I always grab some pinecones from outside and get some clippings from my Juniper tree in our backyard. My husband and I also usually cut down a larger Christmas tree than what we want so when we cut it down even shorter to fit in our home, I will be able to use all the excess branches for decor.
  • Investing in drink dispensers is a good idea too because you can use them for many years to come. Not only do they have a great function, they also can add to your decor! I always put in fruits that coordinate with the colors of my parties and the color of your drinks can match too! For the Galentine’s spa, I made cucumber, lime and mint water and then sparkling green tea limeade that was an invention with raving reviews!
  • Along these lines, I usually try to make foods that go with my color scheme. This past weekend all of my foods were either green or peach/light orange and it made the tablescape very aesthetically pleasing! And let me tell you, the herbed cucumber chicken salad this past weekend was out of this world!

3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

I have a dear friend named Terri who always offers to help when I throw a party. Without fail, she will either come the night before or a little early to help with food or whatever is needed. Friends like these are keepers for sure! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends or family. I am very grateful for my mom who will make her famous veggie pizza and my aunt who makes her renowned cupcakes and cookies for my parties whenever I ask them to. This past weekend I had so much going on outside of the party that I enlisted some more help from one of the vendors who is an incredible chef and baker to help me throw the food together. I also have a handful of friends who I can always count on to show up early to help. Punctuality doesn’t make sense to me but I am grateful for them because they will always help with last minute food prep! I also am very blessed with a husband who will help around the clock for my parties. He is usually in charge of  jobs like putting on the music, making sure the garbage can is never overflowing and taking out the trash when needed. He does plenty of last minute errands and always sweeps. Sidenote: I never mop before a party because it’s just going to get disgusting again with so many people in my house!

Delegating is key to keeping things simple so you don’t have to do it all, plus when people feel like they have a small part, they feel included and needed and can take some ownership of it too! Make sure to thank these people and give proper recognition where it’s due! If you show your appreciation, they will more than likely be willing to help you for your next party!

4. Easy Peasy Appetizers

My go-to appetizers are crock pot foods for sure! I am known now for my buffalo wing dip and cranberry meatballs. If you come to one of my parties you will likely see both of these dishes. I don’t branch out often because I do what I know people love and what is simple! Also throwing veggies (That match your decor) on a platter with store bought hummus is so easy. Or, my favorite, is making a simple and beautiful cheese platter with a variety of soft and hard cheeses, fancy crackers, grapes, almonds and rosemary to garnish. Simple but beautiful, and who doesn’t love cheese?! For my wedding I was gifted several white platters and server-ware, and for the past 7 years I have been using those for pretty much all of my parties! White goes with everything. Make the investment and you won’t regret it. Another idea to make the food prep easy and simple is to ask guests to bring a dish to pass! I know some could say this is tacky, but food is expensive, so people understand! I do this for my annual Christmas party every year. In years past I didn’t like doing this because I wanted all the food to look a certain way and to go with my theme (yes, you can roll your eyes, haha). But you can always request for friends to bring their food on a white platter or tell them you have a white platter they can use. Ultimately I have learned to just let the aesthetics go sometimes and not care; which brings me to my next point.

5. Imperfection is Perfect

Let’s face it, things are not going to go according to plan all the time. Life happens. Over the years I have had to realize that the party is ultimately about the people who you are hosting, and not the decor. You don’t want to be so focused on the way it looks or how things are running that you forget to connect with your guests and have a good time. If you do, people will not have a good time because they will sense the tension and the vibe – trust me!

6. Do It for the People

I realize some may not agree with me on this, and that’s fine, but I have found this to be an amazing mindset for me. To this day I still get people that tell me that my wedding was the most fun wedding they had ever been to and that brings me so much joy. I really think that this is because I made it a priority to make sure my guests and bridal party would be comfortable and enjoy themselves. I know a lot of people have the mentality that your wedding day is your day and you should do what you want despite people and their wants, but here’s how I see it: if people aren’t happy around me then ultimately it will rub off on me and then I won’t be happy. So really in essence I am making sure that people are happy so that I can be too. It’s honestly selfish, haha! But really when you think about it, the majority of your guests will lovingly supporting your marriage covenant throughout your marriage, so keeping them in mind when you’re planning is so important. For example, I wanted an outdoor wedding but I chose to move it indoors because in case the weather was bad I didn’t want it to irritate my guests or me! I made sure our venue (a barn) had AC installed for the hot July day and a nice bathroom was a must (a nice bathroom at any party/venue is really a must in my book!). Ample and easy access parking is always a good idea. Sadly the parking at my house isn’t awesome but my husband and I always make sure to pull into our garage to give more room. Thinking about the time of day for your party, the food you serve- having vegetarian options and sugar free treats are all great ideas. Be intentional with your planning – thinking about it from the perspective of your guests and what they would want.

Another way to make people feel more comfortable is to help introduce people to others they may not know. I realize not everyone loves doing this. For me as an extrovert, I love doing this like really love it! I love giving people topics to talk about and ways they can relate to each other. If this is not your personality type – ask a friend who is good at this to intentionally go around the room and connect people in this way. I feel for those introverts who hate introducing themselves and can’t think of topics to talk about so doing it for them will make them feel included for sure.

So when it comes down to it, it’s all about planning ahead in every aspect. No party has to be extravagant and huge but in order to make it a lovely time that brings lasting memories; it should be intentional, thought out and focused on what is most important – the people. I hope all of this helps make your next party simple, intentional and meaningful! I would also love to connect with you on Instagram! Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or if any of this resonated with you. Keep on planning those parties, friends! Everyone needs a reason to dress up once in a while!


Kimmy is a small town designer, letterer, painter and party planner enthusiast. She is obsessed with plants, running ‘cause chocolate, a minimal, tidy home and Jesus. She lives with her bearded musician and teddy bear of a husband, Ryan, in Upstate NY where they are the pastors of their church, Anchor Oneonta. Kimmy loves helping others realize their passions and encourages them to use their gifts to their fullest potential, to ultimately bring glory to God.

Check out Kimmy’s Shop – Drift Design Co. – handlettered paper goods, apparel and home decor

Keep up with the daily and come say hello!



If there’s one thing you should know about it me, it’s that I LOVE me some dark chocolate! So much so, that if Jay and I realize there isn’t any in the house, some major panicking goes down over here! It’s a problem, folks.

Well something I never buy, but find myself craving every now and then is chocolate milk. We have a pretty strict grocery budget, so it usually never makes the cut. Plus, we’ve officially switched over to almond+coconut milk this year (dairy messes with us both if we have too much of it) and those options for chocolate milk tend be more pricey anyways.

So I decided to just start making chocolate smoothies instead when I get the craving, with ingredients that we always have in the house! It’s oh so yummy, super, duper simple to whip up and much healthier than regular chocolate milk. Sharing my little recipe on the blog today for anyone else looking for a chocolatey treat (um, who isn’t?) that’s good for ya and easy as pie to make!


  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 1 Tbsp. Almond Butter (or butter of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1-1½ Cups Milk of choice (We LOVE Blue Diamond’s Almond/Coconut Blend)
  • 1 Tsp. Chia Seeds (Because why not throw some extra nutrition in there?!)

Simply toss all of these ingredients into your blender (If you’re on the hunt for a legit blender, we are obsessed with our Ninja! THE best.) and blend them to a milky consistency. You’re welcome!

PS: This tastes extra yummy if you pop it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Tastes just like a chocolate shake!

Now don’t get me wrong, there will just never been anything quite like a glass of straight up chocolate milk. But I’m thankful for tasty, healthy, and cost efficient alternatives, that can help meet my chocolate cravings, without making unnecessary purchases or screwing with my tummy!

I’d love to hear if any of you give this a try and what you think of it. Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know if you approve. I’d also LOVE to hear any other favorite chocolate recipes of yours, so I can try those as well!

Thanks so much for stopping by and Happy Monday, friend!

Hello, friends!

Well first off, Happy very, VERY belated New Year to you all. It’s been a hot second since I was last on the blog, so it’s good to be back and writing again! These past several months, with the holidays, travel and continuing the process of settling into our new home have been super busy, both physically and mentally for us. It’s been a struggle to make time for the blog and just creating in general consistently, so that’s been a bummer.

But as much as I’ve hated the delay in getting back here and into the swing of things again, the time spent away has been so very good for me. It’s given me a lot of clarity and time to really think through, reevaluate and plan for some super exciting things this year. I’ve been reflecting on 2017 and looking ahead to what I feel God has planted in my heart for 2018, and I’m SO excited to share that with you guys today!


When I first created The Lowly Life, what inspired me initially to choose that name was the humility aspect of it. I have always desired to live a life of complete humility before God and to exemplify the character of Jesus, that was so beautifully and perfectly displayed. And while that purpose will still rule supreme in all that I do, the Lord placed fresh vision on my heart and is taking things in a new, yet perfectly aligned direction this year.

The Lowly Life is now going to stand for: Encouraging, inspiring and empowering others to live more simple, full, intentional lives for the glory of God. This is something I have become super passionate about over the past year and could not be more excited to represent. I have personally struggled and seen others in my life struggle with pursuing simplicity, slow living, being intentional and fully present, and so this message really hits home for me.

I’ve allowed many unnecessary stresses, busyness, drama, comparison and distraction to affect my own life. One of the main factors for that was my unhealthy use of my phone, but overall, my time (which don’t get me wrong, I am one of Instagram’s biggest fans and I love my iPhone, but my time on them was just turning out to be too excessive and not good for my life).  My passion stems from that, and comes from a place of deep, personal conviction. It’s such a huge desire of mine to help others pursue whatever a simple and full life looks like for them. I think it’s super important for us all to take a step back and remember just how precious life is, asking ourselves if we are truly living ours in the best, most God glorifying way.

There is SO MUCH life to live and enjoy outside of all the petty, meaningless things we can allow to take up our time. I want to challenge myself and others to find ways that we can lay aside meaningless distractions and fill more of our lives with what matters most. That could mean setting up family game nights, taking regular walks with your spouse, hosting fun parties or movie nights with friends, baking more in your kitchen, writing letters to long distance loved ones, reading books more (studying the Word more is huge), setting time aside to create (We ALL are creative and so many of  you are capable of so much more than you think you are), prioritizing fun vacations, and going on wild adventures with your people, getting more involved in your church and other communities…the list goes on and on, my friends and there’s so much that we can be replacing the excessive time on our phones, TV’s and computer screens with! 


Another huge aspect of change for The Lowly Life this year and something  I’m really passionate about, is community.  I am going to be incorporating more like minded people into what I do, allowing them to share their passions and hearts with you all on things that pertain to my overall mission. I’ve been so blessed and inspired by some amazing people in my life, and cannot wait to feature them here, so that they can speak into your lives and also just give you some fun ideas, tips and tricks to try! We’re going to be covering SO MANY amazing topics here that will touch on every area of life, and I’m just looking so forward to having a community on board with me to share them with you all.

As for me, I am going to be posting regularly and alternating guest posts with my own personal content each month. You’ll be seeing a lot of the same kinds of stuff from me, like favorite recipes, DIY’s, content on my marriage and family, thoughts on life and my faith, fashion, friendship, and probably a LOT more about our home, now that we are finally filling it with furniture and making it look oh so pretty!

I’ve also got a few other tricks up my sleeve this year, but I’m still working through and don’t want to reveal them just yet. So keep your eyes and ears peeled, folks! And if you think to, please keep me and everyone else that’s going to be apart of this new and exciting journey in your prayers! I cannot thank each and every one who takes the time to read my blogs and support The Lowly Life enough. You have been SUCH an encouragement and I am just so thankful for you all.

Stay tuned, friends,  and have an amazing weekend!

For His glory,




I don’t know about you guys, but this time of year is my absolute FAVORITE and I just get so excited when it finally comes around!

Thanksgiving is a holiday I always look forward to, I mean, who doesn’t look forward to a day that gives us all an excuse to stuff our faces with yummy food non stop?! But my most favorite part about this time of year is when the Christmas season rolls in. I get weepy just thinking about it. The music (which I’ll talk more about a bit later because I’ve got a fun little Christmas playlist for ya!), the movies, the decorations, the snow (please, God!), cozy nights by the fire, gift giving..I could go on!

But so much more than any of that, I love that this time of year helps us bring back into focus the greatest and most beautiful point in our history. When Jesus Christ came to this fallen world to save and redeem it. He lowered himself beyond comprehension and was willing to leave the throne of Heaven to dwell among us, living the perfect and blameless life before God that we never could. His all surpassing love for us, drove Him to come to a sick world, dying for the sin and wretchedness that permeated it, giving us the gift of salvation and fellowship with God. Because of Christ’s coming, we have a lasting, eternal hope. We have been fought for and forgiven and I love that the Christmas season gives us another opportunity to meditate on and rejoice in that very truth.

Last week my friend Kimmy Alsheimer, of Drift Design Co., told me that she was making an Advent calendar called Light Of The World  and asked if I would collaborate with her on it! I’ve never owned a wall hanging Advent calendar like this and absolutely loved the idea of having one hanging on our fireplace mantel, so saying yes was a no brainer!

When I tell you that this will be your new favorite Advent calendar, I truly mean that. Kimmy and her sister Amy created a stunning compilation of lovely devotional cards for every day of December, leading up to Christmas! Each card is unique, with tasteful designs, colors, text and themes. I love how well it blends with my home and compliments the fireplace (Side note: I snagged those cute stockings from Chip & Jo’s Hearth & Hand collection and am completely obsessed with them! other side note: My hubby and I made that pretty wooden art piece above the fireplace last year and couldn’t be more proud of it. Hopefully next year we’ll have time to make more and sell them)! Christmas decorations can be so vibrant and colorful, which is fun but also a little intense, so I love that this calendar tones things down and brings balance to it all. But aside from the aesthetics of it, I am really looking forward to just diving into each day of Advent, reflecting on the purpose of the season in a new, fun way with this calendar.

I wanted to get the calendar up on the blog ASAP because everyone needs to snag one of these beauties just in time for December 1st!  And Kimmy has a special discount code for all you blog readers! You can use the THELOWLYLIFE (the link attached will automatically add the discount to your cart!) at checkout for 15% off your purchase. The discount expires December 1st so get a move on people! And for a few bucks extra, Kimmy will hook you up with the supplies (twine + clothespins) you need to hang your calendar up. Hooray!

Now, back to the Christmas music! I wanted to share with you guys a fun Christmas playlist I’ve been working on this month. It’s a complete and total mish mash of some of my most favorite artists and Christmas songs! So if you’re looking for some new tunes and enjoy listening to a variety (and I mean a huge variety) of Christmas music, look no further my friends. You can find my playlist called Christmas Cheer over on Spotify, with a picture of Toby playing in the snow, looking as cute as ever. Just hit shuffle and you’ll be all set with about 25 hours worth of holiday musical goodness!

Thank you all so much for checking out the blog today. I hope and pray that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to celebrate  it with the ones you love (and that you eat all the glorious food you can possibly cram into your body)! Don’t forget to grab one of these gorgeous Advent calendars for you and your family to enjoy this holiday season and be sure to use that promo code for that nifty discount.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Happy Fall, friends! Welp, it’s been a hot second since I was last on the blog, but when life (crazy, CRAZY life) happens, you just have to take a major step back sometimes and rest awhile. We have gone through some big  transitions these past couple months and are currently enjoying a very new and exciting chapter! So I finally wanted to sit down and give everyone a big ole’ update on us.

For those of you who don’t know, Jay and I recently moved from Austin, TX all the way to Atlanta, GA in September. We had been in prayer and discussion about this move for a long time, and were given the confirmation to go in August. One of the the big driving forces for us moving to this area was living near my family again and also being in a much closer proximity (closer, anyway) to the rest of our family and friends in surrounding states. We had prayed about relocating to a couple different areas, but had peace very quickly that this was where we were supposed to be. Jay and I both work remotely, so we were blessed with the ability to move within a very short period of time and to have job security once we got down here. We are absolutely loving Georgia so far. And it’s kind of hilarious how excited and completely awestruck we were when we laid eyes on all the big, beautiful trees and hills out here. Talk about drop dead GORGEOUS!

As of November 1st,  we officially became HOMEOWNERS (No big deal, only been a dream of mine since forever) of the most beautiful first house we could have asked for, and are going on week two in our new place! It’s been a complete dream and we’re having so much fun fixing it up and making it our own (But to say that I have problems with making final decisions is a complete understatement and it’ll be a miracle if we have this place furnished 8 years from now at this rate. Jk…hopefully).

We’ve found a solid church in our town that we are really excited to connect with and be apart of, which is a huge answer to prayer! We’ve made new friends, done a fair amount of exploring so far and have just really been enjoying time with family. My parents have been SUCH a blessing to us since moving here, giving us a place to stay and feeding us while we hunted down a place to live. It’s surreal having them and my little bro so close to us now. We are so, so thankful!

I honestly don’t even think it’s fully sunk in for me yet, even after all that’s happened,  that we’re actually here. That Georgia is our new home. That all the prayers we’ve prayed and all the dreams we’ve had are coming to be. We are truly rejoicing in the undeserved goodness of God and all that He’s lavishing upon our lives right now.

Austin will forever hold such a special place in our hearts. So much growth, in every aspect of life, took place in us there. We made lifelong friendships, tried lots of new things, ate LOTS of good food and experienced such a sweet season with God. He pushed us to reach, dream, and hope for bigger. To trust Him with everything and in everything, when it truly seemed like our whole world was falling apart. He revealed himself in new, beautiful ways, which brought us into a deeper relationship with him and with each other. Jay and I experienced a great deal of heartache and confusion while we were in Austin, but God was so faithful and carried us through it all. He was always there strengthening and comforting, giving us the ability to better encourage, comfort and love each other.

It hardly ever makes sense why God does what He does, when He does, and what He chooses to use to grow us. But I promise you, friend,  there will never be a time that He can’t be trusted. Never will there be a moment that He isn’t faithful or good. His promises are true, His love is steadfast, His timing is perfect and His mercies are new with each new day. As the leaves continue to change, fall, and wither,  as Autumn continues welcoming the cold breezes and winter winds, as this beautiful season of harvest continues, may we come before our good and gracious Father with hearts full of gratitude. May we lift up our eyes and hearts in thanksgiving, entrusting Christ with our all, recognizing Him for who He is and for all He’s done.

Jay and I have a lot (alot alot alot alot) of big hopes, dreams and exciting plans for the coming months and we’re ready to embark on whatever that adventure looks like together. If you think to, please keep us in your prayers. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance alone to lead us, for our hearts to be ever turned towards Him, for our new home and neighborhood, that we can be a light and encouragement to the people around us, and for the new life in general that we’ve started here in Georgia.

Thank you so much for reading! Hopefully it won’t be coons age before you hear back from me on here again. Happy Monday, friends!

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Collossians 3:12-17


Okay, friends.

There’s this big fat lie that some of you are believing and it needs to stop right now. You know, that convincing lie that tells you that you aren’t creative and have nothing to bring to the table. This is something that has been SO heavy on my heart lately and I feel like I need to remind some of you lovely people just how amazing and truly creative YOU (yes, YOU) are!

I’ve been hearing so much these days, people being super hard on and blind to the greatness that’s within themselves. Maybe it’s because they can’t dance worth squat, or paint beautiful pieces of art, or cook exquisite meals, or carry a tune, or build things, or take “good”, “Instagram worthy” photos, or play an instrument…whatever the case may be! They compare the strengths and creativity of others with their own, quickly leaving feelings of discouragement, inadequacy and the sad belief that they have nothing legit to offer. But that’s the FARTHEST thing from the truth, friend, and if you’re one of those people, feeling like you aren’t creative or capable of creativity, you couldn’t be more wrong!

I feel like we do SUCH a good job of confining what creativity looks like into these little, specific boxes, and I think that social media has played a HUGE role in helping (hurting) us with this. We have endless access to other people’s lives, talents, successes and quickly beat ourselves down, discounting the good in our own lives, because of how different it looks from others. We turn a blind eye to the God given talents we possess, because they aren’t mind blowing, out of the norm, or something that’s super exciting to us. But here’s some good, factual news for your Friday: YOU are SO creative, YOU are SO special, YOU can make a difference with what you’ve been given, and long story short, YOU ARE ENOUGH.  There are so many ways that you are creative, you’re just not seeing them clearly!

It could be the way you tend to your home. That ability you have to keep things organized, clean, and looking so good. It could be the way you write. Through song, in a private journal, or a blog. Nobody writes like you do!  It could be in the way you parent your kids. Those games and crafts you come up with, the adventures you take them on, the lessons you teach them, the way you help them experience the fullness of life. It could be the way you serve others. Your unique ability to engage with and make them feel included, accepted and loved. It could be your cooking and/or baking! It could be in the way you work out, or style hair, or make DIYs,  or the unique clothes you wear, or the way you decorate, or the way you get work done… I could literally keep going for days, folks!

Seriously, creativity comes in so many different forms, and we need to broaden our thinking on the subject! Christ has created every last one of us with significant purpose and ability, and it’s when we refocus on Him (because our focus is not fully on Him when we have such a harsh and negative view of how He designed us) and dig down deep to find the ways that He’s made us awesome (not encouraging arrogance here whatsoever, just a healthy, correct viewpoint of ourselves!) that is when we will live with more freedom and confidence, fully aware of the amazing ways we’ve been created to create.

Fact: You ARE creative and it is my prayer that this little blog post helps to remind you of that, boosts your spirits up, and encourages you to walk with more peace and confidence to be the amazing, gifted human being you are.

Happy Friday, friends and thanks for reading!

In April I had the opportunity to visit Magnolia (again) for Spring At The Silos and it was a hoot! Pretty much all of my absolute favorite vendors were there and it took everything in me not to come home with at least one of everything. I called it quits after snagging my darling Nora hat from Gigi Pip and new favorite beach towel/throw from Suay Threads, but one of things I was obsessing over all day, was the gorgeous jewelry some of the vendors were selling!

I’ve been wanting a staple necklace to add to my wardrobe, that’ll easily pair with my outfits and add that final, perfect pop of color. As much as I wanted to purchase some of the necklaces I was drooling over at the Silos, I determined that I would just make one myself and save the money. And I’m so glad I did, because this necklace was so much fun to make and I loved being able to determine exactly what colors and style I wanted!

If you’re like me, looking for some unique jewelry to add to your collection, but don’t have much of a budget to work with, this super easy DIY is for you, my friend, and will be your go to piece of jewelry all summer long! A super cute necklace that you made all by your creative self and that’s under $20?!? You’re welcome.


If you’re buying all of your supplies from Hobby Lobby like me, be sure to use the good ole’ 40% coupon on one of your items to save you even more money! 

  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors


Pick the amount and size variations of beads you’d like to use for your necklace. I played it safe and painted a bunch just in case I wanted to add more than I was planning. Plus, it’s always fun to have more options and colors to choose from when you’re done!


Choose your paint colors and get to work! It’s fun to mix colors and is also a money saver, so that you don’t have to buy a ton of paint. Think about what some of your favorite colors are and which ones make sense to include. For me, I wanted a balance of deep, bright and rich, so I painted a variety of each and narrowed down my final selections from there. I also added abstract designs to some of the beads, so if you wanna be adventurous, knock yourself out!


Let em’ dry! Drink some coffee, skim through the Magnolia Journal (because who isn’t reading or loving those right now?!) get some fresh air or catch up on a favorite show while you wait! I left mine alone overnight, just to play it safe. You’ll also want to flip them over at some point to make sure that they aren’t sticking to the surface you’re drying them on, which will make the paint scrape off.


Now it’s time to make your necklace! Decide how long or short you want the length to be and cut the thread accordingly. Slip your thread through the bead holes, based on how you want them situated and then tie a small, tight knot with the ends.

And there you have it, my friends! A perfect, simple necklace that will be sure to make a statement with all of your pretty summer dresses and blouses! I just love how this looks with my Black Red Stripe Dress from Ashley Lemieux and can’t wait to wear it with other outfits.

Thank you so much for checking out my blog and if you give this a try, I would love to see and hear how yours turned out! Please let me know in the comments and be sure to tag me in a post if you share a pic of it on your social media.

Happy summer, folks!