Category

LIVING SIMPLY

Life Before Oils

Before I began using essential oils, my husband Max and I were already pretty health conscious. In January 2015, I started to really research the ingredients in my cosmetic products (which led me to look into the ingredients in all of the other products that we use) and this was really the turning point for us. We began eating organic, eliminating certain things from our diet, and just became so much more aware of our surroundings and our effects on our environment.

I had heard about oils long before I ever became a member with Young Living. Although I am not exactly sure where I first heard of them, I know for certain that I would always see stuff about them on Pinterest. We were already leading a fairly healthy lifestyle, essential oils were just the missing piece so to speak.

The first oil I ever owned was one that I got for super cheap at a local vitamin store. Of course it didn’t do much, because quality and source matters. At this time I didn’t know much about oils other than what I saw other people using them for online. When I learned about Young Living, who they are, their standards, efficacy, and quality, I was immediately on board. I only recommend Young Living because of their purity.

Life With Oils

We have seen so many amazing results from using our oils on a regular basis. They have truly changed our lives in so many ways. We have learned how to take control of our health and oils have driven us to pursue more natural routes in all other aspects of our lives. I am so grateful that we found Young Living and realized how powerful plants are. Digestive support, seasonal support, emotional support, hormone support, there are so many things that oils are good for.

From the time I get out of bed, to the time I go to sleep, I am using oils. Max has found that he likes the rollers more out of convenience so I am always making him custom blends or buying him the Young Living roller blends. He is way more prone to using them this way. On a day when I wake up on time I like to start my day with a wellness tea that consists of peppermint, lemon, thieves EOs, raw honey, and warm water. Digestive support (peppermint), metabolic support, and immune support (thieves).

I use various oils throughout my day, such as  frankincense for my quiet time in the morning, lavender for emotional support and just to calm me while I’m dealing with people at work, DiGize for digestive support, peppermint for an afternoon pick me up to help me keep alert, and of course my beloved lavender to prepare me for a restful night’s sleep.

What Are Essential Oils EO’s?

Essential oils are the life blood of plants. They circulate to provide nutrients to the plant and they are the most powerful part of a plant. Fun Fact: chlorophyll and human blood have almost identical molecular structures. Essential oils are extremely potent. In fact: Essential oils are 100,000 times more potent than dried herbs. With this being said you only need about 1-3 drops per application. They can be used aromatically, topically, or internally (again I only recommend YL).

EOs are adaptogenic, they help bring your body balance, they meet you where you’re at and help bring you to where you need to be. With this said there is no right or wrong way to use them. Many of them are known to be good for specific things, but they are all beneficial. Sometimes my body needs digestive support, sometimes it needs emotional support, I am able to use whichever oils I have on hand. Oils are adaptogenic, and they are each good for more than one thing (many different things in fact). Having a huge collection of oils is nice, but you only need about 10-12 to make a good kit. The staple oils in our home all come from the Premium Starter Kit. Oils are amazing tools to have in your wellness arsenal.

ABOUT BOBBIE: 

My name is Bobbie Monte, wife of Max Monte, and mama to Calvin the Yorkshire. Born and raised in Gilroy California, I am an assistant preschool teacher, and am in pursuit of optimal wellness. Exploring the Bay Area, cooking, gardening, and hanging out at home are my favorite things. I am passionate about wellness, being a good human, and teaching others to get informed about their health and their impact on the earth.  ☺ Let’s be friends!

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Friends, I am so excited to be partnering with JORD on the blog today and do a fun giveaway for you all (Keep on reading)!

I don’t know about you, but if there’s something Jay and I have failed at far too many times, it’s been purchasing a solid watch. We’re a family on a budget and so we are always looking for good bargains, but we’ve made the mistake of paying less for lesser quality watches and they end up never lasting us long at all.

My hubby in particular has gone through several watches in the past year, so when JORD reached out I knew I wanted to gift my guy with a legit watch that will stand the test of time (see what I did there?) !

We picked Frankie Ebony & Gold as Jay’s watch choice and could not have been more impressed when it arrived in the mail! For starters, the watch comes in the most stunning wooden box, beautifully branded and packaged. The smell of the wood when you first open the box is absolutely glorious! There’s even a little built in drawer on the bottom, to keep all of the included care materials in place.

The watch is super sleek and classy, as well as simple and unique. It’s made of gorgeous natural wood, a perfect fit for my talented woodworker, and sapphire crystal glass. These watches are the real deal and we just couldn’t be happier with ours!

And on that note, I would love to make someone else happy who’s in need of a new watch, so I’m giving away $100 shop credit for JORD to one lucky winner. YAY! They have SO MANY OPTIONS to choose from for both men and women, so you definitely won’t have a problem finding the style that’s just right for you or a loved one.

TO ENTER, all you have to do is go HERE, provide your name, email, watch preference and you can increase your chance of winning by following JORD on Instagram!

Now even though only one person can take home the $100 credit, JORD will be giving everyone who enters a 10% off coupon code to use.  The giveaway will run until April 1st, so spread the word and get your friends and family to enter ASAP if they could use one of these beauties.

Thanks so much for reading and good luck, folks!


Watch Gift Ideas

 

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.

ABOUT SARAH: 

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.

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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!

 

 


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!

CHOCOLATE MILK SUBSTITUTE SMOOTHIE

  • 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!

SIMPLICITY

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! 

COMMUNITY

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,

-Danielle

 

 

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.

DIY NECKLACE:

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

STEP ONE:

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!

STEP TWO:

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!

STEP THREE:

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.

STEP FOUR:

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know about you guys, but if there’s one thing that we always have in our home, it’s a box of cereal.  That sounds silly, but my husband is basically a cereal monster and would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if he could ( well, actually sometimes he does). Something that he’s asked me for ages to make for him is granola, which until this year I never attempted for some strange reason (poor guy).  He absolutely loves the way his mom makes it and I am a big fan of hers myself!

 I remember the first Christmas I spent with Jay’s family, and how she would make a humongous batch and give it to all the kids, as part of their gifts. This year my hubby and I gave gift baskets to my family at Christmas, and we filled them with some granola, and it was a hit! Homemade gifts in general are the best, in my humble opinion, and I loved giving some of this deliciousness away! When I took a stab at making a batch of my own, I wanted to mostly stick to the way my mother in law makes hers. So with her permission,  I’m sharing her homemade granola recipe, with a few tweaks of my own, with you all today! I usually double the recipe so that we have a lot to

IMG_7912

HOMEMADE GRANOLA

OVEN: 325°

  • 4 Cups Rolled Old Fashioned Oats
  • ½ Tsp  Salt (Do not double the salt if you are making a double batch of the recipe)
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut (I prefer unsweetened, but either will work)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (I like to use almonds and walnuts in mine).
  • 1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds or 1/4 Cup Flax (I like to use chia seeds)
  • 1/4 Cup Brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Oil ( I use coconut or olive oil)
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins (I prefer Craisins, but hubby likes raisins, so I do a mixture) Do not add to the granola until out of the oven and cooled. 

 

STEP ONE: Preheat oven and combine all dry ingredients well in a separate bowl 

STEP TWO: Mix together wet ingredients until the oil is no longer separating ( I did this with a spoon, but you can also use a whisk or an electric mixer)

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STEP THREE: Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir to a fairly even consistency and spread out in a shallow baking pan (The largest pan I have is a turkey roasting pan, so that’s what I used and it worked great!)

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STEP FOUR: Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent the sides and top from burning 

STEP FIVE: Remove the yummy goodness from the oven and allow to cool. Add raisins/fruit of choice and mix well!

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My favorite thing about making granola is the delicious aroma that fills our home while it’s baking! And whether it’s for a bowl of cereal, a topping for your yogurt (Chia Seed Pudding is my personal favorite!) or just something yummy to munch on, my hubby and I have no problem devouring a whole batch of this stuff ourselves. I usually store our granola in a large mason jar + bag and refrigerate the rest until we’re ready to use it!

I hope that this recipe was helpful, and has you running out the door to go pick up all the ingredients you need to make some for yourself! Thank so much for reading and please let me know how it turns out for you!

 

 

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Early last month, I received a random email from a shoe company in Manhattan, New York,  called Talaria Flats. I was asked  if I would be interested in collaborating with their brand, which was really exciting for me! However, being that I knew nothing about the business, nor their quality of shoe, I wasn’t sure if it would be something I’d be interested in promoting. But after inquiring further and finding out that the shoes were ballet flats (which I’ve never owned or worn), I became very curious to try them on and see how comfortable they were. So I decided that I would give them a shot. If I loved them, swell! But if I wasn’t a fan, I would just kindly send them back and decline.

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I remember the day that I got them in the mail, so very anxious to try them on and to see how they looked in person. Before even seeing the shoes, I was already a pretty big fan, because of the cute little gold pouch that they came in. Ya’ll,  I am not even kidding when I tell you that these flats are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life. I was completely blown away by how wonderful they felt to walk in and how adorable they were! The color that I went with was the Premium Champagne, because I love me a champagne/gold combo and I don’t have any shoes in that color. At first I was a bit nervous about going with this shade, because I wasn’t sure whether they’d be too sparkly and/or obnoxious for my taste, but they really exceeded my expectations! Besides the comfort factor, which is HUGE (can I get an amen, ladies?!)  I just love how much of a statement the flats make with my outfits, but without being too over the top. I wish that I would have known about these shoes before my wedding, because they would have matched our color scheme perfectly and my bridesmaids would have been SO comfortable in them all day! Unfortunately, I had to put them in the most uncomfortable heels and they were miserable. Those heels were the only ones I could find that matched our colors, but if I would have known about Talaria, we definitely would have gone this route instead!

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I honestly cannot say enough great things about these shoes and want all of my girlfriends to own a pair! I actually went online and bought another pair in Premium Black, because I was so happy with the Champagne flats. It was really exciting finding a black flat that is both stylish and comfy, because I’ve needed a pair for so long and have struggled  to find some that meet both needs. And since the black pair is so versatile, I will probably wear them with just about everything! Talaria has several different colors to choose from: Silver, Champagne, Black and White. It’s a fact that you need these shoes in your life and that you will love them!

As far as the rest of my outfit goes, this black on white combo is from none other than the amazing Target! If you know me, you’re pretty aware that I am a huge fan of black and white. I love that it’s simple, but classy and that you can basically pair anything you want with the two colors. My black on white Woven Top is from the WhoWhatWear Collection and my Black Mid-Rise Skinny jeans are from the Mossimo collection. By the by, Target jeans are what’s up and I cannot believe that I didn’t own any before now. I currently have two pairs, both being my most favorite pairs of jeans!  They fit my body type so well and the quality is very impressive. Thanks to the Cartwheel app (which I am completely obsessed with and save LOADS of money using), I received a 25% off discount when I bought my jeans and they were already buy one get one 50% off in the store! Talk about a bargain! So be sure that you keep your eyes peeled for those major discounts instead of paying regular price, which I strive never to do.

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This combination of black, white and gold is my usual go to, but I also enjoy adding fun pops of color to my wardrobe. With it being the beautiful month of October, I added a festive, Classic V-Neck Cardigan from F21 in Chestnut, to spice things up! Also pictured is my go to accessory, a simple Gold Charm Necklace, also from F21, that I basically wear with everything! It always adds the perfect touch to my outfits, whether they be dress casual or fancy fancy. My purse is a gorgeous brown leather equestrian handbag from Dooney & Bourke! I can’t get over the quality of these bags and how stylish they are. I’m a sucker for brown leather, because it looks great with pretty much anything! I am realizing, though,  that most of my bags are this color, so I might need to branch out and try something new. You can never have too many cute handbags, right?!

I hope this blog gives you your fashion fix for the day and has introduced you to and/or provided you with more information on some amazing pieces of clothing! Keep up with my styling/product tips on Instagram @thelowlylife, and stay tuned for more content on the blog. Thanks so much for reading!

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