My greatest hope with Elle & Company is that it would encourage others to live creatively. That's the goal I have in mind as I'm designing planners and Library printables, communicating with freelance clients, and creating blog posts. And it's the reason this whole Coffee Date Series got started in the first place! Friday morning Coffee Dates give me the chance to highlight the ladies who have encouraged me most and share them with you.
Here's a lady who encourages me daily through simple (and lovely!) photos on Instagram. Bailey Robert is the girl behind Brave Love Blog - a theatre director, a soon-to-be grad school student, a writer (whether she would call herself that or not, I don't know - but this girl has such a gift!), and a fellow creative. Prepare to be encouraged as you get to know Bailey this morning!
What's in your coffee cup this morning?
Somehow I managed to live a full year in Seattle, the coffee capitol of the world, and never learn to love the stuff. I simply adore the cozy coffee shop atmosphere, and I'm a proud owner of a coffee candle or two, but my mug remains empty. If you and I sat down at a coffee shop, I'd order a hot chocolate with all the fixin's. It makes more sense in the winter, but sometimes I still give it a go ;) This morning you'll find me sipping on a glass of ice cold water from my favorite Baylor tumbler. It's a personal goal this summer to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and finally cut my caffeine fix (a Route 44 Diet Coke from Sonic) out of my routine. So far, so good!
Give us a glimpse into a "day in the life" of Bailey Robert.
Ah, the daily routine. I can't wait to have one again! My schedule has all but been flipped upside down since the big move last week. I traded in my jam-packed days in the Pacific Northwest for some rest and relaxation down South. It really is an entirely different way of living down here! Before the move my days started with several swats at the snooze button (I know it all too well...) followed by a race for the shower before my roommates were up and around (I had four!). If I'm lucky, I remembered to set out my outfit the evening before because looking Anthropologie-ready at 6am does not come easy for this night owl. Ideally I would spend time following along with the latest She Reads Truth devotional before work, but it often falls during my lunch break. At Anthro you would find me un-packing hundreds of monogrammed mugs and other beautiful home goods or at the cash register for hours on end.
When that shift is done I would have a short break before heading to the suburbs for my afternoon as a children's theatre director. I just wrapped up a production of Peter Pan with 28 spectacular 4th-6th graders, and it was easily the highlight of my year! I wear all sorts of hats during rehearsal: leading warm ups, choreographing pirate duels, playing any number of lost boys that might be missing, and somehow writing it all down, finding costumes, and building sets ;) The kids make every crazy second worth it, but by the time 6:00 rolls around I'm ready for a nap. My evenings were spent either with my church community, taking West Coast Swing lessons, or watching old Grey's Anatomy episodes to wind down for the night.
You recently moved from Seattle to Texas. What are you looking forward to most about this brand new season?
My season in Seattle was such a gift, but somewhere around February I sensed that the Lord would take me in a different direction. I had already begun pursuing the grad school option, eager to get back into academia, and over and over again as doors opened and closed I had the opportunity to trust Him or blaze my own path. Oklahoma State University was on his agenda and far from mine. But until classes start in the fall, I am blessed to be able to spend the next six weeks at home in Texas.
This season is wide open with plenty of opportunities to reconnect with the friends and family I've missed so much, and to rest in the work that God is doing in my life. I am so looking forward to being back in school, surrounded by theatre artists who are passionate about storytelling and understanding the human condition, and I am also eager to find a church home. I would love to get involved with Young Life or another youth ministry; I am passionate about investing in young women but have not had much opportunity this last year. And honestly for the first time I am excited about stepping into the unknown! This has been a journey with the Lord in itself, taking a control freak, planner-dependent girl and turning her into someone willing to say yes to a new city, a new state, a new community two years in a row. He has been faithful so far and I know he will continue to be so!
How did you get into the blogging scene? What advice do you have for other ladies who are hoping to start their own blog?
My first introduction to blogging was in middle school, back with Xanga was the cool thing to do. I know, I know, just stick with me here. My spelling was terrible, I used a strange combination of chat lingo and small caps, but somewhere in the middle of it all I found my heart flowing through my fingertips far faster than when I put pen to paper. I started my first "real blog" when I went off to college, hoping to capture my Baylor adventures. The blogging world has grown so much since then -- I've blog hopped a time or two myself -- and lately I've been trying to get back to the basics.
So my advice? Remember the why. I found myself more caught up in the number of followers I didn't have and the types of posts I thought I was "supposed" to be writing, when instead I could have been building friendships with the followers I did have and sharing the things on my heart from the start. I started blogging because it was a way of processing and sharing life. Blogging became much more enjoyable and fulfilling when I switched gears. The comparison trap is easy to fall into, and if you catch yourself doing it, make the switch; celebrate that person or blog you admire instead of criticizing your own. It makes all the difference!
Life can get busy and stressful. How do you simplify?
So far 2014 has been a year of learning how and where to simplify, finding the joy in surrender. It is still a learning process, but my biggest take aways so far include:
- When shopping: If I don't absolutely love it or absolutely need it, I don't buy it. Working at Anthropologie I saw dozens of trendy clothes come through each week. If I tried it on and was not willing to wear it out the door at that moment, back on the hanger it went. If I picked it up but it did not have an immediate use or if it did not fill an immediate need, back on the shelf it would go.
- The Big Three: I am a huge fan of lists and my to-do's become several pages long with ease. Narrowing it down each morning to the top three things I must take care of before the end of the day helps me prioritize and learn not to fret about the small things.
- Dressing for work: Like I said before, setting out my outfit the night before made 5:00 or 6:00am wake up calls so much easier. And finding something I could dance around the stage or sword fight with Captain Hook in was also a priority ;) One of my managers shared a tip for being work-ready: top, bottom, layer, accessory. She called it BLAT or T-LAB or something catchy I can't remember, but hey it works!
What's something you've been loving lately?
I recently invested in the ESV One Column Journaling Bible and I love it! I am an avid journaler, highlighter, and note-taker but my Women's Study Bible (which I also love and highly recommend!) left little room for me to do so. The journaling Bible has wide margins where I can add favorite or relevant quotes, alternate versions of certain verses, interesting facts, and so on. I love looking back through old journals to see where I was in each season, and being able to take glimpses of past prayers or insights from previous studies is so refreshing and encouraging. I also love using Rifle Paper Co. journals for Bible studies, church notes, and brainstorming for my blog. You can pick up a set at Anthro or even in the gift section at Target!
And just for fun, what would be your dream job and why?
Oh, I love this question! If you're around me long enough you'll hear me say that I'm constantly dreaming in six different directions. But I am actively pursuing one of those dreams. I would love to be a professor, teaching and directing theatre at the college level. I want to invest in students who are deciding if and how to pursue theatre with their lives. The professors I had were incredible and so influential during my time at Baylor, and they encouraged me to dive into my dreams with great faith and determination. Theatre is a world where you are putting the most vulnerable parts of yourself on display, and your success largely depends on the opinions and judgments of others. It is daunting, but I was blessed to have authority figures in my education remind me why I wanted to pursue it and how to be secure in who God says I am and who He created me to be, no matter if my name ends up on the cast list or not.
Earlier in 2014 I had worked myself into a frenzy, wondering how to combine all of my dreams and fit them into my timeline. After much prayer and waiting, the Lord gave me a mission statement, something to hold onto as I dream. I want to be engaged in encouraging community, cultivating a creative life, and investing in the lives of women in all seasons. These are the foundation, the big picture pursuits, and I am trusting Him to fill in the details as we go along.