Every Friday since Elle & Company launched, I've featured over 30 ladies (and one funny guy) on this space for a Coffee Date. This series started as a way to bring some fun conversation (and oftentimes a laugh or two) to the blog, and I think it's safe to say that it's a favorite around here. I'm not surprised - it's fun to start off each Friday with a few cups of coffee (or tea, or... milk?) and a new friend.
In honor of reaching the 35-date mark, I've rounded up more of my favorite Coffee Date moments.
What's in your coffee mug this morning?
The real question is what I wish was in my coffee mug this morning. I typically drink whatever "middle shelf" coffee is on sale at Kroger. While Private Selection French Roast always gets the job done, deep down I am craving a non-fat Dirty Chai from the local coffee shop across the street. It is a heavenly drinking experience with the right amount of kick to get me through my morning. Plus, it is really fun to order. You always get a few strange looks from those who have yet to be enlightened to this gem.
WIthin the warm circular shell of my insulated mug swims a deep, dark roast... Ha! Yeah right. I have the lightest, girliest drink available. It is commonly known as the "White Chocolate Mocha," and unfortunately for me, it costs a pretty penny. I was never really a coffee drinker until I married my husband, Matt. My marriage plus the fact that there is a Caribou Coffee shop conveniently located across the street is a dangerous combination, my friends! I have made the White Chocolate Mocha my traditional Friday morning treat.
In design school, I struggled to embrace my own design style. Have you had a similar experience? What advice do you have for other creative ladies about embracing your own individual design aesthetic?
Wow, YES! Design school is such a funny time. I remember always being on this emotional roller-coaster. Entering design competitions, never winning anything, seeing my friends flourish in their illustration skills and their so-called "voice". It was a constant battle of always comparing my work to my peers and always feeling sub-par or lacking vision. Fast forward four years later and now I realize that was TOTALLY normal and exactly what art school is all about. It takes time and patience and perseverance to start to create a visual voice and design aesthetic. Sometimes it comes more quickly to some than others. I feel like I'm just now starting to embrace my individual design aesthetic. It's funny - art school is an amazing community of artists all sharing one space but I think sometimes one's most honest work comes from spending a good chunk of time being alone without the temptation of comparison.
My advice for other creative ladies is to be patient and gentle with yourself. Realize that you need time to discover your voice and aesthetic and that's okay. Just make sure you put in the work time - or else it will never happen!
Life can get busy and stressful. How do you simplify?
Scheduling our "Stay at Home" days has been life changing! When we're swamped and on the go, we can look at the calendar and know we have a break coming our way! "Stay at Home" days also guarantee that we can schedule double dates with friends and nights with our families! We have also started blocking off weekends and weeks one year in advance to make sure that we get some vacation time! We just recently slipped away to the lake with my family and those four days were glorious!! So I think it's safe to say that we simplify by being strategic and planning time off!
Pray. Honestly, I just ask God to take away the things I don't need, to take care of the details that I can't, and to help me complete the tasks He has put before me. Also, I've been trying to leave at least 3 weekday evenings open with no regularly scheduled events so that I can hang out with friends, have people over, and serve others freely.
It can be! Simplifying is a huge passion of mine, but something I am learning that I need to do more and more. I think you need to figure out what things are most important to you, and try to get rid of some other things that consume your time. Learning to say no is a huge thing. When I say no to something I am not passionate about and I don't really love, I am able to say YES! to the things that are most important. I try to keep my marriage and family more important than any work I am doing, and try to be aware that sometimes a tea party is more important than email.
It's so easy to busy our days and literally fill them to the brim. I had a good friend who made the comment that she only plans one thing a night.
I thought that was great advice so I've tried to implement it too. Instead of planning dinner with a friend at 5:00, then coffee with a friend at 6:30, then a movie at 9 - planning one thing an evening. Not only will I be less stressed, but I'll be more intentional with the friend I'm spending time with and they will feel more loved in return.
Simplifying... well, I have begun this week to create a capsule wardrobe. AHH! So I have been purging my closet, and throwing out SO MUCH. It has been really hard and uncomfortable for me, but I am loving the simplicity of having a few go to outfits, better defining my style and not letting my wardrobe cause me stress and anxiety every day! I will be sharing about this whole process in the months ahead on my blog!
If you could write a book, what would it be about?
It would be a long series, but I will give you a sneak peek. It would be a crazy story following a young woman that has to fight for her district in order to feed everyone. I'd call it, "The Games of Hunger."
You've had a lot of amazing opportunities, from interviewing Sir Richard Branson to receiving an Emmy award. What has been your most memorable experience?
I think my most memorable experience with my job was getting to sit down and chat with Sir Richard Branson. It took place in front of hundreds of people, but he made it feel as if we were the only two people in the room. He's charming and kind, and one of the nicest people I have ever met. Celebrities are just regular people with cool jobs, and it's always gratifying to meet one who hasn't let their immense success change how they treat people.
What's something you've been loving lately?
Tuesday night Ty and I cheated on our Daniel Plan and went to Sonic for limeades and to just shoot the breeze. I kinda felt like we were dating again as we sat outside under the umbrella while the server roller-skated our order out to us. Our lives are about to get crazy busy as we begin our wedding season. Little spontaneous trips like this remind me how precious and important the simple things are in life.
I can promise you there is never a dull moment around here. Not a single one. And I love it! My kiddos make me smile daily - they are a joy and a blessing and a gift from God. Of course, there are ups and downs, highs and lows, struggles and victories - and being a Mommy is hard work - but it is so work it and so very rewarding. Smiles galore!
So we got our wedding pictures back and my nephew has some HILARIOUS faces. I'm going to be keeping these on my desk... and saving one for display at his wedding one day :)
Thank-you notes! It may be verging on an obsession - you would laugh if you saw my stash of them! There's something about pretty stationery I can't resist. I love how much power there is in positivity, and with a simple thank-you note we have the opportunity to tell sweet friends they matter. Like really, really matter. I once heard it said to never suppress a generous thought, and I kind of loved that. Tell people you love 'em. Tell them they've impacted your life. Tell them you've noticed the way they earnestly care about people. Tell them they're making a difference. Don't just suppress it :)
Jake is jumping in on our Coffee Date this morning, so brace yourself. Here's his question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how good is your hog call?
HAHAHA! I grew up on a hog farm, and I showed hogs all over the state of Virginia... while I never entered a hog calling competition, I'd give myself a solid 7 in that category. Nice question, Jake :)
Who have been some of your favorites in our Coffee Date series? Which lady would you love to see featured next?