A little calligraphy & a lot of pretty makes my heart happy

It’s time for #calligraphyyall [check out that Insta #]! Last night I spent time with some lovely ladies at The Doodling Bug of Apex learning calligraphy with the beautiful & oh-so-talented Maghon Taylor. Maghon is the owner of the [now] famous All She Wrote Notes that I found out has been alive and thriving for only two years. She is full time & big time now, running this business as her sole career! I’m always super amazed and inspired to see other lady entrepreneurs rockin’ the thing they love the most. If you work your passion day-in & day-out, you’ll never work a day in your life, right? Go Maghon!

On another note, you’ve got another calligrapher in the house! What a great night full of positive energy, lots of laughs, a little wine, a million swirls and ink, ink, ink, everywhere!! Life is about finding the little moments that bring you joy, and this was definitely one of those moments for me!

Everyone always says:

do one thing every day that makes your heart happy.

Well, calligraphy is one of those pretty things that can always make you smile [in my humble opinion]. If you’re needing a little pretty in your life, find Maghon and take her class. She does weekly classes at cute shops that are like secret gems [The Doodling Bug!] anywhere from Burlington to Garner. You won’t regret it – promise!

For now, check out how I did and my morning-after trial run…

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The morning after…

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Not too shabby, right? This was with a sharpie too, not even the calligraphy pen I got to take home [eep!]. PS – She gives you ALL the supplies you need in a cute little pink pen case [gosh, she’s the best].

Stay tuned for more practice and new things coming down the pipeline for Ramsey’s Rustics. Hint: a little #calligraphyyall has a lot to do with what’s up next!

Have you taken a calligraphy class? What did you think?!

Happy Friday!! Have a great weekend.

xoxoxo,
Carrie

Change the energy in your home with one simple update

Self care is a huge part of staying present and living life to the fullest. Sounds cheesy – I know. But it’s so true.

Self care can be anything:

  • buying a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store to warm your home
  • making the bed with purpose every morning
  • taking a hike in nature
  • doing laundry
  • practicing meditation
  • consuming a good self-help book
  • continuing professional development
  • cleaning your home
  • walking your dogs
  • sunbathing
  • washing your face
  • eating whole, nutritious foods
  • …you get the point.

For me, when my home is clean, refreshing and pretty, I feel on top of the world. It’s been proven that your home can give off positive or negative energy that directly reflects your well-being – mentally, physically and spiritually. If there’s bad energy running through your home, it’s going to effect anything from your…

  • personal wellness – maybe that’s eating habits, sleeping routines, weight loss or gain, skin issues, etc.
  • relationship health – tension, stress, resentment, conflict
  • hygiene – if your home is unorganized, messy and dirty, you are likely to feel the same way
  • everyday life – your day starts and ends at home. In between, your job and social life may take a beating if you’re feeling off balance or unfocused
  • …and the list goes on.

For example, when I moved in with my husband, we combined fur families and ended up with 4 animals and 6 fish. Guess what we also adopted? FLEAS. How awful, right? It was. But not why you think. Yes, the usual process to rid your home of fleas was traumitizing – the extra chores (after a 9-hour day at work), constant cleaning and laundry, every-other-day animal baths and stacks of cash used to get top-of-the-line flea meds. However, the worst part, was the effect it had on the energy or emotional state of our home, our relationship and ourselves. The filth I felt knowing our home was infested with insects, the humiliation from friends getting bit while visiting, the stress of extra chores after a long day’s work, the hurt my heart felt knowing our animals were suffering, the anger towards my husband for who know’s what (it’s easy to blame others during frustrating times, which was wrong!) and the frustration with each other as we constantly had to team up to tackle the cleaning necessary to detoxify our home for good. The conflict I felt internally led to me not even wanting to be in the home or at times, in the relationship. And why? Because of FLEAS.

It sounds silly, but it’s not. Your home can make or break how you feel about yourself, the ones you live with and essentially how you live your life. Your home has the power to either support or cripple the life around you. Make sure your home’s energy is positively supporting you, your spouse, your animals and your world.

How do you do that, you ask? You practice SELF CARE, and you practice it passionately, day in and day out. Whatever you do, do it with purpose. Make your bed every morning, not sloppily, but clean and neat. Make your bed in a way that will make you feel calm, peaceful and grateful at the end of the day. If pretty things make you smile, outfit your home with the season’s prettiest flowers. Put mason jars with baby’s breath, white roses or pink lilies in your bedroom, bathroom, living room and dining room table. One look at or smell of these eating dinner, enjoying company or dozing off will completely transform how you feel. If your every day outlook is tied [unfortunately] to food or external appearance, help negate those negative feelings by turning to your kitchen for positive experiences. Make a new, nutritious recipe. Keep fresh fruits & vegetables in a hanging basket [if healthy is in your face all the time, it will reinforce your healthy goals and feelings about yourself that you are yearning for]. Garden with your husband out front in the sunshine. Go on a hike in nature [exercise + nature is fantastic for your serotonin levels!]. You get the point. Without a ton of money or maintenance, you can make a simple shift in how you perceive yourself and the world around you.

I needed an energy fix this week. I just felt off balance, mentally, and I knew that making something better, prettier and more put-together in my house would do the trick. For some reason, nurturing my home fulfills my heart more than anything else [who would’ve thunk I would say that in my early twenties…guess that means I’m getting old ;)]. It makes my hubby happy too, which makes us happy.

So what did I do? I painted my front door! Even a little tweak can have a revolutionary impact on your inner spirit. And let me tell you, it did for me! I’ve been wanting to revitalize the outer look of our house for a long time, but haven’t wanted to take on a complete overhaul – budget and work-wise. So I grabbed a quart of paint and got to work. And guess what? It had the same effect as a complete makeover. In a change of color, I was not only able to re-energize the look of our house from the outside, but completely transform the energy I was feeling internally.

Kyle jokes that we don’t need a front porch light anymore since our door is so bright, but that’s why I LOVE it! It brings brightness and sunshine into our home and our lives! What could be better? He would say otherwise, but happy wife, happy life, right? 😉

Check out the before and after’s!

BEFORE

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PROCESS

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door2

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Well there you have it! My new front porch 🙂 What do you think? Are you Team Kyle or Team Me? [Pick carefully…;)]

What are some projects you have taken on at home that have completely changed your life [you think I’m joking, but energy doesn’t lie!]?

Until next time,

XoXo

Finding calm amidst the storm

Today, no this last month, has been one big challenge. I’ve even looked up to the sky, asking if I am ever going to catch a break. Ever been there? Life can definitely try to knock you down and dull your spirit at times, that I know for sure.

BUT, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger right? Absolutely. As I always remind myself, this is when my growth happens [not when you’re on top of the mountain]. So, trust that. Say ‘thank you!’ for these experiences, because as Joel Osteen would say, each life moment – bad or good – is part of a larger plan leading you to your true self, purpose and destination. Is it hard? Yes. Is it a constant practice? Yes. But, I’ve come to a place of peace when facing obstacles in my path.

The more stressful and chaotic things are on the outside, the calmer you need to be on the inside. It’s the only way you can connect with where your spirit is leading you.” ~ Oprah.

Gosh, Oprah is so smart. I’m in awe every time she speaks, because most of the time I feel like she’s speaking directly to me!

What she’s saying here is that no matter what life throws at you, understand that there is a larger purpose at work. If you can stay calm, grounded and at peace internally, trusting in this higher power and grander plan, your spirit will lead you to where you are supposed to be.

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A few [personal] examples. I was laid off from my amazing public relations job in February of 2014. I managed sports and lifestyle brands, athletes and celebrities when it came to their TV appearances, magazine features and special meet-and-greets. Pretty cool, right? It was. On the outside. On the inside, I felt conflicted. I drove an hour to and from work, losing a total of two hours of my life [time that I’d like to have spent with my hubby, going for a long run in the cool evening air or trying a new recipe with a good glass of red]. The culture was stuffy; toxic, if you will. It’s almost as if you had to push the egos, politics, sliminess and competitiveness out of the way just to get to your desk [metaphorically, of course]. I would look at my bosses [although they were wonderful people who were fabulous at their jobs] and say, ‘I hope to never be you!’ Some would work until 10 p.m. every night and others never saw their kids. Not the life I wanted for myself. It started to affect my health – mentally, physically and spiritually. I put on weight, stuffing my face to feed my emotions. I became depressed and anxious, eventually leading to meds [I’ll admit it. I wanted anything to alleviate how I felt]. My home life diminished quickly – I fought with my husband, lost interest in daily activities, like exercise, cooking and doing laundry, and wanted to sleep more just to escape reality [if you know me, you know I think sleep is overrated. The more you sleep, the more life you miss, IMHO]. As you can see, looking back, getting laid off was most definitely a blessing in disguise.

Another life event I’m still trying to make sense of: losing our first baby at 16 weeks [four months]. Kyle and I unexpectedly got the surprise of our life in April of this year: a visible ‘yes’ on not one, but 12 pregnancy tests [I wanted to be sure ;)]. At 6 weeks, I had complications and went to the doctor to ensure the pregnancy was still on track. All was good in the womb and I even got to see our baby and hear its heart beat! What a miracle. Fast forward 6 weeks: Kyle and I marched into the same doctor’s office for our first big 12 week check-in. I’ll never forget the look on the doctor’s face as she told me that they saw something ‘very concerning’ on the ultrasound. I didn’t know much at the time, but I left balling. Knowing that there could be something wrong with our baby hurt my heart more than anything ever had before. After many ultrasounds, genetic testing and constant meetings with the amazing Maternal Fetal Medicine team at Duke, we lost our baby after 4 months. The light in all of this? We know that He [our higher power] brought the Duke MFM team into our lives more than a month before this heart-breaking event, giving us the time to find peace amidst the hurt and to heal just a little bit every day prior to losing her [yes, a baby girl] for good. Looking back, our baby girl was very, very sick and would’ve had no life if she had survived. Kyle and I choose to look at this tragic event as a blessing too – for our first baby girl and for us. You think you can never survive something like this, but guess what? You can. And you will. We have a emerged a more solid unit, connecting on levels we never knew possible. I can say today, 6 weeks after, that my husband and I are stronger than ever! I also know personally, that I was on a downward spiral before finding out I was pregnant. My eating disorder was starting to peak it’s ugly head again, controlling every bite and move I made. I was letting the stress of every day life lead me to drink 2 + glasses of wine a day, spiraling into bad sleep, no exercise, weight gain and a lousy outlook of myself and the world around me. This pregnancy, I now know, was a wake up call for me! And you know another thing – heaven received an angel that will now look over other babies and parents in the same boat. And at the right time, we will again have the joy of a new pregnancy and healthy baby. And then, all of this will completely make sense.

Unfortunately, you can’t make sense of unplanned or unwanted events in the moment [usually], but you can choose to accept that these experiences have a mission. You just may have to wait a little longer to find out what that mission is. Which, in my opinion, is actually pretty exciting: knowing in your heart that there is something bigger and better coming your way!

Amidst all of the baby chaos, I was watching Super Soul Sunday on OWN [thanks to my sister in law, Chelcie, for introducing me!]. Her special guest that day was Devon Franklin, author of Produced by Faith, who talked about how to get clarity on the intention of your life. He says to start living the life that was intended for you [and to rid yourself from anxiety – a big issue for me], you’ve got to do three things: control what you can and how you respond, and then let go of the rest. You can control your role: if you’re getting ready for a meeting, a big project or in my case, a wedding, prep and plan as much as you can. Whatever happens in the middle – bad or good – accept it [it’s out of your hands!]. Then, control your response. It’s in your reaction that will determine how the universe will lay out your experiences to come. Essentially, YOU determine where you’ll go and who you’ll be.

Two more things he says are just as important when dealing with life challenges:

  • FAITHFULNESS (Matthew 9:27-29: ‘Trusting in the limitless power of God is a fundamental requirement. We must believe that our circumstances do not restrict God’s ability to bless us. The only thing that restricts us is our lack of faith in him. Big faith equals big blessings.’
    [Me: Amen!]
  • SUBMISSION (James 4:7): ‘We have to give ourselves over to God’s authority. We have to let him develop and the produce the story he wants from our lives.’
    [Me: My mom always says this, but she’s right: let your higher power take the driver’s seat. You don’t have to be in control all the time!]

With all of this said, I leave you with the below passage from my favorite devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. If you too are feeling the storm around you, dig deep within to find the calm and peace you need to endure the immediate moment. There is a method in the madness! We only have this one life, so let’s be grateful for all it brings – the rain and the sunshine 🙂

JoelPassage

XoXo,

Carrie

Create beauty in your life

Creating beautiful things makes me feel beautiful. And that’s why my husband and I do it! We enjoy dreaming and designing beautiful pieces of work, and then bringing them to life. And obvi, the QT we get together too 🙂 It’s somewhat of a bonding experience for us – we are able to connect on a deeper level and laugh the whole way through it – which makes me feel truly blessed to have him, this life, and this fun hobby [and now business!] together. It’s a pretty cool thing, wouldn’t you say? I would.

Remember, it’s the small things in life that bring the greatest joy and fulfillment. The reality is, I have some pretty challenging things happening in life right now and I could’ve spent Sunday moping, dreading and feeling anxious that Monday was about to hit full force. But I didn’t. I stayed present, did something I’m passionate about, surrounded myself with love [my hubby and fur babies], and soaked up the sunshine [that can make anyone happy!]. And guess what? I was able to savor every moment. I definitely went to bed with a happy heart full of gratitude. And that’s what life is all about.

So the FUN part: I’m sharing our creations from our Sunday Funday!
Wood1How BEAUTIFUL are the striations in this wood? Weird that it gets me excited, right? 😉 But this texture gives the pieces character. Depending on the texture, the paint or stain we apply will take on different looks, giving each individual piece it’s own unique personality. Today, we chose paint!

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Today, we created some new designs for our Etsy Shop! We are super faithful people so we love to use bible verses for inspiration. Thus why one of my favorite creations has one of my most beloved verses: “Live in love.” We also designed wall art for a little girl’s room, other love-inspired pieces and a full-on wedding sign package [which I am SUPER pumped about]! If you can tell, every piece we create comes from a special place. We make sure to infuse our own little touch and more importantly, lots and lots of love. We truly love designing these pieces, but we get more pleasure out of knowing they will soon warm the hearts of others, too! [Corny, I know ;)]

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This is my husband getting our designs ready to apply to the wood! Sometimes we apply vinyl, sometimes we paint, sometimes we hand-do our designs – it just depends on the look and feel we are going for. Today we did a combination of it all!

And now for the grand finale…drum roll pretty please…

Some of our final products, ladies and gents:

Who else feels beautiful creating beautiful things? If you’re wanting to be crafty, but don’t know where to start, let us know. We are always willing to guide creative beginners!

Welp. Successful Sunday, I’d say. Now, let’s make Monday just as productive! Have a fantastic day, ya’ll!!

XoXo,

FMB

Carrie

Welcome to FMB!

Welcome to my new lifestyle blog where I will be raw and real about my ongoing journey to find what really makes me feel beautiful, alive, authentic and whole. Slowing down, becoming present and finding [and then appreciating] the little miracles in everyday moments is what life is all about. It’s the smallest of things that will give you the most joy, love, peace and fulfillment, you just have to be ready to open your eyes and your heart. Here, I’ll be sharing my journey to opening up my soul to this life and how it is completely transforming [it’s a constant practice, not a destination] my perspective and how I see this world. The universe is a beautiful place and so are YOU. All you have to do is slightly alter the lens in which you see this world.

If you’re struggling to find the beauty in yourself and the life you live, stick with me. I can help you start to pinpoint the little blessings in your life that if seen in the right light and acted upon properly, can ultimately transform you into a better, more authentic, happy, content and purposeful self. Life shouldn’t be toxic, stale and unhappy; it should be full of positive light, energy and people.

Let’s make that shift together! I can’t wait to take this journey with YOU and help you find what makes this life and you feel BEAUTIFUL too ❤

XoXo,

FMB

Carrie