finding hope in the heartbreak

inspiration, motherhood, stories from our community, the meaning behind By April 21, 2016 4 Comments

When you share your stories with my on Facebook or Instagram, it often stops me right where I am. It’s humbling to create jewelry that holds deep meaning–and when these handmade pieces become part of your story, it fills me. Jen’s story of heartache and hope resonated deeply with me–and you! When she shared on Facebook, many of you responded to her comment and encouraged her. This community is a beautiful place where people can be honest and feel loved. I’m grateful. I reached out to Jen to share more of her story with us. Here’s Jen’s comment from Facebook…

‘2014 was supposed to be a joyous year. In the spring, we thought my mom’s cancer was on the up and up, and my husband and I finally became pregnant. We told my mom early, thinking it would give her final push to really kick cancer’s butt. It turned out that it had a stronger hold on her than anyone knew, and the hospital stays started. We find out at our 3 month ultrasound that the baby has an irreversible birth defect. Everyone fought and prayed for the best. However, angels were made that summer; my mom passed in July, and we lost the baby two weeks later. I didn’t know what to do, that fog was so think. My family and I stuck together and through them and friends, I pulled myself out. There are now sunny days again–we have a beautiful little girl, named after my mom. Her room’s theme is You Are My Sunshine. ‘

It warmed my heart to see the ways you and others in our community responded, encouraged, and shared in the joy and pain. We asked Jen to share a bit more about her journey, and where she finds hope. Read for more…


How do you experience hope each day?

I experience hope every time I look at my daughter. Rosabella fills me with hope every day — hope for a bright future for her, hope for the best for our family, and the knowing that everything is okay. My mom believed in hope, had given me a bracelet with that word on it.  We always hope for the best outcome possible. Sometimes the best outcome isn’t want we want, but what is best for the person going through the tough time.

When in this journey did you experience a glimmer of hope?

I first experienced a glimmer of hope when we found out we were pregnant. It was right around Mother’s Day 2014. I had wanted to give my mom a grandchild so badly, especially knowing she was sick. We told my mom early, at about 8-9 weeks. I thought that maybe this was the bump she needed to finally get her body back to where she wanted it.  We gave her a bracelet that said Grandma on it.  At first, she thought it was from our cat!  Then she thought about it, and I hadn’t seen her so excited in a long time!

What are some of the ways you feel supported by friends and family?

My husband was my rock during that tough summer. He was there at every doctor’s appointment, and had no problem with me staying for days at a time with my mom when she was home.  He encouraged me to do silly things to keep my mind off of things while my mom slept. Once my mom went into hospice, he came every night with me to see her.  My dad has always been an amazing person, but blew me away during those years.  They were divorced but became her main care taker.  He took her to every appointment, every treatment, and spent nights at her house as well.  He told me everything that happened at those appointments, and we all talked a lot as a family.  I see my father at least once a week now (he does some baby-sitting now and again too), and we do lots of talking and reminiscing.  I have a close group of girlfriends; like all friends we get involved in life and don’t always see each other.  During that time, they were the first to come to my mom’s house and brought food for my dad, my brother, and me.  They were always checking in. I don’t know what I would have done without them. Now we all have kids (well, one has a nephew she adores), and we try to get together at least once a month.

Mom cape


How would you encourage someone going through the process of grieving the loss of a loved one?

I would say take life one hour at a time.  When you’re ready, take life one day at a time.  There is no amount of time that can totally take that hurt of losing a loved one away, but slowly the hurt does lessen.  No one can tell you that enough time has passed and you should be “over it”.  Only the person grieving knows when they are able to put one foot in front of the other.  What I also found helped was joining a support group.  Members of this group had all experienced a loss, and although not all losses were the same, we all knew that deep feeling of despair and grief.  It started as more of a therapeutic gathering, but now I attend because these people have become my friends. 

What have you learned about yourself this year?

Since Bella was born, I have learned that I am stronger than I thought in many respects.  The late nights, working on my Master’s program, working full time… I do have my moments where I think I cannot do it and I break down. In the end, though, it gets done.  I just think of my mom, and how hard she fought against her illness.  I am nowhere near the hardships she had to endure, and I know she would not want me giving up or breaking down.

Are there any other details or thoughts you would like to share with the community?

I know we’ve all heard this, but do not take anything for granted.  Life is short; a loved one is there one minute, and could be gone the next.  This is something that I keep in mind everyday.  Yes, I am busy and there are things that have to get done (work, classwork).  However, the laundry can wait.  Dinner can be later.  What matters most is my family–making sure I play with Bella as soon as we come home, chasing Chewie around the house for playtime, sitting down and spending time with Jason.  Take time to be with the ones you love.  But also remember to love yourself, too–for you are no good to anyone if you yourself are unhappy.

Bella and Chewie

Buffett concert

 This is so beautiful, Jen. Thank you Jen for sharing your heart! I am so glad the sunburst ring holds deep meaning for you. You are strong and brave. xx


hello color, texture and light

hello monday, inspiration By February 22, 2016 3 Comments

Three things that whisper beauty to my soul are color, texture and light. And when they’re combined just right, it can be magical. Some things are just so lovely it makes my heart skip a beat. Does that happen to you? And it can be the most simple of things.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

hello sunlight-01 Hello heartshake studios. You inspire me.

Hello cleaning and simplifying and then cleaning some more. The cleaning is never ever done.

Hello sunlight pouring in the windows. It’s good for my heart.

Hello sipping coffee and craving more.

hello sunlight-02 Hello thrifted baskets. I love the thrill of finding an unexpected treasure.

Hello trying Blue Apron. We just received our first two meals and I think I like it. It was a little stressful trying a new recipe {David was hanging on me while I cooked} but the directions were super simple and easy to follow. And the meals have been delicious!

Hello going to bed early. I have been so tired at night lately!

hello sunlight-01-2Hello pretty pots and rugs. Love the color and texture.

Hello keeping in touch with friends by text. I have friends I text throughout the day with random bits of information and silly photos. It’s such a great way to stay connected.

Hello snoring dogs. They wake up, go potty, eat breakfast and within 5 minutes, they are snoring again. It’s awesome.

Hello haircuts, meetings and finding time for quiet.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?


a little bit of joy to suprise the day that changed everything

david, inspiration By January 7, 2016 73 Comments

At some point in each person’s life, pain shows up. That’s the day everything changes. What was true one moment is gone the next. The path turns sharply in an unexpected direction. It’s disorienting, unfamiliar terrain.

When it happened to me, I knew in the depth of my soul, things were broken and would never be the same again. The pain, in all its heavy darkness would be with me for the rest of my life. Instead of the happy, healthy baby I imagined, our son was born with a severe disability and a body that didn’t work correctly. The joy of anticipating our son turned to grief as they hooked him up to monitors and tubes.

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But slowly, as I started to accept it, the pain became part of me. It was still there but it wasn’t quite as heavy.  I loved cuddling with David and feeling his soft breath as he cuddled into my shoulder. And that first smile when he was three months old was like wind behind me–moving me forward. Each footstep didn’t feel so exhausting.

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Then, to my surprise, a little bit of joy peeked through the clouds, like ray of sunshine. I wasn’t expecting it and I almost felt guilty. It must be a fluke, right? A little accidental joy. But little by little joy showed herself. The pain was still there, it’s there today, it’s part of me and part of my journey. But the pain has allowed me to feel joy in a new, fresh way that I couldn’t before. The pain helps me appreciate the joy. The pain makes the joy much, much sweeter. The day that pain showed up, it changed everything.
And in it’s crazy, mixed up way, the brokenness of pain is making me more whole.

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Every morning I slip the sunburst ring on my finger as a reminder.

Has joy started to peek it’s head through the clouds in your journey? I’d love to hear.


how we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament {matthias remarkable imagination}

christmas, inspiration, matthias By November 18, 2015 3 Comments

Months ago, I was working on our Christmas ornaments and I asked Matthias if he would like to design one. At eleven years old he draws and sketches all the time–I mean, he literally carries his drawing pad and pencil case everywhere. And this is nothing new–he’s been drawing since he was three or four years old. I thought an ornament would be such a fun gift for aunties, uncles and grandparents. I asked him to draw whatever he wanted and planned to create the ornament from his drawing. Take a look at what he came up with!

*Also, scroll down to the bottom to see our ornament special happening today!*

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Matthias drew the cross himself, then from his drawing, together, we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament. It turned out so well!

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I asked Matthias why he wanted to draw a cross for the ornament and he said, Christmas is about Jesus and the cross symbolizes Jesus. Beautiful!

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The ‘cross of light’ ornament is finished with a sheet red ribbon and can be personalized on the back with a name or the year.

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I love having Matthias use his talents and creativity to be part of the business. He loves to draw and sketch. This was a perfect opportunity to use his artwork in a new and different way. He inspires me!

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All ornaments are buy two get one FREE today! Enter code ‘happytree’ at checkout. Yay! They’re the perfect gift for each kiddo, teachers and dear friends.

You can find the ‘cross of light’ ornament here. Click here to see all the 2015 ornaments.


meaningful things for home {dayspring “better together” collection}

blog friends, inspiration By October 8, 2015 2 Comments

Dayspring has a new collection called ‘Better Together’ and friends, it is filled with some beautiful, meaningful things for the home. Take a look.

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They sent me a few postcards and this one resonated with me. Some days it’s harder to be brave. Sometimes showing a bit of kindness is an act of bravery. Love this.

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This banner found a spot between two windows. It’s hand-lettered by Aliza Latta. She is so talented!

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And this pillow cover is the same design. We are better together. Sometimes together is hard–I want to be alone and do my own thing. But truly, together, community, belonging is so important.

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And this globe, right?! How gorgeous. I love it.

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You can see the whole Better Together collection here. Which piece is your favorite?


ideas for living room {the most family place in the house}

decorating, inspiration By August 27, 2015 6 Comments

Our living room is where we spend most of our time. It’s attached to the kitchen, and we all hang out on this side of the house–eating, playing, watching television, doing work, etc.

These couches have been through the ringer. I can’t even count how many times I’ve scrubbed them clean. They have worked hard–some day soon they’ll need to be replaced. The coffee table is scratched and scuffed. The rug has spots and needs a professional cleaning. But there is lots of light, and color and coziness. It’s imperfect. It’s real life. It’s beautiful.

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The yellow lamps and pillows are from Target.

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I recently got the sheepskin to add coziness to this chair and cover up the fading upholstery. Fun!

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Check out the chair before and after. It’s had a second life–crazy! It’s pretty broken down and faded now. But such a fun color.

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The coffee table was thrift find. I painted it white and all the edges have worn away. It’s rustic!

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We keep lots of David’s toys in vintage crates under the coffee table. He loves to slide the crates out and go through the toys–flinging them all over the room. It’s pretty funny. Also, it’s easy to clean up. The rug is from Ikea.

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The mirror, sconces and books above the fireplace are all thrifted.

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Lots of music all over the house. Lots of noise too!

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That pouf is from Target. My friend Annie bought it and decided she didn’t want it. I traded her for a pair of earrings from the shop. Awesome!!

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The ampersand marquee is from Junk Art Gypsyz. It adds happiness to the room.

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Someday I want to paint those bookshelves white. I think it would brighten the room a lot.

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And here’s a close-up of the ampersand marquee and vintage typewriter {thrifted}.

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Two decorating books I can’t get enough of right now are The Nesting Place and The New Bohemians. So inspiring!

What room in your home gets the most family time?


hello celebration

adventures, family, inspiration By July 27, 2015 3 Comments

Later this week we’ll be up in the mountains celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It’s sure be fun with a lot of crazy mixed in. How about some hellos for a new week?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***
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Hello cousins and aunties and uncles and grandparents. Hello big family!

Hello mountains, cabin sleeping, and starry nights.

Hello driving winding roads and trying not to get carsick.

Hello swimming and hiking and board games.

Hello making memories.

Hello breathing deep and letting life be imperfect.

Hello celebrating 50 years of marriage. I think you have to be a little bit crazy to be able to stay married that long, don’t you?

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?


how to wear it {photo shoot!}

inspiration, jewelry By April 14, 2015 3 Comments

Last week we teamed up with our friends at Ruby Rose to style a few outfits and pair them with new jewelry from the shop. This shop is one of my very favorites in town–filled with vintage books, clothing, succulents and other beautiful things. It was so fun! I took lots of pics–read on for inspiration.

The whole shop is breath-taking. I always say I’m going for inspiration–but then I want to buy everything. The way they style and set up the shop is artistic and out of the box.

Boots, Yes, please.

Lindsay is wearing our first outfit. Isn’t she adorable? Let’s call this outfit ‘Classic with a Hippie vibe’.

 Lindsay runs our customer service in addition to other responsibilities. For this look we used a flowy black top, flare jeans and clogs. Such a great every day outfit!

Lindsay’s wearing the sterling ‘Believe’ Necklace and two Chevron Rings. Classic and free-spirited!

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Onto our next look! Jackie was shopping at Ruby Rose and how cute is she? Super stylish and sweet. So we asked her to jump in on our shoot and she agreed!

I’m calling Jackie’s look ‘Relaxed to perfection’

I love outfits that are stylish but still relaxed. Her awesome jeans are belted and the kimono style cardigan with some pretty jewelry pulls everything together for a finished look.

Jackie is wearing the Half Full Necklace and the Twists and Turns Earrings. Gorgeous!

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Next is Kimmie! She helps us with production and marketing. And she is pretty with the best smile! Let’s call this look ‘Vintage Romance’.

How fun is this dress? I love the lace necklace and tiered skirt. Whimsical and sweet.

Kimmie is wearing the ‘Oval Mirror Ring‘ above and ‘Petite Your Heart in Mine‘ Necklace below.

Below is Lindsay again with a look called {and I’m making these up as I go} ‘Gypsy Love’.

Seriously how amazing is this dress? Just the kind of thing I could wear everyday. So pretty and easy and flattering.

Lindsay is wearing the ‘Tiny Tied to My Heart‘ Necklace above and ‘Very Loved‘ Ring below.

This last look below might be my favorite–but I mean, how can one choose?! This last look will officially be called ‘Boho Chic’.

Kimmie is wearing a spaghetti strap black dress with a floral kimono and sandals. I love that kimono, in fact in came home with me and I’ve worn it five times. It’s awesome.

For this outfit, Kimmie wore the sterling ‘Love Note’ Necklace with her initial.

And a few more pics of the shop just in case you need a little more inspiration.

I’m crushing on our new collection and I’m crushing on Ruby Rose and all the beautiful items so perfectly displayed. Ruby Rose is part of the Junking Trail {a bunch of awesome vintage shops} this weekend. Doesn’t that sound like FUN?!

Our new Mother’s Day collection is full of meaning.

What you do matters. Who you are matters.
You have a nurturing heart and a strong spirit.
You are a mom and so much more!

See the whole Mother’s Day collection here and find the perfect gift for your mom, auntie, grandma or yourself!


the meaning of new start {creating goals}

inspiration By January 6, 2015 8 Comments

New beginnings are so important! It’s January–a new year and a fresh start.

I’ve been reflecting on the various times of the year that feel like a fresh start. Every Monday feels like a new beginning. I love that! The school year is a huge new beginning! And every year on my birthday I think about who I am, what I want and how I can grow. And of course, the new year is a new beginning.

Here are some thoughts/goals/resolutions I am thinking over.

Blog more. I want to write more. I want to pour out my heart more. This space feeds my soul and I love connecting with you. I want to spend more time here this year.

Ask for help. I need to let others help me more–especially with David. I’ve hit some lows lately. I get tired, exhausted and discouraged because I’m doing too much and I’m not allowing others to help. And at times, I struggle with bitterness, even though I haven’t voiced my needs. This year I want to let go of some control and let others help more. It’s good for me and it’s good for David.

Allow downtime. I want to spend my downtime reading books and magazines more, and be on Facebook and Pinterest less. I want to shut down screens and enjoy quiet time in books and stories. I know this will lower my stress level!

Create with Matthias. I want to draw, paint, sculpt and take pictures with my younger son. I want to nurture his creativity and connect with him. I’ve got some fun ideas and I can’t wait to share the results with you!

Listen to David. He has so many thoughts, ideas and preferences. Every day he grows in his ability to tell me what he wants–not with words, but with gestures, pointing and leading me to things. The crucial part is, I have to slow down, pay attention and LISTEN. It’s hard for me! I get busy doing things that seem important when taking time to listen is so much more important. I believe listening gives a person dignity. I believe David’s opinion matters. I want to listen more.

Simplify. Especially the house. I want to get rid of things we don’t use or need. I want clear counters and less clutter. I’m pretty sure my soul will breath easier.

Be active. I just started working out at a local gym a few months ago and I love it! It was a very vulnerable thing for me to join a gym but I feel stronger already. I want to continue these workouts and perhaps increase frequency. I also want to walk and ride bikes/scooters with my boys more.

Pray. I want to use the ACTS model {Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication} to pray every day. Some days it may be a few minutes, sometimes more. I believe in the power of pray. And I need to spend more time praying.

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Do you have any goals for the new year? I’d love to hear!


huckleberry market {love}

inspiration, san luis obispo By November 4, 2014 2 Comments

Hey there! I have inspiration to share today! We’ve got a new floral + gift shop here in San Luis Obispo and it’s nothing short of lovely. It’s full of texture, light and color–so that means it’s full of my favorite things! Take a look…

They’ve taken over Ruby Rose’s old space and made it fantastically new.

Succulents make my heart sing!

It’s such a light-filled space.

Wouldn’t these library cards make adorable gift tags?

Paper, ribbon and scissors–what else do you need?

The shop is owned by Karen and Carla {that’s Karen above} and it’s beautiful. If you live near San Luis Obispo, or pass through, you must stop in! You can follow Huckleberry Market on Facebook and Instagram. They also do creative gatherings. So fun!

What’s inspiring you today?