Lisa Leonard Designs

celebrating matthias at knotts berry farm

January 29th | celebrate the every day

A couple weeks ago we went to Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California to celebrate Matthias’ birthday. We had cousins and grandma and auntie and uncle. Although he would have rather stayed home and played video games, I think he had a great time. Knott’s is more mellow than Disneyland. I grew up going there and it brought back some sweet memories!

Highlights of the day included malts at Johnny Rockets, bumper cars {we rode twice}, being silly and getting a charicature {a gift from the grandma}. Doesn’t Matthias’ daring look JUST like him?!

Happy Birthday to one of the sweetest eleven year old I know! We love you, Matthias!

layered necklaces {love!}

January 28th | jewelry, what I'm wearing

Oh this dress and the sunshine. I felt happy and free wearing this outfit. It’s Wednesday and I’m linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.

The length of this dress is just right. It’s long enough to be covered but short enough to be fun. Steve got me this dress for Christmas. I love it.

 And the sunshine we’ve had lately is magical. Cool evenings but glorious days. And we got rain last night–so hooray!

And these are my every day favorite booties.

I love a pretty dress that is easy to wear.

And I love layering necklace. The sterling itty bitty heart has Steve’s initial. It’s a 16″ chain. And the petite infinity is on 18″ sterling chain. Gorgeous.

Outfit details: Dress, Anthropologie. Booties, Frye via Zappos. Bag, H&M. Jean jacket, Gap. Itty Bitty Heart Necklace, My Shop. Petite Infinity Necklace, My shop. Bracelets, My shop.

I know some of your are freezing in the east! I hope you’re staying cozy inside with a blanket and cup of cocoa!

surprised by love

January 27th | finding beauty

As I live, I learn there is so much more to love than I used to think. It’s deeper, wider, stronger and more beautiful than I used to believe.  Here are some things I’m learning about love…

1. Love grows in rocky soil. With a little sunlight and water, love can grow even in difficult circumstances.  It doesn’t require ideal conditions to thrive.

2. Love is resilient. It gets nicked and scraped, but if those bumps and bruises are tended to, it will heal to become even stronger.

3. Love is a renewable resource. Sometimes I feel used up and empty. But with a little rest and room to breathe, I am refreshed and ready to love again.

4. Love is brave. A heart that knows it is loved is willing to risk and be vulnerable.

5. Love expands. There is no limit to love. As we’ve made new friends and watched our family get bigger, I’ve seen my heart stretch and grow.

How has love surprised you?

hello sunshine and waves in avila beach

January 26th | an everyday moment, hello monday

Hello friends! We had a very mellow, happy weekend. It was much needed after a stressful week. I feel like I finally exhaled. And guess what? Today is Monday–a new beginning and a fresh start. How about some hellos?

***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!***

Hello Avila Beach. We are there fairly often, so on this trip, I tried to capture some fresh photos and look at things with a different perspective.

Hello saying goodbye to one of our dear friends, Peggy today. Steve is playing guitar at her celebration service and we are grieving her loss with friends.

Hello clean boys room. I went through all their drawers and I have three bags of clothes to give to friends. Feels so good!

Hello dishes done and groceries waiting to be gathered.

Hello warm weather. It’s gorgeous out. We need rain. We are enjoying the sunshine and praying for wet weather.

Hello tummy pain. David has been struggling lately. GI issues are the hardest thing for him. I think he’s having a growth spurt–he’s super hungry but then struggles with reflux when his tummy is full. It’s so hard sometimes!

Hello creating. My mind is going a mile a minute lately–and I love it.

Hello Downton Abbey. Are you watching the current season? We’re obsessed.

Hello to you, sweet friend! What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link up your own hello monday post there!

beauty in brokenness {free printable!}

January 23rd | blog friends, finding beauty

It’s Friday friends! Whose ready for the weekend?

Today I am featured over at Barn Owl Primitives’ blog. Such an honor! I adore Kristi–and although we’ve never met in person, we regularly connect online, through texts and with phone calls. I can tell you she is a woman with heart who has built a thriving business that creates beautiful things. She and her husband work together {like Steve and I} so we have a lot in common.

If you’ve been hanging around here much, you’ve probably heard me talk about finding beauty in brokenness. I used to think I could create a perfect life, now I realized there is no perfect. But there is still so much beauty! In the crazy, everyday mess, I see bits of beauty and love–and it fills my heart!

Barn Owl Primitives created this gorgeous sign for me and guess what, today they are making it available as a FREE printable just for you! How amazing is that?! Click here to find it on the Barn Owl Blog. 

Happy Friday Friends!

Loving Each Other in the Mundane

January 22nd | finding love

Married life is so different than I thought it would be.  When we were young and in love, I was sure we would be the couple that would beat the odds—and you know what, in some ways, we have. But it’s nothing like I expected. I thought true love was fluttery feelings and never disagreeing.

“Okay,” I used to think, “we can have the occasional disagreement, as long as we communicate well, listen to each other and resolvd things in a calm, healthy manner.”. But marriage isn’t usually so neat and tidy.

Now I think true love is something altogether different. It’s actually deeper and more profound than I used to think.

Steve and I are well matched. During pre-marital counseling, our pastor had us take an assessment to help us identify ‘red flag’ areas where conflict would likely arise. When the results of the assessment came back, there were no red flag areas. Sure we had different backgrounds and slightly different perspectives on some things, but overall we approached life with similar beliefs. We exhaled a huge sigh of relief. We were going to be okay.

We got married, decorated our apartment, and stepped into life thinking we had it figured out. We had a solid friendship and we truly enjoyed being together—but we didn’t have a clue about what life was about to throw our way. We started off optimistic and in love, then real life happened all around us. We’ve been through some crazy, hard stuff—depression, getting fired from a job, friends divorcing and having a baby with a severe disability. We’ve held each other and cried with grief in moments so dark we could hardly see a way forward. Through those rough waters I have been so glad to have him by my side

We’ve also had some amazing experiences together—walking the red carpet with Gerard Butler at a movie premier in Los Angeles, attending a ball in Ginezno, Poland, sipping tea in an old estate home in England, oh, and building a thriving business together. We’ve done things I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to experience. I remember moments, staring into each other’s eyes, and not being able to hold all the joy inside. And through those fairytale moments, I have been so glad to have him by my side. His smile, his friendship, his sense of humor makes the exceptional even better.

But after 15 years of marriage, I no longer believe it’s the highs and lows that make or break a marriage. The lowest lows and the highest highs are the exception to the rule. And while they may be extremely difficult or hugely exciting, they don’t define a marriage. It’s day to day life that makes or breaks a marriage. The drain of the mundane can be exhausting. We work together, raise our boys together and live life together. It’s busy and stressful. Sometimes, after the boys are in bed, and we are both sitting on the couch catching up on our favorite BBC show, I wonder why it feels like there is a wall between us.  Those bricks pile up one at a time—a small comment that hurts or being too tired to share details from the day. Each one doesn’t seem like a big deal, but over days and weeks they pile up to create a wall. Sure, these bricks can be torn down, but it takes vulnerability. Someone has to reach out to the other person with a hug, kiss, or a kind word. The same fatigue from the every day stress of life, the stress which allowed the wall to go up, makes it hard to tear it down.

I used to think highs and lows put strain on a marriage—but now I see it’s more than that. The every day stress of life is what makes marriage so challenging {and so beautiful}. Every day we have to fight the distance that wants to creep in and build a wall between us. I wake up in the morning to Steve making breakfast for our family and give him a little kiss. And bricks come down. Sometimes I slip a little note into his bag that says, “You are brave.” And bricks come down. Every day we have to hold each other, listen to each other, and share our hearts with each other. It isn’t fancy, but it matters. It isn’t complicated but it’s not simple either. Marriages are built in the little, everyday moments of life. Marriages are broken through the everyday strain of life and the drain of the mundane.

As I sit here reflecting on how different married life is from what I expected, I feel grateful that I married my best friend. I am grateful that he and I are committed to breaking down walls and fighting the distance. Together we are learning to be more vulnerable and to love each other better in the midst of the mundane.

favorite jeans, favorite drink

January 21st | what I'm wearing

I’ve got a new favorite drink from Starbucks–and it’s fairly low carb {and seriously delicious!}. It’s a cinnamon dolce with whole milk and one pump of sugar free syrup. Oh and whip cream. It’s such a treat and so yummy!

It’s Wednesday and I’m linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for some fashion inspiration.

On a typical day, I pretty much wear these jeans, a black top, some kind of sweater or jacket and boots or heels. It’s a simple and trusty recipe for getting ready.

This sweatshirt moto jacket from Gap is cozy and structured.

And the bag is from Better Life Bags. Seriously a show stopper. Love it!

The flowy black top and heels are from Target.

And a yummy drink in my hand makes for a good start to the day.

The marked by love necklace celebrates how certain people leave an impression on our lives forever. That is a beautiful thing! Everything in the shop is 25% off with code ‘grateful’. It’s a good day to shop!

Outfit details: Jeans, Big Star via zappos. Black top, Target. Moto jacket, Gap. Heels, Target. Necklace, My shop. Bag, Better Life Bags {love!}

What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks {or your favorite local coffee shop}?

hello making time

January 19th | hello monday

Hello friends! It’s Monday–a brand new week and a fresh start. Last week I was rushed and behind all week. This week I’m determined to make time. I want to make time to rest, make time to get ahead, make time to breathe and make time to be with my family. I have enough time, I just need to use it wisely and plan so that I’m not frazzled and crazy! These pics were taken over Christmas time and they represent some breathing room and time with loved ones. How about some hellos?

***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!***

Hello sunshine and sand. California winters are ridiculous.

Hello running and playing and having FUN!

Hello aunties and grandmas and grandpa. We’ve had some wonderful time with family lately and we are so grateful!

Hello talking and sharing and encouraging and being imperfect.

Hello day off school. Hooray for a slow morning and working from home.

Hello pictures from Matthias’ birthday to edit and share.

Hello working on a fun project with the kids.

Hello catching up on sleep and laundry.

Hello extra cup of coffee and extra grace for letting things be imperfect.

Hello determined to get the house tidy again.

Hello making time to be alone and collect my thoughts.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week and a new beginning. What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments section or link your own hello monday post there!

pretty dress, tired mama

January 14th | jewelry, what I'm wearing

Hello there! We had meetings all weekend and I jumped into this week tired. That’s a hard way to start the week, but sometimes that’s just the way it is. I woke up Tuesday morning and all I wanted to do was stay in bed–but that wasn’t an option. We were running late and I threw on a pretty dress and some red lipstick. Nothing like getting ready in 15 minutes. Bam! It’s Wednesday and I’m linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for some fashion inspiration!

This dress is too fun. It was on major clearance after Christmas. It’s actually a cocktail dress and kind of fancy, but a jean jacket tones it down for the workshop.

I love my jean jacket. It’s kind of like a security blanket.

This birthstone bauble necklace is sooo pretty. Scroll down for more details!

Hair pulled back, red lipstick. I’m tired inside but I’ve got lots to do. I’ll work hard today and go to bed early tonight!

I feel more put together with a simple heel. But I’ll kick them off as soon I get home.

Stacked up bracelets. I love my ‘word of the year’ bracelet. ‘Loved’ is my word. I need that reminder every day.

And the birthstone bauble necklace–isn’t it gorgeous?! Only $24 today!!

Outfit details: Dress, Zara. Jean jacket, Gap. Heels, Target. Earrings, My shop. Bracelets, My shop. Birthstone Bauble necklace, My shop.

Today I’m drinking coffee, taking deep breaths and trying not to be irritable. How do you push through on the tired and frazzled days?

hello morro bay at sunset

January 12th | an everyday moment, hello monday

A few evenings ago we drove over to Morro Bay to catch the sunset and stretch our legs. We arrived at twilight and Matthias and Steve threw a baseball for a bit while David and I cuddled. We started out a little grumpy but by the end we were laughing and feeling refreshed. That’s how most days go around here–it’s imperfect with bits of beauty. There are frustration and joys. I’m learning to be okay with this–which is a good thing since I don’t see it changing any time soon. Life is imperfect and still beautiful.

It’s Monday, a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. How about some hellos?

***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!***

Hello golden sunset. You fill my soul.

Hello brothers holding hands. Beautiful.

Hello throwing a baseball. This kid’s got a good arm.

Hello tiny, determined feet. David’s got lots of energy and he wants to explore.

Hello sweet moment. Matthias was frustrated, so Steve was comforting him and David wanted in on the hug, too.

Hello sweet Pug. His owner was so friendly and told us all about him. He really cheered Matthias up!

Hello stacks in the moonlight.

Hello drawing what inspires you. Matthias drew the sweetest pug and Steve and I were so impressed. This kid needs a dog!

Hello meetings in LA today.

Hello family who helps take care of our boys. I am so thankful!

Hello endless mounds of laundry. I am so overwhelmed! I’m waving the white flag.

Hello making a new pork loin roast recipe this week. Yum!

Hello cleaning spots in the house that don’t get enough attention. You know, the spots where things pile up–like the hall closet. Feels so good.

Hello Fixer Upper. Seriously my new favorite show on HGTV. Have you seen it?

Hello putting my phone away in the evenings and trying to be more present.

Hello working out regularly and trying to fit in walks here and there. Love it.

Hello planning and dreaming and working hard.

Hello finding time to rest and just be. So needed.

Hello Monday! It’s a brand new week! What are you saying hello to? Leave some hellos in the comments or link up your own hello monday post there!