lifestyle

getting back to basics.

this post is in partnership with Jord Wood Watches. as always, opinions are my own (like i’d ever not give you my own opinion). thank you for supporting brands that support everything with love. 

unless you’ve been ignoring this blog over the past few weeks, you’d know that i recently finished a month long social media fast. i was off all social media for the month of january, with a goal to reassess my priorities and my relationship with social media in order to live a more balanced, grounded, genuine life. i wanted to go back to the basics of making my life, my people, and my passions the focus of my time, with social media being a meaningful addition to it.

it uncovered a lot of things in me that i didn’t really recognize were limiting how i lived my best life. a big part of my month was spent thinking about how i could use social media as an enhancer rather than a distraction, as well as what tools i could use to help me in this pursuit.

here are the ways i’m making my social media work for me instead of against me:

  • setting time limits on my social media use

part of my problem with social media before my fast was just the amount of times i mindlessly opened up the apps to waste downtime in a day. it adds up really quickly, and takes you out of your rhythm really easily too. i had a realization that all the posts would still be there even if i didn’t see them as soon as they were posted, and once i got my brain around that, setting time limits really helped me manage my use. now, i give myself a half hour in the morning with my coffee to scroll through instagram (although i usually don’t use all of that time), and a half hour after the kids go to bed to check it again along with any other social media i feel like i need to check.

knowing that i’ll have time to look through everything keeps me from feeling like i’m missing out, because everything will still be there. and honestly, “missing out” on a month worth of posts might have given me FOMO for a couple days, but that feeling quickly goes away when your life is still just as good without them. if you can organize your social media time in a way that reinforces that understanding, it’s a lot easier to manage it in a healthy instead of all-encompassing way.

  • removing apps from my phone

oh, this one is a big one. obviously as part of my month off, i removed all the apps from my phone, or it would have been too tempting to check in here and there. now that my fast is over, i have instagram added back on, but haven’t added facebook and twitter and have no plans to either. if i need to check those platforms, i can do it on my laptop. i haven’t missed them at all, and i love the space in my brain that i seem to have without them. i’ve also gotten rid of snapchat altogether, because it didn’t bring much to my life.

with something like this, you can think about what would work best for you. it might be enough to just sign out of your apps to make it harder to check. it might be enough to just move the apps to the “back” of your phone screens. whatever works for you as a way to slow down and intentionalize your social media use is exactly what you should be doing.

  • wearing a watch

this seems so little, right? i know. i almost felt like this was too silly to even mention. and then jord wood watches reached out to see if i would be interested in working with them, at the exact time i was planning this post. could not be a clearer sign in my opinion. if you’ve never heard of jord watches, then this must be the only blog you read, because their unique watches are everywhere. i’ve been eyeing up a men’s watch as a gift for Mister Man because they’re so nice, and their women’s watches are equally beautiful (seriously, look at my watch and tell me that gray and rose gold doesn’t speak to your soul). my watch matches literally everything, and their sizing was so easy to work with, the fit was absolutely perfect!

anywho, wearing a watch is an amazing way to cut the cord with your phone a little bit, because it lets you give up your phone as a timekeeper. how often do you look at your phone during a meeting or a coffee date just to keep an eye on the time, when you get sucked in by a notification or a text, and before you know it, you’re totally out of the moment? be honest, it happens to everyone. it’s gotten to the point that people rely completely on their phone to tell the time. simple fix? wear a watch to tell the time. i’ve been wearing this watch for the last two weeks and i’ve been able to leave my phone at my desk during meetings and at bedtime because i truly don’t need it for those moments. it’s allowed me to be more engaged during work and with my kids, and i know that it’s helping me with my goals.

jord is letting me do a giveaway contest for you guys, which goes from now until february 25 (my birthday!). the winner will receive a watch from jord, so make sure you click here to enter! (the winner will be selected and contacted by jord after the contest end date). if you are in the market for a unique watch, you can also use the code “b121076g” for an immediate $25 off and free sizing, which is a great deal, because who wants to waste time bringing their watch to be sized?

  • developing a daily and weekly rhythm

this is something that i continue to work on and will probably continue to develop over the next year at least. and any big life change will necessitate another look because your rhythms should flow with your life and needs as they are now.

it’s been difficult for me to establish a rhythm in large part because of my part-time work schedule. for those of you who don’t know, i work 30 hours a week, i’m in my office three days a week and i’m home two days. so unlike true stay at home moms, my “routine” is anything but. the last month i’ve been trying to get creative with the concept of a rhythm for weekly cleaning and our days at home. so basically a VERY loose one. i can talk more about this in another post if there is interest, but i think i’m starting to find one that works. it’s taken a couple tries, and we all know that i hate that, but who knew? trying works!

knowing what my day looks like and having plans and goals in place for myself on a regular basis has helped me manage my social media better because i know when i can check everything and what i should be doing if a get sidetracked. i think this one might be a game changer.

  • anything else that works for you

there are so many other great tips on this topic from homesong blog, or other places. things like keeping your phone out of your room, getting a landline, and using your internet provider children’s controls to put stop times on apps. whatever you find that works for you and your particular goal is best for you.

let me know if you have any tips or tricks you use to manage yourself on social media, or if you like these, or if you’re the type that just doesn’t need this stuff. i’m newly fascinated by this whole topic so let me hear it!

(and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! it ends on my birthday guys, how perfect??)

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Wooden Wristwatch

the final days of rest.

visit my other posts about this social media fast here and here.

and i’m back!

well, i’ve been here all along, but i’m back on social media after a month-long fast. it was a really amazing experience for me, and as i’ve told a lot of people, it could not have come at a better time for me. i really needed this time away from meaningless distraction to focus on some important real life stuff. and while i’m not this perfectly grounded mom, wife, and friend now, i feel like i have a roadmap to where i need to go to be closer to my goals of being a present mom, an attentive wife, and an involved friend.

i mentioned in my last post that i’d been struggling with the feeling of not being able to start any of my projects or practices because i want it to be just right the first time. that week our goals were to actually do some of the physical simplifying we had been reflecting on, and that has jump-started so much progress for me. i cleaned out my clothes (again) and was ruthless with my assessment of what i actually like and what i actually wear and feel good about. now, even though i have some wardrobe gaps to fill, i feel good about getting dressed everyday, and it’s weirdly easier for me to keep my clothes and bedroom tidy every day without it feeling like chore. Mister Man is very happy about this part! i also cleaned out and organized our bathroom, and that felt like a damn breath of fresh air. you don’t know how many old lotion bottles you’ve got until they’re gone (that’s how the song goes, right?). and when they’re gone, it is great! next up is the kids toys…pray for me.

the retreat schedule i followed from the homesong blog was really journaling and reflection heavy, which was nice, but it felt like A LOT of forced reflection that was maybe better suited to her own preferences and goals versus universally helpful. not bad, just not for me. subsequently, one of the things i realized through this was that i don’t like journaling. yea, i’m just not a journaler. i would rather talk out my feelings, or think through my feelings, but journaling just feels like a lot of work for some reason. as much as i like to talk, i’m not very verbose when i write. i write what is essential when i journal, which isn’t really the point, so i don’t get a lot out of it. is that weird coming from someone who blogs? probably. you guys know i’m a weirdo though, so it’s fine.

this social media fast made me feel like i had more space in my brain. i felt like i was spending my energy on me and my people and my things instead of everyone else’s. that was so freeing for me to know that the world will still turn even when i don’t know what every is doing right as they do it. even now, i haven’t put facebook or twitter back on my phone (and i probably won’t), and i will go all day without scrolling instagram (although i totally use the DMs like texting). i’ll talk more about the functional ways i’m planning on continuing what i’ve learned from this, like schedules and tools and all the ways i’m trying to get back to the basics next week, but for now, this is how the experience made me feel inside.

here is what i hoped to accomplish during the month, and how i did:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me. i’ve come a long way with this in a month. i’ve been waking up every day at 6am, and even though that doesn’t give me tons of time before the youngest is ready to start his day, it’s good. i’ve been picking out my clothes the night before, even on days i’m home with the kids, and that has made a ton of difference in how our mornings go as well. when i’m dressed without being rushed, i just have more patience for getting everyone else dressed! the kids have been liking their routines, and have been good about listening when it’s time to do stuff for our day. the focus on being intentional at night has been really life-giving for me too. i focus first on the “need to be done” things like dishes, tidying the house, and making lunches/coffee, then i shift to the “good to do” like working out and tackling any to-dos i’ve planned for the night. i’ve been getting more done and getting to bed earlier when i focus on priorities and purpose of my evenings, and that has been the best!
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near. i think that this has been slow but steady. with social media gone, Mister Man and i have had a lot more time to talk about how we want to be as husband and wife and as parents, and we are even going on a day date to a marriage brunch talk this weekend. our relationship feels more like it did when we were newlyweds than it ever has, which can be tough with young kids, but is so important for us to remember. i’m having some people over for the super bowl this weekend, a really random, lovely group of people, which i would normally not think to do, but i’ve tried to be more intentional about reaching out lately, and while it will take a while to make it a habit, it’s happening. a fun part for me with this has been reaching out to strengthen my blogging friendships as well. i don’t give them enough credit usually, but people i know through blogging are some of my best friends, even when i’ve never met them in person. so i’m working on emailing/texting/facetiming with them intentionally, and it’s been so wonderful.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way. i mean, i wrote five posts in january, whereas i only wrote 21 in all of 2017, so i think this one can definitely be counted a success. i’m much more inspired to write and share, and i’m opening myself up to write and share differently than i have in the past. the law of attraction says you get what you put out, and that seems to be true for this whole blogging thing, so we will see where i end up in 2018. i am definitely feeling good about this space for the first time in a long time. 
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions. if only you could get feedback from toddlers on your improvement in mothering. if i could, i’m hoping they would say that i’m doing better after this month. i certainly feel like i am. i haven’t yelled or lost my patience nearly as often this past month, and i feel more involved and encouraging to both my kids these days. i’ve seen the difference in amelia; her attitude with me is so directly related to how i engage with her, and it’s been so much more fun and happy, especially the last few weeks.

thanks for being so encouraging and sticking around while i took this break. i know that some of you are contemplating your own social media fasts in one way or another. if you ever want inspiration or ideas for it, i am happy to share the more detailed pieces of my experience, the nitty-gritty if you will, just ask. let me know in the comments if you think you’d ever do this, or if you think i’m insane for needing to take it this far!

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coffee date.

it’s a coffee date! it’s a coffee date! it’s a coffee date!i started to write one of these on a day where i really needed a crap-ton of coffee (that’s an official measurement), but i fell asleep before i got through the first paragraph, so that was stupid and oddly ironic. then out of curiosity, i went to see when my last coffee date was, and do you know what i found out? my last coffee date post was last JULY. and the one before that was in NOVEMBER 2016. are you kidding me? i used to do one of these every few months, and i loved them. still love them. they’re my favorite type of posts to read and one of my favorite to write. have i been spending so much time drinking real coffee that i’ve forgotten to make time for my online coffee? is that even a real sentence? how is anyone even reading this blog?if we were on a coffee date…i would ask what you were getting, and then tell you i’m still on that americano grind. i make special exception and have a latte every so often on a friday, but i just love my inexpensive, caffeinated americanos. also, i’m obviously getting a hot beverage, because i live in the tundra and have you seen it here? we kicked off the year with the MOST frigid temperatures that kept us trapped inside with two toddlers (heaven did help me, but so did wine), and then were lulled into a beautiful dream state by warmer weather, and then had a foot and a half of snow dumped on us on monday. but actually, i love when there is snow, because you can actually play outside with the kids. i mean, it takes half an hour to bundle them up, only to be out for 25 minutes, but fresh air is fresh air my friends.

if we were on a coffee date…i’d tell you how obsessed i am with my letterboard. i resisted getting one for so long, because really, how often was i actually going to use it? and does the world really need someone else thinking they’re witty and posting about it on instagram? but then my darling husband surprised me with one for christmas (this letterboard right here if you’re interested) and it was all over. i love how meditative the process of creating the message on the board is. something about how it’s tangible and hands-on makes me so happy. i keep a list on my phone of potential quotes, so if i’m ever inspired on a whim, i just put it on the list and use it when it feels right. i’m pretty proud of the one that’s up right now, because it’s just pure truth…if we were on a coffee date…i would bore you with rave about how much fun the kids are lately. are they sleeping the best? no. do they still whack each other at least once a day? yep. have i yelled at least once in the last week? oh very much so. but darn it if they aren’t the most fun people right now. there is no shortage of personality in our house right now, let me tell you. we have dance parties everyday in the kitchen and dining room; william’s favorite song is “barbara ann” by the beach boys, while amelia’s is a tie between “when will my life begin” from tangled and “help me, rhonda” by the beach boys. they are also fans of van halen, the moana soundtrack, and the beastie boys. we are raising some well-rounded music enthusiasts! they have started actually playing together, which is a sight i will never get sick of. there is nothing sweeter to my mothering soul than watching my two kids play with playdough side by side, or build with legos together without someone getting angry because the other one knocked it down. like, why do i not have five more of these things?? (it’s because they don’t come out this age. that’s why. in case you thought i had gone temporarily insane)

 

if we were on a coffee date…i’d probably start telling you how i feel like i’m at a crossroads in my life. i’d ask you if you’ve ever gone through something like this. there is a feeling somewhere deep down that is telling me that a change needs to be made. it first manifested itself in the form of my social media fast, which has been life-altering for me and is still going really well (you can read more about that here and here). now it’s starting to spread to other areas of my life, in a really positive way, but in a way that is really stretching me to think long and hard about what i want, and how i want to achieve it. if that sounds vague, it’s because it is. i have no idea what this will look like, or what the feelings even mean, but i know that this year is going to be one filled with a different type of change than the last few have been. thanks for having coffee with me! i seriously love being able to let loose and talk about all the random things bouncing around in my brain. i hope you like reading about them. let’s do this more often? maybe a few times a year. if you’re cool with it, i’m cool with it. hugs and smooches.

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the middle days of rest.

so we’re halfway through the social media fast. and it turns out that i’m still not missing social media itself. but i am finding out that i have been putting a lot of my “stuff” to the side in favor of avoidance via instagram/facebook/twitter/etc. yikes, how’s that for an intro?

the “stuff’ i’m specifically talking about is the general betterment of myself type stuff. you know, taking charge of my life and organizing it, getting my home on a better running schedule, actually giving thought to simplifying the stuff in my home and my heart, being a more engaged friend, PRINTING OFF PHOTOS OF MY SECOND BORN. see, i know that i want to do all this stuff. i know it because it’s on lists everywhere. i have lists on my phone, in notebooks, on my computer, and they all say variations of the same thing. and yet. and yet when given an hour at night to either pull out my computer and organize my photos and files while watching netflix (mostly productive), or to mindlessly scroll facebook and instagram while watching netflix (literally could not be less productive), i have always been choosing the latter. and why? do you know how much joy it would bring me to have photos printed out and in frames? ALL THE JOY. do you know how much happiness i would feel if i could finally say that i had effectively simplified my home and made it more efficient, happy and healthy? ALL THE HAPPINESS. but i don’t do it.

i don’t do it because i would rather just see the finished product of other people who have done it than put in the work myself. i think there is a fear of starting something like this self-improvement if there is a chance that it’s going to take a few tries. i’m the type of person who wants to do something one time, and i want it to be right the first time. i have always hated the idea of rough drafts. always. why make a rough draft when you can just write a good paper on the first try? why waste time doing something if you’re just going to have to do it again? in college, i would regularly write midterms and final papers in one sitting. and i’d get As on them (so in my defense, i’ve had some reinforcement on this particular belief…) it makes me feel good to see others’ end results without the rough drafts because i can live in this fantasy where SOMEDAY i’ll start this same effort and it’ll be easy to get the same results. i can just keep pretending that no rough drafts are needed, just like in college. but deep down, i know that this process will require trial and error, and that’s why i never start.

does anyone else have this same weird hang-up with rough drafts? or is it just me? please let it just not be me…

so i guess i’ve learned some pretty substantial stuff about why i do the things i do from this experience so far. this week is the week that we are supposed to take action on some of our thought process of restoring our rhythms and setting our non-negotiables for our lives, by actually getting rid of some of the clutter. so it’s a DO week instead of a THINK week, and i’m actually very excited. i feel like i need homework on this stuff because i’m clearly type-a enough that i don’t want to not finish an assignment. the difference now is that i’m recognizing that there is going to be trial and error, and i’m trying to welcome it, and be aware that all of this work is going to carry over into my whole year. in fact, i want it to carry over into my whole year. that’s how i’m going to change my habits and my weird perfectionist avoidance tendencies. i’m also working on how to fit social media back into my life in a way that won’t allow me to use it to avoid as much anymore. because i can’t unknow that part of myself now, so i have no excuse to let it happen anymore.

i truly thought that most of this process would be figuring out a better social media schedule for myself, not that i’d discover this known but deeply forgotten truth about myself. that in and of itself has made this process worth it.

now, i did have other goals for this work that i wrote about in my first post, so i want to update about those as well. can’t forget about the stuff i started!

here is what i hoped to accomplish during the month:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me. i’m slowly but surely developing this. i have been good about giving myself 20 minutes of quiet awake time in the morning, with coffee, to ease into my day. i’ve also been getting myself and the kids dressed, teeth brushed and ready for the day at the same time, which is good for them as well as me. my nighttime routine has been more focused on what needs to get done, and on more productive endeavors lately too, which has made me feel great.
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near. i’m still working on this. i’ll always be working on this.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way. i’ve been doing so much thinking, that actually, most of my extra brain power has been spent on the exercise itself, but i can see how doing a good job on this endeavor will pay off in this space soon.
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions. i really have been feeling like a better mom this month. i have more patience, i am doing a better job spending quality time with the kids when i have it, which gives me some leeway to let them play on their own while i cook or clean because their mom tank is full. so we’re all happier lately, and i credit it to how focused i’ve been in my interactions with them.

once again, thanks for sticking around for this long! i appreciate that some of you read along with my strange, rambling trains of thought. let me know if any of you get me on this rough draft thing, help my feel like i’m not alone in my crazy.

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the first days of rest.

“take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”

– ovid

it’s been three days since i deleted my social media apps from my phone, and oh boy, is this going to be a game changer.

for those of you not following me anywhere else (like instagram/twitter/facebook), i made an abrupt decision at the end of december to do a social media cleanse. i like to think of it as a fast, because cleanses are not really something i’m into, and the concept of fasting – periodic abstaining from something for the benefit of your inner self – speaks more to my soul. i made the decision to take a “rest” from social media after giving some thought to what i wanted my 2018 to look like. what i realized when i really sat down to take stock of my life, was that i felt stagnant in almost every single area – work, family, friends, inspiration. nothing felt bad to me, it just felt stuck, like it was all moving along without me somehow. i’ve never taken a break from social media before…ever, so this was a big decision for me, especially considering how many of my friendships use it as a main form of communication.

but as of january 1, 2018, i signed off from all social media, and haven’t looked back yet.

i’m following the rest retreat being put on by amanda at homesong blog, because i felt like i needed some direction and structure to this effort, or it would just feel kind of pointless. so far, it’s been a really good decision. it’s given me an outline for how to do this in a thoughtful, productive way, instead of just muddling along on my own. i have made some exceptions to a full social media fast; for example, i will be checking in on instagram every friday to share a photo (and probably an insta story) along with some thoughts on the process, and to see what you all have been up to over there. i have also picked pinterest back up (on my  computer only, not my phone). i find that when i’m feeling uninspired, pinterest is an amazing tool for me to start feeling creative again, whether in my home or my style or my blog. i haven’t touched pinterest in MONTHS, which is pretty telling for my current state of uninspiration, so it felt right to actually start again as part of this fast. this might feel counter-intuitive to some, but it was right for me.

(pillows || fluffy pillows || blanket || diffuser)

i’ve only been doing this for a few days, but it’s been much less difficult than i thought it would be. it’s a weird feeling to go to your phone by habit, but not really have any reason to be on there. it makes you realize how often you look at your phone just to kill time, or because you don’t want to think about whatever is happening, or just to distract your mind from any substantial thoughts. it takes a total rewiring of your brain to change your instincts to not pick up your phone in between activities.

one thing that’s made it easier for me has been to create a space for myself to spend time in during the evening instead of just sitting around scrolling instagram. currently in our lovely, tiny house, i don’t have an office space of my own. there are plans to create one for me this year, because having my own area as a home base has been a dream of mine for a while, and i’ve got big ideas for that. in the meantime, i’ve made a little nest for myself on our bed (pictured above) with lots of pillows, a cozy blanket, my laptop, a journal, a couple books, and my diffuser. it’s been wonderful to take time the last few days and actually do some focused activity like reading or blogging without the constant distraction of my phone. do you guys know how long it’s been since i’ve made time to read a book?? so long that i’m embarrassed to say it, so i won’t.

(sweatshirt || joggers || slippers)

[this is the most ridiculously comfortable outfit, and i will be wearing it in my nest a lot]

like the quote at the top of this post says, “a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop”. i’m hoping that through this social media “rest”, i will come out on the other side more inspired, more fulfilled, and with a better “crop” to offer to my family and my community. i’d also love to share what i’m learning through the process, and how it is helping me achieve that goal as i go.

here is what i’ve learned from my rest so far:

  • it’s kind of ridiculous how much more time i have on my hands during a day when i’m not wasting it watching people’s instagram stories or snapchats at random points throughout.
  • it’s been easier than i thought it would be, but if i’m being honest, there have been a couple of times where i’ve gotten a bit itchy to check what’s going on out there on instagram (facebook and twitter, not so much).
  • i don’t miss twitter at all, and i’m realizing how much rage it actually caused in my soul, for no reason.
  • i miss instagram the most, because i’ve made it a lovely place for myself, but i’m starting to think of better, less wasteful ways i can spend my time there.
  • i feel like a better mom already, because if i’m on my phone, it’s for a reason, not just to escape the constant noise my kids have a tendency to make. (although it turns out they make less noise when i pay more attention to them…)

here is what i hope to accomplish during the rest of the month:

  • i want to build a new daily routine for myself, from the time i wake up to the time i go to bed. i want it to be thoughtful, realistic, and something that gives me purpose, because i’m learning that more structure might be good for me.
  • i want to work on renewing relationships, both within my family and my friendships. i’ve not been as mindful of the people in my life as of late, and i want to change that. this includes my husband and friends far and near.
  • i’m hoping to renew my passion for blogging with the new inspiration and space in my brain. i’ve missed it a lot, but even when i’ve had the time to do it, i’ve felt totally uninspired to do it. i’m hoping this rest from the norm will jumpstart my creativity in a positive way.
  • i want to come out of this feeling like a more engaged, energized mom. i have two amazing kids who are growing up faster and faster, and i want to take the time to watch it happen with minimal distractions.

if you made it this far, thanks for sticking around. it’s not the usual humorous, light fare you find here, but i’m hoping that it sparks some conversation either with others or with yourself about how social media is presenting itself in your life right now. i want to hear in the comments if you’re feeling more like me, with the burnout and stagnation, or if you’ve made a really great place for social media in your life. i’d also love to hear tips on how you manage your social media addiction use throughout your day…i need them!

lots of love, i’ll see you back here soon!

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