A Season Of Purpose & Stepping Away

Dear valued readers, followers, family, friends, fellow bloggers, and everyone in between,

I have loved writing for this blog over the last 2.5 years and I know I’ll continue for many years to come. My skills as a writer, manager, social media marketer, and life balancer have improved so much ever since that simple decision I made to blog as a new California resident so many years ago. I found a community to connect with that extends beyond my own front door, and especially as a SAHM I value the relationships I’ve been able to gain because of this blog and social media. Everything I’ve put into writing for Primarily Inspired has been authentic and that is why I’ve made the decision to temporarily step away.

This isn’t a goodbye, but rather a time-out for me as a blogger. I am living in such a transitional time in my life, and in Greyson’s life, that I simply cannot maintain both with the same level of purpose and excitement. I want to be able to dedicate myself to my son, the traveling we’ll be doing coming up in March, his first birthday, family visits here to California, and our big move this spring. I will, for sure, be documenting all of this through my regular social media channels so I hope you’ll still connect with me there! And most likely, I’ll be popping on the blog from time to time – like sharing Greyson’s monthly updates or a little home tour of our new place once we get settled.

This is also a time for me to focus more on my teacher shop at Teachers Pay Teachers, which helps me bring in some income each month. It’s like an Etsy shop, but for educators. Teaching is my passion and I am eager to get back to creating and growing my small business meanwhile providing high quality educational resources to classrooms across the country. I am grateful for this time to be home with Greyson and I want to maximize this time I have and focus my creative energy on making these resources that will also be a benefit to me once I return to the classroom one day. I’m proud of the growth I’ve seen even within this last year and I hope to take it further. So, thank you to every teacher who has purchased one of my resources!

In that same breath I find myself to be more politically involved – for the first time in my entire life! I find myself spending hours educating myself on the laws, keeping up with Trump’s executive orders, and calling my Congressmen and women. I have many ideas, opinions, and beliefs, but realize that I don’t want my blog to be consumed with these ramblings. Although a great platform to use and connect with others, I never want to cloud the vision of my blog.

Nonetheless, because of Primarily Inspired I’ve had the honor to meet and connect with some pretty amazing and influential women. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know each and every one of you; standing by you as a reader of your blogs as you’ve navigated through extreme highs, celebrations, and exciting times to those low, uncertain, anxious times. I thank you all for standing by me, sharing in my life and what fills it with inspiration, love, and honest discussion. I’m excited for what this next chapter has in store for our family and I know I’ll pop on from time to time, but for now it’s about being in the moment.

This is my season of purpose and I want to be able to give 100% of myself to the things that are important to me and my family. I read The Best Yes a couple of years ago (if you haven’t, it’s a must!) and this quote has inspired me in a lot of ways since:

This season of life I want to make sure that I am present for those bits of joy I can experience within my family and relationships with our friends. I don’t want to overcrowd my mind with matters that pale in comparison to what God has in store for us. It’s a time for me to say “no” and to take that necessary step back in the many facets of my life. I’m excited about this next chapter and look even more forward to the time when I can return to this space more authentically.

So, thank you again! Please keep in touch on Instagram, Facebook (feel free to add me personally here), and Twitter.

With love,

Kelly

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How I Went Vegan…Part-Time

I often feel as though food seems to go through trends just as quickly as fashion these days. However, to be vegan or even vegetarian, seem to withstand the various trendy diets or hip new workout regimens (Zumba or P90X, anyone?). It’s crazy to me that event the food/science industry can’t make up their mind from year to year. They change the daily recommended values of certain food groups like the fluid ounces one should drink of milk a day, for example. One day meat is okay then the next it’s recommended to cut down due to high cholesterol or other health factors. So, why is it that no one can definitively say what is a basic recommendation of food for a healthy lifestyle? Why do food choices have to be riddled with so many questionable factors such as quality of ingredients, treatment, or production?

After years of yo-yoing with my weight and eventually having a baby, I became determined to find a lifestyle that was both enjoyable (aka easily maintained) and left me feeling good inside and out. I loved Weight Watchers, but found that I became neurotic about the point counting. It would work while I was on the program, then gain some of that weight back when I wasn’t counting the points and logging my food everyday. Although I lost initial weight while on their program, I would plateau and quickly become frustrated. I also felt as though I shouldn’t have to pay a company to help me lose weight. I needed something that removed these blinders of fad diets or promises of weight loss and get back to basics.

Insert Netflix.

First, ‘veducation’.

Our Netflix documentary feed is filled with nutritional or food related movies and one cannot simply help but begin to understand why. Why do these documentaries keep popping up? Movies such as Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead I and II, Food, Inc., Cowspiracy, and most recently Food Choices. Each movie sheds the unfortunate light on how misguided we all are as American consumers of food and even food knowledge. What I have gathered is that we are stuck in a systematic cycle that equates to a dollar amount. From the medical field (because if we’re not sick doctors don’t get paid) to politics with institutions that should be regulating food quality, like the Food & Drug Administration.

Nutritional labels can no longer be trusted completely because of the fact that the FDA is behind it and they don’t exactly reflect the quality, or ingredients, in that particular product. Does bread really need 50 different ingredients that I can’t pronounce? What about those genetically modified or hormone-filled commercial farms? Or the fact that commercial farms are threatening to put local small scale farmers out of business. It’s sickening to know that we, as a society, have taken a very basic need, such as our food, and have turned it into something ugly that doesn’t only affect us in the present day, but will continue to affect future generations and our planet in the big picture.

How I Went Vegan...Part-Time | theprimarilyinspired.com |

If you haven’t seen them already, I highly recommend these food documentaries currently streaming on Netflix to, at the very least, expose you to some of the current studies and information available. Simply being aware is just the beginning, but it’ll give you great starting off places to those looking to make healthier food choices in 2017. If you’re not the documentary type, there are thousands of studies available online or books that present the same kind of material.

Second, introspection.

After wrapping my head around the information that was presented in all of these documentaries, along with my own understanding of nutrition, I set out to find which change in our diet would be the most beneficial. I knew I was still carrying baby weight, that I constantly felt bloated, and overall just slow. I knew that to relieve a lot of what I was experiencing had to do with my diet and level of activity on any given day. So, what were we eating that made me feel this way? It was more to do with what I wasn’t eating.

In retrospect, it’s kind of funny (in a sad way) to look back and realize that Greyson is eating more veggies than my husband and I; that we somehow put his nutrition at the forefront of our minds moreso than our own. After this becoming clear I knew that we needed to make a change and it needed to start with lowering our meat and animal products and up our intake of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, and everything in between.

Making our own baby food!

We took a peek at what we were eating on a semi-regular basis and it consisted of: chicken, some beef and fish, fried or baked recipes, dairy, and the use of olive oils. Rarely would we have vegetable sides and if we did we either sautéed them or baked them. We were pretty good about going vegetarian every so often, but in the end where we thought we were making healthy food choices we knew it was a touch in the opposite direction. I mean, Eggplant Parmesan is absolutely delicious but the gooey Mozzarella I feel just sucks the nutritional value right off the eggplant, haha!

Third, change.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t skeptical or even a touch nervous about making such a bold choice to let go of meat and meat products…at least part-time. We both were raised in families that had meat as a part of our daily diet; along with deli sandwiches, spaghetti with meat sauce, or steak and potatoes. As adults, it’s easy to realize how we’ve continued this mentality without much thought. However now that Greyson is in our lives, it’s important for us to begin thinking about how we’re raising him as he relates to food and food choices. In the end, we should be adopting more of the diet we’re feeding him, which includes more fresh veggies and lighter overall recipes.

One documentary in particular that I really enjoyed and learned the most from was Food Choices. In this film Michal Siewierski investigates the true benefits of veganism by asking the most common questions about health and how it relates to only eating a plant-based diet. He enlists the help of various doctors, nutritionists, lifestyle coaches, and real people who have positive health benefits from changing their diets to plant-based. He asks the very questions I’ve had myself and I was astounded to find the answers. This documentary was the catalyst for making a real change for me of which I am already seeing the benefits.

Noticing the benefits.

Over the last month since going plant-based I have noticed a significant difference in how full I feel, how lighter and less bloaty I am, and the amount of energy I have, which helps me keep up with Greyson. I’ve continued to run at least three times a week and with the combination I’ve actually been able to lose about a pound a week, although weight loss isn’t the real goal.

As much as I have really enjoyed this change in diet, I do have the exceptions during the weekend. I enjoy my wine or cocktails and I refuse to give up real cheese. Life is about enjoying every moment we have and my husband and I enjoy it through the love language of food and drink. I don’t feel guilty about these little pleasures of ours, but overall I am extremely happy with making the switch knowing that 90% of our diet is now health conscious and sustainable for both us as a family and the planet.

FAVORITES THUS FAR:

I really enjoy a cookbook that tells it to you straight; as if someone is in your kitchen really kicking your butt and explaining things like a normal person. The recipes look pretty great and already the Fire Roasted Salsa I made yesterday only lasted (barely) 24 hours. We have a couple things on the menu this week from Thug Kitchen like their street tacos, which we’re very excited about. If you haven’t taken a peek at this cookbook I highly recommend you do!

I received this cookbook from Blogging For Books a couple years ago and since I’m serious about going vegan throughout the week I decided to dust it off. We made the Kimchi Dumplings with a Fiery Miso Sauce and it’s one of my husband’s favorites. Who knew you could make a dough wrapper with no milk or eggs! Again, we’re excited to really dive into these cookbooks, as well as the numerous recipes online. If you’re interested, please feel free to follow my Plant-Based Meals board on Pinterest!

 

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Patio Inspirations For Apartment Living

I am so excited about our move – even if that means I’m not too excited about the actual physical aspect of moving. I enjoy packing and organizing, but unpacking and getting a head start on decorating is where my heart truly lies in this whole transition. Our new apartment not only has more square footage, a second level and a bedroom for Greyson, it also comes with two patios! One large patio on the main floor leading out from our living room and a smaller balcony off our master bedroom, which happens to be high enough to see the ocean.

Our larger patio will lend itself to entertaining for us as well as when we have guests; like our out-of-state friends and family this summer. This means we need all new outdoor furniture (here’s where my husband rolls his eyes and hears the money start stacking up, haha) and I am excited to pull a few ideas together in an inspiration board. Because, that’s free.

So, here are my favorite picks and favorite inspirations for our new patio space!

Patio Inspirations For Apartment Living | theprimarilyinspired.com

Patio Dining & Entertaining

It all starts with the seating and outdoor furniture! We plan to use the bar table and two chairs we currently have for our patio for our master bedroom balcony, which is just big enough for a table and chairs that size. This allows us to enjoy a sunset over wine or relax with a book while taking in the gorgeous views of the ocean. The bar table also puts us high up so the ocean is that much more in view.

That leaves us with the main level patio which is large enough for this outdoor dining set. It’s a 6 piece set from Target and on sale for $849.99, which isn’t bad for a table, bench, and four wicker chairs. I read that the bench isn’t all that great from the reviews, but overall those that have purchased it love it. I plan to use the outdoor rug we already own (fingers crossed it’s large enough), but will need new cushions and pillows for the chairs.

I love the navy blue paired with the deep color of the wood table and comes with a hole for an optional umbrella. We have a hand-me-down from a previous neighbor and we’ve loved having it. However, it doesn’t properly fit the stand we bought and tends to lean or fall over, which isn’t good. Plus with the navy colors I, of course, would like to update our umbrella if we lean in that direction (see Sun & Lighting).

Privacy

The way our complex is designed is that we have neighbors that are slightly on the close side when it comes to the patios and distance of apartments. As much as I love our community here, it would be nice to achieve some privacy while outside without coming off too obvious. Other residents I’ve seen use lattice or plants to create a little barrier that won’t get in the way of the sunshine or be an eyesore to others. I would love to use a lattice planter box like this one and either grow a vine plant or attach pots along the lattice as shown in the picture. Since our patio gets plenty of sun I want to bring a lot of greenery to provide a relaxing overall feel while growing some of our own herbs or even veggies.

Green Living

Speaking of greenery, I’m all about decorating using fun planters from *Etsy like these macrame hanging plant holders (I’m even excited to hang these indoors too throughout the house). This rectangular tabletop candle holder using succulents is just adorable and adds a fun touch to the dining area especially if we’re opting out of using an umbrella. Plants and flowers just add a beautiful touch to any space and makes it purposeful at the same time.

*Affiliate link

Sun & Lighting

Where our new apartment will be located in our complex the sun practically shines all day, which is great. Our patio will get a lot of sun, which will make growing and maintaining plants that much easier. One of the two options I had for our patio in terms of providing shade when lounging outside is: a large umbrella or a sun shade/canopy. Either option allows us to keep the patio covered or open, it’s just about how we can do it with the string lights I’d like to use for at night.

These wrapped Edison string lights from Target are just adorable and I can’t wait to hang them on our new patio. During the summers we spend a lot of time eating and lounging outside and these lights will give our space a slight glow. I’m trying to decide whether to string them along the trim (which is most common) or if I can somehow string them so they drape like a canopy across the whole patio (see example below).

via

Storage

Storage and organization is key to decorating a purposeful space (and pretty much the driving force behind my husband and I with everything). All of our things need a place and preferably out of sight. Since I plan on having various plants, I’d like to have a storage system that aren’t those plastic gardening boxes to keep my soil, fertilizer, watering can, etc. Because, let’s be real, it also has to be cute and go with the rest of my patio decor. Target offers some cute options and I like this wicker storage bin, which will closely match the chairs I’ve picked out.

Another small detail that I would like to incorporate are these cast iron wall hooks, which I would use for drying our bathing suits or beach towels. Again, we get so much sunlight it would be perfect to use to dry our wet things. I just can’t decide which design I like best!

We aren’t moving for a couple of months, but as you can tell I’m mentally preparing and cultivating various ideas to make our new place feel like ours. Due to the husband finding a job that he loves, and will ensure our staying here in Ventura for the long haul, we feel good about this next move being our last. Now it’s just about finding those unique touches and simple projects that will tie our forever home together, all-the-while maintaining our minimalistic lifestyle.

To see more of my home decor inspirations for both inside and outside decorating, feel free to check out this post which features some of my favorite Etsy shops! These accents are perfect for any home and makes me even more excited to move in the coming months!

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Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 7

This weekend had me feeling a lot of things.

Friday was Inauguration Day and typically I don’t feel one way or the other considering all the pomp and dutiful formalities that fill the day. However, this year was different. I was actually sad to see the Obamas leave the White House for the last time and to see Trump sworn in and occupy the most important position in our country. If Michelle’s face and stoic demeanor could represent my emotions of the day I would say it was spot on.

It was overall just a sad day for me; to realize and come to terms that his man, and his chosen cabinet, is our new President. To continue to hold out hope that he will lead our country in a positive direction. Honestly I’m still skeptic, but remain hopeful nonetheless.

But my sadness and fear turned to action and demonstration on Saturday.

Saturday was a powerful day for me personally. To have my husband and son march not just with and for me, but to stand next to the thousands of people who gathered in Santa Barbara to make a stance for equality. It’s more than Trump, as I’ve written in my last post explaining #whyImarchIt’s about being a presence that cannot be ignored and that a large majority of the American people demand that his administration realize what’s at stake and how prepared we are to ensure that our voices be heard. That women’s rights are, in fact, human rights we demand representation in the law; not just for women but for everyone.

Here are a few scenes from Santa Barbara.

So, thank you to everyone who came out in peaceful protest on Saturday. Thank you to the many families who marched together in the face of discrimination and intolerance.

Keep in mind that we all have much work to do outside of our march on Saturday. Our voices continue need to be heard that comes down to our active participation in our local and national governments. The Women’s March organizers have continued to share resources and have launched their next campaign called 10 Actions for the first 100 Days, which is one action every 10 days.

Action 1/ 100: WRITING YOUR SENATORS

Express to your ELECTED senators why you marched or discuss the issues that you feel they should be representing on Capitol Hill. I used the Ink Cards app (it’s free!) to design a special themed Women’s March card and wrote to my senators about what matters most for me and for our country to be as inclusive as possible. Simply fill in your message and include your recipients and they’ll print and send your cards for you. In total I only paid $3 with free shipping. Done. This website also has an easy tool for you to type in your zip code to locate your senator’s public address.

Towards the bottom of the page you’ll find a box to input your email to stay notified of the next 9 steps in taking action within the first 100 days of the Trump Administration.

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