beauty in life + blogging

Hello and happy 2017!  I have really enjoyed time off with loved ones and the added bonus of a digital reprieve.  Wow, what a good combination that is for the soul.  The kids started back to school mid week, so it’s been a transitional few days.  Lots of early mornings, sleepy heads, and groans of homework.  I’m working on sharing a few inspiring thoughts for the new year next week.



Been thinking about my blog and what it’s all about.  What to change, what not to change.  Over the years blogs have really changed, and I can’t say that I like all that I see.  Many of the ones I used to love have shifted from personal, inspiring messages into powerhouses spewing out sponsored content.  I do enjoy a few new blogs that have grown into careers for some.  While I respect an entrepreneurial spirit and know that producing daily content takes around-the-clock work/sacrifice/resources,  I realize that path is not for me at this time.  There is a season for everything, and right now this a season of life where my family comes first.  As unpopular as it is to say in this “women can have it all” world, I never want to look back at my children’s lives and know that I missed important moments because I was too busy focusing on me.  Let me also say that there are many hard-working parents out there who don’t have a choice about working (been there), and I feel thankful to have the choice at this time.  As a parent I make mistakes, but give it my best and always try again.  I share all of this with you so you know where I’m coming from as a writer, and to also encourage anyone who is thinking about, or has made, a similar choice.


I’ve learned there are important moments in a kid’s life that come at the most unexpected times – no matter their age.  I’m also of the belief that as children get older, they need a parent’s love and guidance more than ever to help them develop into moral, strong, independent, intelligent, and compassionate adults.  That means not only loving them, but setting boundaries.  Encouraging them to fly, but letting them fall.  And being there to listen after they pick themselves back up.  Kids today are growing up in a culture that worships materialism, social media, narcissism, and entitlement….it’s a ME ME ME generation.  Like anything else in life, good parenting takes sacrifice, work, and the most precious gift of all – time.

Back to blogging.

Ultimately I’ve decided that I love my little boutique-sized blog, which I hope offers personal and inspiring content.  I love writing and connecting with you.  As a writer, it’s my goal to provide in every post a simple but meaningful gift – be it design, spiritual, or just life inspiration.  As far as sponsors go, I’m very selective and only share companies/products that I personally use and find valuable.  This means turning down a lot of offers, and I’m okay with that.

Thank you for the comments, emails, and even new friendships that blossomed in 2016.  Many of you have been reading since 2009, and that is really special!  Thanks for always being thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Thank you for sharing a part of yourself and for the gift of your presence.

Excited for 2017!








Posted in About me, Faith, Life, Our Family | 21 Responses

favorite holiday gifts under $75

This week has FLOWN by.  I’ve had many gift guide requests for teens, kids, guys, etc., so I decided that one big gift guide for everyone would be great.  I know gifts are very personal, but sometimes it’s nice to find something extra special that doesn’t break the bank.  The bonus is that these are our family’s personal faves and also treasures I’ve found while shopping over the last few weeks  –  all of them are under $75.  Actually most are under $50.  If you’re still looking for some fun, nice quality, and affordable gift items, this is your list!

inspiration-holiday-gifts-guide-under-75-autosaved1. Seaside’s own S’well bottle in blue, white , smokey, and grey – great gift for any age.  2. Insulated wine tote – so fun.  3.  Blue herringbone throw for a STEAL.  4. Too Faced lip tint in 14 colors – a teen fave.  5. Baltic Amber room spray – use this in our home.  6.  Anti-bacterial make-up brush set – another teen hit. 7. Gucci flora in gardenia is my favorite new winter fragrance – just found on sale.  8. Pom pom canvas bin – fill with toys or Christmas goodies for your teen!  9.  White marble tray – amazing price and so pretty…pair it with wine and French brie, wrapped in twine.  10. Cuddle friend throw pillow in five adorable animals.  It roles out into a soft blanket and snuggly pet in the center.  Great for all ages – my 7th grader wants one for the long car rides to school.  11. Seaside mango honey candle  – smells divine. 12. Monogrammed cuff bracelet here and here (you still have time – monogram deadline *Dec. 19th*). 13. Osprey backpack – our 17-year-old son has this and LOVES. 14. Carry on cocktail kit – classic and cute for grown-ups. 15. Graceful Balance organic anti-aging elixir by my favorite local source – plus it smells amazing. I use it nightly on my skin.  16. Nesting dolls – cutest gift ever and stimulates that critical brain-building “imaginative play” for little ones.  *Immediate shipping source here and here, similar animal nesting sets here, and the cutest chicken set here.*









Posted in Accessories, Beauty, Christmas, Fragrances, Holiday, Kids | 3 Responses

5 easy + fun holiday treat recipes

A few members of our troop have been hit with some brutal virus in the last 24 hours.  Lots of blankets, chicken soup, Motrin, and TLC going on over here.  The show goes on for our remaining healthy ones, so life really doesn’t slow down.  I was working on another Christmas post, but realized I need to recharge and apply my message from earlier this week.

Today I’ll share some favorite and EASY (for my fellow non-bakers) holiday treat recipes I’ve been collecting so you can have a little fun in the kitchen over the weekend.  It’s a lot of sugar in one post, so grab your insulin pen and let’s go.


1. The cutest DIY peppermint candy spoons here.

2.  Adorable (and yes, very easy) brownie Christmas Trees with little peppermint trunks here.

3.  Chocolate covered strawberry Christmas Trees on top of oreos here.  LOVE these.

4.  Fast and fun Christmas tree pretzels hereThis one has a nice video tutorial in addition to the written instruction and pics of the steps. 

5.  For the bakers, love this Christmas Tree cake and recipe here.


Last night a few of us cranked the Christmas tunes and made chocolate-dipped and crushed candy cane pretzel rods for the first time.  I’ve always wanted to make these with the kids, but wasn’t sure how hard it would be to work with the melted coating, etc.  Yep, I’m that challenged in the kitchen.  It was really fun once we got the hang of it.

Happy Christmasing in your kitchen!




Posted in Christmas, Entertaining, Food, Holiday, Kids | Leave a comment

gifts of the present

I heard a great question on a program while driving last night – “how are you slowing down and staying connected?”   What a great question for us all right now.  So how are you doing in that department?  I for one think the pace we keep during the holiday season is potentially maddening.   Rush, rush, rush.  Buy, buy, buy.  And when I go out into the world (or on the internet) the pervasive message is strictly “hurry and get it now”.  It takes work to keep that real meaning of Christmas alive in this material-based culture.  I have to remind myself that this is a season of the Savior, giving of yourself, and connecting with loved ones.


I’ll take it a step further and ask:  how do we slow down and stay connected to what’s authentic?  I like to incorporate a conscious pause in the fast pace of my day to express thanks for the blessings I can see in the present, meaning the blessings in that very day.  Each day brings a different set of gifts (and even a few lumps of coal) and I find it helpful to make a mental note and appreciate the gifts of the present.  Sounds cheesy, but it works.


Despite everyone’s busy schedules, I’m making an effort to take extra time with our kids to enjoy little moments like baking cookies, sharing scripture, looking at Christmas lights, and talking about what this season really means.  We’re trying to do this together as a family.

Our youngest child’s school starts the latest of all four, and every morning this week he and I have cooked breakfast together and eaten by the fire, with the Christmas music playing.  It’s special time together I cherish and one I hope he’ll always remember.

A cozy spot by our fireplace.


We also started a very simple and new activity that we share as a family (and wow, it’s so wonderful and a great way to connect with your teen) and I plan to share it with you in the next few weeks.

Love these simple napkins accented in Eucalyptus.


Do you have a special way you like to keep the meaning of Christmas alive in your home?  Would love to read your thoughts and any fun holiday traditions you share together.

Cheers to slowing down and connecting with daily blessings, true gifts of the present.






Posted in About me, Christmas, Faith, Holiday, Life, My Home, Our Family | 5 Responses
  • Simply Me

    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my husband, fabulous four offspring, happy horses and frisky fur babies. A former TV personality turned Designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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