welcome to love, milk & honey.

A holistic online community for couples journeying through marriage together.  I offer guidance and encouragement alongside laughter and caffeinated ramblings from the heart.  Stay for a while, I'd love to hear your story!

 

Apr 28/10 Marriage :: Not an Accessory

Fairy tales paint a beautiful picture of princesses who dream all day of the man who will sweep them off their feet.  They wait and pine and sigh until that glorious day when prince charming shows up (without asking for directions), whispers sweet nothings and proposes.  They get married.  And begin their happily ever after. I believed that was what love was supposed to be.  I searched for it.  I…

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Fairy tales paint a beautiful picture of princesses who dream all day of the man who will sweep them off their feet.  They wait and pine and sigh until that glorious day when prince charming shows up (without asking for directions), whispers sweet nothings and proposes.  They get married.  And begin their happily ever after.

I believed that was what love was supposed to be.  I searched for it.  I dreamed of it.  Heck, I even tried to mold a few men into it but bottom line, Fairy Tales are make believe.  Love doesn’t come in a package.  It doesn’t go out of style and it isn’t something that you “acquire” when the time is right.  It is a choice.  A daily choice.  To love a person for ALL they are, yet push them to be the best version of themselves as possible.  AND (here’s the kicker) to allow them to do the same for you.

I don’t love James because he is perfect.  Because he isn’t.  I love him because I see his heart for God, children and family.  I love him because I know that he has a personality that genuinely allows and encourages him to care for others.  And I love him because walking through daily life with him is much more pleasurable than going it alone.

Real marriage isn’t a struggle unless you haven’t clearly laid out your expectations, communicated throughout the process and opened your eyes to the beauty of what real love is.  Sometimes I feel as though our fantasies of what love and marriage should be overshadows the magnificence that real love actually exudes.  Call me crazy but I’ll take crying on the floor heartbroken over simply tossing out a man and moving onto the next one any day.  It means I felt something. And feeling is one of the greatest gifts we, as humans, get to experience

Make a point to treat your Marriage as an investment in yourself, in another person and in your every day life.  It’s a bond and a partnership and can be something so beautiful.   Write your own love story!  I promise it will mean so much more than one you borrowed from a fairy tale.

header image: Gina Zeidler

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Ulmer Studios: Beautiful! Marriage is definitely not what you read about in novels or see in movies, instead it's an everyday breathtaking experience! Like you said it's an investment, it has it's ups & downs but in all those moments it's in those feelings that we feel and understand what true marriage is about! -JoshApril 28,2010 03:45pm

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Apr 27/10 Combating Clutter : Part III

I am continuing the Combating Clutter series this week and we are kicking it off with some organizational advice and some practical solutions to help you out in the furniture department.  If you missed Part I and II, head over and check them out first. Planning Organizational Solutions Now that you have determined the main functions of your room, it’s time to plan out the way you intend to organize…

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I am continuing the Combating Clutter series this week and we are kicking it off with some organizational advice and some practical solutions to help you out in the furniture department.  If you missed Part I and II, head over and check them out first.

Planning Organizational Solutions

Now that you have determined the main functions of your room, it’s time to plan out the way you intend to organize and display your furniture and decor so you have the best and simplest environment to enjoy your things in.

I like to start with the large pieces of furniture and work my way down from there.  Be careful not to over-furnish your rooms.  This will only take away floor space and create surfaces to collect clutter. I always suggest that you take the number of people in your family, double it, and have at least that much permanent seating readily available in your living room.

Make sure to place your entertainment area – especially if it houses a television – tastefully so as not to make it the only focus of the room.  Be sensitive to balancing the room to create both a comfortable space for conversation and in a manner that allows the most amount of people to face the main focal point of a room.

Increase storage space with ample shelving. I always suggest using baskets or bins to hold items such as DVD’s or magazines in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  Rooms that focus more on function and simplicity are ones that will feel more calming and clean.  If you are a magazine hoarder (like I am – hello, 5 years of Martha Stewart that I cannot part with) or prefer to have extra storage for board games, a coffee table with added in storage or a fun old trunk used as an end table can be a fun way to house those novelty items.

Explore unconventional means of storage to house keys, remotes, fireplace matches or coasters.  One of my current favorites are faux book boxes but feel free to get a little crazy!  Nothing is off limits!

Happy Organizing!

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Ulmer Studios: Totally loving this series as we are in the midst of revamping and repurposing items in the home & office!!! By the way you can feel free to send that brown/white storage piece to us any time if that is yours! If not then well I know my birthday is coming up :) -JoshApril 27,2010 01:04pm

dognbird: I\'m back for more clutter kicking. Loved the series, going to move around my office in the morning! April 27,2010 11:58pm

Jenn: One of my favorite AHA! moments was to put my hand-held mixer in a gift box! Sounds silly, but I no longer waste 10 minutes searching for the two detachable heads AND i store them on the open-shelving island i always use for food prep, so they're right where they need to be! That's what storage should be able - ease and accessibility as much as aesthetics! April 30,2010 08:27am

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Apr 20/10 Combating Clutter : Part II

Today’s task is a quick one but definitely not one to miss. Prioritizing the Functions Now that you have determined the purpose and main functions of the room, it is time to prioritize those functions.  Let’s use a den for example.  The priorities for mine and James’ living room go a little something like this: 1. Seating for family & guests 2. Entertainment/TV area with plenty of room for DVD’s…

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Today’s task is a quick one but definitely not one to miss.

Prioritizing the Functions

Now that you have determined the purpose and main functions of the room, it is time to prioritize those functions.  Let’s use a den for example.  The priorities for mine and James’ living room go a little something like this:

1. Seating for family & guests

2. Entertainment/TV area with plenty of room for DVD’s

3. Welcoming Area – Since it is the room you enter into, I would like to have a welcoming area and a place to put keys, shoes, purse, etc.

This will help us in the next step as we determine the furniture and organization systems we need to implement in each room.  So take time to break it down today!

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Jenn: It's hard to prioritize! Just cutting it down to a list of functions was pretty good, but I love this step. Must take a cold, hard look. This is where our form MUST meet function rub will come in. Grant is all about the function. I'm also interested in the form! But, when one of the functions of a space is to welcome or create relaxed and comfortable seating, the form IS a part of the function. :)April 30,2010 08:20am

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Apr 19/10 Combating Clutter : Part I

After you have unpacked all the wedding gift boxes, found your first place and moved everything in comes the daunting task of making your house into a home. If you are anything like I am, you have a tendency to accumulate clutter in the oddest places in a very short amount of time.  For instance, I currently have books on my dining room table, a trash bag of linens in…

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After you have unpacked all the wedding gift boxes, found your first place and moved everything in comes the daunting task of making your house into a home.

If you are anything like I am, you have a tendency to accumulate clutter in the oddest places in a very short amount of time.  For instance, I currently have books on my dining room table, a trash bag of linens in my husband’s home office a pile of screwdrivers on my living room bookcase and a stack of mail up to my eyes on my kitchen counter.

I am ready to put to rest my days of clutter and have created some practical steps that I will be sharing with you throughout the week.  I hope you will join me in combating clutter!  Send me your before and afters to lauren@lovemilkandhoney.com and I will include them all in a mega post on Friday.

Step 1:  Determining The Purpose

Each room in your house should hold a purpose.  Bedrooms, Dining Room, Den and Kitchen are all meant to be used in different ways.  This may sound rudimentary but I feel like the main problem is that we try to make each room a lounge/sleep/read/dressing/eat room.  Not only does this severely disrupt our ability to create a calming atmosphere in the bedroom or the cleanest environment possible in the kitchen for food prep but it also gives us every excuse to not compartmentalize our things correctly which creates the clutter.

Let’s use the bedroom as an example.  What is the purpose for a “bedroom”?  You shouldn’t overlook the obvious needed space for sleeping… but you also need to take into consideration it’s secondary uses such as: dressing, reading and you might even want a space for private paperwork or bills.

Your homework for today is to go through each room of your house and write down the top 3-5 purposes for that room.  Come back tomorrow for Part II: Prioritizing the Functions.  And don’t forget to get those cameras out to take some “before” shots… it makes the “Afters” seem even better!

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Dognbird: This is a smart and important series, clutter can severely impact your life. Looking forward to the next installment! April 19,2010 10:46am

Jenn: so, i'm a few days behind, but i'm doing it! and, i'm sharing...luckily, i have a teeny-tiny apartment with only 4 rooms! 1. kitchen/dining - welcome, cook, eat 2. living/office - seating, studying, crafting 3. bedroom - resting, getting ready, reading 4. bathroom - cleaning up, relaxing (yes to the bubble bath with candles and a glass of wine!) this is a great series. can't wait to do it for the apartment Grant and I are moving into together in a few months! but, i think it will be great for helping me get rid of stuff in the meantime and cut down on what we move!April 30,2010 08:16am

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Apr 12/10 Psychology in Colors

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. – Pablo Picasso ——————————————————– Today we have the absolute TREAT of hearing from my dear friend and incredible talent behind the design of this blog, jne.  Her ability to turn her client’s ideas into masterful designs never ceases to amaze me.  This is the first (of hopefully many) posts that jne will share with us and today, it is all about…

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Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. – Pablo Picasso

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Today we have the absolute TREAT of hearing from my dear friend and incredible talent behind the design of this blog, jne.  Her ability to turn her client’s ideas into masterful designs never ceases to amaze me.  This is the first (of hopefully many) posts that jne will share with us and today, it is all about color!

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My favorite part about the first day of school has always been the same thing: my brand new box of crayola 64. Even though my crayons from previous years were not nearly as loved as they could have been, I’d get a fresh box every September, without wasting a moment, I’d rip open the box and take a deep whiff of my waxy, shiny loves.  These sparkly wonders (colors, btw) are basically single wavelengths that can’t be separated further into other colors. Sir Isaac Newton, you are the man.

The effects of color on the human psyche can range, but there’s a few givens:

warm colors: reds, oranges, yellows. The foreground of the color universe, these suckers stand out. In splashes & fun slatherings, can stimulate appetites, revive energy, and even raise blood pressure. Too much of a strong warm tone and you will feel it, people.  It’s why interiors aren’t painted red.

cool colors: blues, greens, purples (purple’s a funny color- there are warm purples- think more raspberry, and cooler purples-eggplant, but it’s usually considered a cool color) These are the sedate and tranquil background easy breezies. The color of spas and nurseries, these colors can relax, mystify, and even relay transformative powers of wisdom, but when used too heavily can cause depression, lethargy and jealousy.

the neutrals: these puppies go with everything.

white: perfect balance, all of the colors in the spectrum combined. White is sterility, purity, simplicity and perfection. White’s influence can be anything from winter to marriage. To me it represents the “Everything & Nothing” principle so fantastically.

black: the absence of light. This powerful beast represents sexuality, sophistication, evil, fear, mystery, anonymity, remorse, and death. Most surprising? Submissive!  “Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men.” Who saw that coming?

Culturally speaking, colors have no real set ground rules for use. For instance, in China the color of mourning is white, and most weddings are centered around the color of celebration & luck: red.  The best part about colors in my opinion, is their total subjective nature. No two people ever see the same exact red, blue, aquamarine- nothing. Scientifically, we each have a different number of cones and rods (the doodads in our eyes that work the magic to let us see the wavelengths) to where it’s a minute difference, but it’s a difference none the less. Not only that, but try and describe a color- without using the name of it- can’t be done. These two things make color a totally personal thing. While one person may be obsessed with this one shade of raspberry (lauren), another might be in love with mustard yellow (jenny & lauren). So whatever the rules say, how can you go wrong with balance & moderation?
xo,
jne

p.s.
further reading!

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/colors1.html
http://iit.bloomu.edu/vthc/design/psychology.htm
http://psychology.about.com/od/sensationandperception/a/colorpsych.htm
http://freshome.com/2007/04/17/room-color-and-how-it-affects-your-mood/

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to see jne’s latest designs, check out her blog

header image {source}

Color boards made by yours truly.  Inspirational photos from {decorology} and {this is glamorous}

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dognbird: This is wonderful. Go team color! April 13,2010 09:38pm

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Apr 08/10 Navigating

Common scene:  I’m in the car in Dallas trying to get to a meeting with one of my wonderful brides.  I’ve got the GPS blaring “recalculating” because I missed the umpteenth turn, my google maps printout strewn across the passenger seat — meaningless because of all the new construction, and someone less directionally challenged on the phone trying to help me find my way. That has been life for me…

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Common scene:  I’m in the car in Dallas trying to get to a meeting with one of my wonderful brides.  I’ve got the GPS blaring “recalculating” because I missed the umpteenth turn, my google maps printout strewn across the passenger seat — meaningless because of all the new construction, and someone less directionally challenged on the phone trying to help me find my way.

That has been life for me since Friday. I’ve been trying to navigate through some MAJOR construction.

I am going to get real with you here.  Many of you are dealing with the exact same feeling — be it in your business, relationship, wedding planning process or life in general.  It’s time we both stop making excuses and deal with the task at hand.  Grab a pen and paper.  We are working through this.

Successful navigation is all dependent on the tools you use.  What map are you following? Just as you wouldn’t be looking at a map of Arizona to get yourself around in Rhode Island, you must keep the materials you use to navigate your life relevant to where you are.  This also means that someone else’s map won’t work for you.  Chart your own course and do your research.  Cut out the negative people that drag you down, free yourself from the extra burdens that aren’t yours to carry and set your pace.

Keep the lines of communication open.  Falling off the grid is never a safe thing. This one gets me every time.  I am always the one disappearing and pulling away until I have the problems fixed.  Then I can talk about it. Wrong wrong wrong.  On SO many levels.  If you have surrounded yourself with the right people why would you not open up to them and let them help you?!  Stressed about planning a wedding?  Talk to your wedding planner or a friend.  Buying a house and freaking out?  Speak candidly with your spouse about your fears and work through them together.  Even if you are just dealing with the “small” things and feel that they are piling up… seek out the counsel of those who have your best interest at heart.  And never underestimate the power of prayer.  You aren’t made to go through life alone.  So stop trying to.

Define your destination. You can’t know how to get there unless you know where you are going.  Set a goal — be it for the end of the day, week, month, or year of where you want to be.  Because just moving forward isn’t a destination.

Give yourself Checkpoints & Pit Stops. Once you have defined your destination it is time to break it down into the different mini-goals that will equate to checkpoints on your journey.  Give yourself smaller goals to reach that put you one step closer to your end goal.  And even though we are all taught to be ambitious, driven people… make sure to give yourself time to relax, be present, and appreciate all you have.

Heed warning signs.  Although there are times to Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, my good friend, Lara, once reminded me that fear does exist for a reason.  Take that feeling of warning and evaluate it fully.  Make sure you aren’t plowing through something that can become unsafe.

Don’t neglect your crew. While traveling this crazy road, make sure you don’t lose sight of the monumentally important people in your life.  After all, they are the ones you will want to celebrate with at the end.

Celebrate! Game changing accomplishments deserve a celebration of the best sort!  Take time to enjoy yourself both at the finish line and during the journey!

Write it out, friends.  You are not alone on this journey and there is a higher purpose for you than you can even fathom.  Carry yourself with confidence and make intentional steps.

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Ink & Button: Thank you, Lauren! Reading this was such an uplifting encouragement to my evening! :)April 08,2010 11:35pm

Katie: So true in so many ways. Need to remember that there are friends there to listen when you need to, that are only a phone call, email, drive away. Great reminder to reach out to others, as you especially want those people around you after you figure out your directions. April 09,2010 07:53am

Kelly: What an amazing read....much needed tonight. By the way, the best map I ever read had the word Bible written on the cover.April 11,2010 08:29pm

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Apr 05/10 Ink & Button Giveaway Winner!

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Weekend! Thank you to everyone who entered our Giveaway from Ink & Button.  We made sure to record everyone’s entries and with the help of random.org chose a lucky winner.  The winner is: JORDAN!  Who’s entry said this: i LOVE the marybelle fascinator. SO precious. the one accessory i cannot live without…my huge yellow, lime greenish paisley bag that i…

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Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Weekend! Thank you to everyone who entered our Giveaway from Ink & Button.  We made sure to record everyone’s entries and with the help of random.org chose a lucky winner.  The winner is:

JORDAN!  Who’s entry said this:

i LOVE the marybelle fascinator. SO precious. the one accessory i cannot live without…my huge yellow, lime greenish paisley bag that i carry my entire life in every single day. laptop. iphone. purse. journal. makeup. water bottle. everything. it’s huge and FABULOUS!

Congratulations, Jordan!  The beautiful fascinator is yours!  Check your email to claim your prize!

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Apr 01/10 Thursday Poetry

Love so tender, so divine. Deserves a place and a space in time. You know no other love but mine and I, in you, find life sublime. I nest in your wing – take cover from night. You rescued me and made my fears take flight.My dwelling place, your soul, the same. I am yours.  My heart you claim.——————————————————— Gorgeous engagement photos courtesy of Chudleigh Photography. Britt emailed these photos…

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Love so tender, so divine. Deserves a place and a space in time.

You know no other love but mine and I, in you, find life sublime.

I nest in your wing – take cover from night.

You rescued me and made my fears take flight.My dwelling place, your soul, the same.

I am yours.  My heart you claim.———————————————————

Gorgeous engagement photos courtesy of Chudleigh Photography.

Britt emailed these photos to me a few weeks ago and my heart tugged me to revisit them today.  What a beautiful addition to the words my heart was singing.  Britt, thank you for sending these photos for me to share.  The love this couple has for each other is evident in every photograph.

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Love, Milk & Honey Feature «: [...] fabulous Lauren Kelly at Love, Milk & Honey published our photos on her blog today.  The concept of the blog is really cool and unique.  It isn’t just about weddings [...]April 01,2010 10:28am

dognbird: I love these two, they are so full of joy! April 01,2010 11:36am

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Apr 01/10 Roots

James and I spent the majority of our time in the yard this last weekend.  It was wonderful to be out in the sunshine!!  Since the grass we so lovingly tended to last year didn’t root as well as we hoped we faced a little bit of dirt and a lotta bit of milkweed/ dandelion/crab grass mess as we worked to prep the ground for our spring blooms. I spent…

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James and I spent the majority of our time in the yard this last weekend.  It was wonderful to be out in the sunshine!!  Since the grass we so lovingly tended to last year didn’t root as well as we hoped we faced a little bit of dirt and a lotta bit of milkweed/ dandelion/crab grass mess as we worked to prep the ground for our spring blooms.

I spent my time pulling up weeds in the flowerbeds while James took care of the mowing.  Bend over. Pull puuuullll. snap. ugh.  I was taught from a young age the art of weed pulling however, much to my grandmother’s chagrin, I never quite passed the course. Before I can get the roots out of the ground my patience gives way and I pull just a little to hard.  Then comes the all too familiar snap of the stalk – immediately followed by my frustration.  You see, if you don’t get the weed’s root system, it will just grow back.  Which means you will be right back to square one in a few weeks time.  Which THEN means this short fused red-head gets irritated all over again.

As I was pulling (and pulling) I began to think… How often do we just break off the stalk of life’s problems?  Sure, it may look okay for the time being  and you can cover it with a multitude of other things but ultimately, the underlying roots are still there and that problem will re-emerge more grounded than ever.

There is a definite challenge placed in front of each of us and we strive to live a life of balance and fulfillment.  For me it is a balance of God time, me time and we time (meaning: time for James and I) that does the trick and helps me keep my “weeding” to a minimum.  All of these things require me to be open, honest and vulnerable.  Coming from a girl who can do a pretty good job of covering up the weeds — it’s not worth it.  The initial frustration and fear you experience when overcoming your adversities and facing those things which you are least proud of – especially in front of those whom you love and want to appear perfect to – is immensely shadowed by the relief and freshness that comes when you have cleared it all out and given your self a new beginning.  I challenge you to dig a little deeper when those weeds surround you.  Your patience will pay off.  And you will create one heckuva gorgeous garden :).

Happy Thursday, Friends.  Easter is just around the corner!

header image courtesy of: Gina Zeidler

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MOSS Floral: So well put. Inspirational.April 01,2010 09:11am

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