We Hit One Million!

WE DID IT!

THANKS TO YOU, WE HIT ONE MILLION UNIQUE DOWNLOADS OF THE PODCAST SINCE JANUARY!

 

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I started this podcast for moms who want to leave a legacy of intention and joy. I was tired of counting the minutes till bedtime, and couldn't help but think there had to be a better way to do this thing called "motherhood". 

I spent the first four years of motherhood completely miserable and stuck in survival mode: overwhelmed, overworked, battling heavy depressions and barely scraping by in life.

When I started simplifying and removing the unnecessary from my life, I was able to finally shake my depression for good, have more free time, actually enjoy playing with my kids, serve my family well and be the best, happiest, most fulfilled version of myself possible!  When I found the light at the end of the tunnel, I just had to share that hope with overwhelmed moms everywhere. Just like that, "The Purpose Show" came to life!


Here are the most-loved podcasts of mamas all over the world!

 
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1. Ep 003: How my Morning Ritual Is Changing My Life

This episode is all about:

  • How I began my morning routine, and how it has shifted with the seasons of my life

  • My detailed morning routine that makes my day more focused and purposeful

  • How my morning routine helps me overcome one of my biggest weaknesses

  • How to fit in more reading time on a daily basis

  • Why taking action on your goals will leave a lasting impact on your life

Listen to this episode here

 
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2. EP 004: Positive Words for Your Children

This episode is all about:

  • The effect words have on you, both a positively and negatively.

  • How easy it is to complain and use negative words to describe things, and why it’s important to switch your words to the positive.

  • Why it is important to speak positive words over your children.

  • How to speak positive words or scripture over your children if you feel uncomfortable.

  • How changing the words you speak to and over your children has the power to completely change their behavior.

  • Tips and suggestions on where to find positive affirmations and scriptures, and how you can store them on your phone.

Listen to this episode here

 
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3. ep 001: My Goal Setting Process

This episode is all about:

  • Why New Year's is great time of year to create new goals, but not the only time

  • How I manage so much with four kids, a full personal life, and multiple successful businesses

  • How to achieve your goals

  • My step-by-step process to setting the right goals for where you are in your life

  • What reverse engineering is, and how it can change the way you reach your goals

  • Why taking action on your goals will leave a lasting impact on your life

Listen to this episode here


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“HEY MAMA!

 

STOP SETTLING FOR OVERWHELMED. 

LET’S UPROOT WHAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN AND UNCOVER YOUR ABUNDANT MOTHERHOOD.

AND LEAVE SURVIVAL MODE BEHIND.


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4. Ep 006: How My Blog Got My Husband Out of His 9 to 5

This episode is all about:

  • Our struggle to make ends meet when Brian worked insane hours, six days a week.

  • Following God’s call to move to the midwest, where they knew no one.

  • My struggle with doubting God.

  • How I found my passion and developed the idea of turning my blog into a business

  • How Your Uncluttered Home came to be.

  • The incredibly grueling months that we experienced when Brian quit his job and the blog and course hadn't taken off yet.

  • Having a post go viral, and waking up to 15,000 new subscribers and money suddenly in my account overnight.

  • What has changed since everything happened, and what the business is like now.

Listen to this episode here

 
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5. EP 002: How To Lose Weight By Loving Your Body Better

This episode is all about:

  • Why and How we should stop pushing our bodies to morph into something they’re not.

  • Shifting your focus from what your body IS from what it isn’t

  • How we can start acting out of love for our bodies.

  • The importance of living a life of balance.

  • A 2-step process that can help you bring forth more gratitude for your bodies.

Listen to this episode here


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ARE YOU READY TO CLEAR THE CLUTTER AND FOCUS ON THE AREAS OF YOUR LIFE THAT BRING YOU JOY? 

YOUR UNCLUTTERED HOME IS LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BECOME A MINIMALIST MAMA WHO IS ABLE TO BE A LOT MORE PRESENT FOR WHAT MATTERS MOST.

 


Introducing My New Brand! [+ the story behind it]

My brand is a direct reflection of who I am. And since I’m human, I’m always changing.

I’ve been walking further down the path of simplifying and intentional living, and lately, I’ve been in a season of pruning.

In my business and in my life, there have been things I felt like I had to do in order to serve and show up for other people - some things were good and worked fine once, but then they stopped working.

Because of the drain on my energy, those things weren’t actually serving anyone - not even the people I was trying to hard to show up for.

They pulled life from me in a way that meant I had none left to give in other areas that matter.

I have been letting go of those things with a confident knowing that I will be better for it, and so will the people I serve.

Did you know that in vineyards, the vines that are not fruit-producing are pruned (cut back, trimmed) in order to give more water and energy to the vines that are producing fruit?

In the past six months alone, I have cut off two branches of The Purpose Group Incorporated (the official entity of my business, which owns this website and The Purpose Show).

Those two branches were The Purpose Society (my monthly membership site) and These Solid Walls (my print shop).

These two things were vines that needed to be pruned in order to reserve water and energy for the more fruit-producing branches. Even though they weren’t bad ideas or rotten vines, they just weren’t my purpose and they were pulling my focus from more important things.

Just because something is a good idea doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you or for this time in your life, and God set me free by showing me that.

This has been a really impactful, deeply transformative time in my life. Learning what to say “no more” to and what to say “let’s grow more of this” as a business owner and influencer has caused me to really work on my heart and seek God.

When a change like this takes place in you as a person and YOU are your brand, it’s hard to look at your current brand aesthetic the same way. Because, like I said, my brand is a direct reflection of who I am, it starts to feel like you’re producing content on a platform that isn’t yours.

It’s almost like you’re boxed in to the old things you just let go of.

It might sound silly, but seeing the colors, fonts, and feel of my old brand had started to feel crippling to my creativity. I needed my brand to change to fit me better.

The thing is, as a brand, you don’t want to do this often, if ever. It can really harm your reach if people don’t recognize your images on social media, and it is part of my job (and my team’s job) to make sure you see what I’m putting out.

The message I am sharing is something I take incredibly seriously.

I know if any mom hears it and takes action on it, God will use it to change her entire motherhood.

Motherhood is what is shaping the future of our world, so this matters greatly.

See? Told you I take this seriously ;)

So, it was important to me not to change too much about the general “feel” of my brand, as I didn't want to hurt the spreading of the message behind it. 

I weighed it out in my head over a couple of months and finally decided a change was worth a small risk, because the new brand would reflect more of what you get here at Allie Casazza dot com - minimalism, less, simplification tips, encouragement to live well and to live your life on purpose.

This was worth the change to me.

I started opening my eyes to ideas for fresher colors and praying that God would guide the steps of this rebrand.

One day, I was browsing a strip of small local shops and there somes prints of paintings created by a local artist. There was one piece of art that immediately caught my eye and brought up emotion.

It was so simple. It made me think of an open door of opportunity… it made me think of what I do here in this little space on the internet.

I bought it and put it on my mantle, staring at it anytime I sat in my living room for weeks.

I want what I do here to feel like the message in that painting - like an open door of opportunity for mothers all over the globe.

If you make small, positive changes, if you start to look at the things in your home and on your calendar with a little more intentionality, your life is going to rapidly and seriously transform.

That’s a door of opportunity for you if I’ve ever seen one!

The painting I bought, although my new favorite, was a little dark. I like my brand to breathe and feel light and airy, so I knew I wouldn’t be totally borrowing from the artist when I used this piece as my rebrand inspo.

It needed to be a jumping off point, not the end all be all.

After a few more weeks of praying, searching, and just letting inspiration find its way to me, I had put together the new brand in my head.

I had over a month of time off scheduled and it was rapidly approaching. I couldn’t bear to keep this to myself all that time, so I scheduled an evening meeting with my designer in my cozy backyard, and I poured all the stuff in my head into his while he created some mockups of what the brand would look like.

After a little fine tuning and moving things around, we had it.

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I told him I wanted a paint brush stroke in the brand somehow. When you see it on an image, know that the brush stroke symbolizes a couple of things…

First, it’s symbolic of my own creative journey as a mother - finding myself outside of being a mom, and developing my love of painting.

But mostly, it symbolizes you, friend. It’s a nod to your part in all this- taking what I give you and making it your own, creating the life you want and making it happen for yourself and for your family.

I wanted the colors to quiet down and reflect minimalism, and the idea of less better than they were. They used to be happy and cute, but just not right for this space - it was a lot, and I’m not about a lot.

I wanted muted greys, my signature dusty blush toned down a notch, and the exact navy from the painting.

Designer Derek nailed it.

Lastly, we freshened up the fonts to reflect less, to be modern and attractive, and to bring more “happy” to the feel of my new brand.

Done and done.

 

 

I feel so invigorated by these new changes, and I hope you do too.

But here’s what I want you to know, branding aside…

You can do this. This motherhood thing - it’s dang hard and it will pull your energy from you in ways you didn’t know was possible before you stepped into it.

But it’s beautiful and humbling and so full of opportunity! I don’t want you to miss that like I did in the beginning of mine.

This can be so good. And if it's awful - if you're pulling your hair out, constantly cleaning up and getting your kids out of your way so you can "catch up" even though you never do, hear me... 

It does not have to be that way for one more day! You can make changes that last, that matter.

It doesn’t have to be so chaotic and overwhelming that you’re counting the minutes til your kids go to bed.

I want you to have a few days like that here and there (that's normal), not live every day in that place. Because when you live there, you’re not able to pause and really enjoy the gift of this short season of raising babies.

 

 

Intentional motherhood starts at home.

Take ownership, get your time + your life back.

It’s the blink of an eye and then it’s over and they’re gone.

I’m here to walk with you as we step into purpose, as we grab onto hope, as we ask ourselves the questions -

Is this necessary?

Is it helping me live a focused life of purpose?

Can I let this go?

I want JOY and less for you, friend. So that you can enjoy MORE of what really matters. That’s what my brand, and everything that falls under it's umbrella is all about.

Tips For Decorating A Rental

Leather flower pouf: Etsy
Leather sofa: Overstock
Teal love seat: World Market
Coffee table: Threshold for Target
Gold side table: Target
Rug: Target

I don’t know much about interior design, but I do love to decorate. My goal is always to have my home feel very me. I want to spend my time in a space that I love, that inspires my writing, that makes me happy to take photos of my family inside. I need to feel really good about how my home looks, even if it’s not perfect.

I can’t stand having plain walls or temporary furniture that I don’t love. My home is very important to me, and I want my family to feel safe and cozy here. I also want to make sure that I like what I see and that I spend my days in a place that shows my personality and style.

I don’t know how one would officially describe my decorating, but I like to think of it as cozy and modern. I appreciate white, straight lines, and trend. I also appreciate cozy throw pillows, a shelf full of books, and a couch you can curl up in. I never want my family or my guests to feel like they can’t come in and relax.

Since I’ve been getting asked a lot about my decor as we’ve been transitioning out of full-time travel and into our little apartment (a temporary home while we figure out what we want in terms of buying or renting), I thought I’d show it off a little and share where I bought things and how I decided how to style the main areas.

Since this is a very temporary home (and an apartment), we couldn’t change much about it. Instead of finding creative ways to cover the things we don’t like, which is what we usually do when we know we’re staying longer-term, I found ways to distract from the not-my-favorite features.

I’m sharing my tips and tricks with you today!

1. Distract from the features you don’t like.

Our apartment has dark beige carpet. I despise carpet for many reasons, but in this house I’m glad we have it since another family lives below us (bless their hearts. And ears…). However, that doesn’t mean I have to just deal with it. My goal was to use decor placement and color to draw the eye to other parts of the house in each room. My gallery wall, plants placed up high, colorful loveseat, and rugs all help accomplish this.

2. Oversized rugs and rug layering.

Rug: World Market
Jute rug: RugsUSA
Table & chairs: IKEA

Rug layering is a newer trend I started seeing a lot on Pinterest last year. I love the look and decided to be brave and give it a try as part of Mission: Distract From the Carpet. The trick is to use two totally different patterns that compliment each other, and let me tell you… it is terrifying to do this at the store or online when you’re a visual learner. I really wished I could’ve seen it in my living room first, but everything I risked ended being exactly what I was going for!

I bought oversized rugs to fill two of my rooms almost wall-to-wall (because again, the carpet). In my office, I put an IKEA rug and in the kids’ room, I used a Rugs USA rug with lots of color.

3. Put a gallery wall in your living room.

Thin black frames: Target
Colored frames: thrifted and painted by me

Gallery walls are a great way to showcase your style. I did this by choosing mostly thin, black, modern frames and drawing most of the attention to my photos. They’re also great for bringing a little personality to a room.

If your landlord doesn’t want you to use nails in the wall, use Command Strips. There’s an entire aisle at Target dedicated to those things- they’re amazing and you can now decorate however you like, even in a rental because of them.

When it comes to the living room, I like mine to feel personal and cozy, so I wasn’t going for clean, perfect lines and matching frames in a neat row with this wall. I chose some of my favorite photos of our family, some printables with words I like, and I stuck family artwork in there to really relax the look of this wall.

For a subtle pop of color amongst the thin black frames, I included a really happy yellow and a pretty, soft pink frame as well. I also intentionally placed the colorful pieces toward the center of the collage to compliment the bright frames on the outer edges. There’s nothing to a gallery wall except eyeing it.

I laid all my frames out on the floor in front of this wall and placed each frame where I wanted it to go before hanging them, and it still somehow came out different than it had looked, but I ran with it and fit things in as needed until it looked right.

I also did a huge InstaStory as I decorated this wall and people found it really helpful. If you want to see things like that and my daily cup of coffee (I mean, who doesn’t want to miss THAT?!), click here to follow me on Instagram.


Is clutter your real problem? Been there!

Check out Your Uncluttered Home, my globally-praised online decluttering course for moms.

I'll walk you through the A-Z of minimalism for every room in your home.

Let's get you simplified so you can walk into a home you love and stop spending your weekends catching up on cleaning!


4. Fill space with oversized art.

We scored this Pottery Barn bicycle art from Brian’s dad when he was moving a few years ago. My old timer Instagram followers know it’s my staple piece. It’s so big that it instantly fills an entire wall in an empty space when we move and makes the room come together and feel “lived in”. You can score oversized art at estate sales, online, thrift stores, garage sales, really anywhere that fits your budget. Just keep your eye out for the perfect piece.

You can also make your own oversized art (maybe not as big as the bike canvases….) for super cheap! I talked all about how I did that for the main wall in our bedroom, and you can even view my tutorial by reading this post. 

Chandelier: World Market

5. Swap the statement rental pieces that aren’t a big deal to put back when you leave.

When will landlords and rental companies start decorating in ways that fit most styles?? It’s always either outdated or severely contemporary- so not my style. When I come into a new rental, Two things I almost always do is swap the blinds for curtains (or put curtains over the blinds to hide them), and store whatever hideous pendant light they have hanging in the dining area and replace it with a statement piece that fits my style.

6. Base your decor on how the room will be used.

Hanging plants (fake): IKEA
Sofa: IKEA
Rug: IKEA
Fur blanket: IKEA
Throw pillows: Target
Basket: Target
White bookshelf: handmade by my hubby

My style tends to shift slightly depending on what the room I’m decorating will be used for. For example, my living room is much cozier than my office. In my office, I need to be inspired and feel productive, so I opt for lots more white, lots of clean lines, less color, and less coziness.

7. If the kids share a room, keep everything neutral, but sneak in personal touches.

In our last house, my kids all shared one huge room even though they had the option of splitting up a little. In this rental, we decided they’d keep sharing one room so that we could make an apartment work for a few months while still having a workspace to run the business. We ordered double bunk beds, and to keep things from looking chaotic in a tiny space, I got them all matching white quilts.

To bring each of my kids’ personalities into the room, I let them pick out their bed sheets while we were at Target. The Pillowfort Kids line is to die for! Each child has their own set of sheets, so when they pull back the covers to crawl in for the night, it feels a little more them and not just a neutral white zone without personality.

Throw pillows: Target
Floral sheets: Urban Outfitters
Side table: Target
Macrame wall hanging: Target
Curtains: IKEA
Reading light: Target
Planter: Target
Headboard: IKEA
Printables: made by me

Note: I get asked a lot if having white is a pain to keep clean with four kids in the house. My answer is always that it’s actually easier. Kids spill no matter what, and knowing that I can throw some bleach in the wash and easily get every stain out is much more comforting than a patterned or colored piece that I’d have to be careful stain-treating.

8. Use temporary tricks.

There are so many more options for making a rental look more like you nowadays. If your rental isn’t as temporary as ours, you can really go crazy! Use these anti-mold subway tile stickers to cover an ugly backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom (we used these in our camper and they’re great!), put this peel and stick wallpaper to give a room more personality. These items won’t damage your place when you remove it and it makes it feel SO much better!

A temporary home with details you don’t exactly like (like brown carpet) doesn’t mean you have to just grin and bear it until you move. You can make any rental look beautiful and put your personal touch on it without causing damage you’ll pay for later.


Is clutter your real problem? Been there!

Check out Your Uncluttered Home, my globally-praised online decluttering course for moms.

I'll walk you through the A-Z of minimalism for every room in your home.

Let's get you simplified so you can walk into a home you love and stop spending your weekends catching up on cleaning!

How to Make Your Own Modern Wall Printables

My decorating style is super simple, so when it comes to wall art, I walk on the minimal side. Less is more!

I also love words (I’m a writer, so, makes sense) and want them all over my house, so last year when I was redecorating, I started looking for ways to implement them.

The first thing I did was put together a wall of inspirational words for my office. I spend a lot of time in here first thing in the morning, and sometimes coffee and powerful reminders are the only things keeping me focused!

I wanted to keep things black and white and super simple. This is an office for a minimalist, after all, and I feel distracted when I’m surrounded by visual clutter.

Some of these prints were found on Etsy, but I made most of them myself. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, and so many options were way too colorful for what I wanted to do in this room.

I decided that I’m not totally inept and could probably make my own simple wall art.

How to Make Simple Printables

Option 1: Google Drive (or similar program you prefer)

Option 2: Canva

I still wanted another way to bring words into our home, specifically in the master bedroom. I wanted something that was different from what I did in the office.

Our wedding song was “Yellow” by Coldplay, and it’s always been really special to us. Brian once figured out how to play it on his guitar and took me to a hilltop on date night and performed it for me (sweetest. ever), we played it in the car to calm down as we waited for a very scary doctor appointment to start, we’ve danced in the living room to it… it’s just one of those super special songs.

I really wanted something to fill the space above our headboard, but it needed to be pretty big… a couple of wall prints wasn’t gonna cut it. I’d heard that you could get things printed on construction-sized paper for super cheap, so I thought I’d give it a try. Most places I saw info about oversized printables mentioned going to Staples because it only cost like five bucks. However, we lived in Arkansas at the time and didn't have a Staples anywhere near us, so I went to FedEx to see what they could do for me.

I had already bought some simple black frames in the size I wanted, so I brought them with me and asked if they could please print my files to fit the frames.

I got three 22x34 prints for less than nine dollars. I was pretty happy with that.

The only issue I ran into was that I had overestimated what would fit nicely in this space, and only needed two. I put the third one in the master bathroom :)

How to Make Your Own Oversized Prints

1. Follow the same instructions for the first tutorial (I made my oversized prints in Google Drive. I haven’t tried these ones in Canva yet).

2. At FedEx (or somewhere similar near you), bring a USB with your file(s) on it and ask them to print in the appropriate size. It was super simple for the FedEx guy to print my stuff according to the frames I had in hand, so I’d suggest having those with you!

Other Helpful Tips + Links

For fonts and graphics, I shop at Creative Market.

My favorite minimalist frames can be found here.

If you’d rather buy your printables, I always use Pinterest and Etsy to find mine!

For a tutorial on how to use your downloaded fonts in Canva, click here.

For a tutorial on how to use your downloaded fonts in Google Drive, click here.

Decorating your walls can be really intimidating (and expensive), but don’t let that keep you from having a home that makes you smile when you walk in. That’s really important!

Leave any questions for me in the comment section below!

Our Time Living in A Camper + Traveling with Four Kids

My family and I recently wrapped up a few months of full-time travel in a super tiny travel trailer. This post is really long, and it’s a summary of how it went and why we stopped. Keep reading if you’re interested in this, otherwise, head to the archives to read posts on the things I usually write about!


Late last Fall, my family and I were in Northwest Arkansas- the place we’d called home for one very difficult year- looking for a house in Southern California. We’d followed God’s call across the country and gone on an incredible, wild journey. We’d started out as a stay-at-home mom and an internet technician and ended our time in Arkansas in a very different place.

I was now an entrepreneur with an armful of high-profile media features under my belt (I talked to friggin Jenny McCarthy in my living room! What is happening?!), a book agent, and the possibility of a reality television series on the horizon. Brian was still shell-shocked. Did this all really even happen?! Our lives had totally turned around so quickly. He was no longer bound by the job that had kept him away from his family for years- missing soccer games and prenatal appointments. We had no more ties in this beautiful state, and we could feel our hearts being pulled back to our roots. It was time to go back home and be near friends and family again.

We sat in our office on the phone with landlord after landlord hearing the same words over and over. Nobody wanted to rent to an out-of-state couple with a brand new business (no matter how much we had sitting in the bank), a dog, and not-so-great credit (we had struggled so hard to get to where we currently were).

We sat there feeling frustrated. I mentioned that one idea we’d always talked about since four years earlier… living in a camper and traveling a little. We tossed the idea around a bit but it didn’t really stick because we were tired and needed to sleep and start fresh tomorrow. The next morning we went to church and then took an afternoon drive. We saw a vintage Airstream travel trailer on the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign on it, and it seemed perfectly timed, so we pulled over. It was unlocked, so we snuck inside for a peak. It was so amazing, but so old, and it needed tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of work. Not for us!

Seeing that trailer made last night’s idea catch a new spark though, so I opened Craigslist up on my phone and we found another trailer for sale just down the road from where we were. We called the couple that had posted it and headed over. We talked, bursting with excitement about what it might be like to leave everything behind and live in a camper, visiting friends around the country. Even the kids were into the idea!

The trailer was perfect. It had a little water damage, but nothing my handy hubby couldn’t fix. It was decorated, well, like a camper, so we decided we’d renovate it. We still weren’t sure about living in it, but we knew we could at least use it to get back to California until a house worked out. We were feeling excited and a little trigger happy, so we handed them cash and left with a camper attached to our Suburban. Crazy.

December came around and we wanted to spend Christmas with family, so we said goodbye to the friends we’d come to love, packed our furniture into a POD storage container, and rolled out. December and January were spent on renovations, and finally, after what felt like years of painting and fixing and planning, we were off to live beachside for awhile.

It was sort of a weird place to be in… we’d just finished renovating our camper, but our hearts weren’t quite ready to go. We’d just come back from more than a year away from family; we found ourselves wanting to be around them still. The city Brian and I grew up in is just forty minutes or so from the beach, so we landed a site at a beautiful RV resort in Oceanside and decided to spend some time there so we wouldn’t be too far from loved ones.  

We’d also realized, after renovating the camper and getting all the furniture and belongings we needed into it, that it was WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAAAAAAAAAAY too small for a family of six (plus a dog) to be living in. Like, way way way way way (okay, you get it) too small. Honestly, neither of us had a clue about camping, travel trailers, what kind of RV’s were even available (we now know there are basically estates on wheels out there), and like I said… we were a little trigger happy and just tried something crazy and ran with it. So we would keep running with it even if it was hard and imperfect. Because this camper was ours and it was special to us.

With what I do in my business, it was a fun challenge - minimalism to the extremest point. And that it was…

We spent two months living literally on the beach in beautiful So Cal. We would wake up in the morning and walk to get coffee and breakfast at the Buccaneer Cafe, watch the waves while we talked and ate eggs, go back to the camper to get some work done, and every time the kids needed to burn some energy or we felt cramped, the beach was right there.

We quickly learned that it’s hard to be productive in work and homeschooling when everyone around you is on vacation. You have to create your own boundaries and structure, and that’s really hard to do when the beach is outside your window. I’d hired several people to take on important roles in my business (a VA, a customer service rep, and a social media manager) in order to make my work load lighter, but working without an office was still a challenge that I was determined to figure out.

We had made an amazing deal with a huge website- they wanted me to create a mini course for their audience (a bite-size version of my full decluttering course). This was a huge opportunity for us and we were so excited about it! Brian had taken courses and learned to do the video/photo/media work I really needed done, so we worked as a team and took this project on.

It was terrible. There were so many problems and hurdles because of our lifestyle. The situation made us look so frazzled and unprofessional...we needed an office.

We tried renting a cute house in LA to record the course at, but the neighbor was working on his roof and it was so loud we couldn’t record, and we couldn’t convince him to stop either (he was kind of a jerk…).

$350 down the pipes.

We borrowed a friend’s adorable shop in Oceanside and spent an entire day recording with the camera set up on auto-pilot (so Brian could be with the kids while I recorded), and the footage turned out unfocused on fuzzy.

Seven hours of me sitting in a chair talking into a camera, for nothing.

We spent another $500 on furniture and set up a faux living room in the empty cottage my parents had in their backyard. Third time’s the charm I guess, because this time worked. However, we had leaked money on this very simple project and it had taken so much extra time… all because we didn’t have a home office to work from. We started to feel worried. Could we really do this with the type of business we had?

Pretty soon it was time to leave- we could feel the urge to travel and do what we’d bought the camper to do, so we planned a trip south and rolled out again. Our goal was to end up in Florida. My best friend of twenty-three years lives in Clearwater with her husband and two kids, and I hadn’t seen her in way too long.

We planned to stop in Arkansas for a week on the way to visit the friends we’d made while we lived there. We hiked, laughed, had slumber parties, met friends for lunch, and had a blast! We did all the things we couldn’t do while we lived in Arkansas because of the chaos of starting a business.

We left Arkansas feeling grateful for friendships but very behind on work. No matter what we did, this felt like vacation and it was nearly impossible to balance visiting with friends and not being “home” with getting steady work done. One of us needed to be with the kids at all times and we both had a list of work tasks to handle.

The camper was so small and cramped we really couldn’t all be in it at once, which was a really difficult problem to have. Every day felt like a battle we were losing and it really sucked the fun out of traveling. We decided to work harder to find a way to make this work because this life was a dream (and it seemed like everyone else’s dream) and we didn’t want to feel ungrateful.

I started staying in hotels whenever I had a live workshop to host or needed a couple days to catch up on writing. There was (pretty) reliable WIFI there and a nice background for videos versus the kids’ bunk beds or my tiny, always-messy kitchen with way-too-bright-and-unflattering lighting in the camper. Can you guys feel my stress as you read this? It was so. stressful. All the time!

As we traveled from Arkansas to Florida, making stops along the way, I had meetings while in the car with my four (very loud) children and spotty service and dropped more calls than I can remember. I wrote while Brian drove, and Brian edited videos while I took the kids to get dinner, I even hosted a live webinar from the camper pulled over in the parking lot of a Denny’s. Even though we got by and accomplished the bare minimum, none of it was really working. The stress of doing this and making it work wasn’t quite worth it to us, and we were really starting to realize that. 

We saw some neat places, spent a day in Nashville (which I LOVED), and finally made it to Florida. We spent nearly a month there with our friends. It almost felt like the whole process- buying the camper, renovating it, traveling back across the country- like all of it had been to get to Florida to be with these people we loved so much. And if that’s true, it was so worth it.

I think we would’ve stayed in Florida longer if we hadn’t had a deadline. My little sister was graduating from high school and I didn’t want to miss it. We drove all the way back across the country in just three days. Our car made a huge difference though so don’t be too proud of us, ha! We ditched our beater Suburban and got a shiny new Yukon that came with a DVD player…. Yeah, road trips are much easier with a TV! But I’m really grateful we didn’t have one until last month. We had so many wonderful conversations, listened to great audiobooks, and built road trip habits that will last forever, DVD player or not. My kids don’t expect constant entertainment and they know how to busy themselves and have conversations during a long stretch of driving.

We’ve just gotten settled into a three-bedroom apartment on a short-term lease while we wait for the house hunting chaos to settle after summer is over. At that point, we’ll start looking into settling somewhere more permanently, and I can’t wait.

All in all, we feel that full-time travel isn’t for our family in this particular season. We think if we had known more going in and purchased a much larger travel trailer or RV with a space that could’ve acted as an office, things would’ve been easier. But that’s only part of it. We ached to be home. It felt like we weren’t home the whole time. Yes, wherever my family is is “home”, but we ached for a place to come to after a long day or travel. A place with the things we loved, a place to invite friends over to, a place to stretch out and not feel so squished, a place near family, a place with my personal touch all over it (I love to decorate and to live in a place where I feel inspired). The camper just wasn’t those things for us, as much as we wanted it to be.

Brian and I are so glad we bought the camper! It’s paid for and renovated and it gave us some amazing memories and adventure, and we will use it often (it’s being stored nearby). One of the biggest benefits to our business is that we have full control over planning the workload. If we plan ahead, we can take a very extended vacation, use the camper, and leave work behind while we take the kids on another adventure. But that is a totally separate issue from living and trying to manage a global business in it ;)

There are a lot of questions I get asked about living in a camper and how it worked, so I’m going to answer the most common ones here to clear the air.

Camper Living Q+A


Q: How did doing this change your family?

A: We are so much closer! My kids' relationships with each other is much closer, Brian and I are closer, and we each feel closer to our kids as well. It bonded us together in a way I didn't think was possible. We've always been a very tightly knit family since we've homeschooled our kids and are always together, but this brought us to another level that I'm very thankful for. 

Q: How did sex work in the camper? TMI?

A: Not TMI- I get it, you’re curious how we could make it happen with the kids literally RIGHT THERE in their bunks. Let me first say that where there's a will, there's a way, and Brian and I defintiely had a lot of will! Here’s how we got it on…

  1. Quietly.

  2. Behind what Brian calls the “security curtain”, haha! This was a doubly thick black curtain with sound-reducing cushion sewn in between the layers. The curtain was up 24/7 and closed like a bedroom door every night at bedtime.

  3. Thanks to stabilizers. If you’re going to have sex in a camper, get the best stabilizers you can find. We did, and the camper didn’t budge. It took a huge worry off me and helped me enjoy the ride ;)

Q: I noticed you stayed in hotels pretty much every night you were traveling from one state to another. What’s the point of having the camper if you’re going to stay in hotels?

A: What most people don’t understand is that we were not camping, we were living on the road. This means that we didn’t just have a week or even a month’s worth of stuff in the camper… everything we needed to have with us for living was in there. When we were actively traveling, bins of clothes, chairs, tables, our rug, everything that lived outside against the wall when we were stationary went inside the camper and you could barely squeeze in to use the bathroom! Hotels took a ton of time and work out of the experience for us, and obviously we lived in the camper once we got somewhere.

Q: What was your daily routine like while you traveled?

A: It was constantly changing depending on where we were, what time zone we were in, and what we had planned for each day. But a typical day looked pretty normal. I didn’t wake up very early while we lived in the camper because it was such close quarters that I’d wake the kids and they’d be grumpy later (although some days I did rise early and just head to Starbucks right away before waking anyone). We’d wake up together most days and start with coffee and breakfast, then spend the late morning getting work done before moving into some homeschooling, then spend the afternoon exploring our area.

Q: What was the hardest thing to get into a rhythm with while living in the camper?

A: Homeschooling, actually. By the time we did breakfast and cleaned up, worked for a few hours, made lunch and cleaned up, the last thing any of us wanted to do was school.

Q: How did grocery shopping and meal prep work with such a small fridge?

A: This was almost my answer to the last question- it was HARD. We ended up choosing to eat out a ton. It ended up taking a burden off of us. We eat very clean most of the time (for me it’s a necessity because of health issues) so when we eat out the price difference isn’t very much more than when we shop at Whole Foods. We grocery shopped every other day for fresh produce, snacks, and breakfast foods and still barely had enough space to store things in the fridge and pantry.

Q: How much did it cost to renovate the camper? Was it worth it?

A: It cost about $6,000 - $7,000 in renovations. Yes it was worth it! I recently did a really long Instagram Story about how home matters and I care about how I feel when I walk into where I live. I want it to be decorated well, to feel like mine, to have my touch all over it. Whether we're in a home we bought, an apartment we'll live in for less than six months (currently), or a camper, I want it to make me happy when I walk in. That's why we renovated the camper, and it was worth it. 

Q: What was most surprising to you about the full-time travel lifestyle?

A: How expensive it is. I’ve always heard a lot of people say they live in campers and travel to save money, but this doesn’t make much sense to me. Yes, rent is less. I mean, we lived beachside in Southern California for $1,000/month. And we bought a Thousand Trails membership which let us stay at their sites free of charge, but they didn’t have many sites in the states we stayed at. There’s also a lot that increases in price when you decide to travel full-time, like the phone bill. We needed to have constant access to strong internet connection because of homeschooling and running the business, and the best way to get that is through your phone (personal hotspot), so our bill went up to $280.

Q: What size trailer do you have?

A: A 26' travel trailer with no slide-outs. 

Q: How did you do laundry while living in the camper?

A: The resorts we stayed at always had laundromats. Once a week either Brian or myself would spend most of the day there catching up on all the laundry. With four kids and basically camping full-time, it was hard to not be able to wash whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, but we made it work, just like everything else about this lifestyle!

Q: How did your kids feel about this lifestyle?

A: They loved it. It was such a sweet adventure, even with all the hard parts. Brian and I were afraid it’d be too squished and they’d hate it, but they loved snuggling into their little bunks every night and giggling themselves to sleep. They were constantly telling us how much they loved living in the camper. Towards the end, they started talking about “going home” and missing everyone. I think we all felt the pull to call it quits at the same time.


So there's my super honest post all about our time in the camper. I hope it answered your questions! Now back to my laundry, which I can now wash anytime I want to in the machines inside my house.... ;)

xo Allie

For Brian, On Father's Day

I really wanted to give Brian something sentimental this Father's Day. My best friend, Jules had the idea of making him a video where the kids each say something sweet about their Daddy, and since I recently learned how to use a new video editing program, I decided it was the perfect thing.

So this is for my sweetest friend and the father of our four babies. You are so appreciated, and so very adored. Happy Father's Day!

Note: the song playing in this video is the song that was playing while I took a pregnancy test, waited for the results, and found out I was pregnant with Leland. This song has a very special place in our hearts, which is why I decided it needed a part in this video :)

How I Cover Scars & Blemishes with Drugstore Makeup

 Pin it, baby!

Pin it, baby!

I have battled acne since eighth grade. I have tried all the expensive products, I have gone on medication, I have tried all the natural remedies, I have balanced my hormones, I have changed my diet a hundred times, and my skin just breaks out bad once every month. I also scar very easily, which has left me with permanent marks on my face from my teen years when my breakouts were far worse than they are now. I used to go to expensive makeup stores and get top quality products to give me the appearance of smooth skin.

I spent a lot of money. It came to a point where I realized the hundreds of dollars that were going into covering my scars and blemishes and I just wasn't okay with it anymore. I decided to go on a hunt for drugstore products that would provide great coverage, natural shades that matched my skin tone, and didn't give my husband a heart attack every time he checked the balance of our bank account.

After trying a bunch of different products, I was astounded to find that the drugstore makeup I settled on was actually, in my opinion, better than the high-priced makeup I had been using before.

Today I'm getting into a really vulnerable place with you all for the sake of maybe helping someone else with skin problems. I'm not looking to get emails about products that I should try or things that worked for someone else who needed to clear up their skin, I'm not looking for rude comments about what my face looks like naked, I'm not even looking for compliments. I simply want to inform and help others who might feel like I do about their skin, and just want to cover flaws (and be able to afford it) so they can leave the house with confidence.

Here is my skin without any makeup, freshly washed, on a pretty bad breakout day, without any filters or editing.

As you can see, there is a ton of scarring on my temple, where I once had extremely bad cystic acne in high school. Yesterday there was more redness, things are dying down today as I treated my breakouts last night. But this is a pretty typical day during my "breakout week", as I call it.

Here is what my skin looked like the day before yesterday, on my worst breakout day, with makeup on, in natural light, no filter or editing of any kind.

Sure, you can look closely and see a couple breakouts, but there is a world of difference here, and you'd never guess that I have two blemishes that are completely inflamed and painful. You'd also never guess that every single product I use on my face is from the drugstore, the most expensive one ringing up at $12.99. 

Here's what I use...

Primer: Rimmel London Stay Matte

I learned through experience that primer is a must-have. I use to skip it, but once I found a good one at a high-end makeup counter and saw how it filled in indented scars and smoothed out my skin, I never went back. Finding a good primer at the drugstore was a challenge since most of them are total crap. Rimmel London's did not disappoint. In fact, I liked it just as much as the expensive one I was using before than cost me $30. This one rings up at around $5. 

Concealer: Hard Candy Glam Heavy Duty Concealer & pencil

This. Stuff. Is. Amaaaaaaaaazing. I cannot boast about this concealer enough. It changed my life, really. Use the little pencil to draw a circle around a blemish, then put a tiny dot of concealer over it, and it will be minimized almost completely. Some makeup artists say to use concealer under your foundation and some say over. I have found that using it both times is very effective for how marked up my skin is. I apply a dot of concealer to each blemish or heavily-scarred area of my face immediately after applying primer, then I use my foundation, then I do the pencil-concealer technique. I use a shade lighter than my foundation. I have only been able to find Hard Candy's products at Walmart, which I hate, but it's worth a quick stop for this magic. You can also buy it online once you know which shade looks best on you. My previous concealer was about $25. This one works 100% better and is only $6. 

Foundation: Revlon Colorstay Whipped

I'd say finding a foundation was the most difficult part of this process for me. I am very picky about my foundation matching my skin color exactly, and I need a lot of coverage, but don't like to look like I've got pounds of makeup caked on. Revlon Colorstay delivers. It gives me a smooth, flawless finish, and BONUS: it stays on all day! I very rarely need to reapply to go somewhere at the end of the day. I have seen this foundation at Target for $10.99 and I've seen it for $12.99. Either way it's a heck of a lot better than my old total, which was anywhere from $30 to $79. Ouch. 

Powder: Rimmel London Stay Matte Long-Lasting Pressed Powder

I had been using a translucent loose powder by NYC when a friend of mine mentioned how much she loves Rimmel London's powder for the extra coverage it gave her. I tried it out and have been using it for over a year now. I once used a powder that cost $65 at Sephora, and in total honesty, I feel like this powder comes

very

 close to the coverage and finished look that powder gave me. This rings up at around $4.

Note: In my experience, what you use to apply your foundation makes a huge difference. After speaking with a makeup professional and trying different options, I have found that using a natural hair foundation brush gives the best and most flawless finish. I have used several different brands ranging from high to low prices, and I didn't really notice a huge difference. The one I have now is one I grabbed at Walmart the last time I picked up concealer, and I love it as much as the expensive one I bought at Sephora last year. 

Those are the products I use as a base to cover blemishes and give me more of a flawless canvas to work with before I move on to the rest of my makeup. I hope this helps! If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask in the comments. I'll always get back to you.

Note: Since these products contain ingredients that can agitate skin prone to breakouts, it's important to wash it off every night and give your skin plenty of makeup-free days to breathe!

The Problem With Eva Mendes' Sweatpants Comment

Eva Mendes recently made a comment that's gone viral, and has moms everywhere upset, and maybe some feeling a little demoralized. While yesterday, she came back with an apology statement (read: brushing it off as "just a bad joke"), I find it hard to believe because of how shamelessly her initial comment was said.

Whether her comment was just a joke or kind of mean, it really doesn't matter to me. I don't keep up with celebrities by any means. I usually only hear about things that "go viral" in passing via articles on Facebook, and I normally only read the titles. With Eva's comment though, I looked into it because someone that is idolized, put on a pedestal, and watched by many women in the world said something dispiriting to real life moms.

Let me say, I am not here to harp on Eva Mendes, to talk badly about her, or shame her without her being here to defend herself. What I am here to do is shine a little light on grace from this small stage this blog has brought me, because I want to do good from here. I want to encourage mothers, not discourage them with my words. And right now, I feel like there's a dusting of discouragement over real life moms.

So, I may be wrong, but from what I gathered while looking into this, Eve Mendes and Ryan Gosling have been dating off and on since late 2011. They have a newborn baby together and are not married. I mentioned her comment to my husband this morning and asked for his thoughts.

"The problem with her comment is, whether it was a joke or not, they aren't married, they're still dating, she's been a mother all of what- a few months?- and her status and her boyfriend's status means that she has a ton of pressure on her to be perfect. I think this is more about who she's dating and the pressure there than it is about everyday moms, but if she can't be comfortable around the father of her child, then there's a problem. That isn't real life."

He's right. Real life is messy and raw and hard. It doesn't consist of personal trainers and chefs, nannies and superstar boyfriends. For us, it's commitment to love no matter what, it's putting your kids before yourself, it's getting dressed for the day based on how much you're going to be crawling around on the floor with your babies, and being comfortable in the refuge of your husband's promise to love you.

As Brian said, "It's one thing to completely let yourself go and not put in any effort. It's another thing to be a beautiful person who I adore, and be comfy in sweatpants because cleaning and playing is what your day is made of. Personally, I love when you wear sweatpants. You're cute in everything, But we've loved each other for a decade, we've created four human beings together. We aren't still dating and we don't have anything to prove. The two situations aren't comparable."

If you've been around this blog for a bit, you know that I have talked a lot about putting in effort to your physical health and appearance for your husband's sake, but sweatpants are not the problem here. I've said before that most of my days at home with the kids are spent with hair fixed and a little makeup, a cute tee and sweatpants. The "number one cause of divorce" isn't your cozy pants. I'd say bitterness, unhealed heartbreak, and selfishness are the top contenders for that title.

A husband's opinion? "Take care of yourself, feel beautiful, love your husband, be a happy wife, and he won't even notice the sweatpants."

homemade powdered laundry detergent

i want to know something. why is laundry detergent so expensive?? ugh.  

making my own soaps is part of how i stay home when we can hardly afford it.

it really adds up and helps a lot, even if it doesn't seem like much. i prefer powdered detergent, and most of the recipes i found on pinterest when i first set out to make my own soap were for liquid {i think it ends up being cheaper if you go the liquid route, but i don't care that much}. i tried a few different powder recipes but didn't love any until i improvised and fell in love with my own. vain, i know. 

here's the recipe like you all asked for. the ingredients you'll buy to make this soap will make enough to last you a year, and will cost you about $20. i make it in one big batch, store it in a big ugly bucket in the garage, and take smaller amounts of it that can fit in my cute mason jar in my laundry room. cause laundry sucks enough... i need my soap in a cute jar. oh, and you'll only need two tablepoons per load. yes, that's it. no, you don't need to add more for an extra dirty load. this is no nonsense soap and it's awesome. two tablespoons is plenty, trust me. 

side note: i read that using too much detergent in the laundry can actually cause the clothes to not get clean. weird, i know. 

allie's laundry detergent

i insist you label your soap that when you make it. and send me a pic ;)

what you need:

3 bars of plain ivory soap

1 box arm & hammer washing soda

1 box borax

1 tub oxi-clean stain remover

2 lemons or 1 container purex crystals

directions:

1. grate the bars of soap with a cheese grater (i have one i use only for making soap)

2. add the washing soda, borax, and oxy-clean powders to the grated soap. 

3. shave the rind off the two lemons into the detergent mixture, or add the container of laundry crystals. this is an optional step meant to add scent that will refresh your clothes and last for the duration of the batch. 

4. toss and stir and mix it all together and store in your container of choice. 

done!

now go get your laundry off the floor and into the drawers, now that you can afford to!

Fear After A Miscarriage

Around this time last year (at the time of writing this post), I miscarried a baby, whom we named Clementine June. It was a very long, drawn out miscarriage. I found out the baby didn't appear to be growing properly, had to wait two grueling weeks to go back in and get checked, then found out I had for sure miscarried. We waited two more weeks for the miscarriage to happen on its own, then went in to get medicinal aid in starting the miscarriage process. I remember coming home with the bag of suppositories that would tell my body to expel my child, and weeping at the thought. My heart ached like it never has before; it was broken.

Hours after inserting the tablets, it all began, which broke my heart even further. The cramps were like labor contractions, the intense bleeding shocked and scared me. I remember not knowing what to do with what was in the toilet. If I flushed, I felt like I was throwing my baby away. Having been affected by someone's choice to abort their baby in the past, I felt hypocritical and torn. I wanted this baby... how could I just flush her away? My husband held me and helped me cope. He made a Clementine box and saved photos and tiny things that would remind us of our short time with her inside me. Naming that baby helped with closure tremendously. After it was over, God met with me and healed me, a little bit every day. He replaced sorrow with joy, and confusion with peace. I felt so healed and so blessed! People would ask me about it and I was able to respond without anger or tears or resentment.

The months rolled by and the time finally came where Brian and I talked about trying for our next baby. I took longer to be ready, but I finally got there, and became pregnant. I am not going to lie to you or sugar coat this (have I ever??)- I struggled with a lot of fear. It would grip me in the middle of the night, grab hold of my thoughts while I was driving, and send flashes of miscarriage memories throughout the day. I would be changing Hudson's diaper and thinking about going to the gym when all of a sudden I would see myself on the bathroom floor sobbing in blood. The fear was violent, out of control, and intense.

Satan loves to use fear.

Death began to follow and taunt me. A dead animal torn open violently by its prey in front of my house, realistic nightmares of my children dying, violent murders, and tortuous kidnappings came to me nearly every night. After praying and asking God to deliver me from this, He showed me that He had a protective hand on this baby, and that Satan was attacking me instead. And friends, that pissed me off. 

I came at Satan in the name of Jesus Christ whose blood was shed out of love for me and my family. I rebuked him from me, my husband and children, our home, my mind, my sleep... everywhere the Spirit led me to pray. Fear after a miscarriage is natural, but that doesn't mean you can't give it to Jesus and allow Him to replace it with peace- that's what He wants to do! Anxiety and torment is an attack. It is Satan getting into your business and messing with you. How dare he?! Fight back. Do not let him have any part of your life, or take away your hope and joy and peace in a pregnancy.

My next baby appointment came, and it was the final week of the "common miscarriage phase" of pregnancy. My stomach tightened a little when they called my name to go inside, but I felt peace rinse my spirit like cool water. The doctor placed the Doppler machine over my belly, then pulled it away and spoke just what I needed to hear. "You've had a miscarriage before. You need to see your baby." She left and came back with a tiny ultrasound machine, placed the probe on my belly, and there my baby was- heart beating, legs wiggling, thumb in the mouth, little body twisting and turning with joy.

 Thank you, Father. You are good. 

I could lose any of my babies at any time. I could still have a miscarriage, I could have a still birth, one of my live and healthy children could die today. I do not believe that God takes away the possibility of death or loss. I believe a huge part of faith in Him is just that- having faith, no matter what happens. Faith in His existence, faith in His goodness, faith in His faithfulness, and faith in His mighty power over the enemy. Death and loss is only a blow, not defeat. We already know what happens in the end. Choose joy, take peace.

The battle belongs to the Lord.