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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

One of our New Year’s Resolutions was to share a little bit about ourselves. And you want to know something about me? Last year was the year I quit {almost} everything. Want to know something else? Last year I didn’t like who I was. Let me explain.


Probably one of the most frequently asked questions of us is “How do you do it all?” The answer for me this past year, was “Not very well.”  First, let me preface this by saying, I’m speaking only for myself. I recognize that every person juggles their hats differently, and every person has a different tolerance level for busyness. I would say that I have an above-average tolerance for busyness- it takes very little to stress me out. However, that  level was completely maxed out last year.
I’m sure it had nothing to do with you, Mr. Berkus. You’re too dang cute to cause much stress.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not complaining about the past year. No way. I have a fabulous life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I have to admit, I really liked it when someone said “oh my gosh- I don’t know how you do it all! You are so inspiring!”  On the outside, it looked like I had it all together and that it just wasn’t a big deal to juggle all those things. All of that busyness was of my own making. Yup, I said it. But if you were in my home every day, you’d know that I was short-tempered with my husband and wasn’t allotting any quality time for him. I was hurrying my kids through their day, not really focusing on them, just waiting for naptime to come. I was comparing myself to other bloggers and feeling badly about my projects. My confidence took a hit because I was so focused on how good other people’s stuff is and how insignificant my stuff was. I got uber-upset when a criticism would come along. I wasn’t enjoying my life. Period. I felt like I couldn’t ever give 100%  to anything I was doing because I was spread so thin. I was exhausted.
I finally realized that I needed to simplify my life a bit so that I could really focus on the things that matter most to me: my faith, my family, this little ol’ blog and the opportunities that might come as a result of it.  I quit my job and stopped coaching tennis.  I have dedicated myself to enjoying my babies while I still have them at home. I’ve stopped putting pressure on myself to come up with the best projects ever, and am just creating things that I love. I’ve developed the ability to say no, if I know it will negatively impact my family. I figure that I won’t ever look back and wish I had worked more and spent less time with my family. I’m happier, more focused and more productive. Plus, my kids think I’m more fun. I’m not saying it’s all better. I’m a work in progress and I’m still tempted to compare myself with others. In fact, it’s often still really hard to say “no” to good things, especially when I know it may disappoint people.
 So, what am I saying? I guess my hope is that you’ll realize that it’s ok to say no to some things, even when it feels like you’re letting people down (I’m a HUGE people-pleaser, and this was hard for me to learn). I know that it’s not possible for everyone to quit their job to pursue just the stuff that gives them joy, but there are tons of good things that we can do with our time, that don’t fulfill our goals in life.  I encourage you to evaluate what’s important to you, and then pursue those things. Don’t bog yourself down with stuff you think you’re supposed to be doing, just because it makes other people happy or even because you like the appearance of being busy. Figure our your priorities, and cut out all that junk that messes with them. Just my two cents. 🙂So, how about you? Do you over commit or are you good at saying no? 


The comments +

  1. Wow…you just told my story, except for the tennis teacher part. Thank you so much for sharing what most of us (bloggers at least) are going through. I had to totally re-evaluate as well, and make a schedule for myself. Now the hubs and kiddos are much happier, and so am I. Have a fabulous week!

    Jessica @ Mom 4 Real

  2. Great post, Jess! And, for the record, your projects are fabulous and I envy your creative abilities. You are a great mom and friend and I’m thankful for your honesty. I pray you never question the gifts and talents you’ve been given!

  3. Doreen says:

    OH! I am reading your post and seeing my own self in every word! While I never had the oppty to meet my love Nate Berkus in person (I WISH!), I know full well the feeling of being a “people-pleaser with an over-committed, yet not focused on my actual core family”, life. I, too, simply quit everything beginning with my mid-November bday last year. Right now, I am focusing on my own core family – my husband and my child, our home. Nothing else – no art (unless it’s for myself and my own pleasure), no monthly blog hops, no mandatory blogging, no deadlines, no volunteering (until my “house” is back in order by Q2), no extraneous commitments that don’t directly benefit my initial goal – to focus on what’s really important. I love your blog, your honesty, and most of all… I understand what you’re going thru and commend you for doing what’s best for YOU! 🙂 {{{hugs}}}

  4. Megan Howard says:

    This is so me and I don’t even have a blog! I do, however, have two kids under three, a husband who feels neglected, an arts and crafts business that I never have enough time for and a house that always seems a mess! Definitely thinking I am spread too thin and just now lately have decided to take a step back and re-evaluate. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone and its okay to not have it all together!

  5. LYB Assoc. says:

    Ummm are we the same person? 🙂 This sounds very similar to me. Life of a blogger… who knew it could be this rough! Love your blog though, you’re always entertaining and inspiring! I found your blog after my friend and I started ours together too… hoping to get to where you are someday 🙂 ( ) Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. Unknown says:

    Wow, good for you for admitting that. I went through a phase of that myself recently and am still…partially going through it – trying to find that ‘happy’ place. I think when a person is passionate about so many things – family, love, creativity – it’s easy to overfill our cups with it all, without making sure it is prioritized.
    Thank you for sharing that and it’s inspired me to maybe take just a few more steps to get there myself –
    Hugs, Kylie

  7. Meg says:

    I can relate to the pressure to create something great for the blog’s sake. It makes me have creator’s block. If I see something similar on Pinterest, I just quit instead of doing it anyway. Maybe my take would’ve offered something different? Or revealed an easier way to do something? I’ll never know. Kudos!

  8. I really appreciate you saying what most of us are feeling and going through. I always think I’m alone on the matter and then read something moms this. thank you!

  9. Great post! I know exactly how you feel. Last year on top of working full time and raising 2 kids under 2 I thought I could handle starting a blog. I was spread so thin, spending all my free time trying to create a blog like all the other gorgeous ones on the web (such as yours). I wasn’t enjoying my husband, or my daughters, or really my blog for that matter. I decided I really enjoy reading blogs more than I enjoy creating one and have left mine in the dust and have been enjoying my family and making memories instead. Hats off to you for recognizing what is most important to you! Such a great way to start the new year.

  10. WOW…That is me. I ran across your blog because I follow the lovely Shanty Girls. I first read how you use power tools at 11pm and your neighbors must hate you, I choked on my gum laughing so hard. Yes, I DO THIS, BUT I only pull my garage door up half way so I can avoid someone coming over and telling me to stop…haha…so far its working. But yes, I am going through the busy life right now, and have people ask me, “how do you do it all?” I work full time run a house hold with a 2 year old and have an Etsy shop that stays pretty regular. I am afraid to say I am busy with the thought that someone might think I am not thankful for what I have, but I am at my max. I have a mother that needs me alot and a husband that works a different shift then me, its hard. This blog has helped me right at this moment, so with all this said, thank you. Thank you for sharing. Stephanie

  11. Jenny Lynn says:

    As I was reading I thought that you were writing about me! I have been considering giving up my job to come back home. Thanks for opening up and sharing something so personal.

  12. I read this post of yours last night and then wrote this one ( where I linked it back to you. Thanks for writing the real in between the fun & beautiful!


  13. Erin says:

    As a new(er) follower to your blog, I’m reading this almost a month after you posted, but it really hits home! Thanks for your honesty.

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