Monday, October 26, 2015

The Virtual Yardsale: Instagram Version How To

We moved into our house barely a year ago.
And already, one entire side of my once perfectly clean brand new basement is loaded with storage bins and everything else under the sun that I haven't touched since before we moved in.
So I started thinking... I do not need all of this STUFF.
So I'll just have a yardsale.
Wait, NO.  I will not have a yard sale.
Yard sales are a pain.
I have to pull everything out of my basement and into the front yard, and people might not even show up...and I've wasted a whole entire day. 
And someone will no doubt attempt to give me a nickel for a barely worn $80 leather GapKids jacket.
I can't even.
So then I had the best idea ever.
I'm going to set up a shop on Instagram.  That way I can set a minimum price and if people don't want to pay it, then they can just scroll along to the next item!
And then I came up with the most original name ever...
 Shop Kelsey & Kollyns
and a little shop motto so people could get the gist of my shop by just scanning the top of my page...
Like it?  Want it?  Bid on it!
and because catch phrases are catchy and I like them.
I had myself convinced for two whole seconds that I was a genius for coming up with such a grand idea.
Until I googled it to find out if it's legal to sell stuff on Instagram.
Oh it's legal.  And I also found out it's "a thing" now. 
So apparently I'm not the Insta-Sale mastermind.  But I'm still proud because I thought of it on my own.
Of course you can sell your stuff on other social media sites, but I really think Instagram is the most functional one for this purpose, because it's so organized and buyers can view your whole shop in thumbnail size photos and scroll down through to items they are interested in. See...
So if you wanna start selling on Insta too...this is how:
1.  Set up a PayPal account and link it to your bank account so you can invoice and accept money through paypal if necessary.  Almost everyone loves PayPal.  It's safe, secure, and it's so easy.  This is mainly for long distance buyers and local buyers that you aren't comfortable meeting!  I live in a small town so I know most of the people buying my stuff which is super convenient!
2.  Set up a SEPARATE Instagram account for this purpose only.  Do not take over your personal instagram account with yardsale items or you're gonna get on people's nerves.  What?  You are. Ours is @shopkelseykollyns and I created a simple logo to use as the photo.
3.  Use your personal account to advertise for your sale page, tag the page & and tell your lovely followers to follow along if interested, and that's about it.  See what I did here...
4.  Be sure to post your shop rules as the first post on your sale page.  I posted mine a day ahead of time so everyone would understand how my sale worked, before I began bombarding them with items.  I expanded on the rules in the comment section!  Do you want to sell locally only?  Are you willing to ship?  Outside of the U.S. or are you keeping your sales in the states?  Are you willing to pay shipping or does the buyer pay?  TELL THEM.  They want to know.
5.  Take photos on a consistent background.  It just looks prettier.  All of my clothes on hangers are hung up on the same wall for photographs and all other items are photographed on my dining room table.  The page isn't covered in busy backgrounds, and the items pop!
5. Choose how you want to sell your items.  First come, first serve...or bidding?  For our shop, I'm posting items on Saturday and Sunday, and the bidding starts immediately and continues until the following Friday.  Items sold will be removed from my page upon receiving payment and delivering goods, and items that to do not receive bids will remain active until someone comments with at least the minimum bid.  I post the minimum bid under the photo, and buyers can comment below with their bids!  It's super simple!
6.  Once the bidding is over and your item sells.  Contact the buyer via DM or email to discuss payment method, shipping or personal delivery of items.  Do not delay getting the buyers the items.  This is supposed to be fun for them, not a pain in the butt trying to track you down to pay you and get their stuff! 
Happy selling loves!

I changed my shop name to Shop Kollyns River because it sounds cuter...

and changed the rules a little bit because I feel that in the past the bidding thing has increased the sale prices of the items unfairly in some situations! 

But if that kind of thing doesn't bother you, go for bidding style because you can make lots of extra money that way!  I just didn't feel right about it.

So now all you have to do on my sale page is comment SOLD and you get the item at the list price!  That way I'm not limited to posting on weekends and I don't have to run all over the place distributing the stuff the next weekend... while also posting the following week's sale.

But the great thing about a sale like this is you make your own rules to accommodate what's easiest for you! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Living Room Refresh

So here's the thing.
When you have dogs and a child who likes to practice her tumbling on the yourself a favor and don't buy a cream colored sofa.
I know you think that you can keep it from getting dirty, but you can't.  I promise, you just can't.
And if you try, you're just gonna end up crazy.  I'm not even kidding.
Which is why I'm already refreshing our living room.  The relief is real not having to gasp every time the dogs dive onto the sofa or Kollyns decides with her dirty feet to turn the cushions into mini makeshift trampolines. 

Plus, the coffee table was a 10 year old hand-me-down and it didn't match...which had started to get on my nerves.  And we desperately needed a cozy rug to make the living warm and inviting so we would actually start hanging out in there.

Still, the last thing you want to do after buying land, building a house and paying closing buy more stuff. 

Which is why this is happening a year later.
Sofa & Ottoman | Green Front Furniture
Console Table | Ballard Designs
Wall Art | Pier 1
Rug | Loloi

If you're wondering where the original console table went...I moved it to the dining room and I love it!

Just like that, Summer faded into Fall...

I love September. 
Warm days and cool nights.  Flip flops or boots.  Tank tops or sleeves.  Coffee...iced or hot.
And of course...
F O O T B A L L.
Fall is my favorite.  You already know this.
But first, a little summer recap.  I only took 348973 photos.
L A K E  &  R I V E R
So long, summer.  Hello F A L L.  I'm so ready for you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Fitness Secrets

I haven't mentioned fitness on here since April of last year...and lately I've been asked if it's still a part of my life.
The answer is yes, it's a huge part of my life.  I guess that's why I forget to blog about it because it's such a lifestyle for me that it's no longer something I really think about...I just do it.
There's a difference in working out and maintaining a fit lifestyle.  I know because I've been both the workout girl and the fit girl.
I used to just workout.  Maybe three times a week if I reeeally felt like it. Then I would leave the gym so glad I was finished working out and eat a huge dinner, then plop down on the sofa and eat an entire row or two of Oreos while I watched One Tree Hill.  Because I worked out to eat without guilt.  I didn't gain weight, I looked kinda fit, and believe it or not... that worked for me back then.
one tree hill gifs photo:  68lhgmu.gif
 (the show never gets old, it just doesn't...welcome to my blog Brooke Davis)
 But life changes, y'all.
Enter:  Kollyns River
Exit:  Sporadic workouts and guilt free snacking
After I had Kollyns I knew I wanted fitness to be more than just about what I looked like.  I wanted to be healthy for my daughter, and I wanted to model habits that she could mimic as she got older.  I didn't want a workout to be something dreadful, I wanted it to be something I looked forward to and enjoyed and eventually something she could enjoy too.  Now she's four and everyday when we get home her first words are "get your clothes on mama, time to workout".  She knows all about biceps, triceps, quads, hams & glutes...and she loves to do gymnastics on my squat rack (probably not the safest thing) and "Mom please don't tell me you have to do squats again today." is her famous first line as we're walking downstairs to the gym.
I'm definitely not the fittest mama ever, and I'm certainly not a fitness know-it-all.  But I'm dedicated to my workouts, healthy with my food choices, and committed to making fitness a priority.
If you wanna be a fit mama too, all it takes is a little preparation and a few good choices...but you don't have to tell everyone it's that easy.  Let them think you're S U P E R M O M....because if you have more than one kid and still manage to stay fit, you really probably are.

And in case you haven't figured it out yet, my "secrets" aren't really secrets.  Everyone knows these things.  I knew them too for a long time, but until I actually started doing them they didn't really work for me, ha.
1.  I Make It a Priority
I know you're thinking "easy for you to say, you workout in your basement." Well, until Kollyns turned 2, I worked out in an actual gym, and my husband is on swing shifts so my workout schedule would vary almost everyday.  When he was on day shift I would wake up at 4 am and workout before he left for work at 5. When he was on night shift I would wait for him to get home and head to the gym around 6:30 am.  It was hard but it was important to me, so I chose to sacrifice an hour of sleep to feel great the rest of the day.  Now Kollyns and I head down to the gym everyday as soon as we get home from work, before we even have a chance to get distracted by anything else.  And if you can't get to a real gym or you can't see yourself splurging on a home gym, buy some dumbbells.  My workouts consist almost entirely of exercises using dumbbells and the squat rack.  You can work every single body part using those two things alone. Nothing like pumping iron the old fashioned way.  And free weights have always been twice as effective for me when it comes to strength and growth.
2.  I Chug That Water
See that picture up top?  Yep, that's my beloved water jug from Complete Nutrition.  I drink an entire one of those everyday and then some.  Drinking lots of water is so much easier through a straw, I promise. 

3.  I Eat Like I Love Myself
Eating right is most definitely the most important part of staying fit.  Once I ditched my Oreo habit and stopped swinging through the drive-thru every time I had a Big Mac craving, I noticed huge changes in my body and in the way I felt overall.  Instead of working out and remaining the same, I was busting my butt and finally seeing noticeable results.  I sometimes eat twice as many calories as I used to but they are from fresh food, lean protein, veggies, whole grain carbs & fruit.  I keep Emerald Cinnamon Almonds in my purse at all times because they are delish and keep me from reaching for chips and junk food.  And I always try to keep a Quest Bar stashed close by in case I have a craving for sweets.  S'mores flavor is my jam.

4.  I Incorporate Cardio Into My Workout
My kid is too antsy to sit in a stroller for a jog, not that I would jog anyways.   Running is not my thing.  Who am I kidding?  Cardio is not my thing.  But I know it's necessary for heart health.  So If I want to get my heart rate up I usually up the tempo of my workout, rest less between sets, or do full body combination movements. Win, win.

5. I View My Workout as a Privilege, Not a Chore
It's my me time.  It keeps me sane.  I get to push myself, challenge myself and spend time doing something that's not only good for the body...but for my mind!  Endorphins anyone?  Yes please!  I sit at a desk all day so my workouts are like a reward for sitting still all day staring at a computer screen.  It's fun being active and it's rewarding to have that feeling of accomplishment after a workout!  And on top of that it's a huge privilege to have the ability to get in the gym and see just what my body is capable of!  I love it!

6.  I Dress The Part
If I head downstairs in my baggy sweatpants and one of Devin's t-shirts, I can pretty much chalk that up to a crappy workout before I even get started.  I know I will kick my butt if I put on my cutest workout clothes, because I'm far more motivated when I can actually see the body parts I'm working out.

7. I Play With My Kid and Call it a Workout
Kollyns is a great kid, but she isn't always in the mood to swing from the squat rack and watch me lift.  Some days she wants my full attention and I'm all for that, because it gives me a chance to change up my routine.  I've squatted with her in my arms too many times to count. I've done dips, bridges, & hip thrusts with her in my lap, had a lunge race with her across the back yard, and so many other exercises that she could be a part of!  She always giggles the entire time and has a blast...and so do I!

Do you have any fitness secrets that help you stay in shape?  Tell me, tell me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Life Lately

 We have lots of catching up to do.  But first...

After a 4-month long insta-breather, we're baaaaack.  I failed miserably at posting photos on the blog during my little break.  So if you want to keep up with the Almond fam follow us @almondfam08 ... because we are starting fresh and my kid is a beaut.
You know you wanna.

The plan was to keep you updated via the blog, but I pretty much didn't do that at I'm gonna try and redeem myself here.

Kollyns' Chicka Chicka Boom Boom themed end of the year preschool program was adorable.  I cannot believe she already has one year of preschool finished.  I cannot deal with how fast she is growing up.

And my little brother graduated from high school.  WHAT?  Crazy, right?  I didn't get a pic with him but we managed to squeeze a family photo in!
We both took a whole week off just to do stuff around the house.  I worked my butt off, and Devin worked twice as hard as I did.  And I'm pretty sure we picked the hottest week ever to tackle outdoor projects.

Our landscaping was a hot mess. So we rented an edging machine, bought pavers, and picked out a stone to put in the beds as opposed to mulch because clearly that wasn't working out for us...and we went to work. 

And Kollyns supervised.

It ended up looking super nice and manicured.  So in love with the final product!  Eeek.

And we even had leftover rock... so we also added a little fire pit area next to the pond! Love!  And after all of that, we still had a deck that needed to be stained.  That was a huge project that we almost gave up on... but we finished.  Yay for teamwork. 
The deck doesn't look big but I swear it grew with every brush stroke.

 Since our June projects wiped us out, we've just been relaxing and enjoying the finished product of our hard work and it has been so nice.
Our 7th anniversary is coming up this weekend and hubby has already given me a surprise early anniversary present.  It was super sweet and it holds so much meaning for us after the year we have had.  Can't wait to tell you all about it!

And next weekend we leave for the beach. 

I. Can't. Wait.
  Stay tuned. ;)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Loving the Unlovable

God has his reasons for the people he places in our lives. Some of them lead us spiritually, hold us accountable in love, encourage us, build us up, and help us grow in our faith and relationship with the Lord. They are dependable, reliable, unselfish & we can trust that they will never mistreat or hurt us. They value us and love us through their words and actions. 

They are easy to love.

But God doesn't call us to love only the lovable. HE IS LOVE. We are called by Christ to genuinely love everyone...selflessly and without ceasing.  Try swallowing that truth.  Hurts going down doesn't it?

I mean...I'm a human, you're a human. We are broken and we are sinful by nature. And from our fragile perspectives it's hard to see how we could possibly muster the strength to love the unlovable ones. The selfish, insensitive and careless ones. The ones who are reckless in the way they treat themselves and others. It could be someone who unknowingly (or sometimes even purposefully) hurts us. These can be people we cross paths with for brief periods of time or they could be our coworkers, or even family members...especially family members.  Our hearts are barely capable of scraping together enough love to cover the minor flaws of people we know...and God's telling me I need to purely and genuinely love these unlovable people? Yep. Because love covers a multitude of sins. And really, what are you gaining or learning from only loving the easy ones? 

The MSG translation of Matthew 5:46-47 says "if all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? ...Any run of the mill sinner does that." 

Um, ouch.  Hashtag preach. 

Every time I've grown spiritually it has been because of a challenge or difficult situation. I can honestly say a perfectly picturesque situation has rarely resulted in spiritual growth for me. Except for that time I was pregnant. That's a pure miracle and it's hard not to have the joy of the Lord flowing through your veins while experiencing such a gift. That's simply in a league all on its own.

And I'll be the first to say that I'm not capable of wholly & completely loving an unlovable with just this heart of mine.

But God can do anything. And if we let his love flow through us, relying completely on HIS strength and the power of the Holy Spirit...we can love any and every one.  Especially the unlovable ones.

Because listen to me...

Are you listening?

EVERYONE is worthy of love.

And who is going to step up and give it to them if I don't? If YOU don't? We are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Don't lose your saltiness because it's easier to make up excuses not to love someone than it is to pray for patience and a heart full of compassion for them. By the way...that praying for patience thing will need a whole post of its own because that is noooo joke.

And the more we allow ourselves to experience Christ's power through us, the easier it becomes to channel that love and live a life that points to his grace, mercy & love.

We can all do this!  Here are 7 ways we can learn to love the hard-to-love people in our lives...

1. Realize we are all sinners, and humble ourselves to the point of accepting that we might also be a little unlovable at times. I know that's hard to believe...but it's true. And accepting it gives you a renewed outlook on these so called "unlovables" in your life. I don't even want to reflect on the many times I've let my God down...but he loves me anyway. Love them anyway.

2. Pray for God's intervention in our hearts. Once I took a big bite out of that humble pie served in #1, I went ahead and finished it off by admitting I cannot do this without surrendering all of it to the only one capable of this kind of love.  Giving something completely to God is a huge step because we have to die-to-self, and human nature does not make that easy... but it's completely necessary to allow God to work through us.

3. Be patient. Patience is a dangerous thing to pray for. I started praying that prayer in January of 2014 and it ended up being the most trying year of my life. I'm not even kidding. But let me tell you it changed me and my relationship with the Lord completely and it was worth it to me to get where I am spiritually. If you're tempted to lose patience with someone, reflect on how patient God has been with YOU and try your very best to put that into practice with someone in your life! 

4. Try to understand them. You might not know their journey, and there are many things that could've happened to them along the way and calloused their hard-to-love hearts. Instead of judging and jumping to conclusions, understand that hurting people hurt people. And try to help them see through your love for them that God can restore anything. He can polish every scar and use it for his glory.

5. Forgive them. Even if they don't ask for it, even if they don't deserve it. For whatever they did to become so unlovable to you. True forgiveness frees you from the chains that bind you to bitterness and resentment. Forgiveness promotes healing and a healed heart can easily love a broken person through Christ. 

6. Serve them. Oh it's gonna be hard. But the best way to show love is through service. Sincerely serving someone in love can soften even the hardest heart. Do something nice for someone who feels unworthy, or isn't expecting it. You will both be blessed.

7. Demonstrate God's love and grace through the way YOU live your life. It's hard for someone to argue with God's power when they see it in action through you.  Practice what you preach and prove God's love with your life.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

We are so country.

Life has been so blissfully peaceful lately.
Just how I like it.
All we do is fish.
At the pond behind our house...
At the river...

Seriously.  It's all we do.
I'm gonna get one of those 'Gone Fishin' signs and hang it on my door because you better believe if we're both off...that's what we're doing.  For reals.
Life is simple.  Life is good.
Amen and amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My 'nastics Girl

So we missed spring sports sign ups. Mainly because Kollyns didn't decide to tell me she wanted to play until after the deadline had passed, even though I asked her months before and she responded with a big fat "No" because mommy couldn't go out on the field and play too.  So of course suddenly she's miss independent and decides to be a big girl way way way after the season has started.  Mom guilt overload. Anyway, we decided a few weekends ago on a rainy Saturday to make it a snuggles and Netflix day.  Sometimes you just need one of those.  Well guess what...Netflix has like five thousand gymnastics movies available to watch in the kids section.  Not really, but it sure felt like it after we watched three in a row.  By the end of the first movie she wanted a leotard. By the end of the second, she was flipping all over the sofa and asking me to call the 'nastics people and sign her up.  And by the third movie she decided she was going to go to the Olympics someday in "one of those pretty outfits with a sparkly bun."  So now she's in a gymnastics class and adores it.  I was worried she would get upset that I couldn't go in with her, but she walked right into the gym like a boss and had a blast.  She's so into it that she puts her leotard on as soon as we get home everyday and the struggle is real trying to get her into pajamas at night because she thinks she needs to sleep in it too...not happening.  I'm so happy she has found something she loves, and I'm feeling a lot better about my little spring sports mommy fail.  I owe you one, Netflix & 'nastics movies.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Taste Your Words

Have you ever heard of word vomit?  Someone says something to you that triggers a churning in the pit of your stomach that you can't ignore.  You feel the words coming up and before you know it they're out. Right there in the open for the whole world to hear.  You can't choke it down now because the words have already been spewed and the damage is done. You're embarrassed that you couldn't suppress them and ashamed of the words that you thought would make you feel so much better after they came out.  And even though you're sort of relieved, the after taste is just plain bitter.  Yep.  That's word vomit.  It has happened to me before.  Too many times.  I remember when Devin and I first got married.  That first year was rough figuring one another out and learning with every passing day just how fundamentally different we are.  And getting married young just added fuel to the fire because we were both still childlike in so many ways when we started dating at seventeen and even still when we were married at twenty.  Jealousy used to be a huge issue for us because I was not at the place I am right now in my walk with the Lord and we were both insecure.  I had a mouth like a machine gun when the jealousy monster inside of me was stirred.  My mouth was my weapon of choice and I could have probably taken down Rocky Balboa with the jabs that flew out of it when I got mad at my husband.  It's a wonder either one of us survived because I didn't have a come-to-Jesus moment until a year later and that was a long year of flaming word throwing.  And when I say come-to-Jesus I mean that literally.  I hit my knees before God and begged for a pure heart and a mouth that only spoke God honoring words.  I was saved, but I wasn't as close to God as I should have been.  Honoring God with my words wasn't even on my radar up until that point and alot of damage was done back then that could've been avoided if my heart had been in the right place.  So I guess what I'm saying is, taste your words before you spit them out.  Believe me, I've been on the receiving end of harsh words and far too many times I've been the one throwing them around...and hurling insults never feels good no matter which end you are on.  You know the saying "A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret"  Yeah, well I needed a gigantic poster with those very words glued to my bedroom ceiling in my early twenties to stare at every morning before my mouth muttered a single word.  Luke 6:45 says "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart...for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." Ever since I started praying for God to purify my heart to the point where there is not an ounce of sinfulness left in it, so that every word that flows from my lips pleases and glorifies Him...I've changed.  Guess what?  I still fail.  But I never stop praying that prayer and with every day that passes, I get better at shutting up and letting the spirit lead me with the right words even when I'm tempted with the wrong ones.  And I know this because I've been through things over the past year that twenty year old Kelsey would've completely embarrassed herself over.   I'm talking word vomit would have been wall-to-wall and a lot of people would be hurting even more deeply than they already are because of it.  All the glory to God that I'm no longer the person I used to be.  I have so far left to go but His grace carries me the whole way.

(If you're wondering where this is all coming from, it's inspired by a book I just started reading called Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman.  It's a completely necessary read for everyone.  I promise.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Life Lately

We have this awesome kid's museum where we live called Amazement Square.  Last week my brother wanted to do something fun with Kollyns so we headed downtown, ate on Main Street and headed to the museum to have some fun.  We kept hand sanitizer slathered on up to our elbows because the germs of 435696 kids potentially jumping onto us freaked me out a little (Not such a great idea to go on Spring Break) but we had a blast and I loved spending time with Landon and of course, Kollyns.
It has been super pretty so a lot of our time is spent at the river which is my favorite place this time of year.  When the bugs come out in summer I'm kind of a sissy, but right now is prime river time.
 My husband is famous for making impulsive decisions when it comes to vehicles.  Totally a wifey nightmare.  About 3 months ago he showed up with a bright orange mustang which was great and all, but he's a dad and stuff so that's not the most practical vehicle for a family.  Plus I have a car too so when it came to buying something that wouldn't fit in a car, or taking the trash out ... we were pretty much S.O.L. You know what I'm saying?
So last Monday I left work early and we headed to the dealership to see if we could find something he would be willing to trade that bad boy in for because we both were so over the whole mustang thing.  That's what happens when you buy things impulsively, you get tired of them quick you know?  I almost did a backflip when I spotted this pretty truck across the lot because I knew he would need it if he saw it.  And I knew I needed it for lots of things. Like errr taking the trash to the dump.

Didn't take long for this baby to find its way home.  I love it. He loves it.  Kollyns loves it.  What's not to love about a FAMILY VEHICLE!!!
 Miss Priss has recently become BFF's with time out.  The attitude is just tooooo much.  Mom's of 4 year old girls...  Am I the only one who gets sassed for no apparent reason?  I don't model this attitude so  And how do I get rid of it? Like yesterday.  And of course Porter feels sorry for her and I end up getting the guilt trip from her and the dog.  Two cute faces are hard to resist, y'all.

And this past weekend was my brother's SENIOR prom!  He's a Senior.  Which means I've been out of high school for 10 years which means I'm old as dirt.  It's cool though because I actually don't mind getting older.  It's kind of a privilege that comes with lots of wisdom, and wisdom is a beautiful thing.
(I had planned on a black and white theme for this post, but it just wouldn't do this pretty picture justice.  Aren't they perfect???) And Kollyns (not realizing it was a cumberbun) immediately asked me why Landon's pants were pulled up so high over his belly button!  Ha.  Funny girl.