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Life Lately on Instagram

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about the progression of blogging over the years.

When I started blogging (about 8 years ago), I used the blog as a daily-ish journal – dark, grainy photos and all. Once pinterest came on the scene and my blog grew from hobby into profitable business, it forced me to up my photo and content game (which I love, actually). At that time, Instagram became that place for less-than-perfect daily photos that were not quite polished enough for the blog. A few years later and instagram has morphed into a curated collection of photos that are a vital part of the business. Rather than random snapshots of the boys making forts or me with coffee spilled down the front of my shirt (yep, both waaaay back there in my ig feed), I pay close attention to the look and feel of each photo I post to make sure it feels on brand for JDC.

Has it all lost it’s ‘realness’?

Yes, I think it has and I wrestle hard with this.

I want it to be real! I really do. One of my biggest hopes with this online life is that I would come across the same on here as I am in real life.

And yet sometimes I just get annoyed with the whole thing. I catch myself in the moment and think:

Why am I trying to get the perfect picture to post with the perfect caption to get the most likes when what I really want/need to be doing is putting down my phone and engaging with the actual people in my life?

Why does anyone care about what we’re doing or what I have to say?

And is it even right to post a picture of a lovely part of the room when behind the camera are hidden piles of who-knows-what?

Or, even worse, when family dynamics are funky or parenting is hard or there is sadness or struggle – how do I keep posting pretty photos and stay honest and genuine in those moments?

Anyway, that’s the rub I’m feeling right now.

Perhaps you feel it in your own way too.

I still love blogging. And I still can’t stop instagram. Both are so creatively inspiring for me and a true blessing in my life. There’s just a thing happening in my soul about it all and this is me saying to you, I don’t yet have it figured out.

So until then, I just take it day by day. Sometimes I’m all about posting. Somedays I’m not. I’m allowing myself the freedom to pick and choose and be as genuine as possible through it all.

I did not mean to go that direction with this post! I was truly just going to catch you up on what I’ve been posting to instagram in case you missed anything :) I post over there one or two times per day and I try to switch it up from what’s on the blog, just to keep things interesting. Instagram (while definitely curated) is where I put snapshots of life in the moment.

Like this moment:

We had friends coming over for dinner and they got stuck in traffic, so it gave me an extra hour to clean the kitchen. There is nothing that gets me motivated to tidy up the house than when we have people over.

And then, of course, a few hours later and it was all messy again. As it should be :)


Sometimes I’m just doing my normal things around the house and a sight catches my eye. That’s what happened in this photo:

The way the sun shines through the window in late morning gets me every time.


I had a similar moment when I walked into my in-law’s house recently:

Ryan’s mom has such a natural talent at mixing patterns, layering, making a cozy and beautiful home. I’m grateful for her example and hospitality! (Did you know she teaches our Simplified Flowers online class? She’s adorable and talented and so peaceful to listen to).


Speaking of talented mama’s, I was at my mom’s house last weekend (they took all four kids for the weekend and it was such a treat!) and her entry was looking particularly inviting:

And now you know that plant-loving runs in the family.


Our entry keeps getting little updates:

One of my favorite pastimes is puttering around the house, moving and styling and putting more holes in the walls. Very little feels permanent as far as decorating goes, but I’m having fun trying out different pieces and art and accessories to see what feels right.

Note: many have asked if I’ll be putting up the wall of L’s in our new house (see it in the old house here). Short answer: no. I don’t have a wall for it and also I am loving the creative challenge of doing this house in its own way. So I’m just picking from the collection of L’s and putting them around the house here and there.


One thing we are sort of repeating from the old house is the wall of art in Audrey’s bedroom:

We collected so many cute pieces and I loved how the gallery wall looked in her old room (see it here with tips for how to create a gallery wall) that I created a second edition for her new room.


A few weeks ago I decided to tackle the little bathroom and painted the vanity:

Then I put up a sample of wallpaper and love it!

It is going to be a little wacky and pattern-crazy, but this little no-window bathroom needs something fun and unexpected. I’ll post the full makeover once the wallpaper goes up for good!


Another summer project we’re taking on is phase one of the family room:

This is our most-used room and hasn’t been touched yet! I painted the walls the same white as the rest of the house (shoji white by sherwin williams) and finished the trim this weekend as well. Details and a few paint tips to come soon.


And that is that.

Real life, in pretty-ish pictures.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments or thoughts on how you reconcile real life with social media.

You’re the best, you guys. Thanks for reading. XOXO.

P.S. you can find my on instagram @jonesdesigncompany.

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The amazing at-home workout I can’t stop talking about (and doing)

There is something I just can’t stop talking about.

Like I literally bring it up in nearly every conversation – with my friends, my sisters, with the girl at the Young Life office when I was turning in my son’s camp paperwork.

And if I’m not talking about it, I’m making people do it with me – out of town guests, my mom and dad, around the pool at girls’ weekend.

It’s mildly ridiculous, but here’s the thing: I feel like this is transforming me. My body, my breathing, my strength, my mindfulness.

What is this magical thing, you might ask? Well, let me tell you :)

Barre3 online classes.

When I was a girl, I danced ballet. It was everything to me. At one point, my ballet company brought my parents into the office and told them that they saw promise in me as a dancer, but my feet were not right. They wanted to break the bones and reconstruct the arch so that I could dance on pointe. Needless to say, my parents thought that wasn’t the best idea for their 12 year old daughter and my ballet career was over.

Fast forward 26 years and I still love ballet. As a new year’s resolution a couple years back, I took an adult ballet class. I felt like the biggest fish out of water and never returned.

A few years later, I found a barre class at my local YMCA and fell in love (I blogged a little about it here). If I couldn’t dance ballet, at least I could do some of the moves in a workout.

When we moved to our new town, I took a barre class at a local studio and felt like I was going to die. I’m only barely exaggerating; it was shocking how terrible I felt the entire class. Come to find out, my iron levels at the time were dangerously low and my poor body was not producing enough oxygen for me to keep up. Thankfully I survived, but it did keep me a little afraid of working out for several months.

This spring, I was finally feeling better and decided to give an at-home workout a try. I pulled up an old video I have in my Amazon video library (this one) and did it a couple of times. I really like the video, but was feeling bored of doing the same workout over and over.

After a bit of digging into who the teacher of that video was and discovered that she is the founder of a barre studio out of Portland, Oregon called Barre3. I was happy to find that while they do not have a physical location in my area, they do offer an online workout library for a monthly fee. I signed up on the spot and could not be happier with my decision.

Since May, I’ve been completely smitten with these online barre workouts, fitting in a 30, 40 or 60 minute session 3-5 times per week. I don’t say that to be braggy – I’m just really surprised at how much I now LOVE working out.

Let me tell you a little bit about the workout, where I do it, what the moves look like, what gear you need and then at the end I’ll tell you why I love it so much.

THE WORKOUT

I explain barre as a mix between pilates, yoga and exercises inspired by ballet barre moves. You definitely do not need to have ballet experience to take or enjoy this workout. Also, you do not need to be well-versed in yoga poses or pilates form.

Barre3 explains it like this:

Barre3 mixes the best moves of yoga, pilates, cardio, and weight training to balance your body while giving you a deep muscle burn and endorphin high.”

WHAT YOU NEED

Before the kids got out of school, I worked out in my studio. I just pulled out my gear from the bottom drawer, turned on a video and when I was finished, put it all back in the drawer and would get to my regular work.

This summer I’ve been switching the location up. Ryan moved his office into the studio for the summer (and beyond?) so he can work without distraction, so I’ve been mainly working out in the house (or the front porch, as seen below). Lately, I found that the entry way is the perfect spot since there is a mirror I can check my form in and I just open the front door to let the breeze in.

All you need for the workout is a yoga mat, light handheld weights (I switch between 2 lb and 3 lb), a small pilates ball and band. Some videos use the weights, ball and band, others do not use any props.

These are the exact things I use: yoga mat, weights, ball + band set.

I prefer to work out on a hard floor (carpet makes balancing much more difficult) and you really only need as much space as the yoga mat takes up.

HOW TO TAKE THE CLASSES

There are a handful of online and in-studio options for barre. Just do a quick google search for “barre + your city” and you’ll likely find a studio. Or if you find another video, youtube channel or online library of workouts, go for it! You certainly don’t have to take from Barre3. I just happen to think it’s great, enjoy the workouts, the instruction, the well-done website and working out online makes it super easy to do anywhere.

I joined the monthly program and pay $29 per month for access to all of the 300+ videos. There are also meal plans and regular Q+A sessions as part of the subscription. TRY FOR 15 DAYS FOR FREE.

When you log in to your account, there is a library of online workouts to choose from. You can do 10 minute, 30, 40 or 60 minute classes. There are a handful of instructors and variety of moves, modifications and areas of focus in each workout.

THE MOVES

Every class is laid out in about the same format.

You start with lower body- lots of squats, lunges, carousel horse pose. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes will start burning quickly!

You move between large range of motion, small range (think down and inch, up an inch, over and over) and isometric holds. Your muscles will begin to vibrate as you get deeper into working them and while it is super hard and strange feeling, it feels so powerful to be able to push through and know your body is getting stronger.

Barre3 loves a good plank.

After lower body, you move into combo work with light handheld weights.

This gets your heart rate up, uses every muscle in your body and is very low impact, but super efficient.

After combo, you move to core strengthening.

Barre3 really focuses on the complete core – not just your abs, but also your back, shoulders, hips and seat.

To finish, you do a few minutes of cool-down stretches and end with a big inhale and exhale, like in yoga class.

Some videos are more ballet-inspired, using a chair for a barre, so I took photos of those moves as well.

WHY I LOVE BARRE SO MUCH

So here’s what I’m learning about fitness – you have to find the workout that feels right for you and go for it. I know barre is not for everyone, it just happens to completely energize me (which is why I can’t stop talking about it).

For years, I tried to run with my runner girlfriends and just couldn’t get into it. I tried cross fit once and decided quickly that was not for me. I’ve done step aerobics, dance, pilates and spinning. All were fine, but not totally my thing.

Barre is my thing. I feel strong and graceful; I push my body, but it never feels painful; I finish the workout feeling good and excited to do it again.

You guys, those statements I just made DO NOT SOUND LIKE ME. I’ve never been fitness-crazy. I probably should have been caring for my body long before now, I just never knew what to do. And now I know. And I want you to be as excited about it as I am :)

Okay, so here’s what I love about Barre3:

YOU CAN DO IT ANYWHERE

I would honestly love to take a class in an actual studio, but we do not have many options in our town. Therefore, I workout at home. Sometimes that’s much more convenient anyway. I can choose my own time, location, duration of class.

This summer I’ve taken to working out on the front porch, which is quite delightful.

INSTRUCTION IS SO GOOD

The online instructions for my Barre3 videos are friendly, approachable and very knowledgable. They talk you through each move, explaining just where your toes should be, where your knees should be, reminding you to relax your neck and shoulders, etc. As you learn to do the postures correctly, you move deeper into strengthening and lengthening your muscles, so it is helpful to have someone reminding you throughout the whole workout to check your form. This is also why I like working out in front of a mirror, when possible.

WORK THE MUSCLES THAT NEED WORKING

As they say in nearly every workout, the Barre3 method really focuses on the back body to support, lengthen, improve posture and counterbalance how front-body focused we are throughout the day. A lot of attention is paid to our glutes and side seat (yes, please!) and for nearly the whole workout, you are engaging your core for a full-body workout.

QUIET, MINDFUL, HARD

Some people need fast-pace, pounding, punching, super sweaty workouts. You won’t get that with barre (well, maybe except for the sweaty part). There is a lot of balance, controlled movement, isometric holds, attention to form. It is not a workout you chit-chat with your girlfriends through, but instead requires intentional focus.

BREATH TRAINING

I am surprised by how much the instruction in breathing has made its way into my regular life. When I feel anxious I remind myself to inhale deeply through my nose, and exhale fully out my mouth (just as my barre instructors remind me to do in every workout). It’s truly amazing how getting a good, deep breath can release tension and allow you to push through hard moments physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

ADAPTABLE

Perhaps my favorite thing about these barre workouts is how easy it is to modify for your particular body. In every video there is a main teacher and two others – one is doing every move full out, the other is modifying to show how things can be done if your knees, back, neck, shoulders, etc are not able to do the full movement. And the best part, is there is no guilt! The instructors say multiple times to do the workout that feels best for your body.

Which makes sense, right? My mom is in her 60’s and had back surgery last year. Surely, she can not (or should not) be moving in ways that will strain her, but instead should modify to build strength, balance and flexibility for her body. There are times when I can do the combo work with 3lb weights and other times when I need to put them down all together (like yesterday). You’re still getting a good workout whether you do the moves full out or modify for what feels right for your body in that moment.


(I just looked at the word count while typing and this thing is over 1900 words. I think that is a record for longest post in JDC history. If you are still reading, hi. And thanks for humoring me.)

So if we were real life friends and you were over at my house, the chances of me begging you to do a class with me are very high. I find great joy in trying to get everyone I know to love barre as much as I do :) Partially because it is fun to exercise with friends, but also because I truly find it to be an effective workout. It has been so good for my body, my mind and my soul.

But since most of you do not live nearby, perhaps you’d like to give Barre3 at try on your own. You can try it for free for 15 days and then decide if it’s something you want to spend your money on each month.

Use THIS LINK to join the free trial and I’ll get a small commission if you end up joining the monthly subscription.

I can’t wait to hear how you like it!

And now I’ll stop talking about barre. At least for today.

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New goodies in the shop that I’m pretty sure you’ll love

Last week I received a new shipment of products for my little house + home shop and am excited to show you. If you haven’t checked out the shop, let me just say that I basically fill it with things that I want/have in my house – which means you’ll find lots of basics, neutrals, classic pieces and low price points.

We have a handful of new items (keep reading to see them + get a discount code) but I’ll start with this fun set of goodies:

Ever since using a stock photo of a thin gold metal frame on all my art prints I get questions about where to find a simple metal gold frame. West Elm sells a great one, but it’s spendy. We searched and searched for a vendor and finally found these minimal, modern, inexpensive, gold-toned metal picture frames. Hooray!

The gray t-shirt has been a long time coming … will you walk around town or the beach or work out in a shirt that declares your love and devotion to Jones Design Company? I do hope so. (My favorite detail on the t-shirt are the custom tags we had put on the hem. So cute).

Okay, on to more great items I just have to highlight:

Brass 3×3 Frame | Stapler | Tape Dispenser | Botanical Journal | Velvet Ribbon | Pen

Black + White Striped Towel | Marble Bowl + Spoon

Brass Vase | Cloth Napkins

Gold Picture Frame

Wood Toothbrushes | Mr + Mrs Dish | Fouta Towel

Of all the items in the shop, these are my current favorites (although that is really hard to say since I do love it all). Let me highlight why I adore them so …

Vintage Blossom Notebooks (set of 2) $13.95
I keep one of these in my purse at all times for doodling, note taking, idea capturing and list making.

Plant Mister $9.95
Keep your indoor plants hydrated and happy with daily misting.

JDC Wood Pencils (set of 8) $6.95
A classic wood pencil with hand-stamped logo and white eraser. The perfect pencil, if you ask me.

Marble Bowl + Brass Spoon $14.95
This little bowl and spoon set make the perfect housewarming gift. Just add a jar of specialty salt and you’re set!

Cloth Napkins $14.95
How chic are these striped cloth napkins? They feel very french and make me want to host brunch.

Botanical Journal $14.95
You’ve probably seen this one pop up on my instagram feed a million times. It sits on my desk and is just so photogenic!

Le Pen (set of three) $5.50
The best pens you’ll ever try, in three of my favorite colors.

Mr + Mrs Dish $5.95
Scoop up a bunch of these before they’re gone … they are the perfect wedding or anniversary gift!

Tall White Vase $6.95
My current go-to vase. It is sleek, simple, a touch organic and a great size for a small bouquet.

Gold Frames $5.95-$9.95
Minimal, modern, the perfect gold-tone and super affordable. Yes, please.

Brass Planter $11.95
I call this a planter and show pictures of it with flowers (and it does make a lovely flower vessel), but I also love it as a catchall on the entry table, kitchen counter, bathroom, bedside table.

Black + White Striped Dishtowel (set of two) $14.95
Do you have a set of these yet? If not, you must. They’re soft, absorbent and classic in every way.


Do you have a gift to buy or something that caught your eye for your home? I am so thankful for your support and as an extra way to say thanks, how about a discount?

TAKE 15% OFF everything in the shop

with discount code YESPLEASE.

The code is only good until Friday night, and inventory is limited, so get shopping!

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas (that he’ll actually like)

Father’s Day is coming up in just a few weeks and now is the time to think about what to get the man in your life.

ryan overlooking canyon It seems like guys are a little harder to shop for than women. Maybe there are fewer products geared toward men? Maybe all the products that are geared toward men are a million times more expensive?

Whatever the reason, men always end up getting a new tie or grill accessories or another World’s Best Dad mug for Father’s Day. And, if they are anything like Ryan, they graciously thank their kiddos, wear the tie and sip coffee out of the new mug.

In the spirit of wanting to gift the men in our lives something they will actually love, Ryan helped me pull together a list of 17 great Father’s Day gifts. The price ranges from $8 all the way up to $499, so hopefully you’ll find something on this list that fits your man and your budget.

Father's Day Gift guide

1 | Rite In The Rain Notebook $8
This is Ryan’s favorite notebook. It opens flat for easy note-taking, has grid layout and lines on same page, and the paper is waterproof!

2 | All-Weather Pen $15
The perfect companion to the notebook.

3 | Marble Tic Tac Toe $34.95
Elevate this humble game to display-status with marble pieces and board. We bought this for my parents one christmas and it makes such a nice gift.

4 | Straw Hat $24
True story: while swimming in the ocean in Maui a few years ago, this hat came floating out of nowhere and a friend picked it up. It was such a hit, Ryan went to the nearby Quicksilver store and bought the same one for himself. It’s his go-to beach hat.

5 | Pocket Knife $33
Does your husband carry a pocket knife with him everywhere he goes? If not, get him this one.

6 | Rainbow Flip Flops $55
These are Ryan’s long-time favorite (as seen in the photo above). They last forever, are very comfortable and the double thick sole gives them great arch support.

7 | 16oz Charcoal Mug $16.95
A great big mug for his morning coffee.

8 | Work Hard Poster $99 unframed, $269 framed
This poster would look so good in Ryan’s office and is the perfect dad advice: Work Hard and Be Nice to People.

9 | Brain Octane $22
So this one is a weird gift idea, but Ryan swears by it. He adds it to his coffee each morning and is completely convinced that it boosts his energy and ability to think clearly.

10 | Spark Mini Drone $499
If you’re looking to splurge, go for this one. This mini drone was just released and is pretty incredible. We watched the promo video and even though I’m not all that excited about drones, this one seems fun, easy to use, great quality video.

11 | Moonshine Candle $48
The best smelling manly candle.

12 | Slip-on Shoes $85
Great summer sneakers without the hassle of laces. Ryan just bought himself two pair :)

13 | 36 Hours Book $24
From the New York Times long-running series, this book is filled with how to get the most out of a short trip (36 hours) to 150 different destinations in the United States and Canada. There is also a book for traveling in Europe, if that’s more his style.

14 | Vitamix Blender $415
The king of blenders and an everyday use around our house.

15 | Waterman Boardshorts $60
The Quicksilver Waterman collection is their premium line of quality clothes made with durability and style. I’m a fan of grown-up-surfer-style, so you know I’ll be adding items from this collection to Ryan’s closet.

16 | He Reads Truth Romans study $24
Perhaps you’ve heard of She Reads Truth, but did you know they also offer daily study for men at He Reads Truth? This summer, both men and women are going through the book of Romans and this book would be the perfect gift for a man in your life. The study officially starts on June 5th, but you can always go at your own pace, using the book alone or following along online or on the app.

17 | Apothecary Bag $44.95
Go for a gift he’ll use again and again with this canvas travel apothecary bag. Ryan is a bag guy – he loves any and every well-made bag out there, so this is a no-fail gift idea.

Hopefully this list is helpful, sparks your own ideas and results in the dad in your life getting something he’ll really love.


After you pick your gift, don’t forget the card!

free father's day card
I designed this cheeky Father’s Day card as part of the June Paper Works collection. Each month, we give a few items away for FREE and this card is part of those June freebies. Simply download the digital file, print on card stock, and you’re set!

Grab yours over at getpaperworks.com.

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How to keep the kids (of all ages!) occupied this summer

With summer break fast approaching, I’m always looking for activities that will keep the kids occupied, entertained and off their devices.

You, too?

One of our go-to boredom buster activities is pulling up a guided drawing art less from Art For Kids Hub. I feel like I’ve talked about our love of this website before on the blog and probably social media as well, but let’s talk about it again.

Art is one of those activities that we will pretty much always say yes to. We keep lots of paper, markers, colored pencils, scissors and tape readily available for when the kids are feeling creative (or bored. Ugh, I hate that word.) I like that all four kids enjoy art and am always amazed at what they create.

Art For Kids is a website with hundreds of guided drawing lessons taught by Rob, an artist who started teaching his kids how to draw and turned that hobby into a pretty fabulous resource for other families.

I asked the kids to be my models after school to show you how universally entertaining this activity can be. So, here you have all four kids – ages 13, 11, 9 and 7 doing the same drawing of a llama and each one enjoying the process.

We did this lesson up in my studio and I can see this happening a lot this summer! I’m hoping that I can get in on the action, too, because I actually really enjoy following along and drawing along side the kids.

The thing I like best about Art For Kids is that there are hundreds of video drawing lessons that are super easy to follow and can work for all skill levels.

This llama, for example, was just as fun for Ethan (the oldest) as it was for Audrey (the youngest).

All of the lessons are done with Sharpie and I was a little hesitant about that at first. When we first started using this site, the kids were even younger than they are now and we all know that permanent market + four year old = nothing good.

BUT, in the words of Art Teacher Rob, using a sharpie (or other bold marker) means the kids can’t erase and just continue on with their drawing even if it isn’t perfect. It gives them confidence, makes for impactful drawings and the artwork always turns out so original because of it.

Once the line drawings are done, they can fill in with color.

Did you notice I have two lefties? Kinda crazy.

And – tada! – the finished drawings:

I love that each one is different, they are improving their drawing skills, and doing something together.

We have always just watched videos for free on Artforkidshub.com but a few weeks ago when I went to the site to pull up an activity for Audrey, I noticed that they now offer a monthly membership.

I subscribed ($2.99/month) to get access to all of the art lessons, hundreds of printables and all of the videos are ad-free (that’s what really tipped me over the edge. I don’t trust YouTube enough to let the kids freely watch videos. #mamabear). Plus, I am so grateful for Rob and his team to create such great entertainment for my kids that I’m happy to support his family business.

If you are looking for an easy activity to keep your kids occupied this summer, the Lex family highly recommends Art For Kids.

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