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Q + A day | In which you can ask any and every question


    It’s been a super long time (like two years!) since I have done my annual Q+A day.

    Here’s how this works:

    Since I chat at you post after post, sometimes it’s fun to switch things up and find out what you want to talk about.

    For the next few days, I’ll be hanging out on comments answering your questions.

    Any topic is open for discussion: family and life, faith, random things that you’ve wanted to ask but haven’t, decorating, blogging, business curiosities – any of it – I want to know what you’re wondering about.

    I wish we could all sit together and chat in real life and actually have a conversation (by the water, perhaps?), but this Q+A is the next best thing for us online friends.

    So go ahead and ask me anything in the comments and I’ll reply back as best I can.  Feel free to chime in and join the conversation as well! No topic is off limits and I’m a fairly open and honest girl … so … ask away!

    259 thoughts on “Q + A day | In which you can ask any and every question”

    1. Hi Emily.

      I love this opportunity. I’d appreciate a paint suggestion for my small bedroom with not much lighting. I like a cozy restful feeling.

      I’d also like to know if you have a pattern and fabric source for beautiful fabrics for sundresses, dresses, pajamas, children’s clothes, aprons, that sort of thing. So many fabrics I find at the few local stores are ho hum. I’m thinking nice cottons, organic fabrics too and nice gauze’s.

      Thank you – Judy

    2. For all the folks mentioning joint pain, malabsorption issues and bloating along with food intolerances….get tested for SIBO!! I was not absorbing B12 for over a decade and had weird joint pain and other strange symptoms. Finally got so sick with diarrhea almost daily (but many people with SIBO have constipation). So glad I was finally diagnosed and want others that are suffering to know this is a possibility as well. I am following a modified low-fodmap diet and use Kate Scarlata’s site as a resource to focus on foods I can eat and easy to follow recipes!

    3. Hi Emily!
      As a graphic designer, I have dreams of having my own line, business and blog. It is time to start.

      1. If you could offer 2-3 pieces of advice on how to make an income with a blog, what would that be?

      2. What has made your blog the most successful?

      3. Starting anything is the hardest part (new exercise routine, a new habit, etc). If you could offer a word of advice on how to get started, what would it be?

    4. Enjoy your posts, Emily! Also, I’ve become hooked on the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey at your recommendation. Thx for the inspiration and relatable content!

    5. Hi Emily! I know I’m late to the party here, but wondering if you could talk about your and your children’s reactions to the big reveal about Zeke on this season of Survivor? Not just about him being trans, but about how he was outed…was that a difficult situation to discuss with them? My daughter is four and we haven’t really had an occasion to discuss this sort of thing with her yet.

    6. Hi Emily!
      As an early 30’s mama of four, I need JEANS help!!!! I know you said you have a fashion post coming up, but I need advice on jeans! I am at a point in life where I can afford higher quality jeans. But I don’t even know where to start and I don’t want to be a frump! I love how you are always so grown up trendy! I have been pregnant every other year for almost 8 years so I have gotten by on American eagle and target, but I ready for more. Please help!

      1. As you probably know, I wear jeans every single day so you’re asking the right girl :)

        I do most of my shopping online, but to start out, I would head to the mall to try a bunch on. Every brand fits a little differently and you’ll want to try on many to see what works best on you. My long-time favorites (and the jeans that fit my body well) are Paige denim and 7 For All Mankind. Some people swear by AG, others love Madewell. It really just depends on what you are looking for. Skinny, high waist, boot, ankle? So many options :) While you will be spending a lot more, if you buy a classic enough style, you’ll have them for years and get hundreds of wears out of them. AND they will wash well and hold their shape.

    7. I’m late on the Q & A, but just in case, wondering if you could provide some info on your eating habits? I see the workout routine is on the list to be posted, but I find nutrition so challenging (no problem eating superfoods on a daily basis over here but I have a gigantic sweet tooth). Any info would be appreciated:)

    8. So bummed I miss this but, ever the optimist, I’ll still leave. Y question!

      What are your “must see/do” maui recomendations?

      1. You’re not too late!

        I really love maui. We’ve been a few times and can’t wait to get back there.

        Here is a post about some of the restaurants we enjoy:

        We have stayed in Wailea (so gorgeous, manicured, fancier resorts), Kihei (more local, mainly condos) and Kaanapali (probably our favorite). I love snorkeling in the water in Napili Bay, eating fresh Poke, shopping at Whaler’s Village. On one trip, we did ziplining in upcountry, which was fun. I have no problem just hanging out at the pool or beach all day though :)


    9. Hey Emily!

      Have you ever painted furniture? I have inherited my grandparents couch that my grandfather built that has excellent bones/structure that was upholstered exquisitely. The problem – it is Loki gold and green upholstery fabric. It would cost a small fortune to reupholster it, so I have heard of people painting fabric, and thinking that might be a viable option. Just wanted to get your thoughts/perspective.


      1. I have not painted furniture. I think there is a paint additive that you can add to the paint to make it less crunchy. Search around on this big internet and surely you’ll find someone who has done it with great results.

    10. Your blog is such a fun gift in my life…really! Thanks for all you do! If I am too late to the questions, no worries. But I am wondering if you are comfortable sharing what some methods/means are you have used to naturopathically heal your body, as you mentioned in one of your answers. If this is too personal, just disregard. :) Thanks so much!

      1. Thanks for your nice words!

        I am on a regular routine of a handful of supplements – Magnesium, Wormwood, Butyrate, Ferrasorb, Forskholii, I Glutamine, Soluble Fiber, Garlic, Probiotic. I take most of them twice per day, with my iron supplement in the middle of the day. I’ll tell you, I am not a big fan of taking pills a million times per day, but because I am seeing results, I have stuck with it. Be sure you check with your naturopath to get the combination that works for your body and your symptoms. This combo has taken us a little bit of trial to get to, so I’m sure your body will be the same.

    11. Hi Emily, long time reader here. I just finished reading over all the questions and your comments. And I enjoyed all of it! and can’t think of another question to ask. So I would like to make a recommendation. Have you read Five Brides by Eve Marie Everson? I read it recently and loved it. And l love how you and your sisters wore the same wedding dress. The book is about five friends, two sisters purchasing one wedding dress and promising to all wear it. A great beach read, if you need one more.

    12. Hello!

      Do you have any suggestions for a bedroom paint color? It is a smaller master bedroom without a ton of natural light. I am always thinking, “Is this good for resale?” but who knows if/when we will actually move. Part of me wants something simple and classic, and another side of me wants something we can really enjoy. Maybe an accent wall (or are those completely out of style)? Thanks for any suggestions. I always love your taste.

    13. Hi Emily!

      I typed your name in my email search to find your email to ask you a question – and saw this post! :) Perfectly timed! I hope I’m not too late…

      I am going through a business re-boot and I have resources I’d like to use as email sign-up incentives like you do.

      So if you don’t mind answering I’d love to know: How do I make a page only accessible via email sign-in/connected to an email opt-in page?

      Thanks so much for sharing your time + talents with us!


    14. Hi, Emily! I am late to the party, but I am curious about the rest of your moody living room. :) For example, if you are sitting on the couch in front of the pretty arched windows, what are you looking at? We are about to move to a new house with a similar living room layout and I am brainstorming about furniture placement. In our floorplan, the living room stretches all the way down the left side of the house, from front windows to back door, so I am hoping to float some furniture and treat it as two separate spaces.
      Thank you for your Q&A’s! I enjoying reading every comment!

      1. If you are sitting on the couch, you look at an opening into the dining room. I did not show this angle because currently our dining room is full of furniture, boxes, art we don’t know what to do with :)

        My in-laws had a super long living room in their old house and treated it as two ‘rooms’ with furniture floating in groupings on each side. It worked great!

    15. Hi Emily-

      I hope you can help with my family room layout dilemma. I have a corner fireplace that I don’t want to be the focal point of the room. The room measures 13’6″ x 18’5″ and has entryways on two of the four walls in the room. Could you please share your expertise on ways to arrange sofa(s), chairs, tables, etc. to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of the room. This room will be used for relaxing, conversations and reading. No TV.

      Many thanks,

    16. Hi Emily!

      Did I dream up the fact that you use to design blogs and teach people how to run them? I am considering starting a blog and I went to your blog first for information but I couldn’t find your blog class. Maybe I dreamed this or maybe you don’t offer it anymore. If you don’t have this service, where do you recommend that I start? Who is good at creating blogs and teaching you how to run one?

      Love your blog!

      1. We did use to do some custom blog design and created a class all about blogging a few years ago. It is not currently open – not sure we will open it anytime soon … You might enjoy Amy Lynn Andrews – she has lots of great info about blogging on her site:

    17. How do you pick paint colors for your walls? We have been in our home for 4 years, and I still haven’t painted over the builder basic colors. I am just afraid to go for it and mess up. Sometimes I just want to hire someone to paint and make the decisions for me. Advice?

      1. For our house I hired Sherwin Williams to come consult on colors! They charge $90, and you get a $50 gift card back!! It’s an awesome service, and they can look at the finishes you have and give good guidance especially when it comes to undertones. We love the colors that she helped us to choose!

    18. Hi Emily, pretty sure I’ve been reading for the better part of 7 years and never commented. I moved to a. Ew home last year, and I’m struggling with the furniture from my old home not fitting exactly right. It’s not in the budget to buy new things at the moment, but I could use some direction in space planning.

      Also, I struggle finding versitle occasional tables. Particularly coffee and side tables. Currently we have a storage ottoman I added wheels to, and while it’s great with my young kids to be able to roll it out of the way, the scale is not right (and it’s covered in snacks!). Any coffe table and side table sources or suggestions? Maybe a round up of what could go together?


    19. Hi Emily. I love your Q and A posts! I was wondering if you could tell me what you use on your getpaperworks website to manage the subscriptions. I’ve been looking around for a good plug in to use and am just super confused. Thank you so much! I just love your blog.

    20. Is it possible to make your watercolor alphabet available for download again or in art prints? They are so pretty! :)

    21. Hi Emily, this is so much fun! Thank you for taking the time to “chat” with all of us – what a great community you’ve built!

      If I can squeeze in another question – I’d love to know more about the process/logistics of selling your art/prints. I dabble in design for fun and do family invitations and such, and friends/family have been encouraging me to start an etsy shop or start selling my work. It sounds fun – but I, too, am self-taught and have NO IDEA where to begin. I’d love to know how you print your art for sale. Do you have a local vendor that you use? Do you upload them to a site and have them shipped to you? Do you print in advance or only when someone places an order? Any good resources that you found helpful when you were getting started?

      Thanks in advance, I really appreciate your input!!

      1. Hi Jessica. Thanks for chiming in!

        For our art prints, I have a local printer that I work with. I send him the files (formatted with crop marks for easy trimming) and he prints and cuts. We order inventory before it sells and have stacks of art prints ready for shipping. We use flat chipboard, cellophane sleeves and rigid mailers to make sure they arrive to customers in good shape. We have sold prints from our wordpress site using the woocommerce plugin and more recently, on Shopify. Both work great, but we much prefer shopify. Hope this helps!

    22. I’ve so enjoyed reading the questions and answers that have already been documented here! :) If I’m not too late, I was wondering if you’d ever have a meet-up type event for those of us who are local enough to make it? I live only a couple hours away from your area, and I’d love the opportunity to actually meet you! Whether it is a casual meet-up at a coffee shop or an actual speaking event where you talk about being an entrepreneur or designer, it would be so fun. :)

      1. That would be fun! I have thought about doing another summer boutique-type event at our home or a local venue. It feels strange to host an event without having a purpose for it … I wish I had a book so I could at least sign those! Someday …

    23. Hi, Emily! I don’t really have a question, but I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy the fashion posts! I’m not that into fashion, but I love your simple style and it seems to fit my personality.

    24. Hi Emily, I’m considering painting my medium blonde colored 90’s kitchen cabinets and have read your cabinet painting post. I’m wondering how yours are holding up and if you still recommend the method you described. I am also considering chalk paint. Do you have any opinions on that? Thank you!

      1. Our cabinets are doing well. Some scratches here and there (mainly along the baseboard where the vacuum scratches it. I have had to touch up the cabinet where our garbage is as well as it is the one most used. For the most part, though, the paint has done really well. My sister just painted her cabinets using a special chalk paint and it is doing ok. I think the biggest variable is the original finish on your cabinets. Ours were not super shiny, so just a rough sanding worked well. My sister’s had an almost laminate finish and the paint does not adhere quite as well. Just some thigs to think about …

    25. My husband lovingly but mistakenly purchased Adobe Photoshop for me a couple years ago after I mentioned hoping to start using Adobe Illustrator because I knew that was what you used. It never worked out for me to take your online class about it in the past. I was wondering if it is possible to use Photoshop in at least some of the same ways as you use Illustrator or are they totally different? I’ve been dreaming of starting my own Etsy shop for years but sadly feel stuck. I have a Silhouette machine and I’ve used the Silhouette Studio many times to design birthday invitations etc. for my kids and others just for fun- so I understand some digital design. I just wanted to know if I should just save up to buy the subscription to Illustrator (because isn’t that the only way to use it now??) or if I can use Photoshop similarly.

      PS: I love your blog and have been a reader since 2011 :)

      1. What a sweet husband :)

        The biggest benefit of Illustrator is the ability to create vector images. Vector images are made up of points and paths and can be expanded as large as you want without impacting the resolution – unlike a rastor image (like a jpg or png) that loses clarity as you enlarge it. There are many functions in photoshop and illustrator that are similar, but Illustrator is really the better program for creating illustrations and working with text.

        So, short answer: sure, you can do a lot of design with Photoshop. But Illustrator will make it much easier. I would say it is worth the $20 per month if it is something you work with enough to justify the cost.

    26. Bless your heart Emily for doing this…. I have LOVED reading all the questions and your answers! You truly are so real…. you shop at IKEA and Target … (able to share quick fixes that are “doable)…you are honest and share your faith…and have an unbelievable gift to make simple things pretty!!! These are just some of the many reasons that make you stand apart and loved by so many.
      Question: we have an older home that have small windows (40×40) in all the bedrooms. Wondering what type of window treatments I should use. Wood blinds alone (or roman shade)….long IKEA curtains you shared… or curtains just a little lower than the windows? THANK YOU for taking the time to do this. 🙂

      1. Thank you, Julie, for the kind words! We’re all just regular ladies around here and I am so thankful for this kind community.

        Okay, about your windows. I don’t think there is a ‘rule’ and it really just depends on your room. How high are your ceilings? Are the windows centered? Do you want them to be a focal point? I am partial to either roman shades, bamboo shades or long curtains. I don’t love short curtains, but again, it totally depends on the situation. So basically, this is not helpful at all :)

        1. Thank You! Actually this is really helpful. I was leaning towards bamboo (roman) shades and when you included those…I think that is it! I also am not a fan for short curtains either…the ceilings are not very high and think long ones might overwhelm the area.
          Thank you so much!! I took your online decorating and have been redoing our back bedroom into a a guest room/office (turned the closet into a “built in- book nook ) I am still plugging away at it…trying to finish ONE room! You have been and continue to be such an inspiration to me. Thank you for being so transparent and willing to share with us.

    27. I have a Nana question! I have recently retired, moved to a new home, and am in the midst of decorating. Problem for me is that I have VERY young grand children (sippy cup stages). How do you decorate around that? I want my children to be able to relax and feel comfortable when they come to visit…not panic that their young kids will break something. I’m in decorating freeze! Any great ideas?

      1. What a sweet Nana you are to think about your grandbabies and children!

        My mom and mother-in-law have beautiful homes and have been able to keep the aesthetic without stressing about little ones breaking things or destroying furniture. I have always held the belief (and they do as well) that it is okay to have a pretty home with children – they can learn to not touch things or keep food and drinks in the kitchen or only build forts on the playroom couch, not the nice living room one. This sounds sort of unfriendly and mean, but my kids have been just fine with these boundaries. So I would say, keep fragile or precious collectibles out of reach – for your sanity, mainly, have throw blankets at the ready for covering your furniture if you are snacking on the couch, collect toys in baskets to bring out when the grandchildren come over and you should be set!

    28. Hi,
      Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions. As a designer I have had dreams to have my own line, business and blog. It is time to start.

      1) If you could offer a few pieces of advice for starting a blog with the intent to earn income, what advice would you give?

      2) What has made the work you do successful?

      3) “Starting” anything (exercise, a new habit, etc.) is the hardest part. What is the best place to start? (If that makes sense.

      Love, love reading each time you visit my inbox :)

      1. Great questions!
        1. There are so many key pieces of creating a blog so it is hard to narrow it down to just a few … but, my best advice is to choose a topic that you are wildly excited to talk about, something you are an expert in and is specific (ex. instead of “cooking” go with “crockpot cooking”). There are so many blogs out there, but even more readers. Put your very best content out there to attract the types of readers who will be interested in your topic.

        As far as monetizing, you are probably very aware of the types of income options for blogging: advertising, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, creating your own products (e-commerce, memberships, services + classes). What you choose really depends on your niche and talents. Our income comes from a combination of almost all of these.

        2. Hmmm … what has made the work we do successful …
        Having Ryan working with me behind the scenes has been vital. I am not naturally a great business person, but Ryan is. Combining my aesthetic, work ethic, follow-through, and voice with his vision, marketing ideas + implementation, using the right technology and a bit of happy luck has led to our success. It has not been without a massive amount of work, so never underestimate that! As you are starting out, try to find someone smarter than you who you can run ideas by, get advice from, work through roadblocks with. Having another perspective is so helpful!

        3. Take one little step, see how it feels, and if it feels right, keep going. Again, find someone to keep you accountable. And be okay with starting slow. It’s so hard (especially when everywhere you look it seems like people are miles ahead of you! I feel this way, too, so don’t be discouraged!), but just do your thing and keep moving forward.

        I hope this helps! I am excited for you as you venture into your own thing!

    29. I actually asked this yesterday but don’t see the post……Just wondered if you could give us your list of what to see and do in Seattle….. no kids……they are grown… husband and I have never been NW and want to make a trip out there……

    30. Hi Emily –

      Thanks for doing this and I’m sorry I’m late, so maybe you won’t be able to answer this….but I’ll give it a shot.

      I remember quite some time ago, you had alluded to some personal things you were going through. For some reason, I feel like it related in part to that experience you had on your trip to Africa — you know, when you got on the bus and ended up sitting alone? And how, for some reason, you just broke down (I broke down with you by the way!). If this is just too personal, no problem just ignore this — but I’ve literally been wondering how YOU are. Were you able to get some counseling or some other kind of help?
      How did you work through it? It amazed me that someone as beautiful and talented and loved as you are, could feel something so isolating and sad.

      1. Thank you for such a thoughtful question. Yes, this has been a rough/really good season the past two-ish years. I hope I look back on my life and pinpoint this time as a time of major breaking and healing.

        Seeing a counselor + the most recent bible study I finished (Armor of God) + Bridgetown Church podcasts + the practice of silence and solitude + the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality + personality tests + healing my body through naturopathic means + being in our new house surrounded by trees and near the water + honesty and closeness with Ryan + working through beliefs I’ve held that are not true + slowing down + crying and truly feeling emotions instead of pushing them away … all of this has been so good for my soul. I’m still growing, for sure, and look forward to continued healing and maturity. But I feel so grateful for this time.

        Again, thank you for your kindness in asking.

        1. If you were to ask us what we would love for you to post about, these would be my top 3. 1-“working through beliefs I’ve held that are not true”, 2-“slowing down”, and 3-summer outfits. From one crazy plant lady to another. 😊

          1. Thank you for your suggestions. I will write them down and do my best to post about them. Big topics, but worthwhile :)

          2. I don’t know if I’m too late getting in to get a question answered but I’m in that stage you are getting out of- with little ones. I know you’ve said how much you loved having small children and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that you have that view since that’s certainly not the attitude that’s bombarding us these days, I relish, love and adore this time in my life with small children and would love some advice on this stage and dealing with it all since you are in a stage now of seeing at least some, of the fruits of that stage. I am more of a homebody so that really helps keep a calmness but I only have sisters in my family (6!) and now I have a little boy (seriously the sweetest little guy ever!!) but since the boy thing is obviously new to me I’d love dearly to hear from you with some great advice on raising Godly, responsible, respectful, kind boys. I truly love when you share about your family and what works for you guys! I’ll take all kinds of posts on this topic because I even enjoy looking back at your older posts with kids/family topics and really loved what you did to celebrate your son with a special dinner out and speaking life and encouragement into him!! Anyway, I love your blog and having been following for many years-loved seeing that you are part of a magnolia issue too-so awesome!!

      1. Hi Kyrie,

        Sorry I didn’t answer those! The olive oil is from Target. I confess that I reuse the bottle and fill with other olive oil that comes in less pretty bottles :)
        The crock is from a local farm store. Apparently they are used for pickling! Not how I’m using it, but I love how it looks.

        1. That’s my favorite olive oil! It’s soooo tasty and I’ll admit that I love the cute packaging too. :) Thought I’d give you both a heads up that I picked some up at Costco a little while back for a total steal! Not sure if they still have it, but might be worth a look. :)

    31. This is more of a parenting question… but what Christian resources did you use as you started having “the sex/puberty talk” with your kids. Ive found some good resources, but curious what you have found. Thank you!

    32. This is such a simple, silly question but how do you keep your maiden hair fern alive??? Adding a plant to any room brings such a calm, it’s almost unnoticeable; until it’s dead. 😬

      Do you keep them in a sunny spot and then move them from room to room? I have 2 which I have tried to kill twice. I want them to thrive though. Help!

      1. Maidenhair ferns can be finicky. Keep the soil damp, mist the leaves, place in spot with good indirect sunlight. If the leaves turn brown and dry out, cut the stem down to the base and it will regrow.

        1. Oh I’m so glad to hear this- I’ve killed two of them but have kept the 3rd one around in hopes of a miracle!

    33. Emily

      I love your what I’m wearing fashion posts too! Love your since of style!
      I would love to learn more about your exercise routine and eating habits. As a mom of two girls that seems to be a big challenge for me. Getting out the door to exercise when there is always so many things to do at home.
      Keep up the amazing work. You are very relatable.
      Love hearing about books you’re reading and your bible study recommations as well.
      One of my favorite home blogs to read!!

    34. I need some help and perspective. I know your house isn’t as picture perfect all the time, and I know how good it feels to dress it up. I get that. I do that too. But, I assume your house isn’t trashed all the time. I have four kids (3 boys, 1 girl) who I want to feel like the whole house is theirs as much as it is mine. BUT, I don’t want my house to feel like an entire playroom. What are your house rules for your kids and keeping things tidy? How do you help them feel at home without leaving a trail in every room? Do you clean up throughout the day? One big cleanup at night? The rule of “play with one thing, then put it up before you move to the next” doesn’t work because that’s not how play works. Any advice/perspective?

      1. It’s a constant struggle! We have a few rules and I feel mean sometimes, but it keeps my house cleaner and that’s worth it :)

        Legos have their own area (third floor) and pretty much stay there. Nerf guns and swords are only allowed upstairs or outside (see? mean). Audrey keeps her dolls stuff and dress-up in her room.

        I think it’s helpful to have a place for everything. Baskets, bins, etc so the kids know where to put things and it helps keep things from littering all through the house.

        And, you better believe our house is messy! I am a little crazy about having it all picked up by the end of the day (and if I’m not careful, I could spend the entire day picking up after the kids). Ryan is good about having the kids pick up for themselves – I’m getting better about reminding them and not expecting it to be perfectly perfect.

    35. I’ve been a long time reader of yours and really enjoy your posts. I’ve been thinking about blogging for a long time, but I struggle with how to get started, what to write about, and feeling like I don’t have anything relevant or worthwhile to say. I’ve always been creative and have a strong marketing background, but as a new(er) mom I find it’s harder to find a creative outlet. Can you offer any advice?

      Thank you!

      1. Hi April! Thanks for reading and for asking your question.

        So, two things:
        1. Keep thinking and wrestling with what unique perspective you have to offer. There is something in you, for sure, and if you are feeling this pull toward writing, keep searching it out.
        2. Blogging is wonderful, but make sure it is really the right platform for you to be creative.

        Recently, one of my closest friends was sharing with us her newest online venture and said a few things that felt like red flags. “I can’t stand sitting at the computer all day”, “social media drives me crazy”, “my favorite jobs have been as the #2 with lots of responsibility”.
        On the opposite side, I would say I love working alone, I enjoy writing and designing and editing photos on the computer and while I don’t use all social media, I very much enjoy creating content for instagram on a regular basis.

        I tell you this because as much as blogging is fabulous and may be the perfect thing for stay-home moms to do as a side job, it’s pretty important to make sure it is right for YOU and your personality. For my friend, blogging and running an online business out of her home were not the right fit. For me, it’s great.

        One little tip is to recall what those closest to you ask your advice on. Decorating? Fashion? Health + wellness? Are you the funny one? Or the serious one? Figuring out where your unique voice comes in is so important before you jump in to a new creative venture.

        I hope this is helpful!

    36. Hi Emily —

      Thanks for being so open and sharing with us. Quick question– do you do the designs for PaperWorks yourself? When I see them, I always wonder if you do it yourself.

      1. Thanks for reading!

        I did the designs for paper works for two years, then hired a friend to design for two years and now I’m back to designing :)

    37. Hi! I also love decorating with plants but I have 2 cats and they don’t leave the plants alone. Do you have a source for artificial plants that look authentic? There used to be a great company called Petals but I don’t think they are around anymore. Thanks in advance for your reply.

      1. I just went to Magnolia Market in Waco yesterday and their stems looked great in person and I believe you can order online.

    38. I loved following along on Instagram as y’all made the cross-country trek last summer! We are contemplating an abbreviated version of your epic adventure. 😍 My question is…how in the world do I begin putting together a budget for our travels?

      1. Hi Sarah – wasn’t that road trip wonderful?! I loved sharing as much as possible while traveling.

        Creating a budget is not perfectly formulaic, unfortunately! It greatly depends on how long you’ll be traveling, where you’ll be staying, if you are mainly sticking to national parks and outdoor activities that are inexpensive, or doing more city sight-seeing and eating out, which can be more costly. Our trip was a big combination of both. When we were doing more outdoor activities (Yosemite, Redwood Forest, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone) our spending consisted mainly of campground lodging, groceries and gas. While in cities, we spent much more on tours and eating out. We are foodies, and with a big family, our eating out expenses were pretty high. For us, that felt worth it, but your family might be different. I wish I had better pointers on budgeting, but it really is up to how you prefer to travel, sight-see, dine. Hopefully this is somewhat helpful.

    39. Hey Emily!

      I’ve been reading your blog since 2010 and would say that you and Holly Mathis have been the two biggest influencers in me figuring out my style and making a home for my (young) family. I love the recent recap you did about your road trip last summer…were you emotional at all about selling the Airstream when you got home? I feel like that must have been a big thing to let go of. Any plans to camp in a trailer again at some point? I’ve also wondered what you did with the many many pictures you took on the trip…make photo books? Frame some? Thanks so much for your creativity and vision for your business!!

      1. Also, as a matter of interest I thought you might like to know that you and I have totally different body types, but I regularly find a few things on your outfits posts that look really cute on me! I even wore one shirt you recommended in our family pictures!

      2. Thanks Natalie! I love Holly Mathis, too.

        We were not super emotional about selling the airstream at the time, but now we sort of wish we kept it, just for sentimental reasons. It really is not big enough for our family – we just barely squeezed in and as the kids get taller, it just won’t fit us comfortably. We sold it to a missionary family who needed a place to come home to on their sabbaticals and are parking it on their family’s property. So it felt great to pass it on to a darling family.

        We will probably camp in a trailer again. My parents are avid airstream travelers and are dying for us to go with them, so maybe someday.

        As for photos, we have done very little! We need to. Ryan threw a book together, but we’d like to do one that is chronological with details. It will take forever, but something we really want to have.

    40. Hi Emily! I LOVED your post on the new living room makeover and am wondering where you purchased the white curtains and brass curtain rods? Also wondering if there’s a certain protocol for hanging them? Have heard they need to be high above windows to give more presence. Thank you ;)

    41. Hi Emily, I don’t remember her name or when you wrote about it but I remember you writing about one of your best friends moving to San Antonio and I think her husband had recently (then) been diagnosed with cancer. Just wondering if you had an update as I had prayed for them then.

      1. That is so thoughtful! Yes, my best friend K.C. moved to san antonio a few years ago and her husband is doing great. He has a tumor in his brain, but it is not cancerous and does not seem to be growing or causing any trouble. So for now, it is just regular checkups to monitor but we are grateful it is nothing more! Again, thank you for praying for them and remembering!

    42. Hi Emily: I am probably one of your “older” fans. I am taking the Flowers class and love it. I have also down loaded the penmanship class and will do that after I finish the flowers.
      My question is how to find the best decorator or advisor to help decide on wall colors, paints, window coverings etc. I have tried to use several decorators in the past and either my husband didn’t like them or I felt somewhat intimidated. I wish I lived in Washington and could just pay you to come over for several hours to help me out. People say my home is warm so I don’t think that it is terrible, but it does need some updating. I live in an area where there are many decorators who do very expensive homes and probably wouldn’t be interested in my job since I don’t need to buy a lot of new furniture. Maybe just recover a couple of chairs. I know I’m rambling, but if you could give me an idea of how to find someone to just “help” me out. Thanks so much! PS Your mother-in-law is darling!

      1. Hi Marty! I agree, my mother-in-law is darling :)

        Would you be up for an online consultation? There are many designers who offer their services virtually. Typically you send in photos and your questions and they come up with suggestions, design plans, color schemes, etc. It is not something I do currently, but I’m getting closer and closer to offering the service :)

        in the meantime, look online for your favorite bloggers/designers and search around to see if they offer their design services virtually.

    43. Emily,
      Thank you for your beautiful blog! I just started one (, and I would love advice about how you make a go of yours. How did you start monetizing it? Thanks!

      1. Congratulations on your new blog!

        Monetizing a blog is the ultimate goal … but before you get there, there are some important parts to focus on.
        1. Create valuable content. Decide what type of blog you want and create the best content you can around that topic. Photos, graphics and writing style are all super important.
        2. Start an email list. The earlier you begin to grow your email list, the better. Offer something of value for free in return for an email (a checklist, pdf, ebook, collection of images, etc).
        3. Decide on monetization method – affiliate marketing, sponsored content, your own products, or do a combination of all.

        This is obviously a very watered down version of what it takes to grow and keep a blog healthy and thriving. For more, I highly recommend following Amy Lynn Andrews. Her site is full of helpful blogging tips!

    44. Hi Emily,
      I love your blog and the coffee chats are my favorite! I wondered if you have thought about doing more with your YouTube channel, maybe more makeup/beauty, decor related tutorials, and possibly even vlogging some?

      Also I live in Kentucky and was curious if you stopped by the Shaker Village just outside of Lexington during your road trip? I live near it and it’s our favorite spot, it seems like the kind of place you would love to visit! If you didn’t get a chance that trip I hope you do visit one day!

      1. We would love to add more video … it’s definitely a direction we will be moving in the future! Videos take more upfront planning, but I actually do enjoy being on camera :)

        We didn’t make it to the Shaker Village! We loved our time in Lexington – such a beautiful part of the country. We’d love to come back!

    45. Would I be sorry if ‘I painted all the walls the same warm beige throughout the house and picked up color with decorative pieces, Oriental rugs and a few colorful fabrics?

      Also if one arched opening is cased, do all the openings need to be cased?

      1. I don’t think so at all! Most of our walls are painted the same warm white and I like how it keeps things consistent from room to room. Adding color through accent pieces, fabric, throws, rugs, pillows and art sounds like a great plan.

        As for your arched openings, I suppose it depends on where they are in relation to one another. Adding molding always elevates the architecture, so if it is feasible, I would case the other openings.

    46. Would I be sorry to paint all the wall in the house a soft beige/tan? I would pick up color in Oriental rugs, decorative pieces and art and some furniture pieces. Gray is just not for me.

      Also, if any of the doorways have a trimmed cased archway, should they all be cased?

    47. Emily, what are your thoughts on accent walls? We are getting ready to repaint most of our main living space white. I want my husband’s office to be navy or dark grey, but it is a side room that is open on one side to the main living space. The corners where the office space meets the main living space are very rounded, so I don’t think we can paint his whole office dark. What about just painting the back wall of the room dark?

      1. I am neutral about accent walls. Sometimes they can feel a bit dated, and sometimes they feel totally intentional and perfect. I read once that the best place for an accent wall is behind the bed to allow it to be a feature, and I would agree with that. The great thing about paint is that it is so easy to paint over if you hate it. So I say, go for it!

    48. Hi Emily, my husband and I recently moved from So Cal to the PNW and the adjustment to the weather and culture has been hard. Do you have any advice or suggestions? It has been a very long winter for this California native. We’re also having a first kid this summer so if you have any advice or suggestions for a first time mom or any family friendly activities or events, it would be welcomed! Thanks!!

      1. When I moved from SoCal to Portland 5 years ago, I really struggled with the grey winter weather. My doctor recommended a Happy Light for me, and I used flexible spending account funds to purchase one. I use it daily for 30 minutes while I do my devotions from the fall time change to the spring time change, and it totally helps me during the winter!

      2. I came up from so cal 3 years ago and would not go back now. But, this winter was the worst! Some say the darkest rainiest one in over 100 years. So keep the hope that next winter will not be as bad! Thanks for the HappyLight trick, I’ll try that too!

      3. Oh my goodness – this winter was the WORST!!!! So much rain. So many gray days. So little sun.

        The winters and early spring here are not our favorite. But the summer and fall totally make up for it. We have to keep reminding ourselves during the dreary days that sunny, blue sky, green days are coming.

        Tips for getting through: always, always plan a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny in February or March. Take up snow skiing (so when it is rainy in the city, you know it is snowing in the mountains and it gives you something to look forward to). Paint your walls a warm color and bring houseplants into your home for fresh greenery/life.

        As for your new baby … congratulations! What a sweet time. I was just chatting with my hairdresser who had her first 8 weeks ago and it reminded me of those magical first few weeks with our newborns. Best advice: give yourself so much grace and release yourself from expectations. Every birth, every newborn, every mothering experience is so different and you just have to embrace your own. Ask for help, nap as often as you wish, accept offers for meals.

        Newborns are so portable, so you should be able to get out and about this summer. Look for concerts in a local park, spend time near the water, go for easy walks or hikes. I am so happy for you and your new family!

    49. Hey Emily,
      I love that you’re doing another Q&A.
      1) When are you back on the Happy Hour? Loved listening to your episodes. Have you been a guest on other podcasts by any chance?
      2) Do you have any favorite podcast to share? I’m always on the hunt for something new to try.
      3) Have you thought about doing Instagram stories? I remember that one coffee chat that you did, where you sat in your car and it was so fun to watch. Maybe that kind of video is more appropriate for Instagram stories, than your more professional coffee chats. I would definitely watch it =)
      4) If you have any trips coming up, I would love to see you share your packing list. I have a thing for packing lists, and I am guessing I’m not the only one.
      Enjoy your weekend!

      1. 1. I don’t have another happy hour episode lined up – I’ll pressure Jamie to have me back on :) I have not done any other recent podcasts. I’ll keep you posted when I do another.
        2. I’m loving these podcasts:

        3. Instagram stories. I’m mixed. I don’t like that they go away! I think my first goal is to record more coffee chats – maybe a bit more casually, with segments to make things smoother. We’ll see :)
        4. We’re taking it pretty easy this summer with just two vacations to the warm side of Washington, but I’ll see if I can put together a packing list for those.

        Thanks for your suggestions!

        1. Thank you Emily for the podcast suggestions. I will check them out. And I love the idea to make the coffee chats a bit more casual. Looking forward to see what you do next :)

    50. Hello ……not sure you’ve ever posted about “what to see and do in Seattle”, but would love your input. I’ve been to 47 states in my lifetime … parents took us traveling ever summer via car with 4 kids and NO computers etc. We had paper and pencil, games for the car and sang songs etc. Your USA road trip made me so nostalgic for travel again. ANYWAY…..I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle.

    51. I’m trying to pick a new paint color for my house. It’s a large house with tan earthy brick, natural tan/grey stone and white trim around my doors and windows. Presently the shake shingles are painted an olive green. My area is very green during the summer and snow in the winter. I feel like it’s time for an update. I’m thinking navy blue but can’t feel settled on a specific color. Any suggestions?

      1. Navy sounds wonderful! Will look great with all of the green and still vibrant with snow. Many people love Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. It’s a really beautiful deep navy.

      1. Well thanks for making me feel good :)

        A typical day looks like this:
        Ryan gets up with Ethan and gets him to the bus by 7:30.
        My alarm goes off at 7:35 and I push snooze until at least 8.
        8:00-8:40 get the three younger kids ready for school (they dress themselves, usually have already had cereal), make lunches, do audrey’s hair
        8:45 drop kids off at school
        9:00 back home, pick up the kitchen, sometimes I make breakfast for me and Ryan, sometimes I just grab a yogurt/granola.
        9:30 – 10 read my bible + pray. (doesn’t always happen, but this is my goal)
        10 – 10:45 barre workout in my studio (a few times per week) On mondays my aunt comes over for a work meeting. On wednesdays the kids have late start (they start 1 hour late).
        11 – 3 work
        3 – Ethan home. Sometimes I keep working until the younger kids get off the bus at 3:45
        4 – 6 hang out with kids, go to a friends house, putz around the house
        6ish make dinner (on Tuesdays the kids have track and gymnastics, so that night is different)
        7 do dishes, pick up house, hang out
        8 start bedtime. Sometimes the kids shower, usually they all read for 30ish minutes, sometimes we just let them stay up late and jump on the trampoline. On Wednesdays, we watch survivor.
        9 kids in bed. If I am posting the next day, I work on my laptop on the couch until 11ish. If not posting, I’ll shower or read or watch a show and fold laundry.
        11:35 Jimmy Fallon with ryan. We stay up way too late.
        12 in bed. Sometimes we’ll get in bed earlier, but not usually before 11.

        And that is my typical day.

    52. Hi Emily –
      I’m a huge fan and love your blog, your style and approach to all that you share with us.
      Here’s my question….we’ve remodeled quite a bit in our house and have this two story tall wall in our family room that I’m stumped by what to do with it for décor!
      It’s flanked by a wall that has four large windows (2 X 2) with ceiling to floor drapes on either ends of the sets of windows and on the other side of the two story blank wall we our gorgeous new fireplace, with stacked stone, custom mantle and built in floating shelves above which is a railing and opening to the second floor loft.
      It’s open from the kitchen through the eat in kitchen area looking directly across the main floor towards to this two story blank wall! Wish I could figure out how to send a photo!
      Anyway, ideas for creative décor that isn’t just a big painted canvas? Mirrors won’t work either.

      Thanks in advance for any ideas, links, leads, etc. Cheers, Megan

      1. Could you find something unconventional and meaningful? Like a collection of something? I remember seeing an old windmill top hung on a big blank wall and it was super cool. So depending on where you live or some backstory, maybe there is a salvage material/tool/collection that would be interesting to display?

        Also, don’t be afraid to leave a wall blank! We need a place to let our eyes rest when looking at a room.

        1. Thanks for taking the time to reply Emily! Love that idea of something unconventional and meaningful…that’s got me thinking about decor for “the wall”in some new ways! Appreciate all you share with us. Take care 🙂

    53. Hi Emily!
      A while back you mentioned you had some health problems and sought out holistic medicine. I was wondering how you were feeling and how you liked the Holisitc route. I am contemplating Holistic medicine but had apprehensions…I wouldn’t even know where to start LOL! What was it that began you on a holistic path and did it have a positive change on your health? Do you still use conventional medicine?
      Thank You!

      1. Marley, do it!

        I have had pretty bad gut issues for years. I play things down and didn’t think it was a big deal until some friends finally convinced me to see a GI doctor. I had a colonoscopy and it was discovered that I have an autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Proctitis. I was prescribed anti-inflammatories and sent home. Of course the medication worked … but after a few weeks, the symptoms were back. My health grew worse and worse as time went on and when we moved this fall I finally made an appointment with a naturopath. It has been a 6-month journey to figure out what the cause of the inflammation is – we started with a pretty severe elimination diet (with no positive impact), moved to the next thing and the next until finally, my doctor found the issues and we have been treating it with natural supplements. I have been taking a million pills/powders/drops for about 2 months and my symptoms are almost gone! I seriously feel amazed what we have accomplished with natural supplements.

        I felt so frustrated the day I had a clear diagnosis from the naturapath. How did the GI doctor not look into this further? Why are we okay just saying “take an anti-inflammatory?” without really searching for the cause of the inflammation in the first place?!

        So, long answer to your question, but YES. I absolutely think you should seek out holistic medicine – especially if you have not received helpful answers from your regular doctor.

        I do still believe in conventional medicine, too. But this experience has pushed me from total skeptic to believer.

        1. Thank You! Not to get too personal, but I have gut issues too!! I have tried probiotics, eliminated dairy, some wheat etc. still not great results, although I do feel better when I eat a plant based diet. I am lactose intolerant as well. Moreover, I fear I am not absorbing necessary nutrients etc., because of my gut issues. Always bloated- stomach upset after I eat, fatigue, etc. Anyway, I think I am going to give it a try after I get some bloodwork done from an MD. I want to check Thyroid etc. and it has been way too long since I’ve had it done because I am not a fan of typical GP’s ;) One other question…how did you find a reputible naturopath? I have no idea where to begin as I don’t want to waste my time/money on someone who isn’t legit.
          Thanks again Emily!!! We’re all in this together LOL! :)

          1. Hi Marley, you may want to consider being screened for Celiac Disease. It’s just a blood panel. But your symptoms do line up. Best of luck!

            1. Marley,
              I have similar issues and my GP mentioned something called the FODMAP diet. It’s been around for years and is an intolerance to certain carbohydrate chains.

              It’s worth googling. There’s many different categories that can cause issues. I know what to avoid and what to blame.

              Good luck!

            2. Marley,

              My 14 year daughter had a very similar issue to everything you are speaking about along with what others have responded. Since the age of 11 (when the gut issues started) we went to every type of GP, Gastro, Allergy testing, elimination – you name it we did it. The buzz word from everyone was Celiac Disease which she tested negative for, we did FODMAP diet. I researched, she suffered almost ever time she ate, I journaled her food, she journaled her food, she lived on stomach meds and had special bathroom privileges at school. One day I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a few years – discussed our families and I began to tell her about my daughters gut issues. Long story short she is a Nutritional Response Practitioner and asked me to bring my daughter in so she could test her. I thought what do I have to loose – we have literally tried EVERYTHING. I was skeptical at first – holistic medicine, Nutritional Response Testing, neurological reflexes, acupuncture pressure points – WHAT??!! She tested my daughter, issued a diagnosis of Candida (yeast overgrowth in the gut) (insert best children’s Gastro in Texas said it was IBS and a sluggish colon) (also so Candida overgrowth symptoms mimic the symptoms of so many things like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia…) – gave us a treatment plan of 6 natural supplements and 4 supplement drops (everyone’s will be different and her ratios have changed over time) – asked us to do this for 1 month along with a Candida food diet – then return for a re-evaluation in 1 month. My husband thought I had lost it, but my brave daughter did it and I prepared food for her according to the diet and battled certain food withdrawn teenager – candida likes anything that turns to sugar in your blood – even the healthy stuff. Now results may vary (I feel like I need to say that just to keep it real) – I just want too say that – my daughter before all of this was already a pretty healthy eater, but she went from suffering daily for the past 2 or more years with cramps, irregular bowls, bloating, headaches, fatigue, joint pain etc you name it – to with in one week she was almost symptom free. This was January of this year – she only did the Candida diet for 1 month and has been re-evaluated once a month – she is now symptom free and only on 2 pills and 4 drops. There is SO much more I could say, but this natural path has been an answer to so many prayers. I agree with Emily I still believe in conventional medicine for many things, but I can not even believe how much my daughters quality of life all around has improved. You only have your health to gain by exploring this path!!

            3. Heather Hernandez

              Hi Marley! I hope you find a good naturopath and can make some strides with them towards better wellness with all of that! Another thing that has helped me tremendously with digestion issues are essential oils. I use Young Living because they are super pure and the best quality. I use their DiGize blend, Peppermint, and Lemon oils, as well as some of their oil infused supplements for digestion and to support gut health. Because they add the essential oils into them, it increases your absorption rate from 10-30% to more like 80-90%. Those have been key for my family in supporting our overall health and wellness. But definitely see a naturopath! =). Praying you get some answers and figure out something that will help!

            4. Marley,

              I found my holistic doc through a recommendation. Try finding someone in a similar field that may recommend: chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. There are also schools for alternative med in different cities that will treat you. I went to AOMA in Austin. Great experience!

            5. Ugh … I feel your pain! Praying you find healing.

              Ask around to friends or coworkers to see if any have naturopath recommendations. I just google searched a naturopath in our town and the website was professional looking, so I went with it :)

              1. Lauren,
                I have read about this and am going to check it out. Someone mentioned this (Candida) as well and my symptoms line up almost perfectly. Lately, I have been having the joint discomfort not really “pain” when I just get up from sitting and the floor-and I am active, play tennis etc. and only in my 40’s Go figure. I don’t believe it is Celiac…my friend’s son has that and I have different symptoms (some similar) but not enough. I really am not in pain after I eat, so that is good. My body just doesn’t digest certain things well. So yes, some chronic fatigue, joint pain, irritable bowels, gas, bloating. It’s funny you mentioned Candida turning things into sugar in blood. I am not diabetic, but when I had bloodwork done years ago from GP he said my sugar was borderline. I eat pretty healthy…hmmmm wonder if there is a correlation? I am going to look for a natural Dr. and bring it up and see what happens. After listening to all the comments and Emily I feel there is nothing to lose but getting on the recovery to a healthy gut! Thank you so much for your response….much appreciated! I would love more info. You can email me @

              2. Emily,
                Thanks a million and for touching upon this in your Coffee Chat! I am not a complainer and just have “dealt with it”. I think as Moms we just keep going and going putting our kiddos and husbands first. You are not oversharing;) I think the more we support and share the more we are apt to take action and better care of ourselves; so thanks friend! I am googling naturopaths right when I am done with this response. What a blessing communities like this are! Thanks again! xo

              3. Marley! Don’t give up. But I agree, a naturopath is a great place to end up. I saw 6 different doctors ALL with different opinions, each with a different diagnosis, each with different treatment methods. Super confusing and so frustrating. Let’s just say I shed alot of tears. I decided to clear my mind, put aside all the notes, test results, prescriptions, etc. I listened to my heart and decided to put all my trust in a particular naturopath that I felt was “hearing and seeing” me. I cried to him and explained my fear and frustration. I am now on a plan. We have to do some tweaking along the way, and it is not always easy, but I finally feel hopeful. It is not cheap, my insurance doesn’t cover any of the supplements I take, but I feel I am being healed long term and not having my symptoms masked with prescriptions. Don’t be afraid to “shop around” til you find someone you resonate with. Prayers for you! It takes love and support for sure.

              4. Marley, Please get tested for SIBO as well…I had SIBO and candida. You have many of the symptoms and until you treat it you’ll find that elimination diets don’t help100% you sound so much like I did before I got treated!

            6. My mother, who is in her 80’s was having bad gut issues and the Dr did the same. “Let’s get you on anti biotic and anti inflammatory.” Ugh. My sister convinced her to take Melatonin instead and she has had no more gut issues. At all! :)

                1. Hi Emily! I am doing an elimination diet right now, out of curiosity – what did they finally find to be wrong with you? I’m dealing with a few auto immune issues that have turned into long term and I know its a completed process! Thanks!

          2. Hi, Emily,

            I just started to rent out space at an antiques & more business which gets a lot of traffic; I shop there myself on the lookout for repurposed items.

            I have artwork that is also included and is mostly abstract, mixed media, or Zentangle. The space offered isn’t much, but I need help on tips to make a vintage/antique space look like you stepped into a magazine.

            What I have to work with is an eight foot high cabinet. One side is lighted with glass shelves which are adjustable. The other side is pegboard which is used to hang wall items or a shelf. I got creative and hung an antique bird cage on it using S hooks.

            I know this comes from experience, but that’s what I lack right now when it comes to displaying what I am selling. Any tips?

          3. Please share what your summer days look like with children. From activities to meals & snacks to home life, etc. I am an at home momma of 3 children ages 10 year old boy, 8 year old girl, and a 7 month old baby. 🔆🌱

            1. Great question! We’ll see how this year goes – last year we were on the road trip all summer so there was absolutely no regular routine!

              A couple of things we’d like to do this year is have the whole family read for an hour per day (I’m pretty excited about this) and be outside as much as possible. We’re signing the kids up for a few summer camps (kayaking, rock climbing, young life, sewing, acting) and otherwise, we’ll be home or with friends. I love casual days, sleeping in, being outside. It means very little work will get done, but we’re ready for that.

              1. thank you for your reply! You have selected great camps! If we were neighbors, I think we would enjoy summer days together! As a former (before having our own children) Young Life leaders, staffer, and church youth pastor, I hope yours have the best week of their life at camp! They will remember it forever. Enjoy a sweet summer!

          4. I have a question about paint . You painted your fireplace and “Simple Details ” painted her ceramic backsplash.Those areas don’t get much “wear and tear “,but I’m wondering if you or any one you know has painted ceramic floor tile ? If so , what is the best paint to use and does it get sealed ?

          5. Hi Emily, what is your background in graphic design? Are you self-taught? How long did it take you to get to the point where you and Ryan could both work for your company?

            1. I am self-taught with graphic design. I started designing stationery and did custom invitations right out of college for friends, which turned into a pretty decent part-time job doing custom christmas cards for about 7 years. I have taken an Adobe Illustrator class from a local college and was so happy to know that I had taught myself quite well!

              Jones Design Company started with custom stationery design in 2002, I began blogging in 2009, started selling artwork in 2010, opened our membership in 2012, started teaching online classes in 2013 and Ryan left his fire fighting job in 2016. During all of this, Ryan has been right beside me as a business partner and without his knowledge/passion/vision/direction, I have no idea where JDC would be.

          6. Is it important to you that your kids also go to Azusa? Or is that too far down the road to be on your radar right now?

            1. It is not at all important that the kids go to Azusa Pacific University. This is a fun question, though! We are thinking about college (mostly about how in the world we will ever pay for 4 kids to go to school!) and we have conversations with the kids fairly often about education and interests and college. Our biggest piece of advice for each of our kids is to choose a school that fits their interests. APU was perfect for me and I would be very happy if any of our kids decided to go there, but it is more important that they choose a place that is best for them. I really do want them to go to a four-year school and live away from home – I hope this is what they choose.

              1. Awesome! My Dad went to Harding (a Christian school in Arkansas). I chose Abilene Christian and my siblings went to state schools. I think my Dad was always a little disappointed nobody followed his path, but was never pushy about it.

                My college was fully paid through scholarships. Our high school guidance counselor had a list of local, state, and national scholarships. I applied for them like crazy; I didn’t care if it even made sense I would just apply. I got so many random ones and partially because they didn’t have many applicants! Have your kids do the same. And once you write a few essays you can recycle them. Y’all can do it!!!!

          7. I remember reading on your blog once that you and your sisters all wore the same wedding dress and I am so curious about how that happened. Did you plan it from the start, or did the first one to marry buy it and the other two just loved it and decided to wear it for their weddings? Regardless, you all looked gorgeous! I love your blog and all of your style tips and inspiration!

            1. What a great memory!

              Yes, we all wore the same dress. My older sister was engaged first and we all went to this local wedding boutique where she picked out her perfect custom-made wedding gown. A few months later, Ryan and I got engaged and our wedding date was a few months before hers. Graciously, she let me wear the dress first. Two months later, she wore the dress and two years later our little sister wore the same dress. We all made minor changes to it to make it our own, which worked well for the classic strapless style. I love that we all wore the same dress!

          8. When you share your “what I am wearing” posts, I always love the items. How do you stay so slim?! Are you and your family quite conscious of the food you eat (and are your kids good eaters?!)? Do you exercise as well? Are you still using the meal deliveries a few days a week?
            Your home is such an inspiration. I have loved coming along for the journey. Thank you!!

            1. I have a new summer fashion post coming up :)

              How do I stay slim … probably the most annoying answer is that I inherited my dad’s slim genes, so that is part of it. But we do eat healthy and I do Barre3 a few times per week (an upcoming post!). We still use Hello Fresh for our dinners and eat out about once per week. The kids are good eaters. Maybe not Audrey, but she’s getting there. Ethan, our oldest, eats gluten and dairy free (by choice, crazy kid) and so we try to accommodate him. Ryan would wish that we ate even healthier, but I think we’re doing pretty well.

          9. My husband and I have worked together for nine years and love it! We love the freedom, the partnership and the depth it brings to our relationship. If you ever create a couples who work together event we’d love to be involved. I’m curious how you and Ryan work your dreams, set your goals, dream big, etc. We tend to get so wrapped up in work, life and the busy-ness of life we tend to forget to take time for the big picture stuff.

            1. A few years ago we joined a consulting program called Strategic Coach that met in southern California every quarter. While the content of the program was great, the very best part for us were those quarterly getaways where we could focus on business, dreaming, connecting separate from our regular distractions. We said we would continue to plan those quarterly business getaways … and have not made it a priority. I think that’s where the couples in business thing stems from. It is so difficult to see the bigger picture when you are doing it day to day. We need to step back a little for perspective and a chance to dream together.

          10. Emily…help!
            I’m struggling on window selection for our new construction🙄 We are doing a white farmhouse style with black windows on the outside and I’m debating black interior windows for the great space … but I fear this might be trendy and I might tire of it, which is tougher to remedy than wall paint or this pillows! You can always pop over and have a look😉 Thank you!!

            1. Emily – I was going to post this exact same question! We are designing our custom dream home and are considering these windows. Additionally, do you think I would regret a sliding bar wood door between two rooms? Wondering if this too trendy as well…

              1. I feel like black windows are pretty classic and would not hesitate to put them in our home. So I say, go for it.
                As for a barn door – yes, this is probably a trend that will go out of style at some point. It’s pretty overdone. But, do you love it? Then do it. French doors or a pocket door is probably a safer bet – but probably something you could switch out the barn door for years down the road if you grow tired of it.

                1. So helpful to get your thoughts! I don’t love the barn doors, so may opt for something different. Thanks so much!

            2. Let me come see!!! I think it’s pretty classic to do black windows. White will be safer, sure, but black is pretty gorgeous. Yes, I’ll come over.

            1. You’re sweet. I just had a bunch cut off today :)

              I wash every three or four days. Wash at night, use Queen For A Day to add volume and blow dry just the roots to activate. Then I let my hair dry overnight. Next morning, i’ll curl with a curling wand ( and it usually lasts for two days. Day two hair is always the best, by day three or four it’s up in a ponytail, side bun, braid or topknot.

          11. Love your website Emily. As a busy mom who works part-time, it’s the ONLY site I read regularly and recommend to friends. And I really appreciate that you don’t have advertisements! So refreshing. And I love that you speak honestly and openly about your faith.
            My question: Do you ever consult? I’ve often wondered to myself, “What would Emily say if she saw my living room??” I’ve often wanted to send you a picture and hear your thoughts.

            1. You are so kind!

              I have only done consulting for friends, but I’m thinking about adding it :) I would love to do it in person, but I know that is not always possible. Can you tell me what specifically you would want my help with? Picking colors? Furniture placement? Style?

              1. I just have to add to what Jennifer said. I often think, “if only I could get Emily’s opinion on this” Haha

                I have had an interior designer come in and I loved our consults here and there. A fresh pair of eyes would be awesome. We built a custom home 3.5 years ago. Overwhelming but I love it. I love green. I have fabulous green barn doors to my office. Now with a green rug in the entry and green rug in the family room – it is too much, I want to tone it down with more neutrals. I am scared about buying more rugs that might not work with what I already have.

                Thanks and I love your Q&A – I live in Kirkland. Xoxo

                1. My plate is so full, but I love the idea of adding decorating consulting … I will see what can move around so we can add those services.

                  1. Cloning you? That might be the answer. :) Just know if you ever get a free second there are some of us local PNW ladies that would love to have your expertise a little more up close and personal. Xoxo

            2. In a previous reply you said you and Ryan are mostly on the same page with parenting – would love to hear more about that! What is your discipline philosophy? What values do you feel like you have most tried to emphasize with your kids? Ours are 4,2, and 0 so we are trying to build a strong foundation.

              1. I don’t talk about parenting on here much, do I?! And yet, it’s a big part of my life. We love our kids and they are pretty great. Not perfect and we have our share of issues, but I think we’re pretty good parents :)

                Our main goal with raising our kids is for them to be respectful, kind and fun to be around. I’ll throw in responsible and generous, too. Part of this is allowing them to make their own choices and giving them lots of freedom – especially when they are little – so they can learn how to make good choices. We’re not super strict and we’re not super lenient, either. When they were little, there were lots of time outs and we spanked the first three, but not our fourth. Why? I think we just didn’t find it necessary or helpful. I’m not totally against spanking, but it’s not my fave, either.

                I was just having a conversation with a friend who has four little boys (9 years, 7, 4 and 1) and shared that when our third was about 4 he was super naughty and would hit me. I remember having this moment where I realized all he was looking for was affirmation and attention from me and his little 4 year old self didn’t have any other way to ask for it than by being physical. So I decided that every time he hit, I would hug him. And you know what? The hitting stopped. He just needed more love.

                Now that I am out of the little, little stage, I am reminded that they are just babies. They don’t know any better and can’t express themselves and really they just need to know that their mommy and daddy think they are the best thing in the world.

                As for how Ryan and I differ – he’s probably less patient, but more fun. I’m more consistent, but need my space (preferably by 8pm).

            3. Love love love your blog! What are your go to make-up products. I have a very similar complexion to you – although living in central Florida I have to use SPF’s all the time! Thank you for always being so willing to share!

              1. I like BeautyCounter products – their tinted moisturizer and concealer pen. I have also used Neutrogena tinted moisturizer for a long, long time and like how sheer it is.

              1. I have a few tidbits :)

                1. create the best content you can. This includes photos, graphics, style of writing.
                2. be consistent. Set a realistic publishing schedule for you – whether that is 5 posts per week or two. Find a rhythm in your posting that works for you. At the beginning, it is important to keep adding content – if you go a month without posting, it will be very hard to gain any momentum or consistent readers.
                3. Start an email list. Unique visitors and social media followers are terrific, but you have no way of communicating with them directly without their email address. Use a email service (we use Active Campaign, but you could also try Mail Chimp or Aweber).
                4. Make sure you are writing about a topic that is enjoyable to you!

            4. Hi Emily!

              I love your blog and thank you for all that you share! I am a graphic designer looking for a bit of a work/lifestyle change and have been working towards starting a blog of my own. My ideal goal would for it to be a sustainable source of income as well as something that I really enjoy doing. I’ve been researching affiliate marking and the various ways to make income from a blog and I have a lot to learn but am excited to give this a shot. I really look up to you and this site you have built up and I would love to know if you have any advice for someone just starting out in the blogging world. I know that is a fairly broad question, but any advice is appreciated! Thanks so much!!

              1. Hooray for starting your blog! I can tell that you are excited and that makes me happy :)

                I have answered a similar version of this question a couple of times, so go back through the comments to read those answers as well.

                My best advice for you as you begin and think about monetizing your blog:
                Pick your topic thoughtfully.
                I am so broad in what I blog about and while it makes coming up with content fairly easy, it makes monetizing a little trickier. Here’s what I mean: I have a very large email list, but on that list is a group of readers who are interested in free printables, a group who likes my home decorating posts, a group who is here for the diy projects, a group who is interested in graphic design, and so on. So when I offer a new class or product, only a small percentage who is interested in that particular service/class/product will purchase. If I were to blog about only one topic (say, graphic design) and offered only products/services/classes related to graphic design, I would likely have a higher conversion rate on those offers. My topics of interest are quite broad and my offerings are broad as well. Because we have a pretty well-established blog, this works fine for us, but it would be easier if we stuck to just one subject and did a really good job on that one topic.
                So as you choose what to write about, you may have more success if you narrow your topic. Make sure you LOVE talking/writing/thinking about it and then go out and create awesome content.

                Best of luck!

            5. I’m curious about how your chicken experiment is going? The details would really interest me…like:
              Are they really a lot of work?
              Amount of cleaning the coup and how often. Do they get to roam sometimes? Have you built a relationship to them? A lot of people say that once you spend time with them they are super entertaining and all have different personalities. And often folks get surprisingly attached to them like a pet dog or cat.
              How do you feel about eating chicken now? Do your kids take care of them once the novelty wore off? What do you do with them if you leave or go on vacation? Have you lost any yet through predators or sickness? Do you have your first eggs yet? And lastly, would you do it again knowing what you know now? Thinking of getting some too, but I am a bit daunted by the commitment. Thanks so much!

              1. I will write a post in the next few weeks with all of the chicken details, but in answer to your questions:
                1. They are not much work. And not as gross as I thought.
                2. We just moved them outside to their coop two weeks ago and we have to clean it a few times per week. So far Ryan has taken care of it, but we’ll get the kids on a rotating schedule.
                3. The chickens do roam our yard. We let them out in the morning and they just stick together wandering and pecking and sunbathing on the patio. At around 5:00, they make their way back into their coop for the night. It’s pretty crazy how their internal clock works!
                4. We do have a pet/owner relationship with them. The kids like to pick them up and play with them. They just feel like fun little pets wandering the yard. The more you handle them as babies the more friendly they are as adults. Two out of six are not excited about being held, but the others do just fine.
                5. I still feel fine eating chicken. For some reason it feels different? I’m not sure why.
                6. The kids are happy to help with them. We’ll rotate cleaning and feeding responsibilities so each takes one week per month.
                7. We left for a few days during spring break and had a friend stop by to make sure they had enough food and water. They are very low-maintenance.
                8. We haven’t lost any to preditors. Ryan basically built fort knox, so I’ll be surprised if anything gets in the coop. We saw a falcon flying overhead this afternoon – there is always the possibility of a bird of prey sneaking down while they are out free ranging …
                9. No eggs yet. They should start laying in the next few weeks.
                10. I think we would do it again. We’ve probably spent close to $800 on the darn things with the coop and supplies, so it hasn’t been the cheapest pet experience.

                1. Your experience sounds like ours; my husband, to save money, built a pretty large and much more expensive coop than the ones sold in stores ;) it will last forever though, I’m sure! We’re going to get it all back once they start laying, right?! I love our chickens though; they’re great little creatures.

              1. Ryan retired from firefighting in January 2016. He had some back issues that gave us the final push to go fully self-employed. Being done with the fire department allowed us to go on our 4 month road trip and now that we are home, we’ve been working together to continue to grow and streamline JDC. It’s pretty great working together!

            6. Hello!! I’m nearing the point where I’m looking to buy my first home (EEK) – I’m a single gal who is still figuring out her style, despite hitting 30 this year. Do you have any recommendations on how to start small but smart? There are a few pieces I’d like to carry forth with me, but a lot of what I have is hand-me-down and may not survive the jolt of another moving truck (!). The item I’m most attached to is a fuchsia arm chair that is bold and delicious, but I know I can’t have wild things like it ALL over my home! Halp! Do you find one piece that you love for a space and then design the rest around it?

              By the by, I love this little corner of the internet! So refreshing, encouraging and inspiring as we all try to make our way through the whirlpool called life :)

            7. Hi Emily.
              Love reading your blog, thank you! I love your decorating style and your clothing style. I struggle with weight, though, and am curious if you work out or if you are blessed with genes that allow you to stay slim?! I am looking for some inspiration!!!

              1. A little of both. My dad has always been thin and I think I have a bit of that in me.

                But also, I like to do barre workouts. I have tried lots of different ways to exercise (running and cross fit are definitely not for me), and when I tried barre for the first time I was completely sold. I think the key is to find something that makes you want to do it again. I have never felt like that about exercise, but after I do a barre workout, I want to do another. I’ll post more details about the barre stuff I do.

            8. Hi Emily! How do you plan for decorating and renovations? I feel like I get so overwhelmed and just give up plus I get paralyzed at the thought of spending money for something and not loving it afterwards! Any advice you could give (besides medication 😝)?

              1. Both Ryan and I have ambitious dreams, so we’re always talking and scheming and changing our minds about how we’ll renovate and decorate. Budget is a big consideration – especially if you do not plan on staying in your house long term. This is probably our biggest hurdle. We don’t want to over-improve to the point where we do not get at least part of our investment back. But we also really value how we live in our home and sometimes making updates just for the sake of enjoying our home more is totally worth it.

                Start with small projects. Paint is so inexpensive and can be changed relatively easily. Maybe start by painting a room or a piece of furniture to grow your confidence.

            9. Love the look of your dark painted cabinets. Just wondering if you have any regrets about it? Do they show fingerprints and crumbs? We’re getting ready to do a kitchen remodel and I would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!

              1. We really like the dark cabinets and don’t have any regrets. The main thing I don’t love is how dark our floors and counters are as well. I am dying to replace the dark tile floors with warm wood and the counters with something solid and not speckled. So my best advice is to make sure you have a balance of warmth and cool, dark and light throughout your space.

                1. I know I am super late to the q & a but we are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. Would you be willing to share what you are thinking for your kitchen? Color of cabinets, type, counter top, i.e.

            10. I was wondering if you guys are planning another family trip this summer? Obviously you won’t do anything as extensive as last year but I’m sure everyone is itching to travel again. Or not? Maybe everyone wants to lay low this summer. Just wondering what summer feels like after the epic trip you guys took last year.

              1. Oh, I wish we were planning another big trip! Summers in the pacific northwest are so pretty and our best weather so we were a little sad to miss the entire season last year. This time around, we’ll be home for most of the summer. We have a couple of week-long vacations to eastern washington planned, but otherwise, we’ll be home. Our new house is just a few minutes from the water, so we’ll be out boating and paddling as much as possible.

            11. Hi Emily,

              Got a business question for you!

              How do you manage your blogging calendar? Is there a strategy around what you blog about and when? One of the many reasons I enjoy your blog is the balance of it all. Whether you are promoting a class or blogging about chickens, it is still the same, wonderful JDC experience.

              Thank you!


              1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I try my best to keep things enjoyable and real on the blog and I appreciate your encouragement!

                I use a paper monthly calendar to schedule my posts. There is running list of post ideas along the side and put them into specific days a few days out. I generally post on monday, wednesday, friday. Highest readership is at the beginning of the week, so I like to put my best content on Mondays or Wednesdays (things like room reveals, class launches, tutorials or diy projects). Friday posts stay up all weekend, so I like to keep those light. Ideally, I would post a coffee chat every friday, but I just haven’t been able to keep that schedule.

                I am constantly changing things around and coming up with new ideas on the fly and I typically post the night before. If I need photos for a post, I’ll style and take those during the day, and I edit photos and write posts at night. Ryan begs me to create an editorial calendar and have posts scheduled out several weeks … but it is not how I work. I like talking about the thing that is front of mind on that day. It feels more genuine to me and hopefully to you as well!

                Many bloggers who have been in this industry for years are posting less and less – I still really like the blogging component of what we do. Thankfully, we’re able to support our family with the classes we offer, our shop and the membership service, but when it all comes down to it, creating blog content and interacting with readers is my favorite part.

                1. Krystal Wight Armstrong

                  I just wanted to say thank you for still making your joy and talent for blogging a priority for us (and you)! Even if the weekly posts aren’t the thing that brings in the important income, so many of us still get so much from your posts and I’m so, so thankful for your insightful, inspiring, and beautiful writing + imagery. I’d understand and respect cutting down on posts like so many do, as you mentioned, but thank you for still posting as much as you are, it’s such a gift. : )

            12. Hi Emily,
              I’m curious how you knew that 4 children was the right number for your family. Did you consider having more or less? Did you always know you wanted 4? Thanks!

              1. I always wanted four! I actually wanted four girls, but that didn’t happen :)

                I have two sisters (I’m in the middle) and we always felt like things would be more even with one more so none of us were left out. I also loved the idea of having a big family. Four is wonderful! We started having kids fairly young (I was 25) and they are all two years apart. I was pregnant or nursing for a solid 10 years of my life. I see my sister with two kids and think things would be much less chaotic and less expensive, but we really do love having a big family. Always someone to play with, always something going on.

            13. Hi Emily! I need to repaint my front door, and I’d love to add a pop of color. I’m having a hard time deciding on a color because I’m nervous that it will be “too much” for me and I’ll need to paint it again. My home is dark brown brick with brown stucco. My shutters, garage door, and front door are all brown, too. Too much brown! I’ve considered a red color for the front door, but would be interested in hearing your suggestions. Also, is it bad to not have the front door and shutters match? Thank you!!

              1. What color is most seen in your closet? If you have lots of reds, go red! It is likely that if you wear the color, you will be able to live with it on your door. I think an accent on the door sounds nice! No need to have your door and shutters match.

            14. Emily, you’ve inspired me to finally paint over the red accent wall in my family room (it was the previous owners’ handiwork and I’m ready for something fresh). I am thinking of using the same gray color you used in your living room. But, from certain angles, the color appears to have a greenish tint. Is it a true gray, or are there green undertones? Also, if you are painting over a vibrant color (such as the orange in your living room), do you use a primer first? Thanks!

              1. Ancestral is a cool color, but definitely has weird undertones. Sometimes it reads gray, sometimes army-ish green, sometimes a little blue. Not quite right it you’re looking for gray. One of my favorite deep warm grays ever is called Texas Leather by Benjamin Moore. Maybe look at that color?

                  1. We did Texas Leather at our last house and it read really brown! We recently painted our dining room Benjamin Moore’s Secret (after trying Ancestral), and found it to be much more of a true gray. It is dark (we used it just on the upper half of our dining room – we have white faux shiplap on the lower half, and the dining room is open on one side to our living area, which is all painted Gray Owl, a great, true light gray).

            15. What is your favorite summer activity to do with your kids? Mine LOVE parks, any park anywhere, but they’re always up for new adventures and surprises too :)

              1. We are excited to live in our new city this summer because we are so close to the water. I imagine we’ll spend a lot of time boating, crab-hunting, playing with friends. I am signing the kids up for a couple of camps, as well. This will be our first time doing camps and I think they’ll enjoy it. Check with your parks and rec department – there are often great options for many different interests.

            16. Hi Emily,

              I am also wondering about another blog class? I’m hoping you will offer one this summer. Also, I’m loving the new house. It is really looking great!

              1. Thank you for sharing your interest! I will chat with Ryan about it and see if we’ll reopen. And thanks for the compliments on the house! It’s slow going, but we do love it here.

            17. Hi Emily,
              During all of your home projects do you and your husband typically agree on your ideas? Does he have much of an opinion or does he let you take the lead with your vision? I find it hard sometimes to make my vision come to life when consulting my husband. He actually has an opinion and wants to be heard. Of course I want to do what I want:)

              1. Ryan for sure has opinions about the house. We usually are pretty close in our vision, but have joked that we don’t fight about finances or parenting, but do argue about how high to hang a picture or how to arrange the furniture :) I sometimes wish Ryan didn’t have an opinion on the house so I could just do my own thing, but then every time we work together, it turns out better than if I had done it on my own. I can be a stubborn/independent lady and it has been good to learn to compromise and allow our house to serve more than just my taste. And, like I said, it always turns out better when we’re collaborating.

            18. Love your blog and I’m anxiously awaiting a full tutorial on that fireplace! In the meantime I always enjoy when you do your style posts but was curious what size/height you are. It would give me a little better perspective:). Thanks!

              1. Fireplace tutorial is coming! I meant to do it this week, and then the week got away from me.

                I have a new summer fashion post coming soon, too. For reference, I am 5’7″ and 120ish lbs. I typically wear a size small on top and 26/2 on bottom.

                Also, it feels weird sharing number like that. Why?! I’ll get over it …

                1. That is sooo thin. I am 5 ft 1 in and STUCK at 140 after 3 years of working out. Crazy how differently programmed our genes are!

            19. Hi Emily,

              I’m just curious why you moved to another town and didn’t just buy another house in your town. Were you unhappy there? Do your kids miss their friends? etc.
              Also I like updated kids posts.


              1. Great questions. We were never super in love with our old town. What we loved was our neighborhood and the community we built. We talked about moving regularly and wanted to be nearer the water, restaurants, shopping, amenities and a better high school. We were also ready for a change from our teensy yard in a neighborhood to something a bit larger and more private. It was so wonderful to raise the kids when they were little in a neighborhood with lots of other moms and little ones, with a neighborhood park and the safety and freedom to let the kids walk to their friends’ houses. We loved our time there and the friendships we built. There was a change that started happening a few years ago and it felt like time to try something new. We craved more outdoor space and I was ready to not look out every window at my neighbor’s house :) We LOVE our new town and house and property. The kids are adjusting so well to their new school and have made lots of friends. Really, we could not have asked for a better transition. It is hard to leave something you’ve known and loved for 10 years, but we needed this move for us creatively and as a family.

              1. The Blog Class is currently closed, with no big plans to reopen at this time. Ryan may be putting together a new site with all of his online business expertise and I will definitely tell you about it when the time comes!

            20. I am a Graphic Designer and was recently laid off from my Corporate Job after 5 years, I am in my late 30’s and really done with the whole corporate job stuff…. I would do side jobs for extra income(invitations,logo etc) but I am over that as well.I would like to know any knowledgeable information you can give me to start making income until I figure out my next move…good part is I don’t have kids and not married so I am my own responsibility (lol) Lately, I feel that Graphic Design/Freelance/Invitation/Stationary/Logo Design business is oversaturated…just trying to figure out my life but I know for sure I want to have my own business. I am over it with working for someone else. I would love to offer online workshops but don’t know where to start any information would be helpful Thank You!

            21. Hi Emily! Love reading your blog. :) Two questions for you. What are your favorite books of all time for adults and do you have any devotional books/journals you’ve enjoyed? Thanks!

              1. Thanks for reading!
                1. Favorite books of all time:
                The Red Tent, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Kitchen House, Secrets of A Charmed Life, anything by Kate Morton or Liane Moriarty.
                2. Devotional books/journals:
                I love what the team at She Reads Truth is doing. Regular bible study/devotions that you can follow along with online or through their app.

            22. Hi Emily! I was wondering how your kids have been after switching schools? We’re considering doing the same, but I’m not sure how my kids would do. I’ve got one with a lot of anxiety.

              1. It went so well. I was very anxious, too, and the first few days were scary, but now everyone is so settled and happy. Just this morning one of the boys said he liked his new school so much better than the old one (which is saying a lot because the old school was GREAT!).

                I think we switched at a good time for all of them.
                Ethan is in 7th grade. He probably had it the hardest because starting at a new school in middle school is not easy. Thankfully, there are some really nice boys in his grade and while it took him a few months to feel truly connected, he is very settled now. In fact, he ran for ASB and was voted VP of the school for next year. We’re so proud of the way he has jumped into a leadership role being a new kid.
                Brady is in 5th grade and he is so personable and easy to hang out with that he had no problem at all. He is in his final year at elementary and that was a good time to bring him in to a new school (rather than starting at middle school).
                Mason (3rd grade) is our most introverted and shy (at least at school) and it took him a few days to make a friend. I cried and cried those first few days because I felt so terrible that my baby was alone at lunch and recess and in his heart. I reached out to his teacher a few days in and asked if she would help direct him to a friend. I was out of town for a few days that first weekend and when I came home Mason was so excited to tell me about how he introduced himself to a boy and they were now friends. It just took him a little longer than his other, more outgoing siblings.
                Audrey is very social and friendly and didn’t even blink at starting at a new school. Maybe because she had only done kindergarten and wasn’t as worried about starting over? She made friends that first day and has done great.

                All to say, it is scary as a parent knowing you are throwing your kids in a new space with no friends. But we had to keep reminding ourselves that this is so good for them, too. They get to learn how to make new friends and also experience what it is like to be the new kid. We hope this makes them empathetic and kind to other new kids.

              1. We have! One of the amazing things about moving to our town is that we have friends from college who live nearby. They are super connected and have been so helpful for us finding doctors and churches and activities for the kids.

            23. Hi Emily!
              Love your style and posts. Seeing them is a refreshing break in my week! In addition, love hearing about things you do to manage your family life as well – dinners, organization, the road trip, etc. I have 4 kids also from age 9 down to age 1 (2 boys and 2 girls though). It’s always fun and inspirational to feel a connection to someone, albeit virtually, who you see experiencing things in life from somewhat of the same perspective as you are. So thank you for all that you share!

              I have a relatively easy question. Recently you posted about some of your photography tips and mentioned your love of the Afterlight and Retouch apps. I got both and am loving the Retouch one, but not sure about the Afterlight one yet. In the past I’ve edited lighting, contrast, etc. on my photos right in Instagram using the Edit features (I often don’t even apply a filter) and I see Aferlight as doing that same thing. Is there something I’m missing or not understanding? Or something that Afterlight does better than Instagram? I love taking photos, but most end up being taken on my Iphone since it’s the most convenient thing, so I’m always looking for new ideas for apps for editing, embellishing, organizing, etc.

              Thanks in advance for any help!

              1. I think this might be a case of ‘use what you know’. I have been using afterlight for a long time and so I’m comfortable and quick with it. It probably has more features than the instagram editing, but if you like the results of instagram editing and are comfortable and quick using it – stick with it!

            24. Emily-
              i have two questions.. When you planned your road trips, how did you find tiny boutique shops and local places to eat for your family? also when are you going to do a post of your floating acrylic white board.

              1. Thanks for asking!
                1. When we were on the road trip, my instagram community was SO helpful in pointing us to the best restaurants/shops/sites. I would mention that we were in a town and suddenly everyone would throw out where to go. It was fabulous! If we get ourselves organized enough, we’ve talked about putting together a whole book about the trip, our itinerary and including all of those local suggestions.
                We also did lots of google searching – like “what to do in Chicago” and “farm to table restaurant Chicago” and “kid friendly activities Chicago”. Thank goodness for the internet!

            25. Hi Emily —

              I am big fan of yours — just love your style. A while back you mentioned you had bought a planner and were hoping to become a “planner girl”. I am also a fan of planners and the whole concept. However, I have trouble sticking to it and resort back to my sticky notes and scraps of paper. I am wondering if it has worked for you? And if so, do you have a system that works for you? Any tips are appreciated.
              Also, what is the necklace you are wearing in the photo on this post?

              Thanks much.

              1. I try to be a planner girl and it is just not working. In fact, as I look over at my planner sitting on my desk, it is open to the week of April 17th and is completely blank. So, basically, not much luck with the planner.

                I guess I just really like a piece of paper to write notes and to do’s down on. I use the blank lists from our Paper Works line all the time. I keep a calendar on my phone and computer and a paper calendar with blog post ideas/scheduling and this seems to do the trick.

                If I really wanted to stick with a planner, I think the most important part would be making a habit of writing in it. If I knew that every monday morning I spent a few minutes organizing my week in the planner, I’m sure I could stick to it. But I always find other things to do on monday mornings and the planner just sits on my desk waiting to be used.

                The necklace I’m wearing is my go-to with charms from this etsy shop:

            26. Hi Emily,

              Love your blog!

              I feel a little bead asking this question, but you opened it up to faith and I’m really curious. If you don’t want to answer, delete away, no hard feelings!

              As an agnostic/athiest I find it very hard to understand religious people.

              I mean, do you seriously think that the stories are true? If so, how do you deal with the things that don’t work with your world view (e.g. He who strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death” as a very tame example.) Or, if you don’t think it’s true, what is it exactly that you have faith in?

              Being a young person in a liberal city, i have almost no contact with authentic, intelligent religious people and I am honestly curious.


              1. Hello Rebecca,

                Obviously, I am not Emily and you didn’t ask me. But I just wanted to say that, yes, I do fully believe the Bible. I have been a Christian since I was five and will be thirty this year. As Christian I am not under the old covenant of the law. I am under the new covenant of grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith that brings salvation. The verses you referenced are referring to the old covenant. The covenant of the law.The purpose of the law was to set apart a people through which the Savior, Jesus Christ, would come. I am definitely challenged by many things in the Bible that do apply to me as a a Christian, such as loving my enemy and praying for those who persecute me. But, thankfully, I believe in a living God who walks with me and enables me to live more and more according to His word as I grow in Him. Have a good day Rebecca:)

                1. Kara (and Rebecca),

                  I, too, am deeply interested in living authentically and exhibiting kindness and love through my words and actions. Though I must admit that I really struggle with your comment that, essentially, the Old Testament is not a document of reference for us as Christians. My in-laws belong to a faith tradition that believes something similar, thus, they don’t agree with instruments being used in a worship setting and only men can address the congregation. Can you point me in the direction of some materials to better understand this? Please know that I am not wanting to create waves, but am deeply grateful for this somewhat anonymous forum to explore this topic and have a better understanding as it is much different than the faith tradition I was raised in. Emily, I am not intending to disrupt your Q + A, please delete should you see fit! Many thanks.

                  1. Hello Kate,
                    Thank you for allowing me a chance to clarify. I absolutely do believe that the entire Bible is for our reference and teaching as stated in 2 Tim. 3:16 But that I, as a Christian, am not bound to obedience of the Old Testament laws with the exception of the three points laid out in Acts15:29. The passage Rebecca referred to, for instance, teaches us how we ought to treat our parents and how God feels when we treat them wrongly.
                    As far as the doctrinal issue you mentioned, you can find out more about the issue of women preaching in 1 Tim. 2:8-15.
                    Hopefully this is helpful to you:)

                    And thank you, Emily, for allowing us to have this conversation on your blog!

              2. Hi Rebecca,
                First, I’d just like to say that I really appreciate your question. I feel like it was asked with a sincere desire to have a conversation, and I think that’s a rare thing these days. I am a Christian/Believer/Follower of Jesus. Here’s what I’m grateful to have the opportunity to say: I truly believe that God loves us all. ALL. He welcomes honest questioning. He can handle it. I think that we have become so divided and angry that it’s really hard to tell people about the love. I think a lot of Christians think that in order to seek God you have to have a particular political affiliation or a particular way of worshiping or a particular whatever. I think we often get stuck in religion and miss God entirely. I think we’re imperfect people who too often judge and decide and preach, when what we’re called to do is love.
                You’re right, there is a lot of hard stuff in the Bible. I’ll say straight up, there’s a lot that I don’t understand and can’t explain. What I know is, God loves me. And you. And every, single hurting marginalized person on this planet. We’re his children. Not just the people who are “getting it right.” In fact, you’ll find tons of places in the Bible where God clearly calls out the “righteous” and spends His time with the broken. If you have any interest at all in finding out more about who God is, ask Him to show you. I know it sounds silly, but God answers requests like that. In the meantime, I’ll be praying that God puts people in your life who are examples of His love, not examples of religion.

              3. Hi Rebecca,

                I cannot speak for Emily, but as one who also professes the name of Christ, might I humbly approach your questions?

                First off, I am so grateful for your authentic and genuine heart! God welcomes an honest doubter. These are super-tough questions and ones that Christians even battle; where did God come from, how do we reconcile a perfect, Holy God and a world full of problems (why doesn’t He step in, right?), how was Jesus – fully God AND fully man? Is there proof/evidence of these things, or are we expected to just “jump” with blind faith? These are legitimate questions…

                Since this could be a very lenghty conversation, and this is Emily’s platform, might I direct your attention here:


                This is Ravi Zacharias, a Christian Apologist, who is responding to these very questions!

                Please feel free to reply here if you would like to talk more on a more personal platform and I will be glad to give you my personal information! I hope this helps to answer some of your questions…I am praying earnestly for God to reveal Himself in a mighty way!


              4. What a thoughtful, honest question (that took a lot of courage to ask)! I know that this question is for Emily and I’m sure she can answer it much more eloquently than I can but your question is so heartfelt and courageous that I couldn’t help myself and just had to respond (I hope that’s okay). I am a believer and in today’s world it’s very easy to lose your way or have no hope. Hope. That’s what my faith gives me. It’s much more than that but without hope – life can be so dark. I know it’s hard to believe the bible stories, like Noah’s ark or David and Goliath. It sounds so far fetched but when you truly feel the presence of God and you understand the type of love and grace that only He can give you – you come to realize that ANYTHING is possible. He is SO much mightier and greater than our minds can comprehend. But isn’t that what you would want in a God?! Something beyond time and space and something that can’t just fit in a box? It’s a very difficult time to be a young person. Religion and God are not cool and you’re made out to be simple and marginalized if you are a believer. This life that we have on earth is just a mere flash in the pan compared to the eternity that we can have through Jesus Christ. I have done life with Christ and I have done life without Him and I never experienced true joy and peace until I included Him in my life. While being a Christian does not make your life perfect, full of rainbows and unicorns, walking with Christ does equip you to get through anything (and I mean anything – He will carry you through your darkest hours). Trust me. I have been there! Have you seen the movie Case for Christ? Perhaps start there so you can understand why people have faith and believe in God. Watch it and draw your own conclusions. But no matter what – if you ever reach a point of despair or just want to have purpose in your life – turn to Him. Pray. It will feel weird at first to be talking to someone that you can’t see but it will change your life in ways that you can’t imagine! Good luck to you in your life and know that I will be praying for you! I look forward to Emily’s response!

              5. I’m so glad you asked! Yes, bold question, but seriously, I’m honored that you feel comfortable asking me. Don’t you think these are the best types of conversations? Where you can ask the honest question and dialog about something that is usually very taboo, but so important? I’m all in.

                So, the short answer is YES, I do believe. I believe that God created the world and gave us the choice of whether we want to believe or not. He gave us Jesus, who taught us how to live and love and who defeated sin and death in our place so that we could be free from the constant and unachievable need to prove ourselves worthy.

                There are hundreds of Old Testament laws that are not part of my Christian life. Is it because I don’t believe the bible to be true and follow it completely? No. Instead of reading the bible as a list of to-dos, it is helpful to see it as a God-inspired library of books with history, poetry, biography, wisdom, that all lead up to the greater story of Jesus. If you read it as a manual, you will find a million contradictions (“do this.” “No, do this!”). If you read it as a bigger story – about humanity’s self-destructing condition and our inability to save ourselves (shown again and again through the story of Israel) and the rescuer and savior our loving God gave us to restore our lives (Jesus’ radical teaching, his inclusiveness to those outside the Jewish heritage, his fulfillment of the law) – you can see it as beautiful, loving, convicting, life-changing freedom.

                This is something I wholeheartedly believe and can’t always put into perfect words. If you are wanting more, I adore all of the talks from Bridgetown Church in Portland, Or. This series might be a great place to start to at least get a bit more understanding from a very intelligent perspective:

                As always, if you have more questions, feel free to ask!

                1. Emily, the way you answered this just makes me love you more. Thanks for sharing so generously of your story and gifts with others!

                  1. I want to say THANK YOU to Emily and everyone who answered my question with warmth and generosity.

                    Thanks for making this a space where tough, kind and genuine conversations can take place. I appreciate you all!!

                2. HI Rebecca,
                  I was just reading through the question and answers here and came across this conversation.

                  My husband and I just finished listening to a podcast series by Andy Stanley titled “Who Needs God?”
                  (I tried to link it here, but it didn’t work and I have no idea how to do that! :))

                  If you go to and type in Who needs God, Part 1, it will take you to all the videos for the series. You can also access it on the Podcast app on your phone if you have an iPhone.

                  Anyway, it is a six part series that addresses exactly what you are asking. He is speaking specifically to athiests/non-believers and people who have simply left the church because they just cannot believe in the God and Jesus they were brought up with.

                  I am a follower of Jesus and have been for 25+ years and this series changed my outlook on Christianity. This is one of the most powerful things I have ever heard.

                  I believe you will find this very helpful. Best wishes to you…

              6. Hi Emily!

                Long time reader, first-time commenter here. I was wondering if you’d be able to do a master list of paint colors used in the house? Thank you so much for providing quality content on a regular schedule. Yours is one of my favorite blogs. <3

                1. Yes! Although it will be quite boring since we only have three colors in our house!
                  All white walls + ceiling and trim – Shoji White by Sherwin Williams
                  Dark walls – Ancestral by Behr
                  Dark Trim + cabinets – Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams

              7. Do you have any other form of income other than this? I know you and your husband both work from home. How do you organize your roles at work/household duties. Is it honestly ever a challenge ?

                1. Jones Design Company is our only form of income. Kinda thrilling and scary at the same time!

                  We have multiple revenue streams from JDC – Simplified Classes, Paper Works, our House + Home Shop and affiliate payments from brands we like and use (like Grove, Hello Fresh, Amazon, etc.).

                  Both Ryan and I work from home and it’s pretty wonderful. Stressful, of course, but mainly we’re just so grateful for the opportunity to do our own thing. As far as household duties, we’re pretty good about splitting. Ryan does all of our finances, car and yard maintenance, coordinates things like scheduling the painters and getting new tabs for the car. He is also the visionary for the business, does all of the tech and behind the scenes work that makes a huge difference, but gets very little credit.
                  I am usually in charge of running the household. I put a pressure on myself to keep the house picked up and make dinner and be involved in the kids’ schools and schedule appointments/camps/sports, do the laundry, be what I think a ‘mom’ should be. In addition, I work. It can be very overwhelming sometimes. So, yes, it is a challenge!

                  We have talked about putting together a ‘couples who work together’ type event to have these conversations. It’s a dream that we’re still dreaming about!

                  1. That is soo amazing !!!
                    We would love to hear about a “couples who work together” type of workshop and advice.

                    Thank you, you both rock !!!

              8. Hi, Emily!

                When will the watercolor class be available? I recently got into watercolor, and want to learn some tips and tricks. I love the illustrations you make.

                1. We are hoping to have the watercolor class out early July. I’ll be working on it until the kids get out of school in mid-june and then my work life drastically changes :) I’m glad you are excited for it!

              9. Hi Emily! I love these posts!

                1) When is your watercolor class going to be ready? I’m really looking forward to it.
                2) What book are you reading now and do you recommend it?
                3) Can you give details on your necklace? Are those initials of your kids and where did you get it?

                Thank you and have a happy Friday! :)

                1. Thanks for asking!
                  1. Working on the watercolor class and should have it out this summer!
                  2. I am currently reading Light Between Oceans. It’s mildly depressing, but I’m curious how it all works out. And then I’ll watch the movie. My friend, Anne, from Modern Mrs. Darcy just came out with her summer reading guide and there are a handful on there I’m wanting to read:
                  3. The necklace I’m wearing is my everyday wear. It has four tiny initial charms for each of my kids. I’m not really a jewelry person, but this is one I wear with everything! The necklace itself is just a silver rope from Something Silver and the initial charms are from an etsy shop:

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