Thursday, April 27, 2017

How to Create a Joyful & Productive Environment

The other morning I was trying to get work done and it was just not happening. I felt this cloud over my mind, this heaviness in my body, and the motivation was just not coming. Then the thought finally came to me: What will help me feel alive right now?

In this moment I turned to diffusing a citrus essential oil to help rejuvenate my mind and spirit. It worked! My productivity and happiness increased in that moment.

That brings me to the thought: How can I always create an environment that brings me joy, productivity, and all the good things?

Here are some ideas for you:
  • Treats! This is probably the one thing that doesn't have to do with creating a joyful environment, but it sure helps me feel joy and sometimes even productivity if I have something to look forward to! Even if you have dietary restrictions or are cutting out certain foods, I encourage you to still find things to eat that you love! Maybe that's treating yourself to a fresh pressed juice at the little shop down the street once a week. Maybe that's Friday night pizza with the family, or a post-run donut. Yes, fuel your body with good foods, but also make sure you are fueling your soul. Sometimes, for me, that means my favorite apple fritter. And weekly, that means my favorite green smoothie from a local smoothie shop!
  • Treats can also extend to things. Do you feel invigorated by a vase of flowers on the kitchen table? Pick some flowers from your yard and bring them inside for a burst of color and scent. Does luxury French soap by your kitchen sink help you feel fancy whenever you wash your hands? Buy some every now and then! If it brings you joy, sometimes it's worth the splurge.
  • The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. While this is a home organization book, the idea can extend not only to our physical homes but our whole lives: Only keep the things around that spark joy. Check out the book and give it a try!
  • Along that same line, fill your home with things you love! Have you seen the new Darlybird housewares? I swoon over the lush pillows and throws. I love to create a cozy space in my home where I can just relax. This also helps with temperature control in your home, because who can get work done when you're perpetually freezing or overheating?
  • Aromatherapy. While I am no scientist, I've been taught that the scent receptors in our nasal cavities make direct connection with the limbic system of the brain, which helps control our emotional responses. I believe it! Aromatherapy covers essential oils, candles...even simmering water with spices and orange slices on the stove. Play around with this. What scents make you happy? Citrus? Earthy scents? Floral? Aromatherapy is a quick way to get my mood up. (Note: sometimes you get what you pay for here. Unless you are simmering fruit and spices, or make your own candles, beware of mass produced chemical filled candles and $4 essential oils from big box stores. I guarantee that there are hidden ingredients in those $4 oils).
  • Consider making a playlist of songs that make you happy. You can turn it on whenever you need a little pick-me-up. An alternative: I love the website (and app) Noisli, where you can customize white noise sound combinations and save them. You can even add it to your Chrome web browser to turn on for a set amount of time (if you need that 25-minute productivity before you leave for lunch, for example).
  • Lighting. If you work in an office with unbearable lighting, perhaps buy a little lamp for softer lighting. If it's getting late and you want to wind down, perhaps use lamps in your home, twinkle lights, or light candles in the evening for the soft, calming glow. Cold spring morning? Light a fire in the fireplace. I think lighting is something we don't often consider (or I often don't consider), so play around with this and see how you feel with different alternatives.
These are just some of the ideas that I've considered and implement in my home here and there. I now pose the question to you: How do you create an environment that brings you joy, productivity, and all the good things?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday Meditation: Seek

Find a piece of paper or a notebook. Find a pen or pencil.

Close your eyes and take three long, deep breaths. Open your eyes. Consider:

          How do I want to feel today? How can I feel this?


          How can I feel joy today?

          How can I feel peace today?

          How can I feel empowered today?

          How can I feel fulfilled today?

Write your thoughts.

Inhale, exhale, begin.

"What you seek is seeking you." — Rumi

Monday, April 17, 2017


I’ve had a vast variety of casual hobbies and interests. In grade school I joined clubs then quit clubs, never lasting more than a year, and usually lasting far less than that. I’ve spent years as a young adult switching from the helping field to creative field, back and forth through a handful of different jobs and pursuits. I’ve narrowed it down and then said, “Now what?”

I listened to my soul and it fell silent. I wrote lists, drafted ideas, erased and refined. I asked my soul again and only found a surface acceptance of the plan.

So then what?

So then, I dived in. If my soul says no, then I backtrack and try a different path. But if I’m enjoying the hustle, then I move forward. And that goes for every decision and path. Continuously moving forward.

I think we create our path one step at a time. We feel it out, we find what we love, we succeed, we fail, and we adjust accordingly.

So here's to Monday's. Here's to the next step. Here's to listening to our hearts and souls, and moving forward in alignment with those things.

[if i haven't listed a source, i can't find it. 
if its yours, tell us and we'll tag you]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Darlybird Launch + Business Advice from Rachel!

The new Darlybird is up and running, and we are SO excited about how excited YOU all are about it! Thank you for being a part of our opening day. If you haven't already, browse around! You will swoon—I guarantee it!

P.S. Free shipping on all orders over $50!

Rachel was invited to share her experiences as a business owner at the Springville Library as the first part of their Small Business Startup Series. So last night, after launching the shop and celebrating this new season of Darlybird, Rachel headed down to share! (I followed her down to support, because girlfriends support girlfriends, right? Yes.)

She was joined by the powerhouse women behind Milk Honey Fine Yogurt and Little Sapling Toys (pictured). I can't remember the exact question asked, but at one point Rachel spoke about the value in surrounding yourself with an awesome team, and about delegating to the members of that awesome team. While building a business, you don't have to do everything. Do the things you want to do (and some of the things you don't, because that's just part of building anything), but you don't have to do everything yourself.

Yes. Amen. Rachel knows how to build a team, and I'm grateful to be a part of that team.

All of this reminds me of a quote from Amy Poehler: "I want to be around people that do things. I don't want to be around people that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things." Again: amen, sister.


Who is on your team? It doesn't need to be a work team necessarily, but who are the men and women you surround yourself with, to build a life you love? Tell us in the comments! We'd love to hear!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sneak Peek #3!

Guess what? It's happening. So soon! Stay tuned. 😘

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sneak Peek #2!

The new Darlybird is going to be chalk full of the things you used to love about darly (jewelry, kids stuff, accessories), but with an expanded home section (these pillows and more!) and more Darlybird branded items. We cannot wait for you to see it all!! 😍

Resiliency / Origin Story

“Do you remember being born? Are you thankful for the hips that cracked? The deep velvet of your mother and her mother and her mother? There is a curse that will be broken.” - Warsan Shire

A few months ago I stood on the front porch of my Aunt’s house late one night as she spoke of resiliency. “We come from a line of tough women,” she told me. I knew the patterns: love, babies, divorce—but I hadn’t thought deeper. I hadn’t considered the implications on the individual women involved—betrayal, grief, single parenting, second jobs, homemade bread, hand-me-down everything. I hadn’t considered the anger. I hadn’t considered the tears. I hadn’t considered the sleepless nights wondering, “why me?”

And I hadn’t considered that they kept going, despite all of the grief.

Resiliency. I’m positive these women fought to the bone—first for their marriages, and then for their children and their own selves.

I knew my mother’s mother experienced this. Her mother experienced it as well. And last week I realized that her mother—my great-great grandmother—also experienced it.

As I researched my maternal line, I found Grace, my great-great grandmother. I read a story detailing her deep love of a man, despite her parents’ disapproval, and her willingness to leave a life of luxury for him. Together they traveled the world, made tents and houses into homes and grew babies into children. However, very shortly after the birth of Grace’s fourth child, her husband left her for another woman. Knowing what I know of my own self now, and my own self in the context of this line of women, I can imagine a portion of her deep grief, though surely not to the extent that she lived it. She raised her four children alone. He disappeared.
Peony Study Print by Pencilbox Art & Design / Katie Stratton

I then dug a little deeper and found information on the other woman. Their relationship didn’t seem much better either. He died when she was still young (there was quite an age difference there). She remarried, and she and her second husband grew old together—both living past the age of 100 and dying within 3 months of one another. That is a love.

While it does not seem that Grace ever remarried, I can attest that her future generations—my great grandmother and my grandmother—though also suffering through the grief of broken marriages and raising children alone, both remarried excellent, incredible men.

“Choose your love, love your choice. - Thomas S. Monson

Somewhere deep in my bones, there’s the belief that men will leave. And they have, both in my own life, and in the lives of my ancestors. There is a concept called “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance” that states that memories such as anxieties and traumas can be passed down from generation to generation, seemingly in one’s DNA. This concept was briefly mentioned by a professor once in the context of the lingering intergenerational effects of the Great Depression, but I believe it applies here as well. Beyond the genetic “memory” of trauma and abandonment, my own limiting beliefs—sculpted from life experience from childhood to now— confirm that this is true. Grace’s story lingers with me, touching on the fears in my heart, and mirroring some of my own experiences in a way that aches deeply.

This is who I am, my fears tell me. They will always leave.

But will they?

“There is a curse that will be broken.”

There is the trauma, but there is also the resiliency. My grandmother, her mother, and her mother found joy and passed that onto their children. They taught hard work, fighting for what you want, sacrificing, building, and growing—together. I think of my mother, my aunts, my grandmother and great-grandmother—the women from this legacy who I know personally. I think of their deep love for the people around them and how they live their lives passionately, full of integrity, grit, joy, and resiliency.

There’s a picture of my great grandma Mary on a sailboat with her second husband, Jack. The sun is shining and they are happy together. Even years after Jack’s passing, she still receives Christmas cards from both his family and her’s.

I think of my Grandma Judy and her husband Gerald, sitting in their respective lounge chairs in the living room of their home. They have a garden in the backyard and a faithful dog beside them. Grandma Judy still sends me handwritten cards for every holiday. Grandpa Gerald gives the best hugs and always tells me how loved I am.

And I think of Grace. She made this. She endured through the deepest of griefs and this is her legacy: strong women who love deeply and endure.

The curse will be broken, though sometimes I forget that in the midst of griefs and unknowns. But it will, if I merely remember: the blessings are deeper than the curse. The trauma may be in the bones, but the strength and light of my predecessors is in my whole soul, and renewed with every breathe I take.

- By Allie Barnes, Contributor,