Browsing Articles Written by

Lisa Leonard

hello warm weather

hello monday By January 30, 2017 4 Comments

We’ve had a couple gorgeous, sunshiny days. It’s a beautiful break from the rain {which we need so much!} This succulent in our front yard seems to love the rain and sunshine because it grows larger by the day. I think it’s doubled in size in the last two weeks!

It’s Monday, a brand new week, how about some hellos?

Hello finally breaking out these frye sandals I got on sale.  I’ve been eyeing these for a while and are about 40% off.

Hello last week of whole 30. We have been cooking a ton and that means lots of dishes too. Overall it’s been a good experience. {I miss dairy!!}

Hello haircut for me this week. Yay!

Hello getting Matthias ready for camp this weekend.

Hello sniffles that seem to keep going around our family. We are so over it!

Hello A Series of Unfortunate Events. Have you seen the new series? We just started it.

Hello February! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Hello searching my local thrift stores for cool floral paintings.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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DIY painted baskets

decorating, DIY By January 25, 2017 4 Comments

I’ve been working really hard trying to build my basket wall {and by working really hard I mean going to thrift shops every now and then}. It’s EASY to find basic baskets at thrift stores but it’s hard to find super cool colorful baskets. I’ve splurged on a couple new african baskets because they are just so lovely.

I found a couple basic baskets at the thrift store the other day and I decided to paint them to add some more color and texture to the wall.
This is the wall after I did some painting and rearranging.

Supplies: painter’s tape, acrylic paint, small paint brushes, thrifted baskets.

Here are the two baskets I found at the thrift store. They both had a bit of staining and were about $1 each.

For the star shape I began by taping off a four-point star. I did it by sight and followed the lines of how the basket is woven. It’s not perfect but I didn’t mind.

Once the star was dry, I pulled up the tape and free-handed a gold outline.

Then I painted the sunburst in the middle free hand. You can use a stencil if you prefer {I’m just lazy!} Or you can sketch out the sunburst {or other design} with a pencil.

For the diamond, I taped the shape, again following the lines of how the basket is woven.

Then with a small brush I painted a blue line around the edge. It was easy to free hand.

I love the simplicity and the pop of color with the diamond.

The star shape is more subtle. I love a sunburst–for me it symbolizes hope. Read more about it here.

And there you have it! Painted baskets mixed with other thrifted baskets and some beautiful african baskets. Love.

What do you think? Would you try painting some baskets?

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Hello Harry Potter World

adventures, hello monday, matthias By January 23, 2017 1 Comment

Matthias turned thirteen, THIRTEEN last week. Hello thirteen! To celebrate we went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, Hollywood. We had so much fun! I was impressed with the whole experience. The buildings are straight out of the movies and the interactive wands are so cool!

It’s Monday and time to jump into a brand new week. Ready or not, here we go! How about some hellos?

Hello Harry Potter and Hogsmead. We’re huge fans. Are you?

Hello wands–so many to choose from.

Hello climbing and laughing and celebrating.

Hello super amazing train conductor who taught Matthias the Ravenclaw handshake. The staff at the park was incredible.

Hello wand ceremony. Matthias got picked by a very special wand. The wand said Matthias was creative, smart, brave and friendly to all. The wand is so right!

Hello feeling like I need at least one more day to be ready for Monday.

Hello grocery shopping.

Hello watercoloring and writing. I’m in full on creative mode over here.

Hello rain and rain and lots more rain. I haven’t seen this much rain since I was in college. My car got stuck at a flash flood in an intersection. It was nuts!

Hello being a mom to two TEENAGE boys. How can it be?

Hello bulletproof coffee. It’s strange but we love it! Have you tried it?

Hello to YOU. It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to today?

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I See A World

be brave, inspiration By January 20, 2017 69 Comments

Every Friday night our little family goes to a local restaurant down the street from our house for burgers and chicken tenders. It is our Friday evening ritual—the kids count on it and the parents love it too.

But on a recent Friday evening, a very surprising thing happened.

We ate our dinner, paid the bill and started to walk toward our car. David was happy and sometimes when he is happy he dances as he walks {you can imagine it is pretty much the cutest thing ever!}. Steve bent down and gave him a kiss and we all kept walking.

A gentleman approached Steve and said with a quiet voice, “I noticed your son and I was moved. I just want to do something for him. Will you please take this and get him a gift?”

David has a disability. He is very small for his age and has only two fingers on his left hand. He is non-verbal and spoon fed. It is common for people to notice him, but unusual for someone to approach us.

Steve looked at the man’s hand and saw a folded ten dollar bill.

“That is so kind but it’s really not necessary.” Steve responded.

“Please,” the man said with pleading eyes, “I want to do this for him.” The stranger was beginning to tear up a bit.

“Sure, okay, thank you so much.” Steve responded and took the ten dollar bill.

Steve buckled David into his car seat and we all climbed into the car.

As Steve started the engine he looked at the bill and realized it was a $100 dollar bill.

“Oh my gosh!” Steve said. “I thought it was ten dollars.”

We looked around the parking lot but couldn’t find this kind stranger anywhere.

As we drove down the street we talked about what to do with the money. We decided we would get a $100 Target gift card and give to David’s teacher so she could buy supplies for the classroom. That way the money would be a blessing, not just for David, but for the other special needs students in his class.

When I gave the gift card to David’s teacher she started to cry, and of course I got teary too. It was such an amazing, beautiful thing. This gentleman was brave enough to show kindness to strangers. I hope it returns to him ten times over! He inspires me.

I believe there is more good than evil in the world. Today is a good day to show kindness.

You have faith.
I have faith.
Each of us carries faith in our hearts.
There is no shortage of faith.
I see a world overflowing with faith.

You have hope.
I have hope.
Each of us carries hope in our hearts.
There is no shortage of hope.
I see a world overflowing with hope.

You have love.
I have love.
Each of us carries love in our hearts.
There is no shortage of love.
I see a world overflowing with love.

Today we have faith, hope and love.
And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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where dreams and reality meet

be brave, hope By January 17, 2017 17 Comments

I had no idea joy, pain, exhaustion and sheer delight waited for us. I had no idea this tiny baby growing inside me had a genetic disorder. I had no idea he would break my heart, turn my world upside down and then slowly help me heal and grow into a person who loves more deeply.


I remember holding the positive pregnancy test in my hand. I was sitting in the bathroom of our small apartment near Los Angeles. We had been married for three years and we had been trying to start a family for the last six months. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me as the HUGENESS of the moment filled the room. I stared at the pregnancy test in disbelief.

“We are going to have a baby.” I thought. “Oh my goodness, there is already a baby growing inside me.”

We had boarded an unstoppable train headed toward an unknown destination. We wanted to start a family and we were trying to get pregnant, but when I saw the positive test I was terrified. I had been dreaming of this day since I was a little girl. When it arrived I was surprised to find myself so afraid.
My life was about to change in massive ways.

I was about to fall in love with a little boy who would forever change my heart.



The unknown is scary and I was looking into a vast world of unknowns.
The intersection where dreams and reality meet is perhaps the most terrifying place to be.
I stood on the edge of the known, looking into the unknown, with shaking legs.
Looking back, I could see where I had been.
Looking around me, I could see where I was.
But looking forward I could see nothing.
I took a step forward.
It was one of the most important steps of my life. David has brought beauty and joy to our family and changed us in amazing ways. He continues to grow and thrive and show us what it looks like to live with joy.

A couple years later I stood at another crossroads.
David was a baby, I was teaching part-time in our local school district and stringing beads into necklaces in the evening. A little dream started to grow inside my heart. What if I could turn this creative hobby into a little business? Friends loved my handmade jewelry and my coworkers were asking if they could purchase my necklaces and bracelets. I decided to make it official and get a business license.
As I got into my car to make my way towards City Hall, I felt sick to my stomach with nervousness.

“Surely they do not give business licenses to people like me. They are going to laugh me out of the building.” I thought. “They will know I am a fraud as soon as I step through the door.”

My heart was pounding and I felt my face go red as I asked the receptionist for a business license application. My hands shook as I searched for a pen in my purse and began filling it out line by line.

I had no idea incredible opportunities and long sleepless nights waited for me. I had no idea my little business would grow and change. I had no idea two years later I would quit my job to focus on making jewelry. I had no idea some day my husband and I would have a team of amazing individuals helping us with marketing, customer service and manufacturing.

The intersection where dreams and reality meet is perhaps the most terrifying place to be.
I stood on the edge of the known, looking into the unknown, with a shaking hands and a red face.
I took a step forward.

No matter how difficult, wonderful or mundane our circumstances, they are known—there is comfort in what is known. But the what lies ahead is unknown and the unknown can be deeply unsettling. We do not know what the future holds and deep down we know, we do not control the future.
We feel fear.
But we do not face fear alone.
We have a powerful force behind us.

Hope.

With hope at our back we take a step into the unknown.
At the intersection of dreams and reality, it is natural to feel fear.
Fear does not make us weak.
Fear makes us human.
When we move through fear toward what is true and right and beautiful, it makes us brave.
With each timid step the future becomes the present and the present becomes the past.
All that is required in any moment, is one step.
We take that step with hope at our back.

Have you found yourself at the intersection where dreams and reality meet?

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hello thirteen!

hello monday, matthias By January 16, 2017 3 Comments

Impossible but TRUE! Matthias turned thirteen years old yesterday. I am so proud of him. Matthias is insightful, kind, artistic, hard working, passionate, articulate and full of opinions. He keeps us on our toes! He adds balance and silliness to our family. Matthias we love you so very, very much! Happy birthday bud.

Here’s pics from Matthias’ 9th Ninjago birthday.
When Matthias turned eight we had an art party.
And way back when Matthias turned three and we had a Thomas the Train party.

Matthias is saying hello to thirteen. How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello celebrating at Harry Potter World, Universal Studios. Pics to share soon.

Hello feeling surprised how grown up Matthias is at thirteen! I love it.

Hello one week into Whole30 but bending the rules slightly for a few bites of cupcake.

Hello trying new recipes and eating lots of delicious food.

Hello DISHES. Oh my gosh, so many dishes. I guess that’s what happens when we cook more.

Hello missing diary. I love creamy coffee and cereal with milk. Comfort foods.

Hello feeling sad lately. I’m not sure exactly why–it’s hard to pinpoint. I’m trying to find a balance between feeling my feelings and not completely unraveling. I think it might be partly Whole30 detox and partly just stuff of life.

Hello walking and resting and downtime. These things are good for my soul.

Hello lots and lots of rain and sunshine in between. We are so grateful for the rain.

Hello brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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Whoa! iPhone 7+ portrait mode

inspiration, photography By January 12, 2017 7 Comments

I recently got a new iPhone 7+ and I am LOVING the new portrait setting inside the camera. I believe only the 7+ has this setting. I’ve also heard it’s in beta form right now, so it will likely be even better in the future.

The portrait setting allows you to get a crisp foreground image with a blurred background. It’s so good that I wanted to compare it to the regular camera setting and my Canon 5d.

In the examples below you’ll see the images in this order…

  1. regular camera setting on iPhone 7+
  2. portrait camera setting iPhone 7+
  3. Canon 5d Mark II The first image {regular setting} compared to the second image {portrait setting} show how AMAZING the portrait setting is compared to the regular. Wow! It’s almost as good as the Canon 5d!

    The background but adds depth and interest to the photo, don’t you think?

    It’s hard to tell in the above image because the photo is mostly foreground, but even a bit of background blur i the second photo {portrait setting} makes the photo pop!

    I think the middle photo {portrait setting} looks breathtaking, don’t you? Of course the last one {Canon 5d} is even more magical. But I am impressed with the portrait mode. So cool.

    In the first photo {regular setting} you can see Matthias and the dogs cuddling in the background. I think it makes the image kind of messy looking. The second {portrait setting} the spoons really pop. The third {Canon 5d} has even more background blur.

    This last example of the three photos shows a similar quality between the second {portrait mode} and third {Canon 5d} photos. Pretty amazing, right?

Do you have an iPhone 7+? What do you think of the new portrait mode?

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hello breakfast all day

hello monday By January 9, 2017 2 Comments

Breakfast all day sounds great to me. Coffee+eggs+bacon=YUM! Plus I love eating out. My sister has an adorable cafe in her neighborhood. A perfect morning consists of rolling out of bed, putting on some shoes and walking a few steps to sit down for breakfast.

It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

Hello breakfast. The perfect way to start a good day.


Hello rain and rain and more rain. We have a ‘pineapple express’ moving through California which means rain and more rain.

Hello sneaking the pups out for walks between rain showers.

Hello whole30. Our family is going to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Hello feeling thankful coffee is whole30 approved. Except no cream. We’re planning to try bulletproof coffee. Have you tried it?

Hello back to school. The boys were off for two and half weeks. It was awesome but now it’s back to the routine!

Hello new year, fresh start, and a new chance to dream big. What does 2017 hold for us?

Hello Harry Potter Marathon. We’re rematching all the movies and they are so awesome!

Hello new sheets on our bed. I can’t say enough about these amazing sheets. Affordable and sooo soft. I’m in love!

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week and a brand new year. What are you saying hello to today?

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buzz buzz

finding love, worthiness By January 5, 2017 5 Comments


Thoughts like bumblebees fly around my head.
Buzz buzz buzz
So many thoughts

Some thoughts buzz by and I hardly notice them.

Some thoughts are scary.
The scary thoughts buzz and buzz.
I try to run but they chase me.

I stop running and face the scary thoughts.
“Are you true?” I ask them.
The scary thoughts keep pestering me.
“No.” they say.
We are not true.
Their buzzing gets quieter.

Some thoughts are mean.
The mean thoughts sting. Ouch.
I try to run but they chase me.

I stop running and face the mean thoughts.
“Are you true?” I ask them.
The mean thoughts keep pestering me.
“No.” they say.
We are not true.
Their buzzing gets quieter.

Some thoughts are happy.
The happy thoughts are as sweet as honey.
I do not run from them.

I turn and face the happy thoughts.
“Are you true?” I ask them
The happy thoughts keep buzzing.
“Yes.” They say.
We are true.
I take these thoughts into my heart.

I am the keeper of my thoughts.
My thoughts do not keep me.
The happy thoughts make a home inside my heart.
After time they grow and become a deep knowing.

You are unique.
You are amazing.
You are enough.
Just as you are.

Buzz buzz buzz
My heart knows it is loved.

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hello california christmas

christmas, hello monday By December 26, 2016 5 Comments

We had a fun relaxing Christmas day with family. Last year we were in England–the Christmases were so different, each amazing in its own way. Our California Christmas was surprisingly chilly this year–it only got up to about 56*–which for our part of California is cold!

I’ve got lots of pics to share. How about some hellos for a brand new week?
Hello tiny tree. We stayed in an Airbnb and I brought a little tree with us.

Hello berries and blurry boys walking to the car.

Hello love.

Hello pug butts.

Hello pretty table and llama wrapping paper for a tablecloth.

Hello cuddles with grandma.

Hello aunties.

Hello kisses and being silly.

Hello spiderman. We were all so happy he made an appearance!

Hello bright eyes and smiles.

Hello playing a game. Prizes were wrapped under various layers of saran wrap. One person tries to unwrap as fast as they can while the person next to them is trying to roll doubles with two dice. It was so fun!

Hello smooches from auntie

Hello cutie pug.

Hello helping daddy play guitar.

Hello Lucy the dog who’s almost a human.

Hello finally getting the cold I’ve avoided for weeks. It caught up with me.

Hello not sleeping well and feeling extra thankful for good coffee.

Hello wrapping paper and boxes to clean up.

Hello absolutely loving this children’s book.

Hello wondering how long we can leave our Christmas tree up. I love the twinkle lights.

Hello to you. It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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