Lisa Leonard Designs

hello confused weather

February 2nd | celebrate the every day, hello monday

The weather around is here has been so warm! We had a couple rainy weeks and everything got nice and green. Then the sunshine came and persisted–so everything is in bloom. I think the weather forgot that it’s January. Last week I pulled out my camera to capture some of the beauty and send it your way. Here’s a little sunshine for those of you who are stuck inside with cold weather!

It’s Monday–a brand new week with so much to be thankful for! How about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello blooming branches and blue skies. My heart can hardly take it all in.

Hello making time for quiet and making time for me. I don’t know why I have such a hard time sitting still–but I do know it’s good for my soul.

Hello play date with friends and trying to drag the kids away from video games. {after all, the sun is shining!}

Hello gift for you! If you want a copy of the above photo, just email me at lisa @ lisaleonard.com and I will send you the high res image. I think this would be so pretty on a wall!

Hello February. So nice to see you.

Hello groundhog day today. We should watch that movie–it’s such a great one!

Hello sister time. Be still my heart–I love time with my sisters!

Hello creating. I am working on some fun things and of course I can’t wait to share them with you!

Hello Valentine’s Day. It’s not far away!

Hello fighting a little cold. It’s not enough to keep me down, but it’s still annoying!

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. Join me!

Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there!

investing in love

January 31st | david, finding love

The fall mornings are always chilly even though after a couple hours the sun comes out to warm everything. Before we leave the house, I pull a warm vest around David and strap him snuggly into his car seat. As we arrive at school, I slide open the van door, give him a kiss on the cheek and lift him from the car.

David has special needs. He was born with a rare genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange. Because of his syndrome, he doesn’t use words to communicate, he has only two fingers on his left hand and he depends on us to feed and diaper him. David is very relational and loves to cuddle and hug—but he is cautious with new people. At times he voids eye contact and prefers to play alone.

At the beginning of the school year, he took hesitant steps toward the classroom, pulling on my hand and trying to slow my pace. It was a new school with new faces to get to know. Every morning, his teacher would bend down and with a big smile on her face, and welcome David to school. For weeks it went like this, hesitant steps culminating in a warm welcome and a fairly disinterested David.

But she persisted. She showed love and kindness to David. She invested in him…

I’m sharing at {in}courage today. Hop over to read the rest of the post. 

willow and sage magazine feature!

January 30th | DIY, features

I have fallen in love with a new magazine! I’m sure you’ve heard of Stampington–they create magazines such as Where Women Create, Artful Blogging and Somerset Life. Such beautiful publications! They have a new magazine called Willow and Sage–and they featured my sister weekend in there. I am so excited! Take a look.

These magazines are worth keeping for years. The photos are high quality with a matte finish. So inspiring!

In August I snuck away for a magical few days with my sisters. We stayed in an airstream trailer and had so much fun talking, laughing and eating amazing food. I want to go back. So bad.

I surprised the sisters with some handmade foot scrub and we soaked our feet. It was so fun and relaxing.

The foot scrub is incredibly simple. It’s just brown sugar grape seed oil and if you want, a splash of almond or mint flavoring for a nice scent. I use it all the time in the shower. It makes my skin so soft and moisturized. Love it.

For a gift, just put into a mason jar and make a little tag. Seriously simple, pretty and practical.

Click here to follow Stampington on Facebook. And here to follow them on Instagram.

And if you want lots of inspiration for homemade bath products, hop over here and get a copy of Willow and Sage. You won’t be sorry!

What’s your favorite make-at-home beauty treatment? Please share!

celebrating matthias at knotts berry farm

January 29th | celebrate the every day

A couple weeks ago we went to Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California to celebrate Matthias’ birthday. We had cousins and grandma and auntie and uncle. Although he would have rather stayed home and played video games, I think he had a great time. Knott’s is more mellow than Disneyland. I grew up going there and it brought back some sweet memories!

Highlights of the day included malts at Johnny Rockets, bumper cars {we rode twice}, being silly and getting a charicature {a gift from the grandma}. Doesn’t Matthias’ daring look JUST like him?!

Happy Birthday to one of the sweetest eleven year old I know! We love you, Matthias!

layered necklaces {love!}

January 28th | jewelry, what I'm wearing

Oh this dress and the sunshine. I felt happy and free wearing this outfit. It’s Wednesday and I’m linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.

The length of this dress is just right. It’s long enough to be covered but short enough to be fun. Steve got me this dress for Christmas. I love it.

 And the sunshine we’ve had lately is magical. Cool evenings but glorious days. And we got rain last night–so hooray!

And these are my every day favorite booties.

I love a pretty dress that is easy to wear.

And I love layering necklace. The sterling itty bitty heart has Steve’s initial. It’s a 16″ chain. And the petite infinity is on 18″ sterling chain. Gorgeous.

Outfit details: Dress, Anthropologie. Booties, Frye via Zappos. Bag, H&M. Jean jacket, Gap. Itty Bitty Heart Necklace, My Shop. Petite Infinity Necklace, My shop. Bracelets, My shop.

I know some of your are freezing in the east! I hope you’re staying cozy inside with a blanket and cup of cocoa!

surprised by love

January 27th | finding beauty

As I live, I learn there is so much more to love than I used to think. It’s deeper, wider, stronger and more beautiful than I used to believe.  Here are some things I’m learning about love…

1. Love grows in rocky soil. With a little sunlight and water, love can grow even in difficult circumstances.  It doesn’t require ideal conditions to thrive.

2. Love is resilient. It gets nicked and scraped, but if those bumps and bruises are tended to, it will heal to become even stronger.

3. Love is a renewable resource. Sometimes I feel used up and empty. But with a little rest and room to breathe, I am refreshed and ready to love again.

4. Love is brave. A heart that knows it is loved is willing to risk and be vulnerable.

5. Love expands. There is no limit to love. As we’ve made new friends and watched our family get bigger, I’ve seen my heart stretch and grow.

How has love surprised you?

hello sunshine and waves in avila beach

January 26th | an everyday moment, hello monday

Hello friends! We had a very mellow, happy weekend. It was much needed after a stressful week. I feel like I finally exhaled. And guess what? Today is Monday–a new beginning and a fresh start. How about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello Avila Beach. We are there fairly often, so on this trip, I tried to capture some fresh photos and look at things with a different perspective.

Hello saying goodbye to one of our dear friends, Peggy today. Steve is playing guitar at her celebration service and we are grieving her loss with friends.

Hello clean boys room. I went through all their drawers and I have three bags of clothes to give to friends. Feels so good!

Hello dishes done and groceries waiting to be gathered.

Hello warm weather. It’s gorgeous out. We need rain. We are enjoying the sunshine and praying for wet weather.

Hello tummy pain. David has been struggling lately. GI issues are the hardest thing for him. I think he’s having a growth spurt–he’s super hungry but then struggles with reflux when his tummy is full. It’s so hard sometimes!

Hello creating. My mind is going a mile a minute lately–and I love it.

Hello Downton Abbey. Are you watching the current season? We’re obsessed.

Hello to you, sweet friend! What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link up your own hello monday post there!

beauty in brokenness {free printable!}

January 23rd | blog friends, finding beauty

It’s Friday friends! Whose ready for the weekend?

Today I am featured over at Barn Owl Primitives’ blog. Such an honor! I adore Kristi–and although we’ve never met in person, we regularly connect online, through texts and with phone calls. I can tell you she is a woman with heart who has built a thriving business that creates beautiful things. She and her husband work together {like Steve and I} so we have a lot in common.

If you’ve been hanging around here much, you’ve probably heard me talk about finding beauty in brokenness. I used to think I could create a perfect life, now I realized there is no perfect. But there is still so much beauty! In the crazy, everyday mess, I see bits of beauty and love–and it fills my heart!

Barn Owl Primitives created this gorgeous sign for me and guess what, today they are making it available as a FREE printable just for you! How amazing is that?! Click here to find it on the Barn Owl Blog. 

Happy Friday Friends!

Loving Each Other in the Mundane

January 22nd | finding love

Married life is so different than I thought it would be.  When we were young and in love, I was sure we would be the couple that would beat the odds—and you know what, in some ways, we have. But it’s nothing like I expected. I thought true love was fluttery feelings and never disagreeing.

“Okay,” I used to think, “we can have the occasional disagreement, as long as we communicate well, listen to each other and resolvd things in a calm, healthy manner.”. But marriage isn’t usually so neat and tidy.

Now I think true love is something altogether different. It’s actually deeper and more profound than I used to think.

Steve and I are well matched. During pre-marital counseling, our pastor had us take an assessment to help us identify ‘red flag’ areas where conflict would likely arise. When the results of the assessment came back, there were no red flag areas. Sure we had different backgrounds and slightly different perspectives on some things, but overall we approached life with similar beliefs. We exhaled a huge sigh of relief. We were going to be okay.

We got married, decorated our apartment, and stepped into life thinking we had it figured out. We had a solid friendship and we truly enjoyed being together—but we didn’t have a clue about what life was about to throw our way. We started off optimistic and in love, then real life happened all around us. We’ve been through some crazy, hard stuff—depression, getting fired from a job, friends divorcing and having a baby with a severe disability. We’ve held each other and cried with grief in moments so dark we could hardly see a way forward. Through those rough waters I have been so glad to have him by my side

We’ve also had some amazing experiences together—walking the red carpet with Gerard Butler at a movie premier in Los Angeles, attending a ball in Ginezno, Poland, sipping tea in an old estate home in England, oh, and building a thriving business together. We’ve done things I never dreamed I’d have the opportunity to experience. I remember moments, staring into each other’s eyes, and not being able to hold all the joy inside. And through those fairytale moments, I have been so glad to have him by my side. His smile, his friendship, his sense of humor makes the exceptional even better.

But after 15 years of marriage, I no longer believe it’s the highs and lows that make or break a marriage. The lowest lows and the highest highs are the exception to the rule. And while they may be extremely difficult or hugely exciting, they don’t define a marriage. It’s day to day life that makes or breaks a marriage. The drain of the mundane can be exhausting. We work together, raise our boys together and live life together. It’s busy and stressful. Sometimes, after the boys are in bed, and we are both sitting on the couch catching up on our favorite BBC show, I wonder why it feels like there is a wall between us.  Those bricks pile up one at a time—a small comment that hurts or being too tired to share details from the day. Each one doesn’t seem like a big deal, but over days and weeks they pile up to create a wall. Sure, these bricks can be torn down, but it takes vulnerability. Someone has to reach out to the other person with a hug, kiss, or a kind word. The same fatigue from the every day stress of life, the stress which allowed the wall to go up, makes it hard to tear it down.

I used to think highs and lows put strain on a marriage—but now I see it’s more than that. The every day stress of life is what makes marriage so challenging {and so beautiful}. Every day we have to fight the distance that wants to creep in and build a wall between us. I wake up in the morning to Steve making breakfast for our family and give him a little kiss. And bricks come down. Sometimes I slip a little note into his bag that says, “You are brave.” And bricks come down. Every day we have to hold each other, listen to each other, and share our hearts with each other. It isn’t fancy, but it matters. It isn’t complicated but it’s not simple either. Marriages are built in the little, everyday moments of life. Marriages are broken through the everyday strain of life and the drain of the mundane.

As I sit here reflecting on how different married life is from what I expected, I feel grateful that I married my best friend. I am grateful that he and I are committed to breaking down walls and fighting the distance. Together we are learning to be more vulnerable and to love each other better in the midst of the mundane.

favorite jeans, favorite drink

January 21st | what I'm wearing

I’ve got a new favorite drink from Starbucks–and it’s fairly low carb {and seriously delicious!}. It’s a cinnamon dolce with whole milk and one pump of sugar free syrup. Oh and whip cream. It’s such a treat and so yummy!

It’s Wednesday and I’m linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for some fashion inspiration.

On a typical day, I pretty much wear these jeans, a black top, some kind of sweater or jacket and boots or heels. It’s a simple and trusty recipe for getting ready.

This sweatshirt moto jacket from Gap is cozy and structured.

And the bag is from Better Life Bags. Seriously a show stopper. Love it!

The flowy black top and heels are from Target.

And a yummy drink in my hand makes for a good start to the day.

The marked by love necklace celebrates how certain people leave an impression on our lives forever. That is a beautiful thing! Everything in the shop is 25% off with code ‘grateful’. It’s a good day to shop!

Outfit details: Jeans, Big Star via zappos. Black top, Target. Moto jacket, Gap. Heels, Target. Necklace, My shop. Bag, Better Life Bags {love!}

What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks {or your favorite local coffee shop}?