Friday, September 14, 2018


Friday, September 7, 2018


Leaving the proverbial nest and into his own college apartment may have been disorienting for our young adult son, but it was a dream for a mom who delights in the challenge of simple home design on a budget. 

The mind-set of today is an awakening for me, of the times we’re in and how much I’ve aged. It’s not that I was averse to decorating my first apartment, still, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to buy curtains or a coffee maker, much less a 75” TV. I was living on a student’s budget, as they say.
Or used to say. Witnessing the shopping frenzy at the big-box stores, college freshmen checking off items from a list they’d obtained from Pinterest, I wondered if the phrase still applies. 
With hundreds of television shows focused on design and websites like Pinterest, we’re all savvier about decorating and desire to live in well-designed spaces. That may be true, but doing it on a budget is still my narrative.
Between Craigslist, thrifting at second-hand stores, and my beloved Target sales, we furnished our son’s college apartment for less than $850. Reusing and recycling is significant, but it’s also important to judge furniture and supplies for its durability. Even the most careful of person will find it difficult to keep their college possessions in good shape as they move in and out of dorm rooms and college apartments for the next four years. Hardy furniture can be expensive when purchased new, so consider a gently used piece, even if it needs some minor sprucing up. A small can of paint can totally transform a lackluster table into an incredible conversation piece.
And lately, it’s not unusual to see fancy college dorm (or apartment) room photos. In fact, some designers even specialize in the trend.
Below are a few images from my minimalist design application, with respect to my son’s personality style, using muted colors, adding interest with texture and a bit of mixed patterns. A fluffy faux fur rug covers tan linoleum tiles in the bathroom, and a fern freshens up the rather bland kitchen – just to name a few.

Sure, at this point in his life, his needs are simple: a sofa to play video games from, a mattress on the floor to sleep on and odor eliminator spray to mask the strange smells of his well-used furniture. But I really wanted to do something that’s warm and cozy, something that gives a sense of home.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


I’m so busy. You’re so busy! There’s so much to do. Not enough time in the day. I might be able to come, but I cannot commit. [Legit screaming inside] We are all so busy, busy, crazy busy doing things and aren’t we just unfulfilled with our collective busyness … yours, theirs, ours. Why are we so busy?

Are we even doing what we really care about in our busyness and with who we love?! Or is it all about proving ourselves, piling it on, catching up, falling behind, and waking up tired to do it all over again – the proverbial rat race.

Friend, we deserve more for ourselves and the people and things we love.

I was going to give you five creative ways to end your busyness or a list of things to do so you can do less, but in the interest of keeping you less busy right away, let’s cut to the chase. Yes, there are things to do, but I know none of us want to be completely immersed (read: lost) in our busyness.

We want more time to read books, hug kids, take walks, see the world, heck - just see our neighborhood, give back, make art, pet puppies, watch paint dry, do nothing, and most of all, breathe.

I’m learning to live with less which is seemingly creating time and space to discover what really matters. I declutter and purge at least monthly, a trunk full of things that had been taking up space in my home without adding any value to our lives. By decluttering, and focusing on the best things instead of all the things, our home feels less stressful and more spacey.

If you are overwhelmed and under-inspired, I know how you feel. I’ve been there. I’ve worked too hard, spent too much, and slept too little. I spent much of my adult life tired, full, overwhelmed and sick. Society teaches us that more of everything will fill our proverbial voids, but I’m on to them and I’m here to tell you that it’s a lie. There is significant joy in less and in living a meaningful life.

Living more with less gives you space, time and love to remember who you are. Living with less clutter, busyness, and stress will help you make the room to do what you need to do. Simplifying my life gave me the space, time, and love to be more me, and the following practices led me back.

If you’re new here, I’m Mandi Roach and this lifestyle blog is my story and my way of encouraging you to be kind to yourself, lean in on your faith, love people, and live a meaningful life. I am a Christian and regardless of what you believe, you are welcome here. I will nudge you to discover the joy in owning/doing less, and then preach it back to me weekly. Too, I am a wife, a mother, a writer and photographer. I love yoga, reading, cooking, eating, and to be brutally honest, I love eating more than I do cooking. Hiking is my jam, and I still haven’t decided if I’m a mountain girl or a beach girl.

In 2016, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. While it doesn’t define me or this blog, it certainly made a huge impact on my life. Sometimes I share the lessons a life changing diagnosis delivers, including living greener and toxin-free. The past few years have been an incredible journey of love, health, and simplicity, and I’m so grateful to be on this path.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


I could give two hoots about the algorithm or trolls or monetizing. I can’t be bothered with making sure everyone see my posts or likes them or, even better, likes me. Or if my following is increasing/declining or if my filters are all in-sync or if my feed is maintaining the same look or theme or vibe. Blah. I don't have the energy for it. Because it means very little to me but this community is still my chorus.

Life feels fragile. My kids are growing at lightening speed, as I am -- so I just wanna document my ordinary here & write from my heart's riverbank & love the ones at my table well & invite you all in along the way. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


I'm sure all you Millennials need no help creating your Instagram highlight cover photos, but the 39-year youngster in me was intrigued yet oblivious how it was being done. So, I set out for the simplest instructions and figured others in my age group might find these helpful.
It’s pretty easy actually! In fact, there are quite a few ways you can go about creating them using either Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Spark, or my personal favorite, Canva.
I created a Canva tutorial so you can make your own highlight cover photos in just a few simple steps.
Step 1
First, create a Canva account if you don’t already have one. Next, click on the “Use custom dimensions” button in the top right corner. Enter your custom dimensions as 1080×1920.
how to create instagram cover photos for stories highlights

Step 2
Pick a background color. Some people like to use their branding color for all covers, while others like to make each one a different color. It’s your personal preference!
how to choose the background for a cover photo in canva

Step 3
Use the search bar to find a cute illustration for your cover. For example: camera, travel, house, book, baby, etc.
how to create graphics for instagram stories

Step 4
Once you find an icon that you like, click on it and it will be automatically placed on top of your background. From here, you can resize it and make it perfect for you. I like mine a little larger so I resized mine to about 620 x 620. Make sure to place your icon in the center and change its color to better suit your style.
creating graphics for story highlights

Step 5
Download your image and upload it to Instagram.


You have to upload all the content you want to feature in your Instagram Highlights to your Stories first! Including the cover photos!! They also have to run for a full 24 hour cycle in order to be able to be selected as cover photos. If you make an image your Highlight cover photo and then delete that image from your story, it will automatically be deleted as your cover photo as well.
And there you have it! Pretty easy, right?!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I know you have a big heart and you spend a lot of your time helping everyone else, but I want to remind you about the power of saying "no". 

It's hard to say no, especially to the people you love, like your family and close friends. But do you know that learning to say "no" makes your "yes" even stronger?

When we say yes out of guilt we end up having a "weak yes" and often don't put our whole hearts into what we're doing. We sometimes even resent the people we've said yes to. But here's the thing - saying yes is a choice! We're not being taken advantage of - we're just sleeping in the bed we made with all our people-pleasing yeses.

But when you say no to things that are motivated by guilt or people pleasing it creates for you to give your whole heart elsewhere.

It allows you to say yes to rest.

Yes to being present.

Yes to your spouse, your kids, your best friend, the person right in front of you.

So here's your challenge for the week: 

Next time someone asks you for something I you don't want to do it, say no. Just try it. See how it feels and what reaction you get. Trust me, you won't die. 

I believe in you, friend and that's why I want to encourage you in this. You have so much to give but you don't have to give it to everyone who asks, every time they ask. 

Your fellow recovering yes woman,

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