Oh Simple Joys

Our Caroline Elizabeth

Rachel CoxComment

So on October 8th, 2017 everything came to a standstill. I can remember randomly on a whim deciding to grab that lone pregnancy test in my bathroom and open it up...why? I honestly have no idea. I was only maybe a day or two late but just decided to take it for fun I guess? I honestly don't know. Anyways, fast forward nearly an hour later I had taken the test, set it down on the bathroom floor and honestly forgotten about it. I came back, picked up, and gasped. Two faint pink lines. STILLNESS. I told Ben who just kept saying, okay, okay, okay...haha we were both so caught off guard. We jumped in the car and ran to the drug store and probably spent $40 on pregnancy tests...all which said the same thing, we were expecting. 

The emotions that followed that day are ones I will never forget. Brand new feelings I have never felt before. Unknown, fear of the unknown, excitement in the midst of the unknown, fear again, excitement, and on and on it goes. I will say that I have never been more amazed by something or in awe of the handiwork of our Father God in my entire life. My body is capable of growing a life and that is simply the most amazing and magical thing I have ever experienced. 

I am now officially 20 weeks pregnant with our little girl, Caroline Elizabeth, and loving every minute. The first trimester, and really up until about 18 weeks, was very rough. I was so sick, barely able to keep food down and lost a lot of weight, but now at 20 weeks the sickness is pretty much gone, energy is coming back and I feel more like myself again which is an immense blessing. We chose the name Caroline simply because it struck me one day when I heard it said and I fell in love with it, I began dreaming of our daughter and knew, her name was supposed to be Caroline. Elizabeth was my precious Grammy's name and is my middle name. I loved and admired my Grammy so much and have always known my first daughter would carry her precious name. I pray our sweet Caroline can grow to be just like the woman that my grandmother was while she walked on this earth. 

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Since finding out we are having a girl I have begun to buy ALL. THE. BOWS. I seriously cannot help myself and know I am going to have to dig deep in the days and years ahead to find some self control when it comes to girl clothes and everything floral. It is just all so beautiful. I bought this sweet little onsie below the day we found out we were having a girl, and just think it is the most precious thing. So say a prayer for me for self control and grace from my husband on the shopping for all the things front! :) 

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I have already begun to plan out Caroline's nursery, and have been having way too much fun with this. Of course the designer in me had to create an inspiration board which you can find below. Her bedding will be all white, with a large custom made wooden sign above the bed and a felt garland drapped over it for some color. The sign is one thing I am the most excited about for the nursery...it will have Numbers 6:24-26 on it in a beautiful script font, which is the verse my own mother spoke over my siblings and I nearly every night as a prayer of blessing before we went to sleep. "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ We are planning to leave the walls the same color as they are now, Mindful Grey by Sherwin Williams, and really keep things very soft and neutral with minimal accents of coral, blush pink, and deep green. 

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HEALTH 

Like I said, overall sickness is gone with the exceptions a day or two here and there every two weeks. Praise the good Lord above!! I have some pretty bad skin changes on my face, mainly just small non itchy bumps and lots of dryness which has taken some getting used to when it comes to how I apply makeup and such. YIKES! I have also had pretty terrible sinus issues, sooo much mucus! TMI? But overall, second trimester is a breeze compared to the first and I am super grateful for that! 

  • Weight Gain - Still have not gained any weight BUT I am really thankful to not have lost anymore. I lost over 20lbs to start with from all the sickness so it is a blessing to be at a steady spot now and maintaining weight. 
  • Stretch Marks - a few if I am being honest! Mainly on my hips but not so much on my belly...as of a few months ago I have been religious about applying lotion a few times a day! 
  • Maternity Clothes - Yes kinda, I am wearing maternity jeans because rubberbands aren't cutting it anymore, but I can still wear all my leggings and tops for the most part. I have had to break down and invest in new bras twice now...those girls just keep on growing! HA!
  • Movement - YES! I have an anterior placenta so it has taken time to really feel much movement, and even now I do not feel her consistently throughout the day, but I definitely feel my sweet girl multiple times a day. I cannot wait for her little kicks and punches to be strong enough for Ben or feel from the outside, I have a feeling it won't be too much longer. 

EMOTIONS

Overall, pretty normal. But bless my poor husband on the days I go slightly insane. I am either fine OR totally irritable and weepy for really no reason. So while I have always been a pretty emotional person this has taken that to a whole new level. Praise the Lord for grace within marriage and lots of humility during this process. 

CRAVINGS / AVERSIONS

Still totally unable to eat plain chicken or really handle raw chicken to cook with. Your girl can go nuts on some fried chicken just not a plain piece of grilled or baked chicken for whatever reason. I have no cravings whatsoever for Mexican food and also cannot really deal with seafood. So we are eating lots of pasta, sausage instead of chicken and ground beef. 

Cravings have been all the terrible things. Cheeseburgers, cheese fries (especially those from Outback and Steak N Shake), pickles (especially fried), Chick-Fil-A, and Cheetos! So random but all so intense. I have given myself a lot of grace on the eating front, after losing over 20lbs in the first trimester I am letting myself indulge some in what sounds good for now. 

CURRENTLY LOVING

Like previously mentioned...all the girl things. I spend more time than I care to admit drooling over baby girl clothes and hair bows. I have found so much joy in designing Caroline's nursery and putting together our registry. Both tasks were overwhelming but I am happy with our decisions and more eager than ever to begin making some purchases and working on the nursery. You can view our registry here

MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO

First and foremost I am most looking forward to having our house renovation at a stopping point. We are getting so close and Ben has worked so hard the last several months. We really just lack getting the butcher block top for the island cut and installed (we being BEN 100%) and then laying down all our hardwood floors. So I am hoping we will be done by April and able to turn our attention to the nursery at that point. 

I am also looking forward to begin to make more purchases and check things off the list. So far our only big purchase has been the crib. So I cannot wait to begin really knocking some of the bigger things off our list. 

How to Combat Insecurity as a Self Taught Designer

Rachel Cox6 Comments
Being a self taught anything can be hard sometimes. Fighting feelings of insecurity and impostor syndrome are not fun. Here are 10 ways to fight those feelings and win. 

I don't know about you but I have found myself many a time in a place of self doubt and insecurity as a self taught freelancer and business owner. It is very easy to begin to believe the lies that "you are not good enough", or "you don't know what in the world you are talking about". Whenever I begin listening to these lies I am paralyzed, game over. My business is at a complete stand still, I find myself unsure of how to go forward, I am totally stuck in my insecurity feeling like a big fat poser. 

For most creatives this poser or impostor mentality is at an all time high when one or more of the following things has happened...

  • A client is unhappy with a product or design.
  • They begin to compare themselves to other designers who are making what seems like millions more $$$ while doing about the same amount of work. 
  • They find themselves wanting to be a "true designer" but feel like they don't have it together enough to use that title.
  • They fixate on the fact that they do not have a degree or formal training/experience in any sort of design. 

Can anyone out there relate? I am pretty sure most creatives run into this feeling at least once or twice. Nonetheless it is not a fun place to find yourself, it is just discouraging and it halts all productivity for your business which is never a good thing. 

So what do you do when you find yourself in this dark place? 

  1. Pull Away from the Noise.

    Turn off the phone, step away from the computer, mute your social media. Just step away. Sometimes the biggest triggers for my self doubt come from pouring over a million "how to" posts. While they are often helpful, sometimes they leave me second guessing myself and my abilities. So if you are feeling unsure of yourself, turn off all the noise and just breath. 
  2. Take Some Time Just for You.

    Taking breaks is a huge part of being successful in a creative business. I have learned this the hard way. The harder I push myself the faster I end up either burned out or in this place of creative paralysis. Set aside intentional time to take care of yourself and enjoy some much needed alone time, this can be as simple as afternoon tea or coffee, or a walk around the block.
  3. Stop the Comparison Game.

    We all want to be successful, and it is all too easy in this digital age to look at others who are making money, have thousands of followers, and seem to have it all together and beat yourself up. Comparison truly is the thief of joy, and I would also say it is the thief of productivity, creativity, and unique content. Get out of the heads of others, and get inside your own head. 
  4. Give Yourself a Pep Talk.

    Nothing cheers me up like a good old fashioned pep talk. You are beautiful. You are talented. You are good at what you do, and others think so too. Also, it never hurts to throw on some lipstick, and a little Beyonce and dance it out while affirming yourself. 
  5. Look Back at How Far You Have Come.

    When I look back at the very first things I ever designed in Photoshop I literally cringe. There is nothing more encouraging to me creatively than to look back to where I started and to see how far I have come. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it is amazing how confident you will feel after reviewing your progress.
  6. Read Client Testimonials.

    Encouraging words are my love language. Seriously, just write me a kind note and I will love you forever. I save every note I ever receive in shoe boxes, and love to go back and look over them when I feel down. Same goes for my design life. I keep all my kind emails from clients, testimonials, and uplifting conversations and go back over them when I begin to question my abilities. Works every time!
  7. Accept that Mistakes are Part of Life.

    It is so easy as women to internalize all of our mistakes and take them on ourselves. In business of any kind you will make mistakes...heck just in life in general we are going to make mistakes. Accepting this makes it easier to deal with. Don't question everything about your business or creative decisions if a client points out a mistake or criticizes your methods. Embrace the mistakes as part of your growing process, and learn to have tough skin rather than being hyper sensitive.  
  8. Remember that We are all still Learners.

    No matter what it may seem like from the outside looking in no one has it all together. No matter what their Instagram looks like or how polished their website is, we are all still learners. You will be learning for the rest of your life, just like everyone else. So take your eyes off those you have placed on pedestals, and remember we are all just on a journey to be the best we can be. 
  9. Seek Out Encouragement from Others. 

    When you find yourself feeling insecure and questioning everything about your business, stop and call a friend. I love talking to my husband about this because he stops and reminds me of truth and points out the lies I am believing. Having a fresh set of ears to listen to you talk all your thoughts out helps so much to bring you back down to earth and calm you down.
  10. Embrace Who You Are.

    More importantly than anything else, really grab onto who you are. For me, I am a self taught designer that has no degree in anything to do with design. But I love learning, and have come a long way when it comes to freelancing. I am a people pleaser that has to actively strive to guard myself from being overly sensitive. I struggle to not compare my success to the success of others. By embracing these truths about myself I am able to really own them, learn from them, and grow in these areas. 

If you still feel like a poser take a minute...pick two, just two things from this list and go do them and see how you feel after. Also, drop me a line in the comments below, I would love to be your cheerleader from one self doubter to another. 

Do you struggle with feelings of insecurity or inadequacy in your field? 

 

 

Avenue 410 Boho Boutique Brand Launch

Rachel Cox3 Comments

You may notice a few changes over here in the next few weeks, Oh Simple Joys has gotten a face lift and a new focus. I have mentioned several times in these brand posts that I am a self taught designer/freelancer. I love learning about design and I want to share what I learn with you! So be on the look out for more posts about my experiences as a self taught designer in the days ahead. 

Recently I had the opportunity to partner with two lovely ladies that happen to be sister in laws. These ladies had a dream of opening up a bohemian inspired online boutique with long term goals of a brick and mortar store on down the line. Enter Avenue 410, I was thrilled to work on the branding, logo, and web design for this project. 

We wanted to go for very rich, bold, feminine colors, and modern images that allude to the boho aesthetic and style that Avenue 410 carries in their products. 

I created 4 logo designs, and had a lot of fun drawing the little hanger. Ultimately we went with the first option and added in colors.

I created several collateral items including stickers, discount cards, thank you cards, and social media banners. They all turned out super cute!!

This was a super fun project to work on, and I know you will love all the clothes sold by Avenue 410, so check them out. (Hint, they have free shipping right now!! Hurry!!)