2018... We're Ready.

December 31, 2017

Taking a look back on 2017, I've found I just didn't love the year. It wasn't one of extreme growth and excitement or really low moments where we were struggling. I always compare now to 2016 and how it was the lowest year and the highest year for our household. We experienced a serious accident with Andrew and he had his finger and part of his hand amputated and we welcomed our second daughter. It was a roller coaster of a year and I don't know if we will experience one quite like it again.

That said, we had a lot of changes in 2017. Spring we made the decision for Andrew to switch jobs but the process took us all the way through December when he finally moved.

Summer we put our 3rd home on the market and moved into our 4th (and beloved) space.

Late summer I was hired with a company I loved, doing something I loved.

Fall, we celebrated 3 kiddo birthdays, honored a legacy of our sweet grandpa Wimpy when he went to be with Jesus, and I was let go from the position I started in the summer.

Winter changed things immensely when Andrew finally moved jobs within Discount Tire and we took a huge pay cut... shortly after I lost my job.


I’ve never been closer to our Savior. Ever. He holds all our burdens if we let Him. He sustains our life if we give Him the Glory and ability to walk alongside us. He knows the path we will walk and presents us with these obstacles because He knows we will make it through.

We normally let Christmas linger a little after Dec 25th but this year it felt right to clear out, clean the house, start fresh and regroup for the coming year.

2018... we’re ready for you!

Happy New Year, all. Be safe tonight!

Embracing 2018

December 29, 2017

Happy Friday! I woke up today thinking it was Wednesday and we still had a few day until the weekend but then it hit me and I realized, we're about to head into a long weekend and embrace 2018!

I've been feeling completely ready to start page 1 of 365 and see what God has to offer us. We're in a season of adjustment and trusting in Him with each and every move we make and it's calming to know we have that peace He provides. It's given me the ability to let go of the control I'm constantly wanting to have and let things happen as they may. With the kids, with work, with our relationships and friends. It's freeing.

I think my word for 2018 is GRATITUDE.

I want to be grateful for where God leads us, how I adapt to curve balls, how I embrace and appreciate my body and all it does and can do, and thankful for the ones I have in my life investing in me, especially Andrew. 2017 wasn't super low like 2016 was or super high, again, like 2016 was, but it was one I'm okay to see go.

What's some goals or ways you're wanting to soak in 2018?

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2017

stunning illustration

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 24, 2017

top- PinkBlush | cardigan- PinkBlush | jeans- AE | bag- Logan & Lenora (code AUBREYLL15 for a discount) | shoes- DSW | necklaces- Made by Mary

Happy Sunday! Can you believe it's Christmas Eve?! I just love this time of year because it's so magical and stunning just celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It's even better in the eyes of little ones and I can't wait to see the babies faces light up tomorrow when they see all our gifts we've made for Jesus set out for him, just as the three Wise Men brought him gifts when he was born.

I shared on Instagram last week how we don't exactly celebrate Santa and hype him up during Christmas time. We actually try to focus on how Christmas is Christ's birthday and do things to honor Him. That's not to say we don't acknowledge Santa Claus, as we have family members who do and celebrate that way but we just like to push it back to Jesus.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and stay safe!!

Friday Favorites

December 22, 2017

Happy Friday!

This week was a doozy. Between sickness and Drake starting winter break and finishing up client projects before clocking out today, I could use a glass of wine. Or 5.

Funny story, a few weeks back, I was having a margarita, then another and then a third but I never have that much... like ever. I was so darn hungover the next day and I still haven't had a single sip of alcohol since then. I may never again.

That sure made me feel old. And haggard.

Here are some favorites from my week

:: This planner is the one I chose for 2018. Simple, clean, and filled with all the organization I need. Corie knows where it's at with OCD people, like myself. I have washi tape and stretchy bands from her too. You know, to spice things up.

:: Well, isn't this dress darling? It's in my cart... I may have to pull the trigger real soon. I get asked a lot where I shop these days and honestly, PinkBlush is a go-to of mine. The selection is endless and I feel like their inventory works well on so many bodies. Just food for thought.

:: Oils. I finally wrote a page more in depth about essential oils and why I chose Young Living because I've started to openly share us using them. It took me a while to be honest about that because I didn't want to be "that" person. I guess I'm that person now but I'm passionate about how Young Living has changed out household sooooo, here's the page.

:: Today is the anniversary of when Andrew proposed 9 years ago!! I think that's why I love winter even more and this time of year. It's magical in itself, but the sentiments it brings are precious.

What are some of your favorites from the week?

Get Outside

December 20, 2017

stroller- Quinny x Rachel Zoe | leggings- Lululemon 7/8 | hoodie- PinkBlush | carryall tote- Logan & Lenora (code AUBREYLL15 for a discount)

I'm going to be as open and transparent with you right now as I can be without being too vulnerable and sharing too much. How vague is that?! ;)

Since Hollyn was born, I've had a hard recovery. Like HARD. Physically, it took a toll on my body that I never endured after having Emery and it's something just in the last 2 months, I've finally started to feel better. I've been to my OB, my primary doctor, a specialist, and they all were leaning towards pushing me having a hysterectomy. Vague enough? Again, sorry!

Because it's been a huge adjustment and learning curve just functioning on a regular basis, I've been trying to find ways to keep my mood lifted and on top of everyday life and going on a walk helps tremendously!

People told me that from the beginning and although we were out walking a lot when Hollyn was first born, it fizzled out because of the temps increasing in AZ so now that's it's cooled again, it's such a mood booster! I grab the kiddos, fill our big bag of goodies, blankets, and snacks for the park and hit to road in our Quinny x Rachel Zoe Moodd. We blare some music, laugh and chase each other the whole way and by the time we're home an hour or so later, we have happy hearts, tired feet and ready to get some down time.

But that fresh air just makes the day so much better!


Cozy for Christmas

December 12, 2017

Each year I share our home decorated for Christmas and each year, I love it more and more. You can see the last two years, here and here. Isn't it hysterical we've been in a different home each year? Hahaha... hysterical. And annoying. Praise God we're staying put in this one for a while.

This year we pulled in some cozy pieces with faux fur, lots of trees for greens and some cushy stockings for a nice change. I also layered some rugs in the family room to make it extra plush and cozy so when we're all bundled up Christmas morning, opening presents, we have an abundance of places to sit with our hot chocolate. I love the way adding two rugs on top of each other give a whole new, fresh look and the pairing of this Well Woven rug and the jute one have a perfect marriage with the Christmas decor we chose.

Our formal dining room has all the other decor with the reds and traditional Christmas elements, like in this home from 2015. We had space to do two spaces decorated so we took full advantage!

Do you do the same decor every year or do you change things up a bit?

Can we just take a moment to acknowledge how darling my panda is?
I sure love my Brutus!

You can use code "Aybkhn20" for 20% off when shopping WellWoven.com!

8 Tips for Creating a Routine as a WFHM

December 11, 2017

I've been working for myself since right before I was pregnant with Emery and over the last (almost) four years, I've been able to put processes in place to stay motivated, efficient and successful with my time working from home. When I added babies into the mix, there was absolutely a learning curve and figuring out the balance but 13 months postpartum with my second little one, I feel like I've got this down!

A little back story, I was working at our church home doing Social Media Marketing and Blog Editing when Andrew and I decided it was time for me to take a step back and go ahead with being full force business owner. That's when AK | Design Studio came to fruition full time whereas before, it was part time, nights + weekends when I wasn't working at the church.

I was in a routine of working 9am-4pm or starting January 2014 and once Emery was born October 2014, I reworked my schedule here and there to have flexibility to continue taking clients. I expanded from just blog designing to full business branding, social media marketing and offering consulting to build business presence. It was the dream job!

Here I am, almost four years later, and I'm working full time doing the same! It's been an adjustment with two little ones, I won't even deny that but I wanted to share my routine so if you're in the same boat, it may help you sail versus sink trying to balance it all.

Create a work space that sets up up for success.

I am a huge believer in your environment will either help you or hinder you. Each night before bed, I'll make sure my desk is cleared off, clutter free and prepped for the next day's agenda. I also have a large work space so when I'm in the thick of emails, design boards, Skype calls...etc, I have a large surface area housing notebooks, my planner, coffee, my Bible and phone.

Urban Wood, a local AZ word working company recently built me a custom desk to accomplish that for me! I was the person who had a cheap IKEA desk that I forever said I'd upgrade and guess what? I never did. But, moving into our new home in August gave me the push because my work space is shared with our formal dining room. We hardly use that space for actually dining, outside of entertaining, but, I wanted a stunning desk that was not only functional for work, but beautiful as a piece of furniture in our home.

Tory and Drew, owners of Urban Wood, were incredible taking my vision and making it a reality. I chose a thick x base in white and then complimented with a gray stained top. I am literally obsessed and it makes me excited to jump into work every day!

Block schedule your time.

My friend Jaime gave me so many pointers with this process but it's blocking out your time so you know everyday, you'll be doing emails from 9-10am, then client details 10am-12pm... etc. That helps you stay on task with things you're doing and not jumping from one project to the next, never finishing the original item you were working on.

I also turn my phone on silent during my blocked out time so I won't aimlessly scroll instagram or get off task doing something pointless on my phone. That ruins productivity and is distracting so either turn your phone on silent or completely eliminate it and put it in a different room. I promise, it's worth it!

Invest in a sitter/nanny.

I know this sounds scary and not budget friendly but it's saved my sanity. I have help 1-3 days a week, all depending on my work load and it's made a huge difference in my success staying on top of work and hitting deadlines.

Our nanny is my cousin so she already knew the kids and they are buddies but it's peace of mind knowing someone is coming to my home and loving on my babies. Some days she stays only 3-4 hours and others it's 8-9 hour days. She's super flexible for us and we are beyond appreciative. I'm currently writing this post while she's with my girls!

There are apps out there you can find help who also assists with house keeping, meal prepping, grocery shopping...etc. You can either agree on a flat rate for the day or an hourly rate. Personally, we're hourly and we use Venmo to pay her weekly. Putting those processes in place has really helped me know when I'll have a chunk of time to work and when I'll be present with my kids.

Set office hours and stick to them!

Working from home or for yourself is hard in general because you're the boss. You are the one setting your hours and time in office but you also are torn, feeling like you need to be present and available to clients and emails.


That's not the case. You are human who has a life outside of work and a life you need to spend with your friends and family, enjoying! Clients will understand this so be strict about settings your "in office" hours and follow through with them. I am available Monday - Friday 9am through about 4pm but that means I don't respond to emails or clients inquiries any time outside of those set hours.

If you respond once, you'll continue responding and then clients come to expect being able to get in touch with you. You need balance in your life and that means you need to take care of yourself. Don't feel guilty with that. It also means you'll be able to shower and get other "mom" things done outside of those hours! AND BE PRESENT WITH YOUR FAMILY! Hallelujah!

Have flexibility.

I think this may be the most important piece to the puzzle, simply because life happens. Kids get sick, there are extra curricular activities that call for your attention, the internet goes down, a computer crashes... you name it. They've all probably happened to me! ;)

If that means you need to ask daddy to help with the kiddos for a 3 hour block over the weekend so you can push through a couple things for work, that's okay. If you need to be accommodating to a client who's schedule only permits weekend flexibility - okay. I realize I just yelled at your above about honoring work hours but there are exceptions. Some of my clients pay for a rush service so I'll work 2-3 hours at night or over the weekend when I know daddy will have the kids.

Google Drive is Your New Bestie

And the monthly fee of $1.99 is worth every penny for the additional storage. I had a computer crash in July. Like it blew up and started on fire and I was devastated when I lost almost everything. BUT, I started using Google Drive as my backup system in May or so meaning I didn't in fact losing all my content! I have the Drive installed on my computer so instead of saving docs and files and images to my computer, I sync it to my Google Drive.

I believe you are given 30GB with your Google account but I pay for extra storage. Everything from 5 years ago, I have stored on an external hard drive. Family pictures, vacation pictures, previous clients...etc. 

I also use Carbonite. It's an auto back-up system for your computer so it's running continually and saving everything you're working on in real time. You can access your account from any computer, download what you need and it's all there. Again, worth the money! I think I have the personal plan that's $69/year.

Be Present

Kiddos know when they're being ignored or something is taking precedent over them. Use your time working, strictly on work and spend your time away from work being present with your family. That means turn your phone on silent or put it in your bedroom until they babies are in bed, don't respond to emails or creating tasks you'll need to do at a later time. It goes back to honoring the boundaries you've put in place having strict office hours.

Your family deserves YOU! Spend the time with them and focus on making memories instead of aimlessly scrolling through Instagram or checking Facebook notifications or work emails. Mkay? ;)

Honor the Sabbath

I'm just going to leave this message from our church, right here. I highly recommend watching it if you're a business owner or struggle with being "busy" all seven days of your week. 

Biggest thank you to Urban Wood for sponsoring this post
and creating such a beautiful, timeless piece for me to utilize every day!

follow urban wood


December 10, 2017

I thoroughly dreaded getting our family together for a Christmas card this year. I think I've already told you this and I actually had a custom illustration done from a sweet friend of mine of an old family pic but then it occurred to me... why not do one of just the kiddos and shoot them individually?

You see, my problem is finding a time we have all 6 of our family together (Brutus included) that works with Drake being home and Andrew being off work and our photographer available and then the girls not conflicting with naps. It's rough and stressful and maybe I should start booking that once a year family shoot in October. BUT it looms near every year and I finally decided to snap some pics of my babies and scroll Minted for a solid 8 hours to find a cute card and BAM. Done.

I've ordered them, they're in my possession and awaiting me adding stamps and getting them in the mail. I just love the ease of Minted with the free recipient addressing because no cramps hands are in sight. I also love how everything coordinates from the envelope liners to the return address label stickers we use.

Thanks Minted, for always having my back!

And family/friends, expect these the week of Christmas... because I'm lazy this year! ;)

Christmas Card c/o Minted

My OCD self loves this product!

December 8, 2017

Okay, when do you guys think it's the right time to switch from a diaper bag to a purse? I feel like I carry about 37 things for all three of my kids and I still need an abundance of storage to tote it all around. Do you do this too?

Like what can you do without and what is totally necessary? What if there's a blow out and you use one outfit and then there's another and you don't have a second?! What if you're out longer than you anticipated and you have HANGRY babies and you are out of snacks? You obviously still need all the storage and organization you can get to make life easier.

I'm a Fawn Design diaper bag owner and lover but lately I've been wanting to switch it up. I posted this pic on instagram recently and people were dying over my Celine lookalike bag and it made me bust the baby out. It really is a stunner and a mere fraction of the cost. Score!

So because I deal with the problem above and all the WHAT IF'S you better believe I threw the queen of organization into my bag to make it a diaper bag anyway. How? ToteSavvy. That's how.

I have the ToteSavvy original and it's perfection for toting (see what I did there!) all the kid junk. A little compartment for everything to keep it all in it's place and the ease of just pulling it out and popping it into the next purse, bag, tote of my choice is ease. Ease, y'all! It's a tad squished in my Fawn Design bag so I'm ordering the Mini to use for that bag. I just find having the luxury of removing one thing from a bag instead of 37 to transfer to a new bag is worth it.

Ya feel me?

Ending my rant now about caring all my kid's stufffff. Just popping in to share my love of yet another product that's functional, thought out, and making motherhood easier! 


December 6, 2017

gold stack rings- c/o Mickey Lynn | pendant necklace- c/o Mickey Lynn | striped top- PinkBlush | cardigan- PinkBlush

use code AUBREYML20 for a discount
when shopping Mickey Lynn

Happy Wednesday! It's been a crazy week for us so far as Andrew started a new job that's been long awaited but it's so exciting for us and the season of life we're in. He's been with Discount Tire Co for the last 12.5 years and we thoroughly enjoy the company and what they stand for. Since his accident though, his hand has given him trouble and stress that's only amplified so we've taken time to pray about transitioning to a different position and he's finally made that switch!

He's still with Discount Tire but working in the sales side doing a desk job now. His hours are much more consistent which is the exciting part for our family. He's now home nights and weekends! Seriously, that's the biggest blessing and something we're completely over the moon about.

That said, it's giving us a ton more time together to really enjoy as family and it's a breath of fresh air being able to say we're simplifying.

On the flip of that, I began taking design clients again for December and 2018 and the response has been incredible! I absolutely love what I do and so appreciate the trust and value in providing branding for other businesses online presence.

Speaking of branding... Mickey Lynn is literally DREAMY. Can we discuss their instagram right now? And their simple, delicate and stunning pieces? I was ohh-ing and ahh-ing over their feed the other night and can't help but share how thought out and beautiful it is. I'm wearing the Impact Ring(s) and Palm Druzy Necklace in the image above - loooove!