Another Birthday, A Fresh Monogram

The Details

Dress | Shoes | Bag | photography by: Angie Garcia | In partnership with Harvest Jewels, all opinions are my own! | You can get 15% off your Harvest Jewels order with code KATEY15 at checkout!

This weekend I was given the privilege of turning another year older. Years ago as birthdays would come, my mind wandered to birthday dinners and how I would spend the day with my mom. And while I still only ever ask for a day with my mama on my birthday, I feel like these markers start to symbolize things I accept rather than things I do.

I think the most beautiful thing about aging is you stop trying to change everything about yourself, you accept the strengths, the weaknesses and instead learn to grow into those things. Sometimes you grow from lessons that turn things for the better, but other times those weaknesses stay.

As one of my good friends tries to remind me faithfully, “If you change all the things you define as weaknesses, you eventually lose your strengths. Your greatest weakness is generally the thing you succeed at the most.

So as I embrace another year, another opportunity to love my family and others with everything God has given me, I aim to embrace the 5 truths I came to know last year.

You Aren’t in Control

I used to say this all the time without knowing what it meant. I viewed it more as, “God is in control of my future, but I can help him by doing this and that and this.” Even as Maxi was a newborn, I had such a false sense of control. Sure, I was up at night with her, but for the most part, she was predictable. She ate, slept, did tummy time, and snuggled. I could plan my day minute-to-minute, cross off a to-do list, and the only change I truly saw was dark eye circles and a few wrinkles here or there.

This past year as Maxi became a full-fledged toddler, I learned the meaning of not being in control. This was a lesson I learned in surface level things and in deeper scenarios as well. From my own personal struggles to any pain we experienced as a family, I learned that I can’t micromanage life to fit the blueprint I think it should be.

On the surface level, let’s talk control in my day-to-day life. If you aren’t new here, you know I’m an Enneagram 1, Type-A, First-born prototype. I don’t deviate much from that description.

I KID YOU NOT, I used to have a motto that, “The only excuse to not have a blog post up is if I’m in the hospital or physically can’t type.

I meant it in a cheeky manner, but honestly, it makes me so sad that I firmly lived and believed a “no excuses” lifestyle. I can count on my hand of times I’ve been in the hospital or had surgeries and typed away on my laptop because I was so passionate about sticking to a schedule. It wasn’t to succeed at blogging {trust me, Insta Stories is the way now and I rarely do those-ha!}. It was because I am so in love with this website and sharing content, that I get my ideas going and HAVE to keep it on a schedule so I can share it all. If I miss a day, I’d think, “Oh well then I can’t share that because we are on to something else.” I have such a natural affinity for rules and rule following, that it’s easy for me to set a rule for myself {even if it makes no sense} and have a no-excuse policy. It can become unhealthy. But when given a boundary, well, my rule-following nature can be a huge strength. I’m able to balance schedules, remember little details, get up early and get things done- but the strength has to be checked every now and then so it doesn’t spiral!

A larger example would be my mom’s hand surgeries. We were told she’d have to do one hand surgery to fix the damage her RA had done to her. Having surgery with RA is a marathon in and of itself as you have to get off your RA medication about a month before and a month after. My mom attempted the surgery a few times, but truly, couldn’t make it through the day without her medication to help her move her joints, digest food, etc. She finally was able to have it and we thought- YES! We did it! We {truly SHE} controlled her environment, our family’s schedule, the doctor we selected, her healing process. We did it! Well, one surgery turned into 4 as her surgeon couldn’t see the full extent of the damage until he got in there. She actually has to have one more this year, which we are incredibly nervous about. I was at her last surgery and her doctor sat down with me and explained the healing process and how she would be in excruciating pain for at least 7 months {it’s a full joint replacement in the hand} and would need me to drive her for a huge portion of that time. I sat with tears thinking, “No! She doesn’t have to go through this. We controlled it all, why is this happening?

But it’s happening because WE AREN’T IN CONTROL. That’s just it. Once we accepted, planned for her future surgery, and looked at it as an opportunity for full healing, then we experienced the peace of knowing we don’t have to handle it all.

You may have noticed this past year, but I finally learned to accept that I should experience the joy of owning my own business. I can ACCEPT normal excuses and give myself breaks- it’s a natural and overwhelmingly healthy thing to do. If I skip a Friday post every other week or so, it’s fine. What’s the purpose of being your own boss if you can’t be flexible sometimes?!

So how did I learn this?! My toddler.

I couldn’t be in control with a toddler like I could with a baby. She’s my boss and her needs get greater in some ways as she gets older, and that comes first. As I was learning to predict her needs before they came, I became acutely aware of the needs our family has for rest. Sometimes my husband gets home and wants to watch a movie, and guess what- he deserves that. There are days, I’ve shot content all day, taken Maxi on play dates, and get home, make dinner, and I’m exhausted. And I need to rest. When I rest, I can truly experience the joy of creating content and feeling fulfilled with the work I produce. And my readers are the most genuine women in the world, so I know whether I blog 3 times a day or 3 times a month, you are all the greatest COF girls a lady could ever want! I am not in control of my life, and if my blog chronicles my life- well, I’m certainly not in control of it! I can take my “go-getter” mentality and use it as a strength on the blog, but it can’t turn into control.

There Is Power in Simplicity

This year, I really learned the power in simplicity. Simple meals. Simple routines. Simple experiences. Simple goals. I love to be creative, but I also came to realize that not everything has to be extravagant. When I cook dinner, it doesn’t have to be an Ina Garten dish with 3 sides. I can make grilled cheese and my husband and daughter are just as thrilled. I can share a simple jean and tee look on the blog, and it’s realistic and relatable. We can spend date night at Starbucks reading books that we never get to touch and be as happy as going to a new hot spot in town.

I learned simplicity was a solution to feeling overwhelmed. You know when you feel overwhelmed or overcommitted and people say, “Look to your schedule and say no to a few things!” I’ve lived by that motto before and said it! And while I believe that is powerful and works, it isn’t always realistic. I’d follow my own advice, look at my planner and think, “Well I can’t say no to taking my daughter to playgroup, or cooking dinner for my family, or fulfilling a work obligation. How do I feel less stressed?” Instead of canceling things in my life, I made them more simple. I’d cook simple meals, I’d do simple party favors, I’d declutter and keep all products one brand, or just anything to make things feel more simple. Feel stressed? Make 3 things simple.

Choosing simple solutions or methods, don’t mean we have to throw away all our artistic expression. Simple isn’t synonymous with lack of detail. In fact, I find my detailed nature to be a strength, but once again, there has to be a boundary so that I don’t become obsessed with perfecting things. Perfection simply means not finished, right?! The boundary of simplifying 3 things on my to-do list or schedule has been such an EASY problem solver.

Last year, I gave myself a ridiculous goal of doing BBG three times a week and then running twice. WHY?! Well- because everyone else was doing it, so it must be a great workout?! I hated it. I tried it, stopped it, quit it three times. Goodness, I still have the packet because I do hold out hope I’ll be strong enough to do it one day. ha. But this season, I didn’t do it. Then, I finally gave myself a goal of 15 minutes of outside time a day- weather permitting. Playing in the yard with Maxi, walking with her after pilates, taking Peaches and Maxi in the wagon. These were all such simple goals, that I could do. And accomplishing them led to me being more active. There wasn’t shame when I couldn’t cross it off my to-do list or frustration when I finished a workout I hated. Instead, there’s been such joy in doing simple things with my daughter and counting that as exercise- because it is!

As the weather gets warmer, I know we’ll be able to be far more active and enjoy being outside as a family, but keeping things simple instead of rigid on a schedule has been so freeing.

Peace over Pride

In friendships, work, marriage, constructive criticism, and growing pains there will always be honest conversations. You may do something perceived one way and it was intended to be another way. People get their feelings hurt. Individuals get disappointed. And in those moments of honest conversation, it is so easy to think, “But I meant this! I can’t believe you thought I meant that. You must not trust or know my heart.

And while you should always speak your truth, you can’t always explain your way into someone else’s thoughts. I’m the person that laments over a sentence I said 4 weeks ago at a dinner party. I’ll leave and think, “Oh gosh, did they know I was being cheeky? Do you think they think I meant any ill will? Why did I say that? Should I apologize? No, don’t draw attention, certainly they saw my humor. Ugh, Katey- why do you even speak!! Just sit and never open your mouth.

NO ONE is even thinking about me that much! Seriously! So many of our emotions boil down to a mixture of pride and inferiority. And even if someone doesn’t get my humor- who cares?! I don’t get 80% of people’s humor either- we all go on just fine.

I’ve learned whether it be my pitiful wallowing over a comment at a party or my tears in feedback regarding work, that it’s just easier to accept it and move on in peace. I used to have such a crippling fear of upsetting anyone or not being understood in my intent, and it robbed a ton of joy from me.

I’m not saying don’t worry about upsetting others. In fact, I think people should be more considerate of that most days- consideration and care is a STRENGTH. My girlfriends always tell me they know I care about them an immeasurable amount because of this. But by placing boundaries on that characteristic you can take the strength and distance it from becoming a weakness. If I receive curt feedback or am told I unintentionally hurt someone, I’m allowed to feel sorrow. I can feel a bit beat down. But I place a boundary and give myself 15 minutes- 15 minutes to think on it, have an action {apology, explanation, etc.} and then I have to move on. The peace you gain in accepting mistakes is far greater than the pride you could ever feel in never missing a beat.

God Doesn’t Need My Help

I’m a “fixer.” Maybe it’s the “big sister” in me or even blogger ;), but if you give me a problem, I want to help you fix it. That’s great, but when it rolls over into control of my life- that’s where the problems arise.

So often I think, “Well if I just meddle in this or obsess over this, that will help God with his plan for us.” I mean, that’s a simplistic version of what I’m thinking at the time- but when you write it down, it just sounds laughable. This goes back to the control thing, but let’s just come up with a totally fake example, so I can really express how this thought process works in my mind.

Say I’m applying for a university {feels so long ago!} and I’m wondering if I got accepted and if God wants me to go there. I’m the type of person that will check my e-mail to see application status at least 78 times in an hour. You know, just to help move along God’s plan. I came across a few obsessive scenarios like this the past year, and when I finally accepted that he didn’t need my help and just needed me to focus on everything else in life, I would immediately get my answer.

I’m not naturally inclined to sit back and just be at peace, but as you can see most of these truths all intertwine together. When I’m not in control and I’m not obsessing and I’m embracing the SIMPLE and enjoying the peace of not worrying, well, I’m my happiest self! Isn’t that what we want for our future?! Isn’t this why people say they are happier at 50 than they were at 30? I think it’s because each year we let go of a little bit of our worry and obsession and just embrace the good in life.

I Should Always Embrace What I Love

In the age of Instagram where we probably see/know/follow too many things- it’s easy to think, “Oh, maybe I shouldn’t be wearing that or decorating like this.

I like to wear the same lipstick shades, I know- I’m boring. I could live off the same 3 color versions of lipstick and be a happy little clam. But I’ll follow all these beauty accounts and see different lipstick shades and convince myself that I HAVE to wear some hue because everyone else is. I buy said lipstick, waste $18, and hate how it looks on me. That’s such a silly minute example, but as I age, I am unapologetic for what I like.

I like blush tones. I like mauve lipstick. I like to wear the same hairstyle. I love to decorate with animal prints. I enjoy self-tanner. I LOVE lots of layered jewelry. I live for a monogram. My child will probably go to college wearing a smocked dress.

And guess what? All of these things are okay…they are more than okay. Don’t think you need to change your look because social media tells you to. 9 times out of 10, you may feel like me thinking you wasted $18 on a lipstick shade you never liked to begin with.

On COF I hope to inspire you and if you WANT to try a new bold lipstick, I want to encourage you to do so. I want to give you the tutorials and reviews so you can feel confident in trying something new. I don’t want you to ever feel like you are stuck and can’t try something new. But if you don’t like pink and hate lip liner, girlfriend- never touch those two things with a 20-foot pole. Embrace what you love- because even the small details in life-like hairstyle preference, make you YOU.

Harvest Jewels

Piggybacking off that truth I’ve come to know, I wore this look specifically for today’s blog post. BIG Country Music Awards hair, a perfectly pink sequined kimono dress, and layers upon layers of glam jewels. This is me. And the mom in no makeup with leggings- that is also me. We can embrace them all!

But for a new year, I’m wearing a new monogram. Remember how I faithfully wore a monogrammed necklace on Instagram and COF for years on years on years?! Well, meet the monogram necklace’s glam older sister: The Harvest Jewels Custom Antique Monogram Pendant.

Harvest Jewels is a brand I was introduced to last year {only fitting with this post- right?!} and their motto is “everyday elegance…with an edge.” One part girly + one part edgy just like me. 😉 Each piece is designed by Rosemary Corte, a Southern girl married to a fourth-generation farmer. She studied design and art history at Ole Miss and has worked in all aspects of design from interior to fine jewelry.

Their signature diamond clasp is what makes this line stand out so much. You can personalize your necklaces with specific clasps and your pendant or monogram choice simply clips on, so you can change up your look from time to time. The designs are classic girl meets glam girl and boho girl out for cocktails. The best of all worlds!

The Antique Monogram Pendant is a truly personalized work of art. You start by custom ordering your monogram in pave diamond and sterling silver, gold, or two-toned. You’ll receive a draft of your initials in 5-10 business days. We designed the way I wanted the “K” and “H” to lay and I used the smaller gold clasp chain I had from a previous Harvest Jewels necklace. The custom items take about 4-6 weeks to make once your draft is approved! So take that time to select your chain and you are finished.

I got to feel like a true CMA awards attendee and style some of these glamorous jewels for the shoot, so here’s what I’m wearing if you are eying something specific:

Where do I suggest starting as you peruse their brand? First off, I’d actually start with their Instagram. They do a fabulous job of tagging each item so you can see what it is and get an idea of the specific layered look you love. Then, you can make a wishlist for future reference to shop as these are such fine pieces!

What’s on my wishlist?

The Pave Stars Bracelet, the Gold Plate Bangle, Baguette Cuff, Two-Tone Butterfly, and XO Studs.

….I told you a good scroll on their Instagram will give you far too much inspo! ha!

I was thrilled to share *such a unique brand* because I am obsessed with their diamond clasp concept, where you can mix and match your pendants creating different looks while still making the base of your jewelry incredibly useful. I also love that their jewelry is meant to mix metals, which is something I always have loved to do. A silver watch, a gold cuff- it all can work well together! You know my personal opinion when you mix it looks collected. A collected stack of bangles to me always seems to tell a story, I think, “I wonder when she started to stack them? Did she buy a few on vacation? Where is that one from?

As a birthday gift from me to you- you can get 15% off your Harvest Jewels order with code KATEY15 at checkout!

While my Harvest Jewels wishlist continues to grow, I am giddily rocking my new antique monogram. A birthday monogram serves as a daily reminder of the truths you learn each year about yourself and how you feel more comfortable in them.

I don’t have it all figured out in regards to what I’m learning. I fail at it. A lot. But I am so grateful to experience another year where I am able to become more confident in my strengths and weaknesses as a woman. One doesn’t have to diminish the other, just like a monogram pendant they simply have to be balanced and woven together to create something beautiful- your character.

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20 Comments

  1. Lindsey wrote:

    I love these five truths. You really put a lot of thought and time into your posts and blog. This is why I continue to read for a few years now. Happy Birthday!

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  2. Thank you for spreading your wise words, Katey! Your posts are always so insightful. Happy birthday! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  3. Annaliese wrote:

    This is such a beautiful birthday post Katey!! And love your new monogram jewelry!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  4. Patricia wrote:

    Beautiful, inspiring post Katey! Happy Birthday 🥳

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  5. Sandie wrote:

    This post really spoke to me, Katey. Thank you!!
    xoxo

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  6. Sarah wrote:

    Happy belated birthday! These five truths were so encouraging to me. I appreciated the raw honesty behind them and really got me thinking about a few things.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  7. Skye wrote:

    Happy late birthday! As always, thanks so much for sharing. Growing older can be daunting if we don’t embrace what we learn every year. I believe it is a blessing and look forward to growing and becoming more aware of myself and who I am. And why I am the way that I am. I thoroughly enjoy hearing your share your growths and lessons. Sometimes someone shedding a light on their own journey helps you see lessons you are learning yourself that you may not have noticed. So, as always, I am thankful you share not only your beautiful fashion and home, but your life as well. Its always a pleasure.

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  8. Stephanie wrote:

    Happy birthday! You are such a talented writer and produce so much great content. I absolutely loved this post! I am fellow type Aer and have spent much of this past year learning to let go and enjoying not being “in control”. I really resonated with many of the truths you’ve learned this past year – thank you for sharing!

    Also your look in this post is just absolutely FABULOUS. The hair, the dress and OMG that monogram necklace. Putting that on my wish list ASAP!!

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  9. Laura Leigh wrote:

    Happy birthday lady! You look truly amazing – love this whole look. Feels so very you! Also, thanks for sharing lessons learned/wise words. Always love reading these types of posts!

    xo Laura Leigh
    Louella Reese

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  10. Moramay Rodriguez wrote:

    Happy Birthday Katey!!

    Enjoyed very much reading your newsletter so beautiful. You have such a kind heart. I look forward to reading your newsletter every morning. You are so positive and I love that. I loved how your wish is to spend the day with your Mother on your birthday. My Mother is currently battling through breast cancer and I pray to have her for many more birthdays. I can not imagine not having her. Thank you!

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  11. Wendy Van Bemmel wrote:

    This is such a beautiful post, Katey! Thanks for being you and inspiring us all to be ourselves! Happy birthday!

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  12. Kimberly wrote:

    I have followed you a while now, and your blog is one of my favorites! But I’m not very good at commenting, sadly, as so many of yours deserve them. But I have to comment on this today to tell you howthought provoking and beautiful your post is. Happy happy birthday! I thank you for all you do

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  13. Madison wrote:

    Happy birthday! Thank you for sharing these five truths, I relate to them all so much and they serve as good reminders. I love reading your blog everyday!

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  14. Love your outlook of seeing our weaknesses as strengths. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that God made us perfectly and in His image, meaning that even our “weaknesses” were perfectly selected and have a purpose.

    Your tip about simplifying is so great. I think becoming a mom I’ve naturally started to tend that way, things that used to be important just aren’t anymore, but whenever I find myself stressing I am going to take your advice and consciously think how I can find 3 easy ways to simplify.

    And you’re section about embracing what we love really struck me. That thought has been on my heart lately! Hate to blame things on Instagram because it can truly be so wonderful, but these days it feels like so much of the same same same and I’ve fallen victim to it so many times of wanting to go to places people are talking about or wearing certain things. And that’s fine if those are things I’m truly interested in, but now more than ever I am attracted to people doing their *own* thing, the nerdy obsessions, the NOT aesthetically pleasing restaurants, the trips where they hardly share pictures because they are in the moment. Trying to really embrace the things that make me ME – and also paying attention to what those things even are!

    xo MK
    http://www.goldhattedlover.com

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  15. Love this post and this dress! <3

    Blondie in the City

    Published 05 Mar 19Reply
  16. I love this post!! Such beautiful writing and such a great reminder to us all. Xoxo

    Published 06 Mar 19Reply
  17. Deanne Williams wrote:

    I love your blog! I love your encouragement and positivity. Thank you! I wanted to ask you about your nails. Do you wear acrylics? Your nails always look perfect. I have worn them and I have my natural nails now but I miss how the acrylics look pretty perfect most of the times. How often do you do a mani-pedi?
    Also, how often do you recommend a good facial?
    I love how you talk about your faith too.
    Keep up the good work! 💗🙏⭐️⭐️

    Published 06 Mar 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Deanne! Thank you so much for your kind words! I do not wear acrylics. I ether do my own nails with regular polish or get a gel manicure. I get a mai pedi probably once a month, or every mother month. A lot of times I do my nails at home just for time! Haha. And I actually don’t get facials either. 🙁 Sorry I am no help here! I get facials on special occasions like vacation! Thank you so much for reading my blog, it means the world! Xo, katey

      Published 06 Mar 19Reply
  18. Lexie wrote:

    Thank you for this post!! The lessons you’ve learned this year happen to really be on point for my life at the moment. It’s awesome to hear about your experiences and learn from them. Your comments about following rules (almost to a fault sometimes) and trying so hard to “help” God are SO relatable! From a fellow Enneagram type 1 thank you for sharing your life and struggles through this blog! I appreciate it so much!

    Published 22 Mar 19Reply