How was your summer?! It flew by for us!
Fall will have to be all about “hosting” because it never happened this Summer! We got a lot done, but a couple big bucket list items never did get checked off: 1) Host parties…. heck, we didn’t even host A party! 2) Escape to an isolated cabin.
We did enjoy our first Summer on the farm and in our newly renovated farmhouse. We “broke ground” for the kid’s treehouse… Who am I fooling; it’s going to be cool enough for me and my friends too! We made our bunnies a nice home in the old hog shed. We were able to make some headway on preserving our barn and making it a useful spot (for now) as a workshop and dry storage for all of my “picks.”
Our dream for our barn is to jack it up, put a new foundation under it, and have the downstairs be our offices/workspace and upstairs being for entertaining. This would then free up a bedroom in our home so everyone can have their own bedrooms! Someday 🙂
When we took on this house renovation, I put no consideration into keeping up the rest of the farm, 5 acres, and 4 old outbuildings that came with it! I just pictured in my head that all falling into place “magically” on it’s own! Not the case…. obviously. Now that the house renovation is complete (EXCEPT our master shower that gets tiled THIS WEEK!), landscaping, yard shaping, and more outbuilding maintenance is on the to-do list…. But we have lost steam. All of that ambition to renovate and tidy has taken a back seat. Even picking lately has exhausted me! I think it’s just giant red flags waving to Let. It. Be. That ambition will come back… But let it be for now.
pictured right: staging floating shelves installed by Cabinets Exact, LeClaire IA. Farmhouse sign from mabel.: An occasional shop in Geneseo, IL.
I went to yoga for the first time last week. The instructor told us to come up with a word or phrase to focus on throughout the class to recenter our thoughts. I used “let it be” and every time I came back to this phrase, everything relaxed. This was a huge wake up call to myself that I need to RELAX, don’t sweat the small stuff (because it’s all small stuff), and focus on what matters.
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Here’s a great task/excercise for you to try if you struggle with time management like myself! It helps put things into perspective…
- Create a pie chart. In this pie chart, draw out how much time you spend on any given thing during the day (family time, work, phone, with friends, doing things for yourself, cooking, exercising, cleaning etc….).
- Create another pie chart. In this pie chart, draw out and chart what you would LIKE your day to look like.
Now, on the 2nd chart you drew pick ONE thing that was not on your first chart. Make it a priority now to fit this into your daily life.
I think (especially in parenthood) losing our identity can be so easy. This is our one life. Our one and only life. Don’t miss it… I wouldn’t have realized anything that I wrote above (about letting it be and focusing on what matters) if I didn’t take time for myself. I definitely could do better about doing more for myself. I need to use instances like these proving that IT IS beneficial to take the time.
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With school back in session, it feels like the start of a new year. I love new beginnings and fresh starts. May you find time for yourself in whatever season of life you are endeavoring. Find joy in the simple things and embrace beauty that lies right in front of you.
Much Love From The Founder,
all photos taken by Mari Trancosco
The month of June definitely got away from me! July doesn’t seem to be going any slower.
And July 23rd is going to be here in no time! This day will be devoted to our first ever hosted “Iowa Gathering.”
Iowa Gathering: A time to gather with friends + gather up finds!
July 23rd || 11:00-4:00 PM
All Inside @ The Barn At Bunker Hill, Wilton, IA (2266 310th Street).
- 15 of our region’s BEST pickers & makers
- HGTV Network will be there filming for a tv show that will air later this year (you might just see yourself on TV!)
- retro camper photo booth
- delicious backyard BBQ food
- cash bar
- live music
- diy workshop
- fresh floral
Tickets must be purchased in advance due to limited on-site parking. Click here to purchase tickets today!
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A huge THANKS to our event sponsors:
Oh What Love Studios (graphic + web design)
Iron and Lace Photography (photographer of event)
Main + Second (organizer)
The Barn At Bunker Hill (venue)
. . . . . .
-BRINGING THEIR BEST ALL TO ONE LOCATION-
-PICKERS + MAKERS-
-INDUSTRIAL | RAW | REPURPOSED | UPCYCLED-
-EAT | GAB | GAWK-
The Shop Kalona
Main + Second
Oh, What Love Studios
A Well Worn Story
Good Folk Trading Co.
A Beautiful Purpose
Lili & Gold
Well & Far Designs
The Farmer’s Wife
Hatchlings & Hens
Vintage No. 35
Neat & Navy Blue
Fig N Frolic
To buy tickets for this exquisite event, go to www.iowagathering.com today!
Ever since I became a mama of my own (6 Mother’s Days ago), I have dedicated the first weekend of May to my mom and spent the second weekend in May with my littles and husband. The second weekend (Mother’s Day weekend) we usually end up spending all day outside, technology turned off, and just taking in precious moments I am never going to get back. I also make a point to eat one meal “picnic” style because my husband dislikes picnics and I find great joy in them! I know he won’t buck at any requests I have on Mother’s Day <3 Same goes for Father’s Day Spencer… we can go to your favorite buffet.
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This weekend we are coming up on the first weekend in May. Ever since I became a mother, time with my mom has dwindled. Not so much with our first born, but especially now with three little ones, I barely find time for brushing my teeth let alone one-on-one time with her. That is why I focus on TIME spent together verse giving gifts.
Past destinations: Platteville, WI | Galena, IL | Dubuque, IA | St. Louis, MO
This weekend we have decided to head west, with Des Moines (IOWA) being our final destination!
Williamsburg Outlet Mall is going to be our first planned stop (not to say we won’t find garage sales or a local bakery/coffee shop along the way).
What Cheer Flea Market just so happens to be going on, so weather pending, we will take a “quick” walk through.
Downtown Des Moines for dinner & dessert.
Ending the night watching the Iowa Cubs take on the Memphis Redbirds! Go Redbirds!
My mom represents selflessness and strength. For all she has done for me, it’s important for me to set aside time for her amongst all the chaos in life and spend time together.
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Big or small, be unique in showing love to your mom this Mother’s Day. Sometimes setting aside TIME is the best gift of all. Especially true in my season of life, when she must feel second to everything going on in my life as Spencer and I raise a family of our own.
“Mother’s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.”- Marion C. Garritty
I love you Mom- Looking forward to Saturday!
- Vintage & Made Fair in Urbandale, IA
- 2017 Dates: June 10-11 | October 7-8
- An outdoor market indie and vintage inspired at Living History Farms.
- Live music, food trucks, and well curated vendors.
- West Bottoms Warehouse District in Kansas City, MO
- Elkhorn Antique Flea Market in Elkhorn, WI
- 2017 Dates: May 21 | June 25 | August 13 | September 24
- Over 500 dealers. Get there early on these one day shows for first dibs!
- Located at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Southern Wisconsin.
- Randolph Street Market in Chicago, IL
- 2017 Dates: May 27-28 | June 24-25 | July 29-30 | August 26-27 | September 23-24 | October 28-29 | November 18-19 | December 16-17
- Fancy foods, fab drinks, indie inspired and vintage dealers, and global goods.
- The most unique shopping in Chicago just west of the Downtown!
- Main Street Market in Rockford, IL
- 2017 Dates: May 20 | September 9
- Presented by Urban Farmgirl, this open air market is nestled in the beautiful grounds of Midway Village Museum.
- Over 150 of the hottest vintage/handmade vendors from the Midwest.
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Make sure to share your adventures with Main + Second if you make it to any of these outings this year. I can live vicariously through your adventure!
From the Founder,
Exciting news! I am starting a new column on the blog, “An Inspiring Entrepreneur.” Every so often I will be featuring someone on here who has an enthusiastic drive, an inspiring story, and strives for success. May you admire, relate, and cheer these featured entrepreneurs on (let’s face it, no entrepreneur is going to turn down a round of applause)!
First up, Nicole from Uniquely Women. She is a full-time blogger working from the comfort of her home (or wherever has wi-fi!) every single day. I am so excited to have her be my very first feature! This girl has so much wisdom when it comes to blogging. Beyond her wisdom, she is gorgeous (in & out), the kindest in the biz, and always up for adventure which I LOVE!
I met Nicole (the lady behind Uniquely Women) in Cedar Falls, IA (where she resides) 4 years ago. I had a storefront (garage front to be specific) called Stew’s. It was full of flea market finds, hand painted furniture, and architectural/industrial wares. Nicole actually ended up filling in for me at the shop here and there and painting some furniture for me. Now, four years later and she is killing it in her own business. I am so thrilled our paths crossed and that I get to embark on this journey of life with her in it!
I have asked Nicole a few questions. Her responses are great! Read on:
- Why blogging? Is this your passion?
Blogging was definitely never on my radar until 2012. I started a blog to document the creative ideas I had bottling up inside me. I didn’t know the full extent of blogging and never knew I could create a profitable blog until years later. After being laid off I dug deep into blogging, with the encouragement from my husband. I haven’t turned back since. My passion turned from learning everything there was about blogging to now teaching others how to do the same as I have!
- Top 3 blogs you enjoy following?
Fashion, interiors, and lifestyle blogs I love to follow! Along with Main + Second (duh!).
- How many times have you wanted to give up?
Oh my goodness, so many times. You definitely have to be patient when blogging. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make things work.
- Who’s your biggest supporter?
Hands down my husband! He was the one that pushed me to start and keep at blogging (even during the tough times.) He’s now even helping me from time to time with new courses, maintaining my blog, and a lot of behind the scenes work.
I learned early on that Blogging can get lonely. Entrepreneurship wasn’t something many others were doing around me, so networking was important. I have created some amazing friendships with other bloggers! Granted, I haven’t met many of them – but it was great having that support and accountability partner to talk to on a consistent basis.
- Time management can be hard when you work for yourself. How do you manage your time?!
Time Management is one of the biggest hurdles I faced when working for myself. It’s so easy to get distracted, especially working from home. Over time I’ve created a schedule that now works for me and my business.
I set specific goals and tasks during the day that I want to accomplish. I then break those tasks into hour or so increments. I set alarms on my phone for 1-2 hours (based on that task.) Once the timer goes off, I go take a break for 5-10 minutes no matter if I’m done with that task or not. I’ve learned that it’s important to take a step away from the computer and go do something else for a couple minutes before jumping back into it.
I love batching tasks as well. I lump tasks that I would normally need to do on a daily basis to only doing them once a week. For instance – I take photos for social media once a week . I set up all props and backgrounds one time per week. This has definitely saved me time.
- Name 5 instagram friends you have met through your business that inspire you but have yet to meet face to face!
- Personal life… Fill us in on your home life!
I recently married the love of my life, JJ, last June in Mexico. We live in Cedar Falls, IA with our dachshund pups (Bogey & Maverick.) When I’m not blogging – we both enjoy traveling, hitting up local breweries, and enjoying live music concerts.
- How many hours a week do you blog?
- How many hours a week are spent on social media?
I spend about 5-10 hours a week actually on blogging. The rest of my week – I’m constantly working on growing my email list, creating opt-ins, courses, being active in the facebook group, etc.
I only post a blog once or twice a week and the rest of the time is working on growing my business.
- Where do you want to be in 5 years with your business?
My big passion is helping others discover blogging. I want to help others grow thriving blogs. I created the Blogging Facebook Group – Blogging 101 (www.facebook.com/groups/blog101group) for that sole purpose and have loved being inside the group sharing my experiences and expertise.
I have a traffic building bootcamp course launching here soon. I have other courses in the works as well. My goal is to continue creating digital resources for bloggers to gain value.
- Your turn… Ask me (Main + Second) ONE question! I have to answer so make it good 😉
Because I loved your question so much — Where do you want to be in 5 years from now with your blog?
My response: I would love to be successful enough to be able to hire another writer someday! I have this beautiful vision in my head (if you didn’t know already, I am a full time dreamer #addicted) of our prairie barn getting sealed up, adding windows, new doors, and turning it into a four-season workspace/studio/warehouse. To be able to employ people because Main + Second has a bigger demand than I can handle is a DREAM! So in the next 5 years I plan to put my best foot forward in growing not only my blog, but the whole website to something bigger than I alone can handle. I am not sure what the proper steps are to get there, but I believe consistency and dedication are going to be key factors in order for this to happen.
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I highly recommend you check out Uniquely Women’s website, especially if you have a blog or are interested in starting one. She has a 7-day blog course that I highly recommend. I signed up and really found her tips and advice helpful…. And it’s free!!
From The Founder,
5 cups rhubarb (diced & skinned)
4 cups sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 sm. package strawberry jell-o
To skin the rhubarb, use a knife and pull back the thin outer layer. This is very stringy and best to be discarded. Then dice the rhubarb into small pieces.
In a large bowl mix: sugar, diced rhubarb, & pineapple. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Transfer to stovetop and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally. Let boil for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add packet of jell-o. Stir. Let slightly cool.
Transfer jam to containers with a ladle. Put lids on containers.
Store in freezer until ready for a jar of jam!
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This jam is one I make with my mom every year. This year was a special one getting to break in our new kitchen and picking the rhubarb conveniently from our backyard!
The amount of rhubarb back there is pretty extraordinary. I counted 15 bunches. I was thinking it would be fun to have a few people over for a “jam party” and make jam while sipping on mules!… Strawberry rhubarb mules?! Let me know if you are down because I would totally be up for it! We can feel productive and have fun all at the same time… And everyone gets to go home with JAM!
My favorite ways to eat this jam: lathered on freshly baked bread, PB & J’s (of course), as an ice cream topping, and a spoonful of jam mixed in with fresh berries.