Monday, September 29, 2014

Hula Girl

You know what this day needs?

A dose of adorable.

And a little hula hoop action.

Wait....I said action...

Oooooh, fancy.


Don't let Monday get you down.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thrive Moms, Rest, Influence and Fear

Today I'm guest posting at Thrive Moms...talking about rest...
But do you know what is absolutely the worst feeling in the world? Recognizing that type of fatigue, and making an effort to pursue some sort of rest, only to find yourself even more weary at the end of it. You know- you have a long, loooooong day, so you attempt to treat yourself with a mindless activity. But the treat actually turns into a binge, and the activity spirals into an empty waste that leaves you feeling just as tired, and now kind of guilty and annoyed. It's knowing you need rest, but pursuing the wrong kind.
{I know you've been there...Read the full post, and tell me how you find refreshing rest.}

And today in real life, I'm headed to The Influence Conference.
If you're following me on Instagram, you'll see that I went two years ago and had a blast, but that doesn't mean that the butterflies haven't come back this time around. Some other attendees have already embraced me though, so I'm trying to be more excited than nervous.

If you're going too, come say hi! Or humor me if I get the courage to say hi to you!
And if you're not can still be a part of the fun.

Thanks for following along with all my rants, and pics, and travels. This blogging thing is a strange little gig (can you say "gig" if you don't get paid?) but as I said when I returned from the last conference:

I won't always be funny. I'll even more rarely be wise. And I'll never be perfect. But I can at least commit to being real, while aligning myself firmly with His grace to cover me when I inevitably go astray. Thanks for walking with me.

(Ps. check out: My two biggest hesitations in attending the conference in 2012...And my five fears when I came home...Or just read all my Influence posts.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Puerto Rico: Old San Juan

Did you know? Dustin and I went on vacation! True story! 
And do you know what else? It was awesome! Yes!
But really...we had a great trip, and after sharing the details from Vieques and The Gallery Inn, I wanted to finish up the series and give you the scoop on the San Juan portion of our vacation. 

Bowdenisms guide to Old San Juan Puerto Rico
(Created for your viewing and Pinning pleasure. )

Click on "read more" for the full details...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Old San Juan: The Gallery Inn

If you've seen me at all this week (or talked to me on the phone, or texted me, or seen any of my social media...) then chances are pretty good that you've heard about my trip. (What trip? OH I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED!) You probably inquired just to be nice, and then nodded politely while I gushed profusely about how "we practically had the entire island to ourselves, it was soooooo great, trip of a lifetime, blah blah, braggity brag". And while I'm a teeny tiny bit sorry about all my raving, truly I can'tstopwon'tstop talking about our vacation because I really really want you to hear every detail so you will be convinced to go too (and recreate every single magical moment for yourself because seriously it was just THAT AWESOME). We joke around here that Dustin is an alcohol pusher...Step onto our property (not even in the house!) for longer than three minutes and he's going to offer you a drink. He may not physically force one on you, but he will offer repeatedly until he's 100% sure you are not thirsty, and possibly never will be (otherwise- you're getting a drink just in case). Well it turns out I'm a vacation pusher. When I find someplace I like, I will wax poetically forever, or at least until I'm confident you've grasped the amazingness of my recent experience, and have been convinced, even in part, that you're considering it for your next trip. 

Prepare to get pushed. 
Because we just got back from somewhere pret-ty incredible, and I want to tell you ALL ABOUT IT. (I promise to keep the caps-lock shouting to a minimum).

Bowdenisms- Guide to The Gallery Inn, San Juan Puerto Rico

(Yeah, you're gonna wanna go ahead and pin that...on your "places you had no clue could even be real, but now you must go to immediately" board. )

Click on "read more" for the full details...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vieques Vieqation

The ninth wedding anniversary may not typically be the biggest milestone...but this year happened to be our first anniversary since 2010 where I would not be pregnant or that was a milestone in an of itself. I could drink! To excess! And jump off high stuff! (Not immediately after drinking to excess of course...but still!) We were once again free to be reckless- or at least as reckless as a parents of two can rationalize being. 

Once we determined that this was our year for a big trip, we debated for months where to go. I'll spare you the play by play of the agonizing back-and-forth, and just tell you what you already know: we settled on Puerto Rico, specifically Vieques- a small island off the east coast of PR. 

We have been supremely lucky over the years to go on awesome trips (even while pregnant and since having Piper) but this would be our first getaway since having Fin. We knew that if we were going to burden someone for a full week with TWO kiddos (thanks mom!!), we better make it a trip to remember. Plus, we wanted to take advantage of our freedom, and go somewhere that would be impossible, or at least way less fun, with kids- a remote an island off of another island seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
A friend recommended choosing a destination, booking a flight, and then watching VRBO or AirBNB for good last minute deals (owners sometimes get anxious when things aren't rented, and will cut you a deal because it's better than nothing). So we cashed in some flight miles, and researched our options (mostly through Trip Advisor) while we waited. Our plan was 5 days in Vieques, followed by 2 days in San Juan. (I had been to Puerto Rico in high school, but Dustin had never gone, and we were both new to Vieques). We scored a last minute rental house (seriously, the week before we left we still had no clue where we would stay. I decided to be as low key as possible, trusting it would all work out. And through a combination of luck, and off-peak availability, it all worked out!)

We shared snippets of our trip through Instagram (when we could get wi-fi,'s a US territory, so phone calls are easy, but international data/roaming etc. still apply so we kept that to a minimum to avoid hefty charges) but I thought I'd detail the trip more here for those of you interested in following in our footsteps. It really was the trip of a lifetime...I so highly recommend it, so I'm thrilled to share the specifics in hopes that someone else will get to experience a piece of what we did!

Bowdenisms guide to Vieques, Puerto Rico
(if everything worked right, which is a big IF, you should see a "pin it" button on the image above, when you hover over it. Go it. And then book it.)
 Click on "read more" for the full trip details...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Little Pip-speaks: G'mi's House

A couple quick Pips from her "trip" last week with the grandparents.

Pip-speak #1:
Piper: I miss Mommy and Daddy.
G'mi: I do too. How about two more G'mi & Papa days and then they'll come home?
Piper: Two like me! I am two, and then we tell each obber about our trips!
Pip-speak #2:
Piper: G'mi what are you going to do while I take a rest?
G'mi: Well Piper, I think I will clean up the kitchen, maybe read a little bit, and wait for you to wake up.
Piper: If you and Papa want to play while I sleep, it's ok G'mi. 

Pip-speak #3:
G'mi {seeing Piper spinning Fin around}: Be careful girls, someone is going to get hurt.
Piper: Yes, G'mi. It is going to be Fin.

P.s. you can check out all of the pip-ster's witticisms here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Show Your Real: Allie

Sometimes when I hang out with awesome people, I find myself hoping that maybe, just maybe, I'll soak up some of their cool. Like hipster osmosis. Or maybe I can just catch some of the talent runoff. Or possibly be considered by someone as cool by association. It doesn't really work. But it doesn't stop me from trying!

So I'm excited to be connected in any way with today's guest writer; Allie is about as cool as they come. She's about a million things I'm not (tiny, adorable in hats, self-employed...) and another million things I am- but better (designer, blogger, photographer). I maybe don't love the twinges of jealousy I have of her glam life, but I do love how she's always inspiring me, and knowing no matter how big a rock star she is, she's still humble to her core, passionate about loving people well, and a constant encourager of those around her. We'd be lucky to absorb even a little bit of that spirit.
I love keeping it real. Unless someone shows up at my house unexpectedly and I haven't cleaned in three weeks (which is all the time). I literally have said, "No you can't come in right now. My entire house is a disaster." I remember my friend looking at me, giggling as she tried to bypass my arm. She soon learned that I was 100% serious and a little part of me died in embarrassment. Just keeping it real, I suppose. 

Now that you know that about me, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Allie Lehman. I'm 27, married and I own a couple of businesses. I love working for myself but over the past two years, my real has felt surreal. My highs have felt quite high but my lows have felt pretty dark. 

Most people say that owning your own business is "so freeing." It's extremely true but they don't tell you how isolating it can be. You convince yourself that 14-16 hour workdays are normal and that you couldn't possibly spend an evening just relaxing. If you work more hours, you'll make more money! Work harder!

I can attest to the fact that if you believe these things and accept them as truth - you will find yourself without friends, quite stressed and pretty sad. I didn't understand that I was at this point until I reunited with one of my best friends in NYC. We spent the day at the park in Brooklyn catching up and I was actually being my old self. My husband (who's also my business partner) looked at me at the end of the day, shocked by my carefree spirit. I cried on the plane ride home because I knew that (besides my husband and my brother) I didn't really have any friends back home. 

To be fair, I did have friends but by that point I had been such a lousy friend that I didn't believe that any of them would have any interest in sticking around. Thank goodness I was wrong. As soon as the plane's wheels hit the ground, I promised myself that I would be the friend I wanted...NEEDED. It had to start with me being less selfish and embracing vulnerability. 

Over the past few months, I've been so blessed by my friends. The smallest things like texting all day about goofy things instead of burying my head in work brighten my week. Booking trips to see the ones who live too far and sending care packages enrich my life. I know that only 8-10 months ago, I would have seen those things as distracting. I want to go back in time and hug that version of myself. Because that's honestly all I really was looking for. Nobody talks about this part of entrepreneurship but I hope to continue to help people realize that they're not alone. 

PS: If I want to get more real, I can NEVER spell "entrepreneur." Ever. Thank goodness for autocorrect. 

Show Your Real is a series of guest posts centered around the concept of authenticity. The goal is to encourage each other to expose the reality of our lives- good and bad- and to foster a sense of community that goes beyond the often suface-cy interactions of social media. We invite all of you to participate! Please comment, link, and hashtag to spread the #showyourreal love. If you would like to contribute a guest post in this series, please email me (cjsbowden at gmail dot com).