T-shirt & Jeans

Simple and Relaxed Lifestyle

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Change {The Peace Notes}

Hello-and Happy New Year!
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. We had a great time with our family, and I am looking forward to 2016.

I wanted to tell you about a little side project I've started, which is the main reason I've been neglecting this blog lately. Let me explain...

I started T-shirt & Jeans without knowing, well, anything about blogging. I just picked a name that reflected our casual family lifestyle, and opened a platform to talk about whatever.

I blogged, as many do, about our lifestyle. I like cooking, so I posted recipes. I love design, so I posted about decorating and art. I love my children, so I wrote about parenting experiences. I'm a religious person, so that made its way in too.

That's all fine and good, until I started trying to "market" my blog. Everything from networking and hashtagging, to joining link-parties and pinterest groups, was more complicated because I didn't have a niche. I had to kind of pursue every circle from every angle, and that just became exhausting.

This past fall, I decided to find a focus for this blog. I've had personal experience with simplicity and trying to reduce stress, and that seemed to fit well with the whole tee and jeans concept, so that became my filter. However, I quickly found that even though everything I blogged about was related to simplicity, I was still writing about everything.

Not simple.

A while ago, I read advice on creating a mission statement for my blog. I really thought about my goals, and what I wanted to put out in the internet world. I came up with a 2-word mission statement:

Bring peace.

Whether it was through photography, pretty spaces, personal stories, encouragement, or quotes, I wanted to bring peace, and explore what peace means, through this little platform.

Simplicity is good, but it just didn't quite entirely fulfill the mission of peace.

As I've learned more about how blogging works, there is so much advice about finding a niche, and then narrowing that niche as much as possible. I knew I needed that, not just for blog success, but for my own sanity. As I struggled to know the next direction, I thought, maybe I should just be more blatant about it.

Thus, @thepeacenotes was born on Instagram. I figured an Instagram account was an easy thing to experiment with. It didn't take long for a blog to follow. A much simpler blog, one that is more manageable for me.

Apparently, there is an interest. Response is good. Not blow-up-the-feed, thousands-of-followers good, but I never expected that. However, there is much quicker and easier growth than the @tshirtjeansnicki account.

Although this little "brand" is new, I feel excuse the pun at peace with the direction. T-shirt & Jeans has given me invaluable experience. I now know how to blog, how to photograph, the brand and look I'm going for, and what my "voice" sounds like. While I'm still making minor tweaks, I can basically jump right into The Peace Notes without the learning curve, and feel good about it from the start. It has already been SO much easier. It is really nice to have a fresh start.

If you've been following along here, THANK YOU! Thank you so much for your support and friendship. I've met the best people here. It's been a blast!

If you would like to stay in touch, just head over to thepeacenotes.com, or @thepeacenotes on Instagram or Twitter. It will all look pretty familiar, since I have taken posts from here that apply to the themes there.

I hate goodbyes, and feel like this isn't really goodbye. More like- "I'm moving!" I'm still the same writer, just in a different location, without the family recipes and such. But, there's enough awesome recipes out there, I'm just going to focus on peace for a while.

Hope to stay in touch!

Nicki xoxo

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2 Christmas Video Clips to Get You in the Spirit

I hope everyone is having a nice Christmas week!

I wanted to share 2 short video clips with you that really emphasize the true spirit of Christmas. I loved them both, and have watched them several times with my children, who love them too.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Two Mantras for Stressful Days

I wrote an earlier post about dealing with holiday stress, and we have really simplified our Christmas celebrations (which has been SO nice). However, the last few weeks have brought all this sudden stress in other areas; for instance, some new, challenging assignments and some big, upcoming life decisions.

There have been lots of late-night discussions and lots of internal discomfort. And then, there's Christmas, which still takes time to prepare for. December started out quite frenzied.

I found myself racing through those anxious days, the kind where it feels like your stomach is constantly squeezing itself tighter, and you can't quite catch your breath.

I'm not a fan of that feeling. I bet you're not either. 

I jotted down a quick list of about 8 things that were stressing me out, just to get them out of my brain and onto paper. Let the paper take some of the burden, ya know? This week, they have all kind of resolved themselves. Things are getting done, working out, and taking shape, as they always do. I've remembered to just have faith in myself and others through that "period of unknowns." I'm learning to adapt when I am out of my comfort zone in certain areas.

If, for whatever reason, you are having a stressful holiday season too, I have 2 mantras that are quite effective for dealing with the anxiousness. If your stomach is tight and your head is dizzy, here is what I repeated over and over during my crazy days:

1. "I can't control this, so I will let it go"

Many of the things that bring stress are completely out of our control. We worry about weather, terror, government policies, health, what others think, the economy, the choices of loved ones, and all those "what ifs."

And all that worry gets us nowhere.

We can't control what others think, say, or do.

We can encourage, prod, threaten, pray, beg, bribe, and do whatever we can to please people. Ultimately, they will do what they will do. The universe will continue on, not paying much attention to our plans.

Really, there is very little we CAN control, and that's okay. We aren't built to handle the pressure of all that control.

Instead of wasting energy trying to be in the driver's seat of a car we don't have keys to, it's much better to just let it go.

Remove the burden from your plate, and make room for more productive thoughts. Once I practiced this, half of the stressful things on my list were no longer my problem.

2. "I can do this"

*Note - you can also substitute "I got this" - if you are cool enough ;).

A lot of advice for handling stress consists of slowing down, breathing, taking time out for yourself.   Aaaaaaand, that's all very good, however...

Sometimes, I need a swift kick in the pants, and a reminder to roll up my sleeves, pretend I'm Superwoman, and get to work.

I need to embrace the inner vintage fist-pumping lady on the "We Can Do It" propaganda poster.

I need a rally cry to action (in the things I can control, of course).

These 4 simple words really helped me just HANDLE things without breaking down.

Spilled drink? I can do this.
Costco on a Saturday in a snowstorm? I can do this.
Child #1 wakes up sick at 4 am, just minutes after I've dealt with child #3's alligator nightmare. I can do this.
The calendar is filling up faster than you can say "ho ho ho!"  I. Can. Do. This.

It's a fierce cry, but it actually makes me very calm. The world around us could be falling apart, but if we are mentally strong, we CAN do what is required. Mantras help us develop that mental strength.

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The past few weeks, I felt stress over some little things, and some big things, but mostly little things. I know we can all relate to stress in general and sympathize with each other. I know we all deal with the stress of daily life. I also fully realize that some may be dealing with pressures and burdens WAY larger than mine, and to you I say in the most heartfelt way possible, "I am so sorry you are going through that!" Maybe these mantras aren't enough for monumental problems, but I hope they help in a small way.

Wishing you the most stress-less holiday possible!

*Sidenote: My little son was dealing with some stress of his own (1st grade is rough sometimes!). We were talking about coping strategies, and I told him, when all else fails, to just scream into a pillow. He looked at me like, seriously? and started cracking up. We both got a good laugh. I am guilty of screaming into a pillow a time or two in my life. Felt great. 

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