Monday, December 30, 2013

what I got for christmas...

I really debated doing this post. in no way do I want to seem like I am "bragging" about the things I got for christmas. I just really enjoy seeing what other people got & thought y'all might enjoy seeing what I got as well! check out some of my favorite christmas hauls on youtube & other blogs here, here, and here

my "big" present this year from my parents were my tory burch sandals! for the past 3 years I have gotten tb revas, but this year I decided to get some sandals so that when the warmers months come I will have some pretty sandals to sport!

my parents also got me the naked 3 palette. it has taken some time to get used to this palette. at first I really liked the 2 better, but the 3 is growing on me now that I've found some looks I like with it. 

I got a new vera bradley bag for work. I have been carrying the same vineyard vines tote for years so it was time for a new one. I love that this one has a spot for my laptop and plenty of room for all the papers/folders I have to bring back and forth to grade.

I also got these adorable initial plates from anthropologie. our plan is to add the initial of all of our babies some day. I may or may not have contemplated buying 2 other initials because I already know what I want to name my children....... so there's that. I'm crazy & I know it.

we got a new dvd player that connects to netflix, pandora, and youtube. I have been loving being able to watch my favorite youtuber's on the big screen.. adam is really over it ; )

Every year in my stocking I get makeup, socks, and candy. I got my favorite mascara--benefit's they're real. 

I also got some christmas money and bought a new rug with it. I'm so excited to give our living room a fun new update--I'll be sure to take a picture when it comes in : ) 

so that is the majority of what I got for christmas this year! above all else I am just extremely blessed to have such a wonderful family to spend time with. this year was so bittersweet as it was my first year away from my parents on christmas morning but also my first time waking up with a husband on christmas. I will cherish these moments of it being just us two before we have a little around : ) 

I hope y'all had a wonderful christmas and were able to spend time with family/friends!! did you get anything fun for christmas?? I would love to hear about it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

year in review {video}

I really really love these year in review posts. this is my fourth year doing one (CRAZY)! take a look back here, here, and here. 2013 has been a year of absolute insane abundance. so many wonderful things happened this year, including the wedding of my dreams. This blog has grown in ways that I was never prepared for and I have YOU to thank for that. I was given so many amazing opportunities this year and got to meet so many great girls (some of whom you will see in this video!!) I am so thankful for what this little space has turned into. Obviously this isn't everything that happened this year--just a few highlights : )

I can't wait to take a look back on 2013.....

Friday, December 20, 2013

mr. leakey is famous

it is finally here, y'all. my LAST day before christmas break. of course this morning I woke up and immediately knew I was sick. hopefully the water I drank and the medicine I took kick in soon because it's going to be a long day if not. the last day before a break is pretty much a wash. the kids are done. i'm done. we're all tired and just want to be done. today's agenda includes watching the nutcracker, cleaning out their desks, sanitizing my entire room and making sure everything is ready for grades to go home. 

yesterday my class had a very special leakey!! he came for our class party and brought all the kids their own recruiting name tags : ) they loved it and thought he was famous. they all asked for his was precious. 

we ended the day with our class party and extra recess. i was completely warn out by the end of the day!!!

third graders are SO MUCH STINKING FUN and I love that I have a job that I love so much. these kiddos bless me everyday. couldn't imagine doing anything else. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

i'm back // i always wanted this so much

well.. I just took a 2 week blogging break and barely even noticed. To say I've been busy over the last half month would be a huge understatement. The three weeks between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break have officially been deemed the worst months for a teacher..ever. I have been busier than I think I've ever been. I feel so run down and stretched thin. Thankfully the end is in sight.. 2 more days.. and then I can relax to my hearts content. 

Honestly I don't even feel like recapping what has happened since I last blogged. Hopefully you follow me on Instagram and Twitter (jamielb_) and have been able to keep up ; ) 

I've got some fun posts planned for the next few weeks so I'm excited to get back into the groove of blogging regularly : ) 

Until then here is the most amazing video I think I've ever seen. Obviously I'm biased because she's my niece, but I'm pretty sure she's the cutest thing in the entire world. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fight for Jontanna

I want to introduce y'all to a really special person in my life. I first met Jontanna when I was in middle school and we began cheering together. From then on we became great friends as we spent our high school years cheering football, basketball, and competition together. I always knew Jontanna was a really really great person. I don't think I have ever met someone who is so selfless. She is someone who is always there for people and goes out of her way to be loyal. Over the last five years since we graduated high school Jontanna has been fighting a constant battle with a disease called auto immune hepatitis--a life threatening, chronic live disease. Recently her doctors have decided that the next step in her treatment is for her to have a liver transplant. As I'm sure you can imagine, a liver transplant is a very expensive process. From the actual transplant, to hospital bills, to gas driving back and forth from the hospital, things can get very expensive, very fast. 

The South Gwinnett High School c/o 2008 has rallied together to support Jontanna and raise funds in her honor. Not only are we raising financial support but we are also teaming up to do a 5k walk/run in her honor. 

If you feel lead, I want to invite you to check out Jontanna's GoFundMe site to read more about her journey and find out how you can support her.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Goals

Happy 3rd day of December, y'all! I cannot believe 2013 is almost over!! So crazy to me. Anyway, since I made my 101 in 1001 list I thought I would try to knock a few off every month (or so) and include them as my monthly goals. I work much better when I have a list or certain goals to accomplish.

Here are my goals for December 2013 (I'm going to be numbering them with the numbers from my 101 in 1001 list to help me mark them off better):

6. Buy breakfast for all the teacher's on my grade level.
13. Complete a service project with my students.
37. Make a wedding album.
40. Surprise Adam with lunch at work.

I'm excited to check back in next month and let y'all know how it went. I think these are 4 very attainable goals and I'm excited to (hopefully) check them off my list!

Monday, December 2, 2013

59. Work with a blog friend on a project I believe in.

Ever since I posted my 101 in 1001 list I have been presented with SO many different opportunities to cross things off my list. One of the best so far though is something Nicole contacted me about last week. 

Every year in December Nicole has raised money on her blog for a Samaritan's Purse "cause." This year she is partnering with an organization that is extremely close to her heart. Nicole's cousin, Shiloh, is currently living and serving in India with her family. Through her experiences she has come to know and love the women of India so well. One thing she has been exceptionally burdened by is the number of baby girls who are aborted or killed because their families do not have the means, or refuse to pay for, their girls as they grow older and get married. Even though Shiloh is only fifteen she has said "yes" to the Lord and has followed His call for her life to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." (proverbs 31:8)

Head over to Bloom to read more about Shiloh's story and find out how she plans to help the women of India and how YOU can partner with her to create a story of redemption in the lives of baby girls in India. 

Versona Accessories Grand Opening {+ A Giveaway}

A couple weeks ago I was contacted about the grand opening of the Athens location of Versona Accessories. They invited me to their grand opening celebration and asked me to pick a few things out to review :) I had never heard of this store before so I was excited to get to check it out!

Adam + I browsed the store for a long time because there was SO much to check out. I finally settled on a scarf and necklace.

The sweet ladies at Versona also gave me a $25 gift card to giveaway to one of my readers. You can enter with the widget below. Giveaway will run until December 9th at midnight. The winner will be contacted via e-mail. Thanks for supporting Southern Simplicity Blog!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click HERE to see if there is a Versona store near you!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! I hope you are enjoying some much needed down time + gathering with friends or family. I am busy today going here and there for different things but wanted to take a second to make a list of things I am thankful for. For the past 11 days I have been going through the She Reads Truth Thanksgiving plan and it has really allowed me to think about the things I am thankful for and the times in my life that I have needed to be more thankful. We have so much to be thankful for..even when things in our lives aren't going as we had planned.

T- I am thankful for teaching. I love love LOVE what I do and couldn't imagine doing anything differently. Yes, the days are long and sometimes really really hard. BUT the reward of getting a letter from a student or a hug at the end of the day reminds me that what I'm doing is important. I always tell my students that my job isn't to just teach them academic things, but to also mold them into really awesome little people. They love that I care about their families and that I want to come to their basketball games. They make my job so much fun (even the difficult ones ;) 

H- I am thankful for my health. This is something that I often take for granted. I want to be more conscious about thanking God for my health and the health of my family. 

A- I am thankful for Adam. I could not have married a more perfect man for me. Lord knows any man who can put up with my sassiness is worth keeping ; ) Really though he is an awesome guy and I love being his wife. I have loved watching him navigate his role as a husband..he's really good at it.

N- I am thankful for necessities. I am thankful I have a warm house to live in, a car to drive to work, and food in my cabinets. 

K- I am thankful for kin. Okay.. so I've never actually used that word in real life, but it was the only way to fit my family into the word "thanksgiving" ; ) Anyway--I am so so SO thankful for my family. From my parents, to my brother, to my amazingly perfect niece, to all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins--they all ROCK and I am so blessed to have a close family all the way around. 

S- I am thankful for Southern Simplicity. This little space has turned into so much more than I ever dreamed of. When I sat down 3.7 years ago and wrote my first post I never in 1,000,000,000 years thought it would become what it has. I have made some of the sweetest friendships and have some of the greatest experiences because of this blog and because of YOU. So thank you for believing in me and reading about my pretty normal life ; )

G- I am thankful for grace. Lord knows I need His grace I am so so thankful for my relationship with Christ. I am thankful he completely wrecked my life when I was 18 years old so that I would turn to Him. I am thankful that no matter what stupid thing I've done in the past He still loves me. no matter what. 

I- I am thankful for the internet. This sounds kind of silly, but really.. I'm very thankful for the internet. It's just one of those things I don't know if I could live without.

V- I am thankful for vision. I am thankful for the things I am planning and the things that I'm working on. Big life decisions are happening and I'm so so excited!!

I- I am thankful for investing. For those who have invested in my life and those who have allowed me to invest in theirs. I have made some sweet friendships over the last five years that I have been in Athens and I am so thankful this little city has become my forever (god willing) home. 

N- I am thankful for our new house. Our little "Athens Cottage" as Adam calls it. This house is a total God story and I LOVE THAT. I love that we weren't really even looking to buy and this little house was placed perfectly in our laps. I love that we have had circles of people in our living room learning and talking about Jesus. I love that we have spent our first months of marriage making this house our home. 

G- I am thankful for Carolyne-Grace. As you can tell from my Instagram I'm pretty much obsessed with my niece, Carolyne-Grace. She is one of the greatest things about my life and I am so thankful to be her aunt. She is an amazing little girl who came into our family when we needed her most. She is the most joyful and sweet spirited child I have ever met. In her 3.5 years of life she has taught me more than she will ever know!! 

So those are just a few of the many things I am thankful for. I hope you know just how thankful I am for YOU. I blog because it's fun and it's something I'm passionate about, but knowing there are people who care enough to read my words makes it that much sweeter--so THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

101 in 1001

Earlier today Nicole posted her new list of 101 in 1001. I read through her list and was immediately inspired to create my own. Since I'm off work for Thanksgiving break I had a lot of time to really sit down and create a list that I think I can stick to. A lot of the stuff on my list was taken straight from Nicole (because let's be honest..she's awesome and way more creative then I am ha!) but a lot of them are unique to me : ) Take a look at my list and think about ways you may be able to help me cross some things off! ; )

Start: 11-26-2013
End: 08-23-2016

1. Go on a mission trip.
2. Take a meal to a family that just had a baby. 
3. Go grocery shopping for someone.
4. Lead a college freshmen community group.
5. Babysit a friend’s baby for free so they can have a date night.
6. Buy breakfast for all the teacher’s on my grade level. (Dec 2013; donuts!)
7. Help someone pull off a surprise.
8. Have my students write letters to soldiers. (Nov 2013)
9.  Host a yard sale to benefit a cause.
10. Be someone’s maid of honor.
11. Take Carolyne-Grace to the American Girl store. 
12. Provide Christmas for a family in need. (Dec 2013; Rock Springs students)
13. Complete a service project with my students.  (supplies for the nursing home)
14. Serve as the leader of a committee in my school.
15. Cook dinner for our neighbors. 
16. Send flowers to a friend.
17. Send out 101 letters snail mail style. (0/101)
18. Send a random care package to a friend.
19. Buy goods from at least 5 organizations/small businesses I believe in. (1/5)
20. Rescue a dog.
21. Invest in a friend's dream.
22. Serve the homeless on a holiday.
23. Sponsor a child.

24. Cook dinner every night for a month. 
25. Create a cleaning schedule. (Nov. 27, 2013)
26. Finish decorating our bedroom. (Feb 2014)
27. Finish decorating Adam’s “Georgia room”. (Feb 2014)
28. Have overnight guests in our home.
29. Use Annie Sloan chalk paint on something.  
30. Organize our kitchen cabinets. 
31. Host a wedding shower.
32. Host a baby shower.
33. Meal plan for the entire month. (December 2013)
34. Print and display our Instagram pictures.
35. Hang a map to pin places we've traveled.
36. Buy a new kitchen table/chairs. 

37. Make a wedding album.
38. Go on an anniversary trip.
39. Have a one year anniversary shoot.
40. Surprise Adam with lunch at work.
41. Plan a romantic dinner date for Adam. 
42. Make Adam a present for his birthday. 
43. Have a special date night once a month.
44. Celebrate our dating anniversary with dinner at Porterhouse. 
45. Recreate our engagement day/night. 
46. Have dinner at our rehearsal dinner venue.

[*Future* Baby L]
47. Collect 100 books for Baby’s L’s library. (0/100) 
48. Tell Adam he’s going to be a daddy! (March 25th)
49. Tell our family/friends were expecting.
50. Announce our pregnancy on social media.   
51. Have Nicole film our birth.
52. Choose God parents.
53. Start a college fund. 

[Life with the Leakeys]
54.  Go to some kind of a blog conference.
55.  Make a book of my favorite blog posts.
56.  Surprise a blog friend for a visit.
57. Make blog business cards. 
58. Record a vlog.
59. Work with a blog friend on a project I believe in.
60. Do an update once a month on all my completed tasks.
61. Blog everyday for a month.
62. Write a blog post that goes viral.
63. Raise money on my blog for a cause.
64. Guest post for a blogger.

66. Graduate with my Master’s degree
67. Start my Specialist’s degree
68. Learn how to monogram.
69. Put together a book of 100 verses/quotes. (0/100)
70. Make lesson plans for Teachers Pay Teachers.
71. Be a teacher in my dream school district. 
72. Run the Peachtree Road Race with my dad. 
73.Have people come into my classroom to watch me teach. (Dec 2013)
74.Organize my classroom library.
75. Be social media free for an entire day. (Dec 2013)
76.Be social media free for an entire weekend.
77. Be social media free for an entire week.

78. Visit 5 new cities. (1/5)
79. Get another tattoo.
80. See NYC at Christmas.
81. Walk to dinner from our house.
82. Walk through campus with Adam.
83. Spend a week at the beach.
84. Go to another country. 
85. Mow the grass.
86. Go to Mardi Gras.
87. Take a cooking lesson.
88. Go to the mountains and stay in a cabin.
89. Take the dogs to a dog park. 
90. Ride on a train.
91. Go on a vacation with my whole family. 
92. Go to a NFL game.
93. Visit every SEC football stadium (1/12)
94. Go to Disney World. (June 2014)
95. Go on a trip with friends. (Amelia Island/Jacksonville with Andy + Ashley; Dec 2013)
96. Have a “staycation” in Atlanta.
97. Take a random road trip. 
98. Have dessert before dinner at a restaurant. 
99. Make a day in the life video. 
100. Have a picnic on North Campus. 
101. Speak in front of a crowd of 100+ people.

I will update my list any time I complete something from it so stay tuned : ) Also, I will be using the hash tag #101in1001ssblog to keep track of all my completed tasks on Instagram!

Have you made a list of 101 things in 1001 days? If not, you really should!


This past weekend my friends and I got together to celebrate our friend Breanna who is due with twin boys at the end of February. Breanna's husband Sean is in the Air Force and they are stationed in Texas so it was REALLY great getting to see Bree (& her growing belly!)  

It's always so much fun getting together with friends from high school. I have been friends with all of these girls since 6th grade (some even longer than that!) 

Owen + Bryce racked up on lots of goodies. I can't wait to meet my "nephews" ; ) 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's {Senior} Saturday in Athens!

because there is no university worthy of such envy, 
no tradition worthy of such loyalty as the university of georgia...

Our Leaders
from Georgia Football on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ChelDesigns Chevron Magnetic Picture Frame

A few weeks ago Chelsea from ChelDesigns contacted me about reviewing one of her customized magnetic picture frames. I checked out her Etsy site and decided to design my own chevron with monogram frame. I chose colors that would compliment our new home : ) 

Not only is the picture frame adorable, it also looks really great in our kitchen.

Chelsea was great to work with and shipped my picture frame super fast (considering she created the entire thing custom for me.)

Check our ChelDesigns on Instagram (@cheldesigns) and Etsy. These frames make GREAT Christmas presents!! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

no spend november {update}

at the beginning of the month i decided i wanted to challenge myself to not spending any money on myself. the first week or so went great--i wasn't interested in buying anything & i was presented with multiple opportunities to bless others! as i was driving to north carolina this past weekend though i started thinking.. not spending any money isn't exactly what my heart needed. spending money on myself isn't the issue. not blessing others and spending money on myself instead is the issue. my selfish desires were getting in the way of me being a good steward of my money. as we step into the be rich season at church and we focus on following paul's command in 1 timothy 6:18 "to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" i realize that banning myself from spending money isn't going to solve the problem in my heart. it's much bigger than taking hold of my selfishness. so far we are 14 days into november. i have already been given opportunity after opportunity to bless others in ways i was not prepared for. i have had the privilege of shopping with my husband for 2 sweet kiddos at my school who come from homes that can't provide christmas, i've been able to donate to a sweet family's adoption by buying a t-shirt, i've been able to go shopping with my small group for action ministries in athens to buy supplies they are in need of, etc. etc. etc. the amount of money i have spent on myself has remained low and it's not because i told myself i wasn't allowed to spend any money. it's because i rather spend my money on things that matter. things that will help other people. this is not about proving to myself that i can live on less this is about giving myself to god and experiencing the joy of serving others. 

{click picture for source}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

bachelorette weekend in clt

this past weekend i traveled up to charlotte, north carolina for my college roommate's bachelorette party. i have been to charlotte a few times and LOVE it so i was excited to be going back!

friday night we had a delicious dinner followed by a few episodes of eric+jessie (my guilty obsession)

saturday we spent the day shopping then headed into charlotte to check into our hotel. after being at the wrong hotel, booking the hotel for the wrong night AND only one room we finally made it to the correct hotel, got the night changed, and had them add another room ; ) gotta keep things interesting! 

we hung out at the hotel for a while having fun getting ready and playing a few fun games ; )
we finally made it out to dinner around 10pm then spent the rest of the night out in charlotte! 
we had SO much fun--and our bride had even MORE fun!!
i loved getting the spend the weekend with great friends celebrating an amazing roomie!!