My husband washing the dishes, scrubbing shiny the whole pile of Nutella crusted knives and plates scattered in our stainless steel sink — ooh-la-la, that is when I find him very attractive!
My bedroom, when it’s cleared of unfolded clothes that drape over the side chairs — yes, that is when I see my room as a quiet haven and not a den of destruction.
My closet, full of clothes I wear and cleared of the clothes that are not my color or my style, is a happy place to get dressed in the mornings — yes, that is when I smile, especially pleased, that I just put together something I’m going to feel good in all day long.
So, yes, enjoying clean and organized spaces can feel like a gift! I dare say, organization is a part of every woman’s fantasy. It’s appealing in its orderliness and desirable in its simplicity.
Organization is my friend, as you might imagine. How else would I survive with the Fabulous Five and their Dad without a few tools to organize their piles of cleats, sweaty basketball shorts, and varying sizes of unmatched socks?
And lately I’ve been thinking about my stuff. There’s no shame in that. Unfortunately, for years, I haven’t believed that. I’ve been self-loathing in my “I just don’t have time to shop” and in my “Organizing my stuff doesn’t really matter…it’s all piled in that drawer somewhere.”
But this summer, trapped indoors by the smothering Texas heat, I started sorting through my bathroom drawers, piling to the brim with jewelry, moisturizer, and makeup samples. I knew it was time for a change. That is exactly where mi amiga, Ashlea, enters into the picture.
My dear friend, Ashlea Stares, is one special and strong woman. She has been reading here since the beginning. Often, she sends encouraging words my way, responding to the posts that resonate with her.
Almost twenty years ago, Ashlea’s glowing smile no doubt turned Kirk’s head when they met in college at The University of Texas at Austin. Ask me how I know that. I don’t really. But having been her friend for seven years, I know I’ve been attracted to her joyful glow since the day we met at Ms. Patti’s pool for swim lessons. It’s possible that some of that glow came with the sweltering Texas heat that greets June head on, turning all of our faces a shimmering shade of pink. But I like to remember her (and maybe myself) as radiant, waiting it out on the cemented sidelines, chasing our youngest wild things!
Either way, in an unexpected place, we became friends. Her friendship was an unexpected gift.
I’ve seen her face spring joy in the midst of connecting people always, loving her six children passionately, and somehow part-time homeschooling most of them as she uses her spare hours to advance Hives and Honey into a business that is unique and high quality.
A few years into our friendship, I questioned her a bit more about her jewelry armoir business. I mean, if I’m going to be honest, I just asked her about it because I was trying to be a good friend. I had no need for a jewelry armoire. Yes, I have jewelry. But who really needs furniture for their jewelry? That’s so high maintenance. That’s so Dallas.
But Ashlea explained to me more about her background in retail and design. And her heart for helping people appreciate, organized in beautiful spaces, what they already own.
Unique, high quality furniture design requires an enormous amount of work and creativity, and Ashlea and her husband are rocking their craft. She never talks about Hives and Honey without crediting her husband, Kirk. He is brilliant and incredibly warm. His charming British-Texan accent just sounds brilliant, all by itself.
So our discussions over the years led me to their online store, and I made my first purchase. Well, it was actually my mom purchasing a gift for me. This past August, my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I gave her a real idea. I can’t even remember the last time I didn’t respond with, “Nothing, Mom,” or “A gift card would be great.” My real idea for a real gift was this, and I couldn’t be happier with it. My bedroom corner is my new happy place.
The front has, encased, a beveled full length mirror to help me see the whole me. Before, I didn’t own a full length mirror. Instead, for the last two years, I’ve been risking personal injury anytime I’m about to go out for the evening. Which meant wobbling in heels, balancing on the edge of the tub, so I could be high enough to see myself in the bathroom mirror. Dangerous. Every. Single. Time.
The inside of the armoire is gorgeous, and I can see all of my jewelry! In the mornings, I’m not digging around for the pair to the earring that I just bought but now I can’t find. I can see all of the necklaces laid out, sparkly and slim. Not a single necklace knot to unravel. On the right are pictures of my people, just like I like them — silly or smiley-faced, embracing, eyes alive toward the camera.
This new way of organizing my jewelry is making it easier for me to get to the pieces that make me feel pretty. Jewelry has a unique way of accenting our physical beauty. Jewelry has been adorning men and women alike since the beginning of recorded history, since the Minoans made bull jumping a sport in Ancient Greece. Jewelry was so important to kings and queens, they have chosen to be buried with it.
And then there’s the time saving factor that comes with my jewelry organization. When I don’t have time to put on make-up, putting on a pair of earrings makes me feel like I’ve done something intentional to feel adult-ish for the day ahead. Even if I’m sporting my charcoal pseudo-jog pants. Maybe especially if I’m sporting my charcoal pseudo-jog pants.
The beautifully-designed, exquisitely crafted works Ashlea and Kirk market are found here. She has generously offered my readers a 20% discount code through Christmas. Enter JULEETA20, and pick out something lovely for yourself!
I don’t get to offer you many gifts, but I sincerely hope you enjoy this one. Here’s to organizing beautiful jewelry you can see and celebrating the beautiful you that’s wearing it!
Pictured above– the Cheval Jewelry Mirror with Pinboard. Click here to see all of their furniture offerings.