A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

Posts tagged Lifestyle
A Different Life

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i posted this on Instagram a few weeks ago, but i wanted to share it here on the blog too. so if you’ve already read this post, feel free to scroll on! but i wanted a chance to reach some of you who maybe don't follow me on Instagram but do here. because, i have to tell you, sharing this has led to some of the best conversation and thought provoking dialogue with so many unexpected people. 
i am so continually appreciative of the authentic and genuine people who i get to meet and interact and talk with on the internet (and in real life!). it's why i write what i write and share what i share. to foster more meaningful and mindful connections with people. 
so cheers to all of you for making that possible. 


i lead a different life than most. 
i say this not from a place of thinking how i live is better, or the right way, but wanting to be open and authentic in my voice and so people understand my heart and the passions and ideals within it.

i've had my business for 8 years. 
i never went to college.
i started my photography/Etsy business out of high school and have been doing it ever since. it's evolved into other things over time and i've definitely had seasons of various part time jobs to make ends meet but i am so proud of the fact that in most seasons i can support myself solely with my art and working for myself. that has always been a priority for me and an ambition that was encouraged and instilled in me by my parents. 
what's more than that though is that i strive to live on purpose. 
with intention. 
with choice. 
and that looks a little bit odd and counterculture sometimes. something that i often thrive in, as i like a little TOO much being different than everyone else, but something that i also struggle with as it has isolated me from others at times.

apart from societal placement, there are a lot of things about my life that are at odds with what the norm is:
i live within or below my means.
i've never had debt.
i've never owned a TV.
i've had my computer since 2009.
i don't have internet where i live.
i can count on one hand how many phones i've ever had. 
i've never used dating apps.
if i can walk/bike there in 30 mins i will forgo driving.
i've always driven used cars.
i live alone.
i rent or borrow instead of buy and i don't buy "extra" or "just in case".
i don't buy or use disposables i.e. ziplock bags/plastic wrap/paper towels/napkins.
i carry canvas bags with me in order to refuse paper/plastic ones.
i live without AC and with limited heat.
98% of my clothing is thrifted/vintage/handmade/secondhand.
i repair, recycle or make do without before purchasing something new.
i don't own or use a lot of standard American appliances like an iron or a coffee maker or even a microwave a lot of the time.
i compost.
i recycle.
i try to produce as little trash/waste in all areas of my life.
i buy local or secondhand as often as i can and try to limit purchases to only things i truly need or that will add significant value to my life.
i eat as seasonally, organically, locally and farm-to-table as i can afford and don't buy processed or many packaged foods.
i use all-natural beauty and health products, many of which i make.
being in nature is a priority for me.
i don't belong to a gym, i exercise outside or with things in my home.
i belong to 3 libraries and have read over 17 books already this year.
i introduce myself to people i don't know and i meet eyes, shake hands and repeat names. 
i try to be a good listener and ask questions i would want to be asked.
i try to see people who are used to going unseen and ask peoples names who are used to being nameless.
i recognize love as a choice and try to love others in the unconditional way i have been so loved.

some of these practices have been a part of my life for years, and some more recently.
i am striving for a more simple and mindful life.
to many my interpretation of that seems radical.
to others it's not radical enough.
neither matters though as my convictions and ideals are not based on the opinions of men. 
many would look at this list and see it as a list of unnecessary deprivation. but to me it's a list of abundance that allows me to live the lifestyle i want to live and have the freedom that i have.
i also wanted to share all of this because i've often been asked how it is that i can afford to travel so much or to buy more "expensive" handmade things. and it's because i have different priorities than what most Americans are societally told is normal and standard to have. much of the time i do without so that i can live in other ways that are more important to me. and because i buy so little, when i do it's quality that will last me a lifetime (or nearer to it than the $19.99 shirt i can get at Target).

and so, again, i share all of this not from a high horse or with the conviction that how i live is better than how you live, but with a heart of wanting to challenge you to examine your life and priorities. do you want to get out of debt? then you are going to have to do without something for a while. do you want to travel more? sell something you own to afford the plane ticket.
i just want us to be awake to the fact that our lives are ours. most of us have the ability to change the things we want changed. it's often just a matter of first recognizing and then living out what we say our priorities are.


if something in what i shared resonated with you, please do not hesitate to reach out! i would love to continue to foster the discussion of what living differently looks like for you. 
i can be reached on Instagram through direct messages or via email!


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Baby Hank

and have you ever felt for anything, such wild love? —Mary Oliver

from the moment i knew of this little ones being (which involved a sonogram in a little country restaurant parking lot and lots of happy tears) i was filled with anticipation and joy.
i've told multiple people, in all manner of abject wonder, how disarming and incredible it is to have so much love for such a little being who isn't even your own blood relative. for such is the experience i have when it comes to loving this small person. if i love this baby this much, how in the world am i going to feel about my own hopefully-one-day child?
i hold the hope of one day finding out. 

some of you may remember the photos i posted of Maddie when she was pregnant and how they are still some of my favorite photos i've ever taken. created in a time when i wasn't feeling very fulfilled with my photography and when i felt somewhat lifeless in creating much of anything at all. and yet, in the documentation of this little life, i've found so much fulfillment.
Maddie often says her life would go undocumented if it weren't for me (i took photos of her all through high school-college for every occassion imaginable, then photos of her and her husband Taylor when they were dating, engaged, when they were married and even when they lived out in California for a bit) which might be true. but i surely wouldn't have nearly as full of a life without knowing her. she has remained my true blue friend for over a decade now and, often embarrassingly so, knows the most about me of all of my friends. if you have someone in your life you've known that long and have felt that sort of bond with, you know perhaps the kind of love i am speaking of. there is truly nothing i wouldn't bend over backwards to do for her and, now, her family as well. for, even though it took me a little while to warm up to him, i truly love her husband Taylor and am so thankful for his friendship as well. they are both some of the most genuine and real people i know. unapologetically so. which is my favorite kind of person. someone who is just unfalteringly and completely themselves. Maddie has always been that way, from day one, and i'm glad she met her match in Taylor in that way.

it feels somewhat raw to share such personal and intimate feelings about people i love so very deeply on such a public space, and yet, such is the day and age we live in nowwhere such things seem normal and trivialized. however, while i do tend to keep more things private and personal these days, i've honestly found so much value and encouragement within my own space and in others, by sharing such things vs. keeping them pent up inside. i think it's a beautiful thing to be able to share stories so readily. to encourage others and spread light through them. and so, here is a little piece of one of mine. 

meet Hank. 

I Must Love You

"Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours. 

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, 
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much." 
— Mary Oliver

My beautiful country girl. I'm so happy to have you home. 

Though, somehow, even more happy about the fact that you have a little being you'll be bringing into the world soon.
I cannot wait to meet them and smother them with my love and all of the baby knits and baby overalls.

You've always been one I can go to the woods with.

Learning To Let A Little Green Into My Life

A few months ago I started a little photo project on Instagram under the hashtag #learningtoletalittlegreenintomylife.  

Since then I've come to grow (no pun intended... just kidding... pun totally intended) my appreciation for the little bits of nature and greenery I've brought into and become more aware of in my day to day. 

It's not an aesthetics thing.
It's not a branding thing.
It's not to make my Instagram feed look prettier.

It's because sometimes when you live alone, and you don't have pets because you travel so much, it's kind of nice to have something to take care of other than yourself.

It's because it's really rewarding to rescue little pieces of nature and bring them back to life.

It's because it's so satisfying to witness something grow. And know that you had a part in it.

It's because it's nice to wake up to lush greenery in your home.
Especially when it's a million degrees outside (hello Richmond humidity).
Especially because you would love nothing more than to be in nature but you actually can't stand being in nature at the present moment because you hate sweating.
(This is another reason I love the water so much I think.... I'm in nature but readily able to cool down via. wind or water!)

It's because it feels good to cultivate life.

This article a while back definitely inspired me to jump on the plant game more than I had been, but also the slow living mindset I've been trying to carry with me and introduce into my life over the past year has a lot to do with it as well. 

Plus, the mantra itself is a reminder to be open to the possibility of new things.
To not be closed off. 
To let a little green into my life.

Photo projects like this are fun and help me challenge myself. 
I also have... 
#theshadowdiaries
#writingsfromawouldbebeatnik 
#leneysairstreamdream
#anywhereonthewaterisaplaceicallhome 
#thethriftingdiaries 

And of course #daughterofasailor and #theknittingqueen and #thetravelingphotographer and #weddingphotographerdiaries. Though those seem to have attracted some other users lately so they're not just my own photos like the above tags are! ;)
 
Do you have any photo projects? I've always wanted to do a specific 365 day one! What about you?

Slow Living | Mr. Draper

Today's post is brought to you by a new friend of mine over in Australia. 
Alistair of Mr. Draper makes the most lovely linen goods, and what's more, he is so passionate and enthusiastic about what he does, which makes his work all the more beautiful. 

He sent me one of his doona's, (for us American's that's the Australian name for a duvet cover) and I honestly don't know that I've ever loved a handmade piece for my home more than this ocean of blue goodness. 
(You can see early photos on Instagram here and here as well)

It's so soft and the color is incredibly rich and gorgeous. It transformed my bedroom into that calm, cool and inviting place I'd been dreaming of almost instantly. 
Not to mention I'm head over heels for his branding and packaging.
Alistair is such a kind and wonderful person to collaborate with and support and I hope that if you're in need of any linen you'll check out his shop! He also makes sheets, tea towels and pillow cases as well as other home accents. 
I'm also in love with his practice of repurposing your worn out linen. 
Slow living and mindfulness encouraged in your home? Check.

"The core principal behind Mr. Draper's products is to not just buy and toss stuff every few years. Rather, make a considered purchase that will be with you for many years to come."


This post was sponsored by Mr. Draper.
You can shop through their online store as well as connect with Alistair on Instagram.

If you're interested in sponsoring a post or collaborating, shoot me an email: agirlnamedleney@gmail.com


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Other artists and makers I love whose work was featured in this post include...

Nanin - Palo Santo + Desert Rose Candle
Willow Knows - Scarf
Oldtime Feeling - Floral arrangement
Matt Johnson - American Hearts Book
Alex Elle - Note 2 Self Journal
Yesterday's Heroes - Sheep and Shepherd framed art
The Rootless Spruce - Travel Journal

iPhone Snaps | Fig Picking

It's no secret that I have quite a deep and over sentimental love for figs.
Seen here, here, here and here... 

Shortly after coming home from a long trip recently, I spent an hour or two of an afternoon fig picking, fig peeling and fig mashing for fig jam with two lovely ladies.
It was the perfect first thing to do after being on the road for a week.
A welcoming back.
A slowing down.
A this-is-home.

The Hunger To Move

I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here. They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every states I visited. 

Nearly every American hungers to move.

— John Steinbeck 

Sheep Dreams

I've really gotten to the point where I'd just rather live on a farm with a bunch of sheep and fig trees and call it a day if I'm bein honest...

But maybe a farm on the water somewhere though.
So I can still go sailing.

I don't think it's any secret how obsessed I am with sheep/anything fiber related. It's a dream of mine to learn how to sheer a sheep and process and spin the wool all on my own.
I learned how to spin yarn from a drop spindle, around this time last year, which was one of the highlights of my year if I'm being honest.
But I want to learn more techniques as well as how to spin more efficiently on a wheel. 

This is a photo of a sheepy friend I made last fall. In going through my archives I came across it and fell in love with it again. 
Definitely hoping to make some more wooly *friends this Spring... We'll see.

*Submissions/suggestions/applications for friends along these lines are always welcome.